Hunt Texas - October 2012

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Hunt Texas E-Newsletter

In This Issue: Deer Forecast Improved by Rain | West Texas Gears Up for CWD Response | Duck Population Eclipses Last Year, Tops Record | Rain, Insects Key for Upland Game Bird Success | Sharpen Your Aim for Deer Season | Cooking on the Wild Side | Operation Game Thief: Help Stop Poaching | You Could Win On October 15

Deer Forecast Improved by Rain

hunter placing tag on deer carcass
Despite one of the worst droughts on record last year, the deer population came through with minimal population impacts. Timely rainfall has helped. Most areas experienced a low fawn crop last year, but there were very few reports of any significant adult mortality related to the drought, according to Alan Cain, who heads up TPWD’s white-tailed deer program. Read more of his assessment in the "2012-2013 Hunting Forecast" in the October issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.
Be a happier hunter. Avoid some common deer hunting violations — tagging and logging, antler restrictions and no proof of hunter education certification — with these video tips from Game Warden Andrew Alexander.

Check out the deer regulations and season dates in the Outdoor Annual.

West Texas Gears Up for CWD Response

mule deer in brush
Wildlife officials are asking mule deer hunters and landowners in far West Texas to familiarize themselves with new protocols developed as part of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) response plan. The plan includes mandatory check stations for harvested mule deer taken inside the CWD Containment Zone, which covers portions of Hudspeth and El Paso counties, as shown on this map

Tissue samples from two mule deer in far West Texas this past summer tested positive for CWD and were the first cases of CWD detected in Texas deer.

Hunters taking mule deer inside the Containment Zone during the general season, Nov. 23 – Dec. 9, are required to submit their harvest (unfrozen head) for CWD sampling at mandatory check stations within 24 hours of harvest. Mandatory check stations (open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Nov. 23 – Dec. 10) will be located in Cornudas at May’s Café (on US 62-180) and in Van Horn at Van Horn Convention Center (1801 West Broadway).

Hunters that harvest deer in the Containment Zone during the archery-only season or outside the general season under the authority of MLDP (Managed Lands Deer Permits) will need to call TPWD at (512) 221-8491 the day the deer is harvested to make arrangements to have the deer sampled for CWD.

Read more detail in this story and find more information on TPWD’s website or on the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website.

Duck Population Eclipses Last Year, Tops Record

hunter wading with decoys, sunrise
Duck hunters should brace themselves for what could be a season with a record number of ducks. Add water and hunt!

Get the rest of the story from TPWD biologists in the “2012-2013 Hunting Forecast” from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s survey estimates a 48.6 million breeding duck population, a 7 percent increase over last year and 43 percent above the 1955–2010 long-term average. This year’s estimate is a record high and is only the sixth time in the survey’s history that the total duck population has exceeded 40 million. As always, fall weather and habitat conditions along migration routes will have a big impact on migration chronology and local hunting success. 

Duck hunters will need to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp and receive HIP (Harvest Information Program) certification. HIP certification involves a brief survey of previous year’s hunting success and is conducted at the time licenses are purchased.  Review the waterfowl regulations in the digital Waterfowl Digest. You can double-check season dates in this news story. 

Rain, Insects Key for Upland Game Bird Success

turkey gobblers against fall grasses
Ground nesting birds – turkey and quail in particular – were in much better breeding condition this year than 2011. Regular rainfall to encourage cover and a high insect population are keys to success for both birds.
Location plays a role too. For turkey, the Hill Country looks good but in east Texas there were few reports of production. Wildlife biologists talk both turkey and quail in the “2012-2013 Hunting Forecast." Learn more about quail on TPWD’s quail forecast and quail management pages.

An Upland Game Bird Stamp ($7) is required to hunt all non-migratory game birds, including turkey, quail, pheasant and chachalaca. Find the regs in the Outdoor Annual.

Sharpen Your Aim for Deer Season

close up man aiming rifle, distant target
You’re ready. You’re set. But can you hit your target? One key to a happy hunting season is taking time to sight your rifle as demonstrated in this video. A little time at one of many Texas shooting ranges will also sharpen your aim.

Protect yourself from someone else’s aim. Rustle up some blaze orange and abide by blaze orange laws to help keep yourself out of the line of fire.

Cooking on the Wild Side 

closeup chef hands preparing duck for grill
Cooking on the wild side is healthy, sustainable and delicious.

A new TPWD video series “Eat Local: Cooking Texas Stye" features Chef Jesse Griffiths, who is also leading Central Market Cooking School classes this fall in Austin, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Southlake. The classes will feature TPWD experts on hand to answer questions about hunting, fishing and the outdoors.

The new series debuts with four tasty episodes:

Read some hints from chefs who specialize in game cooking in “Cooking On the Wild Side,” by Cecilia Nasti in the TP&W magazine’s digital extra, Texas Hunting 2012. Then find more TPWD recipes online

Inspired to catch your own grub? Learn how to get started hunting with six basic steps from TPWD.

Next level: Learn more about how to prepare and transport your game in “From Field to Freezer,” in Texas Hunting 2012.

Operation Game Thief: Help Stop Poaching

two game wardens on horseback, rugged terrain
Who you gonna call if you see someone poaching wildlife? Operation Game Thief (OGT), Texas’ wildlife Crime Stoppers program, offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to arrest and conviction for a wildlife crime.

The OGT toll-free hotline number is (800) 792-GAME. And now you can also report violations by text message to 847411. Just begin your message with TPWD and you'll be put in real-time contact with an agency communications operator.

Since its inception in 1981, OGT has fielded more than 28,000 phone tips, filed more than 9,000 cases with a 98 percent conviction rate, netted more than $1 million in fines and paid out rewards totaling more than $200,000. OGT is privately funded, entirely dependent on financial support from the public through the purchase of memberships and merchandise, donations, sponsorships and gifts.

Operation Game Thief is a vital link between the sporting public and our game wardens. Think of it this way: Poachers are stealing from you. If you have information which will help game wardens apprehend persons who are violating Texas hunting and fishing regulations, you can call day or night. If you wish to remain anonymous, a code number will be assigned to you. You do not have to give your name if you do not want to.

Read the October Game Warden Field Notes for some of the wardens' latest successful efforts to stop poaching.

You Could Win On October 15

Garcia and wife with trophy bighorn sheep
You have five days left to buy an entry for the chance to win the hunt of your dreams in the Big Time Texas Hunts program. Watch this video about Ken Garcia, one happy hunter who won the Texas Grand Slam package and bagged a desert bighorn sheep that was one for the record book. Read more about his story and the program in Texas Hunting 2012. It could happen to you too. 

Enter Big Time Texas Hunts today!  Entries are just $9 each when you purchase online or $10 each at license retailers or by phone at 1-800-895-4248.
2012-2013 Outdoor Annual
conservation license plate whitetail deer
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