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TWA testifies at Capitol, Sighted In newsletter
Texas Wildlife Association

April, 2011

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April 5, 2011 

TWA representatives testify in support of groundwater ownership        

The Chairman of the Texas Wildlife Association Water Stewardship Committee today told members of the House Committee on Natural Resources today that secure property rights best protect and encourage conservation and stewardship of all resources, including groundwater.  

Joseph Fitzsimons testified on behalf of TWA in support of Committee Substitute for SB 332 and HB 1730. The Committee Substitute for SB 332 reaffirms current law and recognizes the private landowners' ownership interest in groundwater. Fitzsimons was joined at the Capitol hearing by other TWA members in support of the legislation. The Committee Substitute for SB 332 has already been approved by the Senate. 

"Like all other real property in Texas, groundwater is subject to reasonable regulation," said Fitzsimons. "This ensures that private landowners are treated fairly (afforded due process), property rights are respected, and that all private landowners maintain the ability to use groundwater for any beneficial use."  

The bills were left pending by the House Committee on Natural Resources. 

WildLife 2011 features Laura Bush, great activities and auction items 

Registration for WildLife 2011 is underway, with more details emerging about the July 7-10 convention in San Antonio.  

Click here for the online convention registration website, a new feature and offering for this year's event. Click here for a copy of the convention registration form to complete and mail/fax to the TWA headquarters office.

Laura Bush WildLife 2011 is at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. Reduced full registration for the convention and a lower overnight room rate at the JW Marriott await all WildLife 2011 attendees. Click here for online hotel reservations.  

Among the highlights at this year's convention is a presentation by former First Lady Laura Bush at the TWA Foundation Luncheon on Friday, July 8. Her presentation is titled, "Taking Care of Texas: Conservation and Land Stewardship." 

This year's TWA Grand Auction on Saturday, July 9, features many outstanding offerings, including a lucrative Desert Bighorn Sheep permit, a first for TWA and the Grand Auction. The permit is provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Other great activities at WildLife 2011 include a Wildlife Education Seminar of "Texas Wildlife - The Next 25 Years," the TWA Family Dinner and Texas Big Game Awards Statewide Sportsman's Celebration, a record number of exhibitors, a TWA General Session, Casino Night, and much more.

TPWD finalizes hunting and fishing regulations for 2011-12

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted hunting and fishing regulations for 2011-12 with relatively few changes, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. All amendments take effect Sept. 1, 2011.

Topping the list are regulation changes impacting turkey hunting, and potential alteration of some size and bag limits in waters shared with Louisiana.

Effective for the 2012 season, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is closing spring turkey hunting in the following 15 East Texas counties in response to low populations and harvest numbers: Cherokee, Delta, Gregg, Hardin, Houston, Hunt, Liberty, Montgomery, Rains, Rusk, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Tyler and Walker.

Click here for the full news release from TPWD.  

L.A.N.D.S. 2011 Summer Teacher Trainings applications available

Two Summer Teacher Trainings are available from TWA L.A.N.D.S. (Learning Across New Dimensions in Science), and registration applications are now being accepted.

The Teacher Training at The Dobbs Run Ranch in Rocksprings is June 20-22. The class is limited to 20 educators/volunteers. Click here for registration information.

The Teacher Training at Camp Allen in Navasota is August 1-3. The class is limited to 30 educators/volunteers. Click here for registration information.    

Busting feral hog myths 

Until recently, if anyone tried to tell you how many feral hogs there are in Texas, they were just blowing smoke, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service wildlife biologist.

“When it comes to feral hogs in Texas, separating fact from fiction is becoming a little easier as research reveals more about the pesky porcines,” said Dr. Billy Higginbotham, a TWA Director and AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist. “There remains much we don’t know about this exotic that has inhabited our state for the past 450 years.”

Highest ranking among the myths are estimates of the actual number of feral hogs in Texas, Higginbotham said. A common number that has been bantered about for years is 1 to 4 million. But there was just no data to support this estimate.

That is, there wasn’t until Dr. Roel Lopez, associate director of the Texas A&M University Institute for Renewable Natural Resources, recently used geographic information system procedures to turn the guesstimates into reliable estimates, said Higginbotham, who collaborated with Lopez on the study.

Click here for the full article from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. 



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Mark Your Calendar 

Wildlife for Lunch Webinar Series
April 21 - Aquatic Weed Control
May 19 - Dove Management

Life's Better Outside Experience
May 6-8, Fort Worth

WildLife 2011
July 7-10, 2011, JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa

Murski, Matador Ranch recognized with awards

TWA Director and longtime supporter Ray Murski, and The Matador Ranch, a TWA member ranch that covers portions of five Texas counties, have each recently been recognized with awards for outstanding achievement. 

Park Cities Quail presented Murski with the 2011 T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award on March 10 in Dallas. The award was created by Park Cities Quail to recognize sportsmen who have distinguished themselves by living a life of adventure, love of the outdoors, respect for natural resources, and most of all, to those who have demonstrated a spirit of giving back and making it possible for others to enjoy the sporting life.

The Matador Ranch was awarded on April 2 the 2010 Outstanding Rangeland Stewardship award by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA). The award presented on April 2 is the highest stewardship honor from TSCRA and the Texas Section, Society for Range Management (TSSRM).
Jeff Goodwin, rangeland management specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), said that the Matador Ranch is a leader in many areas. The ranch has developed a sustainable approach to rangeland management that mutually benefits the land, the water, the wildlife and the livestock operation.

Theories abound for quiet rattlesnakes in Texas

Rattlesnakes are labeled rattlesnakes because they are presumed to shake their tails and make a rattling sound when their space is encroached upon, but a recent incident near Graham has hunters, biologists and others debating whether the rattler is actually changing its perceived mode of warning, according to a recent article in the San Angelo Standard-Times.
It's agreed that human pressure is the greatest threat to snakes, but others weighing in on the debate say feral hogs also play a role in a recognized decline in overall snake populations — and in the rattlesnake's frequency of rattling. Over the past five years, feral hog numbers have increased to mammoth proportions throughout West Texas.

Click here for the full article. 

TWA welcomes new members!
 Thomas "Clay" Allison, Houston
Tad Anderson, Mills, WY
James Ashley, Campbell
Jerry Ayres, Gatesville
Keith Bayless, Hubbard
Cody Bell, Dallas
Judy Blaker, Fredericksburg
Jeremy Boatwright, Hamilton
Charlie Bottlinger, Hamilton
Teri Bouchard, Spicewood
Jim Broumley, Hico
Eddie Carpenter, Friendswood
Estevan Castillo, Goldthwaite
Luis Chapa Jr., Brownwood
Mauricio Chevez, Brownwood
Gene Clarke, Gatesville
Craig Collins, Temple
HB Collins, Mullin
Tammie Creek, Giddings
Dustin Creel, Olney
Carl Drosche, Gatesville
William "Max" Duncan Jr., Corpus Christi
Wayne Edgar, Early
Kelvin Eoff, Zephyr
Jeff Eubanks, Robert Lee
Joe Freeman, Llano
Dale Fuller, Hubbard
Martin Gore, Comanche
Mary Green, San Angelo
Vernon Gromatzky, Hamilton
Edward Haas, Jonesboro
Eddie Hall, Waxahachie
Michael Hebert, Webster
Robert Hill, Schertz
Riddle Holdings, Houston
Michael Joseph, Lampasas
AC Kast, Fredericksburg
Patrick Langlinais, Helotes
Lex Lehmberg, Mason
Giles Malicoat, Cottonwood Shores
Don McCasland, Richland Springs
Wade Miller, Lorena
Garland Moore, Shamrock
Michael Neal, Mertzon
Brad Nobles, Mart
Kirk Ondricek, Olney
Sheldon Parsons, Spur
Jim Phillips, Round Rock
Cliff Reed, Bronte
Robert Reich, Oglesby
Wesley Robertson, San Saba
Perrish Rowland, Kempner
Linda Rutherford, Rockwood
Seth Skinner, Valley Mills
Paul Skrabanek, Caldwell
Robert Smith, Garland
Rebecca Stirnkorb, Gatesville
Mike Suggs, Carlsbad, NE
Spencer Tanksley, Bertram
Thomas Tompkins Jr., North Richland Hills
Willie Toole, Houston
Weldon Walker, Colorado City
Michael Wendler, Holland
John White, Denton
Arvel Wilson, Midland
Wynona Winters, Goldthwaite
Michael Young, Baird
Cinco Cattle Co, Sterling City


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