Friends of Hagerman to participate in Annual Christmas Bird Count

Friends of Hagerman to participate in Annual Christmas Bird Count

The Friends of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge and the Audubon society invites everyone to participate in its annual Christmas Bird Count.  The 2017 count will take place at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, December 16th.  Meet at the Visitor Center at 7 am.

You will be assigned to a team.  You may volunteer for half a day or all day.  Bring binoculars, water, and snacks.  Teams will drive to an assigned sector.  Email  [email protected] to sign up.  At the end of the count, a social time and supper will be sponsored by the Friends of Hagerman at 5 pm.

Christmas Bird Count

The Audubon Society describes this event as the nation’s longest running citizen science bird project.  The count, which began in 1900 as a replacement for the tradition of bird hunting on Christmas Day, provides important data about the state of the bird population throughout the world.  To date, over 200 peer-reviewed articles have resulted from analysis of the data gathered, and federal agencies use the data in decision making processes that impact bird populations.

Audubon’s 118th Christmas Bird Count will be conducted this coming season, with all counts held between the dates of Thursday, December 14, 2017 through Friday, January 5, 2018.

A map view of the circles expected to be included in the completed 118th CBC can be found here. If you’re interested in participating this season, check out the map to find a count near you; more circles will be added as they are approved for the 118th CBC and beyond. Green and yellow circles are open for new participants, and red circles are full. Please note online registration will not be available for the 118th Count—please contact compilers by email using the information from the pop-ups on the map.

If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.

If your home is within the boundaries of a CBC circle, then you can stay at home and report the birds that visit your feeder on count day as long as you have made prior arrangement with the count compiler. Check out the sign-up link above during the sign-up season for information on how to contact the compiler.  For information about nesting boxes, contact [email protected]

Since the Christmas Bird Count began over a century ago, it has relied on the dedication and commitment of volunteers.  You may participate in as many counts as you wish.  Participation is free.

Texoma Teens to compete in Fishing Tournament on Lake Texoma

Texoma Teens to compete in Fishing Tournament on Lake Texoma

On December 2, 2017, hundreds of North Texas high school students will compete in the Texas High School Bass Association fishing tournament on Lake Texoma.  Hosted by Gunter Bass Club, sign in and weigh-in location will be Highport Marina.  The​ ​North​ ​Texas​ ​Division​ ​on​ ​Lake​ ​Texoma​ ​will​ ​be​ ​a​ ​trailering event​. Boats may leave the ramp of their choice at the time of their choice on tournament day with running lights on, life jackets zipped or buckled, kill switch properly attached and students seated properly in the boat.  First cast will be at 6:45 am.  All lines must be out of the water at 2:30 pm.  Teams must be in the weigh-in line by 4:00 pm.

Online registration is available at the THSBA website or onsite registration will be Friday,​ ​December​ ​1,​ ​2017​ ​ at​ ​Sherman​ ​Academy.​ ​Located​ ​at 3939​ ​N​ ​Hwy​ ​75,​ ​Sherman,​ ​TX​ ​75090.​ ​From​ ​4pm-7pm.​ ​Saturday​ ​morning​ sign in ​will start​ ​at​ ​5​ ​am,​ ​at​ ​Highport Marina.​ Students MUST sign in to receive flight number at this time (Tyvek Wristband), however, an advisor, captain or parent may sign in for team(s) if student is not available to do so. Any changes MUST be made at this time.

The Texas high School Bass Association, a 501( c) (3) tax exempt corporation,  is the largest  high school tournament bass fishing organization in Texas.  Last year the association presented 114 scholarships which totaled over $130,000 for students to start their college careers.

One of the primary goals of the THSBA is to promote education through fishing. A critical piece of this movement is encouraging our student anglers to excel in the classroom as well as on the water.  To be eligible to compete in any THSBA tournament, contestants must have passing grades in all subjects enrolled. Team Advisors are accountable to ensure all competing student anglers from their respective schools are meeting this requirement for eligibility.

North Texas Division schools include Grapevine, Bowie, Denton Bass Club, Lucas Lovejoy, Gainesville, Highland Park, Decatur, Sanger, Princeton, Flower Mound, Ponder, Denton Ryan, Van Alstyne, Prosper, Marcus, Melissa, Allen, Gunter, Celina, Argyle, Lakeland Christian Academy, Paradise, Lake Dallas, Jesuit, Plano, Pottsboro, Sacshe, Tioga, Pilot Point, Denison, Northwest HS (Justin), Lindsay, Ector, North Texas Bass Cats, Texoma Christian, Trinity Christian, Collinsville, Whitewright, Rowlett, Valley View

In September a North Division THSBA fishing tournament was held on Lake Ray Roberts with 242 teams landing a whopping 249 pounds of fish.  In October a North Division THSBA fishing tournament was held on Lake Lewisville with 250 teams weighing in 299 pounds of fish.

The upcoming fishing tournament schedule for the North Texas Division:

December 2, 2017 – Lake Texoma (Highport Marina) Entries must be postmarked by November 24,2017

February 10, 2018 – Ray Roberts (Ray Roberts Marina)

March 10, 2018 – Ray Roberts (Ray Roberts Marina)

April 14, 2018 – Lake Lewisville (Regionals) (Lake Park)

May 19 -20, 2018 – Lake Sam Rayburn THSBA Championship

Matt Tolnay is the Director of the North Texas Division and he can be reached at 972.978.0487 or [email protected] for more information.  Rules and entry forms can be found on the THSBA website.

Waterfowl Hunters Reminded to Help Prevent Spread of Invasive Species

Waterfowl Hunters Reminded to Help Prevent Spread of Invasive Species

Texas Parks and Wildlife | Austin Texas

With duck hunting season getting underway in most of the state in early November, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is reminding waterfowl hunters to clean, drain and dry boats and equipment before traveling from lake to lake to help avoid spreading invasive species like giant salvinia and zebra mussels.

“Invasive species like giant salvinia can quickly grow to cover expanses of fresh water, which can block access for hunters to prime waterfowl hunting areas,” said John Findeisen, TPWD aquatic invasive species team lead. “By properly cleaning, draining and drying equipment and reporting sightings of invasive species, waterfowl hunters can make a big difference in the fight to protect our lakes and waterways from aquatic invaders.”

Findeisen noted all equipment that comes into contact with the water is capable of harboring invasive species – including waders, boats, trailers and decoys – and can quickly spread them to new places and destroy aquatic habitats.

“Any gear that has been in the water can carry invasives and must also go through a thorough clean, drain and dry process,” Findeisen said. “This includes decoys, waders and marsh sleds.”

In Texas it is unlawful to possess or transport prohibited aquatic invasive species, dead or alive, anywhere in the state. TPWD regulations also require boaters to drain all water from their boat and onboard receptacles before leaving or approaching a public body of fresh water in order to prevent the transfer of invasive species. This regulation applies to all types and sizes of boats whether powered or not: personal watercraft, sailboats, kayaks/canoes or any other vessel used on public waters.

These three steps can prevent further spread of invasive species in Texas:

CLEAN: Before leaving the ramp area, do a walkaround inspection. Remove any plants, mud and debris from the boat, trailer and gear. Be sure to check your boots, dogs, decoys, and anything else that was in the water.

DRAIN: Drain your boat, motor and other water-retaining compartments. Keep your drain plugs out until you are home.

DRY: Let your boat and gear dry completely before entering another waterbody. If it can’t dry for at least a week, then wash everything thoroughly with high-pressure, soapy water.

A new video intended to help hunters properly clean, drain and dry boats and equipment can be found at

Because early detection is an important part of reducing or eliminating the presence of invasive species, TPWD encourages hunters to help be the eyes open in their hunting areas. To report giant salvinia call (409) 384- 9965 or use the online report form. If you find zebra mussels on your boat or gear, call TPWD at (512) 389-4848 before moving it to another waterbody. To report zebra mussels in a new waterway, use our online report form.

Text TPWD GS or TPWD ZM to GOV311 for updates on giant salvinia (GS) or zebra mussels (ZM).

Free Entrance to Texas State Parks Nov. 12 in Honor of Veteran’s Day

Free Entrance to Texas State Parks Nov. 12 in Honor of Veteran’s Day

Texas Parks and Wildlife | Austin Texas

In honor of both active and retired military, daily entrance fees at Texas State Parks will be waived for all visitors Sunday, Nov. 12.

“We give thanks to the service that veterans and active military personnel have dedicated to our country,” said Brent Leisure, director of state parks for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “We hope that Texans everywhere will make Texas State Parks part of their celebration this Veteran’s Day.”

Parks will be hosting guided hikes, bird walks and other programs throughout the day. Camping and special activity fees will still apply.

For a full list of events, visit the Texas State Parks calendar page. A map of all Texas State Parks is available on the TPWD website.

In addition to showing support at Texas State Parks, hunting and fishing license buyers can also honor veterans by making a voluntary contribution to the Fund for Veterans. Contributions can be made in increments of $1, $5, $10, or $20, and 100 percent of the donation goes to the Fund for Veterans. Please note, donation must be in conjunction with the purchase of a license, stamp endorsement or drawing entry and cannot be made as a standalone item in a transaction.

The Fund for Veterans Assistance, administered by the Texas Veterans Commission, helps support government agencies and veterans service organizations that provide direct services to Texas veterans and their families. Since 2009, the Fund for Veterans Assistance has awarded over $90 million to organizations across Texas to help over 250,000 Veterans and their families. Last year, license buyers contributed close to $200,000 to the Fund for Veterans.

Annual Monarch Watch at Hackberry Flat Center

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation | September 25, 2019

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will host a Monarch Butterfly Watch the first week in October at the Hackberry Flat Center near Frederick.

“We’ll be tagging monarchs in the mornings and watching them go to roost in a stand of soapberry trees in the evenings,” said Melynda Hickman, biologist for the Wildlife Department. The Monarch Butterfly Watch is a free event and registration is not required.

Monarch Butterfly
Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Morning Tagging:  October 1, 2, 3, and 7

After a brief discussion of butterfly basics, monarchs collected from the area will be tagged as a group. Meet at the Hackberry Flat Center by 9 a.m. for this hands-on activity.

Evening Roost Watch:  October 1, 2, 3, and 6

An open air trailer will take visitors to a longtime monarch roost site within the management area. Meet at the Hackberry Flat Center by 6:30 p.m. Bring a collapsible chair and light jacket for your comfort; activity ends at 8 p.m.

“Hackberry Flat has so much to offer,” Hickman said. “We’re excited to be able to share this experience with butterfly and wildlife enthusiasts from across the state.”

Both morning and evening activities will be held regardless of weather conditions, but morning tagging activities will be limited to the number of butterflies available at the roost site.

“So many things can affect their migration,” Hickman said. “Changes in wind speeds, wind direction, weather fronts and potential storms can all affect how many butterflies will be at Hackberry Flat during the event.”

Participants can contact Hickman one to two days before their planned arrival to check on the progress of the migration at Hackberry Flat WMA.

To get to Hackberry Flat Center, from the south side of Frederick, take U.S. 183 south for one mile, then go east on Airport Road for three miles. Follow the blacktop road south and continue six miles. Watch for signs to the Center.

Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area offers 7,120-acres of wildlife recreational opportunities. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, along with many conservation-minded partners, restored this legendary wetland, creating a vast mosaic of wetland habitats for prairie waterfowl, shorebirds and other wetland-dependent birds. Upland areas of native sunflowers and cultivated fields interspersed with mesquite have become one of the state’s premier dove-hunting destinations. Open for scheduled events, the Hackberry Flat Center offers interpretive guidance for wildlife enthusiasts, students and educators. For more information, log on to Participants of these programs are exempt from needing a Wildlife Conservation Passport or valid hunting or fishing license while on Hackberry Flat WMA.

For more information about this event, or other programs held at Hackberry Flat Center, contact Hickman at [email protected] or by calling (450) 990-4977.

Monarchs Tagged at Hackberry Flat Found in Mexico

“Visitors and school groups tagged 476 monarchs as part of Hackberry Flat Center’s 2016 Monarch Watch,” Hickman said. “This March, three of those tags were found more than 1,200 miles away in the El Rosario Sanctuary in Michoacán, Mexico.”

“It’s amazing to know the butterflies we saw in southwestern Oklahoma made it all the way to Mexico,” Hickman said.