TPWD News Archives - Texoma Connect

Quail Season Opens Today in Texas

Texas Quail

Texas QuailWith quail hunting season opening Saturday, Oct. 26 statewide, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife biologists predict average to above-average prospects across most of the state.

“Habitat and weather can cause dramatic shifts in bobwhite and scaled quail populations from one year to the next,” said Robert Perez, quail program leader for TPWD. “Although last year’s quail season was not very productive, quail have an uncanny ability to quickly bounce back when conditions are good. Thanks to favorable weather conditions earlier this year, hunters can look forward to productive quail hunting across most of the state this season.”

For the core quail range in Texas, this year’s El Nino weather pattern translated to above average rainfall and below average temperatures, resulting in an above average bobwhite quail season in most of South Texas, average to slightly above average scaled quail season for the Trans Pecos region, and good prospects for scaled quail and bobwhite in the Panhandle above Interstate 40.

“Favorable weather conditions spurred calling and pair formation in the majority of South Texas counties, and land manager and staff reports suggest an average to above average season,” Perez said. “Scaled quail in the Trans Pecos also look better than average, so it’s a good year to put on some tennis shoes and chase this elusive game bird.”

In the Rolling Plains, field reports indicate a very active roosting calling period in the spring and pairs spotted throughout the summer. Quality habitat across the region provides plenty of nesting and brooding cover and plants like dove weed and ragweed provide chicks with the protein-packed insects they need.

“The Rolling Plains appears to be up from last year but still below average, although our surveys may have underestimated the population due to dense roadside vegetation and extreme heat, which may have influenced habitat use,” Perez said. “Overall, the Rolling Plains has the potential to have an average year. And an average year in Texas is better than just about anywhere else in the country.”

TPWD projections are based on annual statewide quail surveys that were initiated in 1978 to monitor quail populations. This index uses randomly selected, 20-mile roadside survey lines to determine annual quail population trends by ecological region. This trend information helps determine relative quail populations among the regions of Texas.

Comparisons can be made between the mean (average) number of quail observed per route this year and the 15-year mean for quail seen within an ecological region. The quail survey was not designed to predict relative abundance for any area smaller than the ecological region.

A regional breakdown of this year’s TPWD quail index survey, including highlights and prospects, is available online.

Quail hunting season runs through Feb. 23, 2020. The daily bag limit for quail is 15, with 45 in possession. Legal shooting hours for all non-migratory game birds are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. The bag limit is the maximum number that may be killed during the legal shooting hours in one day.

Hunters can find public quail hunting opportunities at several wildlife management areas located within the core quail range, including Elephant MountainBlack GapGene HoweMatadorChaparral and James E. Daughtry. Additionally, hunters can search for quail hunting opportunities on public and leased land with an Annual Public Hunting Permit here.

Hunters who want the convenience of purchasing a license online can do so securely from the official Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s license site. Access it directly from the department’s website, visit www.txfgsales.com, or text TPWD LICENSE to 468-311 to receive a link.

Hunters can also purchase a license in person at sporting goods stores and other retailers or by calling the TPWD License Section at 1-800-895-4248.

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Leave That Wild Animal Alone, Experts Advise

Leave That Wild Animal Alone - Fawn

Leave That Wild Animal Alone - FawnTexas Parks and Wildlife Department

AUSTIN TEXAS

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department advises folks to leave that wild animal alone if it has been stranded by high water.  It’s not uncommon during the summer months to see what appears to be abandoned fawn deer or fledgling birds in need; that’s when humans need to resist the urge to help, wildlife experts say.

Some species, including birds, deer and snakes, are normally very active this time of year and are typically seen more frequently. With the abundance of recent rainfall, increased sightings of displaced wildlife in flooded areas can also be expected, but if left alone these critters will return to their natural environment once water levels subside.

This is the time of year that young birds are out of their nests but cannot fly. If the bird’s eyes are open, it has a coat of feathers and is hopping around, it is probably fine, according to staff at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s wildlife information center. Grounded fledglings will usually be up and flying within a few days.

The fawning season is well underway, although the newborns may not be visible to the casual observer for several weeks because of excellent camouflage of their mottled coats and their mother’s care in hiding them from predators.

Deer will typically leave their fawns for hours at a time, returning only to nurse them. Fawns are often discovered lying quietly in tall grass or brushy areas. Well-meaning people sometimes pick up these fawns, thinking that they have been abandoned by their mothers and need help. This is rarely the case.

A fawn should only be picked up if it is covered in fire ants or is otherwise seriously injured. These fawns need assistance and should be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator immediately. These fawns need assistance and should be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator immediately.

If it is determined that a wild animal is sick or injured call the TPWD wildlife information line, (512) 389-4505, during business hours for a referral to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

After-hours callers can get the names of rehabilitators from TPWD’s dispatch line at (512) 389-4848 or by accessing the department’s website.

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Reminder Hunter Education Required

Reminder Hunter Education Required

Hunting
Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

Austin | Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

With hunting season right around the corner, it’s time to get your hunter education certification.

To hunt legally in Texas, anyone born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, must complete a hunter education training course or purchase a one-time ‘deferral’, good for one license year. Because the minimum age of certification is 9 years old, hunters under the age of 9 must be accompanied by a licensed hunter in the field. Hunters ages 9 through 16 must either complete hunter education courses or be accompanied while in the field. Deferral purchasers must also be ‘accompanied’ which means to be within normal voice control of a licensed hunter 17 years of age or older who has completed hunter education or who was born before Sept. 2, 1971. Hunters 17 and up must complete hunter education courses.

To make this process easier than ever, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department now offers the option of completing training courses completely online for Texas residents 17 years and older.

However, TPWD also offers three other convenient methods of getting certified: the basic, enhanced and advanced courses, which involve classroom and/or field time.

The basic hunter education course is designed for novice and young hunters ages 9 and above and requires six hours of classroom instruction. The enhanced hunter education course is a combination of an online home study program and up to five hours of field training. The advanced hunter education course requires more than six hours of instruction and includes more content than the basic and enhanced courses.

Each of the courses costs $15, and the passing grade for all courses is 75 percent.

Since mandatory hunter education first started in 1988, the number of hunting accidents and fatalities has declined to fewer than 3 per 100,000 hunters. Incidents involving those who had completed hunter education courses are only in the single digits each year.

To help improve hunter safety, choose from one of the many flexible options to get your hunter education certification now. For more information and to register for hunter education programs, visit http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/outdoor-learning/hunter-education.

The certification is valid for life and is honored in all other states and provinces.

Some federally controlled areas require all hunters using that site to have hunter education certification. In Texas, this includes Corps of Engineers property and most military reservations. Check with the specific area prior to going hunting.

Renew Expired Hunting Licenses Online

Don’t miss any hunting seasons this year because of an expired license. All licenses purchased in the last year, before Aug. 15, expired on Aug. 31. Renew your license online at http://bit.ly/TPWDlic, over the phone by calling 800-895-4248, or in person at your nearest license retailer.

Hunting and Fishing on Lake Texoma

If you would like to book a combination hunting and fishing trip on Lake Texoma be sure to check out our directory of Hunting and Fishing Guides.

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