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TPWD Considering Fishing Regulation Changes for Area Lakes

TPWD Considering Fishing Regulation Changes for Area Lakes

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries management staff are considering changes to freshwater fishing regulations at water bodies located in Cooke, Tom Green, Grayson, and Williamson counties for 2020-21. Staff previewed the potential changes to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at their meeting this week in Austin.

At Moss Lake near Gainesville in Cooke County, staff are considering modifying the 14-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass to a 16-inch maximum length limit to encourage the harvest of smaller fish. This change would aim to reduce competition for forage and habitat and improve the growth potential of largemouth bass in the lake. Additionally, this change would reduce confusion for anglers with identification of spotted versus largemouth bass in the lake.

At Lake Texoma and the Texas waters of the Red River below the Denison Dam, staff are considering modifying harvest regulations for blue, channel, and flathead catfish to standardize the regulations for these species on both sides of the reservoir and the river. For blue and channel catfish, the potential changes would specify no minimum length limit, a 15-fish daily bag limit, and anglers could harvest only one blue catfish 30 inches or greater. For flathead catfish, the change would specify no minimum length limit and a five-fish daily bag limit. In addition to standardizing regulations with Oklahoma and making harvest limits less complicated for catfish anglers, the potential changes could increase protection of larger blue catfish on the Texas side of the river.

In January, Inland Fisheries staff will present these possible changes to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. If the Commission approves, the proposed changes will be published in the Texas Register, which begins the process of official public comment. Prior to that, anglers wishing to comment on the potential changes can direct them to Ken Kurzawski, TPWD Inland Fisheries Director of Information and Regulations, by email at ken.kurzawski@tpwd.texas.gov or phone at 512-389-4591.

Austin College Presents An Evening of Chamber Music and Jazz

Austin College Presents An Evening of Chamber Music and Jazz

 The instrumental ensembles of Austin College under the direction of Dr. Ricky Duhaime will present their annual fall concert on Monday, November 11, at 7:30 p.m. in Ida Green Theatre of Ida Green Communication Center on the Austin College campus. Regular concert attendees should note the change of venue as Wynne Chapel remains under renovation. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Music Department at Austin College:  903.813.2251.

The first half of the concert will be devoted to the Austin College Chamber Orchestra. The orchestra will perform Jubilant Overture by American composer Joshua Reznicow; an arrangement of the Venetian Barcarolle, Op.19, No.6, by Felix Mendelssohn as conducted by Austin College music education student Zoe Rice; and a suite of Old Dances and Airs by Ottorino Respighi, orchestrated for winds and strings by Duhaime.

Austin College students in the Chamber Orchestra are joined this semester by community members Greg Hendrix and Linda Milbourn, as well as Austin College adjunct faculty member Cathy Richardson. Student group members are completing majors and minors from many disciplines of the college, with varying professional goals and a continuing interest in music. 

The second half of the concert will feature the Greater Texoma Jazz Ensemble performing a variety of big band charts in both traditional and contemporary styles, with soloists drawn from the group.

The Greater Texoma Jazz Ensemble consists of students, faculty, and adults from throughout the region, with performance venues this semester at the First Baptist Church in Whitesboro and the Baylor, Scott & White Medical Center in Sherman in addition to Austin College.  The concert this semester will feature jazz soloists Dakota Cole and Xavier Shubert, alto saxophones;  Paul Onspaugh, tenor saxophone; Jesse Speer, Michael Waters, Jonah Brown, Sam Ivie, and Bob Archer, trombones; Doug Hanson and John Vietta, trumpets; Phil Pitts, piano; David Moore, guitar; and Richard Burleson, drums.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. This year, the campus recognizes 100 years of co-education and has had several opportunities to recognize the history of women and accomplishments of current alumnae. Austin College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.

Quail Season Opens Today in Texas

Quail Season Opens Today in Texas

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.