April 11, 2014 - Lone Star Outdoor News - Fishing & Hunting

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Text of April 11, 2014 - Lone Star Outdoor News - Fishing & Hunting

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    Possum Kingdom hunter shoots large ram,says herd is expanding.Page 4

    Possum Kingdom aoudad turns heads

    CONTENTSCrossword . . . . . . . . . Page 16

    Game Warden Blotter . . . . Page 10

    Heroes. . . . . . . . . . . Page 14

    Outdoor Datebook . . . . . Page 22

    Sun, Moon and Tide data . . Page 16


    Texas Fishing Spring Annual 2014


    EApril 11, 2014 Largest Hunting and Fishing Newspaper in Texas Volume 10, Issue 16


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    MIT 210

    Disappearing act

    By Conor HarrisonLone Star outdoor newS

    Johnny Allen began fi shing in his local bass club the Kellogg Fishing Club last year.Even though he quickly learned the meaning of, You dont know what you dont know when fi shing tournaments, he quickly be-came a fi xture on the leader-board.One of the things that struck him the most was the

    paper tournament format catching a bass, weighing or measuring the fi sh at the boat, recording the informa-tion and releasing the fi sh immediately.I like the paper tourna-ments format, especially on slot lakes because it allows you to log the length of ev-ery fi sh caught and then enter your top fi ve fi sh for tournament results, Al-len said. Catch and release is practiced in both paper tournaments and weigh-in

    tournaments.The paper tournament for-mat is catching on in bass tournament circles, espe-cially kayak tournaments and local bass club events.One major tournament trail, Major League Fishing, has gone to a completely digital format that practices catch, measure and release.When the anglers devel-oped the format for MLF, one of the keys was to have a live leaderboard on the boat, said Don Rucks, com-

    missioner of MLF. For tele-vision, we wanted instant weigh-ins. It created tre-mendous excitement. We also had to break old habits. In MLF, we score every fi sh above our length limits. Be-cause you are weighing and releasing the fi sh, we can set the minimum at any length.It doesnt have to be a slot-limit lake.MLF even devised its own scoring system, scoretrack-

    Paper trail

    See PAPER TOURNEY, Page 13

    New format tournaments becoming more popular, better for fi sh

    By Conor HarrisonLone Star outdoor newS

    The fi rst time Port Mansfi eld resident Norman Lavelle saw his friend, he had a strand of Christmas lights wrapped

    around his ample rack.I grabbed a bucket of corn and spread it around the table where I was sitting, he said. After about 30 minutes, he walked up and started to eat and al-lowed me to cut all of the Christmas lights off of him.That was more than four years ago, and Lavelle got to know the buck he named Christmas pretty well over the years.

    Along with other bucks in a herd of semi-tame deer that hang around the small fi shing community and are fed, often by hand, Lavelle would often scratch Christmas ears and watch him chase does in his front yard.Last week, Christmas was found dead in a nearby fi eld, the victim of a night-

    Several big Port Mansfi eld bucks thought poached

    See POACHED, Page 15

    By Craig NyhusLone Star outdoor newS

    In the 2007-2008 hunting season, Carl Islett of Lubbock, then a Texas state rep-resentative, had the opportunity to hunt the lesser prairie-chicken at the Camphill Ranch near Lev-elland with his friend Todd Bax-ter of Austin, and shot the last bird of the group that day. Little did he know, he may have been the last hunter to take one of the birds in Texas for a long time, and possibly ever.We had one permit left, and we jumped a bird in the sandhills, said F.E. Shaheen, who guided the hunt-ers. Often where you jump one, there is another. Carl walked out, fl ushed another and got him. After that is when TPWD quit issuing the tags.

    That season, the 6,500-acre ranch held 150-200 birds, according to counts performed, Shaheen said. The ranch, involved in management for the birds through Texas Parks and Wildlife Depart-

    Last chicken hunt in Texas?USFWS lists lesser prairie-chicken


    POACHED: The buck residents called Christ-mas was photographed several days before he was killed in Port Mansfi eld by a poacher at night. Photo by Lance Kruger.

    THE LAST ONE: Lubbock hunter Carl Islett poses with the last-known lesser prairie-chicken legally harvested in Texas. Photo by

    TRULY CATCH AND RELEASE: Some bass tournaments, especially on the club level and kayak-only events, are switching toward a true catch-weigh-release model to put less stress on the fi sh and provide real-time scoring. Photo by David J. Sams, Lone Star Outdoor News.

    Pullout advertising section, fresh and saltwater fi shing reports inside.

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    Page 4 April 11, 2014 LoneOStar Outdoor News LSONews.com

    By Mark EnglandLone Star outdoor newS

    Until two years ago, Texas anglers regularly received more federal money for game fish conservation than hunters here received for wild-life conservation. An explosion of sales in guns and ammunition, though, changed all that.The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program apportion-ment for 2014 was a record $760.9

    million, more than $35 million of which is going to Texas. That amount more than doubles the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Resto-ration Program apportionment of $325.7 million, of which Texas will get about $16 million. Both programs are funded by excise taxes that anglers and hunters pay on outdoor recreational products.Total Pittman-Robertson funding in Texas jumped more than $18 mil-lion over the last two years. Clayton Wolf, director of the Wildlife Divi-

    sion for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said he doesnt expect the boom to continue.I think this is the peak of the curve, Wolf said. Just go to Cabe-las or Walmart and look at the am-munition rack. People arent stand-ing in line like they were months ago. Revenues will start dropping, although I dont think there will be a crash in funding.Texas anglers, on the other hand, have already seen a bite taken out of the funds distributed by Dingell-Johnson.In 2009, Texas got more than $20 million from the program.We believe some of our decrease is because we dont have water in a lot of our lakes, so were not getting as

    many people going out fishing, said Robin Riechers, director of TPWDs Coastal Fisheries Division. There are drought conditions throughout the United States. That and broader economic issues might have impact-ed the funding available.TPWD splits the Dingell-Johnson money between its inland and coast-al fisheries programs. Inland gets about two-thirds of the funding.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service distributes the money through grants, with states contributing a 25 percent match.We write grants, for example, to obtain money for gill nets and bag seines so we can collect information regarding our fisheries, Riechers

    said. We continually update our grants to obtain that money. This year, we (coastal) will receive about $4 million from Dingell-Johnson. Our overall budget is in the neigh-borhood of $16 million, so you can see the funding is significant.Although funding for the two fed-eral restoration programs has gone in opposite directions lately, they share one thing in common Texas stands at the head of the line in both.Texas is a large state with a large number of hunters and anglers, so it typically receives the maximum allowable (funding) under the Wild-life and Sport Fish Restoration acts, according to Laury Parramore, a se-nior public affairs specialist for the

    Pittman-Robertson funding jumps for TexasMore than $35 million headed to state for projects

    Aoudad turns heads in PKHerd has been there for a long time, according to biologists

    By Conor HarrisonLone Star outdoor newS

    Keller hunter and trapper Em-mitt Woods has spent a lot of time at various ranches near Possum Kingdom Lake trapping hogs, coy-otes, bobcats and other predators.While hes seen a decrease of those types of critters on the ranches where he works, he has noticed an uptick in the number of exotics he has been seeing mostly axis and aoudad. So when a ranch owner told Woods he could take one of the big aoudads he had been catching on trail cameras, Woods jumped at the chance.On one of the properties I trap, weve got the deer and turkey pop-

    ulations up, he said, but the aou-dad also moved in. It is a low fence ranch in Palo Pinto County, and I saw this big ram about a month ago on trail cams. I had planned to hunt him one weekend.While setting hog traps several weeks ago, Woods saw a big boar he had been trying to catch run-ning around the side of a hill. I tried to run around the other side and flank him, he said. As

    I ran around one side of the hill, the aoudad was coming up right toward me.One perfect shot later and Woods was admiring his first aoudad a big ram with thick bases and one of the longest manes of any aou-dad he had ever seen. Thats a fish out of water if Ive ever seen one, Woods said.Once the big ram was down, an-other problem presented itself

    Woods was all alone and had to load the big-bodied sheep by him-self. He managed to use a winch in the back of his truck to get the ram loaded. He headed to Cinna-mon Creek Wild Game Processing to have the ram butchered and the cape readied for a mount. A rough score on the big ram put him at 93 inches total.I am seeing a lot more aoudad; just a ton of them, he said. Weve

    noticed after the fires around Pos-sum Kingdom a few years ag