LSONews.com LoneStar Outdoor News August 12, 2011 Page 1 P
August 12, 2011 Texas Premier Outdoor Newspaper Volume 7, Issue 24
INSIDE: Hunting Texas 2011 Annual
Few hunters bag the white-tipped dove, a South Texas rarity.
Mystery bird HUNTING
Legislator still wants all seniors to sh for free.
Parched habitat is forcing deer to switch foods.Page 4
Anglers are boating king sh way offshore.Page 8
Sport of kings
Anglers beat the heat, land loads of crappieBy Nicholas ConklinLONE STAR OUTDOOR NEWS
The crappie bite has been an arduous one of late, but the reward for enduring 100-plus-degree heat can be a livewell full of sh.
Live bait anglers on Lewisville Lake and Lake Ray Roberts have reported good numbers of crappie, while shing hard targets like timber and brush piles.
Angler Chris Waters of
Denton said that although it has been tough on Ray Roberts, the payoff of 25 or so keeper crappie has made the heat somewhat bearable.
I have been going out in the afternoon, Waters said. Its kind of grueling, but when they're biting like that, it can be pretty fun.
Fishing in 20 to 25 feet of water, Waters has had both the numbers 150 sh each on two different outings and the qual-
ity. The sh were in the 1- to 2-pound range. Waters has focused on that depth range because very few sh have been landed deeper than that.
I have tried some deeper stuff but I think the thermocline is the cutoff, Waters said. There just isn't enough oxygen down low so the magic depth has been 20-22 feet.
NICE SLAB: Anglers using minnows, jigs, or combinations of both have been catch-ing crappie in traditional spots: brush piles and timber. Photo by Anh Nguyen.
See BEAT THE HEAT, Page 15
Trappers high-tech system targets multiple hogs
CONTENTSClassi eds . . . . . . . . . Page 29Crossword . . . . . . . . . Page 18Fishing Report . . . . . . . Page 10For the Table. . . . . . . . Page 18Game Warden Blotter . . . . Page 12Heroes. . . . . . . . . . . Page 14Outdoor Datebook . . . . . Page 28Out tters and Businesses . . Page 29Products . . . . . . . . . . Page 30Sun, Moon and Tide data . . Page 18
The antler restriction is rigid, even for mature deer with narrow inside spreads.
Boaters fear wireless network will block GPS signals.
By Bill MillerLONE STAR OUTDOOR NEWS
Late-night e-mails excite Brandon Tilford.
They usually signal a new chance for this Austin businessman to make money, but they dont come from cus-tomers or vendors.
Feral hogs cause the e-mails to reach Tilfords smartphone.
Motion-activated surveillance cameras detect pigs as they enter Tilfords traps, even if they are hundreds of miles away.
The pole-mounted cameras send him
SOUNDER QUEST: Brandon Tilford of Austin has developed
a system that noti es him by e-mail if hogs are in his trap.
A signal from his smartphone can spring the trapdoor shut,
even if he is hundreds of miles away. Photos by Bill Miller, Lone Star Outdoor News.
See TRAPPER'S, Page 15
Lower coast trout limit works, some guides, anglers say
By Conor HarrisonLONE STAR OUTDOOR NEWS
Port Mans eld guide Charlie Stewart has been guiding the better part of 56 years the last 15 in the Laguna Madre.
Even with all of that experience, the past ve years have been the best hes seen.
I dont know what caused it, but it is so good right now, Stewart said. This is twice as good or better before the change.
Big trout are what anglers head to the Laguna Madre bay system for, and after Texas Parks and Wildlife Department implemented a ve-trout
limit almost ve years ago, guide and angler opinions remain torn on the regulation. That was evident by the turnout at scoping meet-ing earlier this year along the middle and upper coasts about implementing a ve-trout limit.
Guides and anglers vehemently opposed the measure being implemented north of the
See TROUT LIMIT, Page 15
MORE TO CHOOSE FROM: Guides in the Laguna Madre said the ve-trout limit implemented several years ago
by TPWD is helping produce more and bigger sh in the system. Photo by David J. Sams, LSON.
Page 4 August 12, 2011 LoneStar Outdoor News LSONews.com
White-tipped dove offers rare bird in bag
By Conor HarrisonLONE STAR OUTDOOR NEWS
The white-tipped dove is a seldom seen bird in deep South Texas, but when hunters see one, they need to shoot fast.
Edward Mathers, owner of the Mathers Ranch in Brownsville, said his guests shoot one every two or three years while hunting white-winged doves.
They are like a ground dove, Mathers said. They are big, like a pigeon, but they stay in the brush and y real low to the ground. Ive only ever shot a couple of them myself.
The white-tipped dove, or white-fronted dove, ranges into Texas from its home range in Central America and Mexico according to Texas Parks
and Wildlife Department. Texas hunt-ers harvest about 5,000 white-tipped doves each season. The daily bag limit is two birds.
Texas began hunting white-tipped doves in 1984.
According to an Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Migratory Shore and Upland Bird Support Task Force report in February, the white-tipped dove was historically found in only the four southern most counties in Texas Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron.
But they have expanded their range into seven additional coun-ties Zapata, Brooks, Kenedy, Webb, McMullen, Dimmit and Live Oak.
Mathers said the white-tipped dove has reddish meat that tastes more like a Eurasian dove than a mourning dove.
Corey Mason, lead dove biologist at TPWD, said the white-tipped dove has similar habits to other dove spe-cies, although they are a little bigger in body size than mourning dove.
They are also considerably lighter colored on the breast, giving them
one of their common names, the white-fronted dove.
They are year-round residents and they dont really move around much (like other doves), Mason said. It is not uncommon for birds to spend the entire year in a ve- or 10-mile radius. That makes it hard to get a lot of infor-mation about the species.
Weve gotten a couple of reports of these birds in other parts of the state, but not many.
Mason said biologists dont really have a great estimate for how many birds actually reside in Texas.
Much like other doves, the white-tipped dove feeds on grass and wild- ower seeds. It also takes advantage of the fruit of local trees, including citrus and hackberry, as well as grain crops like corn and sorghum.
They will venture into the sun- ower elds near thick brush occa-sionally, Mathers said. But they are very unpredictable and y low to the ground. I tell my hunters to be care-ful when shooting them because it can be dangerous with other hunters
Deer diet taking a hit
this summer By Bill MillerLONE STAR OUTDOOR NEWS
Nutritionists say peo-ple are healthiest when they eat a variety of foods: fruits and vegeta-bles, protein and grains.
But in the deer world, diversity can mean skin-of-the-teeth survival when the animals pre-ferred forbs, sedges and grasses have shriveled beneath an unrelenting sun and no rain.
Many of these foods, however, fail to provide optimal nutrition.
Deer normally eat green grasses in the summer, said Dr. Philip Gipson, a professor of natural resource man-agement at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
But we dont have it this time of year, he said. All we have is leftover grasses from last year.
He likened the old grasses to humans eating junk food, but worse.
Its like eating the wrappers of junk food, he said. It will ll them up, but they just cant get the nourishment they need.
But deer in West Texas dont stop looking, and some have turned to cedar plants. Gipson said white-tailed deer and mule deer have been seen recently gnawing on their berries.
They also eat the green on the cedars, Gipson said. But those are very poor rations for deer.
Its kind of a last resort, and it means they are hurting.
As bad as that sounds, Gipson said there are bright spots on the range.
He noted that a lot of the shallow playa lakes on the High Plains have dried up, but many of their edges still support the growth of plants that deer will eat, even if they have to bite through the dirt to reach the roots.
Food is also found at the edges of agricultural elds that grow corn, grain sorghum and sun- owers, Gipson said.
South Texas deer are also switching to sec-ondary foods, said Dr.
Hunters have to travel to far, far South
Texas to nd them
No exemptions for old antler-restriction bucks
IN A PINCH: This mule deer doe is eating cedar berries, a com-mon sight this summer in West Texas. Drought has purged their habitat of summertime forbs and grasses. Photo by David J. Sams, Lone Star Outdoor News.
See DEER DIET, Page 16
By Bill MillerLONE STAR OUTDOOR NEWS
The hunter had about given up on rattling when a broad-faced buck with very tall antlers burst into the clearing, looking for a ght.