February 22, 2013 - Lone Star Outdoor News - Fishing & Hunting

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Text of February 22, 2013 - Lone Star Outdoor News - Fishing & Hunting

  • LSONews.com LoneOStar Outdoor News February 22, 2013 Page 1 PRSR

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    February 22, 2013 Texas Premier Outdoor Newspaper Volume 9, Issue 13

    Big haulBlack drum pulling line on the coast. Page 8

    The persistent quest for quail

    By Conor HarrisonLone Star outdoor newS

    Eleven days.That could be the

    red snapper season for Texas anglers in federal waters this season thanks to a controversial vote by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council on Feb. 9.As passed, the

    rule would give the National Marine Fisheries Service southeast regional adminis-trator authority to shorten the snap-per season in federal Exclusive Economic Zone waters off Texas. State waters extend from the coast out to nine

    nautical miles.The measure

    failed in a morning vote 9-8, but backers pushed for a second vote in the afternoon, and two Florida rep-resentatives on the council, Larry Abele and Pamella Dana, changed their vote to pass the measure 10-7.The council gave

    the authority to the administrator because Texas does not follow federal guidelines for their state snapper season, something Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Coastal Fisheries Director Robin Reichers said is well within Texas rights.

    There has been a long-term desire to have Texas go con-sistent (with the fed-eral rule), Reichers said. It has been a long-standing issue with the National Fisheries Service. In our view, Texas state waters are, and should be, managed by TPWD. We are within our judicial and legal rights to do that.Other states

    such as Mississippi, Alabama and Florida adhere to federal guidelines even in their state waters.If the measure is

    enacted, the lost days from Texas would boost those states seasons by

    adding more days for their anglers to fi sh to reach the approved season quota.When asked why

    he called for a revote and then changed his vote that would affect thousands of Texas anglers and businesses on the coast that depend on a 27-day snap-per season to drive tourism, Abele said he had to put the fi shs health above anything else.During the break

    (after his original no vote), numerous individuals, includ-ing many from Texas, said wed rather pro-tect the fi sh stock than our business, Abele said. If we dont monitor this species more closely, than we arent going to have a season any-more. Other states should not suffer

    STILL HERE: Some hunters are having limited success this season where habitat conditions are good. Photo by David J. Sams, LSON.

    See SNAPPER, Page 15

    Shortened again

    LSONews.com

    CONTENTSClassifi eds . . . . . . . . . Page 20 Crossword . . . . . . . . . Page 17Freshwater Fishing Report . Page 10For the Table. . . . . . . . Page 17Game Warden Blotter . . . . Page 12Heroes. . . . . . . . . . . Page 20Outdoor Datebook . . . . . Page 21Outdoor Business . . . . . Page 14Products . . . . . . . . . . Page 18Saltwater Fishing Report . . Page 16Sun, Moon and Tide data . . Page 17

    Inside

    Hunter takes pride in free-range buck.Page 4

    Trophy 7 HUNTING

    Fish drop-offs near fl ats.Page 9

    Prespawn bass

    LCRA has plan in the works, but how soon?Page 4

    Water for rice elds?

    Lake Ray Roberts, near DFW Metroplex, is fi shing great.

    Page 8

    Not a lot of pressure

    FISHING

    White bass run creeping north

    By Craig NyhusLone Star outdoor newS

    Tired of hearing stories of quail hunters staying home or even giving up the sport completely, some Texans continue to pursue the diminutive birds, albeit with low expectations.

    And a few have been pleasantly surprised.Kris Kallina guides hunts

    out of the 20,000-acre La Media Lodge in Hidalgo County, where a day in the fi eld with dogs has pro-duced positive results.On a good day with good

    conditions, we are putting up

    about 10 coveys per day, he said. The good news is that the coveys all have between 15 and 18 birds each.Kallina credits the

    ungrazed CRP areas on the ranch, along with efforts to improve quail habitat.

    See QUAIL, Page 15

    Hunters fi nding bobwhites where habitat managed and moisture received

    Councils revote on red snapper could shrink Texas season

    By Conor HarrisonLone Star outdoor newS

    Most Texans know what it means when cars begin lining the side of roadways at river and creek crossings in early spring.The annual white bass run has begun in some

    creeks and rivers through the southern and southeastern portions of the state, with the run gradually moving north as the weather heats up.In Houston County, Game Warden Eddie Lehr

    has been checking white bass anglers regularly the past few weeks at the Highway 7 Bridge near Crockett.Right now, the river has come up and the

    water is really muddy, Lehr said. There arent

    See WHITE BASS, Page 14

    GET THEM FAST: With new rules possibly going into effect this federal snapper season, Texas anglers could have only 11 days or less to head offshore and catch big snapper. Photo by Conor Harrison, LSON.

    A FEW BIG ONES: Big trout have been tougher than normal on the mid and lower coasts this year, possibly due to higher wa-ter temperatures. Photo by Mike McBride.

    North or south?

    By Conor HarrisonLone Star outdoor newS

    Bay City trout guide Jesse Arsola knows this has been a strange year for trout along the midcoast.While the occasional

    big fi sh has been caught, Arsola said they are more spread out than normal, something he attributes to high water tempera-tures.

    Its been kind of tough, Arsola said. Weve caught a cou-ple of 8-pounders, and a good number in the 4- to 8-pound range. We did lose a really big one 12 pounds earlier this month, but you are fi sh-ing for a few bites.Most of the people

    that come here are look-

    Water temperatures affecting trophy trout bite

    See TROUT, Page 22

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    HUNTING

    The tale of the tall sevenBy Conor HarrisonLone Star outdoor newS

    Cypress hunter Trey Sperring knew the buck he wanted to har-vest this past season.A unique buck he had been

    hunting for several years, the big 7-pointer was a worthy adversary for the free-range hunter.The ranch has been in my fam-

    ily since the late 1800s, he said.

    It is a 400-acre low fence ranch in Coryell County, located just between Gatesville and Jonesboro.Aside from leasing the land for

    cattle and goats, the main focus on the ranch is to produce trophy whitetails under tough circum-stances the land is not condu-cive to holding deer on the prop-erty, and the neighbors do not practice whitetail management as seriously as Sperring does, accord-

    ing to the hunter. Because of such circumstances,

    weve had to declare a minimum age to harvest a trophy buck at 4 1/2 years old, he said. Weve had our hearts broken a lot in the past by letting 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-year old bucks pass in hopes of seeing them again a year later and never returning. We started protein feed-ing about six years ago, and weve seen a significant difference in the

    rack quality of the bucks.But, Sperring said, what ulti-

    mately often happens is hes feed-ing other peoples deer. In September 2011, Sperring

    continued to get trail cam pictures of a 3 1/2-year-old, high, wide, slick 7-point buck. What was so interesting about the deer was that he had unnaturally high and wide genetics for the area, but was still only a slick 7-pointer.

    Great genetics, but a 7-point, Sperring said. We thought that maybe because of the drought, he didnt grow a matching G3 on one side. Aside from being 3 1/2 years old at the time, the deer in our area do not have large bodies like those of South Texas. Typically, a large mature buck in our area will weigh 150 pounds (not field dressed).

    Water for rice fields still a

    long ways out

    See TALL SEVEN, Page 7

    Help may be on the way for Texas rice fields devoid of water, but it could take a while.The Texas chapters of Ducks Unlimited had

    come out in support of the Lower Colorado River Authoritys decision to move forward on the devel-opment of an off-channel reservoir to provide water in the lower basin for rice farming and wetlands management.According to DU, the reservoir in Lane City will

    provide 90,000 acre-feet of water for irrigation. This water, captured from local rains and river overflows, would be available even during a drought of record. In addition, LCRA approved the pursuit of 10,000 acre-feet of groundwater at a site in Bastrop, to meet the board's recent goal of 100,000 additional acre-feet in the lower basin.The additional water supply would supplement

    the water supply that LCRA draws from lakes Travis and Buchanan, its major water supply reservoirs, and its other water rights.However, the only phase of the project that has

    been approved is $18 million allocated for land acquisition and preliminary plans, according to Clara Tuma of LCRA.We are currently seeking grants, loans and other

    sources of funding, Tuma said.

    CWD only found in Hueco MountainsThe Texas Parks and Wildlife

    Department proved this past hunting sea-son what they already knew some mule deer in the Hueco Mountains have Chronic Wasting Disease.Ne