LSONews.com LoneStar Outdoor News January 27, 2012 Page 1 P
January 27, 2012 Texas Premier Outdoor Newspaper Volume 8, Issue 11
New BoatsCheck out some of the seasons
new offerings. Page 11
Sink trees and brush for crappie habitat.Page 8
Christmas year-round FISHING
Young hunter uses great-grandfather's ri e to get rst deer.
Fishing report from a great lake.Page 8
Sam Rayburn strong
Season length, bag limits could change. Page 4
Commission to consider allowing sound suppressors for wild game
Scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle, addax will require new permit
By Conor HarrisonLONE STAR OUTDOOR NEWS
Ranch owners and hunters were dismayed earlier this month when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle and addax would lose their exempt permit-ting status on the endangered species list.
The new rules go into effect April 4.Ranchers who own these
exotics will now be required to apply for one of two permits from the USFWS to own and har-vest these species.
Without the necessary per-mit, after April 4, it will be illegal to transfer or attempt to transfer one of the species out of state or to take or attempt to take one of the animals.
Previously, these species were exempt from permits issued by the USFWS. Owners continued breeding and other activities, including hunting for herd man-agement without the permits.
Several animal rights groups, however, challenged that exclu-
sion with a federal lawsuit. A federal district court directed
the USFWS to provide opportuni-ties for the public to review and comment on activities related to these species that otherwise would have been prohibited without permits.
USFWS of cials said they con-sidered ways to do that without requiring ranches or other facili-ties to get permits, but they were unsuccessful.
USFWS subsequently decided to eliminate the exclusion.
Vanessa Kauffman of USFWS said the rst permit is for ranch owners who harvest their own animals without offering public hunts.
This document, called the Captive-bred Wildlife Regulation permit, has a $200 processing fee and must be renewed every ve years.
Ranchers also need this permit to sell or trade their animals.
This permit has been around for 20 years and we are already famil-iar with this process, Kauffman
SILENCER: Sound suppressors are being considered for legal hunting of deer and other game animals in Texas. Approval would have to come from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. Photo by Bill Miller, LSON.
CONTENTSClassi eds . . . . . . . . . Page 20Crossword . . . . . . . . . Page 17Fishing Report . . . . . . . Page 10For the Table. . . . . . . . Page 17Game Warden Blotter . . . . Page 12Heroes. . . . . . . . . . . Page 14Outdoor Datebook . . . . . Page 22Outdoor Business . . . . . Page 16Products . . . . . . . . . . Page 20Sun, Moon and Tide data . . Page 17
By Bill MillerLONE STAR OUTDOOR NEWS
Many a feral hog and var-mint coyote in Texas have fallen to shots muf ed by sound sup-pressors, but its not legal in this state to use silencers on game animals, including deer.
That could change next season if the Texas Parks and
Wildlife Commission agrees to allow these devices for hunt-ing everything except water-fowl and upland game.
No formal action by the full commission would happen at least until the commissions meeting in March, said Scott Vaca, assistant chief of TPWDs law enforcement division.
So far, 39 states, including Texas, allow people to own sound suppressors, as long as they have federal permits for them. But Texas is also among 20 states that currently dont allow using them on game animals, according to the newly formed American Silencer Association.
See SUPPRESSORS, Page 18
Port OConnor shing steady as she goesBy Conor HarrisonLONE STAR OUTDOOR NEWS
It might not be as ashy as other points along the coast, but anglers looking for a good day of bay shing with steady limits of trout and red sh might be sorry if they overlook the Port OConnor area this time of year.
Capt. Lynn Smith of Back Bay Guide Service has been working areas south of Port OConnor and said the shing action has been steady to good.
Weve been doing pretty good catch-ing trout and reds, Smith said. Weve caught them mostly on soft plastics. Weve been catching a lot of 17- to 18-inch trout and a lot of slot reds.
LIMIT UP: Guides from the Port OConnor area are reporting solid days on the water with plenty of 18-inch trout and limits of slot reds. Photo by David J. Sams, LSON. See PORT O'CONNOR, Page 18
BACK ON THE LIST: Three exotic species in Texas have now lost their exempt status on the endangered species list. Owners of these exotics will now have to apply for a permit to hunt them. Photo by Tom Holden, Kerrville Daily Times. See PERMITS, Page 16
Page 4 January 27, 2012 LoneStar Outdoor News LSONews.com
Concealment key when hunting cranesBy Conor HarrisonLONE STAR OUTDOOR NEWS
Larry Robinson has three steps to successfully hunt sandhill cranes in Texas.
The owner of Coastal Wings Guide Service and Lodge along the Texas coastal prairies said location, concealment and a proper decoy spread are key to hav-ing a good crane hunt.
But achieving all three can be challenging.
Were getting mixed results on our crane hunts right now, Robinson said. Were either heroes or zeroes. When we do nd a good eld holding cranes, they are there for days, but we are putting a lot of miles on our trucks nding them.
Around Christmas, we hammered them.
Robinson said the key to getting cranes to commit to a decoy spread is beating the birds tremendous eyesight.
Ninety percent of the crane hunts we do are with
decoys, he said. We use a bigger spread of 100 to 150 decoys because weve found it takes that many to really hide the hunters. We use lay-out blinds and will typically spend 30 to 45 minutes get-ting set up each morning.
Robinson said he likes to set his decoys up with a tightly bunched wad around the hunters and a more loose spread around the edges. This setup is designed to put the cranes at ease, he said.
Occasionally we will hunt a tree line, he said.
For calling, Robinson prefers to take a normal specklebelly goose call and shave the reed down to produce the right sound.
You dont have to be perfect with your call-ing, he said. Every crane sounds a little bit differ-ently and they arent too picky about calling. Being perfectly still in the blind and well-concealed are the main things.
In North Texas, guide Tony Stan eld of Stan eld Hunting Out tters has had a good season decoying cranes.
We are shooting them at 20 yards and it has been awesome, Stan eld said. We hunt them on morn-ing hunts, and we use a small decoy spread in the grain elds.
The decoys are very ran-dom and we bunch them up and dont use a huge spread like we do for geese.
Stan eld agreed that a cranes best defense is its eyesight.
They see better and you need to hide a lot better, he said. We are using mir-ror blinds a lot, and they are working the best. They are also good to eat.
Crane season runs through Feb. 5 in West and Central Texas, and Jan. 29 along the coast and South Texas.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Departments crane pro-gram leader Corey Mason said populations are strong
across the state right now. Crane numbers have risen in population counts from approximately 350,000 in the mid-1980s to more than 700,000 today.
Texas issues approxi-mately 11,000 crane hunt-ing permits annually.
Cranes are doing well, Mason said. Texas is the catching point for cranes from the midcontinent. We have two distinct populations; one in the Panhandle and the other along the coast.
Mason said hunters who have never shot decoying cranes in Texas are missing out on an exciting hunting opportunity.
They decoy amazingly well if the hunters are well- concealed, he said. It is an incredible experience to have those huge birds com-ing into a decoy spread.
Guide Larry Robinson, (866) 486-8897Guide Tony Stan eld, (940) 658-3172
Geese still good near coast and Plainview area; hit and miss around Knox City
By Conor HarrisonLONE STAR OUTDOOR NEWS
Odessa hunter Ross Smith has hunted waterfowl most of his life.
But that didnt prepare him for what he saw one day in mid-January while hunting geese near Plainview.
It was ridiculous, Smith said. Ive never seen as many birds. The Canadas came in like nothing Ive ever seen. They swarmed the decoys. I had geese trying to land on top of me.
The longest shot we took was 20 yards.
Smith said he was hunting with West Texas Out tters, which normally operates out of the Knox City area.
The guide said the geese had moved out of the normal areas he hunts, and he had some land over near Plainview that he went to scout before our hunt, Smith said. Well, he found them.
Smith said his group shot limits of lesser Canadas and also saw some groups of snow geese and a few greater