Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

May 31, 2013

shark finning

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:20 am

Ban on shark “finning” stifled in Senate

By MICHAEL BRICK, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A proposal to crack down on the slaughter of sharks for their fins has stalled in the last stages of the Texas Legislature.

After encountering opposition on the floor of the Texas Senate Monday, Democratic Sen. Juan Hinojosa of McAllen withdrew his proposal. It had already cleared the House.

Asian restaurants in many parts of the world, including big cities in Texas, legally serve shark fin soup as a delicacy. The fins can command $700 a pound.

The bill sought to make a state crime of participating in the practice known as finning. Poachers slice off the fins and dump the carcasses in the water to avoid fishing limits.

Republican Sen. Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay said the bill would unfairly target only smugglers who work within the state.

May 30, 2013

Safety Warning –

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:19 am

You should never attempt to

crank a chain saw

without safety glasses or gloves.

++++

chain saw

May 29, 2013

On The Bright Side – Mary Howell – May 29,2013

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:39 am

My friends and I who make our home at Hemphill Care Center are proud to congratulate Administrator Pat Bradberry and staff for making it possible for Hemphill Care Center to be named the “Facility of the Year 2012”.

The owner’s BJ Bergeron and Louis Nicholson presented the award after a cookout on May 15th. Appreciation was expressed to the loyal employees who were honored with a bonus for taking care of the Hemphill Care Center residents.

On Friday May 10th a Mother’s Day party was hosted by the VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post #10351. Each mother was given a small gift. Corsages were given to Artie Rash for being the oldest mother, Margaret Beadle for being the youngest, and Bobbie Garrett for having the most children.

In honor of Sports Week our kitchen staff served us a ballpark lunch Monday May 13th. We were delighted to have hotdogs, chips, cold drinks, and ice-cream cones. We enjoyed getting to have junk food as our special treat for the day.

On May 6th Beverly, Don, and friends from Lakes Area Hospice entertained us with hand-clapping and toe-tapping music selections that we all loved.

Throughout May we were blessed with gospel singing and worship services sponsored by the following churches: Bethel Chapel Baptist Church, Hemphill Church of Christ, Community Fellowship Church, Hemphill First Baptist Church, Fairdale Baptist Church, Parkway Baptist Church, Bethany Baptist Church, and the Harvest Assembly of God Church. We also enjoyed Thursday afternoon Bible studies with Brandi from Harbor Hospice.

On Saturday May 18th John Napier and Quincy Martindale led us in a gospel sing-along which brightened our day.

We say thank you to our May bingo sponsors: Brother G from Heart to Heart Hospice, Kelli from East Texas Home Health, Hemphill Church of Christ, Carletta from Consolidated Healthcare Services, Janet from Texas Home Health, and Parkway Baptist Church. Thanks to Melissa we have learned to play a new game called Domino Bingo which is lively and more competitive than regular Bingo.

We appreciate the Hemphill Garden Club for presenting us with blue ribbons for our butterfly decorations which were displayed during the Garden Club’s flower show.

Congratulations to Volunteer of the Month Cindy Collier, Resident of the Month Ricky Page, and Employees of the Month Vanessa Thompson and Molly Dickerson.

Our sympathy goes to the family and friends of Baker Tiner, Betty Speights, Billy Lewis, and Jerry Fields in the loss of their loved ones.

The May birthday party was hosted by Harbor Hospice honoring Virginia Duke, Edgar Smith, Lois Claborn, and Juanell Beckham.  

Depending on the weather some of our residents will go on a fishing trip today at Magnolia Ridge Park near Dam B. It will be fun to see who has the biggest catch of the day.

We are looking forward to the Annual Fish Fry sponsored by our friends from Fairdale Baptist Church. Bro. Bo Owens welcomes residents and their families to come to the fish fry Friday at 5pm.

I express my personal appreciation to Clara Murphy, Karen Underwood, and Nici Miller for faithfully taking dictation to make “On the Bright Side” possible for my readers to enjoy. May God bless all my friends who read “On the Bright Side” each week.    

 

May 28, 2013

Zebra Mussels – a real threat to our lakes

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 5:58 am

“Clean, Drain and Dry” Regimen Bad News for Zebra Mussels

AUSTIN — Nothing ruins a zebra mussel’s day more than a boater who Cleans, Drains and Dries his boat to prevent the spread of this small but devastating aquatic invasive species.

With thousands of Texans planning to head to their favorite lakes this Memorial Day weekend, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is urging boaters and anglers to follow the simple Clean, Drain and Dry procedure to keep zebra mussels from further expansion in the state.

“Now that water temperatures are getting warmer, zebra mussels are approaching their peak period of reproduction,” explains Brian Van Zee, TPWD Inland Fisheries Regional Director. “The best way to stop zebra mussels is for boaters who operate their vessels on Lakes Texoma, Lewisville or Ray Roberts, to Clean, Drain and Dry their boats before launching into another body of water.”

zebra_mussels

Zebra mussels became established in Lake Texoma in 2009 and last year were found in Lake Ray Roberts and the Elm Fork of the Trinity River above Lake Lewisville.  They can expand their range farther by hitching a ride on boats and trailers that have been immersed in waters where they have established populations.

“Unfortunately, zebra mussel larvae, called veligers, are not visible to the naked eye,” said Van Zee.  “You could be transporting them on your boat and not even know it.  This is why it’s particularly important to always Clean, Drain, and Dry your boat and gear before heading to another water body.”

Native to the former Soviet Union, zebra mussels made their way to the United States via the exchange of ballast water from ocean-going vessels passing through the St. Lawrence Seaway to ports on the Great Lakes. Since then, the rapidly propagating bivalves have been spreading throughout the U.S.

Zebra mussels can survive in many different aquatic habitats, reproduce prolifically, and cannot be controlled by natural predators.  Zebra mussels attach to hard surfaces including boats, water-intake pipes, buoys, docks, piers, plants and slow moving animals such as native clams, crayfish, and turtles.  Their sharp shells can hinder water recreation and foul shorelines.  Zebra mussels can even affect a city’s water supply, costing millions of taxpayer dollars to maintain and repair those systems.

zebra_mussels1(a plastic lawn chair pulled from a lake was covered with mussels)

Of immediate concern, Van Zee said, are North Texas lakes such as Lavon, Ray Hubbard, Grapevine, Eagle Mountain, Joe Pool, Possum Kingdom, Granbury, Richland Chambers, Cedar Creek, Tawakoni, Lake Fork and others. These lakes are on major river systems in North Texas and they are heavily used by recreational boaters.

Once Zebra Mussels become established in a water body it is too late, as there is no known way to get rid of them.

zebra_mussels2( a crawfish will die as result zebra mussels to its body)

TPWD along with a coalition of partners including the North Texas Municipal Water District, Tarrant Regional Water District, Trinity River Authority, City of Dallas, City of Grapevine, City of Houston, City of Waco, Sabine River Authority, San Jacinto River Authority, Brazos River Authority, Upper Trinity Regional Water District, Canadian River Municipal Water Authority, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Geological Survey and the University of Texas at Arlington continue working together to monitor for zebra mussels as well as educate the public about the need to “Clean, Drain and Dry” their boats.

Under the TPWD and Texas Penal Codes, possession or transporting of zebra mussels in Texas is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 for the first offense. Repeat offenses can be elevated to a Class B misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, jail time up to 180 days, or both.  If an individual is convicted a third time for this same offense it becomes a Class A misdemeanor which is a fine of up to $4,000, jail time not to exceed one year, or both.

For more information on zebra mussels see a new zebra mussel web page at http://www.texasinvasives.org/zebramussels

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 (watch this Texas Parks and Wildlife Video)

May 27, 2013

This is great.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Freddie Keel @ 6:04 am

 Not many people know that Willie was from Austin and his mother ran a beer joint and pool parlor there. He started out as a lead guitarist for lots of popular people before he became popular himself.

 Look at the pompadour on top of his head, and the duck tail hair style. 
Notice the audience with all of the hand fans going. This was before air conditioning. 
The songs he is singing here are a combination of the ones he wrote for famous people before he became a noted singer himself.
 Willie Nelson Before Life Hit Him Between The Eyes
 THIS IS GOOD—  It’s hard to believe that Willie Nelson ever looked this way..
willie_nelson_1965
Willie 1965
++++
willie_nelson_2013

Willie 2013

+++

Click bottom right icon for full screen

esc to return

May 26, 2013

“THE FIRE TOWERS” BY: NEAL MURPHY

Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 6:26 am

 

 

 

Teenagers growing up in East Texas during the 1940s and 1950s were accustomed to being surrounded by towering pine trees, and sturdy oaks.  I was one of those kids being reared in about the deepest part of East Texas. In the pre-television days of the late 1940s, we kids had to invent our own activities to keep our minds occupied.  Some of them were good, and some were not so good.  Among the latter was climbing the metal fire tower located just west of San Augustine.

The U.S. Forest Service built a fire lookout tower probably during the 1930s just off Highway 21 west on what is now CR280.  The tower was located approximately 150 yards back in the woods.  Of course it was a dangerous thing to do, but it was great fun and a daring feat to trespass on the property to climb up the tower as high as one’s nerves would allow.  I recall a few females trying their climbing ability, but mostly it was the hairy-legged teen boys showing off for their dates.

Another fire tower was located just south of Red Hills Lake in Sabine County on Highway 87.  Whenever a group of teens made the trek to “Milam Lake” they usually capped off the swimming trip with a try at climbing that tower as well.  I do not recall anyone falling or otherwise injuring themselves during this activity.

A recent drive down CR280 shows no evidence that a fire tower ever existed, having been torn down years ago.  That is a shame as these fire towers served a significant service to our country.  The same is true of the tower that used to stand south of Red Hills Lake.  The towers have an interesting background, having been built out of necessity.

The obvious purpose of a fire tower was for a watchman to scan the forest for any sign of smoke indicating a forest fire.  They were constructed of either wood, or steel, with a small 10’ by 10’ building on top of the tower.  These towers gained popularity in early 1900s.  Fires were originally reported by use of carrier pigeons.  Later two-way radios were used, then telephones, or heliographs came into use as technology improved.  By 1911 fire towers were being built on the top of mountains.

In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt formed the “Civilian Conservation Corps” which put the men of our county to work building many things in our communities.  The CCC built over 250 lookout towers between 1933 and 1942.  So, the golden era of these towers was between 1930 and 1950.  In 1942 an additional task was assigned to the watchmen in the towers.  That was using trained enemy aircraft spotters, prompted by our entry into WWII.

The use of and need for fire towers began to decrease and decline in the years between 1960 and 1990.  Modern technology – aircraft, powerful radios, radar, and even satellites, made the towers outdated and of little use.

Thus, they began to disappear from our forests one by one, unnoticed by most people.

It is interesting to note that Idaho had the most towers, 987.  Kansas was the only state that never had a fire tower.  The tallest fire tower in the United States was the Woodworth Tower in Alexandria, La. at 175 feet. The highest tower in the world was the Fairview Peak near Gunnison, Colorado at 13,214 feet, which was actually on top of a mountain.

In 1911 a U.S. Forest Service employee by the name of William B. Osborne, Jr. invented the “Osborne Firefinder”.  This instrument measured the distance to and location of a fire by use of his invention.  Improved versions of this device are still used in certain parts of the country to this day.

So the two fire towers that we used to climb on no longer exist.  They are just a memory, enhanced by a couple of snapshots in an album which prove their existence in a bygone era.

“THE  FIRE TOWER”

 

BY:  NEAL MURPHY

P.O. Box 511

107 Hemlock Street

San Augustine, TX 75972

936-275-9033

cell: 936-275-6986

Email: sugarbear@netdot.com

May 25, 2013

This Raccoon needs a saddle

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting,Game Camera — Freddie Keel @ 6:33 am

hog_coon

Game Camera photo

May 24, 2013

monster alligator

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:16 am

gator_051513

Public Hunter Bags New Texas State Record Alligator

AUSTIN – A young hunter who grew up with a fascination about dinosaurs and a dream of hunting what some call “living dinosaurs” has harvested the largest alligator ever certified in Texas. Braxton Bielski, an 18-year-old high school senior on his first alligator hunt, bagged the behemoth 800-pound, 14-foot, 3-inch gator during a recent public hunt on the James E. Daughtrey Wildlife Management Area.

Braxton and his father, Troy Bielski, were among 481 applicants vying for 10 alligator permits issued through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s public hunting program for a five-day hunt at the Daughtrey WMA.

“He’s wanted to hunt alligators for years,” said Troy, a Houston police officer who has applied annually to TPWD’s special drawing hunts for the chance to fulfill his son’s dream. “We got selected one year to go on a youth hunt at the J.D. Murphree WMA, but I didn’t get the permit in on time. I remember Brax was very disappointed. This is the first year we’ve had to enter him as an adult and we got drawn.”

The coveted permit provides the only opportunity to hunt and harvest an alligator on Choke Canyon Reservoir, situated within the Daughtrey WMA boundary.

Each year, TPWD’s public hunting program provides access to some of the state’s high-quality managed wildlife habitat to about 5,500 hunters selected through random computer drawings. Wildlife management areas, state parks and leased private property are available for these supervised hunts for a variety of game, including: white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn, javelina, alligator, exotics, feral hog and spring turkey.

Through an application process, hunters select from 29 different hunt categories, including eight specifically for youth only, and choose a preferred hunt date and location from hunt areas stretching across the state. There’s even a provision for hunting buddies to apply as a group — in some cases up to four hunters can apply together on one application.

This season TPWD processed 998 applications for 2,340 hopeful applicants in the alligator hunt category. The department offered 165 permits to go alligator hunting on five WMAs (Angelina Neches/Dam B, James Daughtrey, Guadalupe Delta, Mad Island, and J.D. Murphree).

Because alligator hunting in Texas is conservatively managed, most hunters selected for these public hunts are first-timers and many have never seen an alligator in the wild. For that reason, TPWD biologists go through an intensive orientation process and provide greater guidance than they would for more common hunts, like for deer or waterfowl.

“We went through a two-hour orientation and it was very thorough,” Braxton recalled. “My dad did a lot of research online about alligator hunting and we asked a lot of questions.”

Troy said he knew some about the area they would be hunting, having done some bass fishing on Choke Canyon years ago, but with current low water levels, the landscape was completely different from what he remembered.

“We spent a lot of time scouting some of the pastures in the compartment we were assigned, looking for likely spots to set our lines,” said Troy.

At one point, the pair observed what they believed to be a large gator in a cove and decided to place their baited lines nearby.

“We didn’t pressure it, but while we were putting up our cane poles we could see it watching us 30 yards away,” said Braxton.

Choke Canyon has a reputation for holding some big old gators. Unlike the alligator populations along their core range in southeast Texas, these creatures are left alone to live to a ripe old age. A 14-footer is estimated to be between 30-50 years old, according to TPWD alligator program leader Amos Cooper.

“Choke Canyon has a larger size class than other areas because they have just began to hunt the area,” said Cooper. “A large alligator in Choke Canyon is not unusual but expected. You won’t see a lot of alligators on Choke Canyon but the alligators that you do see are relatively large.”

In the five years TPWD has hunted gators on the Daughtrey WMA, several huge specimens have been harvested, including two in 2011 measuring over 13-feet and another in that size class last year.

Living in Fort Bend County, Troy and his son routinely saw alligators while jogging but being able to judge their size was tough. “I had no idea,” he noted. “The WMA staff did a really good job of explaining what we needed to do. We knew this gator was big and wanted to be sure we set the bait high enough out of the water.”

Braxton chose one of the lines as his set; the other would be his dad’s. When the two hunters returned the next morning, they realized they had their work cut out as both lines were down indicating they had two alligators hooked. A hook and line set baited with raw meat is used to catch the alligator; only after it has been hooked can a gator be dispatched at close range with a firearm.

They weren’t the only ones having a successful first day. All the hunters participating in the hunt had landed gators, which proved equally challenging for the WMA staff.

“We only have 5-10 hunters out during these drawn hunts and most of them are new to alligator hunting so I try to stay in close touch with them,” said Daughtrey WMA area manager Chris Mostyn. “I tell them to have a strategy in place because they may have to haul a big one out. Turns out we had four gators taken that morning; it was wild. The Bielskis did a good job.”

Troy’s gator turned out to be a huge female measuring 10 ½ feet long, which, as it turned out was dwarfed by his son’s catch.

“If we had just caught the one, I would have been happy for Brax,” said Troy. “He’s the reason I was there.”

gator_051513a

May 23, 2013

Bet the Lake Livingston Property Owners are not happy

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:28 am

SJRA taps into Trinity

 

With the approval of a 15-year option agreement, the San Jacinto River Authority has taken the first step to securing an alternate water source for Montgomery County.

The SJRA board voted Thursday to enter into a contract with the Trinity River Authority for the purchase of up to 50,000 acre-feet per year of water from Lake Livingston. The agreement gives the SJRA 15 years to finalize a water supply contract and complete other steps necessary to transfer water from Lake Livingston into Lake Conroe.

The 50,000 acre-feet is half of Lake Conroe’s annual yield of 100,000 acre-feet.

While a number of steps remain, SJRA board President Lloyd Tisdale calls the agreement an “important milestone” for the county.

“This agreement secures additional water for the future of Montgomery County and ensures that our water supplies can keep up with the extraordinary economic and population growth that we’re experiencing,” he stated.

The TRA board is expected to approve the proposed agreement April 24.

For years, local officials have examined various methods to increase Montgomery County’s surface water capacity. Suggestions have included creation of a second reservoir, but tapping into Trinity River Basin has long been an option.

The agreement gives SJRA the first right of refusal for the water, which requires an annual option fee equal to 5 percent of TRA’s approved raw water rate of $95 per acre-feet. That equates to $237,500 per year for the 50,000 acre-feet.

The annual option will be paid by the utilities participating in the SJRA’s Groundwater Reduction Plan.

“We need to understand that this is the first step of a long journey,” Conroe Mayor Webb Melder said.

When the SJRA decides to secure the water rights from TRA, the annual fee increases to approximately $1.5 million. The fee increases to $4.5 million a year once usage begins, SJRA General Manager Jace Houston said.

But that is well into the future.

“We’re staying well ahead of the curve, but we’ve got to be patient,” he said. “We don’t want to start such a project too soon. We’ll need to monitor the population growth over the next decade.”

The SJRA and the TRA will need to coordinate the arrival of Trinity River water into Montgomery County as the existing water rights in Lake Conroe won’t be utilized for several decades. As part of its GRP, the SJRA is constructing a surface water treatment plant on Lake Conroe and installing approximately 50 miles of pipeline to reduce the county’s dependence on groundwater starting Jan. 1, 2016.

A preliminary cost estimate of installing a pipeline that carries water the 30 miles between the two reservoirs is $300 million, Houston said.

Another major step facing the SJRA is obtaining the necessary approvals for an interbasin transfer of water from the Trinity River to Lake Conroe.

The permitting process could take five to 10 years and $500,000 in legal fees, Houston said.

“There are still a lot of decisions to be made,” he said. “But this enables us to look 50 to 100 years into the future and have confidence that we’re maximizing Montgomery County’s water supply options.”

May 22, 2013

On The Bright Side – Mary Howell – May 22, 2013

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:18 am

This week’s On The Bright Side is in honor of Memorial Day which is a day when we Americans honor those who have forfeited their lives for our country.

 

Memorial Day also reminds us to honor those who have faithfully served in the military.  Ceremonies are held across American to give tribute to living and deceased service men and women.

 

One of the most famous ceremonies is held at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier.  The guard is changed every hour on the hour in an elaborate ritual.  The ceremony begins when a sentinel announces the beginning of the ceremony and asks everyone to stand and remain silent.  A detailed inspection of the weapon is carried out. The Tomb guard marches 21 steps down a black mat behind the Tomb, turns faces east for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process.  This process signifies that the sentinel stands between the tomb and any possible threats.  Twenty-one was chosen because it symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed – the 21 gun salute.

 

The Guards of Honor are highly trained and highly motivated and are proud to honor American soldiers who are “known only to God”.

 

Like the guards at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Americans should show their loyalty to their country and God.  If we were as faithful in our loyalty to God as the guards are to our country, America would be a better place to live and we would enjoy a life on the bright side.

 

 

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