Conservation: Texas Tobusch Fishhook Cactus

April 25th, 2014

Tobusch Fishhook Cactus

Tobusch Fishhook Cactus



This is Passport to Texas

Sometimes the best course of action is no action at all. At least that’s the stance Texas Parks and Wildlife botanist, Jackie Poole, takes when it comes to the endangered Tobusch Fishhook Cactus and the insect grubs that eat it.

09— And that’s a real problem, because one of these insects is only known to lay its eggs in Tobusch Fishhook Cactus; so, it’s basically as rare as the cactus.

Jackie says in the case of the Tobusch cactus – and its nemesis the Tobusch weevil – the best botanists can do is observe.

28—We’ve just been studying it for the last 10 or 15 years to see if there’s some kind of cyclical nature to this predator/prey relationship—where you have a big prey population buildup, like a lot of Tobusch fishhook cactus are out there, and then all of a sudden the insect population starts to boom because it has so many cactus to lay its eggs in. And then the cactus goes away and then it crashes, and then you just go through this cycle back and forth.

Other variables could also come into play to explain these fluctuations, making a hasty solution no solution at all. Patience is necessary.

13—That’s right. And that’s the main thing I think with endangered species. I often tell people to just to take a deep breath, because you just need to sit back and think about it and look at it and not think that the sky is falling.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and funds diverse conservation projects in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunting/Food: Hunting and Eating Rabbit

April 24th, 2014

Andy's Mother in Law's Gumbo Recipe.

Andy’s Mother in Law’s Gumbo Recipe. Substitute rabbit for the chicken; if you don’t have venison sausage, any good smoked sausage will do.



This is Passport to Texas

Andy Gluesenkamp calls rabbit the third white meat.

04—Rabbit really is all white meat; it’s like a cross between pork and chicken. It’s very, very lean; there’s very little fat in the meat, itself.

A herpetologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, Andy has hunted and eaten rabbit since he was a boy.

07—I grew up eating curried rabbit that my mom made. And no one makes better curried rabbit than my mom.

A self-professed “good cook,” Andy Gluesenkamp likes to prepare rabbit he’s harvested. Preparation, he says, begins with properly field dressing the animal, which, he adds, is “easy to clean.” Rabbit is a versatile and healthy protein that lends itself to a variety of cooking styles.

18— I think my buttermilk fried rabbit is pretty good. I also make rabbit gumbo, based on my mother-in-law’s gumbo recipe; and that is exceptional. I’ve also done rabbit pot pie, and Teriyaki rabbit, and grilled rabbit, and poached rabbit. It’s really hard to mess up rabbit.

Find Andy’s recipe for Rabbit Gumbo at passporttotexas.org. It’s no curried rabbit, but it’s still tasty.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series and is funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunting: Hunting Around the Edges

April 23rd, 2014

Andy Gluesenkamp's son, Jack, with a rabbit harvest.

Andy Gluesenkamp’s son, Jack, with a rabbit harvest.



This is Passport to Texas

Expect success nearly every outing when rabbit hunting—especially when you hunt around the edges.

04—[Those are] Areas where people aren’t necessarily going to be conducting other activities.

Andy Gluesenkamp, a herpetologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, and an avid rabbit hunter, says hunting rabbits provides a “walk in the woods” experience. But what about those edges?

21—You would look for fence lines along fallow fields, or old pasture, or berry patches and cactus patches… So, there’s less competition with other land use – like cattle grazing. Rabbit hunting usually won’t disturb cattle. Or, you’re not going to be competing with deer hunters who are going to be in another kind of habitat.

Ask landowners about hunting their property, or consider hunting on Texas Parks and Wildlife’s public lands. Hunt rabbits year-round; however, the cooler months have their advantages.

14—It’s pleasant – getting back to that walking in the woods experience – also in summertime when it’s really dry, they can be a lot leaner. I prefer to eat them when they have a little bit of fat on them. If there’s green grass on the ground – that’s the perfect time
to go rabbit hunting.

Rabbit as a tasty treat. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series and is funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunting: Rabbits

April 22nd, 2014

Rabbit photo courtesy TPWD

Rabbit photo courtesy TPWD



This is Passport to Texas

When most people think of hunting, they think: deer, dove, duck and feral hogs. But, TPW herpetologist, Andy Gluesenkamp, isn’t most people.

04—I hunt primarily rabbits; rabbit hunting is really near and dear to my heart.

Andy’s love affair with rabbit hunting started when he was a boy spending time in the field alongside his father.

15—I have really fond memories of hunting rabbits with my dad. So, I can say I think it’s the best way to start kids on hunting,
because I can look at my personal experience and tie my love of nature all the way back to those early experiences.

Hunting for small game like rabbit has its own rhythm.

12—Rabbit hunting is the perfect balance between the abject boredom that goes with sitting in a deer blind, and maybe or maybe not seeing a deer, and maybe or maybe not getting to shoot at it, and the battle zone, front line, fire fest that can be a good day
of dove hunting. So, somewhere between being bored out of your socks and sounding like you’re in an air raid is rabbit hunting.

Andy Gluesenkamp says it’s like a walk in the woods interspersed with the excitement of sighting your prey and taking a good shot. More on rabbit hunting tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and is funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Event: San Jacinto Day Celebration

April 21st, 2014

Battle of San Jacinto

Battle of San Jacinto



This is Passport to Texas

One of the best historic reenactments in Texas commemorates the April 21, 1836 Battle of San Jacinto.

03— That’s the highlight of our educational program.

Larry Spasic (SPA-sick) is president of the San Jacinto Museum of History. The FREE annual San Jacinto Day Festival, April 26, commemorates that game-changing battle.

28—We reenact the surrender of General Santa Ana, the runaway scrape in 1836 when Texan settlers were running away from the advance of the Mexican army. And then they also reenact the battle. There is a Mexican camp and a Texian camp; inside of those camps you have reenactors in period uniforms who are very familiar with history – answering questions in character. It’s the
closest thing you can get to going back in time.

The reenactment isn’t the only fun to be had that day.

25—We bring in naturalists, historical organizations…we have a show of native birds of Texas. Medicine men. We have petting zoos. We have musicians. We have people quilting and spinning, and we even have square dancers. We have a children’s area; and we have make and take crafts. It is a wonderful safe, educational, free family event.

You will find information for the April 26 San Jacinto Day Festival on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.