TPW TV – Dundee Fish Hatchery Reopens

January 20th, 2017
Aerial view of Dundee Freshwater Fish Hatchery .

Aerial view of Dundee Freshwater Fish Hatchery .

This is Passport to Texas

The Dundee Fish Hatchery, Texas’ largest, suspended operations in 2011.

Yep. We had a big hiccup in production due to water supply. It was a very big drought in 2011, so we discontinued production here just because we didn’t have availability to water.

The hatchery produces striped bass, hybrid striped bass and catfish. Inland Fisheries Hatchery Program Manager, Carl Kittel, says the shutdown continued through 2015.

All of our hatcheries operate off water right that can be cut off. So we were without water and didn’t operate. Last spring there was plenty of rain—the water levels in the lakes came up—so we began operations.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Television Series on PBS features the challenges of bringing the Dundee Hatchery back online after a four year hiatus.

Starting up is a bit of a process. Personnel have to be reallocated and then hired and trained to do their job. Equipment has to be started and repaired and all those things take a little bit of gearing up to get going full speed.

Getting it back online benefits freshwater fishing in Texas.

The Dundee hatchery is a big part of the inland fish hatchery program. And we can produce more fish and better support fisheries when this hatchery is operating.

Catch the segment on the hatchery on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV Series on PBS the week of January 22. The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

A Novice Hunter has Success in the Field

January 19th, 2017

Ralston Dorn [left] and a fellow workshop attendee [right] discuss Dorn's success in the field. He shot his first deer (a doe) during a mentored deer hunt for adult novices, at inks Lake State Park.

Ralston Dorn [left] and a fellow workshop attendee [right] discuss Dorn’s success in the field. He shot his first deer (a doe) during a mentored deer hunt for adult novices, at Inks Lake State Park.

This is Passport to Texas

Armed with his father’s vintage Weatherby 2506 hunting rifle, Dallas paramedic, Ralston Dorn, climbed into the idling pickup that would take him and his mentor to a blind at Inks Lake State Park, where they would wait and watch, and hope for a chance to harvest a deer.

We got there at 6 a.m. when it was dark. It was quiet. You got to watch the sun rise. The birds come in. The feeder went off at seven, and then five or ten minutes later, my guide ironically said: ‘Alright deer, come on out’ just as a joke. And sure enough, about five minutes later two doe popped out.

Under the direction of his mentor, Justin Dreibelbis, Ralston brought the rifle to his shoulder, and put the deer in his scope.

You know, my adrenaline’s flowing. And then he’s looking through his binoculars and I’m looking through the scope. And he’s telling me—alright–doe on the right is good to shoot. Alright, doe on the left is not good to shoot. Then it got to a point where the one on the left became the good one to shoot. My heart was racing. I did have to try and control my breathing. And so I took the shot. I just kind of let the trigger surprise me. And it went off and it was exactly where I was aiming. So it was a good shot. She ended up expiring about 20 yards from the blind. We waited for about 15 minutes in the blind, and then went to the point of impact.

Ralston Dorn shot his first deer during a new mentored deer hunt program for adult novices. Additional mentored hunts are in development.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Ralston Dorn Revives a Family Tradition

January 18th, 2017
Ralston Dorn at butchery demo by Chef Jesse Griffiths, Inks Lake State Park.

Ralston Dorn looks on as  Chef Jesse Griffiths demonstrates how to break down a deer during the Mentored Deer Hunt for Adult Novices at Inks lake State Park.

This is Passport to Texas

I met Ralston Dorn the week before Christmas at Inks Lake State Park, during the first of its kind mentored deer hunt for adult novices.

I come from a family of hunters—on my mom’s side. They all hunt. And my dad hunted when I was younger. But, I myself, have never been deer hunting, so I wanted to learn how to do it.

Ralston, whose middle name is “Hunter” is a paramedic from Dallas.

The first day of the program taught us a lot of what we needed to know in preparation for the hunt. What kinds of shots to take. What kinds of shots not to take. Ways to load and unload the rifle and carry it. How to be safe….

Ethics and proper care in the field were also covered. Ralston brought a family heirloom to use on his hunt.

My father’s Weatherby 2506 that he used to deer hunt with when I was a little kid. When I was about 10 years old, he quit deer hunting, and hasn’t hunt in probably 21 years. And so that gun probably hasn’t been fired in 20 years [chuckles]. So, it was nice to keep the tradition going on in my family with that firearm.

Tomorrow, find out if Ralston’s father’s vintage rifle, combined with the knowledge and skills he learned during the mentored hunt workshop brought him luck in the field.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series…as well as hunting and the shooting sports in Texas.

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

Mentored Deer Hunt for Adult Novices

January 17th, 2017
Workshop organizer, Chris Hall, and workshop attendee, Ralston Dorn.

Workshop organizer, Chris Hall, and workshop attendee, Ralston Dorn.

This is Passport to Texas

The week before Christmas, five men and two women—myself included—met at Inks Lake State Park in Burnet for the first of its kind mentored hunt for adult novices. Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Justine Dreibelbis was an organizer.

Chris and I are both really excited to have a program that allows them to get that knowledge and come out here—and feel comfortable asking questions, so they can learn how to do it. Now they can go take their kids, and hunt with their friends and family and enjoy the outdoors.

Chris Hall is lead ranger and hunt coordinator at Inks lake state park.

We set out to allow an opportunity and an experience for individuals later in life who have not had the opportunity to hunt or to enjoy the experience of the outdoors in that capacity. And, to give a total turn-key experience—start to finish—of ethics, proper care and maintenance. As well as the hunting experience, itself.

Hunter Ed Coordinator, Steve Hall took us to a shooting range at a nearby ranch where we learned safe firearm use. We shot balloons and paper targets until we got it right.

Now, with the deer tomorrow, though, the first shot is the one that you want to count. You try to do any sighting in or practice right before the hunt, because then you get out all the ‘ooga boogas’ out that you can on the range. So that when tomorrow morning shows up—the shot counts.

Tomorrow—hunters put their newfound skills to the test.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Improvements at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

January 16th, 2017
Enjoying the amenities at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

Enjoying the amenities at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

This is Passport to Texas

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, one of the crown jewels in the Texas State Park system, just got a little polish.

If you haven’t been to Palo Duro in a while, consider getting out there to see what’s new. Because—like all Texas state parks—it’s getting better all the time.

Last fall, Texas Parks and Wildlife unveiled comfort and safety improvements at the park, made possible through a joint effort with the Texas Department of Transportation.

The more than 27-thousand acre park got a new camping loop with some sweet amenities, as well as a series of bridges constructed to provide safe passage across flash-flooding hazards on some of the park’s roadways.

The new Juniper camp loop features 20 rebuilt campsites, a group camp area, an indoor group hall and comfort stations with bathrooms and showers.

In addition, six bridges were constructed over water crossings on Palo Duro Canyon’s main roadway to enhance park visitor safety by providing access to higher ground areas of the park during flash flooding events.

Palo Duro Canyon State park offers camping, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, and equestrian trails. And for lovers of musical theater, there’s the summer production of the musical Texas!

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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