We kick things off this week by checking in with RMEF Texas State Director Michael Gookins. Founded in 1984 the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has been instrumental in conserving over 6.5 million acres of elk habitat, increasing public land access and introducing our youth into various hunting programs. Michael and I discuss our upcoming elk hunts as well as what RMEF Texas has coming up on the calendar. With 15 chapters and over 8,000 Texas members, RMEF Texas is an organization worth being a part of. (The RMEF currently has over 200,000 members nationwide).
Next, our old friend Brian Davenport of Fin and Fowl Outfitters jumps on to discuss how the current habitat conditions will shape the upcoming Early Teal season along the Texas coast. September is a great time to head to the South Texas coastal rice fields for sporty wingshooting since over half of our continental population of 7.5 million blue wing teal end up on the Texas coast. Brian also happens to target another species that calls those same marshes home- the American alligator is thriving along the coast. With over 15 years experience chasing big gators, Brian tells us how he finds them and what method he uses to put hunters on big Texas gators.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Assistant Commander Brandi Reeder (Director of Fishing Law Administration) joins us next to tackle the unpleasant reality of cheating in fishing tournaments. It amazes me every time I hear of an angler getting caught cheating his fellow outdoorsmen/women out of prize money, prestige and even career opportunity. Texas has implemented some seriously harsh laws to deter would be cheaters but desperate anglers still get caught. Brandi talks about some of the crazy things she’s seen over the years from anglers smashing a redfish’s nose repeatedly to make sure it fell under the slot to ice cubes being shoved down a fish’s gullet to add weight at the weigh in. (This fish was seized by wildlife officials after an angler cut it’s tail to shorten the overall length).
We round out the show by taking a look at the introduction of feral hogs in Texas. When did they arrive? Who brought them here? Where did they first establish wild populations? Retired Texas Parks and Wildlife Biologist Rick Taylor is responsible for publishing one of the most comprehensive reports on feral hogs and their history that I’ve read. It’s going to be a treat to pick his brain on this loved and often hated species. One thing is for sure, feral hogs are only expanding their range and increasing their numbers- so get used to it if you haven’t already.