Hunters are gearing up for the season, and our TPWD experts outline the prospects for deer, dove and more in this Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine digital extra: Texas Hunting 2014.
Deer | Dove | Waterfowl | Quail | Turkey | Squirrel
Firearm safety | Game meats | Chef recipes
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Photos in the January/February 2015 issue
This Month's Features
State parks embrace measures to protect dark skies at night.
By Rob McCorkle
There’s a meteoric movement in Texas to hit the dimmer switch on manmade illumination that obscures night skies across much of our state.
Texas state parks remain among the few public places where the starry heavens can still be viewed in all their glory with minimal intrusion of artificial light. An ambitious dark skies initiative launched a couple of years ago has begun to bear stellar fruit.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department finds itself in the vanguard of the nascent dark skies movement that has its origins in Arizona, home of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), which has been promoting night sky conservation and environmentally responsible outdoor lighting since 1988.
Pest-eating fliers face an uncertain future.
By Amy Price
Most of us have seen bats silhouetted against night skies over backyards and fields, winging through the “Friday night lights” of football stadiums, etched in moonlight during a meteor shower over Palo Duro Canyon State Park or steadily climbing like smoke during a sunset emergence. Though we may recognize the iconic dips and spins of bats in flight, much of the magic of bats is a mystery to even the biggest fans of Texas wildlife.
Bats are one of the most ecologically and economically important wildlife species worldwide, but also one of the most threatened. In the United States, almost half of the 47 bat species are listed as endangered, threatened or sensitive at a federal or state level. In Texas, 23 bat species are listed as “species of greatest conservation need” in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Texas Conservation Action Plan.
Texas has lost most of its prairie, but pockets of grassland are preserving diversity.
By Russell A. Graves
Less than 24 hours ago, rain fell on the prairie. A spring thunderstorm, spawned just a few miles southeast of here, rumbled its way toward Oklahoma. Along the way the storm dropped about 2 inches of rain on the patchwork of prairie, wooded draws and cultivated farmland in western Lamar County.
Tridens Prairie isn’t necessarily all that pretty by conventional measures. To the untrained eye, it looks like a tangle of weeds or an old farm field that’s been left fallow. The beauty of this place, however, is in the diversity of plants that populate the 97-acre patch of ground that’s never been turned over by a plow. In all, more than 170 species of plants are documented as growing on this unassuming piece of prairie..