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Hunting, Fishing Prizes Offered | Ocelot Recovery Plan | San Antonio River Festival | Valley Birding

Win Your Dream Year Outdoors

One lucky TPWD hunting or fishing license buyer is going to get more than the usual number of satisfying outdoor experiences this year. License holders can enter a special online contest to win the prize package of every nature-loving Texan’s dreams: a year of amazing outdoor adventures, top-of-the-line gear and more.

Only Texas residents with an annual or lifetime license are eligible to enter the drawing for the grand prize package that includes a guided hunting trip, three guided fishing trips, $2,000 in Cabela’s gift cards and gear, a Franchi 12-gauge shotgun, some lodging at La Quinta Inns and Suites and a 2017-18 season Super Combo License.

The winner and his/her guest will join a TPWD fisheries team in kayaks on the pristine Devils River and TPWD coastal fisheries biologists on an offshore research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. But that’s just the start! The prize also includes one guided dove hunt and three fishing adventures, including a bass trip with Cabela’s TV outdoor show hosts (televised nationally), a trophy blue catfish outing on famed Lake Tawakoni and a guided saltwater fishing excursion on Matagorda Bay.

Enter free online at www.tpwd.texas.gov/DreamYearby Nov. 30.


Recovery Plan Developed for Ocelots

Ocelots, those iconic, elusive wild cats, stalk the South Texas thorn scrub by night. Habitat loss and fragmentation have meant they have increasingly less room to roam. Fewer than 100 ocelots are known to exist in the United States.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a long-term recovery plan to restore and protect the endangered ocelot, in both the U.S. and Mexico.
Ocelots are found primarily in South Texas at two national wildlife refuges and on at least two private ranches. Their range extends through Mexico and South America. Arizona also has a small population.

The landmark plan’s ultimate goal is to increase ocelot numbers, protect and expand their habitat, improve their genetic fitness, reduce the effects of human population growth on their survival and enable them to pass between the U.S. and Mexico.

“The ocelot in Texas is critically endangered and faces a host of complex threats,” says TPWD mammalogist Jonah Evans. “While recovering this species is a daunting task, this plan provides a clear pathway for ocelot recovery. It summarizes what is currently known about ocelot status and identifies the actions necessary to conserve ocelots in Texas and Tamaulipas.”


Rio! Rio! Explores San Antonio River History

The history of the San Antonio River is the star of Rio! Rio! on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Goliad State Park and Historic Site. Demonstrators and re-enactors will help visitors experience what it was like to live along the river during different historical periods.

Volunteer demonstrators will fill the mission compound with hands-on learning stations where craftsmen like blacksmiths, leather workers and candle makers exhibit their skills. There will be an archeology lab, a Texas zoo, Spanish colonial friars and soldiers and more. Try your hand at grinding corn, creating cordage, roping and ranching.

More than 1,000 students from across South Texas will attend a special session on Friday to learn about mission life, the San Antonio River and the natural and cultural resources of the park.


Valley Festival Attracts Birding Enthusiasts

Looking to enjoy the birding riches that Texas offers? There’s no place better than the Valley to see a large variety of birds, including 20-plus species not found anywhere else in the country. The 23rd annual Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival offers five days of field trips, seminars and a trade show Nov. 2-6 in Harlingen.

Visitors say you can’t see it all in one year, and the list of field trips led by professional guides attests to that. The Biking for Birds field trip is for those who like to bird-watch on two wheels. Compete in a fast-paced “big day”-style field trip during which vans of birders try to spot more bird species than the others. Another outing takes attendees to the 760 acres of Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, where a hawk-watch tower provides great views of raptors and the gardens are magnets for butterflies and hummingbirds.

There will be bird-banding demonstrations, a butterfly field trip, a birding workshop for beginners, a “birding by ear” field trip to the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and a trip to South Padre Island with naturalists Scarlet and George Colley. For more information: www.rgvbf.org.

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