, Port Arthur, Texas


July 17, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Wildlife questions intriguing, far-reaching

PORT ARTHUR — Wildlife is super important to residents of Southeast Texas.

    It is a part of our natural heritage and judging by the myriad wildlife questions I get via email and Facebook, many of you have a deep interest in the subject.  

Here are some questions I have been asked recently.

    Q: Is it possible I saw a Mexican gray wolf near Alpine when on a recent hunting trip?

A: It is within the realm of possibility. New Mexico has been a part of the federal captive breeding and release program and although its success has been limited, there are Mexican wolves out there. As we have found out with wolves from Minnesota ending up in Missouri, they sometimes travel long distances so wolves from that area could very well make it to the Trans Pecos.

Interestingly, I did a speaking engagement last year where a veteran trapper told me flat out he saw a Mexican gray wolf while trapping in that general areas last year this man has caught and killed hundreds of coyotes so he knows the difference.

    Q: Pound for pound, what do you think is the meanest animal in Texas?

    A: I would probably have to go with the shrew which is tiny but has to eat its weight each day to survive. They are little ADD killing machines!

A close second would be the mink. Mink are notorious killers of muskrats and chickens in coastal Texas and have been known to wipe out a chicken coop while only biting them in the head and leaving the rest to waste.

    Q: What is the best wildlife television program out there?

A:   There is one show out there I think is amazing. It is called Austin Stevens Adventures.

    You can only view it online because it does not broadcast in America. Full episodes are available on Youtube but they are worth checking out. Austin Stevens is a world-renowned photographer and snake handle and no one and I mean no one has ever done what he has done in the field. Go to Youtube and look up “Austin Stevens King Cobra” and be blown away.

    Q: Are wild turkeys smart or wary?

    A: They are definitely not “smart” like I would consider a mature whitetail or a coyote but they have supersonic hearing and incredible vision so I would call them “wary”.

    Q: Settle this argument please. Which is faster a teal or a canvasback?

A It is not even close. A canvasback can fly up to 72 miles per hour while teal clock in somewhere in the 30s. Their small size and erratic flight pattern create an illusion of supersonic speed.

    Q: Why aren’t there nilgai antelope much further north than Baffin Bay?

    A: I am not sure. I have always heard it was because they cannot tolerate cool temperatures so they only hang in extreme south Texas. There could also be some habitat issue s as well because they aren’t really found very far off the coastal prairie and scrub brush areas. I know some exotic ranches in the Hill Country have nilgai from time to time but those animals are always eat at corn and protein feeders.

    Q: Is it true there are orcas (killer whales) in the Gulf of Mexico?

    A: Yes. A few years back stunning video of a pod of orcas feeding in the Gulf made national news. It is believed there is a small group of them that feeds in Gulf waters periodically.

(To contact Chester email him at You can hear him Fridays on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI from 6-7 p.m. on online at

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  • Chester Moore column: Bank fishing good approach on catfish

     Summer is one of the best times to seek catfish in Southeast Texas and thankfully, for local anglers without a boat, there are catfish in just about every canal, drainage ditch and bayou in the area.
      Fishing from the bank has its disadvantages but there is a way around it. This involves making the fish come to you.
      European catfish and carp anglers who typically fish exclusively from the bank use a system called “ground baiting,” which involves putting chum out with the bait. They attach a small cylindrical device above their swivel, which holds chum and dispenses it as the water rushes by. The problem is these rigs are not readily available in our marketplace.
      However, with a little ingenuity, taking a 35-millimeter film canister, punching a hole in the bottom and on the lid and then punching more holes along the side can make a similar device. This acts as a perfect chumming device and is very inexpensive.
      Not everyone has film canisters these days so the softer plastic aspirin bottles will also get the job done.
      Rig this above your swivel and weight, and then fill it with your favorite chum. Now you will not only be chumming the area you fish in but also bringing fish directly to your bait.
      Any kind of chum will work, but a mixture I have had some success with was menhaden oil (available through many mail order offshore supply catalogs) mixed with soured milo. The oil creates a huge chum slick and when it mixes with the milo, the smell is almost unbearable, which means catfish love it. The best part is that a little bit goes a long way.
     Something else to consider is using jack mackerel as bait.
     This oily fish is available in larger supermarkets in a can for less than $1, and I can attest it will bring in fish. While fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and tagging sharks for the Mote Marine Laboratory, my partners and I were able to chum in and catch nearly 40 sharks while using less than two cans of the stuff. It is oily and stinks to high heaven, so catfish should love it.
      For anglers interested in using film canisters to chum their bait, something else to consider is the use of a popping cork. Even if your bait is on the bottom, you can rig a popping cork above it and attach a baited film canister below. This will allow you to do some extra chumming and use the cork to “pop” the chum out whenever you want to release more.
     Another great tip for land bound anglers is to use braided line. In talking with several anglers who pursue brackish blues from the bank, I have learned that loosing striking fish can be a problem.
      I am not sure as to the reason but a definitely solution is using a braided line because they have no stretch. When making long casts with monofilament from the bank you have the potential for lots of line stretch when can make a poor hookset.
     Sixty yards of line might have five or six feet of stretch and that is plenty for a big blue to undo. When using a braid like Fireline, Gorilla Braid or Spiderwire you can forego these problems and greatly enhance your chances of putting some catfish in the frying pan.
     (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at and watch him Saturdays on on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore”.)

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