, Port Arthur, Texas

July 17, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Wildlife questions intriguing, far-reaching

Chester Moore, Jr.
The Port Arthur News

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