PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

November 7, 2012

Chester Moore column: Education important for black bear return

PORT ARTHUR —  

    The eyes always tell the story.

    Having encountered thousands of animals over the years, my attention is always drawn to the eyes of creatures because they reveal so much about intelligence and demeanor.

     The eyes looking at me from just a couple of feet away revealed a creature with great depth of behavior and ability. In this case, it was a 350-pound black bear named Barnaby.

    Last week I filmed a bear segment at Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch near Denton with founder Scott Edwards.

    For the episode we filmed a bear encounter that allowed me a chance to interact with Barnaby and a similar-sized female named Bailey, three-year-old bears both rescued from a bad situation and trained by Edwards.

    “You can train wild animals but you cannot make them tame. There is a difference,” Edwards said.

    Sharkarosa is an amazing facility that propagates a variety of endangered species and does educational outreach through on behalf of everything from sloths to Pere' David’s deer.

    I went to get a little deeper understanding of bears since these great animals are returning to Texas in surprising numbers.

    “Black bears are one of the few large mammals in North America that wasn’t endangered at some point. They continue to thrive and in many areas even live right alongside large numbers of people,” Edwards said.

    “When people leave them alone they go stealth and are very rarely seen but when people start feeding them and treating wild bears as if they are pets then trouble starts.”

    Wildlife managers say “a fed bear is a dead bear” and the reason is bears accustomed to receiving food from people are often removed from the population as to not harm people. They become bold and have even been known to break into houses for food.

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Sports
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    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
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    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on GETV.org)

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