PORT ARTHUR —
In case you haven’t noticed things are getting strange in the world, especially on the financial front.
Our region has been shielded from much of the economic chaos in the world but with a government spending money as if they were trying to lose a game of monopoly “interesting” times are on the horizon.
I write this column from my hotel room in Las Vegas while attending the Shooting Hunting & Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show where virtually every company involved in the shooting and hunting industry shows their new products.
I had an interesting subject with someone high up in the conservation side of things that pretty much told me the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is pretty much dead in the water in terms of having a real future.
CRP is a government subsidy for leaving tracts of land “wild” so to speak and has produced more waterfowl that anything since its inception in 1986. Without it, the hunting we are experiencing now would be vastly different.
Other changes occurring due to economics including less stocking of fish in Texas reservoirs, cutbacks on research and fewer donations to organizations that work on behalf of conservation.
The reality is the conservation community at large will have to rethink its strategy to move forward in the coming years.
Let’s talk a little more about waterfowl since in the world of hunting they have the most conservation action and funding directed their way.
If CRP falls by the wayside, we will lose millions of ducks within a couple of years. More emphasis will need to be put on purchasing crucial land on the nesting grounds of the Great Plains and large scale predator control may have to be a consideration.
Let’s face it, the reason why waterfowl programs exist is to produce enough ducks and geese for hunting purposes and CRP has essentially been artificially inflating duck numbers by taking land out of the farming market. If it goes back in, hunters will see a vastly different situation unless other measures are taken.
In fishing I believe we will see much more emphasis on habitat conservation instead of individual species enhancement. That will always exist but by keeping habitat healthy it will give all species a better chance to thrive and could perhaps lessen the need for some types of stocking for example.
The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) already seems to be moving much of their effort this direction with a big push toward oyster restoration as well as working on programs to enhance seagrass acreage and partnering with Ducks Unlimited for erosion control in key estuaries.
On the freshwater side of things I am seeing an interesting push toward promoting healthy reservoirs, controlling non-indigenous aquatics like salvinia and planting native grasses.
Times are indeed changing for those of us who love wildlife and fisheries but they don’t necessarily have to be for the worse if we think big and push hard on behalf of these great resources.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at email@example.com . You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” 6-7 p.m. Fridays on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI and watch his WebTV Series at www.godsoutdoors.com.)
PORT ARTHUR —
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BEAUMONT — It may be just the second year of the program’s revival, but the Lamar softball team has already established a tradition: Winning the home opener on a walk-off home run.
Casey Cromwell’s three-run blast in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Lady Cardinals a 6-4 win over Southeastern Louisiana at Ford Park in the first home game of 2014 for Lamar and the Southland Conference opener for both squads.
Lamar, which won its first game last year over UTSA on a walk-off home run by Ashley McDowell, cruised to an 8-1 win over Southeastern Louisiana in Saturday’s nightcap.
“This is why I love playing at home,” Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. “The fans really get us pumped up, and we respond.”
Cromwell hit two home runs in the opener for Lamar (5-9 overall, 2-0 Southland). Beverly Corry also homered for Lamar. Shannon Millman (3-5) was the winning pitcher for the Lady Cardinals in both games, working 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief in the first game before firing a three-hit gem in the nightcap.
“We got tremendous pitching for both Shannon and Tina (Schulz) today,” Bruder said. “We also got some great defense, and that really helped us.”
Candyce Carter and Jenna Holland homered for Lamar in the second game. Carter had three RBIs in the game, while Holland and Julianne Viator added two RBIs apiece.
Carter closed out the game in spectacular fashion, making a diving grab in center field to turn what looked to be a sure double off the bat of Brittney Tschoepe into the final out of the game.
The two teams wrap up their three-game series with a single contest at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ford Park. All senior citizens 55 and older receive free admission.
“It’s always tough to sweep a team,” Bruder said. “We know Sunday’s game will be tough.”
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