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MOORE COLUMN: Youth only seasons, south zone duck highlight weekend

The youth-only season for whitetail deer takes place Saturday and Sunday throughout Texas.
The purpose of these youth-only hunts according to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials is to provide youth age 16 or young with opportunities to learn about wildlife conservation through an enjoyable and memorable outdoor experience and allow parents and mentors to introduce them to safe and responsible hunting.
For those hunting in Jefferson, Chambers, Orange and the southern portions of Newton and Jasper Counties, this is without question in my experience the best chance to get a shot at a big buck. The rut is usually in full swing and since TPWD have allowed youth-only seasons I have been blown away by how many big, swollen-necked buck photos we get from readers.
In addition, this weekend is the kick-off of the south zone duck season with the first split ending Nov. 29.
In case you have not noticed, we have had lots of rain and the water will be a game changer for the coastal regions. There is a fair amount of ducks in the area but the water will likely spread them all over the place.
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Texas hunters wishing to assist with the statewide chronic wasting disease (CWD) monitoring effort this fall can do so by voluntarily taking their harvested deer (or the head of the harvested deer) to a location where TPWD wildlife biologists will be collecting tissue samples for testing.
A list of collection sites and times is available online atwww.tpwd.texas.gov/cwd.
“In addition to those established collection locations, biologists will also be conducting localized sampling at various sites throughout the season to meet sampling objectives. For additional information regarding localized CWD sampling efforts during this deer season, please contact your local wildlife biologist at (http://tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/land/technical_guidance/biologists/).
“TPWD has been conducting CWD surveillance on hunter-harvested deer and road-kill deer since 2002, and has a goal to collect tissue samples from at least 8,000 hunter harvested deer throughout the state during the 2015-16 deer season.”
“The general deer hunting season opens Nov. 7. This sampling effort provides TPWD with confidence that CWD is not in the free-ranging deer populations at a significant prevalence rate, if at all.”
TPWD officials said they would prefer to collect the tissue samples within 24 hours of harvest; however, the appropriate tissue samples will remain viable for a few days if the head is chilled soon after harvest, and remains chilled until the samples can be collected.
“It is very important that the deer head not be frozen,” they said.
“Once collected by TPWD biologists, the samples will be submitted to the Texas A&M Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at no cost to the hunter, and test results should be made available to the hunter within 3-4 weeks. A hunter who allows for a CWD sample to be collected will be issued a receipt that can be used to track test results online.”
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If you are looking for something different for you kids on Halloween night, drop by Community Church, 3400 MLK in Orange from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Kingdom Zoo will be hosting a Trunk or Treat there with lots of cars set up to give away candy and our Kingdom Zoo: Mobile Ark with a special “Face your Fears” theme.
We will have many of our live animals on hand as well as some fun photo ops with our “chupacabra” replica “Chewie”.
The idea is to provide a safe, family friendly environment while giving kids a chance to learn things about wildlife as well. For example, we would like to let them know the “chupacabras” they see on social media are nothing more than coyotes with mange.
That does not mean they are not creepy looking but they are definitely not monsters.
For more info, email chester@kingdomzoo.com.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at chester@kingdomzoo.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI and online at www.klvi.com.)