MOORE OUTDOORS: Deadline for local public draw hunts coming soon

Published 12:01 am Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hunters can begin apply for a variety of public draw lottery-style hunts through the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD).

The first application deadlines is Aug. 3 for the alligator hunt categories including those at the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area near Port Arthur. Aug.11 is the deadline for archery deer, exotic, javelina and the new private lands dove hunts.

“Other hunt category deadlines occur from Aug. 23 through Jan. 26. A full list of category deadlines can be found online. Hunters can apply up to 11:59 p.m. Central Time on the application deadline, and after the application is submitted, they can check their drawing status online at any time,” TPWD reported.

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TPWD noted this year there are more opportunities available than ever before as additional drawn hunts on public and private lands are being consolidated into their online application system, including a new dove hunting category featuring slots on prime private dove fields.

“Among the other offerings available through the online system are hunts for white-tailed and mule deer, pronghorn, exotic gemsbok and scimitar-horned oryx, turkey and alligator, as well as a guided hunt for desert bighorn sheep.”

In addition to TPWD’s hunts, they are now administering about 1,500 big game hunt positions on several U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges in Texas and antlerless deer permits for U.S. Forest Service properties in East Texas.

“Since moving our drawn hunt application process entirely online two years ago, we’ve seen a huge increase in interest from hunters as well as other entities who offer public hunting opportunities on their lands,” said Justin Dreibelbis, public hunting program director at TPWD.

The Drawn Hunts program offers affordable hunting experiences throughout the state, including several Youth-Only hunt categories. Application fees are $3 or $10 depending on the hunt category.

“Adult hunters that are selected may also need to pay a Special Permit fee of $80 for regular hunts and $130 for extended hunts. Some categories, such as the Youth-Only hunts, require no application fees or permit fees.

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Speaking of local public hunting, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced they are expanding hunting opportunities on 13 national wildlife refuges across the country.

This includes expanded waterfowl hunting access on the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge one of the most popular local destinations for duck and goose hunters from Southeast Texas and the Houston area. We will post more details as we receive them.

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) has issued an action alert for a site along the lower San Jacinto River that directly feeds Galveston Bay.

This site is leaking dioxin contamination into the Bay, prompting the Texas Department of State Health Services to issue a warning for adult males and non-childbearing women to consume no more than eight ounces of speckled trout a month. Pregnant women and children should not consume ANY trout from the estuary. It is absolutely shocking that warnings like this exist for Galveston Bay.

We covered this warning a few weeks ago as well as some for Sabine Lake on gafftopsail catfish. The issue is much bigger in the Galveston Bay complex and CCA is taking note.

“This growing environmental threat must be contained and removed for the future of Galveston Bay. CCA Texas members have invested their time, resources and conservation efforts to protect the Bay’s strong coastal resources and recreational fisheries. The Environmental Protection Agency and responsible industry parties have the ability to clean this disaster up but have yet to take action. The EPA will soon rule on the timing and level of clean-up, and recreational anglers and conservationists need to make their voice heard so this threat is removed completely from Galveston Bay. Forever.”

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