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Hunters reminded to report harvest during upcoming antlerless season

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From Enterprise Staff

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) wants to remind hunters to report their harvest during the upcoming antlerless deer season which is today through Sunday.

Mandatory reporting is required for any antlerless deer harvested during the four-day doe season, along with any antlerless deer harvested during the archery, youth-only and muzzleloader seasons. Within 24 hours of harvest, hunters in the 21 counties listed below must report their harvest to TPWD using either the free My Texas Hunt Harvest mobile app (for iOS and Android) or on the My Texas Hunt Harvest web page.

Counties required to report their harvest include Austin, Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Comal (East of I-35), De Witt, Fayette, Goliad (North of U.S. 59), Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays (East of I-35), Jackson (north of U.S. 59), Karnes, Lavaca, Lee, Travis (East of I-35), Victoria (North of U.S. 59), Waller, Washington, Wharton (North of U.S. 59) and Wilson.

Additionally, for the four counties that remain dedicated to archery-only hunting (Dallas, Grayson, Rockwall and Collin), hunters are now required to report all white-tailed deer harvests within 24 hours through the My Harvest Hunt App during all white-tailed deer seasons. Accurate reporting allows agency wildlife biologists to properly study hunting impacts on local herds and develop more hunting opportunities.

For more information about hunting regulations, methods and seasons, consult the 2022-23 Outdoor Annual. Hunters can download the Outdoor Annual app for free for iOS and Android.

TPWD reminds hunters that agency wildlife biologists and animal health officials are collecting and testing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) samples from hunter-harvested deer to get a clearer picture of the prevalence and distribution of the disease across Texas. Proactive monitoring improves the state’s response time to CWD detection and can greatly reduce the risk of the disease further spreading to neighboring captive and free-ranging populations.

Hunters in surveillance and containment zones must meet submission requirements of harvested CWD susceptible species. Additionally, hunters outside of established surveillance and containment zones are encouraged to voluntarily submit their harvest for testing at a check station, for free, before heading home from the field. Hunters can find a map of TPWD check stations for all CWD zones on the TPWD website. Hunters can also contact their local biologist to submit a sample.

For more information about CWD, visit the TPWD web site or the TAHC web site.

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Celebrate the season with holiday happenings at Texas state parks

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From Enterprise Staff

Texas State Parks will be commencing its holiday season festivities with special seasonal events across the state. State parks across Texas will host themed guided walks, scavenger hunts and more for all visitors to enjoy.

Anyone planning a trip to a Texas State Park is highly encouraged to reserve their day pass in advance since some parks are expected to reach their capacity limit.  Reserve day passes online through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) website or over the phone by calling (512) 389-8900.

Skip the Black Friday scramble and head for the trails with the Opt Outside Hike at Lockhart State Park from 10-11 a.m. Friday. All ages are welcome for this ¾-mile guided stroll and participation is free with park entrance fees. Visitors are encouraged to wear weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes and bring water. The trek down the trail will begin at the Creekview Trailhead.

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park invites visitors to spend the afternoon discovering the furry, fishy and feathered friends that call the park home at the Festive Frontera Family Fun Day from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Participants will be able to ride the shuttle to the pavilion and make holiday ornaments, explore the touch tables, open an owl “present,” play the “backyard bass” fishing game or go birdwatching with an expert. Attendance is limited and registration is required. Anyone interested in participating should call 956-584-9156 or sign up at the park to reserve their spot.

The elves have left the shelves and have run amuck at Fort Boggy State Park. From 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, visitors can take a walk on the one-mile Lake Sullivan Trail and see how many elves they can spot. The first 10 people to find all 10 elves will receive a prize from the park office. This event is free to participate in with regular park entrance fees.

Explore the far reaches of the universe in the Badlands with a Star Party at Big Bend Ranch State Park. This event, which runs from 6:45 -9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, will deliver unparalleled views of the darkest skies in Texas along with constellation identification, star and planet gazing and stories of the night sky. Spots are limited for this event and participants must RSVP to Ranger Layla via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 432-424-3327 ext. 2. Visitors will meet at the West Contrabando Trailhead located eight miles from the Barton Warnock Visitor Center and 41 miles from Fort Leaton State Historic Site. A ranger will direct attendees at the trailhead to the star viewing area.

Dust off the Santa hats and stretch your legs with a guided hike at Franklin Mountains State Park from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24. This two-mile hike on the Upper Sunset Trail will let visitors experience sprawling vistas along the ridgeline. Participants should bring water, snacks, hiking boots or sturdy shoes, comfortable weather-appropriate clothing and a Santa hat. This event is free with park entrance fees.

For more information about these and other holiday activities at Texas State Parks, a full calendar is available online on the TPWD calendar page. Photos of past holiday events are available on the TPWD Flickr page.

If you’re looking to add some Texas State Park shine to your holiday display, the 2022 edition of the state park ornament is available for purchase. This year’s edition celebrates Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and features the park’s namesake granite dome, under a star-filled night sky. This is the 21st annual edition of the state park ornament and can be purchased exclusively through the online State Park Store.

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Wholesale turkey prices rise as Thanksgiving approaches

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Cold storage stocks of whole turkeys are about 3% lower than last year.Cold storage stocks of whole turkeys are about 3% lower than last year.

By Paul Schattenberg
AgriLife Extension Communication Specialist

Turkey prices have been on the rise with Thanksgiving Day still more than a month away, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. Market forces coupled with a force of nature – avian influenza – have disrupted the supply chain and caused turkey prices to trend upward, leading to shortages for some wholesale buyers. Wholesale prices for whole turkeys are sky high, said David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist, Bryan-College Station. Last year, turkeys reached a record high of $1.39 per pound in early November, but that price had climbed $1.79 per pound by Oct. 15, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Anderson said the primary driver of this increase on already historically pricey whole birds has been bird losses to highly pathogenic bird influenza outbreaks over the past several months. The highly contagious and deadly avian influenza began hitting U.S. poultry production this spring, with the first case in a Texas poultry flock reported on April 2. The USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported more than 47.45 million commercial poultry birds, including broiler and egg-laying chickens, turkeys and various fowl have been lost to the virus that has been reported in 42 states, including Alaska. The disease has hit hard certain production farms that have egg-laying chicken flocks and turkeys.

For this year, turkey production is about 5% less than last year. “The outbreaks may not be making headlines, but they are popping up here and there still,” Anderson said. “I saw that it wiped out 50,000 turkeys at a farm in California, and it is happening to other poultry farms. These occurrences have dramatically impacted wholesale turkey prices and availability for some businesses.”

Anderson said the avian flu impact on turkey is especially disruptive because the length of time it takes to grow them – eggs incubate for 28 days and another 10-18 weeks for those hatchlings to reach their harvest weights. That means turkey flocks, and other longer-term poultry like egg-laying hens, are at risk of potential exposure to the pathogen. It takes 3.5-5.5 months to replace a flock lost to avian influenza. Holiday shoppers should not fret, he said, but they should be prepared to buy early or shop around for a Thanksgiving Day centerpiece turkey.

The good news is that Anderson is not concerned about a shortage of whole birds for the holidays. Stocked turkey supplies build throughout the year to make sure they are available to major grocers in November. Most grocers have order contracts with suppliers that are set up to a year in advance. Demand from big buyers like major grocers will be the priority when it comes to the available supplies. Anderson said cold storage stocks of whole turkeys are about 3% lower than last year according to USDA cold storage stocks data, which indicates suppliers are working to meet holiday demand. While the data shows about 13% fewer tom turkeys in storage, there are about 12% more hens in storage.

The price of whole turkeys could be higher at grocery stores, he said, but grocers may also take losses on whole birds as features or specials to entice consumers into stores in the hopes they continue shopping for other items. Consumer preferences on turkey brand, size, fresh or frozen could all play into the price and availability, Anderson said. But grocers also know consumers might consider other options – a ham or rib roast – and competitive deals by one store could drive others to commit to a more enticing deal.

“As a consumer, it might be a good idea to have a strategy this year,” he said. “Last year, when prices were high, I went to the store the first day because we wanted a particular size. The store had specials on them then, but then I saw a store had a terrific deal on turkeys the day before Thanksgiving. They had turkeys still on hand and needed to move them, and that translated into lower prices.”

When it comes to turkey, historically there are two major markets for birds – deli meat and whole birds for the holidays. There is niche demand for turkey legs around fair season and consistent demand for turkey breasts from restaurants, but the bulk of turkey is committed to deli meats and Thanksgiving. While large grocers and big buyers of turkey may be facing higher prices, the demand for whole birds and turkey breasts amid a continuing avian influenza outbreak is stressing smaller-scale buyers such as local meat markets and restaurants. The local deli that brines and bakes its own birds or barbecue joints with smoked turkey are struggling to find wholesale sellers willing to part with stock.

“I’ve had this conversation with multiple mom-and-pop businesses about the wholesale turkey supply,” he said. “It’s not because they’re high priced; it’s that they can’t even get them, and that’s really hurting those smaller buyers.”  n

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Leggett teacher arrested for child pornography

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From Enterprise Staff

A Leggett High School history teacher has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest for possession of child pornography and possession with intent to promote child pornography.

Francisco Sauceda, 29 of Splendora, was arrested Wednesday at his home in Splendora by the Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. He has been charged with four counts of possession of child pornography, third degree felonies, and one count of possession with intent to promote child pornography, a second degree felony.

“Leggett ISD is aware of the situation but has limited information at this time. Based on the extremely limited information we have received, we believe the alleged conduct occurred off-campus and away from the school and poses no danger to our Leggett ISD student population or community at this time,” a statement released Thursday morning by Leggett ISD said.

“We’re truly sickened and saddened and frustrated. Just like any other school district, our first order of business is the safety of our students,” Leggett ISD Superintendent Jana Lowe said.

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Veterans from Alabama-Coushatta Tribe to attend Veterans Day dedication in Washington

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The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas’ Tribal Veterans Pavilion is located on the grounds of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation. Dedicated July 4 of 2000, it lists members of the tribe who have served along with the branch in which they served. Courtesy photoThe Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas’ Tribal Veterans Pavilion is located on the grounds of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation. Dedicated July 4 of 2000, it lists members of the tribe who have served along with the branch in which they served. Courtesy photo

From Enterprise Staff

Citizens of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas who have served in the U.S. military are heading to Washington, D.C. this week for the dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial.

Throughout this country’s history, Native Americans have served in the U.S. military, even before they were recognized as U.S. citizens.

“This is our country and it is our duty to serve,” Roland Poncho, an Army veteran who is a member of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council, said. “When I first started working for the tribe in 1969, there were seven council members who were veterans.”

Tribal citizens of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas have served in conflicts ranging from World Wars I and II to Vietnam, and more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “There are about 10 tribal citizens currently serving in the military,” Poncho said.

Both men and women of the tribe have served in all branches of the military. The tribe has lost one citizen in combat – Marvin Ray Robinson, who was a tailgunner for a combat helicopter in Vietnam.

The memory of those who have passed and respect for those tribal warriors still here will be front of mind when the tribe’s veterans go to the nation’s capital for the dedication of the Native American Veterans Memorial. The dedication will be on Friday, which is Veterans Day, and will include a parade through the streets of Washington to honor the service of Native Americans in the military.

The National Native American Veterans Memorial opened on Nov. 11, 2020 on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian. This tribute to native heroes recognizes for the first time on a national scale the enduring and distinguished service of Native Americans in every branch of the U.S. military.

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas made a commitment and a monetary donation to the National Native American Veterans Memorial project in honor and in memory of Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Veterans.

Throughout the Veterans Day weekend, the museum will host special events in honor of the dedication of the memorial, including performances by musical artists, presentation of colors by the Native American Women Warriors and hands-on activities.

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has the oldest reservation in Texas, located on approximately 10,200 acres near Livingston. The tribe is a fully functioning sovereign government with a full array of health and human services, including law enforcement and emergency services. There are more than 1,300 members, about half of whom live on the reservation. The tribe is governed by an elected tribal council and advised by the principal chief and second chief.


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