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Old 02-01-2017, 11:10 AM   #1
Kirby86
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Default Texas Public Lands - What allows your hunting rights?

With all the issues going on in western states, it got me to thinking about issues of representation.

What rights do hunters actually have in Texas in regard to public land?

I've watched as the duck hunting areas have been downsized to make homeowners happy on several of the lakes I hunt. I also know of one area in the DFW that will likely cease to allow hunting in the next 5-10 years. Some anti's even put in for draw only units to keep hunters out.

Populations keep increasing with percentage of hunters decreasing. I know the western states have things such as Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, but what all do we have?
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:16 AM   #2
ktex
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Which lake in dfw do you think will cease hunting?
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:20 AM   #3
SFAbowhunter
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Quote:
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Which lake in dfw do you think will cease hunting?
Would like to know this as well. I have been hunting nothing, but public land the past probably 10 years.
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:24 PM   #4
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Which lake in dfw do you think will cease hunting?
Lake Benbrook. I've talked with the folks at the Corp office several times about it and they're not exactly sure how much longer they will keep doing the draw.

The east side of the lake has seen a huge amount of development in the past 5 years, especially with the Chisolm trail tollway being built. If you drive down Altamesa (by the corp office) you can see that the land sitting along it is either listed for sale or currently being developed.

Other than hearing "contact your congressman", I haven't ever heard of being able to get anything done about it. I tried a few years ago to get them to do a spring turkey hunt after they said "we're overrun with turkeys". Their response was "we think we offer enough hunting opportunity by doing the fall draw hunts."

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Old 02-01-2017, 12:33 PM   #5
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It is awfully built up around there.
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Kirby86 View Post
Some anti's even put in for draw only units to keep hunters out.
They had been doing that for years in the big thicket hunting areas. Permits are free, but only a limited number of permits issued and they would get everyone in their family one without them even being present. The NPS stopped that a couple years ago by requiring a valid current hunting license for each person who got a permit and requiring every person who was issued a permit to be present even children! They used to be out in a matter of days (or hours 15 years ago), this year, they had plenty of permits up to at least Nov 1!



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Old 02-01-2017, 12:49 PM   #7
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There is a Texas chapter of BHA.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Texa...ountryHunters/
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:53 PM   #8
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I've seen it happen in my lifetime at both richland creek and gus engeling WMA's, they both used to be type 2 public land until 1999-2000, all you had to do was buy the $48 APH permit and you could bowhunt deer all season, 14,000 acres at RC, 10,000 acres at GE. Now both place offer very limited draws, RC hasn't even done a draw deer hunt for the last 2 years. Duck hunting at RC is limited to monday/wednesday/saturday until noon and his year GE is even requiring a draw for hog hunting, both places are very regulated and restricted compared to how they used to be.

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Old 02-01-2017, 01:01 PM   #9
.270
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I live in the Hill Country so there is no walk in public land deer hunting.
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Old 02-01-2017, 01:09 PM   #10
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I've put in for all the RC and GE draws for over a decade, haven't drawn RC since 2006, been lucky enough to drawn GE three times myself and once for my nephew but nothing since the online draw system started.
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Old 02-01-2017, 01:37 PM   #11
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To my knowledge there's no group actively advocating on behalf public land hunters in Texas.

As someone mentioned there's a chapter of the BHA, though a good group they're focus seems to mostly be on western states.

There's definitely a need for such a group in Texas.
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Old 02-01-2017, 02:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B Littleton View Post
Thank you for the link!


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLig View Post
To my knowledge there's no group actively advocating on behalf public land hunters in Texas.

As someone mentioned there's a chapter of the BHA, though a good group they're focus seems to mostly be on western states.

There's definitely a need for such a group in Texas.
I know the argument will be that only 2% of Texas is public land. For as big as it is, that's still over a million acres.
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Old 02-01-2017, 03:13 PM   #13
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I've hunted and/or fished public lands in 14 different states. Texas, by far, is the most difficult and has the least amount of access to those lands. That being said, I do live in DFW, and that adds some frustrations, but I've managed. Kirby, I know you have as well.... quite well, I might add.
I'd love to see an active group fighting for public land rights in TX. We'll never, or likely never, gain access to more of it, but it's certainly worth protecting what we have. If you live and hunt in North Texas/DFW, you know it's not just Benbrook at risk. They are all at risk. Every one of them. Losing public lands affect effect hunters, fisherman, hikers, campers, bikers, bird watchers, conservationists, etc etc etc. It'd be terrible to lose them.
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Old 02-01-2017, 03:13 PM   #14
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I recently joined BHA, but I'm going to see what all kind of options there are.

On their website, BHA lists "access" as being one of the main issues.

I don't know what all can be done, but some of the issues with Richland Chambers might be worth being brought up. At the end of the day, Corp of Engineer property is the same as federal land out west as far as I'm concerned. Our tax dollars pay for it, so we should have a voice in how it's managed. Especially when it's in our backyard and even more so if we can prove that it has not been managed well.
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Old 02-01-2017, 03:37 PM   #15
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Well congratulations Kirby, looks like you are now the first President of the TX Public Land Hunters Association. Joking aside, I would join and or help out if something like this did exist.
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Old 02-01-2017, 03:44 PM   #16
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Joking aside, I would join and or help out if something like this did exist.
I've been a member of BHA for a couple months now. I'd certainly be more involved with a Texas chapter as well.

J
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Old 02-01-2017, 03:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justhrowit View Post
I've been a member of BHA for a couple months now. I'd certainly be more involved with a Texas chapter as well.



J

Same here.
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Old 02-01-2017, 04:09 PM   #18
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Same here.
I'd join in as well. I hunt a lot of public land here in the DFW area.
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Old 02-01-2017, 06:53 PM   #19
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I would also!
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:03 PM   #20
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I'd be willing to discuss it. After Benbrook it will be Grapevine, at some point Whitney/Aquilla, Hagerman, etc.
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:04 PM   #21
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Hords Creek near Coleman used to have a hunt program, no more. Proctor Lake used to allow deer hunting and almost quit the duck hunting at one point. Benbrook used to have a bunch of land. But ACE has been extinguished about 1/3 of it so far. And cut back the permits to 1/2 of what they used to be.
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:14 PM   #22
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We are dealing with this in corpus christi right now. There is a small group of residents on the island trying to get the city buffer changed from 1000 feet to 1 mile for duck hunting.
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:52 PM   #23
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I would join a Texas Chapter if we had one, Since Kirby is the first president let me know if I can help. It will go away quicker than we think. Last population report I read said roughly 1 person was moving into the DFW every 4 minutes. That's ridiculous. I have been hunting public for 7 years now. We are scrounging every dollar and penny we can find to buy our own piece of dirt so our family will hopefully have a place to hunt for sometime to come.


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Old 02-02-2017, 12:17 AM   #24
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Well this turned into something! Good to see I'm not the only one concerned!

Right now I'm trying to figure out how exactly corp of engineer property works. I don't know much of the legal jargon as to whether CoE property is considered the same as BLM and National Forest land or what to be honest, but I should know soon.

My next step is going to see what all we can do to be represented by seeing how groups like BHA have dealt with things like this.

At the end of the day, Texas public hunters need a voice. Individually we are quite unlikely to be heard, but if we can know about issues and work together to get ahead of them, then theres a real chance of holding on to what we have.

Rest assured that doing nothing is a sure way to lose what we have.
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:56 AM   #25
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Now that I think about it, I bet Cable Smith (Cable here on the GS), from DSC'S Lonestar Outdoor Show, would have a great amount of resources and contacts that would be beneficial!

I'll reach out to him and see if he would/could join in on the conversation.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:35 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirby86 View Post
Well this turned into something! Good to see I'm not the only one concerned!

Right now I'm trying to figure out how exactly corp of engineer property works. I don't know much of the legal jargon as to whether CoE property is considered the same as BLM and National Forest land or what to be honest, but I should know soon.

My next step is going to see what all we can do to be represented by seeing how groups like BHA have dealt with things like this.

At the end of the day, Texas public hunters need a voice. Individually we are quite unlikely to be heard, but if we can know about issues and work together to get ahead of them, then theres a real chance of holding on to what we have.

Rest assured that doing nothing is a sure way to lose what we have.
This is great, Kirby! Everything we do starts with a first step. Didn't know what you'd be digging up when you started this thread, did you?
I've often thought we needed this, and I'm happy to join in. Fighting for public lands has really become a hot topic for me. In regards to COE, I've always been thinking "How can we as hunters help you". You, being the COE. I think that's probably the biggest thing we can do to protect our abilities to access those lands. What does it take to manage these lands. What kind of money can we invest. What kind of supplies can we gather and donate. What kind of time can we collectively gather to help. How can we help you, the COE, improve these lands within your mission and at the same time help ourselves by protecting our access to the lands, gaining more lands to access, increasing animal numbers, etc etc etc.

God, how many years have we had discussions about how the COE should manage the lands and hunting programs at these places?

J
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:00 AM   #27
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Following
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:01 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justhrowit View Post
This is great, Kirby! Everything we do starts with a first step. Didn't know what you'd be digging up when you started this thread, did you?
I've often thought we needed this, and I'm happy to join in. Fighting for public lands has really become a hot topic for me. In regards to COE, I've always been thinking "How can we as hunters help you". You, being the COE. I think that's probably the biggest thing we can do to protect our abilities to access those lands. What does it take to manage these lands. What kind of money can we invest. What kind of supplies can we gather and donate. What kind of time can we collectively gather to help. How can we help you, the COE, improve these lands within your mission and at the same time help ourselves by protecting our access to the lands, gaining more lands to access, increasing animal numbers, etc etc etc.

God, how many years have we had discussions about how the COE should manage the lands and hunting programs at these places?

J
I volunteered to work with the COE at Lake Lewisville a few years back. I put in about 40 hrs of labor, mulching trails, helping to clear invasive brush, cut and burn trash trees to clear up some native grasslands, and I also helped move the electric wire/fence to a new location so we could later move the bison herd to a new grazing area. I know they are always looking for any type of volunteer help.

Maybe, getting groups together to go assist them would be a perfect way to start. They have educational programs and community functions that always need a few more hands. Maybe we could establish volunteer days in different areas of the state?!
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:13 AM   #29
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"In regards to COE, I've always been thinking "How can we as hunters help you". You, being the COE."

I've actually been over to the Fed Building in Fort Worth and met with the COE HMFIC (my office is just across the street). Nice people, good ideas, but just like my Lake Whitney survey and 5 questions and my responses, never heard a thing.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:29 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razorback01 View Post
"In regards to COE, I've always been thinking "How can we as hunters help you". You, being the COE."

I've actually been over to the Fed Building in Fort Worth and met with the COE HMFIC (my office is just across the street). Nice people, good ideas, but just like my Lake Whitney survey and 5 questions and my responses, never heard a thing.
An organized group, such as one backed by BHA can do wonders. Much more energy and focus vs a single individual. Persistence is key.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:48 AM   #31
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There is some good news. Some of the National Wildlife Refuges (which do allow hunting) are growing a tiny bit. The Conservation Land Trusts, will buy land adjacent to the Refuge, and then deed it over to the Refuge for management. Example is Cade Ranch, which will add 10,000 acres to the adjacent Anahuac NWR.

There have been a couple of big State acquisitions: Powderhorn Ranch, 17,351 acres near Port Oconner/Indianola will become a state park and State WMA. Up near Lubbock, 14,000-plus-acre Yoakum Dunes Wildlife Management Area is becoming a reality.

Disappointing that no part of the massive Big Bend Ranch acquisition was opened for hunting, but it is so remote anyway.
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:10 AM   #32
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Disappointing that no part of the massive Big Bend Ranch acquisition was opened for hunting, but it is so remote anyway.
Living in Dallas, everything seems remote
LOL
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:56 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirby86 View Post
I don't know what all can be done, but some of the issues with Richland Chambers might be worth being brought up.
It needs to be addressed, I feel the people in charge of those partular WMA's are overly limiting hunter opportunity, they will come up with the BS that there was infrastructure damage due to the floods but none of the corp lakes cancelled hunting season and they had flooding during the same time period.

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Old 02-03-2017, 02:28 PM   #34
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If we had a group that was willing to help volunteer at these Corp Areas, that would be fantastic. We would need to open a channel of dialogue first.

After doing some research on how these areas are managed, if there are problems to address it would seem like there are two ways to go about it.

First would be to have a list of each hunting area in the state of Texas with contact information for the lake manager or entities responsible for the management of that area.

Second would be to find out who exactly funds these entities, whether that be at the state or federal level and compile a list of phone numbers and emails so we know who to contact.

My plan right now is to compile a list of local WMAs, CoEs and National Forests within Texas along with the issues facing each area. I will be posting this here, and on The Texas Backcountry Hunters and Anglers page as well. If you would like to help with the compilation of this list, please comment on here or PM me.

The Texas Backcountry Hunters and Anglers page that can be found here

I will be checking into other advocacy groups to see what all is available, but if there is nothing else I will move forward with starting our own group if necessary.

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Old 02-03-2017, 03:31 PM   #35
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Link to COE lakes search:
State: Texas (no kidding)
Click 'Go'
You can click on individual lakes for info and ph#'s

https://corpslakes.erdc.dren.mil/vis...bile/index.cfm

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Old 02-03-2017, 03:49 PM   #36
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Here is information on the Texas hunting program (THERE IS AN APP!!!)
http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/bar...on/Hunting.asp
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Old 02-03-2017, 07:40 PM   #37
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Any chance of getting the NRA involved? I know this is mostly a bowhunters group but NRA has a lot of everything

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Old 02-04-2017, 01:32 AM   #38
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I have my type 2 or public hunting lands book from last year. Would be a good list resource for wma's and national forests. Let me know if I can help


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Old 02-06-2017, 02:44 PM   #39
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I apologize for the delayed response! Gemini, that's a great point. I will look into that. So far my efforts have been aimed at BHA because they're the only one I've personally been affiliated with. But if we're going to come to these groups asking for help, we'd better have our ducks in a row.

Multiple people have offered to help compile lists and information. For organizational purposes I think we're eventually going to need to have a webpage to stockpile this info. TBH is great but doesn't exactly lend itself to that format. I took the search engine Bigyummy77 used and made a word document with contacts for each of the properties that allow hunting, but there isn't anything more than that currently.

Just so we don't have multiple working redundantly, here is a list of volunteers so far and what they're working on.

List of Volunteers so far

Ktex: list of COE properties that currently do not allow hunting

Rwkiel: organization, storage and display of data collected

Jbhunting39: list of national forests and wildlife refuges that allow hunting

What We still need

A breakdown of COE districts:
Issues facing each individual COE in Fort Worth District:
Issues facing each WMA unit:
Issues facing each NWR and National Forest land:
List of Texas WMA areas:
A Website:

If we can break these down into chunks like COE districts, WMA's by region, and NWR issues, then we can begin to prioritize which ones are in jeopardy.


What I am envisioning is a website that makes it easy for the every-day Texas public land hunter to know the relevant issues facing public land hunting and what he can do about it.

Now whether this is through a petition with signatures, sitting down with property managers and laying out data or by having our members call and voice their concerns I don't yet know. If we're organized, people will take us seriously.

There is a lot of work here. I am not experienced in something like this so if you have something to add or a category to add to please let me know. If you want to tackle a category, let me know as well.

Right now I'm just storing these lists in files on my computer until I can figure out what we would need to do to get a website with hotlinks going.

Thanks guys!
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Old 02-06-2017, 03:26 PM   #40
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SIgn me up:
Apparently its only the District commander that has been holding us all back:

36 CFR Part 327 - RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING PUBLIC USE OF WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS ADMINISTERED BY THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS

36 CFR 327.8 - Hunting, fishing, and trapping.

(a) Hunting is permitted except in areas and during periods where prohibited by the District Commander.

(b) Trapping is permitted except in areas and during periods where prohibited by the District Commander.

(c) Fishing is permitted except in swimming areas, on boat ramps or other areas designated by the District Commander.

(d) Additional restrictions pertaining to these activities may be established by the District Commander.

(e) All applicable Federal, State and local laws regulating these activities apply on project lands and waters, and shall be regulated by authorized enforcement officials as prescribed in 327.26.
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Old 02-06-2017, 03:31 PM   #41
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Kirby, 2 PM'S sent with a ton of info!
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:53 AM   #42
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Default Its like the old saying goes...

"hunting will one day be a rich man's sport". With the increase in commercial and sprawling urban development us hunters are being forced out. It's sad, but with the only response to this dilemma being "contact your congressman" I feel our plight is falling on deaf ears. Perhaps the only way to save our precious hunting lands and way of life is to band together and start buying up land to create hunting preserves. If we wait on Uncle Sam to save our lands we will fall by the wayside and eventually hunting will become a thing of the past. Its a simple matter of population explosion vs hunting lands and this is a war we are on the verge of losing whether we as hunters realize it or not.
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Old 02-07-2017, 11:02 AM   #43
Bigyummy77
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Location: Plano
Hunt In: Public Land, Hill country
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Good info from BHA :

http://www.backcountryhunters.org/public_lands
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:45 PM   #44
Kirby86
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Location: Fort Worth, Plano
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As was given to me, this pretty much covers the list of properties.

https://www.tpwmagazine.com/archive/2002/oct/ed_4/

Justthrowit is breaking down the COE districts.

Our next step, which would be the biggest is to get a website up and running. We're in the process of figuring that out. Secondly is to have a meeting and prioritize short term, mid term and long term goals, and what issues take precedence.

Once we have that, then we can go through the issues facing each property. That is likely going to be the most intensive work, because its going to involve data and figures to help make our case.

Thanks for your work guys. I will keep you all posted.

Last edited by Kirby86; 02-08-2017 at 01:56 PM..
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Old 02-08-2017, 02:40 PM   #45
bossbowman
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Hunt In: Bosque Grayson Hill McLennan Navarro Williamson Counties
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_ View Post
SIgn me up:
Apparently its only the District commander that has been holding us all back:

36 CFR Part 327 - RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING PUBLIC USE OF WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS ADMINISTERED BY THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS

36 CFR 327.8 - Hunting, fishing, and trapping.

(a) Hunting is permitted except in areas and during periods where prohibited by the District Commander.

(b) Trapping is permitted except in areas and during periods where prohibited by the District Commander.

(c) Fishing is permitted except in swimming areas, on boat ramps or other areas designated by the District Commander.

(d) Additional restrictions pertaining to these activities may be established by the District Commander.

(e) All applicable Federal, State and local laws regulating these activities apply on project lands and waters, and shall be regulated by authorized enforcement officials as prescribed in 327.26.
So who's the district commander for Lavon?
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Old 02-08-2017, 03:01 PM   #46
Kirby86
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Location: Fort Worth, Plano
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Michael Kinard is the Lake Manager for Lavon.

Edit: Lake Manager and Commander appear to be interchangeable terms.

Last edited by Kirby86; 02-08-2017 at 03:27 PM..
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Old 02-08-2017, 05:04 PM   #47
Dave_
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Location: Austin
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For lakes in the fort Worth district. It is Col. Calvin C. Hudson II
http://www.swf.usace.army.mil/About/Leadership/

Galveston District:
Col. Lars Zetterstrom
http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/About/Leadership/

Tulsa District:
Colonel Christopher A. Hussin

http://www.swt.usace.army.mil/About/Leadership/

That covers most of Texas


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Old 02-09-2017, 10:45 AM   #48
BigRed12
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Location: Austin, TX
Hunt In: United States
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I live in the hill country as well, west of Austin. I am a member of BHA also, mainly because when you give them money they are fighting for all public lands in the U.S. When we send out a petition it goes to our Texas reps. I haven't had much luck finding out about the BHA Texas chapter but would like to get more involved. Another great group for public lands is the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. The dilemma you have is similar to what I heard Steve Rinella say on his Meat Eater podcast, "You vote republican and you give away your public land, you vote democrat and you give away your guns." It's a dilemma that with growth will always be an issue in the U.S., but with Texas being 98% privately owned it does make it more tough here.
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Old 02-09-2017, 11:14 AM   #49
Bowman01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razorback01 View Post
"In regards to COE, I've always been thinking "How can we as hunters help you". You, being the COE."

I've actually been over to the Fed Building in Fort Worth and met with the COE HMFIC (my office is just across the street). Nice people, good ideas, but just like my Lake Whitney survey and 5 questions and my responses, never heard a thing.
Razor when I fill out the hunting survey I always explain in the comments section that I'd be more than will to pay for a permit each and put that money towards the land for habit improvements, park clean ups so they could reopen those effected by the floods in a timely manner and my response is nothing.
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Old 02-09-2017, 06:38 PM   #50
Razorback01
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Yep Bow, no response. I'd be up for a meeting.
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