Texas outdoors states mind-blowing

Published 6:59 pm Friday, July 14, 2017

By Chester Moore, Jr.


Texas is unlike any other state.

Only Alaska is larger but no state has more biodiversity and incredible outdoors opportunities. Here are some facts and figures that should make you happy to live here or want to get here as fast as you can.

#Depending on range conditions Texas is home to between 3.5 and 4 million whitetail deer. That is by far the largest in the United States.

#Texas was the first state to have saltwater hatcheries and remains the innovator in the field of producing redfish, speckled trout and now southern flounder.

#The Texas state record all-tackle alligator garfish (302 pounds) also stands as the world record.

#We are home to bass fishing champions. Rick Clunn, Larry Nixon, Tommy Martin and Alton Jones are either from Texas or lived here during their championship reigns. Recently B.A.S.S. legend and Classic champ Denny Brauer moved to Texas to spend more time on his beloved Lake Amistad.

#Texas may have the image throughout the national media to be a dry, desolate land but in fact much of the state is forest. In fact Texas now ranks only behind Alaska as having forestland with a whopping 60 million acres. East Texas alone has 12 million acres of property considered timber.

#Exotic hunting originated in Texas with the import of blackbuck antelope, axis deer, aoudad sheep another species by private holdings like the YO Ranch. There are currently 35 huntable exotic species here with populations of certain species skyrocketing. Free-ranging axis deer (those outside of high fences) are flourishing in Kerr, Uvalde, Real, Medina and Bandera Counties.

#At the time of this writing there have been 570 largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more donated to the Sharelunker Program. This program was founded in 1986. The lake with the most Sharelunkers is Lake Fork which represents nearly half of all entries.

#Speaking of Texas-sized bass, state officials have a program called “Operation World Record” that seeks to create a world record largemouth here. They do much of the research at a secret facility called “Lake X” in the blogosphere but in reality the Luminant Project Lake where a lake has been stocked only with Sharelunker fingerlings.

#Waterfowl hunting is a big deal here. According to Ducks Unlimited officials, just about every county in Texas produced at least one band recovery. However, the counties located along the Texas coast reported the most band recoveries. The top five counties were 1. Jefferson, 2. Fort Bend, 3. Wharton, 4.Calhoun and 5. Chambers.

#Texas is tops for turkey. There are more than 500,000 Rio Grande turkey as well as a population of easterns in the Pineywoods. In addition there are rumored to be some Merriam’s in the extreme western portion of the state.

#Texas once had its own wolf species. Canis lupus monstrablis, the “Texas Wolf” went extinct by the 1940s but was once common throughout the  Central and northern counties.

#Texas has some unique laws on the books when it comes to guns and wildlife. Did you know it was illegal to shoot a buffalo from a second story hotel window? Seriously.

#In a recent survey one if five Texans said they owned more than five guns.  Some 17 percent answered “preferred not to say”.

#Texas has the story of the Alamo. There is no similar story of such heroism and bravery for Iowa or Wyoming. Texas’s independence is equal is as legendary as the famous battles of the Revolutionary War.

#According to a recent study, you are more likely to be killed by “hands and feet” than guns in Texas despite Texans having more guns than anyone else.

#Texas has more feral hogs than any other state with a lowball estimate of 3 million. On top of that Texans are harvesting about 750,000 hogs a year. There are more hogs killed in Texas than live in any other state besides Florida which has about 1.5 million hogs.

#The Texas Slam is a quest to kill four exotic sheep species common on Texas ranches. Invented by exotic hunting innovator Thompson Temple it consists of the corsican, Hawaiian black, Texas dall and mouflon. It is modeled after the “Grand Slam” which is the four wild sheep species native to America which in 2016 can cost upwards of $100,000. A Texas slam will cost a hunter around $5,000 if they take super quality animals.

#According to the Congressional Research Service, Texas has 367 miles of coastline. When factoring in bay coastline the number skyrockets to 3,359 miles.

#There are nine varieties of rattlesnakes in Texas. They are as follows-prairie rattler, western diamondback, Mojave, timber rattler, western massasauga, desert massasauga, mottled rock rattlesnake, banded rock rattlesnake and the blacktail rattlesnake.

#The Texas state record for snook is 57 pounds and was caught by Louis Rawalt in 1937. That is bigger than the Florida record which is 44 pounds, 3 ounces. Texas is not known as a snook state but is has a fair population in the southern reaches and apparently at one time we had some monster fish.

As you can see Texas is unique and its outdoor attributes are downright impressive whether talking biodiversity or gun ownership. Texas is in a class of its own.

(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 or online at www.klvi.com.)