August 15th, 2007 14:37 EST
Gators in the Crosshairs, and Bears in Texas
The September issue of Texas Fish & Game magazine (TF&G) carries reports on several controversies involving alligators, including Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) charges that a record-making alligator was taken illegally.
TPWD alleges that the hunter who killed a massive 13-foot bull alligator in May did so illegally by shooting it in public water, charges the hunter and both his guides deny.
According to TF&G Editor-in-Chief Don Zaidle, the hunter told Zaidle in a telephone interview that wardens cited the story TF&G published about the record kill in its July issue as a catalyst that prompted a lot of phone calls " to wardens.
That caught us by surprise, since TPWD had approved the kill nearly two months prior, and then issued a citation after our article about the kill was published, " Zaidle said. It is an interesting story that has all the earmarks of a real boondoggle by somebody. It also points up the ridiculous complexity of the game laws, for which the convoluted regulations for spring alligator season in "non-core` counties could serve as poster child. "
Another story in the September issue raises questions about alligator management in Texas, and proposes that the state might be overpopulated with the scaly saurians.
Animal pundits like to claim that increased human encounters with wild animals are always because humans are "encroaching` on animal habitat, " Zaidle said. We examined this from the antithetical view that it is often the other way around--animals encroaching on human habitat--because the animal in question is over-populated. "
The magazine also takes aim at claims that there has never been a death or serious incident " in Texas due to alligator attack on a human.
Our research uncovered a number of Texas alligator attacks, both historical and contemporary--and the names of some of the individuals involved were a real surprise, " Zaidle said.
The same magazine issue features a story of a black bear captured on video near Leakey, Texas.
Bowhunter Mary Bone of Wimberly captured the video footage July 2nd and provided TF&G with still captures to accompany the story.
This bear was at a corn feeder and seems to have visited it or other feeders before, " said TF&G Executive Editor Chester Moore. Some might question whether this was someone`s pet that got loose, but it was definitely a wild animal in my opinion. I worked with captive bears for two years and have observed bears in the wild quite a bit, and this one was definitely the real thing. "
The September issue of Texas Fish & Game hits newsstands the week of August 25.