Outdoor Notebook — Texoma DU, CWD in South Texas and 2022 bass derbies

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

With two local Ducks Unlimited dinners now in the books as of last weekend’s fundraisers in Whitesboro and Celina, quacker backers can take a breather this month.

That’s because while there was a late flurry of DU events to end August, the month of September will be relatively quiet around the area. But the same can’t be said for next month when one of the biggest area DU dinners each year is slated for next month.

That’s when the Texoma Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is getting ready for its 46th annual fundraiser, moving from Loy Lake Park's Mayor Arena last year back to the Hilton Garden Inn in Denison this fall. Incidentally, that’s where it was scheduled a year ago before a sudden COVID-19 cancellation interrupted.

For quacker backers looking forward to the 2021 event, the Texoma DU dinner will be held next month on Tuesday, Oct. 19 and will see the doors open up at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $60 in advance for singles and there are also sponsor options available with a variety of ticket numbers attached to each level. The sponsorship levels are $300 for Bronze, $750 for Silver, and $1,500 for Gold.

For tickets, sponsorship information, and local banquet information, call either Newt Wright at 918-557-2622 or Paul Terrell at 903-267-4108. For information on the national organization, or to purchase tickets online, visit www.ducks.org.

CWD Found in South Texas — TPWD has announced that chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been discovered in a deer breeding facility in Duval County, deep in the heart of the South Texas brush country.

That unfortunate news marks the first positive detection of the deadly wildlife disease in the county and continues a run of bad CWD news across the state this year.

TPWD says that the CWD tissue samples were submitted from the deer breeding facility in question to the state’s surveillance program, as required. The samples reportedly indicated the presence of CWD during testing at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) in College Station on August 18. Confirmation was also received on Aug. 25 from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

TPWD says that in Texas, CWD was first discovered in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer along a remote area of the Hueco Mountains near the Texas-New Mexico border. The disease has since been detected in 260 captive or free-ranging cervids, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, red deer, and elk in 14 Texas counties.

CWD Emergency Meeting — In response to the rash of CWD cases in Texas in recent months, the Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPW) Commission will hold a special meeting on proposed rules related to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

TPWD notes in a news release that earlier this year, the discovery of CWD in six deer breeding facilities necessitated the filing of emergency rules in an attempt to stop the further spread of this disease.

The news release also notes that TPWD has been working with Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) and numerous other stakeholder groups in an attempt to develop rules that will ultimately replace the emergency rules.

In light of that, on Sept. 15, the TPW Commission will listen to invited testimony from its own agency, the TAHC, CWD experts, and various stakeholder groups. Agency staff will provide a briefing on the proposed rules that will replace the emergency rules as well as seek guidance from the Commission on public rules for public comment and potential adaption at the regularly scheduled Nov. 4, 2021, Commission meeting.

This month’s meeting will occur on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, at the TPW Commission Hearing Room at TPWD headquarters in Austin. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and will have its audio live streamed on the TPWD website at www.tpwd.texas.gov.

Texas Lures Pro Bass Circuits in 2022 — There’s one more Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour circuit stop this month before the 2021 season concludes.

But already, thoughts and plans are turning ahead to the 2022 season on both the BPT circuit, Major League Fishing’s Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit (formerly the FLW Tour), and the Bassmaster Elite Series. And in all three instances, the Lone Star State of Texas will feature a prominent role in schedules next year.

First up in 2022 will be the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit’s stop in Brookeland, Texas at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The tour’s first stop next year, the derby will take place from Jan. 27-30, a time of the year when Big Sam can spit out some giant bags of bass.

Next up will be MLF’s Bass Pro Tour, which will stage its Stage Two event of 2022 from Feb. 19-24 at famed Lake Fork. Hosted by the Lake Fork Area Chamber of Commerce, the Wood County EDC, the Sabine River Authority, and the Rains County Tourism Board, late February could be a big bass bonanza on Texas best known lunker factory.

Skipping ahead to April 9-14, MLF’s BPT returns to Texas for the Heavy Hitters 2022 All-Star Event on Lake Palestine. Hosted by SPORTyler, the event comes near the end of the spring spawn and a year after BPT had to cancel its 2021 REDCREST championship on the same lake after the devastating effects of last February’s killer freeze and snowstorms across the Lone Star State.

Incidentally, sandwiched in between the two Lone Star State events on the BPT calendar will be the March 23-27 REDCREST championship at Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees.

And finally, the Bassmaster Elite Series — which held the 51st Bassmaster Classic on Lake Ray Roberts back in June — will return to the Lone Star State next spring, hosting its annual event on Lake Fork. The Quitman based event is scheduled for May 19-22 and could produce some huge weights as the spawn wraps up and post-spawn fish begin to stage up just offshore.