Saturday, October 12, 2013

Government Shut-Down: What is Closed to the Outdoorsman?

UPDATE: The Shut Down in Over and it appears the outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen are back in business and can get back out on the water and woods!

I'm not into politics nor am I wanting to make this a political post. I just want to try and inform outdoorsmen and women of closures to some of the national parks in Texas.

While I was at work I heard that the Lyndon B. Johnson National Park, in Johnson City, had been closed. The closing is related to the government shut-down.
I thought I would get search the Internet for all the national parks in Texas to see how many we have and thus how many have been shut-down.

The National Park Service website states, "Because of the federal government shutdown, national parks are closed and the National Park Service website is not being maintained. "

Several hunters and angles frequent the national parks for both hunting and fishing, with the shut-down their outdoors activities will be interrupted.
After a little searching I located several national parks that the shut-down is effecting here in Texas.
Fisherman that access refuges such as the Aranasas National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Brazoria NWR, Anahuac NWR and the Texas Point NWR will have to suspend fishing these areas until further notice.
Freshwater angles too are having to suspend fishing on Amistad International Reservoir, from the U.S. side because the entire shoreline is controlled by the federal government as part of the Amistad National Recreation Area. If anglers want to haul their boat into Mexico and launch from there you can.

Army Corp of Engineers access points on lakes have also been closed.
 Lake O' the Pines, Lake Lewisville, Grapevine Lake, Benbrook Lake and Sam Rayburn Reservoir, to name few are all closed.
According to ACofE Fort Worth District website:
"***All Campgrounds and Facilities are Currently Closed due to the Government Shutdown***

Of course, all national parks are closed, including Big Thicket National Preserve, Lake Meridith National Recreation Area, Padre Island National Seashore and the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River due to the shut-down.

Then I looked up the national forests and grasslands.
Angelina National Forest (NF), Davy Crockett NF, Sabine NF, Sam Houston NF, Caddo and Lyndon B. Johnson National Grasslands, Black Kettle and Mc Clellan Creek Grasslands, Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands are all closes due to the shut-down.

Bowhunters that have used Fort Hood to hunt will have to hold off as well.
"As a result of the federal government shutdown, the Garrison Commander has made the decision to close the 2013 Fort Hood deer bow hunting season until further notice, effective immediately." according to the Ft. Hood website.
The website stated the decision to cancel deer hunting in the general season has not been decided as of yet and that small game hunting (dove, rabbits, pig and squirrel) is still allowed.
Texas public land hunters will have access to most U.S. Forest Service lands and be able to hunt. The reason for this is the Texas Parks and Wildlife staff is stepping in during the shut-down to assist with the issuance of U.S. Forest Service Antlerless Deer Permits.
Anyone who submitted their name to the drawing should have received their permits prior to the opening weekend.

Good luck hunters, be safe.