If you’re reading this, you’re likely a wildlife enthusiast of one sort or another. The following should be of interest.
The Texas Wildlife Association’s Annual Meeting and Convention, called “Wildlife 2018” will be held at San Antonio’s JW Marriott Hill Country Resort July 12-15.
TWA, as it’s customarily called, is a statewide organization of landowners, land managers, hunters, ranchers, wildlife professionals and educators, and other folks interested in wildlife and conservation.
Its purposes are protecting our hunting heritage and private property rights, educating Texans on land, water, and wildlife stewardship, and passing the hunting tradition to future generations.
Some of you probably know TWA as the keeper of big game hunting records maintained in conjunction with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the annual Texas Big Game Awards program which culminates in the awards celebration at the convention. Others of you might also know of TWA as the outfit that runs the Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP), also in conjunction with TPWD. They’ve initiated multitudes of kids into hunting for 22 years.
There’s also food, entertainment and fellowship in addition to educational programs. This year’s programs range from predator management, feral hog control and culling bucks for genetic improvement, to managing wildlife on small acreages and wild game cooking (gourmet hogs?). There are events for ladies and some for kids. Some make it a family affair. I even stepped on a munchkin on the dance floor one night.
A live auction offers deer and turkey hunts not available to the public, as well as hunts in New Zealand, Argentina, Florida, and trips to Lake Tahoe, New York, and California, plus other coveted items. The silent auction has nearly 100 bid choices, as well. As if that isn’t enough, the multi-booth Trade Show displays eye-popping and mouth-watering merchandise for hunters and landowners, including, vehicles, jewelry and custom leather items.
This year, there’s a political issue that will also interests lots of Texans. Two programs concern what has been called – rightly or wrongly – “that big, beautiful wall.” The six-hour “Private Lands Summit” on July 12, will focus on “The Wall” separating the U.S. from Mexico, and provide diverse perspectives on it, including Border Security, Landowner Concerns, Wildlife Conservation, How Mexico Feels about it, and other topics. Then, on Friday, the TWA Foundation Luncheon will feature Ben Masters and Jay Kleberg previewing their upcoming movie, “The River and The Wall.” Their team ventured 1,200 miles down the Border by horseback, mountain bike, and canoe along the Rio Grande to experience the environment and gather viewpoints from Texas and “el otro lado” (the other side).
Many will recognize Ben Masters as the force behind the movie, “Unbranded,” about four cowboys recently out of college that took a string of mustangs 3,000 miles from Mexico to Canada on horseback. If you haven’t seen that saga, rent it! Both the Private Lands Summit and Master’s and Kleberg’s appearance require separate tickets, in addition to conference registration. Registration and information is available at www.texas-wildlife.org