PBS SHOW Blanco Restoration, Helicopter Heroes & a Mentored Hunt, #2722
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PBS SHOW Blanco Restoration, Helicopter Heroes & a Mentored Hunt, #2722

September 16, 2019

– NARRATOR: The Texas Parks &
Wildlife television series
is funded in part by
a grant from the
Wildlife and Sport Fish
Restoration Program.
Through your purchases of
hunting and fishing equipment,
and motorboat fuels,
over 50 million dollars
in conservation efforts are
funded in Texas each year.
Additional support
provided by Ram Trucks.
Built to serve.Coming up on
Texas Parks & Wildlife… – The flood of 2015 caused
massive devastation to the Blanco River landscape,
and what we see here is an eco-system in recovery. – Through the last century,
Texas game wardens have evolved in the way they deal with and
respond to natural disasters. – The biggest thing before
taking the shot was my adrenaline started pumping
and my heart is racing. [theme music] ♪ ♪– NARRATOR:Texas Parks &
Wildlife, a television series
for all outdoors. [upbeat music] – You’d want to come here
with your family because it’s peaceful,
it’s quiet, the river’s always flowing. You can hear the birds, and see the butterflies
and the bees, and walk around and see some
natural wildflowers. – RYAN MCGILLICUDDY: So, this is
good to see because you’ve got a ton of switchgrass and
this is really what gets the process of healing started,
because it’s really deep rooted.– NARRATOR: Biologist Ryan
McGillicuddy is checking
on the progress at the Jackaroo
Ranch in Wimberley, Texas.
The ranch is a vacation rental
property with riverfront homes
a stone’s throw away from
the Blanco River,
but…– NEWS REPORTER: Right now,
there are entire neighborhoods under feet of mud and water, including here in the
tiny town of Wimberley.– NARRATOR: Just three years
earlier, the Jackaroo Ranch
looked a lot different.[raging water]Historic flooding on the
Blanco River claimed 13 lives,
destroyed hundreds of homes,and ravaged the land
along the river.
– RYAN: The flood of 2015
caused massive devastation to the Blanco River landscape. So there was a loss of a
lot of vegetation, a lot of trees,
a lot of soil scour, and what we see here is an
eco-system in recovery.– NARRATOR: While recovery of
this damaged eco-system
is important for people
who live here,
it’s vital to the wildlife
that depend on the river.
– Healthy native stream-side
vegetation provides a number of ecological functions including bank stability, because its roots are
deep and strong. It also provides a water
quality function by filtering run-off and pollutants,
but also, importantly, this stream-side vegetation
provides a benefit for fish and wildlife.– NARRATOR: One fish species
that relies on the river
is the Guadalupe Bass.At one point, this fish had
been pushed completely
out of the Blanco River system
by non-native small mouth bass.
When severe drought in 2011
reduced the river to a
series of small pools, fisheries
biologists saw an opportunity
to remove non-native
fish from the river.
A year later, biologists
returned to the Blanco,
restocking the river
with thousands of
native Guadalupe Bass
– RYAN: We’ve been able to
document that the fish that we’ve stocked are now
reproducing in the wild, so it’s been a pretty
remarkable success story. – Guadalupe bass, 228. – The water is at that same
level underneath your feet.– NARRATOR: In the aftermath
of the flooding,
biologists are encouraging
landowners to consider both
recreational and
ecological functions
when restoring their properties.– People have managed these
stream-side properties with St. Augustine going all the
way down to the water’s edge, but we’re trying to show
folks that you can have these maintained park-like areas,
but you leave some natural vegetation and
some room for the river and that vegetation buffer
to operate naturally. [wood clunking]– NARRATOR: After a flood,
it’s natural for landowners
to want to clean up
the riverbank.
But the wood from fallen trees
can be put to good use.
– RYAN: In a post-flood
environment there’ll be a lot of woody debris and the
initial reaction might be to remove that wood because it
might look like an eyesore. However, it plays an incredible,
natural beneficial function. That wood slows overland
run-off and helps rebuild the soil bank back, so it’s actually
helping restore the river bank and build it back up where there
was so much soil lost here from scour of the flood. – Yeah, I would think most of
the trees are going to go like along this area.– NARRATOR: As many as 13,000
trees along the Blanco River
were lost in the flood.Volunteers and landowners
are working together to
replant and restore
the riverbank.
– RYAN: Everyone’s kind of
looking towards reforesting this area and that’s
the eventual goal but in the meantime, we want
to get some native riparian grasses and sedges in there
to stabilize the soil. These native plants hold water
in the soil like a sponge and they feed creeks and rivers
during the dry times of the year so there’s a lot of beneficial
function to some of these native plants. You got a lot young
sycamore coming up. And this one is post-flood. This one is only
a few years old. So, they come up real quick
and start the process of stabilizing everything. – Now what are these? – You had to ask me that
on camera.– NARRATOR: At the Jackaroo
Ranch, they’ve been able
to keep the open, grassy,
recreational areas intact,
but they’ve also left
areas of native vegetation
at the river’s edge,
proving that you can do both.
And in the long run,
that’s good for everyone,
fish included.– RYAN: Really, the idea is to
get landowners engaged, it’s the landowners who are
going to be the true stewards of this shared water resource. So in order to have a healthy
functioning river system that’s good for sport fishery,
that’s good for recreation, that’s good for water supply, we have to have
landowners on board. We want to see if those trees
are coming in here. They are. There are so many of them down
here popping up in the grass. – We are doing things a little
differently now, so I think it’s important for us
to be able to set an example. And for people to come out and
see that it is useable, it’s still great riverbank,
it’s beautiful, and that it’s easy to maintain. [splashing]– NARRATOR: This project was
funded in part by a grant
from the Wildlife
Restoration Program.
[film projector clicking] – GRAHAME JONES: For Texas Parks
and Wildlife, for game wardens, you know, we’ve been involved
for search and rescue and disaster response for
more than a century. – ANDREW ALEXANDER: A lot of
search and rescue situations, game wardens are usually
the first ones to show up. – Through the last century,
Texas game wardens have evolved in the way they
deal with and respond to natural disasters. [dramatic music] Training is what allows
these officers to respond and save lives. Every day is a training day. – You train enough, so you don’t
have that excitement factor. It’s a pretty exciting thing
to jump out of a helicopter, you know, just with a thin
cable attached to you. But you gotta overcome that so
that you can be calm and do your job appropriately
and help people that are really in need. – We train together
all the time. We’re prepared because of this
team work and this training. [underwater bubbles] – ROGER: Everybody has a
specific job that they have to do and if they get lax
or make a mistake, we could all die. Teamwork is the
utmost importance. [dramatic music] – With the helicopter now,
with certain situations, we can save people where we
couldn’t even just, you know, a year or two ago. – ANDREW: The guys that we work
with are just outstanding. Our instructors are
rescue swimmers and they’re just phenomenal. They’re always going above and
beyond which is a lot of why they were selected to be
a part of the program. – For about two years,
we’ve been preparing for a disaster like Harvey. – Just a few months prior,
we had trained for almost that scenario. You’re never trained for
something as big as Harvey. – These helicopters have had a
rough one the last few days, when you consider the fact
that they’ve been flying through torrential rains
and high winds all to bring people who
are stranded to safety. – RESCUER: Just hang right there
and don’t let go of that, okay? – WOMAN: Okay. – RESCUER: I got you. – CODY BUCKALOO: These people
were out of electricity for two, three days. Out of food, out of water, you know, in need of
medical attention. – BRYAN REED: We knew Harvey
was going to be a big deal when it started to form
off the Yucatan. – We didn’t really know
exactly how hard it was going to hit nor where
it was going to hit. – The bad thing about a
hurricane like that is, a lot of times, the weather
is so horrible that you can’t really go anywhere
in a helicopter. So, it was a pretty good chore
just getting this helicopter down to Houston. – CODY: As soon as we could, the
next day we were able to launch. I mean as a game warden,
we have to be fairly inventive. We’re kind of a
jack of all trades. We’re plumbers,
we’re electricians, we’re mechanics. One in Houston where we had
a family that was in a two-story house, and they
were on a little balcony, and they couldn’t actually
get up to the roof. Our, our helicopter crew
actually set me on the top of the house and I was able
to coordinate with the people that were stuck there, and
actually get a box spring from the mattress under their
bed and use it as a ladder and help lift them
onto the roof. We got them to first responders
there in Houston. She actually gave me
a pretty good hug. Made all your efforts worth it. [helicopter whirs] – In Hurricane Harvey,
the aviation group, along with our tactical
operations group and rescue swimmers
working with Texas Parks and Wildlife
and DPS rescued 114 people. – Be safe, okay.
– Thank you. – GRAHAME: In fact, many of
those rescues were life-saving. – CODY: I’d trust my life
with any one of these individuals over here and
they trust me with theirs and you have to have that. I mean, at the end of the day,
I know they have families, they have kids, they have
loved ones and so do I. And I want to go home
at the end of the day. – For Texas Parks and Wildlife,
I see the future of search and rescue and
hoisting limitless. You know, there’s a serious
need for it as well, which is nice to be
there to help. The sky’s the limit. [upbeat music] – I’m Ralston Dorn and I work
as a paramedic for Adeptus Health in the ER. It’s a small community ER. We have anywhere from
six to nine beds. – WOMAN: Hello Skully. – Estelle, ready to come back? I help out the physician, nurse
and the radiology technologist with various tasks that
they may need. Can you bring your hands
above your head? When I’m not on the clock, I do the typical things
that guys my age do. Hang out with the girlfriend,
go to the movies, hang out with friends,
that sort of thing. But most recently, I’ve
gotten into hunting. [upbeat music] I come from a family
line of hunters… and I’m the only one
that hasn’t been hunting. [laughs] Hey good morning! – Hey, Ralston? – Yes, sir, are you Justin? And my middle name is Hunter,
ironically enough. – JUSTIN: Welcome to Inks Lake. – My dad used to hunt but when
I was about 10-years-old, he quit. So, for the last 21 years, no one in my immediate
family has ever hunted. So, I said, I want
to finally break that cycle, so I found this through
the Parks and Wildlife and signed up for it. – JUSTIN: This mentor hunting
program is for adults. We have lots of youth hunting
programs around the state. Our own Texas Youth Hunting
program takes lots of kids hunting but there just aren’t
many opportunities for adults. So, this is an opportunity
for them to come out, take part in a hunt, learn
from experienced hunters and be able to take those
skills back to their friends and families so
they can go hunting. – RALSTON: Prior to today,
no one had ever shot a deer. We’re all newbies. One guy is an
electrical engineer. I work in health care,
obviously, as a paramedic. Another guy, can’t remember
what he does, he’s from Egypt. So, I think it’s a wide range of
backgrounds and applications. – KRISTIN RODGERS: What a
beautiful tree. Wow! – RALSTON: Yea, we had
Kristin out here. She went out on a hunt with
a guide and, from what I understand, she doesn’t even
come from a hunting background. But it was pretty cool to
see her get out here and try something new. [Kristin laughs] – MENTOR: We are hot
on the right! [shot fired] – We just took the participants
through some hunter education activities including
live firing exercises. They all sighted in their
firearms which is one of those things that every hunter needs
to do responsibly before a hunt. We had some fun just shooting
.22s and getting familiar with other types of firearms. [shot] – RALSTON: The first day we
went over kind of the ethics of hunting. When to shoot,
when not to shoot. – MENTOR: We wouldn’t want
to shoot at that, that’s a ricochet shot. – RALSTON: You know the actual
shooting or harvesting of the deer is probably one
percent of the hunt. – If all the teeth were worn
out, of course, it’d be seven and half, eight and
a half in the wild. – RALSTON: What you do
afterwards, aging it, feeling their teeth, kind of,
figuring out how old the deer is and then the process of
cleaning it and processing it. [bubbling] – JESSE: It’s real fatty. I think it was eating
some pecans. – JUSTIN: Jesse Griffiths is
a very well-known Austin wild game chef and
volunteered his time and came out, cooked
dinner for us, then gave us a butchery
demo yesterday. – JESSE: It’s fat. It has very little flavor and you can just use it
to wrap things in. And then when you grill it, that thing just shrinks up
around it and gets crispy. – JESSE: So, we’ve got some wild
boar carnitas, some beans, tortillas and there’s two
different salsas over there, both of them are probably
pretty spicy. – KRISTIN: Did he get a buck? – I’m very excited. Very proud. Got my first deer
and it was great. [owl hoots] [deer feeder throwing feed] – RALSTON: The biggest thing
before taking the shot was my adrenaline started
pumping and at one point, I looked over and I told Justin, “My heart is racing,”
and he goes, “Alright, we’ll just hang out
for a second, slow down.” – Ok, she’s broadside. Whenever you got a good shot,
go ahead and take it. [shot] – Got her. – Good shot man, great shot. – Had I gone hunting with
my uncle or cousin, I’m sure I could have
maybe gotten a deer, but I don’t think I would
have learned nearly as much after the shot or before
the shot as I did here. [uplifting music] Who should take a mentored hunt? People who are self-reliant,
resourceful, and want to know where their meat comes from. And not just trust an FDA stamp
at a supermarket. – BRYAN JONES: The organic food
movement, I mean there’s nothing more organic than
harvesting your own animal out in the wild
on public property. There’s a large group of people, especially in that
millennial age group, somewhere between 25 to 40
that in an increasingly urbanized United States
and Texas especially, that just doesn’t have that
ability to go out somewhere, they don’t know people. There’s a huge market for it
and it’s a necessary market to help get them involved
because they can be the next set of volunteers and
just renew that cycle over. – After completing
hunter education, getting a hunting license, it’s time to show up here. The only other piece of paper
they have to have is a mentored hunting permit. – So, you went down this way? – JUSTIN: I consider this a
pretty great life skill to be able to go and provide
meat for your family and now they’ve got that skill and they can take that
and teach it to their kid and pass it on. – I’m going to take my kids. My daughter really wants to. She would be, she would probably push me out
of the way to do all of this. She’s 15. [laughs] – MAN: Mentors, if you could
stand behind. – CECILIA: Or the Dementors
if you’re a Harry Potter fan. – KAREN: One, two, three… – GROUP: Backstrap. [laughter] – RALSTON: I just sent my
father a picture saying “Hey,” because I used his gun to kind of keep the
family tradition alive. He’s really happy. He told me, he said, “Alright, I’m expect deer meat
for Christmas presents.” [laughs] – It was great. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able
to get a deer on my side but had an amazing mentor who
just basically walked me through every step of it,
the staff here was great. It was quite an experience. It was something that you know
if anybody else out there really wanted to do,
I would highly recommend it. It took the scary
away from hunting. It took kind of, the unknown. Sometimes we fear things
that we don’t know and we aren’t really
too knowledgeable about and, for me, it kind of
gave me that knowledge to make me a little more
comfortable, I guess. [uplifting music] – JUSTIN: That’s the best part
of it, right there. – Thank you very much. – You bet, it was a pleasure. The pleasure is mine. I’ll see you back one day. – JUSTIN: Yea, definitely. – Yea! Awesome! – RALSTON: I’ve gone back
and done deer hunting. I harvested a deer this past
hunting season with a bow. And then, I’ve also gotten
big into duck hunting. I’ve made deer chili for her
in the crock pot and she said it was amazing. Said it was the best
chili she’s ever had.– NARRATOR: This project was
funded in part by a grant
from the Wildlife
Restoration Program.
Brazos Bend State Park watching a common moorhen, in early October. Busy preening. And back in the marsh, a couple
of moorhens that are not too happy with one another. And boom, there they fight. Punch, punch. Using those feet with
those sharp claws. These are males that are
fighting over territory. They’ll do this year round. They are fighting over
space that has food, and they’re in a marsh. They are sharing that marsh
but they have their little territories carved out and they
have to constantly protect it. Wings back on the water
to hold em up… that way they can tilt back and
get those powerful feet forward. Scratch! Feet and beak, those are
your only weapons. Just a couple of boys
duking it out. And this happens all
year long in the marsh. It gets a lot worse as
marshes start to dry up, territories have to get
a little smaller. You’ll see it more in the spring
when there’s babies to protect, babies to feed, but you’ll
see this year round with birds that are sharing
a limited resource. A little bit of insight into
the world of a common moorhen. [moorhens cackle] [reflective music] – JEFF SANCHEZ: When is the
last time you guys flown here? – HAD ROBINSON: Oh gee, I flew
here about a month and a half ago. [wind] – So it’s a little bit north
and it’s going to straighten out according
to the forecast. – And were launching
at what 54? – HAD: About 51, yeah, Agave
Hill right there is about 5,000. [zippers] [rustling] – The name of our sport
is paragliding. [running footsteps] We may launch off a small hill
or off the top of a mountain peak. [upbeat music] – LEE BOONE: Looking good Had,
looking good! – HAD: It’s a soaring aircraft,
which means you generally don’t have a motor, and we
find air that’s going up. And you get in that air and
we go up, and we go up, and up, and up. – It’s a pretty obscure
air sport. I think there’s maybe 4,000,
5,000 pilots in the U.S. There are sights all
over the country. And this one looks
pretty awesome. [wind] – HAD: Jeff’s in the air. [wind] [beeping] – (over radio): Awesome, you
look good coming in! [wind] [running footsteps] – HAD: Franklin Mountains State
Park is the only park in Texas, and one of the few parks in the
United States that encourages paragliding. [parachute opens up] So the Franklins are a
great source of what we call lift from the air coming in, and they are also a great
source of thermals. Two ways we get up. All here in the Franklins
so that makes it special. [upbeat music] – Most people think we
jump off a cliff and it’s life or death. You just step off and you float. – HAD: OK, Lee just launched. – LEE: You feel the wing flying,
it’s really just floating off. It is relaxing fun, it is a
lawn chair in the sky and you enjoy life! [upbeat music] – HAD: Paragliding, a word to
describe it is euphoric. You leave the ground, you just
about leave your human life there, and you become a bird. It’s addictive, very much so, and it’s absolutely
fabulously fun! It’s amazing it’s legal. – LEE: Hope I don’t make a face
plant on this landing, huh! – (over radio): I hope not! – LEE: Beautiful sunset coming
out in the back, very smooth, enjoyable. Wooohoooo! It doesn’t get any better than
hanging with friends and flying! – HAD: That was a hoot,
so much fun!! [birds chirp and squawk] [birds chirp and squawk] [crickets and cicadas] [crickets and cicadas] [crickets and cicadas] [birds chirp, crickets
and cicadas] [crickets and cicadas] [crickets and cicadas] [crickets and cicadas] [rolling waves] [rolling waves] [birds chirp, crickets
and cicadas]– NARRATOR: This series is
funded in part by a grant
from the Wildlife and Sport
Fish Restoration Program.
Through your purchases of
hunting and fishing equipment,
and motorboat fuels,
over 50 million dollars
in conservation efforts are
funded in Texas each year.
Additional support
provided by Ram Trucks.
Built to serve.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. This video made it to some of my favorite places to go in Texas. Brazos Bend SP and Aransas NWR for instance. Iā€™m working away from home right now and while the video makes me home sick, it also makes me proud to call Texas home

  2. You had to ask me that on camera…
    I love this guy he's a dude out of my own heart!

  3. Mighty outstanding and educational video. Sure shows how great our State of TEXAS really is, along with it's first-rate, caring citizens. Many thanks, y'all.

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