PBS Show February 26-March 4, 2017, #2520
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PBS Show February 26-March 4, 2017, #2520

September 11, 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.
And by Texas Parks and
Wildlife Foundation.
Helping to keep Texas wild with
the support of proud members
across the state.Find out more at tpwf.orgAdditional funding provided
by Ram Trucks.
Guts.Glory.Ram.– NARRATOR: Coming up on
Texas Parks & Wildlife– I thought we were going to
have a hard time finding cats to catch in these
really urban spots, but there is no shortage
of bobcats. – We were able to see a
bigger picture. The deer management became a
big deal in 1978 and from there it just took off. – Any place that you travel to
work at Parks and Wildlife is a super cool place. – [theme music] ♪ ♪– NARRATOR:Texas Parks
& Wildlife,a television series
for all outdoors.
– NARRATOR: Julie Golla
is a graduate student.
When she is home, she looks
after a housecat.
[cat purring] [phone alert]– NARRATOR: But when she leaves
home, it is often because
another kind of cat is calling.– JULIE GOLLA: The allure of
cats and their strength and their stealth…. They’re pretty fascinating. [camera clicks]– NARRATOR: Julie is studying
bobcats, and where she is
finding them might surprise you.[car honks]With Texas Parks and Wildlife,
Julie is researching
these wild cats in between
urban Dallas and Fort
Worth.– We’re hoping to answer some
very basic questions about urban bobcats- something
that we know very little about. We do know a decent amount
about them in rural areas, there have been a number of
bobcat studies here in Texas, but nothing urban. We’re genuinely looking at
an area that is completely encompassed by
human development. – JULIE: We’re looking at
just how bobcats move in the city areas. It started out with cameras. Cameras have been very
important, not only to see the number of animals but
to find those hotspots, where we can catch them in a
quick and efficient manner. We’ve gotten quite a
few bobcats on camera. Let’s see what we’ve got. On cameras where we do
get bobcat traffic, that’s where we’ll
put our traps. Opossum, armadillo, mmm hmm, and
then another bobcat walks by. I thought we were going to have
a hard time finding cats to catch in these really urban
spots, but there’s no shortage of bobcats, and so I think
people will be surprised. [golfer hits ball] – DEREK: When they’re developing
a golf course they don’t realize that the strip of trees between
the fairways is serving as a corridor for wildlife, but
it works quite well for us. [water flowing]– NARRATOR: In Euless,
all around the Texas Star
golf course, wildlife
corridors are identified.
Then the real
work begins.– Between seven to ten
traps are open at once. With one person running a trap
line, I can’t do much more than that, and we’ve been
trapping for about 10 weeks. That’s good.– NARRATOR: Julie is no stranger
to catching carnivores.
She has worked with
mountain lions and wolves
in other states, but baiting for
bobcats has its own challenges.
– DEREK: The trouble is when you
put a lot of scent down, a lot of stinky, nasty stuff
and then you’re crawling on your belly. [laughs]– NARRATOR: Odors only
go so far.
– DEREK: Make it rain!– NARRATOR: Attracting bobcats
requires some cat psychology.
– They’re like housecats,
they’re curious, they like smells, they like
feathers, they like furry, shiny stuff, and if they
see something move, it’s going to catch
their attention. And fortunately I can
use that to my advantage.– NARRATOR: Making cat lures
isn’t exactly glamorous….
– DEREK: We’re all
about recycling. – JULIE: Fresh ones. I don’t do rotten road kill.– NARRATOR: But there is plenty
of evidence that the
custom cat toys work.– It’s batting at it. That’s awesome. [laughs] You can tell this one’s
got it and it lets go and it’s probably
flinging around.– NARRATOR: Of course,
getting a cat’s attention
and getting it to enter a trap
are different things.
Bobcats are smart,
wary, and rarely seen.
Just ask someone who works
where a cat can be seen daily.
– MELISSA SOOTER: Bobcats are
about twice the size of your typical housecat. They are native, but people
don’t usually see them because they’re most active when a
lot of people are either just getting up or they’re
going to bed for the night. But they are out there. They’re named the bobcat for
their short little bobbed tail. And uh, just so curious. You can just tell that
they’re constantly thinking. – DEREK: Those are just a lot
of nice, natural funnels.– NARRATOR: Derek and Julie must
be constantly thinking as well:
monitoring cameras, moving
traps, and freshening baits.
– JULIE: I can put fresh raw
meat- squirrel meat, rabbit meat- in a trap and they
still won’t go in, just because it’s like, meh, I’m just going
to go eat my own squirrel. They’re not food motivated
typically, just because they’re so good at what they do. So that’s where it comes into
like just keying in on their curiosity.– NARRATOR: It may seem curious
that a carnivore could even
make a living in this
kind of landscape.
– JULIE: Oh yeah, that’s Euless
Avenue so that’s another un-collared cat. – DEREK: Oh wow. Eight o’clock at night, cars
moving by it just doesn’t even care.– NARRATOR: The number of cats
photographed suggests they
are finding enough to eat.– DEREK: The rats, the mice,
the squirrels, the rabbits, the really small, fuzzy critters
that may be quick to us, but not too quick for a bobcat.– NARRATOR: Between the roads
and buildings, greenbelts
and watersheds connect hunting
and hiding places, but exactly
how cats use these habitats
is not fully understood.
And that is what the
study is all about.
The study area stretches
from the edge of
Fort Worth to Irving
and Grand Prairie.
GPS collars will store data
about daily movements
and ranges of individual cats
for an entire year.
But first the cats
must be captured.
[trap door closes]Some traps can send an
alert when tripped,
but Julie still checks
every trap twice a day.
– Driving to check traps —
literally a wild bobcat chase. Here we go.– NARRATOR: After ten weeks
of trapping…
– This road is due for a bobcat.– NARRATOR: …13 cats have
been captured-
a few too small for collars.Nine cats now wear
the GPS loggers,
but one more is needed
for a full range of data.
– JULIE: She’s thinking
about it.– NARRATOR: The pressure is on.Julie’s friend Jim has come from
Idaho to help trap for a week.
– I’m a wildlife biologist
for the Nez Perce tribe. Julie and I worked on a
wolf project up there.– NARRATOR: But so far the
trappers are plagued
by a different animal.– JULIE: Oh, little opossum. Just kind of convince this guy
to go on about his morning. The bar is closed. And there he goes. When you’re trying to catch
certain types of animals, you’re always at the risk of
catching by-catch species. Bye bye, dude. Don’t come back. I missed a cat last night
because something fell on the door and made it close, but she
got on top of the trap at one point, looking through
the front of the trap. Maybe she’ll come back
and check it out again, if the weather holds up. [music] [thunder] Nothing. [sigh] [music] – DEREK: Capturing the animals,
meeting your quota is your biggest fear at the beginning,
because you don’t know what it’s going to be like. Unless someone’s done it before,
we have no idea if it’s possible or not. – JULIE: Alright, nothing here. [sigh] I no longer have my
camera on my tree. My trap has been messed with. It really sucks. [music] Nothing happening. Everything’s come to a
grinding halt it seems. We’re going to get this bobcat. We have to, or we’re
going to go crazy! [laughs] Opossum. I’m somewhat frustrated with
opossums at the moment. Go on! [opossum growling] It’s better than a
stolen camera day. He was a wonderful
good squirrel. – JIM: A-1 in his prime. – JULIE: Now he looks terrible. [music] [music] Tracks? Those are bobcat. Well there was probably a
opossum in the trap so they couldn’t go in. I don’t know how much more
of this I can even take. Always hope for tomorrow. – JIM: I was hopeful that we’d
catch at least one bobcat. Time’s up for me, I have
to leave this afternoon. It’s disappointing
not to catch one, but I fully understand
that’s how it goes. – DEREK: 4:52 PM, I was just
about to head out the door and I got a text, so I came to
check the trap and sure enough, there was a bobcat in the trap. Right next to a very busy road,
right at rush hour. [bobcat growls]– NARRATOR: Derek is
first on the scene.
[bobcat snarls] – DEREK: If I had to guess,
I’d say it’s a juvenile male. Looks like he’s a
healthy animal.– NARRATOR: Julie is just
dropping Jim at the airport….
– Bobcat!– NARRATOR: …but still
happy for the news.
[cheers on phone] [laughs]The crew is soon assembled.– Yes! – This would have been an
excellent April Fool’s Day joke. – JULIE: If this is a joke,
I’m going to be very upset! [laughs]– NARRATOR: But this time
it’s no opossum.
– JULIE: Let’s do 16 pounds
for him.– NARRATOR: The crew readies
a sedative cocktail to be
delivered with great care
and an extra-long syringe.
– JULIE: And Derek’s going to
act as my decoy to kind of keep the cat facing him. [growling] Got him. It takes about five minutes
for the drug to take effect, so we’ll walk away
and let him go down. We’ll wait until about 7:45. [claps] Good sleepy kitty. We’ll go to a much quieter
location, not only for us, but also for the bobcat. Because even though they’re
down and immobilized, they can still hear, they
can still sense light and fast movement that can kind
of make their heart rate faster so we want to keep things as
calm and quiet as possible throughout the capture. Thank you kindly, sir. He’s not able to blink right
now, so this is just artificial tears. – NARRATOR:The cat is
thoroughly looked after,
while being thoroughly weighed,
measured and documented.
– JULIE: Seven point five. Some of these cats have a lot of
spotting, almost leopard-like, but yeah, these arm bars,
that’s how we identify them. They’re very easy to see
in nighttime photos, so that’s what we
get pictures of. [shutter clicks] – DEREK: Okay. – JULIE: You want to get good
solid information, because this is a lot of
work that goes into every bobcat we catch. – DEREK: We’re very excited and
happy that we’re adding another member to our
research group… The fact is we still
have a job to do and we don’t take
it very lightly.– NARRATOR: As night falls,
additional data is gathered,
but not only for their study.– JULIE: This is for
parasitology, this is for disease, this is for genetics,
this is for rodenticide. We’re getting a lot of
information from these bobcats.– NARRATOR: But for Julie
and Derek’s research…
– JULIE: Okay, kitty.– NARRATOR: …fitting the
tracking collar is
the most important step.– DEREK: In a year, when we
get that collar back, it could potentially be giving
us 3,500 locations. – JULIE: Perfect. Alright he’s kind of waking up. [trap rattling] [music] Just set it down. It’s always stressful doing this
because you take the animal’s well being in your hands when
you work with them like this, but we did everything right, and
everything went really well. He’s doing great right now. – DEREK: It’s relieving to
see that the animal is coming out in great shape. – JULIE: Just give him
like 20 minutes. – Last cat captured and
collared- excellent day! – Having good days like today
makes me know we can get the most out of this effort. [bobcat snarls] I didn’t even do the
thermometer, okay? I think he’s good. [music]– NARRATOR: Four and a half
months after the release,
bobcat B14 and most of the
study’s cats can be
regularly located by the radio
beacons on their collars.
But not all.– JULIE: We did have a cat,
she lived off of a six lane street and she ended
up getting hit by a car. We’re sad to have lost a bobcat,
but it’s such valuable information in our study, so we
can learn about the challenges that these cats overcome and
sometimes don’t overcome when it comes to living
in an urban landscape. [radio chatter]– NARRATOR: But two more cats
have also gone missing…
– PILOT: Everybody ready?– NARRATOR: …and taking to the
sky holds the best hope
for finding them.– DEREK: Our main objective is
to locate these missing animals, but kind of a secondary goal is
to find out where they are not. Flying is a little bit more
expensive than it is on the ground, one flight can save
you weeks of ground effort. [music] – NARRATOR:Within a half hour
of takeoff, there is good news.
– DEREK: Yeah, he’s
definitely in here. He’s even back there-
I can hear nothing, nothing, nothing, pulse.– NARRATOR: …One of the two
cats is found just beyond
his last known location.– JULIE: That’s awesome. We’ll go check up on him
later today and just see what he’s doing.– NARRATOR: Within the week the
second missing cat is spotted on
a trail camera- the radio beacon
has stopped working,
but the collar is still intact.– When you strap electronic
equipment to a wild animal, you’re never quite sure how
that’s going to hold up. It’s definitely that way. I can’t track him with my
telemetry equipment anymore, but I can still try and monitor
his presence with these cameras and we can hopefully try
and recapture him and remove the collar ourselves.– NARRATOR: It will be months
before the remaining collars
drop off and reveal new secrets
about the lives of
urban bobcats, but the study
is already shedding new light
on how their habitats
overlap with ours.
– DEREK: He was spotted
about here? – JULIE: Yeah. – But he was also
spotted about here? – JULIE: We’ve got cats
sleeping under roadways, they’re hunting on golf courses. We’re finding that bobcats are
in neighborhoods on a daily basis and people rarely see
them and rarely have problems. If you see a bobcat, don’t
approach it or try to feed it. As long as we respect
them as wild animals, we can continue to share
this space with wildlife. – DEREK: They’re here. They’re valuable. They’re excellent critters,
and to strive in an urban environment,
that’s incredible. [music] [cow moos]– NARRATOR: Monty Harkins and
his son Jase are rounding up
some of their loose cattle.Keeping the cows in their place
is something the Harkins family
has been doing for
five generations.
– MONTY HARKINS: When I was 14,
my dad asked me if I wanted to be a partner in the ranch. I said, “Yes I do.” So I bought in at 14. My name is Monty Harkins, and
we’re at the Harkins Ranch. [western style music]– NARRATOR: The Harkins Ranch
is 36,000 acres
of Trans Pecos desert.It’s rocky.It’s dry.It’s dusty.It’s windy.And it’s been in the
family since 1905.
– I’m Jase Harkins and
I’m fifth generation here at Harkins Ranch.– NARRATOR: Monty and Jase do
the heavy lifting on the ranch.
Monty’s wife Lisa handles
the business side.
The rest of the family, well,
they pitch in, too.
– MONTY: We been really, really
lucky in keeping this ranch together and ranching it. It’s just a great way of life,
it’s not an easy way of life but you can make a living.– NARRATOR: Historically this
ranch was primarily livestock.
Some cattle, some goats,
and a lot of sheep.
– MONTY: This is some of the
best sheep country in the state of Texas. People look at it and don’t
believe that but it really is.– NARRATOR: Monty and Jase have
done things a bit differently.
Sheep and goats were
removed from the ranch.
Cattle grazing was
greatly reduced.
Managing for wildlife
became more important.
– JASE: We were able to
see a bigger picture. The deer management became
a big deal in 1978 and from there it
just took off. [bulldozer rumbling]– NARRATOR: Grubbing the
red-berry juniper
and mesquite has helped open up
the land and increased
the foods available for the
native wildlife.
– JASE: The brush removal
process has been going on here for 50 years. My granddad started
back in the sixties. – So, this site was treated
about a year ago. This particular spot here where
a juniper was removed, you create that low spot where
rainfall is able to gather, and you’ve got grasses coming
back and there’s a lot of young weeds and forbs coming up
here where that rainwater is able to collect. – MONTY: When we’re up here,
it’s real plain. I mean you can see there’s a
line of brush coming from the windmill down into
the corner over here. – The Harkins understand that
the juniper is also somewhat of a beneficial
plant in the form of cover. So they do leave wildlife
corridors, you know we call that edge effect. And it seems that the
wildlife have greatly benefited from that.– NARRATOR: Since Terrell County
only gets about 13-inches
of rain a year, water on
the Harkins Ranch
is hard to come by.– JASE: We have no spring water,
no flowing water. [metal creaking]– NARRATOR: What they do have
is an intricate water system.
Miles and miles of pipes feed
over 100 water troughs
scattered throughout the ranch.– JASE: I’m really proud of the
water systems that my dad and my granddad put it. It’s unbelievable. We have pumped it either with
solar or wind to get it to the surface and gravity flowed
wherever we want it to go. [turkey gobbles]– NARRATOR: As the Harkins
ranching practices have evolved,
they’ve seen a resurgence in
white-tailed deer, mule deer,
quail, and turkey.They’ve opened up their ranch
for limited lease hunting,
something that previous
generations never envisioned.
– You know we could have made it
just straight ranching but the wildlife has really
given us the extra income to make improvements that we
wouldn’t have been able to do. It takes a little bit of
everything to make it go. – We promote a balance, and we
try to follow through with that balance,
and it can be done. My parents want to leave it
better for me and it sounds so cliché but it’s true. – BOY: Stop sitting. Go. – JASE: What I see happening to
this place is passing it to the sixth generation. – BOY: Stop. – JASE: Not always easy
but great rewards. – BOY: Stop! More! [water flowing] [vibrant music] – STEVE SCHROETER: Any place
that you travel to work at Parks and Wildlife is a
super cool place. It’s in a park, it’s in a
wildlife management area, it’s those places I wanted
to be taking pictures. [vibrant music] The job really gave me the very
things that I was seeking as a photographer but just
in a different way. Every poke of the keyboard means
promoting this sustainability of, you know conservation and
wildlife and the outdoors. [keyboard clicking] – Steve Schroeter is the
behind the scenes guy. What he does is the driving
force with policy and procedure. He can forecast,
make predictions and he’s usually spot on. – Integrity is doing the
good thing when no one else is watching. And that’s Steve. – Steve’s title is a Support
Services Branch Manager. – His contributions have gone
well beyond what his role is. – SCOTT: Risk management and
safety fall into the other duties as assigned. – JENNIFER: He has not only
willingly taken them on. But he’s done a fantastic
job doing those roles. There’s the fleet management
policy and procedures. There are facility management
policy and procedures, risk management manual,
the continuity of operation, planning procedure. And then the motor pool
procedures. So, he’s had his hands
on all of them. – He’s so driven, so passionate
about the purpose and the goals of the agency. That just keeps him going. – STEVE: It is so much easier
to be a good leader when you believe in the mission. If you have the passion
in your heart, then there’s nothing
too arduous. The more that you put into it,
the more you get back out of it. But more importantly what the
department, what the people of Texas get out of it. – JENNIFER: With someone that’s
got leadership skills like Steve, you’re going to see
someone that’s honest. Someone that communicates
really well. Someone who is collaborative. – SCOTT: To the agency,
he’s got a great legacy. And I’m proud to have him as
part of my leadership team. He’s made a huge impact. – STEVE: Everyone who works here
seems to know what the mission is, to live it,
to recreate it, and it is the place
I want to be. [wind and waves] [wind and waves] [wind and waves, birds squawk] [wind and waves, birds squawk] [wind and waves, birds squawk] [shutter clicks] [birds squawk] [birds squawk] [birds squawk] [birds squawk] [birds squawk] [birds squawk] [birds squawk]– 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.
And by Texas Parks and
Wildlife Foundation.
Helping to keep Texas wild with
the support of proud members
across the state.Find out more at tpwf.orgAdditional funding
provided by Ram Trucks.

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