Last weekend, the Texas Outdoor Writers Association held its annual meeting in which outdoor writers, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials and representatives of various wildlife conservation organizations gathered to exchange views on fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities in Texas.

This gathering of individuals presented opportunities to learn more about the status of our wildlife and hear views and reports on where we currently stand and what the future holds for our wildlife resources.

One of the more beneficial aspects of the meeting was a round table discussion with Texas Park and Wildlife Department personnel that included game wardens, biologists and other key personnel.

Speakers from Ducks Unlimited, CCA-Texas and several other wildlife conservation groups presented information on what their respective groups are doing to enhance our game and fish populations in Texas.

If I had to narrow down the two most important points that came from the two-day event, it would be that conservation has to be instilled in the minds of anglers and hunters and the most critical issue facing us now and in the future is a shortage of water.

Outdoor writers from newspapers, magazines and other publications across the state are tending to avoid placing pictures of large amounts of fish and other game in their publications.

The idea is that while the photos show legal limits, they tend to contradict the concept of conservation. Anglers especially are being encouraged to practice catch-and-release and to retain only what would be consumed for a meal or two.

The big issue on the minds of everyone, especially Ducks Unlimited and fishing groups, is the shortage of fresh water and loss of wetlands.

An interesting comment came from one of the writers who said Texas anglers cite Louisiana bag and size limits for fish when opposing changes in our regulations.

He went on to point out that Louisiana has a considerably larger area of wetlands than Texas and, while they have lost a lot of their acreage, Texas has experienced a greater reduction in this vital resource.

Everyone involved is hoping for quick relief to the drought that has plagued Texas for several years now.

Substantial rainfall would go a long way to saving our habitat.

Capt. Joe Kent is a columnist for The Daily News. To get your catch in the Reel Report, call 409-683-5273 or email

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