Ray Sasser: Lunker changes for better spawning

The 2016-17 Toyota ShareLunker program begins Saturday with a few important tweaks and possibly significant changes planned for future seasons. ShareLunkers are largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more that are donated by anglers to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.

Texas Fishing Report

DMN

Ray Sasser: No place better than a waterhole for seeking doves

If dove hunting is the most fun you can have with a shotgun, and I’m inclined to believe it is, a good waterhole hunt is dove hunting at its best.

Ray Sasser: Tyler hunter builds own dove blinds

Alan Haynes is not as mobile as he once was, but the Tyler sportsman still hunts doves every chance he gets. He derisively calls himself “No Talent Alan,” but he’s being modest. Haynes, 77, still hunts doves with a .410 Remington 1100 auto-loading skeet gun that won’t fire anything but 2 1/2-inch shells. That means he’s shooting a half-ounce of pellets, as opposed to the full ounce of shot that most good 20-gauge loads hold.

DMN

Ray Sasser: Protect hearing from firearm blasts

By now, a million or more shots have been fired at fast-flying Texas doves, and most of the state’s estimated 415,000 dove hunters have destroyed just a little bit more of their hearing.

Local schedule

Todd Brewer

Gowdy repeats in bull riding

Despite an afternoon downpour that turned the North Texas Fair and Rodeo arena into less-than-perfect conditions, the skies cleared by showtime and the seats were filled with a sold out crowd.

For the DRC

Bull Blowout begins at fair

The North Texas Fair and Rodeo went to the bovines Thursday night for the first of three nights of the annual Bull Blowout.

For the DRC

Aubrey cowgirl Rutledge takes second in three events

Wednesday night was the second night of the annual 21-and-under rodeo at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, featuring youths from around the region competing in the same rodeo events as the professionals.

Ray Sasser: Bass bite sweet with topwater lures

The topwater lure landed with a soft splash, and I allowed it to sit until the ripples played out and the surface was again slick as a mirror. I was just about to move the lure when that mirror surface fragmented and the eponymous maw of a largemouth bass inhaled the lure.

Denton cowboys take three events at fair’s youth rodeo

The future stars of rodeo were at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo for the first of two nights of 21-and-under rodeo competition Tuesday.

For the DRC

Sikes Ranch takes rodeo title

Denton-area ranches competed Monday night in the annual ranch rodeo at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo.

Courtesy photo

Scores at rodeo continue to climb

Better conditions meant for better scores and faster times for the professional rodeo action that concluded Sunday night at the 88th annual North Texas Fair and Rodeo with the third of three PRCA rodeo performances.

Colorado cowboy prevails in bareback riding

Despite less than perfect conditions due to the heavy rains, rodeo fans packed the stands Saturday night at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, including the additional 1,000 seats added for this year’s event, for the PRCA action.

Courtesy photo

Heavy rains muddy first day riding

Heavy rains on Friday made for a muddy arena as the 88th North Texas Fair and Rodeo kicked off with the first of three Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association performances.

Ray Sasser: At least licenses carry no new fees

New hunting and fishing licenses went on sale at about 1,800 Texas retailers Monday, or you can buy them online at http://tpwd.texas.gov. There is a transaction fee for internet sales. Most current licenses expire Aug. 31.

Ray Sasser: Heat affects the fish, too

The dog days of summer are upon us. That doesn’t mean the fishing is bad — it’s not even uncomfortable for the first three or four hours of daylight.

North Texas Karters set to host Grand Nationals this weekend

North Texas Karters will host the International Karting Foundation 4 Cycle Sprint Grand Nationals on Thursday through Saturday at the North Texas Kartway, 3738 Memory Lane, north of Denton.

Ray Sasser: A cheaper alternative for hunting

About 1.25 million Texas hunting licenses were sold during the 2015-16 license cycle, which ends Aug. 31. New licenses go on sale Aug. 15. The state has many more potential hunters who cannot afford to pay private landowners for a hunting lease.

Ray Sasser: Get a dog, avoid snakes

Now that wild quail seem to be making a comeback, a good bird dog is more valuable than ever. That’s why it makes perfect sense to enroll your dogs in a snake avoidance clinic.

DRC

Summer ice

While most Texas high school athletes spend the summer preparing for their upcoming football, basketball or volleyball seasons, Denton’s Kimball Johnson gears up for a cooler, less popular sport.

Track and field: Denton’s McAfee off to Junior Olympics with eyes on 2020

Whether it’s just before the sun rises or long after it has set, Denton High School’s Ben McAfee can be found running. Committed to his dream of making the 2020 U.S. Olympic team, McAfee knows how much work is ahead of him. On Monday in Sacramento, California, he will take a major step toward accomplishing his goal as he competes in the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships.

Ray Sasser: Biologist turns AC shells into art

Trey Carpenter calls his metal work “recycle art.” It’s made from the thin metal shell of air-conditioner air handlers.

DRC

Denton resident in running for drag racing title

FORT WORTH — If it has a motor and wheels, Brent Harper is willing to race it.Harper, 47 and a Denton resident, has made a name for himself racing competitively in everything from karts to motorcycles.

Ray Sasser: Zebra mussel invasion can be prevented

Add Lake Worth, Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Livingston to the list of Texas lakes infected by zebra mussels. Since these east European invasive mollusks were discovered in Lake Texoma in 2009, six lakes and three river basins are fully infested.

DRC

Roller derby girls

In a poorly lighted indoor skating center in Denton, youngsters skate alongside high school kids on a Wednesday evening, but this isn’t the typical skate night made popular in the 1980s with music blaring over the speakers.

Ray Sasser: White bass plentiful, so arrive early

Fishing has been good for white bass in Dallas-Fort Worth lakes. In North Texas, white bass are commonly referred to as sand bass or sandies.

Texas Fishing Report

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ray Sasser is on vacation. His column will return in early July.

Canoe gets 78-year-old moving

Not long ago, 78-year-old Mac McCann tossed a pair of hand-crafted walking canes into a closet in his north Denton home and chose, instead, to grab a featherweight canoe paddle. “Six months ago, I could barely walk,” he says.

Getty Images

Motor sports: Storms during track repairs force postponement of Indy car race

FORT WORTH — A Verizon IndyCar Series race that was rained out Saturday did get started Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, but an extended caution period after a scary crash saw the return of heavy showers and another postponement.

Allen Americans drop Game 2 of Kelly Cup

ALLEN – Following their Game 1 win on Saturday, the Allen Americans had less than 24 hours to rerack for Game 2 of the ECHL Kelly Cup Finals and after the first period and a half it was clear they were playing a different game.

Allen Americans take opening game in Kelly Cup series

ALLEN – Less than two minutes into Saturday’s Game 1 of the ECHL Kelly Cup Finals between the defending champion Allen Americans and the Wheeling (W. Va.) Nailers, fans in the Allen Event Center leapt to their feet in excitement thinking their team had scored, but it was a shot off the side of the net that triggered a false horn as the referee waived his arms emphatically to signal no goal. Despite the tease, the Americans gave their fans several more opportunities for celebration as they rolled to a 4-1 lead in the second period behind a pair of goals from defenseman Tristan King and fended off a late, penalty-infused rally by the Nailers for a 5-3 victory to open the best-of-seven series.

Staff Photographer

Alcohol, water bad mix for boaters

Mild climate means a year-round boating season for Gulf Coast states. That’s a contributing factor to U.S. Coast Guard statistics that rank Texas second only to Florida in boating accidents and fatalities.Nationally,...

AP

Rangers’ Banister facing Pirates, his team for 29 seasons

ARLINGTON — Ranger manager Jeff Banister will be facing his past when he looks across the field this weekend at something he has never seen in more than three decades in professional baseball. “It’ll be...

www.chriskeane.com

Ray Sasser: Ray Roberts tourney starts today

The 10th Toyota Texas Bass Classic is set for Ray Roberts Lake today through Sunday. The tournament is accompanied by the Toyota Texas Fest at Frisco’s Toyota Stadium.

Ray Sasser: Calling fly fishers to test bass skills

The seventh annual World Championship Bass on the Fly Fishing Tournament was Saturday, with headquarters at Lake Fork Marina. “This tournament is exclusively for fly fishing anglers,” fly fishing instructor Ted Warren said. “Only rods, reels, lines and lures made for fly fishing can be used."

Ray Sasser: This lunker season's a clunker

In the final week of the Toyota ShareLunker program, it seems resigned to die with a whimper. This will be the worst ShareLunker season since the program began in 1987.

North Texas Karters

Ray Sasser: Couple learns fun of spring turkeys

QUANAH — Along the scenic red rock bluffs of the Pease River, Dave and Dell Osborn of Rockwall bought a modest ranch in 2011. They call it Rustic River Ranch and have turned it into a successful hunting operation.

Motor sports: Kyle Busch wins rain-delayed Duck Commander 500

FORT WORTH — The rain fell, the sparks flew and a Saturday night hunt bled into Sunday morning. In the end, fresher tires made the difference and Kyle Busch won the weather-delayed Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. With his second win of the season, the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion clinched a berth in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff.

Ray Sasser: Three organizations’ fundraisers worthy of support

Three stalwarts of the Dallas outdoors community will host fundraisers this month. It starts with the Dallas Ecological Foundation’s Rendezvous of the Guardians on Thursday, followed by the Dallas Woods and Waters Conservation Club’s 37th Annual Dinner and Benefit Auction on April 16 and the Dallas Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association’s 35th Annual Banquet and Auction on April 21.

AP Images for WWE

Steve Gamel: Who’s the bigger WWE fan, me or the kid?

ARLINGTON — I looked at my son for a brief moment Sunday night and wondered who was the bigger fan — him or me? We were at WrestleMania 32 and we were so excited that we couldn’t catch our breath.

Ray Sasser: Clunn oldest to win B.A.S.S. tourney

Rick Clunn struck a blow for seasoned anglers when he won the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on Florida’s St. Johns River last weekend. At 69, Clunn became the oldest angler to win a B.A.S.S. tournament.

Bill Carey

Ray Sasser: Conditions ideal for bass fishing

Strong waterflow in rivers and streams this spring is good news for the Morone family of game fish. For most North Texas lakes, that means white bass, routinely called sand bass.

DMN

Ray Sasser: All fair when hunting these fowl

Wild turkey gobblers are kings of the spring, wearing their colorful feathers like royal robes, fanned out and strutting with self-importance. Wildflower-covered hills reverberate with their calls.

Ray Sasser: Try this for a strange fishing tale

After nearly 60 years of bass fishing, I thought I’d seen just about everything — at least everything involving fish. Keep your eyes and your mind open when you’re outdoors and you will constantly be amazed by nature.

Ray Sasser: Tips for landing the big one

Texas is on the cusp of big bass season. March is prime time.

DMN

Ray Sasser: Cuter than a lab, Huck masters birds

Few bird dogs are considered important enough to have a road named in their honor.

Hunters battle harmful exotic deer

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, free-ranging exotic deer have become so numerous that they’re damaging the habitat in at least two state parks and outcompeting native wildlife.

Motor sports: Pilot Point’s Richardson to settle Daytona fate today

As much as it’s even possible at Daytona International Speedway, Robert Richardson Jr. controls his own destiny. If the Pilot Point resident finishes ahead of Matt DiBenedetto, David Gilliland and Reed Sorenson in tonight’s second race of the Can-Am Duel, he will secure a starting position in the Daytona 500.