Monthly Archives: January 2010

Amazing New Research on Soil Hydrology

We may have to discard some of the assumptions made regarding what we once thought about soil hydrology. It seems that water and soil to not act the way we though they did. This could have huge ramifications for modeling, as well as on the ground applications regarding ecosystems and wildlife management.

Researchers have discovered that some of the most fundamental assumptions about how water moves through soil in a seasonally dry climate will have to be reconsidered. A new study by scientists from Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency showed — much to the surprise of the researchers — that soil clings tenaciously to the first precipitation after a dry summer, and holds it so tightly that it almost never mixes with other water! Continue reading

Late Winter Duck and Goose Reports

This duck and goose hunting report wraps up the end of the duck hunting season across Texas, but things are still going strong for geese across the state. Overall, the season was good and decent hunting weather did it’s part to puts birds across the landscape. Duck season ended on January 24 in the High Plains and the consensus among hunters was that is was a successful season.

Abundant water in the Panhandle gave ducks ample habitat and hunters a plethora of playa lakes to hunt. According to the duck hunting reports, lots of mallards, teal, pintails, gadwalls and wigeons were taken from playas and feed lots ponds. Goose season still runs from February 7, and prospects are fair for decoying action. Many waterfowl guides say this season has been a tough year to pattern birds, probably due the low count of juvenile birds thanks to poor reproduction. Continue reading

Quail Management Assistance Program

In an effort to provide more comprehensive quail management assistance, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is starting has implemented the Quail Management Assistance Program (QMAP). While no additional habitat cost-share is available through QMAP, being a QMAP participant will insure landowners are updated on available cost-share opportunities.

To enroll in QMAP, complete the application provided on the VDGIF website and follow the instructions. QMAP cooperators will be asked to provide an aerial photograph of their property, an optional e-mail address and GPS coordinates, if available. QMAP will help VDGIF establish a QMAP listserv for rapid communications with program participants. It will also provide a link for like minded landowners to work together. In addition, it will facilitate establishing a quail habitat database, helping track habitat additions as they occur throughout Virginia. Continue reading

Aging Whitetail Deer by Their Teeth

Looking at the teeth of a deer can give you an idea of a deer’s age. It’s not a perfect science, but when it comes to wildlife management what really is? Wildlife, including white-tailed deer, do not lend themselves to close monitoring. However, biologists agree that analysis of tooth replacement and wear, though not perfect, is the most reliable method for aging white-tailed deer in the field.

Tooth wear works because regardless of where a deer lives, animals lose their “milk” teeth and wear out their permanent teeth on a fairly predictable schedule. At birth, white-tailed fawns have only four teeth. Adult deer have 32 teeth. This include 12 premolars, 12 molars, six incisors and even two canines. Continue reading

Houston Hunter Dies in Hunting Accident

Matt Jansen, a 30-year-old man from Houston, was shot and killed Sunday morning, January 17 by his hunting partner in what has been ruled a tragic hunting accident. The accident occurred on the Salt Bayou Unit of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area shortly after legal shooting time began Sunday morning. The duck hunting accident was ruled by a Jefferson County Justice of the Peace as not intentional and no charges have been filed.

TPWD game wardens and Wildlife Division staff worked with the Jefferson County sheriff’s office to respond to and investigate the incident. Investigators and staff involved say Jansen’s partner swung on a flock of ducks outside a safe zone of fire. Although the number of hunting incidents is low compared to similar outdoor pursuits, and the rate of hunting accident in Texas continues to decline, swinging on game outside a safe zone of fire remains one of the most common accident causes. Just ask Dick Cheney. Continue reading

American Fisheries Society in Athens

The annual meeting of Texas chapter of the American Fisheries Society will take place from January 21 through 23 at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas. Friday morning’s session will cover future impacts to fish management and aquatic systems in Texas. The fisheries society brings together private and public researchers, universities, and natural resource professionals from around the state to a conference that aims to share working information for the best management of Texas water bodies.

Invited speakers include Dr. Karl Eschbach, Texas State Demographer, and Dr. Nielssen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist, who will speak to changes that will affect both natural resources and people. Additional presentations, including from both Coastal and Inland Fisheries staff, will address issues specific to fisheries and aquatic resources. Athens is also home to the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

Whitetail Deer Hunting Was Texas Tough

White-tailed deer hunting is a big deal in Texas, but hunters had a tough time of it this year in the Lone Star State. “The best estimate is that harvest is down by 30-35 percent this year,” said Alan Cain, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Wildlife district leader from Pleasanton of the South Texas harvest. Some locker plants that process deer are reporting deer numbers are down as much as 40-45 percent!

Cain said to blame the drop on the green-up that came following the drought. “The positive side of this is that a bunch of bucks will probably make it through the season to be available next year and with another year of age,” Cain said.He added that range conditions are still good, and once the bucks shed antlers and begin developing another set they should be healthy. Continue reading