Monthly Archives: August 2010

Impact of Lead on America’s Wildlife

Wildlife management has come a long way since man learned how to manipulate plants and animals for renewable consumption. However, one thing that has yet to be addressed is the negative impact lead has on living things, for the toxic material is still used by hunters and anglers and gets left in the field. Lead has been known to be highly toxic for more than 2,000 years. Lead causes numerous pathological effects on all living organisms, from acute, paralytic poisoning and seizures to subtle, long-term mental impairment, miscarriage, neurological damage, and impotence in males.

Research has found that even low levels of lead can impair biological functions. In addition, there may be no safe level of lead in the body tissues of fetuses and young. Despite our knowledge of how dangerous lead is, the toxic substance continues to be used in hunting and fishing products that exposes both wildlife and humans to lead. Continue reading

Habitat Management for Quail, Upland Game Birds

Bobwhite quail are the most popular and abundant quail found throughout the United States. Quail habitat is diverse, but they need suitable structure to exist. Both males and females of this species have mottled brownish backs and wings. Males have a white throat and face that distinguishes them from females, which have a buff-colored throat and forehead stripe. This quail is named after their call, which sounds like “bob-white.”

Ideal quail habitat consists of mixed brush and grassland plant communities. Brushy range land mixed with bunch grasses such as big bluestem, little bluestem, and Indiangrass seem to be preferred habitat. In the eastern portions of the quail’s range, pine or oak savannah and coastal prairie make great habitat, especially when these areas are burned on 3 to 5 year rotation. Proper livestock grazing and brush management are great habitat management tools that can be used to maintain excellent habitat for quail. Continue reading

Kerr WMA: Deer Management Seminars

For hunters and landowners interested in healthier deer and better hunting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has announced some upcoming white-tailed deer management seminars. The habitat and wildlife management classes will take place at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area (WMA), which is located about 30 minutes west of Kerrville, Texas. This area offers a very educational view on the interaction between the whitetail and its native habitat.

The Kerr WMA is offering seminars free to the public on the first Friday of each month in August, September, and October. Seminars include an ecosystems approach as it pertains to range and wildlife habitat management with emphasis on whitetail deer management. Topics discussed include deer management, grazing management, prescribed burning and brush control as well as how these management techniques effect threatened and endangered species. You will get some insight into key deer foods and how to appraise the habitat found on your ranch. Continue reading

National Petition to Ban Lead-Based Ammo and Lures

Research on lead in the environment has found detrimental impacts on fish and wildlife species. Lead is also an important component of fishing lures and shotgun shells used for hunting and target practice. Lead is also bad for hunters that fail to thoroughly inspect their game before consuming it. Recently, a coalition of conservation, hunting and veterinary groups today filed a formal petition with the Environmental Protection Agency requesting a ban on lead in hunting ammunition and fishing tackle.

Major efforts to reduce lead exposure to people have greatly reduced the amount of lead in the environment, but toxic lead is still a widespread killer in the wild, harming bald eagles, trumpeter swans, endangered California condors and other wildlife. It’s not a safe substance at all.

“It’s long past time do something about this deadly – and preventable – epidemic of lead poisoning in the wild,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Over the past several decades we’ve wisely taken steps to get lead out of our gasoline, paint, water pipes and other sources that are dangerous to people. Now it’s time to get the lead out of hunting and fishing sports to save wildlife from needless lead poisoning.” Continue reading

Texas Wild-Rice Monitoring in San Marcos

The 2010 Texas wild-rice monitoring was a great success! In fact, over 35 employees and volunteers from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas State University, Texas Master Naturalists, Lower Colorado River Authority, Texas Department of Transportation and the San Marcos River Foundation participated in the wild-rice monitoring project. Texas wild rice is an aquatic, perennial grass found only in the upper two miles of the San Marcos River just below Aquarena Springs. The monitoring process takes approximately seven days and many biologist and volunteers to complete the task.

This plant species is federally listed as endangered because the river water is being impacted by the growth of the City of San Marcos and by recreational users. In the past, there has also been some impact from nutria, a non-native aquatic rodent introduced from South America. Continue reading

Wildlife Management Class for Landowners

Texas AgriLife Extension Service (TAES) is offering a Texas Wildlife Short Course on August 20-21, 2010 in Bryan/College Station, Texas for interested sportsmen and landowners. The wildlife management class will consist of a day and a half of educational programming that merges into the Texas Big Game Awards Banquet for Regions 5, 6, 7 (Post Oak Savannah, Pineywoods, and Coastal Prairies).

In addition to covering topics on habitat management, activities will also have youth activities like archery, air guns, laser shot and more. This will be a great event for landowners interested in implementing wildlife and habitat management practices on their property, as well as those wanting to see some big white-tailed bucks harvested from eastern and coastal Texas. Continue reading

TPWD Protects Bats on Wildlife Management Areas

White Nose Syndrome (WNS) is named for a white fungus found on the muzzles and wings of infected bats. Bats with White Nose Syndrome awaken often during hibernation and use up the fat reserves they need to last through the winter, causing them to freeze or starve to death. Because this bat “disease” can impact Texas bats, Executive Director Carter Smith has issued an executive order giving authority to close caves on Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) property to protect bats from the spread of White Nose Syndrome.

Though individual animals can spread the bat disease among themselves, there is evidence that humans coming from infected bat caves and roosts can transport the fungus as well. WNS “has caused the most precipitous wildlife decline in the past century in North America,” said John Hayes, chairman of the University of Florida Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. So can WNS be stopped? Continue reading