Monthly Archives: September 2010

Wildlife Management: Dove Habitat Management

Mourning dove and white-winged dove are both migratory species and as such are regulated by federal laws. However, allow these dove regulations do afford some protection to these birds, controlled hunting is allowed within most states. In fact, dove management units have been set up in the eastern, central, and western United States to regulate dove hunting.

Hunting pressure and dove numbers vary in each of these dove management units. To establish breeding population trends, federal and state wildlife agencies conduct annual roadside call counts and counts of doves seen over established routes. Breeding population numbers, based on these call counts, are the primary basis for determining dove hunting seasons and bag limits. Continue reading

Land Management Workshop in Central Texas

The Texas Forest Service along with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and other agencies is putting on a landowner workshop concerning wildlife management and habitat management on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at the new Jester County Annex building on Old Settlers Blvd in Round Rock, Texas. Topics include oak wilt, predator control, brush management, the wildlife tax valuation, pond construction, and prescribed burning.

The habitat workshop is geared towards new landowners that have between 20 and 1,000 acres, but it is open to everyone in the community that is interested in learning about sound habitat management. Everyone in Williamson County is invited to attend and learn about managing the native plants and animals found in our own backyards. Whether you are interested in birds or white-tailed deer, you are invited to come on out! Continue reading

Central Texas Dove Hunting Reports

September always starts with a bang—if you are a dove hunter! With the first of the month past and dove season well underway, many dove hunting reports have been filed. It was reported at the Gerbert and Plum dove leases in Fayette County that 4 hunters managed to harvested 12 mourning doves. Not limits at that public hunting unit, but the hunters did enjoy the hunting experience. At Plum, 5 hunters harvested 1 bird.

Having checked out the Plum lease before, it looks like it should be good at some point because it is a recently harvested corn field with second growth milo located just across the road. Looks to be good dove habitat. Dove hunting reports from Limestone County fields showed a good number of hunters hit the ground on opening day and that there were quite a few whitewing doves flying and lots of shooting. Observers reported that fields sounded like battlefields! Harvest per hunter average 3 to 5 doves with some hunters getting limits.

One hunter at a public dove field in Limestone County (Unit #2400) reported harvesting 14 doves by mid-morning. He also said there were 4 other vehicles parked in the lot and that 35 to 40 hunters were using the public dove lease units that comprise the Limestone County Complex. Continue reading

Balmorhea State Park Wetland Project Finished!

Wetlands provide important habitat for the animals that use them. Believe it or not, this is even the case in semi-arid regions such as west Texas! The construction of new wetlands at Balmorhea State Park to benefit several species of conservation concern has been completed. This system was designed to provide high-quality habitat for two endangered fish and three rare invertebrates.

Reports state that water began flowing through the newly constructed ciƩnega in April, and there are now large numbers of juvenile Comanche Springs Pupfish and Pecos Gambusia as well as a suite of other aquatic life including frogs, softshell turtles and a wide variety of invertebrates. It sounds like this wildlife management practice will have ongoing benefits into the future for both native plants and animals of the park and region. Continue reading

Texas Duck 2009 Harvest Estimates

Duck and goose hunting is a big deal throughout the United States, but I grew up hunting ducks in the Central Flyway and look forward to doing so each year. With Texas receiving an early cool front in late August, I am getting pumped up about the upcoming duck season. Landowners and hunters that involved with wetland management for wintering ducks and geese should expect another great season!

Last year was hit and miss in Texas with regards to ducks numbers, though the traditional areas with good habitat had the birds as usual. The Texas coast put together some stringers of birds and so did the reservoirs in East Texas. There were also good duck hunting reports scattered throughout the central portion of the state. Continue reading

Duck Habitat: NRCS Has Money for Management

Waterfowl, including ducks and geese, will find solid habitat along the Texas coast this year thanks to the United States Department of Agriculture Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative. If you are a landowner along the Texas coast and are interested in wetland or waterfowl management then I suggest you make contact with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and look at getting involved with their program to provide goose and duck habitat.

Priority areas in Texas are in Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Orange, Waller, and Wharton counties with secondary priority given to the adjacent counties that include Aransas, Austin, Fayette, Grimes, Jasper, Lavaca, Montgomery, Newton, Polk, Refugio, San Jacinto, Tyler, Victoria and Washington counties. Continue reading