Monthly Archives: February 2011

Texas Tree Nursery for Habitat Planting

Landowners interested in wildlife and habitat management are always looking to jump-start their practices by the direct planting of native species. Often times, high quality native plants can be difficult to find at a reasonable price. The Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery (WTN) produces and sells quality tree and shrub seedlings at an affordable price allowing Texas landowners to plant large quantities of quality seedlings for natural resource conservation.

From windbreak construction to wildlife plantings, or whatever the need, the WTN can supply quality tree seedlings to fit the purpose of your habitat management project. As a matter of fact, WTN has been working since 1978 to grow seedlings from local seed, providing landowners with trees that are especially adapted to Texas climate and specifically suited for Texas landowners. Continue reading

Texas Wildlife Management and Habitat Issues

Texas is well known for it’s large size, diverse habitats and its abundance of wildlife. However, Texas is just like every other state when it comes to battling on-going wildlife and habitat issues. Without continual research and wildlife and habitat management, many plant and animal species could be lost. I was just sitting here thinking of a few issues that state and federal biologist should think about when looking for habitat enhancement projects and research ideas.

Deer overpopulation in suburban areas in Texas and across the U.S. is not the most important problem, but it can be quite controversial. The problem is that many home owners do not like high deer numbers because of ornamental plant damage, but residential areas do not want hunting either. It’s a weird deal. To complicate matters, deer overpopulation is not healthy for the deer population or the habitat. I can only assume that solutions would be ways to decrease numbers through regulated hunted, trapping, and fencing, but like I said earlier, this topic is controversial.

Deer Overpopulation Causes Habitat Management Issues

Being an avid hunter, I know that lead shot ingestion by game and non-game animals is still a problem. After all, lead shot is still legal for hunting many animals. However, it is not legal for waterfowl hunting, such as for duck hunting and goose hunting. However, waterfowl, other game animals and non-game animals still ingest lead shot when feeding and looking for grit. Study after study has found that lead causes big problems and the eventual death of just about every living thing.

Lead, even when consumed in small amounts, can also accumulate within animals and up the food chain. I think the easiest solution would be to make only non-toxic shot shells legal for hunting. Period. Many hunters argue that steel shot does not perform as well as lead shot. I tend to disagree, especially since I have duck hunter for years and have had outstanding success with lead shot ranging from #7 shot all the way to #2 shot. Besides, there are way more non-toxic alternatives that perform as well as lead. Lead is a killer, so we need to choose to stop putting it out across the landscape, especially over duck and goose habitat. Let’s do away with it where we can to protect our fish and wildlife. Continue reading

Lead Shot Banned for Hunting Nuisance Birds

The art and science of wildlife management has always been rooted in population and habitat management. The objectives may vary from species to species, but the bulk of management has focused on these topics. Another component of wildlife management, however, is the control of nuisance wildlife. Enter another topic of concern — the use of lead shot in the field. For decades now, there has been concern on using lead shot for hunting, but now it seams lead shot is banned for hunting and controlling nuisance birds.

Wildlife Management: Lead Shot Banned for Hunting Nuisance Birds

On February 8, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildife Service (USFWS) has banned the use of lead ammunition for hunting nuisance birds, citing the need to prevent lead toxicity hazards to wildlife. The decision was published by USFWS as a final rulemaking action in the Federal Register. So that’s that. Continue reading

Freeze Impacts Texas Coast, Habitat and Wildlife

The cold weather was tough as temperatures dipped down low last week in Texas, causing gulf waters to get very, very cold. In fact, more than 1,000 sea turtles have been rescued in the wake of last week’s arctic blast, a massive infusion of cold air that brought ice and snow and bone-chilling temperatures to much of the Lone Star State, including the entire Texas coast. As of February 7, it appeared that the turtles suffered minimal mortality during rehab and most were in the process of being released back into the Gulf.

Aerial flyover today was expected to provide a better handle on impacts to the fisheries, but initial reports indicate only minor isolated fish kills. Fisheries professionals in Texas will be focusing efforts in the days ahead on assessing resource impacts. Among the conservation measures employed to help protect the resource was a set of temporary fishing closures around deepwater thermal refuges and a voluntary suspension of barge traffic in the Lower Laguna Madre. Continue reading