Monthly Archives: March 2011

Anthrax Confirmed in Texas Hill Country

Anthrax is a bacterial disease that is naturally occurring with worldwide distribution, including Texas. Anthrax tends to be diagnosed in livestock, white-tailed deer and other wildlife species, and is typically document during the summertime in Texas. Anthrax is usually detected in the Southwest part of the state, but the most recent cases of the disease have been primarily confined to a triangular area bounded by the towns of Uvalde, Ozona and Eagle Pass. Unfortunately, however, anthrax has recently been confirmed in the Texas Hill Country, but currently it has not been documented in deer or wildlife.

The first case of anthrax in Texas livestock for 2011 has been detected on a ranch in Hill County near Whitney. The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) has quarantined the premise after one cow tested positive for the reportable disease. The initial anthrax case is somewhat unusual as it was detected earlier in the year than normal – and in a different part of the state than is normally expected. There have been no previous cases of anthrax in livestock reported in the Hill County until now. Continue reading

Ibex Climbing on a Dam in Italy! Is This Wildlife Habitat?

A man-made structure is not the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks about the words “wildlife habitat.” However, some of the structures humans create can be used beneficially by wildlife species, even although this is seldom the case. Today’s cool wildlife photos involve Ibex goats and the side of damn located in Italy. Common sense would lead you to believe that the side of dam is one place wildlife would not be hanging out, but you’d be wrong! Continue reading

Brush Management Certification Training

Brush species provide food and cover for many native wildlife species, but in excess brush can also cause habitat problems. Brush species vary by ecoregion, but brush management is a common habitat management practice for many Texas landowners. As a result, Brush Management Certification Training for Landowners, land managers and brush control contractors will be held at the Meridian at the Meridian Civic Center located at 200 West River on April 12, at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area located at 2625 FM 1340 Hunt, Texas, on April 26, and in Johnson City at the AgriLife Extension office located at 101 East Cypress on April 27.

It is important that any landowner or contractor who plans to conduct brush management within Golden-Cheeked Warbler or Black-capped Vireo habitat as part of work involving Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraged to take this training and become brush management certified. The training is not required, however, everyone is welcome to attend and become certified and learn more about habitat management.

Certification of completion of the brush management training will be provided by the Texas Department of Agriculture. In addition, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will offer “certification” that allows the holder to control cowbirds, which are nest predators. Cowbird trapping and control falls under Predator Control for the wildlife tax valuation. Continue reading

Protect Water Resources for Better Habitat, Wildlife Exemption

Protecting natural habitat is the key component to successful wildlife management. Without quality native plant communities both the habitat and associated wildlife populations suffer. Texas, which has been aware of the importance of natural habitats for some time, has once again put it’s money where is mouth is. During the mid-90’s Texas passed the wildlife tax valuation, commonly incorrectly referred to as the wildlife exemption, that allowed landowners to manage for native wildlife and habitat while maintaining their agriculture taxes – without having to perform farming or ranching practices.

This legislation has gone a long ways towards protecting Texas’ wildlife habitat, but they are far from over. Now, a bipartisan group of legislators, representing both rural and urban parts of the state, is supporting a bill that would create an innovative incentive for landowners to protect water resources, preserve the state’s cultural heritage by protecting natural resources on privately owned land, and advance Texas’ long-range water plan – all without costing taxpayers money. Continue reading

Record Elk Found With Antlers Stuck in Minnesota Mud

In addition to population estimates, habitat management and conservation, a key component of wildlife management for most popular game animals includes regulated hunting. This holds true for elk hunting, too, but the recently-discovered record elk from Minnesota was not shot by a hunter at all. After learning about this lucky deer hunter that stumbled into a bull elk of record proportions, it seems you just never know when you are going to run into a wall hanger!

Whitetail hunter Ryan Muirhead had set out to fill his buck tag on December 12, the final day of Minnesota ’s muzzleloader season, but little did he know he would bump into a huge 9 x 10 bull elk with antlers that may rewrite the record books. The manner in which he found the bull was even more extraordinary…it was pinned flat on its back with its antlers stuck in the mud. Continue reading

Urban Elk A Problem in Colorado?

Population management is often a key part of wildlife management when it comes to large ungulates such as elk, which can negatively impact areas where they are found in large numbers. Elk overpopulation is a non-issue for the most part, but there are areas in North America where elk numbers, at least for short periods of time, can cause potential problems. One of the places that experiences healthy elk numbers in addition large numbers of humans in Estes National Park, Colorado. Continue reading

Eight (8) Mountain Lions in A Group?

Mountain lions, commonly referred to as cougars, panthers, catamounts, and lions, are extremely secretive animals that live a solitary lifestyle, often in rugged terrain. That being said, it seems every single person in the great state of Texas has a real-life mountain lion story. How could so many lion encounters have occurred unless many of the proclaimed and reported mountain lion sightings were due to mistaken identity?

Sure, some people may outright distort the truth, but I believe many alleged mountain lion sightings are reports of only what persons wanted to believe that they had seen. Seeing even a single lion is quite a feat considering the secretive, solitary lifestyle that they live, but what about seeing several lions or a group of lions? How about observing eight mountain lions? Continue reading