Monthly Archives: April 2011

Go Native for Quail, Here’s Why

Bobwhite quail are important game bird both economically and socially. However, quail populations have declined over time because of changing habitat. As a result, persons interested in bobwhite have turned to quail habitat management practices to restore and enhance suitable areas. Exotic grasses are not the best grasses for quail. In fact, these pose a serious problem for quail and quail habitat. The three most common exotic grasses are Bermuda, bahia and fescue.

These non-native grasses were introduced for soil erosion control on many properties, but also for hay production and forage crops for livestock. While these exotic grasses work well for these purposes, they provide poor conditions for bobwhite quail and also are very invasive, often outcompeting desirable, native grasses. In addition, these introduced grasses are also planted to mononcultures, further decreasing any available quail habitat. Continue reading

Quail Habitat Management: Covey Headquarters

Habitat management really is THE key to quail management. Rainfall determines the yearly fluctuations in habitat conditions and ultimately quail numbers, but a quail population will always suffer if the necessary component’s of their habitat is missing. One aspect of bobwhite quail habitat that is often overlooked are covey headquarters. Covey headquarters are clumps of dense shrubby or woody cover with a canopy at least three feet high and little vegetation at ground level.

Bobwhite quail need and use this type of patchy escape cover on a daily basis. They use headquarters to avoid hot summer sun and seek protection from predators and harsh weather. Without this habitat component, few quail will be present on a property. This habitat component should be placed next to early-successional vegetation such as managed wildlife friendly grasses and legumes and tilled soil in order to be most effective. Continue reading

Bias Associated With Game Cameras for Deer Surveys

Wildlife management, especially towards white-tailed deer, is becoming increasingly important to private landowners. One of the biggest management issues landowners face is calculating reliable deer population estimates using traditional survey methods. One technique that has become recently popular is using game cameras to survey deer and estimate population sizes. Because of its ease of use and cost efficiency, remote photography seems to be increasing in its popularity as a tool for landowners and wildlife biologists, but does this remote survey technique work?

Game camera surveys have been used to estimate population parameters among a variety of wildlife species, including white-tailed deer. These parameters include buck to doe ratio, fawn recruitment estimates, and age-related information. However, this deer survey technique involves placing bait in front of the camera in order to capture animals more frequently, which could introduce biases in parameter estimates. From September 2008 to March 2009, researchers at Auburn University monitored cameras placed at random, along game trails, and at feed stations to determine if sex and age structure could be accurately assessed in a population of white-tailed deer. Continue reading

Habitat Management: Range Management University

Real estate is an expensive investment and more and more landowners are buying rural property and ranches for recreational purposes. In fact, real estate agents focus more than ever on wildlife and habitat values on the Texas land they sale. Landowners want and love wildlife, many getting actively involved with wildlife and habitat management. There are many ways someone can learn to improve their land.

Ranch Management University, a four-day program targeting novice landowners, is scheduled April 12-15 at Texas A&M University in College Station. “This unique new landowner workshop is designed to help new landowners improve their understanding regarding management of the various wildlife and plant communities they find on their ranch properties,” said Dr. Larry Redmon, workshop coordinator and Texas AgriLife Extension Service state forage specialist. Continue reading