State and federal wildlife officials are busy working to put together a long term lesser prairie chicken management plan. The proposed plan includes input from biologists in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. If the plan gets the go-ahead nod from the US Fish and Wildlife Service then that means all states can get to work hunting for places to help wild chickens. But they will need a little help from Mother Nature.
Although drought has significant impacts on lesser prairie chicken populations, biologists are heartened by the fact that the lesser prairie-chicken has historically shown significant resiliency to periodic climatic events. When the birds were first proposed for listing in the 1990s, the region was experiencing a severe drought. In many areas, bird populations declined by more than 60 percent, but recovered to prior levels with a return to wetter years later in that decade. Continue reading
Most of the white-tailed bucks in our area have already rubbed the velvet off of their antlers. They are all hard-horned now and that got me thinking. I recall sometime ago watching a deer hunting show on television and the host and hunter placed out an antler rubbing post to draw bucks to within bow range. This was done by creating an artificial buck rub location by using a real tree, but it involved digging a hole and putting the post exactly where you wanted it. Seemed like a great way to get the job done, especially for positioning while archery hunting.
The antler rubbing post strategy involves planting a vertical log in your shooting lane or food plot. Place the post about 24 to 30 inches deep and tamp it into the ground so that a big buck does not just destroy your little tinker toy project before the deer hunting season. Also, it is important to leave a licking branch on it for bucks to use as well, where the animals can leave some additional scent either before or after rubbing the make-shift rubbing post. Continue reading
“It’s just one of the things that ducks really like… water. If you don’t have it then the ducks keep going,” said East Texas duck hunter Chad Robbins. “Then your up a creek without a paddle, only you don’t need a paddle because it’s bone dry.” And it’s true. Blue-winged teal, like other ducks, need surface water to make a living. And although stock tanks can hold birds, many teal will look for large expanses of water to rest on their trip south.
There is only so much shallow water management impoundments can do. If you have your water control boards in and it doesn’t rain, then your duck hunting habitat is a no show, just like the ducks. Though many teal will make a bee-line for the coast, East Texas can hold a few birds, too. Continue reading
Sometimes quail management plays second fiddle to deer hunting operations in Texas, but the presence of these upland game birds is always indicative of good wildlife habitat. Landowners interested in providing more for bobwhite should first consider learning more about them, and now is your chance. The Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch will host its 6th annual field day on Friday, September 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The theme for this year’s event is “Best Management Practices for Quail.” The tour will feature such relevant topics as:
- Bermudagrass renovation for bobwhites
- Enhancing useable space for bobwhites on post-CRP contracts
- Brood patchesQuail oases
- Use of “camera trapping” in quail management
- Sculpting prickly pear habitat for quail
- Shrub mortality response to prickly pear herbicides
- Translocation of scaled (“blue”) quail into former ranges
- Key plants for quail
- Shale & quail – quail considerations in a pending oil boom
- Updates on quail research efforts
- And more!