Author Archives: Dr. Maureen Frank

Carnivore Management Program

Do you manage predators on your property? Many landowners are interested in managing the populations of carnivores, such as bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions, to reduce predation on fawns or young livestock. But do you know the best times of year to manage for predators? How about the best methods? Did you know that sometimes, leaving a non-problem coyote alive is a great strategy to reduce predation? These topics and more will be discussed by two of the state’s top carnivore management folks, Mike Bodenchuk and John Tomecek,… Read More →

Deer and Quail and Turkey… oh my!

Setting goals for wildlife management helps you focus your efforts on tasks that will benefit the species you want on your land. But what if you are interested in having multiple species on your land? Wildlife occur naturally in communities, which are groups of species that use similar habitat. When you manage for any native species, you are also benefiting other species with similar habitat requirements. For example, “crazy quilt” habitat for quail benefits many species of songbirds that need a mixture of open grassy areas and brush…. Read More →

Got wildlife? Get facts!

If you have wildlife on your land (all Texans, raise your hands!), you need to know good management practices for dealing with that wildlife, whether you want to increase quail numbers, improve antler production, or reduce wild pigs. The problem is that mixed in with all the good information out there about wildlife management is plenty of bad information. All management techniques take resources — time, money, and effort — and all land managers have limited resources. Bad information, which leads to poor management, does more than potentially… Read More →

Beep beep! Notes about roadrunners

Hopefully, you already know that the call of greater roadrunners (Geococcyx californianus) isn’t actually “beep beep.” But do you know what roadrunners actually eat? How about where they live? Like many wildlife species, roadrunners are the subject of several “myths.” One of the goals of NatNotes is to provide accurate information about Texas rangelands and wildlife in a brief, easy-to-read manner. So today, let’s do a fact check on roadrunners! Roadrunners have been blamed by some as a factor in the decline of northern bobwhite quail. While it… Read More →

White-nose fungus detected in Texas

Sometimes, “firsts” are exciting, like when an infant takes his first steps or a young angler catches her first fish. But when it comes to wildlife diseases, the first detection of a disease in a state is not exciting news. At the end of March, biologists reported the first detection in Texas of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats. Hibernating bats that tested positive for the fungus came from six North Texas counties: Childress, Collingsworth, Cottle, Hardeman, King, and Scurry. White-nose fungus thrives in cold climates and… Read More →

Nature’s Bug Zappers

Summer in Texas has some upsides and some downsides. One downside, many Texans agree, is the abundance of insects that flourish in the heat, swarming our picnics, backyard parties, and campfires. Now imagine if, across the state, we had billions more insects than we already do. If this sounds awful to you, then thank a bat! Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis), which are just one of 33 native bats in Texas, remove an estimated 6,600 to 8,800 tons of insects annually in the state. That’s over 13 million pounds… Read More →

Quail buffet line

What do you think of when you think of a quail buffet? Perhaps you think this is a reference to supplemental feeding, but today’s post is about increasing the amount of forage for quail without supplemental feeding. The buffet line in this post refers to a disked strip of land. Disking promotes the growth of forbs such as western ragweed, partidge pea, and croton, which are all good food sources for northern bobwhite quail. Not only are the forbs themselves eaten by quail, but the insects that eat forbs… Read More →

Ranch Management University

Are you new to ranching?  Do you have questions about the fundamentals of ranch management, such as soil fertility, the nutrient requirements of cattle, or wildlife habitat management? Ranch Management University (RMU) is a program offered by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service twice a year that provides education about ranching to new and inexperienced ranchers.  This spring’s RMU will be held April 3-7 in College Station.  The program will include both lectures and demonstrations by AgriLife specialists. For a list of topics and more information, check out the AgriLife… Read More →

Weather and wildlife

Weather conditions have a variety of impacts on wildlife. Colder-than-usual temperatures can increase mortality rates during the winter months. Warmer-than-usual temperatures affect the migration timing of songbirds and waterfowl. Drought often limits food resources that are available to wildlife, while abundant precipitation may supply a bountiful feast of lush vegetation and numerous insects. The recent NOAA predictions give a head’s up that warm temperatures are likely for the next three months. What does this mean for wildlife management? Watch for young animals to be born or hatched earlier… Read More →

Warmer weather ahead

Texas’ warmer-than-usual winter isn’t really news at this point. What you might be interested to learn, however, is that we might be in for a warmer-than-usual spring, as well. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts weather for the entire country, including predictions that stretch out months from now. Just released late last week, the most recent three-month forecast gives a 50/50 probability that the warm weather in Texas will continue for the next three months. The precipitation forecast indicates equal chances of the next three months being dry,… Read More →