In a state that has the largest deer population in the nation, it should come as no surprise there has long been a close relationship between farming, ranching, rural property ownership and deer and wildlife management.
Good deer and wildlife management helps protect the environment, preserves time honored traditions, and also helps agricultural producers manage natural resources that affect farming and ranching operations.
The Texas Deer Study Group, originally known as the West Texas Deer Study Group, was formed in 1997 to serve as a forum for information exchange between deer and property managers across the state. Dr. Dale Rollins, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist at San Angelo and steering committee member of the Group, says this year’s two-day group meeting will be held in Glen Rose and will kick off April 18 at the Somervell County Expo and Texas Amphitheatre.
“The slate of speakers assembled for this year’s meeting is a who’s who among deer biologists. Topics will range from biology to ethics. Several veterinarians will lead the group in a hands-on deer dissection that will help set the stage for the other presentations. The hands-on teaching method will continue during the second day’s tour of the Quail Ridge Ranch where participants will be trained on proper habitat management.”
Rollins says while deer management is a concern to almost all rural property owners, there are varying opinions about how to best achieve it.
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“A growing trend towards more intensive deer management, including deer breeding, illustrates some managers’ goals, while others believe such intensive management diminishes the overall value of deer in the eyes of the hunter and the public,” he said.
Regardless which method of good management you follow, Rollins says the annual study group meeting is the perfect place to stay up on the latest developments of deer management in Texas.
“Since its inception, the program has been a collaboration among AgriLife Extension, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Texas Wildlife Association and Wildlife Systems,” Rollins said. “The teamwork developed among these partners not only brings a multifaceted approach to an educational meeting, but other spin-offs, the Buckskin Brigade Wildlife Leadership Camp for youth, for example, have helped raise awareness on deer management to audiences of all ages.”
The full agenda includes a host of qualified specialists who will provide information on a number of deer management topics. The full agenda includes:
* Reflections on Stewardship - Dr. Dan McBride
* Fundamentals of Deer Management - Ty Bartoskowitz
* Plant/Soil Responses to Fire and Drought - Steve Nelle
* Range Management Considerations - Ricky Linex
* Making a Feeding Program Work - Kent Mills
* Economic, Ecologic, and Biologic Costs of Feeding - Dr. Dave Hewitt
* Emerging Research Issues - Dr. Randy DeYoung
* Wildlife Management Association/Co-op Perspectives - Warren Blesh
* Trail Cameras for Surveys and Scouting - Ruben Cantu
* Status Report on Antler Regs - David Forrester
* Genetic Management Strategies Using Breeder Permits, DMP Facilities, and Traditional Culling - Warren Bluntzer, Dr. Charges DeYoung, and Don Draeger
* Public Perceptions of Deer Breeding - Brian Murphy
* Market Sustainability of Deer Hunting - Greg Simons
* Perspective on CWD - Dr. James Kroll, Dr. Bill Eikenhorst, Mitch Lockwood
* Field Tour of Quail Ridge Ranch with plant identification, range interpretations, and deer necropsy on the agenda.
Rollins says this year’s Study Group theme is “Navigating the Deer Management Continuum,” which reflects the spectrum of deer management intensity and technologies.
Somervell County Expo and Texas Amphitheatre is located in Glen Rose at 202 Bo Gibbs Blvd. Day one activities start with registration at 7:30 a.m. and will continue until 8:45 a.m. Breaks for lunch and dinner are scheduled.
Tour of the Quail Ridge Ranch gets underway at 8:00 a.m. on Day 2 of the event.
Individual registration is $75 before April 10 and $100 thereafter. Registration is available online at www.texas-wildlife.org.