Archive for the 'WMAs' Category

Welcoming Bighorn Sheep Back Home

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018
Relocating Desert Bighorn Sheep, photo by Earl Nottingham, TPWD

Relocating Desert Bighorn Sheep, photo by Earl Nottingham, TPWD

This is Passport to Texas

There’s a special quality about Far West Texas; and, as Froylan Hernandez can tell you. When Desert Bighorn Sheep are on the landscape, it’s awe-inspiring.

When I’m up on top of Elephant Mountain, my first glimpse of them, it’s overwhelming. Even if it’s just a single animal.

Hernandez is Desert Bighorn Sheep Program Leader for Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Historically, the native Texas Desert Bighorn Sheep occurred in about 16 mountain ranges out here in the Trans Pecos. Mainly due to unregulated hunting, diseases associated with the introduction of domestic sheep and goats, and net wire fencing – they brought the demise of the Desert Bighorn. And by the early 1960s, they were all gone from Texas.

For more than fifty years, Texas Parks and Wildlife and partners have worked to restore the Bighorn to its home range in Texas.

Luckily, the population in Texas is now big enough, we’re using those sources to transplant the animals to Big Bend Ranch State park.

And Big Bend Ranch SP superintendent Ron Trevizo welcomes them to a new home on the range.

When we started talking about the release coming in – to release the Desert Bighorn Sheep at Big Bend Ranch, I’m like – Yea, that’s great!

See how agency biologists translocate Desert Bighorn Sheep when you check out the Texas Parks and Wildlife YouTube Channel.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Big or Small, WMAs Are Places to Learn

Friday, September 29th, 2017
Entrance to Justin Hurst WMA

Entrance to Justin Hurst WMA

This is Passport

Texas Landowners learn how to manage their acreage by emulating wildlife biologists who keep the state’s Wildlife Management Areas in top form.

Wildlife biologists go out on the WMAs and they take a look at what we have; what the baseline is. And then they take a look at historically what has been there in terms of vegetation and wild animals. They’ll determine what it takes to restore that habitat, or to enhance that habitat.

Dennis Gissell is Wildlife Management Area facilities coordinator. Texas Wildlife Management Areas’ encompass about three-quarters of a million acres.

[The] largest WMA is in east Texas – the Sam Houston National Forest, which is actually a US Forest Service Property that we lease/license from them to manage. It’s over 160-thousand acres. The smallest is near Corpus Christi.

And that WMA is only 36 acres! The aim is to have WMAs for teaching and research in each of the state’s 10 ego-regions. Every one provides opportunities for discovery and learning, even when they are small.

These smaller tracts of land have really unique features. In this case – this particular property – has a wetland and a pond that has historically, been very attractive to waterfowl.

Find more information about WMAs on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series and helps to fund the management of Texas’ 50 Wildlife Management Areas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Landowners Learn Conservation on WMAs

Thursday, September 28th, 2017
Texas Wildlife Management Areas provide landowners an opportunity to become better stewards of the land.

Texas Wildlife Management Areas are a training ground for landowners who wish to become better stewards of their land.

This is Passport

Texas landowners are vital to long-term statewide habitat and wildlife conservation strategies.

Something that folks really are not aware of is that the water that they drink, the air tht they breathe, the clothes they wear, and even the fuels that provide energy for their vehicles and power plants, come from private lands in Texas.

Dennis Gissell is Wildlife Management Area facilities coordinator.

Private landowners really are stewarding not only the natural habitat, but they’re providing the resources that we as humans must have to survive.

Texas Parks and Wildlife uses Wildlife Management Areas to educate landowners about conserving wildlife and habitat, including water.

When you’re dealing with either surface water or groundwater, people need to be aware that that surface water is coming through lands that are owned by private landowners, and the extent to which they manage the vegetation and the habitat there, allows that water to be filtered naturally before it arrives at a lake or a river.

Texas landowners take stewardship seriously. Gissell says he hopes this remains true as ownership changes.

The former farms and ranches that were owned by some of the original settlement families in Texas are being sold off and broken up to some degree; we call that habitat fragmentation. As landowners acquire those lands, we think it is very important that they understand the role of stewardship, and managing and conserving wildlife habitat.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series and helps to fund the management of Texas’ 50 Wildlife Management Areas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV – Guzzlers for Wildlife

Friday, March 3rd, 2017
Guzzler on the Black Gasp Wildlife Management Area

Guzzler on the Black Gasp Wildlife Management Area

This is Passport to Texas

A guzzler is a rain catchment device. Collected rainwater gets funneled into a tank that feeds a water trough for wildlife.

As we all know, animals need water. Our annual rainfall is only around 11 inches a year. So we’re trying to supplement that water during dry periods.

Travis Smith is a biologist at the Black Gap Wildlife management area in Brewster County. So is Will Rhodes.

We’re in southern Brewster County which is in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas.

They build and maintain guzzlers on the Gap—45 so far—and see to the needs of wildlife on the management area.

We’re in the Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem. The area is 103,000 acres or a little over. Black Gap is kind of in the middle of nowhere.

Next week the men explain and demonstrate guzzlers on a segment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS.

So this catchment consist of R-Panel in 12 foot lengths, which is connected to these 6 inch C-Purlins by…

Let’s stop there. Will’s going to tell us about purlins and pitch threads and storage tanks; it’s not sexy stuff. But it’s necessary when building guzzlers at Black Gap. And, so are wildlife cameras.

On these game cameras it’s triggered by motion. Usually that’s going to be wildlife coming in to get water from the guzzlers here.

Which means their efforts are successful. See the segment on Guzzlers next week on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV Series on PBS. The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Turkey at the Matador

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016
Turkey at the Matador WMA

Turkey at the Matador WMA


This is Passport to Texas

Seven miles north of Paducah… in the Texas Panhandle… the Matador Wildlife Management Area offers about 28-thousand acres of rolling grasslands.

Former assistant area manager, Bill Adams, said it’s open to the public.

It’s open throughout the year for hiking, bird watching, nature tours, horseback riding… We have 76-miles of road on the area, and it will take you through a diversity of landscapes.

The site is off limits to the casual visitor only a few times a year.

We have a few hunts during the year that it’s closed. And those are our gun hunts for feral hogs, and deer and also for our spring turkey hunts.

Adams says turkey hunting is strictly regulated on the Matador.

We’ve got three good roosting sites for those turkeys, but they’re range is limited to those roost sites. We have to regulate the number of hunters we allow to take those Toms. We also have to consider natural mortality of the turkey population in the area. We want to be careful with what we harvest. Regulating that harvest is a way we can provide for public hunting but also provide for betterment of the turkey population on the Matador.

That’s our show… made possible in part by the Wildlife Restoration Program… helping to fund the operations and management of more than 50 wildlife management areas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.