Predator Control Ongoing at Oakridge

Dogs baying a hog as trained; Photo by D.Mason, 10-29-2013.
Dogs baying a hog as trained; Photo by D.Mason, 10-29-2013.

Douglas Mason is continually trying to keep us ahead of the game with predator control here at Oakridge Ranch.  Above is a great picture of his dogs doing what they are trained to do.   Douglas caught the hogs below off Deer Field Court this week.  He has now removed more than 500 hogs removed from Oakridge Ranch during 2013 and we still have two months left in this year!

Eleven hogs in one trap on Deer Field Court; Photo by D.Mason, 10-29-2013.
Eleven hogs in one trap on Deer Field Court; Photo by D.Mason, 10-29-2013.

Below is a picture of “The Hog Whisperer” himself, Douglas Mason, having a serious conversation with some caught feral hogs.

Feral hogs conversation time with "The Hog Whisperer"; Photo courtesy of Douglas Mason, 10-29-2013.
Conversation time with “The Hog Whisperer”; Photo courtesy of Douglas Mason, 10-29-2013.

Pokeweed and Bluebirds

Look at this wonderful picture from David Kinneer from Virginia, of his local bluebirds taking advantage of the pokeweed berries.   He was kind enough to permit me to use his shot for our enjoyment.

Pokeweed and bluebirds_D.Kinneer, October 2013

The Praying Mantis

 We are fortunate to have this insect at Oakridge Ranch! 

Mantis in "Prayer"; Photo by B.LaVergne, 09-22-2013.
Mantis in “Prayer”; Photo by B.LaVergne, 09-22-2013.

 The Praying Mantis, Mantis religiosa (or European Mantis) is such an interesting insect.  A second species of this insect is the Carolina Mantid, Stagmomantis Carolina is also common is Texas.  It’s often debated whether these insects are friend or foe in the garden.  The Mantis feeds on various insects including flies, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, bees and lady bugs.  The Praying Mantis will even eat its own if no other food is available.  Because of their cannibalistic nature, there is often not enough of them in the environment to effect a difference in the population of the bad insects in our gardens.  Some people even make pets of these and often use them in teaching as they can be easily fed with flies and caterpillars.  The life cycle of the Mantis is not long, approximately only 6 months.  These beneficial insects usually die off by the first frost.

Praying Mantis enjoying a thunderstorm at Oakridge; Photo by B.LaVergne, 09-22-2013.
Praying Mantis enjoying a thunderstorm at Oakridge; Photo by B.LaVergne, 09-22-2013.

There is so much additional information on the Praying Mantis available.    Check out the following link for more details:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-20_mantid_praying_mantis.htm

We’d love to share your pictures!   Send them to ORWMA at oakridgeranchwma@gmail.com.

Large Cats in Oakridge Ranch

Two young cougars were seen today at 5:40 PM on Oakridge Road between Wagon Wheel and the bend in the road just east of that (towards the stop sign at Trails End).   But the property owner couldn’t get close enough to take a photo with his mobile phone before they scattered.  These were definitely cougars with the longer tail & crook at the end.  Since these were young, we must definitely have some breeding cougars in our area.

Many property owners are feeding deer and attracting more wildlife to our properties.  Keep a watchful eye for the predators that follow those we are trying to attract, including Cougars, Bobcats and Coyote.   Do not run if you are confronted by one of these animals.  Try to look larger than you are; carry a big stick, wave your arms, yell, etc.   Consider walking or biking in groups.

And, as always, live life outdoors!

(Note:  If anyone has any pictures on their game cameras of one of these cats or other predators, please forward to ORWMA at oakridgeranchwma@gmail.com.)

Texas Native Plant Week Oct 20-26

We are in the middle of Texas Native Plant Week.  Consider adding natives to your landscape.  Check out the Native Plant Society of Texas link below for more information on drought-tolerant native plants: www.nspot.org.

This is also the time of year to plant your butterfly garden for next spring/summer, best time to plant your wildflower seeds, etc.  Several sites are available online to find seeds including the following:
Wildseed Farms,  www.wildseedfarms.com
Native American Seeds,  www.seedsource.com

Texas AgriLife Extension Svc. Seminar

Landowners might be interested in attending the seminar being offered tomorrow by Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service.  The Multi-County New Landowner Educational Series will have its next seminar on Friday, October 18, 2013 at Tom and Donna Mueller’s GEN VI Ranch located at 2001 Biegel Rd, Fayetteville.  This month’s program will focus on rain water harvesting, fire-wise landscaping, and turf grass management.

The program is open to anyone who would like to attend, but it specifically designed for new landowners in the Austin, Colorado, Fayette, and Washington County areas.  The program will begin at 1:30 pm and last until 4:30 pm.  Registration is $20.00 per person and includes refreshments and educational materials.  For more information please contact the Colorado County Extension Office at (979) 732-2082.

White-tail Season Underway at Oakridge Ranch

Young Buck; Photo by B.LaVergne, 09-24-2013.
Young Buck; Photo by B.LaVergne, 09-24-2013.

This young, healthy buck is a nice example of one to pass on during this hunting season.  This buck appears to be approximately 2 1/2 years old and is a nice 8-pointer; but he is illegal in Colorado County, Texas.   As you can see, this fellow does not have a 13-inch spread on the antlers.   He’ll pass on some good genes to the next generation(s).

Remember to closely check out your deer when deciding which one to harvest.  Study your herd.  Consider taking does first and early in the season.  TPWD biologists tell us we need to take many more does that bucks this year as the doe-to-buck ratio at Oakridge Ranch is too high.  Be sure to contact David Mitchem, 979-484-9240, to get your doe tags. 

Here’s another look at this young gent.  Enjoy!  And as always, live life outdoors!

Majestic young visitor; Photo by B.LaVergne; 09-24-2013
Majestic young visitor; Photo by B.LaVergne; 09-24-2013

 

Oakridge Ranch Bow Season 2013

Here’s a picture of Will Carr with his first buck of the 2013 Bow season.  Will decided to have the head mounted since this is such a nice beautiful buck that field dressed at 126 pounds.  Congratulations, Will on a nice deer!

Will Carr with buck; Photo by K.Carr, October 2013
Will Carr with buck; Photo by K.Carr, October 2013

Note:  This is an Oakridge Ranch deer.  The Carr’s place is off Miller Creek Loop.  Thanks to the Carrs for allowing us to share this photo.

Photo of the Week7

“This seemed like a good idea at first!” – Nolan Hall.    Add your caption to this picture by clicking on “Leave a Reply” and posting your own.   Let’s see how many captions we can give to this picture.   Enjoy!

Deer stuck in a Jack-o-Lantern; Photo by of D.Konarik.
Deer stuck in a Jack-o-Lantern; Photo by of D.Konarik.