Feral Hogs & Diseases

Douglas Mason recently gave us an update about some of the hogs he has removed from Oakridge Ranch.   Douglas says that some of these hogs exhibited symptoms of pseudorabies.

This is not rabies in the common sense, but a viral infection carried by swine in many parts of the world.   Psuedorabies is a viral infection caused by Suid herpesvirus 1 (SuHV1).   The term “pseudorabies” is not an accurate term for the virus as it has nothing at all to do with the rabies virus.

Attached is a short primer from Texas A & M University on a few diseases carried & transmitted by feral hogs.


Thank you, Mr. Mason, for all the work you do to remove feral hogs from Oakridge Ranch!   You perform a difficult and time-consuming task to keep the population of these predators under control.

ORWMA 2013 015

Update on Fawns & Spring/Summer Mowing at Oakridge


The picture above was taken by Linda Petter of a new fawn found by Larry in their yard here at Oakridge.   As noted below does often leave their fawns for several hours in tall grass while they go find food.  Please check your grass over prior to mowing to ensure there are none hidden in your grass.   You might also think about not mowing a couple of areas in order to provide places for the does to hide their young.   We are still having new fawns born here at the Ranch, some as late as August.

Doe with new Fawn, Photo by J.D. Ray, May 2015
Doe with new Fawn, Photo by J.D. Ray, May 2015

Our does have begun dropping their fawns as seen in the picture above.   Take care when mowing around your place.   A doe will leave her fawns in tall grasses while she feeds.   A fawn has no scent for the first few days of its life, giving the it time to get stronger.  Thanks, J.D., for the nice picture!

Live life outdoors!

Bee Keeper at Oakridge

Bee Keeper at Oakridge, Photo by C.Jetton, Spring 2015.
Bee Keeper at Oakridge, Photo by C.Jetton, Spring 2015.

Hi neighbors.  My name is Jack Jetton and I’m a beekeeper here on Oakridge Ranch.  I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss bees and their challenges.  First here are a few interesting factoids about the honey bee.

  • The honey bee is not native to the USA. They were originally imported from Europe.
  • 60% of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables we eat depend on pollinators like the honey bee to produce.
  • Honey bees will fly up to 3 miles from their hive in search of pollen and nectar.
  • Honey bees never sleep.
  • The typical life-span of a worker bee is 30-45 days in the spring/summer
  • There are 3 types of bees in a hive: Queen, Workers, and Drones (males).
  • All worker bees are female.
  • A healthy hive will have 40,000 to 60,000 bees.
  • And many, many more.

The honey bee faces many challenges in its survival such as pests (Varroa mites, small hive beetles, wax moths etc.), disease, and chemicals (insecticides and herbicides).  The last is one where you can help.  As we prepare our places for spring consider allowing the wildflowers (weeds) to grow and produce their flowers.  They love yaupon, dewberry, beauty berry, thistle and horse mint flowers.  Before you spray an insecticide, please consider the potential impact on our pollinators.  Even if the bee is not directly contacted by the poison, the nectar and pollen they take back to the hives can build up the levels of toxins to the point the entire hive will perish.

As we get further into spring/summer you may see swarms.  This is a normal occurrence and the way the hives expand.  When honey bees are swarming they are simply looking for a new place to call home and are normally pretty docile.  If you find a swarm please give me a call (281-910-1432) and I’ll try to see they are safely removed for you.

Thanks for considering the bees as you work around your properties.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or email me at jackwjetton@gmail.com.


Bee hives at Oakridge Ranch, Photo by Jack Jetton, Spring 2015
Bee hives at Oakridge Ranch, Photo by Jack Jetton, Spring 2015

Winter Birding Event January 2015


Attached is the list of total birds counted during ORWMA’s 2015 Winter Birding Census.   We had 4 groups that birded the morning of January 24th and we had 13 present at the kick-off dinner the evening before.   We hope you become involved in our birding groups and make plans to  attend our next birding census later this year.   Watch the website for more news on birding.

Over the next few weeks, both Cedar Waxwings and American Robins will be visiting the Ranch to help clear our Yaupon Holly of the berries, making way for the spring.

Greater Yellowlegs; Photo by Brenda LaVergne_May2013
Greater Yellowlegs; Photo by Brenda LaVergne_May2013

Watch for Winter Visitors at Oakridge Ranch

The Lamberts saw Cedar Waxwings and American Robins this morning on their walk.  If you’ve never seen a Cedar Waxwing previously, check out these pictures, as well as others online.  Don’t forget to click on any picture you see here to enlarge it.   These are beautiful birds that come to our area each winter.  Before leaving in the spring, they will eat all the berries from your Yaupons.   These birds come to the Ranch in the hundreds!   Watch for them and enjoy!

Cedar Waxwings with a Northern Cardinal feeding on Youpon berries; Photo by B.LaVergne, Feb 2014.
Cedar Waxwings with a Northern Cardinal feeding on Yaupon berries; Photo by B.LaVergne, Feb 2014.
Cedar Waxwings; Photo by B.LaVergne, Feb 2014.
Cedar Waxwings; Photo by B.LaVergne, Feb 2014.

The Northern Cardinal is an ever-present bird in our area.  But they really stand out during the winter months.   The American Robin is a fascinating bird, also.  They will eat everything from insects, to worms, to berries & fruit.   And like the Northern Cardinal, the American Robin has a beautiful song.   Live life outdoors!

American Robin: Photo by B.LaVergne, Feb 2014.
American Robin: Photo by B.LaVergne, Feb 2014.
American Robins early morning bath; Photo by B.LaVergne, Feb 2014.
American Robins early morning bath; Photo by B.LaVergne, Feb 2014.

Beautiful, Yet Deadly

The Eastern Coral Snake is a beautifully colored creature; yet it is ranked as the second deadliest viper in the world.  We often think the rattle snake is more deadly, but it’s not.  Both the head and tail of the coral snake look much the same; both are small and rounded.  The coral snake chews on it’s victim, or hangs on, allowing for the snake to deposit more venom than snakes that strike.

This snake came out to warm itself in the sunshine as many cold-blooded creatures do after a cold snap followed by mild weather.   Never attempt to touch one of these or pick one up.  The following little poem is the best rule of thumb to know if it’s an actual coral snake or a less venomous look-alike; teach it to your children.
Red on black, venom lack;
Red on yellow, it will kill a fellow.

Enjoy our beautiful fall weather.  But stay aware!   Be watchful and wear boots.   Live life outdoors!

Easter Coral Snake; Photo by B.LaVergne, Nov 19, 2010.
Easter Coral Snake; Photo by B.LaVergne, Nov 19, 2014.


Sand Burrs – The Scourge of the Ranch

Sand Burr at Oakridge Ranch, Nov 2014.
Sand Burr at Oakridge Ranch, Nov 2014.

The wet spring, dry and hot summer, and then the wetness that followed gave birth to a bumper crop of burrs all over the ranch.  We’ve had many suggestions about how to be rid of them, from home remedies such as corn meal, pre-emergent herbicides such as X L 2 G, or simply continuous mowing.  From what I hear from neighbors, nothing seems to be the tried and true solution.

Jean Herring has recently found another approach.  She found a reference to using sugar, yes, everyday granulated sugar, applied as a soil amendment.  While not a quick solution, it seems that the sugar in the soil enriches the “good” bacteria, thus making the soil richer and less attractive to weeds.  Over time, the grass burr weed has to compete with other plants and slowly dies out.

We are curious to know if anyone has actually tried this and if so, what result was realized?  So please let us know.  Our grandkids, visitors and pets will surely appreciate having a burr-free property on which to roam.

Wildlife Habitat Seminar Offered Nov 14th

Wildlife Habitat Federation Field Day
November 14 @ 8:30 am – 4:00 pm,   $20.00



The Wildlife Habitat Federation’s (“WHF”) Third Annual Field Day will be held on Friday, November 14, 2014, at the Atwater Prairie Chicken Wildlife Reserve near Eagle Lake. Registration is slated for 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. with the program beginning at 9:00 a.m. and lasting until 4:00 p.m.  A registration fee of $20.00 per person will be charged at the door.  With the registration fee, participants will be provided with refreshments, lunch and handout materials.

The purpose of the field day is to provide landowners with a better understanding of why restoring native grasses and forbs can benefit both the livestock producer and conservationists. Following the success of its first 7-mile native habitat corridor, WHF is now helping landowners restore thousands of acres to native prairie grasses and wildflowers.  This interest has largely been due to a desire of landowners to reduce long-term input costs, like fertilizer and hay; to have more drought-tolerant plant species that attract wildlife and to better protect our natural resources, including soil, water, air and wildlife.

This meeting will be held at the Atwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Reserve, which has become the epicenter for WHF’s rapidly expanding program.  Come and learn from specialists, demonstrations and field tours how and why WHF is working with partners on sites in 12 surrounding counties to provide landowners with technical and financial assistance based on the belief that we can progress and still protect our prairies (which includes, but not limited to, wildflowers, bobwhite quail and scores of other birds, butterflies, bees, box turtles, little bluestem and other native grasses).


For more information about the field day, contact the Wildlife Habitat Federation.  To register for the event, contact Jim Willis at (713) 201-3559, or visit the website http://www.whf-texas.org.

Three CEU’s will be offered to pesticide applicators.  Two in the general category and one in Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

President’s Message, October 2014

Your 2015 ORWMA committee has been selected.  Here are the results:  Event Chairperson-Jean Herring, co-chair-Peggy Wilcox; Habitat Chairperson-RC Lumpkin, co-chair Glenda Lambert; Birding Chairperson-Brenda Lavergne, co-chairs Marilyn Rutledge & Glenda Lambert; Predator Control Chairperson-Douglas Mason, co-chairs Jerry Rogers & Vernon Wallace; Whitetail Deer Chairperson-David Mitchem, co-chair Jack Jetton; Secretary Treasurer-Barbara Mitchem, Vice President-Vernon Wallace; President-Larry Petter.  This is the first year ORWMA has added co-chairs to the Executive Committee.  We look forward to building our teams.  If you have a special interest in any of the committees please contact any chairperson so that you are included in their correspondence.

Plans are underway for the 2014 Wounded Warrior Hunt. We are expecting 15-20 participants and great hunting weather!  We will be searching for hunting stands and lodging for our guests.  David or Vernon may be calling you soon! Items for gift bags are needed; let Barbara know if you can help.  If your company or employer would like to sponsor or make a donation, contact Barbara.  We would like to send our Wounded Warrior Guests home with some venison this year. In previous years, some of our guest returned home with empty ice chests. Thanks to an ORWMA member, Jason Frick, he suggested we harvest some does in advance.  I have decided to implement this idea and ask any avid Oakridge hunter to take an additional doe for this purpose.  I will provide the processing and freezing for the wounded warrior event. Check in the doe and you will be issued a replacement permit.  Give me a call for additional details, 713-825-7332.

UPCOMING EVENTS  –  Wounded Warrior Hunt December 6 & 7.  Mark your calendar.  A weekend agenda will be sent to you soon.  Chili Cookout December 5, 2014.  Each year we cook chili for the Saturday night supper for the wounded warrior hunt.  We start Friday at 8:00 AM.  Breakfast will be provided, fellowship will be enjoyed, and stories will be told.  Join me at the Petter corral, 1220 Miller Creek Loop.

Visit our website: www.orwma.org   Read our articles about habitat and birding.  Don’t be left out!

Larry Petter, President-ORWMA

Weimar, Texas

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