Review of the recent Texas Deer Study Group Seminar

The Texas Whitetail Deer Study Group, held April 10-11, 2014 seminar included over 160 participants and twenty plus  wildlife biologists, DVM’s, and doctorate-level wildlife scientists from various agencies and practices.  This very significant program was co-sponsored by the Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Parks & Wildlife, Texas A&M AGRILIFE Extension and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservations Service.  The seminar’s subtitle was “Great Expectations: Optimizing Deer Management in the Post Oak Savanna and Gulf-Coast Prairies.  The majority of the participants were individuals who have small parcels of land, with a few others that owned or operated very large ranches.  Here is a summary of the educational points  presented:

  • The small parcel phenomenon has been made successful by the amount of cooperation amongst landowners vis-a-vis wildlife management co-ops or associations.
  • As a result of co-ops and antler restrictions the Texas deer population of 13.8 million is the largest in the nation.
  • The ratio of doe to buck in Colorado County is >3.3:1 and according to all biologists present should be reduced to <1.5:1.   The primary concern is the increased pressure on available food, leading to reduced available nutrition and thus declining physical condition and survival rates.  The biologists also strongly recommend harvesting only mature bucks which are more than 5 years of age.
  • Habitat should be diverse in structure and plant availability.  Deer need brush, tall grasses and timber, all of which provide safety and privacy.
  • Nutrition is best derived from a variety of plants in the habitat and deer will decide for themselves what is best for their bodies at any given time.  They are very selective, choosing according to protein or other nutrient chemicals that are necessary for their growth and maintenance.
  • Deer consume several pounds of plant material and 1.5 gallons of water per day.
  • Nutrition sources include: sporadically available forbs (which includes most wildflowers) and  soft and hard mast (fruit, berries, acorns and nuts) ; and, continuously available browse such as Beautyberry, greenbriar, sophora, oaks, poison ivy and mustang grapes.  Deer seldom eat grass or sedges and only when these plants are young and other nutrition is not available.

Unfortunately, the presenters’ notes were not included in the handout materials.  Presentation notes have been requested and will be made available if possible.


President’s Message, April 2014

April is here and the wild flowers are blooming beautifully.  With the wet spring we have experienced nature at its peak.  Texas Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes are in abundance.  We should have a bountiful dewberry crop this year, also.  I expect to do more mowing this year since the rainfall has been plentiful.  Our post oaks and live oaks are bursting with new growth and I expect a bumper crop of acorns.  Not so good news for the deer hunters but a feast for the squirrels, crows and blue jays.

Saturday, April 5, 2014, April Trash off Day
Did you know that ORWMA adopted CR 215 several years back?  Look for the permanent county sign posted at both ends of 215.  Glenda and Grady Lambert organized this effort about 12 years ago.  On Saturday morning we will cleanup CR 215, and if we have enough volunteers we will clean Oakridge Road.  Meet at the north gate at 8 a.m. Bring gloves.  Trash bags will be provided.   Filled trash bags will be left outside the north gate for the county to pick up Monday or Tuesday morning.   Grady or Glenda will notify our county commissioner to pick up trash.

Saturday, April 12 2014, ORWMA Spring Banquet
Oakridge Ranch Wildlife Management Association invites you to our annual spring banquet.  We are scheduled to begin 4:00 PM at the Oakridge Ranch Community Center.  Your membership has allowed us to provide a meal of fish, shrimp, potatoes and corn.  Bring a desert to share if you can.  This is a great time to meet your neighbors.   We are very fortunate to have guest speaker, Dr. Charles Cole, PhD in Entomology.  He will talk about insects.  You know the kind: beetles, spiders, scorpions, stink bugs.  Do you know what an ironclad beetle is?  We all have them.  If you are interested in honey bees, ask Dr. Cole.  He is also a Master Gardener and can provide you with a wealth of information.

July 5, 2014, ORWMA Ice Cream Social

Tax Day marks the last day to file income taxes in the United States.  The history of US Income Tax dates all the way back to the Civil War and the Revenue Act of 1861.  This tax was imposed to help pay the costs of the war.  After several repeals, new taxes, and subsequent repeals, the 16th Amendment to the U S Constitution was ratified and went into law in 1913.  Changes have been made throughout the years, but the Income Tax still remains in some form as a way to finance the US Government.

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Larry Petter, President-ORWMA