Hill Country browse

Hill Country browse

The Texas Hill Country has the highest density of shrub-eating animals in the United States. Texas is home to about 4 million white-tailed deer, and about half of them live in the Hill Country and Edwards Plateau. In addition, Texas is home to more than 2 million goats, sheep and exotics, and the majority of these live in the Hill Country. These animals depend on browse, the leaves and tender twigs of woody plants, as an important part of their…

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Are deer evolving resistance to CWD?

Are deer evolving resistance to CWD?

If you hunt whitetails, you’ve probably already heard of chronic wasting disease (CWD). This neurodegenerative disease is caused by an odd sort of protein called a prion that develops in the brains of infected animals and causes abnormal behavior, loss of body condition and eventual death. Animals usually die from a variety of indirect causes resulting from their CWD infection, which is why most hunters will never see a deer showing classic CWD symptoms. These CWD prions can be passed from…

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State-Owned Bexar County Ranch at the Center of Latest Warbler Fight

State-Owned Bexar County Ranch at the Center of Latest Warbler Fight

  • April 16, 2018
  • News

Rancho Sierra, a 2,317-acre property northwest of San Antonio, has everything – rugged hills, a ranch house, springs and seeps that form the headwaters of two creeks, and Mount Smith, the tallest point in Bexar County. It also has, according to surveys, an abundance of golden-cheeked warblers, the migratory songbirds that have made headlines for nearly 30 years as a symbol of the tug-of-war between property rights and conservation in the Texas Hill Country. For the State of Texas, which…

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Rare Central Texas songbird to fly off endangered species list

Rare Central Texas songbird to fly off endangered species list

  • April 16, 2018
  • News

The population of the black-capped vireo, a rare Texas songbird, has recovered to such an extent that it will be moved off the endangered species list, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials are expected to announce today. The lifting of habitat protections for the black-capped vireo, long a buffer against development in Central Texas, is unlikely to open long-restricted areas to construction or road building, given the number of other species that remain protected. Property rights groups had urged the move while…

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Fungus that causes deadly bat disease spreads to Central Texas

Fungus that causes deadly bat disease spreads to Central Texas

  • April 4, 2018
  • News

The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats, detected for the first time in Texas in early 2017 in the Panhandle, has now spread into Central Texas. Though no bat deaths have been attributed to WNS in Texas, the syndrome has killed millions of bats in the eastern parts of the United States, raising national concern. A coalition of groups in Texas is continuing work to monitor the spread of the disease. The fungus was detected at several sites…

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Tax valuation for songbirds?

Tax valuation for songbirds?

Anyone interested learning more about requirements and best practices for Wildlife Tax Valuation can attend a two-part Wildlife Tax Valuation Workshop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3 and Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne. Click here for more information. Presenters include Rufus Stephens, author of Attracting Birds in the Texas Hill Country, and Dr. Elizabeth Bates, wildlife biologist for Texas Parks & Wildlife. The comprehensive program guides landowners through the requirements and best practices for…

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Panhandle Roadkill White-tailed Deer Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

A roadkill white-tailed deer collected by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel on U.S. Highway 87 between Dalhart and Hartley has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. This marks the first discovery of CWD in a Texas roadkill and the first case in a Texas Panhandle whitetail. “The roadkill was found along the border between the current CWD Containment Zone and Surveillance Zone, and as a result will likely necessitate a precautionary expansion of the Containment Zone,” said Dr. Bob…

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States Confront the Spread of a Deadly Disease in Deer

States Confront the Spread of a Deadly Disease in Deer

  • January 17, 2018
  • News

On the edge of a south-central Montana village, where deer hunting is a way of life, the game check station has become the front line of the state’s efforts to stop the spread of a deadly infection known as chronic wasting disease. It has ravaged deer herds throughout the United States and Canada and forced the killing of thousands of infected animals in 24 states and three Canadian provinces. It has also been found in Norway and South Korea. With…

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Using the Airbnb Model to Protect the Environment

Using the Airbnb Model to Protect the Environment

As the world’s population grows, so does demand for land. One upshot is that setting aside big tracts to protect endangered species and carbon-rich forests is increasingly expensive. Enter the Airbnb economic model. While it’s not a panacea, it provides attractive solutions for conservation as well as housing. Much as homeowners can use Airbnb and other services to turn their living space into pop-up hotels when demand warrants it, conservationists are creating “pop-up nature reserves” on idle land… Read more…

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Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Offers Exceptional Opportunity  to Help Wildlife and Business in Texas and the Hill Country

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Offers Exceptional Opportunity to Help Wildlife and Business in Texas and the Hill Country

  • December 21, 2017
  • News

With fish and wildlife populations under increasing pressure in Texas and throughout the country, Texans are hailing a new opportunity to reverse this trend. House bill 4647, known as the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, would provide $1.3 billion annually from existing federal revenues for state-led projects to improve and restore fish and wildlife habitats, without any increase in taxes. This federal legislation represents a once in a generation opportunity to modernize conservation funding, provide more regulatory certainty for business and…

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