Predator awareness workshops scheduled across West Texas

The Texas Agricultural Extension Service is sponsoring four “Predator Awareness Workshops” across West Texas during the next several months. The workshops are meant to bring producers up-to-date on the latest in predator-related management, research and population dynamics. Animals discussed include: coyotes, feral hogs, foxes, bobcats and mountain lions. Participants are eligible for six continuing education units (CEUs) credit toward a Private Applicator License re-certification. Meeting sites, dates and the area served by each location are: May 10, Rankin (Upton and Terrell Counties); May 17, Wingate (Runnels and surrounding counties); July 17, Alpine (Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presido Counties); and July 19, Del Rio (Val Verde County). The agenda topics and times are similar at each site, but the actual curriculum will be tailored to each area’s specific wildlife and livestock predator threats. Registration opens at 8 a.m. The morning program starts at 8:30 a.m. with a “Predator IQ” pre-test and CEU paperwork. Ken Cearley, San Angelo-based Extension wildlife associate, will be the early morning speaker. He will present “Appreciating Predators'” and conduct a lab practical on interpreting physical evidence of predation. A 15 minute break at 10 a.m. will give way to a number of predator biological profiles. These will be presented by video and by Texas Wildlife Damage Management Services (TWDMS) staff. Cearley will wrap up the morning session with a talk on predator control and wildlife management. Following a catered lunch, Cearley will open the afternoon program with an update on the “Predators in the Classroom” school curriculum enrichment project. The program will then split into four 20-minutes concurrent predator control demonstrations taught by TWDMS personnel. Session A is “Non-Lethal Approaches,” Session B is “Leg Hold Traps and Snares,” Session C is “M-44 Device and Livestock Protection Collars,” and Session D is “Aerial Gunning and Calling.” Participants will reconvene following the concurrent sessions to hear a spokesman from the Texas Department of Health speak on predators as disease vectors. Cearley will follow with “A Code of Ethics for Predator Management.” The remainder of the day will feature the topics “Preventing Illicit Use of Pesticides in Predator Control Programs,” “Sheep and Goat Management Board Update,” and “Predators: A Matter of Perspective.” To register and for further information, contact the respective county Texas Agricultural Extension Service Office or reach Ken Cearley at 915-653-4576.

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