West Texas Deer Study Group to meet this week

The “Sixth Annual West Texas Deer Study Group” is set for May 15-16. The first day’s activities will be at the 4-H Center located 11 miles north of Brownwood on Highway 279. The second day’s workshop sessions will convene at the ALT Ranch located southwest of Brownwood. Registration runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 15. The first day’s program starts at 1 p.m. and the second day begins at 7:30 a.m. The study group is open to public and is sponsored by Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Texas Wildlife Association (TWA), and Wildlife Systems, Inc. Three Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be offered. “This is our sixth workshop and the attendance continues to grow each year,” said Dr. Dale Rollins, Extension wildlife specialist at San Angelo and a study group founder. “We move our meeting location to various places across West Texas and everywhere we’ve met, deer hunting is booming and continues to grow as an industry. This year’s meeting should interest landowners, hunters, and anyone else interested in deer, native range, and wildlife habitat.” The first afternoons program opens with the panel discussion “Running a Successful Enterprise-Based Hunting Operation”. Panelists include: Greg Simmons, Wildlife Systems, San Angelo; Johnny Hudman, Stansey-Cook Ranch, Albany; and Tim Schmidt, Schmidt TT Outfitters, Brady. Habitat Management is the afternoon’s second study area. Speakers and topics include: “Deer Diets in the Cross Timbers”, Jim Dillard, TPWD, Mineral Wells; “Troubleshooting Common Deer Habitat Problems”, Mike Krueger, TPWD, Lampasas; and “Cows, Deer, and Fire’A Winning Combination”, Steve Nelle, NRCS, San Angelo. Population management is the third discussion area. Speakers and topics include: “Who Breeds Whom'”, Donnie Frels, TPWD, Kerrville; “Role of Deer Co-ops in Population Management”, Jack Holman, past-president of Texas Organization of Wildlife Management Associations; and “Harvest Permits and Their Role in Population Management”, Clayton Wolf, TPWD, Austin. The evening meal is set for 6:30 p.m. Immediately following the meal, Robert Cook, executive director (and Brown County native), TPWD, Austin, is scheduled to give a history of deer management in the Cross Timbers area. The evening will conclude with “Food Management for Deer”. Dr. Billy Higginbotham, Extension wildlife specialist at Overton, will speak on food plots. Kent Mills, Ezell-Key Gain Company nutritionist at Snyder, will speak on feeding prepared feeds and Nelle will discuss habitat management. The first day’s adjournment is set for 8:45 p.m. Day two opens on the ALT Ranch with coffee and doughnuts at 7:30 a.m. The program starts at 8 a.m. with a welcome to the ranch by owner Dave Altonian and ranch manager Charlie Lackey. The remainder of the morning will be devoted to a three-stop tour. Tour stops and speakers include: Stop 1 – “Plant Identification”, Nelle; Stop 2 – “Using Remote Cameras in Deer Management”, Ken Clearley, Extension wildlife association, San Angelo and Dr. John Walker, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station resident director of research, San Angelo; and Stop 3 – “Preparing for Prescribed Burns”, Charles Anderson, NRCS, Menard. The morning tour will conclude with a catfish fry and comments from the Texas Wildlife Association by David Brimager, coordinator of the Texas Youth Hunting Program. The afternoon session starts at 1 p.m. with Mills presenting “Building Young Leaders – The Buckskin Brigade”. The study group’s final session will be conducted by wildlife students working on various deer feeding issues. Mandy Currie, a home-schooled high school student at San Angelo, will report on her survey of aflatoxin levels in deer corn. Ben Taylor, graduate student at Angelo State University, and Cristy Brown, instructor, Tarleton State University, will offer a point-counterpoint exchange on feeding deer whole cottonseed. Currie, Taylor, and Brown are all past graduates of the Bobwhite Brigade (the precursor to the Buckskin Brigade). Adjournment is set for 3 p.m. Pre-registration before May 10 is encouraged. The pre-registration fee is $25 per person ($10 for students) and includes two meals. Registration at the door is $35 per person ($20 for students). To pre-register: send check to Greg Simmons, P.O. Box 5121, San Angelo, 76902 and make checks payable to “West Texas Deer Study Group”. For further information call (325) 653-4576 or e-mail Dale Rollins at d-rollins@tamu.edu.

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