For landowners interested in wildlife management, habitat management is the key to success. One of the best management practices out there is prescribed burning. There are Prescribed Burning Associations (PBA) located throughout the state of Texas, and landowners can obtain a lot of knowledge by joining and helping. PBAs are non-profit organizations that are owned and operated by landowners to expand the use of prescribed burning across the landscape.
Prescribed Burning Associations share resources, knowledge and expertise to increase the application of planned prescribed fires to enhance agricultural production and wildlife habitat. Burning is one of the most powerful practices for managing wildlife habitats on a property. It may seem simple to light a match and watch a place burn, but specific habitat management goals with this powerful tool takes considerable study and knowledge.
The first thing to know about prescribed burning is that safety and fire control are absolutely essential. Learning fire behavior takes time, though it may never be fully understood. Education should be the first step in using prescribed fire. A landowner considering prescribed burning for wildlife and habitat should learn about fire behavior, fire and smoke management, burning laws, plant responses, animal needs, and animal responses.
Landowners who use fire as a management tool should continually strive to increase their knowledge about fire and habitat management. There is much to learn, but it’s a hot topic. No person should ever attempt to conduct a prescribed burn until he or she has intensively studied burning and gained burning experience by assisting educated and experienced burn managers. There are several classes and workshops provided annually by a number of organizations. Additionally, a prescribed burning association can educate you while acquiring skills and receiving on-the-ground experience.
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The Longoria Unit of the Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA) comprises 373 acres that are a mosaic of old-growth trees, new and established habitat restoration sites, farm fields, and even food plots. The Longoria Unit was originally purchased as white-winged dove habitat, but represents a remnant tract of high quality woodlands and brush that provides a home for many plants and wildlife species unique to the region of Texas.
The Longoria Unit is located on FM 506, and can be reached from the north by traveling approximately 4 miles west and south from Sebastian, Texas, or from the south by traveling approximately 4 miles north of Santa Rosa, Texas. The closest commercial facilities for overnight lodging can be found in Harlingen. For more information about dove hunting at the Longoria Unit or other public hunting lands in Texas, call the Las Palomas WMA Headquarters at 956-565-1223.
The Anacua Unit of the Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA) consists of 220 acres of wildlife habitat situated about1/2 mile south of Santa Maria, Texas, south off of US Highway 281. The Anacua Unit was farmed in the past, but is now dominated by re-vegetated white-winged dove breeding habitat that provides excellent whitewing dove hunting. The unit is divided into two separate sections, with the hunting check station located in the north parking lot.
There Anacua Unit has designated whitewing dove hunting areas in both the north and south sections of the unit. The closest complete commercial facilities are available in Harlingen. Call the Las Palomas WMA headquarters for more information about dove hunting at the Anacua Unit or other Texas pubic hunting lands at 956-501-4793.
The Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Arroyo Colorado Unit consists of 761 acres of wildlife habitat. The native brush found on the property provides nesting and hunting for white-winged doves, but was once farm and ranch land prior to purchase by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The Arroyo Colorad Unit is located in Cameron County and can be reached by traveling 3 miles east of Rio Hondo on Highway 106, then 5.5 miles north on Hwy 2925. There are no restroom facilities or potable water available.
Primitive camping is allowed for permitted hunters selected for the drawn youth white-tailed deer hunting. The closest commercial, overnight facilities are available in Harlingen, Texas. Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) have rules and regulations for hunting not required on private property. Hunters must possess a valid hunting license, the appropriate tags and stamps, as well as the proper public hunting permit. Permits include: Annual Public Hunting Permit (APH), computer drawn Special Permits, and the Regular Permit, which allows daily small game hunting on some units. Hunters needing more information should call the Las Palomas WMA headquarters at 956-501-4793.
Keep in mind that hunters 16 years of age and younger are not required to have a hunting permit, but they must have a hunting license and be supervised by a licensed, permitted adult, 18 years of age or older when hunting at Las Palomas WMA. Hunters and non-hunters must wear hunter orange during daylight hours at any time when firearm hunting for any species is authorized on the unit, except turkeys, waterfowl, and doves.
It had been difficult to get out deer hunting this year since it seemed like every weekend we something else going on that I just could not get out of. But finally, a break in the action and my son and I were off to the deer lease to try out luck! I had some game camera photos of some nice deer, as well as some mature culls that we would be looking for as well.
Well, we packed the truck and move out and arrived at the lease right on schedule on Friday night, like I have many other weekends over the years. I hopped out of the truck and realized something about this deer hunting trip just was not right this time. Then I put my finger on it. It was so darn warm I did not even need a jacket and the moon was so bright I did not need a flashlight. It was at this point that I thought this weekend’s whitetail hunting trip may not be the best ever. But boy, was I wrong! Continue reading Mature Buck Runs the Feed Pen
We always put in for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s special draw public hunting opportunities they have each year. This year we were selected to bow hunt at the Walter Buck Wildlife Management Area (WMA) just south of Junction. At the orientation we learned that there are 5 designated hunt areas within the Walter Buck WMA. The biologist talked about each of the hunt areas and soon we were assigned to a hunting compartment.
It was early October, so we looked for the oak trees that are dropping acorns, and we hoped that some good bucks would be bedded up nearby. Finding hot acorn trees during archery season, whether hunting on a deer lease or public land, has always worked great for me. No matter the property you can always find that deer will use certain oak trees much more than others. At the Buck WMA, these appeared to be the trees with the lightest green leaves. Continue reading Bowhunting at Walter Buck WMA
The fall hunting season is underway in Texas, so better time to make sure you have everything you need. Each year, game wardens issue hunters citations that could have been avoided had hunters simply taken more time to prepare for their hunt. With alligator, teal and dove hunting season on, and the rest on the way, let’s look at some ways to keep you hunting-violation-free.
The number one, most common hunting law violation in Texas is failure to be certified in hunter safety, which is is a Class C Parks and Wildlife misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of as much as $500. All of the most common citations issued by law enforcement are Class C Parks and Wildlife misdemeanors, again, punishable by a fine of up to $500.
The top ten wildlife enforcement violations during the Texas hunting seasons are as follows:
1. Hunter safety violation (no hunter education certification)
2. White-tailed deer harvest log not completed
3. White-tailed deer improperly tagged
4. White-tailed deer not tagged
5. White-tailed deer hunting or possession in closed season
6. Mourning dove hunting without a license or failure to produce
7. Mourning dove hunting with unplugged shotgun
8. White-tailed deer hunting without a license or failure to produce one
9. Mourning dove over daily bag limit
10. Public hunting land and other misc. violations