Mason Mountain WMA Info

The Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is found in the Llano Uplift in Mason County. The Mason Mountain WMA was a high fenced, working exotic game ranch before Texas Parks and Wildlife Department acquired the tract in 1997. Today, 14 species of exotic ungulate (hooved) animals provide opportunities to study the effects of African ungulates on wildlife habitat and interactions between exotic and native wildlife such as white-tailed deer. The resources of Mason Mountain WMA are dedicated to research concerning the ecology of the Central Mineral Region and Edwards Plateau and its application to wildlife management on private lands. Because the Mason Mountain WMA is found in a transition area between two distinct ecoregions, a variety of wildlife habitats are represented. About two-thirds of the area consists of granite derived soils supporting a community of post oak and blackjack oak. The remainder of the Area is dominated by live oak and Texas oak on limestone derived soils.

Mason Mountain WMA Info

The topography of the Mason Mountain area is rough, with steep canyons, caliche hills, and granite outcrops. Again, an 8-foot fence to facilitate scientific investigations encloses the area. Numerous studies involving white-tailed deer have taken place on this WMA. In order to properly manage the habitat found on this site, deer populations are maintained at approximately one deer to 12-15 acres. Several high fenced pastures are found within the management area, allowing several research investigations to occur concurrently. Check this out for much more information about Mason Mountain WMA Hunting.

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Deer Hunting in Ohio: Crossbow Hunter Drills Monster Buck!

The past deer hunting season may be over, but the stories will live on! As usual, I suspect there were many big, smart bucks that got away, many that died due to fighting, and a number of bruisers that also dropped guard during the rut. That is exactly what happened while Ohio’s Heather Hollar was deer hunting this past year. Heather had a big whitetail buck close the distance as the rut was in full swing.

“Hi, my name is Heather Hollar, 26 years old from Newark, Ohio. I live not far from a little town called Toboso. I killed this 14 point buck on Thanksgiving morning in 2009 with my Horton crossbow. I had seen your many deer hunting stories and thought maybe you would be interested in taking a look at mine. This giant Ohio buck followed a doe right in to my stand at about 22 yards.

I watched the whitetail buck follow her for about 15 minutes. I kept thinking to myself no way no way, is she really coming this way? And here come the monster buck not far behind her. The brute came in to about 22 yards and then turned broadside. I told myself, calm down, calm down. Slowly, I squeezed the trigger and took the shot. The buck took off immediately as the bolt pierced his lungs!

Deer Hunting in Ohio: Heather Hollar with her 14 point whitetail buck!

I felt really good about the shot, and then I heard him crash in some brush not too far from the stand. I remained in the deer stand for about an hour, then I got down I went to get my boyfriend to help me. We went back down into the woods and I told him about where I heard the buck crash, we locked-in on the blood trail and walked… and looked… and sure enough he says THERE HE IS!!!!!!

This buck was no joke an Absolute Giant! Did I shake the whole time in my stand, you better believe I did! I have been whitetail hunting since I have been a little girl with my father, and have never killed a whitetail buck this big. I used to go deer hunting with a gun a lot, and when I got into bow hunting, it was a whole different ball game and a lot more exciting.

What actually tops this story is this 14 point buck that I killed, a guy that we know had trail camera pictures of him from about 6 miles away 3 or 4 days before I killed him. He showed us the trail camera pictures of the buck and it was him, and we now have them in frames right beside him on the wall. One of the coolest deer hunting stories of my life!

Please let me know what you think. I wanted to give the story and submit my photo. Sincerely, Heather Hollar.”

Quail Distribution in Texas

In the past, the bobwhite quail was taken for granted in Texas, distributed far and wide and good numbers. Fast forward about a quarter century and now researchers are wondering “what went wrong?” Quail populations have shown marked declines over several decades with no real cure in sight. Many not-so-old-timers will tell you that quail were bountiful around farm fields and ranches. Will quail numbers rebound? It seems difficult to say for sure, but here is a little about what we do know about quail distribution in Texas:

Source: “Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) are found throughout the Central and eastern United States from Minnesota and Massachusetts south to Florida and the Gulf Coast; and from Wyoming and southern Ontario, Mexico, parts of Central America, and Cuba. In Texas, Bobwhites have been found in every county of the Texas Panhandle and in every month of the year, although populations and habitat quality varies throughout the High Plains and Northern Rolling Plains physiographic regions. Annual populations fluctuate considerably and follow long-term cyclic rainfall patterns. Rainfall patterns throughout the year also influence vegetative growth of perennial grasses that provide nesting cover and forbs that produce seed important to bobwhites in their diet.

Quail Distribution in Texas

Insects are also an important food item, particularly for young quail. Woody escape cover is vital for quail to escape predators and for protection from the elements. In general, Northern Bobwhite are found in riparian and riverine bottom habitats, where tree thickets grow adjacent to pasture lands and relatively dense ground-level cover exists. In the eastern Panhandle, Northern Bobwhite typically occur in scrub oak woodland, riparian woodland, and in juniper-oak woodland. Although largely overlapping in their range, the Northern Bobwhite is replaced by the Scaled Quail in more xeric uplands, tributary canyons, and mesa slopes above river bottoms in association with mesquite or juniper savanna habitats.

Various land use practices influences the ability of habitat in the Panhandle to support populations of bobwhites (i.e., livestock grazing, farming practices, herbicide use, habitat management, predators, conversion of native rangelands to improved pastures. Higher populations of quail are traditionally found in the rangelands of the Northern Rolling Plains that in more arid rangeland characteristic of the High Plains. Large ranches with extensive contiguous acreages of varied and quality habitat offer the best opportunity to manage viable populations of this species and to sustain annual huntable populations. Standardized Roadside quail survey lines are counted each year by Wildlife Biologists in District 2 to gather information on annual and long term population trends.”

Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Hunting

The Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is made up of 3,311 acres of native habitat in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Both farm land and wetlands were purchased by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to preserve nesting habitat for white-winged doves. Many of the units also provide excellent public hunting opportunities. The Las Palomas WMA is comprised of 18 different units in Cameron County, Hidalgo County and Presido County.

The units range in size from two acres up to 604 acres. They are open to public access throughout the year, except when closed for TPWD Special Permit hunts. Hunting is generally allowed for mourning and white-winged doves, quail, rabbits and hares. Dove hunting is the main use of the WMA. Public hunts are scheduled when conditions warrant. Contact the area manager for hunting and other information.

Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Offers Great Public Hunting

The units of the Las Palomas WMA are located in the area where the Special Season White-Winged Dove hunts are designated. Check the Outdoor Annual for the current dates and bag limits. Three units that have offer special permit public hunting opportunities in the past are the Anacua Unit, Arroyo Colorado Unit and the Longoria Unit of Las Palomas WMA.

The Las Palomas WMA Anacua Unit is 220 acres located just south of Santa Maria south off of US Hwy 281. The unit is divided into two separate sections with the hunter check station located in the north parking lot. There are designated hunting areas for doves in both the north and south sections of the unit. More information on the Anacua Unit.

The Arroyo Colorado Unit is 761 acres of native brush. The unit is located in Cameron County. Primitive camping is allowed for permitted hunters selected for the drawn youth whitetail deer hunts. However, there are no restroom facilities or potable water available. More information on public hunting at the Arroyo Colorado Unit.

The Las Palomas WMA Longoria Unit is 373 acres of mature dove habit mixed with re-growth and food plots. The unit is located approximately 4 miles west and south from Sebastian and 4 miles north of Santa Rosa. The property has excellent dove hunting. More information on public hunting at the the Longoria Unit.

Texas Prescribed Burning Associations

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.

Texas Prescribed Burning Associations - Burning for Wildlife Habitat Management

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.

Longoria Unit Hunting – Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA)

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.

Longoria Unit Hunting - Las Palomas WMA

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.

Anacua Unit Hunting – Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA)

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.

Texas Dove Hunting: Anacua Unit of Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA)

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.

Arroyo Colorado Unit Hunting – Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA)

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.

Arroyo Colorado Unit Hunting - Las Palomas WMA

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.

Mature Buck Runs the Feed Pen

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

Bowhunting at Walter Buck WMA

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