Hunting for Golden-Cheeked Warblers

Monday, October 31, 2011 11:50 AM | Anonymous member

The title is true, but we are not hunting golden-cheeked warblers – we are hunting to help these birds. Let me explain. Each fall, the refuge holds big game hunts for white-tailed deer, feral hogs, and turkeys. This year the hunts are November 11-13, November 18-20, December 2-4, and December 9-11. Doeskin Ranch Public Use Area will be closed on these dates. These hunts have both a recreational and a biological objective. Our biological goal for white-tailed deer is tied to management of habitat for golden-cheeked warblers. We try to maintain the deer density to less than 1 deer per 20 acres. Low deer density is associated with sustainable warbler habitat because deer browsing of hardwood saplings such as Texas oak (Quercus buckleyi) can prevent the development of high quality warbler habitat. Rooting by feral hogs increases the susceptibility of sites to soil erosion, and their consumption of acorns also may reduce oak tree recruitment.  To help us meet our biological goals, hunters in the general hunts must bag a doe or hog before receiving a permit to take a buck. Because no baiting is allowed, hunters enjoy an outdoor experience of truly matching their wit against nature. I realize that many birders are not hunters, but I hope that everyone can appreciate the importance of managing deer to promote high quality habitat for golden-cheeked warblers. Good luck to the hunters!


  • Tuesday, November 01, 2011 5:33 PM | Anonymous
    Great to see the blogs back! Thanks, Jim, for reminding everyone how important it is to keep the populations in check, now that human activity has altered them so much. In spite of our love for all things living, hunting is a critical part of this.
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