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Small changes affect pheasant population

The Amarillo Globe-News

By making small changes in management, landowners can have a positive, instead of negative, effect on their pheasant population.
The birds depend on adequate cover for nesting, brood-rearing and wintering. Without cover, populations suffer, said Ken Cearley, Texas Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist based in Canyon.

The same holds true for turkey, quail and dove.

An upcoming Wildlife Workshop for Absentee Landowners, set for Tuesday and Wednesday in Amarillo, will include presentations on a host of wildlife issues, including how to foster game-bird habitats.

Absentee landowners - those living in urban areas but retreating to rural land on the weekends - are a relatively new demographic of land ownership, but an important one.

According to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, by 1999 urban consumers were purchasing 60 percent of rural land in Texas.

However, the workshop has not been designed solely for absentee landowners, but also for established Panhandle agricultural producers, Cearley said.

For example, changes to improve pheasant populations include leaving adequate stubble height when harvesting wheat, avoiding over-grazing and protecting playa lakes from cattle.

A session on marketing wildlife resources will show the ins and outs of hunting leases. Hunting leases can add thousands of dollars to ranchers' or growers' annual income.

But there are tricks to managing it, so that it doesn't interfere with the operation's primary business of producing food and fiber, he said.

"And with the new caps on liability established by the legislature, liability insurance is now very affordable," Cearley said.

The first evening's program will include presentations on land management impacts on rangeland health, white-tailed and mule deer management, marketing of wildlife resources and stock tank/pond management.

The second evening's presentations will include quail management, pheasant management, turkey management, feral hogs and an overview of the Extension Wildlife Damage Management Service.

Private pesticide applicator license-holders can earn two continuing education units toward renewal.

Pre-registration by Tuesday is $50. Registration after the deadline and at the door will be $75 per person. The fee includes break refreshments and a workshop handbook.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., the workshop will be held at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center, at 6500 W. Amarillo Blvd. Registration can be paid online by credit card at or by mailing a check to: Jacque Hand, Conference Registration, Drawer H-1, College Station, Texas 77844.

Make checks payable to "Wildlife Management Workshop - Amarillo." Include the attendee's name, address and phone number. Information: Cearley at (325) 653-4576 or

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