Trans-Pecos ‘Ranching in the Extremes’ wildlife conference and field day set for Aug. 2-3

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu
Contact: Jesse Lea Schneider, 432-729-4746, jlschneider@ag.tamu.edu

ALPINE – The Texas AgriLife Extension Service is partnering with several other entities to present the Trans-Pecos Wildlife Conference and Field Day on Aug. 2-3 in Alpine.

The Aug. 2 classroom sessions begin at 8 a.m. in the Espino Conference Center located on the main campus of Sul Ross State University. The Aug. 3 field tour will meet at 7:45 a.m. at the school’s Range Animal Science Center, one mile east of the main campus on the south side of U.S. Highway 90. There will be an 8 a.m. departure by private vehicles to the Parker and Parker Cattle Company ranch,15 miles from Alpine.

“This program’s theme is ‘Ranching in the Extremes,’ because that’s what we’re now doing,” said Jesse Lea Schneider, AgriLife Extension agent in Presidio County. “The past two years have been and continue to be some of the worst of times for Far West Texas ranchers. Wildfires of epic proportions, coupled with record heat and drought have taken a tremendous toll on the cattle industry, wildlife population and our local economy.

“The purpose of this conference is to show how landowners and managers are coping with this series of natural disasters and to explore ways they can best continue that good work.”

The Aug. 2 morning  presentations will address wildfire, drought, water conservation, watershed management, brush control and habitat management. Afternoon topics will include mountain lions, chronic wasting disease, non-game management, desert mule deer, pronghorn antelope and desert bighorn sheep.

“The Aug. 3 field day is tailor-made for those with a serious interest in Far West Texas range recovery who want to see some of the work that’s actually being done,” Schneider said. “The tour sites we’ve selected are unique because they’re on a beautiful ranch located in the Glass Mountains that fell victim to a major wildfire last year. We’ll see first-hand what’s being done now to restore the range and listen to the ranch management’s plans for the future.”

Schneider said because no tour transportation will be provided, participants are urged to car pool.

“We will be looking at plant response to wildfire and the impacts the ranch suffered during the intensively hot Roper Fire, which swept across the Parker and Parker Cattle Company ranch last spring,” Schneider said. “The ranch owner and manager will share with us some of the ranch’s history along with their current management objectives. We’ll view a pronghorn antelope fence they’ve installed to facilitate movement of the animals between pastures.”

Schneider said tour participants can also view herbicide demonstration work and engage in a  “tailgate discussion” with local landowners on their perspectives and experiences with agency and organization programs.

Partners in the effort along with AgriLife Extension are The Borderlands Research Institute for Natural Resource Management, the Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and Sul Ross State University.

Individual preregistration is $50 by July 23 and $75 thereafter. The fee includes all breaks, lunch and a social.

To preregister, log onto http://bit.ly/Mrz0PX or contact Helen Holdsworth with the Texas Wildlife Association at  hholdsworth@texas-wildlife.org or 800-TEX-WILD.

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