Private Land Stewardship Academies: Wildlife Management

We're building a community of practice around land stewardship for outdoor enthusiasts and private landowners alike with interactive publications developed from materials created during face-to-face training and presentations. These private land stewardship publications are meant for everyone from the classroom to the field. They meet the learner where and how they want to explore the information.

Since the launch of these interactive publications, we've seen our communities band together to recreate education so that it can be available in new ways. These virtual publications came about as a charge to take existing materials from previous presentations, from flash drives, or publications collecting dust on shelves, and shake them up so that anyone on the other side of a screen anywhere in the world could access them. 

You can find and share these anytime. Click, open, explore, shuffle through the content and save up the information. You can quiz your knowledge gained at the end; a great component for classrooms and youth learning environments especially. Check out our first Collection focused on natural resource management!

We're excited to share the second of four collections with you—on deck: Wildlife Management.


Interspecific Competition Between Invasive Wild Pigs and White-Tailed Deer

As you will quickly learn, the wild pig (Sus scrofa) is one of the most widely distributed terrestrial mammals in the world. In North America, they occur from the boreal forests of Canada to the mangrove marshes of Florida. Due to their dominant and competitive behavioral traits, many native wildlife species, including the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), avoid invasive wild pigs whenever possible. 

This interactive vignette, Interspecific Competition Between Invasive Wild Pigs and White-Tailed Deer, provides a research-based overview of the potential impacts that wild pigs have on white-tailed deer through interspecific competition.  


Field to Table Safety Precautions for Wild Pigs

In 2019, wild pigs (Sus scrofa) occupied at least 35 US states and 253 of 254 Texas counties. With the majority of land in Texas privately owned, the burden of controlling invasive wild pigs falls primarily on Texas private landowners. Intentional abatement efforts remain a necessary component of conscientious private land stewardship to protect native plants and animals, as well as agricultural crops and livestock. Some people may decide to consume the wild pigs they catch while others would never do so.

In this stewardship vignette, Field to Table Safety Precautions for Wild Pigs, we break down the precautions necessary to manage land for wild pigs and when handling processing, preparing and preserving animals for human consumption. When steps are taken to ensure both food safety and quality, wild pigs can be an excellent food source that helps offset the cost of abatement efforts.


Exclusion Fencing for Wild Pig Management

First introduced to North America as a reliable food source by Spanish settlers, free-ranging domestic pigs led to the initial establishment of feral population. The Eurasian wild boar was later released onto hunting preserves which later hybridized with wild pigs. Classified as free-ranging exotic livestock in Texas, wild pigs are highly intelligent, adapting to their environment, reproducing year-round and effectively avoiding human control efforts. They often inflict damage to land, water resources and wildlife.

Exclusion fencing is an effective tool in reducing the negative impacts caused by invasive wild pigs. Explore the various types of exclusion barriers and how they can restrict the movements of wild pigs in this stewardship deck, Exclusion Fencing for Wild Pig Management.


Wild Pig Biological and Behavioral Drivers

Behavioral and biological drivers influence species and serve to direct their role within ecological niches and they often govern responses to local environmental changes within their habitat. In short, they are primary factors that influence wild pigs to do what they do over time.

Lesson Wild Pig Biological and Behavioral Drivers explores some of the most common drivers of wild pigs. By evaluating these drivers, control strategies can be selected and refined to increase the success of abatement efforts.


Differences Between Wild Pigs and Javelinas

Javelinas (Pecari tajacu) and wild pigs are both medium-sized, even-toed ungulates. However, they belong to different families. Outreach efforts and resources to relay science-based information related to wild pig biology and management remain important components of fostering private lands stewardship. The resources provided in Differences Between Wild Pigs and Javelinas aim to increase the understanding of wild pig biology, natural history, damage management, and control techniques.


Getting to Know the Texas Quail Atlas

The Texas Quail Atlas identifies the four quail species native to Texas and breaks down the decline of quail populations over time. Recent research efforts seek to determine what factors are contributing to the decline of quail in the state. Potential causes include: drought, land-use changes, land fragmentation, habitat loss, invasive species, insecticides, diseases and parasites.

With interactive maps and ecoregion case studies, the Texas Quail Atlas is a great resource for landowners and wildlife enthusiasts interested in learning more about Texas Quail history, the changes across landscape for quail habitat and about the ecoregions where they thrive.


The Habitat Requirements of Texas Quails

Texas is home to four species of quails: Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), Gambel’s Quail (Callipepla gambelii), and Montezuma Quail (Cyrtonix montezumae). Many Texans fondly recall experiences with quail, whether they were hunting or watching them, or just listening to their songs. Despite the interest in these quail species, their overall abundance, especially northern bobwhites, have declined over the past few decades.  As populations in Texas grow rapidly, quail habitat decreases notably.

Human development leads to habitat fragmentation, and isolated habitat fragments result in small, isolated quail populations. These small, isolated populations are unable to withstand long-term unfavorable site and weather conditions, and have a greater risk of becoming locally extinct. Their ability to repopulate through a source population becomes less likely as distance grows from stable quail populations – a source-sink population dynamic. To help reverse this decline and manage land effectively for quail populations, landowners need to know the specific habitat requirements of each locally occurring species of quail.


Sounds a Quail Makes

Quail Make a range of 15 unique sounds, each with their own meaning and purpose. These sounds can be simple or complex that are, in a way, their own language. In this lesson, you will listen to birdsongs and calls, learn the difference between the two types of sounds and why they are important. This could be the most entertaining vignette we have; we don’t mind admitting that.


What Do Quail Eat?

From arthropods to forbs and grasses to woody plants, quail consume a wide range of food throughout the year. Each source provides a unique benefit to quail depending on the time of year and maturity stage of the bird. This stewardship lesson, What do Quail Eat, provides a comprehensive overview of a quail's diet.


About the Western Chicken Turtle

Did you know that the western chicken turtle’s (Deirochelys reticularia miaria) neck can extend to 70% of its body? Unique features like this help the western chicken turtle interact in its habitat. Brush up on your turtle facts while learning more about where the western chicken turtle lives, what it eats, how to identify it, as well as what current and previous conservation efforts researchers engage in to help ensure its long-term survival in the private land stewardship lesson Learn About the Western Chicken Turtle.


The Anatomy of a Quail

Have you ever wondered why bobwhite quail don't fly long distances like other bird species? Taking a look at the bobwhite’s unique features can better help landowners and outdoor enthusiasts understand how they evade predators, the type of diet best suited for their beak and digestive system, and how they reproduce. In the lesson Learn the Anatomy of a Quail, we can explore the internal and external anatomy of the bobwhite to help inform future land and wildlife management decisions.


See our Collection One: Private Land Stewardship Academies: Natural Resource Management where you can learn the ten things landowners in Texas need to know, how to find a natural resources professional, to use mapping tools and more!


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