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Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association. Prescribed Burning for Wildlife Clifford Carter Ranch Consultant. Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association. The two most important management practices needed for optimum Wildlife Habitat Management and Improvement are:

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coastal bend prescribed burn association

Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association

Prescribed Burning for Wildlife

Clifford Carter Ranch Consultant

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Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association
  • The two most important management practices needed for optimum Wildlife Habitat Management and Improvement are:
  • 1. A good grazing management program that includes periods of total livestock rest
  • 2. Prescribed burning
coastal bend prescribed burn association2
Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association
  • Cattle
  • You can manage wildlife without cattle but it is much more difficult in this area because of the amount of grass we grow each year which must be reduced for optimum wildlife habitat
  • Ungrazed grass grows tall then falls over shading new plants and seeds needed by wildlife
  • Cattle have very selective grazing habits – they eat what they like best first – usually until that forage species is gone then they go to the second best species until it is gone. Often the 4th or 5th plant preferred is a forb or weed that may be the first choice plant for deer or quail. Cattle will eat this if 1, 2, and 3 are gone until it too is gone
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Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association
  • Rest from cattle grazing allows the better grass species to recover and provide food for cattle the next time they are in the pasture
  • Periodic rest from cattle grazing assures you of having a good mix of grass and forbs for both cattle and wildlife
  • Proper stocking rate and a good grazing management program will provide the highest quality forage for both cattle and wildlife
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Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association
  • With a good grazing management program with the proper stocking rate Cattle seldom compete with wildlife for food
  • With a good grazing management program, forage composition in native pastures will improve that is, the better more desirable and more competitive species will increase in number. This natural improvement process is called “secondary plant succession”
  • Continuous grazing and/or overstocking in a pasture causes lots of competition between cattle and wildlife and cattle will always get more than their share
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Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association
  • Prescribed Burning
  • Prescribed burning is another method that promotes “secondary plant succession” Burning burns the taller ungrazed less desirable plants as well as the desirable species. By resting the pasture, all plants then have an equal chance to compete for sunlight, moisture and soil nutrients. The more dominant plants then begin to increase. These more dominant native plants are the desirable grasses and forbs.
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Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association
  • Burning is a natural historic occurrence for native prairies and grasslands. Natural wildfires occurred in the coastal prairie about every 4 to 5 years
  • Burning kills 1 and 2 year old brush seedlings such as huisache and mesquite. This is why we have prairies. Once a new seedling reaches 3 years of age we only kill about 5 to 10 percent of these older plants, although we will top-kill these younger plants
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Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association
  • Kirk and I burned a pasture one winter and when we were going around the pasture one final time in our wrap-up, we counted 10 coveys of quail flying into the 600 plus acre pasture we had just burned. The fire was still burning out in the middle of the pasture
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Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association
  • Sometimes some hunters are nervous about burning a pasture and losing the cover for deer and quail. Burning a pasture is better than planting a food plot. The plants that come up first after a burn are readily consumed by deer. Quail will usually not nest in a pasture that was burned the previous winter but it becomes a prime brood rearing pasture for quail and their young chicks
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Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association
  • It is our hope that this type of workshop helps to give you a better understanding of prescribed burning and what is involved in prescribed burning. The Coastal Bend Prescribed Burn Association hopes you will join us in our efforts to get this conservation practice more widespread
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