Who Are We?
We are a non-profit cooperative of landowners, hunters and citizens dedicated to wildlife management practices that improve the quality and quantity of wildlife in Bee County. Members are involved in developing county wide management recommendations and are encouraged to implement them, but are under no obligation to do so. The Association simply strives to educate and foster cooperation between members to achieve common goals.
Why Do We Do What We Do?
Over 94% of Texas land is privately owned. Fragmentation of this land is the #1 threat to wildlife today. Large ranches and farms are being sold and subdivided at an alarming rate resulting in huge loss and degradation of wildlife habitat. In addition, close to a million acres of Texas rural land is being lost every year to development in the form of parking lots, shopping centers and roads.
Small landowners cannot effectively manage wildlife on small tracts because wildlife moves freely between tracts. Even the best management plan is useless if a neighbor’s practices are destructive to wildlife or habitat. By working together small landowners can effectively manage large tracts of land and help offset the devastating effects of fragmentation.
What Do We Do?
- We Educate…
- thru meetings, field days, seminars, an informative newsletter, and this website.
- We Cooperate…
- and work together to develop and implement complementary goals and game management plans for our properties.
- We Build Trust…
- among our members and instill confidence that agreed upon harvest strategies will be honored and breederbucks will be protected by everyone.
- We Conduct Game Surveys…
- in order to determine population densities, track game fluctuations, establish harvest recommendations, and measure the success of our efforts.
- We Make Harvest Recommendations…
- to effectively balance wildlife populations with habitat carrying capacity.
- We Manage Habitat…
- to optimize its potential for the maximum long term benefit of wildlife and agriculture.
Member & Community Impact
Management plans for specific species may vary, but normally they all include habitat management. Managing habitat for any species will generally benefit other wildlife, including both game and non-game birds and animals.
One highly visible example of a successful wildlife management program is a healthy population of whitetail deer, including trophy bucks. Areas with a high percentage of small landowners and no management association typically have an out of balance deer herd comprised mostly of does and a few inferior bucks.
The reality is that small tracts simply will not support “at will” harvest of deer. The deer harvest and number of hunters must be tightly regulated. Hunters must be highly selective and able to accurately age deer on the hoof, and must be limited to harvesting ONLY the type, quantity and age class of animals specifically allowed under the plan.
Under a management plan, habitat is improved and maintained to properly support the herd’s nutritional requirements. This results in healthier deer and a larger annual fawn crop. These fawns are half does and half bucks, and the genetically superior animals are protected to concentrate their genes for trophy animal production. Inferior animals are culled to maintain herd balance with available habitat and break the cycle of poor genes. Good bucks of all age classes are protected until they are 5 ½ to 7 ½ years of age to allow them to breed their superior genetics back into the herd.
This process requires discipline, patience, knowledge, and the cooperation of enough adjoining landowners to assemble contiguous tracts of many thousands of acres. When properly implemented the result is a healthy deer herd with almost as many decent bucks as does and with balanced age classes, meaning mature trophy animals on down to yearling bucks.
Hunting contributes 2.5 to 3.6 billion dollars a year to the Texas economy. The largest percentage comes from deer hunting. Dove and quail hunting also attract a large portion of this revenue. Bee County already has the genetics for trophy class deer and a healthy population of doves and quail. If the deer herd was properly managed, and quail habitat was enhanced, Bee County could develop the “hunting utopia” reputation of Deep South Texas, attracting more of the hunting revenue that comes to the state. The potential financial impact on landowners that offer hunting leases, on area merchants, and on Bee County itself, is tremendous.
Another significant and growing revenue source is ecotourism. Improved habitat and increased wildlife result in more demand for birding, nature encounters and quality outdoor opportunities. In addition, the value to landowners and citizens that simply enjoy wildlife in abundance is priceless.