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#6225274 - 03/16/16 09:10 AM Prairie Restoration
mattyg06 Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 04/22/14
Posts: 430
We are undergoing a restoration project on our property where we are trying to kill off all exotic grasses and restore native prairie land habitat for wildlife. Last fall we sprayed a 40 acre pasture to kill off the grasses and 2 weeks ago we planted a custom native seed mix recommneded by TPWD biologist. The biologist told us it will take about 2 seasons to really see the change in the landscape. The mixture consists of big bluestem, little bluestem, sideoats grama, wildrye, indiangrass, green sprangletop, Illinois bundleflower, purple prairie clover, daisy engelmann, partridge peas, blackeyed susan, mexican hat, coreopsis, and maximilian sunflower. We got the seed paid for through Western Navarro Bobwhite Restoration Initiative.


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#6225288 - 03/16/16 09:24 AM Re: Prairie Restoration [Re: mattyg06]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 32568
Loc: Richmond
Sounds like a winner. We use Quail Coalition in our area.

http://texashuntingforum.com/forum/ubbth...tem#Post2131207

quote=bill oxner]Did you know that there were 16 varieties of bluestem. I learned that and a lot more than I ever thought I wanted to know about weeds and grasses as I hunted with Jim Willis Saturday. I also learned that he had some great Elhew pointers. Let's go straight to the pictures.

Here's Elhew Dixie with Jim doing the honors;




Here's a great Britt named Buddy pointing as Elhew Sue backing;



Elhew Dixie again;



Here's Sue pointing with Jim doing the honors;



Sue again;



I'm not making this up. Byron brought a Britt named Buddy and a GWP named Ranger. Here's Ranger pointing with Cracker backing;



Would you pick out ranger as a GWP?

I don't post many pictures of Cracker anymore, but she does point. Here you go;



I saved the best bird dog picture for last. Here's Yeats with ET doing the honors;



Jim liked to look at the guts. This crop was filled with a milo size weed seed;



After the hunt;

_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill




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#6225292 - 03/16/16 09:27 AM Re: Prairie Restoration [Re: mattyg06]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 32568
Loc: Richmond
http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/...ail-1764954.php

CAT SPRING ó The sparse beauty of the tall grasses and sand plum trees at WW Ranch makes this land near the San Bernard River appear unchanged from a century ago. But the still life can be deceptive.

When hunting buddies Jim Willis and John Webb purchased the 225-acre ranch in 2000, the overgrazed property had become "a wildlife desert," as Willis phrased it. The pasture couldn't support anything but cattle.



So, they replaced the so-called improved grasses commonly planted in the area with native varieties, such as little bluestem and switchgrass, to restore habitat for bobwhite quail and other birds. Scores of them now nest in the grasses while the ranch's cattle graze nearby.

What is happening here is a vision that many see as the coastal prairie's salvation. Biologists blame the loss of habitat, primarily from development and modern farming practices, for a 75 percent drop in Texas' quail population in the past 30 years.

The quail's decline matters because the popular game bird is an "indicator species," meaning their numbers reflect the viability of an ecosystem for other grassland birds. Already, without any attempt to restock, the WW Ranch has a healthy population of one quail per acre, Willis said.


Edited by bill oxner (03/16/16 09:29 AM)
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill




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#6225417 - 03/16/16 11:08 AM Re: Prairie Restoration [Re: mattyg06]
mattyg06 Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 04/22/14
Posts: 430
That 2nd article talks about the restoration project in Navarro county as well. In Navarro the biologist has said in most of the properties that have restored native grasses are also seeing a growth of the wild Turkey population.

http://www.tylerpaper.com/TP-Outdoor/213...ifferent-animal

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#6225586 - 03/16/16 01:30 PM Re: Prairie Restoration [Re: mattyg06]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 32568
Loc: Richmond
I was on this forum a few weeks ago asking about the WOS for pups to point. My next door neighbor had gotten a new Brittany pup. I put the neighbor in touch with Jim Willis. Here's an email from Jim to my neighbor.

"Dear Mr. Thompson:

Thank goodness for people like you that have the passion to restore quail. We donít care where it happens, just so it happens. I am copying our new WHF Program Director, Gary Stephens, who was previously with NRCS/USDA as one of their top biologists/botanists. He knows quail and what quail need as good as anyone and will be able to give you his best opinion as to you most logical course of action. Each time I go through Anderson, I am saddened by the fact that we have lost quail in such picturesque regions due to macro-level habitat changes. Fire ants arenít good but they are not a chief cause. Itís all about habitat. Please keep up the hope. We have heard quail whistling again in areas where everyone considered them to be extinct but we did habitat restoration anyway. Even if you don't get immediate results, restoring native grass is good for all natural resources and usually increases the value of you land. Texas A&M researchers found 31 species of upland birds after 5 years of habitat work on our ranch.

Best wishes,

Jim Willis"
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill




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#6225587 - 03/16/16 01:31 PM Re: Prairie Restoration [Re: mattyg06]
Catch Dog Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 08/11/14
Posts: 571
Loc: Texas
I applaud your efforts towards the natural grassland restoration. We have and will continue to do the same in Jack County. Keep up the good work. "If you build it, they come" sounds very true these days.

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#6225748 - 03/16/16 04:04 PM Re: Prairie Restoration [Re: mattyg06]
texasgal Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/17/05
Posts: 402
Loc: NW Navarro County
Doing the same thing on my piece of Navarro County. Except I grubbed, added phosphorus, planted a cover crop (hay) and then planted.

It's interesting in that grasses/forbs I didn't plant but are native are coming up. There were there all along but needed the "invaders" gone.

"First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap." I am not so patiently waiting, it will be my 3rd year.

Good Luck! BTW, My place is where you picked up the seeder. grin

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#6226558 - 03/17/16 09:40 AM Re: Prairie Restoration [Re: bill oxner]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 32568
Loc: Richmond
Originally Posted By: bill oxner
I was on this forum a few weeks ago asking about the WOS for pups to point. My next door neighbor had gotten a new Brittany pup. I put the neighbor in touch with Jim Willis. Here's an email from Jim to my neighbor.

"Dear Mr. Thompson:

Thank goodness for people like you that have the passion to restore quail. We donít care where it happens, just so it happens. I am copying our new WHF Program Director, Gary Stephens, who was previously with NRCS/USDA as one of their top biologists/botanists. He knows quail and what quail need as good as anyone and will be able to give you his best opinion as to you most logical course of action. Each time I go through Anderson, I am saddened by the fact that we have lost quail in such picturesque regions due to macro-level habitat changes. Fire ants arenít good but they are not a chief cause. Itís all about habitat. Please keep up the hope. We have heard quail whistling again in areas where everyone considered them to be extinct but we did habitat restoration anyway. Even if you don't get immediate results, restoring native grass is good for all natural resources and usually increases the value of you land. Texas A&M researchers found 31 species of upland birds after 5 years of habitat work on our ranch.

Best wishes,

Jim Willis"



Here is Gary Stephens' reply. Help can be had.

"Mr. Thompson, i too would like to congratulate you on your desire to restore native habitats that will support bobwhite quail. Certainly, Grimes county is an area of the state that has the rainfall and the soils that are capable of producing natural systems that should hold quail. It is all about HABITAT and how that habitat is managed for the benefit of the bird.


i would certainly be happy to visit with you more on this if you would like. feel free to call anytime.


Respectfully,


Garry Stephens
Program Director
Wildlife Habitat Federation"
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill




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#6227134 - 03/17/16 05:30 PM Re: Prairie Restoration [Re: bill oxner]
colt45 Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 5383
Loc: bastrop county
Originally Posted By: bill oxner
http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/...ail-1764954.php

CAT SPRING ó The sparse beauty of the tall grasses and sand plum trees at WW Ranch makes this land near the San Bernard River appear unchanged from a century ago. But the still life can be deceptive.

When hunting buddies Jim Willis and John Webb purchased the 225-acre ranch in 2000, the overgrazed property had become "a wildlife desert," as Willis phrased it. The pasture couldn't support anything but cattle.



So, they replaced the so-called improved grasses commonly planted in the area with native varieties, such as little bluestem and switchgrass, to restore habitat for bobwhite quail and other birds. Scores of them now nest in the grasses while the ranch's cattle graze nearby.

What is happening here is a vision that many see as the coastal prairie's salvation. Biologists blame the loss of habitat, primarily from development and modern farming practices, for a 75 percent drop in Texas' quail population in the past 30 years.

The quail's decline matters because the popular game bird is an "indicator species," meaning their numbers reflect the viability of an ecosystem for other grassland birds. Already, without any attempt to restock, the WW Ranch has a healthy population of one quail per acre, Willis said.
that's it in a nut shell...
_________________________
hold on Newt, we got a runaway

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#6230364 - 03/20/16 01:48 PM Re: Prairie Restoration [Re: mattyg06]
pharmvet Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 1093
Loc: North East Tx
I am in the process of attempting to convert my fields (previously Bermuda, Bahia, etc) to native grass. I began the project approx. 6 years ago. First 2 years after no tilling it in were severe drought. It's been a long slow, humbling learning experience. I'm biting it off about 20 acres at a time. First lesson I learned is that Bermuda and Bahia are hard to kill. First time I only sprayed once. Now I have some fields that I have sprayed twice yearly for past 2 years and still haven't planted. Wish I could afford my own native grass no till drill. Timing is difficult with work and family. Main issue is that I am in NE Texas and we have NOOOOOOOO quail. I'm focusing on this primarily for Eastern Wild Turkey with a pie in the sky hope that the time may come in the future when we have focused efforts to get quail back in East Texas.










[URL=http://s140.photobucket.com/user/pharmvet/media/image.jpg1_83.jpg.html]


Edited by pharmvet (03/20/16 02:06 PM)

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#6230367 - 03/20/16 01:57 PM Re: Prairie Restoration [Re: mattyg06]
pharmvet Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 1093
Loc: North East Tx
Recently (2 weeks ago) burned my fields and now the native grass is already responding with tender new chutes. Deer have found them because all are browsed.

[/URL]





Edited by pharmvet (03/20/16 02:16 PM)

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#6243733 - 03/31/16 11:09 PM Re: Prairie Restoration [Re: pharmvet]
NorthTXbirdhunter Offline
Tracker

Registered: 03/17/11
Posts: 802
Loc: Rowlett, Texas
Pharmvet,
I would take that nice Ford tractor and disk or chisel plow that pasture once and try to break the top pan right below the surface. It will aeriate the soil and I am pretty sure that you would get a better stand of natural grasses and weeds that would be a suitable for quail and turkeys in your attempts to attract them to the property. You could even drill a mix into it like you have shown. Early spring would be the optimum time to do it just several days after a nice rain.

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