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2009-12-24 digital edition

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2009-12-24 / Community News

A Place in the Country

The purchase of rural property for recreational purposes is one of the fastest growing segments of the real estate market in Texas. When considering the purchase of land for recreational use, ask yourself what recreational experiences and amenities are most important to you. This could include hunting and fishing, bird watching, just a place to relax, are wanting a place to retire. Personal priorities are important considerations when deciding what to buy and how to manage the land once you own it.

If you want to hunt on the property, you will need to know which game animals can be expected to occur on your land and understand the numbers of various species the habitat can support.

As a new landowner interested in wildlife, you will want to learn all you can about the land and the plants and animals it supports. The best way to do this is through keen observation on the land, learning through books and the Internet, and consultation with a local biologist. For information on species, habitats and population trends by region and county for various wildlife species, visit the TPWD Web site at: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/ landwater.

Many valuable resources are available for landowners—from habitat management advice to financial assistance.

Understanding habitat potential is important to those wishing to fully benefit from the wildlife resources found on their land. Whether you hunt, watch wildlife or just enjoy nature in general, it is important to understand that various habitats support different types of wildlife. Habitat components such as food, cover, water and space need to be evaluated based on the specific needs of the various wildlife species of interest. The mix of vegetation, plant species present and overall structure of the vegetation are important factors in determining the types of wildlife the habitat will support.

When looking for land, be sure to communicate your primary wildlife-related interests to your realtor and advisors. Well-prepared realtors marketing rural land should be able to help you match your interests and expectations with the potential of the property to support various types of wildlife recreation. Realtors who understand the basics of what constitutes habitat for white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, turkey and other species can provide a valuable service to their clients—future landowners who will be managing the habitat.

New landowners in rural areas are advised to get to know the adjacent property owners and become acquainted with services offered in nearby communities. Remember to respect the property rights of others and avoid placing wildlife feeders or hunting blinds too close to property boundaries. To ensure safety with regard to both shotguns and rifles and to facilitate ethical retrieval of game, be sure to place feeders and blinds well within your property boundaries. A few common sense steps will go a long way in building good relationships with adjacent property owners.

Landowners interested in working with their neighbors to achieve common wildlife management goals may want to join an existing wildlife management association or start one in their area. Over 150 associations are operating in Texas today and the number continues to grow. Benefits include shared knowledge, mutual support for management goals, and more effective wildlife management over a larger area.

For more information about wildlife management associations, contact the TPWD biologist serving their county (www.tpwd.state.tx.us/wildlifebiologist).

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