Among the legal requirements for property owners to qualify their agricultural land for wildlife management use is a mandate that owners perform at least three of seven wildlife management activities. Here are the seven management activities from which a landowner can choose:
- Habitat control (habitat management);
- Erosion control
- Predator control (predator management)
- Providing supplemental supplies of water
- Providing supplemental supplies of food;
- Providing shelters
- Making census counts to determine population
A detailed explanation of the kinds of practices that chief appraisers will examine to determine if property owners are satisfying the law’s requirements will be discussed in other articles on the site. Some of the practices listed may require permits from federal, state or local governments. For example, before improving a wetland or controlling grackles or cowbirds, an owner may need a permit.
In addition, before a planned burning, an owner may be required to provide a map of the acreage. Property owners should contact the appropriate legal authorities for permit information if they have any questions or concerns about engaging in any of the practices listed above.
Wildlife Management Plan
A Wildlife Management Plan gives information on the property’s history and current use, establishes landowner goals for the property and provides a set of activities designed to integrate wildlife and habitat improvement. Such a plan is clear evidence that the owner’s use of the land is primarily for wildlife management.
As stated in an earlier article about converting to wildlife valuation, an owner must provide a wildlife management plan to the county appraisal district . The plan must be completed on a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department form for each tract for which wildlife management use qualification is desired. Also, a landowner can complete the forms themselves if well-versed in wildlife management, but biologists are availalbe to help landowers identify the best practices for their tract, farm, or ranch.
A complete plan really should include elements of all seven listed wildlife management activities. And most landowners wil achieve this in one way or another. All activities and practices should be designed to overcome deficiencies that limit wildlife or harm their habitats. Each one of the activities listed in Part Two should be practiced routinely or consistently as part of an overall habitat management plan. For example, scattering seed corn sporadically would not qualify as providing supplemental supplies of food under these guidelines, and occasionally placing barrels of water in a pasture would not meet the requirements for providing supplemental supplies of water.
In addition, some activities that are appropriate for certain regions of Texas would be inappropriate in others. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has developed regional wildlife management plans, listing the activities appropriate to Texas’ ten ecological regions. The regions are shown in the photo at the top of the page.