February is a great time of year for ranch owners to think about how they can improve the health of their deer and the habitat in which they live. During the cold winter months it is important to protect and care for you herd. There are many practices which have a direct impact on deer herds and their health. Managing your herd’s diet is a great way to protect deer during the bitter cold winter month.
One of the best methods to implement at the beginning of the year is prescribed burning. Prescribed burning is a process that manages the natural environment by applying fire to a specific area of land and then carefully and closely watching the area to ensure it does not spread. When managed properly, prescribed burning offers a wide amount of benefits for ranchers and their herds.
By burning part of the land you are able to clear away dead plants, eliminate damaging pests while restoring native vegetation through opening space for harvesting and planting. Prescribed burning has become a vital process for ranchers because clearing away part of their land allows them to renew and rejuvenate their soil and property.
While prescribed burns are helpful for Texas ranches, it is important to use caution and take the necessary steps to ensure that you are minimizing risk. Before you perform a prescribed burn on your ranch, it is important to check the weather conditions in your area. Simple weather factors including humidity and wind speed directly impact the strength of your prescribed burning. It is best to begin a burn when the humidity and wind speeds are stable. If you start a prescribed burn during a windy day you run the risk of having the fire spread beyond the intended boundaries. This could result in loss of land and other disasters. The National Weather Service recommends that a wind speed anywhere between 6 to 20 miles be used when doing a prescribed burn.
While taking the weather into account is important, notifying local authorities and nearby residents of the burn is just as important. It is strongly advised that ranchers notify the Texas forest agency as well as the local fire department so that they are aware that there will be signs of smoke. Some states require that you purchase a burning permit before conduction your own prescribed burn. When you notify people of your burn, set up a respected time that will cover the burn. This will ensure that you do not have neighbors, nearby fire departments and local authorities showing up at your front door the day of your prescribed burn.
Once you have checked the weather and notified authority it is time to prepare the burn site. One requirement that is needed at all burn sites are firebreaks. Firebreaks help stop the fire so that the fire does not rage past the boundaries. Firebreaks are cleared areas of soil that stop the fire, keeping it from being uncontrolled. It is best to start fires located near small bodies of water such as rivers or creeks in case the need arise to have nearby water to tame the flames.
Prescribed burns are just one of the long-used tools in Texas to protect and maintain your deer. If you are looking for a healthy herd of deer or exotics visit Eight Point Ranch! Eight Point Ranch is located in Elgin, Texas and is currently booking hunts for 2015. Call Bobby Girling at (512) 423-0362 to book your hunt today.
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