South Texas Wildlife Management

Grazing Management (Cow)

Prior to European settlement, bison ranged over most of the Great Plains, including Texas. These great herds were constantly on the move to allow grazed areas to recover. Their hooves churned the soil leaving bare areas for annual forbs (weeds & wildflowers) and grasses to take hold. Forb-eating animals like deer and antelope and weed/seed-eaters like dove and quail were attracted to these areas. Land managers today use domestic livestock as a tool to mimic the bison herds-to manipulate and enhance plant diversity for wildlife.

The primary role of grazing in a wildlife management program is to reduce the quantity of old-growth grass monocultures, allowing sunlight to reach the lower growing forbs (weeds) which are important wildlife foods. In turn, this process also creates structural diversity for nesting, brood rearing, and escape cover.

A successful grazing management program includes: