Texas A&M-Kingsville Hosts Wildlife Conservation Symposium

Two institutions dedicated to the conservation and stewardship of natural resources will present a free virtual wildlife and ranching symposium titled “The Future of the Wildlife Enterprise: Applying New Knowledge and Tools” on October 29-30, 2020. The King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management’s (KRIRM) 17th Annual HOLT CAT® Symposium on Excellence in Ranch Management will be held virtually in partnership with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute (CKWRI).

The wildlife symposium will highlight the challenges and future opportunities of balancing ranching and wildlife resources. Managing resource use among overlapping enterprises is seldom as easy as prescribed in the annual ranch plan. Dave DeLaney, General Manager of Ranching and Wildlife for King Ranch, Inc., will speak from a career’s worth of experience to shed light on challenges coming over the horizon.

A look at the changing nature of hunting will be presented by Greg Simons, owner of Wildlife Systems, Inc. Traditional hunters are retiring and those coming behind have interests greater than the harvest. Simons will explain how successful and experienced outdoor managers must anticipate and capitalize on these expectations.

A wildlife manager and a stockman will share their expectations of the other’s enterprise during two presentations. Tyson Johnson, General Manager of Sooner Cattle Company in Oklahoma, will discuss wildlife in the context of a cattle operation followed by Marc Bartoskewitz, General Manager of Cook Canyon Ranch in Texas, who will present cattle in the context of a wildlife operation. Clearly communicating expectations between the two enterprises can eliminate many resource management conflicts.

The first afternoon of presentations will conclude with discussions on private and public lands in western states. Scott McFarlane, Wildlife Manager for Deseret Land and Livestock in Utah, will speak on the difficulty and necessity of managing the public resource of wildlife on private lands. Rick Danvir, President of Basin Wildlife Consulting, LLC in Wyoming, will share from a career’s worth of experience navigating the legal issues that arise regarding licensing and tag “metering” regulations that are associated with hunting on private lands in predominately public land states.

During the afternoon of virtual presentations on Friday, October 30th, Chief Operating Officer for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Clayton Wolf will discuss the myths and realities surrounding Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Despite the attention garnered, CWD is still not well understood. Wolf’s presentation will clear the confusion.

Recent advances in quail and whitetail deer management will be presented by faculty from CKWRI. Endowed Professor for Quail Research Fidel Hernandez, PhD, will share novel research by CKWRI scientists and students, which offers insights, advances the understanding of population dynamics, and sheds light on the effectiveness of management on wild quail populations. David Hewitt, PhD, Endowed Director of Wildlife Research, will explain the results of CKWRI supplementation and genetic management research projects and provide insights to the impact of those management decisions/practices in whitetail deer management.

Carter Smith, Executive Director of TPWD, will conclude the virtual presentations with a big-picture look at how resource managers might combine symposium learning with personal experience to position their operations for environmental, social, and economic success. After each virtual presentation, time will be allotted for a question and answer session with the respective speaker. A break during the first afternoon will showcase the recipients of the Texas Farm Credit Certificate in Advanced Ranch Management. On the second day of presentations, the break will feature a viewing of American Ocelot, a film that features a glimpse into the life of the endangered wild cat.

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