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A management plan for the Douthitt Ranch Sterling County, Texas
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The Douthitt ranch is located I I miles north of US Highway 87, about 25 miles southeast of Big Spring, Texas. The ranch is situated in the intersection of southeast Howard, northwest Sterling, and southwest Mitchell counties. The climate is subtropical with cold dry winters and hot summers. Average annual precipitation is about 18 inches, 75% of which falls from April through October. The topography varies from flats (north) to gently rolling hills (central) to steep canyons and breaks (south). The major soils are sandy loams, loams, clay loams, deep clays, shallow clays, and very shallow clays over limestone hills. The vegetation is a mixture of the Edwards Plateau ecoregion to the south and the Rolling Plains ecoregion to the north. The original grasslands have been invaded and replaced by mixed-brush/grass communities consisting primarily of juniper, mesquite, tobosa, and buffalograss. The deeper soils are dominated by a mesquite mixed-brush community. The shallower sites are dominated by juniper and buffalo grass. The vegetation and topography provide quality habitat for white-tailed deer, turkey, quail, mourning dove, fur-bearers, and other wildlife. However, increasing brush densities are currently limiting the hunting opportunities for quail and deer and livestock production potential. the most feasible enterprise options include a recreational hunting operation supplemented with wildlife viewing and custom stocker grazing operations. Existing facilities can be used for the wildlife enterprises. Capitol improvements are numerous with the lodge, kennels, cooler, and livestock working facilities being most significant. Gravel roads make the ranch accessible in all weather conditions. Fences and water developments permit livestock use. Proposed habitat improvement practices will provide increased habitat suitability for wildlife on the ranch. The objectives of habitat management are to maintain optimum cover while providing an abundance of food throughout the year and increased hunting opportunities. The reduction of brush will be limited to 85% in quail emphasis areas and 45% in deer emphasis areas. Habitat management practices will include brush control with roller chopping, disking, dragging, grubbing, chemical methods, fire, food plots, road maintenance (clearing road edges 10-50 yards), and water development. Wildlife management is aimed at producing sustainable, quality populations in quality habitats. Surveys, harvest management, supplemental feeding, and predator control are recommended to accomplish this goal. A custom stocker operation grazing war-rn season forage from 15 April through 15 October is recommended with an initial stocking of 400-600 weaned calves ( 350-500 lbs.) is recommended. The initial stocking rate should be adjusted as improvement practices are completed. Additional water development is recommended to increase livestock and wildlife utilization in remote areas. The appendices list soils, range sites, forage inventories, plant and animal species, and recommended food species for planting. Ranch maps, herbicide application rates, and harvest data collection sheets also are included. ' Scientific names for animal and plants are listed in Appendices D and E.
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Includes bibliographical references.
Trail, Justin Neil (1996). A management plan for the Douthitt Ranch Sterling County, Texas. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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