The work to improve the ranch began in 2002. We did this by cutting Ashe Juniper mostly by hand as well as implementing prescribed burns, which removed the brush and germinated the native seed inventories, restoring the land to what it was like in the mid-1800s. We are continually educated and helped by Keith Blair of My Red Buffalo
, a certified burn specialist, together with the helpful field biologists from Texas Parks & Wildlife. We have conducted “prescribed burns” on more than 800 acres, and the results in flora and fauna improvement were remarkable. Springs, small creeks, and waterfalls are showing up in many places.
As a result, the improvement in viewing wildlife was dramatic. Ashe Juniper, also called Cedar by the locals, was native but mostly confined by fire to deep ravines. However, it has exploded across the landscape of Hill Country over time. Texas’ dramatically changing ecosystem puts stress on the native species, stops the absorption of the normal 26” annual rainfall, and causes the runoff of this rainfall from going into the aquifer. Our elimination of Ashe Juniper and prescription burning resulted in the rebirth of nature as it was, with year-round live water in many places where there was none.
The deer population increased in health and makes for excellent hunting. The deer population is also kept in balance with their food supply. Moreover, the ranch has a policy to hunt and trap feral hogs as they are very destructive to the ecosystem. We trap and dispatch Cow Birds as well, so our songbird population is thriving.