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Terms Defined

Food plots
The farming of highly nutritious plants for wildlife forage and/or cover is the driving force behind Tecomate’s “System” of growing monster bucks. A professional athlete in training doesn’t eat bread and water – they eat a lot of high protein/high energy food to help them out-perform the competition. For whitetails just think of the spring and summer as the training period when their diet needs to consist of a lot of high protein forage (warm season legumes and certain forbs). The fall and winter is the performance period when they need high energy forage (cool season cereal grains, legumes, forbs and heavy seeded grasses). Neither native habitat forages nor supplemental feed can provide the quality and abundance of forage that can be made available through food plots.

Soil Samples
A food plot is only as good as the soil it is grown in. Soil quality is critical to successful food plots. Soil samples can be taken from plot areas and submitted to local Agricultural Extension Agencies for analysis. The analysis will determine the soil PH and nutrient levels and the reports provided on these conditions will also include recommendations for lime and fertilizer applications to correct any deficiencies for growing particular crops. By following these recommendations you will save the cost of excessive applications of lime or fertilizer while effectively improving soil qualities. Soil samples should be taken for plot areas once every 1 - 2 years.

Tecomate Wildlife Systems is known for pioneering advanced food plot strategies. We know better than anyone that a successful food plot program often depends on the use of herbicides to control un-wanted weeds in food plots. Forest and agricultural herbicides are used to selectively control food plot weeds and invasive and exotic undesirable plants, trees, and shrubs in woodland, field and pasture habitats.

A flowering plant with two embryonic seed leaves or cotyledons that usually appear at germination. All big seeded peas and beans (lablab, soybean, ebony pea) are dicotyledons. The first two leaves that appear produce the rest of the plant. Obviously if these young embryonic leaves are browsed just as they pop up the plants will not survive; however, some forage type dicots (lablab and ebony pea) will become browse tolerant after they mature in 4 – 5 weeks which is the reasons for reversible food plot fencing (Plot D-Fence).

Habitat management
The richness and diversity of forage, bedding, escape, and other habitat types is a major determining factor of wildlife health, diversity, and density. Forest herbicides, prescribed burning, and heavy equipment can all be used to improve native habitat for wildlife by selectively removing undesirable plant and tree species to promote beneficial vegetation and create wildlife openings. This is a major part of the Tecomate System.

Tree plots
Planting soft and hard mast bearing trees to produce forage, adding to available forage and/or creating bedding and escape cover can greatly improve habitat richness and diversity.

Timber harvest and silvicultural practices in line with wildlife management needs can add a significant economic advantage to your management program, and our experts can help by showing you how to best meet both needs.

Aquatic/fisheries management
Beyond big game and bird management, Tecomate Wildlife Biologists are industry leaders in pond, lake, and stream management and design.

Hunt Management

Stand density and placement
Having more stands to choose from that are properly placed to hunt food plots, staging areas, and rutting areas in several different wind directions can greatly increase harvest and observation.

Hunt zones
Some properties are large enough to divide into yearly hunting zones, allowing portions of the tract to rest for one year and be hunted the next year, improving observation and harvest in a new zone each year.

Hunting pressure management
Unmanaged hunting pressure can lead to greatly reduced deer harvest and observation. Tecomate Consulting will show you how to maximize your hunting and stand opportunities by using different types of stands, exploiting dense areas by installing shooting lanes, identifying areas that are untapped for hunting, and implementing other strategies.

Non-Game Management

In conjunction with Tecomate’s network of real estate development professionals, Tecomate Consulting will assist you in integrating sound wildlife management practices while accentuating the overall beauty and appeal of your land.

Endangered Species
Tecomate Consulting has extensive experience assisting landowners in properly managing Endangered Species and capitalizing on applicable federal and state incentive and stewardship programs.

Non-Consumptive Shooting Sports (Clays)
Let Tecomate’s network of design professionals and Tecomate Consulting help you design and use non-consumptive shooting sports facilities, including sporting clays, five-stand, skeet, wobble trap, live hunting simulation, and more.

Conservation Easements
Tecomate’s network of conservation professionals can assist landowners in protecting natural resources for future generations while working to obtain tax relief.

Federal and State Land Stewardship Program Assistance
Millions of dollars are available each year to landowners who choose to enter portions of their land in programs like WHIP, CRP, and WRP. Ask Tecomate Consulting how.

Supplemental Nutrition

Supplemental Feeding
Food plots are far superior to supplemental feeding and native browse for producing trophy animals; however, feeding can be used as a tactic to offset major forage losses due to drought or other unforeseen events, provide high quality food sources between food plots, and fill forage loss gaps during transition periods between peak food plot production. Feeding can also be used to introduce a relatively higher quality nutrition source to native browse in areas where tillable land is scarce and food plots cannot be planted.

Mineral licks can provide deer with micro nutrients that may be missing in their diet due to poor soil conditions. Mineral supplements may be used in conjunction with a feeding program to be more effective in delivery.

Herd Management

Carrying Capacity
The number of animals of one species that a property and its resources can support. The carrying capacity for whitetails and other wildlife species can be greatly increased with food plots and proper habitat management

Population modeling
By collecting and analyzing the data from helicopter surveys, trail cameras, hunter observation, and harvest, Tecomate Wildlife Biologists can accurately assess deer herd dynamics including the sex ratio, population density, recruitment rate, and age structure

Harvest management
Tecomate Consulting can help you set the criteria for harvest restrictions and needs in your program. These criteria can relate to the harvest of mature trophy deer, immature bucks, management bucks, and does

Sex ratio
The number of adult does (1.5 years and older) relative to the number of adult bucks (1.5 years and older) in a herd. We strive to balance this ratio at 1:1 which can be an arduous task for many deer managers given locally regulated harvest limits and resources.

Herd Density
The total number of deer on a property or in a region expressed as 1 deer/X number of acres. The Tecomate and El Calzador Ranches hold 1 deer/3-4 Acres which is relatively a very high density; however, our deer outweigh and outscore deer in neighboring herds by 20% or better under intense food plot management.

Recruitment Rate
The number of fawns that survive their first summer and early fall. Healthy does are better mothers and can more successfully rear their young. Good food plot forage and escape habitat for fawns also increases their survival rates and allows them to be recruited into the herd as juveniles their first fall. In herd management it is expressed as a percentage of the number of surviving fawns each fall to the number of adult does in the herd. Recruitment Rate (RR) is a great indicator of herd health, predator loads, and adequate or inadequate fawn cover. A 50% RR is low and an 80%+ RR is high indicating a sound management program. Predation is the number one cause of fawn mortality.

Age Structure
The number of juvenile (1.5), adult (2.5 – 3.5), mature (4.5 – 6.5), and over-mature deer (7.5 +) of both sexes in the herd -- an important factor in managing a buck herd to insure that enough young bucks are available to replace the mature bucks taken each year.

Helicopter Surveys
A method of counting deer on a property from the air. Helicopter surveys usually render a 60% - 70% count of the total population. The brush country of Texas is one of only a few places where this method is effective.

Trail cameras
There are numerous infrared/motion activated cameras available on the market that can be used to capture images of deer in the wild. Trail cameras, like one of our favorites the “Stealth Cam”, can be distributed throughout a property, placed over an attractant, and run in the autumn during pre-rut or in the winter during post-rut for several weeks at a time. From the images obtained, managers can estimate sex ratio, fawn recruitment rates, and age structure. A camera analysis also allows managers to identify and target bucks in the area for harvest or protection before the season begins.

Hunter observation
Hunters can record data from what they observe from the stand, and this data can be analyzed and used to estimate population dynamics.

Harvest Data
Several forms of data should be gathered from harvested deer before they are processed, including dressed weight, age (extract the jawbone to age by tooth wear), lactation, presence of a fetus, fetal age, parasite loads, and general health – Evolution of the Skinning Shed Article.

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