District 7 Leader, TPWD

David Forrester

111 E. Travis, Suite 200
La Grange, TX  78945

979-968-6591 office
979-255-8477 cell

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What is a WMA?

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What is a WMA?

Wildlife professionals believe that the greatest threats to wildlife in Texas are habitat loss from land development, conversion of habitats to monocultures, and the fragmentation of land tracts resulting from the breakup of larger ranches and farms. One of the most promising solutions to these problems comes through the efforts of landowners working together to conserve and enhance their land for the benefit of wildlife.



Wildlife Management Associations and Wildlife Co-ops are groups formed by landowners to improve wildlife habitats and associated wildlife populations. The two terms are used interchangeably for these landowner groups. Over 150 WMAs are operating in Texas today and the number grows each year.

Some landowners join WMAs for the benefits of operating under a wildlife management plan.  Some join for enhanced recreation such as hunting, birdwatching or fishing, while others simply wish to improve the ecosystem in their local environment. While the specific reasons for creating these landowner groups are many and varied, one clear premise seems to hold true. Texans genuinely love the land and the wildlife, and they are interested in improving habitat for wildlife. As they work to organize WMAs, landowners become involved in effective wildlife management practices and learn to approach wildlife management in a practical way, across a larger landscape, creating numerous
benefits for participants.

Managing for wildlife on a small tract of land presents a special challenge. Wild animals are not usually confined by barbed-wire fences and the cost of a high fence is prohibitive and is generally not advisable for most tracts. Success in managing the habitat for healthy wildlife populations depends significantly on the actions and attitudes of neighboring landowners.  Wildlife don’t care who owns the land, they are just doing the best they can to make a living.

A deer’s home range is about one square mile (640 acres), although bucks can range several miles during breeding season. This means that on tracts of land under 1,000 acres, the deer frequently move onto neighboring tracts of land. A neighbor’s oat patch can help support them during the lean times.

Other wildlife present similar situations. For instance, a turkey’s summer and winter ranges are about one square mile, but the average shift between the two different areas is about four miles. Waterfowl and other migratory birds will travel great distances, but linger only if suitable habitat is available. Some songbirds remain throughout the year, but many are migratory, and a landowner’s ability to attract and see these species depends on surrounding habitat. Quail, pheasant, squirrel and other resident wildlife remain close to home, but are typically shared with the neighbors. This sharing is the reason wildlife belongs to the public and why Wildlife Management Associations can be such a valuable tool for ensuring that wildlife populations are managed appropriately.

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