MDF / Lado Ranch Wildlife Water Project


In far-West Texas water additions like these are the very best, cheapest and quickest wildlife practice. Free water hurts nothing and helps everything.


MDF / Lado Ranch Wildlife Water Project

April 29th, 2017 – Lado Ranch near Van Horn, Texas
Funded by the Mule Deer Foundation

On April 29th more than 30 volunteer conservationists from around the state and beyond descended upon Van Horn, Texas to put their money and muscle behind landscape scale efforts to strengthen and rebuild mule deer populations in the Trans Pecos! Funded by the Mule Deer Foundation, this project took place on the Lado Ranch located just south of Van Horn. The project was designed to enhance critical fawning habitat in the Van Horn Mountains, and improve recruitment levels in the deer population throughout the region.

The project involved laying about four miles of water line connected to an existing well and wildlife water system, installing multiple water storage and pressure reducing cisterns, and placing several drinkers at locations along the route. The end result will be better habitat utilization and the provision of reliable water sources critical to lactating does in the area. While populations of mule deer in the region have begun to recover from the intense drought of 2010-2011, these efforts will hasten that progress, and more importantly better prepare the wildlife of this area for the next drought.

The Lado Ranch is owned by Wexford Ranches out of Victoria, Texas. These efforts represent the latest chapter in an ambitious undertaking to bring effective and broad based wildlife conservation programs to this property and the region. Other conservation efforts are on-going on the ranch and have centered around bighorn sheep, desert quail, and even prairie dogs!

The Mule Deer Foundation currently boasts 17 Chapter across Texas, with dozens more across the western and Midwestern United States. Their mission is to “Ensure the conservation of mule deer, blacktailed deer, and their habitat” and this project is just the latest salvo in that effort. Volunteers, concerned landowners, corporate partners, like minded governmental and non-governmental organizations contribute to this effort and benefits are accrued by all involved.

In conjunction with this project the Mule Deer Foundation also held its inaugural Van Horn Banquet and fundraiser on Saturday the 29th at the Van Horn Community Center.

For more information on this and other MDF activities across Texas and the American west visit the Mule Deer Foundation website.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to personally thank all of you that helped make the recent collaborative project between the Mule Deer Foundation and Wexford Ranches’ Lado Ranch come together. I believe that by any measurement it has to be judged as a rousing success! This type of “boots on the ground” conservation work could not happen without the help of dedicated people such as yourselves, and the effects of our labors were evident immediately. Putting reliable water sources in the desert is always a good thing for the local wildlife, and as most of you are probably aware, some of the “locals” were watching as we put this together and started taking advantage of this work right away.

There are a series of photographs from the project online that you may enjoy, and if you click on the “Show More” button near the top of the page a press release about the project is also available. Special thanks to Bill Broyles and Ryan Newberry of Heartland Bowhunting for their excellent photographic contributions! An article detailing the whole project has also been submitted to MDF and numerous Texas press and radio outlets, so there may well be more P/R from the project showing up in the near future.

I believe that the inaugural banquet in Van Horn that was held in conjunction with the project was also a success, and we will be looking toward our next opportunity to make the Mule Deer Foundation presence felt in the Trans Pecos. Again, many, and sincere thanks to all involved for your help in bringing this project together! I hope to see y’all again soon. Please feel free to forward this information to anyone you think might be interested in this work, or in helping with our next project down the road.

Best Regards,
David Wetzel

Ranching, wildlife management, finance, oil & gas, real estate development and management.

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