What impact will the recent rain have on South Texas? Coming in early Fall, after a very dry Summer, the moisture will still be effective due to the continued warmer temperatures. Had it come much later, cooler temps would have negated much of the impact short term. Moisture is always welcome, but, like fixing a flat on a car that’s out of gas, the benefit of rain in cooler months is not enjoyed until the range warms up.
Grass grows with an average temperature of 55 degrees, so as long as it stays above that, heavily-grazed pastures will recover to some extent, hopefully enough to provide nesting cover next Spring. Browse will put out new shoots which will benefit deer and other browsers, and there will be some new forbs, (weeds), but unfortunately, the warm-season annuals are done for the year and most of the quail food is already on the shelf. We had a wet Spring with good annual forb production, so food stocks are not limiting, barring really severe cold this Winter.
In areas with adequate nesting cover, the quail will try again. I once watched a hatching event in La Salle Co. in mid-November so it can happen. Unfortunately, insects are in short supply in the cooler months, so chick survival will be very low.
Anyone with wildlife guzzlers will be happy with some water in the tanks. I know my rainwater collection system was dry yesterday and half full today, a blessing in anyone’s book. That water will come in very handy over the winter unless we receive additional moisture in significant amounts. I doubt we had any runoff, so ponds and tanks are still hurting.
All in all, a welcome event and one we really needed. As discussed, it came late, but I have heard of good quail numbers in Frio, Medina, and La Salle cos., so hunting should be average to good. Dove season has been disappointing and perhaps this front will bring in the storied “northern” birds and rejuvenate a lackluster season; I hope so, Ruby needs the work!