Much of Texas continues to suffer from extreme drought, and in deep South Texas the dry conditions persist at historic levels. From the coastal ranchlands between Kingsville and Raymondville and out west of Edinburg the prolonged lack of rainfall is taking its toll on cattle and wildlife. James McAllen's family has been ranching in southernmost Texas for nearly 225 years, and the McAllen Ranch is no stranger to tough times. James McAllen Rancher, "We have been thru a lot of droughts, and I would have to say this is one of the worst in modern history." Below average rainfall has been the norm for a number of years now, but the last three years have been particularly tough for South Texas cattle ranchers. "Our herd is probably 5 to 10 percent of what it was three years ago|We are at the point where we don't need an inch anymore we need 10 inches. And we need a lot of rest, and I think the rest is what is most important, because now we are at the point where one cow is too many."
While drought is forcing ranchers to drastically reduce their cattle herds, wildlife is also being impacted. "It has been a real concern. We have seen a big drop in the quail population, and that is one of the other reasons for moving the cattle off the ranch, because the wildlife is not something that we can control as easily|mother nature controls the wildlife and we want to help mother nature out." Private lands are the reservoirs of wildlife for Texas, and ranchers like the McAllen family are doing everything they can to preserve their ranching traditions and the state's natural heritage.
"We are not sure what is to come, but one thing that is important is that we need to take good care of our land, because it will rain someday and we need to be here when that rain comes." With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore