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Texas State Spotlight

Texas State Spotlight

Spring 2021

By Charlie Stockstill, Texas Regional Director

Where to begin with Mule Deer Foundation Texas in 2020? First, we all know what a wonderful place Texas is to live, but it looks as though the rest of the country is taking notice. That is evident in all the major events that moved here due to COVID restrictions—the National Finals Rodeo, Cowboy Christmas, and the Orange Bowl to name a few. Big country means room to spread out, and friendly people welcoming visitors has been the stock and trade of Texans throughout history. For those of you that made the trip, we hope you had a good time! For those of you that still have us on your bucket list, we will save you a place.

            As far as the Mule Deer Foundation Texas events, we did have to cancel a couple of banquets, but those chapters rebounded with raffles or online auctions that replaced or exceeded their historical net income. Meanwhile most chapters continued to have their annual fundraisers though some dates were changed. I remember saying one year ago (as a responsible Regional Director) that I would have cancelled an event that failed to have pre-sold tickets and had to guess on how much food to buy. This year I was guessing right along with the banquet chair, and keeping our fingers crossed. What happened is the actual number of people were less than the previous year (not a big surprise), but the big surprise was how much money was raised by those that came. Almost every event doubled the amount of funds they had made the previous year. And not just in Texas, the same was true of the Missouri Chapter, who as we speak is applying the principles learned in planning their 2021 Banquet! Suffice to say this has been a banner year for fundraising in our part of the world, now comes the time where the rubber meets the road, and that is getting these dollars on the ground to do some good.

            In that effort, we held the 10th State Leadership Seminar in New Braunfels in early February. Biologists from the federal and state agencies, as well as from the private sector, present projects that they feel will benefit mule deer in their areas of responsibility. The volunteers then decide if their projects warrant the financial or physical help they are asking for. Those volunteers are the same people who have raised those dollars and will raise those shovels when the work starts. The seminar is open to anyone wishing to help us help mule deer. The biggest issue up for discussion this year is the timing of three major wildlife drinkers to be built on two different locations. These will result in 30,000 gallons of water for wildlife (annual storage) in arid areas where mule deer are the prime recipients. The question here is not funding or location, it’s summer—as in how late in the spring we can do it and not die in the heat and will that give us time to amass all materials… or do we postpone to the fall, when we know we will have all materials and can wait for the temperature to drop to the mid-eighties. It will probably be a combination of both and I will post the pictures when complete.

            Now for the “Birth Announcement” or announcements in this case. One of the most interesting parts of my job is traveling where history has occurred, and Texas has much history. One such place is Adobe Walls high in the Panhandle of Texas. In 1864, Native Americans held off the attacking force of Kit Carson and his troops, 10 years later a bunch of buffalo hunters held off Quanah Parker and his force of Comanche and Cheyenne warriors. We now have the “Adobe Walls” Chapter of the MDF vowing to sustain mule deer habitat in their part of the world. Kit and Quanah would be proud as I am sure they ate their share of mule deer. In 1867, a U.S. Army fort was built on the confluence of the Concho River and the Goodnight-Loving Trail. For 12 years it served as redoubt during the Indian wars and has since grown to the town of San Angelo. Today it is home to the newest Texas Chapter of the MDF, The San Angelo Chapter is right on the border of mule deer habitat, and the committee is getting larger with more ideas for projects and fundraising to support those projects every time I see them.

We expect good things from both of our new chapters—and another banner year from all the chapters in Texas! Make sure to follow us on our Facebook feed!

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