Date of this Version
Land use in southern Texas and northern Mexico is changing away from traditional livestock production and toward wildlife based recreation as white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) hunting. The objective was to conduct a landowner survey to document land use patterns along the Rio Grande River in Texas and Mexico. A survey was developed and written in both English and Spanish, and administered to the landowners or managers along the Rio Grande River in Texas and Mexico, during February to June of 2008. In Texas the survey was administered in counties that border the Rio Grande River between Starr and Kinney, and also including Dimmit County. In Mexico Included the Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila States between Reynosa and Acuña. Analysis of consisted of computing frequencies, means, maximum and minimum values. Ranches are larger in Texas (mean 2 540 ha) than in Mexico (mean 1 145 ha), the largest ranch in Texas included in the study had 52 611 ha, and in México 8 000 ha. The dominant use in both countries is as rangeland with almost 90% in Texas, and 74% in Mexico. Introduced grasses are used, with buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris) as the dominant, in Mexico 24% of the land established with tame pastures, and only 8% in Texas. Crops and other land uses are not common. Most of the ranches in Mexico and Texas consider the primary purpose of the ranch is livestock, with beef cattle as dominant activity. Cow/calf is the dominant production system both sides of the border. The frequency of landowners with this system in Mexico is 84%, higher than in Texas were 48% reported have only cow/calf herds. Combinations of stockers and cow/calf are more common in Texas. White-tailed deer hunting is reported as an important activity in 32% of Texas ranches, and only 8% in Mexico. The 30% and 19% of the Texans and Mexicans respectively use one herd yearlong continuous grazing, rotational systems are more common in Mexico. Mexicans use more mechanical brush management (70%) than the Texans (52%), but Chemical treatments and prescribed burnings are more used in South Texas.