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Animals on Camera, Water for Wildlife

Animals on Camera, Water for Wildlife

[calm music] – WILL RHODES: It’s quite
amazing to see the sun peaking up over the mountain
like that. – TRAVIS SMITH: You know the way
the sun hits the mountains and shades part of them,
and that changes you know as the sunrise comes up. It’s very majestic. [foot steps] – WILL: As far as jobs go this
is pretty amazing, I mean getting to work out here
in these canyons and mountains. It’s all very beautiful the
way it all comes together; the varied topography of the
area is quite amazing. – My name is Travis Smith. – My name is Will Rhodes. I used to live in the city and
got tired of that pretty quick. Found that this is just
really where I fit in. – TRAVIS: Just a different way
of life out here, and I love it. [truck passing by] – WILL: This is Black Gap
Wildlife Management Area. We’re in southern Brewster
County which is in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas. – TRAVIS: We’re in the
Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem. The area is 103,000 acres
or a little over. Black Gap is kind of in
the middle of nowhere. You know it’s 55 miles
from the closest town. There are only four individuals
who live on the area. – WILL: To the nearest Walmart
is 110 miles and even there, there’s not many people there. At night, you know, you get the full stars,
everything. You see the entire Milky Way. Where as in the city you
might be able to see a couple of stars. – TRAVIS: My wife is a very
understanding woman, she actually loves it just
as much as I do out here. [truck on gravel] – WILL: Just by its definition
this a Wildlife Management Area so we have to manage and
maintain the wildlife for the people of Texas. We have close to 300 miles
of roads that all need to be maintained. – TRAVIS: With just the two
of us, there is very little down-time. We don’t get bored very often. [truck stopping] As we all know,
animals need water. Our annual rainfall is only
around 11 inches a year. So we’re trying to supplement
that water during dry periods. A guzzler is a rain catchment. Water will be collected,
funneled into a tank, which then feeds a water
trough for wildlife. We have 45 guzzlers on the area
that we maintain. We like to periodically check
them to make sure everything is in working order. [drill whirs] Make sure the wind or animals
haven’t walked on the catchment and bent it, or
the wind has loosened it. Just make sure everything
is in good working order to provide water for wildlife. – WILL: With it being just me
and Travis out here it would be nearly impossible to get all
this work done without the support and funds from the
Mule Deer Foundation, Texas Bighorn Society, and Wildlife and Sport Fish
Restoration Fund. So this catchment consist of
R-Panel in 12 foot lengths, which is connected to these
6-inch C-Purlings (audio speeds up)
by a 5/16 inch bolt head with a 14 x 7/8 pitch
thread, (faster audio, high pitch voice)
which is then welded onto the 2″ square tubing. This all leads to a
4-inch gutter into a 4-inch (faster, higher pitch)
drainage pipe, which leads into a 2,500 storage tank. A 1″ rain should, in theory,
catch 400 gallons of water. (normal voice) And that right
there is a rain guzzler. [metal banging] – TRAVIS: We have a lot of tools
as biologist but one of the most unique ones are game cameras. A game camera is a camera we can
set over basically anywhere. We like to focus on water
sources since that’s where animals come to congregate. – WILL: On these game cameras,
it’s triggered by motion. Usually that’s going to be
wildlife coming in to get water from the guzzlers here. And game cameras also have
infrared illuminators so we can get video and photographs
even in pitch black. We wait two weeks before
collecting images from the cameras, so we
just have to be patient. [gate closes] – TRAVIS: It’s a very relaxing
commute to the office in the mornings. It’s just a stone’s throw away
from my house. There’s no fighting traffic
or road rage. – WILL: All right these are
the ones we pulled from the camera today. Should be about two weeks
worth of data. – TRAVIS: All right, now we’re
getting some deer. Four does and that’s one
collared one, or an ear tagged. Yeah, there’s the ear tags. They look very healthy,
good shape. – WILL: Buck here. – TRAVIS: Decent little buck. If you go back, you can
get kind of an age. He’s not too young, he’s got a
little bit of Roman nose there. I’d say that’s a typical buck
that you’d find on Black Gap. – WILL: Oh, we got a
little coyote. A young one. We’re seeing what you’d expect
out here, coyotes and mule deer. A lot of javelina,
that’s probably your most common thing on the camera. – TRAVIS: Some collared mule
deer going to these waters, and that helps with determining
movements of wildlife as well. Even hawks and buzzards
will benefit from these water sources. Really every animal on the
area is going to benefit from this water. [music] [buckles releasing] – WILL: This is one of our new
game cameras, this is setup on one of the water troughs
that is on the guzzler here. Get the files off and see what’s
been visiting this guzzler. These are all going
to be videos. From all these videos, we can
see it’s quite impressive the amount of wildlife and the
diversity of the wildlife coming to this new guzzler. [playful music] Looks like we have
several mule deer. Along with some of our collared
released does from earlier this year. We’ve got some gray fox, looks
like a whole lot of javelina as was expected. That tells us that it
has been effective and what we wanted it to do. [dramatic music] Time takes on a different
feel out here. I love this area of Texas. I love the mountainous region
mixed in the Chihuahuan Desert. – TRAVIS: Not every person can
be this isolated and this happy. This is God’s country. [drill whirs] – NARRATOR: This project was
funded in part by a grant from the Wildlife
Restoration Program.

31 thoughts on “Animals on Camera, Water for Wildlife”

  1. For thousands of years God and wildlife got along just fine without you useless leeches.
    If you've figured a way to milk environmental organizations for a grant to live off of, more power to you.
    I just hope that you are not soaking American or Texan taxpayers for your useless existence.

  2. It helps so many critters to have the water at ground level. I put a stick in mine in case a bird needs to grab ahold of something to get out. Thanks for putting water out for them.

  3. I'm wondering why that water tank is black…..Wouldn't that increase evaporation because black gets very in the sun therefore increasing water loss???


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