Bucks – N – Black Gold

Living in Texas my whole life I am very familiar with the oilfield industry. Many friends and family work in the industry weather that be building the rigs, drilling for oil, pipelining, or trucking the product. The Oilfield industry even effects our fishing. Some of our best offshore fishing spots are rigs because the rigs act as artificial reefs. I caught my first Blue Marlin near a floating rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The oilfield in Texas is abundant and growing these days. About two thirds of my family and friends are involved in it in some form or fashion. This is a great thing for the Economy and job opportunities but with the good also comes the bad.

Two of the ranches that my family and I hunt on are smack dab in the middle of the Eagle Ford Shale. Both places have already existing wells on them that have been pumping oil and gas for years. I have never really paid much attention to them or gave the oilfield industry a second thought while hunting. That was until last year. This oil boom that just hit means the surrounding properties are drilling more and more and it is all coming from the same reservoir. Which to land owners means crack a few more wells or our neighbors might be sucking the money hole dry! Who can blame them? For one we really don’t have a choice because it is not our land and two if it was me I would more and likely do the same thing!

What does this mean for the environment and the game in the area? Well i guess I will tackle the good first. The economic boost the Ranchers have now from cracking new wells will help with ranch improvements and more livestock. New fences, crops, and animals is a good thing. There will also be clearings and lots of water tanks put in for the fracking process. The water tanks are great for migrating water fowl, live stock and the deer. Unfortunately for the ranchers more water will likely bring more pigs which is a bad thing for the ranch but good thing for hunters. The clearings from pad sights and pipelines are also great places to set up blinds and call in predators. I have noticed more road side gas stations and restaurants opening. This is a nice change from the one and only store you had no choice but to shop at.

Well one down fall I noticed last year and has continued to get worse is the road conditions. All of the eighteen wheeler traffic is hell on the roads! What was once a nice smooth caliche road in to the ranch is now like going on an off road expedition.  Those big trucks tear up the roads like you wouldn’t believe! Another side affect of the drilling is the illuminated night skies. I use to love looking at the stars over a campfire. It was amazing how getting away from the city lights you could see every constellation and shooing stars. The night skies at the ranch look like a full moon lit sky now. We went night stalking pigs a few weeks ago and it was a crescent moon and you could see like it was full. The rig lights are very bright and abundant, and when there is low cloud cover it reflects the light at night. With the drilling comes heavy traffic and lots of different people on the property, which always increases the possibility of trash being thrown out and poaching of the game animals.This does not always happen but has been known to on occasion.

The wild animals will hopefully become acclimated to the traffic or it may temporarily run them off. Once the wells are put in the noise and traffic stops and hopefully if they have left they will come back. We really don’t know what to expect! Only time will tell how the oilfield will effect our hunting season. It is just something that has been on my mind the last few times I’ve been on the ranches and I felt like sharing my thoughts on the subject.  I hope for the best but do expect next deer season to be a bit different from the previous years.

Mar 03, 2013 | Category: Blog | Comments: none

 

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