Sultenfuss, Sherry D. (2009-05). Changing Patterns of Rangeland Use: Functional Characteristics of the Economics and Operations of Fee Hunting Enterprises in Central and South Texas. Doctoral Dissertation.
Ranching communities in Texas have long recognized fee hunting as a natural resource with the potential of directly affecting agricultural incomes. Hunting as an industry today, appears to be developing into an economic substitute for Texas ranchers who are accustomed to the variable nature of agricultural markets. To determine the economic impact of this market relative to its functional utilization by landowners, this research analyzed a large group of landowners in Central and South Texas. Information was collected through a personal interview process of 146 landowners. Data collected primarily related to the individual landowners' specific fee hunting operations and the economics associated with their enterprise operations. Response data was tabulated and examined through use of comparative analysis and bivariate methods when appropriate. Output yielded a descriptive demographic profile of landowners along with landowner opinion/attitude on ensuing constraints and values of enterprise operations. Additionally, costs and returns to operations were summarized through development of an enterprise budget by ecoregion. From this analysis, it became clear that many landowners possess strong 'feelings' about their lands and appear to share parallel ideologies relative to their properties as an earned entitlement and privilege to be passed along to their heirs. However, these Texas ranchers are well aware of the economic pressures under which they must operate and their commitment to sound land management practices increasingly includes wildlife management. This, much in part, is due to the dramatic increase in revenues generated by fee hunting enterprises over the past decade. However, the budget analysis indicates possible constraints when landownership size becomes smaller such as through the sale of parcels for business purposes or through inheritance.