The wildlife program on the Freeman Ranch serves two functions 1) as a laboratory for flora, fauna, and habitat research for classes and individual projects, and 2) as an income producing enterprise to support ranch operating expenses.
The harvest of renewable resources (white-tailed deer and Rio Grande turkey) has evolved from guest to day hunts to the present management leases. Hunting and hunter management are used to improve herd quality and control population densities. Approximately half of the Freeman Ranch enclosed with eight foot high fence allowing for the utilization of different conservation management methods. Turkey harvest is usually limited to the spring season. All other game and non-game species receive preservation management including the unique melonistic form of White-tailed deer. Other non-game mammals resident of the ranch include gray fox, coyote, bobcat, raccoon, ringtail, skunks, undetermined species of bats and rodents, and occasional visits by mountain lion.
Avian species ranging from humming birds, bobwhites, and various doves await the avid bird watcher. Nature tourism and bird watching is encouraged and an annotated Nature Trail, developed by the student chapter of Wildlife Society, is available year round. Checklists of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians are available and kept updated by student research projects in the Biology Dept. Other departments such as Geology, Geography, and Physics enjoy the use of the Ranch.