Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

DNR fills needed bird jobs

Springfield – Turkeys, quail, pheasants and even rabbits
received a boost recently when DNR filled a pair of leadership
positions with veteran staffers.

One of the jobs – that of turkey biologist – _had been vacant
for eight years.

Paul Brewer, a district biologist for DNR in east-central
Illinois, is the agency’s new turkey project manager. John
Buhnerkempe, DNR’s division chief of wildlife resources, said
Brewer’s first day was June 16. He will be based

“Paul has a lot of experience and has worked in a lot of
different areas,” Buhnerkempe said. “Among the projects he’ll focus
on is re-working and updating our turkey seasons.”

Mike Wefer will replace the retired John Cole as DNR’s upland
game biologist, which is now called the grasslands project

Wefer has been a wildlife biologist for Marshall, Woodford,
Putnam and Stark counties. He has actually been handling many
aspects of the job since Cole retired in 2009.

Wefer began his job July 1. He also is based in_Springfield.

“Mike brings good energy to the job, and he really comes with an
appreciation for and experience on the habitat side of upland
game,” Buhnerkempe said.

While Brewer takes over a program that has seen steady success
in recent years, Wefer is expected to have his work cut out for
him. Due to habitat loss and urban sprawl, quail, pheasant and
rabbits numbers have consistently declined in Illinois over the
past decade.

Wefer assisted Cole and DNR staff in compiling annual spring
call counts for quail and pheasants – those numbers fell
drastically in recent years.

Buhnerkempe, himself a veteran of nearly three decades with DNR,
said the agency is grateful to be able to fill the two key

Meanwhile, Pheasants Forever has posted an opening for its
Regional Biologists in northern and central Illinois after the
resignation of Matt Bradshaw.

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