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Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Russ Mason

Commentary: Traditional fish and wildlife management is under attack

The region’s outdoorsmen need to pay attention.
In Kentucky, the state’s Senate recently considered a bill to move the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources from the Governor’s Tourism Cabinet to the Department of Agriculture.
Senate Bill 3 also would’ve given Agriculture the ability to appoint the members of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission. With the recent close of the general session, the bill effectively died, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t re-emerge.

Commentary: Traditional fish and wildlife management is under attack Read More »

Commentary: Taking a closer look at the extinction crisis

The extinction crisis is real. So is the fact that there are insufficient funds to address it.
In an ideal world, we’d band together and empirically prioritize species at risk based on biological need. We’d ignore cuteness, charisma, social concerns, political boundaries, and economic self-interest. The focus would be promoting the greatest good for the greatest number.

Commentary: Taking a closer look at the extinction crisis Read More »

Commentary: Time for Fish and Wildlife agencies to re-engage with constituents

The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is unique.
Nowhere else in the world did hunters and anglers coalesce and become a sufficiently powerful political force to save fish, wildlife, and their habitats from ruin beyond recovery. It’s a story that everyone should know, not just consumptive users of the resource, but the public as well.

Commentary: Time for Fish and Wildlife agencies to re-engage with constituents Read More »

Party animals: Does some wildlife chase intoxication?

The other day, I read a report in the Wyoming-based Cowboy State Daily about grizzly bears and trains. The article relates that the bears had been eating fermented grain spilled from rail cars and then going to sleep on the tracks.
According to the engineers, “It’s a game of chicken between drunk grizzlies and trains, and the bears lose every time.”

Party animals: Does some wildlife chase intoxication? Read More »

How much deer disease can society tolerate? Wildlife managers weigh effects, results of culling

Culls in one form or another are how we produced domestic animals and many crop varieties (selective breeding is a form of culling).
It’s been used to change antler qualities behind fences and tried as a method to change antler qualities in free-ranging deer (doesn’t work). Many hunting regulations (e.g., enhanced doe harvest) are just culling programs aimed at changing buck-to-doe ratios.

How much deer disease can society tolerate? Wildlife managers weigh effects, results of culling Read More »

Commentary: Time to re-examine the concept of fair chase

Most of us are familiar with “fair chase,” the honor code North American hunters have followed for roughly a century. Coined by the Boone and Crockett Club (BCC) in 1888, the concept describes an ethical code originally applied to big game hunting.
It requires that the targeted animal be both wild and free ranging, with a fair chance of escape. As an aside, the BCC was especially concerned with the water-killing of deer (driving deer into lakes where hunters in boats would shoot, club, or spear them). Article 10 of the BCC constitution states that the killing of swimming (big) game was grounds for membership suspension or cancellation.

Commentary: Time to re-examine the concept of fair chase Read More »

Are deer suffering from ‘voluntary overcrowding?’

The North American pre-settlement population of white-tailed deer totaled somewhere between 24 million and 62 million animals, or an average of about 14.2 deer per square mile over roughly 3,011,600 square miles of estimated range. (Hanberry, B.B. and P. Hanberry. 2020: Wildlife Society Bulletin 44(3): 512-518)
Most of these animals lived on 2,007,800 square miles east of the Mississippi River. Today, there are somewhere between 11 million and 35 million whitetails, about half of the pre-settlement number. But landcover has changed dramatically, and several Midwestern states hold numbers of deer, ranging from 15 to greater than 45 deer per square mile.

Are deer suffering from ‘voluntary overcrowding?’ Read More »

Commentary: Exploring the connection between invasives and climate change

Here are two largely accepted premises.
• First, most conservationists and environmentalists will agree that climate change is a threat to fish, wildlife, and habitat.
• Second, most conservationists and environmentalists will agree that invasive species are a problem for fish, wildlife, and habitat (albeit not as existential as extreme heat, drought, severe storms, or ocean/lake/reservoir/river and stream warming).
Perhaps under-appreciated is that invasive species are, in large measure, a biotic manifestation of the changing precipitation and warming.

Commentary: Exploring the connection between invasives and climate change Read More »

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