News

Nurturing birds and bees benefits wildlife, humans

By Dave Carlson Contributing Writer Cazenovia, Wis. — “That was corn two years ago,” said Eric Knauf, as he scrolled through his camera’s photo files displaying a field packed with blazing wildflowers and waving grasses. “Give nature a nudge in the right direction … look what can happen. It’s incredible.” The “nudge” is a relatively small (71⁄2 acres) patch of…

Wisconsin moose numbers very low, but remain ‘steady’

Woodruff, Wis. — The July 5 shooting of a cow moose in Vilas County by a Lac du Flambeau tribal member raised the awareness – and some questions –among citizens of the state’s small, but apparently stable, moose population. Certainly the loss of that animal didn’t do anything to bolster state moose numbers, but the spirits of residents in western…

Misunderstood? An inside peek at the alligator gar stocking project

By Les Winkeler Contributing Writer Springfield —  Cue the theme to “Jaws,” but the alligator gar is not as fearsome as it looks. The alligator gar is believed to have been extinct in Illinois since about 1966. Small numbers of the fish, which regularly reaches six feet in length and weighs more than 125 pounds, have been stocked in Illinois…

Boating fatalities on pace to surpass last year’s total

St. Paul — At least 10 people have died from boating-related accidents this year, ahead of last year’s pace, which ended at a 10-year high. There were eight such fatalities as August began last year. “It generally continues a theme,” said Stan Linnell, the Minnesota DNR’s boat and water safety manager. “Capsizing and falling overboard from a small boat are…

Whitetail taste test: Most invasive plants rejected

University Park, Pa. — Selective browsing by white-tailed deer likely is promoting the spread of some invasive plant species in northeastern U.S. forests, as deer avoid eating vegetation they find unpalatable. That’s the conclusion of researchers who conducted a study of deer dietary choices at the Penn State Deer Research Center, during which captive deer were simultaneously offered a selection…

Sportsmen’s groups offer healing to veterans on the water

By Ad Crable Contributing Writer Lancaster, Pa. — In Lancaster County, three central Pennsylvania sportsmen’s groups have offered healing to veterans through fly-fishing, paddling and fishing from kayaks. Donald Hershey has yet to catch his first trout on a fly-rod. Doesn’t matter. “It’s just being outdoors and around nature and getting away from life for awhile,” says the 71-year-old from…

Study: CO2 deters Asian carp

By Tim Bunton Contributing Writer Champaign, Ill. — A team of scientists continues to show that controlling invasive Asian carp can be as simple as mixing up a batch of soda water. Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. But adding carbon dioxide gas to water seems to control the movement and behavior of invasive carp in the Great…

Gill net bans on big river to protect sturgeon, paddlefish

Lake City, Minn. — The situation the occurred last summer, when about 50 large lake sturgeon and paddlefish turned up dead on Lake Pepin because of what was believed to be misplaced commercial fishing nets, shouldn’t happen again, officials say. Commercial fishing with gill nets temporarily was shut down then, reopened, and again temporarily and indefinitely closed this year, and…

A review: What we know about timber wolf attacks

Spooner, Wis. — Wolves. Just that single word brings out a long list of emotions no matter on which side of the issue you fall. To just categorize Wisconsin residents as wolf haters or wolf lovers, though, is too simplistic. Most people agree there’s a place for timber wolves in outdoor Wisconsin, but the animal has to be managed by…

State’s bald eagle plan eyes continued recovery statewide

Albany — A new conservation plan for the bald eagle in New York state hopes to maintain 200 breeding pairs of the bird throughout the state, as well as protect the wintering population. The final plan was announced by state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently and emphasizes limiting human disturbance of existing nests. The bald eagle,…

‘Roundup’ thins out invasive carp

By Gretchen Steele Contributing Writer Baldwin, Ill. — Bowfishers from five states braved tough bowfishing conditions during the second annual Kaskaskia River Rough Fish Round Up held at the Kaskaskia State Fish and Wildlife Area. The tournament was hosted by DNR and was a sanctioned Bowfishing Association of America points tournament. The $1,800 first-place prize money drew both experienced tournament…

Rehabilitated bald eagle released in Beaver County

By Deborah Weisberg Southwest Correspondent Pittsburgh — It took nearly a year of rehabilitation – including surgery by an out-of-state veterinarian – but a bald eagle with a broken wing has been successfully returned to the wild, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The juvenile raptor was discovered on Aug. 7, 2015, by two maintenance workers at FirstEnergy Corp. in…

Short walleyes exciting to anglers on Lake Erie

Port Clinton, Ohio – Fishing was excellent at the 37th Governor’s Fish Ohio Day on July 12. But, it was the walleyes tossed back and not the “keepers” that excited the 100 anglers and their captains. Fish Ohio Day is sponsored annually by Lake Erie Shores and Islands, the Ohio DNR, and Lake Erie Charter Boat Association to bolster North…

More precaution needed to prevent spread of invasives

  Lansing – New research on efforts by anglers to prevent the spread of invasive species in the Great Lakes shows most are aware and concerned about the problem, but not all are taking the proper precautions. The Journal of Great Lakes Research published a recent study by Cornell University researchers in June that gleaned attitudes about aquatic invasives from…

Summit in Springfield will look at monarch decline

Springfield —  The creature certainly gets around, but Illinois has always been significant to the monarch butterfly. And vice-versa. In fact, the state designated the monarch as the official state insect in 1975 – the result of lobbying by Illinois schoolchildren More than 40 years later DNR and other state agencies are scheduled to meet in Springfield this summer to…

Some pushback to gar reintroduction along river

By Anthony Candia Contributing Writer New Athens, Ill. —  Although it seemed out of place given the ongoing state budget issues, the General Assembly’s unanimous vote in May to pass a resolution lauding the alligator gar did have purpose. The resolution was put together by the Illinois Environmental Club, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Law and Policy Center –…

Presidential campaigns address varied outdoor issues

Fort Collins, Colo. — Representatives from the presidential campaigns of Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump took questions about guns, public lands, and other natural resource issues recently at the Hilton Fort Collins hotel. Two avid outdoorsmen, Donald Trump Jr., speaking on behalf of his father’s campaign, and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., representing the campaign of Hillary Clinton, separately…

Mayflies and midges: A study in contrast

By John Hageman Contributing Writer Sandusky, Ohio — Each spring and summer, those living or visiting the Lake Erie shoreline deal with a large number of annoying “bugs.” All are eaten by fish, birds, and other animals while available in their nymph, larval, and/or adult life stages. When aquatic insects leave the lake, it is often erroneously called a “hatch,”…

Court rejects appeal of New York assault weapons ban

Staff and AP Report Washington (AP) — The Supreme Court has rejected challenges to assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York, in the aftermath of the shooting attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that left 50 people dead. The justices last month left in place a lower court ruling that upheld laws that were passed in response…