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So you want to be a wildlife biologist?

So you want to be a wildlife biologist?

Many DWR biologists (including me!) started off as university students working on projects funded by the DWR, and that led them to a career with the agency. It’s a great path if you are truly serious about becoming a professional biologist.


Getting back to the basics

Getting back to the basics

I instinctively pulled up my shotgun and fired a very quick shot, almost like I would on a flying grouse. The recoil on turkey guns it quite powerful and it took me off the turkey for just a split second. Then more than 30 turkeys erupted from the junipers. Chaos and beauty at the same time.


National Bison Day means more in Utah

National Bison Day means more in Utah

It was a cool November morning, and the mountain peaks pierced the low-hanging clouds, like pillars supporting a gray ceiling over the floor of the San Rafael Desert. The bison were there, and we approached in quiet excitement. We watched and listened as five bulls left their pinyon juniper loft and crashed their way through a pocket of quaking aspens below.


Bear cubs head back to the wild

Bear cubs head back to the wild

The shy cubs responded by hugging the walls and cautiously moving around. The bold cubs began exploring immediately with little signs of fear.


Roping deer from ponds: just another day at work

Roping deer from ponds: just another day at work

At this point, I decided to rope the deer in an attempt to drag it out of the water. Of course the deer kicked and I was unable to row and hold the deer, but I had quick teammates that came to help in a steep spot.


Ptarmigan genetics in the Uintas and beyond

Ptarmigan genetics in the Uintas and beyond

Although ptarmigan were not confirmed to be present in the Uintas prior to the 1976 release, additional reports of ptarmigan in the Uintas from before they were released has called into question whether or not Utah’s ptarmigan population is entirely introduced.


Big game archery hunting: worth a shot

Big game archery hunting: worth a shot

One of the best things about Utah is that about 70 percent of it is public land. It’s not difficult to get away from other hunters during archery season. I like to do research, look at maps and hike the mountains within my hunting unit before the season. I also use trail cameras and a block of salt (which are both legal to use).


Middle Fork Sheep Creek: a success story in the making

Middle Fork Sheep Creek: a success story in the making

Jessen and Tamarack lakes have numerous tiger trout larger than our 18-inch measuring board, yet these fish have two or three summers of lifespan left! The fat content on these fish is outstanding. These fish are flat-out impressive!


Grabbing geese from airboats

Grabbing geese from airboats

Instead, I’ll simply say that the procedure is a lot of fun – a lot. Much like birdwatching in the wetlands, you can detect a capture operation by attentive observation. A long train of DWR trucks with trailers in tow can be spotted slowly driving along dikes in the wetlands.


Nest boxes boost duck population

Nest boxes boost duck population

Artificial nesting boxes have been used by people all across the county to provide nesting habitat for wood ducks. Nesting boxes have also proven to be very successful in Utah.


Small stream cutthroat trout

Small stream cutthroat trout

Dropping a fluffy dry fly onto the surface of a small pool and watching a trout burst from its hiding place to quickly devour the fake bug was a thrill. It’s amazing what a memory can do — I just relived those heart-pounding moments!


Fishing for a feast

Fishing for a feast

In Utah, many ponds and lakes are home to panfish. You won’t have to look too hard or drive very far to find one of these fisheries. Panfish aren’t picky. You can catch them in the hottest conditions and through the ice. They respond to almost every bait but are easiest to catch with a simple hook and nightcrawler.