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Blog posts from the Habitat

Don’t toss your tree: help local wildlife

Don’t toss your tree: help local wildlife

Now, despite weeks of watering, you’re starting to find needles on the floor. It’s probably time to put the tree out on the curb for the city to haul to the landfill — or maybe grind into mulch for flower gardens at the local park. But wait, before you get rid of that tree, doesn’t it still have some value?


Deer: to feed, or not to feed.

Deer: to feed, or not to feed.

My primary concern is for the overall health and growth of a species. Rather than focusing on individual animals, I ask myself how management actions will affect the species as a whole in an area, and then I weigh the costs against the benefits. Given these considerations, most of the time my advice is that people avoid feeding deer in the winter.


Crawling along the riverbanks

Crawling along the riverbanks

Fishing for brown trout in the Ogden River can be fantastic. Average fish densities can reach upwards of 6,000 fish per mile of stream. Yes, you read that right: there are tons of fish in the Ogden River.


Thankful for the wild turkey

Thankful for the wild turkey

Hunting the wild turkey in the spring is one of my treasured rituals. It’s the time of the year when I’ve stowed my ice fishing gear and I’m waiting for the lakes and reservoirs to open. Turkey hunting cures cabin fever.


My son’s first pheasant

My son’s first pheasant

At the very moment I spoke those words, the sky exploded with that familiar, vibrant blur of a rooster pheasant! Startled enough by that one, a second rooster busted from the cover and headed for the trees.


A habitat remodel for wintering mule deer

A habitat remodel for wintering mule deer

The chaining removed pinyon and juniper trees in order to establish grasses, forbs and shrubs. These trees provide hiding spots and thermal cover for deer and elk, which is like a bedroom. By removing islands of trees and aerial seeding the area with quality plant species, we create a kitchen, and they still have a bedroom too. It’s a habitat remodel of sorts.


Building a guzzler for bighorns

Building a guzzler for bighorns

Not a single detail could be overlooked, due to the remote location and limited access of the site. One forgotten fitting could have meant a day of lost time and a forgotten heavy object could have stopped the project for months—or even years—waiting for a helicopter to deliver the item.


A pack trip to restore habitat

A pack trip to restore habitat

I took my first pack trip with horses three years ago, and since then, I have been hooked on this great way to see remote areas. Last summer, I went on 12 trips in three states.


Spring deer classification

Spring deer classification

The challenges of managing mule deer on the Kamas unit are not much different from those of most other northern Utah locations. Development, highway mortality, depredation issues and increased recreational use on critical winter ranges have all taken their toll on mule deer populations throughout the Intermountain West.


Hands-on help for wildlife

Hands-on help for wildlife

Last year, I worked to restore an abandoned pipeline system. This system provided water to two separate drainages. Accompanied by local ranchers and dedicated hunters, we repaired approximately 15 miles of pipeline and restored water to areas that hadn’t seen moisture for years.


Native trout restoration

Native trout restoration

The DWR has been working to identify a pure population of Colorado River cutthroat trout and to develop a broodstock that can be used to repopulate areas in southeastern Utah. Those obstacles have finally been overcome, and we are ready to begin restoration efforts.


Ranchers restore rangelands

Ranchers restore rangelands

This family wanted to change the cheatgrass desert back into the productive rangeland it once was. The focus was to bring back a lot of the critical mule deer winter range, while at the same time planting seed mixes that would feed livestock.