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Blog posts from the Habitat

Respect for Utah’s bears

Respect for Utah’s bears

Bears have a remarkable sense of smell, and they love to follow their noses. They have amazing memories and will return to a site repeatedly if they found a meal there in the past. Often times, this routine causes the bear to become aggressive, and that’s when things get dangerous (for you and the bear).


A little slice of wild in the heart of Salt Lake City

A little slice of wild in the heart of Salt Lake City

Looking at the calendar, I’ve noted that it’s time to prepare for the upcoming 2013 Great Salt Lake Bird Festival (GSLBF) happening May 16-20. Since 2009, I have co-led a GSLBF birding field trip in downtown Salt Lake City with the expert assistance of bird watching enthusiast Terri Clemons. The excursion is called the City Center Bird Walk.


Bear denning in the south Book Cliffs

Bear denning in the south Book Cliffs

Crompton found mama bear awake, watching him as he entered. As she saw the biologist pull himself inside, she retreated toward the rear wall. With only one chance to shoot, Crompton took careful aim and fired the dart into her haunch.


Nesting habitat for wood ducks

Nesting habitat for wood ducks

Because these ducks are cavity nesters, nesting habitat was mostly unavailable at the pond. Cavities are most commonly found in stumps and dead trees, which are almost always removed from city parks. It was obvious that lack of nesting habitat limited population growth for wood ducks.


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.