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Hunting ethics

Hunting ethics

Either hunter could have legally shot at the bird but both declined. I was impressed with the good judgment and courtesy the father and son team exhibited even though they had no idea I was watching.


Wings beat and roosters flew

Wings beat and roosters flew

At the end of the day, as we walked back to the truck, a rooster flushed. Having played guide that day, I was the only one in our group who hadn’t gotten my limit. This one was mine. The rooster came down the draw towards and past me. I fired once, twice, then I fired my last shell. On the third shot the rooster folded.


White-nose syndrome: a disease of bats

White-nose syndrome: a disease of bats

Bats are interesting and largely beneficial animals that provide important “ecosystem services.” That is a fancy way of saying they eat lots of harmful bugs for free. They can eat half of their weight in forest and crop pests every night.


Stay Low. Stay Still. Survive.

Stay Low. Stay Still. Survive.

The mulie bounded across the road in front of us. Powerful leg muscles flexed under her summer coat, propelling her through effortless 20-foot arcs. Five heads swiveled to watch the deer, some of them lurching from reclined positions of slumber.


Tagging toads at night

Tagging toads at night

Boreal toads are more active at night, so we’ll be surveying breeding sites after dark using headlamps. Food and sleeping arrangements at one of our remote cabins in west Box Elder County will be provided! The work typically does not end until after midnight.


A very unexpected ending

A very unexpected ending

As the buck charged, I realized there were five little spears headed right for me. I was standing right between those antlers and the door! I made some timely comments at the top of my lungs as I quickly jumped from the trailer.


The thrill of harvesting a bird with “jewelry”

The thrill of harvesting a bird with “jewelry”

To me, the most satisfying thing about the Waterfowl Slam is that every dollar raised from this program is going towards creating or enhancing waterfowl habitat in Utah. So far we have raised over $10,000 that will go directly back into habitat projects around the state!


Picking up pelicans on Gunnison Island

Picking up pelicans on Gunnison Island

When the mob of chicks came back to my edge of the fence, I just reached in and picked one up. That, of course, left its beak free to protest by pecking the top of my head. I got the little guy under my arm quickly and was able to hold a hand over his eyes, which calmed him down.


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.


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.


Patrolling the winter range

Patrolling the winter range

One of last year’s 15 poaching cases involved more than 20 bucks killed within a two-month period. Fortunately, officers were able to catch the individuals responsible for this grievous act. The combined efforts of concerned citizens and DWR officers brought successful conclusions to some, but most of them are still open cases.


A day at the ranch

A day at the ranch

Each summer, more than 60 employees from the DWR’s northern region spend a day together, improving wildlife habitat and a local DWR facility. In June of 2012, we held our annual workday at the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area (WMA).