Watch nesting barn owls through IN DNR webcam

A show of companionship and survival will play out live before the public in a DNR webcam that offers a peek into the lives of a barn owl pair raising chicks. The webcam is at

Barn owls are a state-endangered species. The pair on this webcam has been living in a DNR-built nest box inside a metal pole barn in southern Indiana since 2009. These owls have nested every year since 2009. Read more

Boone and Crockett Club Celebrates New Home of North American Conservation

GW:  I was given a sneak preview of the new Bass Pro Shops facility in Missouri and this will become a worthwhile destination for sportsmen and women for years to come. 

MISSOULA, Mont. – The Boone and Crockett Club commends Club member and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris on his continuing conservation efforts and the upcoming opening of one of the largest, most immersive conservation attractions in the world – Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium. The 315,000 square-foot exhibit sits adjacent to Bass Pro Shops flagship store in Springfield, Missouri, and will soon serve as the new home to North American conservation when it opens later in 2016.In 2015, Boone and Crockett Club joined more than 25 of the country’s leading conservation organizations to contribute to the creation of the attraction. The nationwide collaboration brought together conservation leaders to discuss fun and engaging ways to motivate public appreciation for wildlife and conservation efforts. The attraction will highlight past successes and share important conservation messages to a national audience.

“The museum and aquarium continues the legacy of dedicated professionals and individuals who truly care about ensuring the future of wildlife through conservation practices,” said Morrison Stevens, Club president. “It will serve many generations to come with an immersive, educational experience that focuses on the benefits of long-term conservation and the positive effects on wildlife. The motto ‘Conservation had a beginning, but has no end,’ is fitting to describe the opportunity presented by this attraction.” Read more

DNR: U.P. survey results indicate no significant change in Michigan’s wolf population

Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife division officials said today the size of the state’s wolf population has not changed significantly since the last survey was conducted in 2014.

DNR wildlife researchers estimate there was a minimum of 618 wolves in the Upper Peninsula this winter. The 2014 minimum population estimate was 636 wolves.

A wolf walks through the Upper Peninsula woodlands. “The confidence intervals of the 2014 and 2016 estimates overlap, thus we can’t say with statistical confidence that the population decreased”, said Kevin Swanson, wildlife management specialist with the DNR’s Bear and Wolf Program in Marquette.

Confidence intervals are a range of values that describe the uncertainty surrounding an estimate.

Swanson said, based on the 2016 minimum population estimate, it is clear that wolf numbers in Michigan are viable, stable and have experienced no significant change since 2014.

“Currently, deer numbers in the U.P. are at lows not seen in decades and we wondered if there would be a decline in wolf numbers as a result of this reduction in their primary source of prey,” Swanson said. “We also did not observe a significant difference in the number and average size of wolf packs as compared to 2014.” Read more

The Magic & Myths of Fawns

GW:  This information is from QDMA’s Sam Leatherman and provides some facts we may not have known.

The Magic & Myths of Fawns

Photo by Ralph Hensley.

I always look forward to seeing the first newborn fawn of the year. Without fail, social media will begin to fill with pictures of these beautiful, wobbly-legged creatures, and understandably so. Very few things in nature are as beautiful as a newborn fawn in a lush, green field. But these photos are often accompanied by misinformation and bad advice. Let’s look at the magic and myths of whitetail fawns.

Magic: For the first seven to 10 days of life, a fawn will spend up to 95 percent of its time bedded. While bedded, a fawn has a very rapid heartbeat of around 175 beats per minute. When a fawn senses danger is close, it will lower its head and drop its ears, the heart rate will fall to around 60 beats per minute, and the breathing will become slower and deeper – all to try and avoid detection by predators. The first few days of a fawn’s life are a critical time. Most fawns that fall to predators die in their first 10 days of life.
Myth: “I found a fawn that didn’t run away. Something must be wrong with it.” More than likely you have found a very young deer. The fawn will lie perfectly still, barely even blinking, until you move on. Oftentimes, at this young age the fawn will even let you touch it or pick it up, but it is best not to. More on this in a moment.

Magic: Within a few hours of being born, Read more

Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance and Huron Pines seek volunteers for Jack Pine Planting Day

Volunteers are needed to plant jack pine trees to help the Kirtland’s warbler on the third annual Jack Pine Planting Day sponsored by the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance and Huron Pines in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fairmont Santrol and Saving Birds Thru Habitat.This year’s event will be held Saturday, May 7. Volunteers will gather at the northeast corner of Crawford County Road 612 and Manistee River Road at 9 a.m. with the goal of planting about 2,300 trees over a 2-acre site in about three hours. The site is about approximately 4 miles west of Frederic, Michigan.

Read more

DNR produces map of 2015 burned areas to give folks a hand in their hunt for morels

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides an online interactive map that highlights the state’s 2015 wildfires and prescribed burns – each more than 10 acres in size – to help mushroom hunters in their quest for morels.

“Morel mushrooms are often found in locations where large fires occurred the previous year,” said Jim Fisher, resource protection manager for the DNR Forest Resources Division. “Each spring we get calls from people who are seeking details on those sites to hunt morels. We’ve enhanced the features of this map to give our customers the information they are looking for in a mobile-friendly, easily accessible package.”Morel mushroom hunting

The DNR’s interactive Mi-Morels map provides forest cover type information, latitude and longitude coordinates and state-managed land boundary information.

Morel mushrooms commonly sprout in locations burned by wildfires or prescribed burns with a tree canopy; grass or sunlit open areas are less likely to produce the tasty fungi. Read more

A Song of Ivory and Fire: Why destruction of ivory stockpiles might not be a good idea

From SCI

As Kenya prepares to destroy its entire wildlife products stockpile–an estimated 100 or more tons of elephant ivory, rhino horn and parts from other species–at the end of April, some are welcoming this move as a bold display of defiance against trafficking of wildlife products. Billionaires, Hollywood celebrities, and other ill-informed individuals are expected to attend and cheer as flames transform ivory into ashes. But beyond a grand gesture, what are the deeper implications of ivory stockpile destruction? The potential negative consequences of such stockpile destruction events deserve closer scrutiny.

StockpileKenya was the first nation to publicly destroy ivory, back in 1989, in the lead-up to the global ban on commercial ivory trade. Since then several other nations have followed suit, and Kenya itself has followed up with additional ivory burns. Since 2011, at least 15 nations, including the United States, have held public events to eliminate ivory stockpiles–destroying an estimated 65 tons or more of ivory. Each has been touted as a public show of disdain for illegal ivory trafficking, a statement to ivory traders that the world will no longer tolerate the slaughter of elephants for their ivory. Defenders of stockpile destruction say that it takes ivory “beyond economic use.”

Yet how many of these events have been accompanied by a transparent and independent audit to verify that the amount claimed to have been destroyed was actually destroyed? Is it unreasonable to imagine a scenario in which criminal networks in countries that consistently rank among the world’s most corrupt nations could conspire to make a grand display of “destroying” 20 tons of ivory, but then burn only a token few pieces of ivory atop 10 tons of scrap wood? Such a move would then take 10 tons or more of ivory off the record books and free it up for sale on the black market. Without credible independent verification, who is to say whether the ivory has actually been destroyed versus having been shifted into the hands of corrupt officials to be sold for their own personal enrichment? Officials from the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) can inspect official ivory stockpiles at any time. If those stockpiles no longer “officially” exist, then there’s no longer anything to inspect.

RhinoThe fundamental principle of supply and demand also poses a formidable challenge to the assertion that taking ivory “beyond economic use” somehow reduces demand for ivory. Ivory consumers are certain to perceive the loss of tons of ivory as a signal that their favored commodity is in increasingly short supply, thus driving up demand. Read more

HSUS’s CEO May Be Coming to Your Town

This from

Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle has a new book coming out today called The Humane Economy. You don’t need to have read it to be familiar with his general goal: A “humane economy” to Wayne Pacelle is one that doesn’t use animals. After all, Pacelle has said, “I don’t want to see another cat or dog born” and he has been a vegan for about 30 years.

Pacelle’s book follows 2011’s The Bond—an odd title for a guy who said “There’s no special bond between me and other animals.” For that book, Vain Wayne started off with a dozen-city or so tour—before expanding it to a months-long, 100-city international tour. We went to one event and weren’t particularly impressed with the turnout.

If Pacelle is coming to a town near you, we encourage readers to show up and ask him a tough question. He’s slick—but we’d like to see him talk his way out of these. HSUS supporters deserve answers. And if you do ask him, take a video on your cell phone if you can.

Five Questions for Wayne Pacelle:

  1. How can you justify HSUS sticking over $100 million into Caribbean investments between 2012 and 2014 when animals are suffering now?
  2. Why should anyone trust a man who, when asked if he envisioned a future without pets, said, “If I had my personal view perhaps that might take hold. In fact, I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.” (Note: If Wayne tries to dismiss these quotes as “things on the Internet,” they come from a published book.)
  3. You criticize companies for being motivated by profit—yet you yourself recently bought a house for over $1 million in cash and have made over $4 million in compensation from HSUS over your tenure. Aren’t you motivated by money as well?
  4. Whenever we tell people that HSUS has nothing to do with your local “humane society,” most people are completely surprised. How can you honestly claim that your members are aware of the difference?
  5. Whenever there’s a natural disaster HSUS’s fundraising kicks into high gear. You raised over $2 million off of Hurricane Sandy, but only spent one-third of that on Sandy relief. How do you justify the slick, emotional marketing when you know the money will likely not be used for that specific issue?


Pacelle’s tour schedule (may be updated periodically): Read more

First eaglet hatches at Platte River State Fish Hatchery

GW:  I love this technology…unimagined only a few decades ago.

Eagle and eaglet in nest at Platte River State Fish Hatchery

One of two eaglets has hatched at the eagle’s nest on the grounds of the Platte River State Fish Hatchery. It hatched in the early hours today, April 19.

Viewers may want to glue themselves to the Carbon TV Eagle Cam. The second eaglet hopefully will hatch at any moment, as pips (small holes pecked into the shell of an egg from a parent eagle’s beak) are now present on the egg in the nest on the grounds of the hatchery.

Viewers can watch the action unfold live in real time on Read more

Maine Supreme Court Sides with Sportsmen

After nearly a year and a half of fighting in court, and more than $100,000 spent, sportsmen in Maine were victorious today against a lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Today’s victory was the latest in a long line of victories by the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council and the Sportsmen’s Alliance in this case.

In early 2015, Maine Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler sided with sportsmen and dismissed a lawsuit aimed at silencing Maine’s wildlife professionals on grounds that it was moot. Today’s Supreme Judicial Court ruling upheld that decision, effectively ending the issue. Read more

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