Registration now open for Elk University


Elk University logoMichigan educators with students in grades 9 through 12 can register for a free elk education program designed to fit into a busy school semester while still meeting educational standards.”Elk University officially started in 2015, so we are now in our second school year,” said Department of Natural Resources wildlife outreach technician Katie Keen. “We’ve had about 40 schools enrolled this fall, totaling about 2,600 students from the Upper Peninsula to southeast Michigan, and we hope to continue to reach additional schools this spring.”

Three lessons are provided in YouTube format, with an activity provided for each lesson. Total classroom time required to complete Elk University is approximately three hours. Lessons cover Michigan history, forest management, elk biology, wildlife disease and social considerations for wildlife management. Students also will learn how the DNR manages and maintains a healthy elk herd for current and future generations.

To enroll in the spring semester, the DNR asks educators to register online before Jan. 30, 2017. Read more

Arrests for Transport, Release or Possession of Live Feral Pigs


16 Arrested in 3 States for Transport, Release or Possession of Live Feral PigsAlthough hunting feral pigs is legal, their live transport and release has been illegal in Alabama since 1997. An investigation by Conservation Officers in the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) has led to arrest warrants issued for 16 people in seven Alabama counties and two other states for the illegal transport, release or live possession of feral pigs. Read more

No Wolf Hunting in Michigan

This from Michigan United Conservation Clubs…

In some disappointing news, last week the Michigan Court of Appeals sided with the Humane Society of the United States and invalidated the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, which we all worked so hard to initiate and pass in 2014. HSUS, through their Keep Michigan Wolves Protected front group, challenged the law in the Court of Claims, which upheld it. They appealed that ruling to the Court of Appeals, which ruled that the provision including free licenses for active military members was not related closely enough to scientific wildlife management to be included in the law, and struck the whole thing down.

We think they were in error on two points: 1) It is absurd to say that hunting and fishing licenses have no necessary connection with scientific wildlife management decisions when they literally fund the Department of Natural Resources in both implementing the scientific wildlife decisions of the Natural Resources Commission and the DNR’s time and research that goes into making those decisions. 2) Even if it was unrelated, the Michigan Constitution says that provisions of legislation found unconstitutional should be severed from the rest of the legislation, meaning that the ability of the NRC to make fisheries decisions and name game species using sound science should have been preserved, either way.

It is now up to the the Michigan Attorney General’s office, which represents the State in this case, to pursue an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. The AG’s office has been on top of this issue from the beginning and we hope they will continue to defend the State of Michigan’s ability to manage its fish and wildlife with sound science.

Help Michigan United Conservation Clubs defend your hunting rights by joining us at www.mucc.org/join_mucc!

Michigan’s 2016 Deer Status and CWD

By Glen Wunderlich

With only a few days remaining in Michigan’s firearms deer season, the unwelcome news of another deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) appears to have been discovered.  A 1.5-year-old buck taken Wednesday, Nov. 16, in Clinton County’s Eagle Township is likely the ninth free-ranging deer in Michigan to test positive for CWD.  Preliminary tests by our DNR must still be confirmed pending tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, to make the results conclusive.  The good news is that the suspect deer was taken within the core zone, although it expands the zone somewhat.

In speaking with wildlife biologist, Chad Fedewa, no expansion of the CWD management area will be considered until deer hunting seasons end.  “This latest suspect deer reinforces how critical hunters are in battling this disease,” said Chad Fedewa, DNR wildlife biologist. “We are counting on hunters to bring their deer in for testing so we have a better understanding about disease distribution. If this hunter had not followed the law, we would have no idea that the disease has traveled farther west.”

It remains critical that hunters have deer checked near this area referred to as Deer Management Unit (DMU) 333.

The DNR has tested nearly 9,000 deer since the first free-ranging CWD-positive deer was found in May 2015; to date, eight cases of CWD have been confirmed.

With the discovery of this new suspect positive animal, hunters harvesting deer in three additional townships are strongly encouraged to have their deer checked. These townships are Portland and Danby townships in Ionia County and Roxand Township in Eaton County.

Since deer can be infected with the disease for many years without displaying symptoms, it’s best to have them checked.  Typically, hunters will not see any abnormal behavior, nor will they see anything askew in the process of field dressing.

In related news, the Rose Lake deer check station reports as of Wednesday, November 23 that over 900 deer have been checked.  Although the number is down from about 1,000 deer checked at this time last year, the addition of two check stations in the area may account for the lower amount.  However, the promising trend of bigger bodied animals and bigger racks continues.

At the Traverse City check station, wildlife biologist, Steve Griffith, reports that the count of deer checked is down some 26 percent compared to last year at this time, but attributes the decline somewhat to unfavorable weather conditions during the early portion of the season.  On a positive note, antler point restrictions in this 5-county zone, whereby bucks must have at least 3 antler points on a side (4 points on a side for second deer taken on restricted tags), are having the desired effect.  Generally, he states that body sizes are especially good, including that of fawns.

In spite of some dreaded news, we have that silver lining for which to be thankful.

Suspect CWD deer harvested in Eagle Township, Clinton County MI

It’s critical that hunters have deer near this area checked.

A 1.5-year-old buck taken Wednesday, Nov. 16, in Clinton County’s Eagle Township is likely the ninth free-ranging deer in Michigan to test positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

A hunter took the animal within an area where deer check is mandatory and brought the deer to a Department of Natural Resources check station. Preliminary tests conducted by the DNR came back positive for CWD. The animal currently is being tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, to finalize confirmation of the disease. Confirmation will take a couple weeks.

The DNR reminds hunters that bringing harvested deer to a DNR check station is critical to helping the state understand the extent of CWD in Michigan.

“This latest suspect deer reinforces how critical hunters are in battling this disease,” said Chad Fedewa, DNR wildlife biologist. “We are counting on hunters to bring their deer in for testing so we have a better understanding about disease distribution. If this hunter had not followed the law, we would have no idea that the disease has traveled farther west.”

The DNR has tested nearly 9,000 deer since the first free-ranging CWD-positive deer was found in May 2015; thus far, eight cases of CWD have been confirmed. This new suspect, if the disease is confirmed, would bring the total to nine. Read more

How the Wild Turkey Contributed to Thanksgiving

VTF&W photo by John Hal

The Thanksgiving turkeys on our tables this holiday originated from native wild turkeys whose populations have been restored across much of North America thanks to scientific wildlife management practices.

One of our native wildlife species historically played an important role on Thanksgiving Day. North America’s native wild turkeys were the ancestors of the Thanksgiving turkey on our dinner table.

Originally found only in the wild, turkeys now exist as meat-producing domesticated derivatives — the broad breasted white, broad breasted bronze, white Holland, bourbon red, and a host of other breeds – all of them descended from our native wild turkey. Read more

Arizona Livestock Loss Board Approves Compensation for Mexican Wolf Depredation

GW:  Pure genius here.  And, Arizona is introducing more wolves into the mix.

PHOENIX — The Arizona Livestock Loss Board recently approved an interim policy that allows ranchers to receive compensation for cattle taken by a Mexican wolf.

While conservation efforts are helping to re-establish the Mexican wolf population within their historical range in Arizona, this program has resulted in the loss of some commercial cattle.

The board’s unanimous vote Nov. 3 allows ranchers to be compensated for a wolf depredation incident after it is investigated and confirmed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services field representative.

“The Mexican wolf reintroduction program has been a significant burden to ranchers in Mexican wolf range,” said Arizona Livestock Loss Board Chairman and Arizona Game and Fish Department Director Larry Voyles. “We had one rancher testify that he had suffered 13 depredations just this year alone. Few family owned businesses can survive losses at this level.”

Under the interim policy, a commercial producer/operator can apply for reimbursement for damages incurred up to $2,500. Read more

Testing Confirms “Rabbit Fever” in Areas of Oklahoma

Two jackrabbits like this one were infected with tularemia at Altus Air Force Base. (JENA DONNELL/ODWC)

Small-game hunters in Oklahoma are being cautioned about several cases of suspected or confirmed tularemia, including two cases involving jackrabbits at Altus Air Force Base and another case in the Blanchard area. The disease is sometimes called “rabbit fever.”

Oklahoma has periodic outbreaks, and hunters are urged to be aware and stay on the lookout. Rabbits that are behaving in unusual ways or seem to be lethargic might be stricken with tularemia. Read more

Hunter compliance slipping on reported Iowa deer harvest requirement

Hunters play a large role in managing Iowa’s world class deer herd by working with landowners and neighbors to reduce doe numbers, providing tissue samples to monitor for chronic wasting disease and by reporting successful hunts to the harvest reporting system.

The reported harvest is an important piece of information used when wildlife experts discuss possible changes to seasons, antlerless quotas, or other potential regulation changes.

But each year, more and more hunters are skipping this step. Presently, one out of five successful hunters is not reporting their harvest. Read more

Give Bird Watchers the Gift of Knowledge


Give Bird Watchers the Gift of Knowledge
Cornell Lab of Ornithology educational resources last a lifetimeIthaca, N.Y.–It’s hard to find the perfect gift for a bird watcher who already has three pairs of binoculars, umpteen field guides, and closet full of field gear. How about the gift of knowledge? You don’t have to worry about getting the right size or color and it’s something they will never outgrow.

The gift suggestions below have another advantage: a portion of each purchase goes back into the research, education, and conservation work done by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The ideas shown here, and others, are available on the Cornell Lab holiday gifts page.

Handbook of Bird Biology Read more

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