Deer in Genesee County, MI tests positive for EHD

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Laboratory and the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory today announced they have confirmed that a free-ranging white-tailed deer in Genesee County has died from epizootic hemorrhagic disease. EHD is a viral disease, sometimes fatal, found in wild ruminants such as white-tailed deer, mule deer and elk. Read more

Northern AZ prairie dog burrows dusted to combat plague near Williams, Flagstaff


AZGFD, U.S. Forest Service team to prevent spread of illnessFLAGSTAFF — The Arizona Game and Fish Department, together with the Kaibab National Forest Williams Ranger District, recently applied insecticidal dust Williams and Flagstaff-area Gunnison prairie dog holes for fleas.

Last month fleas tested near the Red Lake area north of Williams tested positive for plague, a potentially fatal disease that could eradicate prairie dog colonies and other infected animals. Plague-infected fleas were also recently found at an AZGFD research plot at Garland Prairie near Flagstaff.

“Unfortunately, it has been a very busy year for plague,” said Holly Hicks, a small mammals biologist with AZGFD. “An infestation can prove detrimental for prairie dog populations because they are highly communal animals, and the disease spreads easily in a colony. That is why it is important for us to identify an infected colony and dust it with insecticide to reduce the risk of infection to other animals and people.” Read more

Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium Set for Friday Opening

Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium Set for Friday Opening

Largest most immersive wildlife conservation attraction in the world a major new destination in the heart of America

Springfield, Mo. – Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris will be joined by former Presidents and hundreds of North America’s conservation leaders to unveil the all-new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum Aquarium, located in the center of America’s heartland in Springfield, Missouri. Nearly ten years in the making and unprecedented in scale and scope, Wonders of Wildlife is larger than the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and an inspirational tribute to the adventurers, explorers, outdoorsmen and conservationists who helped discover, develop and preserve the nation we love.

With 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds, the 350,000-square-foot complex is a wonder in and of itself. It contains more than 1.5 miles of trails through authentic, immersive habitats and features 1.5 million gallons of freshwater and saltwater aquariums and immersive wildlife galleries. Signature galleries include a massive “open ocean” ring-shaped aquarium and the two-story Shipwreck Room where guests can touch stingrays on the ocean floor. Immersive wildlife galleries feature 4D dioramas that transport guests through sights, sounds, smells and climates to some of the wildest places on earth, including a trek across the African savannah, the Amazon rainforest, the Arctic and America’s National Parks and more in a multisensory celebration of conservation and craftsmanship.

The all-new museum and aquarium is located next to Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, one of many signature nature-based attractions in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, a region emerging as America’s Conservation Capital.

The visionary behind the project is noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, sometimes referred to as “the Walt Disney of the Outdoors” for his knack for creating amazing experiences that connect people with nature. Morris, who grew up fishing with his family on Missouri’s White River before founding Bass Pro Shops in 1971 with eight square feet of space in the back of his father’s liquor store, created the not-for-profit Wonders of Wildlife as a gift to the nation intended to inspire people of all ages to engage with the natural world.

“Wonders of Wildlife is an inspirational journey around the world that celebrates the role of hunters and anglers as America’s true conservation heroes,” said Johnny Morris. “We proudly invite families and sportsmen to come share the wonder with an unforgettable experience meant to inspire generations of future conservationists.”

Celebrating those who hunt, fish and act as stewards of the land and water

Morris convened 40 leading conservation organizations to help tell the American outdoor story from the Native Americans to Lewis and Clark and beyond. The story extends to modern-day wildlife management with a celebration of people who hunt, fish and act as stewards of the land. For the past 80 years, hunters in America have funded America’s modern conservation system largely through self-imposed federal excise taxes on outdoor equipment, and by purchasing hunting and fishing permits.

Beyond its sheer scale and quality, what’s most impressive about the museum and aquarium is its powerful message to inspire everyone to connect with the outdoors. As the world advances and more people live and work in major metropolitan areas, it is more important than ever to preserve and promote outdoor experiences. In a stress-filled world of traffic jams, endless emails, calls and constant pressure, the best medicine is a peaceful, rejuvenating experience in nature. The museum and aquarium pay homage to the sportsmen and women of yesterday, today and tomorrow with the knowledge that the surest way to preserve our rich outdoor heritage is to expose more people to its awe-inspiring beauty.

A world class aquarium adventure

At the heart of the Wonders of Wildlife experience is a world-class aquarium adventure, home to massive aquatic habitats teeming with life. There has never been an aquarium as immersive, interactive or engaging as this. Guests of all ages can immerse themselves inside a river full of piranhas, discover what it’s like to touch a stingray, traverse an underwater tunnel surrounded by giant river monsters and come face-to-face with sharks, jellyfish, snakes, iguanas, eagles, owls and more.

The experience begins with the breathtaking Great Oceans Hall, bringing the excitement of the ocean to the middle of America. Visitors will step inside a 300,000-gallon circular “open ocean” habitat, teeming with life, including zebra sharks, leopard rays and goliath grouper; look in awe at a mesmerizing living bait ball; and discover the Great Barrier Reef, a towering saltwater aquarium showcasing colorful reef fish, including Maori wrasse, potato cod and more. Additional noted exhibits include Shipwreck Reef, which plunges guests to the depths of the ocean floor where they can touch stingrays and explore a sunken shipwreck now home to colorful reef.

The aquarium also honors legendary anglers with boats from Earnest Hemingway, Zane Grey, personal fishing artifacts and mementos from U.S. Presidents, and some of fishing’s most accomplished sportsmen and women at The International Game Fish Association’s (IGFA) Fishing Hall of Fame and the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.

More fun surprises await around every corner as visitors traverse cypress swamps, tropical rainforests, Ozarks waterways, craggy caves and more. The aquarium’s unique design ensures visitors are constantly surprised and amazed by where they might end up next, and the creatures that await to be discovered around the bend.

Immersive wildlife galleries transport visitors around the world

Visitors can pack their bags for adventure as state-of-the-art 4D dioramas completely surround them within the sights, sounds and smells of the planet’s most extreme wildlife habitats. Each environment features meticulous attention to detail including massive hand-painted murals, native foliage and special effects that deliver the chill of the Arctic, the cold winds of the Alps, the dry sun of the African Savannah and more.

Signature exhibits within the wildlife galleries include The Great African Hall, immersing guests in the African savannah with animals including elephants, giraffes, rhinos, crocodiles, zebra and more and Sheep Mountain, with more than 40 record-setting sheep from around the world.

Visitors will relive conservation’s history with The Boone and Crockett Club’s National Collection of Heads and Horns. Founded by our nation’s leading conservation hero Theodore Roosevelt, the Club’s legendary exhibit gives visitors the chance to step back in time and see more than 40 historically significant North American game animals that helped spark America’s conservation movement when it debuted at New York’s

Bronx Zoo in 1908. Guests will encounter World Record bears, bison, caribou, elk and other big game species while learning about these iconic animals and how science, sportsmen and regulated hunting saved them from exploitation and near extinction. One remarkable display is the famous Chadwick Ram from British Columbia taken in 1936 featuring 51-inch horns and considered to be the finest North American big game specimen ever collected. The influential collection relocated to Wonders of Wildlife from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.

The majesty of the outdoors captured by the world’s finest artists and craftsmen

Wonders of Wildlife is instantly recognizable for the signature imagination, creativity, quality craftsmanship, authenticity and attention to detail that goes into all the projects dreamed up by Johnny Morris, but on a much larger scale. As the largest immersive attraction of its kind in the world, the project’s massive size called for an expansive team who spent more than nine years creating the elaborate details that make the experience so rewarding for visitors.

More than 2,000 painters, sculptors, woodworkers, iron workers, taxidermists, illustrators, designers, scientists, biologists, engineers and others contributed to the facility, which is home to some of the most sophisticated life support systems in the country as well as some of the largest and most elaborate nature-based artwork ever created.

Every wall within the 350,000-square-foot attraction features hand-painted murals painstakingly created by a team of painters who embody the talent and quality of true Ozarks craftsmanship. Painters spent more than a year painting the Great African Hall alone, resulting in a photorealistic re-creation of the great African savannah.

After the mural work was completed, imagery specialists consulted with experts to stage 3D landscape elements, including rockwork, native foliage and water effects to match the season and habitat being depicted. Each experience is grounded in the elements of the natural world, ensuring every detail is as lifelike as possible.

Grand opening features historic salute to conservation leaders

In honor of its grand opening on September 22, 2017, Wonders of Wildlife is hosting a historic event welcoming the most significant gathering of prominent North American conservation leaders and influencers ever assembled in our nation’s history. The very special tribute dinner honoring America’s conservation leaders will feature guests including President George W. Bush, President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Missouri Governor Eric Greitens amongst other dignitaries. The evening concludes with a special “Concert for Conservation” for invited guests featuring music from Kevin Costner, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, John Anderson and many other popular performers. All artists are avid outdoorsmen who are donating their time to help honor the conservation leaders in attendance. More than 400 conservation leaders are anticipated to be in Springfield for the landmark occasion along with significant donors and guests.

Share the Wonder

Wonders of Wildlife is now open daily except Christmas. For additional information including admission, hours of operation and directions visit www.wondersofwildlife.org.

Largest most immersive wildlife conservation attraction in the world a major new destination in the heart of America

Springfield, Mo. – Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris will be joined by former Presidents and hundreds of North America’s conservation leaders to unveil the all-new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum Aquarium, located in the center of America’s heartland in Springfield, Missouri. Nearly ten years in the making and unprecedented in scale and scope, Wonders of Wildlife is larger than the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and an inspirational tribute to the adventurers, explorers, outdoorsmen and conservationists who helped discover, develop and preserve the nation we love.

With 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds, the 350,000-square-foot complex is a wonder in and of itself. It contains more than 1.5 miles of trails through authentic, immersive habitats and features 1.5 million gallons of freshwater and saltwater aquariums and immersive wildlife galleries. Signature galleries include a massive “open ocean” ring-shaped aquarium and the two-story Shipwreck Room where guests can touch stingrays on the ocean floor. Immersive wildlife galleries feature 4D dioramas that transport guests through sights, sounds, smells and climates to some of the wildest places on earth, including a trek across the African savannah, the Amazon rainforest, the Arctic and America’s National Parks and more in a multisensory celebration of conservation and craftsmanship.

The all-new museum and aquarium is located next to Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, one of many signature nature-based attractions in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, a region emerging as America’s Conservation Capital.

The visionary behind the project is noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, sometimes referred to as “the Walt Disney of the Outdoors” for his knack for creating amazing experiences that connect people with nature. Morris, who grew up fishing with his family on Missouri’s White River before founding Bass Pro Shops in 1971 with eight square feet of space in the back of his father’s liquor store, created the not-for-profit Wonders of Wildlife as a gift to the nation intended to inspire people of all ages to engage with the natural world.

“Wonders of Wildlife is an inspirational journey around the world that celebrates the role of hunters and anglers as America’s true conservation heroes,” said Johnny Morris. “We proudly invite families and sportsmen to come share the wonder with an unforgettable experience meant to inspire generations of future conservationists.”

Celebrating those who hunt, fish and act as stewards of the land and water

Morris convened 40 leading conservation organizations to help tell the American outdoor story from the Native Americans to Lewis and Clark and beyond. The story extends to modern-day wildlife management with a celebration of people who hunt, fish and act as stewards of the land. For the past 80 years, hunters in America have funded America’s modern conservation system largely through self-imposed federal excise taxes on outdoor equipment, and by purchasing hunting and fishing permits.

Beyond its sheer scale and quality, what’s most impressive about the museum and aquarium is its powerful message to inspire everyone to connect with the outdoors. As the world advances and more people live and work in major metropolitan areas, it is more important than ever to preserve and promote outdoor experiences. In a stress-filled world of traffic jams, endless emails, calls and constant pressure, the best medicine is a peaceful, rejuvenating experience in nature. The museum and aquarium pay homage to the sportsmen and women of yesterday, today and tomorrow with the knowledge that the surest way to preserve our rich outdoor heritage is to expose more people to its awe-inspiring beauty.

A world class aquarium adventure

At the heart of the Wonders of Wildlife experience is a world-class aquarium adventure, home to massive aquatic habitats teeming with life. There has never been an aquarium as immersive, interactive or engaging as this. Guests of all ages can immerse themselves inside a river full of piranhas, discover what it’s like to touch a stingray, traverse an underwater tunnel surrounded by giant river monsters and come face-to-face with sharks, jellyfish, snakes, iguanas, eagles, owls and more.

The experience begins with the breathtaking Great Oceans Hall, bringing the excitement of the ocean to the middle of America. Visitors will step inside a 300,000-gallon circular “open ocean” habitat, teeming with life, including zebra sharks, leopard rays and goliath grouper; look in awe at a mesmerizing living bait ball; and discover the Great Barrier Reef, a towering saltwater aquarium showcasing colorful reef fish, including Maori wrasse, potato cod and more. Additional noted exhibits include Shipwreck Reef, which plunges guests to the depths of the ocean floor where they can touch stingrays and explore a sunken shipwreck now home to colorful reef.

The aquarium also honors legendary anglers with boats from Earnest Hemingway, Zane Grey, personal fishing artifacts and mementos from U.S. Presidents, and some of fishing’s most accomplished sportsmen and women at The International Game Fish Association’s (IGFA) Fishing Hall of Fame and the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.

More fun surprises await around every corner as visitors traverse cypress swamps, tropical rainforests, Ozarks waterways, craggy caves and more. The aquarium’s unique design ensures visitors are constantly surprised and amazed by where they might end up next, and the creatures that await to be discovered around the bend.

Immersive wildlife galleries transport visitors around the world

Visitors can pack their bags for adventure as state-of-the-art 4D dioramas completely surround them within the sights, sounds and smells of the planet’s most extreme wildlife habitats. Each environment features meticulous attention to detail including massive hand-painted murals, native foliage and special effects that deliver the chill of the Arctic, the cold winds of the Alps, the dry sun of the African Savannah and more.

Signature exhibits within the wildlife galleries include The Great African Hall, immersing guests in the African savannah with animals including elephants, giraffes, rhinos, crocodiles, zebra and more and Sheep Mountain, with more than 40 record-setting sheep from around the world.

Visitors will relive conservation’s history with The Boone and Crockett Club’s National Collection of Heads and Horns. Founded by our nation’s leading conservation hero Theodore Roosevelt, the Club’s legendary exhibit gives visitors the chance to step back in time and see more than 40 historically significant North American game animals that helped spark America’s conservation movement when it debuted at New York’s

Bronx Zoo in 1908. Guests will encounter World Record bears, bison, caribou, elk and other big game species while learning about these iconic animals and how science, sportsmen and regulated hunting saved them from exploitation and near extinction. One remarkable display is the famous Chadwick Ram from British Columbia taken in 1936 featuring 51-inch horns and considered to be the finest North American big game specimen ever collected. The influential collection relocated to Wonders of Wildlife from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.

The majesty of the outdoors captured by the world’s finest artists and craftsmen

Wonders of Wildlife is instantly recognizable for the signature imagination, creativity, quality craftsmanship, authenticity and attention to detail that goes into all the projects dreamed up by Johnny Morris, but on a much larger scale. As the largest immersive attraction of its kind in the world, the project’s massive size called for an expansive team who spent more than nine years creating the elaborate details that make the experience so rewarding for visitors.

More than 2,000 painters, sculptors, woodworkers, iron workers, taxidermists, illustrators, designers, scientists, biologists, engineers and others contributed to the facility, which is home to some of the most sophisticated life support systems in the country as well as some of the largest and most elaborate nature-based artwork ever created.

Every wall within the 350,000-square-foot attraction features hand-painted murals painstakingly created by a team of painters who embody the talent and quality of true Ozarks craftsmanship. Painters spent more than a year painting the Great African Hall alone, resulting in a photorealistic re-creation of the great African savannah.

After the mural work was completed, imagery specialists consulted with experts to stage 3D landscape elements, including rockwork, native foliage and water effects to match the season and habitat being depicted. Each experience is grounded in the elements of the natural world, ensuring every detail is as lifelike as possible.

Grand opening features historic salute to conservation leaders

In honor of its grand opening on September 22, 2017, Wonders of Wildlife is hosting a historic event welcoming the most significant gathering of prominent North American conservation leaders and influencers ever assembled in our nation’s history. The very special tribute dinner honoring America’s conservation leaders will feature guests including President George W. Bush, President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Missouri Governor Eric Greitens amongst other dignitaries. The evening concludes with a special “Concert for Conservation” for invited guests featuring music from Kevin Costner, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, John Anderson and many other popular performers. All artists are avid outdoorsmen who are donating their time to help honor the conservation leaders in attendance. More than 400 conservation leaders are anticipated to be in Springfield for the landmark occasion along with significant donors and guests.

Share the Wonder

Wonders of Wildlife is now open daily except Christmas. For additional information including admission, hours of operation and directions visit www.wondersofwildlife.org.

Arizona: Jaguar in Chiricahua Mountains Video is Male

PHOENIX — Contrary to a news release from a Tucson-based group, biologists from the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that a jaguar recently captured on a trail video camera in the Chiricahua Mountains is a male.

“This Center for Biological Diversity footage confirms that this is a jaguar we’ve seen before, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has photographic proof that this animal is unequivocally male,” said Jim deVos, assistant director for Wildlife Management at AZGFD. “We promptly informed the organization when the news release was issued that there is clear anatomical evidence of this jaguar’s gender.” Read more

Michigan’s parks, trails and waterfalls provide great settings for leaf-peeping fall color

As we put away our flip-flops for the season and get ready to don our sweaters, many Michigan residents and visitors are eagerly awaiting the state’s stunning annual display of fall foliage.

“Leaf peeping” – a term for travel geared around fall color viewing – has become a popular pastime nationwide, and Michigan is no exception.

As one of the most wooded states in the country, with more than half of its 36 million acres of land forested, Michigan offers plenty of opportunity to see trees put on their fall color show.

One notable example is Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon and Gogebic counties, where visitors can take in some of the Upper Peninsula’s best fall foliage views in a unique way – from chairlift rides at the park’s ski hill. Read more

Seats for free MI CWD symposium The Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development will host a chronic wasting disease symposium Oct. 3-4 in East Lansing, Michigan. The symposium will highlight CWD research and management from across the country. “An impressive list of experts who are internationally known for their research of the disease will be speaking,” said Dr. Kelly Straka, DNR wildlife veterinarian. “There are representatives from multiple universities, including Georgia, Colorado State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Midwestern and Michigan State.” In addition, the symposium will feature speakers from state agencies representing Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming, as well as nongovernmental organizations and government agencies, such as the Quality Deer Management Association, the North American Deer Farmers Association, the United States Geological Survey and the United States Department of Agriculture. The format of the symposium includes speakers fielding direct questions from the audience. Attendees will be able to hear firsthand about the disease and how it is being studied and managed across the country. When: Tuesday, Oct. 3 – 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (On-site check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. each day.) Where: Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, Michigan State University 219 S. Harrison Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824 Cost: Free – there is no registration fee. Note: Lunch is not provided. A food truck will be available for attendees to purchase lunch. Those interested can register at http://survey.sogosurvey.com/r/0AymgU. Seating is limited. There are approximately 100 spots available, and registration will close as soon as seating is filled. The event will be live-streamed for those unable to attend. Chronic wasting disease is a contagious neurological disease affecting members of the cervid family, including deer, elk and moose. It attacks the central nervous system of infected animals, resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. There is no recovery. In 2015, Michigan’s first free-ranging CWD-positive deer was confirmed. Since the discovery of that animal, the DNR has sampled more than 13,800 deer from around the state. A total of nine of those animals have tested positive for CWD. For more information, visit the DNR website mi.gov/cwd. Contact: DNR Wildlife Division, 517-284-9453

Seats are free for MI CWD symposium

The Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development will host a chronic wasting disease symposium Oct. 3-4 in East Lansing, Michigan. The symposium will highlight CWD research and management from across the country.

“An impressive list of experts who are internationally known for their research of the disease will be speaking,” said Dr. Kelly Straka, DNR wildlife veterinarian. “There are representatives from multiple universities, including Georgia, Colorado State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Midwestern and Michigan State.”

In addition, the symposium will feature speakers from state agencies representing Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming, as well as nongovernmental organizations and government agencies, such as the Quality Deer Management Association, the North American Deer Farmers Association, the United States Geological Survey and the United States Department of Agriculture. Read more

Arizona’s bald eagles expand breeding sites in 2017

PHOENIX — Arizona’s bald eagle population continues to soar as the number of breeding areas expanded statewide and a record 82 young hatched during the 2017 breeding season, according to an annual Arizona Game and Fish Department survey.

While the number of hatchlings rose from the previous high of 79 in 2016, the number of young that actually fledged dipped slightly to 63 birds that made the important milestone of their first flight. In Arizona, at least 95 eggs were laid, which was slightly less than the 97 laid in 2016, and a record 85 breeding areas were identified, including two new areas. Read more

Lawsuits Over Yellowstone Area Grizzly Delisting Roll In

Sep 05, 2017
For the second time, anti-hunting and other groups have challenged the removal of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) population of grizzly bears from the ESA list of threatened species.  Indian tribal interests and anti-hunting groups have filed a total of four lawsuits challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s July 30, 2017 delisting of the GYE grizzlies – a move long supported by SCI.  In 2008, SCI intervened in lawsuits challenging the first attempt to delist the grizzlies.  The courts reversed that delisting based on alleged inadequate consideration of impacts concerning one of the bears’ main food sources.

Delisting the GYE distinct population segment of grizzlies, which covers portions of northwest Wyoming, southwest Montana and eastern Idaho, means that those states are primarily responsible for grizzly bear management.  SCI supports the return of management to the states in which the grizzlies exist.  The states are fully capable of responsibly managing the species, including authorizing well-regulated hunts when appropriate.

The various complaints make many claims, including that (1) FWS lacked authority to establish a GYE “distinct population segment” or DPS, and then delist that DPS; (2) the decision to delist the population ignored numerous (alleged) ongoing threats to grizzlies; (3) the FWS failed to rely on the best available science; (4) state management plans are inadequate; (5) the FWS failed to adequately consult with tribal interests prior to delisting; and (6) turning management over to the states, who may authorize hunts, violates the tribe members’ religious rights.

The lawsuits were all filed in U.S. District Court in Montana by the following groups: (1) Crow Indian Tribe and three other tribes, several tribal groups, and individual Indians; (2) WildEarth Guardians; (3) the National Parks Conservation Association, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club; and (4) the Humane Society of the United States and Fund for Animals.  It is likely the court will consolidate all the cases into a single proceeding.

SCI’s membership has already shown great interest in SCI defending the delisting and the states retaining management over the bears.

AZGFD submits comments on federal draft Mexican wolf recovery plan


Plan builds on successful, science-based efforts to restore wolves to historical rangePHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) Tuesday submitted its official comments on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) draft Mexican wolf recovery plan which, when finalized, will outline a science-based strategy for continuing the successful reintroduction of Mexican wolves in its historic range.

The FWS developed the draft recovery plan to replace the outdated 1982 plan. The updated plan was done in collaboration with state wildlife agencies in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado; independent scientists from universities in the U.S. and Mexico; nongovernmental organizations and members of the 2010-13 Science and Planning Team.

The updated draft plan released in June continues to build upon the successful recovery program, which has seen the Mexican wolf population more than double since 2009 to at least 113 wolves in the wild. Read more

Making Memories

By Glen Wunderlich

After some long, summer days updating a vintage tractor for the annual Mid-Michigan Old Gas Tractor Association show, it was time to change gears, so to speak.  I had realized that summer had just about slipped away amid the frantic preparations that took me to the brink of the show’s start.  The all-consuming commitment had left little time to enjoy the outdoors, but that was about to change.

I made arrangements for our 7 year-old great grandson to visit before the start of school and to be part of a camping experience that’s becoming a tradition of sorts. 

Trying out a slingshot for the first time

Before the campfire was lit on the first evening, our agenda included a scouting mission to a favorite hunting blind, where we would sit and watch for what Mother Nature had prepared.

The impressionable youngster tagged along a few years ago and always seems to recall a lone deer we encountered along a riverbank.  The doe watched us from afar as we returned the favor.  It was nothing more than that, but in a brief moment, the child’s wonderment of wildlife had been ignited.

Great grandson plinking at camp

With camp set up, we hiked to the lookout, as the bright sun began its routine descent toward the horizon.  But, these fleeting moments would be nothing but routine.

The curtain opened with a doe and spotted fawn feeding about 175 yards from us in a lush legume plot.  Soon, a few other deer entered the stage and browsed the smorgasbord of nutritious chow.  However, when a mature 8-point buck joined the meeting, we were at full attention. 

This was no basket-racked, run-of-the-mill yearling; the headgear was a bit wider than the spread of its ears – a sure sign of legitimacy.  And, although mating season is still months into the future, nobody told this brute.  He did his best to stir things up, nosing his way around possible mates, but was forced to simmer down by the maternal bosses.  The young man at my side was all eyes, as he had seen his very first buck.  As the amorous animal finally exited the field, there was plenty of light for scene 2 to begin, and that’s when things got more than peculiar.

We kept track of each deer in view and couldn’t help but notice an energetic buck fawn directly in front of us at about 150 yards.  A white pine with the lower branches some 6 feet off the ground was the target of a testosterone-charged fawn, as it sprung from its hind legs to contact the soft branches with its head – a sure sign of the imminent mating season.  Then, as high as it could stretch, it would violently spin its feet high into the branches with the RPMs of a Cessna, knocking clouds of pollen into the still air.  The experiment was concluded by a couple of laps around the tree in the dry, bare ground that had just been prepared for planting.  Dust flew everywhere, as the scene was repeated many times in the span of about 5 minutes.

Before the sun had fully set, another antlerless deer decided to take a few hot laps in the midst of the legume plot and that of its brethren.  For no apparent reason, the feisty doe felt the need for speed, as it raced back and forth for hundreds of yards no less than 3 times. 

As we quietly snuck back to camp, I had realized that the uniqueness of the show for the youngster’s consumption would be another one locked in the memory bank – not just for the young man, but for grandpa, as well.

1 2 3 187