Archive for June, 2008

Washington studies Mule Deer

Posted by on Monday, 30 June, 2008

This project was started in 2002 and should be completed by now, although I haven’t yet seen any results published. Chances are the outcome was pre-determined. This is another project that is a colossal waste of time and money. I, personally, do not need a study to know that an animal, any animal, humans included, are effected by what they eat, or don’t eat. But, I also don’t need a study to know that once a doe has been eaten by a lion or a coyote, she won’t be having any more fawns.

If habitat is an issue, the time and money would be far better spent by just going out and improving habitat. Habitat is killing far less mule deer than predators. If WSU really wanted to help the deer – as opposed to just spending research dollars, they should just go kill some predators. I think the truth is – they want to blame anything but the predators for the “20 year decline in mule deer”.

Mule deer research includes ultrasonography, WSU nutrition study with captive herd
Posted August 2002
By W. L. Myers, Jr., Wildlife Biologist
WDFW Wildlife Program

WDFW’s five-year research project to learn more about mule deer populations in northeast and north-central Washington is now in its second year with expanded activities underway. The project includes body condition scoring using ultrasonography for comparison with a captive deer herd diet and nutrition study at Washington State University (WSU). The study area, where to date 184 mule deer does have been captured and equipped with radio telemetry or satellite GIS (Geographical Information System) collars, covers all or parts of Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Lincoln, Adams, Whitman, and Pend Oreille counties. In many of these areas, mule deer populations have been declining, as evidenced by survey results and hunter harvest.

One factor in those declines may be low nutrition forage. Doe deer with diet deficiencies could have later-than-optimal pregnancies, produce fawns with low birth weights, abort fetuses, have stillborns, or not even conceive. Poor nutrition is reflected in deer body condition and fat levels. Those conditions are being measured through ultrasonography (the same ultra-sound technology used in human health care) in the collared does when they are re-captured twice a year – once going onto winter range and again as deer leave the range at the end of winter. This body condition information from wild deer in the study area will be compared to body condition data collected from the captive herd at WSU to determine if diet deficiencies are part of the problem. The WSU deer diet study involves 40 female mule deer fawns. Some of the fawns were collected in spring 2002 from state licensed wildlife rehabilitators who receive them as orphans or pick-ups. Many were captured from the wild in an area of Whitman County where mule deer have been causing agricultural crop damage and hunting permits have been increased to reduce their numbers. The fawns will be held in captivity for the rest of their lives, so they are purposely being habituated to their human handlers for ease of operation as the study proceeds.

Once the fawns are weaned from their bottle-fed milk formula, group feeding trials will begin. Some groups will receive high nutritional diets, others low. Their body condition will be measured periodically using the same ultrasonography as in the wild deer re-capture portion of the research. They will be bred by captive bucks and their reproductive success or failure tracked.

By comparing the body condition measures between the captive deer on controlled diets and the wild deer, WDFW researchers hope to gain information that may connect the physical condition and fawn production of individual deer with on-the-ground habitat conditions. Vegetative mapping and evaluation of nutritional values of forage species work began in the spring of 2002. The results may indicate needs to improve, enhance or protect mule deer habitat in some areas, or simply change harvest management to reduce mortality on herds that are less than stable.

Other possible factors in mule deer declines are also being explored in this multi-faceted research project. The collared deer are monitored weekly to track movements, determine habitat preferences, calculate population densities, measure herd boundaries and home range sizes, and learn rates, patterns, and causes of death. Surveys are also being conducted to measure deer numbers, age and sex composition. The information is needed to learn more about population regulatory mechanisms and landscape-level habitat relationships.

Some of the data collected is being used to evaluate the effectiveness of the traditional “density-dependent” model of mule deer harvest management. Harvest rates are dependent on the density of the deer population, which is dependent on available habitat. The density dependent management model assumes that hunting harvest does not add to overall deer mortality, but that as hunting harvest increases, natural mortality decreases. This model was developed from white-tailed deer population studies and may not be appropriate for managing mule deer. With a better understanding of mule deer population dynamics, WDFW should be able to more carefully manage Washington’s mule deer through hunting restrictions and habitat protection.

More mule deer does will be equipped for monitoring as the study continues. That process starts with capturing the animals using a helicopter net-gunning crew that slings the netted deer to a site for processing by WDFW and volunteer crews. The deer are weighed and measured, and blood and fecal samples are collected for laboratory assessments of disease exposure, trace element levels, DNA and parasite loads. They are examined manually and through ultrasonography to determine body condition, pregnancy, and fetus size and number. The deer are equipped with radio telemetry or GIS collars. Prior to release, the deer receive shots of long-acting penicillin and a selenium-vitamin E compound to help mitigate the stresses of capture and handling.

Starting in the winter of 2002-03, a number of six-month-old mule deer fawns in each site will also be radio tagged to assess survival and dispersal.

Researchers from WSU’s Large Carnivore Laboratory are also investigating the relationships between mule deer, white-tailed deer, and mountain lions as part of this project.

Deer monitoring is conducted by graduate students from the University of Washington, Washington State University, Central Washington University, and University of Idaho. Volunteers from the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council and Asotin County Sportsmen Association are also helping capture and monitor the deer.

This project is truly an inter-agency one and would not be possible without the support and involvement of many cooperating entities, including the Bonneville Power Administration, Colville Confederated Tribes, Spokane Tribe, Kalispel Tribe, Chelan County Public Utility District, U.S. Forest Service’s Colville and Okanogan National Forests, the Bureau of Land Management, Washington Department of Transportation, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Northwest Okanogan Sports Council, Inland Empire Chapter of the Safari Club International, and the Mule Deer Foundation.


PULLMAN, Wash. — Is poor nutrition contributing to a decrease in the number of mule deer in the Pacific Northwest? That is a question researchers at Washington State University are working to answer using deer hand-raised on the Pullman campus.

Lisa Shipley, associate professor in natural resources and a scientist in the WSU Agricultural Research Center, is part of a team led by wildlife biologist Woody Myers of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife working to determine why the number of mule deer in the state has steadily declined over the past 20 years. She says the captive herd makes it easier to determine exactly what’s going on in the wild.

“There are too many variables in the field,” she said. “The importance of captive animals is that you can isolate and remove different variables to determine exactly how nutrition affects reproduction.”

Shipley, along with graduate student Troy Tollefson, have hand-raised approximately 30 mule deer does, two bucks and numerous fawns, so they are able to work with the animals more easily. They feed each doe one of three diets ­ high, medium or low nutrition ­ based on fiber and protein content.

“We try to mimic the conditions in the field as closely as possible,” said Shipley. “Some years in some locations, there is plenty of water and lots of yummy vegetation for the deer to eat. In other years ­ drought years ­ there isn’t as much.”

The research team carefully monitors the differences in the does. They measure body weight and devised a way to measure body fat as well. They take milk samples and study nursing patterns. They also keep track of the size and growth of the fawns.

While still in the process of analyzing the data gathered over the past three years, Shipley says nutrition does appear to play a pivotal role in the number of fawns born.

“It looks like we’ve got fewer twins among the does on the lowest nutrition diet,” she said. “And the thinnest does haven’t given birth yet, and may not at all. Although, it also appears that even at about 5 percent body fat they can still reproduce.”

Gunnison Herd

Posted by on Sunday, 29 June, 2008

The Daily Sentinel

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

GUNNISON — You smell the deer before you see them. Tucked up in the big rocks, flopped among the riparian downfall of cottonwoods and willows, or simply lying on an open slope, legs sprawled like a marionette whose strings had been cut.

These are the remains of the deer that died around the Gunnison Basin during the past winter, an unpleasant but totally natural extension of what happens when Mother Nature takes a hand in managing wildlife populations.

No one will ever know exactly how many of deer and elk died this winter in the vast basin. The elk likely fared as elk always do in winter: They get by. Elk are big enough to survive a rough snow year, although there is some mortality every winter.

…“Only two things kill an elk — a bullet or a bumper.”

Deer, however, are the pawns in this life-and-death chess game. Fragile, thin-skinned, not big enough or strong enough to plow through deep snow and with a frustrating tendency to gather in small groups in isolated places.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife estimated there were 20,000 mule deer in the Gunnison Basin going into the winter. By the end of the feeding program, the DOW estimated 9,400 were receiving a daily ration of feed.

The fate of the rest? That’s part of why DOW terrestrial biologist Scott Wait, DOW seasonal biologist Leslie Spicer, and a curious reporter are hiking the steep hills west of Gunnison looking for deer carcasses.

Our efforts, and those of several similar teams of monitors, is to offer some statistical data about winter mortality, an effort to indicate how many deer perished in what was reported as the snowiest winter the basin has seen since record-keeping began in 1915-16.

The surveys were relatively simple. Half-mile squares were plotted with Global Positioning System accuracy on topographic maps. Each day during the weeklong survey, teams of at least two people would walk one or more plots, counting all the deer they could see along a series of compass-line transects that covered the square.

Walk a half mile, move a quarter-mile, walk a half-mile back, repeat.

Monitors counted only the carcasses seen from the transect line. While some carcasses might have been missed, it’s surprising what you can see (and smell) when looking for a dead deer.

That initial transect was at the Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area, which was expected to have the highest carcass count of all transects. Of the 131 feeding sites around the area, Beaver Creek was the busiest, feeding an estimated 450 deer per day at the height of the program.

Normal winter deer mortality is about 15-18 percent, according to the DOW. Given the severity of the past winter, you might expect deaths to hover around the high end of the estimate.

We hadn’t reached the GPS starting point when we found (smelled) the first carcass.

“It’s out of the transect so we can’t count it,” Wait said. “I think we’ll find others.”

Sometimes the carcass would be up in the rocks, and Wait surmised the deer died huddled next to sun-warmed boulders or while scraping for forage revealed by melting snow. Sometimes the bodies were scattered on an open slope, simply toppled over where death overtook them.

Most of the carcasses were found near the creek, where steep slopes fell into a creek bottom jammed with jackstrawed trees and leg-trapping willows. Any winter-weakened deer that somehow fell or slipped into the jam of logs would have little chance of escape. It was in those tight quarters we found most of the 89 carcasses we counted on the transect.

That’s nearly 20 percent of the deer reportedly being fed, high but not way outside the estimate. And given the conditions, not surprising, either.

“Deer will use willows and trees for thermal cover and some of these probably were looking for some relief when they got down here,” Spicer said. “But you can see how the willows were bent over from the weight of the snow, so there probably wasn’t much shelter down here.”

There were a lot of fawns, which was expected, but few mature bucks, which runs counter to the theory that older bucks, stressed by rut and running nearly on empty, are among the first to die in a tough winter.

Other counters may have found more buck carcasses but those results aren’t yet available.

The other three surveys in which I participated, two along the deer-rich slopes of Cochetopa Creek east of Gunnison and the last in the Hartman Rocks area south of town, turned up very few carcasses. On the Cochetopa, one of those surveys had four carcasses, the other had three.

At Hartman Rocks, also a feeding site, there were four deer carcasses and one pronghorn carcass.

The final tally won’t be exact, since exactitude is a rarity in wildlife management anyway. But it may help biologists better understand the health of the deer herds and equally important, the health of the land.

No one yet is drawing any conclusions. But it’s likely thousands of deer survived the winter thanks to the efforts of the DOW and the diligent volunteers who went out for 130 straight days to toss down bags of feed. Also, thousands more deer survived by finding south-facing slopes where snow cover was lighter.

But many deer died, and in response to local outcry, the Colorado Wildlife Commission drastically reduced doe hunting licenses for this fall in the Gunnison Basin.

Police do Mouth-to-mouth on a Deer

Posted by on Saturday, 28 June, 2008


A lot is required of a police officer – protecting residents in the community, investigating crimes, and arresting those who break the law.

To that list, two Toledo police officers felt called to add delivering a fawn by C-section and giving it nose-to-mouth resuscitation.

Early yesterday, the officers responded to Hill Avenue and Melody Lane in the south end on a report of an injured deer in the street blocking traffic. Sgt. Todd Miller and Officer Joe Taylor arrived at the scene about 3:10 a.m. and found a severely injured doe lying in the middle of the streetFawn given mouth-to-mouth The sergeant said it appeared the doe had been hit by a car. One of its back legs was broken and it had head injuries. The doe wasn’t able to stand and could barely hold up its head, Sergeant Miller said. The sergeant, an avid hunter, said it was unlikely the deer would survive, so he instructed Officer Taylor to shoot it. Upon doing so, there was a movement inside the doe’s womb. “You could see the baby kicking inside it,” Sergeant Miller said. Looking at the doe, Sergeant Miller said it appeared as though it was close to full term, increasing the fawn’s chance of survival. “The least we could do was try,” he said. “It seemed like the right thing to do.” Using his hunting skills, the sergeant cut open the doe’s abdomen and removed the male fawn, which had trouble breathing after the delivery. Officer Taylor, also a hunter, put his mouth over the fawn’s nasal and mouth passages and began breathing into them. Shortly after, the fawn began breathing on its own, Sergeant Miller said. “The deer eventually started to sit up and clean off its fur,” he said. Toledo police Capt. Ron Navarro said the officers “went above and beyond the call of duty.”. Appropriately, Officer Taylor named the fawn Lucky. He then took it to Nature’s Nursery in Waterville, where it initially was given little more than a 50 percent chance of survival. Despite the officers’ efforts, however, the fawn didn’t make it. Laura Zitzelberger, operations director at the wildlife rehabilitation center, said it died just before 8 a.m. yesterday. She put the animal in a room heated to more than 90 degrees and wrapped it in a heated blanket, but the fawn’s body temperature did not rise to normal levels. Ms. Zitzelberger said the fawn was well developed and about the size of a normal newborn. “There was no outward reason that I could see why we couldn’t get its body temperature back up,” she said. Still, Ms. Zitzelberger commended the officers for their efforts. “I think it’s great they went the extra mile to try to do this,” she said. “I would have loved – just because of all [the] efforts – to have been able to save this fawn.”

We the People

Posted by on Thursday, 26 June, 2008

It’s hard to imagine that there is any debate over the right of the people to defend themselves, even against government, if neccessary. The right to bear arms has now been officially interpreted as being an individual right.

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, Jun 26, 2008

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices’ first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history. The right to bear arms

The court’s 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by “the historical narrative” both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

The Constitution does not permit “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home,” Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington’s requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns.

In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority “would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons.”

He said such evidence “is nowhere to be found.”

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, “In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.”

Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The other dissenters were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.

Gun rights supporters hailed the decision. “I consider this the opening salvo in a step-by-step process of providing relief for law-abiding Americans everywhere that have been deprived of this freedom,” said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.

The NRA will file lawsuits in San Francisco, Chicago and several of its suburbs challenging handgun restrictions there based on Thursday’s outcome.

Hillary and DianeSen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a leading gun control advocate in Congress, criticized the ruling. “I believe the people of this great country will be less safe because of it,” she said.

The capital’s gun law was among the nation’s strictest.

Dick Anthony Heller, 66, an armed security guard, sued the District after it rejected his application to keep a handgun at his home for protection in the same Capitol Hill neighborhood as the court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in Heller’s favor and struck down Washington’s handgun ban, saying the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to own guns and that a total prohibition on handguns is not compatible with that right.

The issue caused a split within the Bush administration. Vice President Dick Cheney supported the appeals court ruling, but others in the administration feared it could lead to the undoing of other gun regulations, including a federal law restricting sales of machine guns. Other laws keep felons from buying guns and provide for an instant background check.

Scalia said nothing in Thursday’s ruling should “cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”

In a concluding paragraph to the his 64-page opinion, Scalia said the justices in the majority “are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country” and believe the Constitution “leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns.”

The law adopted by Washington’s city council in 1976 bars residents from owning handguns unless they had one before the law took effect. Shotguns and rifles may be kept in homes, if they are registered, kept unloaded and either disassembled or equipped with trigger locks.

Opponents of the law have said it prevents residents from defending themselves. The Washington government says no one would be prosecuted for a gun law violation in cases of self-defense.

The last Supreme Court ruling on the topic came in 1939 in U.S. v. Miller, which involved a sawed-off shotgun. Constitutional scholars disagree over what that case means but agree it did not squarely answer the question of individual versus collective rights. State Gun Rights - United We Stand

Forty-four state constitutions contain some form of gun rights, which are not affected by the court’s consideration of Washington’s restrictions.

The case is District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290


Predator Attacks

Posted by on Wednesday, 25 June, 2008

The June issue of American Hunter posted two side-by-side stories of predator attacks on people. One happened in Utah on Jun 17, 2007 and the other happened in Arizona, in March 2007. 

Utah bear attackThe Utah attack involved a black bear that killed an eleven year-old boy. There have been other bear attacks in the same general area, and Utah is believed to be importing trouble bears from Yellowstone. In this case the boy’s mother is suing the forest service for $2m and the Utah DWR for $550k. The mother says it is a wrongful death case because the bear was reported in the morning of the same day and nothing was done about it.




Arizona lion attack

The Arizona case involved a 10 year-old boy who was attacked by a mountain lion when the family stopped for lunch. As the cougar approached, the mother yelled at the kids to stay still, so while the boy was still, the cougar chomped on the boy’s leg. The grandmother wasn’t slow in grabbing a pistol and in shooting the lion which died a few feet away.


Now that predators are given higher priority than people, these types of encounters are becoming more common.

Wyoming to Hunt 25 Wolves, Idaho goes all out

Posted by on Friday, 20 June, 2008

Wyoming Wolf Hunt

Trophy wolf hunting set for Oct. 1
Posted: Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
BY: Joy Ufford

G&F sets limit at 25 wolves for 4 hunt areasWyoming wolf killed

A total “harvest quota” of 25 trophy-game gray wolves, in a hunting season suggested to open Oct. 1 this year in northwest Wyoming, is a new element in this year’s Wyoming Game and Fish (G&F) annual release of proposed hunting season changes.

“The structure of the season will be an Area Harvest Quota Limitation, in which the season for each wolf hunt area will close when the harvest quota for that area has been reached,” said G&F spokesman Eric Keszler. “The proposal will establish wolf seasons and harvest quotas in four hunt areas in the Trophy Game Area of northwest Wyoming.”

A harvest quota is defined in the new regulation draft as “the total number of gray wolves for a single hunt area that may be legally taken by licensed hunters during any single gray wolf hunting season within the area where gray wolves are classified as trophy game animals.”

General licenses will cost $15 for Wyoming hunters, $150 for nonresident hunters.

Four hunt areas

The four new hunt areas are drawn from the designated trophy-game area with exceptions for national park lands. (See Wyoming Game and Fish map.)

The Green River and Gros Ventre Hunt Areas each have a harvest quota of five animals taken with an Oct. 1 opening date and closing on Nov. 30 and Nov. 15, respectively, or when the quotas are reached. The Sunlight (five wolves) and Francs Peak (10 wolves) Hunt Areas would also open Oct. 1 and run through Nov. 30 or until the quotas are filled.

The Gros Ventre Hunt Area (HA 3) begins at the junction of Highway 26/287 with Union Pass Road then follows south along Forest Service Road 600 and the Bridger-Teton National Forest boundary to Highway 189/191 where it follows the highway northwest through Bondurant to Hoback Junction, up to Highway 22 in Jackson and along Highway 22 through Wilson to the Idaho line and zigzags around Grand Teton Park and John D. Memorial Parkway. It excludes all lands within Teton Park and the National Elk Refuge.

The Green River Hunt Area (HA 4) begins where Highway 26/287 crosses the west boundary of the Wind River Reservation, south to the Continental Divide then southeast along the Divide to go west along the Middle Fork of Boulder Creek to the BTNF boundary and northwesterly to Union Pass Road.

The Sunlight Hunt Area (HA 1) begins at the junction of Highway 120 at the Montana state line, runs south to the intersection with Highway 14/16/20 in Cody, then west to Yellowstone and along the park boundary to the state line and back to Highway 120.

The Francs Peak Hunt Area (HA 2) begins at the intersection of Highway 120 and Highway 14/16/20 in Cody, runs south along the highway to the Greybull River, southwest along the river to the Shoshone national Forest, south along that boundary to the Wind River Reservation and west and south to where it meets Highway 26/287, then to the east boundary of the John D. Memorial Parkway and up along Yellowstone’s east boundary to meet back at highway 120 in Cody.

Draft rules

Draft regulations state a hunter must confirm whether or not a hunt area’s quota is met before hunting there. Only legal firearms and archery equipment can be used; it is illegal to use radio-tracking equipment to take a trophy wolf, the new regulations say.

The bag and possession limit for licensed hunters will be one wolf during the calendar year and that can be any gray wolf in the applicable hunt area.

Hunters must report taking a trophy wolf within 24 hours by calling (866) 373-5805 any time of day or night. They also must retain the skull and unfrozen pelt, with visible evidence of sex attached naturally, and present them to a district game warden, district wildlife biologist or G&F personnel at a regional office within five days for collection of biological samples. Radio-tracking devices such as electronic collars or ear tags must be surrendered to the G&F as well.

Conservative start

G&F Wildlife Assistant Chief Bill Rudd said last week the proposed wolf hunting season and harvest quota are “an extremely conservative approach to wolf hunting in Wyoming.”

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) Wolf Recovery Coordinator Ed Bangs, who led the recovery project to the gray wolf’s March delisting, agreed this week.

“I think the WGFD recommendation of 25 tags as a start is a good one,” he said.

Bangs said he expects most prospective Wyoming wolf hunters will buy tags to go along with another big-game hunt.

“Most hunters won’t ever hunt for wolves but take them while hunting something else,” he said. “Same thing here – it will be elk and deer hunters that harvest wolves during the fall big game season.”

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission met last week and chose to allow higher hunting quotas to take Idaho’s wolf population back to its 2005 population level.

Bangs said, “…In Idaho the (Fish and Game) Commission ignored the IDFG recommendations and passed the maximum wolf kill under wolf-hater pressure, to get the wolf population down to the lowest level in their management plan (but still 518 wolves) – so we’ll see how good (G&F) is at ‘wolf’ politics.”

The IFGC set a wolf population goal of 518 wolves and adopted seasons, limits and rules for this year.

The Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan, approved in early March, calls for managing wolves at a population level of between 2005-2007 levels (518 to 732) wolves for the first five years after delisting. With an annual estimated growth rate of 20 to 30 percent, Idaho’s population could exceed 1,000 wolves before the state’s new hunting seasons open, Sept. 15 and Oct. 1. Idaho hunt areas will be open through Dec. 31 with possible season extensions if quotas aren’t met.

In Wyoming wolves are increasing at about 24 percent annually, said Rudd.

“Wolves… in Wyoming and can sustain much higher harvest than we are proposing through hunting,” he said. “Removing some wolves through controlled hunting can also help prevent wolf-livestock conflicts in some cases.”

More information

The proposed wolf hunting season, hunt areas and regulations are included in G&F’s “Chapter 47: Gray Wolf Hunting Seasons.” To see proposed wolf hunting seasons and associated information, visit

A public comment period on this proposal as well as other G&F hunting issues is open through 5 p.m. on July 3. The G&F Commission will take actions on the proposed trophy wolf season and other hunting issues when it meets in Dubois, July 30-Aug. 1.

Public meetings are planned across Wyoming but mainly in the western part of the state for discussion and comments on the wolf season and other 2008 hunting issues including mountain lion seasons, furbearing and trapping seasons, taxidermy regulation and issuance of licenses, special points and interstate game tags.

G&F will hold the Pinedale meeting June 10 at 7 p.m., at the Pinedale Library. On June 11, a meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Antler Inn. Other meetings are set for Green River (June 9), Laramie (June 9), Lander (June 10), Sheridan (June 11), Cody (June 12) and Casper (June 12).

Copies of all regulation changes and seasons can be viewed at the public meetings or by contacting the Casper Game and Fish office at (307) 473-3400. All comments must be in writing and must be submitted at the public meetings or mailed to: Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wildlife Division, ATTN: Regulations, 3030 Energy Lane, Casper, WY 82604.

Expansion of Mexican Gray Wolves in Arizona

Posted by on Friday, 20 June, 2008

The Arizona Deer Association is organizing an effort to prevent further wolf expansion in the state of Arizona. Please lend your support.


The wolf people, including groups like the Humane Society of the United States, PETA, the Sierra Club, and Defenders of Wildlife, want to do away with Elk and Deer hunting, want to expand the wolf population in Arizona to include all Elk and Deer habitat across the central part of the state as well as north of the Grand Canyon.  The maps they are using overlay, almost perfectly, all the Elk and Deer habitat in the state.  These groups will stop at nothing and have authored many articles without telling the whole story and consequences of expanding the wolf recovery range.  Look how long it took Montana, Wyoming and Idaho to begin hunting wolves and now they are back in court spending millions of dollars fighting the wolf people that want the hunting to stop, even though, from the beginning it was always part of the recovery plan.  We don’t need this in Arizona. 

Please take a few minutes and protect our Elk and Deer hunting here in Arizona.  

Send an email to or mail it to Mexican Wolf Project, Attn: Terry Johnson, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ. 85086.

We have until June 25th to comment.

Points to include in your comments:

    • Sportsmen have paid to bring back wildlife, including elk and bighorn sheep to the State and want to maintain them.
    • The current drought situation has kept our elk, deer and cattle herds low and in many cases dwindling and any expansion of the wolf population or wolf recovery area could decimate them.
    • Protection of our hunting heritage is extremely important for the continuation of Arizona’s wildlife management programs.
    • The current wolf program has failed to meet its objectives.  To expand it will only compound the problem.
    • I would not like to see any expansion of the current wolf population.

2008 Nevada Draw Results Available

Posted by on Thursday, 19 June, 2008

Nevada 2008 Draw Results

If you applied for a 2008 Nevada Mule Deer hunt, and want to see if you drew,


Venison vs. Beef

Posted by on Thursday, 19 June, 2008

If God didn’t want us to eat MULE DEER, He wouldn’t have made them out of meat


“You’ll often read that venison contains a lower level of cholesterol than beef, but this just isn’t true. This article, excerpted from my book, “Making the Most of Your Deer” (2000), contains USDA data, cut-for-cut.”

Nutritional Value of Venison

Venison, when properly prepared, is a culinary delight that holds its own in the company of fine wines and other condiments. The meat has a fine-grained, interesting texture, yet is tender without being mushy as are some of the more expensive cuts of domestic meats. But the good news doesn’t end here. Not only is venison delicious, it also is better for your nutritional well-being than are most commercially available meats. In this day and age when so many tasty items have been found to be either worthless or even potentially harmful to your health, rest assured that venison compares favorably with the supermarket alternatives. Venison is low in fat and calories and is high in minerals and vitamins. It also is free from chemical additives, synthetic growth hormones and other nasty substances.

Some of venison’s nutritional superiority exists solely by the default of our modern meat raising systems. Still, the basic fact remains that whitetail deer are highly efficient processors of the natural foods they eat. The buds, herbs, acorns, wild fruits, and other browse in a deer’s diet are effectively converted into muscle, and the benefits of this natural food fare are passed along to those of us who enjoy venison. It’s truly an “organically grown” product!

…….it’s obvious that venison ranks very high by modern dietary standards. For one thing, venison fat content, and consequently the caloric count, is relatively low. Even when all excess fat has been trimmed from a beefsteak or pork cut, there still remains a high level of fatty tissue entwined within the muscle fibers (we call it “well-marbled”) of domestic red meat. When a portion of venison is trimmed of fat, the remaining meat is 97.8 percent fat-free. Now that’s what you can properly call lean meat! Venison also contains comparably high levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron. These minerals are essential to our well-being, and it’s great that we can partake of them while enjoying a gourmet venison meal. And let’s not forget the vitamins; venison scores high in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, plus Vitamins B6, B12, and E. In fact, it has been calculated that a one-pound venison steak contains more than the full recommended daily adult allowances for thiamine and niacin and a major share of the recommended riboflavin allowance. These are natural vitamins, products of nature rather than of industry, and they come to you indirectly in venison from the foods of the forest.

Cholesterol in Venison? – the Real Story, Right Here

Everyone knows that the cholesterol level in venison is lower than in beef and pork…right? Wrong! I wish that I could claim that cholesterol in venison was low, right along with the established benefits of higher vitamins and minerals and lower fat content, but that just wouldn’t be true. It turns out that, yes, although certain parts of a deer (such as the round steak) are slightly lower in cholesterol than some other parts of beef and pork, the total edible venison from a deer contains a slightly higher average cholesterol than do beef or pork. To get an accurate comparison, you need to look at the same cuts of meat from a beef cow or pig as you do for a deer, because they’re all different! Don’t just take my word for it, go to the USDA National Nutrient Database at:

and see for yourself. This remarkable Website lists the nutritional values for virtually all of the more common meat cuts from most domestic animals and some game animals, and further provides good nutritional data for cooked versus uncooked meats, and fat-trimmed versus cooked as-is. The cholesterol content of any animal is tied more directly to the lean meat than to the fat content of the animal. You might be surprised to learn that fat contains very little cholesterol! So it’s a see-saw…calories from fat, or cholesterol from the lean meat. Pick your poison…but please add the right spices first!

_____________________________________________________ Gourmet Food on a Survivor’s Budget

Good food is somewhat expensive, sure, but the cost of true gourmet food is out of sight. Just to have the experience of grilling a prime beefsteak in the backyard, the average person might have to scrimp on other groceries. We would like to be able to experiment with different sauces and exotic recipes, but with meat prices so high we restrict our culinary adventures to within the affordable and commonplace. Instead we often limit our skills to the preparation of tossed salads and hamburger dressings. Why take a chance with big money, right?

Well, with a supply of venison stocked away in the freezer, we can experiment to our heart’s content. Make no mistake about it, venison qualifies as a gourmet delicacy in every sense of the word. Venison has a distinctive flavor, responds well to special cooking techniques, is uniquely different from domestic meats, and last but not least, is difficult to obtain. Venison has the status of exclusiveness because wild venison cannot be legally sold or purchased. (The venison that sometimes appears on some restaurant menus originates from licensed deer farms. These pastured deer are fed commercial foods and consequently, the taste of their venison is somewhat different.)

Restaurants charge exorbitant prices for such exotics as truffles, caviar, morels, lobster, escargots, and other choice items that are obtained chiefly not from domestic sources but from the natural world.

But then, so would venison be expensive; that is, if you could buy it. If you had to pick up the tab for someone else’s hunting trip every time you had a venison meal, you would soon come to understand the real meaning of the words “exclusive” and “expensive.” The fact that we hunt for pleasure, rather than for food or profit, does not alter the fact that venison has all the qualifications of a gourmet food. A lot has been written about how venison can be made to taste just like beef so that those people who profess not to like wild game would not be able to tell the difference. That certainly is true; with a little cover-up here and there, venison can be made to pass for beef. But why would you want to do a thing like that? Why try to alter a gourmet food into something ordinary?

Venison should be appreciated for its own merits, much the same way that you relish a lobster for its sweet, succulent flavor. Sure, you could prepare a lobster in ways that would disguise the piquant odor of the ocean, and pass it off as farm-raised. Similarly, venison should not automatically be dummied up with strongly flavored sauces solely to change the taste of it into something that could be mistaken for a domestic meat. Take the approach of the gourmet and limit the use of sauces to only those which will enhance the natural taste and flavor of venison. A fine wine, good music in the background, candles (optional), the children either young and in bed, or grown and off someplace (also optional), and a fine meal of venison with the proper accompaniments–what else could you possibly ask in the way of a gourmet meal of fine cuisine?

The Tragedy of Modern Domestic Meats

Sometimes you can get as many chuckles from reading the advertising hype on a package of processed supermarket meat as you can from the comic section of the weekend newspapers. Seems that meat is inevitably packaged under brand names that are designed to evoke images of sunshine, shade trees, sparkling brooks and so on, scenes where children soar kites under perpetually blue skies and Mom is in the kitchen forever baking apple pies. This advertising often contains a picture, typically one that shows a smiling, straw-hatted farmer feeding only two or three head of livestock. Even the livestock are smiling (although somewhat ironically). You get the mental picture, standing there in the supermarket, that the contents of the package you are holding were grown back in the Good Old Days and then were mysteriously transported into the Here and Now, just for you. You even feel strangely reassured that those little piggies (or whatever) in the picture received many affectionate pats on the rump during their rich and full lives down on the farm.

SW Wyoming Mule Deer – Winter Mortality

Posted by on Monday, 9 June, 2008

Wyoming Mule Deer hit hard in winter 

Reports from Southwestern Wyoming are that there has been a heavy winter mortality ( due to deep snow and extreme cold ) for the mule deer that migrate to the south (Red Desert). In contrast, apparently, deer that wintered in the area of all the oil wells ( Green River Basin ) came through the winter in good shape.

This area is home to Wyoming’s largest Mule Deer herd, and indeed, one of the largest in the world. Some sportsmen organizations are beating up on the WGnF for not feeding the mule deer. Personally, I support the WGnF in not feeding the deer, however, I think late hunts provide an alternative to letting deer starve or die to exposure.

There are now a growing number of wolves in SW Wyoming. So far, wolves have not impacted mule deer significantly on summer range, but unless some action is taken, the big doggies will soon be having a significant impact on the mule deer winter ranges.

Wyoming is now spending some money to create deer underpasses on the highway south of Cokeville, where it is believed that some 15,000 mule deer migrate between summer and winter ranges. This migration, in some cases – as long as 100 miles, may be the longest for mule deer, anywhere.

Dead Mule Deer BuckFor the hunter, it is already getting harder to draw a tag in Region G, due to last year’s addition of bonus points. Now, Wyoming will likely reduce the number of tags as well. Preliminary data indicates that the older bucks were not impacted as much as expected. A high percentage of the die-off was fawns, which will impact the number of mature bucks beginning in 2010.