Researchers at the Nooner Ranch near Hondo, Texas collect information on white-winged doves.
TEXAS – Donated doves provide research opportunity
Texas hunters forsaking a meal of grilled or fried dove breasts last September will be reaping the benefits of their 1,700 bagged birds this season through research under way at Texas A&M. “Undergraduates are going over each bird to collect information that will provide an annual index of recruitment and reproduction that does not exist at a multi-state level,” said Corey Mason, dove program leader at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. “With better information, we can provide better management. That is what this two-year study is all about.” The research being conducted at A&M is the first study of its kind on white-winged doves — one of the nation’s most popular migratory birds. Hunters at the Nooner Ranch near Hondo and two other locations in Texas, one near Midland and the other in the Rio Grande Valley, along with sites in New Mexico and Arizona, were asked last opening weekend to donate harvested birds for the study. The research is similar to “wing bees” conducted along migratory waterfowl flyways where waterfowl hunters donate one wing of their harvested birds as research material. Mason said Texas hunters donated 1,700 white-winged doves, with about 500 collected from their counterparts in Arizona and New Mexico. MORE
ARKANSAS – Some deer-plauged towns turn to hunting
When deer come to town, not everyone greets them with a “hi, y’all” and a bowl of snacks. Deer, the favorite game animal and target for hundreds of thousands Arkansans, can be a nuisance and a danger for motorists, especially in municipalities. Several Arkansas communities have turned to limited and tightly controlled hunting as a means to reduce the numbers of deer on their city limits. Urban deer hunts, they are called, and the procedures are within parameters of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. A factor in this deer-in-town issue are the residents who actually want them there, enjoy seeing them close at hand and even feed them. MORE
CALIFORNIA – Breeding population of ducks down
Not every plane flying low and at a flagging speed of 100 to 115 mph is dropping seed or spraying fields. In late April and early May, California Department of Fish & Game was in the air over the Sacramento Valley and other parts of the state counting ducks as part of its annual waterfowl breeding population survey. The results are in, and the overall breeding population — a combination of pairs and drakes — is down. However, the number of mallards are up 5 percent, and the habitat areas are good, so officials are looking for an above-average brood. MORE
A recent study by students at Texas A&M-Kingsville tried to determine how much of an impact camo had on deer.
TEXAS – Mannequins help students study deer, camo
Research projects in wildlife management can be fun, especially when they involve white-tailed deer, game cameras and mannequins. Dr. Scott Henke, Regents Professor and Chair of Animal Rangeland and Wildlife Science at Texas A&M-Kingsville, suggested the project to Brodie Carroll, a junior wildlife management student at the university. “He suggested a camouflage vs. street clothes project looking at whitetail feeding habits.” Carroll said. “We jumped on it.” With another undergraduate student, Michael Shipley, Carroll got to work. “Dr. Henke got us two mannequins and we dressed one in full camo and the other in street clothes,” he said. “And we got a few feeders and game cameras.” The street clothes consisted of blue jeans, a plaid shirt and a blue cap. “We did 10 days with each (camo and street) mannequin right out front of the feeder; along the brushline; and in the brush hidden like a hunter would be,” Carroll said. MORE
NORTH CAROLINA – 2011-12 was a good year for deer hunters
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission recently announced statistics from the 2011-12 deer season, and they prove biologists’ predictions – a population stabilized at 1.35 million and a leveling of the harvest. The 2011-12 deer harvest was 173,553, the third-highest number since record keeping began in 1976. Evin Stanford, the commission’s deer biologist, said it was remarkable, considering hunter reports during the season. ”People complained about poor hunting, but the overall harvest didn’t change much,” he said. The harvest record of 176,297 occurred in 2008-09. The second-place harvest of 175,157 occurred in 2010-11. MORE
MINNESOTA – Plan to hunt wolves illustrates culture clash
Minnesota’s first managed wolf hunting and trapping season, set for this fall, will be more than just controversial. It also will be a cultural clash. American Indian bands around the state oppose the hunting and trapping of wolves on spiritual grounds, will prohibit wolf hunting on tribal lands and complain that the DNR and Legislature haven’t considered their views. ”The wolf is part of our creation story, and therefore many Ojibwe have a strong spiritual connection to the wolf,” Karen Diver, chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, wrote in a letter to the DNR this spring. “Many Ojibwe believe the fate of the wolf is closely tied to the fate of all the Ojibwe. For these reasons the Fond du Lac Band feels the hunting and trapping of wolves is inappropriate.” MORE
MONTANA – State looks for answers to block management woes
Hunters must still wait two months to learn what ranches and farms will join the Montana block management network, but its managers are already responding to kinks in the relationship. “As a program, we’re adjusting to a reduced amount of funding and a lot of uncertainty,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks landowner/sportsmen relations coordinator Alan Charles. “We aren’t seeing any expansion of the program. We’re just trying to hang on.” Last week, the Bozeman-based Rural Landscape Institute launched an online survey to learn what people like and dislike about the program. The answers might show why block management has hit a rough spot, according to institute director Matt Bitz. MORE