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Patrick Durkin

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How Wardens Get the Guilty to Confess

Wildlife Management

How Wardens Get the Guilty to Confess

If a conservation warden rings your doorbell and asks to talk, and you know why the officer is there, it’s probably time to come clean. Likewise, if a warden pulls in behind your truck after your morning hunt, checks your license, asks some questions, pauses thoughtfully after your final answer, and...
The Leading Cause of Wildlife Biologist Deaths

Wildlife Management

The Leading Cause of Wildlife Biologist Deaths

Wildlife biologists have died from falls, drownings, shootings, car accidents, and other factors since Aldo Leopold created their profession in 1937. But nothing kills them as often as airplane and helicopter crashes. Air crashes, in fact, accounted for 66% of the 122 job-related deaths of wildlife...
The Injuries and Illnesses that Trigger Amazing Antlers

Manage

The Injuries and Illnesses that Trigger Amazing Antlers

Just as premier wines come from the grapes of stressed vines, cool antlers with great character often come from bucks who suffered broken bones, harsh diseases, or crippling injuries. As Demi Lovato sings, “Nothing is more beautiful than the smile that struggled through tears.” Admirable antler...
The 3 Most Important Factors for Antler Growth

Manage

The 3 Most Important Factors for Antler Growth

Karl Miller doesn’t hesitate when asked to list the five key factors of antler growth in white-tailed deer. “Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition, nutrition; and then age and genetics, but you can’t do anything about genetics,” said Miller, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School...
The Truth About Fertilizing Oak Trees

Manage

The Truth About Fertilizing Oak Trees

If you want oaks on your land to grow more acorns, forget the fertilizer and fire up your chainsaw. Professor Craig Harper at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville routinely repeats this advice when hunters request fertilizing tips for oaks. Harper said hunters typically want a quick way to...
US and Canada Clash Over International Walleye Crisis

Wildlife Management

US and Canada Clash Over International Walleye Crisis

You’re bound to get differing opinions on the health of a lake’s walleye population when its shoreline zigzags for 25,000 miles through one state and two provinces. So whose opinion do you embrace when agency biologists on one side of the Minnesota-Ontario divide say walleye fishing in Lake of the...
Sonar Expert Pulls Drowning Victim from Record Depths

Freshwater

Sonar Expert Pulls Drowning Victim from Record Depths

Until side-scan sonar equipment became more portable and affordable this century, drowning victims who sank deeper than 70 feet usually spent eternity pressed to the bottom by water’s indifferent weight. But high-tech gear won’t find lost souls and return their bodies to grieving families unless a...
The Rapid and Radical Evolution of Deer Hunting

Whitetail

The Rapid and Radical Evolution of Deer Hunting

When Greg Miller first hunted whitetails with his dad and fellow Millers in November 1964, they entered northern Wisconsin’s big woods each dawn with more hope than strategy and more motivation than planning. Wearing a red coat and carrying a Model 94 in .32 Special, Miller shared his clan’s intense...
Science Shows Turkey Hunters Have More Fun Than Deer Hunters

Turkey

Science Shows Turkey Hunters Have More Fun Than Deer Hunters

State-employed biologists often suffer insomnia and facial tics caused by cranky hunters who demand more deer and bigger bucks. But before agency supervisors suggest some R&R or group counseling to prevent employee burnout, they should try this: Appoint the struggling soul as the agency’s “Chief...
'Every Chunk of Rabbit:' A Tribute to Ursula

Small Game

'Every Chunk of Rabbit:' A Tribute to Ursula

For as long as I knew her, she was ready to die. Damn her. No one treasured work, love, laughter, family, and devotion more than she did. But for her last 30-plus years, if the bucket were sitting there, you knew she would kick it without fear. Loved ones saw no bravado in her attitude. That was...