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Patrick Durkin

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Buck Fever Can Kill You

Hunt

Buck Fever Can Kill You

If your knees don’t knock and your pulse doesn’t pound as a buck slips into range, maybe it’s time you quit deer hunting. As Aldo Leopold wrote: “The love of hunting is almost a physiological characteristic. I should not like to own the boy whose hair does not lift his hat when he sees his first...
Gales of November: The Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes

Freshwater

Gales of November: The Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes

Whether you’re counting the Great Lakes’ lost souls or sunken ships, you’ll find no month more cruel or destructive than November. Of the 11 deadliest storms to strike the Great Lakes during the past two centuries, seven swept the region in November, and two others struck during the second half of...
Bullhead Murders: The Day a Fish Bootlegger Killed 3 Wardens

Wildlife Management

Bullhead Murders: The Day a Fish Bootlegger Killed 3 Wardens

No one will ever know for certain why a commercial bullhead fisherman killed three game wardens with his 12-gauge shotgun on July 12, 1940, in Waterville, Minnesota. Bryant Baumgardner, 54, left eternal speculation by walking off and propping his autoloader against a nearby fence. Without a word...
The Plague of America's Wild Spaces

Public Lands & Waters

The Plague of America's Wild Spaces

“I didn’t know littering was illegal!” It’s a claim no conservation warden expects to hear after citing someone for dumping garbage on public lands or sinking their empties beneath their boat. Littering is perhaps the United States’ most universally scorned dick move, and yet we seldom need to look...
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...