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Outdoors writer/editor, weekly columnist for 17 Wisconsin newspapers, regular contributor to American Hunter magazine, and former editor of Deer & Deer Hunting magazine.
Whitetail Deer (18)
Wildlife Management (12)
Big Game (6)
Policy & Legislation (5)
Endangered Species (1)
Wild Turkey (1)
Natural History (1)
Upland Birds (1)
Small Game (1)
Cooking Techniques (1)
Butchering & Processing (1)
Environmental Issues (1)
Grizzly Bear (1)
Do Moon Phases Affect Deer Movement?
Sep 21, 2020
If the hunting gods ever created a belief system more indifferent to scientific scorn than the moon’s supposed impact on big-game animals, they’re keeping it to themselves.
Researcher after researcher since the 1970s has failed to document any changes in deer activity during new moons, quarter-moons and full moons. Despite that lack of scientific evidence, most deer and elk hunters staunchly defend a lunar-based belief. In fact, when possible...
Are Mule Deer Going Extinct?
Sep 10, 2020
Hunters have been watching or reading about the mule deer’s decline for so long that some worry they’ll witness its end.
Writers and speakers often quote Professor Valerius Geist’s opening lines of Chapter 8 in his 1990 book “Mule Deer Country,” where he warned: “For all its current abundance, the mule deer, so different, so uniquely American, so young and promising, is nevertheless a species marked for extinction.”
Geist’s next two sentences...
Long-Drowned: The Men Who Find Corpses Others Couldn’t
Aug 25, 2020
People seeking Keith Cormican’s expertise know they’ll never again see their loved one alive. They’ve realized their child, spouse, sibling, or parent has drowned, and that local search-and-rescue teams must abandon the search and return to more pressing duties.
But families need answers, and they want to bury their dead. So they call Cormican, often begging for his help. Lest there be any mistake, Cormican’s boat states his somber mission...
Black Market Burl: The Underworld of Illegal Timber Heists
Aug 10, 2020
Thievery has its tools of the trade. Muggers wield handguns; burglars, glass-cutters; and cattle rustlers, wire-cutters.
And timber thieves? Chainsaws, of course.
Big-time timber thieves—those who rustle lodgepole pines, or oak or maple saw-logs—also require a serious truck to haul their bounty. It’s not uncommon for unscrupulous loggers to write landowners a check for seven loads of pulpwood when they actually got paid for 10 loads by a mill...
Confidence Kills: How to Avoid Boat Accidents this Season
Jul 28, 2020
Experience alone won’t guarantee hunters and anglers safe passage on troubled waters, no matter how big your boat.
In fact, confidence can kill you.
Consider Ernest McSorley, who was 63 and commanded 10 ships during 40-plus years at sea and on the Great Lakes. And Edward John Smith, who was 62 and commanded ships for 27 of his 40 years at sea.
Both men were well-seasoned mariners who went down with their ships; Captain McSorley while commanding...
Isle Royale: Are the $2 Million Wolf Reintroductions Working?
Jul 13, 2020
Riddle me this: How can a male wolf be both father and half-brother to a female wolf?
Answer: By breeding their shared mother.
Just such an Oedipal pairing about a decade ago begat what became the lone surviving “native-born” wolf duo on Isle Royale National Park in northwestern Lake Superior. The male and his daughter/half-sister became the last wolves standing on the 9-by-45-mile-long island in 2018, the inbred remnants of a population that...
When Hunters Find Dead People
Jun 10, 2020
People who disappear in woods and marshes are often found by those not looking for them—like hunters.
The hunters are seldom named in news reports. More often they’re identified by what they were hunting that day, be it deer, ducks, turkeys, shed antlers, mushrooms, or wild berries. The lead sentence in this 2007 Alabama newspaper article is typical: “A bird hunter found the body of a woman in a Macon County woods Saturday.”
A North Carolina TV...
What is Killing America’s Fawns?
May 27, 2020
Many hunters picture coyotes scouring woodlots from May to June, snatching newborn fawns between sun-dappled trilliums, and heading home with a hindquarter clamped between their jaws.
Why wouldn’t we envision such scenes? Trail cameras across the U.S. often snap grip-and-grins of coyotes, bobcats, or black bears with freshly killed fawns. But those pictures seldom tell the full story. Recent research suggests fawn predation is much more about...
Biblical Flood Causes Wildlife Apocalypse in South
May 11, 2020
Turkeys starved in treetops. Ravenous raccoons killed nesting turtles and newborn fawns. Countless other wild animals perished during a record 219-day flood last year in Mississippi’s Yazoo Backwater Project.
The Yazoo Backwater’s surrounding levees provided the only high ground for displaced wildlife, but all those miles of manmade barriers provided little sanctuary throughout the unprecedented deluge. The Backwater, or South Delta, covers about...
‘Incredible Waste of Money:’ America’s Most Ineffective Deer Management Program
Apr 29, 2020
New York City gave 1,719 whitetail bucks on Staten Island the “big snip” the past four autumns as part of an 8-year, deer vasectomy experiment. The program hopes to reduce the herd population, Lyme disease, browse damage, and deer-vehicle collisions. It has cost the city $6.6 million so far.
As of early March—before coronavirus devastated NYC—City Hall remained committed to the vasectomy program, which began in 2016 as a 3-year, $3.3 million...