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Patrick Durkin

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The Deer Camps and Fish Shacks of American Gangsters

Wildlife Management

The Deer Camps and Fish Shacks of American Gangsters

Folks across the upper Great Lakes states said all roads led to Hurley, Hayward, or Hell a century ago as gangsters and bootleggers capitalized on Prohibition and the Great Depression. As a federal investigator named Frank Buckley said in a 1929 report, Wisconsin’s worst community was Hurley...
America's Strange History of Rifle Hunting for Pike

Wildlife Management

America's Strange History of Rifle Hunting for Pike

Vermont is the only state in the Union where you can legally use guns to hunt fish. No, we’re not talking about mounting a deer rifle atop your skiff and firing miniature harpoons like a deck cannon on a whaling boat. That’s a bit much for northern pike, the primary prey of armed anglers who hunt...
The Night a Deer Poacher Became a Warden Killer

Wildlife Management

The Night a Deer Poacher Became a Warden Killer

Arnold J. Magoon, 47, was a fit, lean, well-liked, experienced Vermont game warden who stood 6-foot-6 and feared no one. Magoon was nicknamed “the Jolly Green Giant” by fellow wardens. He, his wife, and two sons lived near Brandon in central Vermont. His colleagues described him as a calm...
Tortured Wildlife: Some of History's Most Twisted Poaching Cases

Wildlife Management

Tortured Wildlife: Some of History's Most Twisted Poaching Cases

The Boone and Crockett Club defines “fair chase” as hunting wild game in a lawful, ethical, and sportsmanlike way that doesn’t give hunters unfair or improper advantage. On the opposite extreme are killers who eagerly and brutally attack animals that have little or no chance of escaping. Such...
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...
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...
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...
Wisconsin’s Top Sturgeon Biologist Charged in Caviar Probe

Wildlife Management

Wisconsin’s Top Sturgeon Biologist Charged in Caviar Probe

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ top sturgeon biologist faces obstruction charges that allege he and his staff illegally funneled sturgeon eggs to local caviar processors during the annual sturgeon-spearing season on the Lake Winnebago system. The DNR’s three-year internal...
The Savage Murder of Warden Neil LaFave, Part 2

Wildlife Management

The Savage Murder of Warden Neil LaFave, Part 2

This is Part Two of a two-part series on the 1971 murder of Warden Neil LaFave. Part One covers how Brian Hussong decapitated LaFave and the historic investigation for his murder weapon. Part Two covers Hussong’s daring escape from prison and his 12 weeks spent hiding in the forest. Wisconsin...