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Patrick Durkin

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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...
The Savage Murder of Warden Neil LaFave, Part 1

Wildlife Management

The Savage Murder of Warden Neil LaFave, Part 1

This is Part One 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. Brown County...
Is Killing More Deer the Answer to Reducing Tick Diseases?

Wildlife Management

Is Killing More Deer the Answer to Reducing Tick Diseases?

Few flying, creeping, or crawling bugs freak people out more than ticks. These arachnids infect hundreds of thousands of Americans annually with more than 17 different devastating diseases and allergies. So, wouldn’t it be great if we could shoot our way out of those problems? Whitetails especially...
Isle Royale: Are the $2 Million Wolf Reintroductions Working?

Wildlife Management

Isle Royale: Are the $2 Million Wolf Reintroductions Working?

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...
‘Incredible Waste of Money:’ America’s Most Ineffective Deer Management Program

Wildlife Management

‘Incredible Waste of Money:’ America’s Most Ineffective Deer Management Program

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...