January 25, 2019
The Wilderness War in the Boundary Waters
By Natalie Krebs/Outdoor Life
Photo by A. Strakey/flickr
To be clear, mining isn’t allowed in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Neither are activities like logging or motor vehicle use, all of which are commonly restricted in wildernesses. There’s also a mining buffer zone adjacent to some of the wilderness. Still, many deposits lie below the Superior National Forest, which allows mineral leasing. These leases have been the subject of a mind-numbing tug of war between mining and conservation groups spanning several administrations and courtrooms. The takeaway, however, is that these remarkable deposits occur not only in the same watershed as the BWCA, Quetico Provincial Park, and Voyageurs National Park, but also upstream from some of these parks’ major waterways and the BWCA’s tourist-­attracting gateway:  Ely , Minn.

Twin Metals , a Minnesota-based subsidiary of the Chilean mining company  Antofagasta PLC , hopes to build an underground operation to extract these minerals. The company has  already invested  some $350 million in the planned $2.8 billion mine and the surrounding area—a fraction of the estimated $500 billion value of the subsurface deposit. Mine supporters expect local economic benefits and note the importance of copper components in sustainable products like windmills and electric cars. But this venture is primarily a money-making enterprise, and one that Twin Metals insists won’t impact local waters and wildlife.

Critics doubt Twin Metals will be able to deliver on that promise, citing  a laundry list  of failed copper mines. 

Seven States Where CWD Spread Last Year
By Isaac Leuthold/TRCP
Photo by Matt Dillon/flickr
It may be caused by a mutated protein, but the spread of chronic wasting disease is on the verge of “going viral.” After it was first identified in 1967, the always-fatal deer disease remained isolated to a core region between Colorado and Wyoming for decades. But starting in the early 2000s, CWD began popping up across the country.

Now, it’s spreading faster than ever before. We counted 12 U.S. states that have made news since the end of the 2018 fall hunting season for either finding the disease in formerly CWD-free zones or for implementing new solutions to keep the epidemic out. And 25 states total have had confirmed cases—that’s nearly twice as many as ten years ago.

Fortunately, many hunters and wildlife managers are taking CWD challenges seriously, but states need support to tackle this disease without delay. Here are seven places where CWD is gaining ground.

Mentoring the Next Generation of Hunters
By Heather Frale/The Missoulian
CLfT Photo
It was pitch-black outside the car's window. A few inches of night-before snow blanketed the ground, just enough for any deer or elk to leave fresh tracks to follow. It was 6:45 in the morning, and the people in the car had already been up since 4 a.m.
A hearty breakfast of pancakes and eggs settled in their stomachs. The anticipation built. Longtime hunter David Nikonow flicked on the car’s overhead light and took another look at the map. The light illuminated the other people in the car — his wife Hannah, and three University of Montana students — all bundled in hats and gloves, and draped in blaze orange.
In a few minutes, the group would hike single-file up a slope in the half-light, breath visible in the 15-degree air, snow crunching as boots broke the untouched surface. They cut a fresh elk track just as the light began to appear.
This was the first morning of the fourth annual Hunter Mentorship, a program started by James Goerz, a doctoral student at the University of Montana. What began as an informal hunting invitation for school friends has since become a well-established program, jointly run by the student chapters of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the Wildlife Society.

At 101, She Killed Two Deer with One Shot
By Brian Broom/Clarion Ledger
Photo by ThreeIfByBike/flickr
It hadn't been the best deer season for Bertha Vickers of Morgantown, Miss. 

She had opportunities to harvest deer on three occasions from a blind that relatives built for her, but she didn't get the kill shot on any of them.
Vickers was happy with the blind and its location, but not with her .243 caliber rifle.

"It's a real good place to sit, but after I had bad luck, one of the boys brought me another gun," Vickers said. "It's a 7mm-08. I'd seen the gun shoot and knew it would hit."

But again, she had trouble. Vickers wasn't able to cock the gun, so she tried a workaround. That didn't work either, so her granddaughter took the gun, cocked it, and shot the deer. 

But her luck changed a few days after her birthday. 
Vickers celebrated turning 101 and was back in her hunting blind, hoping for a chance to harvest a deer. 

And this time, she was ready. 

Why You’re Seeing More Raptors These Days
By Matthew L. Miller/Nature.org
Photo by Allison/flickr
Yesterday, I gazed out the window of my home office during a meeting, watching California quail and house sparrows forage beneath native sumac. Suddenly, the bush seemed to explode, with birds flushing in every direction.

A second later, a Cooper’s hawk deftly landed underneath the shrubbery. It began hopping around attempting to snag one of the remaining quail that hunkered down instead of flushing. But the hawk was just a little too late.

Over the years, I’ve noted more frequent sightings of both Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks around the neighborhood. You’ve probably noticed the same thing. Across the United States, these two hawk species – both similar looking and in the genus Accipiter – have increasingly colonized urban areas.

“A wild duck is not to be valued in terms of food along with chickens and pork chops. It means day breaking over the marshes and the whistle of fast wings in the gray light. Who can put a price on the sight of black ducks climbing over the willows or pintails setting their wings to decoy?”

- David M. Newell
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