April 27, 2018
McGraw’s CLfT Program Proves Popular on Wisconsin Campus
By Paul A. Smith/Journal Sentinel
McGraw Photo
As students filtered in for the first session of class in Russell Labs room A228 at the University of Wisconsin, they were greeted with a snack of venison sausage.

Four letters - T (Treat every firearm as if it was a loaded firearm) A (Always control the muzzle of the firearm) B (Be sure of your target and what is before and beyond your target) K (Keep your fingers outside of the trigger guard until ready to shoot) - were scrawled on the chalk board.

Safe to say none of the hundreds of other courses this semester at the large public university had the same welcome.

And with good reason. Officially called Forest and Wildlife Ecology 675: Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow, this class focused on hunting.
Gulf’s Dead Zone Would Take Decades to Revive
By Nadia Hamdan/kut.org
Photo by Cyradis/flickr
An oxygen-deprived “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico would take decades to reverse,  according to a study  from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

The so-called dead zones form when water doesn’t have enough oxygen for fish and other marine life to survive, which researchers attribute to agricultural runoff along the Mississippi River – namely industrial fertilizers – that makes its way into the Gulf.

Released last month, the study says, even if farmers were to completely stop the flow of runoff right now, it would take at least 30 years to dissipate.

After the runoff makes its way into oceans, it causes overgrowths of algae. When the algae dies and decomposes, oxygen in the water gets absorbed along with it, forming so-called hypoxic zones, says Kim Van Meter, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo and co-author of the study.
Bird Protection Law Has Its Wings Clipped
The Washington Post
Photo by Louisiana GOHSEP/flickr
The Trump administration has issued guidance that a century-old law will not be used as it has been to hold people or companies accountable for killing birds.

In an opinion issued to federal wildlife police who enforce the rule, the Interior Department said “the take [killing] of birds resulting from an activity is not prohibited by the  Migratory Bird Treaty Act  when the underlying purpose of that activity is not to take birds.” For example, the guidance said, a person who destroys a structure such as a barn knowing that it is full of baby owls in nests is not liable for killing them. “All that is relevant is that the landowner undertook an action that did not have the killing of barn owls as its purpose,” the opinion said.

The MBTA will no longer apply even after a catastrophic event such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that destroyed or injured up to a million birds. After an oil spill, Interior would pursue penalties under the Natural Resources Damage Assessment program that is not specific to birds. In the past, “the department has pursued MBTA claims against companies responsible for oil spills that incidentally killed or injured migratory birds. That avenue is no longer available.”
Endangered Caribou Herd
Is All but Extinct

By Jim Robbins/The New York Times
Photo by BC Ministry of Transportation/flickr
The battle to save the so-called gray ghosts — the  only herd of caribou in the lower 48 states  — has been lost.

A recent aerial survey shows that this international herd of southern mountain caribou, which spends part of its year in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and Washington near the Canadian border, has dwindled to just three animals and should be considered “functionally extinct,” experts say.

The  Selkirk herd  had been disappearing for the last several years.

In 2009, the herd, the southernmost in North America, had about 50 animals and was declining. Wildlife officials in Canada began a last-ditch effort to protect them by killing wolves, which occasionally preyed on the few caribou that remained.

But the root cause of the extirpation of this herd and the decline of others in Canada is extensive industrial development in British Columbia, experts say.
Hunting No
Longer Just a ‘Guy Thing’
By Craig Boddington/Sports Afield
Photo by Renee V/flickr
There have always been serious female hunters. Some, from the goddess Diana forward, have been legendary. But it wasn’t common. In previous millennia, until now, in order to hunt women had to break through the good old boys’ club—or just do their own thing, which was probably almost as difficult. My Mom didn’t try to “intrude,” but in her heart she was a hunter. She would have gotten a huge kick out of the major role women are playing in modern hunting!

Whether we’re talking hunting or shooting sports in general, women are the fastest-growing segments. Relative to hunting, the reality is that women represent some of the only genuine growth in our ranks. So, God bless ’em, and welcome! I think most barriers have been broken…but there are still some Neanderthal holdouts among us. My old friend and veteran hunting consultant Bev Wunderlich tells me there are still a few outfitters who don’t welcome women into their camps, and there are probably some hunting camps here and there that feel the same. Some guys still need to grow up!

Fortunately, we’re mostly past that. 
“For us hunting wasn’t a sport. It was a way to be intimate with nature, that intimacy providing us with wild unprocessed food free from pesticides and hormones and with the bonus of having been produced without the addition of great quantities of fossil fuel.”

- Ted Kerasote

To read past McGraw Reports click here.