January 12, 2018
Welcome McGraw's
New Assistant
Kennel Manager!
McGraw Photo by Kyla Duewel
This month, the McGraw Kennel welcomed a new team member: Clay McElya, who started work Jan. 4 as assistant kennel manager.

Clay was born and raised in western Kentucky. He grew up in an agricultural family and learned to enjoy hunting, fishing, farming and time spent in the outdoors. But he especially loved to train hunting dogs, and after high school traveled the country gaining knowledge and perfecting his training techniques.

Clay also has a deep love of God and country, and in 2001 he joined the United States Army. For seven years, he flew Blackhawk helicopters and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. While stationed in upstate New York, he met his wife, Tracey. They now have four children.

After his military career was complete, Clay returned to his passion for dog training. For the past several years, he has owned and served as head trainer at a dog boarding, grooming and training facility near Kentucky Lake. 

He has developed and trained dogs for hunting, hunt tests and search and rescue. He has also helped develop training programs for clients that wanted antler shed dogs. He also is a certified trainer for drug and bomb detection dogs, and for the past two years has trained and placed several service dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD as well as children with special needs.

"I was looking for an opportunity to train the best hunting dogs in the country,” Clay said. “After visiting McGraw, I knew I had found a new home.”

Clay joins Kennel Manager Stephen Rosasco and kennel assistant Mario Rodriguez and stands ready to help you with all things canine related.

“Clay has a nice blend of experience, talent and personality that will make him a wonderful addition to the McGraw Kennel team,” Stephen said. “I look forward to training dogs with him for years to come.”

Clay can be reached at 847-426-8983 or  cmcelya@mcgrawwildlife.org . Please stop by the Kennel and welcome him to McGraw!
Listen: Charlie Potter on Hunting, Conservation
McGraw President & CEO Charlie Potter devoted a recent episode of his “Great Outdoors” radio show to his daughter’s newfound interest in hunting and how the future of conservation may well reside in the private sector.

 “We have some work to do when it comes to developing public/private partnerships if we are going to tackle so many of the conservation issues that we have ahead of us,” Charlie predicted.
Fight for Fresh Water Reaches Supreme Court
By Robert Barnes/The Washington Post
Photo by Florida Fish and Wildlife/flickr
Every 45 seconds or so, oystermen plunge their long-handled tongs into the shallow blue-gray waters of Apalachicola Bay, rake the bottom and deposit meager-looking piles on the bow of their flat-bottomed boat. A gloved co-worker culls the keepers from the empty shells and immature oysters, which are tossed back.

“See these guys here?” asked Shannon Hartsfield, whose family has fished and oystered and crabbed and shrimped here for four generations. He pointed to a nearby boat.

“Three tongers and one culler? Usually you’d have  one  tonger and two or three cullers. That’s the flip-flop. Used to, that man right there’d keep two cullers busy all day long.”

Apalachicola Bay, an estuary recognized by the United Nations for its uniqueness, once produced 10 percent of the nation’s oysters and 90 percent of those from Florida. Why it doesn’t anymore — why its oyster production has fallen so dramatically — has been the subject of decades of litigation, which now has landed before the Supreme Court.

Florida v. Georgia , which was argued this week, is a water fight that pits the thirsty megalopolis of Atlanta and the farmers of southwestern Georgia against conservationists and seafood producers in this stretch of the Florida Panhandle called the Forgotten Coast.
What if Birds Made Tracks Across the Sky?
By Catherine Zuckerman/National Geographic
Photo by Dean Hochman/flickr
If birds left tracks in the sky, what would they look like? For years Barcelona-based photographer Xavi Bou has been fascinated by this question. Just as a sinuous impression appears when a snake slides across sand, he imagined, so must a pattern form in the wake of a flying bird. But of course birds in flight leave no trace—at least none visible to the naked eye. Bou, now 38, spent the past five years trying to capture the elusive contours drawn by birds in motion, or, as he says, “to make visible the invisible.”

First he had to shed the role of mere observer. “Like a naturalist, I used to travel around the world looking at wildlife,” he says. He began exploring photographic techniques that would allow him to express his love of nature and show the beauty of birds in a way not seen before.
When Ego, Fame and Antlers Collide
By Thomas McIntyre/Field & Stream
Photo by mordacq/flickr
Thumb through the Wyoming antelope, deer, and elk regulation booklet and you’ll run across assorted highlighted axioms that would seem too homespun to bear repeating. Oh, I don’t know, ones like, “Know your maximum effective shooting range.” Or, “Use your binoculars, not a rifle scope, to survey the field.” A hunter who seriously must be reminded of such basics ought to be too embarrassed to sit in the diner at 5 a.m., dunking crullers, let alone going out to look for game. Apparently, though, there is no bottom to the depths to which some so-called “hunters” can descend. Hand them a TV camera, and a hunger for money above all else, and it seems that they can dig a hole right through to the center of China.

The latest, if somehow not quite most outrageous, example would be Chris Brackett, star of  “Fear No Evil”  on the Outdoor Channel— or at least he used to be .
"A true fisherman is conservative, provident, not given to envy, considerate of the rights of others, and careful of his good name."

- Grover Cleveland
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