Five hunters to participate in Missouri’s first official elk hunt


SPRINGFIELD, Mo (KOLR) — Five hunters from across Missouri have won the chance to hunt elk, an animal well-known in the western United States.

Francis Skalicky, with the Missouri Department of Conservation, says elk were once native to Missouri.

“The last time elk where being hunted in Missouri, Missouri was still being settled. When Lewis and Clark crossed Missouri, elk were found statewide. By the time of the Civil War, elk were scarce in Missouri, and by the late 1800s, they had disappeared,” says Skalicky.

Skalicky says elk were extrapolated from Missouri, which is different from extinction. Extrapolation, Skalicy says, means the animal is gone from a specific area. In 2011 the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) began an elk reintroduction program.

“Now, the population has grown to more than 200, and the population has reached a point to where we can have a limited hunting season, which is what this is going to be,” says Skalicky.

So for there to be an official elk hunt in Missouri is a big deal, according to Skalicky. The five winners were drawn randomly in a group of over 19,000 hunters who applied for the permit to hunt the elk.

One of the five hunters is from Mount Vernon, Joseph Benthall. The hunters could decide to use archery or a firearm. Benthall is hunting with a rifle.

Benthall told the MDC he has been deer hunting off and on for 25 years and has not hunted elk before. Benthall applied for the permit because he has always wanted to hunt elk but has not had the time or money for a trip out west.

Here are the five hunters who won:

  • Bill Clark of Van Buren, who was drawn for the resident-landowner antlered-elk permit.
  • Joseph Benthall of Mount Vernon, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit.
  • Michael Buschjost of St. Thomas, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit.
  • Samuel Schultz of Winfield, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit.
  • Eugene Guilkey of Liberty, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit.

The five will hunt the elk in a 20-acre elk restoration zone covering parts of Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon counties. The archery hunters will take part in a nine-day hunt from October 17-25, and the firearm hunters will hunt from December 12-20. Skalicky says the hunt will not interfere with public elk viewing areas at the Peak Ranch Conservation Area.

If anybody has information about who is responsible for building the device or placing it, contact the Boone County Sheriff’s Office at (515) 433-0524.

The investigation is ongoing.

Dean Welte

Opinion: La. Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, ‘nuisance hunter’ shouldn’t have euthanized Lakeview alligator

Alligator Research Facility

An Alligator opens its mouth Aug. 22, 2013 at LSU’s Alligator Research Station.

Authorities at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) captured and tranquilized a 10-foot, roughly 300-pound American alligator without incident after members of the New Orleans’s Lakeview community reported spotting the reptile ambling along a residential street on the morning of July 3.

In less than two hours, LDWF agents made it to the scene and were able to capture and tranquilize the alligator without incident, only to euthanize it later after contacting a licensed “nuisance alligator hunter.” The hunter in question has chosen to remain anonymous in the media, fearing targeted backlash from the public.

Many locals have expressed anger and even grief concerning the unjust fate of the Lakeview alligator. “What, too hard to drive him out to Barataria or a suitable habitat? Sounds like bad protocol for Wildlife and Fisheries. Wasn’t that way when I worked there,” wrote Twitter user @WaltTheStalt, responding to a article.

The official story being put out is that the alligator was simply too big to move.

However, there’s an important distinction to be made here; physically speaking, the LDWF agents on the scene were perfectly capable of moving the alligator. Despite what headlines might suggest, its weight was not truly an object in the matter—they did not see the value in trying to move it.

LDWF officials have come out in favor of the hunter’s decision to kill rather than attempt to relocate the alligator, asserting that he was simply following protocol in doing so.

Alligator program manager Jeb Linscombe confirmed that the LDWF pushes euthanasia for alligators as large as the one found in Lakeview. Any alligator over 4-feet-long is automatically classified a “nuisance” and killed more often than not.

On the possibility of relocated Linscombe stated, “…you’re really just relocating a threat and a danger from one area to another area.”

Linscombe also alluded the alligator would not represent a meaningful loss in the eyes of the LDWF as Louisiana is already home to roughly 2 million American alligators.

 “They’re everywhere,” Lt. David Nunez said, an officer of the agency’s law enforcement branch. “You can see them pop up in the sewerage system, in the drainage canals, on golf courses.”

These sentiments don’t reflect the kind of special regard for wildlife and nature conservation one might expect or hope for from individuals involved with an agency that claims to be responsible for “managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.”

Linscombe theorized the alligator was likely displaced in the recent tropical storm and was simply looking for a home. There was no evidence to suggest it had become overly habituated and therefore no reason to believe it would have returned to Lakeview or any other human setting upon release into the wild.

The alligator displayed no hostile behavior towards the members of the Lakeview community prior to its death.

If the LDWF wishes to model compassionate and sustainable conservation efforts in Louisiana they must rethink the way they understand human-wildlife interactions. Animals are not problems. The Lakeview alligator was not a “nuisance.” It was a lost, lovely creature, needlessly killed by the very agency sworn to protect it. Its death was an injustice and a disgrace to us all.

Grace Pulliam is a 19-year-old creative writing senior from Zachary, LA. 

Two cases of bubonic plague prompt crack down on marmot hunting

(CNN) — Russian authorities have warned people near the country’s border with Mongolia not to hunt or eat marmots after an outbreak of bubonic plague.

Two cases of the plague were recorded in the Khovd province in western Mongolia, reported Russian state media agency TASS on Tuesday.

Marmots are large ground squirrels, a type of rodent, that have historically been linked to plague outbreaks in the region.

Officials from the Republican Ministry of Agriculture and Food told citizens in the border area not to hunt marmots or eat marmot meat, and take preventive measures against insect bites.

Rodents are the main vector of plague transmission from animals to humans, but the disease can also be passed on through flea bites.

Plague killed an estimated 50 million people in Europe during the Black Death pandemic in the Middle Ages, but modern antibiotics can prevent complications and death if administered quickly enough.

Bubonic plague, which is one of plague’s three forms, causes painful, swollen lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills, and coughing.

Mongolia quarantined its region near the Russian border last week after lab tests showed two cases of bubonic plague linked to the consumption of marmot meat, the country’s health officials said on July 1.

Mongolia’s National Center for Zoonotic Diseases said last week it had identified and tested 146 people who had come into contact with the two infected people.

The center also identified 504 people of secondary contact in the Khovd province.

The Russian Embassy in Mongolia said “there are no grounds for serious concern” as the Mongolian authorities have imposed travel restrictions and isolated infected individuals, according to Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

The embassy also cited Sergei Diorditsu, a World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Mongolia, who reportedly said the province sees seasonal outbreaks of the plague, according to RIA Novosti.

“There are natural foci of plague in Mongolia and the disease is spread by tarbagans [Mongolian marmots],” said the embassy.

“The problem is that local residents who, despite all prohibitions and recommendations of local authorities, continue to hunt them and eat them, as this is a local delicacy.”

Authorities in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia have also confirmed a case of the plague.

The case in the city of Bayannur, northwest of Beijing, was confirmed Tuesday, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.

In 2019 a couple in Mongolia died after eating a raw marmot kidney, triggering a quarantine that left several tourists stranded in the region.

Anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 people get the plague every year, according to the WHO, but that estimate does not account for unreported cases.

Replanting Charred Land

Tree planting project aims to regrow forests in barren burn scars

Scientists hope to reforest burned landscapes, such as Cochiti Canyon’s, shown here three years after the wildfire. | Colin Haffey

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The Las Conchas Fire burned 156,200 acres of forest in the Jemez Mountains in 2011. Just one year later, the Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire surpassed it in size and intensity, burning 297,845 acres and usurping its title as the largest forest fire in state history. Since then, extreme wildfires have increased in frequency across the Southwest.

Scientists fear the forest may never recover in areas where the fire raged hottest, scorching the earth and incinerating everything in its path down to the microbes and seed stocks in the ground. Across the West, high intensity mega-fires are leaving behind barren landscapes that could convert permanently to shrubby grasslands where forests are unable to naturally regenerate.

This is where human-led reforestation efforts are essential to save ecosystems, New Mexico State University Associate Professor Owen Burney explained during a June 24 online presentation called “After the Fire: Seeding New Mexico’s Future,” about an ambitious push in the Jemez. It’s a pilot program designed to envision what should come after high intensity wildfire and whose sponsors include the Nature Conservancy; Santa Clara Pueblo and Cochiti pueblos; the US Forest Service; universities and others.

Over the next two years, they aim to plant 100,000 seedlings across 4,000 acres in the Las Conchas burn scar.


Once the monsoon season starts this summer, members will plant the first round of 25,000 seedlings in Bandelier National Monument and Santa Clara Pueblo. They’ll go in the ground in clumps, or “tree islands,” in an attempt to mimic the natural patterns of regeneration after a healthy, low intensity wildfire that leaves some more densely forested areas interspersed by open space.

Nearly 150 people watched online as Burney walked through the process of reforestation: collecting native regional seed stock; cultivating seedlings; planting and caring for the trees.

“It’s this hopeful thing that seems to be getting a lot of people excited because this is a problem that is collectively within our span of control,” Collin Haffey, conservation manager at the Nature Conservancy, tells SFR. “It feels good to bite into a problem that has a solution, even if it also has a lot of complicated challenges.”

Seedlings at the John T Harrington Forestry Research Center in Mora await replanting.
Seedlings at the John T Harrington Forestry Research Center in Mora await replanting. | Colin Haffey

Those hurdles exist all along the path, Burney noted. Most are issues of scale.

For example, the “fire footprint” in New Mexico from 2002 to 2019 is approximately 5.2 million acres, of which about 2.5 million acres have been so badly burned they would need a reforestation effort for the forests there to grow back, he says. Moreover, experts anticipate devastating forest fires to increase in the coming decades, and forests provide between 58 and 77% of water used by municipalities and agriculture in New Mexico by retaining snow pack and groundwater.

Between 300 and 650 million seedlings would be needed to replant the burned areas in the state, with an additional 1.5 to 2.5 million seedlings required per year going forward to make up for future fires, Burney said.

Burney also directs the John T Harrington Forestry Research Center in Mora, where most of the seedlings for the project have been carefully cultivated. The center includes the largest nursery program in the Southwest.

Yet, even with a capacity of 300,000 trees, the nursery can only provide a fraction of the trees that would be needed for genuine reforestation efforts. There also aren’t enough people trained as a workforce to meet the seedling need. Dropping one into the ground and walking away isn’t enough. In order for young trees to have any chance at survival, they need to be strategically cared for and protected for years.

The greatest challenge, though, lies in collecting seeds before areas burn and creating regional seed banks to store them, a tricky proposition because many species of conifers only produce seed cones once every three to eight years.

“We cannot go back to these burned landscapes and collect seed. We need to be collecting seed from those regions before a disturbance,” Burney said, calling regional seed banks an “insurance policy” for the future of forests.

But if the project works at the small scale, it offers hope for combating climate change at the larger scale as well.

Forestry scientists are experimenting with what Burney calls “assisted migration”—planting trees from lower elevations at slightly higher elevations to prepare for a hotter future when tree species will be less likely to survive at the elevations where they now grow.

In total, he said, reforestation projects need a lot more funding, programming and trained workers to make a significant impact. But what gives Haffey the most hope is the widespread interest in the project from governmental, tribal and educational entities, nonprofits and the public.

The enthusiasm was clear during last week’s event, as viewers interested in helping in seed collection or tree planting poured on the comments.

Haffey says the Nature Conservancy doesn’t have any volunteer citizen science projects up and running but he hopes that by 2021, anyone with a passion for the forest will be able to join a team to collect seeds, or adopt a grouping of newly planted seedlings to watch over

Humane officers find cat with trap caught on leg in Boise neighborhood

WARNING: SOME IMAGES ARE GRAPHIC. Courtesy: Idaho Humane Society<p>{/p}

A cat is healing after being found by Humane officers with a trap caught on its leg, Idaho Humane Society says.

In a Facebook post, IHS says Animal Care and Control officers found the cat walking around a neighborhood off Pine Avenue near Cloverdale Road. The cat gave chase, but an officer was able to capture it and bring it to the shelter.

Staff at Idaho Humane Society sedated the cat to remove the trap. “Thankfully, this cat’s injuries were limited to its paw and we were able to provide medical care and reunite it with its owners,” the post says.

Idaho Humane Society is encouraging those in the neighborhood to keep a watchful eye on children. IHS also recommends keeping pets inside whenever possible, and checking on outdoor cats regularly, along with checking the routes the animals take.

How grizzly bears have learned to live with humans

Exposing the Big Game

Bears shifted their behaviour to be more nocturnal and avoid people, study found

Sherry Noik·CBC News·Posted: Jul 06, 2020 3:00 PM ET | Last Updated: 9 hours ago

Grizzly bears in Canada have developed an adaptation behaviour that lets them continue living near humans yet reduce their interaction with us, according to decades of research into their behaviour.

In areas where bears and humans coexist, there are often policies in place to protect bear populations while safe-guarding people’s lives. But it turns out the bears are also helping their own cause.

A team of researchers from B.C. and Alberta pooled data on the movements, habitat use and mortality rates of 2,669 grizzly bears over 41 years to examine how they survived when living in or near human-dominated areas.

The researchers foundthat even as humans encroached further and further into the animals’ habitats, the bears didn’t necessarily shy away from…

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Drunk driving hunter arrested in Pulaski County, deputies say

James Allison
James Allison (New River Valley Regional Jail)

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – Pulaski County deputies arrested a man they say was driving drunk, as well as hunting drunk, on Friday night.

At about 8 p.m., they responded to the 1500 block of Julia Simpkins Road after being alerted that 58-year-old James “Teddy” Allison was drunk and making threats, while firing a gun.

When deputies arrived, Allison was driving away and they stopped him in a nearby field.

They could see he was drunk and found a gun in his car, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

He’s charged with driving under the influence, reckless handing of a firearm and hunting while intoxicated.

He’s being held without bond at the New River Valley Regional Jail.


HSI undercover investigation shows foxes bludgeoned, skinned alive on Asian fur farms

Exposing the Big Game

July 7, 2020 0 Comments

HSI undercover investigation shows foxes bludgeoned, skinned alive on Asian fur farms

The animals are crammed into tiny wire cages where they can barely move. It’s the only space they’ll ever know, and it is a terrible one. Feces pile up under the cages, and their water bowls are either dry or a fetid pool of algae.Share186TweetRedditEmail186SHARES

The cruelty of fur is on terrifying display in these scenes from a fur farm, captured on video by investigators working with Humane Society International. Foxes are pulled out of their cages, one by one, usually by their tails as they try to cling to the wire walls in terror. Each is thrown to the ground and repeatedly bludgeoned in the head and face with a metal rod. The animals struggle and tremble, badly injured but not yet dead. The ground is stained with…

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