Conservation

Where Hunting Happens, Conservation Happens™

Science Blasts

SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Fall 2016 issue of Fair Chase My column in the Summer 2016 issue of Fair Chase talked about the importance of the Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center directed by Professor Bill Porter at Michigan State University...
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In 2017, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released a report titled “State of the Mountain Lion—A Call to End Trophy Hunting of America’s Lion.” In the report, HSUS calls for an end to mountain lion hunting in the United States based on several scientific arguments. These arguments range from citing available literature on demography, ecology, and sociality of mountain lions, to the protection of potential habitat and population sizes across 16 states where breeding populations exist.
A complete collection of articles about conservation, hunting, and wildlife research by John Organ, Director Emeritus of the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units, and current B&C professional member.
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By John Organ — Polygamous species include those we are quite familiar with: whitetail and mule deer, elk, and moose, where one male may breed several females. Polygamous cervid species display what biologists term sexual dimorphism, meaning the two sexes exhibit differences in some physical features. In the case of cervids, this is represented by males typically having larger body size than females. This is true of many species of mammals that are polygamous.
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SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Summer 2017 issue of Fair Chase Those of us in the hunting community take great pride in the fact the dollars we spend on hunting licenses, firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment are the financial backbone of state-...
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SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Graduate student Elizabeth Orning collared cougars in 2013 in northeast Oregon as part of the ODFW wolf monitoring program. Excerpt from Spring 2018 issue of Fair Chase Wildlife managers and hunter-conservationists have long been...
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Much debate has occurred through the years over the value and purpose of maintaining records of “trophy” big game animals killed by hunters. This has become magnified in recent years with a focus on trophy hunting in general, spawned in part by the Cecil the Lion episode, and in conflicting reports on the genetic impacts of trophy hunting to big game populations in particular.
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Summer 2020 issue of Fair Chase Wildlife conservation in the United States has progressed through many phases while adhering to some core principles. Most significant is the common law doctrine that wildlife is held in trust...
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SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Drs. Dave Wattles and Steve DeStefano of the Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit attach a GPS collar to a bull moose in west-central Massachusetts. Excerpt from Spring 2016 issue of Fair Chase The distribution of the...
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By John Organ — Recently, there has been a resurgence of legislative action that would ban or greatly restrict fur trapping in certain jurisdictions in the United States. The protagonists of these initiatives claim that trapping is inconsistent with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (NAM) and violates principles of wildlife governance. Are these claims valid? No, and I’ll explain why.
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By John Organ — Nearly 100 years ago Aldo Leopold, the father of game management, coined the term “harvestable surplus.” The intended meaning of the term is that some wildlife species and populations may produce more young in a given year than can survive to the following year. Those individuals doomed to die over the winter, for example, represent the “surplus” in the population. Leopold observed that those surplus animals could be killed by hunters during the fall, instead of succumbing to winter mortality, and there would be little impact on the population. So, in theory, hunting would be sustainable because the population would not change.
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SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member A Sunday picnic on the shore of the Baltic Sea in Sweden, cooking reindeer. Excerpt from Summer 2019 issue of Fair Chase It was the next-to-last day of black powder rifle season this past December, and I was supposed to hunt whitetails...
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By John Organ — The issue of lead versus non-lead ammunition has been a divisive factor within the hunting and wildlife conservation community for decades. Consider this statement: “The accounts of the destruction of ducks, geese, and swans by lead-poisoning which are printed on another page bring to public attention a new element of danger to our wildfowl, and one for which a remedy will be hard to find.” This was written by George Bird Grinnell, co-founder of the Boone and Crockett Club in 1894.
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Spring 2017 issue of Fair Chase Whitetail deer management in eastern North America has had its share of controversy since restoration programs began more than a century ago. Protected deer populations quickly responded to the...
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Fall 2017 issue of Fair Chase It’s pretty common knowledge these days that black and grizzly bears are very efficient predators of ungulate fawns and calves. Some of the earliest published accounts of black bear predation on...
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Winter 2017 issue of Fair Chase Wildlife managers, hunters, and other conservationists have long been concerned about the decline in mule deer populations through-out the West. Is it predation? Is it hunting? Is it habitat?...
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member © Mark Mesenko Excerpt from Fall 2018 issue of Fair Chase In the Spring 2015 issue of Fair Chase ( “A Little Help From Our Friends” ), I wrote about the Western Elk Research Collaborative and the promise it held for a greater...
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Summer 2018 issue of Fair Chase A pillar of wildlife management in North America is the notion that it is science-based or science-driven. Indeed, Aldo Leopold, the father of wildlife management, laid the groundwork for this...
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Spring 2015 issue of Fair Chase My good friend Curtis Taylor, West Virginia’s State Fish and Wildlife Director, tells it this way: his cousin Ditto, so named by his parents becausehewasthespitting image of his older brother...
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Summer 2015 issue of Fair Chase In the Spring Issue of Fair Chase I wrote about how several state fish and wildlife agencies working together, along with their Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units, can yield powerful...
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Fall 2015 issue of Fair Chase Aldo Leopold wrote “One of the anomalies of modern ecology is the creation of two groups, each of which seems barely aware of the existence of the other. The one studies the human community,...
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Winter 2015 issue of Fair Chase The state of Iowa has had a pivotal role in the origins and evolution of wildlife conservation in North America. Not surprisingly, key Iowans who have had major influence in this heritage were...
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Summer 2016 issue of Fair Chase Occasionally I go to my bookcase and pick an issue from the first volume of the Journal of Wildlife Management , published in 1937, and peruse it. The wildlife conservation movement in North...
SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Excerpt from Winter 2016 issue of Fair Chase Steve Williams, in his “Capitol Comments” article titled “Relevancy of Conservation” (Fair Chase Spring 2016), stated, “Conservation will remain relevant if we design agency structures and...
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SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Dr. Kevin Monteith of the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Migration Initiative uses ultrasound to check the pregnancy status of a mule deer doe after affixing it with a GPS collar to document its migration movements. Excerpt from...
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SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Gordon Batcheller still hunting for moose in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Excerpt from Fall 2019 issue of Fair Chase In the last issue of Fair Chase , I wrote about how we may transform the way we communicate the results of hunting...
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SCIENCE BLASTS By John F. Organ, B&C Professional Member Julie Tripp (left) and Karlie Slayer (right) staffed the Boone and Crockett Club booth this past October in Reno at the annual conference of TWS and the American Fisheries Society.​​​​​​​ Excerpt from Spring 2020 issue of Fair Chase The...
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In 2001 Craig Kirkman took this 163-1/8 typical whitetail deer in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. A legal antlered deer at that time had to have one antler longer than three inches, or had at least one antler with two or more points, and 80% of harvested antlered deer were only 1.5 years old. In 2002...

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt