Outdoor News Bulletin

Outdoor News Bulletin

May 2019 Edition | Volume 73, Issue 5 | Published since 1946

2017 Census of Agriculture Early Results Available

Every five years the USDA conducts a census of agriculture to provide a snapshot of activity and trends in the industry. While the census attempts to get every producer to participate, the response rate for the 2017 Census of Agriculture was 71.8 percent. Early results are being reported with much more information to come in future months. The 2017 Census shows an overall decline in farmland and the number of farms, provides information about the demographics of producers, documents crop and commodity trends, and evaluates participation in conservation programs.

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Testing Camera Traps to Monitor Ungulates

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDF&G); Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MFWP); and the University of Montana (UM) are teaming up to test using camera traps to monitor white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose populations in Idaho and northwest Montana. This cooperative study builds on the work of UM graduate student Anna Moeller and Professor Paul Lukacs who developed three new, unbiased methods to estimate abundance using photos from trail cameras. In addition to abundance, the joint project will evaluate the use of remote camera data to monitor population composition and survival. IDF&G and MFWP are exploring this approach in response to the high cost, logistic challenges, and risk associated with aerial surveys, as well as the need to monitor populations in forested habitats where animals cannot be counted effectively from the air. This project is funded with state license revenue, Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration funding, and contributions from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Mule Deer Foundation.

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Second Quarter WSFR Excise Tax Update

Starting in 2018, the Wildlife Management Institute began reporting on the quarterly excise tax receipts from Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs. These revenues provide the primary funding source for state fish and wildlife conservation programs as part of what is known as the American System of Conservation Funding. This “user pay – public benefit” system of funding is supported by hunters, recreational shooters, anglers, and boaters (the “users”) and provides public lands, fishing and boating access points, and healthy fish and wildlife populations for the benefit of all those who enjoy the outdoors (the “public”).

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Cooperative Research Unit Corner

Movement Patterns of Brown Pelicans in the South Atlantic Bight

The South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is leading research on the movement patterns and at-sea habitat use of brown pelicans in the South Atlantic Bight (coastlines of South Carolina, Georgia, and north Florida, hereafter SAB). Nearshore seabirds such as brown pelicans can serve as valuable indicator species for ecosystem health in marine, coastal, and estuarine systems because they are transboundary in nature and integrate information across a range of trophic systems. In the eastern U.S., pelicans breed from Texas through Florida on the Gulf coast, and from south Florida to the Chesapeake Bay on the Atlantic coast. They are a species of conservation concern in many states and their breeding colonies receive protection throughout their range.

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