Thursday, April 22, 2010

Good News On The Local Sage Grouse Front...

...I ran into our local wildlife biologist yesterday and as usual took the chance to quiz him a bit on the state of the local wildlife situation. First on my agenda of course were sage hens. His response was just what I wanted to hear: "They're doin' ok, more than holding their own. With what is shaping up as pretty good nesting conditions hopefully we'll see even better numbers come fall. Have you been out to the ?????? lek this spring? The other day so and so's group counted 39 males and another guy reported even more...mid 40s actually. That's pretty good. All the lek counts (males) with just a couple exceptions seem to be stable or up...not many negatives.

We then went on to discuss the seeming upturn in Hun numbers in the area. Like most agencies because Huns are introduced FWP does not officially monitor population trends. But off the record most biologists have an opinion of what's happening in their areas...especially those who are bird hunters. More good news as he felt as I do Hun numbers are on the upswing. We both marveled at their tenacity and how Huns perhaps more than any other gamebirds seem to adapt quite well to a wide variety of habitats...especially surprising to both of us is how high you sometimes find coveys. And as I've ranted many times those coveys hang out really high...like above 8000 feet apparently live up there year around...Nifty birds and then some.

More good news for REAL hunters is the newly instituted elk and mule deer rules for some of the most overrun hunting districts in the area should eventually help alleviate the thundering hoard of road warriors who of late annually descend on southwest's best districts. To hunt bulls for example now requires applying for and drawing a permit...the draw is automatic but once drawn you can only hunt bulls in that district. Same for the mule deer districts...While "it'll take time to get the word out" the thinking is eventually we will be able to alleviate the chaos of recent seasons.

A word about the photo: Due to the intense backlight created by the rising sun directly behind the bird the photo came out of camera completely blown...as shot you could barely make out there was a grouse in the photo. But thanks to Photoshop, a decent (no not great) shot is just a couple mouse clicks away. First I resized the image for web viewing. Then I opened layers, clicked on adjustment layer levels, clicked to set the black, white and gray points, tweaked it just a little more by adjusting the sliders ever so slightly, clicked to flatten the image...and Voila! what would have been a sure toss in the garbage can with film now thanks to digital and the wonders of PS the image is saved. As I said not a great shot but dramatic as hell and ahem, ahem, I for one kind of dig it...

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