83rd Annual Midwest Directors’ Meeting

The Missouri Department of Conservation will host the 83rd Annual Midwest Directors’ Meeting, Sunday, June 26 – Wednesday, June 29, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri at the Chase Park Plaza.

The MAFWA Directors’ Meeting is for senior level management of natural resources professionals in the fields of wildlife and fisheries management, information and education, licensing and administration, law enforcement, and conservation engineering.

Review the conference schedule and to register to attend here.

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MAFWA Announces Hire of New National Wild Pheasant Conservation Plan Coordinator

March 14, 2016

PITTSBURG, PA— Dr. J. Scott Taylor has been hired as the Coordinator of the National Wild Pheasant Conservation Plan the Midwest Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA) announced today at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. Dr. Taylor will begin his new duties in April at the Pheasants Forever regional office on the campus of South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota.

Inspired by the successes of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, the National Wild Pheasant Conservation Plan was developed by the Midwest Pheasant Study Group, an official advisory body of MAFWA composed of state pheasant biologists, with significant participation by other pheasant states throughout the country. The goal of the plan is to restore and maintain self-sustaining wild pheasant populations in each state to provide maximum recreational opportunities.

Although originally the product of MAFWA, the plan truly is national in scope, and the Midwest Pheasant Study Group was disbanded and reconstituted as the National Pheasant Technical Committee. Participating pheasant states from the Pacific Northwest to Pennsylvania plus Pheasants Forever have pledged support not only for the implementation of the plan, but also financial commitments to support the Coordinator’s work for at least 3 years.

Dr. Taylor earned a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Kansas State University, a M.S. in Range and Wildlife Management from Texas A&I University, and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He has worked for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission since 1996 as their Upland Game Program Manager, Wildlife Research Section Leader, and Wildlife Division Administrator.  As Division Administrator he served on the Central Flyway Council, the Playa Lakes Joint Venture Management Board, and the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative Steering Committee.

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Texas is Losing The War on Feral Hogs

Posted by John McAdams

March 7, 2016

feral swine

Despite years of intense hunting and trapping, Texas is losing the war on feral hogs.

Since the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) first began removing feral hogs in 1982, the hog population in the Lone Star State has dramatically increased and there are now more than ten times as many hogs in the state as there were then. Unfortunately, the evidence is clear: Texas is losing the war on feral hogs.

Texas has very permissive regulations regarding hog hunting and hunters may pursue hogs all year long with no bag limit. They may be hunted over bait, trapped, hunted at night and from aircraft. As a result, it is estimated that over three quarters of a million hogs are taken by hunters, trappers, and TPWD each year in Texas.

Unfortunately, it is not enough. Even though hunters and trappers are killing approximately 30 percent of the hog population in Texas annually, hog numbers are still growing by about 20 percent each year. Biologists estimate that 70 percent of the hogs in the state will have to be killed each year just to maintain the population and even more must be killed to actually start reducing their numbers. Continue reading

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Monarch butterfly migration to Mexico jumps after years of decline

Associated Press in Mexico City

February 26, 2016

Monarch butterflies have made a big comeback in their wintering grounds in Mexico after suffering serious declines, investigators said Friday.

The area covered by the orange-and-black insects in the mountains west of Mexico City this season was more than three and a half times greater than last winter. The butterflies clump so densely in the pine and fir forests they are counted by the area they cover rather than by individuals. Continue reading

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Policy Re-affirms Federal-State ESA Collaboration

February 19, 2016

Contact: Brian Hires, Brian_Hires@fws.gov, 703-358-2191

Connie Barclay, Connie.Barclay@NOAA.gov, 301-427-8003 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (together the Services) have updated a long-standing policy on the role of state fish and wildlife agencies in implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The updated policy, developed in coordination with state fish and wildlife agencies, re-affirms the commitment for engagement and collaboration between the Services and state agencies on many aspects of ESA implementation. Continue reading

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