The price of procrastination

Dust storm in northwestern Kansas, April 2016

IT MAY BE MY FAVORITE TROUT STREAM, PARTLY BECAUSE, AS SMALL AS IT IS, IT REGULARLY yields browns and cutthroats over five pounds, and in large measure because it isn’t anything like what most people imagine when they think of trout water. It’s a sun-baked, sand-bottomed creek . . . → Read More: The price of procrastination

The code

Aldo Leopold (right) and his last graduate student, Robert McCabe in the field during McCabe’s research.

In 2014, I was invited to give the keynote address for the annual meeting of the Mountain and Plains Chapter of The Wildlife Society, the organization of professional wildlife biologists. The situation on the conservation front was challenging . . . → Read More: The code

Wyoming lawmakers lay an egg

Hen sage grouse visit dominant male on a spring breeding ground. copyright 2016 by Chris Madson, all rights reserved.

ON MARCH 1, THE WYOMING LEGISLATURE PASSED A LAW ALLOWING GAME BIRD FARMS TO take sage grouse and their eggs from the wild in order to produce birds in captivity. Professional wildlife biologists were nearly . . . → Read More: Wyoming lawmakers lay an egg

Testimony on sage grouse captive breeding before the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission


My name is Chris Madson. I hold a master’s degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I served six years with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, where I was exposed to . . . → Read More: Testimony on sage grouse captive breeding before the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission

A rose by any other name . . .



FLICK THE BRITTANY AND I TAKE A WALK EVERY MORNING. IT’S ABOUT three miles for me and somewhere between nine and fifteen miles for him, I’d guess. Keeps us both in shape for the bird seasons. The usual route leads around the outside of a small golf course, past the local high . . . → Read More: A rose by any other name . . .

The discipline

THE FIRST SET OF TRACKS LED TO A SECOND, THEN FOUR OTHERS, THEN EVEN MORE— a herd of elk weaving through the timber. The prints weren’t all that fresh, probably made the previous evening, but the herd didn’t seem to be in a hurry, and, against all the hard experience I’ve had trying to catch . . . → Read More: The discipline

Ethics and the meat hunter

I SAW THE YELLOW FLANK AND THE BRANCHED ANTLERS AS HE stepped through a thin place in the second-growth timber, maybe seventy yards away. He was gone before I could even slip the rifle sling off my shoulder, let alone shoot, but the wind was in my favor, so I went to the right as . . . → Read More: Ethics and the meat hunter

This land is our land








IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR THE COMMON MAN. THAT’S WHAT THOMAS JEFFERSON THOUGHT WHEN he forged the deal that made the 800,000 square miles of Louisiana Territory the property of the United States. “The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor . . . → Read More: This land is our land

Slow learners

WHEN I FIRST HEARD THE NEWS, I THOUGHT IT WAS A FACEBOOK SCAM. BUT, NO: THE MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF FISH, WILDLIFE AND PARKS HAS CLOSED 183 MILES OF THE Yellowstone River to all recreation. That includes swimming, tubing, floating, wading . . . and fishing.

The reason? An outbreak of a fatal disease called proliferative . . . → Read More: Slow learners

Season’s end

THE MONTH OF JANUARY WENT PRETTY MUCH THE WAY I’D EXPECTED— MORE AND MORE MILES FOR FEWER AND FEWER ROOSTERS. We were still seeing birds, Flick and I— fifty or sixty a day, sometimes— but as the month wound down, the average range of flushing birds steadily increased until, when Flick started working scent . . . → Read More: Season’s end