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

The Revenant falls short

THE TALE OF HUGH GLASS AND THE GRIZZLY IS ONE of the most treasured stories in the mythology of the mountain man. Most of the best parts understandably come down to us by word of mouth, since Glass was alone during the legendary crawl and never wrote a word about the experience.

However, there are . . . → Read More: The Revenant falls short

On the nature of gifts

A long day of watching a sky devoid of waterfowl, staring into the endless blue until my eyes burn and the muscles at the base of my neck stab me every time I turn my head. A pair of buffleheads scoot in over the decoys at eleven. A harrier kites along the shore at . . . → Read More: On the nature of gifts

Cecil’s death shouldn’t end hunting

I NEED TO STATE AT THE OUTSET THAT I AM A COMMITTED CONSERVATIONIST. I trained in the field and have spent my entire adult life in the effort to maintain native biodiversity in the United States, and I continue to embrace that goal as one of the most important in my life.

I am also . . . → Read More: Cecil’s death shouldn’t end hunting

No place like home


IT’S ONE OF THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL rules of ecology: Each species has its niche, the unique combination of food, water, shelter, and nursery that, taken together, are home for the breed. Without that place, the species would not exist.

As the deadline for the federal decision on whether to list the sage grouse . . . → Read More: No place like home

We’re all users— but some more than others

ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2015, CHRISTOPHER SOLOMON published an essay in the New York Times titled “Leaving Only Footsteps in the Woods?: Think Again.” The premise of Solomon’s piece was that every human being that enters a wild area has an effect on the wildlife living there.

It’s an important observation, one that gets surprisingly . . . → Read More: We’re all users— but some more than others

Congressmen vote against marshes and creeks

THE GOOD OLD DAYS. I’M OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER THE SIXTIES (AND EVEN A PIECE OF THE FIFTIES) WITH SOME FONDNESS, BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS ABOUT THAT ERA I’d just as soon forget, especially in the environmental arena— massive fish kills, rivers catching fire, and not least, a federally funded campaign to . . . → Read More: Congressmen vote against marshes and creeks

Learning the hunt

The lesson: A short look at the long history of hunter education

Comments on the occasion of the 2014 Wyoming Hunter Education Academy July 26, 2014 © Chris Madson, 2014

2014 Hunter Education Academy


A drop in the bucket


In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a crippling blow to the protection of America’s wetlands and the wildlife these wetlands support. The court’s decision in the case SWANCC v. Army Corp of Engineers, followed a year later by similar decisions in the Carabel and Rapanos cases, ended . . . → Read More: A drop in the bucket