I was struggling with the verbiage for this post and that is the most heartfelt, honest one I can come up with.
We have been given some incredible opportunities to invest in the lives of children in Colorado by including them in part of a special mission trip in June.
In fact, we’ve had the trip booked but just added two new families to two different parts of the trip.
Our mission is restore hope during a dark time in their lives by giving them amazing wildlife encounters. We’ve raised most of the funds for this trip which we believe is very important. But we haven’t raised it all yet.
I almost never use this blog for fundraising but I need your help.
We still need to raise about $3,000 with the addition of the new families we are helping and other expenses as the cost of some things has risen since we put this together.
Any size donation is appreciated. We are excited our mission has expanded and we will be impacting more families but we do need your help.
We are taking families to do wildlife photography in the Estes Park area as well as connecting with special wildlife encounters at two different zoos in the state.
All of it costs but the great news is these have proven to be life-changing experiences for the children and families. You have an opportunity to help us help hurting children and to see the goodness of Christ through wildlife expeditions.
My writings and broadcasts are important because they help spread the word of conservation. I very much appreciate you supporting them.
But these expeditions are far more important as they not only spread the word of conservation but help us help hurting children receive hope.
Can you make a donation? A donation of any size is greatly appreciated.
Officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana State University and the U.S. Forest Service are conducting a major study of turkeys in the Kisatchie National Forest in west-central Louisiana.
The study is tracking their movements in an area Hurricane Laura devastated in 2020 and also seeing how they respond to large-scale forest recovery and restoration efforts.
The Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) hosts its 46th annual Convention and Sporting Expo “The Sheep Show” Jan. 12-14 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and the Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino.
“Every year we bring the sporting community together to celebrate outdoor traditions and raise money for the conservation and management of wild sheep,” said WSF President & CEO Gray N. Thornton. “It’s the largest celebration of mountain game hunting and conservation in the U.S. This year we’ve expanded the Expo to include three halls filled wall to wall with exhibits featuring the finest guides, outfitters, gear, taxidermy, art, firearms, optics and other outdoor essentials from North America and around the world.”
Higher Calling Wildlife will have coverage of the show on our Facebook and Instagram and a wrap-up here next week.
The Show features hundreds of exhibitors, educational seminars, youth events, drawings, hunt giveaways, raffles, and banquets. Nightly auctions feature more than $3 million in outdoor adventure trips and more special conservation permits than any other convention or hunting expo.
Money raised is used to enhance wild sheep populations across North America and internationally through disease research, herd monitoring, habitat improvements and other initiatives.
The Sheep Show is open to the public Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 12-14, at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Show hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Daily admission is $25. Paid attendees are entered daily for floor credit drawings from $1,000-$5,000. Free seminars from experts on mountain hunting in North America, Europe, and Asia include topics such as wildlife conservation, travel, outdoor skills, backcountry fitness and nutrition, wild game preparation and cooking and hunter safety.
The Expo also features a free Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience open to the public at the convention center Saturday, Jan. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The youth event offers fun educational activities focused on conservation, outdoor skills and nature.
Daily passes are available at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center on convention days. Five-dollar discount coupons are available at Sportsman’s Warehouse, Cabela’s, Scheels, Reno HUNTNHOUSE, Mark Fore & Strike (Reno), Bass Pro Shops (Sacramento), Gun World & Archery (Elko) and Honey Lake Firearms (Susanville).
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Higher Calling Wildlife® hosted by wildlife journalist Chester Moore on the Waypoint Podcast Network recently received some major honors.
At the Press Club of Southeast Texas Awards, Higher Calling Wildlife took top honors in the news category for the “Man Attacked By Hog” episode.
In addition, his “Wild Sheep Pandemic” public service announcement took first place in the Public Service Announcement category and was written, narrated and edited by Moore to raise awareness to the issue of pathogen/disease transmission between domestic and wild sheep.
He also took first place for the following categories:
*Chester’s program “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI, took first place for radio talk show for an episode he did on Texas’ desert bighorns with Froylan Hernandez, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Desert Bighorn Sheep Program leader.
*Travel writing for “Sea Flats Safari: Seeking The Flats Slam In The Florida Keys” articles in Hunter’s Horn from theHouston Safari Club Foundation.
*Environmental writing for Chester’s in-depth work on wild turkey restoration in East Texas here at Higher Calling Wildlife®.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by a prestigious group of media professionals like the Press Club of Southeast Texas. Getting honored for broadcasting about wildlife conservation is really exciting”, Moore said.
Higher Calling Wildlife® received another major honor as the program was ranked one of the top wildlife conservation podcasts on the planet by Feedspot. In the 2021 rankings, the program (in its first year) ranked in the top 20.
“I just received an update that we are now the number 10 wildlife conservation podcast on the planet ranked by traffic, social media followers, authority & content. This kind of thing motivates me to work even harder and to use the God-given gift of communication to forward the cause of conservation,” Moore said.
According to movifree.org, Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (M. ovi) is a bacterial species commonly found in the nasal cavity and sinuses of apparently healthy domestic sheep and goats.
It is transmitted to wild sheep and goats (bighorn sheep, thinhorn sheep, and mountain goats) via nose-to-nose contact and, less commonly, aerosol/droplet transmission. In bighorn sheep and very likely thinhorn sheep, M. ovi has been associated with large all-aged die-offs due to pneumonia, which is often followed by years of lower lamb birth and survival rates that can have devastating population impacts.
The two films were rallying cries at a two-day summit of the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) and its Chapters and Affiliates in San Antonio, TX.
Hosted by WSF Affiliate, the Texas Bighorn Society (TBS), the goal was to galvanize, organize and strategize wild sheep conservation.
“Leaders and delegates of our chapter and affiliate network convene every year in a one-tent, one-campfire gathering to address challenges and opportunities for wild sheep conservation across North America and internationally,” said Gray N. Thornton, President, and CEO of WSF.
Experts from around the country discussed many items, ranging from fundraising to engaging use of social media, but was M .ovi was front and center.
From capture and removal plans to testing and treatment of domestic sheep herds in bighorn country, speaker after speaker tackled this topic.
Froylan Hernandez, Desert Bighorn Sheep Program Leader with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), shared the latest on sheep in the Trans-Pecos.
That included drought-related issues and research showing non-indigenous aoudad carry M. ovi and are a growing threat to bighorns and other wildlife through food and habitat competition.
Taking a practical approach that considers the needs of private landowners as well as bighorns, TPWD is engaging the issue directly.
Other issues are impacting sheep as well. Thinhorns are feeling the impacts of climate change in Alaska and Canada. Migration corridors are being looked at and predation always looms as a growing threat.
The challenges are obvious, but discussion and actions taken at the summit were urgent and optimistic.
Despite recent die-offs, Texas is still just below historic (1800s) level desert bighorn populations thanks to the efforts of TPWD, TBS, WSF, and others.
New Mexico has seen a big shift in numbers to the positive over the last few decades and Mexico is experiencing a renaissance of sorts in desert bighorn sheep conservation and hunting.
Upgrade is the goal, but challenges continue to rise.
“We’re going to face those challenges and dare to do epic stuff,” Thornton said.
“We’re going to continue the legacy of putting and keeping wild sheep on the mountain and collaboratively we can make it happen in a big way.”
That was exemplified at the wrap-up dinner and auction that saw thousands of dollars raised for TBS water projects in West Texas.
A particular herd of desert bighorns has taken residence in a remote area near the Mexico border. And with current and historic drought an issue there, these projects could be lifesaving.
But that wasn’t all.
Just before the night was over, Thornton announced The Iowa Chapter of WSF sought to fund a special project in Nebraska.
A small but impressive herd of Rocky Mountain bighorns lives in the northwestern corner of the state and the goal is to translocate some to another area with suitable habitat.
With disease already an issue there, the hope is to spread healthy animals into other areas and expand the population.
More than $100,000 was raised with a $50,000 donation from WSF and the rest pledged from numerous chapters and affiliates.
It was an inspiring way to end an event that saw selfless dedication to a wildlife resource highlighted from the Yukon to Colorado and from Arizona to Wyoming.
From Stone sheep to California bighorns, no species or subspecies was left unmentioned, and each chapter and affiliate seemed focused on not only maintaining but growing sheep populations in their state.
This event was a major victory for hunter-conservationists.
It was evident without the interests of hunters and the funding that comes through WSF, its chapters, affiliates, and state/provincial/tribal sheep tags, these animals could easily slip into obscurity.
And that is inspiring because the commitment from everyone in the room was real and passionate.
And that’s a major victory for wild sheep.
For animals facing so many threats, it will take zeal and commitment to see them through.
And those two forces were alive and well at the summit.
Conservationists from the United States, Canada, and Mexico left inspired for the cause of wild sheep.
There’s much work to do but there’s a powerful group of allies to make it happen.
COVID-19 has been found in whitetail deer in Texas and numerous Midwestern states.
And contrary to social media chatter, it’s not the coronavirus common to certain animals. It’s the same COVID-19 impacting people around the world.
In this special edition of Higher Calling Wildlife, host Chester Moore interviews veteran wildlife biologist Macey Ledbetter of Spring Creek Outdoors who works with deer on a daily basis through Texas.
In this episode the following points are addressed:
*Location (County) of COVID-19 deer study in Texas.
*Latest theories on how deer got the virus.
*Concerns about deer transmitting it to humans.
In addition Chester and Macey go deep into Chronic Wasting Disease talking about number of deer killed in Texas, possible genetic links to CWD susceptibility, how the disease impacts deer breeders and the possible overlooked transmitting species that no one seems to be examining in Texas.
Higher Calling Wildlife was recently named one of the top 20 wildlife podcasts on the planet and won Best Podcast in the Press Club of Southeast Texas “Excellence In Media” awards.
Higher Calling Wildlife is brought to you by Texas Fish & Game.
Remote areas are often the most peaceful but due to the isolation can be extremely dangerous.
My goal is to educate people on what can happen in these areas and how to be prepared so that all deep woods hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing trips are safe.
That will require bringing to light some uncomfortable facts. And it will also involve creating a system of proactive safety.
I see these human-related threats falling into four categories.
*Idiot Hunters: These are those rare , unethical, clueless hunters who should not be in the woods (and give the rest of us a bad name). Every years stories of people shooting someone because they heard something coming through the bushes. This is probably statistically the most dangerous human threat because of the widespread nature of hunters in America.
*Poachers: Encountering a poacher in the woods can be dangerous if they assume you will turn them in or if you make the mistake of confronting them instead of law enforcement handling the duties. It’s not as dangerous as it is in Africa where organized crime and even terror cells are involved in high stakes rhino and elephant poaching but it is a potential threat.
*Drug Trade: Finding meth labs and pot farms is not good. People do not want their operations found out and will go to any length to stop someone from squealing.
*Predators: This is the highest level. This is coming across someone hunting humans whether to rape, kill or terrorize.
There is no way to tell if the Bundy inscription at the beginning of the story was actually made by that monster but think about what would happen if you had stumbled upon him carving into a tree with knife in hand.
Would you be ready to defend yourself? Would you even be suspect of this person?
There are lots of questions that need answering and we will do that here and on my other media platforms throughout 2020.