Category Archives: Wildlife Wednesday

Wildlife Wednesday: Mega Drought Gets Worse, Asian Elephants And The Gale Force Twins

“Drought conditions are approaching 2011 levels.”

Those words shook me to the core.

Yesterday I exchanged texts with a private biologist in Texas who owns land in the Hill Country and surveys everywhere from East Texas to remote desert in the Trans Pecos.

What’s happening in my home state is bad, but it’s even worse in other places.

Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

The following is from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Central Washington, Idaho, and northwest Montana also saw increases in drought extent or severity as short-term dryness continues to build upon long-term moisture deficits extending back to last year. Many parts of southern Idaho, and the rest of the West, have set records for the driest 3-month period (January to March) going back 100 years or more. Meanwhile near record warmth increased evaporative demand from plants and soils.

Farther south, extreme drought expanded in parts of California, Nevada, and New Mexico while moderate and severe drought expanded across Arizona. In California, Cooperative Extension reports impacts to agriculture including reduced forage, livestock stress, decreased water allocation, and the selling livestock earlier than normal. Data such as reduced stream flows and declines in satellite-based vegetation health and soil moisture indicators confirm these reports.

This is already having a big impact on wildlife. As early as last summer, wildlife officials in Nevada in conjunction with partners like The Wild Sheep Foundation were dropping water on manmade guzzlers (water tanks) to supplement water for desert bighorns and other wildlife.

Photo Courtesy Nevada Dept. of Wildlife

There are concerns across much of Texas for wild turkey and quail production in much of the state.

This will end up being the United States biggest wildlife story of 2022 and we will do our best to keep you up to date.

Helping Asian Elephants

Since 2007 I have been writing about the need to get more attention to Asian elephants and their dire conservation needs.

There are literally 10 times as many African elephants yet they seem to get the bulk of attention.

Public Domain Photo

I was excited to learn of the Center of Asian Elephant Conservation at the St. Louis Zoo.

Check out what they’re doing.

The Center for Asian Elephant Conservation’s partnership with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and others will significantly enhance our scientific understanding of rewilding elephants. Through a ground-breaking research project based in Myanmar, a framework will be developed for elephant release that incorporates a diversity of scientific approaches at all decision stages. To test this framework, approximately 30-50 elephants will be released into the wild in the near future to gain a deeper understanding of which animals are most likely to succeed in the wild and which management choices can ensure success. This project will be a tool for environmental managers to use when designing future elephant reintroduction programs across Asian elephant range countries.

Between 2005 and 2021, they contributed more than $420,000 to the International Elephant Foundation to support Asian elephant conservation in Asia and has supported projects in Sumatra, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and India.

The Zoo is also eading the fight against Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEHV), a viral infection that affects elephants in the wild and in zoos, by contributing to prognosis and treatment protocols that have saved elephants. In 2021, the Zoo established its own EEHV lab to further our commitment to fighting this disease. 

You can learn more here.

An Interview With The Gale Force Twins

Growing up in South Florida, Emily and Amanda Gale, The Gale Force Twins, discovered their love and passion for the water.

Last weekend I had a chance to hang out with them and interview them for the Higher Calling Wildlife podcast at the Hunt-Fish Podcast Summit.

Photo by Chester Moore

“At an early age, we started fishing off the docks of Islamorda wanting nothing more than to go deep sea fishing. We attended the University of Miami, earning degrees in Microbiology and Immunology while competing on the track and field team as pole vaulters. The two of us spent our summer breaks and long weekends working on a busy fishing charter boat out of Key West,” they said.

“It was there that we finished our sea time, honed in on our skills and earned our USCG 50 Ton Captains Licenses. With that we started our own business, Gale Force Twins LLC.”

Listen to an inspiring interview with Emily and Amanda Gale (The Gale Force Twins

Upon graduating, the girils left the academic world to pursue careers in the sportfishing industry.

Photo Courtesy Gale Force Twins

“After a few years of running our own charter business. We began vlogging our adventures as female captains on the water. The response was exponentailly positive. We now film, edit and produce educational yet entertaining videos on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Although each video is unique they all share the same goal: to Educate, Explain and Entertain. We take pride in keeping our pages family friendly while we take our viewers with us to experience the variety of fishing opportunities that the world has to offer.”

Turkey Release

The folks at Spring Creek Outdoors, LLC were kind enough to ask if I wanted to release one of the Rio Grande turkeys I had been photographing them release on the Rafter K Ranch. It was cool being on this side of a release. They are working on a TPWD-permitted turkey restoration project.

I never take moments like this for granted and thank God for them in a very literal sense.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Elk East Of The Mississippi, Rogue Waves In Bays Endanger Fishermen, Grizzly Attack & More

Greetings from the Higher Calling Wildlife® headquarters!

Did you know several states of East of the Mississippi River have thriving and growing elk herds?

Photo by Chester Moore

One state has an estimated 13,000 elk and offers some non-resident hunting opportunities.

Listen to the latest episode of Higher Calling Wildlife and learn all about elk restoration in the eastern United States. Host Chester Moore interviews the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Conservation Program Manager for the Eastern United States (Steven Dobey).

Click to listen.

In this program we discuss the following:

*Elk history in the eastern United States

*Elk translocation and restoration efforts

*Population estimates in Kentucky and hunting opportunities.

*Travel and migration issues

*Opportunities for future elk restoration

*Plus, much more.

Rogue Waves In Channels and Bays

A large segment of our readership fishes along the Gulf Coast of the United States.

And due to my own experience I have been conducting an investigation on large rogue waves produced by oil tankers and other large cargo ships.

Public Domain Photo

These can be life threatening so I am raising awareness to the issue through Texas Fish & Game as well as a future edition of the podcast.

Here’s an encounter I shared in a recent story at fishgame.com.

Reader Chris Polnick recently shared this harrowing encounter with us.

“Across from the dike quite a few years back, a buddy and I were doing some night fishing. We were out at the end of the small jetty. The waters were fairy calm. We were out there a few hours and I estimate the water line at the time to be at least three feet below the top of the jetty. All of a sudden a wave hit the jetty and the water pulled way back off the rocks and wave number was enough to splash us,” he said.

Polnick said as the water pulled even further back the second wave had just enough time to grab what we could just before the third wave washed across the top of the jetty, luckily only about mid-shin level.

“Luckily for us we were able to maintain our footing. Much higher and we would have been pushed off the jetty for sure. We lost some tackle boxes a rod and a few other items. You don’t think much about a life jacket on the jetty but we came real close to needing one that night!”

Have you ever encountered a wave like this in a bay or channel? If so, please share with me at chester@chestermoore.com. Sharing your story could help save someone’s life.

Fatal Grizzly Bear Attack

According to a report at CNN.com, a grizzly bear fatally attacked a father of four in Montana.

Sheriff Brad Bichler of the Park County Sheriff’s Office told CNN Craig Clouatre, 40, was hiking with a friend Wednesday in the Six Mile Creek area, which is about 20-25 miles north of Yellowstone National Park, when they split up.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I am writing this update. After an extensive search this morning we have located Craig,” Bichler said in a Facebook post. 

“It appears he had an encounter with a grizzly and unfortunately did not survive,” Bicher’s post said.

Grizzly numbers are rising in Montana and Wyoming and black bear numbers are increasing across much of their range. Many times these are attacks are simply people being in the wrong place at the wrong time and meeting the wrong bear.

But there are things you can do to avoid attack. Check out these bear safety tips from the National Park Service.

Persian Fallow Deer Released In Israel

Photo Courtesy Biblical Zoo-Jerusalem

We were excited to get an update from our friend Rachael Risby Raz with the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem about the Persian fallow deer restoration project we have supported for the last eight years.

At the beginning of March, we released a large group of nine Persian Fallow deer from the breeding center at the Zoo into the wild at the Nahal Sorek Nature Reserve in the Jerusalem hills.

Three females and six males were released, and of these, seven deer were fitted with GPS tracking collars.

In the past, only the females are fitted with GPS collars. This is because the males’ necks can expand during the breeding season which means that the collars can snap and break.

This year we have acquired special elastic collars that expand when needed and thus were able to fit collars to some of the males as well.

Nadav Ganot, the Zoo’s conservation project coordinator, reports that all the deer are doing well in the acclimatization enclosure and in the coming weeks, the gates to the enclosure will be opened and the deer will be free to go into the wild. This process usually takes a few days. 

The project is in partnership with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

If you would like to support this project click here.

Podcast Summit

The second annual Hunt-Fish Podcast Summit kicks off Thursday at the Warren Ranch near Santa Anna, TX.

The event brings together outdoors podcasters from around the country and matches them with high-level guests from the hunting, fishing and conservation worlds.

I will be participating and can’t wait for the great fellowship and podcasting opportunities.

“Our inaugural event at the Double Draw Ranch last year was a big success,” said founder Derek York of the Impact Outdoors Podcast.

“This year it’s grown to another level and we are excited to bring together some of the top people in the outdoors world to share our common love for fishing, hunting and wildlife conservation.”

Participating Podcasters

Higher Calling Wildlife (Chester Moore)

Impact Outdoors (Derek York)

Aptitude Outdoors (Paul Fuzinski)

The Wildlife Experience Podcast (Andrew Austin)

Red Beard Outdoors Podcast (Jonathan McCormick)

Special guests for the event include Gray Thornton, President & CEO The Wild Sheep Foundation, Renee Thornton, Chair Women Hunt, Dale Rollins (Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch), Brittany Perry, biologist for the National Wild Turkey Federation, Gale Force Twins (Emily and Amanda), Captain Stacy Lynn, Captain Eric Trout, Heroes On the Water, Laura Lindsey and Camille Null.

We will post a special updates with links to the first podcast to come from the event. All podcasters will interview the special guests and there will be special round-table discussions as well.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Monster Black Bear Captured, The Most Dangerous Thing In The Woods, Drugs In Bonefish & More

A monster black bear has been captured and relocated in Tennessee.

A 500-pound black bear living near Tusculum college in Greeneville had become habituated to human and unnatural foods and was relocated to a remote area of the Cherokee National Forest according to officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).

Wildlife Sgt. David Carpenter said the bear had regular access to garbage, birdseed, and pet food had and been in the area for a few years but ramped up its activity and property damage last year on the agency’s Facebook page.

Wildlife Officers decided to trap it then due to the increasing potential for negative interaction, but were unsuccessful after the bear changed its travel routine. Recent activity indicated it was back to its old ways and Officers Ryan Rosier, Austin Wilson, and Sgt. Carpenter located the bear in a small vacant wood lot and were able to free-range tranquilize it. They worked the bear up and requested the assistance of the Greeneville Fire Department to help move it to the transport cage due to its size. They were glad to help and were able to use some of their specialized equipment to expedite the process.

Kudos to TWRA officials for the successful relocation of a monster bear and reminding us how big black bears can get.

The Most Dangerous Thing In The Woods

A couple of years ago someone asked me what was the most dangerous thing to encounter in the woods.

Since I’ve written and broadcasted extensively on cougars, snakes, feral hogs and bears they were expecting one of those as the answer.

“People, ” I said.

“There is nothing more dangerous than people, especially in remote forests and mountainous regions.”

Deep woods can sometimes mean big dangers. (Public Domain Photo)
The answer came from collecting stories as a journalist over the years and my own personal experiences which I will discuss in upcoming posts and broadcasts.

The stories are omnipresent.

Take for example the caller to my radio program “Moore Outdoors” on Newtalk AM 560 KLVI who found a body burning while teal hunting with his son south of Houston.

Another caller revealed that in the 70s he and his father were out night fishing near High Islalnd, TX and see someone against the shoreline burying something and decided to leave.

Turns out it was monstrous serial killer Dean Corll who brutalized dozens of teenage boys.

Remote areas are often the most peaceful but due to the isolation can be extremely dangerous.

This author often finds himself in very remote locations. Here he glasses for bighorn sheep in a remote valley in Colorado.

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.

I will be doing a podcast series on this topic. Have you had a crazy human encounter in the woods or on the water?

Email chester@chestermoore.com to share.

Sharing your encounter might help save someone’s life.

Drugs In Bonefish

A three-year study by Florida International University (FIU) and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) has discovered pharmaceutical contaminants in the blood and other tissues of bonefish in Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys.

“Coastal fisheries face increasing threats associated with human-based contaminants,” said Jim McDuffie, BTT President and CEO.

“Pharmaceuticals are an often overlooked dimension of water quality and their presence in South Florida bonefish is cause for concern. These contaminants pose a significant threat to the flats fishery, an important part of Florida’s recreational saltwater fishery, which has an annual economic impact of $9.2 billion and directly supports 88,500 jobs.”

Since the study began in 2018, FIU scientists and BTT research associates, in partnership with Sweden’s Umeå University and the University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), have sampled 93 fish in South Florida, finding an average of seven pharmaceuticals per bonefish, and a whopping 17 pharmaceuticals in a single fish. The list includes blood pressure medications, antidepressants, prostate treatment medications, antibiotics, and pain relievers. Researchers also found pharmaceuticals in bonefish prey—crabs, shrimp and fish—suggesting that many of Florida’s valuable fisheries are exposed, and not only the bonefish fishery.

At a BTT panel event in Tallahassee, FL, lead researcher Dr. Jennifer Rehage presented the study’s findings.

“These findings are truly alarming,” said Dr. Rehage. “Pharmaceuticals are an invisible threat, unlike algal blooms or turbid waters. Yet these results tell us that they are a formidable threat to our fisheries, and highlight the pressing need to address our longstanding wastewater infrastructure issues.”

Approximately 5 billion prescriptions are filled each year in the US, yet there are no environmental regulations for the disposal of pharmaceuticals worldwide.

Pharmaceutical contaminants originate most often from human wastewater and are not sufficiently removed by conventional water treatment. They remain active at low doses, can be released constantly, and exposure can affect all aspects of fish behavior, with negative consequences for their reproduction and survival. Pharmaceutical contaminants have been shown to affect all aspects of the life of fish, including their feeding, activity, sociability, and migratory behavior.

For more information click here.

Arabian Oryx In Israel

We are midway through our 40 days of raising awareness to the wildlife of Israel on our Facebook page.

The beautiful Arabian oryx was eliminate from the Holy Land but in recent years, restoration efforts have helped bring it back to several areas.

We love celebrating great wildlife conservation success stories!

Chester Moore

(Public Domain Photo)

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Wildlife Wednesday: Saving America’s Micro Deer, Rewards For Turkey Photos, Louisiana Elk & More

Saving America’s Micro Deer

The Key deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium) is the smallest whitetail subspecies topping out at 60 pounds and living exclusively in their namesake islands on the Florida coast.

Seeing a herd of Key deer on my honeymoon in 1999 was a special moment that fulfilled a childhood dream born out of a fascination with all things wildlife—especially the rare and unusual. Seeing them last July during a Florida fishing expedition was just as exciting.

I would love to share photos of the massive (by Key deer standards) buck from that expedition, but they were destroyed along with many others when Hurricane Ike ravaged my hometown in 2008. Just as those photos washed away with storm surge, a series of hurricanes have played havoc on Key deer.

A Key deer mom and her fawn. (Photo by Faith Moore)

Most recently, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials, Hurricane Irma in 2017 killed 21 deer with an additional dozen killed in the chaotic aftermath. With the latest estimates showing only 949, that hurts.

For perspective, I have hunted on a single 5,000 acre low-fence Texas ranch with more whitetails than that.

Additionally, an old foe last seen in the U.S. more than 30 years ago, hit the Keys hard in 2016. But Texans came to the rescue.

“Screwworms infested the population, which is spread across more than 20 islands. It led to 135 Key deer deaths, including 83 that were euthanized to reduce the risk of further infection,” said Dr. Roel Lopez. “This was a significant blow to a species, which is uniquely located in that area.”

These tiny dee keep drawing me back to the Keys. Of course the awesome flats fishing might be a factor too. (Photo by Lisa Moore)

Doctor Lopez is director and co-principal investigator for the Key deer study, San Antonio, a project of Texas A&M University (TAMU). TAMU, along with various agencies including USFWS, alleviated the crisis by preventive treatment and fly eradication efforts. This included feed stations lined with anti-parasitic medications and releasing 60 million sterile male screwworms to mate with wild female flies and curb reproduction.

That is a big effort for a little deer, but there is much love for them among those who understand their delicate existence. A single disease outbreak or storm could literally wipe out the population.

Then again, the species has proven resilient. The screwworms mainly took out mature males and researchers believe there are enough young bucks to replace them. At the five-year mark of the outbreak things are looking up.

You can read my full story in Texas Fish & Game by clicking here.

Challenge Tokens For Eastern Turkey Photos

Through our Higher Calling Wildlife® outreach, we have created a new Eastern Turkey Aware challenge token.

If you have photographed eastern turkeys in East Texas or Louisiana on a game camera or by traditional photography, email the photos with the county or parish the photo was taken to chester@chestermoore.com. We will send you one of these cool wooden challenge tokens and a special edition Higher Calling Wildlife® turkey decal.

Thanks to the National Wild Turkey Federation-Montgomery County Chapter for their help on this project.

We will share these in posts at highercalling.net and in the Texas Fish & Game e-newsletter.

Higher Calling Wildlife mentors teens facing special challenges to become wildlife conservationists. Several of the teens we work with will be promoting this challenge via social media and helping in other ways.

It’s our way of helping create a NOW generation of conservationists.

Elk in Louisiana (Cool Reader Feedback)

In last week’s Wildlife Wednesday, I wrote about elk in Texas and solicited photos and information about elk in the eastern United States.

Reader Gary Pool sent in this super cool find.

I don’t have a picture but I have a book on the history of the Wyatt Family (my maternal grandmother’s maiden name). Her Uncle, Sillenger Wyatt was interviewed by a local newspaper in Jackson Parish of Louisiana around the time of WWII. He was in his 90’s at the time and died at 102 in the late 1940s.

As you can tell by the terrain, this ain’t in Louisiana! It’s in Montana. But there are breeding elk populations in the Eastern United States. (Photo by Chester Moore)

In it he says in response to a question about changes he had seen. He stated that before all the logging of the early 1900’s he remembered being able to SEE AN ELK OVER A MILE AWAY.

I’m sure you know north-central Louisiana is much like the Pineywoods of East Texas. I was not surprised to read that climax forests had less undergrowth and thus greater visibility and I do realize the “mile away” may not be accurate. But, ELK really got my attention.

I just thought you might find it interesting. I am in possession of the book.

If anyone has documentation or photos of free-ranging elk in Texas or anywhere east of here, please email chester@chestermoore.com.

Goosebumps anyone?

Ever feel as if something’s watching you in the woods? Well, it could be a cougar.

They are one of the most elusive predators in the world and can live in a populated area with virtually no one seeing them. In the woods, its as if they live in stealth mode.

I took this photo back in 2007 and thought I would share with you.

(Photo by Chester Moore)

Free E-Mag

We are beginning to work on our 2022 Higher Calling Wildlife® annual magazine. This is a labor of love for me.

Not only do I get to write cool stories on my favorite wildlife but more than half of the content (stories, photos, artwork) comes from teens we work with in our ministry.

In the forthcoming edition, we have what I believe is the strongest collection of content we’ve produced.

Thank you for your suppor!

If you would like to view or download or 2021 edition click here.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Giant Rattlesnakes, Elk in Texas And Comeback of the Markhor

Snakes intrigue the public.

Even though most fear snakes, people can’t help but click on videos and photos of snakes, especially big ones.

Images of people holding large, dead rattlesnakes are all over the Internet and with spring arriving and snakes on the move, I thought we would address this issue.

A while back I asked my friend renown snake expert Austin Stevens of Austin Stevens Snakemaster and Austin Stevens Adventures about these claims of giant rattlers.

Q: There are rumors of gigantic eastern diamondbacks killed and seen over the years. What do you think the maximum potential size is for this species?

A: As mentioned before, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake in North America, and is known to average around 5.5 feet in length. The largest specimens found have been closer to eight feet, weighing in at about 10 pounds—a formidable snake, to say the least.

Snakes grow all their lives, though the process slows as they get older. An eastern diamondback rattlesnake may live to be 20 years old. No one knows for sure in the wild. Its rate of growth would most commonly depend on the availability of food, though some specimens just simply do grow faster and bigger than others. (As noted in captive specimens)

I am often asked to comment about dead snakes in photographs being held up to the camera with exaggerated claims to their size. In these instances it is immediately obvious that the snake is extended close to the lens, making it look bigger, while the person holding out the specimen, usually on a pole, looks that much smaller in the back ground.

Claims of 15-foot rattlers being spotted have never been substantiated, and are ludicrous. Having said this, it is not unrealistic to imagine that in some uninhabited wilderness area where humans have not made their presence over abundant, there might still be unrecorded eastern diamondbacks in excess of 8.5 feet in length.

In 2020, I did a podcast on this topic and addressed a long forgotten “giant rattlesnake” photo that appeared in a 1970s edition of Sports Afield.

You can check it out here.

A printout from a friend’s copy of the magazine shows the alleged 11 foot eastern diamondback killed in Florida in the early 1900s.

Markhor Comeback

The markhor is one of the most striking wild goats on the planet. And in the mid 1990s their numbers were down to near 2,000 in their native Pakistan.

Recent conservation efforts have seen a big surge in numbers with an estimated 5,000-6000.

An article in the Express-Tribute detailed how controlled hunting of older billies has brought incentive to protect the species.

The government uses the license money, which is in US dollars, to support local communities by building schools, mosques, health centres, and even providing scholarships to local students, the official said.

These incentives encourage local communities to avoid killing markhor and instead push them to care for the wild goats, he explained.

“The most recent markhor hunt license was sold for $160,000,” Salahuddin Jamaluddin, a divisional forest officer in Wildlife Department’s Peshawar office, told Anadolu Agency.

“We spend 80% of the money on the local community, who help us with our conservation efforts, and 20% on the government for administrative expenses,” he explained.

Markhor are rare but present on some hunting ranches in Texas and are being very carefully managed. Guide Austin Pressy darted this big billy and extracted semen to put in a cryogenic facility for future breeding purposes. “I want to do what I can to conserve the species. They have become my favorite animal after working around them,” he said.

To read more click here.

Share Our Wild Sheep Pandemic PSA

I recently created a public service announcement about wild sheep and their struggle with exposure to pneumonia through domestic sheep. It has been airing on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI and other stations in Texas.

We now have a video version on Youtube. By sharing this video on your social media, you can help get the word out on what’s going on with wild sheep in North America.

Elk Research Project Begins

Elk are one of the most regal animals on the planet.

They are are the second largest deer next to moose and have a fascinating history.

Did you know elk are native to Texas and also other states east of here?

I’m working on a series of articles and podcasts on this topic for this year and thought I would start by sharing this

Elk are not considered a game animal in Texas (so there are no official TPWD population estimates) but by all accounts from landowners in the region, their numbers in the Trans Pecos are increasing.

Photo by Chester Moore

But their history in Texas stretches to the Hill Country and even the Pineywoods region.

In 1759, Captain Juan Angel de Oyarzún reported elk near Menard.

“This watering place was recognized as that of the buros (what they called elk at the time) for the many it maintains. This species resembles deer, although its body and antlers are larger. As a rule they are, when grown, like a medium-sized horse, and the antlers ordinarily attain the height of two varas [1.7 meters (m) or 5.5 feet (ft)]. For this reason the Comanche Indians use them to make bows for their arrows.”

In 1772, French captain Athanase de Mézières reported elk by calling them red deer (the elk’s close European cousin) between modern day Nacogodches and the Sabine River.

“This very large province can compete with the most fertile and productive. It produces in abundance beans, maize, large and small stock, buffalo, deer, red deer, wild goats, turkeys, wild hogs, partridges, hares, rabbits, and other species of both quadrupeds and birds, which has served us in this long journey for recreations as well as for sustenance.”

There are many, many more historical accounts in their study but just as fascinating is the DNA evidence they show of today’s free-ranging Texas elk origins.

“DNA research indicates that today’s free-ranging elk in the Davis and Glass mountains are the result of the natural immigration of elk from the Lincoln National Forest of New Mexico, just north of the Texas border, to recolonize areas of their former native range in the Trans-Pecos. The evidence presented substantiates the presence of native elk throughout Texas prior to their extirpation in the 20th century…”

If you have any photos or videos of elk in Texas or any Eastern state, please email me at chester@chestermoore.com.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Moose Attacks, Black Coyotes & Conserving Africa’s Wildlife

Greetings from the Higher Calling Wildlife® headquarters!

This week we have lots to discuss from around the world beginning with a series of moose attacks.

My “The Great American Wildlife Conflict” article was published in the Houston Safari Club Foundation’s convention journal that was handed out to all guests at their 2022 convention.

Big moose are bad news when they want to be! And they will show up in your front yard. (Photo Courtesy U.S. Fish.& Wildlife Service)

In the piece I named five animals I thought would have increasing conflicts with people and one of them was moose.

People typically think of carnivores as threats but large ungulates can almost become dangerous, especially when they routinely weigh more than 1,000 pounds.

In the last 48 hours, these three headlines came across my Google alerts.

Moose Attacks Two Vehicles Never Eveleth

Maine Teen Kills Moose After It Attacks Dog Sled

Alaska Moose Attack: Drive Prayed Not To Be Killed

Human populations are growing, moose numbers are increasing in some areas and wildlife habitat is shrinking.

The bull moose charged Bridgett Watkins’ dogs and trampled on them for more than an hour before it was shot dead on the Salcha River trail system near Fairbanks on Thursday.

Ms Watkins, who was training for a race, said she “emptied her gun into” the animal, but it continued to attack before a friend arrived and killed it with one round from their rifle.

That quote from the Alaska story is quite frightening and shows the potential danger of moose. Many predators leave after they think a threat is eliminated or if they “miss” in a pass at someone. Moose apparently like to hang around and keep on pounding.

I will be covering more on moose attacks and their behavior in coming editions.

My wife and I saw moose for the first time in the wild three years ago and we both fell in love with them. They have become her favorite animal so if fuel prices come down we may take a road trip this fall to photograph them.

Oh, don’t worry. We’ll keep a safe distance.

Black Non- Coyote-Canid?

For a few years I was on an email list with a bunch of biologists and wolf researchers and frequently heard the tear “non-coyote canid” used to describe animals that were definitely part coyote but might also have some wolf DNA.

Is this the case with this beautiful animal Rusty Adams captured on this game camera in East Texas? It looks like a coyote but it has a lot of bulk. Melanism (hyper amounts of black pigment) was common in what came to be the red wolf in the Southeastern United States. Is this a melanistic coyote or is there some lingering red wolf DNA?

I guess that would make it a non-coyote canid.

No matter what, it’s awesome and we appreciate Rusty sending in these photos. If you have game camera photos of unusual canids or any interesting wildlife, please send to chester@chestermoore.com. We would love to share them here.

Photo Courtesy Rusty Adams
Photo Courtesy Rusty Adams

Conserving Southern Africa’s Wildlife

In the latest episode of Higher Calling Wildlife® we talk with Adrian Donian of Buffalo Kloof Conservancy in South Africa about their amazing conservation work involving everything from white and black rhinos to cheetahs.

Joining us is Jake Hill, a Stephen F. Austin student who did an amazing internship there last year and had experiences that might make me just a tad jealous.

Jake connected me with Buffalo Kloof after we met on a turkey capture in Nacogdoches County, TX.

It’s a can’t miss episode on the Waypoint Podcast Network. Click here to listen.

Higher Calling Wildlife, the podcast, is brought to you by Texas Fish & Game magazine.

Bringing Back the Caspian Tiger

The Caspian tiger was the subspecies found in the Middle East and into parts of southern Russia.

They were known for having a large “beard” so to speak and were deemed officially extinct in 2003.

A Caspian tiger killed in northern Iran in the 1940s. (Wikimedia Commons Photo)

I recently came across a fascinating blog about Caspian tiger restoration efforts that involve everything from releasing Amur (Siberian) tigers into their range to bringing them back in the lab through cloning.

You can read about it here.

I heard intriguing reports in 2019 of Caspian tigers possibly surviving in Turkey. Wildlife of the Middle East has always intrigued me and I would love to one day go an an expedition into Turkey and Iran looking for some of its rare wildlife, including any possible leads on surviving tigers.

Eating Wild Game Is Sustainable And Healthy

We like to eat wild game at the Moore household as much as possible. I catch a lot of fish and usually kill at least a deer and a hog or two every year.

Wild game is healthy and by harvesting it and creating a demand through legal, biologically-monitored hunting, it creates a demand to keep wild species like whitetails and elk around.

Many people are turning to venison for health reasons. Check out my article at Texas Fish & Game on this topic by clicking here.

Free Wildlife of Israel E-Mag

Leading up to Passover, all of my media platforms are doing extra coverage on the wildlife of Israel.

We would like to offer our award-winning e-mag The Wildlife of Israel for free!

It’s got some top-notch stories and photos and features some work from some of the teens we are working with in our conservation project.

You can view the e-mag by clicking on the icon above or here.

Follow Chester Moore and Higher Calling Wildlife® on the following social media platforms

@thechestermoore on Instagram

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Wildlife Wednesday: Teen Poaching Crisis, COVID from Deer To Humans? & More

Greetings subscribers!

This will be a new format we use from here on out with multiple wildlife news and feature updates on Wednesdays including our Higher Calling Wildlife® podcast.

We will continue to have various special reports at different times throughout the week but on Wednesdays we get you up to speed on many things most of the outdoors world is either ignoring or or hot news as it becomes available.

This Week’s Podcast: The Teen Poaching Crisis

It’s a topic the outdoors world has been silent on. Save from a few law enforcement agency press releases and mentions of isolated cases in the blogosphere I’ve been the only one publishing on this issue.

Click here to listen to the show.

In this episode me and my special guest-author and outdoors television personality Jeff Stewart discuss the following:

*Deer slaughters involving teens across America

*Teens killing endangered species

*Strange killing of bald eagles

*Why we think this is happening

*How we can teach teens respect for wildlife.

It’s a can’t miss episode on a deep, intense topic.

Covid-19 From Deer to Humans?

A few weeks ago I interviewed biologist Macy Ledbetter about the discovery of COVID-19 in whitetails in Texas, numerous Midwestern states and Canada.

You can listen to that podcast here.

Now we have a report from Canada that researchers believe they have found a case of COVID-19 jumping from deer to humans.

You can read my piece on it here.

Super Long-Tailed Bobcat

A few years back, I wrote a piece on some bobcats have long tails and that post has gotten shared out there thousands of times.

The cool part is we get some great photo submissions.

This photo credited to Nathaniel Ohs was taken in South Carolina showing a bobcat with a very long tail.

Do you have any unusual bobcat photos? If so send them to chester@chestermoore.com

Boar Charges Surfer IN WATER in Hawaii

While out in the waters near Kaena Point on Oahu’s northwest shore, longtime surfer Ingrid Seiple says she was charged at by a wild boar according to a report at SF Gate.

According to the report, Seiple, a personal trainer who was born and raised in Kailua, Oahu, has been surfing for more than 35 years. 

“I saw something floating, I thought it was a monk seal,” Ingrid Seiple told Kyle Metcalf of KJK Production in a YouTube video. “I thought, ‘Oh cute, a monk seal,’ and then it just looked more stiff. It didn’t look round like a monk seal, so, I don’t know, I was ignoring it and thought maybe it was a log.

This is definitely among the wildest (pun intended) hog-human interactions I’ve heard.

These animals will continue to become emboldened globally as hog and human populations soar.

To read more click here.

An Inspiring Moment

Our Higher Calling Wildlife Expeditions takes mentors teens to become wildlife conservationists.

One of the teens we mentor, Nathan Children, wants to be a game warden and thanks to Macy Ledbetter of Spring Creek Outdoors and the Rafter K Ranch he got to take part in a special release of Rio Grande turkeys.

It was Nathan’s first time being around wild turkeys and on the way home from the trip he said, “I definitely want to do more to help wild turkeys after experiencing that.”

Speaking of turkeys, we’ll be announcing something special the Montgomery County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is helping us with next week.

Stay tuned.

Follow Chester Moore and Higher Calling Wildlife® on the following social media platforms

@thechestermoore on Instagram

Higher Calling Wildlife on Facebook

To subscribe to this blog and get weekly cutting edge wildlife news and commentary, enter your email at the prompt on the top right of the page