Sunday, September 27, 2015

Appearance Of Chronic Wasting Disease In Wild Deer Herd To Impact PA Hunters

By Bob Frye 
This is the new reality.
In years past, a hunter who shot a deer could take it home intact, regardless of where he killed it and where home was. That's no longer true, at least not everywhere.
Across parts of Southwestern Pennsylvania this year, hunters who shoot a deer will have to check road maps before knowing what deer parts they can move where.
Chronic wasting disease is to blame.
The always-fatal ailment has been found in several places across the state. Pennsylvania Game Commission officials want to confine it to those locations.
To do so, it has created three “disease management areas” or containment zones. The largest — the nearly 1,700-square-mile disease management area 2 — recently was expanded into parts of Somerset and Cambria counties. It also takes in all of Bedford and Blair and parts of Huntingdon and Fulton.
A map outlining it is on page 39 of this year's hunting digest.
Hunters who shoot a deer within its boundaries can't take it out, at least not intact.
Say, for example, a hunter from New Kensington shoots a 10-point buck on state game land 82 in southeastern Somerset County. Under the new rules, that hunter will have to take the deer to a butcher within the disease area so as to avoid moving “high risk” parts — brains, spinal columns, lymph nodes and spleens — and potentially spreading the disease. If he wants to get the deer mounted, he'll have to choose a taxidermist within the disease area.
The commission is maintaining a list of processors and taxidermists on its website.
Hunters who live inside the disease area can shoot a deer there and take it home, but even they are asked to dispose of its parts in their household trash or in one of several dumpsters to be set up on state game lands.
Those rules will inconvenience some, said Justin Brown, the commission's wildlife veterinarian. But if the agency is going to manage the disease, it needs hunters' help, he said.
“Managing CWD, a huge part of that falls on you, the sportsmen out in the field,” he told a crowd of about 150 at an informational meeting in Berlin Borough on Thursday.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission has tested more than
40,000 deer for chronic wasting disease since 1998.
It's been found in just more than a dozen animals in the wild,
all since 2013
“Our goal is to keep it in as small an area as possible and keep the number of infected deer as small as possible. You're our boots on the ground we can manage this disease with.”
The rules will be in place for years.
Brown said Pennsylvania's wasting disease response plan calls for maintaining the rules for at least five years after the last positive detection. That clock hasn't started yet. CWD-positive deer have been found in disease management area 2 every year since 2013, Brown said, including three in June and July.
History says that's unlikely to change. Since being discovered in Colorado in the 1960s, wasting disease has spread to 23 states and three Canadian provinces. Only one, New York, has eradicated it, and it was “probably just extremely lucky,” Brown said.
Some hunters asked if it's safe to eat deer from the area.
Craig Schultz, veterinarian with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, said there's no evidence humans can contract the disease, though he also advised against eating sick-looking animals.
Hunters can have their deer tested for wasting disease. But that involves driving the head to the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg, paying $75 and waiting weeks for results, Schultz said.
In a state where hunters take more than 300,000 deer annually, the number of people taking that step each year “is probably in the dozens,” Brown said.
No CWD-positive deer have been found in Somerset or Cambria counties. They're partially in the disease area because of their proximity to positive cases elsewhere and the commission's need to use roads as easily identifiable disease management area boundaries, Brown said.
Hunters need to cooperate if they want to try to keep the disease away, said Tom Fazi, a supervisor in the commission's southwest region office. He stressed that when asked about the fine for moving high-risk deer parts out of the disease area. Commission officers have encountered that violation in other parts of the state. There were two citations issued in 2012, four in '13 and 53 last year.
Fazi didn't say what the fine would be. Instead, he said hunters should obey the law not because it's economical but because they should want to spread disease unnecessarily.
“You don't want to be that guy,” Fazi said.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter@bobfryeoutdoors.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Celebrating 1.5 Million Acres Of PA State Game Lands

Recent land acquisition in Jefferson County marks a milestone for Pennsylvania.

          Call it a "square-milestone."
          Pennsylvania's state game lands system, which since 1919 has provided critical habitat for wildlife statewide, and a network of lands open to public hunting and trapping, now tops 1.5 million acres.
          That's a land base larger than the state of Delaware. And Pennsylvania Game Commission 
Pennsylvania Game Commission Photos by Hal Korber - A view of scenic State Game Lands 311, Elk County, large photo. Small photos, left to right, Wetlands and wildflowers at State Game Lands 46, the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon County; A pheasant release at State Game Lands 205, Lehigh County; The sky is reflected in the water at State Game Lands 252, Lycoming County; Hunters walk in a trail at State Game Lands 290, Dauphin County; and an impoundment for waterfowl at State Game Lands 252, Lycoming County. Get Image
Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said all Pennsylvanians can take pride in the achievement of what the 1.5 million-acre milestone represents.
          "Early in its existence, the Game Commission recognized the importance of preserving wildlife habitat, and at the same time, creating opportunity for hunters and trappers by opening those lands to the public," Hough said. "For years and years, Pennsylvania's hunters and trappers have paid into this system with the purchase of their licenses, and the sporting arms and ammunition they use in the field. Countless conservation organizations have stepped up to fund land purchases, and hundreds of private individuals have donated parcels that were added to the system.
          "All of this has been done exclusively to benefit Pennsylvania's wildlife and to perpetuate our state's great hunting and trapping heritage," Hough said. "We all can look back with pride upon what it has taken to assemble and effectively manage these 1.5 million acres of state game lands. And at the same time, we can know in our hearts a great service indeed has been done for the state's wildlife and for generations of hunters and trappers, past, present and future."
          The Game Commission launched its system of state game lands nearly a century ago with the purchase of 6,288 acres in Elk County – a tract that would become State Game Lands 25. By 1936 – just 16 years later – there would be 500,000 acres preserved on 100 game lands in 52 counties.
          The game lands system hit the 1 million-acre mark in 1965. The average cost per acre of the first million was $5.65.
          The 1.5 millionth acre was acquired among 2,109 acres to be added to State Game Lands 195 in Jefferson County.
A 2 p.m. ceremony commemorating the milestone will be held Saturday at the game lands.
          Of course, acquisitions come at a slower pace today compared to those early years because land is much more expensive.
          Game lands are present in all but Philadelphia and Delaware counties, spanning the state to provide convenient hunting and trapping opportunities for hundreds of thousands of license buyers.
          Game lands are carefully managed to provide necessary habitat for the state's 480 species of wild birds and mammals. They're open to many recreational uses other than hunting and trapping. And each fall, more than 200,000 pheasants raised by the Game Commission are released on game lands for hunting.
          Simply put, said Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners President David J. Putnam, the Commonwealth just wouldn't be the same without state game lands.
          Pennsylvanians love the outdoors, Putnam said. And through the state game lands system, the opportunity to explore wild, open spaces typically can be found both near and far – on more than 1.5 million acres, he said.
          That's an accomplishment to celebrate, he said.
          "Wildlife in Pennsylvania is better off because of our game lands, and all Pennsylvanians can be proud of that," Putnam said. "But Pennsylvanians are better off, too. And it's important to recognize the people who have made our state game lands system what it is today.
          "Without the hard work – today and through the decades – of the many within the Game Commission; without the financial support from the state's hunters, trappers and other conservation partners during that time; and without the support of the public, in general, we would not be celebrating this milestone," Putnam said. "We owe them a debt of gratitude for what they have done for Pennsylvania and for wildlife."
Game Lands Dedication
          The Pennsylvania Game Commission on Saturday, Sept. 26 will commemorate the 1.5 millionth acre of state game lands at a 2 p.m. ceremony to be held in Jefferson County.
          A marker recognizing the milestone will be dedicated near a parking area at State Game Lands 195 in Gaskill Township.
          The ceremony will be held rain or shine.
Directions: From Punxsutawney, heading south on Route 36, turn left on Pleasant Hills Road. The road will turn into Filtering Plant Road. Continue on Filtering Plant Road to the dedication site, which will be on the left. The site is approximately 3.5 miles from where Pleasant Hills Road turns off of Route 36; From Big Run heading north on Route 119, turn right on Filtering Plant Road and follow 2.8 miles to the dedication site on the right.
Game Lands Documentary
          To commemorate the 1.5 million-acre milestone, the Game Commission has produced a documentary chronicling Pennsylvania's state game lands system. To view this video, visit the agency's YouTube
The Future of Game Lands
          Taking care of the tremendous land resource state game lands represent is no small feat.
          A lot of manpower and money goes into modifying habitat to get the greatest return for wildlife.
          The Game Commission's 2015-20 Strategic Plan calls for the agency to transition management practices on state game lands to create more young-forest habitats through timber harvest, planting native warm-season grasses and prescribed fire.
          The Game Commission also will begin to decrease use of high-input, single-value plantings and practices – such as agricultural plantings – and focus as much effort as possible to enhance hunter opportunities on game lands.
          Prescribed fire will be used more expansively on game lands to improve field, forest and shrubland habitat on a greater number of acres.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Who’s Going Fishing? New Study Challenges Conventional Wisdom About Angle

Fishing is an American tradition, a youthful diversion, a retirement pastime. U.S. angling participation has remained fairly consistent, and fishing with family mentors is still considered the best way to promote future angling.
But a new study makes surprising claims about who is actually doing the fishing. Of some 33 million American anglers, it says, just 4 percent purchased a fishing license during each of the last 10 years.
The report charts the “churn” rate — the number of anglers who have left the sport compared to those who’ve just started fishing. Researchers found that fishing license sales were steady only because the huge percentage of anglers who failed to consistently buy fishing licenses was replaced by new anglers entering the sport, although their commitment to fishing was weak.
The American Sportfishing Association funded the study conducted by Southwick Associates, a Florida firm that researches the economics of outdoor activities and recreational market statistics.
“We’ve been doing this study for some time … and it always surprises us how much turnover there is,” said Tom Allen of Southwick Associates. “The perception is, if you’re an angler you remain an angler — once you buy a fishing license, you buy a license every year. That’s not the case, but what’s interesting is the degree of turnover that we found.”
Among the report’s findings:
• The largest segment of anglers, 49 percent, purchased just one fishing license in the last 10 years.
• 44-48 percent of anglers had not bought a fishing license the previous year.
• 47 percent purchased a license in more than one year, but lapsed between purchases.
• Anglers most likely to lapse in license purchases included women, urban residents and young adults age 18 to 24.
The typical angler buys a fishing license in about three of every 10 years, according to the survey. Fifty-two percent of those who bought a license in a given year had purchased a license the year before. About 28 percent hadn’t bought a license in the previous five years.
The report suggests that fishing interest varies based on who you are and where you live. Churn rates were lowest, about 39 percent, among anglers age 55 to 64. Churn was highest, 55 percent, among people 18 to 24 years of age. About 10 percent of anglers live in cities, but the churn among urbanites was some 7 percent higher than that of anglers who live in suburbs and 13 percent higher than those who live in rural communities.
Much has been made of the growing number of female anglers, but the report found the churn among women is about 13 percent higher than among men.
“What we’ve found is fishing is a very social activity. Their buddies do it, so they do it,” said Allen. “It’s generally an inexpensive activity, so when the economy goes bad, fishing license sales go up. When the economy goes south, what do many people have a lot of? Time.”
The Southwick report was based on fishing license sales from 2004 through 2013 among 12 state fish and wildlife agencies. Pennsylvania was not included in the study.
The state Fish and Boat Commission addresses angler churn with initiatives that include new approaches to licensing and a robust package of fishing education programs, from a basic intro to fishing course to Ladies Only Fly Fishing. All of the programs are free, and no fishing license is required.
“The diversity of people is amazing,” said fishing instructor Amidea Daniel, who will lead a Family Fly Fishing Program 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 26 at Keystone State Park, Westmoreland County. The program has attracted 733 people since 2010.
“A number of them have never fished before, but see fly fishing as a way to increase opportunities for fishing in Pennsylvania waterways,” said Daniel. “We get families with kids, grandparents with grandchildren. The majority are folks that have had prior fly fishing experience but want to learn more.”
A Fish and Boat evaluation of the program in 2013-14 found that 70 percent of participants age 16 or older did not have a fishing license at the time of the program; 50 percent bought a fishing license following the program.
John Hayes:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Best Mentors Need To Make Outdoors Fun For Kids

There are about 20 percent fewer young hunters and anglers
than there were a decade ago. Mentors might be the answer.
“It takes a commitment from every individual to step up and
take a kid hunting and fishing. There’s really not anything
more to it than that,” said Mike Christensen (not pictured),
president of Pass It On — Outdoor Mentors Inc., a
Kansas-based organization that teams sportsmen with kids
By Bob Frye 
The hemorrhaging, the bleeding, appears to have stopped.
That's the good news.
The bad? Or perhaps the daunting? A full recovery remains a yet-distant dream.
Years-long decline in the number of junior hunters and, presumably, junior anglers have finally stalled — at least in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission's sales of junior and junior combo hunting licenses fell every year from 2004 -10. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission doesn't have a junior license, but overall resident license sales trended downward for decades, hitting a 42-year-low in 2011.
In both cases, there's been a bit of a rebound, with sales stable ever since.
But that's stable at a lower level. There are about 20 percent fewer young hunters and anglers than there were even a decade ago.
If that's ever to change, the average sportsman is the only hope.
“It takes a commitment from every individual to step up and take a kid hunting and fishing. There's really not anything more to it than that,” said Mike Christensen, president of Pass It On — Outdoor Mentors Inc., a Kansas-based organization that teams sportsmen with kids.
“If we're going to ensure that our outdoor heritage continues, we've got to reach out and make it happen.”
There's more to being a good mentor than just sticking a kid in the tree stand or on the bank and having him wait for the chance to pull a trigger or set a hook, though, said Mark Walters of Necedah, Wisc. He's founder of the nonprofit, volunteer Kids And Mentors Outdoors, or KAMO.
For him, building relationships is critical, especially with a youngster who's not a family member.
“If you're dealing with a new kid, you can't just pick him up the night before the hunt, or even that day. Do something with him once or twice before. Go get an ice cream cone. Go to a restaurant and talk. Get him involved in planning the hunt or target shooting beforehand,” Walters said.
“If you talk to these kids, they lighten up. They have fun, and it's got to be fun. Otherwise they're gone, and you don't see them again.”
Hank Forester, who leads the Quality Deer Management Association's youth organization, the Rack Pack, likewise cautioned against going “too full bore.”
New hunters will get the chance to harvest game in time, he said. Until then, it's more important to teach them to love the entirety of the outdoors.
“The cultivation process is very important,” Forester said.
Forester suggested putting out trail cameras and later reviewing the photos as a way to build excitement and anticipation. Focusing on skills, spending time on the range, talking about shot placement, reviewing outdoor magazines and newspapers for stories and planning recipes for when game is in the bag are important.
Once on the stand, let the child set the pace, he added. Some will be serious; others will want to play games and talk.
“The worst thing you can do is take a kid out and say, ‘Sit down and shut up. We're watching for deer,' ” Forester said. “You kind of have to tone it to each youth. Some of the best hunts I ever had were where there was way too much giggling going on for any deer in the world to ever stick its head in a shooting lane.
“But we had a lot of fun. And the kids always came back.”
The same approach holds true with fishing, said Mandy Smith, the Fish and Boat Commission's southwest region education specialist.
Many veteran anglers develop an affinity for one kind of fish or another, and they often want to catch the biggest ones. Kids aren't like that. They're content with catching any fish, period, she said.
But the whole experience has to resonate, she said. Keeping kids engaged and enjoying themselves can mean making sure they're dressed for the weather, providing snacks, letting them decide when they've had enough and — above all — being patient, she said.
“Patience is huge, as is providing them with a lot of positive praise, even if you're praising them for their own patience,” Smith said. “They're used to instant gratification.”
That's true, yet it's surprising how quickly many youngsters come to appreciate the outdoors, Christensen said.
A good mentor is often the key. People hunt, fish, camp, canoe, hike and spend time outdoors because they enjoy it, Walters said. Mentors need to share that without letting their passion become stressful.
“We're not trying to save the world. We're just trying to provide outdoor experiences to kids who might not be able to have them otherwise,” Walters said.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pennsylvania Elk Cam Goes Live

Hear a bull’s ear-splitting bugle without leaving home.

          Each September, thousands of visitors make their way to Pennsylvania's elk country to experience for themselves the wonder of the bugling season

And while there's nothing quite like seeing a giant bull up close, or feeling your rib cage resonate as it lets loose an ear-splitting bugle, there's an opportunity this year to get a glimpse of Pennsylvania's prime time for elk - without ever having to leave home.
Photo courtesy of Darryl Zoller, 2015 Elk Country Watch Facebook group.

 A group of elk, including a large bull, stand alert in a field on State Game Lands 311 in Elk County, in this image captured by the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s new Elk Cam. Video and sound from the camera is being live streamed at the Game Commission’s website,, and the live stream is planned to run through the bugling season, which likely will end sometime in mid-October.
Get Image
The Pennsylvania Game Commission has installed a camera on State Game Lands 311 in Elk County, in a field that is off limits to people, but that typically is a hub of elk activity as the bugling season heats up. The camera was installed with help from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry. Video and sound from the camera are being live streamed on the Game Commission’s website,, and some good-sized bull elk, not to mention turkeys, deer and other wildlife, already have made appearances. 

The live stream, which is provided by the Game Commission’s partner, HDOnTap, is the latest in a string of real-time wildlife-watching opportunities offered by the Game Commission. More than 1.5 million people viewed the live stream from a bald-eagle nest in Hanover, Pa. this winter and spring, and the Game Commission in previous years has provided live streams from osprey and bluebird nests, as well.
Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said while there’s no substitute for visiting elk country in person, the camera gives viewers a taste of what the excitement is all about.
“People are fascinated with elk and, in Pennsylvania, they continue to prove this year after year through their frequent trips to the elk range and the interest they show in hunting elk,” Hough said. “This camera – and the sights and sounds it is capturing – is just one more thing to get them excited. The bugling still sounds amazingly good through a computer speaker.
“Elk have not always had an easy time of it in Pennsylvania, but since the Game Commission reintroduced elk to the state in 1913, they’ve pulled through some tough times and, today, we have one of the top herds in the country,” Hough said. “Give credit to sound management, the creation of better elk habitat all across northcentral Pennsylvania, and most importantly, people who care. Without them, the elk’s success wouldn’t be the same.”
The live stream can be accessed at the home page of the Game Commission’s website by clicking on the Elk Country Live Stream button. The page also contains information on Pennsylvania’s elk, where to view them and provides a link to the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors website, which provides all sorts of handy information for anyone visiting elk country. The website can be accessed directly at
The live stream is slated to run until the end of the bugling season, likely sometime in mid-October. The top time to see elk on camera has been late in the afternoon.
In the meantime, Hough urged people to give it a look – and a listen.
Even at times elk can’t be seen on screen, bulls can be heard bugling, calves and cows send sounds back and forth, turkeys talk, birds sing – you name it.
“Whether you’ve already planned your return trip to the elk range this bugling season, or whether you’ve never gone, take a look every now and then at what the camera is capturing,” Hough said. “There’s a reason people are excited about elk, and you now have a chance to enjoy some of it anytime you wish.”

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Western PA Area's Only National Wildlife Refuge Offers Many Opportunities

By Bob Frye    
Maybe it's the somewhat deceptive name.
There are three national wildlife refuges in Pennsylvania, but only one lies west of the Susquehanna River. The other two are so far east as to be closer to New Jersey than Harrisburg.
Yet the “local” one — 56 years old, encompassing 8,815 acres, and open from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset, every day — draws just 40,000 or so visitors a year. 
“We offer quite a bit of outdoor recreational opportunities and do get people. But we could always handle more. We don't get overcrowded by any means,” said Vicki Muller, manager of Erie National Wildlife Refuge.
Maybe people are looking for it in the wrong place. 
The Erie National Wildlife Refuge isn't in Erie County or even in the Lake Erie watershed. It actually sits in Crawford County, about a dozen miles west of Meadville. 
“It's named for the Erie people, the Native Americans who used to populate the area,” Muller said.
Those who discover it will find plenty to do.
“If you like wildlife, if you like to be out in nature, it's a good place to be,” said Doug Copeland of Guys Mills, president of Friends of Erie National Wildlife Refuge, a volunteer group working on the refuge. 
The refuge is broken up into two: the Seneca Division, at 3,609 acres, lies just north of the Sugar Lake Division, at 5,206 acres. There's fishing to be had in both.
In the Seneca portion, anglers can target all of the refuge's creeks and beaver ponds. Muddy Creek is perhaps the best of the lot. It's stocked with trout in portions of its upper reaches and holds smallmouth bass, muskies and walleyes downstream, said Brian Ensign, a Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission biologist.
“It's a little cooler water with a little more gradient there. It's a good-size stream and goes for miles through the refuge,” Ensign said.
There are eight waters — a mix of ponds and streams — open to fishing in the Sugar Lake section. The angling is not always easy. Most of the ponds are shallow, topping out at less than 10 feet deep, and some get so weed-covered in summer that they look more like marshy fields than anything. 
“But some of the impoundments do have some good-sized fish,” said Betsy Trometer, a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who helped survey them last summer.
The species present include black crappies, bluegills, bullhead catfish, pumpkinseeds, largemouth bass and chain pickerel, she said.
At least one refuge stream has wild brook trout, too, though Trometer wouldn't identify it.
The refuge also is open across most of its acres to hunting, albeit with restrictions. Bear hunting is prohibited, and in other places — the refuge is managed in “areas” — there are rules about how and when hunters can do their thing. Sportsmen also must get and carry a free permit. 
But white-tailed deer, turkeys, small game, upland birds like grouse and the occasional pheasant and waterfowl can be had, along with various furbearers. Some realize that potential, Muller said.
“Actually, most of our visitation is through hunting. We have a very good hunting program here,” she said. 
Copeland is among those who take advantage of it. He's primarily an archery deer and turkey hunter and said he's enjoyed good success, killing a whitetail just about every year. Two years ago, he took a 10-point with an 18-inch spread. 
“It wasn't even. It had six on one side and four on the other. But it was sort of a decent deer,” he said.
The refuge also offers good hiking.
“Besides hunting, that's probably responsible for the second highest amount of visitation we get here,” Muller said.
There are five official trails ranging in length from roughly one to three miles. They wind through a mix of habitats, from fields of goldenrod and wildflowers to hemlock forests. Others pass through some of the refuge's many wetlands. Sixty percent of the refuge is classified as that habitat type.
“We have a lot of water on the refuge. There's a lot of wet here,” Muller said.
Two trails, one in each division, are wheelchair accessible. Two others have observation decks — the one off Deer Run Trail is especially nice, with benches and spotting scopes under roof — offering the chance to glimpse bald eagles, herons and other birds.
The refuge has been known to host 230 species, at least seasonally, and rates as an Important Bird Area, according to the National Audubon Society.
“We get a lot of migratory birds. Anything that migrates through (here) likes to stop for at least a while on its way,” said Linda Anderson, a board member with the Friends group.
“A lot of the people who come to use our trails really enjoy that, the birding.”
Most are locals, though, she said. The refuge could stand more visitors from across a wider swath of the region, she said.
“It's a fabulous entity that we all pay for with our taxes, so we'd like to see more people use it,” Muller agreed.
“The main reason I go there is because it's just such a beautiful place,” Copeland added. “You try to get the word out.” 
If you go: Erie wildlife refuge center
Information about the Erie National Wildlife Refuge is available at and by calling 814-789-3585.
It might be wise — and fun — to start any visit with a trip to the refuge visitor center. Located at 11296 Wood Duck Lane in Guys Mills, it has maps and other information as well as opportunities for children, such as the chance to earn explorer, birding and caching patches.
Almost done inside the center is a mural being painted by an art student from Edinboro that depicts the scenery and wildlife of the refuge.
The center is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, but the refuge staff is small — just four employees — so manager Vicki Muller recommends calling before visiting to make sure someone's on hand.
The Friends of Erie National Wildlife Refuge also sponsors special activities at times.
An owl prowl that will feature a lecture, hands-on demonstrations and a walk to look and listen for owls is set for Oct. 31, for example. Details on that event and more — including information on how to become a volunteer — are at
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.