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Discussion Starter · #161 ·
What do Biologists do out West?

Here is a short video highlighting what they are about and the extraordinary amount of time they dedicate to the field work and the resources they manage-

Follow Wyoming wildlife biologist Martin Hicks and his work with the Laramie Range bighorn sheep herd.

 

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Discussion Starter · #162 ·
A Conversation with Wildlife Biologist Gary Fralick
MARK GOCKE, PUBLIC INFORMATION SPECIALIST, 307-249-5811



Enjoy the short video clip below for a conversation with Wildlife Biologist Gary Fralick

PINEDALE - Enjoy this conversation with Thayne Wildlife Biologist Gary Fralick as he shares his thoughts on what it means to be a wildlife biologist for the Game & Fish Department, his never-ending quest to understand the wildlife he manages and his desire to share that information with the public.



Short video-

 

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Discussion Starter · #163 ·
Idaho, another state heavily involved in field work- over 700 cameras in use yearly.

In 2019, Fish and Game staff deployed over 700 game cameras statewide to assist with a new wolf population monitoring program. The cameras literally took millions of pictures over several months of wolves and other wildlife found throughout Idaho. This video is just a small number of the images captured in the Magic Valley Region in 2019.

Here is a sample of pictures-

 

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Discussion Starter · #164 ·
No area is too remote to place wildlife cameras in Wyoming-

See Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep on the Laramie Peak WHMA in southeastern Wyoming. These clips were captured with a trail cam on one of Wyoming's 43 WHMAs. Subscribe: http://bit.ly/2jwNfv0 Watch more wildlife videos: http://bit.ly/3aJHpRI In 2002 over 16,000 acres burned from a wild wildfire in and around the Laramie Peak Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA) that set plant succession back and vastly improved habitat for bighorn sheep. This is unique habitat that is crucial for the success of bighorn sheep in Southeast Wyoming and without it, undoubtedly, this herd would not thrive.


 

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Discussion Starter · #165 ·
Learn more about what those bighorns are all about with SOLE Educator Elizabeth as she explores the legend and science behind the bighorn's horns.

To learn more about the CPW Schools and Outdoor Learning Environments (SOLE) program visit us at https://www.cpwsole.org/.

Check out the species profile page at https://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/S....

 

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Discussion Starter · #166 ·
Another Fawn study-


Regional Offices > Laramie Region > Laramie Region News > Shirley Basin pronghorn fawn study
Shirley Basin pronghorn fawn study

July 20, 2020

LARAMIE -

In an effort to understand the demographic impacts of wind development on pronghorn populations, Laramie Region wildlife biologists put GPS collars on 36 pronghorn fawns. Fawns are collared because young animals are more sensitive to disturbance, and fawn survival plays an important role in the performance of pronghorn populations. Biologists used nets to capture the fawns, then measured them and fitted them with GPS collars. The collars will expand as the fawns grow, and will be replaced with adult collars in Spring of 2021.

- WGFD -

Short Video on a release-
 

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Discussion Starter · #167 ·
and in Colorado-

Wildlife officials focus on project to aid with management of Larimer County elk herds

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists are working on a project to obtain population demographic data to effectively and sustainably manage elk herds in Larimer County.

Portions of the project were made possible thanks to funding support from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Habitat Partnership Program that is funded by revenue from the sale of big game licenses.

Wildlife biologist Angelique Curtis is leading the project designed to help with management decisions for the elk herd in Data Analysis Unit (DAU) E-4.

It specifically is targeting elk in Red Feather Lakes and the Poudre Canyon geographic areas. Crews will deploy 30 GPS satellite collars on cow (female) elk to assist in data collection and help with monitoring the herd.

"The goal of this study is to get an understanding of migrational movements of the E-4 elk and gather herd composition data to better model the dynamics of the population for sustainable harvest," Curtis said. "The collared cow elk will be used as 'judas' elk to perform aerial surveys for annual classification data. In this instance a 'judas' animal is the cow elk that we can locate from the collar that will lead us to the herd where we can then classify the whole herd."

The GPS collars will provide enough data in the first three years of deployment to design a population model for the herd. The study will last four to five years, with the remaining data collected after year three from the collars being used to refine the parameters of the model.

Deployment of the collars started last summer by trapping or ground darting elk in the Comanche Wilderness Area. Helicopter capture was also used this past winter to deploy additional units. The few remaining collars will go out late this month via ground darting and trapping.

Collars are spatially distributed in selected geographical areas to get a representative sample of the herd. The GPS collars will give location data every 13 hours to get a rolling time frame of movements throughout the year.

"The locations are transmitted to the biologists computers and phones, so they reduce the time needed to track the animals," Senior Wildlife Biologist Shannon Schaller said. "This also ensures we collect data in remote areas. If a collared elk stops moving for more than eight hours, it will emit a mortality signal that biologists can attempt to retrieve to help them understand mortality causes.

"This technology has been a real benefit for wildlife biologists to collect data more efficiently."

Wildlife managers need the new data to make informed recommended license allocations for hunters, as to date there is not much known about the elk in the DAU.

Previously, hunter harvest and voluntary elk tooth submissions from 2009 to present provided data on the herd composition (sex and age) to make harvest recommendations. The last aerial survey of the elk in the DAU was in 2006.

In 2014, estimated elk populations obtained from ground surveys reached the upper end of the management objectives - the herd size was increasing past the point of the carrying capacity the landscape would support. Thus, both bull and cow elk license numbers increased to help the herd stay within the management objective. Wildlife managers are seeking better data on herd trends to assess harvest limits to align with new population models.

Starting this December, Curtis along with wildlife officers, will conduct aerial surveys to gather baseline data using the GPS collars to locate the elk.

Once more data is compiled, the new population matrix model will be built with an understanding of the areas of greatest conservation, migration corridors, calving areas and habitat enhancement opportunities all designed to keep the elk herds healthy and within the management objectives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #168 ·

Regional Offices > Sheridan Region > Sheridan Region News > Mule deer captures to begin in northern Bighorns

Mule deer captures to begin in northern Bighorns

UPCOMING REGION EVENTS: No events planned
July 29, 2020

SHERIDAN -

A research study of the movements of mule deer in the northern Bighorn Mountains will expand in coming weeks with the deployment of radio collars on adult does beginning August 1. The deer will be captured by a professional capture crew using helicopter net guns as well as by Game and Fish personnel on the ground using immobilization techniques.

The goals of the study are to identify mule deer seasonal range and habitat use and document fawn production and three-to-six month fawn survival rates.

On March 5, 2020, 25 does were captured on winter range on the eastern and western foothills of the Bighorns and fitted with radio collars by a professional wildlife capture crew. The captures in August will target does on high-elevation summer range.

The GPS collars will record the position of each animal every two hours for the next three years, before automatically releasing from the animal. Once-daily position updates will be available to biologists throughout the study, while the finer-scale, two-hour movements will be stored onboard the collar and retrieved at the end of the study.


If an animal dies during the study, a mortality signal will be sent to the local wildlife biologist who will search for the animal's carcass, determine the cause of death and collect biological samples.

"Three deer of the 25 deer collared in March have died, with two of the mortalities attributed to malnutrition," said Sheridan Wildlife Biologist Tim Thomas. "The deer were in poor body condition with little fat reserves and were found after a spring snowstorm. The third mortality was the result of mountain lion predation. The collars were retrieved from each animal and will be redeployed in August."

The study is a collaborative project between Wyoming Game and Fish, The Nature Conservancy, Sheridan Community Land Trust, the Bighorn National Forest, the Wyoming Migration Initiative and the University of Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

The project has received generous financial support from the Knobloch Family Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Sheridan Community Land Trust, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, the Department of the Interior Secretarial Order 3362 and the Cody Chapter of Muley Fanatics.

- WGFD -
 

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Discussion Starter · #169 ·

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Discussion Starter · #170 ·
Idaho Grizzly Cam-

Every year Fish and Game Biologists place GPS collars on grizzly bears to learn about their reproduction, survival, and distribution across the ecosystem. A recently retrieved game camera shows a female grizzly as she emerged from her den in late-April with three cubs in tow. The antics of these three cubs playing together was too cute not to share. Watch as they wrestle together and learn just how far they can push mom's limits as she watches over them.

 

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Discussion Starter · #171 ·
Work and more work to improve their wildlife resources-



Wildlife-friendly fencing project begins in Bighorn Mountains
307-672-7418
August 05, 202o

SHERIDAN -

Wyoming Department of Transportation contractors recently began work on several miles of wildlife-friendly fence construction and modifications in the Bighorn Mountains west of Buffalo. The fencing will happen as part of a repaving project on Highway 16 between mile markers 43 and 63.

"This is a high use area for deer, elk, and moose, which requires them to navigate the busy highway as well as the adjacent fences," said Buffalo Wildlife Biologist Cheyenne Stewart. "Presumably, if these large ungulates spend less time navigating fences adjacent to roads, it will reduce the risk of wildlife-vehicle collisions as well as injury and separation of adult animals from their young. Making fences more permeable for wildlife while still keeping livestock safely off the roadway will benefit wildlife, livestock owners and motorists alike."

New wooden rail fence will be constructed on both sides of the highway for 3.5 miles between Powder River Pass and the Leigh Creek Dump Station. The current fence consists of woven wire with a single strand of barbed wire on top. It will be replaced by a wooden fence with two horizontal rails,with a strand of smooth wire below and two strands of wire between the rails.This design is intended to keep domestic sheep from crossing the fence, but allows wildlife such as deer and elk to move over it.

"The wood rail fence design is a request from the Forest Service," said Laura Dalles, public involvement specialist for WYDOT District 4. "Typically the landowner, in this case the Forest Service, may request a specific type of fence be installed as long as it meets our standards. Because this construction project is along a scenic byway, this type of fence is commonly requested and installed."

In addition, some sections of the newly constructed wooden fence will incorporate lay-down fence. Lay-down fences are 50-foot sections of fence where the poles can be dropped to the ground and the wire pulled back like a gate.The lay-down fences will be installed on both sides of the highway in three locations.

"Where the landscape topography already facilitates wildlife movement, particularly for moose, the fence will be able to be laid down during times of the year when livestock are not present, allowing for easier movement," said Dalles.

In addition to the new fence construction, crews have completed modifications on five miles of existing wire fence on the north side of the highway between Hazelton Road and Powder River Pass. These modifications removed one of the four barbed wires, lowered the top wire from 45 to 42 inches and raised the bottom smooth wire from 12 to 16 inches. The top two wires are spaced 12 inches apart, minimizing the chance of entanglement when an animal jumps the fence.

"Increasing the height of the lowest wire from the ground allows fawns and calves to crawl under the fence," said Stewart. "Lowering the top fence wire makes it safer for adults to jump the fence, particularly when the fence is perpendicular to a slope, making the effective fence height even higher."

The modifications adhere to wildlife-friendly fencing specifications agreed upon by local WYDOT, Game and Fish and Bighorn National Forest personnel.

This project was budgeted for and has been in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) schedule for six years and is being funded by the Ten Cents fuel tax fund.

 

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Discussion Starter · #172 ·


Green River biologists assist Colorado with elk calf study

August 05, 2020

GREEN RIVER -

Wildlife Biologist Phillip Damm assisted Colorado Parks and Wildlife with an elk research project. Colorado is studying neonate survival using vaginal implant transmitters (VITs) and by capturing and collaring calves. VITs are placed within a cows birth canal so when the cow gives birth, the VIT is expelled with the calf. The VIT is paired electronically with the cow's collar and a signal is sent from the collar to the researchers via satellite when the VIT is expelled so the calf can be collared. Three of these collared elk made their way into Wyoming and birthed calves, including this one near High Savery Reservoir. Biologists also performed standard measurements, including tooth eruption on each calf.

- WGFD -
 

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Discussion Starter · #173 ·
Cool Fun Video-

Prairie falcon defends nest from swift fox

August 10, 2020

LARAMIE - Non-game biologist technician Carissa Turner recorded this video of a prairie falcon defending its nest from a swift fox in the Shirley Basin. Turner believes the falcon had an active nest nearby and the fox got a bit too close for comfort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #174 ·
Sheridan Region wilderness helicopter fish stocking
307-672-7418



SHERIDAN -

The biennial stocking of wilderness lakes in the Bighorn Mountains took place July 27 and 28 via helicopter with more than 30,000 fish stocked in 26 Sheridan Region lakes. Additional lakes on the west side of the mountains were stocked as well.

Only a small percentage of the many high elevation lakes in the Bighorns are stocked; others have natural reproducing populations and some are fishless. Game and Fish fisheries biologists survey remote, high elevation lakes each summer and develop a stocking schedule based on sampling results and creel survey data returned from anglers.

"Game and Fish has developed a long-term schedule to evaluate populations of Cloud Peak Wilderness and other alpine lakes," said Sheridan Region Fisheries Supervisor Paul Mavrakis. "Lakes on the east slope of the Bighorns are scheduled for stocking on even years. Some of the lakes are on a two-year rotation while others are on a four-year rotation."

Stocking fish by helicopter has taken place in Wyoming since the 1970s. It is a safe, efficient way to stock thousands of fish in dozens of lakes in a short amount of time.

The very early days of fish stocking involved carrying fish in metal jugs or canisters on horseback. Later methods included carrying fish in plastic containers via backpack or horseback. These methods occasionally resulted in high mortality of the fish and took substantial investments of time and personnel. Stocking a high elevation lake by helicopter now takes just a few minutes and there is little mortality of fish.



The fish are loaded in eight cylinder shaped tanks, which are attached to the helicopter by a cable. Each tank holds approximately five to eight gallons of iced water and 10 to 25 pounds of fish, depending on the size and species of the fish. Each tank may contain different species or sizes of fish, depending on the lake to be stocked

Each tank compartment has a door that opens at the bottom to release the fish as the helicopter maneuvers over the lake. The pilot has a control switch that can trigger each door individually or all eight tank doors at once. The canisters are approximately ten feet above the water when they are opened.



The stocked fish are fingerlings ranging from one to six inches in size. This year, splake, tiger, rainbow and Yellowstone cutthroat trout from the Daniel and Tensleep hatcheries and the Wigwam Rearing Station were stocked.

Fish grow slowly in the cold temperatures of alpine lakes, but the recently stocked fish will eventually reach mature lengths of 12 to 14 inches. Anglers can learn more about the diverse fishing opportunities in Cloud Peak Wilderness and other areas of the Bighorns by visiting the new statewide interactive fishing guide.

Here is the Helicopter Video of the stocking-

https://wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD/media/content/PDF/Regional Offices/Sheridan/helicopter-stocking.jpg
 
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Discussion Starter · #175 ·
Never want to go face to face with a Grizzly-

Click below to enjoy a video of a young grizzly bear being released northwest of Moran!
JACKSON -

Each year, large carnivore biologists with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department capture and relocate bears that have become involved in human-related conflicts. On September 22, 2020, at the direction of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Game and Fish biologists captured and relocated a sub-adult female grizzly bear. The bear was captured for habituated behavior on private lands west of Cody, WY. In cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, the bear was relocated to Squirrel Meadows approximately 27 miles northwest of Moran, WY.

Grizzly bear relocation is a management tool afforded to large carnivore biologists to minimize conflicts between humans and grizzly bears and is critical to the management of the population. When other options are exhausted or unattainable, Game and Fish will attempt to capture the bear. Once the animal is captured, all circumstances are taken into account when determining if the individual should be relocated or removed from the population. If relocation is warranted, the selection of a relocation site is determined taking into consideration the age, sex, and type of conflict the bear was involved in as well as potential human activity in the vicinity of the relocation site.

closed gates. Consultation with the appropriate personnel and agencies occurs to minimize the chance of future conflicts and maximize the survival potential of the relocated grizzly bear. Bears that are deemed an immediate threat to human safety are not released back into the wild.

Bears are relocated in accordance with state and federal law and regulation. Game and Fish continues to stress the importance of the public's responsibility in bear management and the importance of keeping all attractants (food items, garbage, horse feed, bird seed, and others) unavailable to bears. Reducing attractants available to bears reduces human-bear conflicts. For more information on grizzly bear management and reducing the potential for conflicts please visit the Bear Wise Wyoming page.

For further information please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, Hilary Cooley, at (406) 243-4903.

- WGFD -

 

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Discussion Starter · #176 ·
Game and Fish with Boots on the ground, along with many Volunteers-



G&F Leads Effort to Facilitate Migrating Pronghorn
MARK GOCKE, PUBLIC INFORMATION SPECIALIST, 307-249-5811
September 29, 2020

Boots on the ground for migrating pronghorn and mule deer!

PINEDALE - Dean Clause Pinedale Wildlife Biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has been spearheading a partnership with the Wyoming Department ot Transportaion, Bureau of Land Management and several volunteers to make sure migrating pronghorn and mule deer can safely get across Pinedale area highways to their crucial winter ranges.

Several problem areas have been identified and worked on the past couple summers, including a significant project on WY Highway 28 east of Farson where fencing along the highway has prevented pronghorn from migrating further south to areas of less snow, unfortunately causing several animals to perish during hard winters.

Agency personnel and numerous volunteers have been installing a smooth bottom wire at a height of 18 inches allowing pronghorn to slip under it, installing wire clips that allow strands of wire to be laid to the ground when livestock aren't present and also installing double-paired gates that can be opened in high volume pronghorn crossing locations.

To date, double-paired gates have been installed at seven locations and approximately nine miles of fence have been modified with another ten miles to go. In addition, approximately ten miles of fence along Wyoming Highway 191 north of Farson has been modified so that it can be laid down for migrating wildlife. Closer to Pinedale, paired gates have been installed in key locations on Highway 351, the Paradise Road and near the Soda Lake Wildlife Habitat Management Area.

- WGFD -
 

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Discussion Starter · #177 ·
Always in the field......



G&F Conducts Grizzly Bear Collaring Effort Near Moran
MARK GOCKE, PUBLIC INFORMATION SPECIALIST, 307-249-5811
September 28, 2020

UPCOMING REGION EVENTS: No events planned


JACKSON - As part of ongoing efforts to monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Large Carnivore Biologists with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department conducted their annual grizzly bear capture operations to collar bears in areas of northwest Wyoming this summer. A total of 18 individual grizzly bears were captured this summer, 12 north and west of Dubois and another six north of Jackson.

In the Jackson Region, from July 27-August 21, six different grizzly bears were captured southeast of Moran Junction, with five bears being collared. A sub-adult male bear was tagged and biological samples were taken, but not radio-collared due to its smaller size. Two black bears were captured and released unhandled.



Information from collared grizzly bears provides data on survival, reproduction, distribution, habitat use and movements of grizzly bears. When captured, animals are collared, released on site and monitored in accordance with strict guidelines developed jointly by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.

In addition, each summer Game and Fish biologists, along with personnel from other Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team member agencies, conduct grizzly bear observation flights to document grizzly bear numbers, distribution and reproduction. These regular bear observation flights have been conducted in the Greater Yellowstone Area since the 1990s.



The annual monitoring of this population is vital to the ongoing management and conservation of grizzly bears in Wyoming. Information obtained through these efforts is used to assess the status and health of grizzly bears in the ecosystem and provides insight into population dynamics critical to demonstrate the continued recovery of the Greater Yellowstone population.

- WGFD -
 
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Discussion Starter · #178 ·
Moose Rescue with many volunteers helping-pretty cool.

 
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Discussion Starter · #179 ·


Moose and pronghorn surveys
307-672-7418
October 05, 2020

SHERIDAN -

Wyoming Game and Fish Department wildlife biologists and game wardens recently completed 2020 pre-season pronghorn classification surveys in the Sheridan Region. Classification surveys take place annually to gather information on current pronghorn numbers.

When pronghorn are classified, the animals are identified as adult bucks, yearling bucks, does or fawns. The results are then analyzed as herd ratios, or, the number of fawns counted for every 100 does counted and the number of bucks counted for every 100 does counted.

Herd ratios are influenced by several factors including fawn production and recruitment, natural mortality and harvest and allow managers to monitor trends in the proportion of fawns and bucks in a herd from year-to-year. Classification surveys are not a total count of the entire herd, but rather a sample of the population. The information is used by managers to update herd population estimates and set hunting seasons.

During August, personnel observed and classified 11,193 individual animals in 18 hunt areas in northeast Wyoming.

Overall, the fawn ratio averaged 66 fawns per 100 does compared to 68 fawns per 100 does in 2019. The buck-to-doe ratio averaged 52 bucks per 100 does, up from 48 bucks per 100 does in 2019.

The yearling buck-to-doe ratio was 11 per 100 does. The yearling buck ratio is influenced by the previous year's fawn production. It provides managers some insight into how well last year's fawns survived their first winter.

"The cumulative fawn-to-doe and buck-to-doe ratios were similar to 2019, though a number of hunt areas had low buck ratios and the yearling buck ratio was down," said Sheridan Region Wildlife Coordinator Dan Thiele. "Whether this is due to lower numbers or changes in animal distribution, possibly related to this year's drought conditions across much of northeast Wyoming, is unknown at this time. However, harvest data we will gather during the upcoming hunting season should provide additional insight into herd status."


Moose

Wildlife managers also conducted a moose survey in Hunt Area 1 in the Bighorn Mountains on Aug. 27. The survey objective was to gather information on current moose numbers in the area as well as herd composition. Herd composition or classification surveys provide information on calf production and survival as well as the proportion of bulls in the herd.

Due to their solitary nature and preference for thick cover, surveys of moose are conducted via helicopter.

During the survey, moose are classified as adult bulls, yearling bulls, cows and calves. Seventy-six moose were counted and classified this year including nine adult bulls, three yearling bulls, 46 cows and 18 calves. The total count was down from 2019 but comparable to the five-year average of 77 moose.

A research study of seasonal moose movement and habitat selection is currently underway in this herd, which encompasses hunt areas 1, 34 and 42. GPS tracking collars were placed on 87 cow moose beginning in 2018. The collars are programmed to release from the animal after two years and managers will collect the collars and their associated data through 2021.


- WGFD -
 

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Discussion Starter · #180 ·
Helicopters, Continual wildlife surveys, Boots in the Field and several hundred cameras used throughout the state keeps them busy acquiring data about their wildlife resources....

 
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