September 22, 2021
With Montana archery seasons already in process, and the rifle season racing up, we are going in-depth with MT Game Management Bureau Chief Brian Wakeling, and MDF’s MT Regional Director Chris Fortune. Brian details how weather conditions across the state will affect hunting opportunities, particularly the drought conditions and wildfires this summer, and Chris gets granular about how MDF is working to ensure a healthy herd in MT.
August 26, 2021
2021 Range-wide Status of Black-Tailed and Mule Deer with Jim Heffelfinger and Joel Pedersen - Season 4 Episode 10
We are excited to bring you the 75th episode of Talking Mule Deer, and we could not think of better guests than MDF President/CEO Joel Pedersen, and Arizona Game and Fish Department Wildlife Science Coordinator Jim Heffelfinger to talk about the 2021 Range-wide Status of Black-Tailed and Mule Deer produced by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Mule Deer Working Group. This episode goes in-depth on how the working group functions, and how the 24 different states and provinces that make up the group use their deer population data to develop the annual report. The team explores why it is a challenge to make blanket assessments on mule deer decline, and how a majority of states are seeing stable or growing populations. We also talk about some of the variables we are seeing this year with drought, fires, and disease that may impact future populations.
July 30, 2021
Randy Morrison, MDF California Habitat Partnership Coordinator - Season 4 Episode 9
After a little break from episodes, Talking Mule Deer is back with Randy Morrison, MDF’s Habitat Partnership Coordinator in California. Randy discusses his transition into this new role after being Regional Director for the state. Randy starts off telling us about a current project in the Stanislaus National Forest and details how MDF treatment processes mimic natural disturbances, creating exceptional habitat for mule deer and black-tailed deer. We talk about how these landscape level contracts evolve over the course of several years, from initial discussion to equipment on the ground. Randy tells us about the California Big Game Management account that allocates tag revenues for programs that benefit big game herds in the state. We learn about Randy’s replacement as MDF’s California Regional Director role, and he reflects on the long standing relationships he developed in the role. As we wind down, Randy discusses a the challenges and opportunities for black-tailed deer management in California, and how MDF will be working to take a much larger role in their conservation in the future.
June 9, 2021
John Nosler – Season 4 Episode 8 – June 9
On this episode of Talking Mule Deer, we are joined by Nosler Inc. President and COO John R. Nosler. John starts off with an overview of the history of Nosler and how his grandfather, truckdriver John A. Nosler, turned the first Nosler bullet out of spare car parts in the late 1940s, launching a family-owned and operated bullet manufacturing dynasty. John details how Nosler has grown from the first Partition bullet to a full-service ammunition producer and more recently a firearms manufacturer. Based in Bend Oregon, Nosler not only has its own full line of products, but also provides bullets to other manufacturers, which helps to push both their company as well as the partnering manufacturers using their products. Jodi asks John about the current state of business and the details on the ammunition shortage. John fills us in on the challenges Nosler and the ammunition industry as a whole has faced that affect supplies on local shop shelves. As we head into the final segment, John talks about how he personally is invested in mule deer hunting and conservation, and how he is working to get his kids on the mountain.
May 18, 2021
This episode of Talking Mule Deer features Brigham Young University wildlife researchers telling us about their mule deer studies in Utah. Brock and Randy, both avid mule deer hunters, are professors in the BYU Wildlife Ecology Lab and landed at the university 13 years ago when they applied for the same job—and both got hired! Brock and Randy discuss one of their early projects evaluating fawn mortality in the Monroe permit area by collaring fawns shortly after birth. This project gave them insights into how predation, along with habitat health that maintains body condition in does, correlate to overall survival. BYU graduate student Tabitha Hughes details her work on both elk calves and mule deer fawns that has continued to other herds, including the Cache Valley as well as her current study area in the Book Cliffs area of Utah. We wrap up by hearing how Randy and Brock hope to use the data to understand how habitat conservation and restoration projects are impacting overall mule deer populations.
April 28, 2021
This episode of Talking Mule Deer features our conversation with the co-founder of Public Land Tees, Sam Soholt. Sam tells us about how he got his start in the outdoor industry as a photographer and videographer, and about his modified school bus that he used as his base to hunt and raise awareness about public lands with an active social media presence. His journey to learn about conservation issues led him to come up with the Conservation Crossing tee - buy the shirt and you also get an annual membership to MDF and four other conservation organizations. Sam lives in North Dakota, and we loop in our own Marshall Johnson to talk about the projects that he has helped coordinate in the state to improve mule deer habitat and provide hunter access to private lands.
Marshall tells us about the cooperative efforts for conservation and to enroll landowners in the North Dakota Private Land Access to Sportsmen (PLOTS) program, with funding from an Outdoor Heritage grant, private companies like Bobcat/Doosan, chapter volunteers, and support through the ND Petroleum Council. We wrap up talking about the big picture conservation efforts that MDF is doing and how people can get involved through becoming a member, volunteering, participating in events, and even purchasing a Conservation Crossing tee!
April 14, 2021
New MDF President/CEO Joel Pedersen – Season 4 Episode 5 – April 14
Today we have our first Talking Mule Deer conversation with the Mule Deer Foundation’s new President/CEO, Joel Pedersen. Joel tells us about how he grew up hunting and fishing with his family and how a chance encounter on a boy scout camping trip in New Mexico led him to become a wildlife biologist. He describes his educational path and his early years in the wildlife profession before heading to the National Wild Turkey Federation where he worked for 22 years. We hear about various programs Joel was involved with including NWTF’s forest stewardship, conservation policy, and outreach campaigns, as well as strategic planning and organizational development efforts. We then transition to hear about what excited Joel about the opportunity to work for MDF and how Talking Mule Deer helped him prepare for the interview and the job. Joel describes his first weeks at MDF and how he’s spent the past month getting to know the staff and fully understand the work that is going on. He talks about his priorities in continuing to build fundraising opportunities as well as growing membership and helping to develop volunteer leadership. We wrap up by talking about MDF’s conservation projects on the near horizon with new grant funding and project work that is lining up for on-the-ground habitat restoration efforts this summer. We hope you agree that the future of MDF is in good hands!
March 12, 2021
Jason Matzinger Talks Shed Hunting, Off-Season Prep, and Hunting with Your Kids – Season 4 Episode 4 – March 12
On this episode, we are talking with Jason Matzinger, host of Into High Country and an ambassador for the Mule Deer Foundation. Spring brings the chance to get back into the field looking for shed antlers and Jason describes how he uses shed hunting as a way to scout and learn about behavior. But we also talk about how spending time out on winter range when the deer and elk are already stressed from a tough winter can be a significant challenge for their survival. Some states have created shed hunting seasons or set restrictions on when people can get into the winter range, but personal ethics and awareness of the stress it can cause are critical. Jason gives us some tips about what he does in the off season to get ready for the next hunting season, and he tells the story about how a nice buck gave him and his son the slip this past season. We then talk a bit about how hunting with our kids and beginning hunters becomes a new motivation after years of hunting. We wrap up hearing about what projects Jason has on the horizon, his role in helping Conservation Continue at MDF, and what some of those conservation efforts are looking like in the coming year.
February 25, 2021
Idaho Conservation Efforts with MDF state habitat coordinator, Jessie Shallow – Season 4 Episode 3
Today we are talking with one of the new conservation staff for MDF, Jessie Shallow, who works through MDF and Idaho Fish and Game to coordinate habitat restoration projects in mule deer migration corridors and winter ranges identified within the Idaho State Action Plan. Jessie contributed the “Conservation Continues” story in the January issue of MDF magazine, but our conversation allows us to learn more about her background and the work she’s doing in Idaho. Jessie is born and raised in the state and did her graduate research on mule deer habitat use for nutrition throughout the year. We talk a bit about what she learned in that research and how that translates into the work that she is now doing for MDF on habitat restoration. For example, Jessie led a project that converted 23 miles of fence to wildlife-friendly fencing in a project that was supported in part through grants from the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. We also talk about efforts to construct funnel fencing to new overpasses and underpasses for wildlife crossings over highways. We wrap up talking about projects planned for this summer including an aerial spraying project with the U.S. Forest Service in the Lemhi Valley to fight the invasion of cheatgrass into the priority area. Jessie lets us know that there are likely to be some great volunteer opportunities this summer and we look forward to MDF members once again being able to get actively involved in making a difference for mule deer on the ground.
February 9, 2021
MDF Magazine Redesign with Chet Hervey of the Northwoods Collective, and MDF’s COO Brian Fienhold
On this episode of Talking Mule Deer, we are visiting with the folks behind the recent redesign of the MDF Magazine that hit mailboxes last month. Brian Fienhold, MDF’s Chief Operating Officer describes how the relationship with the Northwoods Collective began and we hear directly from Northwoods Collective managing partner Chet Hervey. Chet describes his company and the work that they have done with other wildlife conservation organizations and in the hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation efforts. We hear about the vision that they brought to the table for the magazine redesign and what some of the new layout offers as far as content, outstanding photography, and readability. Brian tells us how the move to a quarterly magazine, rather than the six issues a year in the past, will help provide value to members through greater content diversity and increased total page count per issue – and how we hope the new design will help us build membership, and provide even more member benefits. We wrap up by hearing from both Brian and Chet about the future of MDF Magazine as well as other outreach tools including an updated website design, all with the intention of building the MDF brand and the work the organization can accomplish on the ground.