November 11, 2019
S2 E29 - Ron and Betsy Spomer of Ron Spomer Outdoors
This week we are honored to have the incredible Ron Spomer and his wife Betsy talking mule deer with us. Ron has been a nationally known outdoor writer for decades and he tells us about how he got his start in the industry. We talk about the history of conservation and that we are now facing a lot of challenges in our efforts to protect the wildlife and outdoors that we love. Betsy talks about some of her international hunting expeditions, including an experience in a swamp in Mozambique. They tell us about the things they’ve seen on those international hunts that provide an interesting comparison to North American wildlife conservation and sustainable management. In addition, we talk about the increased focus on wild game cooking and the growing numbers of people taking up hunting because they’re interested in where their food is coming from. The Spomers tell us about their new home in Idaho and the habitat restoration that they are planning for the mule deer and elk that are found on their property – as well as a Columbian sharp-tailed grouse lek. We wrap up by talking about the individual actions that hunters can take to help with boots-on-the-ground habitat conservation work as well as protecting the rights of hunters through groups like MDF.
October 28, 2019
S2 E28 -Talking Arizona with Jim Heffelfinger and Jake Jaeger
This week we’re talking with Arizona Game & Fish Department’s Jim Heffelfinger and the MDF cooperative wildlife biologist, Jake Jaeger. First, we get an introduction to Jake who is working with Arizona Game & Fish helping with mule deer conservation through a partnership with the Mule Deer Foundation. Jake and Jim then talk about how Arizona is a different place due to the boom and bust water cycles in the state. Jim tells us a little bit about how most of the state’s mule deer populations are not traditional migrants (except for those on the Kaibab Plateau in the Arizona Strip) but still move across the landscapes seasonally to access food and water. We also hear about the Arizona governor’s tags that are used to generate funding for conservation – 100% of which goes back to the state for habitat restoration projects through the Habitat Partnership Committee. Jim tells us about the three research priority projects collaring deer to learn more about migration patterns associated with highway development and learning the movements of a herd in a known high elevation summer range. We wrap up with talking about how habitat improvements are making a huge impact on herd health which has been shown by GPS movement data showing use of restored habitats and avoidance of areas that weren’t treated.
October 14, 2019
S2 E27 - Outdoor Writer -Jim Zumbo
On this episode of Talking Mule Deer we are honored to talk to renowned outdoor writer, Jim Zumbo. Jim tells us about how he began his career working on forestry in Utah and as a forester/game warden at West Point, NY, before heading back to Utah as a wildlife biologist for the Bureau of Land Management. Jim wrote his first article for Outdoor Life in 1966 and he received an offer from the magazine to go full time as an editor in 1978. He reminisces about the banner days of mule deer hunting in the Book Cliffs and tells us a classic Zumbo story about his most memorable hunt with his daughters out there. We talk a little bit about his favorite places to hunt and also about wildlife behavior and mule deer migrations. Jim gives us a few tips on how he’s found big bucks and how you can too. You can always keep up with Jim on his blog at JimZumbo.com as well as the back column in Petersen’s Hunting magazine as well as several other publications.
September 30, 2019
S2 E26 - Bureau of Land Management Wildlife Program
Today Jodi, Steve and Miles Moretti talk with Frank Quammen, national wildlife program lead with the Bureau of Land Management. We learn a little bit about what the BLM is and what it’s overarching multiple-use and sustained yield management objective means. Frank also talks about how the wildlife program staff work to ensure that wildlife conservation considerations integrate with the many other uses on the lands that they manage. We talk about the role that BLM is playing in conservation of big game winter range and migration corridors through Secretarial Order 3362 and we hear about restoration projects getting underway in these key areas. Frank also talks about other issues affecting rangelands in the West including wild horses and burros, sage grouse, wildfire restoration. We wrap things up by talking about the broad challenges BLM faces in trying to manage so many interests on lands that are loved by millions of people.
September 16, 2019
S2 E25 - North American Non-Lead Partnership
Today’s episode of Talking Mule Deer features a conversation with the North American Non-Lead Partnership’s Leland Brown (Oregon Zoo) and Chris Parish (The Peregrine Fund). The partnership’s two main functions are to preserve our wildlife conservation and hunting heritage at the same time. They are helping to share information about non-lead alternatives in ammunition for hunters. We talk about this contentious issue and how lead being introduced into the environment can impact non-target wildlife species. Chris tells us about his experience on the voluntary lead ammunition exchange program that he was involved with on the Kaibab Plateau in Arizona to help conserve condors. They talk about the different options in lead free options for both rifle and shotgun ammunition. The non-lead partnership emphasizes that they are not promoting an alarmist message, they are trying to present the information that will allow hunters to make a well-informed decision about their own choices.
September 2, 2019
S2 E24 - MDF’s Women Board Members, Kirstie Pike and Kelli Poole
This episode of Talking Mule Deer features two of MDF’s board members, and the two ladies of the board – Kirstie Pike, founder of Prois Hunting Apparel, and Kelli Poole. We learn a little bit about how Kirstie, a nurse by training, decided to launch one of the first performance hunting apparel companies designed for the female hunter. Kelli, a wildlife biologist who has done research on ungulates, is also a consultant working on community-based conservancies and training local women in Tajikistan to serve as hunting guides. We learn more about how this program works and how Kirstie and Kelli met during Kirstie’s hunt in Tajikistan in 2018. Kelli talks about how hunting conservancies ensure the conservation of wildlife in these countries and how sustainable use of wildlife is benefiting local communities. Both women describe how they are bringing their perspective about how to reach out to and engage women hunters in the Mule Deer Foundation’s mission, and to help introduce more women to hunting. To wrap up, Kirstie talks about some of Prois’ new products, in particular a new upland hunting line called Pradlann. And Kelli tells us about her plans for the coming hunting season in Tajikistan and how hunters can learn more about community-based conservancies and hunting opportunities there at https://tajwildlife.com.
August 19, 2019
- S2 E23 Utah Mule Deer Conservation with MDF Volunteer Darren West and Utah DWR’s Covy Jones
We are talking this week to MDF’s volunteer habitat conservation coordinator in Utah Darren West, and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resource’s big game coordinator Covy Jones about the collaborative work to improve and increase mule deer habitat in the state of Utah. These partners are working to share MDF’s Chapter Rewards generated by Utah chapters’ fundraising events and MDF’s Expo Tags as well as other state, federal and partner dollars for large landscape projects across the state. The efforts through the Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative are helping to increase the carrying capacity of mule deer in the state by adding more optimal habitat areas. Covy tells us how state game biologists are studying the herds and individual animals to assess herd health, and Darren explains how MDF chapters identify priority projects for chapter volunteer work days. We also hear about new collaring efforts in the state to learn more about mule deer migrations in order to know how deer are using the landscapes and where these migrations intersect with highways resulting in increased road mortality. To wrap up, Darren tells us about some of the projects that Utah chapters will be engaged in, many of which are working to restore wildlife management areas that were impacted by fires in 2018.
August 5, 2019
S2 E22 - Identical Draw
Today on Talking Mule Deer we visit with Thomas and Nathan Krick, identical twins from Lincoln, Nebraska who produce an online outdoor television program known as Identical Draw. Their first season was featured on Carbon TV and the second season is available on Bear Archery’s Youtube Channel. The brothers grew up hunting and learned film production through Heartland Bowhunter’s film school. As outdoorsmen and mountaineers in their early 20s, the duo is focused on social media and other online platforms as a way to target younger hunters offering techniques for do-it-yourself, backcountry public land hunts. We hear a bit about their first mule deer hunts in the sandhills of Nebraska as well as last year’s intense mountain mule deer hunt in Idaho. Nate and Thomas tell us about their efforts to integrate a conservation message into their episodes, this year they began working with the Mule Deer Foundation to provide more detailed information about our organization’s work.
July 22, 2019
S2 E21 - Ryan Bronson and Jon Zinnel, Federal Premium Ammunition
On this episode of Talking Mule Deer, Steve and Jodi are talking with Federal Premium Ammunition’s Ryan Bronson and Jon Zinnel. Ryan has served for six years on the MDF Board of Directors and, prior to joining Federal, Jon was MDF’s director of youth programs and helped to launch our M.U.L.E.Y. program. Jon tells us about how Federal Premium is helping youth shooting sports programs across the nation and their efforts for the recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) of hunters. Ryan also tells us about how Federal Premium has supported state wildlife conservation through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program (Pittman-Robertson) through the tens of millions of dollars in excise taxes they pay. We talk a bit about the critical importance of this user pay/public benefit program in the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. We also hear about efforts to allow states to increase use of these funds to develop bigger shooting ranges that will benefit youth groups and other hunters and shooters. Ryan tells us that Federal is bringing back the Barnes Triple Shock ammunition that is loved by many western big game hunters, as well as the expansion of the .224 Valkyrie ammunition and the package changes that hunters will be seeing on all Federal Premium ammunition this year. Finally, Jon talks about the coordinated R3 efforts across states and non-profit organizations and Ryan talks about what he sees as important federal policy issues that he will be dealing with in the coming year.
July 8, 2019
S 2 E 20 - Celebrity Guide, Dan Harrison with Harrison’s Hunting
This week we have our first co-host – MDF President/CEO Miles Moretti – and we’re talking with MDF board member and celebrity guide, Dan Harrison with Harrison’s Hunting. Dan talks about how he got started by doing private land timber management and habitat improvements which led to opportunities to guide hunters on these properties. He got his start on outdoor television with Chris Dorsey of Dorsey Productions and then with Tred Barta on The Best and Worst of Tred Barta; more recently he has co-hosted Remington Country, along with leading hunts on Grateful Nation and several other outdoor television shows. We hear about his passion for mule deer in the West and how they are such an iconic part of western hunting, and why he believes mule deer conservation is so important leading him to become part of MDF’s board. Dan believes in supporting youth as they become successful hunters, he also gives back by hosting veterans and first responders on hunts through American Hero Adventures. He gives us some tips on things hunters can do to be more successful and he tells us about some of the gear that he uses. We talk about long range hunting and why it’s essential to know your effective range, and we hear about a wreck he had on a mountain during archery season last year. Miles and Dan also talk a bit about what it’s like to be a member of the MDF board of directors.