Announcements were made at the beginning of the meeting as follows:
- We are having elections this week and specifically, we are looking for people to run for the positions of treasurer, secretary, and executive officer. If interested, e-mail Leah at firstname.lastname@example.org with the position for which you are a running and a quick blurb about why you qualify for the position.
- We have settled on using both proposed designs for our new t-shirts and if you'd like to know when those new shirts come in, please sign up for a t-shirt here
- We will be going on raptor surveys this Wednesday (3/30) but that is all filled up unless someone else can drive.
- Beast Feast is HAPPENING next month (4/22). Please RSVP here for the discounted price of $5. Entry will cost $10 after 4/15. You are eligible for free entry if you make a donation of either game meat or a dish which can be entered into the beast feast competition. To make a donation, please sign up here and don't forget to RSVP as well. Spread the word and feel free to share these links with everyone. This is after all our fundraising event so the more, the merrier.
- We re looking at a trapper education course sometime in April but unless more people are interested in Bowhunter Education, we will not be able to set up a course. Let us know what you're interested on this form.
Cleveland did his Master's work at the University of Montana with a focus on the wildland - urban interface (WUI) ecology. In WUIs, there are increasing opportunities for foraging at places like golf courses and mowed lawns. There's also a decreased predation risk in these areas because predators tend to avoid people. Cleveland's studies were done in the Grant Creek Reservation Area in Missoula, MT where the elk population growth is annually 10-12%. As the urban landscape became the elk's winter and summer range, the only cause of mortality became senescence. The aim of the study was to answer the following questions: "What are the indirect effects of hunting in the WUI?" and "Using GIS, can we identify migration corridors?" Implementing hunting was difficult due to home owner's associations not wanting elk being shot in backyards. With six hunters a week, only three elk were killed that year. Elk were collared with GPS and VAF collars by the usage of corral traps, clover traps and helicopters to obtain GIS data.The results showed that hunting influenced elk movement towards the National Wildlife Federation land, movement of elk were slower 750 meters from houses, and GPS data did indicate strings of movement between the WUI and National Wildlife Federation land. This data was used to work against subdivisions like those present in the WUI and gave the suggestion that subdivisions be separated at least a mile apart for elk movement.
Cleveland's work on the elk study allowed him to get a job at the Ranger school. Here in NY, he is doing his Ph.D. work studying the impact of climate change on snowshoe hare. He continues to work with his Montana associates to further this work, just as he used NY data and connections to do his Master's work in Montana. The snowshoe hare range extends into NY and Montana in their southern most range. They prefer old growth and early successional forests, and molt twice per year. This molting is influenced only by photoperiod and has no plasticity meaning that the warming weather has not altered the molting process in any way. Snowshoe hares continue to turn white in winter despite it being maladaptive during years of little snowfall. This also applies to Fishers which have a similar range. The questions of this study are about the snowshoe hare population, distribution, occupancy of fisher range overlap, effect of forestry management, effect of parasites and "Can the snowshoe hare cope with a warming climate?" Immediate results showed that two deaths during the winter were caused by predators and two deaths in the winter associated with over 100 ticks on both individuals. More research will be done in the coming years.