Got Nature? Blog

Posted on November 13th, 2019 in Forestry, How To, Nature of Teaching, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Six pieces of data to collect from deer you harvest this year
Deer season is upon us in Indiana! If you are a serious hunter and deer manager, here are some things you should consider collecting from deer you harvest. This data provides valuable insights to the deer herd condition, and when combined with hunter observation data and habitat data, like browse transects, you can get a clear picture of the deer herd and habitat quality on your property. However, one year of harvest data is unlikely to be much of value, but collecting data over multiple years can help you track trends in the herd and habitat quality.

What to collect
When you harvest a deer on your property you should consider collecting the following pieces of biological information:

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Lactation status
  • Antler measurements
  • Rumen contents

*Each deer you harvest should be assigned a unique ID number to be sure all the following data is assigned to the right deer.

Sex and Age
Collecting deer sex and age (based on tooth replacement and wear) can help you divide the rest of the data you collect into sex and age classes. Find out how to determine age by viewing Age Determination in White-Tailed Deer video. You do not Deer scalenecessarily have to age a deer to the exact year, but you should separate ages into at least 3 age classes; fawns, yearlings, and >= 2.5 years old. This can be important for tracking changes to the average weight per age class or average antler measurements per age class over time.

Weight
You can collect either live weights or dressed weights, but you should pick one or the other and collect all weights consistently. Be sure to test your scales for accuracy before weighing deer. Tracking changes to the average weight per age class can provide Lactation statusinformation about the nutritional status of the herd.

Lactation Status
Lactation status of does is often used as an index of fawn recruitment and can help determine if a doe had a fawn the summer preceding the hunting season. Lactation status for does harvested early in the season can be checked by squeezing the teats to produce milk you may need to cut into the mammary gland on does harvested later in the season to check lactation status.

Antler measurementsAntler measurement
Antler measurements should be collected from bucks harvested on your property, including yearlings. Find out how to measure the antlers by viewing How to Score Your White-Tailed Deer video.  At a minimum, you should collect the number of points on each antler and the basal circumference of the main beams.  You may also consider collecting the inside spread of the antlers and the main beam lengths. Additionally, you can collect the gross Boone & Crockett Score.

Rumen contents
Deer stool sampleThis piece of data can be helpful from a scouting and hunting aspect. Looking into the rumen of a deer can help you determine what deer may be eating during the portion of the year the deer was harvested. You may find green material (which can be hard to identify), corn, acorns, or whatever else deer may be consuming.

Things you need to collect harvest data
Here is a list of items you might need to collect data from harvested deer.

  • Jawbone extractor
  • Knife
  • Loppers
  • Scale
  • Jawbone tag or permanent marker
  • Flexible measuring tape
  • Datasheet (click here for a white-tailed deer harvest datasheet)

Putting all of this data together can give you a picture into the condition of the deer herd on your property. Collecting this data only takes a small amount of time and effort and the information you gather is well worth it! For more information of how to collect biological data from harvested deer, check out this video from Purdue Extension.

Help the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) collect biological data from harvested deer
Most of the data we discussed in this blog post and that is covered in the White-Tailed Deer Post Harvest Collection video, are data the Indiana DNR is collecting through an online post-harvest survey. This is a great opportunity for hunters to help the DNR collect data that will be used to manage the deer herd throughout the state. More information about the after the hunt survey can be found by visiting the Indiana DNR Deer After Hunt Survey page. If you are successful in harvesting a deer in Indiana this year, be sure to check your email for a link to the survey.

Additional Resources:
Age Determination in White-Tailed Deer video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
How to Score Your White-Tailed Deer video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
White-Tailed Deer Post Harvest Collection video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
White-Tailed Deer Harvest Log (pdf), Purdue Extension-FNR
Indiana Deer Hunting, Biology and Management, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
2018 Indiana Hunting and Trapping Guide, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Managing White-Tailed Deer: Collecting Data from Harvested Deer, Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Prepare Now to Collect Deer Harvest Data, Quality Deer Management Association

Jarred Brooke, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Department of Forestry & Natural Resource, Purdue University


REEU Activities

Photos: Megan Gunn (mlgunn@purdue.edu)

This past summer marked the first year of the Research and Extension Experiential Learning for Undergraduates (REEU) program at Purdue University. This program entitled “Diversity in Faces, Spaces and Places” was designed to increase visibility of underrepresented students and professionals in Natural Resource sciences disciplines and provide targeted mentorship to current underrepresented undergraduates.

During this PAID 8-week summer program, students were exposed to and participated in a plethora of activities such as: stream ecosystem health evaluation, mammalian tracking and trapping, reptile and amphibian habitat suitability studies, avian mist-netting, bat auditory identification and examination, and the role of genetics in the susceptibility of trees to disease. Students created posters of their research, gave oral presentations, and wrote a manuscript article on their chosen topic of study at the end of the program. Be a part of the fun next year!

REEU Activities

Photos: Megan Gunn (mlgunn@purdue.edu)

View The Familiar Faces Project blog and learn more about the experiences in REEU. Contact Dr. Liz Flaherty or Megan Gunn for information on how you can participate!

Dr. Liz Flaherty
eflaher@purdue.edu
765.494.3567

Ms. Megan Gunn
mlgunn@purdue.edu
765.276.7102

Other faculty involved in the program: Ximena Bernal, associate professor, Purdue Biological Sciences; Reuben Goforth, associate professor of aquatic ecosystems, Purdue FNR; Shaneka Lawson, USDA Forest Service, HTIRC Research Plant Physiologist & Adjunct Assistant Professor; Zhao Ma,  associate professor of natural resource social science, Purdue FNR; and Marisol Sepulveda, professor of ecology and natural systems, Purdue FNR.

Resources
Considerations for Trapping Nuisance Wildlife with Box Traps, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Benefits of Connecting with Nature, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store
August is National Tree Check Month: Are YOUR trees safe and secure?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue FNR Extension
Bats in the Belfry, Got Nature? Blog

Shaneka Lawson, USDA Forest Service/HTIRC Research Plant Physiologist/Adjunct Assistant Professor
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on August 22nd, 2019 in Alert, Forestry, Safety, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in deer

Deer that die from EHD are often found around water. This deer was found in August 2019 in Crawford County and was likely killed by EHD. Photo courtesy of Brody Wade.

Be on the watch for deer with EHD in Indiana
Recently, a white-tailed deer in Clarke County Indiana tested positive for Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), and potential EHD cases have been reported in 26 other Indiana counties. Here are a few things you should know about how EHD, how to spot it, and how to report it.

What is EHD and BTV?
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) and bluetongue virus (BTV) are viral diseases, collectively called hemorrhagic diseases (HD), and are common in white-tailed deer. Both diseases are transmitted by biting midges often called “no-see-ums” or gnats. Neither disease is a human health issue, but they can cause significant mortality in white-tailed deer. Outbreaks of HD tend to impact deer populations locally, meaning an outbreak may occur in one part of a county but not in other parts.

When do EHD outbreaks occur?
EHD and BTV outbreaks often occur in late summer and early fall (August-September), especially in years with drought-like conditions. Drought causes water sources to shrink, which creates warm, shallow, and stagnant pockets of water creating ideal breeding habitat for the midges that transmit EHD. Deer also congregate in these areas to find water, which helps the midges pass the disease between infected and healthy deer. EHD outbreaks can last until a frost that kills the midges.

What are the signs of a deer with EHD?
Deer with EHD often appear weak, lethargic, and disoriented. Other signs of EHD in deer are ulcers in the mouth or on the tongue, swollen face, neck, or eyelids, and a bluish color to the tongue. Deer with EHD often search for water to combat the fever caused by the disease. EHD can be confirmed by testing blood and tissue (i.e., spleen) samples, but samples must be collected shortly after death.

Where am I likely to find a deer with EHD?
Because deer with EHD often seek out water to combat the resulting fever, deer killed by EHD are commonly found around water. If you have a stream, creek, river, or other source of water on your property, looking in the vicinity of those areas can help you locate deer that have succumb to EHD.

What do I do if I find a deer I think has EHD?
If you come across a sick or dead deer that you think has EHD you can report it through an online reporting system run by the Indiana DNR. Here is a link to the reporting system: Report a Dead or Sick Deer.

Can deer survive an EHD outbreak?
Yes, some deer will survive EHD. While up to 90% of deer that contract EHD may die from the disease, the deer that survive build up antibodies to EHD, which may make them immune to future outbreaks. Additionally, does may pass the antibodies and immunity to their offspring.

Deer hooves, chronic HD

Sloughing or splitting hooves on two or more feet of a deer taken during the fall hunting season are typlical of chronic HD. Photo courtesy of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study.

How can I tell if a deer I killed during hunting season has survived EHD?
If you kill a deer during the hunting season this year, pay attention to the hooves. Deer that survive an EHD outbreak often have indentions or cracks on their hooves (see picture).

Sloughing or splitting hooves on two or more feet of a deer taken during the fall hunting season are typlical of chronic HD. Photo used courtesy of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study.

Are deer that have survived EHD safe to eat?
Yes, deer that have survived EHD are safe to eat.

For updated information on EHD in Indiana check out the Indiana DNR – Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease web page.

Resources:
Report a Sick or Dead Deer, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN-DNR)
EHD Virus in Deer: How to Detect and Report video, Quality Deer Management Association
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (pdf),  Cornell University
How to Score Your White-Tailed Deer video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
Deer Harvest Data Collection, Purdue FNR Got Nature? blog

Jarred Brooke, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on August 12th, 2019 in Alert, How To, Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »

INDNR Division of Fish & Wildlife Wild Bulletin: You can now purchase your 2019-20 deer hunting bucklicenses. Don’t wait until right before the season! A valid Indiana deer hunting license, resident youth hunt/trap, or comprehensive lifetime hunting license is required to hunt for deer unless you meet one of the license exemptions. License exemptions can be found on the Hunting and Trapping Guide webpage. All deer harvested in Indiana must be reported within 48 hours of the time of harvest at an on-site check station, online at the Indiana Online Game Check webpage, through your Indiana Fish & Wildlife Account or by phone at 1-800-419-1326. On-site check stations information can be found on the DNR: Indiana Hunting Check Stations webpage.

Season dates and deer hunting FAQs can be found at deer.dnr.IN.gov. Deer licenses can be purchased at an authorized retailer or online at on.IN.gov/inhuntfish.

The deer reduction zone season starts Sept. 15 in designated locations. Deer Reduction Zones, previously called urban zones, give hunters opportunities to harvest deer in defined urban areas and along portions of Indiana highways, in addition to statewide bag limits. More information of deer reduction zone can be found on the DNR: Deer Reduction Zone webpage.

Other Resources
Age Determination in White-Tailed Deer video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
How to Score Your White-Tailed Deer video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
White-Tailed Deer Post Harvest Collection video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
Indiana Deer Hunting, Biology and Management, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
2019-20 Indiana Hunting and Trapping Guide, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Managing White-Tailed Deer: Collecting Data from Harvested Deer, Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Prepare Now to Collect Deer Harvest Data, Quality Deer Management Association

Indiana Department of Natural Resources/Department of Fish and Wildlife


With all of the recent rain we have had throughout the state,raccoon close-up I have received several inquiries about effects on wildlife and what we can expect.  While some flooding is natural in low areas and wildlife are adapted to respond, extreme flooding can impact wildlife. Flood waters can wash away nests or drown developing or very young animals for those living in low-lying areas. For example, heavy spring rains can reduce nest success of wild turkeys.

In many cases, wildlife will adapt by simply moving to higher ground. I tend to get an increase in inquiries about snakes after flooding. They begin showing up in neighborhood homes when they have never been observed in years past. Certainly our environment changes over time and wildlife can and do respond to these changes.  However, sudden changes are likely due to a response of snakes moving to drier ground. The good news is this and other similar displacement of wildlife is usually temporary.

What can we do?  I’m afraid not much for our currently flooded friends. However, in the long-term, times like this reinforce the need to create and enhance quality wildlife habitat. Providing wildlife with quality habitat that contains the necessary food, cover and water resources gives them a fighting chance to deal with issues that inevitably arise. In addition, wetlands that landowners build and restore on their properties not only enhance wildlife habitat, but also help retain moderate flood waters and recharge groundwater supplies.

If some unwanted wildlife has overstayed their welcome in and around your home, check out the Purdue Education Store publication, Considerations for Trapping Nuisance Wildlife with Box Traps. If you think you have found a sick or injured animal, you can find a list of licensed Wild Animal Rehabilitators in your area on the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Orphaned and Injured webpage. In Indiana, wildlife rehabilitators have necessary state and federal permits to house and care for sick or injured wild animals.

Additional Resources
Preventing Wildlife Damage – Do You Need a Permit? The Education Store, Purdue Extension
The Basics of Managing Wildlife on Agricultural Lands​, The Education Store, Purdue Extension

Brian J. MacGowan, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University


Cockroaches are serious threats to human health. They carry dozens of types of bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, that can sicken people. And the saliva, feces and body parts they leave behind may not only trigger allergies and asthma but could cause the condition in some children.

cockroach in lab

A German cockroach feeds on an insecticide in the laboratory portion of a Purdue University study that determined the insects are gaining cross-resistance to multiple insecticides at one time. (Photo by John Obermeyer/Purdue Entomology)

A Purdue University study led by Michael Scharf, professor and O.W. Rollins/Orkin Chair in the Department of Entomology, now finds evidence that German cockroaches (Blattella germanica L.) are becoming more difficult to eliminate as they develop cross-resistance to exterminators’ best insecticides. The problem is especially prevalent in urban areas and in low-income or federally subsidized housing where resources to effectively combat the pests aren’t as available.

“This is a previously unrealized challenge in cockroaches,” said Scharf, whose findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. “Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone.”

Each class of insecticide works in a different way to kill cockroaches. Exterminators will often use insecticides that are a mixture of multiple classes or change classes from treatment to treatment. The hope is that even if a small percentage of cockroaches is resistant to one class, insecticides from other classes will eliminate them.

Scharf and his study co-authors set out to test those methods at multi-unit buildings in Indiana and Illinois over six months. In one treatment, three insecticides from different classes were rotated into use each month for three months and then repeated. In the second, they used a mixture of two insecticides from different classes for six months. In the third, they chose an insecticide to which cockroaches had low-level starting resistance and used it the entire time.

In each location, cockroaches were captured before the study and lab-tested to determine the most effective insecticides for each treatment, setting up the scientists for the best possible outcomes.

“If you have the ability to test the roaches first and pick an insecticide that has low resistance, that ups the odds,” Scharf said. “But even then, we had trouble controlling populations.”

For full article: Rapid cross-resistance bringing cockroaches closer to invincibility.

Resources
Report Invasive Species, Purdue Agriculture & Indiana Invasive Species Council
Purdue experts encourage ‘citizen scientists’ to report invasive species, Purdue Agriculture News
New Hope for Fighting Ash Borer, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources
Mile-a-Minute Invasive Vine Found Indiana, Got Nature? Blog
Sericea Lespedeza: Plague on the Prairie, Got Nature? Blog

Michael E. Scharf, Professor and O.W. Rollins/Orkin Chair
Purdue Department of Entomology

Brian J. Wallheimer, Science Writer
Purdue College of Agriculture


man with fishing polesJune 2019 IDNR Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter: Ever hooked a fish that left you scratching your head? There is now an easy way to help identify your catch. Just use the DNR Fish Identification Form to submit a request and email a photo or video. Not only will you be able to settle disputes, but we can also receive important location information for rare species.

Completion of this form is voluntary. Data submitted may be shared within DNR and partners with the discretion of DNR staff. Personal information will be used to process your observation and may also be used for participation in surveys and other secondary purposes. A fisheries biologist may contact you with questions about your observation or to set up a site visit to verify authenticity details of any photos submitted.

What we’re looking for in fish ID photos:

  1. A picture of the entire fish with something in it to reference size (e.g., ruler, coin)
  2. Close up of any unique features of the fish

Please email photos to fishid@dnr.IN.gov in medium size .jpeg file format. Videos should be .mp4, wmv or .mov and less than 10 MB in size.

Resources
Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Fishing Guide and Regulations, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
List of Indiana Fishes, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Recreational Fishing and Fish Consumption, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
A Fish Farmer’s Guide to Understanding Water Quality, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


Salmon and Trout of the Great Lakes: A Visual Identification GuideThe Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources Extension have recently released a new publication through The Education Store. This collaborative publication is a visual identification guide on salmon and trout of the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes are home to eight species of salmon and trout. These species can be difficult to distinguish from each other as they overlap in their distributions and change appearance depending on their habitat and the time of year. This illustrated, peer-reviewed, two-page guide, courtesy of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, shows important body features and helpful tips to identify and distinguish between salmon and trout species in the Great Lakes.

View the Salmon and Trout of the Great Lakes: A Visual Identification Guide on The Education Store-Purdue Extension. See below for other related publications and websites.

Resources
A Fish Farmer’s Guide to Understanding Water Quality, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store
DNR Fish Identification Form, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, IISG Homepage

Mitchell Zischke, Clinical Assistant Professor
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on June 27th, 2019 in Wildlife | No Comments »
Coyote

Coyote (Canis latrans) – Photo by Alfred Viola, Northeastern University, Bugwood.org

Question
Can you help me identify the canids that live on my farm? Are they “coyote” or “coywolf”? I have taken photos of the pups and have been confused on trying to identify them from articles I have found online. One article I found suggests a “coywolf” is something unusual; but another article I found suggests every canid we refer to in Indiana as “coyote” is actually a “coywolf” hybrid rather than a “true” coyote.  I would like to know. Thank you.

Answer
Thanks for submitting this question. You are correct that many of the online articles we find are confusing and contradicting, and if I might add often just plain wrong.  The truth is all coyotes east of the Mississippi River have some level of wolf genes as well as domestic dog genes.  What is recent, is that this was discovered regarding wolf genes.  Not because of a recent hybridization event, but that new genetic technologies (specifically, next gen sequencing) allowed researchers to detect this.  Coyotes we have now are no different than they were 50 years ago.  The term coywolf is a poor term at best.  It is misleading and its use should be avoided. News outlets use it because it captures viewers attention.

In terms of variation in size and current hybridization, these things can happen but are very rare. The size of coyotes, as with people or any other animal species, can be extreme for a rare individual.  However, the vast majority are within a normal range.  Published weights of coyotes average 13 to 15 kg.  So on average, coyotes in Maine are about 5 lbs heavier than those in Indiana. So a typical adult coyote is 28 to 33 lbs, you do find one that is 40 lbs or even approaches 50 lbs total. Wolves are capable of breeding with coyotes, but they will most often run them off or kill them as competitors for  shared resources.  Also, we don’t have any wolves around either.

Stan Gerht is a researcher from Ohio State.  His team has studied coyotes in the Chicagoland area for years.  They have a lot of good information about them at the Urban Coyote Research website.

Resources
Should I Be Worried About Coyotes In My Yard?, Got Nature? Blog
Urban Coyotes – Should You Be Concerned?, Got Nature? Blog
Urban Coyote Research Center, Urban Coyote Ecology & Managenet, Cook County, Illinois
Dealing with Nuisance Coyotes, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)-Fish and Wildlife
Coyotes a Constant Problem in Indy Suburbs, IndyStar
Dealing with Nuisance Coyotes, INDNR
Coyotes, Wildlife Conflicts, Department of Entomology, Purdue University

Brian MacGowan, Wildlife Extension Specialist & Extension Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources Extension


 

When encountering turtles, it is important to leave them alone to ensure their safety in their natural habitat. Several of Indiana’s turtle species are illegal to takeEastern box turtle or possess, including the Eastern box turtle (pictured right). Unless a turtle needs assistance crossing a road, it should never be picked up or moved.

What should be kept in mind if you encounter a turtle who may need help?

People often encounter nesting females on roads during May and June. If a female is taken out of the wild, she can no longer add to the population.

Turtles are long-lived species and have significant care requirements. Captive turtles cannot be released into the wild. They can introduce diseases or parasites to the wild population, and they will likely not survive.

You can help turtles cross the road. Always move the turtle across the direction that it was heading.

Any turtle collected from the wild requires either a legal license or permit and all reptile eggs and endangered species or species of special concern are protected.

View the resources below on reptiles and amphibians along with Indiana’s regulations answering any questions you may have for collection, handling and conservation efforts.

Resources:
Turtles of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana, The Education Store
Reptile and Amphibian Regulations, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Eastern Box Turtle Information, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


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