Paul McCarney

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When the naturalist and ornithologist George Ord formally named pronghorn in 1815, he was unsure whether the species was an antelope or a goat. In the journals of their famous expedition from 1804-1806, Lewis and Clark made over 200 references to what they described as “wild goats or antelopes”. Pronghorns are also featured in the petroglyphs and pictographs of Indigenous nations throughout the continent. Over the years, and perhaps serving as a… Read More

It is a generally accepted truth among hunters that heavy winters with deep snow are bad for deer, making it especially difficult for them to evade predators like wolves and coyotes. As I was looking for some recent science that might be interesting to hunters, I came across a new study about boreal woodland caribou that sheds some new light on the effects of snow depth and wolf predation on calf recruitment…. Read More

I have no real personal connection with wild sheep (Ovis spp.). I’ve never seen one, eaten one, and know relatively little about them. Perhaps because of this lack of opportunity to interact with them on some personal level, I’m somewhat fascinated by them. At least a part of this fascination has to do with some pretty remarkable life history, physical characteristics, and habits of the species. I’ve also been reading some pieces by Canadian biologist Valerius… Read More

I don’t believe that science is detached from the social, cultural, and political implications of the knowledge it produces; however, these posts are intended to specifically focus on recent updates in scientific knowledge concerning species that hunters might be interested in. In an effort to keep these posts focused and concise, therefore, this post is a two-parter. The research paper I’m talking about here relates to a hotly debated and highly emotive… Read More

As a hunter and outdoorsman, I’m fascinated by wildlife and ecology. Not surprisingly, I have a particular interest in understanding everything I can get my hands on about North American wildlife, especially those species that are also important table-fare in various communities. This first post may be somewhat removed from the regions and species many of us hunt, but I chose this story because it’s a species that is relevant to the areas I work… Read More

This post was sparked by a recent piece written by Steven Rinella, who discussed the terminology and legalities of endangered species in the United States. While the U.S. and Canadian contexts have many similarities, I thought it might be interesting to offer some information on the ecological and legal meanings of the various species at risk classifications in Canada. I’ve also encountered more than one comment that a particular hunted species is endangered, so there is at least some… Read More

I have a enormous sense of affection for wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo). I cringe every time I hear someone say that wild turkeys are ugly, unintelligent, or otherwise unworthy of our admiration. More than likely, if someone thinks a wild turkey is ugly, that person has probably never been up close to one. The colour of their feathers is almost impossible to pinpoint and when examined up close on a sunny day, has a… Read More

This post was written by a good friend of mine, Caleb Musgrave. Caleb and I have hunted together, spent time working in the woods, and discussed a range of topics related to hunting and wildlife. Caleb runs Canadian Bushcraft and he has a depth of knowledge about being in the outdoors. One of his skills is tracking, and he wanted to give an introduction to some of the things we should understand to become a… Read More

One of the things I frequently discuss with other hunters is the importance of public perceptions of hunting. I would imagine that most non-hunters never personally witness or participate in a hunt, meaning that their perception of hunting is developed through their perception of hunters. This means that the way we portray ourselves and represent hunting has impacts on the future of the activity (since hunting is affected by laws that are determined by… Read More

As a hunter, I am simultaneously a conservationist. My understanding of this role includes everything one associates with the concept of conservation: naturalist, animal lover, environmentalist, manager, activist. Here, I want to articulate how I conceptualize the relationship between my motivation to hunt and my role in conservation. In other words, how can hunting be enacted as land ethic? The term “land ethic” was coined by Aldo Leopold. According to Aldo Leopold, humans… Read More