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New red wolf pup at LBL beginning to be seen

By STEVE VANTREESE

The rare pair of red wolves in the captive breeding program at the Land Between the Lakes' Woodlands Nature Station has fulfilled part of its mission.

The two adults have made another red wolf.

Indeed, a new pup â “ a tiny female wolf born to the assumedly proud parents â “ has begun to emerge from the den in the endangered canines' enclosure.

Nature Station manager Darrin Samborski said the pup only recently has gained the mobility and bravado to move from the den into view inside the enclosure under close watch of her parent critters.

"As she gets older and braver, the little pup will become more visible," Samborski said. "Right now she is still hard to see."

Plans for the new red wolf, one of the most endangered of all mammals, are to keep her with her parents for at least a year and a half. After gaining that much growth and maturity, the young canine will be transferred to another U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-sanctioned facility, where she will get the opportunity to help start a new pack.

The female pup is especially important to the Red Wolf Recovery Program because she carries the genetics of her sire, the male at the Nature Station, which is nearing the end of his expected lifetime. Red wolves usually don't live past age 14, and the daddy wolf of the LBL-captive pair is 13 years old.

The new puppy carries some genetic diversity that, without the birth, would likely be lost within the foreseeable future.

Red wolves are a native predator in this region and over most of the southeastern United States. They essentially were eliminated here by habitat loss and human persecution in the mid 1800s.

Red wolves are long gone from the wild here, and there are no plans for them to be re-established even with major successes in the captive breeding programs in various locations. The only red wolves surviving in the wild nowadays are a relative few in an area of northeastern North Carolina where limited releases have allowed an isolated population.

â ¢ Today, the first day of summer, puts to rest Kentucky's statewide spring squirrel hunting season. That ended Friday, appropriately with the final day of spring.

Aside from the ongoing bullfrog season, no official season for a game species is open until squirrels come back in for the traditional hunting period that runs from late summer deeply into the winter. Indeed, the regular squirrel season opens on the third Saturday in August â “ Aug. 16 this year â “ and continues through Feb. 28.

â ¢ Pending approval of a new regulation by Kentucky's state legislature, beginning next spring snagging fishermen and bowfishers who take paddlefish in Kentucky waters will be required to report the taking of the long-billed fish.

A regulation recently passed by the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission calls for a free, phone-in reporting system similar to that by which hunters presently report deer and turkey harvests.

Also, a paddlefish harvest permit â “ a free one, but nonetheless a required permit â “ would be made available via the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources for the taking of paddlefish.

The measures, if finalized by the state General Assembly, would go into effect March 1, 2015.

The paddlefish harvest regulations were approved in response to federal, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerns that paddlefish may be subject of overharvest â “ and Kentucky presently has no real means to monitor the taking of the primitive, slow-growing species.

â ¢ Bowhunters who aren't Illinoisans but who seek to hunt deer in Illinois this fall and winter can apply for non-resident combination archery permits nowadays, but not for long. The application period only runs through June 30.

A non-resident can seek a 2014-15 archery permit via the Internet by going to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website, www.dnr.illinois.gov, and clicking on tabs for hunting, deer and non-resident archery hunting.

Both resident and non-resident hunters also can apply for the second lottery drawing of this year's Illinois firearms and muzzleloader-only deer hunting permits through June 30. The application deadline for this is the same as for the non-resident archery permit drawing.

Applications for firearms and muzzleloader-only permits can be made through the same website by clicking on hunting, deer, and pages for online deer permit inquiry.

Steve Vantreese is a freelance outdoors writer. E-mail outdoors news items to outdoors@paducahsun.com or phone 270-575-8650.

SNbS

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