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About Dave Odell

Dave Odell (a.k.a Professor Duck) holds a Bachelors Degree in Zoology from Houghton College and a Masters Degree in Zoology (emphasis: wildlife management) from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York.

“Proud Grandfathers” – The 2021 New York White-Tailed Deer Hunting Season Opener

Saturday, November 20th was the opener of the regular gun season for deer here in New York. There have been a lot of firsts on our property here in the Finger Lakes region, and this year added to the growing list. My grandson, James, shot his first buck, a nice six pointer. My brother-in-law from Pennsylvania and his son normally join us. This [...]

By |2021-11-29T14:39:53-04:00November 29th, 2021|

Water, Water and More, You Guessed It…Water!

Well, like a good part of the country, we’ve had a LOT of rain here in the Finger Lakes Region of NY. So much so that there is flooding everywhere. The lower portion of my property, where I’ve restored about 8 acres of wetland and 12 acres of grassland, is bounded by the Clyde River and the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, so you [...]

By |2021-11-04T12:57:01-04:00October 31st, 2021|

A Deep Dive into “Mergansers”

Waterfowl seasons are underway across the country, and thousands of hunters are taking their harvested birds home to clean and eat. Puddle ducks like mallards, teal and wood ducks can provide delicious meals if prepared properly. Most people consider diving ducks a bit less tasty, but still worth the time to prepare with a favorite recipe. What I want to discuss is what [...]

By |2021-11-04T08:44:29-04:00October 17th, 2021|

Deer Ticks: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Hunters, hikers and anyone who spends time in the outdoors will inevitably encounters ticks. Ticks are arachnids (like spiders) that are external parasites living off the blood of animals. There are many kinds of ticks, but the dog tick and black-legged tick (aka deer tick) are carriers of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) and Lyme disease, respectively. As RMSF is quite rare, most [...]

By |2021-11-04T13:36:31-04:00July 20th, 2021|

“Survivors” – The Eastern Wild Turkey

The Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is a survivor. Pretty much the only thing it can’t survive is extensive habitat loss, as witnessed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the eastern deciduous forest was essentially gone from near total deforestation. When farming in marginal areas was abandoned and allowed to revert to forest, populations of wild turkeys rebounded. With help [...]

By |2021-03-19T16:29:05-04:00March 19th, 2021|

The Good, the Bad and the Coyote

Warning: Some of the images below may be a bit graphic and contain visuals of animal carcasses.  Earlier this Fall, a friend of mine arrowed a nice doe with his bow on my property in upstate New York with about 10 minutes of daylight left. He tracked it for about a hundred yards before he lost the trail in the darkness. We went [...]

By |2020-12-01T13:05:41-04:00December 1st, 2020|

The White-Tailed Deer Rut has Begun!

White-tailed deer are entering their breeding cycle, aka ‘the rut.’  Like all life, key aspects of their life cycles are triggered by changing day length. Known as the photoperiod, it is the major factor that determines things such as when antlers begin growing in the spring, or when testosterone levels ready the bucks for breeding in the fall. If you think about it, [...]

By |2020-10-19T16:12:57-04:00October 19th, 2020|

Wildlife Tracking Systems: A Look into MOTUS

Biologists and naturalists have always been fascinated by bird and other animal migration. In the past, bands or tags have been placed on birds or animals. In order to collect data about that creature, someone must find, harvest or re-capture the animal. Unfortunately, that only gives the scientist a few data points: when and where the animal is tagged, and when and where it is [...]

By |2020-09-24T10:45:33-04:00September 24th, 2020|

A Look into Artificial Nesting Structures

As a professional Wildlife Biologist and former NYSDEC Regional Wildlife Manager, I was always a bit reluctant to utilize artificial nesting structures, preferring to create or restore essential habitat. For many of the bird species of concern on state and federally managed lands, natural grasslands are the ticket. Mallards, Black Ducks and nearly all the rest of the puddle (dabbling) ducks nest in [...]

By |2020-03-31T20:01:22-04:00March 31st, 2020|

Freshwater Wetland Restoration: Part 2 – The Drawdown

Aerial shot of a marsh following drawdown Natural wetlands regularly undergo changes in response to weather patterns. Dry spring or summer weather for an extended period results in lower water levels. This normally brings about rather drastic (and beneficial) changes in the wetland’s water chemistry and also the vegetation. After long periods of time without a dry period, wetlands can become [...]

By |2020-01-31T18:27:19-04:00January 31st, 2020|
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