Biologists, volunteers gather for a Bat Blitz

If you want to see the stars, go to Tonopah. Because of its lack of big city lights, this small community located midway between Las Vegas and Reno has a reputation for being one of the best places in the world to do some stargazing. But stars aren’t the only things in the central Nevada sky that people come to see. They also come for bats.

Recently the remote areas near Tonopah served as the focal point of the first Nevada Bat Blitz, a significant effort to gather bat population data and to determine whether bats are using abandoned mines that dot the desert landscape southwest of Tonopah. To accomplish this task, biologists and volunteers from multiple government agencies gathered together to count bats as they emerged

Tonopah has some of the darkest skies in the world, so it wasn’t an easy task to see the bats. Digital cameras with infrared lights were set up at the entrance to each mine to capture the bats’ exodus on videotape beginning at sunset.

Studies should increase in coming years, giving scientists more information about local bat species.


High-altitude hunting challenge scheduled

Hunters looking to test their skills this fall may want to try one of Nevada’s most challenging hunts. It takes place at elevations in the neighborhood of 10,000 feet where the air is thin and the terrain will test your physical conditioning. The quarry? A grouse-sized bird called the Himalayan Snowcock.

Native to central Asia, the snowcock was first introduced into Nevada in 1963, when the Nevada Department of wildlife released 19 birds from Pakistan into the Ruby Mountains. From 1965 to 1979, the department released a total of 2,025 Himalayan Snowcock into the wild. The first open hunting season was held in 1980 with an initial bag and possession limit of a single bird. That has since increased to two.

The snowcock hunting season begins Sept. 1 and runs through Nov. 30.


Archery seasons open to extreme fire danger

As hunters take to the field this weekend for the opening of antelope archery hunts, they are reminded to exercise caution because of the extremely dry conditions across the Silver State.

Nevada currently has a number of fires burning across the state, including two large fires, well over 100,000 acres each, near Elko. These fires could well prove disastrous to wildlife, and Department of Wildlife is asking hunters and other members of the public to do all they can to reduce impacts to fire-affected areas and avoid accidental fire ignitions.

Avoid driving off-road through dry brush or grass as the hot vehicle exhaust can easily ignite the tinder-dry materials.

Go without campfires. Smokers should dispose of their cigarettes properly.


Poacher sentenced, fined in mule deer case

A Sparks man was sentenced for a gross misdemeanor in Reno District Court Thursday for illegally killing and possessing a mule deer doe in Northern Washoe County, Oct. 21, 2006.

Miguel A. Larios-Campos, 36, of Sparks was assessed a criminal fine of $1,000 and ordered to forfeit a quad runner valued at more than $5,000 that was used in the crime. He was also ordered to forfeit the rifle he used to illegally shoot the animal.

Concerned sportsmen can report wildlife violations to Operation Game Thief at (800) 992-3030. To learn more about game wardens and wildlife in Nevada visit NDOW on the Web at www.ndow.org.

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