Friday, November 20, 2015

Beaver Dams Control Nitrogen Flow in Northeastern Rivers

And I thought beaver dams were just great wildlife and fish habitat! Eric

Beaver Dams Control Nitrogen Flow in Northeastern Rivers

By Joshua Rapp Learn

Image Credit: David Smith, licensed by cc 2.0
Beavers may be providing watersheds a service by removing some of the agricultural nitrogen runoff in northeast rivers.
“There’s a huge concern about the amount of nutrients of our lands that get into coastal waters,” said Arthur Gold, a professor and chair of the Department of Natural Resources Science at the University of Rhode Island and coauthor of a study published recently in theJournal of Environmental Quality.
Read more at the TWS web site

Friday, November 13, 2015

Global Anti-Poaching Act Passed by House

Global Anti-Poaching Act Passed by House

By Zachary Sheldon

Poaching of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in South Africa increased by 21% from 2013 to 2014.
Image Credit: Ray Morris, licensed by cc 2.0
On 2 November the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2494, the “Global Anti-Poaching Act”. The bill passed by voice vote after 23 minutes of speeches in favor of the act.
Describing the importance of the bill, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) said, “The very disturbing reality is that some of the world’s most majestic animals have become ‘blood currency’ for rebel groups and terrorist organizations in Africa,” adding, “Time isn’t on our side. Each day of inaction means more animals poached and more cash for terrorists.”
The legislation seeks action against wildlife trafficking through three main avenues: strengthening and expanding wildlife enforcement networks; punishing countries failing to make efforts to combat wildlife trafficking; and increasing the penalties of wildlife trafficking.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

This Week on "Randy Newberg Unfiltered"

From the Outdoor Wire
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
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BOZEMAN, Mont. – On the latest episode of "Randy Newberg Unfiltered"radio show, host Randy Newberg chats with Jim Pozewitz, long time friend, conservationist and founder of Orion – the Hunter's Institute.

The show is available now on RandyNewberg.Com, iTunes and Stitcher,
"We referred to this podcast as the Poz-cast since Jim and I go way back and talk, unfiltered, on hunter responsibilities and how conservation is led by hunters and their success," said Newberg. "Jim is a leader in the conservation field as many of his books and papers on conservation are still used today by state wildlife agencies, schools and more."

Newberg talks with Pozewitz on the "Dirty Thirties," which is the start of the conservation movement with key leader, President Theodore Roosevelt. The duo dissects Roosevelt's legacy, beginning with his start in forming a relationship with government and society to better land and wildlife.

Learn more at RandyNewberg.Com, http://Instagram.Com/RandyNewbergHunter

About Randy Newberg, Hunter: Randy Newberg is the voice of the public land hunter in America. Decades of hunting all species across public lands has provided both the experience and perspective that has allowed him to become the leading advocate for the self-guided hunter; hunters dependent upon public lands for hunting access. With his popular TV show, Leupold's Fresh Tracks with Randy Newberg airing on Sportsman Channel, accompanied by the long-standing Hunt Talk web forum, Newberg is looked to for advocacy and leadership as hunting and access issues become politicized. Now added to those platforms is the Hunt Talk Podcast where Newberg discusses relevant issues to hunters - unfiltered. Visit RandyNewberg.Com to download the bi-weekly podcast, information to download the weekly TV show and log in to the Hunt Talk forum. Subscribe to Randy Newberg's YouTube channel to get tips, behind the scenes, and ideas for the western big game hunter. Learn more at RandyNewberg.Com, and http://Instagram.Com/RandyNewbergHunter

Michelle Scheuermann, BulletProof Communications LLC, 651.964.0264;

Monday, August 31, 2015

A hunter's elevator speech

If you had less than a minute to tell a stranger what drives your love of hunting, fishing and wild places, what would you say?
Here is what a small group of us in the Eastern Chapter of the Backcountry Hunter's and Angler's came up with.

We unite avid outdoors people who enjoy getting off the trail, and who hunt and fish following strong conservation ethics.

Grounded in the views of Aldo Leopold and Theodore Roosevelt, we value the full range of wild flora and fauna, from apex predators to invertebrates. We believe that what we do as hunters and anglers must put  the good of the environment first. We are vocal about conservation policy, speaking up for wildlife and wild places. We look for common ground where hunters, anglers, and environmentalists can work together.

Whether we hunt and fish in the West, the East, or both, we value the “backcountry ideal”—the quiet and solitude of wild places near and far, large and small. We see ourselves as full participants in the natural world and enjoy being immersed in it.

Firmly embracing ethical hunting and fishing practices, we honor the animals and fish we pursue. We voluntarily limit our use of off-road vehicles and other gadgets, and also limit our take.
From wild places across the nation to Washington, DC, we are boots-on-the-ground people. We make a difference by caring and by being involved.

Monday, July 13, 2015

New ethics campaign

The new hunter ethics campaign being launched by one group of Montana volunteers is simply the latest step in what will likely be a long process to educate hunters and nonhunters alike.

Last week the Citizen Advisory Committee for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ region 3 announced the official plan for its Hunt Right campaign. The goal is to promote ethical hunting and educate nonhunters to the fact that the vast majority of sportsmen and women keep ethics at the forefront of their mind while out in the field.

Note: Orion board member Thomas Baumeister is involved with this effort with other Orion member input.

To find out more information about the Hunt Right campaign, look at their Facebook page at or go to a website set up for them by the Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation at

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Final 'Waters of the U.S.' Rule Represents Victory for Sportsmen, Fish and Wildlife, Clean Water

Thank you EPA and Army Corps for your 3 2WASHINGTON - A highly anticipated rule that would enhance critical fish and wildlife habitat, improve the nation's supply of drinking water and restore clarity to the federal Clean Water Act was finalized this morning, eliciting praise from business owners and sportsmen's groups, including Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.
Today's announcement by the administration concludes a multi-stakeholder process aimed at eliminating confusion surrounding the scope of the Clean Water Act. The resulting "Waters of the U.S." rule reflects a lengthy and comprehensive vetting process, including more than 1 million public comments. Widely supported by citizens, sportsmen and outdoor-focused businesses, it represents a practical approach that addresses the needs of both industry and the general populace.
"The release by the administration of the final Waters of the U.S. rule culminates an unprecedented effort to restore clarity to a bedrock natural resources law, the federal Clean Water Act," said BHA Executive Director Land Tawney. "The rule will conserve resources important to our fish, our wildlife, our citizens - and to the waters and wetlands that are central to our national identity.
"A chorus of ducks can be heard quacking from the wetlands where waterfowl are busy nesting and rearing their young, and fishtail slap high-fives are surfacing on the headwaters of our nation's most precious trout and salmon streams," continued Tawney, an avid waterfowler and angler. "These are some of the key habitats protected via the Waters of the U.S. rule. We thank the administration for persevering in the face of unrelenting opposition to sustain these places - and the outdoor opportunities they provide - for future generations to experience and enjoy."   

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stewardship and the Hunt

From the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers website

The following is a talk given by Dr. George N. Wallace at Colorado State University's (CSU) College of Natural Resources Fall Seminar Series on "The Culture of Stewardship", December 9th, 2004. George is an active BHA member and retired CSU professor.
george wallaceI know that the number of fishery and wildlife biology students that hunt has declined and are perhaps now a minority. I am going to propose that hunting can contribute to land stewardship and foster a commitment to land health as it has for many noted conservationists - though it does not always do so.
Read on - it is worth the time!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sara the Bear Has 105 Descendants

From the Bangor Daily News:

Bear cub Image Courtesy of Randy Cross/Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Sara the bear and her prodigious family left an incredible impression on biologists in Maine who have been studying the animals for decades. While Sara died in 1987, seven years after first being studied by biologists, 15 of her black bear (Ursus americanus) descendants have been collared and are being tracked by biologists with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries. Now, five generations of cubs trace their lineage back to Sara. The sheer amount of cubs that have come from Sara may be partly due to abnormal longevity in the family line, according to Randy Cross, a biologist with the Department and a member of The Wildlife Society.
Read more at the Bangor Daily News.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Birdwatchers, Hunters Train Their Scopes on Conservation

March 9, 2015 |  

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

A group of men stand birdwatching. (Ryan Hagerty/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia)
Sparked by Richard Louv’s book on Nature-Deficit Disorder, many organizations, agencies, teachers and the White House have made the push to get people outside for the benefit of their mental and physical health. Now there is another reason: to benefit environmental health. In a new study my colleagues and I show that outdoor recreationists—in this case, birdwatchers and hunters—are more likely than non-recreationists to carry out conservation activities.
We chose to publish the paper in the Journal of Wildlife Management because state wildlife agencies have a long history of designing programs for their hunting

Saturday, December 13, 2014

California wildlife managers ban prizes for competitive hunts

The California Fish and Game Commission voted last week to prohibit rewards for hunting contests involving species such as coyotes and foxes, classified by the state as non-game species or furbearers. Previously cash and merchandise prizes were awarded in competitions, often termed “predator derbies”, for contestants who harvested the most animals. The ban will not prohibit hunting the species, nor will it prohibit trophy hunts for game animals such as deer.
Read more about the ban at Reuters.

Before approving the measure, California Fish and Game President Michael Sutton said awarding prizes for killing the largest number of coyotes and other creatures was unethical and that such contests “are an anachronism and have no place in modern wildlife management.”

Note from Eric - The quote from Sutton above brings out an interesting nuance - it seems like he is saying that the attitude or mind set of the hunter is important as it relates to ethics. If you are doing it for fame or money primarily it is unethical. If you do it for challenge and utilization of the animal (honoring the animal) it is ethical.  

In a recent discussion on the controversial Idaho derby one of the Orion board members said this

Todd Wilkinson recently published an excellent piece that addresses several of the questions you raise below, Eric. I highly recommend it to all:

One of the most interesting observations of the researchers upon whom he is reporting is that most hunters of conventional game animals (i.e. those that will become meat) report deep feelings of empathy with their prey, whereas predator hunting seems to be rooted in a lack of empathy. Ironic, to say the very least.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Man Charged for Feeding Bears

Press Release

For Immediate Release:  July 15, 2014
Media Contact:  Col. David LeCours, 802-828-1529; Forrest Hammond, 802-885-8832

Man Charged for Feeding Bears

MONTGOMERY, Vt. -- A Montgomery Vermont man was charged by the Fish & Wildlife Department for intentionally feeding bears.   

Jeffrey Messier, 54, of Black Falls Road was charged with feeding bears after Game Warden Sgt. Carl Wedin received a report of a bear being killed in self-defense at a neighboring residence on June 22, 2014.  Sgt. Wedin responded and recovered the bear.  Its stomach contained a large number of sunflower seeds. 

The investigating warden went to Jeffrey Messier’s residence where he discovered evidence of bear feeding and encountered a bear walking around the residence.  The bear showed no sign of being afraid of people and walked right up to the warden.  The bear then approached a picnic table where sunflower seeds were placed.  It was obvious to the warden that this bear had been intentionally fed on several occasions and had lost its fear of humans. 

Further investigation by Sgt. Wedin revealed that several other bears also came to the residence often enough to be named and that many of them in recent years may have been killed or injured in incidents with other landowners.

According to the Vermont Fish &Wildlife Department, black bears are found in most forested portions of Vermont where they rely on wild foods such as berries, cherries, beechnuts, apples and acorns to survive.  But the department also points out that bears can easily become attracted to other foods such as birdseed, garbage and pet food. 

“Bears are normally shy and not aggressive toward humans,” says bear biologist Forrest Hammond.  “However, a bear that has been fed by humans soon loses its shyness and can become dangerous, especially to the landowner feeding the bears and to their neighbors.  Often, as in this case, fed bears will seek similar foods elsewhere, and in the process cause property damage and scare people not expecting to find bears on their porches and in their back yards.”  

“At this time we are responding to reports throughout the state of bears causing damage while attempting to get at chicken feed, bird seed, stored garbage, and food kept in screened porches.   In most cases this does not end well for the bears.”

“People such as Mr. Messier that feed bears often think they are helping them,” said Hammond, “but in reality such behavior causes problems for other landowners and often ends with the death of the bears being fed.  When we start receiving multiple reports of bears causing problems in an area we most often find that someone is intentionally feeding them.” 
The intentional feeding of bears is illegal in Vermont.  If convicted Messier faces a fine of up to $1,000 and a one-year revocation of his hunting, fishing and trapping licenses.

For information about living with Vermont’s black bears, see the Vermont Fish & Wildlife website (

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?

When my ECS Gordie was a youngster, we each enjoyed a two-for-two day hunting woodcock. I killed both birds he flushed with two shots, and he made two finds and retrieves.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible cleanly to kill wild upland birds on the wing in the gnarly places where they live. I cringe whenever dispatching a wounded woodcock after it freezes me with an icy stare from a baleful eye.

Bird hunters have long been told that burning powder on the clays field is the best method for minimizing crippling shots. For the hunter just as for the inquisitive violinist in the title, their mutual solution has always been “practice, practice, practice.” Having great equipment well suited to the job at hand is certainly part of any performance equation. But for some of us geezers, performance improvement is primarily an internal process.

And so I had mixed feelings when I learned the other day that an American arms manufacturer is offering a $5,500 “integrated shooting system.” In an article introducing this arm in October, 2013, the company stated “The advanced internal ballistics computer immediately generates a firing solution….” That sounds less like the deer hunting I know and more like Burt Lancaster loading a forward-tube torpedo for a bow shot on the Akikaze in the Bungo Straits. My problem with this, after chewing on it for a few days, is that it replaces the internalized “practice, practice, practice” with its external substitute “purchase, purchase, purchase.”

The possibility that this “shooting system” may reduce crippling shots is attractive, even if the hunter’s shooting skill is improved simply through his wallet. Further, it seems to me that some if not many fair chase issues concern events happening before the shot rather than during the shot. To the extent that’s true, I’m not sure that this system, while still something I’d probably not choose to use for aesthetic reasons, runs afoul of fair chase hunting.

But I’m no expert. So, like some callers to radio talk shows, having set the table, I’ll just hang up and listen.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Posewitz recieves BHA's Aldo Leopold Award

DENVER, CO - Four sportsmen from across the West were presented with awards at the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers' Annual National Rendezvous in Denver, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to protecting backcountry habitat and promoting conservation efforts.

Jim Posewitz of Helena, Montana; Bob Mirasole of Chattaroy, Washington; Oscar Simpson

of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Scott Willoughby of Eagle, Colorado were the recipients of this year's awards.

"The awardees truly embody the boots-on-the-ground conservation ethic our membership values" said National Board Member and Awards Committee Chair, Jay Banta. "These guys live for hunting and fishing the backcountry and have dedicated a good part of their lives to keeping that tradition alive. Our national awards are but one small way to distinguish their ongoing efforts."

Jim Posewitz of Helena, Montana received the Aldo Leopold Award, which is given to an individual or a group who has done meritorious work on preserving backcountry values and land habitats. Posewitz retired from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in 1993 and went on to found Orion, the Hunters Institute, a sportsmen organization that leads the conversation about hunting ethics and fair chase. Jim is also the author of numerous influential books on fair chase and our hunting traditions.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Is It Hunting?

This essay is cross-posted with permission from Phillip Loughlin's Hog Blog.
Is It Hunting?
April 7, 2014
Last week, my brother and I spent two full days at Crystal Creek Bowhunting, a high fence ranch over near Del Rio, Texas.  Our plan was to target axis deer and hogs.  The package we paid for also allowed us to shoot a turkey.  We could swap the axis for any other exotic we encountered, which could have included sika deer, blackbuck antelope, or various sheep (ramboulet, mouflon, aoudad, or hybrids).
Each of us spent one arrow, shot at wild hogs during the last light of the first night’s hunt (neither of us connected).  Each of us also passed up a single shot opportunity at a ”wild” sheep during the trip.  I got caught flat-footed by a big tom turkey that snuck in through the brush and suddenly appeared, five yards away.  Other than that, we had no shot opportunities and spent the majority of the time in the field enjoying the plethora of birds that flock through Texas during the spring migration.  I may have napped a little in the warm, spring morning sun.  Neither of us killed anything except time.
During the trip, the contentious debate about high fence hunting kept running through my mind.  In particular, I kept thinking about the insistence by some folks that high fence hunting isn’t hunting at all.  The argument centers on the fact that high fence hunting is easy, and that the animals don’t have a fair chance of escape.
So is it the difficulty of the hunt that makes it “hunting”?
I’ve got a spot at the Tejon Ranch, back in California, where I could guarantee a shot at a wild hog.  Even better, I could just about pinpoint when the animals would appear, and where they’d show up first.  Everyone I ever took to that spot had at least one shot opportunity.  I am certain that, had I wanted to do so, I could have laid around camp all day long, driven out to that spot in the last half hour before sunset, and killed a hog (if I shot straight)… every trip.
Tejon isn’t a high fence ranch.  There were no feeders, and no food plots.  Was that “hunting”?
When I was guiding for mule deer out at Coon Camp Springs, in California’s eastern Sierra, my clients had a 100% shot opportunity rate.  Once I learned the lay of the land, I had specific areas that almost always produced deer.  By the time the clients showed up, I could usually have them tagged out within two days… often sooner.
Coon Camp Springs is about 7000 acres of unfenced land, surrounded by millions more acres of public and private property.  With the exception of some habitat restoration work, there is nothing unusual there to specifically attract or hold deer.  But the hunts were typically easy.  Was that “hunting”?
A few years back, I joined my brother on his first elk hunting trip.  The first morning, the sun came up on us about four or five miles into the Uncompahgre Wilderness.  We were surrounded by elk.  Fifteen minutes later, my brother had a 320″ bull on the ground.  The next morning, I set up on the edge of some dark timber while the guide and wrangler took the horses down to pack out my brother’s bull.  By the time they got back up the mountain to where I was, I had almost finished skinning and boning out my own bull.  Sure, it was a fairly long hike in and out, but it wasn’t what I’d call a “hard” hunt.  In fact, it was far easier than some high fenced, hog hunts I’ve been on.  Was it “hunting”?
Enough with the redundancy, then.
Besides the relative ease of all of those hunts, high fence and low, they share one other thing in common.  I enjoyed them.  Even the ostensibly “fruitless” bow hunt on the high fence ranch was a great time.  I had fun, and really, isn’t that what hunting is about?
There are people who would tell me that my visit to that high fence ranch wasn’t “hunting”.  But I have to say, it sure felt like it to me.  As I sat there with my release clipped on, waiting with ragged breath and racing pulse for the spotted boar to take just two more steps… it felt like any other time or place, sitting in the same position with the same apprehensive tension.  Or leaning back in the stand, nearly dozing under the late morning sun… I could have been on any hillside in any place.  And later, around the skinning pole with the guys who were successful, it was the same jokes and banter that I’ve heard around skinning poles in every state and setting I’ve ever experienced.
No, I was there… and I’m pretty certain I was hunting.  I am also dead sure that I enjoyed the experience, and it makes me wonder; in what world ruled by reason and logic could anyone tell me that I didn’t?
Isn’t that a foolish thought… to tell someone else that they couldn’t have enjoyed an experience because you wouldn’t enjoy it yourself?
Is it hunting?  It is to me.  Maybe it doesn’t meet your definition, but that’s alright.