Thursday, December 24, 2009

Casting for Recovery Holiday Auction ends on the 31st

The Casting for Recovery Holiday Auction is now open. The auction will run from November 27, 2009 to December 31, 2009, with proceeds supporting Casting for Recovery's programs for women in recovery from breast cancer.

Auction items range from exotic vacation getaways to donated items guaranteed to delight and surprise. So, tell your friends, family, community. Let the bidding begin!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Attn VT Waterfowl Hunters- H.I.P. registration changes



For Immediate Release: December 22, 2009

Media Contacts: William Crenshaw, 802-879-5699; Scott Darling, 802-786-3862

Fish & Wildlife Improves Harvest Information Program Registration

WATERBURY, VT – If you hunt migratory game birds, you must register with the Federal Harvest Information Program each year. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is providing migratory game bird hunters with an improved registration process in effect for 2010. Vermont, like other states, will forward the required information to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help in managing migratory game birds.

The Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) enables the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S.F.W.S.) and state fish and wildlife agencies to develop reliable estimates of the number of migratory game birds harvested throughout the country. These estimates are important in making sound decisions about setting hunting season dates, bag limits and population management for ducks, geese, coots, snipe, and woodcock. .

Vermont sends between 8,000 and 10,000 addresses of these hunters to the U.S.F.W.S. each year. The U.S.F.W.S. uses the list to randomly sample hunters for the required information.

The new H.I.P. registration process is easier and more accurate. Hunters who may go hunting for migratory game birds are required to either register on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website ( or to call, toll free, 1-877-306-7091. After providing some basic information, you will receive your annual H.I.P. registration number, which you then need to record in the H.I.P. section of your hunting license.

Hunters who have a permanent or lifetime Vermont hunting license should print out the website response form showing the H.I.P. number and write it on the back of their hunting license. Permanent and lifetime who register by telephone between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday will receive a number over the phone for their license.

Hunters who have registered for H.I.P. and have lost their license or H.I.P. number can look up their number on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website.

Some TV Show Updates

From Randy Newburg's web site
Note - Randy is a founding board member of Orion-The Hunters' Institute

December 9th, 2009
Some TV Show Updates

It is that time of the year when the outdoor TV industry starts having all of their big events. The biggest being the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, coming the middle of January. At that event, Outdoor Channel holds a big event for all the industry people to come and see “who’s who” in the outdoor TV world.

Just got a letter from Outdoor Channel that is pretty surprising. Well, not that surprising, but considering who we are up against, has put a pretty big smile on my face. Here is how the deal works.

There are two types of awards - 1) Fan Favorites, and 2) Professional Panel Judging.

The fan favorites are pretty easy to explain. Get as many votes as possible, and the show with the most votes for that category wins the award.

The Professional Panel judging is more complicated. Here is how it works.

1. All 130 shows submit their best footage for any of the seven categories. We submitted for five categories.

2. Outdoor Channel does a preliminary screening of the shows and then sends the majority of them to a committee of the 30 “industry experts” for the Professional Panel grading/voting.

3. Scoring from that Professional Panel is tallied, and the top five shows are then considered as nominees in that specific category and the winners will be announced in January at the Outdoor Channel Awards show.

So, guess who has been nominated as a Top Five show in four of the five Professional Panel categories we submitted for? Yup, pretty easy guess, eh?

On Your Own Adventures has been selected among all of the Outdoor Channel shows for a top five nomination, and possible winner in these categories:

Best Overall Production (Montana Bear episode)

Best Big Game (New Mexico Archery Elk episode)

Best Turkey (Montana Turkey episode)

Best Educational/Instructional (Montana Whitetail episode)

For us to win any of the industry panel awards, or to win any of the fan favorite awards would be a big splash. This seldom happens with a new show. And for us to be doing that well, across all categories, is amazing. Those you who watch outdoor TV know the big names and supporting sponsors we are up against.

Rumor has it that we are doing amazingly well in the fan favorite voting, also. The fan favorite voting is still open, until the end of December. If you can garner any votes on our behalf, it would be greatly appreciated - Family, hunting friends, or anyone you think would like to support the concept of non-guided hunting. Here is the link:

Outdoor Channel Fan Favorite

Thanks for all your support. Your emails to Outdoor Channel and sponsors have been making a big impact, not just for us, but for the voice of average hunters in the world of Outdoor TV.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Deer Biologists Easier Targets than Deer

From the Wildlife Management Institute

Deer Biologists Easier Targets than Deer for Some Hunters in Wisconsin

Photo of deer by DoriIn a recent press release, a Wisconsin State Senator called for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to “replace the Department’s big game management team.” Upset that his annual deer drive didn’t produce desired results, the Senator lashed out at what he deemed the source of the reduced statewide harvest: “I’ve talked with a lot of hunters and business people and everyone has said that this was the worst deer hunting season they have ever had. The DNR has mismanaged the deer herd and a new team needs to be brought in that can do the job.”

Contentiousness is not new to deer hunting in Wisconsin. In this instance, it is a particular déjà vu throwback to the mid-1940s rancor of certain “sportsmen” who opposed deer herd reduction, especially antlerless harvest, despite the fact of a large and growing deer herd and deteriorating habitat conditions nearly statewide. The target of their vitriol, boorishness and threats was Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) chairman Aldo Leopold. Leopold and others had produced a report in 1943, which concluded that, “there is an imperative need for prompt and decisive herd reduction in the irruptive counties.” The naysayers decried herd reduction (which was widely adopted) as extermination and the demise of deer hunting. In 1944, the harvest of “exterminated deer” was 28,600; in 1954, it was 25,400; in 1964, it was 96,600; in 1974, it was 112,900; in 1984, it was 295,300; in 1994, it was 377,500; and in 2004, it was 519,400. For that matter, more deer were killed by deer/vehicle collisions in Wisconsin in 2008 (at least 32,000) than there were deer harvested by Wisconsin hunters in 1944 (28,693).

According to preliminary results (the season continues in some parts of the state), although harvest success was down from 43 percent in 2008 to 31 percent this year, more than 196,600 deer (including 86,250 antlered bucks) have been taken by 638,040 gun hunters, which is less than 1 percent fewer hunters than in 2008. The harvest does not include the bow and muzzleloader success, which may increase the take by 25 to 35 percent. The 2009 harvest likely will be lower than any year since 1983. Conversely, it will be higher than any year prior to 1983. Clearly, not every Wisconsin deer hunter has had his or her worst season ever.

The prehunting season deer population in the state was estimated at somewhat less than 1.5 million (still, three times the whitetail population in all of North America 100 years ago, when there was no deer hunting season in the state). However, WDNR officials anticipated a reduced harvest because of low fawn production in 2008, predicted unfavorable weather during the deer season, and changes in the deer season structure with the intent or reducing pressure on antlerless deer in a number of management units. In 2009, 13 deer management units had no bonus antlerless permits in order to allow populations in those areas to increase; 38 units were moved out of herd control to regular season; and 29 units were moved out of their Earn-a-Buck program. Each of these contributed to a substantial decline in antlerless harvest in 2009.

As to the competence of the WDNR’s big game biologists, the WDNR, in cooperation with the WCC, enlisted in 2006 a panel of out-of-state wildlife professionals with extensive experience in deer management to review Wisconsin’s deer management operations and procedures. This was done in response to concerns voiced by deer hunters. The panel ultimately identified several areas where adjustments in operations might improve management capability. However, its overall conclusion was: “Wisconsin has the most comprehensive and transparent deer management program for comparable states that harvest white-tailed deer. Wisconsin collects more demographic information, on an annual basis, to monitor the deer population than any of the 21 states we surveyed. The WDNR should be commended for its efforts to track deer population dynamics and make those efforts transparent.” (The review panel’s 2006 report can be viewed at:

Deer management in Wisconsin has been complicated by Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which has impacted a significant portion of the southern part of the state. To eradicate or contain the disease, the WDNR has aggressively worked to lower deer densities in the CWD zone. Because of the nature of the terrain and land ownership, eradication has failed and containment has had only modest success.

The difficulty that big game biologists face in managing remarkably dynamic white-tailed population size, density and distribution is not that they don’t know how to do it. Rather, the problems encountered include lack of agreement among citizens (stakeholders) about how large the deer population should be. Also, big game biologists do not manage habitat or enforce harvest on the private lands that constitute the vast majority of Wisconsin acreage. They do not control weather any more than they dictate their agency’s budget. If the WDNR is to be criticized for its deer management program, it may be for earlier policy decisions, influenced by hunter demands, that enabled an irrupting deer herd to exceed its long-term habitat carrying capacity in many parts of the state.

While harvest success and corresponding satisfaction by some Wisconsin hunters in 2009 may be reduced, there are some positives that have resulted from the situation. Hunting incidences in Wisconsin, for example, have declined, and the state’s incident rate of 1.11 per 100,000 hunters compares more than favorably with the national average of 3 per 100,000 hunters. Deer/vehicle collisions in Wisconsin actually are on the decline as are the numbers of dead deer and injured humans as a result. The negligible decline in hunter numbers masks the fact that deer hunter numbers have rebounded substantially from those of the CWD confusion at the outset of the decade. With the “return” of deer hunters has been a gradual rebuilding of the devastated deer camp traditions in the state.

Despite the dissatisfaction of some hunters, Wisconsin continues to rank among the very top deer harvest states in the nation. Earlier this year, a study by a professor at Concordia College in Nebraska revealed that, based on the prior 10 years, Wisconsin is the top trophy deer state in the country, with 26 of its counties are among the nation’s top 50. As a result of the modestly reduced whitetail population in Wisconsin, hunting experiences and harvest expectations may become more akin to those of past decades and eras when the taking of any deer was a feat, not a perceived entitlement. (pmr/rem)

Learn to ID Ducks!


Learn to ID Ducks!

A new tool is now available to help you better identify ducks. Originally designed to help train volunteers and field staff, this tool also should be very helpful for hunters, bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. It contains written descriptions, photos, video clips, and range maps of North American ducks.

View Duck ID

Friday, December 18, 2009

Petition to continue the successful Lake Champlain sea lamprey control program

From LCI:

Lake Champlain Anglers and Other Friends of the Lake,
Please consider signing the petition to the Governor of Vermont, at the link below, to ensure the continuation of the successful Lake Champlain sea lamprey control program in 2010.

Your participation in the petitions of the past three years has been effective in reminding officials of the importance of this program to our environment and our economy. Both the Atlantic salmon and lake trout populations have shown marked improvement in recent years with salmon over 9 pounds being caught, and the largest lake trout in the documented history of Lake Champlain, nearly 16 pounds, being caught during the LCI Father’s Day Derby this past June. Experts believe 20-pound lake trout and 10-pound salmon are a very real possibility.

Thank you for your concern and support. Your forwarding of this petition to friends and others concerned about the health and future of Lake Champlain would be most appreciated.


All the best,
James Ehlers
Executive Director

Lake Champlain International, Inc.
Clean Water. Healthy Fish. Happy People.
a 501(c)(3) organization

531 Main Street Colchester, VT 05446
802.879.3466 Fax: 802.879.1746

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I am a (female) hunter. Watch me foam

Note from Eric - When with the VT FWD I helped bring the Becoming an Outdoor's Women program to Vermont. We are fortunate that we have a relatively high percent of our hunters are women. Nationally women are the fastest growing segment of the hunting population.

From the Women's Outdoor Wire

I am hunter. Watch me foam.
By Pat C. Robinson, Editor. Courtesy of Recorder Newspapers.

It's a fact of life: Dogs bark. Cats meow. Women hunt.

That's right, women hunt. We hunt, we have hunted, we will hunt, until the cows come home. Why? Because we love it and we can.

There's something about being in the Great Outdoors, either pheasant hunting clutching a 20-gauge or huddled in a blind ready and waiting with a bow that to me is the most wonderful thing in the world.

For one thing, it's a good way to pass the colder months here in the Mid-Atlantic. For me, fall and winter aren't the gray dreary seasons most take them for. True, days are shorter, but they are by no means dismal. Yes, the woods are no longer lush with thick, green vegetation -- unless thick with conifer stands, but the beiges and browns have their own subtle beauty. Nor is all drab: Along small streams there's emerald green moss and even watercress.

For another, it puts food on the table if luck and expertise form an alliance. Last week, after a good morning of pheasant hunting in Black River, I bagged a cock bird for dinner. I sautéed his meaty breast in white wine and served it over rice with a side of baked beans.

Conjuring up such a meal isn't quite a "woman thing" either, folks. One frosty morning last year I passed six men, their back pouches bulging with birds, locked in deep discussion as to the best way to roast and serve their bag limits. I didn't laugh at the thought of them wearing aprons.

Still, some guys register surprise when they encounter a huntress in the woods.

Like the gentleman of a certain age this past week. He had driven to Chester from Chatham to break in Annabelle, his spirited but obedient little German short-hair.

"I'm surprised to see a girl," he told me.

"A girl," God bless him.

Obviously, some men also forget their mythology. Diana was the Roman goddess of the moon and the hunt. A bow-huntress, no less. More athletic, I would presume, than her twin brother Apollo, the handsome sun god more renowned for his girly-girl beauty than hunting skills. Seems it should be the other way around, doesn't it? But we seldom envision Apollo wearing an apron like a French maid?

Sometimes, though, the joke's on me.

During Saturday's rainy hunt in Black River, I caught some guys pointing and laughing at me.

I thought it was the girl thing, until I glanced down and realized it wasn't the appearance of a female per se, but the legs of my camo rain pants.

They were foaming.

Somehow, I had managed to spill fabric softener on them, and the rain made me look like a walking Maytag in the wash cycle.

Now here was a powerful symbol of 21st century feminism. Only a woman could wash her clothes and hunt at the same time, right?

Check out more of Pat Robinson's newspaper columns.

Road Hunters really hurt all hunters

From the Rutland

BROWNSVILLE — A Tunbridge man will face charges he endangered the lives of local business owners while deer hunting.

Saturday, Fish & Wildlife wardens cited George Akroyd, 52, for reckless endangerment, shooting from the road and driving with a suspended license.

According to Fish & Wildlife, Nov. 16, Akroyd shot and killed a deer that was standing in the yard of Carol's Hilltop Bed and Breakfast on Brownsville-Hartland Road. The owners of the bed and breakfast were walking their dog in the yard and Akroyd allegedly fired his gun in their general direction while on the road.

Three witnesses reported the incident and in recent weeks more people forward with additional information identifying Akroyd as the alleged shooter, according to Fish & Wildlife.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Update from the NWF international climate team from Copenhagen

From the National Wildlife Federation:

Here's today's "This just in" update from NWF Director of Global
Warming Policy Joe Mendelson:

" Hello NWF from Copenhagen! Here is a quick update from your
international climate team.

The negotiations are going slower than one would hope and have been
overshadowed, in part, by massive logistical problems at the Bella
Centre negotiation site. Many are standing hours in the cold and snow
today trying to get in to the conference only to be turned away.
Regardless, your team remains undaunted and is working hard to push the
U.S. to up its ambition to facilitate a final deal.

There has been a public rift between China and the U.S. over the low
U.S. offer on global warming pollution emission cuts and the failure of
the U.S. and other developed countries to offer long-term financing for
the impacted developing nations. In response, China is refusing to
allow any international verification of its recently announced actions
that would significantly reduce the growth of its emissions.

In response, NWF is spear-heading an effort to push the U.S. to change
its position. We’re working to get the Administration to offer a new
long-term finance package based upon the significant money pledged to
stop deforestation that is in the House and Senate legislation and
redirecting other money by phasing out fossil fuel subsidies - an offer
President Obama made at the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh this fall. The
hope is that this offer would compel other developed nations to add
their own pledges of money culminating in a huge effort on deforestation
as a means to fight climate change led by the U.S.

Barriers remain to this effort. The State Department is reluctant to
put this forward because the legislation is not final and fear a
Congressional backlash. In contrast, Senate and House staff in
Copenhagen say putting this forward is okay and may actually help lock
the Administration into fighting for the legislation at home. So, one
effort is to get Congressional staff to push the Administration.

If we solve the finance issue, we then think the Chinese would submit
to some international oversight of its emission reductions efforts. Of
course, this is critical for the Senate battle back home.

Will this all happen? It is tough to say. We are trying hard. The
heads of states are starting to arrive so we hope that ups the pressure
to get a deal done. We will keep you posted on progress and expect
massive protests over the next several days about everyone being shut
out of the Bella Centre facility.


Sign National Petition to Protect Wetlands

From the Izaak Walton League of America and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partners:

Sign National Petition to Protect Wetlands

Every year, 80,000 acres of wetlands disappear across America. Every acre lost is an acre of important habitat for fish and wildlife or an area that reduces flooding more effectively than almost any levee can. In spite of their importance, recent Supreme Court decisions make it easier to drain, fill, or tile wetlands and harder to stop them from being polluted.

The League and other national hunting and angling groups continue to work to protect wetlands by convincing Congress to pass the Clean Water Restoration Act. We made real progress this summer when the U.S. Senate Environment Committee approved an amended version of the bill. Now, the focus shifts to the U.S. House of Representatives.

You can help send a clear message to Congress and the President about how critical this legislation is by signing an on-line petition about protecting wetlands. The goal is to garner 80,000 signatures – one signature for every acre of wetlands lost annually. Sign the petition today and join more than 65,000 other people who have already said “protect our wetlands.”

Learn more about the League!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New generation of topo maps online

New generation of topo maps online
The next generation of digital topographic maps have been released by the U.S. Geological Survey and downloads are free for hikers, campers, anglers and other land lovers. Each map includes elevation contours, hydrographic features, roads and geographic names. Users can turn geographic features on and off and zoom in and out. A set of analytical tools can also be downloaded. (Dept. of Interior, National Map USGS)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why Do Hunters Hunt - Why Do You Hunt?

From Outdoor Idaho












Read More

FAIR CHASE: What Does It Mean In The 90's?

From Outdoor Idaho:

FAIR CHASE: What Does It Mean In The 90's?

The traditions of hunting dictate that game be taken in the spirt of fair play. In other words, pitting the human's skills against the animal's strong instincts for survival.

Theodore Roosevelt established his "Credo of Fair Chase" back in 1893. It is the pattern for hunting that exists to this day in the rulings of the Boone and Crockett Club...

"The term 'Fair Chase' shall not be held to include killing bear, wolf, or cougar in traps, nor 'fire hunting,' nor 'crusting' moose, elk or deer in deep snow, nor killing game from a boat while it is swimming in the water, nor killing deer by any other method than fair stalking or still hunting."

One who has spent time thinking about "Fair Chase" is Jim Posewitz, a biologist who founded Orion - The Hunters' Institute, in 1993. Posewitz also wrote the book Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting. The book is used in hunter education classes in 38 states. The following is excerpted from Beyond Fair Chase.

"Fundamental to ethical hunting is the idea of fair chase. This concept addresses the balance between the hunter and the hunted. it is a balance that allows hunters to occasionally succeed while animals generally avoid being taken." (p.57)

"There are some activities that are clearly unfair as well as unethical. At the top of the list is shooting captive or domesticated big game animals in commercial killing areas where a person with a gun is guaranteed an animal to shoot. These shooting grounds are alien to any consideration of ethical hunting. When discussing the ethic of fair chase, it is important to clarify that we are talking about hunting free-ranging wild animals." (p.59)

"The ethical hunter must make many fair-chase choices. In some areas, chasing big game with dogs is an accepted custom. In other places, it is considered an unfair advantage for the hunter. Likewise, luring animals with bait or hunting in certain seasons sometimes is viewed as giving unfair advantage to the hunter. While local custom and practice need to be respected, it is equally important to be honest about the result of these practices. If there is a doubt, advantage must be given to the animal being hunted." (p.61)

"In addition to hunting practices, there is a constant flow of products developed to provide advantages to hunters. Sights, scents, calls, baits, decoys, devices, and techniques of infinite variety fill the marketplace. In each case an individual choice must be made as to what sustains fair chase and what violates that concept." (p.62)

Jim Posewitz. Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting. 1994. Falcon Press, Helena, Montana.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Climate Change: Science, Transparency and Public Opinion

From the Wildlife Society Blog:

Climate Change: Science, Transparency and Public Opinion
December 5th, 2009
No comments

I’ve been meaning to blog about this topic since the story broke about “Climate-gate” around a week ago. As many readers may already know, there has been considerable controversy about a series of private e-mails stolen from the world famous Climatic Research Center at the University of East Anglia in Britain.

In those e-mails, the unit’s director, Phil Jones, told a colleague that he would “hide” contradictory evidence from Siberian tree rings and replace it with more accurate data on changes in local air temperature. In another message, he speaks of keeping research he disagrees with out of a U.N. report, “even if we have to redefine what the peer review literature is.”

The recent debate has energized critics of climate change science, who believe that some scientists are playing political games and altering results for their own purposes. They claim that this incident has called into question the credibility of science and scientists. Others believe that this debate is about the scientific process itself, which is suddenly playing itself out in the public arena. Politicians and the public want certainty, but science is a messy affair. Indeed, scientists can draw different conclusions from the same data.

But, I wonder how much this ”scandal” has damaged climate science? The musing of individual scientists in their personal e-mails are one thing. In fact, I’ve been know to say a few stupid things in my e-mails as well, and I challenge anyone who uses electronic communication to examine their own record.

That being said, individual scientists should understand the need for transparency in science and never forget its central tenet: skepticism. To quote Charles Darwin, one of the greatest scientists to have ever lived:

“I have steadily endeavored to keep my mind free so as to give up any hypothesis, however much beloved (and I cannot resist forming one on every subject) as soon as the facts are shown to be opposed to it.”

The massive amount of data that have been accumulated on climate change–from rising global temperature trends, to melting glaciers, and numerous phenological effects on animals and plants–have convinced many, if not most scientists, that something is going on. According to Jane Lubchenco, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Our collective understanding of how the earth is warming…rests on a wealth of scientific information that is very diverse and comes from multiple sources and multiple groups.”

One of the main points of contention is whether or not our changing climate is the direct result of human activities or simply yet another natural cycle of warming and chilling that we have seen throughout earth’s history. Our warming climate (9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred in the past decade) is correlated with the rise of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, many of which are due to human activities. However, as all scientists are taught, correlation does not imply causation. Its that pesky uncertainty again. As an analogy: Do you believe that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer? This connection is also based largely on correlational studies–people that smoke have a higher probability of getting the disease. Knowing this, should you take a chance that you will die substantially earlier by starting to smoke, a highly addictive habit? I sincerely hope not.

There might be a degree of uncertainty in all science. However, there is also the Precautionary Principle, which tells us that if the risk is great, perhaps society should err on the side of caution. The risks associated with climate change are great–especially the risks to wildlife, plants, and existing natural ecosystems. We’ve already pushed them to the limit, and the extra burden of climate change, in theory, could be catastrophic. And I haven’t even touched on what a warming planet could do to human agriculture, fisheries, forestry and other industries. Of course, I don’t want to be alarmist, or to predict how fast one of these potential futures might play out. On the other hand, what if we do have a serious problem? What if it is happening faster than we’d all like it to? Looking back decades later, climate scientists will derive little pleasure in telling people “I told you so.”

Uncertainty is a part of science, one that is often exploited by those who disagree with its findings. But the public should not worry. Science is the most self-correcting of all human endeavors. Scientists that cheat the system are not tolerated by it–they are punished and cast out. The scientific fraternity values truth above all, and those that abuse that responsibility pay a price. Charles Darwin recognized the power of science to see through the smoke and mirrors when he said:

“Great is the power of steady misrepresentation, but the history of science shows how, fortunately, this power does not long endure.”

The true nature of climate change will reveal itself and scientists will light the path.

West Virginia Joins Wildlife Violator Compact

Note from Eric - Why hasn't Vermont joined this compact? Fish and Wildlife license revocation is the top deterrent we have for people thinking about violating. But it is legal and easy for convicts to hunt in NH, NY and Maine. Maine and New Hampshire are members of this compact - Vermont should also.

From the Outdoor Wire:

West Virginia Joins Wildlife Violator Compact
ROANOKE, W.Va. - Game law violators in West Virginia could face additional consequences for their actions under an interstate agreement recognizing suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses in other states. West Virginia has joined 31 other states as a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact that establishes a process whereby wildlife law violations conducted by a non-resident while in a member state may be handled as if the person were a resident in the state where the violation took place. Gov. Joe Manchin was presented with the Compact during a banquet held as part of the annual Governor's One Shot Whitetail Hunt Dec. 7 at Stonewall Resort State Park.

The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact is an agreement that unresolved hunting and fishing violations in one state can affect a person's hunting or fishing privileges in other participating states. Any person whose license privileges or rights are suspended in a member state could also be denied future purchase of a license in West Virginia until he or she has satisfied suspension in the other state. If a person's hunting, fishing, or trapping rights are suspended in West Virginia, he or she may also be suspended in member states as well. For example, if a West Virginia resident has his hunting privileges suspended in Ohio, his privileges may also be suspended in West Virginia and in all other compact states.

"This cooperative interstate effort will enhance West Virginia's ability to protect and manage the state's wildlife resources for the benefit of all residents and visitors," Gov. Manchin said.

Also attending the banquet, which is held each year as a fund-raiser for the Division of Natural Resources Hunters Helping the Hungry program, were DNR Director Frank Jezioro; Brig. Gen. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, USAF, Retired; Special Prosecutor Fred Giggenbach , who recently successfully prosecuted a case involving the shooting death of a West Virginia hunter by a Pennsylvania hunter who left the scene without rendering assistance; and several members of the DNR Law Enforcement and Wildlife Resources sections.

Compact member states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota,Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Lt. Col. Jerry Jenkins, Law Enforcement Section 304-558-2784

Ethical hunting by Pagans and Wiccans

From Patti's Paganism / Wicca Blog

From Patti's Paganism / Wicca Blog

By Patti Wigington,

Why Hunt if You're Pagan?
Friday December 4, 2009
For many states, this past week has seen the opening of the annual gun season, which means the woods near you are probably crawling with hunters. And believe it or not, some of them are Pagans. Sometimes, I'll get emails from people asking how a "peace-loving Pagan" or "nature worshipping Wiccan" can hunt with a clear conscience, and the fact of the matter is that it's just not that simple.

It's not so much the act of killing that a hunter enjoys, but the pursuit itself. For me personally, there's something very Zen and magical about loosing an arrow (I bow hunt, because I pretty much stink with a gun). While the kill is sometimes the end result of this process -- and often it's not, believe me -- this too is something that can be celebrated as ritual, honoring the deer after it goes down. An ethical hunter, Pagan or not, uses every part of the deer, and nothing goes to waste. My family eats a lot of venison -- it's about 50% of our annual protein consumption.

I think what it really comes down to is not "can you be Pagan and hunt" but "can you, as a hunter, do so responsibly and ethically"? I know everyone's got differing opinions on this, and I would never tell anyone who's opposed to hunting that they should go out and do it. I simply think it's a decision that everyone needs to make for themselves: Pagans and Hunting.


Note from Eric - VT has a bill currently pending in the House to allow new potential hunters to try hunting under the direct control of a licensed mentor. It deserves the support of all hunters and lovers of the outdoors.

From the new NSSF website:


BARRIERS REMOVED IN 29 STATES - A nearly five-year effort to remove barriers for young hunters in Wisconsin came to a close in Wisconsin when Gov. Jim Doyle signed legislation that will provide young people ages 10 and over with the opportunity to get in the field and experience hunting with a licensed mentor.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Arizona's Efforts to Grow Hunting and Shooting

From NSSF:

Note from Eric - Vermont has a pending bill to allow new hunters to "try" hunting under the immediate supervision of a mentor similar to what is allowing AZ to match seniors with new hunters.

December 7, 2009

NSSF Supports Arizona's Efforts
to Grow Hunting and Shooting;
Awards $82,500 in Grants

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- With the assistance of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Arizona Fish & Game Department is working to secure the future of hunting by tapping the enthusiasm of youth and seniors.

The department announced new programs at a press conference today, with two initiatives made possible by grants provided by the National Shooting Sports Foundation totaling $82,500.

These are the first grants Arizona Fish & Game has received through NSSF's Hunting Heritage Partnership Program, which has provided nearly $3.4 million in assistance to wildlife agencies over the past seven years to create hunting and recreational shooting opportunities.

"NSSF's Hunting Heritage Partnership grants are awarded based on the potential for developing new hunters and shooters and reactivating inactive sportsmen and women," said Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. "Arizona's new programs show real promise for success, and NSSF is proud to support them."

A Senior Hunts program seeks to motivate sportsmen who have reduced their time spent afield or stopped hunting altogether to use their years of experience to pass on knowledge and skills to a new generation of hunters. Seniors can serve as mentors in the field and in the classroom to give newcomers and novices expertise that would take years to develop on their own.

A second mentoring program encourages sportsmen's organizations to develop small game camps to help get youth hunters started hunting and to utilize the state's new apprentice hunting license program that allows a youth to hunt with a licensed mentor before taking a hunter education course.

"We have utilized the latest research on participation in developing these introductory hunting programs," said Larry Voyles, director of Arizona Fish & Game. "We thank NSSF for its generous support and for funding the Hunting Heritage Partnership. This is a great example of how state agencies and industry can work together to preserve hunting."

Apprentice hunting license programs, pioneered by the Families Afield program jointly supported by NSSF, the U.S. Sportsman's Alliance and National Wild Turkey Federation, have resulted in more than 300,000 new youth hunters over the last several years.

Apprentice hunting licenses are new to Arizona as of this year.

Arizona was one of nine state wildlife agencies to receive nearly $500,000 in grants through NSSF's Hunting Heritage Partnership in 2009. Since the inception of the Hunting Heritage Partnership, 37 states have received funding.

The few, the proud, the green: Eco-cops

Great video news coverage on New York Environmental Conservation officers on the beat in New York City. One of the officers is a former student of Orion board member Jim Tantillo.

View video: The few, the proud, the green: Eco-cops

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hunters as Environmental Stewards

From the Burlington (VT) Free Press:

November 29, 2009
Hunters as environmental stewards
So much more than shooting
By Joel Banner Baird, Free Press Staff Writer
ADDISON — The ruffed grouse flew to safety.
Disappointment — measured by two hunters in a discussion of angles, speed, distance and reflexes —
lingered in the air for about three minutes.
Late-afternoon sun continued to warm this soggy patch of Addison along Dead Creek one Saturday
earlier this month.
One bird’s helicopter-like take-off and two shotgun blasts proved to be the day’s only dramatic
interruption to a quiet rhythm of listening, watching and catching scents.
The outing was declared a success.
“Hunting,” said Patrick Berry of East Middlebury, “is not the same as shooting.”
It’s a maxim that resonates more frequently than rifle fire during the 16-day deer season that ends today.
And it begs the question: What do hunters bring back from woods and swamps — beside a sense of
well-being — even when they return empty handed?
Criticism, both from within and without the environmental community, frames the question differently:
Why does our society indulge a hobby that celebrates the taking of another creature’s life?
Wildlife specialists respond in a nearly unanimous voice to both questions: Hunters are among
Vermont’s most effective conservationists by virtue of what they tell us about otherwise-overlooked land;
by what they spend to protect it; and yes — by what they kill.
Read More

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rep. Welch's reply re: H.R. 510 excise tax payment schedule

December 3, 2009

Dear Mr. Nuse,

Thank you for contacting me about legislation regarding gun laws. I appreciate hearing your concerns on this issue.

As you know, Vermont has a proud tradition of hunting and sporting. Generations of Vermonters have grown up learning to own and use guns responsibly. We are also fortunate to live in a state with a low incidence of gun-related violence. Vermonters have demonstrated that when the responsibility is taken seriously, gun ownership is not a barrier to safety.

Introduced by Representative Ron Kind, H.R. 510 would change the excise tax payment schedule for firearm and ammunition manufacturers from a bi-weekly to a quarterly schedule. I am pleased to share that I am a cosponsor of this bill.

H.R. 510 was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind the next opportunity Congress has to address gun law issues. Please keep in touch, and I hope to see you soon in Vermont.



Member of Congress

Is the Economic Downturn Helping Hunting and Fishing Participation?

From Responsive Management:

Is the Economic Downturn Helping Hunting and Fishing Participation?

RECENT NEWS REPORTS have stated that, despite the poor economy, participation in hunting and fishing is on the rise. However, a study conducted in 2008 by Responsive Management suggests that participation is increasing because of the economic downturn, not in spite of it.

Although many factors can affect license sales, in states that have experienced an increase some officials and sportsmen think that the economic slump is the reason (2, 4, 5). A recent report by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) states that fishing participation, as measured by license sales, increased in 2009 when compared to 2008.

...One reason might be the number of hunters who work in construction and related trades. In a 2007 nationwide survey of hunters conducted by Responsive Management and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (9), the top occupational category for employed hunters was "construction / carpentry / plumbing / electrical / craftsman," a category that strongly relates to the work required for new housing construction. Thus, in times of increased housing starts, it may be that a substantial number of hunters will have less free time to go hunting as they devote more time to work.

In addition, "work obligations" is one of the most common reasons cited by hunters for not hunting or not hunting more often. In two separate surveys of active and inactive hunters conducted in 1995 by Responsive Management (7) and in 2008 by Responsive Management and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (10), "work obligations" was among the top reasons that took away from hunters' enjoyment of hunting or caused them not to hunt.

The housing starts finding in the Responsive Management study has been discussed in several newspaper articles and columns over the past year (2, 4, 5, 11) and has been cited by at least one state official regarding recent license sales increases (2). However, one question remains: In hard economic times, in addition to having more time to hunt in general, do hunters increasingly turn to hunting to put food on the table? Some hunters who have been interviewed indicate that this is a motivating factor for them, and others say it is not (3, 11). More research is needed to explore this hypothesis. None of the other economic indicators in the 2008 Responsive Management study showed a significant correlation to hunting license sales, which could suggest that the increase in license sales is related to time available to hunt rather than to economic reasons such as hunting for meat.

Coyote Hunting Contest

From the trapping forum

BAKER, Mont. (Jan. 11) - The barren buttes surrounding this small ranching town will offer scant places for coyotes to hide this weekend as hunters converge for a "calling" contest to see who can shoot the most coyotes.

Part predator control, part economic development ploy, the annual event began five years ago in a bid to pique outside interest in Baker via a $6,000 purse funded by entrance fees, local businesses and the Baker Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.

While organizers see success in the event's growth, the increasing popularity of such contests is prompting a backlash from animal rights groups and even some hunters, who contend the events trivialize the sport by turning it into a cash-fueled spectacle.

For the coyote, the hunts reflect the lowly place the animal still holds across the American West. Even as a debate rages between state and federal officials over whether its high profile cousin, the gray wolf, should be removed from the endangered species list, the coyote is stuck with the label "varmint", to be killed on sight.

Most states have few if any restrictions on killing the animal, said Stephen Price, president of, which connects hunters with ranchers hoping to eliminate the animals from their land.

In Baker, a town of about 1,700 tucked against the North Dakota border, supporters of this weekend's contest say it will deliver a much-needed jolt to the area's economy, drawing some 180 participants from as far away as Chicago and Seattle. They also say fewer coyotes means fewer livestock killings.

I don't know why God put them on this Earth," said Jerrid Geving, a hunter who organizes the Baker event. "If He put them on this world to give us sport for hunting, maybe. But I'll tell you what, they do a lot of damage to livestock."

Despite widespread support for that sentiment, not everyone agrees contest hunts are the answer.

Randy Tunby, a sheep rancher in nearby Plevna, Mont., has turned down requests from contest participants to hunt on his land. The results of such hunts, he said, are spotty at best.

"I'm not saying it's not a good thing to do; we ourselves call coyotes. But if you have problems with coyotes getting into your livestock, it's going to be haphazard if people coming into the contest get those," Tunby said.

Tunby prefers the services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's predator control program. According to USDA records, its Wildlife Services division shoots, poisons, traps or otherwise destroys about 80,000 coyotes a year on private and public lands nationwide.

John Shivik, a research biologist with the services' National Wildlife Research Center, said any effort to reduce livestock damage must specifically target those animals causing problems. Contest hunts might miss the worst offenders, he said.

Coyotes caused an estimated $47 million in damage to the cattle industry in 2005, according to the USDA. Sheep losses topped $10 million in 2004.

Groups including the Humane Society of the United States and Predator Defense say neither private hunts nor public agency killings offer a real solution because of the coyote's ability to rapidly reproduce.

"You kill some coyotes and six months later it's as if you didn't kill any at all. What are they accomplishing other than just being barbaric?" asked Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense.

In Montana, coyotes can be hunted 24 hours a day, 12 months a year, with no limits. That provides out-of-state hunters with ample "trigger time" not available in their home states, said Geving, who already has bagged six coyotes this winter around Baker.

Price and others describe a booming interest in coyote hunting, with an estimated 500 "calling contests" nationwide and more added every year. They get their name because hunters howl and make distress calls to mimic prey, attracting coyotes. Many, Price said, are conducted on the sly - invitation-only events meant to avoid the ire of animal rights groups.

Baker promotes its event with fliers and on the Internet. Even protesters are welcome, said Karol Zachmann, president of the Baker chamber of commerce.

"Actually, that does good for us if they come and meet us and find out we're not all that bad," she said.

To some hunters, turning the challenge of coyote hunting into a contest with large sums of money at stake defies long-standing traditions of the sport. Jim Posewitz, a leading voice in the field of hunters' ethics, says that to purists, the contests violate the basic tenet of "fair chase" - the notion that hunting is a private struggle between predator and prey.

"I don't think hunting is a contest between human beings," said Posewitz, a biologist who spent 32 years with the Montana wildlife agency before founding the Orion Hunters Institute. "We like to think it's a more meaningful relationship that we have with wildlife than simply viewing them as a competition between people."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Youth Hunting Memories Contest Reminder

Note from Eric: One of the measures of a hunt is the story. The better the story the more memorable and successful the hunt. For ethical decision making asking yourself if you would proudly tell the story to your mother or your kids (not to mention the game warden) can help folks make the right decision. Here is a great opportunity for our young hunters to tell their story...



For Immediate Release: December 3, 2009
Media Contacts: VT F&W – Chris Saunders or Mark Scott, 802-241-3700

Youth Hunting Memories Contest Reminder

WATERBURY, VT -- The Vermont Big Game Trophy Club and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department remind youth hunters they are still seeking submissions for the third annual Youth Hunting Memories Contest.

Vermont is encouraging young hunters to submit a short essay and photo, if available, describing one of their hunting experiences from this year. Criteria that will be judged include: ethics, landowner relations, appreciation of wildlife, respect for our hunting heritage, and family values. The top entry from each county will win a special prize from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

“With kids just coming off a very successful youth deer hunting weekend in Vermont, now would be the time for them to jot their story down and send it in to us,” said Mark Scott of the Fish and Wildlife Department. “Kids should be reminded to send in any hunting story, whether it’s about going out looking for deer or sitting in a duck hunting blind. Some of the best stories we received in the past came from youngsters who wrote more about their experiences with their family than shooting any game.”

The Fish and Wildlife Department will be assisted by members of the Vermont Big Game Trophy Club and the University of Vermont 4-H Shooting Sports program in selecting the winners. Winners will be announced at the Yankee Sportsman Classic on January 16, in Essex.

Submissions will not be returned. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and Vermont Big Game Trophy Club reserve the right to publish photos and essays, and omit submissions that might be offensive due to excessive amounts of blood or damage to the animal being photographed. Submissions must include the hunter’s first and last names, address, age, telephone number, and location of hunt.

The contest is open to Vermont hunters 16 and younger. Submissions must be received by 4:30 p.m. on December 30, 2009.

Email submissions to or mail to:

2009 Youth Hunting Memories Contest, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, 103 South Main Street, Waterbury, VT 05671-0501.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Future Fisherman Foundation

From the Women's Outdoor Wire:
Note: I've worked with the folks at FFF, they are doing good work for sport fishing.

Tournament-winning lures support Future Fisherman Foundation
Just in time for Christmas, is offering a three-pack of popular tournament-winning lures for less than half price. And to make this offer even sweeter, you have the satisfaction of knowing that $1 from every sale goes to support Future Fisherman Foundation youth angling programs like Hooked On Fishing Not On Drugs and Physh Ed.
: : For More : :

Friday, November 20, 2009

Vegan Dreams

From The Wildlife Society Blog:

Vegan Dreams

November 18th, 2009

A recent op ed in The Washington Post by James McWilliams, an associate professor of history at Texas State University at San Marcos, argues the environmental virtues of a vegetarian diet. There is no doubt that there are many ethical issues surrounding the modern, commercialized production of food for human consumption. For example, the author points out that it takes a gallon of gasoline to produce a pound of beef. Then there is the excessive use of water, fertilizers and antibiotics, all of which are potentially hurting the environment. And who can forget that flatulent grass fed cows produce four times the amount of methane as grain fed cows–a green house gas 21 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. Then, there is also the issue of the treatment of domesticated animals, which the author decries as often being inhumane. While animal welfare (not rights) is not an environmental issue per se, it certainly is an important consideration. While I am no vegetarian, I do believe that the animals I eat should be killed humanely.

to read more click here and scroll down

Anti-Hunting letter to the Editor

From the News Guy Blog:

Of Salmon and Moose

Enough of that. Now let’s turn to that other kerfuffle, the one about that letter to the editor of the Burlington Free Press, the existence of which the Freep is trying to deny.

The letter, by Ethan A. Sims (apparently the highly respected, much-honored professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Vermont, though the News Guy was unable to reach him for confirmation) which appeared to suggest that, while hunters were out trying to shoot a moose, anti-hunters might want to shoot the moose-hunters.

At least that’s how a great many hunters understood it. Preferring to be predators rather than prey, these hunters and their organizations not unreasonably became upset, deluging the newspaper with so many angry letters to the editor that the editors surrendered.

Abjectly. Not because they apologized, which was defensible if perhaps not necessary. But because they removed the letter from the newspaper’s web site archives.

It became, then, an un-letter, rather the way some one-time associates of Stalin who fell out of favor (and soon thereafter of sight) had their names and photographs purged from the history books, becoming un-persons.

Because no one here was killed, tortured, or exiled, the editors hardly sink to Stalinism, or other aspects of Bolshevism except in their obvious toadiness. Theirs is the spirit not of the independent journalist but of the ever-obsequious courtier.

Besides, this not being Soviet Russia, suppression doesn’t work. Anyone with a desire to see the letter and an Internet connection can find it. Here it is:

On this beautiful day we learn that about 1,251 hunters are taking to the woods with legal permits to “pursue prized quarry.” Certainly the members of various humane organizations do not approve. I suggest that before the next annual killing season, other residents be awarded legal permits to kill hunters who will be out to kill these beautiful, non-destructive animals. Or the government could just rule out all this primitive killing.

As another letter-writer noted last Sunday (a letter the Free Press editors, to their credit, printed), Sims obviously didn’t really want anyone to shoot a moose hunter. His letter was Swiftian satire, modeled on Jonathan Swift’s famous Modest Proposal (1729) suggesting Ireland’s poor ease their penury by selling their children to be eaten.

Not that hunters should be blamed for insufficient attention to Dr. Sims’ literary playfulness, which would have alerted them to his motivation. Hunters feel put upon these days because everybody does. It’s the American way to think everybody’s out to get us, whoever “us” may be. In fact, a very small percentage of the American people actively oppose hunting, and they have not been taken seriously by most of the rest of us (the News Guy is a very pro-hunting non-hunter) at least since the anti-hunting group PETA called for New Yorkers to change the name of the Fishkill River, apparently unaware that “kill” is Dutch for “river,” and so the name is not evidence of anti-piscatorialism (though perhaps of redundancy).

The editors could have explained that Sims was not in fact urging the murder of anyone, simply expressing his own anti-hunting views in a sardonic manner and with some literary flourish. Such a rational response, however, does not come easily to courtiers. Instead, the paper apologized for running a letter “advocating for violence against hunters,” which the letter does not do.

Funding Increases for Interior and Related Agencies Signed into Law

From the Wildlife Management Institute's Outdoor Bulletin

Funding Increases for Interior and Related Agencies Signed into Law

President Obama signed the $32.2 billion Interior, Environment and Related Agencies fiscal year 2010 (FY10) appropriations bill into law on October 30. The bill provides a 17 percent increase in spending from last year’s appropriation for most of the natural resources and environmental agencies in the federal government, reports the Wildlife Management Institute. Overall, the U.S. Department of the Interior was allocated nearly $11 billion, the Environmental Protection Agency $10.3 billion and USDA Forest Service $5.3 billion. Interior Department agencies saw a boost in funding. The Bureau of Land Management, for example, received $1.1 billion—an increase of nearly $100 million from last year’s funding level. Within that allocation, land resource management programs were appropriated $246.5 million, and wildlife and fisheries management, including threatened and endangered species, received $73 million—an increase of nearly $3 million. The National Park Service was appropriated a total of $2.7 billion, including $346 million for resource stewardship, which is an increase of $30 million over last year. Land acquisition through the Land and Water Conservation Fund also saw a big boost from recent years. It received $305 million, including $40 million for state and local parks and recreation programs.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allocation is just short of $1.7 billion—an increase of more than $200 million. Most notably, the increase includes almost $40 million for climate change-related activities. The Ecological Services Division was allocated $311 million, including $117 million for habitat conservation and $180 million for endangered species. The National Wildlife Refuge System operations and maintenance accounts received a nearly 8-percent bump in funding for a total of $503 million. Migratory bird management is funded at $54.5 million and the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund was given a $5 million increase to just under $48 million. Other programs of interest include $90 million for state and tribal wildlife grants (of which $7 million is for a competitive grant program for Indian tribes and $5 million for a competitive grant program for states, territories and other jurisdictions) and $11 million in grants to states for the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Turkey hunter cited for shooting fellow hunter

From the Times Argus Staff - Published: November 19, 2009

Turkey hunter cited for shooting fellow hunter

BRADFORD – A hunter accused of shooting and injuring another hunter last month in Bradford has been cited to appear in Vermont District Court in Chelsea to face an aggravated assault charge.

Richard Sylvester, 42, of Topsham told police he thought he was firing at a turkey when he pulled the trigger and shot Ryan Terrill, a 22-year-old Bradford man on Oct 25 at about 8:20 a.m., according to a news release from the Vermont State Police.

Sylvester and Terrill had arrived separately at a cornfield on Sand Hill Road in Bradford on Oct. 25, police said.

Terrill showed up first and set up a hunting chair in the woods near the cornfield, said police.

Sylvester told police he arrived at the field, saw turkeys, parked his vehicle and started stalking the birds, the news release said. He reported hearing a turkey and shooting at what he thought was a turkey within the wood line, and ended up shooting Terrill, police said.

Terrill was transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. where he was treated and later released for his injuries.

Note from
Eric : fortunately these type shootings are rare, but not rare enough! Everyone is preventable. First and foremost you should never fire until you are 100% sure of your target and beyond. Any doubt at all and it is a no shoot. 2) turkey hunters should never stalk - the odds of success are remote, and most of all it can lead to tragities like this one. Stats show that if there is a hunter shot, 50% of the time it is the person being stalked and 50% of the time it is the stalked who is shot. 3) Lastly hunt defesively . If you see someone coming into your are speak up and tell them you are there, don't wave, stand up or make animal sounds. If your are using a ground blind, put some orange on it - without movement it will not scare turkeys but it should alert other hunters.
During the rifle season for the sake of your family and the future of hunting wear orange! It works

(Un)Ethical Hunting

From Vox Nova:

(Un)Ethical Hunting

So on opening day of rifle season, Gov. Pawlenty of Minnesota wounded a deer, failed to track it down, and then went off to a fundraiser while his staff attempted to find the animal he shot.

As a hunter, this is one of those things that gets me steamed. To wound an animal and then neglect to track it down is one of the more egregious violations of hunting ethics, and is grossly irresponsible, especially if you are an authority figure.

read more

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Support Firearms Manufacturers Fairness

Support Firearms Manufacturers Fairness

Excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, fishing tackle, and archery equipment generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually for fish and wildlife restoration, habitat conservation, and hunter and boater education. Yet, due to a quirk in the tax code, firearms and ammunition manufacturers pay these taxes every two weeks while makers of fishing rods and bows and arrows pay quarterly. This process forces many firearms companies to borrow money to make tax payments and creates administrative burdens.

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that would simply put all of these industries on the same quarterly schedule. America’s firearms makers, hunting and angling groups, including the League, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service support this commonsense approach to similar industries.

Please urge your U.S. Representative and Senators to support tax fairness for the firearms industry.
CLICK HERE to take action now!

Learn more about the League!

Click this link to take action on League issues.
If you have any questions about this action alert or other IWLA programs, please contact:

The Izaak Walton League of America
707 Conservation Lane
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
(301) 548-0150

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wildlife Needs Our Help

In 1971 the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department hired me and 11 other Warden Trainees. At that time there were a total of 38 wardens in the State. 2009 there are exactly 38 Wardens total working in Vermont with three retiring before the end of the year and one on deployment in Iraq.
In spite of efforts by lots of us this is the sad state of affairs with our Department and the Warden force. It truly is a thin green line standing between wildlife and poachers.
Now is the time for sportsmen to step up and do our share. I suggest the following:
1) Report all suspected violations as soon as possible. For violations in progress call 911. Get as much information as you can, critical are vehicle license numbers and descriptions of suspects. GPS coordinates of the scene are also very helpful.
2) If you hear information about violations or don't want to be directly involved for whatever reason call the Operation Game Thief hot line at 1-800-75ALERT (1-800-752-5378)or go to the Dept web site and get the information in.
3) Support the Vermont Wildlife Partnership's initiative to get sustainable, adequate and broad based funding for the Department.Over 60 sportsman, environmental and business groups are part of this partnership. Check and see if groups you are a member of are signed on.
4) Hunt and fish responsibly yourself and insist that everyone you go out with does to.
Good luck deer hunting and don't forget to wear your hunter orange - stats from NY state clearly show you are 9 times safer with orange than without.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Congress approved $90 million for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program

The big question is - Does Vermont have the 35% state match money need to get this money? they have already left nearly $3 million unclaimed in other Federal money. the Vermont Wildlife Partnership is pushing for broad based, sustainable and adequate funding for the Fish and Wildlife Dept.

State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program Receive a Crucial Funding Boost from Congress

Increase will help state fish and wildlife agencies address environmental threats
to some of the nation’s most imperiled species

WASHINGTON, DC —This week, Congress approved $90 million for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program as part of the $32.2 billion Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriation Act for 2010. The increase is $15 million over last year’s level and also includes a change in the nonfederal match requirement from 50% to 35%.

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program, now in its 10th year, is a principal source of funding for implementation of congressionally required State Wildlife Action Plans in every state and territory. The Plans assess the health of each state’s wildlife and habitats, identify the problems they face and outline the actions needed to conserve them over the long term to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.

The increase in federal dollars comes at a time when state fish and wildlife agencies are increasingly challenged to address the impacts of invasive species, habitat loss and degradation and the exacerbating affects of climate change.

“We appreciate the work of the administration and Congress to secure increased funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program,” said Matt Hogan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “These additional funds will help states tackle the backlog of conservation projects to address the threats of some of the nation’s most imperiled fish and wildlife and they will also maintain existing and create new jobs across the country.”

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program was started in 2000 to meet a longstanding need for funding of fish and wildlife species that are typically not hunted or fished.


Maine Trapers Win Big

From the USSAF:

Maine Trappers Win Major Court Victory

(Columbus, Ohio) – Trappers in Maine won a major victory as the state’s Federal District Court upheld the state’s trapping practices and blocked the establishment of a precedent that could be used by anti-hunting and anti-trapping groups nationwide.

In 2008, the Animal Welfare Institute and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine filed a lawsuit against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW) seeking a permanent injunction that would have essentially prohibited trapping in the state. The lawsuit claimed that Maine’s trapping regulations violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because Canada lynx, a threatened species under the ESA, could be incidentally caught in traps causing “irreparable harm” to the population.

Throughout the case, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF), along with the Maine Trappers’ Association, Fur Takers of America, National Trappers’ Association, and several individual sportsmen, argued that the anti-trapping plaintiffs had to show that Maine’s trapping practices were a threat to the Canada lynx population as a whole. The plaintiffs insisted that harm to one individual lynx was sufficient for the Court to prohibit trapping in the state.

On November 10th, Federal District Court Judge John A. Woodcock, Jr. ruled that Maine’s trapping practices did not irreparably harm the Canada lynx and denied the injunction sought by the anti-trappers. Further, the Judge agreed with the state and the USSAF that “irreparable harm” is harm to a species as a whole and not simply one individual member.

“Although the plaintiffs may appeal the ruling, the Federal Court’s decision is a monumental victory for the trappers in Maine and sets an excellent precedent that will make it harder for the antis to misuse the ESA in their attempts to ban hunting and trapping in other states,” states USSAF Vice President for Government Affairs Rob Sexton.

“We knew the evidence was on our side and are thrilled with outcome,” said Skip Trask, executive director of the Maine Trappers Association. “The USSAF’s legal assistance was invaluable to the favorable outcome.”

Chick Andres, President of the Fur Takers of America commented, “Trappers nationwide should be grateful that the court saw through what the anti’s were trying to do.”

In 2008 the USSAF’s legal arm, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund, was granted permission to intervene in the lawsuit. The case came on the heels of similar case, also in Maine, that was settled in late 2007 when the DIFW agreed to restrict trap sizes in areas where Canada lynx exist.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website,

Protecting the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Montana, N.M. senators' bill on open space funding a good idea
Montana Sen. Max Baucus and New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman have proposed legislation that would protect the annual $900-million appropriation for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an allocation that has been raided for deficit reduction nearly every year since it was set by Congress in 1977, and given Americans' enthusiasm for protecting open spaces, Congress should pass the bill.
More here
New York Times; Nov. 10

Monday, November 9, 2009

North American Model of Wildife Conservation

Dr. John Organ is a board member of Orion-The Hunter's Institute:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Back from the UP and grouse hunting

Lot's of smart grouse in the Iron Mountain area of Michigan! It was suppose to be the top of the cycle this year, but a wet cold spring and summer cut down on the number of young birds (eg not so smart birds). We did average 3.2 contacts / hour but the number of possible shots was pretty low. Rain and wind didn't help, but it was a great hunt and the dogs got a good workout and lot's of experience. Next year!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Off for the UP and grouse hunting

I'm on the road, grouse hunting for 10 days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We have two young dogs and 3 old guys so it should be quite a romp in the woods!
I'll check in when I get back.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Good Hunters and New Partners

Usually I hunt with the same partners every year. But this year I've partnered up with some new folks with great results.
The first opportunity was on a farm that had been closed to hunters for years. After a year of talking to the owners they agreed to let me hunt for resident geese that were causing problems for a neighboring farm. A few weeks before the opener I got a call from a guy I knew was an avid waterfowler. He told me he had just talked to the owners and they told him I was in charge of who hunts on the farm. That was news to me! I could have said sorry - this is mine, but having been on the other side of the fence I offered to meet with him and talk it over. He turned out to be a great guy (he also had lots of decoys) So on the opening day he and his partners and my partner and I hunted the farm with great results. I got several offers for duck and bird hunting with good dogs that I intend to cash in soon.
The next opportunity came at 0500 on the opener of duck season. I had scouted out a wet area in a corn field that the woodies and mallards were using. But when I arrived in the dark a fellow and his son where already setting up. I introduced myself, apologized and offered to hunt the other end of the field. But the hunter said he had heard about me and if I wanted to he'd be glad to have me hunt with him and his son. So I added my decoys to his and we had a great hunt along with some interesting hunting talk. It turned out he had a scrape with the Wardens a few years ago, but had been treated fairly and was showing his son the right way to hunt.
Lastly, the store keeper near where my partner and I set up squirrel camp every year, invited us to hunt on some farm land that he does conservation work on and oversees hunting for the owners. Turned out to be a wonderful squirrel and grouse area. We haven't hunted together yet, but we intend to as he is an avid waterfowler and deer hunter.
It is easy to get paranoid about who you hunt with, but with some checking, clearly articulating expectations and safety issues, you can make some new friends and open up new opportunitites. I highly suggest it!
While your at it invite a new hunter to go with you. We all had someone help us, it is lot's of fun to see a newbie get all excited...
Happy Hunting!

One Shot Sight In

Well not exactly one shot - I'm not that good a shooter! But you can zero in pretty well in about 6-8 shots every time. Here is how:
Assuming your rifle is hitting on paper at 100 yards,
1) using a rest fire a three shot group
2) use a gun clamp or a lead sled if you have one, or cut out slots in the top of a cardboard box for the stock and forearm of your rifle.
3)with the gun supported by the box or clamp move it untill the cross hairs are on the center of the target. Make sure it is steady and the gun won't move when you change the scope settings. It helps if using the box method that you have someone help hold the gun steady.
3) keeping the rifle steady, use the dial on the scope to move the cross hairs so they are centered on your three shot group. (reminder - the gun doesn't move during this process, only the cross hairs in the scope)
4) Refire a 3 shot group holding center- if you did this correctly you should be dead on. You may have to put a click or two on to fine tune and then shoot a few confirming shots.
Now with some dry fire practice at home and some time on the gong range using hunting positions you should be ready for that clean, one shot kill!
Good luck!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pine Beetle, Whitebark Pine and Grizzly Bears

From the new report on National Parks in Peril

Global Warming, Bark Beetles, Whitebark Pine, and Grizzly Bears
By Dr. Jesse A. Logan, contributing author to National Parks In Peril

I consider the large-scale bark beetle mortality occurring in lodgepole pine forests across the West
interesting and unusual-- but I have no doubt that lodgepole forests will remain on the landscape for
generations. The current mortality in whitebark pines, though, breaks my heart. We are witnessing the
catastrophic collapse of high mountain ecosystems as a result of human-caused climate change, and
grizzly bears could pay the price.
The grizzly bear is the most emblematic symbol of America’s remaining wildlands. Unfortunately, in
one of its last strongholds, the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, its very existence is in peril. The most
challenging of its many threats there is a loss of critical food resources. Most important in the grizzly
diet are the large and nutrient-rich seeds of whitebark pine, as the bears depend on them in the fall to
prepare for hibernation. Nutritionally stressed bears in years with poor whitebark nut supplies have a
lowered over-winter survival rate, and, more importantly, lower cub birth rates as embryos will be
reabsorbed if pregnant females lack sufficient fat entering hibernation. Without enough whitebark pine
nuts, grizzly bears are also more likely to get into human conflicts as they search for other foods.
In recent years, a new threat has erupted to this critical element in the grizzly diet: the expansion into
high-elevation forests of a small, native bark beetle in response to a warming climate.
The mountain pine beetle is a native insect that has co-evolved with some pine forests. Trees killed by
the beetles (and fire) open up the forests to new growth; otherwise, some types of trees, especially
lodgepole pine, would be replaced by shade-tolerant spruce and fir. But whitebark pines are different
from lodgepoles. Whitebarks live for centuries, not decades, and are restricted to high elevations (with
one of their adaptations being their large, highly nutritious seeds). Whitebark pines do not depend on
catastrophic forest disturbances to survive; instead, they are threatened by them. One hypothesized
reason for the restriction of whitebark pines to high elevations is that they are poorly defended against
the insect pests and pathogens of lower elevations. Mountain pine beetles have not before been a
major threat to whitebark pine survival; their defense has been the high-elevation climate, historically
too cold for long-term survival of large beetle populations.
Unfortunately, things have dramatically changed in response to climate warming since the mid 1970s.
Computer simulations had predicted mountain pine beetle outbreaks into high-elevation systems, but
even the modelers were surprised by how quickly and how far beetles have now spread into whitebark
pines. Significant mortality is occurring across the entire American distribution of whitebark pine, with
no sign of it diminishing. When added to another stress—from a pathogen, white pine blister rust—the
spread of bark beetles into higher elevations puts in question the continued existence of these
ecosystems and of Yellowstone’s grizzly bears.
Given the likelihood of continued warming, what, if anything can be done to protect whitebark pines
and the grizzlies that depend on them? First, we need to better understand mountain pine beetle
infestations of whitebark pine, which differ from the host/insect interactions of other pine species.
Understanding the unique aspects of mountain pine beetle in whitebark pines may let us tip the scale to
favor the host. Second, we need better tools to evaluate the extent of mortality. Whitebark pine habitats
are in the most remote and wild places (often designated wilderness areas) in the Rocky Mountains,
where mortality goes almost undetected. Advanced technology, such as satellite imagery combined
with traditional aerial photography and ground surveying, is needed. Third, management tools (e.g.,
pheromone strategies) need to be fine-tuned for high-elevation environments. All of these approaches
need to be integrated across large, remote, and inhospitable landscapes.
Dr. Logan, an entomologist, retired in 2006 from the U.S. Forest Service.

Lead Free Bullets

From The Outdoor News Service:

Non-Lead Special:

Lead ammo ban affects seven deer zones

Map of lead-free area

Legal bullets & ammunition

December 24 News Update:

Hornady introduces new
line of California-legal
big game ammunition

Hornady Manufacturing has announced a new line of “expanding solid” bullets and loaded ammunition that will meet California’s non-lead requirements in the range of the California condor for hunting ammunition.
The new bullet is made from solid gilding metal, a copper-based alloy that has no lead in its construction, similar to the three other non-lead products currently on the market, the Barnes X-line of bullets, the Nosler E-Tip line, and Lapua Naturalis bullet. The new Hornady GMX bullets will be available in .270, 7mm, .308, and .338 diameters for 2009. Hunters will be able to buy bullets for reloading or loaded ammunition in popular cartridges for those three calibers, and the first loaded ammunition should be available on dealer’s shelves soon after the first of the year.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You Local Wildlife Needs Your Help

You Local Wildlife Needs Your Help
A new bill – Teaming With Wildlife Act of 2009 (S. 655) - introduced in the U.S. Senate hopes to change that. Senators Tim Johnson (S.D.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) introduced the “Teaming with Wildlife Act,” which would provide states with the money they need to fully implement their wildlife action plans, conserving both game and non-game species and natural areas for future generations.

The legislation would provide $350 million annually over five years to help states carry out comprehensive wildlife restoration programs consistent with a state wildlife action plan. Since 2001, every state has adopted a state wildlife action plan to effectively recover fish and wildlife species. The Teaming With Wildlife Act would create a reliable funding source for the program through a portion of the royalties collected from mineral development on federal lands. The act is named after the Teaming with Wildlife coalition, which the TRCP serves as member of its steering committee.
The Teaming With Wildlife Act need additional Senate sponsors. Send the following letter to your Senator urging his or her co-sponsorship of this critically important bill.
sign on

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hunting as a Rite of Passage

From the Outdoor Wire:
NOTE- Eaton spoke at the VT Hunter Ed instructor banquet a few years ago, he is an inspiring speaker and was well received by the instructors.

Hunting as a Rite of Passage
Is hunting good for kids? Why do they do it? Is it sport or is it instinctive? Does hunting encourage violence or does it teach empathy and compassion? Would it be a more peaceful world if more men hunted? These are some of the questions addressed in a new book entitled From Boys to Men of Heart: Hunting as Rite of Passage.

Award-winning author, Randall L. Eaton, Ph.D., is a behavioral scientist with an international reputation in wildlife conservation who has been studying hunting for 35 years. While producing "The Sacred Hunt" in the mid-1990s, he interviewed scores of recreational hunters as well as Native Americans. Eaton was surprised to discover that they all used the word "respect" to describe how they feel about animals they hunt.

That prompted Eaton to conduct questionnaire surveys on thousands of mature hunters who described their attitude toward animals they hunt as "respect, admiration and reverence." More than 80 percent of the hunters claimed they prayed for the animals they killed or gave thanks to God.

Eaton's survey also asked hunters what life event most opened their hearts and engendered compassion in them. The choices included death of a loved one, death of a beloved pet, becoming a parent, taking the life of an animal and teaching young people. The women hunters overwhelmingly chose "becoming a parent," but nearly all the men selected taking the life of an animal..

"These results indicate the fundamental polarity of human life. Women are adapted to bring life into the world, but men are adapted to take life to support life," Eaton said.

The same survey asked respondents to choose those universal virtues they learned from hunting. The top three choices were inner peace, patience and humility.

Eaton's book contains interviews of leading authorities in several fields who corroborate his research. One is Michael Gurian, family therapist and best-selling author of several books on how to properly raise boys. Gurian agrees that hunting does teach men compassion, and that it would be a more peaceful world if more men hunted. The Gurian Institute recommends Eaton's book to parents.

"Hunting is counter-intuitive," said Eaton, "because people who haven't had the experience can't imagine that it opens the heart and awakens a moral sense."

Taking calls on a national radio show, a distraught woman told Eaton, "You're just teaching kids violence!" He responded, "What do you think Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela would say? They won the Nobel Peace Prize and both are avid hunters."

Many people are aware that the U.S. government was modeled after the Iroquois Confederation. According to Eaton, what they don't know is that a thousand years ago the Peacemaker united the tribes under a system of government designed to maintain peace. "He advocated hunting reserves where young men could hunt and be mentored by elders because he knew it would make them more peaceful."

Also mentioned in his hunter's hall of fame are Teddy Roosevelt, greatest conservationist in the history of the world, and other exemplary Americans such as Thomas Jefferson, Audubon, Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, John Steinbeck and Jimmy Stewart. His list includes contemporary celebrities whom he considers worthy role models for youth, among them Morgan Freeman, Kurt Russell, Ted Turner and Shaq O'Neal.

The book contains an interview of Dr. Don T. Jacobs, professor of education and author of Teaching Virtues Across the Curriculum. Jacobs concludes, "Hunting is the ideal way to teach young people universal virtues including courage, fortitude, patience, generosity and humility." According to Jacobs, "humility is discovering that you're part of something greater than yourself," which Eaton considers an apt definition for spirituality.

The book presents evidence that hunting is an inherited instinct in boys. A German scientist who investigated 62 different cultures around the world found that in all of them boys start throwing rocks at the age of 4-5 years. Eaton said, "My survey of older hunters indicated that almost all the men spontaneously had killed a small animal before the age of ten, but women hunters rarely had. Typically the boy cries, as 8-year old Jimmy Carter did when he threw a rock and killed a robin."

Eaton believes that for boys at least, hunting definitely is not sport but an instinct. He compares hunting to sex.

"Sex drives a young male towards a sexual encounter, but a surprise awaits him. Sooner or later he falls in love. The instinct links up with the heart. It is a transformative experience with enormous consequences including marriage, parenting and providing. The instinct to hunt propels a young man to pursue the animal, but a surprise comes when he takes its life and his heart is opened. He discovers first-hand the interdependence of life. That is how males fall in love with nature and why they are the leaders in conservation." He added, "If sex is the bicep of love, hunting is the bicep of conservation."

The book presents compelling evidence from numerous disciplines that adolescent males need rites of passage to become responsible adults. Eaton argues that the original rite of passage was hunting because it proved that a male could provide and qualify for manhood and marriage. He believes it still is the ideal path by which boys may become men of heart. He also recommends wilderness survival and vision quest, always with appropriate mentoring.

"Without transformative rites of passage that open their hearts and connect them to nature and society males may become egotistical, self-centered and materialistic," Eaton said. He added that untempered masculinity is a factor behind the global social and environmental crisis, and it also promotes delinquency and gangs.

The book interviews Dr. Wade Brackenbury who for 13 years led groups of delinquent boys into the wilderness for two weeks where they had to survive on what they could forage. Brackenbury is convinced that it was hunting small animals for food that had the most transformative influence. Follow-up surveys showed that 85 percent of the boys did not get in trouble after their survival experience.

Eaton's book claims that hunting also develops character, values and virtues in girls and profoundly connects them with nature. If it so good for youth then why are the ranks of hunters declining?

"There are many contributing factors," Eaton suggests, "and one of them is fear of guns. How many parents and teachers know that hunting is the safest form of outdoor recreation?"

The book refers to the work of Dr. Helen Smith, author of Scarred Hearts and the world's leading expert on youth violence, who says that access to firearms does not cause youth violence. She believes that teenagers need boundaries and responsibility, which shooting and hunting provide when mentored by adults. She suspects that the Columbine tragedy never would have happened had the boys been properly mentored in hunting and shooting.

Adolescent neuropsyschologist, Dr. Jim Rose of the University of Wyoming, is interviewed in the book. He says that shooting and hunting teach kids self-control, self-restraint and sound judgment.

Eaton is glad about the "No Child Left Inside" movement, inspired by Richard's Louv's book,
The Last Child in the Woods.

"It's a good thing for kids to spend more time outside, but I doubt that the connection they make with nature is deep enough to promote a conservation ethic." In his opinion, "Not only are hunting and fishing better for kids, kids who hunt and fish are better for the environment."

According to Eaton, hunting is justifiable in terms of its enormous economic impacts and benefits to environmental conservation. He said, "We all take life, but for those who participate directly in it, the food chain becomes a love chain.. Look at Ducks Unlimited. They've permanently conserved over 12 million acres of wetlands throughout North America to the benefit of the entire living community. In just a few years, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has conserved over four million acres for wildlife and successfully reintroduced elk to the eastern U.S."

He sees most of the environmental community engaged in rear-guard actions while the hunting and fishing community are on the offensive. "How many people are aware that hunters and fishermen are behind the National Wildlife Federation, largest conservation group in the world?"

Eaton concluded that the social justification for hunting lies in its positive influence on the development of our youth into compassionate, virtuous and responsible adults who respect life and defend nature.

The 336-page book is available from OWLink Media at a discount before Oct. 1, official publication date.

For more information contact Dr. Randall Eaton at 513-244-2826 or at or