Saturday, July 25, 2009

Effect of warming on wildlife and culture

From the NYTimes:

A woman and a child of the Kamayurá tribe in the Amazon bathed in a lake on the evening of June 6. Members of the tribe usually bathe three times each day.
Damon Winter/The New York Times

A woman and a child of the Kamayurá tribe in the Amazon bathed in a lake on the evening of June 6. Members of the tribe usually bathe three times each day.

Researchers are worried about a possible wave of cultural extinction among tribes that have long relied on nature.

XINGU NATIONAL PARK, Brazil — As the naked, painted young men of the Kamayurá tribe prepare for the ritualized war games of a festival, they end their haunting fireside chant with a blowing sound — “whoosh, whoosh” — a symbolic attempt to eliminate the scent of fish so they will not be detected by enemies. For centuries, fish from jungle lakes and rivers have been a staple of the Kamayurá diet, the tribe’s primary source of protein....

But fish smells are not a problem for the warriors anymore. Deforestation and, some scientists contend, global climate change are making the Amazon region drier and hotter, decimating fish stocks in this area and imperiling the Kamayurá’s very existence. Like other small indigenous cultures around the world with little money or capacity to move, they are struggling to adapt to the changes.

“Us old monkeys can take the hunger, but the little ones suffer — they’re always asking for fish,” said Kotok, the tribe’s chief, who stood in front of a hut containing the tribe’s sacred flutes on a recent evening. He wore a white T-shirt over the tribe’s traditional dress, which is basically nothing.

Chief Kotok, who like all of the Kamayurá people goes by only one name, said that men can now fish all night without a bite in streams where fish used to be abundant; they safely swim in lakes previously teeming with piranhas.

Responsible for 3 wives, 24 children and hundreds of other tribe members, he said his once-idyllic existence had turned into a kind of bad dream.

“I’m stressed and anxious — this has all changed so quickly, and life has become very hard,” he said in Portuguese, speaking through an interpreter. “As a chief, I have to have vision and look down the road, but I don’t know what will happen to my children and grandchildren.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that up to 30 percent of animals and plants face an increased risk of extinction if global temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in coming decades. But anthropologists also fear a wave of cultural extinction for dozens of small indigenous groups — the loss of their traditions, their arts, their languages.

“In some places, people will have to move to preserve their culture,” said Gonzalo Oviedo, a senior adviser on social policy at the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Gland, Switzerland. “But some of those that are small and marginal will assimilate and disappear.”

To make do without fish, Kamayurá children are eating ants on their traditional spongy flatbread, made from tropical cassava flour. “There aren’t as many around because the kids have eaten them,” Chief Kotok said of the ants. Sometimes members of the tribe kill monkeys for their meat, but, the chief said, “You have to eat 30 monkeys to fill your stomach.”

Living deep in the forest with no transportation and little money, he noted, “We don’t have a way to go to the grocery store for rice and beans to supplement what is missing.”

Tacuma, the tribe’s wizened senior shaman, said that the only threat he could remember rivaling climate change was a measles virus that arrived deep in the Amazon in 1954, killing more than 90 percent of the Kamayurá.

Cultures threatened by climate change span the globe. They include rainforest residents like the Kamayurá who face dwindling food supplies; remote Arctic communities where the only roads were frozen rivers that are now flowing most of the year; and residents of low-lying islands whose land is threatened by rising seas.

Many indigenous people depend intimately on the cycles of nature and have had to adapt to climate variations — a season of drought, for example, or a hurricane that kills animals.

But worldwide, the change is large, rapid and inexorable, heading in only one direction: warmer. Eskimo settlements like Kivalina and Shishmaref in Alaska are “literally being washed away,” said Thomas Thornton, an anthropologist who studies the region, because the sea ice that long protected their shores is melting and the seas around are rising. Without that hard ice, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to hunt for seals, a mainstay of the traditional diet.

Some Eskimo groups are suing polluters and developed nations, demanding compensation and help with adapting...

“As they see it, they didn’t cause the problem, and their lifestyle is being threatened by pollution from industrial nations,” said Dr. Thornton, who is a researcher at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. “The message is that this is about people, not just about polar bears and wildlife.”

read full article

Friday, July 24, 2009

Aiming for Future Growth for Hunters and Conservation

Published in The Wildlife Society Professional, Summer 2009 edition

Aiming for Future Growth – By Eric C. Nuse

The Future of Hunting and the Shooting Sports: Research-Based Recruitment and Retention Strategies, Responsive Management and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 2008. 261 pages

At last under one cover are the results of most of the recent scientific studies and surveys looking at recruitment and retention of hunters and shooters in the U.S. Studies included range from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Census National Survey of Fish, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation to Responsive Management’s Attitudes Toward and Participation in Youth Hunting Weekends in Vermont. It also includes the results of two series of nationwide focus groups and two major scientific telephone surveys.
Lead researcher Mark Damian Duda states, “The purpose of this project is to better understand the factors related to hunting and sport shooting participation, identify strategies to better meet the needs of current and potential participants, and more effectively communicate to the public about these activities.” The book is organized into 9 chapters covering the following broad topics: participation, demographic trends, initiation and recruitment, motivations and satisfactions, target markets, recruitment programs, public opinion, and implications and action items.
As president of Orion-The Hunter’s Institute and actively involved in hunter recruitment and retention efforts, I found this book’s primary strength comes from putting the results from hundreds of studies and surveys under one cover. Beyond this convenience, the synthesizing of the results by topic area followed by comprehensive list of action items makes this book an essential desk reference for everyone concerned about the future of hunting and shooting sports. The study falls short in identifying top priority actions but it anticipates this failing by suggesting the formation of a national “umbrella” group to “coordinate programs, minimize duplication and ensure that gaps are not left unaddressed.” The authors also advocate for national and state-specific strategic plans.
As a participant in numerous Governors’ Symposiums on the Future of Hunting and similar events, I have become increasingly frustrated with the lack of connectivity between recruitment programs. It seemed to me that government and NGOs all had their pet projects but they were more like mazes with lots of dead ends than a path to help people become life-long hunters. This report’s suggestion for an umbrella group would be a great step forward to leverage the investments in current programs and straighten out the current maze. I think there is a good reason that it historically “Takes a hunter to make a hunter.” Hunters are the only ones who can figure out the system and provide the support needed to guide a new recruit through! In my experience in hunter education at the state and national level, improvements have been made in building awareness and interest in hunting, but coordinated follow though is lacking.
The Final action item 196 is worth noting. “Put these actions into place as soon as possible. While proper planning is essential, plans cannot be left in the planning stage without follow-through. Action now will ensure the continuation of the hunting and shooting heritage in the U.S. in the future.”
I decided to test the value of the book with a real issue being debated in my home state of Vermont. A bill has been introduced to allow interested people to try hunting before committing to hunter education or buying a hunting license. I wanted to see what the research says.
Using a word search in the PDF version that is available online at the Responsive Management web site, I found that “mentor” was mentioned 36 times. To make the material easier to work with I cut and pasted all relevant sections together, cut out the duplications and created my own 8-page mini-report. It was a simple matter to then glean the data I needed to put my report together. Here is a short summary of what I found:
• Mentoring plays an important role in hunting initiation (and in this context, mentoring primarily refers to informal mentoring—such as a parent taking a child).
• Mandatory hunter education itself does not appear to be a constraint to hunting participation. However, some researchers have suggested that the timing of the education—requiring a person to go through the entire education course before being able to even try hunting with a mentor—may have some constraining effect.
• Hunters following that route of initiation—starting young and being mentored by others, particularly family—typically show greater subsequent avidity for hunting.
• Follow-up programs after initiation, particularly within a short time after a hunter’s first experience, are critical.
• Encouraging continued participation with family members, and developing programs and services with families in. This ensures the hunter or shooter has the social support necessary to sustain interest and participation.
In a short time I found everything I needed to prepare my testimony for the legislative committee. Unfortunately the paper version of this book does not have an index allowing for this type of word search, but the PDF version worked great.
The book also points out some myths; such as that single mom households are contributing disproportionately to the decline in hunter numbers. The data presented is clear that this is not the case and programs that focus on this issue are not the best use of time and money. The book also points out the importance of family, but does not go into mentoring programs like the New York regional pilot that was not successful in part because they focused on the individual youth and not the family.
The Future of Hunting and the Shooting Sports was produced under a Multi-State Conservation Grant CT-M-6-0. Primary authors are: Mark Damian Duda, Martin Jones, Andrea Criscione, (all of Responsive Management), and Frank Briganti of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. They state, “This report presents the findings of one of the largest and most comprehensive studies ever conducted on the factors related to hunting and sport shooting participation.” It was a 3-year project involving wildlife professionals, outdoor recreation professionals, academics, sportsmen and conservation organization personnel.
This study will be of particular value to outreach directors, hunter education coordinators, NGOs involved in recruitment and retention projects, legislators and regulatory boards.
Overall this is a great start, and as the researchers repeatedly state there is a lot more work to be done. The National Shooting Sports Foundation hosted the 2008 Shooting Sports Summit where the results of this book were presented, and a group called Task Force 20/20 was formed ( This group has identified five key areas of concentration from the 196 action items listed in the book. For each key area they list best practices to accomplish the objective. A follow up Summit is scheduled for 2009 with the goal of increasing participation in hunting and the shooting sports by 20 percent in 5 years. Also the Wildlife Management Institute has put together a comprehensive database of over 400 recruitment and retention programs being run by government entities and NGO’s. It is available at
The Future of Hunting and The Shooting Sports should be within arm’s reach of all professionals concerned with the future of hunting and the shooting sports.

North American Model of Wildife Conservation

From The Wildlife Society Journal

Promoting the North American Model
by Jeff Crane

The United States and its neighbors in North America have an abundance of fish and wildlife
for all citizens to enjoy. Our system of conserving that wildlife is the most successful in history,
envied throughout much of the world. Known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, this system provides conservation funding for wildlife and fisheries to ensure a diversity and abundance of species. Hunters and anglers contribute the majority of funds through their purchase of licenses and equipment related to hunting and fishing. Their contri-
butions lie at the core of the North American Model’s system of conservation funding, and allow state fish and wildlife agencies to hire professional managers who make scientifically sound decisions that benefit wildlife and habitats. promote the Model and develop new strategies to reach the millions of citizens who also have a stake in its survival. We also need to ensure that the American public shares more of the cost of natural resource conservation so that the burden doesn’t continue to rest largely on the traditional hunting and fishing communities. This can perhaps be accomplished by encouraging new funding from broad-ranging energy and climate legislation.
One challenge we face is that most Americans do not claim a direct interest in hunting, fishing, or similar outdoor activities. Urbanization is partly to blame: Approximately 85 percent of our citizens now re- side in metropolitan areas, where there is often little... read more in the summer edition of The Wildlife Society Journal - online for members only

Jeff Crane is
President of the
Courtesy of Jeff Crane

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Strategic Plan for Lake Champlain Released

The Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative announces the availability of a final Strategic Plan for Lake Champlain Fisheries. The Strategic Plan was prepared by the Cooperative's Fisheries Technical Committee and provides a framework for implementing the Cooperative's coordinated fisheries management programs. | For More...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

All Young Hunters May Participate in Vermont Youth Hunts

All you VT hunters - here as a great opportunity to reconnect with your out of state buddies and relatives. Invite their kids to a youth hunt weekend, its a great deal, a ton of fun and they can help harvest some antlerless deer to boot!



For Immediate Release: July 21, 2009

Media Contact: Thomas Decker, Chris Saunders, 802-241-3700

All Young Hunters May Participate in Vermont Youth Hunts

WATERBURY, VT –Nonresident young hunters may now participate in Vermont’s special youth hunt weekends for deer and turkey. Vermont’s legislative statute governing youth deer and turkey hunts was amended to include nonresidents as well as residents, effective July 1, 2009.

“Vermont’s three special youth hunting weekends are helping to ensure that young hunters get the quality training and experiences they need for lifelong participation,” said Fish & Wildlife Hunter Education Coordinator Chris Saunders. “We wanted to help make it possible for both resident and nonresident families to enjoy a Vermont hunting experience.”

Anyone under 16 years of age who has successfully completed a hunter safety course and purchased the required licenses may obtain free youth deer hunting or youth turkey hunting tags to participate in Vermont’s special youth hunts for deer and turkey.

The young hunter must be accompanied by an unarmed adult over 18 years of age who holds a Vermont hunting license. The adult may accompany up to two young hunters. Landowner permission is required in order to hunt on private land during the youth deer and turkey hunt weekends.

Vermont’s youth deer hunting weekend is November 7 and 8 this year, the weekend before the rifle season. A young hunter who has obtained a Vermont hunting license and youth deer tag may take one deer of either sex during youth deer hunting weekend. The antler restriction that applies for other Vermont deer seasons does not apply for youth deer hunting weekend.

The next youth turkey hunting weekend will be April 24 and 25, 2010, the weekend before the May 1-31 spring turkey season. Vermont’s youth waterfowl hunt weekend will occur in late September, the dates to be announced later. Youth waterfowl hunting weekend had always been open to nonresidents.

Finding a place to hunt during the youth hunting weekends is relatively easy in Vermont.

“These youth hunts are very important positive experiences, and hunting on private land requires landowner permission during the youth hunts,” said Fish & Wildlife Operations Chief Thomas Decker. “Connecting with local landowners is very important in establishing places to hunt. Vermont also has over 300,000 acres of public lands open to hunting.”

Vermont’s youth hunting licenses are $8 for residents and $25 for nonresidents. Turkey hunting licenses, required in addition to the hunting license, are $17 for residents and $25 for nonresidents.

A 2007 survey of more than 1,600 Vermont youth hunters, past youth hunters and adult hunters confirmed that these hunts are recruiting and retaining young hunters. The majority of young hunters who participate in the youth hunt weekends (77 percent) keep hunting into adulthood. Youth hunters and their mentors are having a lot of fun, and, as a result, they want to hunt more. For the majority (69 percent) of participating young hunters, a youth hunt was their first time hunting.

The survey was conducted by Responsive Management, an internationally-recognized natural resource survey firm, on behalf of the Fish & Wildlife Department. It measured current youth hunters, past youth hunters and the general hunting population to gauge the effectiveness of the youth deer, turkey and waterfowl weekends at meeting hunter recruitment and retention goals.

The results are clear: current youth hunters, past youth hunters and their mentors were highly satisfied with their experiences, and this is translating into an increased desire to hunt in the future. Perhaps most telling of these youth seasons was that for the majority (69 percent) of youth hunters, the youth hunting weekend represented their first time hunting.

In addition, the study indicates high support among all Vermont hunters for the youth hunts with 87 percent of all the hunters surveyed supported Vermont’s youth hunts, even if they thought the hunts were impacting their chance of success. However, concerns that youths are racking up the deer before they hit sixteen years-old proved unfounded. The majority (61 percent) of youth hunters hunt only one or two youth deer weekends, and most (75 percent) fail to get a deer.


Caption for attached photo:

Photo from VT Fish & Wildlife

Research shows that the majority of young hunters who participate in Vermont’s youth hunts continue to hunt as adults.

youth hunter - Jeff Grab.JPGyouth hunter - Jeff Grab.JPG
996K View Download

National Parks: America's Best Idea

From the Nature and Culture blog:

"National Parks: America's Best Idea."

Ken Burns, who lives near my home in Vermont, is due to release his new movie this fall, called, “National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” This is a timely movie for this class! Ken Burns has created so many beautiful films that I love and he is a great story teller; however, I imagine looking more critically at the romanticized tendencies when talking about what National Parks mean to people and will be very interested to see how he discusses the Native American people…As we read about in Uncommon Ground, the establishment of Yosemite National Park, through the eyes of the indigenous people, couldn’t have been America’s best idea. I hope he addresses the controversy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Must Read - "Animal Investigators"

As a former Game Warden this book review really hit home. Vermont now has fewer wardens than when they hired me in 1971!

From the Wildlife Management Institute website:

Worth Reading
The worth-reading/review book for this month deals with other wildlife abuses, ranging from poaching walruses for their ivory and bears for their gall bladders to smuggling of Native Brazilian costume and ceremonial garb festooned with parts of threatened and endangered Brazilian wildlife. I wouldn't put Animal Investigators in the "really well-written" category, but the book certainly is readable, and its coverage of various areas of wildlife-related shenanigans is engrossing...

It is easy to put the blame on a lack of enforcement, and “lack” is an understatement. There are about 200 federal wildlife special agents and 3,300 state conservation officers. This compares with 12,000 FBI agents, 5,000 Drug Enforcement Administration special agents, 33,000 border patrol agents and 675,000 sworn state and local police. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has 115 wildlife inspectors serving 17 ports and 20 other locations. At each of the major ports, in the United Stats, approximately 20,000 containers arrive every day. Maybe 20 are inspected. Houston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore, we have a problem.

Take a friend fishing

Good weather has been pretty rare this summer in Vermont. So every nice day (as in less than gale winds, driving rain and lightning flashing) has to be used to the max. When we finally had fair day predicted earlier this week I had visions of trolling on Megog or Waterbury for big browns. But we had a house guest from Germany, so fishing with my buddies was out.
However, he had expressed an interest in trying fishing. So down to the Town Clerks we went, picked up a one-day license, loaded the canoe and headed up to Green River State Park. After a 20 minute paddle we were anchored by a nice weed bed. I rigged up a cane pole with a small jig, blue grub and a bit of worm, pitched the lure in the water and before I could hand the pole to Florion I felt a fish biting. 20 perch and one nice pickerel later, I had an avid fisherman on my hands. You know they are hooked when it is past time to leave and they are pleading for "one more cast!"
We even had a loon cruise over to see how we were doing.
I managed to catch one perch during our lunch break, but for me it was one of the best fishing trips of the year.
Take a new person fishing - It forces you to look with fresh eyes at the beauty of nature and appreciate the great opportunities we have. Plus it brings in new supporters for wildlife and wild places.

Federal Conservation Easment Program needs our support

A bi-partisan group of lawmakers are calling for an extension of a popular habitat conservation program that saves taxpayer's money. Members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus held a Thursday briefing to promote conservation easements on private land.
"The majority of undeveloped lands for wildlife habitat - including more than 75% of the remaining wetlands in the United States - are privately held," said Barton James, Director of Public Policy for Ducks Unlimited. "Conservation easements are a win-win solution for landowners that want to protect their land - their land is conserved and they receive a break on their taxes."
| For More...

Early VT Goose Season Dates Set



For Immediate Release: July 16, 2009

Media Contact: Bill Crenshaw, 802-879-5699

September Canada Goose and Youth Waterfowl Hunts Set

Waterbury, VT – September dates for Vermont’s resident Canada goose hunting season and the youth waterfowl hunt have been set by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board.

A statewide open hunting season for Canada geese will occur September 8-25, 2009. The daily bag limit will be five Canada geese except in that portion of the Lake Champlain Zone within Addison County north of Route 125, where the limit will be two per day. The purpose of the season, which is held earlier than the regular waterfowl hunting seasons, is to help control Vermont’s resident Canada goose population prior to the arrival of Canada geese migrating south from Canada.

“This September goose season is prescribed for Canada geese that have built up a sizeable breeding population here in Vermont,” said State Wildlife Biologist William Crenshaw.

Vermont’s youth waterfowl hunting weekend will be held September 26-27, 2009. Hunters under age 16 may hunt ducks and geese statewide during this season while accompanied by an adult 18 or older. Both must have Vermont hunting licenses. The adult may not hunt or carry a firearm. Neither the youth nor the adult is required to hold a state or federal duck stamp on this weekend.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ATVs on State land?

From the Vermont News Guy blog:

Science, Anyone?

July 10th, 2009

No surprise that environmentalists are against the Agency of Natural Resource’s proposed rule allowing all-terrain vehicles on state land.

Nor that more than a thousand rank-and-file Vermonters, some (though by no means all) encouraged by green groups, have flooded the ANR’s mailboxes (electronic and “snail”) expressing their opposition, often their outrage, as the Burlington Free Press put it. There are a lot more environmentalists than ATV riders in this state.

What might be a little more unexpected is the quiet but indisputable disagreement from another faction: the agency’s own scientists.

The last time those scientists officially spoke on the matter, the Board of State Land Stewardship “unanimously agreed…that the existing ANR regulation (prohibiting) ATV use…should not be relaxed.”


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Record harvest of turkey for Vermont

Total of youth and May Vermont turkey seasons is 6,068 – another new record. These are not final numbers.

Respected Access is open Access


Based on the research results, Tread Lightly! developed the slogan "Respected Access is Open Access" for the campaign. The positive slogan was designed to motivate responsible behavior among shooters and other recreationists and to help them understand the consequences of irresponsible behaviors, such as access closure. The message is simple -- responsible behavior leads to continued access. The campaign's initial focus is on recreational shooters, but the long range goal is to improve behaviors of all recreationists on public lands and waters. The primary target audience for the campaign is males between 15 and 25-30 years of age.

Tread Lightly! introduced the Respected Access campaign to industry representatives, natural resource and wildlife management agencies, and the media at the National Shooting Sports Foundation's (NSSF's) 2009 Shooting Sports Summit in Weston, Florida, June 1-3, 2009. The campaign will be officially launched later this summer.
More information on the Respected Access campaign is available at the Tread Lightly! website. T

FromFrom Responsive Management's web site. click above for full report
Seems like this kind of campaign could be helpful in keeping private land open for hunting as well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

2009 Waterfowl Breeding survey results

Breeding Population Survey Released; Wet Conditions Attract Ducks to Dakotas

Full report here

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA -At first glance, the results of the 2009 duck breeding population and habitat survey are eye-popping: May ponds across the prairie breeding grounds increased 45 percent from a year ago, the total duck population was up 25 percent and mallard numbers climbed 10 percent.

Look closer, however, and some of the survey's findings explode from the pages like a Fourth of July fireworks display.

"If you would have told me 10 years ago we'd have twice as many pintails nesting on the U.S. side of the breeding grounds as Canadian prairie, I would have laughed in your face," said Dr. Frank Rohwer, Delta Waterfowl's scientific director.

Yet that's exactly what happened this year as 1.4 million pintails nested in the Dakotas and eastern Montana while only 664,000 set up housekeeping in prairie Canada. The U.S. side of the region also attracted 78 percent more blue-winged teal (4.5 million) than prairie Canada (2.5 million) and a higher percentage of mallards than any other year since the survey began in 1955.

The results of the breeding-population and habitat survey were released Thursday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service. The B-pop, as it's called, is the most extensive wildlife inventory on the continent.

The total duck breeding population rose 13 percent from 37.3 million to 42 million, and for the first time ever more ducks (14 million) settled on the U.S. side of the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) than the Canadian side (12.7 million).

"That's sobering news for prairie Canada, which continues to experience sub-par duck production, but exciting news for the U.S., where nest success has been excellent because of an abundance of grass and a scarcity of red fox," says Dr. Rohwer,

"Ducks track ponds and the Dakotas and eastern Montana are wet," says Senior Vice President John Devney. "Not only that, but thanks to heavy rains in June, our grass cover is in excellent shape and we've maintained good wetlands, which bodes well for re-nesting and brood survival.

"We ought to be making a bunch of baby ducks this year," echoed John Solberg, the USFWS pilot-biologist who flies the eastern Dakotas survey each spring. "We're very wet, and the cover response to recent rains has been incredible."

A breakdown of the numbers shows the PPR had a 45-percent year-over-year increase in May ponds to 6.4 million. Prairie Canada was 17 percent wetter than a year ago and 5 percent wetter than the long-term average while the U.S. side had a whopping 108 percent increase in wetlands and was 87 percent wetter than the LTA.

The mallard population climbed from 7.7 million to 8.5 million. The U.S. attracted a 2.96 million mallards while 3.04 million settled in prairie Canada.

Among the other most popular species, gadwall numbers were up 12 percent to 3.1 million; green-winged teal rose to an all-time record of 3.4 million; blue-winged teal rose 11 percent to 7.4 million; northern shovelers climbed 25 percent to 4.4 million; northern pintails were up 23 percent to 3.2 million; canvasbacks were up 35 percent to 662,000, and scaup rose for the third straight year, up 12 percent to 4.2 million, the highest level since 1999.

The only species to show a drop in breeding numbers were redheads, which were down one percent to 1.0 million, and wigeon, down one percent to 2.5 million.

The PPR constitutes only 10 percent of North America's breeding habitat but annually attracts two-thirds or more of all nesting ducks. The surveyed portion of the region includes North and South Dakota and a sliver of eastern Montana in the U.S., and prairie Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in Canada. About 75 percent of the PPR exists in Canada, which historically attracted 75 percent of the ducks that nest there.

During the wet cycle of the 1990s, duck production on the U.S. side of the border increased dramatically thanks to 5 million acres of grass nesting cover provided by the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

"Things look great right now," Devney says, "but hunters need to remember we've lost more than a million acres of CRP just since 2007 and more contracts will expire this year. On top of that, we've been losing native prairie at an alarming rate and several million more acres are at risk. If we can't find a way to preserve existing upland cover, we simply won't enjoy this kind of production in the future."

Estimates of Breeding Ducks

Back Country Hunter's and Anglers

Back Country Hunter's and Anglers has a great video on thier web site that is well worth a look.

Urban Legend - non-existant gun registration bill

From Bullet Points:

URBAN LEGENDS ABOUND . . . It seems more and more that urban legends about new gun-control bills are beginning to surface. The latest fallacy to cause concern is a bill, "SB 2099," that would allegedly require gun owners to list their firearms on their tax documents (and pay upward of $50 per gun owned). NSSF wishes to be perfectly clear on this matter: There is no such bill.

Chanterelles are up!

If you love wild mushrooms now is time to hit the woods for chanterelles. These distinctive yellow mushrooms are easy to spot and hard to confuse with anything that will kill you. They also taste great. I like to fry them up in butter in a hot pan, then add them to scrambled eggs or just salt and eat - great!
Look for chanterelles in softwood areas, a day or so after rain. Once you find a patch you can keep checking on it as they produce multiple crops through the fall. Consult with a good mushroom guide for positive ID before eating. Once you learn chanterelles they are easy to ID, fun to find and great to eat. They are a great excuse for exploring new areas and getting in some early season scouting too. Good luck!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vermont’s Draft Big Game Plan is Announced



For Immediate Release: July 2, 2009

Media Contact: John Buck, 802-476-0196; Scott Darling, 802-786-3862

Vermont’s Draft Big Game Plan is Announced

Two public meetings scheduled for discussion and input

WATERBURY, VT – Vermont’s draft Big Game Management Plan for 2010-2020 is available for public review. The Plan will provide management goals and activities for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to follow in managing Vermont’s deer, moose, black bear, and wild turkey populations in the next decade.

The draft 2010-2020 Big Game Management Plan is available on Fish & Wildlife’s website (

“This is the culmination of public survey data, biological data, public input meetings, and department thinking about managing these four very important big game species for the people of Vermont,” said State Wildlife Biologist John Buck.

“It is being made available for public review so you will have a chance to offer comments and suggestions about the Plan,” he added. “It is our goal to have the plan finalized by September 30, and begin implementation on January 1, 2010.”

Two “open house” public meetings have been scheduled for discussion of the draft plan and to receive comments and suggestions. One will be Monday, July 20, at 7:00 p.m. in the Montpelier High School cafeteria. The other will be at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, in the Rutland High School cafeteria.

You also can provide comments and suggestions in writing by July 31, 2009, either on the department’s website, or by U.S. mail to:

John Buck -- Big Game Plan

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

103 South Main Street, 10 South

Waterbury, VT 05671-0501