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!