Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Roosevelt Challenges Boone and Crockett Record Holders

From the Outdoor Wire, note the text highlighted by me...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010
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Roosevelt Challenges Boone and Crockett Record Holders
MISSOULA, Mont.-The Boone and Crockett Club is now receiving four times more trophy entries than 30 years ago, and Theodore Roosevelt's great, great grandson says hunters who reach this apex are notable beneficiaries of historic conservation successes.

Further, the TR descendant says trophy record holders are perfectly positioned to help keep hunters at the forefront of America's resurging conservation movement.

Simon Roosevelt, whose great, great grandfather was the 26th President of the United States, legendary sportsman, consummate conservationist and founder of the Boone and Crockett Club, delivered the remarks as part of his keynote address at the Club's recent 27th Big Game Awards in Reno, Nev.

Roosevelt said all hunters share a legacy with early Club members who developed the hunter-funded, science-based system that helped to recover that era's devastated wildlife and habitat. That system remains the lifeblood of conservation still today. But those who achieve special status within the hunting community have a chance to join TR and his contemporaries in accomplishing "something even more important-more crucial for the long-term success of conservation-that is, fundamentally changing the way Americans think," he said.

Although 80 percent of U.S. citizens now live in cities, they understand the importance of natural resources and sustainable use, says Roosevelt, but, "What they don't understand is how we as hunters fit, or maybe better said, that we fit, and why we're important. If we fail to get this message across, we will continue to lose hunters and hunting access, and 'hunting' may well come to mean nothing more than high-fence farms and park culling."

Boone and Crockett record holders openly communicating who they are, what they do and their love of doing it-even when they don't take an animal-will lead to greater public support of hunting, says Roosevelt. And that, in turn, will spur more resources for today's conservation challenges: climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, and diseases.

Roosevelt's speech was a highlight of the triennial Boone and Crockett Club event held June 24-26 at Reno's Grand Sierra Resort.

"Almost 125 years after TR organized Boone and Crockett Club, and more than 100 years after we launched a records program to capture details on species once considered bound for extinction, our triennial awards event remains relevant to the future of conservation," said Tony Schoonen, chief of staff for the Club. "This is our way of doing exactly what Simon Roosevelt urged all of us to do-share with the public our love of hunting and connections to conservation."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Feds Finally Release Funds for Open Fields Hunting Access Program

Note from Eric - I have hunted walk in areas that this legislation will help expand and enhance. Kansas has led the way, but there is great public access to quality habitat in MT, CO and South Dakota that I have hunted. States in the east should look into working with private landowners to open up more land to hunting.

From the New West Travel and Outdoors

Feds Finally Release Funds for Open Fields Hunting Access Program

Key hunting access program now has only two years to prove itself.

By Bill Schneider, 7-06-10
The new Open Fields Program funds public access to private lands. 
Photos by Dusan Smetana.
The new Open Fields Program funds public access to private lands. Photos by Dusan Smetana.
Updated July 7, 1 am: Baucus Continues to Support Open Fields.
Nobody ever accused the federal government of moving rapidly, even with congressionally mandated programs. And the long-ago approved new hunting access program called Open Fields is excellent testimony to that axiom.
After an extensive lobbying campaign by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited and many other conservation groups, Congress included $50 million in the 2008 Farm Bill for Open Fields, a new, innovative program to help fund dwindling public access to private lands, perhaps the greatest threat to the sport of hunting in this country.
That happened way back in December 2008, 31 months ago. Now, finally, the Department of the Interior has finished writing regulations needed to administer Open Fields and will start releasing the funds to qualified state-based access programs, such as Montana’s Block Management program.
Today, NewWest.Net learned that on July 8, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will hold a teleconference to announce the release of the funding.
This long delay has concerned conservationists because they want Open Fields to have an admirable track record of success before the 2012 Farm Bill rolls around. And not a lot of time to spare, it seems, as Congress is already holding hearings on the 2012 bill. With so little time to prove the value of the program, conservationists will clearly be challenged to convince Congress to renew or increase funding for Open Fields in the 2012 Farm Bill.
UPDATE: Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) contacted NewWest.Net shortly after this article was posted. “The open fields program will be great for our state,” Baucus said. “In Montana we hunt and we fish--it’s in our blood. I worked hard to ensure this provision was included in the Farm Bill but we need to get the money on the ground. I will keep pushing the USDA to get this done. This is about ensuring our outdoor heritage is protected, so we can continue passing our traditions on to our children and grandchildren.”
Baucus is chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee and a senior member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, so he was in a position to make sure the Open Fields Program--and the $50 million--made it into the 2008 Farm Bill. Since the passage of the Farm Bill, Baucus has been pushing the Interior Department to move as fast as possible to make the funds available to voluntary state hunting access programs.
Related NewWest.Net articles: Open Fields Hunting Access Program Needs Push and Baucus Comes Through for Hunters on Open Fields.

From the TRCP web site:
Open Fields is a competitive grants program available to state and tribal governments. Funding applications may be made through the federal government's grants portal. Read frequently asked questions about Open Fields. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Two out of Three Candidates didn't vote to support the Public Trust but say they will if Governor???

From The Chronicle online

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Published on June 23, 2010

Democratic gubernatorial candidates applaud the organizers of the debate held at Sterling College on June 18. From left to right, the candidates were state senators Susan Bartlett, Douglas Racine and Peter Shumlin. At the far left end of the table is Jon Margolis, who served as moderator. Photo by Joseph Gresser
CRAFTSBURY COMMON — The debate held at Sterling College lacked two-fifths of its advertised content.  Only three of the five Democratic candidates for Governor appeared for their scheduled meeting here on Thursday evening, June 17.
The three who did show up for questioning by veteran newspaperman Jon Margolis and an audience of about 120 people espoused similar positions on many issues, but gave clues as how their styles of governance might differ.
State Senators Susan Bartlett of Lamoille County, Douglas Racine of Chittenden County, and Peter Shumlin of Windham County made it to the debate, but former Senator Matt Dunne was home with a newborn child and Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz had a conflicting event on her schedule.
Mr. Margolis’ second question also had special resonance for a local audience.  A bill to save the life of Pete the Moose effectively transferred ownership of as many as two hundred white-tailed deer to a private landowner.  How, Mr. Margolis asked, could candidates reconcile that decision with the public trust doctrine which holds that wild animal belong to all citizens of the state?
Ms. Bartlett, who was one of the sponsors of the bill in question, said the decision to save Pete involved a conflict among wildlife biologists in and out of the state about the threat of chronic wasting disease.   “If you get a hold of a group of scientists who agree on something, it will be a miracle,” Ms. Bartlett said about the hearings held on the subject.
She said the situation regarding Pete the Moose was one in which “pure policy in theory runs into the real world and how to resolve it.”  State fish and wildlife officials wanted to slaughter Pete the Moose and all the deer who share his fenced-in area to avoid a threat that had not been shown to exist, Ms. Bartlett said.
One solution considered to resolve the issue was to declare Pete to be a dog or a cow or a horse, she joked.  But in the end, transferring ownership of the herd was “our very pragmatic solution to a difficult situation.”  Ms. Bartlett told the audience that if she is elected governor they can expect her “to go with pragmatism most of the time.”
Mr. Racine agreed with Ms. Bartlett that the decision to save Pete at the cost of transferring ownership of wild animals to a private citizen was a tough one.  He said it was a time “where the emotional response sort of trumped the more scientific based response.”
“The best part of what we do is find those sorts of balances,” Mr. Racine said.  He added that the bill had passed in the last minutes of the legislative session and that it was hard for lawmakers to gauge the full range of implications in their vote to save Pete.
Mr. Shumlin said his position as President Pro Tem of the Senate made him the least popular person in the State House.  That made his decision on the bill easy, he said, because “I’ll always vote against anything that would slaughter Pete on the Senate floor.”
Under Mr. Margolis’ prodding all three candidates said they would respect the public trust doctrine in future decisions.