Tuesday, January 25, 2011

H.91 Restoring the Public Trust of Wildlife introduced in VT House

H.91 which repeals the Nelson Amendment and restores the Public Trust Doctrine in Vermont has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Led by Rep David Deen and Kate Webb and cosponsored by 33 other Representatives.

Subject: Fish and wildlife; management of wildlife

Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to declare that the fish and wildlife of Vermont are held in trust by the state for the benefit of the citizens of Vermont and shall not be reduced to private ownership. The bill would also declare that the fish and wildlife of Vermont are owned and controlled by the state in its sovereign capacity as the trustee for the citizens of the state. The bill would repeal the regulatory authority of the agency of agriculture, food and markets over the wild cervidae at a captive cervidae farm in Irasburg. Regulatory authority over the wild cervidae at the Irasburg facility would be transferred to the department of fish and wildlife. In addition, the bill would make permanent the transfer to the fish and wildlife board of regulatory authorityover the state deer herd by repealing the reversion of such authority to the general assembly.

Read the whole bill

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Guest opinion: Conservationists must again battle bad, old ideas about public lands

Guest opinion: Conservationists must again battle bad, old ideas about public lands
By JIM POSEWITZ The Billings Gazette | Posted: Saturday, January 15, 2011 12:00 am

It was once said that bad ideas die with the people who hold them. If only that were true. In viewing the opening of the Montana Legislature, it is apparent that the anti-conservation, anti-environment, anti-public land and anti-wildlife philosophy of Montana's most notorious politician is vigorously alive in 2011.
By way of refresher, William A. Clark was our U.S. senator from 1901-1907. At the time, it was a position filled through vote of the state Legislature. For Clark, it was “... a position he had initially purchased with bundles of crisp $100 bills handed out to legislators in monogrammed envelopes — W.A.C. stamped on the fold, $10,000 per vote,” according to Tim Egan in “The Big Burn,” published in 2009. Clark's defense at the time was, “I never bought a man who was not for sale.”
The prize then, as it is now, was privatization and commercialization of natural resources. Clark and conservatives like Idaho's Sen. Weldon Heyburn and “Uncle Joe” Cannon of Illinois championed privatizing all of America. Their opponents believed that in America some natural resources were best shared. Their names are less eroded by time: Gifford Pinchot, George Bird Grinnell, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Montana's public land legacy

In order to protect forests and wildlife, Roosevelt, Pinchot, and Grinnell created the Boone and Crockett Club to introduce the sporting code and conservation to a nation.
In 1891 they lobbied a bill through Congress to allow presidents to reserve unclaimed land as forest reserves. When Roosevelt got to be president he used that authority — with vigor. In response, Clark, Weldon, Cannon and other anti-conservation conservatives attached a “rider” to an appropriations bill to prohibit the president from creating any new forest reserves in six western states — including Montana. In the seven days he had to either sign or veto the bill, Roosevelt added 16 million acres of national forest reserves in the states that Clark and his allies sought to reserve for the corporate robber barons. For Montana, those seven days meant the Big Hole, the Big Belts, the Little Rockies, the Cabinets, the Lewis and Clark and the Custer national forests. A couple of years later Grinnell led the fight to add Glacier Park to the list of protected places.
The battle between exploitation and conservation has persisted through the century that followed, generally with pseudo-conservatives attacking conservation budgets, vilifying those carrying the conservation message, and purging progressive political thought from their own political ranks. We are only one year away from the 100th anniversary of Republican Party bosses denying Theodore Roosevelt the nomination as their party's presidential candidate in 1912. As the years passed we have responded to Reagan's “Sage Brush Rebellion,” Interior Secretary James Watt's effort to “bomb” the Bob Marshall Wilderness with oil exploration, and numerous other attempts to sell off our public lands or diminish their protection.
Welcome to the 2011 Montana legislative session and its promise to: privatize and commercialize our
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

New President of Boone and Crockett Club – Ben B. Wallace

Boone and Crockett Club
Boone and Crockett Club
MISSOULA, Mont.--(Ammoland.com)- A hunter, attorney, banker and businessman from Corpus Christi, Texas, Ben B. Wallace has been elected to serve as president of America’s oldest conservation organization, the Boone and Crockett Club.
Theodore Roosevelt founded Boone and Crockett Club in 1887. Its mission includes promoting conservation and management of wildlife and their habitats, upholding the highest standards of fair-chase sportsmanship and maintaining records of native North American big game species.
Wallace becomes the Club’s 29th president, following the tenure of Lowell E. Baier.
Wallace has served as a club officer and as a member of various committees. He also is active in Pope and Young Club, Lone Star Bow Hunter’s Association, American Hunting Club, International Game and Fish Association, Texas Wildlife Association, National Rifle Association and Ducks Unlimited.
The following is a statement issued by Wallace regarding his vision and direction for Boone and Crockett Club:
“As the 29th president of the nation’s first national conservation organization, it is my responsibility to ensure efforts to address the major conservation and hunting heritage challenges the Boone and Crockett Club and our partners have been working on are carried through to completion and to set the course for the future.
These challenges are clearly delineated in “Wildlife for the 21st Century: III,” the recommendations submitted to the Obama Administration as a result of the 2008 Whitehouse Conference on North American Wildlife Policy.
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

First Hunt, Delta Waterfowl's Mentored Hunting Program

First Hunt
Welcome to Delta Waterfowl's “First Hunt” program. Here you'll find a collection of videos and handbooks specifically created for first-time hunters and their mentors. This is your gateway to the storied tradition of waterfowl hunting. Enjoy.

Message from Delta President Rob Olson

Few things as a waterfowler will give you more long-term satisfaction than passing on our hunting heritage to your son or daughter, friend or family member. Even the young kid down the street you barely even know.
At Delta, we take immense pride in mentoring new waterfowlers. I personally derive more pleasure watching a complete novice shoot his or her first duck than actually hunting myself. Ear-to-ear grins tend to make a mentor's small sacrifices completely worthwhile.
Read More

Note from Eric:  Many states have recently adopted Apprentice hunting licenses that allow non-hunters to try hunting with a licensed hunter. For busy people these new laws reduce the upfront commitment traditionally required before they can see if they like hunting and want to pursue it further. Key to the success are quality mentors that number one are willing to step forward and then know how to run a fun, safe and compelling hunt. The materials put together by Delta Waterfowl is a great model for duck hunting and could be a template for other type hunts. Check out the great support materials available for downloading at First Hunt
I'd be interested in other programs that offer training materials for mentors and apprentices. If you know of any please share in the comment section below.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dan Ashe Nominated as Fish & Wildlife Service Director

From the Wildife Management Institute website:

Dan Ashe Nominated as Fish & Wildlife Service Director
Monday, 20 December 2010 12:58
image of Dan Ashe, Credit: Tami HeilemannOn December 3, President Obama formally nominated Dan Ashe to be the next Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Currently serving as Deputy Director, Ashe has been the science advisor to the Director, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System and Assistant Director for External Affairs.

continue reading

Michigan National Forest proposed ban on firearms hunting

Orion has signed on to this letter distributed to the American Wildlife Conservation Partners member organizations  by the Ruffed Grouse Society.

Lee Evison, Forest Planner
Huron-Manistee National Forest

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Notice of Intent to Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to the Forest Plan for the Huron-Manistee National Forest.  These comments are generated by a review of the Federal Register notice of 28 December 2010.

The wildlife conservation organizations listed below represent the interests of millions of hunter conservationists across the nation.  We strongly urge the Huron-Manistee National Forest to select the No-Action alternative and, thereby, continue to allow firearm hunting on all Semiprimitive Nonmotorized Management Areas and the Nordhouse Dunes Primitive Area.

Language from the Circuit Court decision that prompted the development of the SEIS suggesting that nonhunters who recreate on lands open to public hunting should be able to do so “without ducking the occasional gunshot” demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of what transpires as hunters venture afield.  In addition, the decision ignores the many decades of harmonious coexistence between hunters and other recreationists on public lands throughout Michigan and across America. 

The proposal to discriminate against sportsmen and women by eliminating their opportunity to pursue their passion in the relatively secluded nature of the areas identified in the SEIS is inappropriate and unnecessary.  The opportunity to hunt with a firearm exists for only approximately 5 months annually in Michigan and substantial hunter activity occurs literally for only a handful of days each year in association with the gun deer season (mid November) and several weekends during other popular seasons. 

As our nation works to introduce a greater proportion of our citizens to the outdoors, it would be counterproductive to create artificial barriers to do so by establishing zones where well-supported and long-practiced recreational uses are no longer allowed.  We strongly urge the Huron-Manistee National Forest to aid in sustaining our hunting heritage by selecting the No-Action Alternative as outlined in the SEIS.

Thank you for your time.