Friday, February 11, 2011

Tester announces members of MT Sportsmen’s Caucus advisory group

  From the Clark Fork Chronicle

Congratulations to Orion board members Gayle and Randy!

Thursday, February 10 2011 @ 10:19 AM MST

19 Montanans on panel ‘come from all walks of life’

by Andrea Helling

Senator Jon Tester today announced members of the Montana Sportsmen’s Advisory Panel, a group of sportsmen and women from across Montana who will provide input to Tester in his new role as the Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.

Tester’s 19-member panel of Montanans will share their experiences as men and women actively engaged in hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. Tester plans to use the group’s input to craft legislation aimed at protecting Montana’s and America’s outdoor heritage.

Tester plans to focus the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus on working to strengthen gun rights, remove wolves from the endangered species list, improve access to public land, and fight for clean water and healthy wildlife.

“Montanans grow up surrounded by the many outdoor recreational opportunities our state has to offer and we learn from an early age that it is also our job to make sure we strengthen that heritage for our kids and grandkids,” Tester said. “The Montanans on this panel come from all walks of life, and all of them are experts in working together to make sure the next generation has the opportunities to hunt, fish, camp and hike. I look forward to their advice on how we can move forward legislation to protect Montana’s rich outdoor heritage.”

....The following Montana hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts will be part of Tester’s Montana Sportsmen’s Advisory Panel:

Gayle Joslin is a wildlife biologist and worked for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for 30 years. She is the secretary and founding board member of Orion—The Hunters Institute. Gayle is also the Issues Chair for the Helena Hunters and Anglers Association, an affiliate of the Montana Wildlife Federation. She has conducted Hunter Education Wildlife Identification courses and has taught riflery at Becoming an Outdoors Woman seminars.

...Randy Newberg currently is the host and producer of the critically acclaimed outdoor show On Your Own Adventures, a show focused on teaching hunters how to hunt on public lands, without guides. Newberg has been a committee chairman and board member for many conservation groups. He is currently Treasurer and past President of Orion the Hunters Institute. He is a co-founder of a local rod and gun club, Headwaters Fish and Game Association in Bozeman.

...Land Tawney is a 5th generation Montana who grew up with a fly rod and gun in hand. He served as the president of Hellgate Hunters and Anglers and Senior Manager of Sportsmen's leadership for the National Wildlife Federation. In addition he chairs the Private Land/Public Wildlife Council and serves as vice chair of the Phil Tawney Hunter Conservation Endowment.
Bill Geer has been a Fish and Wildlife professional for 38 years. He started as a project biologist on Georgetown Lake for fisheries research in 1973 for the Montana Fish and Game Department. In 1984, Geer became the Director of the Utah division of Wildlife Resources. Geer currently works at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, is a board member of Hellgate Hunters and Anglers, and is a Community Councilman in Lolo.

read the full article

Shumlin defends Pete the Moose

Note - Read the Governor's quote closely. My take is although he says Pete should not be put down and he wishes to other moose and deer would not have to be killed. But he does not say they will not be put down. In the Free Press article he defers to the FWD on how to deal with the other captive cervids. This is (in much clearer language) what the Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources committee is saying it wants to do with the illegally captured herd at Nelson's facility.
The good news is Shumlin supports the Public Trust and returning management to Fish and Wildlife.

Montpelier, Vermont - February 10, 2011
Pete the Governor says Pete the Moose should live-- and so should all the other animals inside the hunting preserve in the Northeast Kingdom.
Pete the Moose lives inside a fence in Irasburg with other animals including elk, wild deer and moose.
Pete became a celebrity last year after wildlife officials considered removing or killing him. They feared he and other animals in the preserve might spread disease.
Now the Legislature is considering a bill that would save Pete the Moose from being killed. The governor wants the bill on his desk. He pledged Thursday to pardon Pete and all the other deer and moose that live inside the preserve.
"You know I think there has been a lesson for all of this which is don't take publicly owned wildlife and put it in private hands. I think the best way to solve this problem is to make sure it does not happen again. And let's let the existing wildlife at the farm continue to live," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont. "I would like to pardon them all."
The Legislature will continue to debate the bill. The governor says they would act quickly to pass a bill that prevents private citizens from owning wildlife.
Anson Tebbetts - WCAX News

Here is the press conference footage:

Will Shumlin also pardon Pete the Moose's pals?

Whatever happens with the saga of Pete the Moose, the moose's life will be spared, that much state officials have made clear. But what about the other animals living in captivity with Pete? 
Gov. Peter Shumlin said Thursday at his weekly news conference that he would pardon them, too, before clarifying that he would defer details to wildlife scientists.
"Pete the governor hasn't issued any pardons yet, but I'm going to issue one for Pete the Moose," Shumlin said. "The best way to solve this problem is, let's make sure it doesn't happen again and let's let the existing wildlife at the farm continue to live. I would like to pardon them all."
Pete the governor might have gotten ahead of himself when it comes to the other, unnamed animals. Asked how the animals could continue to live in captivity, Shumlin said, "I'll defer to the biologists on some of your question."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Public Trust bill has first hearing in Montpelier

The VT House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee took testimony on H.91 to reverse the Nelson Amendment and restore the Public Trust of our wildlife resource. Everyone testifying in favor of the bill spoke with a united focused voice. Congratulations to all the individuals and leaders of the hunting/conservation and environmental groups.
Doug Nelson also testified and showed his true colors. He refused to agree to cooperating in solving the problems his facility poses to the health of Vermont's deer herd. Testimony was offered by the Fish and Wildlife Dept that his facility has never been in compliance with FWD or Ag rules in over 10 years. He brushed that off and said he is in compliance now and the Ag dept has agreed that he doesn't have to mark his animals as called for in the Ag rules he is currently under.
More testimony is scheduled to tomorrow (Wed the 9th) morning and again again on Friday.
Lots of press coverage by WCAX, FOX 22, Public Radio, Burlington Free Press, and Vt

Margolis: Nelson scolds lawmakers in bid to "save Pete," and ...
By Jon Margolis
Photo of Eric Nuse. Eric Nuse, executive director of Orion — The Hunter's Institute, told the committee that legislation passed last year violated the Public Trust Doctrine. Photo by Josh Larkin. In response to anger from hunting groups ... -

Will Vt. lawmakers change their minds about Pete the Moose?

The saga of Pete the Moose continues. The Legislature is revisiting a controversial deal that allowed the wild moose to live out his days on a Northeast Kingdom elk farm. More>>

Vermont: Pete the Moose's Life Is on the Line, Again
New York Times
... save Pete the Moose, who gained thousands of online fans but in the process gave the owner of a private game preserve ownership of a wild animal herd. ...
See all stories on this topic »

Lawmakers Re-Consider “Pete The Moose” Law
Vermont Public Radio
(Dillon) But for Eric Nuse that's exactly what's wrong with what the Legislature did last year. Nuse is executive director of Orion, an organization that ... 

The News-Herald : Breaking news coverage for Northern Ohio
Now, they're reconsidering because they say Vermont's wild animals belong to the state, not to any one person. Associated Press ...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Too much 'BBD' on TV these days

From the Great Falls Tribune, Randy Newberg is a founding board member of Orion:

Too much 'BBD' on TV these days

February 3, 2011

A noteworthy trend is developing in the outdoor media and it involves one of my favorite themes — the heavy emphasis on killing and the lack of emphasis placed on hunting.

No pulled punches here. Mostly it is an outdoor television industry problem of too much "big buck down" mentality brought to us by grinning red-necked yahoos who hoot and holler and high-five after even marginal shots on game.
They turn to the camera with a toothy grin and in a hoarse stage whisper summarize what we already have watched. A two- or three-day's growth of beard is a prerequisite — and they seem so barely able to contain themselves that I am surprised more of them don't wet themselves or fall out of their tree stands.
Along with this country bumpkin buffoonery comes an apparent lack of interest in the skills required to be a good hunter — we used to call it woodcraft — the art of tracking, of getting close to animals, of being comfortable and secure in the outdoors.
Almost all of these "hunters" are guided and they arrive at their stands on an ATV or some other conveyance that saves them from walking. They have watched the deer all summer long on one of several dozen trail cameras placed strategically around planted food plots that lure the deer in. They even have names for the deer.
Money of course is at the root of this — money and our nation's love affair with seeing ourselves on TV or Facebook or Twitter. The money comes from advertisers, product manufacturers who just can't seem to come up with the latest gimmick fast enough.
But, I digress.

.... "We all know that our freedom to hunt and fish depends on a healthy habitat," BCHA says on the group's website.

Then there is On Your Own Adventures, an outdoor TV program produced by Montanans Randy Newberg and Will Holmes in conjunction with Warm Springs Productions. That show airs on Outdoor Channel. It is the only hunting TV show dedicated exclusively to non-guided hunting.
"Any hunt you see on our show is a hunt you can do," its producers say.
The first season of "On Your Own Adventures" was filmed in 2008 and began airing in July, 2009. All episodes are based in the United States, with most of them on public lands in the West.
The first season has 12 episodes, in locations including Montana, Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa. Species hunted are elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, antelope, bear and turkey.

read more

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact Bill H.53 Introduced in VT

H.53 An act relating to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact sponsored by retired Warden Rep. Robert Lewis has been introduced in the VT House. This bill should be supported by all hunters, anglers and trappers in Vermont.

Below is my post from Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact

I feel it is time Vermont and other states that are not part of this compact get on-board. There is no excuse for not presenting a united front against poaching. Suspensions of the right to hunt and fish has always been our best deterrent to those tempted to violate. But with neighboring states close by our repeat violators have no problem "legally" hunting will waiting out their Vermont suspensions. We could also easily become a destination state for out of state violators as more states clamp down an sign the compact.

The following comes from The Outdoor Wire:
Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe praised Gov. Edward G. Rendell for signing Senate Bill 1200 into law, which clears the way for Pennsylvania to join the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (IWVC). 
"We are one step closer to banding with 37 other states in a united front against convicted poachers, who steal from all citizens, most especially, law-abiding hunters," Roe said. "Once we complete the administrative step to join the compact, someone who has lost his or her hunting license privileges in one state for a poaching conviction will lose those hunting license privileges in Pennsylvania, as well as in all states that are members of the compact.

"In addition, individuals convicted of poaching here in Pennsylvania will lose their ability to lawfully hunt in the 37 other states who are members of the IWVC."| For More...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Conservation Friendly Tax Incentive Gets New Life

From the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership newsletter "The Square Dealer"

A newly approved easement incentive allows for an increased pace of private, voluntary land conservation. Photo courtesy of

Conservation Friendly Tax Incentive Gets New Life

After a yearlong lapse that left many important conservation donations in limbo, Congress renewed an enhanced tax incentive for easements that increased private land conservation to more than 1 million acres per year. Renewed a week before Christmas, the incentive will be in effect through Dec. 31, 2011, and retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010. That gives a full year to work on getting landowners to donate easements to this program. 
By helping landowners deduct the full value of their contributions, this easement incentive allows for an increased pace of private, voluntary land conservation. Such programs are especially important since America loses land to development at a rate of 1.5 million acres per year. Game species like whitetail deer and turkeys that often rely on wildlife habitat on private lands, especially in the eastern half of the United States, will greatly benefit from this renewed effort to encourage landowners to conserve lands.
A broad coalition of sportsmen, outdoors enthusiasts, farmers, ranchers and national conservation groups, including the Land Trust Alliance and the TRCP, worked together to renew the incentive and will push to make it permanent in the 112th Congress.
The enhanced incentive, which applies to a landowner’s federal income tax, includes the following incentives:
• Raises from 30 percent of their income in any year to 50 percent the deduction landowners can take for donating voluntary conservation agreements;
• Allows farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their incomes; and
• Increases the number of years over which a donor can take deductions from six to 16.
Landowners interested in conserving their land under this provision should contact a land trust in their community.