Monday, August 29, 2011

Craig resident’s trophy bear kill erupts into statewide controversy

From the Craig Daily Post

Archive for Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Curious Case of Richard Kendall

August 28, 2011
The story that started it all: On Dec. 4, 2010, the Saturday Morning Press published the story of Richard Kendall, who tracked a bear into a cave and killed it. Reaction to the story spread throughout the country, with some condemning Kendall’s actions. Kendall insists he did nothing wrong.
It was a shot that reverberated around the state and beyond.
In November 2010, Craig resident Richard Kendall crawled to the mouth of a dark cave with a .45-70 caliber lever-action rifle.

Fair chase?

Randy Hampton, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, says Kendall’s actions were legal at the time.
“It’s important to note, Mr. Kendall did not commit a violation in what he did,” Hampton says. “There was an issue regarding the use of a flashlight, for which he was cited, and (Kendall) paid the fine.”
Rather, the question at the crux of the Kendall controversy is whether it was ethical. “It comes down to the element of fair chase,” Hampton says.
But the question today is as relevant as it was then: was it OK to pull the trigger?
Read More

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Despite Best Efforts, Poaching Still Plagues the Rockies

New West Feature

Officials believe almost as many animals are killed illegally as the legal take.

By New West Editor, 8-22-11
  Poached bull elk in southern Utah. Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
  Poached bull elk in southern Utah. Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
More than 5,000 reports have been received of poaching in Colorado since 1981, resulting in more than 900 convictions, for which about $800,000 in fines were levied, and $150,000 paid to citizens for reports of suspected poaching, a recent summary asserts.
Studies show that poachers kill almost as many animals as legitimate hunters do during legal seasons in various states, says the report, from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). It points out that poachers steal not only revenues generated by legitimate hunting, but kill threatened, endangered and non-game species.
Notifications of suspected poaching arrive through Operation Game Thief, a program pioneered by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, which has been adopted by 49 of the 50 states.

Bob Thompson, acting chief of wildlife law enforcement for CPW, retiterated an agency theme that it’s a romantic myth to regard poachers as poor people trying to feed their families. Some kill for the thrill of killing and others for trophies, he said. Some kill for money, because trophy heads, antlers and bear gall bladders can be worth thousands of dollars.

“Hunters who keep shooting into a herd of animals should realize that not every animal goes down right away when it is hit,” Thompson said. “Not only is it unethical hunting, it leads to a lot of game waste, which in itself is illegal.”
Examples of mindless poaching are not hard to find.  MORE

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

10 Ways to Protect America's Hunting Heritage

from the Boone and Crockett Club:

Monday, August 22, 2011
Surveys show that three of every four Americans approve of legal hunting, and support is trending upwards. As long as the majority of citizens continue to see this sporting tradition as fair, safe and meaningful, hunting will remain a privilege of citizenship--as well as a boon to conservation.

For hunters headed afield this fall, the Boone and Crockett Club offers 10 ways to help keep the public on our side.
"Modern society has high expectations of hunters," said Ben Wallace, president of the Club. "In a changing culture with ever more scrutiny of all things related to the environment, our behavior toward animals, the land, firearms and even each other is more important today than anytime in our history."
Here’s how to do your part:
  1. Hunting is allowed today because the vast majority of hunters through the ages have respectfully followed laws, regulations, safety rules and high ethical standards known as fair chase--the sporting pursuit and taking of native free-ranging game species in a manner that does not give the hunter improper advantage. Continue the tradition.
  2. Remember: Any animal taken in fair chase is a trophy.
  3. America's system of conservation and wildlife management is the most successful ever developed. It works only because of funding from hunters. Spread the word.
  4. Respect the customs of the local area where you're hunting, including the beliefs and values of those who do not hunt.
  5. This season, make every attempt to take a youngster hunting. If you already hunt with your son or daughter, invite one of their friends to come along.
  6. Technology is a wonderful thing until it replaces the skills necessary to be a complete hunter. If it seems gratuitous, leave it at home.
  7. Always ask permission before hunting private land. Respect landowners.
  8. Tread lightly, especially on public land. ATVs have their place--on roads and trails. If you pack it in, pack it out.
  9. Sportsmen have always been instrumental in managing big game herds. If antlerless harvest is encouraged in your area and you have the opportunity, take a doe or cow.
  10. Remember: The reason for a hunt is intrinsically about the experience. A kill is a justifiable outcome but not the only definition of a successful hunt.
Theodore Roosevelt founded the Boone and Crockett Club in 1887 to help uphold sporting values and promote science-based conservation and wildlife management.
Surveys by research firm Responsive Management showed that 73 percent of Americans approved of hunting in 1995. Support had grown to 75 percent by 2003, and to 78 percent by 2006.

Craig Sharpe Retires after 15 years with Montana Wildlife Federation

August 22, 2011

For Immediate Release

Corey Fisher, Vice President of Internal Affairs – (406) 546-2979
Ben Lamb, Acting Executive Director – (406) 458-0227 (xtn) 108

Helena, MT –Tim Aldrich, President of the Board of Montana Wildlife Federation (MWF), announced the retirement of Craig Sharpe .  For12 years, Craig has been the well known and highly respected Executive Director of the Montana Wildlife Federation. Craig has played key roles in the successful efforts of the Federation to protect and enhance Montana’s public wildlife, lands, waters and fair chase hunting and fishing heritage. His leadership and vision on issues as far reaching as the elimination of Game Farms, the delisting of wolves and clarification of Bridge Access are some recent examples that have the Montana Wildlife Federation a leading voice both in Montana and Nationally when it comes to wildlife conservation and defending our outdoor heritage.

Sharpe’s lasting contributions were recognized at the recent Annual Meeting of the Montana Wildlife Federation when he received the Don Aldrich Conservationist of the Year Award.  In his nomination it was stated that, “In many ways, for over twelve years Craig has been the glue keeping MWF, the State’s leading Hunter and Angler based conservation organization, focused and effective.  His knowledge and passion for the mission of MWF provide a strong basis for what he does both internally and externally…No matter what needs to be done, he is the advisor, the resource to be contacted and involved in getting it accomplished, always with the needed degree of excellence.  He is the ‘captain of the ship’ and often the crew that rows the boat.”

“Craig will be sorely missed,” said Corey Fisher Vice President of MWF for Internal Affairs. “He has left his own legacy of conservation in Montana and he is truly appreciated and respected by many.”  Fisher said that the Board of Directors will start the process to find a new Executive Director. Sharpe’s retirement became effective August 15th, and the Board has named Ben Lamb as the acting Executive Director to help fulfill the duties and responsibilities so ably performed by Craig.

As we celebrate Craig’s storied career, the Montana Wildlife Federation will continue to serve Montana’s hunters and anglers in to the future. It is doubtful that the attempts which MWF helped to successfully defeat in the 2011 Legislative session will decrease over time. Those bills would have undermined conservation funding, eliminate the scientific management of wildlife and pitted hunters against other interests. MWF remains committed to our mission to protect and enhance Montana's public wildlife, lands, waters, and fair chase hunting and fishing heritage.

“No organization has invested so much in the future of Montana’s wildlife and outdoor heritage as much as has MWF. I am proud to have served the hunters and anglers of Montana through my role at MWF, but now I look forward to spending some time chasing birds, catching fish, and paddling my kayak down a lazy river,” said Sharpe.

Long time friend and confidant Jim Posewtiz had the final word on Craig, “Craig has demonstrated his dedication, commitment and passion for Montana’s wildlife, and those of who hold wild country and all wildlife near and dear. No one in Montana is more deserving of a retirement in the fields, forests and streams.”

The Montana Wildlife Federation is an organization of conservation minded people who share a mission to protect and enhance Montana's public wildlife, lands, waters, and fair chase hunting and fishing heritage.

Friday, August 19, 2011

New study says species moving north faster than previously thought

From Headwater News:
A new study found that more than 2,000 species had begun moving north to escape a warming climate in their traditional habitat at a much faster rate than previously predicted, including the American pika, a small rabbitlike species found in and around Yellowstone National Park, that was never found at elevations higher than 7,800 feet in 1900, but were found at 9,500 feet in 2004.
Seattle Times (AP); Aug. 19


The ‘sport’ of hunting: Why I don’t call it that

This topic was the focus of an Orion Think Tank several years ago.

From A Mindful Carnivore:

by Tovar on August 18, 2011 · 11 comments
For some people, hunting for “sport” implies frivolity: killing for fun.
For some, it suggests wastefulness and a lack of respect for animals: taking a whitetail’s antlers and cape for a trophy mount, and leaving the meat to rot.
Those are two reasons I don’t call hunting a “sport.”
When I talk or write about hunting and why I do it, I want people to understand what it’s like for me to take a deer’s life. I want my words to bring them to where I kneel beside the fallen animal, my hand on his still-warm shoulder. I want them to feel some faint ripple of the soul-deep wave that shudders through me.
I want my words to bring them to where I stand in the kitchen, separating muscle from bone and, later, sautéing tender slices of backstrap. I want them to sense what that venison means to me, taken so close to home, from woods I know.
I don’t want them thinking I get my jollies through a rifle scope.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bill to Release Wilderness Study Areas Creates Controversy

From The Wildlife Management Institute:

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image of Wisconsin forest, Credit: Chicago Man, FlickrOn July 26, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a hearing on a bill intended to release some U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and USDA Forest Service wilderness study areas and roadless areas from protection.  H.R. 1581—the “Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011”—is creating controversy within the conservation community, reports the Wildlife Management Institute.
Introduced by Representatives. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the House and Senator John Barasso (R-WY) in the Senate (S. 1087), the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act could affect 6 million acres of BLM wilderness study areas and as much as 36 million acres of inventoried roadless areas in the National Forest System.  The bill’s language indicates, if signed into law, the act would address BLM wilderness lands not designated as wilderness or identified by BLM as unsuitable for further study for wilderness designation.  The Forest Service would be required to release inventoried roadless areas that have not been designated as wilderness and were not recommended for designation as wilderness as a result of the second roadless area review and evaluation program or subsequent revisions of resource management plans.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wild cougar traveled east 1,500 miles, tests find

From The Wildlife Society NewsBrief

The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A mountain lion in Connecticut was found to have made its way east from the Black Hills of South Dakota. That means that the animal traveled more than 1,500 miles, more than twice as far as the longest dispersal pattern ever recorded for a mountain lion. The news stunned researchers trying to make sense of the first confirmed presence of the species in Connecticut in more than a century. More

DOI and Wyoming Close to Agreement on Wolf Delisting

From The Wildlife Society Policy News:

Discussion is underway between Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Governor of Wyoming, Matt Mead (R), concerning the delisting of the gray wolf. The management plan for Wyoming will ensure a population of 100 wolves with 10 breeding pairs, and will protect wolves in a zone surrounding Yellowstone where they will be considered trophy game and only be hunted by licensed hunters, although it would allow a reduction of the state’s wolf population by as much as two-thirds.
Source: E&E Publishing, LLC (E&E News PM).

Conservation Funding Takes Significant Hit in U.S. House

From the Isaak Walton League's Conservation Currents

Grand TetonsAs the U.S. House of Representatives develops budget bills to fund conservation, outdoor recreation, and environmental protection in 2012, there is cause for serious concern. Some of these bills include deep cuts that will undermine public land management, habitat conservation, and investments that safeguard drinking water and clean air. In addition, many of these bills include policy provisions that have nothing to do with dollars and cents; instead, they would damage a broad array of conservation and environmental laws and policies. These provisions are as harmful as any spending cut. Although federal funding must be trimmed to reduce the deficit, conservation programs should not bear a disproportionate share of the burden.