Week of February 16 , 2004

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Annual Auction in Milwaukee – March 6, 2004

Great Lakes Sport Fishermen are holding their Annual Auction on March 6th 2004, at Serb Hall 5101 W. Oklahoma Ave. Milwaukee WI. Doors open at 9:00 and the Auction begins at 10:00. New tackle rods, reels, downriggers, framed wildlife art, raffles, hunting trips, sporting articles, weekend packages,

bake sale, gift certificates and much more!


Food and Refreshments available  PUBLIC WELCOME!


For more info:  Todd Pollesch,  414-277-8278  [email protected]


A Critical Time for S. 659

Stop playing Politics with the Second Amendment

With U.S. Senate debate scheduled in early March on S. 659--legislation that would stop abusive lawsuits against the firearms industry—the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) plans to aggressively promote support of the bill.


America's sportsmen and conservationists are asked to renew our aggressive support of S. 659/S. 1806, the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act."


The House version of this bill: H.R. 1036 was passed last April by an overwhelming vote of 285-140, and has the support of the White House. Yet, despite assurances of a timely vote and broad bipartisan support, S. 659/S. 1806 became stalled in the Senate late last year. The good news is, we are now anticipating a Senate vote on the measure as soon as early March. Thanks to the dedicated grassroots efforts of millions of NRA members and gun owners, anglers and other sportsmen across the country, S. 659/S. 1806 currently has 55 cosponsors, more than enough to pass the measure.


However, we need 60 votes to derail the filibuster that the likes of Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Hillary

Clinton (D-NY), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) are almost certain to attempt. We can also expect these gun-banners to try and load the legislation with numerous anti-gun amendments, including S. 1034, the Clinton gun ban extension, and S. 1807, the so called Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2003.


It is imperative the you contact your Senators immediately and tell them it's time to stop playing politics with the Second Amendment. Urge them to fully support S. 659/S. 1806 without any anti-gun amendments! Ask them to do everything in their power to end these meritless lawsuits and ensure that this essential legislation is approved as written. Tell them it's time to pass S.659/S. 1806! Make no mistake, with your help, we will win this fight and see this critical legislation signed into law.


In addition, please continue to urge your U.S. Representative and Senators to oppose current legislation seeking to expand the 1994 Clinton gun ban. H.R. 2038, S. 1431, and the aforementioned S. 1034. You can find contact information for your elected officials by using the "Write Your Representatives" feature at www.NRAILA.org, or you can call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121.

Judge Blocks Ban on Snowmobiles

Washington, DC – Federal district Judge Clarence Brimmer issued a preliminary injunction of the court-imposed ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks on February 10. Like the Bush Administration’s proposed rule, Brimmer’s decision requires cleaner, quieter four-stroke snowmobiles in the parks.


House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo praised the ruling last week saying, "I applaud Judge Brimmer for using reason, common sense and science in making this critical decision."

What science you say? Scientists from the University of New Hampshire found the Park Service could significantly decrease air pollution with cleaner, quieter four-stroke snowmobiles. Central Michigan University scientists found the exact same thing. In fact, they want to return next summer to capture air samples for comparison.


“President Roosevelt’s original intent for the parks is prominently positioned on the arch that stretches over the North entrance to Yellowstone: ‘This Park was created and is now administered for the benefit and enjoyment of the people...it is the property of Uncle Sam and therefore of us all,” said Pombo (R-CA). “I applaud Judge Brimmer for using reason, common sense and science in making this critical decision.”


“Unfortunately, the radical environmental groups who brought this case before the courts blindly support the ban without a second thought for the working class families who suffer,” Pombo continued. “These families are the innocent victims here. New technologies and common sense enable us to strike a balance between preservation and recreation in our national parks.”


For Wyoming, a state with less than 500,000 people (2000,

U.S. Census Bureau), the loss of a reported 938 jobs has a tremendous impact on the economy. To put that in perspective, these net job losses in Wyoming are equivalent to 67,743 lost jobs in California or 37, 952 lost jobs in New York.


"Judge Brimmer made the right decision on two counts. He did the right thing for the working families who depend on snowmobiling to make a living, and he was right on the law. I applaud his decision,” said Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY). “It's a sad state of affairs when radical environmentalists can run to a liberal, Washington D.C. judge and the end result is Wyoming people lose their jobs. This ‘judge shopping’ has to stop.”


Brimmer also recognized several of the studies conducted for the Park Service which reveal the truth about new generation snowmobiles. Scientists from the University of New Hampshire recommended the Park Service could significantly decrease air pollution with cleaner, quieter four-stroke snowmobiles.


"I do think the snowmobile people have an argument - allowing four-stroke snowmobiles in the winter is really no different than allowing snow coaches," said Barkley Sive, lead scientist on the project. Snow coaches are the loud, multi-passenger vehicles commonly advocated by extremists seeking to limit public access to the parks.


Another report, based on data collected by Central Michigan University scientists in 2002, determined that “allowing a regulated number of cleaner, four-stroke snowmobiles within the park would help to resolve the problem.” The team wants to head back to Yellowstone next year to capture summer air samples which they would compare with their original findings.

Lake Texoma Catfish poised to break 4 records – maybe 5!

A check of the record books shows that the 121 lb -8oz blue catfish will smash four records, if all the paperwork is approved.


Thanks to Cody Mullennix and his 121 lb -8oz  blue catfish, Lake Texoma is about to find its spot on the map once and for all.  Within a matter of hours, word of the pending International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world-record blue cat was quickly spreading via the Internet and the newspaper wire.


First, the big Texoma blue is poised to shatter the 109.4 lb IGFA 20 lb line class.  George Lijewski landed that big blue cat in March 1991 on South Carolina's Cooper River.


Second, the Texoma cat is the heir apparent to the all-tackle IGFA record, ready to move past the 116.12 lb blue cat pulled from the Mississippi River in Arkansas in August 2001 by Charles Ashley Jr.

Third, the Mullennix blue cat should shatter the Texas rod-and-reel record set in March 2000 at Lake Texoma when Reyes Martinez landed a 100-lb blue cat.


Actually,  the Cody Mullennix blue catfish is also a new pending lake record for Texoma, giving the fish a total of five records to hold. Despite his newfound fame, Mullennix appears to be taking it all in stride. And he would seem to have nothing but great respect for the giant blue catfish prowling the waters of Lake Texoma.


"We've talked that we would tell anglers out there that go after blue cats that they need to release these big blues," Mullennix said. "We release 99% of them -- anything over 20 lb, we release them back into the lake." "These are your big genetic trophy producers, so turn them back," Mullennix said. "If you want to brag, take a picture. If you want to eat one, keep a smaller one. These fish are 20, 25, or 30 years old and they deserve to go back into the water.

Presidential budget proposals for 2005 

Highlights of the President's FY 2005 Budget

President George W. Bush is requesting more than $1.3 billion -- $22.6 million more than last year for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2005 budget, $919.8 million for the Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and $760 million to fully fund the implementation of the Healthy Forests Initiative.  The budget for Invasives for FY '05 is $5,414,000 - a $180,000 decrease from FY '04.


 The 2005 budget will emphasize core USGS science programs that focus on water resources and water availability, natural hazards, biology, information technology, and projects that support science on the DOI landscape that will assist land and natural resource managers in making decisions based on science.


The USGS budget does includes an increase of $1.0 million to expand research and management control measures on the brown tree snake, address priority invasive species issues, and support the implementation of the National Invasive Species Management Plan, approved by the interagency National Invasive Species Council.

Among the key The USFWS budget features are $50 million for Landowner Incentive Grants, $10 million for Private Stewardship Grant programs, $80 million for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants, $90 million for the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, $17.2 million for the Endangered Species program, and an increase of $2 million to help address maintenance needs and hatchery operations for a total of $40.1 million.


Budget increases for hatcheries and migratory bird programs help to round out a package that will allow the Service to conserve, with its partners, the nature of America.


Said Interior Secretary Gale Norton, "In particular, the President's budget significantly boosts funding to support partnerships with states, tribes, local communities, private landowners and others to protect and enhance our fisheries, recover species, and increase opportunities for Americans to enjoy our public lands."




Transportation Bill Moves Forward in Senate and House

Includes Federal Aid is Sport Fish Restoration Reauthorization

By a vote of 76 – 21, the U.S. Senate passed legislation last week to reauthorize the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. The bill, S. 1072, includes $30 million per year for roads on National Wildlife Refuges, $60 million per year for recreational trails and $50 million per year for recreational roads. In addition, the bill includes $15 million annually for culverts and bridges in order to improve fish passage.

The Federal Aid is Sport Fish Restoration Act, the primary funding source for state-based fishing and boating programs, would also be reauthorized in the transportation bill. The Act allocates the excise taxes on sportfishing equipment and motorboat fuels for state based boating safety, fisheries conservation and boating access programs, protecting coastal wetlands and improving marine sanitation device facilities.  This year's bill captures the full 18.3 cents per gallon motor boat fuel tax – a change that is expected to add approximately $110 million a year to these sportfishing and boating programs.

Whistleblower says EPA used unreliable data for sludge decision

WASHINGTON — A former government scientist accused the Environmental Protection Agency on February 4 of knowingly using unreliable data when it denied a petition to halt the use of sewage sludge for fertilizer.

The microbiologist, David Lewis, testified at a House subcommittee hearing that the EPA used data about sludge quality at two Georgia dairy farms that had already been rejected by Georgia state officials as "completely unreliable, possibly even fraudulent."   He asked the House Resources Committee's subcommittee on energy and mineral resources to call on the EPA for an internal investigation of the moratorium and other matters.

Lewis, a former EPA employee who says he was fired in May after raising concerns about sludge standards, also said the panel should press the EPA for additional whistleblower protections.  "This whole process ... is nothing more than a scam," Lewis said in written testimony.

House Resources Committee spokeswoman Nicol Andrews said later that the committee's chairman, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., was open to Lewis' suggestions.

The EPA in December denied a petition from 73 labor, environment, and farm groups for an immediate moratorium

on land-based uses for sewage sludge. Such a moratorium
would affect more than 3 million tons of sludge used each year as fertilizer. In its decision, the EPA cited data showing levels of heavy metals in sludge at the dairy farms were within allowed limits.


In fact, Lewis said, studies by Georgia state agencies found the sludge was so corrosive that it dissolved fences and emitted toxic fumes that could sicken cows. Lewis said the faulty data was produced by local officials in Augusta, Georgia, several years ago and knowingly used by the EPA in December, in spite of an audit by Georgia officials that found it unreliable.


"Mr. Lewis is entitled to his opinion. We stand by our December 2003 decision," said EPA spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman, noting the agency is in the process of revising its approach to sludge.

Lewis' departure from the EPA came after he worked 32 years there. It was protested by Republican Sens. Grassley of Iowa and Inhofe of Oklahoma. But the EPA said then that Lewis had signed an agreement specifying he was to step down.  Lewis is now an adjunct professor at the U. of Georgia. His testimony came at a hearing on peer-review and "sound science" standards for writing federal regulations.

Source: Associated Press

Senate Democrats question Court Nominee about views on Environment

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats questioned an appeals court nominee on Thursday about his past opposition to environmental regulations and sought assurances he would not pursue an anti-environmental agenda from the bench.

William G. Myers III countered that he has averaged 12 days a year volunteering in the nation's parks and sometimes took the side of environmentalists while the top attorney at the Interior Department from 2001-2003.  "That, in my opinion, is the kind of example that you need to consider as you're deliberating whether I would disregard statutory mandates or congressional authority. I'm here to tell you that I would not," Myers said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Responded Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.: "That's my dilemma to figure that out, because I could not vote for you to be a judge based on the views you've expressed in your writing.

Myers, a lawyer in Boise, Idaho, is the president's choice to join the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court, based in San Francisco, has jurisdiction over nine Western states.  Myers, 48, faces opposition from environmental, civil rights, American Indian, and women's organizations.

Critics cite actions he took as Interior Department solicitor, including opening the way for a gold mine to be built in

Imperial County, California, that was opposed by his
predecessor as potentially harmful to public lands.  Myers has written articles comparing federal management of public lands with "the tyrannical actions of King George" and has criticized the 1994 California Desert Protection Act, which Feinstein wrote, as "an example of legislative hubris."

Feinstein told Myers the act protected 7.7 million acres of California wilderness and created two national parks.

"There are times when I've written things which looking back on them at times were probably a poor choice of words," Myers said. "That was bombastic ... so accept that apology please."  But he said he was responding to concerns from California ranchers in criticizing the act.

Myers has received a qualified rating from the American Bar Association's judicial screening committee. Republicans on the Senate committee praised him.  "His record as solicitor shows balance and mainstream decision-making," said Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.

Myers was also questioned about an ethics investigation that determined he did not violate government ethics rules by meeting with groups interested in grazing and mining rights while he was solicitor. Environmental groups had complained to the Office of Government Ethics about the meetings.

Source: Associated Press

Rescue beacon lands man in jail

Second distress call prompts charge

An Ohio man who in November became the first person rescued in the lower 48 states by using a Personal Locator Beacon was arrested after he used the device to prompt a second rescue from the Adirondack wilderness.


Watertown Daily Times publisher John Johnson, JR advised us Carl J. Skalak, 55, was arrested by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officers a day after a helicopter from Fort Drum was used to lift him out of the Five ponds Wilderness Area in Herkimer County, according to Stephen W. Litwhiler, spokesman for the DEC regional office in Watertown.


Skalak was rescued by a Fort Drum helicopter Nov. 14 from a campsite near the Oswegatchie River about three miles downstream of Croghan after he became trapped by heavy lake-effect snows. He used his then eight-day-old beacon to summon help.


Available since July, the electronic beacons are small-scale versions of beacons used by boaters and pilots. They send distress signals through a satellite operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Johnson, also a director with the Lake Ontario Fisheries Coalition, a conservation fisheries group said "Skalak said in late November that he planned to return to the woods to retrieve his canoe and other gear. That trip ended with his arrest, according to Mr. Litwhiler. " 'He was back in the Five

Ponds Wilderness Area on Dec. 2,' Litwhiler said. “He set off his Personal Locator Beacon again. We were notified at 9 a.m. that morning.”


The distress signal touched off a search involving 13 forest rangers who were unable to reach Skalak due to another day of heavy lake-effect snows, Litwhiler said.  “The weather was awful – snow squalls all day,” he said.


A break in the weather Tuesday afternoon allowed a helicopter from Fort Drum to locate Skalak and take him to Fort Drum, Litwhiler said.  “We interviewed him on Wednesday. Based on the interview and his statements, he has been charged with two counts of third-degree falsely reporting an incident,” Litwhiler said.


Arraigned Wednesday evening in Webb Town Court on the Class B misdemeanors, Skalak was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bail. He spent the night in Herkimer County Public Safety Building.  “He has since made bail, retrieved his belongings and said he is returning to Ohio,” Litwhiler said.


Attempts to contact Skalak, who is manager of instructional technology at the western campus of Cuyahoga Community College, Parma, Ohio, were not successful. His father, Carl Skalak, Sr., said he believed his son was still in New York.


“He thinks he’s quite the woodsman. But I guess he isn’t,” the elder Mr. Skalak said. ²

Source: Watertown Daily Times, James R. Donnelly, staff writer

Comparing Militant Administrations

An historical perspective about American Presidents

The following appeared in a Durham, NC local paper as a letter to the editor.  Sort of puts into perspective comments from pundits who claim this administration shouldn't have started this war, just because Iraq did not attack us:


FDR led us into World War II.   Germany never attacked us,  Japan did.   From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 per year.


Truman finished that war and started one in Korea .   North Korea never attacked us. From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost, an average of 18,333 per year.


 John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam

never attacked us.


Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost, an average of 5,800 per year.


Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent, Bosnia never attacked us. He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions.


In the two years since terrorists attacked us, Bush has liberate two countries, is crushing the Taliban, crippling al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Lybia, Iran and North Korea without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people. We lost 600 soldiers.


Gun registry costs $2B, CBC reports

Canada's gun registry is costing taxpayers far more than previously reported, CBC News reports.


Nearly $2 billion has either been spent on or committed to the federal program since it was introduced in the mid-1990s, according to documents obtained by Zone Libre of CBC's French news service.  The figure is roughly twice as much as an official government estimate that caused an uproar across the country.  The controversial registry was originally supposed to cost less than $2 million.


In December, 2002, Auditor-General Sheila Fraser- whose report on sponsorships rocked the federal Liberals on Tuesday- revealed that the registry program would run up bills

of at least $1 billion by 2005.


CBC obtained documents through the Access to Information Act and crunched the numbers, since calculations were incomplete. A large part of the $2 billion expense is a computer system that's supposed to track registered guns, according to one document cited by Zone Libre.  Officials at first estimated it would cost about $1 million. Expenses now are close to $750 million and the electronic system is still not fully operational.


Other errors and unforeseen expenses include $8 million in refunds to people who registered their guns, and millions more in legal fees, CBC said.

Natives seek exemption from gun registry

Court challenge: Law violates hunting rights, says Saskatchewan group

Status Indians should not have to take part in the much-maligned federal gun registry because it violates long-held hunting rights, a Saskatchewan First Nations group is asserting in a largely unheralded court challenge.


The Firearms Act not only interferes with constitutionally entrenched treaty rights, it creates a hardship for isolated aboriginal hunters and even makes it difficult to give ceremonial gifts of firearms, a long-standing tradition, the organization argues. It wants the Federal Court of Canada to rule the act does not apply to First Nations people. If anyone regulates gun use by aboriginals, it should be their own governments, maintains the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.


"We were told they would never interfere with our sustenance, they would never interfere with our style of life, our culture," said Lawrence Joseph, vice-chief of the umbrella group for the province's status Indian people. "Quite clearly, the spirit and intent of those treaty promises have been and will be violated if this is enforced against us."


As it is, "very few" First Nations people in Saskatchewan have complied with the act and registered their guns, he said. Although the provincial government has chosen not to enforce the legislation, the RCMP has charged several aboriginal people with violating it, Mr. Joseph said. "As a result, these firearms are being taken away. It impacts on people who rely on that gun to supplement their income," he said. "When they take that firearm away, they take away that ability to feed themselves."


A spokesman for the Canadian Firearms Centre, which administers the registry, said the agency has no specific figures on aboriginal compliance with the rules. But overall, there is a compliance rate of about 90%, he said.


The court challenge was launched with little fanfare and has

gone virtually unnoticed over the last two years as scrutiny of the registry focused on its huge cost overrun and non-native opposition. The case suffered a setback last week as the Federal Court refused to issue an injunction temporarily exempting aboriginal gun owners pending the outcome of the challenge.


The federation is still pushing ahead with the case, though it would be just as happy with a decision by Paul Martin, the Prime Minister, to axe the registry entirely, Mr. Joseph said. The federation contends in its case that treaties reached with the Crown a century or more ago guarantee the right to use firearms to hunt, without any restrictions by the government. The rules on registration and storage of rifles and shotguns under the act violate those rights, the group argues.


The federal government responds that treaty hunting rights were always supposed to be subject to occasional regulation by the federal government.


Mr. Joseph said aboriginal people have other, practical, objections to the law as well. Some of them depend on year-round hunting for food, and live in such isolated locations, complying with the act would b very difficult. Many First Nations people also like to offer hunting weapons such as guns as ceremonial gifts, because of their traditional value in harvesting animals that provide food and other basics, he said. The requirements of the act make that virtually impossible, he said.


The federation wanted an injunction against the legislation pending the final resolution of the case. But in last week's decision, a three-judge panel of the Federal Court said there would not be "irreparable harm" done by keeping the law in force while the case is before the courts.


"To grant an interlocutory injunction ... would create a vacuum of authority with respect to the possession and use of firearms," the ruling said. "The honestly held views of the [federation] as to the scope of their hunting rights cannot outweigh the public interest in avoiding such a vacuum."


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for February 13, 2004 

Current Lake Levels: 

Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 8, 19, 4 and 5 inches, respectively, below their long-term average.  Lake Ontario is 7 inches above its long-term average.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are all above last year’s levels, while Lake Superior is at the same level as a year ago.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 4, 4, 5, and 19 inches above last year’s level, respectively.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be below average during the month of February.  Flows in the St. Clair, Detroit, Niagara, and St. Lawrence Rivers are expected to be near average in February.  


Temperature/Precipitation Outlook:

An air mass with origins near the North Pole is forecasted to

move over the Great Lakes basin for the weekend.  Very cold

temperatures and snow showers are expected across much of the region through early next week.


Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lake Superior is expected to continue its pattern of seasonal decline over the next four weeks.   Lakes St. Clair and Erie should start their normal seasonal rise over the next several weeks.  However, short-term fluctuations on Lake St. Clair could persist as long as the cold weather and ice conditions in the rivers continues.  The level of Lakes Michigan and Huron are expected to rise over the next month, while Lake Ontario is expected to stay fairly stable. 



Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.


Wilmette gun owner won't face firearm ID charge

Charges dropped in home invasion gun case

In a slap at Wilmette village officials, Cook County prosecutors on February 6 announced they would not pursue charges against a homeowner, who shot and wounded an alleged home intruder, for letting his state firearms registration lapse.


Ever since Hale DeMar shot and wounded a man who allegedly broke into his family's home two nights in a row, he has been flooded with slaps on the back and letters, including some with checks inside. He got another gift from prosecutors Friday when they announced he won't be punished for failing to renew his state firearm owner's identification card, which expired in 1988.


"We are not going to re-victimize Mr. DeMar," said Steve Goebel, supervisor of prosecutors at the Skokie Courthouse. "We chose to prosecute the real criminal here -- the man who broke into Mr. DeMar's home not once but twice."

Had the prosecution continued, Goebel said DeMar, 54, planned to invoke his Fifth Amendment protections rather than testify against the man charged with the break-ins, Morio Billings, 31, of Chicago.


Wilmette police wouldn't comment on the dropped charges, but village attorney Tim Frenzer said the village intends to proceed with a separate ordinance violation charge against DeMar. The North Shore suburb has a handgun ban that carries a possible $750 fine.


DeMar intends to fight that ticket. His lawyers filed a counterclaim against Wilmette on Friday, alleging that its ordinance is unconstitutional because it violates privacy rights. Attorney Robert Orman said he is trying to extend individual rights granted by the U.S. Supreme Court in a decades-old case involving pornography in the home.


"There's certain things the state cannot go into the home and do," Orman said. "Is this one of them? We'll find out."  Wilmette is standing by its ban, Frenzer said. "We don't believe that has any merit at all," he said of DeMar's counterclaim.


Asked why he continues to fight Wilmette, even though legal fees could end up costing him thousands of dollars, DeMar  

said, "It's a question of (village officials) usurping my right to defend my home. I don't think the municipality has a right to contravene my 2nd Amendment rights."


Judge Thaddeus Stephen Machnik called the argument "an interesting issue" and scheduled court dates to begin reviewing it.


The village ticket is a civil case. The state charge for failing to renew a firearm card was a criminal charge with a potential one-year prison term.   Prosecutors have already ruled that DeMar acted in self-defense and would not face anything more serious than a misdemeanor.


The decision to drop the charge comes despite Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine vowing in 1999 to crack down on people illegally using guns, specifically the more serious unlawful use of a weapon charge.  "Those who have guns illegally must pay a serious penalty," Devine said at the time.


Devine spokesman John Gorman defended the decision to drop that charge. "Every use of the law is tempered with wisdom and is based on the totality of the circumstances," he said.  Prosecutors frequently drop lesser charges against witnesses to get their testimony, he added. 


Goebel said DeMar had legally purchased and registered the gun. He called the failure to renew the license a "lapse in memory." DeMar attorney Howard Pitrack said DeMar had moved in recent years and never received a notice that his license expired.  "If a criminal is going to break into a house, what type of town would he go to? A town with a gun ban," he said. "I would."


Police confiscated DeMar's handguns, a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson, which they said he used to shoot Billings, and a .380-caliber Llama Especial.


Wilmette's enacted its handgun ban in 1989, one year after Laurie Dann's deadly shooting rampage in a Winnetka elementary school. Other Illinois municipalities that prohibit possession of handguns include Chicago, Evanston, Oak Park and Morton Grove.


Indiana wildlife research online 

New reports have been posted to DNR's online wildlife and fisheries research library.

♦ The annual Raccoon Road-Kill Survey: a survey DNR biologists use to track statewide raccoon population trends. Check the 2003 methodology and see what raccoons are up to in your area.


♦ The latest Feasibility of a Late Canada Goose Season report: first-year observations of Indiana goose populations indicate 10 Hoosier counties may be able to justify an extended Canada goose season in the near future.


♦ Analysis of the 2001-02 Statewide Trapping Harvest Survey: nearly 50,000 muskrats and more than 40,000 raccoons continue to account for the bulk of Indiana's fur harvest. Most of these harvested pelts were sold to local fur buyers.


♦ 2004 Classified Wildlife Habitat Program report: a county

and area chart shows Marshall and Kosciusko counties lead the state in preserving private wildlife habitat through the state's wildlife habitat program.


The 2003 Indiana ring-necked pheasant survey: Indiana's ring-necked pheasant population declines again, and hovers near historic lows of early 1980s. But conservation money is available to private landowners, who control more than 95 percent of the pheasant's northwestern Indiana range.


♦ The North American Waterfowl Management Plan Update: new Indiana land-acquisition and funding figures from North America's most ambitious wildlife conservation plan.


♦ And the 2003 Migratory Waterfowl Banding report includes a chart of 2003 Canada goose neck collar codes.


The DNR library is available at: http://www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/publications/notes/notes.htm

Outdoor skills camp designed for women

Online registration is underway for Indiana DNR's outdoor skills camp for women.


"Becoming an Outdoors-Woman" is a weekend-long event offering an opportunity to learn and improve outdoor skills such as canoeing, horseback riding, fly fishing, camping, birdwatching, hunting, outdoor cooking, shooting and mountain biking. The camp is scheduled for May 14-16 at Ross Camp near West Lafayette.


"It's a low pressure environment, but it's intense fun.  You can try new things, learn new skills and meet new friends," said

Kathleen Marshall, past BOW participant.


Workshop enrollment is limited.  The $160 workshop fee covers lodging, meals and equipment. Some partial scholarships are available for students, single parents and low-income, first-time participants.  Participants must be 18 years or older.


The workshops are sponsored by the Indiana DNR, Indiana Hunter Education Association, and Galyans. For more info or to register, visit:  http://www.IN.gov/dnr/outdoorwoman/         Or contact Dawn Krause at (317) 232-4095.


Emerald Ash Borer tree planting grants

State Department of Natural Resources officials on February 5, announced grant applications are available for Michigan communities suffering tree losses related to Emerald Ash Borer infestation.


The program provides financial and technical assistance to communities affected by the loss of tree cover. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service has awarded Michigan $1.2 million for tree planting efforts in fiscal year 2004. Grant applications are accepted from local units of government in the 13 quarantined counties of Genesee, Ingham, Jackson, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Shiawassee, Washtenaw and Wayne.


Grant applications must be received by Mar. 5 to be considered for funding. Projects must be completed by May 

31, 2005. All grants require matching funds of at least 50 percent. The match may be cash contributions or in-kind services, but may not include federal or state funds. Grants up to $20,000 each will be awarded on a competitive basis and applicants are ranked according to local EAB impact.


Emerald Ash Borer was first identified in Michigan during the summer of 2002, presumably transported inadvertently from its native Asia in cargo shipping materials. To date, the pest has killed nearly 6 million ash trees in Southeast Michigan. Michigan is home to an estimated 700 million ash trees.


For more information or to obtain a grant application, contact Kevin Sayers, Urban and Community Forester, at 517-241-4632, DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management Division, PO Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909-7952, or visit the website at www.michigan.gov/dnr .

Scientists studying how to boost sturgeon in Muskegon River

Researchers made a breakthrough last summer when they discovered sturgeon are spawning in the Muskegon River.


But lead scientist Doug Peterson says more research is needed to get a clear picture of the size and diversity of the river's remnant population of the ancient fish.  Those are among a number of questions that need to be answered before fisheries officials can decide what should be done to increase the river's sturgeon population, Peterson said.


The survival rate of sturgeon larvae along with the numbers and genetic diversity of the adult sturgeon population will tell scientists whether the Muskegon River's remnant population can remain healthy and self-sustaining. If the numbers of larvae being produced are too low, not enough will survive to replace fish that die. If the numbers of adult sturgeon aren't high enough, inbreeding could eventually become a problem.


Sturgeon can live up to 150 years, and adult females spawn every five years. Statistically, that means that about one-fifth of

the total number of females will spawn in any given year, Peterson explained. "You have to watch sturgeon for several years before you know what you've got," he said. Once scientists have a reliable estimate of the river's total sturgeon population, they will know what steps are necessary to help it grow.


If the Muskegon River sturgeon population is large enough, habitat restoration may be all it will take to boost the numbers, Peterson said. If the population is too small, stocking may be necessary to ensure the sturgeon's survival. However, stocking carries its own set of problems. For instance, there's a real chance that the genetically unique Muskegon River sturgeon could vanish if too many hatchery-raised sturgeon are introduced into the population.


The recently-formed Lake Sturgeon Task Group met in Menominee, Wis., for the first time in September to begin developing a sturgeon rehabilitation strategy for Lake Michigan. The group is a technical subcommittee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and is made up of representatives from federal, state and tribal agencies.

DNR/Sea Grant to hold perch workshop Feb 28

Michigan Sea Grant and the MI DNR, are planning to hold a yellow perch workshop Feb 28, in South Haven.  A draft agenda, with speakers is posted below, and it will cover recent perch assessment work as well as presentations on current research. Sea Grant Agent Chuck Pistis says "We are also planning a session that will involve discussion on successful angling techniques."


The workshop will be held at Lake Michigan College, South Haven Campus"We feel it is important that stakeholders be updated on the status of the yellow perch fishery and current research underway to understand the factors impacting the fishery" says Pistis.  


Registration fee is $10.00 to cover lunch, refreshments and materials. ($15.00 at the door)

Draft Agenda

9:15 – 9:30

Welcome and Introductory Remarks



9:30 – 10:15

Historical Overview of the Southern Lake Michigan Yellow Perch


Paul Allen, (Invited) Aquatic Biology & Fisheries Center, Ball State U. and Yellow Perch Task Group Chairperson



10:15 – 11:00

Recent Assessment of the Status of Yellow Perch Populations in the Michigan Waters of Lake Michigan


Dave Clapp, Michigan DNR, Charlevoix Fishery Research Station



11:00 – 12:00

Wind, Currents and Recruitment Success of Yellow Perch in Lake Michigan


John Janssen, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Ed Rutherford, University of Michigan

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch

1:00 – 1:45

Early Life History of Yellow Perch in East-Central Lake Michigan


Scott McNaught, Central Michigan University



1:45 – 2:30

The Impact of Exotic Species on Yellow Perch Populations


Dave Jude, University of Michigan Center for Great Lakes



2:30 – 3:00

Adjusting to Changing Perch Populations and Behavior - Some Sport Fishing Techniques to Enhance Success


Don Nichols, Captain Nichols Perch Charters and Ed Subler, Perch Fisherman “Extraordinaire”



3:00 – 3:30

General Discussion – to include management strategies, future regulation changes, lake-wide models, other topics






For a brochure and registration form call or e-mail Pistis at:  [email protected]


Ottawa County Extension Director/
Michigan State University Extension
333 Clinton Ave.
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Phone: 616-846-8250
Fax: 616-846-8250




Tribes and state set 2004 Mille Lacs Lake harvest quotas

The 1837 Ceded Territory Fisheries Committee (CTFC), composed of tribal and state biologists, have mutually agreed to a safe harvest level (harvestable surplus) of 480,000 pounds of walleye for Mille Lacs Lake for the 2004 fishing season.


This year's safe harvest level, agreed to at the Jan. 21 - 22 meeting in Brainerd, is the second highest since treaty management began in 1997. The 2004 safe harvest level reflects poor survival of walleye fry and fingerlings during 2000 and 2001, when food sources were scarce in the lake. Those fish, currently 14 to 18 inches in length, represent the lake's future spawning stock.


Based on the tribes' five year management plan for Mille Lacs Lake, the 2004 tribal quota is 100,000 lbs of walleye, which will be allocated among the eight Ojibwe bands. The state allocation is 380,000 lbs of walleye. Last year, state anglers took 67,000 lbs of their available quota.


"Unless conditions change drastically on the 132,000-acre lake, the lower safe harvest level will not affect state anglers," said Ron Payer, chief of the Minnesota DNR Section of Fisheries.  "It looks like conditions that caused last year's lower harvest will continue throughout the 2004 fishing season," Payer said. "In light of that, we will potentially liberalize our harvest regulation to provide the greatest angling opportunities while staying within the allocation."


Through consensus, the CTFC established the following safe harvest levels for 2004 for Mille Lacs Lake: 270,000 lbs for 

yellow perch; 23,000 lbs for northern pike; 24,000 lbs for tullibee; and 28,000 lbs for burbot.    "The 2004 quotas offer opportunities for sport and subsistence fishing alike, while also protecting the fishery," Payer added. "Calculations were based on the best biological data available for Mille Lacs."


Neil Kmiecik, Biological Services Director for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said, "Tribal and state fisheries biologists are dedicated to maintaining and refining a comprehensive and reliable database for shared treaty fishery lakes, and are committed to protecting a healthy and sustainable fishery and fish populations. The bottom line while setting harvest figures is to maintain a spawning stock biomass for each species that guarantees the ability of each species to reproduce."


Tribal and state fisheries managers continue to build a sound database for the shared treaty fishery in Minnesota. The cooperative tagging study of Mille Lacs Lake walleye will continue this spring.  "This is a cooperative initiative aimed at providing comprehensive, current information on the Mille Lacs walleye population to use with other models and information as a basis for management decisions," Payer said.


Federal courts have ruled since 1994 that the state and the eight Ojibwe bands share fish and game in the 1837 treaty ceded territory. To ensure the long-term health of the Lake Mille Lacs walleye fishery, the yearly walleye harvest has been managed so that it does not exceed the safe harvest level (harvestable surplus) as directed by the court order. The court left determination of harvestable surplus levels and other biological issues up to the CTFC.


Bear Poaching case successfully closed

HARRISBURG - After more than a year of investigation and court proceedings, a Pittston, Luzerne County man was found guilty of unlawfully taking wildlife and using bait to take wildlife by District Justice Patricia Robinson.  The charges were filed and prosecuted by Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer William Wasserman.


For his conviction, Joseph Russo Jr. was ordered to pay $3,580 in fines and court costs, and may have his hunting privileges revoked for four years.


On Nov. 25, 2002, WCO Wasserman received a call that Joseph Russo's camp in Forkston Township, Wyoming County, was being baited.  After checking bear kill reports, WCO Wasserman found that Mr. Russo had reported killing a bear in Forkston Township at 6:45 a.m. - nine minutes after the season opened.


Wasserman and WCO James Jolley spoke with Russo, who claimed he had killed his bear 1,600 feet away at the end of

the dirt road leading away from the camp and that he had gutted it right where it died.  However, after investigating the scene of the incident, Wasserman was able to gather enough evidence to prove in court that Russo had killed the bear over the pile of bait.  The evidence included blood and tissue samples taken from the bait pile, the gut pile and the bear carcass.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, was able to conclude that all three samples came from the same bear.


Using bullet trajectory analysis conducted by WCO Wasserman and DWCO Eugene Gaydos, and an analysis of the bullet's path through the bear's body, it was proven that Russo shot the bear from an elevated position, and at close range.  The pile of apple mash was next to a cabin, which had a second-story balcony window.


In addition, the contents of the bear's stomach included apple mash, corn and blueberries - which is not a typical bear diet in November.

Deer & Turkey Poaching Ring Put Out of Business

After several weeks of investigative work, a Susquehanna County poaching ring has been put out of business.  Five individuals have pled guilty to dozens of charges filed against them for illegally killing deer and turkey, and were required to pay fines totaling $20,000.   Hearings were held before District Justice Watson Dayton, of Montrose, Susquehanna County.


On Oct. 30, a team of Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officers from the Northeast Region, along with two Susquehanna County Probation Officers, searched a home on West Nicholson Road, in Springville Township.  The search was the result of tips provided by several local residents.  Among the items seized in the search were: 22 sets of deer antlers and numerous deer parts; 14 wild turkey beards; three rifles; various live and spent rifle cartridges; photographs; knives; saws; clothing; and drugs and drug paraphernalia.  


As a result, David Keith Garrison, 20; Edward Zajaczkowski, 22, both residing in Factoryville, pled guilty to 12 counts of possessing wildlife unlawfully taken, namely deer and wild turkeys.  Timothy Vernon Evans, 29, pleaded guilty to 4 counts of possessing wildlife unlawfully taken.  Garrison and Zajaczkoski were sentenced to pay $6,500 in fines each, and may lose their hunting privileges for up to 36 years.  Evans was sentenced to pay $1,400 in fines and may lose his

privileges for up to eight years.


Another man, Timothy Randolph Forkal, 19, of Springville, was found guilty of one count of unlawful taking of whitetail deer.  He was sentenced to pay a $500 fine and may lose his hunting privileges for up to three years.


Also, Benjamin M. Shadduck, 18, of Meshoppen, pled guilty to 10 counts of possessing whitetail deer unlawfully taken.  He was sentenced to pay $5,000 in fines, and he may lose his hunting privileges for 30 years.


These men are alleged to have killed at least 10 deer in the Springville area at night with an artificial light over a period of several months.  In addition, Garrison, Zajaczkowski, and Evans also pled guilty to a number of charges of possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. 


Officers participating in the investigation were amazed at the total disrespect these men showed for the resources of the Commonwealth and Susquehanna County sportsmen and women."When you think of what was taken out of the local whitetail breeding stock, the loss is multiplied even more," WCO Arcovitch said.  "Just think of how happy a hunter would have been to have taken one of these deer!   It just doesn't make any sense." 


Major spearing regulations for 2004

OSHKOSH – Sturgeon spearing regulations for the 2004 season for the most part are the same as for 2003. The season opened at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, and the only major change sturgeon spearers will notice is that 2004 is the first year that the Conservation Patron tag does not include a sturgeon spearing tag.


Spearers will notice that the Sturgeon License and tag itself has changed for 2004. The sturgeon tag no longer has adhesive backing and must be attached to the sturgeon using cord or string and placed through the hole in the tag.


The tag lists the dates Feb. 8-28, which represent all possible dates a season could begin and end in any given year; those dates are listed so that DNR can use the same tags year after year and not incur the cost of reprogramming computers to print the season dates specific to any one year. The Winnebago sturgeon spearing season always begins on the second Saturday in February and can run a maximum of 16 days unless the season shuts down earlier because spearers have reached a trigger level that closes the season after spearing hours the following day.


Major spearing regulations are listed below, but a full description can be found in the 2004 Lake Winnebago Spearing regulations available at DNR service centers or found online at www.wisconsinfishing.org, then click on a headline that says, “Lake Winnebago Spearing Regulations,” and then look on the left hand column for the same.


Major spearing regulations are:

♦ Spearing hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every day of the season, and sturgeon must be registered by 1:30 p.m. the day they are speared. You must carry your sturgeon spearing license and tag at all times while fishing for sturgeon with a spear.


♦ A sturgeon spearing license and tag is nontransferable. No 

person may possess the tag or license of another. GROUP BAGGING IS ILLEGAL! No person may possess a validated sturgeon carcass tag unless the tag is attached to a legal sturgeon.


♦ No person may cut, use, or maintain an ice hole larger than 12 inches in diameter or square for the taking of fish in any manner through the ice except spearing sturgeon in Lake Winnebago during the open season. The total area of a sturgeon spearing hole or combination of holes in an individual spearing shelter may not exceed a total of 48 square feet.


♦ No person may have under his or her control any spear or similar device in any enclosure on the ice or waters of the Winnebago System except when authorized during established sturgeon spearing seasons.


♦ No person may take, capture, kill or attempt to kill sturgeon on Lake Winnebago System waters by any means other than spearing with a spear thrown by hand from inside a fishing shelter placed on the ice during the open spearing season.


♦ Any eligible spearer who spears a lake sturgeon must immediately validate and attach the spearers carcass tag to the sturgeon (just forward of the tail). It is illegal for any person to possess any sturgeon or part thereof without the carcass tag validated and attached.


♦ It is unlawful for any person to transport any unregistered sturgeon in or on any motor driven vehicle unless the sturgeon is carried openly exposed – open to view by a person in a passing vehicle -- and placed so the carcass tag cannot be handled by anyone. "Openly exposed" means open to view by a person in a passing vehicle.


♦ To transport a legally harvested and tagged sturgeon the fish must be accompanied by the spearer until registered.

Hunters donate more than 305,000 lbs of venison

MADISON – Wisconsin hunters have donated nearly 6,771 white-tailed deer to the Wisconsin Deer Donation 2003 program, which ended Dec. 31, providing more than 305,000 lbs of ground venison for needy families across the state. This was the second highest year for venison donation since the program began in 2000.


About 117 Wisconsin meat processors participated in the deer donation program this year, boning, grinding and packaging venison for distribution to pantries. A large network of volunteers including sports groups, church groups, civic organizations, and food pantry staff worked together to distribute the meat from the processor to the food pantries. Department of Natural Resources staff, United States 

Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services staff, county wildlife damage staff and Hunt for the Hungry, headed by Lee Dudek of northeast Wisconsin, also partnered to administer the program.


In addition to donating venison, hunters can give to the deer donation program through monetary donations. A monetary donation option was implemented in 2002, providing hunters the opportunity to donate a dollar or more to the deer donation program when purchasing a license. In 2003, hunters donated $18,935.72 to help the program.


For more info Contact: Laurie Fike - (608) 267-7974 or Bryan Woodbury - (608) 266-2151


Ontario imposes moratorium on new water takings

The government of Ontario has imposed a one-year moratorium on new and expanded permits for removing water from watersheds to stop what is described as a giveaway of the province’s water resources.


“We will use this year to review our groundwater supplies and draft new rules for water taking,” said Leona Dombrowsky, Ontario minister of the environment, in announcing the moratorium Dec. 18. “We will not grant new permits of this kind until we have new rules in place that will help us better protect our water resources.”


Under newly elected Premier Dalton McGuinty, the province also plans to begin charging water-bottling companies and other permit holders that currently are able to remove water from watershed at no charge.


“Water bottlers and others who remove water out of a

watershed cannot be permitted to just take more and more water,” said Dombrowsky. “We need to fully understand the consequences of takings on both the watershed and local water supplies. Nothing is more basic to life ― and the quality of life ― than an adequate supply of safe and clean water.”


Two expert committees have also been formed to advise on a process for assessing threats to the province’s drinking water and on how to implement strategies for protecting watersheds. The new steps address the Walkerton Inquiry’s emphasis on protecting sources of drinking water as a key part of ensuring a sustainable supply of drinking water. The inquiry was conducted after seven people in that community died after drinking E. coli-contaminated water in May 2000.


The government will release a White Paper in February to consult on the planning aspects of source protection legislation, including the preparation, roles and responsibilities and approval of source protection plans.

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