Week of March 12, 2012
|Beyond the Great Lakes|
|Fishing beyond the Great Lakes|
|Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues|
|2nd Amendment Issues|
|Other Breaking News Items|
Beyond the Great Lakes
The June sucker is found exclusively in a 151-square-mile area consisting of Utah Lake and its tributaries. Thanks to invasive carp, the June sucker’s numbers are down from millions to just a few thousand.
The June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program was started in 2009 in an effort to save the fish and has met with very little success, despite the removal of over 7 million pounds of carp to date. According to multiple reports, another 40 million lbs of carp need to be removed as soon as possible and 5 million will need to be removed annually.
In order to accomplish this difficult goal, a custom-built
fleet of commercial fishing boats will drag a net the length of 3 football fields across targeted areas and fill their boats until they are nearly over-flowing with carp. The crews have a mandate to remove carp in virtually any weather conditions. Every day they don't remove the usual 3,500 carp, the carp gain ground. When the lake is frozen the crews cut holes in the ice and use a remote-controlled submarine in order to drag the lake. Loy says some of his biggest hauls have come in the winter months.
The crews get 20 cents for each pound of carp they haul in. That means invasive carp will cost the State of Utah at least another $8,000,000 to get to reach their immediate goals and another $1,000,000 annually.
There is no projected date for when this project will end.
Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
Starting May 1st, catching a fish in Arkansas could win you big bucks
Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, says on that day, 53 tagged fish of varying species will be released on lakes Hamilton and Catherine. He says during the three month contest, everybody has a chance to win.
“The good thing I like about it is you can be old or young, have a $100,000 bass boat or just be fishing out of a jon boat, you’ve got about the same chance as George Cochran or all those big-time anglers have to win some prize money,” he says. Arrison says the contest rules are simple and very relaxed.
“The only requirements are that you have a valid fishing license and you follow all the rules, which I think is to be expected and that you present the fish to us with the tag on it during those time periods,” he says. “If you catch it before or if you catch it after it’s not eligible for a prize, but if you catch it during that time period and you have all the legal licenses you’re supposed to have to fish in Arkansas you’re good to go and hopefully you’ll take home a check.”
Arrison says the prizes on the tagged fish will vary. “The
fish released will be nine largemouth bass; nine bluegill, nine catfish, nine striped bass, nine crappie, and eight
walleye. One of the fish, which we will call 'Big Al', will be worth a grand prize of $10,000.” “It could be won by somebody from out of state or by somebody who has a lake house, nobody knows,” Arrison says. “No qualifications other than you have a legal fishing license and you catch them during the allotted time period.”
Arrison says it’s all part of a way to get people to the area's lakes.
“It’s being sponsored by Visit Hot Springs, just a way to promote our local lakes” he says. “If you’re in Little Rock and you’re trying to decide where you’re going to go wet your hook for this weekend you might say ‘let’s go down to Hot Springs. Shoot, somebody’s gotta win it, maybe I’ll catch the $10,000 fish or if I’m having a bad day I could catch a $250 fish.’”
Arrison says the contest will run from May 1st through July 31st. “You don’t even have to have a boat to participate; you can fish off a bank or your dock or just anywhere, and if you catch one of these fish, call the number [on the tag] and we’ll give you a check.”
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Anglers fishing along the Washington coast will likely see a higher catch quota for chinook salmon this year, while the quota for Coho is expected to be similar to last season, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Three ocean salmon-fishing options approved today by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) anticipate an abundance of chinook in the ocean, but a down year for Columbia River hatchery Coho salmon. The PFMC establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.
The three options establish a framework for developing fishing opportunities on healthy wild and hatchery stocks while meeting conservation goals for weak salmon populations, said Phil Anderson, WDFW director.
“Chinook salmon abundance in the ocean is expected to look much like it did last season, when we had a strong return to the Columbia River,” said Anderson. “The challenge this year will be to ensure we meet our conservation goals for Coho while still providing a full season of meaningful fishing opportunities in the ocean.”
Anderson, who represents WDFW on the management council, said two of the options include recreational mark-selective fisheries for hatchery chinook that would begin in mid-June. If implemented, mark-selective fisheries for hatchery chinook would open ahead of the traditional recreational fishing season for the third straight year.
Mark-selective fisheries allow anglers to catch and keep abundant hatchery salmon, which are marked with a missing adipose fin, but require that they release wild salmon.
About 651,000 fall chinook are expected to return to the Columbia River this season, a run size similar to the last couple year’s returns. A significant portion of that run – nearly 191,000 – is expected to be lower river hatchery chinook, which traditionally have been the backbone of the recreational ocean chinook fishery.
An estimated 317,000 Coho also are expected to return to the Columbia River this year, about 45,000 fish below last year’s projection. Columbia River Coho also account for a significant portion of the ocean catch.
The PFMC is expected to approve final harvest guidelines for this year’s recreational ocean fishery in early April. The three options announced today establish parameters for state and tribal fishery managers in designing this year’s fishing seasons. The recreational fishing options are:
The PFMC last year adopted recreational ocean fishing quotas of 33,700 chinook and 67,200 Coho salmon.
Under each option for this year, the ocean recreational fishery would vary:
Shores), 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay). The selective fishery in marine area 1 would run through June 22, while the fishery in marine areas 2, 3 and 4 would run through June 30. In all areas, the fishery would be open seven days a week with a daily limit of two salmon, not including Coho and wild chinook which must be released. The fishery could close earlier if a coastwide quota of 8,000 hatchery chinook is reached.
The traditional recreational salmon season for chinook and hatchery Coho would begin June 23 in Marine Area 1, and July 1 in the three other coastal areas. Anglers would have a daily limit of two salmon in marine areas 3 and 4. Those fishing marine areas 1 and 2 would also have a two-salmon daily limit, but could keep only one chinook. In all areas, the fishery would be open daily.
The recreational salmon season would then open for chinook and hatchery Coho June 23 in Marine Area 1 and June 24 in marine areas 2, 3 and 4. Marine areas 1, 3 and 4 would be open seven days a week, while Marine Area 2 would be open Sunday through Thursday. Anglers fishing all four marine areas would be allowed to retain one chinook as part of a two-salmon daily limit.
More details on these ocean options will be available on PFMC’s website at http://www.pcouncil.org/. A public hearing on the three options for ocean salmon fisheries is scheduled for March 26 in Westport.
Chinook and Coho quotas approved by the PFMC will be part of a comprehensive 2012 salmon fishing package, which includes marine and freshwater fisheries throughout Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington’s coastal areas. State and tribal co-managers are currently developing those fisheries.
The co-managers will complete the final 2012 salmon fisheries package in conjunction with the PFMC process during its April meeting.
Meanwhile, several public meetings are scheduled in March to discuss regional fisheries issues. A schedule of public meetings, as well as salmon run-size forecasts and more information about the salmon-season setting process, can be found on WDFW’s North of Falcon website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/.
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
Morgan, Utah - New in Browning's diverse line of outdoor apparel for the avid sportsman is the new Dirty Bird Waterfowl line that is the most effective, ergonomic and comfortable clothing yet. The new line of clothing includes insulated models with Browning' Pre-Vent® waterproof, breathable fabric shell for colder days in the field as well as models with Browning's Vari-Tech Temperature and Motion design that are more adaptable when the weather looks better in the marsh. All insulated models in the Dirty Bird line will feature PrimaLoft Synergy Insulation that is soft, lightweight, quick-drying and provides excellent insulating properties, even when wet.
Browning's new Dirty Bird waterfowl clothing will be offered in the two most effective camo patterns for waterfowl hunting that include Mossy Oak Duck Blind and Realtree
Max-4. A Dirty Bird 4-In-1 Parka, Insulated Parka, Insulated Wader Jacket, Insulated Bib, Non-Insulated Bib, and Field Pants all feature an Angle-Entry pocket design for more convenience, Raglan Sleeve Construction and Arrow Gussets armpit design that makes the garment fit better and allow a greater range of movement. Jackets and Parkas, Suggested Retail, $268.50- $350.50. Pants and Bibs, Suggested Retail, $140.00 - $221.50.
The Dirty Bird Vari-Tech™ models include a Base Layer Pullover constructed of 200-gram fleece, a Vari-Tech Jacket with 3-layer laminate fabric in sleeves and a Vari-Tech Half Bib with 3-layer laminate fabric throughout with high bib design back with adjustable elasticized suspender system. All Vari-Tech models feature Browning's Pre-Vent®waterproof, breathable fabric with fully taped external seams. Dirty Bird Vari-Tech Jacket Suggested Retail, $268.50. Dirty Bird Half Bib Suggested Retail, $221.50. Dirty Bird Vari-Tech Base Layer top will feature lightweight stretchable poly jersey sleeves with a mock neck design, Suggested Retail, $46.50.
Winchester is bringing back the 1892 Large Loop Carbine to their rifle line for 2012. The new rifle looks just like the original 1892 with a 20" button-rifled barrel and overall length of 37½".
The distinctive look of the Winchester 1892 large loop carbine rifle was the dream of young boys and old men who watched the gun being used on TV shows and in movies 50 years ago. Watching their favorite actor handle the rifle with one hand was the envy of every want-to- be cowboy. Winchester is helping make those dreams come true.
The gun features a Grade 1 walnut stock with a rich, satin finish. The steel contoured carbine strap buttplate is quick to shoulder and protects the buttstock from damage. The
new 1892 also features a Marble Arms front sight with
brass bead and an adjustable rear sight. The full length magazine holds 10 cartridges and the rifle is available in 4 calibers: 357 Mag., 44 Rem Mag., 44-40 Winchester and 45 Colt. Each rifle comes with an eye-catching saddle ring.
However, the most distinguished feature of the rifle is the Large Loop Lever with radiused edges. The lever makes it easy to cycle the rife, even with gloves on. The 1892 will be produced in limited quantities so interested buyers need to contact their Winchester Repeating Arms dealer soon.
Click here to submit comments: www.regulations.gov/#!searchResults;rpp=25;po=0;s=FWS-R9-MB-2011-0033%252B
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting public comments to guide the preparation of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement related to revising regulations governing the management of Double-crested Cormorants.
USFWS requesting input
These latest comments will update the original 2003 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS): Double-crested cormorant management in the United States (USFWS 2003, 208 pp). USFWS is requesting comments to help them determine future national policy for effective management of double-crested cormorant populations in the United States.
One group, the Lake Huron Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee is supporting the Michigan DNR’s recommendation to amend the 2003 Final Environmental Impact Statement to incorporate a regional approach. Managing the cormorant population at the Flyway level ensures that the cormorant population is protected and significantly increases efficiency and flexibility for the action agencies (State fish and wildlife agencies, federally recognized Tribes and State Directors of USDA Aphis Wildlife Services). The cormorant take for each state would be determined by discussions between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and each Flyway Council with the goal of each State maintaining breeding cormorant abundance above minimum thresholds while reducing bureaucratic hindrances within each State.
The regional approach would allow management activities to be spread over wider areas within and between States. Especially troublesome is managing a colony that crosses state or national boundaries. The regional approach would allow for better coordination of efforts resulting in more effective treatments at lower costs. This new system would allow the States to focus efforts over a larger area and in zones located at a distance from the treated colonies and to react immediately to quickly developing problems caused by migrating or far foraging colony birds.
Each State would determine a cormorant management goal and conduct ongoing monitoring to ensure that minimum population threshold levels are maintained and the States’ goals for cormorant management are being achieved.
Current management regulations
Under current regulations, cormorant control activities are conducted annually at the local level by individuals or
agencies operating under USFWS depredation permits,
the existing Aquaculture Depredation Order, or the existing Public Resource Depredation Order. The depredation
orders are scheduled to expire on June 30, 2014. This analysis and your comments will aide the USFWS in updating the 2003 Final Environmental Impact Statement: Double-crested Cormorant Management in the United States.
Electronic comments via www.regulations.gov must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 6, 2012. Comments submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than April 6, 2012.
You may also submit your comments by U.S. Mail to:
Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R9– MB–2011–0033;
Division of Policy and Directives Management; USFWS,
4401 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 222
Arlington, VA 22203–1610.
Comments submitted by fax or e-mail will NOT be accepted
To submit your comments, click here: www.regulations.gov/#!searchResults;rpp=25;po=0;s=FWS-R9-MB-2011-0033%252B
1. Latest Revision Date, Federal Register Revision to Comment period, January 27, 2012
2. Federal Register, November 8, 2011 Notice Cormorant Management, future mgmt policy
www.fws.gov/policy/library/2011/2011-28755.pdf (Six pages)
3. Original USFWS Final Environment Impact Statement – Cormorant Management, 2003 (208 pp)
4. Federal Register, Revision of Expiration Dates, April 2009 (five pages)
5. Final USFWS Environmental Assessment, March 2009
6. Regulations.Gov proposed rule, PDF or Text, January 27, 2012
BoatUS recently cautioned that America's boaters weren't out of the woods yet with the possibility of the country's sole electronic navigation system failing as the result of radio signal interference issues from a newly proposed cellular broadband network.
The Federal Communications Commission extended the public comment period to the network's proposed builder, LightSquared, allowing comments through March 16. Boaters and all users of GPS are urged to submit comments to the FCC to ensure that the nation's system of global positioning devices keeps Americans safely on course.
Here is how to file comments to the FCC through its online comment form:
Click here for the FCC online Comment form:
• Select “Proceeding Number 11-109.”
• Enter contact information.
• In the box that says “Type in or paste your brief comments,” here are some points to select from:
• Explain how you use GPS in your life — on the water, on land or in the air.
• What would happen to your business/personal life if GPS became unavailable or unreliable?
• Wireless broadband service is important, but it should not come at the expense of GPS.
• All of the studies show that LightSquared's proposed network would cause interference and that there are no remedies.
• Tell the FCC that you rely on it to protect the integrity of the GPS signal and that you support its recommendation to stop LightSquared's current proposal.
• Click “Continue.”
• If the review page is correct, click “Confirm.”
(Columbus, OH) –On the day before the pivotal “Super Tuesday” primaries, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum sat down for an interview with the staff leadership of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance to discuss issues important to hunters, trappers and anglers.
The USSA staff present for the interview with Santorum were: Bud Pidgeon (President and CEO); Rob Sexton (Senior Vice President); Doug Jeanneret (Vice President, Marketing); and Evan Heusinkveld (Director, State Services).
Here is the interview by issue topic:
Topic One: Hunting Recruitment and Hunting Access
Jeanneret: One of the issues facing sportsmen these days are dwindling numbers of sportsmen. It’s a really big issue. The conservation community, every national group… if you talked to any of them it’s a concern of theirs. One of the things we would like to ask you, the Department of Interior oversees U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees federal game laws. In your opinion, should they be helping us create hunters, fishermen, trappers and promoting that ethic out there?
Santorum: I hear you but I am looking at where we are from the standpoint from the deficit. I mean a lot of people ask me, where are you for federal dollars for this or that? We are borrowing 42 cents of every dollar right now and for me to commit any new dollars to do anything would be a tough thing. If you are talking about within the literature, for example that comes out, and we do things to talk about hunting and fishing opportunities… if it’s in the context of what the agency generally does and making sure that people are aware of opportunities and things like that to sort of reinforce the importance or nature of the sports. I have no problem with that. It’s different if you’re saying we need to spend new dollars to do this.
Jeanneret: We’re not.
Sexton: We’re not. The pot of money we are talking about would be excise tax dollars that come from ammunition sales, firearm sales, fishing tackle sales. That money typically gets spent back on conservation issues and sportsmen issues anyways. We are looking for some prioritization of that money to programs that will get people into the field and get them out and open up new land for them to hunt on and things like that.
Santorum: I have no problem. I mean if you are asking me if I am going to be friendly to opening up federal lands for more sportsmen activity the answer is absolutely yes. If you are talking about if we are going to take federal lands in the extent we can and turn them over to private sector or turn them over to the state the answer is yes. I think this is an opportunity for us. We have way too much federal land and way too many restrictions on the federal lands that we have. I will be working with a whole variety of different conservation groups, not environmental groups, conservation groups as well as sportsmen groups to see what avenues we can pursue to make that a much more welcoming environment for sportsmen and for recreation.
Sexton: For years our community put our money towards reestablishing species, whether it be deer or turkey or pheasant or what have you. Returning to the idea of hunters, one of the biggest factors is the urbanization of America. Guys give up hunting because they have to drive 2½ hours to get to a place to hunt. I am just bringing this around full circle so you know where we are coming from. We have used our money… the firearm tax money and the fishing tackle money. That money is supposed to be put back into the resource so that you get back more hunters and anglers. Of course they (hunters) have a huge economic impact as you know from your own home state. What we are looking for now… we want to see investment in programs so that a guy doesn’t have to drive 2 hours outside of Pittsburgh to get to hunt.
Santorum: I am okay with that as long as…you are going to find if you look at my record one of the programs I am not a fan of is CRP. I know a lot of CRP land is used for habitat but we shouldn’t be paying farmers not to farm. I mean if you want to use that money to pay farmers to keep habitat for pheasant, turkey, whatever…great, but I don’t think we should be using money that encourages farmers not to farm their land for environmental purposes. It’s not (CRP) as you know, it’s not intended for wildlife habitat. It was intended for runoff and all sorts of other things to preserve the ecology. I understand a lot of hunters and sportsmen actually feel very passionate about the CRP program. I don’t. Just being very up front with you. If you want to use the knowledge for that, that’s one thing but we shouldn’t use ag (agriculture) dollars for that.
Topic Two: HR 4089, The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012
Heusinkveld: We have a piece of legislation we have been working on in D.C. It’s called the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012. It’s a package of four different pieces of legislation. It would close legal loopholes that anti-hunters have used to shut down access to sportsmen to federal lands. It has a provision, “open until closed,” which mandates that these federal lands are open (to hunting, shooting, and fishing) until closed by the agency because they’ve got specific reason or cause or evidence that it needs to be done. The way the current law works, they (federal land management agencies) have to open every single piece of land. That opens up the opportunity to be sued by anti-hunters and animal rights groups.
Santorum: I’m for it. (referring to supporting HR 4089)Heusinkveld: Great.
Santorum: Government should make things available unless there is a reason it shouldn’t be.
Topic Three: Dog Breeding and the Humane Society of the United States
Sexton: I think you are probably aware of a lot of the media coverage over issues of substandard dog breeding operations. There has been a 50 state campaign to address the issue but the issue has gotten out of control. The laws that are being written heavily impact folks who aren’t large breeders, but operate sporting dog kennels, hobby breeders instead of going after…
Santorum: …that’s actually why we thought about doing this at the federal level so we could get all the folks and interested parties in doing it. I mean you actually probably know I supported some of this because of it was in conjunction with a problem we were having with the importation of dogs and cats, but mostly dogs from China where there are huge, huge problems with dogs, huge amount of dogs dying in transportation and other types of problems and so that was clearly a federal government issue because it has to do with trade so this was sort of piggy backed on that bill. But it has been a chronic problem for us in Pennsylvania too in the Amish areas. It became sort of a wildfire issue for me and as far as I know they didn’t have this (state) effort, which I understand they do now, to try and take care of this in the 50 states. I know each state is dealing with it differently. But if you look at that law we put together we were very, very conscious of hobby breeders. We were very conscious of making sure we were talking about large commercial operations, not somebody that was breeding a few bitches you know every year or two.
Sexton: I think one of the concerns about the issue nationally is that the chief proponent of the overall issue was the Humane Society of the United States, who the hunting community regards as the top anti-hunting group. The bills have been written in wide funnel methodology that would… well in Pennsylvania the law they proposed would have put every sporting dog kennel out of existence. We couldn’t find even one in compliance with their proposal.
Santorum: I am not surprised by that. We dealt with both the AKC and the HSUS. There were a lot of issues that ultimately would go back and forth that we are not able to resolve and as a result probably just set them aside. You know for me this was trying to do something that was reasonable. I do believe in people’s ability to raise their own animals, but I also believe when animals go into the home as most of these animals do, you have to have consumer protection standards so you’re not having defective animals and animals that have temper problems and other types of problems coming into people’s homes. How many folks do you know that their dog is like their child? You just can’t introduce an animal into the home without having some sort of standards that are set in place.
Sexton: Are you aware of the issues between the Humane Society of the United States and the Sportsmen’s Community?
Santorum: Sure. I am very aware of it. I understand there are issues between them (HSUS) and production agriculture which is even worse than it is with the Humane Society and the sportsmen. I think you’ll find I am very reasonable guy. I do believe we should be good stewards. We have dominion over animals. We have dominion over the earth and we have to be responsible for the treatment of them. I know most sportsmen are but unfortunately there are some breeders who aren’t. As a result this is the same thing as everything else when you have people that do not live up to those conditions. Everyone else has to deal with regulations as a result of that. You can’t just turn a blind eye to it. You can’t just say well it’s too bad there are some bad people out there but too bad. I just don’t think that’s what laws are for. People keep a minimum standard for the care of and treatment of animals.
Sexton: You know you can draw a parallel when you think about it like firearms regulations and laws. We are after law breakers, not the law abiding and the same would be true on this issue.
Santorum: The concern is that we heard from some sportsmen groups and breeders that government shouldn’t be involved with us at all. Well, I don’t buy that. I mean you know if you want to police yourself…but you’re not because I can point to lots of kennels where you’re not. So if you’re not, someone is going to have to police it, otherwise you can run the videos and show the American public and you’re going to lose because no one is going to want to see animals treated like this and hear the stories that are going on. I mean, Americans loves our pets so we have to be reasonable. What I found is that vast majority of breeders are very reasonable. Some who don’t believe in any government regulation of anything and they have been out there speaking against me as I have heard in some of the states, but my feeling is we need responsible laws just make sure were hitting the irresponsible people not the responsible ones.
***Editor’s Note: The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is attempting to set up interviews with the remaining presidential candidates. We will provide information on their views on the most important issues to sportsmen as it becomes available.
Springfield, MO--Leading NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver/owner Tony Stewart knows a thing or two about winning championships. As the driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Stewart has won 12 driving championships, including three Sprint Cup Series titles, in a career spanning more than three decades.
Stewart is a champion off the racetrack as much as he is on, and has been recognized for his philanthropic efforts via his Tony Stewart Foundation, which raises funds for distribution to three specific groups – chronically ill children, drivers injured in motorsports activities, and organizations dedicated to the protection of various animal species. This year, Stewart is a champion for another cause as he has been named honorary chairman of National Hunting and Fishing Day 2012.
Congress established National Hunting and Fishing Day to recognize hunters and anglers for their leadership in fish and wildlife conservation. Since launching in 1971, the day has been formally proclaimed by every U.S. President, countless governors and mayors. Stewart joins an elite fraternity of entertainment and sports figures that have served as honorary chairs, including Hank Williams Jr., Travis Tritt, Tracy Byrd, Jeff Foxworthy, Jay Novacek, Robert Urich, Wade Boggs, Ward Burton, Arnold Palmer, Terry Bradshaw, the USA Olympic Shooting Team and many others. The annual celebration is set for Saturday,
Sept. 22, 2012.
“We are excited to have Tony Stewart as honorary chairman of National Hunting and Fishing Day. It’s good to have the voice and perspective of one of America’s most respected NASCAR drivers, owner and philanthropists. His volunteerism shows that hunting, fishing and conservation remain important in all walks of American life today,” said Misty Mitchell, Director of Conservation Programs for Wonders of Wildlife. The museum, in Springfield, Mo., is the official home of National Hunting and Fishing Day.
Wonders of Wildlife coordinates public education and awareness campaigns to promote traditional outdoor sports. The museum recently opened the newly constructed Conservation Education Center. The museum itself has also undergone extensive renovations and will open in 2013.
Stewart is one of America’s 34 million hunters and anglers. Together, their licenses, permits and special taxes contribute more than $4.7 million each day for fish, wildlife and habitat programs. No one contributes more for conservation.
The growing list of sponsors for National Hunting and Fishing Day 2012 includes Wonders of Wildlife, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Bass Pro Shops, Sportsman Channel, Realtree, GunBroker.com, Pope and Young, Ducks Unlimited, Smith & Wesson and Yamaha. For more information, visit www.nhfday.org.
The Great Lakes basin saw some average to above average precipitation this past week. The temperatures throughout the Great Lakes were above average at times as well. Heading into Friday, expect temperatures to drop and then rise back up again on Saturday through the rest of the weekend. There may be some light precipitation in some areas over the weekend, with steady showers throughout the entire basin on Monday.
LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS
Currently, Lake Superior is 2 inches higher and Lake Michigan-Huron is 7 inches higher than it was last year. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 17, 15, and 17 inches, respectively, higher than they were at this time last year. Over the next thirty days, Lake Superior is projected to remain at its current level, while Lake Michigan-Huron is projected to increase 3 inches. The water levels of Lakes St. Clair, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are forecasted to increase 1 inch over the next month.
FORECASTED MONTHLY OUTFLOWS/CHANNEL CONDITIONS
Lake Superior's outflow through the St. Marys River is projected to be below average for the month of March. Lake Huron's outflow into the St. Clair River and the outflow from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River are expected to be near average throughout the month of March. Lake Erie's outflow through the Niagara River and the outflow of
Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River are both
predicted to be above average in March.
The water levels of Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are below chart datum. Lake Superior is forecasted to remain below chart datum until July, and Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to be below chart datum thru March. 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.
2nd Amendment Issues
Federal Court rules Second Amendment's protections must extend beyond the home
A federal court in Maryland just ruled that the Second Amendment right to bear arms extends beyond the home. The judge declared a provision in a Maryland law requiring citizens to show that they must have “good and substantial reason” to receive a gun-carry permit unconstitutional.
In the case brought by the Second Amendment Foundation, Wollard v. Sheridan, a Maryland resident was denied a concealed carry permit renewal and the court determined that citizens may not be required by the state
to offer a "good and substantial reason" for concealed carry.
U.S. District Court Judge Benson Everett Legg explained that ". . . the Second Amendment's protections must extend beyond the home." Legg noted "In addition to self-defense, the (Second Amendment) right was also understood to allow for militia membership and hunting. To secure these rights, the Second Amendments protections must extend beyond the home: neither hunting nor militia training is a household activity, and self-defense has to take place wherever [a] person happens to be'."
Check the schedule online and sign up now for 2012 Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR. There are plenty of classes scheduled, but they fill up quickly. Check the IDNR
website for class dates and locations. Class schedules are updated frequently. The website link for all IDNR Safety Education course information is www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety.
Mandatory Ice Shanty Removal Dates
shanties were to
be removed by midnight on March 1. Shanties placed on Michigan-Wisconsin
boundary waters must be removed by midnight on March 15. In the Upper
Peninsula, shanties must be removed by midnight on March 31.
Get the fishing season off to a good start with a Go Get Outdoors Steelhead Fishing Clinic taking place on Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1 at Mitchell State Park in Wexford County.
Anglers will meet at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the park’s Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center to learn the basics. The group will assemble again at 6 a.m. Sunday at the Tippy Dam to do some fishing.
The clinic is free of charge and open to 25 participants. Those attending should bring waders, a net, rod and reel, tackle, rain gear and proper clothing. There will be time to stop at one of several bait and tackle shops to gear up after class. Pre-registration is required. For details or to register, call Edward Shaw, 231-779-1321 or email [email protected].
Mitchell State Park is located at 6087 E. M-155 in Cadillac. A Recreation Passport is required for entry into the state park.
The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.
Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.
Licenses for a new program aimed at introducing children under the age of 10 to hunting and fishing in Michigan are now available for purchase. The Mentored Youth Hunting license costs $7.50, and is a “package” license that includes small game, spring and fall turkey (private or public land), two deer tags (any deer), a furbearer trapping permit and an all-species fishing license.
“The Department is excited to be offering this new opportunity to youths and their families,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. “Ensuring that Michigan’s natural resources are protected and managed for future generations means we need to be nurturing tomorrow’s conservationists today. This new program will introduce children to Michigan’s hunting and fishing heritage, building lifetime good memories and a respect of the out-of-doors.”
An adult mentor must be at least 21 years old, have previous hunting experience and possess a valid Michigan hunting license. Another provision of the law allows 10-year-olds to hunt big game on private land with a firearm, which was implemented starting with the 2011 deer season.
The regulations for Mentored Youth Hunting program include:
with him or her in the field, leaving it at the discretion of the mentor.
Voluntary mentor guidelines have been developed by the DNR, and are available at www.michigan.gov/mentoredhunting, along with other information about the program.
Recent weather events throughout northern Michigan have created dangerous conditions on several pathways, snowmobile and ORV trails and forest roads maintained by the Department of Natural Resources in the northern Lower Peninsula. As a result, the DNR is cautioning trail users that parts of some trails may be closed while work is being done to remove hazards and downed trees.
Known damage on trails occurred in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Lake, Manistee and Mason counties. Outdoor enthusiasts should be aware that portions of trails in these counties may be blocked, dangerous or closed for removal
of downed trees.
DNR staff is assessing damage on the trails, and will work with local trail grant sponsors and volunteers to remove fallen trees from the trails. The DNR urges all trail riders to use extreme caution on the trails.
“We appreciate the public’s patience at this time while we review and prioritize the damages on the trails,” said DNR forest recreation specialist Todd Neiss. “We are working on the arrangements to clean up the damage that occurred during the recent storms and will have trails cleared and ready for recreation as soon as possible.”
A silver carp and a bighead carp were caught in a seine net by commercial fishermen March 1 in Pool 6 of the Mississippi River near Winona, according to the Minnesota DNR. Silver and bighead carp, members of the Asian carp family, are nonnative species that can cause serious ecological problems as they spread into new waters.
The silver carp caught March 1st, which weighed about 8 lbs, represents the farthest upstream discovery to date of the species, known for its tendency to leap from the water when startled.
“A silver carp discovery this far upstream is discouraging, but not surprising,” said Tim Schlagenhaft of the DNR’s Mississippi River Team at Lake City. “This is further evidence that Asian carp continue to move upstream in the Mississippi River.” “We hope this galvanizes meaningful action to slow down the upriver movement of Asian carp while we figure out ways to control and deal with their impacts."
No established populations of bighead or silver carp are known in Minnesota. However, individual Asian carp have been caught by commercial fishermen in recent years. Three silver carp (two in pool 8 near La Crosse, one in pool 9) were caught between 2008 and 2011. One bighead carp
was caught in the St. Croix River in 1996 and one in 2011.
Between 2003-2009, six bighead carp were caught in the Mississippi River between Lake Pepin and the Iowa border.
eDNA testing last year indicated the presence of silver carp in the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers in the Twin Cities area. However, searches by the DNR and commissioned commercial fishermen failed to turn up any sign of live Asian carp at that time. Populations of bighead and silver carp are established in the Mississippi River and its tributaries downstream of pool 12 in Iowa.
Bighead carp can weigh up to 110 pounds and silver carp up to 60 pounds. They are voracious eaters, capable of consuming 5 to 20 % of their body weight each day. They feed on algae and other microscopic organisms, often outcompeting native fish for food. Scientists believe Asian carp could severely disrupt the aquatic ecosystems of Minnesota waters.
Several grass carp were also caught in Pool 6 on March 1. Although grass carp are also a concern, they have been present in Minnesota waters for many years. Adult grass carp, which can weigh up to 70 pounds, can dramatically reduce aquatic vegetation.
More information about Asian carp is available on the DNR’s website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/asian-carp/index.html.
Logan High School wins top team award
COLUMBUS, OH – The winner of the 2012 National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) state tournament was Logan High School in Hocking County according to the Ohio DNR, which coordinates the NASP for Ohio.
The state tournament was held March 2 in Columbus in conjunction with the Arnold Sports Festival, the annual fitness tournament developed by former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“This was our sixth year of hosting the state championship tournament at the Arnold sports festival, and this was the largest competition to date,” said Matt Neumeier, shooting sports coordinator for the Division of Wildlife. “The state tournament drew more than 1,300 student archers with 33 of the 55 Ohio teams qualifying for the NASP national tournament in May.”
Tyler Finley of Maysville High School was the top overall male archer, and Katie Ruffner of Logan High School was the top female archer. The top male and female archers were determined by a shoot-off between the top three boys
and top three girls from each of the three divisions—elementary, middle school and high school.
Hocking College in Nelsonville offered scholarships for the first, second and third place finishers in the male and female final shoot-off this year.
This year’s Spirit Award went to the Philo School District for their demonstration of enthusiasm and sportsmanship.
A total of 1,319 student archers from 55 teams statewide competed in the tournament. Each competitor could score a maximum of 300 points by shooting arrows as close to the center of a target as possible.
Awards were given for both teams and individuals with high scores in the elementary, middle school and high school divisions. Thirty-three Ohio teams received qualifying scores, making them eligible to participate in the NASP National Invitational Tournament, which is scheduled May 11-12 in Kentucky.
NASP is used to teach target archery in a school’s gym. The curriculum covers archery, safety, equipment, technique, concentration skills and self-improvement. For more information on the program, visit www.ohionasp.com.
Other Breaking News Items
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New York dropped its restrictive ballast water rule late last month, giving up on a battle to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes. New York controls one of the choke points in the St. Lawrence Seaway, and a tough ballast water rule would have accomplished what the rest of the states and provinces have not been able to do, either on their own or in trying to influence their federal governments.
With 1,200 Mute swans visiting the White Lake during peak periods, residents suffer an embarrassment of riches. That’s why local conservationists plan to kill them. A mini-explosion of mute swans is threatening the fragile recovery of the once-polluted lake. They devour underwater vegetation, leaving no food for other waterfowl and no protective habitat for fish.
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