Week of March 23, 2009

National

Regional

General
2nd Amendment issues
Lake Michigan

Illinois

Indiana
Michigan
Minnesota
New York
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Wisconsin

 

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National

Coast Guard Report on lost NFL boaters is grim

MIAMI (AP) – Two NFL players may have died just a few hours after the fishing boat they were in overturned in rough water in late February, possibly before rescuers were even alerted that they and two others were lost off the west coast of Florida, according to Coast Guard records of the boating accident.

 

In a 23-page report provided to The Associated Press on Monday under a Freedom of Information Act request, the Coast Guard documents two conversations it had with Nick Schuyler, a former University of South Florida player who was the lone survivor.

Schuyler told them that, one by one, the other men took off their life vests and disappeared during the ordeal.

 

The report says the group went roughly 70 miles — or 62 nautical miles — to fish for amberjack on Feb. 28. Also onboard the 21-foot Everglades boat were Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith, who played for the Detroit Lions last season, and former University of South Florida player William Bleakley.

 

The men's names were redacted in the report.

 

Around 5:30 p.m., the report said the group ran into trouble: Their anchor was stuck. Schuyler told investigators that he believed it was caught in a coral reef. They tried to free it, but water filled the boat and it capsized. Tossed into the cold water, the men managed to grab their life vests.

 

Hypothermia Led To Loss of Hope

Schuyler said they held on to the boat for four hours. But as the night wore on, their will to survive appears to have weakened, and the effects of hypothermia were likely setting in. Schuyler told the Coast Guard that one of the men "freaked out" and took off his life vest and disappeared that night.  Another one of the men started getting unruly and throwing punches later.

 

Schuyler told the Coast Guard the second man also took off his life jacket, dove under the water and was never seen again. The third man thought he saw land nearly two days after the boat capsized and decided to swim for it.  Schuyler told the Coast Guard that one man said his life jacket was too tight and he took it off.

 

Officials have said that they eventually found three life jackets; one on Schuyler; another near the boat and a third underneath it. The bodies of the three who disappeared have not been found.

 

Survivor's Account Is Inconsistent

It's unclear how accurate the account is. Schuyler, who was found clinging to the overturned boat about 35 miles off Clearwater and nearly 48 hours after the accident, was suffering from hypothermia and has provided different accounts to the men's relatives. The family of William Bleakley, for example, said Schuyler told them that their son held on to the boat with his college teammate until he weakened and died. Schuyler has also said that Bleakley helped him survive, talking to him and encouraging him during their last night together.

 

Marquis Cooper's father has questioned Schuyler's account that his son removed his life jacket. Schuyler has not

responded to interview requests.

 

The group was expected home around sunset. One of the men's families contacted the Coast Guard around 1:30 a.m. on March 1 and a search began. 

 

The Coast Guard records document their repeated attempts — and frustrations — as they attempted to find the small white boat in a stormy sea with heavy cloud cover and whitecaps making it tough to spot the vessel.  Initial information the Guard received indicated the men were en route to a dive wreck about 58 miles from Clearwater Pass, Fla.

 

One person who called the Coast Guard reported that one of the men, presumably Cooper, had one week left before he was expected in California for football practice. The caller, whose name was redacted from the report, said the group "could have possibly tried to go farther out to fish."

 

One of the men's wives was able to find a handheld GPS device that he had left at home and had apparently used in previous trips to record the coordinates of favorite fishing spots. The Coast Guard used that data to refine their search, placing the likely location of the men about 10 nautical miles south of their expected destination.

 

The Coast Guard contacted the men's cell phone companies for help tracking their whereabouts, without success. They also sent them text messages stating that, "the CG is looking for you request you to contact us immediately."  "Being these guys are inexperienced, don't look just at 50 NM offshore, there might be a possibility that they wizened up and stayed close to shore, at least within visual of land," a Coast Guard officer wrote in one e-mail.

 

The same e-mail added that, "It might be worth considering getting the story out to media earlier than later more people on the lookout both on land and water."

 

Weather, Plane Problems Hurt Search Efforts

During the search, the Coast Guard reported 14-foot seas offshore and wind gusts up to 30 mph.  The newly released records reveal how the conditions hindered their mission.  In one early search, rescuers were only able to cover 40 % of their search area because of a storm front that moved in.

 

In another entry, a pilot's search was described as "ineffective, unable to see anything with current weather conditions during nighttime search, completely dark due to cloud cover."  One aircraft had an engine problem and never got out. A second aircraft was used but had problems with its radar during the first leg of the search; an alternative device proved useless in the poor weather.

 

More than 24 hours after starting their search, however, a sign of hope finally emerged.  The Coast Guard cutter Tornado spotted Schuyler, looking small in the vast ocean and clinging to the boat's hull.

 

At Tampa General Hospital, Schuyler's doctor called it a "miracle" that he survived in the 63-degree Gulf water for nearly two days, and said he probably could have lived only another five to 10 hours.


Park Service Ban on Lead runs counter to Obama Executive Memo on Gov't. Transparency

Park Service officials make policy change without industry or public input

Alexandria, VAMarch 13, 2009 The American Sportfishing Association (ASA), along with a number of fish and wildlife management conservation groups, is asking the National Park Service (NPS) to reconsider its ban on the use of fishing tackle made with lead components in national parks by 2010.

 

“The sportfishing industry is surprised and dismayed by the March 10 announcement made by the National Park Service,” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “Their intention to eliminate the use of lead in fishing tackle in national parks was made without prior consultation of the sportfishing industry or the millions of recreational anglers who fish within the national park system.”

 

Robertson further said, “In his January 21, 2009, Executive Memo to federal agency and department heads, President Obama made it very clear that he expects the federal government to be transparent, participatory and collaborative and that ‘executive departments and agencies should offer

Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information.’ We expect the National Park Service to follow the President’s order.”

 

In the normal course of events, the sportfishing and shooting sports industries (lead component ammunition is also included in the ban) would have been notified by the NPS about this change in policy and would have been invited to discuss this decision with NPS staff.

 

Robertson further explained, “The NPS policy announcement, issued by a press release, does not explain how this decision was reached, why it may be necessary or how this rule will be implemented. To our knowledge, there has been no proposed rule, nor any opportunity for public comment. We request that the NPS withdraw this proposal and discuss the rationale for it with the appropriate stakeholders before taking further action.”

ASA continues to encourage and support voluntary angler education programs for the use and proper disposal of lead sinkers and urges state and federal fish and wildlife agencies to do the same.


3rd Annual Mush for a Cure Sled Dog Fundraiser

23,000.00 in One Day, Not a Bad Days Work...For Charity

The 3rd Annual Mush for a Cure Sled Dog Fundraiser on March 14th, 2009 is over and it's great to be able to announce that it raised over $23,000.00 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The highly successful event included 34 dog mushing teams, 4 skijor participants, almost one hundred volunteers and hundreds of happy spectators.

 

Early Saturday morning on March 14th people and dogs could be seen at Gunflint Pines getting ready for the day. A pancake breakfast, registration and then a Sourdough start on the lake was made even more special by the appearance of a plane dropping pink streamers from the sky while the National Anthem resounded through the winter forest.

 

According to one spectator, "I don't know what came over me, but to see all of those people dressed in pink, getting ready to mush for a cure and then have a plane fly over just brought tears to my eyes." 

 

Those tears weren't the only ones seen during the 3rd Annual Mush for a Cure; tears from laughing so hard at men wearing pink lipstick. Other tears of joy were seen on Co-Race Founder Mary Black's face during the Awards Presentation, "I am so proud of all of you for raising over $23,000.00 it's so incredible, I just can't believe how awesome all of you are."

 

The day was a special one for many folks including John Stetson and his son Nelson. The 3rd Annual Mush for a Cure was dedicated to Shelly Stetson who lost her battle with breast

cancer in January before John's 2nd place finish in this year's Beargrease. John and Nelson traveled the Mush Trail together no doubt thinking of Shelly as many of the mushers did along the way.

 

The Mingle with the Mushers Pasta Feed on Friday night and the Party Pink Post-Race Party were well attended. People received haircuts for a cure, great prizes from the raffles and plenty of food and fun at Trail Center.

 

Plans are already underway for how to make the 4th Annual Mush for a Cure an even bigger and better event. Mark your calendars for March 13th, 2010 because you won't want to miss out on the fabulous fundraising fun.

 

Here is a little bit of history about this event. Sue Prom, along with her husband, Mike, own and operate Voyageur Canoe Outfitters resort at the end of the historic Gunflint Trail next to the world-famous Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. After a friend of Sue’s suffered from a debilitating illness in 2005, Sue and Mary Black of Black Magic Kennels Racing Sled Dogs started raising money to fight breast cancer. In January of 2007 Mary and Sue took their partnership one step further and "Mush For A Cure" was born.  The first event was held in March, 2007 with four women participating and raising over $2500.

 

Here it is 2009 and that first total from Mush For A Cure is almost 10-times the starting number.  And, it's people like you who care enough to help a worthy cause that will ultimately fund a miracle cure to defeat breast cancer.


Obama secretly ends program that let pilots carry guns

Washington Times, March 17

After the September 11 attacks, commercial airline pilots were allowed to carry guns if they completed a federal-safety program. No longer would unarmed pilots be defenseless as remorseless hijackers seized control of aircraft and rammed them into buildings. Now President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.

 

The Obama administration this past week diverted some $2 million from the pilot training program to hire more supervisory staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots.

 

This looks like completely unnecessary harassment of the pilots. The 12,000 Federal Flight Deck Officers, the pilots who have been approved to carry guns, are reported to have the best behavior of any federal law enforcement agency. There are no cases where any of them has improperly brandished or used a gun. There are just a few cases where officers have improperly used their IDs.

 

Less than one percent of the officers have any administrative actions brought against them and, we are told, virtually all of those cases “are trumped up.”

 

Take a case against one flight officer who had visited the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles within the last few weeks. While there, the pilot noticed that federal law enforcement officers can, with the approval of a superior, obtain a license plate that cannot be traced, a key safety feature for law enforcement personnel. So the pilot asked if, as a member of the federal program, he was eligible. The DMV staffer checked and said “no.” The next day administrative actions were brought against the pilot for “misrepresenting himself.” These are the kinds of cases that President Obama wants to investigate.

 

Since Mr. Obama's election, pilots have told us that the approval process for letting pilots carry guns on planes slowed significantly. Last week the problem went from bad to worse. Federal Flight Deck Officers - the pilots who have been approved to carry guns - indicate that the approval process

has stalled out.

 

Pilots cannot openly speak about the changing policies for fear of retaliation from the Transportation Security Administration. Pilots who act in any way that causes a “loss of confidence” in the armed pilot program risk criminal prosecution as well as their removal from the program. Despite these threats, pilots in the Federal Flight Deck Officers program have raised real concerns in multiple interviews.

 

Arming pilots after Sept. 11 was nothing new. Until the early 1960s, American commercial passenger pilots on any flight carrying U.S. mail were required to carry handguns. Indeed, U.S. pilots were still allowed to carry guns until as recently as 1987. There are no records that any of these pilots (either military or commercial) ever causing any significant problems.

 

Screening of airplane passengers is hardly perfect. While armed marshals are helpful, the program covers less than 3 percent of the flights out of Washington D.C.'s three airports and even fewer across the country. Sky marshals are costly and quit more often than other law-enforcement officers.

 

Armed pilots are a cost-effective backup layer of security. Terrorists can only enter the cockpit through one narrow entrance, and armed pilots have some time to prepare themselves as hijackers penetrate the strengthened cockpit doors. With pilots, we have people who are willing to take on the burden of protecting the planes for free. About 70 percent of the pilots at major American carriers have military backgrounds.

 

Frankly, as a matter of pure politics, we cannot understand what the administration is thinking. Nearly 40 House Democrats are in districts were the NRA is more popular than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We can't find any independent poll in which the public is demanding that pilots disarm. Why does this move make sense?

 

Only anti-gun extremists and terrorist recruits are worried about armed pilots. So why is the Obama administration catering to this tiny lobby at the expense of public safety.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for March 20, 2009

Weather Conditions

This week, the Great Lakes basin experienced drier weather and warmer temperatures.  Some areas received light rain as a weak cold front passed through on Wednesday.  Warmer temperatures are expected for the upcoming weekend as well as the chance of precipitation.  Chances of precipitation will continue into the new work week.   

Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lake Superior is 5 inches above its level this time last year.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are 13 and 7 inches, respectively, above what they were a year ago.  Lakes Erie and Ontario are both 2 inches above last year's level.  Over the next month, Lake Superior is projected to rise 2 inches, while Lake Michigan-Huron is predicted to rise 4 inches.  Lake St. Clair is forecasted to rise 1 inch, and both Lakes Erie and Ontario are projected to rise 2 inches during the next 30 days.  Over the next several months, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are predicted to remain at or above their levels of a year ago.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario, however, are projected to be at or below last year's levels for the next few months.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In February, the outflows through the St. Mary's, St. Clair and Detroit Rivers were lower than average.  The outflow from the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers were above average. 

Alerts

Lakes Superior is below its chart datum elevations and is expected to be below datum over the next few months. Also, water levels on Lake St. Clair can fluctuate greatly due to ice in the connecting channels.  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.  Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center's webpage.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for March 20

600.7

577.8

574.5

572.1

245.9

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

 -5

   +3

+26

+35

+31

Diff last month

+0

 +3

+5

 +10

+3

Diff from last yr

+5

+13

+7

 +2

+2

 


2nd Amendment issues

Obama secretly ends program that let pilots carry guns

Washington Times, March 17

After the September 11 attacks, commercial airline pilots were allowed to carry guns if they completed a federal-safety program. No longer would unarmed pilots be defenseless as remorseless hijackers seized control of aircraft and rammed them into buildings. Now President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.

 

The Obama administration this past week diverted some $2 million from the pilot training program to hire more supervisory staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots.

 

This looks like completely unnecessary harassment of the pilots. The 12,000 Federal Flight Deck Officers, the pilots who have been approved to carry guns, are reported to have the best behavior of any federal law enforcement agency. There are no cases where any of them has improperly brandished or used a gun. There are just a few cases where officers have improperly used their IDs.

 

Less than one percent of the officers have any administrative actions brought against them and, we are told, virtually all of those cases “are trumped up.”

 

Take a case against one flight officer who had visited the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles within the last few weeks. While there, the pilot noticed that federal law enforcement officers can, with the approval of a superior, obtain a license plate that cannot be traced, a key safety feature for law enforcement personnel. So the pilot asked if, as a member of the federal program, he was eligible. The DMV staffer checked and said “no.” The next day administrative actions were brought against the pilot for “misrepresenting himself.” These are the kinds of cases that President Obama wants to investigate.

 

Since Mr. Obama's election, pilots have told us that the approval process for letting pilots carry guns on planes slowed significantly. Last week the problem went from bad to worse. Federal Flight Deck Officers - the pilots who have been approved to carry guns - indicate that the approval process

has stalled out.

 

Pilots cannot openly speak about the changing policies for fear of retaliation from the Transportation Security Administration. Pilots who act in any way that causes a “loss of confidence” in the armed pilot program risk criminal prosecution as well as their removal from the program. Despite these threats, pilots in the Federal Flight Deck Officers program have raised real concerns in multiple interviews.

 

Arming pilots after Sept. 11 was nothing new. Until the early 1960s, American commercial passenger pilots on any flight carrying U.S. mail were required to carry handguns. Indeed, U.S. pilots were still allowed to carry guns until as recently as 1987. There are no records that any of these pilots (either military or commercial) ever causing any significant problems.

 

Screening of airplane passengers is hardly perfect. While armed marshals are helpful, the program covers less than 3 percent of the flights out of Washington D.C.'s three airports and even fewer across the country. Sky marshals are costly and quit more often than other law-enforcement officers.

 

Armed pilots are a cost-effective backup layer of security. Terrorists can only enter the cockpit through one narrow entrance, and armed pilots have some time to prepare themselves as hijackers penetrate the strengthened cockpit doors. With pilots, we have people who are willing to take on the burden of protecting the planes for free. About 70 percent of the pilots at major American carriers have military backgrounds.

 

Frankly, as a matter of pure politics, we cannot understand what the administration is thinking. Nearly 40 House Democrats are in districts were the NRA is more popular than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We can't find any independent poll in which the public is demanding that pilots disarm. Why does this move make sense?

 

Only anti-gun extremists and terrorist recruits are worried about armed pilots. So why is the Obama administration catering to this tiny lobby at the expense of public safety.


General

Remington CEO Tapped To Lead Cabela's

Cabela's Inc. announced last week that Remington Arms Co. CEO Thomas (Tommy) Millner has been picked to succeed Dennis Highby as the outdoor retailer's new CEO and president. Millner spent 15 years with Remington, serving the past 10 years as its CEO. He is a former member of NSSF's Board of Governors.

"Tommy Millner's many years in and understanding of the industry, respect for Cabela's values, passion for the outdoors and knowledge of the competitive landscape will be very important in his new position at Cabela's," said Highby, who will assume the position of vice chairman of the board. Highby joined Cabela's 33 years ago as its first salaried employee and has served as CEO and president since July 2003.


Torbeck to succeed Millner as Remington CEO

Madison, NC – March 16, 2009 – Remington Arms announced that the board of directors has named Theodore (Ted) Torbeck as their Chief Executive Officer. Ted joined Remington as its Chief Operating Officer in February, 2008, and has been instrumental in improving product quality, overall productivity and product development. Ted replaces, Thomas (Tommy) Millner, who has decided to take on a new challenge as the CEO and President of Cabela’s.

 

“We want to take this opportunity to thank Tommy for his many years of leadership of the Remington Arms Company and for his hard work to establish the Freedom Group, Inc. We have benefited from his leadership and his knowledge of the outdoor industry and its products,” stated Paul A. Miller, Chairman of Freedom Group, Inc. “We are excited about having Ted Torbeck as the CEO of FGI. His experience is invaluable as we continue to grow our business and expand into new markets while maintaining our commitments to operational excellence, quality and our customers."

 

Prior to his employment with Remington, Torbeck had been an employee of General Electric since 1978, serving in various

positions, including the Vice President Operations of GE

Industrial from 2006 to 2008, President and CEO of GE Rail Services from 2003 to 2006, and Vice President and General Manager – Global Supply Chain of GE Aircraft Engines from 2000 to 2003. “I am excited about the opportunity of leading this amazing group of companies and its dedicated employees. The industry faces many challenges and our enterprise is poised to address them and continue to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations,” stated Ted Torbeck, FGI CEO. “I also want to thank Tommy for his leadership and his friendship. Cabela’s is lucky to have Tommy and we look forward to working with Tommy in his new role.”

 

About Freedom Group, Inc.

Freedom Group is the world’s leading innovator, designer, manufacturer, and marketer of firearms, ammunition, and related products for the hunting, shooting sports, law enforcement, and military markets. As one of the largest manufacturers in the world of firearms and ammunition, we have some of the most globally recognized brands including Remington, Marlin, Harrington & Richardson, New England Firearms, L.C. Smith, Parker, Bushmaster, DPMS/Panther Arms, EOTAC, and INTC.


Lake Michigan

Sea Grant to hold Lake Michigan workshop April 25 

Michigan Sea Grant is holding a regional Lake Michigan fishery workshop in Grand Haven on Saturday, April 25, 2009.

 

Topics presented will cover current research on issues that affect Great Lakes fisheries with focus on Lake Michigan.  Speakers from the Michigan DNR, the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, the U. S. Geological Service Great Lakes Science Center, the charter fishing industry and Michigan Sea Grant will address biological and policy issues affecting fisheries. 

 

The agenda includes presentations on enlisting the help of anglers in Sea Lamprey assessment and control, charter boat catch reports, lower food web dynamics and the future of fishing, the status of the Lake Michigan forage base, the

impact offshore wind generation may have on Great Lakes

fishery, and recent management developments.  Attendees will also be able to give immediate feedback on management tools through electronic survey tools.   Registration fee is $20.00 and includes coffee breaks and lunch.

 

Workshop date/location/registration form:

American Legion Conklin Post #28, April 25, 8 – 3 PM

700 Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417

April 25, Grand Haven, MI Sea Grant Workshop Fly & registration Form

 

Directions:

From U.S.-31 (Beacon Blvd.), take Franklin St west (follow signs to waterfront) to Harbor Dr. Turn left onto Harbor. Follow Harbor to American Legion which will be on your left.


Illinois

2009 Spring Trout Season Opens April 4

Rainbow Trout Stocked at 43 Locations in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The 2009 spring trout fishing season in Illinois will begin at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 4, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller announced today.

 

“The first Saturday in April is always a big day for families to go fishing in Illinois thanks to the opener of the spring trout season,” Miller said.  “Getting children outdoors to experience the fun of fishing is one of the many benefits of our catchable trout program.  Anglers of all ages can join in the fun as we stock trout at 43 locations throughout the state.”

 

The IDNR stocks more than 60,000 rainbow trout each spring in bodies of water where trout fishing is permitted during the spring season.  The Illinois catchable trout program is made possible through the sale of inland trout stamps to those anglers who participate.

 

Inland trout stamps are available for $6.50 each at DNR Direct license and permit vendors, IDNR offices in Springfield, Chicago, Sterling, Bartlett, Clinton, Alton, and Benton.  They may also be purchased with a credit card through the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us or by phone at 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648).

To legally participate in the trout fishing program, anglers must have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp.  The annual fishing licenses for the 2009 season is valid through March 31, 2010.  Anglers may also purchase a 24-hour Illinois fishing license, which includes trout fishing privileges for the 24-hour period the license is valid.  A license is required for fishing in Illinois unless the angler is otherwise exempt (under age 16, blind or disabled, or is an Illinois resident on active military service who is home on leave).

 

Anglers may not take trout from any of the stocked sites from March 15 to the opening of the season on April 4 at 5 a.m.  Anyone attempting to take trout before the legal opening will be issued citations.  During the spring trout season, the daily possession limit for trout is five fish.

 

Anglers are reminded to check in advance for any site-specific regulations and the opening time of their favorite trout fishing location.  While the statewide spring trout season opens at 5 a.m. on April 4, some locations may have a later opening time.

 

For more information about the trout stocking program check the web site at www.ifishillinois.org.

 

 


Repairs Made to Red Hills State Park Lake Spillway

Fish will be restocked after lake refills

SUMNER, IL – Repairs have been made to the spillway and spillway gate at Red Hills State Park in time for spring rains to begin refilling the lake at the Lawrence County site, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller announced today. Water was drained from the lake last fall to assess damage to the spillway and allow for the repair project to proceed.

 

“Depending on the weather this spring, we hope the lake water level will be restored quickly at Red Hills, in time for visitors to enjoy activities on and around the lake as soon as possible,” Miller said. 

 

A water leak through the concrete near the spillway tower at the 40-acre lake was discovered late last summer.  Concerned that the damage that resulted in the water leak could become worse, engineers recommended that the lake be drained and repairs be made as soon as possible.

 

The project contractor – Kieffer Brothers Construction

Company of Mt. Carmel – began work in early February.  The project involved removal and replacement of the existing spillway gate, as well as replacement of the damaged grout seal between the spillway tower and the gate.  The contractor also replaced the stem and stem guides that operate the gate – and removed and replaced the top 24 inches of the concrete tower where defective concrete was located.  A fence around the spillway tower was also replaced.

 

Some additional work will be required to seal some voids around the spillway outlet after the lake water refills.  The contract totaled $46,371, with IDNR park facilities maintenance and fish and wildlife funds used for the project. 

 

As a result of the need to dewater Red Hills Lake last fall, IDNR Division of Fisheries personnel removed and relocated as many fish as possible and allowed anglers to participate in the salvage of fish from the lake last October.  Fish will be stocked in the lake once normal water levels are restored.

 

Red Hills State Park is located in Lawrence County on U.S. Rt. 50 midway between Lawrenceville and Olney. 


Becoming An Outdoors Woman Workshop June 12-14

The Illinois DNR is hosting a “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” workshop on June 12-14 at the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon, Illinois.  BOW is designed to give women introductory experiences and instruction in various outdoor activities, ranging from the shooting sports to outdoor recreation to nature crafts and skills. Program instructors emphasize the basics in instruction while providing information on equipment, associated clubs or organizations,

and additional training opportunities. 

 

The cost is $185 and includes housing, meals, class instruction, use of equipment in classes, giveaways, and more. Registration begins Mar. 9 for new participants and March 23 for returning participants. Registration packets can be downloaded beginning Mar. 9 through the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/bow.


Indiana

Canada goose control seminar in Lafayette, March 31

Area residents can learn how to legally and effectively control local Canada goose populations at a seminar on March 31, at the Tippecanoe County Extension Service Office in Lafayette.

 

The free program, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon, is the fourth of six being presented at different locations around the state in March and April by the Department of Natural Resources' Urban Wildlife Project. Interested landowners, managers of corporate campuses, golf courses or park employees, as well as anyone in the general public with an interest are invited.

        

The first part of the program will cover various aspects of Canada goose management, including relevant laws, basic biology, and methods to control damage caused by geese. A demonstration on the proper techniques for egg and nest destruction will follow.  Simply breaking eggs or removing them from nest is not effective because the females will just lay another clutch of eggs, so following proper techniques is vital.

           

The population of Canada geese in the Mississippi Flyway

exceeds 1.5 million birds and is growing at a rate of 6 % per year. Destroying eggs and nests in urban areas is helpful in

controlling the goose population and reducing goose/conflict in areas where hunting cannot take place. Federal rules allow landowners properly registered at: www.fws.gov/permits/mbpermits/gooseeggregistration.html  to complete Canada goose egg and nest destruction on their own property.

 

Registrants must provide a summary report of their Canada goose nest destruction activities to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Oct 31. Failure to report can result in privileges being revoked for the forthcoming year.

          

Remaining seminar dates and sites include April 1, at the Potato Creek State Park Nature Center near North Liberty; and April 2, at the Salomon Farm Visitors Center in Fort Wayne. All seminars run from 9 to noon local time.

           

No registration is required at any of the sites. For more info, Urban Wildlife Biologist, (812) 334-1137 or swinks@dnr.IN.gov.


Michigan

Fish Cleaning Station Planned for Holland State Park

Michigan DNR Parks and Recreation Division is partnering with the Big Red Foundation to construct a fish cleaning station at the Lake Macatawa boating access site in Holland State Park. The fish cleaning station will be a 20-foot-square building with a cleaning table located in the center of the building. The building will be ADA accessible and open to the

public. Funding for this project is being provided by the Big Red Foundation with a matching grant from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust.

 

For more information about this project, contact Joe Strach at (517) 641-4903, ext. 227.


DNR to collect Muskie Eggs at Thornapple, Hudson Lakes

DNR Fisheries Division staff will be on Lake Hudson in Lenawee County and Thornapple Lake in Barry County beginning the second week of April to collect eggs from muskellunge for the hatchery program.

 

“We’ll begin looking for ripe females and once we find them, the operation shouldn’t take more than a week or 10 days,” said DNR Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit Supervisor Jay Wesley. “We need about 1.5 million eggs -

about 33 quarts --and it takes fewer than 40 females to get that many.”

 

DNR Fisheries personnel will be out every day until the egg collection is complete. The eggs and milt will be collected on site and the fish will be immediately returned to the lake. Fisheries personnel will set trap nets within 100 feet of shore in shallow water. Nets are marked with multiple fluorescent orange floats. Boaters should avoid the areas where they see the floats.


Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery Visitor Center Spring Program Schedule

The Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery Visitor Center announced a wide array of nature programs taking place in April and May aimed at getting people outdoors.

 

Green Gardening Program Series: Learn ways to make your garden GREEN by using native plants, composting, collecting rainwater, attracting wildlife, learning about vegetable gardening and the importance of buying local in this four part program series.  Pre-registration is strongly recommended. The programs include:

 

►Composting for Beginners: Saturday, April 11, 10 - 12 Noon

►Attracting Birds and Butterflies to Your Garden: Saturday, April 11, 1 - 3 p.m.

►Rain Barrels 101: Saturday, April 18, 10-12 Noon

►Growing Vegetables and Buying Local: Saturday, April 18, 1 - 3 p.m.

►Spring Beginners Birding: Saturday, April 25 at 10 a.m. The Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery grounds are one of the best places in the area to see waterfowl and other birds.  Check out what species are headed north during the spring migration.  Bring your binoculars, scopes and field guides if you have them.  We will have a limited supply on hand for those without.

►Spring Fishing Day: Saturday, April 25 at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Catch and release fishing for youth ages 5 - 16.  All equipment is provided.  Pre-registration is required.

►Nature Discovery Hike: Saturday, April 25 at 3 p.m. See the different plants and animals that call the grounds of the hatchery home including birds, frogs, turtles, snakes and

more.  Walk is not strenuous, approximately one hour in length and appropriate for all ages.

►Spring Wildflower Walk: Saturday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. Join us to learn how to identify a variety of spring wildflowers including trillium, mayapple, jack-in-the-pulpit and more. Walk is not strenuous, approximately one hour in length and appropriate for all ages.

►Volunteer Information Training Session: Saturday, May 2 at 2 p.m.  Are you an experienced angler that would like to share your knowledge of fishing with others?  Do you enjoy talking to people and want to learn more about the DNR?  A variety of volunteer opportunities are available at the visitor center.  Join us for this informative session to find out about volunteer opportunities and how you can get involved.

►Fly Fishing for Beginners: Saturday, May 9 and Saturday, May 16 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.  Fly fishing basics will be explored including techniques, equipment and local hot spots.  Participants must be at least 10 years of age.  Pre-registration is required.

 

Hatchery Tours: Saturdays at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.

and Sundays at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. only.  Please call the visitor center for weekday availability in the spring.

 

All programs are offered free of charge.  Please dress appropriately for weather conditions.  Programs will take place rain or shine. The Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery Visitor Center is located in Mattawan at Hatchery Road and M-43, six miles west of US-131. For more information, contact Shana McMillan at 269-668-2876.


Commission expands Crossbow Hunting opportunities

New crossbow regulations approved March 11 by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission are designed to expand hunting opportunities, retain existing hunters and recruit new hunters, and offer a way for some hunters to continue hunting when facing physical limitations.

 

Under the new regulations, crossbows may be used:

►by anyone 50 years of age or older during the Oct. 1-Nov. 14 bow hunting deer season statewide

►by any hunter age 12 and older during any hunting season in Zone 3 (southern Michigan), including the bow season

►during any season, in which a firearm may be used, for both big and small game statewide

 

Under the new regulations, 10- and 11-year-old hunters may not use a crossbow. Youth hunters must be at least 12 to use a crossbow.

A crossbow stamp will be required in addition to hunting licenses for those using crossbows. Stamps will be available at all license retailers starting March 15. The stamp, which is free, will help the DNR monitor and survey crossbow hunters over the next three years.

 

Crossbow hunters are required by state law to wear hunter orange while hunting. The DNR will pursue legislative

changes to modify the hunter orange law for crossbow hunters.  Included in the regulations are limits on the velocity of the crossbow. Crossbows used for hunting are restricted to no more than 350 feet per second.

 

The regulations have a three-year sunset. Crossbow hunters will be surveyed over the next three years and regulations will then be re-evaluated by the DNR and the NRC. Data will be collected that analyzes impact on the resource and the crossbow's potential to recruit or retain hunters. The data also will be analyzed to determine if crossbow use should be expanded further in the future.

 

The crossbow changes do not affect hunters with disabilities who are currently hunting under the authority of a DNR-issued crossbow permit.

 

The new regulations are designed to increase hunting opportunities in Michigan, especially in Zone 3, where the white-tailed deer population remains well above the DNR's desired population goal. The new regulations also will provide hunters with more choices to continue hunting if they have been injured, have a disability or other physical limitation that affects their ability to hunt.

 


Michigan torpedoes its own Great Lakes Restoration Plan

Small Savings from Wetlands Repeal Would Be Swamped by Higher Flood Damages

Washington, DC — Just days after Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm unveiled an ambitious plan to restore the Great Lakes, she moved to knock out one of its main planks – the state’s own wetlands protection program, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Even the small savings Gov. Granholm hopes to achieve by repealing the state wetlands law would be lost in higher storm and flood damage, concludes a new white paper by state experts.

 

In January 2009, Gov. Granholm released a grandly titled Michigan’s Great Lakes Plan, Our Path to Protect, Restore, and Sustain Michigan's Natural Treasures which stressed the central role of her state’s wetlands program, considered one of the nation’s best. The final plan crafted after months of meetings and public comments urged not just the retention but an expansion of the wetlands program by –

 

►Restoring "500,000 acres of wetlands (10 % of historic losses) and establish up to 1,000,000 acres of associated upland grassland buffers…by 2079, which will be the 100-year anniversary of Michigan’s Wetland Protection Statute.";

►Within the next three years, increasing the rate of wetlands restoration by 50 percent; and

►Securing federal funding to support the “wetlands protection program within the MDEQ"

Despite these lofty New Year resolutions, by her February 3, 2009 State of the State speech Granholm was advocating the state abandon its 30-year old wetlands law. This reversal came within the same month that President Obama proposed a half-billion dollar state-federal Great Lakes partnership.

 

“Restoring the Great Lakes is vital to the future of Michigan but to achieve that goal the state cannot just walk away from its responsibilities,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Governor Granholm knows better than to push a budget plan that is the equivalent of eating your seed corn.”

 

A new white paper by the Michigan Stormwater and Floodplain Association puts the slight estimated savings from the wetlands repeal in perspective:

 

“The entire savings from eliminating the state’s wetland protection act is reported to be 2 million dollars out of a 1.6 billion dollar deficit. The savings that would be generated by this proposal do not offset the loss of benefits that the residents of Michigan realize from having this permitting authority…. [Case in point] these additional wetland losses and increased stormwater volumes will lead to increased flood losses (property damage) for the residents of the State of Michigan."

 

“Axing Michigan’s wetland protections is the epitome of a ‘pound foolish’ economy,” added Ruch.


Sea Grant to hold Lake Michigan workshop April 25 

Michigan Sea Grant is holding a regional Lake Michigan fishery workshop in Grand Haven on Saturday, April 25, 2009.

 

Topics presented will cover current research on issues that affect Great Lakes fisheries with focus on Lake Michigan.  Speakers from the Michigan DNR, the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, the U. S. Geological Service Great Lakes Science Center, the charter fishing industry and Michigan Sea Grant will address biological and policy issues affecting fisheries. 

 

The agenda includes presentations on enlisting the help of anglers in Sea Lamprey assessment and control, charter boat catch reports, lower food web dynamics and the future of fishing, the status of the Lake Michigan forage base, the

impact offshore wind generation may have on Great Lakes fishery, and recent management developments.  Attendees will also be able to give immediate feedback on management tools through electronic survey tools.   Registration fee is $20.00 and includes coffee breaks and lunch.

 

Workshop date/location/registration form:

American Legion Conklin Post #28, April 25, 8 – 3 PM

700 Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417

April 25, Grand Haven, MI Sea Grant Workshop Fly & registration Form

 

Directions:

From U.S.-31 (Beacon Blvd.), take Franklin St west (follow signs to waterfront) to Harbor Dr. Turn left onto Harbor. Follow Harbor to American Legion which will be on your left.


Minnesota

Increased walleye limit for Upper Red Lake

Anglers who fish Upper Red Lake will be able to keep four walleye during the 2009 fishing season that opens May 9. The new limit is one more walleye than last season and two more than when the lake was re-opened to fishing in 2006.

 

“We have been very pleased that a cautious approach to regulating this fishery has maintained harvests within the safe harvest range,” said Gary Barnard, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) area fisheries manager in Bemidji. “It has allowed us to gradually relax regulations to provide even more angling opportunities.”

 

Harvest estimates for the winter season, which ended Feb. 22, were approximately 52,000 pounds of walleye. Since that level is well below the safe harvest level of 112,000 pounds, the daily bag and possession limit could be increased.

 

The current protected slot limit requiring all walleye from 17-to 26-inches to be immediately released will remain in effect for

the early season, when angler catch rates are high.

 

Beginning June 15, and for the remainder of the open water season, the protected slot will be adjusted to require that all walleye from 20-to 26-inches be immediately released.  Throughout the open water season, only one fish more than 26 inches is allowed.

 

The walleye size limit will revert back to the 17-to 26-inch protected range on Dec. 1, 2009. The winter adjustment is necessary because winter angling pressure has been consistently higher than open water pressure. The bag limit for the next winter season has yet to be determined but will be based on harvest estimates from the open water season. DNR officials hope the four fish limit can continue into the 2009-2010 winter season.

 

More information about Minnesota’s walleye, fishing and fishing regulations is available online.


New York

Annual Spring Family Fishing Festival Set for Belmont Lake

Festival Marks Beginning of DEC's Spring Trout Stocking Program on Long Island

The annual Spring Family Fishing Festival will be held on Saturday, April 18, at Belmont Lake State Park from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Peter A. Scully announced today. DEC, in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), and New York Sea Grant, will be hosting the event along with additional sponsors including The Fisherman Magazine and radio stations 106.1WBLI and 102.3WBAB.

 

"Freshwater fishing is a fun and rewarding recreational activity that the whole family can enjoy, particularly on Long Island," Scully said. "The spring fishing festival is a great opportunity to learn about fishing, and to take advantage of a variety of children's activities that help to provide a rewarding family experience."

 

Chart Guthrie, DEC Regional Fisheries Manager for Long Island, said: "At this festival you can learn about freshwater fishing opportunities on Long Island, try your hand at fishing for trout, learn about local fishing clubs, and the kids can participate in the casting contest and other fun activities. The freshwater fishing license requirement for anglers age 16 and older has been suspended for this event because this is one of the four free fishing events allowed in the Long Island region to help promote freshwater fishing in the state."

 

Festival activities begin at 10 a.m. and will include open fishing, fishing instruction, fly casting demonstrations and fish cleaning services. Additionally, a display area will be set up by the DEC and local fishing clubs. Participants are urged to try their hand at fly casting, as demonstrations will be on-going.

 

Loaner rods and free bait will be available to participants throughout the day. All event activities are provided free of charge.

 

Children's activities also begin at 10 a.m. and will include an inflatable slide, temporary tattoos, the "Spring Fling" casting contest, as well as hands-on educational displays provided by the DEC's Education Unit. Children participating in the casting

contest will have a chance to win some exciting prizes, which will be supplied by DEC's I FISH NY Program, OPRHP, and Reggie's Fishing Stuff.

 

Although no fishing license is needed for this event, fishing licenses will be on sale beginning at 10 a.m. for interested participants who wish to continue fishing throughout the remainder of the 2009 license year. A vehicle parking fee of $6 will be in effect; parking is free for Empire Pass holders.

 

The festival highlights DEC's spring trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Prior to the festival, Belmont Lake will be stocked with approximately 4,000 brown, brook, and rainbow trout by DEC and OPRHP. Upper and Lower Twin Ponds, Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Massapequa Creek and Reservoir, as well as 17 other Long Island lakes will also be stocked with trout by the DEC, providing excellent prospects for spring fishing in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

 

In the event of inclement weather, call I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or Belmont Lake State Park at (631) 667-5055. There is no rain date for this event.

 

For more information about the festival, please call I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or visit our website at www.ifishnewyork.org. For information about freshwater fishing on Long Island or the spring trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, please call the DEC Bureau of Fisheries at (631) 444-0280 or online at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7951.html.

 

Enjoy a day of fishing with the whole family! Event activities include fishing instruction, fish cleaning services, environmental exhibits, an inflatable slide, temporary tattoos, and the "Spring Fling" children's casting contest. Loaner rods and free bait will be available to participants throughout the day. Prior to the event, Belmont Lake will be stocked with close to 4,000 trout by DEC and OPRHP.

 

Cost: $6 parking fee; free with Empire Pass

Sponsors: DEC's I FISH NY Program, OPRHP, Reggie's Fishing Stuff, The Fisherman Magazine, 102.3WBAB, and 106.1WBLIContact: I FISH NY staff at (631) 444-0283 or IfishNY@gw.dec.state.ny.us


Ohio

Creel Clerks to be interviewing again

AKRON, OHIO - Angler surveys will once again resume on Ohio's inland lakes for the summer. Creel clerks will be surveying anglers at six lakes in northeast Ohio and 18 lakes around Ohio on weekends April 25 - July 26, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The word "creel" originates from an old style woven basket used to hold fish.

 

"Our creel surveys provide us with an important tool to understand how anglers are using our reservoir fisheries, and ultimately tailor our activities to provide better fishing opportunities," explained Chris Aman, fisheries biologist with the Division of Wildlife in Akron. "The data collected by our creel clerks include catch rates, sizes of harvested fish, and what aspects of the fishing experience are most important to anglers." Questions concerning what the anglers have caught 

help biologists determine if stocking rates are appropriate forthe few species that don't successfully naturally reproduce in Ohio reservoirs. This creel information also influences whether length or bag limits are used to protect lakes from being overharvested. Other questions on the survey can help determine the benefit a fishery has to the local economy, or determine anglers' preference of species. Division of Wildlife personnel also use this information to compile accurate weekly fishing reports that are distributed for the public's use.

 

The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete and anyone approached by a creel clerk is asked for his/her patience and cooperation. The lakes that will be surveyed this year in the Division of Wildlife's northeast Ohio district are Atwood Lake, Berlin Lake, Clendening Lake, East Reservoir, Tappan Lake, and West Reservoir.


$8 Million Available to Restore Wetlands in Ohio

Landowners need to respond quickly

COLUMBUS, OH - Have you been interested in developing a wetland? If so, the Ohio DNR and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) need to know.

 

The NRCS Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary conservation program that offers landowners the means and opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property through perpetual easements, 30-year easements or Land Treatment Contracts. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service manages the program and provides technical and financial support to help landowners who participate in WRP.

 

Interested landowners should contact a NRCS Wetland Team member or an ODNR Division of Wildlife private lands biologist. Landowners wanting to participate should call in the next few months.

 

NRCS Wetland Team Members:

Barbara Baker - (419) 429-8306

Danielle Balduff - (330) 830-7700

Gordon Starr - (937) 836-5428

 

The goal of WRP is to achieve the greatest wetland functions and values, along with optimum wildlife habitat. Enrolled lands are mostly high-risk agricultural lands located in flood-prone areas that are then restored to wetlands.

 

In addition to paying the landowner for the easement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture pays up to 100 percent of the cost of restoring the wetland. In Ohio, WRP was offered for the first time in 1995. To date, Ohio has 326 WRP easements covering 20,143 acres.

 

One of the primary concerns of landowners considering participating in WRP is over control of the wetland area. The landowner retains ownership and controls access of the land. The landowner must agree to implement a Wetlands Reserve Plan of Operations (WRPO), a conservation plan that identifies how the wetland functions and how the area will be restored, improved, and protected.


Pennsylvania

New Striped Bass Regulations For Delaware River Take Effect April 1 

Harrisburg, PA – Licensed Pennsylvania anglers fishing the Delaware River and Estuary can now harvest striped bass and hybrid striped bass from April 1 through May 31, a season which has been closed by the Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) since 1992.

 

Under the new regulations, adopted by the PFBC at its January quarterly meeting, anglers can harvest two striped bass per day between 20-26 inches during the two-month season. The change is the result of the successful restoration of the striped bass population along the Atlantic Coast. The regulations are designed to allow some harvest of male striped bass, while still protecting most of the spawning 

female striped bass. For the rest of the year, there is a 28-inch minimum length and a two fish per day creel limit.

 

The following seasons, sizes and creel limits apply to the Delaware River, the West Branch Delaware River, and to Pennsylvania tributaries to the Delaware River from the mouths of the tributaries upstream to the limit of the tidal influence. They also apply to the Lehigh River from its mouth upstream to the first dam in Easton, Pa.

 

The PFBC reminds anglers  these regulations differ from the striped bass regs enforced by the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife in the four months January, February, April and May. Information on N.J. regulations can be found at: www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/.


Deadline To Apply For Second Spring Gobbler Tag April 1

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania hunters interested in applying for a second spring gobbler tag have until April 1, according to Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe.  Applications are available on page 38 of the 2008-09 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which is provided to each license buyer, or by going to the agency’s website www.pgc.state.pa.us,  and clicking on “Spring Turkey Tag Application” in center of the homepage.

 

Fees for the special license are $21 for residents and $41 for nonresidents.  Mailed applications for special wild turkey licenses must be sent to: PA Game Commission, Special Spring Gobbler License, P.O. Box 61317, Harrisburg, PA 17106-1317. 

 

Applications also are being accepted over-the-counter at any of the six Game Commission region offices and the Harrisburg headquarters.  Applications will be processed and mailed from the Harrisburg headquarters. 

 

The spring gobbler season is set for April 25-May 25, and the daily limit remains one bird. Hunters are allowed to submit

only one application for the special wild turkey license during a license year.  

 

Roe stressed that hunters still are able to take one spring gobbler as part of their general hunting privileges.  However, the special license enables the agency to afford those hunters interested in this additional opportunity to take a second spring gobbler in any Wildlife Management Unit. 

 

According to Mary Jo Casalena, Game Commission wild turkey biologist, research has shown that properly timed and implemented multiple-bird spring limits have not caused population declines in other states. 

 

To monitor hunter success, Casalena reminds hunters who receive the special spring gobbler license that they are required to submit a report, regardless of whether they harvest a second spring gobbler.

 

Revenues from the special licenses will be used to implement and fund the Game Commission’s turkey management plan and further educate turkey hunters, thereby promoting additional recreation and safe hunting practices.


Wisconsin

Get hooked on the 2009 Wisconsin Fishing Report

MADISON – Anglers looking for places to fish, tips to hook their favorite catch, or the latest fishing reports for the upcoming season can catch the latest information in the 2009 Wisconsin Fishing Report.  This free, annual 16-page newspaper is an angler’s guide to the 2009 fishing year, with fishing forecasts that Department of Natural Resources fish biologists provide for many popular waters statewide.

 

Anglers looking to target some of Wisconsin fish can dive into “Hook Your Favorite Catch” for tips on adjusting your sights, techniques and bait to increase your chances of success. “A Year of Fabulous Fishing” provides anglers a month-by-month rundown of what’s bound to be biting and where, depending on the time of year.

 

In “Fabulous Fisheries Projects,” readers can learn about the work fisheries crews are doing around the state each year to protect Wisconsin’s fish and make fishing better. “Get

Hooked” will introduce readers to DNR’s Urban Fishing Program that encourages more people, especially children, to go fishing and helps to make fishing opportunities more readily available in urban areas.

 

Anglers will also find great refrigerator material such as fishing season dates, top 50 family-friendly waters and fish watching opportunities throughout the state.

 

The 2009 Fishing Report is available now online for download and will be available April 1, 2009 in newsprint form at local DNR service centers and select Fleet Farm and Gander Mountain stores. It will also be included in the April 2009 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, which will be available online and at many Wisconsin newsstands.

Be the first to get the online version of the Wisconsin Fishing Report every year by subscribing to fisheries email updates or following [fishwisconsin] on Twitter [twitter.com/home].


Register now for fall hunter education course

MADISON – Young people just reaching the legal age for hunting in Wisconsin and people new to hunting should begin looking now for hunter education courses to be sure they are not left behind when hunting seasons open this fall.

 

DNR Hunter Education Administrator Tim Lawhern says classes fill quickly so it pays to register early. “Plan now to get enrolled into a hunter education course so you don’t get caught scrambling to find a course later,” Lawhern said. Wisconsin law says anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, must have a hunter education certificate in order to purchase a state hunting license.

 

There are roughly 5,000 Wisconsin volunteer instructors who taught more than 1,200 courses last year to nearly 30,000 students. “But, very few of those courses are offered from October through December,” Lawhern said. “Nearly all of the volunteer hunter education instructors are hunters themselves and enjoy hunting in the fall.”

 

Lawhern annually gets calls in the last few weeks before the

gun-deer season with hunter-hopefuls looking to fulfill the

mandatory hunter education course. “But, more than 99 % of our courses have already been offered before the gun-deer season,” he said.

 

Upcoming classes are listed on the Recreational Safety Course pages of the DNR Web site. If people are unsuccessful in finding a course in their area, check back regularly, as courses are added to the listing. A Web-based version of hunter education also is available and requires advance registration and attendance at a field day to test knowledge and skills before receiving their course completion certification. Consult the DNR Web site for dates and locations of available field days before taking the online course.

 

“In Wisconsin, we’ve reduced hunting accidents by 90% since the program began,” Lawhern said. “Hunting is safe -- and getting safer -- because of the volunteer instructors who teach hunter education. Sign up now while courses are being offered in your area. “Remember, safe hunting is no accident,” he said.


 

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