Week of April 2, 2012

Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
National

Regional

2nd Amendment Issues
Lake Erie
Lake Huron

Illinois
Michigan
Minnesota
New York
Ohio
Wisconsin
Other Breaking News Items

 

       Weekly News Archives

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       New Product  Archives

Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

Share images with Bushnell Online Community Trail Ca \m

Opportunity for Trophy Cam Users around Globe to share Images and Video

Bushnell has a launched a new community to give Bushnell Trophy Cam owners a place to share images and videos with people around the world. The new Trophy Cam Community (www.bushnell.com/trophycam) gives users a place to convene with fellow outdoor enthusiasts and share and view thousands of user-generated images and videos.

 

The new site allows individuals to create a free profile and join a growing community of Trophy Cam owners from around the globe. After capturing footage of that monster buck or strutting turkey, members now have an opportunity to share it with fellow hunters and outdoor enthusiasts like

never before. With people worldwide sharing images and

video, community members have a unique opportunity to view images of wildlife activity rarely captured in the wild as well as a host of exotic species.

 

Upon becoming a member, users are able to quickly upload images and video they've captured with their Trophy Cam. In addition to contributing images and videos to the community, members can also leave comments about content posted by fellow contributors.

 

After accessing the site, members can view recently added content or quickly sort by geographic location, animal species or content type: image or video. Uploading content is quick and easy, and users can easily view their uploaded images and video by visiting the gallery section of the site.

 

To learn more about the Bushnell Trophy Cam product line, visit the product section online.

 

800-423-3537      www.bushnell.com

 


Uncle Mike's new Reflex Holster Models

Uncle Mike's, a leading provider of shooting accessories for more than 60 years, introduced the Reflex Holster to provide concealed carry permit holders with a reliable, easy to use retention holster.

 

The Reflex Holster securely retains the firearm using Integrated Retention Technology (I.R.T.), which features a retention lug on the outer wall of the holster in combination with a press arm on the body side of the holster. The shooter is able to get a full and secure grip on the firearm before they begin to draw. While the I.R.T. secures the firearm in the holster, the technology allows the shooter to easily release the firearm from the holster by gripping and turning the mag well of the firearm toward the body.

 

Studies have shown that fine motor skills diminish quickly in stressful or threatening situations, leaving average gun owners unable to operate holsters with buttons, levers or

retention straps. The Reflex Holster's simple retention

system allows users to easily draw the firearm when fine motor function has given way to gross motor skills.

 

Models are now available to fit the following handguns: 

  • 74211 - Glock 17, 19, 22, 23, 26, 27, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35
  • 74091 - Smith & Wesson M&P and M&P Pro - 9mm - 45 caliber
  • 74111 - Fits most 1911 Commander style pistols from Sig Sauer, Springfield and Kimber
  • 74141 - Ruger SR9, SR9C, SR40 and SR40C
  • 74221 - Sig Sauer P220, P220R, P226, P226R
  • 74271 - Springfield XD, XDM

Constructed with injection molded, impact-modified polymer, the Reflex holster includes a paddle attachment and pancake style belt loop to fit belts up to 1 ¾" wide. It’s currently available in six fits and with more in production.  To learn more about the Uncle Mike's Reflex Holster, visit the product page online.

 

About $38.95

 

 800-423-3537    www.unclemikes.com


Ruger Introduces the 10/22 Takedown

Ruger is introducing the Ruger 10/22 Takedown. Readily separated into two subassemblies, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown offers a convenient transport and storage option for the popular Ruger 10/22. As reliable and accurate as every 10/22, the Ruger 10/22 .22 cal Takedown makes it even easier to keep America’s favorite rimfire rifle by your side.

 

The barrel and forend of the Ruger 10/22 Takedown are easily separated from the action and buttstock by pushing a recessed lever, twisting the subassemblies, and pulling them apart. Reassembly is the reverse of takedown, and is quick and easy. The friction fit lockup of the assembly joint is simple to adjust, but will rarely need re-adjustment after the first assembly. The lockup is secure and repeatable, ensuring an accurate return to zero, even when receiver-mounted optics are used.

The Ruger 10/22 Takedown is shipped in a ballistic nylon backpack-style case that features internal sleeves which hold the subassemblies. External pockets with MOLLE webbing provide storage for magazines, ammunition, and other accessories. Multiple attachment points for the padded, single shoulder strap offer different carrying options.

 

The 4.67-pound Ruger 10/22 Takedown is 37″ long when assembled; each subassembly is less than 20¼″ long

when disassembled. Utilizing the standard 10/22 action

and ten round rotary magazine (one magazine is provided), the Ruger 10/22 Takedown offers legendary 10/22 reliability in a compact and portable package.

 

Specifications:

  • Stock: Black Synthetic
  • .22 Cal rimfire
  • Rear sight: Adjustable
  • Barrel length: 18.50”
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 4.67 lbs
  • Grooves: 6
  • Finish: Clear matte
  • Front sight: Gold bead
  • Overall length: 37.00”
  • Length of pull: 13.50”
  • Capacity: 10
  • Twist: 1:16” RH
  • Backpack included

For more information on the new Ruger 10/22 Takedown, or to learn more about the extensive line of award winning Ruger firearms, visit Ruger.com or Facebook.com/Ruger. To find accessories for the Ruger 10/22 Takedown, like the 25-round Ruger BX-25 magazine, visit ShopRuger.com.

 

603-865-2442

 

About $389.00


National

Obama says NO to request for 90 Extension to comment period

House Committee Chair Repeats Request for Extension of Comment Period and Production of Information, Responds To National Ocean Council Decision Denying Request

 

On February 23, 2012, House Natural Resources Committee Chair Doc Hastings (WA) sent a letter to National Ocean Council Co-Chairs Nancy Sutley and John Holdren seeking a 90-day extension of the public comment period on the draft Implementation Plan, as well as responses and documentation by March 5, 2012 on a number of items related to the funding and activities of the National Ocean Council.

 

Following up on that correspondence, on March 20, 2012, Chairman Hastings sent another letter urging the extension of the public comment period by a full 90 days (rather than just 30), requesting an answer as to when documents

requested in the February correspondence can be

expected, and asking for the production of any National Ocean Policy budget guidance documentation previously provided to federal entities by March 26, 2012.

 

Yesterday, Chairman Hastings announced that the administration had given notification that the 90-day extension request would not be granted.  Calling the decision “another example of the Obama administration’s prioritizing their job-destroying agenda over the livelihoods of Americans from coast to coast,” Chairman Hastings said that it is “unreasonable that the…Administration won’t allow the American people more than just 75 days to review and comment” on a plan that the federal government has spent more than years developing.

 

In addition, Chairman Hastings said that the Administration “continues to refuse to tell Congress what programs they are cutting to provide the money to fund this new bureaucracy,” and that they have “failed to comply” with requests for funding and staffing-related information. 

 


IJC to hold public sessions on new approach for Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system

The International Joint Commission (IJC) will hold public information sessions to discuss a draft new approach to managing water levels and flows in the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River system. The sessions will be held from May 15-June 7, 2012 at the times and locations in the attached schedule.

 

The Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River basin incorporates two nations, two provinces, one state, First Nations and hundreds of communities. The basin is home to nearly 12 million people, including home owners, boaters, fishers, hunters and business owners. At the same time, the lake, upper river, and lower river support a variety of interests including shoreline communities, commercial navigation, recreational boating, environmental, hydroelectric power, and municipal water uses.

At the public information sessions, presentations by IJC staff and technical experts will be followed by questions and comments from the audience. Participants are asked to limit prepared comments to two minutes so as many as possible have an opportunity to speak. Written comments and other documents may be submitted at the public information sessions, through the “voice your comments” feature at www.ijc.org/LOSLR, or by regular mail or email.

 

Twelve Meetings will be held in New York, Ontario and Quebec beginning May 15 thru June 7, 2012. For the exact meeting dates and locations, click on the Calendar.

 

Written comments and other documents may be submitted at the sessions or online.

 

www.ijc.org/loslr/en/comments/index.php

 

www.ijc.org/loslr/en/events/index.php


Regional

Aquatic GIS Training Workshop  June 20-22

GIS Applications in Aquatic Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

An NSF supported three day aquatic GIS training workshop will be offered at Saint Louis University on June 20-22, 2012.  A general goal of this workshop is to train and establish an interactive group of researchers and educators applying GIS techniques in aquatic systems.

Applicants with all levels of GIS experience are welcome; however, the workshop will be presented for aquatic biologists with little to no background in GIS techniques.

 

The tentative schedule of topics includes: 1) basic acquisition and manipulation of GIS data, 2) GIS data sources for aquatic research, 3) quantification of species’ habitat use at multiple spatial scales, 4) species distribution modeling, and 5 development and application of hydrologic data to studies of aquatic systems.  More details on the specific schedule will be provided in the near

future.  The majority of the training will be conducted using ArcGIS 10.0; however, other software options will be presented.  Computer space will be provided

for each attendee.

 

The workshop is open to Faculty, Research Scientists, Postdoctoral Researchers, and Graduate Students conducting research in aquatic systems.  There is no cost for the workshop; however, participants will be responsible for meals, travel, and lodging.  Details and updates will be available at http://pages.slu.edu/faculty/jknouft/index_file/Page304.htm.

 

To apply, email a statement of application including a description of your research interests (max 1 page) and a CV to Dr. Jason Knouft at aquaticgis@slu.edu.   Review of applications will begin on April 30, 2012.  GIS experience is not a prerequisite for the workshop.

 


Researchers publish harvest policy research on lake whitefish

Research by Jon Deroba (former QFC PhD student) and Jim Bence (QFC co-director) on harvest control rules for lake whitefish in the Great Lakes was recently published in the journal Fisheries Research (2012, vols 121– 122, pages 88– 103).

 

This work is one of just a few studies that have evaluated the performance of harvest control rules while considering uncertainties in life history traits and the management process. Simulation results suggested that a management approach that attempts to hold fishing mortality rate constant, or one that varies fishing mortality rate in response to estimate biomass, will lead to higher average

yields while preserving biomass, in comparison with alternative policies designed to restrict interannual variation in catch.

 

This superior performance was attained with little cost in terms of interannual variation in catch. Results suggested that the relative performance of the different policies was robust to the uncertainties in life history characteristics, such how future fish growth might change. While the approach that varied fishing mortality in response to biomass was in some ways superior to a constant fishing morality rate policy, implementation would require reliable estimates of unfished biomass, which are currently unavailable for most stocks.

 


Interior announces Onshore Wind Energy Guidelines

Voluntary measures will help wind energy developers minimize impacts on wildlife

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior on March 19, released guidelines designed to help wind energy project developers avoid and minimize impacts of land-based wind projects on wildlife and their habitats. The voluntary guidelines will help shape the smart siting, design and operation of the nation’s growing wind energy economy.

 

“Wind energy is a key part of the Obama Administration’s sustained, all-of-the-above approach to American energy. We’re committed to working with developers to ensure that wind energy projects are built in the right places and operated in the right way,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “These voluntary guidelines have been developed through an intensive public process with significant help from the wind energy industry, state agencies, and wildlife conservation groups and are designed to achieve the best outcome for wildlife and wind energy development.”

 

Using a tiered approach, the guidelines provide a structured, scientific process for developers, federal and state agencies, and tribes to identify sites with low risk to wildlife, and to help them assess, mitigate, and monitor any adverse effects of wind energy projects on wildlife and their habitats. The voluntary guidelines, which take effect today, are designed to be used for all utility-scale, community-scale, and distributed land-based wind energy projects on both private and public lands.  A fact sheet on the guidelines is available at

www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=285748.

 

“The guidelines outline a consistent and predictable approach to wind energy development while also providing flexibility to developers in recognition of the unique circumstances of each project. These guidelines reflect an enormous amount of work and care by the Fish and Wildlife Service and dozens of experts from all sides of the wind energy issue,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “We’ve spent years getting them right, and I believe they will help guide the responsible development of wind energy in America for decades to come.”

 

The voluntary guidelines released today replace voluntary interim guidelines issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2003.  They are the result of a five-year process that

included multiple opportunities for public review and comment.

 

The guidelines were also informed by the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee, established in 2007 and comprised of a diversity of stakeholders, including federal and state agencies, tribes, the wind energy industry and conservation organizations. After two years of deliberations, the committee submitted their final recommendations to the Secretary in March 2010.  The Fish and Wildlife Service used the recommendations as a basis to develop their draft Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines, announced in February 2011.  After receiving more than 30,000 comments on the draft guidelines, the Fish and Wildlife Service decided to reconvene the advisory committee for additional public meetings in order to develop the most effective final guidelines.

 

“We know America needs more renewable energy and wind power is a key player in that mix. But conservationists can’t have it both ways: we can’t say we need renewable energy and then say there’s nowhere safe to put the wind farms,” said David Yarnold, President & CEO of Audubon. “By collaborating with conservationists instead of slugging it out, the wind power industry gains vital support to expand and create jobs, and wildlife gets the protection crucial for survival.  These federal guidelines are a game-changer and big win for both wildlife and clean energy.”

 

“The country needs more wind energy for its American manufacturing and construction jobs, environmental benefits, and national energy security.   These guidelines set the highest standard, either voluntary or mandatory, of wildlife protection for any industry,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “It is our hope that in conjunction with rapid training and sensible implementation, the guidelines will promote improved siting practices and increased wildlife protection that in turn will foster the continued rapid growth of wind energy across the nation.”

 

The voluntary guidelines will also help developers identify additional steps, review processes and permits that may be needed to ensure compliance with federal laws such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. If the project may affect one or more species protected by the ESA or their habitat, for example, developers may need to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan and apply for an Incidental Take Permit.


Pike County enacts concealed carry

Passes Ordinance to Allow Constitutional Carry

PASA Park, Barry, IL—In the election held Tuesday, March 20, 2012, the voters of Pike County, Illinois, approved a firearms concealed-carry ordinance by a 3,214 to 550 margin. It was one of the largest voter turnouts in county history. The ordinance directly contradicts current Illinois state law. As presented on the ballot, the ordinance took effect upon passage, and applies only to Pike County. The ordinance was placed on the ballot by a citizen initiative petition process that garnered three times the number of signatures required by law.

 

The question on Tuesday's primary ballot asked whether the county should adopt a constitutional carry of arms ordinance — and the answer was resoundingly yes by a vote of 3,214 to 550.  Pittsfield chiropractor Dan Mefford spearheaded the ballot issue which he said had wide support from Democrats, Republicans and independent voters.  "As far as I'm concerned, it's a poke in the eye for the thieves of liberty," Mefford said. "It's a thing whose time had come."

 

Mefford drafted the successful ordinance in conjunction with noted outdoor journalist and firearms law expert Dick Metcalf, who is also a resident of Pike County. According to Dr. Mefford, “The people are speaking, and what the people are saying is, ‘Trust the people.’”

 

Historians have stated that this is the first time since 1862 that county voters in any U.S. state have explicitly reversed a state law. The previous example was when the

five western counties of Virginal nullified that state’s secession from the Union, and themselves seceded from Virginia to form the new state of West Virginia.

 

The Pike County Board meets Monday night but may not be ready to discuss guidelines for the ordinance. "We will need to do something and take an active role," Board Chairman Andy Borrowman said.  "There's going to have to be discussion on how we go about licensing or whatever we go through," Borrowman said. "The sheriff, I would say, would have a big stake in the process. We could also try to enlist the help of PASA Park to maybe do something. We're going to have to decide what sort of a process we use."

 

It is widely anticipated that other rural and downstate counties will follow Pike County’s lead. In 2007, the Pike County Board enacted a resolution stating that further restrictive firearms laws enacted by the Illinois State Legislature would be deemed by Pike County “to be Unconstitutional and beyond lawful Legislative Authority.” That resolution was subsequently passed by 89 % of all Illinois counties.

 

County and local law enforcement officers in Pike County are obligated by law to enforce country ordinances. State law enforcement officers and agencies are obligated to enforce state law. Legal observers therefore expect the inevitable court battle to be complex, because the new ordinance was enacted by the voters themselves, not by any county or local legislative entity.

 


Great Lakes Water Levels for March 30, 2012

WEATHER CONDITIONS

The record breaking warmth experienced the past couple of weeks greatly reduced or eliminated the snowpack across the northern Great Lakes Basin.  Subsequent river flows were elevated but have begun to subside as they have dumped their water into the Great Lakes.  This past week saw temperatures fall but remain above their seasonal averages with relatively little precipitation.  Through the weekend, a chance of showers and thunderstorms exists across much of the region with snow possible in the northern areas.  Precipitation amounts are not likely to be significant with any rain or snow that falls.  The remainder of the week looks to mimic the weekend with temperatures remaining above normal.

LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS

Currently, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are 5 and 7 inches, respectively, higher than they were last year.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 8, 12, and 9 inches, respectively, higher than a year ago.  Over the next thirty days, Lakes Superior and Michigan Huron are projected to rise 3 and 4 inches, respectively, from their current levels.  The water level of Lake St. Clair is forecasted to increase 5 inches over the next month, while the water levels of Lakes Erie and Ontario are expected to rise 1 inch and 2 inches, respectively.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

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.

ALERTS

The water level of Lake Superior is below chart datum and is forecasted to remain below chart datum until July.  The water level of Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to be near or slightly below chart datum through 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. 

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for March 30

600.36

577.46

574.05

572.18

245.96

Datum, in ft

601.10

577.50

572.30

569.20

243.30

Diff in inches

-9

0

+21

+36

+32

Diff last month

+3

+3

0

+1

0

Diff from last yr

+5

+7

+8

+12

+9


Upcoming Lake Huron Regional Fisheries Workshops

Michigan Sea Grant, in partnership with the Michigan DNR, the USGS Great Lakes Science Center and local fishery organizations will host three regional workshops locally along Lake Huron’s coastline.  Topics will include updates on Lake Huron fish populations and angler catch data, resurgence of native species such as Lake Huron walleye, forage fish surveys and results from the ongoing Lake Huron predator diet study, updates of fisheries management activities, among other Lake Huron related topics of local interest. 

 

Three evening workshops, hosted across the state, are open to the public and will offer valuable information for anglers, charter captains, resource professionals and other community members interested in the Lake Huron fishery.  Workshops are open to the public at no cost; however, pre-registration is requested.  

 

Workshop dates and locations include:

Cedarville -April 23, 2012 (6–9 p.m.)

Les Cheneaux Sportsman’s Club
M-134, Cedarville, MI 49719

 

Alpena - April 24, 2012 (6–9 p.m.)
NOAA Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center
500 W. Fletcher St., Alpena, MI  49707

 

Port Huron - May 9, 2012 (6–9 p.m.)

Charles A. Hammond American Legion Hall
1026 Sixth Street, Port Huron, MI 48060

 

To register for any of these no-cost workshops, contact Cindy Anderson, Michigan Sea Grant: ande1172@msu.edu or (989) 984-1060. Workshop details are attached and also available online at www.miseagrant.umich.edu/fisheries.

 

Please forward and share with any and all who may be interested in participating; and we hope you will plan to join one of these educational opportunities yourself!


State-feds agree on offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes

Five Great Lakes states and 10 federal agencies sign Memorandum of Understanding

Washington, D.C. - A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on offshore wind in the Great Lakes was signed last week by the heads of 10 federal agencies and the governors of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania. The purpose of the MOU is to promote the efficient, orderly and responsible evaluation of offshore wind proposals for the Great Lakes.

 

The agreement was modeled after a similar MOU signed between 10 east coast states and the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2010. The Great Lakes MOU, however, carries additional significance because states own the bottomlands of the Great Lakes and ultimately have the primary authority about what can and cannot occur in those state waters.

 

Numerous federal laws and interests are also at play in the Great Lakes. For example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has federal authority to approve or deny placement of structures in navigable waters. Nine other federal agencies who signed the MOU also have regulatory roles or federal interest in whether and how offshore wind gets permitted in the Great Lakes.

 

The MOU establishes a Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Consortium that will make the regulatory and

permit review processes transparent and provide insight into potential improvements to ensure that proposal reviews are clear and expeditious. With so many agencies involved, there is high potential for duplication and protracted review times that can be unnecessarily costly to both prospective developers and relevant state and federal government agencies.

 

Tim Ryan, president of Apex Offshore Wind, noted that his company is excited to see the commitment to cooperation among the states and federal agencies. “It is a good sign for the future of offshore wind in the Great Lakes,” he said. “The MOU should yield lower costs and improve processing of permit applications, as each government unit learns from others’ experiences.”

 

The MOU does not create any new laws¸ call for new regulations or change existing authorities. Rather, it empowers the state and federal agency signatories to coordinate and share information concerning how offshore wind proposals are reviewed and evaluated with the goal of improving coordination among all of the relevant agencies and ultimately the efficiency of such reviews.

 

The concentrated efforts made possible by the MOU will also shore up existing investments in offshore wind technologies by ensuring a regulatory environment that inspires innovation and helps to bring clean energy solutions to market.


2nd Amendment Issues

Illinois Right to Carry Lawsuit dismissed in Federal Court

U.S. District Judge William Stiehl, on Friday March 30 dismissed Shepard vs Madigan, a lawsuit filed on behalf of Mary Shepard who is seeking the right to carry a firearm for personal protection.  You can read the decision and follow the discussion on IllinoisCarry.com

 

Quoting Judge Stiehl, "Accordingly, the Court FINDS that the plaintiffs’ claim that the provisions of the State of Illinois’ Unlawful Use of a Handgun and Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Handgun statutes do not violate the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution because the bearing of a firearm outside the home is not a core right protected by the Second Amendment. Therefore, the Court GRANTS defendants’ motions to dismiss . . . ."

 

Mary, an elderly southern IL woman, filed the lawsuit after being savagely beaten, while working in her church, by a paroled felon. Mary had previously gone through the training and qualification process for two licenses to carry issued by other states and was a Right to Carry license holder at the time she and an 80 year old female co-worker 

were beaten and left for dead. However, Illinois law bans 

civilians from carrying a firearm for personal protection and does not recognize licenses from other states.

 

The NRA plans an immediate appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The NRA funded this challenge to Illinois' ban on citizens' ability to carry firearms legally outside their homes and businesses for self-defense, and will also be supporting an immediate appeal to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals--and to the Supreme Court if necessary.

The decision in the case of Shepard v. Madigan misreads the Supreme Court's Second Amendment decisions and will continue to deprive law-abiding Illinoisans of the right to protect themselves effectively against crime on the streets.  It also conflicts with a growing body of case law elsewhere in the country, where courts have increasingly recognized that the right to bear arms for self-defense doesn't end at Americans' front doors.

"The NRA's legal efforts will not end until the right to carry firearms for self-defense is fully recognized throughout our land," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.

 


Lake Erie

Lake Erie Sport Fishing Outlook is Positive  

Walleye and Yellow Perch Bag Limits Announced  

COLUMBUS, OH – Lake Erie anglers should enjoy a diversity of fishing opportunities in 2012, according to biologists with the Ohio DNR.

 

“When you consider the mix of species and sizes that are seasonally available to Ohio anglers, we are optimistic about the fishing prospects this year,” said Roger Knight, Lake Erie fisheries program manager for the Division of Wildlife. “Weather and water conditions are always wild cards in Lake Erie, but anglers have excellent seasonal opportunities to catch walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, white bass and steelhead.”

 

Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch fisheries are managed through an interagency quota system that involves Ontario, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction regulates their catches to comply with their agency’s quotas and minimize the risk of over-fishing these species. Quotas for the upcoming fishing season are determined through consensus agreement by these jurisdictions through the Lake Erie Committee (LEC) of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which were recently announced for 2012.

 

Ohio’s walleye and yellow perch daily bag limits were set after the March 23 LEC quota announcement, and will go into effect May 1. As a result of the 2012 quota allocation, the walleye daily bag limit will be six fish from May 1, 2012 to Feb. 28, 2013, and four fish from March 1, 2013, to April 30, 2013. A 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season. The daily bag limit for walleye remains four fish per person during April 2012. 

 

As a result of the 2012 quota allocation, the yellow perch daily bag limit will be 30 perch per angler in all Ohio waters from May 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013. There is no minimum size limit on yellow perch. Lake Erie anglers can find walleye and yellow perch bag limit information at ODNR offices, in special publications at bait and tackle shops and on the website at wildohio.com.

 

Lake Erie anglers have great access to fishing in the Western and Central basins due to the numerous public boat ramps, private marinas and shoreline access areas. They also benefit from having the largest charter boat industry in the Great Lakes.

 

Walleye

Ohio walleye anglers will catch fish mostly from the 2010, 2007 and 2003 hatches, with some contributions from the 2001, 2005 and 1999 hatches. Walleye from the 2010 hatch showed exceptional growth based on 2011 fall surveys, and many individuals will be near or over the 15 inches minimum size limit during the 2012 fishing season. Walleye from the moderate 2007 hatch will range from 17-25 inches long and will complement the larger 22 to 30-inch fish from the strong 2003 hatch as the major contributors to the Ohio catch. Fish from the fair 2005 hatch should be in the 19 to 27-inch range. Large walleye from strong hatches in the mid-1990s still persist in the population, providing “Fish Ohio” award (greater than 28 inches) opportunities.

 

Yellow Perch

Perch anglers should encounter fish ranging from 7 to 13-inches from the 2008 through 2005 hatches in this year’s fishery, with the 2007 year class being the most abundant. Fish from the large 2003 year class are still present and will provide some of this year’s trophy opportunities.  Lake wide, yellow perch numbers should be similar to levels observed in 2011 in the Western and Central basins. 

 

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass fishing in 2011 is expected to be fair. Although bass abundance remains below desired levels, those caught should be of excellent size (14 to 22 inches, weighing two to six pounds). Smallmouth bass can live up to 17 years, with year classes from the mid to late 1990’s

still providing trophy opportunities. Bass fishing is best in

areas with good bottom structure, which is available across much of the entire Ohio area near shore. A closed season remains in effect from May 1 through June 29, during which all black bass (smallmouth and largemouth) must be immediately released. Beginning June 30, the daily bag limit for bass will be five fish, with a 14-inch minimum length limit.

 

Steelhead

Steelhead anglers should enjoy another year of great fishing in Ohio’s Lake Erie open waters and in tributaries throughout the fall, winter and spring months. Peak summer steelhead action on Lake Erie can be found offshore from June through August between Vermilion and Conneaut, with catches measuring 17 to 29 inches. Most Lake Erie anglers troll for steelhead in deep waters using spoons with dipsy divers or downriggers until fish move close to shore in the fall. The daily bag limit remains at five fish per person from May 16 to Aug. 31, and two fish per angler between Sept. 1 and May 15, with a 12-inch minimum size limit throughout the year.

 

White Bass

White bass will continue to provide excellent seasonal fishing opportunities in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers and in the open lake. The catch will be dominated by fish from the 2007 year class, with 2009, 2006 and 2005 also contributing. Fish from 2003 will also be caught and could be as large as 16 inches. Anglers should focus on major Western Basin tributaries during May and June and near shore areas of the open lake during summer months. There is no daily bag or size limit on white bass.

 

Other Species

Anglers are also advised of numerous fishing opportunities in the bays and harbors on the Ohio shoreline. These inlets offer excellent fishing for panfish including crappie and bluegill, as well as largemouth bass. In early spring, anglers may also catch an occasional northern pike or muskellunge in vegetated areas.

 

Anglers are reminded that fishing conditions on Lake Erie can change hourly and adjustments are often necessary to improve success. Anglers should take into account factors such as water temperature, cloud cover, water clarity, boat traffic, wave action, structure, currents and the amount of baitfish in the area. Anglers are also reminded to carefully monitor Lake Erie weather and to seek safe harbor before storms approach.

 

During the season, updated Lake Erie fishing reports are available online at wildohio.com and by calling 888-HOOKFISH. Division of Wildlife staff members are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at our research station facilities at Fairport Harbor by calling 440-352-4199 for Central Basin information and at Sandusky by calling 419-625-8062 for Western Basin information.

 

For more info lodging, and local launch ramps:

Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau - 800-337-6746

Lake County Visitors Bureau - 800-368-5253

Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland - 800-321-1001

Visit Lorain County - 800-334-1673

Erie County Visitors Bureau - 800-255-3743

Sandusky County Visitors Bureau - 800-255-8070

Ottawa County Visitors Bureau - 800-441-1271

Greater Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau - 800-243-4667

Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism - 800-BUCKEYE

 

Information on the Division of Wildlife’s Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, open lake and steelhead fishing reports, as well as maps and links to other Lake Erie web resources are available at wildohio.com. Be sure to choose the “Fishing” icon from the Division’s home page, and then select “Lake Erie Fishing” from the list at the bottom of that page.


Lake Huron

Upcoming Lake Huron Regional Fisheries Workshops

Michigan Sea Grant, in partnership with the Michigan DNR, the USGS Great Lakes Science Center and local fishery organizations will host three regional workshops locally along Lake Huron’s coastline.  Topics will include updates on Lake Huron fish populations and angler catch data, resurgence of native species such as Lake Huron walleye, forage fish surveys and results from the ongoing Lake Huron predator diet study, updates of fisheries management activities, among other Lake Huron related topics of local interest. 

 

Three evening workshops, hosted across the state, are open to the public and will offer valuable information for anglers, charter captains, resource professionals and other community members interested in the Lake Huron fishery.  Workshops are open to the public at no cost; however, pre-registration is requested.  

 

Workshop dates and locations include:

Cedarville -April 23, 2012 (6–9 p.m.)

Les Cheneaux Sportsman’s Club
M-134, Cedarville, MI 49719

 

Alpena - April 24, 2012 (6–9 p.m.)
NOAA Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center
500 W. Fletcher St., Alpena, MI  49707

 

Port Huron - May 9, 2012 (6–9 p.m.)

Charles A. Hammond American Legion Hall
1026 Sixth Street, Port Huron, MI 48060

 

To register for any of these no-cost workshops, contact Cindy Anderson, Michigan Sea Grant: ande1172@msu.edu or (989) 984-1060. Workshop details are attached and also available online at www.miseagrant.umich.edu/fisheries.

 

Please forward and share with any and all who may be interested in participating; and we hope you will plan to join one of these educational opportunities yourself!


Illinois

Pike County enacts concealed carry

Passes Ordinance to Allow Constitutional Carry

PASA Park, Barry, IL—In the election held Tuesday, March 20, 2012, the voters of Pike County, Illinois, approved a firearms concealed-carry ordinance by a 3,214 to 550 margin. It was one of the largest voter turnouts in county history. The ordinance directly contradicts current Illinois state law. As presented on the ballot, the ordinance took effect upon passage, and applies only to Pike County. The ordinance was placed on the ballot by a citizen initiative petition process that garnered three times the number of signatures required by law.

 

The question on Tuesday's primary ballot asked whether the county should adopt a constitutional carry of arms ordinance — and the answer was resoundingly yes by a vote of 3,214 to 550.  Pittsfield chiropractor Dan Mefford spearheaded the ballot issue which he said had wide support from Democrats, Republicans and independent voters.  "As far as I'm concerned, it's a poke in the eye for the thieves of liberty," Mefford said. "It's a thing whose time had come."

 

Mefford drafted the successful ordinance in conjunction with noted outdoor journalist and firearms law expert Dick Metcalf, who is also a resident of Pike County. According to Dr. Mefford, “The people are speaking, and what the people are saying is, ‘Trust the people.’”

 

Historians have stated that this is the first time since 1862 that county voters in any U.S. state have explicitly reversed a state law. The previous example was when the

five western counties of Virginal nullified that state’s secession from the Union, and themselves seceded from Virginia to form the new state of West Virginia.

 

The Pike County Board meets Monday night but may not be ready to discuss guidelines for the ordinance. "We will need to do something and take an active role," Board Chairman Andy Borrowman said.  "There's going to have to be discussion on how we go about licensing or whatever we go through," Borrowman said. "The sheriff, I would say, would have a big stake in the process. We could also try to enlist the help of PASA Park to maybe do something. We're going to have to decide what sort of a process we use."

 

It is widely anticipated that other rural and downstate counties will follow Pike County’s lead. In 2007, the Pike County Board enacted a resolution stating that further restrictive firearms laws enacted by the Illinois State Legislature would be deemed by Pike County “to be Unconstitutional and beyond lawful Legislative Authority.” That resolution was subsequently passed by 89 % of all Illinois counties.

 

County and local law enforcement officers in Pike County are obligated by law to enforce country ordinances. State law enforcement officers and agencies are obligated to enforce state law. Legal observers therefore expect the inevitable court battle to be complex, because the new ordinance was enacted by the voters themselves, not by any county or local legislative entity.

 


Illinois Right to Carry Lawsuit dismissed in Federal Court

U.S. District Judge William Stiehl, on Friday March 30 dismissed Shepard vs Madigan, a lawsuit filed on behalf of Mary Shepard who is seeking the right to carry a firearm for personal protection.  You can read the decision and follow the discussion on IllinoisCarry.com

 

Quoting Judge Stiehl, "Accordingly, the Court FINDS that the plaintiffs’ claim that the provisions of the State of Illinois’ Unlawful Use of a Handgun and Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Handgun statutes do not violate the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution because the bearing of a firearm outside the home is not a core right protected by the Second Amendment. Therefore, the Court GRANTS defendants’ motions to dismiss . . . ."

 

Mary, an elderly southern IL woman, filed the lawsuit after being savagely beaten, while working in her church, by a paroled felon. Mary had previously gone through the training and qualification process for two licenses to carry issued by other states and was a Right to Carry license holder at the time she and an 80 year old female co-worker

were beaten and left for dead. However, Illinois law bans

civilians from carrying a firearm for personal protection and does not recognize licenses from other states.

 

The NRA plans an immediate appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The NRA funded this challenge to Illinois' ban on citizens' ability to carry firearms legally outside their homes and businesses for self-defense, and will also be supporting an immediate appeal to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals--and to the Supreme Court if necessary.

The decision in the case of Shepard v. Madigan misreads the Supreme Court's Second Amendment decisions and will continue to deprive law-abiding Illinoisans of the right to protect themselves effectively against crime on the streets.  It also conflicts with a growing body of case law elsewhere in the country, where courts have increasingly recognized that the right to bear arms for self-defense doesn't end at Americans' front doors.

"The NRA's legal efforts will not end until the right to carry firearms for self-defense is fully recognized throughout our land," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.

 


Michigan

New fishing regulations take effect April 1

To ensure that Michigan’s fisheries resources are managed properly and are providing the best benefits to anglers and the public, the Department of Natural Resources annually fine-tunes fishing regulations. For the coming 2012-2013 angling year, which begins April 1, the DNR would like anglers to be aware of the following new fishing regulations.

 

They are:

• Simplified statewide bow and spear fishing regulations resulting in several new and expanded opportunities. The season has been expanded on some waters and three new species have been added to the list of species allowed (gizzard shad, goldfish and grass carp). The spearing season on designated trout streams open to spring spearing has been changed to April 1 through May 31 with additional species allowed (gizzard shad, goldfish and grass carp).

• Johnson Creek (Wayne County) has been reclassified as a Type 1 trout stream.

• The daily possession limit for lake whitefish and cisco

(lake herring) on Michigan/Wisconsin boundary waters is

now 10 in combination for these fish.

• The Little Bay de Noc walleye size limit has been reinstated. No more than one (1) walleye over 23 inches may be possessed in the daily possession limit. This affects the area north of a line drawn from Peninsula Point Lighthouse to the mouth of the Ford River.

• The yellow perch daily possession limit has been changed on Lake Gogebic (Gogebic and Ontonagon counties) to 25 with no more than five (5) fish at 12 inches or greater.

• Cisco (lake herring) has been added to the Susceptible Species List for viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSv), which means there are restrictions on using them for bait. Koi herpes virus has been detected in common carp from Kent Lake (Livingston and Oakland counties) and Silver Lake (Oceana County) resulting in minnow harvest restrictions for both systems.  

 

These changes are detailed in the 2012 Michigan Fishing Guide, available at all major retailers and at: www.michigan.gov/fishing.


DNR seeks public review of Michigan brook trout regulations

The Michigan DNR is asking for public input on potential changes to brook trout daily possession limits for Upper Peninsula streams.

 

The brook trout is native to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and some parts of the Lower Peninsula and is the official state fish. Since the early 1900s, Fisheries Division has used a combination of stocking, habitat improvements and fishing regulations to protect and enhance brook trout fishing opportunities. One of the tools that fisheries managers have used to protect and rehabilitate brook trout populations is possession limits.

 

Since 2001, anglers have asked Fisheries Division to consider returning the brook trout possession limit to 10 fish on Upper Peninsula streams. Because of these consistent requests, Fisheries Division staff evaluated the potential biological consequences of increasing the brook trout daily possession limit from five to 10 fish.

 

To maintain fishing regulations that optimize anglers’ enjoyment of our aquatic resources in Michigan, Fisheries Division needs accurate information regarding angler

behavior and preferences. Therefore, the Division is

requesting public input regarding brook trout daily possession limits on Upper Peninsula streams.

 

Two regulation options have been proposed: 

  1. Maintain the existing daily possession limit of five (5) fish, but no more than three (3) trout 15 inches or greater.

  2. Change the daily possession limit to five (5) fish, plus an additional five (5) brook trout, but no more than three (3) trout 15 inches or greater. 

Please note that under this proposal, the daily possession limit would not change for gear restricted streams that currently have possession limits that differ from those in Types 1-4 regulated trout streams. To read more about the brook trout regulation review, please visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

Please comment on regulation options through an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/BrookTroutRegulations. You can also take the survey over the telephone by calling Debbie Robinson at the Plainwell Operations Service Center at (269) 685-6851. The online and telephone surveys will close on Friday, May 25.


DNR seeks public review of Michigan northern pike regulations

The Michigan DNR is asking for public input on the management of northern pike in Michigan by reviewing some proposed regulations.

 

In 2007, Fisheries Division charged an internal committee with developing a northern pike management plan. This plan was provided to the public for comment in 2009 and again in 2010, during which time many anglers provided comments on the need for regulation review. Anglers indicated they were supportive of a group of regulation options designed to maintain the current minimum size limit, to provide harvest on waters where appropriate, and to restrict harvest on some waters where the regulation would be designed to increase angler catches and increase the opportunity to catch larger fish. 

 

Fisheries Division has been working with the Warmwater Resources Committee, a public advisory group, to review northern pike regulation proposals provided by organized angling groups. The regulation options are a compromise agreed upon between Fisheries Division and the Warmwater Resources Committee.

Public review is being sought to determine whether anglers think these regulation options are acceptable to manage northern pike populations in Michigan.

 

Three regulation options have been proposed to be moved forward for public comment:

1. Minimum size limit of 24 inches with a possession limit of two (2) fish

2. No minimum size limit with a possession limit of five (5) fish where only one (1) may be greater than 24 inches

3. Protected slot limit between 24 and 34 inches and a possession limit of two (2) fish

 

Review these regulation at an online survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/NorthernPikeFishing

Regulations. You can also take the survey over the telephone by calling Debbie Robinson at the Plainwell Operations Service Center at (269) 685-6851. The online and telephone surveys will close on Friday, May 25.

 

To read more about the northern pike regulation review, go to: www.michigan.gov/fishing.

 

 


DNR to collect muskellunge eggs from Detroit River and Lake St. Clair

Again this spring, the Department of Natural Resources will collect eggs from spotted muskellunge in the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair to be raised at its Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery. 

 

The practice of collecting spotted muskellunge eggs, instead of northern muskellunge eggs, was started last year in an effort to raise a type of muskie that is native to more of Michigan’s waters. Last year 174,000 eggs were collected from the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair and producing nearly 7,000 fall fingerlings (for three inland lakes in Michigan, two of which will serve as broodstock lakes for egg collections in the future) and 3,000 4-inch fish (for Wisconsin that were targeted for Green Bay through a cooperative interstate arrangement).

 

“Collection efforts in Southeast Michigan last spring were hampered by poor weather conditions,” said Martha Wolgamood, manager of the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery. “If we have limited success collecting Great Lakes spotted muskellunge eggs this spring, we will

request northern muskies from other states.”

 

To collect the eggs, trap nets are used in Anchor Bay in Lake St. Clair during late April and May and fish are captured with electro-fishing gear in the Detroit River in May. Collecting spotted muskellunge eggs is difficult in these areas because of the physical conditions associated with open waters, especially during that time of year.

 

As a safety issue and a precaution, boats on the water should avoid coming close to the electro-fishing boat during nighttime efforts.

 

“When the generator is running and the boat’s lights are on, we are collecting fish using electricity near the boat,” said Todd Somers, fisheries technician supervisor for the Lake Erie Management Unit.

 

To learn more about fishing in Michigan and the spotted muskellunge management effort, go to www.michigan.gov/fishing and click on “Angler Information” and then “Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them.”

 


Smelt dipping is open statewide

With the warm spring weather, anglers should be aware that smelt dipping is open on all waters at this time and anglers can take 2 gallons daily. Smelt can be taken by hook/line, hand nets or dip nets. 

 

“There is some confusion as there are two Fisheries Orders that appear to conflict with each other and this situation was just brought to our attention,” said Gary

Whelan, regulatory affairs supervisor for the Department of

Natural Resources' Fisheries Division. “We will ensure that our orders are consistent for next year’s fishing and anglers should take advantage of our smelt fishing opportunities at this time.”

 

For more information on fishing and where the smelt are running in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

 


DNR seeks public review of Michigan muskellunge regulations

The Michigan DNR is asking for public input on the management of muskellunge in Michigan by reviewing some proposed regulations.

 

Over the past year, Fisheries Division has been working with the Warmwater Resources Committee, a public advisory group, to discuss muskellunge regulations and to review muskellunge regulation proposals submitted by angling organizations. As a result, several regulation options have been developed. The regulation options are a compromise agreed upon between Fisheries Division and the Warmwater Resources Committee.

 

Public review is being sought to determine which regulation anglers think should be accepted to manage muskellunge populations in Michigan. Four regulation options have been proposed with a combination of season, size limit and possession limits.

 

They are: 

1. Maintain the current fishing regulations for muskellunge.

2. Change the harvest season and allow for a few waters currently managed with the 42-inch minimum size limit to be managed with either a lower or higher minimum size limit

3. Change the harvest season, reduce the possession limit to one (1) fish per season (with a harvest tag), and allow for a few waters currently managed with the 42-inch minimum size limit to be managed with either a lower or higher size limit

4. Change the harvest season, keep the possession limit the same, and increase the minimum size limit for most waters, but allow for a few waters to be managed with a lower size limit

 

Review these regulation options through an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/MuskellungeFishing

Regulations. You can also take the survey over the telephone by calling Debbie Robinson at the Plainwell Operations Service Center at (269) 685-6851. The online and telephone surveys will close on Friday, May 25.  For more info about muskellunge regulation www.michigan.gov/fishing.  

 


Minnesota

DNR offers new live peregrine falcon webcam

The Minnesota DNR has placed a live webcam in a peregrine falcon box in downtown St. Paul to monitor the nest of a pair of peregrine falcons. The webcam can be viewed at www.dnr.state.mn.us/features/webcams/peregrine.html .

 

"We are very excited to be able to provide this webcam," said Carrol Henderson, supervisor of the Nongame Wildlife Program. "It allows the public a close-up view into the life of these incredible birds."  The project is being done in cooperation from the Midwest Peregrine Society, and the business tenants in Town Square and Sentinel Properties.

 

On Wednesday, March 27, the pair laid their first egg, Henderson said. The female will lay up to four more eggs 

over the next few days. The eggs should hatch on about

April 28 and the young will stay in the box, dependent on their parents, until late June or early July.

 

The box the birds are in is about four feet by four feet in size and is located twenty-six stories high. Peregrines do not "build" a nest, so pebbles are placed in the box to create a natural habitat.

 

The peregrine falcon is the fastest animal in the world, stooping (chasing prey) at speeds in excess of 200 miles-per-hour. They are a little larger than crow-sized, about 1-2 pounds. The females are one-third larger than the males. They are mostly a slate blue color as adults, with a distinctive "hooded" appearance with a stripe that comes down from the cap. Young peregrines are brown in color with many stripes or barring on the chest.


Word from DNR Commissioner

Tom Landwehr

Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Recreationalists:

The news I want to share is that the Game and Fish Fund – the fund that pays for conservation officers and a whole lot of game and fish work – is in dire condition. It is projected to go negative by as early as July 2013.

 

This means DNR will need to make significant cuts that affect the quantity and quality of hunting, fishing and natural resource protection unless the State Legislature approves license fee increases during the 2012 session. In my mind, failure to pass this fee increase will begin the rapid erosion of the quality hunting and fishing you have fought so hard to preserve over recent years—the outdoors legacy we will leave to our children and grandchildren.

 

If you have an opinion on this matter, I encourage you to express it to your local senator or representative. They are in session. They will listen to you. Now is the time to make a phone call or send a letter or e-mail.   You can locate contact information on the Minnesota Legislature’s website at www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/.

 

The facts are:

• Hunting and fishing license fees have not increased since 2001. This is the longest period of time without a fee increase in more than 40 years. 

•  The Game and Fish Fund would have gone negative years ago had our agency not made numerous cost-saving

reductions and benefitted from an increase in federal

assistance (which bridged the funding gap for a short time, but peaked several years ago and is now in decline).

• Our proposed license adjustments are designed to raise revenue but do so in ways that encourage people to start hunting and fishing while retaining those who already participate.    

 

Virtually every hunting, fishing and conservation organization in the state has voiced their support for increasing fees by a reasonable amount. That’s gratifying. So too is the fact that many newspapers support raising fees, in part because it is not a general tax but rather a specific user fee that hunters and anglers willingly support.

 

We outdoor lovers are facing many challenges. They include voracious leaping carp, unwanted fish and wildlife diseases, and the loss of habitat necessary to provide high-quality hunting and fishing. In the past, the conservation community has come together to voice its support for what is important. Today, it’s happening again. If you want your voice to be part of this chorus, please contact your lawmaker and share your opinion.

 

To learn more please visit: http://mndnr.gov/heritage

 

Thanks,

 

Tom Landwehr, Commissioner

MN Department of Natural Resources


Reservations due by April 10 for seasonal and monthly camping at state parks

Reservations for seasonal and monthly camping opportunities, which are available at a select number of Minnesota state parks, are due by April 10, the Minnesota DNR said.  Visitors can stay for a month or even a full season, which runs May 4 – Sept 2.

 

People should call the individual park for pricing and other park-specific information or to apply for or make reservations. Rates and additional details are also available by visiting the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/extended_stay.html .

 

Eight Minnesota state parks will offer monthly and seasonal camping in 2012.

►Hayes Lake, 218-425-7504, in Roseau monthly or seasonal camping at seven campsites, all of which have electric hook-ups

►Old Mill, 218-754-2200, Argyle, north of Thief River Falls, monthly or seasonal camping at five campsites, w/electric and water hook-ups

►Myre-Big Island, 507-379-3403, Albert Lea monthly or seasonal camping at four campsites, three of which have electric hook-ups

►Lac qui Parle, 320-734-4450, Montevideo monthly or

seasonal camping at two electric campsites

►Upper Sioux Agency, 320-564-4777, Granite Falls monthly or seasonal camping at three campsites, w/electric hook-ups

►Big Stone Lake, 320-839-3663, in Ortonville will offer monthly and seasonal camping at two electric sites

►Rice Lake may have sites available. Call 507-455-5871 to inquire

►Kilen Woods may have sites available. Call Phil Nasby at 507-831-2900, ext. 225 to inquire.

 

If demand exceeds availability at a particular park, a lottery will be conducted on April 10, and the park will notify applicants whether or not they were selected. If sites are available after this date, they will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis. No preference will be given to monthly or seasonal campers from prior years.

 

For monthly campsite reservations, the entire monthly fee is due by April 24. For seasonal campsite reservations, a one-month down payment is due by April 24, and the remainder of the seasonal fee is due when visitors arrive to check-in. If a lottery is not necessary and sites are available after April 10, the monthly fee must be paid at the time of reservation to hold the site.

 


DNR to offer limited moose hunt this fall

Consistent with the state's moose management plan, the Minnesota DNR announced it will offer a limited bulls-only hunting season this fall.

 

Although hunting mortality of bulls is not a factor in the moose population decline, the state's moose plan, which addresses habitat, climate change, disease and other moose population factors, identifies specific thresholds when moose hunting should cease. The DNR is following that plan by closing two hunting zones in northeastern Minnesota, but continuing to allow limited hunting in other zones.

 

"Our approach is based on the scientific and social considerations brought forth by experts on the legislatively created Minnesota Moose Advisory Committee," said Erik Thorson, acting DNR big game program leader. "Committee members envisioned a time when hunting would become an issue. That time has come. We're implementing a reasoned and responsible plan."

 

Minnesota's moose population is estimated at 4,230. This compares to last year's estimate of 4,900 and is down significantly from the 2006 estimate of 8,840. The DNR estimates about 50 bulls will be taken by state hunters this fall.

 

Thorson said the DNR's limited hunting season will have no significant impact on the moose population. That's because the bull-cow ratio is sufficient to ensure that all cows can be bred, thereby creating the next generation of moose. The state's moose management plan recommends using bull-cow ratios as a measure to determine whether a bulls-only hunt should continue. DNR biologists base the harvest level on 5 percent of the estimated bull population.

 

"While it's true that the state's moose population is declining it's also true that bulls-only hunting is not a significant factor in that decline," said Thorson. "A decade of research has shown that most mortality is from unknown causes unrelated to hunting, perhaps linked to parasites or disease."

 

In 2008, the Minnesota Legislature directed the DNR to create a Moose Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the agency. The DNR convened a group of individuals from agencies, universities, tribes, and organizations representing a broad cross-section of moose expertise and interests. The Moose Advisory Committee filed a report that the DNR used to formulate its moose management and research plan.

 

That plan states hunting should cease if:

►The bull to cow ratio drops below 67 bulls per 100 cows for three consecutive years

►Overall hunter success drops below 30 percent for three consecutive years

►The harvest rate for any hunting zone averages less than

20 % for three consecutive years

 

"The bull to cow ratio is well above the identified threshold and at the highest level since 2006," said Thorson. "Overall hunter success was 58 % last year, well above the 30 percent threshold. And hunting success rates for individual zones have not dipped below 20 percent for three consecutive years except zones 23 and 34, which we have closed to hunting this year."

 

Rolf Peterson, chair of the Moose Advisory Committee, said while many people will focus their concern on moose hunting, the real news – that the moose population is still declining – continues to be disturbing.  "Even though hunting is not causing the decline, it makes sense to reduce hunting pressure in an orderly manner if the population continues to decline," Peterson said.

 

Today's announcement means Minnesotans who want to hunt bull moose this fall can apply for 87 available licenses starting Monday, April 2. The state's moose hunting season is open to residents age 10 or older. Application deadline is Friday, May 4.

 

Eleven of the of the 87 available permits will be offered first to hunters who were selected in last year's lottery but opted not to hunt because of hunting access issues caused by the widespread Pagami Creek Fire. If any of the 11 choose not to hunt, their permits will be available to this year's applicants. The state's moose hunting quotas also take into consideration the expected tribal moose harvest by the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac and Grand Portage bands, which also conduct moose hunting seasons.

 

The moose season will open Saturday, Sept. 29, and conclude Sunday, Oct. 14. Hunters may apply at any DNR license agent or at the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul. Moose hunters must apply in parties from two to four individuals. An application fee of $3 per individual must be included with the application.

 

Permits are issued through a random drawing, except that applicants who have been unsuccessful at least 10 times since 1985 will be placed in a separate drawing for up to 20 percent of the available licenses. A person who is still unsuccessful in this separate selection also will be included in the regular drawing.

 

Because the moose hunt became a once-in-a-lifetime hunt in 1991, hunters who received permits for moose hunts for the 1991 hunt and later are not eligible to apply for the 2012 drawing. The license fee is $310 per party. There will be mandatory orientation sessions required for all hunters chosen for moose licenses.

 

In 2011, 92 state-licensed hunters harvested 53 bull moose.  F&W DNR to offer moose hunt this fall 03-27-12.docx


New York

ENTERGY to Pay $1.2 Million for Petroleum Spill In Hudson River

After Fire at Indian Point Nuclear Facility

Entergy will pay a $1.2 million civil penalty under the terms of a consent order for significant Clean Water Act violations at its Indian Point Unit 2 and Unit 3 facilities in Buchanan, the state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. In addition, Entergy agreed to upgrade the containment systems which protect the Hudson River from accidental spills and unpermitted releases.

 

The violations stem from a 2010 explosion and fire at the facility when petroleum was released into the Hudson River. An investigation into the incident revealed violations of the Clean Water Act, Chemical Bulk Storage Regulations and Navigation Laws.

 

“The conditions at Entergy’s Indian Point facility caused a failure of a transformer, resulting in an explosion and the release of thousands of gallons of petroleum into the Hudson River,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Long-standing problems cannot be left unaddressed at nuclear facilities and Clean Water Act standards must be complied with to protect public health and our state’s natural resources.”

 

In November 2010, the #21 main transformer at Indian Point failed and resulted in an explosion that breached the walls of the transformer causing a fire and the release of

petroleum used to cool the transformers into the Hudson River.

 

A DEC investigation revealed that long-standing structural conditions prevented the containment moat from retaining the petroleum as designed. More than 10,000 gallons of oil were recovered from the transformer, the containment moat and areas outside the containment moat including the discharge canal, the Hudson River shoreline and the Hudson River. DEC’s investigation also revealed violations of Chemical Bulk Storage Regulations at the facility.

 

The terms of the Consent Order agreed upon by DEC and Entergy, require Entergy to pay a $1.2 million civil penalty, including $600,000 for a to-be-determined Environmental Benefit Project, $62,000 to reimburse the state for natural resources damages to the Hudson River and $5,000 for assessment and restoration oversight costs. Entergy will work with DEC and local stakeholders to identify potential EBPs in the next 90 days. An additional $225,000 penalty was suspended contingent upon Entergy complying with the terms of the Consent Order.

 

Entergy also agreed to take the following corrective actions at Indian Point Unit 2 and Unit 3: properly test, inspect and if necessary replace any and all of Indian Point’s chemical bulk storage facilities; properly test, inspect, repair and maintain the remaining three main transformer containment structures to avoid similar environmental releases in the future; and complete all necessary repair work in 2012.


Remington threatens to pull plant out of NY

Business employs more than 1,000 in town of Ilion

ALBANY — Remington is threatening to pull its plant out of New York over a gun bill pushed by Mayor Bloomberg.  In a recent letter to Gov. Cuomo, Remington said it may be forced to move out of the Empire State if a law requiring bullet casings to carry unique markings is enacted.

Remington has a manufacturing plant that employs more than 1,000 workers in the village of Ilion, about 90 miles west of Albany.

 

“Mandating firearms micro- stamping will restrict the ability of Remington to expand business in the Empire State,” company chief strategy officer Stephen Jackson Jr. wrote to Cuomo.  “Worse yet, Remington could be forced to

reconsider its commitment to the New York market

altogether rather than spend the astronomical sums of money needed to completely reconfigure our manufacturing and assembly processes.”

 

Jackson insisted that law enforcement, gun retailers and “law-abiding consumers throughout New York — if not the entire country” would be directly affected.

 

Senate bill sponsor Jose Peralta dismissed the Remington warning as “just another tactic being used to try and block microstamping, which is supported by many crime-fighters.” He said gun manufacturers didn’t leave California and Massachusetts when those states enacted ballistic identification rules.


Hydrilla Infestation in Finger Lakes Region

On the Brink of an Environmental Disaster

LAWRENCE, Kansas – March 19, 2012 – Six months ago one of the world’s most aggressive aquatic weeds was spotted in an inlet adjoining Cayuga Lake, part of New York’s famed Finger Lakes. The culprit was hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), an aquatic plant species holding a well-earned spot on the federal noxious weeds list. Officials fear an environmental disaster in the making – and for good reason.

A native of Asia, hydrilla gained a toehold in the U.S. about a half century ago and has wreaked havoc since.

 

“Dense mats of vegetation can quickly take over a body of water, where they clog flood control channels, impair water supplies and endanger recreation and tourism,” says Robert Richardson, Ph.D., an aquatic weed specialist from North Carolina State University and a member of the Weed Science Society of America. “A 15-acre infestation found in Florida spread to 3,000 acres in just two years – a tribute to hydrilla’s fast growth. It can spread through creeping shoots, fragmented shoots and tubers. The tubers can remain dormant in sediment for years.”

 

Previous New York detections have been limited to small ponds or contained bodies of water. But the Finger Lakes discovery raises the stakes. Each lake is part of an interconnected waterway, creating the potential for hydrilla to spread, travel through the Erie Canal and contaminate the Great Lakes.

 

“We estimate this particular infestation approaching two years old, and it covers up to 166 acres,” says Roxanna Johnston, watershed coordinator for the City of Ithaca. “We’ve found it early and have the potential to stop it here, before it becomes an ecological emergency of the highest order.”

 

A coalition of state and local officials, university personnel and hydrilla experts from around the country quickly banded together to take action. They knew typical control methods used in a contained pond wouldn’t work in the inlet – such as draining the infested water, introducing grass carp to feed on the hydrilla or using matting to smother the plants.

Harvesting by hand was attempted, but the murkiness of the water made for difficult working conditions. In addition, the hydrilla fragmented during harvesting, and officials worried that small particles floating away might actually serve to spread the plant. In the end, they chose an aquatic herbicide to remove much of the initial hydrilla biomass and to halt the production of the tubers and vegetative buds the plant uses to spread.

 

“We know it will take years to eradicate hydrilla totally, but this was an important first step,” says Roxanna Johnston. “We plan to repeat the treatment this spring and to continue to look for nonherbicide options where specific site conditions may be favorable.”

 

Ultimately, though, one of the best tools may prove to be public awareness. Officials are training volunteer surveyors to patrol both the inlet and Cayuga Lake for new infestations. They are conducting workshops, holding information forums and manning booths in public gathering spots. Washing stations have been established so boats, canoes and kayaks can be cleaned after each use, avoiding transport of small hydrilla fragments to new locations.

 

“Everybody can take the responsibility to do something,” Johnston notes. “It’s important to learn how to recognize hydrilla, know where it has been spotted in the past and avoid boating and other water sports in areas that are infested. It’s also important to talk to your elected officials. Control can be costly, but that pales in comparison to the investment required if hydrilla gets the upper hand.”

 

About the Weed Science Society of America

The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. The Weed Science Society of America promotes research, education and extension outreach activities related to weeds, provides science-based information to the public and policy makers, fosters awareness of weeds and their impact on managed and natural ecosystems, and promotes cooperation among weed science organizations across the nation and around the world. For more information, visit www.wssa.net.


Ohio

Be aware of new Fish Filleting Rule

COLUMBUS, OH – With many Ohio anglers taking advantage of early fishing opportunities, the Ohio DNR) would like to remind anglers of a new rule affecting their catch.

 

Anglers must leave the fish they catch in public waters in the round (whole) or as a complete fillet with skin attached until they reach their home. This regulation is necessary to deter over harvest of certain species of fish. The rule was designed to be a law enforcement tool to protect the fishing resource, and allows wildlife officers to identify fillets in an angler’s possession, so that they can enforce Ohio’s fish bag limits. The new rule was modeled after surrounding Great Lakes province and states' existing regulations. Ontario, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York and Minnesota all employ similar regulations.

 

An Ohio fishing license will be valid March 1 through Feb.

28, 2013. An annual resident fishing license costs $19. A

one-day fishing license is available and may be purchased for $11 by residents and non-residents. The one-day license may also be redeemed for credit toward purchase of an annual fishing license.

 

Ohio residents born on or before Dec. 31, 1937, may obtain a free fishing license where licenses are sold. Persons age 66 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1938, and have resided in Ohio for the past six months are eligible to purchase the reduced cost resident senior license for $10.

 

The 2012-13 Ohio Fishing Regulations pamphlet can be obtained and fishing licenses can be purchased online at wildohio.com or at hundreds of agent outlets throughout the state. A complete list of participating license sales agents can be found at www.wildohio.com.

 


Wisconsin

Warm spring means fish are spawning up to a month early

MADISON -- March's record-breaking high temperatures following an unusually mild winter have fish spawning early across Wisconsin and state fisheries crews racing to finish the annual fish surveys that are a foundation for keeping Wisconsin's fish populations robust.


DNR technician Bryce Ottman shows off

a 48", 34 lb musky captured on a Bayfield

County lake


"We're in full blown sampling mode across the state," says Tim Simonson, the DNR biologist who coordinates fish surveys on lakes. "It's about a month ahead of time in some parts of Wisconsin, so we're doing our best to keep up with the natural cycles of fish in response to the accelerated warming trend we've seen."

 

DNR crews also are collecting eggs from fish earlier than normal at the state's two facilities that operate in the spring.   The spring fish surveys, however, involve the most people and most waters, and record temperatures in the 70s and even low 80s from Superior to Sturgeon Bay and Menomonie to Milwaukee temperatures during the week of March 18 have disrupted the normal progression of work from southern to northern waters.

 

Crews are done sampling in some parts of Wisconsin, while others are going full-bore. Altogether, DNR crews will sample 130 lakes across the state this spring; rivers and streams are sampled in the summer, Simonson says.

 

The spring and summer surveys, along with surveys done in the fall, help give fish biologists information that allows them to estimate the population of certain fish species, understand the distribution of fish size and age, and information about angler harvest.

The crews use different surveys and different sampling gear according to the goal of the survey and the fish species. During the spring, DNR crews use both fyke nets, large hoop nets that act as funnels to trap swimming fish, and electrofishing boats that deliver a low-level electrical current to the water that momentarily stuns the fish but doesn't hurt them. Fisheries crews collect the fish with dip nets and bring them on board.

 

Once on board, the fish are weighed, measured and often marked with a tag of some kind. DNR crews insert "floy" tags, which look like a thick piece of spaghetti, behind a fish's dorsal fin. Each tag is printed with a unique number, allowing DNR to keep tabs on the fish in coming years when it's recaptured by DNR crews or by anglers. Such information can help DNR generate population estimates, estimate natural mortality rates and harvest rates, and understand where the fish moves and when.

 

PIT tags, short for Passive Integrated Transponder tags, are sometimes used. They are inserted into the fish and also carry a unique number. These tags are more expensive, but are less likely to come out of the fish and they allow fisheries crews in coming years to run a scanner across a fish to read the number.

 

Simonson says warm up and earlier spawning season can be a good thing for the fish that hatch. "They get the potential for a longer growing season," he says. "The bigger they are in that first summer the better they survive that first winter."

 

"The flip side is we can get a cold snap that can be detrimental to the survival of the newly hatched fish," he says. The fast warm up and spawning also may potentially have meant eggs weren't able to fully develop inside the female fish, raising questions about the quality of the spawn.

 


Migrating steelhead #s up from previous years

GREEN BAY – DNR staff collecting eggs for state fish hatcheries from steelhead migrating up Lake Michigan tributaries report they are seeing more fish than they have in the past two to three years.

 

Steelhead spend two to three summers in the lake foraging for food before maturing. In spring, these shiny fish make their way back to the rivers from where they were born to spawn.  “There are few things more exciting for us than see these beautiful fish fight their way up small rivers in northeast Wisconsin to spawn,” said Steve Hogler, a fisheries biologist with the Department of Natural Resources in Green Bay.

What is making this year’s spawn a little different is that there are more fish coming into the C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility in Kewaunee than they’ve seen in several years.

“We’re not exactly sure why this is happening,” says Hogler, “We actually have been stocking fewer steelhead in the past few years to ensure that we stock larger, healthier fish. In the past week we’ve processed upwards of 550 fish through Besadny alone.”  In addition to the eggs being collected at Besadny, steelhead are being spawned at the Root River facility in southern Wisconsin.

 

The average size of a steelhead can run from 25 - 29" and upwards of 10 lbs. They got their name from the shiny, silver color they take on.  DNR biologists capture the fish as they make their way up the Kewaunee River. When they are brought into the facility, they are weighed, measured, and, depending on their age, are spawned. The eggs and milt harvested from the fish are then processed on site and taken to the Kettle Moraine Springs Hatchery where another batch of young steelhead are raised to be stocked next year.


Annual spring hearings a chance to participate in rule-making process

For nearly 80 years the Conservation Congress has been reaching out to the citizens of the state, asking people to join the conversation and share ideas on a variety of resource management topics.

 

The tradition continues Monday, April 9. There will be 72 public hearings, one in each Wisconsin county, starting at 7 p.m. If you attend, you’ll have the chance to elect delegates to represent your county on the Conservation Congress and you can weigh in on DNR wildlife and fisheries and Conservation Congress advisory questions and citizen resolutions.

 

New this year, the Conservation Congress will hold a town hall meeting at the end of the night to gather ideas from attendees on how to simplify regulations and how to eliminate participation barriers to activities like fishing and hunting. This is a Wisconsin-born, unique opportunity to weigh in on natural resources issues that may affect you. It’s incredibly important for you to be part of the process.

DNR questions gauge your support - or lack thereof -- on issues ranging from fishing and hunting questions.

This year, wildlife advisory questions seek feedback on permanent adoption of a two-period bobcat hunting and trapping season with permit applicants being required to select either the early or the late season; updating licensing requirements for hunting guides; and, expanding open water hunting opportunities for waterfowl.

 

Fishing questions this year ask your opinion on allowing year-round fishing seasons in areas we are comfortable it is unnecessary to protect certain fish populations; having a single, statewide musky season opener date; and eliminating some fish refuges if DNR finds that fish populations can be adequately protected by other regulations such as season, bag, or size limits in the same area.

 

Wisconsin is a fantastic place to hunt and fish. Help us make it even better. Join the conversation at this year’s hearings. Share your ideas on how we can continue to work together to protect natural resources while making fishing, hunting, and trapping more fun for more people.

 

 


Other Breaking News Items

(Click on title or URL to read full article)

 

Wisconsin Journalists Chastised for Signing Gov. Walker Recall Petition
Kevin Corrado, publisher of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, has told readers that 25 Gannett Wisconsin Media journalists, including seven at his own paper, had signed the petition calling for the recall of Gov. Scott Walker. Corrado said he was disheartened to learn that any of Gannett Wisconsin Media’s employees had signed the petition and is at a loss to explain how it happened. He added that disciplinary action will be taken against the offending employees and that additional ethics training will be given to all news employees. What concerned Corrado is that this action casts doubt on the notion that the media are neutral in their reporting and it hurts their credibility, which is already under fire.

 

A salmon balancing act for Lake Michigan fishery managers
Some scientists are raising new questions about the salmon’s demise in Lake Huron and whether that can be stopped in Lake Michigan

 

Scientists developing poison pill for Asian Carp

Designer drugs and engineered poisons, called "bio-bullets," have become increasingly popular among scientists trying to create sniper-shot solutions to unyielding problems, like Asian carp in rivers, to tumors in human bodies. They hope targeted strategy could be silver bullet needed to kill invasive species

 

Smuggling of live Asian carp becomes Great Lakes threat
Heated debate over how to stop the spread of Asian carp has centered on whether to close the shipping locks around the Windy City; meanwhile Asian carp continue to work their way northward via another means — illegal truck shipments of live fish.

 

Senators Kirk and Levin urge continued support of the Great Lakes, outline key priorities
U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.), co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, sent letters today to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of key Appropriations Subcommittees urging their continued support for Great Lakes initiatives through fiscal year 2013.

 

Michigan city treatment plant manager pleads guilty in fed court
The former superintendent of Michigan City’s waste water treatment plant will plead guilty to violating the Clean Water Act during a period of eight years.

 

 

 

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