Week of August 15, 2005

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Blue catfish receives world record status from the IGFA

DANIA BEACH, Fla. --- The International Game Fish Association (IGFA), the organization which maintains world records for both freshwater and saltwater game fishes, has approved a 124 lb blue catfish caught in mid May by Tim Pruitt of Alton, Ill.

           

Using cut herring for bait and caught in the Mississippi River, Pruitt took 40 minutes to land the catfish. Efforts were made to keep it alive for a new home in a glass tank for public display but it died several days later.  Pruitt hoped to have it mounted and put on loan to the nearby National Great Rivers Museum in East Alton, Ill. 

Two weeks after the catch, Pruitt sent in the required IGFA

application, which included certified weight documentation, witness statements, photographs and line sample.

 

The IGFA certified Pruitt’s catfish for two new records; an all-tackle world record for the heaviest species caught and a freshwater 50 lb line class. Pruitt’s fish broke the all-tackle record by three pounds over a 121 pound blue catfish caught in Lake Texoma, Texas, by Cody Mullennix in January, 2004. His 50 pound line class record bested a blue catfish caught in 1999 by Bruce Midkiff at the Cannelton Dam on the Ohio River in Kentucky. 

           

If Pruitt’s catch stands through 2005 it will be further recognized in the IGFA’s World Record Game Fishes annual which will be released worldwide in January, 2006. 


Chemical Contamination in Arctic Linked to Bird Droppings

WASHINGTON (AP) — A major source of chemical contamination in the Arctic turns out to be bird droppings.  Wind currents and human activities long have been blamed for fouling the pristine Arctic. But a study by a group of Canadian researchers found that the chemical pollution in areas frequented by seabirds can be many times higher than in nearby regions.

 

Researchers led by Jules Blais of the University of Ottawa studied several ponds below the cliffs at Cape Vera on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic.  Scientists report in month’s issue of the journal Science that the ponds, which receive falling guano from a colony of northern fulmars that nest on the cliffs, have highly elevated amounts of chemicals.

 

"If long-range transport was the only thing bringing these chemicals north, we would expect to see a very even distribution," Blais said in a telephone interview. But the chemicals are concentrated in some places, he said, "and we have found a reason ... they can follow biological connections."   Blais calls it the boomerang effect.

 

"These contaminants had been washed into the ocean, where we generally assumed they were no longer affecting terrestrial ecosystems. Our study shows that sea birds, which feed in

the ocean but then come back to land, are returning not only with food for their young but with contaminants as well. The contaminants accumulate in their bodies and are released on land," Blais said.

 

Chemicals such as PCB and DDT are no longer being released into the environment in North America, Blais noted, but were designed to last a long time and are doing so. In addition, he said, other chemicals still in use are toxic and also can last in the environment.  The area of the study is one of the most desolate on Earth, Blais said, and the local food chain is dependent on the guano from the seabirds.

 

Their droppings encourage the growth of mosses and plankton in the ponds, which feed lots of insects, which in turn support small birds called snow buntings, he said. If the seabirds were to disappear the whole ecosystem would disappear, he said. "If you fly overhead you can see green mosses growing under the cliffs," Blais said. "What is particularly striking is that these contaminants are getting concentrated at oases of biological productivity in the north."

 

The research was funded by Science and Engineering Research Canada, the EJLB Foundation, the Polar Continental Shelf Project and the Northern Scientific Training Program


Galley Cuisine

Galley Cuisine

Marinated Grilled Salmon

2 Salmon Fillets

1 cup water

½ cup teriyaki sauce

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup honey

½ cup maple syrup

Marinate the fillets for 2 to 3 hours in the refrigerator. Remove from marinade and put directly on the grill. The salt from the soy and teriyaki sauces will dry out the fillets while cooking so if you like your salmon well done baste the salmon during cooking. Great served with baked sweet potatoes

(By Chef Jim Bucko, Radisson Hotel, Merrillville, IN )

 


National

Aquatic Resources Trust Fund renewed with more $$$ for Sportsmen

President Signs Transportation Bill with 600 Million Dollars a Year for fund

Washington, D.C., August 10, 2005 -- President George W. Bush signed the Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, which includes language reauthorizing the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund (ARTF), better known as Wallop Breaux.  ARTF provides approximately $600 million per year to boating safety, sport fish restoration, infrastructure and access programs, and other important boating programs, and its reauthorization has been a priority to the boating and angling community.

 

Most significantly, the language includes a recapture of the entire 18.3 cent gasoline tax attributable to motorboats, which will mean more than $110 million additional dollars each year for boating safety and fish restoration programs.  Currently only 13.5 cents of the 18.3 cents collected on each gallon of motor-boat fuel is transferred to the ARTF; this reauthorization deposits the entire 18.3 cents into the trust fund.

 

The trust fund pays for a variety of state aquatic programs,

including:

•           Development and maintenance of boating access facilities

•           Boating safety education and outreach

•           Enforcement of boating safety laws

•           Development of marine sanitation facilities

•           Acquisition and improvement of sport fish habitat

•           Stocking of fish

•           Fisheries research

•           Surveys and inventories of sport fish populations

•           Outreach and communications effort

 

"The programs supported by ARTF will benefit Americans for years to come.  This reauthorization will mean over $600 million annually to boating access efforts, safety programs, and wildlife restoration projects.  The increased funding will benefit all boaters, anglers, boat and accessory manufacturers, marina operators, state and local governments and all Americans who enjoy the nation’s waterways.

 


U.S. to Start Issuing Electronic Passports

The United States will begin issuing electronic passports in December to help tighten border and identity security, the State Department said on August 9.

 

A computer chip will be embedded in passport covers and will hold the same information that is written on the inside: name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, dates of passport issuance and expiration, passport number and a photo. The chip will also have a unique digital signature designed to

protect the data from tampering.

 

The chips will have technology to prevent unauthorized reading, or "skimming," of the data. Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge had suggested that fingerprinting technology be used in the high-tech passports, but that was not included.   

 

By October 2006, all U.S. passport agencies will issue the electronic passports.


Nebraska, Tennessee, California, Colorado Youths Win National Trapshooting Championships

Record 1,564 Youths Compete in Scholastic Clay Target Program Event

VANDALIA, Ohio—Youth shooting teams from Nebraska, Tennessee, California and Colorado claimed national titles—and a total of eight states were represented among the 15 medaling teams—at the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) National Trapshooting Championships. The competition was held Tuesday at the Grand American World Trapshooting Championships.

 

A record 1,564 youths in grades 12 and under competed at the event, surpassing last year’s field by more than 500 and producing the highest attendance in SCTP’s five-year history. All of these young shooters also had the chance to be a part of history, as the Grand, which will be held in Illinois next year, ends an 81-year run in Vandalia.

 

The growth of SCTP nationwide has been phenomenal this year,” said Zach Snow of the National Shooting Sports

Foundation (NSSF), which developed the youth program. With a 50 % increase in participation in one year, Snow added “The program’s popularity has skyrocketed thanks to the hard work and commitment of volunteers around the country and the enthusiasm of these young competitors.”

 

A group of first-year shooters from Murfreesboro, Tenn., didn’t look like beginners in the junior novice division. The team from Blackman Middle School walked away with the national title by hitting 929 of their 1,000 targets and then breaking 111 of 125 in the competition’s final shoot off.

 

SCTP was developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and offers young men and women in grades 12 and under the opportunity to compete as a team in trap, skeet and sporting clays for state and national championships as well as college scholarships. It's all designed to instill in participants safe firearms handling, commitment, responsibility, leadership and teamwork. Nearly 40 states and over 6,000 youths take part in SCTP.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for August 12, 2005

Weather Conditions: Hot and humid conditions were the norm once again in the Great Lakes basin this week.  The northern reaches of the region received heavy rainfall on Monday, while scattered showers and thunderstorms affected the rest of the basin on Tuesday and Wednesday.  More showers and thunderstorms are expected Thursday and Friday as the front stalls just to the south of the basin.  Seasonable temperatures are expected this weekend, though a chance of a shower or thunderstorm exists.  The persistent warmer than average temperatures this summer have lead to higher water temperatures in the Great Lakes, which could set the stage for increased evaporation rates this fall.

 

Lake Level Conditions:

Lake Superior is currently an inch lower than last year, while the remaining lakes are 5 to 9 inches below the levels of a year ago.  Dry conditions this spring and summer are the main reason that water levels on the lower Great Lakes are below last year’s levels.   Looking ahead, Lake Superior is expected to remain steady over the next month.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are expected to fall 2 to 4 inches over the next month while Lakes Erie and Ontario should decline by 5 inches.  Levels on Lake Superior over the next few months will be slightly lower than 2004, whereas levels on the lower Great Lakes will continue to be lower than 2004. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is projected to be above average during the month of August.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are anticipated to be below average during August.  Flows in the Niagara River are expected to be near average while St. Lawrence River flows should be below average in August.

Alerts:

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.  Users of the St. Marys River should be aware that regulated flows will be variable from August 3rd to August 14th due to flow measurement work in the St. Marys River. 

 

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels Data Summary

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Expected water level for Aug 12 in ft

601.7

578.0

574.1

571.4

245.5

Chart datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff from chart datum, in inches

+7

+6

+21

+27

+26

Diff from last month, in inches

-1

0

-2

-2

-5

Diff from last year in inches

-1

-6

-6

-5

-9

 

 


General

New bighead carp record in Tennessee

CHATTANOOGA, TN — With exotic fish species spreading out, anglers inevitably will catch more of them and that's what JJ. Rorex did when he pulled this 90 lb exotic bighead carp from the tailrace below Nickajack Dam.  The previous

record was a 73-pounder taken from Reelfoot Lake.Rorex weighed the fish with a certified scale in front of witnesses and now only needs confirmation of the species from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.  Rorex was fishing for stripers with a white bucktail jig when the big fish hit and took off downriver. 


Online Survey Seeks Input On Fueling Practices

BoatU.S. Foundation asking boaters for input

As part of its national "Help Stop the Drops" clean fueling campaign, the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water is asking every boater who regularly fuels their vessel to take a simple 12-question survey available online at www.BoatUS.com/Foundation    The short survey asks boaters to share their fueling habits and experiences.  Responses are completely anonymous.

 

"We need your help," said Margaret Podlich, Environmental

Director at the Foundation.  "We'd like to find out more about how minor spills happen at the fuel dock and hope to come up with solutions to the problem.  Candid responses to this survey will be useful in the development of educational materials and programs for recreational boaters and marinas nationwide," she added.

 

The Foundation's Help Stop the Drops program works with boaters, marinas and manufacturers to prevent accidental fuel spills and to help change the way boats are fueled.  


 

 

Lake Huron

MI - DNR to Hold Meeting to Discuss Lake Huron Chinook Issues, Stocking August 20

The Michigan DNR will host a public meeting on Saturday, Aug. 20, at Saginaw Valley State University to discuss the Chinook salmon fishery in Lake Huron. The meeting will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall on the SVSU campus in University Center.

 

Saginaw Valley State University is located, between Saginaw and Bay City, 7400 Bay Rd, Saginaw, 48604, just off I-75

 

"Research and angler catch surveys show that Chinook salmon are much smaller and harder to find in Lake Huron than in past years," said Acting Assistant Fish Chief Tammy Newcomb. "The abundance of prey fish that are eaten by game fish is at very low levels, similar to 1998.  The scientists are uncertain if this large reduction  in prey fish is due to a major change in the food web of the lake as a result of an

aquatic invasive species or if it is a temporary imbalance between predators and prey."

 

As a result, Newcomb said the DNR, along with the Lake Huron Citizens' Advisory Committee, is recommending a 50 % reduction in the number of Chinook salmon stocked in Lake Huron to try to restore balance between the number of salmon and their prey and in turn improve the Chinook salmon fishery.  Newcomb added that there is good news in Lake Huron - walleye and lake trout are doing very well in the lake this year and look good for the coming years.

 

The meeting will feature an informational session on the current status of Chinook salmon and other species in Lake Huron and also provide for a public comment period.  Newcomb encouraged anglers to attend, "This is a great opportunity to get questions answered and be part of the public process for fishery management."


Illinois

Sam Romano Fishing Tournament Winners 

Congratulations to the winning anglers in the 10th Annual Sam Romano Lake Michigan Fishing Tournament, benefitting youth fishing and hunting programs through the Illinois Conservation Foundation. 

 

Those aboard the charter boat Noble with Captain Dale Florek were Mort Blanc, Ken Fukuyami and Ted Eisenberg of

Chicago, Kim Presbrey of Aurora, and Scott Presbrey of Ft. Myers, Florida.  Their day's catch totaled 51 lbs.  Bill Proctor, a member of Salmon Unlimited, caught the biggest fish of the event.  Proctor caught an 18 lb chinook while fishing aboard the charter boat King Olaf with Captain Dave Lucas.  The Sam Romano Lake Michigan Fishing Tournament was held on July 21 out of North Point Marina in Lake County.

 


Commission approves new Nature Preserves

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Illinois has added two new nature preserves and additions to two existing nature preserves.

 

Areas that are dedicated as nature preserves may be used for activities including hiking, wildlife viewing, nature photography and approved scientific research.  Areas registered as land and water reserves may be used for the same activities, along with fishing, hunting and other approved activities that do not damage the natural features of the protected area.  Activities are allowed at nature preserves and land and water reserves only with the permission of the private landowner.

 

The latest nature preserve dedications approved by the Commission are:

 

Jackson Co. -  Lovets Pond Nature Preserve

The Illinois DNR owns and manages the 90 acres of the Lovets Pond Illinois Natural Areas Inventory site now dedicated as a nature preserve. The site is a wetland ecosystem of 150 acres, 15 miles west of Murphysboro.  It is characterized by pond, shrub swamp, swamp, marsh, floodplain forest and successional field providing habitat for aquatic and semi-aquatic organisms, more than 300 species of plants, along with four endangered and two threatened animal species. The natural character of Lovets Pond is rare and is similar to the earliest known pre-settlement description of the land in the region.  (Contact: Judy Faulkner-Dempsey, 618/684-2660)

 

Marshall Co. - Addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve

Landowners Maury Brucker and Emiko Yang sought approval

of a half-acre addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve, an 8.3-acre site included within the 78-acre Hopewell Estates Hill Prairies Natural Area in the village of Hopewell.  The existing nature preserve includes glacial drift hill prairie and upland forest habitat. The new addition supports woodlands of white oak, mockernut hickory, red oak and sugar maple in the canopy and hazelnut, black haw and bitternut hickory in the shrub layer.  French grass is present within the ground flora in more open areas.  The addition increases the nature preserve to 8.8 acres.  (Contact: Tom Lerczak, 309/543-2744)   

 

McHenry Co. - Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve

The Boone Creek Watershed Alliance sought approval for dedication of a 36-acre tract as the Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve, located near McHenry.  The site is named in recognition of an abundance of silver-bordered fritillary, which has as its scientific name Boloria selene. The site was recently included on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory for high-quality graminoid fen and sedge meadow habitat.  Dry-mesic forest dominates the balance of the site.  Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadows were acquired by the Boone Creek Watershed Alliance with the financial assistance of the Illinois DNR C2000 program and the previous landowner. (Contact: Steven Byers, 815/385-9074)

 

With the Commission's announcement, Illinois now has 325 nature preserves in 80 counties totaling 43,930 acres, and 119 land and water reserves in 55 counties totaling 35,300 acres.


Deer Hunter applications approved

Applications still available for Resident Youth Antlerless-Only hunt

All hunters who applied for Illinois non-resident combination archery deer permits for 2005 will be receiving permits.   While 20,000 permits were allocated, approximately 18,500 applications were received. 

The non-resident combination archery deer permits will be mailed and applicants should receive them within the next month.  No other non-resident combination archery permits will be available, though non-residents may still obtain

antlerless-only archery permits.   Applications are also still

being accepted through Aug. 12 for non-resident and resident firearm deer permits for the second firearm lottery.

 

Reminder: Applications are available for the 2005 Illinois Resident Youth Antlerless-Only Deer hunt.  The hunt is open only to Illinois youth who have not reached their 16th birthday by the start of the hunt, scheduled this year for Oct. 8-9.   The fee for the Youth Deer Hunt permit is $10.  Applications are available at IDNR offices or on the web site at http://dnr.state.il.us.


Sportsmen Against Hunger Fun Shoot August 21

Help the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program by participating in a number of upcoming fun events and fundraisers. 

 

The ISAH program encourages deer hunters to donate their harvest for processing into venison donated to food pantries and food banks throughout Illinois.  Buck Stop Archery in Brownstown is hosting a 3D Archery Fun Shoot benefitting the ISAH program on Aug. 21.  Registration is from 8-11:30 a.m. 

 

Buck Stop Archery is located on U.S. Rt. 40 just west of 

Brownstown in Fayette County.  For more information, call 618/427-5264.  Boggy Bottom Archery Club and Clifton Sportsman's Club (8 miles south of Kankakee on U.S. Rt. 45-52) will hold a 3D shoot benefiting the ISAH program on Aug. 28.  The course opens at 9 a.m. 

 

For more info, call 815/697-2046 or 815/939-4088.  Pool's Taxidermy on U.S. Rt. 136 in Colchester is sponsoring a Big Buck and Big Doe Contest to benefit the ISAH program.  For more information, call 309/776-3337.

 


Baldwin Lake Youth Hunt - Send info by Sept 12

The Illinois DNR will conduct a drawing on September 14 for 26 youth to hunt antlerless deer during the Resident Youth Antlerless-Only Deer Hunt, October 8-9. The special hunt will occur on part of the Baldwin Lake rest area at Kaskaskia River State Fish and Wildlife Area between Baldwin Lake and the Doza Creek Waterfowl Management Area. 

 

To be eligible for the site drawing, send the applicant's name,

mailing address, and indicate in which county his or her youth

deer hunt permit is valid (St. Clair or Randolph) printed on a standard postcard to the site office by Sept. 12.  The site address is Kaskaskia River State Fish and Wildlife Area, 10981 Conservation Rd, Baldwin IL 62217.  For more info, call 618/443-2925.   (Reminder: The application deadline for the Resident Youth Antlerless-Only Deer Hunt first lottery is Aug. 12).


Wingshooting Clinics Aug. 20 – Sept 17

The Illinois DNR and a variety of participating sponsors are hosting a series of wingshooting clinics for beginners and hunters this summer.  At select youth/women's clinics, Saturday session instruction is available for young wingshooters 10 - 15 years of age.  Sunday sessions are for girls and women and are open to all those ages 10 and older.  Instructors are certified by the National Sporting Clays Association. 

 

All supplies including shotguns and ammunition are provided at youth/women's clinics.  Hunter clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of hunters ages 16 and older.  Hunters with wingshooting skill levels from beginner to advanced are encouraged to attend. A small fee is assessed each hunter clinic participant to cover the cost of clay targets 

and refreshments. 

 

Upcoming Youth/Women's clinics include:

            Aug. 20-21 - Shabonna Lake State Park (DeKalb County) - 815/758-2773

            Aug. 27-28 - Fisher (Champaign County) - 217/935-6860

            Aug. 28 - Decatur (Macon County) - 217/877-4096

            Sept. 10-11 - Sam Dale Lake Conservation Area (Wayne County) - 618/835-2292

            Sept. 17-18 - Johnson Sauk Trail State Park (Henry County) - 309/853-5589

Upcoming Hunter's clinics are:

            Sept. 10-11 - Amboy (Lee County) - 815/857-2320

            Sept. 17-18 - Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA (Cass County) - 217/452-7741


Indiana

September venison workshops

Learn how to process and prepare venison at one of four September workshops sponsored by Purdue Cooperative Extension Service.  The program features a deer processing demonstration. Purdue Chef Emeritus Hubert Schmeider will teach participants butchering, preparation and cooking techniques.

 

Each workshop will also address food safety and handling procedures, and concerns about chronic wasting disease.

 

All programs start at 6 p.m. local time and the workshop fee is $10. 

 

For more information or to register:

Dubois County - September 12

Dubois County Fairgrounds (Jasper)

Contact Ripley County Extension, 812-689-6511

 

Jennings County - September 13

Southeast Purdue Ag Center (Butlerville)

Contact Ripley County Extension, 812-689-6511

 

Randolph County - September 14

Davis Purdue Ag Center (Farmland)

Contact Henry County Extension, 765-529-5002

 

Tippecanoe County - September 15

Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds (Lafayette)

Contact Henry County Extension-765-529-5002


Fall turkey hunting regs and range

Indiana's first fall turkey-hunting season will run Oct. 1 to Oct. 23, 2005. Archery equipment can be used the entire season. Firearms will be allowed from Oct. 19 to Oct. 23.  Spring turkey hunting licenses are not valid for fall turkey hunting.

 

The fall turkey bag limit is one wild turkey of either sex per fall. Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to sunset. Hunters should immediately tag their turkey with a paper stating the hunter's name, address, date of kill and sex of bird. 

Turkeys can be checked at deer check stations. Turkeys should be checked within 48 hours. The tag issued by the check station should be affixed to the leg of the turkey through a section of skin or flesh until processing.

 

Indiana regs and fall range map:  www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/huntguide1/hunting1.htm

 

Hunting licenses are available online at: www.great-lakes.org/licenses.html


Fall turkey hunting seminars

The National Wild Turkey Federation and the Indiana DNR are helping introduce Hoosier hunters to Indiana’s fall turkey hunting season by offering three Fall Wild Turkey Hunting Seminars.

 

At the free seminars, conservation officers will explain rules and regulations, DNR wildlife biologists will put in plain words the science behind the new fall wild turkey season, and fall hunting experts will discuss fall turkey hunting techniques.

Seminars:

(Times listed are local times. Registration is not required)

-The Indianapolis Gander Mountain store on Sept. 17, 1 - 4 p.m.

-Sugar Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area near Winslow on Sept. 18, 1 - 4 p.m.

-Versailles State Park, Ripley County, Oak Grove Shelter, Sept. 19, 6 - 9 p.m.

 


Michigan

DNR to Hold Meeting to Discuss Lake Huron Chinook Issues, Stocking August 20

The Michigan DNR will host a public meeting on Saturday, Aug. 20, at Saginaw Valley State University to discuss the Chinook salmon fishery in Lake Huron. The meeting will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall on the SVSU campus in University Center.

 

Saginaw Valley State University is located, between Saginaw and Bay City, 7400 Bay Rd, Saginaw, 48604, just off I-75

 

"Research and angler catch surveys show that Chinook salmon are much smaller and harder to find in Lake Huron than in past years," said Acting Assistant Fish Chief Tammy Newcomb. "The abundance of prey fish that are eaten by game fish is at very low levels, similar to 1998.  The scientists are uncertain if this large reduction  in prey fish is due to a major change in the food web of the lake as a result of an

aquatic invasive species or if it is a temporary imbalance between predators and prey."

 

As a result, Newcomb said the DNR, along with the Lake Huron Citizens' Advisory Committee, is recommending a 50 % reduction in the number of Chinook salmon stocked in Lake Huron to try to restore balance between the number of salmon and their prey and in turn improve the Chinook salmon fishery.  Newcomb added that there is good news in Lake Huron - walleye and lake trout are doing very well in the lake this year and look good for the coming years.

 

The meeting will feature an informational session on the current status of Chinook salmon and other species in Lake Huron and also provide for a public comment period.  Newcomb encouraged anglers to attend, "This is a great opportunity to get questions answered and be part of the public process for fishery management."


New York

Humans responsible for unwelcome fish

The recent discovery of snakeheads in Meadow Lake is a reminder that invasive species almost never invade on their own. They are nearly always assisted by humans. No one knows yet how snakeheads found their way to a manmade

lake in the middle of Queens, NY but they didn't walk or swim or drive. They were almost certainly carried there by a person who either thought it would be a good idea or who simply wasn't thinking at all.


Assembly sues DEC to get hunting license buyer’s names

The Senate and Assembly have attempted to get the names and addresses of hunting license buyers.  This used to be available to them before the automated license system by obtaining the list of deer management (DMU) permits.   The New York State Conservation Council has opposed this in the past, and it would not happen under the new automated system.  DEC and the Council have objected to the list being given out, and at this point the Senate has backed off, but not the Assembly.

 

Subsequently, a suit has been filed in Albany to force (by law) the DEC to release the list.  DEC and the Council have objected.  The Assembly has decided to pursue this, and we are now at the point where we must file an affidavit stating our opposition and why.  It is my understanding that the Attorney

General (whose job it is) does not want to represent DEC, so a deal to have an independent counsel has been worked out.  The attorney is in New York, and I have been in contact with him.  We have sent a copy of our by-laws and other information on the Council so he can better understand our function and who we represent.  At this point, if we file an affidavit with the lawyer in opposition to giving out any license buyer information, it will not cost us anything and it will give the case more strength. 

 

Why does the Assembly want this list?  If you look at the list of legislation the Assembly considered this past session, it gives you a pretty good idea ... raise the legal hunting age to 18, ban all semi-auto guns, ban the so-called canned hunts, ban hunting contests, and the list goes on.  Form your own opinion. 


Pennsylvania

In Defense of Dead Trees

HARRISBURG - There's no denying they don't seem to offer much that property owners find appealing. They're messy and leafless, insect-infested, and, in some instances, even threatening. But Pennsylvania Game Commission officials want landowners to know that the benefits dead trees or snags provide wildlife are immense. In fact, in Pennsylvania today, dead trees are in higher demand for certain wildlife species than living ones, mostly because there are so few of them.

 

Prior to European colonization, much of the state was covered by a dense forestland that had a substantial number of dead and dying trees. It was a great time for cavity-nesting birds and squirrels. The state's settlement, of course, would change that eventually. And to this day, development continues to swallow more wild lands and often forestland or woodlots. Dead and dying trees typically are some of the first to be cleared.

 

The main problems developers and some property owners have with dead trees and snags are their unattractiveness and the usual threats associated with their deterioration. But wildlife managers familiar with the important habitat dead and dying trees provide forest ecosystems believe these trees deserve more respect than they're getting. They can - and should - be managed with the same considerations live trees receive.

 

"Dozens of wild birds and mammals use tree cavities for shelter, resting or nesting," explained Cal DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director. "Some excavate their own cavities in the decaying wood of dead and dying trees. Others wait for a woodpecker to do the work and then occupy and enlarge the cavity.

 

"These cavities in dead and dying trees - as well as some living trees - are invaluable to bluebirds, American kestrels, wood ducks, flickers, pileated woodpeckers, chickadees and many other species. Their limited availability makes each one a precious commodity in any forest, woodlot or backyard."

 

The natural benefits provided by dead and dying trees extend

beyond cavities in the trunk. The separating or peeling bark can shelter resting bats during daylight hours, or provide habitat for insects that many wild birds consume. The bare, weather-worn branches are favored hunting perches for hawks and owls. After the tree falls, it provides shelter for amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and insects. The tree's decaying debris also returns nutrients to the soil, ultimately strengthening the forest's ability to support life.

 

The Game Commission has a State Game Lands tree policy in place that requires snags and den trees to be retained on timber harvest areas. This retention policy allows for these valuable wildlife havens to be retained and incorporated into future plans for the stand. The agency's management philosophy is guided by creating a balance of habitat types on State Game Lands, providing the immediate habitat of the dead trees while providing the essential elements of early successional type habitats necessary for species such as ruffed grouse and American woodcock, along with the highly sensitive species such as golden-winged warblers.

 

It has been estimated that dead trees and trees that contain decaying wood provide important habitat for about 25% of the forest wildlife species in the northeastern United States. Considering that, it quickly becomes obvious that nesting boxes only can help ease the demand. Moreover, nesting boxes just don't provide the insulating qualities that tree cavities offer in winter. They are mostly a warm-weather solution to the plight of cavity-nesters, not a panacea.

 

A dead tree can stand for decades, providing critical shelter and food to myriad species. It's a habitat high-rise that attracts considerable attention in any wildlife community or ecosystem. What determines how long the tree will stand includes factors such as whether it's surrounded by other trees that will reduce wind and impede sunlight, the species of tree (hardwoods such as oak typically remain upright longer), and the type of terrain or area in which it grew. Trees near streams seem to take more abuse from the elements than other places because they have greater exposure to water and shade.


Commission supports Bill to stop collecting Social Security #s

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross offered his praise and support for the efforts of state Sen. Sean Logan (D-Allegheny) and state Rep. Steven W. Cappelli (R-Lycoming) to remove the requirement that the agency collect Social Security #s from angling, hunting and furtaker license buyers.

 

"We have heard from a number of our license buyers that they do not appreciate being required to provide their Social Security Numbers when purchasing a license," Ross said.  "Frankly, I don't either and I don't blame other hunters and trappers who resent being asked to provide their Social Security Numbers.  In fact, collecting Social Security Numbers is not something the Game Commission wants to do or even asked to do.

 

"But, because of federal and state laws enacted in the late 1990s, the Game Commission is required to collect Social Security Numbers from our license buyers.  As a state agency, we cannot knowingly violate any state or federal law.  And, we can't pick and choose which laws we would like to enforce."

 

An avid hunter, Ross noted that he has been required to provide his Social Security Number when purchasing licenses in Montana and Wyoming, as well as Pennsylvania.

 

Over the past few years, U.S. Congress has enacted a number of new laws to improve enforcement of child support obligations. As part of a broad welfare reform effort, the U.S. Congress required states to implement new requirements to encourage payment of child support. States that failed to implement these requirements faced possible loss of federal welfare funds.

The federal welfare reform includes provisions that affect recreational licenses holders, including those who buy angling, hunting and furtaker licenses. One provision requires states to deny hunting and fishing licenses to certain persons in arrears on child support when a court issues an order revoking or denying such licenses. Another provision requires government agencies to obtain Social Security Numbers from applicants for recreational licenses, including hunting and furtaker licenses.

 

In 1997, the Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted comprehensive legislation to implement the new federal requirements at the state level. This law addressed hundreds of issues and, as with the federal law, one provision of the state law requires the collection of Social Security Numbers of applicants for various licenses, including hunting and furtaker licenses.

 

Sen. Logan, on Aug. 3, announced he plans to introduce state legislation on this issue.  Rep. Cappelli, also on Aug. 3, announced he plans to work with state House and Senate leaders to urge Congress to repeal the requirement from federal law.

 

"The majority of our issuing agents are following the correct procedures, and our instructions to them clearly state that they are required to keep license buyer information confidential," Ross said.  "However, public concern has compelled us to remind all of them of the seriousness of safeguarding license information."

 

Ross noted that license buyers who encounter problems at any issuing agent should contact the Bureau of Law Enforcement at (717) 783-6526, or the License Division at 717-787-2084.


Game Commission provides testimony on financial situation

Addressed Joint Meeting of Senate/House Game & Fisheries Committees

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission officials April 9 delivered a presentation to a joint meeting of the Senate and House Game and Fisheries committees regarding the agency's financial situation.

 

The joint meeting was the culmination of a series of updates regarding the agency's growing need for additional revenues, and followed meetings between agency senior managers and Reps. Bruce Smith (R-York) and Edward Staback (D-Lackawanna), who serve as Republican and Democratic chairmen of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, respectively.  Sen. Joe Conti (R-Bucks), who chairs the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, opened the meeting and joined other House and Senate members in asking questions.

 

"The last license fee increase approved by the General Assembly in 1998, which took effect on July 1, 1999, did not keep up with the rate of inflation and, given fixed costs and stable license sales, the agency's revenues will continue to fall behind the cost of doing business and result in future cuts in programs and services," said Vern Ross, Game Commission executive director. 

 

According to Game Commission estimates, agency revenues from a general adult hunting license in 1985 was $12.75, and revenues from a general adult hunting license in 1999 was $19.  However, by 1999, using the Consumer Price Index to determine the rate of inflation, the agency's revenues from a general adult hunting license should have been $19.68.  For the 2005 license year, continuing to use CPI for inflation, a general adult hunting license should cost $23.19.

 

"As the members of this committee know, the majority of our revenues come from the sale of hunting and furtaker licenses," Ross said.  "In 2004, all license fees accounted for just under $39 million of our total revenues.  Additional funding is received from our share of the federal Pittman-Robertson program, which amounts to between $7 million and $9 million annually.   Another major source of funding is from our timber management program."

 

In 2004-05, timber revenues amounted to $14.9 million.

 

Ross noted that while the overall license revenues have been stable, there have been increases in various license categories due to expanded hunting opportunities approved by the agency's Board of Game Commissioners.  For example, youth hunting licenses sales have increased from 100,845 in 1998, to 109,644 in 2004. 

 

"Much of this increase in youth license sales can be attributed to the expanded youth hunting opportunities we have been offering," Ross said.  "Specifically, the Board created a youth spring gobbler season, initiated in 2004; a youth pheasant hunt, initiated in 2002 and expanded in 2005; a youth waterfowl hunt, initiated in 1996 and expanded in 2005; special antlerless deer harvesting opportunities, 1998 and expanded in 2001; a youth squirrel hunt, initiated in 1996 and expanded in 2004; and youth field days, established in the early 1990s."

 

Also, as part of the license fee increase approved in 1998, the General Assembly created a junior combination license that packages regular license privileges with archery, flintlock and furtaking opportunities for $9, compared to the regular junior license price of $6.

 

Ross added that the agency has realized increases in bear license and muzzleloader stamp sales, as hunting

opportunities have increased for both categories.  In 2000-01, we sold 104,279 bear licenses and 137,737 muzzleloader stamps.  In 2004-05, we sold 132,181 bear licenses and 200,193 muzzleloader stamps.

 

"Shortly after becoming executive director, I saw that the new revenues of the 1998 fee increase would need to be stretched so that we could delay the need to return to seek another fee increase," Ross said.  "To begin addressing this, we started to implement internal cuts in the agency's budget.  Our goal was to not impact public services and expectations.  However, there was no way to prevent internal cuts from having some impact on the public. 

 

"For example, cuts in overtime budgets eventually translates into fewer services such as not having employees available for a public or school program, or results in longer response times, such as wildlife nuisance calls or responding to road-kills.

 

"Also, for the past four years, we have had a zero-growth Game Fund budget.  During that time, inflation has taken more of a bite out of our revenues - such as gasoline increases, and the cost of vehicles - and we have been cutting other costs to keep a zero-growth Game Fund budget while trying to maintain services to the public."

 

In addition to the increased costs of doing business, Ross pointed out that the agency also has other mandated costs beyond senior managers' control, such as contract salary increases, which will mean another $4 million plus over the next two years in addition to the $1 million increase last year. 

 

"This means that, unless we have a license fee increase soon, because of our license year structure, the long term effect will be a leaner 2006-07 and an even leaner 2007-08, which will require additional spending cuts that will further impact our ability to deliver programs and services to the public," Ross said.

 

Ross also noted that, at the direction of the General Assembly, the agency put in place a meaningful Strategic Plan that lays out the core programs and services that should and must be provided to the public by the agency.  However, due to its financial situation, the agency is unable to fund many of its programs to meet goals.

 

"Also at the direction of the General Assembly, we have begun to explore other financial avenues," Ross said. "For example, the Board of Game Commissioners recently received IRS approval for the creation of the Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation.  As designed, the Foundation will be able to raise, receive, acquire and distribute funds and other property for education and research for the conservation of wildlife; to increase and improve habitat; and to promote our hunting and trapping heritage in Pennsylvania."

 

Ross noted that the Foundation will be separate and independent from the Game Commission with a separate Board of Directors. 

 

"Also, in discussions with some members, we have found a willingness to create a Pennsylvania-version of the federal Pittman-Robertson program, or the establishment of an inflationary indexed fee increase that will automatically adjust on an annual basis to keep up with the cost of living," Ross said.  "In review, I believe that you will find that the Game Commission has been an excellent steward of hunters and trappers dollars and of Pennsylvania's wildlife and habitat.  We already do a lot for all citizens with hunters' dollars, but would like to be able to expand our programs.  With increased resources, we can bring programs up to previous levels and do more to manage wildlife and serve all Pennsylvanians."


Ontario

Monster Lake Trout caught on Lake Temagami

Marcel Piquette of Cache Bay Ontario caught this monster lake trout on July 11, in Lake Temagami. Piquette  was using 

downriggers to troll a live minnowsomewhere in the north end of the lake. The fish was 43.5" long and had a girth of 27". By the time he was able to get it weighed it was 42 lbs.  Marcel plans to get the fish mounted.


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