Week of October 1, 2007

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World

Sea Treaty Dumped by Reagan, Up for Passage Now

Urge your Senators to Vote AGAINST the UN Law of the Sea Treaty!

An international treaty that President Reagan vetoed in the early 1980s is being re-visited in the Senate this week where State Department and Defense Department officials are expected to push for its ratification.

 

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was designed to establish rules governing military and commercial use of the world's oceans. The rights and responsibilities of each nation are outlined in the treaty text. Since 1994, 153 countries have ratified LOST. These countries include Iraq, Kuwait, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Saudi Arabia, China, Pakistan, Cuba, and Somalia, just to name a few. LOST will sell out both American interests and taxpayer dollars to many socialist, third-world nations. There isn’t even a guarantee that the United States would have even one judge on the 21-member international court. However, one thing is certain: The UN’s multilateral agencies and bureaucrats cannot be trusted to oversee or administer 70% of the world’s surface covered by its oceans. Call your Senators today to explain the dangers of this treaty!

 

The Law of the Sea Treaty, or LOST, created the International Seabed Authority (ISA), giving it total jurisdiction over all the oceans and everything in them, including the ocean floor with “all” its riches (“solid, liquid or gaseous mineral resources”), along with the power to regulate seven/tenths of the world's surface. The treaty remains highly defective, despite claims by both the Clinton and Bush Administrations that all Reagan’s concerns have been “fixed.”

 

If the Senate were to ratify it, LOST would do the following:

 

►Threaten American sovereignty by subjecting our governmental, military, and business operations to mandatory dispute resolution, to be decided by bodies that have a reputation for being Anti-American. These “disputes” will be decided in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

 

►Compromise American security by requiring the transfer of sensitive, militarily useful technologies to other nations and international organizations hostile to American interests.

 

►Impose U.S. compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, the UN environmentalism treaty.

Establish an international tax, which would take money out of the American business revenue stream for the ISA’s use and could be easily transferred to socialist, anti-American nations, which constitute the majority of the nations who have already ratified LOST.

►Grant the U.S. only one vote, despite the fact that the vast majority of funding will come from American taxpayers.

 

Proponents claim the treaty will protect U.S. interests while also safeguarding natural resources. However, former Reagan administration officials and conservative activists continue to express misgivings.

 

"The Navy does support the treaty," Candice Tresh, a

spokesperson for the Navy at the Pentagon, told Cybercast News Service. "We've been following the procedures for about two decades now." She also said the Navy viewed the treaty as beneficial for U.S. national security interests. Moreover, she was not aware of any overriding concerns pertaining to international bodies empowered by the treaty, such as the United Nations.

 

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking minority member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, emphasized the importance of "moving quickly" to approve the treaty before election year politics interfere. The treaty would "plug a large hole" in U.S. national security, he wrote in a recent essay. Moreover, he contends, a new agreement on the deep seabed mining provision has "resolved all of President Reagan's stated concerns."

 

But Cliff Kincaid, president of America's Survival, an organization that monitors the U.N., disagrees. Reagan's objections extended beyond the mining provision and concerned important questions of national sovereignty, Kincaid told Cybercast News Service.

 

The late James Malone, who served as Reagan's special representative during the treaty negotiations, outlined some of the additional objections in his 1995 Senate testimony. "The collectivist and redistributionist provisions of the treaty were at the core of the U.S. refusal to sign," Malone said at the time. "Today, not only are the seabed mining provisions inadequately corrected, and the collectivist ideologies of a now-repudiated system of global central planning still imbedded in the treaty, new and potentially serious concerns have arisen." Among the concerns Malone listed was the creation of a "huge bureaucracy to govern the world's oceans" that would most likely ally against American interests.

 

Although the treaty has been turned back multiple times, it now appears to have momentum, said Kincaid. Top officials from President Bush on down have expressed support, he said.  In a statement in May, President Bush said that UNCLOS "will secure U.S. sovereign rights over extensive marine areas, including the valuable natural resources they contain." Nicole Thompson, a State Department spokesperson, said her agency also supports the treaty.

 

The U.S. military has become compliant in large part as a result of the undue influence of international lawyers, said Kincaid. "Too many JAG officers have bought into the idea of a global community," he said. Another major factor driving policy at the Pentagon concerns the current state of the U.S. Navy, said Kincaid.  "The reason the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard are supporting this treaty is they think it somehow provides for navigational rights on the high seas," he said.

 

"But this position papers over the real problem, which is the decline in the number of ships we have. Under Reagan we had 594, and now we're down to 276 ships, and it's scheduled to decline over the next 10 years to 180. What we need are more ships, not more lawyers and not more international tribunals," Kincaid added.


National

Water Projects approved by Senate

Includes Asian Carp Barrier and other Great Lakes projects

The U.S. Senate on Monday, September 24 approved the Water Resources Development Act, which was modified by a joint House-Senate committee, by a vote of 81-to-12. The vote would appear to give it a veto-proof majority, if the president does go thru with his threatened veto.

 

The legislation authorizes some $21 billion in national water projects, including an Asian carp barrier to the Great Lakes and many others that would impact the Great Lakes. The original bills were for $12 billion in the House and $15 Billion in the Senate. The $6 billion increase apparently ticked off the president as being so much pork barrel.

 

In August, the House approved the legislation 381-to-40, a majority also capable of overcoming the president’s veto. Among the other projects which would be included in the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act are a new shipping lock in Sault Ste. Marie and the dredging of shipping channels and harbors around the Great Lakes.

 

Senate bill on looming EPA debacle

Good news from Washington! A companion bill to HR 2550 has just been introduced in the U.S. Senate. It’s an important step in our struggle to end the looming debacle that, beginning next September, would force all our customers to acquire a federal water discharge permit from the EPA.

 

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Florida) has introduced S. 2067, the Recreational Boating Act of 2007. It is identical to HR 2550, the bill introduced in the U.S. House about 6 weeks ago to exempt

recreational boats from the Clean Water Act.

 

As I wrote in this Dealer Outlook Blog July 31 what’s at stake is ugly and two-fold. First, existing boaters, faced with still another regulatory hassle could easily say “enough is enough” and choose to get out of boating. Second, requiring another permit clearly sets up one more barrier-to-entry for the family considering our sport.  We can’t afford either!

 

Sen. Martinez’s bill has six co-sponsors. They are Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.); Trent Lott (R-Miss.); Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.); Jim Bunning (R-Ky.); Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.); and John Cornyn (R-Texas). The good news is there are six co-sponsors.  The bad news is no Democrats. Clearly, it’s critical we get co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle and that’s where dealers can play a key role now. We need every dealer to write, call or e-mail their respective two Senators (Democrats and Republicans) and ask them to show their support by becoming a co-sponsor of S. 2067.

 

A recent U.S. District Court ruling, primarily addressing ballast water from ships, also wiped out a 3-dacades-old EPA exemption for recreational boaters from provisions of the Clean Water Act. Specifically, it prohibits deck runoff (can’t wash the boat) and gray water (can’t wash your hands) or discharging engine cooling water without a permit – all activities incidental to the normal operation of a boat. 

 

No, no, don’t put it off, please. Write, call or e-mail your Senators today. Moreover, have your employees do the same over the next few days. We can win this battle, but it will take all of us to get it done.


Hunters/Anglers have immense impact on economy

New Report Reveals Immense Economic powerhouse impact of Hunting and Fishing in America

A Force as Big as All Outdoors - Spending $76 Billion a Year

Washington, DC, September 26, 2007 - A new report released by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation demonstrates that by any measure, America’s 34 million hunters and anglers are among the most prominent and influential of all demographic groups.  Spending more than $76 billion a year on hunting and fishing, America’s hunters and anglers would rank in the top 20 list on the Fortune 500.  In fact their spending is greater than the revenues of high-tech giants Microsoft, Google, eBay and Yahoo - combined.

 

These latest figures demonstrate that season after season hunters and anglers are an economic powerhouse, driving the economy from big businesses to rural towns, through booms and recessions.  They directly support 1.6 million jobs, which is twice as many jobs as the combined civilian payrolls of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps.  

 

While hunting and fishing are generally thought of as just outdoor traditions, they actually comprise an outdoor nation - both in terms of economic impact, and in turning out the vote on Election Day.  If the $76 billion sportsmen spend on hunting and fishing was the Gross Domestic Product of a country, sportsmen as a nation would rank 57th out of 181 countries.

 

• Spending by sportsmen generates $76 billion annually

• Sportsmen generate 25 billion a year in federal, state and local taxes

• Hunters and Anglers support 1.6 million jobs

• Hunters and anglers are the original green movement, - spending more than $1 billion on licenses, stamps, tags and permits annually- all of which goes to fund conservation programs run by state fish and wildlife agencies.

• It is estimated that there are forty million sportsmen of voting age in the US - nearly a third of the entire vote.  Nearly 8 in 10 hunters always vote in presidential elections.

 

Broken down to a daily spending figure, the economic stimulus of hunting and fishing comes out to an astounding $208 million a day.  This spending keeps people working: not just in typical hunting and fishing jobs, but also in gas stations, retail, restaurants and hotels throughout every state and congressional district of the USA.  Of course, government coffers also benefit -- spending by sportsmen generates $25 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

 

“Hunters have an unequaled passion for their outdoor traditions, spending 220 million days in the woods, fields and wetlands each year and nearly $2,000 per person on firearms, ammunition and other equipment and services,” said Doug Painter, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “That’s $23 billion pumped into the economy, benefiting not only the manufacturers of hunting-related products, but everything from local mom and pop businesses to wildlife conservation in every state in America.”

 

Even despite the recent rise in fuel costs, hunters and anglers

remained immune to jumps in gas prices; spending a total of $1.8 billion in motorboat fuel on hunting and fishing activities. 

 

“Boating plays a larger role in hunting and fishing than people realize, especially in terms of money spent and participation,” noted Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.  “Figures from the USFWS survey estimate that sportsmen spend more than $11 billion on boat fuel, boats and related equipment to get them out on the water.” 

 

The report, Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors, uses the results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and compares hunters’ and anglers’ impact on the economy with other industries and constituencies. 

 

“This report clearly demonstrates the tremendous impact that sportsmen and women have on their communities, the economy, the environment, and even on politics,” said U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, avid sportsman and co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.  “Their presence is too great to be ignored by policymakers in Washington, DC, and I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to look at this report and make sportsmen’s issues a priority.”

 

These latest figures continue to demonstrate that by any measure, hunters and anglers are among the most prominent and influential of all groups.  Lawmakers and regulators make decisions every day that affect sportsmen.  After the last two presidential elections, it has become clear that hunters and anglers are an active voting constituency.  Hunters and anglers pay attention, and take those decisions into account when they vote. 

 

While recent media attention has focused on the small decreases in licensed sportsmen, the CSF report focuses on the economic powerhouse of hunters and anglers and how they compare to other sectors of the economy.  The report also discusses the “undocumented sportsmen” – hunters and anglers whose numbers cannot be derived from this data. 

 

It is a fairly simple equation - hunters and anglers mean jobs and tax revenue in every state and congressional district of the country,” stated Crane.  “The economic impact and shear size of sportsmen as a constituency are facts that every lawmaker should pay attention too.”

 

“Auto manufacturers are well aware of this demographics tremendous economic impact,” said Dave McCurdy, president & CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.  “Hunters and anglers are among our largest consumer groups for pick-up trucks and SUVs and because those vehicles best meet their needs.  In fact, in 2006, for the fifth year in a row, sales of these larger vehicles exceeded passenger car sales.”

 

The report: “Hunting and Fishing:  Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors along with FAST FACTS” is available at: www.nssf.org


NMMA backs Recreational Boating Act

The Recreational Boating Act, designed to protect recreational boaters from new commercial ballast water permitting regulations, was introduced in the U.S. Senate. U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., last week introduced the Senate version of H.R.2550.  “Requiring family boaters to secure a Clean Water Act permit so they can wash their boat, fish or go water skiing is ridiculous,” Martinez said in a statement. “This permit requirement is unnecessary and onerous.”

 

For 34 years the EPA has exempted discharges from recreational boats from the Clean Water Act permit system. However, a recent court ruling (Sept. 26 U.S. District Court) intended to address the ballast water issue permitting issue cancelled this exemption.  “Without congressional approval of

the Recreational Boating Act, the court’s existing decision means that everyday boaters will have to apply for the same expensive permits as ocean-going commercial vessels” said Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA.  Large ocean-going vessels are blamed for some 10,000 invasive species introduced into U.S. waters.

 

NMMA is strongly backing passage of the Recreational Boating Act of 2007 and encourages the public to take action before the ruling goes into effect next year. A court-mandated deadline is set for September 2008, which would require the EPA to have the permitting requirements in place.  “We now have the enormous task ahead of passing a legislative fix before time runs out,” said Dammrich.


Acid Rain Makes Some Park Streams Unfavorable

to Fish

Shenandoah National Park vulnerable to acid rain

Many streams in Shenandoah National Park are vulnerable to acid rain. Steep slopes, small watersheds, and underlying geology, combined with acid rain make many streams inhospitable to native fish for extended periods of time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

 

“Because of acid rain, Shenandoah is the third most contaminated park in the national park system,” said Karen Rice, the USGS scientist who led the study.  “Many streams in the park have low acid neutralizing capacities for periods lasting from six hours to one week.  About 14 percent of the park’s watersheds will have 3-day episodes of acidity sufficient to kill native fish such as brook trout. These high acid episodes occur at least once every two years.”

 

Acid neutralizing capacity is an important factor in stream-water quality and biologic health. In Shenandoah National Park, the rains are typically ten times more acidic than normal rainfall. The pH of rainfall in the park is usually 4.6, although it

has dipped well below 4.0. Normal rain has a pH of 5.6.  (pH is a logarithmic scale, therefore each whole-number denotes a 10-fold change.)

 

While this study did not look at likely impacts to fish populations, the long-term outlook for fish inhabiting streams with the lowest acid neutralizing capacity is not good. Over the next 40-100 years, there is a greater than 90 percent probability in the most vulnerable streams of at least one acid episode every year for four consecutive years.

 

The USGS, and the University of Virginia, in cooperation with the National Park Service began this study in 2002 to predict stream response to acid rain.  They found that the vulnerability of a stream to acid rain was controlled by a combination of factors including watershed size, elevation, steepness of gradient and underlying rock type. Streams with the greatest vulnerability were in small watersheds with a high elevation, steep gradient, and were underlain by silicate bedrock.  Those underlain by basaltic rocks have a greater capacity to neutralize acid rain, all other factors being equal.


Regional

Water Projects approved by Senate

Includes Asian Carp Barrier and other Great Lakes projects

The U.S. Senate on Monday, September 24 approved the Water Resources Development Act, which was modified by a joint House-Senate committee, by a vote of 81-to-12. The vote would appear to give it a veto-proof majority, if the president does go thru with his threatened veto.

 

The legislation authorizes some $21 billion in national water projects, including an Asian carp barrier to the Great Lakes and many others that would impact the Great Lakes. The original bills were for $12 billion in the House and $15 Billion in the Senate. The $6 billion increase apparently ticked off the president as being so much pork barrel.

 

In August, the House approved the legislation 381-to-40, a majority also capable of overcoming the president’s veto. Among the other projects which would be included in the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act are a new shipping lock in Sault Ste. Marie and the dredging of shipping channels and harbors around the Great Lakes.

 

Senate bill on looming EPA debacle

Good news from Washington! A companion bill to HR 2550 has just been introduced in the U.S. Senate. It’s an important step in our struggle to end the looming debacle that, beginning next September, would force all our customers to acquire a federal water discharge permit from the EPA.

 

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Florida) has introduced S. 2067, the Recreational Boating Act of 2007. It is identical to HR 2550, the bill introduced in the U.S. House about 6 weeks ago to exempt

recreational boats from the Clean Water Act.

 

As I wrote in this Dealer Outlook Blog July 31 what’s at stake is ugly and two-fold. First, existing boaters, faced with still another regulatory hassle could easily say “enough is enough” and choose to get out of boating. Second, requiring another permit clearly sets up one more barrier-to-entry for the family considering our sport.  We can’t afford either!

 

Sen. Martinez’s bill has six co-sponsors. They are Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.); Trent Lott (R-Miss.); Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.); Jim Bunning (R-Ky.); Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.); and John Cornyn (R-Texas). The good news is there are six co-sponsors.  The bad news is no Democrats. Clearly, it’s critical we get co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle and that’s where dealers can play a key role now. We need every dealer to write, call or e-mail their respective two Senators (Democrats and Republicans) and ask them to show their support by becoming a co-sponsor of S. 2067.

 

A recent U.S. District Court ruling, primarily addressing ballast water from ships, also wiped out a 3-dacades-old EPA exemption for recreational boaters from provisions of the Clean Water Act. Specifically, it prohibits deck runoff (can’t wash the boat) and gray water (can’t wash your hands) or discharging engine cooling water without a permit – all activities incidental to the normal operation of a boat. 

 

No, no, don’t put it off, please. Write, call or e-mail your Senators today. Moreover, have your employees do the same over the next few days. We can win this battle, but it will take all of us to get it done.


Agreement Reached in Long-Standing Indian Treaty Case

The Michigan DNR, the United States, and five Michigan Indian tribes jointly announced on Sept 26 that they have reached an agreement on tribal inland hunting, fishing, and gathering rights in the 1836 Treaty area of Michigan. 

 

The agreement resolves a long-standing dispute with respect to federal and tribal claims that the Tribes retained rights under the 1836 Treaty of Washington to hunt, fish, and gather in the treaty area under tribal regulations, rather than under state law. 

 

“This agreement is especially significant in that all of the parties were able to work together to resolve this difficult and complex issue without risking the uncertainties of litigation,” Michigan DNR Director Rebecca Humphries said.  “This allowed a more acceptable resolution that protects Michigan's unique resources and addresses tribal needs.  This agreement is a fair compromise and will provide stability and predictability in an area of former legal uncertainty.” 

 

The five Michigan Indian tribes involved in the agreement are the Bay Mills Indian Community, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.  .

 

The area affected by the agreement is the portion of Michigan within the 1836 treaty boundary, which includes roughly the eastern half of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and a large area in the northern third of the Lower Peninsula.

 

The agreement recognizes a treaty-retained right for the tribes’ members to engage in certain hunting, fishing, and gathering activities within the treaty area, and for the Tribes to regulate those activities.  Tribal members may harvest natural resources under the agreement for their own subsistence use from tribal lands and from lands open to the public. 

 

With limited exceptions for species subject to commercial harvest under State law (such as furbearers), the agreement does not provide for commercial hunting, fishing, or gathering by tribal members.  Similarly, with limited exceptions (such as larger commercial forest land holdings already open to the public), the agreement does not open private land for harvesting activities without permission of landowners. 

 

The agreement does allow for some seasons and traditional Indian methods of subsistence harvest that are not available to non-tribal members, but with adequate safeguards to protect the resources being harvested.  These provisions were designed to enable the Tribes to preserve important aspects of their culture and traditions and to meet the needs

of their members.

 

“An essential part of this agreement is that Michigan’s natural resources will not be compromised,” said Jim Ekdahl, Michigan DNR’s Upper Peninsula Field Deputy and lead tribal coordinator.  “The tribes and the DNR will be working together to assure that the combined state and tribal harvest of fish, game, and forest materials will not exceed safe and appropriate harvest levels.”

 

This agreement resolves the last component of a legal dispute over 1836 treaty rights that began in Michigan in the 1970s.  Negotiations over this last portion have taken place over several years, and have also involved major interest groups around the state.  All of the parties are currently proceeding through their respective approval processes, and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe will be conducting a referendum on the agreement.  The agreement must be presented to the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan for its approval.

 

“Once we agreed to sit down and talk, it quickly became apparent that we might really be able to resolve our differences by agreement,” said Jimmie Mitchell, Natural Resources Director for the Little River Band.  “What we accomplished during this negotiation was a reaffirmation of what our respective governments agreed upon back in 1836 when the Treaty was signed.  This will allow our people to continue to derive subsistence based on age-old methodology in an expression of our cultural identity.”

 

A number of resource and property owner groups participated in the negotiations.  Speaking on behalf of the Coalition to Protect Michigan Resources, a coalition of hunting, fishing and lake property owner organizations, Frank Krist from the Hammond Bay Anglers Association said, "Reaching a settlement was difficult and no one got everything they wanted.  On balance, though, we think this agreement presents the best chance for our members to continue to enjoy the sport opportunities Michigan's North Country has to offer.  With a commitment to sound management, and a respect for everyone's rights, we think Michigan's citizens can continue to enjoy fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities for years to come."

 

 There are provisions in the agreement for the parties to meet regularly to discuss resource management issues and to modify the specifics of the agreement as necessary to provide for appropriate resource protections in the future as circumstances change over time.  The agreement will have immediate effect upon approval by the Court and has no expiration date. 

 

For more detailed information, go to:  www.michigan.gov/dnr


Great Lakes Water Levels for September 28, 2007

Weather Conditions

More beneficial rain fell across the Great Lakes basin this week as a cold front slowly pushed through the region. The heaviest rainfall occurred in the drought stricken Lake Superior basin, where over 5 inches of rain has fallen so far this month. High pressure will build into the Great Lakes region for the weekend. Sunny skies and seasonable temperatures will be the norm for most locations.

Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are all 3-4 inches lower than last year’s levels.  Lake Ontario is 11 inches below its level of one year ago.  Lake Superior and Michigan-Huron are predicted to fall one and three inches, respectively, over the next 30 days.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are projected to decline 4 to 6 inches over the next month.  The water level of each lake is expected to be below its water level of a year ago during the next few months. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflow from the St. Marys River is predicted to be well below average for September. Flows through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are also predicted to be lower than average this month. In addition, flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are expected to be below average as well.

Alerts

Due to abnormally dry conditions on the Lake Superior basin over the last several months, Lake Superior’s water level is currently below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum over the next six months. Lake Superior also set a new record low monthly average for August, and may set records for the next few months as well.  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 Aug 4

600.6

577.1

573.4

571.0

244.4

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-6

-5

+13

+21

+13

Diff last month

 +3

-4

-6

-6

-6

Diff from last yr

-4

-4

-4

-3

-11


General

Bass Pro Shops opens in Miami Oct 4

Miami--Bass Pro Shops will celebrate its 45th store’s Grand Opening beginning October 4th and continuing through Sunday, October 7th.  The store is the new anchor for the

Dolphin Mall, a 1.4-million-square foot enclosed value retail/entertainment mall located 5 miles west of Miami International Airport.


 

Illinois

Illinois fall trout season begins Oct. 20

Trout to be stocked at 36 locations

SPRINGFIELD, IL - Illinois DNR announced last week that the 2007 Illinois fall trout fishing season opens on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 36 ponds and lakes throughout the state.

 

"Autumn is a great time of year for fishing, and veteran anglers, novices, and family members of all ages can have a great time catching trout thanks to our catchable trout program," said Flood.

 

More than 70,000 trout are stocked by IDNR at the locations listed below just prior to the opening of the fall trout season.  Anglers are reminded that no trout may be taken from any of the stocked sites from Oct. 1 until the fall trout season opens on Oct. 20 at 5 a.m.

 

To take trout legally beginning Oct. 20, anglers must have a fishing license and an inland trout stamp, unless they are under the age of 16, blind or disabled, or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces.  The daily catch limit for each angler is five trout.

 

Anglers are reminded to check the opening time of their

favorite trout fishing location if they plan to go fishing on opening day.  While regulations allow trout season to open at 5 a.m. on Oct. 20, not all locations are open that early.

 

For more information on fall trout season and other Illinois fishing opportunities, contact the IDNR Division of Fisheries at 217/782-6424, or check the web site at www.ifishillinois.org.

 

Illinois fishing licenses and inland trout stamps are available at DNR Direct license and permit locations, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets.  Fishing licenses and trout stamps can also be purchased by using a credit card at DNR Direct online via the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us  or by calling DNR Direct toll-free at 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648).

 

Anglers are advised that fall trout fishing opportunities will return to Greenville Old City Lake (Patriot's Park Lake) located in Bond County, which was closed last year for an improvement project.  For more information about site regulations, anglers should contact individual sites that will be stocked with catchable-size trout.

 


New hunting regulations

Seniors 62/older can now use crossbows

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois DNR is reminding hunters of new regulations in effect for the 2007-2008 deer hunting seasons, which are set to begin Oct. 1.  The department has received calls from several individuals looking for clarification about the new changes for this year, specifically:

 

Governor Blagojevich in August signed House Bill 320, which extends the allowable hunting hours for firearm deer hunting in Illinois by one-half hour.  The previous firearm deer hunting hours were one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.  The new law extends legal hunting hours for firearm deer hunting to one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

 

Hunters 62 years of age and older are now permitted to use a crossbow without a special permit.  Prior to the change, only persons with a disability or persons who had obtained a special use permit were allowed to use the devices.  Hunters using a crossbow will need an archery deer permit and proof

of age in the form of an official ID.  Crossbows used in hunting as authorized by a permit issued under this section shall meet all of the following specifications:

►Shall have a minimum peak draw weight of 125 lbs and a maximum peak draw weight of 200 lbs

►Shall have a minimum limb width of 24” and a minimum overall length of 24”

►Shall have a working safety.

►Shall be used with bolts or arrows of not less than 14” long (not including point) with a broadhead. Broadheads may have fixed or expandable blades, but they must be barbless and have a minimum 7/8 inch diameter when fully opened. Broadheads with fixed blade must be metal or flint-, chert-, or obsidian-napped; broadheads with expandable blades must be metal.

 

Hunters who are under 62 years old and wish to use a crossbow are still required to obtain a permit from the Department of Natural Resources.


Indiana

Autumn Camping Weekend returns to Mississinewa Reservoir, Oct. 5-7

Upper Wabash Interpretive Services hosts the family-style Autumn Camping Weekend II at Mississinewa Reservoir, Oct. 5-7.

 

Themed “The Fun Continues,” this event provides a chance to get together with friends, enjoy a movie on the big screen, test your skills at pumpkin decorating, trick-or-treat on Saturday (Oct. 6) from 5 to 6 p.m. in the campground, and enjoy karaoke music later that same night.  ACW I, Sept. 28-30, is fully booked. For ACW II, 300 sites have already been reserved. Those interested in ACW II should make reservations soon.

 

Upper Wabash Interpretive Services director Marvin McNew said, “We’ve created a sequel to the first Autumn Camping Weekend because many of our visitors are ready to have a relaxed-style event to enjoy with their grandchildren, children

and friends, rather than the fast- paced schedule offered at

Autumn Camping Weekend I (ACW)."

 

Participants will meet in the Miami State Recreation Area at Mississinewa Reservoir at the modern campground interpretive shelter. There is a $1 program fee per person for this event. Usual weekend gate entry fees of $5 per Indiana resident vehicle and $7 per out-of-state vehicle also apply.

 

Participants should bring camping equipment and make their own camping reservations. Call (260) 468-2127 to register and receive more information. Advance registration is necessary so all families interested in pumpkin decorating will have a pumpkin. Registration forms for Autumn Camping Weekend II are also available at www.dnr.IN.gov/uwis . Campsite reservations can be made by calling 1-866-6campIN.


Michigan

DNR Seeks Input on State Outdoor Recreation Plan

Statewide Workshops Planned in October

A statewide series of workshops will involve the public in reviewing the draft State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), DNR officials announced. The meetings will start on Oct. 4 in Marquette.

 

To comply with Michigan’s participation in the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), in which the state makes funds available to local units of government and other public agencies to acquire land and develop facilities for outdoor recreation, the DNR must update its current statewide recreation plan.

 

The public workshops planned for October will give the DNR an opportunity to present the draft 2008-12 SCORP and to provide anyone interested in outdoor recreation issues in Michigan a chance to offer feedback and suggestions on the plan.

 

The workshop sessions are planned for:

*Marquette. 2 - 4 p.m. Thurs, Oct. 4, Marquette Commons, 112 S. Third St.

*Roscommon. 2 - 4 p.m. Fri, Oct. 5, Ralph A. MacMullen Conference Center, 104 Conservation Dr.

*Grand Rapids. 2 - 4 p.m. Tues, Oct. 9, at the Douglas Walker Park, 1195 W. 84th St. in Grand Rapids.

*Detroit. 2 - 4 p.m. Thurs, Oct. 11, at the Community Arts

Building, State Fair Grounds, 1120 W. State Fair.

*Bay City. From 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, in Room 317 of the City Hall Building located at 301 Washington Ave. in Bay City.

 

The workshops are open to the public and no advance registration is necessary.

The nine goals identified in the 2008-12 SCORP are:

*           Conservation of natural resources

*           Universal access

*           Community recreation

*           Improving Michigan’s state parks

*           Improving Michigan’s state forest recreation

*           Improving cooperation and coordination among recreation providers

*           Recruitment and retention of hunters and anglers

*           Encouraging “green” technology in outdoor recreation development

*           Expanding, improving and connecting Michigan’s trails, including blueways and greenways

 

The draft SCORP is available on the DNR Web site and in hard copy format at the workshop sessions. To access the draft plan online, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr  under “Spotlight,” and comments may be submitted online as well. If a person cannot attend one of the workshops, they can submit comments online or can mail them to DNR Grants Management, P.O. Box 30425, Lansing, MI 48909.


Statewide Deer Hunting Forecast Announced

Wildlife biologists with the Michigan DNR announced the 2007 Deer Hunting Prospects Forecast, an annual review of the Michigan deer herd region by region. The forecast is designed to let hunters know what to expect in the field.  Archery deer season begins statewide on Oct. 1. A copy of the forecast is attached to this press release and is available on the DNR’s Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr  under the Hunting section.

 

Deer numbers will likely be slightly higher than last year in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.  Excellent hunting opportunities continue to exist throughout the UP and northern Michigan.

 

In southern Lower Michigan, biologists estimate the deer population to be higher than last year, and well above the desired level. Good deer hunting opportunities exist in every county in southern Michigan.

 

Biologists predict the statewide harvest for the 2007 deer hunting season will be similar to last year’s season, when an estimated 450,000 deer were taken during all seasons combined.  Antlerless deer are expected to account for a larger percentage of the harvest in 2007.  The 2006 Michigan Deer Harvest Survey Report is available on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr .

 

In the last decade, the distribution of the statewide deer population has shifted with an increasing proportion found in

southern Michigan. For the last five years, the estimated deer harvest in southern Michigan exceeded the estimated harvest for northern Michigan and the UP combined.

 

Deer hunting in Michigan is big business with hunters spending more time afield than in any other state or Canadian province.  An expected 735,000 individuals will purchase at least one deer license in 2007. Hunters will spend more than 10 million days enjoying deer hunting recreation during the archery, firearm, and muzzleloading seasons combined.  This year, deer hunters will spend more than $500 million for food, lodging, transportation and equipment to pursue deer in Michigan.

 

The DNR provides approximately 90 deer check stations around the state to help evaluate and monitor Michigan's deer herd. Hunters are encouraged to bring in their deer or deer head to provide biological information to the DNR and earn a 2007 Deer Management Cooperator patch. Check station location information may be found on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr . Hunters are encouraged to call field offices ahead of time to check station times.

 

The DNR would also like to remind hunters about the ongoing Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) management efforts.  The DNR needs a large sample of deer heads from northeast Michigan to continue to assess the distribution and rate of TB infection.

 


Ohio

Wild Ohio TV show now online

Popular series to air on-demand on www.MyOutdoorTV.com

COLUMBUS, OH - Wild Ohio, the Ohio ODNR's popular television program, is now available on the Internet for viewing on-demand at MyOutdoorTV.com.

 

Wild Ohio features hunting, fishing, and wildlife interest stories specific to Ohio's great resources.  Each 30-minute episode contains tips and information useful to all wildlife enthusiasts. Wild Ohio is in its tenth year and airs on 35 stations throughout Ohio. The program currently airs on some public broadcasting outlets, but is not available in all parts of the state.  Now, viewers can see Wild Ohio anytime by simply going to wildohio.com and clicking on the "Watch Wild Ohio Television Now" button. Viewers can also log on to MyOutdoorTV.com and choose Wild Ohio from the Online TV

Listings or select Ohio on the State Explorer link to watch Wild Ohio whenever they choose. 

 

MyOutdoorTV.com is an exciting new Internet television network which streams the largest collection of outdoor video available online. Other well known shows being streamed on the site include Hank Parker Outdoors, Fishing with Roland Martin, Mark Sosin's Salt Water Journal, Larry Czonka's North to Alaska and Jimmy Houston Outdoors.  There is no subscription fee and no required registration and the site is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

The ODNR is one of the nation's first state wildlife agencies to begin offering its weekly television series to a broader audience as part of this powerful new forum.


Wisconsin

Hunters should review baiting regulations prior to hunting seasons

MADISON – Deer hunters who hunt over bait should review Wisconsin’s deer baiting and feeding rules prior to deer hunting, according to state wildlife managers and conservation wardens.

 

“Currently, 26 Wisconsin counties do not allow baiting or feeding of deer at any time of year due to wildlife disease concerns,” said Keith Warnke, big game ecologist for the state Department of Natural Resources. “In the remaining counties baiting and feeding of deer is allowed with a 2 gallon limit.”

 

“The way in which hunters place their 2 gallons of legal bait, what is legal bait, and timing are all important,” said DNR Conservation Warden Thomas Van Haren. “The rules in the hunting regulations apply to both public and private lands.”

 

All baiting and feeding of deer is prohibited in: Adams, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Vernon, Walworth, Waukesha and Waushara counties.

But there are other options for attracting deer in counties closed to baiting and feeding, say wildlife officials. Hunters may use scent to attract deer as long as it is placed in a way that it is not accessible to deer, although up to 2 ounces of scent may be placed in any manner, even if accessible to deer. It is also allowable to hunt over naturally deposited materials such as acorns, crops planted and left standing as wildlife food plots, and food made available as a result of normal agricultural planting and harvesting operations in those counties. Details on amounts of scent and how it may be placed are available in the 2007 Deer Hunting Regulations.

 

In counties where it is legal to bait deer for hunting, it is also legal to feed deer for recreational viewing near residences and places of business say wildlife officials. Each owner occupied residence or a business may place up to 2 gallons of feed within 50 yards of the residence or business. Also, no bait or feed may be placed within 100 yards of a roadway with a posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour or more to reduce the chance of car-deer collisions. If any bear or elk begin using a deer feeding site, the owner must remove the feed for a period of at least 30 days, before they may resume feeding deer.


Wisconsin Circuit Court Sides With Gun Owner

Today, Monday, September 24, the 31st Circuit Court of Milwaukee County ruled that the Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) statute was unconstitutional as applied to a particular defendant -- in this case, a pizza delivery driver who carried a gun for self-defense on the job, after being robbed repeatedly in a high crime area.

 

Andres Vegas is a pizza delivery driver and has been robbed and mugged while attempting to deliver a pizza on four different occasions.  The first time was in March of 2005.  The second time was July 14, 2006, when Vegas was attacked and threatened at gunpoint.  Vegas, armed with a firearm, exercised his constitutional right of self-defense and shot one of the assailants.  Vegas was not charged with the crime of carrying concealed and was ruled as acting in self defense.  Not only was his firearm confiscated at the time of arrest, but it was never returned.  He was subsequently told by the prosecuting District Attorney that if he were to use a firearm in self-defense again he would be prosecuted.

 

On September 13, 2006, an unarmed Vegas -- acting under the orders of the District Attorney to avoid prosecution -- was robbed, beaten, and sprayed with pepper spray by three assailants.  Consequently Vegas went out and purchased another firearm.  On January 4, 2007, Vegas was again attempting to deliver a pizza when two men approached him and pointed a gun in his face.  This time, he responded by again exercising his right to self-defense and shot his assailant in the hip.  Vegas then secured his assailant's firearm along with his, placed them both on the roof of his car, dialed 911, and waited for the police to arrive.  The DA determined that he acted in self defense, but he was  subsequently charged with CCW for the moments before he

was assaulted and defended.

 

Even though this charge was brought forward by the DA’s office, the court has ruled in favor of Vegas, saying:

 

“Defendant Vegas has demonstrated the requisite extraordinary circumstances that warrant his concealed weapon…Vegas legally purchased his firearm for the purpose of security and protection.  There is a strong inference that Vegas’ concealed firearm has saved his life during these violent assaults…Vegas has a substantial interest in being secure and protecting himself by carrying a concealed weapon.”

 

“This Court is not convinced that there are any reasonable alternatives that would have secured Vegas’ safety.  Vegas' concealed weapon has most likely saved his life on several occasions; this the State cannot ignore.  The State has conceded that Vegas did not have an unlawful purpose for concealing a weapon.  Given the totality of the circumstances, this Court is satisfied that the Defendant has affirmatively answered the two-prong analysis as outlined in Hamdan and Fisher and thus grants the Defendant’s motion to dismiss.” 

 

This is a giant step forward in the battle for Right-to-Carry in Wisconsin.  This court ruling will likely lead to future citizens exercising their right to self-defense by carrying concealed firearms.  Unfortunately this will likely lead to subsequent prosecutions, but this circuit court ruling will become a perfect example of law-abiding citizens' need for concealed firearms for protection against crime, especially in high crime areas such as Milwaukee.

 


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

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