Week of October 27 , 2003
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a Final Rule and Record of Decision that will allow more flexibility in the control of double-crested cormorants in areas where they are causing damage to aquaculture and public resources such as fisheries, vegetation, and other birds.
The rule expands the aquaculture depredation order, which has been in place in 13 States since 1998, to allow USDA Wildlife Services to conduct winter roost control. It also establishes a public resource depredation order to allow State wildlife agencies, Tribes, and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services, to conduct cormorant control for the protection of public resources in 24 States (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). Without these depredation orders, agencies and individuals would need a Federal permit to control cormorants.
Double-crested cormorants are colonial waterbirds whose numbers have increased substantially in the past 30 years. They can cause localized, but sometimes significant, negative impacts on resources such as commercial aquaculture, recreational fisheries, vegetation, and the habitat of other colonial nesting birds.
"Since cormorants cause localized impacts to natural and economic resources, we believe local management is the best approach to reduce conflicts," said Service Director Steve Williams. Agencies acting under the depredation order must have landowner permission, may not adversely affect other migratory bird species or threatened and endangered species, and must satisfy annual reporting
and evaluation requirements. The Service will ensure the
long-term conservation of cormorant populations through annual assessments of agency reports and regular population monitoring.
Without these depredation orders, agencies and individuals would need a Federal permit to control cormorants.
The rule also modifies the 1998 aquaculture depredation order to allow control of cormorants at winter roosts near fish farms and to allow fish hatcheries to protect their stock from cormorant predation. This added authority applies only to the original 13 States (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) and, in the case of roost control, may be conducted only by officials of U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services.
While cormorant populations were dramatically affected by such things as the pesticide DDT, today the population is at historic highs in many areas due in large part to the presence of ample food in their summer and winter ranges and reduced contaminant levels. The total estimated population of double-crested cormorants in North America is approximately two million birds.
Requests for copies of the final rule, Record of Decision or the FEIS should be mailed to the Division of Migratory Bird Management, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MBSP-4107, Arlington, Virginia 22203. The final rule, and other related documents, can also be downloaded from the Division of Migratory Bird Management web site at http://migratorybirds.fws.gov/issues/cormorant/cormorant.html
For further information, call the division at 703/358-1714.
U.S. Coast Guard issues
Notice of public meetings.
You may find this docket on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov
Request for Comments
A new federal economic report found that 46 million birdwatchers across America spent $32 billion in 2001 pursuing one of the Nation's most popular outdoor activities according to a report from the Interior Department's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The report, Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis, is the first of its kind analyzing data from the 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and
"Nearly one in five Americans is a bird watcher," said Service Director Steve Williams. "This report recognizes what we always thought to be true. Birdwatching is very popular and contributes greatly to our economy, so it is
important that we continue to work with our partners to restore and protect habitat to ensure healthy bird populations."
Montana, Vermont and Wisconsin led the Nation in birding participation rates as a percent of total State population. California, New York and Pennsylvania had the most birders.
Birders spent $32 billion on gear such as binoculars, travel, food and big ticket items such as canoes, cabins and off-road vehicles. This spending generated $85 billion in overall economic output and $13 billion in federal and state income taxes, and supported more than 863,000 jobs.
Fishing bobber character a hit with kids
KETCHUM, OK - - Sebastian T. Bobber, the Official Spokesbobber of Youth Fishing, now has his own web sitelet Sebastian's Corner just for young anglers. Kids can go Online to hang with the official Spokesbobber of Youth Fishing
"This is where I like to hang out when I'm not on the water," Sebastian tells visitors to his homepage, a major part of www.kids-fishing.com . Sebastian's Corner helps kids send a fishing "e-vite" to their dad, mom or friends. In "Build an Award Certificate" young anglers can create custom achievement certificates like "My First Fish" and "My Largest Fish." Sebastian offers a Tip of the Month and also stars in his own comic strip, Sebastian's World.
In Ask Sebastian, he answers fishing questions. Older anglers might be interested to know that the most commonly asked question by young anglers, as it is with older anglers, is What bait or lure do I use? Even politics, of a sort, comes into play in Sebastian's Corner. In the User Poll section young anglers can vote on important fishing issues such as which bait catches more fish, worms or minnows?" Young people who visit Sebastian's
Corner online are encouraged to select it as their own internet homepage.
The little bobber has a big audience-in-waiting. Sebastian was created by the same people who arranged for 300,000 kids to fish this year in the Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby. Indeed, more than 7 million kids, from 6 to 16, and their family members have fished the events since the program started 18 years ago.
HOFI predicts the number of events will jump from 1,800 in 2003 to more than 2,000 events in 2004. Organizations interested in hosting an event in 2004 can apply online at www.kids-fishing.com for a free derby kit which contains all of the items necessary to put on a local derby, including, an organizer handbook, prizes and goodies for each derby participant.
In addition to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the Kids All-American Fishing Derby program benefits from its 2003 partnerships with Bar-S Foods Company, Berkley PowerBait, Berkley Trilene, ConAgra Foods, Dubble Bubble Bubble Gum, Eagle Claw, EverStart Batteries, FishingWorld.com, Fujifilm, Johnson & Johnson First Aid Pocket Pals, Kellogg's, Kraft Foods, Laker Fishing Tackle and Zebco.
Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science's Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research have found that littleneck clams, an important commercial and recreational fishery in Alaska, rely heavily on microscopic algae growing on tidal flats for growth rather than phytoplankton in the water column.
This finding could potentially affect shellfish aquaculture operations. It also could help scientists predict the consequences of oil spills and climate change on food webs in Alaskan coastal ecosystems. Littleneck clams and other intertidal bivalves are important prey species for many Alaskan animals, including salmon, juvenile cod, sea otters and shorebirds.
The NOAA research team examined the extensive intertidal flats of Kachemak Bay in Alaska looking for the extent of benthic microalgae, a group of microscopic plants that are an important food source in many estuarine ecosystems. They measured the biomass of the algae in sediments around the bay and found it equaled or exceeded any amount previously reported for similar environments. They also collected animal samples from the same environment.
After analyzing both the plant and animals' chemical "signatures," the researchers found that the signature of the clams, and several other filter-feeding bivalves, most closely resembled that of the benthic, or sediment-dwelling level, microalgae as opposed to phytoplankton found in
upper levels of the water column. The finding indicated that bottom-dwelling microalgae were significant food sources for the clams, more so than previously believed.
This conclusion is based on the results of stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis, and is further supported by the measurements of abundant benthic microalgal biomass found in the tidal flats and sand bars in Kachemak Bay, where the NOAA Kasitsna Bay Laboratory is located.
Algae are resuspended in bottom-level waters by wave action, making this nutrient-rich food source available to bivalves and similar bay organisms located near the gravel or rocky beaches and shoreline areas.
"The results from these studies reveal a significant role for benthic microalgae in the food webs we sampled," stated Carolyn Currin, head of the NOAA research team. "The Pacific littleneck clam, is an abundant member of tidal communities in the Pacific Northwest, and in addition to being harvested by humans, it is particularly used by sea otters and diving ducks as a food source."
Currin continued the study explanation by noting, "Another smaller clam (Macoma baltica), which is important prey for juvenile salmon, was also found to rely almost entirely on benthic microalgae production. As these organisms are important links in the food chain of the bay, the availability of microscopic algae living in the sediment may be more significant than phytoplankton production (higher up) in the water column in supporting the total carrying capacity of these estuarine ecosystems."
OTTAWA — A major Canadian native band threatened to block a C$4 billion (US $3 billion) natural gas pipeline to southern markets from the Arctic because of what it said was wrongdoing by a senior federal official.
The Deh Cho First Nation — the only Indian community in the vast Northwest Territories that has yet to agree to the Mackenzie Valley pipeline crossing its territory — said the entire process of deciding the path of the future pipeline should be started again. Canada is already the top energy supplier to the United States, and major oil companies are working to develop new natural gas supplies in the Far North to make up for the depletion of traditional sources on both sides of the border.
Deh Cho land covers about 40 % of the 1,350-km (840-mile) pipeline route from the Mackenzie Delta on the Arctic Ocean. The Deh Cho said the federal official in question worked for a government environmental agency dealing with the pipeline and was involved in a clear conflict of interest. The band has already asked police to investigate the case.
"We believe the actions of this individual have tainted the whole pipeline process. As a result, we're demanding the whole process be scrapped and started again," Deh Cho Grand Chief Herb Norwegian told a news conference. Chris Reid, chief negotiator for the Deh Cho, said he was preparing a suit for damages and an injunction against government plans to streamline approval of the pipeline by various regulatory agencies.
"We would prefer to negotiate agreements with Canada and with Imperial Oil that meet the Deh Cho's legitimate concerns," he said. "If that's not going to happen, then the Deh Cho will have no choice but to stop the pipeline."
A spokeswoman for Environment Canada — which is responsible for the agency involved — said the official in question had approached the federal ethics commissioner to determine whether there had been a conflict of interest. The consortium planning the pipeline includes Imperial Oil Ltd., Shell Canada Ltd., ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., TransCanada Corp., and Aboriginal Pipeline Group, which is made up of native communities along the proposed route. A spokesman for lead industry partner Imperial said the dispute was among the Deh Cho and federal regulators, not the oil firms.
In October 2001, several native chiefs threw their support behind the pipeline proposal in exchange for the Aboriginal Pipeline Group getting a one-third stake, a structure they hope will bring northern communities years of economic and social benefits instead of just short-term cash.
The Deh Cho, who wanted other issues such as land claims resolved, were the only holdouts. Norwegian denied the band was trying to use the case of alleged conflict of interest as a way of gaining more benefits from Ottawa and the oil firms.
"We did not set out to prove there was something fishy about the pipeline deal.... This is not an excuse to stop the pipeline, just to ensure it's done right," he said.
Fall is a time of movement and migration for many wildlife species, according to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials. White-tailed deer, which maintain an annual home range of about one square mile, increase their daily movements and become more active during fall. Shortening days trigger the beginning of their reproductive cycle, with the peak of breeding coming during the first two weeks of November.
As bucks search for receptive females, they may separate the male fawn of the year from its mother. Yearling bucks, participating in their first breeding season, then may move many miles from their home range, said DNR Chief Conservation Officer Mike Hamm.
"All of this natural white-tailed deer movement increases the number of deer crossing highways," Hamm said. "This in turn increases the chances of vehicle-deer collisions."
More than 20,000 deer-vehicle accidents are reported annually, according to MN Dept of Transportation officials. Hamm encourages motorists to increase their awareness of deer during the fall breeding season and offers tips to decrease the odds of striking a deer:
► a deer standing calmly in a field may suddenly jump into the road; anticipate the potential for this rapid change
► if a deer is observed crossing the road ahead, slow down and scan for more deer
► slow down to avoid hitting a deer, but don't swerve because that can cause you to lose control, possibly striking another vehicle, tree or object
► be especially aware during the morning and afternoon when deer tend to be more active, moving between evening feeding areas and daytime bedding sites
► elevate deer awareness at locations with deer crossing signs, which are warning signs that indicate locations of frequent deer crossings
► enjoy the annual natural changes of Minnesota's fall season and heighten your awareness of deer while traveling across the state's beautiful and varied landscapes.
"The only thing predictable about whitetails is that they're definitely unpredictable," noted Hamm. "The moment you think you have them figured out, they show you something new. "However, we also know that deer are creatures of habit," Hamm said. "If you see a deer-crossing sign posted along a road you're traveling, it's a good idea to slow down. These signs are placed in areas where deer have been crossing roads for years. Ignoring these signs is asking for trouble."
Hoosier hunters traveling out of state in search of big game should be aware of new deer and elk import restrictions.
To reduce risk of chronic wasting disease (CWD) being introduced into Indiana, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health has adopted new rules governing the import of deer and elk carcasses, meat and parts. The rules apply to elk and the following types of deer: red, sika, Japanese, spotted (and their crosses), mule and white-tailed. Wild-harvested and farm-raised animals are all subject to these rules.
Only the following carcass parts may be brought into Indiana:
- De-boned meat
- Antlers, including those with skull caps attached, if all tissue is removed from the cap
- Upper canine teeth
- Finished taxidermist mounts
- Carcasses and parts of carcasses with the head and/or spinal cord attached that are delivered within 72 hours of entry to a state or federally inspected meat processor
- Heads that are delivered to a DNR-licensed taxidermist within 72 hours after entry into Indiana
State veterinarians are concerned that improper disposal of deer and elk carcasses could expose local wildlife to CWD, a disease that has never been found in Indiana.
CWD is a serious neurologic disease affecting cervid species. Although it has been associated with captive deer and elk in the past, CWD has more recently been found in free-ranging white-tailed deer in the Midwest. This disease has been a serious concern for a number of western and plains states for the last several years and has now been found in free-ranging white-tailed deer in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Although the methods of transmission are not completely known, evidence suggests that infected animals may transmit the disease by animal-to-animal contact or by environmental contamination. CWD is always fatal to the infected animal and there is no diagnostic test available to detect CWD in live animals.
While CWD is related to other well-known diseases, such as scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, public health officials have not found any evidence that CWD in deer or elk can be transmitted to humans.
In fall 2002, Department of Natural Resources biologists and state animal health officials staffed 80 deer hunting check stations to test deer for disease. The 1,200 deer tissue samples tested did not show any signs of CWD. This deer season, biologists will focus sample collection in northwest Indiana (due to confirmed cases of CWD in northern Illinois) and around deer farms. Lower level sampling will continue throughout Indiana.
This summer's heavy rains will squeeze put-and-take pheasant hunting at J. Edward Roush Lake (Huntington Reservoir). Daily put-and-take pheasant hunt participation will be cut back. Typically, a maximum of 250 people per day were permitted to hunt. This year the maximum will be 190. Hunts are scheduled to start Nov. 22.
Habitat loss at the lake was severe this year. Floodwaters reached 51 feet and nearly destroyed all wildlife plantings in low areas. Hard-hit areas will be replanted. Roush Lake staff
estimate it may take 5 to 10 years for some areas to completely recover.
Hunters who usually visit Roush Lake are encouraged to participate at other properties that host put-and-take pheasant hunts. These include Atterbury, Glendale, Pigeon River, Tri-County, Willow Slough and Winamac Fish and Wildlife areas.
Information on Fish and Wildlife areas:
Package includes fall turkey season and new trout regulations
Using input from hundreds of conservationists, biologists and law enforcement officers, Indiana DNR has developed a package of administrative rule change proposals.
Every few years, DNR officials review wildlife, hunting and fishing regulations. In early June, more than 580 Hoosiers attended one of the 19 DNR open house meetings to make comments and suggest future changes to wildlife-associated regulations. DNR also received nearly 1,000 emails and letters with suggested changes. After reviewing comments, DNR is
proposing changes to deer and turkey hunting laws, fishing regulations, turtle regulations and state endangered species listings.
The creation of a fall turkey season, extending the coyote season, and establishing new brown trout regulations at Brookville tailwater are some of the changes suggested by hunters and anglers. DNR officials are seeking additional feedback on the rule proposals. View all of the proposals and comments, and submit your opinions online at: http://www.wildlife.IN.gov/about/rules.htm
The deadline for comments is Nov. 3
MI - Fundraising Event
and Awards Dinner
reserved by calling the BCSFA Hotline at 231-352-7002, or
purchased at the door, the night of the event.
There will be
50/50 drawings, Door Prizes, and the numerous awards for "prize winning"
Benzie County Brown Trout and Salmon caught during this past year by
For walleye, jigs tipped with minnows working in 35 feet on Lake Miltona. Crappie reports from Darling and Lake Le Homme Dieu in 15-20 feet of water.
Walleye reports average on Cedar Lake in 15-25 feet of water. For some panfish action, give
Clearwater, Twin, or Pleasant a try in 12-20 feet of water.
BATTLE LAKE -
Otter Tail Lake still producing walleyes in about 25-35 feet of water. The bite is more shallow at night. Dead Lake producing a few nice sunnies.
Brainerd Lakes Area -
The best walleye action in the area was produced by trolling Rapalas after dark night. The best technique was long lining trolling in 4-6 feet of water. Blue/silver and black/gold Rapalas in sizes #13 and #18 produced the most fish throughout the week. The daytime walleye bite in the area has slowed and remained spotty throughout the week. Daytime walleyes continue to be scattered in small schools in water depths ranging from 10-55 feet. The key to catching some daytime walleyes is staying mobile. The best locations have been points that drop from 15-50 feet in a very short distance. These are tough places to accurately read fish accurately with a depthfinder. So sometimes you'll just have to fish a spot to see if the fish are there. But don't waste your time fishing spots more than 15 to 20 minutes. If you haven't caught a fish by then, keep moving. Shore fishing continues to improve with the colder nights. Creek chubs on set lines have produced some good sized walleyes for shore fishermen willing to fish after dark.
CHISAGO CITY -
North Center continues to produce a few crappies, try South Center for sunfish. Chisago Lake kicking out a few sunnies in 10-12 feet of water.
Island Lake is producing some walleyes in around 30-35 feet.
GRAND RAPIDS -
Bowstring Lake producing some walleyes. Big Splithand and Bowstring are kicking out some crappies.
Anglers report mixed success, shallow water kicking out sporadic saugers and walleyes, especially on the windswept shorelines, after or during south winds. The typical fall patterns using jig and minnow at 30-38 ft near the reef structures has been the most consistent method this fall. Jig fishing has been sporadic, you need to change jig colors and change depths and locations frequently. There has been some success for both walleye and northerns bobber fishing at 8-12 feet. Late afternoons seem to be the best timing. Eastern Kabetogama on into Namakan has provided the best activity most recently.
LAKE OF THE WOODS -
Most walleye along the Rainy River are in the 25-inch range. One 10-pounder reported caught on a rosie red shiner. Water temps in the river are 47 degrees and the shiners are running up the river. The Frontier area has seen lots of action. Sturgeon fishing is great with fish reported up to 62 inches. Most
are being released. The south shore of LOW reporting limits of walleyes, sauger and sturgeon. Fish are between 20-26 feet of water on shiners and jigs. The jetty at Zippel Bay seeing a lot of walleye action while jig fishing. Canada geese and snow geese reported around the Four Mile Bay area. At the NW Angle and Island area, muskies catches reported. Plain lead head jigs are being used for jig fishing and hammered gold/silver spinners for trolling. Oak Island seeing some great duck hunting with hunters bringing in limits of bluebills and teal.
LEECH LAKE -
Points such as Pine, Ottertail and Sugar producing some
nice walleyes. Perch action still is great in Agency Bay. Muskie action is still up and down.
The Minnesota River is producing walleye activity during the evening. Crankbaits seem to be the best option here.
MILLE LACS -
The bobber anglers doing better early in the evening, while the trollers saw activity on and off all night long. Some of the better baits include perch shads, blue rogues and blue taildancers. Decent reports came in from numerous reefs including Anderson's, Agate, Flamingo, Shaw's and Hawksbill - all in 10 or less feet. A few deep fish even turned up on the gravel with crawlers and spinners during the day. The perch bite has slowed somewhat - stick to Isle or Wahkon near the weeds with small leeches.
Walleye bite good on Gull and Pelican in 20-40 feet of water. The night bite is much shallower. Gull has also started producing crappies in 15-20 feet of water.
RAINY LAKE -
The United States Coast Guard removed navigational buoys from Rainy Lake. Goodbye to another outstanding early autumn of world-class angling. We now look forward to an enjoyable winter fishing season. Fishing has been tough, as temps are cold and the winds brisk. Anglers graphing a lot of fish, but not biting.
SAINT CLOUD -
Cedar Island Lake is producing a few panfish in 8-12 feet of water. The Mississippi River near Sartell is producing some crappies. Horseshoe Chain walleye bite is good in 12-14 feet of water. For an evening walleye bite, try Rice Lake.
SAINT CROIX -
The walleye bite on the St. Croix River south of Stillwater, Minnesota continues to be pretty good. Depth locations find the walleye from 25-32 feet. The walleyes are running good sized in the upper teens and many saugers are good sized as well. Bigger fish are also being caught. Jigs with minnows, three way spinners with minnows, trolling crankbaits, and jigged blade baits are all catching fish.
Lake Minnewaska walleye bite is good on minnows or crankbaits. Good crappie reports coming from the Glenwood end of Minnewaska in around 12-14 feet.
LAKE VERMILION AREA -
The walleyes shrunk this past week in size from 15-19 inches to 11-15 inches with an occasional 16- to 18-inch fish. Some anglers caught walleyes in 50-58 feet of water while other anglers found fish in 28-35 feet of water. Many anglers found themselves catching 30 to 50 fish, but found it tough to catch enough keepers for a limit. Jigs and minnows are the bait of choice and if you find the walleyes they will bite. Muskies are a different story as many anglers trying to get that last couple of days in fishing while the weather holds, are finding themselves questioning their techniques and what are they doing wrong. Muskies have not been cooperating and very few fish were reported last week. The crappies, on the other hand, have started to bite with some consistency and the few anglers who managed to find them have had very good success. The crappies are schooled up in their fall and winter haunts. Find the crappies and you should catch fish. Anglers still have time to get in on some of the hottest rainbow trout action of year until it closes the end of this month.
The edges of the deeper reefs on Lake Waconia are producing some walleyes at night. A few pike reported as well.
Green, Eagle and Diamond Lake producing some walleyes in 12-30 ft of water. Lake Florida producing a few panfish in 10-12 feet of water.
Minnesota DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam announced on October 23 the appointment of John Guenther as head of a combined DNR Fish and Wildlife division. Guenther, a 28-year DNR employee, has spent the last 10 years as DNR's Regional Director for Northeastern Minnesota.
"Combining the current Division of Fisheries and Division of Wildlife into one organization will emphasize the importance of hunting and fishing in our State," said Merriam. "It also speaks to our commitment to integrated resource management."
Guenther is an avid hunter and angler with strong ties to conservation groups throughout the State. "He will be a strong advocate for hunters and anglers," said Merriam. "He has a proven track record of bringing staff, stakeholders and local governments together so that sound natural resource decisions can be made."
Merriam has asked current Fisheries Director Ron Payer and Wildlife Director Tim Bremicker to stay on as section chiefs of their organizations. "These men have helped make Minnesota a national leader on many fishing and hunting fronts," said Merriam. "It simply makes sense to
capitalize on their biological and management expertise."
Guenther's work with the agency has centered on citizen involvement. He was as special assistant and ombudsman to former Commissioner Joe Alexander and a project manager to resolve conflicts under former Commissioner Rod Sando. As regional director, he has worked extensively with stakeholders and local governments on integrated natural resource management.
Merriam selected Guenther, in part, because of their long-standing friendship and mutual interests in hunting, fishing and natural resources. "The fish and wildlife director is one of the most important positions within the DNR," said Merriam. "I selected Guenther because we share similar philosophies, he has a deep understanding of our issues and organization, and I know I can count on him. I have every confidence
in John and that's important to me."
Guenther started his new job on October 23. "I look forward to working with some of the best fish and wildlife mangers in the nation and an outstanding conservation community," said Guenther. "I don't expect abrupt changes but do foresee adjustments that will strengthen our relationships with constituency groups and the public."
Archers bettered last year's take with 199 deer harvested and nine bucks more than 200 pounds during the first two-day bow hunt at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls.
"Hunters did well and were greeted by excellent bow hunting weather this year," said Beau Liddell, MN DNR Little Falls area wildlife manager. The harvest represents a six percent increase over last year's two-day total of 188, and 58 percent above the 1981-2002 average of 126 deer for the first hunt.
"If weather cooperates next weekend, the total harvest for the four-day hunt should exceed last year's hunt and rival the record 406 deer harvested in 1992," Liddell said. "Last year's four-day harvest totaled 324 deer, which was 7 percent below the 2001 harvest of 350, but 26 percent above the long-term average of 257."
There were 2,250 permits issued for the hunt, identical to last year, and 1,860 participating hunters. Hunter success was about 11 percent, similar to last year, and 3 percent higher than the long-term average of 8 percent.
"With six consecutive mild winters, Camp Ripley's deer herd is in good condition, and most hunters indicated they saw many deer from their stand," Liddell said. "The good harvest experienced so far is due to excellent hunting conditions, high deer densities (estimated at 20 to 30 deer per square mile), and a high number of hunters in camp."
The largest buck weighed 237 lbs, taken by Stephen Hayden of Fridley. Dean Thurston of Prior Lake and Byron Cigelske of Avon harvested bucks weighting 224 and 216, respectively. Steven McMahon of Oakdale harvested the largest doe, weighing in at 140 lbs. Brandon Freudenrich of Little Falls harvested a doe nearly as big, weighing 135 lbs.
DNR and Camp Ripley environmental personnel also sampled about 50 deer to test for chronic wasting disease (CWD). "Last year all tests were negative, and I'd be surprised if we found CWD in Camp Ripley's deer herd," Liddell said. "Nevertheless, we still need to collect more samples this year to determine if the disease is here. The special hunts at Camp Ripley provide a good opportunity to obtain samples."
Hunting trips over the annual teachers' convention school-break are a long-standing tradition for many Minnesota families. The 2003 October school-break marked the start of a new tradition in Minnesota deer hunting.
Two special youth deer hunts were held in the state Oct. 16 -19 to coincide with the school holiday, providing unique hunting opportunities for nearly one hundred kids and their accompanying mentors. In Arden Hills, 32 young people took to the woods and fields of the Arden Hills Army Training Site to hunt deer by archery. Despite unseasonably warm weather, the kids took nine deer, including six bucks and three does during the four day hunt. Volunteers from the Minnesota State Archery Association and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association worked with National Guard and DNR personnel to administer the hunt.
"Most of these kids had not harvested a deer before, so we were able to share a pretty special moment with them," said Ryan Bronson, DNR's hunter recruitment coordinator. "Everyone saw deer and had a lot of fun."
In southeastern Minnesota, the Bluffland Whitetails
Association, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and DNR coordinated the first early youth firearms deer hunt in Minnesota history. Fifty hunters and their non-hunting mentors were given access to the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area Refuge. Nineteen deer were taken, 10 bucks and nine antlerless deer.
"It was gratifying working on this hunt," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR Big Game Coordinator. "Youth hunts like this are great ways to get kids excited about hunting because of the quality of the experience, both in the field and back at camp with the other participants." The Minnesota DNR coordinated four early season deer hunts in 2003. In addition to the Arden Hills and Whitewater hunts, the Camp Ripley youth hunt, Oct. 10 - 11 drew 130 young archers, who harvested 10 deer. All special youth hunts require the kids to be accompanied by non-hunting mentors. While the primary purpose of the hunts is to provide high-quality hunting experiences, they also play a role in managing the deer herds in areas with high populations.
The DNR is tentatively planning to hold youth hunts again in 2004, and is exploring options to expand youth deer hunt opportunities to other locations.
The 2003 moose-hunting season in northeastern Minnesota ended Oct. 12 with party success down to 64 percent this year, the lowest since moose hunting was legalized in 1971, according to Mark Lenarz, group leader for the DNR Forest Wildlife Populations and Research Group.
The initial tabulation of the registration slips was recently completed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The moose harvest included 127 bulls, 15 cows and one calf, for a total of 143 moose. The ratio of bulls to cows in this year's harvest was the highest on record, with almost 8.5 bulls harvested for every cow.
"The lower success rate and record bull/cow ratio may indicate that hunters are passing up cow moose in search
of large antlered bulls in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Lenarz said. "Final analysis of the results may reveal additional clues to the lower success."
Moose hunting is limited to parties of two to four hunters that receive a once-in-a-lifetime permit in an annual lottery. In this year's lottery, 224 permits were issued.
Only two of 47 radio-collared moose were harvested during the season. Lenarz said he expected up to four or five of the radio-collared moose to be harvested because there were at least 15 collared moose within one-half mile of a paved road when last located from the air. Prior to the season, hunters were told to ignore the collars in their search for a moose, because researchers want to get a better idea of the importance of hunting as a source of mortality.
Minnesota photographers and artists are invited to submit their work for selection as the image that will be used on the 2005 Minnesota State Park annual vehicle permit. According to the Minnesota DNR Division of Parks and Recreation, the permit sticker appears on more than 175,000 vehicle windshields and serves as the entry permit to state parks.
"The permit for 2005 will feature Minneopa State Park which is located near Mankato," said Howard Ward, manager for Minneopa State Park. "We are looking for artwork or photos that showcase the waterfalls in the park to honor the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Minneopa State Park.
Interested artists and photographers are asked to submit their resume and their work (illustrations, paintings, slides,
transparencies, high resolution digital images) of Minneopa State Park's waterfalls.
Submissions should to be sent to: Kate Brady, DNR, Minnesota State Parks, 500 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul, MN 55155-4039. Entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2004, to qualify for review. Submissions that are brought to the DNR's central office in St. Paul must be received by Friday, Jan. 9, 2004.
The jury will review all entries and the winner will be announced Friday, Jan. 30, 2004. To obtain a copy of the contest guidelines, or to ask questions concerning the permit contest, contact Howard Ward, Minneopa State Park manager, or Elaine Feikema, assistant park manager, at (507) 389-5464, or contact Kate Brady, Minnesota State Parks supervisor of public affairs and marketing, at (651) 297-7979.
Looking for a new place to hunt this fall? The Minnesota DNR offers its Public Recreation Information Maps (PRIM) as a resource for recreational hunters looking for public lands on which to hunt.
The maps are divided into 51 area maps and contain a great deal of public ownership data, including federal, state and county lands. All maps have been updated within the last three years to provide hunters with the most current information for planning their outing.
Deer hunters may find good places to hunt in the wildlife management areas, state forests and other public lands around the state. Duck hunters may find it useful to know where the WMAs and wildlife lakes are located and where
they can put in their watercraft.
Each map displays parks, forests, scientific and natural areas, waterfowl production areas and wildlife management areas. In addition, each map shows facilities such as state trails, fishing piers, campgrounds, historic sites and more.
PRIM maps are available from the DNR Gift Shop: 500 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul, MN's Bookstore, 117 University Ave., St. Paul, and several sporting goods and map stores, or online at www.minnesotasbookstore.com . Maps are $4.95 each, plus tax.
The DNR advises hunters to be aware of private property when they are looking into a new hunting area, and to always ask first before hunting on private property.
All hunters interested in participating in Minnesota's 2004 spring wild turkey season must apply for a license through the DNR Electronic Licensing System (ELS) by Friday, Dec. 5. A total of 27,600 permits are available for the 2004 spring wild turkey hunt, an increase of 2,584 (10.3 percent) over the 25,016 permits offered in 2003.
Applications are being accepted now at any of the 1,800 ELS point-of-sale agents. There is a $3 nonrefundable application fee. For an additional fee of $3.50, applications can also be made on the ELS telephone licensing system by calling toll free 888-665-4236 or on the Internet at www.dnr.state.mn.us .
Application worksheets are available at ELS agents or on the DNR Web site under wild turkey hunting at www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting . Spring turkey applicants must select one of eight consecutive seasons between April 14 and May 27, 2004, and one of 60 turkey permit areas. The first six seasons are five days each; the last two seasons are seven days each.
The application worksheet should be filled out in advance to ensure quick and accurate completion of the application process. The ELS agent will enter the worksheet information into the ELS terminal. Customers will receive a receipt confirming the area and time period applied for. Customers should make certain the information on the receipt is correct prior to leaving the agent location. Customers using the Internet or telephone license options will not receive a receipt, so they should print or note the confirmation information at the time of purchase.
Turkey hunting licenses are available by a preference
system drawing. A hunter's preference level is determined by the number of years that the hunter has submitted valid but unsuccessful applications. A special landowner-tenant preference drawing for up to 20 % of the permits in each permit area is also a part of this system.
To participate in the drawing, a person must be at least 12-years-old prior to April 14, 2004, and if under age 16, must possess a firearms safety certificate. Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979, must have a firearms safety certificate, a previous hunting license, or other evidence of successfully completing a hunter safety course in order to obtain a license to hunt or trap in Minnesota. To qualify for a resident license, a person must be a legal Minnesota resident for at least 60 days.
Successful applicants will be mailed a 2004 Spring Wild Turkey Hunt Book as their winning notification by Feb. 15.
Winning applicants will need to purchase a license and a wild turkey stamp validation (if age 18 or over) before hunting. The actual pictorial wild turkey stamp is no longer required, but hunters who want a stamp can request that one be sent to them for an additional $2.
In permit areas and time periods with fewer applicants than available licenses, the remaining available licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis beginning in mid-March. Those licenses will be sold at the 1,800 ELS agents throughout Minnesota. Availability of these licenses will be announced in early March.
Applications for the 2004 spring wild turkey hunt must be submitted by Friday, Dec. 5. For more information, call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).
A helicopter working on a cooperative lake reclamation project coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources crashed into Lake Christina near Alexandria on October 21. The pilot was rescued from the water by another helicopter pilot. The pilot involved in the crash has been identified as Stuart Allen. At his request, he was driven to a local hospital for observation. His injuries did not appear to be serious.
"It's unfortunate that an accident like this happened," said Ed Boggess, DNR Wildlife resource manager, "but we're grateful there doesn't appear to any serious injuries." The helicopter belonged to Teryjon Aviation of St. Peter. The cause of the crash was not immediately known, spraying resumed about an hour later.
Lake Christina, a famed canvasback lake, which straddles Douglas and Otter Tail counties near Alexandria, once served as a stopover area for up to 20 % the continent's canvasbacks. The 4,000-acre shallow lake was rich in
duck foods especially sago pondweed, wild celery and chara. Infestations of exotic fish species, like carp and other fish impaired water quality, and had greatly diminished the lake for wildlife.
Removal of fish reduces the stirring up of bottom sediments, resulting in the improved water clarity and sunlight penetration necessary for submerged aquatic plants to thrive.
Rotenone is a fast-acting substance that kills by preventing gill-breathing fish, amphibians, and invertebrates from using oxygen. A naturally occurring substance, rotenone has been used for centuries by native South American Indians to kill fish for food.
Although toxic to fish living in the treated lake, rotenone breaks down to carbon dioxide and water within a few weeks, rendering it harmless. In the concentrations the DNR uses to treat lakes, rotenone is not toxic to humans or any wildlife that eats fish killed by the substance.
Over the past two weeks, both a 14-inch and a 15-inch rainbow trout have been taken from North Park Lake.
The Monongahela River has been a hotbed of excitement for the local anglers. Anglers using Rooster Tail spinners while fishing from the shore have reported large catches of white bass. Most of the good reports are coming from the Elizabeth access area.
The Pittsburgh Tri-Anglers Fishing Club fished at the Point around the fountain on October 8. About two-dozen fish were caught including smallmouth bass, sauger, walleye, drum, channel catfish, flathead catfish, carp, and skipjack herring. Smallmouth bass of 16 and 17 inches and a walleye of 19 inches were the most notable game fish catches.
The Allegheny River at Harmar was high and muddy with floating debris on October 17. River water temperature hovered around 50 degrees. When flow conditions begin to settle, fall fishing success should be on the upswing.
Duke Lake in Ryerson Station State Park has produced several trout in the 12-inch range using Rooster tail spinners and Power Bait in the colder weather.
A 10+-pound walleye was reported caught at Lake Somerset on October 12. The fish was caught on 8-pound test and a Brush Baby lure.
Using a nightcrawler an angler landed a 15-pound carp in Ten Mile Creek fishing in the park area.
The lakes in the county have turned over and are clear providing good fishing, especially when it comes to pickerel.
Pine Creek flows are high for this time of year. Due to the exceptional conditions for trout during this past summer, there is a good supply of trout still available for anglers. Anglers are having success with minnows fished slow and deep in the water column.
Lake Augusta has been drained but the water is still above normal levels, so angling opportunity by boat is still possible.
Flows in Kettle Creek are high for this time of year, but the fishing is still good. Many of the fish in the stream are carry-overs from the spring stocking. There is a good supply of trout still available for anglers. Try minnows fished slow and deep in the water column.
The Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only section of Middle Creek was stocked on October 15 with no anglers observed. This is a beautiful section of Middle Creek with some great fish just waiting for you!
Beechwood Lake crappy fishing has been improving as water temperatures cool. Anglers are having success with white grub twister tails on a jig in about six feet of water.
Yellow twister tail-tipped jigs are the ticket for big yellow perch on Nessmuk Lake. The fish are holding in 15-20 feet of water, so anglers may need to bring a boat to get in on the action. Nessmuk Lake is located one mile south of Wellsboro on Rt. 287.
Halfway Lake was stocked October 8, but the fishing pressure there has been light providing good angling opportunity.
Trout have been recently stocked in Hay Creek, Tulpehocken Creek downstream of the special regulation area, and Scott’s Run Lake in French Creek State Park. All were stocked the week of October 6, and now is the
time to fish. Pressure is low during the week and moderate on weekends. Some really nice brown trout were stocked
in these areas and all recently encountered anglers were very satisfied. Live minnows have been working well on the brown trout. Using small flies attached to a float has always been productive on Scott’s Run Lake, and continues to produce nice fish.
Fishing pressure has also slowed on Blue Marsh Lake and Lake Ontelaunee. Cooler temperatures should make fishing even better for the next few weeks, so take the time to get out on the water.
Walleye fishing on the Susquehanna River has been picking up lately. Fish live bait, including shiner or fathead minnows, especially on the cold, rainy days. Often these are the best days for the larger walleyes, as these fish in general do not bite well on warm sunny days. Tipping a jig head with a minnow hooked through the lips is often the best way to fish these baits when presenting them in an active manner. Target your summertime favorite, the smallmouth bass, on the last few warm days that we will have ahead of us. Live bait will keep them biting as well as the water temperatures drop.
The Lehigh River is fishing well for trout in the Cementon area downstream to Allentown. Nice trout are being caught primarily on nightcrawlers. Smallmouth fishing has also been good on the Lehigh River in the area below the Hamilton Street dam, where minnows and curly-tailed plastic grubs are working well.
An inspection of area trout streams that are stocked in spring has shown that because of this year’s cooler, wetter summer stocked trout from last spring are still present in a number of streams that normally become too warm to support trout through the summer. Trout may tend to hole up in colder stream temperatures, so anglers should begin their searches for fish in the pools. Also, with last spring's high flows it is likely that many fish escaped harvest.
Panfish are biting well at Minsi Lake. Try live baits as the water gets colder. Also at Minsi Lake, bass action has been spotty due to rapid changes in weather patterns. However, a 24-inch, 7-pound largemouth bass was caught the previous weekend, so keep looking for the big one.
For trout action, try the lower section of Bushkill Creek, which was recently stocked. Live baits have been performing well in this area.
Anglers should recall that 1,400 trout were recently stocked in the Wissahickon Creek in Fairmount Park. Fishing pressure has been light, and these fish have responded well to the few anglers that have been on the stream. Elsewhere, fishing pressure has been light in the city, and striped bass catches have been non-existent, while catfish and carp remain the fish that most anglers are targeting.
On the odd end of things, an angler recently caught a bowfin at the PFBC Frankford Arsenal access on the Delaware River. The bowfin, sometimes called a dogfish, is native to the Delaware River drainage and is a listed as a “candidate” species. Anglers must immediately release all bowfins to the water unharmed.
Tributaries remain low and clear with some color in the deeper pools. Water levels are reasonable. Weekend crowds have been excessive at Walnut and Elk Creek access areas, with anglers lining up elbow to elbow from the Project waters up to the “chutes area.” Weekdays are somewhat less crowded. A good number of browns and coho are being caught along with many citation-size steelhead. Good numbers of fish can be found throughout lower Elk Creek near the access area. Many limits were taken from both areas this past weekend.
Less crowded conditions can be found on Elk Creek near the Girard Borough Park up to and including the Legion Park area off of Route 20. Fish are holding near the Struchean flats off of Sterretania Road up to Folley’s End as well. The upper areas of the tributaries may require a little walking to find fish, but should be less crowded. Small wooly buggers, sucker spawn and egg patterns, micro jigs, maggots, along with single cured eggs have been popular in the clear water. Light line or leaders in fluorocarbon are nearly a must in the present conditions.
Edward Kissell selected as 2003 Able Award Recipient
Edward Kissell of Erie has been named the recipient of the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award for 2003. The honor is the highest recognition the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission can confer on persons who distinguish themselves in the cause of conservation.
Kissell earned recognition as the 2003 Abele Award winner through his work on many outstanding projects. These include the Cascade Creek Adopt-A-Stream project, the Strong Vincent High School stream bank erosion improvement project, and several Presque Isle Bay fish habitat projects. Ed has led the fight to provide public access for the world class fisheries provided by the Pennsylvania waters of Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and the tributaries. His work with education projects and in support of water safety was particularly noteworthy. In addition, Kissell performed outstanding service with many organizations, including the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council, the recreational committee of the Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority, the Erie County Coastal Zone Advisory Committee, the Erie County Environmental Council, and, of course, the S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie.
Ed Kissell was nominated for the Abele Award by Jerry Skrypzak and the S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie Fishing Club in recognition of his lifetime contributions to the cause of conservation as a champion for angling, public access, the environment and our water resources.
“I have known Ed Kissell for many years and I am very familiar with his outstanding volunteer work. I can think of no one more worthy of the highest recognition offered by the Fish and Boat Commission. On behalf of myself and my fellow Commissioners, I offer Ed our heartiest congratulations,” said Commission President Samuel M.
Kissell also is the current PA director to the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council's board of directors, a position he has held since 1998. He was also president of the S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie 1985-89, which also is a member club of the GLSFC.
According to Dennis Guise, Deputy Executive Director for the Fish and Boat Commission, “Ed Kissell’s singularly exemplary accomplishments over a period of many years are great tributes to his dedication and devotion to fishing and fisheries conservation. The volunteer spirit and selfless dedication that embodied so much of Ralph Abele’s life and work are reflected by the fine service that Ed Kissell has performed in support of fishing, conservation and education.”
The PFBC established the Abele Award to recognize citizens of Pennsylvania who have made outstanding contributions to the protection, conservation and enhancement of the aquatic resources of the Commonwealth. The award serves as a memorial to Ralph Abele for his steadfast and courageous work in protecting and conserving our natural resources. Past Abele Award winners were: Ken Sink, Dr. Maurice Goddard, Lenny Green, Dr. William Kodrich, Robert W. McCullough, Jr., Peter Duncan, James L. Myers, Larry J. Schweiger, Enoch S. ("Inky") Moore, Robert P. Ging, Jr., Raymond Savel and Dr. Ed Bellis.
Ralph W. Abele served as executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish Commission from 1972 until 1987. His goal was to protect Commonwealth waters, conserve our aquatic resources and enhance fishing and boating in Pennsylvania. He was quoted as proclaiming: “If the fish can't survive in the water, there are serious problems for man.” Ralph’s “Resource First” philosophy continues to guide the Fish and Boat Commission today.
In cooperation with "Wild Harvest Videos," the Pennsylvania Game Commission is offering six outstanding videos designed to help hunters get the most from their wild game harvests. Produced by Jerry Chiappetta and featuring Certified Master Chef Milos Cihelka, these videos show step-by-step the best care for game animals from the field to the table.
"These videos have something to offer everyone; from the veteran hunter to the beginner," said J. Carl Graybill Jr., director of the agency's Bureau of Information and Education. "This series is one more example of the Game Commission's effort to help people get the most from their hunting experiences."
The videos are available from "The Outdoor Shop" on the Game Commission's website www.pgc.state.pa.us . Go to "The Outdoor Shop," click on "Products," choose "Videos," and then scroll down to the video you are interested in and complete the order form. Each video costs $9.95 each ($13.50 including tax and shipping/handling). Orders may be billed to Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards. Interested individuals also may call toll-free 1-888-888-3459, or write Pennsylvania Game Commission, Dept. MS, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.
Video selections include:
-- Big Game: Field to Table is a 90-minute video that covers everything from field-dressing to proper freezer
wrapping. This video also offers easy-to-follow directions on how to butcher a deer, as well as a few hunting camp recipes.
-- Venison: Healthy and Tasty is an 80-minute video that offers mouth-watering recipes for venison stew, pot roasts with sour cream, classic venison roasts, sautéed steak with mushrooms, as well as suitable side dishes, marinades and much more.
-- Venison: Aging, Smoking & Sausage Making is a 55-minute video designed for the average hunter who enjoys smoked venison, jerky, salami, sausage and hot sticks.
-- Care & Cooking: Gamebirds and Small Game Animals is a 70-minute video that offers instructions on how to age gamebirds and when to pluck or when to skin them for the best flavor and tenderness. The video also provides recipes for several dishes.
-- Care & Cooking: Upland Gamebirds is a 75-minute video that also offers instructions on how to age gamebirds and when to pluck or when to skin them for the best flavor and tenderness. It also includes suggestions on how to age gamebirds and create many delicious meals.
-- Care & Cooking: Waterfowl is a 75-minute video that focuses on preparing great meals from ducks and geese. Starting with proper field care and how to transport game, the video also provides instructions on how to age waterfowl before plucking or skinning. As with all other videos, this one provides several recipes for game.
As Pennsylvanians plan for the holiday gift-giving season, the Pennsylvania Game Commission unveiled its 2004 calendar, priced at $8.95 (plus tax and shipping), on "The Outdoor Shop" on the agency's website www.pgc.state.pa.us and at all Game Commission offices.
The 2004 calendar features a year's worth of dramatic wildlife photos taken by agency employees: Hal Korber, wildlife education specialist at the Harrisburg headquarters; Joe Kosack, wildlife education specialist at the Harrisburg headquarters; Rob Criswell, Southcentral Region Land Management Supervisor in Huntingdon; Billie Cromwell,
retired Food and Cover Crew foreman in Fulton County; and Timothy C. Flanigan, Wildlife Conservation Officer in Bedford County.
January through December features a full-color photo of a different wildlife species, including: wild turkeys; eastern woodrat; migrating snow geese; a nesting mourning dove with nestlings; a gray fox pup; a gray squirrel; an opossum; an elk; a group of white-tailed deer; a ring-necked pheasant; a black bear; and a tufted titmouse.
The calendar also provides a brief overview of the Game Commission and a list of contact information for the agency's Harrisburg headquarters and six region offices.
HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Deputy Executive Director Dennis Guise today announced $1.8 million in federal monies soon will be available for high-priority fish and wildlife conservation projects across Pennsylvania, especially for projects focused on species with the greatest conservation need. These federal dollars are being made available to the two agencies through the State Wildlife Grant Program, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Of the $1.8 million allocation, the two agencies plan to offer a minimum of $613,000 for competitive grants to local project cooperators, while retaining $593,500 each for agency-driven projects.
"In order to stretch these federal dollars further, we again plan to offer local project cooperators the opportunity to compete for matching grants," Ross said. "By doing so, we can spur local investment in these worthy projects. This year, we will be placing more of an emphasis on conservation planning and implementation."
Completed applications must be received at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management by noon on Dec. 5. Projects slated for funding will be announced following any formal approval required by the respective boards of commissioners.
Project costs may not be charged to grants until July 1, 2004.
"The State Wildlife Grant program provides us with an exceptional opportunity to work hand-in-hand with conservation partners across the state," said Guise. "We're seeking the best projects that provide long-term conservation benefits to Pennsylvania. Selecting projects in previous years has been no easy task and I don't imagine this year will be any different."
Last year, the two agencies announced that more than $2.5 million in federal State Wildlife Grant Program funding was awarded for similar purposes. Those groups that received previous application packages last year automatically will be notified of this new round of grants. Those who didn't receive a package last year can download a SWG application packet at the Game Commission's website www.pgc.state.pa.us or add themselves to the mailing list by sending their contact information including a contact name and address for their organization to: State Wildlife Grants, Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.
For more information on the projects funded by State Wildlife Grant Program last year, visit the Game Commission's website www.pgc.state.pa.us and click on "Newsroom," then choose "February 2003," and select "Release #09-03."
Recognizing the importance of education and training to prevent firearm accidents, the House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by Rep. Ron Marsico (R-105) declaring October 2003 as Pennsylvania Firearm Safety Month.
"As we prepare for the height of the hunting season, it is more important than ever to focus on firearm safety," Marsico said. "While we always encourage parents to keep firearms locked up in a gun safe, children still need to know how to stay safe in case they or their friends come across a gun."
recognizes the National Rifle Association-sponsored Eddie Eagle Gun Safety
Program for its effectiveness in educating more than 9 million children
across the nation. It encourages the state Department of Education to
promote the use of the program in public schools across the state. "This
program works because it has a simple message: stop, don't touch, leave the
area and tell an adult," Marsico said. "It's a basic lesson but one that can
The Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program has received numerous awards from the National Safety Council, the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation and the National School Public Relations Association.
Wisconsin youth will have more hunting opportunities thanks to the passage of legislation that allows bear hunters to hand off their licenses to youth. Gov. Jim Doyle (D) signed AB 106 on October 16. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Scott Gunderson, R-Waterford, allows a licensed bear hunter to transfer his or her license to a minor. It passed the House by a unanimous voice vote and the
Senate by a vote of
32 to 1.
Until the passage of AB 106, Wisconsin used a preference system to distribute a limited number of bear hunting licenses. The system made it difficult for youth to obtain the permits. The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and the Department of Natural Resources worked closely with Rep. Gunderson in creating the legislation.
USFWS Press Releases Sea Grant News
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