Week of November 5, 2007

Beyond the Great Lakes



Lake Superior

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Beyond the Great Lakes

Court decision could lead to uniform anchoring laws in Florida

A recent county court decision that found an anchoring ordinance near Marco Island, Fla., in violation of state law could lead to a statewide solution for the patchwork of local anchoring laws, according to BoatU.S.  The Marco Island ordinance restricted recreational boaters to a maximum 12-hour anchoring period when located within 300 feet of a seawall, and a maximum six-day anchoring period anywhere beyond that distance.


In an Oct. 26 decision, Collier County judge Rob Crown said the ordinance was “an unlawful regulation of publicly owned sovereign waterways in violation of Florida law.”


“Across Florida other local governments have enacted similar ordinances, that unfairly give local interests control over public waterways,” BoatU.S. Vice president of government affairs Margaret Podlich said in a statement. “We hope this court decision contributes to a statewide solution that is fair to all Florida citizens.”

Earlier this year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission held a series of six stakeholder meetings throughout the state to hear concerns about anchoring issues.


BoatU.S. member and local resident Dave Dumas, in an effort to bring the issue before the court, intentionally broke the law in January because he and other local boaters from the Sailing Association of Marco Island thought it was overly restrictive, according to BoatU.S. Another BoatU.S. member, Donald Day, an attorney with the Naples, Fla., law firm Barry, Day, McFee & Martin, handled the case pro bono.


“As a result of Judge Crown’s decision and current state statutes, many local governments around the state have advised me that they will not be enforcing their anchoring ordinances and will look to the state for guidance in the form of a uniform anchoring regulation,” Day said in a statement.


The City Council members and the city attorney will meet in a closed-door session to decide whether to appeal or accept the court decision.


Bush vetoes water projects bill

Electronic Waterway barrier at risk

WASHINGTON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Friday vetoed a bill that would have authorized hundreds of water projects  across the United States, escalating a battle with congressional Democrats over domestic spending.


Bush had long threatened to veto the $23 billion bill, targeted for projects including coastal restoration in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and improving the Florida Everglades, saying it was too expensive because it had unneeded projects supported by individual lawmakers.


Democrats said they would try to override the president's veto as early as next week. The measure passed both houses of Congress with more than the two thirds majorities needed to override a presidential veto. White House Press Secretary Dana Perino called the measure "fiscally irresponsible" and said Bush cast the fifth veto of his presidency before leaving for a trip to South Carolina.


The Senate passed the bill, 81-12, in September after the House of Representatives approved it by 381-40 a month

earlier. Overall, the $23 billion legislation authorizes 900 projects and studies. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer from Maryland said his chamber would hold a vote on Tuesday to attempt to override the president's veto. He noted the legislation won significant bipartisan support when it passed the House and Senate with "large veto-proof majorities."


A spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said the Senate could revisit the water bill as early as Wednesday.  Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the veto showed Bush was out of touch with the American people and vowed to move forward with the bill. "When we override this irresponsible veto, perhaps the president will finally recognize that Congress is an equal branch of  government and reconsider his many other reckless veto threats," said Reid.


Perino said the water projects in the bill fall outside the scope of the Army Corps of Engineers' mission and said many of them "lack any sense of merit." "It's by far the costliest U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorization ever sent to a president's desk," she said. Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, praised the president for vetoing the bill.


Great Lakes Navigation Stakeholder Meeting Nov. 27

FYI, The Corp is improving their capability to communicate with stakeholders on dredging harbors issues.  There is now a call-in conference line option available for you.


You are invited to attend the next Great Lakes Navigation Stakeholder meeting.  The meeting will take place at the Detroit Metro Airport Marriott on November 27, 2007.  Based on feedback received from previous stakeholder meetings, we will also have call-in capability for this meeting for those who are unable to travel to Detroit. 


Details for the meeting:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007, 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

 Detroit Metro Airport Marriott Hotel

 30559 Flynn Rd

 Romulus, Michigan 48174

(800) 228-9290 or (734) 729-7555




 Free Parking available at the hotel

 Free Shuttle from the Airport


 Dial-in Number:  (866) 818-1758

                 Pass Code: 893450


 A block of rooms has been reserved at the Marriott at a rate of $129. Reservations must be made by Nov 5.  Reservations can be made online with the link below.  This will automatically fill in our group code.  If you are making the

reservation by phone, reference the "U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Navigation Stakeholder Meeting."


A draft agenda and letter of invitation from General Berwick, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Commander, is attached. The meeting includes a working lunch; lunch will be provided by the hotel at a cost of $18 per person. We will collect payment on the day of the meeting.


Confirm your plans to attend with Ms. Ruby McGill at 313-226-6389 or e-mail: [email protected]  by Nov 5, 2007.  Also indicate if you will be staying for lunch.  The Great Lakes Dredging Team will hold its Fall Meeting in the same room from 1 to 5 p.m.  We encourage you to attend and participate in the discussions that take place within this forum.  For more information on the Great Lakes Dredging Team, visit:  www.glc.org/dredging   .


 Please contact me by phone at (313) 226-6794 or by email at [email protected]  with any comments or suggestions on the draft agenda.  Also, please pass this invitation on to any colleagues who may be interested.


 For info on Great Lakes Navigation Team activities: www.lre.usace.army.mil/greatlakes/navigation


 Marie Strum

 US Army Corps of Engineers

 Detroit District

 (313) 226-6794

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Nov 2, 2007

Weather Conditions

A quick moving cold front brought light precipitation to much of the Great Lakes basin this week.  Following the frontal passage, cooler and dryer air filtered in across the region.  All of the Great Lakes with the exception of Lake Erie reported near or above average precipitation during October.


Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is presently 6" higher than it was at this time last year. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 5 to 11" lower than last year's levels, while Lake Ontario is 16" below its level of one year ago.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to drop 1 - 2" over the next month.  Lakes St. Clair and Erie are both projected to decline 3" during the next 30 days, while Lake Ontario is expected to fall an inch.  Over the next few months, Lake Superior is predicted to remain above last year's water levels, but the lower lakes are forecasted to stay below their levels of a year ago.


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflow from the St. Marys River is predicted to be well below average for November. 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 near average.



Due to abnormally dry conditions on the Lake Michigan-Huron basin prior to last month, its water level is below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum over the next six months.  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. 





St. Clair



Level for Nov 2






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr






USCG hosts Inter-agency law enforcement training

LEMONT, Ill. - Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago provided training to a group of local, state and federal agency law enforcement partners on Oct. 24.


MSU Chicago offered classroom and dockside for some hands-on experience. Rogers provided information on typical arrangements, function of equipment, and standard operations from an industry perspective. Most of the discussion revolved around plausible scenarios and agency response capabilities.


The training focused on commercial and recreational vessel orientation and included time aboard a freight and oil barge and cabin cruiser. Cmdr. Paul Mehler III, MSU Chicago Commanding Officer, saw a need for this training in order to better prepare first responders along the Chicago lakefront and river system for a higher level of Anti-Terrorism Force Protection readiness and to collectively respond to criminal

activities on the waterways.


CWO Steve Wilkinson headed up the training, while an industry representative from American Commercial Lines, Randy Rogers, provided the industry expertise. "Almost as important as the training was the opportunity to network and get to know people from the different agencies that we will be working alongside far into the future," said Wilkinson. "Interaction like this opens lines of communication and leads to greater information sharing between us."


Representatives from the Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection, Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois State Police, were in attendance to board and become familiar with the outlay and arrangements of the vessels that commonly transit the Chicago area. Plans were set in motion to expand upon the training and to include more federal, state and local agencies.


Top Ten Tips For Winter Fishing From BoatU.S.

Stay Safe on the Water and Catch More Fish

The pleasure boats are gone and the water is now all yours. But don’t venture out for your next winter fishing trip without following these top ten tips from BoatU.S. Angler, a membership program that offers services, fishing tips and safety information just for trailer boat anglers:


1. Check the bellies of fish you bring up and if you find silt, that’s an indication that the fish has been glued to the bottom. So take your time presenting the bait or lure, stay in one spot for a longer time and use presentations with smaller baits like drop shot or shaky heads. Find the deepest water close to shore and fish more vertically than horizontally.


2. With the pleasure boating season over there are fewer potential rescuers to assist you in an emergency, so never fish alone. Leave a float plan behind with your spouse, friend, or anyone else who is willing to call authorities if you haven’t checked back in at a predetermined time.


3. A spray of line conditioner, such as Reel Magic, will help keep your lines ice-free. Use a smaller line size so you can get better hooksets with less line resistance. Low stretch line is best in the winter as well.


4. Wear layers of clothing – preferably synthetic or wool – but never cotton. It’s a poor insulator when wet.


5. Use attractants such as Jack’s Juice, which can sprayed on a soft plastic lures. Fish are sluggish and attractants encourage them to hold on longer.

6. Bring along high-energy foods such as granola bars and warm drinks. It’s important to keep hydrated in winter’s dry air. Stay away from alcohol, which dilates blood vessels and cools your body’s core.


7. Cold water drains energy and body heat rapidly. If you fall overboard, a life jacket can give you the time you need to pull yourself back in the boat before the effects of hypothermia set in. Vest styles can provide warmth both in and out of the water while automatically inflating life jackets allow great freedom of movement and fit over bulky winter clothing. Also, make sure you have a method to get back in the boat, such as a built-in boarding ladder or a short length of rope with loops for footholds that is firmly attached to a cleat or other fixed object.


8. According to U.S. Coast Guard boating fatality statistics, January’s and February’s cold weather represent the greatest fatality risk. Always check the weather before you go. With hypothermia a very real threat, sudden squalls can be deadly.


9. Now is the time to disconnect water pressure and speed hoses behind the helm gauges to prevent freeze damage.


10. When you’re done fishing and before you leave the launch ramp, trim the outboard motor all the way down, remove the kill switch and turn the engine over for a just a second to pump out any water that may still be inside the motor. Remove any mud or plant debris from the boat or equipment and thoroughly drain livewells or anywhere else water may have pooled to stop the spread of invasive species. Storing the boat high and dry for two days before fishing a different body of water can also help. Remember, it’s your fishery.


Lake Superior

Invasive Ruffe Decline in Four Lake Superior Tributaries

Zebra Mussel Range Expands in Lake Superior

The Ashland National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office completed a fall investigation of invasive Ruffe and other aquatic invasive species (AIS) in four southwestern Lake Superior tributaries. Bottom trawl sampling verified declines in all Ruffe populations, and also detected the presence of zebra mussels in one of the tributary estuaries.

These ongoing investigations were initiated in 1995 to compare trends in relative abundance of Ruffe and native fish populations, one of eight elements in the Ruffe Control Plan. Monitoring is also conducted during spring and summer, and the abundance results are averaged to account for seasonal variation.




State Police & DNR offer Open Range Program

Hunters given an opportunity to sight-in shotguns before deer hunting season

SPRINGFIELD, IL - The Illinois State Police (ISP) announced it will open its ranges to hunters for the purpose of sighting in and test-firing their  shotguns in a safe environment for the upcoming deer hunting season.  On Saturday, November 10, firing ranges in Elgin, Joliet, Pawnee, Effingham, DuQuoin, LaSalle, and Pecatonica will be available to the public.  Hours at all ranges are 8 - 4 PM.


"Once again, the Illinois State Police and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will offer the Open Range Program to hunters to safely sight-in their shotguns before the upcoming hunting season," said ISP Director Larry G. Trent.  "This annual program provides ISP and DNR firearm experts the opportunity to promote hunting safety in a controlled environment while ensuring the safe and appropriate use of shotguns."


"We are once again proud to partner with the Illinois State police on the Open Range Program," said Sam Flood, Acting

Director of the DNR.   "Whether you've been hunting for years or just a matter of days this is a great opportunity for hunters to check their shotgun in the presence of an expert before the beginning of the season. This will not only ensure their safety, but the safety of other sportsmen on the field."


The public is asked to call one of the ranges listed below before the scheduled date to make a reservation.  Targets will be provided, and there is no charge for use of the range.  Participants must possess a valid Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card and transport the firearm legally by having it unloaded and enclosed in a case.


Open Ranges

District             City            Contact                      Telephone                                               

District 2         Elgin          Trooper DarrLove                847-931-2785 

District 5         Joliet         Sgt. Chris Garibay              815-726-6377 - Ext. 255 

District 9         Pawnee      Trooper Rich Mahan            217-786-6278 

District 12       Effingham   Sgt.Kelly Hulsey               217-347-2711 

District 13       DuQuoin     Sgt.Tom King                     618-542-211

District 16       Pecatonica  Trooper Tim Roush             815-239-1152 - Ext. 2427

District 17       LaSalle        Sgt. Bob Cessna               815-224-1171                


Indiana Court Misreads Federal Law

Rules Gary's Lawsuit against Gun Makers Can Proceed

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The Indiana Court of Appeals last week issued a ruling that will allow the city of Gary's frivolous lawsuit against 16 firearm manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, Colt, Browning, Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Beretta, to proceed despite a federal law that prohibits such suits.


The decision is extremely disappointing because the court failed to properly apply a federal law as Congress intended. "Gary's frivolous lawsuit is the poster child for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act," said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association of the firearms industry. "Gary's lawsuit seeks to blame manufacturers for the actions of criminals who misuse firearms. It is like blaming car makers for drunk driving accidents. Congress understood that lawsuits like Gary's defy logic and common sense. During Congressional debate, the city of Gary's case was cited as an example of precisely the

sort of frivolous lawsuit that the bill was intended to stop."


Keane added, "Gary's lawsuit if filed today would be barred by an Indiana state law passed in 2001 after the city of Gary's case was originally filed in 1999." Indiana is one of 36 states that have laws barring public nuisance lawsuits against gun makers and served as a catalyst for Congress' passage in 2005 of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. "We look forward to the Indiana Supreme Court reviewing this case, so it can correct the lower court's error," Keane said.


In early 2006, firearm manufacturers had moved to have the city's lawsuit against them, originally filed in 1999, dismissed based on the federal Act. In 2006, a Lake County, Ind., Superior Court judge ruled the federal Act does apply to Gary's lawsuit, but declared it unconstitutional. Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the lower court and ruled the statute does not apply and Gary's case could go forward. The court did not address the constitutional claims.


DNR Resources Funding Crisis

Prepare to pay more to do what we enjoy doing outdoors

General Fund reductions and depletion of several of our major restricted funds (Game and Fish Protection Fund, Forest Development Fund and Park Improvement Fund) will require additional and more severe budgetary measures than have been implemented to date.


Since Fiscal Year 2005, DNR has reduced its programs by more than $20 million. These reductions were much more extensive than the list below, but to give you a few highlights, the cutbacks included:

♦significant reduction of conservation officers with more than 50 vacant conservation officer positions, resulting in reduced effort in public safety and protecting natural resources, delays in responding to complaints, and little or no officer presence in certain areas of the state

♦ a 60 percent decrease in production and planting of hatchery Coho for Lake Michigan, resulting in a negative impact on sportfishing and the charter boat industry

♦ fewer wildlife population surveys and reduced bovine TB and CWD monitoring, compromising the Department’s ability to manage wildlife populations and monitor for diseases, which increases the risk for a disease to become established and endanger wildlife populations

♦ fewer fire officers and reduction in fire equipment replacement, jeopardizing wildfire protection

♦ a decrease in timber marking as a result of not filling vacant positions and decreased disease monitoring compromising the health of our forests

♦ decreased staffing and maintenance of facilities in our state parks and recreation areas and eliminating all non-emergency trail repairs


Without the prospect of license fee adjustments to offset structural deficits in the Game and Fish Protection Fund projected at $2.5 million in Fiscal Year 2008 and $13 million in fiscal year 2009, or finding resolution to address additional deficits in the Forest Development and Park Improvement Funds, drastic reductions to programs and staff will occur.


Listed below are the additional program cuts, by fund, that will be implemented beginning November 1, 2007.

General Fund

Reduction of $1.05 million

Reduction of 12 staff

The Department will implement the following reductions:

• Closure of state forest campgrounds, pathways, cross country ski trails

This reduction will increase the number of closed state forest campgrounds from 20 to 22 and elimination of all pathways. These closures will result in a significant decrease in recreational opportunities which will impact local economies that depend on the tourism generated through these activities.

• Reduce disease surveillance for bovine tuberculosis

This reduction would result in the loss of the TB accreditation level currently awarded the state. This will have a significant impact on the cattle industry. Monitoring for chronic wasting disease, avian influenza, West Nile, etc. will be greatly reduced increasing the health risks for wildlife and humans.

• Elimination of general conservation law enforcement by conservation officers

Conservation officers will not be allowed to address general conservation law violations which will degrade public lands such as game areas, state forests, state parks, etc.


Game and Fish Protection Fund

Reduction of $6.2 million

Reduction of 58 staff

• Close 2 fish hatcheries

Loss of 1.2 M Coho, 1.9 M Chinook salmon, 845,000 brown trout, and 485,000 rainbow trout. The economic impact of these reductions will be monumental as fishing boosts the state’s economy by $2 billion annually.

• Eliminate remaining fish surveys (creel clerks)

Angler harvest data will not be collected and is therefore not available to use to assist in the management of the state’s

fisheries resources. This will also eliminate the ability to evaluate ports across the state for compliance with the 2000 Tribal Consent Decree.

• Close research station

Eliminate the ability to evaluate and make management recommendations on inland coldwater fisheries including trout rivers streams and lakes negatively affecting fishing opportunities.

• Eliminate university research and reduce fish health activities

Opportunities will be lost to respond to current disease issues.

• Eliminate use of Great Lakes research vessels

Twenty five years of continuous data collection on harvest mortality and fish health would end compromising our ability to adjust harvest regulations and hatchery stocking programs.

• Reduce conservation officers

This will result in increased illegal activity such as poaching, increased accidents and injuries due to violations of hunter safety regulations and reckless operations of ORV, boats, snowmobiles, etc. Remaining conservation officers will be at greater risk due to the lack of backup, increased response time, etc.

• Reduction in emergency dispatch for conservation law violations

Emergency dispatch will not be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Closure of managed waterfowl areas-Loss of over 28,300 acres of hunting areas. This equates to 300 days of lost hunting opportunity. Hunting alone annually brings in $1.3 billion to Michigan’s economy.

• Translocation of nuisance animals

Nuisance bear and geese will no longer be moved. Over 6,000 geese have been removed in Southeast Michigan resulting in greater wildlife-human conflict and disease concerns.

• Office closures and elimination of presence in field offices


Forest Development Fund

Reduction of $1 million

Reduction of 9 staff

Additional reductions are necessary if $1 million is transferred to the Michigan Department of Agriculture for conservation districts. As these reductions are implemented and affect future revenue, the need for further reductions will compound. Fiscal Year 2008 reductions will be as follows:

• Reduction in timber marking, regeneration, planning

This will negatively impact the amount of timber that is marked, regenerations efforts, oil and gas reviews, use permits and leases, recreation, planning, forest certification and fire response, which will negatively affect tourism and a $13 billion timber industry in the state.

• Elimination of natural features inventory reviews

Loss of forest certification will likely negatively impact the state’s ability to sell timber reducing state revenues.


Park Improvement Fund

Reduction of 253 staff

Infrastructure conditions continue to deteriorate. To address the structural deficit in the Park Improvement Fund, the Department will cease taking reservations in April 2008 for at least 37 state parks, which will close during Fiscal Year 2009. Reductions will be implemented in Fiscal Year 2009 as follows:

• Closure of at least 37 state parks and recreation areas and scenic sites

This reduction will affect millions of visitors annually, eliminating many opportunities for our customers to experience the outdoors through either day use or overnight stays. These closures will also negatively affect local communities who depend on the economic stimulus provided by the state parks. Visitors to our state parks contribute more than $580 million annually to Michigan.

• Closure of 8 interpretative centers

Closure of the interpretative centers will result in the loss of a critical educational opportunity to inform the public about conservation practices, stewardship, and natural resources management.

DNR Basic Archery Instructor Course Dec. 1

The Michigan DNR is offering a free basic archery instructor (BAI) course on Saturday, Dec. 1, at Kenneth T. Beagle Middle School in Grand Ledge located in Eaton County. Teachers attending the session will receive .7 SB-CEUs from the Michigan Department of Education.


The eight-hour session, which will begin at 8 a.m., is for physical education teachers who wish to join the DNR’s Archery in the Schools program.


Archery in the Schools introduces international-style target archery to students in 4th through 12th grade physical education classes. The in-school curriculum’s core content covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration and self-improvement. To date, more than 200

schools across Michigan have implemented the program.


“Target archery is a safe sport, in which students of all skill levels can be successful regardless of age, size or physical ability,” said Mary Emmons, coordinator for the Archery in the Schools program. “Incorporating archery as a school sport choice in the physical education curriculum creates an opportunity to engage students who otherwise may not participate in traditional athletics, and is an individual sport they can enjoy throughout their lifetime.”


To register for this BAI class or for more information on Archery in the Schools, contact Mary Emmons at 517-241-9477 or by email at [email protected] . Information also is available online at www.michigan.gov/dnrarchery.


Hunters asked to not move firewood

ST. PAUL, MN -- The onset of the 2007 hunting season is a good time to remind people about a bug that is unwelcome in the state: the emerald ash borer (EAB). Working hard to prevent the spread of this pest into the state, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is asking hunters and others to restrict movement of firewood this fall.


Millions of ash trees have been destroyed in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana and Ontario, Canada, by the shiny green beetle and its larvae which bore into the bark of the tree, depriving it of nutrients and eventually killing it. Unable to travel more than a few miles on its own EAB is most likely to move via firewood into other states in the Great Lakes region and beyond, experts believe. The non-native insect has been making a slow and deadly migration toward Minnesota, although no infestations have been found here. Yet.


"The emerald ash borer is notorious for hitching a ride on transported firewood, then escaping to infest and destroy ash trees in a new area," said EAB Project Manager Mark Abrahamson. "Prevention, detection and rapid response are MDA’s main strategies for invasive terrestrial plant pests. Of these, prevention is the most economically and ecologically



Since its initial discovery near Detroit in 2002, EAB has also been discovered in northern Illinois, eastern Pennsylvania and now Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.


"Moving firewood is part of our culture," added Dr. Kathryn Kromroy, a plant health specialist with MDA.  "While the height of camping season has passed, most firewood movement this time of year is by sellers and buyers of wood for home heating and by hunters. We need to remain vigilant in order to stop the introduction and spread of EAB and other invasive tree pests that move in firewood."


MDA reminds hunters in Minnesota to buy firewood when you reach your destination and burn it all on site --know the origin and supplier of firewood that you purchase --be on the lookout for early signs of the presence of this insect.


For more information, go to www.mda.state.mn.us/plants  and click on "Emerald Ash Borer Program" or contact the Arrest the Pest Hotline at (651) 201-6684 (metro area) or 888-545-6684 (Greater Minnesota).


Proposal Will Snatch Guns from Young Adults and Youth

Pending legislation understates the safety of youth hunting

Legislation has been introduced in Ohio that will stop anyone under the age of 21 from hunting or shooting without supervision.


House Bill 354, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Boyd, D-Cleveland Heights, and Sandra Williams, D-Cleveland, prohibits anyone under 21-years-old from possessing a firearm. Under the bill, if an adult or youth who does not meet the age requirement plans to handle a firearm, he or she must do so in the presence of someone 21 or over. Licensed hunters who now take to the woods solo will have to bring a supervisor if the bill passes.


“If passed, this bill would have a devastating effect on efforts to attract new hunters and recreational shooters,” said Rob Sexton, USSA vice president for government affairs. “It is inconceivable that the government would send people between the ages of 18 and 21 to war, but prohibit them from hunting or target shooting.”

Bill sponsors claim that the legislation is aimed at preventing gun violence and accidents; however, hunters and recreational shooters promote safe handling of firearms. Accident rates among hunters and shooters are at historic lows.


For those under eighteen, parents are best equipped to make this decision, not the government,” said Sexton.  “The proposal will not stop criminals from using firearms, but it will stop hunters from passing on our traditions to the next generation.”


House Bill 354 has been referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee.


Take Action! Ohio sportsmen should ask state representatives to reject HB 354. Let them know that you oppose unnecessary restrictions on youth hunting. To find your representative, call (800) 282-0253 or use the Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org.



Deer-vehicle collisions highest in Oct and Nov

MADISON – Reports from state wildlife biologists and archery deer hunters indicate that white-tailed deer are nearing their rut, or mating season and deer movement will increase over the next few weeks, potentially resulting in a significant increase in car-deer collisions.


State officials are urging motorists to protect themselves by being alert for deer darting into roadways creating collision dangers.


With a deer herd estimated at 1.6 to 1.8 million animals combined with a growing number of rural miles driven in the state, deer and vehicle collisions remain at dangerously high levels. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports that there were seven fatal deer-vehicle crashes in Wisconsin in 2006, five of which involved motorcycles.


From July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007, motorists struck and killed nearly 35,685 deer in Wisconsin, according to Department of Natural Resources records of deer removed by contractors from along roadways and permits issued to motorists to keep deer they hit. That number is significantly higher than the 17,878 deer-vehicle crashes that the Department of Transportation reported for calendar year 2006,

which only reflects reportable accidents with more than $1,000 damage to vehicles.


The five counties with the most reported vehicle-killed deer from July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007 were Dane (1,628), Waupaca (1,335), Shawano (1,245), Columbia, (1,204) and Dodge (1,143).


DNR conservation wardens and Wisconsin State Patrol officers advise motorists to take the following steps to help prevent car-deer collisions:


Watch the roadsides carefully for movement and be particularly alert in the early morning and evening when deer are moving around to feeding spots. Look for more deer to follow when one appears on a roadside. Be especially cautious when road signs indicate a deer crossing area. Reduce speed, tap the brakes to warn other drivers or sound the vehicle horn when a deer is visible on the roadside. Always wear your safety belt—there are fewer and less severe injuries in vehicle-deer crashes when safety belts are worn. Do not swerve—it can confuse the deer as to where to run, and may place you in the path of oncoming traffic.


Statewide rules to prevent spread of fish disease effective Nov. 2

MADISON – New emergency rules to prevent the spread of a new deadly fish disease take effect statewide Nov. 2 and will mean that all boaters and anglers must drain the water from their boats, boat equipment and fishing equipment and make sure any fish they take away are dead, including bait minnows, before traveling away from any Wisconsin lake or river.


The new rule was adopted Oct. 24 by the state Natural Resources Board to prevent the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS.


The emergency rule allows the approximately 90 licensed bait dealers who harvest minnows from the wild for use as bait to continue to do so from most waters under a wild bait harvest permit issued by the Department of Natural Resources. The rule strengthens the wild bait harvest permit to require harvesters to disinfect their gear when moving between

waters, and to follow state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection fish health testing requirements.


And, in a requirement reflecting concern that boaters were arriving in Wisconsin from other states where VHS is present, the board made it illegal for people to transport by land into Wisconsin any water in boats, boat trailers, boating equipment or fishing equipment, including water in any bilge, ballast tank, bait bucket or live well.


The virus, which can be spread by infected fish and by infected water, can survive in water for up to 14 days. It does not affect people, but can cause fish to bleed to death, and has caused large fish kills in Great Lakes waters.


The emergency rule will expire in 150 days (March 31, 2008) but the DNR can request that the legislature extend the rule for two consecutive 60-day periods.

Hunters urged to target wild pigs

MADISON – State wildlife officials are encouraging hunters to help eliminate a growing population of feral pigs by reporting feral pig sightings or shooting them if they encounter them in the field while pursuing other game.


Feral pigs are also known as wild pigs, wild hogs, wild boars, European wild boars, Russian wild boars, or razorbacks. They are found in as many as 23 states. In some states they are descendents of European swine released by Spanish and European explorers. In others, they are descendents of escaped or released domestic swine or even hybrids of European and domestic swine.


A fact sheet on feral pigs in Wisconsin including a list of counties where feral pigs have been sighted or killed is available on the Department of Natural Resources Web site. Maps showing public hunting grounds can be found at dnr.wi.gov - select Maps then DNR Managed Lands then Recreational Lands for opportunities to perhaps find wild pigs on public hunting grounds.


Feral pigs have been documented in Wisconsin since at least 2000, but they have appeared in many additional areas in the past couple of years and have now been found in at least 29 

counties. Biologists say that finding these animals in the wild is likely the result of unintentional escapes from domestic swine facilities, releases from game farms, or illegal stocking.


“Free roaming pigs can be found across a wide variety of habitats and are highly destructive because of the rooting they do in search of food,” says Brad Koele a DNR wildlife biologist. “They’re also efficient predators preying on many species including white-tailed deer fawns and ground nesting birds like grouse, woodcock, turkeys, and songbirds.”


Feral pigs are known to carry a number of diseases of importance to the domestic swine industry, including swine brucellosis, pseudorabies and leptospirosis; infected feral pigs have not yet been documented in Wisconsin.  “Our goal is to aggressively remove these animals from the landscape and we are encouraging any hunters who encounter them to shoot them on sight,” said Koele.


Feral pigs are considered unprotected wild animals and may be hunted year-round. The only day they cannot be hunted with a gun is the Friday before the nine-day gun deer hunting season. Also, hunting hours are the same as deer during the nine-day season. During the rest of the year, there are no hunting hour restrictions.

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