Week of November 7, 2011

Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
National

Regional

General

Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
Wisconsin
Other Breaking News Items

 

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Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

Federal Guard Dog Home Defense Ammo

Federal Premium Guard Dog Home Defense rounds are specially developed for home protection use. Featuring a patented EFMJ construction, this bullet is filled with expanding polymer that minimizes over-penetration through interior walls. This non-hollow-point is available in lightweight 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 Auto handgun options. High velocities, low recoil and reliable feeding make Guard Dog a favorable choice for defending home and family.

 

Federal Premium Ammunition offers new options for home defense rounds with Guard Dog™ Home Defense. These patented non-hollow-point, expanding full metal jacket (EFMJ) rounds are available in 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 Auto. All SKU’s for Guard Dog Home Defense are available now..

“Guard Dog is specially designed to expand every time,” said Brand Director Rick Stoeckel. “It will perform when you need it most. The non-hollow-point design is exclusive to Federal. We’ve tested it to minimize the possibility of collateral damage.”

Guard Dog Home Defense has a high velocity with low recoil. Exceptional feed and function in semi-automatic handguns keeps homes and families safe. It also gives citizens a reliable carry option where hollow-point ammunition is restricted.

Part No. and Description
PD9GRD 9mm 105-grain Expanding FMJ 1230fps
PD40GRD .40 S&W 135-grain Expanding FMJ 1200 fps
PD45GRD .45 Auto 165-grain Expanding FMJ 1140 fps

 

www.federalpremium.com/

 

 


BLACKHAWK Online Holster Selector Tool Makes Decisions Easier

The BLACKHAWK Holster Selector tool online is now ready for use by handgun owners. This new feature allows people to pick the proper holster in only a few minutes. A couple of different options to access the tool from the homepage gives users a choice to begin the quick and simple process. 

 

It’s easy as 1, 2, 3; no more scavenging around websites trying to find the right holster—one visit to www.BLACKHAWK.com and the problem is solved. After three simple steps, options for an appropriate handgun holster will be available to pick from.

 

The first step is to choose from a drop-down list of all the different brands of handguns. During the second step, the handgun model for the chosen brand is selected. The third

step is to decide the desired application for the holster. After the steps are complete, BLACKHAWK narrows down the options of holsters from the selections made and gathers the final choices on one page.

 

To access this tool from the BLACKHAWK homepage, a user can click on the “Find The Right Holster” icon in the middle of the screen. Additional ways are to use the “Make Selection Here” drop-down list at the top left of the screen or by clicking on “Holster Selector” at the bottom of the screen.

 

To use this tool and select a holster, visit www.BLACKHAWK.com/HolsterSelector/Holster_

Selector.aspx.

 

www.BLACKHAWK.com

 


National

Report shows USFWS Fisheries Program helps support 68,000 Jobs

Fisheries’ recreation and conservation activities are huge economic drivers for nation

WASHINGTON -- The fisheries program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in association with state agencies and other conservation organizations, contributes $3.6 billion to the nation’s economy and supports 68,000 jobs across the country, according to a new report issued by the agency.

 

“The report confirms once again that fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreational activities are an economic engine for our country,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “When we invest in restoring fish and wildlife habitat and creating opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor recreation, we are investing in economic growth and jobs for the American people.”

 

Overall, hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation contribute an estimated $730 billion to the U.S. economy each year, Salazar noted. One in twenty U.S. jobs are in the recreation economy – more than there are doctors, lawyers, or teachers.

 

The report, Conserving America’s Fisheries, An Assessment of Economic Contributions from Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation, shows that each dollar invested in the Service’s Fisheries Program, combined with its partners, generates about $28 in economic contributions and value.

 

The economic contributions generated are evidenced at sporting goods stores, marinas, guides and outfitter services, boat dealerships, bait shops, gas stations, cafes, hotels, and many other enterprises.

 

The report – the first time that Service economists have

analyzed the economic contributions of the nation’s

fisheries programs – finds that a total of 68,000 American jobs are associated, directly or indirectly, with the fisheries conservation programs and projects. The report also shows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Fish Hatchery System alone generates $900 million in industrial output and $550 million in retail sales. National Fish Hatchery programs generate 8,000 jobs and $256 million in salaries and wages.

 

Meanwhile, the National Fish Passage Program works with partners to reopen an average of 890 miles of river habitat annually, which has a economic value of $483 million and supports 11,000 jobs. That is more than $542,000 in economic benefit per stream mile restored.

The Service’s Fisheries Program plays a vital role in conserving America’s fisheries, along with key partners from states, tribes, federal agencies, other Service programs, and private interests.

 

The fisheries program consists of almost 800 employees nationwide, located in 65 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices, 70 National Fish Hatcheries, 9 Fish Health Centers, 7 Fish Technology Centers and a Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives.

 

The program supports the only federal fish hatchery system, with extensive experience culturing more than 100 different aquatic species.

These employees and facilities provide a network that is unique in its broad on-the-ground geographic coverage, its array of technical and managerial capabilities, and its ability to work across political boundaries and embrace a national perspective.

 

For a copy of the report, or to see the summary of the report titled Net Worth: the Economic Value of Fisheries Conservation, please visit http://www.fws.gov/fisheries .


TU promoting wind power energy bill

"Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2011" (S. 1775)

Trout Unlimited is promoting a bill introduced last week by Senators (D) Jon Tester, (R) James Risch, (R) Dean Heller, (D) Harry Reid and (D) Mark Udall, which will create a framework for developing wind and solar energy on public lands. The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2011 (S. 1775) would aid in establishing a leasing program for wind and solar projects, and providing funding for conservation and recreational access. The bill is seen as a boost for communities affected by the development of renewable energy.  

 

“This is a big step forward toward creating a renewable energy policy which respects both the rights of developers and those who use and value our public lands,” says Keith Curley, director of government affairs for Trout Unlimited.”

 

The bill would move toward a leasing program for wind and

solar energy on public lands, and set up a royalty which will be used to provide funding to state and county government, conservation, and the processing of wind and solar permits. Currently, wind and solar projects on public lands are managed using rights-of-way and special use permits, and there is no dedicated funding source set up to offset impacts to fish and game habitats and access that result from renewable energy projects. Revenues will be distributed as follows:

 

- 25% to the county or counties in which a project is located;

- 25% to the State in which a project is located;

- 15% for a renewable energy permit processing fund for Interior (after 15 years, this revenue stream will be deposited into the conservation fund); and

- 35% to a fund for wildlife and land conservation and protection.

 


Regional

Mexican drug gangs invade Great Lakes Forests

Forest Service Cops in Michigan and Wisconsin Decry Agency Head-in-Sand Stance

Washington, DC — Mexican drug gangs have expanded their mega-marijuana operations into the Upper Midwest, according to an internal briefing memo released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).  U.S. Forest Service law enforcement agents in Michigan and Wisconsin say their agency is “dangerously unprepared” for the explosive growth of “Drug Trafficking Organizations” in this region which had not before seen “multi-thousand plant grows” tended by armed gangs.

The undated 2010 briefing memo obtained by PEER under the Freedom of Information Act describes a “disturbing new trend” in which Great Lakes states are on a trajectory approaching the notorious Mexican gang incursions onto California public lands.  The memo warns that the number and size of cultivation operations has spiked dramatically since 2008 but that the Forest Service is outgunned, outmanned and disinclined to deal with the growing role of Mexican drug gangs:

  • “Drug traffickers have harmed and threatened innocent civilians and law enforcement.  There have been attempts to kidnap civilians and there have been several shootings this year alone”;  

  • “During the season when DTO [Drug Trafficking Organization] is prevalent, we have been forced to restrict our employees from working in large portions of the forest”; and

  • Drug gangs have set “large forest fires” and wreaked extensive resource damage in the forests.


“The leadership of the Forest Service’s law enforcement program seems far more intent on covering up problems than addressing them,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.  “The public has a right to know what dangers they may encounter while hiking in the woods.”

Forest Service law enforcement officials had earlier released only a highly redacted, virtually unreadable,

version of the memo to PEER, claiming that it was pre-
decisional and revealed sensitive law enforcement techniques.  PEER later obtained the memo from another branch of the Forest Service which released it largely un-redacted as an attachment to a 2011 report on severe morale problems within the region.

 

The 13-page memo recounts a litany of instances in which Forest Service brass refused requests for inter-agency cooperation, training and surveillance.  It paints a stark picture of an agency in denial:

  • “We are not prepared in terms of manpower, training resources for ourselves and local agencies, investigative and operational resources…”

  • Supervisors “denied, ignored or failed to support requests for additional training, funding and public education efforts” while one supervisor tried “to convince others that eradication and cultivation numbers in Wisconsin had actually decreased” (emphasis in original); and  

  • Referring to an all inclusive gag order against law enforcement officers speaking with the media, “we are not reasonably allowed to use the media to educate the public on the dangers” they face.


“This memo is a cop calling for help from a stone deaf chain-of-command,” added Ruch.  “Disturbingly, the indifference and self-serving reaction from Forest Service leadership may pose a greater threat to public safety than the gangs themselves.”  

 

Read the Forest Service briefing memo

Compare redacted version released by Forest Service law Enforcement office

View email on inability to cooperate with Wisconsin state law enforcement

See the Forest Service gag on its law enforcement personnel

 


Great Lakes Water Levels for Nov 4, 2011 

WEATHER CONDITIONS

The Great Lakes basin experienced warmer than average temperatures at times during the past week; in fact, some areas exceeded the 60 degree mark.  Some locations across the Superior and Michigan-Huron basins did receive light rainfall this week.  Looking ahead to the weekend, expect a mix of sun and clouds and temperatures slightly above seasonal averages.  The next chance for significant precipitation doesn't arrive until the middle of next week.

 LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS

Currently, Lake Superior is near its level of a year ago and Lake Michigan is 4 inches above last year's level.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 6, 13, and 4 inches, respectively higher than they were at this time last year.  Over the next thirty days, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are each projected to drop 2 inches from their current levels.  The water levels of Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are forecasted to decline 3, 4, and 4 inches, respectively, over the next month.  All of the lakes are in their period of seasonal decline. 

 FORECASTED MONTHLY OUTFLOWS/CHANNEL CONDITIONS

Lake Superior's outflow through the St. Mary's River and the outflow from Lake Huron into the St. Clair River are projected to be below average for the month of November.  The outflow from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River is

expected to be near average throughout the month of

November.  Lake Erie's outflow through the Niagara River and the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River are both predicted to be above average in November.

ALERTS

Lake Superior's water level is currently below chart datum.  Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for Nov 4

600.95

577.69

573.92

571.59

244.88

Datum, in ft

601.10

577.50

572.30

569.20

243.30

Diff in inches

-2

+2

+19

+29

+19

Diff last month

-2

0

-6

-2

-2

Diff from last yr

0

+4

+6

+13

+4


General

Yamaha ATV Sweepstakes open to all
Open through November 30, everyone eligible to win a 2011 Grizzly 450

Yamaha Motor Corp. has donated a 2011 Grizzly 450 in honor of National Hunting and Fishing (NHF) Day’s celebration of outdoor recreation and conservation.  Outdoor enthusiasts still have time to register to win this ATV at www.yamahaoutdoors.com/nhfday

 

This year’s NHF Day celebration was held on Saturday, September 24, 2011, and proved to be a great success – with more than 100 registered events held in 40 states.  The Yamaha ATV sweepstakes, which remains open through November 30, 2011, was promoted online and at

NHF Day events nationwide.

 

The sweepstakes is open to all outdoor recreational sports enthusiasts.  One lucky winner, 18 years-of-age or older, will receive a 2011 Grizzly 450.  Approximate retail value is $6,899.  No purchase necessary.  The sweepstakes continues to be open until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on November 30, 2011.  The winner will be determined by random drawing.

 

More information on NHF Day is available at www.nhfday.org.  Complete rules, entry details and additional information are available by visiting www.yamahaoutdoors.com/nhfday.


Basic safety tips can prevent tree stand falls

With firearms deer season approaching in Indiana, hunters must understand the risks of hunting from a tree stand and how to protect themselves from a fall.

 

Falls from tree stands are the leading cause of deer hunting accidents in Indiana, accounting for almost half of all accidents. In an average deer season, about 18 hunters will experience a fall.

 

Already this year, deer hunters have reported five falls from tree stands during the early archery season, including one fatal fall on Oct. 29 in Daviess County. Firearms season, the most popular among the different deer seasons, starts Nov. 12 and last 16 days.

 

Lt. Bill Browne of the DNR Division of Law Enforcement said falls are preventable if hunters follow basic tree-stand precautions.

“If they are thinking safety, safety, safety, they should be just fine,” he said.

 

The first step toward tree stand safety is to make sure the stand is in working order. Only use a tree stand that has the approval of the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA) and make sure to read the manufacturer’s warnings and instructions before installation.

Hunters who use homemade tree stands should check them thoroughly for stability prior to using, especially stands that are exposed to weather from being left outside year-round.

 

Hunters should also wear a full-body, fall arrest harness system that meets TMA standards. Single-strap and chest harnesses should not be used. Do not leave the ground until the full-body, fall arrest harness system is on. Always have three points of contact with the tree when climbing and descending.

 

“Most of the people falling are falling while they are ascending or descending,” Browne said.  A hunter should never climb with anything in his hands or on his back. A haul line should be used to lift a gun, a bow or other gear into the stand. Firearms on a haul line should be unloaded with the action open and muzzle pointed downward.

 

Other safety tips include hunting with a buddy, telling someone the exact location of your tree stand before heading into the woods, getting a full night’s rest before a hunt, and making sure a cell phone, whistle, flare or some other signal device is on your person at all times.

For more information and a short online safety course, visit www.hunterexam.com/treestandsafety.


Illinois

DNR police make arrests in Deer Poaching case

Giant buck valued at $35,000

SPRINGFIELD, IL –   Charges have been filed against three individuals after an 11-month investigation by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Office of Law Enforcement in a deer poaching case. The three men were cited for numerous Wildlife Code violations including the illegal take of a potential state-record whitetail deer, and now face charges through the Grundy County State’s Attorney’s Office.

 

“Our Conservation Police Officers are tasked with the mission of protecting the public and our natural resources and they do it effectively and vigilantly,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “I am proud of the hard work of the IDNR law enforcement staff and have a warning to those who choose to hunt illegally:  We are watching.”

 

“The IDNR Office of Law Enforcement has zero tolerance when it comes to poaching matters,” said IDNR Conservation Police Chief Rafael Gutierrez. “Our Conservation Police will continue to protect our natural resources so that legal sportsmen get every opportunity they deserve.”

 

The investigation focused on the unlawful harvest of a 36-point non-typical deer scoring 261 5/8 and valued at $35,000. Charges were filed after a thorough investigation with  assistance from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Alberta Sustainable

Resources Department, Minnesota Department of Natural

Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

 

The following individuals were cited on charges related to unlawfully taking a total of 24 deer in Illinois and Canada over a 10-year period.  Specific charges were filed as follows:

 

Christopher Kiernan (age 45, of Minooka, IL) 11 counts of hunting without permission of landowner and being an accessory to the charge 19 counts of unlawful possession of illegally taken deer, 5 counts of hunting with invalidated permit, 5 counts of unlawfully taking of deer 2 counts of falsifying harvest records, 1 count each of:  Failure to report harvest on the same day as killed, and failure to tag deer as required.

 

Garret Armstrong (age 31, of Avon, NY) 9 counts of hunting without permission of landowner and being an accessory to the charge, 8 counts of hunting with an invalidated permit 4 counts of unlawful possession of illegally taken deer, 2 counts of unlawfully taking of deer, 1 count each: Failure to tag deer as required, Failure to report harvest as required, and falsifying harvest record.

 

Larry Smith (age 49, of Williamsburg, Ontario, Canada) 1 count each of the following: Hunting without permission of landowner, Hunting with invalidated permit, Failure to tag deer as required, Unlawful possession of illegally taken deer, Unlawfully taking of deer, Failure to report harvest as required and falsifying harvest record.


Illinois Hunters Asked to Report Sightings of Feral Swine

Population threatens wildlife and domestic livestock, damage to land, water and habitat

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois DNR and other Illinois agencies are enlisting the help of Illinois hunters in efforts to track feral swine and assist in slowing the population and expanding range of the invasive animals in the state.

 

Feral swine – often referred to as feral hogs and wild pigs – are defined as free-ranging animals that are not under domestic livestock confinement.  They are an invasive species competing with native wildlife for food resources and damaging soil through their rooting and feeding activities, increasing soil erosion and damaging crops, plants and water quality. Feral swine also are known to carry at least 30 diseases that pose serious implications for people, pets, wildlife and livestock.

 

“We are encouraging Illinois hunters – especially the thousands of Illinois firearm deer hunters who will be in the field in coming weeks – to be on the lookout for feral swine and report any sightings to us,” said DNR Director Marc Miller.  “The dangers of disease, costly damage to the land, and negative impacts to wildlife from the further spread of feral swine in Illinois are significant.”

 

Hunters, landowners, and others who see feral swine in

Illinois are asked to report the sightings to the IDNR

Division of Wildlife Resources at 217/785-2511. Hunters in the field who observe feral swine and possess a valid Illinois FOID card can – with the permission of the landowner – legally shoot the wild hogs.

 

“Feral swine pose a significant threat to the Illinois domestic swine industry as the wild hogs are very mobile and can spread a variety of viral and bacterial diseases, as well as dozens of parasites that can affect domestic pigs and other livestock, wildlife, people and their pets,” said Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) Acting Director Jim Larkin.  “Reports of feral swine from hunters and landowners can be vitally important in helping Illinois control this major nuisance species.”

 

Wildlife impacts of feral swine in Illinois include predation on ground nesting birds, amphibians, reptiles and other wildlife.  Rooting activities by the wild pigs cause significant erosion, damaging habitat and reducing water quality. Economic losses nationally resulting from feral swine are estimated at more than $1 billion annually.

 

• For Illinois sightings of feral swine:  Call the IDNR Division of Wildlife Resources at 217/785-2511

• For more info, check the USDA website at www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/feral_swine/

 


Indiana

21 state parks to close for deer reductions

Standby drawings available at 4 parks

Select Indiana state parks will close temporarily for two rounds of controlled deer reduction hunts in the coming weeks. The first reduction is Nov. 14-15. The second round is Nov. 28-29. The participating parks will close to the general public the evening before each of the two efforts and will re-open the morning after each two-day reduction.

 

The state parks closing temporarily this year for deer reductions are Brown County, Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Shades, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe, Turkey Run, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial.

 

Each year, DNR biologists evaluate which parks require a reduction based on habitat recovery and previous hunter success at each park. The state parks are home to more than 32 state-endangered plants and numerous significant natural communities. The reductions help control browsing by deer to a level that helps maintain habitat throughout the state parks.

 

Though the parks have had much success since the first reduction in 1993, a high no-show rate of those drawn and over-selective hunting remain a challenge for the program.

Only individuals and those listed on their applications drawn last September may participate at any park, besides Indiana Dunes, Turkey Run, Fort Harrison, and Spring Mill state parks. A public standby drawing to fill spots left vacant after 7:30 a.m. local time will take place at Indiana Dunes (firearms hunt), Turkey Run (firearms hunt), Spring Mill (firearms hunt), and Fort Harrison (archery hunt) state parks each morning.

 

To be eligible for the standby drawings, the candidate must be an Indiana resident (or possess an Indiana lifetime license to take deer), be 18 years old by Nov. 14, 2011, and possess any valid deer license for Indiana. You must present a photo ID and any valid filled or unfilled license to take deer. Standby drawings will take place at 8:30 a.m. local time. Potential standby participants can apply onsite between 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. local time but cannot enter the park before 7:30 a.m.

 

Applications can include up to three individuals. This is a drawing based on how many unclaimed spots there are for each day. It is not first-come, first-served. Spots will be limited as they are based on the number of no-shows each day. The need for stand-in hunters increases with each hunt day. If you have questions, please call the property of interest. For more info: www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/.  

 

 


3 state parks to undergo goose reductions

The DNR will conduct controlled Canada goose reduction hunts at Ouabache, Shakamak, and Whitewater Memorial state parks in November.

Similar reductions have occurred since 2007 and are part of a management plan that includes non-lethal methods also.

 

Goose reductions will take place Nov. 28-29. These dates coincide with goose hunting season and annual deer reduction efforts at Ouabache, Shakamak, Whitewater Memorial and several other state parks. The parks will close to the general public the evening of Nov. 27 and will re-open the morning of Nov. 30.

 

Large amounts of goose waste at park beaches, picnic areas and in bank-fishing locations have raised health concerns, adversely affected visitor enjoyment, increased erosion, and resulted in increased operating costs.  Reduction hunts are only one aspect of DNR’s approach to managing Canada geese, according to Mike Mycroft, chief of natural resources for DNR State Parks & Reservoirs.

 

“The high recreational demand on the parks during periods

of more optimum goose hunting has caused us to combine

the reduction effort with other techniques, including ongoing harassment and nest management,” Mycroft said. “Combining these techniques is beginning to show favorable results and fewer parks needing reductions this year.”

 

Participation will be allowed on a daily first-come, first-served basis until available spots are taken. Spots will become available again throughout each day as hunters leave. Potential participants can arrive starting 90 minutes before sunrise local time. Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. local time. Though hunting parties of two to four are desired, individuals are allowed. Questions should be directed to the park of interest.

 

Participants must be Indiana residents and 18 years old by Nov. 28, 2011. Hunters must present a valid hunting license, state waterfowl stamp, HIP number, and federal duck stamp on site on the day of the reduction. Apprentice licenses are not applicable. Dogs, boats and temporary blinds are allowed. Though Canada geese are the only harvest permitted, all state and federal laws pertaining to waterfowl hunting apply.


Michigan

Hunting Up for public comment in Huron-Manistee

Comments must be received by Dec. 21, 2011
The U.S. Forest Service has released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) that will ultimately determine whether or not firearm hunting can continue on more than 66,500 acres in Michigan’s Huron-Manistee National Forests.

 

As a result of a September 2010 ruling by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Forest Service prepared the DSEIS to evaluate the impacts of a proposed ban on firearm hunting and snowmobile use in 14 semi-primitive, non-motorized or wilderness areas of the forest.

 

A 2007 lawsuit filed by Kurt Meister, a lawyer who owns a cabin near Manistee National Forest, alleged that the Forest Service’s management plan for the Huron-Manistee favored gun hunters and snowmobile riders over “quiet” forest users. The court ruled in Meister’s favor, holding that the plan contained deficiencies.

 

Specifically, the court found that the Forest Service (1) did not coordinate its recreation planning with the state of Michigan, as required, to “reduce duplication in meeting recreation demands” with respect to firearm hunting and snowmobiling, and (2) violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it failed to consider closing 13 semi-primitive, non-motorized areas and the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area to firearm hunting and snowmobile use.

 

The DSEIS outlines four alternative actions to address these deficiencies. The Forest Service’s preferred alternative, Alternative 4, would allow hunting to continue in the disputed areas. However, it would reclassify 13 of the 14 areas as either “special” or “roaded natural” areas (Nordhouse Dunes would remain a wilderness). This option would allow the Forest Service to continue to promote remote recreation in these areas without impacting the current level of firearm hunting and snowmobile use.

 

The Forest Service is proposing the reclassification due to the fact that these 13 areas do not meet the criteria for their semi-primitive, non-motorized designation, largely because there are existing roads and private homes nearby. 

 

In contrast to Alternative 4, the “No Action Alternative” (Alternative 1) would leave the 2006 forest plan unchanged.

 

Under Alternative 2, which was developed to respond to the Meister ruling, the Forest Service would ban firearm hunting and snowmobile use in the 13 existing semi-primitive, non-motorized areas and the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area.

 

Alternative 3 would change the management designation of the affected areas (with the exception of Nordhouse Dunes, which would remain a wilderness) to either “semi-primitive motorized” or “roaded natural.” Hunting and snowmobiling would still be allowed in the same places as they were before, but the new designations would imply more noise and hinder the Forest Service’s ability to maintain the remote character of these areas, which the agency would prefer to do.

Although Alternatives 3 and 4 maintain hunting on all the areas challenged in the lawsuit, the reclassification aspect is troubling, says Susan Recce, NRA Director of Wildlife, Conservation and Natural Resources. 

 

“The problem is that the reclassification leaves the impression that the Forest Service agrees with the court ruling that suggested firearm hunting was not an appropriate activity in primitive and semi-primitive areas,” said Recce. “And, to avoid banning gun hunting in these areas, the Forest Service is reclassifying them.”

 

However, a bill has been introduced in the U.S. House, H.R. 2834, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act, to fix the problems that the court ruling created.

 

The bill states that lands under Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service jurisdiction, including lands designated as wilderness, or administratively classified as wilderness eligible or suitable, and primitive or semi-primitive areas, shall be open for fishing, hunting and shooting unless the managing agency acts to close lands to such activity. The closures or restrictions must be necessary and reasonable and supported by facts and evidence.

 

H.R. 2834 also corrects another problem that the ruling created with respect to duplication of activities. The ruling suggested that the Forest Service, by its own planning rule, had to look outside the boundaries of the Huron-Manistee to see if hunting was allowed on non-Forest lands, implying that the Service should close forest lands to hunting if other nearby state or federal lands were also open to hunting. The language of the bill removes any obligation for federal land managers to consider sportsmen’s activities on other lands when planning for public use on its own lands.

 

While H.R. 2834 moves through Congress, it remains imperative that hunters make their voices heard in support of continued gun hunting on all the challenged areas in the Huron-Manistee National Forests.

 

The DSEIS was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 23, 2011, which opened a three-month comment period. The DSEIS is available online at www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/

stelprdb5330733.pdf.  The DSEIS is also available in print or on CD by calling (231) 775-5023.

 

Comments must be received by Dec. 21, 2011. The Forest Service will then consider comments received from the public and render a final decision.

 

Comments may be submitted as a .pdf document, a format readable in Microsoft Word 2000 or in the body of an e-mail. Comments may be submitted to the Forest Planner, Huron-Manistee National Forests, 1755 S. Mitchell Street, Cadillac, MI  49601 or faxed to (231) 775-5551. Comments may be submitted electronically to: comments-eastern-huron-manistee@fs.fed.us, with the subject: “Forest Plan SEIS.”

 


Make Your Own Snowshoes

At Sleepy Hollow State Park’s Recreation 101 Events

Get in step with one of winter’s hottest recreational activities while experiencing the fun and satisfaction of building your own pair of snowshoes. Sleepy Hollow State Park in Clinton County will offer three opportunities to take part in Snowshoe Building Workshops this season taught by Clyde Risdon of Risdon Rigs.

 

The two-day workshops are scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The workshops will be held on Dec. 2 and 3; Jan. 20 and 21; Feb. 3 and 4 at park headquarters, located at 7835 East Price Rd. in Laingsburg.

 

Risdon designs and builds premier quality dogsled equipment and custom snowshoes. His company’s sleds have been used in major dogsled events, including the

legendary Iditarod race. During each snowshoe workshop,

Risdon will teach students how to weave one of two traditional wooden snowshoe designs. The class fee of  $170, payable to Risdon Rigs, covers supplies, materials and equipment to make one pair of snowshoes.

 

The Snowshoe Building Workshop, which is part of the DNR’s ongoing Recreation 101 program, is recommended for participants ages 16 or older. Class size is limited. For reservations, contact Sleepy Hollow State Park at 517-651-6217 or email machowiczt@michigan.gov. The park is located near Exit 91 off US-127, 20 miles north of Lansing.

 

For more information about this event, the park, accessibility, or persons needing accommodations to attend this event contact Sleepy Hollow State Park (TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired) or visit www.michigan.gov/dnr.


Wisconsin

Wisconsin makes progress in aquatic invasive species control

MADISON - Wisconsin made significant progress in 2010-11 in efforts to prevent, contain, and control the damage done by aquatic invasive species, capitalizing on increased federal funding and growing involvement by counties and volunteers, according to a recent report to the Legislature.

  • About 200 lakes were monitored this year as part of a five-year process to paint a more accurate picture of where aquatic invasive species are found across the state, and how fast they're spreading, and to evaluate the effectiveness of outreach and education efforts.

  • The number of counties actively partnering with the state to prevent and control the spread of aquatic invasive species rose to 47 in 2011, up from 35 just a year earlier.

  • Efforts to engage new partners in geographic areas where there were gaps in the past paid off with counties and organizations in the Lake Michigan Basin and along the Mississippi River getting involved. The expanded partnership helped spread the AIS prevention message to even more water users this year with more than 85,000 boats inspected and 185,000 people contacted to date, according to the report.

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"Wisconsin made important progress in building the partnerships and monitoring capacity that will help us slow the spread of aquatic invasive species and respond to new ones before they get established and start causing problems," says Bob Wakeman, DNR' aquatic invasive species coordinator.

 

"Staff, volunteers and partners spent countless hours

protecting our waters from aquatic invasive species and this report shows that together we are making a difference and slowing the spread.”

 

The 2010-2011 Wisconsin Aquatic Invasive Species Progress Report is available online, as are earlier reports. Numbers and percentages reflect totals as of report publication date; for the most current totals, visit the Aquatic Invasive Species page of the DNR website.

More aquatic invasive species fast facts

  • 67 percent of Wisconsin lakes with public access are free of Eurasian water-milfoil and zebra mussels.

  • Only 2.5 percent of lakes predicted to be suitable for zebra mussels are currently infested.

  • 136 inland waters have zebra mussels.

  • 584 waters statewide have Eurasian water milfoil and only 135 are in northern Wisconsin, which has 12,000 lakes.

  • 490 watercraft were inspected (July 2010-June 2011), mostly through the Clean Boats, Clean Waters network.

  • 85 percent of watercraft inspections were on waters that contained invasive species.

  • 92 percent of boaters were aware of these invasive species law, and 90 percent had no aquatic plants present on their boats or trailers.

  • $3.6 million in grants were awarded to local communities for aquatic invasive species prevention and control in fiscal year 2011, bringing to $17 million the grant money awarded to local communities since 2003 for aquatic invasive species prevention and control.


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