Week of November 8 , 2004

Election sidelights

 

National

Regional

Lake Michigan

Illinois

Indiana

Lake Superior

Michigan

Minnesota

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

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Election sidelights

Key wins in National and state level elections
The Sportsman's Voice Prevails!

America's hunting and shooting community will have a friend in the White House for four more years, plus new friends in the Senate and the House, after Tuesday's election in which George W. Bush defeated John Kerry decisively in both the electoral college and the popular vote.

 

In closely contested Ohio, early indications are that the sportsman's vote helped tip the balance in Bush's favor, securing the president that state's coveted 20 electoral votes. One news report said 60 percent of hunters and shooters voted for Bush over Kerry in Ohio, thus validating the Hunting and Shooting Sports Heritage Fund's Vote Your Sport campaign and the grassroots efforts of the NRA and other groups in that state and nationwide. "

 

In the end, sportsmen did not buy into John Kerry's johnny-come-lately hunter disguise," said Doug Painter, president of

the National Shooting Sports Foundation. "Sportsmen clearly saw through the camouflage of Kerry's much publicized goose hunt in Ohio and other photo-ops and instead focused on his 20-year record of consistent anti-gun votes in the Senate."

 

NSSF political strategist Randy Scheunemann said, "This election represents a decisive win for gun owners and sportsmen. President Bush soundly defeated John Kerry with the help of sportsmen in key states like Ohio and Nevada. Senate elections also saw a strong net pickup of four pro-gun seats, which bodes well for prohibiting politically motivated lawsuits aimed at firearms manufacturers."

 

Among the pro-gun upgrades in the Senate was the election of Republican John Thune of South Dakota, who defeated Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a supporter of the poison pill amendments that prevented passage of the lawsuit immunity bill  (S. 1805) that would have blocked junk lawsuits against the firearms industry.


Closer look at Pro-Gun Victories

In addition to the re-election of President George W. Bush, House and Senate races spelled victory for sportsmen and Second Amendment advocates across the country.

   ● Of the 18 candidates for the U.S. Senate endorsed by the National Rifle Association, 14 won.

   ● The election produced a net gain of four pro-gun senators, with additions in Florida, Louisiana, North and South Carolina and South Dakota and a loss in Colorado.

   ● 241 of the 251 NRA-endorsed House of Representatives candidates won.

● Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), endorsed by the Brady Campaign Educational Fund, lost his seat to pro-gun candidate John Thune. Senators Kit Bond (R-MO) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) retained their seats, despite endorsements and campaigns for their opponents by the “Brady Bunch.”

   ● In addition to Thune, pro-gun freshmen include Mel Martinez (FL), Johnny Isakson (GA), David Vitter (NC), Tom Coburn (OK) and Jim DeMint (SC).

 


The Bias Media take a hit, Hollywood silent and “depressed”

Kerry coverage on the network news shows  ran 77 % positive,  Bush 34 % positive

Hollywood is suffering from withdrawal, big media is nursing a political hangover, and the Democratic leadership is in denial.

 

The non-partisan and widely respected Center for Media and Public Affairs' analysis of this year's election coverage concluded that Kerry got "the most favorable network-news coverage of any presidential candidate in the past quarter-century." During October alone, Kerry coverage on the network news shows — Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings — ran 77 % positive. Bush's coverage, meanwhile, ran just 34 % positive. Throughout the entire campaign, a full 64 % — two out of three — of network stories on the president were negative.

 

Americans aren't blind to this blatant bias. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press's survey found that fully 50 % of voters believe most reporters wanted Kerry to win. The media offered plenty of ammunition to reinforce that conclusion. The Media Research Center has compiled lists of the worst campaign-season distortions by the news media in general and by The New York Times in particular.  During just two weeks in February, CBS, NBC and ABC aired no less that 63 stories that Bush had been AWOL from the National Guard — a charge that was never proven on their morning and evening news shows.

On the morning of November 3 the day after the election, Hollywood was downbeat, despairing as President Bush made his gracious victory speech.  For a rich and powerful group of make-believe artists used to getting its way, there were tears and tribulations. Long sighs and short tempers. Shock and bawl.

 

In the Democratic circles there was no soul-searching. That was the verdict of Democratic leaders in the wake of across-the-board losses in the Tuesday elections. They lost, they said, not for the positions they took but because of a difficult election map and because Republicans clouded the issues. "It's not about soul-searching," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

 

Several Democrats said they won't forgo legislative tactics to block Republican initiatives, including the filibuster in the Senate.  Pelosi, joined by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Robert T. Matsui of California, said they will try to work with Bush, “but the president must move toward Democratic positions on Social Security and taxes, and must present a new plan for Iraq.”

 

Losing with grace may just be the hardest thing the Democrats face in the next few months, but their only chance for the future rests in how well they pull that off. Winning with grace for the Republicans will not be lessened.  For Hollywood and the media, they just don’t get it.

 


Media's anti-gun bias continues to doctor the truth

(AP) Guns are used defensively by private U.S. citizens from 1.5 to 3.4 million times the year, according to economist John R. Lott Jr., author of More Guns, Less Crime, and The Bias Against Guns.

 

Writing in the September, 2004, edition of Hillsdale College's Imprimis newsletter (which has a claimed circulation of 1,100,000), Lott notes that a survey he conducted in November, 2002, found that 2.3 million defensive gun uses occurred in America during the twelve months previous, 95 % of which involved no discharge of a weapon, and fewer than one in 1,000 defensive gun uses results in the death of the attacker. Even in the rare instance when shots are fired, injuries are some six times more frequent than deaths.

 

Several years ago, Professor Gary Mauser of British Colombia's Simon Fraser University calculated that firearms are used more than 62,000 times each year in Canada to defend people or property from criminals or animals. If just one in 300 such defensive incidents saves a life, more lives are saved annually than are lost in all types of firearm deaths.

 

You never hear any of this in the general media, which is obsessed with sensation and drama, and generally biased against guns. For example, Lott cites a January, 2002, incident, when a deranged individual shot three people dead at the Appalachian Law School in Virginia. Among 218 news articles about the attack that Lott reviewed in the LexisNexis database, a paltry four mentioned that the killer was stopped from extending his rampage by a couple of brave students who confronted him with guns they happened to have in their cars.

 

One of the students, Troy Bridges, later told Lott he had carefully described to more than 50 reporters how he had pointed his gun at the attacker and yelled at him to drop his weapon, but the media almost unanimously related that Bridges and fellow armed student Mikael Gross had "tackled" or "pounced on" the killer, deliberately leaving the heroes' guns out of their reports. And some people will try to tell you with a straight face that the media doesn't have a preponderant liberal/leftist bias.

 

Lott quotes an interview with AP Media relations manager Jack Stokes, who said he had been "shocked" to hear that students carrying guns subdued the killer, commenting "I thought, my God, they're put into jeopardy even more people by bringing

out those guns." Never mind the obvious likelihood that without "those guns" more people would have been murdered.

 

Actually, says a Lott, "research consistently shows that having a gun (usually just brandishing it is enough) is the safest way to respond to any type of criminal assault."

 

Mr. Lott further observes that during the year 2001, of the three largest U.S. newspapers - USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, only the Times carried a single news story about defensive gun use, while in the same the year printing 104 gun crime news pieces. In the 1999 Newsweek special issue entitled "America Under The Gun," there were 15,000 words plus photos and graphics about gun-ownership, but not a single mention of self-defense with a firearm.

 

Anti-gun bias was no less in broadcast media. According to Lott's research, in 2001 the major US TV networks ABC, CBS, and NBC had 190,000 words of news coverage on gun crimes, but a single 518 word news story among them on the use of guns to prevent crime.

 

Media anti-gun bias is if anything more lopsided and prejudiced in Canada. During the gun registration controversy ongoing in this country for the past decade, I have rarely if ever seen in the general media fair and balanced reporting of the real facts on the effects of gun restriction, such as that when stricter gun controls are imposed, as they have been in the UK and Australia over the past twenty years, the rate of gun crime actually increases.

 

Data is corroborated by research in the U.S., including a major 1997 study Mr. Lott at the U. of Chicago comparing crime rates in states and counties with light restrictions on gun ownership and carriage, with jurisdictions that have strict gun control which noted that for each 1 % reduction in gun ownership there is a 3 % increase in violent crime.

 

As Mr. Lott summarizes, "when crimes are committed with guns, there is a somewhat natural inclination toward eliminating all guns. While understandable, this reaction actually endangers people's lives because it ignores how important guns are in protecting people from harm. Unbalanced media coverage exaggerates this, leaving most Americans with a glaringly incomplete picture of the dangers and benefits of firearms.  This is how the media bias against guns hurts society and costs lives."


National

States Grant Veterans Special License Privileges
In efforts to assure veterans and their families will continue to have ample opportunities to hunt and fish, many states have created programs to provide sportsmen in the military free or reduced cost licenses. During this year's state legislative sessions eleven state legislatures dealt with special hunting and fishing license privileges for military personnel. In

Delaware, for example, veterans that served over 90 days this year can receive a free hunting and fishing license.

 

States that have taken up legislation regarding veterans hunting license privileges include: Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

 


Environmentalists Sue Over Changes in Wildlife Protections

WASHINGTON (AP) — Environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit this week to reverse a Bush administration decision to set aside Reagan-era rules aimed at protecting wildlife in national forests.

 

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, seeks to reinstate a 1982 rule that required the Forest Service to ensure that "viable populations" were maintained of wildlife species that are not endangered, such as elk, Appalachian brook trout, and river otters.

 

The administration set aside the rule last month, saying officials now can rely on the "best available science" — a less specific standard — to guide their decisions.

 

Environmentalists had used the wildlife rules, developed under the 1976 National Forest Management Act, to block logging projects in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.  "The Bush administration is trying to make it legal to drive wildlife species toward extinction in the national forests," said Tim Preso, a lawyer for Earthjustice. That environmental group filed the suit on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife and other conservation groups.

The rules change, announced Sept. 29, took effect immediately without a public comment period, which environmentalists cited in their legal challenge. "The Bush administration tried to ... tinker with the fine print to gut environmental regulations, hoping no one would notice," said Mike Anderson of the Wilderness Society. "But we noticed, and we are going to do something about it."

 

A Forest Service spokeswoman would not comment on the lawsuit. However, a spokesman said earlier this month that environmentalists' complaints about the new rules were off-base.

 

Spokesman Dan Jiron called the change minor, adding that managers will use scientific methods to gauge habitat conditions and assess how animals are faring. The rules skipped the comment period normally required for rules changes because "it's an interpretation of an existing rule," Jiron said.

 

A timber industry official called the lawsuit politically motivated.  "What we have is classic political grandstanding through the courts by the environmental lobby," said Christopher West, vice president of the American Forest Resource Council, a timber industry group.


Halloween Surprise at the National Bison Range
Draft Funding Agreement a Fiscal Nightmare for Refuges, Parks
Washington, DC
- According to new information obtained from the Department of the Interior by the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA), a draft agreement to transfer to local tribes positions and activities at the National Bison Range wildlife refuge in Montana threatens to cost American taxpayers as much as $1 million, and could be repeated at as many as 70 other national wildlife refuges and parks.

 

“Just in time for Halloween, DOI is asking Americans to pay a frightening sum for an agreement that provides no benefit to the National Bison Range and its wildlife,” said Evan Hirsche, president of the NWRA. “Our refuges and parks are already horrifically under-funded; the draft Bison Range agreement is a fiscal nightmare for our refuges, wildlife and the American people.”

 

The annual funding agreement, privately negotiated between the DOI and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, would transfer approximately half of the positions and budget at the National Bison Range to the Tribe and incur significant costs to the USFWS. According to documents obtained by the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the FWS, who administers the Refuge System, estimates that negotiation costs for the agreement have exceeded $350,000, and costs for the agreement’s first year of implementation are almost $250,000. Depending on other factors, such as possible employee severance or relocation costs, the total price tag could approach $1 million.

 

The DOI has significantly downplayed FWS estimates, grossly underestimating expected costs associated with the agreement. Documents show that Interior officials worked closely with tribal lawyers to low-ball projected expenditures. The result was a dramatically different assessment that downplays or eliminates a number of expected costs originally listed by the FWS. According to the Interior Department’s revised estimate, the agreement would cost just $23,000, hundreds of thousands of dollars lower than the initial FWS

estimate.

 

At least 34 national parks and 34 national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries are eligible for annual funding agreements (AFAs) with tribes that claim a geographic, historical or cultural connection to the land. The Interior Department lands are subject to these agreements under amendments made in 1994 to the Indian Self-Determination Act allowing for non-competitive contracts between tribes and Interior agencies.

 

A current list of eligible refuges and parks published by the Interior Department includes such crown jewels as Glacier Bay National Park (NP) in Alaska, Redwood NP in California, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Alaska, and Olympic NP in Washington. As the first AFA of this magnitude, the Bison Range agreement is viewed as a template for possible AFAs in about 80 national parks, wildlife refuges and other Interior lands across the United States. The combined cost of agreements at places ranging from the National Bison Range to Cape Cod National Seashore could severely drain much-needed funding from America’s already cash-strapped public lands.

 

Years of inadequate funding have left refuges and parks unable to meet critical wildlife conservation and public visitation needs. Park Service staff struggle to provide services and educational experiences to visitors. The operations and maintenance backlog for the Refuge System alone exceeds $2 billion. More than 1/3 of the nation’s 544 refuges do  not have any staff.

 

The National Wildlife Refuge Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, nationwide membership organization, established in 1975. The NWRA’s mission is to protect, enhance and expand the National Wildlife Refuge System, lands and waters set aside by the American people to protect our country's diverse wildlife heritage. Over the years we have worked to make the Refuge System stronger and better able to address the growing challenges of conserving wildlife in our country.

 


Interior Refuses to hold hearings on Bison Range deal

Repudiates Its Own Cost Estimates on Day That Public Comment Period Closes

Washington, DC — In a clear signal that it is committed to sign a controversial funding arrangement to turn half of the operations of the National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge in Montana to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), the U.S. Department of Interior has refused calls from that state’s congressional delegation to hold public hearings and extend the public comment period.

 

The announcement came as part of an unusual joint release with the Tribes in which the USFWS repudiated its own cost estimates for the deal and issued new figures estimating the first year cost at $23,460 – an amount more than 90 % below the $300,000 to $500,000 first year costs the agency had been publicly stating.

 

The National Bison Range funding agreement was dictated by political appointees in the Department of Interior after the FWS had raised a host of practical problems, according to documents obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

 

Closed-door negotiations between Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Paul Hoffman and the CSKT produced a draft agreement to award approximately half of the management responsibilities for the National Bison Range and the nearby Ninepipe and Pablo National Wildlife Refuges to the Tribes.

 

PEER and other refuge groups have submitted public comments laying out management, financial and personnel 

concerns that may negatively effect wildlife protection on the National Bison Range Complex, covering 18,800 acres of prairie and woodlands populated by elk, pronghorn, black bear and several hundred bison. In addition, the National Bison arrangement may become the model for similar deals affecting 34 national parks and 31 national wildlife refuges.

 

“This is a classic case of politics trumping wildlife,” stated Grady Hocutt, a long-time former refuge manager and the director of PEER’s refuge program, claiming that the word coming out of Interior is that the Bison Range agreement is “a done deal” despite uncertainties about the agreement’s provisions. “I would bet the farm that Interior already has a day picked out for the signing ceremony.”

 

While the purpose of the public comment period, which ended yesterday, was to highlight potential pitfalls in the funding arrangement, Interior has Dismissed calls by both Senator Conrad Burns and Representative Denny Rehberg for public hearings and extending the comment period; Published new cost figures on the day the comment period ended, thus precluding any meaningful discussion of what the deal will cost taxpayers. Moreover, FWS offered no explanation why the new figures were so different from its previous estimates; and

·       Agreed to provisions that will make it very difficult to end the arrangement unless there is “imminent jeopardy” to public safety or wildlife due to the CSKT’s actions.

 

Once the final agreement is signed, it will be submitted to Congress for a 90-day review period before it is implemented.

“I think the public comment period was window dressing because Interior shows no intention of fixing the basketful of problems this will visit on the National Wildlife Refuge System for decades to come,” Hocutt concluded.


Enviros sue administration Over Wildlife Rule

San Francisco, CA-- A coalition of conservation groups represented by Earthjustice sued in federal court today to overturn the Bush administration’s attempt to repeal key regulatory protections for national forest wildlife ranging from elk to Appalachian brook trout to the northern goshawk. The suit seeks to reinstate a federal rule requiring the U.S. Forest Service to ensure viable populations of wildlife species.

 

“The Bush administration is trying to make it legal to drive wildlife species toward extinction in the national forests,” said Earthjustice lawyer Tim Preso. “We don’t think that is right, and we intend to stop them.”

 

The lawsuit challenges a September 29, 2004, Bush administration rule that attempted to rescind environmental protection regulations that have been in place since 1982 under the authority of the National Forest Management Act.

 

The National Forest Management Act reorganized, expanded

and otherwise amended the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974, which called for the management of renewable resources on national forest lands.

 

The National Forest Management Act requires the Secretary of Agriculture to assess forest lands, develop a management program based on multiple-use, sustained-yield principles, and implement a resource management plan for each unit of the National Forest System. It is the primary statute governing the administration of national forests.

 

The lawsuit – Defenders of Wildlife v. Veneman and filed October 26 in the U.S. District Court for northern California -– asks a federal judge to invalidate the Bush administration’s September 29 rule and make clear that the NFMA regulations, including the critical wildlife viability requirement, remain in effect.

 


Regional

Asian Carp Prevention - The effort continues

Our Asian Carp fund drive continues, and with many clubs beginning to hold their monthly meetings again, our drive picks up momentum.  But we need your help.  We still need $600,000 to keep this program alive, and we are the ones that will feel the impact of any invasion of Asian carp.  It’s our resource – and recreation, that will be affected.

 

We need everyone to help.

 

 Asian Carp and other invasive species are approaching the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. You may have seen video clips of these jumping fish on TV. These large plankton-eating fish have the potential to wreak havoc on the Great Lakes ecology and our recreational fisheries. Although it is unlikely they would be come abundant in the middle of the lake, they almost certainly would do well in near shore areas, river mouths and shallow productive bays. Not only would this add an undesirable component to the ecosystem but these fish add an element of personal risk to boaters and others using recreational watercraft. We must do whatever we can to keep these fish out of the Great Lakes.

           

The electric fish barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal stops the passage of large fish. The U.S. Army Corps ofEngineers built this as a temporary project with only a three-year life span.   The three electrodes in this barrier are expected to wear out in about April 2005. One is already gone, the second will probably break down by the end of the year.

           

Asian carp have been captured only 22 miles downstream of the barrier. Involved agencies have a monitoring plan in place to determine the leading edge of the Asian carp population as they move closer to the barrier site and are working on a rapid response plan to kill the fish if they begin to accumulate in number below the barrier.

 

The Second Barrier        

A second larger, more powerful barrier has been designed and after a year of false starts construction is now scheduled to begin next week and completed by April 2005. However, the cost of the barrier design to stop Asian carp from entering the lake still exceeds the available funds by $600,000. We need more funding to help support construction of the barrier and to help pay for the rapid response plan if it has to be used.

                     

We are applying to other sources for the needed funds, but every contribution from any non-federal source will help.

 

Asian Carp Rapid Response

A Rapid response Committee has developed a Rapid Response Plan to address the presence of Asian carp in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal if they begin to congregate below the existing barrier before the second barrier is completed.

The Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan would involve eliminating Asian carp from 5.5 miles of the Sanitary and Ship Canal. Current estimates for implementation of the plan place the cost at about $450,000. There are 18 agencies involved in the response planning effort but none of them has the funds to enact the plan if it is needed. Funding for the plan is not covered in any Congressional Act or other agency mission. The response plan is a vital action which must be used if the carp appear in the Canal before Barrier II is in place.

           

We need your financial support to help keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The most immediate need is to gather enough money to make the rapid response happen if it is needed. The large-scale response if needed would most likely occur this fall. Once Barrier II is online the response would be scaled back to treat the 1000 ft distance between the barriers if fish were found between the barriers.

           

The second use for the funds would be to maintain and improve Barrier I. Barrier I will still be needed after Barrier II is built. We need your help to ask Congress to extend that authorization indefinitely and to provide the Corps with the directive to construct improvements to Barrier I. These improvements would increase the effectiveness of Barrier I and the service life of the project. Right now, the Corps of Engineers does not have the authority to operate Barrier I after September 2005.

 

Use of Contributed Funds

The collected funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and will be distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC. All contributions are tax deductible and 100 %  of the contributions will be used towards Asian carp prevention. Contributions will be used to:

1)         Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)         Construct Barrier II

3)         Improve or operate Barrier I

The funds will not be used for agency labor or overhead and will not be used for research. Collected donations will be used to pay for barrier construction, carp control chemicals or if absolutely necessary, for operating expenses of the barrier.

 

 

 

Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126

 

Or use our PayPal for credit card donations.  Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp


Carp Fund Barometer

Donation          Ranking

$    1 – 10   Alewife

 

$  11 – 20  Yellow Perch

 

$  21 – 50   Black Bass

     Berg, Jeffrey W.

     Cozzie, Ken

     Fuka, John J.

     Gold Coast Charter Service

 

$  51 – 100   Coho Salmon

     Couston, Tom

     Yahara Fishing Club

$  101 – 200   Walleye

     Chagrin River Salmon Association

 

$  201 – 500   Brown Trout

     Northeast Wis. GL Sport Fishermen

     Detroit Area Steelheaders 

$  501 – 1000   Steelhead

 

$  1001 – 5000   Chinook Salmon

 

$  5001 – UP   Lake Trout

 

_____________________

Current Total= $1,015.00


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for November 5, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario are 6 to 10 inches above last year’s levels.  Lake Ontario is 3 inches below its level of a year ago.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair remain below their long-term averages by 11 and 2 inches, respectively. Lake Superior is at its long-term average and Lakes Erie and Ontario are both above their long-term averages by 2 inches. 


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

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

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

Lingering showers are forecasted for the eastern Great Lakes 

region on Friday, while the rest of the region will see cool and blustery conditions.  A cold front will push into the basin Sunday, bringing with it the chance for more rain and even some snow showers.  Next week looks cool and dry as a dome of high pressure sets in.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

Recent precipitation in the Superior basin has increased the level of Lake Superior over the past week, but it is still expected to decrease by 2 inches over the next month.  Lake Michigan-Huron is in its seasonal decline and its level is expected to fall 2 inches over the next month.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are continuing their seasonal decline and are expected to drop by 2, 3, and 4 inches respectively.

 

Alerts:

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


Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Snakehead  origin a mystery
Dissecting the northern snakehead, a fish scooped out of Chicago’s Burnham Harbor this month, has failed to solve the mystery of how the dreaded predator ended up in Lake Michigan, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

After thawing out the 18-inch fish last week and taking a closer look, scientists now know the snakehead was a female. It wasn't carrying eggs, a sign that the fish might have been a

loner, but its stomach was empty, depriving researchers of evidence that could have revealed where it came from.

 

If there had been goldfish inside, that almost assuredly would have meant the snakehead had been dumped out of an aquarium. Bluegills or round gobies would have suggested it had been lurking in the lake for a while.  "Nothing definitive, I'm afraid," said Philip Willink, a Field Museum biologist who examined the fish.


Illinois

Illinois Members! Contact Your State Legislators and Defeat the Anti-Gun Agenda!

The Fall Veto Session starts this week, and the Illinois General Assembly will have the opportunity to override Governor Rod Blagojevich`s (D) veto of SB 2165.  This legislation sought to provide an affirmative defense for a gun owner if he uses a firearm prohibited by local ordinance in defense of himself or others.  Fortunately, this fight is far from over.  Please be sure to contact your lawmakers TODAY and urge them to vote to override the Governor’s veto of SB 2165 during the Fall Veto Session.  

 

In addition, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D), State Senator John Cullerton (D), State Representative Karen May (D), and a collection of anti-gun extremists continue to promote a ban on semi-automatic firearms in Illinois.  Although two studies of the recently expired federal ban found that the affected firearms were rarely used in crime, and even supporters of the federal ban admit that it was more symbolic than a tool for fighting crime, we expect an all-out assault on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms during the upcoming Fall Veto Session.  Cullerton stated that his plan is to "strengthen the law in the next General Assembly," which should cause

anyone who owns any semi-automatic firearm to expect their guns to be on the banned list eventually. 

 

Madigan, Cullerton, May, and others have introduced a bill to ban assault weapons in Illinois and anti-gun Governor Blagojevich has "vowed to back their efforts," according to the Chicago Tribune.  It is critical that the pro-gun community in Illinois respond to this absurd call for a ban that has already been proven worthless. 

 

We can help defeat this anti-gun effort by contacting our State Representatives and Senators TODAY, and urging them to oppose any efforts to ban semi-automatic firearms during the Fall Veto Session, which is scheduled to run November 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, and 18.  Ask them for a firm commitment to support law-abiding gun owners and a promise to oppose this Chicago-based campaign, and voting to override the veto of SB 2165.  

 

The Senate can be reached by calling (217) 782-4517, and the House can be reached at (217) 782-8223. For additional contact information, please use the "Write Your Representatives" feature located at www.NRAILA.org .

 


Indiana

Power Company donates land to hunting and fishing

The Indiana Michigan power company has donated the use of 8,000 acres in the southwest portion of the state to hunting

and fishing, including six miles of riverfront along the Wabash. It's the biggest addition to the state's wildlife system in 15 years, and the Department of Natural Resources has agreed to manage the land for the next five years.

Fairbanks Landing FWA hunting and fishing information

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has created a few simple rules to smooth out the first few days of public use at the new Fairbanks Landing Fish and Wildlife Area.  

 

The new 8,000-acre fish and wildlife area opens Nov. 13. The property is northwest of Fairbanks, Ind. in Vigo and Sullivan Counties. Game scouting and placement of deer hunting stands will be allowed after 8 a.m. on Nov. 6. No more than 300 deer and small game hunters combined will be allowed to use the property on Nov. 13 and 14.

 

All hunters must check in at the corner of CR 925 N and CR 800 W before hunting on Nov. 13 and 14. DNR personnel will be at this location after 4 a.m. both days.  Parking will be permitted only along maintained county roads. Vehicles should be parked completely off the roadway, but not more than 25 feet from the roadway, and should not block access lanes or service roads. No parking in agricultural fields. 

 

Bonus anterless deer licenses cannot be used at Fairbanks FWA.

The daily quail bag limit at Fairbanks Landing FWA is four birds. The standard quail bag limit in southern Indiana is 8 birds per day.  After Nov. 13 and 14, hunters will be required to check in daily at the self service check station at the corner of 925N and 800W.

 

Until a boat launch is built, there is no direct boating access to the Wabash River from the property.  Bank fishing on the Wabash River is okay with a valid Indiana fishing license.  Waterfowl hunters planning on entering the property by boat are required to check in at the property check station.

 

Fairbanks Landing FWA map: http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/publications/fairbanks.htm

 

Maps will also be available at the Minnehaha FWA office beginning Nov. 6. All state fish and wildlife property offices should have Fairbanks Landing FWA maps before Nov. 13.

 

The Minnehaha FWA office is east of Sullivan on state Route 54. More info: Minnehaha FWA: 812-268-5640

 

 


Educators invited to attend healthy water workshop Nov. 19 at Indianapolis

The DNR will host a workshop for teachers of grade six through university level called "Healthy Water Healthy People." Running from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19, the workshop will be at the Natural Resources Education Center, Ft. Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.

 

The workshop is free to educators who are interested in teaching an awareness and understanding of water quality issues as they relate to personal, public, and environmental health. Workshop materials are correlated to national science standards.

 

The workshop program will provide participants with hands-on activities to investigate a broad range of water quality topics.

Participants will receive a 200-page activity guide and a water

monitoring test kit resource manual.

 

The "Healthy Water Healthy People" curriculum is the latest initiative of Project WET, an on-going educational effort sponsored by the DNR. The "Healthy Water Healthy People" guides are provided through a partnership between the DNR's Division of Fish and Wildlife and the USFWS's Sport Fish Restoration Fund.

 

Because the workshop is limited to 30 participants, pre-registration is required. Some snacks will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring a sack lunch.

 

For more info, call Marie at the DNR's Natural Resources Education Center at 317-562-1338. Visit

http://www.in.gov/dnr/soilcons/wet/images/hwhp04.pdf   for a registration form for any of the workshops.


Lakes Superior

Ruffe expand eastward to Marquette, MI

On 10/6/04, USFWS aquatic invasive species survey crew captured one young-of-the-year Ruffe (total length = 41 mm, wt. = 0.7 gr., sex unknown ) in a bottom trawl from a heavy boat slip adjacent to the power facility in lower Marquette harbor, Michigan, Lake Superior.  This slip is one of five index transects in Marquette harbor established to monitor for presence and abundance of Eurasian Ruffe and other aquatic invasive species. 

The discovery is 110 km east of the Sturgeon River Sloughs, Keweenaw Waterway, the previous detected (9/02) eastern boundary of the Ruffe range along the south shore of Lake Superior. In addition to the Ruffe, a total of 8 threespine stickleback and numerous branchlets of Eurasian watermilfoil were also collected from Marquette harbor where they had been previously detected.

 


 

Michigan

Agreement helps preserve Michigan’s bowhunting tradition

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has signed an agreement with the Archery Trade Association and its two foundations – ArrowSport and the Bowhunting Preservation Alliance – to increase archery and bowhunting opportunities while increasing future support from Michigan’s bowhunters for wildlife conservation.

 

“The Michigan DNR has a strong interest in making sure we have future archers and bowhunters,” said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries. “By partnering with the Bowhunting Preservation Alliance, we can do even more to ensure the long-term growth of our archery and bowhunting communities.

 

The Memorandum of Understanding was at the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ annual conference in Atlantic City, NJ. It expands and encourages archery and bowhunting participation by helping the state secure federal funding and private expertise to develop archery ranges, archery education, and bowhunter education and hunting programs. 

The ATA also signed MOUs with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and wildlife agencies from Ohio, Arizona, Minnesota and Tennessee. The BPA and AS, both non-profit foundations, receive funding and support from the ATA, the archery and bowhunting industry, and archery and bowhunting organizations.

 

Humphries said that although it’s relatively easy to learn and shoot archery in rural Michigan, she wants to encourage construction of archery ranges in metro areas. She said she also wants the state to expand programs that use bowhunters to manage metro deer herds.

 

Michigan receives federal excise taxes on sales of bows, arrows and other archery equipment. This money, allocated through the Pittman-Robertson Act, can be used for archery range construction, bowhunter education and training, archery education in schools, mentoring programs, and urban and youth special hunts statewide. The USFWS last year distributed nearly $240 million in Pittman Robertson funds nationwide


Deer hunters advised to use tag backers

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials remind deer hunters to make sure their kill tags are securely attached to their deer. Every year, conservation officers report several instances where an improperly affixed tag is lost while the deer is dragged from the field or transported on vehicles.

 

Wildlife officials said the tag backers, when properly used, can help prevent tags from being damaged and ensure that the

tags remain with the deer and provide quicker processing at deer check stations. The tag should be closely attached to the deer to reduce the chance of snagging in the field or being blown off by the wind in transit. Hunters are encouraged to use a thicker diameter cord, avoiding thin cord or wire.

 

The tag backer is most effective if it is dry and clean when the license is affixed. Licenses affixed to wet or damp backers will fall off.


Deer hunters encouraged to visit information centers, DNR offices

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials are reminding deer hunters that all of the DNR Operation Service Centers, with the exception of the Livonia Office, will be open Nov. 13-14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to help hunters prepare for the Nov. 15 firearm deer season opener.

 

Hunters may also want to visit the deer information centers. DNR conservation officers, wildlife biologists, and operation services staff will be available to provide hunters with deer hunting literature and answer questions on hunting prospects

 and regulations at the following information centers:

 

 ●  Clare Welcome Center, US-27, Nov. 13-14, 9 - 5 p.m.

 

  ●  St. Ignace Welcome Center, I-75 at Mackinac Bridge, Nov. 13, 9 - 5 p.m.

 

More hunting information, including a complete list of deer check stations, DMU maps, hunting regulations and other hunting information, is available on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr .


Minnesota

Can a hunter harvest a deer on both an archery and a firearms license?

The answer is yes and no, depending on where the hunter is hunting. 

The answer is no if the person is hunting in a lottery permit area. In lottery areas, a hunter can harvest only one deer. 

 

The answer is also no if the hunter is hunting in a managed or intensive harvest permit area, and has only a regular archery license and a regular firearms license.  In that case, if a hunter tags a deer with a regular season license (either archery or firearms), he or she is not eligible to tag a deer with the other license.  However, a licensed hunter can party hunt with someone with an open, legal tag.

 

The answer is yes in managed and intensive harvest permit areas if the hunter purchases a bonus permit.  A bonus permit

allows the taking of additional deer – antlerless only. 

 

In managed permit areas, hunters can tag one deer (doe or buck) with either the regular archery or the regular firearms license and can tag a second deer, antlerless only, if the hunter has purchased a bonus permit.

 

In an intensive harvest area, the hunter may tag one deer using the regular archery or the regular firearms license.  The hunter may also purchase up to four additional bonus permits to harvest antlerless deer.   As in the managed permit areas, a hunter can harvest one deer (doe or buck) using either the regular archery license or the regular firearms license, plus, the hunter may take up to four antlerless deer using bonus permits.

 

A hunter can harvest only one buck.


Ohio

Youth Deer-Gun Season Set For November 20-21

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio’s second annual youth deer-gun season will be held Saturday and Sunday, November 20-21, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

 

“Our first youth deer-gun season was a tremendous success,” said Steven A. Gray, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife. “We received many favorable comments on last year’s inaugural youth season and I hope a lot of young hunters will take advantage of this popular hunt.”

 

More than 5,000 deer were killed by hunters age 17 and under during the 2003 two-day season. Over 15,000 young hunters

are expected to participate in the upcoming youth hunt.

 

The youth deer-gun season is open statewide on both private and public land. Hunters may take one deer of either sex during this season, in accordance with existing bag and deer-zone limits. Plugged shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns and bows are legal. All participants must wear hunter orange, possess a valid Ohio hunting license and deer permit, and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult in the field.

 

All other regularly scheduled hunting seasons will continue during the two-day youth season. However, other hunters, including deer-archery hunters, are required to wear hunter orange during this period.  This year, Ohio’s regular deer-gun season runs November 29 through December 5.


Undercover Investigation Hooks 12 Suspected Poachers

COLUMBUS, OH -- "Operation Overbag," an undercover investigation conducted by officers of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife, resulted in the arrests of 12 suspected poachers on Saturday, October 30. Officers also executed a search warrant on a fish cleaning and retail seafood store in Lorain County.

 

The individuals are accused of a variety of wildlife offenses including: taking more than the legal limit of yellow perch, walleye and steelhead trout; taking more than the legal limit of deer; failure to legally tag and check deer; hunting deer by illegal methods and failure to obtain licenses and permits. The bulk of the illegal activity is said to have occurred in Lorain County, but some violations occurred in southeastern Ohio. State wildlife officers issued the 43 summonses on Saturday for courts in Lorain, Athens, and Jackson counties.

 

"We believe the alleged poachers in this case have stolen thousands of wild animals from the people of Ohio," said Steven A. Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife. "It is because of conscientious hunters and anglers of our state, and their willingness to get involved, that this illegal activity has now been stopped.”

 

The 12 suspected poachers have been charged with 43 third and fourth-degree misdemeanor counts of violating Ohio’s

wildlife laws. According to investigators, additional individuals may be charged, pending further investigation. Each fourth-degree misdemeanor conviction can carry a maximum fine of $250 and 30 days jail. Third-degree misdemeanors can carry a maximum fine of $500 and 60 days jail. Additionally, hunting and fishing licenses may be revoked and equipment may be forfeited.

 

In addition to the arrests, wildlife officers conducted a search of Ardick Seafood in Lorain County where they seized business records and 112 pounds of yellow perch.

 

"This investigation was initiated after numerous poaching complaints were received through the Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline from hunters in the Lorain County area," said Daniel T. Schneider, law enforcement executive administrator for the Division of Wildlife. "We have received information for several years with reference to these individuals, and were able to place officers undercover because of this information. We were given a unique opportunity to strike a blow against poaching in this community and send a strong message that this activity will not tolerated.”

 

Established in 1982, the TIP program allows Ohioans to call toll free, from anywhere in the state, to report wildlife violations. Calls can be placed anonymously at 1-800-POACHER (800-762-2437)


Pennsylvania

Steelheading good for Erie economy

Generates $9.5 million to communisty,  study shows

As if trophy trout nearly three feet long weren’t catch enough, a new study shows that steelhead fishing in Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie tributaries is a “keeper” for the local economy in Erie County, generating $9.5 million in economic activity annually.

 

According to freshly released results from a study of Economic Impact of Sports Fishing (EISF) in Erie County, steelhead fishing activity in Pennsylvania nearly tripled in the last decade, going from around 70,000 trips in 1993 to over 200,000 trips in 2003. As interest in the fishery has grown, attracting anglers from across Pennsylvania and the country, it has become a notable part of the local tourism economy.

 

While steelhead fishing brings $9.5 million a year into Erie County, fishing in general -- including the money spent by those who travel to Lake Erie and nearby waters for walleye, perch, smallmouth bass and the like -- is worth something like $26 million to $30 million to the county, the study noted

 

The study revealed that anglers catch more than 500,000 steelhead each year. Not only are large numbers being caught, but the catch rate is impressive as well, with the average angler landing a steelhead about every hour and a half.

 

“The Lake Erie tributary steelhead fishery is one of the Commonwealth’s top trophy trout fisheries. As a result, Erie County is a premiere fall fishing destination,” said PFBC Executive Director Dr. Doug Austen. “Fishing is great recreational pastime for families and as this study illustrates, it’s also a tremendous contributor to local and regional economies across the state.”

 

The steelhead study results represent Phase II of the EISF study. According to Phase II of the study, the economic impact of steelhead fishing in Lake Erie tributary fisheries is $9.5 million. That figure is part of the overall $28 to $36 million in total fishery expenditures in Erie County as determined in Phase I of the study.

 

Under the direction of Pennsylvania Sea Grant and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, researchers collected information regarding angler expenditures. That data was analyzed by the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Pennsylvania State University and released in a report by the PFBC’s Lake Erie Research Unit.

 

“There is a very real and direct economic impact to Erie’s economy through sports fishing,” said Robert Spaulding,  senior vice president/COO, Erie Regional Chamber. “The $9.5

million in trip-related expenditures in 2003, results in $5.71 million in new value-added economic activity in Erie County which directly and indirectly creates 219 local jobs.”

 

Spaulding notes that the important number for economic impact is the value-added figure, i.e. new money created in Erie County. The retail mark up (the difference between wholesale and retail values) on the $9.5 million is $6.85 million. Applying the IMPLAN model to this number results in both a direct and secondary economic impact total of $10.68 million. This translates into 170 steelhead-related jobs, and another 49 jobs created due to the spin-off effects of the steelhead fishery.

 

Of the $10.68 million, $5.71 million is value-added or new money created in Erie County solely due to the steelhead fishery; $3.57 million of which is from directly related activities, and $2.13 million from spin-off activities due to the steelhead fishery.

 

“We believe this is only a fraction of the economic impact as we are using a very conservative economic model and focusing on short-term, trip-related expenditures,” said Spaulding. “Those expenditures, however, clearly suggest the pathway for developing the strategy of increasing the impact of that industry segment.”

 

Phase II of the study noted that sports fishing for steelhead is high in October through December. The average out-of-town angler spends $62 per day while the local angler spends $6.60 per day.

 

“People are coming to Erie County from all over the world, and they are coming at a time many would consider off season, and they are spending money here because of the steelhead fishery,” said Senator Earll. “Steelhead fishing is unique to Erie County; it is the only place in Pennsylvania you can catch them. We should use that fact to our advantage, and do all we can to enhance that industry even more,” she said.

 

In Phase I of the study, the Erie Regional Chamber and the study partners compiled the economic impact of sports fishing through research and data collection. That research showed that Pennsylvania anglers account for $580 million in fishing expenditures statewide, with a $26 to $30 million economic impact in Erie County.

 

For a more in-depth look, the Economic Impact of Sports Fishing is available on the PFBC website (Phase II) and www.eriepa.com  (Phase I).

 


DCNR Warns Hunters of Dangers of Transporting Firewood into State

Bureau of Forestry Targets Spread of Emerald Ash Borer, Other Forest Pests

HARRISBURG: With the approach of Pennsylvania's main deer hunting season and its influx of thousands of out-of-state hunters, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Bureau of Forestry is combating the spread of forest insect pests by asking hunters to refrain from transporting firewood into the Commonwealth.

 

The spread of emerald ash borer and other threatening insects has been linked to the transportation of infested firewood and nursery stock, Eggen said.  Usually visible from May to August, the adult emerald ash borer beetles are slightly less than one inch long, thin and bright metallic green in color. The beetle, which feeds in the tissues under the bark of ash trees, has claimed some 7 million trees in Michigan alone.

 

"We know hunters from those already infected areas may not hear our warning, so we're hoping their Pennsylvania hunting companions who share camps or cabins will tell them, 'Leave the firewood at home; buy it or cut it locally,'" said Eggen. "It's just not a good idea to transfer any firewood anywhere in the state, especially with the ongoing threat of other insects and diseases to our state's forests."

 

If infected firewood was transported into Pennsylvania, the emerald ash borer could emerge next spring and begin feeding on ash trees. It prefers green ash but will target all ash trees, regardless of whether they are healthy or stressed.

First identified in North America in 2002, the emerald ash borer cause the girdling and death of branches and entire trees.

 

DCNR's Bureau of Forestry participates in a multi-agency task force assembled to detect and control this invasive threat to Pennsylvania ash trees. Other cooperating members of the task force include the state Department of Agriculture, Penn State Cooperative Extension, the USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine and the USDA Forest Service.

 

Since 2003, the DCNR has been surveying for the early detection of emerald ash borer on state-owned forestlands. That same year, 18 surveillance sites were established in Erie County. Surveillance efforts were expanded in 2004 to 20 sites in 13 counties:  Beaver, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Crawford, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Mercer, Somerset, Tioga, Venango and Washington.

 

The state Department of Agriculture and USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine also are conducting surveys in nurseries and urban areas.  No emerald ash borer beetles have been detected in Pennsylvania. 

 

Signs of emerald ash borer infestation include upper crown dieback, woodpecker damage, "S"-shaped galleries under the bark and "D"-shaped emergence holes. To report possible infested trees in Pennsylvania, contact DCNR's Division of Forest Pest Management at (717) 948-3941, or BadBug@state.pa.us ; or the Department of Agriculture at (717) 772-5228.


Wisconsin

DNR accepting applications for bass tournament pilot program

MADISON -- Applications are being accepted through Nov. 30 for bass catch-and-release tournament sponsors who want to be involved in a new pilot program allowing participants to cull or sort, fish.

 

A new law, 2003 Wisconsin Act 249, established the pilot program and authorized culling for four bass tournaments each year between June 2005 and Dec. 31, 2006. The Department of Natural Resources is required to select the participating tournaments, and to allow those tournaments' competitors to cull bass (replace smaller fish with bigger fish in their live wells and to continue to fish once they reach their daily limit).

 

DNR is required to evaluate the effects of the culling and report back to the Legislature before the pilot program ends Dec. 31, 2006.

 

"We're looking for a range of tournament sizes and geographic locations to help us evaluate the economic and social impacts of the tournaments, as well as the biological impacts of whether culling affects the fish that are later released," says Mike Staggs, DNR fisheries director.

 

To apply to be one of the four tournaments participating in the pilot program for 2005, bass fishing tournament sponsors should submit a fishing tournament permit application and a letter expressing interest in being part of the bass fishing tournament pilot program by the end of day on Nov. 30, 2004

to Patrick Schmalz, FH/3, 101 South Webster St., Madison, WI 53707-7921. If a permit application has already been submitted to the local DNR biologist, include a copy of that application and the letter of interest.

 

Pilot program applications will be reviewed by the fishing tournament advisory committee established by DNR as required by Act 249, and recommendations will be made to DNR for final selection, Staggs says. Pilot program tournaments will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Number of fishing tournament participants and popularity, with special consideration given to national events new to Wisconsin.

  • Potential economic impact, with special consideration given to events that have the greatest potential for positive economic impact to the host community.

  • Geographic distribution of events.

  • Species of bass targeted. Not all events will be permitted to cull both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

 

Act 249's provisions establishing the pilot program responded to contentions by some bass anglers and tournament sponsors that big-time bass tournaments skip Wisconsin because of the state’s culling rules. Successful applicants will be notified by Dec. 31, 2004. Applicants not selected for 2005 may still hold their tournaments under existing state laws but culling will not be allowed.

 

For more info: Mike Staggs (608) 267-0796 or Patrick Schmalz (608) 266-8170


Public hearing set on proposed live well standards

Written and online comments accepted through Nov. 18

MADISON – Proposed standards for live wells in boats, which anglers use to keep fish alive, that would have to be met for anglers to participate in a bass fishing tournament pilot program will be the subject of a public hearing in Fitchburg Nov. 11.

 

A new law, 2003 Wisconsin Act 249, directed the Department of Natural Resources to develop rules to regulate fishing tournaments and to run a pilot program in which participants in four catch-and-release bass tournaments each year are allowed to cull, or sort, bass. DNR staff are to report back to the Legislature before the pilot program ends Dec. 31, 2006.

 

“The law authorized culling for the bass tournament pilot program," says Patrick Schmalz, the fisheries biologist leading DNR efforts to work with an advisory group to carry out the law. "Our job is to execute that pilot program and evaluate the impact of culling, and to do that, we need to address live well standards first to assure the fish have the best chance for surviving after they're released."

 

Schmalz met in late August with an advisory group to develop proposed standards that recommend that all boats participating in the bass tournament pilot program have live wells that meet the following criteria:

  • Must be an original manufactured part of the boat and have a capacity of at least 25 gallons;

  • Must be in working condition and its operation must be demonstrated before fishing in the tournament;

  • Must be capable of continuously pumping freshwater;

  • Must be capable of holding, re-circulating, and aerating water already in it.

 

Schmalz has received several calls from anglers concerned about the practice of culling fish, but he stresses that the

Legislature has already decided that culling will be allowed for the pilot program. The only information DNR can take into consideration in making a final decision about the live well standards relate to the standards themselves, he says.

 

Act 249's provisions establishing the pilot program responded to contentions by some bass anglers and tournament sponsors that big-time bass tournaments skip Wisconsin because of the state’s culling rules. Under Wisconsin’s rules, anglers can only take into possession five bass in a day, and when they reach five, they’re done bass fishing for the day. (Any fish not immediately released by an angler is considered 'in possession' under Wisconsin law.) In many other states, anglers can keep fishing and replace smaller fish in their livewell with bigger fish, Schmalz says.

 

Under Act 249, participants in tournaments selected to participate in the pilot study can continue to fish once they reach their daily limit and replace smaller fish with bigger fish as they fish.

 

Once live well rules are in place, the advisory group, which includes representatives from tournaments, fishing clubs, the sport fishing industry, the tourism industry, the general angling public, and other lake and river users, will evaluate the state's current permitting program for fishing tournaments and consider changes. That rule-writing process is expected to stretch late into 2005.

 

The public hearing on the proposed live well standards starts at 5:30 p.m. at the DNR South Central Region headquarters in Fitchburg, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road. People may also comment online on the State of Wisconsin Administrative Rules Web page or by writing to Patrick Schmalz, FH/3, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707. Written and online comments will be accepted through Nov. 18.

 

For more info: Patrick Schmalz - (608) 266-8170


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