Week of November 26, 2012
|Words to Ponder|
|Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues|
|Other Breaking News Items|
Words to Ponder
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the
government, and I’m here to help.’”
– President Ronald Reagan
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
Bushnell Outdoor Products, an industry leader in high-performance optics for more than 60 years, has added a new folding compact binocular to its Legend Ultra HD binocular line. Now all of the great features that have made the Legend Ultra HD binoculars best-in-class are available in a compact, ergonomic design that can easily be carried in a pack or pocket.
The new Legend Ultra HD 10x 25mm folding compact binocular features wide-angle BaK-4 roof prisms for incredible edge-to-edge sharpness and image detail. Bushnell enhances the viewing experience with fully-multi coated lenses, delivering maximum light transmission and superior brightness.
Built from a magnesium chassis and wrapped in a non-slip, rubber-armored housing, the Legend UHD compact is the perfect accessory for travelers, birders, recreational users, fans, or hunters looking for a high-quality, compact binocular. Add in 100 percent waterproof and fog-proof construction and the patented RainGuard HD permanent, water-repellant lens coating and this binocular is designed to withstand the toughest tests from Mother Nature.
With each product in the Legend UHD family, consumers not only receive the Bushnell limited lifetime warranty, the entire line is also backed by the Bushnell Bulletproof Guarantee. The no-risk, 100 % money back guarantee is valid up until one year from the original date of purchase.
Now take a look at State Farm’s Likelihood of Collision with Deer (2011-2012) chart, (posted below), which lists the projected number of deer-vehicle collisions and paints a slightly different picture. Below are the top 10 states by deer-vehicle collisions:
Notice that Pennsylvania had almost four times as many projected collisions than West Virginia, yet it only made the number five spot on the first list. That’s because the list factored in the number of licensed drivers at that time (statistics were gathered between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012).
That means that more deer were hit in Pennsylvania than any other state by 17,715 deer. There were about three times as many deer killed in that state by hunters than the amount hit by a motor vehicle. To compare, Pennsylvania’s Game Commission reported that hunters harvested 336,200 deer in the 2011-2012 season, an increase of six percent from the previous year.
In the entire United States, more than one million deer were hit in the year surveyed by State Farm. There were a total 1,231,710 deer hit nationwide by a vehicle, a 7.7 percent increase from the same time period the year before. In the two states listed above, a total of 654,685 deer were hit. That means 53 percent of the total number of deer hit in the United States were hit in just 10 states.
Deer collisions occur annually, although they peak in October and November during the rut. They then don’t slow down until mid-December. Motorists are advised to slow down after sundown and before sunrise to reduce their risk of colliding with a deer.
Precipitation has been below average so far during the month of November across the Great Lakes basin. Temperatures were above their seasonal averages during the first half of this week but have dropped significantly heading into the weekend. Some areas received precipitation Thursday and most areas of the basin will see showers or snow on Friday. Expect temperatures to remain near averages over the next several days, except in northern parts of the basin where temperatures could drop below their seasonal averages early next week.
LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS
The water level of Lake Superior is 2 inches lower than its level of one year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 15 inches lower than its level from last year. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 17, 14, and 10 inches, respectively, lower than their levels of a year ago. Over the next month, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are each forecasted to drop 3 inches from their current levels, while the water level of lake St. Clair is expected to fall 2 inches. Lake Erie is expected to decline 1 inch and Lake Ontario is predicted to rise 1 inch over the next thirty days.
FORECASTED MONTHLY OUTFLOWS/CHANNEL CONDITIONS
Lake Superior's outflow through the St. Marys River is projected to be below average for the month of November. Lake Huron's outflow into the St. Clair River and the outflow from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River are
also expected to be below 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 predicted to be below average in November.
Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are 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
Second Amendment group exposes Bloomberg’s hypocrisy
Mike Bloomberg is on a mission to take away everyone’s guns. New York City’s billionaire mayor has bankrolled a coalition of municipal chiefs from coast to coast who tirelessly lobby for new laws restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The irony is that many in his coalition of pedophiles, embezzlers, wife beaters, cheaters and violent thugs are no longer eligible to legally own a gun.
The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) on Monday detailed the crimes that have been committed by members of Mr. Bloomberg’s gang, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG). In its research, SAF found a significantly higher rate of felonious activity among the mayors who teamed up with hizzoner than among the 8 million citizens who are licensed to carry concealed firearms.
“If Mayor Bloomberg wants to align himself with this criminal element of mayors to push for gun control, we think the public should know about it,” SAF Founder Alan M. Gottlieb told The Washington Times in an interview.
But the Second Amendment Foundation says perhaps he should be focusing on the mayors themselves, not the residents of their Don't Buy An Annuity...Until You Watch This Video Report! Top Annuity Flaws* - Warning www.SeniorAnnuityAlert.com
“Michael Bloomberg created this group to further his personal agenda of
public disarmament,” explained SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “But within the ranks of his organization, our research has found several politicians who have been convicted of various serious crimes, thus making it impossible for them to finish their terms.
“We discovered,” he said, “one mayor convicted of perjury and embezzlement, another who was convicted of attempted child molestation, and yet another who was convicted of assault and racketeering. There was one who was convicted on bribery, fraud and money laundering, and another who was convicted of domestic violence.
“In short,” Gottlieb said, “many of these elitist politicians can no longer own firearms. The crimes they were convicted of suggest they are public enemies rather than public servants. No wonder they want to take guns from law-abiding citizens!
“Perhaps Bloomberg should worry about background checks on his colleagues, rather than law-abiding gun owners,” he suggested.
On April 25, 2006, 15 mayors worked with Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to set up the organization to restrict guns.
Gottlieb reported the research conducted by the foundation found “a far higher rate of criminal activity within the ranks of the MAIG than among the ranks of more than eight million citizens who are licensed to carry concealed firearms in 49 states.”
After three-years of experimentation to determine whether Atlantic salmon can be successfully reared in state hatcheries, Michigan fisheries officials say it’s time to shift gears. The 2013 fishing season will be a bellwether of what is possible.
“We’ll have 60,000 to 80,000 Atlantic salmon yearlings available for
planting in 2013,” said Todd Grischke, the Lake Huron basin coordinator
for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “We are going into the stocking phase and will be evaluating the plants: where they go, where to best stock them and what to expect once we do.”
Michigan’s muskellunge program turned a huge corner recently as the second crop of Great Lakes muskies produced at a DNR hatchery was distributed across the state in early November.
The DNR has been raising muskellunge (for stocking) at state fish hatcheries for decades, but had always used northern muskies, one of two strains native to Michigan, for broodstock – the mature male and female fish that are kept separate for breeding purposes.
This is the second year the DNR produced strictly Great Lakes muskies.
Northern muskies are native to a few areas of the Upper Peninsula, while the population of Great Lakes muskies (also known as spotted muskies) is more widespread. The DNR began its program with northern muskies because broodstock were more readily available. As a result, numerous lakes in Michigan have been stocked with the northern-strain fish.
“The Great Lakes strain of muskie is indigenous to most areas of Michigan, and there are fewer restrictions on where we can stock this strain,” said Matt Hughes, fisheries biologist at the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan, where the muskies were raised. “We want to rebuild our Great Lakes muskie numbers, so using this strain allows us to get them into more Michigan waters.”
There’s another good reason to lean toward the Great Lakes muskies.
Fisheries biologists have noted that as hatchery-reared northern-strain fish move downstream through the watershed, they often wind up in places where Great Lakes muskies are found. That could lead to breeding between the two strains and a genetic degrading of this unique fish.
Biologists decided the outstanding Great Lakes muskie population that has developed in the Lake St. Clair system over the course of the last several decades could now serve as a source of broodstock. DNR Fisheries Division crews collected adult muskies this past May by electrofishing the Detroit River. The fish were spawned on site and the eggs were transferred to the Wolf Lake hatchery for rearing.
The 1.2 million spawned eggs produced 550,000 fry, which were raised in the lab at Wolf Lake for approximately two months until they were 4 to 5 inches long. Roughly 45,000 of them survived and were transferred to four, lined ¾-acre ponds on the hatchery grounds. Of those, 3,000 fish were given to Wisconsin to supplement the genetics of their Great Lakes muskellunge program that also provides an additional backup broodstock supply for Michigan’s program.
DNR personnel drained the ponds and collected just greater than 28,000 muskies (some in excess of 12 inches) which were transported to 18 sites across the state. Among those sites were Thornapple and Big Bear lakes, which will be stocked annually for 10 years in an attempt to create new broodstock lakes.
“We won’t stock these fish in lakes that already have established natural populations,” Hughes said. “We don’t have a complete understanding of those genetics yet. Until we do, we won’t put them in places like the
Antrim Chain of Lakes or the Indian River system that have good, naturally sustaining muskie populations.”
Switching to the Great Lakes strain fish was a huge undertaking in terms of management practices and was technically difficult. Muskies are challenging – and expensive – to raise in hatcheries. Hughes estimated the fish that have been stocked cost between $3 and $6 each to produce.
Absolute eating machines, Hughes said muskies are fed heavily from the time they hatch to the time they are stocked. They begin on a commercial dry diet, being fed every 15 minutes, until they reach 2 weeks of age, when they want larger live feeds (like minnows or small fish) and become cannibalistic if they are not fed enough.
“By the time they leave the lab they’re being fed every five minutes, 24/7,” Hughes said.
The young muskellunge are transplanted to ponds pre-stocked with fathead minnows early in the year so the minnows have produced fry. Even then, however, the hatchery staff has to add graded minnows – costing an average of $3 to $6 a pound – until they reach about 6 inches in length. Then the staff switches over to randomly sized minnows, which are a lot less expensive ($2 to $3 a pound).
“I have to check on the ponds every day to see how many minnows are left,” Hughes said. “For the first month, it is not uncommon to order a couple of thousand pounds of minnows every week.”
Hughes said the ponds produced well this year, despite ongoing predation (by raccoons, herons, gulls, kingfishes, mink and the occasional cormorant). It appears the switch to Great Lakes muskellunge is going, in a word, swimmingly.
“The muskie fishing community is supportive of the change,” said Will Schultz, who volunteers as part of the Michigan Muskie Alliance, which contributes both financially and with volunteer labor at the DNR hatchery.
He said it’ll likely be 12 to 15 years before the fish that have been stocked in the proposed broodstock lakes can be used for an egg take. It will take that much time to have enough mature fish from several different year classes to provide the genetic diversity necessary for egg collection.
No matter the time frame, the DNR’s Fisheries Division is committed for the long haul. Because of that effort and the support of the volunteer community, anglers can expect to see a growing population of Great Lakes muskies making their way through Michigan waters for many years to come. “I think everyone is pretty happy,” Hughes said. “It’s been a pretty successful season, from egg take to harvest.”
Editor’s note: Photos are available for download at www.michigandnr.com//ftp/OutReach/ (in the folder marked Great Lakes Muskie). Captions to accompany those photos follow.
Credit photo: Michigan DNR
Bighead carp caught by commercial fishermen in Lake
that was developed in 2011. This plan includes an active monitoring
The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $7.5 million in 2012 to design,
construct and evaluate Asian carp barriers. The Legislature also
approved funding for the Coon Rapids Dam on the Mississippi River to
improve its effectiveness as a fish barrier. Other options being
discussed include closing the lock at Upper St. Anthony Falls to prevent
passage of Asian carp. This would require congressional action.
Early Wolf Season Ends with 73 % of Quota reached
200 wolves allowed, yet twice as many wolves were harvested than the
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimated. A total of 147 wolves were harvested.
COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio DNR Director James Zehringer today announced that Bethany McCorkle has accepted the position of chief of communications. She has served in the chief’s role on an interim basis and had previously worked as ODNR’s deputy chief of communications.
“Bethany has excelled while meeting each challenge she has encountered during her time at ODNR,” said Zehringer. “She has displayed exceptional leadership abilities, and I am confident that her experience and expertise in communications and marketing will prove invaluable to both the public and the department.”
Prior to joining ODNR, McCorkle served as both a communications and
marketing officer at the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD). Her
duties at ODOD allowed her to build effective relationships within the Ohio business community while working on marketing and training projects as
well as providing project management assistance. Her communications efforts included working with national and local media to highlight department efforts and initiatives. Before joining ODOD, McCorkle spent a number of years in the private sector, most recently as a key account director at Worldwide Express.
McCorkle earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowling Green State University where she majored in communications, marketing and promotional sales.
Begins 10 AM in Lake Michigan Room at Lakeshore Technical College, Cleveland
MADISON - Anglers and others interested in how the state allocates chinook for stocking at Lake Michigan ports are invited to join DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp for a Dec. 1 meeting to learn how the decision has been made in the past and provide input on how it should be done in 2013, the first year stocking adjustments are in effect lake-wide.
We’ve agreed with other states around Lake Michigan to adjust stocking levels to assure that great fishing continues well into the future,” Stepp says. “I want to hear from anglers and work with them to distribute Wisconsin fish in a way that’s fair and supports the great fishing so important to so many Lake Michigan communities.”
The meeting begins at 10 a.m. Dec. 1 in the Lake Michigan Room at Lakeshore Technical College, 1290 North Ave., Cleveland. The allocation discussion is the first topic in a multi-part meeting of the Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum, which includes representatives from various Lake Michigan fishing interests facilitated by UW-Sea Grant.
Starting in 1986, DNR has used a stocking allocation formula that results in a roughly equal distribution of fish between southern and northern Lake Michigan ports, says Brad Eggold, DNR fisheries supervisor for southern Lake Michigan.
“That model was updated in 1990 and used to allocate fish when we have
made lake-wide adjustments in stocking,” Eggold says. “We have made
adjustments in chinook salmon stocking levels before, most notably in 1992, 1998 and 2006. The model has worked very well to achieve a fair distribution and great fishing.”
The key to Lake Michigan fishing is a balance between predator fish like chinook and prey fish like alewives, the exotic, invasive fish species that chinook were first stocked in Wisconsin to control starting in the 1960s, Eggold says.
During the Dec. 1 meeting, DNR staff will explain the stocking allocation model used in the past and also provide information to answer some of the questions about distribution of fish that Wisconsin anglers raised in public meetings and hearings last summer on the lake-wide stocking adjustment.
For instance, some anglers have suggested distributing fish to the ports based on the sales of Great Lakes Trout and Salmon stamps or two-day Great Lakes fishing licenses. Anglers who fish for Lake Michigan trout and salmon must buy a stamp in addition to their annual fishing license or can buy two-day Great Lakes fishing licenses.
Anglers have also asked whether DNR could stock fewer fish at Strawberry Creek, where DNR has its main egg collection station for chinook. By stocking more fish elsewhere, those fish are more likely to return to streams other than Strawberry Creek and be available to anglers for fall fishing.
MADISON - Turkey hunters can probably look forward to a slight increase in permit levels for the 2013 Wisconsin spring turkey season, although final permit levels will not be set until after the close of the fall turkey season, according to state wildlife officials.
Wild turkey hunters have until close of business on Dec. 10 to apply for available permits for the 2013 Wisconsin spring turkey hunting season.
Spring 2013 turkey season
The 2013 spring turkey season officially begins with the April 6-7 Spring Youth Turkey Hunt. The regular turkey season begins on the following Wednesday, April 10 and consists of six 7-day time periods, ending on May 21. The drawing for permits will take place in late January or early February. Successful permit applicants can expect to receive a postcard by mid-February. All applicants may also check their drawing status online through the DNR Online Licensing Center starting in mid-February.
Permit winners can purchase their spring turkey license when the 2013 license year begins on March 6. Permits are $15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents plus a 2013 Wild Turkey Stamp ($5.25). First time buyers may qualify for reduced license costs. Conservation patrons and senior citizen recreation card holders do not need to purchase a turkey license or stamp when they go to pick up their permit.
Permits remaining after the initial drawing for the 2013 spring turkey season will be available for purchase in late March, at a date to be specified later.
Seventh annual youth turkey hunt April 6-7
In conjunction with the Mentored Hunting Program, the April 6-7 Spring Youth Turkey Hunt is open to youth 10-15 years of age, both residents and non-residents, with or without a Hunter Education Certificate of Accomplishment. Search for Mentored Hunting Program on the DNR website for special rules and regulations for those participating.
A spring turkey license, stamp, and valid permit/carcass tag are required for the youth hunt and all other existing turkey hunting rules and regulations apply. See the 2012 Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations, which includes the 2013 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations [PDF], for details. Youth hunters who do not harvest a turkey during the youth hunt may use their unfilled permit during the zone and time period for which the tag was issued. Interested participants in the youth hunt should apply for a spring turkey permit by the Dec. 10 deadline.
Applications for spring turkey permit drawing cost $3 and may be purchased through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at all authorized license agents, at DNR Service Centers (Hours for service centers vary; check the DNR website for service center days and hours of operation; DNR Service Centers are not open on Saturdays), or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236). Applications postmarked after the Dec. 10 deadline, or those which have been filled out incorrectly, will not be considered for the drawings.
STURGEON BAY, Wis. - Stainless steel tags smaller than a pencil lead and the "Dr. Seussian" machine that can implant them in 8,000 fish per hour are unlocking the secrets of chinook in Lake Michigan, the biggest predator in the big pond.
Loaded with information about where and when each fish was hatched, the tags are already showing that chinook caught by anglers in Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan were just as likely to come from Michigan as from Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists recovered hundreds of coded wire tags from angler-caught chinook from Wisconsin ports during the summer of 2012.
“Our preliminary analysis indicates that about 41 percent of these stocked and tagged chinook originated from Wisconsin stocking sites and 34 percent originated from Michigan DNR stocking sites on Lake Michigan,” says to Nick Legler, the lead DNR fisheries biologist working on the project.
“Another 9 percent originated from Michigan DNR’s Lake Huron stocking sites, 11 percent originated from Illinois, and 5 percent originated from Indiana,” Legler says. “These tag returns will give us a much better understanding of how much of that mixing is occurring.” Legler cautions that it’s important to remember that the information biologists have so far is based on a few years’ tag returns. “We expect much better information once we have four to five year-classes tagged and those returns analyzed.”
Importantly, the tags will also eventually help better document just how many fish are naturally reproduced and how many come from hatcheries. That’s a key question because in the 1960s, when Wisconsin and other states first began stocking chinook to control alewives, an exotic fish, 100 percent of the chinook caught in the lake by anglers were from hatcheries, Legler says.
In more recent decades, natural reproduction has come on strong in Michigan tributaries and a study started in 2006 and continuing in 2012 suggests that on average 55 percent of the 1-year-old fish in the lake were naturally reproduced.
“The key to a healthy fishery in Lake Michigan, which has a pretty disrupted ecosystem, is balancing predator fish like chinook with prey fish,” Legler says. “If more fish are being naturally reproduced, we need to take that into account when we stock.”
The states and Michigan tribes with management responsibilities on Lake Michigan recently agreed to adjust stocking starting in 2013 to offset the increased number of naturally reproduced chinook and low levels of prey fish.
More of these tag returns and the information they provide are expected in coming years because the tagging machines, brought to Lake Michigan hatcheries by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service starting a few years ago, will continue to mark all hatchery-raised chinook salmon.
Those fish are now becoming big enough where they can be caught by anglers or are making their spawning runs up the tributaries where DNR and other states collect eggs.
Legler says that tags from chinook making their spawning runs up Lake Michigan streams will enable DNR and partners to know whether most of the fish stocked in Wisconsin return to the water in which they were stocked, or whether they stray from that site. This winter, DNR and USFWS biologists also will be analyzing tag returns in chinook processed at DNR’s Strawberry Creek egg collecting facility. More than 800 chinook heads were collected for analysis at that facility, as well as at DNR egg collection facilities in Kewaunee and Racine.
“The tags that we collect from our spawning facilities during the fall will allow us to learn more about straying rates,” Legler says. “They also can allow us to determine the exact age of a marked fish, and we can then compare each fish’s age to its weight to evaluate growth rates, ecosystem predator-prey balance, etc. “In the future, Legler expects DNR will ask anglers who harvest chinook in the fall during the salmon runs on the tributaries to donate chinook heads to DNR for analysis of the tags in the fish.
“By collecting heads from anglers during the fall, we hope that we’ll be able to acquire data that will help us to determine when and where mature salmon begin staging, before the fall spawning event.”
MADISON - A state run shooting range in located in northern Wisconsin’s Iron County will undergo improvements to expand opportunities and make the range safer thanks to a nearly $15,000 donation from the National Rifle Association....
Money will be matched three-to-one with federal funds
MADISON – A state run shooting range in located in northern Wisconsin’s Iron County will undergo improvements to expand opportunities and make the range safer thanks to a nearly $15,000 donation from the National Rifle Association.
Keith Warnke, Department of Natural Resources hunting and shooting sport coordinator accepted a check in the amount of $14,700.00 for the Snaketrack Public Shooting Range project. This was the third grant from the NRA for upgrading public ranges. The first two, each for $25,000.00, were for the Yellowstone Lake State Park range in Lafayette County and McMiller Range in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.
Warnke says the funds will be matched at a three-to-one rate with federal Pittman-Robertson grant monies to improve the three very popular ranges.
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp noted that with an estimated 800,000 shooters in the state, Wisconsin DNR has a long history of promoting safe and accessible shooting opportunities, including a commitment to provide ranges on public lands.
The dozen or so public ranges are considered generally heavily used and several are in need of repair and maintenance work.
“These grants, generously given from the National Rifle Association will really help us to fulfill our commitment to improve and increase public awareness of, and access to, quality, safe shooting opportunities at public ranges,” Stepp said.
The Pittman-Robertson grant revenues are taxes that are paid by shooters and hunters on ammunition and equipment, “so it’s only fitting we’re putting the money right back into providing more shooting opportunities,” she said.
NRA Senior Field Representative Scott Taetsch thanked Secretary Stepp and the DNR for having implemented this much needed program, stating that the NRA, with its vast experience and resources in shooting ranges, was proud to assist in building more public ranges in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators Inc. (Wisconsin FORCE) President Jeff Nass stated, “Working together we can properly use Pittman-Robertson funding and expand and improve shooting ranges across the state.” Wisconsin FORCE is the NRA’s chartered association and has been working closely with the NRA and DNR on various projects. Wisconsin FORCE helped tie the two organizations together on this project.
Other Breaking News Items
American Indian tribes in northern Wisconsin have until Wednesday to respond to the DNR's plea to stop their plans for night hunting of deer using lights, set to begin Monday.
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