Week of March 5, 2007

Beyond the Great Lakes

World

National

Regional

2nd Amendment issues

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

New York

Wisconsin

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Beyond the Great Lakes

Snowmobilers’ fast thinking saved lives

High-speed ride across open water did it

Portland, Maine (AP)--A snowmobile operator who shocked game wardens by riding his powerful machine across a long patch of open water — a mile or more — to save himself says no one was more surprised by the feat than himself.

 

Gary Huntley said he'd never ridden his machine on water — a dangerous practice known as "skimming" — but he'd heard it was possible.  So he made a split-second decision to accelerate on Sebago Lake when the ice abruptly ended Saturday evening, February 28, leaving only open water ahead. The wild ride in which his snow machine chugged across the water saved his life, wardens said. "I just thought to myself that as long as the sled is moving and I'm sitting on it, I'll be able to breathe and live. I'll stay alive as long as the sled is moving. If I end up in the water, I don't have a chance," he told The Associated Press.

 

Huntley, 44, of Oxford, survived the ordeal along with another rider, Jonathan Herbster of Bedford, Mass., who traveled a shorter distance across the water. A third rider, Paul Blanco of Carlisle, Mass., was missing and presumed drowned.

 

Huntley said he traveled about a mile before reaching safety. Wardens said the distance was much greater, at least two to 2.5 miles.  Huntley said he decided to speak out because he was frustrated by the public sentiment that the three men were doing something ill-advised.

 

"We're not reckless people. We're not stupid people. I want people to know it doesn't happen just to stupid people. It can happen to anyone," said Huntley, who returned to work Wednesday at the local highway department in New Gloucester.  The three men had been riding all day and had traveled across Long Lake, Brandy Pond and Crystal Lake, all of which were frozen solid. So they thought nothing of riding across Sebago, Maine's second-largest lake, to reach the WinterFest and Ice Derby celebration that earlier in the day had featured cars racing on a portion of the frozen lake in

Casco.

 

"As far as I'm concerned we're good sensible people. We weren't drinking. We had a great day of riding. We stayed safe all day," he said.

 

The problem was that the three men entered the lake on the main bay where there was little ice. The WinterFest and Ice Derby was being held in a couple of lagoons where the ice was much thicker, said organizer Tom Noonan.  After following tracks onto the lake, Huntley was startled when he saw open water ahead as he was traveling at about 40 mph. He figured he was already on thin ice so he would sink if he stopped. So he gunned the throttle.  Huntley estimated he hit the water at 80 mph.

 

The snowmobile immediately slowed down, and Huntley thought he was a goner. Instead, he said, the snowmobile kept upright and chugged forward. He said he remembers hoping that the others didn't follow him onto the water.  It's widely known that snowmobiles can stay afloat for short distances on open water. The trick, riders say, is to maintain speed so that the belt that drives the snowmobile becomes something of a paddle wheel.  But it's extremely dangerous.

 

Skimming was outlawed by the Maine Legislature in 2003, but game wardens credited Huntley's and Herbster's instincts with saving their lives.

"At least two of them did what was under the circumstances the best thing to do. But what a terrible position to be in," said Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association in Augusta.

 

Huntley said he didn't dare try to turn the machine, so he let it churn forward until he reached a frozen cove. Herbster, too, gunned his engine and zoomed across the water. Wardens say he went about a half-mile before reaching safety.   There was no sign of Blanco.    http://news.mainetoday.com/updates/009745.html


Montana sued for use of SS# on fishing/hunting licenses

The Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) had its first court hearing last week on their lawsuit against the State asserting that requiring Social Security Numbers for applicants to hunt or fish violates the right to privacy in the Montana Constitution.  This lawsuit was first filed on January 30, 2006.

 

The hearing was on a motion by the State to stay (delay) the lawsuit while the State attempts to implement a scheme to use only the last four digits of an applicant's SSN.  To do this the State must seek and obtain permission from the federal government, and must get a bill passed in the Legislature to change the state law concerning SSNs to hunt and fish.  The State says that if it can invoke the four-digit-only scheme, the lawsuit will be moot because nobody's privacy will be violated - they will seek to dismiss the suit if the feds grant the exception and if they get a bill through the Legislature.  They argue that there's no sense continuing with the legal contest if the suit is just going to be dismissed when they get their four-digit scheme in place.

 

MSSA argued that even requiring the last four digits of a person's SSN to hunt and fish would still violate our right to

privacy, so our suit will continue and there's no reason to wait to see if the State can implement its four-digit scheme before getting on with the process of resolving the lawsuit.

 

The judge's response was "very interesting".  He asked counsel for the State if the push to implement a four-digit scheme wasn't an admission that collecting full SSNs is a violation of our right to privacy.  He offered the state a deal:  Accept a ban on collecting SSNs to hunt and fish until the issue of the four-digit scheme is resolved, or forfeit the requested stay in proceedings.  The State declined to quit collecting SSNs while waiting for the four-digit scheme to unfold, so the judge denied the request to stay proceedings.

 

The judge made some further interesting comments.  The judge said that he is fed up with the federal government using the power of the federal purse to compel Montana, and to deprive the people of Montana of their rights.  He warned the State that it would have a heavy burden to prove that collecting SSNs to hunt and fish does not violate the privacy of hunting and fishing license applicants. 

 

For more info, contact: Gary Marbut, president, Montana Shooting Sports Association, http://www.mtssa.org


Idaho considers higher boat registration fees

The annual fee to register a boat in Idaho would increase from

$13 to $20, under legislation that passed the Idaho House February 28, The Spokesman Review newspaper reports


World

Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts

Not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide, say scientists

By Dr. Timothy Ball

Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn't exist. And I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen, despite the fact that I was one of the first Canadian Ph.Ds. in Climatology and I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition. Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is why.

 

What would happen if tomorrow we were told that, after all, the Earth is flat? It would probably be the most important piece of news in the media and would generate a lot of debate. So why is it that when scientists who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that humans are not the cause nobody listens? Why does no one acknowledge that the Emperor has no clothes on?

 

Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.

 

No sensible person seeks conflict, especially with governments, but if we don't pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a society. That is why I insist on saying that there is no evidence that we are, or could ever cause global climate change. And, recently, Yuri A. Izrael, Vice President of the United Nations sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed this statement. So how has the world come to believe that something is wrong?

 

Maybe for the same reason we believed, 30 years ago, that global cooling was the biggest threat: a matter of faith. "It is a cold fact: the Global Cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species," wrote Lowell Ponte in 1976.

 

I was as opposed to the threats of impending doom global cooling engendered as I am to the threats made about Global Warming. Let me stress I am not denying the phenomenon has occurred. The world has warmed since 1680, the nadir of a cool period called the Little Ice Age (LIA) that has generally continued to the present. These climate changes are well within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun. But there is nothing unusual going on.

 

Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.

 

No doubt passive acceptance yields less stress, fewer personal attacks and makes career progress easier. What I have experienced in my personal life during the last years makes me understand why most people choose not to speak out; job security and fear of reprisals. Even in University, where free speech and challenge to prevailing wisdoms are supposedly encouraged, academics remain silent.

 

I once received a three page letter that my lawyer defined as libellous, from an academic colleague, saying I had no right to say what I was saying, especially in public lectures. Sadly, my experience is that universities are the most dogmatic and oppressive places in our society. This becomes progressively worse as they receive more and more funding from governments that demand a particular viewpoint.

 

In another instance, I was accused by Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki of being paid by oil companies.

That is a lie. Apparently he thinks if the fossil fuel companies

pay you have an agenda. So if Greenpeace, Sierra Club or governments pay there is no agenda and only truth and enlightenment?

 

Personal attacks are difficult and shouldn't occur in a debate in a civilized society. I can only consider them from what they imply. They usually indicate a person or group is losing the debate. In this case, they also indicate how political the entire Global Warming debate has become. Both underline the lack of or even contradictory nature of the evidence.

 

I am not alone in this journey against the prevalent myth. Several well-known names have also raised their voices. Michael Crichton, the scientist, writer and filmmaker is one of them. In his latest book, "State of Fear" he takes time to explain, often in surprising detail, the flawed science behind Global Warming and other imagined environmental crises.

 

Another cry in the wilderness is Richard Lindzen's. He is an atmospheric physicist and a professor of meteorology at MIT, renowned for his research in dynamic meteorology - especially atmospheric waves. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has held positions at the University of Chicago, Harvard University and MIT. Linzen frequently speaks out against the notion that significant Global Warming is caused by humans. Yet nobody seems to listen.   (Emphasis ours. Ed)

 

I think it may be because most people don't understand the scientific method which Thomas Kuhn so skilfully and briefly set out in his book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." A scientist makes certain assumptions and then produces a theory which is only as valid as the assumptions. The theory of Global Warming assumes that CO2 is an atmospheric greenhouse gas and as it increases temperatures rise. It was then theorized that since humans were producing more CO2 than before, the temperature would inevitably rise. The theory was accepted before testing had started, and effectively became a law.

 

As Lindzen said many years ago: "the consensus was reached before the research had even begun." Now, any scientist who dares to question the prevailing wisdom is marginalized and called a skeptic, when in fact they are simply being good scientists. This has reached frightening levels with these scientists now being called climate change denier with all the holocaust connotations of that word. The normal scientific method is effectively being thwarted.

 

Meanwhile, politicians are being listened to, even though most of them have no knowledge or understanding of science, especially the science of climate and climate change. Hence, they are in no position to question a policy on climate change when it threatens the entire planet. Moreover, using fear and creating hysteria makes it very difficult to make calm rational decisions about issues needing attention.

 

Until you have challenged the prevailing wisdom you have no idea how nasty people can be. Until you have re-examined any issue in an attempt to find out all the information, you cannot know how much misinformation exists in the supposed age of information.

 

I was greatly influenced several years ago by Aaron Wildavsky's book "Yes, but is it true?" The author taught political science at a New York University and realized how science was being influenced by and apparently misused by politics. He gave his graduate students an assignment to pursue the science behind a policy generated by a highly publicised environmental concern. To his and their surprise they found there was little scientific evidence, consensus and justification for the policy. You only realize the extent to which Wildavsky's findings occur when you ask the question he posed. Wildavsky's students did it in the safety of academia and with the excuse that it was an assignment. I have learned it is a difficult question to ask in the real world, however I firmly believe it is the most important question to ask if we are to advance in the right direction.

 

By the way, those who believe the dire warnings of today's establishment press should know, as U.S. Sen. James Inhofe has pointed out, that "for more than 100 years, journalists have quoted scientists predicting the destruction of civilization by, in alternation, either runaway heat or a new Ice Age."

 

www.canadafreepress.com/phprint.php

Dr. Tim Ball, Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, is a Victoria-based environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. He can be reached at letters@canadafreepress.com

Other articles by Tim Ball

 


Questions for Al Gore

By Dr. Roy Spencer

25 May 2006

Gore's Inconvenient Truth....

Dear Mr. Gore:

 

I have just seen your new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," about the threat that global warming presents to humanity. I think you did a very good job of explaining global warming theory, and your presentation was effective. Please convey my compliments to your good friend, Laurie David, for a job well done.

 

As a climate scientist myself -- you might remember me...I'm the one you mistook for your "good friend," UK scientist Phil Jones during my congressional testimony some years back -- I have a few questions that occurred to me while watching the movie.

 

1) Why did you make it look like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods, droughts, and ice calving off of glaciers and falling into the ocean, are only recent phenomena associated with global warming? You surely know that hurricane experts have been warning congress for many years that the natural cycle in hurricanes would return some day, and that our built-up coastlines were ripe for a disaster (like Katrina, which you highlighted in the movie). And as long as snow continues to fall on glaciers, they will continue to flow downhill toward the sea. Yet you made it look like these things wouldn't happen if it weren't for global warming. Also, since there are virtually no measures of severe weather showing a recent increase, I assume those graphs you showed actually represented damage increases, which are well known to be simply due to greater population and wealth. Is that right?

 

2) Why did you make it sound like all scientists agree that climate change is manmade and not natural? You mentioned a recent literature review study that supposedly found no peer-reviewed articles that attributed climate change to natural causes (a non-repeatable study which has since been refuted....I have a number of such articles in my office!) You also mentioned how important it is to listen to scientists when they warn us, yet surely you know that almost all past scientific predictions of gloom and doom have been wrong. How can we trust scientists' predictions now?

 

3) I know you still must feel bad about the last presidential election being stolen from you, but why did you have to make fun of Republican presidents (Reagan; both Bushes) for their views on global warming? The points you made in the movie might have had wider appeal if you did not alienate so many moviegoers in this manner.

 

4) Your presentation showing the past 650,000 years of atmospheric temperature and carbon dioxide reconstructions from ice cores was very effective. But I assume you know that some scientists view the CO2 increases as the result of, rather than the cause of, past temperature increases. It seems unlikely that CO2 variations have been the dominant cause of climate change for hundreds of thousands of years. And now that there is a new source of carbon dioxide emissions (people), those old relationships are probably not valid anymore. Why did you give no hint of these alternative views?

 

5) When you recounted your 6-year-old son's tragic accident that nearly killed him, I thought that you were going to make the point that, if you had lived in a poor country like China or India, your son would have probably died. But then you later held up these countries as model examples for their low greenhouse gas emissions, without mentioning that the only reason their emissions were so low was because people in

those countries are so poor. I'm confused...do you really want us to live like the poor people in India and China?

 

6) There seems to be a lot of recent concern that more polar bears are drowning these days because of disappearing sea ice. I assume you know that polar bears have always migrated to land in late summer when sea ice naturally melts back, and then return to the ice when it re-freezes. Also, if this was really happening, why did the movie have to use a computer generated animation of the poor polar bear swimming around looking for ice? Haven't there been any actual observations of this happening? Also, temperature measurements in the arctic suggest that it was just as warm there in the 1930's...before most greenhouse gas emissions. Don't you ever wonder whether sea ice concentrations back then were low, too?

 

7) Why did you make it sound like simply signing on to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions would be such a big step forward, when we already know it will have no measurable effect on global temperatures anyway? And even though it represents such a small emission reduction, the economic pain Kyoto causes means that almost no developed country will be meeting its emission reductions commitments under that treaty, as we are now witnessing in Europe.

 

8) At the end of the movie, you made it sound like we can mostly fix the global warming problem by conserving energy... you even claimed we can reduce our carbon emissions to zero. But I'm sure you know that this will only be possible with major technological advancements, including a probable return to nuclear power as an energy source. Why did you not mention this need for technological advancement and nuclear power? It is because that would support the current (Republican) Administration's view?

 

Mr. Gore, I think we can both agree that if it was relatively easy for mankind to stop emitting so much carbon dioxide, that we should do so. You are a very smart person, so I can't understand why you left so many important points unmentioned, and you made it sound so easy.

 

I wish you well in these efforts, and I hope that humanity will make the right choices based upon all of the information we have on the subject of global warming. I agree with you that global warming is indeed a "moral issue," and if we are to avoid doing more harm than good with misguided governmental policies, we will need more politicians to be educated on the issue.

 

Your "Good Friend,"

Dr. Roy W. Spencer

 

(Dr. Roy Spencer is a principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA's Aqua satellite. In the past, he has served as Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.  Spencer is the recipient of NASA's Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and the American Meteorological Society's Special Award for his satellite-based temperature monitoring work. He is the author of numerous scientific articles that have appeared in Science, Nature, Journal of Climate, Monthly Weather Review, Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology, Remote Sensing Reviews, Advances in Space Research, and Climatic Change. Dr. Spencer received his Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin in 1981. que)


National

USFWS begins review of Mountain Lion status in East

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe last week announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is beginning a review of scientific and commercial information to determine the status of the endangered eastern cougar, the first review the Service has done since publishing a recovery plan in 1982. 

 

As part of the process, the USFWS has requested that anyone wishing to submit information regarding the eastern cougar may do so by writing to: Eastern Cougar, Northeast Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035.  Comments also may be submitted via e-mail to EasternCougar@fws.gov .

 

Information must be received for the state review by the USFWS by March 30, although the Service will continue to accept new information about eastern cougars at any time.  The USFWS placed the eastern cougar on the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 1973.  The last known Pennsylvania native mountain lion was killed in Berks County in 1874.

 

As part of the review, the USFWS is seeking information on the status of the eastern cougar in the 21 states -- from Maine to South Carolina and westward from Michigan to Tennessee -- where the Endangered Species Act protects it.  Lacking definitive evidence of the species' existence, the Service has presumed the eastern cougar to be extinct.  According to the USFWS, it is improbable that a small cougar population

persisted in the eastern states for over a century.  Most of the confirmed cougar records since 1950 (animals killed, good quality photos/videos, genetic evidence) are known to be escapes of captive origin.  There may be thousands of captive cougars in the eastern United States.

 

The Service announced the eastern cougar status review in the "Federal Register" on Jan. 29.  To assist with the review, the Service contacted state fish and wildlife agencies in states and Canadian provinces where the cougar is thought to have lived and requested information related to cougar status, protection, threats, laws about captivity, and habitats where cougars could persist. 

 

For additional information on the eastern cougar, see www.fws.gov/northeast/ECougar .  Information on the USFWS' endangered species program may be found at www.fws.gov/endangered.   To be certain, Roe stressed that this review process is not an effort to introduce mountain lions into Pennsylvania.

 

"The Game Commission has long-been opposed to any initiative - public or private - to reintroduce mountain lions into the Commonwealth," Roe said.  "Such a reintroduction effort would not be feasible in the state, and would not be something acceptable to most citizens, given that there are few areas of the Commonwealth without established communities.  Also, such introductions, given the human population density, would not be in the best interest of the animals released.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for March 2, 2007

Weather Conditions:

The second powerful storm system to hit the Great Lakes basin in as many weeks brought a variety of precipitation to the region.  Snow fall amounts of well over a foot were common in the northern reaches of the basin, while rain and freezing rain fell in the south.  The chance of snow will continue through the weekend, before warmer temperatures arrive by the middle of next week.

 

Lake Level Conditions:

 Lake Superior is currently 14 inches below its level of one year ago. Lake Michigan-Huron is at a similar level, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario levels are 1-4 inches above last year's water levels. Over the next month the water level on Lake Superior is predicted to remain steady. The remaining Great Lakes are expected to start their annual rise and are forecasted to increase 1 to 3 inches. During the next few months, Lake Superior is expected to remain below last year's water level conditions. Water levels on Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are expected to be similar to last year.

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

Flow in the St. Marys and St. Clair rivers is predicted to be below average for March. Outflow from the Detroit River is also predicted to be lower than average this month. Flow in the

Niagara River, as well as the St. Lawrence River, is expected to be above average. Water levels and flows in the connecting channels may be greatly impacted by ice dams.  Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center web page.

 

Alerts:

Due to abnormally dry conditions on the Lake Superior basin over the last six months, Lake Superior’s water level is currently below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum through August.  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

Levels

Mar 2

599.7

577.1

573.8

571.5

245.6

Datum,

in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff

-17

-5

+17

+28

+28

Last

month

-3

-2

-2

-4

-7

Last Year

-14

0

+4

+5

+1

 


2nd Amendment issues

Most sweeping gun ban ever introduced in Congress,  H.R. 1022

McCarthy Bill Bans Millions More Guns Than the Clinton Gun Ban

On Feb. 14, 2007, Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 1022, a bill with the stated purpose, "to reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and for other purposes."

 

McCarthy's verbiage warrants explanation. Presumably, what she means by "assault weapons ban" is the Clinton Gun Ban of 1994.  Congress allowed the ban to expire in 2004 for multiple reasons, including the fact that federal, state and local law enforcement agency studies showed that guns affected by the ban had been used in only a small percentage of crime, before and after the ban was imposed.

 

With the nation's murder rate 43% lower than in 1991, and the re-legalized guns still used in only a small percentage of crime, reauthorizing the Clinton Gun Ban would be objectionable enough. But McCarthy's "other purposes" would make matters even worse. 

 

H.R. 1022 would ban every gun banned by the Clinton ban, plus millions more guns, including:

 

► Every gun made to comply with the Clinton ban. (The Clinton ban dictated the kinds of grips, stocks and attachments new guns could have. Manufacturers modified new guns to the Clinton requirements. H.R. 1022 would ban the modified guns too.)

 

► Guns exempted by the Clinton ban. (Ruger Mini-14s and -30s and Ranch Rifles; .30 cal. carbines; and fixed-magazine, semi-automatic, center-fire rifles that hold more than 10 rounds.)

► All semi-automatic shotguns. (E.g., Remington, Winchester, Beretta and Benelli, used for hunting, sport shooting, and self-defense.  H.R. 1022 would ban them because they have "any characteristic that can function as a grip," and would also ban their main component, called the "receiver.")

 

► All detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles-including, i.e., the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22 .22 rimfire-because they have "any characteristic that can function as a grip."

 

► Target shooting rifles. (E.g., the three centerfire rifles most popular for marksmanship competitions: the Colt AR-15, the Springfield M1A and the M1 "Garand.")

 

► Any semi-automatic shotgun or rifle an Attorney General one day claims isn't "sporting," even though the constitutions of the U.S. and 44 states, and the laws of all 50 states, recognize the right to use guns for defense.

 

► 65 named guns (the Clinton law banned 19 by name); semi-auto fixed-magazine pistols of over 10 rounds capacity; and frames, receivers and parts used to repair or refurbish guns.

 

H.R. 1022 would also ban the importation of magazines exempted by the Clinton ban, ban the sale of a legally-owned "assault weapon" with a magazine of over 10 rounds capacity, and begin backdoor registration of guns, by requiring private sales of banned guns, frames, receivers and parts to be conducted through licensed dealers.  Finally, whereas the Clinton Gun Ban was imposed for a 10-year trial period, H.R. 1022 would be a permanent ban.

 

Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to oppose H.R. 1022!


Illinois

Hunters donate 72,000 lbs of venison to food banks, during 2006-07 Season

Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger Program helps provide meals for thousands of people

SPRINGFIELD – Deer hunters in Illinois donated more than 72,000 pounds of venison to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger (ISAH) Program during the 2006-07 deer season, providing more than 280,000 meals to needy people in the state.

 

Since its inception in 1989, ISAH has received donations of more than 359,000 pounds of venison thanks to the generosity of deer hunters in the state.  The program allows

hunters to donate deer they harvest to provide venison for distribution to food banks, food pantries and charitable organizations during the autumn and early winter deer seasons each year.

 

“We salute the hunters and meat processors in the state who participate in the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program for their generosity and their commitment to helping needy families,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood.  “Nearly 1.4 million meals have been provided over the years because hunters and other donors to the program have been willing to help.”


Indiana

New fishing regulations for 2007

The catch of the day is the new 2007 Indiana Recreation and Fishing Guide, a 72-page free booklet from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The guide summarizes Indiana fishing regulations, including license fees, possession limits, consumption advisories, and a county-by-county list of public access fishing locations in Indiana.

 

There is a two-page fish identification guide and maps that show locations of state parks, reservoirs, forests and fish and wildlife areas.

Other information includes:

- How to purchase a fishing license.

- Boating and life preserver rules.

- Controlling aquatic nuisance species

- Entry forms for the state record fish and fish of the year programs.

 

Get the guide at most DNR properties and where licenses are sold. Also:  www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/fish/fishng/fishgide.htm

 


Re-scheduled DNR rule change public hearing to March 26

The Indiana DNR has re-scheduled a public hearing to receive comments on several proposed administrative rule changes.  The meeting had originally been scheduled for Feb. 13, but was canceled due to a severe snowstorm. The hearing will be Monday, March 26 at 6 p.m. (Local Time) at the Garrison Conference Center at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.

 

Proposed rule changes include allowing rifles loaded with pistol cartridges during the deer firearms season, exempting hunters younger than 16 from Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration before hunting migratory birds during the youth free hunting season, and adding the cerulean warbler to the state's endangered species list.

 

The proposed deer firearm season rule change language reads:

- The rifle cartridge must:

(A) have a bullet of three hundred fifty-seven thousandths of an inch (.357) diameter or larger;

(B) have a minimum case length of one and sixteen hundredths (1.16) inches; and

(C) have a maximum case length of one and six hundred

twenty-five thousandths (1.625) inches.

 

This proposed deer hunting rule change language would continue the DNR's longtime position of allowing only short-to-medium range equipment for taking deer. The DNR has often received requests from the public for a rule change allowing some rifles during deer firearm season.

 

The preliminarily adopted rules are available online at: http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/about/rules.html

Click on "2006 Additional Wildlife Administrative Rule Changes".

 

Public comments can be submitted by e-mail, written letter, or at the public hearing.      Comments can also be e-mailed to:  jkane@nrc.in.gov  

 

Written comments can be sent to:

Hearing Officer

Natural Resources Commission

402 W. Washington Street, W272

Indianapolis, IN 46204  

 

Written comments must be received no later than March 31.


Michigan

2007 Hunting and Fishing Licenses now on Sale

The 2007 hunting and fishing licenses are on sale. The prices for the licenses remain unchanged from 2006, however if a fee increase is approved by the Legislature later this year, it may take effect before next year, DNR officials said.

 

Anglers who purchase a 2007 license should hold on to and use their Michigan Fishing Guide from last year. The guide is now a two-year publication, as a cost-saving measure to the department. A new guide will be published again in 2008. The guide also is available online at the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr    under the Publications and Maps section.

 

Hunting and fishing licenses are available at several retailers around the state, and a list of locations to purchase licenses can be found under the Hunting section of the DNR Web site. Licenses also can be purchased at DNR Operations Services Centers and some DNR field offices, or can be purchased online at the DNR Web site by clicking on the Hunting and

Fishing License Section. The online site accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover Card and American Express. A valid Michigan driver’s license, Michigan identification card or MDNR Sportcard is required to purchase a license.

 

DNR officials also remind hunters and anglers there is a 15 percent discount when four or more licenses are purchased at the same time. Also, when purchasing a license for a minor who does not yet have a Michigan driver’s license, you are required to purchase an MDNR Sportcard for $1.

 

“The revenue from license sales goes into the Game and Fish Protection Fund, and is used to

support the bulk of the conservation work the DNR performs every day to provide exceptional hunting and fishing opportunities in our state,” Humphries said. “For decades, the hunters and anglers of Michigan have strongly supported the conservation of natural resources in our state.”

Go to:  www.great-lakes.org/licenses.html


Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center Offers March Programs

The Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center in Oden is offering several outdoor programs in March, aimed at getting people outdoors. All programs are free; however, participants should pre-register for the March 3 and 10 programs by calling the visitor center at (231) 348-0998.

 

* Saturday, March 10, at noon -- Fishing from the Pond. Join our staff for an hour of fishing lunker trout from our Big Fish Pond! All equipment provided. Participants 17 and older must have a valid 2007 fishing license.

 

* Saturday, March 24, at 3 p.m. -- Mammals, Mammals, Everywhere! Learn to identify pelts, tracks and scat for some of the common mammals found on the hatchery grounds. Program is designed for young visitors.

* Saturday, March 31, at noon -- Tree ID at the Hatchery! The hatchery property includes more than 100 acres of woodlands that range from lowland coniferous stands to upland hardwoods. Join us for an outdoor excursion learning to identify some common tree species, and we’ll discuss their folklore along the way.

 

The visitor center is open for special programs through the end of May when regular hours of operation resume Memorial Day Weekend. The Oden State Fish Hatchery is open for public tours year-round. Visitors are asked to call (231) 348-0998 to make a reservation.

 

The Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center is located on US-31 in Oden, about five miles east of Petoskey. For more information about events and programs, contact Maureen Jacobs at (231) 348-0998 or by e-mail: jacobsme@michigan.gov.


Conservation Officer Breaks Up Poaching Ring in St. Clair County

Six suspects recently were charged with illegally taking deer and shining after a two and one-half month investigation by a Department of Natural Resources conservation officer into a poaching ring operating in St. Clair County in late 2006. The poachers may have illegally killed as many as 60 white-tailed deer in an area ranging from Port Huron to Capac.

 

Using a spotlight and powerful scope mounted on one of their .17 caliber hunting rifles, the suspects admitted to shooting at 75 to 100 deer in the area, killing as many as 60. Many of the deer were left un-recovered; while some were sold and others had only their choice steaks removed. The suspects admitted to also shooting at rabbits and domestic cats, and one admitted to shooting at a cow.

Four of the suspects pleaded guilty to the charges and paid fines. Two other cases are pending in St. Clair County Probate Court because the suspects were juveniles at the time of the incidents. The suspects ranged in age from 16 to 20.

 

The suspects who have been prosecuted will pay $3,000 each in restitution to the state for the unlawfully killed deer. They also had their firearms confiscated, lost their hunting privileges for three years and each must serve 300 hours of community service by attending hunter safety classes and meetings at area sportsmen’s clubs.

 

Conservation Officer John Borkovich, assigned to St. Clair County, led the investigation .

 


New York

NY announces "State of Lake Ontario" meetings                                           

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced three upcoming public meetings to discuss Lake Ontario fisheries. The ninth annual “State of Lake Ontario” public meetings will be held in Monroe, Niagara, and Oswego counties.

 

Lake Ontario’s embayments and  tributaries support thriving populations of fish to satisfy anglers, including a variety of trout and salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch and panfish.   New York’s waters of Lake Ontario comprise over 2.7 million acres, and a 1996 statewide angler survey estimated over 2.8 million angler days expended on Lake Ontario and the three major tributaries.  The estimated value of these fisheries exceeded $95 million to the local New York economy.  DEC is committed to sound management of Lake Ontario fisheries, to maintain high-quality angling opportunities and associated economic benefits.  The State of the Lake Ontario meetings provide an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in the lake to interact with the scientists who study Lake Ontario fisheries.

                                   

DEC and USGS biologists will make presentations on: proposed regulations changes, the status of forage fish stocks; provide updates on the Lake Ontario fishing boat and tributary census; status of the Salmon River salmon and steelhead fisheries; status of the lake trout population; cormorant management and diets studies; and cooperative pen-rearing projects for trout and salmon.  In addition, the meeting scheduled for March 18th in Mexico will also include a session devoted to the draft “Sportfishing Restoration and Spending Plan” for the Lake Ontario system.  A meeting addressing the Plan scheduled for February 14 was cancelled due to inclement weather.  The Draft Plan proposes ways to restore and enhance recreational fishing and fisheries in the New York waters of the lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the

St. Lawrence River, and their tributaries upstream to the first barrier impassable to fish (hereafter referred to as the Lake Ontario system). 

 

Funds for this restoration are available from a settlement of the state’s Natural Resource Damages (NRD) claim with Occidental Chemical Corporation (OCC).  OCC agreed to pay the state $12 million in five equal payments over four years.  The settlement was based on an assessment of the damages to the state’s natural resources, in particular a loss of recreational fishing benefits, resulting from the imposition of fish consumption advisories because of the presence of contaminants in fish in the Lake Ontario system. The proceeds of the settlement will be used to restore/enhance sportfishing and the injured natural resources.

 

Copies of the draft plan can be viewed or downloaded from www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/fish/lkontactivities.html  or can be obtained at the DEC Regional headquarters in Watertown, Syracuse, Avon and Buffalo.   There will be ample time at the end of the scheduled program for the audience to interact with the presenters.

 

The meeting dates are as follows:

 Thursday, March 1, 2007: 7 - 10 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport, Niagara County.

 

 Thursday, March 8, 2007: 7 - 10 PM, Oswego County BOCES, 179 County Rte 64, Mexico, Oswego County. .

                                                           

  Wednesday, March 14, 2007: 7 – 10 PM, Ingel Auditorium, in Building 4 (Student Union) on the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus, Rochester, Monroe County. The meeting is co-hosted by RIT and the Monroe County Fishery Advisory Board.


Wisconsin

Sturgeon spearing lasts entire 16-day season

Harvest total on all Winnebago lakes hits 1,347

OSHKOSH, Wis. – Sturgeon spearers were able to enjoy the full 16-days for the 2007 Lake Winnebago season, which closed Sunday Feb. 25, with a system wide preliminary harvest total of 1,347 fish.

 

The 2007 season will go into the books as “a very nice season, both from the sturgeon population's perspective and from the spearers' perspective,” said Ron Bruch, a Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist and sturgeon specialist.

 

This was the first year a lottery was in effect to control spearing efforts on the three smaller upstream lakes of Poygan, Butte des Mort, and Winneconne. Spearers had to enter a drawing to be one of the 500 spearers selected to participate in the upriver season. The upriver lakes season closed Feb. 15 with a harvest of 313 sturgeon. The season on Lake Winnebago, which was open to anyone with a Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing license, closed Sunday with a preliminary harvest of 1,034 fish.

 

Bruch said spearers also harvested a number of trophy size lake sturgeon weighing more than 100 pounds -- 20 from Lake Winnebago and four from the Upriver Lakes, with the largest being the 158-pound, 74-inch fish taken by Bill Nelson of Larsen.

“This is the highest proportion of trophy fish in the harvest since the late 1950s-early 1960s,” Bruch said. “At this point and until the data are thoroughly analyzed, it appears that the proportion of trophy-sized sturgeon in the population has increased over the last 10 to 15 years. The series of new regulations we implemented designed to increase the number of large fish in the population to stabilize the female spawning stock seems to be paying off.”

 

The record lake sturgeon speared from Lake Winnebago was a 188-pound fish taken in 2004.

 

The Winnebago fishery is managed to keep the harvest at or below 5% of the total estimated harvestable stock each year, and Bruch said, preliminary numbers indicate that the harvest was kept below that safe level. Fisheries biologists will calculate the final actual harvest rates once all of the data are entered and summarized, specifically the tag return data which are used to estimate annual catch.

 

Bruch said less than perfect water clarity in some areas of Lake Winnebago likely contributed to lower spearing success rates, allowing the season to last for a full 16 days, during which spearers had lots of time including three full weekends to fish. The season also ran a full 16 days in 2006. In 2004, the season was closed after just two days after spearers exceeded the harvest cap for adult females on opening day.


Time to think spring; boating safety courses available

MADISON --As spring approaches and ice gives way to cool waters, consider a boating safety course to ensure healthy, happy, and safe voyages for years to come. Boating safety courses start in March and April around the state. The courses teach:

 

Navigation rules, basic safety, and waterway marking systems.

 

All about boats, classification of boats, hull designs, and motors.

 

Legal requirements including registration and equipment requirements.

 

Getting underway, preparation, loading, boarding, cruising, docking, anchoring, knots, trailering, courtesy, and maintenance.

 

Boat accidents, emergency measures, aquatic safety, alcohol usage, visual distress signals, fire on board, and first aid.

Wisconsin boating safety administrator Roy Zellmer notes, “At DNR, we want you to be safe enjoying Wisconsin’s waterways. The investment of eight hours and $10 in a classroom boating safety course is a great way to protect your

safety and that of your passengers.”

 

Wisconsin boating safety certification or out of state equivalent certification is required for operating a boat in Wisconsin for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1989 and at least 16 years of age. Operators 12 to 15 years of age must either have a certificate or have an adult on board while operating. Anyone 10 years of age or older is eligible to take the class and receive a safety education completion certificate. The certificate does not become valid until the child reaches 12 years of age.

 

Online boating safety courses are also now available but not recommended for children under 14 years of age. People who encounter problems with the online course should contact Susan Holcombe at [susan@boat-ed.com] or call (800) 830-2268. There is a $10 charge for the boating safety test that will be collected online. People who pass the online boating test (achieve a score of 80 percent or better), will immediately be able to print out a temporary certificate valid for 90 days. Official Wisconsin boating safety education certificates will arrive in the mail within two to three weeks.

 

Passing the Wisconsin boating safety course also makes people eligible for a discount on boat or PWC insurance with many insurance providers. A copy of the boater safety certification card should be sent to the insurance agency.


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