Week of April 17, 2006

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Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Pennsylvania

Ontario

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National

$523 Million to Fish and Wildlife Agencies

$10 Billion in Sportsmen's excise taxes have supported nation's resources

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute more than $523 million in excise taxes paid by America's recreational shooters, hunters, anglers and boaters, to state fish and wildlife agencies to support fish and wildlife conservation and education programs.

 

With this distribution, the nation’s preeminent wildlife management funding mechanisms will mark a major milestone. “Both the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish and Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration accounts have passed the $5 billion mark,” said Interior Secretary Gale Norton. “That means that since establishment of these crucial programs in 1950

and 1937 respectively, anglers and hunters have paid more than $10 billion for fish and wildlife management.

 

By supporting these excise taxes, sportsmen and women are contributing critical funds for maintaining and restoring our fish and wildlife resources.” The Wildlife Restoration apportionment for 2006 totals more than $233 million, with nearly $42 million going for hunter education and shooting range programs.

 

Service Announces Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Apportionments to States

http://news.fws.gov/NewsReleases/showNews.cfm?newsId=5279657C-9C95-69A5-6B19B2AECF126780


Coast Guard requests boaters help on the water

New neighborhood watch program for waterways helps thwart terrorism

With reports of increased threats of a terrorist attack on our shores, the United States Coast Guard is requesting the assistance of America’s 70 million boaters and others, who work, play, or live around our waterfronts, rivers, lakes, and coastal areas to become part of our nation’s first line of defense, called America’s Waterway Watch (AWW).

 

America’s Waterway Watch is an outreach program akin to neighborhood watch programs in many local communities but is focused strictly on marine-related areas. Let’s face it; with over 95,000 miles of shoreline, 300,000 square miles of waterways, 6,000 bridges, 360 ports of call, and thousands of marinas, the United States Coast Guard simply cannot be everywhere at once. They need all the eyes and ears of those who frequent our waterways to be on the lookout for suspicious activities that might threaten our homeland security.

 

Neighborhood watch programs have proven to be effective in promoting partnerships, deterring criminal activity, creating a sense of security and reducing fears of crime, and building a bond in the community. “The primary objective of America’s Waterway Watch is to help prevent acts of terrorism and other illegal activity by having members of the commercial and recreational boating industries, as well as the boating public, recognize and report suspicious activities that may be indicators of potential terrorism,” says Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Penny Collins, National Program Manager for America’s Waterway Watch.

 

The Coast Guard Auxiliary, a volunteer boating safety organization made up of 30,000 members, is helping the Coast Guard get that message out to the boating public. ”We are appealing to all those people who live, work or boat on our waterways, says Mike Renuart, the Auxiliary National Liaison for AWW. “They are the very people who know the absolute difference between what is normal or routine and what is out of place, peculiar, unusual, or a possible threat.”

 

The AWW program has a central phone number, 1-877-24-WATCH (1-877-249-2824), where the public can report suspicious activities. This information goes to the National Response Center located at U. S. Coast Guard headquarters, which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

Renuart indicated that if anyone sees something out of the ordinary or looks suspicious in any way to take detailed notes of who, where, what and when it occurs. If what’s seen poses an immediate threat, call local authorities by dialing 911, or the U.S. Coast Guard on Channel 16 of their VHF-FM marine radio. If someone sees something that looks suspicious, they

should call the AWW toll-free number. “Any specific set of details will be helpful including any description of the individuals, the vessel or vehicle involved, registration numbers, vessel name, GPS coordinates, and what sort of activity was taking place,” he says.

 

People are strongly urged never to confront anyone suspicious, or to take any action themselves, other than reporting it. Furthermore, it is advised that if anyone observes a situation which is perceived to be an immediate danger, they should contact local authorities right away. Providing as much detailed information can be very helpful. For example, if the Coast Guard receives reports of suspicious activities around cruise ship terminals, in port areas, or near sensitive infrastructures, they may be able to identify a pattern of criminal intent and even anticipate a terrorist’s next move on a more large-scale plot.

 

Some examples the public should be on the lookout for include, but are not limited to the following:

• Suspicious persons conducting unusual activities.

• Anyone trying to forcibly obtain access to a vessel or waterfront facility.

• Any suspicious person attempting to rent a boat, especially if they seem unfamiliar with boating.

• Unknown persons photographing or making sketches of commercial ports and infrastructures.

• Unknown or suspicious persons loitering for extended periods

• Unknown vendors attempting to sell or deliver merchandise

• Vessels anchored around bridges and dams, or fishing in an area not typically used for fishing

• Recovering or tossing items into/onto the waterway or shoreline

• Unusual transfer of personnel or items while vessel is moving

• Boaters who appear to go out of their way to avoid contact with other boaters or law enforcement vessels.

• Any vessel dumping solids or liquids overboard.

• Diving or boating activity near sensitive infrastructures, like dams, bridges, power plants, etc.

 

The AWW program has several promotional tools to help spread the word including an AWW decal for the helm of your boat, a wallet card, poster, brochure, and a video that marina owners, operators, or other presenters can use to educate their residents, tenants, or customers. These items are available from your local Coast Guard Auxiliary unit. To obtain any of these, visit www.cgaux.org and use the flotilla finder or call 1-877-875-6296.

 

For more information about America’s Waterway Watch, visit www.americaswaterwaywatch.com


Senate Panel Dives into Fish Farm Debate

Feds want to expand aquaculture in federal waters

WASHINGTON, DC (ENS) - The Bush administration's desire to expand aquaculture in federal waters drew support from the Senate Commerce Committee last week, but senators outlined concerns that the specific plan fails to safeguard the environment and lacks protection for state fishing interests.

 

The hearing was the first look by the committee at the administration's proposal to increase fish farming five-fold over the next decade. The plan calls for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) to develop a permit system to allow fish farming in the 3.4 million square mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which extends from three to 200 miles off the U.S. coast.

 

Permits for fish farms would be granted with 10-year renewable leases under the plan, which was introduced as legislation by Senators Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican, and Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat.

 

The pressure to expand U.S. aquaculture is coming from American consumers, said Senator John Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican, and there are economic and environmental reasons for the U.S. to move aggressively.  "American consumers are enjoying more seafood every year," said Sununu, chair of the committee's National Ocean Policy Study. "This increase in consumption is not coming from the wild and much of the increase is from overseas … from fish farms far from U.S. environmental regulations."

 

With wild fish populations declining across the world, fish farming has boomed in the past three decades and now supplies some 40 percent of the world's total food fish supply.    The United States imports more than 70 percent of its seafood – and half of these imports come from fish farms.

 

NOAA Fisheries Director Bill Hogarth told the panel the plan would create thousands of jobs as well as ease pressure on

wild fish populations and on the nation's $8 billion annual seafood deficit. "The U.S. must explore the potential of offshore aquaculture," Hogarth said. "We need to create this opportunity now."

 

The administration envisions "a one-stop permitting system by NOAA," said Hogarth, who added that the plan provides the regulatory certainty that business interests need and binds permit holders to "strict environmental standards."

 

The potential for fish farms to harm the environment is high – concerns include escaped fish, disease and water quality – and critics say the plan is overly focused on expanding aquaculture without appropriate consideration of protecting the environment.

 

"Pursuing aquaculture without adequate safeguards may be worse than not pursuing aquaculture at all," said Rebecca Goldberg, a biologist with Environmental Defense. Goldberg was a member of a citizens fact-finding panel funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts that traveled the United States over the past several months gathering information about the environmental, economic and social impacts of offshore aquaculture.

 

The bill gives federal regulators "enormous discretion to implement environmental standards," Goldberg said.  Permits should not be given unless the operation in question "will not result in any adverse effect on marine fisheries and ecosystems," she told the committee.  Another major worry is the composition of the feed for the penned fish.

 

Stevens, who is chair of the committee, told the panel he plans to offer an amendment to give states the right to block fish farms in federal waters off their coasts.   "Clearly it should be the right of a state to opt out," Stevens said.  Alaska currently has a ban on fin fish farms and the state's fishing interests are not keen to see that change.


Coast Guard moves to curb propeller-related injuries/deaths

The National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) has directed the U.S. Coast Guard to launch several initiatives to curb propeller injuries and fatalities.

 

Propeller injuries resulted in 31 fatalities, and propellers were involved in 186 accidents in 2004, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Propeller injuries are ranked ninth in reported boating accidents. By comparison, falls overboard resulted in 271 fatalities, and capsizing in 203.

 

“The NMMA has worked to educate the public on the proper and safe operation of motorboats, and we continue these efforts to make boating the number one pastime for American families,” Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA, in a statement.

 

The NBSAC recommends:

1.  The Coast Guard develop a pre-rental education package for all rental motorboats operations to be distributed to the public for the 2007 boating season. The Coast Guard is seeking legislative authority that would justify mandatory boat

rental education.

 

2.  The Coast Guard should begin a rulemaking process that would require:

   ► Manufacturers of new recreational motorboats to install an engine cut-off device. 

   ► Boat operators to wear the engine cut-off switch link, if the boat is so equipped, while the engine is running.

   ► Motorboat operators to shut off the engine if a swimmer is in close proximity.

   ► The Coast Guard should continue to pursue previous resolutions, recommending propeller injury prevention measures with a risk-based decision making approach.

 

The NBSAC also encourages the Coast Guard to initiate a research project to test propeller guard technology.

 

The NBSAC, consisting of 21 members, was established by the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971. Members are state officials responsible for boating safety programs, representatives of the marine industry, and representatives of national recreational boating organizations and the general public.


Americans Support Enforcement!

According to two surveys released last week, Americans overwhelmingly believe that illegal immigration is a serious problem and that Congress should take steps to control it. A USA Today/Gallup poll reports 81 % of Americans believe illegal immigration is "out of control" and 61 % believe that the government should make illegal immigration a crime.

 

A just released Zogby poll also indicated that Americans are fed up with illegal aliens mocking our laws with recent large

scale protests. Zogby reports that 61 percent of respondents were "less likely to be sympathetic as a result of the protests."

 

Check out these stats:

More than nine in 10 say it's important for the government to take steps this year to control the borders

84 % say illegal aliens must speak English

83 % say illegal aliens must pass a health screening test

Source: The Washington Times, 04/12/06; USA Today 4/11/06


Endangered species under scrutiny

Seventy Pacific Region Species to Be Reviewed

SPOKANE (AP) — The USFWS will review the status of 70 animals and plants to determine if they still need protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, the agency said last week.  The majority of the species are found in Hawaii, with some in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Guam. The best known is the woodland caribou, found in a small area along the Washington-Idaho border.

 

The review is routine and conducted every five years. All interested parties can submit comments until June 11.

 

Joan Jewett, a spokeswoman for the agency, said the review will determine if the status of any plant or animal listed as threatened or endangered should be changed. That would trigger a lengthy process before any change occurred, she said.  "It's pretty time consuming," Jewett said Tuesday.   The species to be reviewed include four fish, three snails, six birds, 56 plants and one mammal.

A species could be recommended for reclassification from endangered to threatened (downlisting), from threatened to endangered (uplisting), or for removal from the federal list. If

no change is recommended, the species would remain under its current listing status.

 

Information that is considered in a status review includes: population trends, distribution, genetics, habitat conditions, and threats.

 

Animals to be studied include:

 ► Sucker, Oregon, listed as threatened in 1985.

 ► Chub, Hutton Gila, Oregon, listed as threatened in 1985.

 ► Chub, Borax Lake Gila, Oregon, listed as endangered in 1982.

 ► Dace, Oregon, listed as threatened in 1985.

 ► Snail, Utah valvata, Idaho and Utah, listed as endangered in 1992.

 ► Spring snail, Idaho, listed as endangered in 1998.

 ► Limpet, Idaho, listed as endangered in 1992.

 ► Caribou, Idaho and Washington, listed as endangered in 1984.

 

All of the rest of the species to be studied are plants, all but one found in Hawaii.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for April 14, 2006

Lake Level Conditions:   

All of the Great Lakes are 5 to 9 inches below the levels of a year ago.  Lake Superior is below chart datum and is expected to rise 3 inches in the next month.  Lake Michigan-Huron isat chart datum and is expected to rise five inches over the next month.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are expected to rise 2 to 4 inches over the next month.  All of the Great Lakes have begun their seasonal rises, but levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain lower than 2005. 
Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

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

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.

 

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels Data Summary

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

level Apr 14 in ft

600.8

577.5

573.8

571.4

245.5

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff from chart datum, in inches

-3

0

+18

+27

+27

Diff from last month, in inches

0

+4

0

+2

0

Diff from last year in inches

-5

-5

-7

-9

-9


General

How safe is your boat?

With the boating season upon us, we pull the trailer to the ramp, launch the boat and jump in! This is not always the best way to begin a safe boating season. Many items need to be checked before making that cruise with family and friends.

 

When was the last time you checked your fire extinguishers, made sure that your navigation lights were working, that your lines were in good shape or even your life preservers are in proper working order? All of these and more items are checked in the Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Safety Check program.

 

The Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Safety Check is offered free

of charge to all boaters. It checks the safety features of all vessels. If there is a problem, you are told how to correct it without penalty. When all items are checked and are deemed safe, a safety seal window decal defines your vessel as a safe boat.

 

Many Vessel Safety Check Stations are held at ramps and harbors. Watch for signs or contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Coast Guard, Harbor or Marine Dealer for the nearest inspection station or person.

 

Or visit our web site at www.safetyseal.net

 


 

Illinois

Illinois to participate in new Canada goose harvest mgmt program

Changes being considered by USFWS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois would no longer use Canada goose hunting season harvest quotas beginning in the upcoming 2006-07 hunting season as part of a proposed new experimental Canada goose harvest management strategy to be considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

 

If approved, Canada goose hunting season length in Illinois will be set for a specific number of days, but no season harvest quotas will be established.  In recent years, harvest quotas limiting the number of geese that could be taken during the season in Illinois’ north, central and south waterfowl hunting zones have occasionally resulted in goose seasons closing earlier than their scheduled ending dates in one or more zones. 

 

When season harvest quotas were first implemented, giant Canada geese made up less than 5 % of the geese taken in Illinois.  During the last three years, nearly 60 percent of the Canada geese harvested in Illinois were giants and 82 percent of geese harvested by hunters in the Mississippi Flyway were giant Canada geese. 

 

If the change is approved, there will be no quotas, no goose permits or phone-in required and the season dates selected will run to the end of the season just as the duck season does now.  Illinois has been one of four states in the Mississippi Flyway still using goose harvest quotas.  Indiana and Tennessee stopped using quotas in 2002.

 

The Mississippi Flyway Council and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service regulations committees will consider the proposal at meetings scheduled for this summer.  If approved, Illinois will implement the new experimental harvest approach for the upcoming Canada goose season.  Illinois and other states would adopt the new harvest management strategy for a five-year trial period beginning in the 2007-08 waterfowl season.

 

If the new experimental harvest management approach is approved, biologists would carefully monitor breeding populations, harvest rates and survival models for MVP geese to make sure the migratory population is protected.  If as a result of the experiment the MVP population of geese is affected negatively below a predetermined point, then the experiment will be cancelled in favor of the current harvest management approach.

 

Illinois is expected to consider these options for 2006-07 goose season lengths and daily limits:

► North and Central Zones – Either a 90-day goose season with a daily bag limit of one goose for 37 days and two geese for 53 days, or a 79-day goose season with a daily limit of two geese.

 

► South Zone – Either a 70-day goose season with a daily bag limit of one goose for 43 days and two geese for 27 days, or a 57-day goose season with a daily limit of two geese.

 

IDNR will meet with interested waterfowl hunters and other citizens on harvest strategies, season plans and possible changes in waterfowl hunting zone boundaries at public open house sessions to be held May 22, 23 & 24. Proposed dates for Canada goose and duck hunting seasons in Illinois for 2006-07 will be announced in early August.


Indiana

Inland trout stream season opens April 29

Twenty rivers and streams across Indiana will be stocked with rainbow trout for the opening of Indiana's inland-stream trout season.  Stream trout anglers may start fishing at 5 a.m. (local time) on April 29. The season runs through Dec. 31, 2006. The inland stream creel limit is five trout per day and the minimum keeper size is seven inches long.

 

Inland stream anglers should note that quality brown trout regulations are in effect for the East Fork of the Whitewater River below Brookville Lake.

 

There is no closed season for taking trout from inland lakes. Lake Michigan and her tributaries have separate trout-salmon regulations. Check the 2006 Indiana Recreation and Fishing Guide or www.wildlife.IN.gov  for details.

2006 Indiana rainbow trout stocking streams

- ALLEN COUNTY - Spy Run Creek

- BROWN COUNTY - Jackson Creek

- ELKHART COUNTY - Cobus Creek, Little Elkhart River, Solomon Creek

- FRANKLIN COUNTY - Brookville Lake tailwater

- FULTON COUNTY - Mill Creek

- HENRY COUNTY - Big Blue River

- LAGRANGE COUNTY - Curtis Creek, Little Elkhart River, Pigeon River, Rowe/Eden Ditch, Turkey Creek

- LAPORTE COUNTY - Little Kankakee River

- PARKE COUNTY - Cecil M. Harden Lake tailwater

- PORTER COUNTY - Crooked Creek

- RANDOLPH COUNTY - Mississinewa River

- ST. JOSEPH COUNTY - Potato Creek

- STEUBEN COUNTY - Fawn River, Pigeon River


Indiana boaters need lake permits this year

Indiana boaters will need a lake permit before heading out on state inland waters

Boasters are no longer required to purchase a daily launch permit. But they must buy an annual lake permit, allowing them to use any state park, reservoir or state forest lake for the entire year. The new permit is $20 for motorized watercraft and $5 for non-motorized watercraft.  State-owned watercraft and

state-owned boat rental concessions are exempt.

 

Funds collected from the permits are used to support the operation of state parks, reservoirs and forests, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. About 67 % of the funding of state park operations comes from these, and other, user fees.


Michigan

Pro-Gun Bills Signed by Governor

Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) signed two pro-gun bills, both sponsored by Representative Rick Jones (R-71) on April 07, 2006.

 

House Bill 4643 addresses a problem with concealed pistol licenses (CPL) being renewed in a timely fashion.  Apparently, the Detroit area was taking 9 to 10 months to renew  

concealed pistol licenses!  HB 4643 corrects the renewal process by requiring a proper renewal to be completed within 60 days or the license is extended for 180 days or until the permit is renewed.

 

House Bill 4642 allows a licensed spouse to carry or transport another licensed spouse’s inspected pistol.


Hunter Education Program Seeks Women Instructors

The Michigan DNRD announced a new hunter educator training workshop geared at women who want to become volunteer hunter education instructors. The workshop will take place on Saturday, June 24, at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center in Cadillac.

 

The all-day workshop will begin at 9 a.m. and is limited to 40 participants. Workshop attendees will learn the basics of being a volunteer hunter education instructor, sharing information in a teaching situation, how different people learn differently, and local contacts in their area to get involved with teaching teams. The workshop is free and lunch will be provided.

 

Additionally, the DNR will hold a regular hunter education class specifically for women on Saturday and Sunday, July 22-23, at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center. The class is limited to 35 participants, and women interested in registering should call the center at 231-779-1321.

 

Michigan currently has approximately 2,800 certified volunteer

hunter education instructors. Last year, 2,735 hunter education classes were held across the state certifying 30,268 students. Class locations and schedules are often published in area newspapers, posted in sporting goods stores and are available on the DNR Web site and operation service centers.

 

Persons interested in becoming a volunteer hunter education instructor, but unable to attend this workshop are encouraged to check out the "Become a Hunter Education Instructor" information on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr , by clicking on the Hunting menu on the left side of the DNR front page.

 

The Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center is located 1/4 mile north of the entrance to the William Mitchell State Park on M-115 in Cadillac. To register for the hunter education instructor workshop on June 24, contact Sgt. Davis by email at daviskj@michigan.gov  or at the Traverse City DNR Field Office at 231-922-5280, extension 6822, no later than May 15.

 


Pennsylvania

Commission offers advise how to avoid attracting bears

HARRISBURG - With spring blossoming around the state, many Pennsylvanians are seeing signs of new life in the outdoors as migratory birds continue their northward migration and other wildlife shake off their winter slumber.  Among the wildlife becoming more visible are Pennsylvania's roughly 15,000 black bears, all of which will be looking for food.

 

Since bears are found throughout a large part of the state, Mark Ternent, Pennsylvania Game Commission black bear biologist, said that bear sightings are common during this time of year.   Food for bears is typically scarce in the spring until vegetation begins to green-up, but bears emerging from dens need to find food after fasting for several months.  Thus, sightings and, in some cases, conflicts increase as bears look for food, including in backyards.

 

"Now is the time to keep bears from becoming a nuisance later in the summer," Ternent said.  "Bears that wander near residential areas in search of food are less likely to stay or return if they do not find anything rewarding.  Conversely, if bears find food in your backyard they quickly learn to associate residential areas with food and begin to spend more time in those areas.  Encounters between humans and bears increase, as does property damage, the risk of human injury and vehicle accidents involving bears."

 

Ternent noted capturing and moving bears that have become habituated to humans is a costly and sometimes ineffective way of addressing the problem, especially when faced with the possibility of merely moving a problem bear from one area to another.  That is why wildlife agencies around the country tell people that a "fed bear is a dead bear."

 

"The best solution is to prevent bears from finding food at your house in the first place," Ternent said.  "Food placed outside for any reason - whether it is food for wildlife, pets or unsecured garbage - is food available for bears.  Homeowners should begin now to remove food sources or make them unavailable to bears."

 

Ternent listed five suggestions that could prevent attracting bears to a property:

 

Play it smart.  Do not feed wildlife. Food placed outside for wildlife, such as corn for squirrels, may attract bears.  Even bird feeders can become "bear magnets."  Feeding birds during the winter months is not a problem, but at other times of the year you run the risk of attracting problem bears.  If you do chose to feed songbirds during the summer, Audubon Pennsylvania offers some tips, including: avoid foods that are particularly attractive for bears, such as sunflower seeds, hummingbird nectar mixes or suet; bring feeders inside at night; or suspend feeders from high crosswires so they are at least 10 feet above the ground and four feet from anything a bear can climb, including overhead limbs.

 

Keep it clean.  Don't put out garbage until pick-up day; don't throw table scraps out back; don't add fruit or vegetable wastes to your compost pile; and clean your barbecue grill regularly.  If you have pets and feed them outdoors, consider placing food dishes inside overnight. Encourage your neighbors to do the same.

 

Keep your distance.  If a bear shows up in your backyard, stay calm. Shout at it like you would to chase an unwanted dog. Don't approach it.  If the bear won't leave, call the nearest Game Commission regional office or local police department for assistance.

Eliminate temptation.  Bears that visit your area are often drawn there. Neighbors need to work together to reduce an area's appeal to bears. Ask area businesses to keep dumpsters closed and bear-proofed (chained or locked shut).

 

Check please!  If your dog is barking, or cat is clawing at the door to get in, try to determine what has alarmed your pet. But do it cautiously, using outside lights to full advantage and from a safe position, such as a porch or an upstairs window. All unrecognizable outside noises and disturbances should be checked, but don't do it on foot with a flashlight. Black bears blend in too well with nighttime surroundings providing the chance for a close encounter.

 

Although Pennsylvania's bear population has been increasing for some time, estimates over the past five years indicate it has stabilized near 15,000.  Last year, hunters harvested 4,164 bears.  An additional 289 bears were reported killed on highways.

 

"As a result of Pennsylvania's large human and bear populations, bears and people are coming into contact frequently," Ternent said.  "These encounters occur because housing developments and businesses continue to encroach into bear habitat and more bears are living closer to people than ever before.  Chance encounters in the field also appear to be more common than before in some areas."

 

Ternent noted that although bears are not strangers to Pennsylvanians, bears are misunderstood by many.

 

Stay Calm.  If you see a bear and it hasn't seen you, leave the area calmly.  Talk or make noise while moving away to help it discover your presence.  Choose a route that will not intersect with the bear if it is moving.

 

Get Back.  If you have surprised a bear, slowly back away while talking softly.  Face the bear, but avoid direct eye contact.  Do not turn and run; rapid movement may be perceived as danger to a bear that is already feeling threatened.  Avoid blocking the bear's only escape route and try to move away from any cubs you see or hear.  Do not attempt to climb a tree.  A female bear may falsely interpret this as an attempt to get at her cubs, even though the cubs may be in a different tree.

 

Pay Attention.  If a bear is displaying signs of nervousness - pacing, swinging its head, or popping its jaws - about your presence, leave the area.  Some bears may bluff charge to within a few feet.  If this occurs, stand your ground, wave your arms wildly, and shout at the bear.  Turning and running could elicit a chase and you cannot outrun a bear.

 

Fight Back.  If a bear attacks, fight back as you continue to leave the area.  Black bears have been driven away with rocks, sticks, binoculars, car keys, or even bare hands.

 

The intent of this regulation is to reduce human-bear conflicts, not to put a stop to other wildlife feeding or songbird feeding.  However, the regulation enables Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officers to issue written notices that direct landowners to discontinue songbird and/or other wildlife feeding if bears are being attracted to the area and causing a nuisance for property owners or neighbors.

 

To report nuisance bears, contact the Game Commission Region Office nearest you.  More information on bears is available on the agency's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us ) by looking in the "Hunting" section, then choosing "Black Bear."

 


Ontario

Ontario First Nations to see more benefits from trapping

THUNDER BAY, ONT - First Nations in Ontario will now receive increased benefits from trapping activities in their traditional territories following agreements signed with the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario. The Anishinabek Nation, Grand Council Treaty No. 3 and Nishnawbe Aski Nation announced the signing of trapping harmonization agreements with the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada.

 

Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and

Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, the Honourable Jim Prentice, said the agreement “presents an excellent opportunity to work together through co-operative dialogue to strengthen relationships, and to build a better future for First Nations people.”

 

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage described the agreement as “key to maintaining good working relationships with our partners in order to uphold mutual values of conservation as joint stewards of Mother Earth.”

 


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