Week of May 22, 2006

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Indiana

Michigan

Ohio

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World

New IGFA world record; 385 lb shark on 16 lb tippet

Now the heaviest fish caught on fly

DANIA BEACH, Fla (May 17, 2006) -- The catch-and-release of a 385 lb lemon shark on fly has officially been approved as a world record by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA).  It also becomes the heaviest documented fish caught on fly tippet.

 

 Capt. Mike Delph, left, Key West, Fla., USA and Dr. Martin Arostegui, right, of Coral Gables, Fla., hold a 385-pound lemon shark before releasing it back in Florida Bay waters. The International Game Fish Association certified the catch as a world record, Tuesday, May 16, 2006 saying it is also the largest documented fish caught on fly tackle replacing a 356 lb. goliath grouper (jew fish) caught in 1967.

 

Arostegui, a retired doctor who holds more than 100 IGFA world fishing records caught the huge, toothy shark in early March near the Marquesas Keys, west of Key West, Fla.  He and Delph went through elaborate methods to keep the fish alive to be weighed on certified scales, documented and released alive.

 

Guided by Capt. Ralph Delph, Key West, Fla., and fishing near the Marquesas Keys west of Key West, Florida, Arostegui used the scent line of a filleted barracuda to entice sharks onto the flats. 

 

Instead of a tiger, a lemon shark smelled the scent so Arostegui switched to another fly rod with 12 lb tippet and a bright orange seven-inch long feathered fly streamer in an attempt to break another record he held. Like the tiger shark the lemon shark is a member of the whaler shark (carcharhinidae) family and once hooked Arostegui battled the fish for over an hour. 

 

As he muscled the fish next to the boat, Arostegui said the toothy shark attacked the hull of Delph’s 29 ft. Contender.  “When it opened its huge mouth, I said to myself this shark could eat half of me in one bite,” joked the diminutive former emergency room doctor who stands 5 ft. tall and weighs 125 lbs.

 

Next in a carefully orchestrated technique that Arostegui and

Delph have used before, Delph gaffed the shark in the soft, fleshy part of its tail as Arostegui dropped the fly rod and lassoed the fish in front of the tail with a cleated rope.

 

After a breather they enlisted the help of another flats angler and guide fishing nearby. The four men were able to wrestle the shark, while controlling its dangerous head, through the transom door into a specially designed eight foot long, three foot deep aerated, hydraulic live well.  After an hour long ride back to Key West the pair, with the help of Delph’s son Mike who is also a noted Keys guide, finished documenting the catch. For that Arostegui used a portable briefcase-sized ScaleMaster II from International Weighing Systems along with a special canvas sling to cradle the fish.

 

 “Since I bought the scale in the Rolex/IGFA Offshore Championship tournament auction last year in Mexico, I’ve used it for documenting six other IGFA certified records, but nothing this heavy.” Minus the weight of the ropes and cradle the lemon shark weighed 385 lbs (174.63 kg).

 

The avid angler who has practiced catch and release on over 90% of his fish catches slid the shark into the water of a nearby basin and while resuscitating it -- himself in the water -- measured the shark for its girth (49”) and length (90”) plus took photos. 

 

Later, as he looked at the photos of himself and Capt. Mike Delph standing in the water before releasing the giant fish which an hour before had been biting the boat, Arostegui chuckled and said, “I don’t recommend getting this close to a lemon shark, especially in his environment.” 

 

At the IGFA headquarters after preliminary line testing and documentation review, Ms. Reynolds said the 12 lb tippet over tested at 13 lbs so Arostegui’s fish was entered in the 16 lb tippet line class.

 

The previous record for heaviest fish on fly has been on the IGFA record books since March 15, 1967 for a 356 lb 0 oz (161.48 kg) goliath grouper (jew fish) caught by Bart Froth in Islamorada, Fla., USA, on 12 lb tippet. Arostegui also beat his own 257 lb 0 oz IGFA mark for a lemon shark that he recorded two years ago and also the heaviest shark on fly beating out a 353 lb. hammerhead shark caught two years ago, also in the waters near Key West, by Rick Gunion.

Grave Robbing Anti's Will Do Time for Their Crime

Three animal rights zealots who spent years terrorizing a family that bred animals for research have been sentenced to jail.  They will each spend twelve years behind bars for a vicious campaign that culminated in the theft of an 82-year-old woman’s body from its grave.

 

Jon Ablewhite, John Smith and Kerry Whitburn were sentenced on May 11 for their admitted involvement in six years worth of attacks and intimidation against the owners of Darley Oaks Farm in Staffordshire, England.  The farm raised guinea pigs for medical research until the terrorism took its toll.  It stopped breeding the animals in January 2006.

As part of the terror campaign, the activists stole the body of Gladys Hammond from its grave in Yoxall. Hammond’s son-in-law, Chris Hall, was part owner of Darley Oaks. “You kept the family on tenterhooks as to when you would return her and you used as a weapon the threat that you would do the same again,” said Judge Michael Pert.  “I am firmly of the view that each of you does represent a danger to society.”

 

Smith, who is considered the most hardened of the four activists, disclosed the location of the woman’s body in what proved to be an unsuccessful attempt to reduce his sentence.  A fourth activist, Josephine Mayo, has been sentenced to four years in jail for her delinquency.


National

Updated plans for each of the Great Lakes now available

CHICAGO (– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the release of biennial status reports on each of the five Great Lakes on May 4.. These comprehensive environmental management plans provide details on the steps needed to ensure protection, restoration and environmental maintenance of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario.

 

The plans outline the environmental status of each lake, highlight successes, identify problems, and propose solutions. The lake-wide plans are a requirement of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes. All of the plans, except for Lake Michigan which is entirely in the United States, were developed with Environment Canada. They are collaborative efforts of the state, federal, tribal and provincial governments, as well as stakeholder organizations.

 

They address such issues as toxic pollutants, pathogens, shoreline development, wildlife and aquatic habitats, uncontrolled runoff and erosion, aquatic and land-based invasive species, and economic and environmental sustainability. They recommend priority actions and projects and address such emerging issues as new chemical threats and the fast pace of changes in land use. 

 

They also set priorities for projects and programs that will advance some of the recommendations of the Great Lakes

Regional Collaboration Strategy. The strategy, developed by stakeholders under a 2005 presidential executive order, offers basin-wide recommendations to reduce toxic substances, restore habitat and wetlands and prevent aquatic invasive species.

 

Each lake has its unique concerns, but certain problems affect all the lakes, such as contaminated sediment, invasive species, and airborne pollutants. Many of these problems originate outside the Great Lakes basin.  For example, pesticides blown-in from thousands of miles away and invasive species stowed in the ballast water of visiting oceangoing ships.   

 

Proposed solutions are as broad and varied as the problems they are attempting to solve. In addition to ongoing attempts to control critical pollutants in wastewater discharges and clean up contaminated hot spots, the possible solutions include ballast water controls, use of new air pollution models to identify emission sources, pesticide clean sweeps, control of urban and agricultural runoff, and promotion of private environmental stewardship.

 

The Great Lakes are one of the world's outstanding natural resources.  They contain almost 20 percent of the fresh surface water on the planet and provide drinking water to more than 25 million people in the United States and Canada. 

 

The plans may be found on EPA's Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/gl2000/lamps/index.html


Regional

Twenty Ruffe found in Little Bay de Noc in 2005

Michigan DNR biologists captured a total of 22 Ruffe from Little Bay de Noc, a location where Ruffe had been previously detected.  

 

Nearshore/Offshore USGS-Great Lakes Science Center conducted fall bottom trawling to assess prey fish community abundance. A total of 70 tows were completed comprising 11.7 hours of effort. The four most abundant species captured were ninespine stickleback, deepwater sculpin, slimy sculpin,

and rainbow smelt. Invasive fish captured included totals of 37 round goby and 32 threespine stickleback. No Ruffe were captured.

 

Marquette and Ludington Biological Stations in cooperation with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Little Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa Indians, and private contractors  conducted trapping in 15 tributaries to assess sea lamprey abundance.  No Ruffe were captured.


Goby Die-off in St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario

CAPE VINCENT -- State officials are investigating why an invasive species of fish is dying off by the thousands in the Saint Lawrence River and eastern Lake Ontario.  Thousands of round gobies have been piling up on the shorelines over the past two weeks.

 

The state Department of Environmental Conservation says the agency doesn't yet know what's causing the die-off. Specimen samples have been sent to Cornell University in Ithaca for testing. The state College of Environmental Science and

Forestry's Thousand Islands Biological Station on the Saint Lawrence River is also investigating the fish kill.

 

Experts suspect the first gobies to reach the Great Lakes hitched a ride in the ballast water of European freighters.

 

The fish were first seen in Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River in the mid-1990s. They have displaced native species by breeding faster and eating their competition's eggs and young.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for May 19, 2006

Lake Level Conditions: 

The heavy rain event experienced by the region last week drove the water levels of Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie up 2 to 3 inches in the past few days.  Water levels on the Great Lakes now range from 2 to 11 inches below the levels of a year ago; however, all of the lake levels are currently above chart datum.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are both expected to rise 3 inches in the next month.  Lake St. Clair is expected to rise 1 inch in June while Lake Erie remains at the same level.  Lastly, Lake Ontario is expected to rise 3 inches over the next month.  Water levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain similar to or slightly lower than 2005.  Current

 

Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron was near average during the month of April.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers were both below average during April.  The Niagara River flow was near average and the St. Lawrence River flow was 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

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for May 19

601.3

577.8

574.1

571.6

245.5

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

+2

+3

+21

+29

+27

Diff last month

+4

+3

+3

+2

0

Diff from last yr

-2

-4

-5

-7

-11

 


Illinois

Spring Turkey Season a record setter

Statewide Preliminary Spring Turkey Harvest of 16,140

SPRINGFIELD - Hunters in Illinois harvested a record-setting number of wild turkeys during the 2006 Spring Turkey Season, taking a preliminary statewide total of 16,140 birds.  The total eclipsed the previous record harvest total set in 2004.

 

“The success of so many turkey hunters this spring is great news and is another indicator of how successful the turkey restoration program in Illinois has been,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Acting Director Sam Flood.  “Eleven years after the first reintroduction of wild turkeys to the state, harvest during the first modern turkey season in Illinois in 1970 was 25 birds.  To top 16,000 this year shows that the

wild turkey population is thriving and hunters are enjoying the opportunity.”

 

Last year, hunters took 14,951 wild turkeys during the regular spring seasons and 458 during the youth hunt for a total harvest of 15,409 in 2005.  In 2004, hunters harvested 15,066 turkeys during the regular spring seasons and 497 in the youth hunt for a total harvest of 15,563.

 

The top counties for spring turkey harvest in 2006 were Pike (708), Jo Daviess (564), Adams (560), Macoupin (468), Fulton (444), Calhoun (410), Schuyler (398), Pope (378), Hancock (375), and Marion (363).  The county totals include regular and youth season preliminary harvest figures in each county


Indiana

Fees for hunting antlerless deer decreased

Step reduces financial burden on hunters who help regulate deer herd size

To better maintain a balanced deer herd, the DNR has encouraged the taking of antlerless deer during hunting season. Yesterday, the Natural Resources Commission ratified a proposal by the DNR that will reduce the cost of certain bonus antlerless deer tags.

 

Under the new proposal the cost of the first bonus antlerless deer license remains $24 for Indiana residents and $150 for non-residents. But to encourage the taking of additional antlerless deer, the cost for the second and subsequent bonus antlerless tags falls to $15 for Indiana residents and

$24 for non-residents.

 

“Since the whitetail deer was re-introduced into Indiana in the 1950s, deer hunting has been both a sport and a biological necessity,” said Kyle Hupfer, DNR director. “Man has always been the primary predator for whitetail deer so hunting is important in maintaining Indiana’s deer herd population at a proper biological level and a size more acceptable to the human population.

 

“The new fee structure established yesterday will help with herd management while also reducing the financial burden on hunters who assist the state in regulating the deer population.”


Michigan

DNR Cops Seize Asian Carp

Being Sold Illegally in Southeast Michigan

Law enforcement officers from the Michigan DNR, along with agents from the USFWS and U.S. Department of Agriculture, seized 84 Asian carp May 17 that were being sold illegally at two food markets in southeast Michigan.

 

The joint operation was conducted last week following recent intelligence-sharing with the two federal agencies that live Asian carp were being imported into Michigan and being offered for sale at local markets. Possession or transport of live Asian carp, which includes the grass carp, silver carp, bighead carp and black carp, as well as snakehead, is prohibited by state law. DNR officials said it was the first seizure of these prohibited species in Michigan.

 

The officers contacted approximately 35 businesses in the region looking for the prohibited species of fish. The effort resulted in the seizure of 84 grass carp from two food markets in Ypsilanti and Southfield. Legal action is pending for the violation of offering to sell a prohibited species.

As national and state efforts continue to prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan via the Illinois River, DNR officials are concerned that these non-indigenous species have the potential to cause great harm to the Great Lakes ecosystem. Non-indigenous species that are successful in establishing populations usually are impossible to eradicate, and difficult and costly to control.

 

"This cooperative effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture underscores the critical need for increased inter-agency enforcement," said Alan Marble, chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division. "The sharing of expertise and knowledge is key to preventing the introduction, or spread, of these invasive exotic fish species."

           

Anyone having information of the possession, sale or importation of live prohibited species is urged to contact the DNR Report All Poaching Hotline at (800) 292-7800.

 

 


Project GO and Free Fishing Weekend June 10-11

Provide Opportunities to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Whether it's a casting clinic, a fishing derby or a guided trail hike, June 10-11 will provide ample outdoor recreation opportunities for people to enjoy Great Lakes, Great Times and the Great Outdoors.

 

The weekend honors both Free Fishing Weekend and Project GO-Get Outdoors with events that celebrate outdoor recreation opportunities, including free fishing. For more info f events and locations, go to:  www.michigan.gov/dnr .

 

Michigan's annual summer Free Fishing Weekend provides two days when Michigan residents and out-of-state visitors can fish without purchasing a fishing license. All other fishing regulations apply.

"Fishing in Michigan is part of our cultural heritage, and a great family tradition. Free Fishing Weekend, in conjunction with Project GO-Get Outdoors, provides opportunities for individuals and families to learn about and enjoy the incredible natural resources this state has to offer," said Kelley Smith, Michigan Fish Chief. "It is an excellent time for those who fish frequently to introduce others to this enjoyable pastime and to mentor others about the importance of conserving the state's aquatic resources and our fishing heritage, today and for future generations."

 

Project GO-Get Outdoors, started in July 2005, celebrates Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities and the role they play in improving the quality of life for residents and visitors.

 


NRC Approves Wildlife Regulation Changes at May Meeting

The Natural Resources Commission recently approved several amendments to the Wildlife Conservation Order.

 

The NRC approved an amendment regarding mute swan management which provides the DNR the authority to stabilize or reduce mute swan populations, prevent interference with native species, prevent interference with threatened and endangered species, and protect public health, safety or welfare.

 

The 2006 black bear license quotas were approved. The total number of available licenses will be the same as in 2005.  However, 90 licenses in the Bergland unit were moved from the third to first hunt period and 50 licenses were moved from the third to first hunt period in the Carney unit.

 

License quotas and season dates also were accepted for the 2006 fall wild turkey season. Approximately 56,450 licenses will be available. The season dates will be Oct. 2 - Nov. 14.

There are 14 hunt units for a total of 31,935 square miles open to hunting.

 

The 2006 elk hunt unit boundaries and season dates were set, with alterations to the early and December hunt units. The proposed dates for the early hunt are Aug. 26 to 30 and Sept. 15 to 18. The regular season is Dec. 5 to 12.

 

A survey of support for mandatory Quality Deer Management regulations in four Upper Peninsula Deer Management Units (DMUs) was conducted this past winter. DMU 122 had sufficient support to continue the present mandatory antler point restrictions. DMUs 152, 155 and 252 had insufficient support and these restrictions will no longer be required in these units.

 

An amendment was accepted that returns the authority to the NRC for establishing the open or closed status for each DMU in relation to antlerless licenses. In response to this change the NRC moved the 2006 antlerless license application period to July 15 through Aug. 15.


Ohio

Ohio Fishing License sales on the rise

Favorable spring weather benefits both fish and anglers     

COLUMBUS, OH - It appears plenty of people are taking the “Fish Ohio” message to heart this spring, according to the Ohio DNR. Sales of fishing licenses were up in four major categories through the end of April, compared with the same period last year.

       

Resident annual fishing license sales were up 10.6 %; non-resident annual fishing licenses rose 14.7 %, three-day tourist fishing licenses grew by 23.4 %, while one-day fishing licenses reflected the greatest increase at 31.3 %.

       

The mild spring weather and below average rainfall have combined to provide near-perfect fishing opportunities.  Lakes, rivers and streams have been at normal levels and clear - conditions which are unusual during springtime in Ohio.  In addition, the majority of March and April weekends

were sunny and warm. 

 

Headlining spring fishing opportunities this year is the 2003 year-class of walleyes in Lake Erie.  These fish have pushed the walleye population of the big lake to the highest levels seen in the last 10 years.  Steelhead fishing in the northeast Ohio tributaries also has been outstanding.  On inland lakes, the spring crappie and white bass runs are in progress, and saugeye fishing has been good as well.

       

“Besides being good for anglers, conditions this spring have been almost ideal for spawning fish, giving us reason to be optimistic about future seasons,” said Steve Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife.

       

For more info on fishing licenses, go online to http://www.great-lakes.org/licenses.html .


Women’s Fishing Day and Fun Tournament on Lake Erie, August 4, 2006

This fishing event is sponsored by the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, Ohio Sea Grant, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife

 

Take a day off of work and find adventure on the high seas of Lake Erie! Discover more about our Great Lake and learn the tricks and techniques from experts on how to catch yellow perch, walleye, and bass. Prizes will be awarded for the largest overall fish in each category, including largest bass,

walleye, yellow perch, and sheephead.

 

The cost for the day is $40.00. This flat fee includes your charter for the day, ice, bait, fishing equipment, and a fish fry after the charter. All charter boats will leave out of East Harbor State Park Marina, 1169 N. Buck Road, Lakeside-Marblehead, Ohio 43440.

           

Registration and pre-payment are required, and space is limited, so do not delay! Please call Kelly Riesen 440-808-5627 or riesen.4@osu.edu  for more details and to register.


FWS & DNR culling Cormorants of Lake Erie

St. Marys population to be thinned out

Cormorants have been devouring fish, officials expect to remove most of them by summer

ST. MARYS | — By summer, Ohio wildlife officials expect to thin out  most of a booming colony of cormorants that has taken hold at Grand Lake St. Marys.

 

Biologists say the population of hooked-beak waterbirds has doubled every five years and the birds are moving into new territory and devouring freshwater fish. In Grand Lake St. Marys, the state's largest reservoir, a tiny island is jammed with more than 80 nests, up from zero a few years back, and a handful ashore in cottonwood trees.

The cormorants raided an Ohio DNR fish farm, and scooped up walleye, catfish, perch and fathead minnows.

 

"It's kind of freaky. They'll come in, and I guess one will go back and talk to their buddies," said Morton Pugh, a hatchery superintendent who has dealt with the birds for years. "So one day you'll have five, the next day 12, then 30."

 

The USFWS the state DNR began killing cormorants last month and have culled more than 5,300 from three Lake Erie islands. Ultimately, about 7,200 birds around Ohio will be shot.

 


Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania puts cormorants on hit list

HARRISBURG (AP) - The black, fish-devouring bird has targeted catfish hatcheries in the South, angered anglers in the Great Lakes and killed every tree on a Vermont island. Now, it has made the mistake of elbowing out two birds on Pennsylvania's endangered list.

 

Double-crested cormorants practically disappeared 35 years ago, but have returned with a vengeance - with Pennsylvania the latest state to put the shiny black bird on a hit list.

 

Pennsylvania authorities will take their first stab at killing cormorants on Wade Island in the Susquehanna River, where they want to stop the birds from stealing nesting space from great egrets and black-crowned night herons. The herons have been in sharp decline and the egret population stagnant since cormorants touched down a decade ago on the three-acre island, the largest nesting spot in the state for the two endangered birds.

 

"It's a means of trying to give the great egret and black-crowned night herons some breathing room," said Jerry Feaser, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

 

In the coming  weeks, federal wildlife sharpshooters will head out to the state-owned island, near Harrisburg, and use air rifles and .silencer equipped 22 rifles to kill up to 50 of the

more than 120 cormorants nesting there.

 

Vermont will be shooting cormorants for the third straight year in an effort to regenerate cottonwoods, white pine and other trees on Young Island in Lake Champlain. The cormorants now shelter amid nettles and thistles on the ground of the six-acre island after killing the trees by stripping them of twigs for nests.

 

In Great Lakes states, the cormorant population has exploded, competing with anglers for fish such as perch and walleye and hurting tourism. Minnesota is killing cormorants at one of the state's most popular fishing spots, Leech Lake, where the birds are blamed for making the prized walleye harder to catch in the last few years.

 

In the Great Lakes alone, the cormorant population has rebounded from 89 nests to more than 110,000. "Cormorants went away for a generation of people and now they're back," said Diane Pence, a Fish & Wildlife Service biologist. "And so we have a generation that hasn't experienced the number of cormorants that used to exist."

 

Pennsylvania wildlife officials tried and failed to lure egrets from Wade Island to a neighboring island two years ago before deciding to kill the cormorants.


Big fish has officials wondering how grass carp got in Lake Erie

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania officials may have a bigger question than whether a 54-pound carp caught this week qualifies for a state record. The Fish and Boat Commission is wondering how the grass carp got into Lake Erie to begin with.

 

Dennis Russian, 59, of New Alexandria, shot his grass carp May 9 with a bow and arrow. Unofficially, it weighed 54.4 lbs, which would break a state record. "It's a little troubling, because they're not supposed to be in there," spokesman Dan Tredinnick said.

 

The species was introduced from Asia and is used in ponds to control vegetation, as its name suggests. People can apply to the state to get a permit to use them for weed control, but

they must be sterile, Tredinnick said. Nonetheless, grass carp have wound up in many U.S. waters.

 

Roger Kenyon, a fisheries biologist, said the commission has known grass carp were in Lake Erie for a number of years, but no one at the commission had seen one until Russian nabbed his.  When the commission came up with the carp category for records, it was only thinking of the common carp, Tredinnick said. The record for the largest carp caught in the state was 52 pounds in 1962 in the Juniata River.

 

Tredinnick said the commission hasn't gotten Russian's record application, but expected to and commission officials then would consider whether the grass carp qualifies under the carp category.


PA hunters set new safety record in '05

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced that 2005 was the safest hunting year in the more than 90 years that records have been kept.  Last year, there were 47 hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSIs), including three fatalities.  In addition, the incident rate of 4.92 per 100,000 participants was the lowest on record.

 

In 2004, the year the previous records were set, there were 56 hunting-related shooting incidents, including four fatalities, and the incident rate was 5.56 per 100,000.

 

"While even one incident is one too many, we are pleased that hunters continue to improve on their safety record," said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director.  "However, we must continue to strive to do better.  "One of the issues that most concerns us is that 25 percent of the incidents - or 12 out of 47 incidents - were self-inflicted.  This tells us that hunters must remember to practice the basic rules of firearms safety while afield."

 

Of the 47 incidents, there were 35 involving people who were shot by another hunter, including two fatalities.  The remaining 12 incidents were self-inflicted, including one fatality.

 

Roe noted that there has been a marked decline in these

incidents that can be attributed to the success of hunter education training, which began as a voluntary course in 1959, and mandatory use of fluorescent orange clothing, which began in 1987.  Also, he added that hunters deserve credit for working with the agency to stress safety when afield.

 

In 2005, the incident statistics by species hunted were: deer, 18 (including two fatalities, of which one was self-inflicted); small game, 12; wild turkey, 11; waterfowl, 2 (including one fatality); other, 2; bear, 1; and furbearer, 1.

 

People shot in the line-of-fire comprised 14 of the hunting-related shooting incidents, including two fatalities.  The second most common cause for shooting incidents was in-mistake- for-game (failure to properly identify target), which accounted for 11 incidents.  Sporting arm in a dangerous position accounted for six incidents, followed by: unintentional discharge, 5 (including one self-inflicted fatality); ricochet, 4; slipped and/or fell, 3; a defective sporting arm, 1; stray shot, 1; and other, 1.

 

The Game Commission has posted information about hunting-related shooting incidents dating back to 1991 on its website at www.pgc.state.pa.us  (select "Education," then scroll down and click on "Hunting-Related Shooting Incident Statistics").


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