Week of November 3, 2008
|Beyond the Great Lakes|
Beyond the Great Lakes
South Dakota and pheasant hunting are commonly used together in conversation. For 100 years, South Dakota’s vast expanses of habitat have provided excellent opportunities for pheasants to thrive. From October 18 to January 4, 2009, wingshooters will again be exploring this habitat for a bird that has made South Dakota a great fall destination.
If last year’s near record number of pheasants was not enough, brood surveys for 2008 have shown a pheasant count that is up nine percent. How fitting, being that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the successful introduction of the Chinese Ring-necked pheasant into our state. If there was ever a time to experience a hunt in South Dakota, start a new hunting tradition or meet up with some old friends, this would be the year to do it.
With many questions surrounding the future of hunting, not only in South Dakota, but around the country, it’s nice to find some solace in a pheasant population that is again near record highs. Questions of habitat and the economy have taken a backseat to a wildlife population that is flourishing in
Optimism and hope for a continuously bright future is on the horizon. With a successful opening weekend hunt behind us, we look to the late season to bring us continued opportunities for success in the fields. Success that is not only measured by the number of birds in the bag, but by the memories created in the fields. With the millions of acres of rich wildlife habitat open to public hunting and a rising pheasant population to pursue, this year’s late season hunt will be one of the best in recent memory!
South Dakota wouldn’t be celebrating its Pheasantennial without the proper management of habitat. The grass roots organizations, Pheasants Forever chapters and our own Department of Game, Fish and Parks are all to thank for another near record population of pheasants this year. With consistent conservation and preservation efforts, fair weather patterns and a little luck, South Dakota’s wildlife will continue to flourish, and we will continue to enjoy what many are calling “the good old days” for many years to come.
Factory-farmed fish, pigs and poultry are consuming 28 million tons of fish a year, or roughly six times the amount of seafood eaten by Americans, according to new research.
A nine-year study by the University of British Columbia has found that 90% of small fish caught in the world's oceans every year such as anchovies, sardines and mackerel are processed to make fishmeal and fish oil.
They are used as a cheap feed for aquaculture (including farmed Atlantic salmon, prawns and trout), poultry, pigs and
animals bred for the fur industry. The study's findings, to be published next month, warn this use is unsustainable, given current rates of global overfishing and increasing threats to global food security.
University of Columbia senior researcher Jacqueline Alder said: "Society should demand that we stop wasting these fish on farmed fish, pigs, and poultry. Although feeds derived from soy and other land-based crops are available and are used, fishmeal and fish oil have skyrocketed in popularity because forage fish are easy to catch in large numbers and, hence, relatively inexpensive."
New equipment just received will pay benefits to states & anglers for years to come
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Region in the last two weeks has received the first of a series of automated fish tagging trailers - an initial step in the development of a mass marking program that will eventually mark or tag all salmon and trout stocked into U.S. waters of the Great Lakes. Once implemented, this initiative will become the largest coordinated tagging and recovery program ever envisioned for Great Lakes management agencies.
A similar coordinated program is planned by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in Canadian waters of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes program is modeled after a 20-year mass marking program for salmon in the Pacific Northwest.
A program long sought by our regional state DNRs, the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and other conservation groups; the centerpiece of this approach to mass marking is the computer-operated, automated tagging and marking trailer known as the AutoFish System. The system, designed, built and marketed by Northwest Marine Technology of Anacortes, Washington provides an alternative to manual clipping and tagging of fish ready for release to the wild.
This alternative is really the greatest benefit to resource management, egg collection, hatchery management and stocking regimes. It will dramatically reduce fish stocking mortality due to manual fin clipping and simultaneously offer resoundingly improved data collection on stocking, paired with declining state labor costs. The long-term benefits will also be realized by increased angler opportunities.
The AutoFish System is a self-contained mobile unit in a 44’ aluminum fifth wheel trailer. The system has the capability to rapidly sort by length, clip the adipose fin, and insert coded-wire tags to more than 60,000 salmon and trout per eight-hour day without anesthetic or human handling. The fish are never completely dewatered during the process, thereby reducing stress. Fin clipping rates and tag placement accuracy is superior to that of manual operations and less costly than
manual clipping and tagging systems.
FWS is leading this program at the request of state and tribal fishery agencies in the eight Great Lakes States through the Council of Lake Committees of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The Service's Green Bay National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (NFWCO) will provide overall coordination of Basin-wide tagging and marking for 21 state hatcheries, four Service hatcheries and one tribal hatchery that stock salmon and trout. Green Bay NFWCO will also assist partner agencies with project planning, data collection, statistical analysis and laboratory services to extract and read the coded-wire tags from harvested fish.
The estimated cost to implement the mass marking program over a five year period will be around $12 million for equipment and $6 million per year for operational costs. Congress awarded the Service $1.2 million this year to begin the project.
For years the Service has fin-clipped (marked) and/or coded-wire-tagged all of the lake trout stocked into the Great Lakes for the restoration of this species. Recovery of the tagged and marked lake trout helps the Service, state and tribal fisheries agencies evaluate the performance and movement of these fish. Tagging also allows for evaluation of the survival and growth between strains, stocking locations, and sizes at stocking. With the new mass marking initiative, continued evaluation of hatchery fish is now being extended to other salmon and trout species raised by the states and tribes in U.S. waters.
Coded-wire tags are thin pieces of metal wire that are inserted into the snout of fish just prior to stocking and contain a numeric code that is specific to a certain group of fish. All coded-wire tagged fish also receive an adipose fin clip to identify them as having a tag. When fish are recovered from fisheries and assessment activities, they are scanned with a metal detector to locate the tag. The tag is then removed and read. When many recovered tags are analyzed over time, biologists can determine relative survival, movement, growth rates and age of the fish.
TRAVERSE CITY (AP) - Federal officials are taking another look at proposed rules designed to contain a fish-killing virus in the Great Lakes region after critics said they were unreasonable. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the rules last month. They require testing and inspections of 28 farm-raised and live bait species susceptible to VHS.
The virus has been detected in all the Great Lakes except
The regulations were scheduled to take effect Nov. 10. But the agency said Tuesday it is pushing back the date until Jan. 9 so it can consider public comments and possibly make changes. Some fish farmers and wholesalers say the rules would make demands and impose costs that could drive them out of business.
CLEVELAND - The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday that December 1st, 2008 is the new compliance date for implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) for owners and operators of facilities located within the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Zones of Buffalo, N.Y., Duluth, Minn., Detroit and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Lake Michigan.
In accordance with the requirements of the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act (SAFE Port Act), the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) serve as an identification card for all personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA regulated and facilities. To obtain a TWIC, an individual must successfully pass a security threat assessment conducted by Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
The original October 31st 2008 compliance date for these facilities was extended due to a power outage at a Transportation Security Administration facility that has delayed
the activation of some TWICs. TWIC activations nationwide have been rescheduled to begin again the week of November 10th at which point workers on the Great Lakes, and at ports with compliance dates on or before December 1st, will be able to activate their TWICs. Activation for all other ports will be available nationwide later in November.
TWIC program pre-enrollment and status checks are still available nationwide and those workers requiring a TWIC are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible. The final compliance date for all licensed and documented merchant mariners and vessel operators who are required to have a TWIC remains April 15th, 2009.
Updates on TWIC activation and rescheduling can be found at www.tsa.gov/twic. Additional information and a framework showing expected compliance dates by Captain of the Port zone is available on the U.S. Coast Guard's Homeport Web site at http://homeport.uscg.mil/twic. Captain of the Port zone maps with ports annotated are available on that Web site under General Information, COTP Zone Maps. You may also call 1-866-DHS-TWIC (1-866-347-8942) or 1-877-MTSA-AID (1-877-687-2243, Option 1) for more information.
MILWAUKEE -- Coast Guard Station Milwaukee, who has continuously served area mariners since it was commissioned as U. S. Lifesaving Station Number 10 in 1878, will receive the Coast Guard's newest surface asset, the Response Boat-Medium (RB-M). The RB-M is a self-righting, 45’ all-aluminum boat with twin diesel engines and water jet propulsion.
In 2006, the Coast Guard awarded a contract for up to 250 RB-Ms to Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) of Marinette, Wis. RB-Ms are now being built by Kvichak Marine (a subcontractor of MMC) in Kent, Wash. To increase production, MMC has initiated the opening of a second production facility in Green Bay, WI. Station Milwaukee's RB-M is the fourth to be delivered to the Coast Guard. Milwaukee was selected based on its wide range of missions, high operational tempo, and opportunity to test the boat in the full range of environmental conditions.
Designed to be multi-mission, the RB-M will operate around the country in coastal zones including shore, inland waterways and open ocean out to 50 nautical miles. The RB-M will replace the aging 41’ utility boats, which have been the workhorse of Coast Guard boat stations for more than a quarter of a century.
Improvements which the RB-M provides include a full cabin providing protection from the elements, a robust navigation system, heating and air conditioning, shock mitigating seats, and a communication system capable of communicating with other federal, state and local agencies.
Coast Guard Station Milwaukee provides Search and Rescue, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Marine Environmental Protection and other missions in an 884 square mile area stretching from Wind Point, WI to just South of Port Washington, Wis., along 34 nautical miles of shoreline and out to the center of Lake Michigan.
In a typical year, according to the station's officer-in-charge, Senior Chief Chris Purdy, the 22-man crew responds to 125 search and rescue missions, and enforces dozens of safety and security zones for special events along the waterfront.
The Station works closely with the volunteer Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Milwaukee Police Department Harbor Patrol, the Milwaukee Fire Department marine unit, the Wisconsin DNR, and other local law enforcement agencies.
"The RB-M brings a whole new level of technology to the Coast Guard's fleet of small boats," said Senior Chief Purdy. "I believe the RB-M will enable Coast Guard men and women to do their jobs more efficiently and more safely."
MANISTIQUE - The U.S. Coast Guard and the Michigan DNR rescued two lost hunters, October 29 in the Seney National Refuge. Their coordinated effort found the hunters cold but in good condition.
The Coast Guard received a call, at approximately 10 p.m., for assistance from MDNR as ground parties continued to search for the missing hunters into the night. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., deployed an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter with night-vision goggles to assist MDNR in the search.
After searching for nearly an hour over the heavily-wooded area in poor weather conditions, a helicopter crew member spotted a campfire made by the missing hunters. The helicopter crew directed the ground team to the hunters' location where they were then recovered safely.
Like every year, this hunting season will usher in unforgiving weather, including colder temperatures and freezing precipitation. Conditions can change dramatically in a very short period of time. Hunters should exercise proper judgment and be in good physical health if heading out into t
he wilderness and weather. They should leave a detailed hunting plan with family or friends with an expected return time, and they should always hunt with a partner or in a group. Be well prepared by having a detailed map of the area and a means of communication like a cellular phone or 2-way radio, and carry a box of matches, a lighter, a flashlight, or other fire making/signaling devices.
Detecting a missing person on the ground can be quite difficult even for an aircraft flying overhead. To better the chance of detection by rescuers, the following survival equipment is strongly recommended:
* 2-Way VHF-FM radio and/or cell phone
* Cold weather survival gear and clothing
* Matches, lighter, or other fire-making device
* Handheld GPS (Global Positioning System) and current map of the area
* Bright, reflective clothing, flashlight, strobe light, or other light-producing signaling device
The Coast Guard urges all hunters to take a hunting safety course and to always dress and prepare for emergency situations that could arise unexpectedly.
The season's first measurable snowfall occurred in parts of the northern Great Lakes this week. Stations across the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan recorded a few inches of wet snow on Monday and Tuesday. Unseasonably warm temperatures arrived across the region Thursday and are expected to continue through the weekend. Many places could see 60 degrees on Friday and the mid 50s on Saturday and Sunday.
Lake Level Conditions
All the Great Lakes are above their levels of a year ago. Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are 3 and 7 inches, respectively, higher than they were at this time last year. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are also 3 to 7 inches above last year's levels. All of the Great Lakes are in their period of seasonal decline and are forecasted to drop 2 to 3 inches during the next month. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Ontario are predicted to remain above their levels of a year ago during the next several months, while Lake Erie is forecasted to hover around last year's level.
Current Outflows/Channel Conditions
In September, the outflows through the St. Mary's, St. Clair,
Detroit, and Niagara Rivers were below average while the outflow from the St. Lawrence River was above average.
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.
On September 4, three fishermen drowned off Conneaut, Ohio in Lake Erie. They were in an 18-foot skiff when it capsized at about 3:45 p.m. Their distress call was garbled and their location was not known and therefore the Coast guard using boats and helicopters conducted a blind search over an extended area. Another call was made via cell phone to the Erie County 911 Center. Using coordinates from the call, the USCG was able to find the boat about 8:50 p.m. approximately 8 miles north of Conneaut. The fishermen were drowned even though they were wearing life jackets.
All three men were wearing Type 3 life jackets. Though
approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, the jackets - full-backed vests that buckle at the front - are not designed for extended survival in rough water. This kind of jacket doesn't turn you over onto your back but instead faces you into the waves. The best type of life jacket is the Type 1 and Type 2. They will turn you onto your back and hold your face up even if you are unconscious.
Other factors that may have contributed to the drowning were the age and physical condition of the victims as well as hypothermia and heavy seas. Remember - there is no fish worth dying for.
Courtesy: S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie
Carbon Monoxide poisoning proves fatal in two separate houseboat incidents
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and its law enforcement arm, the Illinois Conservation Police, are reminding hunters, boaters, and campers to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide while enjoying these outdoor activities.
Conservation Police Officers have responded to two incidents on houseboats this month that have led to the deaths of five people. In both cases, older model generators on board the vessels were leaking carbon monoxide into the living quarters of the boats. The incidents on the Mississippi River near Grafton, Illinois on October 5 and on Lake Shelbyville on October 26 were the first reported carbon monoxide fatalities on board watercraft in Illinois in the last five years according to U.S. Coast Guard statistics.
“Carbon monoxide is truly a silent killer since it’s colorless and odorless, and often isn’t detected until it’s too late,” said Illinois Conservation Police Chief Rafael Gutierrez.
“Many of these deaths occur during colder months when windows and doors are locked up at night leaving little or no ventilation inside.”
The accidents happen in boat cabins because usually they are small enclosures, but there are other areas where
precautions also need to be taken. Small hunting cabins, campers, and hunting blinds where a kerosene heater or internal combustion engine may be used for warmth are also places where people need to take precautions.
“These types of generators, motors, and heaters are viable methods to stay warm, but if you are going to use them, they must be maintained properly with the right parts,” said Illinois Conservation Police Sgt. Joe Morelock. “I’ve seen too often people using parts like hoses and seals not made for the heating equipment they are using and that can cause these units to leak and not work properly.”
Conservation police offer the following tips when using heating devices:
Make sure your equipment such as generators, internal combustion engines, or any heater that burns petroleum products are vented and maintained properly.
► Always have a working carbon monoxide detector in any enclosure where people will be,
► Always use replacement parts or components intended solely for the equipment being used
► Make sure the area you are in is ventilated at all times
According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 300 people die each year in the U.S. from carbon monoxide poisoning, while thousands more are sickened by the gas. Many victims are overcome in their sleep, unaware of the elevated carbon monoxide levels in their homes.
MRWA Executive Director Gary Noble has received a "Michigan Keeper of the Great Lakes Award" in appreciation of significant efforts to protect, restore and enhance wetlands and uplands critical to the Great Lakes. Presented by Lieutenant Governor John Cherry, who co-sponsored the award along with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Office of the Great Lakes (OGL) and Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), the award recognized the number and variety of MRWA’s projects and the exceptional collaboration MRWA fostered with its partners.
In accepting the award, Noble said, "The entire MRWA staff, volunteer Executive Board and committees are dedicated to preserving, protecting and restoring the Muskegon River. This award recognizes our cumulative project achievements working in concert with many individuals and groups; we don’t do anything by ourselves, but rely on dedicated partners for all of our projects." Noble expressed appreciation for the major support given to the MRWA’s mission, noting that "Of course none of this would be possible without the initial and on-going funding support we’ve received from various funders, most notably the Wege Foundation."
MRWA Executive Board Chairman Wayne Groesbeck said that the award was presented during a "Stakeholder Outreach" meeting in Muskegon, one of eight meetings around the state, to gather regional input for the Michigan Great Lakes Protection and Restoration Initiative launched by Lieutenant
Governor Cherry in partnership with the OGL and MUCC. The initiative builds upon the findings and recommendations of the Great Lakes Regional Collaborative, the recently released MUCC report: "Michigan’s Role in Great Lakes Protection and Restoration, Analysis and Recommendations", and other existing plans and programs related to Great Lakes restoration.
The initiative also recognizes the importance of looking to our rivers and nearshore areas as the vital link between the state’s watersheds and the health of the Great Lakes. One objective of the initiative is to recognize and celebrate the efforts of state and local watershed groups that are protecting and restoring watersheds in Michigan.
"We appreciate the award as another way to inform the community of the important work in our watershed," said Groesbeck.
The MRWA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Big Rapids, MI in partnership with Ferris State University. MRWA’s mission is "to preserve, protect and enhance the natural, historic and cultural resources of the Muskegon River Watershed through educational and scientific initiatives, while supporting positive economic development, agricultural and quality of life initiatives of organizations working in the river watershed." More information about the MRWA is available from their website at www.mrwa.org or by calling 231-591-2324.
COLUMBUS OH - Ohio hunters and trappers preparing to pursue furbearers will find good populations of these animals during the 2008-2009 season which begins on November 10.
For the fourth year, 43 counties will be open for river otter trapping from December 26 to February 28. River otters were reintroduced into four Ohio watersheds between 1986 and 1993 and have increased their range in the state. They were removed from the state endangered species list in 2002. Full details of open counties, checking and permit requirements can be found in the Ohio River Otter Trapping Regulations.
In most regions of Ohio, hunting and trapping seasons for fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk, and weasel open November 10, and close January 31, 2009. The trapping season for mink and muskrat is open November 10 through February 28, 2009. Exceptions are Erie, Ottawa and Sandusky counties, and in Lucas County east of the Maumee River where raccoon, mink and muskrat trapping seasons will remain open through March 15, 2009.
Ohio's beaver-trapping season runs December 26 to February 28, 2009, statewide.
There are no daily bag limits or restrictions on hours when furbearers may be hunted or trapped, with the exception of river otters where bag limits are dependent on the county where the trapping occurs. Special hunting regulations for coyotes apply during the one-week statewide deer-gun season December 1-7, and the deer-gun weekend of
A fur-taker permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license to hunt or trap fur-bearing animals, except for coyotes, which may be hunted or trapped year round without a fur-taker permit. A special Division of Wildlife permit is required to trap beaver and otters on state public hunting areas. Otters that are accidentally captured, either in excess of bag limits or in closed counties, must be released unharmed. Otters that cannot be released must be turned over to the Division of Wildlife.
Beaver trappers in particular, are advised to watch for otter sign and modify set placements where necessary. The Ohio State Trappers Association and the Division of Wildlife have published a guide on how to recognize otter sign and use various otter avoidance techniques while trapping for beaver in areas closed to otter trapping. A copy of the publication and reports about observing otters in Ohio can be ordered by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.
Ohio is among the nation's leading producers of raw furs. Last year, there were 89 licensed fur dealers and 16,000 licensed fur takers in the state.
Additional hunting information is contained in the 2008-2009 Ohio Hunting Regulations brochure, available where Ohio hunting licenses are sold, on the Internet at www.ohiodnr.gov or by calling toll-free 1-800-WILDLIFE.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is expecting hunters to encounter a sizeable wild turkey population when they head afield for this year's wild turkey season. And finding birds this fall may be easier than it was last year.
Mary Jo Casalena, Game Commission wild turkey biologist, said Pennsylvania’s wild turkey population is above the 10-year-average thanks to good reproduction the past two springs and generally conservative fall season lengths, which prevents overharvest of hens. “We believe there are great opportunities for wild turkey hunters throughout the state. But, as always, pre-season scouting and planning will be important to your hunting success.”
“At its best, back in 2001, Pennsylvania’s turkey population peaked at about 410,000 birds,” Casalena explained. This spring, we believe the population numbered about 335,000 turkeys, prior to reproduction, and turkey reproduction appears to have been average or better in most areas. That should translate into great hunting in Pennsylvania.
“Hunters who find pockets of beech or oak trees with good nut production, or soft mast such as grapes, apples or cherries, or agricultural fields with standing crops or waste grain, should find turkeys,” Casalena explained. “But remember, locating the flock is only part of the hunt. Setting up properly and bringing a turkey within range are other challenges hunters must master. It’s what makes success so tricky and enjoyable.”
The preliminary spring 2008 harvest was 40,500, including about 1,955 turkeys taken with “special turkey licenses.” In 2007, hunters took an estimated 41,000, including about 1,500 second license turkeys. The spring harvest record was set in 2001 when hunters took 49,200 turkeys.
“Pennsylvania hunters have consistently taken 30,000 or more turkeys in the spring season since 1995,” Casalena pointed out. “That exceeds most other states in the nation.” Casalena said she expects hunter success this fall to mirror last year’s rate of about 16 percent. In the three years prior to 2007, hunter success was about 12 percent annually. The best hunter success rate was set in 2001 when 21 percent of hunters were successful. The worst was 1979, only four percent of hunters were successful.
In both spring and fall turkey seasons, it is unlawful to use drives to hunt turkeys. Hunters may take only one turkey in the fall season.
Shot size is limited to No. 4 lead, bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron or No. 2 steel. Turkey hunters also are required to tag their bird before moving it and to mail the postage-paid harvest report card – provided with all hunting licenses – within 10 days of taking a turkey. A replacement harvest report card is on page 33 of the 2008-09 Hunting and Trapping Digest.
Also, two other reminders to turkey hunters: legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. For more information, please see page 14 of the 2008-09 Digest for the legal hunting hours table. In addition, it is now lawful to use a dog to pursue, chase, scatter and track wild turkeys during the fall wild turkey season. Prior to 2007, hunters were prohibited from using dogs to hunt any big game animal, which includes wild turkeys.
On a final note, turkey hunters are asked to remember to report any leg-banded turkeys they harvest. This information hunters provide from the recovery of a banded wild turkey has great value to the agency’s research efforts.
The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff.
Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given.
Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.
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