Week of November 19, 2007

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National

Regional

General

Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
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New York
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World

Reports Raise Hope British Ban on Hunting Will Be Reversed

Hopes for a repeal of the controversial ban on hunting have been raised by two reports that claim the practice is justified as the best management for wildlife. The Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management and the all-party parliamentary Middle Way Group have issued a joint statement claiming that Parliament and the public were deceived about the science that supposedly justified the Hunting Act.

A report titled “The Use, Misuse and Abuse of Science in support of the Hunting Act” concludes that there never were grounds for banning hunting on the grounds of cruelty. It has been sent to all MPs.  And a second report The Natural Chase, to be published in the New Year, highlights the key role played by predators in maintaining a balance in the countryside and traces the evolution of hunting, recognizing the practice as the natural form of control

 


National

Full court press for Recreational Boating Act

Time running out for nation-wide boaters

The clock is running down and it’s time for a full court press! We’re now under 9 months until every boater in America will be required to obtain a NPDES permit from the Environmental Protection Agency. Moreover, only Congress, by passing legislation, can prevent this debacle.

 

That’s why we need to applaud the letter delivered last week to the members of the Congressional Boating Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, urging each member to co-sponsor H.R. 2550. What made this particular letter important is that it was signed by 35 national and state organizations and agencies in boating and fishing.

 

H.R. 2550 was introduced last May by Congressman Gene Taylor and Congresswoman Candice Miller titled “The Recreational Boating Act of 2007.” The bill would exempt the nation’s recreational boats from the requirement to obtain a NPDES permit for what are non-harmful, incidental discharges associated with the normal operation of pleasure boats. These discharges, for example, include deck runoff (from washing boats), engine cooling water, and uncontaminated bilge water. If Congress does not act, all boaters will have to apply for such permits beginning next Sept. 8.

 

Mathew Dunn, NMMA’s Manager of Natural Resources & Economic Policy in Washington, DC, aggressively solicited

participation from organizations and agencies that represent thousands of employees and businesses. Those who stepped up to be a signatory to the letter deserve to be named.

They are: American Recreation Coalition; American Sportfishing Association; American Watercraft Association; Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; Association of Marina Industries; Berkley Conservation Institute; Blue Ribbon Coalition; BoatUS; California Assn. of Harbor Masters & Port Captains; Chicago Yachting Assn.; Coastal Conservation Assn.; Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; C-PORT; Federation of Fly Fishers; MRAA; NASBLA; National Boating Federation; NMMA;  PWIA; Pure Fishing; Recreational Boaters of California; USA Water Ski; and the Marine Trades Associations from Connecticut, Florida, Lake Erie, Maine, South Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Northwest, South Florida, Southern California, Southwest Florida.

 

Right now, there are 45 cosponsors of H.R. 2550. That means there are 390 other members of the House who aren’t, yet. Odds are your Congressman is one of them. It also means your e-mail to he or she could bring them aboard.

 

So, come on. . . right now, while you’re online, go to www.congress.org, find your Congressman’s e-mail and send a simple message asking them to contact either Rep. Taylor or Miller and become a cosponsor of H.R. 2550. Please, get off the bench and get in the game before it’s too late!


USFWS proposes to allow Falconers to remove and Possess Peregrine Falcons

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Comment on Proposal – Due Feb 8, 2008

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released on November 11 for public comment a Draft Environmental Assessment and Management Plan that proposes to allow the limited removal and possession of migrant first-year “Northern” (predominantly Arctic subspecies) peregrine falcons from the wild for use in falconry.  The falcons could be captured in areas and at times where their removal would have no significant impact on the population.

 

“A few decades ago, the peregrine falcon in North America was on the verge of extinction due largely to the effects of DDT, which affected both the American and Arctic peregrine falcon subspecies,” said Service Director Dale Hall.  “We recognize that falconers have long sought protection of wild raptor populations and played a significant role in the species’ comeback.  They were among the first to report the decline in peregrine populations and, in fact, contributed peregrines held for falconry to captive propagation efforts.  Now that peregrine populations are healthy, the Service is considering once again allowing the traditional capture of migrant peregrine falcons for use in falconry.”

 

There are three recognized subspecies of peregrine falcons in North America: the Arctic peregrine which nests in Alaska, northern Canada and Greenland and migrates south to Central and South America; the American peregrine which nests in parts of southern Canada, Alaska, and the conterminous United States, some of which migrate south;

and the non-migratory Peale’s peregrine which resides on the Pacific coast from Alaska to Oregon.

 

In the Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA), the Service considers six alternatives for the removal and possession of migrant peregrine falcons in the United States.  The preferred alternative is to annually allow removal of up to 105 first-year peregrine falcons split evenly between males and females, between September 20 and October 20, from southern Georgia, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico coastal area, and expand authorization in Alaska to include migrants and fledged young of all subspecies.

 

More details and information is available at: www.fws.gov/migratorybirds

 

Copies of the DEA and Draft Management Plan can be obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Migratory Bird Mgmt, 4401 N Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop 4107, Arlington, VA  22203-1610.  Written comments on the DEA can be sent to the same address, noting Attention – Migrant Peregrine EA. 

 

The Draft EA is available at www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/. Comments on the DEA also may be submitted electronically via the Division of Migratory Bird Management web site at www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/,  where a link for comments is available.  The due date for comments is February 11, 2008.

 

www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/issues/falconry/2007/Federal%20%20Register%20NoA%2013%20Nov%202007.pdf


Bloomberg-Endorsed Anti-Gun Candidate Goes Down in Defeat!

In an uncommon move, New York City Mayor and gun ban crusader Michael Bloomberg weighed in on a Virginia State Senate race.  In Virginia’s 34th Senate district, Mayor Bloomberg endorsed soon-to-be-former State Senator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R).  Not only did the Mayor fly to Virginia to hold a press conference announcing his support of Davis, but the two also did a television interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room”, just days before the election, touting Sen. Davis’s support for more gun control.  Appearing on a national news broadcast to highlight gun control in a state senate race certainly would qualify as a rare occurrence.  But Mike Bloomberg is a “one trick pony” who never misses an

opportunity to promote himself or his anti-gun agenda—even when it leads to the defeat of a lawmaker he endorsed.

 

Last week, Davis lost her re-election bid by more than 10 points to Democrat Chap Petersen.  Petersen previously served in the House of Delegates, where he was a member of the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee; the House committee that hears most, if not all, of the gun-related bills in the General Assembly. During his tenure in the House, Petersen voted in support of:  Right- to-Carry reforms, preemption, and easing the restrictions relative to one-gun-a-month. These are the votes Davis highlighted in her mail, radio, and TV attacks on Petersen during the campaign. 


US House Rep Cummings trying to dismantle Administrative Law System in USCG

Investigation expanded - Wants to move cases to NTSB, GAO looking into Coast Guard

The Baltimore Sun

The Government Accountability Office is investigating the U.S. Coast Guard's administrative law system, as members of Congress move forward with plans to dismantle the system and hand its responsibilities to the National Transportation Safety Board. The GAO, Congress' investigative agency, confirmed it is exploring the system amid evidence that Coast Guard administrative law judges have been pressured by the agency's chief judge to rule in the Coast Guard's favor.

 

In our initial report of August 27 on complaints about the USCG Administrative Law System we showed where the court was ordered stacked against mariners by no less the Coast Guard Commandant.

(see www.great-lakes.org/Wkly_news/08-27-07.html#Coast_Guard_Courts_stacked_against_civilian_mariners)

 

In addition, two sources said investigators from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General have requested a host of Coast Guard records as part of a wide-ranging review of how the agency investigates and prosecutes cases. Neither agency would discuss the scope or the timeline of its review.

 

The actions stem from a June report in The Sun detailing former Coast Guard Administrative Law Judge Jeffie J. Massey's claims that she was told to rule in the Coast Guard's favor. By researching thousands of court records since 1999, The Sun found that the Coast Guard prevails in its cases against mariners more than 97 percent of the time.

 

In a setback to three mariners who had challenged the system and sued the Coast Guard this year, a federal judge in New Orleans dismissed the lawsuits Thursday, despite having called the evidence "disturbing, to say the least." U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan ruled that the mariners must exhaust their appeals within the Coast Guard system before suing in federal court over allegations that they were treated unfairly.

 

In an earlier ruling, Berrigan said evidence presented to the court - including Massey's sworn statements and memos from Coast Guard Chief Judge Joseph N. Ingolia purporting to tell other judges how to rule - "raised a big pile of smelly stuff that doesn't, you know, it doesn't pass the smell test." "I know that I wouldn't dream of doing things that Judge Ingolia seemed to feel was appropriate to do," Berrigan said last month from the bench. "Maybe the world is different over where you are," she said to the Coast Guard's attorneys, "but to me ... I think that wouldn't have even been on my radar screen to try to do that."

 

Coast Guard officials declined to comment yesterday, saying they expect Thursday's rulings in New Orleans to be appealed and cannot discuss matters in litigation. But spokeswoman Angela H. Hirsch said that the agency believes its administrative law system treats mariners fairly, and that a thorough review will bear that out.

 

The Coast Guard's administrative law system is designed to hear cases, brought by Coast Guard investigators, against civilian tugboat captains, pilots, deckhands and other mariners accused of negligence, misconduct or other infractions on the water.

 

More than half of the 6,300 charges reviewed by The Sun involved alleged drug use, and the majority of cases were settled before a judge issued a final ruling. Agency records show that mariners charged by the Coast Guard have about a 40-to-1 chance of either winning or having the case

dismissed, compared with a 9-to-1 victory rate for criminal defendants in federal court.

 

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the House subcommittee responsible for oversight of the Coast Guard, said he is finalizing legislation to dismantle the Coast Guard's administrative law system and funnel mariner cases instead to the NTSB, which handles similar cases related to licensed aircraft pilots. He plans to introduce the measure as part of the annual Coast Guard reauthorization bill, which the House of Representatives could pass by the end of the year.

 

Cummings, an attorney who practiced law in Baltimore for 19 years before being elected to Congress, said his office has been deluged by calls and letters from mariners who say they believe the existing Coast Guard system is unfair. Some told him they accepted plea bargains for offenses they didn't commit, because they believed the Coast Guard court would not give them a fair hearing. "I've heard that from so many people it's incredible," said Cummings, who chairs the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "I've never seen anything like it.  "I never knew that so many people had so little confidence in this system - so little confidence that they were receiving fair hearings before the Coast Guard's ALJs."

 

The Coast Guard has declined to comment on the specific charges of bias, except to deny them generally. And it has apparently not changed how mariner cases are handled and who hears them. Ingolia, who has been the agency's chief ALJ since 1991, was reappointed by Adm. Thad W. Allen, the Coast Guard commandant, in October.

 

Ingolia and other Coast Guard officials have declined to be interviewed, citing the federal lawsuits. Though they were dismissed before any of the substantive issues were considered, the lawsuits revealed some of the Coast Guard's defenses to the claims.

 

In one exchange with Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn K. Schreiber, who represented Ingolia and the Coast Guard, Berrigan recalled exchanges described in Massey's affidavit, in which the former judge claims Ingolia told her and other judges to favor the Coast Guard when making rulings. "You agree that that's not appropriate?" Berrigan asked Schreiber. "That a judge shouldn't be telling another judge on a case that's not before him what that other judge should do, how that judge should rule?" Schreiber responded: "I think they were talking of theoretics."

 

Schreiber noted that Massey also claimed Ingolia told her to act "delicately and nicely and apologetically" if she felt she must rule against the Coast Guard. Without acknowledging that Massey's statements were true, he said they aren't as damning as they first appear.  "He's not saying 'thou shalt never, thou shalt or must,'" Schreiber said. "He's saying 'shouldn't,' but if you have to, do it in such-and-such a way."

 

According to a memorandum obtained by The Sun, officials in the Coast Guard ALJ's office said during an Oct. 24 conference call with agency judges that Allen, the commandant, has assured them that their office will not be dismantled, despite the efforts of Congress.

 

Coast Guard officials declined to comment to The Sun.  Cummings said he plans to move quickly to take the system away from the Coast Guard. "I'm more adamant about this now than ever," he said. "And I would hope the Coast Guard would work with us to make it happen."  (The Baltimore Sun - www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/bal-te.coastguard10nov10,0,4598111.story )


Anti-hunting proposal, Proponents dumped in N.J. election

Not only did voters, led by hunters, anglers and farmers, defeat legislation that would have stripped sportsmen and farmers from representation on the state's Fish and Game Council, to be replaced by the governor's political appointees, but they also ousted the sponsors from their state legislative positions. In a column for NJ.com, Scott L. Bach, Esq.,

president of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol

Clubs, said the situation can be summed up in these words: "Don't mess with sportsmen."

 

When voters in Virginia’s 34th Senate district went to the polls, they were faced with a clear choice.  Wisely, the voters resoundingly chose to ignore Mayor Bloomberg’s recommendation.


No Decision from U.S. Supreme Court to Hear D.C. Case

The United States Supreme Court has taken no action in the case involving the Washington, D.C., gun ban. According to the Associated Press, the Justices discussed hearing the appeal on November 9 but reached no conclusion. The next time the court could announce a decision about granting cert in the District of Columbia v. Heller case would be November 26. A decision by the Supreme Court to grant cert could allow for a definitive ruling on whether or not the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. NSSF will continue to monitor the high court's

activity.

 

Granting cert will allow for the Supreme Court to determine authoritatively whether the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides an individual right to keep and bear arms. If the court denies cert it will be upholding the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia striking down the District's ban on private ownership of handguns. Through this ruling, the court asserted that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to keep and bear arms


Regional

Great Lakes Water Levels for November 16, 2007

Weather Conditions

Above average temperatures and, with the exception of the rain that soaked northern Ohio and northeastern Pennsylvania on Monday, sparse precipitation characterized weather conditions in the Great Lakes basin during the first part of the week.  Colder air arrived Wednesday evening, dropping temperatures into the 30s.  Scattered snow and rain showers are forecasted over much of the basin for Thursday and Friday.  Temperatures hovering just below or at average and a slight chance of precipitation are predicted for the weekend and Monday.

 

Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is presently 5 inches higher than it was at this time last year. Lake Michigan-Huron is 6 inches below its level of one year ago, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 13 to 19 inches lower than last year's levels.  Lake Superior is forecasted to decline 2 inches over the next month.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are in their periods of seasonal decline and are forecasted to drop 1 to 2 inches over the next month.  Over the next few months, Lake Superior is predicted to remain above last year's water levels, but the remaining lakes are forecasted to stay below their levels of a year ago. 

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflow from the St. Marys River is predicted to be well below average for November. Flows through the St. Clair and Detroit

Rivers are also predicted to be lower than average this month. In addition, flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are expected to be below average. 

 

Alerts

Due to generally dry conditions on the Lake Michigan-Huron basin prior over the past several months, its water level is below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum over the next six months.  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  Nov 16

601.0

576.7

572.6

570.2

243.9

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

  -2

-9

+4

+12

+6

Diff last month

 0

-3

-7

-6

-4

Diff from last yr

+5

-6

-14

-13

-19


Type E Botulism Bird Poisonings Linked to Invasive Species

Dead birds washing up on Lakes Ontario, Erie, Michigan and Huron

More than 500 dead loons and other migratory birds have washed up on Great Lakes shores in the past week, prompting the New York State DEC to suspect another botulism-poisoning episode linked to the spread of invasive species.

 

Dead birds have also washed up in the Green Bay Area and other northern Great Lakes ports including Grand Traverse Bay, Elk Rapids and Eastport.

           

DEC and other state health agencies are investigating the die-offs and, although all results are not complete yet, preliminary evidence closely matches die-offs related to Type E botulism that have occurred every year on Lake Erie since 2000 and Lake Ontario since 2002, during fall migration, according to state Wildlife Pathologist Ward Stone.

 

Those incidents are tied to two invasive species consumed by birds during migration stopovers: the quagga mussel and a fish called the Round Goby.  Loons especially feed on the Round Goby. As the Round Gobies have proliferated in recent years, particularly in Eastern Lake Ontario, cases of botulism poisoning have increased, said David Adams, a DEC waterbird specialist.

           

“Unfortunately, this has become an annual event,’’ Adams said.

           

Other birds impacted include the Red-breasted Merganser, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Horned Grebe, Long-tailed Duck, Greater Scaup, Double-crested Cormorant and the White-winged Scoter. The single species with the greatest mortality has differed each year.

There have been no reports of any human illnesses associated with these outbreaks, though people should be careful. Type E botulism is a specific strain of botulism most commonly affecting fish-eating birds. It causes paralysis in the affected birds and is often fatal. The disease results from the ingestion of a toxin produced by the botulism bacterium and can be harmful to humans who eat birds or fish that have been poisoned by this toxin.

 

For more info about Type E botulism: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28433.html.  

 

Botulism-related die-offs first appeared in southern Lake Huron in 1998 and appeared in eastern Lake Erie in 2000. Since the first observed outbreak in New York, DEC has established extensive shoreline surveys of both lakes during fall migration. This allows the Department to not only collect dead birds in certain areas but also to extrapolate about mortality rates due to Type E botulism around the lakes. DEC estimates that approximately 41,000 migratory birds have died on Lake Erie since 2000 and approximately 10,300 on Lake Ontario. Type E botulism impacts on Lake Ontario have been rising rapidly and, in 2006, Lake Ontario surpassed Lake Erie in bird deaths.

           

The Common Loons found dead on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are believed to have traveled primarily from Canada. Although a significant number of Common Loons nest on lakes throughout the Adirondack Park, recent studies show these populations do not stopover on Lake Erie or Lake Ontario during migration and, therefore, are not at risk for this botulism event.

           

Hunters and anglers are advised not to harvest waterfowl or fish that are appear to be sick. Cooking may not destroy the botulism toxin.


 EPA orders start to Fox River cleanup

CHICAGO (Nov. 14 -- Federal and state officials have run out of patience with paper companies' inability to reach a financial settlement for cleanup of PCBs from the Fox River. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has ordered a group of companies responsible for PCB-contaminated sediment in Wisconsin's Lower Fox River to meet a pair of deadlines geared to accelerating an estimated $390 million cleanup.

 

The unilateral administrative order is focused on Operable Units 2 through 5 of the proposed Superfund National Priorities List site, the stretch of the river from Appleton to the mouth of Green Bay. EPA is taking this action in consultation with the U.S. Department of Justice and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Little Lake Butte des Morts

is Operable Unit 1. Cleanup work began at the lake in 2004 and is expected to continue into 2009.)

 

The order requires action by the responsible companies in two phases. The first phase begins in December 2007. It requires the companies to perform preparation work for the cleanup to follow. This work includes procurement of equipment, establishment of staging facilities, landfill disposal arrangements, appropriate site surveys and property access agreements.

 

The second phase includes dredging and in-river capping activities beginning in August 2009. By then, the responsible companies are expected to have completed all of the prep work specified in the first phase.


Congress Briefed on Status of Int’l Upper Great Lakes Study  

Public Interest group asked to increase awareness of study issues

Congressional leaders and staff from both the House and Senate were briefed recently by members of the International Upper Great Lakes Study Board.  The binational, independent study is examining whether possible physical changes in the St. Clair River may be a cause of low water levels and whether the management of outflows from Lake Superior might be improved to take into consideration changing interests and changing climate. 

 

Key items for discussion were the recent decision to expedite the study to produce a report a year ahead of schedule, the extensive work that is already underway on the St. Clair River, the plans for broad outreach to include the public, and the limitations on the mandate of the study to address the question of immediate mitigation.  The Study Board also stressed the importance of both the U.S. and Canada

providing funding after the study to operate and maintain gauges in the connecting channels that measure water levels and flows.

 

“We were encouraged by their receptiveness to our focus on sound science and appreciate their offers of help to further the aims of the study,” said Dr. Gene Stakhiv, U.S. co-chair of the Study Board.

          

“In particular, I was impressed that Rep. Candice Miller stressed the importance of taking the time to get the science right and the need to engage the public before any action is taken,” said Kay Felt, Study Board member and U.S. co-chair of the study’s Public Interest Advisory Group.

 

The briefing also included a look at preliminary findings of the study, including videography of the St. Clair River bed, showing there does not appear to be ongoing erosion in the videographed areas. 


General

Access Historical Instantaneous Streamflow Data with the New USGS Online Database

Visit the Instantaneous Data Archive (IDA) website at http://ida.water.usgs.gov/ida/

Access to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) historical instantaneous Streamflow discharge data, dating back to around 1990, is now easily available online through the Instantaneous Data Archive (IDA). In this new system users will find Streamflow information reported at the time intervals at which it is collected, typically 15 minute to hourly intervals.

 

The USGS has provided historical daily Streamflow data on the Internet for more than a decade, but for many scientific and engineering proposes it is very useful to have the historical data in shorter time increments. The instantaneous data has been available for many years, but was not accessible through the web.  This new database saves time and effort by giving users the information through a user-friendly automated process.

 

“A user-friendly archive of historical instantaneous Streamflow data are important to many different users for such things as floodplain mapping, flood modeling, and estimating pollutant transport.” said Robert Hirsch, USGS Associate Director of Water. “The new IDA site should be very helpful to research scientists and engineers for a wide range of hydrologic analyses.  We are delighted that we have the ability to provide this treasure trove of high-quality data for these uses.”

The IDA web site currently has about 1.5 billion instantaneous data values from 5,500 streamgages in 26 states. Populating this web site takes effort and resources that are being provided "as available," and not all states and streamgages are available at this time. The number of states and streamgages with data will continue to increase. It is possible that the IDA database will expand to include other variables such as temperature and pH in the future.

 

For more than 125 years, the USGS has monitored flow in streams and rivers across the U.S. The USGS collects data from more than 7,400 streamgages, many of which provide real-time data in 15 minute increments (explore this information at http://water.usgs.gov/waterwatch/). USGS Streamflow data is routinely used for water supply and management, monitoring floods and droughts, bridge and road design, water availability and quality planning, and for many recreational activities.

 

Access an even larger variety of USGS data, such as for ground water and water quality, through the National Water Information System Web Interface (NWISWeb), which contains over 1.5 million sites, and averages over 25 million successful visits per month (log onto at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/ ).  

 

For more info: www.usgs.gov

 


More Women Taking Up Hunting

Nat’l license sales decline, but increase for youths

Despite decline in overall sale of hunting licenses 304,000 girls -- 19 % of all hunters ages 6 to 15 -- who took to the woods last year, almost doubling the number of girls that hunted in 1996. According to the just-released 2006 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service five-year census, four times as many boys

hunt, but their numbers have remained unchanged.

 

The hunting surge, the survey says, in which hunting by adult males increased 7.6 % and female participation jumped almost 10 %,  while numbers dropped 10 % nationally in all but 20 states


Illinois

ILL State Police refusing to issue FOIDs to youths

Arbitrarily setting age limit of 10 years FOID card

There's more than one way to attack the Second Amendment. And one of the most insidious ways is to make it illegal or impractical to teach the next generation how to use guns safely. But that is precisely what the Illinois state police are trying to do -- in a proposed regulation which would make it illegal to issue a Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID) to a kid under 10.

 

An investigation conducted by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) found that the state police are already denying FOID cards to citizens under 10 years of age. Last May, police director Larry Trent directed the FOID division staff to begin denying these young applicants. "Since that time, the State Police have used this bogus age limit as justification to deny over 200 applications," said ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson.

 

The FOID system needs to go. We're seeing what happens when government officials turn a God-given right into a privilege. First, they tell you that you have to get a government-

issued card before you can own (or even touch) a firearm. Then they start putting age restrictions on who can possess a firearm. Today, it may be ten years of age. What will it be tomorrow?

 

Furthermore, there is one aspect in which the proposed regulation -- limiting the FOID age to 10 -- can affect you right away. For liability reasons, you will now need to lock up your guns, as long as you have kids in your home that are under 10 (and hence, unable to acquire an FOID card).  The bottom line is: rather than making more rules, the state of Illinois should be repealing the ones they have!

 

ACTION: Please register your opposition to this proposed regulation by contacting JCAR (the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules).This committee consists of legislators who are accountable to the citizens. Even though the Illinois State Police is suggesting the change, it is JCAR that will make the ultimate determination.

 

You can copy and paste the pre-written message below (or compose one of own) and e-mail it to:  jcar@ilga.gov

 ----- Pre-written message -----

 

Dear Members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules:

There's more than one way to attack the Second Amendment. And one of

the most insidious ways is to make it illegal or impractical to teach

the next generation how to use guns safely.

 

But that is precisely what the Illinois state police are trying to do

-- in a proposed regulation which would make it illegal to issue a

Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID) to a kid under 10.

 

Rather than making more rules, the state of Illinois should be

repealing the restrictions that are limiting the God-given liberties of

its citizens. The Second Amendment protects a right, not a

privilege. Nevertheless, the state of Illinois ignored the

Constitution when it told gun owners they had to get a

government-issued card before owning (or even touching) a firearm.

Now, there are age restrictions that are being proffered. What will

be next?

 

Furthermore, there is one aspect in which the proposed regulation --

limiting the age for acquiring an FOID card -- can affect me right

away. For liability reasons, a gun owner will now need to lock up his

or her guns, as long as he has kids in the home that are under 10 (and

hence, unable to acquire an FOID card).

 

The bottom line is: rather than making more rules, the state of

Illinois should be repealing the ones they have! I would strongly

oppose the proposed regulation.

 

Sincerely,


Spring 2008 Turkey First Lottery

Resident hunters may now apply for the first lottery for 2008 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season permits online through DNR Direct.  Just go to the IDNR web site at

http://dnr.state.il.us and click on the Hunting and Turkey Hunting links.  The application deadline for the first lottery for resident spring turkey permits is Dec. 3.


Indiana

DNR selects new outdoor recreation director

Steve Morris, who has worked at the Indiana DNR since 1994, has been named director of the DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation. Morris served as streams and trails section chief of the same division from 1998 through August of this year, when former director Emily Kress retired and Morris became interim director. He started with the DNR in 1994, as an intermittent streams-and-trails field specialist.

           

The avid hiker, bicyclist and canoeist holds a master's degree

in park-and-recreation administration from Indiana University (1998), the same school from which he graduated in 1992 with a degree in public affairs.

 

The division administers several recreation-related grant programs, including the federal Recreational Trails Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The division coordinates development of the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), the State Trails Plan, and approves local five-year park-and-recreation.


Michigan

DNR Reminds Hunters That Tagged Deer May Be Harvested

The Department of Natural Resources is reminding deer hunters that deer research projects are occurring throughout the state.  Research projects that have been conducted over the last few years include tracking movement patterns, survival of fawns and reproductive studies.

 

Many of these research deer have ear tags.  Free-ranging tagged deer do not have special protection and may be taken during the deer season. Any hunter harvesting a deer that has  identification tags is encouraged to report that deer to the

DNR.

 

“Biologists understand that some research animals will be harvested but hunters can help by providing the date and exact location where the tagged deer was taken, which will help finalize the research data for that animal,” said Brent Rudolph, deer research specialist for the DNR.

 

Also, hunters who bring a harvested deer to a DNR check station will receive a deer cooperator patch.

 


DNR Invites Bear Hunters to Participate in Online Survey

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking for help from bear hunters. Accurate and complete information on hunting activity is vital for sound bear management. To obtain more hunting-related information, the DNR is offering the option for bear hunters to report their hunting activity over the Internet.

 

Beginning today, all bear hunters are invited to complete an online survey, which can be accessed on the front page of the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr.  Click Bear Harvest Online Reporting Option.

The DNR is requesting information from all bear hunting license buyers, even if they did not hunt or harvest a bear this year. Once hunters submit their answers, changes or additions will not be allowed.

 

Traditionally, the DNR has estimated bear hunter effort and success using both surveys that were mailed to a sample of randomly selected hunters and mandatory registration. Mail surveys will continue; however, the new online reporting option allows all hunters with Internet access to participate. Mandatory registration for all successful bear hunters is still required within 72 hours of bear harvest.


DNR Seeks Information on Snake Island Pigs

Asking Sportsmen to rat on actions endangering protected species

The Department of Natural Resources is seeking information on the illegal release of three domestic pigs on Snake Island, located in northern Lake Michigan. The 5.14-acre Snake Island is an important site for colony-nesting waterbirds, including one of the largest colonies of ring-billed gulls in the Great Lakes.

 

“We suspect the pigs were released on the island by an individual who was trying to destroy double-crested cormorant nests and eggs,” said Sgt. Darryl Shann, DNR law enforcement supervisor in Escanaba. “What people need to understand is an action like this is not only harmful to our native birds but also illegal.”

 

The Great Lakes region has seen a dramatic increase in cormorant populations during the past 10 years and anglers have concerns over potential impacts on the sport fishery. In response to these concerns, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services has initiated cormorant control at several sites by using egg-oiling and regulated shooting of adults. In egg-oiling, Wildlife Services personnel coat

cormorant eggs with vegetable oil limiting the hatching of eggs. The oil kills developing embryos, but adult cormorants continue to incubate the nonviable eggs instead of renesting.

 

“The release of domestic pigs at cormorant nesting colonies may actually be counterproductive to cormorant control efforts,” said Karen Cleveland, DNR bird biologist. “Pigs will destroy eggs and young birds, but this may prompt cormorants to renest on the same island or just move to another island and renest.”

 

The release of pigs on offshore islands can have additional negative impacts including disruption of other colony-nesting birds and destruction of ground plants. Two domestic pigs were removed from Snake Island earlier this summer by Wildlife Services personnel, but a third pig recently has been sighted.

 

If you have any information about the release of pigs on Snake Island, or elsewhere in the state, please call the Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at (800) 292-7800 or contact your local DNR office. Lets don’t be letting anyone giving a black eye to the outdoor community.


State Asks Hunters to Help Eliminate Feral Swine

Officials from the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) and DNR are encouraging deer hunters with a valid hunting license to shoot feral swine (free-ranging pigs) in 50 Michigan counties.

 

“It is critical that feral swine are removed from the landscape as soon as possible,” said Douglas Reeves, DNR Wildlife Division acting chief. “Feral swine populations cause crop damage, pose a serious threat to the health and welfare of domestic swine, and negatively impact wildlife populations and ecosystems. They can be dangerous to humans as well.”

 

Officials said state law protects livestock that has temporarily escaped from farms; so special precautions are necessary to guard farmer’s property, but the state also wants to keep feral swine populations from becoming established. On April 12, 2007, a resolution to prevent the establishment of feral swine in Michigan was passed by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and the Natural Resources Commission.

  

County prosecutors are aware that shooting feral swine in 50 counties is permitted and have assured MDA officials that individuals who shoot feral swine in those counties will not be prosecuted.

 

Feral swine can carry diseases such as brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis (TB) and trichinosis, which may impact the state’s domestic swine industry and Michigan’s wildlife. Therefore, MDA and DNR have set up a program to test these harvested animals for certain diseases.  DNR staff will assist hunters in submitting samples for free disease testing. Blood  collection kits also are available at the USDA Wildlife Services

office in Okemos and should be obtained prior to entering the field. A person will need the vials with them to gather blood immediately after shooting a pig.

 

A person field-dressing swine, especially in the northeastern Lower Michigan TB area, should wear gloves. If the lungs, ribcage or internal organs from a feral swine look abnormal (multiple tan or yellow lumps), the meat should not be eaten. The carcass should, however, be removed from the environment and brought to a DNR field office for testing.

 

It is highly unlikely a person will contract a disease by eating cooked meat of feral swine. However, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, feral swine should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. to kill the parasite that causes trichinosis.

 

State law prohibits the release of any species having the potential to spread serious diseases or parasites, to cause serious physical harm, or to otherwise endanger native wildlife, human life, livestock, domestic animals, or property. Intentional release of swine in Michigan is a felony and may be punishable by a fine of not less than $1,000 and imprisonment up to 5 years.

  

When shooting a pig, aim for the shoulder or slightly ahead of the shoulder. The vital area of a pig is more forward than a deer. If you see or shoot any feral swine, please contact the DNR at (517) 336-5030; e-mail: brownkr@michigan.gov  or call the MDA at (517) 373-1077 or the USDA Wildlife Services at (517) 336-1928.

 


Learn to Make Snowshoes at Ludington State Park

Ludington State Park is hosting a series of snowshoe-making workshops this fall and winter at the park’s warming shelter. Weekend workshops will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 1, Dec. 2 and Dec. 16. Workshops on Monday-Tuesday evenings, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., are scheduled for Nov. 19-20, 26-27 and Dec. 10-11.

 

“Snowshoeing is growing in popularity because it is very easy to learn,” said Alan Wernette, park interpreter. “It is a fun and healthy way to enjoy winter and is something the entire family can enjoy doing together.”

 

Participants will make a pair of traditional white ash

snowshoes that will last for generations. The $150

registration fee includes all materials and equipment needed to make one pair of snowshoes. Class sizes are limited and reservations are needed. To make a reservation, please call Ludington State Park at (231) 843-9261.

 

All motor vehicles entering a Michigan State Park or Recreation Area must display a Motor Vehicle Permit, available for purchase at the park entrance. Cost is $24 for a resident annual and $6 for a resident daily. A nonresident annual is $29 and a nonresident daily is $8.  For more info: wernetta@michigan.gov

 


Minnesota

Pheasant count remains at highest level in two decades

The Minnesota DNR pheasant index remained near its highest level in 20 years, thanks to favorable weather and

habitat conditions in portions of the state's pheasant range.

For more Info: www.dnr.state.mn.us/news/releases/index.html?id=1189097991


 

New York

New Online Resource for Anglers Available on DEC Website

Report to Feature Weekly Fishing Updates for W. Lake Ontario & Tribs

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC's) website now features a brand new fishing report and hotline that will enable anglers to find fishing conditions and information for Western Lake Ontario and its tributaries online at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishhotlines.html.

 

Prompted by the popularity of the weekly Lake Erie Fishing Report and hotline, this new online report aims to provide anglers with pertinent fishing information for Western Lake Ontario and its tributaries, including the Lower Niagara River, Eighteen Mile Creek, Twelve Mile Creek, and smaller seasonal tributaries such as Keg Creek, Six Mile Creek and Four Mile Creek.

 

Updated weekly by DEC Fisheries staff, this online report will feature fishing information such as popular fishing hot spots, weekly catch reports, recommended bait, fishing methods,

water flow levels, reminders, and other relevant information for Western Lake Ontario and its tributaries. The report will be updated every Friday afternoon, and anglers are encouraged to check it weekly for a quick and convenient update on their favorite Western Lake Ontario fishing hot spots.

 

"We are pleased to be able to provide this new fishing report for anglers in the Western New York Area," said Regional Director Abby Snyder. "We hope that this online report will become a practical and helpful resource for local anglers as they enjoy the tremendous fishing opportunities that this region has to offer."

 

DEC's website traditionally featured a fishing hotline for Lake Erie and its tributaries, and has now expanded to include a similar report for Western Lake Ontario. In addition to the weekly fishing reports, DEC's website also hosts an abundance of supplementary information about fishing such as lake contour maps, boat launch sites, fish health advisories, fish types, fish stocking, and fishing licenses.


Pennsylvania

Elk hunters harvest 35 Elk in 2007

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe last week announced that 35 of the 40 licensed elk hunters harvested an elk during the season that was held Nov. 5-10.  Additionally, of the 10 licensed elk hunters who participated in the September season, two harvested an elk.

 

"Elk are one of North America's premier big game animals," Roe said.  "Pennsylvania is privileged to offer this unique hunting opportunity, a product of successful wildlife management that helps to finance wildlife conservation and supports Pennsylvania's rich hunting heritage.  It's an unparalleled experience for hunters, particularly those who can't afford to go on an expensive one- or two-week guided elk hunt out West."

 

Along with extracting samples needed for disease testing, the agency also collected samples necessary to examine food preferences and habitat use by elk.  Also, hunters collected liver samples that will be evaluated for mineral contents. The largest antlered elk was taken by Dennis Henry, of Greensburg, Westmoreland County.  He took a 792-pound, 8x7 on Nov. 6, in Covington Township, Clearfield County. 

 

Those hunters rounding out the top five heaviest antlered elk harvested, were: Aaron Richards, of Duncannon, Perry County, took a 768-pound, 6x6 on Nov. 5, in Gibson Township, Elk County; Keith Streightif, of Kittanning, Armstrong County, took a 723-pound, 7x6 on Nov. 7, in Jay Township, Elk County; Keith Quigel, of Williamsport, Lycoming County, took a 720-pound, 7x7 on Nov. 6, in Lumber Township, Cameron County; and Harry Rhone, of Catawissa, Columbia County, took a 707-pound, 6x7 on Nov. 8, in Shippen Township, Cameron County.

 

The heaviest antlerless elk was taken by Robert Domachowski, of Butler, Butler County, who harvested a 590-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 7, in Benezette Township, Elk County. 

Those hunters rounding out the top five heaviest antlerless elk harvested were: Tindaro Bisbano, of Birdsboro, Berks County, who harvested a 564-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 6, in Benezette Township, Elk County; Clarence Burd, of Denver, Lancaster County, who harvested a 538-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 5, in Gibson Township, Cameron County; Travis Zanders, of Wellsville, New York, who harvested a 530-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 8, in Benezette Township, Elk County; and John Barberio Jr., of Ebensburg, Cambria County, who harvested a 515-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 8, in Jay Township, Elk County.

 

For the September 2007 hunt, which was held September 3-29, only two elk were harvested: Charles Krug, of St. Marys, Elk County, harvested an antlerless elk on Sept. 3; and Dwight Brown, of Abbeville, South Carolina, harvested an antlerless elk on Sept. 10.

 

Originally scheduled for just Sept. 17-22, the Game Commission staff recommended that the Board of Game Commissioners extend the September season to run the entire month of September to afford hunters a greater opportunity of harvesting an elk.

 

"As we noted after last year's early hunt, the September hunt is far more difficult than the November hunt," Roe said.  "The September elk hunt was formed to address agricultural conflicts before crops are harvested and to allow hunters a chance to harvest the elk rather than force farmers to kill elk to protect their crops.

 

"Because these elk tend to move from the agricultural land to adjacent forested private lands during the early morning, elk remain well hidden and difficult to harvest, making this an extremely challenging hunt."  Roe noted that the agency will continue to review this September hunt and make recommendations to the Board in January.

 


Wisconsin

2007 black bear season harvest

MADISON -- Preliminary figures indicate hunters harvested more than 2,570 black bears in Wisconsin during the 2007 bear hunting season. This figure is expected to increase slightly in the next month as remaining registration data is entered and is very close to the 2,650 harvest goal for the 2007 season.

 

Bayfield, Price, and Sawyer counties led the state, as they did

in 2006, with 240, 227, and 189 bears registered respectively. Hunters submitted 34,975 applications for 4,405 Class A Bear Harvest permits. A total of 80,245 hunters applied for either a harvest permit or a preference point. Hunters who apply for but do not receive a Class A harvest permit will receive a preference point for the next year’s drawing. Depending on the zone applied for, it currently takes five to nine preference points in order to draw a harvest permit.


 

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