Week of December 8, 2008

National

Regional

General
2nd Amendment issues
Minnesota
Ohio
Wisconsin
Canada

 

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National

Supreme Court Ponders Power Plants and Fish Protection

WASHINGTON, DC (ENS) - The U.S. Supreme Court is wrestling with the difficulty of valuing fish and aquatic organisms with little or no commercial worth, hearing arguments in a legal dispute over what steps older power plants should take to limit water use and minimize environmental harm.

 

In oral arguments on December 4, the Bush administration urged the court to allow federal regulators to use cost-benefit analysis when crafting such requirements - a view rejected by a lower court last year. A majority of justices appeared skeptical of the Bush administration's arguments, but seemed keen to find middle ground that would allow for some considerations of costs and benefits.

 

The legal issue rests on the interpretation of a provision in the Clean Water Act that authorizes the USEPA to require power plants install "the best available technology for minimizing adverse environmental impact" from cooling water intake structures.

 

The environmental concern is a serious one. U.S. power plants pull more than 200 billion gallons of water a day from reservoirs, lakes and rivers to cool machinery or, in the case of nuclear power plants, to cool reactors. The practice kills large numbers of fish and other aquatic organisms that are drawn into intake pipes along with cooling water. But the economic concern also is considerable. Newer power plants are constructed with closed-cycle cooling systems that alleviate much of the concern, but retrofitting older plants can be costly.

 

Industry groups contend broad technology requirements for all older plants could force some to close and others to raise electricity prices, all for environmental benefits unequal to costs. Heeding that concern, a rule finalized in 2004 by the Bush administration allowed some 550 older plants to chose among several alternatives to reduce environmental harm from cooling water intake structures, allowing them to avoid installing the best available technology if the costs outweighed the benefits.

 

Six states and a coalition of environmental groups, led by Riverkeeper, sued, arguing the Clean Water Act does not allow EPA to conduct cost-benefit analysis when crafting the cooling water intake rules. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit agreed with that view and struck down the regulation, prompting the appeal to the Supreme Court by the Bush administration and several utilities. 

 

U.S. Deputy Solicitor General Daryl Joseffer told the Supreme Court justices that the statute's language is ambiguous and gives the EPA deference to balance costs and benefits. "For more than 30 years, EPA has construed the Clean Water Act to permit it to consider the relationship between costs and benefits in setting limits on water intake," Joseffer said. When lawmakers wrote the statute in 1972, they understood "that consideration of cost and benefits was not incompatible with the application of a best technology standard," he added.

 

But several justices challenged that view and wondered how EPA could fairly weigh the costs and benefits of the technology versus fish and aquatic organisms. While the costs of the technology are clear, Justice David Souter said, the value of the fish and aquatic organisms being protected is not. "Are 1,000 plankton worth $1 million?" said Justice Souter. "I don't know." Given that uncertainty, Souter added, the application of cost-benefit analysis would seem to unfairly favor industry and "basically eliminate the whole technology-driven point of the statute."

 

The concern, said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is how to compare "things that aren't comparable."

 

All cost-benefit analyses are difficult - even "ones which people do in ordinary life," Joseffer replied. "When I decide whether to buy a TV for this amount or a more expensive TV for a different amount, I don't know exactly how in my head I quantify that, but I do."

 

Chief Justice John Roberts rejected Joseffer's hypothetical and also seemed skeptical of the government's argument. "If you told somebody that you were going to buy the best TV available nobody would think you meant that you were going to buy a very cheap TV because, considering the costs and

benefits, that was the best one," Roberts said. "They would think you are going to get the fanciest TV you could."

 

Justice Anthony Kennedy said he assumed that best available technology meant "the most rigorous of standards" set by the Clean Water Act and questioned where it suggested cost considerations for the cooling water intake rules.

 

Joseffer responded that the EPA does not think the best available technology language is stricter than other standards, such as the Clean Water Act's pollution discharge standards. Those standards require cost-benefit analysis and call for elimination of discharges compared to the cooling water intake provision's goal to minimize environmental impacts, he explained. "There is no reason to think Congress would want greater protection for fish through intake structures than for people through the discharge of pollutants," Joseffer said.

 

Justice Antonin Scalia agreed, saying it "seems ridiculous" to allow cost-benefit analysis for pollutant discharge standards "where human health is at stake, and yet to forbid it in this intake situation when you were just talking about the snail darter."

 

Arguing for the environmentalists, Georgetown University law professor Richard Lazarus said the statute clearly does not give EPA authority to weigh costs against benefits for the intake rules. But that interpretation would not lead to "the kind of absurd circumstances" the Bush administration and industry predict, said Lazarus, because the "plain meaning" of the Clean Water Act guards against the possibility that "a regulated facility would have to spend millions or hundreds of millions or billions of dollars to protect just a few fish." If a technology is too costly, he explained, it is essentially not be the best available technology, as Congress meant availability to mean both "technologically available and economically available."

 

That reasoning baffled Justice Scalia.

 

"If I look in the real estate page of the "Washington Post" on Sunday and I look for the best house that is available, the best house that is available might cost $50 million," Scalia said. "Now, that would be available to me. I couldn't afford it, but it would be available. You wouldn't say I can't buy the house because for me it's not economically available. I might say it's not economically feasible, it's not economically possible, but it's not economically available? That's weird."

 

Lazarus responded that "it may be weird … but it is not anything that has ever been disputed in the interpretation" of the Clean Water Act.

 

Justice Samuel Alito also questioned Lazarus' interpretation and wondered if the EPA could consider the impacts of increased electricity costs to consumers. "If the effect of achieving a small gain in protecting fish is to increase electricity costs 10 times, is that something that cannot be taken into account?" Justice Alito asked.

 

The EPA can consider whether costs can be "reasonably borne by industry," Lazarus replied, but cannot hold off on requiring installation of the best available technology because it thinks the benefits are not worth the costs.

 

Justice Stephen Breyer, a member of the court's liberal wing, honed in on the intent of lawmakers who crafted the 1972 law and sought some middle ground that would allow the EPA to consider costs and benefits without a strict comparison.  "As I read it, it says: Of course you can't avoid taking into account costs, but don't do it too much," Breyer said. "And, therefore, you would say: 'Don't apply one of these big formal things when you reach your final goal. There are other ways of getting there. Of course, see that it isn't absurd.'"

 

For 30 years - prior to the 2004 rule - the agency "has had a way" to do that, Breyer added, as it has considered whether costs were "grossly disproportionate" and unreasonable to industry. "Why not let sleeping dogs lie?" Breyer asked. "Let the agency take it into account the way it's done it to prevent absurd results, but not try to do it so that it's so refined you can't even take account of what a fish is worth unless they happen to be one of the 1.2 percent that goes to market."

 

The court is expected to rule on the case next spring.


Waterway Watch program more relevant following Mumbai attacks

WASHINGTON D.C. - The public can help the Coast Guard keep America’s waterways safe and secure. In light of the tragic terrorist attacks in Mumbai it is important to remember that all Americans play a vital role in homeland security. Whether you live, work or recreate near the waterways of the United States you can assist the Coast Guard by remaining vigilant and reporting suspicious activity.

 

With this in mind, the Coast Guard Auxiliary reminds the public of the America’s Waterway Watch program. America's coasts, rivers, bridges, tunnels, ports, ships, military bases, and waterside industries may be the terrorists' next targets. Though waterway security has been increased greatly in recent years, with more than 95,000 miles of shoreline, over 290,000 square miles of water, and approximately 70 million recreational boaters in the United States, the Coast Guard and

other law enforcement agencies can not do the job alone.

 

The Waterway Watch program simply requests that we do our part and report:

• Unusual surveillance of vessel or waterside facility operations

• Unattended boats near bridges

• Unusual diving activities, or

• Unauthorized vessels operating in restricted areas, or other suspicious activities.

 

Call the National Response Center at 1-877-24WATCH or radio the Coast Guard on marine channel 16. Call 911 or marine channel 16 to report immediate danger to life or property. For your safety, do not approach or engage anyone acting in a suspicious manner – call for help.

 

For more info - www.americaswaterwaywatch.org.


New rule lifts ban on firearms in national parks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Lyle Laverty today announced that the Department of the Interior has finalized updated regulations governing the possession of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The final rule, which updates existing regulations, would allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon in national parks and wildlife refuges if, and only if, the individual is authorized to carry a concealed weapon under state law in the state in which the national park or refuge is located. The update has been submitted to the Federal Register for publication and is available to the public on www.doi.gov.

Existing regulations regarding the carrying of firearms remain otherwise unchanged, particularly limitations on poaching and target practice and prohibitions on carrying firearms in federal buildings.

“America was founded on the idea that the federal and state governments work together to serve the public and preserve our natural resources,” Laverty said. “The Department’s final regulation respects this tradition by allowing individuals to carry concealed firearms in federal park units and refuges to the extent that they could lawfully do so under state law. This is the same basic approach adopted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (USFS), both of which allow visitors to carry weapons consistent with applicable federal and state laws.”

On February 22, 2008, Interior Secretary Kempthorne responded to letters from 51 Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, as well as from the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, urging

him to update existing regulations that prohibit the carrying of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. In his
response, the Secretary directed Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Lyle Laverty “to develop and propose for public comment by April 30 Federal regulations that will update firearms policies on these lands to reflect existing Federal laws (such as those prohibiting weapons in Federal buildings) and the laws by which the host states govern transporting and carrying of firearms on their analogous public lands.”

 

Changes in the final regulations from those originally proposed in April were developed as the result of public comments. In particular, comments expressed concern about the feasibility of implementing regulations which directly linked the carrying of concealed firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges to the ability of an individual to carry a concealed firearm on analogous state lands. The final regulations remove that potential logistical hurdle.

The existing regulations, as currently in effect, were adopted in 1981 for national wildlife refuges and in 1983 for national parks. Since that time many states have enacted new firearms policies. Currently, 48 states have passed legislation allowing for the lawful possession of concealed weapons.

“The Department believes that in managing parks and refuges we should, as appropriate, make every effort to give the greatest respect to the democratic judgments of State legislatures with respect to concealed firearms,” said Laverty. “Federal agencies have a responsibility to recognize the expertise of the States in this area, and federal regulations should be developed and implemented in a manner that respects state prerogatives and authority.”


Regional

Great Lakes Compact goes into effect Dec. 8

MADISON – The Great Lakes Compact takes effect Dec. 8, ushering in a new era of cooperation and conservation among those states that border the five Great Lakes, which hold one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water.

 

The historic agreement binding the eight Great Lakes states largely prohibits water from being diverted outside the Great Lakes basin while committing residents and businesses within the basin to sustainably use that water. The Great Lakes, which hold one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water, are now protected under an international agreement.

 

The agreement was signed by President George Bush on Oct. 3, 2008 following its passage by eight state legislatures and a swift ride through the U.S. Congress. A companion agreement with two Canadian provinces takes effect Dec. 8 . Conventional wisdom had put passage of the agreement at five to 10 years or more, if ever, but the compact is going into effect barely three years to the date after it was signed by Gov. Jim Doyle and his counterparts in the seven other Great Lakes states, Frank said.

 

The compact prohibits long-distance, large-scale diversions from the Great Lakes with a few carefully regulated exceptions that allow communities near the basin boundary to apply for Great Lakes water. It also directs the Great Lakes states to develop water conservation and efficiency programs, and promotes the sustainable management of the groundwater

and surface waters of the Great Lakes Basin.

 

Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states and the two Canadian provinces are racing to enact its provisions. DNR has pulled together veteran drinking water and groundwater staff into a new section to focus on implementing the compact and Gov. Doyle’s statewide water conservation initiative, both of which will require years of administrative rulemaking.

 

The compact’s Dec. 8 effective date brings immediate requirements for more than 1,500 existing municipalities, manufacturers, irrigators and other operations in Wisconsin that have the capacity to withdraw large volumes of water under existing permits.

 

For now, users within the Great Lakes basin with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day or more in any 30 day period need to register with the DNR and start reporting their annual water use as part of the compact’s requirement that states track Great Lakes water use.  These high volume uses will be reviewed for possible impacts on lakes, streams and other waters if the proposed new or increased water withdrawal is more than 1 million gallons per day for 30 consecutive days.

 

Eventually, residential water users in Wisconsin and other Great Lakes state will likely see changes aimed at spurring them to save water and use it more efficiently.


Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw resumes "Christmas Tree Ship"

CHICAGO - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (WLBB-30) arrived in Chicago December 5, with a delivery of 1,000 Christmas trees that will be provided to needy families at the Navy Pier in downtown during a public ceremony Dec. 6, 2008.

 

Mackinaw (WLBB-30) is in her third year as the Christmas Tree Ship, continuing the tradition of its predecessor (WAGB-83), which resurrected the tradition of the Christmas Tree Ship in 2000. The crew of the Mackinaw hauls a load of trees from the woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin for distribution to more than a thousand disadvantaged Chicago-area families.

 

On behalf of the Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc.,

volunteers from the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, Young Marines and the Sea Explorer Scouts assist the Mackinaw crew with

the offloading ceremony.  The Chicago Christmas Ship Committee, which purchased the trees, represents diverse aspects of the Chicago boating community such as the Coast Guard Auxiliary, International Shipmaster's Association and the Chicago Yachting Association, for instance.

 

The original Christmas Tree Ship, the Rouse Simmons, started the tradition in 1896, when Captain Scheunemann docked his tree-laden schooner on the riverbank near the Clark Street Bridge.  Prior to arriving in Chicago, the Mackinaw removed seasonal aids-to-navigation in Lake Michigan to prevent damage from ice and severe weather for Operation Fall Retrieve; this is the largest domestic buoy recovery operation in the United States.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Dec. 5, 2008

Weather Conditions

More snow and much colder temperatures occurred in the Great Lakes basin this week.  Locations across Wisconsin and Michigan picked up an additional 5 to 12 inches of snow.  Look for a reinforcing shot of cold air for the weekend as an arctic front sweeps across the region.  Lake effect snow is expected to be quite heavy in the prone areas.  Ice is beginning to form in shallow bays and protected inlets of Lake Superior and northern Lake Michigan-Huron.

Lake Level Conditions

At present, Lake Superior is 3 inches higher that it was a year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 10 inches higher than it was a year ago.  Lakes Erie and Ontario are 5 inches above what they were at this time last year, while Lake Ontario is 9 inches above last year's level.  Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair are still in their periods of seasonal decline and are projected to fall 1 to 3 inches during the next month, while the levels of Lakes Erie and Ontario are projected to remain steady.  Through April, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are forecasted to remain above their levels of a year ago.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario, however, are predicted to remain above their levels of a year ago into this month and then fall below them in January or February. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In November, the outflows through the St. Mary's, St. Clair, and Detroit Rivers were below average.  The outflows from the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers were near average for November.

Alerts

Lake Michigan-Huron's water level is currently below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum through April. 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 Dec 5

601.2

577.3

 

573.1

570.7

244.5

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

 +1

 -2

+10

+18

+14

Diff last month

-2

 -2

-3

   0

  0

Diff from last yr

+3

+10

+5

 +5

+9


General

Ice Fishing Tips

Ice anglers throughout most of Minnesota are having a hard time keeping calm while waiting for fishable ice this winter. Yes, there are places in the state (mainly in the northern third of Minnesota) where anglers are cautiously stepping onto the frozen water, punching a hole in the ice and dropping a line…but a good share of the state is still seeing less than ideal ice-making temperatures as December moves on down the line.

 

Here is a fundamental list to help you get started this winter.

 

1. REPLACE YOUR LINE: One of the most important steps in preparing for a season on the ice is to put new line on your reels. The line that is still on your poles from last year has acquired memory and is filled with coils. Also, the remaining line from last year is not as strong as it was to start because of the heat of the summer.

 

2. HANDLE AND PREPARE NEW JIGS: Take some time to take the paint out of the eyes of the jigs, so you can easily tie on when you’re on the ice, rather than going through this step on the ice when your fingers are cold.

 

3. CHARGE BATTERIES ON ALL ELECTRONICS: Check all of your electronics and charge them properly. The batteries are most likely dead or may have gone bad during the summer. Be patient when re-charging at the beginning of the season, because batteries might be stone dead and take a longer time to recharge.

 

4. CHECK OUTERWEAR: Does it need to be washed, cleaned or replaced? Think..."windproof and warm"!

 

5. SCOUT FOR FISH: Hopefully before you put your boat away for the season, you headed out and do some pre-ice scouting,

actually locating the fish. When you know where the fish are

before you go out on the ice, it saves a lot of time. Use a hand-held or the GPS on your boat to track and store locations. Just as good, ask the folk at the local bait shop.

 

6. CHECK YOUR HEATER: Start up your ice-house heater and make sure everything is working properly. 

 

When planning your first trip of the season on to the ice, take all necessary safety precautions.

1. WEAR LIFEJACKETS: Grab your lifejackets out of the boat and take them with you on the ice for your first escapade of the season.

 

2. AVOID THIN ICE: With first ice, check the ice as you walk. To check safety, use the method of hitting a chisel in front of you as you advance. Remember there is no such thing as “Totally Safe Ice”. Always check local conditions.

 

3. WEAR ICE CLEATS: At first ice, there is no snow and the ice is extremely slippery.

 

Generally, fish are shallower at first ice. Fish the shallow weeds for the best chance to reel in plenty of fish. Also, some boat channels are ripe for fishing because fish gather here at first ice.

 

Ice fishing can be a fun outing. Fish houses, especially portables, are easy to operate, clothing has become better and less bulky and ice fishing gear can be relatively inexpensive for the beginning angler who wants to “try” ice fishing.

 

If you haven’t tried ice fishing, you’re missing one more way to enjoy winter in Minnesota.


10 tips for staying safe while ice fishing

MADISON – First or early ice may promise the most fishing success, but it can also pose the greatest risk if anglers aren’t careful, recreation safety officials say.

 

“Ice is always unpredictable, and that’s particularly true early in the ice fishing season,” says Gary Eddy, the Department of Natural Resources conservation warden who administers the snowmobile and ATV safety programs.

 

State conservation wardens caution that ice is never viewed as safe, but general guidelines suggest at least 4 inches of clear ice is necessary before someone walks on a frozen waterbody; at least 6 inches before driving a snowmobile across ice, and 8 to 10 inches before traveling in cars or light duty trucks. “Those guidelines are only if the ice is real solid and clear,” Eddy says.

 

He offers these other tips for staying safe:

► Contact local sport shops to ask about ice conditions on the lake or river you want to fish.

► Do not go out alone, carry a cell phone, and let people know where you are going and when you’ll return home.

► Wear proper clothing and equipment, including a float coat to help you stay afloat and to help slow body heat loss

► Take extra mittens or gloves so you always have a dry pair

► Wear creepers attached to boots to prevent slipping on clear ice.

► Carry a spud bar to check the ice while walking to new areas.

► Carry a couple of spikes and a length of light rope in an easily accessible pocket to help pull yourself – or others – out of the ice.

► Do not travel in unfamiliar areas or at night

► Know if the lake has inlets, outlets or narrows that have current that can thin the ice.

► Look for clear ice. Clear ice is generally stronger than ice with air bubbles in it or with snow on it.

► Watch out for pressure ridges or ice heaves. These can be dangerous due to thin ice or may be an obstruction you may hit with a car, truck or snowmobile


2nd Amendment issues

New rule lifts ban on firearms in national parks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Lyle Laverty today announced that the Department of the Interior has finalized updated regulations governing the possession of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The final rule, which updates existing regulations, would allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon in national parks and wildlife refuges if, and only if, the individual is authorized to carry a concealed weapon under state law in the state in which the national park or refuge is located. The update has been submitted to the Federal Register for publication and is available to the public on www.doi.gov.

Existing regulations regarding the carrying of firearms remain otherwise unchanged, particularly limitations on poaching and target practice and prohibitions on carrying firearms in federal buildings.

“America was founded on the idea that the federal and state governments work together to serve the public and preserve our natural resources,” Laverty said. “The Department’s final regulation respects this tradition by allowing individuals to carry concealed firearms in federal park units and refuges to the extent that they could lawfully do so under state law. This is the same basic approach adopted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (USFS), both of which allow visitors to carry weapons consistent with applicable federal and state laws.”

On February 22, 2008, Interior Secretary Kempthorne responded to letters from 51 Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, as well as from the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, urging

him to update existing regulations that prohibit the carrying of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. In his
response, the Secretary directed Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Lyle Laverty “to develop and propose for public comment by April 30 Federal regulations that will update firearms policies on these lands to reflect existing Federal laws (such as those prohibiting weapons in Federal buildings) and the laws by which the host states govern transporting and carrying of firearms on their analogous public lands.”

 

Changes in the final regulations from those originally proposed in April were developed as the result of public comments. In particular, comments expressed concern about the feasibility of implementing regulations which directly linked the carrying of concealed firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges to the ability of an individual to carry a concealed firearm on analogous state lands. The final regulations remove that potential logistical hurdle.

The existing regulations, as currently in effect, were adopted in 1981 for national wildlife refuges and in 1983 for national parks. Since that time many states have enacted new firearms policies. Currently, 48 states have passed legislation allowing for the lawful possession of concealed weapons.

“The Department believes that in managing parks and refuges we should, as appropriate, make every effort to give the greatest respect to the democratic judgments of State legislatures with respect to concealed firearms,” said Laverty. “Federal agencies have a responsibility to recognize the expertise of the States in this area, and federal regulations should be developed and implemented in a manner that respects state prerogatives and authority.”


Minnesota

Minnesota Venison Donation Testing Expensive, Unfounded

FAIRFAX, VA — For generations, hunters have been shooting deer with lead bullets and eating the venison with no ill effects. In fact, there is not one documented case of a citizen ever becoming ill because of eating venison taken with a rifle bullet.

 

Moreover, a recent CDC study, in which more than 700 North Dakota residents were tested for lead levels, found not one single individual with unacceptably high amounts of lead in the blood. That study was requested by the North Dakota Department of Health in response to allegations made earlier this year that venison intended for food banks contained excessive levels of lead.

 

Now, Minnesota is set to test up to 25,000 lbs of venison intended for food banks in the state, having the meat X-rayed before it is distributed. The decision came when random testing revealed that 5.3 % of sampled deer meat contained “lead fragments.”  Such overreaction is expensive. Testing the meat will lighten the state’s coffers to the tune of 30 cents a lb.

But the unnecessary expense is not the only problem. The testing will delay the delivery of badly needed food to hungry families. It’s being collected from all over the state and moved to the Twin Cities for testing. State officials are even considering eliminating its game donation program altogether.

All of this in light of some concrete facts:

►Humans have been consuming game shot with traditional lead ammunition for more than a century with no documented health problems.

►All individuals tested in the CDC study who consumed game harvested with lead ammunition had blood lead levels below an unsafe level.

►Lead ammunition alternatives are expensive and more difficult to obtain.

►Most other state wildlife agencies have publicly called for hunters to continue donating meat to Hunters for the Hungry programs.

 

When states like Minnesota show nervousness over venison’s imaginary health concerns, anti-hunting groups use it to object to the use of lead ammunition. The Humane Society of the United States, for example, recently called for a ban on all lead ammunition.  Such unfounded fears hurt hunters, hungry people facing uncertain economic times, and, ultimately, game populations, for game sharing programs play a key role in helping states reach their wildlife management objectives.

 

Calls to ban lead ammunition, clearly lacking in scientific evidence, will ultimately do more harm than good. Minnesota’s testing program is needlessly flaming that fire.

 

 


Ohio

2009 Trout Fishing Opportunities at Castalia Hatchery

COLUMBUS, OH - Controlled trout-fishing opportunities on Cold Creek, one of Ohio's most unique streams, again await fishing enthusiasts who enter a special lottery conducted by the Ohio DNR.

 

A half-mile section of the creek, located at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County, will again be open to a limited number of anglers on selected dates between March 30 and October 30 next year. Anglers interested in fishing the stream must submit an application form and a non-refundable $5 application fee between December 1, 2008 and January 31, 2009 in order to be eligible for the random drawing. Application forms can be obtained by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE. Save money by applying online at wildohio.com for only $3 per application.

 

One application is allowed per person. Application information can be obtained from the ODNR Division of Wildlife Web site wildohio.com or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.

 

There will be two seasons: one for adults (March 30 through June 4 and August 24 through October 30), and one for youths age 16 and under (June 8 through August 21). Approximately

90 adult and 50 youth permits will be issued. Individuals

selected to participate will be allowed to bring two adults and three youths under the age of 16 (no more than six people total).  Participation is determined by a computer-generated random drawing, which is held in early March. Successful applicants will be notified by mail of their fishing dates. Applicants not chosen will not be notified.

 

Special fishing rules will be in effect for the event to ensure that a quality fishing experience is maintained throughout the season. One of the special rules prohibits catch-and-release fishing, with wildlife officials requiring that anglers keep all fish they catch. The daily bag limit will be five trout per angler.

 

Anglers will be required to check in at the hatchery upon arrival and check out at the end of their session. Fishing sessions will be open from 7 a.m. to noon. Anglers age 16 and older will need a valid 2009 Ohio fishing license.

 

An Ohio resident annual fishing license costs $19; a one-day fishing license costs $11. Those who purchase a one-day fishing license may later return it to a license agent to receive credit toward purchase of an annual fishing license.


Fall Turkey Season Concludes

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio's fall wild turkey season ended November 30 with 1,692, birds killed during the seven-week season. Ashtabula County led the state with 130 birds taken, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

 

Fall turkey hunters enjoyed expanded opportunities this year. They were able to hunt the entire season, from October 11

through November 30, with a shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, bow or crossbow.  This new rule adds 35 days to the

previous season for fall turkey gun hunting. Hunters had 46 counties in which to pursue a wild turkey of either sex, which included nine additional northeast Ohio counties.  The top 10 counties for fall turkey harvest were: Ashtabula-130, Tuscarawas-112, Harrison-96, Brown-91, Clermont and Coshocton-83, Trumbull-82, Highland-79, and Adams and Washington-67.


Deer Hunters Score on Opening Day 

Statewide harvest up 70 % from 2007

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio hunters were on the mark for opening day of the 2008 deer-gun season. Hunters took 33,034 white-tailed deer on Monday, according to the Ohio DNR. The deer-gun season remains open through Sunday, December 7, and then reopens for two days on Saturday and Sunday, December 20-21.

 

The preliminary figures from deer check stations throughout the state show a significant increase from last year's opening day total of 19,391. Monday's weather was breezy with intermittent rain or snow across the state, a stark contrast to opening day 2007 when hunters were hampered by heavy rain.

 

Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer checked on Monday included Tuscarawas-1,821, Washington-1,456, Coshocton-1,307, Harrison-1,286, Guernsey-1,202, Licking-1,134, Ashtabula-1,089, Holmes-1,088, Knox-954, and Athens-828.

 

Combining the results of Monday's harvest with those from the early muzzleloader season, the first six weeks of archery season and the recent youth deer-gun season, a preliminary total of 95,074 deer have been killed so far this deer hunting season. That number compares to 84,161 harvested last year  at this time. In all, hunters took a total of 232,854 deer during

all of last year's hunting seasons.

 

Approximately 400,000 hunters are expected to participate in the statewide deer-gun season. Ohio's deer population was estimated to be 700,000 prior to the start of the fall hunting seasons.

 

Hunters are encouraged to kill more does this season using the reduced-priced antlerless deer permit (valid in Zone C through December 7) and donate any extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. The Division is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to help pay for the processing of donated venison.

 

Hunters who give their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor and funding for the effort lasts. Counties being served by this program can be found online at www.fhfh.org.

 

Hunters who wish to share their success can submit a photo of themselves and the deer they killed this year for publication on the ODNR Division of Wildlife's Web page. A detailed listing of deer-hunting rules is contained in the 2008-2009 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available wherever licenses are sold, and online at www.wildohio.com.

 


Wisconsin

More than 846,000 2008 deer licenses sold

DNR’s Automated License Issuance System, known as ALIS, peaked at 201 deer gun licenses sold per minute at 5:30 p.m. on the Friday before gun deer season. An additional 11,196 hunters bought licenses during the 9-day season, bringing the gun deer license total sold to date to 642,419, slightly above 2007 totals. When archery licenses are added in, more than 846,000 backtags have accompanied hunters in the woods and fields so far this year to hunt deer. Additional licenses will likely be sold during late bow, muzzle loader, December Antlerless and “holiday” hunts that are still to come.

 

Of Wisconsin’s deer gun hunters:

► 94 % were residents.  Hunters throughout the U.S. and several foreign countries purchased a Wisconsin gun deer license.

►The highest number of nonresident hunters came from Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, and Florida), each having increased in participation over last year.

►Youth hunters aged 12-17 represent 11 % of the total number of deer hunters, and 8.1 % of the total hunters are female.

►More than 53,000 hunters are 65 or older. 24 % are between 12 and 25. The ages most represented were 47 and 48

 


Hunters register 276,985 deer in November hunt

MADISON – A call-around count of deer registration stations across Wisconsin conducted by DNR staff has yielded a preliminary kill tally for the just-ended 9-day November gun deer hunt of 276,985.

 

Many factors could have impacted this year’s hunt say wildlife managers including winter conditions lasting longer into spring than estimated and a late, cool spring which caused lower fawn production than average. Fawn production statewide was the lowest it has been in 15 years. The deer season was also quite late, past the rut in most parts of the state, meaning deer were not moving as much as hunters might have hoped.

 

Hunters across the state have commented that there appeared to be fewer deer in the woods than could be expected from prehunt population predictions. While this comment was common, registrations in the DNR’s South

Central Region actually increased 3 percent over last year and the Southeast region held pretty steady, dropping about 4 percent.

 

The DNR’s West Central Region and Northeast Regions are coming off of several years of herd reduction and earn-a-buck season structures designed to lower numbers to healthy populations. The preliminary results would seem to indicate that the strategies are working, say wildlife managers.

 

As happens every year, department wildlife managers and scientists will be closely analyzing this year’s hunt data and making any necessary adjustments for 2009 seasons. Wildlife managers will be examining a number of factors including age and sex structure of the harvest, expected over winter mortality, and fawn production rates. A recent audit by national experts indicated Wisconsin’s deer population prediction method is among the best in North America.


Canada

Outdoors Card Required To Hunt and Fish in Ontario

Province Adds Non-Residents to Licensing System

Anglers/hunters from outside Ontario who want to hunt and fish in the province will need an Outdoors Card effective Jan 1, 2009.

 

Non-resident anglers and hunters will be required to purchase the card in addition to an Ontario fishing or hunting licence, except for one-day fishing licenses. The new requirement is one more step in the effort to improve the hunting and fishing licensing system.  The card is available wherever Ontario hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

 

By 2010, the government will be moving to a fully automated system that will allow all anglers and hunters to purchase licenses from home using the Internet or a toll-free automated phone service, in addition to over 1,800 licence issuers across the province.

 “We’re moving forward in our efforts to modernize Ontario’s system for licensing hunters and anglers,” said Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield. “The improved system will help us provide better customer service by making it easier to get multi-year licenses and ensure the sustainable management of our natural resources.”

 

• The Outdoors Card is a wallet-sized plastic card valid for three years. The cost is $9.00 Canadian.

• The paper application that non-residents fill out at a licence issuer serves as a temporary Outdoors Card until the permanent card is received in the mail.

• There are two types of Outdoors Card: the Fishing Outdoors Card which can only be used with fishing licenses, and the Hunting/Fishing Outdoors Card which is valid for hunting and fishing.

• Ontario residents have been required to obtain an Outdoors Card to purchase hunting and fishing licenses since 1993.


 

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