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Hearing Set on Proposed Hunting Restrictions in Denali National Preserve

December 2, 2012

Hearing Set on Proposed Hunting Restrictions in Denali National Preserve

The National Park Service (NPS) will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, December 12 on proposed changes to sport hunting regulations for Denali National Preserve. The proposed changes would prohibit taking brown bears over bait stations, using artificial light to take black bears at dens, taking black bear cubs and sows with cubs, and would shorten the season for hunting wolves and coyotes.

The proposed restrictions renew a previous temporary prohibition on taking black bears at dens and black bear cubs and sows with cubs.  The
restrictions also respond to recent changes to State of Alaska hunting regulations. Those changes included allowing the killing of brown bears
over bait stations in three game management units, which included portions of three National Preserves. The proposed prohibition reflects the NPS
concerns about the dangers of food conditioned bears as well as the potential impact to the natural abundance, behavior, distribution, and ecological integrity of brown bear populations.

The State has also extended the hunting season for wolves and coyotes into the summer in several areas, including nine National Preserves. The NPS is proposing to prohibit the take between May 1 and August 9 because it is the period when wolves and coyotes are denning and raising offspring and their pelts have little trophy or economic value.

The hearing is the first step leading to the potential implementation of restrictions in the annual Superintendent’s Compendium, an annual
compilation of temporary closures and similar restrictions. After taking into consideration public comments, the National Park Service may include
hunting restrictions in the draft Compendium, which will be released on January 15, 2013. The text for all of the Alaska compendiums will be posted on www.nps.gov/akso/compendiums.  A 30-day public comment period will also be held for the draft compendiums, with a final compendium expected to go into effect on April 1, 2013.

The Denali Preserve hearing will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Murie Science and Learning Center in Denali National Park.

Read and join the discussion on Hearing Set on Proposed Hunting Restrictions in Denali National Preserve at OutdoorHub.com.

How Natural Resources May Be Impacted by the “Fiscal Cliff”

November 20, 2012

How Natural Resources May be Impacted by the “Fiscal Cliff”

Radio airwaves, TV stations and written news sources have been teeming with talk of the impending “fiscal cliff” that may slide the United States back into recession and raise unemployment rates. Yet, rarely are the country’s natural resources a part of this talk. To remedy that, Mother Nature Network took a look at just what sort of effect the fiscal cliff (or the laws that pertain to the fiscal cliff) may have on national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, public lands, oceans, the coastline, and environmental research.

First, what is the “fiscal cliff?” The phrase refers to a number of laws under the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the Bush tax cuts which lowered taxes and prevented the United States from sovereign default. The “cliff” is the slew of budget cuts and tax hikes all set to hit at the same time on January 1 if the president and Congress do not draft another plan to avoid the looming changes.

Mother Nature Network paints a grim outlook for the future of natural resources if a new plan is not agreed upon by Congress and the president.

The White House estimates that “the National Park Service (NPS) would likely have to close some national parks, campgrounds and visitor centers.” Park rangers at the NPS may face a reduction in staff, while National Wildlife Refuge System scientists could lose 200 positions and law enforcement would be cut by 15 percent.

More job loss and weaker management of wildlife, wildfires, man-made forest infrastructure (such as roads and lodging) would suffer from decreased maintenance, many permits may go unprocessed and invasive species may increase. According to the National Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) fiscal cliff report, budget cuts could damage development in parks and other public lands across the country as well as cause permanent loss of recreation access in some places.

Other threats include ecological damage to coastlines and oceans because of the decreased ability of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to protect these areas.

Read the full article by Russell McLendon on the Mother Nature Network by clicking here.

Read and join the discussion on How Natural Resources May Be Impacted by the “Fiscal Cliff” at OutdoorHub.com.

US Forest Service Prohibiting Deer Hunting with Dogs on Kisatchie National Forest Effective with 2012-2013 Hunting Season

November 9, 2012

US Forest Service Prohibiting Deer Hunting with Dogs on Kisatchie National Forest Effective with 2012-2013 Hunting Season

The US Forest Service has ruled that hunting deer with dogs will be prohibited in the Kisatchie National Forest (KNF) effective with the 2012-2013 hunting season.  The decision is a federal action and overrules the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission which previously approved deer season dates for the KNF that included nine days in December 2012 for deer hunting with dogs.

All deer season dates within the KNF for the 2012-2013 season are now still hunting only and no special federal or state deer hunting permit is required.

The remaining deer season dates, within the Catahoula (Grant and Rapides parishes), Winn (Winn, Grant and Natchitoches parishes), Kisatchie Ranger Districts (Natchitoches Parish), and the Evangeline Unit of the Calcasieu Ranger District (Rapides Parish), include the following:

  • Firearms, either sex: Nov. 23, still hunt only
  • Firearms, bucks only: Nov. 3-22 and 24-25, Dec. 15-30, still hunt only.

The public is advised that the deer hunting “with or without dogs” dates listed for the KNF in the printed 2012-2013 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet are no longer valid.  A revised version of the booklet is available on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) website with all deer season changes included. To access that document, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/regulations.

For details, visit the Forest Service’s website at www.fs.usda.gov/kisatchie or the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website at  http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov.

Read and join the discussion on US Forest Service Prohibiting Deer Hunting with Dogs on Kisatchie National Forest Effective with 2012-2013 Hunting Season at OutdoorHub.com.

Hunting with Dogs in Mississippi’s Homochitto National Forest

October 4, 2012

Hunting with Dogs in Mississippi’s Homochitto National Forest

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) will continue to enforce regulations (Public Notice of Rule Number W17 3434) concerning hunting with dogs on the Homochitto National Forest. The regulations were first adopted at the beginning of last year’s hunting season.

From November 1, 2012 – January 31, 2013, all dog hunting groups or individuals hunting with dogs must obtain a permit to use dogs to hunt any animal or to train dogs on areas open to deer hunting with dogs on Homochitto National Forest. A copy of this public notice of rule can be obtained at www.mdwfp.com.

“This regulation began last year as a pilot project to help improve safety for hunters, landowners and all forest visitors,” said Homochitto District Ranger Bruce Prud’homme. “Last year was a success. Forest visitors, including people who hunt with dogs, had a safe and enjoyable experience on the National Forest. At the same time, nearby landowners and community residents had fewer complaints than previous years.”

To apply and receive a permit the following steps should be taken:

  1. Beginning October 5th, go to www.mdwfp.com to submit an application for a permit. There is no cost for the permit. Questions regarding the application process should be directed to the MDWFP at 601-432-2199.
  2. Starting October 15th, the Forest Service will begin issuing permits through the mail. If applicants prefer, permits may be picked up in person from the Meadville Office by calling 601-384-5876 to set up an appointment. Permits will be issued in the order which they were received.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and the U.S Forest Service want to make the permit process as simple and quick as possible. “Last year, we had great success in implementing this regulation,” said Chad Dacus, MDWFP Wildlife Bureau Assistant Director. “Our organizations want to continue to make sure hunters are aware of this regulation.”

Read Hunting with Dogs in Mississippi’s Homochitto National Forest in its entirety on OutdoorHub.com.

Wyoming Seeks to Remove Grizzly Bear from Federal Protection List, Potentially Open Hunting Season

June 4, 2012

Wyoming Seeks to Remove Bear from Federal Protection List; Open a Hunting Season

The Governor of Wyoming, Matt Mead, recently wrote a letter to Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar asking him to remove the federal protection awarded to grizzly bears under the Endangered Species Act. Mead also asked the DOI to expedite the review for federal protections for Yellowstone bear populations to under two years.

Mead quotes grizzly bear scientists and other experts when he says the species has “unquestionably recovered within the Yellowstone Ecosystem,” as he wrote in the letter to the DOI.

The bear count within Yellowstone Park and in adjacent recovery areas is estimated to be at about 600 grizzlies.

Mead wants the state of Wyoming to regain full control of managing its bear population. He says bear recovery is costly in Wyoming; in two senses of the word. For one, Wyoming’s investment in the recovery effort has already totaled $35 million over the past 28 years. Currently, the average annual cost to conserve grizzlies approaches $2 million. But finances are not the only costly repercussion.

Mead also cited four fatal Yellowstone bear incidents in the last two years that occurred in or near the park. He also mentioned bear-related property damage that was “disturbing and costly.”

Those who want to keep the bear federally protected cite the widespread infection of whitebark pine tree disease. Whitebark pine seeds is an important food source for grizzly bear and bear advocates are concerned that if the tree is wiped out by the disease, the bear population could go with it. State and federal wildlife managers say grizzlies appear to be adapting fine by finding other food sources, as mentioned in the Yellowstone Gate.

In his letter, Gov. Mead addresses the concerns about whitebark pine trees and points out that although there was a committee directed to study how the whitebark pine relates to grizzly bear populations, it would take two years to complete the study which is “too long and the cost is too great.”

Allowing the state to control its grizzly population would open the prospect of a new hunting season. Critics of delisting the animal want the bear to remain under federal protection until Yellowstone bear populations rebound to a greater degree. They expressed concern that hunting the grizzly bear might hinder grizzlies’ continuing recovery.

Click here to view the letter from Gov. Mead to Sec. Salazar. (pdf)

Outdoor Hub, The Outdoor Information Engine - Wyoming Seeks to Remove Grizzly Bear from Federal Protection List, Potentially Open Hunting Season


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