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New York DEC Adopts New Falconry Regulations

July 23, 2013

SX New York State DEC

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the adoption of regulations governing the sport of falconry. The adopted regulations are in response to changes to the federal regulations governing the sport of falconry published by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife...

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Good News in Ecology: The Detroit River Revival

May 31, 2013

A Peregrine Falcon with the Detroit skyline in the background. Once a polluted and nigh-uninhabitable mess, the Detroit River and its surrounding ecosystem has undergone a major restoration that can serve as a model for other waterways. Image courtesy DTE Energy.

Recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the 2008-2009 National Rivers and Stream Assessment Survey about the quality of waterways in the U.S. gathered from approximately 2,000 sites across the country. Some of the findings include: Twenty-one percent of the nation’s rivers and streams are...

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Washington Commission Will Consider Hunting Rules, Discuss Additional Octopus Protection

April 4, 2013

Washington Commission Will Consider Hunting Rules, Discuss Additional Octopus Protection

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adopting 17 new hunting rules for the upcoming season and receive a briefing on options for extending greater protection to Puget Sound’s giant Pacific octopus population at a public meeting next week in Olympia.

The commission, a nine-member citizen panel the sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene April 12-13 on the Capitol Campus in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. An agenda is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2013/ .

One new hunting rule under consideration by the commission would allow bow hunters to use illuminated arrow nocks, which can be helpful in finding and retrieving arrows. Another would restore antlerless elk opportunities for archery hunters in Yakima County, specifically in game management units 352 (Nile) and 356 (Bumping).

Those and other hunting proposals scheduled for a vote are available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/regulations/development.html#12-19-007 .

WDFW fishery managers will also brief the commission on options recommended by an ad hoc advisory group for increasing protection for the giant Pacific octopus population in Puget Sound. Last November, the commission received three petitions requesting amendments to sportfishing rules after a giant Pacific octopus was legally harvested from the waters of a popular dive site at Seacrest Park in West Elliot Bay.

The commission is not scheduled to take action on octopus rules at the upcoming meeting, but may do so at a later meeting.

In other business, WDFW staff will brief the commission on:

  • The proposed transfer of the department’s Hunter Education Division and certain wildlife-conflict responsibilities from the Enforcement Program to the Wildlife Program.
  • The 2012 Puget Sound crab season.
  • WDFW’s Americans with Disabilities Advisory Committee

Read and join the discussion on Washington Commission Will Consider Hunting Rules, Discuss Additional Octopus Protection at OutdoorHub.com.

Meeting to Discuss Mountain Lion Quotas Tuesday in Montana

March 21, 2013

Meeting to Discuss Mountain Lion Quotas Tuesday in Montana

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will host a public meeting next week to discuss mountain lion management and tentative quotas for the 2013 hunting season in Region 3. The meeting is set for Tuesday, March 26 at 7 p.m. at the Methodist Church Annex (114 E. Cedar) in Three Forks.

FWP staff will present current mountain lion management and harvest data. Representatives from the Montana State Houndsmen Association will also be present.

FWP will use the public input from the meeting to develop tentative quota recommendations that will be presented to the FWP Commission and discussed at the April 11 commission meeting. The Commission will finalize mountain lion quotas in June.

Read and join the discussion on Meeting to Discuss Mountain Lion Quotas Tuesday in Montana at OutdoorHub.com.

Approved Actions by Alabama Conservation Advisory Board

March 17, 2013

Approved Actions by Alabama Conservation Advisory Board

The Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Board met in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday, March 9, 2013, to receive public comments on all pending matters. The Board considered and responded to the following for the 2013-2014 hunting seasons:

  1. In Alabama, it is unlawful to hunt in an “area” where bait or feed has been placed in an attempt to lure or attract an animal with the intent to take or kill them (Section 9-11 -244, Code of Alabama). In an effort to clarify the Statute concerning hunting with the aid of feed, the CAB unanimously approved a motion to define that “area.” The delineation of an area beyond which there would be a rebuttable presumption that feed would not be a lure or attraction over the area being hunted was approved. The text of the approved regulation would be as follows: “For the purposes of Section 9-11-244, Code of Alabama 1975, and Rule 220-2-.11, Alabama Administrative Code, as it applies to the hunting of deer and feral swine, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that any bait or feed (as defined in Section 9-11-244) located beyond 100 yards from the hunter and not within the line of sight of the hunter, is not a lure, attraction or enticement to, on or over the area where the hunter is attempting to kill or take the deer or feral swine. For the purpose of this regulation, “not within the line of sight” means being hidden from view by natural vegetation or naturally occurring terrain features. This regulation shall not apply on public lands.”
  2. The CAB unanimously approved the shifting of the end of the deer hunting season in southwest Alabama to February 10. In an effort to keep the number of days consistent throughout the entire state, the deer season will be closed from December 2-11 in the area of the state that is allowed to hunt into February. The counties and areas involved are all of Baldwin, Escambia, Mobile, and Washington Counties and parts of Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Covington, Monroe and Wilcox counties, as shown on the attached map.
  3. The CAB unanimously approved the establishment of a restricted unantlered deer season in portions of north Alabama during the period of November 23-January 31. The bag limit in this portion of North Alabama has been reduced to one unantlered deer per day. The counties involved are all of Limestone, and parts of Blount, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Madison, Marshall, Morgan and St. Clair counties, as shown on the attached map.
  4. The CAB unanimously approved the establishment of a mandatory game check system for the 2013-2014 deer hunting season. In addition to completing the Alabama Harvest Record upon the harvest of an antlered buck or turkey, hunters will be required to record their harvest into a game check database and obtain a harvest confirmation number for each animal taken. There are three ways to record the harvest and receive the harvest confirmation number: through the Outdoor Alabama website, the Outdoor Alabama App for both Droid and iPhone, or by calling a 1-800 number. All deer, antlered and unantlered, and turkey must be registered within 24 hours of harvest.

The CAB also approved the following:

  1. The reopening of a previously closed area of southwest Mobile County south of interstate 10 to turkey hunting.
  2. The shifting of the dates of the south zone dove season back one day to include the Friday after Thanksgiving.
  3. The elimination of all fall turkey hunting seasons in Alabama.
  4. The closing of the dog deer hunting season in a portion of Elmore County, except by permit.
  5. The closing of the dog deer hunting season in Wilcox County, except by permit.
  6. The revisions for the use of certain arms and ammunition, including allowing the use of laser sights by legally blind hunters who are accompanied by licensed sighted assistants.
  7. The revision of legal arms and ammunition to allow for the use of air guns .30 caliber or larger for deer.
  8. The opening of bobcat and fox season to year round hunting with no bag limits.
  9. The reduction of the Sauger creel limit to five.
  10. The closure of walleye fishing in parts of Clay County.
  11. The closure of Shoal bass fishing in Halawakee, Uchee and Wacoochee creeks in southeast Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com .

Read and join the discussion on Approved Actions by Alabama Conservation Advisory Board at OutdoorHub.com.

California Outdoors Q&As: If White-tailed Deer Stray into California, Can We Shoot?

January 25, 2013

If White-tailed Deer Stray into California, Can We Shoot?

Question: If white-tailed deer were to migrate into California from Oregon or Idaho, could they be shot here on sight since there is no season or provision for that species? (Scott H.)

Answer: No. Since Fish and Game Code, section 3950(a) defines deer as genus Odocoileus, which includes white-tailed deer, white-tailed deer can only be taken under the normal deer hunting provisions for the area in which it wandered.

Spearfishing in the Sacramento River

Question: I live in the Valley District and am wondering if it is legal to spearfish in the Sacramento River? I know there are carp, pikeminnow (squawfish) and western suckers. I’ve been searching online and many people say you can’t spearfish in any fresh water system, including streams, lakes and rivers. I have spearfished in the ocean but not in fresh water yet. I keep hearing different things from people regarding the spearfishing.

Also, is there any recommended equipment for spearfishing? Can homemade or custom-built equipment be legally used for spearfishing? I know the Valley District is only open for a short time (five months) for spearfishing. (J.T. Moua)

Answer: Spearfishing is allowed but there are some restrictions. First of all, please pick up a copy of the 2012-2013 Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet available free of charge at most stores or DFG offices that sell fishing licenses or online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/. Section 2.30 (page 15) lists the only species that may be taken in the Valley District between May 1 and Sept. 15. For a description of the boundaries for the Valley District, please see section 6.36 (page 27). In addition, you may not spearfish in designated spawning areas. There are no specific definitions regarding the spears that may be used, so you may build your own or buy a custom made spear. For a definition of what regulations constitute spearfishing, please see section 1.76 (page 13).

How many hooks are allowed when sturgeon fishing?

Question: When fishing for sturgeon, how many hooks are allowed?

Answer: Only one single point, single shank, barbless hook may be used on a line when taking sturgeon.

When a sturgeon is accidentally caught on the wrong gear …?

Question: If a legal-sized white sturgeon is caught accidentally on a barbed hook (e.g. while fishing for striped bass), can it be legally kept as long as the angler possesses a sturgeon report card and tag? (Anonymous)

Answer: No, even if accidentally caught, barbed hooks are not an authorized method of take for white sturgeon. Thus, even legal-sized white sturgeon caught on a barbed hook cannot be kept.

What are the rules for sturgeon fishing from a boat?

Question: Once an angler on a boat has legally caught and kept a white sturgeon, must all anglers on that boat switch to barbless hooks?

Answer: No. However, for the rest of that day, the successful sturgeon angler must no longer fish for sturgeon and must immediately release any sturgeon that is accidentally caught.

Sand Souvenirs

Question: I am developing a souvenir that would contain granules of sand from California beaches. I would only require about a half-gallon of sand. Am I able to take sand from a beach and re-sell it as a souvenir to promote the state and its natural resources? (Paul K.)

Answer: Generally, beach sand is not protected by any California Fish and Game law. However, collection of anything (including beach sand) is prohibited in any park or other marine area that has a specific designation and protection in law. In addition, you may want to consider the corrosive nature of beach sand due to its salt content and other unsuitable qualities resulting from decomposition of biotics before using it in your souvenirs. You may find it more beneficial to purchase treated beach sand that is sold in small quantities at many stores that stock landscape and garden supplies.

Read and join the discussion on California Outdoors Q&As: If White-tailed Deer Stray into California, Can We Shoot? at OutdoorHub.com.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Offering Fur Trapping Opportunity on Marsh Island Refuge

January 24, 2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Offering Fur Trapping Opportunity on Marsh Island Refuge

Due to the increased nutria population on Marsh Island Refuge, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is seeking trappers to participate in a special opportunity to harvest nutria, and possibly other furbearer species, from the refuge.

The nutria population is negatively impacting the habitat and the department’s goal is to reduce habitat damage and loss on the Iberia Parish refuge.

A maximum of six trappers will be selected from applications received by the Feb. 15, 2013 deadline. Those selected will be authorized to hunt nutria on the refuge through March 31, 2013, and for the next three trapping seasons, provided they pass an annual harvest review.

Applicants must have a minimum of three years of trapping experience, necessary equipment and must belicensed in the Coastwide Nutria Control Program (CNCP). To review the application form and all requirements, go to the LDWF website file: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/marsh-island-wildlife-refuge.

Application forms must be delivered or mailed to the following address to arrive by 4:30 p.m., Feb. 15, 2013:

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Marsh Island Refuge Fur Trapper Applications

2415 Darnall Road

New Iberia, LA 70560

Attn: Leslie Campbell

Participants will be required to enroll in the Coastwide Nutria Control Program (CNCP), if they are not already. LDWF will not collect a percentage of the funds generated as a result of nutria tail collections and/or other permitted furbearer harvest.

Overnight accommodations (primitive camping or houseboats) and staging of boats (flats, surface drives, etc.) at the refuge will be permitted to improve hunter efficiency. But boat storage and overnight camping/mooring will be permitted on an “as available” basis. Hunting/trapping activities will be permitted during the trapping season (November 20 – March 31).

For more information on Marsh Island Refuge nutria trapping opportunities or to obtain an application, contact Tyson Crouch or Cassidy Lejeune at 337-373-0032 or tcrouch@wlf.la.gov or clejeune@wlf.la.gov.

Read and join the discussion on Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Offering Fur Trapping Opportunity on Marsh Island Refuge at OutdoorHub.com.

Man Shot about 100 Deer in Wisconsin’s Vernon, Richland counties

January 17, 2013

Man Shot about 100 Deer in Wisconsin’s Vernon, Richland counties

Conservation Warden: ‘Everyone harmed by this case’

Remember the Hillsboro man who kicked off the Twelve Days of Christmas with two days of poaching in 2011 in a case that crossed two southern Wisconsin counties and involved the suspected illegal killing of about 100 deer?

Nathan Blaha, 21, last year entered no contest pleas to three misdemeanor counts of illegal shining and one count of failure to attach a tag to a deer carcass as part of the case filed collaboratively against him by district attorney offices in Vernon and Richland counties.

Vernon County Circuit Judge Michael Rosborough on November 26 sentenced Blaha to 60 days in jail on each count to run concurrently, to pay $9,616 in court penalties and to lose all hunting, fishing and trapping license privileges for 12 years. In Richland County, Blaha was sentenced on December 10 to an additional 120 days in jail for a total six-month jail sentence.

The case was pursued by Assistant District Attorney Stacy Smith of Vernon County and District Attorney Jennifer Harper of Richland County, and based upon the evidence gathered by Conservation Wardens Mike Nice of Richland Center and Cody Adams of Prairie du Chien and Deputy Warden Mike Williams.

“This guy wasn’t hunting. He was poaching,” Nice said of the suspect who is believed to have illegally killed 100 deer during the holiday periods in 2010 and 2011. Blaha roamed the roads shining and shooting bucks and does as they stood blindly in the light. “In my 23 years as a conservation warden, I have never seen another individual come close to that total.”

District Attorney Harper says Wisconsin laws do not provide for lengthy periods of license revocation for hunting, fishing and trapping. “Many, many other states have greater penalties,” Harper said, referring to calls she received from across the country about the revocation periods allowed by state law. Assistant District Attorney Smith agreed, and added the suspects also changed their stories as to the number of deer killed in this case. The attorneys ultimately filed the charges based upon evidence.

Warden Nice says the prosecuting attorneys are to be thanked for their hard work and focus on the case that angered the community and other outdoor sportsmen and women nationwide.

Landowners, hunters and non-hunters found this case disturbing, Nice said. “The people who try to do the right thing – sound land and wildlife management, hunt with the principles of fair chase and respect for the resources – everyone is harmed by a situation like this.”

Two other area males also were sentenced in the case. A third against a juvenile accomplice is pending.

Also sentenced by Vernon County Judge Rosborough was Brogan Gillingham, 18, Hillsboro. He faced a similar consolidated case launched by the two counties’ attorneys. Gillingham was found guilty due to no contest pleas on four counts and sentenced on July 11. Gillingham was sentenced to three years of probation with 60 days in jail and six years suspension of what is known as Chapter 29 rights to hunt, fish and trap. He also was ordered to pay $4,536 in court penalties.

Steven Blaha, 19, Hillsboro, on August 8 was found guilty due to no contest plea on one count of failure to attach a tag to a deer carcass. He was ordered to pay $2,275 in penalties and handed a three-year revocation of his hunting and fishing privileges. He was not ordered to serve jail time. His sentencing was in Richland County Circuit Court.

Read and join the discussion on Man Shot about 100 Deer in Wisconsin’s Vernon, Richland counties at OutdoorHub.com.

Safari Club International Recognizes Congressman Paul Ryan as the 2013 Federal Legislator of the Year

January 17, 2013

Safari Club International Recognizes Congressman Paul Ryan as the 2013 Federal Legislator of the Year

Safari Club International (SCI) is pleased to recognize Representative Paul Ryan (Wisc.) as the 2013 SCI Federal Legislator of the Year. The award will be presented during the evening banquet on Jan. 25, 2013 at the world’s greatest convention dedicated to North American and international hunting, the 41st Annual Safari Club International Hunters’ Convention.

“No other legislator is more deserving of this award after the 2012 election cycle than Congressman Paul Ryan,” said SCI President John Whipple. “Being an avid hunter, Congressman Ryan was a champion to our cause, and put the preservation of hunting heritage in the national spotlight during his 2012 vice-presidential campaign. Be it in a business suit or full field attire, voters across the country saw the indelible image of him, with his bow at full draw; showing indisputable evidence of his commitment to being the voice for sportsmen and women both on the campaign trail and in the 112th Congress. SCI is proud to honor Representative Ryan as the 2013 SCI Federal Legislator of the Year.”

“It is an honor to be recognized by Safari Club International and its members as the 2013 Federal Legislator of the Year. I’m grateful to win this award and even more excited to be able to pass on to my children the hunting traditions and values that SCI stands for,” Ryan said. “The values of sportsmen and women have been a focus throughout my career and I will continue to support the hunting traditions and rights we cherish.”

Aside from his legislative work in Congress and with Safari Club International, Ryan is a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), having previously served as co-chairman for CSC in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011.

Read and join the discussion on Safari Club International Recognizes Congressman Paul Ryan as the 2013 Federal Legislator of the Year at OutdoorHub.com.

Florida FWC Seeks Public Input on Panhandle Deer Management

January 10, 2013

Florida FWC Seeks Public Input on Panhandle Deer Management

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will host a series of public meetings in late January to help shape the future of deer management in the Florida Panhandle.

“We are working on an exciting project to establish deer management units (DMUs) throughout Florida,” said Cory Morea, FWC’s Deer Management Program coordinator. He added, “We are looking at the Panhandle first, but we are moving to a new model of deer management in the state in which hunters and other stakeholders will have a greater impact on deer management decisions.”

DMUs will divide the state into smaller geographic areas where deer population characteristics are similar. Right now, the state is divided into four management zones that are used to set hunting season dates based on deer breeding chronology. As proposed, DMUs will be smaller units within zones and allow the FWC to manage deer on a more local level based on the preferences of hunters, farmers and other interested stakeholders.

Two DMUs are proposed for Zone D, which encompasses much of the Florida Panhandle region (western portions of Gadsden, Leon and Wakulla counties and all counties west of them). One unit would cover the area south of Interstate 10 and the other north of I-10.

The new DMUs are intended to allow the FWC more flexibility with deer management based upon the deer population, habitat conditions and public preference within each of the units.

“We surveyed hunters, farmers and other members of the general public to determine attitudes and opinions regarding deer management, and we will be sharing the results of that survey at the public meetings. We will also present information on the DMU model and will be gathering public input on deer management preferences,” said Morea.

For people who cannot attend any of the meetings, there will be other opportunities to learn about this project and provide input.

“We have information on our website and we will be accepting comments online,” said Morea, adding that public input will determine what changes may be made and that “no changes” is an option. “This project is about managing deer based on public preference.

“Of course, we wouldn’t do anything to risk the sustainability of this valuable public resource, but deer densities and other deer management preferences, such as antler regulations, can be better suited to public preferences using the DMU model.”

A technical assistance group (TAG), composed of members of the public, will be established to review all available public comments and make recommendations to the FWC on the two DMUs within Zone D. The public meetings and the TAG will be facilitated by a third-party vendor, Normandeau Associates, which will develop a summary report to the FWC.

Up to 25 TAG members will be chosen based upon their expertise, their representation of an important interest group and their willingness to dedicate some time to better deer management in Zone D. Anyone interested will be able to apply for TAG membership at the public meetings or on the FWC’s website.

More information about the proposed DMUs, the Technical Assistance Group and a meeting agenda is available online at MyFWC.com/Hunting; click on “By Species,” “Deer” and then “DMUs.”

Times and Locations:

  • Jan. 29, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. CST at the Jackson County Agricultural Conference Center, 2741 Pennsylvania Ave., Marianna, FL 32448;
  • Jan. 30, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. EST at the Burns Building Auditorium, Florida Department of Transportation, 605 Suwannee St., Tallahassee, FL 32399;
  • Jan. 31, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. CST at the University of West Florida, Commons Auditorium, 11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, FL 32514.

Read and join the discussion on Florida FWC Seeks Public Input on Panhandle Deer Management at OutdoorHub.com.

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