December 13, 2018

Pick A Side: Eco-Imperialism Or Wildlife Conservation

Hunters conserve and save wildlife when no one else will or can.

Want to save wildlife in wild places? Convince misguided would-be “saviors” that they need to throttle back, cease making death threats and doing other terrorist things.

In just the past few days there has been a spate of Internet and social media attacks on hunters for their choices to participate in legal hunting at various places around the globe.

The attacks come in two basic forms: Ridicule and death threats. Differences of opinion are healthy. Death threats are both sick and illegal.<<<Read More>>>

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New Study? “Zoning” Ineffective Way to Protect Deer Wintering Habitat

Personally, I think these so-called studies should be either banned or categorized for what they are – modeling fiction.

Little in this report about a “new study” at the University of Maine makes sense and determines nothing except a suggestion that the only way we can protect those deer wintering areas that researchers seem to think deer can only survive in is to lock up the land with regulations that prohibit the use of any kind. How wonderful.

The report shares such brilliance as this: “The researchers found that zoning was effective at protecting winter habitat within zoned areas, but that ‘the zoning protections, which have exclusively targeted core use areas, have contributed little to reducing fragmentation or maintaining habitat connectivity region-wide in northern Maine.'”

And that means…?

And when it is all said and done, we are left with information few will read and even fewer will understand: “The study emphasized that monitoring is needed to understand the long-term benefits of zoning in wildlife habitat conservation, and that remote sensing can be a way to overcome the difficulty of monitoring protected forest areas.” (emphasis added) (sounds like more money is needed…wink, wink)

But we were just told there are no benefits to zoning…no, no, wait a minute we were told that there is a benefit in zoning but there isn’t a benefit in zoning. Zoning within zones zoned for zoning might do the trick. Got that?

And while their study SUGGESTS many things, it determines nothing and this is further substantiated by their emphasis that “monitoring” is needed in order to understand something about what it is they just spent time “studying.”

I wonder who paid for this and why it qualifies for publication?

 

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RMEF, Partners Take Action, Protect Popular Recreation Area, Wildlife Habitat

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—A 120-acre tract of wildlife and riparian habitat in western Montana, under threat of development, is now permanently protected and open to public access thanks to timely collaborative work by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners.

“This project is a big win for a multitude of reasons,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “It’s a win for elk and other wildlife. It’s a win for multiple-use and it’s a win for everyone seeking better access to our public lands.”

The property is located immediately to the north of the Bass Creek Recreation Area (BRCA) between Missoula and Hamilton. It lies at the base of the Bitterroot Mountains, borders Sweeney Creek and is approximately two miles east of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. It is also surrounded on three sides by the Bitterroot National Forest while a five-acre subdivision lies immediately to the east.

“This project maintains habitat values and prevents fragmentation of vital habitat for elk and other wildlife,” said Larry Irwin, RMEF board member who lives nearby in the Bitterroot Valley. “It also enhances recreation activity in the popular Bass Creek area and prevents the conversion of a non-motorized trail into a permanent vehicle route.”

A bank previously foreclosed on the land with the intent of selling it on the private market. If that happened, the Bitterroot National Forest could have been obligated to grant permanent access via the establishment of a motorized road through the property. Instead, RMEF and its partners worked together to purchase the land and convey it to the Bitterroot National Forest, thereby placing it in the public’s hands.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for the Forest Service, our partners, and most of all, public land users,” said Tami Sabol, Stevensville District ranger. “The close proximity of the Bass Creek Recreation Area to Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley make it one of the most popular areas on the Bitterroot National Forest, providing a quality ‘backyard community’ recreation experience.”  Sabol also emphasized “this purchase consolidates existing federal ownership and provides connectivity across the Bass Creek, Larry Creek, and Sweeney Creek watersheds, which is a fantastic benefit for wildlife.”

The property is important winter range for elk and mule deer and is also home to whitetail deer, turkey and other bird and mammal life.

The BCRA is used by approximately 60,000 people each year for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, mountain biking and other recreational pursuits. The acquisition provides improved access to adjacent public land and to Sweeney Creek.

“Farmers State Bank is so excited to partner with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Forest Service to provide a new outdoor recreational area in the Bitterroot Valley. Working with the RMEF and Forest Service to bring this project to fruition is a great example of community involvement and is one of the many reasons Farmers State Bank is proud to call Western Montana home,” said Kay Clevidence, Farmers State Bank president.

Funding for the project came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund Priority Recreational Access program, Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Torstenson Family Endowment, National Wild Turkey Federation, Mule Deer Foundation, Bitterroot Backcountry Horsemen and Farmers State Bank.

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Sportsmen group developing Augusta land for kids, families

AUGUSTA — The state’s largest sportsmen group is currently developing a 40-acre parcel land in Augusta on which kids and their families will be able to learn about hunting, trapping, fishing, wildlife and the outdoors.

The land, which is just north of Route 3, was donated to the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine last year. For the last few months, the group has been clearing brush, selectively removing trees, constructing an access road and digging a one-acre pond that will eventually be stocked with trout.

That’s the first phase of the project. Over the coming years, the group intends to build trails, camp sites and an archery range with 3-D models of animals, all in consultation with wildlife biologists who can help improve the habitat.

“We don’t want it to look like a national park,” said David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance. “We don’t want to drive the wildlife off.”<<<Read More>>>

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Montana Project Protects Wildlife Habitat, Expands Public Access

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with a conservation-minded family to permanently protect nearly 1,000 acres of elk habitat in southwest Montana. In addition to providing public access to the property, the project also greatly improves access to approximately 2,600 acres of adjacent public land.

“We appreciate Jerry and Linda Grow for recognizing the wildlife values of their land and reaching out to us to both protect it and open it to public access,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

The 960-acre parcel is located about 45 minutes south of Dillon in an area that includes a number of other RMEF land protection and public access projects. It is bordered on three sides by land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. RMEF now holds the property and will keep it open to public access until conveying it to the BLM, expected to happen later in 2018.

“We are very grateful for our partnerships with the private landowner, RMEF, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) who all were all instrumental in securing this property for the public and conserving this habitat,” said Cornie Hudson, BLM Dillon Field Office manager.

The property features high quality winter range habitat for as many as 700 elk and approximately 450 mule deer. It also supports moose, antelope, black bear, wolverine, greater sage-grouse and other wildlife. Both West Fork Little Sheep Creek and Straight Creek cross the immediate landscape providing vital riparian habitat for fish and other aquatic species.

The parcel will be incorporated into a grass bank to be periodically grazed by domestic livestock. Doing so will make it subject to prescribed fire and other stewardship work that will maintain high-quality habitat for wildlife and livestock alike.

The tract is also historic range for bighorn sheep that used it until a recent die-off. FWP is strongly considering the property for future bighorn reintroduction efforts.

Two small cabins are on currently on the site and will remain to be used as public rentals via the BLM recreation.gov system.

“We are so excited for the public to be able to experience this recreational opportunity!” added Hudson.”

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More Pennsylvania Elk Country Protected, Open to Public Access

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Another piece of Pennsylvania elk country is permanently protected and open to public access thanks to a collaborative effort by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC).

The Woodring Farm II project entails 37 acres and is the newest addition to State Game Lands 311. It is located near a project finalized in 2014 and marks the 13th RMEF land protection and access project in Pennsylvania elk country.

“Even though these three parcels amount to just 37 acres, every piece of the puzzle counts in expanding the total amount of elk habitat acreage protected in Pennsylvania,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We appreciate our partners at the Pennsylvania Game Commission as well as RMEF members and volunteers for their continual support.”

The property lies within the heart of the Pennsylvania elk range in Elk County’s Benezette Township which boasts the highest elk population density in the state.

“This acquisition is critical as it protects a very popular public corridor for elk viewing.  Public visitation to these viewing areas increases every year,” said Bryan Burhans, PGC executive director. “However, high-quality elk range is finite. This area is now protected perpetually thanks to our partners at RMEF and an anonymous donor.”

Funds generated from Pennsylvania elk tags and the anonymous donation to RMEF provided funding for the project.

Since 1991, RMEF and its partners completed 425 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Pennsylvania with a combined value of more than $25 million. These projects protected or enhanced 26,907 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 10,152 acres.

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Volunteers Contribute More than $21 Million in Value to RMEF Conservation Mission

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.— The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s volunteer force of 11,000-strong donated more than $21 million in labor during 2017.

“We have a profound gratitude for our volunteers who give so much of their time, talents and energy on behalf of RMEF,” said Nancy Holland, RMEF president and CEO. “They constantly go above and beyond in helping to further our shared conservation mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.”

The Independent Sector used data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the 2017 value of one volunteer hour as $24.14. RMEF volunteers average approximately 80 hours of service annually. If you do the math, that equates into $21,243,200 of total value for elk and elk country.

RMEF volunteers host fundraising banquets, membership drives and other events across more than 500 chapters from coast-to-coast. Those generated dollars are put back on the ground in their respective states and around the country to benefit elk, elk habitat, public access projects, hunting outreach events and scientific research.

Volunteers also give of their time to help with youth seminars, camps and other activities that bolster the future of hunting and conservation. Additionally, they roll up their sleeves to carry out work projects such as fence pulls, noxious weed treatments, building and repairing wildlife water sources, assisting with elk restoration and other activities. RMEF volunteers carried out more than 130 such projects across 30 states in 2017.

Since 1984, RMEF volunteers helped to protect or enhance more than 7.3 million acres of wildlife habitat, open or improve access to 1.2 million acres, complete more than 11,000 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects, and assist with the successful reintroduction of elk in seven states and one Canadian province.

“There is absolutely no doubt that RMEF would not be where it is today without our dedicated volunteers. We encourage all men, women and children interested in conserving elk and elk country to join us,” added Holland.

Go here to learn more about becoming a RMEF volunteer.

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Secretary Zinke Announces More Than $1.1 Billion for Sportsmen & Conservation

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

This year marks $20 billion in hunter and angler conservation funding

Date: March 20, 2018
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

HORICON, Wisc. – Today U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke traveled to Horicon, Wisconsin, where he announced more than $1.1 billion in annual national funding for state wildlife agencies from revenues generated by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration (PRDJ) acts. The Secretary presented a ceremonial check to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for $34,966,603 while visiting the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area. State-by-state listings of the final Fiscal Year 2018 apportionments of Wildlife Restoration Program fund can be found here and the Sport Fish Restoration Program fund here. Allocations of the funds are authorized by Congress. To date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has distributed more than $20.2 billion in apportionments for state conservation and recreation projects.

“American sportsmen and women are some of our best conservationists and they contribute billions of dollars toward wildlife conservation and sportsmen access every year through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts,” said Secretary Zinke. “For nearly eighty years, states have been able to fund important conservation initiatives thanks to the more than $20 billion that has generated nationwide. Every time a firearm, fishing pole, hook, bullet, motor boat or boat fuel is sold, part of that cost goes to fund conservation. The best way to increase funding for conservation and sportsmen access is to increase the number of hunters and anglers in our woods and waters. The American conservation model has been replicated all over the world because it works.”

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources manages over 11,000 acres of the Horicon Marsh and almost every habitat project they complete includes PRDJ dollars, including prescribed burning, invasive species treatments, wetland berm maintenance, prairie seeding and restoration, timber stand improvement.

The funds, which are distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, support critical state conservation and outdoor recreation projects. They are derived from excise taxes paid by the hunting, shooting, boating and angling industries on firearms, bows and ammunition and sport fishing tackle, some boat engines, and small engine fuel.

Wisconsin boaters generate $1.18 billion of economic impact annually while hunting contributes to $2.5 billion in yearly economic impact. Angling creates over 21,000 jobs while impacting the economy to the tune of $2.3 billion each year.

“These funds are integral to our ability to provide hunting and fishing access, restore habitat and manage species at the state level,” said Daniel L. Meyer, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “We greatly value the partnership we have with the Service and the Department of Interior.”

STATE TOTAL – SPORT FISH RESTORATION (FY18) TOTAL – ALL WILDLIFE FUNDS (FY18) TOTAL – ALL FUNDS (FY18)
ALABAMA $6,151,179 $19,360,421 $25,511,600
ALASKA $17,595,874 $33,455,771 $51,051,645
AMERICAN SAMOA $1,173,058 $1,328,563 $2,501,621
ARIZONA $7,154,503 $22,080,003 $29,234,506
ARKANSAS $5,348,981 $13,221,723 $18,570,704
CALIFORNIA $16,513,733 $26,037,993 $42,551,726
COLORADO $9,143,673 $19,872,123 $29,015,796
CONNECTICUT $3,519,175 $5,901,190 $9,420,365
DELAWARE $3,519,175 $4,785,824 $8,304,999
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA $1,173,058 $0 $1,173,058
FLORIDA $12,236,611 $14,351,398 $26,588,009
GEORGIA $8,041,424 $23,213,465 $31,254,889
GUAM $1,173,058 $1,328,563 $2,501,621
HAWAII $3,519,175 $4,785,824 $8,304,999
IDAHO $6,430,284 $15,474,320 $21,904,604
ILLINOIS $6,593,209 $16,335,080 $22,928,289
INDIANA $4,577,731 $13,573,699 $18,151,430
IOWA $4,513,130 $11,515,178 $16,028,308
KANSAS $4,981,927 $14,646,057 $19,627,984
KENTUCKY $5,198,763 $14,127,290 $19,326,053
LOUISIANA $6,908,171 $15,884,383 $22,792,554
MAINE $3,519,175 $8,055,283 $11,574,458
MARYLAND $3,519,175 $7,754,551 $11,273,726
MASSACHUSETTS $3,519,175 $7,986,372 $11,505,547
MICHIGAN $10,692,452 $24,296,525 $34,988,977
MINNESOTA $12,500,370 $23,400,370 $35,900,740
MISSISSIPPI $4,009,209 $12,144,757 $16,153,966
MISSOURI $7,677,750 $21,117,103 $28,794,853
MONTANA $8,648,987 $21,131,270 $29,780,257
N. MARIANA ISLANDS $1,173,058 $1,328,563 $2,501,621
NEBRASKA $4,483,366 $12,833,330 $17,316,696
NEVADA $4,974,601 $13,948,153 $18,922,754
NEW HAMPSHIRE $3,519,175 $4,785,824 $8,304,999
NEW JERSEY $3,519,175 $7,986,372 $11,505,547
NEW MEXICO $6,244,495 $15,787,434 $22,031,929
NEW YORK $7,820,180 $20,862,345 $28,682,525
NORTH CAROLINA $10,344,499 $21,338,737 $31,683,236
NORTH DAKOTA $4,130,618 $11,377,784 $15,508,402
OHIO $6,898,966 $16,457,632 $23,356,598
OKLAHOMA $7,695,368 $19,907,732 $27,603,100
OREGON $7,820,246 $17,690,588 $25,510,834
PENNSYLVANIA $8,571,622 $28,157,633 $36,729,255
PUERTO RICO $3,519,175 $3,452,263 $6,971,438
RHODE ISLAND $3,519,175 $4,785,824 $8,304,999
SOUTH CAROLINA $4,899,188 $10,678,793 $15,577,981
SOUTH DAKOTA $4,490,053 $13,775,104 $18,265,157
TENNESSEE $7,457,271 $22,544,767 $30,002,038
TEXAS $17,595,874 $36,656,319 $54,252,193
UTAH $6,405,939 $14,616,342 $21,022,281
VERMONT $3,519,175 $4,785,824 $8,304,999
VIRGIN ISLANDS $1,173,058 $1,328,563 $2,501,621
VIRGINIA $5,204,846 $14,176,335 $19,381,181
WASHINGTON $7,112,530 $15,120,458 $22,232,988
WEST VIRGINIA $3,519,175 $8,209,596 $11,728,771
WISCONSIN $11,424,513 $23,542,090 $34,966,603
WYOMING $5,329,957 $13,861,148 $19,191,105
       
TOTAL  $351,917,483 $797,160,652 $1,149,078,135

The recipient state wildlife agencies have matched these funds with approximately $6.7 billion throughout the years, primarily through hunting and fishing license revenues.

For more information about the WSFR program visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/.

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Hunting Is Conservation

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RMEF Conserves Wisconsin Elk Habitat

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation permanently protected key elk habitat in Wisconsin elk country by first acquiring and then conveying a 360-acre inholding to Jackson County Forest.

“This is a crucial transaction because it prevents the potential of development and fragmentation within an area that is vital to Wisconsin’s newest elk herd,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “It also both improves and increases public access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.”

The Morrison Creek property is surrounded on three sides by the 122,000-acre Jackson County Forest and is located less than three miles east from where more than 70 elk were released in 2015-2016. The area also provides year-round habitat for black bear, whitetail deer, wild turkey and an array of other wildlife species.

The acquisition opens the door for improved wildlife management practices as well as habitat stewardship work designed to promote early seral habitat for elk and other wildlife.

RMEF previously supplied funding for a nearby grassland enhancement project to increase meadow habitat.

Snipe Lake II Project
RMEF also purchased an 80-acre private inholding within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The transaction, which builds on a prior acquisition in Wisconsin’s northern elk restoration area, permanently protects key elk habitat and is critical to future forest management efforts.

Since 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 455 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wisconsin with a combined value of more than $8.5 million. These projects protected or enhanced 5,848 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 1,630 acres.

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