May 29, 2015

Hunters, Anglers Fund America’s Conservation Efforts

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—New statistics recently released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) show hunters and anglers generated $1.1 billion in 2014. That funding will be distributed to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to support America’s conservation and recreation projects.

“‘Hunting Is Conservation‘ is not just a motto or a theme or a mantra. It’s truth,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “Sportsmen and women who hunt and fish are the people who generate the funds for on-the-ground conservation and wildlife management efforts from coast to coast.”

The funding is raised through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs which place excise taxes on the sale of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment, electric boat motors, and from taxes on the purchase of motorboat fuel.

“These funds are the cornerstone of state-based efforts that are critical to the preservation of America’s wildlife and natural resources,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “But they are also the fuel for a massive financial engine that benefits outdoor recreationists, hunters, boaters and anglers, equipment manufacturers and retailers, and local and regional economies. Their value cannot be overstated in providing opportunities for the next generation of Americans to get outdoors, experience our wild places and learn the importance of conserving our natural heritage.”

“It is thanks to this significant financial investment made by America’s sportsmen and women and the hunting, shooting sports, angling and boating industries that state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies can deliver science-based conservation on the ground,” said Larry Voyles, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies president and Arizona Game and Fish Department director. “The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has made the difference between the survival and abundance of some species and it helps agencies, like mine, manage a vast estate of lands and waters and connect more people to wildlife-related recreation.”

Funding generated by RMEF’s volunteers and members in 2014 furthered the Elk Foundation’s conservation mission by helping complete 253 land and habitat stewardship projects that protected or enhanced 160,180 acres of elk habitat and opened or secured public access to 61,817 acres.

“We are so grateful for our dedicated volunteers and members, as well as sportsmen and women around the country for their passion for land and wildlife conservation,” added Allen.

Go here to see a state-by-state breakdown of the funding distribution.

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NY DEC finally releases 2014’s Big Game Harvest Stats – Maine Still on Vacation I Guess

With ten times the number of harvest deer to “count,” New York Beats Maine in releasing deer hunting harvest data.

Source: DEC finally releases 2014’s Big Game Harvest Stats – Press-Republican: Sports

Outdoors in Maine: Amendment may not be ‘silver bullet,’ but it would be well worth it

Earlier this month, two legislative bills that would, in all likelihood, represent a preemptive strike against the HSUS anti-hunting initiatives in Maine were heard by the Joint Legislative Committee on Fisheries and Wildlife. Basically, the two bills, LD 703 and LD 753, would amend the state constitution so as to protect the people’s right to hunt and fish and manage wildlife.

From all reports, these bills are going to get an inordinate amount of legislative scrutiny.

Source: Outdoors in Maine: Amendment may not be ‘silver bullet,’ but it would be well worth it

At $300 Per Hour, New Hampshire Can Devise a Bobcat Lottery

The State of New Hampshire is considering the possibility of creating a lottery in which to administer a prescribed number of bobcat hunting and/or trapping permits. According to WMUR.com, the New Hampshire fish and game department calculates, “It would require about 54 staff hours or roughly $16,000, including all benefits to get the lottery and hunt off.”

My math tells me that equates to just a couple dollars shy of $300 per hour (which includes benefits). Maybe this better tells us what is wrong with fish and game departments everywhere.

Maine Moose Permit Auction Raises Over $122,000 for Scholarships

Press Release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

AUGUSTA, Maine – Over $122,000 was raised for youth conservation education scholarships in Maine through the 2015 Maine Moose Permit Auction. Ten hunters bid a total of over $122,000 in an auction for the opportunity to hunt moose in Maine during the 2015 season.

Proceeds from the auction fund partial scholarships that will help send over 600 Maine youngsters to the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond and to Greenland Point Center in Princeton. These camps provide boys and girls ages 8 through 17 the opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor and classroom activities. Students are taught by experienced instructors and counselors, as well as staff from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and other state and private conservation agencies.

“While the auction winners have the opportunity to partake in the hunt of a lifetime, their winning bids also ensure Maine children have the chance to learn outdoor skills that will give them a lifetime of appreciation of the Maine outdoors,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The auction was created by the Legislature and begin in 1995. It allows the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to publicly auction ten moose permits each year. Applicants submit bids through a written bid process. Permits are awarded to the ten winning bidders each February. The average bid ranges between $11,000-$13,000. Funds from the auction are specifically directed to youth conservation education programs.

Conservation camp programs are designed to teach Maine boys and girls the importance of conservation, a respect for the environment and a working knowledge of a variety of outdoor skills. Subjects taught at camp include wildlife identification, fishing, boating safety, archery, firearms handling, hunter safety, forest conservation, map and compass work and much more.

For more information on Greenland Point Center and the 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond, please visit their websites at www.greenlandpoint.com and www.umaine.edu/bryantpond/

For more information on the Maine Moose Permit Auction or moose hunting in Maine, please visit our website at www.mefishwildlife.com

Who Do Hunters Trust?

Evidently not me.

“1.“Avid experienced dove hunters” won this survey in a walk, at 52.6% high trust
2.”Game Wardens” 36.9% high trust
3.”Wildlife Biologists” 27.2% high trust
4. “Hunting Organizations: 25% high trust
5.”Ammunition Manufacturers” 23.2% high trust
6.”Hunting Guides” 22.5% high trust
7.”Outdoors Writers/TV Personalities” 7.2% high trust
8. “Staff at sporting goods stores selling hunting supplies” 5.9 % high trust”<<<Read More>>>

In a Rigged System a Bill to Allow Access for Hunting, Fishing

For decades the rigged system many people wrongfully label a democracy or a constitutional republic, has worked at every opportunity to prohibit hunters, trappers and fisherman from as much access to land as can possibly be done. At the same time efforts exist to ban hunting and rob people of their right to keep and bear arms. If they can’t do this outright, they will accomplish the same through what is often called incrementalism or back door regulations to chip away at any and all aspects of hunting, fishing and trapping, including land access.

Then along comes another effort to put an end, at least to some degree, to the continued prohibitions against land access and those who helped to build the rigged system cry foul and claim preferential treatment.

According to Pajamas Media, the Sportsman’s Act of 2015, “builds on previous efforts and adds new provisions to increase access and provide new opportunities for Americans to enjoy our federal lands.”

It appears that in this bill there are provisions that contradict the existing laws surrounding “wilderness” regions – those areas set aside as preferential treatment to only those wishing to see access to federal lands restricted to specific groups or individuals.

And herein we see the hypocrisy and elitist attitudes coming out from those who promote “wilderness” for their own selfish purposes.

“Certain language [in the act] may be interpreted to allow activities in wilderness areas that are not consistent with the Wilderness Act,” Ellis explained.

Leslie Weldon, deputy chief for the National Forest System at the U.S. Forest Service, a division of the Department of Agriculture, expressed concern that the bill seems to give preferential treatment to hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. That could prove problematic given the wide range of activities enjoyed on public lands — and the service’s charge to accommodate everyone from bird watchers and hikers to school groups, photographers and, indeed, hunters and fishermen.

Please understand this. As it exists now, within the rigged system developed and designed to eliminate hunting, fishing and trapping, preferential treatment is being promoted by restricting activities by some in order to promote the desires of others in an exclusive use – and they fear such a bill would be preferential to hunters and fishermen.

Also understand that that those who seem to believe they have a right to own and restrict others, lament that such a bill would cause problems because their choice in recreational activities might be infringed upon in order to accommodate others. This is the result of years of brainwashing that hunting, trapping and fishing is bad and shouldn’t be allowed, giving people the false belief that they have exclusive rights to use the land and that right shouldn’t be at all restricted in order to accommodate others. This is the epitome of blind selfishness.

Men Hunters Are Faithful Lovers

“…found that male testosterone levels spiked during a day of hunting. Men who had large testosterone spikes during the day experienced corresponding increases in oxytocin, a hormone thought to promote intimacy and romantic feelings in relationships and to increase empathy and trust. Scientists also think the hormone is an important factor in monogamous pair bonding.”<<<Read More>>>

Don’t Be So Quick to Dispel Slingshot Hunting

I read and giggled what George Smith had written on his website about discussions on a proposed bill that would provide for hunting small game with a slingshot. LD 291 seemed to have been quickly dismissed but with much ignorance on display.

Smith writes:

Animal rights activists turned out in force to testify against the bill as did DIF&W.

Daryl DeJoy testified that his ten years of attending legislative hearings, “I have yet to testify before a bill as poorly thought out as I believe LD 291 to be… As one commentator on our Facebook page asked, ‘What’s next, baiting chipmunks?”

Judy Camuso, on behalf of DIF&W, testified against the bill. Her testimony was thorough and convincing, raising many problems with hunting with slingshots, including technical and enforcement problems.

It always amazes me that everything to do with hunting and weapons is always approached from the position that those using the weapons are out of control psychopaths whose intention is to willy-nilly kill everything in sight – death and destruction. Oh my God!

In listening to the testimony in Augusta, one person questioned about if anyone knew or had any information about the speed and killing force of a slingshot. Essentially nobody offered any information, assuming then that decisions might be made from the position of willful ignorance.

In the DeJoy testimony, mentioned above by Smith, he rails on about how making a slingshot a viable weapon for small game hunting would do nothing but create injured wildlife, injured pets and a myriad of other problems intended to present the idea as nothing but uncontrolled, irresponsible killing….like bow hunting, rifle hunting, muzzleloader hunting, etc. are? NONSENSE!

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife opposes such a bill, evidently for “technical and enforcement problems”. I understand but I don’t understand. I’m thinking this is much like the story of the neighbor who went next door to borrow an ax. The man said he couldn’t borrow his ax because it was Tuesday. When asked what Tuesday had to do with it, the neighbor answered, “Nothing. But if I don’t want you to borrow my ax, one excuse is as good as another.”

How many people do you know of that have slingshots? What kind of a problem exists at present with “uncontrolled” uses of slingshots? “Injured wildlife”? “Injured pets”? Why should anyone think providing a small game season for slingshot hunting as something that is going to cause all kinds of “unintended consequences” as was stated by the Senator presenting the bill?

It must be, using the same rationale, that there are “unintended consequences” along with injured wildlife, injured pets and lack of supervision when it comes to archery hunting. No, it’s because of the ignorance and emotional utter nonsense that always seems to rear it’s head in such issues.

Obviously, from what I have read and heard during testimony, ignorance of slingshots is at an all time high and evidently the best way to deal with this issue is to scoff at it and get rid of the proposal before anybody has to find out anything and/or education themselves about the issue. But I guess nobody has time. Gotta go check on those radio collars.

In parts of the United States, slingshot use and hunting, as well as competition events, are common. The skill set is quite remarkable. Instead of shaking one’s head and imagining two boys using a slingshot to kill the neighbor’s dog or cat, why not first educate yourself. Do people practice archery and target practice with their guns and rifles on a neighbor’s cat or dog? Not as a rule but somehow if Maine should implement a season of small game hunting with slingshots, all of these things will happen. Slingshots cause uncontrolled killing.

Slingshots, of the right size and manufacture, are viable weapons. Just like Maine has decided that .22 long rifle caliber rifles cannot be used for deer hunting, so too would limitations and regulations, just like all other disciplines, be placed on slingshots.

One person argued it would be uncontrollable because the the weapon is silent. I’m sure glad arrows go bang when they are shot out of a bow. I’m glad traps can be heard slamming shut. It’s a good thing fish scream when hooked by a fisherman. And those earth tremors we feel, are to let us know somebody threw their trash and personal waste on the ground. How ridiculous can we become?

I know little about the exact wording or the intent of the person who proposed the bill (they didn’t show up for testimony evidently) but I would certainly hope that before the Maine Fish and Wildlife Committee would toss out this idea, they think it through thoroughly. There are benefits to having such a season.

And how can any government agency not be chomping at the bit to provide another means of taking tax money to license and regulate such an activity. Hasn’t stop them in the past.

Fear the SLINGSHOT!

Maine Deer Management: Excuse Du Jour?

I was reading George Smith’s blog this morning about all the deer plans Maine has come up with over the years all aimed at rebuilding a deer herd. Smith points out, and I believe he is factual, that the number one excuse found in the myriad of deer plans as to why deer numbers don’t grow is because of diminishing habitat for the animal. Really?

I won’t deny that losing habitat isn’t a factor – and it might even be a significant factor – to maintaining and growing a deer herd. But I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I am really quite sick and tired of listening to that crap sandwich.

It’s a crap sandwich because of all the things that could be done to increase the deer herd, it’s the least likely something anybody can do about it. It’s not too far from thinking we can control the weather.

First of all, the avoidance continues, with never an answer, as to why if wintering deer habitat is so lacking why are there empty deer yards across the state? But let’s forget that for now – seeing that nobody wants to talk about it.

So Maine has all of these deer plans proposed and proposed and proposed and then along comes another to suggest another working group to come up with a plan, a plan, a plan and guess what? Nothing changes…well, at least nothing any of these people want to talk about.

Let me ask one question. What are Maine deer managers doing to build the deer herd back up? Simple question. Let’s form a list:

1. Form a working group
2. Devise a plan
3. Cry because it’s all about habitat, habitat, habitat, habitat, habitat…excuse me, I just vomited on my computer screen.
4. Ignore the plan
5. Talk about wasting money to collar 40 deer to study whether or not coyotes are killing deer.
6. Form a working group
7. Devise a plan
8. Self committal to an insane asylum.

INSANITY!

Here’s something to think about. The excuse du jour – no habitat – claims that deer can’t be grown because there just isn’t enough habitat so deer can survive the winters. So, Maine has done nothing about that and that’s not surprising. So, they wash their hands of any responsibility and decide to go study moose. Oh, but let’s not forget that token deer collaring program that might happen. That will surely put meat in my freezer.

So, if habitat is the big deal here, then there must be enough wintering habitat to allow for the increase in deer densities following 2 or 3 relatively mild winters. That did happen. I know it did. That’s encouraging so, hold that thought for a minute.

If Maine could maintain the current level of deer wintering areas and build deer up to carrying capacity, would not hunters and others be happy? Or at least happier than they are now? So, let’s work at trying to keep the habitat that exists, without becoming statist, totalitarians, and actually do those things within our easy power to cause deer numbers to go up.

1. Control coyotes/wolves (Sorry that means killing them and it has to be a program, ongoing and forget all the lame excuses as to why it doesn’t work. It does and there’s proof. We don’t need a study group to find out.)
2. Reduce black bear populations. When discussions surround coyote killing to mitigate depredation, we hear how bears kill more deer than coyotes. Fine, go kill some bears. How about a spring season? Oh, wait. Because we live in fear for our lives over fascist animal rights groups we dare not stir the pot and have a spring bear hunt. IT MIGHT OFFEND SOMEBODY. It might offend the farmer losing his livestock too but that doesn’t count? It offends me that I don’t see deer at all while hunting deer in the woods in the Fall. And while we bury our heads in the sand, the deer population works toward extirpation in Maine, while deer to the north of the state, in Canada, are doing okay.
3. Better control and monitor where bobcats and all other predators are having an effect. We don’t have to kill all the bobcat, just reduce numbers in areas where deer need help.
4. Here’s another suggestion. Instead of caving in to the political power brokers to allow them to build trails through the middle of deer wintering yards, maybe that would help save habitat. Oh, what’s that you say? That doesn’t count? That doesn’t matter? That’s too small an amount to have any impact? Okay. I get it. It’s about power and control.

If habitat is so big that nothing else matters, as it sure seems that’s the case, then how do you explain the fact that in Eastern Maine were coyote/wolf control is ongoing, their deer numbers are rebounding nicely? Why? Coincidence? I don’t think so. They are doing something about it. I think they at least understand that while habitat isn’t fully abundant, and let’s face it, it never will be again, they can and are doing somethings that will help.

Now, I know these suggestions require work and it might not be as much fun as tracking radio collars and flying in helicopters counting animals, but one more claim that Maine can’t do anything about the deer herd because of habitat and I will have to vomit on my computer screen again.

Enough already! Rome burns while another working group and deer plan is devised.