Wildlife Refuges, Not Hunters’ Playgrounds

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October 16th, 2013 by Anja Heister

Once again, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) wants to turn even more wildlife refuges into playgrounds for hunters and other “consumptive users” of wild animals.

The U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System includes 550 national wildlife refuges, thousands of waterfowl protection areas and four marine national monuments, totaling more than 150 million acres. Despite being called “refuges”, more than half of all national wildlife refuges are already open to hunters, trappers and anglers.

Consumptive users also have millions of acres of public and private lands outside the refuge system available to them to pursue their frivolous and violent activities of “recreational” trophy hunting and fishing, and trapping for fur. They should not be allowed in refuges, which often are the last remaining places for animal species already struggling for survival.

Furthermore, as the USFWS’s own 2011 survey has shown, wildlife watchers have already well outpaced and outspent wildlife killing interests. Wildlife watchers are a growing economic force, and their overwhelming preference to see living animals needs to be considered and respected.

Wildlife refuges, as the name indicates, should be true sanctuaries for wild animals where they are sheltered from the killing spree that surrounds them.

What You Can Do:

Please copy and paste the comment below to the USFWS and tell them that hunting, trapping and fishing should not be allowed in national wildlife refuges at all.

Please follow these steps to send your comment to the USFWS:

http://www.idausa.org/wildlife-refuges-hunters-playgrounds/

Conservation Groups Sue Over NC Coyote Hunting

RALEIGH, N.C. — Conservation groups are suing North Carolina wildlife regulators, saying a rule that allows coyote hunting endangers the world’s only wild population of about 100 red wolves because hunters easily confuse the two animals.

An attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court on behalf of three other groups.

The state Wildlife Resources Commission in July approved a permanent regulation allowing coyote hunting in the five-county area of eastern North Carolina that’s known as the Red Wolf Recovery Area. A state judge earlier blocked a temporary rule allowing the hunting in Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde, Washington and Beaufort counties.

The Southern Environmental Law Center says 20 red wolves have died from gunshots since 2008.

A wildlife commission spokesman declined comment until the agency receives the lawsuit.

Coyote photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Coyote photo Copyright Jim Robertson

US government shutdown runs afoul of hunters

Two deer graze in a Yosemite Valley field on August 28, 2013 in Yosemite National Park, California
October 7, 2013 6:01 PM                        
Chicago (AFP) – Hunters hoping to bag their limit on federal land joined a chorus of frustrated citizens urging a halt to the US government shutdown Monday.”People are traveling hundreds of miles this time of year and getting to their favorite hunting or fishing holes and finding they’ve closed,” said Miles Moretti, president of the Utah-based Mule Deer Foundation.

October marks the beginning of what is usually a brief hunting season for waterfowl and larger game like deer and elk.

But with Congress unable to reach a deal on the federal budget and only essential government work permitted, some 329 federal wildlife refuges have been closed to hunting.

That will increase pressure on already crowded state-run public hunting grounds, and could have a serious economic impact, sportsmen’s groups warned.

It could also dash the dreams of hunters who’ve finally snagged a rare permit.

“In Colorado, hunters who’ve waited 12 years to hunt elk are being forced to turn in their tags,” said Gaspar Perricone, co-director of the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance.

Normally packed with tourists, the stairs leading from the Capitol Visitors Center up to the Capitol …

“The hardship isn’t only being felt by the hunters and anglers, but also by the locals and rural economies that depend on them,” he said in a conference call.

Hunting and fishing is an $86 billion industry while other forms of wildlife recreation, like birdwatching, bring the annual total up to $144 billion.

“It’s a big business,” said Desiree Sorenson-Groves of the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

“For commercial guides, this is Macy’s at Christmas.”

The shutdown also has halted critical habitat conservation efforts which need to be conducted in the fall ahead of the spring breeding season, she said.

Adding insult to injury, people can’t even call their congressmen to complain because the shutdown also affects constituent services.

“Our community is getting pretty frustrated,” said Whit Fosburgh, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

“We want the damn thing to be fixed and want the federal government open.”

Man killed in duck hunting accident in Hubbard County

Monday, October 07, 2013 10:39 a.m. CDT                                  by Bonnie Amistadi

                                                                                                                    

Duck Hunting

NEVIS, MINN. (KFGO-AM) — A duck hunter died after being shot in the head by his hunting partner near Nevis.

The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office says Adam Poole, 23, of Nevis, and his partner were in a boat on 4th Crow Wing Lake. They both stood up to shoot at a duck and the partner lost his balance, and the gun went off.

Poole died at the scene.

The Upside of Government Shutdown: Hunting Closures

From: Oklahoma Outdoor News

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

The government shutdown is causing headaches for Oklahoma outdoorsmen.In addition to campgrounds being closed on areas controlled by the US Army Corps of Engineers and popular destinations like the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, popular deer hunts are also being canceled.[!!]

This weekend’s youth deer hunts on the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge are canceled because of the shutdown. There were 24 youth hunts which has been scheduled this weekend and another 39 scheduled in two weeks.[How many deer does that equate to?]

Other youth deer hunts which scheduled in the upcoming weeks at federally controlled wildlife refuges are in jeopardy. Bow hunters are not allowed on the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, which was open to buck hunting once again this year. (Boo fucking hoo!]

A spokesman for the Okla. Dept. of Wildlife Conservation said the agency has received numerous calls asking about the controlled hunts. Hunters will be notified if their hunts have been canceled.

The popular archery deer hunts at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, however, are expected to go on as planned. [That's too bad.] The first of six weekend hunts are scheduled next weekend in McAlester.

The Dept. spokesman states “From what we’ve been told, everything here is in good shape. Now they could call us Monday and tell us to shut it down.”

Hunters, campers and anglers will feel the pain of a long shutdown. For Okla. trout fishermen, less rainbow trout will be swimming in the Lower Illinois River in the future if the shutdown continues.

State wildlife officials normally add hatchery-raised rainbow trout to the Lower Illinois River near Gore, Ok. once per week. However every week the agency had been getting those trout from a federal fish hatchery. That will now stop, and trout from the state’s commercial provider only will be added to the river every week until the federal furloughs end.

Ontario Adopts a Great American Tradition: Dove Killing

Ontario Opens Season on Mourning Doves, Quietly… Very, Very Quietly

Canadian Blog

by Barry Kent MacKay, Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative

10/01/13

Rachel Carson, inspirational writer, biologist, and ecologist, said, “We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing, we set back the progress of humanity.” Agreed—but, such men tend to be disproportionately in charge of deciding such things, and therein lies a very big problem for wildlife.

Here in Ontario, there was an open hunting season for mourning doves in 1955. People were absolutely outraged, so it was closed, never to be considered again—until, quietly, with a minimum of public awareness, this year, the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper opened a hunting season in southwestern Ontario. It is the 99th anniversary since the only other native species of dove, the passenger pigeon, went extinct (notwithstanding it had been far more abundant than mourning doves).

Back in 1955, most mourning doves migrated out of Ontario each fall, where they were then shot, by the millions, in various U.S. states. Since there was “selection” against migrating birds, the few that wintered in Ontario may have had, on average, better survival potential. (Although, in those days, such birds often had toes frozen off.) Decade by decade, several factors undoubtedly contributed to changes in migratory behavior: non-migrant survival, warming winter temperatures, increased dependence on mechanical harvesting that left plenty of waste grain for the birds to eat, the shift to absentee farming for tax purposes while speculators waited for land values to ripen, plus the popularity of doves with people who increasingly put out winter bird feeders in their gardens. Now, the mourning dove is a common winter bird here in southern Ontario. Ontario’s hunters can’t stand that… Why should Americans (and a few hunters in British Columbia, the only other Canadian province where mourning doves are hunted) have all the fun of killing these small, gentle birds?

Why can’t Ontarians kill doves, too? Because most Ontarians would be appalled at the thought. No matter. As one proponent of the hunt put it, “Because we have so many [doves], it’s a good opportunity for [young hunters] to get out and shoot and practice their skills.” Right… We need more people shooting guns… This, in the same week as the mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., followed by the 3-year-old and a dozen others shot in Chicago (not counting twice as many shot the same weekend in separate “incidents”)… All as we move toward the first anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook. As I write, people are being shot in a Nairobi, Kenya shopping mall for what, I can only assume, the shooters believe are good reasons. Society very rightly condemns such totally senseless acts of terror, or horror—and nothing, no cause, justifies any of it in any way. And, what of killing a dove? Is it really only justified because their fast flying makes them “sporting,” while they are tame and common enough to easily find?

Fellow bird artist and colleague, Julie Zickefoose, who lives in neighboring Ohio, wrote an excellent blog (http://www.juliezickefoose.com/writing/dove.php) in which she made the point, “Since the dove’s drumstick is less than an inch long, the breast meat is all that’s used. Each breast fillet is about as long as my thumb, and weighs one ounce or less before cooking.” She compared it to half of a hot-dog wiener.

We Ontarians must use steel, not lead, bullets, which could enhance wounding, but reduce toxicity. Or, even better; not shooting at all would eliminate both concerns.

Hunters are in decline, and that means the funding for “wildlife managers” is imperiled—and, as I said, they are disproportionately found in government wildlife agencies. And so, the push is on to recruit more people to part company with the majority of us who enjoy shooting nothing more lethal than a camera. There has been a weak attempt to try a favored tactic of demonizing their victims: too many doves can result in disease, they say (though there is no proof that they do, of course, or that it justifies killing healthy animals, be they doves, robins, or cardinals) and they claim that doves may spread weed seeds around (as do sparrows and larks, buntings and bobolinks… Who is next?)—but , again, with no proof or even likelihood that this is really an issue. It’s all quite silly, but cruelly lethal to a species that the vast majority of us simply enjoy.

We Ontarians—now that we know—will fight back, but we can use the help of our American neighbors. A brief note to the Prime Minister of Canada couldn’t hurt, and might help: The Honorable Stephen Harper, Office of the Prime Minister, 80 Wellington Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2, Phone: 1-800-622- 6232 , TTY: 1-800-465-7735, Fax: 613-941-6900, E-Mail: pm@pm.gc.ca. Tell him, politely and in your own words, not to kill the mourning doves. Let them continue to have Ontario as a place of refuge. Ontario has room for them and we want to welcome them with bird seed, not bird shot.

Band-tailed pigeon photo©Jim Robertson

Band-tailed pigeon photo©Jim Robertson

Beware the The Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures Act, or “HUNT Act”

HUNT Act for Hunters. Legislation introduced Thursday in the U.S. Senate would increase hunting and angling access on public lands and bolster the nation’s outdoor recreation economy. The Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures Act, or “HUNT Act,” introduced this afternoon by Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, directs federal agencies to inventory all public lands greater than 640 acres where hunting and fishing are legal but inaccessible with the goal of expanding access for members of the public. The legislation finances land acquisitions from willing sellers through a small percentage of Land and Water Conservation Fund monies. Heinrich introduced similar legislation in 2012, when he was a member of the House of Representatives. Some sportsmen’s organizations hailed the measure as a way of maintaining and expanding sportsmen’s access to public lands that provide important fish and wildlife habitat and offer valuable opportunities for hunting and fishing.

Read more about the HUNT Act: http://marcusschneck.com/2013/09/26/hunt-act-would-seek-hunter-access-to-landlocked-public-lands/

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Start of hunting season reignites animal abuse concerns

[Hunters guilty of animal abuse? Imagine that.]

Start of hunting season reignites animal abuse concerns

by Carrie-Marie Bratley, in General News ·        12-09-2013 10:18:00        · 0 Comments

With the start of September comes the start of hunting season, an anticipated moment for hunters across Portugal. But with it come fresh concerns for the dogs used in the activity, particularly after the discovery of a ‘hunting kennel’ in Rogil, Aljezur (Algarve) in May this year, where more than 30 dogs were being kept in shocking conditions.

Start of hunting season reignites animal abuse concerns

Emaciated, wounded, and terrified; one by one six dogs were collected from the Rogil kennel by animal rescue association SOS Algarve Animals after weeks of pleading. The owner finally relented, but gave up just half a dozen of his thirty-something dogs. The dogs’ pathetic states were witnessed by The Portugal News as they were loaded into volunteers’ vehicles; their discovery opening a can of worms for local, regional and national authorities. Fortunately for the rescued animals they went on to make full recoveries at SOS’s farm in Almancil and have since been re-homed abroad. But, according to animal welfare associations, the case is far from being a one-off in Portugal and calls for tighter control over hunting kennels in Portugal are growing. According to the European Society for Dog and Animal Welfare (ESDAW), “In Portugal, Spain, France and many other southern countries, dogs are used specifically as a hunting tool. In many of these countries, it is a cruel and deep-rooted tradition that the dogs are believed to hunt better if they are kept starved or even emaciated.” Portugal’s Party for Animals and Nature also believes that the situation in Rogil is “paradigmatic” of what happens in the north and south of this country, and says it is “urgent” that Portugal creates a legal status for its animals so punishment for neglectful owners is on a par with the rest of Europe. National animal rights association Animal has launched a petition ‘For a New Animal Protection Law in Portugal’, which at the time of going to press has amassed close to 72,000 signatures. Yet despite the furore surrounding the Rogil case, so far no action has been taken against the kennel’s proprietor. The kennel in question was first visited by SEPNA nature and environment protection officers, which are part of the GNR police force, on 9 December 2012 after they were contacted by worried locals. At the time the officers counted 31 dogs and listed 29 offences committed: 28 for lack of proper licensing and one for keeping too many dogs in a rustic building. The kennel did have a valid licence issued by the ICNF Nature Conservation Institute for keeping up to 25 hunting dogs for the 2012/2013 season. A letter from SEPNA’s head offices states that at the time of the visit in December no injuries requiring medical assistance were seen on the dogs. But a few months later, in May, The Portugal News received photographic evidence clearly showing otherwise. In one horrific photo a dog has a massive open wound towards the end of its leg with a broken bone visibly jutting out. Other photos show evidently undernourished dogs chained up in pens with floors covered inches-deep in faeces, many dotted with sores and wounds. Authorities eventually returned to the kennel on 23 May this year, but on arrival all but three of the dogs had disappeared. Confronted by SEPNA, the owner claimed he had given his animals to acquaintances and friends. He told the authorities that twelve dogs had been sent to Spain, from where they had originally been purchased; ten had been given to a kennel in northern Portugal, which he refused to identify, and two were given to local friends, who he also refused to identify. He further said he would be taking the three remaining dogs – which a local municipal vet who was accompanying the authorities deemed to be in good health – to a nearby relative’s house. A petition launched by SOS to bring the owner of the Rogil kennel to justice has so far gathered 1,212 signatures, though any action against him has yet to be taken. “I think it is appalling and clearly evident that [he] is allowed to have however many dogs he wants and to treat them however he wants”, said SOS founder Laura McGeoch. Speaking to The Portugal News this week a GNR spokesperson insisted an investigation to verify the location of the missing Rogil dogs is still ongoing. “We are on a good path in terms of material to confirm their whereabouts”, the spokesperson said, adding “all efforts are being made” to locate them. The GNR source further revealed that since the Rogil kennel was brought to their attention the Algarve regional SEPNA is paying closer attention to such set-ups. He elaborated: “The Algarve isn’t really a place where there are many registered kennels; they tend to be found more in the Alentejo. But we are taking great care in inspecting this matter and not just because of the incident in Rogil.”

And We Call Ourselves Civilized?

In agreeing with President Obama’s plan to strike Syria, Representative Nancy Pelosi was quoted as saying we must respond to actions “outside the circle of civilized human behavior.” Nice to hear that the U.S. Government thinks it has the moral authority to respond to such actions. While they’re at it, I can think of a whole lot of other actions which should be considered “outside the circle of civilized human behavior” that are desperately in need of responding to.

I’m referring, of course, to the innumerable abuses of non-human animals by humans—many that go on every day right here in the U.S. of A. I’m afraid if I were to try to list all the instances of human mistreatment of other animals which should fall outside the “circle of civilized human behavior,” the pages would fill the halls of justice, spill out onto the streets and overflow the banks of Potomac River in an unending tsunami of savagery.

So here’s just a partial list…

Wolf Hunting—No sooner did grey wolves begin to make a comeback in the Lower 48 than did the feds jerk the rug out from under them by lifting their endangered species protections and casting their fate into the clutches of hostile states. Now, hunters in Wyoming have a year-round season on them while anti-wolf fanatics in Montana have quadrupled their per person yearly kill quota.

Trapping—Only the creepiest arachnid would leave a victim suffering and struggling for days until it suits them to come along for the “harvest.” Yet “law abiding trappers” routinely leave highly sentient, social animals clamped by the foot and chained to a log to endlessly await their fate.

Hound-Hunting—“Sportsmen” not content to shoot unsuspecting prey from a distance of a hundred yards or more sometimes use hounds to make their blood-sport even more outrageously one-sided.

Bowhunting—Those who want to add a bit of challenge to their unnecessary kill-fest like to try their luck at archery. Though they often go home empty-handed, they can always boast about the “ones that got away”… with arrows painfully stuck in them.

Contest Hunts—Prairie dogs, coyotes, and in Canada, wolves, are among the noble, intelligent animals that ignoble dimwits are allowed to massacre during bloody tournaments reminiscent of the bestial Roman Games.

Horse Slaughter—After all that our equine friends have done for us over the centuries, the administration sees fit to send them in cattle trucks to those nightmarish death-camps where so many other forcibly domesticated herbivores meet their tragic ends.

Factory farming—Whether cows, sheep, pigs, chickens or turkeys, the conditions animals are forced to withstand on modern day factory farms fall well outside even the narrowest circle of civilized human compassion. To call their situations overcrowded, inhumane or unnatural does not do justice to the fiendish cruelty that farmed animals endure each and every day of their lives.

Atrocious conditions are not confined to this continent. Chickens in China (the ancestral home of some new strain of bird flu just about every other week) are treated worse than inanimate objects. Bears, rhinoceros and any other animal whose body parts are said to have properties that will harden the wieners of hard-hearted humans are hunted like there’s no tomorrow. And let’s not forget the South Korean dog and cat slaughter, or Japan’s annual dolphin round up…

Far be it from me to belittle the use of chemical weapons—my Grandfather received a purple heart after the Germans dropped mustard gas on his foxhole during World War One. I just feel that if we’re considering responding to actions “outside the circle of civilized human behavior,” we might want to strike a few targets closer to home as well. Or better yet, reign in some of our own ill-behaviors so we can justifiably call ourselves “civilized.”

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Public opinion differs on coyote hunting, trapping

Jim Robertson-wolf-copyright

State proposing 120-day hunting season, 100-day trapping period

By Nick Roth | Sep 06, 2013

Control is proposing a 120-day hunting and 100-day trapping season on coyotes.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has presented its proposed regulations for hunting and trapping coyotes, and both supporters and opposition are making sure their voices are heard.

More than 50 people took the opportunity to express their opinions on coyotes and other proposed changes to the regulations at a public hearing Sept. 4 at the DNREC Building in Dover. Hunters are eager to legally kill what they consider an unwanted nuisance, while animal rights activists claim the non-native creature will not have a significant effect on Delaware’s ecosystem.

“Allowing the hunting and trapping of coyotes and the other animals is not only inhumane, it is irresponsible,” said Patricia Haddock, president of Delaware Votes for Animals. “This proposal could result in the unnecessary suffering and terrible deaths of adult animals and leave many young pups orphaned and unable to survive themselves.”

DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is proposing a hunting season of Nov. 1 through Feb. 28 and trapping season from Dec. 1 through March 10. Many hunters in attendance called the proposed regulations too conservative and lobbied officials to allow year-round hunting and trapping.

“I wholeheartedly recommend the elimination of coyotes,” said Dover resident Teddy Morwitz. “I am a dog person – I hunt with dogs – and I have had dogs killed and dragged off. Anything that can be done to reduce the population is wonderful.”

It is believed between 50 and 100 coyotes are present in Delaware, an estimation based partially on roadkill data that has found one to two coyotes are killed by automobiles annually. Comparatively, the Department of Transportation removes about 1,000 roadkill deer per year, said DNREC deer and furbearer biologist Joe Rogerson.

Rogerson said the presence of coyotes could have both positive and negative impacts on Delaware’s wildlife. The population of rodents, raccoons and red fox would likely decline, which could increase the population of the ground-nesting birds those animals prey upon, such as wild turkey.

“Predator/prey dynamics are very complex issues because we’re managing a very adaptive animal that has a very diverse diet, and landscape composition may be a factor,” he said.

Rogerson said he believes the deer population is productive enough to absorb the anticipated modest level of predation by coyotes.

Coyotes have also been known to feast on fruits, vegetables and livestock, which has many farmers also in support of the proposed regulations.

“Farming is important to my life and so is wildlife,” said farmer Ray Ellis. “These are fierce predators, and we do not need to let them establish. We need to do everything we can to eradicate them.”

DNREC is not trying to eliminate the animal from Delaware. Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Saveikis said the regulations are meant to strike a balance among the various interests expressed.

“If these regulations are adopted or a modification thereof, there is always room to change them,” he said. “We intend, through the mandatory reporting, to track the coyote harvest, and if we find the regulations are not sufficient, we will change them.”

Many hunters strongly expressed their desire for more liberal hunting and trapping seasons, similar to those that exist in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Some hunters also supported the idea of nighttime hunting of the animal.

Saveikis said nuisance coyotes could be addressed through a proposed secretary’s order that would authorize all private landowners to shoot coyotes that are considered a nuisance or depredating livestock or domestic animals. The order can be issued outside the regulations and is considered more responsive, Saveikis said. He said the department is waiting to see the final regulations before making a decision on the secretary’s order.

“I think it was important to realize that the combination of the secretary’s order and the proposed hunting and trapping seasons provide the tools for landowners to protect their property and effectively manage the coyote population,” he said.

Cathy Rash, vice president for Delaware Action for Animals, was strongly opposed to the hunting and trapping seasons because research suggests coyotes compensate for the loss of population by breeding at earlier ages and having larger litters.

“While we understand a few individual coyotes may be a nuisance to farmers, most are a valuable asset as having a natural predator helps keep smaller animals populations in check,” she said. “In the instance of nuisance coyotes, they should be dealt with on an individual basis instead of opening a trapping and hunting season on all coyotes.”

After listening to many animal welfare activists speak, Milton resident Ted Palmer described the cruel manner in which coyotes take down their prey.

“I hate the cruelty of animals [but] there is absolutely no comparison to what a coyote does to an animal,” Palmer said. “I’m tired of hearing about coyote puppies and how cute they are. They are cute, but they are a coyote and they need to be addressed as a coyote.”

Public comment will remain open until 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19. Those wishing to submit comments may do so by emailing lisa.vest@state.de.us or sending comments to Lisa A. Vest, Public Hearing Officer, Office of the Secretary, 89 Kings Hwy., Dover DE 19901.