Great News for Elk: Hunting Nixed in Ecola Creek reserve

Photo  Jim Robertson

Photo Jim Robertson

By Nancy McCarthy
The Daily Astorian

CANNON BEACH — Hunting will no longer be allowed in the Ecola Creek Forest Reserve.

The Cannon Beach City Council decided Tuesday night to discontinue hunting on the north side of the city-owned 1,040-acre parcel in the Ecola Creek Watershed. The vote was 4-1, with councilors Mike Benefield, George Vetter and Melissa Cadwallader and Mayor Mike Morgan supporting a motion to ban hunting. Wendy Higgins, who said the council should fulfill its commitment to allow hunting for five years, opposed the motion.

Although the council had agreed in 2012 to allow bowhunting, and in 2013 to allow shotgun hunting in the reserve for five years, several councilors said they wanted to reconsider the decision. They pointed out that only five hunters – none of them Cannon Beach residents – had hunted in the area in the past two years.

“I did vote for the bond measure (providing $4 million for the Ecola reserve); I like to hike; I’m not a hunter, although I don’t have opposition to people who are hunters; and I definitely agree that hunting does not fit the definition of passive recreation,” said Councilor Mike Benefield.

Noting that a majority of those responding to a survey conducted when the reserve was initially proposed said they didn’t want hunting and wanted to allow only “passive recreation” in the area, Benefield called the idea of hunting “intimidating.” Benefield, who was appointed to the council to fill a vacancy several months ago, didn’t originally vote to allow hunting.

“I think the City Council made a mistake allowing hunting on the property, and I will vote to eliminate it,” Benefield said.

Morgan called it a “contentious issue” in the community.

“I think it’s barely worth the effort,” said Mayor Mike Morgan. “I think it’s time to end it.

“We’ve had only five hunters,” he added. “For all the angst and anxiety this has caused in this community, I don’t think it’s worth it.”

Those in the audience who supported hunting said they would have hunted in the reserve, but they weren’t able to acquire a tag from the Oregon Department and Fish and Wildlife, which issues tags on a lottery basis. However, the tags aren’t specifically for the Ecola Reserve but for all 800 square miles of the Saddle Mountain Unit, where hunting is allowed.

They also said the fee the city charged was a deterrent. The city charged $200 for a hunting permit during the first year and $50 last year.

“Why are you discussing this today when you agreed hunting would be allowed for five years?” asked Troy Laws, a hunter from Seaside. “It’s a matter of integrity.”

Despite hikers’ fears of potential harm when hunters are in the reserve, no problems have occurred so far, said Herman Bierdebeck, ODFW wildlife biologist. Bierdebeck said land where hunting has been allowed for generations – including the Ecola Forest Reserve before the city acquired it from the state Department of Forestry – is increasingly being removed from hunters’ access.

“You can continue this experiment,” he told the council. “There haven’t been any problems that we’re aware of, so why not let it continue?

Councilor Melissa Cadwallader, who opposed hunting in the reserve when the council originally approved it, noted that the reserve was a “very small piece of land” in the Saddle Mountain Unit. She pointed out that the city-approved management plan for the reserve provides for “adaptive management” that allows policy adjustments for the reserve’s management if changes occur.

“The surveys are not in favor of hunting, and the bond measure approving the creation of the reserve calls for passive recreation,” Cadwallader said. “I thought we had defined it.”

Although Councilor George Vetter suggested that the council consider adding a “sunset” clause allowing hunting for another year, no motion was made, and it wasn’t considered.

National Wildlife Refuges Expand Hunting

[The expansion of hunting--Watch for it in a refuge near you!]

http://greatlakesecho.org/2014/04/15/national-wildlife-refuges-expand-hunting-opportunity/

By: | April 15, 2014


Hunters provide many positive economic benefits to state wildlife agencies, including expanded wildlife opportunities, habitat restoration, and continued conservation efforts. Image: U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceThree national wildlife refuges in the Great Lakes region will expand hunting opportunities and two more will open to hunting for the first time, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge and Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois and thePatoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area in Indiana will expand migratory bird, upland game and big game hunting.

The ones opening hunting for the first time are Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge in New York for big game hunting, and Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Pennsylvania for migratory bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Hunting and wildlife observation is a big economic boost to the local area, said Bill McCory, the manager of Indiana’s 7,398-acre Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge.

A lot of money is spent locally on hunting licenses, guns, clothes, tackle, bait and more.

Aside from monetary benefits from opening and expanding hunting and fishing at refuges, there are also highly valued recreational opportunities for visitors.

Jeremy Ross, a longtime hunter from the area, was a Patoka visitor even before it became a refuge. He is now on the board of directors for the Friends of the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge.

Opening the land gives that many more people the opportunity to go out and experience nature and fulfill their love of whatever they want to pursue outdoors, said Ross.

Nationwide, 20 refuges in total are offering expanded hunting, and six are offering it for the first time.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the 2014 expansion of hunting opportunities at 20 National Wildlife Refuges. Another six refuges are open to hunting for the first time.

Dan Ashe, director of the Fish & Wildlife Service, said that hunters and anglers economic contributions are also a big help in restoring habitat and financing conservation throughout the refuge system.

Hunters and anglers have paid more than $15 billion in excise taxes – used by state wildlife agencies to sustain and restore habitat, educate the next generation of hunters and fund sport shooting ranges nationwide, Ashe said in a blog post.

And Ashe says that there are no intentions to stop the growth of the national wildlife refuges anytime soon.

We are committed to strengthening and expanding hunting opportunities on our national wildlife refuges wherever possible, Ashe wrote.

The National Wildlife System is composed of 560 refuges that encompass 150 million acres of land and water throughout the United States.

Sierra Club petition: Don’t let Big Oil threaten the last Florida panthers!

The biologists found him in the Florida Panther Wildlife Refugecougar cub — alone and shivering, weighing barely a pound.

The little panther cub never should have survived, but his will to live was strong. He made a miraculous comeback at Tampa’s zoo and is now back to his feisty self! [1, 2]

But no matter how resilient the Florida panthers are, they won’t survive without our help. Down to a population of barely 100, these majestic felines cannot take another blow from Big Oil.

A Texas oilman wants to drill next door to the very refuge where this cub was found — tell the EPA that endangered species matter more than fossil fuels! Stop this dangerous oil project now!

When the Dan A. Hughes Company asked if they could put an oil well right in the middle of critical Florida panther habitat — and only 1000 feet from the nearest house — tea party Governor Rick Scott’s administration was all too happy to oblige. [3, 4] And not only did they issue the permits, they didn’t even require an environmental study!

The good news is that amazing local activists, including Sierra Club members like Marcia Cravens, have convinced the EPA to step in and hold a hearing, scheduled for this Tuesday. We need to stand up for the panthers and get Marcia’s back — will you send your letter to the EPA today, before this week’s hearing?

Let’s send 60,000 letters to the EPA right away! Tell the Obama administration: Florida needs its panthers and clean water more than Big Oil needs more profits!

Oil spills are in the news more and more often. Just last month, a barge spilled 31,000 gallons of crude in New Orleans, closing the Mississippi River for hours. We need fewer fossil fuels, not more — but if oil developers like Hughes get their way, the panthers and local residents could be living in the next oil disaster zone.

The list of protected Florida lands and water these new oil leases threaten is staggering: the Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge, the Big Cypress National Preserve, the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary — it goes on and on. The panthers and the local communities deserve better.

From candlelight vigils to a protest outside the governor’s house, local residents are going all in [6, 7, 8] — and Sierra Club Florida has been with them every step of the way, making great progress by convincing the EPA to hold this week’s hearing. [9] We can ensure that the hearing counts by making sure the EPA hears from 60,000 of us first, showing them how high the stakes really are.

This could be the panther’s last stand. Raise your voice and send a quick comment to the EPA before the hearing: No oil wells in critical panther habitat!

In it together,

Nathan Empsall
SierraRise Senior Campaigner

Sign Petition Here: https://secure.sierraclub.org/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=A0C5633B6DBA8F91F0CBD612EB377ADC.app205a?=display&page=UserAction&id=13070&s_src=414CSRBOA4_NSRSR&s_subsrc=W&utm_source=sierrarise&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=BO

 

Don’t Miss the Premier Episode of Black Sheep Robertson: “Revenge of the Ducks”

Tune into NDC’s newest reality series starring Exposing the Big Game’s Jim Robertson, the black sheep of the duck dynasty. You’ll learn true respect for wild ducks and geese, who are featured living as they naturally do along with their wetland brethren on Black Sheep Robertson’s sprawling sanctuary, in peace and harmony as God intended.

No animals are harmed during the filming of this program, unlike on Duck Dynasty, which is all about hurting and killing. And rest assured, although Jim is a compassionate man who would no sooner blast a duck than he would members of the camo-clad clan, he is an atheist so you won’t have to endure any cheesy, half-assed references to salvation and all that stuff.

On the premier episode, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the special breeding facility where giant, mutant man-eating mallards are being fitted with armor outerwear and readied for their release into nearby hunter recreation areas and “sportsmen’s” playgrounds.

(If this sounds shocking, consider that as I write this I’m hearing the recurrent noise of shotgun blasts, resulting in the wounding and deaths of untold numbers of ducks and geese.)
______________________
(This has been another installment in EtBG’s “Headlines We’d Like to See.”)

Also See: I’m Not One of those Duck Dynasty Douchebags             

And: Expressing My Freedom of Speech 

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Support H.R. 3513: Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act

Action Alert from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Born Free USA December 2013

ACTION

Tell your Congressional Representative to SUPPORT H.R. 3513 that would ban all body-gripping traps — such as snare, Conibear, and steel-jaw leghold — from being used or possessed on national wildlife refuges (NWRs). The brutality of these traps is shocking; they can crush limbs and organs, and animals often remain trapped for days, in massive pain, before dying.

Find and contact your U.S. Representative http://www.house.gov/

trap trapping wildlife refuge

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

Purpose: This bill would amend the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 to prohibit the use or possession of body-gripping traps in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Status: Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources on 11/15/13.

Action: Please contact your U.S. Representative and urge him/her to support H.R. 3513. Tell your Representative that wild animals should not be exploited on the only lands in the United States set aside specifically for their protection. When the majority of the public visits refuges, they expect to be safe and to have the opportunity to view animals in abundance, without the fear of stepping into a body-gripping trap, or having to witness the pain and suffering of a trapped animal.

Talking Points for your letter:

  • Theodore Roosevelt established Pelican Island as the first refuge in 1903 as an “inviolate sanctuary” for the protection of the brown pelican. The original intent and purpose of subsequent refuges were clear: the protection of wildlife from exploitation and deliberate harm. Most Americans still view wildlife refuges as places where wild animals are protected from human interference. That is in fact the common definition of the word “refuge.”
  • A staggering 54% of the refuges within the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) allow trapping on refuge grounds. These traps often do not kill the animal right away, which can remain in the trap for several days, either starving or slowly strangling to death.
  • Because traps do not discriminate, they jeopardize threatened and endangered species, such as the bald eagle, which are frequently caught in these traps.
  • The majority of people who visit refuges do so to observe wildlife and enjoy nature. Hikers, birdwatchers, campers, and photographers should not have to witness the maiming of the very wildlife they have come to see.
  • Trappers already have access to millions of acres of private and public lands outside the refuges for their activities.
  • The NWR system should be managed to carry out its stated mission — to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat and to offer people an opportunity to enjoy nature. Trapping should be disallowed on all refuges as the practice runs contrary to these goals.

Read the full text here.


Thank you for everything you do for animals!


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Secretary Jewell Should Look Up the Word “Refuge”

On September 26th 2013, just in time for “National Hunting and Fishing Day,” Sally Jewell, our new (and allegedly improved) Secretary of the Interior announced a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to expand hunting opportunities throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System. The plan would open up hunting on six refuges currently free from armed ambush and expand existing hunting and fishing on another 20 “refuges.” The new rule would also modify existing regulations for over 75 additional refuges and wetland “management” districts.

The proposal is yet another nod to the “hunter’s rights” movement that has been sweeping the nation.

But what about the wildlife’s right to a true refuge, free from human hunting? Oh that’s right, animals don’t have rights, only humans—even including hunters—do. It is such an arrogant and absurd notion that sport hunters—arguably the lowest creatures to ever crawl out of the primordial ooze—have rights, while all other species of life do not, that I sometimes forget it’s the currently accepted law of the land.

In 1997, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) pushed for changes in wildlife laws to ensure that hunting and fishing were priority public uses on “refuge” lands. Thanks in part to USSA’s self-serving effort, the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act was signed into law. As they openly boast, “The language of the Refuge Improvement Act has been essential in opening new Refuge lands to sportsmen.”

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Jewell recently stated, “Sportsmen and women were a major driving force behind the creation and expansion of the National Wildlife Refuge System more than a century ago…” Of course they were, Sally, they were the ones who nearly hunted most of America’s wild species—including bison, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, swans, sandhill cranes and too many others to mention here—to extinction. Jewell also suggested that, “Keeping our hunting and angling heritage strong” would “help raise up a new generation of conservationists.” Well, that depends on your definition of “conservation.”

There is so little land left in today’s world where wildlife can breathe easy, free from the constant fear that every human they see might be intent upon shooting them or taking the lives of their herd, pack or flock-mates. Studies have shown that animals suffer from the stress of hunting season in the same way that people during wartime suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Yet, hunting is permitted on over 330 wildlife “refuges.”

According to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years by the USFWS, more than 90 million Americans, or 41 percent of the United States’ population age 16 and older, pursued wildlife-related recreation in 2011. Nearly 72 million people observed wildlife, 33 million fished, while 13 million hunted. In other words, while 80% of the total number of Americans who pursue “wildlife-related recreation” do so in a peaceful, non-consumptive, appreciative and respectful manner, only 14% hunt. And yet the rules are made—and everyone else is effected—by those who feel compelled to hunt down and kill our wildlife.

Hunting is not compatible with the quiet enjoyment of our nation wildlife refuges. It’s hard to watch birds while someone’s busily blasting at them. As a wildlife photographer, I can always tell by an animal’s nervous and elusive behavior that they are living in an area open to hunting. This was made abundantly clear on a photo tour of Alaska. In Denali National Park, which is closed to hunting, people are regularly rewarded with quality, up-close wildlife viewing. Conversely, wildlife sightings of any kind are extremely rare in national parks such as Wrangle-Saint Elias, where hunting is permitted.

Encarta defines the word “refuge” as “a sheltered or protected place, safe from something threatening, harmful, or unpleasant.” Given that hunting is indeed threatening, harmful and unpleasant, how can the blood sport be considered compatible with our national wildlife refuges?

______________

Your written comments about the 2013-2014 proposed Refuge-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations can be submitted by one of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. [FWS-HQ-NWRS-2013-0074]; or

U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: [FWS-HQ-NWRS-2013-0074]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

Comments must be received within 30 days, on or before October 24, 2013. The Service will post all comments on regulations.gov. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.

Comments and materials, as well as supporting documentation, will also be available for public inspection at regulations.gov  under the above docket number. In addition, more details on the kinds of information the Service is seeking is available in the notice.

Here are some of the refuges which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes opening to hunting for the first time ever:

New York:

Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge: Open to big game hunting.

Oregon:

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge: Open to migratory bird hunting.

Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Open to migratory bird hunting.

Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Open to migratory bird hunting.

Pennsylvania:

Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Open to migratory bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Wyoming:

Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge: Open to migratory bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Meanwhile, under the proposal, the Service would expand hunting and sport fishing on the following refuges:

California:

Colusa National Wildlife Refuge:  Expand migratory bird and upland game hunting.

Florida:

Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge: Add big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting.

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Idaho:

Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge: Expand upland game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting and big game hunting.

Illinois:

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Indiana:

Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Iowa:

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting, big game hunting and sport fishing.

Maine:

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Missouri:

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

New Mexico:

San Andres National Wildlife Refuge: Expand big game hunting.

Oregon:

Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, OR and WA: Expand migratory bird hunting. The refuge is also already open to sport fishing.

Julia Butler Hanson Refuge for the Columbian White-Tailed Deer, OR and WA: Expand migratory bird hunting. The refuge is already open to big game hunting.

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting and sport fishing. The refuge is already open to upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Texas:

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge: Add migratory bird hunting. The refuge is already open to big game hunting.

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge: Expand hunting for migratory birds, upland game and big game.

Vermont:

Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Washington:

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to upland game hunting.

More info:  http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/interior-department-proposes-expansion-of-hunting-fishing-opportunities-in-national-wildlife-refuge-system.cfm

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

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

Interior Department Proposes Expansion of Hunting, Fishing Opportunities in National Wildlife Refuge System

Date: September 24, 2013
Contact: Jessica Kershaw (DOI) 202-208-6416
Vanessa Kauffman (FWS) 703-358-2138
Martha Nudel (FWS) 703-358-1858

Six More Refuges Open to Hunting; 20 Refuges Expand Hunting and Fishing Opportunities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 28th, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to expand fishing and hunting opportunities throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System, opening up new hunting programs on six refuges and expanding existing hunting and fishing programs on another 20 refuges. The proposed rule also modifies existing refuge-specific regulations for more than 75 additional refuges and wetland management districts.

“Sportsmen and women were a major driving force behind the creation and expansion of the National Wildlife Refuge System more than a century ago and continue to be some of its strongest supporters, especially through their volunteer work and financial contributions,” Jewell said. “Keeping our hunting and angling heritage strong by providing more opportunities on our refuges will not only help raise up a new generation of conservationists, but also support local businesses and create jobs in local communities.”

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service can permit hunting and fishing along with four other types of wildlife-dependent recreation where they are compatible with the refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is permitted on more than 329 wildlife refuges. Fishing is permitted on more than 271 wildlife refuges.

“Hunting and fishing are healthy, traditional outdoor pastimes deeply rooted in America’s heritage and have long been enjoyed on hundreds of national wildlife refuges under the supervision of our biologists and wildlife managers,” said Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe. “After careful consideration and review from the Service, this proposal represents one of the largest expansions of hunting and fishing opportunities on wildlife refuges in recent years.”

National wildlife refuges generate important benefits from the conservation of wildlife and habitat through spending and employment for local economies. According to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years by the Service, more than 90 million Americans, or 41 percent of the United States’ population age 16 and older, pursued wildlife-related recreation in 2011. They spent more than $144 billion that year on those activities. Nearly 72 million people observed wildlife, while more than 33 million fished and more than 13 million hunted.

The Service manages its hunting and fishing programs on refuges to ensure sustainable wildlife populations, while offering historical wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands.

Other wildlife-dependent recreation on national wildlife refuges includes wildlife photography, environmental education, wildlife observation and interpretation.

The Service proposes opening the following refuges to hunting for the first time:

New York
•Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge: Open to big game hunting.

Oregon
•Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge: Open to migratory bird hunting.
•Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Open to migratory bird hunting.
•Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Open to migratory bird hunting.

Pennsylvania
•Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Open to migratory bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Wyoming
•Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge: Open to migratory bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Meanwhile, under the proposal, the Service would expand hunting and sport fishing on the following refuges:

California
•Colusa National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird and upland game hunting.

Florida
•Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge: Add big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting.
•St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Idaho
•Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge: Expand upland game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting and big game hunting.

Illinois
•Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.
•Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Indiana
•Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Iowa
•Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.
•Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.
•Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting, big game hunting and sport fishing.

Maine
•Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Missouri
•Mingo National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

New Mexico
•San Andres National Wildlife Refuge: Expand big game hunting.

Oregon
•Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, OR and WA: Expand migratory bird hunting. The refuge is also already open to sport fishing.
•Julia Butler Hanson Refuge for the Columbian White-Tailed Deer, OR and WA: Expand migratory bird hunting. The refuge is already open to big game hunting.
•Malheur National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting and sport fishing. The refuge is already open to upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Texas
•Aransas National Wildlife Refuge: Add migratory bird hunting. The refuge is already open to big game hunting.
•Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge: Expand hunting for migratory birds, upland game and big game.

Vermont
•Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.

Washington
•Willapa National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to upland game hunting.

Notice of the 2013-2014 proposed Refuge-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations will publish in the Federal Register September 24, 2013. Written comments and information can be submitted by one of the following methods:
•Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. [FWS-HQ-NWRS-2013-0074]; or
•U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: [FWS-HQ-NWRS-2013-0074]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

Comments must be received within 30 days, on or before October 24, 2013. The Service will post all comments on regulations.gov. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.

Comments and materials, as well as supporting documentation, will also be available for public inspection at regulations.gov under the above docket number. In addition, more details on the kinds of information the Service is seeking is available in the notice.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Sunday Go-a-Huntin’ Day

Living near prime wildlife habitat means that at any given moment you might get to see Vs of migratory ducks or cackling Canada geese flying right overhead. If you’re lucky, trumpeter swans might be among the waterfowl feeding and calling in the nearby estuary. And wood ducks or hooded mergansers might pay your inland pond a visit while searching for a quiet place to nest.
The down side of living near a natural wonderland? Being awakened Sunday morning at first light by the repeated volley of shotgun blasts, as though all-out war has been declared on all things avian (as is currently happening this morning). The Elmers out there (no doubt dressed in the latest expensive camo-pattern—a fashion statement apparently meant to impress the other Elmers out there) must be reveling in the fact that the dense morning fog allows them to “sneak” (in their loud outboard motor boats) up close enough to the flocks so that a large number of birds will end up dead, winged or otherwise wounded when they stand up and spray lead.

Duck hunting is the ultimate betrayal. It happens well into the winter, long after about other any hunting season is over, when the birds are congregated in flocks on their wintering grounds. And it happens often on lands supposedly set aside as wildlife “refuges.” Pro-kill groups like Ducks Unlimited (DU—an acronym, or perhaps an abbreviation for “duh”) insist that they have the animals’ best interests in mind. But when it comes right down to it, all they really want to preserve land for is to have a playground for killing (just listen to them scream if you try to propose a refuge closed to hunting).

Interestingly, they always seem to choose Sunday as their special day for bird killing. It’s no secret that most American hunters count themselves as good Christians. In choosing to hunt in lieu of church this time of year, they must feel closest to their gods in the killing fields.

How is this any different than a follower of Santeria sacrificing chickens? Both practices are equally bloody and violent. And the practice of Sunday go-a-duck-huntin’ probably claims more victims.
DSC_0098

Welcome Anti-hunters (No Nimrods Allowed)

I see by the comments coming in lately that there are a lot of new faces showing up here on this blog. I’d like to extend you all a warm welcome. I say, I’d like to, but unfortunately I can’t—not all the new folks who’ve joined us lately are benevolent toward their fellow beings. What I can and will do is roll out the welcome mat for fellow wildlife watchers and animal rights advocates and welcome anti-hunters and non-hunters alike.

There are some people who are absolutely not welcome. I’m talking about the hunter and trapper trolls who somehow found themselves here and are now thinking: “What the hell is this site?”

Well, I’ll start by informing you what it is not: This is not a red-neck tavern with a “Welcome Hunters” sign out front. It’s not a message board or a chat room for people wanting to argue the supposed merits of animal exploitation or to defend the act of hunting or trapping in any way, shape or form. There are plenty of other sites available for that sort of thing.

For your sake, I urge you not to bother wasting your time posting your opinions in the comments section. This blog is moderated, and pro-hunting outbursts will not be tolerated or approved. Consider this fair warning—if you’re a hunter, sorry but your comments are going straight to the trash can. This is not a public forum for nimrods or other self-serving animal abusers to discuss the pros and cons of hunting.

Those who know right from wrong on this issue may appear a bit narrow minded, but the fact is there are no real pros to the matter, only cons, so there’s no point in wasting everyone’s time with your tired old PR drivel. We’ve heard all the rationalizations for killing so many times before. Any attempt to justify the murder of our fellow animals will hereby be jettisoned into cyberspace.

What you’ve stumbled upon is a haven for wildlife and wildlife advocates, a wildlife refuge of sorts, that’s posted “No Hunting,” as any true sanctuary should be. Just as a refuge is patrolled to keep hunters and poachers from harassing the wildlife, this blog site is monitored to keep hunter trolls from disturbing other people’s quiet enjoyment of the natural world. Those are the people whose unselfish comments are always welcome here.