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Jim Robertson

Squirrel hunting felon charged with possession of a firearm

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting Blog

Charles Lynn Johnson
Charles Lynn Johnson

A Rome man turned himself in at the Floyd County Jail on Thursday night, charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

According to Floyd County Jail reports:

Charles Lynn Johnson, 50, 613 Chulio Road, was supposedly hunting squirrel on Lewis Barrett Boulevard on January 6. He admitted to having possession of a shotgun and rifle while being interviewed by authorities at his home.

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Hunter Shot Georgia at Turkey Youth Weekend

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting Blog


Reportedly, a hunter was shot Saturday morning in Early Co Georgia by another hunter, while participating in Georgia’s Youth Season, which occurs a week prior to the General Turkey season which will open March 23rd.

Details are still sketchy, but reportedly, the injured hunter was flown to a Dothan Alabama Hospital with chest wounds.

It is thought that the parties involved were all part of the same hunting club in western Early Co.

This incident is a stark reminder that hunting accidents can happen anytime or anywhere and all precautions and safety measures should be taken to avoid injury.

Additional information and clarification will be posted as it is made available from official sources.

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Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Farm-produced meat comes with hefty side of slaughtered wildlife

Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic-Vote Our Wildlife

“I know absolutely that the cover-up of the illegal killing of domestic pets, the illegal poisoning of wildlife, and the illegal use of 1080 and M-44s is still going on.” ~ Shaddox, former Wildlife Services employee, March 2016.

Eating farm animals comes along with a hefty side of tortured and slaughtered wildlife. Sliced buffalo, chopped cougar, minced wolf and creamed coyote pup are appetizers alongside every “cheap” hamburger or lamb chop.

Across the planet, wildlife and their habitat are being destroyed to graze livestock for meat production. The rain forests of the world, with all their diversity, have been razed to grow feed and graze cattle. Livestock comprise 60 percent of the world’s mammals, humans 36 percent, and only 4 percent are wild. Sixty percent of large wild mammals face extinction right now. Humans choosing to eat animals bears much of the blame.

In addition to destroying wildlife habitat…

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Salt-Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048

The apocalypse has a new date: 2048.That’s when the world’s oceans will be empty of fish, predicts an international team of ecologists and economists. The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change.

The study by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, — with colleagues in the U.K., U.S., Sweden, and Panama — was an effort to understand what this loss of ocean species might mean to the world.

The researchers analyzed several different kinds of data. Even to these ecology-minded scientists, the results were an unpleasant surprise.

“I was shocked and disturbed by how consistent these trends are — beyond anything we suspected,” Worm says in a news release.

“This isn’t predicted to happen. This is happening now,” study researcher Nicola Beaumont, PhD, of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, U.K., says in a news release.

“If biodiversity continues to decline, the marine environment will not be able to sustain our way of life. Indeed, it may not be able to sustain our lives at all,” Beaumont adds.

Already, 29% of edible fish and seafood species have declined by 90% — a drop that means the collapse of these fisheries.

But the issue isn’t just having seafood on our plates. Ocean species filter toxins from the water. They protect shorelines. And they reduce the risks of algae blooms such as the red tide.

“A large and increasing proportion of our population lives close to the coast; thus the loss of services such as flood control and waste detoxification can have disastrous consequences,” Worm and colleagues say.

The researchers analyzed data from 32 experiments on different marine environments.

They then analyzed the 1,000-year history of 12 coastal regions around the world, including San Francisco and Chesapeake bays in the U.S., and the Adriatic, Baltic, and North seas in Europe.

Next, they analyzed fishery data from 64 large marine ecosystems.

And finally, they looked at the recovery of 48 protected ocean areas.

Their bottom line: Everything that lives in the ocean is important. The diversity of ocean life is the key to its survival. The areas of the ocean with the most different kinds of life are the healthiest.

But the loss of species isn’t gradual. It’s happening fast — and getting faster, the researchers say.

Worm and colleagues call for sustainable fisheries management, pollution control, habitat maintenance, and the creation of more ocean reserves.

This, they say, isn’t a cost; it’s an investment that will pay off in lower insurance costs, a sustainable fish industry, fewer natural disasters, human health, and more.

“It’s not too late. We can turn this around,” Worm says. “But less than 1% of the global ocean is effectively protected right now.”

Worm and colleagues report their findings in the Nov. 3 issue of Science.

SOURCES: Worm, B. Science, Nov. 3, 2006; vol 314: pp 787-790. News release, SeaWeb. News release, American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Winter varmint hunting a true challenge

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting Blog

Jack Thibodeau of Portland enjoyed success on his first coyote hunt in Aroostook County, he vows to be back for many more outings. (Courtesy of Bill Graves)

Aroostook residents are enduring a particularly rough winter, and for sportsmen it has been even more challenging. Snow arrived and disappeared in October, then showed up again the first week of November and stayed with three storms before Thanksgiving. Ducks and geese were gone south quickly, costing waterfowl hunters at least three weeks of normal hunting. While record-breaking snowfall attracts and pleases snowmobilers from far and wide, ice fishermen and especially hunters are having a tough go of it.

High roadside banks and deep, drifted snow in fields and on lakes make access difficult on unplowed roads and non-maintained trails. Ice anglers spend a lot of extra time shoveling and slogging through snow…

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Sea otters’ stone tools provide new clues for archeologists

Animal archeology could reveal where sea otters lived in past, how tool use evolved

A sea otter cracks open mussels with a rock at Elkhorn Slough, near the study site. (Jessica Fujii/Monterey Bay Aquarium)


Archeologists dig up clues about the lives of ancient humans by studying the tools and piles of trash they left behind. Now, it turns out they can do the same thing with another species of skilled tool users in the midst of their own “Stone Age” — sea otters.

This kind of “animal archeology” could open up a new window into the past and has already generated new discoveries, such as the fact that most otters appear to be right-handed, researchers say.

Sea otters use stones as tools to pound and crack open snails, mussels, clams and other seafood that can be hard to open with their teeth and paws.

It turns out all that pounding can also be damaging to the shell-cracking tools involved — that is, the stones — “creating a distinctive archeological record that parallels and may even pre-date that of the humans they currently live alongside,” reports a new study led by Michael Haslam, an independent archeologist based in London, England.

Within their first hour of being out there, they had already found something that we’d missed for decades.– Tim Tinker, biologist

Canadian biologist Tim Tinker, a co-author of the new paper published today in the journal Scientific Reports, has been studying sea otters on the California coast with his team for decades. He had noticed their pounding leaves the shells unusually damaged.

“They’re the most destructive things in the natural environment other than humans,” said Tinker, an adjunct professor at the University of California, Dalhousie University and the University of Victoria, who is now based in Halifax. “There’s really nothing that can smash a clam or urchin or snail with the same sort of force that a sea otter can.”

Sea otters enjoy mussels crusted to drainage pipes at Bennett Slough Culverts. (Michael Haslam)

Several years ago, Haslam, then a research fellow at Oxford University, invited Tinker to a meeting about the new field of “animal archeology.” Haslam had studied the use of stone tools in monkeys and apes using archeological techniques, and proposed doing similar research on sea otters.

Tinker said he was skeptical, since sea otters mostly use rocks that they collect in the bottom of the ocean. After use, they drop the rocks back into the sea, where they would be very difficult to find again.

But he invited Haslam and Natalie Uomini, an archeologist and anthropologist at Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, to California to see the otters.

A sea otter eats a mussel that it opened with a stone that it rests on its belly. (Jessica Fujii/Monterey Bay Aquarium)

After visiting several sites where sea otters were floating on their backs, carrying rocks on their chests and using them to crack food open, Tinker and his team took their visitors to Bennett Slough Culverts in Moss Landing, Calif., where otters pull off and eat mussels encrusted on a series of drainage pipes. The otters can’t collect stones from the bottom there because it’s muddy. But humans had piled rocks along the side of the road that the otters were pounding the mussels on.

Rock study

Tinker, a biologist, said the archeologists “immediately did something we’d never done — climbed down, scrambled over the rocks, right down into the water, basically, and started studying the rocks that the otters were pounding their mussels on.”

Uomini recalls that initially, they didn’t see anything unusual about the rocks. Then they started noticing broken mussel shells piled up in certain places.

“At first we thought, ‘Hey, that’s funny. Somebody must have come here, and had a picnic and eaten loads of mussels,'” said Uomini, who mostly studies stone tools made by ancient human relatives 500,000 to a million years ago..

Then it occurred to her that since the mussels were raw, that “somebody” was probably otters, not humans.

“And then we realized these piles of mussels were everywhere, and that there were damaged rocks near them.”

Natalie Uomini sets up her camera to observe otters at Elkhorn Slough, close to Bennett Slough Landing in Moss Landing, Calif. (Michael Haslam)

Tinker said he was dumbfounded: “Within their first hour of being out there, they had already found something that we’d missed for decades.”

That highlights the power of researchers from very different disciplines working together on problem “and bringing different ways of looking at nature together,” he added.

The team examined the piles of shells, which the archeologists call middens — the same word used to describe the trash heaps left by ancient humans that are also a rich source of archeological information.

They shot video of the otters pounding the mussels against the rocks and mapped the rocks themselves.

They found the otters tend to pound on points and ridges on the side of the rocks facing the water, leaving them smooth, worn down and lighter in colour.

The otters pound mussels on ridges and points on the side of the rocks facing the water, causing characteristic damage. (Michael Haslam)

Caught right-handed

The pounded shells also show an unusual pattern — the right shell is always broken, and the left never is.

Tinker said video observations showed the otters were holding the shells in a very precise way as they pounded.

“Right before they hit the rock, they slightly twist the shell so that their right hand is the one that’s really smashing it on the rock,” he said. The finding suggests that most otters — like most humans — are right handed.

Wild sea otter at Bennett Slough Culverts opening mussels using emergent anvil stone. (Jessica Fujii/Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Jessica Fujii, a senior research biologist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and co-author of the paper, says the team hopes to see if they can find similar patterns on similar rocks at other locations used by otters. So far, they’re not sure if those patterns apply just to otters eating mussels or if they’re similar for other shellfish.

In any case, Fujii said using archeological methods opens up lots of new research opportunities.

“It’s kind of a whole new field.”

By looking for those sea otter signatures from the past, researchers may be able to uncover new information, such as how widely they were distributed before they were nearly wiped out by the fur trade in the early 20th century. (They are currently still listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List, threatened in the U.S., and a species of special concern in Canada). It may even be possible to get information about how sea otters’ diets have evolved over time or how and when tool use evolved in sea otters, the researchers suggest.

And knowing what rocks — and piles of shells — look like after being pounded by a feasting otter can prevent archeologists from confusing them from those left behind by ancient humans, the researchers note. Previously, Tinker said, biologists had assumed that because sea otters moved so much from place to place, they never left big piles of shells in any one place. But it turns out some underwater otter middens at Bennett Slough Culverts could contain more than 100,000 shells. Similar piles may well have been mistaken for human middens in the past.

Sea otters leave the right side of the mussel shell broken and the left side unbroken. Observations suggest they tend to be right-handed. (Michael Haslam/Neil Smith/Scientific Reports)

Erin Rechsteiner is a research ecologist with the Hakai Institute and a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria who studies sea otters on the B.C. coast. She wasn’t involved in the study, but has worked with some of the co-authors.

She says B.C. sea otters use rocks to pry abalone off boulders or break open shells.

“You rarely see them eating snails without using a rock.”

She has never seen them using fixed boulders like the ones at Bennett Slough Culverts, but wonders if they break mussel shells open the same way with individual rocks.

Rechsteiner said she thinks looking for an archeological record for otters is a “cool idea.”

“I think it could give us a lot of insights into the past.”

The new study was funded by the European Research Council, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the US Geological Survey and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Here’s a running list of all the ways climate change has altered Earth in 2019

The Extinction Chronicles

Earth is now the warmest it’s been in some 120,000 years. Eighteen of the last 19 years have been the warmest on record. And concentrations of carbon dioxide — a potent greenhouse gas — are likely the highest they’ve been in 15 million years.

The consequences of such a globally-disrupted climate are many, and it’s understandably difficult to keep track. To help, here’s a list of climate-relevant news that has transpired in 2019, from historically unprecedented disappearances of ice, to flood-ravaged cities. As more news comes out, the list will be updated.

1. Guess what? U.S. carbon emissions popped back up in a big way

Carbon dioxide emissions from air travel rose in 2018.
Carbon dioxide emissions from air travel rose in 2018.


In early 2019, the Rhodium Group — a research institution that analyzes global economic and environmental trends — released a report finding…

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Letter: Time to end the twisted tradition of trapping

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting Blog

Dear Editor,

I read with unsettled interest about the starving mother cougar who was put down, leaving her dependent young to a life sentence behind bars in a zoo where they can be gawked and gaped at by all manner of selfie-snappin’ city-dwellers (“Cougar cubs captured after adult female euthanized” MVN, March 13, 2019). What caught my attention, besides that yet another Methow cougar ‘had to be’ killed, was that it happened along the Twisp-Carlton Road and it appeared she had been injured escaping a leg-hold trap. I can tell you firsthand that getting an animal’s foot out of one of those evil torture-devices is no simple task—an intense trauma for everyone involved.

Some years back, off that very same road, my shepherd/lab/malmute mix stepped in a rusty, old trap that clamped down onto his front paw, prying his toes apart. He cried out in terror and frantically tried to…

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12 signs we’re in the middle of a 6th mass extinction

The Extinction Chronicles

dead fish
A skeleton of a fish lies forgotten on the dry bed of Lake Peñuelas outside Santiago, Chile.
 Eliseo Fernandez/Reuters
  • The planet is undergoing a sixth mass extinction, the sixth time in the history of life on Earth that global fauna has experienced a major collapse in numbers.
  • Historically, mass extinctions have been caused by catastrophic events like asteroid collisions. This time, human activities are to blame.
  • The primary culprits are deforestation, mining, and carbon-dioxide emissions, which cause the planet to heat up.
  • As a result, insects are dying off at record rates, animal species are experiencing “ biological annihilation,” and invasive aliens are driving native species to extinction.

The phrase “mass extinction” typically conjures images of the asteroid crash that led to the twilight of the dinosaurs.

Upon impact, that 6-mile-wide space rock caused a tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean, along with earthquakes…

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The Latest: Wolves resilient, but proposal tests expansion

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on the proposed removal of federal protections for wolves (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

A proposal to strip gray wolves of federal protections could curtail their rapid expansion across vast swaths of the U.S., yet the predators already are proving to be resilient in states where hunting and trapping occur.

The Interior Department on Thursday declared gray wolves recovered across the Lower 48 states. If finalized, the proposal would allow hunting in more areas.

The species has seen a remarkable turnaround — from near-extermination to more than 6,000 gray wolves spread across nine states.

Critics say hunts could kill thousands of the animals and prevent their further spread.

But in the Northern Rockies, where legal wolf harvests began a decade ago, the animal’s numbers have held relatively steady and packs have expanded west into Oregon, Washington and California.


6:45 a.m.

U.S. wildlife officials want to strip gray wolves of their remaining federal protections and declare the species recovered following a decades-long restoration effort.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal released Thursday would put wolves under state authority and allow hunting in more areas. The Associated Press reported last week that the proposal was coming.

Critics argue the move is premature, with wolves still absent across most of their historic range.

Government officials say their goal was to protect against extinction, not restore wolves everywhere.

Trapping, poisoning and hunting exterminated wolves across most of the Lower 48 early last century. They bounced back under federal protection, and more than 6,000 now live in portions of nine states.

A final decision on lifting protections will follow a public comment period.