Emperor Goose Hunting Open for First Time in 30 Years

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/alaska/articles/2017-04-19/emperor-goose-hunting-open-for-first-time-in-30-years?src=usn_fb

Shooting emperor geese in Alaska is legal for the first time in 30 years, but officials are hoping hunters take it easy.

| April 19, 2017, at 12:53 p.m.

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Shooting emperor geese in Alaska is legal for the first time in 30 years, but officials are hoping hunters take it easy.

Federal managers have opened a subsistence hunt for the birds and are visiting coastal villages to lay down ground rules before the geese migrate, KYUK-AM reported (http://bit.ly/2pg3aVE ).

The rules call for targeting one bird at a time instead of spraying the flock, only taking juvenile birds that are not yet breeding, limiting the number of birds taken and only taking one or two eggs from a nest.

About 80 percent of the world’s emperor goose population breeds along the west coast of Yukon Delta in southern Alaska. The migration is expected to begin in mid to late May.

Officials hope the large number of geese doesn’t get to hunters’ heads, though.

“With the season opening for emperor geese for the first time in 30 years, there is a concern of overharvest of emperor geese, because they’re ignorant to a lot of hunting activities, because they haven’t been harvested, so they haven’t learned how to avoid hunters,” said Bryan Daniels, a waterfowl biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The six-week hunt is now open and runs until the beginning of June.

The 1980s was the last time hunters could go out for emperor geese, which was before the bird’s population dropped dangerously low.

Now, the population is just above the threshold to sustain a hunt.

___

Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org

Despite Trump overturning refuge hunting rules, conflict remains

http://www.alaskajournal.com/2017-04-10/despite-trump-overturning-refuge-hunting-rules-conflict-remains#.WOvPEIjyvIU

Although Congress put an end to a set of federal restrictions on wildlife management on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, the underlying conflict is far from over.

President Donald Trump signed a House Joint Resolution on Tuesday overturning a set of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations enacted in 2016. The rule restricted certain hunting methods on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, with additional specific rules for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Under the rule, predator control activities were banned unless based on sound science and in response to a conservation concern or met refuge need. On the Kenai, additional public use restrictions went into place, including some plane and motorboat access, camping restrictions and requiring a permit for baiting black bears and prohibiting using a dog to hunt big game except black bears, among other rules.

The state filed a lawsuit in January against the Department of the Interior over the Fish and Wildlife rules and another set of hunting restrictions set by the National Park Service in Alaska’s national preserves. The Safari Club International, a hunting organization, filed a similar lawsuit of its own about a week later. A few days after that, the Alaska Professional Hunting Association filed its own lawsuit over the same regulations.

“Passage of this resolution reaffirms our state sovereignty, and the state’s authority to manage fish and wildlife statewide, including on federal public lands,” said Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth in a news release issued Tuesday. “Alaskans depend on wildlife for food. Reversal of these regulations will allow residents to continue their hunting and gathering traditions.”

Despite the overturn, there’s still a sharp philosophical management disagreement between federal wildlife managers and state wildlife managers, and unless one side’s mandate changes, the disagreement will remain. Fish and Wildlife manages the national wildlife refuges for natural biological diversity, without promoting prey species over predators. Fish and Game, on the other hand, is mandated to manage for maximum sustained yield, which would provide enough harvestable animals to provide for hunters. The National Park Service protects the lands it manages and all the wildlife on them, prohibiting hunting entirely on national preserves.

Stacey said the group contests that by bypassing the state’s game management authority, the refuge and national park rules effectively amend the state’s constitution.

“(The state constitution) is where you get the maximum sustained yield management rules,” he said. “Within (Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act), it says nothing is supposed to modify or amend the state’s constitution. We argue that whrere the federal government steps in and imposes a foreign management philosophy, that actually effectively amends the state’s constitution.”

The three agencies cooperate on management issues, but there have been times over the years when the Board of Game or Fish and Game crossed a line and trigged a reaction from the feds. A recent example was when the Board of Game authorized the taking of brown bears over bait on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, said Board of Game chairman Ted Spraker.

“We allowed the taking of brown bears over bait in 2013, and the refuge immediately said, ‘Not on the refuge,’” he said. “That hasn’t changed.”

There are management tools built in, such as an overall quota for brown bears taken in the area before the season closes, he said. The refuge allows baiting for black bears in an area of Game Management Unit 15A but put brown bears off limits, which seemed inconsistent, he said.

The National Park Service regulations are still in place, so the lawsuits will go on with those challenges, and the regulations on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge are still in place, so the Safari Club’s lawsuit will still challenge those.

“It has more to do with not ceding authority to the federal systems compared to whether the department and the Board of Game will change things that we’re currently doing,” Spraker said. “I don’t see any major changes coming because of this, I think there will be a little more cooperation on some of the issues, but I don’t see the refuges embracing any sort of predator management because of this.”

The overturning of the rule must be frustrating for the agency, though, said Michelle Sinnott, an attorney with environmental law firm Trustees for Alaska, which represents a group of conservation organizations that petitioned to intervene in the three lawsuits and have been granted intervener status in the Safari Club and Alaska Professional Hunters Association lawsuits.

“It’s maddening to a sense and I’m sure it’s very frustrating for federal agencies, because the Congressional Review Act takes a sledgehammer to agencies’ years of work and communications with the public and public noticing comment and meetings with people in the region,” she said.

ANILCA has a role to play too. The act, passed in 1980, affected about 157 million acres of federal land in Alaska and changed management for others, including converting the Kenai National Moose Range into the current Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Its baseline principles include the provision of managing for natural diversity, and so even with the 2016 rules changed, with ANILCA still in place, the conflict still stands between federal management of wildlife on federal land and state sovereignty.

“That question is still alive and well and we’ll be part of it now,” Sinnott said. “It’s great that our intervention was granted, because now there’s a whole host of Alaskan voices that will be heard in these cases.”

Once the debate moved to the national level, the groups supporting Fish and Wildlife’s rule received support from members of Congress who saw problems with the rules themselves and with the state asserting its right to manage wildlife on federal lands, said Pat Lavin with the Alaska office of conservation group Defenders of Wildlife.

“To have any state kind of challenge that and claim that the state has the right to do whatever it wants … I think plenty of members of Congress saw that right away and that was all the noise,” he said. “Unfortunately, we lost the vote anyway. There’s plenty of folks in Congress who understand that and aren’t crazy about it but were willing to undo this regulation.”

Lavin agreed that ANILCA would help reinforce current management practices. Refuges around the country don’t always follow the strict state regulations, he said.

“It is true, and not only in Alaska but around the whole country, that as a general proposition in managing refuge lands, the Fish and Wildlife Service defer at least initially to the place they’re in, in a given refuge,” he said. “That’s kind of the default position, but on top of that, the refuge does things all the time that are specific to the refuge and may or may not be consistent with state regulations.”

Spraker said he was optimistic that with the new federal administration, a new Department of the Interior director and a new Alaska regional supervisor of the Fish and Wildlife Service, state and federal managers could collaborate on management more.

“I don’t think this is going to make a major change in how we do business, but I do think it’s going to increase the level of collaboration between the state and federal agencies,” he said. “And with new leadership, I think that will lend itself toward cooperation with the state.”

Alaska’s national refuges are not private game reserves

The Times Editorial Board

March 18, 2017 5 am

The 16 national wildlife refuges in Alaska span the state from the remote Arctic on the northern edge to the volcanic Aleutian islands southwest of Anchorage. Across the refuges’ nearly 77 million acres, animal diversity abounds — ice worms and seabirds, black bears and grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, predators and prey. There is one guiding principle behind the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s management of all the species on these refuges: Conserve the natural diversity of wildlife as it is. In essence, let them be, and let humans enjoy the spectacle of nature on these refuges.

But at these particular enclaves, that also means letting humans hunt — within limits. It’s difficult to believe that any wildlife refuge isn’t truly a refuge from hunters. That’s the way the national system of refuges started, but over the last quarter century, many have been opened up to regulated hunting.

 And herein lies the problem. The state of Alaska shares the responsibility for managing the refuges’ wildlife, and it has its own goal: Making sure there are plenty of animals to hunt. In an effort to maximize the number of moose, caribou and deer, the state authorized in some areas more efficient but brutal methods to kill the wolves and bears that prey upon those popular hunting targets.

Concerned that the state’s predator control campaign could become widespread enough to disrupt the refuges’ ecosystems, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a rule that bars hunters and trappers in the refuges from killing wolves and their pups in their dens, killing bear cubs or sows with cubs, baiting brown bears, shooting bears from aircraft, or capturing bears with traps and snares. The rule took effect in September.

Alarmingly, Alaska’s congressional delegation is pushing hard to get rid of these ecologically sound and humane restrictions, and Republican lawmakers are responding. A joint resolution revoking the rule has passed the House and is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate the week of March 20. It is misguided and should be hunted down and killed.

Let’s be clear on a few things. The federal rule prohibits only these gruesome methods of hunting on national wildlife refuges. It does not apply to hunting in state-owned wilderness or to rural Alaskan residents who hunt for subsistence. And it’s doubtful that killing huge numbers of wolves and bears would automatically drive up the number of moose and caribou. “The best available science indicates that widespread elimination of bears, coyotes and wolves will quite unlikely make ungulate herds magically reappear,” wrote 31 biologists and other scientists to then-Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell last year when the rule was still being studied.

In other words, the Alaskan government sought to allow types of hunting that probably would not accomplish what it wants to accomplish, but would end up killing brown bears who’d been lured with bait, slaughtering helpless cubs and wolf pups, and allowing bears to languish in excruciating pain for unknown hours in steel-jawed traps. This is unconscionable.

And this is not a case of states’ rights being usurped by the federal government. If anything, the congressional measures would subvert the federal government’s decades-long statutory authority over federal lands in Alaska. The national refuges are not Alaska’s private game reserve. That wilderness belongs to all of us. The Senate should stop this bill from going any further.

The Pa. Game Commission should slow down move to semi-automatic weapons for hunting: David Levdansky

shutterstock_598067309.jpg

PennLive Op-EdBy PennLive Op-Ed
on March 16, 2017 at 8:45 AM, updated March 16, 2017 at 8:46 AM

By David Levdansky

Last year the Legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf removed a long-standing statutory prohibition against the use of semi-automatic rifles for hunting in Pennsylvania.

That legislation conveyed to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) authority to regulate how, when and where semi-auto rifles could be used for hunting.

Game commissioners, sworn to represent and uphold the interests of the state’s hunters, should also consider the impact of permitting semi-automatic rifle use for hunting on the non-hunting public.

After all, the Game Commission is required by law to manage all wildlife in the interests of all citizens – hunters and non-hunters alike.

As that legislation moved toward enactment, several Game Commissioners indicated publicly their intent to “go slow” in authorizing semi-auto use.

Moving so rapidly to permit semi-auto rifle use for all hunting will have unintended consequences.

Some even shared possible scenarios, where semi-autos might be permitted for use in hunting predators, like coyotes, but not during the regular big game seasons for deer and bear.

But surprisingly, at their January meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to permit the use of semi-automatic rifles in all seasons, for all species and have indicated their intent to follow through and grant final approval to this sweeping proposal at their next meeting on March 28.

Pennsylvania hunters can use semi-automatic weapons, but not this deer season 

Pennsylvania hunters can use semi-automatic weapons, but not this deer season

The new law doesn’t make semi-automatic weapons legal for hunting in time for the upcoming firearm deer season, which begins Monday.

Anyone who followed this unfolding issue assumed from earlier PGC statements that the debate would “go slow,” following a conservative approach to introducing semi-automatic rifles into Pennsylvania hunting.

What happened in the course of a few weeks that caused the sweeping approval of semi-autos to be fast-tracked? It’s obvious that something influenced commissioners’ earlier stated intent to be deliberate in handling this issue. Is this part of a legislative deal in the works?

Game commissioners who have spoken about the unanimous preliminary approval stated their rationale this way–that other states have not experienced an increase in hunting accidents caused by hunters using semi-auto rifles in the woods.

But I question that enough time was available, between the governor’s signature on the legislation and the Game Commission’s initial unanimous vote, to conduct a thorough review.

Furthermore, commissioners’ defense of their vote is based entirely on one factor. But is safety the only issue the PGC should consider?

We hunters make up about five percent of the total Pennsylvania population. That doesn’t mean the other 95 percent are “anti-hunters” but they are non-hunters. Their perception of hunters and hunting is vital to the continuation of our hunting traditions.

Moving so rapidly to permit semi-auto rifle use for all hunting will have unintended consequences.

From personal experience, I notice a difference in the reaction of non-hunters when I discuss hunting with a bow or a flintlock. They respect and support the ethical taking of game through methods that conform with the “fair chase” intrinsic to our hunting tradition.

My concern is with their perception of hunters when they see us using firearms designed for military purposes in the deer woods.

Eventually, there will be an accident involving a semi-auto rifle. It may even be an accident that has nothing to do with semi-auto technology, but the public won’t care about that.

All they will see is a hunter with a semi-automatic rifle designed for combat use, and they’ll blame all hunters and the Game Commission for whatever tragedy occurred. We hunters don’t need that kind of black eye. Is the rapid expansion of the semi-automatic rifle to hunt deer worth this risk?

The proposed rule implicitly recognizes this risk as it limits semi-auto rifles to a 5-shell capacity magazine for hunting. But these guns come equipped to carry a 20-shell magazine.

In view of the Game Commission’s sudden “flip” from its original intention to carefully deliberate semi-autos for hunting, how can we be assured that the 5-shell maximum will not soon expand, until the full 20-shell banana clip is legalized?

The deer woods will echo with “if it’s brown, it’s going down.” More errant shots, more deer wounded and left to rot in Penn’s Woods.

Several commissioners have defended their preliminary vote to authorize by saying hunter opposition was less than they expected.

It’s obvious that opposition was light because commissioners misled everyone. They initially said they’d take a slow and deliberate course.

People who are concerned about this trusted them to fully consider this issue, from all viewpoints.

But then commissioners surprised everyone with the unanimous vote and intention to move rapidly forward. The classic bait-and-switch tactic. Why?

I am a life-long hunter who was taught the importance of one-shot discipline while qualifying for the Boy Scouts marksmanship merit badge, by my NRA-certified Hunter Education instructor, and by my father, recognized for distinguished marksmanship during WWII Battle of the Bulge.

All my early shooting and hunting mentors reinforced the importance of minimizing a reliance on firepower but maximizing self-control while hunting, in the interest of safety, humaneness and the accuracy of my own shooting.

I believe we must continue to emphasize this ethic in training future hunters.

The use of semi-auto rifles for hunting undermines that ethic and will erode our standing in the eyes of public opinion, critical to our future.

I am not opposed to change. But this issue has many facets and ramifications that need studied and thought through. I want us to manage change with deliberation so that we hunters, and the honored tradition of hunting, do not suffer unintended damage we cannot repair.

The Game Commission should table this misguided proposal at their March 28 meeting and allow for more public input from hunters and non-hunters alike.

David Levdansky, a Democrat from Allegheny County, was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1985 to 2010. He is a life-long hunter.

Last chance to comment on hunting regs before Fish and Wildlife Commission

http://www.thedailyworld.com/news/last-chance-to-comment-on-hunting-regs-before-fish-and-wildlife-commission/

  • Tue Mar 14th, 2017

The public has one last chance to tell the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission the concerns about upcoming hunting rule change proposals in person at the commission’s March 17-18 meeting in Olympia.

The most notable proposed changes include the elimination of several special elk areas in and around Grays Harbor County, increasing the bag limit for white-fronted and white geese to address their growing abundance, and allowing the restoration of points to hunters who draw a permit for a damage hunt but are not called on to participate in a hunt.

The meetings are set to commence at 8 a.m. both days, with a public comment starting each session. There will also be a public comment period after each presentation, each featuring a different segment of proposed hunt rules changes. The meetings will be held in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building at 1111 Washington St. SE in Olympia; a complete agenda is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/. All the proposed changes are available for review at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/seasonsetting.

Some areas of interest for local hunters include a10:40 a.m. presentation Friday about the elimination of several elk areas, including the Tri Valley, South Bank, Chehalis Valley and Willapa, meaning the land within those areas will be reabsorbed into their respects Game Management Units and fall under the same rules governing those units. Following that at 11:05 a.m. will be a discussion of general deer seasons and deer and elk special permits.

The migratory bird hunting presentation will be at 1:40 p.m., where the public can hear about proposed bag limit changes for several species of geese, among other changes.

Final action by the commission on the proposed recommendations is scheduled at a public meeting April 14-15 in Spokane.

The commission will also be briefed on a few other topics, notably the Willapa Bay salmon management plan and its adaptive management objectives, scheduled for 11:45 a.m. Saturday. Also among the briefings will be in-season management of Puget Sound salmon fisheries and bird dog training at two units of the Snoqualmie Valley Wildlife Area.

Prior to the regular meeting, the commission will have its annual meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee March 16 at 3 p.m. in the Governor’s Office.

Wildlife managers also will provide an update on the status of wolves in Washington and actions the department took in 2016 to implement the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

In addition, the commission will be briefed on a petition the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received calling for a protection zone for southern resident killer whales off the coast of San Juan Island.

Controversial hunting group hosts ‘Women in Hunting’ event

Controversial hunting group hosts ‘Women in Hunting’ event

HUDSONVILLE, Mich.– A controversial hunting organization is hosting their annual fundraising event this weekend in West Michigan. The group kicked off the weekend with an event encouraging more women to get involved in hunting.

Safari Club International is an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of hunters and conservation education. While hunting is a male-dominated sport, it’s something the group is trying to change.

“Women are the fastest growing population of hunters, said Dan Olson, President of the Michigan chapter of Safari Club International. “When you come to a lot of our meetings it’s mostly men. We want to get more of the women involved and this is the best way to do that.”

The Michigan chapter of Safari Club International invited three generations of female hunters, all of which are famous in their field. The youngest: 22-year-old Kendall Jones, whose photos were shared around the world in 2014.

“I went over to Africa and I was hunting the big five,” said Jones. “I posted pictures of all of my animals and the lion picture I posted, the anti-hunters got a hold of it and posted it on all of their anti-hunting websites. They put it on the news and it just kind of blew up. I was on all of the news stations in other countries with my face on their newspapers. In Germany, I was the ‘Baby Face Killer’.”

Now, Jones is using her platform to encourage women and children to get outdoors.

“Since everything’s happened, it’s really given me a platform to have a voice for hunters,” said Jones. “It’s given me the ability to spread awareness and educate these people on what conservation really is. My goal is to get females and the youth involved.”

Jones says she wants children to learn to love hunting so the sport doesn’t disappear.

“I love kids and I would love for them to get outside,” said Jones. “I think some kids are so sheltered nowadays with being inside and being on their phones so much they don’t get to experience the great outdoors. If we don’t get them outside hunting is going to die off. Having this pedestal, that’s something I want to do is get them involved and get them outside.”

Also in attendance was Diana Rupp, editor in chief of Sports Afield magazine.

“Wildlife conservation is really driven by hunters and not a lot of people know that story, but it’s really true,” said Rupp. “The money that we put into hunting licenses and the money that’s raised by organizations like the one we’re at now with the fundraiser is super important to our wildlife heritage.”

Rupp says some people have misconceptions about hunting.

“It’s not that we hate animals or anything like that which a lot of people think,” said Rupp. “It’s absolutely the opposite. We love animals. We are trying to promote wildlife conservation in a way that truly works and raise a lot of money for the animals and for the habitat.”

Mary Harter, the 2015 Woman Hunter of the Year, was also there pushing women to get involved.

“We can do it,” said Harter. “Women are known to shoot better than men. We can do it.”

On Saturday, they’re hosting an all-day fundraiser at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville. Doors open at noon. Tickets cost $90 and you must have a ticket to enter. The event ends at 10 p.m. and includes raffles, games, dinner, an auction and more. The Pinnacle Center is located at 3330 Highland Dr. in Hudsonville.

The Hills Are a-LOUD with the Sound of Shooting

As seen in the fall 2016 issue of the C.A.S.H. (THE COMMITTEE TO ABOLISH SPORT HUNTING) Courier

by JIM ROBERTSON

Living as I had for nearly the past decade in Washington State’s Willapa Hills near the mouth of the Columbia River, that refrain all too often comes to mind with the first light of dawn this time of year. Nothing is more miraculous than a huge flock of dusky or cackling Canada geese passing right overhead. But every morning in the fall and winter this awe-inspiring scene is accompanied by the nerve-shattering sounds of self-important nimrods blindly blasting through the fog. Whether for fun or to fill their freezer with flesh, the slaughter is all really in the name of sport. While spring is the season for baseball in this country, fall seems to be the in-season for killing.

If only more hunters would be like Canadian author, Farley Mowat, when he turned his back on the carnage for good: “…and then the dawn was pierced by the sonorous cries of seemingly endless flocks of geese that drifted, wraithlike, overhead. They were flying low that day. Snow Geese, startling white of breast, with jet-black wingtips, beat past while flocks of piebald wavies kept station at their flanks. An immense V of Canadas came close behind. As the rush of air through their great pinions sounded in our ears, we jumped up and fired. “One goose fell, appearing gigantic in the tenuous light as it spiraled sharply down. It struck the water a hundred yards from shore and I saw that it had only been winged. It swam off into the growing storm, its neck outstretched, calling….calling….calling after the fast disappearing flock. “Driving home to Saskatoon that night I felt a sick repugnance for what we had done, but what was of far greater import, I was experiencing a poignant but indefinable sense of loss. I felt as if I had glimpsed another and quite magical world–a world of oneness–and had been denied entry into it through my own stupidity. I never hunted for sport again.”

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

NM hunting guide wounded in gunfight near border

https://www.abqjournal.com/923857/nm-hunting-guide-client-wounded-in-alleged-border-attack.html?utm_source=email-a-story&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email-a-story

By Lauren Villagran / Journal Staff Writer
Published: Monday, January 9th, 2017 at 12:50pm
Walker Daugherty, 26, of Chloride, NM, leading an elk-hunting team.

Walker Daugherty, 26, in an undated photo from an elk hunt. He was guiding a hunt in West Texas on Friday for his family’s New Mexico-based business when the group was allegedly attacked.(Courtesy of Gila Livestock Growers Association)

 

Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal

No one knows for sure what happened, and the people who do aren’t talking about it.

Five miles north of the Mexican border on a remote West Texas ranch, a New Mexico hunting guide and his client were wounded over the weekend in an alleged gunfight that a family friend described as an attack by “illegal aliens” and an attempted kidnapping.

The Presidio County Sheriff’s Office appeared to question that account in a statement Monday, saying “there is no evidence to support allegations of ‘cross-border violence.’” A Border Patrol spokesman called the alleged incident “highly unusual for our part of the border.”

The following is an account of the events.

Hunting guide Walker Daugherty, 26, of Chloride, N.M. – a ranching community about three hours southwest of Albuquerque near the Gila National Forest – was guiding an exotic big game hunt near Candelaria, Texas, on the border when his party was allegedly attacked by unknown assailants.

Daugherty and his fiancée, another hunting guide and his wife were staying in a lodge at the Circle Dug Ranch. Edwin Roberts, the hunter, and his wife were asleep in a rented RV nearby when gunmen attempted to take the vehicle by force.

Daugherty was shot in the abdomen when he tried to stop the assailants from taking the RV with his clients inside, according to a statement issued by the Gila Livestock Growers Association that described the attack as a kidnapping attempt. Roberts, 59, was shot in the arm.

The RV was “riddled with bullet holes,” the statement said.

Daugherty and Roberts were taken to an El Paso hospital and were in stable condition Monday.

Rancher and Gila Livestock Growers Association President Laura Schneberger issued a news release about the attack, based on the Daugherty family’s account. In addition to their hunting business, Redwing Outfitters, the Daugherty family runs a ranch near the Gila National Forest. The family could not be reached Monday.

“The attack has the family concerned that the attack was not just an attempt to rob the property,” the growers association statement said. “They believe the assailants intended to kill all the party. The attackers were strategically placed around the lodge, and the men were fired upon from different areas.”

Sheriff skeptical

The Presidio County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call around 9:30 p.m. Friday from the Circle Dug Ranch, a two-hour drive from the Presidio County seat, Marfa. Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Joel Nunez responded to the scene.

“We are still investigating details of the shooting,” Sheriff Danny Dominguez said in a statement. “However, there is no evidence to support allegations of ‘cross-border violence’ as released by some media sources.”

The terrain of Presidio County, near Big Bend National Park, is rugged like New Mexico’s Bootheel and notoriously difficult to patrol for both local law enforcement and the U.S. Border Patrol.

The sheriff is tasked with securing more than 3,800 square miles – New Mexico’s Hidalgo County is about 3,400 square miles, by comparison – and the area is a known corridor for drug mules and smugglers leading migrants illegally over the border.

By phone, Dominguez said that despite the illegal traffic through the area, violent incidents like this one haven’t happened.

“This is out of the blue,” he said. “Like they say it happened, something violent like this – no.”

Border Patrol Special Operations Supervisor Rush Carter said agents aided sheriff’s deputies in securing the scene.

“It’s highly unusual for our part of the border,” Carter said. “Any kind of gun violence just doesn’t happen. I wouldn’t say ‘at all,’ but very, very few incidents. If we have gunplay in our area of operation, it’s not folks coming from Mexico doing that.

“We just don’t see it in people who are trying to smuggle aliens or narcotics. If you think about it, when something like that happens, you see the amount of law enforcement presence that comes into an area and the attention it gets, which is bad for them. It will make it that much tougher for them” to make their illegal crossings.

Tourism business

The Big Bend area of West Texas is a magnet for hunters and hikers. Tourism is big business from the hip, artsy town of Marfa into the wild reaches of the Big Bend National Park, which borders Mexico.

Daugherty’s group was hunting aoudad, also known as Barbary sheep, a type of big-horned North African sheep introduced in West Texas. Redwing Outfitters charges $4,900 for a four- to six-day aoudad hunt, according to its website. “In our camps you will find a Christian atmosphere, fun hardworking professional guides and real homecooking,” the website says.

The Circle Dug Ranch, where the party was spending the night, advertises bird-watching, cave exploration and photography workshops and promotes guided hunting packages. An email to the Circle Dug Ranch requesting comment went unanswered Monday.

“It’s a tourist attraction in the Big Bend area, and nobody wants to talk about it, but a lot of ranches have seen a lot of terrible things,” Schneberger said by phone. “This is personal.”

A GoFundMe website account set up to provide financial support to Daugherty had raised more than $18,000 by more than 200 donors in two days. Daugherty is expected to undergo surgery and does not have medical insurance, according to the site.

Hunt with the Trumps for $1million

: President-elect is throwing a fundraiser the day after inauguration where donors can win the chance to go shooting with Donald’s sons

  • The $1million package offers a photo with Trump and a hunting trip with his sons, Donald Jr and Eric
  • The cheapest package for fundraiser in Washington is valued at $25,000
  • Toby Keith, Alabama and ‘other surprise entertainers’ will be performing  
  • The appropriate attire is described as ‘camouflage and cufflinks’ 

Donald Trump’s sons are looking to start the President-elect’s first full day in office with a bang.

Following his inauguration, wealthy donors have the chance to go on a shooting excursion with Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump in a fundraiser, entitled ‘Opening Day’, honoring their father.

For $1million, the top package offers a photo opportunity with President Trump for up to 16 people and a multi-day hunting or fishing trip with one or both of the Trump sons.

Donald Trump Jr (left) and Eric Trump (right) are the stars of Opening Day, a fundraiser held in their father’s honor. For a modest sum of $1million, the top package offers a multi-day hunting or fishing trip with one of both of the Trump sons

For $1million, the Bald Eagle package at the fundraiser offers the chance for 16 people to take a photo with President Donald Trump

For $1million, the Bald Eagle package at the fundraiser offers the chance for 16 people to take a photo with President Donald Trump

Along with the event full of rich donors, Toby Keith, Alabama and other ‘surprise entertainers’ will be performing at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC on Saturday, January 21.

Opening Day is described as a chance to ‘play a significant role’ as the Trump family honors the billionaire’s inauguration by celebrating ‘the great American tradition of outdoor sporting, shooting, fishing and conservation.’

The attire for the fundraiser is described as ‘camouflage and cufflinks… jeans, boots and hats are welcome’ and all proceeds will go to conservation charities.

This isn’t the first time Donald Jr and Eric have shown their fondness for hunting, both domestically and internationally.

In the past the two sons have come under fire for big-game hunting and posing with their kills, including Donald Jr smiling next a dead buffalo and in another holding up a tail of an elephant.

Eric is pictured sitting on top of a water buffalo, with his hat hanging off its horn and three rifles propped up against the animal’s body.

The two also have a photo that sparked outrage on social media where they proudly hold up a dead cheetah.

In the past the two sons have come under fire for big-game hunting and posing with their kills. Trump has said that his 'sons love to hunt'

In the past the two sons have come under fire for big-game hunting and posing with their kills. Trump has said that his ‘sons love to hunt’

Donald Jr is seen here with a 40' Cape Buffalo Bull and is said to have 'the precision of a true marksman'

Donald Jr is seen here with a 40′ Cape Buffalo Bull and is said to have ‘the precision of a true marksman’

Eric Trump sits on top of a water buffalo in Zimbabwe, with three rifles and a hat propped up against the dead animal 

Eric Trump sits on top of a water buffalo in Zimbabwe, with three rifles and a hat propped up against the dead animal

Trump turned to his children to boost support for his campaign and many political analysts think they aided to his win.

Daughter Ivanka Trump played a large role in his campaign and was seen at her father’s side at conventions, rallies and debates.

The 35-year-old is now the star of her own fundraiser, where a lucky bidder can have a 45 minute coffee break with the mother-of-three.

The sit-down is estimated at $50,000 and once the bidder forks over the money to Eric Trump’s foundation and vetted by a background check, the two can chat about politics and life.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4040272/Donald-Trump-throwing-fundraiser-sons-donors-shooting-Donald-s-sons.html#ixzz4TDFDYu24

Hunting’s Newest Controversy: Snipers

http://www.wsj.com/articles/huntings-newest-controversy-snipers-1481316596

The sport is divided on the ethics of using long-range shooting systems to take down game

Experts from Gunwerks train customers for high-angle long-distance shots at the company’s Long Range University Course in Wyoming.
Experts from Gunwerks train customers for high-angle long-distance shots at the company’s Long Range University Course in Wyoming.PHOTO: NATE ROBERTSON

During his first 25 years hunting big game, Robert Phillips never killed from farther than 250 yards. He wasn’t certain how to calculate the pull of gravity on a bullet traveling farther than that, not to mention the harder-to-calculate effect of wind.

But four years ago, Phillips invested in a rifle and sighting system that does all that calculating for him. On a hunt in New Mexico this fall, Phillips downed an elk with one shot from 683 yards. His longest kill with this new gear came at 1,180 yards, four times beyond any conventional range.

“From that distance, the animal isn’t frightened. It’s not jittery. And you’re not jittery either,” says Phillips, a home builder in Columbus, Ind.

In this ancient American sport, the newest thing is a long-range-shooting system that measures distance, determines wind effect and fires high-powered ammunition. These systems turn hunters into snipers by taking the guesswork out of calculating the effects of gravity and wind on a bullet traveling as far as a mile. Applying technical expertise to firearm sighting systems, new players such as Gunwerks and TrackingPoint are winning shares of a market long dominated by venerable brands like Remington and Winchester. “A TrackingPoint Precision-Guided Firearm ensures never-before-seen precision at extreme distances,” says the website of TrackingPoint, based in Pflugerville, Texas.

Of about 14 million rifle hunters in America, about 5% are using new long-range systems, estimates Gunwerks founder Aaron Davidson. “And I would expect that 5% to turn into 50%,” says Davidson, a mechanical engineer who started his company in 2006. In the hopes of spurring such growth, Davidson’s company produces a cable hunting show called “Long Range Pursuit,” which he says gains about 300,000 viewers a week.

But as if big-game hunting weren’t controversial enough, many of the sport’s own practitioners disapprove of long-range hunting, calling it a violation of a tradition known as fair chase. Getting close to a deer or elk requires stealth and patience. Within 300 yards, the snap of a twig or sudden shift in wind can alert a wild animal that danger is near, sending it under cover. For the hunter, evading a wild animal’s exquisite senses can be one of the greatest thrills of the sport.

The animal should have a chance. If you shoot at an animal from 500 yards or farther, you’re depriving him of his tools. You negate his eyesight and his hearing and his sense of smell.

—David E. Petzal, Field & Stream editor and a hunter since 1960

“The animal should have a chance,” says David E. Petzal, Field & Stream magazine’s field editor and a hunter since 1960. “If you shoot at an animal from 500 yards or farther, you’re depriving him of his tools. You negate his eyesight and his hearing and his sense of smell.”

Long-range shooting is the latest new technology to come to the attention of state wildlife officials, who in various places have limited or banned hunters from using drones, trail cameras and night-vision equipment. This year in Nevada, the state wildlife commission proposed outlawing electronically controlled firing systems on big-game rifles, a measure that could effectively ban some long-range shooting systems. “To their credit, our wildlife commission is taking a stand on technologies they feel are going beyond the fair-chase ethic,” says Tyler Turnipseed, Nevada’s chief game warden.

In a 2014 statement, the Boone and Crockett Club, a 129-year-old conservation and record-keeping group, said the club “finds that long-range shooting takes unfair advantage of the game animal, effectively eliminates the natural capacity of an animal to use its senses and instincts to detect danger, and demeans the hunter/prey relationship in a way that diminishes the importance and relevance of the animal and the hunt.”

Hunting big game ought to be as difficult as hitting a fastball, says Field & Stream’s Petzal. “If you practice it ethically, most of the time you won’t succeed,” says Petzal, who once went 17 seasons without taking an elk despite hunting for one every year. “I’m talking about 2-3 weeks up and down mountains year after year with nothing to show for it,” he says.

Mike Jernigan, a disabled veteran, uses his TrackingPoint 300 Winchester Magnum.ENLARGE
Mike Jernigan, a disabled veteran, uses his TrackingPoint 300 Winchester Magnum. PHOTO: MIKE JERNIGAN

Proponents of long-range hunting acknowledge that it can improve a hunter’s chances of making a kill. But what’s wrong with that, they ask, given that hunters often spend tens of thousands of dollars on equipment, travel and licenses in pursuit of animals whose numbers are abundant—sometimes overly abundant? They also say that long-range systems don’t eliminate the element of chase or the grind of hauling heavy equipment up mountains. “It’s no cakewalk,” says Phillips, a 65-year-old Gunwerks customer.

As for ethics, proponents say that super-accurate sighting systems make hunting more humane at any range, by killing animals instantly, thereby reducing the risk of wounded prey escaping. “Without TrackingPoint 14% of animals shot suffer and require two or more shots to be killed. Many are never found,” says a TrackingPoint document. “With TrackingPoint 99.5% of animals are cleanly harvested.”

South Carolina home builder William Sinnett bought a TrackingPoint system not only for himself but for his business partner, who had a habit of jerking when he fired upon a big-game animal.

“He had a tick, so he’d just wound an animal, and sometimes we’d find the animal and sometimes we wouldn’t,” says Sinnett, a former military sharpshooter. Since using the TrackingPoint system, however, “my business partner hasn’t missed a shot,” says Sinnett.

Proponents of long-range shooting also argue that the virtues of creeping close to a big-game animal are overblown. They note that bow hunting—which requires extraordinary stealth—often wounds rather than kills. “Bow hunters wound animals that get away—and that’s unethical,” says Phillips.

One factor likely to limit growth is cost. While a conventional deer rifle can be bought for a few hundred dollars, these ultra-sophisticated rifles and shooting systems can cost a few thousand dollars up to nearly $25,000.