Trump administration moves to lift restrictions on hunting, trapping in national preserves in Alaska

Under proposed changes hunters could bait brown bears, hunt black bears with dogs and kill wolves

The Associated Press · Posted: May 22, 2018 3:33 PM CT | Last Updated: May 22

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A brown bear catches a salmon in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska in July 2013. Under proposed changes to sport hunting and trapping regulations for national preserves, hunters could bait brown bears with bacon and doughtnuts. (The Associated Press)

The Trump administration is moving to reverse Obama-era rules barring hunters on some public lands in Alaska from baiting brown bears with bacon and doughnuts and using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens.

The National Park Service issued a notice Monday of its intent to amend regulations for sport hunting and trapping in national preserves to bring the federal rules in line with Alaska state law.

Under the proposed changes, hunters would also be allowed to hunt black bears with dogs, kill wolves and pups in their dens, and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou.

Cruel and harmful hunting methods like killing bear cubs and their mothers near dens have no place on our national preserves.- Collette Adkins, lawyer and biologist

These and other hunting methods — condemned as cruel by wildlife protection advocates — were outlawed on federal lands in 2015. Members of the public have 60 days to provide comment on the proposed new rules.

“The conservation of wildlife and habitat for future generations is a goal we share with Alaska,” said Bert Frost, the park service’s regional director. “This proposed rule will reconsider NPS efforts in Alaska for improved alignment of hunting regulations on national preserves with State of Alaska regulations, and to enhance consistency with harvest regulations on surrounding non-federal lands and waters.”

Alaska has 10 national preserves covering nearly 95,830 square kilometers.

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A black bear and cub seen in Anchorage, Alaska. The Trump administration plans to reverse a ban on using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens on some public lands in the state. (The Associated Press)

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game was “pleased to see the National Park Service working to better align federal regulations with State of Alaska hunting and trapping regulations,” Maria Gladziszewski, the state agency’s deputy director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, said in an email to the Associated Press.

She said the proposal is “progress in that direction, and we appreciate those efforts. Alaskans benefit when state and federal regulations are consistent.”

Gladziszewski said the state doesn’t conduct predator control in national preserves.

“Predator control could be allowed in preserves only with federal authorization because such actions are subject to NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) review,” she said.

Expanding hunting rights on federal lands has been a priority for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a former Montana congressman who displays a taxidermied bear in his Washington office along with mounted heads from a bison and an elk.

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Expanding hunting rights on federal lands has been a priority for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. (Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press)

The Obama-era restrictions on hunting on federal lands in Alaska were challenged by Safari Club International, a group that promotes big-game hunting. The Associated Press reported in March that Zinke had appointed a board loaded with trophy hunters to advise him on conserving threatened and endangered wildlife, including members of the Safari Club.

President Donald Trump’s sons are also avid trophy hunters who have made past excursions to Africa and Alaska.

Collette Adkins, a lawyer and biologist with the advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity, expressed outrage at the rollback.

“Cruel and harmful hunting methods like killing bear cubs and their mothers near dens have no place on our national preserves,” she said.

The Humane Society of the United States said it would oppose the new rules.

“These federal lands are havens for wildlife and the National Park Service is mandated to manage these ecosystems in a manner that promotes conservation,” said Anna Frostic, a lawyer for the animal rights group. “This proposed rule, which would allow inhumane killing of our native carnivores in a misguided attempt to increase trophy hunting opportunities, is unlawful and must not be finalized.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/trump-restrictions-hunting-trapping-alaska-preserves-1.4673467

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Poaching ring suspects killed hundreds of animals for ‘thrill of the kill,’

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/18/us/poaching-ring-charges-trnd/index.html

Poaching photos had been posted on text messages and social media.

(CNN)The suspects documented their kill in graphic photos — grinning near slumped over carcasses, posing with a decapitated elk head and taking a selfie with animal blood splattered over one of the alleged poacher’s face.

Over text messages and social media, the poaching suspects boasted about the animals they illegally slaughtered, authorities say. Some of them even called themselves the “kill ’em all boys,” said Captain Jeff Wickersham from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The suspects were part of a massive poaching ring in Oregon and Washington, who were altogether charged with more than 200 misdemeanors and felonies, authorities say. They are accused of killing more than 200 animals including deer, bears, cougars, bobcats and a squirrel.
Twelve people were charged in Oregon this week. In 2017 and earlier this year, 13 people were charged with misdemeanors and felonies in the state of Washington. Some of the suspects face charges in both states.
Dogs surround a bloody bear.

“A part of it was the thrill of the kill,” said Lt. Tim Schwartz from the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division. “For some of them, it was a competition to see who could kill the most. I think the social media aspect — they were posting this [their kills], getting the attention.”
The suspects bragged about it on Facebook and Snapchat, authorities said.
They “made de facto trophies out of these events” on social media and text messages, said Wickersham. But that ultimately became used as evidence against them, authorities say.
Investigators used the geo-tagged photos to track down the kill sites and find skeletal remains of the animals.
03 thrill for kill poachers

“There is nothing legitimate about the activities these individuals were conducting,” Wickersham said. “They are simply killers. They knew what they were doing. They were not out there for recreation, but to kill things, and that’s what they wanted to do.”
Oregon State Police began its investigation in November 2016 after finding two decapitated deer carcasses. Officers began putting up surveillance cameras to track the suspects.
“This was one of the biggest cases in the state ever, as far as the amount of people involved, amount of violations and number of wildlife taken, “Schwartz said.
He described the case as sickening.
“One of the hardest things for me, as a hunter myself, it was the waste. They (suspects) weren’t making any attempt to remove meat. These guys — it was all about the killing. That’s what was probably most disturbing to us.”
At least five of the suspects appeared in court Thursday, reported CNN affiliate KOIN. They face penalties ranging from fines to jail time depending on their individual charges.

Meigs County man charged in operating ‘bearbaiting’ event

https://www.10tv.com/article/meigs-county-man-charged-operating-bearbaiting-event

Clinton J. Bailey. (Photo/Meigs County Sheriff)
PUBLISHED: 
UPDATED: 

MEIGS COUNTY — A Meigs County man has been charged after the sheriff said he was suspected to have been operating a “bearbaiting” event.

Clinton J. Bailey, 51, is charged with 16 counts in connection with the event, three of which are unclassified felonies for animal fighting.

He also has two fourth-degree misdemeanor charges for animal fighting, two misdemeanor charges for falsification and nine dangerous animal misdemeanor charges.

He was arraigned on Jan. 24 and released on a personal recognizance bond, according to Meigs County Common Pleas Court online court records. His next appearance will be Feb. 26.

In November, the Ohio Department of Agriculture Enforcement Division executed a search warrant on Bush Road in Long Bottom, according to the Meigs County Sheriff. Bailey owned a bear and possessed a Dangerous Wild Animal Permit.

At that location, Bailey is alleged to have been operating a “bearbaiting” event whereby several hunting dogs were released inside an enclosure, attacking the bear. Officers received information Bailey was charging admission of $20 per dog to participate.

In addition to Bailey, and his juvenile son, seven males, two females and eight children were present at the event with the majority of participants being from West Virginia.

At least one child was observed inside an unapproved enclosure while dogs were attacking the loose bear. Two of the males had handguns.

Bearbaiting is defined under Animal Fights, Section 959.15 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Assistance was provided by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Drone Team, who obtained significant video footage of the illegal activity as well as the Washington County and Jackson County Sheriff’s Offices who provided tactical assistance.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio State Highway Patrol provided significant assistance as well.

The bear was seized pursuant to the warrant by DWA program personnel.

Petition: Setting A Bear Trap

MAR 27, 2017 — Watch as we set off a large bear trap and show just how barbaric these devices truly are .

Please keep sharing our petition and make your voice heard.

https://www.change.org/p/urge-president-trump-to-keep-protections-in-alaska-s-refuges/u/19835423?utm_medium=email&utm_source=49788&utm_campaign=petition_update&sfmc_tk=oaBgxvdiP59gcWpbzPpWk2XoacEu2Nr8E8nGwlHzYTdZgvECEmuDRGG3dJhnPhaJ

Washington Bills Undermine Advancements for Wildlife

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Two new bills seek to underhandedly undermine voter-approved advancements for wildlife that set Washington apart from its anti-wildlife neighbors. Both the hound hunting of cougars and the baiting of black bears were banned by the citizenry of  in Washington, but could once again threaten wildlife if these bills are passed. Please take action on these two Human Alerts:

https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=6771&autologin=true&s_src=sh_aa6771

Washington: Protect Cougars from Trophy Hunters

A terrible bill has been introduced that will allow for the expanded hound hunting of cougars. This cruel and unsporting practice was rightfully outlawed by voters in 1996.

Under this proposal, counties can authorize a hound hunt based on public safety complaints of cougar sightings. The existing law already allows for citizens to protect themselves if they feel threatened by a cougar. Despite the fact that seeing a cougar does not constitute a threat and cougar kittens are extremely vulnerable to attacks by packs of dogs, proponents of the bill want to bring back the trophy hunting of cougars with hounds. This program was in place from 2004 until 2011, and resulted in widespread, guided recreational hound hunts offered by hunting clubs throughout eastern Washington.

TAKE ACTION
Please call your state senator today to stop this dangerous proposal. Look up your legislator’s phone number. You can say: “I am a constituent, and I am calling to ask you to please oppose SB 5940.”

After making your call (please do not skip that crucial step!), fill in and submit the form below to send a follow-up message. Legislators receive a lot of email; be sure to edit your message so it stands out.

And:  https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=6777&autologin=true&s_src=sh_aa6777

Washington: Protect Bears from Cruel and Unsporting Baiting

Washington’s bears need your help from being shot over bait stations packed with greasy, sugary junk foods. Bear baiting is cruel and unsporting, and Washingtonians rightfully outlawed it in 1996.

A bill has been introduced that would allow any land owner or tenant to place a bait station on their property. Baiting stations, full of high-calorie junk food, lure bears in for an easy kill. While the bill sponsor wants landowners to kill bears who have caused damage to timber plantations and livestock, the truth is baiting attracts all bears. The result will be killing random bears, orphaning new born cubs, and unnecessarily putting people in dangerous proximity to human-food habituated bears.

After hibernation, bears are in a state of starvation because they have not fed for many months. Sadly, mother bears, who wake up with newborn cubs, are drawn to bait stations because they must urgently obtain thousands of calories for the whole family’s survival.

Mother bears may strip bark from trees to obtain sugary sap. While girdling trees has some negative economic consequences for the owners of industrial timber lands, the harm is small and can be mitigated. Likewise, livestock growers can employ many non-lethal solutions to prevent the minuscule threat of predation by bears on their domestic animals

Landowners who bait bears will create unwanted human-bear conflicts. That is because baits are covered in human scents, and bears will learn to associate baits with humans. When that happens, the neighbors of bear baiters may be exposed to human-habituated bears, and they can be dangerous. There is a reason why voters prohibited bear baiting almost 20 years ago.

TAKE ACTION
Please call your state representatives’ offices today, and urge opposition for SHB 1838.. Look up your legislators’ phone numbers. You can say: “I am a constituent, and I am calling to ask you to please oppose SHB 1838.”

After making your call (please do not skip that crucial step!), fill in and submit the form below to send a follow-up message. Legislators receive a lot of email; be sure to edit your message so it stands out.

See sample letters here: https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=6771&autologin=true&s_src=sh_aa6771

and here: https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=6777&autologin=true&s_src=sh_aa6777

 

New WDFW Pick is Former Idaho Gun-Nut

The following is an open letter by an anonymous reader…

The Fish and Wildlife Commission’s recent choice for the Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is an inappropriate choice for Washington.

The new director is from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, which is known for its brutal archaic wildlife management style.  They support many practices, which have been banned here by state initiatives because of the cruelty involved.  These practices include bear baiting, hounding, and the use of steel-jaw traps.  They promote the killing of wolves in all kinds of despicable ways and put little emphasis on protecting endangered species.

The primary mandate for WDFW is to protect, preserve, and perpetuate our state’s wildlife.  The Commission’s choice of director is inconsistent with this mandate and is ill suited for our state.  I fear for the future of our wildlife.

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Maine voters to be asked about bear hunting

The November ballot will include a measure that would ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Maine officials say a November ballot question will ask Maine voters if they oppose three methods of bear hunting except under certain circumstances.

State officials released the ballot language on Thursday. It asks: “Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research?”

Supporters of the restrictions passed the threshold months ago necessary to put the initiative on the fall ballot. The vote comes 10 years after Maine voters narrowly rejected a similar ballot initiative.

Opponents of restrictions say the rules would hurt Maine’s tourism and economy. Proponents say baiting bears with human food habituates them to human smells and lessens their instinctive fear of people.

Baiting accounts for 80 percent of the state bear hunt.

http://www.pressherald.com/2014/06/26/maine-voters-to-be-asked-about-bear-hunting/

BOYCOTT South Carolina until they Outlaw Bear Baiting

In order for the legislatures to do something regarding this barbaric act. People who want to visit South Carolina or hold a convention should boycott this state until this is outlawed.

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South Carolina state legislatures
Outlaw Bear Baiting

In order for the legislatures to do something regarding this barbaric act. People who want to visit South Carolina or hold a convention should boycott this state until this is outlawed.