DEC revising permit requirement for bobcat hunting, trapping

http://www.pressrepublican.com/sports/outdoors/dec-revising-permit-requirement-for-bobcat-hunting-trapping/article_477122d4-fa01-5a3e-a07f-cbe927dd59d9.html

DATA: New York hunters and trappers no longer required to obtain special permit

RAY BROOK — Having collected enough data on bobcat populations, a special permit will no longer be necessary for hunting and trapping bobcats in certain parts of western New York.

But hunters and trappers who pursue bobcats in designated Harvest Expansion Areas (HEAs) are still required to have a hunting or trapping license and to have the animal pelt sealed, according to a press release.

REGULATION HISTORY

Upon completion of the Bobcat Management Plan in 2012, regulations were adopted to establish a hunting and trapping season in select Wildlife Management Units in central and western New York, referred to as the “Harvest Expansion Area.”

In areas open to bobcat hunting and trapping, individuals are required to have a license and to have the animal “pelt sealed” — have a plastic tag affixed by DEC staff — after harvest.

However, to hunt or trap bobcats in the HEA, licensed hunters and trappers were also required to obtain a free special permit from their regional wildlife office.

SUFFICIENT DATA

This requirement allowed biologists to collect information on participation, harvest, harvest pressure — number of days afield, number of traps set, etc. — through a diary or “log,” and to collect biological samples.

This robust data set allows biologists to assess the status of the bobcat population and evaluate harvest.

After three seasons of data collection, sufficient information on harvest pressure and take has been collected and the special permit is no longer needed.

Bobcat hunting and trapping regulations can be viewed on DEC’s website at on.ny.gov/2tS2sNO for hunting and on.ny.gov/2tORSbO for trapping.

The Notice of Adoption for the revised regulation can be viewed in the New York State Register at on.ny.gov/2ulcpVZ.

Hunting Big Game: Why People Kill Animals for Fun

Hunting Big Game: Why People Kill Animals for Fun

Theodore Roosevelt poses near a dead elephant he killed during an African safari between 1909 and 1910.

Credit: Everett Historical

He fired with his gun’s right barrel, “the bullet going through both lungs,” and then with the left, “the bullet entering between the neck and shoulder and piercing his heart,” Roosevelt wrote. A third volley from another member of the hunting party brought down the great animal, “just thirteen paces from where we stood,” according to Roosevelt.

A black-and-white image of the aftermath shows Roosevelt in what was a common pose for him: standing alongside the lifeless body of a creature that he had hunted and killed. [In Photos: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife]

More than 100 years later, thousands of people each year still visit wild spaces across Africa with guns in hand. They apply for permits to recreationally hunt big animals, many of which — leopards, lions and elephants, to name just a few — represent threatened or endangered species.

And the “sport” is not without risks for human hunters — on May 19, a hunter in Zimbabwe was crushed to death by an elephant after the animal was shot by another member of his hunting party. So what motivates people to hunt these animals for pleasure, and to proudly display the bodies or body parts of their prey as precious trophies?

The slaughtering of large, dangerous animals as a spectacle dates back thousands of years, with records from the Assyrian empire (about 4,000 years ago to around 600 B.C.) describing kings that boasted of killing elephants, ibex, ostriches, wild bulls and lions, according to a study published in 2008 in the journal Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.

These hunts were carefully orchestrated and conducted for the amusement of royalty and as demonstrations of their strength, Linda Kalof, a professor of sociology at Michigan State University, told Live Science in an email.

“Ancient canned hunts were spectacular displays of royal power and dominance, and always took place with the king’s public watching from the sidelines,” Kalof said. “A successful hunt requires the death of unrestrained wild animals — animals who are hostile, shun or attack humans, and are not submissive to human authority.”

Even today, acquiring trophy animals is a way of displaying power, Kalof noted. In some African countries, where big-game hunting and trophy display are expensive forms of entertainment practiced predominantly by white men, hunting recalls ideologies that are deeply rooted in colonialism and patriarchy, Kalof said.

And then there’s the money involved. Legal hunting, which is conducted under the supervision of government agencies and official guides, involves expensive permits and is limited to specific animal populations and only in certain areas. Illegal poaching, on the other hand, circumvents all regulations and targets animals regardless of their age, sex, or endangered status.

The price tag attached to legal big-game hunting is considerable, once you tally up the costs of travel and lodging expenses, state-of-the-art equipment, local guides, and hunting permits. Government-sanctioned hunting is a booming enterprise in some African countries, with visiting hunters spending an estimated $200 million annually, The New York Times reported in 2015.

And when American dentist Walter Palmer notoriously shot a 13-year-old lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe in July 2015, he purportedly spent approximately $54,000 just on permits for the privilege.

In other words, people who hunt recreationally — and share photos of their trophies — are broadcasting that they can support lavish habits, biologist Chris Darimont, a professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, told Live Science in an email.

American anthropologist Osa Johnson and Jerramani, her African guide (right) pose with two dead lions in East Africa, in April 1930. With them are three Eagle Scouts who won a national Boy Scout competition to go on safari with the Johnsons in 1928, later writing the book 'Three Boy Scouts in Africa'. From left to right they are Robert Dick Douglas, Doug Oliver and David Martin.

American anthropologist Osa Johnson and Jerramani, her African guide (right) pose with two dead lions in East Africa, in April 1930. With them are three Eagle Scouts who won a national Boy Scout competition to go on safari with the Johnsons in 1928, later writing the book ‘Three Boy Scouts in Africa’. From left to right they are Robert Dick Douglas, Doug Oliver and David Martin.

Credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

 

In a study on contemporary trophy hunting behavior, published in March 2016 in the journal Biology Letters, Darimont and his co-authors investigated whether evolutionary anthropology could provide answers about motives for recreational hunting. They suggested in their findings that men use hunting to send signals about their fitness to rivals and potential mates, noting that even subsistence hunters (those who kill animals for food) targeted animals that were more challenging for them to catch, simply to let others know that they could afford to take that risk.

“The inference is that they have the physical and mental characteristics that allow them to behave in a costly way and absorb those costs,” Darimont said.

And by sharing images of their trophies on social media, hunters can now trumpet messages about their personal wealth and social status to a global audience, he added. [Black Market Horns: Images from a Rhino Bust]

But there’s yet another side to the recreational hunting story: Some hunters argue that the money spent on their hobby is funding important conservation work. When hunters pay thousands of dollars to government agencies for the privilege of hunting certain types of wildlife in designated zones, portions of those costs can be invested in federal programs and community efforts to preserve animals living in protected areas – and even safeguard them against poaching, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“In certain limited and rigorously controlled cases, including for threatened species, scientific evidence has shown that trophy hunting can be an effective conservation tool as part of a broad mix of strategies,” the WWF states on its website.

Because legal hunting provides local jobs and revenue, it can work as a deterrent against poaching and helps to conserve ecosystems, professional hunter Nathan Askew, owner of an American company that leads hunting safaris for “dangerous game” in South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana and Mozambique, explained in a Facebook post.

“The positive economic impact brought about by hunting incentivizes governments, landowners and companies to protect the animals and their habitats,” Askew said.

A black rhino (<i>Diceros bicornis</i>) in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

A black rhino (Diceros bicornis) in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

Credit: Fabian Plock/Shutterstock

 

By demonstrating that wildlife has economic value, hunting can actively engage local communities in efforts to stop poachers and preserve wild spaces that might not otherwise be maintained for wildlife, a representative of the hunting organization Safari Club International (SCI), told Live Science in an email.

Hunting under government supervision can also preserve the health of animal populations in the wild by weeding out individuals that are less fit. In Namibia, for example, black rhinos are listed as critically endangered, with only 5,000 individuals remaining in the wild. Yet the Namibian government maintains an annual hunting quota of five post-breeding males, to stimulate population growth by allowing younger males to breed, the SCI representative explained. [A Crash of Rhinos: See All 5 Species]

“Not only does the black rhino hunting benefit rhino population growth, it also generates hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue that by law has to be put toward rhino conservation in Namibia. Therefore, hunting provides a direct cash benefit to rhino conservation that tourism can’t provide,” the representative said in a statement.

However, recent studies suggest that modern hunters may be overestimating their contributions to wildlife conservation. Not all countries that support recreational hunting are transparent about where that income goes, and it can be uncertain how much — if any — is actually benefiting African communities or conservation efforts.

A report that the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Natural Resources (a congressional committee of the U.S. House of Representatives) issued in June 2016 suggested that income from hunting in African countries such as Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa and Namibia, from which the greatest number of hunting trophies are imported into the U.S., was not meeting conservation needs.

“In assessing the flow of trophy hunting revenue to conservation efforts, we found many troubling examples of funds either being diverted from their purpose or not being dedicated to conservation in the first place,” the report’s authors wrote.

Danish novelist Isak Dinesen (pseudonym of Baroness Karen Christence Blixen-Finecke) posing with dead lions and a rifle on a safari in Kenya, circa 1914.
Danish novelist Isak Dinesen (pseudonym of Baroness Karen Christence Blixen-Finecke) posing with dead lions and a rifle on a safari in Kenya, circa 1914.

Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty

 

Other experts have also questioned hunting’s usefullness as a tool for conservation. In fact, when it comes to lions, “trophy hunting adds to the problem,” Jeff Flocken, North American director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, wrote in August 2013, in an opinion column for National Geographic.

Flocken argued that trophy hunting weakens the African lion gene pool because the most desirable trophy kills are young, healthy males. Removing them from the population means that their DNA won’t contribute to the next generation of lions. Killing young males also destabilizes their prides, and can result in more lion casualties as rival males compete to take their place, he wrote.

But perhaps most importantly, he added, legalized recreational hunting derails conservation efforts by simply devaluing the lives of the hunted animals.

“It’s a message that won’t be heard as long as it is common and legal to kill lions for sport,” Flocken said in the article. “Why should anyone spend money to protect an animal that a wealthy American can then pay to go kill?”

Original article on Live Science.

South African big game hunter crushed by elephant

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/05/22/theunis-botha-south-african-big-game-hunter-crushed-elephant/335673001/

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A South African big game hunter was crushed to death by an elephant on a Zimbabwe game reserve, according to South African outlet News 24. 

Theunis Botha, 51, was leading a hunt when his group stumbled upon a breeding group of elephants at a game reserve near Hwange National Park Several on Friday afternoon, Zimparks spokesman Simukai Nyasha told The Telegraph.  The group of elephants charged at the group and the hunters shot at them, News 24 reported.

News 24 reported that Botha was crushed after one of the members of the group shot an elephant after she lifted Botha with her trunk. The elephant collapsed and fell on top of Botha, crushing him.

Theunis had five children and ran Theunis Botha Big Game Safaris. According to the website, Theunis “perfected leopard and lion hunting safaris with hounds in Africa.” He also pioneered European-style “Monteira hunts” in South Africa.

“Monteira hunts” include the use of packs of hounds to herd deer, boar or or other animals towards hunters who then shoot the animals.

According to News 24, Theunis often traveled to the U.S. to build business with wealthy Americans who were interested in a big game hunt in South Africa.

The news outlet reported that Theunis’ wife, Carika, will travel to Zimbabwe to identify her husband’s body on Monday.

Big game hunter is crushed to death when an elephant he was hunting in Zimbabwe is shot and falls on top of him

  • Theunis Botha was crushed to death by one of the elephants he was hunting
  • He was hunting with a group in Zimbabwe when they came across animals
  • The group began to shoot, which spooked the elephants which began running
  • Botha was then reportedly picked up by one of the elephants he was shooting at
  • Another hunter then shot that elephant, which fell over on top of Botha  

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4528048/Big-game-hunter-crushed-death-shot-elephant.html#ixzz4hmDBGGmr
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A South African safari leader and big game hunter was crushed to death Friday afternoon when an elephant was shot and fell and on top of him.

Theunis Botha, 51, was hunting with a group in Gwai, Zimbabwe, when they came across a breeding herd of elephants.

They quickly began to shoot, according to News 24, spooking the animals and causing the elephants to charge at the hunters.

Theunis Botha (pictured right with his wife, Carika), 51, was hunting with a group in Gwai, Zimbabwe, when they came across a breeding herd of elephants

One of the elephants is then said to have picked up Botha with its trunk.

A member of his group shot the elephant, hoping it would put Botha down. Instead, the wounded and dying animal fell on top of him,  crushing him to death.

High cost of big game hunting

http://www.jamestownsun.com/sports/outdoors/4243504-high-cost-big-game-hunting

Of the couple hundred big game hunts I have embarked upon on this fortunate continent, only about 15 were guided, and most of those were hunts where a guide was required by law (i.e., grizzly bears in British Columbia, Dall and Stone sheep in B.C., the Yukon and Northwest Territories.)

I have nothing against guided hunting trips. However, the current cost of most North American hunting trips has become almost unaffordable. Some hunts almost cause me to swallow my cigar in disbelief!

How about a Stone sheep-hunt? In northern B.C. it runs $43,000. Any additional animals taken require extra costs. For example, a Stone sheep hunt in the Yukon costs $41,500. Add mountain caribou for $6,500, grizzly bear for $8,500, moose for $11,500. That’s $68,000 and you haven’t even bought your plane ticket, bush plane flight, license or paid any tips. I daresay a fellow could spend a month or six weeks in Africa and shoot a dozen animals for about the same cost.

The cheapest Dall sheep hunt I was able to uncover was a 10-day hunt in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska for $16,500. Bear in mind that you have to fly commercially all the way to Anaktuvuk Pass before paying for a bush plane flight into the Brooks Range.

Alaska Range horseback Dall sheep hunts run about $19,000. Go to the Yukon for Dall sheep and the price is $20,500 to $23,500. One outfitter charges an extra $6,000 for a helicopter charter.

I hunted caribou in Alaska four times, only one of those was a guided trip and that cost about $2,000 plus air charter. I shot three good barren ground caribou on those four trips. Today a seven-day guided caribou hunt, two hunters per guide, costs about $7,000. That is for one caribou — not two—as it was when I last hunted caribou in Alaska in 1998.

I went on my one and only mountain goat hunt in B.C. in 1972 and it cost $1,000. Today the price runs from $10,000 to $13,500.

My last northern moose hunt was in Alaska in 2001. I hunted unguided with three partners and managed to shoot a respectable 55-inch bull. One of my partners used his frequent flier miles to buy me a commercial plane ticket. So the hunt cost me little more than my share of the bush plane flight, hunting license and groceries. I don’t think I spent much more than $1,000. Today, a guided moose hunt in Alaska starts at around $18,500. Again, that is just the outfitter’s fee.

My only guided grizzly bear hunt took place in B.C. in 1973. It cost $750. Today grizzly bear hunts run $15,000 to $17,000. Coastal brown bear hunts in Alaska cost $20,000 to $25,000. (I hunted Alaska brown bears three times in the mid-1980s as a resident, and never spent $500 on any single trip.)

One might think that deer and elk hunts in the West might be a comparative bargain. Not so. A guided mule deer hunt in Montana, for example, runs in the $5,000 to $7,000 range. Hunt in Utah with a landowner’s permit (no drawing required) and you are looking at $8,000.

A guided six-day elk hunt in Montana sells for $7,000 to $8,000. A five-day elk hunt in Colorado costs $4,800. Add two days to the hunt and the possibility of taking a mule deer buck, and the charge goes to $7,500.

Guided elk hunts in New Mexico and Utah, utilizing landowner tags, run $9,000 to $13,000 and more.

So you can see that guided hunting for big game in North America has become a high-cost activity. I wish it were not so, and that we could go back to the day when a working man had the ability to save his money and hunt anything in North America. It occurs to me that I did some hunting that a younger man could never do, unless he is making $150,000 a year.

I am glad I was not born any later.

Stone Sheep Photo Coyright Jim Robertson