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  • March 31, 2008

    Discussion Topic: Is Your Venison Safe To Eat?

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From KFYR-TV news in North Dakota:

    Doctors say deer meat has a lot of benefits. It’s lean and low in cholesterol. But something deadly could be hiding within. Dr. William Cornatzer conducted CT scans on 100 pounds of venison collected from dozens of different sources and was shocked to find high levels of lead in about 60% of the meat.

    And from the Bismarck Tribune:

    Packages of ground venison donated to food pantries through the Sportsmen Against Hunger program tested "strongly positive" for lead, prompting the [North Dakota] Department of Health to urge pantries not to use or distribute the venison.

    Cornatzer said he also tossed the remaining venison out of his freezer.

    "I hate to admit it, but I did. I am not consuming it" he said Thursday. "There is lead in meat that does not have blood marks in it. It’s not like lead. It’s like lead dust."

    Cornatzer, a hunter, says he’ll still target deer with his .270 next fall, but with lead-free bullets offered by Barnes, Federal, or Nosler. Meanwhile, the state Department of Health lead program coordinator says she needs to see more research—and will eat the venison in her freezer for now.

    So, will this report have any affect on whether you eat the venison in your freezer, or what type of bullets you use next year?

  • March 31, 2008

    Big Changes At NWTF As CEO Keck Resigns

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From the Southern Sporting Journal :

    Wow, talk about a quick departure. Less than a week after National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) CEO Rob Keck was schmoozing at the Alabama Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt, the longtime organization head abruptly announced his resignation this morning during an all-staff meeting. The announcement, a complete surprise to the staff and industry alike, comes just a day after the federation's board of directors forced Chief Operating Officer Carl Brown and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Dick Rosenlieb to step down.

  • March 27, 2008

    Discussion Topic: Did President Bush Pardon a Poacher?

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From an AP story in The Hayes Daily News:

    A Morris County farmer will be able to hunt again after President Bush pardoned him on Tuesday, clearing a felony from his record that prevented him from being able to hunt for the past 10 years. . . .

    Kenneth Britt, on the advice of his attorney, pleaded guilty to one felony charge related to a deer-hunting incident that involved several other people, including his brother, Ronald Britt.

    Kenneth Britt was sentenced in 1998 to three years of probation for conspiracy to violate federal and state fish and wildlife laws, and was ordered to pay $8,250 in restitution. . .

    "I live on a farm out here in the middle of Kansas and I like to hunt," Britt said. "I haven't been able to hunt for about 10 years. I'd like to do it again."

    Now that all sounds just fine, doesn’t it? But there’s something missing here. I read every report I could find on this story this morning, and not one of them details what Britt did to get himself in so much trouble. Then I came across a link posted on The Topeka Capital-Journal’s online reader-comment section to a story previously published in that paper, entitled “Britt’s Lawbreaking Wasn’t By Accident,” which reads in part:

    Seems like three brothers, Ronald, Keith and Brent Britt, operated a hunting service called Clark's Creek Outfitters. They had a good success rate for their clients, especially on white-tail deer.

    For the last two seasons the brothers booked (unknowingly, of course) undercover agents from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks.

    The agents watched the brothers in action. They used CBs, chased deer in pickups, regularly trespassed on land they were forbidden to enter, shot over the limit, sold venison ... a whole string of offenses. . . .

    THESE ARE SOME notorious dudes. I've heard from people around White City and they, to a person, agreed with my initial column when I called the Britt brothers "scum."

    So now that you have the back-story—or at least a version of it—what do you think of the pardon? And what do you think were the President's reasons?

  • March 26, 2008

    Conservation Column: A Call to Arms

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From the April issue of Field & Stream

    Call to Arms

    A new push to harvest energy resources could harm 42 million acres  of wild land by the end of the year, and only sportsmen can stop it. By Bob Marshall

    If there ever there was a time for sportsmen to make an impact, it is now. Hunters and anglers may be the nation’s last hope for stopping one of the largest public-land giveaways in history -- and a potential disaster for hunting and fishing in the West.

    The issue is the Bureau of Land Management’s rush to complete dozens of Resource Management Plans (RMPs) across the West before the Bush administration leaves office. It is one of the most important conservation stories of the decade because the future quality of hunting and fishing in large parts of a half dozen states hangs in the balance.

    RMPs are documents that establish how public lands managed by the BLM can be used. The process, which typically takes several years, allows for public comment at several steps along the way, including a 30-day period after the draft plan is published. Any person or group can recommend changes. While the agency must listen, it is under no legal obligation, however, to act on any requests. The final plan typically reflects the priorities of the administration.

    Once in place, an RMP has the force of law. And although an RMP can be changed by a new administration, that process can take several years, a period during which the old rules remain in effect.

  • March 26, 2008

    Discussion Topic: On Buying and Selling Hunting Rights

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    Suppose you’re going to sell your 200 acre farm but want to keep the hunting rights on it. That shouldn’t be a problem, right? Actually, it’s a trickier issue than it may seem at first blush.

    From The Dickenson Press:

    During North Dakota’s 2007 legislative session, lawmakers placed a two-year moratorium on all property sales that would include retention of hunting rights so they could better study the issue. . . .

    [A] concern that was raised during testimony . . . was the possibility that anti-hunting groups would come in to buy land, then turn around and sell it while retaining the hunting rights.

    “We’re just trying to get ahead of the whole ballgame,” [state representative Lyle] Hanson said. “Say some big organization that is against hunting comes in. They could come in and buy and then sell it, but maintain the hunting rights.”

    Check out the full article and tell us what you think.

  • March 26, 2008

    Bass Masters Meet The “Catcher-Man”-In-Chief

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    Alton Jones, winner of the 2008 Bassmaster Classic, and Judy Wong, the Women’s Bassmaster Tour champ, went to the White House this week to meet President Bush, who said (from the Baltimore Sun):

    I thought it was important to welcome these champs here to the White House so that -- you know, to encourage people to fish . . . . There's nothing better than fishing.''

    "This is a good, clean sport,’’ Bush said. “It's a sport that requires good conservation in order to make sure our fisheries are good, and I love to welcome the champs here. And so we're glad you're here. The people of Louisiana and Texas are proud of you. . . .’’

    “I'm a good fisherman,’’ Bush said, [responding to an invite to fish with Wong] “Sometimes I'm a good catcher-man.’’

  • March 26, 2008

    Kansas Rancher Shoots Mountain Lion

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    According to The Wichita Eagle, state wildlife officials believe this is the first documented wild mountain lion in Kansas in more than 100 years.

    Check out the full story.

  • March 25, 2008

    Dam Good News: Clark Fork And Blackfoot To Run Free

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From the Missoulan:

    At the Milltown Reservoir Superfund site, the river was diverted into a bypass channel two days ago, the last step before the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers are released Friday from their century-long confinement behind Milltown Dam.

    It will be the first time since 1908 that the rivers have flowed freely, a milestone in the $120 million cleanup, restoration and redevelopment of Milltown Reservoir. . . .

    The breaching - which could take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour - will drop the reservoir level 14 feet and unleash 300,000 tons of sediment scoured from the mouth of the Blackfoot River, which is relatively free of toxic wastes.

    The muddy surge will kill thousands of fish already weakened by heavy metals.

    But the survivors will be able to spawn upstream for the first time in a century and the ecosystem is expected to rebound within five years.

    In place of a warm, shallow reservoir where invasive pike gobble up native trout will be a cool, meandering Clark Fork, which is to be restored with native vegetation and redeveloped as a state park.

  • March 25, 2008

    Nevada Wildlife Chief Feels Barbecue Backlash

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    Eleven antelope accidentally died during an aerial netting capture by Nevada state biologists recently. Apparently not wanting the meat to go to waste, Wildlife Director Ken Mayer suggested using some of it for an upcoming barbecue for legislators and department staff.

    So what’s the problem?

    From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

    "For Joe Blow citizen, if one of them would have done that, I would have knocked on their door because it's property of the people of the state it belonged to. I would have just said, 'Hey, turn it over. We're going to dispose of it,'" [game warden Rob] Buonamici said.

    Check out the full article and tell us what you think.

  • March 25, 2008

    Rhino Hunting Racket Under Suspicion

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From Independent Online:

    Unscrupulous Asian businessmen are allegedly posing as big-game hunters to slaughter South African rhinos and export the horns - quite legally - as hunting trophies.

    But instead of ending up in trophy collections, the horns are being sold illegally to merchants to be crushed into powder for use in Eastern traditional medicine.