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  • July 31, 2008

    Special Report: Hunting Gets A Boost from The White House

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    *A special report by Jay Cassell

    If you're concerned about the future of hunting in this country, then you might want to pay attention to what's going on in Washington later this month, when a group of government agencies and conservation organizations will meet to issue far-reaching blueprints for hunting and wildlife conservation. It's called the 2008 White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy, and it will impact hunters across the country for at least the next 10 years.

    The wheels for this policy initiative were put into motion on August 16, 2007, when President Bush issued an Executive Order, "The Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation".  The purpose was to direct Federal agencies to 'facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat.' This is a good thing for hunters, intended to preserve one of our nation's most deeply rooted traditions.

    At the President's direction, the policy recommendations will be put together by the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture and the Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ), with consultation provided by the Sporting Conservation Council (SCC) and other concerned groups. Many of the policies will be based on scientific white papers that were presented last April and which cover such topics as hunting access, wildlife management on Federal, state and tribal lands, funding for conservation, habitat management, and how to perpetuate hunter traditions. It will be called the Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Resource Conservation Plan. If you hunt, it will affect you.

    "We will ultimately have one action plan that will have an effect for the next 10 years," Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior, told me in an interview on the Hill this past May.  I was there to attend a reception commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the 1908 White House Conference on Conservation, when President Theodore Roosevelt called the nation's leaders together to discuss natural resource conservation.  "Part of it is to reconnect Americans with the outdoors," Kempthorne said. He went on to explain that plans will be made to not only get Americans back into the outdoors, but also to get young people out there.

  • July 31, 2008

    Discussion Topic: What Was Smokey Bear Smoking?

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    That, or something like that, is what off-road-vehicle advocacy groups asked the Forest Service about it’s latest public service announcement, which has now been pulled.

    From the Associated Press:

  • July 30, 2008

    Discussion Topic: NRA Vs. Hunters For Fair Chase

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    The debate over high-fence hunting in the Peace Garden State is heating up, as a group called North Dakota Hunters For Fair Chase petitions for a ballot measure to end the practice—and the NRA blasts them for it. Here’s the latest:

    From the North Dakota Hunters For Fair Chase website:

    North Dakota Hunters for Fair Chase is a grassroots Initiative Committee organized by a group of men and women dedicated to preserving Fair Chase as an intricate part of our state and national hunting heritage, a heritage that we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren. Our objective is to place a measure on the November, 2008 ballot that enacts a law that prohibits shooting captive deer, elk and exotic mammals behind escape proof fences, a practice that is both mercenary and unethical.

    And from a recent NRA press release:

    North Dakota sportsmen should be aware that a group cleverly calling itself North Dakota Hunters for Fair Chase is circulating petitions for signatures to place an anti-hunting initiative on the 2008 General Election ballot. . . .

    This initiative effort is supported by the Humane Society of the United States. . . .

    The proposed initiative would ban private big game hunting preserves in North Dakota, a long-standing tradition in the state. . . . Hunting ethics should be decided by each individual hunter, not by politically-motivated laws supported by radical animal “rights” interest groups.

    Be sure to check out the NDHFC site and the full NRA press release. Then tell us what you think.

  • July 30, 2008

    Montana Motorist Allegedly Spots Sasquatch

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    Looking to win the $1,000,000 Sasquatch Photo Challenge? Here’s a hot lead, from the Missoulan:

    [S]asquatch and the gray wolf - two creatures with a long history in human mythology - were reported to have turned up on the side of the road in western Montana last week.

    The Montana Department of Transportation found a dead wolf July 21 along Interstate 90 near Lookout Pass on the Idaho border. . . .

    Bigfoot, on the other hand, may never have existed.

    Nonetheless, a motorist reported seeing one of the purported giant primates along I-90 near Alberton about a week ago.

    The motorist said he saw the Bigfoot approaching a middle-age couple who were fly-fishing, said Matt Moneymaker, who heads the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization in California.

    The motorist, who called 9-1-1, described the sasquatch as more than 7 1/2 feet tall with long arms, a skinny frame and brown hair.

  • July 30, 2008

    Pennsylvania Angler Has Landed More Than 60,000 Trout

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From The Morning Call:

    Way back in 1953, angler Bill Krauss Jr. decided it would be fun to start keeping a logbook of his trout catches.

    He recorded his first fish -- a 7-inch brownie from the Little Lehigh Creek in Allentown -- on April 15 and went on to catch a total of 53 trout that season.

    Fifty-five years and 61,074 trout later, what began as an innocent hobby has become an all-consuming passion for the 71-year-old Lowhill Township resident.

    In 1983, Krauss’ annual trout tally surpassed 1,000 for the first time, and in 1989, his total surpassed 2,000. Nowadays, Krauss considers it a disappointment if his annual catch doesn't reach a minimum of 2,500 fish.

  • July 29, 2008

    Breaking News: Heller Vs. D.C., Part II

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From the Washington Post:

    The man who successfully challenged the D.C. handgun ban before the U.S. Supreme Court filed a second federal lawsuit yesterday, alleging that the District's new gun-registration system is burdensome and continues to unlawfully outlaw most semiautomatic pistols.

    Dick A. Heller, 66-year-old security guard who lives on Capitol Hill, and two other plaintiffs allege in the lawsuit that the D.C. government violated the letter and the spirit of the landmark Supreme Court decision, issued June 26, that struck down the District's decades-old handgun ban.

    Your reaction?

  • July 29, 2008

    113-Pound Blue Cat Sets New California Record

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From San Diego’s The Union-Tribune:

    San Diego is known worldwide for its heavyweight largemouth bass, but it was a giant blue catfish that set a record Thursday at San Vicente.

    Steve Oudomsouk, 58, of San Diego landed a 113.4-pound blue catfish while fishing off Quaide Point at the reservoir. The catch shattered the state record for blue catfish, a 101-pounder caught and released at San Vicente by Roger Rohrbouck in 2000.

  • July 29, 2008

    One Lab Is Ring Bearer, Another Runs for Mayor

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    We all know that Labs are better people than most. So why not? Read about would-be Fairhope, Alabama, mayor Willie Bean Roscoe P. Coltrane here--and about Louisiana’s ring-bearing Remi (short for Remington) Sue Lajaunie here.

  • July 28, 2008

    Discussion Topic: Does New York Youth Bill Fall Short?

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From the NRA:

    Earlier this week, Governor David Paterson (D) signed Assembly Bill 11033 . . . [which] allows 14 and 15 year olds, who already are permitted to hunt small game in New York, to also hunt deer and bear with a firearm under specified conditions and only while supervised. 

    Thirty states across the country currently have no age limit, allowing parents to decide when their children are old enough to hunt, and these thirty states have a better collective hunter safety record than the twenty states with minimum ages. 

    I think we can all agree that this is an improvement on making Empire State kids wait until they’re 16 to hunt big game. The question is, should they have to wait until they are 14?

    Tell us what you think.

  • July 28, 2008

    DNA Fingers Elk As Livestock-Disease Culprit

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From the Associated Press:

    A federal DNA study points to wildlife — most likely elk — as the source of [brucellosis] found in a cow near Yellowstone National Park . . . .

    "This is the smoking gun we were looking for," [Montana State Veterinarian Marty] Zaluski said. . . .

    The potential role of elk in spreading brucellosis already had raised tensions between livestock producers and sporting groups worried over the potential for reductions in herd sizes. . . .

    A representative of . . . the Bozeman-based Gallatin Wildlife Association, said Thursday that the federal report needs greater scrutiny [and that] he was concerned government agencies will begin treating elk like infected bison, which are periodically captured and slaughtered as they migrate from Yellowstone National Park to prevent contact with cattle.

    Be sure to check out the full story.