Monday, April 29, 2013

One in Five Anglers Lose Access to Favorite Fishing Spot


The number of anglers who had to cancel a fishing trip or stop fishing a particular location last year because they lost access to a favorite fishing spot overall has not changed compared to last year. 17 percent of recreational fisherman surveyed by reported issues with access as opposed to 20 percent a year earlier. Despite this minor improvement, roughly one in five anglers is still being affected each year by not being able to use a favorite fishing location.

Likewise, because more anglers fish freshwater than saltwater, as well as the fact that there is more private land surrounding lakes and streams, 71 percent of reported access problems involved freshwater anglers and 24 percent involved saltwater in 2012.

Despite these challenges, 22 percent of affected anglers said they actually fished more last year than the previous year, just in a different location, and at least 32 percent reported fishing at least as much. Still, 39 percent reported fishing less frequently due to their lost access and seven percent didn't fish at all.

"Despite the efforts and resourcefulness of some anglers to find new fishing areas after losing access to others, it is clear that such challenges are causing us to lose anglers each year," says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at, and "Whether it is due to fishery closures, closed ramps or land previously used to access a lake or stream changing hands and becoming closed to the public access remains a persistent issue. Fisheries managers, anglers and industry need to continue working together to resolve these problems."

To help continually improve, protect and advance angling and other outdoor recreation, all sportsmen and sportswomen are encouraged to participate in the surveys at, and/or Each month, participants who complete the survey are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bears are Out; Be Bear Aware this Summer

parks and wildlife, game and fish, dnr, colorado, precations, conservation

Black bears have emerged from their winter dens and it's time for Colorado residents to take precautions to help keep bears wild.
Because of dry conditions in some parts of the state, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are cautioning residents that bear activity in towns and residential areas may be high again this year. Human-bear conflicts are a fact of life in Colorado, but with some simple actions residents of bear country can help to significantly reduce those conflicts.
The biggest issue in conflict situations is the availability of human sources of food -- garbage, pet food, livestock food, compost piles, bird feeders, chicken pens, etc. Bears have a phenomenal sense of smell and can pick up odors of food sources from miles away.
"Bears receive a big calorie reward if they get into something like pet food, or bird seed or leftover pizza," explained Patt Dorsey, southwest regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "Once they get a taste they quickly become habituated to human food and conflicts start. When that happens, things usually don't go well for the bear."
Once black bears have discovered a food source they may defend it and can become dangerous. Those types of situations can be dangerous and it is undesirable to have wild, unpredictable animals in close proximity to people.
"Some bears can be relocated. But bears deemed dangerous must be destroyed. We put down problem bears because we have to, not because we want to," Dorsey said.
From the Front Range to the mountains to the Western Slope, Colorado offers bears good natural habitat. Bears will go to the areas with the best food availability, and it's best that they find their food in the wild. If food sources in town are limited, bears will likely spend more time in wild lands.
Colorado residents play a major role in keeping bears wild, explained Renzo DelPiccolo, area wildlife manager in Montrose. 
"The public can help us by being conscientious and not leaving any types of food available to bears," DelPiccolo said. "Without the public's diligence in reducing human sources of food, we have limited success in avoiding and reducing conflicts."
Please, follow these tips to keep bears out of trouble and to reduce conflicts: : 
-          Obtain a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. Check with local authorities or your trash service to determine what types can be used where you live. Keep garbage in a well-secured location; and only put out garbage on the morning of pickup. 
-     Clean garbage cans regularly to eliminate food odors. If you don't have secure storage, put food scraps and items that might become smelly into the freezer. Then put them in the trash on pick-up day.
-          Don't leave pet food or feeding bowls outside. 
-          Attract birds naturally to your yard or garden with flowers and water features. For those who use bird feeders, suspend them high above the ground so that they're inaccessible to bears; clean up beneath them every day and bring them in at night, 
-          Tightly secure any compost piles. Bears are attracted to the scent of rotting food.
-          Clean-up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck. Don't allow food odors to linger.
-          If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe. Don't allow fruit to fall and rot on the ground.
-          If you keep chickens or other small livestock, build a secure enclosure and bring the animals inside at night. Clean up pens regularly to reduce odors.
-          Keep the bottom floor windows of your house and garage doors closed when you're not at home. Lock car doors. 
 -    Never intentionally feed bears or other wildlife. It's illegal and dangerous.    
 -    When backcountry camping, hang food high in trees; at campgrounds, lock food and trash in vehicles.              

  -    For more information, go to the Living with Wildlife section on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website:
If you know of someone in your neighborhood or town who is intentionally feeding wildlife, please call the nearest Colorado Parks and Wildlife office to make a report.
If you would like a wildlife officer to come to your neighborhood or homeowners' association to talk about bears or other wildlife issues, contact your local Parks and Wildlife office.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Family-Friendly Fishing Events Kick Off Ohio’s Free Fishing Days

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Source: via Ashlee on Pinterest

Free Fishing Days on May 4-5 offers Ohio residents the opportunity to fish in any of the state’s public waters without buying a fishing license, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Additionally, family-friendly fishing events for young anglers will be offered on Saturday, May 4, at five state properties around Ohio.

“It is important to introduce kids to fishing at a young age, and these free educational opportunities are a great way to get kids acquainted with fishing,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “We want to ensure that this pastime continues as an important family tradition for our children and grandchildren.”

At the five designated youth fishing ponds on May 4, ODNR will provide bait and instruction for the young anglers, but participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing rods and tackle. A limited number of loaner fishing rods will be available at each site. These family-friendly events will be held on May 4 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

The District Three Youth Fishing Area will be open on May 4 and will then be closed from May 5-25. It will open beginning Memorial Day weekend and continuing on the weekends through Labor Day. Hours of operation are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday as well as Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, and Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2.

The following family-friendly fishing ponds will be stocked throughout the summer to ensure there are always plenty of fish to catch:

- Caesar Creek State Park Pond – 40 miles from Cincinnati;
- Delaware State Park Pond – 30 miles from Columbus;
- Maumee Bay State Park Pond – 10 miles from Toledo; and
- Sycamore State Park Pond – 15 miles from Dayton.

Family-friendly fishing ponds are open to youths 15 and under. Those 16 and older must fish with a youth age 15 and under. See for more information.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife District Three office in Akron also offers fishing to youths age 15 and under. Go to for more information on the youth-only fishing area.

Ohio's Free Fishing Days are open to all Ohio residents and extends to all of Ohio’s public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River. An estimated 1.3 million people fish each year in Ohio, and the ODNR Division of Wildlife stocked 24 million fish in 2012 alone. Some different species of fish Ohioans might hook include steelhead trout, walleye, saugeye, crappie, yellow perch, bass, bluegill and catfish.

The Free Fishing Days weekend offers Ohioans of all ages the chance to experience the fun of fishing. Here are some helpful tips for taking a youngster out for Free Fishing Days.

Keep the trip simple by considering a child’s age and skill level. Choose a pond, lake or stream where children will be able to easily catch a few fish. A spin-cast reel is usually easy for kids to use. Bring a camera, and keep the trip fun and short. Be patient--plan on spending time untangling lines, baiting hooks, landing fish and taking pictures.

Anglers 16 years and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs or turtles from Ohio waters during the rest of the year. An Ohio resident fishing license costs only $19 per year.

Ohio residents born on or before Dec. 31, 1937, can obtain a free fishing license at any license vendor or online at Residents age 66 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1938, are eligible for a $10 senior fishing license. A one-day fishing license is available for $11, an amount that can later be applied toward the cost of an annual fishing license. Fishing licenses are available at participating agents and

The sales of fishing licenses, along with the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program, continue to fund ODNR Division of Wildlife fish management operations. No state tax dollars are used for these activities. These are user-pay, user-benefit programs.

The SFR is a partnership between federal and state government, industry and anglers/boaters. When anglers purchase rods, reels, fishing tackle, fish finders and motor boat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds are used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and surveys, provide aquatic education and acquire and develop boat accesses.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Feeding Wildlife is Harmful and Can Bring Costly Fines

Conservation, game and fish, fish and wildlife, dnr, colorado, animals, dder, sheep, bear, elk, goats pronghorn

DENVER - Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are reminding the public about the negative consequences of feeding wildlife. The agency cautions that in addition to being harmful for the health of wild animals, it is illegal to feed deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, pronghorn, bears and elk in Colorado.

Wildlife belongs to the public and officials encourage everyone to be responsible and avoid feeding, harassing or approaching any wild animal. Violators may receive fines from communities where feeding violates local ordinances, or from wildlife officers enforcing state laws.

"Most people mean well and probably believe that they are helping wild animals by tossing them their snacks," said Ron Velarde, northwest regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildife. "However, they are in fact causing more harm than good and we will do what we can to educate the public and discourage the practice, including issuing citations."

As bears awake from their seasonal slumber, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have begun their yearly effort to remind the public about the negative consequences of feeding bears, or leaving pet food, trash and other food attractants available to them.

According to state wildlife officials, bears, coyotes and other predators that become conditioned to human-provided food often seek the easy meals aggressively. These conflicts can result in fed animals having to be put down when they become a threat to human health and safety.

In addition, wildlife managers warn that large numbers of deer gathering around human-provided food near homes can attract mountain lions to a neighborhood, putting people and pets at higher risk.

"That's just one of the more serious, unintended consequences of feeding wildlife," said Bill de Vergie, area wildlife manager in Meeker. "It's irresponsible to put your entire community at risk by attracting deer and other wildlife to residential areas."

A wild animal's natural diet can be difficult to duplicate added de Vergie, adding that people often provide them with food that is harmful to their digestive system, including candy and chips.

Another serious consequence of feeding deer, elk and other big game animals is that it congregates them in large groups, significantly increasing the possibility of spreading diseases such as chronic wasting disease that could eventually lead to higher mortality.

Some homeowners claim that they feed deer to prevent damage to landscaping and ornamental plants; however, the practice only attracts more deer and can result in increased damage to their yard, or their neighbor's yard. Wildlife managers recommend the use of barriers and other deterrents instead, including fencing or commercially available sprays.

To report incidents of feeding or other illegal wildlife activity, contact a local Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Operation Game Thief toll-free at 877-265-6648.

For more information, please visit:

To purchase a hunting or fishing license online, please visit:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. To learn more, please visit

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cats Are in the ‘Hoods

stock, fish, fishing,outdoors, conservation

ATHENS—Stocking of keeper-size channel catfish has begun for the 15 Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes in Texas and should be completed by this coming weekend.

Additional stockings will take place every two weeks through the summer and fall except during August, when high water temperatures may limit fish survival.

 “Neighborhood Fishin’ aims to give Texas families a good place to fish close to where they live,” said Dave Terre, TPWD’s director of research and management for Inland Fisheries. “We estimate that more than 50,000 people a year participate in the program, and more than half of those are children. Connecting kids to the outdoors through fishing makes them happier and healthier, and they do better in school. Outdoor lifestyles also strengthen families.”

Stocking is a key component of Neighborhood Fishin’, which encourages people to harvest fish and take them home to eat. Channel catfish are stocked from April through October, and rainbow trout are stocked in winter months.

Local sponsors play a key role in the Neighborhood Fishin’ program by providing funds to purchase additional fish beyond those made possible by statewide support from the Texas Bass Classic Foundation and the federal Sport Fish Restoration Program. Cities and counties where Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes are located purchase some fish in addition to providing facilities at the sites.

Tarrant County Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes also benefit from the financial support of the Sportsmen’s Club of Fort Worth, the Nell V. Bailey Charitable Trust and the Meta Alice Keith Bratten Foundation. “Having local partners such as these makes the program stronger and larger and allows us to bring more people into fishing,” Terre said.

“We target metropolitan areas with populations of 100,000 or more, and we would welcome additional partners in any such area,” Terre said.

Any organization interested in partnering with TPWD on the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program should contact Terre at (512) 389-4855.

For more information on the Neighborhood Fishin’ program, including locations and directions, tackle loaner programs where available, instructional fishing videos, fishing regulations and program partners, visit

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring Season Looks Good for N.H. Turkey Hunters

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It should be a good spring season for New Hampshire’s turkey hunters, says New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Turkey Biologist Ted Walski. The spring gobbler season opens Friday, May 3, and runs through Friday, May 31, statewide. New Hampshire's Youth Turkey Hunt Weekend occurs the weekend before the season opens, this year taking place on April 27-28, 2013.
See a new 3-minute video about turkey hunting in New Hampshire at

Longtime Fish and Game Turkey Biologist Ted Walski predicts a good turkey harvest this spring, in the range of 4,000 gobblers. New Hampshire saw a relatively good hatch of young turkeys last summer, followed by a fairly easy winter.

Last year, New Hampshire hunters took 3,876 gobblers during the spring season and 1,056 turkeys in the fall (706 from 5-day shotgun and 350 from archery). During the 2012 youth turkey hunting weekend, 480 turkeys were registered (these are counted in the spring total).

Hunters should be sure to get out and do some scouting soon. Walski recommends driving early morning "gobbling routes" before the season begins. Start about a half-hour before daybreak. Stop at one-half to one-mile intervals along a 5- to 10-mile route in the region you intend to hunt; get out of the vehicle and listen for gobbling turkeys and drumming grouse for four minutes at each stop.

Turkey Viruses Detected
Hunters may notice some additional biological activity going on at the turkey check stations early in the season. Biologists will be present at 10-12 registration stations around the state to ask hunters to donate a 4-inch leg bone section above the spur up to the knee joint. The goal is to collect 50 turkey leg bone samples; 5 from each of the state's 10 counties. These samples will be sent to the University of Georgia, where the bone marrow from cooperating states from throughout the country will be analyzed to help determine the prevalence of two turkey viruses. To learn more about these viruses, visit

"To help us learn about the distribution and prevalence of these viruses in New Hampshire, hunters are urged to cooperate with this study, which is being implemented and coordinated by the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study," said Walski. "Despite the presence of lesions often associated with these viruses, there are no known human health implications associated with these two viruses. These viruses are not related to avian flu."

Apprentice Hunting License Is Popular
Fish and Game officials anticipate continued interest in New Hampshire's apprentice hunting license option, which allows those interested in trying hunting or bowhunting to do so under the guidance of an experienced hunter without first taking Hunter Education. The apprentice hunting license costs the same as a regular hunting license and is good for the rest of the calendar year. You can buy an apprentice hunting license only once during your lifetime, and they can be purchased only at the N.H. Fish and Game Department in Concord.

Last year, more than 1,000 new hunters purchased over 1,600 apprentice hunting licenses of various types in New Hampshire, including 164 turkey licenses. About a quarter of the new hunters were women. Apprentice licenses were especially popular with young adult hunters – almost one-third of the apprentice licensees were age 19-24, and another third were 25-34 years old. Learn more about the apprentice hunting license, including FAQs for apprentice hunters and those accompanying, at

Turkey License Needed
A New Hampshire turkey license is required for hunters of all ages ($16 for state residents and $31 for nonresidents). This license allows the taking of one gobbler during the spring season (May 3-31, 2013) and one turkey of either sex during the fall archery season (September 15 – December 15, 2013) OR during the fall shotgun season (October 14-18, 2013). Hunters age 16 and older must hold either a current New Hampshire hunting or archery license AND a turkey permit. Licenses are available online at or from any license agent.

All hunters should keep in mind key safety guidelines for turkey hunting:

* Always positively identify your target.
* Never assume that calls and movement indicate the presence of a turkey -- hunters commonly imitate turkey calls and use decoys in order to locate and/or attract turkeys.
* Never stalk a turkey; you could be mistaken for game -- rather than stalking, scout out a good spot, call and wait for the turkeys to come to you.
* Be seen! Turkey hunters should always wear a blaze orange hat or vest as they enter and leave the area they are hunting. Tie blaze-orange survey tape around a decoy/calling location to alert other hunters to your presence; it won’t scare the birds.
* Avoid clothes with the colors red, white and blue and black, as these are the colors of the male turkey.

For more information on turkey hunting in New Hampshire, including a list of registration stations, visit

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Saving Sage Grouse: The Wyoming Example

A new Sage Grouse Initiative video released this week showcases the Wyoming model for saving sage grouse, a strategy that’s spreading across the other 10 western states working to prevent a listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead explains the Governor’s Core Area Policy up front in the brief film, “We have a strategy that’s going to allow for a robust population of sage grouse, certainly help on habitat issues, and at the same time allow us the opportunity to develop our minerals, to have a strong agriculture and strong tourism sector, with everyone recognizing that the goal is to prevent a listing.”

The Governor’s Sage Grouse Task Force Meeting viewed the film in Salt Lake City, April 9 and gave it an enthusiastic endorsement for its national significance and relevance to other states and partners.

Conservation Media, who contracted with SGI to develop “Saving Sage Grouse, the Wyoming Example,” artfully weaves the story of how and why the policy works with beautiful imagery and interviews representing the energy industry, The Nature Conservancy, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, conservation districts, and others.

Holly Copeland of Wyoming’s Nature Conservancy shared results in the film of a compelling study. The Core Area Policy addresses energy development by steering conservation toward 86 percent of the grouse range, and is teamed up with a conservation easement strategy to protect that core from subdivision. Without those twin efforts in place, sage grouse are predicted to decline by 15-30 percent. That’s a massive decline for a state with 40 percent of all sage grouse. However, by carrying out the two conservation efforts, those declines can be reduced by almost two-thirds, the report showed.

The film’s clearly stated win-win solution demonstrates that innovation and homegrown solutions can work for sage grouse in Wyoming, across its range, and even with other species.

It’s all part of the new paradigm that the SGI Tracking Success 2013 report articulates in print. Both the new video and the report are available on our website:

To order a hard copy of Tracking Success, and/or a DVD with all five Conservation Media videos featuring SGI, along with the Tracking Success report, photos, and other useful document PDFs, please contact:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wisconsin Regular Inland Game Fish Season Opens Saturday, May 4


Anglers venturing out for the May 4, 2013, opening day of the inland fishing season will find strong fish populations -- particularly for bass -- and will want to use early season tactics to reel them in, state fisheries officials say.

“It’s been a long winter and people are eager to get out fishing and enjoy the excitement and tradition of opening day,” says Mike Staggs, Wisconsin’s fisheries director. “The key will be for anglers to use early season fishing tactics since many fish species likely won’t have finished spawning,” he says.

Opening day of the 2013 regular inland fishing season follows the coldest March on record and is shaping up as the polar opposite of the 2012 season opener, which followed the hottest March on record. As of April 15, many lakes are still ice-covered in northern Wisconsin and water levels are higher than normal on many rivers, according to U.S. Geological Survey’s WaterWatch (exit DNR) website for current stream flows and flood watch conditions.

Staggs says that anglers planning to travel for opening day will want to call ahead to local bait shops or check online sources to learn about ice conditions, water levels and fishing conditions and take appropriate precautions. Anglers can find information about fish populations in specific waters in the 2013 Wisconsin Fishing Report. Forecasts are arranged by fish species.

Longtime DNR fish biologists and technicians share their predictions for the opener and their tips for catching fish given the low water temperatures and late spawning. A few excerpts are featured below and more tips for fishing when spring is late arriving [PDF] can be found by searching the DNR website for “Fishing Wisconsin”“When we have a late spring and ice-out we usually have the best early walleye fishing,” says Russ Warwick, longtime DNR fisheries technician based in Hayward. “The male walleyes are still shallow and are very hungry.”
Warwick says northern pike will likely be in the shallow weeds and feeding while bass and panfish will be very early pre-spawn on opening day and in deeper water than normal.

Longtime Madison lakes fish manager Kurt Welke says spring 2013 won’t be significantly different than any other opener. He expects things to be a little colder in the morning at first light and the bite may indeed be slower for fish being pursued with artificial rather than natural baits.
“I’d put my money on areas with good exposure to sun and whatever heat might have been driven into the system,” he says. “I’ll fish slower and deeper – no cast and crank – and try to keep my shadow behind me. I’ll be looking at the weather the days before for prevailing winds and any other advantages I can lever.”

Dave Seibel, longtime Antigo area fish biologist, expects that northern pike will be post-spawn and feeding heavily in bays and emerging plant growth. Walleye will be at peak spawn or immediately post-spawn and will be transitioning from spawning habitats to feeding habitats. Post-spawn walleye like to feed in shallow bays with emerging plant growth and woody habitat. Muskellunge and perch will be at peak spawn. Crappies and bluegills will be in the shallows enjoying the sun warmed water there and the food life that results from it.

Trout streams will likely still be running high and cool from spring melt waters and rains. Cool water trout fishing may be better in the afternoon, once the water has had a chance to warm and the bug life activates, he says.“Whatever the weather and water temps, there is only one opening weekend,” Seibel says. “Get out and enjoy it and have a safe and memorable time on the water!

Season dates and regulations
The 2013 hook-and-line game fish season opens May 4 on inland waters for walleye, sauger, and northern pike statewide.
The largemouth and smallmouth bass southern zone opens May 4, while the northern bass zone opens for catch and release only from May 4 through June 14, with the harvest season opening June 15. Statewide, the harvest seasons for bass have a minimum length limit of 14 inches with a daily bag limit of five fish in total.
Musky season opens May 4 in the southern zone and May 25 in the northern zone. The northern zone is the area north of highways 77, 64 and 29, with Highway 10 as the dividing line.
Regulations haven’t changed from last year; find the “2013-2014 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations” and "Inland trout regulations" by searching the DNR websie for "fishing regulations." Opening day bag limits for the Ceded Territory are also available online on the regulations web page and anglers are encouraged to check back frequently for any updates or to sign up for free fishing regulations updates.

Discounted licenses seek to reel in new anglers, lure others back to the water
For the second year, anglers who have never purchased a fishing license -- or who haven't purchased one in 10 years -- can get a discounted “first time buyers” license. The discounts are automatically applied when the license is purchased. Residents' discounted license is $5 and non-residents' is $25.75 for the annual licenses.

Anglers who recruit new people into the sport can get rewarded for their efforts. Wisconsin residents who have been designated as a recruiter three or more times within one license year are eligible for a discount on the license of their choice the next year.

Anglers can buy a one-day fishing license that allows them to take someone out to try fishing, and if they like it, the purchase price of that one-day license will be credited toward purchase of an annual license. The one day license is $8 for residents and $10 for nonresidents.
Buying a license is easy and convenient over the Internet through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website at all authorized sales locations, or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236).

Wisconsin residents and nonresidents 16 years old or older need a fishing license to fish in any waters of the state. Residents born before Jan. 1, 1927, do not need a license and resident members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty are entitled to obtain a free fishing license when on furlough or leave.

Fish consumption advice online and more survey takers sought
DNR’s online search allows anglers to easily find consumption advice for the fish they eat from Wisconsin’s lakes. Anglers can select the waterbody they plan to fish to see a listing of the number of meals anglers can safely eat of various species to avoid buildup of environmental contaminants found in the fish.

General statewide advice calls for women of child-bearing years and children 15 and under to limit themselves to one meal of panfish a week and one meal of game fish a month. Older women and men are advised to limit to one meal of game fish a week and can enjoy unlimited panfish meals. More stringent advice applies to 154 waters where mercury or PCB levels are higher.

DNR and DHS are seeking more male anglers 50 and older to take an online survey [] about their fish consumption habits. The survey is aimed at helping better understand the link between fish consumption and health and to shape outreach efforts to better connect with people who eat a lot of fish. Videos about the general fish consumption advice are available in English, Spanish and Hmong and can be found on DNR's

YouTube channel fishing playlist.
Anglers reminded to follow invasive species rules and report Asian carp sightings

Anglers can help keep Wisconsin fish and lakes healthy by following rules to avoid spreading aquatic invasive species like Eurasian water-milfoil and zebra mussels and the fish disease viral hemorrhagic septicemia.

Anglers are also encouraged to contact their local fish biologist when they catch Asian carp like those strays that have been documented in the Lower Wisconsin River and the Mississippi River.

An angler reported to DNR in April that he caught a bighead carp below the Prairie du Sac dam on the Wisconsin River. Information about Asian carp species and photos to help identify the various species and tell the juvenile fish apart from native species can be searching the DNR website for Asian carp control.

Fishing Wisconsin by the numbers, 2012
2012 saw the second highest total number of fishing licenses sold in the last decade. The 1,310,553 sold was up from 1,275,405 in 2011.
In 2012, 29 percent of fishing licenses sold were to female anglers, a total of 372,339 licenses.
Anglers have 15,000 inland lakes, 42,000 miles of streams and rivers plus the Great Lakes shoreline and 260 miles of the Mississippi River to fish in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

ND Bighorns Show Record Lamb Recruitment

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual bighorn sheep survey revealed a minimum of 297 bighorn sheep in western North Dakota. The 2012 count was second highest on record and 5 percent above last year’s survey.

In total, biologists counted 87 rams, 156 ewes and a record 54 lambs. Not included are approximately 30 bighorn sheep in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Big game biologist Brett Wiedmann said the northern badlands population was the highest on record, but the southern badlands herds declined slightly.

“Although adult rams and ewes were virtually unchanged from 2011, we were very pleased to see a record number of lambs recruited into the population, as well as a record recruitment rate of 38 percent,” Wiedmann said. “Nearly all of the lambs we counted during last summer’s survey survived the winter.”

Game and Fish Department biologists count and classify all bighorn sheep in late summer and then recount lambs the following March to determine recruitment.

A bumper crop of lambs is indicative of a healthy population, so Wiedmann is encouraged with the results of this year’s survey. However, Wiedmann added that this year’s healthy lamb numbers likely won’t be reflected in increased hunting licenses for several years, as the total number of rams remains much lower than it was in 2008, and the current age structure of rams is also much younger than what Game and Fish biologists would like to see.

“Consequently, we’ll likely have to continue to be conservative with hunting pressure for a few years, but the future certainly looks promising,” Wiedmann said. “Adult mortality was also low last winter, so we expect another good crop of lambs to begin hitting the ground within a couple of weeks.”

Game and Fish has issued four bighorn sheep licenses for 2013, the same as 2012.

Monday, April 15, 2013

RMEF to Allot $3.4 Million for Habitat and Hunting Heritage Projects in 2013

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will allocate nearly $2.9 million for elk and wildlife-related conservation projects in 27 states with wild, free-ranging elk populations in 2013. Additionally $570,000 will also be allocated to hunting heritage programs in 49 states.

The funding totals $3,459,899, which is derived from banquet-based memberships and fundraising by local RMEF chapters, and represents a 30 percent increase from 2010.

“This is a testament to the mission focused attitude of our dedicated volunteers,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Their successful chapter banquets raise money which is then turned around and put back on the ground to RMEF mission programs in their own states.”

Habitat projects are selected for RMEF grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities from their respective states. Examples of projects include habitat stewardship such as prescribed burning, forest thinning and management, weed control, water improvements and more, mostly on public lands. Also included are research projects to improve management of elk, habitat, predators and other factors that influence conservation.

“These funds allow us to carry out dozens of projects that are vital to help elk and enhance elk habitat,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “Among those efforts are a radio collar elk study in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, five burn projects in Wyoming to improve forage, and various other research, fence removal and water supply projects.”
Allocated 2013 amounts for states with wild, free-ranging elk populations:

Alaska $17,339
Arizona $166,148
Arkansas $41,404
California $327,236
Colorado $249,376
Idaho $69,427
Kansas $10,000
Kentucky $60,558
Michigan $10,000
Minnesota $40,903
Missouri $5,000
Montana $438,129
Nebraska $10,000
Nevada $42,301
New Mexico $104,782
North Carolina $13,746
North Dakota $65,187
Oklahoma $13,728
Oregon $233,239
Pennsylvania $63,309
South Dakota $85,396
Tennessee $10,000
Utah $10,000
Virginia $10,000
Washington $283,078
Wisconsin $67,940
Wyoming $481,285

The amount listed above refers to money raised exclusively by RMEF volunteers in their individual states. RMEF will also distribute money received through donations, teaming with partners, grants and other means to its national core programs of habitat stewardship, land protection, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

Hunting heritage projects are selected by RMEF staff and volunteers in their individual states and are based on the ability to provide education about habitat conservation, the value of hunting, hunting ethics and wildlife management, and reaching out to youth.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
RMEF is leading a conservation initiative that protected or enhanced habitat on more than 6.3 million acres—an area larger than Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yosemite and Rocky Mountain national parks combined. RMEF also is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. RMEF members, partners and volunteers, working together as Team Elk, are making a difference all across elk country. Join us at or 800-CALL ELK.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Indiana Bass fishing not hurt by walleye stockings

anglers,angler,walleye,fish,fishing,dnr,conservation,crooked lake,lake george,fisheries

Largemouth bass anglers who are concerned that walleyes stocked into northeast Indiana lakes could be damaging bass fishing need not worry.

Data obtained by DNR biologists from bass tournaments at four lakes where walleyes are routinely stocked indicate there is little evidence to suggest bass fishing has been harmed.

At Crooked Lake and Lake George in Steuben County, two of the area’s best walleye lakes, numbers of 14-inch and larger bass caught by tournament anglers increased over the past 10 years.

Catch rates of bass anglers at Sylvan Lake in Noble County, where walleyes are abundant, have been stable since 2006.

Bass catches declined at Winona Lake in Kosciusko County after walleye stockings were increased, but catch rates remain above average compared to other area lakes.

“We occasionally get questions from bass fishermen about our walleye stocking program,” said Neil Ledet, DNR fisheries biologist in northeast Indiana. “Some fishermen think walleyes compete with bass for habitat or food and prey on small bass.”

Studies in Wisconsin and Ontario have shown the opposite. Bass are more likely to eat walleyes.

Although walleyes and bass may occupy the same areas in a lake, plenty of food is usually available for both.

“We intentionally stock walleyes in lakes that have a lot of small forage fish,” Ledet said. “We think their chances of survival are greater and their growth rate is faster there.”

Stocked walleyes feed mostly on small bluegills, yellow perch and gizzard shad where present.

“We looked at the stomach contents of 90 adult walleyes in Wall Lake in Steuben County and didn’t find a single bass,” Ledet said.

The DNR plans to conduct additional bass tournament monitoring this year at Winona and will conduct full-scale studies of the walleye stocking program at Crooked, Sylvan, and Winona in the coming years.

Contact Information:
Name: Jed Pearson
Phone: (260) 244-6805

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Survey: Public Approval of Hunting Highest Since 1995

family, hunt, hunting, fish, fishing, outdoors, wilderness, conservation

Families like this keep traditions alive and foster new generations of outdoorsmen and women. We need to all do our part.

NSSF reports that a new survey shows 79 percent of the American public approve of hunting. This marks the highest level of support for hunting since 1995, according to data compiled by Responsive Management, an independent research firm.

The nationwide scientific survey showed the public’s approval of hunting rose five points in the past year, up from 74 percent in 2011. The survey, conducted in February 2013 using random digit dialing and supplemental cellular telephone sampling, was the fifth in a series of similar surveys by Responsive Management to track trends in public approval of hunting since 1995.
Chart: General Population's Attitude Towards Hunting
Support for hunting has remained generally consistent during this time–73 percent in 1995; 75 percent in 2003; 78 percent in 2006; 74 percent in 2011; and a peak of 79 percent in 2013.

Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, is still looking at survey results to better understand why approval has increased. Said Duda, “Approval of hunting among Americans is fairly stable and bounces between 73 and 79 percent. The reasons for this increase are still unclear, but it is probably related to the increase in hunting and shooting participation.

Added Duda, “Since 2006, hunting participation has increased by 9 percent while shooting participation has increased 18 percent since 2009. Other studies we have conducted on public opinion on hunting show that the strongest correlation for approval of hunting is knowing a hunter–over and above demographic variables or anything else. With the increased number of hunters in the field and sport shooters at the range, it is possible that this is being reflected in this uptick in support for hunting.”

One thousand Americans 18 years old and older were surveyed to achieve a sampling error of plus or minus 3.00 percentage points. More than half (52%) of those surveyed strongly approved of hunting. At the other end of the spectrum, 12 percent of Americans disapprove of hunting. Another 8 percent neither approve nor disapprove (total does not equal 100% due to rounding).

Responsive Management specializes in public opinion research on natural resource and outdoor recreation issues.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Misinformation Abounds! Deer Season Length Not Being Reduced in GA

Hunters and others recently may have heard one of multiple news sources claim that the deer season length was to be reduced in the 2013-2014 hunting year. Not the case. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division wishes to address this concern and remind citizens to always check for correct information.

“The proposed regulations under consideration recommend a 25-day reduction only in the number of either-sex or ‘doe days,’ not in the length of the overall deer season,” said John Bowers, assistant chief of the Game Management Section. “This proposed change is a result of scientific data and deer hunters will still be able to hunt bucks during either-sex days.”

Long-term data indicate a statewide decline in the fawn recruitment rate in all physiographic regions of the state. At the same time, does have comprised 60-65% of the annual deer harvest. Additionally, the harvest of does has increased by 13% over the past few years. In other words, there are less deer being recruited to replenish and stabilize the deer population. The broad trend of declining fawn recruitment rates coupled with high levels of doe harvest warrant a statewide regulatory action.

Additionally, as indicated by a marked increase in public dissatisfaction related to antlerless deer harvest, declines in deer density have become an issue of concern among many deer hunters in Georgia.

“We believe the proposed reduction in either-sex days strikes a reasonable balance between diverse hunter desires while attempting to address statewide biological concerns,” said Bowers. “There is no proposal that will satisfy everyone. The Department has done its best to develop a balanced proposal. While the proposed reduction in either-sex days reduces the opportunity to harvest does, it maintains the opportunity to deer hunt and harvest antlered bucks.”

The economic impact of deer hunters and hunting activities is beneficial to the state and to conservation efforts. Deer hunting in Georgia is responsible for more than $537 million in retail sales and supports more than 11,500 jobs. In fact, deer hunting in Georgia has an economic impact in excess of $890 million. Additionally, since 1939, hunters have directly contributed more than $165 million for wildlife conservation in Georgia.

Want more on proposed hunting regulations? Consider attending an upcoming public hearing. Interested persons have several ways to comment on the proposed changes. The Wildlife Resources Division has scheduled three public hearings to provide the public an opportunity to share comments on the proposed hunting regulation changes.

All meetings will begin at 7 p.m.:

April 23, 2013: Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Health Sciences Building, 2802 Moore Highway, Tifton, GA
April 24, 2013: The Roberts Chapel Auditorium, State Offices South at Tift College, 300 Patrol Road, Forsyth, GA
April 25, 2013: Amicalola Electric, 544 Highway 15 South, Jasper, GA
Those unable to attend a meeting may submit input either electronically or in written statement form. Input must be received by 4:30 p.m. on April 30, 2013. Written statements should be mailed to: GA DNR/Wildlife Resources Division/Game Management Section; Attn: John W. Bowers; 2070 U.S. Highway 278, S.E.; Social Circle, Georgia 30025. Statements may be electronically submitted at: .

For more information or to view the proposed regulation changes, visit or contact Hunter Services at (770) 761-3045.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Deadline to Enter The Fifth Annual Extreme Huntress Contest is April 15th

Women who want to compete in the 5th Annual Extreme Huntress Contest will need to enter online by Monday, April 15th. In addition to the earlier-than-usual entry deadline, there are some significant changes to the format of the 2014 Extreme Huntress™ Contest. This year, as part of the contest, the top four finalists will embark on a three-day hunt for exotic big game, including a head-to-head skills competition at the 777 Ranch in Hondo, Texas.

"Reading an essay only tells you so much about a person," said Tom Opre, contest founder and owner of Tahoe Films, Ltd. "This contest is all about who is the most hardcore huntress, so we wanted to get the women into the field. The head-to-head competitions will give us some real insight as to their skill level and determination."

The contest format is as follows: Deadline for entry is Monday, April 15th. Similar to last year, a panel of celebrity judges will then score the essays and choose the top ten semi-finalists. Then the public will have a chance to vote online from May 1st through June 15th; after which, the top four finalists will be chosen, with the online score accounting for fifty-percent of the score and the judges' scores contributing the remaining fifty-percent.

In July, the four finalists will travel to the 777 Ranch in Hondo, Texas for the skills competition. All of this will be filmed, with Larry Weishuhn and Olivia Nalos Opre hosting the competitors in the field. will air the episodes weekly, beginning October 1st. After each episode, viewers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite Extreme Huntress. The Grand Prize winner will be determined through a combination of the judges' scores and online votes.

Similar to years past, the Grand Prize winner will embark on an all-expenses paid hunt-of-a- lifetime to take place in 2014 and to be filmed for a future episode of Eye of the Hunter™.

The semi-finalist Texas hunt package/competition is valued at over $5,000 and the Grand Prize/ Extreme Huntress 2014 package is valued at over $40,000.

Women who wish to enter the contest will need to submit a 500 word, or less, essay and up to two images, no later than midnight April 15th at

About the Extreme Huntress Contest
Now in it's fifth year, the Extreme Huntress™ Contest is about preserving our outdoor heritage. Our goal is to create positive role models for all women who want to participate in hunting. With a fifty-percent divorce rate, there are a lot of kids who won't get into traditional outdoor sports unless mom does. We feel if mom goes hunting, so will her children- and the whole family.

Contact: Sue Bookhout, 315-333-0360,
Press Release found at the Outdoor Wire

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pelicans Return to Minnesota After Near Extinction

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Flocks of giant white birds are catching the eyes of outdoor enthusiasts across Minnesota, as once-rare American White Pelicans migrate north to their nesting grounds across the state.
American White Pelicans were driven to near extinction in the early 20th century from human pressures, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). There were no reports of nesting pelicans in Minnesota for 90 years, from 1878 until 1968.
Conservation efforts and federal regulations have helped pelican populations make a slow and steady comeback. “The prairie pothole region of western Minnesota hosts 22 percent of the global population of this species,” according to Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer, DNR nongame wildlife specialist. In Minnesota, there are estimated to be about 22,000 pairs of pelicans that nest at 16 sites on seven lakes across the state.
American White Pelicans leave Minnesota each fall as lakes and rivers freeze. They winter along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Mexico and typically return to Minnesota in early spring, as lakes and rivers thaw.
They are among the world’s largest birds and are easily recognized in flight. Wingspans up to nine feet, bright white plumage with black-edged wings and large, orange bills distinguish them from any other species.
“Pelicans often fly in evenly spaced lines or V formations,” Gelvin-Innvaer said. “Unlike swans or geese which fly with necks outstretched, pelicans fly with their necks doubled back against their shoulders. They often set up a rhythmic pattern of wing beats that ripple from the lead bird back to the end.”
American White Pelicans are highly social and live in large, dense colonies. They feed exclusively on small fish and crustaceans and will work together for a meal.
“A group of pelicans will swim in a semicircle to herd their prey into shallow water,” Gelvin-Innvaer said. “Then they’ll scoop up fish and water in their beak pouch, drain out the water and swallow their food.”
Pelicans are popular among wildlife watchers. Gelvin-Innvaer advises that the birds are best enjoyed from a distance. “Pelican colonies are vulnerable to human disturbance and contact should be minimized,” she said.
Due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, in an area of the Gulf of Mexico where American White Pelicans winter, efforts are underway to assess potential impacts of the spill to Minnesota breeding populations.
For more information on American White Pelicans, click here
Donations to Nongame Wildlife checkoff on Minnesota tax forms helps fund monitoring and restoration efforts of pelicans in Minnesota.

Friday, April 5, 2013

31 Major Hunting and Wildlife Organizations Representing Tens of Millions of Americans Oppose Universal Background Checks

From the NRA- The National Rifle Association, with 30 other prominent hunting and wildlife preservation organizations which represent tens of millions of Americans, sent the following letter to the leadership in the United States Senate. This letter lays out a 5-point plan to make our communities safer. The organizations strongly oppose unnecessary restrictions which would not reduce crime or prevent tragedy, such as universal background checks.

April 4, 2013 

Dear Senators: 

Our organizations, which represent millions of Americans who actively support professional 
wildlife management and the advancement of our nation’s hunting and recreational shooting 
heritage, are writing to express our sincere hope that your upcoming gun control debate will be 

Like you, we were devastated by the recent tragedy in Connecticut, and we share your goal of 
ensuring that appropriate actions are taken to prevent similar acts of senseless violence in the 
future.  We believe an opportunity exists to enact legislation that addresses the causative agents 
of this and similar tragic events. Specifically we support:  

National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) improvement measures that
will effectively prevent access to firearms by those not legally qualified to possess them, 
without criminalizing private transfers; 
Vigorous enforcement of existing federal firearms laws; 
Efforts to improve security in our nation’s schools; 
A comprehensive process to review, evaluate and recommend changes to our nation’s 
treatment of the mentally ill before their actions result in these devastating consequences; 
The development and implementation of a community based “family watch” program 
that helps families with concerns that an immediate family member who they believe has 
the potential to become a societal danger is afforded the assistance that they need to 
intervene before a tragedy occurs.  

As much as we support this five point plan that responds to the causative agents that could have 
potentially avoided this tragedy, we oppose unnecessary restrictions of our ability to attain and 
possess legal firearms and that have no foundation in addressing the factors that led to this 
tragedy or like tragedies.  

In addition, the signatories to this letter are proud of our hunting and recreational shooting 
heritage and the support that our activities contribute to our nation’s conservation, economic and 
societal interests.  

Specifically, shooting sports participants are the largest financial supporters of wildlife 
conservation throughout the United States, having contributed over $5.4 billion to the 
management of our nation’s wildlife, recreational shooting and hunter education through 
Pittman-Robertson excise tax payments since 1991. This uniquely American System of 
Conservation Funding – a “user pays-public benefits” system - is heralded internationally as the 
most successful wildlife management program in the world.  

Economically, the companies in the United States that manufacture, distribute and sell firearms, 
ammunition and hunting equipment employ as many as 98,752 people in the country and 
generate an additional 110,998 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries.  In 2012 alone the 
firearms and ammunition industry was responsible for as much as $31.84 billion in total 
economic activity in the United States. The significant contributions these companies are making 
to our nation’s economic recovery should not be sacrificed to unnecessary and ineffective 
restrictions and bans, no matter how well-intended their proponents may be.   

These lawful recreational activities provide untold hours of benefits to our nation’s families and 
their friend and neighbors that should not be unnecessarily impinged upon.  

For these reasons, the undersigned organizations respectfully request that you continue to work 
collectively, as the voice of sportsmen and recreational shooters in Congress, toward pragmatic 
bipartisan solutions in a manner that enhances wildlife conservation, benefits the economy and 
protects America’s rich hunting and shooting heritage, while not impeding the Second 
Amendment rights of our members.  Thank you for your ongoing service to our nation and future 
generations of sportsmen and women conservationists.  


Archery Trade Association 
Boone and Crockett Club 
Campfire Club of America 
Catch-A-Dream Foundation 
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation 
Conservation Force 
Dallas Safari Club 
Delta Waterfowl 
Masters of Foxhounds 
Mule Deer Foundation 
National Rifle Association 
National Shooting Sports Foundation 
National Trappers Association 
National Wild Turkey Federation 
North American Bear Foundation 
North American Grouse Partnership 
Orion, The Hunter’s Institute 
Pheasants Forever 
Pope & Young Club 
Quail Forever 
Quality Deer Management Association 
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 
Ruffed Grouse Society 
Safari Club International 
Texas Wildlife Association 
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance   
Whitetails Unlimited 
Wild Sheep Foundation 
Wildlife Forever 
Wildlife Management Institute 
Wildlife Mississippi 

CC: The Honorable Patrick Leahy 
The Honorable Chuck Grassley