Local hunter’s take on increase in hunting during pandemic

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) — Ahead of the opening of the archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons, one hunter said this hobby has always been important to him.

Josh Weltz believes the recent increase in popularity is yet another indication that the pandemic is driving more people into the outdoors.

“I know our Iowa Bow Hunter’s Facebook group has definitely exploded recently as far as member numbers, so I think a lot of people are starting to get more interested in the idea of spending time outside hunting, fishing, that kind of stuff,” said Weltz.

Weltz said more people have wanted to learn about where their food comes from and about harvesting large, long-term meat supplies.

“For me one big one is the relationship with the food. I know where my food is coming from, and harvesting that myself, the challenge of it, it’s difficult,” said Weltz.

He said that interest is naturally going to point those people in the direction of bow hunting.

“It’s a big rabbit hole you can go down, so there’s a lot to it. But a good place to start would be social media just to kind of get the base line for how you need to break into it.”

For any new or inexperienced hunters, Weltz wants to remind them to get proper tool training before hitting the fields this season.

Game wardens expect Covid-19 could produce a record hunting season

Game wardens expect Covid-19 could produce a record hunting season

With the cancellation or postponement of numerous East Texas events, some may now be turning to something not canceled.

Hunting.

Game wardens believe this hunting season could be one of the busiest on record.

A Saturday hunters education class in Gregg county includes several new hunters.

A trend that could be going up because of Covid 19.

“With all of the Covid-19 measurements in place, people are wanting to social distance themselves and what better place that outdoors hunting and fishing. We’re expecting a larger number of folks in the woods,” says Gregg county game warden Todd Long.

“Sales are through the roof. Never seen anything like it. Guns, ammo, accessories, magazines, you name it. People are just going crazy,” says Logan Green of Ark-La-Tex guns & more in Gilmer.

In 2019, Texas had the highest number of registered firearms, more than 715-thousand, according to the ATF. And lots of first-timers.

“My daughter decided she wanted to come hunting with me. Ready to go hunting, always loved the outdoors,” said Byron Eldridge.

“I really don’t know why, it just seems fun and i want to do it,” says daughter Kaitlynn.

“We’ve had a bunch of people come in saying they’re ready for hunting season to start because everything insides closed and stuff like that,” Green says.

Gun sales in the Texas appear to already be setting record highs based on statistics from the FBI’s national instant criminal background check system. And game wardens are promoting safety above all.

According to U-S Fish & Wildlife, Texas resident hunting licenses, tags and permits for 2020 are estimated at over 1-million-6-hundred -50 thousand.

Opinion: Anti-hunting letter filled with ‘illogical framing’

I understand Richmond attorney Rebeka Breder is deeply disturbed by hunting and she offered her complaints in a Burnaby Now op-ed column that ran on14 September 2020. (https://www.burnabynow.com/opinion/your-letters/opinion-dear-hunters-you-killing-animals-is-not-fun-1.24202859).  However, she misrepresents the case against hunting with omissions, factual errors and illogical framing.

As a trained lawyer, she must understand such argumentation. I am not a lawyer, rather a professional biologist and I offer some research results and clarifications.  I directly address the underlined quotes from her letter below:

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“. . . ducks, who mate for life, . .  Actually, ducks do not mate for life. Most only mate for five months before the males (drakes) abandon the incubating hens to search for new breeding opportunities. Geese sometimes mate for life but also “divorce” due to low fitness, infertility, or death. Re-pairing occurs quickly. Goose populations of parks, fields and golf courses today are at nuisance levels 1300% higher than 1900. Thousands of young geese slowly starve unseen each year on the arctic tundra as a result of overgrazing there.

“. . . and [ducks] are in the midst of resting and feeding before their thousand-kilometer migration flight. . .”  Most Lower Mainland ducks filter through from Alaska throughout the fall to overwinter in California and Mexico (lucky birds!). They dawdle in agricultural fields between the frontal systems that efficiently propel them southward.

 “Or deer, who are simply trying to live in peace, and forage, in the forests will be killed.”There are currently around 125,000 black-tailed deer in B.C. In 2018 hunters killed about 5% of the population and automobiles killed or injured approximated the same number. Hunter numbers are decreasing too. Only about 2,000 (1.6% of population) reproductive-aged female deer are killed, thus there is no population threat from hunting.

“I cannot go for walks. . . because duck hunters pose a danger.”This is incorrect.  You can safely walk. According to National Safety Council statistics, you are 40 times more likely to be injured bicycling or cheerleading. Hunting is only slightly riskier than billiards and it is even safer for non-hunters afield. Your drive to the hiking trail is much more dangerous than hiking during hunting season. Every new hunter in Canada is required to pass a rigorous safety exam and practicum before getting a license. There are fewer than 5 accidental shooting deaths by Canadian hunters annually (sometimes none at all in BC) and even more rarely by duck hunters.

“Why do I have to sacrifice my peaceful outdoor experience. . .”By law, and in fairness, we all must accommodate others in sharing the outdoors much like paddlers and anglers, mountain bikers and horse riders, skiers and snowboarders. Hunting largely happens in the three cold wet months falling between hiking and skiing seasons. Furthermore, about half of all hunting efforts occur on two opening weekends. Thus, avoiding about two week per year eliminates most overlap. Hunting is inherently a quiet activity and in many places the occasional gunshot is a short, instantly passing annoyance.

“My heart and mind will never understand how killing – whether by bow and arrow, or rifle – is “fun.”I get that. Running marathons, veganism, parenthood or hunting are personal preferences not enjoyed by all. And furthermore, understanding is a prerequisite to informed disapproval. As in gender, BLM, and political topics, if you truly want to understand, speak honestly with (not at!) and listen openly to other peoples’ opinions.

“. . . using sadistic tactics to trick wildlife into coming closer to you for a closer shot, is fun.”Getting close in hunting (decoys, calls, baits, stalking) is ethical hunter behaviour for reducing risks of losing or just injuring an animal. A quick, close, death is always sought. Similarly, livestock are never killed at long distances.

“Some of the main arguments to justify hunting is for food. . .”An elk, or a few deer for a family food supply represents exceptionally meaningful and delicious meat cuts. Compared to $30/kg for farmed elk meat, a hunter’s take may represent a $3-5,000 household value and replace one beef calf, or two pigs, or four sheep or 300 chickens that would have been raised in small spaces to be killed for the same meat volume.

“The other excuse for sport hunting is that it contributes to conservation.”  Unlike hikers, bikers, boaters, birdwatchers or photographers, hunters must pay license money into government coffers for the specific privilege of hunting. They volunteer millions more in addition to volunteering time for wildlife. This money helps pay for habitat, staffing, poacher patrols, and education, and cover some farm damages.

“Or that hunting is less cruel than leaving wildlife to die naturally in the wild.” Wildlife deaths are rarely ones humans would choose. All animals eventually die, and a demise from deep snow, starvation, disease, fighting, predators and automobile strikes are slower, and debatably more grueling deaths than by arrow or bullet. Hunters do not deny there is often some pain, yet are comforted it is short-lived. Responsible hunters seek to minimize unnecessary suffering.

“Nonsense. ‘Conservation’ means to protect and to preserve”Here you confuse “conservation” with “preservation”. Conservation is use-oriented, not hands-off preservation. In North America the word “conservation” was first used to describe withholding and “conserving” springtime floodwaters behind dams for dry season irrigation. “Conserves” are sugar-saturated fruit saved for later use. Conserving species is to steward and manage with intention of some wise use later on. There is room for both but they are different.

“And who really cares what think. I am ‘only’ one person.”I care enough about what you think to seek you out and to reply here. The power of well-intentioned individuals with passion should never be discounted, rather, applauded, respected and engaged with, even if their views may not align exactly with our own. Apathy is far the greater enemy to conservation.

“We are extremely lucky to live in British Columbia, one of the most beautiful places in the world.“ Ms. Breder, all B.C. hunters share your sentiment here and they are among the most active in protecting wildlife habitat, supporting reintroductions, and self-policing against excessive or illegal use. We can disagree on a few key points but instead of opting for the divisive or discrediting approaches of the legal profession, please consider cooperating to build conservation bridges and sharing your legal expertise for the broader collective good of all conservationists. We face some common threats.

Hunting can be a deeply meaningful and rewarding activity, sometimes called “fun” as a shorthand descriptor. Hunting’s healthy outdoor experiences garner organic, free-range, antibiotic-free, habitat-friendly, humanely killed meat for use, sharing, and community-building. Hunting builds an ethos of valuing wild places for the sustainable goods they produce for all. Through this commitment, hunters add their voices and dollars to the continued existence and social value of many B.C.’s wild hunting lands. Incidentally, this nicely complements the extensive network of preserved parks and refuges where there is no hunting.

Lee Foote, PhD is a forester, a wildlife consultant and a retired Professor of Conservation Biology. He lives in Burnaby.

SC’s alligator hunting season off to a busy start


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With the 2020 Alligator Hunting Season in full swing, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource reported a record 7,172 hunters applied for the hunting permit over the summer. (WCIV)
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — With the 2020 Alligator Hunting Season in full swing, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource reported a record 7,172 hunters applied for the hunting permit over the summer. Only 1,000 permits are given out through a lottery system.

The season started on September 12th and runs until October 10th. Already in the first week, a 12-foot, 500-pound gator was caught at Lake Moultrie.

“Normally, we get a handful of 12-footers and maybe one or two 13-footers, and that’s one of the things we look at to gauge what’s going, because we don’t want to remove the big alligators,” explained Jay Butfiloski, Furbearer and Alligator Program Coordinator for SCDNR.

Alligators must be captured before a hunter can kill the animal and only one gator is allowed per permit. Meanwhile, only alligators four-feet or greater in length may be taken by a hunter and the animal must be tagged immediately with a harvest tag provided by SCDNR.

“It helps to reinforce alligators to be fearful of people. When we started this, we were sending a lot of our contracted agents to deal with nuisance alligator issues because they were getting comfortable with people, and as a lot of alligator hunters can profess right now, it’s really hard to get around one of them,” said Butfiloski.

The main threat to these reptiles today is habitat loss caused by wetland drainage and development. A cause in the increase in human-alligator interactions, with multiple fatal encounters.

“Those tend to happen, a lot of cases, around people’s homes who live in areas that have alligators and sometimes it is just a misidentification. Maybe a dog is by the water that they confuse as prey, but alligator attacks in our state are rare,” stated Butfiloski, “A lot of that can be attributed to increasing population, especially the coastal developments that we’re having. A lot of development where alligators’ habitat happens to be.”

You can learn more about the season and how to apply for a permit for the 2021 season on the SCDNR’s website.

Hunters prepare for opening day of deer season

Hunters prepare for opening day of deer season

White-tailed buck

White-tailed buck

Every great hunter knows that success throughout the season is more likely when not left to luck alone. Making sure to develop a game plan early will pay off in the late-autumn rut.

Opening day for deer season kicks off for bow hunters in 252 Texas counties on Oct. 3 and runs through Nov. 6. Rifle season follows and spans from Nov. 7 through Jan. 3 in the North Zone and Jan. 17 in the South, with a special South Zone late season lasting through Jan. 31.

John Tomecek, Ph.D., is no stranger to this process. As a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service wildlife specialist and an avid hunter and gamesmen himself, Tomecek knows that when hunting, preparation is key.

Ensuring that preparations are complete and everything is ready to go is half the battle, and half the fun, for many hunters looking to head out on opening day.

“Good planning makes all the difference,” Tomecek said. “Planning should occur at the individual, party and property level. Individuals should know their goals and limitations and make a plan for achieving their goals during the season.”

White-tailed doe

White-tailed doe

Making a game plan

The best way to prepare is to scope out land and plots and talk with landowners to begin developing a plan. If they aren’t already, trail cameras should be set, and hunters should review footage— early and often—to pattern movement.

Hunters should also take time to head out to their trails to clear brush and any debris that might have built up to pave the way for a clean shot and ensure easy access in and out of land around their stand or blind. This also includes having the foresight to check blinds for any damage and survey for unwelcome critters like raccoons, mice, bird or insect nests. This helps take care of unwanted surprises and alleviates any burden or time constraints hunters might run into if they push it too close to opening day.

“Nothing dulls the excitement of opening day more than discovering unexpected guests—like yellow jackets or black widow spiders— and having to make a rapid, noisy exit from your blind,” Tomecek said.

While food plots should already be underway, making sure to monitor and maintain them through mowing, spraying, weeding and fertilization is a neverending task. Hunters should also make sure to routinely visit their plots before opening day to check for any signs of deer.

Routine gear inspection

Strategizing is a good start, but at the end of the day it comes down to execution of that plan, which starts with making sure gear and equipment is ready to go.

When it comes to hunting, there is plenty of equipment involved. From blinds to clothing, harvesting tools and rifles or bows, each piece of gear plays an important role in hunting readiness.

“Many hunters pull their gear out of storage right before the season begins, but hunters ought to spend time all year maintaining their gear and practicing their marksmanship,” Tomecek said.

Smaller field-equipment preparations like checking batteries in flashlights and rangefinders are often overlooked steps, but ones that can have a big impact on ease of experience the first morning of your hunt.

While clothing may not initially register as equipment, for deer hunters ensuring that clothing is appropriate for weather and environmental hazards is a must. Folks should also take care to properly clean and treat clothing to eliminate odors. Deer have over 297 million olfactory receptors in their nose, making them incredibly sensitive to surrounding scents.

Ultimately, Tomecek said at a minimum, bows and rifles should be inspected for safety and accuracy. Taking the time to sight in bows and rifles gives hunters plenty of time to find the right setup and adjustments that work for them, to assist in a quick, clean shot.

Plus, it never hurts to get in a little extra target practice. Practice makes perfect, and hunting is definitely no exception.

Hunting is a sport of safety, and safety should go farther than responsible management of weaponry. For those in stands, returning home safely starts with doublechecking access and safety equipment like ladders, climbing sticks, platforms, straps and harnesses for any rust, damage or breakage and replacing anything that raises concern.

A proper, legal harvest

A successful hunt is a safe and legal hunt. Before hitting the blinds on opening day, hunters should brush up on regulations enforced by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, including those relating to licenses and permits, bag limits, tagging and chronic wasting disease.

These regulations are put in place to ensure the long-term management of white-tail deer populations in Texas, and it is critical that hunters are familiar with them.

“Always, check your Outdoor Annual for the areas in which you’re hunting. If you don’t carry the paper version, there’s a mobile application that works great, all available through Texas Parks and Wildlife,” Tomecek said. “Some general regulations apply everywhere. Check for special regulations in the county of harvest and be diligent at your recordkeeping.”

Valid hunting licenses are required of Texas residents to hunt on public or private lands and can be purchased online or through various local retailers, along with tags and other permits.

In the event of a successful harvest under a hunting license, one should be prepared to tag the animal and log the hunt, immediately. The tag from the hunter’s license must be filled out with information pertaining to the type of deer and date of kill prior to field dressing.

As long as evidence of tagging and proof of sex is ensured, deer can be transported.

As a preparation for bythe book field dressing, hunters should ensure that equipment used for field dressing is in good shape and easily accessible prior to opening day, either in the field, back at base or at a hunter’s residence.

Knives and replacement blades should be sharpened and cleaned, and hunters should take time to pack disposable gloves.

When it comes to processing the meat, Tomecek said those looking to butcher their own game should do research ahead of time.

“Online resources make this far easier than it once was,” he said. “Otherwise, there are many quality professional game processors across the state.”

A final consideration for hunters in CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones is following protocol for reporting of Chronic Wasting Disease, a contagious, deadly disease in deer that causes a variety of somatic and neurological symptoms and poses a threat to conservation of deer in Texas.

Deer harvested in these localized zones, must be taken to check stations managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department within 48 hours.

A greater appreciation for nature and the food it gives

Hunting is as much a sport as it is a livelihood for individuals, families and local communities.

“For many, opening day is the return to familiar places, smells and sights,” Tomecek said.

“The air is electric with the promise and excitement of the coming weeks. It can be very busy in communities where hunting is a cornerstone of the local economy, as a kind of nature tourism.”

It’s this very draw to nature that sends thousands of residents and visitors to the field.

“Hunting is not all about harvesting an animal, it’s about interacting with the natural world around you in a very basic way—being a part of the ecosystem,” Tomecek explained.

He cited documented evidence, which promotes that time spent outdoors increases personal health and teaches hunters, young and old, a variety of critical skills.

It also puts food on the table for thousands of Texans each year, while helping manage the white-tailed deer population statewide.

“Careful management, according to science, has produced a situation where, in most areas, we have as many deer as the ecosystem can support,” Tomecek said. “Hunting provides us an opportunity to remove hungry mouths from the landscape to ensure that a smaller population of deer—what the landscape can naturally support— remain healthier, as does their habitat.”

So, harvesting of deer comes with great reward, but also great responsibility. Key to assuming this responsibility as a hunter is being informed and prepared prior to opening day.

“Hunting is a tradition that requires a great deal of learning and time in the field,” Tomecek said. “I would suggest that folks seek out an experienced hunter as a mentor. There’s no shortage of folks glad to help a new hunter. These mentorships serve as a great reminder that even the best hunters didn’t become an expert overnight.”

Visit Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Outdoor Annual page for more information on hunting restrictions and regulations of whitetailed deer in Texas.

Two youths, 11 and 14, killed in separate incidents while hunting in Michigan/“Take ’Em Hunting” challenge looking to create memories

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/09/14/boy-fatally-shot-hunting-stepfather-arrested/114026128/?fbclid=IwAR1jTDTcapRbGtZTl_7aI8i-qdIKrnWdhiobR6vDGZa9Hj0JegngDnLFfXw

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  • https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/09/14/boy-fatally-shot-hunting-stepfather-arrested/114026128/?fbclid=IwAR1jTDTcapRbGtZTl_7aI8i-qdIKrnWdhiobR6vDGZa9Hj0JegngDnLFfXw
  • Associated Press

    Clay Township — An 11-year-old boy was shot and killed by his stepfather while hunting with his family in southeast Michigan, the second hunting death of a youth since Saturday.

    Police were called out to a hunting accident Sunday night in Clay Township, the Times Herald of Port Huron reported.

    Police said its believed the family was looking for deer in some woods when the boy was “struck by a round discharged by his 40-year-old stepfather.” The boy later died at a hospital.

    The stepfather was arrested. The shooting was being reviewed by the St. Clair County prosecutor’s office. Fox 2 Detroit reported that while police were there, another gunshot went off. Police said the child’s mother had shot herself in the hand as she was trying to unload a gun and it mistakenly went off.

    Clay Township is about 45 miles northeast of Detroit.

    On Saturday, a 14-year-old deer hunter who possibly fell asleep in a farm field was killed when he was run over by a corn harvester in Michigan’s Thumb region, police said.

    Emergency workers were called about 9 a.m. Saturday to the cornfield in a rural area near the Huron County city of Caseville after a farm worker spotted the boy soon after accidentally driving over him, according to the county sheriff’s office.

    The boy from the nearby city of Elkton had been dropped off earlier for deer hunting at the field and might have fallen asleep, the sheriff’s office said. The farm worker wasn’t aware that anyone was in the field.

    The boy’s identity wasn’t immediately released by authorities and an autopsy was expected to be performed in the coming days.

    The deaths came during the Liberty Hunt on Saturday and Sunday, and is designed for veterans and others with disabilities and youths ages 16 and younger.

    The two-day hunt, which comes ahead of the launch of the anterless firearms and bow season, can be used for an antlered or antlerless deer, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which sponsors the hunt.

    The hunt takes place on private or public lands open to firearm deer hunting,

  • ————————————————————————————————————-
“Take ’Em Hunting”

NORFOLK – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is encouraging you to take someone hunting.

Public Information Officer Greg Wagner says the “Take ’Em Hunting” challenge runs through May next year and you have the chance to win some great prizes.

“Look in your family network, look in your friend group, or even better take somebody who doesn’t look or act like you out hunting. There’s so many young people especially that really need to have hunting. You know with the current pandemic it’s easy to look in your bubble especially with your family network and find an individual who has always wanted to go hunting, but never had the option made available by anyone.”

Wagner says last year, over 2,100 mentors participated, bringing nearly 1,580 first-time hunters into the field to hunt.

He says the challenge is about nature and the best thing a hunter can do for conservation is to introduce someone new to hunting.

Province’s ‘baffling’ cormorant cull is ‘going to be a disaster’

https://www.orilliamatters.com/local-news/provinces-baffling-cormorant-cull-is-going-to-be-a-disaster-2711905

Hunt that begins today will allow hunters to kill 15 birds daily; ‘They might as well as be shooting loons and great blue herons … it’s mind boggling, says naturalist

Andrew Philips15 minutes ago

A cormorant and seagull enjoy a quiet moment on Georgian Bay. Andrew Philips/MidlandToday

Hunt that begins today will allow hunters to kill 15 birds daily; ‘They might as well as be shooting loons and great blue herons … it’s mind boggling, says naturalist

While the province says it’s a necessary step, its widespread double-crested cormorant cull that begins today is drawing some pointed criticism.

“It’s going to be a disaster for people with minimal impact on the cormorants,” naturalist David Hawke, an OrilliaMatters columnist, predicted. “It’s akin to shooting ring-billed gulls.”

That Progressive Conservative government’s “fall harvest for double-creasted cormorants introduced to protect local ecosystems” was quietly introduced in late July just prior to a holiday weekend.

Hawke said that while some find cormorants to be a nuisance since they kill vegetation where they nest, they are a native species and actually feed on an invasive fish species: round gobies.

“They might as well as be shooting loons and great blue herons,” he said. “This whole thing is baffling and it’s mind boggling that this is being done as a hunt. Because to me a hunt is for food. You can’t eat them because of their hundred percent fish diet. They’re not edible.”

But Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop said the government announced the hunt that lasts until December 31 and allows hunters to kill 15 birds daily as a means to to combat a growing problem.

“I’ve heard concerns from property owners, hunters and anglers about the kind of damage cormorants have caused in Simcoe North, and across Ontario, who have witnessed firsthand the issues that cormorants have caused,” Dunlop said.

“The fall hunting season was introduced to protect our local ecosystem and will help communities manage the destruction caused by the cormorant populations where they have negatively impacted natural habitat and other water bird species.”

But Bob Codd, who’s a member of the Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists, said there doesn’t seem to be any real science behind the hunt.

“Any scientific literature would suggest that there’s no basis for it,” said Codd, who runs the local group’s website.

“I think Mr. Ford is just doing it to appease what he sees as his base. I guess there’s a small clamour to do something about them, but a provincewide cull in my opinion isn’t the answer. This doesn’t really make any sense. You can’t eat them. Even a jurisdiction like the United States rejected a cull.”

While no one seems to have firm numbers on how many hunters will be participating, the birds’ numbers could be drastically different by next year should participation be high.

“I don’t know how many people are going to participate in it, but the potential is vast,” Codd said. “If everybody who could, did, it would be really devastating.”

The Animal Alliance of Canada said that the bird could be brought to near extinction in just one season since there are an estimated 143,000 adult, breeding cormorants in the province since hunters hold small game permits (about 197,000) can legally kill up to 15 cormorants a day during a hunt that lasts 111 days.

But Lauren Tonelli, resources management specialist with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, doesn’t think member participation will be that high in the hunt except, perhaps, in smaller lake areas where cormorants outnumber other birds and have damaged habitat.

.”I really feel like it’ll mostly be people who have been seen those types of issues for the past decade,” she said, adding they’re not expecting to see each hunter take 15 birds a day so fears of the bird being hunted into near extinction are without merit.

“I mean, you could apply that to anything. If every angler in Ontario went out and took their limit of fish everyday that they could, you probably would have an issue as well. But obviously that doesn’t happen.”

And while there were no big fireworks displays for either Victoria or Canada Day this year due to the pandemic, the sounds of shotgun blasts bursting through the air could take away some of the calm and tranquility Ontario’s lakes normally offer in the fall.

Hawke wonders whether that loss of tranquility and leaving either dead or dying cormorants to rot on islands where they’ve been shot or floating over to nearby shorelines could create hostility and lead to conflicts between hunters and those enjoying area lakes like boaters, campers and cottagers.

“You’re going to see a shoreline of dead birds,” Hawke said, noting he can see a major social disconnect happening between the varying groups. “I can see a huge social clash happening. We now have more cottages, more people than ever before.

“These guys will go out, blast away and knock a bunch of cormorants out of the sky. They can’t take them home because they’re not worth eating. What do you do with the carcass? I think we’re going to see a shoreline of dead cormorant carcasses rotting.”

Hawke said he can’t understand the logic behind the government’s decision to try to decimate the waterbird’s provincial population through a legal hunt since the province once had an extended Canada Goose hunt, but that had seemingly no effect on that species’ population.

“Why don’t they have a concerted effort to oil the (cormorant’s) eggs so they don’t hatch and the population would slowly decrease,” he said, adding that move would be better for everyone and would address concerns related to cormorants such as damaging trees for nesting and roosting, eating a small percentage of so-called ‘sport fish’ and leaving behind guano-topped islands.

As well, some consider the cormorants’ revival in the Great Lakes from historic lows in the 1970s to be a success story with Hawke noting the bird suffered dramatic declinces back then due to exposure to environmental contaminants like DDT.

Tonelli, meanwhile, said her organization has been after the province for two decades to deal with the burgeoning cormorant population.

“We had a lot of members noticing that cormorant populations were increasing and their colonies were getting bigger and they’re causing more damage along the waterfront and smaller islands,” Tonelli said. “Their numbers are increasing throughout Ontario.”

Tonelli said that in 2018 when a similar initiative was being mentioned, her organization wanted the government to take “active management” of the species by having Ministry of Natural Resources and Foresty personnel conduct population control measures through smaller culls and oiling eggs where needed rather than an official hunt.

But she said she understands the reasoning behind the hunt since it will cost the government fewer resources in terms of staff time.

She added: “Obviously allowing a hunt doesn’t really cost them anything and they actually make a little bit of revenue.”

Cormorant hunt scheduled to start Tuesday despite controversy

https://northernontario.ctvnews.ca/cormorant-hunt-scheduled-to-start-tuesday
-despite-controversy-1.5104297

NORTH BAY — The controversial culling of cormorants starts Tuesday,
intended to protect the fish population, the province says, but many groups
disagree.

Animal protection activists argue the cull endangers the bird species, while
advocates dismiss such concerns as exaggerated.

“These are birds that have been driven close to extinction twice in the last
200 years,” said Liz White, director of the Animal Alliance of Canada and
the leader of the Animal Protection Party of Canada.

“One of those times was from persecution. So we know that these birds are
extremely vulnerable to this kind of action and what we have now in the
Province of Ontario is a province-wide killing of a bird that has made a
spectacular comeback.”

The group sent an open letter sent to John Yakabuski, minister of Natural
Resources and Forestry, asking for more scientific research to support the
hunt. The hunt currently goes one for 106 days, and allows hunters to take
15 birds per day.

Fifteen birds a day

“Fifteen birds a day is actually comparable to other migratory birds like
the dove — they’re 15 a day, as well,” said North Bay Hunters and Anglers
president Kam Wroblewski. “However those numbers are set, someone had to
take a look at the numbers and realize that we have 140,000-plus cormorants
and we don’t have 140,000-plus cormorant hunters.”

Wroblewski said he doubts the cull will be that popular with hunters.

“I think it will be opportunistic, where duck hunters or geese hunters are
out there and they see cormorants, they’ll take them, but generally I don’t
think it will be a popular hunt.”

In a statement to CTV, the MNR said Ontario is acting on concerns from
property owners, hunters and anglers and commercial fishers about the king
of damage cormorants have called in their communities.

“Cormorants prey on fish, eating a pound a day,” the statement said.
“Research shows they can impact some fish stocks. The birds can also damage
trees they nest and roost in. In large amounts, cormorant droppings, called
guano, can kill trees and other vegetation and destroy traditional nesting
habitats for some other colonial water birds.”

No scientific evidence

White disagrees, arguing there is no scientific evidence that cormorants
harm fish populations.

“In fact, if you look at the total allowable catch for Lake Erie, which is
the largest fresh water commercial fishery in the world, the number of fish
that are taken out by the commercial fishery has not gone down,” she said.
“Yet Lake Erie has very large cormorant populations on a number of islands
in the western basin.”

She said in Toronto, where there are large cormorant colonies, public
beaches are listed as “blue flag beaches,” deeming them good for swimming
and not toxic from cormorant droppings.

“We’re talking in Ontario of 140,000 birds, not very many birds,” White
said. “And if you look at the wider aspect, in all of the islands of the
30,000 islands that are in the Great Lakes Basin, cormorants occupy just
under three per cent of those islands.”

The Animal Association of Canada is asking people to keep an eye out for
injured birds or bird remains so they can document how the season is going.

“We don’t know how many birds are going to be killed,” White said. “We don’t
know what effect that’s going to have on the population. There’s absolutely
no measurement and it really is, as denied by the Ford Government, an
extermination program.”

Despite the controversy, Wroblewski said hunters are just trying to do
what’s best.

“I think people just need to recognize that as a whole and as a collective,
hunters are here to basically enjoy the woods, but we’re not looking to cull
anything to zero,” he said. “We’re just basically looking to reset the
balance of things and making sure that other species, for example the blue
heron – which is having a difficult time thriving because of the cormorants
– they have a chance … We’re looking at levelling the playing field for
every species out there, and all the fish as well.”

[Sorry hunters:] California’s National Forests Temporarily Close Due to Wildfires; Hunters and Recreational Users are Urged to Stay Away

On Wednesday, Sept. 9, the U.S. Forest Service announced the temporary closure of all national forests in California due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions. These properties are closed to the public, effective immediately, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is urging hunters to follow the order and keep away.

“We know that hunting opportunities will be impacted throughout the state, but no hunting opportunity is worth a human life,” said Chief David Bess, Deputy Director and CDFW Law Enforcement Division Chief.

California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 708(2)(b) prohibits CDFW from refunding deer tag application fees, but refunds may be issued for select elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep tags. Additionally, some premium deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep tags may be returned to CDFW with a request to have preference points reinstated and one preference point awarded for the species for the current hunt year. Tag return and preference point eligibility requirements and additional information may be found on CDFW’s website.

CDFW will continue to monitor and close areas as needed. National forests and evacuation zones will remain closed until authorities allow them to re-open. Because the situation is rapidly changing, CDFW strongly encourages hunters to use the following links to research closures and open areas prior to leaving for any hunt:

Female hunter blasts death threats from trolls, defends sport

‘It’s important that we preserve nature for future generations’

One vocal huntress has taken aim at trolls who allegedly send death threats over her passion for the sport — and now she’s opening up about what fuels her fire for the great outdoors.

Petra Krchavá lives in Vinica, Slovakia, and has hunted for over 13 years, a pursuit which dates back generations in her family, the Daily Mail reports. The 31-year-old woman describes hunting as a lifestyle, but admits that her choices catch heat.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES ‘LARGEST’ HISTORIC EXPANSION OF HUNTING, FISHING ON 2.3 MILLION PUBLIC ACRES

Krchavá frequently shares photos of her hunting adventures with her Instagram following of nearly 40,000, alleging that some critics attack her with cruel comments and wish her ill.

Petra Krchavá lives in Vinica, Slovakia and has hunted for over 13 years, a pursuit which dates back generations in her family.

Petra Krchavá lives in Vinica, Slovakia and has hunted for over 13 years, a pursuit which dates back generations in her family. (MDW Features)

“People have wished me the same death as the animals I’ve harvested. People think we kill animals for fun, which is not the case at all,” the hunter said in the Tuesday interview.

“I’ve been told ‘I hope you die like that animal,’ and ‘I wish you’d shoot each other,’” she claimed, although she believes her efforts are actually preserving and protecting animal populations.

“They don’t see that I feed the animals to make sure they survive the winter. I distribute drinking water in summer and build feeding facilities… We dig lakes, give them medicine, save young and other injured animals, and organize waste collection outings.”

“We teach children in schools and run educational summer camps. I’ve spent thousands of my own euros contributing to these efforts,” she added.

To that end, Krchavá is working on a clothing line to fundraise for the western capercaillie, an endangered species of bird in the grouse family.

Last year, however, Krchavá claimed she took a break from her hobby after witnessing a tragedy, during which another hunter was accidentally shot and allegedly killed just 87 yards away from her. She temporarily walked away from the sport and focused on reconnecting with nature, the Mail reports.

Now, Krchavá hopes to champion conservation among younger generations by educating them about hunting.

Now, she hopes to champion conservation among younger generations by educating them about hunting.

Now, she hopes to champion conservation among younger generations by educating them about hunting. (MDW Features)

“Being alone in nature with just my thoughts always seems to make my day better. Hunting has also brought me strength, courage, and some incredible friendships,” Krchavá explained. “It’s important that we preserve nature for future generations. I hope I can teach my own child this one day.”

When meat shortages affected her local area due to the coronavirus health crisis, the hunter was proud to be self-sufficient by relying on wild meat.

‘When we process the game meat, it’s something shared by family, friends, and our village. It’s the healthiest meat a person can eat,” Krchavá said. “There are no toxic products used. I know exactly what happened to that animal.”