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Entries in Michigan (29)

Monday
Aug252014

Animal Rights Activists Threaten Wildlife Management in Michigan

 

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The animal rights movement is more active than ever before, and working hard to limit and/or eliminate fishing, hunting, trapping, and science-based management of our wildlife resources. You may not be at war with them, but they are at war with you.

This from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation regarding the battle in Michigan:

Efforts led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) over the last two years in Michigan have put the state's ability to properly manage its natural resources at risk.

Thankfully, those from Michigan's sportsmen's community and the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus have joined forces to combat HSUS's objective of stripping the Natural Resource Commission's (NRC) authority to manage wildlife based on scientific principles. These sportsmen efforts translated into nearly 300,000 certified signatures in support of enacting the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (SFWCA).

This citizen-initiated law will safeguard the NRC's authority to manage Michigan's fish and wildlife using the best available science.

On August 13, the Michigan Senate demonstrated its commitment to conservation by voting in favor of the SFWCA. The decision now goes to the House of Representatives, whose approval would codify the SFWCA without the need for the governor's signature. Lack of approval would send the SFWCA to the November ballot for popular vote where the emotionally charged and ill-informed campaigns of HSUS could sway voters from making the best decision for Michigan's wildlife resources.

It is imperative that representatives hear from constituents who support professional fish and wildlife management and are encouraged to vote in favor of the SFWCA on August 27. Opponents will be working hard to sway legislators, so it is up to the sportsmen's community to surpass their efforts in these final two days. At nearly two million strong, the voices of Michigan's hunters and anglers cannot be ignored.

Please contact members of the Michigan House of Representatives today and urge them to support the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act!

Look up your Michigan House member here. Read more here.

Thursday
Jun262014

Northern States Warming Up to Bass Anglers

Photo by Robert Montgomery

Because of climate, management of bass fisheries in the North understandably must be different from management in the South. Northern winters are longer and more severe, while spawning and growing seasons are shorter and often more tenuous. For example, pounding winds and waves during a spring storm can nearly wipe out a year class on Lake Erie.

For decades, though, it also has been different for a myriad of reasons not related to stewardship of the resource, with bass fishing restricted as a consequence. Fortunately, that is starting to change, as evidenced by what happened recently in Wisconsin. Due in no small part to the diligent efforts of Dan Brovarney and Ken Snow in the Wisconsin B.A.S.S. Nation, that state has implemented regulations more friendly to bass anglers, including one that allows culling in permitted tournaments.

Elites Series events in northern waters also have helped. B.A.S.S. National Conservation Director Gene Gilliland pointed out that the 2012 Elite Series Green Bay Challenge “opened eyes and that allowed biologists to better understand what B.A.S.S. pro level tournaments are all about.”

They’ve also eased concerns that local residents had about possible negative impacts on their fisheries.

In general, Gilliland added, many states are moving toward simplifying regulations, but northern managers especially are warming up to the realization that bass are  popular fish deserving of more enlightened management. Most notably, closed seasons are going away, often replaced by catch-and-release.

For decades, northern fisheries managers believed that closed seasons were necessary to protect reproduction and recruitment. Now, though, evidence has begun to show that while individual nests can be harmed when male guardians are pulled off the nest, overall populations aren’t harmed. On New York’s Lake Oneida, biologist Randy Jackson found that environmental conditions are more likely to determine the success of a year class than whether anglers are pursuing bass during the spawn.  

Additionally, many managers have noted that the majority of bass anglers, no matter where they live, practice catch and release. Thus, overharvest isn’t the threat that it once was assumed to be.

Understandably, though, the farther north a fishery, the smaller the window for reproduction, and the greater the chance that it could be harmed by angling pressure.

Gilliland cited New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, along with Wisconsin, as some of the northern states being the most pro-active adopting regulations more friendly to bass anglers. Minnesota, he added, “is one of the holdouts.”

Traditionally, the conservation director explained, bass management in northern states was dictated by “legacy biology.”  In other words, it just continued to be as it always had been, with resource managers focusing on walleye, muskie, pike, and trout, while bass remained “a kind of unknown.”

“But now that bass tournaments are exposing how tremendous some of the bass fisheries are up north, they have to deal with bass management,” Gilliland said. “Most of the biologists were cold-water trained, and it was easy not to deal with it (bass management). Now, they have to deal with it.”

That assessment is confirmed by the fact that three of the top five fisheries in Bassmaster’s “Top 100 Best Bass Lakes” for 2014 are northern waters: 1. Wisconsin’s Sturgeon Bay in Lake Michigan 3. Lake Erie and 4. Lake Coeur d’ Alene in Idaho.

But Gilliland also is sympathetic to the reality that managing bass is more complicated in the North than in the South. Two of the most obvious reasons are the diversity of user groups and the vast expanses of water.

“When you’re trying to keep everyone happy and keep all of those different fisheries sustainable, it can be difficult,” he said.

A general trend toward warmer winters also “throws a monkey wrench” into the mix, he added.

Plus, tournament fishing is not nearly as popular with local residents in the North as it is in the South. Residents around those northern natural lakes view the waters as their own, and many don’t want to share them fishermen who are just passing through.

“Those people are automatically against new regulations and biology doesn’t matter. They want to limit access,” the conservation director said.

Still, regulation improvements are occurring, and managers of northern waters are to be commended for responding to their bass-fishing constituents.

(This column appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)

 

Tuesday
Apr012014

Invasive Species Top List of Tourism Concerns in Michigan

Invasives species, including Asian carp, rank at the top of concerns by Michigan tourism professionals.

Tourism industry professionals in Michigan were asked to “identify key issues facing and threats to the integrity of Michigan’s tourism resources.” Since Michigan is a Great Lakes state, the results are not surprising: Invasive species rank as the top threat.

The tourism folks know what they’re talking about, not only for Michigan, but for much of the rest of the country as well.

As a matter of fact, I think that they correctly have identified the top four for many of the states, and they have appropriately placed climate change and increasing the number of wind farms where they belong--- at or near the bottom.

Sadly, a good number of them have bought into the environmental left’s hatred of fracking, when no evidence supports the notion that it poses a threat to our lands and waters. In fact the former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, said unequivocally that her agency has found no evidence of contamination.

  • Spread of invasive species (aquatic & terrestrial) – 65.2 percent
  • Lack of/limited funding for resource protection/maintenance – 59.5 percent
  • Declining water quality of our lakes, rivers and streams – 42.7 percent
  • Declining water levels of our lakes, rivers and streams – 41.3 percent
  • Diversion of water from the Great Lakes – 39.3 percent
  • Reduction in historic preservation tax credits – 28.9 percent
  • Closure of Department of History, Arts and Libraries – 25.1 percent
  • Fracking – 24.5 percent
  • Need for better/faster adoption of technology at tourism sites – 20.8 percent
  • Under-appreciation of Native American history and culture – 20.0 percent
  • Climate change – 16.8 percent
  • Spread of infectious diseases – 8.5 percent
  • Increasing number of wind farms – 7.7 percent
Monday
Mar172014

Another Troublesome Invasive Plant Is Spreading

A pilot project in Michigan has resulted in the discovery of an increased threat to fisheries posed by European frog-bit, an exotic floating plant.

Statewide monitoring by the Early Detection Rapid Response coalition revealed European frog-bit in Saginaw Bay, Munuscong Bay, and around Alpena on Lake Huron. Previously, it was thought to be established in just a few localized sites in the southeastern Lower Peninsula.

“Responding quickly to a new invasive species is critical to increasing our chances of success, and it requires a well organized, collaborative effort between multiple agencies and other partners,” said Russ Mason, chief of the Wildlife Division for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Thanks to grant funding for the project through the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, control measures were quickly implemented, including physical removal and trial treatments with herbicides. By mid September, 1,500 pounds of the invasive had been pulled out of the infected areas.

Additionally, education, outreach, and future control activities are being planned with angling groups and other stakeholders.

European frog-bit resembles a miniature lily pad, with leaves about the size of a quarter. Forming dense mats, it shades out beneficial submerged native plants, disrupts natural water flow, and inhibits access.

It originally was accidentally released into Canadian waters during the 1930s, spreading throughout Ontario and into New York, Vermont, and other eastern states.

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)

Wednesday
Oct022013

Those Who Want to Prohibit Fishing and Hunting Never Stop

Just a reminder that as we fishing and hunt and generally mind our own business, those who want to stop us are hard at work. Unless we actively oppose them, they will win, first the small skirmishes and, eventually, the big battles. We ignore them at our own peril.

Here’s what is going on.

“We are seeing a nationwide influence by those who oppose, and very successfully, the age-old role of hunting and fishing in wildlife management. A recent example occurred in Michigan where a national anti-hunting organization, well-funded, sent their people and bankrolls into the state to circulate petitions and generate support for overturning a long standing dove hunting season. The sportsmen there laid back and wildlife support groups were less than serious and aggressive in countering the out-of-state national group of anti-hunting offensive.

“The election resulted in a majority of the Michigan citizens voting to repeal the long standing dove hunting season. Considering Michigan is known as one of the nation’s predominant states with favorable habitat for wildlife and fish and a larger than average number of sportsmen, the election results were a surprise.

 “The effort to effectively end Maine’s traditional annual bear hunt is being led by a newly-formed organization called “Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting.” Its website is full of pictures of cuddly-looking bear cubs and emotional appeals.

“What is not so apparent, however, is the fact that the shadow-group is not made up of Mainers at all, but is simply a hollow website maintained by the Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States.

“HSUS is an extremist group that misleads the public and profits greatly off of its prolific fundraising efforts. People may know it for its television ads that feature Sarah McLachlan singing and soliciting contributions to support its animal shelters. What is not mentioned is that only one percent of its $100 million racket actually goes to animal shelters.”

 “California AB 711 (Rendon) Hunting: nonlead ammunition – Would expand the current ban on lead ammunition for hunting in the range of the California Condor to prohibit the use of all lead ammunition for any hunting throughout the entire state.

Because the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has made a determination that rifle and pistol nonlead ammunition meets the tests for illegal armor piercing ammunition, AB 711 could result in stopping hunting with rifles and pistols as there would be no ammunition for these firearms that would be legal for hunting.”