Environmental, animal welfare groups move to ban lead bullets for all hunting in California
Fresh off a wave of success in the state Capitol last year, animal welfare groups are taking aim at a new target this year: hunting with lead ammunition.
The Humane Society, Audubon California and Defenders of Wildlife are behind a major push to make California the first state to ban lead ammunition for all types of hunting, setting the stage for a showdown with some hunters and adding another layer to the heated gun control debate.
The state already bans lead ammunition for hunters in the range of the endangered California condor, but environmentalists say a statewide ban is needed because overwhelming scientific evidence shows condors, bald eagles and other birds are still dying from lead poisoning when they
The groups are sponsoring a bill in Sacramento that is expected to be introduced by Friday. They are also asking the state Fish and Game Commission to pass a lead bullet ban.
"Countless wild animals suffer and die needlessly every year from the continued use of lead ammunition," said Jennifer Fearing, state director of the Humane Society of the United States. "It is put in the environment and stays there. It's toxic, and it's cumulative."
Over the past 30 years, lead has been banned in gasoline, paint, new home pipes and other materials, to protect public health. The administration of President George H.W. Bush also banned lead shot in 1991 for hunting ducks and other waterfowl
Hunting is less damaging with bullets made from other materials, particularly copper, green groups say.
"This is the kind of issue where hunters should be taking the lead," said Fearing.
After studies showed California condors dying from ingesting lead, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill in 2007 banning hunters from using lead bullets to shoot deer and other game within the condor range -- roughly defined as from Los Angeles to San Jose, where the birds have been seen around Mount Hamilton. But that hasn't stopped condors, one of the world's most endangered species, from being poisoned.
A review last year of more than 1,154 blood samples taken from wild California condors and tested between 1997 and 2010 found that 48 percent of the birds had lead levels so high that they could have died without treatment in animal hospitals. The scientists who conducted the study said that because condors can dine on between 75 and 150 dead animals a year, if just one hunter violates the rules, or if a condor flies outside the area where lead bullets are banned, the birds can ingest enough lead to poison or kill them. Lead remains the leading cause of death for adult condors in California, they noted.
Critics, led by the National Rifle Association, say copper bullets cost more than lead -- roughly $40 for a box of 20, compared to $20 for lead bullets -- and don't fly the same. They see the move as the latest example in a 20-year trend in California in which urban residents and environmentalists have taken a larger role in setting hunting and fishing rules as the number of hunters and fishermen has declined.
"These people want to ban hunting. Go to their cocktail parties and snuggle up to them, and that's what they'll tell you," said Don Saba, a member of the NRA board of directors. "They characterize hunters as crazy rednecks, even as they talk about tolerance and diversity."
Saba, a Tuscon, Ariz., resident who has a doctorate in toxicology from UC Berkeley, appeared last August at a state Fish and Game Commission meeting to question the science linking condor poisoning to bullets.
"It's far more than chipping away at hunters' rights," he said Tuesday. "There's an anti-firearms mentality. Their ultimate goal is to ban guns."
Scientists say it's clear bullets are to blame for the lead poisoning. They have published studies that match isotope ratios of lead in condors' feathers to isotope ratios in lead bullets.
Saba says that lead paint and other substances, like lead from batteries, also can have the same ratios, and that condors may be eating paint from old fire lookout towers, eating lead in dumps or finding it other ways. But researchers dispute those claims.
"What is lacking is any evidence -- and certainly no published evidence -- to substantiate their claims," said Don Smith, a professor of microbiology and toxicology at UC Santa Cruz.
Biologists track the birds with GPS and observe them closely, Smith noted.
"They are not going to lots of fire towers to eat paint. They are not eating wheel weights off wheels," he said. "There isn't one shred of evidence they have to support any of that."
Last year animal welfare groups won passage of numerous laws in Sacramento, including a ban on hunting bears and bobcats with hounds.
Condors, whose wingspan can reach 9 feet, once ranged from British Columbia to Mexico. Because of habitat loss, hunting and lead poisoning, the majestic birds' population dwindled to just 22 nationwide by 1982. In a desperate gamble to stave off extinction, federal biologists captured all remaining wild condors in 1987 and began breeding them in zoos. The birds' offspring have been gradually released back to the wild.
Today the California condor population has grown to 407. Of those, 231 live in the wild in Big Sur, Pinnacles National Park in San Benito County, Southern California, Arizona, Utah and Mexico.
"We're not against hunting," said Dan Taylor, public policy director for Audubon California. "But hunting is a privilege. For hunting to continue in a state like California it must be done in the most ecologically and sound way possible."
Paul Rogers covers resources and environmental issues. Contact him at 408-920-5045. Follow him at Twitter.com/PaulRogersSJMN.
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
GOVERNOR APPOINTS INTERIM NDOW DIRECTOR
CARSON CITY, NV – Governor Brian Sandoval today announced that George Tsukamoto has been appointed as Interim Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
“George’s extensive experience as a wildlife biologist and administrator in Nevada will enable him to effectively lead the Department during this time of transition,” Governor Sandoval said. “George has been a public servant for more than 40 years – he is a well respected biologist, administrator and individual. I’m grateful that he has agreed to help lead the Department while we identify a permanent Director.”
Tsukamoto has 43 years of professional experience as a wildlife biologist, serving 33 years at the Nevada Department of Wildlife and ten years for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He was Chief of the Game Division of the Nevada Department of Wildlife for thirteen years. Tsukamoto has worked vigorously to restore wildlife species where they have become extinct or severely reduced by investigating causes and instituted reintroduction efforts. A Desert Bighorn Council member, Tsukamoto completed a Wildlife Disease Workshop with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1988. Tsukamoto is also a member of Nevada Bighorns Unlimited.
Tsukamoto has a degree in Wildlife Conservation from San Jose State University and conducted graduate studies at the University of Nevada, Reno and Colorado State University. He is a founding member of the Nevada Wildlife Record Book, a Scout Master, and has been an Official Measurer for the Boone and Crockett Club since 1973. Tsukamoto lives in Sparks with his wife.
Tsukamoto, who will serve as an independent contractor, will begin as Interim Director effective February 13 and will assist in conducting a nation-wide search for a permanent Director.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced the five-member Sagebrush Ecosystem Team members to assist the Nevada Sage Grouse. Please click on the link below.
A good read about the underlying truth about mental conflicts with firearms...
We would like to include a link for coverage from Channel 13KTNV regarding the important Wildlife Commission meeting that was just held last weekend. We were able to have a very successful turnout by our hunters and supporters. The petition that was put forward to end Bear Hunting with Hounds in Nevada was vetoed. Thank-you all for your comments, emails and help fighting the most recent attempt to end Bear Hunting. We appreciate the testimonies and remarks that were given on the Southern Nevada Coalition's behalf. Our own President, Mike Reese did an outstanding job answering questions for the KTNV News station. This is just a small clip from his lengthy conversation with them regarding the issues.
This is a new development we just received. The Anti-Hunting groups are proposing Senate Bill 82 Prohibits the Board of Wildlife Commissioners from authorizing the hunting of black bears.
Here is the link to the Nevada Legislature
We have more work ahead of us!!
North American Wildlife Conservation Model
By Eric Aldrich
There's nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world: a system that keeps wildlife as a public and sustainable resource, scientifically managed by professionals - thanks to hunters and hunting.
Hunting, as some folks tend to forget, has been a human activity for a long, long time…as long as there have been humans.
But something happened to hunting around the late 1800s and early 1900s that changed it forever. It became regulated. The relatively new profession of wildlife biology supported those regulations with science. License fees and excise taxes—paid for by hunters themselves - supported the enforcement and the science. Money was also set aside to protect habitat, conduct research and teach hunters to be safe and ethical. At the time, those visionary moves were essential because of the pathetic status of North America's wildlife population. In Delaware, white-tailed deer, beavers, wild turkeys and many waterfowl species were few in number at the beginning of the 20th century. Now, throughout the continent, many species are back for all to enjoy, not just hunters.
Why Do We Mention This?
Because sometimes we forget. Sometimes, we get so accustomed to the way things are that we forget how they used to be…and what it's like elsewhere in the world.
There's a fellow in Canada's Alberta Province who wants to remind us that hunting is THE reason for conservations' success in North America. He's Valerius Geist, a German native who immigrated to Canada as a young teenager in 1953 and began hunting two years later.
Geist studied wildlife biology, earned a doctorate in animal behavior and wrote several books on big game mammals of North America. By the 1980's he could see that his own co0llegues (wildlife biologists for the most part) had forgotten what their predecessors had built: a phenomenal environmental success story, the restoration of wildlife in North America.
"When I came over here from Germany, it was a real eye-opener," Geist said. "Hunting is different. Conservation is different. The whole model here that ties hunting and conservation together is unique and very successful."
It's called the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. There's nothing like it elsewhere in the world. And hunters - whether they're in Delaware, Alberta or Oregon - are the system's backbone of success.
To remind biologists (and anyone else) about why this model is unique and successful, Geist and two colleagues presented a paper at a recent North American Wildlife Management and Research conference. The other co-authors are Shane P. Mahoney of the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Division, and John F. Organ, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Hadley, Mass.
"We wrote this for the simple reason that what is so obvious has been forgotten by many people," Geist said. "Even our own colleagues had forgotten the history of the wildlife conservation movement here."
What is the North American Model?
The North American model has endured despite widespread changes in society, technology and in the landscape of the continent. It has become a "system of sustainable development of a renewable natural resource that is without parallel in the world," Geist said. Furthermore, it has benefited not only huntable wildlife, countless species of songbirds and shorebirds are protected, becoming specifically designated as nongame species. Seven features make the North American model distinct.
Hunting is the Glue
"In much of Europe, hunting is landowner-based," Geist said. "Areas are essentially leased for hunting, and hunters are responsible for the management of species on that piece of land. It's an elitist system."
What developed in North America is what Geist calls a populous system. "It appeals to everyone, blue-collar and white-collar alike" and was championed by the likes of Theodore Roosevelt.
In Africa today, efforts to stop poaching have led to programs that direct economic returns on hunting fees to rural indigenous people. Now, they have a reason to stop poachers.
According to Geist, the glue that holds this unique North American model of wildlife conservation together is hunting.
Wildlife should be a publicly-owned resource not only as a food source but also to help foster the American "pioneer spirit," he said. "The ability for all North Americans to be able to cultivate these pioneer skills through sport hunting meant that there could be no private ownership outside of the public trust."
Threatening that public trust were the markets for wildlife that were driving some species toward extinction. The strongest proponents for eliminating market hunting were the organized sportsmen and sporting publications. The Boone and Crockett Club and Forest and Stream magazine rallied against market hunting, resulting in many state and federal laws ending the practice.
Without the markets, there were game surpluses which became allocated by law. Those allocations should not jeopardize the sustainability of wildlife for future generations. Sportsmen became the biggest advocates of maintaining sustainable numbers of wildlife.
As ranching increased as a way of getting meat to the table, hunting strictly for food became less important. Thus grew hunting's emphasis on the chase, not the kill, while still retaining the need to use as much of the wildlife killed as possible.
Would Wildlife Survive Without Hunting?
One of the biggest threats to North America's model of wildlife conservation is efforts to commercialize wildlife. Those efforts take many forms, notably game ranching and fee hunting, according to Geist.
Since the days when North America's approach to wildlife conservation was developed, populations of many wildlife species (mostly game species) have gone from seriously in trouble to abundant. Now some species, such as white-tailed deer, are seriously in trouble of becoming too abundant in places. Deer are eating up farm crops and suburban gardens and shrubs all over the Eastern seaboard.
"As certain species become common enough to cause conflict with humans, will humans value them less?" wonders Geist.
Actually, hunters could play a key role in alleviating such conflicts. They can help keep wild animals wild. As fish and wildlife agencies figure out what to do about local over-abundances of deer, they can look to the public - hunters - as part of the solution.
"This may have to be combined with other management alternatives," says Geist, "but hunting and its advocates can again be the force that ensures sustainable wildlife resources are a priority for society."
Formerly with the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game, Eric Aldrich is now Communications Director for the N.H. Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.
Contributions of Hunters by the Numbers
? Total U.S. retail purchases by hunters in one year (1996) on hunting equipment, travel, license fees, etc.: $1.725 billion. Total economic impact to U.S. of $60.9 billion and 704,601 jobs. ? Total retail purchases by Delaware hunters in one year (1996) on hunting equipment, travel, license fees, etc.: $28 million. Total economic impact to Delaware of $148.7 million and 1,607 jobs. ? Total U.S. hunters' annual dues to conservation and related organizations, such as Ducks Unlimited: $296 million. ? Total in resident and nonresident hunting license fees and permits to the Division of Fish and Wildlife in fiscal year 2002: $569,000 ? Total amount of Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration to the Division in fiscal year 2002 (from excise taxes paid by hunters/manufacturers on hunting equipment and distributed to states: $1.24 million ? Division of Fish and Wildlife management areas permanently protected for wildlife and recreation by Federal Aid dollars and hunting license revenues: 15 areas and 56,000 acres. ? Partial list of species restored to Delaware, thanks to license fees, Federal Aid dollars and good management: wild turkey, white-tailed deer, many waterfowl species. Many nongame species also have benefited from habitat protected by hunters' dollars.
In 1994, just 106 years after Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell created the idea of fair chase, helping to change free-for-all market and subsistence hunting into a regular sport, "Teddy Roosevelt and the Hunting Heritage" author Jim Posewitz, published Beyond Fair Chase.
The former wildlife biologist and one of the founders of Orion, The Hunter's Institute, a Montana organization devoted to fostering ethical hunting, reiterated what many had said before - stalk close, shoot well, make every effort to track wounded game - but also added a new dimension to the notion of respect for wildlife. Posewitz said trophy scoring and big-game contests sometimes crossed the line of proper ethical practice. "Trying to take a trophy to get your name in a record book," he wrote, "is taking a fine animal for the wrong reason." Downplaying the idea of competition in hunting, whether for money or ego. Beyond Fair Chase is now used across North America in hunter-education classes.
Small sample from the article:
By JIM STERBA
This year, Princeton, N.J., has hired sharpshooters to cull 250 deer from the town's herd of 550 over the winter. The cost: $58,700. Columbia, S.C., is spending $1 million to rid its drainage systems of beavers and their dams. The 2009 "miracle on the Hudson," when US AirwaysLCC +0.78% flight 1549 had to make an emergency landing after its engines ingested Canada geese, saved 155 passengers and crew, but the $60 million A320 Airbus was a complete loss. In the U.S., the total cost of wildlife damage to crops, landscaping and infrastructure now exceeds $28 billion a year ($1.5 billion from deer-vehicle crashes alone), according to Michael Conover of Utah State University, who monitors conflicts between people and wildlife.
I am sending this email to the most influential group of sportsman that I know. I would appreciate if you will now do your part and forward on to everyone that you know who might help make a difference! Please help support the hunter before hunting is something we used to be able to do!
NoBearHuntNV.org will be presenting a petition to the Nevada Wildlife commission in a meeting in Reno, Dec 7, 2012 focused on preventing the use of dogs to hunt bears. Other backers of the petition are Nevada Political Action for Animals, the Bear League, the Nevada Humane Society, Humane Society for the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Karen Layne, newly appointed commissioner to the Nevada Wildlife Commission is President of the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society. While it is true that Ms. Layne is a community representative there is a clear conflict of interest here since Ms. Layne works for the group presenting the petition. It is one thing to support your personal views and those of the community on the wildlife commission; it is another to support the agenda of your employer. A call needs to be made that Ms. Layne recues herself from the debate. It is a conflict of interest we cannot afford
The online world is very convenient. With a valid email address that I could create for free on many websites I could sign the NoBearHuntNV.org online petition with any name I chose an many times as I wanted to. That does not ensure I am a Nevada Resident with, for lack of a better term, a dog in this fight. In all fairness the signatures should be vetted for authenticity and residency requirements; simple due diligence. Anonymous signatures should be discounted. If you believe it, stand up and stay it.
It is time for the Hunters and interested parties in Nevada to organize and become a strong voice of reason to support our hobbies, livelihoods, passions, and way of life. I am a Hunting Professional. My peers and I engage in an honorable occupation which benefits rural economies, ecologies, traditions, as well as aiding public officials in the management and care of our wildlife herds. We are stewards of our environment. No one is more vested in the care and management of Wildlife in Nevada than hunters. The knowledge base we provide is unparalleled because we walk the land, we watch the herds, we meet as peers, and we love the outdoors.
Today the attack is on hound hunting-easy target. Very few hunters own hounds, they require a commitment to care and facilities that not everyone can provide. Vet bills, daily care, conscientious training, noise tolerance, poopscooping, etc. It’s not for everyone. It’s for a select number of committed individuals. A select number of HUNTERS-if it comes down to a numbers game, Houndmen against people who believe media propaganda presenting the sport as cruel and unfair, the Hounds bay will be overpowered in Nevada just as it was in California. It is time for HUNTERS to band together and say ENOUGH. Today it’s no hunting bears with hounds, tomorrow no hunting bears, next week no hunting cats with hounds, the day after no hunting cats. Wait, coyotes are predators too-we better protect them. The wolves want to move in from Idaho, aren’t they deserving of protection as well? Don’t these heathens use guns to hunt? We better control that too because their lifestyle isn’t one that we can understand.
Regulations on hunting are important and should be established and maintained. Banning hunting is unacceptable and we need to step up and close the door on this attack. As one voice the outdoorsmen and women of Nevada need to speak up. With our own petitions, our own display of unity at the meeting, our dollars and our SENSE. It is time to protect the Nevada way of life.
Currant Creek Outfitters
New book introduces hunters to the pursuit of Arizona’s small game
Nov. 27, 2012
Pre-orders now being taken; over-the-counter sales start Dec. 17
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is proud to announce that its latest book, “An Introduction to Hunting Arizona’s Small Game,” is now available for pre-order.
The 198-page book is a fantastic resource that provides expert tips for hunting Arizona's small game birds and mammals, from quail and doves to squirrels and rabbits. Extensively illustrated with color photos, it includes detailed descriptions of small game animals and specialized information about their behavior and habits. It will help new and experienced hunters alike select the right firearm, gear up for the hunt, succeed in the field, and care for the harvest. David Brown, author and retired chief of the department's Game Branch, calls the book "an ideal field companion."
Author Randall D. Babb is a biologist, naturalist and hunter who has contributed to many scholarly and popular publications. His extensive knowledge of wildlife keeps him in demand as a writer, photographer, illustrator, speaker and tour leader. Babb started his career with the U.S. Forest Service in 1983 and moved to the Arizona Game and Fish Department in 1986. He currently manages the information and education program for Game and Fish's regional office in Mesa.
The book costs $16.95. To pre-order your copy, you can download an order form at www.azgfd.gov/publications and return the completed form by mail to the address on the form. You can also pre-order by filling out an order form at any Game and Fish office, or by calling (602) 942-3000 during business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Pre-orders will be filled and the book will be available for sale over the counter starting Dec. 17.
For more information or to see an excerpt from the book, visit www.azgfd.gov/
The Arizona Game and Fish Department prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, or disability in its programs and activities. If anyone believes that they have been discriminated against in any of the AGFD’s programs or activities, including employment practices, they may file a complaint with the Director's Office, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000, (602) 942-3000, or with the Fish and Wildlife Service, 4040 N. Fairfax Dr. Ste. 130, Arlington, VA 22203. Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation or this document in an alternative format by contacting the Director's Office as listed above.
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