New ICOtec® PD200 & AD400 Electronic Predator Decoys

The NEW Electronic Predator Decoys from ICOtec are the best value on the market. Features include; adjustable speed dial, intermittent motion, two quick-change toppers, LED light for night hunts, connectivity to e-callers and self-contained battery power source, both units require four AA batteries, not included. Designed and manufactured by ICOtec to be durable and effective. These new decoys are essential tools when calling predators, and a perfect pairing with ICOtec brand game calls. Read more

Big Game Trophies and Trophy Hunting

Situational Overview

There are broad misconceptions that exist among non-hunters and within the hunting community itself about big game trophies and hunting. To compound matters, organized groups whose intention is to end all hunting are attempting to sway the public, policy makers, and the media by building a negative image of trophy hunting. As the leading conservation organization that was the first to promote the selective hunting of mature male animals as a practice of wildlife conservation, the Boone and Crockett Club is concerned with misrepresentations, and wants people to understand the value of big game trophies and hunting to conservation.

Position

The Boone and Crockett Club supports hunting that is conducted legally and guided by a conservation ethic. If the intent of a hunter is to pass up a younger animal in favor of an older, mature animal, or merely take any legal animal regardless of sex or size, these are both choices that should be respected. Read more

SCI President Clarifies Position On Elephant Import Issue

The Press has been full of conjecture about SCI’s reaction to President Trump’s request that Secretary Ryan Zinke place a hold on the issuance of import permits for elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia.  SCI President Paul Babaz put an end to that conjecture with the following statement:

“SCI was very pleased when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made findings that the importation of legally-hunted elephants enhances the survival of the species.  While SCI was disappointed to learn that the President requested a hold on importation permits issued under authority of the two enhancement findings, we understand that the President and Secretary Zinke wish to make certain that the facts and law support the positive enhancement findings.  We respect the President for taking the initiative to delve into the science behind those findings.  SCI remains confident that, given the opportunity, we can help the President reach the same conclusions that the Department of the Interior and, in particular, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have reached – that hunting and importation of elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia not only cause no harm to the species, but that these activities enhance species survival.  SCI will continue to work with the President, the Secretary, the FWS and the entire Administration to find ways to acknowledge and facilitate the beneficial role that hunting plays for wildlife, including, and especially, species like the African elephant.  SCI stands ready to respond to the President’s questions and concerns.  We will continue to work with this Administration and to help it to support, protect and defend hunting and sustainable use conservation.”

Michigan: DNR to auction surplus public land starting Dec. 12


Most parcels located in central/northern Lower Michigan and the Upper PeninsulaThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources Monday announced it will offer surplus public land for sale by sealed-bid auction between Dec. 12, 2017, and Jan. 10, 2018. The auction will feature 80 parcels located in counties mainly in central/northern Lower Michigan and in the Upper Peninsula, including Alpena, Arenac, Barry, Bay, Cheboygan, Dickinson, Gladwin, Iron, Kalkaska, Lake, Menominee, Midland, Montmorency, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oakland, Osceola, Oscoda and Roscommon counties.

Properties range in size from less than an acre to 146 acres. These lands are isolated from other DNR-managed public land, are difficult to manage and provide limited public outdoor recreation benefits. Several of the parcels are forested and have riverside or lake frontage and are better suited for private ownership. In addition, several large-acreage parcels are being offered in Alpena, Arenac, Gladwin, Menominee, Montmorency, Osceola and Roscommon counties. Read more

SCI Asks President Trump To Lift Hold On African Elephant Import Permits

Tucson, AZ – Today, Safari Club International President Paul Babaz sent a letter to President Trump, asking him to direct Secretary Ryan Zinke to lift the hold that he placed on the authorization of import permits for elephants legally hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

In the letter, SCI addressed multiple reasons why the hold should be lifted and corrected many of the common misconceptions about hunting, conservation and the elephant populations in Zimbabwe and Zambia. The text of that letter to President Trump follows:

 

November 20, 2017

Dear Mr. President:

 

On behalf of the 50,000 members of Safari Club International, I respectfully ask you to direct Secretary Ryan Zinke to lift the hold that he placed on the authorization of import permits for elephants legally hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia.  By supporting Secretary’s Zinke’s authorization of import permits, you can reverse the senseless acts perpetrated by the Obama administration against hunting and the sustainable use conservation of African wildlife.  The Obama Administration’s refusal to authorize the importation of African elephants from countries, including Zimbabwe and Zambia, deprived those countries of resources they rely on to manage their wildlife, fight poaching and encourage community participation in conservation.  It is now time to put an end to the previous administration’s prejudicial and unsupported bias against hunting as a tool in wildlife management and conservation.

Secretary Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have made crucial, scientifically supported determinations about hunting and the U.S. importation of African elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia.  Not only did the Department of the Interior’s wildlife and legal experts determine that the hunting and importation from these two countries will not hurt the African elephant species, they determined that the importation of legally hunted elephants from these two countries would “enhance the survival” of African elephants.  In short, they recognized, based on data they received from the wildlife management authorities of the two countries, the results of a species wide African elephant census, and the conclusions of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora, that hunting and U.S. importation would help conserve African elephants.

Unfortunately, many people who oppose the importation of legally hunted elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia incorrectly believe that a ban on importation will actually stop the killing of African elephants.  Let me assure you that a U.S. ban on importation will not stop the killing of elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia.  Without the removal of elephants by U.S. hunters, others will find the need or the opportunity to kill those elephants, both for illegal and legal purposes.  Whether it is by poachers seeking to gain from the commercial value of the ivory, local residents attempting to remove a problem animal or hunters from other countries around the world taking advantage of bargain hunts not booked by U.S. hunters, elephants will continue to be removed from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Most people who oppose hunting and importation of elephants are unaware of the role that hunting plays in fighting the greatest threat to elephant conservation—poaching.  Hunting concessions use money received from their clients to hire, feed and outfit anti-poaching patrols.  For example, few people know that it was a hunting business in Zimbabwe that discovered and helped apprehend the perpetrators of one of the most egregious poaching crimes in recent history — the poisoning of over 100 elephants in Hwange National Park.  It was a hunting business that discovered the poisoned elephants and helped finance the effort, including the use of helicopter surveillance, that resulted in the apprehension of the poachers.  In another example, a hunting business in northern Zimbabwe established the Dande Anti-Poaching Unit (DAPU) in 2014.  DAPU’s anti-poaching efforts have significantly reduced the number of illegal wildlife killings in the vicinity of the Dande Safari area.  These are just two examples of the hunting businesses who have been struggling to wage the battle against poaching, without the help of money from U.S. elephant hunters.  Without the influx of U.S. dollars to help support anti-poaching efforts, poachers will have an easier time of illegally killing elephants solely to sell the ivory for commercial gain.

Not all poaching is carried out by criminals who seek to make a profit from their ivory. Sometimes poaching – the illegal killing of an animal – is an act of necessity or frustration.  Local villages often find the need to kill elephants as to protect their livelihoods from the damages caused by elephants who roam into agricultural areas and trample crops and structures.  When elephants are not harvested by international hunters, those elephants often become the victims of retaliatory killings.  However, when elephants have significant value due to the jobs and revenue they generate for the community, local residents are far more likely to tolerate and help conserve the elephants in the vicinity – rather than kill them as nuisance animals.

Many of those opposed to U.S. importation of African elephants are unaware of the differences between hunting and poaching.  They assume that U.S. hunters care only about bringing home their “trophy.”  This misconception fails to recognize an important distinction between poachers and those who spend thousands of dollars to engage in legal hunts authorized by the country management authority.  A poacher generally kills the elephant, removes the ivory to sell it and leaves the carcass to rot.  A hunter, with aid from his professional guide or outfitter, will generally donate all the meat from the elephant to help feed local villages and communities.  Hunters and the business they bring to countries like Zimbabwe and Zambia help provide jobs for local residents as guides, cooks, drivers, etc.  Hunters often also make personal contributions to anti-poaching units and help provide financial support for community projects like the building of wells, schools etc.

Another misconception held by those who oppose the importation of legally hunted African elephants is that “more is better.”  They mistakenly assume that larger elephant populations in these countries would benefit species survival.  The truth is that, in wildlife conservation, more is not always better.  While it is true that, in some African countries, elephant populations are not as strong as they could be, that cannot be said for Zimbabwe and Zambia.  According to the recent “Great Elephant Census,” Zimbabwe’s country-wide elephant population was estimated to be 82,304.  Zambia’s elephant population was 21,758.  While the census documented a 6% decline in Zimbabwe’s elephant population since 2007, that decline did not necessarily reveal a problem for the country’s elephants.  In fact, Zimbabwe’s habitat cannot properly support a population of that number of elephants.  The country’s carrying capacity is only 50,000 elephants, according to a recent statement from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority’s Director-General, Mr Filton Mangwanya.  Carrying capacity is the number of animals from a particular species that a region can support without environmental degradation.  Currently, Zimbabwe has an elephant population that is about 30,000 more than can be sustained by the country’s food and habitat resources.  More elephants are simply not better for elephant survival if Zimbabwe lacks the necessary resources to maintain healthy populations at that level.

Anti-hunters also believe that the U.S. alone allows individuals to import legally hunted elephants.  That simply is not the case.  Not only does the European Union and its member countries authorize importation — as do countries in Asia and South America — but so does the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international treaty between more than 180 nations. CITES affirms the importation of elephants and acknowledges export quotas of elephants from both Zimbabwe and Zambia.  Economically speaking, other world countries are now benefitting from the U.S.’s failure to authorize elephant imports.  With the absence of U.S. hunters, who are often willing to pay top dollar for African elephant hunts, hunters from other countries are negotiating “bargain” excursions from African guides and outfitters who must replace lost U.S. business.  While the U.S. bans importation based on irrational and erroneous conservation principles, the rest of the world is getting a great deal at U.S. hunters’ expense.

The hunting of elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia enhances the survival of the African elephant species.  The Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have carefully researched the facts, the science and the law and have concluded that the U.S. has had the necessary evidentiary support to authorize the importation of elephants from these two countries since early in 2016.  Hunters and conservationists have waited for many years for an importation decision that reflects the correct and verifiable facts about elephant importation and species conservation.  Safari Club International respectfully asks you to end the wait and to direct Secretary Zinke to begin issuing permits for the importation of these elephants, so that U.S. citizens can once again import the elephants that they legally hunt and actively participate in elephant conservation in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Thank you.

Paul Babaz

President, Safari Club International

For more information about this subject matter, please visit the following links: Read more

Deer Hunting with a Purpose

By Glen Wunderlich

Never have I hunted an opening day of firearms deer season without the desire to tag a buck or even an antlerless deer for that matter.  However, there I was sitting in the dark in observation mode with my new Ruger American deer rifle in Zone III-compliant .450 Bushmaster caliber only watching for coyotes.  Having put a hefty buck in the freezer during archery deer season has meant that I cannot legally take another buck, because I purposely did not purchase a combination license.

The strategy was by design.  As a proponent of limiting hunters to one buck per hunter per season, it would be hypocritical for me to do otherwise.  Even though the law would have allowed me to take two bucks this season with proper licensing, a doe will do; antler soup is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Since I’ve gladly given the job of processing to professionals, I also know how hectic it can get right after opening day in the butcher’s domain and simply did not want to add to the mix.  Faith has a lot to do with holding off, as well, insofar as we Michigan deer hunters have until January to fill tags throughout the various seasons.

Taking a doe or two will have the benefit of reducing the total number of deer, which remains above carrying capacity in segments of the southern Zone III.  The effect will have been to minimize human/deer conflicts and vehicle collisions.  Yes, we are still paying the price for previous deer management strategies that focused on sheer numbers.

Healthy herd management also dictates that we attempt to balance the buck-to-doe ratio to more natural conditions – and, based on personal observation, we still have a lot to do.

And, then there is the issue of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) for which the only known measure of control is to reduce over-populated deer densities.  With this in mind, the DNR has reduced the cost of antlerless tags to $12 in the CWD management zones.

Another concern is that young people are hunting in fewer numbers, and consequently, new hunters are not replacing the senior hunters as they age.  As a Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) enthusiast and member, I’ll be one of some 40,000+ members to share my hunting experiences this season as a mentor for youngsters in an effort to promote our hunting heritage and tradition.  In fact, QDMA’s new five-year goals place intensified effort into programs that fall into this effort, including hunting access, hunter recruitment, venison donation, and hunter education.

The future of hunting is in the balance of sportsmen and women who understand the value of connectivity to nature and the importance of sustainability for generations to come.

DSC: Positive Elephant Finding Best Decision for Conservation, Anti-Poaching

Dallas, TX —Dallas Safari Club (DSC) applauds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announcement regarding a positive enhancement finding for elephants in the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The positive enhancement standard is strict, and requires that the Service find “that the [animal] is taken as part of a well-managed conservation program that contributes to the long-term survival of the species.”

Because this decision is based on sound scientific data, not on emotion or politics, the role of legal, regulated sport hunting is shown to be vital in the conservation of wildlife worldwide. Additionally, where there is hunting, anti-poaching programs are the strongest.

Increased anti-poaching efforts across Africa – including K-9 units, motorcycle, aircraft patrols and drone use – have been funded by hunter revenue directly or by hunting organizations’ grants and programs. For example, DSC Foundation has disbursed considerable funds in the past five years in the fight against poaching – including grants to Zambezi Delta Safaris, needed equipment for patrols, training for game scouts at the Southern Africa Wildlife College and others. Read more

New Iowa law allows approved pistol cartridges for use in rifles to hunt deer


New law allows approved pistol cartridges for use in rifles to hunt deer. Only rifles shooting straight wall ammunition .357 caliber or larger with an expanding-type bullet is allowed.Iowa hunters will have a new option this fall while hunting deer during the youth season, disabled hunter season and both shotgun seasons – rifles that are capable of shooting straight walled cartridges.

The law was enacted to allow for a lower recoil option for older and younger hunters, but is available to all hunters in those four seasons. Read more

Being Safe During Deer Hunting Season

By Glen Wunderlich

With the Nov. 15 firearm deer approaching, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers encourage hunters to brush up on safety tips and hunting regulations to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience.

The following general safety tips will help to insure that we hunters continue the trend to safer hunting:

o    Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.  That also means that if someone is offering to show you his firearm and presents it to you, ask him to open the action to verify it’s clear.  If you are the one presenting the firearm, make it your automatic policy to show it’s clear before someone else touches it.

o    Keep your finger away from the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to fire.  By following these instructions, others can be sure that the firearm cannot inadvertently discharge.

o    Keep the safety on until you are ready to fire.  A person’s hidden rationale for not using the safety may result from not becoming familiar with the firearm.  As a result, he may leave the gun ready to fire, so as not to forget later.  Or, maybe he forgot to check after loading and chambering a round.  Both are bad excuses.  Practice with the empty gun you will use until the process of taking the gun off “safe” is natural.  Another reason people will intentionally leave a gun in the “fire” position is because some safety mechanisms make an audible click, if operated quickly, and could spook game.  You should  practice operating the safety slowly, so as to minimize any related sound.

o    Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.  It doesn’t matter if you know the gun is empty; make it a habit!   Also, point out any unsafe handling to others, if they get careless.

o    Be certain of your target, and what’s beyond it, before firing.  To be certain of your target, get in the habit of carrying binoculars.  A good harness can make them accessible quickly and some will guard against the elements.  You don’t want to get in the habit of using your scope to identify objects – especially what may turn out to be another hunter!

o    Know the identifying features of the game you hunt.  If you cannot verify that what you are looking at is what you want to kill, hold your fire.  Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to be the person that tries to explain away your negligence.

o    Unload the firearm before running, climbing a fence or tree, or jumping a ditch.

o    Wear a safety harness when hunting from an elevated platform. Use a haul line to bring the unloaded firearm up and down the raised platform.

o    Always wear a hat, cap, vest or jacket of hunter orange, visible from all sides, with a minimum of 50 percent hunter orange during daylight hunting hours, even if hunting on private land. The law also applies to archery hunters during firearm season.

o    Always let someone know where you are hunting and when you plan to return. This information helps conservation officers and others locate you, if you become injured or lost.

o    Carry a cell phone into the woods. Not only does it let you call for help, if necessary, but newer phones emit a signal that can help rescuers locate you.  Double check to make sure it’s in quiet mode, though.

o    Program the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) line (800-292-7800) in your phone contacts so you can alert conservation officers to any natural resources violations you may witness.

USFWS Expands Hunting and Fishing on National Wildlife Refuges

Lake Darling, a main focal point of Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge, was named after political cartoonist Jay N. “Ding” Darling. Photo Credit: Jennifer Jewett / USFWS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Expands Hunting and Fishing Opportunities on North Dakota National Wildlife Refuges

DENVER – In a continuing effort to increase access to hunting and fishing on public lands, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a final rule to open or expand opportunities across 132,000 acres on 10national wildlife refuges. This will bring the number of refuges where the public may hunt up to 373 and up to 311 where fishing is permitted. Read more

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