USFWS Disappoints DSC with Final Rule for Alaska Wildlife Refuges

DALLAS – DSC is dissatisfied with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) final rule pertaining to management of wildlife in Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges. The ruling takes away Alaska’s authority to set predator control regulations and other established means and methods of hunting in the state’s 77 million acres of refuges. The rule goes against decades of legal precedent and pre-empts Alaska’s authority to manage its wildlife.”The impact of this ruling could be felt for generations and may possibly be the first of many government overreaches that directly affect our traditional hunting heritage,” said DSC Executive Director Ben Carter. “Wildlife Refuges in Alaska will now be under the direct influence of a governmental body that has routinely capitulated to the emotions of anti-hunters.”

With the declaration, the USFWS has usurped Alaska’s authority to manage the publicly owned wildlife. Not only has Congress previously directed that the state has the primary authority to managing rules for wildlife, the USFWS ruling conflicts with the provisions of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

DSC agrees with U.S. Congressman Don Young, of Alaska, when he characterized this ruling as “an unilateral power grab.” This intervention could stand as a dangerous precedent for future exploitations to take control of traditional and successful state management of wildlife.

“Hunters across America should take notice of this evolving situation,” said Carter. “Our rights to hunt are being methodically eroded. If we don’t protect these rights now, it is only a matter of time before we lose our proud heritage.” Read more

Great Outdoors Jamboree set for Sept. 11 at Lake Hudson Recreation Area

Pheasants Forever, the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources invite those looking for a fun, free way to enjoy the outdoors to attend the fourth annual Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area in Lenawee County Sunday, Sept. 11. Taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., this outdoor experience for the whole family offers a chance to learn about Michigan’s outdoor recreation opportunities and participate in a variety of activities for new and returning Jamboree visitors alike.

A flag-raising ceremony at 10:30 a.m. presented by American Legion Post 368 will honor veterans and first responders.

Attendees can spend an exhilarating day in the great outdoors learning the skills necessary to hunt, fish or enjoy just about any outdoor recreation pursuit. More than 40 vendors will display, discuss and give hands-on instruction in archery, live birds of prey and wildlife rehabilitation, target shooting, bass fishing, campsite exploration, rope-bridge crossing, and many more nature-based activities. Read more

Obama Administration Closes Alaska to Predator Hunting/Trapping

By Glen Wunderlich

Fundamental change is, once again, being thrust upon Americans by the autocrats in Washington D.C.  This time, it involves a controversial and inexplicable maneuver that reeks of hypocrisy.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and its appointed director, Dan Ashe, have issued new regulations closing 77 million acres of land in Alaska to state wildlife management, including effective predator control and other established means and methods of hunting and trapping.

First, the hypocrisy:  This is the same FWS that has banded together with states in the Great Lakes region, including Michigan, in a lawsuit to return wolves to state management.  And, since the management of wildlife has always been the responsibility of each individual state according to its priorities, how does the heavy hand of central command’s rulers swing so much legal clout?  It doesn’t!

Our wildlife doesn’t belong to Washington, D.C. or any landowner; it belongs to the states.  When we purchase hunting and fishing licenses, we do some from state agencies and are required to follow the laws of the respective states issuing said licenses.  There exists no federal management program for any wildlife.  Until now.

When Alaska was granted statehood in 1959, its ownership and control of game populations – including that within federal lands – was specifically enumerated in three acts:  Alaska Statehood Act (1959), Alaska Lands Act (1980), and the Refuge Improvement Act (1997).  With the vested power of Congress, these acts were clearly approved.

Once again, the feds purport to know what’s good for us, as it dishes out the distasteful medicine.  Ah, but there’s a fly in this ointment.  Behind the scenes, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) – the most powerful anti-hunting lobby in the world that despises all forms of hunting and hunters – was thanked by Ash in a tweet.

The stench gets stronger.  The rule changes include provisions that abruptly deny American citizens of their collective voice relative to management of the National Wildlife Refuge through the following:

  • Doubling the length of emergency closures of refuge lands from 30 to 60 days
  • Removing requirements for public hearings on such closures
  • Complete elimination of the maximum length of a temporary closure

Mr. Ashe, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.

This precedent, if left unchallenged, shall lay the groundwork for non-affected city slickers to push their radical agendas throughout the nation.

As “We the People” are relegated to irrelevance, what is to prevent more power grabs in the Western states, where apex predators threaten to destroy what is left of its once-thriving populations of elk and mule deer?

The Sportsmen’s Alliance strongly opposes these rules and is working closely with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), Alaska hunters and hunting guides, and the Alaska Congressional Delegation to block the Obama Administration from enforcing these new “HSUS rules.”

Sustainability has been built into all regulated hunting since its inception.  There is no movement to totally eradicate any species, including a couple years ago, when Michigan established a hunting season for wolves.  A mere 23 wolves were taken by hunters – about half of the established quota – a small fraction of the 600-700 wolves roaming the northern reaches of the state.

It’s called game management and that’s what hunters do.  And, that’s the way it should be.

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Enhance Funding for Fish and Wildlife

CONCORD, N.H. — Congressman Don Young (R-AK) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) recently introduced the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 5650) calling for $1.3 billion in existing revenue from the development of energy and mineral resources on federal lands and waters be dedicated to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program to conserve a full array of fish and wildlife.”If approved, this legislation would provide funding that will allow New Hampshire, and other states, to proactively manage species in need, helping us keep species off the federal Endangered Species List,” said NH Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau. “This could be a significant help in providing nongame funding in the long term. We will be keeping a close eye on this legislation as it moves forward.” Read more

Bovine TB Found in Wild, Indiana White-tailed Deer

INDIANAPOLIS—Bovine tuberculosis (TB) has been diagnosed in a white-tailed deer in Franklin County, Ind. This marks the first time the disease (more formally known as Mycobacterium bovis) has been found in a wild animal in Indiana. This finding means significant changes in disease monitoring requirements for cattle owners and deer hunters in the area.

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) has been working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to test wildlife on a Franklin County cattle farm where TB was diagnosed in April. The 2-year-old doe that tested positive for TB was culled as part of the surveillance effort on the cattle farm.

Under federal requirements, finding TB in a free-ranging wild animal means testing of all cattle must expand from 3 miles to 10 miles and surveillance in hunter-harvested deer will intensify. Read more

MI DNR details fall webworm and tent caterpillar differences

Fall webworms showing up in Marquette County trees and shrubsThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources has received numerous recent reports of “tentA fall webworm webbing over leaves with worms present. caterpillars” in trees and shrubs in the Upper Peninsula, in particular, Marquette County.

“These are actually fall webworms,” said Bob Heyd, DNR forest health specialist. “They are often confused with eastern tent caterpillars, which occasionally infest fruit trees.”

Heyd said the way to tell the two species apart is through behavior. Read more

Breeding Duck Populations Still High in 2016

JACKSON – The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service, along with other partner organizations, recently completed their annual waterfowl breeding population and habitat surveys on the breeding grounds in the northern United States and Canadian provinces. These surveys monitor waterfowl populations and critical wetland habitat conditions, which are directly related to the number of birds which will head south during the fall and winter. Estimates from these surveys are used to help set hunting season frameworks like bag limits and the number of hunting days. The overall North American total pond estimate, a measure of wetland habitat quantity, decreased by 21 percent from the estimate in 2015. However, wetland habitat availability was similar to the long term average, and the total breeding duck population estimate decreased by only two percent from 2015 estimates and remained well above the long term average. Read more

Michigan CWD Causes Changes for Hunters in Lower Peninsula

By Glen Wunderlich

The push to minimize the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is under way. Much like a surgical process to remove suspected cancer, as stewards of our natural resources, we hunters are the “surgeons” of the woods.

“With the detection of CWD-positive deer in the southern part of Clinton County, we need to better understand the magnitude of the disease in those areas,” said Chad Stewart, Department of Natural Resources deer specialist. “Expanding our surveillance to include those areas is key at this point, and we need help from landowners and hunters within the expanded zone to help us with this effort.”

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission expanded the Core Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Area to include 17 townships. This area, which will continue to be referred to as Deer Management Unit (DMU) 333, now will consist of Lansing, Meridian, Williamstown, Delhi, Alaiedon and Wheatfield townships in Ingham County; DeWitt, Bath, Watertown, Eagle, Westphalia, Riley, Olive and Victor townships in Clinton County; Woodhull Township in Shiawassee County, and Oneida and Delta townships in Eaton County.

The CWD Management Zone also has expanded; it now will include the remainder of Clinton, Eaton, Ingham and Shiawassee counties, as well as all of Ionia County. The expanded Management Zone will be referred to as DMU 419.

Other regulation changes include:

  • Banning deer feeding and baiting on all properties within the Core CWD Area and Management Zone.
  • Opening Eaton and Ionia counties to the early antlerless deer season.
  • Allowing roadkill deer in the Core CWD Area to be possessed and kept with a DNR-issued salvage tag from a law enforcement officer or DNR employee, as long as the head is submitted to a DNR biologist, biologist appointee or check station.

Continuing from last year, other regulation reminders include the following:

  • Those hunting within the Core CWD Area are required to present the head of all hunter-harvested deer within 72 hours of harvest to a DNR deer check station.
  • Hunters leaving the Core CWD Area are required to present the entire carcass of all hunter-harvested deer originating from the Core CWD Area within 72 hours of harvest to a DNR deer check station. (A list of deer check stations is available at gov/deercheck.)
  • All live free-ranging deer from within the CWD Management Zone or Core CWD Area are prohibited from being rehabilitated. Permittees located within the CWD Management Zone or Core CWD Area may no longer rehabilitate deer.

CWD affects members of the deer family, including elk and moose. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals.

Since the May 2015 discovery of chronic wasting disease in a free-ranging, Michigan white-tailed deer, 5,631 deer have been tested for CWD in order to gauge the extent of the disease across the landscape. Of those tested, seven deer were confirmed positive for the disease in Clinton and Ingham counties.

In an effort to induce hunters to kill more does and to have them tested, the DNR is discounting antlerless deer license fees to $12 for a resident antlerless deer license and $12 for the first antlerless deer license purchased by non-residents, for deer management units in the Core Area and Management Zone.  DMU 333 has unlimited antlerless licenses that may be purchased without application beginning Sept. 8 at 10 a.m.

Finally, a few words are in order to clarify how sharpshooters are involved in the CWD management process. Through June, 2016, deer tested through sharpshooting efforts contributed to 17 percent of the total sample (769 out of 4,558) in the CWD Management Zone but interestingly, have contributed to 66 percent of the total positives.

Additionally, sharpshooters are not shooting deer in the entire CWD Management Zone but are operating entirely within two miles of known CWD-positive deer but only with approval from landowners including how many deer the sharpshooters may take.

The process will be a long ride, but it appears we are on the right road.

National Deer Alliance Launches New Website Geared To Informing and Uniting Deer Hunters

FAIRFAX, Va. —The National Deer Alliance (NDA) has recently developed the organization’s first comprehensive website to keep deer hunters informed about deer issues across the country, while also providing important updates on NDA’s work.The new site makes it easier than ever to sign up for a free membership, and is home to the NDA Action Center, which allows deer and hunting advocates to easily contact legislators about matters important to ensuring the future of North America’s most popular big game animal. Additionally, the site will feature a President’s Blog, penned by NDA President and CEO Nick Pinizzotto, and an editorial section that will highlight the latest news in the deer world. Read more

MI antlerless deer license applications on sale until Monday

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the application period for antlerless deer licenses ends Monday, Aug. 15.

Hunters may apply for one license in any open deer management unit (DMU) statewide; a nonrefundable $5 fee is charged at the time of application. Hunters may apply online at E-License, or at any authorized license agent or DNR Customer Service Center.

Drawing results and leftover license availability may be viewed beginning Sept. 1 at

Any leftover antlerless deer licenses not issued in the drawing will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Sept. 8 at 10 a.m. EDT until license quotas are met.

The 2016 antlerless deer license quotas for each DMU can be found at Please note, DMU 333 has unlimited antlerless licenses that may be purchased without application beginning Sept. 8 at 10 a.m. Read more

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