News Archive

Goose hunt opens Labor Day weekend

State’s second mourning dove hunt opens Sept. 1 Staff Report Madison — For the first time since the state has offered an early Canada goose season, state goose hunters will be able to shoot geese during Labor Day weekend. Last year the Natural Resources Board voted to add three days to the early goose season by allowing hunters to go…

Forest rangers may get police authority

By Steve Piatt Editor Albany — DEC forest rangers would have police powers under legislation approved by the state House and Senate and set to be signed by Gov. George Pataki. The bill was crafted to allow forest rangers to perform police duties and came in response to the varied situations forest rangers encounter, particularly while patrolling state lands in…

DU editor loses his battle with cancer

Petrie was first WON editor Staff Report Woodruff, Wis. — Chuck Petrie, a longtime Wisconsin outdoors writer and one of the leading waterfowl writers in the country, died July 22 at the age of 60 of complications from acute leukemia in a Woodruff hospital. Petrie began working in Madison as a conservation warden for the Wisconsin Conservation Department in 1974,…

CRP faces new challenges

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Washington — Farm Bill 2007 is a couple years away, but conservation leaders already are promoting the continued need for the famed Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a set-aside program for marginal farmland authorized in federal farm aid bills. Leaders from Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited recently attended a Capitol Hill hearing to voice support for,…

Weather issues inhibit walleye pond production

By Steve Griffin Field Editor Midland, Mich. — At first blush, losing half your rearing ponds’ usual production of young walleyes sounds like trouble. Coping with an output one-fifth of last year’s sounds catastrophic. But when multiple, weather-induced failures at several of the ponds ringing Saginaw Bay resulted in just 400,000 fish ready for plant-out, DNR district fisheries biologists Jim…

Early goose season is looking promising

By Bill Parker Editor Lansing — Hunters participating in the early September goose season can expect a pretty good year, perhaps better than last, according to some waterfowl experts. Despite the fact that the population of local giant Canada geese – the target of the early season – is below the population goal, biologists are optimistic about the upcoming season….

Mixed results so far for salmon anglers

By Steve Griffin Field Editor Midland, Mich. — Anglers hungry for Great Lakes salmon action are sitting down to the seasonal feast. How they’re faring depends on where they go, and whether they’re after numbers or size. On Lake Huron, things are about the same as last year – pretty bleak, with a few northern-lake bright spots. On Lake Michigan,…

Drought is cause of concern for the U.P.

By Marty Kovarik Correspondent Marquette, Mich. — The National Weather Service in Marquette reports that a combination of above-normal temperatures and a lack of rain has plunged some of the central and eastern Upper Peninsula into drought conditions. As of mid-July, portions of Alger, Delta, Dickinson, Luce, and Menominee counties were experiencing a severe drought. Moderate drought has occurred throughout…

Washington County man leads fight for pheasants

By Bob Frye Capital Correspondent Taylorstown, Pa. — Give Brian Hanna credit for at least trying. Hanna, who lives in Washington County, is a fan of online outdoor message boards. For months, he’s seen hunters lamenting the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s plan to cut its pheasant stocking allocation in half this fall. The commission — faced with cutting $3 million from…

Final aerial survey: Deer numbers vary

Staff Report Harrisburg — Deer numbers vary widely across the state, according to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ final analysis of an aerial white-tailed deer survey of state forestlands done last winter. DCNR Secretary Michael DiBerardinis announced in late July that the department’s Bureau of Forestry had completed the analysis, and he contended it should prove a valuable…

Infection killing bass in Juniata, Susquehanna

By Jeff Mulhollem Editor Harrisburg — Ironically, the same very hot, dry weather that finally made the Susquehanna River wadeable for bass fishermen after two frustrating years of extremely high flows, may have created conditions that have resulted in a significant die-off of smallmouths. Biologists at the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission confirmed the bass-mortality event during the agency’s quarterly…

PF&BC struggles to assemble a quorum

By Bob Frye Capital Correspondent Harrisburg — Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission meetings do not, as a general rule, attract big crowds, like, say, Game Commission gatherings do. The agency’s July meeting was especially short on bodies, though. And this time, the commission could have paid a heavy price. The commission’s board — which sets policies such as seasons and…

DEC tailors bass regs to keep trophy season

By Steve Piatt Editor Dunkirk, N.Y. – Lake Erie’s trophy bass season, which would have been eliminated under a DEC bass regulations overhaul, will be maintained with some size-limit modifications. Doug Stang, DEC’s Bureau of Fisheries chief, says input and discussions with Lake Erie smallmouth anglers has prompted a move to bump up the one-fish size limit from the existing…

State’s CWD efforts gain the spotlight

By Tim Eisele Correspondent Madison – Wisconsin’s battle with chronic wasting disease was front and center at the second International CWD Symposium that was held in Madison, July 12-14. Reports on Wisconsin’s experience, the first time that CWD had been found in a wild deer herd east of the Mississippi River, were provided throughout the symposium. The Wisconsin DNR launched…

USFWS backs off Mississippi refuge plan

By Frederic J. Frommer Associated Press Washington (AP) – Federal officials are creating a new plan for protecting the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge after the original proposal prompted a backlash over restrictions on hunting, camping, and other uses. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which held 17 hearings and eight workshops up and down the river since announcing…

Opposition may not stall lease plan

By Steve Piatt Editor Albany – DEC officials say they’re not surprised with the overwhelming opposition to a proposal to lease 21,000 acres of state land for gas and oil exploration in several Southern Tier counties. And, in fact, that doesn’t mean they won’t go ahead with the plan in some form. “People had a lot of questions and concerns,…

NRC adjusts furbearer trapping, hunting regs

By Bill Parker Editor Lansing — Several changes have been made to furbearer regulations that will affect trapping and hunting this fall. The changes were approved by the state Natural Resources Commission at its July meeting in Lansing and take effect immediately. The biggest changes are in non-lethal snaring regulations. Snares are intended to be used as non-lethal restraining devices….

It’s official: Dove hunts cancelled

By Bill Parker Editor Lansing — There will be no dove kabobs or dove casserole made from mourning doves harvested in Michigan during the 2005 or 2006 hunting seasons. That’s because there will be no dove hunting seasons in Michigan for the next two years, until a ballot referendum is decided at the polls in November of 2006. When the…

USFWS: Duck harvest takes a dive in 2004

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul — Preliminary harvest reports from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicate the Michigan duck harvest last year took a dip from that of 2003. The agency estimates the duck harvest was about 333,000, down from about 367,000 in ’03. Steve Wilds, USFWS Region 3 chief of the Division of Migratory Birds, said…

Classic anglers say ‘expect low weights’

By Deborah Weisberg Contributing Writer Pittsburgh — Though the three rivers could set an all-time low in tournament pounds, they will pay big money in the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, slated for the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio, July 29 through 31. The $700,000 showdown will cap a week of festivities that includes: a big outdoors show at the David L. Lawrence…

Commissions get $47.5M from bond

By Jeff Mulhollem Editor Harrisburg — Officials at the Pennsylvania Game and Fish & Boat commissions were understandably pleased when the state Legislature on July 6 passed a bill authorizing $47.5 million of the recently voter-approved $625 million bond issue to be used for sorely needed capital improvement projects for the agencies’ existing lands and facilities. After Gov. Ed Rendell…

October Zone T may be nixed for ’06, ’07

By Tim Eisele Correspondent Portage, Wis. — Natural Resources Board (NRB) members will decide Aug. 17 whether to grant public hearings that could lead to a two-year moratorium on October Zone T antlerless deer seasons in 2006 and 2007. The DNR reached an agreement, of sorts, with the Conservation Congress and other hunting groups during a meeting June 29. The…

Strong opposition to gas exploration

By Mike Raykovicz Contributing Writer Elmira, N.Y. — The DEC’s plan to open state forest land for gas drilling exploration is meeting stiff opposition from residents, hunters, and conservationists in several Southern Tier counties. DEC is looking to lease approximately 21,000 acres of state forest land on 17 sites in parts of Broome, Cortland, Tioga, Schuyler, Chemung, Steuben and Tompkins…

Southern Tier rifle bill awaits Pataki

By Don Lehman Contributing Writer Albany — Big-game hunters in some Southern Tier counties will likely get to take rifles afield this fall under a bill passed last month by both houses of the state Legislature. The proposal, which was awaiting Gov. George Pataki’s signature as of late June to become law, would allow the use of rifles for deer…

More sturgeon spearing changes may be coming

By Tim Eisele Correspondent Oshkosh, Wis. — The Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing season could take on more changes for 2006, if the public supports proposals from the DNR during an upcoming series of public hearings. The Natural Resources Board (NRB) agreed to hold a public hearing on changes to the Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing season during its meeting in Oshkosh…

‘Outsiders’ to review state’s SAK formula

By Tim Eisele Correspondent Portage, Wis. — Two Natural Resources Board members told a DNR Sex-Age-Kill (SAK) Audit Committee that the agency should find someone outside the DNR to review the SAK. “I think the DNR should find an independent contractor so that there are no questions about DNR influence over the contractor,” said NRB member Christine Thomas, of Plover….