And now, a roundup of outdoors odds and ends from around the country…
* Officials in two states are looking at taking different approaches to the problem of road-killed whitetails.
According to an Associated Press report, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to cut $700,000 out of the state Department of Natural Resources budget that covers the cost of picking up deer killed along the highways. He would leave it up to the county or municipality with responsibility for the road to collect the deer.
The Natural Resources department supports the proposal, but some lawmakers don’t, saying dead deer along the road will hurt tourism.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Jesse Topper wants to go the exact opposite direction.
Under current Pennsylvania law, the entity that owns the road is responsible for removing road-killed deer – the situation Walker wants to create in Wisconsin.
Topper, though, is sponsoring House Bill 428, which would require the Pennsylvania Game Commission to collect roadkills.
The commission gets no general fund tax money, so hunters and trappers would foot the bill for roadkill collection via license dollars.
* Cleveland, we’ll see ya later.
That’s what members of the firearms industry are saying these days. The National Shooting Sports Foundation announced this week it’s taking Cleveland off the list of possible host sites for shooting industry events, after the city’s council passed what it called “sweeping gun control legislation.”
According to the Foundation, Cleveland’s new laws require private individuals to report private gun sales to police, place restrictions on firearms by anyone under 18 years of age without adult supervision and create requirements to report lost or stolen firearms, among other things.
“In light of these developments, NSSF can no longer consider the City of Cleveland a candidate for hosting an event as important to our business as the Industry Summit. Events such as the Summit require a significant investment of our and our members’ dollars and time for the betterment of our industry. NSSF cannot permit that investment to benefit a city whose current leaders will not in turn support our 2nd Amendment rights and the continued success of the firearms industry,” wrote Chris Dolnack, the group’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, in a blog post.
* Connecticut wildlife officials are turning dogs loose on poachers.
The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has given three conservation police officers specially-trained Labrador retrievers that will be used to seek out poached fish, including commonly nabbed species such as trout and striped bass.
According to a story by the Associated Press, the dogs will be used in searches on boats, under rocks and in other places where illegally-taken fish are typically hidden.
* California is the first – and so far only – state to have banned lead ammunition. Now, one sportsmen’s group is warning that it may be taking a first step toward banning lead fishing tackle.
According to a report from the California Sportfishing League, the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control has declared lead fishing gear as “one of the top seven most significant threats to health faced by Californians and its environment.” That ruling comes despite the fact the department has admitted to having “no scientific studies demonstrating that lead poses an environmental problem in California,” the League added.
The result could be a ban on lead fishing tackle, it warned. That “will likely accelerate the decline in fishing participation, threaten jobs and reduce state revenue,” it concluded.
* In Alabama, meanwhile, young hunters and anglers looking to further their education are getting a break.
There, the University of Montevallo recently unveiled what it’s calling its President’s Outdoor Scholars program. It will offer partial scholarships to students interested in hunting and fishing.
University president John Stewart told “Yellowhammer News” that the program is intended to “serve so many students in our area who come to college and study, but also would like to remain plugged into their passions outside the classroom.”
Twelve scholarships will be offered this fall to students with interested in the outdoors and conservation. In the future, the goal is to offer 24 scholarships annually.
Applicants will have to submit an essay to be considered for a scholarship, but those chosen will go on trips funded by private donors, get to meet with professional in the wildlife field and more.
* Call is wildlife management by legislation.
Last fall, in the closing days of their session, West Virginia lawmakers inserted language into a bill that mandates the Division of Natural Resources to create a special crossbow hunting season.
According to the Charleston Gazette, the new law doesn’t say what species can be hunted with crossbows, nor does it specify when the season must be held or how long it must be. That’s left up to wildlife management officials.
But create a crossbow season of some sort they must, by this fall.
Division director Bob Fala told the newspaper the most likely scenario is that they’ll create a crossbow deer hunting season, but details have yet to be worked out.