Daily Archives: September 10, 2012

Youth Outdoor Skills Event at Council Grove Sept. 22

Special event designed to encourage youth participation in outdoor shooting sports

Morris County area youth are invited to attend a free shotgun, pellet rifle, and archery shooting and safety clinic on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Council Grove Reservoir. Sponsored by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), the Flint Hills Chapter of Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF), and Morris County Hunter Education instructors, this special event will provide participants an opportunity to enhance firearm and archery shooting and safety skills. Controlled live-fire instruction by certified instructors will teach safe, responsible shooting techniques.

All gear and supplies — including shotguns, pellet rifles, shells, bows, arrows, targets, and eye and ear protection — will be provided by KDWPT’s “Pass It On” and Hunter Education Programs. Teaching methods almost guarantee that students will break shotgun targets by the end of the session.

Anyone age 11 through 16 may participate. Participants are required to pre-register for the event by Sept.14. Students are not required to have completed a hunter education course, but prior completion is preferred. The event will begin at 12 p.m. at the COE-managed area between Marina Cove and Neosho Park, approximately 0.25 miles west of the COE office at the west end of the dam. Check-in and a free lunch provided by QUWF will be from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Instruction will begin at 12:30 p.m. and end at approximately 4 p.m.

To register or learn more about this special event, phone Brent Konen, Council Grove Wildlife Area manager, at 620-767-5900.

Hunters, Anglers Encouraged to Participate in Surveys

Last year nearly 23 percent of hunters lost access to land they had previously hunted, while just over 20 percent of anglers had to change or cancel plans to fish because certain waters or access points were no longer open to them. One reason for this lost access is due to development. Between 1982 and 1997, 41.3 million acres of rural land were turned into subdivisions, malls, office parks and the like. That’s roughly the size of Illinois and New Jersey combined, according to America‘s Farmland Trust. Could where you hunt or fish be next?

It’s more important than ever for today’s hunters and anglers to band together and be heard by the people and agencies that make decisions about our natural resources. Fortunately, the surveys available atHunterSurvey.comShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com provide the easiest and fastest way for sportsmen to provide feedback to make sure leaders have the information they need to support wise policies and programs.

Shrinking budgets, reduced services and more competition for available outdoor space from other recreational enthusiasts have all conspired to decrease the areas available for hunting and fishing. On the private side, high leases costs and changing land ownership are also taking their toll, making it harder for hunters and anglers to find suitable places to enjoy their activities. Strategic public solutions are more critical than ever if hunting and fishing are to survive, and every sportsman out there can make a big difference without spending a dime or much of their time.

How? Just participate in the online bi-monthly surveys at HunterSurvey.comShooterSurvey.comand AnglerSurvey.com. The surveys are simple, fun and often take less than five minutes to complete. However, the results and data they yield are invaluable in helping fish and wildlife agencies, political leaders, conservation groups and even businesses in the outdoor industry understand what issues, concerns, services and products are important to hunters and anglers.

“We run the bi-monthly surveys to obtain sportsmen’s feedback on a wide range of issues and trends that affect them,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys. “The online surveys are designed to yield not only highly accurate results, but to make it easy for hunters, shooters and anglers to participate when their schedule allows. Their privacy is always maintained, and they never have to deal with annoying phone calls right at dinnertime.” Every participant who completes a survey is entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice. Five winners are randomly selected from the pool of Hunter/Shooter Survey participants and five are chosen from Angler Survey participants. Other exciting prize incentives will be added this fall.

Simply visit HunterSurvey.comShooterSurvey.com and/or AnglerSurvey.com and click on the easy-to-find “Take the Survey” button. Then just follow the prompts. Participants do not provide their full names, just emails. After completing their first survey, sportsmen will receive a friendly notice in their email when a new survey is ready for their participation. Taking the surveys are the easiest, quickest and cheapest way American sportsmen can be sure their opinions will count on the issues that matter most-it could also prove to be the most effective way they can ultimately save hunting, shooting and fishing, too.

About AnglerSurvey.comHunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com: Launched in 2006,AnglerSurvey.comHunterSurvey.com andShooterSurvey.com and help the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. Survey results are scientifically analyzed to reflect the attitudes and habits of anglers and hunters across the United States. Follow them on Facebook at http://facebook.com/huntersurvey andhttp://facebook.com/anglersurvey or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/AnglerSurvey andhttps://twitter.com/#!/HunterSurvey.

Expedition Captures Rare Millerbirds, Relocates Them to Remote Hawaiian Island

The second phase of an ambitious and historic effort to save one of the United States‘ rarest bird species from extinction reached another milestone as a group of 26 Millerbirds captured on Nihoa Islandwas released by biologists on the northwestern Hawaiian island of Laysan, some 650 miles away.

This second such translocation took place between August 12 and August 18, and was carried out by a team of biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), American Bird Conservancy (ABC), and other organizations as part of a multi-year effort to restore Millerbirds to Laysan Island within the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge and PapahÄ’naumokuÄ’kea Marine National Monument and World Heritage site.

Millerbirds have been absent from Laysan for almost a century as a result of habitat destruction due to introduced rabbits and other livestock. The last of these animals was removed from Laysan in the early 20th Century. FWS has been working to restore Laysan’s native vegetation for more than two decades. A self-sustaining Millerbird population on Laysan will ensure that the species is no longer vulnerable to extinction from a catastrophic event on Nihoa such as a hurricane or the accidental introduction of an alien predator or disease.

Last year, in the highly successful first phase of the translocation effort, 24 Millerbirds were moved from Nihoa to Laysan. Since their September 10, 2011, release this pioneer group of birds has survived and thrived, producing 17 young. The birds that are part of the second translocation also were captured on Nihoa and transported on a three-day boat trip to Laysan.

“So far, everything has gone extremely well for the birds,” said Sheila Conant of the University ofHawai’i, who pioneered the study of Millerbirds on Nihoa in the 1980s and is a member of this year’s translocation team. “They were captured without incident; they made it through the boat ride in good health; we had no problems attaching transmitters to them; and they have now been released to their new habitat without a hitch. So we are thrilled with the way this phase has gone.”

With the 24 Millerbirds brought to Laysan last year, “the team has now translocated 50 “founder” Millerbirds-the initial target number set by the conservation team for giving the species the best possible chance of establishing a self-sustaining population on Laysan,” said Don Palawski, Acting FWS Superintendent of the PapahÄ’naumokuÄ’kea Marine National Monument, which encompasses the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

During the voyage from Nihoa to Laysan aboard the vessel M/V Searcher, the Millerbirds were cared for by avian husbandry experts and a wildlife veterinarian from the U.S. Geological Survey. The itinerary included several days on Nihoa to capture the birds and allow them to acclimate to captivity prior to the sea voyage to Laysan, and three days on Laysan to release the birds and initiate radio-tracking of their movements. A Native Hawaiian cultural liaison accompanied the biologists on the translocation voyage and remained on Nihoa with the biological monitoring team. Two biologists will remain on Laysan through the end of October, and one will remain through the winter to monitor the newly released Millerbirds, the young produced in 2012, and the adults translocated in 2011.

“Certainly, there is much more to be done before we can say ‘we did it’ but I think everyone is satisfied that our plans were well thought-out and well-executed in a seamless and highly professional fashion, said George Wallace, ABC Vice President for Oceans and Islands. “So far, the results are even better than we had hoped.”

“This would not have been possible without a talented, dedicated team of biologists and a bird that is tough enough to withstand a three-day sea voyage of over 600 miles while retaining enough moxie to grab flies out of the air while a radio-transmitter is being glued to its back!” said Sheldon Plentovich, FWS Coastal Program Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, and lead biologist on the Millerbird project.

The Millerbird, which weighs less than an ounce, is a lively gray and brown bird that forages for insects among low shrubs and bunch-grasses. On Laysan, it joins the Laysan Finch, Laysan Duck, Hawaiian monk seal, several endangered plant species, and millions of nesting seabirds.

Close observation of the first group of translocated Millerbirds over the past 11 months has yielded significant new scientific information about the species, such as details of breeding chronology, the fact that pairs can produce more than one brood in a season, and a still-emerging picture of how young birds mature and enter the breeding population. All this information is important in assessing the progress toward population establishment on Laysan and is valuable in the conservation and management of the species. The success to date indicates that Laysan has suitable habitat and adequate food resources to support Millerbirds.

As a co-manager of the PapahÄ’naumokuÄ’kea Marine National Monument and World Heritage Site, the FWS is proud to lead this project in collaboration with American Bird Conservancy. We are grateful for the support and assistance from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the University of New BrunswickUniversity of Hawai’i, the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Research Center, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.