Daily Archives: September 21, 2014

Prairie Kingsnake

Prairie Kingsnake by Kory Roberts

Prairie Kingsnake by Kory Roberts

Prairie Kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster) Photo by Kory Roberts

The Prairie Kingsnake is a nonvenomous snake living in the eastern third of Kansas southwest to the Red Hills. However, its range also includes Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. It has dark splotches along its back that vary from gray to brown to reddish brown, each with black trim. These blotches float on a lighter tan field giving way to a white belly. It is distinguished from copperheads that have hourglass markings. It is immune to the venom produced by copperheads, cottonmouths and rattlesnakes. During the summer it is nocturnal, preferring to spend the day under rocks and in burrows. During the spring and fall it may be observed during the morning or early evening (diurnal). It prowls for small rodents and other small mammals, certain snakes (even venomous ones), lizards and frogs that it overcomes by coiling around, constricting and suffocating. Around farmlands it keeps mice under control although some are killed by people ignorant of their nonvenomous and even docile nature.

SINO: The Latest, Gravest Threat to American Sportsmen

By Bob Marshall

Field and Stream


That would be the “Sportsmen in Name Only” – those hundreds of politicians you keep sending to Congress who claim to love you, but betray you when it suits them. And they struck again this week.

SINOs continually attack almost every national program critical to outdoor sports. Their targets have included Farm Bill conservation programs, wilderness and roadless designations, sensible regulations on oil, gas, mining, grazing and timbering operations on public lands, almost every budget that enhances fish and wildlife.

On September 9, SINOs in the House (262 Republicans, 35 Democrats) passed a bill that would prevent the Obama Administration – and any that follows it to the White House – from restoring some of the wetlands protections the Supreme Court removed nearly 10 years ago.

Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has provided protection for wetlands. Congress wisely agreed these habitats served such a vital role to a healthy environment that they should be considered part of the public trust. Included in those protections were lands that might be wet only part of the year or were distant from navigable waterways. There was enough science to show that, while temporary or isolated, these wetlands served a vital function for fish, wildlife and entire watersheds.

Among other things, that decision meant the stream banks critical to trout populations could not be ripped apart by development, and the prairie pothole nesting grounds that keep waterfowl populations large enough for hunting, could not be drained.

For 30 years, those protections helped fish and wildlife populations, while American agriculture and development prospered. The number of millionaires skyrocketed, cities expanded, bread and breakfast cereals crowded supermarket shelves.

But in 2001 and again in 2006, developers and agriculture concerns said they wanted that slim slice of America’s public trust back in private hands. They convinced the Supreme Court that the 1972 Congress never intended the Clean Water Act to protect those types of wetlands, that the policy was a horrible burden on their wallets.

The court didn’t rule these wetlands should not be protected. It simply ruled the law had been misinterpreted. At the same time it gave various interpretations of what could be included as protected wetlands, leaving regulatory confusion in its wake.

So, 20 million acres of wetlands that had been protected for 30 years were now exposed to ruin – and federal agencies were unclear just what should be protected.

A solution to the court’s action was obvious: Congress could pass a law saying these temporary and isolated wetlands should be protected. Sportsmen’s groups across the nation supported that move, including Ducks Unlimited and Trout Unlimited.

Then the SINOs struck. They killed any measure trying to work its way through the House or the Senate.

Sportsmen finally found a friend in the White House when the Obama Administration ordered the EPA to draw up a new definition of what could be regulated. The result wasn’t a perfect gift to sportsmen: While it would restore almost all protections to stream sides, it would leave the potholes at the mercy of case-by-case decisions by local offices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Sportsmen’s groups hailed the action, and DU pledged to make its case with science that the potholes should be included.

The SINOS – those politicians who attend your DU and TU banquets, and swear how much they love hunters and angers – were not happy.

Some farm and development lobbies are using SINOs as their mouthpieces crying the rule imposes new restrictions, or is a “land grab.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the new rule leaves out some wetlands that once were protected!

But one thing is clear: This latest attack strips the SINOs of their “I-Love-Sportsmen” camo pattern. That’s because they know the bill has no chance in the Senate. And they know President Obama has promised a veto if it makes it to his desk. And they all received a letter signed by almost every sportsman’s group in the nation as well as fishing and hunting gear manufacturers,
http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/Media-Center/News-by-Topic/Wildlife/2014/09-09-14-Sportsmens-groups-industry-oppose-House-bill-to-undermine-Americas-clean-water.aspx urging them to stand down. But they passed the bill anyway as part of an election-year campaign to provide shouting-points in tight elections.

That’s what makes this latest SINO attack especially craven. They were pandering to the forces that oppose vital sportsmen’s interests. Once again they were throwing sportsmen under the bus to gain points with another group.

So check the vote. If your House member voted “Yea” on H.R. 5078, he or she is a SINO – Sportsman In Name Only.

Meanwhile, sportsmen should take their own action to outflank the SINOs. The proposed rule is open to public comment through Oct. 20. You can do your part in a few minutes online. http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880-0001

Editor’s Note: In Kansas, Representatives Jenkins, Huelskamp, Pompeo and Yoder all voted “Yea” on H.R. 5078. Additionally, Representatives Huelskamp and Pompeo were among the 120 co-sponsors of H.R. 5078.

Sportsmen’s groups take issue with wetlands bill

By Dave Golowenski

The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch

A large number of sportsmen’s organizations voiced opposition to the Republican-backed United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week along party lines.

The bill would restrict the rule-making ability of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers in determining whether millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of headwater streams earn protection under the Clean Water Act.

The bill “is a vote against America’s sportsmen and women who depend on wetlands and headwater streams to provide the highest quality fishing and hunting opportunities,” said Steve Moyer, Trout Unlimited’s vice president of government affairs.

The waters in play, a Trout Unlimited statement said, include “seasonally flowing intermittent and ephemeral streams and certain ‘Isolated’ wetlands.” The prairie potholes, on which waterfowl, including ducks, depend for breeding, would lose federal protection under the House-passed bill.

The bill’s backers maintain federal authority should not extend to such waters.

Groups opposing the law, which President Barack Obama said he will veto if it passes the Senate, include the National Wildlife Federation, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, B.A.S.S., Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, The Berkley Conservation Institute, The International Federation of Fly Fishers, The Snook and Gamefish Foundation, The North American Grouse Partnership, the American Fisheries Society and the Izaak Walton League of America.