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Lead Ban Chronicles – HSUS Reports That Lead-Free Ammo Is Readily Available

July 31, 2014

Lead Ban ChroncilesCalifornia hunters (and hunters from other states take note), according to the Humane Society’s “world’s leading expert in the use of nontoxic ammunition”, lead-free ammunition is readily available in California.

I’m not sure how one gets the title of  “world’s leading expert in the use of nontoxic ammunition”, but this fellow has apparently done extensive research and determined that any hunter in CA who needs lead-free ammo can get it in plenty of time for hunting season.  I guess any of you who were planning to attend the CDFW lead ammo workshops in hopes of expressing your concerns about the lack of ammo availability can just stay home.  The problem is solved.  I mean, we can take a press release from the Humane Society at its word, right?

Here’s what the press release says.  There’s a link to the actual study in the release.  The PDF is really, REALLY worth a read.

A new study from one of the world’s leading experts in use of nontoxic ammunition shows that nonlead ammunition is widely available throughout California. The study (see PDF) surveyed retail stores in California and online sources, concluding there is widespread market and retail availability of all popular shotgun and rifle ammunition types for the take of wildlife in California.

Last year, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 711, requiring the state’s Fish and Game Commission to implement regulations requiring the use of nontoxic, nonlead ammunition for all hunting in California by 2019. In his signing message approving the bill, Gov. Jerry Brown urged the Commission to phase in this implementation in the “least disruptive” manner possible. The study addresses Gov. Brown’s request and addresses any concerns regarding the uncertainty about the market and retail availability of nonlead ammunition in California.

“With nonlead ammunition already this widely available before the law is even implemented, we can only expect this availability to increase even more once the law is active,” said Dr. Vernon Thomas, who presented his study to the Commission’s Wildlife Resources Committee on Monday. “The findings should give the Department and Commission confidence that they can implement AB 711 as soon as possible without disrupting hunting activity in California.”

Thomas’ report was commissioned by the sponsors of AB 711 (Audubon California, Defenders of Wildlife and The Humane Society of the United States).

According to Thomas, five major U.S. companies already produce nonlead rifle ammunition in more than 48 different calibers that are readily available online and in major sporting/hunting goods stores in California. These calibers include those suitable for hunting all designated species in California.

Of the 111 retail stores in California surveyed for this study, 76 percent carried at least some nonlead ammunition for the purposes of hunting. Availability of nonlead calibers in these stores ranged across the most common hunting ammunition types. In cases where nonlead ammunition cannot be found in a retail store, online retailers are often able to provide the desired ammunition.

Thomas noted that many retailers are actually waiting for the state to implement AB 711 before they begin stocking nonlead ammunition, or expand their current offerings.

“For the minority of stores that had low or no inventory of nonlead ammunition, they reported that lack of customer demand was the primary reason, suggesting that the sooner customers must comply with AB711, the sooner availability on store shelves will increase,” said Thomas.

The California state legislature approved AB 711 in response to mounting research showing that lead from ammunition poses a danger to wildlife and human health. More than 130 wildlife species have been found to be at risk of poisoning by spent lead ammunition left behind by hunters in the field, and people consuming meat hunted with lead ammunition have been shown to have higher levels of lead in their bloodstream.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prohibited the use of lead shot for waterfowl hunting in 1991, and California passed a law requiring the use of nonlead ammunition within the range of the California condor in 2007.
July 28, 2014

Compelling stuff, huh?  Did you read the report yet?

So all snark and facetiousness aside, this is what CA hunters are up against.  The language of AB711 says that full implementation is dependent on the availability of lead-free options.  This report suggests that the availability question has been resolved, and that there should be no further barriers to full implementation of AB711.

Of course, the report is bullshit.  Seriously, read it.

The timing of the report was well choreographed, since today (08/01) marks the end of the CDFW’s input period for public feedback regarding lead-free ammo.  The obvious hope is that hunters failed to participate in the process, leaving little competition for this half-assed report.  It’s a slick move, but that’s what HSUS does best.

If nothing else, I hope this makes clear what I’ve been saying.  CA hunters, you have to take an active role in the process, or your opportunity is going to be taken away from you.  Whether it’s the lead ban, bans on bear hunting, or any other attack on hunting, you are your only reliable allies.  There are organizations that can help, but they depend on you for their strength… especially in California.  This report is a pretty clear indication of what will happen if you do nothing.

And hunters across the country should be taking note.  This is how the game is being played, and organizations like HSUS are masters.  They are a well-funded and motivated opponent.  Don’t underestimate them.

Wildlife Food – Persimmons

July 29, 2014

PersimmonsA walk through the horse pastures the other day showed me something I didn’t really expect.  It looks like my wild persimmons are going to provide another bumper crop this season!

That’s good news for the deer, of course, but also for pretty much every other living critter roaming the area.  When these things start to come ripe, they become a major food source for birds and beasts (and bugs too).  The coons and foxes will come out of the woodwork to nibble the rich, sweet fruits.  Deer love them, and will munch their way around the bushes until the ground looks like a “fairy circle”.  I’ll know when they’re ripening, because the ground will be covered with purple scat, punctuated with the big, round seeds.

Coming ripe alreadyAnd I like them too.  When I can get to them before the critters, which is always a race, I like to eat them right off the bush.  I’ve done a little reading on things to do with the fruit, including jams, preserves and even wine… but it’s tough to find enough ripe ones that the animals or birds haven’t already sampled.

These are a native persimmon, by the way, unlike the big, orange ones you find across the country.  When ripe, this fruit will be a dark, purplish black, and they’re smaller than golf balls.  Still, the flavor and consistency is pretty similar to the Asian variety.  And if you eat one before it’s ripe, you’ll get that same astringent bitterness that will turn your mouth inside out.

Deer season is still a couple of months out, and I doubt there’ll be too many fruits left by then.  But every bush on the Hillside Manor is loaded like this, so as long as they last, I expect the deer are going to be getting fat and happy.

Hillside Manor Photo Booth

July 28, 2014

I’ve noticed that a popular thing to do at events is to bring in a photo booth, where the participants step inside for a quick snapshot of themselves enjoying the party.  I guess sometimes there are costumes and props available to make the picture a little more memorable.  For my part though, I like the come-as-you-are approach.

It just so happens that there’s a year-round party going on up the hill behind the Hillside Manor, and the festive attendees aren’t a bit shy about showing off their party finest.  Here are a couple of candids from some recent shindigs.

As always, click any image to see a full-size version.

I just thought this was a cool shot.  My guess is that Kat or I are walking to the barn and he's decided it's time to go.  They aren't as tame as they may appear.

I just thought this was a cool shot. My guess is that Kat or I are walking to the barn and he’s decided it’s time to go. They aren’t as tame as they may appear.

I think this may be our old friend, Funkhorn.  That right side is developing some, but it's still sort of catawhompus.

I think this may be our old friend, Funkhorn. That right side is developing some, but it’s still sort of catawhompus.

Here's some nice, boxy antlers with reasonably good width for this area.  He'll be interesting in a couple of months.

Here’s some nice, boxy antlers with reasonably good width for this area. He’ll be interesting in a couple of months.

This guy carries that tall, narrow six-point configuration I see every year.

This guy carries that tall, narrow six-point configuration I see every year.

This one says more than I probably wish it would... but I thought it was pretty cool.  It's like they're watching the big, green piñata and waiting for someone to break it.

This one says more than I probably wish it would… but I thought it was pretty cool. It’s like they’re watching the big, green piñata and waiting for someone to break it.

I think this guy is about to tree that coon.  Is this the latest thing in coon hounds?

I think this guy is about to tree that coon. Is this the latest thing in coon hounds?

Is This Where Social Media Is Bound?

July 23, 2014

I guess I first logged onto the Internet around 1988 or ’89.  If I remember correctly, my first foray was setting up a CompuServe account.  I had the World Wide Web at my fingertips.  I didn’t really know what to do with it at the time, until AOL came along with a user interface and my first taste of social networking (and yeah, I know about The WELL, but I wasn’t part of that).

It was pretty cool then, and it’s pretty cool now.  Social networks provide us with an opportunity to share opinions and information… to debate… to vent… to commiserate… and so much more.  I’ve met a lot of good people.  I’ve discussed topics that I cared about, from hunting and the outdoors to literature and music.  And, of course, I’ve written this blog.

But of course there’s the darker side.  The Internet provides anonymity.  Anonymity leads to abuse.  People say words they would never voice in the presence of other people.  Pretend to be someone they’re not.  With anonymity there is no accountability.  Lie, and call it “truth”.  Make threats without fear of retaliation.

Sometimes, it gets a little overwhelming… as if people have agreed to set aside common sense, decency, and respectful discourse.  Politics has become a game of name-calling and the propagation of memes that rivals anything the 18th and 19th centuries could have thrown at us (unlike our ancestors though, we have no excuse in the 21st century, since we have access to the facts and research from the best minds in the world).  Considered, logical, fact-based debate has devolved into ideologically polarized dogma.

Apparently, when some of us can’t win the battle with wits and words, we turn to technological sabotage… hacking.  Disagree with a site?  Shut it down with a denial of service attack, or hack the site and add bogus content.  Plant virus-laden links.  Or just bombard it with hate-filled vitriol.  Silence those with whom you disagree by any means necessary.

These attacks, lately, have been turned more and more to pro-hunting websites and social media pages.  It’s become so bad, in fact, that hunting advocacy organizations are forming defensive ranks in an effort to fight back.  Here’s the most recent release from the US Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA).

Task Force Formed to Counter Cyber Threats to Hunters

(Columbus, Ohio) – Sportsmen, conservation organizations and outdoor personalities met at the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) headquarters yesterday to develop strategies to counter the recent increase in cyber-attacks on hunters.

The group makes up the Hunter Advancement Task Force with most members sharing a common theme of having been targeted by animal rights activists through social media.

“This is a great opportunity to start developing ways to hold those responsible for the recent wave of cyber-attacks against sportsmen accountable,” said Nick Pinizzotto, USSA president and CEO. “The task force is not only working to stop direct attacks on hunters but also discussing how best to educate the public on the vital role sportsmen play in the conservation of all wildlife.”

Attendees included outdoor television personalities Melissa Bachman and Jana Waller, Colorado hunter Charisa Argys along with her father Mark Jimerson,  Doug Saunders of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Bill Dunn of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, John Jackson of Conservation Force, Dennis Foster of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, Tony Schoonan of the Boone and Crockett Club and Mark Holyoak of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Other attendees included USSA President and CEO, Nick Pinizzotto, Evan Heusinkveld, USSA vice president of government affairs, Bill Horn, USSA director of federal affairs, Michelle Scheuermann of Bullet Proof Communications and author Michael Sabbeth.

Bachman, a television producer and host, found her life and career threatened after posting a photo of an African lion she harvested to her Facebook page last year. Almost immediately, Bachman came under attack from anti-hunters around the world. Bachman also found herself the target of death threats that “hit way too close for comfort” when anti-hunters showed up at her office.

“Regardless of your beliefs about hunting, Americans can all agree that threatening someone’s life is simply unacceptable.” said Bachman.

Other members of the task force have also had personal experiences with cyber-bullying including Waller who has had not only threats to her life, but also to her career. Waller, the star of Skull Bound TV, found herself having to defend her livelihood after an anti-hunter called her show sponsors to accuse her of poaching.

“The whole issue of harassment is so important,” said Waller. “I am scared it is going to deter people from standing tall and proud as hunters.”

While attacks on outdoor-celebrity hunters have been going on for years, average hunters have largely avoided the wrath of the anti-hunting community.  Earlier this year, however, Charisa Argys was thrown into the spotlight when a picture of her legally harvested mountain lion appeared online. The image brought a flood of criticism and threats not only to her, but to family members as well.

“Just because some anti-hunters in Europe went ballistic over a legal hunt, this issue is going to be associated with me for the rest of my life,” said Argys. “It is never going to go away. It’s going to be there forever. It could affect my job prospects and my life.”

This initial task force meeting was just the first of many to develop short and long-range strategies to protect hunters from cyber harassment.

“In the short term we are developing aggressive legal approaches to pursue both civil and criminal legal actions to prosecute anti-hunting harassers.” said Bill Horn, USSA director of federal affairs. “In the long term, we would like to cultivate strategies to provide additional legal protections for hunters who are finding themselves the target of cyber bullying.”

Pinizzotto added, “What this group discussed today and the ideas generated are a terrific first step in protecting hunters now and in the future. We have some of the brightest minds in our industry working on this critical issue. I look forward to continuing this discussion and adding additional key groups and individuals to the team in the coming weeks.”

 

Lead Ban Chronicles – HSUS Supporting Ethical Hunting?

July 22, 2014

Lead Ban ChroncilesMaybe this is lazy, but I’m going to share a link to someone else’s post about a topic I have never directly addressed.  HSUS and their alleged campaign to “curb the most inhumane and unsporting abuses”

So here’s the link to Don Mallicoat’s column in the Tribune Papers website.

In the column, Mallicoat responds to a challenge to his criticism of the HSUS and their anti-hunting agenda.  The commenter raised the argument that HSUS is not anti-hunting, but only seeks to promote ethical and humane hunting practices.  As Mallicoat points out, HSUS’s record speaks for itself… efforts to ban mourning dove hunts, bear hunts, and other popular hunting practices.

But it was something else that I saw in the HSUS response to Mallicoat’s original column that I think deserves attention… and that’s the statement that “rank and file hunters” are in agreement with the HSUS efforts.

Where do they get that sort of idea?  It doesn’t take a research expert to find examples of hunters attacking hunters over issues from high fence hunting to predator hunting.  The HSUS can take its pick of hunters’ arguments that support their platform… or at least as much of that platform as they’re willing to disclose.  And the hunters just keep feeding them.

I’m not using this as an opportunity to argue that hunters need to stand together regardless of our opinions, or that we have to support methods and practices with which we disagree.  I think an open and ongoing discussion about ethics, safety, and conservation is valuable and good.

At the same time, I really wish more hunters would take a little more care in their criticisms of other hunters.  Are you perpetuating a stereotype with your comments?  How much do you really know about the practice with which you disagree?  Consider your motivation for taking a stance against a practice, and ask yourself who is doing more harm to the future of our sport… the participants, or those who vilify them?

Just something to chew on.  You can spit it out if you don’t like it.

 

Gun Safety – A Reminder About Negligent Discharge

July 21, 2014

I know.  I take off without so much as a word for a week, and then come back with something this random on a Monday, no less.  Blame it on the day job.  Or just blame it on laziness.  Matters not.

I’ve been a little short on simple content lately, and not provided with a lot of time or motivation for deep dives into any topic that requires research (or verification), so I was bouncing around social networks and YouTube hoping for something that would just feed right into the page.  Absolute relevance is never a requirement at the Hog Blog, but I do try to maintain a modicum of peripheral connection to topics related to hunting.  So I found the following video:

Now before anyone jumps in with the kneejerk, banal comments about stupidity or Darwin Awards, I want to ask you to hold your water. That’s not why I shared this.  I just want you to watch this video, especially starting at about 00:26, and give it some thought.

As “Tex” says in the video, negligent discharges happen.  It has happened to me, and I have seen it happen to my friends.  I was almost killed by one (the difference between almost and actually was less than the width of a hat brim).  With careful gun handling, particularly a laser focus on muzzle control, they usually don’t do much more than scare the bejesus out of you.  But the fact is that sometimes, in less than a heartbeat, shit happens.

The point is, just be careful.  Be safe.  Do everything you can to try to make sure shit doesn’t happen… and if it does, that the outcome is little more than a raised heart rate and ringing ears.

Pissed Off By Politicians – Sportsmen’s Bill Derailed By Political Shenanigans

July 10, 2014

I don’t usually, and I’m not now, wrapped up in the general political discourse.  There are things I agree with and things with which I disagree… but that’s not what I want to spend my time writing about on the Hog Blog.  But it’s no secret that there’s some serious dysfunction, and because of that dysfunction, things that matter don’t get done… things like the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, legislation that would have ensured and enhanced access to public lands for hunters, fishermen, and other outdoorsmen.

At any rate, as much as I have to say about this, I think this press release from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership says it better.

Political Gamesmanship Sinks Sportsmen’s Bill

Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act fails in Senate for second time as sparring legislators derail bill

WASHINGTON – Broad public support, strong advocacy by hunting and angling groups, and 45 bipartisan cosponsors couldn’t save the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, a commonsense package of measures intended to enhance sportsmen’s access and opportunity that failed to advance in the Senate this morning.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and others in the sportsmen’s community were deeply invested in advancing the bill, and the TRCP lambasted today’s actions as an “opportunity lost” due to political gamesmanship.

“The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, an historic piece of legislation comprising some of the most important measures in years to benefit America’s 40 million sportsmen, has failed due to political infighting, a dysfunctional amendment process, and the extreme wings of both parties, who are more interested in scoring points than legislating on behalf of America’s hunters and anglers and the values of the population at large,” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh.

“We are deeply disheartened that a bill with 45 bipartisan cosponsors and the support of the national sporting community could fall victim to a fundamentally broken Senate, where some legislators’ support for sportsmen is only a talking point,” stated Fosburgh. “While we support an open and deliberative legislative process – including Congress’ right to engage in debate and offer amendments – we believe that this process should not come at the expense of advancing commonsense legislation that benefits natural resources conservation, public access and the nation’s outdoors economy.”

A similar package of sportsman-focused legislation likewise failed to advance in the Senate in 2012.
Future opportunities for the bill to advance are highly uncertain, although the bill’s sponsors have indicated that they will try again to pass the bill before year end.

The Remington Outdoor Company, a TRCP corporate partner, reiterated the bill’s value and urged its passage.

“The Remington Outdoor Company fully supports the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014,” said Teddy Novin, Remington director of public affairs. “This legislation will enhance the experience of America’s sportsmen by preserving the rights of hunters to choose their own ammunition, providing state fish and game agencies greater flexibility to build and maintain public shooting ranges, and improving access to public waterways and lands for hunting, recreational fishing and shooting.”

 

More MishMash

July 8, 2014

Because a single, coherent thought is too much to ask right now…

First of all, California hunters should really be paying attention… and attending.

CDFW To Hold Public Workshop on Lead Bullet Ban Implementation

July 7, 2014

Media Contacts:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Gail Turner, CDFW North Central Region, (916) 358-1075

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold a public workshop Tuesday, July 29 to discuss the implementation of the lead bullet ban. The workshop will be held at the Rancho Cordova Library at 9845 Folsom Blvd. in Sacramento from 7-8:30 p.m.

A CDFW representative will detail a proposed implementation plan, the PowerPoint is available on the CDFW website. Following the short presentation, interested parties can make comments and provide input that will help shape CDFW’s final recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission, which CDFW anticipates presenting at the Commission’s meeting in Sacramento in September.

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 711 requiring that the Commission adopt a regulation to ban lead ammunition in the state no later than July 1, 2015, with full implementation of the ban to occur no later than July 1, 2019. Governor Brown has directed CDFW and the Commission to work with all interested parties in order to produce a regulation that is least disruptive to the hunting community.

In order to determine what is least disruptive to hunters, CDFW has been reaching out to interested parties this year in a number of ways, including question and answer sessions at sportsmen’s shows, meetings with hunting organizations and now a series of public workshops throughout the state. A public workshop was held in Ventura in April and Eureka in June. Another is planned in Redding on July 19. After Sacramento, planning is underway for workshops in August in San Diego, Fresno and Riverside/San Bernardino. In addition, individuals and organizations may email comments to wildlifemgmt@wildlife.ca.gov (please use “Nonlead implementation” in the subject line) or mail hard copy correspondence to:

CDFW, Wildlife Branch
Attn: Nonlead implementation
1812 9th Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

Louisiana hog hunters and farmers might be interested to learn that the Pelican State may soon legalize the use of helicopters to shoot feral hogs.  Taking a cue from Texas, LA wildlife managers and agriculture agents are looking at expanding the use of helicopters on private lands.  According to this article from the Times-Picayune, all Louisiana hog hunters aren’t happy about the possibility because they are afraid the sharpshooters will kill off all of the hogs and leave none for sportsmen.

(State wildlife veterinarian Jim) LaCour said he wishes it were that easy, but he told commissioners the state would have to kill 75 percent of its hogs every year just maintain a static population. The creatures are remarkably fecund, producing two litters a year with an average of six piglets per litter.

By the way, wildlife officials in Arizona are warning hunters to shop early if they hope to find lead-free ammunition for use this season.  As many hunters learned last year, the “ready availability” so often touted by lead-ban proponents is not really the case at all.  Finding lead-free ammo, even for standard calibers, was a challenge… especially for those shopping at smaller, local stores.  But even the major outlets, including Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops ran short on the shelves, and even the online inventory went dry for periods of time.

On the national picture, the Senate is moving ahead with S2363, the Sportsmen’s Act.  According to a release from the NSSF, the vote to move ahead was substantial, with an 82-12 majority in favor.  Of course, next comes the crush of irrelevant amendments and such as the political wrangling gets serious, but hopefully we’ll see the bulk of this thing come through without too much damage.

At any rate, I’m not planning to become an outdoor news aggregator site anytime soon, but I did find all of these topics worth sharing… partly in the interest of keeping you folks informed, and partly just because it’s all I’ve got for content right now.  But stay tuned… who knows what secrets lie in the hearts of hogs?

 

Mid-Week MishMash

July 2, 2014

BassAnother week is rushing by, and honestly, stressing over the day job is enough… I’m not gonna worry about the Hog Blog.  Well, not too much.  So here’s a little something, that’s really a whole lot of nothing… nothing important, anyway.

Just to prove that I don’t spend all my time sitting in front of the computer, here’s a picture of my “big catch” from Sunday evening.  I took the fly rod down to the river (Nueces) and tossed some poppers out there.  I’ve seen big fish here, but they must have seen me… or maybe they saw/heard Iggy, the big-splash dawg.

Seriously, having a water dog along when fly fishing in clear, shallow water is probably not conducive to fishing success.  I finally convinced the big galoot to park his butt up on the rocks while I fished.  That helped a little.

Something else that struck me while I was out there was how hard it is to tie that little fly to that little line without my reading glasses.  It’s not impossible, but if impossible had a twin brother, this would be it.  I finally surrendered after I lost my third fly, and stalked pouting back to the car… the splash dog frolicking happily ahead.

In other news, the government did something that pissed a lot of people off and lit up the social networks.

In yet other news… this time, from Japan, the wild boar are really on a tear.  I’ve been getting newsfeeds about wild boar terrorizing villages, or running amuck on city streets, but until now, I hadn’t seen video.

Now I have.

I don’t know what they did to piss that little guy off, but he was having none of it.  I don’t know about ya’ll, but I was cheering for him.

No hogs to report here at the Hillside Manor.  Lots of whitetails, though…  Come on, October!

 

 

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