Trophy Hunting Helps African Animal Populations

The British publication The Economist just produced a very interesting video on trophy hunting in Namibia. It makes the point that hunters and their money pays for conservation, provides meat to local communities, and provides an economic incentive to stop poaching and overgrazing.

You may not agree with trophy hunting and that is your right. However, bans on trophy imports, public shaming of hunters, and calls for banning it outright will eventually lead to the extinction of many species. Putting an economic value on wild animals, regulated hunting, and hunter-funded anti-poaching efforts have been shown to work.

Dallas Safari Club Celebrates 40 Years

The Dallas Safari Club will be celebrating their 40th anniversary in January with the DSC Convention. The convention will be held January 6-9 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

In preparation for this event, they have released a short video showing their progress since 1982.

I have never been to a convention like this and hope to attend in January. My dream is to do a plains game hunt in either Namibia or South Africa in 2023. I grew up reading Hemingway and Ruark. While a two month safari in Kenya aka British East Africa is a thing of the past, a plains game hunt is not and actually can be cheaper than an elk hunt in Colorado.

Industry Consolidation And Homogenization

Jim Shepherd, publisher of the Outdoor Wires, is at the Archery Trade Association show this week in Louisville, Kentucky. He made this observation about consolidation within the archery and hunting industries. He points out that it is not only those industries who are consolidating but it is widespread across the fishing, hunting, shooting, and outdoor industries.

Some news releases we’ve distributed this week have again pointed out something that isn’t unique to archery -consolidation is happening across the industry.

From nutritional supplements to tree stands, scents and broadheads, archery is seeing to the absorption of smaller companies into larger ones.

For many small businesses, it’s a matter of survival. The business climate’s tough right now, and if you’re a company with little capitalization and no margin of error, adding your niched products into a larger operation makes sense. These businesses began because their owners were passionate about the sport, and saw a real need for a product that wasn’t there. With very few exceptions, a single-product or limited-product business isn’t viable.

That’s the part of consolidation that concerns me most.

Large companies with fixed operating costs look at new products differently that an entrepreneur who’s willing to bootstrap a good product to market.

If potential sales volumes or margin are in question, most big companies tend to take a pass on the concept. That number-centric approach doesn’t encourage innovation.

When innovation dies, homogenization is the best possible outcome.

And homogenization doesn’t drive participation. Nothing other than oxygen appeals to everyone.

So while we’re looking at the latest-and-greatest from the major players, we’ll be prowling the smaller exhibits looking for those undiscovered innovators. We want to encourage them.

I wholeheartedly agree with Jim – the little guys can come up with the innovative stuff that is really interesting. Moreover, new cool stuff is what pulls people in and that applies to both the old and young.

 This is why I try to spend at least a day and a half at SHOT Show looking around the lower level which is where the new and younger companies usually end up.

North Carolina Offers Turkey Hunting Seminars

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in conjunction with the National Wild Turkey Federation will be offering free turkey hunting seminars across the state in March. It is intended for both beginners and advanced hunters in advance of the spring turkey season.

As an aside, have you ever noticed how many turkeys you see within urban areas and in the city limits when turkey season starts?

More details and locations from the NCWRC below:

RALEIGH, N.C. (Jan. 30, 2017) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, along with the National Wild Turkey Federation, is offering 14 free turkey hunting seminars across the state in March.

The seminars, which will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., are open on a first-come, first-serve basis to all ages and skill levels, although participants 16 years and younger will need parental permission to register. Pre-registration is required and participants must register online.

Among the topics that will be covered during the seminars are biology, hunting methods, calls and decoys, firearms and ammo tips, camouflage clothing, and turkey processing and cooking techniques. A question-and-answer session, along with a brief overview of hunter recruitment, retention and re-activation (R3) initiatives, will conclude each seminar.

Dates and locations are:

March 1

Pitt County Extension Center, Pitt County
403 Government Circle, Suite 2, Greenville, NC 27834
GPS Coordinates: (35.638284, -77.360689)

March 2

N.C. State University Engineering Building II (EBII), Wake County
Classroom 1025
3114 Engineering Building II
890 Oval Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606
GPS coordinates: (35.772173, -78.674353)

March 7

Pasquotank County Extension Center, Pasquotank County
1209 McPherson Street, Elizabeth City, NC 27909
GPS Coordinates: (36.298477, -76.235738)

March 8

Onslow County Extension Center, Onslow County
4024 Richlands Hwy., Jacksonville, NC 28540
GPS Coordinates: (34.781641, -77.494023)

March 9

Craven County Extension Center, Craven County
300 Industrial Drive, New Bern, NC 28562
GPS Coordinates: (35.142969, -77.158907)

March 14

Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center, Buncombe County
455 Research Drive, Mills River, NC 28759
GPS Coordinates: (35.424879, -82.560748)

March 15

Cumberland County Extension Center, Cumberland County
301 East Mountain Drive, Fayetteville, NC 28306
GPS Coordinates: (35.012639, -78.893928)

March 16

Bass Pro Shops, Cabarrus County
8181 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, NC 28027
GPS Coordinates: (35.367147, -80.718964)

March 21

Brunswick County Extension Center, BLDG. N, Brunswick County
25 Referendum Drive, Bolivia, NC 28422
GPS Coordinates: (34.056713, -78.165797)

March 22

Haywood Community College, Haywood County
185 Freedlander Drive, Clyde, NC 28721
GPS Coordinates: (35.525949, -82.927936)

March 23

Caldwell County Extension Center, Caldwell County
120 Hospital Avenue NE/Suite 1, Lenoir NC 28645
GPS Coordinates: (35.922477, -81.523500)

March 28

Catawba County Extension Center, Catawba County
1175 South Brady Avenue, Newton NC 28658
GPS Coordinates: (35.647028, -81.223360)

March 29

Forsyth County Extension Center, Forsyth County
1450 Fairchild Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27105
GPS Coordinates: (36.128816, -80.225864)

March 30

Guilford County Extension Center, Guilford County
3309 Burlington Road, Greensboro, NC 27405
GPS coordinates: (36.084624, -79.738867)

“This is the third year the Wildlife Commission and the National Wild Turkey Federation have offered these expanded, statewide seminars prior to the start of the spring gobbler season and they have been very popular with both novice and experienced turkey hunters,” said Walter “Deet” James, the Wildlife Commission’s hunting heritage biologist. “New for 2017, we have combined both introduction and advanced segments into one seminar thereby eliminating redundancy and the need to attend multiple seminars. In short, we will continue to improve the cooperative seminar series based on conservation partner and attendee feedback.”

The statewide season for male or bearded turkey only is April 8 through May 6, with a youth-only week from April 1-7. Regulations and restrictions on turkey hunting, including information on youth season, are available in the 2016-17 Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest.

For additional information, contact James at 919-707-0059; mobile, 984-202-1387 or hunting.heritage@ncwildlife.org.

Visit www.ncwildlife.org/hunting and click on the “What to Hunt” link for information about wild turkeys in North Carolina.

Coyote Hunting Banned In Five North Carolina Counties

US District Court Judge Terence Boyle has granted a preliminary injunction that will ban coyote hunting in five eastern North Carolina counties. The Red Wolf Coalition brought suit to stop coyote hunting in the five-county red wolf restoration area. The counties involved are Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde, Washington, and Beaufort counties. The US Fish and Wildlife Service began the reintroduction of the red wolf in 1987 in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. The red wolf was declared endangered in 1973. The USFWS estimates that there are now about 100 red wolves in this area of eastern North Carolina.

The red wolf is smaller than the gray or timber wolf and larger than a coyote. Its coloration isn’t the red of a red fox but rather it has a brown or buff colored coat with some reddish fur around its ears, legs, and head. And therein lies the problem. It can be mistaken for a coyote. Moreover, there has been some interbreeding between coyotes and the red wolf though the USFWS is trying to stop this by sterilizing coyotes. Pictures of both critters are below:

Coyote – picture from NCSportsman.com
Red wolf – picture from AWI

In his ruling, Judge Boyle granted the NC Wildlife Resources Commission’s request to dismiss the suit against them as it violated the state’s sovereign immunity. However, he let it continue against the director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission as he was not protected by legislative immunity. The decision to expand coyote hunting a few years ago was considered an administrative and executive action.

From the ruling:

Hunting coyotes pursuant to 15A NCAC 10B.0219 in the five-county red wolf recovery
area is hereby preliminarily ENJOINED. Entry of this preliminary injunction on coyote hunting
will support the exclusion of coyotes in the five-county red wolf recovery area by promoting
breeding pairs of red wolves which, in conjunction with sterile placeholder coyotes, appear to
effect a better deterrent to the increase in coyote population than an increase in coyote hunting
deaths would. A further intended benefit of this preliminary injunction is both the preservation
and enhancement of the red wolf and deer populations in this area.

The Court is not inclined, however, to provide greater protection to the coyote than that
which is applicable to the red wolf. Therefore, during the pendency of the preliminary
injunction, the following exceptions apply to the prohibition on coyote hunting in the five-county
red wolf recovery area: a coyote may be shot in defense of a person’s safety or the safety of
others, or if livestock or pets are threatened. Each exception shall apply subject to reporting of
such shooting to defendants within twenty-four hours, and defendants shall maintain a record of
reports of coyote shootings for review by the Court. This injunction is not applicable to the
activities of scientists and researchers associated with USFWS and the Commission, nor does it
have any effect on the trapping of coyotes.

Further, this preliminary injunction shall not remain in effect without review for the
entirety of the duration of this lawsuit. As the evidence and data are further developed in this
matter, the Court shall revisit the efficacy and necessity of this preliminary injunction one
hundred and eighty (180) days following the date of entry of this order.

The Wildlife Resources Commission and its board members are considering their options. In the meantime, the WRC has issued the following release outlining what is and isn’t permitted in terms of coyote hunting in the state of North Carolina as well as in the impacted counties.

From the WRC release:

RALEIGH, N.C. (May 16, 2014) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is notifying the public that a U.S. District Judge has issued a court order prohibiting hunting of coyotes in Dare, Hyde, Beaufort, Tyrrell and Washington counties, day or night, except under extremely limited circumstances. This notification is due to a lawsuit in which the Wildlife Resources Commission is alleged to have violated the federal Endangered Species Act by allowing coyote hunting in those counties where a non-essential experimental reintroduction of the red wolf is occurring.

In North Carolina’s other 95 counties, coyote hunting regulations allow coyote hunting on private land at any time, day or night, with no bag limit, and on public land at night with a permit.

The Wildlife Commission and the N. C. General Assembly through its House Select Committee on Nuisance Coyote Removal implemented tools to provide North Carolinians the ability to manage coyote predation on livestock, pets and native wildlife through hunting and trapping. These lethal removal methods provide the best means of removing offending animals while instilling fear of humans in other coyotes in the immediate vicinity. Hunting at night is often more effective than during the daytime because coyotes are often more active during nighttime hours.

Coyote distribution in North Carolina has sharply increased since the mid-1980s when coyote occurrences were documented in fewer than a dozen counties. Coyotes are now well established throughout North Carolina, occurring in all 100 counties. Estimates of coyotes harvested by hunters and trappers also indicate dramatic increases in abundance. For example, statewide estimated coyote harvest by hunting exceeded 27,000 coyotes in the 2012-13 season and estimated coyote harvest by trapping has increased 26-fold in the last decade.

The court order affecting the five counties allows that coyotes may be shot in defense of a person’s safety or the safety of others, or if livestock or pets are threatened. In accordance with the order, any coyotes shot under these circumstances must be reported to the Wildlife Commission within 24 hours. To report a coyote kill persons may call 1-800-662-7137. Landowners needing assistance with other coyote problems in the five counties affected by the court order may contact the Wildlife Commission at the same number.

In issuing the order, the U.S. District Judge stated that he would revisit his ruling in six months pending the outcome of a lawsuit that seeks to end coyote hunting permanently in the five counties.

“The Commission is deeply concerned about potential impacts to private landowners, hunters and native wildlife resulting from this order,” said Jim Cogdell, chairman of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

The board of the Wildlife Resources Commission will meet next week to consider other legal and procedural steps regarding the judge’s order. Interested parties may visit www.ncwildlife.org for information and updates.

The same group of plaintiffs had filed a suit in 2012 to stop coyote hunting in the five county area. They were able to get an injunction in Wake County Superior Court to temporarily halt hunting while a temporary rule from the WRC was in effect. Once the permanent rule was adopted, the injunction was lifted.

That Reminds Me

I haven’t bought my NC Sportsmans License yet this year. Even if I don’t get out hunting I do try to buy one to help support the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. In North Carolina, the Sportsmans License cover you for everything from fishing to big game hunting. The only thing it doesn’t cover is the Federal Duck Stamp and fishing in coastal waters.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation just published a new infographic that presents the economic impact of hunters and hunting. The estimated impact of hunting in America is greater than the revenue generated by Google – $38.3 billion versus $37.9 billion.

A Man’s Gotta Eat

Louisiana repealed a 22 year old ban on hunting in portions of Orleans Parish, Louisiana yesterday. Orleans Parish is home to New Orleans as well as the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge. While special youth-only waterfowl hunts have been allowed in the refuge for the last two years, this was only by special exemption.

On Tuesday the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) voted to repeal a ban on all hunting for portions of the Orleans Parrish. The ban was originally instated in 1991 by the LWFC to assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in establishing the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge. More than 20 years later, the refuge is now currently the largest urban wildlife refuge in the country and plays host to an increasing amount of young waterfowlers.

Bayou Sauvage is entirely within the city limits of New Orleans and is the largest urban wildlife refuge in the country.

It will be up to the City of New Orleans as to what other hunting will be allowed within their city limits outside of the National Wildlife Refuges. They currently allow limited deer hunting in certain swamps within the city limits. The latest figures from the LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries shows 15 deer taken in the 2011-12 season in Orleans Parish.

Keith Westlake, a wildlife specialist with the refuge noted that they were starting to have problems with feral hogs.

Striking down the ban could potentially allow hunters to pursue feral hogs, which are causing problems outside the refuge. Westlake said that beginning in 2011 wildlife officials have culled 575 pigs from the area to reduce the damage the animals can cause. Feral hogs are an increasingly critical problem for conservationists and hunting regulations for these animals are generally lax.

For now the area’s alligators seem to be enjoying the lack of competition, as well as the carcasses left behind by management hunts.

I imagine some of the more imaginative chefs in New Orleans might find a better use for wild hogs than as food for alligators. I certainly hope so.