Archive for the ‘Hunting and Fishing’ Category

Educational Paddle-Connecticut R & Boggy Meadows-Sat June 5

May 31, 2010

Jonah Center News

Educational Paddle

Saturday, June 5,

Launch time: at 9 a.m from Harbor Park near the boathouses.

Leader-Contact person: Beth Emery,

Be part of the CT Trails Day Celebration and have a paddle! This event, co-hosted by the CT Forest and Park Association and The Jonah Center for Earth and Art, will take place in the lower Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, as well as the Boggy Meadows where those two rivers converge. The tour departs from Harbor Park on the CT river in Middletown, Sat. June 5 at 9 a.m. Paddlers will return to the starting point between 12 and 1 p.m. Conditions permitting there will be 2 stops along a river bank. Paddlers need to provide their own boat, paddle, lifejacket, drinking water, snacks, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing.

River historian and environmental journalist Erik Hesselberg will provide us with a historical overview of how these rivers have been used, traveled and misused over the years. Trip participants will be encouraged to pick up plastic bottles, cans, and other debris as part of the Jonah Center’s ongoing effort to beautify and protect our local waterways.

This event is free and advance registration is not necessary. CT Forest and Parks requires that you sign a waiver form to participate.  Call (860) 984-6178 for more information or to learn about a possible last minute cancellation due to weather conditions or river waters above flood stage.

In the Mattabesset River,August 2008

Here we head upriver towards the two bridges

Gov. Sarah Palin vs Animal Advocates….

September 4, 2008

Many organizations and groups were calling for rejection of Gov. Sarah Palin as Republican nominee for Vice President citing her positions on predator control via aerial shooting. While this is a very serious matter for animal advocates it is primarily a matter to be settled by Alaska’s citizens and their legislature. It is possible, however, that the practice could be addressed on the federal level when McCain and Palin take office. Aerial hunting is prohibited under The Airborne Hunting Act of 1972 and only continues in Alaska via a loophole in the law. (see below)

I am not a single issue voter and I support Sarah Palin for numerous reasons above and beyond the single issue of Alaska’s Fish and Game laws. However, I would certainly wish to confront the McCain/Palin administration on this issue when they take office. Some of the history of the controversy I discuss below.

The question of predator control involving aerial shooting of wolves and other animals is a contentious one in Alaska and, indeed, in the lower 48. Animal rights organizations are furious with Governor Sarah Palin for her support of Alaska bill HB 256/SB 176 the intent of which was “Clarify, Clean UP Statutes, Encourages Abundance-Based Management“. The Defender of Wild Life Action Fund states:

“Governor Palin is an active promoter of Alaska’s aerial hunting program whereby wolves and bears are shot from the air or chased by airplanes to the point of exhaustion before the pilot lands the plane and a gunner shoots the animals point blank.”

Before Alaska statehood in 1959, shooting wolves from airplanes was common. Aerial sport hunting was banned in 1972, but the law allowed aerial shooting for predator control.

In 1996 and 2000, voters rejected using aircraft to help track and kill wolves. The Legislature, in both cases, caved in to special interest groups and overturned the measures.

Nick Jans, co-sponsor of Ballot Measure 2, expects victory again in the Aug. 26 primary election. Alaskans for Wildlife collected nearly 57,000 signatures to get the initiative on the ballot. Defenders of Wildlife, a national wildlife conservation group, is one of its principal supporters.

“This is an issue that has been addressed and addressed again. It is a clear matter. The will of the people has already been known and we are just reasserting it here,” Jans said. “We are both puzzled and enraged that we are back at this point again.” Source

Unfortunately, this years measure did not pass; it was rejected by the voters 56%-44%. Ultimately this is an issue that will have to be settled by the citizens of the state through interaction with their legislators. Governor Palin has had to consider all of the competing interests and come down on the side of what is best for her state in the long run. In May 2007 Palin

” introduced a bill in the State House and Senate that will simplify and clarify Alaska’s intensive management law for big game and the state’s “same day airborne hunting” law. “I have said many times that my administration is committed to management of game for abundance, and to a proactive, science-based predator management program where appropriate,” said the Governor. “The bill I am introducing will give the Board of Game and state wildlife managers the tools they need to actively manage important game herds and help thousands of Alaskan families put food on their tables”

Aerial hunting is illegal under federal law (the Airborne Hunting Act of 1972) but Alaska has managed to circumvent the ban by a loophole.

“For more than 30 years, the state of Alaska has attempted to circumvent the intent of the Airborne Hunting Act by exploiting a loophole in the law allowing states to “administer” wildlife using aircraft. Under the guise of wildlife management, Alaska contends its current aerial hunting program is not hunting at all but constitutes legitimate wildlife management that artificially boosts wild moose and caribou populations.”

The loophole allows:

…for predator control, permitting state employees or licensed individuals to shoot from an aircraft for the sake of protecting “land, water, wildlife, livestock, domesticated animals, human life, or crops.” Source

Tags: sarah palin,alaska aerial shooting,aerial predator control,wolf shooting,wolf hunting,alaska ballot question 2,alaska legislature

Just When You Thought….Yep, More Sharks!

May 4, 2008

Chalk another one up for Global Warming: An increase in world-wide shark attacks on human beans. At least that’s how the Guardian U.K. sees it. The headline screams: Surge in Fatal shark Attacks Blamed on Global Warming.

When you actually read the article you find more compelling reasons for the alleged surge: i.e. increased numbers of peeps recreating in ocean waters and/or overfishing depleting shark food stocks. Finally the money line: “Another contributory factor to the location of shark attacks could be global warming and rising sea temperatures.”

Btw, I would recommend staying out of the water at New Smyrna Beach FL which is called, ” the shark attack capital of the world. It has had more recorded incidents per square mile than any beach on Earth….It’s more like a vicious dog bite, half a dozen stitches, a few bandages, that sort of thing,” said an observer referring to the common 2-3′ black tip sharks doing most of the nipping.

Photo Notes:

Top-Great White and Kayacker

Bottom-Fishing for Black Tip Sharks


Friend Shane writes: “I live in the desert I should be ok unless there are any land shark sightings”

I replied: ” No land sharks, but there are sand sharks. Actually they’re real and lifeguard rescues one.

Another friend: “Sharks are evil creatures. They do not sleep and a few species have been known to replicate by self induced cloning, if they ever figure out a way to breath on land I say we give up and submit to our new hammerhead masters.”

Me: Evil creatures, nay!

…everyone talks about sharks, not only in connection with shark fin soup and potency products but also because of their mostly predatory habits and their alleged bloodthirsty character. In the process it is forgotten that almost 70% of all currently living sharks are intensely engaged in caring for their young and practice a form of brooding which we usually connect with mammals: To be precise the female keeps her developing eggs in the final section of the oviduct, called the womb or uterus, and following a long gestation period gives birth to fully developed, extremely independent pups, in other words, sharks give birth to living offspring. to be precise, many sharks are viviparous.
Source: Shark Info

Here is a hammerhead female with 15 well-developed pups which were removed from the uterus.

Falconry in Connecticut….

March 17, 2008

DENNIS SANTANGELO, a sophomore in Middletown’s Vocational Agriculture Center, examines the bone structure of a 3-year-old hawk held by falconer John White of Southbury.White and Jon D’Arpino, of West Hartford, holding his year-old hawk,gave a program on falconry to sophomores at the center. (BOB MACDONNEL Photo)

A little known aspect of hunting is the ancient practice and art of falconry which, yes, is legal in Connecticut as in most states. A recent Hartford Courant article reported on a visit to the Middletown Vocational Agriculture Centerby 2 of 16 Connecticut licensed falconers.

MIDDLETOWN — – Jon D’Arpino and John White tend to their red-tailed hawks as lovingly as a pet owner looks after the family dog. They provide the birds with de-worming tablets, vitamin powder and a special spray to get rid of feather lice. When the raptors are unable to hunt for their own wild prey, they feed them a diet of thawed quail and day-old chicks, ordered frozen on the Internet. And when their tail feathers break, they patch them with small pieces of wood. As two of only 16 licensed falconers in the state, D’Arpino and White are members of a very small circle. Falconry, the use of wild raptors to hunt, was legalized by the legislature in 1998; it took another seven years for the state Department of Environmental Protection to approve regulations governing the sport.

Falconry is closely regulated by the state and federal governments. In Connecticut there are 3 levels of practitioners: Apprentice Class Falconer, General Class Falconer, and Master Class Falconers. Some quotes from the CT DEP on the subject follow:

Allowable Raptor Species to be used for Falconry in Connecticut
NOTE: No raptors may be taken from the wild in Connecticut.)

  1. Red-tailed Hawks, Prairie Falcons, Merlins or Harris’s Hawks taken from the wild in another state:
  2. any captive-bred raptor species; and
  3. any species of hybrid raptors, provided that the hybrid is sterile and unable to breed with wild native raptors.

Is Falconry for You?
Falconry is the sport of hunting small game species with trained raptors. The sport of falconry has a rich history throughout the world and the basic components have changed little over time. Falconry requires a considerable amount of dedication, knowledge, skill, time, and resources. If you are interested in becoming a falconer you must be prepared to provide for the day-to-day needs of one or more raptors. These needs include feeding, housing, training, exercising, and ensuring that the bird has appropriate veterinary care.

Permitting Requirements
To participate in the sport of falconry you must obtain a Connecticut and federal falconry permit (PDF 330k 5 pages). State and federal falconry authorization must be attained prior to obtaining a falconry bird. Based upon your experience, knowledge and ability, you may apply for a federal and a state permit to practice falconry as an apprentice class, general class, or master class falconer.

More information is available at the Falcon and Raptor Educational Foundation.

The video below is a somewhat humorous look at the history of the activity from a U.K. production:

Finally, a view of a Harris’ Hawk, a bird only coming into use in falconry in the last 30 years or so. The image is from the interesting web site