New Hampshire’s Wildlife Management Unit M antlerless-only deer permit sales are now underway for 2012. Up to 4,000 hunters may purchase these special permits. They’re sold on a first-come, first-served basis at a price of $13 for a one-deer permit, and $26 for a two-deer permit.
You must have a current New Hampshire hunting or archery license to apply, and you can apply only once each year. The permits are available online or in person at the Fish and Game Department in Concord. Hunters can also print a mail-in application, or call 603-271-3422 to request a mail-in application. Incomplete, illegible and duplicate applications will not be considered.
The antlerless-only permits for Unit M have been issued since 1997 to help stabilize the size of the herd in southeastern New Hampshire. It’s a good example of wildlife managers using hunting as a management tool to minimize deer-human conflicts and to keep deer densities at a healthy level.
The American West is setting an unenviable wildfire record in 2012. In addition to the toll fire takes on human lives and property, fire also poses challenges for wildlife management and recreational access. But the fires ravaging Colorado and New Mexico are only one of many problems that impact the use and management of U.S. Forest Service lands. Weather variability, invasive species and predator/prey fluctuations are also factors affecting wildlife health, recreational use and recreational access in our National Forests, and forests require dynamic management to respond to those ever-changing problems and conditions. Despite that, the U.S. Forest Service is clinging to a one-size-fits-all management rule prohibiting local forest managers from adapting to changing needs. Safari Club International (SCI) is trying to change that.
The U.S. Supreme Court has been petitioned to consider the case of State of Wyoming vs. U.S. Department of Agriculture, in which Wyoming is challenging the legality of the U.S. Forest Service’s 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule (Roadless Rule). The 2001 Roadless Rule is an inflexible, centralized, D.C.-based planning approach for 58.5 million acres of National Forest lands. The core problem is that permanent planning aspects of the Roadless Rule make it impossible for local forest unit planners to respond to changing local conditions, and deprives them of tools needed to prevent catastrophic forest fires, reduce the impact of weather conditions, solve predator/prey imbalances and improve access for all recreationalists.
On June 15, 2012, Safari Club International filed our own amicus brief to encourage the Supreme Court to review the 2001 Roadless Rule. SCI’s brief explains how the Roadless Rule contradicts the U.S. Forest Service’s adaptive management approach to forest planning, and violates statutory mandates to revise forest unit plans at least every 15 years. The brief also addresses the inequities that roadless restrictions pose for some members of the hunting community, and the benefits that roadways provide for many species. SCI’s goal is to impress upon the Court the significant impact that the Roadless Rule has on the resources that SCI members and all hunters seek to enjoy in our nation’s forests.
We know that anti-hunting/anti-recreation aggressors will use this court case to further bend the management of our nation’s national forests against hunting and recreation. Those 501(c)(3) “charitable” organizations fighting to protect the Roadless Rule are doing so to appease their own rigid ideology–not the American public. Their threats to our heritage are ever present, and that is why SCI is submitting our own brief to support Wyoming’s challenge.
The position we have taken in opposition to the one-size-fits-all Roadless Rule will not be a popular one in some quarters. We know there will be focused attacks on our organization, but we also know that through our support for active, healthy forest management, SCI is helping to improve wildlife populations for American sportsmen to enjoy for future generations.
On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) Chairman of Conservation and SCI Vice President, Dr. Al Maki, testified before the Space, Science, and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. The hearing covered “The Science of How Hunting Assists Species Conservation and Management,” and sought to highlight the role sportsmen and women play in wildlife conservation, both domestically and internationally. Dr. Maki highlighted how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) works against hunters and their conservation efforts, and spoke on the issue from the standpoint of a professional biologist, avid hunter, and conservationist.
“Government regulations, whether they are a part of the Endangered Species Act or supported by anti-hunting bureaucrats, should not impede conservation funding,” said Dr. Maki. “Hunters have provided too many resources in the form of excise taxes, license sales, and volunteering with organizations like SCI just to be casually overlooked by policy makers.”
Hunters and anglers have voluntarily contributed more than $10 billion dollars to conservation efforts through excise taxes alone since the 1937 inception of the Pittman-Robertson Act. They have been, and remain, the largest advocates of wildlife conservation, however, their efforts have been largely impeded due to the framework of the ESA. The Fish and Wildlife Service and environmental groups have used the ESA to prevent the use of hunting as a conservation measure. Dr. Maki presented several examples of the ESA’s inefficiency, including how the Act harms species enhancement within the United States and beyond.
“We greatly appreciate Congressman Broun and the entire subcommittee’s dedication to address government actions that continually undermine hunter engagement in the conservation of our nation’s wildlife,” concluded Maki.
Dale Bruder, Lake Superior Chapter SCI president, said of the donation, “We believe organizations like ours have to work hand-in-hand with conservation officers because we’re against everything they are against — poachers and violators of any kind. Our board thought it was an excellent idea for the organizations to work together.”
K-9 “Axel” and his partner, Conservation Officer (CO) Pat McGowan of Hastings, have already completed nearly 12 weeks of human tracking, obedience and evidence search field training conducted by CO Travis Muyres, a certified K-9 trainer and experienced DNR K-9 team handler.
According to Lt. Todd Kanieski, K-9 unit coordinator, the dog comes in “green,” which allows DNR to train the K-9 how the department wants. Kanieski added that the internal “working drive” of both dog and handler are paramount to the success of the K-9 team. “Being a K-9 handler carries a lot of extra responsibility,” he said. “The handler must have a proven history of making solid decisions in the field. The dog must be social around people.”
Conservation officers typically work alone in a 650 square mile patrol area and the DNR working dog model is a lot like the civilian law enforcement patrol dog. It takes a dog of steady, stable character but capable of controlled aggression under certain circumstances, such as on command, when attacked, or when the handler is attacked. The added dimension of a DNR K-9, however, is the ability to sniff out game and fish violations, which is a force multiplier noted Kanieski.
“Searching for trace blood evidence or a shell casing in a large field or wooded area could take multiple officers several hours, but with the right K-9 team, that task can be done in minutes and the area would be more thoroughly searched,” Kanieski said,“We have had great success at finding fish/game evidence and shell casings in the field. That evidence helps us in protecting our natural resources. A K-9 makes sure of that.”
The K-9s are a small part of the DNR Enforcement Division and relies primarily on private donations from organizations such as SCI that have a heavy interest in conservation education and humanitarian projects. The ability to protect natural resources was a big reason why SCI made such a generous donation to the DNR K-9 program. “We see the benefits of establishing good rapport with game agencies, so this fell right in line with what our chapters need to do,” said Derron Wahlen, SCI field coordinator. Funds to assist with the acquisition of a K-9 are raised through SCI chapter fundraisers. “Without the support of the Lake Superior Chapter of the Safari Club…we would not be adding a third K-9 unit,” said Kanieski.