14 November 2009

trapping / litigation

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation reports the following updates on legislation affecting trapping:
 •   Maine Trappers Win Major Court Victory - Federal District Court upheld the state’s trapping practices and blocked the establishment of a precedent that could be used by anti-hunting and anti-trapping groups nationwide.
     In 2008, the Animal Welfare Institute and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine filed a lawsuit against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW) seeking a permanent injunction that would have essentially prohibited trapping in the state. The lawsuit claimed that Maine’s trapping regulations violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because Canada lynx, a threatened species under the ESA, could be incidentally caught in traps causing “irreparable harm” to the population.
     Throughout the case, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF), along with the Maine Trappers’ Association, Fur Takers of America, National Trappers’ Association, and several individual sportsmen, argued that the anti-trapping plaintiffs had to show that Maine’s trapping practices were a threat to the Canada lynx population as a whole. The plaintiffs insisted that harm to one individual lynx was sufficient for the Court to prohibit trapping in the state.
     On November 10th, Federal District Court Judge John A. Woodcock, Jr. ruled that Maine’s trapping practices did not irreparably harm the Canada lynx and denied the injunction sought by the anti-trappers. Further, the Judge agreed with the state and the USSAF that “irreparable harm” is harm to a species as a whole and not simply one individual member.
     “Although the plaintiffs may appeal the ruling, the Federal Court’s decision is a monumental victory for the trappers in Maine and sets an excellent precedent that will make it harder for the antis to misuse the ESA in their attempts to ban hunting and trapping in other states,” states USSAF Vice President for Government Affairs Rob Sexton.
     “We knew the evidence was on our side and are thrilled with outcome,” said Skip Trask, executive director of the Maine Trappers Association. “The USSAF’s legal assistance was invaluable to the favorable outcome.”
     Chick Andres, President of the Fur Takers of America commented, “Trappers nationwide should be grateful that the court saw through what the anti’s were trying to do.”
     In 2008 the USSAF’s legal arm, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund, was granted permission to intervene in the lawsuit. The case came on the heels of similar case, also in Maine, that was settled in late 2007 when the DIFW agreed to restrict trap sizes in areas where Canada lynx exist.

 •   Massachusetts Pro-Trapping Bill - In July Massachusetts House Bill 736 made it over the first BIG HURDLE it made it out of committee, FAVORABLY. This is the first time for a very long time a significant trapping bill has made it out of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. It can help put Massachusetts back on track to responsible wildlife management.
     This bill will allow the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW) to regulate and allow for use during the established furbearer harvest seasons certain live restraint and “quick kill’ devices that adhere to internationally developed ”Best Management Practices (BMPs). These BMPs have been developed over years of field and laboratory testing under the auspices of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA).
     The Original bill HB736 "Protecting our Natural Resources" (NOW HB4172), currently in the House Ways and Means Committee, has been amended to a point where it will not effectively, proactively address beaver, fox or coyote population management and aid in the reduction, or provide a timely proper reaction to wildlife attack. The amended bill is a simply a bureaucratic nightmare and continuation of unreasonable restrictions. Herb Bergquist resides in Shelburne, MA and is president of a new conservation organization here in Massachusetts called the "Committee for Responsible Wildlife Management". As a group, we are extremely concerned about the rising incidence of animal/human conflicts and attacks going on across the Commonwealth.
     Ever since 1996, when the Question One Ballot Initiative took away the ability to proactively manage our wildlife populations using the most effective devices available; beaver, coyote, fox and raccoon populations have increased dramatically... creating the foundation for much of the issues we are seeing today. Current trapping laws in Massachusetts are excessively restrictive and do not allow for the use of the most advanced, effective, and safe devices by licensed and trained individuals. CCS urges ALL MA sportsmen to visit this website and communicate with legislators in support of the original bill.

THANKS TO Robert Crook's newsletter list for providing the links; PHOTO CREDITS (1) Dead Creek Outfitters, (2) Fernando Urrutia

06 October 2009

work party ~ sunday 11 october

     Come on... it'll be fun! Lots of things to get done are finished faster with many hands.
     Check the list on the back of this month's meeting agenda sheet; then come volunteer for a task that suits you best ...or to dig into something that no one wants to do but has to be done anyway.
     In the unlikely possibility you don't know where we are meeting, it's at the Moodus Sportsman's Club grounds. Start after skeet league.
     Football junkies don’t panic – The Giants are playing Oakland at 1 pm - Pats are on at 4 pm so the second half is workable, and the Jets play on Monday [so great to have that big screen handy].
     We can probably even rustle up something tasty to eat!
     So whether you can cut down some overhanging saplings [don't forget your chain saw], plant new trees in the property buffer area, or finally be the one to make a cheat sheet for all the remote control devices, there's still enough time for making the work load seem like a party.
     See you there on Sunday after skeet league.

12 September 2009

migratory bird hunting season

Now is the time to go after all those resident Canada geese. Last week the Connecticut DEP released the new regulations:
The September Canada goose season will be held in the North Zone (portion of the state north of Interstate 95) from September 8 - 30, 2009. The season in the South Zone (portion of the state south of Interstate 95) will run from September 15 - 30, 2009. The daily bag limit remains at 15 geese. A new change for 2009 is the allowance of unplugged shotguns during the September goose season only. This should result in greater harvest of resident geese.
For more info check out the Connecticut DEP website: Fall 2009 Migratory Bird Hunt Regulations

17 April 2009

upcoming events

 • 18 April/Saturday : Fishing Season begins in Connecticut. You can get your license online at the DEP Fishing license web link. Please note the link will tell you other places where you can buy a license as well. You'll also be able to download a copy of the 2009 Angler's Guide.
NOTICE! DEP staff will be stocking at various Trout Parks on opening day. People are encouraged to join them. A great way to introduce your children to outdoor activities.

 • 18 April/Saturday : MSC April Game Dinner. We'll start serving at 6:00 pm [1800 hours] but you want to get there earlier to get your seat and meet and greet one another. As of 10 a.m. today, a couple of seats have opened up. But you want to be quick about it. Call us at the club [the phone number is on the right] but be quick about it.

 • 22 April/Wednesday : 1st Annual Sportsmen’s Day, Connecticut State Capitol Building, Hartford. 1030 am to 500 pm. Connecticut’s sportsmen spend $339 million a year on their recreation, which helps support 5,500 jobs in the state [Why else would Cabela’s open a retail store in the middle of our state?]. The event will be hosted by the Connecticut Sportsmen’s Caucus. Caucus members include state Senator Eileen Daily and Representative Linda Orange.

 • 26 April/Sunday : Major Work Party. Members especially, but anybody who wants to join us for wood splitting, scrape-and-paint, improving the target range backstop and other work around the club are welcome.

 • 3 May/Sunday : Children's Fishing Derby, at the pond, which has been stocked again. - 4 cooks needed, 4 pond monitors needed - 7:30 am to 12:30 pm

 • 28 June/Sunday : The Shad Bake. Our annual spring festival. Come hungry, you won't leave hungry.

laws and legislation

Don't be the target, be on target!
Your legislators need to hear from you regularly!

On the downside: the effort to ban leg hold traps is still alive and active. On the up: saving trapping has positive economic benefits to the state

In Haverhill, Massachusetts, a sewage pipe sustained damage as trees fell on a beaver dam, causing it to collapse. [Ron Trainor, KC8CEV, Photo]

Thanks to some deceptive emotionally based lobbying, anti-hunting activists have been pretty successful pushing to ban trapping, including prohibiting Conibear traps, which are not leghold traps. Presented with strong approval before the Connecticut Environmental committee Senate Bill No. 994 "An Act Concerning Leghold Traps." In essence, the bill effectively proposes to ban trapping altogether.

If enacted, the ban would take effect on July 1, 2009.

Banning trapping would have an almost immediate impact on the environment, especially where beaver populations build dams. A late entry to the discussion deals with adverse economic impact on state revenues and costs associated with varmint control.

We cannot afford to have wildlife management tools banned because of ill-informed emotional appeals. It is vital you let legislators know what impact such a ban would have on good land conservation management practices.

If you don't know who your legislators are, click on the Connecticut Sportsmen's Association link learn who to contact and how and let them know NOW! You can also find your legislators, and what committees they serve on at the Connecticut General Assembly web page.

Massachusetts has already had the experience of finding out the immense cost of removing traps as a wildlife management tool. The state is now trying to find other ways to deal with beaver damages. Since the habitat range of the beaver is widespread, the potential for damage is extensive.

Read more about the impact of this proposed legislation, as well as more on the Conibear trap at Jeff Serena's Nature Examiner web page.
UPDATE : As of Wednesday, 15th April, I'm told that "...The leghold trap bill died for lack of action in the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday afternoon. There may be an effort to revive it as an amendment, but legislators REALLY don't want to vote on it..." Let's remain vigilant, for the session is not over until it's over and you never know who will tack parts of this bill onto something else as a "Rat" amendment. [A legislative "Rat" is a bill or an amendment slipped in quietly to favor a friend or special interest].

THANKS TO: Bob Crook with the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen for keeping us all informed about this subject. I also want to thank another, unnamed, lobbyist for additional tracking of Bill 994.

07 April 2009

firearms trainings

This coming Saturday, 11th April 2009, Defense Associates staff are holding a pistol course, Concealed Carry Realities at the Blue Trail Range in Wallingford, CT. Here's a description of the class:
As part of the process to obtain a concealed carry permit, most states now require the applicant to complete some form of training, usually a NRA Basic Handgun Course or the equivalent.
     While these courses do teach the fundamentals of handgun operation and their safe handling on a target range, they do not come close to preparing the student for carrying a weapon in public. Inappropriate display (even unintentionally) or use of a weapon can result in consequences ranging from a simple loss of your permit to bankruptcy and/or prison time.
     CCR is an informal, one day seminar which combines material from both the 3 Day Defensive Handgun Course and Massad Ayoob's LFI1 to provide permit holders with an understanding of the skills - physical, tactical and intellectual - needed by those who carry a firearm for self-defense.
     Included are a wide variety of topics including weapon selection and carry techniques, the use of deadly force, shooting techniques, interacting with the police and much, much more. Includes both classroom and live fire range work.
     The cost of the course is $135. Download and print out the registration form, complete it then fax it [1-203-261-8719] to Defense Associates when completed.

Thanks to Emmett for bringing this to our attention. PHOTO CREDIT: Defense Associates website

31 March 2009

laws and legislation

Don't be the target, be on target!
Your legislators need to hear from you regularly!

On the downside: hunting license fees may double; there's an effort to ban leg hold traps. On the up: a renewed effort to add Sunday hunting

Stay informed and do not be shy about contacting your legislator and important committee members. Let them get to know you by your first name. If you have local legislator who doesn't understand out perspective, take they time to educate them, nicely. They don't have to agree with all your points, as long as they realize the importance of protecting hunting rights.

Bookmark the Connecticut Sportsmen's Association web page on legislative updates, then check it frequently during the legislative session.

After that, call, e-mail and/or write your legislator about these bills.

Here are those URL addresses again if you want to write them down:

CONTACT: http://www.ctsportsmen.com/legislation/alert_message.htm
UPDATES: http://www.ctsportsmen.com/legislation/2009%20other_proposed_bills1.htm

29 March 2009

upcoming activites at the club

1. Attendance to the April 6th monthly meeting is very important.

2. Town Wide Clean Up - April 4th
     a. Can someone post signs - possibly use the Town's signs - we need a reminder.
     b. Help needed Friday afternoon - we should clean our own facility - has anyone checked metal prices or should we just take the excess to the Transfer Station? We also have to prep food and set up tables for Saturday. We need to set up a white board so individuals can sign in.
     c. Participation by as many as possible would help.
     d. Four cooks needed for Saturday - 9 am to 2 pm

3. Fish Stocking - if anyone wants to help - 4:30 am - this Thursday

4. April Game Dinner - 4/18 confirm your reservations

5. Reminder - Project Grad - prep Friday 4/24, Cook Sat - 4/25 - 5 or 6 cooks needed,

6. Sunday - April 26 - Major work party

7. Children's Fishing Derby - New Date - May 3rd - 4 cooks needed, 4 pond monitors needed - 7:30 am to 12:30 pm

16 March 2009

East Haddam clean-up day

Coming up!

WHEN ?: Saturday, April 4, 2009 - starting at 8:00 a.m [earlier if you'd like]
WHERE ?: Meet at the East Haddam Town Hall/Grange, on Town Street across from First Church Cemetery. There you can get large garbage bags and help coordinate clean up by either getting an assigned area or let organizers know where you plan on cleaning up.
WHO ?: Me. You. Your family and friends. Anyone can help out. It's a town-wide event


This is an illegal dump pile somewhere in the woods of East Haddam.
   Too bad it is not the only place like this to clean up.
   You can help by picking up litter from the roadsides, pulling an old fridge or stack of broken computers from underneath some brush; all of it is fair game to pick up and bring to the Transfer Station.
   On Earth Day, for those helping with town clean-up, Transfer Station drop-off fees are waived for such junk.

   All those working hard at cleaning up the garbage [including you] are invited around noon to the Moodus Sportsmen's Club for lunch. [Check to the right side of this page for directions]

22 February 2009

at the game dinner


Smoked Bluefish - from Long Island Sound, dry rubbed and infused with apple smoke.
Served with onions, peppers, sour cream, caviar & crackers

Seafood Bisque - a blend of fresh Connecticut seafood, heavy cream, sherry and a touch of Indian Saffron
Rabbit Confit over Salad - slow poached rabbit over a bed of mirco greens with dressing
Venison Carpaccio - seared venison flank drizzled with virgin olive oil and shaved parmesan,
mushrooms, pepper and balsamic vinegar

Venison Perogi - thoughtfully done ground venison with onions, butter and array of spices.
Served with a sage sauce and sour cream

Pheasant Cannelloni - crepes stuffed with pheasant, prosciutto, leeks, cheese,
and a dazzling choice of herbs

Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie - with a cinnamon rum sauce and maple creme fraiche
Coffee; Tea; Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon; Beer; water; soft drinks

As usual, gourmet foods in abundance; one of Moodus' greatest secrets right here.

18 February 2009

laws and legislation

Don't be the target, be on target!
It's not enough just to vote in elections
your legislators need to hear from you regularly!

Several proposals are before the legislature to ban or otherwise restrict legal firing ranges in Connecticut.
     In addition, this year 2009, is the year Hartford's politicians wrangle with the governor about the state budget. One thing certain to be debated this session is Governor Rell's wish to double all license fees. So my hunting license costs next year, if enacted, might be $180 instead of $90 [not including duck and pheasant stamp fees, for example].
     Budget issues and attempts to shut down shooting ranges are not the only things under debate this year. Some other proposals being debated this year include:

 • An Act Concerning Firing Ranges
ATTORNEY GENERAL bill). REF. PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY. Not yet in Print Requires any person who owns or operates a firing range to register with the Department of Public Safety and requires such person maintain and operate such firing range in safe manner, comply with environmental laws and limit noise (60 db) emanating from such ranges. Affects ALL ranges except police. Gives DPS broad authority
 • Proposed S.B. No. 353 SEN. LOONEY, 11th DIST. 'AN ACT CONCERNING THE MICROSTAMPING OF SEMIAUTOMATIC PISTOLS', to facilitate the linking of used cartridge cases to the firearm that fired them by requiring the microstamping of semiautomatic pistols.
 • Proposed H.B. No. 5209 REP. MINER, 66th DIST. 'AN ACT CONCERNING STATE LAND WHERE HUNTING IS PERMITTED', to maintain the amount of state land where hunting is permitted. REF. ENVIRONMENT.
 • S.B. No. 839 SEN. MCKINNEY, 28th DIST.; REP. CAFERO, 142nd DIST. 'AN ACT CONCERNING MERGERS AND CONSOLIDATIONS OF VARIOUS STATE AGENCIES', to implement the Governor's budget recommendations. Transfers the previously independent Board of Firearms Permit Examiners, to the Department of Public Safety, Sec 30. REF. GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION AND ELECTIONS
...and these are only a few items under review.
     How can you find out about bills like these?
     Connecticut Sportsmen are fortunate to have a hard-working Legislative consultant by the name of Robert Crook who works tirelessly at keeping us informed on issues important to us. He helps to keep us informed by keeping the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen website up to date with prospective legislation.
     You can also ask to be added to his e-mailing information list by writing to Robert Crook at info@ctsportsmen.com and ask to be added to updates bulletin e-mail list. You'll get more than legislative info, but what he sends is always informative.

     Who are our politicians, and how do we contact them?
     In the East Haddam/Moodus area, our state senator is Eileen Daily, our state representative is Linda Orange. Incidentally, both are on the legislature's Public Safety Committee, which has some oversight authority over firing range issues anyway.
     Frankly, it is often better to call rather than e-mail. Senator Daily's phone number is 1-800-842-1420; Representative Orange can be reached at (860) 240-8585, 1-800-842-8267 or locally at (860) 537-3936.
     If you live in another town you can find your local state senator and representative and make sure you let your legislators know how you feel about these ideas and issues.

activites of interest

 • Saturday, Feb 21 Wood Duck Box Building Day. 10:00 am to 3 pm. Lunch Provided. This year the event will be at the Deerborn barn (shop) at Flaherty Field Trial Area in East Windsor. If you want to attend, click here for directions. Participants are asked to please bring your own portable drills and hammers.

 • Friday thru Sunday Feb 20 to 22 2009 Springfield Sportsmen's Show at the "Big E," the Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield, Massachusetts. This year's 'Super Show' will include hunting, fishing, boating and outdoor recreation all bundled together. Admission: adults - $12; children 6 to 12 $5.

DEP Firearms Hunting Course and DEP Bowhunter Course
 • February 25, 26, 27, March 5 & 6 (6:00 PM- 9:00 PM), and March 8 (9:00 AM- 4:00 PM)  DEP Firearms Hunting Course at the Moodus Sportsmen's Club. Pre-Registration is Mandatory. All firearms hunting courses are 16 hours or longer. You must attend all scheduled class times. To register call Franklin WMA at 860-642-7239 or e-mail the Franklin DEP office at dep.franklinwildlife@ct.gov. Office hours are 8:30 AM- 4:30 PM

 • March 7  DEP Bowhunting Course (9:00 AM- 4:00 PM)at the Moodus Sportsmen's Club. Pre-Registration is Mandatory. All bowhunting courses are 6 hours or longer. You must attend all scheduled class times. To register call Franklin WMA at 860-642-7239 or e-mail the Franklin DEP office at dep.franklinwildlife@ct.gov. Office hours are 8:30 AM- 4:30 PM

Who should take courses?
 • All first time hunters at least 11 years old and trappers of any age.
 • Those hunters who have not held a resident license within the past five years from another state or country.
 • After January 1, 2002, all persons who wish to hunt with a bow and have not taken the CE/FS bowhunting course or its equivalent.
 • Those individuals who have never taken the course and want to participate in a controlled hunt.
 • Individuals who want to learn more about outdoor safety, hunting and wildlife management.

12 February 2009

Fishing Derby Winners

Austin and Rick Urban are in this picture. Rick is on the right.

* Biggest Bass - Rick Urban 5.35 pounds. I think from Moodus Reservoir
* Biggest Perch - Austin Urban - 1.11 pounds. Possibly Bashan Lake
* Biggest Pickerel - James Campbell 3.435 pounds - Moodus Reservoir

Left to right: Soup Campbell [whose pickerel catch weighed 3.055 pounds] and James with James's catch

The day was a good one for fishing, warm weather with a solid ice shelf that ranged between 12 and 17 inches thick, depending. Lake Hayward was covered with fishing enthusiasts, some trying to put their lines in between other people's augured holes. But the competition fish seemed to be best found in Bashan Lake and Moodus Reservoir.
     A sudden, brief, thunder and lightening storm around 1100 hours had everybody spooked. Reports from weather stations later in the day noted that this phenom didn't happen anywhere else in the state. Were we in danger? Well, a woman riding her four-wheeler on Moodus Reservoir reported that she saw lightening strike real close to her. Lucky for everybody the storm lasted only a few minutes.
     There were about 170 entrants, and when weigh-in time arrived, parking at the club almost became a spot all it's own. Luckily Bill and Will were able to cram a lot of 8 foot bed pick-ups into the upper parking lot and along Old East Haddam-Colchester Turnpike. Even when vehicles got double parked it seemed to be no problem.
     After the weigh-in, there was plenty of venison stew, corn chowder, fresh fried perch and a passel of other tasty morsels for all.

03 January 2009

MSC Annual Ice Fishing Derby: February 8th 2009

The Moodus Sportsman's Club's annual Ice Fishing Derby is on for this year Sunday, February 8th [The "ice out" reschedule date is 2/15/09]. Fishing starts at 6:00 am through 1:00 p.m. Fun for everyone of all ages from those fishing as well as those who just want to come along to take pictures or enjoy the brisk winter weather.
ALL ADULT PARTICIPANTS MUST HAVE VALID CT FISHING LICENSE. Connecticut state fishing regulations shall be followed. Do not bring fish for weighing that are under the State Fisheries minimum legal length for any reason.
Tournament Fee.; $20.00 per person – Children welcome with a supervising adult.

Fishing will be on:
Lake Hayward – East Haddam || Bashan Lake – East Haddam || Moodus Reservoir – Moodus
Verification: Official weigh-in at the Moodus Sportsman’s Club the day of the event at 1:10 pm sharp! – Please return to the Sportsman’s Club by 12:50 pm for final tally, and lunch to follow. Awards to be presented after weigh in - Following awards, all are welcome to stay for another of the MSC's famous buffet lunches!
Prize Fish Types:
     Bass – Largemouth/Smallmouth, Chain Pickerel or Yellow Perch
     Bass Sp. Regs – Moodus Res 1 fish 18” or>, Bashan & Hayward 2 fish 16”
     $1000.00 total purse; First Prize $600.00 for heaviest fish of the three species
     $200.00 each to the largest fish in the two other species listed
Registration Forms: Available anytime at the Moodus Package Store, through any member of the Moodus Sportsman's Club, Ask for one by e-mail [in MS Word or .rtf formats only] or stop by at the Club's Building on East Haddam-Colchester Turnpike on Saturday, February 7th between 4 and 6pm || Mailed applications must be postmarked by Feb. 2nd - NO REGISTRATIONS ACCEPTED AFTER 6 PM FEB 07, 2009 - Clubhouse phone number 860-873-3381.

(Rain or “ice out” date Feb 15th) || CAUTION! The Moodus Sportsman’s Club does not represent that the ice is safe in all places on these lakes. All participants are responsible for their own personal safety.

Annual Game Dinners

Our Annual Game Dinners are by invitation only but generally, if you know one of the members, you have an "in" - but even at that, the seats fill quickly. I can't recall when the dinners were not sold out, so let a member know if you are interested

These are held the months of January, February, March and April of each year. The menu varies depending upon what we have been able to harvest during the hunt season. The meals are always a gourmet treat and our chefs [also members] can easily hold their own against any team of fancy restaurateurs.

Each dinner has 90 guests, served seated at the table - a contrast from the spring and summer public events, which get served buffet style.

This year we look forward to better acoustics in the dining room.

There are still seats available for January 17th's game dinner