Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Research Suggests Early Family Influence Helps Get Kids Interested in the Outdoors

Sunday, July 31, 2011

    Even before Richard Louv wrote the national bestseller "Last Child in the Woods" (Algonquin) and coined the phrase "nature-deficit disorder," groups and government entities were attempting to fill a mentorship gap that has left a generation of kids with no one to kindle their connection with nature and teach them the skills needed to interact with it.
    An exhaustive new study by Virginia-based Responsive Management suggests that those youth mentoring programs can be effective in retaining and even enhancing a child's existing interest in the outdoors, but they're not as good at sparking an interest in kids with no previous outdoor experience.
    A joint project of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Responsive Management, the 2011 study was conducted under a multi-state conservation grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and administered by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Its goal was to document levels of interest and participation in hunting, fishing and sport shooting before and after involvement in youth mentor programs, and to identify specific, research-based recommendations and strategies that enhance interest in those activities.
    Nearly 900 pages, the study surveyed more than 40 hunting, shooting and fishing programs for youths and analyzed their effectiveness in connecting kids with nature.
Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, said he found some of the results surprising.
    "That there are so many programs doing this across the country -- over 400 -- came as a surprise to me," he said. "In recent years we've seen participation in hunting and fishing generally in decline, but one thing I found surprising was that there are so many kids in the pipeline who want to learn these skills, if someone will show them."
    The study found that participants in recruitment and retention programs:
• Tended to more readily identify themselves "as hunters, shooters and anglers after their involvement in the programs."
• "Came out with their interest in the activity either intact or heightened, and their support or approval for the activity either affirmed or strengthened."
• Increased their perception, in many cases, that "stewardship and conservation actions are highly important."
    "One of the things that struck me was how much money the programs were generating as a result of participation," Duda said. "Some of these people are buying $300 to $500 worth of equipment that they otherwise might not have purchased if it weren't for their involvement in the program."
Duda said one of the study's findings was very much expected.
    "It came as no surprise to me that these agencies and groups are doing a really good job when it comes to these programs with very little resources," he said. "The ratings by the kids and parents for some of these programs were very high."
    Among the nation's top-rated youth recruitment and retention programs was Pass It On Outdoors Mentors, an offshoot of the Wichita, Kan., Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Pass It On finds hunters and anglers interested in passing on their love of nature and outdoors skills, and places them with individual kids who lack that connection. Based on the ratings of young participants, Pass It On ranked second nationwide for increasing strong approval of hunting, second for increasing the likelihood of going hunting, second for increasing the likelihood of going shooting, and fourth for increasing the likelihood of going fishing.
    Pass It On's Mike Christiansen said the group's success is rooted in its connection with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
    "They've got tons of kids, and they love getting outside if someone will take them," he said. "We found that 40 percent of our kids did not have family members previously involved in the outdoors."
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's Family Fishing Program was included in the study. But with a very low sample size (researchers conducted only seven pre-program interviews and five post-program interviews), the report noted that "statistical analyses using percentages was not statistically valid."
    One of many outdoors mentor programs active in the Pittsburgh area, Fish and Boat's youth program dates back decades. About six years ago the agency formalized its Family Fishing Program, which combines free instruction in safety, natural history, knot tying, tackle use, casting and mentored fishing, and a stipulation that children and adult family members have to participate together.
    Southwest Region outreach and education coordinator Dennis Tubbs said statewide, thousands have been through the program.
    "Locally, we're getting as many as 75 people at a hands-on demonstration and practice," he said.
Like many recruitment and retention programs, said Tubbs, the goal isn't simply to sell more fishing licenses.
    "It's awareness, to get people to understand," he said. "We want to get them out and have a positive experience on the water. When they read something about the water or about nature in the paper, they'll have that connection and be more informed, more involved."
    The Fish and Boat Commission will hold a Family Fishing Program 9 a.m.-1 p.m Sept. 3 at Raccoon Creek State Park, at the beach near the fishing pier. To schedule a free Family Fishing Program with your school, church, civic or social group, contact Dennis Tubbs at 1-814-442-0722, dtubbs@state.pa.us.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11212/1164135-358.stm

Lack of Funding Stands in Way of Refilling Butler County Lake

By Bob Frye, TRIBUNE-REVIEW

The immediate news was not good.


Located in southern Butler County, the 52-acre lake was drained after a May 17 inspection found its dam to be leaking. It's a dry hole now, and -- while the commission has said it plans to refill it eventually -- it will remain empty until the $4.2 million needed for repairs can be found. It will likely take a while to get it, if history is any guide.


Gary Moore, legislative liaison for the commission, said Glade Run is one of just 16 "high-hazard" dams managed by the commission. Three others were drained previously: Opossum Lake in Cumberland County, Leaser Lake in Lehigh County and Dutch Fork Lake in Washington County.
All are now in various states of repair, with a groundbreaking at Dutch Fork on Monday. But in each case, the lapse between draining the lakes and refilling them will have taken about five years, Moore said.


"And that's what's probably true for Glade Run Lake, too," he said.
That's not what the crowd wanted to hear. "We just want our lake back," one woman said.
The commission again is in the process of draining Upper and Lower Hereford Manor lakes in Beaver County because of problems with their dams.


A local group -- the Hereford Manor LaZke Conservancy and Watershed Group Inc. -- formed two years ago in an attempt to save the lakes. It's since elected a board and named officers, developed a website, created paid memberships, even recruited corporate sponsors. It's actively seeking solutions.


"Jim Norton (a board member) and I attended a meeting last week with the Fish and Boat Commission and the Beaver County Conservation District regarding the future of the Hereford Manor Lake region. We anticipate having a meeting of the conservancy very soon to update everyone on current events," said president John Ball.


The people behind the refurbishing of Dutch Fork Lake, meanwhile, are also looking for money to repair Canonsburg Lake and Duke Lake, the now-dry centerpiece of Ryerson Station State Park, said Donna Riggle, secretary of the Buffalo Creek Watershed Association.
So the folks concerned about Glade Run -- a Friends group made its debut Thursday -- have some catching up to do, and some money to find.


"The situation is a prioritization of funding, and the money's not there yet," Metcalfe said

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hawk Accidentally Test-drives Semi on Interstate 80

By Adam Brandolph, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, July 21, 2011

Talk about a wing and a prayer.

A trucker pulled into a Clearfield truck stop on Wednesday, surprising two mechanics and another trucker with a "mean-looking" red-tailed hawk clinging to the truck's side mirror.
The hawk flew into the truck's windshield, shattering it, then slid and became wedged between the mirror and the side of the 18-wheel tractor-trailer.

"It was still well alive when the truck pulled in," said Don Still, a trucker from Brimfield, Ill., en route to Boston, who watched at the Sapp Bros. travel center off Interstate 80. "It was pretty big. I wasn't going to get near the poor thing."

Service manager Bob Rothrock said he and another mechanic covered the hawk with a towel, pulled it off the mirror and put it in a cardboard box.

"The bird was pretty docile," Rothrock said. "It sat there and let us grab its wing out of the mirror."

They called the Pennsylvania Game Commission but eventually took the bird to a nearby veterinarian.

Red-tailed hawks, the most common hawks in North America, weigh about three pounds in adulthood and have a wingspan of about four feet, according to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology.

A receptionist at the Clearfield Animal Hospital in Woodland described this hawk's injuries as slight and said the staff placed it in isolation.

Rothrock said the truck stop typically deals with problems such as blown gaskets or broken taillights.

"We got a couple dead turkeys, but nothing live has ever come in," he said.

Read more: Hawk accidentally test-drives semi on Interstate 80

Monday, July 18, 2011

Did I get My Doe License? Find Out Now!

By Shirley Grenoble , The Altoona Mirror July 17, 2011
Wrapping your mind around deer hunting in the middle of a July heat wave takes concentration but I assured my friend that he could probably still get a doe license if he acted now. The process for finding out that status of doe license applications just got easier, accomplished from your computer. Here's how to do it.


Go to the Game Commission website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), and click on the blue box (Buy Your License) in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. Click on the Purchase Fishing and/or Hunting License Permit and or Application/Replace License and or Permit option, which includes the ability to check on the status of an Antlerless Deer or Elk Application, scroll down and click on the Start Here button at the bottom of the page.


At this page, choose one of the identification options below to check your records, fill in the necessary information and click on the Continue button. Click on the appropriate residency status, which will display your current personal information. At the bottom of the page, choose the check on the status of any lottery application button, and then hit Continue.


While this may seem like a lot of clicking and box checking to get to the information, the system is designed to protect an individual's personal information, while at the same time enabling that person to check on the status of his or her application.


As county treasurers process doe licenses, a license buyer's application status will be updated in the system and consequently can be checked online.


Read the whole article here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Beretta Shotgun Demonstartion

Sent in by club President Bill Shaginaw...


Tim Bradley is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL.


Some time ago, one of his buddies videotaped him throwing a golf ball in the air, then keeping it in the air with a .22 pistol until the clip was empty!


The tape was sent to Bennelli (Beretta's parent company) for review. Bradley now has his own TV show, and tours with Tom Knapp exhibition shooting. His first 5 years contract was inked a year ago for an undisclosed amount. 


He is considered the best shot in history, and the contract with Beretta is believed to be well over a million dollars a year. 


Watch the number of times he fires the shotgun "one-handed." We are talking about the new design no recoil......WOW!

Friday, July 15, 2011

In Memory of Dave Bird

Long time club member Dave Bird passed away in his sleep on July 14th.  


Dave was a very passionate member and the person responsible for Bull Creek getting into Gun Bashes.  Dave was chairman of the gun bash committee from it's inception in 1996 until spring of 2005.


Dave will be greatly missed.

Fly Tying Course for Adults

The West Deer Township Police and West Deer Parks & Recreation Board will be hosting an adult basic fly tying course.

The eight week, 2 hour per week course, will begin on August 30th and will be held at the West Deer Township Municipal Building, 109 East Union Road. Hours are 7 PM - 9 PM - students must be
18 years of age or older.

Students will be introduced to the art of tying flies for fly fishing. Techniques and procedures will be developed to allow the individual to tie various flies. The program will consist of demonstration and hands-on tying. The last session will be devoted to casting at a local stream.

The cost of the sixteen hour course is $40.00, a portion of which will be donated to the West Deer Parks & Recreation Board. Classes begin August 30th. All materials will be provided, however students must have their own tools and vices. Preregistration is required and the classes are limited in size. Register by calling 724-265-1100, extension 302.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

BALD EAGLE NESTS SURPASS 200 MARK



HARRISBURG – America’s symbol of freedom and strength, the bald eagle, has surpassed a milestone of 200 active nests this year in the Commonwealth, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
  
 
 Eagles now nest in 50 of the state's 67 counties.
         So far this year, 203 bald eagle nests – in 50 counties – have been recorded in the state. As recently as 1983, only three Crawford County nests remained in the state.

          “The bald eagle’s comeback is nothing short of remarkable,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “Today, more Pennsylvanians have a greater opportunity of seeing a bald eagle in the wild than since before the Civil War.

           “As wildlife managers, we are proud of that accomplishment. It is the product of sound science, interstate and international cooperation and commitment to the resource. With bald eagles’ expanding their nesting territory closer and closer to the state’s urban settings, more and more Pennsylvanians are getting to appreciate the progress that has been made with this symbolic species.”

          In recent years, Philadelphia and Allegheny counties were added to the list with known bald eagle nests, demonstrating an apparent tolerance by some nesting eagles for human activity. But, then again, it doesn’t hurt that both cities are strategically located along major river systems with good fisheries.


          For 2011, counties supporting the largest numbers of known nesting pairs are: 

Crawford, 19; Pike, 19; Lancaster, 18; York 10; and Northumberland, 8.
  
 
 The bald eagle's recovery epitomizes America's resolve and spirit.
          Game Commission biologists noted that reporting on eagle nests is anything but an exact science. In 2010, the late-June nest count was 192; but that number increased to 199 by the end of the year. In 2009, the June nest count was at least 170; it increased by four by the end of the year. More dramatically, in 2008, the June estimate was 140 known nests; the final nest count was 156.

         “The agency learns of new nests with increasing regularity from the public,” said Patti Barber, Game Commission biologist. “Some of the latest reported were found by birders walking trails in remote or rugged locations.”


         This year’s complete list of counties and number of known, active bald eagle nests are: Allegheny, 1; Armstrong, 4; Berks, 5; Bradford, 2; Bucks, 4; Butler, 5; Cameron, 1; Carbon, 3; Centre, 1; Chester, 5; Clarion, 1; Clearfield, 1; Clinton, 1; Columbia, 1; Crawford, 19; Cumberland, 2; Dauphin, 3; Delaware, 1; Elk, 3; Erie, 8; Forest, 1; Franklin, 1; Huntington, 4; Jefferson, 2; Juniata, 4; Lancaster, 18; Lawrence, 2; Luzerne, 4; Lycoming, 6; McKean, 1; Mercer, 7; Mifflin, 3; Monroe, 3; Montgomery, 2; Montour, 1; Northampton, 3; Northumberland, 8; Perry, 2; Philadelphia, 2; Pike, 19; Snyder, 1; Sullivan, 1; Susquehanna, 1; Tioga, 6; Venango, 2; Warren, 5; Wayne, 7; Westmoreland, 2; Wyoming, 4; and York, 10.


          Residents aware of a bald eagle nest – which are among the largest nests of all birds – in their area should consider reporting it to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The easiest way to contact the agency through:
pgccomments@state.pa.us. Use the words “Eagle Nest Information” in the subject field.

  

 This bald eagle nest tree along the Lackawaxen River apparently took a lightning strike this spring.
          Although Pennsylvania’s bald eagle nesting population is increasing, more nests translates into more eaglets that could be involved in nest collapses caused by spring snowfall and strong winds, or that find themselves on the ground and vulnerable to terrestrial predators. Growing up is hard and juvenile missteps spurred by bad weather or human activities are challenges each eaglet must overcome to survive.

         The growing eagle population also has led to other deaths and injuries of adult bald eagles from other hazards.  Perry County Wildlife Conservation Officer Steve Hower reported that even though there has been good news regarding nesting, this has been a difficult spring for bald eagles in his district, as well as neighboring Juniata County.
          “One flew into a power line in Juniata Township, Perry County, and had to be euthanized; a second was found to be very sick sitting on the ground east of Mifflintown, Juniata County, and died shortly after it was captured; a third was found dead near Duncannon, Perry County, from an apparent respiratory infection; and a fourth was believed to have been hit by a train while feeding on carrion next to railroad tracks near Newport, Perry County,” he said. “If losing four adult eagles wasn’t bad enough, a report was received of a nest in western Juniata County with young being destroyed by severe storms as they passed through the area. An individual who has been monitoring this nest for us reported that he has not seen any activity around this nest since the storms.


         “In 23 years of serving as a WCO in Schuylkill and Perry counties, I had never had one sick, injured or dead bald eagle reported to me.  After this series of four, I hope it is another 23 years before I have another.”


         In western Pennsylvania, Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin reported that the carcass of an immature bald eagle was found near a utility pole along McDougall Road in New Vernon Township.


         “Preliminary examination in the field could not determine a cause of death, so the carcass is undergoing a necropsy by Dr. Walt Cottrell, Game Commission wildlife veterinarian,” WCO Chaybin said. “Accidental mortality does occur with wildlife, and at times electric lines contribute to these deaths in raptors. However, the necropsy also will determine if there are any traces of poison, toxic levels of lead, or if death was from other natural causes. We want to make sure this eagle was not a victim of an intentional act.”


          Fortunately, eagle nest successes are more numerous.  For example, Tioga County WCO Rodney Mee reported that the bald eagle pair in Canyon/Benjamin Hollow area has been nesting there since 1987.  During that time period, more than 40 eaglets have fledged successfully; there were only two years when no eaglets were produced.


          “This pair used four nest sites, and re-used some nest sites during this rotation,” WCO Mee said. “The Pine Creek gorge pair of eagles that came from the Shohola Falls hacking project and are celebrating their 25th anniversary of holding territory in the canyon, and serve as a picture of success for the program. It is thanks to the efforts of Cecil Houser, who has been volunteering his time to monitor the nests since 1984, that we are able to know more about these eagles, as he was the first to document nesting and provide information about how many young were being hatched and fledged.


         “Apparently the pair did not nest this year, perhaps because of a nest tree collapse or transition to a new nest.  But, it is certainly a remarkable longevity story, as these eagles are now more than 30 years old!”

  
          The Game Commission continues to further the public’s understanding of bald eagles. Last year, a comprehensive “Bald Eagle” threatened species account and “Bald Eagle Nest Etiquette” guide were added to the agency’s website (
www.pgc.state.pa.us) and can be accessed by putting your cursor on “Wildlife” in the banner menu bar, then clicking on “Endangered Species.”


         New this year is the first in a series of “Eagle-watching in Pennsylvania” guides, that will help direct those interested in viewing bald eagles in the wild on where to go, how to get there, what to expect and other wildlife viewing opportunities available at each site. Currently posted are eagle-watching guides for Erie National Wildlife Refuge, Crawford County; Conneaut Marsh, Geneva Marsh, State Game Land 213, Crawford County; Raystown Lake, Huntingdon County; State Game Land 180, Shohola Lake, Pike County; and Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, Lebanon and Lancaster counties.

 
         Others guides planned to be posted within the next few weeks are for: Bald Eagle State Park, Centre County; Glendale Lake, Price Gallitzin State Park, Cambria County; John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Philadelphia and Delaware counties; Lower Susquehanna River, Lancaster and York counties; Moraine State Park, Butler County; Pine Creek Valley, Lycoming and Tioga counties;  Promised Land State Park, Pike County; Pymatuning Reservoir, Crawford County; Upper Delaware River in Pike, Wayne and Monroe counties.


          “There is something absolutely awe-inspiring about seeing a bald eagle soaring overhead,” Roe said. “These viewing guides are designed to connect Pennsylvanians with wildlife and to encourage a greater appreciation for one of the greatest wildlife recovery efforts.  The Game Commission is proud to have played a role in that effort, and we certainly are pleased to showcase that success by helping residents seek out locations to get closer to eagles.


 
 The bald eagle nest at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area fledged three eaglets this spring.
          “The eagle etiquette guide was developed to help residents understand how they can view eagles without disturbing the nests.”
          The Game Commission currently classifies the bald eagle as a threatened species in Pennsylvania. They were removed from the federal endangered species list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2007, because delisting goals had been achieved.


          In 1983, the Game Commission began a seven-year bald eagle restoration program in which the agency sent employees to Saskatchewan to obtain eaglets from wilderness nests. The Richard King Mellon Foundation of Pittsburgh and the federal Endangered Species Fund provided financial assistance for this effort. In all, 88 bald eaglets from Canada were released from sites at Dauphin County’s Haldeman Island and Pike County’s Shohola Falls. The resurgence of eagles in Pennsylvania is directly related to this program, which also was carried out in other states in the Northeast.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Game Commission In Favor Sunday Hunting As Debate Heats Up

By Bob Frye, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, July 1, 2011


The Pennsylvania Game Commission officially has entered the fray.
At their meeting in Harrisburg this past week, commissioners — for the first time ever — adopted a resolution urging state lawmakers to repeal Pennsylvania`s long-standing prohibition on Sunday hunting. It didn`t come easily, though.
The idea passed by a 4-3 vote, with commissioner Greg Isabella of Philadelphia — who had supported a failed move to table the resolution minutes earlier — abstaining. 
Commissioner Jay Delaney of Luzerne County put the resolution forward. It cites a litany of potential benefits to Sunday hunting: a doubling of the number of days school children and camp owners can hunt, economic benefits for rural communities and business owners, new revenues for the commission through increased license sales, and another management tool for biologists.
Commissioner Ralph Martone of Lawrence County endorsed it.
"I am dismayed we are even talking about this issue in 2011," Martone said. "I think it`s 30 years later than we should be doing it. Society has changed and we haven`t, and I think it`s time we move forward on this issue."
Commissioners Dave Putnam of Centre County and Bob Schlemmer of Westmoreland County also supported the resolution.
Commissioners Tom Boop of Northumerland County, Dave Schreffler of Bedford County and Ron Weaner of Adams County did not. They cited a number of reasons, including a concern that many farmers and other private landowners — who Boop said provide about 80 percent of all the huntable land in Pennsylvania — don`t want it.
Boop also said the people pushing this idea want Sunday hunting for deer, and that will bring consequences in the form of shorter seasons.
"Sportsmen are starting to talk at their clubs, and amongst themselves, and they`re starting to realize that this might not be such a good idea in terms of reality and what might happen," Boop said.
Delaney and Martone disagreed, saying that — if given the OK to include Sundays — their intent would be to add the days to the small game schedule for the sake of youths.
They may get their chance. State Rep. John Evans, a Crawford County Republican, introduced House Bill 1760 on the same day commissioners adopted their resolution. It would not mandate Sunday hunting, but would remove the prohibition against it — which dates to 1873 — so that the commission could open Sundays to hunting if it chose to do so.
Sunday hunting is something 39 other states already allow. And that`s why the commission acted on the resolution, Delaney said.
"The debate is now," he said.