May 4, 2018
Hunting-Related Taxes May Wind Up Saving Hunting
By John Haughey/Outdoor Life
McGraw photo
Earlier this year, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke  announced  that more than $1.1 billion will be distributed to state wildlife agencies from taxes generated by the  Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act  (widely referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Act) and the  Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act .

The importance of these funds should not be overlooked. The two acts apply excise taxes on manufacturers of guns, ammunition, archery equipment, and fishing equipment, which are then put into conservation efforts. The system is credited with restoring a variety of wildlife species and conserving millions of acres of habitat. But,  with a slow decline in hunting , these funds could be in trouble, and there are  new efforts to recruit and retain new hunters and shooters, and therefore keep the funding programs healthy.

The levies are regarded as ideal “user-pay, user-benefit” funding mechanisms in financing habitat rehabilitation, expanding access to public lands, and providing hunters and anglers with political clout in influencing conservation policies.

Since the first annual apportionment of $890,000 in 1939 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the agency has distributed more than $20 billion from the two federal excise taxes for state conservation and recreation projects.
CWD a Threat to Deer, and Deer Hunting
By Lindsay Thomas Jr./
McGraw photo
In the 2016-2017 hunting season, more than 32,000 whitetails were killed by hunters in the four Wisconsin counties with the highest incidence of chronic wasting disease – Dane, Iowa, Richland and Sauk. Hunters from 49 states killed deer in Wisconsin’s CWD hotbed in 2016-17. Only Delaware was not represented in reported harvests.

Even hunters from Alaska (26 deer) and Hawaii (two deer) traveled to Wisconsin to hunt in those four counties that year.

Why is this alarming? Consider all of the following.

These four counties, which adjoin each other and form a block in southwest Wisconsin near the borders with Illinois and Iowa, are the hottest CWD infection zone in Wisconsin. If you were patterning your turkey shotgun, and each pellet was one record of a CWD-positive wild deer on a target shaped like the state of Wisconsin, you’d want these four counties to be the gobbler’s head. And you’d have a very dead gobbler.

Here’s what we can assume with near certainty: Some number of these hunters killed CWD-positive deer, did not get them tested, and returned home taking parts of those deer with them. 
Shorebird Numbers Drop, and Scientists
are Fearful
By John W. Fitzpatrick and Nathan R. Senner/The New York Times
Photo by Corine Bliek/flickr
A worldwide catastrophe is underway among an extraordinary group of birds — the marathon migrants we know as shorebirds. Numbers of some species are falling so quickly that many biologists fear an imminent planet-wide wave of extinctions.

These declines represent the No. 1 conservation crisis facing birds in the world today. Climate change, coastal development, the destruction of wetlands and hunting are all culprits. And because these birds depend for their survival, as we do, on the shorelines of oceans, estuaries, rivers, lakes, lagoons and marshes, their declines point to a systemic crisis that demands our attention, for our own good.

No doubt you’ve seen some of these birds while on vacation at the beach, skittering back and forth along the cusp of waves as they peck with their long beaks for tiny sand flies or the eggs of horseshoe crabs. They can seem comic in their frenetic exertions, tiny Charlie Chaplins in bird suits.

But these birds are remarkable in ways that defy not only belief but scientific understanding: They are, by far, the planet’s most extraordinary global travelers.
Inside the Illegal Black Market for Hummingbirds
By Rene Ebersole/National Geographic
Photo by Jim Culp/flickr
There’s a witch in San Diego who casts spells to “trap a man” and “dominate him” so “he’ll always come back.” She has a shop on San Ysidro Boulevard, one mile from the busiest Mexico border crossing in the United States, near a pawnshop, a liquor store, a furniture market, and the Smokenjoy Hookah Lounge, where DJ music thumps on Friday nights.

But you don’t need to go to her shop for magic—you can join the tens of thousands watching her on YouTube. Like a wicked Martha Stewart creating potions instead of potpourri, she provides step-by-step instructions for her spells.

“This is the honey jar,” she tells viewers while introducing the ingredients on her workbench: photographs of two would-be lovers, a piece of paper with their names written on it three times, a small glass jar—and a dead hummingbird. She rolls the tiny animal inside the photographs and wraps the cigar-shaped bundle with hot-pink yarn nearly the same shade as her long, fake fingernails.
Deforestation is Making Our Summer Heat Waves Worse
By Sarah De Weerdt/Anthropocene
Photo by crustmania/flickr
Burning of fossil fuels isn’t the only characteristic of the industrial age. Especially the start of the Industrial Revolution in the last half of the 19 th  century, industrialization has also meant rapid deforestation. This loss of forest cover has contributed to a surprisingly large fraction of climate warming, especially in North America and Eurasia, according to an analysis published in Nature Climate Change.

When a forest is cut down, carbon stored in the wood is released, increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Loss of forestland also means loss of a carbon sink – so in addition to more carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, less is absorbed from it.

Deforestation also has physical effects that can have an impact on climate, especially locally. The loss of forest cover changes how much sunlight the land reflects and how much cooling water vapor is released by plants into the atmosphere, for example.
"Lots of people committed crimes during the year who would not have done so if they had been fishing. The increase of crime is among those deprived of the regenerations that impregnate the mind and character of the fisherman."

-   Herbert Hoover

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