Nebraska Bird Hunters get Great News
According to Brian McClintock at www.gohuntn.com, Nebraska bird hunters received some great news about the pheasant and quail populations in their fair state. A survey sponsored by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reports a 2 percent increase in the ring-necked pheasant population. While that number is refreshing, the real story is in the 175 percent increase in the bobwhite quail population.
Harsh weather patterns during the past few years are the main reason that pheasant and quail populations have declined. While wet springs were partially to blame, the main culprit was the harsh winter in 2009 that devastated both species of birds, particularly the bobwhite quail that favor a more temperate climate.
Jeff Lusk, the Program Manager for Upland Game with the Nebraska Game and Parks cautions against misleading interpretations. The dramatic comeback in both species is in comparison to atypically low populations. That said, any increase in gamebird populations is welcome news and is a foundation on which to build.
Skeet Shooter Sets Olympic records, sponsored by Safari Club International
According to USA Shooting, Kim Rhode’s gold medal in women’s skeet shooting was one of the biggest days in Olympic shooting history. In winning the gold, Rhode became the first American to take an individual-sport medal in five consecutive Olympics. She also tied the world record and set an Olympic record with an impressive total of 99 points.
Rhode is no stranger to Olympic competitions. She collected two gold medals in the Women’s Double Trap event in 1996 and 2004 and a bronze in 2000. She also took silver in Women’s Skeet in 2008. With the addition of her 2012 gold in Women’s Skeet, Rhode is now the most decorated shotgun shooter in history.
According to Rhode’s comments on the official Olympics website, ” I do not see myself quitting any time soon. I’m looking forward to 2016 and a few more after that. The oldest Olympic medalist was a shooter and he was 72, so I still have a few more in me.” Rhode shoots between 500 and 1,000 shells per day and figures that she has fired two million rounds in her life.
Teammate Corey Cogdell did not receive a medal in the London Olympics, but she did receive death threats. Anti-hunters responded to the grip-and-grin images she posted to her website. Anti-hunters became outraged over her images posed with big game animals that she shot, and they voiced their threatening opinions via a number of social media sites. Cogdell was unflappable and responded appropriately. She also receive an outpouring of support from hunters, so much so that she trended as a top Twitter pick.
John Whipple, President of Safari Club International, is a proud sponsor of Rhode and Cogdell and oculdn’t be more pleased. “We could not be happier than to have these two Olympians as representatives of Safari Club International. Their ability to promote the organization’s advocacy and hunting heritage programs to millions of people worldwide is truly a gift for Safari Club International.
Men’s teammate Vincent Hancock made some noise of his own by becoming the first Olympic shooter to win consecutive gold medals in Men’s Skeet. His record-setting performance eclipsed the records that he set in 2008 in Beijing.
In his real life ,Hancock is a soldier in the U.S. Army marksmanship Unit stationed in Eatonton, GA. “This is what I love to do every single day,” Hancock said. “I wanted to come out here and win another gold medal and just keep going – win as many gold medals as possible.” Hancock will soon leave the Army and plans to open a shooting school with his father. Their focus will be on teaching kids to shoot.
The Rumor Mill Grinds to a Halt
Thanks to technology, rumors circulate faster than ever. Thanks to technology, too, rumors are clarified faster than ever. Information reported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation allows firearm owners to breathe a sigh of relief when they hear George Soros’ name as well as Senate Bill 2099.
Anti-gun financier George Soros was listed as having the controlling interest in the Freedom Group. Freedom Group owns a wide variety of firearms and shooting sports companies such as Remington, Bushmaster, Marlin and others. The thought that an anti-gun proponent owned those marquee companies was revealed as false information. Soros is neither connected to Freedom Group nor is he connected to Cerberus Capital Management, the firm that owns Freedom Group. Instead, the company is a privately owned corporation run by sportsmen, shooters and firearm enthusiasts.
Senate Bill 2099 was reported to require gun owners to list their firearms on their tax documents…and pay upwards of $50.00 per gun owned. This rumor, believed to have started back in 2009, has recently been disproved.
Tables Turned on Humane Society
Reported by Jim Matthews, Daily News, Los Angeles: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), an organization that does next to nothing for animal shelters but sues, badgers, and lobbies politicians and businesses into adopting its radical animals rights agenda, is getting a taste of its own medicine.
In a little-reported ruling by a judge in the District of Columbia, the HSUS is facing allegations under RICO statues on racketeering, obstructions of justice, malicious prosecution, and other claims for a lawsuit it brought and lost against Ringling Brothers Circus’ parent company Feld Entertainment, Inc.
After winning the case alleging mistreatment of elephants in its circuses brought by Friends of Animals (later merged into HSUS), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals )ASPCA) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), lawyers at Feld filed a counter-suit with a litany of claims ranging from bribery to money laundering to racketeering. The attorneys for the animal rights groups asked the judge to dismiss all of the claims, but most survived.
District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan did dismiss allegations of mail and wire fraud, but he did so only because Feld didn’t have standing to file this charge. His ruling all but set the stage for a class action RICO lawsuit against HSUS for misrepresenting itself in its fundraising campaigns across the nation. This lawsuit easily could bankrupt HSUS, put it out of business, and send some of its top executives to prison.
For the first time, a group has fought back against the animal rights and environmental extremists who have been setting policy in this country for the past 20 years or more. Now, instead of getting rich off their lawsuits and fundraising schemes that misrepresent their efforts and accomplishments, they could be driven out of business. These groups have cost the farming and ranching industry jobs and raised the price of products we buy every day. They are behind the efforts to ban sport hunting across the nation. They have forced state wildlife and fishery agencies to waste countless millions of dollars on lawsuits and have spearheaded policies and legislation like the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), which has ruined livelihoods in recreational and commercial fishing without helping marine resources.
These groups operate with surly arrogance and believe they are above the law. Thankfully, that is not the case. Stay tuned.
Hunter Numbers Up 9 Percent Between 2006 and 2011
The number of hunters age 16 and older in the United States increased 9 percent between 2006 and 2011, reversing a previous downward trend, a preliminary report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Department of the Interior shows.
Preliminary figures show an increase from 12.5 million hunters in 2006 to 13.7 million in 2011. Final data will be included the upcoming USFWS 2011 National Survey Report. USFWS has conducted a national survey every five years since 1955, with the last being the 2006 National Survey, released in 2007.
“This increase in hunters mirrors what our members are telling us – strong sales to an expanding consumer base,” said Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting, and shooting sports industry. “There is increased interest in firearm ownership – from customers new to the market to existing customers looking for the newest products. Purchases are being made for the enjoyment of recreational target shooting sports – such as sporting clays, IDPA and 3-gun competitions – as well as for personal protection, and, as these figures show us, for hunting.”
The preliminary report also shows that hunters pent an average of 21 days pursuing wild game in 2011. Additionally, the report shows that hunters spent $34 billion on trips, firearms and equipment, licenses, and other items to support their hunting activities in 2011.
The national survey is pad for by sportsmen through the use of Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid dollars. This year is significant as it is the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act.
This article orignally appeared in the Winter 2012 Flushes & Noteworthy Points column of The Upland Almanac.