Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Commends Distribution of Funding

Washington D.C.- The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies applauds Deputy Secretary Bernhardt’s announcement about allocating much needed funding to state wildlife agencies and Native American and Alaskan tribes through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program and the Tribal Wildlife Grant (TWG) program. This funding helps address critical fish and wildlife needs by supporting species and habitats listed in approved state wildlife actions plans and encouraging key partnerships for wildlife conservation.

“We appreciate the Department of Interior and the US Fish and Wildlife Service for releasing this critical funding for fish and wildlife conservation,” said Nick Wiley, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Executive Director for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “State and Tribal Wildlife Grants leverage the expertise and professional management capacity of state fish and wildlife agencies with conservation partners to deliver successful conservation projects that directly benefit species in greatest need of support.”

The State & Tribal Wildlife Grants program is the only federal program available to states, territories, District of Columbia and tribes to help conserve more than 12,000 fish and wildlife identified in State Wildlife Action Plans as species in greatest need of conservation. State Wildlife Action Plans were recently revised and updated with the best science and rely on funding from the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program for implementation.

Florida- Everything You Need to Know about Red Tide

What is a Florida red tide?
A red tide, or harmful algal bloom, is a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga (plantlike organism). In Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, the species that causes most red tides is Karenia brevis, often abbreviated as K. brevis. To distinguish K. brevis blooms from red tides caused by other species of algae, researchers in Florida call the former the “Florida red tide.”
Are red tides red?
At high enough concentrations, Florida red tide can discolor water a red or brown hue. Red tides caused by other algal species can appear red, brown, green or even purple. The water can also remain its normal color during a bloom.

When?
Is red tide a new phenomenon?
No, red tides were documented in the southern Gulf of Mexico as far back as the 1700s and along Florida’s Gulf coast in the 1840s. Fish kills near Tampa Bay were even mentioned in the records of Spanish explorers.

How long do Florida red tides last?
Red tides can last as little as a few weeks or longer than a year. They can even subside and then reoccur. The duration of a bloom in nearshore Florida waters depends on physical and biological conditions that influence its growth and persistence, including sunlight, nutrients and salinity, as well as the speed and direction of wind and water currents.

Where?
Do red tides occur anywhere else?
Yes, many algae species cause red tides all over the world. Yet, the organism that causes Florida’s red tide, K. brevis, is found almost exclusively in the Gulf of Mexico from Mexico to Florida. Florida red tides can be transported around the Gulf of Mexico as coastal waters move with winds and currents. Some red tides have even been carried by the Gulf Stream current into the Atlantic Ocean as far north as Delaware.

Is the Florida red tide found in estuaries, bays or freshwater systems?
The Florida red tide can be found in bays and estuaries but not in freshwater systems such as lakes and rivers. Because K. brevis cannot tolerate low-salinity waters for very long, blooms usually remain in salty coastal waters and do not penetrate upper reaches of estuaries. However, other harmful algae, including cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), typically bloom in freshwater lakes and rivers.

Can we predict where a red tide will occur?
Although the occurrence of a red tide cannot be predicted, scientists can forecast its movement using wind and water current data once a bloom is located. Scientists also monitor the concentration of the red tide organism by collecting water samples routinely and in response to blooms. Red tide movement and concentration are important because the effects of a red tide, such as dead fish and human respiratory irritation, depend on these factors. The information provided by forecasting and monitoring allows people to make informed decisions regarding their beach-going activities.

Why?
Why are red tides harmful?
Many red tides produce toxic chemicals that can affect both marine organisms and humans. The Florida red tide organism, K. brevis, produces brevetoxins that can affect the central nervous system of fish and other vertebrates, causing these animals to die. Wave action can break open K. brevis cells and release these toxins into the air, leading to respiratory irritation. For people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, red tide can cause serious illness. The red tide toxins can also accumulate in molluscan filter-feeders such as oysters and clams, which can lead to Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning in people who consume contaminated shellfish.

Has coastal (nutrient) pollution caused the Florida red tide?
In contrast to the many red tide species that are fueled by nutrient pollution associated with urban or agricultural runoff, there is no direct link between nutrient pollution and the frequency or severity of red tides caused by K. brevis. Florida red tides develop 10-40 miles offshore, away from man-made nutrient sources. Red tides occurred in Florida long before human settlement, and severe red tides were observed in the mid-1900s before the state’s coastlines were heavily developed. However, once red tides are transported inshore, they are capable of using man-made nutrients for their growth.

How?
How can we control Florida’s red tides?
Control of Florida red tides is not a simple issue. The harmful effects of a red tide are caused by toxins released when the organism dies. Potential controls must not only kill the red tide organism but also eliminate the toxins from the water. To date, this has not been possible; however, researchers are identifying ways to reduce shellfish toxicity. In addition, any control strategy must not harm the environment. In the 1950s, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and State of Florida scientists used copper sulfate to attempt to eliminate a red tide in coastal Florida waters. Although the copper sulfate killed some of the red tide cells, it led to the release of toxins that, along with the copper sulfate, had negative effects on other marine organisms. Controls must also be practical. Red tides vary greatly in size – expanding as far as 10,000 square miles – and can be present from the surface of the water to the seafloor. Presently, there is no practical and acceptable way to control or kill red tide blooms.

Health and Safety
Will I experience respiratory irritation during a Florida red tide?
Some people experience respiratory irritation (coughing, sneezing, tearing and an itchy throat) when the Florida red tide organism, K. brevis, is present and winds blow onshore. Offshore winds usually keep respiratory effects experienced by those on the shore to a minimum. The Florida Department of Health advises people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, to avoid red tide areas.

Is it safe to swim during a Florida red tide?
Swimming is safe for most people. However, the Florida red tide can cause some people to suffer skin irritation and burning eyes. People with respiratory illness may also experience respiratory irritation in the water. Use common sense. If you are particularly susceptible to irritation from plant products, avoid an area with a red tide bloom. If you experience irritation, get out of the water and thoroughly wash off. Do not swim among dead fish because they can be associated with harmful bacteria.

Is it OK to eat shellfish at a restaurant or purchase shellfish from a seafood market during a red tide?
Store-bought and restaurant-served shellfish are safe to eat during a bloom because the shellfish are monitored by the government for safety. Commercially available shellfish are often not locally harvested and, if harvested locally, are tested for red tide toxins before they are sold.

Is it OK to eat recreationally harvested shellfish during a red tide?
Recreational harvesting of bivalve molluscs such as hard clams, oysters and mussels from conditionally approved or approved shellfish harvesting areas is banned during red tide closures; these organisms may not legally be harvested and, therefore, should not be eaten during any closure of a shellfish harvesting area. To determine whether or not harvesting of shellfish is permitted in an area, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture website. Edible parts of other animals commonly referred to as shellfish (crabs, shrimp and lobsters) are not affected by the red tide organism and can be eaten. Do not eat the tomalley (green stuff, hepatopancreas). During scallop season, locally harvested scallops from open scallop harvesting areas are also safe to eat as long as you eat only the muscle of the scallop and not the whole animal.

In addition, illegally harvested and unregulated shellfish are particularly dangerous and should never be consumed. For example, coquina clams and molluscan predators, such as whelks that feed on toxic bivalves, readily accumulate toxins in their tissues. An illegal harvest is a dangerous harvest.

Is it OK to eat local finfish during a red tide?
Yes, it is safe to eat local finfish as long as the fish are filleted before eaten. Although toxins may accumulate in the guts of fish, these areas are disposed of when the fish are filleted. However, it is never a good idea to eat dead or distressed animals, especially in a red tide area, because the reason for the animal’s strange behavior or death cannot be absolutely known.

Does cooking or freezing destroy the Florida red tide toxin?
No, cooking or freezing does not destroy the red tide toxin. Furthermore, the toxin cannot be seen or tasted.

How can the Florida red tide affect my pets?
Just like people, pets may be affected by the Florida red tide. If you live close to the beach, consider bringing outdoor pets inside during a bloom to prevent respiratory irritation. If you are at the beach with your pets, do not allow them to play with dead fish or foam that may accumulate on the beach during or after a red tide. If your pet eats dead fish, it may get sick. If your pet swims in the red tide, wash it as soon as possible. Most dogs lick themselves after swimming and will consume any toxins on their fur.

Where can I get more health and safety information on harmful algae?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Florida Department of Health
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Virginia Coast Guard Rescues Three Near Virginia Beach

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Coast Guard Station Little Creek crews assisted three people after their boat began taking on water off Virginia Beach, Virginia, Thursday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth received a radio call at about 6:20 p.m. that a 27-foot Bayliner boat with three people aboard was taking on water in the vicinity of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast. Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium and 29-foot Response Boat-Small crews from Station Little Creek in Virginia Beach launched to assist.

Once on scene, Station Little Creek crew members boarded the vessel with a dewatering pump to manage the flooding.

The RB-M crew took the boat in tow, then passed the tow to the RB-S crew, who towed the boat to Cove Marina in Virginia Beach.

“Mishaps can worsen very suddenly underway, which is why people should call for help as soon as something goes wrong,” said Seaman Walter Jesuncosky, coxswain for the case. “Having communications equipment like radios on board is a good way to ensure you can call for assistance when you need it.”

UTG PRO 15 Slim Keymod & M-LOKR Carbine Length Drop-in Handguards

With the abundance of high value AR15 carbines in the market, it is easier than ever to get your hands on one and still have funds leftover to customize. One aspect of the AR15 is the beauty its highly modular design. After the AR15 is brought back to the home front, standard items, like the pistol grip, butt stock, and plastic handguards tend to find their way into a drawer or closet never to see the light of day again. The only problem arises with the A2 front sight post. For the Average Joe, removing a standard A2 FSP is a difficult and time consuming ordeal. Without the right tools and equipment it does not take a lot to permanently damage or mar your carbine. So what do you do if you want one of those full length Super Slim handguards, but are stuck with an A2 front sight? One option is to look into UTG PRO’s latest 15″ Super Slim Carbine-Length Drop-In Handguard.

UTG PRO put forth a lot of effort in creating these hanguards and making available, both the M-LOK® and Keymod Modular Systems as options. As with most drop-in handguards, they are designed to fit carbine-length AR15s equipped with an A2 front sight post, delta ring assembly, and round handguard cap. It achieves its 15″ full-length size via a three piece design with an integrated cutout allowing the front sight to protrude through. The increased real estate allows for various techniques for both manipulation and retention, as well as, providing additional customizable points for attaching accessories.

Unlike other drop-in handguards, the UTG PRO Super Slim handguards provide increased mounting versatility with 7 slot tracks around the circumference of the handguard and not just at the typically found 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The handguards feature a scalloped Picatinny top rail that extends to and sits flush against the upper receiver flat top, bridging the gap over the delta ring assembly. For those who run a Ruger® AR-556® with its proprietary threaded delta ring/barrel nut assembly, you will be happy to know that the Super Slim handguards are compatible and drop-in without an issue. Each handguard comes with its own additional mounting accessories. The M-LOK™ Handguard (MTU015SSM) includes one 8-slot Picatinny rail section and a QD sling swivel adaptor, while the Keymod handguard (MTU015SSK) comes with a 4 and an 8-slot Picatinny rail section. Both are precision machined from 6061-T6 aluminum with a matte black anodize finish and are proudly designed and made in the USA.

MTU015SSM, 15″ M-LOK®: $129.97
MTU015SSK, 15″ Keymod: $129.97

ICEMULE Pro Large in Realtree Xtra

COLUMBUS, GA – The ICEMULE Pro™ Large in Realtree Xtra offers 23 liters of drink-haulin’, ice-keeping performance. The Large Pro can easily load up with 18 cans + ice, making it ideal for a day on the boat or a tailgate before the game. No other soft cooler out there is easier to carry, easier to load up and easier to unload. The ICEMULE Pro can easily load up with a day’s worth of food, drinks and ice. No other soft cooler out there is easier to carry, easier to load up and easier to unload because the ICEMULE Pro does away with clunky, obnoxious zippers and instead relies on their TriFold DriTop enclosure system. And when you’re done with it, an ICEMULE easily rolls up for storage. To top it off, it’s 100% waterproof and it floats. This isn’t your dad’s cooler.

Details:
• Capacity: 23L / 18 cans + ice
• In Use Dimensions: 17″ x 11″ x 14″
• Weight: 3.2 lbs

Federal Premium Introduces Edge TLR All-Range Hunting Ammunition

NOKA, MN – Federal Premium Ammunition is pleased to announce Edge TLR. The full line of rifle ammunition combines the features of top match bullet designs with the industry’s best bonding technology. The result is match accuracy and reliable expansion at extreme long range, with high weight retention, deep penetration and lethal terminal performance at shorter distances. There’s never been a hunting bullet that compares. Shipments of Edge TLR ammunition are being delivered to dealers.

Unlike so-called long-range projectiles that can fail to perform on impact at lower velocities downrange, the Edge TLR bullet uses the exclusive Slipstream tip to instantly initiate deadly expansion. The tip is also crafted from the industry’s most heat-resistant polymer for the most consistent ballistics possible.

At close range, the bullet’s copper shank and bonded lead core retain weight for deep, reliable penetration. Its long, sleek profile offers an extremely high ballistic coefficient, and AccuChannel groove technology improves accuracy and reduces drag across the range spectrum.

Watch Edge TLR video: 

Features & Benefits
• Match-grade long-range accuracy in a bonded hunting bullet
• High-performance polymer tip material provides the industry’s highest heat resistance for the most consistent ballistics
• Extremely high ballistic coefficient with target bullet precision
• Exclusive Slipstream tip helps flatten trajectories and initiates low-velocity expansion
• Less wind drift and drop
• AccuChannel groove technology minimizes drag and improves accuracy
• Copper shank and bonded lead core retain weight for deep penetration at any range
• Demonstrated expansion at out to 1,200 yards

Part No. / Description / MSRP
P308ETLR175 / 308 Win. 175-grain Edge TLR / $47.95
P3006ETLR175 / 30-06 Spring. 175-grain Edge TLR / $47.95
P300WETLR200 / 300 Win. Mag. 200-grain Edge TLR / $59.95
P300WSMETLR200 / 300 Win. Short Mag. 200-grain Edge TLR / $59.95

Federal Premium is a brand of Vista Outdoor Inc., an outdoor sports and recreation company. For more information on Federal Premium, go to www.federalpremium.com.

Daniel Defense Launches New Cerakote Rifle Finish

Daniel Defense, manufacturer of the world’s finest firearms and accessories, has expanded its line of Cerakote rifle finishes with the addition of CERAKOTE® ELITE DANIEL DEFENSE® DEEP WOODS™. The new Deep Woods finish is more durable and features greater abrasion resistance than previous Cerakote finishes.

“We are excited to be working with Cerakote to release Daniel Defense Deep Woods on several of our rifle models,” said Marty Daniel, President/CEO of Daniel Defense. “We debuted the Deep Woods finish on our DDM4A1 rifle at the 2017 NRA show in Atlanta, Georgia, this past spring. The response was very positive not only to the Deep Woods color but also to the look and feel of the Cerakote finish.”

The Cerakote Elite Daniel Defense Deep Woods finish features a green earth-tone color created exclusively for Daniel Defense. As part of the new Cerakote Elite series, Daniel Defense Deep Woods is noticeably more durable than previous Cerakote finishes and has a greater abrasion resistance and improved hardness all within a thinner application. Cerakote Elite Daniel Defense Deep Woods is the third exclusive Cerakote finish to be offered by Daniel Defense in addition to Mil Spec + and Daniel Defense Tornado.
Rifles currently available in Cerakote Elite Daniel Defense Deep Woods include DDM4V7, DDM4V11, DDM4A1, DD5V1 Keymod, and DD5V1 M-LOK.

To view Daniel Defense’s complete Cerakote collection, visit https://danieldefense.com/firearms/finish/cerakote.html.

Kansas Ranges- August is National Shooting Sports Month

PRATT – The National Shooting Sports Foundation has announced that August is National Shooting Sports Month, celebrating the passion millions of Americans have for target shooting. Recreational shooting is a safe and fun activity enjoyed by people of all ages, whether in competitive venues or target plinking just for fun. Target shooting is also great preparation for the coming hunting seasons.

To learn more about National Shooting Sports Month, go to www.shootingsportsmonth.org, where you’ll find listings of events and promotions by state, promotion type and location. You can also learn more about how to get involved in National Shooting Sports Month, whether you’re in retail, manufacturing, involved with a shooting range or organization or are a shooter.

To find shooting ranges in Kansas, go to www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Activities” then “Shooting Ranges”. There you’ll find a listing of all shooting ranges, which can be searched by county of location. Under “Archery” in the “Activities” drop-down menu, you’ll find a list of archery target ranges located on public land.

There are five Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) shooting ranges operated by friends groups within state parks or on wildlife areas: Fancy Creek Range in Tuttle Creek State Park, Hillsdale Range and Training Facility in Hillsdale State Park, Cheney Shooting Range on Cheney Wildlife Area, Hollister Shooting Range on the Hollister Wildlife Area, Shawnee State Fishing Lake Hunter Education Range and a soon to open range at El Dorado State Park. KDWPT ranges offer handgun and rifle lanes, and some offer skeet and trap ranges. There are also archery target ranges on the following KDWPT areas: Byron Walker Wildlife Area, Clinton State Park, Eisenhower State Park, El Dorado State Park, Glen Elder State Park, Hillsdale State Park, Historic Lake Scott State Park, Lovewell State Park, Olathe Prairie Center, Prairie Dog State Park, Pratt Operations Office, Tuttle Creek State Park and Webster State Park.

Recreational shooting is a lifelong activity that not only gets you outdoors with family and friends but it also supports state wildlife agencies, which receive funding derived from excise taxes on firearms and ammunition through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program. WSFR provides match funds to state wildlife agencies to be used for fish and wildlife programs, as well as public shooting range development.

Kentucky- Positive Outlook for Upcoming Dove Season

Kentucky Afield Outdoors:
A Positive Outlook for the Upcoming Dove Season

FRANKFORT, KY – The morning fog we’ve seen a few times lately portends that fall hunting seasons are right around the corner. For many Kentuckians, the best time of year begins on Sept. 1, the traditional opener for dove season.

Dove hunting is a social event as old friends reunite while standing on the edge of a field, telling stories and keeping their eyes peeled for incoming birds. A plate of bacon wrapped grilled dove breasts finishes a great day afield.

“The good news is we had fewer violent storms this past summer, so dove reproduction was really good,” said John Brunjes, migratory bird program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “It should be a good season this year. I expect a rebound from the past two seasons.”

Hit or miss hunting describes the last two dove seasons for many in Kentucky. “The last two years, certain fields were good, but others had few or no birds. We had poor reproduction. Those great fields were still great, but during good years, those other fields got a lot of spillover. But, during average or poor years for reproduction, those fields don’t have birds.”

The opening weekend is the dove season for many hunters. Brunjes explained that between 60 and 70 percent of the opening weekend harvest consists of juvenile birds.

“Young birds are more susceptible to harvest,” he said. “When we have fewer young birds in the population, we harvest fewer birds on opening weekend.”

Rain fell at the appropriate times for fields to thrive this year. “Sunflowers are looking great, so is corn,” said Wes Little, migratory bird biologist for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “The birds should have plenty to eat this coming season.”

Scouting is primal for dove hunting success. “Kentucky is a big state and things are not uniform,” Brunjes said. “You must scout and see if the field you plan to hunt has good flowers and birds. Sometimes, you have a beautiful field, but no birds or the field looks great in July, but not so good by the end of August. It is worth your time to go a couple days ahead of the season to see.”

Study how doves use the field you plan to hunt when scouting. Anyone with dove hunting experience knows the feeling of standing dejectedly along the edge of the field with a cold shotgun, while hunters on the other side of the field quickly get their limits.

“Watch where doves fly, if they are cutting across a field corner, following a powerline or landing in a particular tree,” Brunjes said. “Doves also are drawn to patches of bare dirt in the field itself. On opening day, set up accordingly.”

Doves on opening weekend are not yet acclimated to hunting pressure, but that does not mean hunters should wear a white t-shirt and brightly colored pants.

“I wear drab colored pants and a camo t-shirt for opening day,” Brunjes said. “If you have something to hide behind such as a hay bale, use it. They can flare on you on opening day. As the season progresses, camo up more.”

Brunjes also warns dove hunters using dogs to retrieve birds to make sure they do not overheat them. “Opening day is usually hot and dogs may not be used to working in such heat,” he said. “Make sure to provide shade and plenty of water for your dog. Dogs perish every year from heat stroke on the opening weekend of dove season.”

Hunting pressure and food availability push doves into new areas later in September and into October. “Silage corn fields should be good later in the season,” Brunjes said. “They usually won’t cut silage until we are into September.”

Brunjes also likes wooly fields laden with pokeberry, the purplish plant with berries that stain clothes. “Those weedy fields that you wouldn’t think hold anything will draw lots of doves in the late season,” he said. In addition to pokeberry, doves eat the seeds of foxtail and pigweed in overgrown fields.

Hunters in the field pursuing other species should look and see if these fallow fields draw doves later in the season. They could provide furious hunting in the last two segments of dove season.

The first segment of dove season closes Oct. 26. The second segment opens Nov. 23 and closes Dec. 3 while the final segment of dove season opens Dec. 23, 2017, and closes Jan. 14, 2018.

“Remember all migratory bird hunters must complete the Harvest Information Program survey and obtain their confirmation number before they are legal migratory bird hunters,” Brunjes said.

The process takes less than 5 minutes. Log on to the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website atwww.fw.ky.gov and click on the “My Profile” tab to begin. In addition to the Harvest Information Program (HIP) confirmation number, dove hunters must possess a valid Kentucky hunting license as well as a Kentucky Migratory Game Bird-Waterfowl Permit to be legal hunters.

The 2017-2018 Kentucky Hunting Guide for Dove, Early Waterfowl, Woodcock, Snipe and Crow lists fields on public and private land open for public dove hunting. Paper copies of this guide are available free wherever you can buy hunting licenses. You may also view a printable version of this guide on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at www.fw.ky.gov.

Author Lee McClellan is a nationally award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.
(Editors: Please email Lee.McClellan@ky.gov for photos.)

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife news releases are available online at fw.ky.gov

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manages, regulates, enforces and promotes responsible use of all fish and wildlife species, their habitats, public wildlife areas and waterways for the benefit of those resources and for public enjoyment. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. For more information on the department, visit our website at fw.ky.gov.

Gov. Snyder helps celebrate opening of new multi-use trail in Menominee County (MI)

Gov. Rick Snyder took an off-road vehicle ride Wednesday along the new Escanaba to Hermansville multi-use trail, celebrating one more milestone in deepening Michigan’s brand as The Trails State.

The trail was developed through a unique and innovative partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and American Transmission Co.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Thomas St. Onge Veterans Museum in Hermansville, Gov. Snyder rode the roughly 25-mile ORV route east into Delta County to the Great Lakes Sports and Recreation Club in Escanaba.

“This new outdoor recreation opportunity is a great example of government, businesses and the community working together,” Gov. Snyder said. “Because of the public-private collaboration, residents and visitors alike will enjoy this trail for decades to come and celebrate the best of Pure Michigan.”

Development of the trail began in 2007 when the state acquired the inactive railroad corridor from Wisconsin Central.

This acquisition of the corridor was a collaborative effort between the Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s Parks and Recreation Division and the Michigan Department of Transportation, with grant funding provided by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

The $550,000 land purchase was transacted under the State Transportation Preservation Act, which preserves future transportation interest, while allowing for interim trail use.

From 2009 through 2011, the DNR engaged in a public comment process to determine the best possible uses for the railroad corridor. Overwhelmingly, the public wanted the corridor open for multiple uses, ranging from hiking, biking and off-road vehicle use to snowmobiling and horseback riding.

“In 2013, the American Transmission Co. approached the DNR about the possibility of siting its electric transmission line next to the rail-trail,” said Ron Yesney, DNR Upper Peninsula trails coordinator. “In return, the company offered to fund construction and maintenance of the recreational trail, including three bridge upgrades.”

The resulting $3.5 million project has produced a premier multi-use trail corridor, helping to connect communities in the U.P., and important additional electric transmission into the region.

“This was a winning project all the way around,” said Tom Finco, vice president of external affairs for American Transmission Co. “By co-locating our transmission line within an established corridor, we minimized the environmental impact of the project and were able to provide state residents with a multi-purpose trail. This new recreational asset also should help attract tourists to an easily accessible part of the Upper Peninsula.”

One of the biggest benefits of this partnership is that it allows the DNR to save program dollars, which can now be used in other areas in need of recreational improvements.

“This type of partnership venture could potentially be duplicated elsewhere across Michigan where the need to develop recreational opportunities and energy infrastructure intersect,” said Stacy Haughey, DNR Upper Peninsula coordinator.

Local off-road vehicle riders and clubs have supported the trail development, providing another cooperative boost to the project. The Normenco Sportsman’s Club of northern Menominee County and the Sportsmen’s Off-Road Vehicle Association of Delta County will be the trail sponsors, coordinating maintenance of the trail.

Yesney said the joint effort in Menominee and Delta counties on this cooperative rail-trail development has been a success.

“It demonstrates an efficient way to achieve multiple goals and meet objectives, with significant improvements in recreation and electric infrastructure gained for the Upper Peninsula for decades to come,” Yesney said.

For more information on Michigan trails, visit www.michigan.gov/dnrtrails.

Fox Builds on Legacy of Craftsmanship with New A Grade Series Shotguns

WESTFIELD, MA – Fox shotguns have proven themselves as superb firearms for more than a century. For 2017, the new Fox A Grade Series presented by Savage Arms continues this heritage of craftsmanship with shotguns that handle gracefully, point naturally and hit hard. Shipments of these fine firearms are now being delivered to dealers.

The Fox A Grade Series features the same components and style that have made all Fox shotguns the envy of collectors. Each of the four box-lock side-by-sides in the series features a beautifully checkered American black walnut stock, splinter fore-end and a bone and charcoal case color-finished receiver. Available in 12- and 20-gauge, with 26- or 28-inch barrels.

Features & Benefits
• Box lock, side-by-side shotgun
• 14½-inch length of pull, 1½-inch drop at comb
• American black walnut stock with oil finish and precision-cut checkering
• Straight buttstock grip and splinter fore-end
• 26- or 28-inch barrels with solid game rib
• Front brass bead sight
• Includes interchangeable improved cylinder, modified and full chokes
• Double triggers and automatic safety
• Bone and charcoal case color-finished receiver
• Polymer carrying case

Part No. / Description / MSRP
19436 / 12-gauge, 28-inch barrel / $4,999
19437 / 12-gauge, 26-inch barrel / $4,999
19438 / 20-gauge, 28-inch barrel / $4,999
19439 / 20-gauge, 26-inch barrel / $4,999

Savage Arms is a brand of Vista Outdoor Inc., an outdoor sports and recreation company. To learn more about Savage Arms, visit www.savagearms.com.

About Vista Outdoor Inc.
Vista Outdoor is a leading global designer, manufacturer and marketer of consumer products in the growing outdoor sports and recreation markets. The company operates in two segments, Shooting Sports and Outdoor Products, and has a portfolio of well-recognized brands that provides consumers with a wide range of performance-driven, high-quality and innovative products for individual outdoor recreational pursuits. Vista Outdoor products are sold at leading retailers and distributors across North America and worldwide. Vista Outdoor is headquartered in Utah and has manufacturing operations and facilities in 13 U.S. States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico along with international customer service, sales and sourcing operations in Asia, Australia, Canada, and Europe. For news and information, visit www.vistaoutdoor.com or follow us on Twitter @VistaOutdoorInc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/vistaoutdoor.

Maryland Provides First-Time Hunters Opportunity to Experience Sport

Low-Cost Apprentice Hunting Licenses Now Available

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering a new hunting license for first-time hunters. The Apprentice Hunting License is available to residents and nonresidents of any age who never held a Maryland hunting license.

The apprentice license is $10 for residents and $20 for nonresidents, and provides the same privileges as other Maryland hunting licenses. It allows anyone interested in hunting a one-time chance to try the sport before committing to the more lengthy process of obtaining a traditional hunting license.

“Our hope is to provide the apprentice an opportunity to experience hunting in Maryland at a reduced rate and have them become lifelong hunters,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Hunters remain the primary source of revenue for conservation initiatives and are critical to the state’s wildlife management efforts.”

Individuals can get only one Maryland apprentice hunting license per lifetime and applicants must first pass a short, online hunter safety course offered by the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

When hunting, apprentice license holders must be accompanied and directly supervised by a fully-licensed Maryland resident, 18 years old or older, who must be close enough take control of an archery device or firearm. An apprentice hunter can only hunt unaccompanied after successfully completing the full hunter safety course and receiving a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunter Safety.

Licensed apprentice hunters can hunt deer, rabbit, squirrel, turkey and waterfowl. Appropriate stamps are needed to hunt migratory birds, deer and waterfowl with a bow or muzzleloader. Additionally, anyone 17 year old or older needs a Managed Hunt Permit to hunt in certain state parks.

Volunteers Form Black Warrior Chapter of Quail Forever in Birmingham, AL

Birmingham, Ala. – Quail Forever continues to expand its mission in the Southeast with the formation of the Black Warrior Chapter of Quail Forever in Birmingham, Alabama. Volunteers are focusing on habitat improvements and conservation education to create positive impacts for bobwhite quail and other wildlife in the Greater Birmingham region.

“We’re excited to bring a new chapter of Quail Forever to the largest population center in Alabama and make it available for those passionate about hunting and conservation,” stated Cullen Wiggins, president of the Black Warrior Chapter of Quail Forever. “The committee looks forward to improving habitat and bringing to light the challenges and opportunities quail have in the 21st century, and we hope others will help support a quail comeback in our state.”

Quail populations in Alabama have seen a consistent decline since the mid 1980’s due to changing land use practices, but success stories can still be highlighted throughout the state thanks to conservation advocates paving a new path for the Southeast’s most iconic bird. The Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources has shown a renewed interest in quail management in recent years, including the creation of focal areas for bobwhites and habitat project implementation to restore bobwhite populations to 1980’s levels. The Black Warrior Chapter of Quail Forever will utilize the organization’s unique local approach to help fund similar projects and initiatives to reestablish the glory days of quail habitat and bobwhite hunting in Alabama.

Black Warrior Chapter of Quail Forever

The Black Warrior Chapter of Quail Forever has elected Cullen Wiggins of Birmingham as president, Drew Barnett of Mountain Brook as vice president, Davis Bryant of Birmingham as treasurer, Nick Sanders of Coaling as habitat chair, Freddy Padilla of Birmingham as youth/education coordinator, Lance Lucas of Birmingham as banquet chair, and Tripp Giles of Birmingham as secretary.
The chapter will hold its next meeting on Monday, August 21st, starting at 6:oo p.m. at the Purple Onion (1551 Montgomery Hwy – Birmingham, AL 35216). Hunters and conservationists interested in joining the chapter as volunteers are encouraged to attend – please RSVP with Cullen Wiggins.
The chapter’s inaugural habitat fundraising banquet will be held this fall on Thursday, November 9th at the Avondale Brewery in Birmingham.
For more information about the chapter or to become involved, contact chapter president, Cullen Wiggins, at (205) 454-5058 or Cullen.Wiggins@gmail.com.
About Quail Forever

Quail Forever is a leading organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation efforts for the United States’ native quail species. Since its creation in 2005, Quail Forever has conducted more than 8,500 habitat projects across the nation benefitting quail and other wildlife. Along with its affiliate organization Pheasants Forever, it has committed more than $708 million to improve more than 15.8 million acres of wildlife habitat. Quail Forever has more than 16,000 members and 165 local chapters across the country. Both Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever are part of Pheasants Forever, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit.