Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: Weapons

Firearms industry responds to petition filed with EPA seeking to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle

Ammunition for sale at the Los Angeles Gun Club.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, stated its opposition to a petition filed Tuesday with the Environmental Protection Agency seeking to ban the use of lead in ammunition and fishing tackle.

"There is simply no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations that would require restricting or banning the use of traditional ammunition beyond current limitations, such as the scientifically based restriction on waterfowl hunting," NSSF President Steve Sanetti said in a press release. Using lead ammunition for waterfowl hunting already is banned nationally and in California is not allowed when big-game hunting in areas designated as California condor range.

Filed by several environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy and the Assn. of Avian Veterinarians, the petition claims that traditional bullets used by hunters are inconsistent with the Toxic Substance Control Act and that such ammo poses a danger to wildlife, in particular raptors, that may feed on unrecovered game in the field. The EPA has 90 days to issue a ruling that it will either accept or reject the petition.

NSSF also expressed its concerns over the possible ramifications such a ban would have on wildlife conservation. According to the group, a federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of ammunition is a primary source of wildlife conservation funding.

"Needlessly restricting or banning traditional ammunition absent sound science will hurt wildlife conservation efforts as fewer hunters take to the field," said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. "Hunters and their ammunition have done more for wildlife than the Center for Biological Diversity ever will."

-- Kelly Burgess


Photo: Ammunition for sale at the Los Angeles Gun Club. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Women outpace men as new hunters

An unidentified woman shows off the turkey she shot. More women than men took up hunting last year, according to new figures from the National Sporting Goods Assn.

While total hunters in the U.S. decreased slightly (.05%) between 2008 and 2009, the number of female hunters increased by 5.4%, netting 163,000 new participants. Growth areas for women included muzzleloading (up 134.6%), bowhunting (up 30.7%) and hunting with firearms (up 3.5%).

The data also show women outpaced men among newcomers to target shooting with a rifle, with female participation growing by 4.1%.

"New hunters, shooters and anglers are a good thing for everyone who loves the outdoors," said Denise Wagner of the Wonders of Wildlife museum in Springfield, Mo., the official home of National Hunting and Fishing Day.

"Hunting and fishing license sales, combined with special taxes on firearms and ammunition, bows and arrows, and rods and reels generate about $100,000 every 30 minutes, totaling more than $1.75 billion per year, for conservation," Wagner added. "When it comes to funding for wildlife and wild places, more is definitely better."

National Hunting and Fishing Day, scheduled for Sept. 25 this year, was established by Congress to recognize America’s sportsmen for their leading role in fish, wildlife and habitat conservation.

The growth in new participation among women is no surprise to Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the shooting, hunting and outdoor industry.

"Over the past several years, our industry has worked hard to help build this segment of our market. We’ve developed shooting and hunting products especially for women, reached out with welcoming and instructional workshops for women, and encouraged existing hunters and shooters to introduce their spouses, daughters and other newcomers to shooting sports and outdoor lifestyles," Sanetti said. "I believe these efforts are paying off, which is a bright spot for our industry as well as for conservation."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: An unidentified woman shows off the turkey she shot. Credit: Jim Bulger / Colorado Division of Wildlife

Fish and Game Q&A: Is it legal to use submerged lights when night fishing lakes? [Updated]

Sunset fishing.

In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: Is it legal to use the assistance of a submerged light source in the taking of trout, crappie and maybe even some cats in California? The lights might include waterproof flashlights or standard 12-volt drop down fishing lights (made by Optronics) and maybe a floating crappie light. (Daniel V.S.)

Answer: Yes, it is legal to use lights when fishing at night when and where such fishing is permitted. Lights may be used on or as part of any fishing tackle (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 2.15). Just make sure that the waters where you plan to fish allow for nighttime fishing. Some lake managers or concessionaires at managed lakes do not allow for any fishing after dark. 

When it comes to trout or salmon though, it is not legal to take them at night in many waters. For exceptions to this rule where trout and salmon may be taken at night, please review CCR Title 14, section 3.00 found on page 14 in the 2010 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.

Q: Is it legal for me to carry a concealed handgun in California if I have a CCW permit from a neighboring state?

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Fish and Game Q&A: Do long guns have to be transported in locked gun cases?

A group of men examine rifles fitted with scopes at a gun show.

In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: I was told by a hunter education instructor that just like handguns, shotguns and rifles transported in vehicles must be in locked cases or in the trunk of your vehicle. However, I often see non-lockable rifle and shotgun cases for sale in stores in California. The law (Penal Code, section 12001) seems to indicate that if the barrel can be interchanged with one less than 16 inches in length, it is considered a firearm capable of being concealed upon the person. If this is so, then most -- if not all -- pump and semi-auto rifles must be locked up when being carried concealed in a vehicle to avoid violating the concealed weapons law (PC, section12025). What do you think? (Frank W., San Mateo)

Answer: According to the Department of Justice firearms website on transportation of firearms, non-concealable firearms (rifles and shotguns) are not generally covered within the provisions of California PC, section 12025 and therefore are not required to be transported in a locked container. However, as with any firearm, non-concealable firearms must be unloaded while they are being transported. Long guns that are classified as assault weapons have more stringent transportation requirements.

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Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, California offers shotgun skills workshop June 26 at Raahauge’s

Instructor Cherel Hansen-McCracken helps a workshop attendee with her shotgun shooting skills.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, California is hosting its popular shotgun skills workshop, A Day at the Range-South, on June 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 at Raahauge's Shooting Enterprises in Corona.

The workshop, limited to 30 participants (and yes, it is open to men also), offers expert advice on shotgun safety, shooting and maintenance.

BOW California President Susan Herrgesell has designed the one-day workshop for anyone who has considered taking up shooting as a hobby or for those interested in hunting.

"More and more women are taking up the sport," said Herrgesell. "Women can be intimidated the first time they shoot a shotgun, but once they break that clay, it’s difficult pulling them off the range."

The instructor will be Cherel Hansen-McCracken, a pioneer in women’s shooting and the first recipient of the Annie Oakley Award by the Women’s Shooting Sports Foundation. Hansen-McCracken, along with her husband, Scott, will tutor each participant in basic firearm safety, the different types of actions, different chokes and patterns, and outdoor shooting ethics. She will also cover proper shotgun cleaning and maintenance. The course will also help prepare potential hunters for the state’s required hunter safety class.

The cost of the class is $150 and includes all equipment, including the shotguns, ammunition, eye and ear protection and lunch. Registration can be completed by mail, online or by calling (530) 347-0227.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, California, is a nonprofit organization whose workshops foster the learning process and provide the opportunity for women to enjoy the outdoors while encouraging and empowering them to build their self-confidence. The program offers workshops in one-, two- or three-day formats with valuable hands-on experiences.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Instructor Cherel Hansen-McCracken helps a workshop attendee with her shotgun shooting skills. Credit: BOW California

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Fish and Game Q&A: Can I use an air tank while photographing abalone divers?

Abalone1 In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: I would like to photograph abalone divers diving, but I need to use an air tank to obtain the imagery I want. How can I go about this without getting in trouble with Department of Fish and Game? (Andrew B., Salt Lake City)

Answer: It is legal for you to photograph abalone free-divers while you are using a tank, as long as you observe a couple of regulations.

According to DFG Associate Marine Biologist Ed Roberts, the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.15(e) prohibits the use of scuba gear or surface-supplied air while taking abalone. If you are using a tank while photographing abalone free-divers, you cannot assist them with taking abalone. You cannot help them pop abalone off the rocks, or spot abalone for them, or do anything else that could be construed as giving assistance in taking abalone. In addition, under this section the possession of abalone is prohibited aboard a vessel that also contains scuba gear or surface-supplied air. This means you will have to use a separate boat -- you cannot board the same boat that the abalone free-divers are using while you are using scuba gear.

Q: Is it legal to use mice as bait for stripers and bass? (Chris M.)

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Fish and Game Q&A: Can an angler carry a firearm while fishing?


In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column (Note: A technical issue did not allow for last Thursday's column to be posted until now):

Question: I was out fishing at Pine Flat Reservoir this last weekend, and I came across an angler. He had a handgun on his side. I thought he was a warden, but he was fishing about 20 yards from me. He was dressed in civilian clothes (blue jeans, long sleeve shirt with a fishing vest). I did not talk to him or ask him his name. When I got home, I told my cousin about it, and he told me that he heard there’s a clause in the Fish and Game policy that makes it OK for anglers to carry a gun (pistol) while out fishing, as long as the pistol is not loaded and as long as the angler possesses a California fishing license. Is this true? (Alex V.)

Answer: There is a California Penal Code law that allows anglers to carry a gun while fishing and while hiking to and from their angling site. California Penal Code, Section 12025, prohibits carrying concealed firearms in California, but Section 12027 provides the following exemption to this prohibition: "Licensed hunters or fishermen carrying pistols, revolvers or other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person while engaged in hunting or fishing, or transporting those firearms unloaded when going to or returning from the hunting or fishing expedition." Remember that some areas that allow fishing, such as state and national parks, and some incorporated areas where fishing is allowed prohibit the possession of any firearm. Make sure to check on the local laws where you plan to fish. The California Bureau of Firearms in the Department of Justice posts a summary of California firearm laws online.

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Backpacker shoots and kills grizzly bear in Denali National Park

A grizzly in Denali National Park and Preserve. A backpacker shot and killed a grizzly bear in Denali National Park and Preserve on Friday after the animal charged toward his hiking companion. This is the first shooting incident since a change in federal law that allows firearms to be carried in many national parks and wildlife refuges went into effect in February.

This is also the first known shooting of a grizzly bear in the wilderness portion of the park by a visitor.

According to park spokeswoman Kris Fister, the backpackers were hiking in an area about 35 miles from park headquarters when they heard noise in nearby brush. The male hiker drew a .45-caliber pistol he was carrying, and when the bear emerged and charged toward his female hiking companion, he fired about nine rounds toward the grizzly.

The bear returned to the brush, at which point the hikers headed back the way they came, until meeting a park employee and reporting the incident.

Since it was unclear if the animal was killed or only wounded, the area was immediately closed to other hikers. The bear's carcass was discovered Saturday evening by park rangers near where the shooting took place.

The names of the hikers have not been released, pending investigation into the justification of the shooting. According to the press release issued by Fister, it is legal to carry a firearm in the original Mt. McKinley portion of the park where the incident occurred, but it is not legal to discharge it.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A grizzly in Denali National Park and Preserve. Credit: Kent Miller

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Fish and Game Q&A: Will controlling Sacramento pikeminnow help salmonids?

Sacramento pikeminnow, formerly known as Sacramento squawfish.

In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: On a local fishing message board, there has been discussion specifically on the killing and discarding of incidental catch Sacramento pikeminnow caught while fishing for steelhead in the American River. One point of view is they are a native fish and part of the ecosystem of the Sacramento River and tributaries, and if you catch them, you should be able to keep them for food or release them unharmed into the water. Another point of view is that on the American River, dams have altered the natural ecosystem. As a result, salmon and steelhead had their spawning range greatly reduced and put the fry and smelt in greater peril with predators such as the pikeminnow.

In the past, a bounty has been placed on pikeminnows at organized fishing derbies on the Sacramento River. This was aimed at reducing their population. The Columbia River has a similar annual event to try to control the pikeminnow numbers. What is DFG’s position on this matter? (George N., El Dorado Hills)

Answer: There may be some confusion among local anglers about Sacramento pikeminnow (formerly known as Sacramento squawfish) management in their native Sacramento River system. According to DFG senior fisheries biologists Terry Jackson and Scott Downie, there have been efforts over the years to remove them as a non-native predator because they were illegally introduced to the Eel River system in approximately 1979. Following that Eel River introduction, DFG conducted various experimental capture and removal efforts in the Eel, and a few private groups sponsored derbies and sometimes offered bounties, but these efforts proved to be biologically futile. DFG has not conducted any such efforts on Sacramento pikeminnow in waters where they are native.

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Shooting sports, nonprofit organizations team up on tips to help shooters minimize impact on environment

Sign along Alaska's Seward Highway. The nonprofit organization Tread Lightly! has partnered with some of the nation’s most influential shooting sports organizations to come up with nine tips to help shooters minimize their impact on the environment.

The tips are part of a recent "Respected Access is Open Access" public awareness campaign, developed to help shooters and hunters keep their access to public and private land open by encouraging proper environmental and social behaviors.   

"The message of the campaign is simple -- responsible behavior leads to continued access," said Lori McCullough, executive director of Tread Lightly. "Outdoor opportunities in America are dwindling at a rate so serious it demands our immediate action.  Damage caused by a few uninformed or uncaring recreationists is contributing to the loss of access for everyone.  This campaign will help change that."

Funding has come through grants from Yamaha Motor Corp.'s OHV Access Initiative, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Safari Club International, National Wild Turkey Federation, Boone and Crockett Club, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Here are the nine tips:

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Fish and Game Q&A: If I catch my limit of fish can I continue fishing catch-and-release?

Trout In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: If I catch my limit of the fish I’m fishing for, can I continue fishing catch-and-release? If my buddy doesn’t have his limit, can I fish for him? If I don’t want to keep the fish, can I fish for other people? (Michael H.)

Answer: When fishing in freshwater, each person is allowed to take only one daily bag limit per day. Once you catch your daily limit for a species of fish, you are done fishing for that type of fish.

If you want to catch and release fish, you must do that before you take the last fish of the limit. If you want to give someone your fish, you may do so but those fish will still count toward your daily bag limit, and the person receiving the fish cannot have more than the legal limit in their possession either.

In addition, if you take an overlimit (for example, seven trout when the limit is five), and you give two to someone else, that person is now in possession of illegally taken fish and could be cited too, even if they are not over their daily bag limit.

When fishing in the ocean, however, boat limits are allowed for anglers fishing from a boat. This means that all anglers can continue fishing until the total numbers of fish on the boat are equal to the total number of fish allowed for every angler, despite who actually caught each fish. Upon departing the boat, each passenger can only possess one daily bag limit.

Q: If I have been convicted of a felony, can I still apply for a hunting license? My felony was considered "white collar" and was nonviolent with no weapons involved. (Michael S.)

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Idaho poacher receives lifetime hunting ban as part of his sentence

 Elk in sunrise mist.

An Idaho Falls, Idaho, man has received a lifetime hunting ban as part of his sentence after pleading guilty to illegally killing five cow elk, with the Lemhi County prosecuting attorney calling the crime "one of the most egregious poaching cases I've ever seen."

Jerry G. Ferguson, 54, pleaded guilty to the felony charge of unlawful taking of big-game animals. His sentence also includes 60 days in jail and a $7,500 fine. Ferguson is also barred from possessing a firearm in the field or being in hunting camps for 10 years, reports the Idaho Statesman.

According to court documents, Ferguson shot and killed five cow elk in one day during a central Idaho hunting trip in December 2008. Hunters are only allowed one elk during open season.

Ryan Hilton, Idaho Fish and Game senior conservation officer, called Ferguson's actions "disgraceful."

"This was no accident, and not what we need pretending to represent what a sportsman really is," Hilton said.

The hunting prohibition will be enforced elsewhere in the nation. Idaho is a member of the 31-state Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, an agreement that recognizes suspension of hunting, trapping and fishing licenses in member states, including California.

Ferguson's lifetime hunting ban can be reviewed in 10 years. 

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: An elk in sunrise mist. Credit: Barbara Swanson / San Diego Natural History Museum

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About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.