Outdoor News

Wild about chinooks
Biological surveys through the use of netting and acoustic means with a creel census revealed that 50 percent of the chinook salmon gobbling down the diminishing supply of alewives in Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario are naturally reproduced wild fish. In an effort to maintain the forage base in these lakes and preserve the sport fishery that depends upon it, all agencies that stock these lakes have concluded it is essential to reduce planting levels of the major predator of alewives, the chinook.

Nearly all of the agencies have determined to reduce chinook stocking, with Wisconsin as the lone exception. They will increase their plants to appease the charter boat industry and other economic constituents along their shoreline. I hope they plan to use a strain of salmon that can subsist without food.

Who wants to win $1 million dollars?
Actually, the question should be, “Who doesn’t want to win $1 million dollars?” However you phrase it, the moolah is waiting for the first ingenious idea for solving the invasive Asian carp threat to the Great Lakes. Michigan’s DNR has posted the reward for anyone who can come up with a solution. Just contact the MDNR, tell them how to do it, and then begin planning your family’s future as millionaires.

Pack ‘em if you got ‘em
On February 2, four Michigan lawmakers introduced bills that would make the state the twelfth in the U.S., where Constitutional Carry is allowed without a special permit. More on this later.

Hey, make up your minds
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit reversed a previous ruling that protected semi-automatic rifles from regulation. This comes as a serious blow to gun advocates who believe the Second Amendment protects such weapons from government overegulation.

The previous ruling came after Maryland passed a law in 2013 banning all semi-automatic rifles, including AR-15s and AK-47s. It also banned any form of copy of those firearms and large-capacity magazines. As expected, gun advocates sued, pointing out the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms. Their claims were originally rejected by a district court, but the 4th Circuit later reversed that rejection. The Maryland law was ruled an infringement on gun owners’ Second Amendment Rights. The court then voted to rehear the case, which lead to a new decision and the demise of a ruling that protected our Second Amendment Rights.

Watch the stock market
During the Obama years, any and every proposed anti-gun law seemed to be welcome in the White House. Gun sales then went through the roof and the stock prices of gun manufacturers went right up with them. Stroger, Remington and many other firms saw their stock value increase over 800 percent during those heady years. But now with a new sheriff in town, we have learned the FBI processed 400,000 fewer gun-related background checks in February this year alone compared to February 2016.

Illinois DNR in a death spiral?
In spite of efforts by the Illinois DNR personnel to make do with a shrinking budget, it doesn’t appear the agency will be able to keep its head above water for much longer. Its annual budget has been cut by 75 percent, and its workforce has fallen accordingly. There is a backlog of needed maintenance for facilities, and one by one these are being closed or their usage restricted.

The Conservation Police force doesn’t have enough officers to station one in each county, and planting wildlife crops in dove and waterfowl public hunting areas is in jeopardy, all biological programs are almost at a standstill and we’ve learned the DNR’s hatchery system is nearing collapse.

For years, Salmon Unlimited has sent volunteers to fin-clip the chinook salmon destined for Lake Michigan. Muskies Inc. collected funds to buy specialized food for young muskies at the Jake Wolf hatchery, Illini Musky Alliance donated $6,000 toward the purchase of a new pond-stocking trailer and Chicagoland Muskie Hunters are providing manpower for several hatchery projects. At the same time, raising northern pike and hybrid striped bass has been discontinued and the farm pond- stocking program is gone although its advisory role will continue.