One Maine bill (LD 1080) would ban use of Dogs and traps for Bear hunting, and another (LD 559) would further regulate Bear, Coyote, and Bobcat hunting; Arizona will hunt Coyotes by land and air to reduce Pronghorn fawn mortalities; and Rabies reports from Colorado, and North Carolina. Canada: A Coyote report from Nova Scotia. Travel Warnings for Indonesia (Follow-up), and Malaysia.

Black bear. Photo by Jim Martin. Wikipedia Commons.

Maine 04/01/11 trailblazeradventure.org: by U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance – Legislative Draft 1080, which was recently introduced by Representative Alan M. Casavant (D- Biddeford), would ban all hunting of bears with dogs and bear trapping in the state.  Under the bill, either activity would be a criminal offense. Ending bear hunting and bear trapping in Maine has long been a goal of the anti-hunting movement.  Legislative Draft 1080 is similar to a ballot initiative that was rejected by voters in 2004.  Lawmakers have since upheld the voters’ decision as they have defeated similar efforts in past years.  The bill is currently pending in the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“Maine has more bears per square mile of habitat than any other state and the population is continuing to expand. This fact doesn’t matter to animal extremists who try to attack our bear harvesting methods every chance they get,” said Skip Trask with the Maine Trappers Association.  “Trapping and hunting with dogs are important and necessary tools for managing our large black bear population.” “This bill is an outright attack on Maine sportsmen,” said Jeremy Rine, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance associate director of state services.  “Not only does it ban two popular and successful methods of bear hunting and conservation but seeks to classify sportsmen as criminals.  All sportsmen need to make calls to oppose this legislation.”

Take Action!  Maine sportsmen should contact their state representative ask them to oppose LD 1080.  Tell them that bear hunting with dogs and bear trapping are two of the most successful and effective methods of bear hunting and conservation.  To find your state representative’s contact information, please visit www.ussportsmen.org/LAC.

Maine 04/05/11 downeast.com: by George Smith – The public hearing on two bills requiring some hunters using dogs or bait to have written or verbal landowner permission drew a large turnout of concerned sportsmen – and a few angry farmers and landowners – on March 21, but most did not return for the work session on the bills, held on April 4. The legislature’s Fish and Wildlife Committee has already unanimously killed one of the two bills. It was proposed by the farm bureau and would have required written permission for all sportsmen to access cropland and pastures. On April 4 the committee returned to LD 559, Rep. Andy O’Brien’s bill that requires hunters to get written permission when baiting, night hunting coyotes, and hunting bears, coyotes, or bobcats with dogs. It also would authorize the use of purple paint for land posting. The hearing on this bill was ugly and divisive.

Colonel Joel Wilkinson responded to questions posed by committee members. He reported that a few individuals are causing problems. His research also discovered that there is a lot of concern over the placement of bait on private land. And he said he was surprised to learn that it is legal to hunt coyotes with hounds at night, a practice he believes should not be allowed. He also said coyote hunters can use an unlimited number of dogs while bear hunters are limited to six dogs. Wilkinson said the problem currently is limited to Waldo County (O’Brien’s district) but predicted conflicts between landowners and hounds hunters will spread throughout the organized municipalities. Senator John Patrick expressed concern about enacting a law that applies statewide to address a problem in one specific county.

 Rep. Jane Eberle, who had really done her homework on this issue, suggested that the areas of agreement might include: Require permission for placement of bait; limit the number of hounds; prohibit night hunting of coyotes with dogs; allow the use of purple paint; and increase penalties for law violations. Rep. Ralph Sarty agreed and suggested that landowner permission for the placement of bait should be limited to the organized areas of the state and not applied to the state’s unorganized territories. The committee got hung up on the definition of hunting. That definition currently does not require the possession of a firearm (incredibly!). Sarty pointed out that this could cause a problem for hunters trying to retrieve hounds at night, after a day hunt has concluded, if night hunting is prohibited.

Rep. Wood suggested that the laws that apply to bear hunting be extended to coyote hunting, including the requirement that nonresidents hire a guide to hunt coyotes with dogs. After an extensive discussion, the committee accepted a motion of support for an amended bill that includes: allow purple paint for posting land and eliminate the silver paint option; require written or verbal permission for all baiting; prohibit hunting of coyotes with dogs at night (half-hour after sunset); limit coyote hunters to six dogs; require name, address, and telephone number of owner on each dog; label all bait with the same information; and apply penalties for these violations that match bear hunting violation penalties.

 An ought-to-pass motion won a nearly unanimous vote. Only Rep. Clark voted against the motion, unwilling to support it until he sees the amendment in writing. Committee analyst Curtis Bentley will draft the amendment and present it to the committee for examination on April 11. This result is a remarkable recognition on the part of sportsmen that this is a new day and the old way of doing things needs to change. While the most contentious part of the bill, requiring landowner permission for running hounds for some game animals, was set aside, we haven’t heard the last of it. And the agreement that hunters will be required to obtain landowner permission for placing any kind of bait on private land is a simple recognition that this is essential if sportsmen are to continue to enjoy the use of that land for their favorite outdoor activities.

Arizona 04/05/11 wmicentral.com: The Arizona Game and Fish Department is continuing a program that has proven successful in aiding the struggling pronghorn population in Game Management Unit 4A south of Winslow. The department will conduct both ground and aerial lethal removal of coyotes this spring in targeted locations where pronghorn fawn mortality rates have been high, due in large part to predation by coyotes. The removal effort, which will run periodically through the end of May, is expected to improve the odds for fawn survival. “Fawns are most susceptible to predation during the first few weeks of life,” says Ron Day, predator and furbearer biologist in the department’s headquarters. “Our intent is to reduce the coyote population in pronghorn habitat in an effort to provide newborn fawns a window of survivability. If the coyote population can be temporarily reduced at this critical period, it will allow fawns the time to grow and become more capable of escaping from predators.” Department personnel believe good winter precipitation in conjunction with this effort will bolster the populations as it has in the last two years. In 2008, the year before coyote removal efforts began in Unit 4A, pronghorn survey results showed only eight fawns for every 100 does observed. The 2010 survey results showed this number climbed significantly to 42 fawns per 100 does. “Research has clearly and repeatedly shown that coyote-caused predation on fawns can be a significant limiting factor impacting pronghorn fawn survival and recruitment rates,” Day says. “It is particularly devastating to populations facing multiple habitat-related challenges at the same time, such as drought and predation.”

Colorado 04/05/11 newsfirst5.com: by Elaine Sheridan – Two dogs in Calhan have been bitten by a skunk and may have been exposed to rabies. The pair of small dogs got into a scuffle with the skunk over the weekend and were wounded by the wild animal. The dogs were brought to their veterinarian for treatment; the wounds were minor, but unfortunately the dogs were not vaccinated to protect against rabies. The skunk was captured and tested; it came back positive for rabies today. Now the owners have a tough decision to make. “Rabies is very contagious, with no vaccinations it is likely that these animals will contract the disease,” says Dr Bernadette Albanese with the El Paso County Health Department. “Due to the high risk with rabies the law says the dogs have to be euthanized or under a strict six-month quarantine.”

North Carolina 04/05/11 nbc17.com: Town of Cary officials have confirmed the town’s first reported rabies case of the year. Officials say a homeowner in the Triangle Forest subdivision near Marilyn Circle reported an injured raccoon on her property. Cary Police responded and transported the raccoon to the State Laboratory of Public Health for testing. Test results confirmed the raccoon was infected with the rabies virus. So far, no injuries to other animals or humans have been reported. The last reported case of rabies in Cary was December 2010. If you suspect a rabid animal, contact the Cary Animal Control at (919)319-4517.

Canada:

Nova Scotia 04/05/11 ngnews.ca: Increased coyotes sightings in Westville prompted police to warn the public. Westville Police Chief Don Hussher said coyotes have been spotted on both the county and Stellarton side of the town.  He said there have been no incidents between coyotes and residents, but wants the public to be aware of the location of sightings. Hussher said the coyotes appear to following the deer movement through the town around Bear Brook on Drummond Road to North Main and up to Spring Garden Road, across Cowan Street to Union Street and South Main, making a complete circle to back Drummond Road.  Dave Duggan lives on the corner of Acadia Avenue and Temperance Street and said he hasn’t seen any coyotes but hears them at night. “Every night they are howling and screeching,” said Duggan, adding he believes that it’s because the coyotes have recently had pups.

Travel Warnings:

Indonesia 04/05/11 prnewswire.com: Follow-Up – Bali – The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), along with the Bali Provincial Authorities and WSPA partner the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), is celebrating an important milestone in Bali’s historic campaign to eradicate rabies. During the past year, teams of trained animal handlers vaccinated approximately 210,000 dogs – 70% of the estimated total dog population – in 4,126 villages across Bali, marking the completion of the first phase of the island’s anti-rabies campaign.  “The first phase of the mass vaccination program showed a good result,” said Ir. Putu Sumantra, the Head of the Bali Animal Husbandry Agency, speaking on behalf of the Bali government. “We are going to continue the mass vaccination program – being more effective and targeted in 2011, to ensure Bali will be free of rabies in 2012.” In looking at the period between Dec. 1, 2010 and Mar. 30, 2011, and comparing it to the same timeframe one year prior, there was a 45 percent decrease in the number of cases of rabies in dogs in Bali, as well as a 48 percent decrease in the number of human rabies cases.

Malaysia 04/06/11 bernama.com: Kuala Lumpur – For the week of March 27 to April 2, 336 cases of dengue fever were reported, including one death, compared to 301 cases the previous week.  The dengue “hotspots” are in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. During the same week, two cases of Chikungunya were reported, compared to one the previous week. Both cases were reported in Selangor and Pahang, bringing the total number to 13 so far this year, a drop of 97% in relation to 508 recorded for the same period last year.

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