Tennessee 02/14/12 tennessean.com: Monty Halcomb – In the most egregiously misguided effort in the recent history of state politics, a couple of House legislators are attempting to literally destroy our priceless wildlife resources for political and commercial gain. In 2011, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s (TWRA) Commission was up for standard reauthorization, but House Government Operations Chairman Jim Cobb refused to hear the bill in his committee. As it stands, the commission will cease to exist on June 30. Without the commission, no fishing, hunting or trapping seasons can be set; no budget can be approved; no licenses or permits can be issued. The Tennessee Wildlife Federation has worked closely with House leadership to forge a compromise bill that will strengthen our state’s wildlife commission: House Bill 2776 by Speaker Pro Tem Judd Matheny. Speaker Beth Harwell assured Tennesseans at the end of last year’s session that the commission would remain solvent and functioning, and she tasked Rep. Matheny with finding a solution. He has done that.
Chairman Cobb is not the only one focused on dismantling 60 years of progress in professional wildlife management: Rep. Frank Niceley has already introduced at least 12 bills that directly affect the TWRA, and are exceptionally bad for our fish and wildlife resources. The most dangerous one jeopardizes a culturally and economically important native species. Last year, Niceley’s attempt to allow private game preserves to buy, sell and kill white-tailed deer inside of pens was withdrawn for lack of votes. But he’s back with a new version, HB 3164, which eliminates TWRA’s authority to control the farming of exotic and native wildlife, including catching wild deer and putting them in these pens. His bill bypasses House conservation committees and fast-tracks straight to Agriculture — the one he chairs.
Some owners actually bottle-feed fawns so a paying “hunter” can later shoot his high-priced “trophy” in a small, fenced enclosure. This is an affront to the fair-chase hunting tradition. But the dangerous part is the well-documented transmission of the completely fatal chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wild and penned deer. CWD has wreaked havoc on deer herds in many states, despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent trying to control it.
Anyone who understands the value of our natural resources should let his or her state representative know that this attack on our professional wildlife agency is appalling, and that we expect more from our legislature. Demand that they vote against HB 3164, the dangerous deer-farming business; and ask that they support HB 2776 to ensure the continuation of TWRA’s highly successful wildlife-management programs.
Visit www.tnwf.org to learn more about these bills and others. Wildlife belongs to all of us, and it is being threatened by politics. Your voice deserves to be heard.
Note: Monty Halcomb is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, retiring in 2000 as the special agent in charge of the Southeast Region. He serves as the governmental affairs chair for the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.
Massachusetts 02/14/12 telegram.com: by Mark Blazis – Ticks, nearly invisible here last September, erupted during deer season. Hunters reported dozens crawling on them at day’s end. Relentless even in winter, one grabbed me in Grafton’s brush yesterday. Unable to jump, they furtively lie in wait, latching on like magnets to anything moving within their grasp. According to my former Lyme disease research partner at the Yale School of Public Health, Dr. Jory Brinkerhoff, adult ticks are generally active in October and November, whereas immature nymphs become very active in June and July when most infections are reported. (Nymphs have had one blood meal in their life. If they sucked infected blood, usually from a mouse, they become disease carriers). Newly hatched larvae in April, of course, are not infectious at all. We’d expect some tick bites, though, in September when immature ticks normally complete host-seeking. Tick activity is determined by day length and temperature. Cool temperatures earlier in the season may have delayed their emergence.
Boylston deer processor Bruce Symonds also found early archery-season carcasses in Connecticut surprisingly devoid of ticks in September, but he was bitten badly in October. Feverish, shaking and coughing, Symonds was taken by ambulance to UMass Memorial Medical Center for three days of treatment. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Edwin Young confirmed he had anaplasmosis, a little-known tick-borne disease. He was immediately placed on doxycycline. After retesting a couple of weeks later, Symonds had recovered, but learned he had also contracted Lyme disease. Ticks are a cesspool of multiple pathogens. – For complete article see http://www.telegram.com/article/20120214/COLUMN10/102149958
California 02/14/12 Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District: Officials confirm that a house finch has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in Sacramento County. This is the first bird to test positive for the virus in the state this year. In 2011, 8 deaths and 155 human WNV cases were reported in California. See http://www.fightthebite.net/2012/02/14/1921/
Colorado 02/13/12 Kiowa County: Officials have issued a Rabies Alert after a skunk that fought with an unvaccinated pet dog tested positive for rabies. The dog was also euthanized. Rabies incidents have been on the increase in southeast Colorado since 2007. See http://www.lajuntatribunedemocrat.com/news/x1341776272/Kiowa-County-Residents-Cautioned-About-Skunks-with-Rabies
Michigan 02/13/12 Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County: A skunk killed by a vaccinated pet dog tested positive for rabies. This is the fourth confirmed report of a rabid skunk on the west side near the Miller Nature Area since September. See http://www.annarbor.com/news/first-rabbid-skunk-of-2012-found-on-ann-arbors-west-side-fourth-in-five-months/
Virginia 02/13/12 Rocky Mount, Franklin County: Newly adopted and presumably vaccinated pet dog protects woman from attack by a fox that tested positive for rabies. See http://www2.wsls.com/news/2012/feb/13/dog-protects-rocky-mount-woman-rabid-fox-ar-1686075/
Russia 02/13/12 Moscow, Odintsovo District: Fourteen people are receiving post-exposure prophylaxis treatments after slaughtering a moose that allegedly tested positive for rabies. See http://en.ria.ru/russia/20120213/171292843.html