Snap Shots – 22 May 2012

US wolf hunting expands

Minnesota is the latest US state to implement wolf hunting as the predators’ population grows to the point where it needs controlling. The state has announced details of its first wolf season, which will run in two parts between November this year and January 2013. Six thousand licences will be offered at $30 each ($250 for anyone from outside Minnesota). The first proposed quota of 400 animals is being revised. Wolves have been removed from Minnesota’s endangered species list, as they have in other states, but the announcement of the hunt is expected to face vocal opposition from animal rights groups. The recently retired executive director and co-founder of the International Wolf Center, Mary Ortiz, said a quota of 400 would not hurt the state’s population of 3000 and agreed management of the animals was necessary. She said the population had been stable for three or four years, but that it had physically shifted to be closer to humans. To its credit, the centre maintains a neutral position on hunting, aiming to uphold its credibility with all parties.

Wolgan forest opened to hunting

The NSW Game Council has announced Wolgan State Forest, close to Sydney, is now open to conservation hunting under the R-licence system. A relatively small forest capable of hosting two hunters at a time, it borders grazing land in Wolgan Valley, north of Lithgow, and encompasses spectacular escarpments. The Game Council suggests backpack hunting is probably the best way to tackle the forest, as it is rugged and access is limited. Access comes with some special conditions, such as having a GPS so boundaries can be carefully observed. See the Game Council website for more information.

Gun thefts

NSW police report two gun thefts in the past few days. A man in Mudgee was preparing to go hunting on Saturday morning when someone stole a Sportco .22, 400 rounds of ammunition and his wallet from the front seat of his Toyota LandCruiser. In a separate incident, a Tambar Springs man came home to find his gun safe, containing 14 firearms, had been stolen. Police are appealing for any information about either case. Call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

No value in gamebirds?

Otago Fish and Game in NZ has accused the region’s council of failing area’s the 4000 gamebird hunters by removing gamebirds from the ‘values’ of local wetlands. “The regional council has effectively decided that wild mallards, the most popular and common game bird, do not deserve to be recognised,” OFG’s Peter Wilson told Fairfax media. Hunters have been at the forefront of conserving and maintaining wetlands.

Kenya’s poaching shame

Data compiled from a number of sources, including NASA satellite imagery, has concluded that the Kenya Wildlife Service is not only failing to tackle elephant poaching, but may be actively helping the criminals. In other African nations, poaching is least likely to occur close to the bases of armed patrols, and gradually increases as distances from rangers and police grows. However, in Kenya, the opposite situation appears to be the case, leading to accusations that the rangers are implicit in the poaching. However, the finger of blame is wavering, as the KWS has other problems to deal with, including having fallen out with the local people who keep it informed, and budget limitations. Either way, with reports claiming as many as 2000 elephants are being killed annually in Kenya, it is a problem that needs urgent attention.




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.