Ducks and Hunting

Ducks vs. EthanolA new paper in the Wildlife Society Bulletin says because duck stamp revenues pay to conserve duck habitat, that ironically, a reduction in duck hunting threatens duck populations. The study found a correlation between duck stamp sales and duck populations, with a steady decline in both in recent years.

Read the Wildlife Society Bulletin abstract here. (Subscription or fee required for full access.)

The BBC News’ environment correspondent tried to get his mind around the idea that more duck hunting means a more secure duck population. This is something that state wildlife professionals may never ponder, since the fact that hunting license fees and the federal sporting goods tax is often the only funding for wildlife conservation (game or non-game species) that many states receive. It might be interesting to look at the thought process of someone coming to the idea anew.

Read the BBC News article based on the Wildlife Society Bulletin here.

Photo: mallard duck drake, by Erwin and Peggy Bauer, courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service

Hunting and Food Safety

hunting at sunsetMost of the news from state wildlife agencies across the country this week are about hunting: seasons opening and closing, whether the numbers are up or down for a particular season. For the folks at the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center, that’s a good reason to take a look at food-safety issues associated with hunter-killed wildlife.

For the most part, the news is good. Taking care when field dressing and butchering the meat avoids the most common problems, they say. The occasional wound or parasite is to be expected, the entry says, and is no cause for alarm.

For all the details, plus a link to common sense wild meat handling guidelines, see the CCWHC blog entry, here.

We’ll hear more from the CCWHC blog on Monday.

Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife

NY State Seeks Rabbit Heads

NE cottontail 2

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking cottontail rabbit heads from hunters east of the Hudson River. The eastern cottontail is almost identical in appearance to the imperiled New England cottontail. The only sure way to tell the two rabbit species apart is by sampling DNA or looking at the shape of the skull. The collected heads will allow both.

To gather more information about the distribution of the New England cottontail in the state, as well as possibly turning up the once widespread Appalachian cottontail (S. obscurus), the NYS DEC is turning to rabbit hunters in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia or Rensselaer County, or in the Sterling Forest State Park in Orange County to contribute the heads from their prey.

More information is available on the NYS DEC New England cottontail survey web page, here.

You can keep an eye out for the extremely short notice in the DEC’s Field Notes newsletter, here. It is in the Nov. 30 edition, which wasn’t posted yet when this went on-line.

Photo: A New England cottontail, source unknown.