Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors
Jan. 6, 2016
If your New Year’s resolution involves learning something new, spending more time outdoors, or becoming more active, you might consider entering the “2016 Kansas Birding Big Year” competition. This week you’ll also read about a warning to new drone owners not to use them to harass wildlife, and much more.
Like an Outdoor Challenge? Try Birding Competition!
You may not consider yourself a “birder,” but if you’ve ever watched a hummingbird sip at a feeder, took note of a flock of geese up high, or watched a robin build a nest in your front yard – you’re a birder! And if you live in Kansas and can positively identify each species you spot this year, you just might win the competition taking place Jan. 1, 2016 to –Dec. 31, 2016.
Hosted annually by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), the “Big Year” is an informal competition where birders compete to see who can observe the most bird species in Kansas in one calendar year. Participants can compete in one of three categories: novice, intermediate and advanced. Winners of each category will receive prizes to be awarded in January 2017.
Participants are encouraged to carry a pocket-sized notebook and pencil to record their findings. Jotting down information such as size, color, sounds, and surrounding habitat, followed by a quick thumbnail sketch of the bird can prove to be very helpful for beginners.
Participants are asked to log their findings into the online service, eBird, available through the Cornell University website. The data collected is used to aid researchers in the study of species abundance, species range, and more.
Virginia Voids Reciprocity With 25 States
Effective Feb. 1, 2016, the Commonwealth of Virginia will no longer recognize concealed handgun carry permits from 25 states.
In late December, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring joined the list of politicians pandering pressure from anti-gun groups by arbitrarily severing concealed carry reciprocity agreements with literally half the United States.
The pool of acceptable out-of-state permits was eliminated, according to Herring, because other states did not have the same issuing criteria as Virginia. His action was immediately criticized by pro-gun organizations, most notably the Virginia-based National Rifle Association.
“Plain and simple, Mark Herring is putting politics above public safety,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “This decision is both dangerous and shameful. The Attorney General knows that permit holders are among the safest groups of citizens in the Commonwealth and the country. At a time when people are scared and desperately need the ability to defend themselves, Herring has chosen the path of making self-defense harder.”
As of February 1, concealed carry permits from the following states will no longer be recognized in Virginia; Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Wildlife Agency: Be Responsible With Gift Drones
The Arizona Game and Fish Department this week reminded sportsmen who received a drone for Christmas that flying the wildly popular devices must comply with state and federal wildlife laws and regulations.
The Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year predicted more than 1 million drones would be purchased as holiday gifts.
“We wanted to time this with the Christmas gift season as a reminder for sportsmen to be responsible with their new gift if that gift happens to be a drone,” said Dale Hajek, spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Department officials said drones are considered “aircraft,” which means they “cannot lawfully be used for pursuing, disturbing, harassing, or taking wildlife.”
Gene Elms, the department’s law-enforcement branch chief, said, “The use of drones for the harassment and sport harvest of wildlife is not only illegal, but it undermines the ‘fair chase’ hunting ethic and the very tenets of the North American model of wildlife conservation.”
Anyone with information about an individual using a drone to pursue, disturb, harass, or locate wildlife is encouraged to contact the department’s Operation Game Thief hotline at 800-352-0700.
Quote of The Week
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”
– John Muir,
John of the Mountains, 1938
J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for sportsmansguide.com. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birders: Did you know SG has an AWESOME selection of Binoculars, which is only matched by its assortment of Spotting Scopes?