Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors
Nov. 11, 2015
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird, common in the Eastern United States, but quite rare in the West, was captured and banded in Southern Arizona last week – but that’s only part of the story. You’ll also read about the approval of a Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment in Texas, and more!
And despite generations of intense observation by some of America’s most experienced birders and ornithologists, it wasn’t until January 2005 that a female Ruby-throated was discovered wintering in the Tucson yard of a professional birding guide. That bird was subsequently banded by Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO) Director Sheri Williamson and confirmed by measurements and plumage characteristics as Arizona’s first known Ruby-throated and 18th hummingbird species.
Later sightings of an adult male in Patagonia, Ariz., in 2007 and 2008 are considered representative of a single bird. A third individual, another adult male, was identified in late September 2015 at the home of another birding guide in the northern Chiricahua Mountains.
Then, on October 26, Arizona’s fourth individual on record appeared at the feeder of the state’s leading expert and head of the banding team, Sheri Williamson, at her Bisbee, Ariz., home.
Not only is Williamson known as a regional hummingbird guru, but she also wrote the book on hummers – literally.
The book is Peterson’s Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America, generally considered the most popular field guide to the species.
So, the wayward male hummingbird may have been a bit off course in The Grand Canyon State, but he certainly chose the appropriate feeder to visit for sustenance!
Texas Voters Approve Right to Hunt, Fish Amendment
By an overwhelming majority, voters in Texas this week approved a Constitutional Amendment protecting the right of future residents of The Lone Star State to hunt and fish.
As a result of the passage of Proposition 6 with 81 percent of the vote tallied in the November 3 election, Texas became the 19th state to safeguard the rights of sportsmen in its state constitution.
Proposition 6 ensures that future wildlife conservation and management decisions are based on sound science in order to protect our outdoor heritage for generations to come. It adds the following important language to the Texas Constitution:
“The people have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to laws or regulations to conserve and manage wildlife and preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Hunting and fishing are preferred methods of managing and controlling wildlife. This section does not affect any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, or eminent domain. This section does not affect the power of the legislature to authorize a municipality to regulate the discharge of a weapon in a populated area in the interest of public safety.”
Kansas Commission Approves License Fee Hike Proposal
The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Commission approved a proposal to raise fees for fishing and hunting licenses at their public meeting in Burlington on Oct. 22, 2015.
The new fees will be effective Jan. 1, 2016. KDWPT staff have been discussing fee increases since early last spring and presented a draft proposal before the Commission at their public meeting in August.
Fee increases were deemed necessary to ensure pivotal programs important to hunters and anglers can be maintained and enhanced. Basic hunting and fishing license fees haven’t increased since 2002, and the price of resident deer and turkey permits haven’t increased since 1984. Inflation has increased the cost of doing business by almost 30 percent since 2002, and the uncommitted balance of the Wildlife Fee Fund was beginning to decline. License and permit revenues go into the Wildlife Fee Fund to pay for wildlife and fisheries programs, which receive no State General Fund money.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2016 a resident annual hunting or fishing license will increase from $18 to $25.
Quote of the Week
“Deer hunting is just as much a matter of speculation as marriage.”
– Archibald Rutledge,
Days Off in Dixie, 1935
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 [email protected].