The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Government Relations-State Affairs Team has learned Washington State’s legislature has pre-filed SB 5078- a measure to make it a criminal offense to manufacture, possess, distribute, import, sell, purchase or transfer a magazine with a capacity greater than ten rounds. SB 5038 has also been introduced, focusing on banning an individual’s right to open carry of firearms.
The Texas Team Trail has unveiled the schedule for the 2021 season, which includes stops at some of the most popular tournament bass lakes in the country.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is excited to announce the 7thannual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Festival May 15 and 16 at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar and HarborWalk Village in Destin.
Due to the ongoing public health emergency and associated limits on large gatherings, B.A.S.S. officials announced today that the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk and Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo originally scheduled for late March would be moved to June 11-13, 2021.
With the recent temperature drops across the state, Indiana Conservation Officers are advising Hoosiers across the state of the potential hazards of being on frozen lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners contributed $215,067 in funding for 13 wildlife habitat enhancement, hunting heritage and research projects in Wisconsin.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners doled out $295,830 in grant funding to improve wildlife habitat and enhance Nevada’s hunting heritage. RMEF directly granted $66,500 and leveraged an additional $229,330 in partner dollars.
California received $6,664,333 in grant funding from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners for habitat improvement, elk-related scientific research and hunting heritage projects.
Hunters still seeking to take a deer this season can plan to bow hunt through the end of January in southeastern Michigan.

Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunters completed the 2021 muzzleloader season with 9,708 deer checked from Saturday, Jan. 2 to Tuesday, Jan. 5, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
By order of the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission, the hunting and/or trapping season for taking bobcats in Trapping District 3 in southwestern Montana will close at midnight on the evening of Saturday, January 9, 2021.
True Velocity finalized delivery of more than 625,000 rounds of the company’s proprietary composite-cased 6.8mm ammunition to the U.S. Army for consideration in the Next Generation Squad Weapon Program.
Riton Optics is pleased to announce the addition of Emily Phillippi to the Riton Optics marketing team, as the Digital Marketing Manager. In this position, Phillippi will be working to expand the company’s digital strategy and online visibility.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is asking its members for examples showing how commonplace financial discrimination against the firearms industry is in Kentucky in support of passage of the Firearms Industry Nondiscrimination (FIND) Act.
Next week the Second Amendment Foundation is launching a new nationwide TV campaign to protect the Second Amendment by joining SAF’s popular “2nd Amendment First Responder” program. The one-minute message will appear 40 times on a network lineup that includes: DirecTV, Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, MSNBC, The Weather Channel, One America News Network, CNBC, HLN, Bloomberg and Dish TV.
Northland Predator Rigs™ enter the running by eliminating line frays and prevent bite-offs. They’re seven inches of no-nonsense leader, pre-rigged for convenience with the right components, whether you’re fishing for savage strikers or spooky biters.
DSG Outerwear is proud to announce the newest addition to its line of luggage, the DSG Roller Bag in Realtree Edge® camo.

Whatever adventures draw you outside, Vortex is making sure this year starts with plenty of ways to hunt harder, shoot faster, and take your outdoor passions to new heights.
ALLEN Company has announced a new brand, “TAC Six,” named to honor dedication to hard work and service to country. It is available in Mobile Lifestyle Messenger Bags, Load Mobility Backpacks and more.
ALPS OutdoorZ has developed a streamlined, ultra-comfortable boat seat suitable for numerous fishing, hunting, or recreational watercraft applications. The new Cast-N-Blast is a universal boat seat with a bolt pattern that fits standard boat seat swivel mounts.
"This budget is a good starting point and continues to fund the state agencies and outdoor programs that support wildlife protection, enhance public access, and conserve our working lands."

Pheasants Forever announces the hiring of Hannah Hayes as the organization’s new North Dakota Education and Outreach Coordinator.
This week, Outdoors Radio features Ashland tackle shop proprietor C arolyn Swartz, Range of Richfield president Jim Babiasz, winter campers Galway McCullough and Nicole Belletti, and McFarland guide Ron Barefield.
This week on America Outdoors Radio we'll talk to Colin Kearns, Editor-in-Chief of Field & Stream Magazine, about their special 125th anniversary edition.
It’s a dramatic ending to the 2020 Election cycle, handgun training, and more, this week on Tom Gresham's Gun Talk® Radio, the original nationally-syndicated radio talk show about guns and the shooting sports.

Indiana Conservation Officer Dave Moss has been selected as the 2020 District 6 Indiana Conservation Officer of the Year.
A Madison County, Indiana, off-road vehicle driver was killed when his ORV overturned, pinning him beneath the vehicle.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will consider wildlife regulation changes that include a proposal to enact a Special Landowner Deer Season and allow the purchase of a bonus or a preference point with regard to big game hunting when it meets Jan. 13 in Lincoln.
Porcupine Mountains Ski Area, located in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County, has been temporarily closed until inspections on the triple ski lift have been performed by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The governors of Illinois and Michigan have agreed to work jointly to protect the Great Lakes from invasive Asian carp species.
The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (ALBBAA) announce former Auburn University Coach Joe Whitt of Auburn and Fran Pearce of Browns as the newest board members to the organization.
Honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by becoming a volunteer at one of Indiana’s DNR properties this year. out
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and partners have begun an effort to restore marten to the Little Belt Mountains.

Wildlife managers have long used water, especially in the arid Southwest, as a tool to help support healthy animal populations. What began as a handful of managed water sites for quail and mule deer around 1940 blossomed into some 6,000 sites intended to increase populations and benefit overall health for dozens of mostly game species in 10 western states by the close of the 20th century. Provisional water – contained in troughs, large tires, basins, open tanks and dammed up pools – is now used to support a vast range of wildlife management and species conservation work, from increasing mule deer and other game populations to recovery efforts for endangered Sonoran pronghorn and desert bighorn sheep.

A new study, however, reveals that in some cases, use of the common wildlife management tool can be fine-tuned to optimize benefits for targeted species by reducing risk from predators that are likewise drawn to the same water sources. Published in PLOS One, the Public Library of Science’s peer-reviewed open-access scientific journal, the research represents significant implications for other like-minded wildlife management efforts.

Conducted by biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Defense and others, the study examined when endangered desert bighorn sheep, as well as deer, puma and coyote visit managed water sources (drinkers) in three distinct Southwestern desert ecosystems.

“Desert bighorn sheep visit water when it's hot and dry,” says Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Grant Harris. “Mountain lions visit water year-round. Take home: Provide water only when bighorn sheep are likely to visit, which could reduce mountain lion range expansion and predation on sheep.”


For six-and-a-half years, from July 2009 through December 2016, Harris and fellow researchers analyzed imagery from remote cameras set up at 105 drinkers throughout the Chihuahuan, Sonoran and Mojave deserts. By calculating the mean proportion of visits to water catchments per month for each site, the team was able to hone in on exactly when desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyote and mountain lions visited the sites.

Bighorn sheep (top) are frequent visitors at “drinkers” April through August. Other wildlife (below) use them year round, leading researchers to discover that the benefit of water year round could actually be detrimental to the ungulate populations.

The research revealed that in the Chihuahuan Desert, 70 percent of all desert bighorn sheep visits occurred from April through August; In the Sonoran, 85 percent of sheep visits occurred during May through August; And in the Mojave, 83 percent of sheep visits occurred from May through September. While sheep favored these four- to five-month brackets during hotter seasons to visit water sites, the site surveys revealed different visitation patterns for coyotes and mountain lions, which visited the drinkers throughout the entire year.

“It’s pretty simple,” says David Brown, a wildlife biologist with Arizona State University and co-author of the recent study. “Everyone with a hunting dog knows that canids and larger carnivores require more water than desert-adapted ungulates. The [study] merely documents this fact for all to see, a fact often overlooked by ungulate water purveyors.”

Indeed, numerous wildlife studies suggest that the benefits of wildlife management protocols that include provisional water may at times be negligible, or that the practice is potentially counter-productive. Yet despite concerns that water provisioning may favor more water-dependent species, increase predation and reduce biodiversity, wildlife agencies continue to provide water year-round throughout many arid lands of Africa, Australia and the United States, ostensibly to increase game populations and enhance biodiversity.

“We know from studies outside of the U.S. that water holes attract predators, so it was unsurprising that mountain lions frequented waters year-round,” says David R. Stewart, a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and another co-author of the new study. “In fact, and talking with hunters in New Mexico and Arizona, they too seek out water as they pursue their table fare for species like deer and elk. Regardless, drinkers provide a benefit and are a management tool that biologists might be able to use to help sustain populations. However, and like any management tool, biologists and managers need to consider when to use it and when not to use it for the betterment of the species they are managing.”

“We know from studies outside of the U.S. that water holes attract predators,” says David R. Stewart a co-author of the new study. Seems that’s no exaggeration in the west, either.

Stewart suggests that the research team’s findings represent a first step in determining how best to use supplemental water sources in the wildlife management arena. The next is determining with more precision the efficacy of these management tools. For example, what happens to sheep and mountain lion numbers if water is provided for only a few months of the year? Do predators leave the area? Do sheep numbers decline? Do they remain stable because they’re using high mountain springs or other unknown natural water sites?

“Movement ecology will play a critical role in helping us answer these questions,” says Stewart. “By taking a closer look at this situation, then we can refine how we manage sheep using water provisions.”

For now, the study adds to an important and growing body of science that points to a clear conclusion: Improving water management hinges on understanding wildlife visitation patterns and tailoring management towards the species justifying provisional water.

—Ben Ikenson

Ben Ikenson is a freelance writer and former speechwriter for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who lives in New Mexico.

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