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‘Hunting?’ Hard to find on NWR websites

Frank Galusha, my outdoor buddy.com, outdoor recreation

By Frank Galusha
10/22/13 -- Pintail outnumbered mallards by more than 10 to 1 and most other species by a factor of 5 or 7 to 1 according to the Mid-October Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex waterfowl survey released today by Mike Carpenter, Wildlife Biologist at the Complex in Willows. Similarly, words such as “wildlife” and “conservation” outnumbered the word “hunting” by an even greater margin on NWR websites.

There were over 927,000 dabblers on the refuges during the count of which more than 555,000 were the “Come Back” kids of recent years – Northern Pintail. Despite their abundance compared to mallards, which numbered about 41,200 during the survey, hunters are still only allowed two pintail in the daily bag but can take up to seven mallards. The limit has been seven ducks a day now for many years and compared to historical averages the number of pintails is still down. Could it be we’ll start seeing reductions in the daily bag again or fewer mallards allowed? The odds on that happening are probably very high simply because hunters are outnumbered by non-hunters by a factor of 200 to 1 or greater.

Year to year comparisons of these surveys are hard to make due to a variety of conditions and it’s still too early to get a feel for overall abundance. About all we can do is hope the birds in the valley get within gun range.

The second most abundant dabbler in the survey was widgeon with a count of 102,000 followed by shovelers and green-winged teal counts of 82,000 and 81,000 respectively.

If we don’t get some ducky weather it won’t make much difference. The ducks will have little reason to migrate or fly. Information was hard to come by today but my money will be on “Disappointment” after the shutdown late season opener at all the usual places. Looking out a week it’s hard to see anything in the forecast but sunny days with little or no wind.

By the way, if haven’t visited a refuge website recently, take a look. It’s getting harder and harder to find information about hunting. Most of the sites are being loaded up with information about wildlife viewing, habitat and conservation. It’s hard to find the word “Hunting” as you wade through the pages. I tried searching on the word “Hunting” and got only these:

1. Comprehensive Conservation Planning
The purpose of a CCP is to specify a management direction for the Refuge for the next 15 years. The goal... fws.gov/refuge/Sacramento/ComprehensiveConservationPlan.html

2. Resources for Educators
Below are some additional resources for your students before (or after) leading your group to the Complex. fws.gov/refuge/Sacramento/for_educators/resources.html

3. Trails
Get outdoors and go for a walk! The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex has a variety of trails.fws.gov/refuge/Sacramento/visitor_activities/trails.html

4. National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act
For almost a century, the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System had been managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife...
fws.gov/refuge/sacramento/NationalWildlifeRefugeImprovementAct.html

If you do better, please send me the links that describe hunting opportunities on our NWRs.

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Website Design Photo Credits: MyOutdoorBuddy.com thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of Tule-Lake.com, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

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