In the field notes: Here’s a roundup of state-related hunting and fishing news.
Gag Grouper Fall Season Opens
Florida Fish & Wildlife reports the Gulf of Mexico gag grouper recreational fall season in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties opens Sept. 1, and runs through Dec. 31.
The new fall season was approved at the agency’s July meeting and is in addition to the April 1- June 30 season that already takes place off these four counties.
“Gag grouper management off the state of Florida is a prime example of how regional management can successfully provide fishing opportunities while continuing to promote conservation,” Jessica McCawley, director of FWC’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management, said in a news release.
Felony Charges for Suspected Poacher
A Freestone County game warden received an Operation Game Thief crime-stopper tip in July regarding a deer that was shot at night. He responded to the location and found one dead doe in the bed of a pick-up truck. Additionally, another quartered deer was found in a cooler under the suspect’s porch.
After interviewing the suspect, along with others, and consulting with the district attorney, three Class A misdemeanor warrants and a third-degree felony warrant were obtained and executed.
Charges include hunting deer at night, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and waste of game. Civil restitution is pending.
Lake Martin Fish Kill Source ID’d
Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries said “depletion of adequate summertime habitat” was the cause of a recent Lake Martin fish kill. The agency said adult striped bass and non-native blueback herring have been dying at the lake.
“Increased rainfall this year has led to large quantities of water being flushed through the Martin Dam turbines. The increased turbine activity has removed the water layer required for these species to survive. The duration of this fish kill could last for several weeks,” the agency said in a news release.
Chesapeake Bay Conditions Improving
Dissolved oxygen conditions in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem were much better than average for early August, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources said in a news release.
The hypoxic water volume (areas with less than 2 mg/l oxygen) was 0.91 cubic miles, which is much smaller than the early August 1985-2016 average of 1.31 cubic miles. No anoxic zones (areas with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen) were detected.
Crabs, fish, oysters and other creatures require oxygen to survive with levels above 5 mg/l considered optimal to support aquatic health, the agency said/
Mistakes Reported in Regs Handbook
Minnesota DNR said this week that hunters should be aware of several mistakes in the 2017 hunting/trapping regs handbook and the accompanying fold-out deer season map.
“We apologize for these errors and will take steps to ensure that we can avoid these errors in the future,” said Paul Telander, DNR Wildlife Section chief. “We’re working with license vendors and stakeholder organizations to ease any confusion by directing hunters to correct information posted online and encouraging hunters with questions to call the DNR information center at 888-646-6367.”
Osprey Chicks Sport GPS Backpacks
Michigan Department of Natural Resources said the state’s osprey population continues to rebound, and in the southern part of the state monitoring efforts are now in place to track the birds, which were nearly absent from much of the state due to DDT, other pesticide use and habitat loss.
This year, four osprey chicks have been were outfitted with GPS “backpacks,” telemetry units that track the birds’ movements.
“We are very excited to have this opportunity to place GPS units on several ospreys this year,” said Julie Oakes, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, in a news release. “This will not only provide the DNR with information on what migration routes the birds take, but will also give us insight into the perils they must endure on their migration.”
Eclipse Kept Wardens Busy; Few Problems Reported
Wyoming Game and Fish said very few violations before and during the 2017 Solar Eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21. Game and Fish law enforcement reports 60 citations and 99 warnings were issued during the three-day weekend, which saw sun-seekers flocking to areas of the state in the “path of totality.”
Citations and warnings were mostly related to boating safety violations, aquatic invasive species (non-compliance and fishing violations. One boating while under the influence arrest was reported.