- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 23, 2005

New York hunters are in an uproar over state assembly Bill 1850 that would make sport hunting a punishable act of animal cruelty.

The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Alexander Grannis, New York City Democrat, would revise the state’s definition of animal cruelty to include the “killing or injuring [of] wild game and wild birds.” The revision would make hunting and trapping activities criminal offenses. The bill is now being considered before the body’s Agriculture Committee.

“The bill creates a contradiction in the law [because] the state code allows regulated hunting,” said Tony Celebrezze of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, a national watchdog group that is ready to enter the fray whenever Americans’ right to hunt is challenged. “If [this] becomes law, anti-hunters will have a field day ensuring that sportsmen are prosecuted on animal cruelty charges.”

The proposal is similar to a Texas bill that also would turn everyday hunters into criminals. Hunters in Iowa and Connecticut also have had to defeat animal cruelty bills that threatened hunting with dogs.

Sport fishermen are big spenders — The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) normally doesn’t throw bouquets to us sport anglers, but it admits that sportfishing is a huge deal.

“Marine recreational fishing supports nearly 350,000 jobs and generates $30billion in economic impact to the nation annually,” says the NOAA.

With that in mind, the group says it has developed a plan defining a common vision for the future of recreational fisheries and a strategy to achieve that vision.

“The Recreational Fishing Strategic Plan sets goals that both government and recreational fishermen agree on and lays out a game plan for making that happen,” said Bill Hogarth, director of NOAA Fisheries Service. The plan is part of what NOAA says are its continuing efforts to protect, restore and manage the use of coastal and ocean resources through an ecosystem approach to management.

Are you holding your breath waiting to see what they’ll do to help the more than 13million American saltwater anglers? I’m not.

$1 million for a carp? — A world championship of carp fishing will be held in June on a 40-mile stretch of the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York.

The event will draw 200 two-man teams from around the world, each ponying up a $2,500 entry fee. They’ll fish around the clock for nearly five days, and the winning team wins $100,000. And if any team breaks the 501/4-pound New York state record for carp, the team wins a cool $1 million — to be paid out over a number of years.

Says BassFan.com, a popular Web site for bass tournament fanatics: “This is no joke. People will actually be going to the St. Lawrence River, one of the best bass and muskie waters in the country, and will be completely ignoring fish with teeth in favor of fish that, well … suck.”

Now come on BassFan.com — carp can be worthy adversaries, powerful fighters that can bust any bass tackle. Don’t be so hard on carp.

More trout stocked in Maryland — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources this week stocked 14 bodies of water in Central, Southern and Western Maryland with 11,950 preseason trout. As weather permits, more trout will be stocked until some 50,000 have been placed in public waters in time for the start of the season March26.

In the Central Region, the following bodies of water were stocked: Centennial Lake (750 trout), Howard’s Pond (600), Daniel’s Dam area on the Patapsco (1,500), Lake Needwood (750), Elkhorn Lake (750), Morgan Run Special Area (1,500), Farm Museum Pond (750), Stansbury Pond (750) and Westminster Pond (500).

In the Southern Region, Lake Waterford (750), Hutchins Pond (400) and Allen’s Pond (450) were stocked. In the Western Region, the Casselman River (1,500) and Barnum area (1,000) saw fresh trout.

Be sure to check your Freshwater Sportfishing Guide for details concerning closure periods for certain waters. In addition, a trout stamp is required to possess trout and to fish in special trout management areas.


m Ducks Unlimited banquet — Tomorrow, 6p.m., at Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church. The Northern Virginia chapter has its annual banquet and fundraiser auction. Information: John Bray, [email protected] or 703/868-8450.

CCA banquet — Saturday, 6 to 9p.m., Southern Maryland Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association will hold its annual affair at the new American Legion Hall in Hughesville. Tickets are $35 each, couples $65. Send checks to CCA-So.Md., c/o Donald Gardiner, 3675 Fritz Place, Waldorf, Md. 20601-2004.

Trout Unlimited meeting — March3, 7:30p.m., at McLean VFW Post 8241. The Northern Virginia chapter will hear George Layton of the Tysons Corner Orvis store talk about special clothing for every weather condition. Details: nvatu.org.

Bay Bridge Boat Show — April21-24, at Bay Bridge Marina in Stevensville (Kent Island), Md. Information: 410/268-8828.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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