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Sometimes of late the stink at the old DK is worse the the air at the indoor shooting range after the ventilation system goes out. Bad news guns this, bad news guns that, after a while all the squawking gets tedious. Figured it's time to get happy just a little bit.

Yup, caribou. Spend their lives pawing through the snow to eat lichen. Biggest migration of any land animal in North America. Females have horns too. (some one pointed out on another post that they are antlers and are different from horns. It's a regional thing, we call pronghorn, speed goats, too. Ground hogs are whistle pigs, you got a critter or a part of one, we've got a nickname)

More down below the twisting orange gun smoke.

Beware. More animal photos to come. Where was I? Oh, the good stuff about all the gun controversy.

The good thing about all the gun buying and amo shortages and general craziness since President Obama was elected in 08 is that there is a surtax on all gun and ammo sales. And that tax goes directly into wildlife restoration to the tune of $550,000,000 a year, yup, that's right, those are millions, half a billion dollars. Double what it was back in ol Dubya's time.

The name of these funds are Pittman Robertson or "PR funds" after the act of congress that established this funding source. 11% on long guns and amo, 10% on handguns. That's right, from that tricked out zombie killing, lazer guided, scary black gun with electric can opener selling for $5k, five hundred of those dollars are going to wildlife. Every thirty round clip (Bingo) that gets fired is another buck and a half for everything from the Klamath Basin to the Cedar Keys.

Every wildlife species benefits from this cascading munificence of lucre. Not just elk, moose, deer, and ducks, but also terns,

and toads

Everything from shrikes

to shrews.

Last session of congress there wasn't one Wilderness Area designated, but every time you turned around there was another Wildlife Refuge being opened. It might be lean times for many parts of the budget but there's been plenty of money for wildlife.

Thanks to gun sales, and an old Act called Pittman Robertson. Gun sales, amo sales all up, you can't buy 22lr cartridges for love or money, most store shelves are out of most kinds of amo, and they have been for a couple of months. Shelves very empty of guns, they sell faster than they can get them to the stores.

80 million of those dollars goes to hunter education programs. Would you like an almost free course on gun safety and hunting and gun laws? It's probably worth a couple hundred dollars, and is taught by the some of the most knowledgeable people in your state. The cost to you is probably ten or fifteen dollars. They want you to pay a little so that you will show up.

The course is mostly about gun safety. Since they started teaching those courses hunting accidents have fallen off a cliff.

You know something else? Most people who shoot recreationally aren't hunters. Target shooters, defenders, collectors, and I've never, ever, heard them complain about all the money they give to wildlife conservation, not once.

I'd like to give a big thank you to all the recreational shooters, hobbyists, collectors, and hunters who do so much to protect, restore, and conserve, the flora and fauna of our country, much appreciated.

The missing lynx

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Comment Preferences

  •  What a great way to decrease gun sales (10+ / 0-)

    let the rabid right know their gun and ammo purchases are funding liberal causes.

    Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?

    by jsfox on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:14:42 AM PDT

  •  and the gas tax helps pay (11+ / 0-)

    for highways and bridges

    and the tobacco tax helps pay for CHIP (Children's Health Insurance program)

    as it should be.

    discouraging overuse of petroleum products, tobacco, and gun powder-- all invidious to society.

    Nice animal pics, as usual-- thanks.

    What laws can the senators make now? Once the barbarians are here, they'll do the legislating. C.P. Cavafy

    by anonymous volanakis on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:24:19 AM PDT

  •  Now, see, today I learned something. (18+ / 0-)

    Interesting diary.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:40:09 AM PDT

  •  And how much does the carnage from guns cost? (5+ / 0-)

    According to Bloomberg:

    The cost of U.S. gun violence in work lost, medical care, insurance, criminal-justice expenses and pain and suffering amounted to as much as $174 billion in 2010,
    http://www.bloomberg.com/...
    So that piddling half a billion doesn't even scratch the surface of the cost of gun nuttia.
    Nice try.
    Doesn't reach.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:45:18 AM PDT

  •  Maybe that's the answer. Maybe if everyone is (4+ / 0-)

    convinced to buy lots of guns, accept violence as a solution, and fear their neighbors, then maybe that will solve all of the animal's dilemmas. Eventually, they'll get their habitats back.

    Maybe I was just looking at the whole thing from the perspective of the wrong species.

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:19:19 AM PDT

  •  News item: Overpopulation of deer in NC last year (10+ / 0-)

    caused a spread of disease that killed a large percentage of the deer population.
      The good news is that they are rebounding, and the animals that survived are now immune to the disease, and passing that immunity on (I hope).
     More hunting would have kept the deer numbers down, and avoided death by disease.
     

    "The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." -Zappa My Site

    by meagert on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:48:36 AM PDT

  •  Thank you Ban Nock, amazing diary along with (9+ / 0-)

    facts and beautiful pictures.

    Now how about we repeal the 22nd Amendment and get Obama elected for another term.  Imagine all the money there would be for wildlife conservation programs.

    ;)

    -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

    by gerrilea on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:46:13 AM PDT

  •  Love the photos. (11+ / 0-)

    I have had great good fortune to visit Alaska and see caribou, which are fascinating creatures.  A lot of people do not know that reindeer are domesticated caribou.  

    My concerns are twofold. While there are still a lot of hunters, their numbers of people hunting for sustenance is decreasing.  Many species of game animals are proliferating to greater numbers than most people now living can remember.  In fact, our local area  wildlife officials are re-introducing several species that have disappeared from this geographic area. Elk, some kinds of fox, wolves and others. Reintroduction of natural predators may help some with problems such as overpopulation of deer.

    My second concern is population growth spreading into more and more rural areas.  This increases the chance of adverse human-animal encounters.  It is hard to drive anywhere any more without seeing one or more deer carcass on the side of the road.  A black bear was hit and killed just a few miles from here.  I hate to think what hitting a 500 pound bear at 55 miles per hour would do to the average automobile.

    Of course, there are animal attacks as well. Humans are not at the top of the food chain when out in the woods.  I am sure many remember the fatal cougar attacks in one of the western states a year or two ago.  In some areas, feral hogs are a problem. Having been chased up a tree by a feral sow with some little pigs, I have first hand knowledge of how fearsome wild hogs are.

    The problem is truly complex, and the solution is going to take cooperation between many agencies, wildlife and environmental researchers, and the sporting/hunting community.  Unfortunately, getting that cooperation takes more than money, because egos and turf battles are going to get in the way. Count on it.

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:18:22 AM PDT

    •  Otteray Scribe, what if we did something with road (6+ / 0-)

      ways, like elevation, or enclosure, to keep the wildlife out of traffic?
      Yeah, it costs money. But I bet comparatively (in terms of damage to cars and the associated injuries) it would prove to be a bargain.

      Now the deer in the yards ... I can't fix that.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 10:18:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The only subsistance hunters I know of are being (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PavePusher, Otteray Scribe, ancblu

      forcibly relocated, they live in tiger habitat and the environmentalists figure that even though they don't poach tigers the habitat could support more  cats if people are moved out, more prey for cats, so they took half the territory and made it off limits, the other half they took away all their black powder muzzle loaders and make them hunt with crossbows. Heck of a way to feed a family. Might as well sell a daughter to the Chinese whore houses.

      Don't know what to say about the deer back east. Wish we had your problems. They were hunted heavy once, if enough hunted they could keep the population down. A big cat eats one every week and a half, probably not enough to make a dent. I hear what you say about introducing species though. Any species they introduce they should go slowly and be ready to reverse course if need  be.

      The elk shouldn't have been reintroduced unless there was widespread support. The RMEF has a policy of not helping to reintroduce where they aren't wanted. I read the blog of a guy from the western portion of Virginia. Large carnivores change things for us too. Lots of times they haven't been in a place for 75 years, and people move in, then they have to worry about a cat rippin up their toddler in the yard. Lot more cat attacks then make the news. Unless there's a death no one pays attention. It's just local news. The number one cause of lion death here by a huge factor is that fish and game shoots them because they start to get in trouble. Stalking and eating pets and stuff. I'm glad we don't have grizz yet. I like just walking in the woods not with a shotgun.

      You hit the nail on the head that there are going to be animal problems, and people are going to have to learn to let the managers manage. Cats, griz, wolves, feral horses, feral pigs, deer back east, I've even heard your coyotes are much bigger and part wolf/dog.

      Time to go be a dad. Thanks for the comment.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:04:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is an effort to bring the Red Wolf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ancblu, ban nock

        back to the Appalachians.  I saw a silver fox up on one of the mountains. It was gorgeous.  I had no idea there were any silver fox in this area. I have also seen spotted skunk, which is rare as well.

        The biggest danger from increasing wildlife density is motor vehicles hitting them, and there is literally no way to keep them off the roads.  Animal versus human attacks can be very ugly.

        I am not going to post the picture, but it happened on a golf course in Beaufort, SC.  Here is the link for anyone who wants to look.

        Wild pig attacks human here.  Not for squeamish.

        The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

        by Otteray Scribe on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:25:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Green Washing . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, splashy, duckhunter
    Greenwashing

    Greenwashing (a compound word modelled on "whitewash"), or "green sheen,"[1][2] is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization's aims and policies are environmentally friendly. Whether it is to increase profits or gain political support, greenwashing may be used to manipulate popular opinion to support otherwise questionable aims.

    ....................................................................
    http://www.thedailygreen.com/...
    Study: Hunters (and Their Families) Face Lead Poisoning Threat
    As with all lead exposures, the risk to pregnant women and young children is greatest.
    http://www.nps.gov/...
    Lead Bullet Risks for Wildlife & Humans
    Condors and Other Wildlife

    Most lead-core rifle bullets fragment into hundreds of tiny pieces when they strike animal tissue. Lead-tainted meat may become part of scavengers' food supplies when any of the following occur: a wounded animal escapes a hunting attempt, an animal shot as a pest is not retrieved from the field, or when gutpiles remain on the landscape after a hunt. Over the past 3 decades, California condor recovery efforts have brought to light how this lead pathway in the ecosystem can threaten even the very survival of a species.But as you will see, impacts extend to many other wildlife species also.

    http://www.iowadnr.gov/...
    Fact Sheet:
    Bald Eagles and Lead Poisoning
    Lead toxicity (or poisoning) has been identified as a concern for a number of bird species, including Bald Eagles. Over the past 25 years, from 21% to 25% of sick or injured eagles treated at the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center were found to have toxic levels of lead in their blood. In 2005-2006,13 of 25 injured orsick eagles found and treated in Iowa exhibited signs of lead poisoning. Because several of these appear to result fromingested lead slug or bullet fragments, questions are being asked about sources of this lead and what might be done toreduce lead toxicity in Bald Eagles.
    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/...
    Three New Scientific Studies Confirm Lead Poisoning of Wildlife Due to Hunting Ammunition

    Condors, Eagles, Vultures Exposed to Toxic Lead From Hunting

    SAN FRANCISCO— Three new scientific studies by University of California researchers confirm that lead poisoning of endangered California condors and other wildlife is due to scavenging animals ingesting fragments of spent lead hunting ammunition. One study also demonstrated that the 2008 California ban on lead ammunition in condor habitat has been effective in removing lead from the environment, as evidenced by a significant reduction in lead exposure in golden eagles and turkey vultures soon after the new regulation took effect.

    http://www.plosone.org/...
    Lead exposure in terrestrial birds has received much attention in recent years both in North America and Europe (for reviews, see [1], [2]). There are studies that describe lead fragmentation of rifle bullets in the carcasses and offal (i.e., gut piles) of ground squirrels (Spermophilus richardsonii), prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), deer (Odocioleus spp.), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), elk, fallow deer, and red deer (Cervus spp), [3]–[7], and all make the argument that these lead fragments pose a hazard to scavenging species.
    http://www.shawnmccadden.com/...
    Thoughts About Lead Poisoning for Hunters and Their Dinner Guests

    avoiding Lead poisoning cooking wild game, International and domestic studies have shown elevated lead levels in humans consuming large and small game hunted with lead ammunition.  Studies prove that regular consumption of game meat in adults and children found elevated blood lead levels compared with background levels, especially among children.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...
    Animal lead poisoning

    Animal lead poisoning (also known as avian plumbism, or avian saturnism for birds) is a veterinary condition and pathology caused by increased levels of the heavy metal lead in animal's body.

    Lead interferes with a variety of body and natural processes.
    It is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. It mainly affects the haematopoietic system. It also affects the sulfhydryl group containing enzymes and also thiol content of erythrocyte. It inhibits the enzyme delta amino levaminic acid dehydrogenase enzyme(ALA) which is present in the rbc.
    It is therefore particularly toxic to young animals, mainly dogs and cattle.

    As in humans, animal lead poisoning may be acute (from intense exposure of short duration) or chronic (from repeat low-level exposure over a prolonged period). Acute intoxication can quickly lead to death.

    http://www.nj.gov/...
    Exposure to lead can cause lead poisoning. Potential health effects and symptoms of lead poisoning include irritation of the eyes and throat, tiredness, metallic taste, poor appetite, weight loss, colic, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, increase in blood pressure, muscle and joint pain, and kidney and nerve damage.
    Medical research has shown that lead poisoning can affect a child’s behaviorand intellectual development.
    Children are especially vulnerable to lead because their organs and central nervous system are still developing, and their bodies are not able to eliminate the lead they absorb
    http://www.vpc.org/...
    Poisonous Pastime
    The Health Risks of Shooting Ranges and Lead to Children, Families, and the Environment
    Section One: Lead, Environmental Pollution, and Health Hazards

    "Until fairly recent years, most shooters wore no hearing protection. As a result, most shooters over 40 have some hearing loss. For many, it is a very significant and noticeable hearing loss. Most of us didn't know how much damage we were incrementally inflicting on ourselves. There was little or no warning about the danger to our health years ago. The same is true with the lead problem. We fired round after round, match after match, without realizing what lead could do to us."
                   —Joseph P. Tartaro, Second Amendment Foundation news release, January 10, 1998

    Both types of ranges share a common problem—lead. Most ammunition used at ranges is made of lead. Although no records on ammunition production are kept in the United States, it has been estimated that between 400 and 600 tons of lead are used each day to make bullets and "a high proportion of it is left to clutter up shooting ranges."4 It is no wonder, then, that numerous studies—since at least the 1970s—have documented that outdoor shooting ranges are major sources of lead pollution in the environment, and that indoor shooting ranges are significant sources of lead poisoning among people who use them.f

    The danger of lead poisoning extends not only to those who shoot in indoor firing ranges. It also reaches the shooters' families (especially children), and third parties, such as construction workers whose jobs bring them into contact with shooting ranges, and persons who share the building, such as children in a school in which a range is located.

    http://www.gun-tests.com/...
    Preventing Lead Poisoning On The Shooting Range

    Little do you know, but this insidious heavy metal found in ranges everywhere may be slowly killing you.

    http://www.precisioncartridge.com/...
    The Midwest's Leading Supplier of Quality Ammunition!
    Lead Exposure Findings at Firing Ranges

    The lead vapor created in firing a handgun has several principal sources: the action of hot propellant gases (reaching 2,000) against the lead base of the bullet, the friction of the bullet against the barrel and the combustion of lead in priming compounds. Numerous studies have shown that shooters, range workers and others in the shooting area at ranges frequently have elevated blood lead levels caused both by inhaling lead vapor and by inadequate personal hygiene prior to smoking and/or eating.

        One study carried out by the United States government in the 1970's found that at nine indoor firing ranges examined, the average airborne lead concentration was almost 54 times the current OSHA limit.

        Subsequent studies have reported such findings as an average ten-fold increase in blood lead levels among a class of 17 law enforcement cadets during three months of training at an indoor range.

        Other studies of indoor ranges have found numerous cases throughout the United States of elevated blood lead levels and symptoms of lead poisoning.

    Several recent studies, focused on exposure in outdoor firing ranges, also have found -- to the surprise of some -- high lead exposure levels.

        One study in 1989 found that blood lead levels among a class of police cadets in Richmond, Virginia tripled during their five-day training period using conventional lead bullets at an outdoor range.

        Another recent study found that a group of seven Los Angeles Police Department shooting instructors at an uncovered outdoor range all had elevated blood lead levels and nearly 30% of the group had lead levels above OSHA's maximum permissible level.

    http://www.cdc.gov/...
    Indoor vs. Outdoor Ranges
    An estimated 9,000 non-military outdoor ranges exist in the United States, with millions of pounds of lead from bullets shot annually. Because outdoor ranges are typically built in an open area, lead and noise are more widely dispersed

    Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

    by indycam on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:23:49 AM PDT

    •  and lead paint tastes like candy... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ancblu

      and it's everywhere and will be for a long time.  same with the residue in the soil from leaded gasoline.

      i'd be interested to know just how much game the people tested were eating.  they might be worse off if they were catching and eating fish, at least in mo .

      i'm all for mandating non-toxic shot for hunting and outdoor shooting facilities, and banning lead for fishing weights and lures.  non-toxics are federally mandated for waterfowl since 1991.  the fed could expand it to all migratory birds without going to the states.  ca has been trying to extend lead bans past designated condor habitat areas.  the nra is opposing this and all other efforts to transition to non-toxics.

      if one wants to go to an indoor range and inhale lead that's their choice.  if indoor ranges were required to warn people about the dangers of lead (like on a pack of butts) i'm sure they'd lose a lot of customers and lead free ranges would appear.

    •  actually lead in hunting bullets has been found to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PavePusher, ancblu, KVoimakas

      be harmless. Same with outdoor ranges. Maybe you don't like hunters, that's your business, and if I thought it would make one lick of difference I'd respond, but as it is I only read the first paragraph and I could tell where you were coming from. Maybe anti hunting vegetarian?

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:47:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i LOVE being outdoors, on a COLD winter day (8+ / 0-)

    Everyone else & their Dog, is inside-
    Its as Quiet as Christmas

    Who is mighty ? One who turns an enemy into a friend !

    by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:33:37 AM PDT

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