Video: Driftless Areas and the Farm Bill

Steven Rinella, host of the hit TV show “MeatEater” discusses the importance of private lands conservation programs in the Farm Bill and their role in ensuring hunting and fishing opportunities.

  • The conservation title of the Farm Bill is the single-largest source of federal funding for conservation on private lands in our country.
  • Farm Bill conservation programs assist farmers, ranchers and other landowners in running economically sustainable operations while conserving important fish and wildlife habitat, safeguarding clean air and water, stabilizing topsoil and enhancing recreational opportunities on private lands.
  • Given the effectiveness of these programs, proposed reductions in their funding would undermine the effectiveness of efforts like those Rinella profiles in the Driftless Area.
  • Every five years when the Farm Bill’s renewal is considered by Congress, American hunters and anglers must fight to ensure that these critical conservation programs are strongly funded.
  • If funding levels for private lands conservation programs are not maintained or bolstered in the next Farm Bill, key habitat for fish and wildlife could be severely compromised.

Learn more about The Driftless Area Initiative.

Learn more about the TRCP’s work to secure conservation funding in the next Farm Bill.

Learn more about the TRCP Agriculture and Wildlife Working Group.

 

Quartering and Packing Big Game Demystified in New How-To Video

A lot of hunters feel uneasy about hunting backcountry public land because they’re worried about what to do when they get a deer or elk down on the ground a mile or more from their rig.

Join Steven Rinella and seven sportsman-conservation organizations in a new instructional video, “Quartering & Packing Big Game” that demonstrates big-game field dressing and packing techniques for public land hunters.

In this video, Rinella offers tips and techniques to help public land hunters develop the skills and confidence necessary to hunt away from their vehicles – in places where their odds of success often are higher.

Millions of American sportsmen depend on public lands, and these lands can receive a lot of hunting pressure. That pressure can push deer and elk deep into areas that are far from roads and vehicles, prompting many sportsmen to hunt on foot, quarter their kills and pack out the meat on their backs.

Watch “Quartering & Packing Big Game” right now.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Wild Sheep Foundation, the Mule Deer FoundationOrion the Hunters Institute, the Pope and Young Club and the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance teamed up with Rinella to produce and distribute the new video. All of these groups are committed to ensuring the responsible management of public lands and to safeguarding habitat for fish, wildlife and sportsmen.

Balancing Energy Development With Fish and Wildlife Habitat

State and federal public lands hold some of the most productive fish and wildlife habitat in the country and are vital to meeting our country’s energy needs.

  • Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development is a coalition led by the TRCP, the National Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited that is dedicated to conserving irreplaceable habitats so future generations can hunt and fish on America’s public lands.
  • A 2012 SFRED study found that from 1969 to 2009, the top 50 counties in the Rocky Mountain West region that contained the highest percentage of land managed for conservation had higher per capita income, higher population growth and higher total employment compared to the 50 counties with lands managed more for intensive energy development.
  • SFRED works to ensure that our nation’s economic portfolio is considers the responsible development of energy resources as well as the $821 billion annual outdoor recreation economy.

Learn more about the TRCP’s work to ensure responsible energy development.

Read the TRCP’s FACTS for Fish and Wildlife.

The TRCP and our partners are working to ensure energy development is balanced with the needs of fish and wildlife. Learn more by visiting the websites below.

Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development
Trout Unlimited
National Wildlife Federation

DON’T MISS: Senate Tackles Colorado River Management

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is holding a hearing on Tuesday, July 16, at 2:30 p.m. ET to receive testimony on the Bureau of Reclamation’s Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study. This study is a landmark analysis of water supplies in the basin over the next 50 years that will be a critical tool for water managers at all levels as they plan for future water use.

Sportsmen need to be aware of this important planning activity and what it means for hunting and fishing. You will be able to watch a live webcast of the hearing on the committee’s website.

In the first season of “TRCP’s Conservation Field Notes,” our friend Steven Rinella discussed the importance of managing water in the western United States, including in the Colorado River basin, and what it means for fish and wildlife. Check it out, and stay tuned for more updates on the Colorado River study.

 

Dall’s Sheep Species Background

Dall’s Sheep Species Background.

- There are four subspecies of North American wild sheep:

Thinhorns which consist of the Dall’s and Stone’s sheep; and

Bighorns which consist of the desert and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

- More than 90 percent of North American wild sheep reside on public lands.

- State, federal, crown land agencies as well as tribal entities play an important role in wild sheep management.

- Disease transmitted from domestic sheep to wild sheep is the No. 1 limiting factor to successful recovery of wild sheep populations.

- Some public lands allow domestic sheep grazing in suitable historic wild sheep habitat causing large scale die-offs with many years of poor wild sheep lamb recruitment.

VIDEO: QUARTERING AND PACKING BIG GAME

Many folks feel overwhelmed when they are hunting on public lands and they get a deer or elk down on the ground in a place that is a mile or more from the nearest road. At this distance, dragging an animal out is too much work and game carts are often impractical.

If, like most folks, you don’t have the luxury of owning livestock, you need to pack the animal out on your back. To do so, you must understand how to quarter an animal into manageable, packable pieces.

Watch and learn as Steven Rinella outlines the basic steps for getting the job done.

Saving Alaska’s Bristol Bay

Steven discusses the potentially catastrophic effects of the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

• At stake is an ecosystem that supports the finest wild salmon habitat on Earth. Each year, returning salmon transport millions of tons of nutrients from the rich marine environment to the nutrient-poor watersheds of the Pacific Rim, increasing production at all levels – from bacteria to brown bears.

• Strong runs of wild salmon are the biological and economic backbone of the Bristol Bay region, a place of internationally recognized importance for fish, wildlife and sportsmen. If the salmon are lost, so are the region’s abundant wildlife populations and commercial, subsistence and recreational fishing opportunities.

• The proposed Pebble Mine would threaten the world’s most productive salmon habitat and consequently the world-class hunting and $500 million commercial and sport fishery.

• Once constructed, the dam and 10-square-mile-wide containment pond could hold up to 10 billion tons of waste produced by the Pebble Mine – nearly enough to bury the city of Seattle. Due to the acid-generating nature of the mine’s ore body, the waste would require perpetual and intensive treatment to safeguard the region and its fish and wildlife.

Video: Sportsmen and Climate Change

  • In the next century, nearly 40 percent of the natural ecosystems where sportsmen hunt and fish will change due to a number of reasons, including climate change.
  • Higher water temperatures in waterways such as Montana’s Yellowstone River negatively impact trout populations.
  • Drier and warmer weather patterns aggravate fire cycles in states like Oregon.
  • Temperature changes can push out native species and allow foreign species to disrupt the natural food cycles.

 

Video: Improving Hunting Access

  • Sportsmen must travel farther than ever to access public lands.
  • Public lands can be rendered inaccessible by adjacent private land owners.
  • The federal Open Fields program incentivizes land owners to enable sportsmen access to privately owned lands, including otherwise inaccessible hunting grounds.

Visit our partner sites to find out more about Open Fields and public lands access:

Pheasants Forever
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Saving Texas Bighorn Sheep

Steven addresses concerns about Texas bighorn sheep in light of exotic and invasive species introductions within the bighorn’s native range.

  • Bighorn sheep are what biologists call an “indicator species” – one whose presence, absence or abundance is reflective of a larger environmental trend.
  • After years of declining numbers resulting from unregulated hunting and disease, Texas bighorns have rebounded to their pre-settlement population levels.
  • Bighorns are threatened by the introduction of the exotic and invasive Aoudad sheep. Aoudad sheep compete with bighorns for habitat and risk transmitting viral and bacterial pathogens foreign to bighorn immune systems.
  • The greatest limiting factor in bighorn recovery, however, is disease transmission from domestic sheep and goats.
  • In order for Texas bighorn populations to remain robust, management practices must eliminate contact between bighorns and domestic sheep and goats and strictly manage Aoudad numbers.

Wild sheep populations in Texas may be recovering, but herds across the West continue to dwindle due to factors such as disease transmission and climate change.