Off the wire

Bass fishing proposed as a Missouri high school activity
KANSAS CITY — Picture this: Spectators in bleachers tensely watch as points are posted on a scoreboard, cheerleaders wave pompoms and young athletes sweat out a close contest.

A typical high school game or match? Well, not quite.

Someday, this scene may take place at a Missouri reservoir — as part of a high-school bass fishing tournament.
Read complete story from the Kansas City Star

None of 9,000 deer checked for chronic wasting disease statewide test positive
None of 9,000 free-ranging deer checked for chronic wasting disease around the state in 2008 tested positive, state wildlife official are expected to report today at the Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing.
Read complete story from mlive.com

Study: Climate change may reshuffle western weeds
SALT LAKE CITY — Climate change will likely shuffle some of the West's most troublesome invasive weeds, adding to the burden faced by farms and ranchers in some areas and providing opportunities for native plant restoration in others, according to a new study.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Sea level rise may be worse than expected
WASHINGTON — Long-term sea level increases that could have a devastating effect on southern Florida and highly populated coastal areas may be even larger than once thought, a report suggests.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

New Illinois DNR director named
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Saying the state needs an experienced professional at the helm, Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday introduced Marc Miller as the new director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Read complete story from The PJ Star

Ancient fossil find: This snake could eat a cow!
NEW YORK — Never mind the 40-foot snake that menaced Jennifer Lopez in the 1997 movie "Anaconda." Not even Hollywood could match a new discovery from the ancient world. Fossils from northeastern Colombia reveal the biggest snake ever discovered: a behemoth that stretched 42 to 45 feet long, reaching more than 2,500 pounds.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

First deep sea observatory looks at climate change
ABOARD RESEARCH VESSEL POINT LOBOS, Off the California Coast — A crane on a ship deck hoisted a 502-pound video camera and plopped it into the ocean for a 3,000-foot descent to the world of neon-glowing jellyfish, bug-eyed red rock cod and other still unknown slithery critters.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Utah Legislature limits wildlife birth control
SALT LAKE CITY — The Legislature has agreed to set limits on who can give birth control to wildlife.
Under Senate Bill 13, only someone authorized by the state wildlife department could give animals birth control or any other drug that could harm, sedate or kill them.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Repeat poacher gets 4 1/2 years in prison
The actions of a Grand Valley man who was sentenced Tuesday in court for illegally killing a six-point trophy elk was described as one of the most aggravated cases one veteran of the Colorado Division of Wildlife had ever seen.
Read complete story from the Daily Sentinel

State bureaucracy causing problems for gun owners
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois gun owners could fall prey to a state bureaucracy that fails to process firearm owner's identification cards promptly.
Read complete story from The Daily Journal

Homeowner uses camera to catch burglars
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla. — George Hodgman knew the burglars were coming back.

It was only a matter of time.

Angered about having his shed pilfered and a go-cart that belonged to his grandchildren stolen along with power tools, Hodgman decided to install a motion-detector activated camera in a tree in his yard.
Read complete story from the Clay Today

Idaho lawmaker wants to give wolves away
One Idaho lawmaker has a novel idea for managing the state's wolf population: Give the animals away to other states.
Read complete story from the Idaho Statesman

Father, son sentenced for transporting deer antlers across state line
An Atlanta father and son were sentenced in federal court Tuesday for transporting deer antlers across state lines.

According to U.S. Attorney David Nahmias and information presented in court, last November Fred Hand, III, 54, and his son Fred Hand, IV, 24, used a rifle to shoot and kill a whitetail deer during Colorado's archery-only season, which is a violation of state law. The Hands then transported the antlers of the seven-point buck to Georgia, a violation of a federal law called the Lacey Act. The Lacey Act, enacted in 1900, was passed to assist states in enforcing wildlife laws.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Soaked northern Australia braces for more rain
SYDNEY — Sodden residents of northeastern Australia were trying to clean up from weeks of rain that have left more than half of their state — and area twice the size of Spain — under water.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Michigan gov wants feds to regulate state wetlands
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Gov. Jennifer Granholm has recommended scrapping Michigan's wetland protection law and transferring wetland regulation in the state to the federal government.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Herbal tea ingredient helps beetle-plagued trees
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Would a dose of herbal tea slow the march of beetles killing millions of acres of pine trees across the West?

Sort of.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Endangered Catalina Island fox population booms
AVALON, Calif. — A decade after they were nearly wiped out by disease, the distinct wild foxes on Santa Catalina Island have made a huge recovery.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Deer-dog hunting changes in Kisatchie considered
Possible changes are being considered to the deer-dog season within the Kisatchie National Forest, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The Forest Service is discussing possible changes with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries because of complaints received about deer-dog hunting.
Read complete story from the Town Talk

Howard County Council unanimously approves hunting-safety bill
The Howard County Council unanimously approved a bill last night intended to help avoid hunting accidents like the December incident in which an errant slug aimed at a deer shattered a Clarksville day care center front window and frightened the children and teachers inside.
Read complete story from the Baltimore Sun

Bat-killing syndrome spreads in Northeast
ROSENDALE, N.Y. — A mysterious and deadly bat disease discovered just two winters ago in a few New York caves has now spread to at least six northeastern states, and scientists are scrambling to find solutions before it spreads across the country.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

House endorses threat as reason to kill lion
PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakotans who feel threatened by a mountain lion should be able to kill it but not keep the pelt, the South Dakota House says.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Georgia: 79-percent more apply for firearms permit
On the morning after the presidential inauguration, Sean Ely was in Cobb County Probate Court to apply for his first concealed weapons permit.

The Acworth builder had read that it might become harder to get a permit during the Obama administration.

Read complete story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Chronic wasting disease up slightly
The Game, Fish and Parks Department has found a slight increase in the number of big game to test positive for chronic wasting disease.

The department's biologists tested 2,052 elk, white-tailed deer and mule deer from July 1 to Jan. 20; 27 specimens came back positive. Last year, a total of 2,558 tests on deer and elk revealed 19 positive results.
Read complete story from the Argus Leader

Watermen charged in illegal striped bass sales
State and federal investigators have broken up a black market involving watermen and fish dealers who sold millions of dollars' worth of striped bass, illegally taken from the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, to shops and restaurants across the country, according to court documents filed in federal court this week.
Read complete story from the Baltimore Sun

Deer season harvest hits five-year low in Tenn.
The last shots have been fired for the 2008-09 deer season and Tennessee deer hunters failed to set a new record with lowest deer harvest in the past five years.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow; winter to continue
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — The world's most famous groundhog saw his shadow Monday morning, predicting that this already long winter will last for six more weeks.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

States fail in latest prairie dog report card
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — While groundhogs will get all the attention Monday, a report being issued by an environmental group says their cousins, the prairie dogs, are in dire straits across the West.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Lost hunter facing gun charges
CHEBOYGAN, Mich. — A lost hunter discovered that being found only added to his problems.
Howard Keshick was the subject of a search and rescue mission in late December when he became disoriented while hunting off Richardson Road in Inverness Township during a snowstorm. After walking all day trying to find his way out of the woods, he used a cell phone to call for help.
Read complete story from the Cheboygan Daily Tribune

Aldo Leopold shack gets landmark status
BARABOO — The humble shack that became the centerpiece of conservationist Aldo Leopold's "A Sand County Almanac" has been granted National Historic Landmark status.

The converted chicken coop and the farm on which it stands received the designation from outgoing Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne before he left office in December.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

'Duck Hunt' iPhone game pulled at Nintendo's request
Lawl Mart's Duck Hunt, an iPhone and iPod touch game that has been available at the App Store, can't be found any more. The developer says that the game came down at the request of Nintendo, which alleges copyright infringement.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Hunters can make bucks through doe season study

Hunters in northern Centre County can bag more than bragging rights and a good meal with their deer next fall.

They could earn $100 if they harvest a buck or doe that's been tagged as part of a four-year study by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Penn
Read complete story from the Centre Daily

Waterfowl shift raises DOW red flag
The lid has snapped shut on another Colorado duck season, but there's no closure on the conundrum that continues to plague hunters along the corridor where numbers matter most.

Much to the dismay of hunters who had waited weeks for what should have been a post-holiday peak, many of the 90,000 or so ducks gathered along the lower South Platte River mysteriously disappeared.
Read complete story from the Denver Post