The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

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Floods, Droughts and Invasive Species some we control others are uncontrollable 

As many Californians know we can not control the lack of rain and snow during a drought.  As many in Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas known we can not control too much rain in a short amount of time.  However, as outdoorsmen and woman it is our duty to protect or vital ecosystems from the things we can protect them from......invasive species.

What is an aquatic invasive species?

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) (sometimes called exotic, invasive, nonindigenous or non-native) are aquatic organisms that invade ecosystems beyond their natural, historic range. Their presence may harm native ecosystems or commercial, agricultural, or recreational activities dependent on these ecosystems. They may even harm our health.

People have helped spread species around the globe for centuries either intentionally or unintentionally. Intentional introductions involve the deliberate transfer of nuisance species into a new environment. An example of this would be someone who dumps the contents of their home aquarium into a lake. Unintentional introductions occur when invasives are transferred accidentally. For instance, zebra mussels can be spread when ballast water used for ship stability is exchanged.

In fact, aquatic nuisance species can be spread many ways including ships, boats, barges, aquaculture, aquatic recreation (fishing, hunting, boating, diving, etc.), water gardening, seaplanes, connected waterways and many other pathways. Through these and other means, thousands of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species have been introduced into our country, costing us billions annually.

Examples of Aquatic Invasive Species:

 

  1. zebra mussels,

  2. Chinese mitten crabs,

  3. hydrilla,

  4. Eurasian watermilfoil,

  5. nutria,

  6. sea lamprey,

  7. Asian carp, and

  8. New Zealand mudsnail.

Some of these organisms seem to have little impact while others are devastating. Here are two examples of harmful species:

Zebra mussels

Brought here from Europe in ships’ ballast water; zebra mussels were first discovered in the Great Lakes region in 1988. Zebra mussels have inflicted tremendous damage to native ecosystems and to facilities using water, like power plants and municipal water suppliers. Millions of dollars have been spent by water users, to control and eradicate zebra mussels. And, as zebra mussel populations in an area increase, native mussels decrease; a strong indication that zebra mussels are the cause.

European green crab

These crabs invaded eastern North America in the early 1800s and were discovered in California around 1990. Green crabs probably entered the east by boats and the west in packing material of bait shipments. Females can produce an impressive 200,000 eggs annually. The European green crab eats such things as mussels, clams, snails, worms, and even other crustaceans. This diet has hurt New England’s soft shell clam industry. And, because they compete for the same food sources, they could damage commercially important Dungeness crab, oyster, and clam fisheries on the west coast.

Exotic Animals as an Invasive Species

As we have seen with the Boa Constrictors and monitor lizards in florida, the lion fish along reefs in areas not seen before, the African bee in north america, whether on land or water non resident species can have huge effects on an ecosystem.  We who have the passion for the outdoors have an obligation to continue to do our best to help prevent and fight against unnatural species being transfered to areas they were not intended to inhabit.

 

Conservation and Protection of Wildlife is at our Core

We as hunters and anglers know that the only way we will be able to continue to hunt and fish in the future is by protecting the wildlife we have now for future generations.  I have this discussion with those who do not understand our lifestyle all the time.  We are not a bunch of thrill seekers with hi powered rifles and 3d depth finders out trying to slaughter all in our path.  We understand that our time in the field or on the water is precious.  It is something we cherish and want to protect.  We do not want to find ourselves in the same position that Africa is facing with their Elephant population being decimated through poaching.

Idaho looks to public to Rule on Wildlife Protection

(Link to the original article) 

It said on Tuesday it was obliged to reopen the proposal to public comment until April 23 after Canada decided recently to classify the animals, which criss-cross the border, on its territory as endangered, an upgrade from a previous classification of threatened.

The action came a day after a U.S. judge in Idaho found the agency violated federal law in 2012 when it cut the amount of public land designated as critical reindeer habitat to 30,000 acres, from 375,00 acres, without sufficient public notice and input.

A Social Network of Hunters and Anglers could do so Much

 

Just think if Shotem and Caughtem grew to the size of some of the larger less focused social networks.  A place where a state wildlife department could get the opinions of a large mass of hunters or anglers that not only help to support their conservation efforts but that tend to be the largest group effected by such laws.  How cool would that be :)  Well we can't do it without you.  As more and more of you become active the snowball will begin to roll down hill and do nothing but get larger.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 07 August 2013 19:44

Poisoned Fish Inhabit California Lakes

We at Shotem and Caughtem built this website based on our love of the great outdoors.  Even more important to us is the ability to pass this tradition down to future generations.  Many groups have been attacking the sport, but reports like this are usually made as a result of our industry as a whole.  Unfortunately the mistakes of past generations has a direct bearing on what we leave behind for the next.  As such, the northern half of California has issued a ban on fish consumption from local rivers and lakes due to high mercury levels contained in the fish.  

The new advisory recommends that women between the ages of 18 and 45 and children under 18 should avoid eating bass, carp and brown trout larger than 16 inches because of a risk of methyl mercury exposure, which has been shown to damage the brain and nervous system.

Some species of fish, including bullhead, catfish and bluegill, are acceptable for consumption at one serving a week. Species that are safe to eat include wild-caught rainbow trout and small brown trout. The advisory and guidelines stem from OEHHA's evaluation of 272 lakes and reservoirs, and 2,600 fish samples.

The advisory combined mercury data from fish in California lakes that currently do not have advisories and compared those mercury levels to acceptable human exposure levels.

In the Sacramento region, at Folsom Lake and Lake Notoma, the advisory recommends following the new guidelines if the fish caught are not covered by already set location-specific guidelines.  In the Sierra, the guidelines apply to lakes including Lake Wildwood, Scotts Flat and Bullards Bar, as well as the Union Valley Reservoir.

The guidelines dovetail with what is known about streams in the Delta, where fish sampling has established the presence of high mercury levels due to historic mining operations in the late 19th century, where mercury was widely used. A recently released study found that sportfish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed had higher concentrations of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) than anywhere else in the state.

The advisories can be found at www.oehha.ca.gov/fish.html.

 

Yes we at Shotem and Caughtem have been doing a lot of blogs on the invasive feral hog problem.  Luckily so far they have stayed clear of Kansas but this article started to raise even our eyebrows.  We have hunted hogs in Oklahoma and Texas and have witnessed this animals destructive power and ability to out wit and out breed even the most dedicated hunters.  But know they are starting to have problems in even the far Northern States and we felt we would add our two cents on the subject.  If like with any invasive species the Wildlife and Parks for each state would adopt the Missouri rule of thumb I doubt we would have the problems of illegal transport of these horrible wild animals.  Missouri has waged an all out war on the animal and we praise their efforts in this fight.  No license, no permits we don't care just help us get rid of the animals is Missouri's stance.  Day or Night.  We at Shotem and Caughtem do not want to see armed men and women roaming people's properties or state parks shooting at everything they see but we also know that no farmer or rancher want these animals anywhere near their properties.  Candace, one of our members, of the Queens of Camo has plenty of experience with hogs should you need a second good resource to ask questions about hog hunting.  Send her a message on their discussion forum http://www.shotemandcaughtem.com/groups-main/viewdiscussion/5-ask-the-queens-of-camo.html?groupid=2

But the pig wars are moving north. In Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon and Pennsylvania — states where not long ago the only pigs were of the “Charlotte’s Web” variety — state officials are scrambling to deal with an invasion of roaming behemoths that rototill fields, dig up lawns, decimate wetlands, kill livestock, spread diseases like pseudo-rabies and, occasionally, attack humans.


In 1990, fewer than two million wild pigs inhabited 20 states, according to John J. Mayer, the manager of the environmental science group at the Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken, S.C., who tracked the state populations. That number has now risen to six million, with sightings in 47 states and established populations in 38 — “a national explosion of pigs,” as Dr. Mayer put it.

The swine are thought to have spread largely after escaping from private shooting preserves and during illegal transport by hunters across state lines. Experts on invasive species estimate that they are responsible for more than $1.5 billion in annual agricultural damage alone, amounting in 2007 to $300 per pig. The Agriculture Department is so concerned that it has requested an additional $20 million in 2014 for its Wildlife Services program to address the issue.

There is wide agreement that the pigs are undesirable — like the Asian carp that is threatening to invade the Great Lakes, but far bigger, meaner and mounted on four legs. But efforts to eradicate or at least contain them have been hampered by the lack of a national policy to deal with invasive species as a whole, the slowness of states to recognize the problem and the bickering between agencies about who is responsible for dealing with them.

“As a nation, we have not thought through this invasive species problem, and we just have disaster after disaster after disaster,” said Patrick Rusz, the director of wildlife services at the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy. Dr. Rusz, who travels around the state educating farmers about the menace posed by the wild pigs and encouraging them to set traps on their land, is so avid a hog-hater that in the early stages of Michigan’s invasion, he went to bars to eavesdrop on hunters who might have spotted the porcine invaders.

At least in Michigan, Dr. Rusz said, the pigs appear to be winning — their numbers are estimated at 3,000 to 5,000 and growing. Wild pigs are virtual Houdinis, able to dig or climb over almost any barrier; pig experts are fond of saying that “if a fence won’t hold water, it won’t hold a wild pig.”

Allowing hunters to shoot them in the wild all year round, as Michigan and other states do, is not in itself enough to limit the population, Dr. Rusz said. So trapping is an important component of wild pig control, as are bans on owning or breeding the animals.

But state bans like an invasive species order issued by Michigan in 2011, which prohibited ownership of Russian wild boar and other feral swine, have been opposed by shooting preserves and other businesses with a stake in keeping them.  We at Shotem and Caughtem hope all states change their minds and let us hunters start to post more photos of our kills as long as we have permission and a hunters license from any state.  Let us know your feelings on the subject in the comment section below and as always we will be bragging about our Wild Hog kills in the Shotem Gallery.

 
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 19:28

Drought Conditions Report

As is the case with many areas around the United States we are in the midst of a wide spread drought.  Low lake and river conditions are going to cause major problems for much of Mother Natures children.  Here in Kansas we have already seen a huge reduction in many bird species and our low lakes and streams will have an effect on our fish populations.  Low water conditions have made it hard for many species to survive and reproduce.  It will undoubtibly have an effect on the spring fish spawning season since many of those habitats no longer have water.  It will be more important than ever to make sure all hunters and fisherman adhere to restrictions.  We will be dealing with a population decrease throughout many species.  All the different lakes have been recording record low conditions.  Table Rock Lake, Mo last spring had water flowing over it's dam due to record amounts of rain.  Today the lake is 10ft below normal levels.  Beaver Lake, Ar. is down 13ft.  Even Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have diverted cargo ships due to the low water levels.  Across much of the Midwest these conditions can be seen in even smaller lakes and streams.  Around our area lakes, ponds and streams on many farms and ranches have not gone dry like this since the dust bowl.  Texas has seen a decrease in not only the population but in the size of their deer.  Pheasant hunting was non exsistant this year in much of Kansas.  Hopefully rain will come before it has drastic effects on the fish population since they have not yet recovered from the record high water temperatures seen last year.  We will keep you posted on how the Wildlife and Parks department feels the spring spawn went and whether or not you should be more concious about catching, taking a photo and posting it to ShotemandCaughtem and releasing your catch or enjoying your hard work in a perfect meal.