Firearms Industry Contributes Second Grant Installment to Supplement NAWCA

April 17, 2012

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Demonstrating its continued support for conservation, members of the firearms industry, through the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) — the industry’s trade association — have donated $150,000 to supplement congressional funding of the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA), a grant program providing federal cost-share funding to support the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. This year’s payment of $150,000 is the second part of an NSSF five-year initiative that will total $750,000 to support wetlands conservation.

“The firearms industry is America’s foremost champion of wildlife conservation,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO. “This donation to migratory bird habitat is just one example of how the National Shooting Sports Foundation and its members are working to preserve, protect and enhance our nation’s strong heritage of wildlife conservation, hunting access and Second Amendment rights. This commitment will serve to the betterment of sportsmen and the game they pursue for generations to come.”

The NSSF grant has taken on increased importance since the interest generated from the taxes collected on sporting arms and ammunition have been decreasing.

“In order to ensure the strength and sustainability of our nation’s wetlands, it is imperative that NAWCA be well-funded,” said Dale Hall, chief executive officer, Ducks Unlimited. “This generous donation from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and NSSF’s larger commitment to wetland conservation, will go a long way in helping to guarantee that our culture of hunting and fishing is passed down to the next generation.”

“Since 1961, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has been instrumental in ensuring a strong future for tomorrow’s hunters and anglers. This contribution to NAWCA demonstrates how the firearms industry continues to build upon its unprecedented commitment to the conservation of our nation’s wildlife and its habitat,” said Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


About NSSF The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 7,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to

For more information contact: Bill Dunn 203-426-1320

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World’s rarest duck is bred in captivity

The world’s rarest duck has bred successfully in captivity in an “incredible step forward” in saving the bird from extinction.

TheMadagascarpochard was believed to be extinct until its rediscovery by chance on a small lake in northernMadagascar, where just 22 of the diving duck are left in the wild.

Conservationists said the species remains extremely vulnerable to extinction from single events such as pollution or disease outbreak.

An emergency expedition two years ago saw eggs taken from the wild and reared in captivity at a specially built centre in Antsohihy on the island off the coast ofAfrica.

Ducks successfully hatched from the eggs taken into captivity have now themselves bred, producing 18 ducklings which are being reared at the centre.

“The ducklings represent an incredible step forward in the fight to save the pochard from extinction.

Seven years ago, people thought this bird was already extinct and yet the discovery of one small population and now the arrival of these ducklings has led to real hope that the birds can one day flourish again,” said Glyn Young, of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The conservation project, which also involves the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), the Peregrine Fund, Asity Madagascarand the Madagascan government, is studying the wild population to understand why it is declining and where the best place to release a captive bred group would be.

“Scientists have raised concerns that the birds appear to have a very low breeding success rate atLakeMatsaborimena, their last remaining wild site.

AlthoughLakeMatsaborimenais the last hiding place for the ducks, it is far from ideal as a habitat.

Our initial investigations suggest there is too little food and this may be leading to the low survival of the ducklings; in effect, they are starving to death,” said Head of species recovery at WWT, Peter Cranswick

Mr Cranswick said the team had identified some lakes where the physical conditions were potentially right for the pochards.

But as fishing is thought to be a factor in their decline and local communities depend on fishing, the success of a reintroduction scheme depends on gaining local support and finding a solution that benefits both locals and the birds.

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A Couple Great Opportunities for Experience – Waterfowl Banding Technicians – ND

This is a great opportunity for students looking to get into the wildlife field. My first wildlife job (volunteer) was banding Canada geese in Missouri. Experience is a key factor to getting into graduate programs.

Position Title: Waterfowl Banding Technician(s) – Seasonal Duration of Employment: early June – mid-September, 2012 Application Deadline: May 4, 2012 Job Description: This is a seasonal technician positions focusing on Canada goose and preseason duck banding.

– (1) Canada goose banding crew leader/duck banding crew leader position. This position will serve as a Canada goose banding crew leader June – late-July, and continue on as a duck banding crew leader through mid-September. Duties involve determining potential banding sites, securing permission to band on private and public property, maintenance of equipment/bait, running trap sites, banding migratory birds, entering banding data, maintaining detailed banding records, and using conibear and/or live traps to eliminate potential predation problems. Successful applicants will also be expected to write a brief summary report of banding activities.

Canada goose banding will consist of drive trapping using boats and other watercraft, and will be very labor intensive. Duck banding capture techniques will mostly consist of swim in traps, but rocket-nets may also be used. We are looking for individuals that possess a strong ability to work independently from supervision, and work well as part of a small team, work aggressively to meet goals and solve problems, and carefully collect and maintain large amounts of data. Conditions will likely be hot and buggy.

Minimum Qualifications: Applicants must have: excellent duck identification skills, good computer skills, a valid driver’s license, the ability to swim, and be able to lift 70 lbs. Previous experience banding migratory game birds is required, and using boats and outboard motors is preferred. Applicants must also possess the ability to represent the Department in a professional manner, be enrolled or graduated from a wildlife or natural resources program at a qualified college or university.

Job Location and Compensation: These positions will be located throughout North Dakota. Work schedules (8 hrs/day) may include evenings, M – F, weather dependent. Wages will be $11.25 – $13.00/hr (no benefits) depending on position; housing and work vehicles will be provided.

Please submit a brief letter of interest and resume via email to: Mike Szymanski Migratory Game Bird Biologist North Dakota Game and Fish Department 100 North Bismarck Expressway Bismarck, North Dakota 58501 Phone: 701-328-6360 FAX: 701-328-6352 Email:

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department makes reasonable accommodations for any known disability that may interfere with an applicant’s ability to compete in the recruitment and selection process or with an employee’s ability to perform essential duties of the job. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make known any needs for accommodation.

Equal Opportunity Employer – The North Dakota Game and Fish Department receives federal funds and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, age, national origin or handicap. For information or complaints regarding discrimination, contact the personnel office of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095, phone: 701-328-6305; or the Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240.

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Hunter Safety Pays Off

Data says hunting is safer than playing golf!

While there is no quesion that firearms must be handled with great care, data compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reveals that hunting is actually one of the safest recreational activities in America. Hunting ranks third in safety when compared to 28 other recreational pursuits, ranging from baseball to wrestling. Hunting with firearms has an injury rate of .05 percent, which according to the NSSF equates to about one injury per 2,000 participants. This safety level trails only camping (.01 percent) and billiards (.02 percent). In comparison, golf has an injury rate of .16 percent, or one injury per 622 participants. Topping the list, should come as no surprise, is tackle football with an injury rate of 5.27 percent, or one injury per 19 participants.

Comparison: 19 times more likely to be injured cheerleading than hunting.

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2011 Federal Duck Stamp Contest Winner Selected

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced Joseph Hautman ofPlymouth,Minnesota, as the winner of the 2011 Federal Duck Stamp Contest. This marks the fourth time he has won the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. “I was surprised and excited to win,” Hautman said. His artwork, an acrylic painting of a single wood duck, will be made into the 2012-2013 Federal Duck Stamp, which will go on sale in July 2012. Hautman, who first began participating in the Federal Duck Stamp Competition in 1989, said winning the competition was an honor because “the duck stamp has always meant something very special to me.”

Also excited to see Joseph selected as the 2011 Federal Duck Stamp Contest winner was his brother, Jim Hautman, who won last year’s competition. “I am glad he won; I can’t say I’m surprised,” said Jim, who added that Joseph “displayed great execution in his artwork.”

This year’s contest took place at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Centerin Shepherdstown,West Virginia. Over the course of two days, a panel of judges, which included DU CEO and former USFWS Director Dale Hall, considered 190 entries. After the winner was announced, Hall noted how honored he was to be a part of this year’s contest.  “This year’s entries featured artwork from a very talented group of artists, making it especially hard to select a winner,” said Hall. “The federal duck stamp will be well served by this year’s winner.”

For more than 77 years, the federal duck stamp has been conserving prime waterfowl habitat while also expanding hunting opportunities and land access across the country.  While the stamp has helped to conserve over 5.3 million acres of waterfowl habitat, its buying power has been diminished over the years. The cost of the stamp has not increased since 1991, marking the longest period in the program’s history without a price increase.

“Simply put, $15 is not what it used to be,” said Hall. Ducks Unlimited supports efforts to ensure that the investment waterfowl hunters have made to protect waterfowl habitat over the years is sustained into the future. And it is up to duck hunters and all who enjoy wetlands and waterfowl to continue the conservation legacy of the federal duck stamp. “For these reasons, Ducks Unlimited supports legislation that would immediately increase the price of the stamp from $15 to $25, which would allow the program’s revenues to keep pace with inflation,” explained Hall.

To call attention to this issue, Ducks Unlimited is asking duck hunters and other waterfowl enthusiasts to “double up for the ducks” by purchasing two federal duck stamps this year. The purpose of the campaign is to show that hunters support the program and are willing to pay more for the duck stamp in order to conserve waterfowl habitat.


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DU encourages waterfowl enthusiasts to “Double Up” for the ducks

New campaign aims to show that hunters and others support an increase 

Ducks Unlimited is asking duck hunters and other waterfowl enthusiasts to “double up for the ducks” by purchasing two federal duck stamps this year.

“The federal duck stamp has been an important tool in waterfowl habitat conservation for 77 years, but its ability to purchase and conserve important waterfowl habitat has been greatly diminished by inflation and rising land prices,” DU CEO Dale Hall said. “The purpose of the ‘Double Up for the Ducks’ campaign is to show that hunters support the program and are willing to pay more for the duck stamp in order to conserve waterfowl habitat. We view the duck stamp as an investment in conservation, not as a tax on hunters.” 

This effort is part of a larger campaign to increase the price of the federal duck stamp. Since 1934, the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the federal duck stamp, has added more than 5.3 million acres of waterfowl habitat in all 50 states to the National Wildlife Refuge System. The program is a highly efficient way for waterfowl hunters to invest in the future of their sport by conserving habitat; 98 cents out of every dollar is spent to acquire land and protect waterfowl habitat. 

Additionally, acquiring land under the National Wildlife Refuge System not only expands habitat protection, but also expands hunting opportunities and access. 

While the federal duck stamp has proved a valuable conservation tool, its buying power has not kept pace with inflation. The cost of the stamp has not increased since 1991, marking the longest period in the program’s history without a price increase. Simply put, $15 is not what it used to be, and the buying power of the duck stamp has decreased by 64 percent since 1991. Based on the Consumer Price Index, the stamp would need to cost $24.26 today to keep pace with the buying power that $15 had in 1991. In 1991, revenue from the duck stamp enabled the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to acquire 89,000 acres of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System at an average cost of $306 per acre. In 2010, the USFWS was able to acquire only 32,000 acres because land values had tripled to an average of $1,091 per acre. 

This is why Ducks Unlimited is supporting efforts to ensure that the investment waterfowl hunters have made to protect waterfowl habitat over the last 77 years is sustained into the future. They believe that it is up to duck hunters and all who enjoy wetlands and waterfowl to continue the conservation legacy of the federal duck stamp. For these reasons, Ducks Unlimited supports efforts to increase the price of the stamp from $15 to $25. 

“Increasing the price of the duck stamp will take an act of Congress,” DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt said. “To get Congress to act, waterfowl hunters must show their elected officials that their constituents care about conservation issues. The increased sales that will occur when hunters ‘double up’ on duck stamps will help conserve more habitat and also show Congress that hunters are serious about this issue.”

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USFWS and DU to conserve 2 million acres in America’s “Duck Factory”

Sportsmen must speak up to make the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area a reality

Funding would help conserve up to 2 million acres in America’s “Duck Factory”

WASHINGTON, September 9, 2011—Ducks Unlimited is pleased with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent decision to formally establish the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area. This area is part of an initiative to protect almost 2 million acres of critical wetlands and grasslands in North and South Dakota. However, if this jewel for America’s wildlife is to be protected, sportsmen will need to tell Congress of its significance.

“Ducks Unlimited has been supporting the process of establishing the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area for some time and we are thrilled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is moving forward with this project,” DU CEO Dale Hall said. “However, to move forward with this initiative and ensure this area is conserved, we must now focus on securing the proper funding.”

The purpose of the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area is to provide a voluntary and financially feasible way for ranchers and other private landowners to conserve native grasslands and wetlands. This program is also designed to be economically feasible for the federal government because it will be funded with dollars already dedicated to conservation through the Land and Water Conservation Fund and through the revenue generated from Federal Duck Stamp sales.

“The Prairie Pothole Region is commonly known as our nation’s ‘Duck Factory’ because it plays a central role in sustaining strong duck populations and conserving this area is a top priority for our organization,” DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt said. “To demonstrate our support, Ducks Unlimited has committed $50 million over ten years to purchase easements under this program. Now is the time to let our nation’s leaders know that sportsmen support this program and are willing to do their part to make it happen.”

Upon approval, this project is expected to conserve up to 240,000 acres of wetlands and 1,700,000 acres of grasslands in the Dakotas through conservation easements. Under the proposal, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will seek to acquire voluntary easements from willing sellers on approximately 2 million acres of native prairie habitat to benefit wildlife and support traditional economic activities, specifically livestock production.

Ducks Unlimited and conservation partners are not the only ones that have advocated for this program. There is currently a waiting list of over 800 landowners in North and South Dakota who have expressed interest in wetlands and grasslands easements. “Easements are a popular conservation tool because of the benefits they provide landowners,” said DU Director of Conservation Programs for North and South Dakota, Dr. Jim Ringelman. “Land enrolled in this program can still be used as working farmland for grazing and haying, making it an economically-sound investment for many ranchers.”

Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres, thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. Visit the DU website,, for more information.

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Graduate Student Position Available with Long Point Waterfowl


M.Sc. Position Available

Funding is anticipated by Long Point Waterfowl to hire a M.Sc. student to use spatial modeling to determine potential changes in migration patterns and distributions of mallards (and other dabbling ducks) in eastern North America under various climate change scenarios. The project involves the use of regional probabilistic climate projections and application of a developed weather severity index (Schummer et al. 2010; JWM 74:94-101) and spatial modeling to determine potential changes in autumn-winter distributions of mallards at set-intervals into the future. The student will also need to obtain additional duck survey data from throughout eastern North America to investigate weather severity thresholds for a suite of dabbling duck species other than mallards and compare potential changes in autumn-winter distributions among the selected species. We seek a student with strong analytical and ARCGIS skills. Prior work experience with waterfowl is preferred by not necessary. The selected student also must apply and be accepted into the M.Sc. program of the Biology Department at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario. Ideally the student would start Winter Term 2012, but we will also consider applicants that are unable to enrol until Summer Term 2012 (i.e, spring graduates). Includes Teaching Assistantship (Fall and Winter Terms) and Summer Stipend (total ~$18,000/year).

Please send a letter of interest, resume (including 3 references), and copies of transcripts to

Mike Schummer by email.

Review of applications will begin

8 October 2011

and continue until a suitable candidate is identified.


Mike Schummer

, Scientist, Long Point Waterfowl, Port Rowan, Ontario, Canada


; CELL: 1-585-319-6763

For more information about Long Point Waterfowl and the graduate program in Biology at the University of Western Ontario please visit the following websites:


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Late August is a time when high temperatures and evaporation can concentrate large numbers of ducks on shallow wetlands, setting the stage for outbreaks of diseases such as avian botulism. Avian botulism, probably the most well known of waterfowl diseases, results from the ingestion of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The bacteria grow in decaying organic matter, especially dead vertebrates and invertebrates. Maggots feeding on carcasses concentrate the toxin and enter ducks when they ingest them. This disease attacks the nervous system affecting the peripheral nerves that control voluntary muscles, resulting in varying degrees of paralysis, including symptoms such as listlessness, sagging head and drooping wings and can result in death in as little as 24 hours.

Major avian botulism outbreaks have been reported throughout North America for more than a century. In any given year, more than one million birds die from botulism on the Canadian Prairies alone. In 1910, avian botulism resulted in the deaths of millions of waterfowl in California and Utah; a major outbreak in 1952 killed 4 million to 5 million waterfowl across the western United States.

As with most critical research and management needs of waterfowl, DU is active in avian botulism research. 

In 1999, the botulism working group was formed under the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture (PHJV). The PHJV is responsible for delivering programs within the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Chaired by DU Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service, the working group is composed of: Alberta Environment; Environment Canada’s National Water Research Institute; Manitoba Natural Resources; and the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre. American cooperators include: the California Waterfowl Association; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the U.S. National Wildlife Health Centre; and Utah State University.

In that same year, DU and its research arm the Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research and other Canadian and American wildlife and conservation specialists, developed a research project to evaluate the best methods of managing avian botulism outbreaks. The result of that three-year research study shows that clean-ups, even if they are intensive, are not effective in reducing the number of birds that die from exposure to botulism. As a result of this study, avian botulism clean-ups are no longer conducted by Environment Canada, provincial wildlife agencies or DU Canada – saving millions of dollars. Resources are now invested in research to identify effective management solutions. The research collected through the working group will ultimately aid in developing new management techniques for botulism. 

More information about avian botulism and the work of the botulism task force.
Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases: General Field Procedures and Diseases of Birds: Avian Botulism

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For bird bands reported to the Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) beginning August 1, 2011, the BBL will no longer be sending paper Certificates of Appreciation to the person finding the band. Certificates will only be sent in an electronic format. If an email address is provided at the time of the band report, then an email message will be sent with an attached electronic certificate as soon as the banding data are available. The BBL has also established a link on where the person reporting a band can provide their name and band number to download the electronic certificate when it becomes available.

The BBL regrets not being able to continue the practice of sending paper Certificates of Appreciation, but budget reductions necessitate an end to this practice. Even though paper certificates have been eliminated, the BBL recognizes the valuable contribution to the North American Bird Banding Program made by hunters and other members of the public who report bird bands. The BBL hopes that the electronic Certificates of Appreciation will serve as appropriate acknowledgement of these important contributions.

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