Utah Birds, Utah Birding, and Utah Birders. Promoting the sharing of information, and the conservation of habitat for birds in Utah and elsewhere. We are a group of people who want to share what we know, and create a positive birding experience in Utah.

BIRDERS BLOG

a blog by and for Utah Birders

Time to Take Action: AIC Buffer Zone

posted by Utah Birders at
on Friday, December 9, 2011 

As recently as 2 weeks ago, 3 Harlequin Ducks were being consistently seen along the Antelope Island Causeway road, usually near the first bridge. For nearly 2 months these birds found shelter where they normally would not be found. Then one day, they vanished and their whereabouts remained a mystery.

2 of the 3 now presumed killed Harlequin Ducks
at Antelope Island Causeway

Unfortunately, we now have it on good authority that these ducks (and others) were taken as trophies by some very unsportsmanlike “hunters” who took advantage of some easy targets and a loophole in the law (and in their personal ethics). Presumably your initial reaction is outrage and sadness followed by an assumption that surely some law must have been broken.

 Long-tailed Ducks are another target species for
hunters along the causeway.

However, in researching this, we’ve determined that according to the laws, hunters are within legal shooting range along the causeway as long as they are not shooting across the road and are off the road and shoulder. They currently cannot be cited for any violation as long as they follow this. Despite whatever feelings law enforcement officials have about the ethics of a person who would hunt in this manner, NO LEGAL ACTION CAN BE TAKEN. There is no protection for Harlequin Ducks, Scoters or most of the other incredible birds we’ve all been enjoying at Antelope Island regardless of how rare they are to our state.

  Beautiful tiny Buffleheads are another prize, although
common they are merely hunted as trophies.

As the causeway is managed and owned by Davis County, it is not subject to the rules and restrictions that govern the state park itself. As the causeway is one of the greatest assets of the state park, this is a seemingly self-defeating measure for a county and state that would value the INTERNATIONAL TOURISM that Antelope Island attracts for its BIRD WATCHING.

Surf Scoters are taken annually in Utah during the duck hunt;
the causeway is one of the best places to see them.

It is widely considered that no ethical hunter would hunt in this manner and we fully support hunting in an ethical and sportsman way. We are only taking issue with those who would hunt in the manner we’ve described and more specifically the current law that allows it.

The gorgeous Barrow's Goldeneye are another trophy
that can fall victim at the causeway.

So what can WE do?

We can speak up and try to make a difference. Our collective voices can be heard by educating the Davis County authorities about why we visit Antelope Island. We do care about the money we spend on state park passes and have an expectation that reasonable laws should exist to protect people, birds, and animals from unethical “sportsmen”. For those of you outside Utah (and we know there are many of you reading this) you can talk about the reasons you have or would want to visit Utah and Antelope Island State Park.

We propose that we encourage a “buffer” along both sides of the entire causeway from entrance gate to island of no less than 100 yards and that the buffer be STRICTLY ENFORCED. 
  
Further, we want a special additional consideration and buffer added at the two bridges as these are the most important locations for resting birds.

We’ve identified below some of the people who can be contacted and we have all sent letters to them that sum up our stance. We encourage you to send your own letters as you see fit. We should be able to make a difference if we show them how many of us care about this issue.

Jeremy Shaw, Antelope Island State Park Manager - jeremyjshaw@utah.gov
Jolene Rose, Antelope Island State Park Wildlife Biologist - jolenehatch@utah.gov
Neka Roundy, Davis County Community Director/Great Salt Lake Bird Festival Chair - neka@co.davis.ut.us
Barbara Riddle, Davis Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau - barbara@davisareacvb.com
Louenda H. Downs, Davis County Commission Chair - commissioners@daviscountyutah.gov
John Petroff Jr., Davis County Commissioner - commissioners@daviscountyutah.gov
P. Bret Millburn, Davis County Commission Vice-Chair - bret@daviscountyutah.gov

Here is an easy to copy list for you to drop into your email client:

jeremyjshaw@utah.gov, jolenehatch@utah.gov, neka@co.davis.ut.us, barbara@davisareacvb.com, commissioners@daviscountyutah.gov, bret@daviscountyutah.gov


Feel free to draw inspiration from the letter below as you write your own words and if you so wish, copy and paste the last paragraph with the specific request for a buffer.

Thank you for being a Utah Birder!


Dear Davis County Community Leaders and Antelope Island State Park Management:

It has recently come to my attention that very little law exists protecting the waters and shoreline adjacent to the causeway that leads to Antelope Island State Park from hunting activities. I urge you to re-examine this carefully. This area is heavily visited by people from all over the state as well as the country and world - as it is well documented for the variety of bird species that can be found there. The causeway can be a true treasure for birders looking to see something amazing passing through our beautiful state and the Great Salt Lake. It is a detriment and deterrent to the tourists as well as the wildlife that visit this area to allow the continued presence of hunting activities right along the edge of the road.

As recently as 2 weeks ago, birders were coming out in droves to see 3 extremely rare Harlequin Ducks. Those ducks were consistently residing near the first bridge on the causeway. These bridges along the causeway, with their high flow of nutrients, are especially vital for resting birds. These Harlequins are now gone, and from our understanding were taken as trophies from hunting at close range along the causeway. In one fell swoop these hunters took from you an excellent and proven tourism draw. It is self-defeating to the interests of Antelope Island State Park and Davis County to allow this sort of unsportsmanlike behavior right in the shadow of a place that markets itself so eloquently as a wildlife refuge. Please reconsider.

My request is not to disallow hunting around Antelope Island. I fully support hunting and believe it it can be a fun and sportsmanlike activity but shooting from the side of the causeway is not in that tradition. I wish for you to extend further protections to the causeway, recognizing it for the refuge it is for both wildlife and those who wish to watch it. Please institute a buffer that protects the shoreline and waters immediately near it. I hope for a minimum buffer line of 100 yards to be enforced from the entry gate to the island with additional buffering at the more sensitive areas of the bridges.

The people and the birds will thank you and continue to visit in great numbers.

Thank You for considering my request.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME 
A Utah Birder

Labels: , , , ,

45 Comments:
Blogger Ryan O'Donnell said...

How do you know that a hunter shot them?

December 9, 2011 at 1:16 AM  
Anonymous Mark Stackhouse said...

Regardless of whether a hunter actually shot these ducks, the risk exists, and hunting activities are inappropriate from or near the causeway. In a larger sense, it's time that birders have a voice in wildlife management issues in a state that gladly accepts their tourist dollars, and actively solicits their visits (Davis County in particular, hosting the state's premier birding festival), but pays little more than lip service to birder's needs and conservation issues.

The actual fate of these ducks is unimportant to this larger issue.

December 9, 2011 at 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Mark Stackhouse said...

I would suggest that if Davis County does not respond and address this issue, that the upcoming Great Salt Lake Birding Festival, sponsored by Davis County, would be an appropriate place to raise this issue.

December 9, 2011 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@Ryan: Mark said what I was thinking.

And Mark fantastic idea, the bird festival would be a great place to showcase this issue.

December 9, 2011 at 8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote a note and included the fact that I take my biology students to the island at least thrice yearly. I am also a duck hunter. Maybe birders should buy duck stamps as a show of good faith for habitat preservation/renewal.

December 9, 2011 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for your support! I agree 100% about the duck stamp thing -- I buy mine each October!

December 9, 2011 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger CarlIngwell said...

Dumb question. Don't you have to pass hunter's safety to be able to buy a duck stamp?

December 9, 2011 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@Carl: Not a dumb question at all Carl. Anyone can go into any sporting goods store or location that sells hunting licenses and buy a duck stamp by itself. No hunting license, needs to be purchased in conjunction with the stamp.

More info can be found here: Federal Duck Stamp Program

December 9, 2011 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger CarlIngwell said...

Good to know. I was always under the impression that it was associated with a hunting license.

December 9, 2011 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger Jeff Bilsky said...

I think that's a great idea. Hunters and birders have many of the same priorities in regards to habitat preservation etc. I would definitely support purchasing of duck stamps (birding stamps?) to help with that cause and will make a point of doing so in the future.

December 9, 2011 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Birding is Fun! said...

I sport the Duck Stamp on my binoculars. I don't want to make enemies of duck hunters by this...and I am confident many duck hunters would also strongly support a ban on hunting from the Causeway. I still want to work with hunters toward further conservation. I've emailed the lists above as well as a few Utah legislature reps. I'll have a blog post up at BiF! about this later today too. It bothers me to no end that hunters use the birding listservs, and even our blogs, to then, like parasites, go and kill the trophy species that we birders have reported. That is so unsportsmanlike.

December 9, 2011 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where do i begin.....
First of all there already is a 200 yard buffer around the causeway. If someone is actively hunting closer than that they are breaking the law, and being unsafe.

What is unethical about hunting 200 yards from the causeway? Why is it any different than hunting anywhere else? If you support hunting like you say you do ( i don't beleive you do) then you cant say i only support hunting if i cannot see the hunter, or if it doesnt disturb the birds.
In no way is it unethical to target certain species of bird
Why do you have any more right than me to enjoy the resource in your own way.

December 9, 2011 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@Anonymous:

Please go reread thr blog post to get the facts straight.

1. THERE IS NO BUFFER ALONG THE CAUSEWAY. We looked into it and found out that the causeway is not part of the state park and not protected form hunting. You can read about it in the 2011-2012 Waterfowl Proclamation.

2. There is no buffer of 200 yards on any hunting area in Utah--with exception of privately held property that has expressly written and posted it. All state protection is 100 yards.

3. We are not saying that hunters should not be allowed to hunt 200 yards away. WE are asking for a 100 yard buffer from the road for the protection of motorists, tourists, birders, and the wildlife using the shelter of the causeway as refuge. Currently it is not illegal to step off the road and hunt anywhere along the road.

4. You don't have to believe that I support hunting--but I purchase my combo tag every year, and have a family that avidly hunts in the state. I am all for hunters hunting ethically, and for the right reasons. It is VERY unethical to find out about a rare bird on a birding listserv and then go out to the location it was reported and to shoot it to put above your mantle as a trophy. If that is your only motive for hunting than you are missing the big picture. These rarities are put in a hardship when in a location they are not used to and having to try to survive out of their element.

Add into the picture somebody flushing the birds off a resting area towards another hunter waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting birds and it comes across as callous and unethical.

As you said,

"Why do you have any more right than me to enjoy the resource in your own way?". Why is it okay to go out and kill something that is providing enjoyment to 100's of people so that you can enjoy killing it to throw in your house so you can show your friends and brag about it? There are plenty of more sustainable ducks that you can do the same with, and not get people up in arms.

Public perception goes along way and as Mark said, this is bigger than the birds,

"Regardless of whether a hunter actually shot these ducks, the risk exists, and hunting activities are inappropriate from or near the causeway. In a larger sense, it's time that birders have a voice in wildlife management issues in a state that gladly accepts their tourist dollars, and actively solicits their visits (Davis County in particular, hosting the state's premier birding festival), but pays little more than lip service to birder's needs and conservation issues.

The actual fate of these ducks is unimportant to this larger issue."

December 9, 2011 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Jeff Bilsky said...

@anonymous: You've missed most points of the blog post and thrown meaning on it that wasn't even there. I'm not going to argue against you on most of it because we never said most of what you're saying we did. I DO support hunting. I also support the notion that Antelope Island causeway is part of the state park and therefore should be subject to the same laws that govern the park. If it were, then we wouldn't have an issue. I didn't say I have more rights than you either. However, I am exercising my right to ask for a change because of something I believe in. You can always do the same. Seems like we're equal. Sorry for the confusion, hope this clears some of it up for you.

December 9, 2011 at 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Jeremy Shaw Antelope Island State Park Manager
Please understand that this is not my decission to make and discontinue your emails to me.

Folks,
I am writing the attached in an effort to answer all of you. I have received no fewer than 30 emails already today. I understand the situation on the causeway. It was I, who brought it to the attention of Neka, who I am sure brought it to all of you. The fact is that there is no law rule or guideline that I am aware of that prohibits the hunting of ducks along the causeway. They can not hunt or shoot from upon, along or across the road. If such a rule, law or guideline exists prohibiting hunting in this area please bring to my attention and we will enforce it. The causeway is the property of the county and not Antelope Island.
As for your emails while I appreciate your passion for birding they are being sent to the wrong person. The state will have to make a law that prohibits this so your efforts this morning, while impressive, are really all for not. If you want to make a change I suggest you contact your local state representative or senator as they are the ones that are going to have to create a rule to do this.
When and if they do you can rest assured that myself and my staff will enforce the law or rule just as we do all others.

Thank you

December 9, 2011 at 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You obviously have not looked into it very hard. I just got off the phone with the utah dwr to confirm. You are not allowed to discharge a firearm within 600 feet of a road. I have been hunting the causeway area for years, and have never seen someone hunting right off the causeway.

If your only only concern is that nobody hunts within 100 yards of the causeway, that law is already on the books. Now please stop harrassing hunters that you see around the causeway

December 9, 2011 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger CarlIngwell said...

@ anonymous- I have seen people hunting right off the causeway and well within 100 yards.

I've heard conflicting reports from different people. It is a law on the causeway. It isn't a law on the causeway. The fact is, whether it is a law or not, hunting along the causeway still happens. If it is a law, then that law isn't enforced, and I'd love to see a few citations handed out.

I don't know who you're accusing of harassing hunters along the causeway.... I personally never have, and I know it's not in Jeff or Tim's character either. That being said, if it is a law that you can't hunt within 100 yds from the road, and we do see hunters doing so, wouldn't we have every right to tell them to knock it off?

December 9, 2011 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Jeff Bilsky said...

Yeah, if there is a law, then that's great! That's all we were asking for. Hopefully all those officials who said they'd love to issue citations will start doing so now that you've revealed the truth. AWESOME! Who is harassing hunters along the causeway? I've talked to a few of them coming in from being out in boats about birding and hunting. Seemed like really good people enjoying the great salt lake like the rest of us...I also have talked to several hunters who think a buffer makes sense for the safety and enjoyment of all. Why would 100 yards be a problem with a boat? Then birders can enjoy the birds and hunters get the whole lake. Shouldn't we work together like that rather than ruin everyone's fun. Seems really simply.

December 9, 2011 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@Anonymous:

Would you mind sharing the name of that person form the DWR? Because we have talked to multiple staff a the Island who are giving a contradictory answer.

It would be nice to get these state agencies on the same page and if there is a law in effect to have it actually enforced.

FYI, I have NEVER seen a birder harass a duck hunter. I have however seen the exact opposite at the causeway, Farmington Bay, and Bear River.

December 9, 2011 at 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I support laws restricting hunting along the causeway, and I am a hunter and birder. Though the body of your post tries to be unbiased, your captions on pictures tell a different story. You have no evidence to say hunters killed the Harliquens, birds come and go from the causeway area consistently. You mention many species that are "merely hunted as trophies". Most duck hunters are not hunting for trophies, they consume most birds that are taken, and take pride in their ethical hunting. Finally, Surf Scoters may be seen annually at the causeway, but again, you have no evidence to say they are taken by hunters annually. I will support your cause but please try and stick to facts when dealing with this issue.

December 9, 2011 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Oliver Hansen said...

Email sent...thanks all for the effort on everyone's part to figure out what is going on with this. If there really is a law/rule and it is being broken, how about some signage? It wouldn't hurt to remind the non-native hunters to not hunt near the causeway. A few more signs would also provide the natvive antelope island hunters a few more perches...see what I did there?

If it ends up there is no laws/regulations/whatever then it's high time there be some in place. Almost everyone I have talked regardless of position on politics, hunting, birding, etc. would not have a problem with a 100-200 yard buffer.

On a more cynical note: doesn't the name hunting imply some amount of work involved. Driving your boat along the causeway or even worse...shooting from the causeway would not be considered "hunting" in my book.

December 9, 2011 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Oliver Hansen said...

On a side note... There are signs posted on the entrance to the east extension of the Provo Airport Dike Road that say no discharging of firearms from the dike. I'm guessing this mostly has to do with there being an airport within shooting range of the dike...

I have seen a ton of shells on almost all areas of the PAD and even tried to educate some teenagers of the posted signs who were shooting some shotguns. They said that they called the Provo police and were told that it was OK. It seems like signs don't really help if the local authorities don't really care to enforce the regulations...then again, they could have just been lying.

December 9, 2011 at 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There currently is a 200yard buffer that should be enforced by the DWR law enforcement officer. I have seen 1 ticket given out and a few warnings. I agree there should be signage along the causeway and overall better enforcement, though even speeding and unattended stopped cars are not well enforced, if at all, likely due to lack of officers in that jurisdiction.

December 9, 2011 at 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, we now have it on good authority that these ducks (and others) were taken as trophies by some very unsportsmanlike “hunters” who took advantage of some easy targets and a loophole in the law (and in their personal ethics). Presumably your initial reaction is outrage and sadness followed by an assumption that surely some law must have been broken."

Sounds like there is some speculation involved with the above quote. if these hunters were outside the 200 yard zone from hunting within the road then they were harvested legally. be as it may, how you feel towards hunters and the pursuit of the birds some of your "facts" on top are dead wrong!!! also dont forget how every hunter buys a duck stamp. $$ that goes directly to habitat for waterfowl. I bought two this year! plus the countless hours spraying phragmite to protect the wetlands. lets not forget all the efforts by many(including hunters) to stop the expansion of GSL minerals into bear river bay!! while these two or three birds were rare, i refuse to let hunting fall victim to such short mindedness!!! look at the big picture here people!!!

December 9, 2011 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@Anonymous:

"You mention many species that are "merely hunted as trophies". Most duck hunters are not hunting for trophies"

I know this and AGREE 100%. But hunting along the causeway for the species listed in this post are not for consumption. Who want's to eat Buffleheads and Goldeneyes? Honestly?

"Surf Scoters may be seen annually at the causeway, but again, you have no evidence to say they are taken by hunters annually."

This information is based off posts from duck hunting forums from pretty much every year going back to the early 2000's where people claim to have shot scoters, or have posted pictures of scoters they have taken in Utah. This isn't some made up statement, it's based off claims form teh hunting public.

December 9, 2011 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Jeff Bilsky said...

It appears as if you are speculating about our speculation. You can choose to believe or disbelieve as you see fit - won't begrudge you that. I can understand a hesitancy to take us at our word but we would have no motivation to make this up. We only are aware of this law now because of the fact that we heard of how these ducks were killed. However, had we heard in any other way, the post would've been "let's change the rule" because we want a legal rest area for ducks. You can remove every comment about hunting in the post and just take it as we would like the rules of the park extended to include the causeway - end of story. This isn't about hunting, it is about wanting to watch birds from the causeway. How is that short minded to want to have a place for both hunters and nature watchers? That seems to be actually quite the opposite. Short mindedness would be to think one group should have everything....The big picture says there's room for both.

December 9, 2011 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@Anonymous:

"Sounds like there is some speculation involved with the above quote..."

Look folks, you really are making this about something that it's not. THIS POST IS NOT AN ANTI HUNTING PIECE. We are not saying no hunting, WE are not saying hunters are bad. We are not saying that hunting shouldn't be allowed.

We are pointing out an issue that has come to the attention of multiple people, and bringing that together in one place. No one argues that hunters dollars go along way--hell read the comments. This is about teh safety issues, the issue of public perception, the issue of ethical sporting, and the issue of someone going out of there way to take a rare duck for a trophy.

If you are going to comment, please read the entire chain to make sure your not skipping over things that have already been addresses and talked about.

December 9, 2011 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger CarlIngwell said...

I don't think anyone is anti-hunting here. This is coming from the biggest tree-hugging, nature loving, vegan on this blog. I will state it again: I am not anti-hunting, and this isn't an anti-hunting action.

In fact I'm all for hunting, but I am aiming for a more safe, responsible hunting along the causeway.

I really think we're all on the same page here. We all love birds and we all do a lot to protect them. For a hunter to claim that birders don't do anything for conservation is just asinine. For a birder to claim that hunters are all bad, bird killing jerks is just as ridiculous.

This isn't about hunting in general, this is about hunting on the causeway.

December 9, 2011 at 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last week i was harassed by two different people. The first lady (honda element)yelled at us for at least 30 minutes, she called the police, an officer showed up and told her we were hunting legally, and to leave us alone. The next guy(blue dodge diesel truck) told me how bad i was screwing up the bird watching.

Nobody should be hunting from the causeway. I always stay at least 250-300 yards away from the it

December 9, 2011 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Jeff Bilsky said...

If I saw you 250-300 yards out hunting I'd tip my cap and have a cold one with you dude. No worries. Sorry for your harassing experience. For the record, I don't condone that action.

December 9, 2011 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

Again the issue at hand here is not people 200 yards out in the water.

WE ARE TALKING ABOUT within 100 yards and specifically from the waters edge on the causeway. Telling all birders to "stop harassing hunters", would be like me saying, "stop hunting from the causeway" to all hunters.

There are people within each group that goes to the extremes.

December 9, 2011 at 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Below is the rule on areas where firearms cannot be discharged. This is right out of the waterfowl hunting guidebook.

Areas where you cannot
discharge a firearm
Utah Code § 76-10-508 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-12
You may not discharge a dangerous
weapon or firearm under any of the following
circumstances:
• From a vehicle
• From, upon or across any highway
• At power lines or signs
• At railroad equipment or facilities, including
any sign or signal
• Within Utah state park camp or picnic sites,
overlooks, golf courses, boat ramps or developed
beaches
• Without written permission from the owner
or property manager, within 600 feet of:
• A house, dwelling or any other
building
• Any structure in which a domestic
animal is kept or fed, including a
barn, poultry yard, corral, feeding pen
or stockyard

In addition, there are also areas that have no hunting allowed or limited hunting. These areas are also outlined in the various hunting guidebooks released by the DWR.

December 9, 2011 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger Jeff Bilsky said...

None of these seem to apply to the causeway - hence the loophole that we'd like to have closed.

December 9, 2011 at 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest this issue be brought to the Regional Advisory Council and Wildlife Board. This is the process the DWR uses to set rules/policy regarding wildlife in Utah. A presentation will need to go in front of the Northern Region RAC then will go to the Wildlife Board. Below is the Chair for the Northern Region RAC. The first step would be to contact him to find out when would be best to present this issue.

Robert Byrnes, Chair
883 N Poplar Circle
Centerville, UT 84014
rwb62@comcast.net

Bill Fenimore is also a good contact because he is on the Wildlife Board. His email is billfenimore@utah.gov

The RAC/Board have the ability to restict/close areas to hunting. I believe making the area closed to hunting will address the present issue. The may also be a possibility to close the take of certain species of waterfowl (e.g. harlequin duck, long-tailed duck, scoter spp.). Davis County cannot address the hunting issue (DWR has authority there) but the county can close the area to the discharge of a firearm. I think the RAC/Board process may be the easiest/best way to go.

December 9, 2011 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger CarlIngwell said...

@ anonymous

I think we're all on the same page here, and I'm glad. We don't think hunting is illegal, in fact, I encourage it. We all agree that the people that harassed you on the causeway had no right to do so if you were hunting 200-300 yards off. We all agree that there should be stricter guidlines concerning the causeway. I appreciate the discussion you brought and value your opinions; it's always good to hear another viewpoint (even though I think ours is very similar). Thanks, man & thanks for the contact info.

December 9, 2011 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Wow, what a hot topic. I have read through this whole story and the following comments. I have also read the BIF post by Robert Mortenson. Though I am a birder and not a hunter, I do know that most hunters behave in an ethical manner and support habitat conservation. I just bought my first Duck stamp this year. However, as a former resident of Davis County I would whole heartedly support a ban on hunting along the causeway. Antelope Island is one of my favorite places on earth and I believe the access road to it should be protected as part of the park. No one wants to stop hunters or hunting, we just want to be able to bird safely and in peace. This is such a special place, it deserves to be protected along with the park.

December 9, 2011 at 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Weston Smith said...

I was able to find this info searching state law, because I always thought there was a footage stated about hunting near roads. I have two questions for you all to think about. First question, is the last bridge within the 1/4 mile of the parks boundaries. Second, since there is no fence how far from the center of the road does Davis County own or control , this should be found at the county recorders office. I don't know if this will help or stir the pot more. Information I found follows:

State parks
Utah Admin. Rule R651-614
Hunting any wildlife is prohibited within the boundaries of all state park areas, except those designated open to hunting by the Division of Parks and Recreation in Utah Admin. Rule R651-614-4.
Hunting with rifles, handguns or muzzleloaders in park areas designated open to hunting is prohibited within one mile of all park facilities, including buildings, camp or picnic sites, overlooks, golf courses, boat ramps and developed beaches.
Hunting with shotguns or archery tackle is prohibited within one-quarter mile of the above areas.

Areas where you cannot discharge a firearm
Utah Code § 76-10-508 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-12
You may not discharge a dangerous weapon or firearm under any of the following circumstances:
• From a vehicle
• From, upon or across any highway
• At power lines or signs
• At railroad equipment or facilities, including any sign or signal
• Within Utah state park camp or picnic sites, overlooks, golf courses, boat ramps or developed beaches
• Without written permission from the owner or property manager, within 600 feet of:
• A house, dwelling or any other building
• Any structure in which a domestic animal is kept or fed, including a barn, poultry yard, corral, feeding pen or stockyard

Highway means the entire width between property lines of every way or place of any nature when any part of it is open to the use of the public as a matter of right for vehicular travel.

Later
Weston

December 9, 2011 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger grovecanada said...

Yes, well I am anti-hunting...The class of mind that is taught by advocating hunting is the same class of mind that hunts humans...Crime in North America becomes murder when guns are involved...It is the hunters who leave the loophole for people to own guns...I am not sure where you all live, but has anyone noticed that we are in a global environmental crisis? Wildlife worldwide is diminishing in diversity...Only a severe ban on hunting will allow some of our most precious species to repopulate...By hunting wildlife you leave us with only domesticated animals...It is not enough to make judgement calls between species at risk or more populous species...let me ask, how many of you know that the Trumpeter Swan has a black bill & is endangered, whereas the Mute swan has a yellow bill, comes from Europe & is not? So when you are shooting, do you check which swan you are shooting at from your birding books? Statistics say no, that you are shooting first, & asking questions later- a typical American conceit...Our Ontario Trumpeter Swans migrate south to the States & get killed by idiots who think that this hunting is good or this hunting is bad...When are you all just going to pay out of pocket for food at a grocery store? Like what, there are not enough places to get food in America? Every 4 feet is a fast food joint, & still you have to plunder for free? Or is it just that old male hubris that you have to teach your son how to kill things? Really? Do people still really have to walk around in the countryside shooting at things? Have we come this far to be held back by those who can't seem to evolve to a higher level of consciousness?

December 10, 2011 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger CarlIngwell said...

Hey all, I'm not one for censorship on our blog; I think that would be a bad thing.

@grovecanada we appreciate your opinions, however, this is not an opinion held by me as a founder of this blog. I do appreciate your opinion, and allow it here, but I don't want people to think that it represents us as a group.

First of all, we don't hunt Trumpeter Swans here because we don't really get Trumpeter Swans here. There are hundreds of thousands of Tundra Swans & we have 1 or 2 Trumpeters mixed in every year. I think if someone shot at a swan, they'd have a 99.9999999999999999999999999% chance of it being a Tundra.

Secondly, I believe there's something noble in hunting for your food. Instead of "paying out of pocket" for food at a grocery store, you know exactly where you food came from, how it was processed, and you're involved in every step of the process from the wild to the dinner table. I could argue just as hard against supermarket food, which comes from factory farms, which are MUCH worse for the environment than any hunter could ever be. What about free-range meat? Free range cattle are allowed to roam on BLM land almost for free, destroying our sage-steppe habitat, so I'd argue that your organic beef probably isn't any better. In a food system where our earth is trying to feed 7 billion people, I think that hunting is merely a blip on the environmental radar.

Hunters aren't "idiots" as you call them, and most hunters know more aboud duck/swan/goose ID than I do. I don't care how good of a birder you are, you could sit down with a duck hunter and he/she could teach you something about ID. These guys are near genius level when it comes to IDing waterfowl in flight.

Yes, Americans do have a fast food joint every 4 feet (I'm sure Canada is so much different), but that's not an issue we're going to bring up on a blog about birding. Like I said before, the meat industry has a whole slew of problems as well, and the world is really going to start feeling the effects of feeding 7+ billion people. That is a HUGE problem, but concerning hunting along the Antelope Island Causeway, it's really a straw man argument.

In your last sentence, you are arguing that those that hunt haven't evolved to a "higher level of consciousness." I would argue the exact opposite. I think they're getting back to a higher level of conciousness. In my opinion it's those that go to a supermarket, buy processed beef, processed corn and all the other shit that Mansanto is feeding us, don't ask any questions, develop heart disease, diabetes, etc. etc. that need to evolve to a higher level of conciousness.

Anyway. That was my long way of stating that these opinions don't reflect the opinions of the owners of the blog. I'm taking a slight liberty in speaking for Jeff, Tim and the others here, but I'm assuming they share my viewpoint. How about this..... That's only my opinion.

December 10, 2011 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 10, 2011 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Kenny Frisch said...

I think there should be a buffer zone as well on the causeway if there isn't one now (there seems to be conflicting reports on this).

When I first moved to Salt Lake City a month ago, the first place I went to was Antelope Island and the causeway and it was as amazing as I had read it was. Add in the fact that I got to see these Harlequins from so close only added to the experience. However these ducks never really strayed from the causeway and I don't think anyone ever saw them more than 100 yards from the causeway, probably even more than 20 yards. It isn't in their nature. So the only way they would have been shot is from the causeway. We need to get a buffer up (or enforce it), to protect birds like this.

Additionally we pay for Antelope Island before we get on the causeway. I think that this should protect the causeway as well as part of the park, otherwise they should set up the pay booths on the other side of the cause way.

Also GroveCananda, the complete banning of hunting would have many consequences especially on birds. Out east, many songbird species (such as the Ovenbird) are severely declining as deer overpopulation is causing a complete removal of undergrowth which many animal species need to survive. This leads to a decline in the overall health of the forests as well.

Overpopulation ironically exists in many other popular hunting animals including Canada Geese. Canada Geese are very aggressive when nesting and will drive away other duck species around them leading to a decreased nesting productivity in other species of ducks. Your heart is in the right place but you need to think about the real consequences of what you want. It is easy to say no more hunting, but it is not realistic or the right thing to do.

Here are a few articles on how deer overpopulation is affecting birds:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=deer-decreasing-forest-bi

http://greenwich.audubon.org/WildlifeSci_ManagingWildlife_DeerMngmnt.html

December 10, 2011 at 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sent the letter this morning as well as posted on my facebook asking others to do the same, thank you, Michelle McDaniel

December 10, 2011 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger peterson2259 said...

If I may offer an opposing perspective.
The causeway is available to wildlife viewing 365 days a year (give or take). The waterfowl hunting season is about 120 days. So for 245 days the birders have it all to themselves and for 120 they share the resource with hunters. Because of "hunter ethics" very few will hunt off the causeway but apparently even that is unacceptable.
Back in my days as a hunter and falconer weather by birders,hikers or folks riding 4 wheelers I had many experiences spoiled by the activities of others. It never crossed my mind that the acceptable solution to improving my experience would be to ban the others from theirs. If we cant share the resource then perhaps we birders should not be allowed in the wetlands during hunting season. Only seems fair.
Regarding the disapproval of "trophy hunting" and ethics as justification for restricting hunting. Harvesting waterfowl is legal and regulations have been set to preserve safety and bird population. Trophy and road hunting is something I personally do not agree with but I still believe encouraging regulations that limit another persons activities because their values and ethics are different from ours is something we should think twice about.
forgive me if I have hijacked your thread, I think this is a very worth while discussion.

December 11, 2011 at 2:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone for their comments on this issue.

Can the Utah Birders blog please re-post this article with an update? Specifically, where can Utah birders, hunters, and recreationists receive reliable information with regards to the regulations about hunting and shooting distances from the causeway? One would expect someone in this state to have the answer!
If there there already is an appropriate regulation in place (i.e., 200 yard buffer), can you please provide information on how we can encourage local city, county, and/or state agencies to disseminate this information to causeway users, land managers, and law enformcement?


Thank you!
J. Huebner

December 11, 2011 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

Everyone,

Thank you for the dialogue, comments, and support. We are closing this thread and have created an update where additional comments and discussion can take place.

AIC Buffer Zone Update

Please keep things civil and do not make this about pro or anti hunting. This discussion is not about that, but about conservation, safety, and public perception.

Cheers
Tim

December 12, 2011 at 11:05 AM  

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Back to Previous




UTAH BIRDERS FLICKR POOL


    SEE MORE AND SHARE ON FLICKR