Monday, May 25, 2015

IMPORTANT UPDATE Up to 127,000 TenPoint and Wicked Ridge crossbows may fall under safety recall






Akron-based TenPoint Crossbows is facing a major recall impacting a number of its most popular models along with the firm’s economy, price-point line, Wicked Ridge.

At the heart of the problem is the safety catch. Affected crossbows – up to 127,000 units - are potentially at risk.

Further in this blog is TenPoint’s official Product Safety Notice as well as the company’s press release on the subject.

A company spokesman said that the present turn-around time is about three days. That will lengthen considerably later in the summer and into the fall once archery deer-hunting season approaches, the spokesman said.

Also, TenPoint’s Randy Woods, the firm’s vice president of sales, has a short video discussing the issue. The link for this is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L64rUMWfbU

Here is the official federal government’s Consumer Protection Safety Commission’s release on TenPoint’s rather significant manufacturing FUBAR.

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2015/TenPoint-Crossbow-Technologies-Recalls-Crossbows

Recall Summary

Name of Product: TenPoint and Wicked Ridge crossbows

Hazard: After the safety has been re-engaged, the crossbows can fire under certain circumstances if a consumer pulls the trigger, posing an injury hazard.

Remedy: Repair
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled crossbows. Contact TenPoint for detailed instructions on how to inspect any TenPoint or Wicked Ridge crossbow and instructions on how to receive a free repair, if the crossbow poses an unexpected firing hazard.

Consumer Contact: TenPoint Crossbow Technologies at (800) 548-6837 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, by email at safetyrecall@tenpointcrossbows.com, or online at www.tenpointcrossbows.com/ and www.wickedridgecrossbows.com/ and click on "Recall to Repair – Self Test" for more information.

Recall Details

Units: About 127,000

Description: This recall involves nine models of two brands of crossbows that can be identified by their serial numbers, which are located on the left side of the barrel of the crossbow below the trigger box. The TenPoint or Wicked Ridge brand name is printed on both sides of the crossbow barrel on all models except the GT Flex. The model name appears on both sides of the stock on all models. The GT Flex crossbows are black. The other affected models are camouflage patterns. One TenPoint Titan Extreme model crossbow and one Wicked Ridge Warrior HL model crossbow were specially produced in black, rather than the camouflage pattern that is standard for those models.  The crossbows were manufactured from 2011 to 2014.

Model
Serial Number Range
TenPoint Shadow Ultra-Lite:
  • Model numbers C14018-7521 and C14018-7522
G000001–G006449
TenPoint Turbo XLT II:
  • Model Numbers C12020-4920, C12020-4521, and C12020-4522
F54796-F55233
G50000-G55924
H50000-H54851
F000001-F007055
TenPoint Titan Extreme:
  • Model Numbers C12047-6520, C12047-6521, C12047-6522, C13047-1912, and C13047-5312
F88113-F91878
G80001-G89999
H80000-H96243
H000001-H015400
TenPoint  Maverick HP:
  • Model Numbers C11055-3000, C11055-3521, C11055-3522, C11055-6000, C11055-6520, C11055-6521, and C11055-6522
F41618-F41909
G40000-G40353
TenPoint GT Flex:
  • Model Numbers C08066-3000, C08066-3420, C08066-3421, C08066-3422, C08066-3430, C08066-3431, C08066-3432, C14066-1000, C14066-1330, C14066-1331, and C14066-1332
F70173-F70299
G70000-G70151
H70000-H70299
I000001-I000452
TenPoint Phantom CLS-S:
  • Model numbers C10003-4211, C10003-4212, C10003-4221, and C10003-4222
F00002-F00261
G00001-G00156
Wicked Ridge Raider CLS:
  • Model numbers WR1221.6230,  WR1221.6326, and WR1221.6336
J000001–J000831
 
V70000–V72011
 
W70001-W71806
Wicked Ridge Invader HP:
  • Model numbers WR1205.6336, WR1205.6436, and  WR1205.6446
K000001–K008644
 
V00000–V20881
 
W01437-W10261
Wicked Ridge Warrior HL:
  • Model numbers  WR1215.6330, WR1215.6430,  WR1215.6440, and  WR1415.1436
L000001–L011095
 
W40000–W55874
 
V40000–V52357

Incidents/Injuries: TenPoint has received 19 reports that arrows released from the crossbows when the consumer pulled the trigger under certain circumstances after the safety mechanism was re-engaged. There have been no reported injuries.

Sold at: Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dunham's Sports, Gander Mountain, MC Sports, other hunting and sporting goods stores nationwide; direct sales from TenPoint; and online at Amazon.com, Basspro.com, Cabelas,com, dickssportinggoods.com and other internet retailers from January 2011 to May 2015 for between $400 and $1,800.

Manufactured by: Hunter's Manufacturing Company Inc., dba TenPoint CrossBow Technologies of Mogadore, Ohio

Manufactured in: United States

About U.S. CPSC:
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction.  Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals – contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.

Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.

CPSC Consumer Information Hotline
Contact us at this toll-free number if you have questions about a recall:
800-638-2772 (TTY 301-595-7054)
Times: 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET; Messages can be left anytime
Call to get product safety and other agency information and to report unsafe products.  

SOURCE U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

This is TenPoint’s press release that addresses the subject in conjunction with working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Mogadore, Ohio -- In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, TenPoint Crossbow Technologies today announced a voluntary recall to inspect, and if necessary, repair certain TenPoint and Wicked Ridge crossbows manufactured between 2011 and 2014.

TenPoint is requesting that owners of these models conduct a self-inspection to determine if their crossbow requires the recall and repair.  TenPoint has discovered that arrows can release from certain crossbows following a sequence of actions involving: 1. pulling the trigger when the safety is on “safe”,

2. moving the safety slide to “fire”,

3. attempting unsuccessfully to return the safety to “safe”, and

4. pulling the trigger a second time believing the trigger is on “safe”.

“Safety is our number one priority” said Phil Bednar, Director of Marketing. 

“Out of an abundance of caution, we wanted our customers to know about this issue and understand how to determine if their crossbow is affected and get the issue resolved.” 

Information concerning the specific products that may be affected as well as instructions on how to safely test the crossbow can be found at www.tenpointcrossbows.com.  The site also includes a FAQ section as well as instructions on how to return the product, if necessary, for repair.

The following is TenPoint’s official product safety notice that instructs owners and users the proper protocol for operating one of the firm’s crossbows:

10/22/14

PRODUCT SAFETY NOTICE

 

NEVER PRE-LOAD A CROSSBOW TRIGGER

 
TenPoint Crossbow Technologies (“TenPoint”) has recently learned that, under certain circumstances described below, pulling the trigger while the auto-safety mechanism (“Safety”) is engaged can require the user to re-engage the Safety by forcefully pulling on the bowstring.

This condition may occur under the following sequence of events:

 
1. The crossbow is cocked, which engages the Safety as the bowstring causes the safety knob to move into the SAFE/ ENGAGED (white dot) position.

 
2. The crossbow user pulls (preloads) the trigger while the Safety is engaged.

NOTE: Touching or pulling the trigger before deciding to take a shot is a dangerous practice when using any firearm or crossbow, as our Owner’s Manuals warn.

 
3. With a loaded arrow, the crossbow user moves the safety knob into the FIRE/OFF (red dot) position in anticipation of taking a shot.

 
4. The crossbow user does not fire the crossbow and then attempts to return the Safety to the

SAFE/ENGAGED (white dot) position, but fails to do so completely.

 

WARNING

 
To help ensure the safe use of your crossbow:

 
Do NOT disengage the Safety or place your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

 
Do NOT touch or pull (pre-load) the trigger while the Safety is engaged (white dot).

 
If you pull the trigger (pre-load) with the Safety engaged (white dot):


1. Remove the arrow.
 

2. You can verify if the Safety is engaged by pulling the safety knob in the direction of the SAFE/ENGAGED (white dot) position to determine if it will spring back approximately 1/16th of an inch. This “spring-back” is apparent both visually and by feel and demonstrates that the Safety is engaged.


3. If the Safety does not “spring-back,” you must forcefully pull the bowstring to re-engage it. At this point you can verify the Safety is engaged by performing the “spring-back” technique described above.

 
Follow all warnings and instructions in the Owner’s Manual.

 
If you have not pulled the trigger with the Safety in the SAFE/ENGAGED (white dot) position, you may disengage and re-engage the Safety repeatedly.

 
If you have any questions, please call TenPoint customer service at 330-628-9245 or visit our website


Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

 
 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ashtabula County spurns modest 2015 Ohio spring turkey season gains


In its annual sleight of hand the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife is chirping that Ohio’s spring wild turkey-hunting season experienced a kill of 17,638 birds.

That 17,638 figure is up from the 16,556 birds shot during the 2014 spring wild turkey-hunting season. Yet this year’s combined spring season total kill is still well below the comparable 2013 spring turkey kill of 18,391birds.

Even so and almost certainly - and by what any numbers are being used – Ashtabula County’s turkey harvest downward spiral over the past three spring seasons is reason enough for some hunters to sit up and take notice.

For comparison sake Ohio’s largest-ever spring turkey harvest was the 23,421 birds shot in 2010. Since then the kill has never even approached the 19,000 bird mark and has exceeded 18,000 birds only twice since 2010.

What is likewise known is that for last year’s (2014) two-day youth-only season 1,480 birds were taken with a combined both-seasons’ total of 16,556 bearded wild turkeys. That leaves a 2014 general four-week season total kill of 15,076 birds.

An extrapolation of this year’s (2015) numbers points to a youth season take of 1,589 birds. Using the combined both-seasons’ kill of 17,638 turkeys a figure of 16,049 turkeys were shot during the just-concluded four-week-long general wild turkey-hunting season.

Consequently, the preliminary numbers point to a roughly 1,000 bird increase for the combined two seasons.

Still, those final figures themselves may be misleading without further examination. What the numbers crunching may be pointing to is a redistribution of the turkey kill from long-time “have” counties to one-time “have not counties.”

Among those counties where significant harvest declines are being found is Ashtabula County. Long thought of as being the Number One go-to place to kill a spring turkey, Ashtabula County’s reputation is losing its luster.

When employing the combined numbers for both the youth-only and general seasons - and for at least the past three years - Ashtabula County’s all-encompassing spring turkey kill has eroded from 766 birds total in 2013 to 615 birds total in 2014 to 557 birds total this year.

Thus, Ashtabula County’s total combined both-seasons spring turkey harvest has plummeted by more than 200 birds within the past three years alone.

But Ashtabula County is not alone in seeing no - or else, slow - growth of its combined both-seasons’ spring turkey season kill.

At least not in Northeast Ohio where the region’s Snow Belt status earned its stripes this past winter. Extreme and prolonged cold coupled with an extensively thick carpet of snow may have done a goodly size pot of wild turkeys, more than a few local hunters are saying.

Even so, noteworthy gains were seen in several other sections of Ohio. Southeast Ohio’s Harrison County, for instance, saw a rise in its combined both-seasons’ spring turkey kill from 392 birds in 2014 to 430 birds this year. This, after Harrison County experienced a significant drop in 2014 from its 2013 both-seasons’ total kill of 479 birds.

Recovering from the shock of declines also was Adams County. Here, the  2015’s both-seasons’ total of 413 birds was up from its 2014 spring total kill of 381 birds, but which was down from the county’s 2013 reported take of 418 birds. Yes, the 2015 figure is just five birds more than 2013’s both-seasons’ total.

What happens now is that all the numbers will be crunched and studied by both Wildlife Division biologists and administrators. So too will the statistics become fodder for turkey hunters.

That close examination perhaps will occur nowhere more so than for Ashtabula County. Even though Ashtabula has maintained its reputation as Ohio’s top spring turkey producer, a decline of more than 200 birds over the past three combined spring seasons alone should give anyone pause to reflect on season lengths, spring season bag limits and the appropriateness of a fall either-sex wild turkey-hunting season.
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

UPDATED Ohio wins first legal round against Army Corps regarding Cuyhoga River dredging


In the opening legal salvo over the environmental propriety of dumping spoil dredged from the bowels of the Cuyahoga River, score it Ohio “One,” and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “Zero.”


And it was not just a legal victory for Team Ohio Attorney General but also Team Lake Erie, a state environmental activist group says.

MikeDeWine – Ohio’s Attorney General – filed suit in federal court last month to force the Corps to ante up $1.4 million to properly dispose of 180,000 cubic yards (240,000 to more than 300,000 tons) of sediments to be dredged from the lower Cuyahoga River.


Specifically at what is known as the river’s “Sixth Mile,” near the ArcelorMittal Company’s steel plant.

While the Corps is happy to perform the dredging it insists on someone else paying for its disposal. The reason for avoiding open dumping into Lake Erie is that Ohio says this spoil is still contaminated with various chemicals.

And these chemicals such as PCBs will find their way through Lake Erie’s food chain and ultimately to the people who eat their walleye, perch, channel catfish and other sport-caught fish species.

However, the Corps contends the spoil is not polluted and is safe enough for open Lake Erie dumping. Hence the lawsuit filed by DeWine in the name of Ohio, particularly the state’s Environmental Protection Agency.

Simply put, says DeWine, the Corps not only is disobeying no fewer than three federal environmental protection laws it is abdicating its own rule-making policies.

May 13 Federal Judge Donald C. Nugent ruled in favor of DeWine’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the Corp.

“This is great news for Cleveland, for Ohio and for Lake Erie,” DeWine said. “Properly dredging the entire Cleveland Harbor is absolutely vital to the economic well-being of the state as well as to the environment.”

Thus, also says DeWine, there is ample reason to rejoice in having Judge Nugent order “the Corps to do what the law requires.”


No less thrilled is the Ohio Environmental Council, which also notes that the lawsuit is far from resolved with who must pay $1.14 million for properly disposing the dredge spoil still the leading issue.

“However, the federal court’s ruling – which characterized the Corps’ position as ‘blackmail,’ makes it clear that the state of Ohio is highly likely to succeed on this count as well,” said Kristy Meyer, the Council’s Managing Director of Agriculture, Health and Clean Waters Programs.

Meyer went on to praise DeWine for “putting the health and safety of people and wildlife first.”
 

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Grand River dredge spoil is environmentally okay, Cuyahoga River's stuff is not


While disposing of the spoil dredged from the lower Cuyahoga River has Ohio’s environmental officials on edge, not so the muck scooped from the lower Grand River.

In fact and - in spite of some strict protocols put in place by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency at the insistence of Governor John Kasich – the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers has been given the green light to dredge the Grand River’s lower 8,300 feet.

All of which is unlike just to the west and the Cuyahoga River. Here a legal spat between Ohio and the Corps is destined for federal court intervention.

The reason being that in April Ohio filed suit in federal court to prevent disposing toxic-contaminated material hauled up from the lower Cuyahoga River into the open Lake Erie.

However, the Corps has stated it won’t use its money to pour the toxic-contaminated spoil into the open lake unless someone else pays for its proper disposal. That someone else being Ohio, and a point to which the state via the Ohio Attorney General takes great exception.

And though the federal government says the dredging is not only necessary for proper commercial navigation of the Cuyahoga River but the spoil is environmentally benign is another point of contention for Ohio.

None of which is of controversy with the Grand River, located roughly 20 miles east and downstream of the Cuyahoga River.

Under a permit issued by the Ohio EPA the Corps is allowed to conduct maintenance dredging of the Grand River’s navigation channel and for a distance of 8,300 feet upstream from the Lake Erie tributary’s mouth.

Up to 250,000 cubic yards of spoil – or approximately 188,000 tons - is specified in the permit with some 60,000 cubic yards earmarked for placement in the so-called littoral (near shore) zone and east of the Grand River’s mouth.

Such placement is performed in an effort to help beach enrichment which in turn is to aid in helping prevent loss of the highly erodible high banks found east of Fairport Harbor.

The remaining 190,000 cubic yards of dredged material is listed for placement in the open waters of Lake Erie, the Ohio EPA permit says.

Backing up its argument that the expected 250,000 cubic yards of material is okay for such placement the Ohio EPA says “The water quality certification complies with Governor Kasich’s executive order.”

That order is pretty environmentally specific, too , and  “… which requires (the) Ohio EPA to prohibit the open lake disposal of dredge material in Lake Erie if the dredge material could result in higher levels of a chemical in fish that ‘bioaccumulates’ throughout the food chain.”

Of equal issue, the Ohio EPA says, its permitting process cannot violate any international treaties or compacts; a system by which the Grand River dredging project achieves.

“These requirements are part of the state’s Coastal Management Program, which is enforced through the federal government’s Coastal Zone Management Act,” says Ohio EPA spokeswoman Linda Fee Oros.
 
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
 
Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.
 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Approaching Middle Age, Fish Ohio program still going strong


A big fish deserves a big award and since 1980 the Ohio Division of wildlife has provided tens of thousands of anglers with exactly that honor.
This venue is state’s Fish Ohio awards program, a gig that now stands at 39 years old - or 35 years from the time the Wildlife Division rebooted the program into what angles more readily identify with today, including the awarding of a really cool hat-style pin.

In brief, the Fish Ohio program recognizes anglers who catch a qualifying specimen from a list of 20 eligible species.

The pinnacle of the annual big fish tribute is the Master Angler segment. This portion of the Fish Ohio program honors those anglers who catch a qualifying specimen from at least four eligible species. But only within a calendar year as the clock restarts on the subsequent arrival of another January 1st.
For 2014 the Wildlife Division handed out 11,082 Fish Ohio awards and honored 503 fishers as being Master Anglers. Though most Master Anglers award winners were Ohioans, 13 were non-residents. And they included fishers from as far away as Florida and California.

By comparison the 2013 Fish Ohio program recognized 12,760 entries and presented Master Angler pins and certificates to 532 fishers.

As for the best-ever year for the program, that tip of the hat goes to 1988. That year the Wildlife Division awarded 37,132 Fish Ohio pins and handed out 691 Master Angler honors.

Functioning as the centerpiece for the program since 1980 when it underwent a significant change is the presentation of a free, colorful hat-style pin. The motif of this pin changes each year and is based upon one of the recognized species with the 2014 honoree having been the yellow perch.
 
Which, by the way, was the fifth most entered species in the program at 756 entries, and just narrowly edging out the freshwater drum (741 entries) and the largemouth bass (720 entries).
The program’s top stars in descending order were the walleye (2,227 entries), sunfish (including bluegills at 1,457 entries), crappie (1,319 entries), and channel catfish (1,156 entries).

The bottom bunch was confined to fewer than 100 entries each. Among them in 2014 were northern pike (90 entries), sauger (85 entries), blue catfish (69 entries), and at the very cellar, the brown trout (17 entries).

Perhaps most intriguing from the compilation of the year-end statistics was there being only 264 entries for rainbow trout. This entry includes steelhead trout, and given the popularity of spring steelhead fishing one would naturally assume the species would prove more popular with anglers eager to show off their angling abilities with a Fish Ohio pin but it does not.

Other reasonably well-off totals from the list of officially recognized species are the muskie (264 entries), the smallmouth bass (248 entries), and the white bass (297 entries). Even so, the lowly common carp bested each of these three designated species with 428 entries.

Of importance for anglers is determining where best to wet a line for catching a trophy fish. Here the nod easily goes to Lake Erie with a total of 4,194 Fish Ohio award entries. That dwarfs the 2,353 entries for private ponds and the very paltry 404 entries for the Ohio River.

For the top lakes the best of the group was Northeast Ohio’s Mosquito Reservoir with 165 entries. This sub-group of good places to catch a trophy fish included Alum Creek Reservoir (160 entries), Hoover Reservoir (149 entries), Pymatuning Reservoir (134 entries), and Indian Lake (117 entries).

Good streams to angle for a Fish Ohio award - and based on the 2014 Fish Ohio entry numbers - were the Maumee River (186 entries and of which 62 were walleye), Grand River (96 entries and of which 37 were rainbow/steelhead trout), and the Scioto River (also 96 entries and of which 17 were common carp).
Clearly the go-to place for catching a Fish Ohio-qualifying sunfish/bluegill (minimum length being 9 inches) is one the state’s numerous private “farm ponds.” Private/farm ponds were noted for almost one-half the number of the sunfish/bluegill on-line applications at 1,030 entries.

Qualifying largemouth bass also came largely from farm ponds at 446 entries from a 2014 program total of 720 entries, closely followed by crappie at 408 entries and from a 2014 program total of 1,319 entries.

And speaking about on-line, the program is now completely web-based. The details are accessed via the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s web site at www.wildohio.gov and then going to the “Fishing” link under the bar heading of “Recreation.”

Once there it’s just a short mouse tap to “Fish Ohio! Recognition Program” where upon one is directed to “Reserve a Pin/Fish Ohio Application.”
A previous programming bug that prevented a person from entering a qualifying fish for another person – say one’s child, parent or friend – has been corrected. And which is a good thing for the program, too. Even at approaching middle age the state’s Fish Ohio awards program is a worthy catch for any angler.

This year’s Fish Ohio motif will highlight the smallmouth bass, which also graced the 1980 pin. But unlike that pin which was a small oval pewter-type pin the current generation of Fish Ohio pins are larger, feature the fish in full color display.
Costing the Wildlife Division about 50 cents each to make, older Fish Ohio pin versions command top dollar to collectors. These pins can fetch from $10 to $300 each with a complete set of all Master Angler pins being worth up to $1,300.

Now if the Ohio Division of Wildlife would bring back the bullhead as an eligible species the program would be perfect.

 By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jeff Frischkorn Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the
 
 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Whose public land is it anyway?


You’d think by being a conservative Republican the belief that states have an inalienable right to own/manage/sell off as much land as they wish within their jurisdictions.

And normally I am as staunch a 10th Amendment supporter that is found north of the Mason-Dixon Line. (For those who are ready to open up a Google Search, the 10th Amendment is the one that reserves power to the states unless specifically granted to the federal government.)

However, don’t go and assume that because a person is both a Republican and a conservative (which I am) that he (or she) automatically gleefully awaits congressional approval to allow states to rape and pillage the natural resources and properties here-to-for once owned by the commonwealth of the U.S. of A.

Such is being sought and proposed by members of the Grand Old Party’s congressional delegation.

Some states – Utah, for example, which is demanding 20 million acres – the transfer of federal public lands could spell “access denied” to a whale lot of hunters, anglers, birders, hikers and other outdoorsy types.

A deep and abiding concern to a copious number of sportsmen, conservation and environmental groups centers on this “No Trespassing” threat to recreational access accompanied by such alternative universe signs saying “Fracking Welcome Here,” “Coal is Energy’s Future,” and “Beef – It’s what’s for Dinner.”

All stuff that fulfills states’ desires to achieve economic superiority regardless of the natural resources costs.

It’s an old story, certainly. Ever since states beyond the original 13 were being carved out of federal holdings the fledgling governments have ever sought more land.

And the story’s been widely covered over the years, too. As a for instance, the libertarian think tank CATO Institute opined on the subject back in 1997 that creating public trust lands “… would do more to improve fiscal and environmental management of public lands than would transferring them to the states.”

This has not stopped others from trying, of course.

By a 51 to 49 vote (almost entirely along party lines) in the U.S. Senate back in March, a non-binding and mostly on-paper position stated that transferring federal land to the states in some fashion was a right-fine, capital idea. And for the record, Ohio’s senior Senator, Democrat Party liberal Sherrod Brown voted “nay” while Republican Party conservative Rob Portman voted “aye.”

Still and though the budget amendment was pretty much entirely toothless it is still a vocal shout-out that a whole lot of powerful politicians are eager to allow the various and almost entirely Western states to get their greedy paws on everyone’s shared federal land heritage.

All of this being said the federal government really has done an inept job of working with the states on many sensitive issues of shared interest.

With a frequency that can make the most bureaucratic of bureaucrats blush, the federal government has repeatedly proven itself to be the bully on the land-ownership and management block.

Consequently states still chafe at wearing the federal government’s uncomfortable saddle. Thus anything that can tweak the nose of the federal government’s alphabetized list of land owners is a favored tactic of virtually every Western state.

Yet these same Western states have a lot of explaining and apologizing to do themselves. Same goes for all the armchair sportsmen and conservation organizations that are lathered up over any and all mention of land transfers.

The point is that folks in the West have all too often assumed such federal lands are their semi-private outdoors playgrounds. If anyone east of the Mississippi River wants to fish or hunt on these federal lands then, by golly, they’ll need to pay through the nose for a state-issued hunting or fishing license or any accompanying game tag.

Here’s a couple of for instances: A New Mexico general hunting license costs a resident $15 but for a non-resident it is $65. For a bear tag it is $47 and $260, respectively.

In Montana, for a resident to buy a “B-elk” tag costs $25. For a non-resident that same tag costs $278. Remember, too, that both sets of hunters may very well utilize federal land – land held in the commonwealth of the United States.

Wyoming non-resident anglers don’t get off the hook, either. For an annual fishing license a Wyoming resident pays out $24. Meanwhile a non-resident Wyoming angler will pay near four times as much: $92.

No one is going to dispute that states have the right to charge non-residents more to hunt and fish. I buy that, understanding how states are the managers of the fish and wildlife found within their borders.

Even so, state rightists cannot have the privilege of rummaging through the wallets of non-residents in order to discourage visitation. Not when they also are pleading for help in preserving their personal time on the outdoors playground owned by everyone.

So before I get all worked up about transferring federal land to states that will assuredly divvy up the best parts to those who’ll close the gates I want some assurances I’ll not only be welcome but that I won’t be robbed coming and going.

Something tells me, though, not to hold my breath.
 
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.