New Hampshire Wildlife News
by Certified Wildlife Biologist, Eric P. Orff

Hunters and fishermen asked to join global warming fight.

By Daymond Steer
Milford Cabinet
November 30, 2007

The National Wildlife Federation is recruiting hunters and fishermen into the fight against global warming, calling on them to speak to their congressmen about it.

Hunters and those concerned about global warming may seem like strange bedfellows - the former are stereotyped as pickup driving tough guys while the latter are stereotyped as hippies or nerds.

But, that's not true said former state fish and game wildlife biologist Eric Orff. He said 75 percent of hunters believe global warming is happening and about a third say they have seen changes in the environment. Orff recently published a story on the Wildlife Federation's efforts with hunters in Hawkeye, a newspaper for sportsmen published in Milford.

New Boston resident Don McGinley, 63, is one of those hunters. He said the environment in New England is different now than when he was a boy.

Now, the woodcock migration comes a week later and turkey vultures and deer ticks have become more common, he said.

For the past nine years, McGinley has documented the migration of woodcock. Traditionally, the birds migrated south from Maine and Canada and passed through New Hampshire from Oct. 1 to Oct. 30.

But now, most of the birds arrive in New Hampshire around Oct. 6 and leave the first week of November. This is because the frost comes later, which allows the birds to hunt earthworms longer up north.

This data, has led the state to move the hunting season back a week to allow hunters a better chance.

The turkey vulture's range seems to be creeping northward as the temperatures warm, he said.

"When I was a kid there was no possibility of seeing a turkey vulture, it was a southern bird," said McGinley. "Now, I see them every day of the week."

Deer ticks, which carry lyme disease, were also uncommon when McGinley was younger. Now, they seem to be almost unavoidable for the woodsman.

"Something is going on with our environment lately," said McGinley, who spoke about global warming at a National Wildlife Federation press event in Concord in October.

Orff says warming temperatures in New Hampshire threaten trout and salmon populations, which need water that's about 60 degrees.

Global warming also threatens deer populations. Deer need hemlock stands for shelter during winter storms, but global warming may cause an invasive disease called Hemlock Wolly Aldelgid to move north and kill hemlock stands.

"It's kind of the wolf knocking out the door waiting to gobble up the trees," said Orff, who works part time for the NWF.

The NWF is asking for sportsmen to volunteer to speak with their local sportsmen's clubs and their congressmen about these issues. NWF staff will teach hunters and fishermen to give a Power Point presentation on the key points.

Global warming is the theory that carbon dioxide produced by man is trapping solar energy causing the Earth to warm. Even minor changes in the Earth's temperature can cause severe weather.

A majority of scientists believe that 80 percent of global warming is man-made.

"These aren't hippies from California, it's life-long scientists some from the University of New Hampshire, people with good credibility," said Orff.

Miles Grant - Communications Manager for State Outreach
Cell: 703-864-9599 | | Office: 703-438-6023 | Fax: 703-438-6344
National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive
Reston, VA 20190-5362

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