Humane HEART
Health, Education, & Abuse Resolution Taskforce

U  R  G  E  N  T     A  C  T  I  O  N     A  L  E  R  T




PLEASE Communicate This Alert As Widely As Possible!                   DEADLINE: January 20th

Campaign Completed. Our Side Won!
Option 2 Was Chosen.


THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE HAS ISSUED ITS ASSESSMENT

RE: DOG-DEER HUNTING IN THE KISATCHIE NATIONAL FOREST.

NOW, THEY ARE ASKING THE PUBLIC TO SUBMIT THEIR VOTES!

PLEASE PARTICIPATE!       CLICK FOR: SIGN-&-SEND E-MAIL !

ALSO, THERE IS A COPY-&-PASTE PREPARED E-MAIL (BELOW).


Dogs after Feline, "Bambi"  © Walt Disney · paintings by Retta Scott, animator


HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP PUT AN END TO DOG-DEER "HUNTING":

SEND AN E-MAIL to the National Forest Service saying that you want them to chose OPTION 2 - the ABOLITION of Dog-Deer "Hunting" on the lands of the KISATCHIE NATIONAL FOREST. [OPTION 1 continues Dog-Deer "Hunting"; and so does OPTION 3, but on one-third the area.]

IT IS MOST IMPORTANT THAT YOU SEND THE E-MAIL.
As many individuals as possible need to be on record as being opposed to dog-deer "hunting".
(The Kisatchie National Forest, located in Louisiana, is the only national forest where it occurs.)

HERE'S THE E-MAIL ADDRESS: comments-southern-kisatchie@fs.fed.us

PUT IN YOUR E-MAIL THAT YOU WANT OPTION 2; AND GIVE ONE OR MORE REASONS.
Ideally, read some of the material given below and compose your own e-mail. Or, you can just say that you think dog-deer "hunting" is cruel, and perhaps elaborate a bit. But, it is important to give at least one reason so your e-mail can be officially considered.

AND, IT IS ESSENTIAL TO PUT YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS IN THE E-MAIL.
This is important. Unsigned e-mails will likely be disregarded.


The complete Environmental Assessment is available at:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5344694.pdf
[It is long, and not easy to read. Please see below for an expert commentary
by former Kisatchie NF Forest Wildlife Biologist Kenneth Dancak.]


HERE IS A SIGN-&-SEND POP-UP E-MAIL already written and ready to sign and send.

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! THANKS FOR YOUR HELP IN THIS HUMANE EFFORT!



HERE IS E-MAIL CONTENT TO COPY-&-PASTE INTO YOUR E-MAIL:
[Please feel free to edit it as you like.]


E-MAIL TO:

comments-southern-kisatchie@fs.fed.us


SUBJECT:

Request for Selection of Option2 - Regarding the Revised Environmental Assessment for the Kisatchie National Forest


BODY OF E-MAIL:

[Please add your name and address at bottom. Signing is essential.

So we'll know your e-mail was sent, please send a blind copy [bcc] to:

contact@humaneheart.org

DO NOT copy this (which is enclosed in brackets).]



Dear Sirs:

I oppose hunting deer with dogs in the Kisatchie National Forest.

I therefore urge you in the strongest possible terms to select OPTION 2, as presented in your Revised Environmental Assessment for the Kisatchie National Forest.

I am in agreement with the comments supporting OPTION 2 expressed to you by former Forest Wildlife Biologist Kenneth Dancak which you may access at: http://humaneheart.org/kisatchie/KennethDancak/. Please regard those as my comments too.

Further, deer are terrified by the dogs and panic. That is cruel.

Extensive input from hunters to Field & Stream Magazine indicated that the vast majority of hunters are opposed to deer hunting with dogs as unethical.

Non-dog hunters have shot dogs, sometimes intentionally.

Dogs and "hunters" sometimes trespass on private property. They cause problems, and possibly endanger people and other animals.

Endangerment also applies to other users of the national forest lands.

Some "hunters" lose dogs, or abandon them after the hunting season. The dogs may starve, kill wildlife, or get killed on roads.

Please prohibit dog-deer hunting.

Sincerely,







HERE (BELOW) ARE:

1. COMMENTARY BY KENNETH DANCAK, PhD, FOREST WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST; AND

2. BASIC POINTS ABOUT THE ISSUE BY THE HUMANE HEART.






Observations and Opinions Regarding Dog-Deer Hunting on the Kisatchie National Forest


By Kenneth Dancak, PhD

[Kenneth Dancak has 18 years of experience regarding the Kisatchie National Forest as the Forest Wildlife Biologist. He retired on September 30th, 2011, after 30 years, from the U.S. Forest Service. He was a specialist contributor to the Revised Environmental Assessment that is the focus of this appeal. He is deeply concerned about the perpetuation of dog-deer hunting within the Kisatchie National Forest, and is making his concerns known, not only to the U.S. Forest Service, but also to the public.]

Please feel free to forward.

[Abbreviations Defined:

     USFS: U.S. Forest Service (U.S. Department of Agriculture);
     KNF: Kisatchie National Forest (under the USFS);
     LDWF: Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries;
     USFWS: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S. Department of the Interior);
     CFR: Code of Federal Regulations;
     FSM: Forest Service Manual;
     FSH: Forest Service Handbook
     USACOE: U.S. Army Corp of Engineers]

To:

The USFS decision makers who will select the one of three options presented in the Revised Environmental Assessment:

1. No change,

2. Abolish dog-deer hunting on the KNF, or

3. Allow dog-deer hunting on fewer areas of the KNF (approximately one-third of the land areas where dog-deer hunting is currently allowed).


Please consider the following issues in your reassessment of deer hunting with dogs on KNF:

**Deer hunting with dogs, as it is largely practiced on KNF (intensive use of motor vehicles during the hunts), is contrary to the long-standing LDWF regulation "Taking game quadrupeds or birds from aircraft, participating in the taking of deer with the aid of aircraft or from automobiles or other moving land vehicles is prohibited." (2011-2012 LDWF Hunting Regulations pamphlet, pg 8). It's technically illegal, at most, or contrary to the spirit of the law, at least.

**A huge majority of Louisianans support prohibition of deer hunting with dogs.

Less than 1% of Louisianans deer hunt with dogs.

LDWF, USFWS, and USACOE have persistently prohibited deer hunting with dogs on all their managed lands through the past decades with no negative repercussions. These agencies have no plans to initiate deer hunting with dogs in the future.

**KNF should be tasked with working closely with LDWF and implementing their comprehensive policies (including a complete prohibition of deer hunting with dogs).

**KNF should be allowed to more fully implement the national standards found within the CFRs, FSMs, and FSHs that are relevant to deer hunting with dogs. Specifically:

--The expected future conditions in terms of distribution and abundance of populations or habitats to meet overall multiple-use objectives (36 CFR 219.11; 219.26). (FSM 2622.01.4.b)

--Standards and guidelines for protection, viability, recovery, or restoration as appropriate to meet overall multiple-use objectives (36 CFR 219.27). (FSM 2622.01.4.a)

--The Chief of the Forest Service, through the Regional Foresters and Forest Supervisors, shall determine the extent to which national forests or portions thereof may be devoted to wildlife protection in combination with other uses and services of the national forests, and , in cooperation with the Fish & Game Department or other constituted authority of the State concerned, he will formulate plans for securing and maintaining desirable populations of wildlife species, and he may enter into such general or specific cooperative agreements with appropriate State officials as are necessary & desirable for such purposes. Officials of the Forest Service will cooperate with State game officials in the planned and orderly removal in accordance with the requirements of State laws of the crop of game, fish, fur-bearers, and other wildlife on national forest lands. (36 CFR 241.2)

--The Chief, each Regional Forester, each Forest Supervisor, and each District Ranger or equivalent officer may issue special-use authorizations, award contracts, or approve operating plans authorizing the occupancy or use of a road, trail, area, river, lake, or other part of the National Forest System in accordance with authority which is delegated elsewhere in this chapter or in the Forest Service Manual. � In authorizing such uses, the Forest Officer may place such conditions on the authorization as that officer considers necessary for the protection or administration of the National Forest System, or for the promotion of public health, safety, or welfare. (36 CFR 261.1a)

--The Chief, each Regional Forester, � and each Forest Supervisor may issue orders which close or restrict the use of described areas within the area over which he has jurisdiction. � (c) Each order shall: (1) for orders issued under paragraph (a) of this section, describe the area to which the order applies; � (3) specify the times during which the prohibitions apply if applied only during limited times; (4) state each prohibition which is applied; and (5) be posted in accordance with §261.51. (36 CFR 261.50)

--To provide outdoor recreation opportunities and activities that: encourage the study and enjoyment of nature; highlight the importance of conservation; provide scenic and visual enjoyment; and instill appreciation of the nation's history, cultural resources, and traditional values. (FSM 2302.5)

--Manage recreation uses of National Forest Systems lands to meet national needs rather than to meet the needs of individuals or nearby communities. Local needs should usually be met by State and local governments. (FSM 2303.10)

--Coordinate, rather than compete, with private, other Federal, State, county, and local entities to provide recreation facilities and programs in forest and rangeland settings, including both harvest and non-consumptive enjoyment of wildlife. Do not provide facilities that the private sector could provide, but rather openly encourage the private sector. Do not duplicate the role of other levels of government to provide urban and local facilities and programs. (FSM 2303.11)

--Provide diverse opportunities for aesthetic, consumptive, and scientific uses of wildlife, fish, and sensitive plant resources in accordance with National, Regional, State and local demands. (FSM 2602.2)

--Provide a variety of fishing, hunting, trapping, viewing, studying, and photographing opportunities and experiences in cooperation with the State fish and wildlife agencies. (FSM 2640.3.2)

--Coordinate with other Federal, State, and local agencies, and the private sector in order to avoid competition with the private sector, duplication of recreation facilities and programs, and land-use conflicts. (FSM 2310.2.4)

--Recognize individual National Forests need not provide recreation opportunities in each Recreation Opportunity Spectrum class. (FSM 2310.3.4)

--Maximize opportunities for visitors to know and experience nature while engaging in outdoor recreation. (FSM 2330.2.1)

--Provide opportunities for a variety of recreation pursuits with emphasis on activities that are in harmony with the natural environment and consistent with the recreation role of the National Forest. (FSM 2350.2.2)

**Considerable regional problems exist with deer hunting with dogs. Other states increasingly are prohibiting deer hunting with dogs; KNF should be allowed to follow suit with such restrictions/prohibitions.

**In the future, deer hunting with dogs will be increasingly restricted/prohibited for ample justification in the few states (on public lands and on timber company lands) where it is currently allowed. KNF should be allowed to follow suit with increasing restrictions/prohibitions of deer hunting with dogs.

**Deer hunting with dogs, as it is practiced on KNF, is contrary to the principle of fair chase.

**Deer hunting with dogs, as it is practiced on KNF, is a relatively unsafe hunting practice (deer-dog hunters change locations frequently and they often do not know of other users in their frequently changing hunting areas). Safety is a key concern for the USFS.

Thank you for your consideration of these issues.


Material Derived from the comments of Dr. Kenneth Dancak (former KNF Wildlife Biologist) regarding Kisatchie National Forest's Revised Environmental Assessment on the Proposed Plan Amendment Prohibiting Dog-Deer Hunting (December, 2011):

1. Using dogs to "run" deer into shooter positions is not regarded as ethical hunting [especially when deer are run out of the forest onto roadways].

2. Shooting from vehicle is unlawful, but it is not uncommon among dog-deer hunters.

3. The case for KNF prohibiting dog-deer hunting is much stronger than is presented in this Assessment. In the Assessment, the US Forest Service doesn't mention:

     a. the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission's Deer Dog Task Force reports in 1990 and 2006 which caused the Kisatchie National Forest to take action in addressing the problems with dog-deer hunting.

     b. in 2008, a South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources Stakeholders Report did not indicated that it was possible to reconcile dog-deer hunting with other stakeholders in a way that was satisfactory for all stakeholders.

     c. a Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. Special Staff Report, March 1990 (the scientific study most relevant to the Kisatchie National Forest situation); included these among the seven significant findings:

          i. **deer herds on dog-hunted study areas within the Sabine and Sam Houston National Forests remained suppressed and fragile; non dog-hunted areas on the same National Forests supported a moderate, vigorous herd; browse surveys showed that range conditions were not limiting deer herd growth on dog-hunted lands.

          ii. **a danger of depletion of the deer resource exists on lands where deer hunting with dogs is permitted and that this danger of depletion is directly related to some factor or combination of factors associated with the practice of hunting deer with dogs.

     While the Assessment didn't include the significant Texas study that indicates that dog-deer hunting has a detrimental impact on deer populations, it did include reference to the Marchinton et al (1970) study that was conducted in Georgia. "The conclusion reached is that there is no relationship between deer population levels and the use of dogs for harvest." This is completely refuted by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. 1990 study which was never mentioned in this document. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (c. 1990) reduced the KNF dog-deer hunting season from four weeks to about one week, being 9 days this year.

     d. Five years after the initial investigation (c. 1984) that re-evaluated the effects of dog-deer hunting in ten East Texas counties, dog-deer hunting was prohibited in Texas, and had remained prohibited to this day. The prohibition has had significant public support. Among the findings: numbers of landowners and hunters opposed to deer hunting with dogs increased; hunter success and deer harvest rate decreased as percentage of county deer range open to dog hunting increased; hunting deer with dogs was a volatile social and political issue with associated negative impacts on biological aspects of deer management.
- Joseph J. Campo and Gary E. Spencer, 1991.

     e. There is a significant potential for a lawsuit against the Kisatchie National Forest because of nuisance to private landholders caused by dog-deer hunting. The International Paper Co. forest was closed to dog-deer hunting after a 2002 lawsuit against the company by F.O.C. Lawshe. The case was settled after it was adjudicated in the South Carolina Court of Appeal (Opinion No. 3580).

4. As more people come to reside on lands adjacent to the Kisatchie National Forest, there will surely be more incidences of conflict between those people and dog-deer hunters. Therefore, there is an urgent and immediate need to resolve the long-festering matter of dog-deer hunting on Kisatchie National Forest lands. It makes no sense for the USDA National Forest Service and the Kisatchie National Forest, in particular, to continue to subject central Louisianans to the nuisances of dog-deer hunting (when no Louisiana government agency has ever allowed this practice). Property rights always trump hunting privileges.

Additional Comments:

General comment: No discussion exists anywhere in the document on the general lack of dog-deer hunting on USFS lands nationwide. In the few states it exists, it is steadily decreasing. Generally, dog-deer hunting is not allowed on NFS lands.

The 2nd round of scoping didn't reveal any new issues? The issue of the illegality of using vehicles to hunt deer wasn't included in this revised edition.

Public input should be sought EACH YEAR to ascertain if these restricted dog-deer hunting areas should be further reduced in size/eliminated.

The USFS has an obligation not to implement regulations such as dog-deer hunting that are legally "gray" and highly contentious.

Deer herds in the Kisatchie National Forest aren't well managed, nor are they closely monitored. Aerial surveys for deer have never been conducted on KNF.

The hunters move along in vehicles using forest roads, trails and paths. This violates Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries regulations. Therefore, it also Violates FSM 2610.1.5.b (wildlife harvesting in national forests must conform to State laws). - Standers are not confined to an area. They are permitted to head-off the deer being pursued by the dogs. This is illegal according to Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries regulations. - With tracking devices (that are increasing in availability and use), the hunters are more mobile and are able to track the dogs and better position themselves for shooting the deer. This too is illegal according to Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries regulations.

About Statements 1-6: These complaints are merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Innumerable testimonies could be provided.

Land allocations: They focus on coordinating recreation activities in order to enhance recreation experiences while minimizing impacts to other management activities. Dog-deer hunting as currently practiced on KNF lands is incompatible with this.

The dog-deer hunting season is just prior to Christmas. It is more likely to conflict with other uses of the national forest at this time because there is high recreational use during the cooler months.

Comments received in scoping which detailed the adverse impacts of dog-deer hunting mostly were not presented whereas comments supporting dog-deer hunting were presented.

Contrary to the view expressed in the Environmental Assessment: Dog-deer hunting has never been tolerated by Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries, US Fish and Wildlife Service, or USACOE on their managed Louisiana lands and it is being increasingly prohibited by non-governmental Louisiana land owners (for ample reasons). Dog-deer hunting is a source of contention wherever it exists. The US Forest Service improperly gives credence to dog-deer hunting by labeling it with honorable terms such as "traditional", "cultural", and "sport". Dog-deer hunting should be more aptly labeled as a "practice"; it should not be labeled as "traditional", "cultural", or "sport" until other Louisiana public land agencies allow it on a large scale on their lands.







BASIC POINTS

by the Humane HEART

In 2009, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission [LWFC] decided to issue permits for dog-deer "hunting" in the federal USDA FS (US Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service) managed Kisatchie National Forest {KNF], while maintaining the Louisiana prohibition on dog-deer "hunting" in state Wildlife Management Areas. Apparently, the Forest Service has traditionally bent to accommodate Louisiana state government concerning management of the only national forest in Louisiana.

Dog-deer "hunting" seriously impacts wildlife, adjacent land owners, other users of the national forest, and often the dogs, in very negative ways. Citations for speeding on roads (which dog-deer "hunting" do to position themselves to intercept the fleeing deer after releasing their dogs), blocking roadways, shooting across roadways, shooting from vehicles, shooting near residences, increase markedly during the week or two dog-deer "hunting" season in December. The quotation marks indicate that dog-dear "hunting" as it is currently practiced violates principles of ethical hunting, and (in the opinion of practically all except dog-deer "hunting" themselves) does not come anywhere near being legitimate, fair-chase hunting. [Unfortunately, "fair chase" is a concept that has little to do with many, if not most, current forms of "hunting" in which the "odds" are decidedly stacked against the "hunted" animals.]

The federal managers of the KNF produced an environmental assessment [EA] aimed at abolishing dog-deer "hunting". But a strong push, by a well organized cadre of dog-deer "hunters", and their allies (organizations that are known for opposing any limitations on anything that can remotely be regarded as hunting, and any limitation on weaponry) successfully moved local and state politicians to exert inordinate pressure on the organizations responsible for the management of the Kisatchie National Forest to rescind their plan to abolish dog-deer "hunting" in the forest.

Upper managers have nullified the original EA, which was produced by the regional forester, that would have simply abolished dog-deer "hunting", and they have replaced it with one that allows for three proposed options: 1. leave it as is (with dog-deer "hunting" throughout the KNF), 2. abolish dog-deer "hunting", or 3. allow dog-deer "hunting" only in designated areas.

Given the political picture, it is obvious which one of these options those managers would choose. But, that choice (option 3) is not acceptable. You see, the dog-deer "hunters" have acknowledged the legitimacy of the complaints against them, but they have promised to be "good boys" (but, some of the problems, stemming from the simple fact of hounds on the loose in the forest and on private lands, that they inadvertently trespass upon, are beyond the control of the "hunters" themselves); and the USDA FS has just (in December) allowed another dog-deer "hunting" season, which allowed the dog-deer "hunters" to demonstrate how "good" they can be. Also, despite the fact that the Forest Service was on a track to abolish dog-deer "hunting" in the KNF, the LWFC (after receiving a communication from the Office of the Governor) directed that permits be sold for a 2011 dog-deer "hunting" season in the KNF (nine days ending Christmas Day).


Additional Comments by Pinckney Wood, Humane HEART President:


Dog-deer "hunting" does harm without redeeming value:

It is cruel to the deer.

There are serious public safety issues.

It can cause auto/deer collisions and other traffic related accidents when deer are chased across roadways as they attempt to flee from the dogs.

The dogs of the dog-deer "hunters" run in the forest and across private land adjacent to the forest without being under the immediate control of anyone. They are a potential detriment to wildlife. And, there are incidents on record that show they cause problems, sometimes serious problems, for the people on private lands.

Often dogs are not retrieved after the "hunt"; or, they are intentionally abandoned. This is bad for everyone, including the dogs, some of which starve. This is a cruel circumstance that should not be tolerated.

Dog-deer "hunting" is not permitted on Louisiana state wildlife management areas, yet the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission [LAWC] has been setting dog-deer "hunting" seasons only for the Kisatchie National Forest; and the U.S. Forest Service, in charge of the Kisatchie National Forest, complies. The LWFC want to allow dog-deer "hunting" on the only national forest lands in the state, the Kisatchie National Forest, but they will not permit it on the state lands under their jurisdiction. Because of this, they have been accused of hypocrisy.

The only "benefit" of dog-deer "hunting" in the Kisatchie National Forest is to the relatively minuscule number of people who want to engage in this practice, which is on the decline everywhere, and which some people (including the U.S. Forest Service in it's Environment Assessment [EA]) claim to represent a "Louisiana tradition". No declining practice (even if long-standing) that will in a relatively short time fade into obscurity, and which is generally abhorrent to all but those who practice it, should be perpetuated by government under the excuse that it is a "tradition". Many things that once were "traditions", but were ended by law or force, are now looked upon as having been extremely regrettable. Once there may have been a place for dog-deer hunting as a necessary means of survival. But, now-a-days, technology assisted, affluent, lazy, emotionally under-developed individuals play at it, while needlessly depriving deer of their lives, and depriving others of the enjoyment they derive in appreciation of the living animals.

All of the negative aspects of dog-deer "hunting", when looked at collectively, make such a negative picture, that there is, as a practical consideration, no justification for it anywhere, including the Kisatchie National Forest.