Kokopelli Exhibit opens at Anasazi State Park Museum

Visit Anasazi State Park Museum to learn more about a popular southwestern symbol in a new exhibit entitled, Flute Player or Kokopelli? Members of the Flute Clan of the Hopi Tribe will be honored guests and will discuss their Flute Player at the opening for this year-long exhibit, 7 p.m. Thursday, November 10.

Popular Southwestern folklore often describes Kokopelli as a fertility symbol. But who is Kokopelli?

Among the Hopi people, the flute player, who frequently appears in Southwest rock art, does not always represent the fertility figure commonly called Kokopelli. He has many different meanings depending on context and specific features. Hopi Flute Clan members say the flute player images that appear in rock art, represent their traditions and migrations.

Anasazi State Park Museum is located at 460 North Highway 12 in Boulder, Utah. For more information, please call (435) 335-7308.

Public Comment sought on Concept Plan for Ross Creek Area of Jordanelle State Park

The Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation has developed a draft concept plan for future activities at the Ross Creek area of Jordanelle State Park. The draft plan identifies issues relating to public use, resource management and future development of the Ross Creek area and will make recommendations to guide park managers for the next five to ten years.

A planning team consisting of park users, local citizens, neighboring agency representatives and park managers developed the draft plan through a series of team and public meetings.

The plan is located for review online at: http://www.stateparks.utah.gov , or in hardcopy at the Utah State Park office at 1594 West North Temple, Suite 116, Salt Lake City, Utah; and the Hailstone Visitor Center at Jordanelle State Park. Comments will be accepted until 11/30/05 by: E-mail to: rosscreekcomment@utah.gov

Regular mail to: Utah State Parks: Planning Section
P.O. Box 146001
1594 West North Temple, Suite 116
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6001

Events for Utah Friends of Paleontology Great Basin

Chapter Meeting Thursday, November 10th

7:00 pm Department of Natural Resources Auditorium

1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah

Speaker: Jennifer Cavin

Utah Geological Survey

Title: "Oligocene Aged Mammals at

Badlands National Park"

Other news, meetings, lectures, and events: Monday, November 7, 2005: "Utah's Dino Graveyard" on the Science Channel. Next week the

Science Channel is highlighting the age of dinosaurs, with showings of Utah's Dino Graveyard, about the Crystal Geyser Dinosaur Quarry, as well as What Really Killed the Dinosaurs and Valley of the T-Rex. Check the TV listings at http://science.discovery.com/ to verify times. Thanks to Lillian Zielke and Elisabeth Nipperus from the Southwest Utah Chapter for providing this information.

November 19-20, 2005: Fossil Treasures of the Anza-Borrego Desert, Borrego Springs,

California. Register by phone (760) 767-4063 or on-line at http://www.theabf.org/field.php

Friday, December 9, 7:00 pm: UFOP, Great Basin Chapter Holiday Party; Location TBA

May 21-26, 2006: 7th Federal Fossil Conference "Preserving America's Public Fossils",

Albuquerque, New Mexico. May 23: Current Research on Late Cretaceous Vertebrates from the Western Interior

Symposium hosted by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science; and May 24: Field Trip -- Upper

Cretaceous Strata of the San Juan Basin (Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study area; Bisti/De-na-zin Wilderness;

Fossil Forest Research Natural Area). For info go to: http://museums.state.nm.us/nmmnh/fossilconf.html

UMNH Paleo Prep Lab Classes: The next Utah Museum of Natural History prep lab classes are

scheduled to start after Thanksgiving, with 5-week sessions on Wednesday or Saturday.

Contact Eric Lund at (801) 581-5578 or elund@umnh.utah.edu for information or to register.

Seasonal Fees at Rockport State Park announced

Seasonal day-use fees at Rockport State Park are $5 per car or $3 for Utah residents 62 years old or older. Camping is available on a first come, first served basis in all campgrounds except Juniper and Riverside, which are closed for the season. Large winter camping groups can make reservations by contacting the park.

The courtesy docks have been removed, but a temporary dock is in place to assist with boat launching. Fishing is great and should continue to improve once the lake freezes. For more information, contact the park at 435-336-2241.

2006 Olympic Speed Skating Preview

The thrill of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games returns to Salt Lake City, Utah November 18th - 20th, 2005. The Utah Olympic Oval will host over 150 of the world's best speed skaters in the Essent ISU World Cup Speed Skating event as a preview to the 2006 Games.

The Utah Olympic Oval is recognized as The Fastest Ice on Earth and a record number of athletes are expected to participate in this competition with hopes of qualifying for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. Expected Olympic participants include: Olympic gold medalist Chris Witty, Olympic gold and silver medalist Derek Parra, Olympic bronze medalists Joey Cheek and Kip Carpenter, and world record holder Chad Hedrick.

Tickets are $5 per day for adults, $3 for children 12 and under (2 and under are free) and seniors 65 and older. All tickets are general admission.

Friday, November 18th is FREE Friday! That's right, free admission on Friday to see the afternoon's competitions!

Tickets can be purchased in the following four ways:

· Call 1-800-888-TIXX

· Go online at http://www.smithstix.com

Visit any Smith's Tix locations

· Visit the Utah Olympic Oval's Guest Services desk

Competitions will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Start times are 2pm on Friday, November 18th and 12pm for both Saturday, November 19th and Sunday, November 20th.

Don't miss your chance to be part of this exciting Olympic preview at the Utah Olympic Oval in November!

For more information contact the Utah Olympic Oval at (801) 968-OVAL or visit our website at http://www.olyparks.com .

See Bighorn Sheep Near Moab

A chance to view desert bighorn sheep in sunny southeastern Utah awaits Nov. 19 and 20 as the Division of Wildlife Resources hosts its annual Moab Bighorn Sheep Festival. The event is free to the public, and participants of all ages are invited.

Sheep watchers are encouraged to bring a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope, snacks, beverages and a camera. DWR staff will guide participants to locations where bighorns have recently been observed. DWR personnel will also have extra spotting scopes and binoculars for people to use. They'll also have several Ford Expeditions on-hand for those who don't have the type of vehicle needed to reach the areas where the sheep are.

The event begins on Friday evening, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Moab Information Center, located at the corner of Center and Main. Bill Bates, the DWR's wildlife manager for southeastern Utah, will present a PowerPoint program on bighorn sheep ecology and life history. Bates studied desert bighorn sheep in the Moab area for his Master's Degree thesis. He will display skulls and horns of bighorn sheep and answer any questions people have.

At 8 a.m. the following morning (Nov. 20) participants will gather again at the Moab Information Center, where they'll split into groups to go in search of bighorn sheep. A DWR wildlife biologist will guide each caravan of vehicles. All parties will be in radio contact with one another, so everyone can be advised of another group's success at finding sheep.

Those who wish to drive their own vehicles may leave the group at any time. For those who ride-share, fieldtrips generally finish by noon or early afternoon.

The festival has been scheduled for the Nov. 19 - 20 weekend because bighorn sheep are in the rut at that time. Bighorn rams seek out ewes for breeding and engage other rams in head-butting and other ritual showmanship. This makes for exciting public viewing. For more information, contact Brent Stettler at (435) 636-0266.

First Shots' a Chance for Newcomers to Give Handgun Shooting a Try

Forty million Americans actively enjoy target shooting and hunting. But for newcomers the biggest challenge is not knowing how to get started.

A new program from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), "First Shots," provides a free opportunity for newcomers to learn about the safe, recreational use of handguns. It's also chance to give shooting a try.

Partnering with shooting ranges, First Shots offers the public a chance to learn the rules and requirements of handgun ownership along with comprehensive information on safety, shooting sports opportunities, individual and group training and range access. It also answers new shooters' questions regarding firearms and firearm ownership.

"For many individuals, especially in states with more restrictive handgun laws, an aura of mystery surrounds handgun ownership," said Cyndi Dalena, NSSF director of shooting sports development. "First Shots gives range owners and retailers an opportunity to educate the public on local requirements and offers newcomers a chance to try handgun shooting."

The program enjoyed a successful inaugural event at the Smith & Wesson Shooting Sports Center in Springfield, Mass., on Saturday. More than 40 newcomers attended the event and virtually all of them expressed a strong interest in pursuing shooting in the future.

"Our First Shots event was a great success," said Peter Boruchowski, manager of Smith & Wesson Shooting Sports Center. "After the event, more than 75 percent of attendees either signed up for a range membership or additional training classes. This program is a great opportunity to introduce a whole new group of people to the shooting sports."

First Shots is one of many NSSF programs working to increase awareness of and participation in the shooting sports.

NSSF, founded in 1961, is the trade association for the firearms and recreational shooting sports industry and promotes the safe ownership and responsible use of products its members make and sell. For more information, visit http://www.firstshots.org and http://www.nssf.org .

Wildlife Action Plan Work Already Underway in Utah

Even before Utah's Wildlife Action Plan was approved, Division of Wildlife Resources' biologists were carrying out work that would later become part of the plan. Here are some examples:

Northern Utah

More Than 30 Groups and Landowners Band Together to Help Sage-grouse

Sage-grouse are among several wildlife species that will benefit from work at Duck Creek, which is located in the northeastern portion of Rich County.

Research suggests that sage-grouse in Rich County have declined because dense sagebrush has not allowed enough forbs to grow. Studies also have shown that green, leafy plants are an important part of a sage-grouse's diet during the summer. As a result of these studies, habitat work in the area is focused on increasing the number of green, leafy plants in or adjacent to areas with tall brush. The project's objectives include:

1. Increasing habitat quality, especially habitat sage-grouse use to raise their young;
2. Improving habitat quality for pygmy rabbits;
3. Reducing soil erosion and increasing water quality;
4. Increasing big game and livestock forage, and increasing the diversity and abundance of other wildlife species that rely on sagebrush.

Thousands of acres of rangeland in the area have been treated by disking areas to remove decadent sagebrush stands and then reseeding those areas to increase the diversity of plants within them.

The federal government has recognized the Duck Creek project for its excellence and for the effect it's had on the landscape.

The project also has brought people together in a way that has not happened before on such a large scale. Landowners in Rich County have been impressed by the cooperative efforts of the Rich County Cooperative Resource Management Group (CRM), a partnership of more than 30 individual landowners and government organizations that have banded together to address needs in Duck Creek and other areas in Rich County.

"It is just unbelievable to see the results that the CRM has had in Rich County," says former Deseret Land and Livestock Ranch Manager Bill Hopkin. "I've seen landowners that wouldn't give the time of day to [government agencies] say, 'well, what can we do for wildlife' and, on the other side, the government agencies have said, 'well, these are the benefits that will come to livestock [through habitat work to help wildlife].'

Central Utah

Historic Reintroduction of Spotted Frogs

On May 3, 2004, the first reintroduction of Columbia spotted frogs in the United States occurred in the wet meadow areas of the Swaner Nature Preserve in Park City.

Between 4,000 to 5,000 spotted frog tadpoles were released into protective cages within marshy habitat in the preserve's wet meadow areas that day. Biologists hope 200 to 300 will survive to adulthood during the next two to three years.

Fifty years ago, the Columbia spotted frog was one of the most common amphibians along the Wasatch Front. Factors such as loss of habitat, filling-in of wetlands, introduction of non-native species, poor water quality and other factors associated with urban sprawl contributed to their decline. Spotted frog populations have declined significantly along the Wasatch Front. In 1989, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was petitioned to list the spotted frog on the federal Endangered Species list. The frogs were not listed on the federal list but are listed as a species of concern on Utah's Sensitive Species list.

The May 3, 2004 reintroduction was the first on-the-ground activity ever conducted in the United States to expand the range of the Columbia spotted frog. The frogs are found in western North America, as far north as Alaska and as far south as Utah and Nevada.

The Swaner Nature Preserve was selected as the best reintroduction site because of its protected, suitable habitat and the fact that spotted frogs were once found in the area. The Natural Resource Conservation Service worked with the Swaner Nature Preserve for several years and acquired a conservation easement that will protect and enhance habitat within the Swaner Nature Preserve area.

Northeastern Utah

Sagebrush Work Benefits Sage-grouse, Elk and a Host of Other Wildlife

A wide range of wildlife, from sage-grouse to elk, will receive help through a project in northeastern Utah.

Biologists have been working to restore rangeland in northeastern Utah for years. Then six years of extreme drought resulted in some severe changes to the landscape.

"To date, our biologists have mapped 217,698 acres of dead and dying sagebrush in the Northeast Region alone," said Steve Brayton, Northeastern Region habitat manager for the DWR. "This scale of die-off in the Wyoming big sagebrush communities could have detrimental impacts to a variety of sagebrush obligates (animals that rely on sagebrush for their habitat) including sage-grouse and mule deer."

Mapping efforts indicate 13,238 acres of sagebrush has died on or near the Tabby Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near Fruitland, Utah.

"The division owns and manages 41,500 acres on the Tabby Mountain WMA," Brayton said. "This land is critical habitat for mule deer, elk, sage-grouse and many other animals. There is a sage-grouse lek (breeding ground) just below the property on private land and the 13,000 plus acres of sagebrush die-off are shared winter habitat with the Strawberry Valley sage-grouse population. Current Creek, Tabby Mountain and the Strawberry herds of mule deer and elk also heavily utilize this area. To restore this critical habitat, we've designed several projects for this area."

The Grey Wolf project kicks off the Tabby Mountain WMA projects for 2005

"The goal of the Grey Wolf project is to restore sagebrush steppe habitat that has been choked out by pinyon and juniper," Brayton said. "To enhance and reestablish sagebrush and other forage in this critical habitat area, we've joined with the Smith family to treat 775 acres; 160 of [this acreage is] private lands and the remaining 615 are division lands. The main portion of the treatment will be to chain mature pinyon-juniper forest on the benches adjacent to the sagebrush die-off. There are also some small areas of sagebrush that will be treated."

Implementing the project requires several steps: A) mapping with aerial and on-the-ground surveys, B) archeological clearance to protect ancient and historical sites, C) flying a seed mix of grasses and browse, including sagebrush, onto the proposed area and D) chaining with a 200-foot Ely chain dragged by two D-8 bulldozers to carry and apply additional seeding for bitterbrush and mountain mahogany. Finally, the weather has to cooperate to provide the moisture and other growing conditions needed for the seeds to sprout and the young plants to survive.

"The intended pattern of P/J removal will leave numerous small islands and stripes of trees in a mosaic pattern throughout the treatment area." Brayton said. "This is to leave thermal and obscuring cover or places for animals to find shelter from the weather and hide from predators. It will also provide and increase structural and vegetative diversity for big game, sage-grouse and other wildlife. Mule deer and other smaller animals prefer winter habitat with nearby escape and thermal cover, so they will be more likely to use the area if some cover is left standing."

Brayton hopes this project will go as well as the Santaquin chaining project, which was done in the eastern portion of the Tabby Mountain WMA last year. All factors cooperated, including the weather, so biologists were able to see almost immediate results with the growth of sagebrush, grasses and other plants.

Southwestern Utah

Biologists Comb Southern Utah In Search of Secretive Pygmy Rabbit

DWR biologists are learning much about pygmy rabbits, a small, secretive rabbit that relies on sagebrush areas in Utah. Biologists and others have been combing southern Utah for three years now in an intense effort to find and learn more about the rabbits.

Before a petition to list them on the federal Endangered Species list, little was known about pygmy rabbits in Utah. Knowledge about the rabbits was restricted to scattered and inconsistent observations and a few studies conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The results of pygmy rabbit studies over the past three years have been mixed. Many locations where pygmy rabbits were observed in the past no longer support them, often because the sagebrush habitats have been destroyed or are no longer healthy. However, pygmy rabbits also have been found in many locations where biologists didn't know the rabbits lived.

Rejuvenation and reestablishment of sagebrush communities throughout Utah is the focus of the state's Habitat Initiative. Once thought to be unproductive and undesirable, sagebrush habitats are now recognized as important to Utah's economy, ecology and wildlife.

Pygmy rabbits are entirely dependent on sagebrush for food and shelter and are an important component to consider when sagebrush restoration projects are designed and implemented. As a result, the DWR also incorporates pygmy rabbit surveys into all of its habitat project planning and design, offering yet another way to collect data and increase knowledge about pygmy rabbits in the state.

Pygmy rabbits stand to benefit from current habitat programs in two ways. First, concentrated efforts to determine their distribution and numbers in Utah will allow managers to properly monitor and track management programs that are designed to protect and enhance the rabbits. These efforts also will provide the knowledge necessary to properly design and implement sagebrush habitat programs for the benefit of pygmy rabbits and other species that depend on sagebrush.

Pygmy rabbits are "cute as a bug's ear," but this in itself is not a reason to preserve them. Though often unknown, overlooked and misunderstood by people, pygmy rabbits play a vital role in Utah's important sagebrush ecosystem.

Southeastern Utah

Helping Bison and Deer on the Henry Mountains

Sensitive wildlife, such as sage-grouse and pygmy rabbits, aren't the only wildlife that are benefiting from Wildlife Action Plan work * other animals, including bison and mule deer, are benefiting too. A recent project in southeastern Utah provides an example:

On July 8, 2003, a lightning-caused wild fire started on Bulldog Ridge in the Henry Mountains. By the time the fire burned out, it had charred approximately 31,000 acres of mostly pinyon-juniper, oak brush, and mixed conifer woodlands.

Within the fire zone were nine sections of state land administered by the State and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. Because of the high wildlife value on these sections, the DWR decided to revegetate the charred state land.

In cooperation with the State Historical Preservation Office, the DWR performed an archaeological clearance of the burned area in late fall of 2003 to make certain that the rehabilitation would not affect or damage any Native American artifacts or sites that might exist.

In January 2004, the DWR aerially seeded about 3,700 acres of the snow-covered burn area. In March, after the ground had thawed and dried somewhat, a pair of bulldozers dragged an anchor chain over 900 acres of the shallowest-sloping burn area to improve the seedbed.

The combined cost of performing the archaeological clearance, aerial seeding, chaining and follow-up came to approximately $200,000. The project encompassed 65 to 70 days from beginning to end.

In 2005, DWR Habitat Biologist and Project Leader Leroy Mead returned to the burn area to evaluate the success of the land rehabilitation. The following quote was taken from Mead's field report:

"I found, in abundance, nearly all of the species represented in our seed mix for the site. The grasses and forbs and even young shrubs (sagebrush, serviceberry, fourwing saltbush and cliffrose) were vigorous, robust and thick. The amount of forage biomass on the fire has increased exponentially! All species of the seeded and volunteer native grasses have produced copious amounts of seed. Many sainfoin plants were waist-high and the small burnet plants were thicker and more robust than I have ever witnessed in any seeding anywhere! The alfalfa plants were similarly thick and prolific and were obviously the preferred meal for many different wildlife species that have moved into the burn.

"As I walked through each of the sections we treated in a state of euphoria, I was simply amazed at the success of the treatment! Never in my wildest dreams could I have hoped for anything better!"

Mead saw a herd of about 60 bison feeding on one of the state sections that was treated. He found large numbers of wildlife and livestock in the revegetated areas, presumably due to the palatable plant forage species in the seed mix.

Mead concluded that, while much of the success of this treatment could be attributed to an unusually large winter snowfall and wet spring and summer, he believed that careful planning, treatment timing and application of the appropriate seed mix were equally important to the project's success.

Plans Provide Blueprint to Keep Wildlife From Becoming Endangered

Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced that wildlife agencies from all 50 states and six U.S. territories have submitted Wildlife Action Plans for approval by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, establishing a nationwide blueprint to conserve imperiled species so they don't become threatened or endangered.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has already approved Utah's plan. Utah was one of the first states in the country to have its plan approved.

When the remaining plans are approved, the Wildlife Action Plans will be the first of their kind- a thorough state-by-state look at wildlife and the actions needed to ensure their survival. The action plans will also allow states and territories to continue to receive grants under the State Wildlife Grant program created under bipartisan legislation signed by President Bush in 2001. Since then, the Fish and Wildlife Service has provided $400 million in grants to states and territories for conservation efforts.

The law required states and territories to have their individual plans submitted to the Service by October 2005. The Service will distribute $63.2 million in grants next spring for states and territories to implement approved action plans.

"These plans represent a future for conservation in America that is rooted in cooperation and partnership between the federal government and states, tribes, local governments, conservation groups, private landowners and others with a commitment to the health of our land and water, fish and wildlife," Norton said. "Working together, we are tapping into the expertise of those who live and work on the land so that we can conserve our fish and wildlife before they become threatened or endangered.

"Through State Wildlife Grants, we are empowering states, territories, and their many partners to do what the federal government cannot do alone," she said. "The grant program is now our nation's primary conservation program for keeping species healthy and off the list of threatened and endangered species."

The Utah Wildlife Action Plan, like the others, establishes a coordinated strategy to help all wildlife species. In the past, most of the states and territories have had great success in managing game species. This new program will help fund expansion of their conservation work to include all wildlife species and their habitats.

Norton said she has instructed the Fish and Wildlife Service to work with all Interior land management agencies as well as other federal land management agencies to support the goals and objectives outlined in the wildlife action plans in their agencies' land management strategies and plans.

"The bottom line is that we use a strong pro-active approach in constructing our state wildlife action plans to ensure the health and survival of all wildlife," says John Cooper, president of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. "It has resulted in closer working relationships with other conservation agencies and organization within our states. Never has such a comprehensive set of plans been constructed with so much input."

A team of eight U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and five state wildlife administrators are reviewing the plans that have not yet been approved. They will forward their recommendations to the Service Director for final approval.

States may use the funds for either planning or project implementation activities. For the 50 states, the apportionment is based on a formula that uses each state's land area and population. States may receive no more than 5 percent or less than 1 percent of the total available funds. The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will receive one-half of 1 percent and Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marina Islands will receive one-fourth of 1 percent.

Each states' or territories' plan must contain information on low and declining populations of wildlife and the habitats they require, identify problems that affect these populations, identify research and survey efforts to improve their conservation efforts, and determine actions and priorities. Once the state plans have been approved agencies will revise and update their plans at least once every 10 years.

To learn more about Utah's Wildlife Action Plan, please contact Dana Dolsen, planning manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, at (801) 538-4790.

OPERATION FREEDOM SAFARI: SCI Honors Soldiers, Helps Fight AIDS, Assists Villages In Africa

SCI is on the front lines in the fight for hunting freedoms. U.S. troops are on the front lines in the fight for human rights. In its efforts to honor those in the military, SCI is launching OPERATION FREEDOM SAFARI now, coinciding with the observance of Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

As part of OPERATION FREEDOM SAFARI, SCI, Jim Zumbo Outdoors television show and SCI members Eric and Oksana Sparks will host a seven-day, six-animal all-expenses-paid African safari for a deserving military enlisted person, and help fight AIDS and hunger in the process. Moreover, one SCI member will be able to participate in the safari and appear on Zumbo's television show that is broadcast on the Outdoor Channel, and appear in SAFARI Magazine.

"Those who serve or have served so proudly in our nation's armed services have given much to preserve our way of life," said Mike Simpson, president of SCI. "OPERATION FREEDOM SAFARI is a small gesture of thanks to show them how much we appreciate their sacrifice, as well as a vehicle by which SCI can help fight two of the most devastating problems currently facing Africa."

Activities in OPERATION FREEDOM SAFARI will kick-off with a gala auction on Saturday evening, Jan. 21, 2006 at the SCI Hunters' Convention in Reno, Nevada, when one slot for this historic hunt will be sold to the highest bidder. That person will be able to accompany Zumbo and the winning military enlisted person on the plains game adventure on Eric and Oksana Sparks' Matlou and Sukses (Success) Ranches in the famed Tuli Block of southeastern Botswana. These ranches are home to free-ranging, wild herds of elephant, prides of lions, hippos, crocodiles and other creatures of the bush.

OPERATION FREEDOM SAFARI is valid if it only hosts a U.S. military enlisted person as a salute to all troops who go into harm's way for freedoms around the world. The humanitarian aspects of the expedition put it into a much higher league.

Money raised during the auction will go directly to programs to help fight AIDS in Botswana, and the game animals taken will provide meat to help feed local villagers. Participants will personally be able to make a difference in the course of human events.

Ranch owners Eric and Oksana Sparks of Tucson, Arizona USA are hosting the entire safari, once the participants arrive in Botswana. They are donating all the food and accommodations, professional hunter assistance, permits, trophy fees and animals. And, Mrs. Sparks personally assures that every penny delivered to her from the auction will be used on-the-ground in Botswana for three local villages in the Tuli Block.

Any enlisted person who has served, or is serving, in Afghanistan and/or Iraq is eligible to enter OPERATION FREEDOM SAFARI by explaining in relatively few words (one page or less): "I always have wanted to go on safari in Africa because…." The deserving enlisted person will be hosted for the entire safari, including travel to and from Africa, as well as all of the necessary clothing, gear, rifle, ammo, scope, binoculars--everything. Television host Jim Zumbo and SCI's Steve Comus will choose the winner after personally reviewing entries.

To enter, current of former military enlisted personnel who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan merely need to send the statement about why he or she always has wanted to go on safari, along with name, rank, serial number and personal contact information to Steve Comus at Safari Club International, 4800 W. Gates Pass Road, Tucson, AZ 85745. Or, apply online at http://www.safariclub.org (hit the FREEDOM SAFARI button on the front page, and be taken to the entry form), or go directly to http://www.freedomsafari.com/ .

SCI-First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI's 173 Chapters represent all 50 United States as well as 13 other countries. SCI's proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit http://www.safariclub.org or call 520-620-1220 for more information.

SCI's record-breaking 33rd Annual Hunters' Convention hosted more than 19,700 sportsmen from 50 countries around the world. Thanks to over 1,100 top exhibitors helping hunters realize dreams around the globe, the Convention raised nearly $11 million for SCI and the SCI Foundation. To register to attend SCI's 34th Annual Hunters' Convention, in Reno Jan. 18-21, 2006, call 888-746-9724 toll-free or visit http://www.safariclub.org .

U.S. Hunter Numbers See Slight Increase

The number of paid hunting license holders in America has increased slightly over the previous year, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's recent National Hunting License Report. Numbers for 2004 rose less than one percent (.3 percent), from 14,740,188 to 14,779,071, but hunting advocates are hoping the uptick indicates stabilization following a long downward trend.

"Over the past 20 years, good news about hunter numbers has been hard to find, but now we've seen increases in two of the past six years. I believe that's a tribute to the many wonderful programs today that are designed to recruit and retain hunters. The hunting community is working together, making a difference, and it's beginning to show," said Jodi Valenta, director of recruitment and retention programs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). NSSF administers a variety of programs to increase hunting participation, particularly among youth.

The number of resident licenses, tags, permits and stamps issued in 2004 increased 4.1 percent over the previous year to 33,111,202, while the non-resident quantity posted at 3,020,395, an increase of 5.6 percent over 2003.

Hunters continue to contribute more and more dollars in pursuit of their sport. The 2004 figures show gross cost paid by hunters for licenses, tags, permits and stamps--the primary funding source for wildlife conservation and management programs in America--was $703,794,135.24. That total represents an increase of 3.5 percent over 2003.

Currently, hunting license holders represent about 5 percent of the U.S. population.

The number of hunters in America peaked in the mid-1980s at 16.8 million. At the time, hunters represented just over 9 percent of the U.S. population.

The table below provides a snapshot of hunting license sales over the last three years:

2002 2003 2004
Certified Paid Hunting License Holders 14,966,406 14,740,188 14,779,071
Total Licenses, Tags, Permits & Stamps 34,187,842 34,673,422 36,131,597
Resident Licenses, Tags, Permits & Stamps 31,340,988 31,813,810 33,111,202
Non-resident Licenses, Tags, Permits & Stamps 2,846,854 2,859,612 3,020,395
Gross Cost Contributed by Hunters $658,993,797 $679,824,466 $703,794,135

A copy of the full report is available at http://federalasst.fws.gov .

NSSF is the nonprofit trade association for the shooting, hunting and outdoor industry. Founded in 1961, it administers a variety of industry-service programs, with an emphasis on keeping hunters and shooters safe and active.

Maryland Judge Rules in Trapper's Favor

In a victory for sportsmen everywhere, the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA) Foundation came to the aid of a Maryland nuisance trapper in a precedent setting case. On Oct. 27, a judge denied an injunction sought by the animal rights plaintiffs to prevent the trapper from resuming lawful trapping activities.

Counsel for the U.S. Sportsmen's Legal Defense Fund (SLDF) was on hand to help represent defendant Michael Adcock of Queenstown in Thursday's hearing in the Montgomery Co. Circuit Court. The Maryland Humane Society and five area residents contended that Adcock, a licensed nuisance trapper working on contract to take nuisance coyotes in the Fallsgrove community of Rockville, Maryland, was in violation of the terms and conditions of the license issued to him by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Representatives of the Maryland DNR were present to testify for the defendant.

Judge Louise Scrivener of the Montgomery Co. circuit court denied the injunction to extend a temporary restraining order issued last week by another Montgomery Co. circuit court judge. Judge Scrivener ruled that the plaintiffs were unlikely to prevail on the merits of the case if the case went to trial.

"If the anti's who brought the case were allowed to prevail, it would have set a dangerous precedent for hunters, anglers and trappers in Maryland and all over the country," commented William Horn, USSA Foundation Legal Counsel. "Their attempt to rewrite the trapping laws of Maryland to further their anti-animal use agenda was easily identified and dismissed by the judge."

Adcock's company, Adcock Wildlife Management, had been hired by a Fallsgrove homeowner's association to remove coyotes that were becoming a dangerous nuisance to residents. Before the temporary restraining order was issued Adcock had trapped 14 coyotes in the area.

"I can't thank the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation enough," said Adcock after the hearing, "If it weren't for their attorneys, the decision wouldn't have fallen in my favor."

The U.S. Sportsmen's Legal Defense Fund is the nation's only litigation force that exclusively represents sportsmen's interests in the courts. It defends wildlife management and sportsmen's rights in local, state and federal courts. The SLDF represents the interests of sportsmen and assists government lawyers who have little or no background in wildlife law.