Off the wire

Texas bill would authorize helicopter hunting of feral hogs
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas lawmakers are taking aim at a different kind of pork with a bill that would legalize hunting feral hogs from a helicopter. The pork choppers would thin out the 1.5 million wild hogs that cause an estimated $52 million in property and crop damage annually. br>
Read complete story from The Dallas Morning News

Common chemical causes locusts to swarm
WASHINGTON — A chemical that affects people's moods also can transform easygoing desert locusts into terrifying swarms that ravage the countryside, scientists report. "Here we have a solitary and lonely creature, the desert locust. But just give them a little serotonin, and they go and join a gang," observed Malcolm Burrows of the University of Cambridge in England.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Tigers kill at least seven in north India
KISHANPUR, India — Tigers have killed at least three children and four adults in northern India in recent weeks, officials said Friday, forcing frightened villagers to stay indoors while forest rangers search for the wild cats.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Pintails need Canada's wetlands
OAK HAMMOCK MARSH, MANITOBA — On World Wetlands Day, February 2, thousands of northern pintails will be wading through flooded rice fields near the Gulf of Mexico in southern Texas, feasting on seeds and invertebrates under the Texas sun. In a few short months, these striking, sleek birds — whose population declines are causing concern in North America — will be migrating back north to their Canadian breeding grounds, stopping often at the plethora of recently-thawed shallow wetlands in fields along the way.
Read complete story from MSNBC

Deer hunter admits he shot mate
A man who lost his arm in an ill-fated deer hunting expedition near Pohangina was in court yesterday to see his friend plead guilty to firing the shot that hit him.
Read complete story from the Manawatu Standard

Forestdale man may be charged in shooting
NANTUCKET, Mass. — A 55-year-old Forestdale man may be charged in connection with shooting another man on the first day of shotgun deer season on Nantucket last month.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Alaska volcano has geologists on alert
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Mount Redoubt, a volcano 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, is rumbling and simmering, prompting geologists to warn that an eruption may be imminent.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Glitch delays carp wall opening
Chicago — Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said a few weeks ago they would turn on their new electric carp barrier by the end of the month, but the agency scrapped those plans Wednesday because of unforeseen maintenance issues on a largely unused contraption that is now nearly three years old.
Read complete story from the Journal Sentinel

Fishing rules body OK's Gulf offshore fish farming
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. — Offshore fish farming would be allowed in the Gulf of Mexico under a plan approved Wednesday by the agency that sets the body of water's fishing rules.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Tougher rules to end overfishing in U.S. waters
NEW ORLEANS — Ocean conservationists are hailing former President Bush for passing tough rules to end the overfishing of 40 struggling marine species before he left the White House.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Owl knocks out power, TV service in Eastern Iowa
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — An owl that landed on a power pole in northern Linn County and was itself lit up, knocking out electrical service to about 1,200 Alliant Energy customers and the transmission towers used by three local TV stations, said Ryan Stensland, Alliant spokesman. Stensland said the owl landed on the apparatus connecting the power line to a pole between Coggon and Walker.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

New species of babbler bird discovered in China
BANGKOK, Thailand — A new species of the fist-sized babbler bird has been found in a network of underground caves in southwestern China, raising the prospect the country could become a hot spot for other discoveries, a conservation group said Thursday.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Hearing draws big crowd
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — About 350 hunters and anglers (50 short of a full house) attended the North Carolina District 3 public hearing for proposed regulation changes held at Nash Community College last Thursday. Six of the 19 appointed wildlife commissioners were there.
Read complete story from the News & Observer

Township considers gun restrictions
When a township resident tells you they felt a "bullet whizzing by their head" during deer hunting season, the police department takes note.
Read complete story from the Duluth News Tribune

Louisiana wildlife agents seize crossbow, Oldsmobile and doe
An illegal seven-month hunting spree inside Fontainebleau State Park ended this month when state wildlife agents emerged from tree shadows to arrest three men shooting deer from a car window.
Read complete story from the St. Tammany News

Gore urges action on economy, global warming
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Al Gore presented lawmakers on Wednesday with a new inconvenient truth: Action on global warming cannot wait until the economy recovers.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

S.D. senate committee approves goose hunting bill
PIERRE, S.D. — A bill aimed at allowing more nonresident hunters to shoot geese in northeastern South Dakota narrowly passed the state Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

N. Idaho poor get fish, not warning
BOISE, Idaho — A north Idaho food bank gave away thousands of pounds of fish donated by the state wildlife agency without knowing about a state health department warning that eating too much of the mercury-contaminated fish could be dangerous for pregnant women and children.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Archers protest Pa. Game Commission vote on adding crossbows to hunting season
HARRISBURG, Pa. — It didn't take long for the hot-button issue to surface during the three-day Pennsylvania Game Commission quarterly meeting at the agency's headquarters.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Chronic wasting disease found in Rochester-area elk farm
An elk on a farm north of Rochester — the largest elk farm in the state with about 1,000 head — has been found to have chronic wasting disease.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Poachers will pay much greater price
The Pennsylvania Game Commission Board of Commissioners took a step on Tuesday to making it pretty expensive for anyone caught poaching wildlife in the state.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Bridge Access bill supported by full House
HELENA, Mont. — The only surviving bridge-access bill won the support of its most vocal critic in a House vote Monday, but several Southwest Montana lawmakers made up the extreme minority voting against the bill.
Read complete story from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Search still on near Lake Worth for gator that mangled man's hand
Alligator trappers today are trying to find the alligator that pulled a worker by the hand into Lake Osborne in John Prince Memorial Park Tuesday.

The man suffered severe injuries to his hand but was able to escape.
Read complete story from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Snowy owls swoop southward, delighting birders
ALBANY, N.Y. — Biologists say an increase in snowy owl sightings in the South suggests that the arctic species did so well in its northern breeding grounds last year that competition is driving the young ones to warmer climates.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Illinois wants time to replace diverted funds
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn wants the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to give Illinois more time to put federally restricted funds back in their proper place.

Illinois faces the loss of $16 million in federal funds if it fails to restore $9.25 million to six funds that receive money from hunting and fishing licenses and related fees.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Mountain lion killed in Scottsbluff
SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says a Scottsbluff police officer shot a mountain lion that had wandered into a neighborhood.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

At target range, a fruitcake shoot
LAWRENCE, N.J. — It turns out the old 12-gauge is an effective way to rid the pantry of those pesky holiday leftovers.

Fruitcakes in particular were in the cross hairs Saturday as some 40 shotgun-toting marksmen gathered in Cumberland County for an unconventional target practice at the first-ever John DeBella Fruitcake Trap Shoot.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

10-year-old to N.D. Legislature: Let me hunt deer
Bridger Anderson would rather hunt than play video games, and the 10-year-old wants the Legislature to lower the minimum age to hunt deer with a gun.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Booming deer herd leads to longer hunt
The Ministry of Natural Resources wants to expand the fall deer hunt season to control the exploding deer population.

In the past decade, herd numbers have increased by as much as 25 per cent in some areas, most notably southwestern Ontario.
Read complete story from the Toronto Star

Deer killers fined
A lengthy cross-border investigation involving white-tailed deer DNA and other forensic tools has resulted in the conviction of two U.S. men on 22 counts of illegal hunting in the Nestor Falls area.
Read complete story from the Chronicle Journal

Squirrel hunters have three more weeks to savor the winter woods
There's bad news and good news for the hunter who lives to stalk and stand in the winter woods. With the exceptions of Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C and 5D, deer hunting is history across most of the state (it closes Jan. 24 in those WMUs).
Read complete story from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette

'Critter' conservation groups fear economy will hurt fundraising
"Critter groups" — species-specific, hunter- and angler-supported foundations that watch out for elk, mule deer, wild sheep, wild trout and others — seem to have weathered the recession well.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

New Zealand reptile becomes dad at 111 years old
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A captive reptile in New Zealand has unexpectedly become a father at the ripe old age of 111 after receiving treatment for a cancer that made him hostile toward prospective mates.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Tasmanian devils threatened by contagious cancer
CANBERRA, Australia — Tasmania is trying to save the devil.

The Tasmanian devil, a ferocious, snarling fox-sized marsupial, is in danger of going extinct because of a contagious facial cancer. In the meantime, its biggest rival - the European fox - is thriving, and may become so dominant that the devil never comes back.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Deer harvest down even more than expected
Officials suspected Minnesota's 2008 deer harvest would be down. They didn't expect it to drop 15 percent.
Read complete story from the Star Tribune

Man accused of pouring deer urine in ex-girlfriend's car
MANITOWOC, Wisc. — A 61-year-old Manitowoc man suspected of stalking his ex-girlfriend for more than 10 years faces felony charges after he allegedly poured deer urine in the woman's vehicle, according to Manitowoc Police Department reports.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Bobcat attacks Florida man and is killed with hammer

INDIANTOWN, Fla. — Two men fought and killed a 30-pound bobcat that was attacking one of the men Thursday, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release issued Friday.

Read complete story from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel