Waterfowl hunting season should be excellent
By Tom Wiest | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
North America’s waterfowl are in excellent condition and the upcoming fall migration – and hunting season – should be excellent as well. This prediction is based on the favorable breeding conditions for ducks found this spring in north-central United States and central Canada.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service have released their annual waterfowl population surveys on the breeding grounds to monitor waterfowl populations and to help set hunting season frameworks. Overall, North American breeding waterfowl populations estimates declined six percent from 2012 to just under 46 million birds, which is still 33 percent above the long-term average.
For eight of the ten surveyed duck species, population estimates increased or were at similar levels to last year. Mallard numbers were similar to last year at 10.4 million birds. Gadwall (3.3 million), green-winged teal (3.1 million) and northern pintail (3.3 million) were also similar to last year’s estimates. American wigeon populations showed the greatest increase (23 percent).
The 2013 May pond count by the USFWS increased 24 percent to 6.9 million ponds. While this is a major factor in breeding success, weather conditions and grassland nesting habitat, which has been declining in recent years in both the United States and Canada, are extremely important, too.
One year ago on the Fourth of July weekend, two young swimmers on Cherokee Lake died within reach of a boat dock. At the same moment in Missouri on the Lake of the Ozarks, a teenage girl and her younger brother died in the same manner. The deaths were not by drowning but electric shock, and these tragedies are totally preventable.
This is Electric Shock Drowning or ESD. Every boater and every adult who swims in a freshwater lake needs to understand how ESD happens, how to stop it from happening, and what to do if they ever have to help a victim.
The cause of ESD does not have to be negligence, like faulty wiring at a boat dock; it can be accidental, like an electrical appliance that “shorts” or loses its ground, or a wire that falls into the water.
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has put together a new online Electric Shock Drowning Resource Center to educate and inform the public about ESD. See it at http://BoatUS.com .asp. It is excellent. The following is a very condensed list of things to do or to avoid concerning electric shock drowning.
First, make others aware of the danger of ESD; make sure your children know to never swim outdoors near on-water electrical wiring (within 100 yards), and be aware of possible tingling sensations.
While swimming, if you experience shock or pain or tingling, do not swim toward the dock – swim away from it. To retrieve a person in the water, reach, throw and row. Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – it works on ESD victims.
Have your own dock or boat checked out by a certified marine electrician. Go to the website for much more.
Tom Wiest welcomes news, questions and comments from readers. Contact him at (email@example.com)