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White House to address American wildlife issues

| Monday, Sept. 15, 2008

For the first time since Teddy Roosevelt was president, the White House will hold a conference on America's wildlife.

The White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy will be October 1-3 in Reno, Nev.

It is a result of the Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation executive order signed by President Bush in August 2007.

The goal of the conference is to establish a 10-year plan to improve wildlife conservation and boost hunting opportunities on public lands. President Bush will address the conference, which is expected to include a wide range of sportsmen conservationists.

"It has been 100 years since a President convened a group of dedicated conservationists who set in motion a wildlife plan that has become the most successful in the world," President of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation Jeff Crane said.

Eight primary issues will be discussed at the conference: the perpetuation and strengthening of the North American model of wildlife conservation; management of wildlife and habitat at the state, tribal and federal levels; ensuring dependable funding for wildlife conservation; perpetuating hunter traditions through education, recruitment, and retention; maintaining access to public and private lands; coordinating oil and gas development and wildlife conservation; and the impacts of climate change on wildlife.

For information and reports about the conference, visit .

Bull trout

A trip to Alberta proved interesting in more ways than one for Greg Policicchio of Pittsburgh and Paul Gadola of Butler.

The pair have spent the last 15 years fly fishing all over North America, yet had never caught bull trout. This trip was to change that.

After catching cutthroat trout and rainbows on dry flies, they switched to using five-inch streamers to target big bull trout on the Oldman River.

In the background, paleontologists were taking dinosaur fossils from a nearby cliff, with one big boulder removed via helicopter.

Gadola hooked the first, and though it ultimately broke off, "it fought like a fresh-run Erie steelhead, and was just as big," Policicchio said.

More fish were hooked, and more broke off after aggressive, powerful, surging runs. In the end, Gadola landed the only three bulls the anglers got to shore.

"We agreed that the ambiance of the river was similar to the swift sections of the Youghiogheny, sans bald eagles, grizzlies, and rafts," Pilocicchio said.

"Yes, the fishing was incredible, and the experience beyond our expectations."

Albino fawn

Jack Peterson of Brownsville Road in South Baldwin recently got to see a rare sight.

He was looking out his window on the last Saturday in August when he spotted what he identified as an albino fawn.

"Can you imagine my surprise seeing it only seven miles from downtown Pittsburgh?" he said.

Just how rare are albino deer. Well, according to one Web site, deer have albino fawns just once every 30,000 births. Those deer rarely reach adulthood, either, given that their color makes them more vulnerable to predators.

Albinos often suffer from genetic problems, too, like poor eyesight, poor hearing, and deformities of their feet and legs.

Celebrating the outdoors

National Hunting and Fishing Day will be celebrated Sept. 27. For information on the day, activities for children, visit .

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