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Outdoors notebook: Hunting has environmental benefits

| Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, 9:30 p.m.

If you like seeing healthy trees, hearing a variety of songbirds and being able to view abundant wildflowers, thank a hunter.

It turns out the sport is good for the environment.

Purdue University researchers recently published results of 17-year study that examined the impact of allowing hunting in Indiana state parks. It was legalized in 1993 to help bring overabundant deer populations down.

In the years since, native plant cover has increased “dramatically.”

“We saw a striking improvement in the quality and diversity of the forest understory in state parks compared with conditions before the hunting program,” said Lindsay Jenkins, a researcher on the study, in a press release.

She said nature preserves with too many deer in other places around the country might be wise to turn to hunters for help.

Spike upward

More people tried fishing for the first time last year than is typical, according to a new report.

The 2014 Special Report on Fishing released by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and the Outdoor Foundation says there were 4.1 million newcomers to angling in 2013. The five-year average for 2007-12 was 3.5 million newcomers a year.

Increases in participation were especially noteworthy when it came to women, children and Hispanics. Female anglers accounted for about 42 percent of the first-timers.

Doe licenses

If you haven't gotten a doe license yet, you're running out of options. Just five of the state's 23 wildlife management units had licenses left going into the weekend.

One of those, unit 1A, which takes in Lawrence and Mercer and parts of several other counties, had fewer than 8,000 remaining. Unit 2B, which surrounds Pittsburgh, still had more than 50,000 tags available. Unit 2A, which takes in all of Greene County and parts of Washington, Fayette, Westmoreland, Allegheny and Beaver, had upwards of 25,000.


A local gun manufacturer, Cabot Guns of Butler County has launched a website — — to promote bullseye shooting. The site showcases the sport's history while also offering tips on grip, sight alignment, and trigger control from 13-time National Pistol Champion Brian Zins.

In bullseye shooting, competitors shoot at targets up to 50 yards away in a limited amount of time. The bullseye is 1.7 inches, or smaller than the average spoon.

Big payoff

Pennsylvania Game Commission officers are always on the lookout for people abusing private lands enrolled in its cooperative access programs.

Officer Brian Singer caught some violators in eastern Westmoreland County, and it's paid off big in a couple of ways.

For starters, the violators were assessed $19,000 in fines by local courts. Even better, “nearby landowners heard the news and enrolled hundreds of acres into the cooperative hunter access program,” Singer said.

Walleye tourney

Chuck Sabatose of Brockport and Frank Mausser of Sharon weighed in seven fish weighing 20 pounds to win the recent Cabela's Masters Walleye Team Tournament on Kinzua Dam. The big fish for the event was an 8-pound, 7-ounce walleye.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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