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Barracuda Attacks Kayaker; Drivers: Beware of Deer; GIS Lessons; PA Turkey Hunting

Barracuda attack leaves woman kayaker with punctured lung | Mail Online...story submitted by Bill Schemel

A kayaker is recovering in hospital after a barracuda leapt out of the water and attacked her. The 45-year-old woman suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs after the fish slammed into her chest while she paddle through the Florida keys. Coast Guard officials said the victim had to be airlifted to hospital after the shock of the attack.

Razor-sharp teeth: A barracuda like the one that attacked the woman in Florida

Razor-sharp teeth: A barracuda like the one that attacked the woman in Florida

The woman and a male friend were in a kayak near the Big Pine Key. As they paddled along a barracuda leapt out of the water and buried its razor-sharp teeth into the woman's chest. Her companion told emergency dispatchers that he could not row the kayak to shore because the woman was in so much pain. A rescue vessel from a Coast Guard station in Marathon worked with a local boating company to reach the injured woman.



(10/P113) TRENTON -- With the days getting shorter and white-tail deer entering their annual rut, officials with the Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife are cautioning motorists to be especially alert while driving to avoid collisions with the animals.

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While deer may cross roads at any time, they are most active during the dawn and dusk hours, said DEP wildlife officials. 

"Once daylight-saving time ends, normal driver commuting times will more closely align with the peak deer activity," said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Chanda. "Commuters should remain especially alert and drive with particular caution as a result. Deer are unpredictable. They typically move in family groups and cross single-file. Drivers need to take extra caution to avoid collisions, as well as the possibility of serious injury."

Deer migrate and mate during the fall months. In many instances, deer will wander closer

to roads and may literally stop in the middle of a road, cross over and then re-cross. If you spot a deer, slow down and pay attention to sudden movement. If the deer doesn't move, don't go around it. Wait until the road is clear. And if you spot one deer, be alert for others. 

"It's critical for motorists to remain on high alert, since deer can come out of nowhere, and unexpectedly dart in front of your vehicle," said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer.  "If you're traveling in wooded areas or near open fields, slow down below the posted speed limit, so you'll have ample time to stop and allow deer to cross the roadway."

If you are traveling after dark, use high beams where there is no on-coming traffic. High beams will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near roads and provide better reaction time for a motorist.

DEP offers the following tips for driving during deer season:

* Don't tailgate. Remember: the driver in front of you might have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.

* Always wear a seat belt, as required by law. And drive at a safe, sensible speed for conditions.

* If it appears you are going to collide with a deer, don't swerve to avoid impact. The animal may counter-maneuver. Brake firmly, but stay in your lane. Fatalities are more likely when a driver swerves to avoid a deer and instead, collides with oncoming traffic or a permanent structure in the road.

* You should report any deer-vehicle collision to a local law enforcement agency immediately.

For more information about deer in New Jersey, visit the DEP's Fish and Wildlife Web site:

Come learn about the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife's geographic information system (GIS) approach to mapping endangered and threatened wildlife habitat throughout New Jersey! The Landscape Project is used in many state planning efforts and is referenced in a number of state regulations. It is also widely used in local environmental resource inventories throughout the state. An upcoming Landscape Project training and information session will be hosted by: 

NJ Audubon Society's Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville, NJ on Thursday, November 4, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Participants will learn how the Landscape Project was developed and have an opportunity to use GIS "hands-on" to access habitat maps for threatened and endangered wildlife species. Seating is limited so please register as soon as possible. 

To register, please e-mail: [email protected] 

For additional information regarding the session visit or e-mail [email protected] 

Version 2.1 and Version 3.0 of New Jersey's Landscape Project that identifies habitats throughout the state can be obtained: 

- Online via download: 
- Online via DEP's Interactive mapping application: 
- On Compact Disc by request to the Division of Fish and Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program by calling 609-292-9400; faxing 609-984-1414; or writing to P.O. Box 400, Trenton, NJ 08625-0400. 


HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Game Commission is expecting hunters to encounter a sizeable wild turkey population when they head afield for the fall turkey season. However, hunters will need to carefully review the fall turkey season dates, which are outlined on page 35 of the 2010-11 Digest, as date structures have changed from previous years.

Season lengths vary in the state’s Wildlife Management Units for fall turkey hunting: WMUs 1A, 1B and 2A (Shotgun and bow and arrow only) – Nov. 13-19, and Nov. 25-27; WMU 2B (Shotgun and bow and arrow only) – Nov. 6-19, and Nov. 25-27; WMUs 2C, 2D, 2E, 4A, 4B and 4D – Nov. 13-19, and Nov. 25-27; WMUs 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C and 4E – Nov. 6-19, and Nov. 25-27; WMU 5A – Nov. 16-18; and WMUs 5B, 5C and 5D – Closed to Fall Hunting.

Mary Jo Casalena, Game Commission wild turkey biologist, said the fall turkey population is excellent, but some hunters will face the challenge of locating flocks if they don’t do their pre-season scouting. The widespread abundance of acorns this year likely will keep turkeys and flocks dispersed throughout the woods, making them harder to locate and hunt. However, an above-average turkey population and an open season during the Thanksgiving holiday should improve hunter opportunities. The Thanksgiving holiday season (November 25-27) in most WMUs is designed to provide additional hunting opportunities for youth and families when schools and many businesses are closed and, hopefully, to reverse the declining trend in fall turkey hunters.

Also, hunters in WMU 5A have a three-day (Nov. 16-18) season after seven years of  a closed fall season that was implemented to allow the population to increase. The success in managing the WMU 5A turkey population is shown in re-opening the traditional fall turkey hunt. The conservative three-day season is structured to provide recreation without reversing the now expanding population.

“The statewide turkey population this past spring prior to nesting was above average, at about 360,000 birds, rebounding from its low, in 2005, of 272,000, so there’s a bountiful population of turkeys in Penn’s Woods,” Casalena said. “The state’s wild turkey population is above the five-year-average thanks to good reproduction the past three springs and generally conservative fall season lengths, which minimizes the overharvest of hens.”

Locating a flock is only part of the hunt, Casalena said.  Properly setting up and bringing a turkey within range is another challenge, and is what makes turkey hunting simultaneously tricky and enjoyable. This challenge is revealed with a look at hunter success rates, which ranged from 12–16 percent during the last five years.

“Overall, I expect turkey hunters to enjoy success rates similar to last year when 13 percent of fall turkey hunters harvested turkeys because of similar turkey reproductive success and abundant mast crops. But success this fall will probably be lower than the 16 percent success rates of 2007 and 2008, when the above-average reproduction coupled with below average acorn crops translated to large flocks that were relatively easy to find,” Casalena said. “Hunter success has been as high as 21 percent in 2001, which was a year with excellent recruitment, and as low as four percent in 1979.”

Last fall’s overall turkey harvest was below-average, 20,934, which is 20 percent less than the previous five-year average of 26,082. Fall harvests have been declining steadily for the last eight years, mainly due to a decrease in the number of fall turkey hunters and shorter fall season lengths to protect from overharvest. To view maps of turkey harvest by WMU, go to the agency’s website (, put your cursor over “Hunt/Trap,” then click on “Hunting” in the drop-down menu listing, and select “Harvest Data and Maps” in the “Big Game” section.

The preliminary spring 2010 harvest, calculated from hunter report cards, was about 43,200, which is three percent above last year, but a sizeable 15 percent above the previous five-year preliminary average of 37,700.  Additionally, during the spring season, hunters harvested about 1,980 gobblers using the second tag, or “special turkey license.” Even though spring harvests are down from the record 49,200 of 2001, spring harvests have been back above 40,000 bearded turkeys for the last three years, exceeding most other states in the nation.

“Please remember to report any leg-banded and/or radio-transmittered turkeys harvested or found,” Casalena said. “Leg bands and transmitters are stamped with a toll-free number to call, and provide important information for the research project being conducted in partnership with the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Penn State University, with funding from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Wild Turkey Federation. These turkeys are legal to harvest and the information provided will help determine turkey survival and harvest rates. Rewards for reporting marked turkeys are made possible by our funding sponsors.”

In both spring and fall turkey seasons, it is unlawful to use drives to hunt turkeys. Hunters may take only one turkey in the fall season.

Shot size is limited to No. 4 lead, bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron or No. 2 steel. Turkey hunters also are required to tag their bird before moving it and to report their harvest within 10 days of taking a turkey. (For more information on the new online harvest reporting system, please see the fourth article in this news release titled TURKEY HUNTERS ENCOURAGED TO REPORT HARVEST ONLINE).

Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.  For more information, please see page 14 of the 2010-11 Digest for the legal hunting hours table. Also, it is lawful to use a dog to pursue, chase, scatter and track wild turkeys during the fall wild turkey season. Hunters are prohibited from using dogs to hunt any other big game animal, including spring gobbler. For minimum orange requirements, please see pages 72-73 of the 2010-11 Digest, as the requirements differ depending on the Wildlife Management Unit.