Airline responds to feedback, amends antler/horn policy

Don’t tell me that speaking out doesn’t make a difference.

Oh sure, nothing guarantees that raising your voice will garner the results you hope for, but failing to speak up will definitely net you a big goose egg.

Last week, I wrote about United Airlines’ policy prohibiting passengers from transporting antlers or horns, as either checked or carry-on baggage on any of the airline’s flights. So did numerous other writers across the country. Upon learning of the antler ban, enraged sportsmen gave the airline a piece of their mind, expressing displeasure with the no-antler/horn policy. It wasn’t long before the airline recognized the error of its ways.

In a letter to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and other concerned organizations, United Airlines stated, “We have heard our customer’s feedback about our Antler and Animal Horn policy, and are responding. Soon we will begin accepting antlers and animal horns as checked baggage again.” The airline is expected to publish new guidelines detailing how antlers or horns should be prepared and packaged for safe transport. You also can expect to pay a special handling fee.

While folks at the USSA are pleased, Bud Pigeon, USSA president, said his organization “plans to examine these new policies to be sure they are fair to sportsmen.”

TAG APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE — Application regulations for Arizona’s 2010 elk and pronghorn antelope hunting seasons are available online at the Arizona Game & Fish Department Web site (www.azgfd.gov). Although forms are available online, the department does not offer online draw application service. All completed applications must be submitted to a Game & Fish office by U.S. mail.

The application deadline is Feb. 9 no later than 7 p.m. Mail postmarked on that day but not received until later will not be accepted. Tag applicants must purchase a 2010 hunting license in order to apply.

ICE FISHING ON ITS WAY — Anglers looking forward to hard-water fishing will have to wait a little longer, though the latest cold front should help ice conditions. Ice is forming at places such as Sunnyside (Kirch Wildlife Management Area), Eagle Valley and Echo Canyon, but it’s not yet thick enough to be safe. Eagle Valley and Echo probably will freeze up first.

In Southern Utah, the Beaver Mountain Lakes are frozen over and fishable, but access is limited to snowmobiles.

On Cedar Mountain, both Navajo and Panguitch are frozen over and fishable. Reports are that Panguitch is fishing slow, while splake are hitting at Navajo.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources recommends light-colored jigs or flashy spoons for splake, a hybrid between lake trout and brook trout.

BRAVO, BYU — Tuesday’s MAACO Bowl Las Vegas had little to do with the outdoors, but I’m still going to devote a little space to gloating over Brigham Young, my alma mater, drubbing Oregon State 44-20 on a cold, windy night. So much for the naysayers.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at dougnielsen@att.net.

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