The Old Man in the Mirror

Father and son hunting buddies that can say, "I love you Bub!" Molly Meyers photo

  • Hunting, fishing, frog-giggin’ and sucker -grabbin’
  • Freckles, frowns, wrinkles and specks of gray…is winter here?
  • Kids, grandkids, heartwarming memories…thank you Lord.  Pass it on.
Deer camp camaraderie and hunting family fun.

 

By Larry Whiteley

     He was up early getting ready to pick up his son to go deer hunting. He had brushed his teeth and was washing his face. He paused to look at himself in the mirror and saw an old man staring back at him.

The old man in the mirror…yes, that was me! Where has the time gone? 

     Maybe it was because his 74th birthday was on Christmas, and it would be here in a few more weeks. He stared at the old man in the mirror and saw wrinkles carved by frowns and smiles through the years of his life. He looked at the bags under his eyes. He saw his skin sagging down on both sides of his chin and looked like a turkey wattle hanging below. What little hair he saw was gray. The old man in the mirror was in the winter of his life.

     He pulled into his son’s driveway and smiled as he loaded his deer hunting stuff in the truck. He was proud of the husband and father, his son, had become. He moved over to let him drive. His old eyes didn’t see as well in the dark anymore. The interior light of the truck revealed specks of gray in his son’s hair. It was hard for him to believe that it wouldn’t be long until his son would be a grandpa for the first time. He was in the fall of his life.

     Not much was said as the truck traveled down the road to their hunting place. The son glanced over at his Dad. He realized that his Dad was getting older. He wondered how many more deer and turkey hunting trips they would have together. Dad was still very active and his health seemed good, but at his age, you never know.

     As he drove, his mind wandered to times when he was younger, and Dad took him rabbit hunting, squirrel hunting, and dove hunting. He thought of frog-gigging trips, fishing trips, and especially sucker-grabbin’. Camping and trout fishing was fun too. 

     He thought to himself how he needed to thank him for the time they had spent together in the outdoors and all the outdoor things he had done with his son and daughter when they were in the spring of their lives. This would be a good time to tell him how important all that was to him and them. They drove on in silence.

     The truck came to a stop, the older man got out to open the gate. The night sky was dark, but getting lighter. They had to hurry to get to their stands before the deer started moving. They wished each other good luck and started in opposite directions. The son stopped, turned around, and watched his Dad walking away until he disappeared into the dark.

     The older man got to his stand and started the climb up. It wasn’t as easy as it used to be. He settled into his stand, got everything ready, and sat in silence waiting. He thought about the old man in the mirror that morning and wondered how many more times he would be able to do this thing he loved so much. Right now, he still had the strength, the will and the desire, but he knew at his age, that could change at any time. He didn’t want to think about that anymore.

Were those deer looking back at me? On some days, it’s ok to let them walk by.  Joe Forma Photo

     The dark turned to light, and the wildlife started their day. Birds sang their songs, and crows talked to each other, and squirrels sounded like deer as they rustled about in the woods. He watched deer traveling through the frosted field below but out of range. 

     As the morning wore on, his thoughts turned to memories he had from being outdoors with his kids, grandkids, and friends in the summer and fall of his life. He even thought of a time when he was fishing and would look over to watch his wife reading a book. He wished there had been more time spent in the outdoors with his son and grandsons that lived in another state. Where had the time gone? It went so fast. He looked up to the sky and said thank you for blessing him and forgiving him.

     In another stand, in another place, his son sat waiting. He too, had seen and heard the wildlife. He too, had seen deer out of range and even a few that he let have a heartbeat for another day. He too, also thought about outdoor memories with Dad, his wife, and his kids, and the memories he would make with his grandkids someday. The outdoor traditions he loves would be passed on. He too looked up and said thank you. He even thought about how he was in the fall of his life, and winter was coming.

     There were no deer to field dress and load that day. They talked some on the way home, but it was mostly a silent trip again. The old man was thinking to himself how he wished his Dad would have spent time with him in the outdoors, but he didn’t. He thought about how he never heard his Dad tell him that he loved him. He had no good memories from the spring of his life. 

     It might have been a perfect time to talk to each other about all the things they thought and talked about. Why is it so hard for men to look at each other in the eye and tell them how they feel? A day will come when they will wish they had.

Morning sunrise from the tree stand offers an amazing moment.

     They pull into the driveway. Hunting gear is unloaded. The old man says, “I love you Bub!” The son says, “I love you too,” then watches until his Dad has driven out of sight. He goes into the house, kisses his wife, and goes into the bathroom to wash his hands. He looks in the mirror and sees the gray in his hair. His thoughts from the day sweep over him. He thinks of his Dad being in the winter of his life. “I will be right back,” he tells his wife. “I need to go tell Dad something.”

Rocky Mountain National Park – EXPLORE the Amazing and Unique Alpine Tundra Ecosystem found here

  • Elk, Moose, Black Bear, Birds, Fish, Mountains – Great Views…Bring a Camera!
  • Take note of National Park Entry Permit Requirements, VISIT www.RECREATION.GOV
  • One memory here can last for All Time, especially when you stand on the Continental Divide, located here. East to the Atlantic, west to the Pacific. Wow.

Black Bear in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo and story, courtesy of National Parks Service at Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado, USA

Compiled by Forrest Fisher

Our bears are searching for something scrumptious!

With a nose 280 times more sensitive than humans, they are world champs of food hide-and-seek!

This time of year, Rocky’s black bears (there are no brown bears in the park) are especially hungry as they prepare for hibernation—a phase called ‘hyperphagia.’ Rocky has seen an uptick in bear-related property damage in the past few weeks. There are many ways our visitors can help keep our bears wild as well as protect themselves!

• When visiting by car: Store food properly in LOCKED cars with all windows ROLLED UP during the night and day. Do not store coolers (even with only water in them) in truck beds. Clean dirty dishes before storing.
• When backpacking: Store all food and scented items (deodorant, toothpaste, chapstick, sunscreen) in a bear canister. When sleeping, place this canister at least 200 feet (60 m) from your tent.
• When camping in campgrounds: do not cook or eat in your tent. Do not bring food inside your tent. Lock all food in provided food storage lockers.
• Dispose of trash promptly and appropriately (in bear-proof bins when available.)
• If you see a bear, act big! Yell and clap, and it will likely move away. Do not run from a bear, and do not abandon food in a hasty attempt to leave.
• Report any bear-related incidents to a ranger.

Rocky Mountain National Park is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

It’s also home to some of the most fragile. While only 0.2% of the US land area is alpine tundra, Rocky is lucky to say that almost 1/3 of the park is comprised of this amazing ecosystem. Because of its fragility and susceptibility to changes, it provides a canvas for scientists to explore change over time through long-term monitoring.

Sunset on the Alpine Tundra at Rocky Mountain National Park. NPS/C Hernandez 

Since 2015, Dr. Sarah Schliemann, a professor of environmental science at Metropolitan State University of Denver, has been investigating the release of carbon dioxide from alpine soils, also known as ‘soil respiration’ (#ParkScience).

We are celebrating the amazing alpine tundra this year at Rocky Mountain National Park! As part of that, we are sharing Dr. Schliemann’s work through a 4-part series of posts. This is the first in that series. Visit Rocky Mountain National Park on Facebook to learn more about Dr. Schliemann’s work and other park research. See more here: https://www.nps.gov/rlc/continentaldivide/research-highlights.htm

Elk enjoy feeding on fresh growth on the unique Alpine Tundra in Rocky Mountain National Park. Kiley Voss photo.

From NPS Park Ranger, Kiley Voss, “I’m beyond excited as a Park Ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park this summer season! I’m overjoyed for the opportunity to spend a summer living in the mountains on the west side of the park, for a moose study, for a town surrounding an alpine lake, for search and rescue training, for the headwaters of the Colorado River, for helping update signage and photographs, for a Colorado October full of aspens, for wildlife watch programs and tundra stewardship, for historic site talks and ranger-led campfires.”

Reservations are required to enter all areas of Rocky Mountain National Park from 6am to 5pm. Learn more at https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/fees.htm or simply visit www.Recreation.gov.

Firearm Industry in support of HISTORIC Senate Passage of Great American Outdoors Act

Rules, Regulations, NICs check - all required for legal firearm ownership in the USA. Photo courtesy of NSSF

NSSF®, the firearm industry trade association, praised the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, (H.R. 1957). This historic legislation, which received overwhelming bipartisan support, is among the most meaningful legislative measures for sportsmen conservationists ever. The Senate’s approval is a major step forward toward delivering on the promise of sustained wildlife conservation, public land hunting and recreational shooting on behalf of current and future generations of outdoorsmen and women.
Safety above all. Photo is courtesy of National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)
“This is a monumental achievement that demonstrates a continued legacy of bipartisanship on wildlife, public lands and outdoor recreation issues,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “When enacted, this legislation will fulfill a promise to future generations that conservation, access to public lands and outdoor recreation including hunting and recreational shooting will be safeguarded well into the next century.”
The Great American Outdoors Act, introduced in the Senate by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.), would ensure full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address the maintenance backlog of public lands and water projects across the United States. Those projects include wildlife habitat conservation, road and trail repairs and increased recreational access to our public lands and waters.
The legislation next heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for approval before it goes to the White House for signature, for which President Donald Trump has already indicated his support.
NSSF is especially grateful for Sens. Gardner and Daines sponsoring the legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for placing this as priority legislation in the Senate and for Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) for their bipartisan leadership. The legislation was introduced with 55 bipartisan co-sponsors.
The legislation builds upon the success of the NSSF-supported John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which also enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Trump in 2019.
GAOA will provide $9.5 billion over five years for deferred federal public lands and waters maintenance projects, with $3 billion set aside for infrastructure restoration on hundreds of millions of acres for increased access for America’s sportsmen and women. The Great American Outdoors Act will also provide $900 million annually for permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The legislation would also ensure that a significant portion of LWCF funding is dedicated to increasing public access for hunting, recreational shooting, fishing and outdoor recreation.
Sportsmen and women play a critical conservation role in the nation’s wildlife resources and to date, hunters and purchasers of firearms and ammunition, collectively, are the single largest source of wildlife conservation funding, contributing more than $13 billion since the enactment of the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act.
About NSSF – NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

June 27-28 is Free Fishing Weekend in New York

Rain or Shine...fish in NYS for free. Photo courtesy of Erie County Federation of Sportsmen

Fish for free…in New York, SPECIAL DAYS for Residents and Non-Residents

Group of anglers

Every year, six days are designated in New York that allow people to fish without a fishing license. Two of those days are coming up so it’s a great time of year for those to try it for the first time or introduce someone new to the sport. (All other fishing regulations still apply.)

Future free fishing days are as follows: September 26, 2020, November 11, 2020, and February 13-14, 2021.

Not sure how where to start? DEC’s I FISH NY Beginners’ Guide to Freshwater Fishing is the perfect go-to guide for every beginning angler.

Black Bass Fishing Season Opens June 20

Photo courtesy of Bill HIlts - Niagara USA

Black Bass Fishing …could be the most fishing fun for all ages.

Not only does June 20th mark the first day of summer,St. Lawrence smallmouth bass but it’s also the traditional season opener for black bass (largemouth bass and smallmouth bass) in New York. They’re considered the state’s #1 sportfish for good reason – they’re a lot of fun to catch and they’re found throughout the state.

The statewide black bass season runs from the 3rd Saturday in June through November 30, followed by a catch-and-release season that begins on December 1 and continues until the start of the regular season. During the traditional harvest season, anglers can possess up to five bass as long as they are 12 inches or longer. Some waters have special fishing regulations, so be sure to check the current fishing regulations before heading out to fish.

For an effective and easy-to-rig set up, check out the Wacky Rig article on DEC’s website.

New York Online Hunter Education Course…24,000 NEW HUNTERS!

  • DEC Announces Extension of Online Hunter Education Course Through August
  • Offerings Now Include Online Bowhunter Course

24,000 Hunters Have Completed Online Course since April; New York State Sporting License Sales Up Nearly 10 Percent

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that DEC’s online hunter education course will continue to be available through Aug. 31, 2020. All hunters must complete a mandatory hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license. In addition, DEC is making an online bowhunter education course option available beginning July 15. Since mid-April, more than 24,000 hunters have successfully completed the online hunter education course, about 20 percent more than typically take it. Of those completing the online course about 40 percent were women, compared to 27 percent female participants in the traditional in-person course. In addition, almost half of the people taking the online course were 30 years of age or older, compared to 30 percent for the in-person course.

“Many new hunters went afield for this year’s turkey season and we look forward to continuing to welcome new hunters with this online safety course,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Hunter safety is our top priority, and expanding the availability of these online courses will help us engage more New Yorkers who are ready to be a part of our state’s proud hunting tradition.”

All hunters who wish to hunt big game with a bow must complete a mandatory bowhunter education course in addition to the required hunter education course. The online hunter education course was first made available in April after in-person hunter education courses were cancelled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The online course provided an opportunity for first-time hunters who wanted to go afield during New York’s spring turkey season to receive their hunter education certificate before the season started in May. Extending the availability of the online course and adding the bowhunter course option will allow first-time hunters and new archery hunters the opportunity to get their required hunter education and bowhunter education certificates prior to the start of the fall hunting seasons.

DEC’s Hunter Education Program (HEP) is partnering with Kalkomey Enterprises, a company that specializes in hunter education, to offer the online courses that can be completed in six to eight hours. The online courses cover all the topics of traditional in-person courses including firearm and bow safety, tree stand safety, hunting ethics, wildlife conservation, and New York State hunting laws and regulations.

Students who successfully complete the online courses and pass the final exam will receive their hunter education certificate or bowhunter education certificate. The courses are available to individuals 11 and older, but only those 12 or older may purchase a hunting license. Students can complete the courses from a computer, tablet, or smart phone at any time. Visit DEC’s Hunter Education Program page to learn more or to sign up.

To take and receive a hunter education certificate or bowhunter education certificate through the online course, participants must be New York State residents. The cost of the hunter education course is $19.95 and the cost for the bowhunter education course is $30. Both courses can be accessed at DEC’s website. The online courses will be available through Aug. 31, 2020.

Sporting License Sales Increase Nearly 10 Percent in 2020

As New Yorkers continue to recreate locally to prevent the spread of COVID-19, DEC has seen a nearly 10 percent increase in sporting license sales overall. For the period that roughly coincides with New York State on PAUSE, resident turkey permits increased 49 percent, junior hunting licenses increased by 60 percent or more, and resident hunting licenses increased by 130 percent. Certain types of lifetime licenses also increased by as much as 146 percent. A combination of factors, including the availability of online hunter education for new hunters and time available to participate in the spring turkey season, likely contributed to the increase.

Tens of thousands of additional resident fishing licenses were also sold compared to the same time last year, with increases of 30 percent for annual and one-day fishing licenses. Non-resident and senior fishing license sales decreased as anticipated following the COVID-19-related guidance issued by New York and other states.

For more information on recreational opportunities available in New York State visit DEC’s website. New Yorkers are encouraged to engage in responsible recreation close to home during the State’s ongoing response to COVID-19. DEC recommendations incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases and encourage New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, show respect, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. For more information, go to DEC’s website.

Recreational Red Snapper Season open in Gulf State and Federal Waters

Photo courtesy of Brice Williamson

The recreational Red Snapper Season will opened on June 11 for Gulf state and federal waters, and will remain open through July 25, closing on July 26.

“I’m excited to announce the beginning of Florida’s recreational Red Snapper Season in state and federal Gulf waters beginning Thursday, June 11,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World and we are proud to welcome Floridians and visitors to participate in Red Snapper Season as our state moves forward with the safe re-opening of our economy.”

“Red Snapper Season is one of the most anticipated and exciting saltwater fishing seasons that contribute to Florida being the Fishing Capital of the World,” said Eric Sutton, FWC Executive Director. “The years of collaborative work with stakeholders and partners has resulted in a significant increase in the number of fishing days over the past few years, from just a few days to 45 red snapper fishing days in Gulf state and federal waters this year.”

For-hire operations that do not have a federal reef fish permit may also participate in the season but are limited to fishing for red snapper in Gulf state waters only.

If you plan to fish for red snapper in Gulf state or federal waters (excluding Monroe County) from a private recreational vessel, even if you are exempt from fishing license requirements, you must sign up as a Gulf Reef Fish Angler or State Reef Fish Angler when signing up after July 1 (annual renewal required). The Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will be expanded statewide and renamed State Reef Fish Angler starting July 1. To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” then “Gulf Reef Fish Survey” or “State Reef Fish Survey” under “Reef Fish” tab. Sign up at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

Gulf Reef Fish Anglers and State Reef Fish Anglers might receive a questionnaire in the mail regarding their reef fish trips as part of Florida’s Gulf Reef Fish Survey and State Reef Fish Survey. These surveys were developed specifically to provide more robust data for management of red snapper and other important reef fish, and have allowed FWC the unprecedented opportunity to manage Gulf red snapper in state and federal waters. If you receive a survey in the mail, please respond whether you fished this season or not.

When catching red snapper and other deep-water fish, look out for symptoms of barotrauma (injuries caused by a change in pressure) such as the stomach coming out of the mouth, bloated belly, distended intestines and bulging eyes. When releasing fish with barotrauma, use a descending device or venting tool to help them survive and return to depth. Learn more about fish handling at MyFWC.com/FishHandling.

To learn more about the recreational red snapper season in Gulf state and federal waters, including season size and bag limits, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Snappers,” which is under the “Regulations by Species – Reef Fish” tab.

The federal Gulf season for for-hire operations with federal reef fish permits is June 1 through Aug. 1.

Best Binoculor NAMED for Spotting Birds…German Precision Optics (GPO-USA)

  • Waterproof and fog-proof, tough aluminum eyecup tubes
  • Lightweight and compact, custom-molded hard case
  • Lifetime Warranty from German Precision Optics (GPO)

GPO USA PASSION™ 8×42 ED Binocular Wins Best Birding Binocular Award – Best Binoculars Reviews (BBR) has awarded the GPO PASSION 8×42 ED binocular with its 2020 Best Birding Binocular. Now in its tenth year, BBR awards the very best binoculars they have fully tested and reviewed in the past 12 months in a range of categories.

BBR website publisher commented about the quality of the GPO 8×42 binocular: “For just about all uses, but especially important for birding, an image that is of excellent quality and true to life is a critical feature. This is because it not only ensures you can fully appreciate the beauty of the birds in all their glory but sometimes, tiny differences in plumage colorations can make the difference when trying to positively identify one sub-species from another.

“As most birders will know, having a wide field of view is another extremely important feature as it enables you to more easily find and then follow your subjects, this is especially true of the small faster-moving ones at closer ranges! At 426ft wide at 1,000 yards, these GPO binoculars have an extremely wide view that ranks up there with the very widest 8×42 binoculars currently on the market and which is why I would certainly describe them as being a wide angle binocular.

“As with the predecessor, another reason I chose these over the other contenders is down to them having an excellent build quality level and with it a performance that was well above what I would expect to find in just about every area.

“Indeed I would go as far as to say that these GPO binoculars have no major weaknesses, which makes them a very versatile instrument that will not only stand out in most types of birding but also many other areas and thus I feel they rank up there with the best binoculars for 2020 overall.”

To be eligible for a BBR Award and be considered one of the best binoculars for 2020, it has to have been fully reviewed and tested by BBR. According to the website, BBR reviews are written after thoroughly researched, used and then tested and compared to other binoculars in its class.

To read the extensive review on the GPO PASSION 8×42 ED binocular, visit https://www.bestbinocularsreviews.com/binocular-awards2020.php#bestbirdingbinoculars2020.

About GPO USA: German Precision Optics was founded on the premise that design, engineering and quality management is 100 percent controlled in Germany to its strictest standards, yet products can be produced at some of the largest production facilities worldwide. This unique corporate structure allows GPO to offer the highest quality products with better features at a significantly better price. The company is 100-percent confident that all its products will not only function perfectly but also exceed all expectations. Therefore, GPO USA has created an industry-leading Spectacular Lifetime Warranty™. With outstanding professional service, GPO USA will take care of its products before, during and after the purchase at no charge— EVER. Founded in 2016, GPO has its U.S. headquarters in Richmond, Va. For more information on GPO USA, visit www.gpo-usa.com or call 844-MY-BINOS (844-692-4667).

Bow Spider: The Ultimate Solution for Packing Compound Bows Afield

The product is proudly made in the USA and gives one percent of all sales to conservation. The company also offers veterans a 15 percent discount on all products.

  • You see the Buck, the Elk, the Moose…but your bow is somehow unreachable. Now, a proven solution.
  • Reduce FROM a the game of CHANCE…TO a game of CHOICE. 
  • Mount on your hip, on your treestand, on your backpack while hiking in. The Intuitive design makes bow retrieval fast and easy in any situation.

One of the big hassles of hunting with a compound bow is figuring out how to securely and safely pack and carry it afield, yet keep it handy enough that you can immediately spring into action should an unforeseen opportunity arise. The solution is simple: Bow Spider — the quickest and easiest bow retrieval system on the market. Whether you are a backpack hunter, spend your time up a tree, or need both hands free when crossing a field while carrying decoys, blinds, and other accessories, Bow Spider is the answer you’ve been looking for.

The concept is simple and revolves around a lightweight, roundish bow holder that comes with a sturdy belt and long bolts, allowing for multiple ways to secure your bow. Use the belt to attach your bow to your pack, hip, truck headrest, blind, or tree. Bow Spider can also be easily attached to a binocular harness or backpack. In fact, it can be mounted to any sturdy flat surface for secure and easy storage – even a wall.

Here’s how it works. An aluminum arm attaches to the bow’s riser, and slides into a slot on the lightweight, injection-molded receiver, which can be worn on the included belt or attached via long bolts to other objects. The bow is held securely in place via a gravity-locking system, yet slides out with minimal effort. You have to either pull it out or turn it upside down to get the bow out. With Bow Spider, you can:

  • Mount on Your Hip: Use the straps provided to mount the Bow Spider to your side using a belt or on your pack frame belt. Or you can attach it to your pack frame waist band. Both of these options provide for easy access while hiking or exploring for game as well as during professional archery shooting competitions.
  • Mount in Your Tree Stand: Use the Bow Spider to secure your bow when hunting from a tree stand for quick, quiet access. Carry it up securely on your back and cinch to the tree! This eliminates the need for a pull rope to pull your bow up after you are already in the tree stand. Once in the tree stand utilize the provided strap to attach the Bow Spider to the tree for quick access.
  • Use on Your Pack: You can choose either to temporarily or permanently mount Bow Spider to your pack. By using the provided straps it can be mounted temporarily. For a permanent or semi-permanent mount you can use the provided bolts. This is a true game changer for those long backcountry hikes.
  • Safe Storage for Home or Travel: Use the provided strap to affix the Bow Spider to your seat while driving. You can also screw the Bow Spider to the wall for long term storage in your home.

The Bow Spider is available in green, tan, or black, and has a MSRP of $84.95. To see how it works, check out this short YouTube video quick access: Click Here

When every second counts, quickly swing your bow into action thanks to the amazing new Bow Spider. For more information, and to order visit www.bowspider.com.

About Recreational Archery Development LLC (RAD, LLC): Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Kinnear, WY – RAD, LLC is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative products for the outdoor industry, including the Bow Spider brand of products. Bow Spider’s intuitive design makes bow retrieval fast and easy in any situation. The product is proudly made in the USA and gives one percent of all sales to conservation. The company also offers veterans a 15 percent discount on all products. (To take advantage of this offer, orders need to be called in directly to the company at (307) 438-9290.) For additional information on RAD, LLC and the Bow Spider brand of products write to: RAD, LLC, PO Box 171, Kinnear, WY 82516; call (307) 438-9290; email info@bowspider.com; visit www.bowspider.com.

Missouri: Conservation Area Visitors to Use Physical Distancing While Angling, Hiking

Enjoy the outdoors but follow fishing regulations and be courteous to others

Kansas City, Mo. – Trees are leafing out, morel mushrooms are emerging, and fish are active as nature’s dynamic spring patterns are unfolding. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages people to enjoy the outdoors, but MDC also encourages anglers, hikers, and hunters to observe COVID-19 physical distancing health precautions. Also, while fishing and turkey hunting seasons are open, the normal regulation and permit requirements apply.

MDC and partners provide angling opportunities in urban as well as rural areas. But anglers need to have proper fishing permits, said Conservation Agent Rachel Webster, who patrols Jackson County. MDC earlier temporarily waived permit requirements for sport fishing and daily trout tags, but that waiver ended on April 15, and normal fishing regulations now apply. Permits can be purchased online. To buy a fishing permit or to check on requirements, visit https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/permits.

MDC conservation areas offer trails or roads to hike upon. But visitors are reminded that health officials recommend physical distancing when outdoors as a coronavirus precaution. Also, hikers and morel hunters should be aware that Missouri’s three-week spring turkey hunting season is open through May 10. Turkey hunting ends daily at 1 p.m., so hikers are advised to visit conservation areas open to hunting in the afternoons.

Extending courtesy to fellow visitors at public conservation areas is a good idea at all times. MDC’s public lands are a shared resource. To find an MDC conservation area with fishing or hiking opportunities near your home, visit https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places.

Note: MDC has extended the cancellation of its programs and events through May 31, including hunter education classes, nature center programs and events, shooting range programs and events, and landowner workshops. Conservation areas, nature center trails, and boat accesses remain open to the public. Hunting, fishing, and trapping seasons continue as scheduled.

fishing

Photos: MDC encourages people to enjoy the outdoors, but do so while following guidelines issued by health officials as a precaution against COVID-19. Fishing and turkey hunting seasons are open, but normal permit and creel regulations apply. Conservation areas and public fishing lakes are shared resources, so use them with care and courtesy to others. Photos by Bill Graham, Missouri Department of Conservation

Vermont Walleye READY-TO-WACK to Wack Worm Harnesses May 2, Opening Day

Vermont Walleye Season opens May 2, 2020

The Vermont walleye fishing season will open on Saturday, May 2, marking the return of some of the best walleye fishing in New England.

Revered by many as one of the best-tasting fish in freshwater, the walleye is Vermont’s official warmwater fish. The state offers excellent spring walleye fishing opportunities in several lakes and rivers across the state. Opportunities include Lake Champlain and its tributaries – the Missisquoi, Lamoille and Winooski rivers and Otter Creek. In the Northeast Kingdom, Salem Lake and Island Pond also have walleye populations that are on the rebound thanks to stocking by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

A trio of additional waters – Lake Carmi, Chittenden Reservoir and the Connecticut River, also offer quality walleye fishing.

Veteran walleye anglers employ a variety of techniques, but one of the simplest and most effective methods is to slowly troll a nightcrawler harness near the bottom. Most nightcrawler harnesses include a rotating blade ahead of two hooks, where the worm is secured. The blade produces a fish-attracting flash and vibration.

Shore-based anglers can catch walleyes on nightcrawlers or live minnows or by casting crankbaits or hard jerk baits. Walleyes are generally more active at night, so fishing in the dark is often more effective.

As a reminder to anglers, there is no open season on sauger, a close cousin to the walleye. Once abundant in southern Lake Champlain, sauger still appear there rarely. If caught while fishing for other fish, sauger must be immediately released.

Anglers can read about current fishing regulations in the 2020 VERMONT FISHING GUIDE & REGULATIONS available free from Vermont license agents. To purchase a fishing license or learn more about fishing in Vermont, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com.

Vermonters are encouraged to get outside to enjoy fishing provided they can do so while meeting social distancing and other guidelines. In addition, to the greatest extent possible, outdoor activities should take place as close to home as possible to minimize travel and potential risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Please use good judgment to keep yourself and others safe and reduce the spread of the coronavirus:

  • Refrain from carpooling. Drive to your fishing spots only with your immediate family members and only if everyone is feeling well.
  • When fishing from shore, keep a distance of at least six feet between you and your companions.
  • Don’t share fishing gear with others. Each angler should have their own fishing gear (rod and reels, bait, lures, towels, pliers, and other personal items).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean your gear well after using it.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after fishing.
  • For information about staying safe while enjoying outdoor activities, check here: https://vtfishandwildlife.com/outdoor-recreation-and-covid-19
  • For more info on COVID-19 and health guidelines, visit: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus

What to Do When You See a Snake

What to Do When You See a Snake

  • Snakes are common across the United States, the Georgia DNR can help us understand more about snakes, then venomous and non-venomous types. 
Adult black racer snake, non-venomous, eats rats, mice, varmints.

By the Georgia DNR

As spring hits full stride, Daniel Sollenberger from Georgia DNR will field more calls and emails about snakes. And most will involve two questions: What species is this and what should I do?

As for the first question, seldom is the snake a venomous species, according to Sollenberger, a senior wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Whether it’s venomous, of course, is the concern or fear underlying most of the questions. Chances are it’s not. Only six of the 46 species native to Georgia are venomous and only one -the copperhead – usually thrives in suburban areas, which is where the majority of Georgians live.

“While at least one of Georgia’s six species of venomous snakes could be found in each county in the state, seldom are they the most common species encountered,” Sollenberger said.

Now to the second question: What should you do, or not do, if you see a snake?

  • You can try to identify it from a distance. Resources such as georgiawildlife.com/georgiasnakes, which includes DNR’s “Venomous Snakes of Georgia” brochure, can help.
  • Do not attempt to handle the snake. Give it the space it needs.
  • Remember that snakes are predators that feed on rodents, insects and even other snakes. There is no need to fear non-venomous snakes. Also, Georgia’s native non-venomous species are protected by state law, and the imperiled eastern indigo snake is federally protected.
  • If a clearly identified venomous snake is in an area where it represents a danger to people or pets, consult georgiawildlife.com/nuisancewildlife for a list of private wildlife removal specialists. Most bites occur when a snake is cornered or captured, and defending itself.

Non-venomous snakes such as scarlet king snake, eastern hognose and water snake species are frequently confused with their venomous counterparts—coral snakes, rattlesnakes and water moccasins, respectively. While pit vipers, which include all venomous species native to Georgia except for coral snakes, are often identified by their broad, triangular-shaped heads, many non-venomous snakes flatten their heads when threatened and may have color patterns similar to venomous species.

The bottom line: Use caution around any unidentified snake. For more on Georgia’s snakes, visit georgiawildlife.com/georgiasnakes. Also, “Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia” (University of Georgia Press) is a comprehensive reference.

Snake Insights

  • Benefits: While some snakes eat rodents and even venomous snakes, others prey on creatures some Georgians also many not want near their homes. Brown and red-bellied snakes, for example, feed on snails and slugs, the bane of gardeners. Crowned snake species primarily eat centipedes.
  • Baby snakes? Snakes such as earth and brown snake species are small and homeowners occasionally mistake them as juveniles. The common concern here: Are the parents nearby? Yet while some species are live-bearers and some are egg-bearers, snakes do not exhibit parental care. If there are parents, they are not watching over their offspring.
  • Prevention: To reduce the potential for snakes near your home, remove brush, log piles and other habitat features that attract mice, lizards and other animals on which snakes prey.

Help Conserve Wildlife

From eastern indigo snakes to bald eagles, DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section works to conserve rare and other Georgia wildlife not legally fished for or hunted, as well as rare plants and natural habitats. The agency depends primarily on fundraisers, grants and contributions. That makes public support key.

Georgians can help by supporting the state’s Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund. Here’s how:

  • Buy a DNR eagle or new monarch butterfly license plate, or renew one of the older plate designs, including the hummingbird. Most of the fees are dedicated to wildlife. Upgrade to a wild tag for only $25! Details at georgiawildlife.com/licenseplates.
  • Donate at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com. Click “Licenses and Permits” and log in to give. (New customers can create an account.) There’s even an option to round-up for wildlife.
  • Contribute to the Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund when filing state income taxes—line 30 on form 500 or line 10 on form 500EZ. Giving is easy and every donation helps.
  • Donate directly to the agency. Learn more at georgiawildlife.com/donations.
  • Purchase a hunting or fishing license. A one-day, $5 hunting/fishing license returns to Georgia wildlife that fee plus about $45 in federal excise taxes paid by hunters and anglers nationwide.

Visit georgiawildlife.com/conservation/annualreport to see how your support is put to work for wildlife.

Online Hunter Education Course Available For NY Hunters

Hunters ages 12 or older may purchase a license and head afield this spring.

  • The cost of the course is $19.95 
  • The online course will be available April 15 through June 30, 2020
Courtesy NYSDEC

First-time hunters who want to hunt during New York’s turkey hunting seasons must first earn a hunter education certificate prior to purchasing their first hunting license. This applies to both the regular season, May 1-31, and the youth (ages 12-15) turkey hunting weekend April 25-26. Unfortunately, all traditional hunter education courses have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many new hunters unable to get a certificate before spring turkey season.

Now there is a new option for earning a hunter education certificate. For a limited time, first-time hunters in New York can complete the required hunter education course entirely online.

The online course is available to anyone ages 11 and older and can be completed from a computer, tablet, or smartphone at any time. Students who complete the online course and virtual field day, and pass the final exam, will receive their hunter education certificate and can purchase a hunting license.

Only those hunters ages 12 or older may purchase a license and head afield this spring.

The cost of the course is $19.95. The online course will be available April 15 through June 30, 2020 on the Kalkomey website.

NEW Sunday Hunting LAW – Pennsylvania Celebrates More Hunting for Everyone

Sunday hunting means more time in the woods for everyone. NSSF Photo.

  • The addition of just these 3 days allows for working mothers and fathers to take their children to pass along shared hunting traditions.
  • Priceless
The New Bill would allow Sunday hunting one day during rifle deer season, one during statewide archery deer season and a third day to be selected by Pennsylvania’s Game Commission. NSSF Photo

The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) has made Sunday hunting a priority issue in Pennsylvania. NSSF led the Sunday Hunting Coalition, along with 15 other like-minded hunting and conservation groups and outdoor retail businesses. NSSF was successful in recent years in bringing Sunday hunting to North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and South Carolina. Maine and Massachusetts still have outright Sunday hunting bans, and several states still restrict hunting, including allowing hunting only on private lands.

Sunday hunting means more time in the woods for everyone. NSSF Photo.

NSSF applauds the Pennsylvania legislature for passing legislation that will allow for Sunday hunting in the Keystone State for the first time in more than 100 years. The Pennsylvania state Senate approved S. 147 in a vote of 38-11, sending the bill to Gov. Tom Wolf, who has committed to signing the measure into law.

“Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania is a phenomenal victory for sportsmen and women,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “This simple act removes the barrier to many to enjoy and pass along to the next generation of conservationist-hunters the respect for sustainable wildlife and the hunting traditions for which Pennsylvania is proud. We thank the legislature for their foresight to work diligently to this outcome. This is a tectonic shift in policy and one that will benefit Pennsylvania’s conservation, growth in outdoor recreation and economic impact.”

The Pennsylvania legislation would allow Sunday hunting one day during rifle deer season, one during statewide archery deer season and a third day to be selected by Pennsylvania’s Game Commission. Pennsylvania sold 855,486 hunting licenses in 2018. The addition of just these three days allows for working mothers and fathers to take three more days in the woods and marshes with their children to pass along shared hunting traditions.

The economic benefit to removing all Sunday hunting barriers in the Keystone State would inject $764,291,489 in total economic contribution, including jobs, output, and wages created from hunter expenditures ranging from licenses, ammunition, and hunting supplies to food, fuel, and magazines.

About NSSF: The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

Over-Under Turkey Gun, Close or Far: CZ Reaper Magnum

  • This 12-gauge camo shotgun ships with 6 interchangeable choke tubes, including an extra-full version.
  • Picatinny rail mount option for optic addition is included.
  • QD swivels are attached at front and back

Whether the shot is longer-range or considerably closer, the CZ Reaper Magnum over-and-under offers choke tube options to fill your turkey tag. Outfit one barrel of this 12-gauge turkey gun with a tight choke, the other with a more open variation, then you’re good for that big tom at nearly any distance by merely flipping the barrel selector switch on the Reaper Magnum.

You can even match your shells to the chokes you have selected. For example, fit one barrel with an extra full choke and load it with a magnum turkey load for that 45-yard shot, and a less powerful shell with a more open choke in the other barrel when a bird suddenly pops up at 18 feet. Try that with a semi-automatic or pump shotgun!

The 3.5-inch chambers of the Reaper Magnum allow the use of nearly any 12-gauge turkey shells, while the automatic ejectors vigorously pop out the empties. The shotgun’s 26-inch barrels makes this O/U very maneuverable in the field, whether hunting from a blind or sitting with your back against a tree trunk. Prefer an optic for your turkey hunting? A Picatinny rail mount is included just above the chamber on the rear of the barrels, making any optic an easy addition.

The CZ Reaper Magnum’s sturdy polymer stock can take all that Mother Nature has to offer, and the Realtree Xtra® Green Camo finish will hide this shotgun from those sharp-eyed turkeys. QD swivels are attached at the front and back, and the shotgun ships with six (6) extended, interchangeable choke tubes, including an extra-full version.

Retail cost: $993.

For more information, please visit WWW.CZ-USA.COM.

CZ Reaper Magnum Specs:

  • SKU: 06588
  • Chambering.: 12 Gauge
  • Operation: Over and Under
  • Max Shell Length: 3 ½ in.
  • Barrel Length: 26 in.
  • Rib: 8mm Flat Vent
  • Chokes: 6 Extended Black tubes, including C, IC, LM, M, IM, EXTRA FULL
  • Stock: Polymer, Realtree Xtra® Green Camo
  • Overall Length: 44 ¼ in.
  • Weight: 7 lbs.
  • Length of Pull: 14 ½ in.

Tips for Fishing Businesses and Guides…from the Recreational Fishing Alliance

Photo courtesy of Branson Vistors Bureau

  • Marinas and tackle shops can now apply for available loans  
  • See the useful list (link below) that allows a review of the COVID-19 mitigation rules by state.
  • CARES Act includes forgivable loans to pay for up to eight weeks of payroll, including benefits.
Marinas and marine-related recreational industries of America can apply for assistance right now. Forrest Fisher photo

Just about every business in the recreational fishing industry has been impacted by COVID-19 and actions taken by federal, state and local governments to slow the spread of the novel virus.

Small businesses including marinas and tackle shops can now apply for loans available through the Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans are part of the $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package, CARES ACT, passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last week.

The CARES Act includes upwards of $350 million of forgivable loans to pay for up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including benefits. The loans can also be used to pay mortgages, rent, and utilities. These loans become available at a time when many recreational fishing related businesses are experiencing massive declines in revenue and shortfalls with cash flow. These loans may prove to be extremely helpful for businesses and their employees to get through the next two months as policies remain in place to minimize the impact of the virus on our nation. Use the following link to learn more about these loans and to check your eligibility. https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

While there has been guidance and financial support provided at the federal level, most policies regarding social distancing, essential businesses and stay at home orders have been carried out at the state and local levels. Thus, policies that impact our ability to go recreational fishing and recreational fishing businesses vary from state to state. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has put together a useful list that allows you to review the COVID-19 mitigation rules by each state. Use the following link to review the various policies.

http://nmma.net/assets/cabinets/Cabinet488/NMMA_COVID%20State%20Resources%20One%20Pager_3.31.20.pdf

If you have specific questions regarding financial assistance programs or measures in your particular state don’t hesitate to contact us.

It is also important to remember that anglers have a responsibility to comply with social distancing rules even when outside fishing.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to follow these guidelines not only for the sake of public health but also so we are allowed to continue fishing during these trying times.

About the Recreational Fishing Alliance: The chartered mission of the RFA is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation’s saltwater fisheries – that is our constitution, it is what we live by every single day on your behalf as a recreational fisherman – from a recreational perspective, it’s all about the fish, the fishermen and the fishing industry. Click here to learn more.

New York is Open for Hunting, Spring Turkey Season Starts May 1

Joe Forma Photo

  • Youth Spring Turkey Hunting Weekend is April 25-26
  • Regular NYS Turkey Season opens May 1
  • Hunters Should Always Follow Safety Tips to Prevent Injuries and Limit Spread of COVID-19

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that spring turkey season opens May 1 in all of Upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. In addition, DEC’s annual youth turkey hunting weekend will take place on April 25-26. The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters aged 12 to 15 is open in all of Upstate New York and Suffolk County.

The big gobbler “tom” struts in. Photo by Joe Forma

“Many New Yorkers are eager to spend time outdoors and turkey hunting is one great way to reconnect to nature,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Whether participating in the upcoming youth hunt with your children or heading out on your own in pursuit of a wary gobbler, be sure to hunt safe and hunt smart by following the important guidelines in place both to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to support hunting safety.”

Turkey hunters took about 17,000 birds in New York during the 2019 spring season. Spring harvest success is often tied to productivity two years prior, as hunters like to focus on adult gobblers (i.e., two-year-old birds). While the cold, wet start to the 2019 breeding season meant low reproductive success and poor recruitment in many areas, conditions were better in summer 2018. The population gains made in 2018, combined with good overwinter survival because of abundant food in the fall and relatively mild winter conditions this year, may offset 2019’s poor reproductive success.

Important Details for the Youth Turkey Hunt on April 25 and 26

  • Hunters 12-15 years of age are eligible and must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit;
  • Youth 12-13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or adult over 21 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian. Youth 14-15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or adult over 18 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian;
  • The accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and turkey permit. The adult may assist the youth hunter, including calling, but may not carry a firearm, bow, or crossbow, or kill or attempt to kill a wild turkey during the youth hunt;
  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day;
  • The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and in Suffolk County;
  • The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth’s regular spring season bag limit of two bearded birds. A second bird may be taken only in Upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary, beginning May 1;
  • Crossbows may only be used by hunters age 14 or older. In Suffolk and Westchester counties it is illegal to use a crossbow to hunt wild turkeys; and
  • All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

Other Important Details for the Spring Turkey Season, May 1-31, 2020:

  • Hunting is permitted in most areas of the state, except for New York City and Long Island;
  • Hunters must have a turkey hunting permit in addition to their hunting license;
  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day;
  • Hunters may take two bearded turkeys during the spring season, but only one bird per day;
  • Hunters may not use rifles or handguns firing a bullet. Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun loaded with shot sizes no larger than No. 2 or smaller than No. 8, or with a bow or crossbow (except crossbows may not be used in Westchester County);
  • Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with their turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested;
  • Successful hunters must report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird. Call 1-866-426-3778 (1-866 GAMERPT) or report harvest online at DEC’s Game Harvest Reporting website; and

For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2019-20 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the “Turkey Hunting” pages of DEC’s website.

Hunt Safe, Hunt Smart!

While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made each year. Every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and DEC encourages hunters to use common sense this season and remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunter Education Course:

  • Point your gun in a safe direction;
  • Treat every gun as if it were loaded;
  • Be sure of your target and beyond;
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot; and
  • Stalking stinks! Set-up with your back against a tree or other object wider than your shoulders and call birds to you.

DEC also encourages all hunters to wear blaze orange or blaze pink when moving between hunting spots to make themselves more visible to other hunters. A blaze orange or blaze pink vest or other material can be hung in a nearby tree when you are set-up and calling birds so other hunters are alerted to your presence.

A hunter education class is required for all new hunters. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, hunter education courses have been cancelled through April 30. To find a hunter education class in your area, visit DEC’s Hunter Education Program website or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332).

“Hunting Safe” now means following social distancing /other guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Purchase licenses and/or turkey permits online to avoid visiting busy stores or because stores may be closed or have limited hours. Licenses and tags purchased online take 10-14 days to arrive, so online purchases for the youth turkey hunt should be made by April 10, and for the regular season by April 16;
  • Hunt close to home. Opt for day trips instead of staying at a hunting camp to avoid close contact with other hunters;
  • Avoid crowds at parking areas and other locations where people congregate. Keep a distance of six feet or more from others;
  • Avoid high-traffic destinations. If a hunting location is crowded, choose a different spot or time to visit. For alternative hunting locations visit DEC’s website.
  • Hunt alone. If hunting with someone not from your household, whether an adult or youth, practice social distancing, take separate vehicles to the hunting location, and make sure to maintain at least six feet of distance. Only share a hunting blind with someone from your household;
  • Carry hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face and wash mouth calls after handling; and
  • If hunters do not feel well, they should stay home. Anyone 70 and older or with a compromised immune system should postpone their trip.
  • For more information about getting outdoors and #RecreateLocal, go to DEC’s Website.

Buy Sporting Licenses Online

DEC is encouraging hunters, trappers, and anglers to purchase sporting licenses online to help further limit the community spread of COVID-19. Sporting licenses may be purchased online at any time, and anglers may use their privileges immediately by simply carrying their transaction number (DEC-LS#) with them while afield. Anglers, hunters, and trappers may also use the HuntFishNY mobile app to display an electronic copy of their license. The HuntFishNY app is available for download through the Apple App or Google Play stores. Back tags and carcass tags must still be mailed, and customers should allow 10-14 days for receipt of their tags. Please visit our website for more information about sporting licenses.

Citizen Science Opportunity: DEC Seeks Turkey Hunters for Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey

Turkey hunters can record the number of ruffed grouse they hear drumming while afield to help DEC track the distribution and abundance of this game bird. To get a survey form, go to DEC’s website or call (518) 402-8883. To participate in DEC’s Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey or other wildlife surveys, visit the “Citizen Science” page of DEC’s website.

Snook on the Hook – Sanibel Island, Florida

  • Live bait, long semi-stiff rods, braided line, fluoro leaders and sharp 4/0 circle hooks
  • Add a teaspoon of courage, hold your breath, cast under mangrove trees
  • Fish with a friend as often as you can, it’s more than just fun!
Rich Perez (left) and son, Richie, enjoy a peaceful and fun-filled day catching snook and watching wildlife in Southwest Florida.

By Forrest Fisher

Hey dad, “Can you cast your line right under those mangrove trees near that little fallen log over there, the snook and redfish like those kinds of places.” Richie Perez was sharing his growing expertise on saltwater fishing with his retired dad, Rich Sr., near his home a short distance away from San Carlos Bay. The clear saltwater between Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach in Southwest Florida has been attracting forage and predator fish since the days of pirates.

“The tide is ebbing right now and as soon as we see the flow begin around the pilings of the boat docks and the overhanging mangrove trees, the fish seem to get instantly hungry. It happens so fast, it’s bang, bang, bang, fish-on. You’re gonna love it dad!”

Richie started his day right after sunrise, tossing a 10-foot diameter net to catch pinfish and pilchards for bait.

Richie had started his day at sunrise, tossing his large cast net to catch bait that included pinheads and pilchards, all between four to seven inches long, or so. I was excited to be with my Vietnam era Navy buddy, as Rich (Sr.) had invited me to join him and his son for a few hours of saltwater fishing fun. Like most winter days in southwest Florida, it was sunny, there was a gentle breeze and the water color was perfect, seemingly sounding the “breakfast bugle” for the fish and calling all sensible fishermen to get a line in the water. We had met Richie at his Caloosahatchee River boat dock about 10 a.m. The 42-year old youngster sounded confident, totally in-charge of providing a great day of fishing ahead. It was so good to be here.

As Richie hopped onto the dock, he hollered over, “Good morning gentlemen! Are you ready for some fishing?!” The promise in his voice was totally reassuring. “We’re gonna go fishing today for a few different types of fish, but we might catch quite a few snook, that ok?” Are you kidding me? Gotta love this kid. Richie continued, “Snook can grow really big, even to 40 inches, sometimes more, but we usually catch daytime Florida snook in the 20-30 inch range, sometimes redfish and speckled trout too. Sometimes other fish as well, they all fight so hard, it’s fun.” My heart was picking up speed.

Richie added, ”We have the right bait, my 7-foot rods with Penn 40 series open-face reels are filled with 30-pound Power-Pro braid – easy to cast, and 4-foot/40-pound fluorocarbon leaders. There’s a 4/0 hook on the end of the leader and we’ll use live pinfish for bait. They’re in the baitwell.” We left the dock and motored downstream toward Sanibel Island. Geez, this was exciting. The 24-foot Key West fiberglass boat with a 300HP Yamaha came up on plane very quickly, it didn’t take very long to get us there. I felt like I was sitting next to Ricky Clunn at the 2020 Bassmaster Classic in Alabama as the boat hit 50 mph heading down the channel. I had two hands on my hat!

Rich Sr. found fish and sometimes, a tall tree, as we tossed lines along the mangrove inlets of the canals near Fort Myers and Sanibel Island.

We started off fishing in the mangrove-lined canals near the Shell Point, a modernistic retirement community of popular condominiums for retirees. These are a semi-high rise, resort-style home that includes the option of assisted living and recreational life. I made a mental note to myself that I need to check that place out for my wife and I, getting old is something to think about, but not for long. As we approached, a dolphin was making a ruckus crashing the surface in the lead canal entranceway. Splash! Splash! Zoom, Turn, Zoom, Zoom. Splash! Splash! Slurp! Slurp! Incredible. We waited and watched as this astonishing sea mammal fed, swimming back and forth, thrashing the surface. I wondered if the dolphins were enjoying snook and trout and redfish for breakfast. Life is so big and so real in the ocean waters, perhaps like all else in wild nature, but it felt good to be here to see all this nature living their life in the sunshine. I’m from western New York. This stuff helps make a guy feel younger and baby-faced…mesmerized.

Snook, redfish and large sea trout all pounce on live bait under the mangroves, sometimes they hit it and run, only taking a small bite. The result is having the fun of talking out loud to a missed fish and laughing. We did a lot of that.
Richie caught snook after snook in one area of the bay where the tidal currents were gathering baitfish with the incoming flow.

Richie walked us through what to do with the rod/reel gear, how to bait to the hook, cast the rods, feather the spools, and the details of a double uni-knot, for the leader to braid union. The baitfish were lip-hooked sideways near their nose, then we cast out to the edge of the overhanging mangroves. When we started casting with those wide-gap 4/0 hooks and uneducated cast-control fingers, we caught a few tall critters. Some of those mangrove trees were 30-feet tall! Yeah, we laughed a lot, our casting skills helped keep Richie busy, though Rich and I were trying to be more careful. There were lots of trees. We crossed lines a few times, caught a few more trees and while it slowed us up a little, but each 20 to 30 footer gave another chance to offer condolences. Not sure we never stopped chuckling. “Mine was bigger. No, mine was bigger.” We were talking about trees. It went on all day. I felt like we were both 20 years old again.

Restarting old memories can be such a good thing. Toward the end of the fish day – five hours later, we had learned how to cast, thanks to the patience of Richie re-tying our leaders and hooks with a smile, ok…maybe it was a grin.

As the tide started to pick up, I realized that Richie had both of us elders on a training mission for prime time. This clever kid was amazing. We had actually become quite accurate as live bait casters. We started to catch plenty of fish. Fish on! Where’s the net? Got it. A nice snook. They’re a gorgeous looking fish. Five minutes later, fish on! I got the net. It went on like that for a while.

We had hooked snook, jacks, and redfish. Many more snook than other species, most were about 24-28 inches long, as Richie had thought they would be.

Hungry dolphins can be found in the canals and in the open waters of the bay that surround Sanibel and Pine Island. They’re fun to watch!

Everything we caught was carefully released without harm to grow again in support of a healthy fishery.

We had watched dolphins swim within 50 feet of us, huge manatees too, in the warming canals and natural tidal inlets near Shell Point.

We watched many forms of wildlife, including birds that included hundreds of beautiful white egrets, multiple pelican species, fish hawks, a majestic bald eagle perched high on a leafless tree on Picnic Island and many other species. The bright sunshine seemed to energize all forms of life here, us old guys too.

Any time that you can spend on or near the water is precious. Precious beyond description.

When you can do that with friends to reconnect with fun times from the past, make exciting new memories, fight with a few trees, laugh, land a few fish, laugh more, it is only then that you realize such moments are unforgettable and they may have added a few extra years for all of us.

That adrenalin laugh pump, you know, the anti-aging motor…gets turned on.

Laughing, joking, catching fish, it’s so good for the soul.

Southwest Florida in winter is an excellent place to start. My better half and I are going back very soon.

Beaches, Sun, Fish.

Get fishing with an old friend soon. It can be unforgettable. Wait a minute, let me write that down. Do you know what I mean?

 

 

150 Venomous Snakes found in Private Home

  • Illegal Exotic Snake Breeding Den Identified in Orange County, New York
  • 157 Venomous Snakes removed
  • 29 species in all
Brown-spotted Pit Viper seized during the warrant. NYSDEC photo.

This year on Feb. 20, a Newburgh, NY man pled guilty to misdemeanor commercialization charges and agreed to pay a $500 fine related to the possession of more than 150 venomous snakes seized from his home.

On Jun. 2, 2019, St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital contacted NYSDEC at Central Dispatch reporting a subject was bitten by a venomous snake. The subject received several doses of antivenom. Darren Paolini explained he was bitten by a Taiwanese Pit Viper (Ovophis Makazayazaya) at his residence where he was attempting to breed the snakes. He was bitten on the left hand and transported himself to St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital for treatment,  then was transferred to Jacobi Medical in the Bronx.

At Jacoby Medical, Paolini made a voluntary statement to ECO Ryan Kelly that he gets the snakes from importers, breeds them, and then trades the baby snakes for new snakes. Paolini stated that he had approximately 50 Pit Vipers and two Coral Snakes at his residence.

Pygmy Rattlesnake seized during the warrant. NYSDEC photo.

On Jun. 3, 2019, Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigations (BECI) Investigator Jeff Conway obtained a search warrant for Paolini’s residence. The warrant was executed the following day with support from staff from the Bronx Zoo, who assisted with handling, transporting, and housing the snakes.

In total, investigators seized 157 live venomous snakes and 31 dead venomous snakes, representing 29 distinct species. Several years of breeding records were also seized.

No matter where you travel, stay aware, watch where you walk.

Bill to Recruit, Retain, Reactivate Hunters Heads to Trump’s Desk

Bipartisan legislation to keep the government open and invest in conservation to become law 

By Randall Williams

Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have passed a bill to safeguard hunting traditions, while paving the way for new investments in conservation.  

Bipartisan legislation to fund the government through September 2020 cleared both chambers and included language allowing excise taxes on firearms and ammunition to be used to address declining hunting participation.  The Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act was one of several key wins in the year-end appropriations bill.

“In times of political rancor, it’s clear that conservation and outdoor recreation unite people from all walks of life,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. This legislation invests in the future of hunting and fishing, public land access, habitat restoration, and ensuring healthy waterwaysWe are thrilled that it is making its way to the President’s desk and we look forward to seeing it become law.”

The bill also included $495 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, $200 million for Everglades restoration to reduce harmful algal blooms, $55 million for WaterSMART grants to strengthen fisheries and water efficiency, and $175 million for NRCS Watershed and Flood Prevention Operationsand $73 million for the Chesapeake Bay. 

Alabama’s 1st Sandhill Crane Hunting Season Deemed a Success

  • This is the first of four experimental seasons under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations
  • In Alabama, 400 permits were issued with 3 bird tags/permit (1,200)
  • Alabama permit numbers and management plans are expected to the same for 2021
Click the picture to review Alabama FAQ – understand details, visit the questions and answers here.

By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Another warm winter left Alabama’s duck hunters frustrated, but those who were lucky enough to score a permit for the first sandhill crane season in the state were elated. Although not all of the 400 crane permit holders were able to harvest one of the large birds, those who did, raved about the new hunting opportunity.

Jason Russell of Gadsden, Alabama, and his 17-year-old son, Grayson, both drew permits, which allowed a harvest of three birds each. The first order of business was to secure a place to hunt sandhills in the hunting zone in north Alabama. Fortunately, a friend from Birmingham had connections with a landowner near the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, and they were granted permission to hunt. “We were excited to get an opportunity to hunt the sandhills,” said Russell, an avid duck hunter and award-winning decoy carver. “We’d seen them around for years. We really didn’t know the reality of what it would take to kill one. Once we were drawn, we thought we’d give it a shot. We bought decoys and got ready. What was interesting this year, everywhere I went, I saw cranes. At Weiss Lake, at Guntersville, everywhere we went, we at least saw cranes flying.”

On the morning of the first hunt, the Russell’s saw several cranes in the field they planned to hunt and saw several more in the air. After setting up their decoys, both full-body and silhouettes, they settled into their blinds. “Within 20 minutes we had a group of birds fly 15 yards over our decoys,” Jason said. “We ended up letting them go because we were so awestruck that our setup actually worked. We were kind of surprised. Another 20-30 minutes went by and groups of two and three came by. On our first hunt, three of us had permits, and we killed six birds on an afternoon hunt that lasted maybe two or three hours. We were pretty excited that you could actually decoy them. After duck and goose hunting for 30 years, this gives hunting a new twist and new excitement.”

The Russell’s had planned to hunt cranes just like they would geese in an open field with layout blinds. They soon discovered natural vegetation helped them hide much better. “There was some scrub brush sticking up,” Jason said. “I thought, well, let’s at least be comfortable. There was enough brush to where we could get hidden. We put our full-bodies out at 20 yards, hid our faces and kept our heads down. We were shooting decoying birds at 15 to 20 yards.”

The hunters left that area undisturbed for three weeks before attempting a second hunt. They were even more awestruck when they arrived at the hunting land. Jason needed two birds to fill his tags, while Grayson only needed one. “When we got there, there must have been between 200 and 300 sandhills in the field,” Jason said. “After we got set up, three birds came in and I doubled up.” With only one tag left, the cranes seemed hesitant to decoy.

Jason Russell, center, and his two sons, Grayson left, and Jonathan, shows the results of a successful sandhill crane hunt in north Alabama. Photo courtesy of Jason Russell

The Russells soon figured out that trying to mix crane hunting and goose hunting might not work very well. “We had put out full-body goose decoys to try to kill a few geese while we were there,” Jason said. “It was interesting that the cranes seemed to be skirting our decoys. We decided either we were going to have to move or do something different. We made the decision to pull all the goose decoys. By the time we pulled the last goose decoy and got back in the blind, we had a pair of sandhills at 15 yards. My son rolled his out, and we were done. It could have been a coincidence that we pulled the goose decoys and we killed one, but I feel like they flared off of the full-body goose decoys. We were just catching the cranes traveling from one field to another. I guess they decided to drop into our decoys to see what was going on.”

Before the hunt, Russell was afraid that it might be possible to mistake a protected whooping crane for a sandhill crane. That turned out to be an unrealized worry. “One of my fears was being able to identify the birds if we were in low light,” he said. “Sometimes when you get the sun wrong, you can’t see color that well. I thought we were going to have to be really careful to look out for whooping cranes. But that was not a problem. The whooping cranes stood out like a sore thumb. We made sure there was no shooting at all when those were in the area. And we never shot into big groups of sandhills. We never shot into groups of more than four birds. I felt like we didn’t educate them for the most part. If people will be smart and shoot the birds in the decoys or really close, then it will be a good thing for years to come.”

Jason said it was “awesome” that he and Grayson both got permits in the first year of the new sandhill season. “To get to shoot our sandhills together was special,” Jason said. “On our first hunt, we shot into a group of three birds and each of us got one. It was really exciting to get to have that moment of father-son hunting. It was just a neat, awesome experience that we will never be able to share again in waterfowling.”

Jason took his youngest son, 13-year-old Jonathan, on the second hunt to share the experience although Jonathan wasn’t able to hunt. “I just wanted him to see it,” Jason said. “I was excited for him to get to watch and hear the sounds of how loud those birds really are. It was amazing. He carried one of the birds, it was a big, mature bird and he cradled that thing all the way out of the field.”

The excitement wasn’t over for the Russells when they prepared the crane for the dinner table. “Cooking them was phenomenal,” Jason said. “We cooked some one night and took a little to a church group. One of the guys who doesn’t eat wild game said it was the best meal he’s eaten in his life. It was very flavorful. I thought it would be more like a duck, but it wasn’t. We enjoy eating duck, but I could eat way more sandhills. It was just so tender. I’ve always heard sandhills were the ribeye of the sky. Now I believe it. When you put it in your mouth, it tasted like steak. It was tender and juicy. Oh my gosh, it was so good.”

Seth Maddox, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Migratory Game Bird Coordinator, said the duck season was indeed disappointing, but he was enthusiastic about the first sandhill season.

The final results of the sandhill season won’t be available for a couple more weeks to allow permit holders to complete their post-season surveys. Maddox said he expects the final numbers to be in line with other states with sandhill seasons. “From the hunters we’ve talked to, it seems to be a pretty successful sandhill season,” Maddox said. “We’re expecting a harvest rate of about 30 percent, which will be a little more than 300 birds.” Maddox said the warm winter not only caused diminished duck numbers in Alabama but also affected the sandhill population.

“Sandhill numbers were a little below normal for the birds we typically over-winter here in Alabama,” he said. “Our 5-year average is 15,000 birds. This year, we estimated the population at 12,000, which made for a little tougher conditions for hunters. The birds tended to concentrate in areas closer to the refuges.”

Maddox said the sandhill season is the first of four as an experimental season under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations. He said the number of permits (400) and tags (1,200) will be the same next year.

Alabama’s sandhill harvest rate is similar to that of Tennessee and Kentucky, which surprises Maddox a bit.

“Our season was probably a little better than I expected,” he said. “Our hunters had never done it before. They had to find people willing to give them access to hunting land. Hunters got to make new friends. I think it was a very successful season.”

Does Your Venison Taste Awful? How NOT to Let It Happen Again

  • DO carry a small, sharp, pocketknife, DO NOT use a bone saw of any type
  • DO make a good shot, DO field dress quickly, DO watch the temperature
  • DO thaw frozen venison slowly for best taste

By Jason Houser

When grinding burger, we add beef fat at a ratio of 3:1 (three pounds venison per pound of fat).

I hear people all the time say they do not like the taste of deer. Some people say that just because they know what they are eating and have a preconceived notion that it will not be good. Others have legit gripes. Mainly due to poor handling by the hunter from the time of the kill up until it was cooked.

This often results in gamey, tough meat.

Here are some tips to help combat bad-tasting venison:

  • Hunting in the real world is not like the Outdoor Channel portrays it to be. Hunters make bad shots from time to time and the deer has to be tracked for a while. Shot placement and the stress the animal received while being trailed plays a significant role in gamey meat. The faster a deer dies, the sooner it can be field dressed. This will reduce the amount of acid that builds up in the deer’s muscles. Concentrate on making a good shot with bow or firearm.
  • Hunters often fail to get the deer cooled as quickly as possible. The first step it to field dress the animal immediately. When possible, wash out the cavity with cool water, but be sure to dry the cavity out as the water to avoid creating a breeding ground for bacteria. If the temperatures outside are in the mid-40s or less, it’s OK to let the deer hang. Anything warmer and the deer needs to hang in a walk-in cooler, or it needs to get skinned, quartered and put on ice if you do not have a walk-in.
  • A whitetail deer is not hard to quarter.
    If at all possible, process your own deer to ensure it is handled properly and then you know you get all your venison back in return.

    Because of how joint and tissue are held together with a deer, a simple pocketknife will have a deer quartered quicker than you might think. However, if you use a saw of any type to cut through bone, it allows bone marrow and small pieces of bone shavings to get from the saw to the meat. Stick with a sharp knife and your meat will be free of small bone pieces that can contaminate the meat.

  • Growing up as a kid, I can remember how much my dad loved the taste of fat from a good cut of beef. The same DOES NOT hold true with deer fat. Simply stated, deer fat tastes awful. It is not red meat, cut it off before it is made into steaks or burgers. This includes all fat AND silver skin.
  • Recently, I began using cutting boards from John Boos & Company for this, particularly their Northern Hard Rock Maple cutting boards. The antimicrobial properties of these cutting boards actually kill bacteria, making them one of the cleanest and safest cutting boards on the market for hunters like you and me. A lot of home processors are concerned with contamination, by using this type of cutting board a lot of worries can be washed away.

    The antimicrobial properties of John Boos & Co. Northern Hard Rock Maple boards actually kill bacteria.
  • Every year before deer season begins, we call the local butcher shop for an order of beef suet. Even though we removed all of the deer fat, we need to add some sort of fat, whether beef or pork, when grinding it. If this is not done the lean venison will quickly fall apart when making burgers, meatloaf, etc. We add beef fat at a ratio of 3:1 (three pounds venison per pound of fat).
  • If you have the means, the time and the knowledge I recommend processing all your deer yourself.
    Good venison starts immediately upon the harvest.

    When you take a deer to a meat locker, you cannot be sure how the meat is handled, or if you even get your own deer back. For all you know you could be getting someone else’s deer back that was gut-shot and not properly handled after the shot. If you have to take a deer to a processor, research the facility by talking to other hunters who have used it, and also speak with the workers. Hopefully, they will be honest with you.

  • Do not overcook venison. Cooking deer for too long causes it to become chewy and dry. Venison is best prepared to medium-rare, but the outside needs to be cooked. To accomplish this, the grill must be hot enough to quickly sear the outside and lock in the flavors and juices. Turn your venison only once, and if there are no grill marks on the steak or burgers after three minutes or so, the grate is not hot enough.
  • Freezer-burned food, whether it is venison or other food, does not taste good. Some people use a vacuum sealer, but if you go this route, buy a good one. A cheap one will not seal properly and then will not keep the food fresh. When we butcher our deer, we make wrapping the meat a family affair with all involved. We put one-pound portions of burger in sandwich bags and the steaks and roasts are wrapped with plastic wrap (air isolator). After the plastic wrap, it is then wrapped again with good freezer paper and taped closed. We write on each package what cut of meat, who killed it and the date of the kill.

I hope this advice helps you have a meal that tastes great. A couple of other quick tips is the younger the deer, the better, more tender it will be. But this might not settle well with trophy hunters.

KEY POINTS:

  • What many cooks do not know is to thaw venison slowly to prevent toughness
  • Serve venison hot and keep the remainder hot to prevent it from getting a waxy taste.

Soutwest Florida spotted seatrout remains CATCH & RELEASE ONLY through May 31, 2020

Spotted seatrout will remain catch-and-release through May 31, 2020, in waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line south through Gordon Pass in Collier County. This includes all waters of Tampa Bay. Red drum and snook are also included in these red tide-related catch-and-release measures. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several rule changes for spotted seatrout at its December Commission meeting that will go into effect across the state Feb. 1, 2020, but these new rule changes do not replace the current catch-and-release only measures in southwest Florida. 

Spotted seatrout will remain catch-and-release only in that region through May 31, 2020, even after the new statewide regulations go into effect Feb. 1. 

The Commission plans to discuss the catch-and-release measures for southwest Florida at its February meeting and may consider reopening snook early.

At its May meeting in Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) extended several fisheries management conservation measures for red drum, snook and spotted seatrout in areas of southwest Florida impacted by a prolonged red tide that occurred from November 2017 through mid-February 2019.

The extension for red drum, snook and spotted seatrout will go into effect May 11 and will apply from the Pasco-Hernando county line south (including all waters of Tampa Bay) through Gordon Pass in Collier County. Previously approved catch-and-release measures, including no harvest of spotted seatrout over 20 inches, remain in effect through May 10.

Changes effective May 11:

  • Snook and red drum will remain catch-and-release only for an additional year through May 31, 2020.
  • Spotted seatrout will be catch-and-release only, including no commercial harvest through May 31, 2020.

The approved changes will give these important fisheries additional time to recover from red tide. Staff will continue monthly monitoring of local red drum, snook and spotted seatrout populations throughout the coming year to help determine whether these species are rebuilding under the temporary management measures.

Staff will also revisit the snook extension in early 2020 to determine if that species may be reopened to harvest earlier than May 31, 2020.

The staff has been working with partners including Coastal Conservation Association Florida, Duke Energy and Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium to raise and release red drum and snook into southwest Florida waters to help address red tide impacts.

Learn more about these and other fisheries at MyFWC.com/Marine.

Links for more information:

Captain Ryan Lee Kane, one-of-a-kind “Fishing Master of the Sea”

  • Gulf of Mexico fishing for giant powerful saltwater fish, and Red Snapper too
  • Cruise at 70 mph, listen to your favorite tunes, enjoy a cold beverage…unforgettable fun
  • Fish, Swim, Winter Fun – 100 miles offshore, if you like

CLICK picture for a video of an incredible fish trip to the Gulf of Mexico near Sanibel, Florida. Courtesy of  Dan James Rod Company

By Forrest Fisher

If you’re looking for fishing fun, there is just one place to look when you visit South Florida. At Sanibel Marina, you will meet one of the best charter captains that ever took up the art of sharing time on the water with clients. His name is Captain Ryan Kane of Southern Instinct Charters, an ordinary genius on the water, who fishes with the most sensitive and most durable Dan James fishing rods.

The 42-foot Prowler can travel quickly and provide a smooth ride, even in rough seas.

His clients enjoy a smooth ride with stereo tunes of their choice as Captain Kane tools along in his 42-foot long Prowler, a comfortable signature boat, aptly equipped with four 350 Hp Mercury Verado engines. The result is 70+ mph boat speed that provides for a very short ride to the fishing grounds after leaving the harbor. In many cases, it is near zero-time to arrive at the best fishing spot. If you plan to fish deep, 100 miles out or so, then enjoy the ride and get there in a little over an hour. Exhilarating and quite amazing!

Along the way to a secret fishing spot, we stopped to observe migrating birds near a sanctuary island. Amazing sights!

Captain Kane likes to fish offshore. Kane often shares his fishing secrets with those aboard, but also says ”There are so many moments that just don’t translate into pictures or words. Sometimes you have to go to a place where you don’t belong, far beyond comfort and practicality to find fish. In that place, you see the magic of the world. I don’t feel like a charter captain on those days, just a pilot on a journey to find adventure.”

My better half and I fished with Captain Kane earlier this year, we totally get it.

Big fish, small fish, Captain Kane carries the rigs to catch whatever his clients want to catch.

Kane creates magic when he is on the water. He is a master-crafted fisherman that will share his time and talent to get you on fish, wherever they are. With his boat, it doesn’t matter where that is, he can get there – in a hurry. That makes him more than a wishful thinker, he is fully capable to catch fish every day, just tell him what you want at the end of your line. He can chum his way into a school of fish, troll, jig or achieve success with a hundred other tactics to put fish on the hook.

We drove 110 miles last time out, each way, to catch sharks. Dangerous fun. Unforgettable fun. We can’t wait to do it again.

Catch redfish, snook, tarpon, amberjack, wahoo, tuna, cobia, whatever your fish wish. Kane is our guy with the boat to make it happen. Winter is coming; the time to plan is right now. We’ve already made my reservation. Plan your trip.

We caught some sun, caught lots of fish, and we captured an unforgettable dream. We started the celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary with this special fish trip adventure.

We made a memory for all time.

Thank you Lord.

Winter weather brings Brown Trout and Steelhead action – Orleans County, NY

This report is by Ron Bierstine from Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019:

There’s been an abrupt change in the weather with snow on Veterans Day and through the night with a drop in temperature.

Nice brown trout! Courtesy of Kevin Oxford

Something like 6 – 8+ inches of area-wide snow and forecast temps in the 20’s °F for the mid-week.

Some uncommon Lake Effect Snow from NW winds may add some additional accumulations today here on the WNY Niagara Frontier.  Temps are expected to moderate through the upcoming weekend and through next week slowly.  That resultant snowmelt should be good for maintenance flows.

For now, the fishing pressure has fallen off dramatically, more like what you would expect for the end of the month.  With few guys out, reports are few.  This past weekend’s action sounded pretty good and, not surprising with the change in the weather yesterday, guys had a tougher time.  A mixed bag action was still the common report with a few browns, steelhead, Atlantics and a King here and there.

Final Erie Canal wintertime drainage is slated to commence today.  That will place a slug of water reaching the Waterport dam and flowage in about a day.  Look for higher and slightly off-color flows from what’s been medium-ish and dropping and clearing.  That spate of water from the Canal is historically a good trigger for fresh fish migrations and with this year’s record of slow and drawn out “runs” that started with the Kings, it should be all the better for brown trout and steelhead and Atlantic salmon migrations.

For now, the other area smaller tributaries is at moderate and clearing flows where scattered fish, no doubt, felt the abrupt change in the weather more so than say the Oak.  Look for future rising flows there with any snowmelt or the chance for Erie Canal winter time drainage releases.

What do we know?  Any rise in water flow can mean the chance for fresh fish migrations from Lake waters OR upstream movements of fish from downstream spots!

 

Help 4H Shooting Sports, Miltary Veterans and Your Shopping List!

  • Holiday Sportsman Show Kicks off Nov. 15
  • Fill your Holiday Gift List with a BIG Discount and Help 4H, Veterans, and others
  • If you own an outdoor business, check this out

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will all the beautiful shops in the Holiday Sportsman Show. Time is running out for brands that want to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to participate in the 2019 Holiday Sportsman Show that will feature an interactive online shopping experience with outdoor show halls. From Nov. 15 through Dec. 31 visitors can tour the virtual halls 24-hours a day, where they will find exceptional outdoor products and gifts at remarkable prices for everyone on their list.

With over half a million consumers slated to receive a signed up for email with an instant click-in to the show, brands participating in this show will be racking up the fourth-quarter sales. The complete sale goes back to the brand, making it even a better business decision to get in the Holiday Sportsman Show before time runs out.

The web designing staff at the Holiday Sportsman Show is in full swing designing storefronts. Placing your brand in the show is easy. It is extremely important to get them started on your design – merely select the products you want to feature and they will use your website for information, images and everything they need. You will get final approval of all design work before things go live.

It is easy. It makes money. It supports good causes. What are you waiting for? Fill out this form CLICK HERE and return via email to maureen@vexposhows.com as soon as possible. Not only is time running out, but some categories are filling up.

The Online Holiday Sportsman Show is a property of Vexpo Marketing, based in Missouri. Vexpo Marketing develops digital products designed to serve outdoor activities and outdoor consumers, including businesses and organizations that provide goods and services for outdoor recreation. The Holiday Sportsman Show was created to provide a digital platform to provide cost-effective digital marketing for outdoor companies and enjoyable online content for buying consumers.

South Dakota auction offers Live Bison, YOU CAN BUY ONE!

Bison For Sale!

  • Live Bison are typically transported to expand herds in other parts of the country – the auction is a 54-year-old tradition at Custer State Park
  • Wild live Bison range in size from 400 to 1500 pounds, depending on sex and age
  • The Bison auction program is exemplary in the world of Conservation
Mature Bison bulls in South Dakota can grow to 1,500 pounds and more at Custer State Park. Forrest Fisher Photo

By Forrest Fisher

Wildlife management is a scientific process and biologists from across the world usually admit that their job is never easy, there are so many variables. Wild game needs to eat to stay healthy and for Bison, their ability to stay healthy is based on the vegetation production on the range, the prairies. For every day of my life, it seems I learn new things that are a common tradition in other parts of our great country.  I learn that conservation can take on many forms.

At Custer State Park in South Dakota, Resource Program Manager, Mark Hendrix says, “Our range prairies – where the Bison roam, are comprised of mixed grasses. In our 71,000 acres of the park, about 30,000 acres are used by the Bison. To assure there is enough food for healthy Bison and to help promote the continued expansion of native animals like the Bison, we cull our herd to maintain a wintering herd of about 950 animals.”

Hendrix adds, “In September each year, we assure all our Bison are tagged. The calves receive a Bangs ear tag, the bulls receive a small steel ear tag. All have been vaccinated as calves to assure they are disease-free and we follow up by conducting a blood test on each Bison.  Then, based on the number of calves born each year, we offer animals for auction. This helps keep the animals of the park and the range grasses healthy for survival, and the species has the benefit of expanding, as well.”

Winter herds of up to 950 Bison are among management goals for healthy herds at Custer State Park, South Dakota; Numbers vary each year based on range vegetation production. Forrest Fisher photo

Perhaps the management of animals is absolutely best when designated species can be removed in this way. In some states, wildlife management permits for hunting wild game are offered for sale to help regulate the population numbers of a particular species and concurrently, there is hunter adventure. Typically, there is also a highly beneficial economic impact. With hunter permits, however, it is not always possible to achieve the designated management goals and for many species with permit quotas, there is NO NEED to expand those species elsewhere.  In Custer State Park, the practice of healthy Bison herd management is an assured process with a proven track record.

Custer State Park provides the opportunity to expand the Bison herd to regions of the country where Bison were once plentiful and need help for herd restoration.

After talking with Mark Hendrix, I believe the Custer State Park Bison management program is exemplary. The program is above-board, procedurally consistent and fully operational.

Each November, Custer State Park provides between 200 and 500 head of live Buffalo for public auction. Buyers and spectators from around the United States come to watch and participate in the annual auction. The live Buffalo are typically purchased to supplement an existing herd, to start a herd, or for consumption.

These are healthy two-year-old breeding bulls, tagged for identification, age and for auction at Custer State Park in South Dakota. Custer State Park Photo

The auction at the park’s Visitor Center will provide live and online bidding as the 2019 Fall Classic Bison Auction opens on Saturday, Nov. 2, where approximately 432 head will be available for sale. The on-site and online auction will begin at 10 a.m. (Mountain Daylight Time). The Custer State Park visitor center is located 15 miles east of Custer on Highway 16A, near the junction of the Wildlife Loop Road and Highway 16A. 

This year’s offerings include 25 mature bred cows, 32 mature open cows, 20 two-year-old bred heifers, 20 open two-year-old heifers, 83 yearling heifers, 70 heifer calves, 104 bull calves, 52 yearling bulls, 11 two-year-old breeding bulls, and 15 two-year-old grade bulls.

“Due to excellent range conditions and high calving rates, the park has a larger quantity of animals to offer this year,” said Chad Kremer, Bison herd manager. “The change to a video auction rather than a live auction has also been positive. It reduces the stress on the buffalo and expedites the entire process.”

A review of recent Bison auction records shows that the Bison calves weigh 300-400 pounds and cost an average of $1600-$2000; the mature cows weigh 800-1100 pounds with a cost of $3200-$4000 each while mature bulls weigh as much as 1500 pounds and cost an average of $3500-$4700.

For the past 54 years, the park has made surplus Bison available for sale to the private sector. A significant amount of park revenue results from the Bison sale and goes toward continued operations of the state park system. The live internet auction is now going on its eighth year and has helped reach buyers who wouldn’t have been aware of the auction in the past.

Bison For Sale!  The annual Custer State Park auction provides an opportunity for Bison herd expansion to many areas of the country. Forrest Fisher Photo

“The average cost of the Bison is about $2000 or so,” said Mark Hendrix. Simple math shows financial benefit for the park. When it is possible to help keep wildlife healthy, expand a dwindling wildlife resource for use elsewhere, and help support the programs and budget of the park staff, everyone wins.  

In the past, the Bison have been used to start or expand herds in Texas, Minnesota, Colorado, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and elsewhere. The purchased Bison must be removed by Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019.  Hendrix added, “Folks that are aware of the auction arrive prepared to transport the animals at their own expense. Some states require special permits, certifications, and tests before transport, we can help with that.”

For additional information about the upcoming Bison auction, contact Custer State Park at 605-255-4515 or email questions to CusterStatePark@state.sd.us.  For the auction brochure and live videos of available live Bison stock in the auction, please click here.

 

Savage Firearms Makes Upgrading to Precision Pre-Fit Rifle Barrels Easy – for Savage 10/110 Rifle Series

  • Self-Install pre-fit barrels come in four popular calibers: 6.5 Creedmoor, 7 mm Remington Magnum, 308 Winchester and 300 Winchester Magnum.
  • The Helix 6 barrels for Savage are 100% manufactured in the USA
  • Also fitted for easy installation of an aftermarket muzzle brake or suppressor

Changing the barrel on a Savage 10/110-series rifle is quick, easy and only requires a few tools. Helix 6 Precision’s pre-fit Savage barrels allow self-installation-without using a lathe-of four popular long-range and hunting cartridges. Each of our Savage barrels, features a hand lapped button-rifled 416R stainless steel core wrapped in carbon fiber using our proprietary process. The final product is a precision rifle barrel that delivers outstanding accuracy and performance. At Helix 6 Precision, we build the world’s ultimate pre-fit barrels for Savage rifles.

All Helix 6 Precision barrels are proudly 100% made in the USA. Every Savage barrel is built using a match-grade 416R stainless steel core. We then wrap each Savage barrel with our proprietary carbon fiber layup-our design dampens barrel harmonics for outstanding accuracy. Button rifling and hand lapping improve accuracy while minimizing fouling.

Savage pre-fit barrels come in four popular calibers: 6.5 Creedmoor, 7 mm Remington Magnum, 308 Winchester and 300 Winchester Magnum. The 7 mm Rem Mag with and 300 Win Mag with feature a 26-inch barrel and the 6.5 CM and 308 Win use a 24-inch barrel. The 30 caliber barrels use a 1:10 twist and while the 6.5 mm and 7 mm have faster 1:8 twist barrels. Its straight bull contour weighs about 2¾-pounds! We cut industry-standard 5/8-24 muzzle threads on all our Savage pre-fit barrels for easy installation of an aftermarket muzzle brake or suppressor.

Installing a Helix 6 Precision carbon fiber barrel on your Savage rifle is simple. All that’s needed is a Savage barrel nut wrench, a barrel vice with inserts and a cartridge-specific headspace gauge (no-go and go). If this is beyond your comfort level, ask your gunsmith for help.

We use only premium materials and cutting-edge manufacturing technology to create the world’s ultimate carbon fiber barrel. Available now as pre-fit barrels for Savage rifles, it is easy to upgrade to a Helix 6 Precision barrel.

Visit us online at helix6precision.com for complete details on our Savage pre-fit barrels.

About Helix 6: Helix 6 Precision began with the singular goal of producing the world’s finest carbon fiber barrel. For 20 years it has been their passion to build the finest precision rifles available using only premium components. Bad experiences and dissatisfaction with the industry’s carbon fiber barrels led them to seek out the world’s most innovative engineers in carbon fiber design and fabrications.

We continue to push the limits of innovation to improve our process and products. We use only premium materials and cutting edge manufacturing technology, to produce the highest quality, handcrafted, carbon fiber barrel on the market. 100% Made in USA. For more information, please visit helix6precision.com.

 

 

3 Billion Birds – GONE Since 1970

Red-winged Blackbirds, Blue Jays, White-throated Sparrows among highest losses – why have they disappeared?

  • We have lost enormous numbers of familiar birds 
  • Suspected contributors: climate change, habitat loss, pressure from invasive species and pesticide use
  • To make a difference: Make windows safer – prevent window strikes, landscape with native plants, keep cats indoors, avoid pesticide use, reduce plastic use, learn more about citizen science initiatives
Data furnished by KITE TALES, the monthly newsletter of the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail.

A recently published study in the journal Science has revealed shocking declines in bird populations across North America. Since 1970, we have lost 2.9 billion birds. That number translates to nearly 1 in 3 birds that have been lost. This number was staggering to even the scientists behind the paper, who have dedicated their careers to the study of ornithology and are very familiar with the challenges facing our birds.

Surprisingly, some of the species that have experienced the greatest declines are some of the most common. Over the last 50 years, we have lost enormous numbers of familiar birds like Red-winged Blackbirds, Blue Jays, and White-throated Sparrows. “Keeping common birds common” has been a rallying cry for conservationists, and it seems that this is even more important than we previously thought.

The loss of these wonderful animals is devastating in and of itself, but it is also a sign of much larger problems. Birds are excellent indicator species – they are sensitive to changes in their environments and we have abundant data on birds from both professional researchers and citizen scientists.

When we know birds are in trouble, we can infer that the ecosystems to which they are intricately linked are also in trouble. Many of the factors that we know are causing bird population declines – climate change, habitat loss, pressure from invasive species and pesticide use – also affect countless other species of plants and animals.

The findings of the study aren’t all bad news – in fact, some groups of birds have increased population sizes due to directed conservation efforts. Woodpeckers, birds of prey and waterfowl have all seen their populations grow as we have protected their habitats and food sources from degradation and loss. The other good news – there are concrete actions you can take to help bird populations.

There are 7 simple steps you can easily take to make a difference, many of which already will be familiar to our readers. Preventing window strikes, landscaping with native plants, keeping cats indoors, avoiding pesticide use, drinking bird-friendly coffee, reducing plastic use and participating in citizen science initiatives are all actions you can take to protect bird species today.

Another important step? Make sure that you are a voice for birds. Share this news with friends and family on social media or by word of mouth!

This information and story has been republished from KITE TALES, Issue 36, OCT 2016 – The monthly newsletter of the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail.

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Report – Oct. 23, 2019…from Destination Niagara USA

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a bomber steelhead off the NYPA fishing platform in the Niagara Gorge, caught on a spinner.

Salmon and trout continue to trickle into places like 18 Mile Creek.  This last rain should help. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors reports that some fresh salmon made the run to Burt Dam in the last couple of days, but there were crowded conditions last weekend. Eggs or egg imitations are working best.

Some salmon and trout have been caught off the piers in both Wilson and Olcott. Spoons, spinners and eggs are working best.  Jim DeGirolamo of Derby headed out into the lake over the weekend in 320 feet of water and caught some nice silver salmon, but most of the reports have been spotty out there. The wind has been keeping people off the lake.

Chris Tzraska of Buffalo with a king salmon caught off the Wilson pier this week on a Booker plug.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster caught this steelhead in the upper Niagara River near Niagara Falls State Park when he took a break from biking on the trail. He was using a green/silver Cleo spoon. 

In the lower Niagara River, while a few salmon are being caught, most anglers are focusing on trout or bass in the lower Niagara River according to Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was 4 for 7 on steelhead off the NYPA fishing platform in the gorge last weekend casting spinners into the turbulent water. A few salmon were caught over the weekend.

Meanwhile, along Artpark, shoreline casters and drifters have been using eggs, beads, spoons and spinners to take a mix of steelhead and brown trout. In fact, some pretty big browns – caught and released for the most part. Mixed in with those fish are lake trout. Remember that lake trout season is closed in New York until the end of the year.

Musky action is picking up in the upper river as water temperatures continue to drop. It should be in the upper 50s now. Members of the Niagara Musky Association are gearing up for the Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament on Nov. 3.

Mark Plennert of Niagara Falls caught this nice steelhead off the NYPA platform last weekend.

The Department of Environmental Conservation will be holding public meetings to give an update on the state of Lake Ontario’s forage base. The meeting in Lockport will take place on Nov. 13 at Cornell Cooperative Extension, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport starting at 6:30 p.m. There will also be an online presentation on Nov. 14 for anyone who can’t make the meeting. Check the DEC website out at www.dec.ny.gov for details.

Joel Meister of Akron caught this steelhead in the lower Niagara River on a bead.
Aaron Horvatits of Buffalo caught this salmon off the NYPA Fishing Platform this week.
Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director
Inline image 2
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303

Wildlife Trafficking Ring BUSTED in Florida, was smuggling 1000’s of turtles – all returned to wild

Thousands of turtles have been illegally taken from the Florida wilds.

  • Over 600 turtles were returned to the wild
  • Illegal commercialization of wildlife ranks 4th behind guns, drugs and human smuggling
  • Illegal trade of turtles is having a global impact on many turtle species and our ecosystems.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has charged two suspects for poaching thousands of Florida’s native turtles from the wild and selling them illegally in Florida, with final destinations in international markets. These charges represent the state’s largest seizure of turtles in recent history.

“The illegal trade of turtles is having a global impact on many turtle species and our ecosystems. We commend our law enforcement’s work to address the crisis of illegal wildlife trafficking,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton.

“Putting a stop to this criminal enterprise is a significant win for conservation,” said Col. Curtis Brown, head of FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “Arresting people engaged in illegal wildlife trafficking supports our environment and legal businesses. It is especially positive and rewarding to be able to release many of the turtles back into the wild.”

“We know that the global black market in live animals includes traffickers smuggling protected species of turtles out of the United States, usually for export to the Asian pet market,” said Dr. Craig Stanford, Chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. “This sinister and illegal trade threatens the future of many species of North American animals, and as one of the most threatened animal groups on the planet, turtles are at the forefront of our concern.”

The illegal commercialization of wildlife ranks fourth behind guns, drugs and human smuggling and, in many instances, is connected due to the monetary gain. The International Fund for Animal Welfare estimates illegal wildlife trade in the US at $19 billion annual income.

The FWC launched an undercover investigation after receiving a tip in February 2018. Through surveillance and other investigative tactics, FWC investigators determined that a ring of well-organized wildlife traffickers was illegally catching and selling wild turtles to large-scale reptile dealers and illegal distributors, who shipped most of them overseas on the black market. Michael Boesenberg (DOB 02/05/1980) of Fort Myers, directed individuals to illegally collect turtles in large numbers; once he had enough turtles on hand he would then sell to a buyer with links to Asian markets.

To fulfill a buyer’s request, these poachers targeted habitats known for the specific species. Over time, they depleted the populations so much that they had to expand into other parts of the state to meet the growing demand. The FWC predicts that turtle populations are most heavily impacted in Lee County, the primary source for the seized turtles, but that the suspects worked with other wildlife traffickers around the state and country. The total negative impacts to wild turtle populations stretch beyond Lee County and Florida.

“Wild turtle populations cannot sustain the level of harvest that took place here,” said Dr. Brooke Talley, the Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Coordinator for the FWC. “This will likely have consequences for the entire ecosystem and is a detriment for our citizens and future generations.”

Depending upon the species, the poached turtles sold wholesale for up to $300 each and retailed for as much as $10,000 each in Asia. Evidence indicated turtles sold within one month totaled an estimated $60,000. The sellers received mostly cash, occasionally trading turtles for marijuana products.

The FWC documented more than 4,000 turtles illegally taken and sold over a 6-month period, including Florida box turtles, Eastern box turtles, striped mud turtles, Florida mud turtles, chicken turtles, Florida softshell turtles, Gulf Coast spiny softshell turtles, spotted turtles and diamondback terrapins. As a result of a search warrant served on Aug. 12, investigators found the poachers in possession of hundreds of turtles, along with the skull and shell of a protected Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle. The turtles seized had an estimated black market value of $200,000.

All seized animals were evaluated for health and species identification by FWC biologists. Over 600 turtles were returned to the wild, two dozen were quarantined and released at a later date, and a handful were retained by a captive wildlife licensee since they were not native to the area. Nearly 300 of the freed turtles are now part of a long-term monitoring project by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

“SCCF has been conducting research on these turtles for nearly two decades.Thanks to FWC for uncovering this illicit activity that has adversely affected wild turtle populations,” said Chris Lechowicz, Wildlife & Habitat Management Program Director at SCCF.  

Selling wild-caught freshwater turtles is illegal and harvesting them from the wild is specifically regulated by Florida Administrative Code 68A-25.002 (6). Some turtle species may be kept as captive wildlife with the proper permits.

The public can help by reporting suspected wildlife violations to the FWC. To make a report, call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or text Tip@MyFWC.com.

The suspects and their charges are as follows:

Michael Boesenberg (DOB 02/05/1980 of Fort Myers, FL):

  • F.S.S. 812.019(2) – Dealing in stolen property as an organizer
  • F.A.C. 68A-25.002 (6)(a)1 – 3 counts – Taking over the bag limit of turtles
  • F.A.C. 68A-25.002 (6)(a) – Over the possession limit of box turtles
  • F.A.C. 68A-25.002 (6)(c) – Sale and offer for sale turtle taken from the wild
  • The enabling statute for these violations of F.A.C 68A-6 is F.S. 379.4015(2)(a)1.
  • FAC 68A-6.004(4)(q)1(c) – 9 counts – Standard Caging Requirements for Captive Wildlife
  • F.S.S 379.2431 – Possession of marine turtle parts
  • F.A.C 68A-4.004(5) – Possession of black bear parts
  • F.S.S. 893.13(6)(a) –Possess cannabis over 20 grams
  • F.S.S. 893.13(1)(a)(2) –Possess with intent to sell/deliver
  • F.S.S. 893.13(6)(a) –Possess controlled substance (THC oil)

Michael Clemons (DOB 09/05/1996 Fort Myers, FL):

  • F.S.S. 812.019(1) –Dealing in stolen property
  • F.A.C. 68A-25.002 (6)(a)1 –2 counts –Taking over the bag limit of turtles
  • F.A.C. 68A-25.002 (6)(a) – Over the possession limit of box turtles
  • F.A.C. 68A-25.002 (6)(c) – Sale and offer for sale turtle taken from the wild
  • F.A.C. 68A-25.002(6)(b) – Transporting wild caught turtles without a permit

 

‘Tis the Season! It’s Time for NEW Outerware for the Deer Hunter

  • New Midweight Whitetail System    
  • Theissen V1 Whitetail Midweight System, perfect for all-season deer hunting 
From cool autumn evenings to the season’s first frosty mornings, every deer hunter knows there’s a broad spectrum of weather conditions to conquer in order to find success. The Thiessens’ V1 Whitetail Midweight System is the perfect solution, giving hunters multiple layering options to match whatever Mother Nature throws their way.
Built with innovative technologies and pursuit-driven materials, the Midweight System includes a jacket, vest, hoodie, and pant. Each item comes in Realtree EDGE™ camo for the ultimate in concealability, while the fabric construction allows for ultra-quiet movement in the stand.
The jacket, vest, and pant utilize Thiessens’ Wind Defense technology giving you a windproof barrier when the chill threatens to drive you from the tree stand and the quiet laminated, quiet, super-stretch fabric offers highly water-resistant protection (seams are not taped so these are not 100% waterproof). Each garment features a water-resistant treatment on the outer shell to bead away light rain and moisture-wicking design to help regulate body temperature and drive sweat away when your activity level starts to increase.
The jacket is ideal for use as an outer layer on cooler days and the Wind Defense technology provides an impenetrable barrier against stiff breezes. If there is a downpour in the forecast, the jacket can be paired with the Thiessens’ Rain Jacket to keep you warm and dry. The jacket also features an adjustable hood. The hood is designed so that it won’t obstruct your peripheral vision and can be removed when it’s warmer or you want a more minimalist approach. It’s also the perfect jacket for gear junkies, with ample pocketing for your calls, rangefinder and cell phone. Articulated quiet construction allows for an unrestricted full range of motion.
The vest delivers incredible warmth to weight ratio and can be worn both as a mid or outer layer depending on the time of year. For brisk early season mornings on the stand, the vest can be worn over a lightweight shirt for extra warmth, or it can be worn as an extra mid-layer under the heavyweight jacket when the temperatures plummet. It also features Wind Defense technology, several pockets for storage and a mock collar to keep you from getting chilled.
If you’re a fan of mid-layers with sleeves, the hoodie delivers ultimate warmth and moisture-wicking design, perfect for active days in the field when you need maximum comfort and range of movement.
When it’s time to hunker into the blind and play the waiting game, the midweight pant offers incredible warmth and Wind Defense technology to keep you toasty. Ample pocketing and an articulated design provide plenteous room for gear storage and comfort. Ultra-quiet composition for extreme stealth from a softshell garment.
V1 Whitetail Midweight Jacket:
  • Adjustable hem shock cord cinch
  • Water-resistant treatment on outer shell with Wind Defense technology
  • The main garment fabric is laminated with a waterproof film but seams are not taped
  • Adjustable, removable hood
  • Moisture-wicking, anti-odor treated warm lining
  • Articulated construction
  • Ultra-soft, quiet design
  • Multiple accessory pockets handle all your gear
  • Realtree EDGE™ Camo
V1 Whitetail Midweight Vest:
  • Water-resistant treatment on the outer shell and Wind Defense technology
  • The main garment fabric is laminated with a waterproof film but seams are not taped
  • Moisture-wicking, anti-odor treated lining
  • Ultra-soft, quiet design
  • Mock neck
  • Adjustable hem cinch-cord
  • Multiple accessory pockets handle all your gear
  • Breathable construction
  • Realtree EDGE™ Camo
V1 Whitetail Hoodie:
  • Water-resistant treatment
  • Moisture-wicking, anti-odor treated material
  • Articulated construction
  • Traditional kangaroo pocket
  • Realtree EDGE™ Camo
V1 Whitetail Midweight Pant:
  • Water-resistant treatment on the outer shell and Wind Defense technology
  • The main garment fabric is laminated with a waterproof film but seams are not taped
  • Moisture-wicking, warm anti-odor treated lining
  • Articulated construction
  • Two-way zip fly
  • Comfort fit for maximum range of motion
  • Internal gripper waistband
  • Ample pocketing for gear
  • Realtree EDGE™ Camo

Thiessens is an outdoor brand that makes and sells authentic, pursuit-driven equipment directly to the end-user. Sharing the passion of outdoor pursuits, Thiessens will consistently bring the best combination of features, performance, and value to consumers. Thiessens’ products are thoughtfully crafted to over-perform in any condition. Pursue life, pursue your passion, and pursue with Thiessens. For more information, please visit WWW.THIESSENS.COM.

Georgia Hunters: Firearms Deer Hunting Season Opens Oct. 19

  • The season bag limit is 10 antlerless deer and two antlered deer
  • If you are looking to stock up that freezer with one of the healthiest meats available—your time is here!
  • The Georgia deer firearms season opens Sat., Oct. 19 and continues through Jan. 12, 2020 statewide.
Georgia DNR Photo

“We are shaping up for yet another excellent deer season,” said Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist for the Wildlife Resources Division. “Through reductions in doe harvest, deer population goals have been met for most of Georgia and the population is stable. Let’s all do our part to maintain this wonderful tradition, and introduce a new hunter, youth or adult, to share our passion!”

During the firearms deer season last year, more than 185,000 hunters harvested almost 170,000 deer in the state. The use of regulated deer hunting ensures that Georgia’s deer population continues to be healthy and strong.

Over one million acres of public hunting land is available to hunters in Georgia, including more than 100 state-operated wildlife management areas. Many areas offer special hunts throughout the season, including primitive weapons and modern firearms hunts. Dates and locations for hunts are available in the 2019–2020 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide (http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations).

“Oh, and with all the media coverage on deer diseases lately, let’s cut through the confusion and talk facts,” says Killmaster. “To date, neither chronic wasting disease (CWD) or tuberculosis (TB) have been detected in Georgia deer. However, there are circumstances where wildlife biologists rely on the public to notify them of sick animals in order to monitor disease issues. Visit our website at https://georgiawildlife.com/deer-info to view the top five reasons to call.”

Quick Basics

The season bag limit is 10 antlerless deer and two antlered deer (one of the antlered deer must have at least four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers). Special regulations apply to archery-only counties and extended archery season areas.

To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, a big game license and a current deer harvest record. Licenses can be purchased online at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent (list of agents available online).

Once you harvest a deer, you must report it through Georgia Game Check. Deer can be checked on the Outdoors GA app (useable with or without cell service), at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661. A reminder that if you have the Outdoors GA app, always be sure to update the app so you have the most current version.

For more information, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.

Posted  courtesy of the Georgia DNR

Let’s Bond with Nature this Saturday, Sep. 28 – Rick Clunn asks…”Join Me, Please.”

  • National Geographic’s current issue is about that fragile connection between all things
  • We all need nature to help us
  • Celebrate by locating an NHF Day event near where you live, there are many.

By Rick Clunn

The photos, this one and the one below, are of my Dad and Mom sharing the outdoors with me.

Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day, and I know that there is some special day to celebrate almost every day, but Hunting and Fishing are the last remaining vehicles to keep the masses connected to nature and like my Dad use to say, “Daphine (my Mom), if I don’t get in the woods or on the water this weekend, I am going to go crazy.”

What was a prophetic statement for him, it is equally true for society.

National Geographic’s current issue is about that fragile connection between all things. It stated that, “If you dig deep enough behind virtually every human conflict, you will find an erosion of the bond between humans and the natural world around them.” What I am most proud of with my relationship with Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops is their endless work trying to maintain a healthy connection between humans and the outdoors through their Conservation efforts.

So join me and Bass Pro shops in celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day this Saturday, the 28th of September. But take it one more step! Take a friend, family member, someone on an adventure, go fishing or hunting. I have stated before, that I am hard-pressed to remember a single gift I received, but can easily recall many fishing, hunting, and camping adventures. The photos are of my Dad and Mom sharing the outdoors with me.

Quote from Edward Abbey: “It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends. Ramble out yonder and explore the forest, climb the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely mysterious and awesome space.”

Visit me to share your thoughts: https://www.facebook.com/rick.clunn.

Thanks.

 

Editor Note: This article and the pictures were provided by Rick Clunn via Facebook to share with all outdoor persons, their neighbors, and friends.

 

Navionics Boating app: mark your location with one tap, and more

From Navionics: We believe details are important, especially while on the water. Let’s dive in and see how the latest app release can make your boating experience easy and fun.

Drop a marker with one tap.

Have you ever needed to quickly add a marker on your location while boating or fishing? Well, now you can. With one simple tap on the map, you’ll drop a marker on your current GPS location. It can’t be easier than that. Use it as a reminder for great fishing or boating areas you want to investigate more or visit again.

Get the most out of the feature with these expert tips:
– New markers will be named sequentially (Marker 1, Marker 2, etc.)
– The icon will be the same as your last added marker (the “pin” is the default icon)
– To change the maker name or icon simply tap the map > target the marker with cross-hair > tap “?” > make your edits.

Add your AIS device manually.

Have you already tried  AIS in the Boating app? Increase your situational awareness on the water by connecting a compatible WI-FI AIS receiver to the app and see AIS targets overlaid on the map in real-time.

If you’re having trouble automatically connecting your device, try adding it manually to the app. In the app, go to Menu > Connect a Device > Add Device and fill in the fields. Be aware that the app currently only supports devices streaming in NMEA 1803.

Get more space for your maps (only for Android).

Download all the maps you need without filling up your device. Plug in an SD card for additional memory. Go to Menu > Settings > Storage Location.

Get the new features:
If you already have our Boating app, simply update it to the latest version.
– For Apple® devices — on your mobile device, go to the  App Store® > «Updates»
– For Android™ devices — on your device, go to Google Play > Menu > «My apps & games»

If you don’t have our Boating app\ yet, download it for free, and enjoy a trial of all our charts and features.

On Lake Tenkiller, Australian Pro Jocumsen Scores Bassmaster Elite Series Victory

  • Used Humminbird 360, side imaging and mapping to break down fish-holding spots in lake
  • Caught his bass on a 3/4-ounce Molix football jig w/green pumpkin Strike King Rage Craw trailer
  • The win earns Jocumsen $100,000 cash
Queensland, Australia native Carl Jocumsen won the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller with a total of 54 pounds, 15 ounces. Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.

It was relentless determination and commitment to his game plan that paid off big for Carl Jocumsen, who turned in a catch of 19 pounds, 12 ounces on Championship Sunday (Sep. 22, 2019) to score a career-defining victory at the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller in Tahlequah, OK.

His 4-day total weight of 54-15 was worth $100,000 and made a nice birthday gift for the Queensland, Australia angler, who turned 35 Sunday.

Jocumsen said his first Elite win — which is also the first by an Aussie — has been a lifelong dream.

“Since I was four years old, I’ve loved fishing and I’ve dreamed of the day I would do this,” Jocumsen said. “Today is that day. This is a lifetime of work; a lifetime of passion and love for this sport with every ounce of my body.”

Yesterday, after placing third and trailing leader Kyle Monti by 4-8, Jocumsen boldly stated that he believed he was on the fish to win. He predicted he needed five keepers to have a legitimate shot, and he blew away that expectation with a limit of 19-12 that ranked as the tournament’s heaviest single-day catch.

Jocumsen’s winning program stood out from much of the field, in that he committed his tournament to fishing offshore. Relying heavily on his electronics to break down the lake and identify the most promising spots, he targeted six different offshore drop-offs with brush and other cover.

Day 3 revealed a particularly productive piece of cover that delivered his final-round magic.

“I used my Humminbird 360, side imaging and mapping to break down this lake in two and a half days. I stayed out here from daylight until dark,” Jocumsen said. “Yesterday afternoon, I found this one tree off this island. It was late in the day and I caught one keeper. But I said, ‘I want to hit this early on the final day to see if they’re biting.’”

His intuition was spot-on, and Jocumsen experienced a phenomenal morning that saw him catch four quality largemouth by 8:30, including three in the span of approximately seven minutes. Jocumsen would suffer through a long dry spell before completing his five-fish limit, but the 4-pound smallmouth that sealed his fate gave Bassmaster LIVE viewers a look at pure bass fishing emotion.

“I’ve waited my life to catch that fish,” said a visibly emotional Jocumsen. “I had gone three hours without a bite and I said, ‘It can’t go down this way. I have to finish it.’ When I caught that smallmouth, the weight of the world came off my shoulders.”

Adding a 5-pound largemouth late in the day increased Jocumsen’s total and gave him a 3-pound, 10-ounce margin of victory.

Jocumsen, who will marry fiancee Kayla Palaniuk in two weeks, caught all of his bass on a 3/4-ounce Molix football jig with a green pumpkin Strike King Rage Craw trailer. He made a couple of brief visits to fish the bank, mostly to let his offshore sites rest, but did all of his heavy lifting offshore.

In second, Day 2 leader Chris Zaldain of Fort Worth, Texas, switched tactics Sunday and caught a limit of 14-7 to finish with 51-5. After focusing mostly on running shallow points for smallmouth the first three days, Zaldain spent the first half of the final day throwing a 1/2-ounce Santone wobblehead jig with a green pumpkin creature bait trailer.

“I caught two 16-inch-plus largemouth in the morning, and that kind of relaxed me to go fish all new water and search out those smallmouth,” he said.

Zaldain added three smallmouth to his final bag. He caught those with a Megabass Spark Shad swimbait on a 1/8-ounce Megabass Okashira Screw Head.

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Cananda, finished third with 48-6. For the first three days, he spent most of his time working covered boat docks with jigging spoons and a Neko rig. But today’s conditions kept the fish from positioning in predictable spots, so Johnston switched to his backup pattern.

“With the cloudy skies, the fish didn’t position on the boat slips like I needed them to, so I ended up cranking rock banks with squarebills,” Johnston said. “I caught one in a boat slip on the Neko rig and the rest came on squarebills.”

In the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Race, Scott Canterbury took the lead with 761 points. Canterbury finished 19th this week, but maintained a slim advantage in the points race, which will be decided next week at the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship on Lake St. Clair.

Zaldain follows closely in second with 752, while Johnston is third with 747. Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., is fourth with 741 and Drew Cook of Midway, Fla., is fifth with 733.

Cook also leads the DICK’S Sporting Goods Rookie of the Year race.

2019 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller Title Sponsor: Cherokee Casino Tahlequah
2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, T-H Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors
2019 Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite At Lake Tenkiller Host: Cherokee Nation Entertainment, LLC

About Cherokee Nation Entertainment
Cherokee Nation Entertainment is the wholly-owned gaming, hospitality, retail, and tourism entity of the Cherokee Nation, the largest tribal government in the United States. The company currently operates Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa; nine Cherokee Casinos, including a horse racing track; three hotels; three golf courses; and other retail operations. For more information, visit www.cherokeecasino.com.

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 510,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2 and The Pursuit Channel), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic.

How to Fish for Lake Erie Walleye from Dunkirk…Troll to find ’em, then Turn Around!

Watch Captain Jim Steel work his lines...learn from Jim, with Ken Perrotte taking pictures and videos, and who are fishing with Wade Robertson from Bradford, PA. Ken Perrotte Photo

  • Lures to use, boat speed, depth control

By Forrest Fisher

According to Ken Perrotte of Virginia, making the trek 8 hours north to visit Lake Erie to fish for walleye from Dunkirk Harbor, or from any of the three Cattaraugus Creek boat launch access sites, is more than worth it. Ken says, “There are so many walleye here, they say something like 42 to 45 million in Lake Erie right now, I want to share this worthwhile fishing news with everyone.” So Ken wrote a story for his hometown newspaper and also added the story to his personal outdoor website. The bottom line, this is really great info for somebody that wants to just learn about how to do, what to do, rigging, reeling, setting the hook, netting the fish, and where to go. The details in the 2 video’s in this story share so much info.

Go get ’em. Click the picture to visit Ken’s story and video’s. Enjoy!

Click the picture, visit the story and enjoy the two videos that Ken Perrotte is sharing with all. Ken Perrotte Photo

 

 

 

New Study Reveals 6.35 Million Acres of Western State Lands Are Landlocked

  • onX and TRCP release a groundbreaking analysis of state land access across 11 Western states
More than 6.35 million acres of state lands across 11 states in the American West were identified as landlocked by private lands. Learn the details below.

By Randall Williams/TRCP Author

This week, onX and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership revealed the stunning results of collaboration to quantify how many acres of state lands across the West are entirely landlocked by private land and, therefore, inaccessible to hunters, anglers, and other outdoor recreationists.
This is the anticipated follow-up to last year’s study of federally managed public lands, which showed that more than 9.52 million federal acres have no permanent legal access because they are isolated by private lands.

The Findings on State Land
Using today’s leading mapping technologies, more than 6.35 million acres of state lands across 11 states in the American West were identified as landlocked by private lands. The detailed findings are now available in a new report, “Inaccessible State Lands in the West: The Extent of the Landlocked Problem and the Tools to Fix It,” which also unpacks how this problem is rooted in the history of the region.

“Based on the success of last year’s landlocked report, we decided to turn our attention to the West’s 49 million acres of state lands, which are important to sportsmen and women just like national forests, refuges, and BLM lands,” says Joel Webster, Western lands director with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “State trust lands, parks, and wildlife management areas often provide excellent hunting and fishing, yet 6.35 million acres of them are currently landlocked and inaccessible to the public. Together with our previous findings, the TRCP and onX have produced the most comprehensive picture of this access challenge across the West.”

The new report and companion website break down landlocked acre totals for each of 11 states. Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming each have more than one million acres of landlocked state lands, creating existing barriers and future opportunities for public access.

“Handheld GPS technologies have revolutionized how the recreating public finds and uses state and federal lands, making millions of acres of small tracts of public lands easy to discover and explore, both safely and legally,” says onX founder Eric Siegfried. “GPS technologies have also helped the recreating public become personally aware that inaccessible public lands are scattered across the Western landscape, and onX is eager to help identify the extent of the landlocked challenge and showcase the collaborative tools to fix it.”

Landlocked Acres by State
• Arizona: 1,310,000 acres
• California: 38,000 acres
• Colorado: 435,000 acres
• Idaho: 71,000 acres
• Montana: 1,560,000 acres
• Nevada: < 1,000 acres
• New Mexico: 1,350,000 acres
• Oregon: 47,000 acres
• Utah: 116,000 acres
• Washington: 316,000 acres
• Wyoming: 1,110,000 acres

While the analysis looked at various types of state-administered land, such as state parks and wildlife management areas, the vast majority—about 95 percent—of the landlocked areas identified are state trust lands. Trust lands were long ago granted by the federal government to individual states and are generally open to public recreation in all Western states except Colorado.

“Each year, hunters and anglers across the West enjoy some of their best days outdoors utilizing state land access,” adds Siegfried. “If we can work together to unlock state lands for the public, many more sportsmen and women will have those experiences in the years ahead.”

The Solutions
The report also highlights the various ways in which states are and can be addressing this issue so that effective solutions can be more widely adopted across the West. Several states have made significant progress with dedicated staff and programs for improving access, and by utilizing walk-in private land hunting access programs to open up state land. Additionally, state-side grants made possible by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was permanently reauthorized earlier this year, offer another promising tool to address the landlocked problem.

“Many states have embraced the opportunity to open these lands to recreational access, and it is our hope that this report will help decision-makers find ways to tackle the challenge more completely,” says TRCP’s Webster. “This includes Congress doing its part by passing legislation that would establish full and dedicated annual funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which must direct 40 percent of all dollars towards state and local projects.”

The TRCP is encouraging hunters and anglers to support full, permanent funding of the LWCF through its online action tools here.

Learn more and download the full report at unlockingpubliclands.org.

Epic Sweepstakes Announced by Kryptek® Outdoor Group and CarbonTV® for “INVICTUS”: A Customized 2019 Chevy Silverado worth nearly $100,000

  • Enter to Win Daily on CarbonTV.Com – Now Until December 15, 2019

Kryptek Outdoor Group and CarbonTV have partnered on an epic sweepstakes where one lucky winner will win a 2019 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss named INVICTUS, fully customized and wrapped in Kryptek Typhon™ camo and valued at nearly $100,000. Enter up to twice daily at CarbonTV.Com now until December 15, 2019.

INVICTUS will be customized at the world-famous Prefix Corporation in Michigan. CarbonTV will be documenting the process with weekly video updates, allowing users to follow along and provide feedback. While the truck exterior will boast a full Kryptek wrap and aggressive upgrades, including a lift kit; the interior will be finely detailed with one-of-a-kind Kryptek accents. Viewers can interact with CarbonTV and Kryptek via social media to give their opinions on what upgrades they would like to see. The finished product will be revealed to the public upon completion.

“Kryptek is extremely excited about our partnership with Carbon TV, who in our opinion, is the premier online video platform for the outdoor enthusiast,” explained Kryptek CEO Butch Whiting.  “Being selected to be a part of the Chevy INVICTUS custom build truck giveaway is an honor, and we anticipate that the Warrior ethos that is an inherent part of the Kryptek Brand will be captured in the ambiance of the project.  Kryptek has been used to decorate numerous vehicles, but this one promises to be exceptional with the quality and performance of Chevy being coupled with Kryptek flare.”

“I’m excited to be a part of this sweepstakes and to see our vision of INVICTUS come to life!” shared CarbonTV President Julie McQueen. “Kryptek is one of the most successfully disruptive brands out there, and Chevy is an iconic brand with a rich history in our country. As we began dreaming up and creating INVICTUS with our friends at Kryptek, we recognized this energy and excitement that is indescribable! And best of all, we will be looking for feedback from our viewers on what they would like to see added to the truck! I have the privilege of documenting the build-out and upgrade process of the INVICTUS truck with our weekly video updates, and one lucky CarbonTV viewer will win this truck for FREE!”

To enter to win, simply click the link at CarbonTV.Com. There is no cost to enter. Enter up to twice a day until December 15, 2019, for a chance to win this one-of-a-kind, customized INVICTUS. Watch a brief video to unlock the second entry option. See the official rules and details here.

Online viewers can find the best in online streaming media service at CarbonTV.Com and also on their free app for iOS and Android. The recently revised platform now houses features such as a recommendation engine to suggest similar content, embedded social media commentary for community engagement, a streamlined user experience – while still keeping the platform FREE for users – and CarbonTV’s propriety Carbon Score system to show how each series rates. Chevy Silverado is CarbonTV’s exclusive site sponsor in 2019.

CarbonTV continually seeks the best in outdoor viewing by launching new series, such as Outdoor Weekly, Guided, Doggin’ with Levi and Skull Bound Chronicles. Plus, new seasons of fan-favorites such as The Virtue, The Breaking Point, and The Outdoors Chef. CarbonTV has paved the way for Live Streaming videos of incredible wildlife activity such as WildLifers Live Cam or the “Crush Cam” at Lee and Tiffany Lakosky’s Iowa farm.

About Kryptek Outdoor Group: Kryptek provides combat-proven features and designs in ultra high-performance technical and tactical outdoor adventure apparel. Kryptek products are continuously tested and proven in austere combat environments and extreme hunting conditions. Constant improvement and feedback are implemented into future designs with the end-goal of providing our products to outdoor adventurers who demand the utmost in quality and overall performance in their gear. Learn more at http://Kryptek.Com

About CarbonTV: The best of what’s happening outdoors is happening on CarbonTV. CarbonTV is the largest OTT platform for the online distribution of outdoor content. All video content is available on-demand, for free at CarbonTV.com and via OTT apps on ROKU, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, Android and Samsung Smart TV. To learn more, visit CarbonTV.Com. Follow us at Facebook.Com/CarbonTV and Instagram.com/CarbonTVMedia

ICAST Helps to Make Fishing More Fun

With the “Slow-Roll Shiner,” the Injected Core Technology (ICT) from LIVETARGET has produced the ideal paddletail swimbait, offering realistic action and appearance. The Inner-Core matches the appearance of a thin profiled Shiner, while the Exo-Skin generates a hard-thumping action that vibrates and moves the whole body. The result is a life-like lure that creates a subtle yet enticing rolling action.

A big benefit of being in the fishing business is attending the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known as ICAST. Held in Orlando each summer, ICAST gives a preview of all the new fishing equipment, tackle, marine and outdoor products that fishermen everywhere are going to see very soon and want, perhaps, even sooner.

Of all the new, interesting and innovative products – there are many, my favorite is always the new fishing lures. Every year there are literally hundreds of new lures or variations to current lures. Some lures are futuristic, some are perfectly shaped and colored, some are changed in other ways – many of them have anglers dreaming of catching a fish with every cast. The new lures and variations are that convincing.

Not too many anglers can resist trying out these new lures. Every year I stock up on more than I should, but they all look so good and some turn out to be valuable additions to my tackle box. If you don’t try them, you will never know if they would work for you or not. Beside, trying them is part of the fun!

Last year, I stocked up with 18 of the new LIVETARGET swim baits. Most of them were in the larger sizes and had very different actions than what I would have thought. The old adage is, “Big fish like Big meals,” and that means…throw Big Baits. Sometimes that is true and sometimes it isn’t, but the LIVETARGET swim baits proved that adage true for me. When fishing them in farm ponds, it seemed that they attracted the larger bass time after time. A crank and drop retrieve was magic on most days.

The Ghost Tail Minnow has a unique tail design that creates action to emulate the movement of a small minnow while helping the bait track straight while swimming or in the current. Click the picture above to see a video on how to use this new bait.

This year at the ICAST show, LIVETARGET once again caught my “Angler Eye” with their innovative Injected Core Technology (ICT). I have not had a chance to test these just yet, but they just look like they are so good, I already have that magical feeling…that they will catch fish, especially the Slow Roll Shiner and Ghost Tail Minnow. While you never know until you get one to the water, I will be finding out very soon. Even the names of these lures are catchy!

David Gray, ShareTheOutdoors.com

Plop-Plop Fish! Everybody’s favorite…the Lucky 13®

Everybody’s favorite…the Lucky 13®

By Forrest Fisher

No matter where I travel with a fishing rod, catching fish on the surface is absolutely the most exciting. In some cases, it’s also the most effective. Not all surface lures work the same, but there is one lure that seems to always stand out when I ponder a view of my tackle box for that possible magic lure of the day – the Lucky 13. Made by Heddon Lures, one of the landmark imitation lure originators from the 1890’s, the Lucky 13 is somehow the right size – length is under 4 inches and weight is 5/8 pounce, makes the right sound when lightly chugged, and fishes like the right lure every time I put it is the water.

In freshwater, it will catch bass, musky, northern pike and just about every other fish, but I like it most for bass fishing along a summer weedbed.

In saltwater, the redfish will tear it up when cast and gently plopped, with a slight slurp, in along mangroves and on shallow water flats just after sunrise. The speckled trout slam it into oblivion too.

It may be those size 2 hooks tingling with a ping sound into the body of the lure from the plop-plop-slurp created when you gently chug it back every now and then, that sends out the infamous “eat me now” signal to feeding gamefish.

This lure is carried by many tackle shops and on-line stores. Google it for other color options.

Bill Hilts Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for June 13, 2019

Joel Spring caught this Gar Pike...with no hook!

Joel Spring of Ransomville caught this gar pike on Tuesday using a rope fly … with no hook!

The statewide bass season opens on Saturday, June 15, as well as the Great Lakes muskellunge season on that same day, as anglers get ready to rumble.

Scott Banes of Pennsburg, Pa. caught this huge king salmon fishing with Capt. Roger Young of Papa Smurf Charters, Olcott.
Sydney Rhoda of Mercer, Pa. caught this 20-pound king salmon while fishing out of Olcott over the weekend.

First off, we need to emphasize the point that Lake Ontario is open for business! Despite the high water levels and State of Emergency along the shoreline with a 5 mph no wake zone within 1,000 feet of shore, the fishing is great!

In the Orleans County Open Tournament last weekend, it was a Niagara County team fishing the eastern fringe waters of Niagara County to win the contest. The winner was the Dublin Up team from Wilson led by Capt. Carl Martin of Pendleton. The Dublin Up team started fishing 10 miles west of the Oak, starting in 60 to 80 feet of water. By the time they hit the 100-foot mark they had 5 salmon in the box and started to fish for lake trout. After dropping the speed to 1.5 mph, they had a good grip on the rod and it turned out to be the biggest fish of the tournament – a 22.30-pound king salmon. They managed to catch some lake trout and steelhead for a 124-pound box, good for second place behind Capt. Rob Wescott and the Legacy Team from Hilton.

Day 2 they did it again with a 121-pound box to win the event. They were targeting salmon and lake trout first thing in the morning by going 2.0 to 2.2 mph. They put 4 kings and 1 laker in the box. When they slowed the speed to 1.5 mph, they hit an 18-pound laker right away. Throw in some steelhead to round out the box after the team’s third laker and the result was their first win. Meanwhile, Wilson and Olcott action continues to be good to very good.

Jim Willworth of St. Catharines, Ontario (left) caught this 27-pound king salmon while fishing with Capt. Joe Gallo (right) of Two Bulls Sportfishing out of Wilson.

Capt. Joe Gallo of Two Bulls Sportfishing reports he did well last weekend working the 110 foot water depth line from Wilson to Olcott. He had good salmon bites on a combo of high spoons and deep meat dragging the bottom. The meat produced the year’s best biggest king so far for his boat, a 27 pounder. Green flashers out 150 feet took many fish all weekend

The 2019 Orleans Open winners, Team Dublin-Up!

Saturday’s northeast blow dropped the water temperature 9 degrees so Sunday morning they headed north and found a warm pocket of water in 350 feet of water. They worked 21 bites off the same spoon, flasher, and meat program from the first two days with mostly mid-teen kings with 2 fish right around the 20-pound mark.

The next big derby is the Summer LOC Derby set for June 29 to July 28. Check out www.loc.org.

Lower Niagara River action has been good from boats, but finding a place to fish from shore had been difficult at best. The NYPA platform is underwater and the gorge shoreline offers little relief from the water. Boaters are doing well on a wide variety of fish species. Steelhead and lake trout are still available according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Walleye and bass are hitting with regularity, too. MagLips, Kwikfish and live bait like shiners will catch you fish. For bass, tubes and swim baits work well. You can start using live bait to target bass on Saturday.

Bobby Joe Frost of Alden and his 12-year-old son, Robert, trolled Buffalo Harbor at night to take a dozen nice walleyes.

Remember that musky season opens June 15 in the Great Lakes, too. The Upper Niagara River and Buffalo Harbor is the best place to be for consistent musky action. Bass fishing has been very good there as well. The foot of West Ferry Street is a good place to target.

Don’t forget the kids fishing contests coming up this weekend:

  • The 24th Annual City of Tonawanda Kids Free Fishing Derby will be taking place on June 15 in Niawanda Park from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration starts at 8 a.m. at the Bandshell in the park. Grab bags will be handed out to the first 200 kids registered. Awards will follow at 11:30 a.m. For more info call John White at 692-6306.
  • 33rd Annual Niagara County Youth Fishing Derby is June 15 being hosted by the Wilson Conservation Club, 2934 Wilson-Cambria Road (Route 425), Wilson from 8 a.m. to noon. This contest, for kids ages 3 to 14, is based on length. No trout and salmon will be judged. Youngsters may fish any Niagara County waters. All kids will receive a consolation prize. Awards presentation is at 1 p.m. For more information call Mike at 585-205-1353.
  • There will be a Catch and Release Kids Fishing Derby at Wide Waters Marina, Lockport on June 16 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. for fishing; lunch and awards will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is being hosted by Moose Lodge 617, 204 Monroe Street, Lockport.

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director

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Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303

South Carolina passes new turkey regulations to bolster declining populations

South Carolina passes new turkey regulations. NWTF Photo

The National Wild Turkey Federation applauds the South Carolina legislature for passing a bill addressing declining turkey populations. The bill will restructure season dates and limits for residents and nonresidents.

The new structure creates two regional season periods: April 1 – May 10 for the upstate and March 22 – April 30 in the Lowcountry. The NWTF is pleased with the later season opener in the upstate as it more closely coincides with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ original proposal of April 10 as a start date.

Other provisions in the bill are designed to help reverse the statewide decline in wild turkey populations and they include:

  • a daily bag limit of one bird;
  • a one-bird limit in the first 10 days of the season, which is intended to reduce early season harvest so more gobblers will be available for breeding early in the season;
  • state residents will still be able to take three birds during the season and nonresidents will be allowed to take two;
  • a fee for turkey tags will be implemented to support future wild turkey research and management;
  • and finally, the bill makes possible the development of an electronic check-in system for reporting harvests.

South Carolina State NWTF Chapter board members testified multiple times in the House and Senate promoting a later season open date, and NWTF members sent more than 5,000 messages to their senators and representatives.

“We thank our members for their participation in the legislative process, and our legislators, particularly committee chairs Senator Chip Campsen (R-43) and Representative Bill Hixon (R-83), for taking the time to craft the legislation,” said Joel Pedersen, NWTF director of government affairs.

“We couldn’t have made the progress we did without the help of our state board and NWTF members who contacted their legislators,” said Dal Dyches, South Carolina’s state chapter president. “Although this isn’t a perfect bill, we believe it is a step in the right direction for the state’s wild turkey population.”

About the National Wild Turkey Federation: When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to raise $1.2 billion to conserve and enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org

For more information, contact Pete Muller at (803) 637-7698

 

 

Wherever the Currents may take You, Costa Sunglasses® Adds Support to Shark Research with Ocearch® Colletion

  • A wonderful effort to support the Apex Predator of our Ocean’s       
  • Ocearch Sunglasses, Frames, Apparel…supporting Ocean research…and Shark Survival

We’ve all wanted to see fish where they could not be usually seen with the naked eye, but anglers in the know also know…that the right kind of polarized sunglasses can actually help us to see those invisible fish. Especially at tournament time, saltwater or freshwater, this is critical. To see more fish, who can argue?

A special announcement from Daytona Beach today to help us all – Costa Sunglasses, a company committed to protecting our watery world, is launching new sunglasses, optical frames, frame colors and apparel as part of its growing OCEARCH Collection. This collection supports OCEARCH, an at-sea lab led by explorers and researchers who generate critical data and put science on the side of sharks. Costa’s long-term partnership with OCEARCH deepens its commitment to protect the lifeblood of our oceans.

Costa’s OCEARCH Switchfoot in Matte Tiger Shark with Green Mirror 580G lens.
Costa’s OCEARCH Vela in Matte Deep Teal Crystal with Gray Silver Mirror 580G lens.

Two frame styles are also new to the Costa lineup – Switchfoot™ and Vela™. Switchfoot features a unique double-bridge style, Hydrolite® nosepads and adjustable temple tips for a comfortable fit. The new style is perfect for sun-filled days on the water and is available in Matte Tiger Shark and Matte Black. The new Vela is named for “pez vela”, or “sailfish” and are as majestic as its fishy namesake. Offering Hydrolite nosepads, adjustable temple tips and a classic shape, the new frame is made for wherever the currents may take you. The new Vela is available in Shiny Coastal Fade and Matte Deep Teal Crystal.

The OCEARCH Collection also presents a new opportunity to support conservation through the purchase of Costa’s optical frames. The Ocean Ridge™ 100, 300 and 301 frames are available in Black Fade or Tiger Shark frames colors. These optical frames can be purchased at authorized Costa optical dealers throughout the U.S. and outfitted with an individual’s optical prescription. Costa’s expansion of the OCEARCH Collection to its optical line allows customers the opportunity to make mindful purchase decisions to help protect our watery world in the office or when the sun goes down.

Costa’s OCEARCH Collection now features 17 sunglass frames and four optical frame options, with 12 different frame colors. The OCEARCH Collection includes the following styles from Costa’s 2019 spring additions: Broadbill, Spearo, Panga, Rinconcito, Switchfoot and Vela, which along with Anaa, Caballito, Cat Cay, Fantail, Half Moon, Kare, Loreto, Remora, Slack Tide and Tuna Alley round out Costa’s OCEARCH lineup. The full list of sunglass frame colors includes: Matte Tiger Shark, Sea Glass, Matte Deep Teal Crystal, Matte Fog Gray, Brushed Silver with Matte Gray Crystal, Shiny White Shark, Matte Ocean Fade, Matte Black and Shiny Coastal Fade.

Apparel is also a key part of the OCEARCH Collection, including shirts for men, women and children. The new apparel offering includes new technical shirts and hat options, all carrying new designs like the OCEARCH Wave Shark and OCEARCH Huddle.

“The research OCEARCH is doing is critical to the health of our oceans and is providing important data to help protect the balance of its ecosystem,” said T.J. McMeniman, vice president of marketing for Costa Sunglasses. “Supporting this research is core to Costa’s commitment to conservation and has been a long-standing partnership that the company, and its people, remain extremely passionate about.”

A portion of the proceeds from each sale of sunglasses, optical frames and apparel in the OCEARCH Collection goes to the support of OCEARCH and its mission to protect sharks. Through this collection, Costa is working to help keep our oceans balanced through awareness and funding of OCEARCH expeditions.

About Costa: As the first manufacturer of color-enhancing all-polarized sunglass lenses, Costa combines superior lens technology with unparalleled fit and durability. Still handcrafted in Florida, Costa has made the highest quality, best performing sunglasses and prescription sunglasses (Rx) for outdoor enthusiasts since 1983, and now its product portfolio includes optical frames. Costa’s growing cult-brand status ties directly to its mission to provide high quality products with a focus on sustainability and conservation as the company works hard to protect the waters it calls home. From the use of sustainable materials to its Kick Plastic initiative, IndiFly Foundation and strong partnership with shark research organization OCEARCH, Costa encourages people to help protect the Earth’s natural resources in any way they can. Find out more on Costa’s website and join the conversation on FacebookInstagram or Twitter at @CostaSunglasses.

 

Clean Plinking is Here

The future of rimfire is here. CCI Clean-22™ uses an exclusive polymer bullet coating to greatly reduce copper and lead fouling in the barrel—without leaving a residue. It also cuts lead buildup in suppressors 60 to 80 percent. Both the Sub-Sonic and High Velocity loads feature a 40-grain round nose lead bullet with geometry that’s been optimized for accuracy. With dependable CCI priming and consistent propellant, Clean-22 provides flawless cycling through semi-automatics and all 22 LR firearms.

FEATURES & BENEFITS
• Polymer bullet coating greatly reduces lead fouling in the barrel without leaving residue
• Cuts lead buildup in suppressors 60 to 80 percent
• 40-grain lead round nose bullets—red for High Velocity, blue for Sub-Sonic
• Optimized bullet geometry for improved accuracy
• Reliable function in semi-automatic firearms
• Great option both casual and competitive shooters

Learn More: https://www.cci-ammunition.com/whatsnew/newproducts.aspx

Eliminating Your Stink…for Serious Hunters

Human Scent Control....hard to do until now

One of the biggest things we can control as deer hunters is our scent, but it’s not easy. We all perspire, we sweat when we walk out with our gear, climb a tree and set up. The gentle wind from whatever direction helps to disperse the “hunter alert” smell to all area wildlife populations. What can we do to get better to remove our human odor and wildlife alarm scent? Read on.
Introduced at the Archery Trade Show in January to rave reviews, ElimiShield’s new Hunt X10D concentrate provides a unique scent-elimination formula. It is a long-term treatment that prevents the formation of human body odors on clothing and soft-good accessories. It costs mere pennies to treat each piece of clothing. When used as directed, X10D bonds to the fibers to create a chain of atoms that produces an uninhabitable surface for odor-causing compounds, thereby making the treated garments virtually scent-free.
While it sounds complicated, it is really easy to use. Each 10-ounce bottle of X10D will treat 10 pounds of camo clothing and/or soft gear in only 10 minutes. Think: 10-10-10. Simply add one ounce of X10D per pound of clothing (up to 10 pounds) to three gallons of 110 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit water in a bucket. Stir well and add the clothing and let the garments soak for a minimum of 10 minutes; wring the clothing out, and hang until just damp. Then place them in a clothes dryer until dry. This will create a nearly permanent odor-resistant shield that will last up to 50 commercial grade washings or typically more than five years for most hunters.
It is recommended to treat only those garments that actually touch the skin and/or are actually exposed to body odor, such as under garments, gloves, socks and hats. With proper use of the ElimiShield X10D, your under garments will remain odorless and will keep you body odor contained.
For the best results in the field, ElimiShield recommends using all four HUNT products in the three-step odor elimination system developed specifically for hunters. Step A is personal hygiene, including Core Body Foam—the outdoor industry’s only FDA-compliant, direct to skin scent elimination product—as well as a Hair & Body Wash. Step B is laundering hunting clothes with ElimiShieldHUNTLaundry Detergent. Step C is the Scent Elimination Spray and X10D Concentrate.
The new ElimiShield HUNT X10D Scent Elimination Concentrate is available directly from Hunters Safety System at elimishieldhunt.com for a suggested retail price of under $40.
About ElimiShield Scent Control Technology: The patented, proprietary, nanotechnology formula in some of the ElimiShield HUNT products leave a microscopically abrasive shield that eliminates odor-causing particles on contact. This mechanism is far superior to other methods that either poison bacteria or attempt to absorb human odors after they form. In addition to the nanotechnology, certain ElimiShield products include bio-based ingredients to neutralize malodors that are encountered in the field, ensuring all surfaces remain scent-free. Hunter Safety System, the industry leader in treestand safety, is the exclusive distributor of ElimiShield HUNT products to the outdoor industry. For information on this line, contact Hunter Safety System, 8237 Danville Road, Danville, AL 35619; call toll-free 877-296-3528; or visit elimishieldhunt.com.

Zoom’s Z-Swim 3.8 Combines Action and Durability

The Z-Swim is 3.8 inches long and will initially come in six proven colors to meet a wide variety of water colors and forage bases. Photo by Zoom Baits

On May 15 (2019), Major League Fishing provided special news that Zoom Bait Company will release the new Z-Swim 3.8, a ribbed swimbait that swims naturally, emulates a wide variety of baitfish and can be used from the surface down into the deepest lairs of wary bass. Savvy tournament anglers have utilized this style of lure in all types of water for several years, but the addition of a model featuring Zoom’s special touches will make it substantially more effective.

That means it has the best of both worlds – you’ll constantly be offering a tempting meal, but you won’t have to repeatedly adjust your rigging, taking up valuable time. That means more casts and more effective casts, throughout the day.

This new lure is responsive at both ultra-slow and ridiculously fast speeds and can be fished throughout the water column. It can be applied to a wide variety of techniques, too. It’s exceptional on a weighted swimbait hook or a jig head, providing enough action on its own, but it’s also deadly on the back on a vibrating jig or swim jig, or even on a castable umbrella rig. It’s an ultra-natural presentation that thumps, which means it can excel in gin clear and super-dirty water alike, along with every level of clarity in-between.

The Z-Swim is 3.8 inches long and will initially come in six proven colors to meet a wide variety of water colors and forage bases.

The Z-Swim 3.8 will soon be available at leading tackle stores and online retailers. If you can’t find it, ask for it.

For more information about Zoom Bait Company, go to www.zoombait.com

Matches, BB-Guns, Pocket Knives and Sharp Sticks…Once Upon a Time

Catching that first fish on a lure was a giant obstacle in the old days, but it was also a stepping stone to greater discoveries outdoors. Forrest Fisher Photo

By Forrest Fisher

When I was growing up, it was taken for granted that kids played outside.

We did all those things we wanted to do outside, not inside. Mom said, “Go outside!” So we did.  Every day.

We explored, we hiked the nearby fields and woods, we biked to nearby creeks to fish, we played baseball, we were bit by hornets, bees and wasps at one time or another, but overall, we had a lot of fun, all of it…outside.

After dark, we had a campfire, roasted marshmallows, potatoes and hot dogs on a fresh green tree branch whittled to a sharp point with a pocket knife. Each of us had one. It took quite a while for those raw potatoes to cook, but while waiting we would talk “about stuff” and we learned about all the things in life.

We had to keep feeding the fire which was fun all by itself. After a while, we discovered it was cleaner and faster to borrow some of mom’s aluminum foil (we dared not tell her) and wrap up the potatoes, then toss them on the coals of the fire. We were careful not to get burned, but we did a lot discovering through those young days as we grew up.

Our parents trusted us to carry a knife and matches because we were smart and responsible. They told us so. We grew up hearing that over and over. We grew up knowing that.

With the matches, after toasting our fingers at first try to light the match, we didn’t get burned much after that. Funny how you learn how to be safe.  I cannot recall ever having an accident with our pocket knives. Most of us had BB-guns too. My Daisy Red-Ryder is still in my closet nearly 70 years later and it still works, even after what has to be 100,000 rounds or more. That poor spring. That’s a lot of BB’s. All safely placed shots too, of course. No windows broken that I can remember, but my memory is not always perfect.

We grew up outside sharing so many things with our friends and neighbors. Everybody knew everybody. It was a fun time to be a kid. Looking back, it was great to grow up as a kid in the 50s and be trusted with so many things that we associate with as danger in the world of today.

As I walked a trout stream last weekend, our springtime foliage was in full blooming color. I reflected on being a kid and I started to think about our modern generation with much of their indoor recreation and the hand-held indoor universe. I took my 4-weight fly rod and sat down on the bank to just ponder. For some reason, I felt sad.

Today, if mom or dad or grandpa or an uncle or a close friend does not fish or hunt or camp or hike, then there is one entire sector of our generation that will never know about all those outdoor things, and all the fun and adventure to be had learning to be trusted with safe things that can be dangerous. Do parents today tell their kids that they are smart and responsible? Maybe, but they might only be texting it to them. It’s not the same.

Matches, pocket knives, sharp sticks, hot potatoes and bb guns allowed us to develop a foundation for how to be safe with each other and care for each other. We learned about proper ethics, the wisdom of lessons in a story tale told around a campfire. We learned to visualize, watching the flames and listening to the words of the tale. We were mesmerized in a world of special diversity as kids in that age of our time.

So today I worry a bit about our youngsters, their parents and the new generations coming along. It seems that no one has time to “just let the kids play outside” today. Moms and dads both work, that is the biggest difference, perhaps. Most moms in those old days were at home.

My mom rewarded me for going fishing and bringing back dinner. It didn’t help my allowance, I didn’t get one. We were not poor, but we survived by doing the simple things for fun, sharing, working hard and learning about helping the budget with fish and game, and the family garden.

My sister and I raised chickens and sold eggs to help out. More outdoor stuff. Those eggs were totally organic by today’s definitions and they were so good. We had 50 chickens at one point. The garden was a summer task that was hard work, but it was fun, too. We learned about insects, plants, natural forces and there was this kinship where we learned about all life in our world.

Let’s bring back the old days. Share life with others, make new friends in the outdoors, lead by example.

KAYAK Bass Championship – May 28-31 in Cookeville, TN

Local resident Eric Jackson, a champion kayaker, USA Bass team captain, and president/CEO of Jackson Kayak.

  • Elite Kayak Anglers from Around the Globe to Attend First-of-Its-Kind Competition 
  • Cookeville, Tennessee selected to host the first-ever Pan-American Kayak Bass Championship May 28-31, 2019
Local resident Eric Jackson, a champion kayaker, USA Bass team captain, and president/CEO of Jackson Kayak.

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau, along with USA Bass and Pan-American Sportfishing Federation, announced today that Cookeville will serve as home to the inaugural Pan-American Kayak Bass Championship, May 28 – 31, 2019.

The first-of-its-kind in the world, the four-day event will welcome more than 100 of the most elite kayak bass anglers from around the globe to Center Hill Lake. The exclusive competition is invitation only and is expected to include participants from Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Canada, and more. More than forty Pan-American countries will be invited.

“Cookeville is a world-class destination and the perfect place to showcase our state’s warm hospitality and incredible natural resources, including the lakes, rivers and streams unique to our Upper Cumberland,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “This is a tremendous win for Tennessee, and we know Putnam County will set a high standard for visitors who want to return year after year.”

In addition to being an inaugural Pan-American championship, officials with the Confederation Internationale de Peche Sportive (CIPS) will be in attendance to evaluate the potential for officially making kayak bass fishing a world championship level sport.

“Cookeville and Center Hill Lake quickly became the clear choice to host this historic event,” said Tony Forte, U.S. Angling founder and USA Bass president. “Kayak fishing is exploding worldwide and the Pan-American Sportfishing Federation felt it was time to make it an official sport.”

“This event is not just a launching point for Pan-American countries, but also in-line to become a world championship sport and push toward Olympic recognition. Our USA Bass team led by Captain Eric Jackson is looking forward to hosting kayak bass fishing’s best. We thank the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau for their support and hope to see plenty of fans at the event and following via various media outlets.”

The visitors’ bureau plans to leverage its strong partnerships with local outdoor enthusiasts, such as Jackson. As an Olympian, champion kayaker, and president/CEO of Jackson Kayak, partners such as this will offer an added advantage in hosting and supporting the logistics for this event.

Cookeville is no stranger to high level fishing attention, having hosted multiple internationally televised fishing shows on the Outdoor and Sportsman Channels and the World Fishing Network, e.g. Major League Fishing GEICO Select Series, Fishing University, and Kayak Bassin’ TV.

“We have been working for several months to recruit this big win for our community,” said Zach Ledbetter, vice president of visitor development, Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau. “As we prepared the bid-proposal for this event, we knew Cookeville-Putnam County was a natural fit.”

“We have an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who want to compete on calm and bass-filled waters,” added Ledbetter. “Aside from the outstanding hospitality of our community, the value of our natural assets allows us to welcome anglers from all over the world.”

Participants are expected to arrive early for pre-fishing various area waters, e.g. Center Hill, Cordell Hull, Dale Hollow Lake, Caney Fork, Falling Water, and Calfkiller Rivers. They are also anticipated to stay and explore more local attractions, waterfalls, downtown life, etc. following the competition.

Other destinations considered for hosting privileges included Columbia, SC; Hot Springs, AR; and Branson, MO.

The media value for exposure during this event is anticipated to be immeasurable with several high-level outlets already showing interest in covering the competition, e.g. Pro Team Journal by Strike King, Outdoor Channel Strike King’s Fish Hard, and World Fishing Network.

The visitors’ bureau will be working with the Pan-Am event staff and area hospitality partners, as well as the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to ensure the championship is executed successfully.

About the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau: The Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau, a program of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, serves as the designated destination marketing organization (DMO) for Putnam County and is funded by a portion of the Putnam County lodging tax, a tax paid by visitors’ and collected by local lodging partners such as hotels, bed & breakfasts, etc. Ranking at 17th of Tennessee’s 95 counties, the visitors’ bureau is tasked with inspiring travel and overnight stays in Putnam County. Primary marketing pillars in drive and fly markets include outdoors; fitness/sports; motorcycling; arts/culture; and culinary/crafts. Most recent U.S. Travel Association statistics note visitor spending in Putnam County generated $2.7 million in local tax revenue, providing a tax relief for local residents with a savings of $358.47 per household.  Explore more at VisitCookevilleTN.com.

For more information about the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau, info@visitcookevilletn.com. 

NSSF Celebrates President Trump Signing ‘Range Bill

The “Range Bill” has been a sustained-effort priority for NSSF and is a crucial step forward in promoting, protecting and preserving hunting and the shooting sports.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the firearms industry trade association, celebrates President Donald Trump’s signing of H.R. 1222, the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, at The White House. The President signed the NSSF-priority bill May 10, just two weeks after the bill was passed by Congress.

“We deeply appreciate President Trump’s swift enactment of this legislation that will give state fish and game agencies greater flexibility to build new recreational shooting ranges and expand and improve existing ranges,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “This administration understands the value and investment the firearms and ammunition industry makes to safe recreational shooting and to sustained conservation to benefit wildlife and habitat restoration across the United States. Public shooting ranges provide hunters a place to sight in rifles and pattern shotguns before hunting seasons, for people to take firearm safety and hunter education courses and for recreational target shooters to enjoy their sport.”

The “Range Bill” has been a sustained-effort priority for NSSF and is a crucial step forward in promoting, protecting and preserving hunting and the shooting sports. In the course of more than a decade, versions of the bipartisan legislation were introduced as 29 different numbered bills and 15 separate legislative packages, starting with the 110th Congress. While it had broad support from both Republicans and Democrats in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, previous attempts to pass the legislation were derailed for reasons unrelated to the actual legislation.

The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, also known as the “Range Bill,” allows states to use their Pittman-Robertson Fund allocations to begin construction of new ranges, or improve existing state-run public recreational shooting ranges. Prior to this law’s enactment, states were required to put up 25 percent of the cost of range construction projects to access the matching 75 percent of Pittman-Robertson funds. Now, states can access those funds with a 10 percent match and will have five fiscal years to acquire land for range construction or expansion projects.

Pittman-Robertson funds are derived from an excise tax paid by firearms and ammunition manufacturers. Since 1937, the fund has generated more than $12.5 billion funding wildlife conservation and safety education programs in all 50 states. NSSF estimates more than 80 percent of Pittman-Robertson excise tax contributions are generated by sales attributed to recreational shooting. This means today’s recreational target shooter is an overwhelming contributor to conservation through excise tax support.

A recurring concern of recreational shooters, and those considering entering the sport, is proximity and access to a safe range. This new law would make it easier for states to enable recreational target shooters to enter the sport, which in turn would generate continued contributions to Pittman-Robertson funds and the conservation programs which it supports.

NSSF is especially grateful to U.S. Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), as well as U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), John Boozman, (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska). All are original co-sponsors on both the House and Senate versions of the legislation.

About NSSF: The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org.

Walleye Trolling Meets Durability and Effectiveness with Mepps®

  • Mepps Trolling Rig® and Crawler Harness…NEW

In eastern basin Lake Erie, most anglers are conventional. They troll with lead core line, deep diving stickbaits and custom made spinner/worm rigs. Who would have ever thought to try a Mepps combination through all the contention with standard convention?  Guess what? They not only work in the land of giant great Lakes walleye back here in the northeast, they work everywhere.

Walleye anglers understand the efficiency of trolling, allowing you to cover a lot of water and keep in contact with active fish. Not only is trolling one of the most productive methods for catching walleye, it’s known for producing BIG fish. But, it’s also known for rigs tied from monofilament which tangle, twist, wear out quickly and break, costing valuable fishing time, or worse, the fish of a lifetime.

The Mepps® Trolling Rig and Mepps® Crawler Harness are built tough from the highest quality components and can last for decades. The Mepps® Trolling Rig features: a heavy gauge, stainless, main shaft and an ultra-flexible, kink-resistant 20lb. braided, stainless steel cable with a stinger hook, fastened with a clever loop design instead of a knot, allowing quick and easy hook changes or replacement; a spiral-wound, stainless steel clevis, which allows quick and secure blade changes; an oversized, brightly-colored, floating body which produces a tantalizing, slow sink-rate; a multi-colored bucktail or tinsel dressed hook, adding flash, color and a larger profile; plus, a time-proven Mepps® Aglia® blade in silver, gold, copper or black. The Mepps® Trolling Rig comes in 2 sizes and 18 color combinations.

The Mepps® Crawler Harness shares the same features and durability of the Trolling Rig, minus the dressed hook and utilizes a Colorado blade, finished in a wide selection of colors and patterns. The Mepps® Crawler Harness comes in 2 sizes and 9 color combinations. Remember, all of the quick-change features built into both of these baits means blades, bodies, dressings and hooks can be mixed and matched to find the perfect combination for current conditions.

Mepps® is also proud to announce a new series of short, educational videos, demonstrating the many features of these unique baits, and loaded with tips on using them to catch more and bigger walleyes. The videos are available at http://www.youtube.com/meppsman1.

To see the entire lineup of Mepps® products, or receive a current Mepps® Tackle Catalog, visit our web site at www.mepps.com or call 800-237-9877.  Sheldons’ Inc., 626 Center St., Antigo, WI 54409-2496.

Hornady Announces 350 Legend

Hornady is proud to announce 350 Legend 170 gr. InterLock® American Whitetail® ammunition.

Loaded with legendary Hornady® InterLock® bullets, American Whitetail® ammunition combines generations of ballistics know-how with modern components and the technology you need to take the buck of a lifetime.

InterLock® bullets feature exposed lead tips for controlled expansion and hard-hitting terminal performance. Bullets used in American Whitetail® feature the Hornady exclusive InterLock® ring, a raised ring inside the jacket that is embedded in the bullet’s core that keeps the core and jacket locked together during expansion to retain mass and energy.

For additional information, please visit hornady.com.

Founded in 1949, Hornady® Manufacturing Company is a family owned business headquartered in Grand Island, Nebraska. Proudly manufacturing products that are made in the USA, Hornady® Manufacturing is a world leader in bullet, ammunition, reloading tool and accessory design and manufacture.

Outdoor Adventure and How-to Lessons for All in Ken Cook’s New Book

  • Quick-Read Outdoor Stories to Learn From: Fishing, Hunting, Shooting
  • Lessons from Experience: Recipes, Youth Mentoring, Women in the Outdoors
  • Bear, Deer, Rabbits, Squirrels, Birds, Fish, Wildlife, Photography

By Dave Barus

From the back cover, this picture bonds my mind to the outdoors that Ken Cook shares in his new book.

Old and young alike will love this manifest of outdoor spirit and culture shared by award-winning freelance outdoor writer, Ken Cook, in his new book. Not an ordinary outdoor book, Cook delivers lessons and aspirations in his “Return to Wild Country” with 65 compelling short stories across 284 pages. With photo’s and simple expression, easy to understand, Cook shares outdoor adventure with lessons and quips of women in the outdoors, mentoring kids, disabled youth, conservation, as well as interesting short features with a purpose on fishing, wild turkey, bobwhite quail, mourning doves, rabbits and squirrels. Even the harvest of a monster 673-pound Georgia black bear, a giant! Humble lessons for all to learn from.

Cook is a good story teller and in this book he shares stories about people sharing time in the outdoors with other people. Some of those people include Johnny Morris, Jack Wingate, Georgia naturalist Buddy Hopkins, former President Jimmy Carter, Guy Harvey and a moving testimony from young Eric Dinger of Powderhook entitled, “An Open Letter to the Anti-Hunter.” As a bonus, Cook includes 28 wild game recipes from Elaine Harvell that offer new tasty ideas for fish, duck, elk and dozens of many other outdoor delights.

You can get a copy of Ken’s new book in soft-cover from Amazon ($16.95) or in E-book form via Kindle ($3.95). It’s a great read and can make a great gift.

 

Deer Management: New York shares a plan for Urban and Suburban Communities

Joe Forma Photo

Whitetail deer management in communities where people and vehicles are numerous can result in accidental collision and injury. Many states are trying to understand the best method to employ for better management. In New York, a written plan exists, perhaps a plan that other states might gain benefit from, as well.

Cover of deer management report
Click the picture for a link to the report.

White-tailed deer are an important part of New York’s natural heritage. However, they increased in abundance throughout the last century and have now reached problematic levels in many parts of the state, especially where local and state laws and landowner opinions have constrained regulated hunting.

DEC created a report (PDF) that provides a comprehensive review of deer overabundance and management in urban and suburban areas.

Urban/suburban deer overabundance is challenging community residents, local municipal officials, and state agencies across the country. In some respects, New York is at the forefront of management approaches to this problem, but state laws prevent the use of several of the most effective techniques. Removing those legal obstacles would make it easier and more affordable for communities to address their deer-related problems.

No matter what methods are used, urban/suburban deer management is a complicated process requiring a long-term commitment. Communities and individuals interested in developing a deer management program can visit DEC’s Community Deer Management webpage for a deer management guide, other resources, and contact information.

Invasive/Non-native Species Rules TAKE EFFECT May 2 in Florida

  • If you currently possess one of the newly listed prohibited species and do not wish to obtain a grandfathered pet permit, PLEASE Don’t Let it Loose!
Bullseye Snakehead is a non-native species in Florida

By Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

New rules will help proactively protect Florida from invasive species becoming established in the state. The rules, which were approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in February, go into effect May 2.

The new rules clarify rule language by defining key terms and add some high-risk nonnative animals to Florida’s Prohibited Nonnative Species List. Using recent risk assessments and screenings, the FWC determined these species present a high level of risk to the state and will therefore be added to Florida’s Prohibited Nonnative Species List:  

  • Mammals: meerkat/mongoose, raccoon dog, dhole, brushtail possum, flying fox.
  • Birds: red-whiskered bul-bul, dioch, Java sparrow, pink starling.
  • Reptiles: brown tree snake, yellow anaconda, Beni anaconda, DeSchauensee’s anaconda.
Nile-Monitor Lizard is a non-native species in Florida.

The rule changes include a 90-day grace period for people to come into compliance with the new rules, since prohibited species may only be possessed by permit for research or exhibition purposes. The grace period, which ends July 31, will allow commercial dealers who possess these species to sell their inventory, since commercial sales of these species are no longer allowed in Florida and people will no longer be permitted to acquire them as pets. 

The new rules also include grandfathering language for people who possessed these species as pets prior to the rule changes. People who have any of these species in personal possession will have until July 31 to submit a permit application to the FWC, which will allow them to keep their pet for the rest of its life.

“Our native fish and wildlife are facing a serious threat posed by various invasive species found throughout the state,” said Kipp Frohlich, director of the FWC’s Division of Habitat and Species Conservation. “This new rule will help prevent those species on the prohibited list from becoming the next Burmese python.”

The public can help the FWC control nonnative invasive wildlife by reporting sightings to the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-IveGot1 (888-483-4681), online at IVEGOT1.org or by using the free smartphone app IVEGOT1.

Burmese Python is a non-native Florida species.

If you currently possess one of the newly listed prohibited species and do not wish to obtain a grandfathered pet permit, Don’t Let it Loose! Be a responsible pet owner and never release exotic animals into the Florida ecosystem. It is illegal and can be harmful to native wildlife. The FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program helps prevent nonnative animals from being released into the wild by providing exotic pet owners who can no longer keep their pets with a legal and responsible alternative to releasing them. People may surrender their exotic pets at Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events or year-round by calling the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (483-4681). All exotic pets, including ones held illegally, are accepted without penalty and placed with pre-approved adopters. Learn more about the program at MyFWC.com/Nonnatives under the “Exotic Pet Amnesty Program” tab. 

For more information about nonnative species in Florida, visit MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.

LAST DAY TO APPLY – 2019 Kentucky Elk Hunt Drawing

APPLY NOW for the 2019 Kentucky Elk Hunt Drawing.  Today is your last chance!

  • Take Your Pick — Apply for any or all available permit types
  • Only $10 per application
  • NEW – The Archery/Crossbow Permit is now either-sex (bull or cow!) 
  • Ages 15 & younger may also apply for Youth Either-Sex Permits (25 now available)
  • Random Drawing — Results will be announced on May 18:   
  • Biggest herd & hunt east of the Rockies — 594 permits available
  • 6 of the Top 10 state record bulls were harvested in the past 4 years!

The deadline to apply is April 30 (tonight) at midnight — so don’t wait and possibly forget to apply!

Frequently Asked Questions about the elk hunt drawing are found here.

More information about Kentucky’s elk herd and the drawing is posted here.  

Thank you for participating in the drawing.  Proceeds from elk hunt drawing applications and elk hunt permits directly support elk management, research and public access in Kentucky.

Trinity Oaks’ Thumbtack Ranch hosts Field-to-Table weekend for Boys

Hunting can teach critically important lessons about the value of all life.

  • Hunting can teach critically important lessons about the value of all life
  • Hunting can teach us that all life is important and sacred
  • Trinity Oaks’ Thumbtack Ranch is the nation’s first Purple Heart Ranch, providing lessons for so many
For five of the six boys, this camp was their first time ever receiving gun safety instruction, shooting sporting clays and hunting.

By Karen Lutto

Trinity Oaks teamed up with the Hill Country Chapter of the Quail Coalition earlier this year to offer six Austin, Texas-area boys the opportunity to truly learn where their food comes from. The boys, all from different backgrounds ranging from single mother to veteran families to underprivileged, experienced first-hand, the entire process of field-to-fork at Trinity Oaks Thumbtack Ranch in Batesville, Texas.
For five of the six boys, this camp was their first time ever receiving gun safety instruction, shooting sporting clays and hunting. After learning gun safety and practicing shooting, the six boys, with full instruction and guides, were taken on a bird hunt that included pheasant, chukar and wild bobwhite quail. The success in the field gave them a better understanding of where food comes, as after the harvest the boys also cleaned the birds, prepared them for cooking, helped to cook them and enjoyed them for dinner.
“Teaching our kids where food comes from is so important, but actually providing this type of hands-on education is nearly impossible for most parents, “ said Britt Longoria, Trinity Oaks’ Executive Director. “At Trinity Oaks, we offer a number of camps and services to Texas youth to help them get outdoors to enjoy, respect and have a better understanding of its importance and role in our everyday lives.
“Hunting can teach critically important lessons about the value of all life,” continued Longoria. “Today, many kids spend time with media that glamorize violence and cheapen the value of life. Hunting can teach us that all life is important and sacred. There is no greater way to learn about the dynamic systems of nature than through walking through the brush and examining things first hand. Learning to hunt responsibly and experiencing what it means to take an animal’s life can change a person for the better. Our ancestors had a deep appreciation for life, in part, because of their dependence on nature for sustenance. They understood the cost.
“Opportunities for us to volunteer and spend time with kids outdoors is invaluable. Take your kid out, take a friend’s, or volunteer and make a difference in the lives of others.”
Our country is urbanizing at such a rapid rate, there is far less awareness of how our food gets to the table. Programs like this one and the many others offered by Trinity Oaks make kids aware that the food they eat doesn’t begin at the grocery store.
Trinity Oaks’ Thumbtack Ranch is the nation’s first Purple Heart Ranch.  They are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded on the premise that active participation in the outdoors is a powerful, healing, and fundamentally life-changing experience.  Trinity Oaks will be hosting its fourth annual Columbaire Pigeon Shoot at Thumbtack Ranch on March 22 in order to raise funds for future hunting and fishing opportunities for the underprivileged and combat veterans. All of Trinity Oaks’ programs are free-of-charge for the participants, and this event is just one of the fundraising events that the organization hosts throughout the year. For more information on the youth programs from Trinity Oaks, visit www.trinityoaks.org; and to register for the pigeon shoot, click here.
About Trinity Oaks: In 2007, San Antonio native Tom Snyder founded Trinity Oaks, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded on the premise that active participation in the outdoors is a powerful, healing, and fundamentally life-changing experience. The organization’s mission is to use hunting, fishing and outdoor activities to make a meaningful difference in the lives of underprivileged kids, terminally ill children and combat veterans. Each year, Trinity Oaks offers at least 50 events at no expense to those who can benefit from once-in-a-lifetime hunting or fishing experiences. For more information on Trinity Oaks, visit www.trinityoaks.org, or call 210-447-0351. For more information on Thumbtack Ranch, visit https://trinityoaks.org/thumbtack/.

 

Giving Back to the Outdoors – 22 Brands Will Raise Funds in Fifth Annual “We Keep It Wild” Campaign

Funds raised will help the Conservation Alliance protect wild lands and waters across North America for future generations to enjoy.

  • “We Keep It Wild” program set for needed help from Outdoor Industry
  • EVERYDAY PEOPLE Can Support this program through product purchase and donation 
  • Together, we have helped protect 51 million acres, 3,107 river miles, removed or halted 34 dams, purchased 14 climbing areas & designated 5 marine reserves

A diverse assortment of 22 companies are hosting fundraisers and online promotions during the month of April to benefit The Conservation Alliance in the fifth annual “We Keep It Wild” campaign.

Funds raised will help the Alliance protect wild lands and waters across North America for future generations to enjoy.

“Participation in our We Keep It Wild campaign is another example of how our members come together around a common purpose,” said Josie Norris, program manager at The Conservation Alliance. “We work with these brands throughout the year to protect North America’s wild places through grant-making and advocacy. We are proud to see our members taking additional action to support our mission by raising money for The Conservation Alliance during the month of April.”

Fundraising efforts in April include:

Other confirmed partners include: FootZone of Bend; Bronwen Jewelry; Farm to Feet; Klean Kanteen; Last Exit Goods; Lifestraw; Nau; Nuu-Muu; shār; Superfeet; and Waypoint Outdoor. All donations are additive to the annual membership dues for each brand.

For information and details on all #WeKeepItWild promotions, please visit: http://www.conservationalliance.com/event-flyer/

About the Conservation Alliance: The Conservation Alliance is an organization of like-minded businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wildlands and climbing areas. Membership in the Alliance is open to all companies who care about protecting our most threatened wild places for habitat and outdoor recreation. Since its inception in 1989, The Conservation Alliance has contributed more than $22 million, helped to protect more than 51 million acres of wildlands; protect 3,107 miles of rivers; stop or remove 34 dams; designate five marine reserves; and purchase 14 climbing areas. For complete information on The Conservation Alliance, see www.conservationalliance.com.

Orleans County Oak Orchard River and Lake Ontario Fishing Report for April 18, 2019

Intimidator Sportfishing Charters fishing Lake Ontario off Orleans County is heating up with anglers catching Brown Trout.

This week’s STREAM fishing report is from Ron Bierstine from Oak Orchard Tackle and Lodge, April 16, 2019. 

11.4 lbs Brown Trout caught off Johnson’s Creek in 10′ of water. Courtesy of Intimidator Sportfishing.

Thanks to the rain toward the end of the weekend through early Monday, flows in the Oak and other area smaller tributaries are back up.  There are real nice conditions to help preserve the steelhead action and maybe draw in some more fresh fish.  Flows in the Oak are slightly high with what looks like a good head of turbine water.  There has been no overflow water and water color is stained at about 2ft of visibility that may get a little dirtier through today.  Seasonably cool temps are in the forecast today and tomorrow with warmer temps and a chance of more precipitation by the end of week.  Look for flows to hang in around high levels or even higher if there is any more significant precipitation.

Water temps are flirting with 50°F but cold nights have stalled the rising temperatures for now in the high 40’s°F.  By the end of the week and weekend with warmer weather, sun and dark water, look for a rise in water temps probably into the 50’s.

Guys are into good steelhead action on mostly spawning and staged/-back fish and some fresh fish.  Light to moderate fishing pressure has allowed the few persistent anglers to take advantage of the good flows and stay on the fish now later in the season for mid-April and likely through the end of April.  The other area smaller trib’s have medium to slightly high and dirty flows.  Those flows should be crested and on the retreat now at least before there is any more significant precipitation.  There is mixed bag action all around, mid-sized trib’s like the Oak or Burt are hanging on to steelhead with a few fresh fish thrown in. The Niagara and bar are coming into its own now with spring warm up and the near shore big Lake O small boat trolling or casting action is productive when wind and waves cooperate.

This week’s LAKE ONTARIO fishing report is by Capt. John Oravec, Tight Lines Charters, April 18, 2019. 

10.3# Brown Trout caught using a Bay Rat stick bait 110 ft. east of the Oak, past Flats. Courtesy Intimidator Sportfishing

What happened to Spring? This week the south shore shallows of Lake Ontario were stirred to mud by cold fronts and rough water. Yours truly has seen over 44 such Spring seasons so in lieu of glowing catch reports, how about Plan B?! When faced with chocolate water, troll north seeking the milky green edge switching to downriggers, leadcore, divers and a slow spoon program. Seek out the 40 to 80 foot drop off and tune in your fish finder looking for Lake trout and kings.

Plan C is to carry a stream combo with a simple kit of terminal tackle, a pair of waders and head for the Oak where steelhead are available.

 

Myself, I am making good brown trout catches on live minnows drift fishing at the Niagara River where the waters are clear. So there you go!

By being versatile, well equipped and ambitious, any visiting fishermen can score a catch when the skinny waters inside 15 feet are unfishable! Part of making the most of your visits to Orleans County is knowledge. Now you have it!

See you on the Water! Troutman out!

 11.4 lbs Brown Trout caught off Johnson’s Creek in 10′ of water.  Courtesy of Intimidator Sportfishing

His twin, a  10.3# Brown Trout caught today using a bay rat stick bait 110 ft. east of the Oak past Flats. Courtesy Intimidator Sportfishing

 

New York Youth Turkey Hunt set for April 20-21

Jim Monteleone Photo

  • NYS Annual Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend Set for April 20-21
  • Junior Hunters must be 12-15 yrs of age
  • Junior Hunters must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that spring turkey season opens May 1, in all of Upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. In addition, DEC’s annual youth turkey hunting weekend will take place on April 20-21. The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters ages 12-15 is open in all of Upstate New York and Suffolk County.

“Hunters across New York are looking forward to the excitement of spring turkey hunting, which requires an understanding of turkey behavior, navigation, and field skills, an ability to locate and call in birds, and take a good shot,” Commissioner Seggos said. “I encourage hunters to act responsibly, follow regulations, and adhere to the cardinal rules of hunting safety.”

Turkey hunters took an estimated 19,000 birds in New York during last year’s spring season. Of this number, an estimated 2,000 birds were taken by approximately 5,400 junior hunters during last year’s two-day, youth-only hunt. Poor turkey reproductive success in summer 2017 may mean that hunters see fewer adult gobblers this spring compared to last year, but this may be offset by opportunities for jakes resulting from improved reproductive success in 2018 and good overwinter survival.

Important Details for the Youth Turkey Hunt on April 20 and 21

  • Hunters 12-15 years of age are eligible and must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit;
  • Youth 12-13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or adult over 21 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian. Youth 14-15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult over 18 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian;
  • The accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and turkey permit. The adult may assist the youth hunter, including calling, but may not carry a firearm, bow, or crossbow, or kill or attempt to kill a wild turkey during the youth hunt;
  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day;
  • The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and across Suffolk County;
  • The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth’s regular spring season bag limit of two bearded birds. A second bird may be taken only in upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary, beginning May 1;
  • Crossbows may only be used by hunters age 14 or older; and
  • All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

Other Important Details for the Spring Turkey Season, May 1-31, 2019:

  • Hunting is permitted in most areas of the state, except for New York City and Long Island;
  • Hunters must have a turkey hunting permit in addition to their hunting license;
  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day;
  • Hunters may take two bearded turkeys during the spring season, but only one bird per day;
  • Hunters may not use rifles or handguns firing a bullet. Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun loaded with shot sizes no larger than No. 2 or smaller than No. 8, or with a bow or crossbow;
  • Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with their turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested; and
  • Successful hunters must report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird. Call 1-866-426-3778 (1-866 GAMERPT) or report harvest online at DEC’s Game Harvest Reporting website.

For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2018-19 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the “Turkey Hunting” pages of DEC’s website.

DEC Continues to Encourage Hunter Safety:

While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made each year. Every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and DEC encourages hunters to use common sense this season and remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunter Education Course.

Firearms Safety:

  • Point your gun in a safe direction;
  • Treat every gun as if it were loaded;
  • Be sure of your target and beyond; and
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

DEC also encourages all hunters to wear blaze orange or blaze pink to make themselves more visible to other hunters. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot. When hunting in tree stands, use a safety harness and a climbing belt, as most tree stand accidents occur when hunters are climbing in and out of the stand. Also, hunters should never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded firearm. New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters, largely due to the annual efforts of more than 3,000 dedicated volunteer hunter education instructors. A hunter education class is required for all new hunters. To find a hunter education class in your area, visit DEC’s Hunter Education Program website or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332).

Citizen Science Opportunity: DEC Seeks Turkey Hunters for Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey

Turkey hunters in pursuit of that wary gobbler in the spring are ideally suited to monitor ruffed grouse during the breeding season. Turkey hunters can record the number of grouse they hear drumming while afield to help DEC track the distribution and abundance of this game bird. To get a survey form, go to DEC’s website or call (518) 402-8883.

To participate in DEC’s Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey or other wildlife surveys, visit the “Citizen Science” page of DEC’s website.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/press.html

New Firearm Laws Benefit Firearms Industry…the Data Speaks

Photo courtesy of National Shooting Sports Foundation

  • Firearms Industry Economic Impact Rises 171% Since 2008
  • Since 2008, federal tax payments increased by 164 percent
  • Pittman-Robertson excise taxes to support wildlife conservation increased by 100 percent
  • State business taxes increased by 120 percent

From the National Shooting Sports Foundation®, the firearm industry trade association in Newtown, Connecticut, we learn that the total economic impact of the firearms and ammunition industry in the United States increased from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $52.1 billion in 2018.  That’s a 171 percent increase.

The total number of full-time equivalent jobs rose from approximately 166,000 to almost 312,000. That’s an 88 percent increase in that same period. 

On a more recent year-over-year basis, the firearm industry economic impact rose from $51.4 billion in 2017 to $52.1 billion in 2018, ticking higher even while the industry came off-peak production years. Total jobs increased from nearly 311,000 to almost 312,000 in the same period.

“Our industry is proud to be one of the steady and reliable producers and manufacturers in our economy as Americans continue to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms, and to safely enjoy the shooting sports,” said Stephen L. Sanetti, NSSF CEO. “Our workforce is steadily adding good jobs to our local economies averaging $50,000 a year in wages and benefits. In addition, since 2008 we increased federal tax payments by 164 percent, Pittman-Robertson excise taxes that support wildlife conservation by 100 percent and state business taxes by 120 percent.”

The Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report: 2019 provides a state-by-state breakdown of job numbers, wages and output covering direct, supplier and induced employment, as well as federal excise taxes paid. Access the full report here.

About NSSF: The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit nssf.org.

Venison Reuben, from the kitchen of Charlie Killmaster – Georgia State Deer Biologist

Each year that goes by, I search for recipes that are worth sharing because they meet the rules of “Easy-To-Make” and “Delicious-To-Eat.” Charlie Killmaster from Georgia has several great game recipes. Here is one of them and there are more at this site: https://georgiawildlife.blog/2018/12/12/oh-deer-7-venison-recipes-youve-gotta-try/.

Charlie Killmaster’s photo of his delicious Venison Reuben.

Ingredients:

  • Venison roast, preferably shoulder/neck, 1 to 3 lbs.
  • Thick-cut rye bread
  • Spicy brown mustard or Thousand Island dressing, your preference
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • Morton’s Tender Quick, or your salt/sugar brine of choice
  • Sauerkraut
  • Swiss cheese
  • Crock pot

Charlie says, “I always prefer bone-in roasts from the front of the deer for this recipe. Start by making a brine using the directions on Morton’s Tender Quick or any other recipe for a salt and sugar brine. Make enough brine to totally submerge the meat and mix in the pickling spice. You can marinate anywhere from 1 to 5 days, but I find 3 days to be ideal before it gets to be too salty.

Whenever I’m processing a deer I harvested, I like to go ahead and brine 3 or 4 chunks of meat before I freeze it so I don’t have to wait on brining each time. Just thaw and cook when you’re ready. Next, rinse the meat and cook in a crock pot with plain water for about 8 hours. Shred the meat and assemble the sandwiches with the mustard or dressing, sauerkraut, cheese, and toasted bread.

To prevent a soggy sandwich, I like to heat up the sour kraut and squeeze with a paper towel to soak up excess moisture. Serve with fries or your favorite side dish and enjoy!”

 

 

Take the Kids Hunting from a Tree Stand, but don’t go up without a Lil’ Treestalker Youth Harness!

  • Hunter Safety System youth models also available in “Fistful of Dirt” Mossy Oak® Bottomland®

The Lil’ Treestalker harness is made to keep your youth hunter safe when you take the kids upstairs in a tree. The youth harness also features ElimiShield® Hunt Scent control technology, just like the adult models. ElimiShield utilizes a proprietary nanotechnology that kills over 99.99% of odor-causing bacteria at the cellular level and forms a bond with the treated article that lasts for more than 50 commercial washes. By treating the Lil’ Treestalker with the ElimiShield in the manufacturing process, the harness is forever protected from mildew and odors after being exposed to sweat and moisture, so it’s protected while it is packed away in storage during the off-season.

Hunter Safety System has partnered with Mossy Oak to offer its Lil’ Treestalker youth harness in the very popular Bottomland camouflage pattern. Although this “fistful of dirt” pattern isn’t new, it has been extremely popular since Toxey Haas introduced it more than 30 years ago. Featuring bark, sticks and leaves, Bottomland features a legendary outline-breaking ability that helps hunters become virtually invisible in treestand environments.

“Bottomland has been a favorite pattern of bowhunters for decades,” said Jerry Wydner, HSS owner and president. “Bottomland has proven to be very effective in the field. We listen to our customers and aim to please them with the very best, safest products in the patterns that they want.”

Comfortable standing or sitting, the Lil’ Treestalker is designed with smart fabrics to stay cool and dry all season and features soft touch binding to resist abrasion around the neck and arms. Weighing a mere 1.5 lbs., this harness will keep aspiring and/or smaller hunters safe and comfortable in the field.

Available at retailers nationwide or conveniently online at www.hssvest.com, the Lil’ Treestalker in Mossy Oak Bottomland retails for under $85.

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Danville, Ala., Hunter Safety System is a leading designer/manufacturer of innovative deer hunting gear and hunting equipment for the serious hunter. The company has exclusive rights for use of ElimiShield in the hunting industry. For additional information, write to: The Hunter Safety System, 8237 Danville Road, Danville, AL 35619; call toll-free 877-296-3528; or visit www.hssvest.com.

Bassmaster Elite Series Returning to South Carolina’s Historic Lake Hartwell

ANDERSON, S.C. — After serving three times in the past 11 years as the host venue for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Lake Hartwell is already firmly entrenched in professional bass fishing history.

Now it’s time to write the next chapter.

The Bassmaster Elite Series’ third stop of the 2019 season will be at the famed Lake Hartwell out of Anderson, South Carolina: April 4-7.  Photo by B.A.S.S.

The Bassmaster Elite at Lake Hartwell is scheduled for April 4-7 with daily takeoffs from Green Pond Landing and Event Center in Anderson at 7 a.m. ET and weigh-ins back at Green Pond Landing at 3:15 p.m. A field of 75 anglers will compete for a $100,000 first-place prize and valuable points in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.

South Carolina pro Brandon Cobb, who lives just 50 minutes from the launch, believes the spawn could be in full swing by the time the tournament starts.

“This year we’ve had some warm weather, but we’ve had more cold nights than we’ve ever had,” said Cobb, a Clemson graduate who has been fishing Hartwell his whole life. “So the fish are a little behind from what they were the last few years.

“If the weather holds stable like the forecast says, I think it’s going to be mostly a spawn tournament. I don’t think every fish will be on bed, but there will be a lot of sight fish caught.”

Cobb said a bed-fishing tournament could be good for the entire field because all of Hartwell’s 56,000 surface acres offer perfect habitat for the bass spawn. Even anglers who haven’t fished the lake much in the past should be able to find good five-fish limits.

That’ll make for a great overall tournament, but it could eliminate the hometown advantage he was looking forward to during a rare week when he’ll get to fish an Elite Series event while sleeping nights in his own bed.

“Basically, my local advantage is gone if they’re on bed,” Cobb said. “A place like the St. Johns River in Florida has key spawning areas. But on Lake Hartwell, they spawn everywhere. In general, all of Lake Hartwell is the same water temperature — and when they come up, they come up everywhere.”

Normally, when a major tournament visits Hartwell, anglers spend much of their time chasing nomadic bass that are following the lake’s famed population of blueback herring. But that isn’t likely to be the case during this event.

“The one time of year when herring don’t play a major factor is during this spawn,” Cobb said. “That changes things a lot and really makes this tournament wide open.”

Cobb stopped short of saying the event will be a “junk fishing tournament” — which means anglers would be fishing a wide variety of tactics without any solid technique rising to the forefront. But he said it could certainly be an event where anglers find bass in a lot of different places and catch them on a lot of different baits.

“You could fish a different part of the lake every day and still catch them,” Cobb said. “Hartwell just has so much to offer. It’ll all depend on who consistently finds the biggest bags.”

Though he expects lots of 18- to 20-pound limits to be weighed, Cobb said he doesn’t expect the winning angler to reach that mark all four days.

“With the nature of the bedding fish on Hartwell, I would feel really good about averaging 17 pounds a day,” he said. “You may have one day where you catch 20 pounds and then another day when you don’t really find them.

“That 17-pound consistency will basically be the key.”

This is the third event on the 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule. After the first two events on Florida’s St. Johns River and Georgia’s Lake Lanier, Canadian pro Chris Johnston leads the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings with 190 points, followed by Alabama angler Scott Canterbury (182) and Texas pro Lee Livesay (181).

A full field of 75 anglers will fish Thursday and Friday before the field is cut to the Top 35 for Saturday’s semifinal round. Only the Top 10 will advance to Championship Sunday for a chance at the coveted blue trophy and the six-figure paycheck.

On Saturday and Sunday at Green Pond Landing, the Elite Expo will offer interactive exhibits, merchandise sales, prizes and contests, food and beverage vendors and activities for children. Fans can also meet the Elites at Angler Alley on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. or participate in Elite Angler Clinics onstage at the same time. Saturday is also Military and First Responder Appreciation Day, and Sunday is B.A.S.S. Member Appreciation Day.

Visit Anderson is the host organization for the event; 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota; 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Triton Boats, Yamaha;
2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, T-H Marine; 2019 Toyota Bassmaster Elite at Lake Hartwell Host Sponsor: Visit Anderson

About B.A.S.S. – B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. With more than 510,000 members internationally, B.A.S.S. is not only home to the nation’s premier fishing tournament trails, but it also boasts the most expansive and comprehensive media network in the fishing industry. Its media include The Bassmasters on the ESPN networks, more than 130 hours of tournament programming on the Pursuit Channel, 250 hours of on-the-water streaming coverage on Bassmaster LIVE and 1 million monthly visitors to the flagship website on bass fishing – Bassmaster.com. B.A.S.S. also provides more than 4.4 million readers with the best in bass fishing coverage through Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times, and its radio and social media programs and events reach hundreds of thousands each month.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, culminating in the ultimate event on the biggest stage for competitive anglers, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. The trail also includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, BassPro.com Bassmaster Open Series, and B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series, and the Bassmaster Team Championship.

New York Inland Trout Season Opens April 1

  • Trout Season Opens April 1 for Inland Streams

Although the opener is traditionally met with snow, high flows and cold temperatures, April 1 is nonetheless the opening day for trout and salmon fishing throughout the State of New York and an indication that spring is just around the corner. Look for best fishing in more temperate areas of New York including Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley and southwestern New York. DEC has a number of new publications that will prove helpful to those new to trout fishing. The I FISH NY Guide to Trout Fishing with Synthetic Bait describes a very effective technique to catch early season trout in ponds. The I FISH NY Guide to Trout Fishing in Streams (PDF) provides good information for those who prefer trout fishing in moving waters.

Each year, DEC stocks over 1,200 waters with trout and salmon. Visit DEC’s website for the planned listing of 2019 stockings by county.

Looking for a place to fish? Review the 2019 Coldwater Fishing Forecast.

Alabama Turkey Season Opens Saturday, March 16 (in Most Alabama Counties)

  • Delayed season dates on select WMAs

Spring turkey season will open March 16, 2019, and close April 30 for most Alabama counties. In 2018, the Conservation Advisory Board passed a motion that set the start date for turkey season as the third Saturday in March each year.

Photo by Gary Mitchell

The decision was made to allow as many hens as possible to breed before the males are harvested. Research suggests that slightly delaying the season could have a significant impact on increasing the turkey population. No changes were made to the bag limit, which is one gobbler per day with a total of five during the combined spring and fall seasons.

“The Advisory Board’s decision is related to growing concerns of an observed decline in wild turkey population growth in Alabama,” said Steve Barnett, Wild Turkey Project Leader for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. “Harvest data shows that many adult gobblers are harvested in the first two weeks of the season. That’s well before the peak of nest initiation.”

Additionally, spring turkey season will be delayed for research purposes on the following Wildlife Management Areas: Barbour, J.D. Martin-Skyline, Hollins, Oakmulgee, Lowndes, Choccolocco, and Perdido River. The delayed season will run March 23 to April 30, 2019. For more information about the delayed season, call 334-242-3469.

Hunters are reminded that all turkey harvests must be reported through Alabama’s Game Check system either online at www.outdooralabama.com or through the Outdoor Alabama mobile app. The Outdoor Alabama Mobile app is available at www.outdooralabama.com/contact-us/mobile-apps.

For more information about seasons and bag limits, visit www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/seasons-and-bag-limits.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.

Turkey Hunting Lingo – Tom or Hen? Keep this handy pocket guide! FREE

  • Did you know what they call a SNOOD of the turkey? 
  • What are Turkey Caruncles?
  • Tom or Hen? Easy way to tell is illustrated below

By Forrest Fisher

As hunters, we never stop learning.  Folks in different parts of the country call turkey by different local slang terms at times, not counting the different turkey breeds, but overall, turkeys are turkeys. Their parts have names and as a veteran hunter or beginner, it’s a good thing to know what I what. Feel free to print this illustration from the NWTF out and keep a copy handy in your pocket.  We get smarter every day.

Good luck in the woods!

 

 

2019 Statewide Turkey Hunting Season Opens March 23…in Georgia

 

  • Georgia turkey hunters are ready for the season to open on Saturday, Mar. 23.
Georgia spring turkey strutting and purring. Courtesy Georgia DNR

The 2019 turkey hunting season should be a fair season, similar to 2018, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“Reproduction in 2017 was lower than the four-year average, so that could mean a lower than usual supply of 2 year-old gobblers across much of the state in 2019,” explains Emily Rushton, Wildlife Resources Division wild turkey project coordinator. “However, that lower average comes between two better years, so hopefully other age classes will remain plentiful.”

With a bag limit of three gobblers per season, hunters have from Mar. 23 through May 15 – one of the longest seasons in the nation – to harvest their bird(s).

What should hunters expect this spring? The Ridge and Valley, Piedmont and Lower Coastal Plain should have the best success based on 2017 reproduction information. The Blue Ridge region had a poor 2017 reproductive season, but saw a significant jump in 2018, so there may be a lot of young birds in the woods. The Upper Coastal Plain saw reproduction below their five-year average for the past two years, so numbers in that part of the state may be down.

Cedar Creek and Cedar Creek-Little River WMA Hunters, take note! The 2019 turkey season will run April 6-May 15 on these properties. This is two weeks later than the statewide opening date. This difference is due to ongoing research between the University of Georgia and WRD, who are investigating the timing of hunting pressure and its effects on gobbler behavior and reproductive success. Through this research, biologists and others hope to gain insight to the reasons for an apparent population decline in order to help improve turkey populations and hunter success at Cedar Creek WMA and statewide.

Georgia Game Check: All turkey hunters must report their harvest using Georgia Game Check. Turkeys can be reported on the Outdoors GA app (www.georgiawildlife.com/outdoors-ga-app), which now works whether you have cell service or not, at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661. App users, if you have not used the app since deer season or before, make sure you have the latest version. More information at www.georgiawildlife.com/HarvestRecordGeorgiaGameCheck.

Hunters age 16 years or older (including those accompanying youth or others) will need a hunting license and a big game license, unless hunting on their own private land. Get your license at www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, at a retail license vendor or by phone at 1-800-366-2661. With many pursuing wild turkeys on private land, hunters are reminded to obtain landowner permission before hunting.

For more hunting information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.

 

Let’s Talk Turkey: Pot and Box Calls

Georgia turkey hunting, the real thing.

  • Condition your Calls, Learn How
  • Friction Calls: Pot Call, Box Call
Click the picture to WATCH the VIDEO

No matter where you live, turkey season is not far away. In Florida, the gobbler season is already open! In Georgia, it starts two weeks away. Other states too, not far away.

Yelping, clucking, purring…pot calls, box calls, locator calls – it can be confusing, especially if you’re new to turkey hunting. Even if you are a veteran turkey hunter, there is always more to learn. Here is a 13 year old hunter with expertise for all of us to learn from.

In any case, it’s time to start practicing those turkey calls!

Learn more about the “HOW” from Georgia DNR biologist Kevin Lowrey and competitive turkey caller Chase Crowe, as they share some tips on how to call a gobbler into your neck of the woods.

 

Prescribed Fires, Why are they Important?

  • We learn from Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama
Prescribed burning of fire-tolerant longleaf pine forests helps eliminate competition from understory vegetation and fuels the growth of wildlife food sources. Photo by Billy Pope

Part of Long-term Longleaf Pine Restoration

Alabama State Parks will conduct a prescribed burn of two longleaf pine tree zones at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Ala., during March 2019, weather permitting. The prescribed burns will take place in two locations within the park: approximately 168 acres near the upper fishing lakes and approximately 130 acres near the campground.

Every effort will be made to ensure proper smoke management and safety of the surrounding areas during the burn period. The Alabama Forestry Commission and the City of Pelham Fire Department have been notified and will be on standby if needed.

Regular prescribed burns of fire-tolerant longleaf pine forests help eliminate competition from understory vegetation such as maple, gum, hickory and oak. Prescribed burns also help to fuel the growth of wildlife food sources such as native grasses, wildflowers and forbs.

The longleaf management program at Oak Mountain is a partnership between Alabama State Parks and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Alabama. TNC will provide trained personnel, ATV equipment and logistics expertise to assist with the controlled burns.

Historically, longleaf pine covered millions of acres across several southeastern states including current sections of Oak Mountain State Park. Longleaf pine ecosystems thrived when controlled by naturally occurring fires. However, more than 50 years of fire suppression has degraded the health of some of these ecosystems.

To learn more about the benefits of prescribed fire, visit www.outdooralabama.com/wildlife-management-programs/prescribed-fire-ala….

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.

Head for the Beach and the Birds….the Florida Turkey Birds

Jim Monteleone Photo

  • Spring Turkey Season STARTS NEXT WEEK in Florida…March 2nd
  • Enjoy the outdoors and a healthy, delicious meal too
  • Abundant wild Osceola Turkey populations across Florida

Florida’s spring turkey season opens Saturday, March 2 on private lands south of State Road 70 and Saturday, March 16 north of State Road 70. Florida’s abundant wild turkey populations offer sustainable harvest opportunities throughout the state. However, hunting them is a challenge because they are extremely wary and possess sharp eyesight and excellent hearing. When knowledge, skill and good fortune come together for a successful outcome, hunters can look forward to delicious, organic meals.

“Many people relish the feeling of self-reliance that comes from being able to harvest and prepare wild turkey,” said Chef Justin Timineri, executive chef and culinary ambassador for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “It’s a tasty, versatile protein that can be prepared many different ways.”

Fresh from Florida chefs have developed several mouthwatering wild turkey recipes including Tikka Masala, wild turkey quesadillas and wild turkey cottage pie. Because wild turkey meat is low in fat, techniques for cooking it differ from domestic birds. The Fresh from Florida chefs provide recipes and tips on how to prepare tender, juicy meals that hunters will enjoy sharing with friends and family.

The Sunshine State is home to robust populations of two wild turkey subspecies: eastern and Osceola. Florida is unique because the Osceola subspecies lives only on the state’s peninsula and nowhere else in the world. Osceola wild turkeys are similar to the eastern wild turkey subspecies, which is found in north Florida and throughout the eastern United States. However, Osceolas tend to be smaller and darker with less white barring on the wings.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wildlife professionals use scientific data to conserve wild turkey populations and provide regulated and sustainable hunting opportunities. Hunters also play an important role in wild turkey management by purchasing licenses and permits, and along with other shooting sports enthusiasts, contributing to the successful Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

Learn more about wild turkey management and hunting by visiting MyFWC.com/turkey. Find wild turkey recipes and information by choosing “Hunting News” at MyFWC.com/hunting.

 

Johnny Morris Awarded the AUDUBON MEDAL, One of Conservation’s Highest Honors

  • Morris is only 58th conservationist to receive the Audubon Medal in its 114-year history
L to R: National Wildlife Federation CEO Colin O’Mara, Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, Audubon Society CEO David Yarnold and Audubon Board Chair Margaret Walker (right) pose with The Audubon Medal. PHOTO CREDIT: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

The National Audubon Society presented one of the most prestigious awards in conservation, the Audubon Medal, to Bass Pro Shops founder and legendary conservationist Johnny Morris and his family in a gala event February 7 at The Plaza Hotel in New York.

Morris has spent his life tirelessly working to preserve wildlife and wild places so that future generations can be as energized and excited by nature as he has been. Morris has long pointed to his earliest days of being out with his family on the streams of the Missouri Ozarks as the inspiration for his extraordinary success with Bass Pro Shops.

Given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of conservation and environmental protection, The Audubon Medal was first given out in 1947 to Hugh Hammond Bennett, a pioneer in understanding soil erosion. Morris is the 58th recipient of the medal, joining conservation icons such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias, President Jimmy Carter, Academy Award-winning director and actor Robert Redford, beloved British natural historian Sir David Attenborough, CNN founder Ted Turner, author Rachel Carson and lauded biologist Edward O. Wilson.

“To be awarded the Audubon medal is one of the proudest and most humbling experiences of my life. To be included among the other 58 conservationists to receive this high honor alongside such visionary leaders as Walt Disney, J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling, President Jimmy Carter and others, is a great honor. I’m very proud to share this with my family, and our extended family – the many passionate, conservation-minded people in our company and the sportsmen and women we are blessed to serve,” said noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris. \

Click for video of acceptance moments.

“What many people don’t realize is that John James Audubon and President Theodore Roosevelt were not only heroes in conservation, they were also sportsmen and hunters. Over many hours spent in the field hunting, they gained a better appreciation for our nation’s fish and wildlife and the habitats required to sustain them,” added Morris. “I hope they are both looking down smiling and happy that we are all here as one united, inclusive family working with passion to carry on the important mission they outlined for us many years ago – to be good stewards of God’s creation and to protect the wild places so that future generations, our kids and grandkids, can have the same opportunities we have to experience the wonders of the natural world.”

Morris’ passion for 40 years has been to help children feel the same awe and wonder of the outdoors that he has felt. Morris has worked with every Republican and Democratic administration since 1978 – when Audubon Medal recipient Jimmy Carter was in office – to advance significant conservation causes. He has often been called a modern-day Teddy Roosevelt.

In 2017 – with Teddy Roosevelt’s Great, Great Grandson Simon Roosevelt in attendance – Morris opened the 350,000 square foot Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium (WOW) in his hometown of Springfield, Mo. It is the largest conservation attraction in the world. In 2018, WOW worked closely with Audubon to unveil “The Year of the Bird,” an extraordinary exhibit that celebrates the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The National Audubon Society is dedicated to protecting birds and the places they need for more than 60 million birders across the United States.

“Audubon has been a force for good in conservation for more than a century,” Morris said. “They began by working with a personal hero of mine, Teddy Roosevelt, to establish the first National Wildlife Refuge. Today, we share a vision to inspire future generations of conservationists to carry on America’s heritage of protecting our natural resources.”
National conservation leaders commemorate the occasion

Hundreds of leading conservationists from across the country gathered in New York to honor Morris and his contributions, which follow in the footsteps of the nation’s greatest conservationists.

“The award is important for conservationists across the political spectrum, as both a reminder and a contemporary acknowledgement of the essential role of hunters and anglers in conservation,” said Great, Great Grandson Simon Roosevelt. “First and foremost, however, the Medal is a rightful recognition of the broad scope of Johnny’s dedication to conservation and his ever-forward-looking leadership.”

Morris was introduced by Colin O’Mara, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, America’s oldest and largest conservation organization with six million members, who discussed the Bass Pro founder’s impact on the next generation.

“Johnny has instilled a love of wildlife in millions upon millions of children across America,” said O’Mara, who has partnered with Morris to advance national legislation to protect fish and wildlife and develop education programs at Wonders of Wildlife. “He’s advancing conservation in every part of the country. And he’s leaving a legacy that will inspire young conservationists for centuries.”

Morris accepted the award together with his wife Jeanie and children John Paul, Megan, Julie and Jennifer.

Clunn is Ageless, Magic Fishmaster, Wins at St. John’s River

  • Theme of the 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series: “Big Bass. Big Stage. Big Dreams.”
  • Clunn, 72 years young,  wins with 34-14 on Final Day to total 98-14 for tourney!
  • Clunn’s Hot Lures: Luck-E-Strike Hail Mary(3/4-ounce), Luck-E-Strike Trickster Spinnerbait with a shellcracker-colored skirt and a Texas-rigged GatorTail worm.
Rick Clunn repeats at Power-Pole Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River with a 4-day total of 98 pounds-14-ounces. Photo by B.A.S.S./Seigo-Saito

Palatka, Fl. – Feb. 10, 2018: After becoming the oldest angler ever to win a Bassmaster Elite Series event in 2016 on the St. Johns River, Rick Clunn provided what has become one of the most famous quotes in professional bass fishing history when he said, “Never accept that all of your best moments are in your past.”

On Sunday, he walked it like he talks it. Clunn, who turned 72 in July, broke his own record for agelessness, winning the Power-Pole Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River with a four-day total of 98 pounds, 14 ounces. His amazing week was punctuated on Championship Sunday with a tournament-best limit of five bass that weighed 34-14.

It was the 16th career victory for Clunn, whose $100,000 first-place paycheck put him over $2.5 million in career earnings with B.A.S.S.

“I think this just reinforces what I said after I won here in 2016,” Clunn said. “A long time ago, I stopped paying attention to timelines. The terrible twos, the ugly teens, the midlife crisis, retirement time — I don’t pay any attention to any of that. “If you listen to everybody else, you’ll get premature notions about who you really are.” This week, there was no doubt about it. He was “Rick Clunn: Legend.”

The Ava, Mo., angler started modestly with a limit of 17-5 on Day 1. But he inched his way up the standings with 23-11 on Day 2 and then caught 23-0 on Day 3 to make Sunday’s Top 10 cut in eighth place with a three-day total of 64-0.

He joked after Saturday’s semifinal weigh-in that he might need a 10-pounder and a 12-pounder on Sunday to have any chance of winning. While he didn’t quite make those marks, he came close by weighing in two fish over 9 pounds, including a 9-14 that ranked as the biggest bass of the day.

His three key baits all week were a big lipless crankbait from Luck-E-Strike called a Hail Mary, a 3/4-ounce Luck-E-Strike Trickster Spinnerbait with a shellcracker-colored skirt and a Texas-rigged gatortail worm.

“I thought the bream pattern was important for the spinnerbait this week,” Clunn said. “The bass are bedding here, and I know how much the bass really don’t like the bream around their beds.”

The spinnerbait bite improved steadily throughout the week, thanks to a cold front that brought wind and cloud cover to the region. After catching bass on the deeper ends of boat docks in practice, Clunn said the fish had moved so shallow they were under the walkways of the docks by the weekend — and that made for a perfect spinnerbait situation.

In the event that he missed a strike on the spinnerbait, he would follow up quickly with the worm. That was the key to landing his biggest bass Sunday.

“That’s what won it for me today,” he said. “Early in the day, they were eating that spinnerbait really well. I caught a 6 1/2 on it and another one about 4. But then in the middle of the day, I missed three fish on it — and I could tell the third one was a really nice fish. “I went back with the worm, and it was the 9-14.” Even with all that he’s accomplished, Clunn admitted the two giant bass on Sunday got his blood pumping.

“I swung every fish into the boat today except those two 9s,” he said. “When you have to sit there and think about all of the possibilities and it takes forever to get them in the boat…it gets your heart moving.”

The two anglers closest in the standings to Clunn were first-year Canadian pro Chris Johnston with 95-2 and veteran Kentucky pro Mark Menendez with 95-1. Johnston said it was an honor to share the stage with Clunn.
“To lose to somebody that you watched fishing for the past 20 years — just to be on the same stage with him — it’s a privilege,” Johnston said. “If I was gonna see anyone else win, I would want it would be Rick. He earned it. He deserves it. He put his time in. “I can’t complain about second place at my first event.”

Canada’s Chris Johnston catches 28-13 and holds on to the lead going into Championship Sunday with a three-day total of 75-13. BASS Photo

Clunn said the question of when he’ll finally give up fishing is “a dirty question.” He’s looking forward to next week’s Toyota Bassmaster Elite at Lake Lanier in Georgia and has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

“A lot of stuff off the water is old to me,” Clunn said. “But when I go on the water, it’s brand new, just like it was when I started. I love it just as much as I ever have. “It’s an incredible thing to go out every single day and know that you’ve gotta figure them out. This amazing study of natural rhythms and how all things are connected — I can’t see myself ever getting tired of that.”

During a tournament when giant fish were weighed in all four days, the Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the week was caught during Thursday’s opening round. The honor went to Virginia pro John Crews for the 11-2 largemouth he caught on Day 1.

Rookie pro and former college fishing champion Patrick Walters of South Carolina was fourth with 91-14, and Crews was fifth with 89-11.

When the Bassmaster Elite Series last visited the St. Johns River, three years ago, four-time Bassmaster Classic champion Rick Clunn (right) won with 81-15, including this one-day limit of 31-7. Helping him show off the catch are Trip Weldon (left), tournament director, and River Clunn. BASS Photo

The Elite anglers hit the St. Johns River fishery at its peak. The 75 anglers caught 158 five-bass limits and weighed in 893 bass totaling 2,927 pounds, 8 ounces of bass. With an average weight of 3 1/4 pounds and the largest weigh-in crowds in the history of St. Johns Bassmaster tournaments, the event more than lived up to the theme of the 2019 Elite Series: “Big Bass. Big Stage. Big Dreams.”

-2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
-2019 Bassmaster Elite Series at St. Johns River Title Sponsor: Power-Pole

-2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Triton Boats, Yamaha
-2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, T-H Marine
-Power-Pole Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River Host Sponsor: Putnam County Chamber of Commerce

About B.A.S.S: B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. With more than 510,000 members internationally, B.A.S.S. is not only home to the nation’s premier fishing tournament trails, but it also boasts the most expansive and comprehensive media network in the fishing industry. Its media include The Bassmasters on the ESPN networks, more than 130 hours of tournament programming on the Pursuit Channel, 250 hours of on-the-water streaming coverage on Bassmaster LIVE and 1 million monthly visitors to the flagship website on bass fishing – Bassmaster.com. B.A.S.S. also provides more than 4.4 million readers with the best in bass fishing coverage through Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times, and its radio and social media programs and events reach hundreds of thousands each month.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, culminating in the ultimate event on the biggest stage for competitive anglers, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. The trail also includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, BassPro.com Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series, and the Bassmaster Team Championship.

 

 

National Wild Turkey Federation Partners with GoWild to Boost Hunting Heritage Programs, Conservation Efforts and More

  • Conservation, Mentorship, Hunting…all come together

From their headquarters in Edgefield, South Carolina, one of the more storied organizations in conservation and hunting is partnering with the outdoors industry’s fasting growing tech startup. As the National Wild Turkey Federation expands upon its efforts to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters, it’s adding high tech firepower to its communication plan – a partnership with GoWild.

The NWTF’s partnership with the outdoors social media and activity tracking platform allows the organization to modernize its messaging and better appeal to a budding generation of young and first-generation or adult-onset hunters.

“GoWild quickly turned into a place where people realized they could get real time advice for their outdoor pursuits without all of the hassle and politics that can come with other social media,” said Brad Luttrell, the Co-Founder and CEO of GoWild. “Our team couldn’t be more excited to put the power of this community to work for an organization like the NWTF. Few groups have done more for conservation.”

The First Project: A Sweepstakes Promoting Conservation & Mentorship

For the first initiative in the partnership, GoWild is hosting a sweepstakes for the NWTF. Any NWTF member — new or old — can sign up for a chance to win the NWTF Turkey Hunting Sweepstakes via the GoWild app (available on iTunes or Google Play). Entry is easy and free for members. Find details on entering in the GoWild app by searching “NWTF.”

“This isn’t just about new memberships, we want to drive awareness of the value of volunteering to help in the name of conservation,” said Becky Humphries, CEO of the NWTF. “Just as we’ve fought to bring the numbers of turkeys back to a healthy population, we must now focus on raising the number of hunters. Our partnership with GoWild will help us reach a new generation of hunters, and that’s what it’s all about.”

NWTF members can search “NWTF” on GoWild to earn their first entry in the sweepstakes. NWTF members who use the app to log time for Mentorship or Conservation Efforts can earn second entries (details on GoWild). A second sweepstakes will launch soon in partnership with nonprofit Raise ‘Em Outdoors and outdoors land rental tech company Outdoors Access. Anyone who isn’t a member can join at nwtf.org.

In-App Functionality for NWTF

Together, GoWild and the NWTF aim to activate even more people to participate in mentorship, conservation efforts and share lessons beyond hunting. Within GoWild, mentors and mentees can live track hikes, scouts, hunts, archery practice and more. GoWild is donating the sponsorship of its Turkey Trail (essentially a forum of content all about turkey hunting) to the NWTF.

At the Convention

Team GoWild will be at the NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville on Feb. 14 and 15. On Thursday, attendees can find team GoWild at the Hunting Heritage Programs booth, where they can learn about the app and partnership, as well as get info about how to enter in the sweepstakes.

“GoWild has an eclectic group of outdoors enthusiasts,” said Luttrell. “We’ll never be able to do what the NWTF has done for the turkey, but it’s my hope that with this new partnership, we can create some turkey hunters who might have just remained hikers or anglers without us.”

About the National Wild Turkey Federation: When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative – a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org.

 

About GoWild: GoWild is the most active, fastest growing social media and activity tracking platform for outdoors enthusiasts. The GoWild app is free. GoWild is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. Download the app for Android, iPhone or Garmin at timetogowild.com.

For more information, contact:

NWTF, Daneil Pieterse at (803) 637-7511

NWTF, Pete Muller at (803) 637-7698

GoWild, Brad Luttrell at (502) 794-2242

Conservation Federation of Missouri Seeks Executive Director

CFM Seeks Executive Director

Position Announcement

Click to learn more about important issues in Missouri and the CFM.

The Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) is seeking an Executive Director. The Executive Director serves as the chief executive for CFM and is a full-time exempt employee supervised by an executive committee and board of directors. The Executive Director works with the board of directors and staff to effectively lead and implement the organization’s goals, objectives, policies, and procedures.

The CFM is the oldest and largest 501(c)(3) nonprofit natural resource conservation organization in Missouri with over 3,000 individual members and 103 affiliate member organizations. Created in 1935, CFM has been a critical leader in furthering the interests of conservation, natural resource management, and outdoor recreation in the state of Missouri and as an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation.

Mission: To ensure conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources, and preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage through advocacy, education and partnerships. Motto: The Voice for Missouri Outdoors

A successful candidate for Executive Director will have skills in leadership, administration, planning and budgeting, fund-raising and development, membership development, and oral and written communications.

See the job description for additional details.

To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, and salary requirement by February 11 to: Conservation Federation of Missouri, Attention: Micaela Haymaker; 728 West Main, Jefferson City, MO 65101

Email: mhaymaker@confedmo.org. For more information about the Conservation Federation of Missouri, please visit our website www.confedmo.org.

About the Conservation Federation of Missouri: The CFM, formed in 1935, is Missouri’s largest and most representative citizen conservation group. It represents more than 80 organizations with over 1 million members. The CFM is primarily a volunteer organization – including all officers and board members – but does maintain an office with a full time professional staff in Jefferson City. Visit our website at http://www.confedmo.org

Conservation Federation of Missouri | 728 West Main Street | Jefferson City, MO 65101 | 573.634.2322 | www.confedmo.org

New York DEC Announces $3 Million in Grants Available for 2019 Invasive Species Projects

  • Grant Applications Accepted through Feb. 15, 2019
Hydrilla plant (NYSDEC Photo)

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that $3 million is available in the first round of the State’s newly consolidated Invasive Species Grant Program. To support projects that target both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species across the state, DEC combined previous funding opportunities, including the Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention and the Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species Early Detection/Rapid Response grants, into a single grant program. DEC is accepting applications for these grants through Feb. 15, 2019.

“New York is an international center for trade and tourism, making the state vulnerable to invasive species,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Once established, species such as hydrilla, emerald ash borer, and Japanese knotweed spread rapidly, causing harm to the environment, the economy, and human health. The invasive species grants announced today increase our ability to reduce the impacts of these invasive pests through control, removal, research, and prevention.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Invasive species pose a threat to our agricultural economy, potentially causing harm to our crops and our forestry industry. The new grant program provides the targeted resources needed to help the State combat the introduction and establishment of invasives statewide.”

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the 2018-19 state budget included $13.3 million in the State’s Environmental Protection Fund targeted specifically for invasive species related initiatives, $3 million of which was made available for these grants. Municipalities, academic institutions, and not-for-profits may submit applications for funding for eligible projects in up to two of the following categories:

  • Aquatic invasive species spread prevention;
  • Terrestrial and aquatic invasive species rapid response and control;
  • Terrestrial and aquatic invasive species research; and
  • Lake Management Plans.

Grant awards range from a minimum of $11,000 to a maximum of $100,000, with a required 25 percent match. Project locations must be located wholly within New York State and priority will be given to projects that include opportunities for public participation, are on or close to public lands or waterbodies, and emphasize long-term success. For full details about the grant opportunity including eligible projects and scoring criteria, visit the Request for Applications on DEC’s website.

Applications are due by 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2019. All grant applicants must register in the NYS Grants Gateway System (link leaves DEC’s webpage) before applying. Not-for-profit applicants are required to prequalify in the Grants Gateway system, so DEC recommends that applicants start the process in advance of the grant application due date.

The New York State Invasive Species Council, comprising nine agencies, recently adopted a new Invasive Species Comprehensive Management Plan, with assistance from a 25-member Invasive Species Advisory Committee. The Invasive Species Grant Program will provide opportunities to implement various actions identified under the eight focal initiatives around which the Plan is framed.

President Trump Signs the Modern Fish Act

Most of the bill’s provisions were inspired by the Morris-Deal Commission Report, released in 2014. Many of the proposed improvements for federal saltwater fisheries management in the Morris-Deal Report had been debated for some time before then.All that’s to say: it’s been a long time coming.Congress has been operating with a high level of gridlock (look no further than the current government shutdown), and most experts expect things to get worse under a divided Congress for at least the next two years.

Assessment of the social, economic, and ecological effects of the program, considering each sector of a mixed-use fishery and related businesses, coastal communities, and the environment and an assessment of any impacts to stakeholders in a mixed-use fishery is key. Forrest Fisher Photo

For the recreational fishing community to achieve this legislative victory in these challenging political times speaks to the effectiveness of the coalition of organizations working on your behalf, the power of the sportfishing industry when it makes its voice heard and the increasing recognition among political leaders of recreational fishing’s importance to the nation.

ASA was proud to work with a united set of organizations to support the passage of the Modern Fish Act, including the Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, The Billfish Foundation and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Working together and advocating with the same message was instrumental to the bill’s success. The bill had some expected – and unexpected – detractors along the way but having the core of the recreational fishing community speaking with a unified voice allowed Members of Congress to not have to pick sides within our own community (as has sometimes been the case in the past). They knew the Modern Fish Act had the full backing of the true recreational fishing community.

Helping to make that point crystal clear for Members of Congress was the tremendous response from ASA’s members in advocating for the bill. From submitting supportive op-eds, to promoting Keep America Fishing action alerts, to calling or visiting congressional offices, ASA’s members stepped up in a big way and were critical to the bill’s passage.

It’s exciting to see that the sportfishing industry’s heightened involvement in government affairs does translate to more legislative and policy victories. Passage of the Modern Fish Act is just one of many government affairs accomplishments in which ASA was proud to engage over the past year. There’s no question that the economic and cultural importance of recreational fishing is increasingly being recognized by policymakers.

The Modern Fish Act isn’t going to overhaul the federal marine fisheries management system overnight. It’ll likely take several fishing seasons before the management and data collection improvements called for in the Act begin to better align fishing regulations with actual fish abundance and harvest, and with what anglers really want out of management.

It’s also important to note that not all the changes called for in earlier versions of the Modern Fish Act made it through in the final version. This was the unfortunate reality of needing unanimous approval of the U.S. Senate to clear the bill. Even though it’s big to us, in the grand scheme, bills such as the Modern Fish Act rarely receive floor time and therefore can only pass with unanimous approval.

ASA will continue working with Congress, NOAA Fisheries and the Regional Fishery Management Councils to ensure that the provisions of the Modern Fish Act are carried out, and other priorities of the recreational fishing community are advanced.

While we’ve accomplished a lot, there’s still much more work to be done. That said, let’s take a few moments to celebrate this win, especially at a time when wins are so hard to come by.

For details on House and Senate passage of the Modern Fish Act and additional industry perspectives, please visit http://www.sportfishingpolicy.com/media-room/u-s-house-passes-modern-fish-act/.

The Modern Fish Act will provide more stability and better access for anglers by:

  • Providing authority and direction to NOAA Fisheries to apply additional management tools more appropriate for recreational fishing, many of which are successfully implemented by state fisheries agencies (e.g., extraction rates, fishing mortality targets, harvest control rules, or traditional or cultural practices of native communities);
  • Improving recreational harvest data collection by requiring federal managers to explore other data sources that have tremendous potential to improve the accuracy and timeliness of harvest estimates, such as state-driven programs and electronic reporting (e.g., through smartphone apps);
  • Requiring the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the process of mixed-use fishery allocation review by the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishery Management Councils and report findings to Congress within one year of enactment of the Modern Fish Act, and
  • Requiring the National Academies of Sciences to complete a study and provide recommendations within two years of the enactment of the Modern Fish Act on limited access privilege programs (catch shares) including an assessment of the social, economic, and ecological effects of the program, considering each sector of a mixed-use fishery and related businesses, coastal communities, and the environment and an assessment of any impacts to stakeholders in a mixed-use fishery caused by a limited access privilege program. This study excludes the Pacific and North Pacific Regional Fishery Management Councils.

The coalition of groups supporting the Modern Fish Act includes American Sportfishing Association, Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, The Billfish Foundation and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 49 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate nearly $50 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for 800,000 people.

Mepps / Mister Twister has a new Communications Guy

Mepps/Mister Twister has a new Communications Director.

The Mepps® Aglia® Flashabou combines the vibration and flash of a classic Mepps® Aglia® blade.

From Antigo, WI, Nik Kolbeck has joined Sheldons’ Inc. (Mepps and Mister Twister) as the new Communications Director. In this role Kolbeck will develop and oversee communications for Sheldons’ across its many platforms: print, online, retail, social media and mobile.

Kolbeck is a graduate of University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point where he studied Graphic Design in the Fine Arts Program. During his college years, Nik’s passion for fishing started to take off and has since become a family event with his father and brother and their beloved Border Collie, Abbi.

“My love of fishing has grown over the years, but I owe a lot of my admiration for the sport to my brother, Adam who taught me everything from what to use in certain conditions to the best practices for hooking up a fish and getting it into the boat. Family and fishing work hand-in-hand for me and there really is no better experience than hooking up with a big fish and sharing that experience with your family and friends.” Kolbeck grew up learning the ins-and-outs of fishing in central Wisconsin focusing on largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike and musky. He looks forward to expanding his fishing knowledge to other fish species that are caught throughout the United States.

  Since graduation, Kolbeck worked for Swiderski Equipment – an agriculture and construction equipment company with five locations throughout central Wisconsin. His duties included creating print, online and social media graphics, photography of equipment and keeping website information current and correct.
“Mepps and Mister Twister are two brands that I’ve used since I started fishing and I’ve never been disappointed with the results. The fact that I get to come here every day and talk fishing with all different types of fisherman is just icing on the cake for me.”

Company Overview: Sheldons’, Inc. started with the Mepps® brand in 1956 in the back of a small sports shop in Antigo, Wisconsin. It has since become one of the most important players in the fishing tackle industry. When all lure sizes, colors and hook configurations are taken into account, Mepps currently manufacturers more than 6,000 different Mepps spinners and spoons. In addition, Sheldons’, Inc. owns Mepps S.A. (Mepps France) and Mister Twister®, a premium soft plastics lure company and innovator of the Curly Tail® concept.

Sheldons’, Inc. • 626 Center St., Antigo, WI 54409 • Phone: 800-237-9877

Big New York Bucks TAKEN OVER BAIT

  • Hunting over Bait Piles is illegal in New York
  • Shooting a firearm while Hunting within 500 feet of a house is illegal in New York
  • Carrying the Tags of Another Person not signed over to you is illegal in New York

There are quite a few rules to hunt inn New York State, but they are designed to keep people safe and to keep the wildlife herd of deer well-managed. Most of the rules are common sense.

ECO Tabor (L) and ECO Gates (R) with bucks taken illegally with bait.

On Nov. 30 in Herkimer and Oneida Counties, several complainants were called in to New York State Environmental Conservation Officer Ben Tabor about a buck suspected of being taken over bait in the town of Ohio. The deer had been entered in a local big buck contest.

ECO Tabor determined where the deer had been shot after finding a large bait pile with the gut pile next to it. The ECO interviewed the suspect, who admitted to taking the buck illegally. The deer was seized as evidence and summons were issued for hunting over a pre-established bait pile and the illegal taking of a deer.

On Dec. 2, ECO John Gates received a call from an informant stating that a large buck had been killed by a suspect that had posted pictures on Facebook of him feeding deer close to his camp. As the officer pulled onto the property, he noticed piles of alfalfa and corn. The hunter claimed he had shot the deer halfway back into his 100-acre parcel. Officer Gates followed sled tracks to a gut pile within 30 yards of the bait. The man admitted to shooting the deer and was charged with illegal taking of deer, hunting over bait and carrying the tags of another person. The deer was seized as evidence and the charges are returnable to Forestport Town Court.

It just doesn’t pay to cheat.

Loaded Gun on ATV Leads to Illegal Deer Harvest in New York

Joe Forma Photo

On Nov. 17, Environmental Conservation Officer Shea Mathis spotted two hunters walking along the railroad tracks in the town of Wheatfield, Niagara County, NY.

The two claimed they had a lousy morning hunting and had not taken any deer.

ECO Mathis checked their licenses and found their deer tags attached. A third member of the hunting party pulled up on an ATV with a loaded muzzle-loader over his shoulder. While issuing a ticket for possessing a loaded firearm on a motor vehicle, ECO Mathis was contacted by ECO George Scheer, who had received information that a male had shot two bucks with a muzzle loader that morning in the same area.

While ECO Mathis was issuing the ticket, one of the hunters left on the ATV and headed to a residence. ECO Scheer traveled to the location and found the subject. After a brief interview, ECO Scheer located a nine-point and 10-point buck, both untagged, in the back of a pickup truck. One of the hunters admitted to shooting both bucks that morning, just minutes apart.

Tickets were issued for possessing a loaded firearm on a motor vehicle, taking big game over the limit and failure to tag deer as required. The second buck was seized as evidence and donated.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York. In 2017, the 301 ECOs across the state responded to 26,400 calls and issued 22,150 tickets for crimes ranging from deer poaching to corporate toxic dumping and illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.
If you witness an environmental crime or believe a violation of environmental law occurred, please call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).

“From Montauk Point to Mount Marcy, from Brooklyn to Buffalo, the ECOs patrolling our state are the first line of defense in protecting New York’s environment and our natural resources, ensuring that they exist for future generations of New Yorkers,” said Commissioner Basil Seggos. “They work long and arduous hours, both deep in our remote wildernesses and in the tight confines of our urban landscapes. Although they don’t receive much public fanfare, the work of our ECOs is critical to achieving DEC’s mission to protect and enhance our environment.”

NY Big Game and Small Game Seasons are Underway

Giant gray squirrels are not uncommon in the southern tier forest lands of New York State. Forrest Fisher Photo

Hunters and Trappers Favorite Time of Year…Open Season

Hunting seasons for big game like whitetail deer and black bear are underway with the archery season. Likewise, many small game species, like ruffed grouse, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, and wild turkey, are also open and in progress.

Hunting and trapping seasons for bobcat, raccoon and fox, and trapping seasons for fisher and mink began in some regions of the state on October 25th. Be sure to check the New York State Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide for the season dates and regulations for your hunting or trapping area.

Wild turkey hunting in the Southern Zone began October 20th and runs through Nov. 2nd. Hunters are required to have a turkey permit, and the statewide season bag limit is one bird of either sex.

Remember, harvest reporting is critical to wildlife management, and by regulation, hunters must report their harvest of a turkey within seven days of taking the animal. DEC encourages hunters to, “Take it, tag it, and then report it.

Trappers should note special permit requirements are required for fisher and marten trapping seasons. Fisher season began on October 25th in many WMUs and fisher and marten season began today in the Adirondacks. All fisher and marten trappers must obtain a special, free permit from their regional wildlife office, submit a trapping activity log, and submit the skull or jaw from harvested fishers and martens.

Giant gray squirrels are not uncommon in the southern tier state forest lands of New York State. Forrest Fisher Photo

DEC’s wildlife managers rely on the information supplied by trappers to help manage populations of these popular furbearers. To obtain a free fisher or fisher/marten permit, trappers should contact their regional wildlife office or apply by e-mail at wildlife@dec.ny.gov.

Only one fisher or fisher/marten permit is needed to trap these species anywhere in New York where the season is open. For more information, see page 54 in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide. 

As always, please follow the basic rules of hunter safety to protect yourself and other hunters this season.

Outdoor Edge® kicks off FREE FIELD-TO-FREEZER Gear Giveaway

  • “Helping Hunters Enjoy the Hunt, Field to Table,” says David Bloch – Outdoor Edge founder
  •  Outdoor Edge Razor Pro Knife Set & Game Pro Processor Kit, Koola Game Bags, Weston Meat Grinder, Hi Mountain Seasonings, Bradley Smoker

DENVER (Oct. 25, 2018) — To celebrate the fall hunting season nationwide, Outdoor Edge has kicked off a giveaway that offers everything a hunter needs to take the harvest from field to table. This fabulous $800 prize package includes products from Outdoor Edge, Koola Buck, Weston, Hi Mountain Seasoning and Bradley.

The prize package includes RazorPro Knife from Outdoor Edge, a 12-piece Outdoor Edge Game Processor Kit, an Outdoor Edge illuminated Grill Beam Tong/Spatula, a four-pack of Koola Buck XL Antimicrobial Game Bags, a Weston Electric Meat Grinder, a Hi Mountain Seasonings Jerky Cutting Board and assorted seasonings (https://www.himtnjerky.com/) to make mouthwatering meals, including jerky, and a Bradley Original Smoker.

RazorPro Knife Set offers the ultimate choice for never having a dull blade.

Entering this $800 give-away is free and easy. Just visit the Outdoor Edge Facebook Page, click on the contest tab on the left (https://www.facebook.com/outdooredge/) and enter your name and email address. Participants can enter once a day. Additional entries can be obtained by getting friends to like the page and enter the contest. Participants can enter as many times as is valid before the closing deadline of 11:59 PM on Dec. 2.

“The ultimate goal of this give-away is to get hunters to enjoy the entire hunting experience, from field to table,” said David Bloch, Outdoor Edge’s CEO and founder. “Wild game is healthy, lean and delicious making it the best form of protein I know of. The key is proper care from the field all the way to the grill to prevent any gamey flavors. This giveaway package has everything needed to prepare fabulous game meals for friends and family.”

Hi Mountain offers jerky kits and meat processing seasonings for every hunter.

About Outdoor Edge: Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Denver, Outdoor Edge is a leading designer and manufacturer of knives and tools. Today, Outdoor Edge continues to innovate and develop state-of-the-art products for outdoor enthusiasts, game processors, survivalists, handymen and others who require the very best knives and tools available for leisure, work and everyday-carry needs. The company prides itself in offering a variety of products that undergo extensive field-testing in harsh, rugged environments resulting in durable, long-lasting products that come with a lifetime guarantee. For additional information on Outdoor Edge and its full line of products write to: Outdoor Edge, 5000 Osage Street, Suite 800, Denver, CO 80221; call toll-free 800-477-3343; email moreinfo@outdooredge.com; or visit www.outdooredge.com.

Winchester Repeating Arms Adds Sporter Model to the XPR Rifle Line

For hunters that prefer the appearance and warmth of a wood stock, Winchester Repeating Arms® has introduced a new Sporter model to the XPR® bolt-action rifle line.

The new rifle features a close-grained Grade I walnut stock with crisp checkering on the pistol grip and fore-end for a classic look and feel. A flattened fore-end profile provides added stability when shooting from sandbags or a rest.

At the heart of any accurate rifle is the barrel and the XPR Sporter does not disappoint. The top-quality chromoly steel barrel is button rifled and thermally stress relieved. A target-style crown protects the rifling. The action is precision bedded to ensure the barrel is free-floating.

The XPR Sporter comes in 12 popular calibers from 243 Win. to 338 Win. Mag. — including the 6.5 Creedmoor round. Barrel lengths are 22″ for short action calibers, 24″ for short magnum and standard long action rounds and 26″ for magnum calibers.

The XPR Sporter sells for an MSRP of $599.99.

Features:

  • M.O.A. Trigger System
  • Bolt unlock button
  • Nickel Teflon® on bolt body
  • Detachable box magazine
  • Close-Grained Grade I walnut stock
  • Perma-Cote® matte black metal surfaces
  • Inflex Technology recoil pad
  • Steel recoil lug
  • Receiver is machined from solid steel bar stock
  • Two-position thumb safety
  • Button-rifled, free-floated steel barrel
  • Recessed target crown

For more information on Winchester Firearms, visit winchesterguns.com.

Bristol Bay, Alaska – VOTE YES for SALMON

Mining near Bristol Bay, Alaska – PLEASE VOTE YES for SALMON

 

By Chris Wood

Some bad ideas rise above others: New Coke, Diet Water, the Red Sox trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees. One of the worst ideas of all time? The proposal to build a mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Vote Yes for Salmon

Scientists during the during the Obama Administration said the mine was too risky. Then, the Trump Administration breathed new life into it. This November, the voters of Alaska will decide whether the state should have the authority to say no to a mine, such as Pebble, that can cause irreparable harm to salmon streams.

Seven rivers drain into Bristol Bay. One is the Nushagak—every year one of the top chinook salmon producing streams in the world. Another is the Kvichak; it supplies nearly half of the world’s wild sockeye salmon. A Canadian mining company, the Pebble Partnership, has proposed building a massive gold and copper mine in the headwaters of these two rivers.

Bristol Bay is the world’s most important salmon fishery. Every year, it sustains a $1.5 billion salmon industry that provides more than 14,000 family wage jobs. The village of Igiugig, population 70, sits at the outflow  of the Kvichak. Last week, Brian Kraft, the owner of Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge, and I, took his daughter, Dakota, to school in Igiugig by boat. Students are more likely to arrive by ATV and boat to school than by car. “Stop Pebble Mine” stickers adorned several ATVs, and more than one student was wearing a “Wrong Mine, Wrong Place” shirt.

Brian and Dakota Kraft outside of school

The Alaska economy is highly dependent on the development of its natural resources. That is what makes the widespread opposition to the Pebble Mine from communities such as Igiugig so unique. Native villages and local communities in the Bristol Bay region oppose the Pebble Mine by more than 75 percent. Their opposition stems from the fact that salmon have provided them sustenance, and cultural and natural touch-points for a millennia.

Outside of school

The Bristol Bay landscape is about the size of West Virginia, with only 8,000 people living in it. The Pebble Partnership proposes to industrialize this wilderness quality landscape with roads, pipelines, a power plant, stream crossings, and other associated development to process and move the ore from the earth to the market. Their preliminary mine plan called for filling more than 4,000 acres of wetlands. It also calls for a tailings pond more than one-third of a mile deep and a mile long to forever store the toxic tailings produced by the mine. The landscape is seismically active. Surface water and groundwater mingle freely in the area. The likelihood of the mine’s toxic tailings contaminating the Kvichak and the Nushagak is high.

Ground and surface water mingle in Bristol Bay

On the boat ride back to his lodge, I asked Brian why native villages such as Igiugig are so opposed to the mine. He said, “In the lower 48, we have spent more than $15 billion to try to recover imperiled salmon and steelhead. Most of those fish remain on the brink of extinction. The cost of keeping Bristol Bay’s salmon runs intact is a lot less expensive than trying to recover them after we destroy their habitat.”

It is David versus Goliath. Opponents of the ballot measure have raised $9 million to the $1.2 million raised by those in support. This year 62 million sockeye returned to their natal waters in Bristol Bay to spawn—the highest number of fish to return since 1893. In a few weeks, the voters of Alaska will decide if that represents a high-water mark against a future of decline and loss or a new normal because the state had the good sense, and the authority, to say “no” to the Pebble Mine.

Vote Yes for Salmon.

Chris Wood is the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. He lives in Washington, D.C., and works at TU’s Arlington, Va., headquarters.  This message was paid for by Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program, Anchorage, AK, Nelli Williams, Alaska Director. The top three donors to Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Fish Habitat Initiative Fund are Dan Michels, Wasilla, AK; Alaska Fishing Unlimited, Port Alsworth, AK; and Josh Grieser, Anchorage, AK.

A Safari for Hunters and Non-Hunters – a Great Gift, Somerby Safari Outfitters

What sets one safari outfitter apart from the rest? Outfitters that cater not only to hunters, but to the whole family, non-hunters too. When non-hunters need not worry about being bored, hunters have a better time. Enter Somerby Safaris, they offer a wide array of unique, African experiences for non-hunters to enjoy. From cuddling lion cubs to taking an elephant back ride, to experiencing cultural villages showcasing the fascinating tribes of South Africa…they will find the time of their life! So will you, the hunter.

Drom and Sune Beukes have grown Somerby Safaris into.one of South Africa’s premier hunting outfitters, producing world class trophies for overseas sportsman through ethical, fair-chase hunting. Due to the quality and diversity of their hunting areas, hunters will find plains and big game hunting safaris with extraordinary experiences in untamed Africa. Somerby Safaris offers more than just an African hunting safari, they offer a complete safari adventure with custom hunting packages tailored to fit the hunter’s wants and needs. In addition, they can arrange a wonderful photo safari for non-hunters.

Somerby for Schools is a related initiative that was started after Drom and Suan Beukes had several generous hunters at various times ask them how they could help their community in South Africa. This effort is specifically focused on bettering the lives of children in underprivileged schools and orphanages. Over the last few years, many hunters have donated goods or funds to underprivileged schools and orphanages in and around their hunting areas. What started off small has turned into a wonderful heartwarming enterprise with a vast amount of hunters donating school supplies, warm clothing for the cold winters, sporting equipment, food and even appliances.

Get detailed information about Somerby hunting and photo safaris, great pictures and exciting stories about hunting in Africa at the 2019 SCI Hunters Convention set for Jan. 9-12 in Reno, Nevada. Look for Booth #2756 and #2758 with answers for questions and to discover more about what sets Somerby Safaris apart from the rest.

 

To register to attend, click here – www.showsci.org

About the SCI Hunters’ Convention: Safari Club expects upwards of 24,000 worldwide hunters to visit Reno, Nevada, January 9-12, 2019.  The SCI Hunters’ Convention represents the largest and most successful event to raise money for advocacy to protect hunters’ rights. The 2019 Hunters’ Convention will be held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center with over 452,000 square feet of exhibits and almost 1,100 exhibiting companies. Register and book rooms at www.showsci.org

Becoming an SCI Member: Joining Safari Club International is the best way to be an advocate for continuing our hunting heritage and supporting worldwide sustainable use conservation, wildlife education and humanitarian services.

JOIN NOW: www.joinsci.org

Safari Club International – First for Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI has approximately 200 Chapters worldwide and its members represent all 50 of the United States as well as 106 other countries. SCI’s proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page www.safariclub.org or call 520-620-1220 for more information

ELK in Pennsylvania, 420-inch Giant Bull, harvested by Raffle Winner

  • Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA), a visionary conservation success story
  • KECA mission: conserve, enhance Pennsylvania Elk Country for future generations
  • Raffle proceeds generate funding for Elk Country visitor center, public educational classrooms, land protection
Matthew Martinichio with his giant bull elk.

A lucky hunter from Binghamton, New York, Matthew Martinichio, was selected from 9,945 tickets in the KECA Elk Tag Raffle drawing held August 19, 2018 at the Elk Expo at the Elk Country Visitor Center, located in Benezette Township, Elk County, Pa.  Matthew was not present when his name was pulled from the “squirrel cage” by a young boy selected from the audience.  Matthew is an avid duck and turkey hunter, but he does not hunt deer and actually did not own a rifle prior to this hunt.  Matthew’s grandfather, Joe Villecco, from Port Crane, New York, purchased the ticket for Mathew.  Matthew’s Grandfather, 82, was there during the hunt.

Elk Expo KECA Elk Tag Drawing on Aug. 19, 2018, with Founding Chairman, John Geissler.

It has become a tradition to immediately call the winner from the CEO’s office.  The group consisted of KECA’s Founding Chairman of the Board John Geissler, Rawley Cogan CEO KECA, Elk County Outfitter owner Jack Manack, and guides Bryan Hale and Kim Rensel, Pennsylvania Game Commission North Central Region Director Dave Mitchell, and Brad Clinton Executive Producer TomBob Outdoors.  Matthew harvested an 8 x7 mature bull elk on Saturday September 22, 2018 while hunting with Elk County Outfitters.

“The rut had been slow because of warm weather, high temperatures near 86 degrees and humid”, stated Jack Manack, owner of Elk County Outfitters.  “A cold front came through Friday evening and we anticipated a good hunt on Saturday”, Manack said.  We started hunting on Wednesday September 19, and we actually saw the bull Matthew harvested and we passed on him”, said Manack.  “Obviously we did not get a good enough look at him or we would have taken him then,” Manack said.

Saturday morning at 9 a.m., Martinichio killed the 850 pound (estimated) live weight bull.  Manack green-scored the bull at over 410”.  The official score will not be known until the 60 day drying time is complete.  “Pennsylvania’s Elk Range is awesome,” stated Martinichio.  “I have never been there before and the experience of harvesting this huge bull was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and that my Grandpa was there with me was very special.  It was very emotional when my Grandpa and I walked up to the bull,” stated Martinichio.   “We called to the bull and he answered, but he did not come right to us.  We had to make a few moves to get a shot at him,” said Martinichio.

Jack Manack ECO and Matthew Martinichio.

“The KECA Elk Tag Raffle provides a unique opportunity for one hunter to harvest a mature bull elk in Pennsylvania, but everyone that purchased a ticket is a true conservationist and a winner.  We sincerely thank everyone that purchased a ticket for their support of this unique raffle.  Pennsylvania’s elk herd and its habitat are the beneficiaries,” stated Cogan.

Elk County Outfitters owner Jack Manack stated, “We are just happy to be a small part of what KECA does and provide this hunter a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.”  “KECA is very fortunate to have generous donors like Elk County Outfitters supporting our mission and we thank Jack and his guides for their long-term support”, stated Cogan.  Martinichio agreed, “Jack and his guides were great, they really know elk,” stated Martinichio.

The 2018 KECA Elk Tag Raffle generated $180,650 in gross tickets sales.  KECA’s Elk Tag Raffle proceeds from past years were used to complete phase I and II of KECA’s outdoor classroom on the campus of the Elk Country Visitor Center, educational programs for thousands of students and guests, many habitat improvement projects totaling thousands of acres and a permanent land protection project.

The Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA) completed their first permanent land protection project in 2016; a 9-acre tract located adjacent to the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette Township, Elk County, PA.  The property consists of white pine and hemlock with mixed oak and hickory over story, including two small streams which merge on the property and flow into the Bennett’s Branch of the Susquehanna River.  The water is clean and runs year around.  No mining or acid mine drainage has occurred on the property.  There are no buildings or structures on the property.  Proceeds from KECA’s Elk Tag Raffle were used to purchase this property.

TomBob’s cameraman, Ben Gnan, filmed the entire hunt with Matthew.  Be sure to tune into TomBob Outdoors Friends in Wild Places this fall to see the KECA Elk Tag winner Pennsylvania bull elk hunt on your favorite network.

The Keystone Elk Country Alliance is a Pennsylvania based 501 (c) (3) wildlife conservation organization.  KECA’s mission is to conserve and enhance Pennsylvania’s Elk Country for future generations.  KECA operates the Elk Country Visitor Center.  Visit www.ExperienceElkCountry.com for more information. 

Click on the picture to learn more.

Expiring Land and Water Conservation Fund a ‘Stunning’ Failure

Wildlife, including wild horses, thrive where clean air, clean water and conservation practices are upheld. Forrest Fisher Photo

  • Program Invests in Parks, Trails Central to Our Wildlife Heritage, Public Lands
National Wildlife Federation Photo

By Mike Saccone, National Wildlife Federation

WASHINGTON, DC — Congress’s inability to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, one of the United States’ most successful and popular conservation programs, is a “stunning failure,” the National Wildlife Federation’s President and CEO Collin O’Mara said today. O’Mara said Congress should quickly reverse course and revive the critical 1960s-era conservation program.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the most successful land conservation program in our nation’s history. Congress’s inability to prevent its expiration is a stunning failure and a betrayal of more than a half century of broad bipartisan support,” O’Mara said. “America’s wildlife heritage, outdoor recreation opportunities and public lands are the envy of the world and drive our $887 billion recreation economy.

“President Johnson said, in signing the Land and Water Conservation Fund into law following its near unanimous passage, ‘True leadership must provide for the next decade and not merely the next day.’ We call upon Congress to heed these sage words and take bold action to ensure that this critical conservation program does not fall victim to gridlock in Washington.”

The Land and Water Conservation Fund uses fees from offshore oil and gas development — at no cost to taxpayers — to invest in urban parks and sports fields, walking and biking trails, historic sites, national parks and other open spaces. The National Wildlife Federation worked closely with Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, Senator Clinton Anderson and Representative Wayne Aspinall to help secure initial passage in 1964 and worked with subsequent Congresses to increase the program’s funding and improve its programmatic impact in 1968, 1970 and 1977.

For the past four years, the National Wildlife Federation has helped lead the charge to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the program, including issuing reports this year on how it supports hunters and anglers as well as families’ access to outdoor recreation..

For more , please visit https://www.nwf.org/.

Niagara River Salmon-Snagger Lawbreakers are Caught

Observant anglers spotted a shore angler snagging salmon and breaking the law. Time to blow the whistle.

  • Weighted snag hooks drop below the fish and when an angler lifts sharply, the hook points snag the fish in the body, often injuring many fish never caught. The snagging method is illegal in New York. NYSDEC Photo

    Salmon Snagging is Illegal in New York State

On Sep. 19, Environmental Conservation Officers George Scheer and Shea Mathis were on boat patrol in the Lower Niagara River when they were approached by a group of fishermen in another boat.

The anglers reported an individual in a red shirt blatantly snagging fish from shore about a mile upriver along the Gorge Trail in Niagara Falls. From their patrol vessel, the ECOs could not navigate that far upriver due to strong currents and underwater obstructions.

The ECOs piloted their vessel back to its mooring in Youngstown and drove to Niagara Falls, hoping to catch the subject before he left the scene.

In Niagara Falls, the ECOs walked the trail and spotted the subject in the red shirt making repeated and exaggerated jerking motions of his fishing rod. Three other individuals were with him.

The four were ticketed for attempting to take fish by snagging, possession of snatch hooks, and fishing without valid licenses.

Good job gentlemen!

Mentor the Next Generation of Hunters and Shooters- get help from NSSF and Walker’s Game Ear

NSSF

Eva Shockey provide a video clip with an offer for mentors to step up and receive some free hearing protection as they participate in this program. Click the picture for the video.

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) and Walker’s have launched a mentor initiative that encourages experienced target shooters and hunters to invite new individuals to the range or field.

The campaign is part of NSSF’s Mentor Pledge initiative developed to facilitate growth of the shooting sports community through education, safety and fun.

As an incentive, NSSF and Walker’s are providing free Razor Ear Muffs (valued at $69.99) to the first 2,000 mentors. Participants must sign a pledge online and share a photo or short video of their experience with a new hunter or shooter in order to claim their reward.

“We are thrilled to play a part in supporting the next generation of hunters and shooters,” said Ben Smith, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Walker’s. “This partnership with NSSF is the perfect opportunity for our company to give back to the shooting sports community.”

“Research shows that 24 million American’s have an interest getting started hunting or target shooting and that Being invited by a friend or family member is by far the best way to get new folks to the range or field,” said Jim Curcuruto, Director of Research & Market Development at NSSF. “This program aligns with NSSF programs such as National Shooting Sports Month and First Shots that provide introductions to the shooting sports.”

Remember to teach the Four Main Rules of Firearm Safety:

  1. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded: By treating every firearm as if it is loaded, a habit of safety is developed.
  2. Always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction: A “safe direction” means that the gun is pointed so that even if an accidental discharge occurred, it won’t cause an injury.
  3. Always keep your finger off the trigger: Rest your finger outside the trigger guard or along the side of the gun until you are actually ready to fire.
  4. Always know your target and what is beyond: For outdoor shooting, make sure you have an adequate backstop for your bullets to impact. Know what’s beyond that backstop, too, and keep your shots within the safe shooting zone.

To learn more about this mentoring initiative and to take the pledge, visit the mentor pledge webpage.

About NSSF: The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

About Walker’s: For over 25 years Walker’s has developed innovative solutions for hearing protection and enhancement. The Walker’s line of products is widely considered the industry standard for shooting protection and safety. With the introduction of advanced digital circuitry & nano-tech water repellence, Walker’s continues to raise the bar. For more information, visit www.walkersgameear.com.

DEC Announces Special Waterfowl Hunting Permits Needed For Opening Weekend of Duck Season at Oak Orchard & Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas

Duck Seasn Dates announced for New York State. Joe Forma Photo

2018-19 Duck Season Dates announced for New York State. Joe Forma Photo

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced that special permits will be issued for the opening weekend of duck season to hunt waterfowl at two popular state-managed locations.

The permit requirement applies to waterfowl hunting at the Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas located primarily in Genesee and Niagara counties (with small portions in Orleans and Erie counties). The intent of the special permits is to promote hunter safety and increase the quality of hunting on days when the areas receive the greatest use.

The special permit is required to hunt waterfowl at these wildlife management areas on the duck season’s first Saturday and first Sunday. These two days are the only times the special permits are required. Waterfowl may be hunted without a special permit during the remainder of the season. The permit system has been used successfully at both wildlife management areas for many years. No special permits are required to hunt other game species at Oak Orchard or Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas.

DEC has announced 2018-2019 duck hunting season dates. Western New York’s opening day/weekend dates for duck hunting are Oct. 27 and 28. This year, goose season will be open during the opening weekend of duck season, and goose hunters are also required to obtain the special permit.

Opening weekend waterfowl hunting permits for the two Wildlife Management Areas will be distributed by a random lottery. For each of the two days, DEC typically issues 100 permits for Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area, and 50 permits for Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area. This year, with the current drought conditions, the number of permits issued may be reduced. The decision regarding how many permits will be issued will be made closer to the date of the lottery, and a news release with an update will be issued at that time.

To apply for the lottery, hunters must send in a postcard with their name, address, and their first three choices, in order of preference, clearly indicated. Hunters must choose from four options: Oak Orchard first Saturday; Oak Orchard first Sunday; Tonawanda first Saturday; and Tonawanda first Sunday. Phone numbers are optional on the postcard, but if a phone number is available, applicants can be contacted if there is an issue with their card.

Applicants must also have completed a Waterfowl Identification Course, and their course certificate number must be indicated on the postcard. Applications will be accepted through Sept. 15, 2018, and must be mailed to:
New York State Bureau of Wildlife
1101 Casey Road, Box B
Basom, New York 14013

Each permittee will be allowed to bring one companion over the age of 18 and an additional companion 18 years old or younger.
Issued permits are nontransferable and are not valid for companion(s) unless the permittee is present and hunting within 50 yards.

The permittee is responsible for completing and returning the questionnaire portion of the permit to the New York State Bureau of Wildlife by November 15, 2018. If the completed questionnaire is not received by November 15, the permittee will be ineligible for next year’s (2019) lottery.
http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/77537.html

NSSF Opens 2018 BSA Grant Program for Applications

Target shooting programs are among Scouting’s most popular activities, helping scouts of all ages learn safe firearms handling skills while encouraging mentoring and teamwork.

Target shooting programs are among Scouting’s most popular activities, helping scouts of all ages learn safe firearms handling skills while encouraging mentoring and teamwork.  Forrest Fisher Photo

July 3, 2018; NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms industry, is pleased to announce the launch of its annual grants partnership with the Boy Scouts of America Councils. Through this partnership, individual BSA Councils can receive a portion of $100,000 in NSSF-provided grant funds for use in developing and expanding their target shooting and marksmanship troop activities. Target shooting programs are among Scouting’s most popular activities, helping scouts of all ages learn safe firearms handling skills while encouraging mentoring and teamwork.

2018 marks NSSF’s eighth year supporting the BSA Council Grant Program in this manner, underscoring the time-honored practices of firearms safety, marksmanship training and shooting sports participation with the Boy Scouts. Additionally, the BSA’s recent decision to allow young females to join its ranks provides a fresh avenue for showcasing the excitement and fun of the shooting sports to an entirely new audience.

BSA Councils wishing to apply for grants should visit the grant guidelines and application procedures found here. Councils awarded funds through NSSF’s BSA Grant Program must use those grants to purchase equipment and supplies for their shooting sports activities from an NSSF Member Retailer. The full list of these retailers is available at nssf.org/retailers/find. Examples of qualifying purchases are ammunition, eye and ear protection, firearms, targets and shooting vests. For more information on this special program and qualifications, contact Ann Gamuf, NSSF Shooting Range Services Coordinator, at agamuf@nssf.org or 203-426-1320 ext. 247.

About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

National Program Critical for Recreational Access

Nature and the Wild need much support to sustain their heritage. Click on this short story to learn much more.

 

Cow Island

MISSOULA, Mont.—A funding mechanism with a long name provides long-lasting benefits for hunters, anglers, hikers and others seeking improved access to America’s wild landscapes.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently partnered with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to leverage more than $1 million in appropriations from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Priority Recreation Access program to open or improve access to nearly 55,000 acres of public land across four states.

Congress recently boosted LWCF to $425 million—a $25 million increase over 2017 but it did not permanently reauthorize the program which is set to expire September 30.

“LWCF is absolutely vital if we want to continue to permanently protect and provide access to habitat for elk and other wildlife,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation calls on Congress to permanently reauthorize this crucial program.”

RMEF’s most recent LWCF project was the conveyance of a 93-acre tract of land, known as the Cow Island Trail project, to the BLM that improves access to more than 6,000 acres of adjacent public land in north-central Montana’s Missouri River Breaks region.

“Expanding access to public lands for hunting and fishing is one of the BLM’s top priorities,” said Brian Steed, BLM deputy director for policy and programs. “Partnering with RMEF allows us to utilize critical funding to secure access to parcels like the Cow Island Trail project, which in turn broadens access now and ensures it for the future.”

Below is a list of RMEF-BLM projects utilizing LWCF-Priority Recreation Access funding.

      RMEF Project                                LWCF Funding

  • Cache Creek, California                   $321,000
  • Cow Island Trail, Montana               $97,500
  • La Barge Creek, Wyoming                $192,000
  • Tex Creek IV, Idaho                         $400,000

LWCF helps conserve wild and undeveloped places, cultural heritage and benefits fish, wildlife and recreation. Its funding comes from royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf. The royalties bring in $900 million annually, most of which is diverted to other federal programs.

“It takes great partners like the BLM to provide improved access opportunities for sportsmen and women but it also takes funding. These LWCF-Priority Recreation Access funds are absolutely critical in both conserving prime wildlife habitat and opening or improving access to it,” added Henning.

If you have questions about the RMEF or are interested in receiving background materials or arranging interviews please contact:

RMEF Director of Communication, Phone: 1-800-225-5355, Ext. 481 or E-mail: publicrelations@rmef.org.  For specific news in a state, please contact one of our Regional Directors.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 227,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.3 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org, www.elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.
Take action:
join and/or donate.

New York DEC Announces 2018-2019 Waterfowl Season Dates

Joe Forma Photo

STEM Model of American Black Duck Abundance during the week of December 12th (Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2018)

A complete list of season dates and bag limits for each zone can be found on the DEC website. The waterfowl hunter task force rationale can be found at Duck Season Dates. Hunters interested in printing the pocket guide can find it at 2018-2019 Waterfowl Season Pocket Guide (PDF). Hard copies will be available from the Regional Offices or by e-mailing wildlife@dec.ny.gov later this summer.

Season setting for the 2019-20 season and beyond

Deciding on the “best” or the “right” waterfowl season dates is a difficult task that has been a contentiously debated topic since regulated duck seasons began in the 1900s.To provide guidance for this challenging task, DEC began a two-year effort to expand on the current hunter task force process.

The modified season-selection process will directly incorporate the opinions and values of a representative sample of duck hunters and will use the most comprehensive migration data available. Last fall, DEC and Cornell University worked with the Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces to develop a survey that was sent out to over one-third of the registered duck hunters in New York State.

The goal of the survey was to identify how hunters defined a high-quality duck hunting experience (i.e., what makes the “best duck season”). The survey avoided asking “what days do you want to hunt” and instead focused on what hunter’s value in their hunting experience. DEC can use this information along with migration data specific to each waterfowl zone and evaluate how well various season dates match hunters’ values and migration chronology.

Results of the hunter survey are currently being analyzed by Cornell University and are expected later this fall. The next step in the decision-making process will occur later this summer when DEC meets with the Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces in each zone to establish a list of possible season date alternatives.

The last step in the process will occur this fall when DEC and Cornell University evaluate the tradeoffs and consequences of each season alternative to identify the optimal season based on hunters’ values and migration data (see Cornell Lab of Ornithology “STEM” Models for more on migration data). More information on the season setting process, results of the 2017 Duck Hunter Survey, and proposed future duck season dates for 2019-2023 (barring any changes to the federal regulations framework) will be posted on the DEC website during late fall 2018.

New York DEC Announces 2018 I Bird NY Challenges

  • I Bird NY Engages New Yorkers of All Ages and Abilities in Beginning Birding
  • Connecting New Yorkers with Nature
Birds are everywhere in nature, but can be found in surprisingly public places too, like this sweet singing Mockingbird. Forrest Fisher Photo

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced the launch of two birding challenges for 2018 through the State’s “I BIRD NY” program.  I BIRD NY was launched by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in 2017 to build on the State’s efforts to increase access to New York’s vast natural resources and promote low-cost opportunities to explore the great outdoors and connect with nature.

DEC Commissioner Seggos said, “Birding can be enjoyed by New Yorkers of any age and ability, no matter where they live. I BIRD NY is making it easier than ever to get outside and enjoy birdwatching. I encourage residents and visitors alike to take a trip and experience some of New York’s prime bird watching areas. For competitive birders out there, I encourage you to participate in this year’s Birder Challenge.”

I BIRD NY encourages New Yorkers to engage in birding all year long. From Montauk to Buffalo, New York is home to a wide array of habitats that support more than 450 different bird species. There are also 59 Bird Conservation Areas across the state. Bird watching is one of the fastest growing outdoor recreational activities that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and experiences in any community.

To help encourage young people to get outdoors, DEC is hosting an I BIRD NY Beginners Birding Challenge (PDF, 892 KB) open to anyone 16 years of age and younger. All participants will receive a completion certificate, an official I BIRD NY bracelet, and be entered to win birding accessories, including binoculars and spotting scopes. To complete the Beginners Birding Challenge, participants must find 10 common New York bird species.

This year, DEC is introducing a new birding challenge open to adults. Current birders are encouraged to take birding to the next level by taking the I BIRD NY Experienced Birder Challenge. To complete the challenge, birders must find at least 10 of 50 listed bird species found across New York State. All participants in this challenge will receive a special certificate, bracelet, and be entered into a drawing for a spotting scope. All entries for the two challenges must be received by September 30, 2018.‎

This year makes an especially good time to engage all New Yorkers in the appreciation and protection of bird species. 2018 has been named the Year of the Bird by the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“Audubon New York applauds the DEC’s continued commitment to connect New Yorkers to nature through the joys of birdwatching, and we thank the Commissioner for embarking on this worthwhile and fun initiative”, said Ana Paula Tavares, Executive Director, Audubon New York. “We look forward to working with the DEC to provide opportunities for New Yorkers to engage in these challenges and to enjoy birding through our statewide network of nature centers, sanctuaries, and local Audubon chapter programs.”

The need for outdoor recreation has never been greater. According to the National Wildlife Federation, childhood obesity has doubled over the past 20 years and the average American child spends as few as 30 minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day, and more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen. Accessible state lands, parks, and facilities can promote physical activity, an important element of overall wellness. These assets provide low-cost opportunities to explore the great outdoors and to connect with nature.

Birding and wildlife watching also provide significant economic impacts to New York’s communities. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, wildlife watchers spent $4.2 billion on wildlife-watching activities in New York State in 2011.

Visit I Bird NY to find the two challenges, and for information on where and how to bird watch, upcoming bird walks and other events, a downloadable kids booklet, and additional resources.

New Records for NY Black Crappie and Walleye in One Weekend!

Brian Hartman with the 18 lb. 2 oz. walleye he caught from the St. Lawrence River, St. Lawrence County on May 5, 2018.

  • Cattaraugus County Black Crappie Topples Old Benchmark
  • St. Lawrence County Walleye Shatters Former Record
Brian Hartman with the 18 lb. 2 oz. walleye he caught from the St. Lawrence River, St. Lawrence County on May 5, 2018.

Two new state fishing records were set over the course of one weekend in New York recently, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

“High quality fishing opportunities abound across New York and announcing two record-breaking catches is the perfect way to kick-start the 2018 freshwater fishing season,” said Commissioner Seggos. “It’s remarkable that anglers broke these records back-to-back over a single weekend and from water bodies in different regions of the state. I encourage anglers to share their notable catches with DEC this year on social media and through our Angler Achievement Awards Program.”

Brian Hartman of Alexandria Bay eclipsed the 2009 state record walleye by more than 1.5 pounds when he caught an 18-pound-2-ounce walleye from the St. Lawrence River on May 5 using a swim bait.

William Wightman with the 4 lb. 1 oz. black crappie he caught from Lake Flavia, Cattaraugus County on May 6, 2018.

On May 6, William Wightman of South Dayton used a black marabou jig to reel in a 4-pound-1-ounce crappie from Lake Flavia in Cattaraugus County, exceeding the 1998 state record by five ounces.

Hartman’s record breaking walleye in St. Lawrence County water was caught on the opening day for walleye season, which runs from the first Saturday in May through March 15. Thanks to DEC’s walleye management efforts, walleye are found in every major watershed and are considered one of the most prized gamefish in New York State. These fish are also highly regarded as one of the best tasting freshwater fish.

Black crappie, also known as strawberry bass or calico bass, are found throughout the state in clear, quiet lakes, ponds, and rivers where vegetation is abundant. Spring is a popular time of year to fish for crappie, as these fish can be found in large schools in shallow water prior to spawning. Not only are crappie fun to catch, but like walleye, they’re great to eat, too.

Wightman and Hartman submitted details of their winning catches as part of DEC’s Angler Achievement Awards Program, which tracks state record fish. Through this program, anglers can enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch and a distinctive lapel pin commemorating the achievement. Three categories make up the program: Catch & Release, Annual Award, and State Record.

Photos of these and other record fish can be found on the New York State Freshwater Fishing Records page of DEC’s website.

For more information about the Angler Achievement Awards Program, including a downloadable application form, go to DEC’s website. Program details and an official entry form can also be found in DEC’s current Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide (PDF, 8MB).

For additional information on the Angler Achievement Awards Program, call (518) 402-8891 or email fwfish@dec.ny.gov.

 

Give Turtles a BRAKE! Motorists Advised to Be Alert for Turtles Crossing Roadways

Painted Turtle

  • New York Motorists Encouraged to Safely Move Turtles to Side of the Road
Painted Turtles can live for more than 40 years. NYSDEC Photo

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today reminded the public that the state’s native turtles are on the move in May and June, seeking sandy areas or loose soil to lay their eggs. Drivers that see a turtle on the road should use caution-not swerve suddenly or leave their lane of travel–and take care to avoid hitting turtles while driving.

In New York, thousands of turtles are killed each year when they are struck by vehicles while migrating to nesting areas. New York’s 11 native species of land turtles are in decline, and turtles can take more than 10 years to reach breeding age. The reptiles lay just one small clutch of eggs each year, which means the loss of a breeding female can have a significant effect on the local turtle population.

This time of year, it is especially important to be on the lookout for turtles and to drive cautiously, particularly on roads near rivers and marshy areas. If a turtle is spotted on the road or near the shoulder, drivers should safely stop their vehicle and consider moving the turtle to the side of the road in the direction the reptile is facing. Drivers should only stop and move turtles when it safe to do so and should never put themselves, their passengers, or others at risk.

Most turtles can be picked up by the side of their shells. Do not pick up a turtle by its tail. Picking the turtle up by its tail may frighten or injure the reptile.

It’s important to use extreme caution when moving snapping turtles; either pick the turtle up at the rear of the shell near the tail using two hands, or slide a car mat under the turtle to drag the turtle across the road. Do not take native turtles into personal possession. All native turtles are protected by law and cannot be collected without a permit. Snakes can sometimes also be seen crossing or basking on the road. If safe to do so, please slow down and steer around them.

For more information on protecting turtles and other reptiles, visit DEC’s website. Read more about turtles in the June issue of DEC’s The Conservationist magazine. Don’t miss out–subscribe today. Call 1-800 678-6399. View the new digital issue at The Conservationist webpage.

Southwick Associates Research Provides Top Hunting & Shooting Equipment Brands for 2017

Understanding our outdoor rules, regulations, policies and tendencies is what this group provides to all of us interested to keep our outdoor heritage alive and well. Check out the story.

April 30, 2018; FERNANDINA BEACH, FL. – Sportsmen are spending millions of dollars on hunting and recreational shooting equipment, but which brands are they buying? Southwick Associates surveyed more than 20,000 hunters and recreational shooters in 2017 through their online HunterSurvey and ShooterSurvey consumer panels to identify the top brands in the market.

In 2017, some of the most purchased hunting and shooting brands include:

  1. Top rifle ammunition brand: American Eagle
  2. Top reflex/red dot sight brand: Vortex
  3. Top brand of scope mount: Leupold
  4. Top propellant/powder brand: Pyrodex
  5. Top bow brand: Bear
  6. Top arrow brand: Easton
  7. Top brand of nocks: Nockturnal
  8. Top archery target brand: Hurricane
  9. Top archery sight brand: Tru Glo
  10. 10.Top reloading press brand: Lee Precision
  11. Top reloading brass shell case brand: Starline
  12. Top reloading shot brand: Eagle
  13. Top coverall brand: Bass Pro/Redhead
  14. 14.Top backpack/waist/duffle brand: Badlands
  15. Top decoy brand: Zink/Avian-X
  16. Top food plot brand: Mossy Oak Biologic
  17. Top trail camera brand: Wildgame Innovations
  18. Top hunting knife brand: Buck
  19. Top holster/ammo belt brand: Blackhawk
  20. Top choke tube brand: Carlson
  21. Top grip/buttstock brand: Magpul

More than one hundred products are examined in the Southwick Associates 2017 Hunting & Shooting Participation and Equipment Purchases Report. This in-depth resource illustrates sportsmen’s participation and shopping behaviors, including the percentage of sales occurring across different retail channels, brand purchased, price paid, and demographics for hunters and shooters buying specific products. Additional information tracked includes total days spent per activity, type of hunting / shooting activity, preferred species and where they hunt.

In addition to the topline reports covering hunting and target shooting, annual reports are also offered for special segments including archery consumers, deer hunters, turkey hunters, and waterfowl hunters. These reports provide the industry with an in-depth profile along with trend insights on the specific market.

Custom, confidential research is also available to help understand brand awareness/perceptions, identify products most desired by consumers, optimal pricing, and more. To purchase a report or discuss custom research, contact Nancy Bacon at Nancy@SouthwickAssociates.com.

Southwick Associates is a market research and economics firm, specializing in the hunting, shooting, sportfishing, and outdoor recreation markets. For more than 25 years, Southwick Associates has established a proven record for delivering comprehensive insights and statistics assisting business and strategic decisions across the entire outdoor industry; from government agencies, industry associations and non-profit organizations, to affiliated businesses and manufacturers. Aside from custom market research, Southwick Associates also provides syndicated participation, media consumption and equipment purchase tracking studies utilizing their proprietary sportsmen panels.

The Mountains Shall Depart …saved by an Alaskan Shaman

By Dave Barus

Click on the book to buy from Amazon, PRIME members receive free shipping.

A new book about Adventure, Tragedy, Death, Life, Peace, Mystical Intervention, Joy, Leadership.   

I couldn’t put it down.  This book offers all that in just 122 pages!   It’s in the running for the Pulitzer Prize this year.

“The Mountains Shall Depart” by Robert E. Holzhei shares a secret tale about a young man named Luke, as he learns about the life and the outdoors on a farm in the 1940s. 

Luke’s journey from childhood provides an intriguing trail where he discovers hard work ethic and uncompromising risk that lead to burden, panic and tragedy.

A spellbinding journey emerges for Luke that becomes mystical, when an Alaskan shaman helps Luke shed a tragedy he cannot erase from childhood.  The new trail becomes a spiritual journey where Luke soon discovers new energy and a life-changing path that becomes a life-long journey to coach others in a new role.

Once you start reading the book, you realize that overcoming adversity, realizing new inspiration and linking to new goals is not about fiction.  A story where the end is a new beginning.

The well-written book, 122 pages, is hard to put down.  You can obtain a copy two ways:

TRIPLE-UP WINTER FUN in Chautauqua County, NY

 

  • Anglers – Ice Fish for Walleye
  • Hunters – Get Ready for Goose Season
  • Families: It’s Maple Syrup Time and Late Winter Adventures
Brock Windoft of Lakewood, NY, with a beautiful winter musky caught and released from Chautauqua Lake ice.

Chautauqua, New York – Feb. 22, 2018: Winter Fishing – Anglers on Chautauqua Lake have enjoyed one of the finest ice fishing seasons in several years. Huge crappie over three pounds, walleye over 10-pounds, lots of toothy musky – some better than four feet long, as well as bluegills and yellow perch, all have been testing the lightweight winter fishing lines of anglers from Mayville to Jamestown. Hard ice off the north side of Long Point has provided excellent fishing, though anglers accessing the lake from the Mayville Town Park parking area have enjoyed good catches as well. With spring warming trends, the once solid ice of 10-12 inches thickness will thin quickly.  Open water flows from tributary creeks will soon begin and runoffs from warming canals will initiate the onset of early crappie fishing for hardy anglers, well ahead of the usual calendar start.  For the latest fishing news, check with Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut, www.hogans-hut.com/, 716-789-3831 or Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors, www.chautauquareeloutdoors.com/, 716-763-2947.

Shotgun Hunters: Canada geese – they abound as a golden Chautauqua opportunity for 5-bird daily bag limits with the nine-day late Goose Hunting Season that runs March 2-10. Cackling geese and white-fronted geese may be taken as part of the Canada goose daily and possession limit. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Snow geese season is open now too, they may be taken by special Conservation Order through April 15, daily limit is 25 birds. The geese species, possession limit is three times the daily limit, except for snow geese. Use of non-toxic shot required and hunters should remember that the possession limit is the maximum number of birds with you in the field, at home, in transit or in storage. For special hunter regulations visit: www.dec.ny.gov.

Maple Syrup Family Adventures – the sunny winter weather has been with us, maple tree sap is flowing in Chautauqua County. Maple weekends are just ahead: March 17-18 and March 24-25, 2018. There are three Sugar House Sites that will offer free, family-oriented events to learn about maple syrup making, each site offering different “See & Do Fun,” many with free samples. Mmmm! Learn about boiling tree sap, filtering, bottling, packaging and making maple sugar candy. Enjoy horse drawn wagon rides, hiking tours, other activities.  Events run no matter rain or snow or shine. Wear boots. Add these stops to your schedule: Big Tree Maple, 2040 Holly Lane, Lakewood, NY,14750, www.bigtreemaple.com, 716-763-5917; Clear Creek Farm, 5067 Morris Road, Mayville, NY, 14757, www.clearcreekfarms.us/, 716-269-2079; Fairbanks Maple, 9265 Putman Road, Forestville, NY, 14062, www.facebook.com/FairbanksMaple/, 716-965-4208.

For any of these outings, spend the weekend at a bed and breakfast, a warm winter cottage or a deluxe winter water playground hotel. Some options: http://www.tourchautauqua.com/where_to_stay.aspx.

Outdoor Media Contact: Dave Barus – Fishing & Hunting Promotions Associate, Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 1441, Chautauqua, NY, 14722; email: dbarus35@yahoo.com; Cell: 716-597-4081.  Visitors Bureau Travel/Accommodations Contact: R. Andrew Nixon, Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 1441, Chautauqua, NY, 14722; Office: 716-357-4569; email: nixon@tourchautauqua.com; web: http://www.tourchautauqua.com; www.Facebook.com/Tour.Chautauqua.