Real Men Do Cry...Sometimes. A Larry Whiteley Story from the Heart.
My dad didn’t allow me to cry, but I cried when I shot my first bird.
The big boys don’t cry and real men don’t cry rule gradually faded away after my dad passed.
Men need to know there is nothing wrong with showing emotions. That does not make them any less man.
By Larry Whiteley
I still remember the day vividly in my mind. It was 1954. I was eight years old and walking around Grandpa and Grandma’s farm. It was where I was born and grew up. My Daisy Red Ryder BB gun is in my hand. I had been shooting at a piece of old, rusted tin hanging on a fence post. A plinking sound told me when I hit my target.
Birds were singing and flying around. Even back then, I loved to watch and listen to them. One bird landed on the fence a little ways from me. I swung my BB gun toward it, looked down through the iron sights, and fired. The little bird fell to the ground. I walked over to where it lay, dropped to my knees, and picked it up. Tears came to my eyes as I held the lifeless little bird. It was the first live animal I ever shot. I told it I was sorry. Tears flowed.
My dad heard me and came to see what happened. He told me it was just a bird and did not try to comfort me. Before walking away, he said, “Big boys do not cry, so quit it.” Even if I did something wrong and he took a switch to me, there was to be no crying. He was like most men back then, and many still today. They believe that real men don’t cry. They believe crying is unmanly.
I grew into a teenager and got into hunting squirrels, rabbits, and quail around the farm. A few times when I first took their life, I almost cried. I had to choke back the tears when we buried our old farm dog Trixie and later Blackie, but the words of my dad in my head stopped me.
I do not remember crying at the funeral of my Grandpa. I did not dare with all those people there. Dad would not have liked that. The closest I came to crying was when my parents divorced, and I had to move to town with my mom. I loved that old farm and did not want to leave it. It was hard to choke the tears back as we drove away.
After high school, I joined the Navy and had to fly off to boot camp. I did not cry then. I wanted to several times but remembered Dad’s words again -real men don’t cry. I was a real man then.
Later in life, I married, and we started our own family. I remember lying on the bed with our newborn son after we brought him home from the hospital. I told him I would always love him. I did cry a little then.
Dad wasn’t around much anymore. The big boys don’t cry, and real men don’t cry, gradually faded away. I am not ashamed to say tears were in my eyes when my sons, grandsons, or a granddaughter caught their first fish. Or when a grandson and a granddaughter got their first deer. When a son, at forty years old, got his first deer, I cried. A few years later, away from others, my tears flowed hard when I heard that same son had cancer.
Animals once again brought tears to my eyes. Some tears fell to the ground while burying our family dog, Buffy. I also cried a little when our son found out one of his beagle dogs had died and was crying. I cried when I lay on the floor with my arm around Memphis. He was the beloved family dog of that same son and his family. I told him how much we all loved him. He couldn’t raise his head, so he licked water out of my hand. I told him his family would be alright. He could close his eyes and go home. If there is a dog heaven, Memphis is there, along with all our family dogs that have touched our hearts.
Young boys and men need to know that there is nothing wrong with showing their emotions. That does not make them any less of a person.
There is nothing wrong with showing your feelings. There is nothing wrong with being emotional. There is nothing wrong with crying. They also need to know they are not any less of a man for doing so.
If you are a believer, and I hope you are, you know Jesus himself cried. If you are not a believer and want to know more, I am not bashful about sharing with anyone what Jesus has done for me and you.
The Bible says in John 11:35 that Jesus wept. He did so when He found out about the death of his friend Lazarus from his sisters Mary and Martha. He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead, but when He saw their sorrow, the tears came to His eyes.
In Luke 19:41 it says Jesus wept before a crowd of men and women over the destruction He knew was coming to Jerusalem.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is a time to cry, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
There is no shame in a man shedding tears. We men are allowed to have feelings. We don’t have to hide them. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.
I read a story recently on my friend Brandon’s blog that he wrote about himself and a change he had made in his life. I had been praying for him for a long time. I am not ashamed to say I cried as I read it.
Brandon is a real man. He loves everything about the outdoors and has traveled all over America and even went to Africa on his quest for outdoor adventures. You can hear about those adventures on his podcast and read them on his blog. He also writes for magazines and newspapers. He is also a conservationist involved in protecting the outdoors that God created for all of us.
In his story, he tells how his Grandpa was his hero. Grandpa was an avid outdoorsman, the life of the party, and drank a lot of beer. He wanted to be like him, and he was for many years.
Besides drinking alcohol way too much, Brandon went through a messy divorce, and his cabin was burnt to the ground by an arsonist. It was enough to make any real man cry.
Then, his teenage girls moved in with him. That is what finally got him on the right path. He realized what his drinking was doing or going to affect them just like his Grandpa’s drinking had affected him. I think he probably shed a few tears through his journey.
He said for the first time in his life, he felt the miraculous hand of God in his life.
In the darkness was a light, and God guided him out of that darkness.
He encourages everyone to join him on the beautiful path he is now on. He also encourages others to ask for help if they cannot do it alone.
You can read his inspiring story at www.driftwoodoutdoors.com. You may cry as you read it, but do not be ashamed. Knowing that real men do cry sometimes and reading Brandon’s story might change your life.
TV Nature Shows are great, but Backyard Nature Shows are Incredible
Birds, Rabbits, Squirrels, Butterflies, Deer, and so much more…PEACE.
Sunrise and Sunset are the best times to Sip a Coffee on a Quiet Chair in your Backyard.
By Larry Whiteley
For some of you, your only experience with nature is watching shows on PBS, National Geographic, Discovery, and others in the comfort of your home. I also love watching nature shows. However, they are much better when I watch them out the windows of my home rather than on television, my tablet, or my smartphone.
I am entertained more through those windows than my recliner watching TV nature shows. At home, I see colorful birds coming to our feeders. Bright red male Cardinals. Iridescent blue Indigo Buntings, yellow and black Finches, gray Mourning Doves, and blue Bluejays. Woodpeckers and other birds of all colors and sizes join them, along with the tiny Hummingbirds. Colorful Baltimore Orioles and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks add even more color to the bird show during springtime.
Our squirrel population is also part of the nature show out our windows. I watch young squirrels play tag and wrestle. I have even seen squirrels do the same thing with rabbits. In the fall, adults gather acorns for the winter and build nests high in the trees. In spring, birds dive-bomb squirrels that get too close to their nest. During summer’s hot days, I watch squirrels spread their bodies and lay flat in the shade. They are trying to cool off and are doing what is called splooting. Squirrel tracks are everywhere in winter snow.
I am also blessed, at times, to see Deer, Turkey, Red-Tailed Hawks, lots of Crows, Great Horned Owls, and sometimes even an Eagle. All the butterflies are another special treat. There is always a nature show going on every season of the year. But it is like watching nature TV shows on my devices with muted sounds if I stay inside. To enjoy nature shows even better, I open the door and go outside with my binoculars. That way, I can take in all the sights and sounds of the nature shows. I take pictures and record all the sounds with my smartphone. They will bring me many hours of enjoyment later.
I try not to make noise while I am there. If I am successful, the wildlife tolerate me being in their world. They continue to do what they do. Geese honk, Crows caw. Birds will sing and feed. Squirrels will chatter and run around everywhere. Both will scatter and hide if they hear the sound of a red-tailed Hawk flying around looking for a meal.
I go outdoors any time during the day to watch and listen to nature shows. I love to be there as the sun rises, a cup of coffee in hand. The wildlife wake up and start their day. They don’t even know I am there with them as I watch and listen. Bird songs start, turkeys gobble, a breeze blows through the trees, and crows begin talking to each other. I might also see a chipmunk scurrying around or a turtle slowly walking while exploring my yard. A lizard or two is usually somewhere. Movement under a bush is probably a snake looking for his next meal. Sunrises are always beautiful. I can never take enough pictures of them or the rainbows after a rain. It is much better than watching the morning news on TV and getting all depressed before the day even starts.
Sunsets are also a favorite time for me. They are beautiful. Deer move around looking for a place to bed down for the night. As it gets darker, owls hoot and coyotes howl. Bats begin to dive for bugs. Summer nights also mean a light show performance by thousands of tiny fireflies. I can also record or enjoy the sounds of frogs, crickets, cicadas, and katydids. A little thunder and lightning only add to the night. Pull up a chair and enjoy the show.
You probably think I live in the country to enjoy nature like that. When we built our house fifty years ago, it was in the country. There were few neighbors. Today, I not only see nature shows out every window, but I also see other homes out every window. Most people probably don’t even realize a live nature show is happening outside near their homes. I hear their barking dogs, their mowers, and weed eaters. Their cars and trucks drive down the road. Most of you can probably hear and see all that, too. But even with all that, I bet there are nature shows right outside your window if you take the time to look and listen.
Now, why would you bother to do that? First of all, we should all be mindful of the different types of media we consume on a regular basis and how it impacts our mind. That includes TV, movies, books, magazines, news, and social media. Everything we choose to consume daily has an effect on our thoughts, feelings, and perspectives in some way. There are lots of studies that show how spending more time in nature is good for you.
One study showed nature can reduce symptoms of depression. Another study showed that bird-watching around your home can reduce stress and anxiety. Another study found that just listening to the sounds of nature can put us into a more relaxed and comfortable state. Other studies have shown experiencing nature can lower blood pressure, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve our mood. Do you need any other reasons to start getting involved in watching and listening to nature shows out your windows and outdoors?
After learning to enjoy the nature shows around your home, I encourage you to take the next step. Go camping, even if starting off, it is in your own backyard. Hopefully, you will take the next step and go camping outdoors at places away from man-made noises and artificial lights.
Get on your computer or smartphone and find places to go hike. Enjoy nature along the way, and when you reach the top, look out over the valley below and be amazed. Find a river or lake and catch a fish or relax in or on the water. Learn to enjoy wildflowers in the spring, snow in the woods during winter, colorful leaves in the fall, and a star-filled sky on a summer night. Discover how incredible nature is.
Get away from the TV, computer, and smartphone. Escape all that is going on in your life and our broken world. Find the peace you seek. Restore your body and soul. I personally know Who created the outdoors, and He did a great job. Let Him and all the nature shows change your life for the better.
As Anne Frank said, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature.”
Chasten Whitfield is a 23-year-old championship lady angler passionate about helping less fortunate others.
“Their Life, My Lens” is a TV Show where Chasten Whitfield asks America to provide support to continue an empowering program.
“Chastenation” is the name of her non-profit program to empower the Abilities, Not Disabilities, of kids and their families with a day-long moment to forget about doctor appointments or therapy and focus on reeling in that fish. To show all kids that they are “good enough.”
By Forrest Fisher
When you move to new places and like to fish, you join groups that bring folks together who enjoy fishing. At a recent Sarasota Salt Strong Fishing Club meeting, vice-president Merlin Troyer introduced the guest speaker, a gracious and humble-minded young lady named Chasten Whitfield. In less than 25 minutes, this young lady changed the view of many in attendance, inspiring them to consider how essentially important the fun of fishing can be to others in need.
An expert angler and bass fishing champion through high school and college, this young lady impressed every one of the 90 people in attendance. Her welcoming smile and tonal clarity in communication made her an instant hit with the entire audience. Chasten started by sharing that she was inspired and filled with love for sharing the fun of fishing with others – especially others who might never have a chance to learn about fishing. Kids and adults alike.
Chasten was looking for people that were somehow incapacitated in their life by human ailments, be they physical, emotional, or otherwise. She provided details about her high school and college education and communication classes, learning more about the demands of fishing competitions and the needs filled after winning or simply catching a big fish. She wondered how a similar endorphin effect might apply to help people with ailments. These people might need a spoonful of rescue and fun.
Her voice and smile filled the church hall with the inspiring tones of human care and love for others. She received an overture of hearty applause several times. She provided ways to help but suggested that everyone look up the online website. Click the picture below.
Her story is unique and echoes her passion for fishing. At 13 years of age, she purchased her first boat from babysitting earnings, then passed the test for a boater’s license. She detailed how she was often bullied because she was the only girl in her class that fished. Encouraged by her mom to disregard the boo-hoo kids, she entered her first fishing tournament. She won, and surprising everyone, she returned the championship cash winnings to the tournament charity. She continued to demonstrate her capabilities as an angler. At 15, she received the lady’s certified IGFA record catch for her 178-pound tarpon, except she released it. She said, “I just couldn’t kill that fish for the record book.” Applause came. In her sophomore year of high school, she and four lady friends fished their town’s super bowl of tournaments. She paused, then smiled and said, “We won first place. The town turned upside down.” Applause again.
At 18, she received her USCG Charter Captains license. She said, “At this point, we began to visit schools, girl scouts, and churches to teach the basics of fishing. While teaching, we would talk to kids about the critical issues of bullying and social media. Then, I met Easton during a summer job teaching at a fish camp. Easton has Spina Bifida.”
“After I met Easton, I discovered what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I immediately contacted a boat company about making a customized boat to accommodate a child-size wheelchair, so I could help kids have an amazing fishing experience. Yellowfin created a hybrid boat that I took to the College Bass Series and FLW Professional Bass Series. It was a good thing.”
Also, in her sophomore year of high school, Chasten was recruited to the Savannah College Art and Design bass fishing team. They were the only all-girls college bass fishing team at the time. She added, “I now have my Bachelor of Fine Arts in TV and Film from Savannah.” More soft applause.
Speaking clearly and ever-so humbly, Chasten shared that she was blessed in 2022 to host her own TV show. Her goal was to demonstrate the ABILITIES, not DISABILITIES, of her TV Show guests. She sent in one episode, and the TV Show was signed. She is working to continue her outreach and support program with the help of sponsors, supporters and the general public.
You can find her TV show, THEIR LIFE, MY LENS,” on the Pursuit Channel on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. The show appears on Destination America TV on Saturdays at 8:00 a.m. and streaming anytime on Waypoint TV.
About Chastenation: Founded in 2015, Chastenation was founded by Chasten Whitfield, a 23-year-old angler who proves “it’s more than just fishing.” Our mission is to help give differently-abled kids and their families a moment to forget about doctor appointments or therapy and focus on reeling in that fish.
Where hospitality and nature meet hunters and fishers.
Where walleye tournaments are common, smallmouth bass reach seven pounds, and bowfishing is fun after dark.
Wilson Lake is a favorite with campers, hikers, bikers, hunters, paddlers, and water sports enthusiasts.
By Jonathan Blumb and David Zumbaugh
The Outdoor Communicators of Kansas held their spring conference in Wilson, Kansas – the Czech Capital of the state. Local introductions and hospitality were provided at the unforgettable Midland Railroad Hotel. The town of less than 1,000 is strategically located for hunters and fishers. Cheyenne Bottoms Marsh and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge are just South, and Lake Wilson is just to the North. This berg was settled in 1874 by Bohemian immigrants who came to the area to work on the railroad, establishing the town as the Kansas Center of Czech Culture.
This group of media professionals and freelance contributors to sporting publications does more than just have fun on their outings. Their charitable efforts support youth engagement in the outdoors, offer college scholarships, fund hunting licenses for veterans, and contribute to junior shotgun shooting sports. Since 1961, members have encouraged people to embrace outdoor activities and support various goodwill events to facilitate their mission.
Fishing guide Joe Bragg of Wakefield, Kansas, and local guides Dale Hines of Sylvan Grove and Wayne Loy of Lincoln graciously gave willing fishers a grand tour of the lake. Members Nick Neff and Mike Miller towed their boats along for big fish bragging rights contests. Mother Nature cooperated, offering beautiful, clear blue skies and mild breezes assisting angling endeavors. Some chose to fish off the shore, as Wilson offers many public access sites to reach deep water and big fish – without a boat.
Rods and reels got a workout as most anglers succeeded with walleye, bass, crappie, wipers, and drum brought to the net. While the bite was less than hot, no one complained because they got to fish Lake Wilson! The waters are renowned for giant stripers; some are even hooked through the ice in winter. Walleye tournaments are common, and smallmouth bass reach seven pounds. A bowfishing tournament, sponsored by Knotheads Bait Shop, was held concurrent with the OCK meeting, with participants from six states shooting huge carp and garfish in the backwater coves.
This lake is a favorite with campers, hikers, bikers, hunters, paddlers, and water sports enthusiasts. The epic Switchgrass bike trail is a huge draw, which is not suggested for mountain biker beginners. There are several exceptional hiking trails for all levels of mobility. The Rock Town Trail is spectacular, with views of the lake and overhanging cliffs.
Nearby lodging is available in Russell and Lucas. Kansas Parks and Wildlife has cabins available at Wilson State Park. Several RV campgrounds are available. One is within walking distance of the dam spillway, which offers excellent fishing opportunities when the water is flowing.
Some members took a break from piscivorous pursuits to visit area attractions. One cannot visit Russell County without stopping in Lucas to be amazed at the bizarre Garden of Eden, take in the well-stocked art shops, and have a burger at the K-18 Café. Of course, you must pick up some brats at Brant’s Market to take home.
Attendees were treated to another natural outdoor festival. A fish fry was held at a Lake Wilson State Park cabin.
Someone even Bar-B-Queued bobwhite quail procured from a recent pointer field trial for an over-the-top feast!
Of course, practiced lies were sheepishly spoken about the big one that got away and the snake that tried to get in a boat, but all was accepted in fun. As the evening waned, all were rewarded with a magnificent sunset, which decorated the surrounding hills with gorgeous spectral colors.
All photographs are courtesy of Jonathan Blumb. Additional photographs appear at the end of this story.
Flexibility, sharpness, perfect balance, and made in the U.S.A.
Sure-fire handle grip, orange in color: It’s easy to find!
A lifetime guarantee promotes how good it is before purchase.
By Forrest Fisher
A newbie in my gear room would definitely notice that I like to collect knives. Each is handsome, and they can all cut bread, but they each have a purpose. Some of them are fixed-blade, some are folding knives, and there are specialty knives.
That’s where my new fillet knife set from the Knives of Alaska came in last week. While there are knives all over the room, the Knives of Alaska set stands out for good reason: these knives have a hunter-orange handle. You can’t use what you can’t find, and it seems like when I have tasty fish to clean, lots of them, I can never find my fillet knife. Problem solved! And the color thing also keeps it out of my sock drawer (my better half places things with destination unknown in my sock drawer).
Above that, these knives are not ordinary. A good fillet knife needs to be flexible and sharp, it needs to maintain sharpness, and it needs to fit right in your hand. While we are all different, we can’t be very good at the job without all these virtues. All that considered, lastly, my best fillet knives exhibit a balance between the blade and the handle to link and sync my brain to program how my wrist and hand work together. Of course, the best fillet knife for the job at hand also depends on the size of the fish, and that’s why having fillet knives of different sizes matters for good reason. Precise cutting is no accident.
The Coho Fillet Knife at 13 inches overall with an 8-1/2 inch blade. It’s 3 inches longer than its smaller fillet knife cousin, the Steelheader, which offers a 5-3/4 inch blade. Both knives are ground with an 18-20 degree blade bevel. Having the two-knife set allows for medium and larger-sized fish filleting with little effort. A nylon sheath is included. Both knives have a comfortable sure-grip and a layered polymer handle to assure a positive hand-hold. I especially like that. Click the picture below to visit the store.
On the technical side, these fillet knives are made from high-hardness steel (440C). That means they hold an edge because this blade material retains its hardness quality for a long time. I fish in freshwater and saltwater, so I need the sharpness retention quality to assure perfect fillets for the table. The high chromium content means high corrosion resistance. While this steel is hard and corrosion resistant, the manner in which Knives of Alaska manufactures these, provides the best of all worlds. In short, the balance of blade material properties makes it relatively easy to sharpen. How can you beat that? You can’t.
The Coho Knife is sold retail for under $100, while the Steelheader sells for under $90; the sheaths are extra. The two-knife set includes a sheath that will hold both knives, and it sells for $189.99.
Knives of Alaska has become well known for their durable construction, sharp blades, and ergonomic designs. They cater to the specific needs of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. If you value performance, durability, functionality, and affordability, do yourself a favor, and check them out. Click on the picture below.
Deer Ticks (Blacklegged Ticks – Ixodes Scapularis) can carry Lyme Disease and are VERY TINY in physical size.
Protect yourself by becoming aware of their size and available repellents (Picaridin & Permethrin) that can work to keep ticks off of you and your loved ones.
Learn what to do if you find an embedded tick on your body.
Deer Ticks (Blacklegged Ticks – Ixodes Scapularis) can carry Lyme Disease and are VERY TINY. CDC photo.
By Forrest Fisher
It’s time to fish, hike, camp, and bird-watch, and it’s time to sit on a quiet park bench anyplace you like. Right now is also an excellent time to take 5 minutes to learn more about deer ticks and Lyme disease. Read this article. Remember it. Please share it. It could save you or your loved ones from a life of medical care and unwanted jeopardy.
According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and, rarely, Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks. Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.
Several years back, but not that long ago, three of my seven grandkids were bitten by a tiny little critter that many of us would have passed off as a speck of dirt and not thought twice about it. But, the little sliver of dirt was hard to brush off. It was embedded into the skin and looked like a tiny, little beauty spot. At first notice, the thought is that it’ll go away. It’s just a beauty post or a piece of dirt. Get some soap. That was just the beginning. After a shower and a few days of baths, good old Mom noticed that the little brand-new beauty spot had grown in size. She did not know there was a little critter in there, and it had filled its holding tanks with her child’s blood. It was a juvenile deer tick—less than the size of a dark sesame seed on your morning bagel.
In the old days, most of us would say, so what? You got bit by a tick, grow up, be a big boy and take a shower more often. Today, science has educated us. The concern today is that deer ticks carry Lyme disease and many other pathogens that cause diseases that are hard to diagnose and harder to treat. In many cases, if initially left untreated, the best prognosis for the more than 400 other Lyme-related diseases is front and center.
Back to the grandchild. Two days later, that little beauty spot was suddenly about 25 times larger. It was easy to see now. Trying to brush off that little spot directly caused a gush of blood from the embedded deer tick. The blood ran and stained the skin. So much so that the blood was running like when you have a small cut on your skin surface. Deer ticks are hungry little, suction-prone, disease-exchanging little critters. Not a disaster, but you might need a few tissues and a small band-aid. That’s not the end. The actual deer tick was still embedded. You or a medical person with skilled tweezers must remove the tick and wait a few weeks to see if you develop Lyme symptoms or get it tested to identify if it carries Lyme disease. Visit Ticknology at https://www.ticknology.org/tick-testing. Lyme and tick-borne disease is often misdiagnosed. As a result, the opportunity for early treatment is missed. Ticknology is one of several lab services that offer tick testing to identify early detection of Lyme or related disease exposure. Many folks prefer to order a Universal Tick Test from Ticknology and receive a comprehensive evaluation of Lyme-related infection risk.
The truth of the deer tick world is that many of these little critters are so small right now – in their nymph stage (just born) – they are hungry and looking for a host. Like their deer tick parents who used up all their energy delivering hundreds of young deer ticks. The deer ticks get Lyme disease from the mice, not vice versa. The ticks cuddle close to the mouse as they are trying to stay warm in the coldest of winter. Then the deer ticks find warm weather, and they leave the mouse. The mommy deer ticks are looking to bear their young on a flower, a weed, a horse, a dog, a backyard plant, a rose, you, me, or somewhere on a bristle of green weeds in your garden and many other places. The point is, beware of these little disease carriers and killers of human health. Why the sudden increase in deer tick numbers and Lyme cases? That’s a mystery.
About 15 years ago, many doctors misdiagnosed Lyme disease for about 400 other conditions. Many folks today still suffer from that lack of early medical awareness. Times have changed, the blood testing process is better, and the medical world has recognized this mysterious disease’s seriousness. About 40 percent of deer ticks tested today are carrying Lyme. Be aware.
What to do if you like to enjoy the outdoors: Stay aware. Understand that tick season is year-round, and spring and summer are their peak activity periods. Be careful if you hike in wooded areas or venture forth in places with high grass. Walk in the center of the trails. Wear long sleeves and, while it may look stupid, tuck your pants into your socks or shoes top. Use tick-repellent products registered by the US EPA. According to reports, DEET is effective, but the go-to for most folks is to use Picaridin on your exposed skin outside your clothing and treat your exterior clothing, shoes, socks, and other gear with Permethrin. The Permethrin (0.5 percent strength) can last several washings (about four to six weeks). Once your hike, bike, camp or outdoor adventure trip is over and you are back inside at home, toss all your clothes into the dryer on high heat for 10-15 minutes. Heat kills deer ticks. Then do a full body check. Use a mirror. Be extra sure in difficult-to-see areas such as under your arms, around your hair, ears, back of knees, between your legs and especially here: inside your belly button. This is serious; no laughing. To further reduce risk, shower immediately after coming in and after your initial inspection. Why shower immediately? There may still be ticks on you that went unnoticed and are not yet attached. A shower will wash them away.
Uh-oh. During your look-see, you find a deer tick on you. It’s embedded. Not to worry, but remove it. The CDC says to use tweezers to remove the tick. Grip the tick and apply a steady outward pressure across the entire diameter of the embedded tick. It may take a few seconds or a minute, but it will eventually come out. Do not twist the tick with the tweezers. We don’t want to break off the mouth. Then save the tick. Wrap it in a tissue and place it into an old prescription container. Then clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap/water, and wash your hands thoroughly. You can watch for symptoms for the next few weeks or visit your doctor. Show him your tick. Depending on his diagnosis, he may send it for testing or provide antibiotics. About eight out of 10 people immediately treated are cured when bitten by a Lyme-carrying tick. The numbers show that about 10 to 20 percent develop Lyme disease syndrome with lingering symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, mental confusion, and much more. Deer ticks carry Lyme and many other diseases. It can be nasty.
If you were bit and developed a “bulls-eye” rash near the bite location, about one-third of folks display this condition – the typical treatment is Doxycycline or a similar antibiotic for as long as the first 30 days. That is up to the doctor. If you have no bulls-eye rash but are developing a fever, rash or headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or other unusual symptoms, or any uncommon illness, see a doctor ASAP.
Stay aware of Lyme disease and deer ticks. AND get rid of your mice! They infect the ticks.
Fishing Legend Jimmy Houston among Team Reviving Historic Company
Luck E Strike: An American Original Since 1970
Redman Spinner will be 1st lure to lead new red/white/blue packaging and product line
Singer, songwriter, and entertainer Toby Keith, pictured left, has acquired Luck E Strike, a bait and tackle brand name as ingrained with top-tier anglers as weekend recreationists.
Endorsed by National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Famer Jimmy Houston and operated by sporting goods industry vets Jeff Williams (General Manager) and Todd Hempen (Operations Manager), the company is relaunching this summer with a new focus on its traditional American-made division in Greenwood Ark., while maintaining the current assortments sold nationwide, as well as a new slogan: “An American Original Since 1970.”
For the singer of “Made in America,” Luck E Strike occupies a special place in the world of outdoor sports. “They’ve got a lot of history,” Keith says. “It’s one of the earliest fishing brands universally stocked in national retailers.”
In the bass fishing world, Luck E Strike is well known for tackle kits, hand-crafted crankbaits, and its Redman Spinner Bait. The latter was designed by Houston, who used it successfully for decades, and it led to his two 1st Place Finishes at the Bassmaster Classic. Trading in its prior yellow and black packaging, the Redman Spinner will be the first lure to lead the company’s new red, white, and blue packaged product line in the coming months. Details and timeline are forthcoming.
The company’s biggest brand ambassador is the host of the 46-year-running Jimmy Houston Outdoors television show. “Jimmy is one of about three big legends in the fishing world,” Keith says. “He has been a spokesperson for Luck E Strike for decades and started building his Redman Spinners out of diaper pins and selling them to Walmart.”
Houston asserts this acquisition will make an impact in the world of fishing. “In addition to being one of the best singers and songwriters, Toby Keith is an incredible patriot,” he says. “Tying those two together in an American lure company known for making outstanding bass and crappie lures at great prices is so exciting. As his friend, I’m happy seeing the fire in his eyes over this company. It’s a big deal for the fishing industry as a whole to have him involved and bringing this brand back to where it ought to be.”
Having fallen on hard times, the company had been in disarray. “They needed a new focus and vision, and I happened to be standing at the door ready to pick up the pieces,” Keith says.
“I’ve got a house on a lake where they hold a lot of fishing tournaments, and I became friends with Jeff, who has built two big tackle brands,” he continues. “He reached out and told me Luck E Strike was for sale, and he was as interested as I am in rebuilding it.”
Williams is an accomplished angler, bait and tackle developer, and businessman whose brands have included Team Catfish and Fle-Fly. “Everyone knows Luck E Strike and its industry-leading lures,” Williams says. “It’s a working folk’s brand, and Toby Keith is the right person at the right time to build this thing back up. We’re already hard at work rebuilding wholesale relationships and vetting tackle manufacturers, domestically and abroad. Luck E Strike will be a global tackle brand, with Toby’s involvement.”
Hempen has more than 30 years of retail and supply chain experience with some of the biggest names in sporting goods, including Bass Pro Shops, Walmart, and Amazon. “I am honored to be working with Toby and this team to revitalize the Luck E Strike brand,” Hempen says. “This will be a big deal for Toby’s fans and the faithful Luck E Strike customers.”
Known for his prodigious work ethic, Keith is ready to go. “This team is so good, and the brand and product speak for themselves,” he says. “Through the years, Luck E Strike has sold hundreds of SKUs nationally at major retailers. Unfortunately, that business has dwindled some, but we will build that backup and add some rod-and-reel combos, apparel, fishing tools, and tackle systems. We will put this brand back at the level it deserves.”
“I’m a nostalgic guy, and that’s part of it, but this is great stuff,” he continues. “I know a bunch of pro anglers, and they’re all telling me if I can get them the stuff, they’ll fish with it.” With the expertise and marketing muscle Toby Keith is investing in, it’s a safe bet they will be one of many companies using and having success with Luck E Strike lures.
About Toby Keith: Arguably the most prolific self-directed creative force in the country’s modern era, Toby Keith has amassed 42 top 10 hits, 32 No. 1s, 40 million albums sold, and more than 10 billion streams largely on the strength of his own songwriting and producing, and under the banner of his own Show Dog Nashville record label. Among his many accomplishments, the New York-based all-genre Songwriters Hall of Fame (2015), the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (2021), and BMI Icon (2022) are his most treasured.
Across the country where black bear hunting is allowed, harvesting a black bear means more than just a fabulous rug. Bear meat is delicious and healthy when properly cared for in the field and during transport and storage. Generally, bear meat tastes similar to venison – it’s wild uncontaminated red meat, though it is often a little sweeter than meat from deer or elk. It has a dark red color, and in terms of texture, it’s close to pork, though with a slightly coarser grain.
Like deer, elk, or wild boar, one of the tastiest cuts of black bear is the back strap. Smoking is one of the most delicious ways to prepare a black bear back strap.
To make it easy, try using the new Smoked Bear Loin Roast Recipe from Hi Mountain Seasonings featuring their Rib-Rub. Reading the label’s contents, I savored the flavor just thinking about the ingredients in this proven blend of spices: paprika, black pepper, salt, mustard, cayenne pepper, soybean oil, honey granules (refinery syrup/honey) and dehydrated garlic/onion. All set to go, this packaging makes tough jobs so simple that all you have to do is set up your smoker.
The process is simple. You’ll need one trimmed black bear back strap, one can of coffee beer ( I use my favorite dark IPA), the Hi Mountain Rib-Rub, canning salt, fresh ground coffee, ½ cup maple syrup and your smoker or pellet grill. Again, make sure to trim any fat from the back strap. When done, place the back strap in a nonporous container like a clean kitchen mixing bowl or storage container large enough to hold the meat. Add the beer and marinate it in the refrigerator for a couple hours. Remove and pat dry with a paper towel. Next, apply yellow mustard to all sides of the meat. Mix some canning salt with the Hi Mountain Seasoning Rib-Rub mix and ground coffee in a separate bowl. Liberally apply this mix to all sides of the meat and place it in a nonporous container. Cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. Remove from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. Preheat the smoker or the smoker pellet grill to 250 degrees toward the end of that hour.
Coat the smoker rack with olive oil and place the bear meat in the smoker/pellet grill. During the smoking process, use a kitchen brush to glaze the roast with maple syrup on the exposed sides of the roast. Smoke it until the internal temperature of the roast hits 160F. Use a digital thermometer.
Slice it thin. Enjoy!
I use the same process to smoke deer, boar and elk meat. Located in the heart of Wyoming, the cost of a 10-ounce shaker bottle of Hi Mountain Seasoning Rib-Rub is $10.99. You can find it at grocery stores and outdoor retailers nationwide, but I buy it online at www.himtnjerky.com or you can call toll-free 1-800-829-2285. They never have out-of-stock issues. While you’re online, check out the dozens of other free delicious wild game recipes and their unique types of spices, rubs, seasonings, sausage and jerky kits that are ready to go.
I like simplicity.
Note: This bear was taken by Dennis Ferraro in Belfast, NY, using a Browning BLR-81 lever-action .308 caliber rifle equipped with a Leupold 3-9X Vari-1 set at 6X. Ferraro favors the 150-grain Federal Fusion boat-tail bullets, adding, “They are accurate, affordable and have proven themselves on other big game for him many times before. I bought my gun and my ammo from a retailer in Hamburg.” The 265-pound black bear was downed with one shot from Ferraro’s rifle. The male bear claws measured about one and one-half inches in length, and the paws were about six to seven inches across. The most prominent teeth on the magnificent black bear were about the same length as the claws. (L to R below) Ferarro was hunting with the father/son tag team of Rob and Bob Ciszak, and Adam Wojnowski.
Crispy chicken wings or meaty chicken drumsticks – perfect for football games!
You can fry, grill, smoke, or bake the wings at the tailgate or the house.
Dust your wings with Trail Dust, Cajun Cowboy, or Pineapple Siracha seasoning for more kick.
The Hi Mountain Seasonings Chicken Wing Bundle (www.himtnjerky.com) has everything needed for the perfect taste.
By Forrest Fisher
The 2023 football playoffs are finally here! As you gather with family and friends, folks are chomping at the bit to celebrate a team they love. Whether you’re planning a tailgate party or a house party, be prepared to serve drop-in guests the best in delicious quick-finger foods.
My better half and I usually prepare a supply of wild game meats to be cooked in a potpourri-style venue with our favorite dips and sauces for post-pot dunking on the side. Then we back that up with pre-cooked chicken wings or meaty chicken drumsticks from our air fryer at home. If we tailgate, we put them in a pot and warm them up at the tailgate on a portable cooker, but they are good cold too! Everyone loves mouth-watering chicken wings. Of course, you can fry, grill, smoke, or bake the wings at the tailgate or the house. Delicious, however you cook them.
Whatever cooking method you choose, they’re ready to eat when they hit 165F internal temperature. We use the Hi Mountain Seasonings Chicken Wing Bundle (www.himtnjerky.com) to make scrumptious wings. You brush on some olive oil and dust your wings with Trail Dust, Cajun Cowboy, or Pineapple Siracha seasoning for a little more kick. It’s all included in the bundle package, including classic Blue Cheese Dressing and Dip. It’s everything you need for a pre-game football party or a halftime household gala event.
Al’s “Age-Old” Goldfish Lures are proven irresistible to hungry fish.
Al’s Goldfish Spoons are Made-in-America! We need more of this.
Al’s Goldfish Spoon is a tested and true fish-killer lure since 1952.
Al’s Goldfish Spoon is available in multiple colors and 3/16 to 1-1/4 ounce sizes.
Al’s Goldfish Lures are affordable (great holiday gift).
By Dave Barus
Some of the best lures made for fishing were invented long ago and were made in America, too. In 1952, in a small town near Eliot, Maine, a prototype spoon lure known as Stuart’s Goldfish hit the angler market big time, selling nearly one-million lures a year way back then. Inventor Al Stuart renamed his flagship lure, Al’s Goldfish, and the company became Al’s Goldfish Lure Company in 1954. Along the way, other Al Stuart lures became angler-famous, including the “Forty-Niner” and the “Helgy.”
All of them are still Made-in-America! Present-day owners Jeff and Mandy DeBuigne are admittedly “fish-heads” and want to share some of the famous good fortunes of catching fish with their fishing followers and customers. They are celebrating the 70th anniversary of Al’s Goldfish Lure with a freebie contest open to everyone.
Al’s Goldfish Winter Promo Giveaway – To enter, simply go to Al’s Goldfish Lure Company Facebook page and click on the promotion or visit Al’s Goldfish Lure Company Giveaway. When prompted, fill in your name and email address, and you are entered. One entry per person. Do it today! All entries must be completed by midnight on December 15, 2022. When prompted to join the Outdoor News America mailing list, additional entries can be made. The lucky winner will be randomly drawn and notified via email. Many of Al’s Goldfish products and lures are included in the prize package.
Today the company still makes and markets the original Al’s Goldfish and much more. These include tried and tested fish-catching lures, ice-fishing jigs, Sebago trolling rigs, bottom jigging rigs, and accessories. Treble hook bonnets and other lure accessories were added to the company’s list of American-made products. In 2015 the line was expanded to include the Saltwater Goldfish series. For a complete look at Al’s Goldfish Lure Company’s entire line, visit https://www.alsgoldfish.com/ or call them at 413-543-1524.
The company’s American-Made core values will keep it strong and vital for this and the next generation of anglers. Mandy DeBuigne says, “We value Jesus for our blessings and the example of unconditional love. We value our veterans and active duty service members for our freedom and their sacrifice. We value our friends and customers of all backgrounds, races, orientations, and abilities – we don’t care what you look like, where you came from, what your gender is, who you love, or what you can/can’t do – what matters is: Do you like to fish? We are committed to making our products right here in the USA, which keeps Americans in our supply chain employed. And we value an honest sale. If your purchase fails beyond the normal wear and tear that happens to a product you are literally throwing as far away from yourself as it will go – to fish, let us know. We will make it right.”
Al’s Goldfish Lure Company PRIZE PACKAGE – Al’s Goldfish Lure Company has teamed up with Outdoor News America and Wolf Premium Oils to put an excellent fishing package together for anyone that likes to wet a line. This giveaway package includes Al’s ice jigs, a trolling rig, a bag of hook bonnets, Kenny Kieser’s Christmas Kit filled with Al’s top freshwater spoons, Al’s Goldfish top Saltwater Series Goldfish lures, Al’s Goldfish Limited Edition 70th Anniversary Buck fillet knife, and a bottle of Wolf Premium Oil. All combined, this “Al’s Goldfish Lure Company Winter Promo Giveaway” has a suggested retail value exceeding $250.
NYS Whitetail Deer are 100 percent CWD-FREE. More than 200,000 deer were harvested by hunters last year.
By Dave Barus
The NYS Southern Zone regular big game season (black bear and whitetail deer) will open on Saturday, Nov. 19. Hunting is among the state’s most popular forms of wildlife recreation, drawing an estimated 600,000 hunters (resident and non-resident) afield each year. NYSDEC Commissioner Basil Seggos is encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to respectfully share the woods and follow common-sense safety precautions this fall and winter. “With most public land across NYS open to multiple forms of recreation, from hiking and nature photography to hunting and trapping, visitors should be cautious, courteous, and responsible when sharing the woods to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience,” said Commissioner Seggos.” DEC encourages all visitors to review the safety guidelines for hunting and recreating in the woods before going afield and respectfully sharing the outdoors with others.”
Big game hunters using a firearm are required to wear hunter orange or pink. NYSDEC encourages non-hunters to wear blaze orange, blaze pink, or another bright color during fall and winter to be seen more easily and from greater distances. In addition, wearing bright colors makes it easier for Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Police Officers, and other rescue personnel to find lost, sick, or injured people afield.
Hunting is safe and economically significant, helping to manage wildlife populations and promote family traditions while fostering an understanding and respect for the environment. Hikers should know they may encounter hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment on trails. Hunters should recognize that they may meet hikers and others enjoying the outdoors. Hunting-related shooting incidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. The 2021 hunting seasons in New York were the safest ever, with the lowest number of incidents since record-keeping began.
Hunters can minimize the potential for disturbance by and to other forms of recreation by following a few tips. Before a season opens, when hunters are scouting for the perfect spot or stand location, take the time to check if the planned location is popular. Avoiding places that crowd other hunters or near a sought-out hiking spot can improve the hunting and recreational experience. If a preferred hunting spot is too crowded, identify an alternative location ahead of time.
DEC maintains hiking, biking, skiing, and snowmobile trails in Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondack and Catskill parks and in State Forests, Wildlife Management Areas, and Unique Areas open to hunting. DEC launched the ‘Love Our New York Lands’ campaign to encourage visitors to State-owned and managed lands to practice responsible recreation. Love Our New York Lands bolsters ongoing NYS and partner-led efforts to educate the public about how to responsibly enjoy outdoor recreation on public lands without negatively impacting natural resources.
The hunting day begins 30 minutes before sunrise and ends each day 30 minutes after sunset. While legal to hunt in the dim light of these periods, hunters are encouraged to be vigilant of their aim, their shot, and beyond their shot.
Georgia allows hunters to harvest up to 10 antlerless deer and no more than two antlered deer.
Deer of either sex may be taken with archery equipment at any time on private land during the deer season.
To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, a big game license and a current deer harvest record.
All harvested deer must be reported through Georgia Game Check within 24 hours.
By Forrest Fisher
The statewide archery deer hunting season begins Saturday, Sept. 10, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
Last year, 83,000 archery hunters harvested over 44,000 deer. Statewide, hunters can use archery equipment throughout the entire 2022-2023 deer season.
“Archery hunting season is nearly here, and bowhunters get the ‘first shot,’ pun intended,” said state deer biologist Charlie Killmaster. “While it may seem too hot to hunt the early part of archery season, it is an excellent time to pattern deer. Persimmons are a highly prized natural food source during the early season, but don’t overlook the trails between good cover and a food source to locate mature bucks.”
Public Hunting Opportunities
Georgia WRD operates more than 100 public wildlife management areas (WMAs). These areas offer hunting dates throughout deer season and even some specialty deer hunts, including youth, ladies, seniors, and disabled and returning veterans license holders. Maps, dates and more info can be found at GeorgiaWildlife.com/locations/hunting.
Hunters can find additional hunting opportunities on Voluntary Public Access, or VPA, properties. These properties are available thanks to a USDA grant that allows for the arrangement of temporary agreements with private landowners for public hunting opportunities. More information at GeorgiaWildlife.com/VPA-HIP.
“Interested in eating from locally available, sustainable sources?” questions Killmaster. “Venison is a nutrient-rich, heart-healthy lean protein, and there are so many amazing ways to cook it. Check out our blog at GeorgiaWildlife.blog and type ‘venison’ in the search bar – you won’t be disappointed!”
Hunting Need-to-Know Info
State law allows hunters to harvest up to 10 antlerless deer and no more than two antlered deer (with one of the two antlered deer having a minimum of four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers) or a minimum of 15 inches outside antler spread. For most hunters in the state, the deer season ends on Jan. 8. However, some specific counties (Barrow, Bibb, Chatham, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Decatur, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Muscog, Paulding, Rockdale and Seminole) offer either-sex archery deer hunting through Jan. 31. Additionally, deer of either sex may be taken with archery equipment at any time on private land during the deer season.
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 GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, by phone at 1-800-366-2661, or at a license agent (list of agents available online).
All harvested deer must be reported through Georgia Game Check within 24 hours. Deer can be reported on the Outdoors GA app (which works regardless of cell service), at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661.
For more on deer hunting, including finding a game processor, reviewing regulations, viewing maps (either sex day or the rut map), visit GeorgiaWildlife.com/deer-info.
Get hooked on marine conservation with an interactive online game
Easy to use, fun to watch, educational, instructive
For kids and adults
By Forrest Fisher (in support of Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission for Educational Youth Outreach).
As students return to the classroom for the new 2022 school year, educators and parents can encourage continued learning about conservation and the outdoors through the fun of fishing. Check out the “Gone Fishin” game below!
Click on “Let’s Go Fishing,” and the game takes you to another screen where you can choose fishing By Boat or By Shore. Very cool.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in partnership with “Pubbly,” a digital education company, created five interactive games that engage and educate students on marine fisheries conservation. Jump in and make a splash this school year with interactive games today at FloridaFishing.Pubbly.com.
Take a virtual fishing trip, match habitats with Florida fish species, remove trash and invasive lionfish from a reef, learn proper fish handling techniques and complete a virtual fish dissection.
From above, I choose “By Shore,” and the game takes us to a checklist of things to bring along (see below, on the left). As you click on each item, an illustration pops up and provides a useful and friendly audio message with details to know. Very cool.
Games are geared for fourth grade and up but can be enjoyed by students and adults of all ages. Once you finish the checklist and click “Ready,” the screen changes to a beach scene where the viewer can cast a line, catch a fish, learn about catch and release or keep and clean. Very cool.
One other very useful item is fish identification. There are many species of saltwater fish that swim in saltwater. Many of them are similar, but the program provides pictures and explanations about the fish.
These activities bring marine science to your fingertips, providing accessible education to your home or classroom and tips to use when you head out on your saltwater fishing trips. Very cool.
Learn more about FWC’s saltwater outreach and education programs at MyFWC.com/Marine by clicking “Outreach & Education Programs.” There are multiple programs to help everyone learn more about fishing in saltwater (freshwater too). For questions, contact Marine@MyFWC.com or 850-487-0554.
Shore lunch completes every Canadian fishing adventure.
Canadian guide and foodie Kent Kulrich shares his secret shore lunch recipe.
By Dr. Jason A. Halfen
Waves lapping against the rocks, a crackling fire, and a delicious handcrafted meal of fresh fish, fried potatoes, and warm beans fuel the body and fill the soul. This is angling comfort food at its finest – and like most of you, I could enjoy this meal every day and twice on Sundays. However, everyone should be willing to step away from the typical midday fare and embrace a little variety on an extended trip north of the border.
I met Canadian guide and foodie Kent Kulrich on a recent trip to northwest Saskatchewan’s beautiful Tazin Lake Lodge, a destination renowned for its huge lake trout and enormous northern pike. My group connected with Kent and his guests for lunch on one afternoon, and I was utterly blown away by the meal presented to me on a granite knoll overlooking gorgeous Tazin Lake. This was a baked lake trout feast like none I had ever encountered – and now, you’ll be able to enjoy it too.
“Fried fish, spuds, and beans are great,” reflects Kulrich, “but we like to offer our guests something a little different if they’re in the mood.” While anglers flock to Tazin Lake Lodge to tangle with multiple 40-inch class lake trout during their visit, northwest Saskatchewan’s Tazin Lake is also brimming with eater-size lakers – fish in the three to five-pound class. Tazin Lake Lodge’s staff of professional and experienced guides take advantage of this bounty, perfecting several trout recipes that elevate the shore lunch experience to entirely new levels. Below, you’ll find Kent Kulrich’s recipe for baked lake trout with a sweet chili sauce, paired with maple-glazed red potatoes and seasoned veggies.
Begin with an eater-size lake trout. We caught these in abundance in relatively shallow water at Tazin Lake – and by shallow, I mean anywhere from one to twenty feet deep. Ever seen a 20-inch lake trout swimming in six inches of water along a sandy beach? Or caught a laker on a topwater less than a yard from shore? If not, add those to your list of things to do while visiting Tazin Lake Lodge. Gut the trout, remove the head and tail, and then slice through the skin and part-way into the meat along every inch along the trout’s length. A Regal River 7-Inch Straight Fillet Knife from Smith’s Consumer Products is the right tool for this job. Those slices ensure that the fish cooks evenly, allowing flavors to penetrate throughout.
Begin seasoning the trout by rubbing salt and lemon pepper into the cuts along the sides of the body. Add a generous amount of sweet chili sauce, lime juice, and fresh parsley. Wrap the seasoned trout in parchment paper – which keeps the fish moist as it cooks and prevents sticking – and encase it within a double layer of aluminum foil. Place the package on top of hot wood coals and bake for about 15-minutes, flipping once as the trout cooks.
With the fish baking on the coals, turn your attention to the sides. Slice red potatoes into chunks, fry them in a cast-iron pan with a bit of oil until done, and then glaze them with maple syrup – because, after all, this is Canada, eh? A blend of seasoned salt and smoked paprika finishes these wilderness spuds and pleases the most discerning palette. While the potatoes cook, open cans of corn and mushrooms and simmer them in water, right in their original cans. When the veggies are heated, drain the water and add diced fresh garlic, rosemary, and parsley before combining the corn and mushrooms into a delicious blend that perfectly complements the other components of this Saskatchewan feast.
When timed correctly, the sweet chili-baked trout, maple syrup-glazed potatoes, and seasoned corn and mushrooms should be ready at just about the same time. Open the trout’s foil package into the shape of a large bowl, then add the spuds and veggies alongside the baked guest of honor. The visual presentation of this wilderness feast is surpassed only by its unbeatable aroma, texture, and taste. It’s hard to return to fried fish after a meal like this!
Shore lunch is an integral part of every Canadian fishing experience. On your next visit to Saskatchewan’s outstanding Tazin Lake Lodge, be sure to grab an eater-size lake trout right before lunch and give this baked trout recipe a whirl. You’ll be thrilled that you did.
NOTE: Images courtesy of Dan Amundson, Kent Kulrich, and Dr. Jason A. Halfen
About Dr. Jason A. Halfen: A long-time guide, tournament angler, and specialist in marine electronics who owns and operates The Technological Angler, which teaches anglers to leverage modern technology to find and catch more fish. Learn more by visitingThe Technological Angler on Facebook or @technoangler on Instagram.
About Smith Products:We are constantly striving to identify improved methods for providing consumers with the best edge, as shown by our recent launch of an electric sharpener incorporating interlocking diamond-coated wheels that ensure a factory-sharp edge to your knife with only a few quick passes of the knife. We also offer designs appropriate for the field or your gourmet kitchen. We have the broadest line of knife and scissors sharpeners available, ranging from simple, fixed-angle pull-through sharpeners for consumers that want quick and easy sharpening to sophisticated Precision Kits designed for the knife sharpening enthusiast. Our offering includes both manual and electrical sharpeners that incorporate many different abrasive materials, including diamond, carbide, ceramic, bonded synthetic abrasives and, of course, natural Arkansas stones.
Loomis unveils new Steelhead Rod offerings with IMX-PRO STEELHEAD Series.
Blending different modulus materials was one key to dynamic rod development.
Light in weight, sensitive, durable, affordable, warranty protection.
By Forrest Fisher
If you’re among the lucky ones chasing chrome in a Great Lakes or ocean-bound tributary stream, you already know that we anglers are only as good as our tools. Rod, reel and line are among these. Having the right rod in hand provides distinct advantages. At the ICAST 2022 new product show, G. Loomis introduced the IMX-PRO STEELHEAD rod. Loaded with technology and purpose, this new tool will enable anglers to maximize their effectiveness on the water with exacting standards.
Steelhead fishing isn’t a pastime for most steelhead anglers. It’s an obsession. Forged from experience, passion, and often a healthy pinch of optimism, hardened steelhead anglers in the Great Lakes Region often slog through extreme weather swings from autumn through winter and into spring, when the fish are in those tribs. As you might expect, no two steelhead streams fish the same, as each tributary can require a unique application of tactics, techniques, and specialized tackle to slide the odds of fish-catching into the angler’s favor. The rod is perhaps the most important tool in collecting steelhead-catching tools.
The new IMX-PRO STEELHEAD is a collection of cast, spin, float, and center-pin action options built to meet the exacting requirements of modern steelhead fishing. The Loomis technology exclusive multi-taper design yields a lightweight library of steelhead-specific rods with precisely-defined lengths, powers, and actions that strike the perfect balance between durability and performance. With MSRPs of $365 to $635, this rod series provides anglers with the specific tools needed to secure success on the water.
IMX-PRO STEELHEAD fishing rod features:
Fuji Alconite Guides
Premium Cork Handles
Fuji Reel Seats
Handcrafted in Woodland, Washington, USA
Limited Lifetime Warranty
About G. Loomis: We exist to heighten angler experience through creating tools that expand tactical opportunity, boost effectiveness, and enhance natural ability. We develop solutions for experienced hands designed to complement capability. We strive to expand what’s possible to achieve the unattainable. Our DNA is comprised of three equal parts: Technology, Innovation, and Design. Since 1982, we’ve contributed innovative materials and manufacturing technology to the angling community. Examples include early graphite construction, advanced guide trains, Multi-Taper Design and advanced resin systems. Visit https://www.gloomis.com/.
The final weekend of the Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Trout and Salmon Derby is this weekend, and Joe Miller of Honeoye is still leading for the $25,000 Grand Prize with a 28-pound, 14-ounce king salmon reeled in off Point Breeze in Orleans County. Both trout leaders changed this past week. In the Steelhead division, Daryl Jenkins of Factoryville, Pennsylvania, gave his charter skipper Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Thrillseeker an early 60th birthday present when he weighed in a 13-pound, 6-ounce Olcott fish. For the brown trout category, Kathryn Covin of Howard, Pennsylvania, took over the top slot with a 16-pound Wilson fish. The derby ends at 1 p.m. on Labor Day, with the awards to follow at 3 p.m. at Riley’s Bar and Grill in Sodus Bay. Check out www.loc.org for a complete leaderboard.
The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey fishing contest is now over. The awards ceremony will be held on Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. at the NYPA Wildlife Festival. There are numerous winners for both the adults and the kids. Check out the Fishing Chaos website or fishodyssey.net for a complete list. Remember that it will all change when the first-place winners are put into a hat and randomly drawn by Carmen Presti representing the Primate Sanctuary.
In the fishing department, the weather put the fishing on hold for a few days, but the mature king salmon are starting to show up on time. According to Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks Charters out of Wilson, it has been a tough grind in 90 to 200 feet of water for staging kings. The salmon have been very finicky, but the bite can be very good when you are in the right place at the right time. The water from Olcott to the Niagara Bar has been producing some big kings. It has been mostly flashers and flies, but some days flashers and meat have been best. Magnum and medium-sized spoons are always an option, especially out deep. Johannes has been running riggers 50 feet down to just off the bottom. Anglers run divers anywhere from 100 to 220 feet back, depending on the day and the depth.
Niagara Bar action has been good to very good for mature king salmon, according to John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda, while trolling aboard the Terminator. His crew primarily ran flashers and flies, and they caught mature king salmon from the Canadian line all the way to Six Mile Creek. Cut bait has turned on between the Niagara Bar and Wilson, and there were good reports of decent salmon fishing.
Capt. Tim Sylvester of Tough Duty Charters reports that the offshore bite off Olcott has been decent from the 26 to the 30 line, catching a mix of salmon and trout. There have been a few mature kings off the port in 100-200 feet of water, but it has been a slow pick.
In the Niagara River, Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle reports that walleye action is still good, and the bass fishing has been consistent. For walleye, some of the river drifts are holding fish, as well as the Niagara Bar area around the green buoy marker. From shore and boat, the bass are hitting off the NYPA fishing platform, on the Bar and around the Fort. Crayfish is the top live bait that most people are using.
Wear a wonder. Shop Niagara Falls USA apparel, drinkware, and gifts at the Niagara Falls USA Official Visitor Center, or browse our online shop.
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303; p: 1-877 FALLS US | 716-282-8992 x. 303
The Outdoor Communicators of Kansas (OCK) chose Lucas, Kansas, for their fall 2021 conference on Nov. 20-22, 2021. OCK members include nationally recognized editors, writers, photographers, artists, and bloggers focusing on outdoor recreation.
Nearby Wilson Lake is a fishing hotspot where anglers can catch walleye, white bass, striped bass, catfish, drum and even trophy big-mouthed bass. There is ample room to cruise your boat on the gorgeous 9,000 acres of water. If you prefer to patiently sit in a lawn chair and watch the world go by, you will find plenty of scenic places to fish from shore. The full-service marina in the state park is open from Apr. 1st – Nov. 1st. A host of items is offered, including groceries, live bait, fuel, fishing and camping supplies. There are 200 rental boat slips available.
Surrounding Lake Wilson is more than 8,000 acres of public hunting access. Deer hunting is popular with hilly terrain providing spot and stalk opportunities. Small game hunters can wear out a pair of boots chasing pheasants, quail and even prairie chickens! Wild turkeys, rabbits and squirrels are present as well. Waterfowl hunting can sometimes get frenzied on the reservoir’s upper end and the many coves and backwater wetlands. There are thousands more acres within Russell and adjacent counties of Walk-In-Hunting-Access (WIHA). The WIHA Atlas is available online.
Abundant camping opportunities exist, including Wilson State Park, Minooka Park, Lucas Park and Sylvan Park. Cabins and camper hookups are available, and reservations are recommended. Several hiking trails attract both hardcore nimrod hikers and the less ambitious. The Cedar Trail in the Otoe area is an easy one-mile loop with a concrete surface. The 25-mile Switchgrass Mountain Bike Trail is a national bucket list challenge for cyclists.
Other area attractions include the Post Rock Scenic Byway driving tour, Garden of Eden, Grassroots Art Center, Possumbilities Antique shop and Kansas Originals Market. Lodging is available in Lucas at the Garden View Lodge, Horseshoe Lodge, Cozy Cottage, Lucas RV Park, and Set in Stone Cabins. Many other lodging choices and services can be found in Russell and Wilson, Kansas.
A short one-hour drive south will reward you with a visit to Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, the largest wetland in the interior of the United States. More than 300 species of birds have been documented in the bottoms, especially important for shorebirds. Whooping cranes are annual visitors, and people travel from around the globe to witness the antics of the whoopers. Some pools are open for waterfowl hunting, so it gets popular on the weekends during duck season.
OCK members were surprised at Lucas’s variety of services and supplies, such as from the Home Oil Service Convenience store. They were awed and spooked by the eclectic displays at the Garden of Eden! A Bar-B-Que at the Garden View Lodge with meats sourced from Brant’s Market kept everyone’s energy at peak for their hunting efforts. Jason Vanley of Kansas Outdoor Adventures provided guiding services for pheasants and quail. His dogs entertained everyone at the evening social gathering.
Lucas is located in the heart of the Smokey Hills, and many visitors consider this area the most beautiful in the state. Local businesses graciously offered support for hunting and fishing pursuits, and the Russell County Convention and Visitors Bureau provided generous hospitality to the group. Visithttps://lucaskansas.com/visit for more information.
The Great Spirit of fishing starts young, if you're a lucky little girl.
When do women outfish men? Chilly air and morning fog make little difference.
Is it luck when you catch a limit…and you are the only woman around?
When we talk to ourselves when fishing, are we talking to the fish too? A higher power?
Annie shares her experiences and connections on the water…and more.
By Larry Whiteley
It’s early morning on the river in Trout Park. The sun is beginning to peek through the forested hills. Annie is at the river’s edge, waiting with rod in hand. She is visiting with the men on both sides of her. It’s a cool morning. Annie is the only woman to brave the chill. The fishermen and one fisherwoman talk about the early spring weather and how they are glad that winter is over.
The rising sun reveals a beautiful fog rising from the water. The siren sounds to signal the anglers they can now start fishing. Annie’s lure is the first one to hit the water. In minutes, she is smiling and bringing a trout to her net. She puts it on a stringer and makes another cast. A few turns of the reel handle, and another trout takes her lure. This one is bigger and pulling line from her reel. It leaps from the water, and Annie shrieks with joy. After a few more jumps, she scoops it up with her net. She admires its beauty, puts it on the stringer and makes another cast. An hour later, she has her daily limit.
Several other fishermen who hadn’t been quite as successful came over to congratulate her. One of them asked what kind of lure she was using. She looked at him, smiled and said, “Honey, it’s not the lure that’s catching the fish. It’s this 75-year-old woman using it.” She laughed too, wished them luck and headed for her car. After she put her fish in the cooler, she looked up to the sky and thanked God for this particular time in the outdoors that He created. She also thanked Him for watching over her all these years.
Looking back at the river, she saw an eagle perched in a tree across from where she had been fishing. She remembered her favorite bible verse – “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” She looked back at the eagle, smiled again and said to herself, “God sent an eagle to watch over me today!”
When she got home, she couldn’t get the eagle out of her mind, so she sat down to read about eagles. One of the things it said was that Native American Indians believe an eagle delivers their prayers to the Great Spirit. They hold an eagle feather aloft as a custom while saying a prayer. To them, the eagle meant strength, wisdom and courage. Annie has needed all those things throughout her life. A tear flowed down her cheek.
Annie was raised in the church and grew up loving the great outdoors. In San Mateo, California, she was born, where her dad worked for United Airlines. He was also an avid hunter and fisherman. Her mom liked to fish too and taught Annie that if you catch them, you clean them.
She loved it when they would travel north to see her grandparents in Ahwahnee, California. Her granddad was a friend of the famous photographer Ansel Adams, who rose to prominence as a photographer of the American West, notably Yosemite National Park, using his iconic black-and-white images to promote the conservation of wilderness areas.
Her granddad won awards for his photography. She remembers him having a darkroom in their house where he developed the pictures he took while out enjoying nature. Yosemite National Park was just 5 miles from Ahwahnee. The waterfalls, towering granite monoliths, deep valleys and ancient giant sequoias were a big part of her young life. Annie gives credit to her parents and grandparents for her love of the outdoors.
Annie was 9-years old when her dad was transferred by United Airlines to Kansas City, Missouri. Later they bought a home at Lake Waukomis, a town with a great fishing lake. That continued to fuel her love for fishing. One night she set some baited lines off a dock for catfish. She got up early the following day and found she had caught three nice catfish. She knew how to scale and clean other fish but had no idea how to clean a slimy ole’ catfish. So she took them into the bedroom where her dad was still asleep to ask him to help. “He sure wasn’t pleased about it,” said Annie.
They would travel down to Lebanon, Missouri, to visit her Grandma Effie on her mom’s side in the summers. Like most of her family, Grandma Effie was an outdoorsy person too. She took care of a 4-acre garden and still fished. During the depression, she did it to survive, but now she did it for fun and food.
Her Uncle Dale lived next to her grandma. He loved fly fishing and would take Annie along with him. After he caught a fish, he would hand Annie the rod and let her reel it in. “I never got into fly fishing like Uncle Dale,” says Annie. “I just thought, why would I want to cast five times to a fish when I could cast one time and catch it with a regular fishing rod and reel?”
When Annie graduated high school, her dad took her on a Canadian fishing trip with six other men. For seven days they caught and ate walleye. A few years later, her dad was transferred back to California with United Airlines. Her mom got sick, and her dad couldn’t take off work, so it was up to 18-year-old Annie to find them a place to live in San Mateo. She did.
Not long after that, Annie got married. She and her husband Bob lived in the state of Washington, and she traveled with him to Australia and other places. He passed away, but Annie won’t talk about that. After all those years, it still hurts too much. Annie says, “I was blessed with a strong father and a strong husband who said I could do anything, and through God, I can.”
Annie eventually re-married to another man named Bob, who loved to fish as much as she did. They lived in Warsaw, Missouri, in a lakefront home on Lake of the Ozarks for 28 years. He had his own bass boat, and he got Annie an aluminum fishing boat with a bright yellow life jacket just for her. The yellow life jacket was so if he or neighbors came out looking for her (when she stayed out fishing too long), they could find her a lot easier. She still remembers the elk hunt he took her on and the beautiful Colorado Mountains.
She went fishing without him one day and caught a 13-pound hybrid bass. When she got it on the boat, she started crying. He asked her why she was crying. Through sniffles and tears, she said, “I always had this idea that if I ever caught a bass bigger than 5 or 6 pounds, God would take me home to heaven, so I am sitting here waiting to go.” Her husband said, “I guess God’s not done with you yet because you’re still here.”
After her second husband passed away, she never re-married. She moved to Blytheville, Arkansas and worked at a co-generation plant. When her dad passed away, she moved back to Springfield, Missouri, to take care of her mom. “With God, we can do anything,” says Annie. “He put us here to help one another.”
On May 11, 2011, nearby Joplin, Missouri, was hit by an F5 tornado. The town was devastated. Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris started a fundraiser to benefit the disaster victims. They held an auction, and one of the items was a fishing trip with fishing legend Jimmy Houston on a private lake at his ranch in Oklahoma. Her bid won the trip for two. She invited the husband of a friend, who was always helping her, to go along. He was as excited as Annie. They caught well over 100 bass. “Jimmy and his wife Chris are wonderful people and could not have been more hospitable,” says Annie. “It was a sweltering day, and I got a little overheated. Chris went in and got her mamma’s fishing hat and put it on my head to shade me and cool me down. Jimmy and I still text back and forth all the time.”
Like Chris Houston, Annie has a special feeling for our Native Americans. She says her Grandma Effie always said they had Cherokee blood in them, but they have never been able to find absolute proof of that. That belief has been a big part of family stories for many years. A portion of the Cherokee Trail of Tears runs through her cousin’s property near Lebanon, Missouri. She has walked in the footsteps of the Cherokee on parts of the trail. She, like me, believes that this was their land, and we stole it from them. They were not the savages; the white man was. They were trying to protect their land and families.
Annie loves her fishing and says she will go anytime, anywhere. But, NASCAR racing comes in a close second. She got the racing bug watching dirt track races near her lake home in Missouri. She was at the race track when Dale Earnhardt died in a crash. She was always a fan of Rusty Wallace because he is a Missouri boy. She has met Tony Stewart several times and also met Richard Petty. I am not sure that I have ever seen her not wearing the Martin Truex Jr. jacket he autographed for her.
She also has agape or unconditional love for her two dogs that rule her life. Sammy is a Shitzu Poodle that adopted Annie in a Walmart parking lot. Callie is a 6-year-old Bushon that was someone’s throwaway dog. Her compassion, though, is not just for her dogs. She also once took a lady into her home that was a throwaway and needed Annie. We will never know how many other people Annie has helped.
Not one to sit around unless it is by a peaceful river, Annie is not accepting growing old. In less than a year, she has walked over 3,006,000 steps enjoying nature. Like she tells people, “You have to stay active mind and body. If not, you rot. You got to enjoy what God gives you. The fresh air in the outdoors has helped keep me well.”
At one time, Annie said she had completed her bucket list with all the places she had been and things she had done. She changed her mind and decided she still wanted to go fishing in Alaska and travel to Florida to walk on a beach looking for seashells.
A few weeks ago, Annie told a few friends sitting at a table in her church that she was leaving to go to Florida the next day. She needed a few days by herself. She was going to check another thing on her bucket list and walk a certain beach on her birthday looking for seashells. One of the men at the table stood up and walked over to Annie. He told her that was the same beach his wife loved to visit. He also said to her that was where he, their kids, and grandkids had gone to leave some of her ashes. He told Annie to say hi to her while she was there. As she stood there crying, Annie told him she would. She also told him she would bring him back a sea shell from that beach.
Over the trip, one of her friends texted her several times to check on her. She had gotten there safely and enjoyed herself but was not finding any seashells. With only a half-day left before heading home, she ate lunch at a seafood restaurant. A woman came up to her, and they started talking. In their conversation, Annie told her she couldn’t find any seashells and the story of why she wanted to find one to take back home for her friend. The woman smiled and told her to go to a certain place on the beach, and she would see what she was looking for.
Annie finished her lunch and headed to where the lady had told her. She walked and walked. A little ocean kelp weed had washed up on the beach, but that was it. She still couldn’t find any seashells. She was about to give up and get ready to head back home when something caught her eye in the kelp. It was a kelp seed pod shaped like a heart. Annie picked it up and stood there crying, looking up to heaven. She talked to the man’s wife. Annie told her what a good man he was and that he and her family missed her. Then she said that she was taking this special heart-shaped seed pod back to him from her. Annie had found what she was looking for where the woman in the restaurant told her she would.
As Annie started to walk away, she looked down and saw something else in the kelp. She thought it was some kid’s ball they had lost, but it was another seed pod. To Annie, it was a sign that God wanted her to keep on rollin’ and had a lot more living to do. She got into her car and headed home.
The Sunday after getting back, she got to church and went directly to her table of friends. The man stood to welcome her. Annie tried to tell him her amazing story without crying but couldn’t. Tears flowed down her cheeks, and tears came to the man’s eyes when she told him what had happened. Then she put the heart-shaped seed pod in his hand, and he hugged her.
Those blessed to know Annie and call her a friend will tell you that Annie has a heart as big as the outdoors she loves. As the Cherokee people would say, “ageyn gvdodi equa adanvdo“ which means, “Annie is a “woman with a big heart.”
Memorial Day weekend is the beginning of the 2022 camping season!
Camping allows travelers to spend time outdoors in the fresh air and has become more popular than ever during the post-pandemic era. Some recreational vehicle dealers are having difficulty keeping RVs on their lots.
Camping is very budget-friendly too! It has allowed our family of six to afford more time vacationing than if we were to stay in motels. Our current RV is a self-contained 30-foot motor-home with a kitchen, dining area, bath, shower, living room, televisions, and a sleeping area that accommodates eight.
Choosing where to camp involves deciding on a site. Choices include state and national parks and even luxury full-service RV resorts offering various amenities. Some resorts provide a clubhouse for social gatherings, a swimming pool, hot tub, bocce ball, golf cart rentals, horseshoes, and shuffleboard.
Our experiences took us to a new RV Resort at Arcadia, FL. It just opened three years ago and is expanding with additional RV sites. An elegant clubhouse is scheduled to be finished by next winter. The clubhouse will have exercise equipment, a pool table and weekly activities such as dances, poker nights, bingo, and pool exercises. While we were on site, there was one weekend where seven campsites hosted complimentary snacks and drinks as a meet and greet social event. It was fun.
The spacious RV sites are 20 by 70 feet and paved with a brick base. The bulletin board in the on-site laundry had a sign-up sheet for additional activities, including golf, pickleball and Mexican train dominos.
During our first winter camping trip to Florida, my wife and I were surprised to discover food trailers arriving at the RV resort each week. Our initial week stay quickly turned into a one-month reservation, then led to reserving a spot for a longer time next winter.
“It looks like we’re eating out tonight,” stated Becky, a fellow camper with whom my wife Shirley made friends.
An assortment of food trailers arrived weekly, offering pizza, burritos, chicken wings, fries, filet mignon, porterhouse steaks, salmon and other fish dishes. Add other amenities, including poker nights, bingo, pool exercises, and social meeting opportunities.
Across the United States, travelers can request state campground directories. Many are free and list the locations and amenities offered. Reading through the literature during winter is a great way to prepare for the upcoming camping season. Visit https://www.rv-camping.org/campground-directory/.
As RV parks offer new amenities across the United States, roughing it has taken on a brand-new meaning!
Have you been to the grocery store lately? I went with my wife the other day and was totally shocked. Usually, I don’t pay much attention to what she spends on groceries. Since it was just the two of us, I always figured it couldn’t cost too much. The grocery cart was not anywhere near full, and it was almost $200. It would have been a lot more, but they were out of some of the things she needed.
We would have also spent even more money than we did if I had been willing to pay $14 for a small bottle of pancake syrup that I used to like when it cost $8, or $12 for a box of granola bars I always took hunting and fishing with me when they cost $7. Those are only a few examples. Meat prices had gone up more than anything. The only thing I was looking for that had not increased in price was my favorite Guatemalan coffee beans that I grind myself and enjoy every morning. They had plenty of it, so I bought a bag, and I didn’t even need it. I told my wife to buy a bag or two every time she went grocery shopping as long as the price remained the same, and before they didn’t have any of it on the shelves anymore. She is more than willing to do that because she knows how cranky I get when I don’t have my coffee.
On the way home from the grocery store, I already had my coffee, but I was cranky anyway because of our grocery shopping experience. She just rolled her eyes and humored me as I went on about Washington politicians, government waste, supposed shortages, price gouging, disruptions in the global supply chain, adverse weather, rising fuel and energy prices, and a few other things I said about certain politicians that aren’t printable. I don’t know how some families make it. I don’t know how my wife made it listening to me go on about everything all the way home. I think she was glad we didn’t have to stop and get gas because that would have really set me off.
Since there weren’t that many groceries, it didn’t take very long for me to bring them into the house. I offered to help put them up, but she declined my help and told me to go cool off for a while. Well, that’s not exactly what she said but what she did say is not printable here either. I have a feeling she won’t want me to go grocery shopping with her again. I am also betting I will never know what she spends to feed us again. That is probably a good thing.
I went to my man cave, and she was glad I did. I was glad I did, too, because I was here, surrounded by my deer, duck, pheasant, turkey and fish mounts, that a brilliant idea came to me. To save my wife and me a lot of money, I needed to go hunting and fishing more! That way, I would bring home more fish and game to put in our freezer to help offset the cost of groceries. My kind of grocery shopping would be done outdoors in nature, rather than in a building surrounded by crowds of people pushing carts around and spending too much money.
I am retired and have accumulated a vast amount of the outdoor gear I would need. I reasoned that there really wouldn’t be much cost to do this kind of grocery shopping. The only cost would be a license and tags, plus gas to get where I was going. I could even stay out several days doing grocery shopping. My wife would really like that. I could just take my tent along and camp where I didn’t have to pay a fee. That would save on gas too.
As for food, I could bring the deer jerky and summer sausage I make for snacking. I could fry up fish from the freezer or some of what I caught for my meals. Grilling a deer steak would be really good too. I could also fry up potatoes since they aren’t costly. I could even boil up a pot of my Guatemalan coffee over a campfire. Isn’t this idea sounding good?
For my grocery shopping, I should be able to tag two deer and two turkey hunting. The turkeys won’t give us much meat, but they will be good in soups or cooked in my smoker or deep fryer. The deer I would skin and process myself to save money. It would mostly be made into venison burgers since my wife likes those. I enjoy the steaks, jerky and summer sausage. I like deer heart too. She definitely will not eat that.
As for more grocery shopping, there are ducks during the open season, and I should be able to bring home plenty. Maybe I can develop a good recipe for baked duck and wild rice she would like. I forgot about dove season. I might get her to try a grilled bacon-wrapped dove. Did I mention that I have to cook all the wild game at home because my wife won’t? That’s just another reason she will like this idea.
She likes to eat fish, so she will definitely approve of grocery shopping via fishing. This is where the meat could really pile up in the freezer and save us money. If I can catch my limit of several fish species every day while shopping, can you imagine how many fish I would have in the freezer even if I make sure I don’t go over my possession limits? I can fry them, bake them, grill them, can them, and smoke them. I can also go grabbing and gigging for sucker fish. I love fried suckers, and so does my wife.
When the frogging season is open, I could go fishing during the day and get a limit of frogs at night. I love frog legs. I could even catch crawdads and boil them up. They say fried snake tastes like chicken, so I might even try that too. I don’t think I will be able to get her to try any of that. While I’m doing all my grocery shopping out there, I can also gather wild mushrooms, berries and nuts. I’m telling you, my idea of grocery shopping could really work.
In the little time I would be home and not out grocery shopping, I would care for our garden. We would also have a good supply of tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables to go along with the fish and game and everything I bring home from my grocery shopping. This idea of mine is sounding better and better. Now all I need to do is convince my wife how much money I can save us with my kind of grocery shopping. Wish me luck on that.
Olympus Digital Camera, from the late Joe Forma photo collection
By Bob Holzhei
With tick season just a few weeks away, outdoor folks – especially turkey hunters, are preparing to sit their butts down in the woods. It might be good to know about the tick prevention safety guide that has been developed by Brian Anderson, who is from Iron Mountain, MI., known as the Tick Terminator.
“The guide has been used by hundreds of safety directors, outdoor workers and enthusiasts across the country to help them learn and share new prevention ideas in the battle with ticks,” says Anderson.
A follow-up bulletin titled “The Hidden Cost of Lyme Disease” assists readers of the tick season which runs from March through November each year.
What is Lyme Disease?
“Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdolferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of black-legged ticks (deer ticks). Symptoms include headache, brain fog, chills, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, neck stiffness, achy joints, bulls-eye rash including other rashes, facial palsy, heart palpitations, dizziness, vision changes, and sensitivity to light,” stated Anderson.
If left untreated the disease can spread to joints, heart and the nervous system. It is estimated that the disease results in 300-400,000 new cases each year.
Early detection and treatment are important. If diagnosed soon enough, within a few weeks of a bite, antibiotic treatment by an MD will be sufficient to combat the disease. Allowing the disease to go untreated for months will lead to a chronic condition. Many doctors treat patients early with antibiotics to be safe. Lyme disease can take months in the body to show up positive on a test.
Where Does Lyme Disease Come From?
Ticks get Lyme disease by feeding on an infected animal, often a mouse or rodent, which is then passed on to the next host. Using good repellants and checking for tick bites during the season is advised.
The Hidden Costs of Lyme Disease
The person infected with Lyme disease enjoys a normal active life. Then suddenly overnight they become exhausted, can barely make it through a day of work, and can’t wait to get home to rest. Often folks feel it’s just a temporary bug, which will pass. Lyme disease is nicknamed, “the great imitator,” and the medical costs continue to rise.
“Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not recognize the disease, and therefore will not pay for it,” added Anderson.
Where Are Ticks Found?
Ticks are found in tall grasses and low-lying shrubs, preferring moist shaded areas. They don’t jump, fly or fall out of trees. They wait patiently to smell the odor of an animal or human walking by. They then latch on and enjoy a 2–4-day, blood meal. When temperatures rise above 32 degrees or warmer, the tick season has begun. Ticks do not die off during the winter. The small younger nymph ticks are the size of a poppy seed and are responsible for most Lyme disease cases. See the photo.
Preventing Lyme Disease
The use of Deet on the skin and Permethrin on clothes and gear was suggested by Anderson.
Tuck in your pants into the socks!
Wear light-colored pants to easily spot ticks!
Walk on well-used paths and stay away from vegetation!
Use 25-34% Deet on the skin.
Treat shoes, socks, pants, and shirts with Permethrin.
After the Bite
Quick medical attention is advised by a physician that knows about tick-borne diseases. The disease can be treated with antibiotics. Early detection and treatment are stressed!
“If you keep the ticks off of you, you won’t get bit,” concluded Anderson.
A lifelong resident of Missouri and a Small Business owner.
Public school teacher where she was Co-Director of the At-Risk Teens program, Launched the Missouri Drug-Free initiative.
Lifelong farmer elected to the United States Congress in 2011 and Reelected to Congress in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021.
Hartzler is a candidate for the Republican nomination to the US. Senate.
By David Gray
If you love to hunt, target shoot, and value the rights provided by the Second Amendment, that is – to keep and bear arms, please read more about Vicky Hartzler, the Republican party candidate for U.S. Senate, in this interview. Learn about her answers about the right to keep and bear arms. Many in the State of Missouri say that if Vicky Hartzler could join Missouri Senator Josh Hawley in the US. Senate, it would be a Missouri Dream Team for defending Second Amendment rights.
Interview with Vicky Hartzler (courtesy of ShareTheOutdoors.com)
Question:You have been called an authentic conservative. What is an authentic conservative?
Vicky Hartzler Answer: “A person that has conservative values in their heart and always acts accordingly.”
Question:Why do you want to be a Senator from the state of Missouri?
Vicky Hartzler Answer: “To serve the people of the state and fight to stop socialism so that people can pursue their dreams. Right now, that is being interfered with.”
Question: What is America’s Greatness?
Vicky Hartzler Answer: “Our values of faith, family and freedom.”
Question: You have been a Congressional Representative from the 4th District in Missouri. Is a Senator a “representative” or a “free thinker” elected to do whatever they want? What is your position on that?
Vicky Hartzler Answer: “A Senator is still a public servant. The only thing that will change for me as a Senator is that I will represent the entire state.“
Question:Our Second Amendment says, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not beinfringed.” Is there any infringement of the second amendment you would consider supporting?
Vicky Hartzler Answer: “NO. In fact, we see in other countries that when their (citizen) gun rights are infringed, their other rights soon get infringed.”
Question:When I say the word America what is in your heart and immediately comes to mind?
Vicky Hartzler Answer: “Pride, gratefulness, the experience of freedom, and to make the most of our opportunities.”
Question:When I say the word Missouri what comes to mind?
Vicky Hartzler Answer: “Love of Missouri, farms, small towns, industries and cities on each end that are good places.”
Question.What is your favorite Outdoor Activity?
Vicky Hartzler Answer: It used to be grabbing the fishing rod and going to the pond. Now it’s a walk in the woods on our farm. It’s so peaceful and pleasant activity.
Question: The Missouri Department of Conservation is the envy of all other states as the model for excellence in conservation management. The Missouri Conservation Department is overseen by a citizen’s commission. Almost every year a small group of state legislators introduces a bill to strip away the citizen’s control of the Conservation Department and place it the control of state government. Of course, this is a state issue and not one that would come before the United States Senate, but as an individual Missourian, what are your thoughts on that?
Vicky Hartzler Answer: Missouri does have the best conservation model that works in the best interests of all the citizens. It is the conservation model that is the envy of many other states and should not be changed.
After the SharetheOutdoors.com interview, the following endorsement for Vicky Hartzell from Missouri Senator Josh Hawley was announced.
Endorsement from Josh Hawley Senator Missouri.
“For almost a year I’ve been asked who I intend to vote for in the [Missouri Senate] Primary this August. Well, I’ve made up my mind. I’ll be supporting Vicky Hartzell. Vicky has the integrity, the heart, and the toughness to represent Missouri. I can’t wait to work with her.”
Vicky Hartzler Career Information
A lifelong resident of Missouri.
Small business owner
Public school teacher where she was Co-Director of the At-Risk Teens program
Launched the Missouri Drug-Free initiative
Elected to the United States Congress in 2011
Reelected to Congress in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021.
Catching fish is a lot about knowing how….there’s one source to check in the future if you are heading to Florida: Darcizzle Offshore TV.
Keeping and eating your catch requires training and a sharp knife: Check out the Darcizzle fillet knife from Smith Products in Arkansas.
Keeping the blade sharp is no easy task, until now. See about the “2-Step Tool” in the story.
By Forrest Fisher
Fish on! The Pompano are running! The Sheepshead are biting! Anglers everywhere share a common goal to catch fish when the fishing is hot. Putting fish on the line is pure passion for so many, me too. Except I did not know a thing about catching Pompano or Sheepshead. I’m new to Florida. When you need to learn, I do what everyone does today, I check YouTube.
Scanning the YouTube channel for “How-To-Catch,” you can type in pompano or sheepshead, or anything else. I hit the brakes when I watched a bright-eyed young lady in a bikini screaming “Fish On!” As she reeled in the surf of the Atlantic Ocean near Miami, another rod went off that was set in a beach rod holder. Excitement! 2-hook line sets, snag-wire weights, dropper loop knots, Fish-Bite baits, all were there. Great show. Her TV show is called Darcizzle Offshore and features Darcie Arahill and her boyfriend mentor, Brian, nicknamed Puddin’. They visit a variety of waterways using a multitude of tactics that always end up in their kitchen. Watching the videos allows the viewer to learn from top to bottom, start to finish. Of course, before the kitchen, there is a clean-the-fish job that needs to be completed. The next show featured sheepshead. Learning in the modern world can be simple.
With each show, Darcie demonstrates how to clean the catch. The eye-stopper for me on this recent show was the EASE with which she cleaned their recently caught sheepshead. The tasty sheepshead is no easy task to fillet. They offer tough, heavy scales and a structural, thick-boned rib cage. Darcie provides easy-to-watch videos that simplify the process. While she did not mention the name of the fillet knives she was using, it aired at the end of the show. I watched for it. Identified as the Darcizzle 6-inch and 8-inch curved-flex fillet knife, the knives come from Smith Consumer Products in Arkansas, USA. After Darcie quickly transformed the half-dozen tough-skinned sheepshead into delectable fillets, they moved to the kitchen at their house where Puddin’ shared how-to cooking secrets for the meal that followed.
There is nothing like a great knife that holds its edge. Every fisherman I know is always looking for another “best knife.” So, I had to do it. Did I need another knife? NO. But…yes, I got online and found the Darcizzle knife products at https://smithsproducts.com/knives-9. In a moment, an invisible force pushed my mouse pointer to “BUY.”
The 2-Step Tool: A few pages later, I also found the 2-Step Diamond Adjustable Knife Sharpener that features two diamond rods and two ceramic rods with 3-preset sharpening angles of 15, 20, and 25 degrees. The first time I have ever seen this idea. This is an uncommon kitchen gadget innovation in my eyes, and it fits in a pants pocket. Just switch the tab to match the factory angle on your knife blade, and achieve a razor-sharp edge in no time. Three or four strokes through the carbide sharpening slots will restore the edge on a very dull knife in seconds. Follow that with two or three strokes on the other side of the stone, where the matched angle ceramic rods provide a quick-touchup finish of the knife edge.
After having used the Smith Product Darcizzle knives for about 5 weeks now, the edge retention is great, they are corrosion resistant in saltwater use (3Cr13 Stainless!), the non-slip ergo-friendly handles keep you safe, and the slip-on sheath that has a locking sheath (it never falls off until you take it off) that allows this sharp tool to stay within easy reach when kept in your kitchen drawer.
Once or twice a day, my wife says, “Where’s my Darcizzle knife!?” OK, so I borrow it every now and then. The point is when my better half for the last 53 years likes a new knife that much, there is something special about it.
I learned more about catching Pompano and Sheepshead, cleaning each of these species, a surprising new knife product and how to keep it sharp – all in an hour or two of flipping through the Darcizzle Offshore Fishing channel on YouTube…and my wife loves me more.
Hard to lose with all that going on. Just saying…you might wanna try one of these new blades.
Summer or Winter, there is one place to add to your Bucket List!
In Winter, the Switzerland Alpines can be found in Gaylord, Michigan – snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and river rafting peace and quiet
In Summer, relax and unwind with camping, hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, surf-boarding, wake-boarding…the list is long!
All year round, enjoy the forests, fields, the peace of sinkhole lakes, rivers and creeks – all offer adventure and opportunity
By Larry Whiteley
Are you thinking you would like to go somewhere this year where you can get away from all the politics, COVID and the division that’s going on in America? Do you want to go to a place where you can really enjoy all the great outdoors has to offer and not have to worry about any of that other stuff? No matter what season of the year you want to go, I have just the place for you.
When you get there you will feel like you are in an alpine village in Switzerland, but instead, you will be in the small town of Gaylord located in beautiful Northern Lower Michigan. Gaylord and the surrounding Otsego county area is an outdoor lover’s paradise. You can just relax and unwind from all that’s going on in the world or you can choose to enjoy a plethora of outdoor adventures.
If it’s water you seek for your adventure, Otsego County has over 90 inland lakes and the headwaters to five major rivers start here. The sinkhole lakes in the Pigeon River Country State Forest is also something you have to experience to believe. If you’re a fisherman, this is truly paradise. You can catch tiger Muskie, northern pike, walleye, yellow perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, rainbow trout, brown trout and brook trout just about any season of the year. Choose from open water, hard water or flowing water. Otsego Lake, the county’s largest lake, offers the opportunity to try and catch huge sturgeon which can grow to over 7-feet long and weigh up to 200-pounds. During winter Otsego Lake is known for its great ice fishing.
Depending on the season you can also enjoy canoeing, kayaking, boating, wakeboarding, wake surfing, water skiing, tubing, swimming or just relaxing on a sandy beach. There are plenty of rental places for whatever fun you want to try and several sporting goods stores where you can purchase your fishing license or anything else you might want for any season.
If hiking or biking is your passion there are 282 miles of trails in and around Gaylord for any age or skill level. The trails wind through meadows, along lakes and streams, and they climb the hills. When you get to the end of the trail, your reward is the view of the valley below. If you come to Gaylord in the spring, wild birds will be singing their songs, trees will be leafing out, and the mating song of peeper frogs fill the air. You’ll see butterflies fluttering around the wildflowers that include Trillium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Bloodroot, Marsh Marigolds, and many others are everywhere. Bring an empty sack with you just in case you find some delicious Morel mushrooms during your journey. You and your family might also be thrilled to see a baby rabbit, a young black bear or a newborn fawn.
The Gaylord area is also known for its enjoyably mild summers, so now you know it’s not too hot to be on one of those many trails in the area. Sunsets and sunrises are magical during this time of year. If you visit during the fall season, you will never forget it. This area is known as one of the best places in America to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage. A kaleidoscope of colors awaits you. Brilliant displays of red, orange and yellow are everywhere and if you are on the trails or on the water, these are among great places to enjoy the view. It’s also a fun time to visit the local farmer’s markets and pumpkin farms.
Come during the winter season and truly experience a winter wonderland. The trails now become fantastic for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Snowmobiling is also a popular wintertime activity. If you come during the winter season you have to try rafting on the scenic Sturgeon River. It’s another adventure you do not want to miss. Your whole family would also love taking a sleigh ride. You can also enjoy downhill skiing, snowboarding and tubing at either Otsego Resort or Treetops Resort. Both also offer golf in the other seasons on renowned championship golf courses. There are 17 other golf courses in the county making it a mecca for golfers. If you enjoy camping there are lots of places to pitch a tent or park your RV. There’s also plenty of cabins, resorts, hotels, motels and even a dude ranch to choose from.
There are plenty of things to do between all your outdoor adventures. Gaylord has that small-town charm but still offers plenty of dining and shopping opportunities. While you’re shopping, be sure and purchase some of their famous and delicious chocolate-covered potato chips to take home with you. There’s also another trail you might like and it is right in Gaylord. It’s the Craft Tap and Beer trail leading to craft and micro-breweries throughout the town for your tasting pleasure. Don’t miss taking a trip to the city park to see the elk herd that the city takes care of for locals and visitors’ enjoyment. The Call of the Wild Museum is also a great place to visit. To really appreciate any place you travel to across America it makes it even more special if you know the history of the area so I also suggest you visit the Otsego County Historical Society.
If I have painted a good enough picture with my words to get you thinking you might just like to travel to Gaylord and Otsego County, then I encourage you to get on your computer and visit https://www.gaylordmichigan.net/. Watch the videos, enjoy the pictures, and read about all there is to see and do. My hope is you will pick a season and go experience this beautiful part of America. I am willing to bet you will love it so much you will return again to sample another season and then another season and then another season. Gaylord, Michigan, and Otsego County will stay with you forever in your memories. It is an outdoor paradise for all seasons.
Larry Whiteley to be inducted into Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
Conservationist & Outdoor Journalist, U.S. Navy Veteran.
Host of the Great Ozark Outdoors from 1976 to the present.
Public Relations Manager for Bass Pro Shops for 23 years.
By Dave Barus
You might say that Larry Whiteley is a common and uncommon, outdoors Christian man. You would be correct, but there is so much more. He shares his life with others in a special way. With listening, honest caring and effective suggestions.
Larry Whiteley is a 1964 graduate of Nixa High School. A military veteran during our country’s time of need, he served in the U.S. Navy. Whiteley has hosted an outdoor broadcast show through The Great Ozarks Outdoors, Inc., his family corporation, since 1976. That includes 30 years for the award-winning Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Radio, carried by more than 1,200 radio stations – including those as part of the American Armed Forces Radio Network.
He also was the Corporate Public Relations Manager for Bass Pro Shops for 23 years. Additionally, his voice was the one carried over every Bass Pro Shops store in America, as it welcomed customers, noted the latest sale and gave outdoor tips. He also was a crucial part of conservation and kid’s outdoor education programs.
To date, Whiteley has voiced more than 18,000 radio shows and written more than 5,000 articles communicating the great outdoors to people worldwide. He still writes for newspapers and magazines, including Hook & Barrel, Outdoor Guide, Show Me, CrappieNOW, ShareTheOutdoors.com, and Missouri Conservation Federation.
Whiteley, a winner of numerous awards through several outdoors associations, also is an inductee of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Through all this activity, Larry Whiteley, the gifted communicator that is everyone’s friend, has remained a humble man at every turn. Never looking for credit at any time, Larry is always encouraging others to step in and get going. With an ear-to-ear grin, he is a human spark plug for inspiring others.
Missouri Sports Hall of Fame CEO & Executive Director Jerald Andrews unveiled the Class of 2022 in early December. The inductees will be honored on Sunday, February 6 at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. A reception presented by Reliable Toyota will begin at 4 p.m. that day, with the evening program to follow at 5 p.m. Associate sponsors are Advertising Plus, Bryan Properties, Great Southern Bank, Hiland Dairy Foods and Hillyard, Inc.
Hats off, and hearty congratulations to Larry Whiteley!
Paddletail jigs with a wiggle and wobble catch fish in Placida Harbor.
Fishing Islands and Embayments in Southwest Florida
Speckled Trout, Snook and Snapper…Catching Fish
Topwater Plugs, Paddletail jigs and Lightweight Fishing Rods
By Forrest Fisher
The morning radar was threatening possible rainstorms when my phone beeped. It was my friend Marty Poli, a retired master tradesman from New Jersey. “Hey Forrest, it’s a go! Just bring a rain jacket, we might get wet, but I’m in for at least a half-day if you’re good with the chance of getting a little wet.” It was still dark outside as I pulled back the curtains. It was a bit before sunrise. I answered, “Of course I’m in, let’s go!” My heart rate went up a bit. It’s always exciting to know you’re going fishing to a place where you might catch a 10-inch fish on one cast and a 30-pound fish on the next cast. Saltwater fishing is exciting!
I hurried through the shower and thought about what to put in the backpack, then grabbed two inshore fishing rods, a small cooler with bottled water, and I was out the door. As I reached the truck, I glanced up to see stars everywhere. The sunrise glow from the east had just started. Wondered who was running that weather radar station. It was a beautiful morning.
The Placida Harbor boat launch at Gasparilla Sound was deserted. Other fisher folks must have been watching that same radar. The sun was clearly above the horizon now, and the orange cast across the water was simply incredible. I parked my truck and walked to the ramp to wait for Marty. A few minutes later, he was there. A 15-year old youngster hopped out of the truck too, “Good morning, sir!” Marty jumped in to share in the greeting. “This is Phillip Sokolov, a great young fisherman neighbor from the Chicago area. He is visiting his family folks down here. This kid is someone that might just show us up today, my friend.” We grinned and laughed. Everyone was beaming with the morning sunshine glow. In about 2-minutes, we were off.
Marty knows Placida Harbor and Bull Bay islands area very well. He headed for a fishing area that catches a cross-current with the tide flow while watching the wind direction. The wave action and current mix create undulating bumps between the sandgrass and oyster beds in the sand bottom. Devilfish Key was just a short rock throw away. As the wind came up from the south, large bait schools of pilchards swimming near the surface became noticeable. Their surface riffles highlighted their location. You know what they say, find the bait, and you find the Fish. The cormorants and feeding predator fish helped us to find the exact area to fish.
Marty started out by tossing a Zara Spook saltwater version near one side of the bait riffles. It didn’t go 5-feet when something attacked from beneath. “Fish on!” Marty yelped. “Feels like a good one.” A moment later, Phillip hollered, “Fish on! I think it’s a trout.” Marty answered, “I don’t know what mine is, but it’s huge.” Phillip landed his Fish, a nice 16-inch speckled trout. Just then, Marty grimaced a bit, “Ugh, he’s gone. He tossed my hook. Darn!” Things got even better in the next 45 minutes as we caught 12-15 fish on assorted lures. Surface lures, spoons and plastic-tailed jigs. Color didn’t seem to matter.
We moved to Bull Bay next, inside Cayo Pelau, in 3 to 8 feet of water. We could see emerging seagrass and mudflats too. An excellent area of the bay structure that everyone looked for to find Fish. There were bait schools hereto. Marty used his electric bow motor to keep in position, then dropped his Talon pole anchor to hold on a good spot. Before we were set, Phillip had hooked and landed two trout. The kid was hot. Using a turquois-colored St. Croix Avid Inshore model fishing rod, a Daiwa Saltist Back Bay 30-series fishing reel with 15-pound Power-Pro braid and a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader, Phillip was catching 3-fish to each one that Marty or I had hooked up. “OK, so what’s the secret Phil? Is it a special bait your tossing?” Phil grinned, “Nope, it’s just a light line and leader with a 1/8 oz chartreuse-colored lead head.” I looked at it and mentioned that I couldn’t tell what color the head was. “Well, it had a color when I started!” He grinned. “I just thread a Z-man flapper tail with gold flecks in it – but it needs to be perfectly centered, and then cast it out and jiggle it once in a while as I reel it in. You know. I give it some action. They just seem to be wrecking it! I’ve used this lure before, and it has always worked. My uncle told me about it.”
Phil’s excitement and energy level were contagious. He is a meticulous angler for a youngster, tied good knots and didn’t mind sharing his fishing prowess with others. That makes him humble and unique in my book, especially during this day and age. Together, we might have brought about 75 fish to the boat in this morning of fishing fun. Phile probably hooked up with about 50 of those. With Speckled trout back on the keeper list again, Phil took home a meal for his family.
As we headed back into the boat harbor at Placida, our conversations covered everything from the weather to fishing gear to lunchtime just ahead. We had caught snook, trout, grouper, ladyfish, redfish, blowfish, lizard fish and other species. In the middle of our angler talk, Phillip stood up and asked Marty if it was OK to cast a line as we approached the bay with the boat ramps. The kid had eyes on the Mangrove overgrowth on the shoreline. “There are no boats around, so sure, Phil, looks OK,” Marty said. Phil hooked and landed a nice snook on the first cast, then another and even one more before Marty returned with the trailer. He returned all the snook unharmed.
Some fishing days are just exceptional! This was one of those that reminds us that good fishing is always about friends and fun. Catching Fish adds to the fun, and we had lots of THAT fun on this short fishing day. Tight lines, everyone.
Although they may look the same, “resident” Canada geese are those that breed in the United States and southern Canada, unlike “Atlantic Population” (or “AP”) Canada geese, their relatives that breed in northern Canada and migrate through New York. Typically, resident geese produce more young per pair and survive at a higher rate than AP geese. As the resident goose population has grown, season lengths and bag limits have been liberalized and hunters have successfully stabilized the population.
The September season is an important opportunity for New York hunters, as AP goose seasons have been restricted to 30 days and a one-bird bag in most areas to protect this more vulnerable population. For more information on the differences between resident and AP geese, visit DEC’s website.
Cut wire, mono, braid easily…and will cut off hook shanks when required
High-Quality – priced under $45
Today’s fishermen are gearheads, no doubt about it. There are a myriad of specific rods, reels, lures, terminal tackle, and accessories to help them be successful in freshwater and saltwater, no matter the targeted species. Regardless, there are three tools all anglers should always have – pliers, scissors, and a hook remover. The Anglers’ Best Tool Kit conveniently combines all three, each of the highest quality designed to last a lifetime. All for under $45.
The scissors are razor sharp, with a non-slip handle and are perfect for trimming everything from line tag ends to jig skirts and more. The needle nose pliers are designed as a multi-purpose tool, ideal for everything from crimping to removing lure hooks of all sizes. To accommodate the different types of lines, the pliers are crafted with a special place to cut braided line. A non-slip handle provides a perfect grip at all times. The hook remover in this kit is an oft-overlooked tool that not only makes hook removal quick, safe, and simple, it also helps you remove the hook from fish without hurting the fish itself. It creates less wound and increases the chance of the fish survival rate in water almost significantly. Thus, a fishing hook removal tool helps you to save fish and enjoy the fun of angling at the same time. The Anglers’ Best Tool Kit is sold individually, suggested retail price – $44.99.
Best of all, every tool in the Anglers Best Tool Kit is designed to fit in the Lazy Joe, Anglers’ Best’s patented-designed tackle box and accessory holder that fits around your boat seat pedestal. It keeps your baits and accessories within reach without having to leave your seat or trolling motor. It saves valuable deck space and rotates around the pedestal for easy access to all your tools and accessories.
Tool storage is easy. The Lazy Joe pedestal tool and accessory holder comes standard with three Bait Boxes. Suggested retail price is $149.99. The weather resistant, angled body keeps the Lazy Joe out of your way while keeping your tools and accessories within reach.
For more information, visit www.anglersbest.com.About Anglers’ Best: Headquartered in Danville, Ala., Anglers’ Best is a designer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art fishing accessories. For additional information on Anglers’ Best write to: Anglers’ Best, 8237 Danville Road, Danville, AL 35619; Call: (833) BAS-SNET or visit www.anglersbest.com.
Mulligans can offer new and better opportunity for the next time.
Mulligans are do overs, but why not do the good things over too!
Keep the grins and giggles nearby, God wants us to share those too.
By Larry Whiteley
Simply put, a mulligan is a “do-over” in the game of golf. Hit a bad shot? Take a mulligan and replay that stroke. Drop a ball on the spot from which you just played, and replay the shot. The bad shot is not counted. Our son Kelly loved to play miniature golf when he was younger. We still laugh when we talk about all the mulligans he wanted to take during a round of miniature golf with the family.
Don’t we wish we could take a mulligan for all the bad things that have happened in our lives? Don’t we wish we could replay things? Don’t we wish we could have a “do-over”? I would like to go back and take a mulligan on several things that have happened in my life. You can probably say the same.
I remember a fishing trip when my line broke on the biggest bass I had ever seen. It had to be at least a state record. I knew my line was getting old. I knew I needed to put fresh line on but didn’t – Mulligan!
Then there was the time I got into my deer stand, reached into my pack to get my bow release, and it wasn’t there. I knew I should have double-checked. I then had to sit there and watch three bucks bigger than anything I had ever taken with gun or bow walk right under my stand – Mulligan!
In a time long ago before digital cameras and smartphones, I was on a camping trip and the beautiful northern lights were dancing across the sky. I reached for my camera and started taking pictures of this beautiful sight. You guessed it. There was no film in the camera – Mulligan!
I would also like to take a mulligan for times I was too “busy” and my kids wanted to go fishing, or my wife wanted to go hiking or on a trip. Oh, believe me, there are many other things I have done that I would like to take a mulligan on. I am just thankful I have a God that forgives me for the mistakes I have made. The hardest part is forgiving myself. All we can do is try to live the rest of our life, so we don’t want or need to take a mulligan.
Believe it or not, there is a national holiday every year on October 17th called Mulligan Day. But, don’t wait until then. Mulligan Day can be any day. Whether it is a former relationship with a friend or loved one, an old hobby that you abandoned, or a past mistake that needs rectifying – you can take a mulligan.
Everyone deserves to have a second chance in life, right? And that is what mulligans are all about. If you don’t succeed at first, try and try again! After all, we aren’t perfect. There has only been one perfect man. We are going to make mistakes. We should not feel bad about doing something wrong. We should see it as an opportunity to learn and do it better the next time.
Aren’t second chances and sometimes even third chances good for everyone? Although we always want to do things correctly right away, immediate success is not always possible. In fact, it is very rare. We should embrace our human faults. Don’t simply admit failure and give up. Instead, take a deep breath, think about where you went wrong, learn from it, and try it again.
Mulligans help us to be more confident and accepting of ourselves. We can also use them to encourage other people too. When you see someone failing at something or struggling to get it right, give them encouragement, and offer them advice if they would like some. Imagine how much better a place the world would be if we all had this sort of attitude and helped others achieve their goals!
Take a mulligan and give yourself another chance to do something the right way that previously went wrong. After all, mulligans are about second chances and doing something again. Hey, God gives us mulligans all the time if we just ask Him.
You can also use mulligans as an opportunity to learn some new skills. Whether playing an instrument or learning to fish, use it as the catalyst to help you try out something new. You shouldn’t have any fear of failing or needing to do something, again and again, to get it right. After all, the struggle makes the achievement even more enjoyable at the end, and it is definitely better to try than not give it any sort of effort at all, right?
Here’s a great idea! If mulligans are “do-overs” for bad things that happened, why can’t we have “do-overs” for good things that happened in our lives? Deer camp with friends or family – Mulligan! A trip my wife and I made to Glacier National Park – Mulligan! Going fishing with my grandkids – Mulligan! Deer and turkey hunting with my son’s and grandkids – Mulligan! Time alone around a campfire – Mulligan! The list goes on.
Sometimes life gives you a second chance, or even two. Not always, but sometimes. It’s what you do with those second chances, those “do-overs,” that count – Mulligan!
Partition by color, size, lure type – store up to 90 spoons or 50 crankbaits, or any combination
By Forrest Fisher
Ever ask yourself, what’s essential in a tackle box? Most fishermen don’t think about it. Most go to the store, search available inventory, then pick out what might work to carry their selection of lures. Anglers usually do not look for separation and organization, and easy access. Now they can get all that in one tackle box. Imagine a tackle box with lure separation, easy one-look fast access, and keeps lures dry even when it’s raining, or the waves are crashing over the sidewall? Not many boxes can do all that. When visiting the Niagara Falls Outdoor Show last year, I found a new tackle box aptly named “The SpoonCrank Box.” This durable box will organize all your lures with room for 50 crankbaits or 90 spoons, or any combination of these two quantities – or more if you double up on some spaces.
The box consolidates the usual wasted tackle box air space of many other tackle boxes with divider separation and wet-protection capability. Nobody needs rusty hooks. Water cannot get into this box with the rubber seal around the inner top cover. Walleye anglers use assorted stickbaits with lots of treble hooks. Bass anglers, too, use lots of crankbaits with multiple treble hooks. They’re all sticky sharp and can catch fingers or other lures easily. The separation dividers provide isolation from travel vibrations that can wear out a shiny lure finish. Spoons big and small, a favorite lure selection for salmon and trout trollers, are aptly and safely stored for easy access in this same box.
Done fishing? Close the cover; the lures are safe and ready for next time – tangle-free. That’s not all. The box’s top lid provides a hidden compartment for pliers, snippers, clippers, fluorocarbon leader reels, snap clamps, and various personal preference gear. In using the box for a while now, I also discovered one other option.
If I remove some of the vertical separation panels, there is enough space to add two or three small compartment boxes (jig heads, split shot, hooks, etc., and a fishing reel or two. Yep, still all in one package. Of course, I’ve got way too many lures to do that. The box was designed to safely provide lure transportation, protection and access for the focused angler. There is no other box that can safely carry and protect 90 lures in an
organized, easy-to-find and easy-to-remove fashion. The box is high quality, durable, handsome in outdoor marine green color, fully functional, and affordable. The SpoonCrank Box helped to make me, a sometimes messy angler, appear quite organized and systematic.
While I am not usually that way, I have been trying to that my whole life! Worried about security? The box is lockable. You could chain it to your trunk or the boat deck if that was needed. The box is available in two sizes. Visit www.spooncrankbox.com to review size options or to order one.
The bottom line is that you can be a more effective and successful angler when you can find the lure and color pattern you are looking for when you need it. No wasted time.
Get out fishing with a new organized focus! I like this box.
Remington, America’s iconic ammunition manufacturer, recently released a video giving shooters and hunters an update on the company’s Arkansas manufacturing plant. Following the company’s recent “Where’s the Ammo” video, Remington Ammunition President Jason Vanderbrink is back to give another update on Big Green’s increasing output.
In the video, Vanderbrink reaffirms the company’s commitment to quality, safety, and increasing production while showing where Remington ammo has recently been found on-shelf across the country
“Our team knows we’ve got work to do.” said Vanderbrink. “We’re continuing to hire local manufacturing jobs, continuing to produce ammo 24/7, and continuing to revitalize Big Green as more ammo goes out the door daily.”
Interested shooters, hunters and reloaders are encouraged to follow Remington on YouTube for future updates.
To be the first to hear about product availability, exciting new products and everything Remington ammo, visitors to www.remington.com are encouraged to sign up for Remington’s e-newsletter or follow Remington on social media.
Joe Bragg, operator of Thump 30 fishing guide service, scouted Milford Lake for spawning crappie.
By David M. Zumbaugh, images by Jon Blumb
A generous offer for a guided May crappie fishing trip on a premier reservoir in Kansas buoyed my spirits after the restraining misery of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being a long-time member of the Outdoor Communicators of Kansas (OCK) has its privileges! The weather predicted for the weekend was invitingly mild, but was to be accompanied by the classic, relentless, gusting south wind. I packed an assortment of outdoor and camping gear and headed west to Milford Lake, the largest in Kansas, impounding 16,000 acres.
The first stop was an enlightening tour of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Milford Lake Fish Hatchery. Pioneering work on the propagation of striped bass, developed here, has been shared with other USA hatcheries to enhance the stocking of many lakes throughout the country, according to hatchery manager Daric Schneidwind.
Daric Schneidewind, Manager of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism’s Milford Fish Hatchery, answered questions from members of the Outdoor Communicators of Kansas.
A tour of the Milford Fish Hatchery was given to the Outdoor Communicators of Kansas by Daric Schneidewind, Manager.
Walleye and other popular sport fishes are grown and distributed from this facility to aquatic impoundments. When they mature to keeper size, they put smiles of delight on many a Kansan face.
For supper, the OCK conference group was invited to an old-fashioned fish fry at Grandpa Boone’s Cabin (www.lakemilford.com) in Milford, Kansas. Ironically, the lake was named after this city, which had to be moved to a new location as the lake was created by damning the Republican River in 1967. Brad Roether is the proprietor of Grandpa Boone’s and the nearby Milford Tropics (a great place for a “cold one”) and the Mayor of Milford too!
It was rewarding to get reacquainted with OCK pals, meet new members, and interface with Michele Stimatze from the Geary County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Mike Miller, Assistant Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, received a special award for his contributions to the Outdoor Communicators of Kansas.
After a scrumptious meal, our group gathered at Acorns Resort for more camaraderie and a “Bottled in Bond” bourbon tasting session.
While no one over imbibed, I doubt anyone can remember the favored rankings of selected spirits. This resort features cabins of various capacities, an RV park, yurts, boat rentals, The Cove Bar & Grill, and even an events center. A popular place for outdoor recreationists throughout the year for sure.
I arrived at my comfortable Army Corps property campsite at a reasonable hour, only to be disturbed by some happy campers until the wee hours. Unfortunate, as entrepreneur Roether promised to put me on a longbeard at an early hour the following day. He did not disappoint me. With clear eyes and intent mission, I stealthily conspired to slay a gobbler. For temptation, I placed my hen decoy in a newly planted field.
Soon, two curious Toms espied the imposter and had a contest to see which could puff up the most disgraceful display of feathery testosterone; but the pageantry occurred just out of range. Unluckily, three white-tailed deer browsing for breakfast interrupted the ambush by wheezing and snorting, warning my quarry to safer quarters in the creek bottom. When hope for a turkey dinner faded, I dejectedly trudged out of the woods for a 9 AM rendezvous with Joe Bragg of Thump30 Guide Service (www.thump30.com) to pursue his specialty, crappies.
Photographer Jon Blumb and I were welcomed aboard Joe’s well-fitted, very comfortable boat and prepared to angle for speckled treasure. We did not have to wait long. Joe put us on fish almost immediately, and the bite was intense and frequent. With Buck’s graphite poles rigged with Z-Man jigs, the fish couldn’t resist. In just a few hours, we had enough fish in the cooler to keep us busy at the fillet table, a few whoppers exceeding two pounds.
Other OCK conference attendees were successful landing species Milford is renowned for, including smallmouth bass, walleye, and blue catfish. May is a prime time for hitting Kansas lakes, with both bank fishing and on-the-water opportunities plentiful.
KDWP&T publishes a Fishing Atlas, providing access locations throughout the state, presenting bountiful opportunities regardless of your skill level or favorite fishy preferences. A search of the KDWP&T website will identify kids fishing clinics, always a novel way to introduce youth to the outdoors.
Kansas in spring is a wonderland. Hiking and biking trails abound, along with other popular outdoor pursuits. Paddle sports (kayaks and paddle boards) are gaining momentum with rentals available at various locations, including Council Grove Marina.
Mushroom hunting in eastern Kansas can be outrageously good. May is a key month for bird migration, and all habitat types are represented, from deciduous forests and marshes to arid grasslands.
More than 450 species have been confirmed in Kansas. Did I mention wild turkeys? While fishing at Milford, bald eagles were competing with us, noisily complaining about our success.
So, get outside and take a field trip to the Sunflower State soon.
Dakin Dairy Farms is a sustainable farm with a focus on Made-In-America business for many years to come.
See and learn where milk comes from, cow to bottle, then taste the real deal.
Enjoy breakfast or lunch at the Farm Kitchen and store.
Kids can play in the 5-acre picnic area and dig for shark teeth there.
Sunny days in Florida offer a chance for new wild adventure, especially now with alligator mating season in progress (you might find them under your car any day of the week). My better half and I like excitement, but this time we took to a short and peaceful sort of adventure road trip to Myakka City in Manatee County, Florida. Arriving there we discovered Dakin Dairy Farms – a sustainable family dairy farm of about 1,200 acres. It’s a place where kids can learn learn where milk comes from, how milk travels from the cow to the bottle, and then taste the difference of truly fresh milk from Dakin.
They process and sell their own milk and cheese products, and offer tours to the public (re-starting in Oct-2021). In their Farm Market Store, you may purchase delicious cheeses, milk, and butter. The Farm Market Café is open year round and serves delicious meals that are sure to leave you feeling happy.
At their farm site, visitors can find a 5-acre family picnic area/petting zoo with tables, baby cows (more than 30 baby cows are born each month!), goats (2 baby goats were born on Valentine’s Day), and a not-so-big earth hill where kids can dig for ancient shark teeth. Everyone is looking to find a Megalodon tooth, the biggest of fossilized shark teeth from whale-eating sharks that roamed the seas about 10-20 million years ago.
The best part? Their kitchen nook! A lengthy breakfast and lunch menu at really affordable prices for VERY generous portions. We tested some of the items out for taste – try their Reuben Sandwich, it was delicious!
We met the general manager, Courtney, who explained the operation of the farm, their large number of cows and other farm animals, their roadway dirt -fill provision capability for county highway crews, and the function of the kitchen, gift shop and children’s picnic area. We then met the chef and storekeeper, Russell, who explained some of his cooking secrets not to be shared in this venue, but you could stop in there and see for yourself.
It was a very relaxing morning! Their delicious products are carried in Publix, Detweiler’s and many other south Florida area stores. Learn more about Dakin Dairy Farms when you visit this Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/DakinDairyFarm.
Lightweight Snake Boots that eliminate sweat! Irish Setter Boots.
Not many folks think about snake boots for hunting with sweat and scent control, but if you hunt or live in areas where the heat index soars to above 110 degrees, you really do need to consider this primary element for a successful hunting experience.
On this note, I found the MudTrek snake boots from Irish Setter to accomplish scent and sweat control for your feet while staying protected from venomous eastern diamondback rattlesnakes and cottonmouth water snakes that we have in Southwest Florida.
The Irish Setter TempSens technology helps regulate the temperature within the boot to maintain constant foot comfort. The system reacts, so moisture is hyper-wicked away from the foot in hot conditions, allowing for evaporative cooling. This helps keep feet cooler, drier and comfortable. In colder conditions, the system also pulls moisture from the skin but traps it to create a thermal barrier that helps maintain a constant, comfortable temperature inside the boot. Warm or cold, the ScentBan™ antimicrobial scent control helps eliminates odors within the boot. I found all-day underfoot comfort with these “safety boots” and excellent traction in slick or tough-walking terrain. The self-cleaning lugs help remove mud and dirt with every step. The vulcanized rubber upper design makes them waterproof and durable.
Also important, these snake boots are light, and they offer a traditional, roomier full fit with a wider leg and ankle openings. And, there is a convenient side zipper for easy on/off. I need that (I have big feet!). They are 17-inches high and are vulcanized rubber in a brown color boot design that features foot and lower leg comfort with resistance to fangs and thorns. These elements make the Irish Setter SnakeGuard boots the essential comfort tool for hunters and hikers in snake country. They cost about $230; visit www.irishsetterboots.com to learn more.
Logan now has countless new reasons to think fondly of his home water after claiming the tournament title here on Championship Monday. The 26-year-old from Springville, only a 30-mile drive from the Gadsden City Boat Docks, caught a four-day total of 20 bass weighing 57 pounds, 9 ounces. He capped the competition with a 14-1 limit Monday, the third-heaviest of the day.
Logan earned $100,000 for the win, his first in 26 B.A.S.S. events.
The second-year Elite Series angler charged into the lead on Day 3 with a 16-15 bag that tied for the heaviest of the tournament. That made him the last man to weigh in Monday and the only one with a chance to knock Connecticut pro Paul Mueller from the hot seat.
Logan peeked silently at the scale while his bass were weighed. When his winning total flashed on screen, he let out a victorious yell and pumped his right fist over his head. Then he hugged Mueller and hoisted his first blue trophy for his home-based fans to see.
“I started tournament fishing with my dad when I was 5,” Logan said. “We’d come here, Logan Martin and Weiss … I went into practice trying to not put pressure on myself. I wanted to fish like I’d never seen the place before. I wanted to figure out a pattern.”
Having an open mind, even on water he knows so well, was critical this week. Neely Henry was a difficult read for most of the 98 anglers who started the tournament on Friday, postponed by a day because of heavy rains earlier in the week. The storms sent the water table rising and shot sediment throughout the lake. The Elites scrambled to find stable water, many relying on junk fishing to see which lures and techniques produced the best bites.
A trio of lures worked best for Logan — a 5/8-ounce Dirty Jigs Matt Herren flipping jig (black/blue skirt) with a Zoom Big Salty sapphire blue Chunk; a Dirty Jigs No Jack swim jig with a Zoom Super Speed Craw trailer; and a frog, which he used to fill his Day 3 limit.
Logan started the tournament strongly, putting 14-1 on the board Friday, good enough for ninth place. He caught 12-8 on Day 2, climbing to eighth and surviving the cut to 48. He made his move on Day 3 with the 16-5 haul, pointing to a pair of unusual catches as the turning point.
“I caught two bass under a bridge right by the Gadsden City Boat Docks on a crankbait,” he said “I’m not a crankbait fisherman. It was about 11:30, and I only had two keepers at the time. But I caught a 2 1/2 there, and then two casts later, I caught a 5 1/4. I only got one more bite that day.
“When you get that kind of bite when you’re not supposed to, that let me know I had a chance to win. Stuff like that just doesn’t happen all the time.”
Logan didn’t divulge specifics on the crankbait, other than to say it’s specially painted, similar to a black/chartreuse combo.
“I keep that one in my hand around here,” he said. “It’s a confidence thing.”
Logan planned to fish down-lake from the start, but low water in that area made him choose otherwise. Each of the 20 bass he weighed was caught between Cove Creek and Minnesota Bend — both only a 10-minute run from the Gadsden City Boat Docks.
Mueller, meanwhile, went straight for the lower end of Neely Henry and found success. He seized the lead after Day 2 and was in second place going into Day 4, trailing Logan by just more than a pound. Mueller caught the heaviest bass of the tournament Monday, a 6-6 largemouth, but his 13-13 closing weight wasn’t enough to overtake Logan.
“My pattern went away today and I knew that would be the deal,” Mueller said. “I had to fish new water. I was able to catch some fish, and I had a good day. I’m glad at the way this turned out. As short as the morning bite was, I could have been sitting in sixth or seventh right now.”
Mueller caught his best bass, including the 6-6, on a Deps Evoke 2.0 squarebill crankbait (chartreuse/brown back). He earned an additional $2,000 for having the Phoenix Boats Big Bass on Day 4 and overall.
Alabama native Gerald Swindle caught the second-heaviest bag on Day 4 (a 15-0 limit) and finished third with 54-2 overall.
Mueller took home an additional $3,000 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, and fourth-place finisher Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., earned $2,000 for being the second-highest placing entrant.
As part of the Yamaha Power Pay program, Logan earned $4,000 for winning while Christie claimed an additional $1,500 for being the second-highest placing entrant.
Minnesota pro Seth Feider finished 12th in the derby and didn’t qualify for Championship Monday, but he still left Gadsden with a commanding lead in the Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. His season total of 525 points gives him a 41-point cushion over Patrick Walters of Summerville, S.C., (484) with three tournaments remaining.
2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Bass Pro Shops, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Rapala
2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Conservation Partner: AFTCO
About B.A.S.S. – B.A.S.S., which encompasses the Bassmaster tournament leagues, events and media platforms, 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 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), TV show, radio show, 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, Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk
Shark Teeth Anyone?! Ancient fossils that share a story of evolution.
Take a good cooler for food and beverages – protect yourself and friends from dehydration.
Gear includes a 15” x 24” gravel sifter, shovel and shark tooth collection jar.
Wear sneakers or beach shoes, pack a cell phone, emergency toilet paper, venom-extraction kit – and tell someone where you will be for the day.
By Forrest Fisher
Ever take a river-bound shark tooth hunting trip? It’s a treasure hunt adventure, but unlike any other hike you might ever take. Why? Because it’s a challenging hike – over logs, through cattails and swamp grass, through slimy mud, it’s a swim, and it’s a dig. It’s a sweaty workout, but it’s authentic deep south fun!
There is something to be said for trusting one day of your life in sweltering Florida sunshine with a heat index of 109F, crossing a river with too much gear in hand, only to discover one special, sweet surprise. The beverages and food are ice cream cold in the cooler, and you learn that your GRIZZLY cooler is so durable and dry that you can drag it in the water – or use it as a float to take you safely downstream! It has an elastomeric seal to seal the exterior from the interior in a groove around the cover. Nothing outside gets in (including river water), and the cool ice stays inside, mostly un-melted, as we discovered.
When I ordered the Grizzly 15, I looked for something not too big, but large enough to hold supplies stable and chilled for a one or two-day trip for two people, and light enough when fully loaded to be an easy carry. The Grizzly 15 is the perfect answer. At 12-pounds unloaded, it is lightweight and yet has a rugged, padded, adjustable shoulder strap that is actually comfortable. The rubber-like latches assure compartment integrity, and I found that the cover will not unsnap if you drop the cooler along the way on rocks or anything else. I liked that since I dropped the cooler about three times on our slippery hike through swamps and down the Peace River in Southwest Florida. We went in search of ancient fossilized shark teeth treasure.
The worst part of the trip was discovering my wide-rimmed shovel weighed more than the cooler. The best part of the trip was finding out that the cooler would float high and dry when fully loaded for a day-long adventure. It made walking down the river easy! In bright orange color, it was also a potential life-saving color beacon. So on our short trip to this never-never land of Florida jungle with critters among us (a few snakes and gators), we found lunchtime security with our Grizzly.
As we made our way in and out, we carried two gravel sifters, two shovels, a dry bag with our wallets, cell phones, a sidearm, a backpack, our cooler, shark teeth collection jars, a venom extraction kit, sunscreen, emergency toilet paper, a knife/plier tool, and we each had a Florida fossil collection permit from the Florida Program of Vertebrate Paleontology. Visit www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/vertpaleo/home or call 353-273-1821 to obtain such a permit ($5 fee).
We collected over 1,500 shark teeth during our one-day trip. The teeth gods looked were favorable upon us! Finding where to dig for teeth involves walking the river and searching out the bottom with your feet for an area that offers a sand-gravel mix. A few shovel scoops and a quick sift will reveal if we should spend more or less time at that spot. It’s fun, it’s a workout, and it’s always an adventure. Tim Snyder is an expert at shark tooth hunting; he runs a business entitled Shark Art by Clark. You can find him on eBay or Etsy with prices so low that it amazes me (about $5 for 30 teeth, which can include a shark tooth necklace!). Snyder says, “All of my teeth for sale are real fossilized shark teeth. They mostly come from the Miocene Epoch (5 million to about 25 million years ago), and orders can include teeth from Hammerhead, Lemon, Tiger, Whaler sharks. Whaler sharks include Bull, Reef, Dusky, Black Tip and Whitetip sharks. Whaler shark teeth are difficult to identify as their teeth are very similar, but most people just call them Bull shark teeth. They’re all pretty cool looking.”
Better yet, the cooler is made in the USA, and if it ever does break, it carries a lifetime warranty.
We thought that was pretty cool, too. Find them online at www.grizzlycoolers.com. We had filled it with six water bottles, four beers, two sandwiches, and two bags of chips—no dehydration or starvation in the day plan.
We also carry a Sawyer Extractor Kit in the event we need it for a bee sting, wasp encounter, snake bite, spider bite, or the rest.
The kits are small in size, affordable (around $15), and can be used with one hand; no razor blade is needed.
Red Grouper fun in Southwest Florida. Rod, reels, rigs and how.
Fish: Red Grouper, Lane Snapper, Vermillion Snapper….30+ miles out
Rig: 200# test braid, 80# fluoro leader, 10-oz slip-sinker, 9/0 Gamakatsu Circle Hook
Bait: live shrimp, live sand perch, frozen squid, frozen ballyhoo
By Forrest Fisher
The hi-energy growl of the 400 Hp Mercury Verado coming out of the hole is a beautiful sound. As we departed the Placida boat launch, Nick Weaver brought the flared high-bow of his 26-ft Caymas (boat) up to plane quickly. We were soon skipping along at a humble 25 miles per hour in Lemon Bay and then made the turn west as we slid past Little Gasparilla Island into the Gulf of Mexico.
It was a relatively calm day. The open seas forecast of one to three feet looked good as Nick moved the throttle forward and kicked the boat into high speed. I looked over to fishing partner, Marty Poli; he had a broad smile on his face as we both reversed our hats, rims to the rear. The boat came to cruising speed as Nick set the Raymarine electronics to autopilot for the destination 36 miles out: the Bayronto shipwreck. After surviving a U-boat torpedo attack in 1917, the 400-foot-long Bayronto ship went down during a hurricane while traveling to Tampa in 1918. In our modern times, more than 100 years later, the fuselage has become a fish-attracting magnet for anglers (and divers) that make the offshore trip. Forage and predators abound! Nick still had to consider the gently rolling swells that were about 200-feet apart on this calm day, so he slowed the boat down to 35 mph. Even at that, it didn’t take long to get there.
We all talked on the way out. Nick shared rig details, gear options and what we had for bait selections. Then he offered the fish plan to identify our goals. We were going to first focus on the wreck for yellowtail snapper, after that, the bottom-feeding, reef-dwelling, red grouper. If time allowed, we would then target amberjack after that. We all grinned a bit as he said,” Why not? We have the whole day!”
The plan was to stop short of the wreck to catch live sand perch, known locally as squirrel fish, for bait. In 88 feet of water, Nick deployed the MinnKota Ulterra, and we zeroed in on the bottom for a bait school. Hitting anchor lock, the boat stopped and stabilized, maintaining our location. We delved into the bait well, where there was 18-dozen beautiful live shrimp (TNT Bait & Tackle, El Jobean, FL). Cutting the shrimp in half, we used lighter Penn rods equipped with open-face Penn Fiarce II 5000 series reels, 65# braid, 35# fluoro leader, 3 oz hot-pink hog ball (Captain Chappy).
After we caught some bait, along with some vermillion snapper, lane snapper, and other species like blowfish and remora, we moved onto the wreck. It was time to the Penn Battle II 6000 series rod and reel, 80# braid, 40# fluoro, 6 oz slip-sinker, 3/0 Gamakatsu circle hook (Fish’n Frank’s Bait and Tackle, Port Charlotte, FL).
On the first drop, I had removed the shell from half-a-tail of shrimp – an old friend told me that the fish will eat that no-shell shrimp bait faster – from pure scent attraction. It hit bottom in short order. Not 5-seconds later, I held the rod in my hand when the rod tip dipped swiftly into the water from a vicious strike. I yelled, “Fish on!” The reel drag was pretty tight but was screaming. The fish was swimming so fast, going away in the opposite direction. It was a throbbing, bobbing action on the rod tip. My hands were wet from the shrimp and I was worried about the rod slipping away. I gripped the rod tighter as this fish was massive in strength. Nick hollered, “You got a big mangrove snapper! There might be amberjack here, you might have one of those.” A few moments later, the line snapped, my fish was gone. My heart was beating so fast! “Ugh,” I groaned. “I lost it.” Nick said, “Reel in Forrest, let’s see what she did.” The brand new Spectra braided line was sheared and was ragged at the breakpoint where the fish had apparently headed for the safety of the wreck on the bottom. “Whatever you had, it was huge,” Nick added.” We’ve got lots more hooks and sinkers, tie one on.” This was going to be a fun fishing day!
We moved from that spot to stop at three different places before finding what Nick called “live bottom.:
Here we discovered a rock-hard bottom (w/coral-like caves) surrounded by bottom growth all around the spot, and, of course, this was home for a large school of red grouper and various multiple snapper species.
We switched fishing rigs to level-wind Penn Fathom II line-counter reels (FTHII30LWLC) with matching Penn Carnage II rods (Fish’n Frank’s Bait & Tackle, Port Charlotte, FL). Our connection to the fish was not fragile. The reels were filled with 200# test braid, with a 10-ounce slip-sinker to a 200# swivel, then a 5-foot long 80# Yozuri fluorocarbon leader, all terminating to a 9/0 Gamakatsu circle hook. Nice rig. So powerful. We would discover that this rod-reel rig was such a powerful workhorse set up as we hooked and landed more than 50 fish in the next 3 hours.
The target fish (red grouper) were big, were plentiful, and the best part, they were hungry. It didn’t take long before we ran out of our live bait perch, but Nick’s emergency backup planning paid off with his last-second find of frozen ballyhoo (10-12 inches) at the bait shop. These worked as good as our diminished supply of live sand perch.
We each kept our fish limits, and thanks to Nick’s knowledge and investment in an air bladder venting tool (www.oherofishing.com) and a descending device called a SeaQualizer (https://seaqualizer.com/product/seaqualizer-descending-device/), we also safely released everything else to live another day. With the fish we kept, Nick provided colored plastic tie-wraps to identify whose fish was theirs and make it easy to remove the harvested fish from the fish well – it saves the fingertips. Saltwater fish have big sharp teeth.
The venting tool allows the angler to simply expel the fish’s air bladder so it can swim back to the bottom. The SeaQualizer is equipped with a jaw clamp that connects to the fish and allows the fish to be securely descended and safely released at a predetermined depth of 50, 100 or 150 feet using a secondary fishing line rig with a heavyweight. All that without venting the air bladder. Conservation at its finest!
As the sea winds began to change direction and kick up a bit, we decided to stow the Ulterra and head home for a fun time of fish-cleaning. We had a healthy supply of fish to fillet. Nothing can replace the fun (and sweat) of reeling in these hard-fighting red grouper. Our legal grouper limits of fish ran from 23 to 27 inches in size and were quite heavy.
The grouper fillet slabs were about two-inches thick, and my wife suggested we slice them in half to make grouper sandwiches. We vacuum-packed the slab harvest of grouper and snapper to keep them unspoiled for future delicacy meals.
The moral of this story is simple: Use adequate gear (rods/reels/line/MinnKota Ulterra) without disturbing the bottom.
After you locate a “live-bottom,” maybe the most challenging part of the fishing plan, enjoy the catching! Once you find such a spot, save the GPS location to your electronic memory. Tried and true deep holes are usually repeatable all year long. Some of the best spots are rocky, snag-filled and rough in structure content. Use new leaders and replace them often. Remember that fluorocarbon leaders are much more durable than braided line. Don’t believe that? Ask Josh Olive, charter captain and publisher of the weekly Sun-News Waterline Newspaper Magazine (https://www.yoursun.com/coastal/boatingandfishing/), to demonstrate. I was surprised too. We never stop learning.
Visit the brand new Fish’n Franks location (4425-D Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL, 33980, 941-625-3888, https://fishinfranks.com/) for advice and gear. Don’t forget to carry a sharp knife, pair of needle-nose pliers, hook-remover, sunscreen, sunglasses, a wide-brim hat and lots of bottled water. Dehydration is common on offshore trips.
One last note, Marty and I never stop learning from Nick Weaver. The deep waters we fished were probably never fished by anyone else ever before. Imagine that?! Nick has a passion for healthy water, healthy people, working hard, sharing knowledge and natural resource conservation. Let’s all never stop fighting for clean water. Might be good to start that all of us learn about and understand more about the outflow of Lake Okeechobee, maybe put it back to the way nature wanted it. The Everglades depend on it. There’s so much more to know. Visit Captains for Clean Water, please: https://captainsforcleanwater.org/. We gotta save and restore our ecosystems.
Photo by the Late Joe Forma, a life-long supporter of wildlife conservation.
Ducks Unlimited and the University of Florida work together for conservation at the DeLuca Preserve
Land donated to the University of Florida by Elisabeth Deluca
Thanks to the tremendous generosity of Elisabeth DeLuca, more than 27,000 acres of iconic Florida prairie and wetlands habitat have been permanently protected through a unique partnership between Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the University of Florida.
The land was donated to the University of Florida by Elisabeth Deluca, and a conservation easement was set up through DU’s land trust – Wetlands America Trust. The easement will protect important wildlife habitat and natural values on the property in perpetuity.
“This Kissimmee Prairie landscape is in the Everglades headwaters, yet at the edge of central Florida’s tourism and development core and is now a permanently protected piece of the conservation puzzle,” said DU CEO Adam Putnam. “For generations to come, students and researchers will make new discoveries alongside migrating waterfowl, endangered red cockaded woodpeckers and grasshopper sparrows on this massive outdoor laboratory. Future ranchers, water-fowlers, nature lovers and wildlife scientists will be able to apply what they’ve read in textbooks to what they’re observing on the landscape, thanks to Elisabeth DeLuca. This partnership between the University of Florida and Ducks Unlimited benefits waterfowl, wildlife and millions of Floridians who value clean water and the protection of the natural landscape.”
This property will continue to be grazed using sustainable methods, thereby protecting its grasslands, one of the most threatened ecosystems in the country. Rates of grassland conversion in the U.S. have continued at a rapid pace, with a significant portion lost to non-agricultural uses.
“Elisabeth DeLuca’s generous contribution of such a significant property is a gift to all Floridians and really, to people everywhere,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “The preservation of this land and what it will enable our scholars to learn, teach and achieve will reverberate around the globe.”
Through a multi-faceted partnership, DU and the University of Florida will utilize the property for education, outdoor engagement and working-lands conservation, including the training of future generations of natural resource and agriculture professionals in a living laboratory. The easement serves as a perfect launching pad for Ducks Unlimited’s expanding conservation programs in Florida. While this is the first conservation easement held by DU and WAT in Florida, DU has conserved more than 33,000 acres in the state through other programs. This easement is also the largest in the history of Ducks Unlimited.
“Located between a global tourism destination, with the Turnpike as a boundary, the DeLuca Preserve is an epic win for conservation, and an international model for research, education and outreach,” Putnam said.
This property, along with other state and federal lands, comprise 250,000 acres of protected areas of the Northern Everglades Headwaters which is an important ecosystem for wildlife corridors, watershed protection, flood mitigation and endangered species habitat. Livestock grazing is a highly compatible and economically important management strategy on this landscape.
The Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund provided critical funding via the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida to help endow Ducks Unlimited’s permanent conservation easement and other costs associated with this once-a-generation gift of land.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Ducks Unlimited and the University of Florida to help conserve this outstanding habitat, which will serve as a national model showcasing how wildlife management, water conservation and ranching can thrive together,” said Bob Ziehmer, Senior Director of Conservation at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. “We are grateful to our customers who, by rounding up purchases in our stores and online to the Outdoor Fund, directly support key conservation projects like this.”
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved almost 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.
Sanibel Island sandbar Pompano. Shelley Crant Photo
The tide flow is key for picking WHEN to fish.
The place WHERE to fish can change from day-to-day. Newly formed sandbars and emerging weed flats hold both – baitfish and predators.
Fish often hold to the current boundaries- FIND them, find the feeding fish
By Forrest Fisher
There is nothing so fun as going fishing with friends when the fish are biting! When chilling inshore winter waters begin to transition to their annual warming trend in spring, coastal species of many saltwater varieties take note. On the incoming tide, it’s feeding time!
Fishing near Sanibel Island and Fort Myers, a slow boat ride at low tide with polarized sunglasses will often reveal newly-formed grass flats and sandbars. Holding hotspots for baitfish and predator species know that. The island and beach areas are constantly changing with winter wind and the related current flow changes. As March begins, new grass is growing on the flats, and that draws even more baitfish.
We were rigged with lightweight jigs targeting Pompano on this day. Add a 7-ft medium-action spinning rod, 30-series open-face reel filled with 15-20 pound braid, and a short 3-ft length of 30-pound fluorocarbon leader – we were set for inshore fishing magic of any sort. The new YoZuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon leader has proven it is tough and abrasion resistant, and it’s essentially invisible to the fish.
With the Sanibel Lighthouse in the near distance, our drift started in just 2-feet of water. We were within casting distance of small slots and caverned hollows in the sand where the water looked about 3-5 feet deep. The water was crystal clear.
Dan dropped the bow motor down and kept the boat angled. All four of us would have a primetime chance to cast alongside the depth break line and into the swift current edge occurring with the onrushing tide. We could hear beachgoers enjoying the clear water and warm sand in the far distance.
Shelley took the first cast, and before the lure went 5-feet, she smiled and said, there’s a fish! Using a ¼ ounce silly jig with a little sparkle fly that Dan had added to the rig, we all watched as the rod bend seemed to dance to the music from the beach. A minute later, Shelley was smiling with an ear-to-ear grin as she brought aboard a 2-foot long Ladyfish. “Oops, guess they’re here too! They’re fun to catch!” She unhooked and released the fish that many consider an excellent baitfish for other saltwater species.
A minute or two later, Dan hooked a beautiful speckled trout of about 25-inches. We were releasing all the fish today, except for Pompano, the one legal species we had planned to keep for the day.
In the next hour, among the four of us, including my better half, Rose, we had caught 18 fish among five species, but no Pompano yet. A local expert, Dan whispered in his ever-humble voice that we might have to move out just a bit, but not too far – a few hundred yards or so, to find the Pomp’s. Finding a similar bottom area with subtle drop-offs that went from 4 to 7 feet along several sandbars, we started a new drift. In the next hour working that area, we caught another 20 fish. Among these were Spanish Mackerel, Jack Crevalle, Speckled Trout, Lizardfish, two different species of Blowfish, and, yes, Pompano.
Dan was casting a ½ ounce chartreuse color jig, Rose was using a 3/8 ounce in solid pink, Shelley was tossing a ¼ ounce in pink/white, I had a two-tone chartreuse/white jig in the 3/8 ounce size. We all caught fish. Rose said, “I’ve never seen so many fish caught in such a short time! This is fun,” and grinning while she added a new whining joke-tone, “But now I’m getting sore arms.” We all laughed. Shelley said, “That means this has been a great trip!” Dan said, “Well, it’s almost noon, about time to head back. Is everybody up for one more pass?” Indeed, we were.
Shelley’s pink/white jig was the hot bait for the day, including for the Pompano. Her finesse method allowed the lure to sink slowly to the bottom of the deeper edge areas, then flipping her rod quickly upright about 1-foot or so, in vertical jig motion, then reeling in a few feet of line to let the jig drop again and repeating the action all the way to the boat.
The lightweight braid allowed for long-distance casting, and the heavy-duty leader allowed for surprising durability as we caught fish after fish. It was a blast!
Inland waterway charter fishing trips are not expensive here in Lee County, Florida. We had used lightweight lures, fishing specifically for the sight-feeding Pompano. Still, we had also caught so many other species – that is a testament to the clean waters found here. On one drift, we were treated to watch surface-feeding Tarpon – that happened on two separate occasions with two different fish. It was amazing. Such big fish! Then on another pass, a 10-foot long Manatee came in, swimming right under and alongside the boat in the shallow water we were fishing. That was another thrill!
Fishing, sunshine, clear-clean water, giant Tarpon, Manatee, beach sounds of fun in the distance. Sound good? It was! If you’re looking for a place to stay, a guide to fish with, or a pristine beach to visit for the fun of finding the treasure of seashells and fossilized shark teeth, check this link: https://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/order-travelers-guide, or call toll-free, 1-800-237-6444. Ask for their free guidebook. The pictures in it are amazing.
Fishing for Saltwater Gamefish near Fort Myers, Florida, in the Winter.
The conjunction of natural creeks and man-made canals in the Fort Myers saltwater canal system are where big fish can hide.
Circle Hooks allow for easy presentation of live forage bait and quick release of gamefish.
After you hook a few trees, then catch a few fish, the positive state-of-mind begins to form for the next fish. The fun begins!
By Forrest Fisher
Within the bustling livelihood of Fort Myers in Lee County, Florida, the Caloosahatchee River and its many tributaries form a network of lush vegetation and age-old mangroves within the fertile canal systems found here.
The eddy currents formed at the conjunction of natural creeks and man-made canals often allow the tidal flow to create deep pockets where big fish can hide. The constant tide reversal and related current changes beckon to schools of forage stocks to find relative safety among the mangrove roots, with the occasional live oak tree acting as a mangrove bundle anchor. The big fish in the area know the forage is among the roots, as snook, redfish, speckled trout, tarpon, and other species often spend feeding time here. There is magic to be found in this silent and peaceful water flow system.
For the fish, it’s breakfast and dinner with a menu. For the anglers that can learn the secrets of tidal flow profile, consistent fish-catching adventures await them.
A decades-long Floridian, humble Rich Perez shared with me that he is new to saltwater fishing, but with a confident voice, added that he is learning more from savvy fishing friends each day he can make it to water. A busy family man, when time allows, he explores new fishing areas and generally reverts to time-tested live bait methods. Using Circle Hooks to present wriggling live shrimp or live forage minnow bait, such as pinfish, he knows it’s easy to verify that a spot may or may not hold fish with live bait. With the minnow bait, he carefully threads the Circle Hook through the hard-nose area to keep the bait alive and in the free-swimming state. Perez says,” I’ve learned that this is the ultimate live bait meal method to use for roaming gamefish, sometimes, really big gamefish.” He catches fish often.
First, though, besides learning to be a perceptive fisherman, he is a hard-worker. He believes that good fishermen should catch their own live bait. They don’t go the easy way and just buy it. So he has practiced hard and learned to throw a 12-ft cast net. Of course, succeeding in this native art form of bait-catching is not painless. It takes time to practice, with a skill developed over time. He’s been doing it for 3 years now and is tossing near-perfect circles to 15 feet from the boat. He admits that he visits the local live bait supply shops on some days with his busy work schedules.
“With a full baitwell, you can ensure your bait is fresh and enjoy perfect live bait presentations no matter where you explore new areas. I like to invite friends and family out fishing too, so I try to make sure the baitwell is well-stocked. It’s not always easy to find the forage, but eventually, with some patience, you do find ’em. I look for diving birds or surface ruffles to find the forage schools, that’s the easy way.”
With a 7-ft semi-stiff fishing rod, medium power, Perez uses Penn 40-series open-face fishing reels loaded with 20-pound braid and a 2-ft long/30-pound fluoro leader tied to a 2/0 or 3/0 Circle Hook. He doesn’t lose fish, day or night. “The hardest part for most newbies like me is casting precision. You really gotta get the bait right alongside the edge of the mangroves, especially during daytime. The fish are usually there with an incoming tide current,” Perez adds.
Perez continues, “Sometimes we catch yearlings, other times we catch old fish, big fish, all with this simple, uncomplicated live bait system. We release all the gamefish to live another day. It’s great fun and even more fun to watch my dad or friends land a nice fish…or catch a big mangrove treetop. We laugh a lot. We joke about who caught the biggest tree for the day. With the fish, we take a quick picture and watch the fish swim back home. It’s a good feeling.”
Over the day, Perez shared that good fishing is really a matter of gaining enough confidence to make that perfect cast every time. After you hook a few trees and then catch a few fish, the positive state-of-mind fun begins to form for the next fish, even the next trip.”
I could not agree more that good fishing is a state of mind. When it happens to you, it’s a sure thing that the next trip is not too far away.
This Fort Myers area is home to a fleet of charter captains and fishing guides that share their skills in the nearshore waters and far offshore. To discover more about the outdoor adventure and pristine beaches found here, or to just rest for a few nights between fishing fun, you can request a free guidebook from the visitor’s bureau online at https://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/order-travelers-guide, or call toll-free, 1-800-237-6444.
There’s more than fishing too. During March, near Fort Myers and Sanibel Island’s Beaches, the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins are back for spring training and competition in the Grapefruit League. I love baseball! The Lee County Visitor Bureau also has a free mobile savings passport for locals and visitors with access to exclusive deals on attractions, restaurants, and experiences here. Sign up at https://explore.fortmyers-sanibel.com. The passport will be delivered to your mobile phone via text. Redeem it on your mobile phone at participating businesses. Pretty cool.
Birds, squirrels, deer, mice and more…all tell a story of their journey.
The coffee tastes especially good on snowy mornings…a good time to share quiet time.
By Larry Whiteley
In the quietness of the early morning, he sat staring out the window at icicles hanging from the roof. The same white scene greeted his eyes as it had for several weeks now. He got up and went to the kitchen to pour another cup of coffee. The outside thermometer showed the temperature was in the single digits again as it had been for many mornings lately. At least it wasn’t windy and causing below zero wind chills.
He loves watching shows like “Alaska…The Last Frontier”, “Mountain Men,” “Life Below Zero,” and others. But this was southern Missouri, for goodness sakes. What happened to global warming?
As he stood there looking out the kitchen window, sipping his coffee and staring at the cold, he watched birds coming into the feeders. The woodpeckers pecked at the frozen suet cakes. That’s no problem for a woodpecker. Other birds pecked around anywhere they could find a seed. They needed the food to warm their little bodies. Among the birds were more bluebirds than the man had ever seen at one time. Usually, he didn’t see them until spring, when they were ready to start nesting.
Suddenly all the birds scattered as a red-tailed hawk dove into the snow, trying to catch breakfast. He missed and flew away, probably thinking that catching a mouse would be easier. A friend had recently sent him a picture of a woodpecker frozen to a tree and another of a bluebird a friend of his had found frozen, but managed to nurse back to life. Winter is hard on those that have to live out in it every day.
The birds soon returned, and he made a mental note to put more bird feed out. He went back to his office. Most days in the past few weeks had been cloudy, dreary, and depressing. But, this day the sun was shining and the snow sparkled like millions of tiny diamonds scattered on top of it. His smartphone made a turkey sound, and he picked it up to see several pictures of some special kids from church playing in the snow. They all had big smiles on their faces. He and his wife had gifted them with their grandkids sleds several years ago, but there had never been enough snow to get out and have fun on them. Along with the pictures was a text from their Dad that said, “They love it!!!!” and the man smiled.
He and his wife had been watching out the windows lately at their little neighbor, buddy Hudson, out playing in the snow with Mom, Dad, and friends. Hudson also had one of their grandkid’s old sleds. He too was enjoying it, and so will his sister Lilly when she gets big enough. Adults were having as much fun as the kids. The man smiled again, thinking about it.
He looked out the window once more. In past days it had looked cold, cloudy and uninviting. With the sun shining and after watching the birds and thinking about the kids having so much fun, the snow suddenly seemed beautiful and inviting to him. He took his final sip of coffee, got up from his chair and started putting lots of clothes on. He figured if the Kilcher family from his favorite TV show could do it, and if those kids could get out in this kind of weather and have so much fun, he could get out and enjoy it too. After going through a pandemic during this past year, nothing seemed that hard anymore, anyway. He knew that this wouldn’t stop him from being out there in a treestand if it was deer season. He had even gone crappie fishing in this kind of weather. Besides, he had read somewhere that getting outside is good for your body and soul no matter what kind of weather.
A turkey sound went off again and he picked up his phone to read a text from a friend. Knowing that he loved watching Alaska TV shows so much, the friend had sent him a story about a lady in Alaska who went to the outhouse. When she sat down on the hole, a bear bit her on the butt. When her husband heard the screams and came running, a very stinky black bear came out from under the outhouse and ran off into the woods. Her husband successfully treated her wounds, and they will now have quite a story to tell their kids and grandkids. She probably won’t be showing her scars though.
Since the man didn’t have an outhouse and black bears should still be hibernating, he chuckled and finished putting his clothes on. After putting another log on the fire, he ventured out into this winter wonderland. The first thing he did was feed the birds and put out a little water for them since everything was frozen. He then started a fire in his fire pit, so he could warm up if he got too cold. Then, he reached in his pocket for his smartphone, clicked on the camera and started walking through the snow.
He was amazed at all the tracks he saw. There were many bird tracks around the feeders as well as tracks and a body print of a hawk who missed. Rabbit tracks led into the tall bushy grass and also under a storage building. Squirrel tracks could be seen in the snow clinging to the sides of trees, then across the snow to another tree and another. Near their tracks were holes where they were looking for acorns. The tiny tracks were probably field mice. Deer tracks were on the hill behind the house near where the garden is in the spring. Dog or coyote tracks were there also. Raccoon tracks were on the dirt road behind. Tracks of little kids and sled tracks were nearby.
As he walked down the plowed driveway to the front of his house, he noticed something strange in the front yard. There were places with tracks and some disturbed snow, but no tracks leading to or from them. Was it a mouse or a mole? Did a red-tailed hawk finally get a meal or two? Maybe it was aliens! The mystery may never be known.
He kept walking around, taking lots of beautiful pictures of the snow and the sun glittering off the icicles. He saw even more squirrel, rabbit, and deer tracks. The snow tracks were proof to him just how many wildlife critters also call this place home. You just never know what you will discover when you get outdoors away from the television and other electronics that steal so much of our time every day.
May some of the tracks you find in the snow be your own.
Education, Biology, Legislation, Recruitment included in the new plan.
Karlin Dawson named as Deer Outreach Specialist to Work with Missouri Conservation (MDC)
Special focus on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and Field-to-Fork Programs
During July 2020, the National Deer Alliance and the Quality Deer Management Association joined forces to merge their two groups, combine the strengths, resources and core initiatives to better serve deer and hunters more effectively when the need is greatest. Then in November 2020, they announced their new group name: the National Deer Association. They are a non-profit group and beyond a name and a logo, they also assembled a unified team, created a new strategic plan, and announced a Board of Directors.
The National Deer ASSOCIATION is planning to focus on four critical areas: (1) education and outreach, (2) recruitment, retention and reactivation, (3) policy and advocacy, (4) deer diseases. Teaching the non-hunting public about the keystone position of deer in all wildlife conservation (success or failure) will be among new goals. Similarly, the new group will empower hunters to be more informed, and hence, more successful and engaged stewards of deer and wildlife, including mentoring young hunters. Deer diseases, including the invariably fatal chronic wasting disease (CWD), present a severe threat to all deer species’ future and related wildlife conservation/health. Wildlife policy and legislation are part of that new goal, at the same time bringing hunters, the non-hunting public, and wildlife managers together with a common education and realization theme. The new group includes memberships across all 50 states and Canada.
The National Deer Association (NDA) is pleased to announce that Karlin Dawson has joined the organization as a Deer Outreach Specialist in northern Missouri. A Missouri native and lifelong deer hunter, Karlin comes to NDA from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), where she served as the naturalist for the Runge Conservation Nature Center.
“I am honored and excited to be joining such a wonderful organization,” said Karlin. “I cannot wait to continue my work in conservation and supporting our natural resources.”
As a Deer Outreach Specialist, Karlin will assist MDC staff with the facilitation of the state’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMA). Among mission objectives will be to provide guidance to landowners and deer hunters conducting deer population surveys and other data collection efforts, host local habitat management training, work with private landowners to establish and support Wildlife Management Cooperatives, coordinate and assist with chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling training, and organize hunter recruitment and mentoring initiative – like NDA’s Field to Fork program, in northern Missouri. She will also serve Missourians by helping promote numerous private land assistance programs alongside MDC staff.
Karlin’s duties will include helping increase NDA awareness by recruiting new members and publicizing NDA’s national programs and conservation partner programs.
“I am excited to have Karlin join the NDA staff,” said Matt Ross, NDA’s Director of Conservation. “Her past experience working as a public educator and naturalist for the state of Missouri, her enthusiasm for wildlife and the sustenance it provides, and her general knowledge and passion for the outdoors make her a perfect fit for this position.”
Karlin received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Westminster College, where her study emphasis was in conservation, ecology and field research. In addition to her recent position as a naturalist with MDC, Karlin worked as an assistant manager and whitetail guide at Safari Unlimited LLC, a Missouri-based commercial outfitting business specializing in worldwide hunting and fishing adventure travel and offers a free-range deer and turkey hunting service in the Show-Me state. She is a certified Hunter Education instructor, a certified CWD sampling technician and has substantial experience in virtual and interpretive conservation programming, including a unique content series about wild edibles, game recipes, and cooking.
Landowners and deer hunters in northern Missouri who want to learn more about DMAP, deer management, or with interest in establishing a Wildlife Cooperative can contact Karlin at email@example.com.
Special Thanks to Brian Grossman and the NDA for details regarding Karlin Dawson.
Demands that Congress ban the modern sporting rifle (MSR).
Call to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a law passed with wide bipartisan support.
Reality of crime is that more murders are committed with knives, fists and clubs than all rifles combined.
With a reminder note from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in Newtown, CT – the anniversary of the tragic and senseless murders in Parkland, FL, three years ago remind us why the firearm industry is committed to Real Solutions. Safer Communities®. The loss of innocent lives because of the unthinkable acts of a criminal defies explanation but deserves our efforts to try to prevent them from occurring again.
President Joe Biden’s call for his gun control agenda is not working to address the shared American goal of reducing criminal misuse of firearms. His demand that Congress ban the modern sporting rifle (MSR), which he knowingly mislabels an “assault rifle” and “weapon of war,” denies the reality that more murders are committed with knives, fists and clubs than all rifles combined. Over 20 million MSRs are in circulation today, used daily for lawful purposes.
President Biden’s call to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a law passed with wide bipartisan support, panders to the radical base of his party. Rolling it back would be akin to allowing activist lawyers to sue Ford for the wrongful deaths caused by drunk drivers.
The criminal responsible for the horrors thrust on Parkland, and the nation, must be held accountable for his crimes. Anything less is a whitewash of the failures of local, state and federal authorities to act on any of the 45 instances of warnings, tips and police responses prior to his final terrible crimes.
The firearm industry has been willing to take on this hard work. It has not waited. The firearm industry provides Real Solutions, including partnerships with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and local law enforcement to include:
Partnering with 15,000 law enforcement agencies to distribute 40 million firearm safety kits, including locking devices, for safe firearm storage through Project ChildSafe®.
Fixing the FBI’s background check system by changing the law in 16 states and in Congress to increase reporting of disqualifying adjudicated mental health records, resulting in a 266 percent increase.
Partnering with the ATF to prevent illegal firearm straw purchases and warning it is a crime punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Improving security at firearm retailers, with ATF, to deter criminals from stealing firearms.
Matching ATF reward offers up to $5,000 to bring criminals to justice that steal firearms.
Preventing firearm suicides with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Department of Veterans Affairs.
The firearm industry is committed to the shared goal of reducing and ending criminal misuse of firearms, as well as accidents and suicides. That is the common ground. These are the proven answers to achieve this goal. Click here to learn more about Real Solutions®.
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.
Gotta love the new durable camo coverage and protected metal-part finish on the new Winchester firearms in this modern world.
The Winchester® Super X4 Hybrid Hunter Woodland features a classic Woodland camouflage paired with a Cerakote Flat Dark Earth finish on the receiver and barrel. The is combination is an functional eye-catching performer. Rain or shine, fast cycling is never an issue with the proven Active Valve Gas System. Adding an extra level of durability is the chrome-plated chamber and bore.
This model includes 3 Invector-Plus choke tubes – including a choke wrench, TRUGLO® fiber-optic sight, reversible safety button, larger opening in trigger guard, and larger bolt handle and bolt release with a Nickel Teflon coating on carrier and bolt release button, .
To learn more about the features and specs, as well as access downloadable hi-res images, please visit:
ACTION – 12 gauge – 3 1/2″ and 3″ chamber; 20 gauge – 3″ chamber; Gas operated with Active Valve system;
STOCK – Composite; Woodland camouflage finish with an Inflex® recoil pad
FEATURES – Three Invector-Plus™ choke tubes (F,M,IC); TRUGLO® fiber-optic sight; New Inflex® Technology recoil pad; Length of pull spacers; New larger bolt handle, bolt release and reversible safety button; New larger opening in trigger guard; Sling swivel studs
MSRP is $1079.99. For more information on Winchester Firearms, please visit winchesterguns.com.
This new Browning shotgun has a number of features that elevate it above run-of-the-mill deer hunting shotguns. For 2021, the evolutionary new Maxus II sets its sights on whitetails with a Rifled Deer model.
The Maxus II is a fast-handling autoloading shotgun designed for hunting deer with a fully rifled barrel for accurate use with slugs.
A 22″ long, thick-walled rifled barrel includes an attached, cantilever Weaver-style sight rail that makes attaching optics and cleaning the shotgun without affecting zero a snap. Always important to accurate shooting, the Maxus II Rifled Deer features the precision Lightning Trigger that offers a lighter, crisper pull with less overtravel than other designs. Hard-hitting 12-gauge, 3″ slug ammunition is ably cycled by the proven reliable Power Drive Gas System.
The Maxus II Rifled Deer also includes a new stock design with a straight heel buttstock that allows for customizing the length of pull by either adding spacers or trimming the stock down. The 1 ½” thick Inflex recoil pad features directional deflection and is coupled with the new SoftFlex™ cheekpad, both of which are designed to soften recoil against your shoulder and face. Rubber over-molded panels on the pistol grip and forearm improve grip and feel. Enhanced operational features include an enlarged trigger guard that is ramped for fast loading, oversized bolt handle and release that are easier to use and a traditional threaded magazine cap. The raised rib sight picture and flat point of impact puts shooters on target faster and more consistently. To learn more about the features and specs and to access downloadable hi res images please visit:
The perfect quick-to-make meal for Super Bowl Sunday, or any other day. Most everyone has these simple ingredients in their everyday pantry.
2 lbs ground venison
6 cups of diced (3/8 inch) white potatoes
2 cups diced sweet white onion
2 cups sliced celery
2 cups sliced carrots
2 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS table salt
1 TBS black pepper
1 TBS basil
3 TBS salted butter
Two 15 oz cans of black beans
One 15 oz can of cannoli beans
One 15 oz can of sweet corn
One (1) 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
One (1) 28 oz can of plum tomatoes
One (1) 24 oz can of spaghetti sauce
16 oz box of Rotini noodles
Cooking Instructions: Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, 1 cup of diced onion and 1 TBS minced garlic to a 2-gallon cooking pot. Add enough water to cover the mix by 2 inches or so. Add 2 TBS of butter, salt, pepper, and bring to a boil. Set to simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are soft.
In a large fry pan, add the burger, 1 cup of onion, 1 TBS butter, 1 TBS garlic, a dash of salt and pepper, and about 3-4 TBS of water, and cover. Cook to a gentle steaming simmer until the burger is browned. Add the burger to the potato cooking pot.
Now add the tomatoes and sauce, cover. After reaching a gentle boil, add the black beans, cannoli beans, sweet corn and Rotini noodles. Bring back to a slow simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked and expanded. If not, simmer a bit longer. The noodles absorb the watery flavored liquids and add gentle chewy stock to the gumbo.
Serve: Spoon it out to a large coffee cup or soup bowl. Add a slice or buttered bread or a sliced roll.
My favorite Turkey Call is the Box Call, it can make turkey music.
The type of wood can make a huge difference, reasons why some turkey hunters carry more than one box call
The 4-Play call is single box call that can make more notes, at more different pitches, than any 2 to 4 standard box calls combined!
By Mike Roux
I give dozens of game calling seminars and demonstrations each year. Every single time I pick up a call, I explain to the folks watching and listening that the device in my hand, although it is described as a game call, is really no more than a musical instrument. I also tell them that game calls operate on the same two principles as do all musical instruments. Those principles being, rhythm and pitch.
If you can master the rhythm and pitch of a given call, you can be successful in the field as you use that call. And, like a musician, practicing their instrument alone, imaging what it would sound like with the full orchestra, you must practice your calls imaging what they will sound like outdoors, at some distance.
Over half of my seminars each spring deal with calling and hunting the wild turkey. The spring gobbler is still one of the toughest and most sought after game trophies to collect and his popularity grows each year. Mastering the turkey call can make you a hero in your hunting group.
My favorite turkey call, by far, is the box call. I have had lots of professional experience calling turkeys. For over 40 years I served on the Pro Hunting Staffs for a couple of national call companies. So, my box call is like an extension of my own hands.
Not all box calls are created equal. You must be very selective when choosing this call. Not only does the type of wood make a huge difference, but also the workmanship itself is critical to the performance of a box call, just like any other instrument. Box calls that are made of plastic, or stamped-out mass-produced wooden calls will not give you the sound or the success you desire. Pay the extra money, up front and get a custom-built box call that will drive the toms crazy. That is why my box call preference is now the 4-Play Turkey Call.
Until recently I carried 2 box calls in my turkey vest. One of these makes the sweetest yelps on the planet. But its clucks leave a lot to be desired. Likewise, the box call I cluck with is not worth a plug nickel for yelping or cutting. That is why the 4-Play Turkey Call is the ONE box call I carry now.
The 4-Play call is made of different woods within the same call. It has four sound rails, all of which can be different wood types, instead of just two. By rotating the paddle around one end of the call you put 2 different rails into play. This single box call makes more notes, at more pitches, than any 2 to 4 standard box calls combined.
Once you have decided upon and purchased your box call, you must learn how to play it. I do like the box call because it is so easy to use. But do not be fooled by that statement. It still takes lots of practice to “master” all the sounds that this call can make.
All too often, turkey hunters fail to operate, or play, this instrument correctly. Pressing the paddle onto the box may help increase volume, but will likely cause you to loose the desired pitch. Quality custom-built box calls are designed for the weight of the paddle to be sufficient pressure to make the box play. Most paddles will have a sweet spot. Find this spot and you have found the key to your spring success.
Yelps are easily reproduced on a box call by dragging the paddle over one of the box lips. At this point you are looking for, and listening for, pitch. I will remind you that if you practice indoors, the pitch will sound profoundly different outside. Practice outdoors as much as possible.
Once you have mastered a single yelp, line-up several yelps into a short run of calls. At this point you are working on rhythm. Combining rhythm and pitch will give you a very accurate imitation of a wild turkey.
There are a couple of different ways that you can hold this instrument as you play it. My preferred method is to hold the box upright in my left hand and operate the paddle with my right hand. This allows the weight of the paddle to do its job correctly.
Another variation that I have seen, but do not subscribe to, is holding the box upside down with the paddle in your left hand, striking the paddle with the box, which is held in the right hand. To me, this method is cumbersome and eliminates the true resonance that the call can produce. Either way, learn to play your box call with the method that is most comfortable for you.
By laying the paddle on the lip and popping it sharply upward, you can make an excellent cluck with your box call. Putts can be made in much the same way. By slowly dragging the full width of the paddle over the lip, a very seductive purr can be accomplished.
One of the most exciting and effective sounds the box call can reproduce is cutting. To do this, hold the box in your left hand, paddle up and laying on the lip. Use your left thumb as a “bumper”. Tap the paddle with your right hand allowing it to rebound off your left thumb. Practice this until you get the pitch, then work on the rhythm. This call can really fire-up old tom and vastly improve your chances for success.
The key to this turkey call and to all others is practice. There is no substitution for listening to live birds and reproducing the sounds you hear them make. I would like to recommend a specific box call for you to try this spring. The 4-Play Turkey Call is the most versatile and productive box call I have seen and used. Get one. You will not be disappointed.
About the 4-Play Turkey Call: This innovative call is hand-manufactured by Cutting Edge Game Calls, a forward thinking company intent on creating and bringing to market innovative alternatives to help hunters be successful. Among their hunting products is the 4-Play Turkey Call. The company is staffed by creative-minded people who love hunting and whose innovative ideas are brought to life by talented craftsmen. To remove all risk about the 4-Play Turkey Call, they offer a 30 day trial! We realize the 4-Play is new and different, but that shouldn’t stop customers from trying it out. Order one today, try it, love it, or return it within 30 days for a full refund! For more visit: https://4playturkeycall.com/.
About the author: Mike Roux is an award-winning outdoor writer. He freelances more than 100 outdoor magazine and newspaper articles each year. Adding to his list of talents, he is also an accomplished speaker who annually books several speaking engagements nationwide – including banquets, game dinners and other outdoor events. Mike Roux has been a professional guide and game caller for over two decades. He has worked with the Pro Staffs of several outdoor products manufacturers. He is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of American, as well as the Missouri Outdoor Communicators. For more, please visit www.mikeroux.com.
$30,000 in cash prizes on the line for best solutions
Winter is annual maintenance time for many anglers. Re-spooling with new line is a must-do task. Ever thought about what happens once you dispose of the old line in a fishing line recycling tube?
It’s not pretty. Turning fishing line into new products is labor-intensive, requiring a series of workers to manually comb through, sort, clean, remove hooks and weights, and separate out miles of encrusted debris in entangled fishing line. So as you pile up a few reels of line to be recycled this winter, the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is asking for your ideas on how to help grow the volume of line recycled each year.
Teaming up with fishing tackle company Berkley, the BoatUS Foundation’s Recast & Recycle Contest seeks out new ideas and improvements to the process, new ideas for recycled products, or technology breakthroughs for the current process that will increase the volume of line and soft baits that are recycled. Entry is simple – all you have to do is send a short video or one-page summary explaining your idea. Thirty thousand dollars in prize money is at stake for the three best ideas submitted through May 14, 2021.
“It’s great that anglers recycle,” said BoatUS Foundation Director of Outreach Alanna Keating. “Now we need to ask for help with scaling up recycling with a greater volume of line, whether it’s a time- and labor-saving process improvement or creating a new market to fully sustain recycling efforts.”
Judges will add weight to contest submissions that actually work, are practical, innovative, and have the potential to have a significant impact.
The first-place prize is $15,000, second place receives $10,000, and $5,000 will be awarded for third place. Contest submissions can address any part of the process (or multiple parts) of taking discarded fishing line and soft plastics from end of life to a new beginning. Professionals, amateurs and students alike are encouraged to apply, as are school teams and groups. Contest entries can be submitted with as little as a link to a video demonstration of the idea or a one-page graphic summary. Videos are limited to 4 minutes.
Contest rules and conditions, details on the current recycling process and videos on how various plastics and soft baits are recycled can be found at the Recast & Recycle website BoatUS.org/Contest.
Hunters, anglers and others will soon have access to more than 32,900 acres of previously difficult to reach public land in the Sublette Mountain Range of western Wyoming. Working in partnership with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and others, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation assisted with the purchase of an important access agreement.
“Creating and improving public access is key to who we are as an organization and our mission,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “There is currently limited access to the west side of the Sublette Range. This action will change that.”
The agreement, targeted to take effect in the summer of 2021, will create a permanent public roadway and a parking area linked to the Groo Canyon trail from Highway 30 north of Cokeville near the Wyoming-Idaho border. Once finalized, the new entry point will allow access across private ranchland to lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management known as the Raymond Mountain Wilderness Study Area and additional state and federal lands beyond that.
Historically, elk management has been particularly difficult in the Sublette Range because of limited public access. The new agreement will allow improved hunter access and opportunity, thus allowing WGFD to better attain population management objectives for elk, deer, moose, mountain lions and black bears.
In addition to WGFD, other project and funding partners include the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, onX and RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment.
What they say about the Raymond Mountain project:
“As the Wyoming Game and Fish Department evaluates and pursues access projects, we look for opportunities that will have a substantial positive impact for our constituents and we feel the Raymond Mountain Public Access Area will provide that,” said Sean Bibbey, WGFD lands branch chief. “The department looks forward to developing this area for use by the public in the coming year and we want to thank RMEF and the other partners on this project for their hard work and support to make this opportunity happen.”
“This collaborative public access project in the Sublette Range is a true win-win for conservation and all who love the outdoors,” said Bob Ziehmer, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s senior director of conservation.“When completed, the new entry point will be a game-changer in improving recreational opportunities and wildlife management in the region. We thank our generous customers for rounding up to the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, providing funding for this key project.”
“We applaud the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for working to secure improved access to public lands,” said Lisa Nichols, onX access advocacy manager. “We also want to recognize the ranching family who prioritized the recreation potential on land that is dear to their heart. Increasing hunting and public access opportunities for everyone is core to onX’s mission, and we’re honored to be part of projects like these.” About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: Founded more than 36 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 231,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 8.1 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 rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.
WAY TOO HEAVY to carry, but this safe assembles in pieces easy to ship and move
21 million NICS checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm in the past 12 months
NSSF estimates that 8.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time in 2020
By Forrest Fisher
Anyone that owns a firearm, one or more, is concerned about safe storage of their ammo and guns. Especially now. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Americans have registered record-setting firearms stats earlier this month.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reported that 21 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm in the past 12 months. That’s a 60% increase from 2019 with 13.2 million background checks, and it shatters the previous record of 15.7 million in 2016. NSSF estimates that 8.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time in 2020.
Outdoor friend Kim Emery says, “It’s a good time to share gun safety information with new gun owners as well as those increasing their firearm collections. Gun safes are an essential component of this training.” From my perspective, what could be better than protecting your firearms with a fire-insulated safe made in the USA? There is such a company: Steelhead Outdoors.
The best safes are big and hard to move, so Steelhead Outdoors makes their safe products modular. Modular gun safes are easily moved and assembled by two people. You will not need to hire a specialized safe-moving company, which is costly, or enlist your family and friends on a dangerous do-it-yourself heavyweight moving adventure each time you move.
In a recent interview, Steelhead Outdoors co-founder Corey Meyer says, “Don’t wait until you have found your “forever home” to invest in proper protection and security of firearms and valuables. We created Steelhead Outdoors to solve the problem of fitting a safe into your lifestyle and home space. Modular safes can be moved into spaces that a traditional safe cannot. Plus, at Steelhead Outdoors, with our custom-designed options, we can literally create your dream safe.”
The classic Steelhead Outdoors Nomad series offers ceramic fire insulation rated to 2300 degrees and is non-moisture trapping. That means no dehumidifier is required (and will not release steam into the safe in the event of a fire). How cool is that?!
Size: Model 26: 26” x 18” x 54” assembled. The Nomad Model 26 is the perfect safe for smaller gun collections and small spaces. It is perfect for apartments, townhomes, temporary living situations and fits beautifully into most closets. The assembled safe weighs 375lb, every panel is easily moveable and weighs less than 100 lbs. The interior can be configured from 6 to 15 long guns.
The Model 38, size: 38″ x 24″ x 60″ assembled. The Nomad Model 38 is the perfect safe for larger gun collections and can be assembled in places a traditional safe could never get to. The assembled safe weighs 600lb, every panel is easily moveable and weighs less than 150 lbs. The interior can be configured from 10 to 34 long guns.
Both safes are available with a mechanical dial lock or a push-button digital lock. Custom color options and configurations available. To learn more about modular gun safes and the best options, visit SteelheadOutdoors.com. Follow on Instagram.com/SteelheadOutdoors, on Facebook.Com/SteelheadOutdoors, and watch how-to videos on their YouTube channel.
About Steelhead Outdoors: Founded in 2016, Steelhead Outdoors is an innovative safe company offering the only American-made, modular, fire-insulated gun safe available currently on the market. Longtime friends, engineers, and avid outdoorsmen, Charlie Pehrson and Corey Meyer, searched for a gun safe made in the USA, was adaptable, and offered a respectable level of fire and theft protection. Still, they soon realized this product didn’t exist. Since they couldn’t buy it, they decided to build it. Learn more at SteelheadOutdoors.com
Woodsy turkey call sounds combine screech and scratch controls
Henry C. Gibson and Eric Steinmetz each provided sound innovations about 120 years apart
Tone and tune change in one box that allows clucking, purring, yelping and cackling is about pure genius
By Larry Whiteley
Now some of you probably read that headline, and your mind drifted off to another kind of foreplay. However, this is not that kind of foreplay. This 4-Play is something that can get a turkey gobbler all excited to come looking for love.
Let me begin with how this kind of 4-Play started. You see, the first box-style turkey call was patented in 1897 by an Arkansas farmer and fence supply manager, Henry C. Gibson, of Dardanelle. Though there may have been box calls before his patent, Gibson sparked a new industry with many imitators creating box-type turkey calls.
For over 120 years, the turkey box call has never really changed much from the original wooden box and paddle design. Then along came avid turkey hunter Eric Steinmetz. Eric built his box calls for years and had terrific success with them. He even sold a few to local hunters. Eric couldn’t get the thought out of his mind about coming up with a call that was more versatile and more effective than the standard box call design. He would think about it as he drove down the road with his traveling sales job. When he was home and wasn’t turkey hunting, he was in his shop tinkering with different designs and wood types.
He finally came up with the idea of building one with a forward-mounted wheel that would allow the paddle to be moved to both sides of the box. That way, it could be used on any of four sound rails, each made with different wood types to have four different tones. Thus came the name for his call, the 4-Play. He also found that since the wheel allowed the lid to be moved forward and backward, he could strike the sound rails in multiple locations, adding to his box call versatility. The 4-Play is a turkey box call like no other you have ever seen or used.
The U.S. Patent Office agreed that Eric’s box call was so innovative they awarded him a Utility Patent. 4-Play turkey calls are available with Cherry, Walnut, or mahogany bodies, and all have sound rails made of walnut, eastern red cedar, sassafras, and poplar. If you’re a turkey hunter, you have to have one of these. For more information, watch videos, read reviews, and order, visit https://4playturkeycall.com/shop. Or, give them a call at 610-984-4099. They would love to visit with you.
“It is a versatile call,” says Eric. “With a little practice, you can make an almost unlimited number of tones and pitches. I just want hunters to use it and then hopefully send us pictures of them and their Gobbler. That’s what would make me feel successful.”
Eric has since sold the 4-Play patent to Brian Benolken, but he is still involved with the business, working shows, building calls, and of course, turkey hunting. He’s even won several calling competitions with his 4-Play. Brian is busy growing the business under the name of Cutting Edge Game Calls, and his goal for the company is to offer you products for making you a better and more successful turkey hunter. Brian and Eric both are continuously thinking of new innovative ideas.
This old turkey hunter has never seen anything like it in all my years of turkey hunting, so I just had to have a 4-Play. I love it! I can’t believe all the sounds I can make with it. I’m clucking, purring, yelping, and even fly down cackling with it. I can’t wait until spring turkey season. My wife can’t either! Can you believe she banned me from the house and makes me take my 4-Play and practice out in the barn?
If you are a turkey hunter, you might try hinting to your wife or girlfriend that you would surely like to have 4-Play under the tree for Christmas. If they look at you like you’re weird or something, you might have to just order online or call Cutting Edge Game Calls to order one for yourself. But if they smile, this could be a very Merry Christmas in more ways than one.
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.
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
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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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
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.
Black Bass Fishing …could be the most fishing fun for all ages.
Not only does June 20th mark the first day of summer, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.bowspider.com.
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.
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
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
Snakes are common across the United States, the Georgia DNR can help us understand more about snakes, then venomous and non-venomous types.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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;
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.
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.
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!
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 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!
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.
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.
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?
Illegal Exotic Snake Breeding Den Identified in Orange County, New York
157 Venomous Snakes removed
29 species in all
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.
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.
Bipartisan legislation to fund the government through September 2020cleared both chambersandincluded 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 Actwas 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 waterways. We are thrilled that it is makingits 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 Operations, and $73 million for the Chesapeake Bay.
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
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
There’s been an abrupt change in the weather with snow on Veterans Day and through the night with a drop in temperature.
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!
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 email@example.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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
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
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
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
Adjustable hem cinch-cord
Multiple accessory pockets handle all your gear
Realtree EDGE™ Camo
V1 Whitetail Hoodie:
Moisture-wicking, anti-odor treated material
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
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
onX and TRCP release a groundbreaking analysis of state land access across 11 Western states
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.
“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 websitebreak 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.”
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 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 toolshere.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
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 a