Mulligans…In the Woods, On the Crik’s – Do it Again!

  • 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.
Family hunting trips can offer prime opportunity for Mulligan sharing.

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 needed a “do-over” on this Canadian fishing trip.

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.

Go fishing with your grandkids over and over! Mulligans for the sake of sharing fun in the outdoors.

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!

The “SpoonCrank” Tackle Box provides Tangle-free Lure Access

  • Lure organization for crankbaits and spoons – tangle free lure access means less wasted fishing time
  • Wet protection, rubber seal barrier in the cover
  • Transportation vibration isolation, keeps shiny lures shining
  • Partition by color, size, lure type – store up to 90 spoons or 50 crankbaits, or any combination
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.

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.

The “hidden compartment” sits above the lures under the handle.

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 Ammo Production Increasing to Meet Nationwide Demand

Shotgun, handgun and Rifle ammunition production is increasing at Remington. Photo courtesy of Remington.

Big Green Ammo is Back On The Shelf

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.

Milford Lake offers Kansas Wonderland for Giant Crappie

Joe Bragg, operator of Thump 30 fishing guide service, scouted Milford Lake for spawning crappie.

Acorns Resort (www.acornsresortkansas.com) is on the Farnum Creek arm of Milford Reservoir, offering cabins, camping, pool, and a restaurant.

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.

Milford Dam, seen from East Rolling Hills Park, which includes a swimming beach in the foreground, a playground, picnic shelters, two boat ramps, and lots of walk-in access to the water.

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!

Outdoor Communicators of Kansas held their spring business meeting, led by President Nick Neff, at a cabin at Acorns Resort.

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.

Four selections of Kentucky whiskies were featured in a tasting conducted on Friday evening by member Rob McDonald.

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.

Bucks Graphite Jig Pole, a favorite of Joe Bragg, is available in 8, 10 and 12 foot lengths.

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.

Mike Miller, left, past Secretary/treasurer, received an award for service to the Outdoor Communicators of Kansas, presented by past President Brent Frazee, center, and President Nick Neff, right.

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.

Saturday’s creel of crappie, from the boat guided by Joe Bragg, was ready to be cleaned and chilled at Grandpa Boone’s Cabin in Milford, Kansas.
Joe Bragg stretched one of his favorite favorite crappie baits, the Z-Man jig, to demonstrate its amazing strength.

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.

Contact Info:

Florida Summer Adventure – VISIT a Sustainable Dairy Farm!

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.

Sustainable dairy farming is a new way for farming to continue in America, Dakin Farms is on the leading edge.

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.

The Dakin Dairy Farm occupies more than 1,200 acres near Myakka City, in Southwest Florida.

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 picnic area includes tables for family seating, and much more for kids to enjoy while exploring a dairy farm.

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.

The famous Dakin Dairy Farm Tours will restart beginning in October 2021.

Snake Boots FIGHT the SWEAT & the BITE

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.

Wes Logan, Local Pro, Gets First Bassmaster Elite Series Victory At Neely Henry Lake

Wes Logan, of Springville, Ala., has won the 2021 Whataburger Bassmaster Elite at Neely Henry Lake with a four-day total of 57 pounds, 9 ounces.  Photo by James Overstreet/B.A.S.S.

In Gadsden, Alabama — Wes Logan said memories came flooding back to him throughout the Whataburger Bassmaster Elite at Neely Henry Lake.  That’s bound to happen when you’ve fished a place since you were 5 years old.

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.

Brock Mosley of Collinsville, Miss., is third with 464, followed by Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, with 462 and Christie with 457.

Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., is leading the Rookie of the Year standings with 372 points.

The City of Gadsden and the Greater Gadsden Area Tourism hosted the event.

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 Tooth Hunting in the Peace River – Florida

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. 

 

When carrying a sifting screen, shovel, sunscreen and food supplies, it was a VERY nice surprise to learn that our Grizzly cooler would float and was waterproof to internal storage!

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!  

A shovel used to spank the water surface to notify alligators and critters along the river that an apex predator is now on the scene, please go home. It works. We are rarely bothered.

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). 

Shoveling bottom material of sand/gravel into the sifting screen (1/4 inch mesh) allows identification of shark teeth…and lots of rocks too!

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.”

Placing your hand beneath the sifter will allow for easier finding of the shark teeth. Can you find the 2 in this picture?

Besides the pride we took in finding so many shark teeth, the other best part of the trip was using the Grizzly 15 cooler product.

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.

Get out and enjoy the outdoors! 

 

 

 

 

These were about half of the shark teeth we discovered on this one trip to the Peace river near Zolfo Springs, Florida. Fun times!

Shipwreck Fishing in Southwest Florida – Red Grouper and Snapper Fun

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

Nick Weaver with one of the healthy red grouper we landed while fishing not far from a sunken offshore shipwreck.

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.

Controlled boat positioning is among primary keys to offshore bottom-fishing success.

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 a sunny day without shore in sight, we enjoyed many fun moments of “Fish On!”

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.

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.

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.

A 10-ounce slip-sinker, 200# swivel, and a 9/0 Gamakatsu circle hook…that was the hot rig.

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!

The venting tool was used to exhaust the bloated air bladders to allow the fish to swim back to bottom in the deep water.

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.

Vermillion snapper, lane snapper and other species were among the catch.

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.

Tight lines, everyone!

Marty Poli enjoys the red grouper fishing fun in Southwest Florida. 

Ducks and Gators forge new Wetlands Preserve Partnership

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

Photo by the Late Joe Forma, a life-long supporter of wildlife conservation.

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.

Sandbar Pompano at Sanibel…During Spring Break!

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

Shelley Crant shares, “Fishing lightweight jigs with the right retrieve, the right place – that my husband seems to able to find on every trip, can result in tasty Pompano near Sanibel Island.” Forrest Fisher Photo

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. 

Heading out to fish, Dan said that there are several places where all boats are required to slow down to allow Manatee safe passage. There are so many more boats today than 30 years ago, it’s a good idea.” Forrest Fisher Photo

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. 

All the fish we caught, like this beautiful speckled trout, were carefully handled and safely released alive and well. Forrest Fisher Photo

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. 

Dolphins – not a usual friend of anglers, seem to chase predator fish away as they feed on baitfish in the same areas we fished. Didn’t affect our catch rate! Forrest Fisher Photo

Jigs from 1/4 oz to 1/2oz were among our best artificial baits for the day. Forrest Fisher Photo

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!

Coated with choice of sour cream or mayonnaise, then covered with a mix of bread crumbs and spices, 4-minutes in the microwave is all that is necessary for a perfect, healthy, fish dinner. Forrest Fisher Photo

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! 

There is nothing like a healthy ladyfish for a lady fisherwoman to add some fighting fun to the end of your fishing line! Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Invite yourself and your family to this party.

Carefully releasing fish we caught was part of our conservation-minded fishing trip. The future is in our hands. Forrest Fisher Photo

 

Fish-Catching, Beaches, Baseball and Sunshine. A GOOD Winter Day!  

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!

Rich Perez with a young snook taken from a canal waterway off the Caloosahatchee River near Fort Myers, FL. The fish was held gently and carefully released a few seconds after being out of the water.

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 power-pole makes anchoring in the canal system easy and silent – that makes fishing more fun.

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.” 

Perez throws a 12-ft cast net to catch live forage bait, though this native art form takes time and practice to develop effective skill.

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.

Fish on!

Tracks in the Snow

  • Kids love the winter cold and sparkly snow!
  • 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.

National Deer Association (NDA) has Solid Plan to Empower Deer Hunters

NDA Photo

  • 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

NDA Photo

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.

Highly qualified Karlin Dawson has joined the National Deer Association (NDA) organization as a Deer Outreach Specialist in northern Missouri. Photo courtesy of NDA

“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 karlin@deerassociation.com.

Special Thanks to Brian Grossman and the NDA for details regarding Karlin Dawson.

Firearm Industry Embraces Real Solutions Over NEW Gun Control Call

  • 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.

Winchester SX4 Hybrid Hunter Woodland Shotgun

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:

Super X4 Hybrid Hunter Woodland

Super X4 Shotguns

Features:

  • RECEIVER –  Aluminum alloy; Flat Dark Earth (FDE) Cerakote finish
  • BARREL –  Chrome-plated chamber and bore; FDE Cerakote finish; Ventilated rib
  • 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.

Browning Maxus II – Autoloading Rifled Deer Shotgun

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:

Maxus II Shotguns

Maxus II Rifled Deer

Features:

  • Mossy Oak® New-Break-Up Country® camo finish
  • 22″, thick wall, fully rifled barrel for use with slugs
  • Cantilever, Weaver®-style scope mount for easy optics attachment
  • New SoftFlex™ cheekpad increases shooting comfort
  • New oversized bolt release and bolt handle
  • New composite stock can be trimmed and is shim adjustable for cast, drop and length of pull
  • New rubber overmolding on stock and forearm add grip in all conditions
  • New trigger guard is ramped for easier loading
  • Nickel Teflon™ coating on the bolt, bolt slide, shell carrier and bolt release
  • ABS hard case included

For more information on Browning products, please visit browning.com.

Delicious Venison Gumbo – for 10

By Fern Fisher

The perfect quick-to-make meal for Super Bowl Sunday, or any other day. Most everyone has these simple ingredients in their everyday pantry.

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Enjoy. Delicious!

Turkey Hunting: Making the Box Call Sing

  • 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.

Winter Contest Idea…to Increase Fish Line Recycling – $30,000 in CASH PRIZES!

  • $30,000 in cash prizes on the line for best solutions

Ever wonder what happens to the discarded fishing line you put inside this recycling tube? It’s not pretty, according to BoatUS Foundation. But maybe you have a solution.

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.

Public Access Cleared to 32,900 Acres of Wyoming Mountains for Summer-2021

Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

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.

Finally, a GUN SAFE made in the USA

  • 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

4-PLAY for Christmas! …A Love Story

  • 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.

 

 

 

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

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

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

Compiled by Forrest Fisher

Our bears are searching for something scrumptious!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NSSF®, the firearm industry trade association, praised the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, (H.R. 1957). This historic legislation, which received overwhelming bipartisan support, is among the most meaningful legislative measures for sportsmen conservationists ever. The Senate’s approval is a major step forward toward delivering on the promise of sustained wildlife conservation, public land hunting and recreational shooting on behalf of current and future generations of outdoorsmen and women.

Safety above all. Photo is courtesy of National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)

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

June 27-28 is Free Fishing Weekend in New York

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

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

Group of anglers

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

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

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

Black Bass Fishing Season Opens June 20

Photo courtesy of Bill HIlts - Niagara USA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sporting License Sales Increase Nearly 10 Percent in 2020

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

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

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

Recreational Red Snapper Season open in Gulf State and Federal Waters

Photo courtesy of Brice Williamson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bow Spider: The Ultimate Solution for Packing Compound Bows Afield

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fishing

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

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

Vermont Walleye Season opens May 2, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to Do When You See a Snake

What to Do When You See a Snake

  • Snakes are common across the United States, the Georgia DNR can help us understand more about snakes, then venomous and non-venomous types. 

Adult black racer snake, non-venomous, eats rats, mice, varmints.

By the Georgia DNR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snake Insights

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

Help Conserve Wildlife

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

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

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

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

Online Hunter Education Course Available For NY Hunters

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

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

Courtesy NYSDEC

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

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

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

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

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

NEW Sunday Hunting LAW – Pennsylvania Celebrates More Hunting for Everyone

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

  • The addition of just these 3 days allows for working mothers and fathers to take their children to pass along shared hunting traditions.
  • Priceless

The New Bill would allow Sunday hunting one day during rifle deer season, one during statewide archery deer season and a third day to be selected by Pennsylvania’s Game Commission. NSSF Photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Retail cost: $993.

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

CZ Reaper Magnum Specs:

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

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

Photo courtesy of Branson Vistors Bureau

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

Marinas and marine-related recreational industries of America can apply for assistance right now. Forrest Fisher photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Forma Photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hunt Safe, Hunt Smart!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Sporting Licenses Online

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

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

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

Snook on the Hook – Sanibel Island, Florida

  • Live bait, long semi-stiff rods, braided line, fluoro leaders and sharp 4/0 circle hooks
  • Add a teaspoon of courage, hold your breath, cast under mangrove trees
  • Fish with a friend as often as you can, it’s more than just fun!

Rich Perez (left) and son, Richie, enjoy a peaceful and fun-filled day catching snook and watching wildlife in Southwest Florida.

By Forrest Fisher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snook, redfish and large sea trout all pounce on live bait under the mangroves, sometimes they hit it and run, only taking a small bite. The result is having the fun of talking out loud to a missed fish and laughing. We did a lot of that.

Richie caught snook after snook in one area of the bay where the tidal currents were gathering baitfish with the incoming flow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beaches, Sun, Fish.

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

 

 

150 Venomous Snakes found in Private Home

  • Illegal Exotic Snake Breeding Den Identified in Orange County, New York
  • 157 Venomous Snakes removed
  • 29 species in all

Brown-spotted Pit Viper seized during the warrant. NYSDEC photo.

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

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

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

Pygmy Rattlesnake seized during the warrant. NYSDEC photo.

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

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

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

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

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

By Randall Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click the picture to review Alabama FAQ – understand details, visit the questions and answers here.

By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jason Houser

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

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

This often results in gamey, tough meat.

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

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

    If at all possible, process your own deer to ensure it is handled properly and then you know you get all your venison back in return.

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

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

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

    Good venison starts immediately upon the harvest.

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

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

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

KEY POINTS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changes effective May 11:

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

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

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

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

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

Links for more information:

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

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

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

By Forrest Fisher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We made a memory for all time.

Thank you Lord.

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

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

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

Nice brown trout! Courtesy of Kevin Oxford

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bison For Sale!

  • Live Bison are typically transported to expand herds in other parts of the country – the auction is a 54-year-old tradition at Custer State Park
  • Wild live Bison range in size from 400 to 1500 pounds, depending on sex and age
  • The Bison auction program is exemplary in the world of Conservation

Mature Bison bulls in South Dakota can grow to 1,500 pounds and more at Custer State Park. Forrest Fisher Photo

By Forrest Fisher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

3 Billion Birds – GONE Since 1970

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

  • We have lost enormous numbers of familiar birds 
  • Suspected contributors: climate change, habitat loss, pressure from invasive species and pesticide use
  • To make a difference: Make windows safer – prevent window strikes, landscape with native plants, keep cats indoors, avoid pesticide use, reduce plastic use, learn more about citizen science initiatives

Data furnished by KITE TALES, the monthly newsletter of the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Tzraska of Buffalo with a king salmon caught off the Wilson pier this week on a Booker plug.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster caught this steelhead in the upper Niagara River near Niagara Falls State Park when he took a break from biking on the trail. He was using a green/silver Cleo spoon. 

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

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

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

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

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

Joel Meister of Akron caught this steelhead in the lower Niagara River on a bead.

Aaron Horvatits of Buffalo caught this salmon off the NYPA Fishing Platform this week.

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director
Inline image 2
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The suspects and their charges are as follows:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Georgia Hunters: Firearms Deer Hunting Season Opens Oct. 19

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

Georgia DNR Photo

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

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

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

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

Quick Basics

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

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

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

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

Posted  courtesy of the Georgia DNR

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

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

By Rick Clunn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks.

 

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

 

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

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

Drop a marker with one tap.

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

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

Add your AIS device manually.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Used Humminbird 360, side imaging and mapping to break down fish-holding spots in lake
  • Caught his bass on a 3/4-ounce Molix football jig w/green pumpkin Strike King Rage Craw trailer
  • The win earns Jocumsen $100,000 cash

Queensland, Australia native Carl Jocumsen won the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller with a total of 54 pounds, 15 ounces. Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Lures to use, boat speed, depth control

By Forrest Fisher

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

  • onX and TRCP release a groundbreaking analysis of state land access across 11 Western states

More than 6.35 million acres of state lands across 11 states in the American West were identified as landlocked by private lands. Learn the details below.

By Randall Williams/TRCP Author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ICAST Helps to Make Fishing More Fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David Gray, ShareTheOutdoors.com

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

Everybody’s favorite…the Lucky 13®

By Forrest Fisher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Banes of Pennsburg, Pa. caught this huge king salmon fishing with Capt. Roger Young of Papa Smurf Charters, Olcott.

Sydney Rhoda of Mercer, Pa. caught this 20-pound king salmon while fishing out of Olcott over the weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

The 2019 Orleans Open winners, Team Dublin-Up!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director

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

South Carolina passes new turkey regulations to bolster declining populations

South Carolina passes new turkey regulations. NWTF Photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Costa’s OCEARCH Switchfoot in Matte Tiger Shark with Green Mirror 580G lens.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Clean Plinking is Here

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

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

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

Eliminating Your Stink…for Serious Hunters

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

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

Zoom’s Z-Swim 3.8 Combines Action and Durability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Forrest Fisher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Elite Kayak Anglers from Around the Globe to Attend First-of-Its-Kind Competition 
  • Cookeville, Tennessee selected to host the first-ever Pan-American Kayak Bass Championship May 28-31, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NSSF Celebrates President Trump Signing ‘Range Bill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walleye Trolling Meets Durability and Effectiveness with Mepps®

  • Mepps Trolling Rig® and Crawler Harness…NEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hornady Announces 350 Legend

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

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

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

For additional information, please visit hornady.com.

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

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

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

By Dave Barus

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

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

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

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

 

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

Joe Forma Photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • If you currently possess one of the newly listed prohibited species and do not wish to obtain a grandfathered pet permit, PLEASE Don’t Let it Loose!

Bullseye Snakehead is a non-native species in Florida

By Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

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

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

  • Mammals: meerkat/mongoose, raccoon dog, dhole, brushtail possum, flying fox.
  • Birds: red-whiskered bul-bul, dioch, Java sparrow, pink starling.
  • Reptiles: brown tree snake, yellow anaconda, Beni anaconda, DeSchauensee’s anaconda.

Nile-Monitor Lizard is a non-native species in Florida.

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

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

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

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

Burmese Python is a non-native Florida species.

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

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

LAST DAY TO APPLY – 2019 Kentucky Elk Hunt Drawing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hunting can teach critically important lessons about the value of all life
  • Hunting can teach us that all life is important and sacred
  • Trinity Oaks’ Thumbtack Ranch is the nation’s first Purple Heart Ranch, providing lessons for so many

For five of the six boys, this camp was their first time ever receiving gun safety instruction, shooting sporting clays and hunting.

By Karen Lutto

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fundraising efforts in April include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

See you on the Water! Troutman out!

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

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

 

New York Youth Turkey Hunt set for April 20-21

Jim Monteleone Photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEC Continues to Encourage Hunter Safety:

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

Firearms Safety:

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Firearm Laws Benefit Firearms Industry…the Data Speaks

Photo courtesy of National Shooting Sports Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlie Killmaster’s photo of his delicious Venison Reuben.

Ingredients:

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now it’s time to write the next chapter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New York Inland Trout Season Opens April 1

  • Trout Season Opens April 1 for Inland Streams

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

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

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

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

  • Delayed season dates on select WMAs

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

Photo by Gary Mitchell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Forrest Fisher

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

Good luck in the woods!

 

 

2019 Statewide Turkey Hunting Season Opens March 23…in Georgia

 

  • Georgia turkey hunters are ready for the season to open on Saturday, Mar. 23.

Georgia spring turkey strutting and purring. Courtesy Georgia DNR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Let’s Talk Turkey: Pot and Box Calls

Georgia turkey hunting, the real thing.

  • Condition your Calls, Learn How
  • Friction Calls: Pot Call, Box Call

Click the picture to WATCH the VIDEO

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

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

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

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

 

Prescribed Fires, Why are they Important?

  • We learn from Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama

Prescribed burning of fire-tolerant longleaf pine forests helps eliminate competition from understory vegetation and fuels the growth of wildlife food sources. Photo by Billy Pope

Part of Long-term Longleaf Pine Restoration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Monteleone Photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

  • Morris is only 58th conservationist to receive the Audubon Medal in its 114-year history

L to R: National Wildlife Federation CEO Colin O’Mara, Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, Audubon Society CEO David Yarnold and Audubon Board Chair Margaret Walker (right) pose with The Audubon Medal. PHOTO CREDIT: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

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

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

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

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

Click for video of acceptance moments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Theme of the 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series: “Big Bass. Big Stage. Big Dreams.”
  • Clunn, 72 years young,  wins with 34-14 on Final Day to total 98-14 for tourney!
  • Clunn’s Hot Lures: Luck-E-Strike Hail Mary(3/4-ounce), Luck-E-Strike Trickster Spinnerbait with a shellcracker-colored skirt and a Texas-rigged GatorTail worm.

Rick Clunn repeats at Power-Pole Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River with a 4-day total of 98 pounds-14-ounces. Photo by B.A.S.S./Seigo-Saito

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

  • Conservation, Mentorship, Hunting…all come together

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

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

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

The First Project: A Sweepstakes Promoting Conservation & Mentorship

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

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

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

In-App Functionality for NWTF

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

At the Convention

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

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

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

 

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

For more information, contact:

NWTF, Daneil Pieterse at (803) 637-7511

NWTF, Pete Muller at (803) 637-7698

GoWild, Brad Luttrell at (502) 794-2242

Conservation Federation of Missouri Seeks Executive Director

CFM Seeks Executive Director

Position Announcement

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

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

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

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

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

See the job description for additional details.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Grant Applications Accepted through Feb. 15, 2019

Hydrilla plant (NYSDEC Photo)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

President Trump Signs the Modern Fish Act

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s exciting to see that the sportfishing industry’s heightened involvement in government affairs does translate to more legislative and policy victories. Passage of the Modern Fish Act is just one of many government affairs accomplishments in which ASA was proud to engage over the past year. There’s no question that the economic and cultural importance of recreational fishing is increasingly being recognized by policymakers.

The Modern Fish Act isn’t going to overhaul the federal marine fisheries management system overnight. It’ll likely take several fishing seasons before the management and data collection improvements called for in the Act begin to better align fishing regulations with actual fish abundance and harvest, and with what anglers really want out of management.

It’s also important to note that not all the changes called for in earlier versions of the Modern Fish Act made it through in the final version. This was the unfortunate reality of needing unanimous approval of the U.S. Senate to clear the bill. Even though it’s big to us, in the grand scheme, bills such as the Modern Fish Act rarely receive floor time and therefore can only pass with unanimous approval.

ASA will continue working with Congress, NOAA Fisheries and the Regional Fishery Management Councils to ensure that the provisions of the Modern Fish Act are carried out, and other priorities of the recreational fishing community are advanced.

While we’ve accomplished a lot, there’s still much more work to be done. That said, let’s take a few moments to celebrate this win, especially at a time when wins are so hard to come by.

For details on House and Senate passage of the Modern Fish Act and additional industry perspectives, please visit http://www.sportfishingpolicy.com/media-room/u-s-house-passes-modern-fish-act/.

The Modern Fish Act will provide more stability and better access for anglers by:

  • Providing authority and direction to NOAA Fisheries to apply additional management tools more appropriate for recreational fishing, many of which are successfully implemented by state fisheries agencies (e.g., extraction rates, fishing mortality targets, harvest control rules, or traditional or cultural practices of native communities);
  • Improving recreational harvest data collection by requiring federal managers to explore other data sources that have tremendous potential to improve the accuracy and timeliness of harvest estimates, such as state-driven programs and electronic reporting (e.g., through smartphone apps);
  • Requiring the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the process of mixed-use fishery allocation review by the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishery Management Councils and report findings to Congress within one year of enactment of the Modern Fish Act, and
  • Requiring the National Academies of Sciences to complete a study and provide recommendations within two years of the enactment of the Modern Fish Act on limited access privilege programs (catch shares) including an assessment of the social, economic, and ecological effects of the program, considering each sector of a mixed-use fishery and related businesses, coastal communities, and the environment and an assessment of any impacts to stakeholders in a mixed-use fishery caused by a limited access privilege program. This study excludes the Pacific and North Pacific Regional Fishery Management Councils.

The coalition of groups supporting the Modern Fish Act includes American Sportfishing Association, Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, The Billfish Foundation and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 49 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate nearly $50 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for 800,000 people.