• Advertise with us
  • Blog with us

    2007 August - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    Archive for August, 2007

    I received a cool gift last week!

    John Martin who hosts the Western Wanderer blog. Sent me a genuine “Desert Rat” label off of a fruit crate (no comments from the peanut gallery). Anyway, it was a very cool surprise, and I wanted to thank John for taking the time and expense to send it. It’s a cool label - if I could figure out how, I’d make it the new banner thingy at the top of my blog page!

    It comes with a little certificate that states its authenticity, and that it was printed between 1910 and the 1970s

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 31st August 2007
    Under: General | 3 Comments »

    Beef of the Week - Aug 29

    Sorry this is up late. I took Monday off and it threw my whole week out of whack..

    This isn’t a beef, it is more of an observation of something that personally, I find tacky. I know it is a personal and sensitive subject, and truly - I don’t mean to offend anyone.

    That being said…. if I should happen to meet my untimely demise anytime in the near future, please - PLEASE - don’t go get a window decal made that says:

    Marshall MacFarlane
    09/25/66 - xx/yy
    Rest in Peace
    All Hail Desert Rat

    I know people are struggling with a loss that has obviously touched them. It’s just that, personally - I don’t want people driving around “remembering me” with a window sticker. If my friends want to get together every year and have a beer and tell Marsh stories, great. If my family wants to do something “memorial-ish” now and then… they can fill their boots. Set up a scholarship in my name, hang my portrait in the library - heck, name a school after me.

    Having my memoriam stuck in their window next to the “Fox” decal, or the Pittsburgh Steelers logo - just isn’t my style.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 30th August 2007
    Under: General | 5 Comments »

    Youth Hunter Education Camp - Sept 8/9

    The ADA, AGFD and Soda Springs Ranch (near Rimrock/Camp Verde) are sponsoring a Youth Hunter Education camp on Sept. 8 and 9. The camp is free for participants. The ranch is providing some great facilities for the class. They have a shooting range there and classrooms. AGFD instructors provide the training. Space is limited. Call Larry Kindred for more information - (602) 885-7701

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 29th August 2007
    Under: Arizona News, Events, General | No Comments »

    A scientific conundrum

    I saw this story over at JB Absher’s Newshound - you can read the full story here. I consider myself a scientific thinker, but I love it when something can’t be explained away by science. It makes my belief in God seem more “reasonable”…

    Anyway, the gist of the story:

    The Seattle Times reports that in April, bird researcher Dale Whaitiri was on an island off southern New Zealand examining the stomach contents of a baby sooty shearwater—a native seabird-when a tracking device the size of a grain of rice spilled from the bird’s gullet.

    It was later discovered that the tag was originally placed in a juvenile steelhead in 2005 above the Bonneville Dam in the Pacific Northwest.

    But the sooty shearwater chick examined by the researcher was too young to fly—let alone eat fish. Further, when steelhead enter the Pacific, they head north, not south. And the tags don’t float, they sink.

    So how did the tag end up inside a flightless bird on the other side of the world, some 7,700 miles from where it originated?

    “The odds are almost impossible to fathom,” Jen Zamon, a seabird expert for the Northwest Fisheries Science Center told the Times’ environmental reporter after learning of the discovery.

    It seems that gull-like shearwaters are known to frequent the mouth of the Columbia during the summer months, returning to the southern hemisphere around October.

    The answer to the mystery, at least to Zamon, is elementary. A sooty shearwater ate the steelhead on the Columbia, carried the indigestible tag in its stomach for two years, and then regurgitated it into its chick’s open beak.

    But, she admits, that’s only speculation.

    “Who knows?” she said.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 27th August 2007
    Under: General | 3 Comments »

    Arizona Hunting Message Board

    Well, Desert Rat is a fairly successful blog, but I also want to point out that Arizona has one of the most popular message boards in the Skinny Moose Media network. We have worked hard to try and build a board that is a little different than the others, and we are always trying to improve!

    We have a dove and predator hunt/camping trip/yummy suppers planned for next weekend. We’re also trying to put together a radio show, manned by members of the board!

    The message board is a small community, but growing. It is a cozy place, thanks to the firm guiding hands (err.. keyboards) of the Moderators: TallPaul, AzThunder, Chief, and Bowhuntingmaniac

    Please stop by and visit the AHT Forums soon!

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 26th August 2007
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting | 1 Comment »

    Poaching… or not?

    Does anybody take responsibility for anything anymore? As hunters, we have an obligation to understand the laws. If we don’t understand them, we need to seek clarification until we do, or not partake in activities that might be breaking a law. Shame on the Outfitter too. He was “confused” as well? C’mon…

    From the Az Daily Sun, read the full story here.

    Poacher loses on appeal
    Assistant City Editor
    Saturday, August 18, 2007

    When a Michigan hunter shot a trophy elk illegally near Munds Park, he fought tooth and nail to keep from being convicted of the misdemeanor offense.

    He lost in Flagstaff Justice Court but won in Superior Court. Judge Dan Slayton threw out the poaching conviction after Richard Remmert contended he didn’t know he was hunting illegally in an area near Munds Park.

    But now, Remmert has lost again in the state Court of Appeals, and state Game and Fish officials, as well as prosecutors, are relieved by the decision. Had they lost again, enforcement of many hunting and fishing laws statewide would have been in jeopardy.

    Now, Remmert has had his license suspended for five years and not just in Arizona. The suspension of hunting privileges will be enforced in 16 other states — a penalty game officials say is good deterrent to other potential poachers.


    According to documents filed in Coconino County Superior Court, the case began when Remmert applied in 2004 for a permit in Arizona to hunt for a trophy bull elk through a guided hunting company.

    When the hunting company received the permit, it refunded Remmert his money because he would not be able to get a trophy bull elk in the units he had drawn.

    Remmert then contacted another guide, stating he had a permit and wanted to hunt elk. He then shot a bull elk near Munds Park several miles outside the portion of the unit covered by his permit.

    A Game and Fish officer happened upon the party, discovered the poaching offense and issued Remmert a ticket that amounted to a few hundred dollars.

    “This would be a trophy in any state,” said Steve Andrews, a law enforcement program manager for Arizona Game and Fish.

    The prosecution contended at trial that Remmert, knowing his permit area did not contain trophy elk, hunted in a different area.

    The defense claimed that the permit area was so complex, confusing and small, neither Remmert nor his guide could understand the exact area.

    But prosecutors contended that even if Remmert had been truly confused, the fact that the elk had been killed without the proper permits was enough for a conviction.


    David Thorn, Remmert’s attorney, said the matter centered on a confusion over the limited game tag Remmert received. The outfitter who guided Remmert to the area also claimed ignorance as to the exact location of the tag’s boundaries.

    “Remmert is completely reliant on this guy,” Thorn said. “He puts Remmert on this monster elk and he shoots the monster elk.”

    It was an honest mistake, Thorn said. So his defense was that if the prosecution wanted to get him convicted of poaching, they would have to show the hunter knew he or she was breaking the law.

    Remmert’s case went to trial in Flagstaff Justice Court, and the court decided that Remmert was guilty of poaching based upon strict liability law.

    Strict liability does not require proof of a culpable mental state, said David Rozema, chief deputy Coconino County attorney. Basically, a person cannot say “I didn’t know,” or “I thought my hunting area ended over on that ridge.”

    In other words, the prosecution doesn’t have to prove the offender acted with knowledge or intent, Rozema said.

    The Legislature has determined that some Game and Fish laws do not require proof of a culpable mental state. Otherwise, any violator could claim ignorance, which is almost impossible to contest at trial.

    Remmert appealed the decision to Coconino County Superior Court, and Judge Dan Slayton reviewed the case and overturned the lower court’s decision.

    He reasoned that the offenses of poaching and removing an animal “… were not strict liability offenses and required a culpable mental state on the part of the perpetrator,” stated court documents.

    The prosecution appealed the case to the state Court of Appeals. After review, the appellate court overturned Slayton’s decision.

    Stated the court: “Thus, pursuant to the plain terms of the (poaching law), to establish a violation of this particular rule, the state must show merely that the alleged offender was hunting either out of season or outside the designated hunting area.”

    The court went on to state that the Legislature’s intent was to protect resources in the state by making an offender responsible, even if he were truly ignorant of the law.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 26th August 2007
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting | 4 Comments »

    Dogfighting like hunting?

    Unless you have been living in a cave, you know that Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick is going to be convicted of dogfighting. He has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Along comes Stephon Marbury (a basketball player) who adds fuel to the fire by saying something to the effect of “Dogfighting is no different than hunting”. Boy, did the hunting message boards light up. I’ve been reading a ton of arguments, which make a variety of points. Initially, I was outraged too. I am intrigued however, by those arguing that Marbury has a point. I may even be leaning that way, now. Where does animal welfare stop, and hunting begin? Therein lies the rub.

    Blogger Jim Beers had this to say, and it really got me thinking.

    Some points he made:

    The only one of the three that had the faintest idea of reality was the NBA point guard with all the tattoos. He is EXACTLY right. There is NO difference between dog fighting and killing deer. So Vick (ugh!) and this point guard and their friends call dog fighting a sport. Are they less smart or less informed or less able in some other way to consider certain animal use a “sport” than some other folks considering deer hunting a “sport”? According to the hunting defender dog fighting would be a “sport” if family members attended together (some no doubt do) and you ate the dog. Hello, earth to hunters. If you aren’t starting to realize your stake in defending the rights of gamefowl breeders to fight their birds or horse owners to sell their horse to a slaughter house or even dog owners to fight their dogs WHERE ALLOWED BY LOCAL COMMUNITIES you better start thinking hard about it. The dogs and the gamefowl and the horses are all PRIVATE PROPERTY, they are not your neighbor’s cuddly toys that they can take anytime they want. The deer and the ducks and the pheasants and the beaver and the fox et al are PUBLIC PROPERTY and they are RENEWABLE NATURAL RESOURCES every bit as much as timber and forage.

    There is NO DIFFERENCE between killing wild animals from whales and seals and porpoises to elephants and deer and scaup; and killing domestic animals from cattle and poultry and lambs to horses and gamefowl and dogs. A lot of folks have come to believe that they have a right to take away other people’s rights in these affairs. They do not have the right to take away our rights UNLESS WE LET THEM. If my romantic notions about dogs (I do have them) based on pet’s I have known gives me carte blanche to dictate how my neighbor uses his dog then we simply validate the “affection” or romantic notions others have used to dictate the destruction of seal management or whale use or protection of deadly predators like cougars and wolves and grizzly bears or the destruction of poultry farming etc. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE.

    and he ended with this:

    One of my great heroes is Edith Stein. I read a little from her writings almost every morning. Today’s line read, “We can lead others only to do that which we ourselves practice.” If we cannot practice tolerance for our neighbor’s rights nor defend their rights when they are being taken away: how can we expect any one to be there “when they come for me”?

    Mr. Beers, and others have successfully blurred the line for me, regarding the principle of this argument. I am still forming my opinions. There is one, obvious difference to me between hunting and dogfighting - what Vick did was against the law. Hunting is not. That aside, I’m going to have to mull it over some more.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 25th August 2007
    Under: General | 9 Comments »

    Hunting in Arizona

    Many of my readers are “from away”, to borrow some Maine terminology, so I thought I would try and give some insight about outdoor activities in Arizona. Roughly speaking, the top 1/3 of the state is pine forests - quite similar to what you would see in Maine, Minnesota, or other forested areas of the country. The bottom 2/3 is desert. Some may call this half and half, but I digress. There is also a transition zone between the 2, where you will see scrub oak, pinon, juniper and other types of trees. Now the biggest surprise is this - when people think “desert” they think “Sahara”. The deserts in Arizona are nothing like that. Our deserts are teeming with more types of plants and wildlife than you could imagine, and typically - the desert that I hunt (Sonoran) is quite green. Granted that varies with rainfall, season, etc. In the spring, much of the desert is lit up with wildflowers and cactus blooms!

    Yes, it is hot here. My hottest day since moving here 10 years ago was 118 degrees. You get used to the heat though. What I have a hard time with is no rain. I miss gray, rainy days. It is sunny about 300 days per year here; we have a short rainy season in the winter, and in summer we have a monsoon season - when it is possible to get evening thunderstorms almost daily. I was hunting javelina yesterday, and it was over 110. That is not typical for this time of the year.

    I live in central Arizona, about 40 miles southeast of Phoenix “proper”. There are small, old mountains in the area, and I love the views of the mountains, when I am out and about.

    The desert certainly is a harsh environment. Most of the plants have thorns, needles, spines, etc. Most people know about the creatures - rattlesnakes, scorpions, gila monsters, black widows, tarantulas. Truth be known - I spend a fair amount of time in the field, and haven’t seen any of those yet, in the wild.

    There is an abundance of species to hunt here, though one may argue that because of drought, habitat encroachment, etc., game is not exactly plentiful. We have cottontail and jack rabbits, squirrels, foxes, coatimundis, ringtails, badgers and coyotes. We have several species of quail, grouse and chukar along with ducks and geese, believe it or not. We have mule deer, Coues deer, elk, antelope, bison, bear, mountain lion, bighorn sheep (Desert and Rocky Mountain) and javelina. 2 species of turkeys. Regarding big game, most species are draw only, although there are exceptions. Drawing for elk depends on your Unit choice, and whether you are after a bull. Some folks draw an elk tag every 2-4 years, others wait 12 years and more, to draw the tag they are looking for. Bighorn sheep is a once in a lifetime tag, and for most people, it seems to take a lifetime to draw one. Antelope is almost the same, regarding drawing odds. Drawing a deer tag is doable almost every year, unless you are holding out for one of the trophy units north of the Colorado River.

    Although I have lived here about 10 years, I have really only started hunting again, the last 4 or 5. I have pretty much had to “re-learn” everything. Glassing is the name of the game here. Glassing, and scouting seems to play a much bigger role here than it did “back home”. So far, I suck. No pep talks though - I don’t mind it. I always enjoy my time outdoors. I always learn something, or see something interesting. I always have a camera with me too. A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my friend Darrell, on the phone. Darrell lives in Quebec. We grew up together - he was the ultimate hunter/trapper/fisherman, and we used to do a lot of that stuff together. He still hits it hard, and is living in one of the best places in the world for moose, caribou, deer, etc. Darrell asked me “Have you killed anything yet, since moving there?” “Some doves”, I mumbled sheepishly.

    At least I have my camera, and the ability to write about stuff!

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 25th August 2007
    Under: General, Hunting | 3 Comments »

    A friendly antelope

    A cute story for sure, but I always feel kind of bad when I read stories like this… My impression is that many of the same people that condemn hunting are issuing these animals virtual death sentences when they feed them, tame them, take babies out of the wild, etc., etc.

    Read the full story at AZ Central.com

    Tame young antelope found playing with dog
    Aug. 23, 2007 03:00 PM
    GREELEY, Colo. - A friendly young antelope found cavorting with a dog along a walking path was probably picked up illegally in Wyoming and may be too tame to return to the wild, wildlife authorities say.

    A Greeley family believed to have brought the animal to Colorado could face charges that carry fines and jail time, said Larry Rogstad, a district officer for the state Division of Wildlife.

    The 3-month-old, 15-pound buck was spotted Wednesday morning, running and playing with a neighborhood dog named Skeeter along on the Poudre River trail, a path that runs through Greeley and the nearby town of Windsor.

    “It’s just the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Ronda Underwood. “We were just riding along the trail and saw this antelope playing with a dog.”

    She said the antelope came up to her, nuzzled its head and neck along her leg and seemed almost to beg to be petted.

    Rogstad was summoned for fear that the antelope would be attacked by the numerous coyotes in the area. The animal, dubbed “Poudre” by passers-by, was taken to a wildlife refuge where handlers will try to get it ready to return to its natural habitat.

    Rogstad said that may not work. “It is totally imprinted now,” he said. “The animal actually thinks he’s a human.”

    Rogstad said members of the Greeley family believed to have brought the animal from Wyoming could face charges including illegal possession of live wildlife. He declined to name the family.

    Wyoming officials could also bring charges, he said.

    It wasn’t immediately clear why Rogstad believed the animal was brought from Wyoming, about 40 miles north of Greeley. Antelope are found in both states, but the nearest indigenous antelope are about 20 miles from the city.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 25th August 2007
    Under: General | 1 Comment »

    Vortex Optics - Field & Stream’s Best of the Best

    Some of you may know that I am the Field Staff guy for Vortex, here in Arizona. In my own quiet way, I have been tellling people that they really need to look at Vortex, when considering optics purchases. Looks like Field and Stream just backed me up…

    Full Article

    Best Of The Best Winners
    Vortex Viper 10x42mm (Top)
    vortexoptics.com Based in Wisconsin, Vortex has been marketing its own line of optics since the late 1990s, and the Viper 10x42mm is one of the company’s very best. It has features similar to those of the Brunton (below), including a piano hinge and locking diopter adjustment ring. It even has screw-out eyecups that, happily unlike the Brunton’s, only screw out, not off. The high magnification does restrict exit pupil, but the BaK-4 glass prism keeps those pupils full and round, and you get a higher twilight factor for making out details. There’s sufficient eye relief for even eyeglass wearers, and the resolution is exceptionally good, with virtually undetectable spherical aberration. All in all, this is the right size and weight package at the right price.

    Weight: 26.5 oz.
    OAL: 6″
    Width (with hinges closed): 41⁄2″
    Exit Pupil: 4.2mm
    Eye Relief: 16.5mm
    Fov: 320′ @ 1,000 yd.
    Twilight Factor: 20.5
    Waterproof-Fogproof: Yes
    Resolution: Exceptionally Good

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 23rd August 2007
    Under: General, Products | 1 Comment »

    “Zero Tolerance” Equals “Zero Common Sense”

    I believe schools, HOAs and other institutions that have “zero tolerance” policies are way off base. To me, “zero tolerance” is the easy way out. A way of saying “This way I won’t have to weigh the circumstances, make a decision, and stand by that decision”. Can you imagine getting your kid getting suspended from school for drawing a laser? My God. Is this what it has come to?

    From AZ Central.com

    School suspends boy for sketching gun

    Associated Press

    Aug. 22, 2007 06:34 AM

    Chandler school officials have suspended a 13-year-old boy for sketching a picture that resembled a gun, saying it posed a threat to classmates.

    But parents of the Payne Junior High School student said the drawing was a harmless doodle of a fake laser, and school officials overreacted.

    “I just can’t believe that there wasn’t another way to resolve this,” said Paula Mosteller, the boy’s mother. “He’s so upset. The school made him feel like he committed a crime. They are doing more damage than good.”

    The Mostellers said the drawing did not show blood, bullets, injuries, or target any human. They said it was just a drawing that resembled a gun.

    But Payne Junior High administrators thought the sketch was enough of a threat and gave the boy a five-day suspension, later reduced to three days.

    Chandler district spokesman Terry Locke said the sketch was “absolutely considered a threat,” and threatening words or pictures are punishable.

    The school did not contact police and did not provide counseling or an evaluate the boy to determine if he intended the drawing as a threat.

    School officials issued the suspension Monday afternoon. They notified the student’s father, Ben Mosteller. He met with school officials and persuaded them to shorten his son’s suspension from 5 days to 3.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 22nd August 2007
    Under: Arizona News, General | 3 Comments »

    Enough to make Al Gore take up hunting…

    From Fox News

    Researchers: Moose Gas Hurting Environment

    Researchers in Norway claim a grown moose can produce 2,100 kilos of methane a year, equivalent to the amount of CO2 caused by an 8,077-mile car trip, der Spiegel reported.
    Norway’s national animal releases methane through burping and flatulence, as do cows, considered more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.

    There are estimated to be more than 100,000 moose in Norway.

    How about tranquilizer darts full of Beano?

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 22nd August 2007
    Under: General, Politics and More | 4 Comments »