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    2008 April - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    Archive for April, 2008

    Visit CamoSpace !

    Many of you know about the online “social networking” sites like MySpace and FaceBook.

    On these sites, you can build a profile, meet friends, form networks and groups, post photos and videos, etc. Now there is a similar site dedicated to the outdoor enthusiast. CamoSpace is a very cool site full of friendly folks and neat stuff. Joining is free and easy. Now you can see why your kids are addicted!

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    Posted on 28th April 2008
    Under: General, Products | 4 Comments »

    Bow Project - Getting Close

    Awhile back I posted that I was going to do an online build-a-bow project. You can see my initial post here. For the record, I did not solicit free or reduced cost product for this project. I decided the components I liked beforehand, and I then contacted the companies concerned. Some were very excited and appreciative. Others didn’t show much interest - which is OK, too. “Desert Rat Blog” is doing very well these days, but I have no delusions about it being an online powerhouse.

    So, with no further “ado” - here is what I have going so far:

    Bow - New (2006) Ben Pearson Pride

    Rest - XFC drop-away rest by Trophy Taker

    Stabilizer - MR2 by Alpine Archery

    Sight - Hollow Pino with Single Angular Pin by Vital Gear

    Quiver - Probably a 3-arrow (still deciding) by Treelimb Products

    That’s where I am so far. I may or may not go into arrows, broadheads, release, etc., depending on what kind of interest this series of posts generates. Each new post will contain info about the specific product and the company, a mini-review, photos of the product, and of course I put up their links again. Suggestions from readers are always welcome.

    I am not a hard-core bowhunter, but I do enjoy it. This series is meant to be fun and informative. I tried to pick products that may not be as common as some of the other products. If you are looking for extensive reviews ladened with volumes of technical data, you will be sadly disappointed!

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    Posted on 27th April 2008
    Under: General, Hunting, Products | 3 Comments »

    What Happened At The NWTF?

    You may recall when I posted the press release about NWTF Director Rob Keck stepping down. Here is an article that was published at the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star about a week after the shake-up. I file this under “Things that make you go Hmmmmm”.

    Feathers fly at turkey federation’s offices

    April 3, 2008 12:15 am

    A MAJOR LEADERSHIP shake-up took place last week during the National Wild Turkey Federation’s board of directors meeting in Edgefield, S.C.

    Rob Keck, chief executive officer of 27 years, resigned following the dismissal of Carl Brown, the chief operating officer, and **** Rosenlieb, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

    According to a published report in the Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, Keck, who had been with NWTF for 30 years, made $360,765 in salary, plus $57,156 in expenses, in 2005. The Web site Charity Navigator pegged his 2006 compensation as $380,810. Brown, who had been with NWTF for 28 years, reportedly earned $293,858, plus had a $23,287 expense account. Rosenlieb, with 19 years, earned $173,977 plus $19,384 in expenses.

    Attempts to obtain the current-year compensation figures from the NWTF were unsuccessful yesterday.

    In an official release, the NWTF said Keck decided, “for personal and family reasons, to step aside from his duties as of June 1, 2008, with the national board of directors “reluctantly” accepting this decision.

    Doug Howlett, a longtime editor of NWTF’s Turkey Call magazine and now editor of Southern Sporting Journal, reported: “Sources close to the matter said a move had been made last October during the fall board meeting to oust Brown and Rosenlieb, both key members of the organization’s leadership for many years, and that Keck threatened to resign if they went through with the move.”

    In the absence of confirmed facts, speculation surrounded the impetus for the dismissals and resignation.

    Howlett reported “the board had been investigating certain management practices at the Federation and that the board’s actions were in response to their findings.”

    One NWTF insider told me that there were concerns related to a lack of adequate plans and policies governing human resources and a worry that some management actions potentially threaten the federation’s non-profit status.

    Another highly respected state chapter leader with whom I spoke on background, expressed concern about the air of secrecy around the issue and that there wasn’t any apparent transition plan for these key positions.

    In an open letter provided yesterday to NWTF volunteers, national board members, sponsors and partners, Federation President Peggy Anne Vallery acknowledged a lack of immediate information concerning the actions “allowed speculation to fill the information gap.”

    She stated there were no allegations of criminal activity and that the NWTF annually undergoes an audit of its financial statements by a certified public accounting firm.

    “The conclusion of the most recent audit, as has been the case with past audits, is the organization’s statements of position and activities received the highest level of opinion possible on their accuracy,” Vallery wrote.

    Founded in Fredericksburg

    Keck, 57, guided the NWTF into prominence. The organization was founded in Fredericksburg in 1973 and moved to its Edgefield headquarters shortly thereafter.

    You can read the full article HERE.

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    Posted on 27th April 2008
    Under: General | 2 Comments »

    Just An Observation

    I don’t think I have ever posted info about a company or product because they gave me free stuff. I cruise around the web (and the real world) looking for neat products or services that might interest my readers. Then I write about it, and post contact information as applicable. Often, I will contact the company or person after and say “Hey, I just posted some info about you - thought you may be interested. Here’s a link to my blog post.” Now, I don’t do that for recognition, or a pat on the back. I don’t do it so that in their undying gratitude, they shower me with freebies. I just do it because for me, it’s neat when someone contacts me and says “Hey, I like your blog”, or “Hey - I’ve read your articles”.

    That being said, I bet well over 50% of the people/companies I post about and contact - don’t even acknowledge my e-mail. Not “Thanks”, not “Go Away”, not “Who are you?”. Again, it doesn’t bother me, because I’m not looking for “Attaboy”s. I simply think it is odd. Just sayin’.

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    Posted on 26th April 2008
    Under: General | 2 Comments »

    Whatever Happened To Elite Archery?

    Way back here in 2006, I made a post about Elite Archery. That post, with 19 replies - generates more visits from people typing it into search engines than any other topic I have posted. Two years later, I still get visitors from people that Googled “Elite”.

    I know that mention of Elite still seems to spark bickering on the heavy-duty archery sites like ArcheryTalk. I know that I still see posts announcing new dealers. I see threads on the archery sites now and then discussing new models. Other than that, Elite seems to have gone underground. OK, not quite undergound. I can’t remember the last time I have seen an ad in a major publication for an Elite product. I rarely see Elite products included in bow reviews or other articles in any of the big magazines. I know that there was a lawsuit, but who “won” depended on who you asked, and their interpretation of the ruling. I don’t even know if Kate and Kevin Strother are involved any more. I have sent some enquiries to Elite with very minimal response. Kate was the “Martin Girl” and Kevin was the VP of R&D for Bowtech. I was involved with some e-mail conversations with Kate when Elite first came on the scene - she was going to have me do some marketing-related writing for Elite. Those conversations ended abruptly, and I haven’t heard from them since.

    I am not a bow-fanatic, but people who own Elite bows certainly are passionate about them. It is slightly reminiscent of the cult-like following that Mac users enjoy. If anyone knows the skinny on Elite, let us know!

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    Posted on 26th April 2008
    Under: General, Products | No Comments »

    April 14, 2008

    Contact: Miles Moretti
    Tel.: 888-375-DEER (3337)
    E-mail: miles@muledeer.org
    Photo(s) Available

    Mule Deer Foundation Signs Memorandum of Understanding

    SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) has signed a key wildlife conservation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The signing took place on March 26 at the recent North American Wildlife Conference held in Phoenix, Ariz.

    The MOU establishes a formal framework of cooperation and coordination for MDF’s relationship with these two federal land-management agencies. More specifically, the MOU calls for joint planning and implementation of projects, programs, and activities that maintain and enhance the productivity of mule deer and black-tailed deer populations and their habitats.

    The Forest Service manages 193 million acres across the United States that provide significant amounts of habitat for mule deer and black-tailed deer. The BLM manages 258 million acres of public lands that include 206 million acres of big game habitat.

    Mule Deer Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Miles Moretti said, “This MOU will help us put more habitat projects on the ground at the local BLM and Forest Service district level.” Moretti added, “MDF’s partnership with these agencies shows the willingness of all parties to make mule deer and black-tailed deer enhancement and conservation a high priority.”

    MDF chapters, in partnership with local BLM and Forest Service biologists, will work together to develop projects, request funding, and, in some cases, implement projects in their local area. The assistance of MDF volunteers can help to keep project costs down and allow more acres of deer habitat to be improved.

    MDF is proud to be partners with the Forest Service and the BLM in ensuring the conservation of mule deer, black-tailed deer, and their habitats.


    About MDF (www.muledeer.org)

    The Mule Deer Foundation is a national non-profit 501(c)3 organization, with over 10,000 members. MDF’s mission is to ensure the conservation of mule deer, black-tailed deer and their habitats. MDF is dedicated to restoring, improving and protecting mule deer habitat (including land and easement acquisitions) resulting in self-sustaining, healthy, free ranging and huntable deer populations; encouraging and supporting responsible wildlife management with government agencies, private organizations and landowners; promoting public education and scientific research related to mule deer and wildlife management; supporting and encouraging responsible and ethical behavior and awareness of issues among those whose actions affect mule deer; and acknowledging regulated hunting as a viable component of mule deer and black-tailed deer conservation.

    For information about the Mule Deer Foundation please call 888-375-DEER (3337)

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    Posted on 26th April 2008
    Under: Conservation Groups, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Jim Beers on Wolves

    I always like Jim Beers’ blog posts, and rarely disagree. Here he offers some “opinions” on wolf programs. Enjoy…


    Imagine the federal government proposing to reduce urban crime by transferring known criminals to rural areas and small towns. Suppose further that several University researchers had conducted federally-subsidized studies “indicating” that rural areas and small towns would benefit from the presence of these criminals. Benefits such as more diverse communities and the introduction of new cultures and values could be had in no other way according to “experts”. The money saved by reducing prisons would be in the billions and “much” of that could be used for “education” and “welfare” and “bringing our troops home”: who could oppose such a thing? While agreeing that some things like unlocked doors, evening strolls, and gun availability would necessarily change in rural areas; rural citizens were assured by bureaucrats and politicians that many benefits that were probably incomprehensible to most rural residents were sure to follow along.

    As the rural populous was objecting to this “proposal”, suppose the federal government simply rounded up the urban criminals and scattered them around the rural countryside. Then imagine that the federal government would arrest and charge with a felony, anyone killing or harming or even harassing any of these criminals unless it was perfectly clear to federal investigators after-the-fact that the person who killed the criminal was himself, or one of his immediate family members, absolutely on the verge of being killed by one of these criminals and escape was impossible. Federal regulations would be “published” that described how citizens threatened by criminals should not look at the criminal or “puff up” and how you should “roll up in a ball” (leaving your wallet or purse available) or else anything that happened subsequently would be “your” fault.

    When the criminals began killing and maiming watchdogs and hanging around bus stops and going through yards, rural residents were cautioned to “stay inside” and only let out pets “on a leash”. When livestock began to disappear or be found dying from horrendous wounds, farmers and ranchers were told that they had no business leaving animals unattended. As complaints mounted the federal overseer of this criminal program finally relented and appointed The Defenders of Criminals to “pay” rural animal owners for damages, only the owners were unable to “prove” what unseen criminals had done. No matter, the federal overseer and urban newspapers touted the payments as proof of no harm from dumping their criminals “out there”. Incidentally, when the overseer lost her job, The Defenders of Criminals hired her at a very hefty salary to oversee “their” federal interface. Lawsuits, testimony, “scientific” claims, and sub Rosa cooperation with associated gun controllers and socialism advocacy causes was harmonized and coupled to federal budget increases and regulatory modifications aimed at growing the federal agency and affording total protection to the criminals.

    Other unforeseen “benefits” began to emerge. Lone hunters, campers, and fishermen began to be attacked. Some were killed and some seriously injured: so participation in outdoor activities from hiking and wood cutting to rock collecting and biking dwindled. As this trend became apparent, other University “experts” and “criminal advocates” applied for and were given federal grants to examine the reported phenomena. Their conclusions were that participation was dwindling because of global warming and video games and the erosion of nuclear families, and that furthermore reported “attacks” were both unproven and exaggerated and that there was reason to suspect that anti-criminal rural elements had staged the incidents to stop the spread of this very successful program. They recommended capturing and removing individual criminals who, could be conclusively shown to have, committed three very serious crimes. While this relieved some rural residents, it soon became apparent that the three time offenders were merely driven far away but soon returned to where they enjoyed life so much. Since capital punishment was always vigorously opposed by urban voters and federal politicians and the criminals were reproducing at alarming rates in their uncontrolled environment, the relocation effort was soon abandoned……

    You can read Beers’ post in its entirety HERE

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    Posted on 25th April 2008
    Under: General, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Killing of Lions At Kofa Suspended

    We have had lots of posts about the sheep and lions at Kofa before. Ron Kearns, quoted in the article below, has been a regular responder here at this blog.

    From the Yuma Sun:

    Officials halt mountain lion killings at Kofa Refuge

    April 21, 2008 - 10:18PM


    State and federal wildlife officials announced they have suspended the killing of mountain lions at the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge for up to a year.

    “I’m glad they made the decision they did, but it’s after the fact,” said Ron Kearns, a retired Kofa wildlife refuge biologist and game warden. “They have already killed the most important male to the lion population and were getting close to the most important female. They know they did some serious damage to the lion population.”

    The announced moratorium on “lethal removals” of mountain lions, also referred to as cougars, captured and GPS-collared on the refuge comes days after Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) threatened to take both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department to court unless the practice was ended.

    “They (state and federal officials) were told what they were doing was unethical and illegal and if it didn’t stop, the conservation community would take legal action,” Kearns said. “It wasn’t a magnanimous decision on their part.”

    The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge had been allowing Arizona Game and Fish to trap and collar mountain lions on the refuge, then use the collars to track and “lethally remove” the ones that have preyed on more than two bighorn in a six-month period under its May 2007 Kofa Mountains Complex Predation Management Plan.

    However, that predation plan, which is a state plan, did not apply to the killing of mountain lions on the refuge, said Kofa Refuge Complex Manager Mitch Ellis.

    Read the full story online here.

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    Posted on 24th April 2008
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Volunteer Opportunities With AZGFD

    From AZGFD:

    Volunteer opportunities for hunters
    By Les Bell, volunteer coordinator,
    Arizona Game and Fish Department

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s volunteer program provides opportunities for volunteers to participate firsthand in managing Arizona’s wildlife resources. Our goal is to provide you with a congenial and cooperative atmosphere where you can build relationships with staff and other volunteers, as well as gain knowledge about Arizona wildlife and wildlife management. We recognize that your time is important and strive to provide rewarding and educational volunteer experiences.

    We’ve listed some opportunities in which you may have an interest. To learn about other opportunities or to submit information about a project that would benefit from our volunteers, check our volunteer page at www.azgfd.gov/volunteer.

    Immediate until completed - Database entry Bat Project, North Phoenix
    The candidate will report to AGFD Phoenix headquarters and be responsible for data entry of Legacy reports into AGFD Bats database. Knowledge of Microsoft office (Word, Excel), understanding of mapping and TOPO is a plus; Database entry experience desired but will train. Contact: Nancy Renison, bat biologist, at NRenison@azgfd.gov, (623) 236-7529.

    April 1 – October 31
    Summer Host - Tonto Creek Hatchery, Payson
    Wildlife area hosts live on site, assist with facility maintenance and interact with visitors. Additional duties include providing change for feed machines, cleaning visitor restrooms, and other duties as needed. Hosts are on duty from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and on weekdays when there are large groups of visitors. Host should have good communication and interpersonal skills, enjoy talking with different types of people, be able to provide excellent customer service, and accept and follow supervision/instruction from hatchery employees. Accommodations along with fresh water, electrical, propane and septic are provided. To provide references and be interviewed via phone, contact Les Bell at (623) 236-7680 or lbell@azgfd.gov.

    Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Page Springs Wildlife Area Trail Maintenance
    Volunteers assist with trail maintenance, using hand tools such as rakes, shovels and clippers. This is a cooperative project with the Northern Arizona Audubon Society. Contact Les Bell at lbell@azgfd.gov or (623) 236-7680.

    First and third Thursday every month, 7-10 p.m. - Volunteer Shotgun Instructor or Range Officer for Women’s Shooting Program
    Volunteers will instruct women of all ages in the shotgun shooting sports. Coaches will assist beginners in shotgun shooting form and skill. Range Safety Officers will watch over range and ensure safety among all participants. Applicants must be at least 21 years old. Shooting experience, basic knowledge of firearms and firearms safety, and some teaching/public speaking experience desired, but not required.Benefits to volunteers include free shooting at the main range and discounts at local sporting goods locations. Contact Ben Avery Shooting Facility at (623) 582-8313.

    Year round - Range Safety Officers at Ben Avery Shooting Facility
    Responsibilities include checking the safe condition of customer firearms, observing participants while they are shooting on the range, maintaining safe operation of the shooting line, and providing superior customer service by answering customer questions about firearms. Contact Les Bell at lbell@azgfd.gov or (623) 236-7680.

    April 15 to ongoing - Upper Verde River Wildlife Area Host, 8 miles NW of Chino Valley
    Host should enjoy talking with different types of people, be able to provide excellent customer service, and accept and follow supervision/instruction from manager. Host duties include interacting with visitors, picking up litter, cleaning visitor restrooms, and other duties as needed. Knowledge of birding and Arizona wildlife is a plus. Applicants will need to provide references and will be interviewed via a phone interview with manager. Contact Les Bell at lbell@azgfd.gov or (623) 236-7680.

    April 26 & 27 - Paria Point Wildlife Catchment Redevelopment, north of Flagstaff and west of Page
    Volunteers and equipment will be helicoptered to and from the staging area/ camping area each day. Redevelopment includes taking apart the existing wildlife catchment and fence, cutting some trees, digging with a shovel, cutting pipes and other materials, and building a new wildlife catchment. Contact Sophia Fong, 12B wildlife manager at (928) 645-6843, or email SFong@azgfd.gov.

    May 2, 3, 4 – AGFD Turtle Trapping, Papago Park / Phoenix Zoo
    The pond in the park is full of exotic turtles, and in an effort to eradicate them or from expanding into nearby waterways, we will be trapping turtles and removing all female turtles. The removed turtles will be turned over to Phoenix Herpetological Society so they can be placed into responsible homes. Contact Audrey Owens at (623) 236-7504, or e-mail aowens@azgfd.gov.

    May 17 & 18 – Arizona Antelope Foundation fence project, Flagstaff
    Volunteers will be removing the pasture fences and maintaining the allotment boundary fence on the Lake Mary Allotment. A free steak dinner is provided for all volunteers on Saturday night. Contact Henry Provencio at (928) 214-2436, or e-mail hprovencio@fs.fed.us.

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    Posted on 23rd April 2008
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups | No Comments »

    Clark Jungle Hammock

    For you guys who like packing in, this is a neat looking product: Clark Jungle Hammock

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    Posted on 23rd April 2008
    Under: Products | No Comments »

    Some Common Sense From A Non-Hunter

    Wow. It’s not often I come across sensible comments regarding hunting from a non-hunter. The views expressed by Rachel Lucas in this blog post were as reasoned and thoughtful as they come. Bravo - and not just because I agree!

    Some excerpts:

    Well all rightee then. According to Walter, all those millions of humans over the last 150,000 years who killed animals with any weapon other than a bow and arrow weren’t “true hunters”. I bet it sure felt like hunting to them, using spears and clubs.

    Also according to Walter, it is not “hunting” if you hide from the animals or use bait to lure them. Because clearly, the pure-hearted people of the past didn’t do those things. They stood right out in the open and asked the wildebeest to come forward for slaughter.

    And then guns had to come along and ruin everything! NOW people start hiding from the animals they want to kill. NOW human beings grasp the concept of bait, which they apparently somehow managed to avoid figuring out for all these millenia.

    Riiiight. If you say so Walter.

    Even the comments were pretty decent. Well done to all who took part, over there.

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    Posted on 23rd April 2008
    Under: Hunting | 1 Comment »


    For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 17, 2008
    Contact: Daniel Patterson (520) 906-2159; Carol Goldberg (202) 265-7337

    Rangers Want Agencies to Help Hunting & Fishing by Ending Reckless Off-Roading

    TUCSON - This summer, federal agencies must figure out how to implement a 2007 Executive Order by President Bush directing federal land management agencies to do everything in their power to “expand and enhance hunting opportunities.” The biggest conflict limiting hunting and fishing on federal lands is expanding off-road vehicle traffic on federal wild lands, according to a petition filed today by Rangers for Responsible Recreation, a network of retired law enforcement officers and land managers.

    Under Executive Order 13443, national park, forest, public land and refuge systems are to develop “a comprehensive Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Plan” by August 17, 2008, the one-year anniversary of Bush’s directive. That plan, in turn, would commit these agencies to “a 10-year agenda for fulfilling the actions” that promote hunting and fishing over all other uses, including off-road vehicles (ORVs).

    “Off-road abuse is unquestionably a top threat to hunting and fishing in America,” stated Mike Penfold of Rangers for Responsible Recreation, a network organized by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). “Good hunting and fishing requires relative quiet, while ORVs are usually about speed, dust & mud, and the roar of an engine. Currently, the two do not fit well together.” Mr. Penfold is an avid hunter and angler who owns a hunting lodge in Montana, and worked 37 years with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and White House Council on Environmental Quality.

    The Rangers petition was filed today with the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, which is charged with overseeing the order’s implementation, as well as the directors of the National Park, National Forest and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, and the Bureau of Land Management. The petition points out that the EO 13443 unavoidably entails much more stringent restrictions to keep ORVs from driving in fishing streams and confined to designated trails that do not harm hunting or fishing opportunities.

    The petition cites a recent survey of state game and fish officials by the Isaak Walton League which found broad agreement that “ORVs negatively impacted hunting, fishing and habitat in their states.” The Rangers also point to an array of studies, testimony and other evidence from both state and federal wild land agencies showing worsening conflict between hunters & anglers and off-roaders.

    “If the President’s order is more than lame-duck posturing then ending reckless off-roading must be the meat of any plan that meaningfully benefits hunting and fishing,” added Daniel Patterson, an Arizona hunter and Southwest PEER Director who organized the Rangers coalition. “America desperately needs a strong coordinated federal approach to protect hunting and fishing from on-going off-road abuse of our wild lands.”

    Last month, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, chaired by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), held groundbreaking oversight hearings on “The Impacts of Unmanaged Off-Road Vehicles on Federal Land.” Senate hearings are also likely to be scheduled as the Bush administration struggles to define its own wildlife legacy.


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    Posted on 22nd April 2008
    Under: Politics and More, Press Releases | No Comments »