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

    Archive for November, 2008

    PETA Uses Video Games

    Just so you all know what we are dealing with….

    From the US Sportsmen’s Alliance

    Video Game Onslaught From PETA

    Continuing its long tradition of going over the top, PETA is exploring new ways of advancing its radical animal rights agenda. Now it is marketing online video games to spread its message, including the Thanksgiving spectacular, Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals.

    The game is a virtual gore fest as the user gets to pluck turkey feathers and remove internal organs, complete with dripping blood. PETA has indicated that it is using the game around Thanksgiving to “raise awareness of the treatment of turkeys in slaughterhouses.”

    Given the attention the game has already gotten, an unnamed PETA spokesperson has been quoted on numerous websites pledging that the organization will be following this game up with new titles.

    “We first turned to videogames years ago in an effort to reach out to young guys, but as we dug deeper, we realized that the gaming audience was much bigger and more diverse than we had initially thought,” the spokesman said. “Given the huge success that we’ve had with Super Chick Sisters and Mama Kills Animals, we will definitely be creating many, many more games.”

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    Posted on 30th November 2008
    Under: General | No Comments »

    OTC Archery - Be Aware!

    From AZGFD:

    Archery-only deer hunters: Some hunting areas are not open during December nonpermit-tag hunts

    Nov. 25, 2008

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department wants to remind archery-only deer hunters with over-the-counter permits there are a number of Game Management Units that are not open hunting areas for the 2008 December hunt, as in past years.

    Game Management Units 17A, 20A, 22, 23, 37A, and 42 are not included in the December 2008 archery-only season. These units will not be open until the Jan. 1-31, 2009 season.

    Archery-only deer hunters are reminded to thoroughly review the 2008 Arizona Hunting and Trapping Regulations before taking to the field for their deer hunt. A 2009 general hunting license is also required to hunt beginning Jan. 1, 2009.

    Harvest percentages are the reason for the structure change. In units where the archery harvest exceeded 20 percent of the overall take, the seasons have been shortened, or in some cases, they have become part of the draw system.

    The reason for this change is to allocate the harvest among deer hunters in proportion to the demand for that weapon choice. In some management units, the harvest proportion for certain weapon types exceeded the demand.

    The same system applies for units where the harvest is less than 10 percent of the total harvest. In those cases, the season was extended. Game Management Units 4A, 4B, 8, 9 and 19A benefitted from this and will see a new season from Jan. 1-16, 2009 for over-the-counter archery-only deer hunters.

    The 2008-09 Arizona Hunting and Trapping Regulations can be viewed or downloaded from www.azgfd.gov/rules.

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    Posted on 29th November 2008
    Under: Archery, Arizona News, Hunting | No Comments »

    Rory’s Tips - Fishing Info

    Rory Aikens from AZGFD always provides great info:

    “I’m writing this while rain is coming down outside – this is great weather for ducks and trout. So break out the rain gear and the trout tackle.

    Here’s another idea – turn Black Friday into Blue Friday or maybe Rainbow Friday – don’t go shopping, go fishing. It’s a great way to trim off the turkey and all the trimmings. You can burn calories and catch a low-calorie meal at the same time. Then you can smile inwardly (or outwardly) every time you think about the crowded shopping malls you are not at.

    Don’t forget that the Mearns’ quail season opens Friday – and this is going to be a Mearns’ season they will be talking about for years, if not decades.

    We stocked 3,500 trout in Tempe Town Lake (see picture above) – it was a superb fishing festival once again. Just want to thank to the good folks at Tempe Town Lake, Cabelas’ and Bass Pro for helping to make it such an exciting event. The kayaks proved to be a superb addition – great going Okie.

    For all you anglers, that means the Town Lake is primed and ready to provide rainbow action. Saguaro and Canyon lakes have both been stocked with rainbows. They have been catching rainbows along the Lower Salt River for a couple of weeks now.

    Also try Parker Canyon or Patagonia lakes in southern Arizona (Mearns’ quail territories).

    This weather should cool down all the lakes, making them happier places for trout to abide, but the same weather will probably send the warmwater fish down deep. That means it is time to go deeper, as least most of the time.

    It’s tough to beat drop shots this time of year. Keep in mind that even in winter, bass will still come into the shallows at times, especially in the warmer afternoons. Try reaction baits such as spinners, buzzbaits and the like to locate these bass (they will often hit late but reveal their presence), and then be ready with a flutter down bait strategically cast to the spot where the miss occurs.

    But striped bass fishing at Lake Pleasant might still be decent. Just don’t expect to find many stripers in the main body of the lake – they typically congregate along submerged creek channels (fish freeways) in places like the Agua Fria Arm of Pleasant. Try slow trolling, or even back-trolling, using frozen anchovies on one rod and maybe a Rapala Countdown on another, then have another rod rigged and ready with a small KastMaster. Once you hook into one striper, keep in mind that stripers are schooling fish — chum with bits of anchovy to hold the school in place so you can catch others.

    You will likely still find crappies at times as they start to congregate into larger schools in open water. The active crappies will often be 15 feet deep, even if the water depth can range from 30 to 50 feet deep. When the large crappie schools form, they will look like inverted Christmas trees on your fishing finder – which is appropriate for this time of year. It’s a little early yet, but it could happen.

    This is also a good time of year to target yellow bass (in the Midwest they call then stripies) using live minnows or small quarter-ounce KastMasters (gold can often work best). They might not be big in size, but they sure fight. Not bad eating either. Yellows can be found in Saguaro Lake (my recommended spot), Canyon Lake and Apache Lake.

    Once this weather front passes, consider a trip to Lees Ferry (or take your rain gear and go). The trout fishing has been spectacular, the weather nice and ironically, few anglers out enjoying some of the best trout fishing in the West. Go figure.

    So go out and enjoy some wet weather for a change. Isn’t it great to start the winter off once again with saturated soils? If we can get some snow pack on top of those soils, you may want to have Santa bring you lots of new fishing tackle.

    Maybe I’ll see you out there.”

    Rory A

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    Posted on 28th November 2008
    Under: Fishing, General | No Comments »

    Black Friday? Nahhh

    So your wife is heading out at 5:00 AM to snag all these “deals”. Fighting crowds, long lines… uh huh. They can have it.

    While she is out in that madness, you can shop for yourself, from the comfort of your home; you can even do it online.

    Some suggestions?

    For the blossoming chef in your life, consider some spice blends and brines from my friend Denny - the WildCheff. These great spices are made for sportsmen, by a guy who knows wild game. Mmm

    Know someone who could use a pair of binos or spotting scope? What about lens cleaners, tripods, or a pan-head adaptor? Think about Vortex products. The best online prices can be found at Jayhawk Optics.

    Alpine Archery makes some of the best equipment I have seen. For the bowhunter on your list, they have bows, sites, quivers, stabilizers and more! Check them out.

    Maybe your shopping frenzy has been so successful that you decide to reward yourself. Hmmm… where to start? Maybe a a new pack from Crooked Horn Outfitters, or a new arrow rest from Trophy Taker - in my opinion, they make the best in the industry. How about a new sight for your bow or shotgun from Vital Gear? They make some truly innovative products.

    Some scent eliminator from Natural Predator would make for some awesome stocking stuffers. The Tru-Carbon H2O packs are awesome and inexpensive. Stick a bar or two of cover scent from Trophy Blend scents in those socks. Don’t take the cover off though!

    Maybe your dad needs a new set of camo. For goodness’ sake, have a look at Cactuflage for a camo that is effective, and made in the USA!

    Last but not least, for the readers on your list, I would pick up a copy of Ted Nugent’s book - Ted, White and Blue. Seriously, it is entertaining for sure, but has a ton of great information as well.

    And there you have it. Momma is still out fighting the crush, and you’re done by noon. Lots of time to head out for a quick quail hunt.

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    Posted on 28th November 2008
    Under: Products | No Comments »

    Great Weekend For Mearns’ Quail

    Montezuma quails revenge: Mearns’ hunting in AZ is what the doctor ordered

    Nov. 26, 2008

    Fresh rains should make scenting conditions fantastic this weekend

    PHOENIX — Bird lovers: Forget the turkey. The day after Thanksgiving is the Mearns’ quail hunting season opener.

    “This will probably be one of the best Mearns’ seasons in my lifetime,” Randy Babb, an ardent quail hunter and the Information and Education Program Manager for the Game and Fish Department’s Mesa regional office.

    Nov. 28 kicks off a season that looks to be one that will go down in the record books report Game and Fish biologists. Last year’s season (2007-08) was one of the best in years; combine that with all the well-timed seasonal rains this summer and the result should provide superb back-to-back seasons.

    “The amount of coveys we encountered last year on any given day of hunting was easily in the double digits, depending on how long we hunted,” said Babb.

    Babb says the rainfall that came in spring and summer of 2008 should provide all the ingredients for excellent reproduction from the healthy holdover populations of last season.

    “Hunters should keep their eyes open for cottontails while they hunt the rolling scrub-oak covered grasslands in southern Arizona,” adds Babb. “Their numbers are up due to the excellent conditions, and they make a tasty addition to any quail dinner.”

    The season runs from Nov. 28, 2008 until Feb. 8, 2009. The daily bag limit for this challenging polka-dotted game bird is eight. A general hunting license is required for hunters 14 and older. Hunters are reminded that a 2009 license is required to hunt beginning Jan. 1, 2009. Licenses are available at all department offices and more than 300 license dealers statewide. (Click here for the regulations on quail season and other small game, see page 69.)

    The southern Arizona country that Mearns’ inhabit will be very active this time of the year with other outdoor enthusiasts including rifle deer season. Hunters are encouraged to wear “hunter orange” when taking to the field to make their presence visible to all other users in the field.

    About Mearns’ quail hunting
    Mearns’ quail occur primarily in southern Arizona in the grassland hillsides with about a 30 percent over-story of oak or occasionally mesquite or other trees. Their diet consists of underground bulbs and tubers that they dig for with their long toenails. A good indication that birds are in the area is to check north facing hillsides, draws, or cutbacks for extensive fresh diggings (still moist soil) around grassy areas.

    While many hunters prefer to catch the birds in the open flats, these “draws,” and “fingers” in the terrain can provide a good place to find birds, although a clear shooting lane might be harder to come by.

    Do I need a dog to hunt Mearns’?
    It is highly recommended. Mearns’ hold extremely tight which makes them nearly impossible to locate without a well-trained hunting dog. Many consider Mearns’ the most difficult species of quail to hunt.

    With that said, is not impossible to hunt them without a dog. In addition, if there is a year to take on the challenge, this is the one. Obviously, your success will be much lower than those who follow a brace of pointers.

    However, once a covey is located, a hunter must methodically work the area, kicking every bush and piece of cover to get the birds up. This year’s birds may be more likely to flush and can offer some shooting. Montezuma quail typically flush only a short distance and it is often difficult to find single birds.

    Dogless-hunters should focus their efforts in areas that are less favorable to those with dogs to minimize their competition and put them on birds that may not subjected to hunting pressure. Try areas that are closer to the 6,000-foot elevation with more oak and juniper woodland cover and steeper terrain. These areas should hold bird and offer determined hunters a chance a bagging this coveted bird.

    Suggested hunting method is to work with a partner, have one guy a third of the way up the slope and another just off the base in the bottom and work together. Even that will be difficult, as the birds hold so tight you are likely to walk right by them. Your best hope is to stumble right into the middle of them. Start by hunting the bottom of the draws. Hunters will always find more birds in less accessible areas, especially as the season progresses.

    Some dedicated hunters will hunt them much like Coues’ deer hunting, driving to the end of a back road then hike away from the roadway to have some great-undisturbed Mearns’ country. While you might only bag a few birds, and a rabbit or two, the solitary time in the field is always worth the extra effort.

    If you find you have reached your Mearns’ limit, drop down in elevation and chase Gambel’s quail in the lower desert (2,500-3,500 elevation) to finish up your aggregate quail bag limit of 15 (only eight may be Mearns’) and take home two species of quail in one day – which is very rare.

    If you are adventurous, and you haven’t worn out your dogs, try hitting the open grasslands as sunset for scaled quail and take on the three species quest, the quail bonanza, or what some call - the quail grand slam. If there is a year that this challenge is worth taking up – this one might just be the one.

    Keep your head down, swing smooth and be safe!

    Safety Note:
    If you are a guest of another hunter with dogs, do not shoot rabbits on the ground. Ground shots should only be taken when the dog is healed or on a leash and the handler instructs that it is okay.

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    Posted on 27th November 2008
    Under: Arizona News, Hunting, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Deer #2 For Troy

    Troy Bengel, Pro Staffer for Natural Predator, with his 2nd deer of the season. Dang…..

    If you’re looking for an inexpensive, effective scent eliminator - have a look at these guys online!

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    Posted on 27th November 2008
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Thanksgiving Forecast From The WildCheff

    This holiday forecast provided courtesy of the Wild Cheff.

    SPECIAL THANKSGIVING DAY WEATHER ALERT: Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190 degrees. The kitchen will turn hot and humid. If you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder. During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side, while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will diminish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34 degrees in the refrigerator. Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

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    Posted on 27th November 2008
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Thankful For Hunting

    It’s real easy these days to focus on the negative. I thought today I’d post a story that was nice, and about hunting. Thanks to AzRednekRabbit, a regular on the AHT Forums for writing such a cool story. I’ll declare him “Guest Blogger” for the day, and let you see for yourself. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

    Hunting basically saved my life. I grew up on a small ranch and was given a little Daisy bb gun on one of my birthdays. I couldn’t have been older than five or six when I got it. I didn’t have any neighbors of friends to play with so I spent a lot of my time runnin’ around on five acres shooting pigeons and rabbits. My grandfather would give me a quarter per pigeon so I could get a pop from the soda machine. After the family started to split apart, for reasons not really mentionable, I really became lost and confused. I had a lot of issues that I was dealing with on my own that the family kinda wanted to lock in the closet. I found myself dealing with an issue that no child should ever face alone because my parents wouldn’t face reality and accept what had happened. I became very angry and held a grudge secretly for years. After moving from the farm after my parents divorced I moved to a “regular” neighborhood with neighbors and kids to play with. The problem was, that I was a country boy, fresh off the farm with horse puckey still on my shoes. I didn’t fit in with anybody so I had to adjust to the scenario. I became somebody I wasn’t because I was associating with people I shouldn’t have been. That’s when it all went downhill.

    Due to my “push it down and forget about it” mentality, I began to struggle with some serious depression and other emotional issues. I started to act out and get into fights. I was basically just a punk with an attitude and you couldn’t tell me anything. I figured, since I got myself this far on my own, why should I listen now. The older I got the worse I became. That’s when I found my Devil. I became a crystal meth addict in the middle of my struggle. I battled my addiction for years and it nearly killed me on a few occasions. I did whatever I could to get more dope and didn’t care who I hurt to get it. I was gone from home for weeks at a time and would go days and days without any food at all. I lost 130 pounds in about three months. Two weeks after I turned 18 I was cuffed in the back of a Peoria Police cruiser.

    I was charged with breaking and entering, possession of a burglary tool, burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle, and possession of stolen goods. I plea bargained down to just the possession of a burglary tool and got three wonderful years probation for it. Now I see that I’m lucky because I very well could have been shot. I did my three years of probation kinda on an up and down level. I’d do good for a while then I’d go back to meth. I did it for a long time until I had had enough but I had to find a replacement. It came in the form of a bow.

    As soon as I started shooting I was hooked. When I had a bow in my hand I didn’t care about anything else. I had hunted on the farm like I said above and in Safford with my cousins in the washes, but now I had the opportunity to do more. I started watching hunting shows a lot to learn what I could and then I just started going. I’d spend a few days tryin to get close enough to a deer for a shot then I’d come home. When in the field, I never thought about dope. My mind was clear. All the crap that happened to me as a kid went away with my urge to use. Over the years I learned more and more and I felt like it became a part of me. Now I don’t know what I’d do without it. I do know that I would have been dead or in jail had I never found it. I know as long as I have hunting season and my bow I’ll be alright. Hunting saved my life and it will continue to do so. I’m a hunter for life.

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    Posted on 27th November 2008
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Tame Deer Beheaded

    Tell me this isn’t a serial-killer in the making. Swick, twisted *&^%$$%#. I hope that society understand this is in no way, shape, or form - a hunter.

    Friggin’ scum.

    From this AP Article on AZCentral.com - Tame deer at Houston sanctuary beheaded

    A snippet:

    HOUSTON - A tame deer known as Mr. Buck has been found beheaded at a wildlife sanctuary in Houston.

    The remains of the child-friendly deer were discovered Tuesday at Bear Creek Pioneers Park. A bloodhound was used to try to track the killer.

    Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack says anyone who attacks an animal in captivity “is just the lowest of the low.”
    Authorities say someone cut through a remote fence to reach the animal, taking the deer’s head and antlers. The carcass was left behind.


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    Posted on 26th November 2008
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Trash Clean-Up In Arivaca

    The Arizona Chapter of Safari Club International is sponsoring a trash clean up effort on local ranches. The chapter is donating a rifle as the grand prize for the raffle. Arizona Chapter board members that are participating in the clean up are Tod Molesworth, Shane Stanley, Dave Dukat, Warner Smith and Gabe Paz, along with other members of the chapter.

    If you would like to volunteer, contact Officer Gabriel Paz (AZGFD) 520-388-4443 or gpaz@azgfd.gov. The clean up is December 6th and 7th, 2008, and will start at 8:00 AM. Lunch will be at Base Camp from 11:00 AM-1:00 PM. Please RSVP so enough food is provided.

    Volunteers should arrive at Base Camp off of the Batamote Road on the Marley Ranch. Mile post 17.6 off of the Arivaca Road. N 31º43.655, W 111º09.588. Take 1-19 South to Arivaca Junction (Amado) and exit west. Take the Arivaca Road to Mile Post 17.6 and go right (Northwest) 8 tenths of a mile to the Camp. Trash Bags and Dumpsters will be available at the campsite.

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    Posted on 26th November 2008
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Events | No Comments »

    Natural Predator Strikes Again

    Troy Bengel - Pro Staffer for Natural Predator.

    Awesome buck, Troy - Way to go!

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    Posted on 25th November 2008
    Under: General | No Comments »

    So - do they bug you?

    You may have noticed some new links in my posts. They are a different color than the links, I put in intentionally, and they have a double underline. You’ll notice when you click or even hover the cursor over those links, an “ad” for another site pops up.

    Yeah, it’s another crazy scheme that the boss dreamed up. :-) Me? As long as they don’t drive readers away, and they put another buck or two in my pocket - I say “What the heck…” I’m funny that way.

    What say you? Take a second and answer the poll I have posted on the right…

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    Posted on 24th November 2008
    Under: General | No Comments »