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    2009 January - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    Archive for January, 2009

    The Curse - Is It Hereditary?

    Any of you who know me know that I am either hopelessly incompetent, or jinxed. Or both. I have foiled assitants who have tried to help me get an elk, who attempted to guide me into Coues, and especially - have broke the confidence of many people who thought they could help me kill a javelina. Finally, after waiting 10 years, I could put the phenomenon to the test; was “the curse” hereditary?

    Reaching 10 years of age, my daughter took her Hunter’s Ed class this year, and I took it along with her. She loved the class, and I was a proud papa when her classmates voted her Top Candidate. Now to put those newfound skills to use!

    Our javelina hunt was off to a stumbling start - it should have been an omen. We missed the draw, and patiently waited for leftover tags. Finally, sent in our apps for the leftovers and.. “Arrrrgggh” - Promptly had them sent back because they arrived a day early. We turned around and re-mailed them, and Mikaela was ecstatic when our tags arrived. A 37B archery tag for me, a 33/37A/37B Junior tag for her.

    The next step in the process was Christmas. “Excited” was an understatement when she unwrapped her new (new to her), appropriately-sized, break action .223 Time marched on, and a cloudy, rainy day in early January found us at the Usery range, getting used to the new rifle. I was nervous - she didn’t do well on the range for her Hunter’s Ed class, and that was with a .22 I had a bit of trepidation as we got set up at our shooting station. She is right handed, but left eye dominant, and that was the root of some of her shooting issues. I let her shoot left-handed, so she could close her right eye. I coached her on sight picture, breathing, and body positioning. She aced the afternoon - the first full box of rounds, shot at 50 yards, saw every round in a 3″ circle. Moving out to 100 yards for the second box saw her put every one within an 8″ circle. Out of bullets, and not wanting too much of a good thing, I decided she was good to go. Up next - “The Hunt”

    You couldn’t have assembled a more proficient bunch of pig killers. From AZSJ , JLG - The Pig Whisperer, a virtual javelina doomsday machine, along with his 2 learned compadres dank and kphunter (hangs out at both sites) are Master Glassers; add in our own rk - rk is a “flats-pig-hunting specialist”, and myself. I like to think of myself as a well-read student of javelina hunting - a theorist, if you will, but one with no practical success….

    The plan was made - meet at the Circle K in Oracle. From there, JLG would lead us to javelina land. Miky and I arrived a little early, and added to the whole experience by indulging in a breakfast burrito and coffee/hot chocolate while we waited. Soon the others arrived, and we headed convoy style, into the wilds beyond. If we were a yard off of the main road, we were 20 miles. Narrow, winding trails through canyons and around switchbacks; single-lane bridges, muckholes and along a road where there was no shoulder, and nothing but air when you looked out your side window. Finally, we arrived, and to add to the beauty, within view of snow covered mountains and clouds lower than the peaks.

    We quickly divided into vectors, and started to glass.

    We glassed and glassed, and glassed some more

    rk headed off to the south on foot. Looking for Coues or pigs.

    Every hour or so, we pulled up and moved along the canyon, to re-set and begin the search again. All those eyes, all those optics - there just [I]had[/I] to be pigs out there somewhere!

    Dad glassing

    JLG Glassing

    KP and dank glassing

    Miky glassing

    And so it went. 9 o’clock, then 11. Stop for a snack. Then we move on. A deer here and there. Lots of cows. But not a javelina yet….

    We could see the clouds burning off of the Galiuros to the east…

    Tons of open country to the north, on the opposite side of the canyon we were on..

    To the west, rolling hills at the base of the snowy mountains. Pig nirvana, in every direction!

    The weather was awesome - sunny, and warm. Imagine being in your t-shirts, within view of the snow!

    We worked our way east, and finally - began to work our way back. Never did the confidence of the Javelina All-Stars wane. These guys knew what they were doing, and their mission was an honorable one. Nose to the grindstone, we never let up for a second.

    Finally though, the afternoon was drawing to a close. Unfortunately, my wife is not well, and had been alone since noon. With an hour and 45 minute drive ahead, Miky and I reluctantly said our good-byes, thanked those assembled for their efforts and companionship, and headed back towards civilization. We really needed to be heading north.

    Imagine my surprise when the phone started ringing. I answered it, heard “Marshall??!!” and immediately the call was dropped. A few minutes later it rang again. It was the Pig Whisperer, and in spite of the bad reception, I could hear the excitement in his voice. “Pigs! Marshall! We have pigs!!” No way, I thought to myself. “How many?”, I asked. “At least 3, but I think more! Are you coming back??” I looked at the clock, and did some mental calculations… 20 minutes back, 30-60 minutes, stalk and shoot. Clean kill, another hour to lug, clean and pack into coolers. Not a clean shot - who knows how long? 2 hours, best case scenario. With a lump in my throat, I told JLG that I was sorry - we couldn’t turn back. Mikaela was really upset, but after a nap we talked about it and she started to come around. She’s already chattering about “the guys” and a fall tag.

    I want to thank JLG, dank, kp and rk for giving up some time, gas money, and a lot of effort in trying to hook my daughter up with her first javelina. They all volunteered - there was no browbeating involved, JLG especially, even after the fact, was still wracking his brain trying to conjure up another jaunt! My family situation isn’t typical, and a short day afield for Mikaela and I is probably equivalent to a week for many of you. We try and pack a lot of fun and experience into our limited outings. She’s a good kid, and has had a lot of responsibility put on her since she was little. I explained to her last night how disappointed I was too but that inevitably she will learn that doing the right thing is never the easiest thing. Some day she will be glad that we made the choice we did that day. All in all, we had a blast, and that day will last forever.

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    Posted on 31st January 2009
    Under: General, Hunting | 1 Comment »

    I recently received this in an e-mail. Please note that I have not attempted to contact the author, in order to verify its authenticity…

    Published on Sunday, January 18, 2009 7:09 PM MST


    I would like to put rumors to rest about the Ammunition Accountability Act proposed last legislative session and let the gun-owning community know it is my intention to make sure this bill never sees the light of day.

    Many within the gun-owning community are nervous about this legislation and rightly so. But I want you to know this bill was never put on an agenda in its originating chamber, which means it died and never had a chance of passing last session.

    For background, last year’s proposed legislation required the manufacturer to code all ammunition in a database on every ammunition sale. Doing so would track how much ammunition was purchased, by whom and what calibers. All ammunition that is not coded must be destroyed. The provisions of this bill would also charge gun owners an additional 5-cent tax on every round.

    If this same legislation is introduced again this session, I will work to ensure the bill dies once again.

    Let me be clear about my position on this issue: Every single one of those provisions is totally unacceptable. I will work to ensure that this bill goes nowhere again so gun owners can rest easy. Opposing this legislation is at the top of my agenda.

    The gun-owning community has nothing to fear regarding this issue in Arizona. This issue received no support in the Legislature, and given the new makeup of the body this year, this bill will have absolutely no support again.

    Bill Konopnicki

    Arizona House of Representatives


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    Posted on 31st January 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Hunting, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Back In The Saddle Again

    Not sure if the Holiday derailed me, or maybe I’ve just been swamped/stressed at work, but if you are one of my thousands of adoring fans you’ve probably noticed that the ol Desert Rat Blog has been kinda light lately.

    No fear, the Holidays are past, the honey-do’s mostly caught up, and even a new job in a couple of weeks so hopefully the blog will be up to the same high standard soon.

    As always, I do appreciate folks stopping by…

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    Posted on 31st January 2009
    Under: Archery, Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General, Hunting | No Comments »

    Ducks Unlimited Fundraiser

    Gold Canyon DU Chapter — annual dinner, Feb. 28 Windemere Hotel in Mesa,
    doors open at 6:00 p.m. with dinner at 7:15 p.m., auction starts at 8:00 p.m.

    Ticket Prices: $60 for single, $90 for couple, $40 for youth, $1000 for corporate table.

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    Posted on 27th January 2009
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Unit 42 Clean Up

    Another awesome project. Well done to AZGF and helpers too!

    Dear Volunteer,

    Thanks for helping out on the first ever unit 42 clean up event. The main clean up and activities will take place on Saturday February 7, 2009. Directions to the camp are below and on the attached map. The roads are paved all the way with the exception of the last ¼ mile of graded dirt road to the camping area. If you are just coming out for the day please stop in at the information area for some guidance on where to park and what will be happening. If you are parking a trailer or pitching a tent we can also point you in the right direction at the info area. We will have some water available but you will need to bring any food with you or head to Wickenburg or Tonopah for supplies (20 miles each way). Our fire pits will be available to anyone wishing to cook or warm up during the day and night.

    We will have various Information and Education displays and activities going on Saturday. Bring the kids and you may find something fun to do during the breaks from cleaning up trash. Some of the activities planned include an air gun station, geocaching, coloring, and maybe a live animal or two to check out.

    I hope to see you there.

    Craig Heath
    Wildlife Manager III, Region IV
    Arizona Game and Fish Department
    9140 E. 28th Street
    Yuma, Arizona 85365

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    Posted on 25th January 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Events, Hunting | No Comments »

    AES Banquet Approaching

    The Arizona Elk Society will be hosting there 8th annual fundraising banquet on March 21st. TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW Tickets cost $70 for single seats and you can buy tables and corporate tables still. We will have many silent auction and live auction items including the Commissioner’s elk tag which went for 195k last year.

    So come on out and support the AES. Don’t forget what we do is not only for the elk, it helps all wildlife.

    Also visit our website www.arizonaelksociety.org

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    Posted on 21st January 2009
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Maryland Face Hunting Closures

    This in from the US Sportsmen’s Alliance. This is scary stuff. Think it can’t happen here? Wanna bet?

    Maryland Face Hunting Closures

    Howard County Regulations Will Destroy Hunting

    Howard County, Maryland supervisors tomorrow will hear a proposal that could effectively close most, if not all, hunting in one of the state’s major hunting areas.

    The Executive of Howard County, Ken Ulman, proposed a new set of overly restrictive regulations that would:

    * prohibit hunting on a parcel of land less than 10 acres
    * double the minimum distance for shooting near a building in the county, to 300 yards;
    * prohibit shooting within 100 yards of any public road in the county
    * make it illegal for a hunter to shoot in the direction of a building or a campground should the distance fall within the maximum range of the firearm being used, thus making it almost impossible to use a rifle or shotgun slug under any practical circumstances.

    The extreme restrictiveness of the regulations makes it practically impossible for most hunters to lawfully comply.

    To block these regulations and prevent similar ones from emerging elsewhere in the state, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) urges all Howard County, Maryland sportsmen to contact the each member of Howard County Council and tell them to support these over the top, anti-hunting regulations! The meeting takes place at 7:30pm.

    Click Here to get the contact information for the members of the Howard County Council.

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    Posted on 20th January 2009
    Under: General, Hunting, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Alarm Bells Ring- Key Obama Job Goes to Animal Rights Supporter

    This from the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance

    Alarm Bells Ring- Key Obama Job Goes to Animal Rights Supporter

    Harvard Law Professor to Head Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

    The new head of a federal office with review authority over all agency rules has an extensive record supporting animal rights and even calling for the banning of hunting. This raises the possibility of pro- hunting, fishing, and trapping rules being deep sixed before they ever get a chance to move forward.

    The new head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will be law professor Cass Sunstein. Picked by President Obama from his perch at Harvard, Sunstein’s long time positions on animal rights immediately ring alarm bells for sportsmen.

    Sunstein has been an unyielding advocate for the animal rights movement. He has written extensively on the subject and shown a strong dislike towards hunting, going so far as to say that “we might ban hunting altogether, at least if it’s sole purpose is human recreation.” He also has suggested that it makes sense to begin “allowing suits on behalf of animals.” As the editor of a well known 2004 book on animal rights, Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions; he compiled legal arguments made by numerous leaders of the movement. You can read some of Sunstein’s thoughts on animal rights by Clicking Here.

    The concern over Sunstein’s views stems from the authority he will have as the head of the OIRA. While few people have ever heard of it, the OIRA has significant power over regulations coming from federal agencies.

    A part of the federal budget office, the OIRA has been given extensive authority to perform data based cost/benefit analyses of all new federal regulations. Though not allowed to issue opinions on the merits of any proposed regulations, the OIRA can block rules if it considers the supporting data not strong.

    It requires little imagination to envision an ardent opponent of hunting finding numerous technical reasons to put the kibosh on pro-hunting regulations for years to come.

    The USSA will continue monitoring these developments.

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    Posted on 20th January 2009
    Under: General, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Jerks With Guns

    That’s how the public sees us. I am so tired of stories like this.. These people are not hunters. They are jerks. Gutless morons. Mark my words - PETA won’t be the end of us, people like this will be. And the ones who litter. And the ones who shoot signs. For the thousandth time - we need to educate new hunters and our peers alike. Those who can’t or won’t - conduct themselves appropriately need to be driven from our ranks.

    From this story: Hunters flout law near Chandler park

    A bird watcher at Chandler’s Veterans Oasis Park discovered a pile of dead doves 20 yards away from the park fence and snapped a photo.

    The shocking scene from December was not only distasteful, but also illegal.

    According to Tim Holt, wildlife manager supervisor for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, piling up the dead doves without claiming how many were taken is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

    “The pile is an obvious violation of game and fish laws,” Holt said. “It’s not a common violation but it is a bad one because it paints a bad picture of dove hunting.”

    You can read the whole story at the link above. There is no excuse for this. It makes me sick.

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    Posted on 14th January 2009
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting | No Comments »

    Bethany Drops An Elk

    I have been putting up pictures of Bethany’s success fr awhile, and have decided that I want my friend Greg McBride of Trail’s End Taxidermy in Gilbert, to adopt me.

    Here is the story that Greg recently sent to me in an e-mail…

    Bethany did it again! Shot her first muzzleloader elk Saturday. Shot it in the snow bedded down at 60 yards. She had to wait for a bull to move his rack so she could hit the cow with a good shot. Both were bedded down with the bull slightly in front. It was 8 degree’s below zero that morning. Potential boyfriends better be carefull, she kind of hard on the hearts (Desert Rat note: as proven by a photo of a fresh elk heart, shot dead-center)……………

    Bethany even carried out one of the hind quarters, that’s a heavy load for a young lady.

    Hope you all had a wonderfull Christmas, we took the entire family on this one. Had a great weekend.

    Greg Mcbride

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    Posted on 12th January 2009
    Under: General, Hunting | No Comments »

    Go Cards!

    I know that this is a hunting and fishing blog, but I have to toss out a “Well done!” to the Arizona Cardinals. I am not a football fanatic, and could barely tell you the difference between a slant and a fade. That being said, I have followed the Cards all year. I have been dazzled by their moments of brilliance, and mad as a hornet when they inexplicably pull a “Keystone Cops” routine. I think I have watched almost every game this year (when aired).

    In the same way that winters in Arizona make the summers worthwhile, these past 3 games have made the poor performances earlier in the season worthwhile. These guys are making an awesome run, and playing some excellent football. Of course I hope they make it to the Superbowl (and now I think it’s actually possible!) but regardless of how far they get, props to Coach Whiz, his Staff, and the players. It’s nice to be proud to be a fan!

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    Posted on 11th January 2009
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting | No Comments »

    Congratulations to G&F Award Recipients

    Honor your fellow conservationists at the Commission Awards Banquet

    There are still tickets available for the Arizona Game and Fish Commission’s Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix North, 10220 N. Metro Parkway East in Phoenix.

    The banquet recognizes individuals and organizations that have contributed to Arizona’s wildlife resources and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The event begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and presentation of the commission awards.

    This year’s award recipients include:

    Award of Excellence – Senator Linda Gray, Clyde Halstead, John Wintersteen, Chandler Rod and Gun Club, Off-Highway Vehicle Legislative Work Group, United Arizona Anglers Foundation.

    Youth Environmentalist of the Year
    – Arizona Envirothon State Champions (Clint Hales, Zach Hare, Natalie Lucas, Michelle Scmoker and Rachel Stringer, all at Sinagua High School).

    Outdoor Writer of the Year – J.C. Amberlyn.

    Media of the Year – Arizona Boating and Watersports.

    Conservation Organization of the Year – Phoenix Zoo.

    Conservationist of the Year – Marty Underwood.

    Environmentalist of the Year – Warner Glenn.

    Volunteers of the Year – Steve Hopkins, Dave Hoyle.

    Educator of the Year
    – Debi Molina-Walters.

    License Dealer of the Year
    – Sportsman’s Warehouse.

    Outdoor Woman of the Year – Betty Mason.

    Wildlife Habitat Stewardship Award – Peggy Ingham

    Individual tickets are $50. Tables of 10 are $470 - a discount of $30. To obtain a reservation form, contact Marty Fabritz at (623) 236-7281 or visit www.azgfd.gov/inside_azgfd/commission_awards.shtml

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    Posted on 6th January 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Events, Press Releases | No Comments »