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

    Archive for February, 2009

    Be Sure and Consider Vipers

    Check out the Viper from Vortex Optics

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    Posted on 25th February 2009
    Under: General, Hunting, Products | No Comments »

    Cool Event At Lost Dutchman State Park

    Don’t have plans for Saturday night, Feb. 28?

    Spend Saturday evening over at Lost Dutchman State Park, where BTA (Boyce Thompson Arboretum) volunteer Andy Baldwin (also a professor at MCC and an experienced, hands-on “scorpion
    wrangler”) will be giving a talk about venomous critters of the Sonoran Desert.

    Are baby diamondback rattlers truly as potent at adults?

    Can you really be “poisoned” by a tarantula?

    Attend Andy’s talk and learn the answers to these and more….


    Dr. Andy Baldwin, biology faculty at Mesa Community College and
    summertime “Learn Your Lizards” walk leader at BTA will offer a talk at
    Lost Dutchman State Park on venomous animals of the Sonoran Desert on
    Saturday night, February 28.

    Be at the park’s auditorium at 7:00 p.m. - park admission includes the
    talk. Bring your kids, grandkids, nephews or nieces — Dr. Baldwin will have a
    few of his venomous ‘amigos along for “Show-N-Tell” time during his

    Don’t miss this — Andy is a charismatic and enthusiastic speaker, a resource
    when it comes to Sonoran desert critters and habitats — this should be
    a fun evening outing for the family. Lost Dutchman State Park is located off
    of SR 88, a few miles northeast of Apache Junction. For directions or more
    info about Lost Dutchman State Park, check out:


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

    Make Way For The Vortex Raptor

    For more information visit Vortex Online


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    Posted on 24th February 2009
    Under: General, Hunting, Products | No Comments »

    Finally A PETA Campaign That I Support!

    I received this gem from the US Sportsmen’s Alliance.

    Now Available: PETA Coffins

    Promotional coffins for humans is the latest sick idea from the even sicker minds at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

    A New Mexico based company, the Old Pine Box, has begun manufacturing all-wood coffins that feature slogans supporting PETA. Some of the slogans make quite a statement, such as: “Told You I Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead in Fur!”

    The coffins were put on sale in mid- December and have prices ranging from $620-$670. The price included a $75 contribution to PETA.

    The coffins are being built by Dienna Genther, a former construction worker turned entrepreneur who resides near Albuquerque. According to Genther, PETA approached her about making coffins.

    According to a New York based PETA spokesperson, Michael McGraw, the group expects a “healthy interest” in the coffins, “It’s the best way for people to continue to use their voice for animals in death,” he said.

    I can only hope that their campaign really takes off, and that their members use these in numbers beyond their expectations….

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    Posted on 23rd February 2009
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Bone Collector Television Show Rated #1 for January 2009

    Bone Collector Television Show Rated #1 for January 2009

    Overland Park, KS. - The new Bone Collector Television show on the Outdoor Channel has taken off to a flying start in its first month on the air. The show was rated #1 on the entire network, reaching 908,000 unique households during the month of January with a gross Nielsen rating of 3.07.

    Hosts Michael Waddell, Nick Mundt, and Travis “T-Bone” Turner take the Outdoor Channel viewers across the globe in the enthralling, always entertaining “warts and all” style that Outdoor Channel viewers have come to know and love. Hunts of all kinds will be represented - bow, muzzleloader, shotgun, and rifle.

    “We’re very excited about the positive reaction to the show”, said Mark Schaefer, Marketing Manager for Bushnell Outdoor Products, a major sponsor of the series. “Michael, Nick and T-Bone really make viewers feel like they are a part of the Bone Collector Brotherhood”.

    “We work hard to put together an entertaining and quality show for our viewers”, said Waddell. “We couldn’t be happier at how things have started off with the Bone Collector show”.

    Michael Waddell is arguably the outdoor industry’s most popular personality, and joining him in hosting Bone Collector is Nick Mundt - field producer, professional guide, and South Dakotan. Waddell and Mundt first met in Wyoming, and their easy-going demeanors and on-camera chemistry make for unforgettable footage. Rounding out the hosting brotherhood is Travis “T-Bone” Turner, the go-to-guy for anything archery, a constant cut-up, and the man with the uncanny ability to consistently take home big game.

    The Bone Collector airs on the Outdoor Channel Sundays at 9:30 pm, Wednesdays at 1:00 am and Thursdays at 5:00 pm, Eastern time.

    For more information, log on to the Outdoor Channel web site at www.outdoorchannel.com or Michael Waddell’s web site, www.michaelwaddell.com.

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    Posted on 23rd February 2009
    Under: Press Releases | No Comments »

    Digital Camera Adaptor from Vortex

    Go to the Vortex website to learn more!

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    Posted on 23rd February 2009
    Under: General, Hunting, Products | No Comments »

    The Millennium M300 Tree Seat

    The Millennium M300 Tree Seat™

    When it comes to success afield, sometimes you’ve gotta get down and dirty giving up your perch up high for a hunting setup on ground level. Whether you’re targeting deer, turkey, squirrel, ducks or dove, the M300 Tree Seat™ by Millennium, will provide you with ground-level comfort essential for remaining motionless as the minutes pass. Cooler in warm weather and quieter than cushions, the contoured, tight sling seat bottom makes waiting out the big ones a pleasure rather than a pain.

    The Millennium Tree Seat is not only comfortable, but it’s light weight, silent and easy to set up with a durable powder-coat finish that stands up to even the harshest of elements. The Textilene vinyl-coated polyester tight sling seat resists water and scent, and the backpacking shoulder strap makes toting the seat to your hunting location a breeze. For extra comfort, add the optional cold-weather camouflage seat pad.

    Just because you’re hunting low to the ground doesn’t mean you also have to lower your expectations for comfort and maneuverability. Try the Millennium Tree Seat and take ground hunting to the next level.

    Lifetime Warranty

    Retail: 69.95

    Check out www.MillenniumStands.com for more info.

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    Posted on 22nd February 2009
    Under: Press Releases, Products | No Comments »

    Check Out The Razor HD From Vortex!

    Go to the Vortex Website to learn more!

    Vortex Razor

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    Posted on 22nd February 2009
    Under: General, Hunting, Products | No Comments »

    New This Year From Vortex - The Kaibab

    Vortex just keeps on rolling out awesome products!


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    Posted on 21st February 2009
    Under: Conservation Groups, General, Hunting, Politics and More, Products | No Comments »

    Please Vote Yes on HB2235

    My friend Pete Cimellaro and the good folks at AZSFW have asked for our help:



    Most of the Sportsmen and Women receiving this email alert probably have very little knowledge of current legislation (House Bill 2235) which is being proposed by Sportsmen and Sportsmen Conservation Organizations. This legislation will be heard in the House Natural Resources and Rural Affairs Committee on Monday. I urge you to read the information below and immediately Call or Email the Committee members listed and urge them to vote “YES” on HB2235.

    Recent History

    As Sportsmen and Women we find ourselves in the middle of a fight to preserve something we all value very much, the Arizona Game & Fish Commission, Arizona Game & Fish Department and the System that binds us together.

    The Commission system has served wildlife and the people of Arizona very, very well. As Sportsmen, it is something none of us want to see changed; and yet the Commission itself has changed and this is where much of the problem lies. Special interests have proliferated: animal activists, environmental organizations, anti-hunters, and many other special interests are pushing their demands. With their responsibility to consider all wildlife, the Commission is trying to balance these demands; and unfortunately I believe sportsmen are often left out or maybe taken for granted. These factors and others are leading to the erosion of a very valuable partnership. It is this partnership we are trying to preserve in HB2235.

    In almost thirty years of attending Commission meetings, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, I had never witnessed the on going discord we have experienced in the last five years. Previously there were issues and disagreement; but we always were able to find a way around our differences. All parties were committed to making the system work.

    During the past five years Sportsmen who have been in attendance at Commission meetings or have been working with the Department have had many challenges. Because of this difficulty, fewer and fewer Sportsmen are going to Commission meetings. I believe the past two appointments, Robbie Woodhouse and Norm Freeman have helped, but the fact is they are still in the minority and relationships have not substantially improved. Some of the Department issues have improved with the appointment of the new director, Larry Voyles.

    During this period, Sportsmen’s voices and concerns have often been squelched or discounted by the Commission. The courtesy and civility demanded of a public commission has often been missing. Members of the public should be encouraged, not discouraged from participating in this process. We have always viewed ourselves as partners with the Department and Commission, and that relationship must be rekindled.

    Example of the Problem

    At the February Antelope Foundation board meeting, current Commissioner Bill McLean, told those of us in attendance that he wondered why Sportsmen and Representatives of Sportsmen Organizations no longer attended Commission meetings? He said the only ones showing up were the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Animal Defense League, etc. Mr. McLean your statement speaks volumes! Many of us at the meeting just looked at ourselves and shook our heads.

    Commissioner McLean went on to say the Commissioners had decided they were going to divide up the various sportsmen organizations and go out and meet with them and solve the problem. Well, this is a great thing to do; too bad it took you all so long to figure it out. Did the pending legislation have anything to do with your action?

    I also understand that very recently Director Voyles also gave his staff the direction to go out and improve relations with the Sportsmen. Maybe someone is beginning to take notice of our absence and believes it is time for change. We can only hope that this effort will help restore confidence in the process and a willingness to partner.

    The Bill itself

    The original draft of HB2235 was incomplete and did not reflect all of the issues which needed to be addressed. It also omitted some key language that should have been included. We should have done a better job on the first draft; but that did not happen and we accept responsibility for it. However, with that being said, the Amended Language is what is on the table now and has been for over a week; and that language is the product of weeks of discussions with individuals and organizations.

    The amended language was submitted to the House of Representatives on the 11th of February. I also personally delivered a copy of the amendments to the Department on Tuesday the 10th of February. Why is that important? It’s because the Department, Commission, and some other organizations continue to reference the original language as they try to motivate the public to oppose HB2235.

    Some of you may have seen the Email Alert the Department put out last night; if you did not, go to the Department website and read it. Please understand, their statements are based on the original draft. They could have chosen to address the amended language but chose not to. Instead, since they were not”formally presented” with the amended language; it appears to me they would rather promote their opposition than address the real text and substance of amended language. Too bad!

    We ask that all of you look at the amendments by clicking here and not be misinformed by alerts quoting language that has already been changed.

    Is the amended language the final product? NO, the legislative process calls for extensive review and dialogue. All of this makes for a better airing of the issue and better end product.

    The hearing on Monday the 23rd is a first step in moving the bill through the House of Representatives. Once out of committee it will need to be voted on by the entire House membership. When passed by the House the bill will go to the Senate and through a similar process. Last step is sending it on to the Governor for signing.

    We are going to need your help through all of this entire process. We will be coming back to you for your continued assistance with this legislation.

    Please review the language below. If you support our efforts to protect the Commission System, Hunting, Fishing and Arizona’s Wildlife; then Call or Email the House Natural Resource and Rural Affairs Committee members listed below. We will not be successful without you help!

    We will keep you informed as the legislation moves forward.

    Thanks for your support.

    Pete Cimellaro
    Member, AZSFW Legislative Committee and Board of Directors

    I still cannot help but feel the Commission is very selective when asking for our help. As Pete stated, the Commission put out an alert through AZGFD stating, in part:

    The Arizona Game and Fish Commission urges constituents to contact the members of the Arizona House of Representatives’ Natural Resources and Rural Affairs Committee and let them know that you oppose House Bill 2235. HB 2235 is proposed legislation that would amend an existing law concerning the qualifications and appointment process for Game and Fish Commission membership. The Commission voted unanimously at its public telephonic meeting on Jan. 23 to oppose this bill.

    Despite the ongoing efforts of the Department to improve relations with Sportsmen, I feel the mantra of The Commission is “Please help us” when something they want is in jeopardy, but “please go away” when they want to muscle something through like baiting bans. Hunters want outdoorsmen and women on the Commission. Full stop. The Commissioners can rally their pals at the Sierra Club to help oppose this bill - it doesn’t reflect my interests to do so.

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    Posted on 21st February 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General, Hunting, Politics and More, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Jaguar Captured and Collared in Southern AZ

    This is cool stuff right here! Well done to the folks involved.

    Arizona Game and Fish collars first wild jaguar in United States

    Feb. 20, 2009

    Jaguar conservation has just experienced an exciting development with the first capture and collaring of a wild jaguar in the United States.

    The male cat was incidentally captured by the Arizona Game and Fish Department on Wednesday, Feb. 18, in an area southwest of Tucson during a research study aimed at monitoring habitat connectivity for mountain lions and black bears. While individual jaguars have been photographed sporadically in the borderland area of the state over the past years, the area where this animal was captured was outside of the area where the last known jaguar photograph was taken in January.

    The jaguar was fitted with a satellite tracking collar and then released. The collar will provide biologists with location points every three hours. Early tracking indicates that the cat is doing well and has already travelled more than three miles from the capture site.

    The data produced by the collar will shed light on a little-studied population segment of this species that uses southern Arizona and New Mexico as the northern extent of its range.

    “While we didn’t set out to collar a jaguar as part of the mountain lion and bear research project, we took advantage of an important opportunity,” says Terry Johnson, endangered species coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “More than 10 years ago, Game and Fish attempted to collar a jaguar with no success. Since then, we’ve established handling protocols in case we inadvertently captured a jaguar in the course of one of our other wildlife management activities.”

    The jaguar plan, which was created in consultation with other leading jaguar experts, includes a protocol for capture, sedation and handling in the event a cat was captured.

    Biologists are currently working on an identification analysis to determine if the collared jaguar is Macho B, a male cat that has been photographed by trail cameras periodically over the past 13 years.

    The collared jaguar weighed in at 118 pounds with a thick and solid build. Field biologists’ assessment shows the cat appeared to be healthy and hardy.

    The species has been protected outside of the United States under the Endangered Species Act since 1973. That protection was extended to jaguars within the U.S. in 1997, the year after their presence in the Arizona and New Mexico borderlands was confirmed.

    “We issued a permit under the Endangered Species Act to radio collar a jaguar if the opportunity presented itself,” said Steve Spangle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Arizona field supervisor. “Gathering habitat use information and learning whether and how the cat is moving in and out of the United States may be essential to jaguar conservation at the northern edge of their range.”

    In 1997, a team was established in Arizona and New Mexico to protect and conserve the species. The Jaguar Conservation Team (JCT) began working with Mexico two years later, recognizing that the presence of jaguars in the United States depends on the conservation of the species in Mexico.

    Trail cameras and field monitoring are carried out by the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project, a group that works in cooperation with the JCT.

    Jaguars once ranged from southern South America through Central America and Mexico and into the southern United States. By the late 1900s, jaguars were thought to be gone from the U.S. landscape, but two independent sightings in 1996 confirmed that jaguars still used Arizona and New Mexico as part of the northern most extent of its range.

    Jaguars are the only cat in North America that roars. They prey on a variety of mammals, fish, birds and reptiles. Individuals in the northern population weigh between 80-120 pounds. Females breed year-round and have litters of one to four cubs that stay with their mother for nearly two years.

    This conservation effort is funded in part by the Heritage Fund and Indian gaming revenue. Started in 1990, the Heritage Fund was established by Arizona voters to further conservation efforts in the state including protecting endangered species, educating our children about wildlife, helping urban residents to better coexist with wildlife and creating new opportunities for outdoor recreation. Funding comes from Arizona Lottery ticket sales.

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    Posted on 21st February 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General, Hunting | 4 Comments »

    What a great coincidence! Shoot me an e-mail and you may win a pair of passes to the ISE Show!

    Visit Game and Fish at the ISE show

    Be sure to check out the Arizona Game and Fish Department exhibits and activities at the ever-popular International Sportsmen’s Expo (ISE), Feb. 27-March 1 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

    Once again, Game and Fish is operating the Youth Outdoor Sports Fair at ISE, with a kids fishing tank, live wildlife, wildlife assets auction, BB-gun trailer, plus many other interesting booths and activities for the whole family.

    “In a way, we are kind of overflowing to outside the stadium this year,” said Ty Gray, the department’s assistant director for information and education. “We’ll have some indoor exhibits, but are moving our increasingly popular introductory archery classes outside the stadium but near the Youth Outdoors area so we can handle even more participants. In that same outdoor area, we will also have our boating and off-highway vehicle experts available.”

    In addition to the Youth Outdoor Fair, this year’s 9th annual ISE will once again fill the University of Phoenix Stadium with fishing, hunting and outdoor products and destination experts.

    You can also increase the show’s value even more by attending seminars, getting personal lessons from expert instructors, entering a contest, and bringing the kids to the Youth Outdoor Sports Fair.

    Don’t miss this valuable opportunity to celebrate the outdoors with family and friends, capture show-priced bargains, and meet face-to-face with guides and lodge owners from nearby and around the world. ISE Phoenix has it all, including:

    Freshwater and saltwater rods, reels and gear.
    ATVs, Sport-fishing boats and kayaks.
    Fly-fishing equipment, try-out areas and instruction.
    Weekend getaway adventures and dream vacations to fishing and hunting destinations.
    Fishing guides and hunting outfitters.

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    Posted on 18th February 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Events, Fishing, General, Hunting, Press Releases | No Comments »