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

    Archive for July, 2009

    Talking With Dr. Cade Smith About The Claw

    I have struck up a nice e-mail dialogue with Dr. Cade Smith, President and Founder of The Claw. He’s a stand-up guy, hard core hunter, and I think he’s got a great product here. Cade was kind enough to answer some questions. ~Desert Rat

    1. Tell my readers a bit about yourself.

    Myself, Cade Smith, and my partner, Jay Lopeman, were born and raised here in Arizona, he in Show Low and myself in Mesa. We love Arizona and both have young families of our own that we are passing on the hunting tradition to. We have been good friends and hunting partners since 1997. You could say we are fanatics and are always looking for ways to improve our hunting skills and techniques. Hunting is a tradition that has been an integral fabric to all societies and it is that time tested, sacred tradition that keeps hunters even of today out in the field even in tough economic times such as these. In fact, it is in times like these when we, as hunters, appreciate our time in the field even more….perhaps we appreciate the little joys in life more. We as consumers, speaking personally, also become more aware of the money we spend and may limit our expenditures to equipment that is truly valuable and can contribute the most for the dollar. The Claw is a little piece of equipment that does A LOT and dollar for dollar can be the most valuable piece of equipment a firearm hunter can own.

    2. How long has The Claw been on the market?

    We started producing and selling The Claw in the Fall of last year, 2008.

    3. How have sales been?

    Being a small start up company and considering I have a very busy and time consuming primary career, sales have been very steady and promising. Up to this point and in this short amount of time, we have had a very conservative sales marketing approach. We both have quite a few friends and contacts in the hunting industry through our many years of hunting and up to this point most of our sales have been via word of mouth and referrals from happy users of The Claw. Currently, we have done three trade shows with a goal of doing more primary shows in the future. We have just started to branch out and do some advertising. Mossback has picked us up as a sponsor recently. We are really excited that they like and use our product because Doyle Moss and his guides have been very successful at what they do. They spend a lot of time in the field but they are also good, demanding hunters so when they use a product like ours it gives you confidence that you make a high quality, contributing product. We anticipate more growth like this to occur as time goes on and more and more hunters get a chance to use The Claw and discover all the advantages it has to offer.

    4. Tell us a little bit about how The Claw went from a concept to a product on the shelves.

    Well, the idea started when Jay and I were just hunting one day, glassing next to each other and somehow we got into a discussion about how nice it would be to utilize the tripod for shooting and not just for glassing. The tripods we use are high quality platforms that provide ultimate stabilization. It never did make sense to us to glass off of the tripod but then shoot off of a shooting support that was inferior in stabilization to the tripod, whether it be shooting sticks, a stock mounted bi-pod, or even a conventional non-gripping tripod. Additionally, we were always on the look out for a shooting support that was usable in any hunting situation. What we found was that there was not a product out there that was as adjustable and versatile and yet as stable as the high quality camera style tripods we used for glassing. That is the greatest advantage of The Claw system in my opinion, its versatility.

    So from there it was a process of myself, having an art and design background, drawing up different designs that would make all the benefits we desired out of a shooting support possible. After many drafts, I finally came up with something that I felt would do just that. Then, it was on to making prototypes and doing much product testing and research with feedback and little changes along the way. We are hunting or shooting year round and Jay is a full time guide during the fall so there was a lot of product testing.

    5. What was the hardest part of that process? Anything surprise you along the way?

    The hardest part was finding the parts I needed to come up with the finished product. I am not a machinist so I had to do a lot of trial by error to come up with what I wanted, particularly in the prototype stage. Once the end product was discovered it was a matter of finding a machinist that could produce the units at a reasonable price. That was difficult in its own right. When we were getting the first batch of units made the economy was still booming and all machinists had a ton of work to do. The Claw is made of high quality CNC machined aluminum. We finally found a machinist here locally that we could work with that was reasonable enough in his costs to at least start fabrication. However, even at those fixed costs we had to start selling The Claw at a little higher price point than we wanted initially. We are now at the stage where we are getting ready to make the next batch of Claws and we anticipate being able to fabricate them for lower costs than the first batch so we just recently lowered the suggested retail price of The Claw with that in mind. Having said that, we will never compromise the quality of the product to make an additional buck. The MSRP is $120.00.

    6. You’re a hunter - what do you like to hunt best? Where? What’s on your “dream hunt” wish list?

    Being an Arizona native, my earliest boyhood memories of hunting are being in mule deer camp in Southern Utah with my dad at a very early age. So I am a Muley Nut for sure! However, since I was old enough to branch my hunting efforts out on my own I developed a strong passion for Elk and Coues deer hunting. I’ve always said that Heaven for me would be the peak of the elk rut year round! There is nothing better to me than chasing a rut crazed bull around in the woods.

    Having said that, hunting in general is my passion and its always been the case that I get addicted to hunting whatever animal I am hunting at the time. I seem to get just as crazed over javelina or turkey when I am hunting them. Its the process of scouting and all the experiences along the way leading up to harvesting an animal that gives me joy. That’s why I love The Claw. The Claw allows me to be such an efficient shooter that when it comes time to making the shot on the animal I have targeted and worked so hard to harvest, I have the confidence that I can shoot anytime, anywhere that animal presents itself. That is worth a lot to us.

    7. What has been the biggest challenge related to marketing and sales?

    There are many challenges in any business with respect to marketing and sales, especially with a small start up company. It is a challenge to know how much you want to invest in marketing and you want your marketing dollars to stretch as far as they can or in other words get as much as you can for as little as you can. There are so many avenues for marketing that are presented to you that deciding which are best for your product can be a daunting task. Like I mentioned before, so far, we have taken a pretty conservative route in marketing and have had quite a bit of early success just by word of mouth. As with most companies, I imagine the more product we sell and the more the demand increases we will branch out to more and more marketing opportunities. Those opportunities have already presented themselves and we have some exciting things in the works so expect to see more from The Claw. I think the key though is to take advantage of marketing opportunities that you have more knowledge of or control of as the product maker. Know what your market is and then advertise in a way that your market will be most exposed to your product. In my opinion, the most inefficient marketing is the strategy of just advertise as much as you can and see what happens, the shotgun approach. That works for very common, universal products but not a specialized product such as The Claw.

    Personally, I am someone who has a need for detail. I guess that’s why I am in the profession I am in. But I have that desire to give detail to everyone that buys a Claw. It is a real simple concept and device but we are continually realizing more and more uses and techniques for it out in the field. Its like the saying, “its the gift that keeps on giving”! I would love to have a tutorial session with everyone that buys a Claw. In fact, I try and do that with any local consumer where that is possible. My biggest frustration is that obviously this is not possible in most cases, although I do spend a lot of time on the phone going over techniques with customers or just talking hunting. So, we are currently putting together a Claw video that we will provide with every Claw purchase. It will primarily be a “How To”, tutorial video but it will also have footage of The Claw in action on hunts. We have some amazing hunting footage to share so we are real excited to get the video finished.

    8. What’s down the road for you? Do you plan on sticking with one product, or do you hope to diversify?

    The Claw was born out seeing a need and our passion for hunting. So if we continue to discover needs for hunting or shooting equipment we will try and fill that need with high quality product. Specifically relating to The Claw, we are in the process of working on some prototype equipment that will add to The Ultimate Shooting System of The Claw. Just little things that we feel will go a long way. The Claw is kind of like that. Not real tricky but just a little thing that provides a WHOLE lot.

    9. What do you want the public to know about The Claw? Why do they need this product?

    Well, I have kind of touched on this in my other answers but let me try to sum it all up. The Claw allows the shooter to tap into the versatility and stability of a high quality camera tripod. By actually affixing the firearm to the tripod the shooter is afforded MANY features and advantages that simply CANNOT be afforded by ANY other shooting support, period! Here is a list of just some of the more obvious advantages:

    1. Bench rest like shooting platform!

    2. Unparalleled panning and tilting capabilities-all the
    movements a tripod can make!

    3. Maintains your firearm in ready/fire position!

    4. Place cross-hairs on target and lock in place to wait an
    animal out or allow another person to make the shot!

    5. Reduces recoil of shot by more than 50%!

    6. Eliminates the need to carry an additional shooting support!

    7. Shoot from any position, prone, sitting, and standing!

    8. Shoot on any ground surface or ground angle with improved

    9. Rapid target reacquisition on multiple shots!

    Reading this list, ask yourself, are there any other shooting aids out there that can proclaim all these benefits? We tried for years to find something out there that could do all those things and we couldn’t find anything and so The Claw was born. Already, I personally have killed or helped others kill animals, and in most cases their largest animals to date, using The Claw that if we were using any other shooting support would not have been able to kill the animals either due to terrain or animal behavior. Simply, The Claw allows you to shoot your target, when and wherever the target presents itself!

    Look for more info and photos in future posts. Maybe even a review. In the meantime you can also buy The Claw ONLINE.

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    Posted on 27th July 2009
    Under: General, Hunting, Interviews, Products | 3 Comments »

    From the draw to the adventure

    I have started a little project over on the AHT Forums. I thought it might be cool to follow some folks journey from draw to hunt. It seems to be building some momentum over there, so I’ll post it here also ~DesertRat

    I thought it might be fun for some of us to chronicle the time from draw notification up to and including our hunt. Maybe a little about our background, our goals, preparation, etc. I figured I would start.

    For those who don’t know me, I love to hunt but I suck at it. Not only do I suck at it, but it’s contagious. When proficient people try and help, they get skunked too. That being said, its in my blood so I keep at it. I am hamstrung a little by a family situation that requires me to be home at night. The last couple of years, we had a helper that allowed me to get away for a few days, so I snuck down to chief’s and ate a lot, saw tons of deer (in his yard), and burned off most of what I ate tromping up and down the 60-degree incline behind his home. I have yet to kill my first Coues.

    This year, we have no helper so I had to put in for Units close to home, and drew a 24B Coues tag. I have hunted a little in that Unit - I went bear hunting for a day back in there, and have dabbled, during archery season, along the Hewitt Station Road.

    I have already read the AZGF Unit Reports, started looking at my maps, and asking some friends for advice. One kind member of this board has already offered to come along and help out, even knowing my funky scheduling requirements and limitations.

    I sold my “main” rifle a couple of months ago, and don’t know if I will have it replaced in time or not. If not, I do have a .22-250 that Chief assures me will kill Coues, and he swears that all of the “misses” have been shot out of it. I should be in a bit better shape than I have in past seasons, as I started running about 6 weeks ago. Not a lot, but certainly more than I have in recent years.

    My goal? Obviously, my primary goal is to get out, learn more, see some nice country, and make it home safe each day. My secondary goal? Of course I would love to slay a monster, but would be tickled to death with an 80-90 incher. All of that being said, any legal deer would be a nice finish to any hunting trip.

    OK folks - let’s hear about your plans and aspirations…then periodically stop by and give us an update!

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    Posted on 26th July 2009
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting | No Comments »

    Maybe the debate on health care will stir the masses

    I rarely comment on politics on this blog, unless it is directly related to hunting or shooting issues. That being said, I am feeling more compelled to say something these days… I suppose, at the end of the day, I am one of those right-wing extremists that we were all warned about. There are lots of people that I am friends with, or work with - that I know will never agree with me when it comes to 2nd Amendment issues or vouchers for schools, or whatever. That’s fine. I’ve been expecting for awhile though, that we might see the honeymoon start to fade with our new President. That maybe some folks might have second thoughts. I’m wondering if perhaps the health care issue might be the first crack in the dam. How can people be OK with trying to push through in weeks what we haven’t been able to figure out in decades?

    Here’s a great article: Rationing Health Care.
    And a snippet:

    You have advanced kidney cancer. It will kill you, probably in the next year or two. A drug called Sutent slows the spread of the cancer and may give you an extra six months, but at a cost of $54,000. Is a few more months worth that much?

    If you can afford it, you probably would pay that much, or more, to live longer, even if your quality of life wasn’t going to be good. But suppose it’s not you with the cancer but a stranger covered by your health-insurance fund. If the insurer provides this man — and everyone else like him — with Sutent, your premiums will increase. Do you still think the drug is a good value? Suppose the treatment cost a million dollars. Would it be worth it then? Ten million? Is there any limit to how much you would want your insurer to pay for a drug that adds six months to someone’s life? If there is any point at which you say, “No, an extra six months isn’t worth that much,” then you think that health care should be rationed.

    In the current U.S. debate over health care reform, “rationing” has become a dirty word. Meeting last month with five governors, President Obama urged them to avoid using the term, apparently for fear of evoking the hostile response that sank the Clintons’ attempt to achieve reform. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published at the end of last year with the headline “Obama Will Ration Your Health Care,” Sally Pipes, C.E.O. of the conservative Pacific Research Institute, described how in Britain the national health service does not pay for drugs that are regarded as not offering good value for money, and added, “Americans will not put up with such limits, nor will our elected representatives.” And the Democratic chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Max Baucus, told CNSNews in April, “There is no rationing of health care at all” in the proposed reform.

    Remember the joke about the man who asks a woman if she would have sex with him for a million dollars? She reflects for a few moments and then answers that she would. “So,” he says, “would you have sex with me for $50?” Indignantly, she exclaims, “What kind of a woman do you think I am?” He replies: “We’ve already established that. Now we’re just haggling about the price.” The man’s response implies that if a woman will sell herself at any price, she is a prostitute. The way we regard rationing in health care seems to rest on a similar assumption, that it’s immoral to apply monetary considerations to saving lives — but is that stance tenable?

    And another article: The Arrogance of Health Care Reform
    And another excerpt:

    It’s crazy for a group of mere mortals to try to design 15 percent of the U.S. economy. It’s even crazier to do it by August.

    Yet that is what some members of Congress presume to do. They intend, as the New York Times puts it, “to reinvent the nation’s health care system.”

    Let that sink in. A handful of people who probably never even ran a small business actually think they can reinvent the health care system.

    Politicians and bureaucrats clearly have no idea how complicated markets are. Every day people make countless tradeoffs, in all areas of life, based on subjective value judgments and personal information as they delicately balance their interests, needs and wants. Who is in a better position than they to tailor those choices to best serve their purposes? Yet the politicians believe they can plan the medical market the way you plan a birthday party.

    Leave aside how much power the state would have to exercise over us to run the medical system. Suffice it say that if government attempts to control our total medical spending, sooner or later, it will have to control us.

    Also leave aside the inevitable huge cost of any such program. The administration estimates $1.5 trillion over 10 years with no increase in the deficit. But no one should take that seriously. When it comes to projecting future costs, these guys may as well be reading chicken entrails. In 1965, hospitalization coverage under Medicare was projected to cost $9 billion by 1990. The actual price tag was $66 billion.

    The sober Congressional Budget Office debunked the reformers’ cost projections. Trust us, Obama says. “At the end of the day, we’ll have significant cost controls,” presidential adviser David Axelrod said. Give me a break.

    Now focus on the spectacle of that handful of men and women daring to think they can design the medical marketplace. They would empower an even smaller group to determine—for millions of diverse Americans—which medical treatments are worthy and at what price.

    How do these arrogant, presumptuous politicians believe they can know enough to plan for the rest of us? Who do they think they are? Under cover of helping uninsured people get medical care, they live out their megalomaniacal social-engineering fantasies—putting our physical and economic health at risk in the process.

    Will the American people say “Enough!”?

    I fear not, based on the comments on my blog. When I argued last week that medical insurance makes people indifferent to costs, I got comments like: “I guess the 47 million people who don’t have health care should just die, right, John?” “You will always be a shill for corporate America.”

    Like the politicians, most people are oblivious to F.A. Hayek’s insight that the critical information needed to run an economy—or even 15 percent of one—doesn’t exist in any one place where it is accessible to central planners.Instead, it is scattered piecemeal among millions of people. All those people put together are far wiser and better informed than Congress could ever be. Only markets—private property, free exchange, and the price system—can put this knowledge at the disposal of entrepreneurs and consumers, ensuring the system will serve the people and not just the political class.

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    Posted on 25th July 2009
    Under: General, Politics and More | 2 Comments »

    Arizona Fall Draw Results Are Out

    I drew an October Coues tag in 24B - looking forward to learning more about that Unit, and already have some friends volunteering to help.

    View results here: RESULTS

    Quite a few leftover tags, too: LEFTOVER TAGS

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    Posted on 24th July 2009
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Learn about high country hummingbirds - Jul 25th

    Learn about high country hummingbirds

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department is again offering a unique opportunity for people to learn more about Arizona’s colorful hummingbirds at the 7th annual High Country Hummers event. On Saturday, July 25, Sheri Williamson, one of the nation’s foremost experts on hummingbirds, will lead a capture and bird-banding event that is free and open to the public at the department’s Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area in eastern Arizona.

    “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to get up close and personal with these flying jewels,” says Bruce Sitko, spokesman in the department’s Pinetop office. “We are quite fortunate to get Sheri, who is the author of the Peterson Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America, to come with her staff of volunteers and demonstrate her research.”

    The one-of-a-kind program will begin at 7:30 a.m. and conclude at noon. Observers will be able to interact with Williamson and her volunteers as they measure, weigh and band birds. They will also be able to use a stethoscope to hear a hummingbird’s heart beat more than 200 times a minute.

    Other fun programs will be offered at the wildlife area that day. There will be an educational exhibit featuring live hawks and owls. Visitors can view a slide presentation on hummingbird natural history. White Mountain Audubon members will lead a “birding basics” hike. Plus, people are welcome to explore the visitor center’s interpretive displays on wildlife conservation, habitats and prehistoric culture. Concessions will be provided by the Springerville-Eagar Regional Chamber of Commerce.

    “We encourage people to come prepared to spend most of the morning outdoors with the potential of some summer rain,” says Sitko. “It’s a good idea to bring a camera, as there will be plenty of great photo opportunities. We also require that pets be kept on a leash.”

    Williamson, together with her husband Tom Wood, founded and operate the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO), which is a non-profit scientific and educational organization based in Bisbee. SABO’s mission is to promote conservation of birds of southeastern Arizona, their habitats, and the diversity of species that share those habitats through research, monitoring and public education.

    The Sipe Wildlife Area is located southeast of Eagar and Springerville. From Eagar, take Highway 191 toward Alpine for about 2 miles to the signed turnoff at the top of the first hill. Drive 5 miles, on a dirt road suitable for passenger cars, to the Sipe property. For more information on this special event, contact the Pinetop Game and Fish office at (928) 367-4281.

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    Posted on 24th July 2009
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Make plans to attend the Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet

    Desert Rat note: I made a post about the Mesa Hunter’s Ed Group back HERE. They have an awesome team! Congrats!

    Make plans to attend the Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet

    Make your reservation now to honor this year’s inductees into the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation’s Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame.

    The annual Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet is Friday, Aug. 21 at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center, 7700 East McCormick Parkway in Scottsdale. The social hour begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards ceremony.

    Tickets to the banquet are $70 each or $700 for a table of 10. Table sponsorship opportunities are available as well for $1,000.

    To download a reservation form, visit www.azgfd.gov/w_c/ArizonaOutdoorHallofFame.shtml and click on the link near the lower part of the page. Completed forms should be mailed to Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation, 14646 W. Harvard St., Goodyear, AZ 85395, or they can be e-mailed to wildlifefortomorrow@cox.net.

    This year’s honorees are Dr. Robert Ohmart, Frances Werner, the Mesa Hunter Education Instructor Team, and the Yuma Valley Rod & Gun Club.

    The Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame was established in 1998 by the Wildlife For Tomorrow Foundation to honor those who have made significant contributions to Arizona’s wildlife, the welfare of its natural resources, and the state’s outdoor heritage. Selections for induction are made each year by the board of directors of the Wildlife For Tomorrow Foundation from a list of submitted nominations.

    For more information about the banquet, contact the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation at (623) 204-2130. For more information about the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation, visit www.wildlifefortomorrow.org.

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    Posted on 23rd July 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Events, General | No Comments »

    Game and Fish offers bear hunting workshop for new and experienced hunters

    Game and Fish offers bear hunting workshop for new and experienced hunters

    Take advantage first-hand knowledge and over-the-counter hunting opportunity this fall

    Come and get years worth of knowledge on how to find, stalk, call, judge and harvest Arizona’s black bear during the fall hunting season from a veteran Arizona Game and Fish wildlife manager.

    The informative workshop will be held at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters, Wednesday, July 29 from 7-9 p.m. in the Quail Room auditorium. No registration required.

    Brian Anthony, the wildlife manager for over a decade in Unit 22 (well known for its dense bear populations), will provide tips, strategies, and information for bear hunting that is useful to beginners as well as experienced hunters. The workshop is approximately two hours and will cover:

    Arizona black bear biology
    How to identify bear signs
    Bear hunting tactics (spot & stalk, calling, weapon types)
    How to identify bear habitat
    Field judging bears
    Field care

    “The presentation will consist of a PowerPoint presentation, loaded with pictures, and I will have some hides and a skull on display. But, my biggest focus will be on habitat,” said Anthony. “Habitat is king. I’ll teach you what to look for, and how to determine if there are bears in the area. Knowing this information will make your hunts much more productive – and hopefully successful.”

    Anthony added, “Last year I received close to 50 phone calls from sportsmen about bear hunting in Region 6. We like to be able to help folks have a safe and successful hunt, but I wasn’t able to get very detailed with them over the phone. My goal with these workshops is to offer more concise information to a larger audience and help folks take advantage of this over-the-counter big game hunting opportunity.”

    Hunting Arizona’s black bear is challenging, exciting, rewarding and has the potential to provide the hunter with a harvest of a lifetime. Fall hunts are open to nonpermit-tags purchased over-the-counter and are available at all department offices and license dealers statewide. These tags are valid for a number of units around the state and have a couple of season dates in which to hunt.

    For more information about bear hunting in Arizona, visit the department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov/h_f/game_bear.shtml.

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    Posted on 23rd July 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Events, General, Hunting | No Comments »

    Air gun league offers affordable means to honing your shooting skills

    Air gun league offers affordable means to honing your shooting skills

    Are you tired of endlessly searching for ammunition?

    Due to current supply and demand conditions, finding ammunition for target shooting can be a challenge. To help recreational shooters ease their troubles and reduce the impact on their wallets, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Ben Avery Shooting Facility is hosting an air gun league this fall.
    The off-hand air gun league is for shooters looking to have fun and learn about one of the fastest-growing forms of shooting sports competition.

    The league runs for eight weeks and meets every Thursday evening starting Sept. 10 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility’s indoor Air Gun Range. Participants ages six and older are welcome and classifications will include rifle and pistol for men, women, juniors and highest overall. Each match includes 300 points consisting of three relays of 10 shots from 10 meters in 20 minutes.

    “Air gun shooting is a great way to introduce kids and ladies to shooting sports that might be hesitant to shoot live ammunition,” said Range Master Matt Schwartzkopf with Ben Avery Shooting Facility. “It’s also an excellent way to build character, discipline, patience and confidence.”

    Loaner air guns and pellets are available on a limited and first-come, first-served basis. Adaptive equipment may be available for disabled shooters, but please include any equipment needed during pre-registration. The range is restricted to a velocity of 600 fps (feet per second) or less.

    Schwartzkopf added, “All of our leagues offer participants a safe and recreational atmosphere to improve their shooting skills. Combined with our loaner equipment, and there’s no reason not to give it a try.”

    The cost is $60 for adults and $30 for youth 17 and under. Pre-registration is required, contact Matt Schwartzkopf at mschwartzkopf@azgfd.gov or (623) 236-7076.

    The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is on the northwest corner of I-17 and Carefree Highway in north Phoenix, approximately 10 minutes north of Loop 101. Located on 1,650 acres, it is one of the largest government-operated recreational shooting complexes in the world. It averages more than 120,000 shooters per year and is home to a number of regional- and national-class competitions and other major events. Offering a wide array of target-shooting opportunities, the facility has 67 covered stations at the main range (all handicap accessible), and more than 25 additional rifle, pistol, and archery ranges for recreational and competitive shooting. The Clay Target Center offers 18-lighted trap/skeet overlay fields and two sporting clays courses.

    To learn more about shooting sports and the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, visit www.azgfd.gov/basf.

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    Posted on 23rd July 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General, Press Releases | No Comments »

    New Arizona OHV Laws and Places to Ride booklet available

    New Arizona OHV Laws and Places to Ride booklet available

    Are you confused about the new off-highway vehicle laws or need the dust abatement actions clarified?

    Do you just want to know where to ride OHVs?

    There is a new booklet just for you thanks to the OHV programs from the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Arizona State Parks Department working together. This new booklet contains all of the OHV management laws currently in effect in Arizona as well as a list of places to ride across the state.

    The booklet includes explanations about Arizona titling, registration and the OHV Decal, information about equipment and protective gear needed to ride as well as educational and training options and opportunities.

    “This booklet has a little something for everyone, including information about wildlife and wildlife habitat protection, new dust laws and ordinances, land management agencies and tips about safe, ethical and responsible use that can help keep access to riding and hunting areas open are also in the new guide,” said Jim Harken, the OHV Public Information Officer for the Game and Fish Department.

    An updated “Places to Ride” section shows you the various riding opportunities available across the state, complete with a free map to help you pinpoint the use area location.

    To obtain a copy of the new booklet go to many locations including National Forest Service offices, Bureau of Land Management offices, the Arizona State Land Department Office, State Parks offices and all Game and Fish Department Offices. The booklet is also in downloadable PDF form on both the State Parks and Game and Fish Department Web sites at www.azstateparks.com/ohv and www.azgfd.gov/ohv.

    Funding for this project came from the new OHV Decal program that was part of the OHV management legislation that was passed in 2008 and went into effect Jan. 1, 2009.

    And as always, remember: Nature Rules! Stay on roads and trails.

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    Posted on 23rd July 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Game and Fish receives $74,000 grant to protect Little Colorado River habitat

    Game and Fish receives $74,000 grant to protect Little Colorado River habitat

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department has received a $74,145 Water Quality Improvement Grant from a sister agency to improve streamside wildlife and fish habitat along the Little Colorado River (LCR) in Apache County. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) awarded the grant to repair more than 1,000 feet of eroding stream banks to help protect important riparian habitat and two species listed on the Endangered Species Act – the Southwestern willow flycatcher, a small passerine bird, and the Little Colorado spinedace, a threatened native fish.

    Under the ADEQ grant, volunteers and Game and Fish employees will remove soil from eroding banks, landscape the banks, and place vegetation arranged as barriers, all of which will reduce the amount of sediment entering the river. The affected site, located on the 357-acre Wenima Wildlife Area about 3 miles northwest of Springerville, has been owned by the Game and Fish Commission since 1993.

    The previous landowners had farmed and grazed cattle along the banks of the LCR, and utilized heavy equipment to straighten its course, which reduced vegetation and increased erosion. A 2002 study by ADEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency listed this part of the river as impaired.

    “One stretch of the river has a vertical dirt bank which is prone to erosion during increased water flows. In some years, we have lost 5 or more feet along 300 feet of river frontage containing quality willow habitat,” says Dave Cagle, wildlife program manager in the department’s Pinetop office. “We appreciate ADEQ’s financial assistance in addressing this problem.”

    ADEQ’s Water Quality Improvement Grant program is funded by the EPA under the Clean Water Act.

    Game and Fish is contributing $35,250 in matching funds, plus $14,792 in volunteer labor and donated services. The grant also will fund a public information campaign to alert residents to the importance of the habitat and the restoration work.

    The Wenima property was the first to be acquired with Game and Fish Heritage Fund monies, which utilizes Arizona lottery dollars for the conservation and enhancement of Arizona’s wildlife, biological diversity, scenic wonders and environment.

    The restoration effort will help the department’s conservation and recovery efforts of several important wildlife species in the area, including the Southwestern willow flycatcher and Little Colorado spinedace.

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s recovery program aims to prevent species from becoming endangered and to increase the population of those species already considered endangered. State-level involvement provides closer oversight of wildlife species on a day-to-day basis in a more cost-effective manner. Specific emphasis is placed on identifying and managing the wildlife and habitat of greatest conservation need, or those species that are no longer abundant and facing increasing threats from habitat degradation, disease, introduction of non-native species and climate change.

    Adaptive management of these species helps ensure their continued presence in Arizona and protects the delicate balance of the ecosystem for future generations.

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    Posted on 23rd July 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Proposed Regulatory Czar A Threat To Hunters?

    Am I the only one that thinks things are running absolutely amok in Washington and the sheeple ae just oblivious to anything being amiss? Astounding…

    Read the full article on FoxNews.com : Regulatory Czar. Good on Senator Cornyn

    Some to chew on:

    Obama Regulatory Czar’s Confirmation Held Up by Hunting Rights Proponent

    Cass Sunstein’s views on litigating on behalf of animals has raised concerns for Sen. John Cornyn, who placed a hold on the nominee until he gets a chance to hear his views one-on-one.

    By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos


    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    WASHINGTON — President Obama’s nominee for “regulatory czar” has hit a new snag in his Senate confirmation process — a “hold” by Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who’s says he’s not convinced that Harvard professor Cass Sunstein won’t push a radical animal rights agenda, including new restrictions on agriculture and even hunting.

    Senators are permitted “holds” to prevent a vote on a nominee from coming to the floor. They are often secretive and for very specific reasons.

    “Sen. Cornyn finds numerous aspects of Mr. Sunstein’s record troubling, specifically the fact that he wants to establish legal ‘rights’ for livestock, wildlife and pets, which would enable animals to file lawsuits in American courts,” the Republican’s spokesman, Kevin McLaughlin, said in a statement to FOXNews.com.

    Cornyn’s hold on Sunstein comes just as Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., last week lifted his own hold on the nominee, whom Obama tapped in April to become the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Budget and Management.

    Chambliss said he was dropping his hold because Sunstein had convinced him that he “would not take any steps to promote litigation on behalf of animals,” and that he believes the “Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess guns for purposes of both hunting and self defense.”

    Both statements were included in a letter Sunstein sent to Chambliss on July 14.

    Chambliss added in a Senate floor speech last Wednesday that “Professor Sunstein comes highly recommended by a number of folks from the conservative side of the philosophical divide in this country.”

    One of Sunstein’s top jobs would be to review and provide guidance for draft federal regulations at different federal agencies. It is a wide-ranging and largely unrestrained position in the executive branch.

    That’s a large part of the reason Sunstein’s positions on animal rights have become worrisome to his critics. Despite his assurances to the contrary, Sunstein has spoken stridently in favor of allowing people the right to bring suit on behalf of animals in animal cruelty cases and to restrict what he calls the more horrific practices associated with industrial breeding and processing of animals for food.

    In a 2007 speech at Harvard, Sunstein also advocated restricting animal testing for cosmetics, banning hunting and encouraging the general public to eat less meat.

    The Center for Consumer Rights’ David Martosko, a Sunstein critic, said those positions make the agricultural industry — major stakeholders in the states represented by both Chambliss and Cornyn — nervous.

    Martosko said there are plenty of ways to pursue a “stealth campaign” on any one of these fronts — guns or animal rights — by putting pressure on the regulatory heads of the different agencies.

    “He is the gatekeeper between the president and the secretaries,” he said, noting that “as a regulatory czar, he won’t be a judge or a legislator, so he cannot make laws. … What he can do is nudge the departments in the direction of his philosophy,” which is very much in line with “hard core animal rights zealots.”

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    Posted on 22nd July 2009
    Under: General, Hunting, Politics and More | 1 Comment »

    Grant funds aid Arizona’s youth hunting and shooting sports programs

    Grant funds aid Arizona’s youth hunting and shooting sports programs

    NRA Foundation’s grant program provides funding to Arizona Game and Fish Department’s recruitment efforts

    The Arizona Friends of the NRA (National Rifle Association) and the NRA Foundation recently awarded the Arizona Game and Fish Department $25,000 in grant funds to purchase a mix of air gun rifles, air gun pistols, .22 rimfire rifles and shotguns to be used in introductory hunting and shooting sports programs.

    “The NRA Foundation’s state grant program provides much needed funding toward expanding and improving our programs,” said Ashley Lynch, shooting sports program coordinator with Game and Fish. “The grant is an increase of $9,000 from last year’s grant and a portion will go to good use buying quality air gun rifles and pistols, which allows us to hold shooting events in areas that can’t accommodate .22 or shotgun shooting.”

    Once purchased, youth shotguns and .22-caliber rimfire rifles will be packaged into “loaner kits.” These kits will be used by department staff and can be loaned to partnered sportsmen’s groups and other organizations to run marksmanship workshops or small game hunting camps designed to introduce families to shooting and hunting throughout the state.

    Lynch added, “A key element to the success of these traditional American pastime programs is being able to provide participants with a quality, safe and functional firearm to make their first experience positive and rewarding.”

    There continues to be a growing demand for target shooting. Each year, the department receives more requests from organizations like the Scholastic Clay Target Program, Boy Scouts of America, Future Farmers of America, hunter education instructors and more to host target-shooting events than they can run, mainly because of limited equipment resources.

    The National Shooting Sports Foundation research reports indicate there are nearly 48 million men and women who are interested in shooting and are simply waiting for an invitation. Grants of this kind will assist the department’s already successful shooting education programs. Target shooting is self-rewarding, builds hand-eye coordination skills, and teaches patience, discipline, and the understanding and respect for firearms. Shooting sports and hunting are rated among the safest forms of outdoor recreation.

    To learn more about the department’s many outreach programs, visit www.azgfd.gov/getoutside.

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    Posted on 22nd July 2009
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General, Press Releases | No Comments »