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    2010 January - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    Archive for January, 2010

    Hunting To Be A “Right” in Arizona?

    This came up a couple of years ago. I didn’t agree then, I don’t agree now. I’m not so sure hunting should be a “right”. Rather, I see it better as a privilege. The problem with making it a right is that it is then harder to take away - think poachers, for example. I know the intent is to ward off the anti’s, but I am not so sure it is the right approach.~DesertRat

    You can read the full article here: Hunting, fishing may be Arizona rights.

    A snippet from the article:

    Rep. Jerry Weiers, R-Glendale, has proposed House Concurrent Resolution 2008.

    It states that citizens would have a right to “hunt, fish and harvest wildlife” and make public hunting and fishing the “preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.”

    If supported by the Legislature, the resolution would put a proposed constitutional amendment on an upcoming ballot for the voters to consider. If approved by voters, it would become Arizona’s 36th right. The state’s 35 constitutional rights include the right to petition and assemble, right to bear arms and the right to a trial by jury.

    Ten states include hunting and fishing rights in their constitutions.

    In Arizona, a similar bill failed two years ago. It was opposed by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and environmental groups.

    National Rifle Association lobbyist Matt Dogali said this time, the group is working with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and other groups with a vested interest to find wording everyone can support. But he said that while the wording will likely change, the overall intent will not.

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    Posted on 31st January 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Fishing, General, Hunting, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Desert Rat Welcomes CameraLand

    Camera Land is a new friend of the Desert Rat Blog. As a member of Vortex Shooting Staff, I have long known about Camera Land. They are prevalent on a lot of hunting websites and are becoming well-known for their knowledge of cameras and optics. More and more I hear accolades regarding their Customer Service. Look for some collaborations in the future - contest announcements, product profiles, maybe even an interview.

    I just received their SHOT Show wrap-up, you can read it here: Camera Land’s SHOT Show Report

    I have attached a snippet below, for your perusal. The rest of their report contains similar summaries from all of the big brands of optics. Check it out! Please visit Camera Land, and keep them in mind for your next purchase of optics or cameras.

    I spent quite some time over at Minox. Reason for that is even though we have carried Minox for years the company is somewhat “new” in as much as what’s been going on over there the past year. The past VP of Leica Sports Optics moved over to Minox last year. He had some new direction in mind for the company and has started to make those moves and show some product at this years show. The new riflescopes were there and should start to be delivered by the end of this month/beginning of February at the latest. IMO, they are better than their price indicates. No, these are in no way competition to a Swarovski or a S&B but they are not meant to be. These are geared towards the Bushnell, Vortex, Pentax (which BTW there is an interesting development there, see below) and Zeiss Conquest series. Running with these I think that Minox has hit a home run. I understand that in the world of riflescopes Minox is an unproven entity.The reality is that the proof is in the product. I think those of you that try the Minox riflescope will be convinced that it is a winner product line.

    They also have released quite a few other new products….an 8×44 and 10×44 Comfort Bridge Series binocular as well as their new CFL 1 Compact LED Flashlight and NV mini Night Vision Monocular.

    We had a long discussion about their move of production of their HG and APO-HG Series from Japan to Germany. I’m taking a wait and see on this. I think for the money the Japan made HG’s are a no brainer purchase (especially since we were able to purchase their remaining Japan made inventory) but with the new production in Germany comes some big price increases. The Japan made 8.5×52 HG is $599.99 on our close out deal vs the new German made 8.5×52 @ $1545.00 with the only real difference being a slightly wider FOV and the Made in Germany bragging rights. Personally, bragging rights have never meant much to me. Their APO-HG Binoculars are SWEET but I think that when someone is looking for the best and willing to spend around $2000.00 Minox is up against the established BIG THREE and only time will tell if the obvious high quality of these APO-HG’s will stand up to the “I own XYZ’s” pride of ownership BS.

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    Posted on 30th January 2010
    Under: General, Products | No Comments »

    Cool Coues Video

    My friend Amanda who runs Coueswhitetail.com thought my readers might enjoy this video. I agree! What a beautiful buck. Thanks Amanda!~DesertRat

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    Posted on 30th January 2010
    Under: General, Hunting | No Comments »

    The Tale Of The Sunset Sow

    My daughter will be 12 this week. She is an awesome kid, and has always enjoyed going hunting with me. Last year she drew her first big game (javelina) tag. You can read the story of that hunt HERE

    This year, friend John wanted to try again. You can read my version of this year’s hunt story over at the AHT Forums.

    Here is Mikaela’s version of this year’s story, mostly unedited. I know I’m biased, but she’s twelve. She spins quite a tale. Please welcome my Guest Blogger this week, Mikaela MacFarlane. ~DesertRat

    The Sunset Sow
    By Mikaela MacFarlane

    Hunting with my dad is always a wonderful experience, and I really enjoy going with him. We always have fun, no matter what comes back in our game bag. The bag came home empty, until Jan. 24, 2010.
    The day before, Jan 23, was a freezing day filled with long hikes and glassing for as long as 3 hours straight. I met some experienced pig hunters in that outing, yet I had my doubts. After all, was this MacFarlane Curse hereditary? We did spot pigs that day; however by the time we got to the said pigs’ whereabouts, they were long gone. We hiked another mile and a half to a road, where we were picked up and enjoyed lunch. I was kind of feeling sick, but I didn’t want to give up quite yet. So we ate around 3:45, and then set out for a new spot where we glassed for another hour and a half with no success. Finally, we decided to head home and get a well deserved rest.
    The next day, we lost a few of our hunting experts with plans they were obligated to stay home with. However, we still had two of our hunters, and two was enough. Within an hour we spotted five or six pigs, closer than the day before, and the excitement on top of the hill began to build. Me, dad, and Josh set out for a pig, and John remained on the hill to keep an eye on our pigs. We hiked for about half an hour before we caught our first close up on the pigs. Our first view was of two pigs feeding together, but they moved before we could set up The Claw™ for my accurate and ethical shot at a pig. After moving for about fifteen minutes, we came across a beautiful sow about 70 yards away from where we were set up.

    Despite the fact that it was an almost perfect shot, I began whispering, “I can’t do this.” Dad became a little frustrated, but when he realized what I meant, he eased up. The rifle wasn’t steady enough. I didn’t want the pig to suffer. So waiting a minute, Josh steadied the rifle so it barely moved. I waited. The sow finally turned broadside and I regained my confidence. I shot. The sow staggered into the bush it was eating and died there. I took two more reassuring shots to make sure she was in no pain and dead. After five minutes, we then proceeded down the hill, and found our gorgeous pig lying in a jojoba bush, with a gash in her side. After further discussion, we discovered my first shot was directly in the lung. The second one was through her but father back. The third was a graze, along her side.

    We took a few photos and then we (Dad) began to gut our beautiful pig. The teeth on her were absolutely stunning! I have never seen teeth bigger than hers, anywhere. Trashing her insides, Josh carried our pig, and we made our way up the steep hill. After a few minutes, and I got to thinking, “I’m not a murder. Why did I kill that poor sow? What if she had kids?” Josh had sent a text message and I was constantly getting “congrats” from everyone. Those made me feel worse in a way. Dad’s word for this hunt, “slay” didn’t help either. I needed to see Mom. I knew she would understand. Tears rolling down my cheeks, I tried going up as fast as I can. Staggering, I collapsed onto a rock, and resting, Dad reassured me that I could take as much time as I needed to get up the hill. I was impatient to go home, so I snapped, “I just want to go home!” Thinking that I just wanted to sit there because I didn’t want to walk up the hill or down to the road, he became impatient. So he offered to take my gun. We argued, and then I shouted, “Fine. Take it.” He did, and now I realize why he was upset. Seeing that it wasn’t about me being lazy, he constantly asked, “What’s wrong? Are you ok?” I usually didn’t answer, and when I did it was with, “Nothing. I’m fine.” Eventually, he got back to talking about our hunt.

    Finally reaching John’s truck, he gave me his congratulations; we loaded the sow into the truck, and headed to me and Dad’s. We thanked the men again, and headed for home. Almost as soon as we took off, I started crying and explained, “I didn’t feel right killing the sow. I’m not a murderer. What if she had piglets?” Dad calmly explained that it was better for the population, and that it hurt her less than dying naturally, or by being killed by a mountain lion. He continued by saying that animals don’t think like we do, and they don’t process pain like we do. When we shoot a pig, they don’t think, “Oh no! I’m getting shot! What about my kids? What about my husband Billy Pig? What will I do?” Rather, they think, “Run! Fight!” Then blackness.

    After this pep talk and a bit of rest, I thought about it, and became excited again. Chorizo and a nice skull to remember this day! Also, to honor the beautiful sow that gave its life for me. Dad and Josh talked about me naming it. After thinking about it, I came up with the perfect name for her. We were near Sunset Point, so I whispered, before going to sleep, “Sunset Sow.”

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    Posted on 25th January 2010
    Under: General, Hunting | No Comments »

    Knife Rights Launches National State Knife Law Preemption Campaign in Arizona.

    Knife Rights Launches National State Knife Law Preemption Campaign in Arizona.

    Knife Rights has launched a national state knife law preemption campaign, starting in Arizona. Knife Rights has launched a national preemption campaign in Arizona. At the request of Knife Rights, Arizona Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Gray, has introduced SB1153, reference titled, “State Preemption: Knives,” which will protect knife owners, knife collectors and those in the knife industry from a confusing patchwork of local knife ordinances and rules in Arizona.

    SB1153 represents the groundbreaking initiation of a key component of Knife Rights’ national legislative agenda to protect knife owners’ rights. Knife Rights anticipates that the Arizona knife preemption law will serve as a model for preemption efforts in other states whose citizens are subject to a similar patchwork of local knife laws with attendant civil rights issues.

    “Currently a person traveling from Nogales to Flagstaff, Arizona, will be subject to numerous different knife ordinances and rules along the way, never knowing if they are in compliance with local laws, and quite possibly unintentionally breaking the law,” said Doug Ritter, Chairman and Executive Director of Knife Rights. “This is a confusing and unfair situation which can subject citizens to abuse of their civil rights and it needs to be remedied” Ritter added. “Knife Rights is proud to sponsor this first legislation of its kind in the U.S.,” said Ritter.

    SB1153, is a “knife preemption law” that would keep all existing state laws regarding knives in place, but would make the State Legislature the sole authority on knife laws. This will insure consistency and fairness with regards to knife laws throughout the state.

    Following on their success in preventing U.S. Customs’ pocket knife grab this past summer, Knife Rights is embarking on a proactive legislative effort to protect our right to own and carry knives of any kind into the future. A key component of this legislative agenda is “Knife Law Preemption.” The concept of knife law preemption, in essence, says that the state laws relating to knives take precedence and prevents the cities, towns and other political subdivisions of the state from making their own laws relating to knives which are more restrictive than the state law.

    This concept has been very successfully promulgated in the fight to protect firearms. Forty six states have enacted firearms preemption laws. These laws have prevented the creation of, or eliminated, a patchwork of ordinances and rules which serve to confuse or entrap those traveling within or through the state. A person traveling in a state without preemption laws could be charged with a violation of law when they have no intention of violating the law. Further, local ordinances often violate the right to bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment and, in many cases, by the state’s own constitution.

    Knife Rights’ national strategy is to work to enact knife preemption laws throughout the United States. This would afford the same protection to knife owners that firearms owners enjoy. Knife Rights has chosen Arizona as a starting point because the current political landscape in the Arizona legislature is very favorable to the protection of individual rights.

    SB1153 has 8 Prime Sponsors and 13 Co-Sponsors.

    SB1153 is being supported by Arizona’s NRA affiliate, the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association, Arizona Citizens Defense League and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

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    Posted on 21st January 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General, Press Releases | No Comments »

    37B Water Project

    I recently received an e-mail from Unit 37B’s Wildlife Manager, Ben Brochu. Seems there is a water project on the horizon:

    We have scheduled the North 96 Hills water development project in 37B for the weekend of March 12-14th. More details will be forthcoming, as the date gets closer. We would really appreciate any and all help we can get. Contact me if you have any questions. Hope to see you there.


    Ben Brochu
    Wildlife Manager U37B
    Arizona Game and Fish Department
    Office: (520) 229-3222
    Fax: (520) 628-5080
    Email: bbrochu@azgfd.gov

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    Posted on 20th January 2010
    Under: General | No Comments »

    ISE Show Coming to Phoenix

    I have been going to the ISE Show for years. It’s a massive outdoor show with lots of awesome and interesting stuff. Friend John Kirk from ISE has been in touch with me about this year’s show. I asked him what was new this year.

    What’s new?

    NEW: DockDogs and new Best-of-the-West contest, at every 2010 ISE, in which winners from ISE events will go to the DockDocks World Championships in July.

    NEW: In every show, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s $4,800 Ultimate Gear Giveaway, which offers attendees to each show the chance to win Browning, Remington and Winchester rifles, BowTech bow, and Sitka apparel. All monies going to conservation efforts in the show state!

    NEW: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Great Elk Tour, in Sacramento, Phoenix and Salt Lake. 50 feet of the world’s finest elk mounts to study, dream about, plan for.

    NEW: 3D Pop-Up Archery Range and contest, in Phoenix and Salt Lake City. Computer-controlled targets, some also moving across the range. Trophies and cash prizes.

    NEW: Eastmans’ Hunting Journals Trophy Deer Display, in ISE Salt Lake City. 50 feet of the top western deer.

    NEW: Seminars on predator hunting, by Arizona bowhunting legend Randy Ulmer, black rifles by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, elk calling by 4-time world champion caller Corey Jacobsen, and fishing for monster trout by Kelly Galloup.

    NEW: ISE Best-of-the-West Accuracy Fly-Casting Contest, open to all show-goers.

    Plus, new seminars by Cameron Hanes on bowhunting, Guy Eastman on hunting public lands, and Chad Schearer on elk hunting and muzzleloading.

    John was kind enough to offer some passes up to my readers. Look for a contest here, and maybe some others over at the AHT Message Board.

    The show will be in Phoenix February 26-28; Sacramento January 21-24; and Salt Lake City on March 18-21

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    Posted on 19th January 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General, Press Releases | 1 Comment »

    Cool Product - M2D Camo

    I have been having some e-mail conversations with Sparky from M2D Camo. They have an awesome looking product, and I am looking forward to learning more about their product, and their company! Look for more information on M2D in the days ahead - photos, product profiles, and an interview with Sparky!

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    Posted on 19th January 2010
    Under: General, Hunting, Products | No Comments »

    Great Sale on Vortex Binos

    Many of you know that I am on Vortex Optics’ Shooting Staff here in Arizona. I was pleased to see that they are running a great sale on Vortex Binos at Camera Land Inc.

    You can pick up a pair of 8.5×50 Vultures in Coyote Brown for only $159.99! Combine Vortex’ amazing warranty with Camera Land’s reputation for Customer Service, and you can’t go wrong. Camera Land also runs some super giveaways periodically. be sure to sign up!

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    Posted on 18th January 2010
    Under: General, Hunting, Products | No Comments »

    Javelina, here we come!

    Well, my fall was very light, hunting-wise, and spring is shaping up to be the same. Heading out with my friend Greg McBride and his daughter tomorrow for a one day pig hunt. greg is taking me to his super-secret spot and he’s a hunting machine, so I am looking forward to it. I’m heading to 20A which is a new unit for me.

    Next weekend, Saturday and Sunday are reserved for Mikaela’s javelina hunt in Unit 21. Another new unit. Friends jlg (The Pig Whisperer) and Mr. Smith will be helping out. They are javelina slayers in the Nth degree. Am optimistic that Miky will at least have some opportunity.

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    Posted on 16th January 2010
    Under: General, Hunting | No Comments »

    Feds To Set Aside Lands For Jaguars

    Boy, this could have some serious implications. Maybe a reader can weigh in with some possible scenarios?

    Read the full article here: Feds to set aside habitat for jaguar recovery

    Associated Press Writer

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday it will set aside critical habitat for the endangered jaguar and develop a recovery plan for the elusive animal once thought to have disappeared from the United States.

    The agency said it will review which lands the big cats need to survive and will put together a plan by early next year to help the species recover.

    Conservationists had been anxiously awaiting the decisions on the recovery plan and critical habitat since last Friday, when a federal court had imposed a deadline for the agency. The court granted a last-minute extension, giving the Fish and Wildlife Service until the end of Tuesday.

    “This is a huge boost for recovery because it means the best scientists and best minds on how to conserve jaguars will come together and figure out how to restore them onto our landscapes,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups that has been seeking critical habitat for the jaguar for more than a decade.

    Robinson and other conservationists saw the case as a test of whether the Obama administration would take extra steps to protect animals whose ranges stretch beyond the nation’s borders.

    The largest cats native to the Western hemisphere, jaguars live primarily in Mexico, Central and South America. They once inhabited an extensive area that spanned California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana.

    Read the rest of the article at the link above….

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    Posted on 13th January 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Huge Coues Buck Shot by WMAT Member

    A massive Coues was taken by Harold Declay on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. This thing is massive, expected to score around 150! My good friend Amanda Moors who runs the Coueswhitetail.com website contacted me and suggested I have a look.

    You can see pictures of the rack by visiting this thread over at the CWT.com message board. You can see Amanda holding the rack up next to her 110″ - it’s enough to make you weep!

    Congrats to Harold - that’s beyond the “buck of a lifetime”!

    Read the story from the hunter.

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    Posted on 12th January 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Hunting | No Comments »