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

    Archive for May, 2010

    Another great Arizona blog!

    Hey folks - there’s another great Arizona blog to visit! Carmen Cavolo recently started the Ragu Outdoors Blog and already you’ll find some awesome posts! Be sure and check out his posted videos as well.

    Good luck, Ragu, and welcome to the Blogosphere!

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    Posted on 30th May 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General | No Comments »

    HOAL Raffle

    Here is an opportunity to win an awesome Christensen Arms rifle worth over $3500

    This is a Christensen Arms Hunter Custom in .270 Winchester with a Leupold Century Scope. Features include: Mossy Oak Treestand Camo stock, trigger worked to 3 lbs, muzzle brake, bedded barrel, bolt lightened and jeweled. Comes with a custom Christensen hard case and rifle is autographed by Jon Mogle, star of the Christensen Arms TV Show.

    Only 3500 tickets are being sold nationwide. Drawing to be held on August 7th. Proceeds going to Hunt of a Lifetime.

    Tickets are one for $20, 3 for $50, or 7 for 100.

    You can mail check or money order made to Hunt Of A Lifetime Foundation to the address below.
    Please make sure to have a return address, contact phone number and email and we will mail your tickets out to you.

    Please e-mail questions to azhoal@gmail.com

    mail to:

    Matt Minshall
    P.O. Box 2214
    Litchfield Park, AZ. 85340

    May be able to deliver tickets in Kingman, Holbrook or Show Low - contact for info.

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    Posted on 24th May 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Events, General, Hunting, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Is the UN After Your Guns?

    Many of us “pooh-pooh” the worries about gun control as alarmist. I can’t verify the facts in this video, but there is enough information raised here to heighten my vigilance. ~DesertRat

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    Posted on 23rd May 2010
    Under: General, Politics and More | 1 Comment »

    Awesome Concept From Ribz

    Awhile back, I was contacting purveyors of spices and rubs, in order to start building relationships to support my new smoking blog, the Dry Rubbed Rat. One of the responses I received back was from Ray Richardson from Raptor Rubs. So anyway, Ray indicated in his response that he was doing some restructuring in his rubs business, but he was excited to talk to me about a pack that he makes. He said he’d send me one to try, and in the meantime, directed me to his website: RibzWear.com. I thought the concept looked cool, and soon a package arrived from Ray.

    If any of you are familiar with today’s military you will know that our troops in the field have grown well beyond the “webbing” of old; nowadays they utilize any number of carrying systems, load bearing vests, etc. Many of these systems carry items on the front and sides of your body. That’s what the pack from Ribz does.

    Here’s how they describe their pack system:

    RIBZ front pack is designed for the avid sportsman who needs his/her critical gear in a quick & ready location. Easily accessible from the front and designed to work with any traditional backpack or independently, RIBZ allows you to keep your essential gear in a fast and easy to reach location.

    The Ribz front pack is an excellent option for those putting together an ultralight backpacking strategy. Their weight is under a pound, at 11 oz. Utilizing the 800 cubic inches of storage in the front pack can reduce the size of your backpack dramatically. Front packs move a portion of the weight forward, improving the balance of the load, and improving your posture and mobility. Four external zippered pockets, and four additional internal pockets provide plenty of storage options.

    The shoulder straps of the RIBZ pack are extra-wide, heavy-duty nylon, designed to evenly distribute the weight, yet remain comfortable when wearing with an additional backpack. The back of the RIBZ pack consists of two adjustable velcro straps which will not bunch up or sag when wearing the RIBZ with backpack.

    Whether backpacking or snowboarding, fishing or hunting, biking or kayaking, or just out day hiking, we’re confident once you’ve used your RIBZ, you’ll never leave home without ‘em

    I have to tell you, I can’t wait to get this on out in the field. The first thing you notice about the pack is how stout the construction is. The material is tough, the zippers and buckles are heavy-duty, the stitching is well-done. I can’t believe this is going to tear or fall apart. It is comfortable when it is on, and doesn’t interfere with my other pack. It’s the bomb. To my detriment sometimes in the field, I utilize every square inch of my Badlands 2800 pack. Simply put, I simply carry too much, especially on “light” hunts. All of those pounds (along with my own “extra” pounds) add up. I have thought about going to a butt pack type system, but they look too small. I think a butt pack, combined with the Ribz will be absolutely, just right. When I do go with the bigger pack, the Ribz system will allow me to get at all the things I normally set my pack down for, whether I want to or not. My Ribz pack will hold some water, a snack, GPS, range finder, predator call, and maybe my wind-checker squeeze bottle. Seriously, I am psyched.

    The Ribz retails for about 70 bucks, and you can buy them online at Ray’s site. Ribz Store. The packs come with a two-year warranty and are available in a variety of colors including Camo. Ray and I talked on the phone and I can tell you he is dedicated to putting out a perfect product. He was very insistent that I let him know dislikes or areas of improvement. My first comment was that I’m a pretty big guy, and had pretty much used up all of the adjustment on the pack - Ray has already fixed that. I said that the material used wasn’t ultra-noisy, but that guys who hunt in brush might want something more quiet. Ray is already looking at alternate materials.

    Look for an interview with Ray in the future. He’s a dynamic guy excited about his product, and he should be. I think this will take off. Look for some future reviews from me - from the field instead of my living room. I can’t wait! Last, Ray has some awesome things looming on the horizon for Ribz. More on that, when the time is right.

    In summary, this concept was born in the backpack movement and is just breaking into the hunting end of things. Frankly, I see an endless number of uses. Dog trainers, boaters, fishermen, canoe people, hikers - the sky is the limit. Well done!

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    Posted on 22nd May 2010
    Under: General, Products | No Comments »

    Public shooting ranges provide safe shooting environment, positive impact on local economies, and major funding source for wildlife conservation

    Public shooting ranges provide safe shooting environment, positive impact on local economies, and major funding source for wildlife conservation

    PHOENIX — The demand for public shooting ranges in Arizona continues to increase at a pace to match recreational shooting demand and gun ownership, based on a March poll and recent report issued by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

    The report identifies that in 2009, Arizona businesses related to the firearms and ammunition industry provided 5,234 jobs, up 25 percent from 2008; paid $51 million in state taxes, up 221 percent; and contributed more than $738 million into the state’s economy, up 59 percent.

    A March 2010 NSSF/Harris poll further supports the need for shooting ranges, identifying that 2.5 million more Americans nationally are target shooting now than were six months earlier. Additionally, 43 percent polled (representing nearly 98 million people) had some interest in trying shooting sports or hunting.

    “When the firearm industry and firearm ownership grows, so does the demand for a place to shoot, and that’s where we come in,” said Jay Cook, shooting ranges branch chief of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Our shooting range program is committed to assuring that the public has a safe, controlled, and convenient place to shoot their firearms.”

    Public shooting ranges provide more than a safe place to shoot; many of them are destinations and economic contributors to local communities.

    “Recreational shooting has a positive impact on local communities in our state. In addition to buying firearms and ammunition, shooters spend their hard-earned dollars at local businesses buying gas, food, refreshments, shooting supplies, lodging, dining and much more,” added Cook. “Recreational shooting is good for business in Arizona.”

    Shooters fund wildlife and shooting programs

    The report also points out the industry paid $450 million in federal excise taxes through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act, compared to $327 million in 2008. These dollars collected through the purchases of certain equipment by sportsmen and women are appropriated back to state wildlife agencies for wildlife conservation, hunter education, and shooting programs.

    In 2009, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s apportionment of these federal dollars was $11 million.

    Cook continued, “As an agency that doesn’t receive any funding from the state’s general tax fund, but rather operates on a user-pay, user-benefit business model, our primary sources of revenue are from license and tag sales, some range fees, and these federal appropriations.”

    In keeping with that entrepreneurial model, those revenues and others are used to continue to grow the department’s customer base by offering expanded programs and services – including shooting range development and outreach recruitment programs.

    In addition to providing a place to shoot, the Arizona Game and Fish Department knows education is key and offers an extensive line up of programs for beginning shooters as well as those looking to become more proficient, including:

    Hunter education and firearm safety training – For more than 50 years the department has been teaching how to be safe with firearms, hunting and the outdoors.
    Shooting range development – The Arizona Game and Fish Commission owns six shooting ranges and continues to identify areas that need a local range.
    Grants to local ranges – Grants are made available to not-for-profit, public ranges for improvements, expansions, and developments.
    Introductory shooting programs – Many shooting programs are available for air guns, archery, pistol, rifle and shotgun. There are programs for kids, women and families.
    Team-sport-based programs – Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) and Archery in the Schools (AIS) are both national programs that have a strong presence in Arizona.
    Shooting leagues and clinics – There are a number of shooting leagues to help shooters to hone their skills and move to the next level of competitive shooting.
    Olympic training – The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Ben Avery Shooting Facility has hosted the USA Archery Olympic Team Trials, and the facility’s Clay Target Center is a certified USA Shooting Regional Training Center for Olympic shotgun shooting.

    For a listing of public shooting ranges in Arizona and shooting programs offered by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, visit www.azgfd.gov/shootingsports.

    “However, as our state grows, and new developments encroach further into our public lands, it is paramount that we protect, preserve, and expand public shooting ranges and shooting programs for Arizona’s citizens who enjoy this recreational activity,” Cook concluded.

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    Posted on 20th May 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General | No Comments »

    AZGFD Hosts Bighorn Sheep Workshops

    Bighorn sheep take center stage at workshops
    Free opportunity to learn about and view the animals

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Region III office in Kingman is serving as host to the popular Desert Bighorn Sheep Workshops.

    There will be two separate, two-day workshops from July 30-31 and Aug. 6-7. The first night of the workshop is mandatory classroom education from 6-8 p.m. The second day provides the opportunity to view the bighorns in their native environment during a four-hour boat ride beginning at 10:30 a.m. on the Colorado River between Willow Beach and the Hoover Dam.

    “That is the time of year the bighorns are coming to the river pretty regularly,” said Zen Mocarski, public information officer with the Kingman office. “The hotter it is, the better the opportunity to see the sheep along the river’s banks.”

    These workshops are open to any member of the public 14-years-old and up. Nobody under 14 will be registered. Space, however, is limited to 40 people per session. Preference will be given to those who have not attended the workshop in at least two years. Applications should be limited to no more than four people.

    Participants will be selected through a random draw process. Applications received on or before noon on June 18 are eligible for the initial draw. Following the draw, all applicants are contacted by mail, or e-mail.

    Applications received after the deadline, and individuals not drawn, are placed on the reserve list.

    “Our goal is to reach as many people as possible, and that’s difficult with only 80 open spots over two weeks,” Mocarski said of giving preference to those who have not recently attended. “This is a great opportunity for people to learn about bighorn sheep, the department, and the conservation efforts of many different agencies in regards to bighorn sheep.”

    The workshops include an optional tour of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery prior to the Colorado River field trip. The 45-minute tour will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature both sport fish and endangered native fish.

    “Although the tour is not mandatory,” Mocarski said, “we’ve had many positive comments from those who made the trip. It offers people a chance to see the inner-workings of a hatchery.”

    To reserve a spot, a $20 per person refundable deposit is required in the form of a check made out to the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation to help reduce the problem of no-shows. The money is refunded when a person either attends the workshop or calls to cancel at least 48 hours in advance. Wildlife for Tomorrow is a non-profit group that works closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

    Registration is by mail or in-person drop-off at the Kingman office only. Send the check to: Sheep Workshop, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road, Kingman, AZ 86409. Include the names of participants, address, phone, e-mail (if available) and specify which weekend is preferred (you may submit ‘either’). Also, please include a note if you are interested in the tour of the fish hatchery.

    Mocarski said e-mail addresses are kept private, will allow for quicker response time and cuts down on department costs.

    Cash donations, which are not mandatory to participate, will be accepted at the workshop to help offset increasing costs for boat rentals and fuel. Please do not send cash donations prior to the event.

    Participants are encouraged to bring a camera, water, snacks, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. No tripods will be allowed on the boats, but small coolers are OK.

    “It will be hot on the river,” Mocarski advised, “but that’s when bighorn come down for a drink. There is limited shade on the boats, but the temperatures will be in the triple digits.”

    Anyone with questions about the workshop may contact Mocarski at (928) 692-7700, ext. 2301, or e-mail zmocarski@azgfd.gov.

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    Posted on 20th May 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Events | No Comments »

    Orange Beach Fishing Gearing-Up for Stellar Summer Season in Waters Not Affected By Oil Spill

    Orange Beach Fishing Gearing-Up for Stellar Summer Season in Waters Not Affected By Oil Spill

    Orange Beach, AL - 5/14/10 - You’ll never find fishing better off the coast of Orange Beach, Alabama, than right now. Anglers who are fishing in the abundant Gulf of Mexico or inshore waters are pulling-in monster fish daily in waters unaffected by the oil spill. Only about 5 percent of the federal waters are closed in the Gulf, and all other Gulf waters - especially those frequented by the Orange Beach charter captains - are open for fishing.

    Captain Johnny Greene of the charter boat “Intimidator” docked at Orange Beach Marina explains: “We have more than 20 miles from shore that we can fish, and we’re catching plenty of reef fish, as well as mackerel, cobia and other saltwater fish. I’m keeping my customers up-to-date on the oil spill situation, and so far, we’ve had no problem with oil here at Orange Beach.”

    Meanwhile, the fishing action in the back bays and bayous is just as hot according to inshore fishing guide Gary Davis of Foley, Alabama: “We’re catching some of the biggest speckled trout we’ve caught all year now in the late spring and early summer. We generally catch at least one or two speckled trout that will weigh from 5- to 7-pounds each every day.”

    Alabama’s Gulf Coast has plenty of boats and captains available, as well as numbers of fish, and the fishing pressure is low. To make fishing more available to more people, many captains offer 4-, 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-hour fishing trips, as well as 2-day fishing trips. You can design a trip that best suits the needs and the schedules of you and your family and friends.

    “On an overnighter, we fish for grouper, snapper, amberjack, triggerfish and other reef fish,” says Captain George Pfeiffer of the charter boat “Island Spirit.” “Then, we deep-drop for snowy grouper, tilefish and other deep-water species. When we can, we’ll also fish for tuna, wahoo, mahi-mahi and other big-game species. We’ll finish the trip fishing for reef fish again. On a 2-day trip, we can bring-in a 2-day limit of fish per person. People can sleep, eat and have a great day of fishing.”

    Inshore fishermen like Captain Kathy Broughton go out each morning and fish for redfish, speckled trout, flounder and pompano on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. On a 4-hour trip, they’ll catch plenty of inshore species that will put smiles on faces, make drags squeal as the fish run and provide delicious saltwater fish for the table.

    As the oil scare continues to flood the news media, the story not being told is that the sport fishing along Alabama’s Gulf Coast is now as good, if not better, than ever. Those sugar-white beaches for which Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have been known for are still white and clean, and the water remains free from oil sheen. The State of Alabama has worked diligently putting-up barriers to thoroughly protect the inshore estuaries and especially the fisheries. Alabama has a large number of inshore artificial reefs created by the State to increase the habitat and the number of fish produced in the back bays, the lagoons and the bayous, all of which are being protected should effects of the oil spill reach this area.

    To enjoy the freshest seafood the Gulf of Mexico can provide at reasonable prices and have a great day of fishing, either inshore or offshore, visit www.orangebeach.com/fishing, or call 1-800-745-SAND (7263). Also stay informed on the Gulf oil spill with verified and accurate information, specific to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area at www.orangebeach.com/issues.

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    Posted on 19th May 2010
    Under: Fishing | No Comments »

    Remington Outdoor Foundation and National Archery in the Schools Program® award scholarships to college-bound students

    Congrats to these kids and kudos to Remington ~DesertRat

    Remington Outdoor Foundation and National Archery in the Schools Program®
    award scholarships to college-bound students

    Three students who authored winning essays that describe how the National Archery in the Schools Program® (NASP®) changed their lives will see that theme played out again when they collect a total of $3,000 in college scholarships from NASP® partner, Remington Outdoor Foundation.

    Carolyn Free of Cle Elum, Wash., received $500 towards a college education for her Michael Violette, Britt, Minn. third place essay while second place winner Sarah Burress of Mt. Washington, Ky., received a $1,000 scholarship. Michael Violette of Britt, Minn., claimed the top prize, a $1,500 scholarship for his winning essay. Winners were announced at the 2010 NASP® National Tournament, the world’s largest archery tournament, which was held May 7-8 in Louisville, Ky.

    “The National Archery in the Schools Program® helped Carolyn Free, Cle Elum, Wash. (on left)
    change these students’ lives, and now these inspirational young people are poised to do great things themselves,” said Jim Moore, president of the Remington Outdoor Foundation. “Supporting NASP® and in turn these college-bound students falls right in line with Remington Outdoor Foundation’s mission to support the efforts of its partners to share hunting and target shooting traditions with youth, women and other participants while emphasizing safety, training and ethics.”

    The winning essays described how NASP® helped the students overcome physical challenges and the trials associated with growing up. These essays also shared how NASP® connected the students to their culture and history and strengthened their relationships with friends and family. Essays outlined that NASP was responsible for improving the students’ academic performance as well.Sarah Burress, Mt. Washington, Ky.

    NASP® provides international-style archery training in physical education classes for grades 4 through 12.

    You can read the essays at: http://www.outdoorroadmap.com/nasp%C2%AE-essay-contest

    For more information about the NASP® National Tournament, which hosted 7,125 participants from 35 states, visit http://archeryintheschools.org/.

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    Posted on 19th May 2010
    Under: Conservation Groups | No Comments »

    Hunt for a Liver

    The beautiful young lady pictured below needs a liver. I am hoping that all of you can do something to help.

    Sadie was diagnosed with Auto-Immune Hepatitis in February 2008. She is now in need of a new liver.

    The following was posted by my friend Amanda over on the CouesWhitetail.com Message Board.

    You all have heard me talk about the Outdoor Experience 4 All before. This is a great group that takes kids with disabilities or illnesses out hunting/fishing/camping. One of the kids they have helped is Sadie Anderson. I have met Sadie several times and she is an amazing young lady. She is also a very good hunter. She has taken many big game animals in the last few years. Sadie has requested to go on a hunt before she starts the liver transplant process and Eddy Corona just told me that they have a bull buffalo hunt lined up for her. Mary Keebler has donated her buffalo tag to OE4A and so now we are working on getting Sadie up there for a hunt.

    Anyway, she needs a liver transplant and Derek Taylor is leading an effort to raise money for that.

    You can view/download the flier at the link above. They are raffling off the following hunts to raise money for Sadie:

    1) AZ Archery Deer Hunt - Fully outfitted, 4-day, value $2800 Ticket $35

    2) AZ Bear Hunt - Fully outfitted, 4-day, value $2800 Ticket $35

    3) Nebraska Deer Hunt - During the rut, 5-day archery or rifle, fully outfitted, value $3500 Ticket $50

    OR - One of each for $100 !

    Information - Contact

    Derek Taylor
    3856 E . Meadowview Dr.
    Gilbert, Az. 85296
    480- 223-2775

    Make checks payable to: Sadie Anderson

    Maybe you can’t afford a ticket, or aren’t interested in a hunt - throw 5 or 10 bucks in an envelope and send it along. Thanks ~Desert Rat

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    Posted on 18th May 2010
    Under: Archery, Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Events, General, Hunting | No Comments »

    What’s New With Trophy Bag Kooler?

    I talked with Steve Glass from Trophy Bag Kooler a couple of weeks ago. He’s pretty excited, and they have a ton of stuff going on! They have a revamped website which looks awesome! They have a new and improved antimicrobial spray. Steve tells me that their Kooler Bag works so well, that there are a lot of people now using their bags to actually age their meat it!


    Yes, everything is going very well for us. We are moving right along and with our game Fresh System being pick up by Cabela’s we think this fall hunting season is going to be great for our company. Just with the addition of Cabela’s our products are already starting to receive recognition from all over the world. We also added a large European Distributor and the first orders were just shipped to Germany.

    The new product is a smaller bag we will use as a price leader, this bag is 23″x47″ and it’s perfect to use as a meat bag for aging meat. I think this bag has a lot of uses and being smaller it’s easier to handle and we found most people will buy two of them.

    Julie made a new press release (see attached).

    We are also working on a fish bag.




    Introducing the New Additions to the Trophy Bag Kooler™ Line of
    Products for Transporting or Aging Meat

    The Trophy Bag KoolerTM was developed to provide hunters with an alternative solution to help preserve the quality of the game they harvest. Millions of people in the United States and abroad hunt wild game, such as deer, antelope, hogs, elk, and turkeys. Once the animal has been successfully harvested, the majority of hunters often desire to transport the animal out of the wild where it can be processed, both for its meat and as a trophy. Consequently, there is a need for a device to aid hunters in transporting the game that maintains the integrity of both the animal’s meat and potential trophy. The Trophy Bag Kooler™ was designed to meet this need as a short-term portable storage unit for transporting or aging the harvested animal and now comes in TWO NEW lower cost versions. A large bag in a NEW Buckskin color and a smaller version that is perfect as a meat or cape bag or for smaller game like small hogs, turkeys, quartered game, and small exotics. The small bag also comes in the NEW Buckskin color and measures 23” x 47”.

    Both of the new Trophy Bag Kooler™ bags are designed with the same quality of material and attention to detail as the original Trophy Bag Kooler’s. Each unit works equally as well with our KoolerGel™ product (recommended) to maintain sufficient temperatures of 36 to 40 degrees, when warm weather can possibly be a factor. Both units provide a suitable environment for the cape of the animal and help prevent slippage if the hunter chooses to mount the trophy. They also help to keep out bugs and flies.

    The Trophy Bag Kooler™ is reusable and has the durability to last for years. And best of all, it is made right here in the USA!

    If warm temperatures are a problem in your neck of the woods, then check out the Trophy Bag KoolerTM. It is a must own product for every hunter and the do-it-yourself home processor, and now with several sizes and patterns available, various sized game can easily be accommodated.

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    Posted on 18th May 2010
    Under: Products | No Comments »

    Desert Rat to Help Out Over at The Poacher Chronicles

    Jim Solomon contacted me from Xplor The Outdoors and asked if I would like to pitch in and help with his awesome efforts over at The Poacher Chronicles. I told him that I would be delighted to help! Jim and I are united in our hatred against poachers and our belief that “slob hunters” are not hunters at all. Stay tuned for more info!

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    Posted on 17th May 2010
    Under: General, Hunting | No Comments »

    Arizona Elk Society Project

    JUNE 12-13
    Unit 1 South and West of Springerville near Big Lake.
    Fence removal and Maintenance, Drinker Repairs and more

    Join us in the cool country and help us restore the wild in the woods. We will start by removing old unneeded fences and other work in beautiful riparian areas. Please tell your friends and neighbors about these projects. It is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and meet new friends.
    Camp set up will start on Fri. Meals will be provided for all the volunteers starting with dinner on Friday and ending with lunch on Sunday. Even if you can only come up for the day we would love to have your help.

    More details are posted on the AES website. Click Here for more info.

    Please register at the projects you plan to attend. This helps us plan for the food and meals. To register contact Tom Schorr.

    Thanks to all the volunteers that signed up for the May 22 Work Project in Unit 7E. See you in camp.

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    Posted on 17th May 2010
    Under: Events, General | No Comments »