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

    Archive for September, 2010

    Trailblazer Adventure Program Celebrates “One Millionth” Participant

    Trailblazer Adventure Program Celebrates “One Millionth” Participant

    Milestone Marks Nearly a Decade of Leading Outdoor Youth Education

    (Columbus, OH) – The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation’s (USSAF) signature outdoor education program for American youth, the Trailblazer Adventure Program, is preparing to reach a major milestone on October 2 with its one millionth participant attending an event.

    Thousands of youth and their families will be flooding seven Trailblazer Adventure Day locations around the nation including sites in Atlanta, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, Traverse City, Michigan, Jackson, Mississippi, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Albany, New York and East Providence, Rhode Island.

    By the end of the day, over one million participants will have gone through the Trailblazer Adventure Program since its inception as an Atlanta pilot program in 2001. In 2002 Trailblazer grew with five pilots around the country averaging over 1,000 participants at each site. That tremendous growth continued reaching a record number of 200,000 youth and their families attending in 2009 alone.

    Trailblazer has received many awards and accolades including a U.S. Department of the Interior Take Pride in America® award for its leadership in recruiting youth and families to outdoor sports. “For close to a decade, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation has worked with all types of youth organizations to make Trailblazer the largest outdoor education program of its kind in the nation,” said Bud Pidgeon, USSAF president and CEO. “To have touched the lives of so many young people and their families and to have given them a taste of the wonders of outdoor sports has been awe inspiring.”
    The Chair of the Trailblazer Program is Mary Cabela, co-founder with husband Richard Cabela, and brother Jim Cabela of the well known sportsmen store chain, Cabela’s. It is under her guidance and generosity that Trailblazer has the resources to introduce legions of youth and their families to shooting, fishing, hunting, and trapping.

    Additionally, many organizations have provided invaluable resources to make Trailblazer a reality such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, nearly every state wildlife agency, and numerous national conservation based groups such as Fur Takers of American, Masters of Foxhounds Association, and the National Wild Turkey Federation. In addition to these groups, tens of thousands of volunteers, many from the expansive national network of local conservation clubs, have donated their time and money to make each Trailblazer event a unique experience for the children and families attending.

    Trailblazer would not be possible without numerous conservation minded businesses such as Cabela’s, the Crosman Corporation, Bushnell Performance Optics, Henry Repeating Arms, and many more.

    About Trailblazer: Trailblazer events are typically hosted at a Boy Scout camp or similar facility and features a variety of activities, demonstrations and orientation sessions designed to let children and their parents experience the outdoor lifestyle. Activities include firearm shooting and safety, archery, trapping, fishing and much more. All activities are conducted under the supervision of experienced “Trail Guides” with an emphasis on safety. USSAF Local Field Directors attend each event to ensure coordination between all participating organizations.

    Youth-serving partnerships include: Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Campfire USA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, Girls Incorporated and YMCA.

    Conservation organization partnerships include: National Shooting Sports Foundation, Masters of Foxhounds Association, Fur Takers of America, National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), its state chapters and the NWTF JAKES program, Ohio Division of Wildlife, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources- Wildlife, Wild Sheep Foundation, Bass Anglers Sportsmen’s Society, Kentucky Fur Takers Association, Safari Club International Foundation, Safari Club International Golden Gate Chapter, United Taxidermist Association (UTA), Hidden Haven Hunting Preserve, local sportsmen’s clubs, and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.

    Special partnerships: Three of the aforementioned organizations have signed agreements to provide leadership at Trailblazer events. These groups are the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), its state chapters, and the NWTF JAKES program, BASS, and the United Taxidermy Association.

    Also indispensable to the success of Trailblazer are generous financial sponsors including the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Ohio Division of Wildlife, Bushnell Performance Optics, Cabela’s, Charles Daly and the Crosman Corporation.

    Additional support: The Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation, Shikar-Safari Club International Foundation, Mrs. Mary A. Cabela, William H. Flowers Jr. Foundation, Alan & Barbara Sackman, McBean Family Foundation, Bicknell Fund, Hampe Family Foundation, Inc., Mr. Richard C. Hampe, JCK Foundation, Northstar Youth Houndsman, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, West Virginia Trophy Hunters Association, and the Big Game Hunters Foundation.
    For more information about the Trailblazer Adventure program, e-mail trailblazer@ussportsmen.org or visit www.trailblazeradventure.org.

    About USSAF
    The USSAF protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. It is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.

    About NSSF
    The NSSF is the professional trade association for the firearms industry. Formed in 1961, it manages a variety of public outreach programs with a special emphasis on promoting gun safety and participation in shooting sports.

    About Cabela’s
    Cabela’s is the World’s Foremost Outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear. The leader in the outdoor equipment business, it has grown and prospered from simple beginnings to become the largest mail-order, retail and Internet outdoor outfitter in the world.

    About the NWTF
    The National Wild Turkey Federation is a national nonprofit conservation and hunting organization that, along with its volunteers, partners and sponsors, has worked for the conservation of the wild turkey and preservation of the hunting tradition. When the NWTF was established in 1973, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, and hunting seasons have been established in 49 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico.

    About UTA
    The United Taxidermist Association was founded in September 2007 by a group of like minded individuals, seeking to promote unity and professionalism within the taxidermy industry. The UTA focuses on advancing the art of taxidermy with special emphasis on education and youth.

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    Posted on 29th September 2010
    Under: General | No Comments »

    HSS Issues A Voluntary Recall Of Carabineer On Ultra Lite Harness

    Safety Comes First And Foremost – HSS Issues A Voluntary Recall Of Carabineer On Ultra Lite Harness

    Danville, Alabama (September 28, 2010)  Hunter Safety System is committed to providing treestand hunters with the highest quality safety products on the market. In keeping with those commitments to safety, HSS announced an immediate voluntary recall of the carabineers that were included with the new HSS 300 Ultra Lite Harness.

    There have been no reported incidents involving these carabineers; however, based on the high standards that Hunter Safety System requires, the company feels it is necessary to issue a voluntary recall based on recent findings. Through rigorous testing, it became apparent that the carabineer gate retention pins can inadvertently detach, permitting the carabineer gate to open and creating the possibility of the treestrap or lineman’s climbing strap to release from the carabineer, thereby allowing the user to fall.

    “We feel this product does not meet our safety standards,” said John Wydner, HSS co-owner and president. “For this reason we are replacing all carabineers that were included with the HSS 300 Ultra Lite Harnesses free of charge, including shipping. Although we have not had any reports of this happening outside our factory, we are issuing this voluntary recall to maintain the highest possible product-quality standards for all of our customers.”

    Hunter Safety System representatives have been working around the clock to contact dealers and individuals who have purchased the HSS 300 Ultra Lite Harness regarding this recall and potential problem with the carabineer. The UPC Code for this item is: 8-59540-00083-0. All owners and users of the HSS 300 Ultra Lite Harness are directed to immediately discontinue use of the carabineers and the included Lineman’s Climbing Strap, and they should contact Hunter Safety System at 877-296-3528 for a carabineer exchange.

    “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our loyal customers,” Wydner said. “We are doing everything in our power to make this exchange as easy as possible; however, we want everyone to be safe. That is the most important thing in the world to everyone here at Hunter Safety System.”

    Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Danville, Alabama, Hunter Safety System is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative deer hunting gear and hunting equipment for the serious hunter. For additional information, write: The Hunter Safety System, 8237 Danville Road, Danville, AL 35619; call toll free 877-296-3528; or visit the company website at www.hssvest.com.

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    Posted on 29th September 2010
    Under: General, Press Releases, Products | No Comments »

    Sighting In Your New Scope by Vortex Optics

    Many of you know that I am a firm supporter of Vortex Optics. These folks have a great product, competitive pricing and an unflappable warranty. They also do a lot towards educating outdoorsman. Check out this cool video:

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    Posted on 28th September 2010
    Under: General, Products | No Comments »

    AZGFD Speaks Out About Prop 109

    Information on Proposition 109 – “right to hunt and fish” constitutional amendment
    Sept. 27, 2010

    One of the propositions facing Arizona voters on the Nov. 2, 2010 election ballot is Proposition 109, which, if passed, would amend the state’s constitution to make hunting and fishing a constitutional right in Arizona.
    The Arizona Game and Fish Department and its employees are precluded by law from advocating for or against state ballot propositions while on state time or using state resources. The Game and Fish Commission, as the policy-setting board overseeing the department, is not under the same legal restriction and may take a position or advocate on one side or the other.

    Due to public interest regarding Proposition 109, the department is providing the link below to information about the proposition contained in the 2010 “Ballot Propositions and Judicial Performance Review Publicity Pamphlet” posted on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website. This information includes the text of the proposed amendment, analysis by the Arizona Legislative Council, and arguments “for” and “against” the proposition that have been submitted by different individuals and organizations, including an argument in favor of the proposition provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.
    • Click here to view information about Proposition 109 from the Arizona Secretary of State’s 2010 “Ballot Propositions and Judicial Performance Review Publicity Pamphlet.”
    The link below provides background information about the Arizona Game and Fish Commission’s support of House Concurrent Resolution 2008 that ultimately was approved by the Arizona State Legislature, placing Proposition 109 on the November ballot.
    • Click here to view the April 2010 constituent communication regarding the Arizona Game and Fish Commission’s support of HCR 2008.

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    Posted on 27th September 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General, Politics and More | No Comments »

    New Rifle On The Way

    A couple of years ago, some financial stress convinced me to sell my cherished .30-06 that my wife had purchased for me as a gift. Things are back on track now so I have been considering a replacement rifle for awhile now. I’m planning on doing some mountain lion/bear hunting this fall, which necessitated me speeding up plans to get another rifle. After some debate I settled on a .270 WSM. This cartridge offers slightly improved performance over the popular (especially in the West) .270 Ammo tends to be expensive, but I am not a serious shooter. Sight it in, go hunting. Next year, check zero, go hunting again.

    I have been shopping at a local gun shop, Coleman Tyler. These guys have good prices, and what they don’t have, they can order. Once my I have gun in hand, look for a review of the rifle, and an overview of my experience with Coleman Tyler. After looking at different manufacturers, I settled on a Mossberg 4 x 4. I am curious to see how this rifle performs - I have read great reviews online, and not so great reviews, so we’ll see. This rifle is kinda freaky looking but has some nice features:

    MODEL: Model 4X4 Bolt Action Rifle
    SAFETY: Two Position Safety
    TYPE: Rifle
    SIGHTS: No Sights
    CALIBER: 270WSM
    BARREL LENGTH: 24″ Free Floating Button Rifled Fluted Barrel
    FINISH: Matte Blue
    OVERALL LENGTH: 46.5″
    ACTION: Bolt Action
    WEIGHT: 6.75 lbs
    STOCK: Black Synthetic Skeletonized Stock
    MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 3+1
    FEATURES: Box Magazine, LBA Trigger System
    Factory Installed Weaver Style Base
    BUTT PLATE: Black Recoil Pad
    MUZZLE: Integrated Ported Muzzlebrake
    RECEIVER: Matte Blue

    I’m going to top this rifle with a scope from Vortex Optics, most likely a 3.5-10 x 50 Diamondback. This is the scope I mounted on my last rifle and I loved it. Stay tuned for better photos and a full review of this rifle!

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    Posted on 24th September 2010
    Under: General, Products | No Comments »

    AZGFD Ruins Hunter’s Antelope Hunt?

    Wow - I ran across this interesting story over at the CouesWhitetail.com Forums. A couple of thoughts… First off, I am almost always very pro-AZGFD. I think they genuinely have hunters’ interests at heart (usually). Another thought - we’re all experts on the internet. We’re all attorneys, athletes, cops and wildlife biologists. I don’t know about you, but I am good at what I do. I know my craft. I hate it when people from outside of my career field second guess my actions. Keep that in mind when we’re passing judgement. That being said, I’m not sure what to make of this situation. ~DesertRat

    You can read the entire exchange with comments here: Antelope Hunt Unit 10. Here is the statement from the original poster:

    This is a true story that happened to me on September 8, 2010 at 7:15 am in Unit 10 Arizona.
    I have applied for an Antelope tag in Arizona unit 10 exclusively for the last 35 years, had accumulated 22 bonus points. 2010 was the lucky year, I had finally been drawn. Scouted for 21 days, found what I considered to be the trophy that I wanted on the wall. The season began and I hunted exclusively for this buck for 5 days and had one sighting and no chance yet. On Wednesday morning I found the buck I was looking for, put myself in position to let him feed over the ridge and would have been on him ready for the kill and of all things to happen an airplane flying very low comes right over the top of me and the Antelope took off running as fast as they can. The airplane then circled the running buck and his 4 does, then chased them farther again still at full speed, circled them again, chased them farther and circled again, never to be seen again. I have no idea how far they chased them but I could no longer see the antelope and the plane was so far away I could barely hear it now. Well I am now mad, I went to the top of the ridge where I found that I got cell phone service and called Operation Game Theif. The operator on the line asked me if I could stay on hold for a minute, “sure”, when she came back on the line she informed me that there was no problem but that the Arizona Game and Fish Department was doing their annual Antelope Survey and not to worry about it. I told her that I wanted to speak to an officer asap. The officer called me only after I had called back 10 hours later and again requested to speak to an officer, he said “So I heard you got buzzed this morning”.
    Long story even longer, I don’t care who it was that flew the airplain or what they were doing it was Hunter Harassment and Harassment of game. I want the appropriate people given a ticket so they can answer to a Judge. Am I wrong in this situation? Why are they doing a survey in the middle of a season? Please share your thoughts and expierences…

    Of course, there were some pretty damning comments regarding AZGFD. I really need to give Brian Wakeling credit for logging on and posting an explanation from Arizona Game and Fish’s perspective:

    Surveys are an essential part of what the Arizona Game and Fish Department does to index populations and make hunt recommendations in a biologically appropriate fashion. If you want to review some of the rationale and process we use, I refer you to the post that Jim Hinkle, who was the Big Game Management Supervisor at the time (he has since retired), made on this website on March 6 of this year under discussion forum/hunting and fishing forum/Coues deer hunting in Arizona/Ever wonder how AGFD does surveys.

    I just learned of this post via email from Amanda. I was unable to contact anyone in the Region at this time to confirm the report, but the basic observations are plausible. This is the survey period for elk and pronghorn, the Department tries to conduct surveys during the week to avoid weekends and later in the hunt to avoid as many hunters as possible, and circling the herd is plausible because of the need to classify wildlife into age and sex categories.

    Hinkle’s post describes why we need to do surveys when we do, but essentially we need to get the males and females in the visible at the same time, which means we need to survey near the rut. Buck to doe and fawn to doe ratios are critical to understanding available bucks for next year and the likely recruitment. Surveying in late winter makes it more difficult to accurately classify fawns, which are then underrepresented. Trying to avoid hunts can be very challenging. A quick look at the fall schedule in Unit 10 indicates that there is not much available time.

    Pronghorn seasons
    August 20 to September 2
    September 3-12

    Elk seasons
    September 10-23
    September 24-30
    October 15-21
    November 26 to December 2
    December 3-12

    Deer seasons
    August 20 to September 9
    October 8-17
    October 22-31

    Of lesser concern
    Sheep season
    October 1 to December 31

    Bear
    October 1 to December 31

    Lion
    August 20 to May 19

    Keep in mind that we have several hundred thousand acres of pronghorn habitat to survey across the state and about 2 aircraft that we can use to conduct these surveys. It is impossible to conduct the surveys that we do without flying during some hunt. We try to avoid this to the extent possible, but sometimes we cannot avoid it. I have heard instances in which the survey may have helped some hunters and those in which it hurt them. We are not trying to create problems for hunters, but we need the data to make the hunt recommendations.

    I will be out of the office tomorrow on one of our mandated furlough days and at a meeting all day on Monday, but I will try to find out some additional information about this incident.

    We appreciate hearing of these incidents and we do try to minimize their occurrence. I’ll let you know what I learn.

    Brian Wakeling
    Game Branch Chief

    So - what do you think? With all of the information at hand, what are some practical solutions? Remember - accurate population surveys are what enable us to get tags!

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    Posted on 18th September 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Hunting | No Comments »

    The All-Terrain Pack Chair from SittingHawk LLC

    This is a pretty nifty chair. I’m still struggling to find a good seat, especially for predator hunting. This chair looks like it would work great for dove, for fishing one of our awesome lakes, or sitting in a blind waiting for a nice Coues. ~DesertRat

    You can read all about this chair at Sitting Hawk.

    Some features:

    *Made from aluminum and weighs approximately 8.5 pounds
    *300 pound capacity
    *Comes in Mossy Oak Breakup or Mathews Lost camo
    *Works great in blinds
    *Telescoping legs allow adjustment for any terrain or slope
    *Angle of front legs help limit sinkage in mud, sand, etc.
    *The chair comes with back pack straps to allow easy transportation

    I encourage you to peruse the site and check out this chair. The owners Kim and Robert Schilly are great folks and ready to answer any questions that you might have.

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    Posted on 13th September 2010
    Under: General, Hunting, Products | No Comments »

    Cunningham’s Shooting Range Offers Special

    A cool special from the folks at Cunningham’s, and their very first special to boot. A great opportunity to take a friend shooting! ~DesertRat

    From Michelle, via Facebook:

    Starting now Sept 10th to Sept 30th, from 9AM to 3PM every Mon thru Thurs., we will be having a 2 for 1 lane rental special. You and a friend can share a lane for $14.00. Regular price is $21.00 for 2 people on one lane. That saves you $7.00. So, grab a friend who hasn’t been here before and come on down. Mention you are in my Facebook group, I will be checking..:P See ya soon!!

    You can read more about Cunningham’s HERE

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    Posted on 11th September 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General | No Comments »

    Trophy Bag Kooler A Great System for Arizona

    I had the pleasure of representing Trophy Bag Kooler at the Cabela’s Fall Outdoor Days a few weeks ago. Rick Lopez, from Double Buck Taxidermy helped out the following weekend. The biggest enemies of meat care in the field are heat, moisture and bacteria. With the Game Fresh System, you conquer all three. A bag custom made with legholes (and drawstrings) and a flap for antlers. It is insulated and is an official Licensed Product of Mossy Oak, available in New BreakUp and Brush Camo.

    Trophy Bag Kooler and The Game Fresh System was developed for transporting harvested game or for aging meat. Many animals like deer, antelope, hogs, turkey and elk have been transported. Proper handling in the field is extremely important, the faster you clean it and cool it down the better the quality of meat. Just pack it in Ice and Go! There are several forms of coolants you can use double bagged ice, our KoolerGel product in 2-liter bottles with water or water frozen in milk jugs, etc.

    The outside material comes in the New BreakUp or Brush pattern developed by Mossy Oak, the material is a 600D with PU backing (polyurethane) and DWR (durable water resistant) on the outside so it won’t absorb water. This material is extremely durable and should last for years.

    The zipper on the bag has a 150lb per square inch rating, so it’s extremely durable when pulling on/or for picking up the bag and there’s also a handle on each end.

    The inner insulation is closed cell foam. The thermal radiant barrier energy shield liner contains an anti-microbial chemical so mold, mildew and bacteria won’t grow on the liner. The liner should give you years of use and it’s easy to clean, just wash it out with soap and water. The car wash works great just hang it on the floor mat holder spray with soap let it set for a couple of minutes and rinse it off. Use the strap to hang it in a tree, be sure to keep the bag open so it will air dry completely before storing. It fits underneath your fold down truck seat for easy storage.

    The Game Fresh System comes with all three products:

    *Trophy Bag Kooler it’s a multi-purpose bag and it’s used for transporting animals.

    *The Game Fresh Spray, an antimicrobial spray that helps disinfect and control growth of bacteria and other micro-organisms on wild game when transporting or aging meat.

    *The KoolerGel, when mixed with water and frozen in 2ltr bottles will last 30 to 40 percent longer than regular ice and you don’t get all the moisture. Multi-purpose use and it can be used in your food cooler, fish cooler or for cooling down animals or their meat.

    Steve Glass, the owner, tells me that these are working so good that hunters and meatcutters are actually using the bags to age meat, not just transport it. These things are going to be a Godsend for some Arizona hunters!

    TBK loop1 from Country Born Productions on Vimeo.

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    Posted on 6th September 2010
    Under: General, Hunting, Products | No Comments »