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    Elk-antelope draw complete, results now available

    Elk-antelope draw complete, results now available

    394 permits remaining for first-come, first-served

    PHOENIX – The 2010 drawing for Arizona elk and antelope hunt permit-tags has been completed, and the 118,806 applicants can now visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov/draw or call (602) 942-3000 to see if they have been drawn.

    Be prepared to provide your department identification number, plus your birth date to access your specific draw information.

    The number of applicants in 2010 experienced a slight increase of about 1,000 compared to 2009.

    Hunt-permit tags will be mailed out to successful applicants no later than April 23. Refunds for unsuccessful applicants (minus the application fee) will be mailed out no later than April 23 to the person shown as “Applicant A” on the application form.

    Any licenses requested via the draw application process, regardless of draw success, are scheduled to be mailed out prior to April 23.

    Leftover tags

    Game and Fish officials said there are 394 leftover big game tags (different permit types) for first-come, first-served with applications being accepted by mail-only on or after 8 a.m. April 26. The department has posted the leftover permits and their associated hunt numbers at www.azgfd.gov/draw.

    There is one general antelope permit and three archery antelope permits. There are three general bull elk permits remaining (Units 4A and 5A). There are 11 general antlerless tags available, as well as 266 Limited Opportunity General Antlerless Elk Tags, plus there are 32 Limited Opportunity General Any Elk tags.

    There are also 16 permits for archery-only bull elk and eight permits for archery-only antlerless elk.

    If any tags remain following the process for first-come, first-served by mail only, they will become available for purchase over-the-counter at the seven Game and Fish offices across the state after 8 a.m. on May 3.

    For those who qualify, there are military hunts available at Camp Navajo. For more information, contact Camp Navajo at 1-928-773-3306 or at www.campnavajo.com.

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    Posted on 29th March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: Arizona News, Hunting, Press Releases | 4 Comments »

    Still Time To Make The Expo

    An awesome effort by Game and Fish! If you didn’t make it yesterday, you can still go today! ~DesertRat

    Experience the great outdoors this Saturday, March 27, and Sunday, March 28, at the state’s largest hands-on outdoor exposition. The Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo will be held at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, located on Carefree Highway about ½ mile west of I-17. Admission and parking are free.

    There’s a full day’s worth of activities for people of all ages. You can:

    *Take an archery class
    *Have your kids catch a fish at the huge kids fishing tank
    *See live wildlife displays
    *Try out firearms from different manufacturers on the range
    *Attend informative presentations on wildlife, backcountry gear, turkey hunting, wildlife photography and more
    *See off-highway vehicle demonstrations and exhibits and learn about safe, responsible OHV recreation
    *Navigate a hunter education field course
    *Visit wildlife conservation exhibits
    *Watch exciting cowboy mounted shooting competition
    *Get fishing tips from local experts
    *Traverse an archery field course with 3D targets
    *Try out specialty shooting disciplines such as cowboy action, black powder, practical pistol, steel target shooting, and skeet and sporting clays
    *Learn about boating recreation and safety
    *Watch mini gun demos
    *View hunting/retrieving dog demonstrations
    *Visit with more than 100 outdoor organizations, agencies and vendors.

    A full schedule of activities, workshops and a map of the Expo grounds can be found on the department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov/expo.

    Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Although admission and parking are free, you may want to bring a little cash for the food and beverage vendors or for the nominal ammunition fee if you want to try out firearms on the range.

    The Gold Sponsor for this year’s Outdoor Expo is the American Red Cross, Grand Canyon Chapter. Silver Sponsors are Weatherby Foundation International, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, White Flyer Targets, Winchester Ammunition, and Diamond Ridge Development Corporation (Diamond Ridge partner contributors include Eagle Plumbing Services, Kat CSI Construction Services, Sunshine Painting, and Valleywide Plumbing).

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department is operated on a “user pay, user benefit” business model. The Outdoor Expo promotes wildlife-related and other outdoor activities to current and future customers who support the department’s mission and funding through their engagement in those activities. The department receives no Arizona tax dollars, and no tax dollars are used in conducting the expo.

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    Posted on 28th March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Events | No Comments »

    Awesome Safety Video Goes Viral

    I know there are a few opposed to seatbelts, but this is an awesome video.

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    Posted on 27th March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Advantage Hunting’s New Duck Condo

    New from Advantage Hunting, the Duck Condo offers the same great features and design qualities as the company’s other rigid blinds but it’s designed with the discriminating duck hunter in mind. Quick and easy to set up, the Duck Condo is spacious and extremely comfortable making your wait for the winged ones an enjoyable one. This maintenance-free, lightweight, rigid blind is much more dependable and easy to use than do-it-yourself blinds that are difficult to relocate and hard to maintain. Not to mention, the Duck Condo protects you from the harshest of elements.

    The hinged roof is designed for quick response when birds are on the brink, and the side ladder access makes getting in and out of the blind a snap. Hunt on the ground or use the Quad Pod kit to hunt in the water. Best of all, the Quad Pod kit allows you to stow your boat under the blind for added concealment. Get the most out of your waterfowl hunt with the help of the Duck Condo.

    For more information, check out: www.advantagehunting.com.

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    Posted on 26th March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: Press Releases | No Comments »

    Don’t move a mussel – now it’s the law

    Don’t move a mussel – now it’s the law

    March 24, 2010

    New regulations for boaters go into effect

    “Don’t move a mussel” – NOW it’s the LAW for boaters in Arizona for waters infested with invasive quagga mussels.

    “Our boaters have done a good job so far of voluntarily practicing “clean, drain and dry” as a part of responsible boating. Now Arizona has regulations in effect requiring boaters to follow those practices at lakes known to have quagga mussels,” said Tom McMahon, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s invasive species coordinator.

    Quagga mussels were first discovered in Arizona waters in Lake Mead in January of 2007. A single adult quagga mussel can produce a half-million larvae in a single year. Since being introduced at Mead, likely from being accidentally transported on a boat put into the lake, these prolific invaders have spread rapidly.

    Waters in Arizona officially designated as having aquatic invasive quagga/zebra mussels include:

    Lake Pleasant
    Lake Mead
    Lake Mohave
    Lake Havasu
    Lower Colorado River below Havasu to the international boundary with Mexico

    “I can’t stress enough the important role boaters and anglers have voluntarily played in helping prevent the continued spread of these unwanted invasive species,” McMahon said. “For those who have been complying, thank you. You did the right thing for the right reasons.”

    Now there are new regulations, called “Director’s Orders”, in effect. The measures were authorized by the Aquatic Invasive Species Interdiction Act passed last July by the Arizona Legislature. Those boaters who don’t follow the procedures outlined in the newly-created regulations can actually be cited by law enforcement officers. To view the Director’s Orders, visit the Game and Fish Department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov/mussels.

    These new regulations require day-use boaters to follow four simple steps. Before leaving the vicinity of a water officially listed as having quagga and/or zebra mussels:

    Remove any clinging material such as plants, animals and mud from anchor, boat, motor and trailer (CLEAN).
    Remove the plug (if applicable) and drain the water from the bilge, live-well, and any other compartments that could hold water. Drain water from the engine and engine cooling systems (DRAIN).
    Ensure watercraft, vehicle, equipment, or conveyance are allowed to dry completely (DRY).
    Before launching your watercraft someplace else, wait at least five days – this waiting period is essential to kill residual larvae not eradicated by the above three steps. If you use a boat again in less than five days from the previous use, replace the bilge drain plug, and disinfect the bilge by pouring in not less than one gallon of vinegar; the vinegar can be drained from the bilge upon arrival at home (vinegar can be reused several times).

    There are also new regulations being implemented for long-term users (includes moored boats). These are boats that have been in the water for more than five days and are at the highest risk of harboring attached invasive mussels.

    “Watercraft, boats, vehicles, equipment or conveyances that have been moored for five days or longer in waters that are infested with quagga mussels will likely be heavily contaminated with larval and adult mussels,” McMahon said. “Watercraft moored longer than a few weeks or months in those waters will most certainly be contaminated with adult mussels.”

    There are mandatory decontamination procedures for the long-term moored boats that include:

    Remove any clinging material such as plants, animals and mud from anchor, boat, motor, equipment and trailer (CLEAN).
    Remove the plug (if applicable) and drain the water from the bilge, live-well, and any other compartments that could hold water. Drain water from the engine and engine cooling systems (DRAIN).
    Physically remove all visible attached mussels from boat surfaces, motors, impellers, outdrives, rudders, anchors and through-hull fittings (CLEAN, again).
    Flush engine and cooling system and any other through-hull fittings with hot water that is exiting those areas at 140 F for 10 to 30 seconds.
    Keep the boat out of water (DRY) and ensure all areas of the boat are dry, including bilge, through-hull fittings and engine, for a minimum of eighteen (18) consecutive days during the months of November through April and seven (7) consecutive days from May through October.
    The Arizona Game and Fish Department held a series of public meetings and a webcast in January to present the proposed Director’s Orders and solicit comment. The final regulations became effective this month.

    “It is critical for anyone who uses watercraft, or has a business reliant on watercraft, to understand the essential nature of this aquatic invasive species containment effort,” McMahon said. “The spread of quagga mussels has far-reaching impacts, both financial and ecological, that can touch virtually every resident of the state.”

    States throughout the West have been gearing up to combat the quagga and zebra mussels. Arizona boaters taking their boats to other states will want to first explore what those states are currently requiring – some even have mandatory boat inspections. A good starting point is the 100th Meridian organization at http://100thmeridian.org/Video/DMAM2008_WM.asp.

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    Posted on 25th March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: Arizona News, Fishing, General, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Two Pro-Gun Bills Making Progress in the Arizona House

    Two Pro-Gun Bills Making Progress in the Arizona House

    Two NRA-backed bills are scheduled for the Committee of the Whole (COW) on Thursday, March 25. After these bills, better known as Constitutional Carry (House Bill 2347) and Preemption Reform (House Bill 2543), leave the COW they will be on the house floor for their third and final reading next week.

    Currently under Arizona law it is generally legal to carry a firearm openly as long as you are 18 years of age and not prohibited from possessing a firearm. However, if the firearm becomes covered, say with a coat, or if you are a woman and prefer to carry your firearm in your purse, you need to possess a concealed carry permit. The intent of this legislation is to give people the greatest possible freedom to choose the best method of carry for them.

    Back in 1994, when the original Right-to-Carry bill passed, opponents made outrageous claims that there would be shootouts in the streets, and that the murder rate would skyrocket. Opponents to the original Right-to-Carry bill, such as a large number of law enforcement groups, can now freely admit that none of these radical predictions have come true.

    In his book More Guns, Less Crime, John Lott demonstrates statistically that as training requirements are relaxed, more crimes are deterred as more people carry firearms for self-defense. In Arizona, 16 years after the passage of its original concealed carry law, the murder rate has gone down as the carry rate has gone up. Today, nearly all law enforcement organizations are neutral on HB 2347.

    Under Arizona’s current constitution, Article 2, Section 26 clearly states that “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired.” The intention here could not be clearer.

    HB 2543, is a preemption reform bill, which would make many much needed improvements to the current preemption statute. HB 2543 would strengthen Arizona’s preemption statute by removing unnecessarily burdensome restrictions on the transportation and possession of firearms, increasing the protection from local towns and cities passing restrictive ordinances against carry or possession of firearms, and providing future protection for lawful storage of firearms, ammunition and ammunition components.

    If not for a strong and uniform state preemption law, the result can be a complex patchwork of restrictions that change from one local jurisdiction to the next. It is unreasonable to require citizens, whether residents of Arizona or someone visiting Arizona, to memorize a myriad of laws and possibly violate a local ordinance even though it was clear there was no criminal intent.

    Please continue to contact your State Representative and urge him or her to support HB 2347 and HB 2543. Your State Representative’s contact information can be found by clicking here.

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    Posted on 25th March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: Arizona News, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Make your plans for NatGeo Wild!

    You may recall that I announced earlier National Geographic is launching a new network NatGeo Wild next week. One series that will be a mainstay of the network is Expedition Wild with Casey Anderson.

    The premiere episode of Expedition Wild is a multipart look at North America’s mightiest carnivores, featuring naturalist Casey Anderson900-pound grizzly bear. Trek to Alaska’s Kodiak Island, where Casey gets knee-deep in grizzly life in order to teach his best friend Brutus, about the ways of his wild relatives. This population of more than 3,500 bears offers Casey a chance to witness how they catch wild salmon and feed their young. Casey then returns to Montana to see if he can teach a bear raised in captivity to fish for himself, in an aquarium designed for that purpose. Future episodes of Expedition Wild will focus on the wild wolves of Yellowstone; a journey with Casey trekking through Yellowstone during two key seasons — winter and spring — documenting every living thing he encounters; and a one-hour special with the complete history of his relationship with Brutus

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    Posted on 24th March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Delta Partners With Hunter’s Specialties To Produce A Line Of New HS Strut Turkey Decoys

    Delta Partners With Hunter’s Specialties To Produce A Line Of New HS Strut Turkey Decoys

    The Hunter’s Specialties® Pro Staff has spent countless hours in the woods both hunting and studying wild turkeys. Their knowledge and expertise has gained them the reputation as expert woodsmen. With their input, Delta™ Decoys and Hunter’s Specialties have partnered to deliver some of the most realistic turkey decoys ever produced.

    The new HS Strut decoys feature lifelike poses that mimic real wild turkeys. They have individually hand painted detail on the head, wings and tail feathers. The premium models also feature taxidermy eyes for added realism.

    Three different decoy lines are available starting with the top of the line Woody and Jezebel models, which are sculpted from rigid polycarbonate to hold their shape and present the most realistic setup available. Each model sells for a suggested retail price of $99.99

    The Sneaky Pete, Hottie Hen and Temptress models are constructed with flexible polyethylene for easy transport. Like the Woody and Jezebel models, they also have taxidermy eyes and hand painted detail. The Sneaky Pete sells for $49.99 and the Hottie Hen and Temptress for $39.99

    For hunters on a budget who still want the best quality available for the price, Delta offers the HS Strut Jimmy Jake at $17.99 and the Sweet Sally at $14.99. Both decoys are constructed of highly durable, flexible polyethylene and still feature hand painted detail for added realism.

    Hunters can use the hen decoys by themselves, or in combination with the jake decoys to entice gobblers in for a shot.

    It is always important to remember that decoys can be mistaken for live turkeys and hunters should take safety into account when in the field. Always transport decoys in a bag or vest and set up so you have a clear field of view in front of you and protection from behind, such as a wide tree trunk.

    For more information, log onto the Hunter’s Specialties website at www.hunterspec.com, write to 6000 Huntington Court NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402, or call a Consumer Service Specialist at 319-395-0321.

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    Posted on 22nd March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: Press Releases | No Comments »

    Mad Cow Sweepstakes

    If you are on Facebook, you won’t want to miss the cool contest that they are running over at Mad Cow Cutlery.

    The winner receives a Victorinox 8-pc knife set with block, a forged F. Dick 1905 series chef knife, or a Smith’s Diamond sharpening steel. That’s some awesome stuff, right there. Go here to sign up: SWEEPSTAKES.

    Whether you are new to backyard grilling or cooking in the kitchen, I suggest you contact Daniel Clay or one of his staff over at Mad Cow. Let them know what you are doing, your budget, etc., and they can put together a “starter kit” based on your criteria, and their vast experience. Seriously, from knives to sharpeners, thermometers, utensils, you name it - Mad Cow can set you up. They can tell you what a hunter should have in the field, and what they should have in the pantry. You won’t be disappointed with their quality, or their service.

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    Posted on 21st March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: General | No Comments »

    NatGeo Wild is Coming!

    The NatGeo channel is probably the most-watched channel in my house. We love it! I was excited to receive a press kit from NatGeo announcing their brand-new network, NatGeo Wild! I can’t wait! They have an awesome line-up ready to go, and I am really excited! The new network will officially launch on March 29th.


    Traverse the Globe for the Most Intimate, Extraordinary and Unforgettable Stories of the Animal Kingdom

    Premiere Lineup for New Network Includes Rebellious Monkeys, Angry Giraffes, and a Man and His Best Friend — Brutus the Grizzly Bear

    New TV Network Nat Geo WILD Launches Monday, March 29, 2010

    (WASHINGTON, D.C. — FEBRUARY 22, 2010) For more than 30 years, National Geographic has been the leader in wildlife programming. Now, against a global backdrop of increasingly urgent conservation challenges facing wildlife, Nat Geo WILD is giving the animal kingdom center stage as it features the work of some of the world’s foremost explorers, filmmakers and scientists.

    Scheduled to launch Monday, March 29, 2010, both Nat Geo WILD and Nat Geo WILD HD will traverse the globe to bring the most extraordinary stories of the natural world in more compelling and visually dynamic ways than ever before. New series and specials will feature the latest technology to immerse viewers in the mysterious and entertaining lives of nature’s ferocious fighters and gentle creatures of land, sea and air.

    Nat Geo WILD premiere specials, new series and blue chip programming will include Africa’s Lost Eden, which takes viewers to war-torn Mozambique, where park rangers are desperately trying to execute one of the most ambitious animal relocation efforts in history and restore one of their country’s greatest natural treasures. Then, travel to Jaipur, India, where an audacious troop of Rebel Monkeys is on a crime spree. In Expedition Wild with Casey Anderson, the naturalist treks to Yellowstone and Alaska’s Kodiak Island to learn more about wild bear behavior — and teach these skills to his grizzly pal, raised in captivity. Two National Geographic Explorers lead viewers through very different paradises: Mireya Mayor delves deep into Congo’s forests to enter the private world of the Mystery Gorillas, and Enric Sala plunges into shark-filled waters to learn the secrets of Shark Island.

    Premiere programs include:

    Rebel Monkeys - NEW SERIES
    Premieres Wednesday, March 31, at 8 PM ET/PT
    Airs Weekly – Wednesdays at 8 PM ET/PT
    They’re a diabolical nuisance, yet considered sacred. But for a gang of monkeys making their home at the Galta Temple in the Indian city of Jaipur, it’s an easy life — lounge by the sacred pool, groom your friends and accept handouts from worshippers paying respect to the Hindu Monkey God Hanuman. But their happy days may be numbered. When a lingering drought threatens local food supplies, the monkeys face an end to their easy gravy train. Join this charismatic fuzzy-haired crew as they search for food and find trouble on the chaotic streets of Jaipur.

    Expedition Wild with Casey Anderson – NEW SERIES
    Premieres Monday, April 5, at 9 PM ET/PT
    Airs Weekly – Mondays at 9 PM ET/PT

    The premiere episode of Expedition Wild is a multipart look at North America’s mightiest carnivores, featuring naturalist Casey Anderson and his best friend Brutus, a 900-pound grizzly bear. Trek to Alaska’s Kodiak Island, where Casey gets knee-deep in grizzly life in order to teach Brutus the ways of his wild relatives. This population of more than 3,500 bears offers Casey a chance to witness how they catch wild salmon and feed their young. Casey then returns to Montana to see if he can teach a bear raised in captivity to fish for himself, in an aquarium designed for that purpose. Future episodes of Expedition Wild will focus on the wild wolves of Yellowstone; a journey with Casey trekking through Yellowstone during two key seasons — winter and spring — documenting every living thing he encounters; and a one-hour special with the complete history of his relationship with Brutus.

    Mystery Gorillas with Mireya Mayor

    Premieres Monday, April 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
    National Geographic Emerging Explorer Mireya Mayor immerses herself in the secret lives of wild gorillas, learning about new behaviors and group dynamics, such as the role of female choice and limited tool use. Travel to the forests of northern Congo, where record numbers of western lowland gorillas live unseen in the dense foliage. Mireya’s quest to see them up close gives her the chance to get to know the intimate details of one family — a big male named Kingo and his clan of females and young. She also travels to a gorilla gathering spot to witness their group dynamics and study their larger social structure.

    Africa’s Lost Eden
    Premieres Monday, April 12, 10 PM ET/PT
    It was said to be “the place where Noah left his Ark.” Lush floodplains in central Mozambique packed with wild animals and more than 500 species of birds. But in 1977, civil war engulfed the area, and close to one million people lost their lives. Many thousands of buffalo, zebra and hippos were slaughtered for meat, and elephants for ivory. Of the 14,000 buffalo that roamed the savannah before the war, fewer than 15 remained; of the 3,000 zebra, just five. The legendary Gorongosa Wildlife Park had become an empty Eden with a broken ecosystem. Africa’s Lost Eden documents the extraordinary efforts of conservationists fighting to restore the park and replenish the animal populations. Travel to South Africa, where an unprecedented effort is under way to relocate elephants and hippos to Gorongosa, even as the wounded landscape is vulnerable to drought and fire. For a war-wounded country desperately seeking a symbol of hope, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

    Shark Island with Enric Sala
    Premieres Monday, April 19 at 9 PM ET/PT
    Secret coves where hammerheads school in enormous numbers. Coral reefs that ripple with color by day but at night turn into killing grounds for packs of whitetip sharks. Pristine waters brimming with missile-sized tuna and acrobatic dolphins in hot pursuit of gleaming clouds of fish. Cocos Island, a tiny dot in the middle of the Pacific Ocean more than 300 miles (550 km) off the coast of Costa Rica, is home to one of the greatest concentrations of predators on the planet. Dive into this carnivorous crowd in Shark Island with marine ecologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Enric Sala and an international team of explorers and scientists. The team traverses hundreds of square miles of ocean in search of clues to explain why so many predators congregate and why, just outside Cocos’ protected waters, life largely disappears.

    Hunt for the Giant Octopus
    Premieres Tuesday, April 20, at 9 PM ET/PT
    It’s one of the ocean’s most enigmatic creatures, with eight legs, high intelligence and the ability to discreetly melt into its surroundings. The giant octopus is said to reach 33 feet across, can weigh 400 pounds and is known as the “devilfish” for the horns above its eyes. With the ability to kill sharks, this is one animal even larger in life than in legend. Now, a team of intrepid explorers dive into the wild depths of the Pacific in hopes of unlocking the secrets to this mysterious and magnificent animal. Journey through ghostly shipwrecks and wildlife on a deep-sea adventure into the world of the giant octopus. And discover these creatures’ phenomenal size, remarkable intelligence and extraordinary ability to morph in response to their surroundings.

    My Life Is a Zoo
    Premieres Monday, April 26, at 10 PM ET/PT
    Living the wild life doesn’t always mean fun and partying for Bud DeYoung and Carrie Cramer. They live together with over 400 animal residents, and work together, rescuing exotic animals, rehabilitating local wildlife and running a struggling small zoo in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With no days off and no vacation, their relationship has more than its fair share of pressure. They sometimes butt heads, but mostly they share a deep passion for animals. My Life Is a Zoo follows this couple at their DeYoung Family Zoo as they constantly work to keep up with the demands of their business, while tending to their huge and ever-growing wild family. The zoo is home to a diverse mix of exotic and regional animals, some of them rescued from distant parts of the world. Carrie moved in seven years ago and since then the zoo has grown dramatically. It now includes a rehab and rescue program with Bud and Carrie adopting between three and 10 orphaned animals every week.

    For more information, visit www.natgeowild.com .

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    Posted on 20th March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: General, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Game and Fish dismisses employee involved in jaguar capture

    Not sure what to think of this. I guess - if your boss tells you to keep your yap shut and you don’t - you pay the piper. Assuming of course, that was the case. ~DesertRat

    Game and Fish dismisses employee involved in jaguar capture

    March 19, 2010

    PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department today dismissed one of its employees as a result of the department’s ongoing internal administrative investigation into the events surrounding last year’s capture of the jaguar known as Macho B.

    Dismissed was Thornton W. Smith, 40, a wildlife technician for 12 years with the department and one of the field biologists involved in the placement and monitoring of traps used in a black bear and mountain lion research project that resulted in the initial capture of Macho B.

    The department dismissed Smith based on the employee’s own interview statements made during the course of the internal investigation. The statements related to Smith’s conduct that occurred several weeks after the capture, recapture and euthanizing of Macho B.

    Smith’s statements and further investigation confirmed that he did not comply with verbal and written directions issued by supervisors and that he admitted to knowingly misleading federal investigators regarding facts surrounding the original capture of Macho B.

    The department’s official letter that documents the grounds for dismissal was delivered to Smith earlier today.

    Smith admitted that he failed to comply with verbal and written direction from supervisors not to communicate with anyone (other than investigators) regarding the original capture of the jaguar due to the fact that a federal law enforcement investigation had begun.

    In his statements to department investigators, Smith stated that he talked about the capture with Emil McCain, a biologist with the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project, even though Smith had previously been instructed not to communicate with anyone regarding the subject of the ongoing investigation. According to Smith, McCain had assisted Smith in selecting bear and mountain lion trap site locations for the research project. Smith alleged that McCain disclosed to him after the capture had occurred that McCain had placed jaguar scat at two camera sites in the vicinity of where Macho B was captured. Smith also alleged that during his discussions with McCain, the two of them concocted a false story about the capture for federal investigators, and that McCain later allegedly went to the area where Macho B was captured and removed all traces of jaguar scat so that the capture scene matched the story.

    Smith also admitted to Game and Fish investigators that he had knowingly misled federal investigators from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when he told them the story he and McCain had allegedly made up denying that jaguar scat had been placed in the vicinity of the Macho B capture site.

    Yet in his interview with department investigators, Smith alleged that McCain “went in and removed whatever scat he left, whatever it was. You know, I don’t know what got eaten. Because by the time we actually caught, you know, the jaguar, the scat by the camera had been kicked over and knocked. I don’t know what was left. He went in and cleaned it up, made it look like our story.”

    When asked by department investigators if he had knowingly misled the federal investigators, Smith said, “Yah. Yah. We (McCain and Smith) came up with a story, and I just, it’s been eating on me and I just couldn’t live with it.”

    Upon further questioning by department investigators, Smith went on to allege, “We made a different story to protect the department, to protect Emil, to protect my association with Emil, about, you know, not leaving jaguar scat, but (tape recording inaudible). There was no scat at all placed anywhere. The one scat I did find he pointed out was an old one, which it was, but you know, I can’t live with that. You know, I did it.”

    The Department has concluded that the employee’s conduct is cause for dismissal as allowed by Arizona Revised Statutes 41-770 and includes violations of the standards of conduct for state employees found in Arizona Administrative Code R2-5-501.

    Smith has been restricted from working on field activities since July 16, 2009, and the department placed him on paid administrative leave on March 8 pending a determination on what final administrative action would be taken. On March 15, the department issued Smith an official notice of charges of misconduct letter. Today, Smith submitted to the department his intent to resign his position. The department refused to accept Smith’s resignation as allowed by Arizona Administrative Code R2-5-901 and issued a letter of dismissal to him.

    Department officials added that the Game and Fish internal investigation cannot be considered completed until the department has an opportunity to review whatever findings may come out of an ongoing federal investigation being conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. However, department officials noted that as the one year anniversary of the initiation of the federal investigation approaches, the department had reached a point in its own investigation where it could no longer delay taking appropriate action.

    The department has determined that no agency personnel directed any person to capture a jaguar, and that the department’s actions related to the capture were lawful.

    Information about events related to Macho B can be found at www.azgfd.gov/MachoB.

    Related Questions and Answers:

    1. Why did the Arizona Game and Fish Department wait until now to dismiss Smith from state service?

    The department has repeatedly stated that it would not take action to interfere with the ongoing federal investigation. The department believed that release of the details of the department’s allegations against one of its employees could adversely impact the federal investigation. At this point, almost a year after the start of that investigation, the department expects that the federal authorities have completed their investigation, and therefore the department’s actions today are unlikely to cause harm to it.

    2. Did the department inform federal investigators of the statements made by Smith during the department’s own internal investigation?

    No. Neither the department nor the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service wanted to risk blending the department’s administrative investigation with the service’s investigation. It has been the department’s understanding that by requiring the department’s employee to provide complete and factual information during the interview, the employee’s statements could not be used against him or her in a criminal prosecution. This is required under the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Garrity v. New Jersey.

    3. Will the department provide for public review the investigative material it collected during the course of its own internal investigation?

    We will make our decision to release any document or portion thereof based on a determination whether the release would compromise the ongoing investigation.

    4. Why did the department elect to dismiss Smith rather than allowing him to resign?

    Mr. Smith’s actions were deserving of dismissal.

    5. Have any other department employees received disciplinary action as a result of the department’s internal investigation?

    Not at this point in the ongoing investigation.

    6. When will the results of the federal investigation be made available to the public?

    The results of the federal investigation are under the control of the federal government. The department has no information on if or when the federal government will make its results available to the public.

    7. What is the status of the federal court lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity claiming that the Arizona Game and Fish Department does not possess the necessary federal permits to engage in jaguar management activities?

    The parties are awaiting a decision from the court on the department’s motion to dismiss.

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    Posted on 19th March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: Arizona News, General, Press Releases | No Comments »

    What are the most popular hunting equipment brands?

    Pretty interesting stuff. I take part in these surveys, and also get copied on the results. Very cool. ~DesertRat

    Top Hunting and Target Shooting Equipment Brands for 2009

    FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — Southwick Associates has announced the brands and products hunters and target shooters preferred most in 2009. This list has been compiled from the 44,734 internet-based surveys completed by hunters and target shooters who volunteered to participate last year in HunterSurvey.com and TargetshootingSurvey.com polls. In 2009, top brands included:

    Top rifle brand: Remington (16.5% of all purchases)
    Top shotgun brand: Remington (22% of all purchases)
    Top muzzleloader brand: Thompson Center (29.5% of all purchases)
    Top handgun brand: Sturm Ruger (16.6% of all purchases)
    Top scope for firearms: Bushnell (17.3% of all purchases)
    Top rifle ammunition brand: Remington (28.8% of all purchases)
    Top shotgun ammunition brand: Winchester (32.0% of all purchases)
    Top handgun ammunition brand: Winchester (22.0% of all purchases)
    Top blackpowder brand: Pyrodex (351.5% of all purchases)
    Top balls, bullets, or shot brand: Hornady (26.2% of all purchases)
    Top bow brand: BowTech (14.8% of all purchases)
    Top arrow brand: Easton (30.3% of all purchases)
    Top fletching brand: Bohning (30.3% of all purchases)
    Top broadhead brand: Muzzy (25.3% of all purchases)
    Top archery target brand: The Block (22.3% of all purchases)
    Top decoy brand: Flambeau (15.7% of all purchases)
    Top game call brand: Primos (34.8% of all purchases)
    Top reloading bullet brand: Hornady (30.2% of all purchases)
    Top reloading primer brand: CCI (36.0% of all purchases)
    Top reloading powder brand: Hodgdon (36.5% of all purchases)
    Top binocular brand: Bushnell (19.5% of all purchases)
    Top holster brand: Uncle Mikes (21.4% of all purchases)
    Top knife brand: Buck (16.7% of all purchases)
    Top scent or scent covering brand: Scent-A-Way (24.5% of all purchases)
    Top shooting target brand: Shoot-N-C (38.9% of all purchases)
    Top clay brand: White Flyer (34.3% of all purchases)

    Other interesting facts from the HunterSurvey 2009 annual report: The busiest month for purchasing for hunting was November, for Target Shooting was June, and for self-defense was February

    This is just a small part of a comprehensive report offered by Southwick Associates. For more info on this and other reports, please contact them.

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    Posted on 18th March 2010 by Desert Rat
    Under: General, Hunting | No Comments »