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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Multi-Vision Climbing Stand Series

Ol’MAN Outdoors is happy to announce the steel and aluminum line of multi-vision climbers are ready for the 2011 hunting season. These versatile stands are very user friendly and can be hunted out of many different ways. They have retained the same classic features and look that they have had from the inception of OL’MAN.

“The Multi-Vision climbing stand is great because it can be used three different ways and it incorporates the Comfortech net seat which is unmatched in quiet and comfort”, stated John McNeill, the company’s President. The spreader arms are the best thing about this stand they allow you to climb a variety of different size trees and also allow you to overcome knots or broken limbs that would potentially limit your climbing height.

The Multi-Vison features a 18” X 32” standing platform. The stand also features backpack straps for ease of portability, Comfortech Net seat, and new and improved cable locking pins.  The Multi-Vision is rated for 300 lbs. and has a suggested retail ranging from $189.99-$355.99.

About OL’MAN Outdoors.
OL’MAN Outdoors has been a leader in the treestand industry for years.  Makers of the quietest and most comfortable climbing stands, fixed positions stands, ladderstands, and tri-pods in the woods today!  For more information on the Multi-Vision line of climbing stands or any OL’MAN Products visit and “Experience Superior Huntability!.”.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Monster blue marlin caught after 28-hour battle off Cabo San Lucas

Some reports listed the weight of a blue marlin landed Sunday off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at an eye-popping 1,213 pounds, a record for the resort destination. Others claimed the behemoth fell short of "grander" status, weighing only 972 pounds on a marina scale.

Whatever the weight of the billfish, it was an extraordinary catch, especially considering that the battle played out for nearly 28 hours, giving this yarn a Hemingway quality that seems more like fiction than fact.

The angler credited with the catch is Richard Biehl of Traverse City, Michigan, but he had help from the crew aboard the 31-foot yacht, Go Deep, which was plying the Pacific Ocean north of Cabo San Lucas at Baja California's tip.

After an offshore marathon that began Saturday morning at 8:20 and ended close to noon Sunday, those aboard the yacht either resembled or felt like very old men of the sea.

"That was the hardest thing I ever did in my life by far," Biehl told Pisces Sportfishing general manager Tracy Ehrenberg, who on Monday evening published the first detailed account of the remarkable episode. "I've shot bull moose and trekked out with 200 pounds on my back and it doesn't even compare."

Nobody knew what was in store when the marlin attacked a trolled lure at what is known as the 95 Spot, and dashed toward the horizon. The fishermen were targeting much smaller striped marlin and using only 60-pound-test line -- far too light for giant blue marlin.

When the great billfish first jumped, about 400 feet from the boat, the crew guessed its weight to be about 700 pounds.

Word of the catch didn't spread until Monday, when many in town and in the billfishing community considered the catch to be a rumor. Then photos and sparse details began to appear on Facebook. One photo showed the weight at 972 pounds, but that did not tell the story.

Ehrenberg on Monday afternoon interviewed Capt. Luis Abaroa and his crew, and briefly spoke with Biehl. (Efforts to reach Biehl for this story, via cellphone, were unsuccessful.)

Abaroa told Ehrenberg that the marlin registered only 972 pounds because the hook of the electronic scale used to weigh the fish was not high enough for all of the fish to clear the ground, so a time-tested measurement formula -- using length and girth -- was used to determine the 1,213 pounds. The marlin measured 137 inches long, or 11.4 feet, not counting its bill or tail. It was 75 inches, or 6.25 feet around.

Weight records for marlin caught off Cabo San Lucas are not kept officially, but an 1,111-pounder caught in the 1980s is believed to be the heaviest.

More recently, in this era of high-speed reels and other technological advancements, overnight struggles with giant billfish have become increasingly rare.

Biehl, bemoaning the use of light line, fought the giant blue marlin by himself until about sunset, then relinquished the rod to a deckhand. By then food and water had been exhausted and another vessel captained by Abaroa's brother, Frankie, was summoned via radio to deliver supplies.

The marlin leaped again, closer to the boat, as darkness fell. The weight estimate was revised upward to between 800-1,000 pounds.

A long night was fitful because to keep the line from breaking the captain and crew had to keep just enough pressure on the marlin, and constant maneuvering of the boat was necessary.

At sunrise a rejuvenated Biehl reclaimed the rod and resumed the fight. With the line and leader weakening, the crew aboard the other boat had devised a snag rig and managed to setting more hooks into the cheek of the wearying marlin.

Finally, the billfish tired and was brought alonside the boat, and according to Ehrenberg, Biehl chose to have it gaffed and brought to port. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime fish. I want to take him," he said.

Surprisingly, Biehl went fishing again Monday and caught and released a striped marlin, before himself succumbing to all he had been through by coming down with a bout of seasickness.

By: Pete Thomas

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Albino mule deer fawn outstanding in the field

It wasn’t a ghost Nels Houghton first saw while jogging in the early morning near his Billings, Mont.
Last weekend he returned and stalked to within 75 yards of the rare deer as it walked warily across a hillside, reports Brett French, outdoors writer for the Billings Gazette.
“I’ve hunted all my life and have never seen anything else like that,” he said. “I was pretty excited about it.”
French reports that albino deer are rare, but just how rare is open to debate.
  • One 1989 text, “The Deer of North America,” estimated the rate of albinism in mule deer at 1 in every 500,000 deer.
  • An Outdoor Life article on albino whitetail deer put the number at 1 in 20,000.
  • Former Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Jay Newell said he thinks the 1 in 500,000 odds are high. He told French he'd seen three albino mule deer — spread out along the Musselshell River and in the Bull Mountains — during his work in the area. Yet Newell has never seen an albino whitetail deer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

23-Point Prairie State Mega Buck

Deer hunting is always a great excuse to take a break from college and Mike Gabe was doing just that as he was hunting near Elmhurst, Illinois where he attends school at Elmhurst College.
While sitting in his stand, he spotted a massive trophy buck unlike anything he’d seen before. The buck appeared to have horn everywhere, including two massive drop tines that still had velvet on the tips. It truly was the buck of a lifetime. Gabe grabbed his grunt call and got to work, attempting to bring the buck into bow range and it worked as the big boy strolled closer to Gabe’s stand in response to the calls.
Just as it looked like Gabe was going to get a shot off, the unbelievable happened – a coyote sprinted out of the brush and started fighting with this monarch! The massive non-typical dropped his antlers to the ground and through a series of kicks and thrusts was able to scare off the Song Dog, who probably wouldn’t have fared to well in this tussle.
Thankfully, the buck didn’t spook and responded again to another grunt call, coming back towards Gabe’s stand, this time with a doe in tow.
The trophy wasn’t completely broadside, only offering an awkward shot that Gabe took. The shot connected, but it wasn’t a great one and the buck, with his doe, just walked away.
For the next six hours Gabe and his two buddies – Dan Krupa and Steve Stocklen – tracked a weak blood trail that took them two miles deep into the woods. The trio didn’t find him that night and the next morning Gabe headed back out, alone and saying prayers to St. Anthony for a recovery.
The young hunter walked in a giant circle, looking for any kind of sign when suddenly he spotted blood. Drop by drop, he followed a weak trail that took him to the top of a hill and there the buck was! A true Illinois trophy!
Then the real work began as it took Gabe five hours to drag the buck out of he woods as everyone he knew was either at work or school. But he persisted, just like in his tracking job, and got the job done, reaping the reward of the awe and amazement of the crowd that started to congregate to see this incredible deer.
The buck featured two 12-inch drop tines on both sides and green scored 240-inches non-typical.
Outstanding job Mike!

by Aaron Decker

Friday, September 23, 2011

Deer breeder fined 1.5M for smuggling whitetails into ETX

Billy Powell pleaded guilty on June 14, 2011, to the felony offense of smuggling at least 37 whitetail deer, over a 3 year time span, from Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio into Texas in violation of state and federal laws. Powell also admitted that he made a false statement and submitted a false document to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife special agent who was looking into the matter. Today, Powell was sentenced to serve 3 years probation with six months home confinement to be monitored with an electric anklet. Powell was also ordered to pay a $1 million fine, to be deposited into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Lacy Act Reward Fund, as well as $500,000.00 in restitution to Texas Parks and Wildlife. During the term of probation, Powell will be prohibited from participating in any manner in commercial deer breeding. Additionally, Powell must forfeit any illegally imported deer, any progeny of those deer, and any biological material derived from said deer, which would include any semen, antlers, mounts, and cloned deer. Powell has already forfeited over 1,300 straws of frozen semen valued at approximately $961,500.00 to U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

According to information presented in court, on at least four separate occasions, spanning from October 2006 through June 2008, Powell knowingly imported at least 37 live whitetail deer, many of whom came from captive deer farms in Ligonier, Indiana, into the state of Texas and to his “5-P Farms”, high fenced deer breeding facility in Cherokee County Texas. These deer included bucks known as “Fat Boy” aka “Barry”, “Silver Storm” aka “Hit Man”, “Y 009", “Eagle Storm” aka “BJ”, “Thunderstruck”, “High Five”, and “Primer” aka “Spikes”. At all times Powell knew that Texas law prohibited any person from possessing a deer acquired from an out-of-state source. In spite of this, Powell agreed to participate in the above-described transactions in which whitetail deer would be secretly transported from Illinois, Indiana, and/or Pennsylvania, to Texas in order to evade Texas laws and regulations.

Powell acknowledged that the fair market value of all of the illegally imported, whitetail deer exceeded approximately $800,000.00, that the value of the illegally accumulated white-tailed deer semen exceeded approximately $961,000.00, and that the value of the progeny exceeded approximately $290,000.00.

Powell further admitted that he lied to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent during a voluntary statement at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tyler, Texas. Powell told the agent that he had illegally imported approximately 35 white-tailed deer into the state of Texas when in fact he knew that he had illegally imported no less than 41 white-tailed deer, including 6 white-tail deer fawns. During the same statement, Powell also submitted lists identifying 35 white-tailed deer as the total number of white-tailed deer that he had illegally imported into the state of Texas when he knew that he had actually illegally imported no less than 41 white-tailed, including 6 white-tail deer fawns.

Findings of the investigation also prompted the Wildlife Division of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to conduct an epidemiological investigation in consultation with veterinarians and wildlife disease experts from Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas Department of State Health Services, and Texas ¬A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and accredited veterinarians actively involved in the deer breeding industry. This process was carried out in three separate phases. Ultimately all 334 deer contained in Powell’s deer breeding facility were euthanized to facilitate testing for chronic wasting disease (CWD) and bovine tuberculosis (TB). This process was necessary in order to provide an acceptable level of assurance that neither disease was prevalent in Powell’s deer breeding facility nor in any deer breeding facility that had received deer from Powell’s facility since October 2004.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has had an intensive CWD surveillance program since 2002, and this disease has yet to be detected in Texas. Likewise, bovine tuberculosis has not been detected in any Texas deer population. However, illegal entry of white-tailed deer from other states poses a serious risk of introducing these diseases and others into Texas. Introduction of these diseases into Texas could have a detrimental impact on the longtime cultural tradition of deer hunting, which generates an estimated $1.2 billion in retail sales and has a total economic output of more than $2 billion in Texas each year. Disease monitoring is also necessary to protect legal deer breeding activity from risk of disease exposure. Furthermore, bovine tuberculosis could have a significant impact on the Texas livestock industry. Prevention is the most effective tool to combat diseases because once established in wild populations, these diseases are extremely difficult, if not impossible to eradicate.

Since no live-animal test for CWD exists, TPWD consulted with trained experts to ensure the most humane euthanasia method and treatment of the animals was used. Texas Parks and Wildlife officials are presently awaiting the test results for the tissue samples submitted to the Texas Veterinarian Medical Diagnostic Laboratory located in College Station, TX

This case was investigated by the Special Operations Unit of the Texas Parks and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble.

From U.S. Attorney's Office

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Deer of the Day – 194 3/8-inch Iowa Bow Kill, Mitchell Wood

The winding road a dedicated whitetail hunter takes searching for a trophy buck often times begins with a shed find. Knowing that something massive has dropped its headgear to live another year gets the blood pumping and strategy sessions fired up for the next season.
That’s exactly what happened with Mitchell Wood when a co-worker of his showed him a shed find that was simply massive. The incredible find was scored at the 2009 Iowa Deer Classic and measured a whopping 194 inches! The bone was better than anything Wood or his family had ever taken and he set out to put the deer on the ground.
Wood was unable to connect on the buck during the 2009 season but saw the buck in January of 2010 feeding with several does. A couple of weeks later, Wood noticed that the buck had shed his antlers and Wood and his father immediately went searching for the bone, which they found two hours into their quest. They took the sheds to the 2010 Iowa Deer Classic and the rack scored 193 inches.
Trail cameras were set and Wood again dedicated his 2010 season to trying to take this massive buck. The only problem was, this trophy deer was proving to be elusive, never posing for a picture on any of the cams and playing the part of the invisible man all through the summer and early season.
Wood started his quest on October 1st and spent day after day in the stand waiting for the big boy, when on the 17th, he finally spotted the bruiser stepping out to feed 300 yards away before heading back into the timber to bed.
The next morning, Wood moved his stand in an attempt to get the drop on the buck later that afternoon. The plan worked brilliantly as the buck stepped out and headed right towards the Tink’s Scent Bomb that was hanging from a limb near Wood’s tree. Wood drew his Mathews Outback bow and sent a Goldtip arrow topped with a G5 Montec broadhead at the buck of a lifetime from seven yards, connecting cleanly on the monarch.
Wood waited until the next morning to recover his buck, which was found 80 yards from where the shot was taken. The deer grossed 198 inches and netted 193 3/8.
“My family has been very fortunate over the years to shoot multiple 160′s, 170′s and even an 181-inch giant…but now I can say I’ve got the biggest yet!” shared Wood.
Indeed he does…congratulations Mitchell!

by Aaron Decker

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hunter survives bear attack in remote Alaska

 A moose hunter attacked by a grizzly bear in north Alaska survived the severe mauling Monday after hiking to his camp, traveling by boat down river to a wilderness lodge then getting an airlift via Alaska Air National Guard helicopter to an Anchorage hospital. Donald "Skip" Sanford, 65, was hunting about five miles upriver from the Maclaren River Lodge when the bear attacked, according to Alaska State Troopers.
Sanford had been hunting with his son John, 12, his friend Monty Dyson, 47, and Dyson's son Chad, 22, Dyson said. Dyson relayed Sanford's story Tuesday by radio phone from the lodge, which sits on the Denali Highway 42 miles east of Cantwell, Alaska.
Sanford walked away from camp Monday about 2 or 3 p.m. to find a handheld radio he lost earlier, Dyson said.
Sanford was on a game trail when he saw the bear stand up, Dyson said. Sanford backed up, but the bear seemed to circle around him, Dyson said. Sanford told rescuers he first saw the grizzly about 75 yards away from him, said Joe Snyder, one of the many people at the lodge who helped treat Sanford and get him out of the wilderness. The bear quickly closed the gap between them, Snyder said.
"He turned around and the bear was about 20 yards away, and it was coming at him pretty fast with its head
down," Snyder said. Sanford — a "tougher than nails" ex-Marine and a Vietnam veteran, Snyder said — had just enough time to fire one shot from his .30-06 rifle before the bear grabbed him. The bear's claws dug into Sanford's back, near his kidneys, Snyder said. It bit his head, tearing an ear and leaving deep wounds with its canine teeth at the base of Sanford's skull, Snyder said. Dyson said he heard the shot and turned his own radio on. "He was just mumbling. 'Monty, a bear got me. A bear got me,'" Dyson said. Dyson couldn't figure out Sanford's location, so he started walking toward where he'd heard the gunshot. Dyson found his friend covered in blood, he said. "Skip said he remembered his head being in the bear's mouth, just going at him," Dyson said. "All he could do then was pray to the Lord that the bear would let go." Sanford guessed the attack lasted about 45 seconds, Dyson said. The walk back to camp was more than an hour, and Dyson radioed his son to prepare a boat to float down the river, he said. Back in camp, they loaded Sanford into a small boat, and Chad Dyson, holding a rope attached to the boat, floated him down the Maclaren River. Along the way, they met another group of hunters who used a satellite phone to call troopers, who called the lodge, Dyson said. Two men, including Snyder, drove a jet boat from there to meet the hunters, Snyder said. "Skip was laying flat in the small boat, with severe bleeding, shivering, probably going into shock at that point," Snyder said. "He was just bloody. It was just full of blood. So I knew we had a situation on our hands." They loaded Sanford into the jet boat, started first aid and rushed him to the lodge, Snyder said. "There wasn't a person here who didn't help out in some way," Snyder said.
Meantime, the troopers had requested help from the Alaska Air National Guard because of the remote location and the severity of Sanford's injuries, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.
Snyder said they laid Sanford down in the dining room and wrapped him up in warm blankets from a drier. "He would just snuggle into it and go, 'Ohh.' He really liked that," Snyder said.
Later, an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter with two pararescuemen landed at the lodge, according to the Air Guard. The rescuers hopped out and helped put more bandages on Sanford while the helicopter took off and refueled in the air with an HC-130 that had also been dispatched, the Guard said.
When the helicopter landed again, the rescuers loaded Sanford inside and then flew him to Providence Alaska Medical Center, troopers said.
A Providence spokeswoman said Sanford was listed in "fair" condition late Tuesday.
Dyson, his hunting buddy, returned to the camp to take down their tents and find Sanford's backpack, which he'd dropped during the mauling: It was about 30 yards from a moose carcass, Dyson said.
"That bear was protecting a moose kill that he had there, and Skip just came up on it, and I think that's probably why the bear attacked him," Dyson said.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hunters shouldn't forget tree stand safety

The crispness in the morning air has Alabama deer hunters salivating. Bow hunters will be in their tree stands in less than a month. Gun hunters will get their turn in about two months.
Preparations for the 2011-20012 Alabama deer season have already begun. Most deer hunting clubs have had work days of some sort. Some have prepped food plots for planting. Many have their strategies in place for what seeds and fertilizer to plant where.
Deer hunters are no doubt thinking about their personal strategies, too. Good bow hunters have already begun scouting a little. Others are allowing deer travel routes and tree stand placement to creep into their thoughts.
About the only thing left unchecked at this point is the most important thing of all: tree stand safety. I'm guessing that important aspect of deer hunting hasn't drawn a single thought from a single hunter.
Five Alabama deer hunters won't get the opportunity to hunt this season. They died last season after falling from trees.
Despite hunter education courses and constant preaching about safety, none of the five had safety harnesses or safety harnesses that were attached to the tree they were in. Instead of coming back to camp to get laughed at for falling and hanging in a tree, there were funerals and a lot of broken-hearted loved ones.
When most people think of deer hunting fatalities, they think of a hunter accidentally being shot. It is every deer hunter's worst fear.
Hunters wear orange walking to and from their stands to alert other hunters who may be in the area. Many carry flashlights to draw attention to the fact that they are humans and not deer. Thankfully, mistaken-for-

game accidents are extremely rare.
Falling from trees is not rare. It happens every week of the season. Many of these accidents result in broken ankles, broken arms and broken legs. Those accidents often go unreported to the state. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries investigated 18 tree stand accidents last season but the agency knows that is just a small percentage of the real number.
Conservation officers usually hear only about the bad falls -- the falls in which hunters die, get paralyzed or shatter their legs and have to lose them.
Avoiding serious injuries from tree stand falls, and avoiding tree stand falls altogether, is actually pretty easy. Hunters frequently allow the excitement of the hunt to overcome good common sense and that's when accidents happen.
Many falls occur because of equipment failure. That was the situation in three of the cases that the state investigated last season. The portion of the stand that attaches to the tree is a common point of failure. Welds and bolts should be inspected thoroughly.
A common mistake hunters make is finding a bolt or pin missing and hurriedly replacing it with just any bolt or pin from the basement or the hardware store. Cheap zinc-plated bolts often can't stand the stresses and will shear. Grade 8 bolts and nylon lock washers are a must.
Another common mistake hunters make is, for the sake of convenience, leaving their stands up all year. The weather takes a toll on aluminum and nylon straps. Straps are made of nylon so they don't rot but the sun damages nylon over time.
Sooner or later, all tree stand hunters are going to fall or at least come close. That's why a harness attached to the tree is so important. In three of the fatalities last season, the hunters had no safety harness at all. In another fall, the hunter was wearing a safety harness but it was not attached to the tree. In the fifth fatality, the hunter was hunting from a tripod stand and had no way to attach a harness.
Four of the five fatalities would have been avoided if a harness had been used.

Mike Bolton's outdoors column appears on Sundays in The Birmingham News. Email him at

Monday, September 19, 2011

Elk season opens with herds flush near Jackson

Elk rifle season begins with regulations focusing hunters on herds that don't face predators while protecting wapiti migrating from Yellowstone and the Teton Wilderness to avoid a future license lottery.
Hunting begins south of Jackson in the Fall Creek Herd for those who hold special licenses for cow and calf elk. Most other areas around the Jackson Hole valley open Sept. 26, when hunters will largely target branch-antlered elk in the Jackson Herd.
Some moose areas also opened Saturday, but for the first time in 99 years there will be no moose hunting in the Teton Wilderness.
To protect migrating herds, holders of general elk licenses will not be able to shoot cow or calf elk north of Jackson except in area 80 east of the National Elk Refuge. Some areas close earlier than in past years, also to protect migrating elk.
The Grand Teton National Park and refuge hunts will target antlerless elk almost exclusively.
Hunters will see regulations prohibiting the taking of "any elk" in many of the areas north of Jackson. Any-elk licenses were once common in Jackson Hole.
"The overall goal is to achieve (population) management objectives and to prevent going to a limited quota system like they did in Cody," Wyoming Game and Fish North Jackson biologist Doug Brimeyer said. "We're going to do everything possible to avoid going to a limited quota."
Limited-quota rules require hunters to apply by lottery for a permit.
General-license rules, even when antlerless elk are off limits, allow hunters much more access.
Changes in the regulations restricting hunting to antlerless and spike elk are driven by the changes in herds, Brimeyer explained.
"That's in response to the low calf ratios we've observed in the last few years and concerns about recruitment into the population — bull recruitment," Brimeyer said.
"The main concern we have is the migratory elk continue to reproduce at a lower level than the elk that reside along the Snake River corridor — southern Grand Teton and Spring Gulch," he said.
The so-called suburban elk that live near subdivisions "produce at twice the rate as the elk that reside in the northern portion," Brimeyer said.
In the north Jackson Herd, "predation plays a big role when you consider both bears and wolves in the herd unit," he said.
The overall ratio of calves to 100 cows in the Jackson Herd is 21. The fall Creek Herd ratio is 26.
Game managers prefer a ratio of 25 to sustain a herd that produces an excess for hunters to kill. Both herds are above Game and Fish objectives in terms of overall population.
The Jackson Herd, which includes elk that winter on the National Elk Refuge, in the Gros Ventre drainage and in Buffalo Valley, was at 11,976, according to the winter 2011 census.
That's 8.8 percent above the objective of 11,000.
The Fall Creek herd is at 4,860, which is 10.4 percent above the goal of 4,400 elk.
The agency considers a herd "at objective" when numbers are within 10 percent, plus or minus, of biologists' ideal population.
Statewide, 49 percent of herds are above objective, 23 percent of herds are at objective and 6 percent are below, according to that definition.
There's not enough information on other herds to determine ratio.
Game and Fish anticipates hunters killing 25,079 elk in the state this year. The anticipated harvest would be above the five-year average from 2005 to 2009. During those years the annual take was 21,565, according to agency numbers.
Elk hunting is anticipated to engage 58,936 hunters this year, up about 1,000 from last year, with a success rate of 42.6 percent.
General license holders in the Jackson area also will be able to shoot any elk east of the refuge (hunt area 80) during part of the season. There, the season and area open is being finely tuned.
Radio-collar information from elk should help target the Snake River corridor elk while giving a break to those that migrate from the far north. Part of the strategy involves moving the area's late-season boundary from Flat Creek south to Twin Creek, eliminating use of the Curtis Canyon road system.
The suburban elk are difficult to hunt, Brimeyer said.
"They migrate the least distance, are vulnerable to the least amount of predation and hunting pressure," he said. "They have excellent habitat — landscaped habitat. They do quite well."
Gros Ventre seasons close Oct. 25, "a little earlier to kind of protect those elk as they come into the valley floor," Brimeyer said. "On Nov. 6, a lot of our hunting seasons start closing down to protect the northern elk."
Conditions for wildlife on the west side of the Tetons have deteriorated, Brimeyer said. Deer season there is conservative, and elk and moose densities close to Yellowstone have dropped off.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Two Tons of Ivory Intercepted in Hong Kong

Officials with the Ports and Maritime Command were tipped off about a possible shipment of illegal ivory headed to Hong Kong from Malaysia on Tuesday.
Upon close inspection, customs officials found 794 pieces of African ivory tusks hidden under a layer of stones. The collection weighed approximately two tons, and was concealed inside a container marked “non-ferrous products for factory use.”  The tusks were worth about $13 million and believed to have been poached from elephants.
“The authorities in Hong Kong are to be congratulated on this important seizure, but it is now vital to ensure that all leads are followed to track down those responsible along the entire smuggling chain,” said Tom Milliken, TRAFFIC’s Elephant & Rhino Programme Co-ordinator.
Globally, illicit trade in ivory has been escalating since 2004 and Chinese consumption is considered to be the leading driver behind Africa’s elephant poaching crisis.
A 66-year-old man was arrested, while a follow-up investigation continues. Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing unmanifested cargoes is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.
The seizure occurred only days after the CITES Standing Committee recommended a review of China’s internal ivory trade protocol to determine whether there are possibilities for illicitly sourced ivory to leak into the legal ivory trade system.
A total of 164 ivory seizures have occurred in Hong Kong during over the past 23 years, collectively representing over 17 tonnes of elephant ivory.

posted by Beth Buczynski

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Georgia Bowhunters Find Early Bucks

Georgia's bow season began on September 10th and Peach State archers were greeted to relatively mild temperatures in the 50's, which is somewhat cool for early September in the deep South. While the pleasant cool temperatures helped, hunters also had to contend with a bright moon that was within a few days of being completely full.
Some hunters who saw no deer were able to blame it on the moon. However, many bowhunters did see deer movement and some successfully harvested some early venison. Those who saw deer were primarily hunting over prime food sources. With the rut being months away, and even pre-rut and any significant buck activity still in the future, hunters have to seek out and locate deer foods and hunt them.
Main food sources include persimmons, muscadines, and acorns. Persimmons are deer candy and if you can find a tree heavy with the sweet orange fruits, hang a stand there. Muscadines, a type of wild grape, grow on vines that blanket trees and brush. A vine heavy with dark purple grapes is also a deer magnet. It is a bit early for acorns to be falling, but some may be dropping in the southern portions of the state. Look on the ground underneath pin oaks for a prime whitetail food. Food plots are always a good bet for early season action too.
A major change in the south Georgia woodlands this fall is the allowance of hunting over bait. Under certain restrictions, hunters can place corn or other bait and hunt over it, but only in the southern part of the state, mainly below Macon. Consult the regulations for specifics, but this new law is a first in Georgia and may change the way some people hunt.
Georgia hunters were reporting some deer movement, mainly early in the morning. Does with fawns and a few small bucks were seen. Some deer were seen but the archers were not able to get a clear shot with the heavy foliage still present. Several does were reported being harvested with a few misses admitted.
A hunter reported seeing a spike still in velvet, another saw three does, a spike and a 5-pointer, and yet another saw a 6-pointer and 3 does. One hunter in Paulding county observed a “shooter” buck and a big doe with three fawns and he was hunting an area that was “raining acorns and grapes.”
One of the happiest hunters in Georgia is Rober Foster (above), who killed not one but two bucks on opening day. The bucks came through within minutes of each other and the bowhunter shot them both, a nine-pointer and a twelve-pointer. He reported that they were his 3rd and 4th bowkills of his life and his arrows were two feet from each other.
After hunting a buck for the last three years and getting numerous trail camera pictures, a Wilkes county hunter took the trophy ten-point buck. At 7:45pm, two smaller bucks came through and then the “giant” got too close to the bowhunter. The buck was green-scored at 154 inches.

Blog Post by Eric Bruce

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Drunken Elk rescued from Swede's apple tree

When Per Johansson of Saro, south of Gothenburg, returned home from work on Tuesday it was dark outside and the rain was coming down hard. Suddenly Johansson heard a bellowing noise from the garden next door.

“I thought at first that someone was having a laugh. Then I went over to take a look and spotted an elk stuck in an apple tree with only one leg left on the ground,” Johansson told The Local.

The unfortunate elk was desperately entangled in the tree’s branches and was kicking ferociously as Johansson approached.

“I thought it looked pretty bad so I called the police who sent out an on-call hunter. But while we were waiting, the neighbours and I started to saw down some of the branches and then the hunter arrived with a saw as well,” said Johansson.

The group tried to make the elk more comfortable but to no avail.

It wasn’t until the fire brigade arrived on the scene and managed to bend the tree to the point where the exhausted elk could slide out of the branches that the animal was finally freed.

According to Johansson, it looked very much like the elk was severely drunk after eating too many fermenting apples.

Drunken elk are common in Sweden during the autumn season when there are plenty of apples lying around on the ground and hanging from branches in Swedish gardens.

While the greedy animal was reaching ever higher to reach the delicious but intoxicating fruit, it most likely stumbled into the tree, getting itself hopelessly entangled in the branches.

And from what Johansson could gather, this particular animal had been on a day-long bender.

“My neighbour recognised it as the animal that almost ran into her car earlier in the day. She was pretty sure the elk was already under the influence,“ said Johansson.

When the inebriated elk was freed, it lay for a while on the ground, seemingly unconscious.

After emergency services had ascertained that the animal was still alive, Johansson was told to keep an eye on it and call the hunter straight away if it seemed to be suffering.

But by the morning the hungover animal had stood up and cautiously moved a few metres away.

After a while it went on its way, although Johansson suspects it is still skulking around the neighbourhood.

“We often see elk stuffing their faces with apples around here but this is the first time we found one perched in a tree,” he told The Local.
By: Rebecca Martin

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The One Million Dollar whitetail buck

With a 46-point rack and a Boone and Crockett score of 334, it's hard to
argue that a whitetail named Stickers isn't the biggest buck to ever
consume protein in Texas .. Sammy Nooner of Hondo brought Stickers home in
February. Since then, fellow deer breeders have been speculating on the
price tag. Some estimates involve seven figures for the 6-year-old
monarch buck, whose semen fetches $4,000 to $5,000 per straw. Noone r,
however, said the price is going to stay between him and the seller -
Tommy Dugger, one of the state's top deer breeders. 'It's probably as
high as anybody's ever paid,'' he said, 'but we're not letting it out; Tommy and I have a gentleman's agreement.''

Damon Thorpe, director of operations for the Texas Deer Association,
said there are probably only two deer in the United States bigger than
Stickers. 'I think you can say with confidence he's the most expensive
deer ever in Texas ,'' Thorpe said. 'It's not inconceivable at all to
think a deer like that is worth $1 million.'' Dugger told the Lone Star
Outdoor News it would not be accurate to say the deer sold for one
million dollars. Wildlife consultant Chase Clark, who works with both
Nooner and Dugger, said the biggest buck title was previously held by
Jake the Dream Buck, which was owned by Dugger. Jake died of a
respiratory illness in the winter of 2005, Clark said. In the meantime,
Dugger acquired the up-and-comer Stickers, who was born in 2001 on the
Glen Morgan ranch.
But Stickers had something else going for him, Clark said. This deer is the offspring of a doe impregnated by artificial insemination with semen
from an Ohio legend named Redoy Ben. The elder whitetail, who was only
about 2 years old at the time, showed a lot of potential, Clark said. Redoy Ben died that same year, also to a respiratory illness. Nevertheless, Clark said the big deer's potential was realized through his son, Stickers. 'It wasn't until October of 2006 that a tape was put on those antlers,'' Clark said of Sticker's headgear. 'Now Stickers
represents the ultimate in the Texas deer breeding industry.''

Nooner, a South Texas gasoline distributor, is also known for the
quality dove hunts he offers from his base in Medina County .. 'We just
wanted to help the genetics,'' he said. 'It was fun just trying to see how big a deer could grow.'' But Nooner may be on the verge of seeing
his profits grow as well.
'Let's assume he did pay $1 million for the deer,'' Thorpe said. 'All he has to do is sell 200 straws to get his money out of him. You can easily
get that in a year, and do it safely.'' But despite his pedigree, Nooner
and Clark agree there's nothing uppity about Stickers. 'Some deer are
more nervous than others,'' Clark said. 'They don't do well in breeding
operations. But Stickers is pretty laid back. 'He's great at posing for
the camera.''


Monday, September 12, 2011

White-tailed deer abundant; mule deer, elk, so-so

First, the good news: White-tailed deer hunting should be good this fall.
The herds have taken some hits in recent years from hard winters, but they’ve repeatedly proven resilient. Whitetails should continue to provide some of the state’s best big game hunts.
But overall, you can expect deer hunting to be tougher than last year.
Deer hunters in 2010 (whitetails and mule deer) snapped a three-year decline in harvest despite 12,715 fewer tags sold between 2008 and 2010.
Idaho deer hunters killed 44,328 deer in general and controlled hunts in 2010, including 25,337 mule deer and 19,031 whitetails for a combined success rate of 37 percent. In 2009, hunters killed 42,300 deer.
The harvest will likely drop this fall because of a hard winter that killed lots of mule deer fawns.
“We expect deer to be down a little because we had some high over-winter mortality,” said Brad Compton, state wildlife manager.

Whitetails in the north and north/central parts of the state provide the best deer hunting opportunities year after year.
Long hunting seasons, including hunts during the rut and lots of either-sex opportunity, have landed the North Idaho hunting units among the top for harvest and success rates for several years running.
Unit 1 in the northernmost Panhandle is a perennial top unit for whitetails and routinely exceeds statewide success rates.
Unit 10A in north/central Idaho was another winner last year, landing in the top five for both deer harvest and success rates, and it was also a top elk producer. While hunting units north of the Salmon River provide the best whitetail hunting, the animals are distributed throughout Idaho except the southern-most parts of the state.
Deer hunters with a general tag can harvest whitetails in most areas throughout October, but those wanting to hunt whitetails in the prime November rut must opt for a white-tailed deer tag, which excludes hunters from killing a mule deer.
Mule deer hunter’s modest bump in the harvest last year will likely be shortlived because mule deer hunters will be hit with a double-whammy: low fawn survival and conditions that could make deer hard to find.
Last winter, Fish and Game biologists monitored 192 radio-collared fawns in 39 hunting units south of the Salmon River, and only 26 percent survived. It’s the lowest survival rate since monitoring started in 1998, and a fraction of the long-term average of about 60 percent survival.
Fawn survival is an indicator of upcoming hunts because fawns that survive winter become yearlings in the fall, which are typically a large percentage of the deer

That being said, adult winter-kill was average, and the state’s buck/doe ratio is meeting Fish and Game’s objectives of 15 bucks per 100 does. That means there should be a fair number of mature bucks available this year — if you can find them.
The prolonged, cool, wet spring created abundant forage for deer and prime conditions for good antler growth. While that bodes well for the animals, it doesn’t necessarily do hunters a favor.
Abundant forage and water often means animals don’t congregate around scarce water sources like during a dry year, so finding animals could be a challenge.
Did elk harvests bottom out in 2009? It’s an interesting question after harvest declined for four years, but went from 15,800 in 2009 year to 17,792 in 2010.
F&G officials attribute the increase to favorable weather last hunting season that brought snow to some areas and drove elk out of the high country, or just made them easier to hunt.
The increased harvest in 2010 is more notable considering Fish and Game sold 7,800 fewer elk tags in 2010 than it did in 2008 and 2,256 fewer than it did in 2009, so it was actually fewer hunters killing more elk, which drive the statewide success rate up to 23 percent.
But we’re hunters, not accountants, right? What does it mean for this year?
F&G game officials expect this fall’s harvest to be similar to 2010.
Elk are not as prone to winter kill as deer, so elk herds tend to be more stable.

Despite that, elk herds are facing different sets of challenges, including habitat, predators, and cow productivity and calf survival.
Hunters also have faced challenges when elk herds dwindled in traditional strongholds, while herds elsewhere have maintained populations or increased.
“We have good elk populations and fully functioning herds in two-thirds of our zones,” F&G director Virgil Moore said.
“That doesn’t diminish the fact there are large portion of the central part of the state where elk populations are down.”
F&G’s surveys show 12 elk zones are meeting cow population objectives, 11 are over objectives, and six are under.
The state of bulls is similar, with seven zones meeting bull objectives, 13 over objectives and nine below objectives.
But nowhere in big game hunting is there a bigger gap between what the biologists see during winter helicopter flights and what hunters see during the fall hunting season.
Both hunters and biologists say elk have changed their habits because of wolves.
“They don’t just stand around on open hillsides like they used to,” Moore said.
Elk now tend to favor timbered areas where they are harder to spot, and bulls are less vocal during the fall rut, which makes them harder to locate.
But hunters are adapting to different elk behavior and becoming more effective at hunting them.
There’s also been a migration of elk hunters out of traditional elk hunting areas where herds have declined and into areas with healthier elk herds.
It often takes hunters a couple of seasons to learn a new area and figure out how to hunt it successfully.
“I think there’s a fair amount of that going on in parts of the state,” Moore said.
Many elk hunters are celebrating the return of wolf hunting as a way to relieve some predation on elk, but Fish and Game officials caution hunters to temper their expectations, because an overnight rebound in elk populations isn’t likely.
“The reality is wildlife populations tend to respond relatively slowly,” wildlife manager Compton said. “The first thing you want to do is reverse the trend, and that’s going to take a couple years, at least.”
But Compton thinks elk herds can rebound, and the harvest could return to the heyday of the mid 1990s.
“I would like to see us back in that 20,000 range,” Compton said.
“Most folks thought elk hunting was better then, even though success rates were similar (to last year).”


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Woman Catches 1,025 Pound Gator

Maryellen Mara-Christian of Massachusetts kills her first alligator on a hunt in South Carolina and she winds up hooking celebrity status in the process.
Hooking and killing the 1,025-pound, 131/2-foot gator has made her something of a celebrity.
“He was just a big old gator,” she said Friday by phone from a hotel in Washington, D.C., where she will be interviewed on a morning news show today. “The hunt of a lifetime, I’d say.”
The 48-year-old laid-off bank marketing officer from Fitchburg, Mass., was hunting Wednesday with her husband, Mark, who is a firefighter in Massachusetts and a part-time hunting guide in Maine, and Lake Moultrie guide Kevin Davis.
“I came down to South Carolina hoping for a 10-footer and I just lucked out to may have gotten one of the biggest ones people have ever seen,” Mara-Christian said.
Alligator hunting is part hunting, part fishing. Hunters use a regular fishing pole with a heavy line and a large snatch hook. They try to get several hooks in the alligator to get him close to the boat so they can shoot or harpoon them. It is illegal in South Carolina for a hunter to shoot a free swimming alligator.
It took about two hours for Mara-Christian’s party to secure the gator before they could shoot it. But the .22-caliber gun they had wasn’t powerful enough to put the animal down so Mara-Christian used a knife to sever the animal’s spinal cord at the base of its head.
“It was just shake, shake, shake,” she said. “I was shaking for a long time after, but that happens when you hunt.”
Meat processor Steve Drummond, owner of 301 Processing and Taxidermy, initially estimated that the gator weighed 900 pounds, but he and a friend were curious and procured a certified scale. Drummond, who has killed more than a dozen gators over the years, and processed the meat of many more, said it was the biggest one he had ever seen.
He said he has weighed gators that were just three feet shorter, but weighed less than 400 pounds.
“That is a very, very, very heavy alligator,” Drummond said. “That one there had gobs and gobs of fat on it.”
In fact, there was so much fat that only about 40 pounds of the meat is usable, he said. Drummond also will do the taxidermy on the gator so Mara-Christian can display it.
Only 1,000 licenses were given out for the month-long alligator hunting season, according to the South Carolina Natural Resources Department website. Each hunter can get one alligator a year. The state is divided into four regions with no gator hunting allowed in the northwest area known as the Upstate. Licenses are awarded by lottery and hunters must stay in the zone where they were selected.
Mara-Christian was hunting on the lower of the Santee Cooper lakes, which are about halfway between Columbia and Charleston.
Drummond and Mara-Christian had gone hunting the day before, stalking the gators while standing in about a foot of water on the edge of the lake.
“I was never afraid, I had to trust the two people that were in the water with me,” she said. “You have to be aware and smart. We just stayed along the edges. The gators are out ahead of us.”
Mara-Christian said she and her husband have hunted black bear, deer and other animals.
“Every animal that we hunt is a different experience,” she said. “It’s hard to compare one with the other. But this was truly a great experience, like I said, probably the hunt of a lifetime.”

by Kristine Doluche

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oklahoma’s “Most Wanted”: 206-inch Trophy Buck

George Moore’s instincts told him this would be a good day for deer hunting. He had been pursuing an elusive trophy buck nicknamed “Most Wanted” that usually left him perplexed, but today was different.
Most Wanted was a cautious buck that spent the daylight hours in dense bedding cover before coming out at dark. Though Moore chronicled the buck’s routine on game cameras, previous attempts to arrow the bruiser had been futile.
Rumors of a giant buck in the vicinity of Moore’s property were confirmed with a single trail camera photo in 2009. From that point on, Moore was obsessed in his pursuit of the buck. Photo courtesy of Mike Lambeth.
On October 18, 2010, when Moore climbed into his tree stand for an afternoon hunt, he noticed the temperature had cooled off. His wait was brief before does and a small buck appeared and fed beneath him. Suddenly, the deer were alerted to something Moore couldn’t see. Peering intently into the nearby trees, the agitated deer slowly moved away.
Moore wondered if a bigger buck was approaching. With tensed nerves he slowly reached for his bow, knowing that something lurked just beyond his view.
In seconds, Most Wanted appeared from behind a big cedar! While staring at the huge antlers of a true trophy buck, Moore nervously drew his bow.

In 2009, Moore was told that a giant whitetail had been seen on the property next to his hunting area. It was believed the wide-racked brute shared time on Moore’s property as well. However, Moore had never seen the buck nor captured any images on his game cameras. He wondered if the giant buck actually existed until a friend confirmed his suspicions with a trail camera picture of the brute.
One glimpse at the great buck was enough to cause Moore to become obsessed. His zeal drove him to strategically prepare the food plots on his hunting property before the 2010 season. In addition, Moore decided to feed huge amounts of rice bran to supplement the deer on his property.
Care was also taken to hang three tree stands near areas where the buck traveled, in hopes that Moore or his son, Matt, would get a crack at Most Wanted.
Less than a month before the archery season opener, Most Wanted was photographed directly beneath Moore’s stand with a smaller 7-point buck. Moore was ecstatic that the phantom whitetail had a penchant
for the area by his favorite tree stand and vowed only to hunt the deer when the wind was right.
Moore’s Oklahoma bruiser had several of the ingredients for a great score — mass, tine length, and an impressive spread. Photo by courtesy of George Moore.
In photos, the buck appeared to be very typical with all the ingredients necessary to score well — several long tines, mass and a wide spread. In an effort to carefully monitor the buck, Moore set out cameras along a creek where the buck traveled.
Since Moore’s hunting property was surrounded by a housing addition and golf course, he wondered if others were after the big buck, too.
On opening day of archery season, Moore’s son, Matt, was unable to hunt, so Moore took his son-in-law, Chris McMiller, instead. McMiller was given his choice of the three stands and chose the “Hilltop Stand” where his father-in-law usually hunted himself. Moore decided to hunt a stand near the creek nicknamed the “Fenceline Stand.”
As darkness approached that evening, Moore saw nothing, so he walked to his truck and drove towards McMiller’s location. When McMiller wasn’t at the meeting place, Moore glassed the distant tree stand and noticed he was still there.
Moore grabbed a flashlight and walked to the stand, sensing something was wrong. McMiller was shaking. He told his father-in-law that Most Wanted stood beneath his tree stand for 15 minutes, but he was shaking too badly to shoot.
“The buck’s tines were long and dark-colored,” McMiller told his father-in-law. “He was huge!”
Moore knew that if he was going to kill the big buck he needed to hunt the Hilltop Stand only, and the wind would have to be perfect.
Being in the oil and gas business, Moore stayed very busy for the next 10 days and was only afforded one day to bowhunt, which produced the same small bucks and does he had become accustomed to seeing.
On October 18, Moore had a feeling that his luck was going to change, and knew he needed to go hunting. Stymied by morning meetings at work, Moore called Matt and set up an afternoon hunt.
Moore and his son arrived at their lease just before 3 p.m., parked their vehicles, and loaded up in the Polaris to head to their stands. Moore drove Matt to the Fenceline Stand and then headed to his spot on the hillside.
At 3:15 p.m., Moore climbed 30 feet into his stand. He saw nothing for the first two hours. With a little more than an hour of light left, Moore saw some does and fawns approaching his location.
The deer were feeding 20 yards away when the biggest doe in the group snapped her head up and gazed intently into the trees. Unnerved by what she saw, the doe began easing away with the other deer.
In a few minutes, a 7-point buck walked out and began feeding on the rice bran. Soon the other deer returned, but their attention was focused on the woods. Coming out of the trees with his nose to the ground was Most Wanted, now feeding 20 yards away.
“I couldn’t believe he was finally in front of me” Moore said, “I was going nuts. I closed my eyes for a few seconds, so I wouldn’t get nervous from staring at his massive antlers.”
When Moore opened his eyes Most Wanted was consuming the rice bran that mysteriously appeared every few days. Taking careful aim, Moore released an arrow that struck the buck’s left shoulder. The buck spun and ran with the arrow buried to the fletching.
After waiting in his stand until 6 p.m., Moore called Matt with the good news. Matt soon drove up in the Polaris, and the pair started to look for the buck as darkness fell. Moore found hair near the spot where the buck was standing. At Matt’s urging, they decided to return the next morning to look for the buck.
The next morning, Matt met his dad at the lease at 9:15 and they drove to the spot near the Hilltop Stand. Matt found a good blood trail and 80 yards away lay Most Wanted. When Moore saw the huge buck he was overcome with emotion.
“I thanked God as I grabbed the buck’s rack,” Moore said. “I was amazed. The buck was awesome!”
The antlers were a mainframe 7×7, but one side had seven sticker points. Moore took the buck to Terry’s Taxidermy in Oklahoma City, where the veteran taxidermist estimated the buck to score in the 180s.
Sixty days later, the buck was officially measured and the non-typical rack grossed an amazing 206 5/8 and netted 191 7/8.

 by Mike Lambeth