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Friday, March 30, 2012

Lawrence Praised For Her "Hunger Games" Hunting Form

Jennifer Lawrence had been praised from all corners for her Hunger Games performance -- even rocker/bowhunting enthusiast Ted Nugent has chimed in.

Nugent, a member of the Bowhunters Hall of Fame, loves how realistically Lawrence carries herself as bow-wielding Katniss Everdeen in the movie.Apparently Lawrence hit the bullseye with the performance.

"All of us archers and bowhunters are so very happy to see real honest-to-God archery form being displayed properly for a change," Nugent tells USA TODAY. "Proper archery is one of life's most beautiful ballets, especially when executed by a beautiful woman like Jennifer."

He adds, "It makes for the ultimate eye-candy."

Lawrence trained extensively with 4-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig prior to filming. "I had no choice but to be good," she said. "I was working with an Olympian."

Lawrence continued shooting 100 arrows a day throughout filming to make sure she stayed sharp. "I didn't want to get rusty," she said. "You can't let your technique go to hell."

by: Bryan Alexander

Monday, March 26, 2012

Camouflaged Hunters Need to Use Extra Caution in Woods

When I was a kid, there was a guy named James Carr who visited my hunting club in Harpersville, Ala., with his son, Jimmy, every year on the opening day of turkey season.

Neither of them hunted anymore, but they showed up every opening day to tell a story they hoped would help others hunt safely for years to come.

James had grown up turkey hunting, and he had an impressive collection of beards and spurs to prove just how good he had been with a diaphragm call in his turkey hunting prime.

But when he was 38 years old, a tragedy brought his turkey-hunting career to a screeching halt and changed his life forever.

James was walking into the woods just after daylight on the opening morning of the season when he said it felt like a bomb went off inside his camouflage cap.

"I was easing into the woods, holding my shotgun in one hand and a box call in the other hand," he said. "Then all of a sudden, I was on the ground and it felt like my face was on fire."

In the midst of the terrifying situation, James wasn't sure what had happened.

Fearing that his gun or one of his own shells might have exploded, he crawled as far away from them as he could. But then his worst fears were confirmed.

Another hunter -- a man James had never met before -- came running in and knelt at James' side. The man had seen James slipping through the woods, mistook him for a turkey and hit him in the face with a No. 4 shot from a Remington 1100 12-gauge.

The man could have fled the scene and left James lying there, perhaps to die. But to his credit, he owned up to his tragic mistake he'd made and went for help.

James said while he was lying there on the ground waiting for the other hunter to return with help, he heard three different turkeys gobble.

But the gobbles didn't mean anything to him -- and he knew they never would again. He was blinded permanently.

Now every year when turkey season rolls around, I think about that story.

You should, too.

As deer hunters during the fall and winter, we've all come to rely on florescent orange as our safety net.

We dress in camouflage clothing from head to toe and top the ensemble with a bright orange vest and hat -- and since deer can't see warm, bright colors like florescent orange, we're hidden from our quarry but plenty visible to other hunters in the area.

Wild turkeys are much more complicated.

Head-to-toe camouflage is a must for turkey hunting -- and if you top your turkey camo with an orange vest, you might never see the first gobbler.

In fact, I've spooked more than one turkey through the years by accidentally leaving a little patch of my white tube socks visible above my boots. They're that observant.

Turkey hunting requires a different approach than deer hunting -- and because of that, hunters have to expend a little extra effort to remain safe.

On today's page, I've included 10 safety tips from the National Wild Turkey Federation that can help you stay safe in the woods. But the tips are designed to help turkey hunters avoid getting shot.

Always remember that accidental shootings often ruin lives on both ends of the gun.

The guy who mistook James Carr for a turkey was a lifelong hunter who, by all accounts, had never made a mistake anywhere near that magnitude before.

Apparently, the guilt was too much for him because he took his own life eight months after accidentally robbing James of his sight.

As turkey season begins this weekend, use the 10 safety tips from the NWTF to avoid avoid being shot.

Then use some common sense to avoid shooting anyone else.

If you're not 100 percent sure that your target is a legal wild turkey, don't shoot.

If it is a turkey and it gets away, you'll get over it.

But if you take a shot like the one that blinded James, there will be no guarantees.

by: Bryan Brasher


Leave the area if you suspect there's another hunter already working the same bird.

Resist the urge to stalk turkey sounds. It is nearly impossible to sneak up on a turkey. It is also unethical and could lead to an accident.

Select a spot that is in open timber rather than thick brush: wearing camouflage clothing and eliminating movement is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover.

Sit against a large stump, blow-down, tree trunk or rock that is wider than your shoulders and higher than your head when calling wild turkeys.

Never wear bright colors, especially not red, white, blue or black because these are the colors of a wild turkey gobbler. Watch out for red, white or blue on your socks, T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, hats, bandannas, etc. Wear dark undershirts and socks, and pants long enough to be tucked into boots.

Remain still and speak in a loud, clear voice to announce your presence to other hunters if necessary. Never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence.

Keep your hands and head camouflaged when calling.

Maintain a clear field of view when using a camouflage blind or netting.

Ensure your decoy is not visible when you are transporting it. Stash the decoy in your vest and make sure the head is not sticking out. If you harvest a wild turkey during your hunting trip, you also should cover the bird's head and body when carrying it out from your hunting spot.

Put your gun's safety on and approach all downed birds with your firearm pointed in a safe direction after firing. Never run with a firearm.

Source: National Wild Turkey Federation

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hunters fire back at environmental group’s effort to ban ‘toxic’ lead bullets

Hunters are up in arms over an Arizona-based conservation group latest bid to get the federal government to ban lead bullets, which the environmentalists claim contaminates the food chain.

The Center for Biological Diversity, which claims 220,000 members, has sent a petition  to the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of nearly 100 groups in 35 states asking the agency to regulate lead right out of ammunition. It's the second time the group has attempted to get the EPA to take up the cause, and the group is currently suing the federal agency for rejecting the previous bid.

Hunting groups scoff at the Center's claims that lead left in the carcasses of animals they shoot but don't collect harms the food chain and that spent casings can contaminate groundwater. They say the group has long sought to curb their rights to hunt and own firearms.

“They are like a woodpecker without any wood. They just keep pecking away,” Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation told “It’s clear that their motivation is to end hunting in the United States.”

The environmental group claims the EPA has jurisdiction over bullets through the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. But an EPA spokesman told the agency denied the previous petition because the agency does not share the opinion it has legal authority over bullets and shotgun pellets.

Keane, who noted that the environmental group's original petition did not exempt police officers or military personnel from using lead bullets, applauded the EPA for understanding its role.

“Regulating ammunition for hunting is simply not in the EPA’s sandbox,” said Keane

Officials at the Center for Biological Diversity, a 501(c)3 organization that took in just under $8 million in 2010, declined to comment to But earlier this week, spokesman Jeff Miller released a statement outlining the group's case.

“The unnecessary poisoning of eagles, condors and other wildlife is a national tragedy that the EPA can easily put an end to," Miller said. "There are safe, available alternatives to lead ammo for all hunting and shooting sports, so there’s no reason for this poisoning to go on.

“This isn’t about hunting — it’s about switching to nontoxic materials to stop preventable lead poisoning,” Miller said.

Keane disputed the claim that lead bullets are a threat to anything other than what they are fired at.

"There's no sound science that show lead ammunition having an impact on wildlife population," said Keane, adding that the firearms industry pays a federal excise tax of 11 percent on ammunition, which goes to wildlife conservation programs.
Last month, Rep.Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) has recently authored a bill called the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 which places protections on hunting, fishing and shooting. The bill would clarify that materials commonly used in hunting and fishing fall outside the scope of the EPA's enforcement of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

“Most of our fish and wildlife habitat can be attributed to the taxes paid by the firearms, ammunition and sport fishing tackle industries through sportsmen," Miller told "Ammunition prices are already on the rise and imposing a ban on traditional ammunition and fishing tackle would result in considerable reductions in the number of sportsmen participating in the outdoors, and funding the future of our fish and wildlife habitat.”

By Perry Chiaramonte

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ted Nugent defends the Trump boy's hunting trip.

Donald Trump is famous for saying “You’re fired!” on “Celebrity Apprentice,” but this time it is a sponsor that has fired him.

Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, denounced Donald Trump Jr., who serves as a judge on the current season, for posing for photos with an array of dead animals he killed on a big game safari hunt in Zimbabwe. 

In one, he holds up a severed elephant tail, while holding a knife in his other hand.

Even though Donald the Elder was quick to distance himself from the controversy when photos first surfaced – stating plainly that he does not believe in the sport – Lemonis pulled his company's ads from the popular NBC reality show. 

"I am totally disgusted by the [hunting] pics I have seen and was surprised to see them," Lemonis told TMZ.

But not everybody is outraged. Trump Jr. is getting plenty of support for his involvement with the Hunting Legends safari, which claims it is an “ethical” organization consisting of “professional hunters, and not opportunist killers.”

“Anybody with a shred of honesty supports the Trumps, and all hunters, as the best damn hands-on value conservationists on earth,” devoted hunter and musician Ted Nugent told’s Pop Tarts column. “The Trumps are welcome at the Nugent family sacred hunting grounds anytime.”

Despite of the backlash, Trump Jr. has made no apology for his actions, and responded to angry tweets from animal lovers and activists with some of his own.

“You think we wasted the meat? It fed a village for a month… I’m a hunter, I won’t cower from that because of some losers,” he said via Twitter. “Actually the money from hunting fees preserves animals and habitat. Complaining does nothing. Bottom line is without hunters $ there wouldn’t be much left of Africa. Nothing we hunt is endangered, that’s just how it’s spun by anti-hunters."

Others tweeted support and admiration to Trump Jr. for not surrendering his beliefs for PR purposes. 

“Thank you for supporting the people of Zimbabwe by ethically and legally hunting there. I’m sure many people were thankful,” tweeted one fan, while another wrote: “I like that you stand up for yourself, unlike other celebrities. You’re a man and you’re supposed to be at the top.”

As you might imagine, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is not pleased.

"Left alone, animal populations regulate their own numbers based upon the availability of food and secure habitat," a PETA rep told us. "The money spent on hunting fees in this case could have gone toward the building of a school or hospital or planting an orchard, any of which would have had a lasting positive effect on the villagers, rather than patronizing them and reducing them to hunting guides for spoiled, bored, visiting American millionaires."

And even though Camping World is out, TV types are not anticipating the hoopla to negatively impact the “Apprentice” franchise.

“Some companies pull ads at the first sign of controversy for fear of boycotts. Considering that Donald Trump Jr. is simply a part of an ensemble cast and the controversial hunting trip had nothing to do with the show, I think it was unnecessary for the advertisers to pull ads because the show would likely never have been targeted,” added Glenn Selig, founder of The Publicity Agency. “As for the Trump brand, I don't believe there's anything to worry about. The Trump brothers were engaged in an activity that is legal and enjoyed by the wealth,y and their brand caters to those who are affluent.”

The Trumps, Camping World and several other "Apprentice" advertisers did not respond to our requests for comment.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Texas Hunters Hope to Save the Quail


Wild bobwhite quail are disappearing from West Texas, one of the last places in the U.S. where until recently they thrived, raising concerns about the future of the state's traditional quail hunt.

The ranchlands of Texas' northwestern plains have long been considered one of the bird's last bastions. But when an uptick in rain during the spring and summer of 2010 didn't result as expected in many more birds than the year before, hunters began to fear that more than drought was harming the birds.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's 2010 quail survey backed up the hunters' anecdotal reports. It found eight quail per area measured, far below the longtime mean of 21. In 2011, the survey showed 5.3 birds per area measured.

Some hunters recently asked the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to shorten the 2012 hunting season and reduce the 15-bird daily limit. The commission said it will make a decision in August, a few months before the three-month hunting season for quail opens in November.

Meanwhile, some of the state's richest businessmen, including oil and gas entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens, are raising money to try to save the quail. A group called Park Cities Quail held a $300-a-plate dinner last week, attended by 1,000 hunters. An auction for a quail-hunting trip to England with rock legend Steve Winwood drew a top bid of $145,000.

While the sport had an unflattering episode when then-Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a Texas lawyer in the face in 2006 in South Texas, quail hunting occupies a cherished place in the state's outdoor culture. Texans wax poetic when they describe how hunting parties set out in midmorning with their hunting dogs, who romp a half mile ahead. When the dogs come upon a covey of quail—about 12 to 20 birds—they wait until their owners arrive, then, when signaled, flush out the birds, who take to the sky in all directions. Quail hunters can travel 1,000 acres a day.

"Quail hunting is a mystical, magical thing, and we all want our children to be able to experience it and not have to look at it in oil paintings," said Joe Crafton, a Dallas marketing executive who founded Park Cities Quail five years ago.

The group has bankrolled the Rolling Hills Quail Research Ranch, a 47,000-acre spread an hour west of Abilene. Last month, researchers there found that the levels of parasitic worms in the eyes and intestines of West Texas bobwhite quail were three times as high as 50 years ago.

"When you have as many enemies as a quail has, something that interferes with its vision could make them more susceptible to predators," said Dale Rollins, a biologist who serves as the center's director. He cautioned the findings are preliminary, but researchers are now hoping to develop a medicated seed that would help the quail fight off the worms.

Bobwhite quail—ground-nesting birds less than a foot long, with a host of predators—have been declining for decades in the 25 states where they are indigenous.

Their population dropped 82% nationally since 1967 to roughly five million in 2007, a steeper slide than for any other common bird, according to the National Audubon Society.

Scientists have cited large-scale farming and suburban sprawl as the main culprits—though that isn't the case in the rolling expanses of West Texas—saying they have wiped out swaths of weed-choked terrain where the small, plump birds forage, breed and hide from their enemies.

Many hunters have voluntarily curtailed their hunting trips. Rick Snipes, a retired North Carolina insurance executive, owns a 6,000-acre spread in Northwest Texas but hasn't hunted there for two years. "No one hunts them when they're down," he said,

Larry Hill, a retired aircraft mechanic in Krum, north of Dallas, has worked as a hunting guide and dog trainer in West Texas for the past nine years.

When he started, he said, he accompanied as many as 100 hunters a season. This year, he didn't have a single customer. He is considering giving away his 16 bird dogs, because he can't afford to feed them much longer.

"The quail is a type of dinosaur," he said. "It may be leaving for good."

By Ann Zimmerman

Monday, March 5, 2012

Duck Calling Blunders

Duck calls are more diverse than the ducks they entice. There are cheap ones, expensive ones, mass produced calls, and calls from mom & pop shops. They’re made of plastic, African wood, oak, and air craft grade specialty materials I’ve never heard of. But they all have one thing in common. They can be horribly misused to the detriment of the hunter operating them. There are several calling mistakes that keep birds alive every season. Here is a look at the most common ones.
Calling ducks is both challenging and exciting
Too Much Calling
The biggest calling sin is calling too much. The offenders are far and wide. From novice duck callers to the pros, a lot of duck hunters would be better off with their call in their pocket. A duck call is one of many tools in a duck hunter’s arsenal. Let good scouting, concealment, and effective decoy spreads do their jobs as well. If all those are right, sometimes calling isn’t even necessary. Give the birds a few greeting calls to get their attention, then put the call down, cover your face, and prepare to call the shot. Oftentimes, hunters talk ducks out of checking out a decoy spread… especially heavily pressured ducks.
Forgetting The Finish
Overcalling can burn you, but sometimes birds need to hear a little more before committing to the decoys. If birds continue to circle your spread, you have to get them down or they are going to spot something they don’t like. Some short greeting calls, feeder chatter, and a few soft quacks is all you need to get the job done. Remember, these ducks are not a half mile out. Keep the volume down and if you are hunting with someone else, work as a team. When you are duckless, practice your finishing sequence so that you sound good together. A lot of hunters will carry multiple calls and have one just for finishing. Some callers swear by a more narrow call for this purpose, since the air is being pushed into a smaller tube. I’ve found that I’m better off controlling the volume with my lungs and using a wide call. Blow a variety of calls and find what’s most comfortable for you.
The Wrong Practice
Every duck hunter worth his salt has spent countless hours blowing on a duck call while heading to work or business meetings. It’s almost a cliché at this point. It’s a great way to utilize your time, but it’s not the best way to practice calling. Get out to a refuge or park and listen to real, live birds. Interact with them. Try to land birds that are flying in. One of my favorite exercises is trying to keep them from landing. I’ll give them all kinds of goofy sounds to get them fouled up as they try to land. It’s a skill that has come in handy several times. The idea is to get acquainted with what birds like and what they don’t like in a no-pressure situation. If you mess up, it’s no big deal. Your calls will also sound a lot different outside than they do from the cab of your truck. Actually, they will sound just like they do when hunting.
Dirty Calls
I’ve hunted with guys who literally bring a buffet of food with them to the blind. They love to snack while hunting. Inevitably, they have a mouth full of donut when ducks hit the horizon. The rest of the donut becomes fish food as this guy grabs his call and starts quacking. You think his call might have a few crumbs in it? Even if you don’t bring a concession stand along for the hunt, your call can get dirty. Once the reed and other components of the call get gunked up, the sound and tone of the call can go downhill.
If your call is plastic, soak it overnight in soapy water. The next morning, run water through the call to clear any debris that was loosened up while soaking. It’s also a good idea to run dental floss through the reeds. For a wood call, skip the soak and just run a little warm water through it. Then let it dry out before putting it back in your bag. This is all preventative maintenance. However, every two or three years the call will need new reeds and tuning. High quality call makers offer this service for a reasonable fee.
Calling ducks is one of the most rewarding elements of duck hunting. However, calling is not without it’s setbacks. The best thing a hunter can do is work on calling all year long and don’t be afraid to experiment. Without failure, success is bland.

by Chris Larsen

Friday, March 2, 2012

Four Turkey Hunting Tips To Get Your Gobbler

It was one of the toughest turkey hunts I’ve ever had and it was about to come to an abrupt end. A gobbler sporting an eight inch beard strutted up the logging road with love on his mind. My single hen decoy appeared to be just what the doctor ordered for this guy. But unbeknownst to him, today’s prescription was a screaming hot load of #5’s. At five yards from the decoy, he decided something wasn’t right. But it was too late for him. The safety was off and with a tap of the trigger, it was lights out for this last minute gobbler. I validated the tag two hours before the close of my season. Some hunts are just more difficult than others, but learning from the experience is what makes us better hunters. Here are a handful of some of my hard learned lessons.
Changing Calls
There is a small group of veteran callers who possess the talent to make a wide variety of calls with a diaphragm call. Most of us are relegated to two or three good turkey sounds with the mouth call. For that reason, switching calls is the way to go. Changing calls also makes you sound like more than one hen. Try making your probing calls with a box or slate calls. Most hunters can easily learn several different calling techniques with boxes and especially slates. When you know a gobbler is close, put down those calls and go to your diaphragm. This will mix up the sounds and provide hands free calling while preparing for the shot.
Fair Weather Hunting
Sure, you can hunt turkeys in the rain. Some hunters prefer it. Hunting sunny days is far more productive for me for a number of reasons. Of course, it’s just more comfortable and enjoyable to be out on sunny days. As far as turkeys are concerned, they are more likely to be in open areas when the sun is shining brightly. The heat warms their body during the cool days of spring and I believe they know their feathers are more dynamic in the sunshine, thus increasing their chances for a breeding opportunity. An open country tendency makes finding birds a lot easier while scouting or running & gunning. Using the sun to your advantage is also a great idea. If you are trying to sneak in close to birds in the afternoon, a western approach is beneficial. Turkeys have to look into the sun to see your movement which is pretty tough with the glare.
Call Downhill
I have shot turkeys that have run down a hill toward my decoys, but on those days pretty much anything would have worked. In most cases, turkeys like to cross flat terrain or move uphill to decoys. It’s easier for gobblers to see danger when walking pastures or going uphill. One of my favorite tactics for hunting turkeys in a valley is to place a few decoys at the top of a ridge so that their silhouettes are easily spotted from below. Then I’ll try to set up twenty yards downhill from the decoys. As gobblers make their way up the hill, I’ll be in perfect position if they stop short.
Turkey Time
Turkeys don’t carry cell phones or pocket watches. They literally have all day. Their only concern is survival. They are not worried about being home by noon to watch a baseball game or to paint the house. Trying to rush a turkey into doing what we want it to do is a big mistake. Some hunters will amp up the calling after a half hour of conversation because they get too impatient. If a gobbler is still talking to you, he’s interested. Don’t ruin the hunt by getting too aggressive due to impatience. Let him do what he wants to do in the time he wants to take. Just be ready when the moment arrives.
Turkey hunting is not easy. Statistically, turkeys one of the most difficult game animals to harvest. But turkey hunting isn’t rocket science. Spending time in the turkey woods and learning from your failures is the best way to improve skills and start filling tags.

By Cole Daniels