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Monday, January 28, 2013

Bull rider Austin Meier loves to hunt

Austin Meier of Kinta rides bulls for a living. But what he really loves to do is hunt whitetails and mule deer.

“When I am not riding or working on the ranch tacking care of cows, I am always working on hunting, whether it's checking trail cameras or working on food plots or checking trails or scouting,” said Meier, who is competing Sunday in the PBR's WinStar World Casino Invitational at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Sunday's final round of bull riding begins at 2 p.m.


Meier's hunts are oftened featured on outdoors shows, most notably Hard Core Hunting but also on PBR Outdoors, a show that debuted last summer on the Outdoors Channel which features PBR bull riders such as Meier and two-time world champion Justin McBride from Sayre.

Meier has chased whitetails and mule deer in Kansas, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. “Kansas is about the only state I didn't have any luck in,” he said.
But the best deer he shot last season was near his home in Haskell County, a 16-pointer with a drop tine and lots of mass.

“It was just a phenomenal buck,” he said. “I got him with a bow. I do it all, but I primarily bow hunt.”
Meier thinks deer hunting in Oklahoma can be just as good as any other state.

“I think it is a sleeper state,” he said. “I know there is really good deer around here. You just got to know where to find them. It's definitely a state that has some really big whitetails if you know where they're at.”
Meier said the adrenaline rush of riding a bull only compares to the adrenaline rush of getting close to a big whitetail or mule deer.

“It's hard to explain why I like it so much,” Meier said. “I guess it's just bred into me, being out in the wild.”
His wife, Kristen, also is an avid hunter and the couple has spent countless hours together in a deer blind.
As far as the proposed new deer hunting regulation which would limit Oklahoma deer hunters to one buck for the combined gun and muzzleloader seasons, Meier said, “If it was me, I would make it where you had to take a doe out before you could use your buck tag. Being so overpopulated in does, we've got to create it where hunters want to take does.”

And on his bucket list?

“I would like to do a red stag hunt in New Zealand and I really want to try and get me a moose. I have been a couple of time but I haven't got one yet,” he said.
“I don't' do a lot of elk hunting. It's not something I try to schedule. I am chasing them whitetails.”

Written By: Ed Godfrey
 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Outdoor News

Fishing regulations guide available
 
SOCIAL CIRCLE — The 2013 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guide is available online and in print, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
The 2013 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guide provides helpful information, including color fish identification charts for both freshwater and saltwater fish, license purchasing information, contact information for WRD fisheries management offices and WRD law enforcement offices, trout stream listings, public fishing area information, state record fish listings and complete fishing regulations for Georgia.

Anglers may view, download and print the guide at gofishgeorgia.com/fishing/regulations. Pick up a printed copy at WRD fisheries management and law enforcement offices and license vendors throughout Georgia.

DNR offers pass to hunter ed grads 

SOCIAL CIRCLE — Hunter education graduates can receive a free three-month pass to any of the 18 Department of Natural Resources shooting ranges in Georgia.
Typically, a wildlife management area license ($19) or other qualifying license would be required for shooters age 16 and older.

At the conclusion of class, each student receives a hunter education certification card. The graduation date, listed on the card, is the beginning of their three-month shooting range pass. They need to show the card at the range. Students will receive information about the use of the pass and where to find participating ranges during their classroom time.

More information on shooting ranges can be found at georgiawildlife.com/hunting/archery-shooting-ranges. Most ranges are open year-round and have rules in place to ensure a safe, family-friendly environment.

Capt. Judy to hold fishing clinics 

Capt. Judy Charters will hold offshore and inshore fishing clinics starting in February. New handout material for the clinics will include best times to fish, species to fish for and when and where to fish.

Two inshore clinics are scheduled for Feb. 9 and 23. One offshore clinic is slated for March 8. The clinics will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tubby’s Tank House in Thunderbolt.

The cost of each clinic is $90. Call 912-897-4921 for reservations. For more information, go to missjudychaters.com

BEST TIMES FOR ANGLERS

This table lists top fishing times and days for the coming days. For best results, begin fishing one hour before and continue one hour after the times given. Times apply to all time zones.
(X indicates best days)

Today 10:40 p.m. 11:05 a.m.
Friday 11:30 p.m. 11:50 a.m.
Saturday 12:15 a.m. ———
Sunday ———- 12:40 p.m.
Monday 1:05 a.m. 1:25 p.m.
Tuesday 1:50 a.m. 2:10 p.m.
Wednesday 2:35 a.m. 3:00 p.m.
Thursday 3:25 a.m. 3:45 p.m.
Friday 4:10 a.m. 4:35 p.m.
Saturday 5:00 a.m. 5:25 p.m.
X-Sunday 5:55 a.m. 6:20 p.m.


Written By: McClatchy-Tribune

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ol MAN NEWS

Due to the recent changes in policies made by the "Reed Exhibition Center" in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, OL'MAN Outdoors will not be participating in the Eastern Outdoor Show. We know there will be some disappointed people who were planning on attending the show to come by and see us but we trust that you will respect and understand our decision. We stand by every law abiding American and our Second Amendment right.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Muzzleloader kill up over 2012’s figures

Columbus – Successful hunters checked 21,555 white-tailed deer during the 2013 muzzleloader season, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife. Muzzleloader season concluded on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

The 2013 harvest total represents a 12 percent increase over the 2012 season, when hunters checked 19,251 deer. This season also surpassed that of 2011 when the muzzleloader harvest was 17,375.
Counties reporting the highest number of deer checked during the 2013 muzzleloader season include: Guernsey (821), Coshocton (813), Tuscarawas (784), Muskingum (751), Belmont (739), Carroll (683), Harrison (677), Licking (675), Jefferson (619) and Knox (520).

Deer-archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 3. More information provided by ODNR Division of Wildlife about Ohio deer hunting can be found in the 2012-2013 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.com.

Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the photo gallery tab online.
Hunters are encouraged to donate any extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. The Division of Wildlife is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate deer are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor. To see which counties are involved in this program, go to fhfh.org.

Successful hunters may also send his or her pictures into Ohio Outdoor News for publication. There are forms inside this issue and you may also submit them online at www.ohiooutdoornews.com.
Editor’s Note: A list of white-tailed deer checked by hunters during the 2013 muzzleloader hunting season, Jan. 5-8, is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2013, and the 2012 numbers are in parentheses.


DNR Report

Friday, January 18, 2013

Oklahoma hunting: Record number of Oklahomans take hunter education in 2012 because of new online course

A record number of Oklahomans became hunter education certified in 2012 as more than 19,000 people completed the course.
The record number is primarily the result of the hunter education course now being offered online by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Wildlife Department.
 
 Kelly Newman of Edmond took this mule deer with a crossbow on New Year's Day morning near the Black Mesa in the Panhandle. About 250 mule deer are harvested in Oklahoma each season. They are mostly found in the Panhandle counties of Cimarron, Texas and Beaver and northwestern counties of Harper, Ellis, Woods and Woodward. Bow season for deer in Oklahoma continues through Jan. 15. PHOTO PROVIDED
Since the online class debuted in late September, almost 7,500 Oklahomans have completed it, Meek said. “We still offered just as many conventional classes as we had last year and still tons of kids decided to take hunter education online,” Meek said. “They can take it at their own pace that way and they don't have to interrupt mom and dad's schedule.”

In Oklahoma, anyone age 30 or younger must receive hunter education to legally hunt alone, Meek said.
An apprentice hunting license is available to Oklahoma hunters who are not hunter education certified, which allows them to hunt with someone who has received hunter education training.
Oklahoma is the second state in the nation to offer hunter education online and the first to offer its own curriculum.

Indiana provides a hunter education course online but uses a private company that charges a fee for the service. Hunter education classes in Oklahoma are free, whether in a classroom or online.

 Nebraska and Alabama have contacted the Wildlife Department about copying Oklahoma's hunter education online course, Meek said.

In addition to the online classes, hunter education also has been taught in some public schools in recent years.
With the help of a grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, teachers received a $400 stipend from the Wildlife Department to obtain hunter education certification so they could teach the course in their classrooms.

Many of the instructors already were teaching Wildlife Department designated curriculum such as the popular Archery in the Schools program.
 
Now, several instructors are teaching a semester-long outdoors skills class which include such things as hunter education, wilderness first aid, wildlife photography and more.

Even if students do not intend to become hunters, hunter education can benefit them, Meek said.
“It teaches them about firearm safety,” he said. “At least they are exposed to it so they will know what to do if they ever encounter a firearm.”


Written By:  ED GODFREY

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Best New Bows for 2013: A First Look From the ATA Show Floor

Okay fine, a trade show may not the best place to thoroughly test new bows. It’s noisy and you only get to shoot each model a handful of times before having to pass it off to the next person in line. But you can get back in line as many times as you want, and you can absolutely get a solid first look at every bow at the show.

And so we did. At this week’s ATA show in Louisville, Kentucky, Bestul and I focused on the new flagship models for 2013. We shot, and waited to shoot, and shot, and got in line again…until we had a firm enough grasp of the new crop of compounds to share our first impressions with you. Here they are, in alphabetical order by manufacturer:



Bowtech Experience ($899)
Specs: 335 fps IBO; 32 inches axle-to-axle; Brace Height 7; 4.2 pounds
Skinny: After playing the speed game—and playing it very well—for the last couple of years, Bowtech has touched the brakes a little to offer everyday hunters a smoother, easier shooting experience.
Hits: Smooth draw cycle. Excellent valley; you can relax a little at full draw without the bow yanking your string hand forward--a critically important feature for the average hunter in the field. Good back wall. Good balance and feel. Fairly dead in the hand, but not perfectly so. Misses: A little loud—but only a little, and we were shooting a bare bow.



Elite Answer ($899)
Specs: 330 fps IBO with smooth mod, 340 with speed mod; 33-1/2 inches axle-to-axle; Brace Height 7; 4.1 pounds
Skinny: Elite doesn’t have one flagship bow but several in different configurations at the same price level. After shooting the newest models, we liked the Answer because it offered the best combination of smoothness and speed.
Hits: Exceptionally smooth draw cycle (second only to the G5 Prime, see below). Very good valley, much like the Bowtech. Good balance, good feel, good fit and finish. Misses: A little louder than some, and the Answer jumps in your hand just a little at the shot.



G5 Prime Impact ($949)
Specs: 340 fps IBO; 35 inches axle-to-axle; Brace Height 6.25; 4.5 pounds
Skinny: G5’s bows have been getting better every year—inching closer the perennial top contenders. This year, based solely on these preliminary tests, the Impact has cleared the bar. It should join the discussion for best bow of 2013. The other version of the bow is the 30-inch Defy, but we liked this one better. Hits: Smoothest draw cycle of all the bows at the show. Nice valley; doesn’t want to yank your string hand forward. Good back wall. Absolutely dead in the hand, more so, I thought, than any other bow we shot. Misses: A tad heavy. It’s overpriced.                  



Hoyt Spyder 30 ($999)
Specs: 330 fps IBO; 30 inches axle-to-axle; Brace Height 6.75; 3.8 pounds
Skinny: This bow is also available in a 34-inch version with a 340 IBO. Both shot and felt very much the same. As you would expect from Hoyt, this is a very well-built bow, featuring the company’s new Airshox Technology designed to tame limb vibration and noise. Hits: Smooth draw cycle. Good feel and balance. Very little hand shock or vibration. Misses: Back wall is a tad mushy. A little louder than some.




Martin Nemesis 35 ($899)
Specs: 335 fps IBO; 35 inches axle-to-axle; Brace Height 7; 3.8 pounds
Skinny: I’d like to be more generous here, but this bow just doesn’t compare favorably to the others in this price range. The hard truth is that even if you knocked $200 off the tag, you could still find as good or better a bow for the money.
Hits: Good draw cycle and valley. Fairly dead in the hand. Decent balance. Misses: The loudest bow on this list. Fit and finish isn’t nearly as good as other similarly priced models.




Bear Motive 6 ($8990
Specs: 350 fps IBO; 32 inches axle-to-axle; Brace Height 6; 4 pounds
Skinny: Oh how I despise the suddenly ubiquitous term “game-changer.” And yet it seems apt for Bear’s new flagship. The Motive 6 is a pure speed bow, the company’s first dual-cam model since maybe forever, and their best shot at the top of the heap in years. Hits: Bear’s fastest bow ever. Surprisingly smooth draw cycle for a speed bow. Good back wall. Pretty darn smooth at the shot. Nice fit and finish. Good feel and balance. Misses: The valley is a little steep, but that’s what you get with such a fast bow



PSE X-Force Dream Season DNA ($899)
Specs: 352 fps IBO; 31 inches axle-to-axle; Brace Height 6; 3.7 pounds
Skinny: Another real contender for the top spot in 2013, this is PSE’s latest in a long line of pure speed bows, and, at first blush at least, their best. If you don’t like a speed bow, you won’t like this one. If you do, oh Mama….
Hits: Holy s**t, it’s fast. The draw is surprisingly smooth—not easy—but smooth; it doesn’t roll over with a clunk like some earlier PSE speed models do. It is shockingly, insanely quiet for such a flame-thrower. Good balance and finish, as always. Misses: The draw is smooth, but demanding. (What would you expect?) The valley is steep. (Of course.) It jumps just a tad at the shot—no big deal.



Strother Rush XT ($799)
Specs: 345 fps IBO, 33-3/8 inches axle-to-axle, Brace Height 6-3/8, 4.25 pounds
Skinny: If you’re not familiar with this company, you should get that way. Strother is another bow maker that inches closer to industry’s top tier with each new model. Like Elite, it offers several bows at the same price level, of which we liked the new Rush XT. Hits: Like many bows this year, the XT has a smooth draw cycle, but at the end of that cycle it outshines the rest. This back wall is concrete, titanium, diamond hard—the best of the bunch. Pretty smooth at the shot—and fast.  Misses: A little bit louder than some.



Written By: Dave Hurteau

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Permits Issued for 2013 Spring Turkey Hunt

There were over 135,150 successful applicants in the drawing for 2013 Wisconsin spring wild turkey permits through the spring turkey preference drawing. The Department of Natural Resources says a total of 234,765 permits will be available for the spring 2013 turkey season, and the remaining permits will be available through over-the-counter sales in March.

Postcard notifications to successful applicants should be arriving within the next few weeks. Hunters can also check on the status of their permit application online through the Department of Natural Resources Online Licensing Center or by calling the DNR Customer Call Center from 7 a.m. through 10 p.m., seven days a week.

Due to high historic demand for permits in Zone 2, as well as a healthy turkey flock in this zone reflected in relatively high recent hunter success rates, an additional 1,200 permits were available for the zone compared to 2012 permit levels.

"These additional permits will go a long way toward meeting hunter demand in these zones, and will allow hunters greater access to permits for their desired time period," said Scott Walter, DNR upland wildlife ecologist.

Hunters harvested 42,433 turkeys during the 2012 spring season. Final harvest numbers for the 2012 fall season will be available this spring.

The spring 2013 turkey hunting season will run from April 10 through May 21, with six seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. This is a change from spring turkey seasons prior to 2012, during which the six time periods ran for five days. A total of seven zones and Fort McCoy will be open for hunting. In addition, hunters were able to apply for turkey permits within 17 designated state park units. 





Written By: Wisconsin AG Connection

Monday, January 14, 2013

Iowa is Winter Home to Thousands of Bald Eagles

Bald eagles get their day—or two—in the sun this weekend. Wildlife workers and volunteers will have their eyes on the skies, as they tally and report sightings of bald eagles, across the country.

The Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey has been held for over 30 years, coordinated by the Army Corps of Engineers. For flexibility, surveyors have January 2-16 to finish their non-overlapping routes, though the target dates are January 11 and 12.

“We counted over 3,000 eagles last year. We are coming up with some interesting patterns here in Iowa,” notes Stephanie Shepherd, wildlife diversity biologist with the Iowa DNR.  “Normally, our highest concentration of eagles would be along the Mississippi River; concentrated below the dams where there is open water. But we actually had higher counts in 2010 and 2011 on the Des Moines River, and then back to the Mississippi in 2012, but numbers were a little suppressed. We have the numbers. They are just spread out a little more around the state.”

Shepherd says those trends point out the changing dynamics of Iowa’s winter eagle populations; which have streamed upwards over the last few decades. “Iowa is a terrific place for winter eagle watching. We generally have the best concentrations along our bigger waterways, in areas where water is open.”
Besides the scientific data provided by the midwinter survey, eagle viewing is embraced by outdoor Iowans each winter. Communities up and down the Mississippi River, and several on larger inland streams, host Bald Eagle Days with indoor displays…and outdoor viewing spotting scope positions for watching our nation’s symbol.                                                                                                                 

“The bald eagle is really a fascinating bird,” underscores Shepherd. “It gives us, a kind of hope, with its population recovery. It is a success story. It shows up now in places we never expected eagles to be. They are also a lot of fun to watch and listen to, with their social behavior in the winter.”

For bald eagle events and sponsors, go iowadnr.com and scroll through the news releases (center page) to find the list of events, times and locations.




Written By: Iowa DNR

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hunting, fishing numbers increase across the U.S.

An information-packed, 100-plus pages of data regarding hunting, fishing and wildlife watching was released last month by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and it came with an upbeat message for sportsmen and women across the nation: Their numbers have increased.

The 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Related Recreation found that more than 90 million U.S. residents 16 and older participated in some form of wildlife-related recreation in 2011, up 3 percent from five years earlier. The increase was primarily among those who hunted or fished.

The survey showed an 11-percent hike in the number of fishermen, compared with the 2006 survey, and a 9 percent increase in the number of hunters.

Wildlife recreationists spent about $145 billion on their activities, according to the survey, which is conducted every five years, and has been a measuring stick for the USFWS since 1955. Most of that spending was on gear, trips, licenses, land acquisition or leases, and other purchases.

“This spending creates thousands of jobs, supports countless local communities, and provides vital funding for conservation,” Dan Ashe, director of the USFWS, states in the report.

The survey focuses on those 16 years and older and may not fully account for the number of younger hunters and anglers now participating in those sports.

While the national news is indeed good, New York hunting and fishing license sales indicate a mostly stable group of participants. The Empire State remains near the top in hunter and angler numbers – an estimated 1.88 million anglers and 823,000 hunters.

That, however, is largely a product of the state’s huge – 15.5 million – population. While preliminary state figures show New York ranking third in the nation the total numbers of hunters and anglers (behind Texas and Wisconsin in hunter numbers and Florida and Texas in anglers), the state ranks well down the list in terms of participation rates based on total population.

The final state results are expected from the USFWS early this year.

Here’s a look at some of the findings regarding hunters and anglers from the national report, based on interviews of a sample of 48,600 households nationwide.

Hunting

In 2011, 13.7 million people 16 years old and older hunted a variety of animals within the United States. They hunted 282 million days and took 257 million trips. Hunting expenditures totaled $33.7 billion.
Of those 13.7 million hunters, more than 11 million of them pursued big game, like deer, elk, and bears. About 2.6 million hunted migratory birds, and more than 4 million chased small game (1.5 million were pheasant hunting).

About one-third of hunter spending was on trip expenses, and about 40 percent was on equipment, like guns and ammo.

Of all hunters, only 14 percent ventured outside their state of residence to hunt, and 94 percent hunted within their own state (some hunted in-state and out-of-state). Just 11 percent of big-game hunters bought nonresident licenses, the report says.

Of the 13.7 million hunters, more than half hunted on private land (61 percent), while about 13 percent used public lands only.

Males continued to dominate the sport of hunting: 89 percent of all hunters were males; 11 percent were females.

The largest percentage of hunters were age 45 to 54 (23 percent), followed by those 55 to 64 (21 percent). Ninety-four percent of all hunters were white, which represented 7 percent of the U.S. white population.

Fishing

In 2011, 33.1 million U.S. residents 16 years old and older enjoyed a variety of fishing opportunities throughout the United States, the report says. Anglers fished 554 million days and took 455 million fishing trips. They spent $41.8 billion in fishing-related expenses during the year.

Of those 33.1 million anglers, 27.5 million fished freshwater, and 8.9 million fished saltwater (some fished both). And of the $41.8 billion spent on fishing, about $21.8 was for trip expenses, while $15.5 was for equipment.

The 27.5 million freshwater anglers included 1.7 million who fished the Great Lakes.The top freshwater fish? According to the report, of those 27.1 million freshwater anglers (not including the Great Lakes), 10.6 million fished for black bass. Another 7.3 million fished for panfish, and 7.2 million fished for trout. Crappies weren’t included in the panfish category, and 6.1 million anglers fished for them.

Nearly 80 percent of anglers fished only in their state of residents; 12 percent fished in-state and out-of-state.

The most popular of the Great Lake for fishing was Erie, followed by Michigan and Huron.

About three-fourths of all anglers were male, and about 21 percent of the nation’s male population said they fished. About 7 percent of U.S. female residents consider themselves anglers.

Around one-fourth of U.S. anglers come from small towns or rural areas, and about 86 percent of all anglers are white.

The total number of anglers increased from the 2006 survey, but was below that of 2001. The dollars spent on angling in 2011 was less than that spent in both 2006 and 2001, according to the survey.


Written By:  Tim Spielman

Thursday, January 10, 2013

CES 2013: TrackingPoint Combines Computers And Hunting Rifles For A Gun Right Out Of Sci-Fi

For the longest time, the gun hasn’t really evolved. The technology has become more powerful, but the core essence of the gun hasn’t changed. One tech startup is looking to change that.

At CES 2013, Tracking point is showing off what could be called a “smart gun,” but the company calls it a “Precision Guided Firearm.” The guns are outfitted with a computerized scope that provides a hunter with a number of metrics including wind speed, incline, temperature, distance to target and more. TrackingPoint is also manufacturing its own ammunition that works well with the scope’s guidance systems..

 By far, the most interesting addition is the ability for the scope to stream video to an iOS device. Speaking to Ars Technica, the company said that more experienced hunters can now more easily help younger hunters with spotting by being able to see exactly what they’re seeing through the scope. It’s an interesting concept and one that many hunters stand to benefit from.

The gun could potentially be much safer as well. Some injuries during hunting are caused by somebody having an itchy trigger finger and they fire at the first sight of movement. TrackingPoint’s rifle increases the pull strength of the trigger until the the reticle and the target are aligned. In this way, the hunter is more likely to hit their target and accidental firings can be largely avoided.

As Ars points out, a more accurate gun being released so soon after the recent string of gun violence across the nation may be looked down upon, especially a gun that makes the process of firing more like a video game. It’s indicated that the system is only being produced for bolt-action rifles which are largely intended for hunting, and tend to be ineffectual for anything else.

For those interested in TrackingPoint’s technology, the company will start selling the rifles for $17,000 in the near future.

Written By: Zach Walton

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

OUTDOORS: Resolutions for better hunting and fishing in 2013

Its's the time of year for resolutions that make us feel good for a few days after making them, but lie in the junk heap of our actions by Valentine's Day.

For those who love to hunt and fish, a few resolutions for next year that should be kept will make each hunting or fishing trip much better in 2013.

Bring a good lunch: It is amazing how much planning goes into hunting or fishing trips. Buying the correct shotshells, replacing shot-through duck decoys, searching every tackle store within 100 miles for a card of the jigs that fooled the 6-pounder last year; these are the things hunters and anglers routinely do before a trip.
After all of that trouble to get everything in line for the special day, many hunters and anglers pick up their lunch at the convenience store on their way to the woods, field or lake. Buying lunch at such an establishment empowers our worst desires, so the meal consists of a can of Vienna sausages, candy bars, a pack or two of cheese crackers and soda to wash it down.

Save money and improve nutritional value by making a good lunch at home before leaving on your trip. A peanut butter, banana and sunflower seed sandwich on a firm, whole grain bread lasts all day without a cooler. Bring along a mixture of nuts in a sandwich bag along with some beef jerky for a protein boosting snack and some fresh fruit. This lunch, instead of highly processed mystery meats with sugary junk food as a side, will give the energy needed in late afternoon when the 7-pounder strikes or the 10-pointer appears from a thicket near your stand.

Respect those who mentor or offer their equipment: When someone mentors a hunter or angler or loans them equipment, they give a gift to the future of these arts. Show appreciation for the gift by offering to buy lunch for the mentor or give a small gift to those who lent you a shotgun or quality fishing rod. If someone offers you a spot on the back of their boat, give them gas money or make lunch for both of you. With the price of gas at or near all time highs, a day at the lake quickly turns expensive for the boat owner.

A vehicle towing a boat gets horrid gas mileage, often 12 miles per gallon or less. This expense in combination with the cost of boat gas makes a day at the lake easily a three-figure expense for the boat owner. By helping offset this cost, you remove some of the financial stress on the boat owner and move into prime position for a return invite.

Use the winter downtime for extensive equipment maintenance and repair: The stretch of winter from the first of January until early March usually brings a strong bout of cabin fever for the hunter or angler. Dreary winter days are great for the time-consuming major maintenance on your rifles, shotguns and fishing reels. Completely break down and clean your shotguns and rifles. The trigger assembly often gets overlooked during the routine cleaning of hunting season. Take this time to disassemble, inspect, clean and lubricate the trigger assembly.

Remove the handle and spool on your spinning reels. Use high quality reel oil and grease; those that form a molecular bond to the metal work extremely well. Clean and oil the main shaft that holds the spool. Apply a drop or two of oil to the roller bearing on your bail and to the handle shaft. Remove the side plate and apply one of the new reel cleaning solutions to dissolve old grease and remove debris. Pour out the gunk and let the inside of the reel dry.

Remember to lightly grease the worm gear at the bottom of the reel and drive gear toward the spool. Oil the bearing assemblies. On baitcasting reels, remove the spool assembly, usually via a turnkey on the reel's side plate. Clean any debris from the exterior of the reel with a toothbrush soaked in rubbing alcohol. Clean the inside of the pinion gear on the side opposite the turnkey and clean the spool assembly. Oil the spool bearing or bushing if so equipped. Never grease the spool shaft or you'll adversely affect the freespool performance of the reel. It will also make a funny noise when casting if you grease the spool shaft.

Upgrade fishing equipment with winter clearance sales: This is the best time of year to buy a quality spinning, baitcast or fly reel. Manufacturers introducing new models often unload the older models at fire sale prices in January and February. The clearance reels are just fine, considered the newest and latest model last summer. Check the clearance pages on websites of large catalog outfitters and you'll be surprised at the deals you'll find on high end reels and rods. The performance difference between a reel at the low end of the market and one from the high end is night and day. You'll enjoy the high end equipment much more. You get what you pay for in fishing equipment more than any other recreational gear.

The much longer service life of the quality reel saves money in the long run. As anglers gain experience, they want the performance features of the higher quality equipment. A common mistake is starting out buying the cheapest stuff on the market, then buying a marginally more expensive reel as experience demands before stepping up to a quality reel. If you save and buy a normally expensive reel at half-price on clearance, you'll avoid the cost of buying the cheaper reels and enjoy your fishing days much more.

This same progression often occurs with fishing rods as well. The light weight, sensitivity and casting performance of a fishing rod from a quality manufacturer blows away the cheap rod off the department store rack. Look for great deals on rods right now as well as on breathable waders, wade boots and rain gear.
Really good fishing sunglasses make a huge difference in seeing under the surface of the water and protecting eyes from UV rays emitted by the sun. The lenses on the better fishing sunglasses offer much greater clarity and they also retain their comfort all day long. Look for excellent deals on fishing sunglasses right now.

Instead of discarding your New Year's resolutions before spring, use these to make your hunting and fishing trips much more productive and enjoyable in 2013.

Written By:  Lee McClellan

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Final Iowa Deer Hunting Season Begins January 11

The final deer hunting season begins Jan. 11, in the 38 counties in southern and western Iowa where antlerless deer licenses are available.

Success during the January antlerless season depends on finding where deer are feeding and upon the weather. Cold weather will spur the deer to feed more heavily, so browse lines and food plots will be attractive. Although hunters may see fewer deer as numbers have declined, the season offers some excellent hunting opportunities.

Party hunting is legal and firearm hunters must wear blaze orange. Shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, and bows are legal options in all open counties. Centerfire rifles (.24 caliber or larger) are legal in the 21 counties in the southern two tiers of the state.

Last year, 81 percent of the 8,300 deer reported during the January antlerless season were does. To avoid harvesting a shed-antlered buck, hunters should pass up shots at lone deer and wait for deer traveling in groups of does and fawns.

In late December and January, bucks may be found traveling together in bachelor groups of 2-4 animals, but these groups will usually consist of only adult deer. If a small group of adult deer contains even one antlered buck, then the group is typically all bucks. But, if the group contains fawns, it is likely composed of does and fawns. Patience and binoculars are especially useful for identifying the type of deer.

Hunters are encouraged to work with landowners to determine if deer are at desirable levels, and base decisions on how they use the remaining antlerless tags on local herd conditions to avoid over-harvesting deer where they hunt.

Hunters may observe the added effect of this year’s EHD outbreak as areas south of I-80 and in counties bordering the Missouri River had higher incidents of the disease. Counties open during the January antlerless season are within that region.

Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Beginning Jan. 11, a 2013 hunting license and habitat fee will be required. The January antlerless season closes Jan. 20.
Deer must be reported using the harvest reporting system by midnight the day after the deer is tagged. Hunters’ accurately reporting their harvest is an important component of Iowa’s deer management program and future hunting opportunities.

Hunters may report their harvest at www.iowadnr.gov, by calling 1-800-771-4692 or at any license vendor. For hunters with internet access, reporting the harvest online is the easiest way to register the deer. Hunters preferring to donate their deer may do so through the Help Us Stop Hunger (HUSH) program, which provides needed meat to Iowans through the Food Bank of Iowa. Iowa has one of the largest programs in the nation.

Written By: Iowa DNR

Monday, January 7, 2013

Central Flyway Goose Season Closed January 7-8

Waterfowl hunters in eastern and central Montana are reminded that in accordance with state regulations, the goose season in the Central Flyway will close for two days in January.
 
The Central Flyway goose hunting season runs through Sunday, Jan. 13. However, the goose season in this flyway will close for two days: Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 7 and 8. The Central Flyway duck season closes on Jan. 3. In the Pacific Flyway, the duck and goose seasons both close on Jan. 11 without any breaks in the middle.
 
In Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 6, the Central Flyway includes Blaine, Phillips, Valley, Daniels, Sheridan, Roosevelt, Richland, McCone and Dawson counties. The Pacific Flyway in FWP Region 6 includes Hill and Chouteau counties.
 
Jim Hansen of Billings, FWP’s Central Flyway migratory bird coordinator, said the international Migratory Bird Hunting Act restricts state waterfowl hunting seasons to 107 days per year. Montana sets aside two of those days for a September youth-only season, leaving 105 days for general duck and goose hunting.
 
Montana’s general waterfowl season opened Sept. 29. The 105th day would fall on Friday, Jan. 11. However, waterfowl hunters petitioned the FWP Commission to leave the season open for one additional weekend, through Jan. 13. To meet the 107-day restriction, the commission agreed to close hunting for two days in the Central Flyway, then reopen it through the second weekend in January.
 
Hunters also are reminded that Montana’s migratory-bird hunting hours end at sunset each day – unlike the big-game regulations that allow hunting until half an hour after sunset.
 
Flyway maps, sunrise and sunset tables, and all waterfowl and migratory bird hunting regulations are available on our website at fwp.mt.gov and at all FWP offices and license dealers. 
 
Written By: MT.GOV

Friday, January 4, 2013

Follow ‘rule of halves’ in managing for turkeys

Whether you oversee a large tract of land or own a smaller parcel, there are many wildlife management techniques you can use to help attract and keep wild turkeys on your property.
Wild turkeys, like deer, are “edge species,” because of their need for more than one type of habitat. Most of the time, with large tracts of land, this isn’t a problem because the vast landscape is diverse enough. But in the case of small-acreage, one-habitat properties, it’s up to you as the landowner to create varied, preferred habitats if you expect turkeys to use the property.

For optimal turkey habitat, most experts believe a “rule of halves” should be applied to the landscape. What that means is that half of the area (and if you own a small tract, then include surrounding properties) should be in mature forests and the other half in early-succession openings, such as fields or clear-cut and plantation-cut landscapes.

To create even better and more varied habitats for turkeys, you should offer differing age classes of forests and early-succession areas – and make prescribed burning a big part of your management plan. This will enable new growth of succulent, woody ornamentals, native grasses and weedy-type flowers.
Hardwood lowlands provide travel corridors that turkeys and deer use extensively and feel comfortable moving through. Most wild turkeys prefer to roost in trees over or near water, so it’s important to leave these areas undisturbed and free from timbering.

Buffer strips of native grasses and woody ornamentals should be left unmowed where clear-cut areas meet pine or hardwood forests. Hens require this thick understory cover for nesting.

In Florida, most hens begin laying their eggs in late March or early April and the eggs take about 25 days to hatch, so take care not to burn or mow through August. After hatching, poults will roost on the ground for the first 14 days, and during this period, approximately 70 percent of these young birds won’t survive, primarily because of predation from raccoons, hawks, coyotes, foxes and bobcats.

Attempts to control these predators are usually ineffective and economically unfeasible, so your efforts are better spent creating and maintaining good-quality brood habitat.

Good brood habitat should hold food in the form of seeds, insects and tender, new-growth vegetation for young poults to feed upon throughout the summer. It should consist of 1- to 3-foot-tall grass and weeds open enough to enable the young poults to move about, yet dense enough to provide cover from the above-mentioned predators.

There is great interest nationally in the planting of food plots for wildlife, including for turkeys. Within extensive closed-canopy forested areas, food plots and/or game feeders are essential to keeping turkeys on your property. Where an open forest structure is maintained by adequate timber thinning and the use of fire, such supplemental feeding is not as necessary because there is enough natural browse vegetation on which game can feed.

On very large tracts of land, sufficient supplemental feeding can be quite expensive. In these cases, proper use of burning and timber-thinning management are more economical ways of providing food for turkeys and other wildlife.

Food plots, though, are a lot more cost-effective at feeding game than using feeders on moderate-sized pieces of property. In cases of smaller tracts, perhaps where food plots can’t be utilized because the landscape is all lowland and you have a closed canopy, game feeders filled with corn or soybeans are your only option for attracting turkeys.

When thinking about good food plot sites, avoid excessively wet or dry areas, and don’t place them along heavily used roads to minimize disturbance and possible poaching.

Look to create these openings along an edge where upland pines meet a hardwood drain. This way, you’ll have an area where three separate habitats converge. Keep in mind that it is recommended that 2 percent to 3 percent of the land should be in these permanent openings.

The best food plots are long and narrow rectangular shapes that follow the contour of the land. When possible, create food plots where the length (longest part) runs east to west. That way, the planted crops will receive the most direct sunlight.

In the fall, cereal grains like wheat, oats and rye can be planted along with Austrian winter peas, clover and brassicas like turnips, rape and kale. Except for clover, these crops grow well in most of Florida.
Clover requires a higher soil pH – between 6.5 and 7 – and it often won’t grow in the sandy soils that make up most of our state, unless you apply enough lime to bring the pH level up. In the northern-tiered counties that border Alabama and Georgia, the soil is richer with red clay, and several varieties of clover and other legumes will grow well there.

All of the above-mentioned cool-season forages can be planted by “broadcast” method after Oct. 1. At least twice as much fertilizer should be applied. Slightly cover the seed by pulling a drag over it, and try to put your crop in the ground when the soil is holding some moisture and rain is in the forecast.
In the spring after May 1, you can plow under your “browned-up” fall crop and replace it with any combination of soybeans, cowpeas, browntop millet, sorghum or peanuts. If you can afford it, turkeys are especially fond of chufa. That, along with the other warm-season forages, can be broadcasted and planted just like the cool-weather crops.

Hopefully, using some or all of these wildlife-management practices will help bring in turkeys and increase your property’s carrying capacity for birds. If you need assistance, contact the FWC’s Landowner Assistance Program, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Natural Resources Conservation Service or your county agricultural extension agent. Here’s wishing you luck obtaining your management goals and objectives.

Written By: FWC

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Arizona pronghorn antelope, elk hunt draw booklet available on the Web

Arizona Game and Fish Department announced Thursday the 2013 Pronghorn Antelope and Elk Hunt Draw Information regulations booklet is now available at www.azgfd.gov/draw. And hunters now can apply for the hunt permit-tags that will be issued through a drawing process.

Paper applications may be submitted by U.S. mail to: Arizona Game and Fish Department, P.O. Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052, or hand-delivered to any AZGFD office.

The online application service for this draw is expected to be available in early- to mid-January, 2013.
The draw deadline for applications is 7 p.m., MST-Arizona time, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. Mailed applications must be received by AZGFD by the deadline. Postmarks don’t count.

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A 2013 hunting license is required to apply for the draw, and may be purchased at the same time, and on the same application form used for the draw. Licenses purchased on the same draw application forms will be mailed out only after the draw is complete.

Licenses can be purchased online at www.azgfd.gov, or at all AZGFD offices, or at any of the 300 license dealers statewide. For hunting licenses purchased online, buyers must have working printers ready to print out their own license at time of purchase.

Early application allows for a “correction period” in case an error or outdated information resulted in application rejection. If the early application is received by Jan. 18, 2013, AZGFD will make three attempts within a 24-hour period to notify the applicant by telephone if a telephone number is provided.

Print versions of the Pronghorn Antelope and Elk Hunt Draw Information booklets are expected to be available at department offices and at license dealers in Arizona by mid-January.

Written By: Todays News-Herald 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Big Game Gear Suggests Affordable Hunting Options for 2013

Big Game Gear suggests affordable hunts where outdoors men can spend quality time with their family. With general hunting season coming to a close, it is time to prepare for 2013 hunting. The summer was spent repairing old deer blinds or buying new ones. The process of food plot preparation begins and ensuring all bows, firearms, and equipment is in working order and sighted in. Countless hours have poured over game cameras hoping to see the Trophy Whitetail emerge. The summer months allow die hard hunters the opportunity to gear up for the coming season. From generation to generation, the science of preparation, the attention to detail, and the planning process is passed along.

As one moves into the fall, every hunter knows the feeling of a cool crisp breeze just as the sun comes up. It is the season most outdoor enthusiasts wait and has worked so hard for all year long. The first major cold front, coupled with a double moon, and the beginning of rut, means a high probability of success in the trophy deer world. If anything, one is sure to see a lot of action. "Nothing is more peaceful than the experience of God’s country during this time of year, especially when sons or daughters are sitting at your side to take in the moment," says Big Game Gear co-owner Charles Simpson. And now that hunting season is over, it is time to start preparing for next hunting season
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The ability to pass this sacred moment down to the next generation is priceless. However, most outdoors men and women have a budget to work within. Prices for trophy hunts are a luxury and can cost a few thousand to several hundred thousand dollars a year to harvest one animal. Whether it is managing a lease or relying on an outfitter, there are many options to spend a lot of money on. Gone are the days of affordable hunting, or are they? How are future generations going to pass on the tradition if they can’t afford it? How are those individuals that want to have an affordable hunting experience for the first time going to cross that off their bucket list?

Here are four viable and affordable options:

1) Public Lands Hunting: Most states afford anyone that wants to experience the great outdoors an opportunity to purchase a supplemental permit that allows them to hunt on public lands. These are state owned properties, nationally owned properties, or private land leases that states may have under management for public hunting . Prices range for a standard hunting permit from state to state. In Texas for example, a standard hunting license can cost around $65 for a resident hunter. A supplemental license to hunt public lands is typically an extra $50. So, for just over $100, anyone can enjoy hunting a range of wild game. The downside is that there may be other hunters in the area and the opportunities may be limited.

2) Military Bases: Many don’t know that some military bases offer public hunting. Although an inexpensive option, there are several downsides to hunting on a military base including:
  •     It is typically a draw or call in system to determine which hunters will hunt where.
  •     Many rules and regulations including registering your firearm, background checks, and the use of different means from bow only, to shotgun with a slug, to rifle depending on the section of the base.
  •     The military comes first. Hunting areas could be blocked off for training exercises.
3) Meat Hunts: Many outfitters and land owners that fall under a management program are required by the state in which they reside to harvest a number of doe’s so their buck to doe ratio is in line with a healthy population. Spike bucks may also fall under the land owners program to ensure a higher level of genetics is being passed on during the mating season. These types of hunts are typically offered in the $200-$300 range and are, by happenstance, an opportunity for affordable hunting. In many cases, young family members can join in on the experience and also harvest a buck to add to the trophy club. Many outfitters will have lodging available, someone to properly clean and store your harvest, and even provide meals for a nominal fee.

4) Varmint Hunts: Although many outfitters and land owners charge to shoot coyotes, bobcats, and wild hogs, there are many that are looking for someone to harvest these animals at no cost. Feral hog populations are exploding and are a nuisance to land owners in almost every state across the country costing land owners and states millions of dollars a year. Typically, these animals can be harvested year round which offers more opportunity for the family or first time hunter. A license will need to be purchased for the state in which these animals are hunted, but typically that is all that is required.

Overall, these are all affordable options for individual and family style hunts where one generation can pass on the experience so crucial to future generations.

Big Game Gear is an easy-to-use yet comprehensive site that puts it all in one place – outdoor produts at great prices, information and outdoor education, giving back to organizations, amazing deals, and an experience shopping for the great outdoors.

By: Big Game Gear