May 9, 2008
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You’ve probably seen the television commercials for Southwest Airlines, where someone does something incredibly bone-headed, and the announcer asks, “Wanna get away?”
We figure that’s probably how Rusty Saunders of Fort Edward, N.Y. felt after he shot—and tagged—what he thought was an elk while hunting in Montana’s Paradise Valley last November.
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The great Baltimore newspaperman and perpetual gadfly H.L. Mencken once said, “every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.” I was feeling the same way as I watched the inevitable circus of buffoonery over who would succeed Hillary Clinton as senator from New York. But when the spectacularly inept Caroline Kennedy withdrew her name from consideration, the path cleared for Governor David A. Paterson to act.
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The timeworn drill goes: “Set up 100-200 yards from a roosted gobbler, then work that bird.”
Sure, sometimes it’s better to pick a setup well out of a roosted gobbler’s sight, but still within hearing distance. Other times you need to get tight — real tight. Take one spring hunt for example . . . [ Read Full Post ]
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A once-prominent big game hunter and guide whose name and image appeared regularly in national hunting publications and advertisements for hunting rifles will never again hunt, fish or be allowed to own a firearm.
Once one of the country’s best-known hunting celebrities, the now-disgraced Kirt Darner, 69, was sentenced on Monday, Jan. 12, in Cibola County, New Mexico District Court to 4,500 hours of community service, fined $10,000 and ordered to pay an unspecified amount of restitution to the New Mexico and Colorado game agencies and a Colorado taxidermy business.
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We interrupt the Big Buck Zone to bring you this photo and story about this giant black bear apparently killed by a combine last December in Dunn County, Wisconsin. Because we receive dozens of photos and e-mails that are, well, a bit dubious, we wondered about this one as well. However, a quick backround check indicates that although the photo might well have been taken from an odd angle, the story is indeed very true. [ Read Full Post ]
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Some of my friends in the conservation community are ecstatic over Obama's nominee to run NMFS, Jane Lubchenko, and his pledge to make protecting fisheries and habitats a priority. Others are worried that with a democratic majority in Congress, the "enviros" will lock recreational fishermen out. Since I've spent much of my career fighting for access and to protect Essential Fish Habitat on local, state, federal and international levels—often partnering with environmental groups--many have asked my opinion about recreational fishing access and opportunities over the next four years.
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For most of us, a small basket-racked buck or a slick headed doe was responsible for igniting a lifelong passion for deer hunting. All of us know exactly how tough it can be to connect with one of those top-heavy giants that make it hard to concentrate at work during November or even sleep the night before opening day. However, some lucky hunters don’t fool around with a pencil thin spike horn or a doe when they punch that first tag.
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With the striped bass gone and blackfish season closed, New York anglers have been turning their attention to Cod. Joe Disalvo at Causeway Bait and Tackle reports that crews are finding limits of big cod on the wrecks and live bottom in 50 feet of water.
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Like many other states, Colorado experienced a surge in firearms sales in 2008, especially following the November general election.
Firearms owners nationwide believe the election of Barack Obama signals a forthcoming return of the 90s-era ban of certain firearms and high capacity magazine—at the very least —as well as other gun and ammunition restrictions. [ Read Full Post ]
Bob Baker at Freedom Arms, who happens to be one of the nicest guys in the gun business, has been hard at work on a couple of projects, one of which is the new .224-32 FA cartridge.
What Bob has done is to neck down brass from the .327 Federal to accept .224 diameter bullets, creating what should be one hell of a coyote/varmint/predator round for use in revolvers in the process. [ Read Full Post ]
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Hunters, anglers and shooting sports enthusiasts often ask me to help them identify the good from the bad among politicians as well as high-profile sports and entertainment personalities
Sometimes it’s hard to tell who you can trust these days.
Television and movie actor and Saturday Night Live alumnus David Spade has recently proven he is an anomaly among many of those who work in the entertainment industry. [ Read Full Post ]
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With apologies to Tom Petty, the waiting really is the hardest part. Here are three states around the country where you can work that first spring bird in March:
Hawaii [ Read Full Post ]
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Deer hunting virtues like patience, perseverance, and dedication are often rewarded for those willing to stay in the treestand, especially during the magical November rut. Jared Horner of Blanchester Ohio spent three years of his life chasing a giant non-typical buck that routinely haunted his dreams. During this period, he had several close encounters with the top-heavy bruiser, but the buck always managed to make all of the right moves. [ Read Full Post ]
As the weather gets colder, ice fishing is heating up on Lake Erie. Lisa Green at Happy Hooker (www.happyhookerbaitshop.com) in Buffalo, New York, reports that Burtus Bay is covered with 5 to 6 inches of ice and anglers are already reporting steady catches of perch and bluegill. Lisa said that the hot bait has been a wax worm, maggots mousies on a jig. “A lot of guys will pop the eyes out of a perch and use them for bait,” she adds. Guys setting tip up rods with golden or emerald shiners are landing some nice-sized walleye. Walleye and muskeye fishing will get better as the ice gets thicker, Lisa told us. “We’re expecting some real cold weather over the next couple of days,” she said, “we’re really excited.” Brrrr.
Even if the weather has been cold, anglers fishing the Mid-Atlantic will stay warm through the winter by cranking on big fish. Action out of South Eastern Virginia has been on fire from offshore to inshore to the backwaters. Believe it or not, even during the deep freeze anglers are still finding speckled trout and red drum in the skinny water. Winter fishing often produces some of the biggest speckled trout for guys who are patient enough to wait out the cold at any of the local speck holes. The warm-water discharges from the local power plants are favorite hang-outs for gator trout and live mullet are the favorite bait. Both are difficult to find, but when everything comes together die-hards are scoring trout over 10 pounds. Luckily, striped bass are easy to find. Crews trolling plugs, parachutes, umbrellas, and spoons from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the Eastern Shore of Virginia are catching impressive numbers of striped bass averaging between 38 and 43 inches with some bigger fish mixed in. Even though striper season in Chesapeake Bay is closed, striper junkies can still catch and release fish through the winter. With fewer anglers on the water and more monster rockfish in the water, it is a perfect time to drop live eels into the pilings of the bridge on a three way rig or under bobbers. Tog are also biting on the CBBT and nearshore wrecks. Last weekend, Captain Craig Paige (www.paige2charters.com) took a personal day and landed an 18-pound tog—which is his personal best. Even though the tuna and marlin have headed to warmer waters, there is still plenty of fish to catch offshore. While most anglers were chasing rockfish along the beach, some crews are electing to target black sea bass, tilefish, and grouper on the deep water wrecks and live bottom. Farther south, anglers fishing out of Hatteras have been catching blackfin tuna with butterfly jigs until their arms hurt. For links to all the fishing action in the East, check out (www.thefishingblitz.com) No matter how cold it gets this winter, Mid-Atlantic anglers are sure to break a sweat cranking on big fish.
“We have a rare situation on Lake Martin,” reports B.J. Barnett at Fish Tales in Alexander, Alabama. He explained that abnormally warm weather has kept the striped bass active on the lake. “They are still schooled up and feeding on the surface,” he said. B.J. suggests fishing out of Wind Creek State Park. “Guys are marking bait and fish as they idle away from the launch ramp,” he said. Most anglers are trolling live shad or black salties behind planer boards, but B.J. said that lucky fishermen are finding the striper feeding on the surface. “Guys are going crazy,” he said, “using bear-hair bucktails or Zara Spooks.”
“Plenty of ice, plenty of snow, and plenty of fish,” is how Scott VanValkenburg at Fisherman’s Corner (www.fishermanscorner.com) described fishing out of Duluth, Minnesota. Scott told us that anglers have already plowed roads across Pike, Fish, and Grand Lakes. “There are already 100 permanent ice holes and guys are fishing every day.” Scott says that Pike Lake has been one of the hottest perch lakes. He says that the perch are biting best between 9 and 3 in the afternoon. Early in the morning and just before dark, crappie and walleye go on the feed. “Fish Lake has been the best lake for crappies up to 12 inches,” he added. Scott says that a glow-in-the-dark Demon jig has been the ticket for these slabs. Bluegill are responding to wax worms and Gulp! maggots.
Utah is a winter sports paradise and the fishing is as good as the skiing, snowmobiling, and hunting. Dan Smith at Fish Tech (www.fishtechoutfitters.com) reported a buffet of species available for anglers who venture out on the ice. “Lake Mantua and Lake Utah are holding bluegill, perch, trout, walleye, and largemouth,” he said. Dan tells us that that each of these species will respond to a 1½-inch tube jig tipped with a wax worm. Anglers fishing Lake Mantua are setting up around weed beds, while the marinas in Lake Utah have been the most productive locations. Dan also point anglers to Flaming Gorge Reservoir where burbot are eating everything in sight. “They’re ferocious and the law requires anglers to keep all the fish that they catch,” Dan says. He suggests fishing the shallows with a glow tube jig and chunk of sucker meat. He added that Strawberry Reservoir has produced rainbow trout to 11 pounds for guys dunking wax worms and tube jigs directly off the boat ramp. “The ice is thick and the fish are biting.” —Ric Burnley [ Read Full Post ]
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If you're like me, you need something to get you through winter to that first game-time gobble. Here at the Strut Zone we’ll do our best to share what’s new in turkey gear for this coming spring season. Today’s post highlights three recent offerings from Knight & Hale Game Calls: [ Read Full Post ]