May 9, 2008
Welcome to the shooting equivalent of the no-look pass. This interesting little device is the new Corner Engagement Unit (CEU), which was developed by Aimpoint for military and law enforcement use. When placed behind a holographic sight, the angled eyepiece of the CEU allows the shooter to look downrange and put their rifle’s sights on target without exposing the whole of their upper body.
Because of the system’s unlimited eye relief you can back your head away from the sight as far a you like and still control the rifle’s point of impact.
How well does it work? After a 30-second rundown of how to use the sight I was able to pop metal targets 75 yards downrange with every shot. So if a piker like me can use it successfully you know that cops, military and other trained professionals are going to eat it up.
Another cool element of the system is the mount. With the flick of a lever it tips to the side to get the angled eyepiece out of the way. It also allows a shooter to quickly remove the CEU from the mount all together and, for example, pass it to another person to mount on their rifle. The CEU can also be used as a handheld unit to perform an even more stealthy peek around a corner.
What I like most about this product is that it will clearly save lives and reduce the number of injuries to the men and women serving us overseas. I hope they can get it into the field in quantity soon.
— John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
Can’t decide what to get the love of your life for Valentine’s Day?
Tired of buying her the obligatory dozen roses, box of candy or sexy lingerie?
Here at the Outdoor Newshound, we feel your pain, men!
That’s why we’re passing along a tip from Big Al’s Guns, located in Pineville, Louisiana.
Big Al’s is running a radio ad for Valentine’s Day suggesting that “if your lady’s hotter than a $2 pistol,” a handgun may just say “I love you,” better than flowers or chocolates ever could.
Stephanie Forest, co-owner of Big Al’s Guns, told the Pineville Town Talk newspaper that she thought up the Valentine’s Day tie-in between guns and love while driving in her car. She couldn’t get the George Jones song, “The One I Loved Back Then” out of her head and decided it would make a good ad for the sweetheart holiday.
Forest’s suggestions include the feminine-sized Keltec 9mm, and the pink-gripped .22-caliber revolver made by North American Arms.
Take it from the old Newshound: Pink is the ticket this February 14th! [ Read Full Post ]
The Colorado Division of Wildlife recently revealed that it is breeding and stocking rainbow trout that appear to be resistant to the parasitic spore that causes whirling disease, a fish-borne ailment that has severely impacted the species in some of the state’s most popular streams.
According to the DOW, the disease-resistant fish are the result of experimental breeding that crossed Colorado River rainbow trout with a resistant strain of trout from Germany. Stocking is expected to begin next year.
Whirling disease is caused by a parasite that penetrates the head and spinal cartilage of fingerling trout. The parasites multiply and affect equilibrium, causing the fish to swim erratically. It also affects feeding and the ability to avoid predators.
In experiments beginning in 2003, crossbred fish were exposed to high doses of the parasite, and those that showed the greatest resistance were kept to breed the next generation. About 20,000 of those disease-resistant fish have been stocked in the Gunnison River, and the results have been encouraging to biologists. [ Read Full Post ]
-The top 10 fishing states per capita (residents who fish) are (1-10): Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota, Maine, Wisconsin, Idaho, Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi.
-The top 10 states that attract the highest number of non-resident anglers are (in order): Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, South Carolina, Maryland, Arkansas, New York and Texas.
-In 2006, the total days of fishing in the U.S. equaled 1,289,300 years of fishing.
-Catfish are pursued by nearly seven million anglers, more than the population of Arizona, Massachusetts or Washington.
-The nearly one million jobs supported by anglers are almost three times the number of people who work for United Parcel Service in the U.S.
-The amount of federal tax revenues generated by angler spending in 2006—$8.9 billion—is roughly equal to the entire 2006 budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
(Source: American Sportfishing Association (ASA) report, Sportfishing in America: An Economic Engine and Conservation Powerhouse [ Read Full Post ]
In my family, by the time you’re able to walk and talk you can already name the different types of trees, identify animal tracks and accurately read deer sign. At a very young age, my father and grandfather kept me in the woods or on the water creating an undying passion. A love for the outdoors has formed a sacred bond within my family that has always kept us extremely close. With that being said, deer hunting has been both a legacy and a big part of our lives that has generated a lot of special memories that even the hands of time can never erase.
In fact, I can still vividly remember shooting my first buck when I was twelve years old. The sudden rush of adrenalin, pounding of my heart and the smells along with the sounds of the woods that morning will stay with me until the very end. However, as sweet as that first deer hunt was, one of my fondest memories in the woods would have to be watching my son take his first buck when he was only nine years old. It was only a small 8-point, but I wouldn’t have traded that deer for the biggest buck in the woods. Since then I have been fortunate enough to watch my son grow into quite a hunter. My son James is now 12 years old and his knowledge of the woods coupled with his ability to accurately shoot a rifle and bow has made me one proud dad!
Last season, we were hunting a highly-pressured tract of public land and were on a really nice buck. I had several encounters with this deer earlier in the bow season, but was unable to connect. On the second day of the Kentucky gun season, James and I eased above a laurel thicket where the buck had been bedding. Just before dark, I spotted the 13-point directly to my right as the buck stepped out of a thick entanglement and began working its way up the long wooded ridge. My son was sitting on the wrong side and I quickly turned him to the right in hopes of getting a shot. Unfortunately, his shooting sticks were still on the left side and we were forced to pull an old squirrel hunting trick that we had used numerous times with his bolt-action .22 rifle.
I firmly grabbed a sapling tree and allowed James to use my left arm as a rest to make the shot. We had done this same thing a hundred times in the woods squirrel hunting. With the buck standing broadside at nearly 70 yards James took a deep breath and gently squeezed the trigger. A loud boom echoed across the ridge and the buck kicked up its hind legs before running only a few yards and crashing into the thicket. The shot was perfect and my son had just taken his biggest buck ever. A flood of emotions overtook me as I began to remember my first deer hunt with my dad and grandfather. About that time, my dad walked up behind us from the next ridge over to share the moment with us. My son was so excited his little hands were trembling and I will never forget how proud he was of this deer or more importantly how much this hunt meant to all of us.
This is truly what hunting is all about and it’s sad that some people will probably never understand what an enormous impact the outdoors can have on your life. It’s really easy today to get caught up in all of the hustle and bustle of work and forget about the important things. As a hunter, I am grateful to have shared and enjoyed the true splendor of the outdoors with my friends and family. Hunting has not only created a strong bond within my family, it has also allowed me to escape the incarcerating clutches of deadlines and commitments that can potentially speed your life away. Time just moves at a slower pace in the outdoors and you learn to appreciate life and your family more. Hunting is a legacy that can potentially change you and your family forever!
[ Read Full Post ]
We need and ought to take as many kids hunting with us as we possibly can, but I’m not exactly sure why so few of us actually carry through on that espoused edict. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not hard, your kid will love you more for it and now is the time to make plans to take your kid turkey hunting this spring. And if you are in the least bit interested in introducing your youngster to hunting, turkey hunting is the way to do it.
“ Dad,” my 14-year-old daughter Amy (pictured) explained to me one day on the way to camp, “I really want to shoot a turkey. It’s not nearly as boring as deer hunting is and I want to eat a wild turkey for Thanksgiving.”
That’s all I needed to hear. I managed to find a hunter safety program that somehow jived with her basketball, volleyball, community service and socialization schedule and we were off (btw: Amy scored a 100% on the hunter safety test).
At first light on the first morning of New York State’s Youth Turkey Weekend, Amy and I had planted ourselves against an old oak tree about 200 yards from a pile of gobbling birds. It took a while, but Amy performed far better than I did on my first turkey hunt and dumped a nice bird at 35 yards. I don’t think that I ever got on a flopping bird faster than I did on that late-April morning nor do I think I ever enjoyed eating a wild turkey gobbler more on Thanksgiving.
Many states have now scheduled youth turkey hunts. We've got the full listing here, but please check with your state fish and game department before heading afield. Take your kid hunting. You’ll never regret that you did.
—Gerry Bethge [ Read Full Post ]
When I began deer hunting some 35 years ago, the tree stand as we know it today didn’t really exist. At least, not in my neck of the woods. The tree stands of my era were jerry-rigged wooden affairs quickly nailed into the cross limbs of a trees. The steps were crude wooden hunks imprecisely nailed (often with a single nail in the center of the step). As these steps weathered, the nail would work lose, often turning the step into a swivel, which sent the hunter down the trunk in a hurry.
Most of the time, though, I hunted on the ground. Stump sitting, we called it. You’d find a likely place in the woods and plant your butt on a stump or against a tree trunk and wait…and wait…and wait.
As a young hunter just coming to grips with scent and wind, I often heard deer moving away from me, and I all-too-often saw the characteristic white flag of a whitetail in hasty retreat.
Later, as I gained experience and started hunting in other parts of the country I encountered ladder and tripod stands, which had the distinct advantage of keeping my scent above a deer as well as offering a better view. Over the years, stand height increased. I went from 12 to 20 feet, and one hunter I know built an extension ladder to his stand so he can sit 30 feet above the forest floor.
Lately, I’ve noticed some new products designed to put us back on the ground. These range from chairs with camo flaps, to full-fledged camo blinds that resemble outfitter tents. I’ve even seen some with scent-control fabric.
The product shown here, from Fargason Outdoor Technologies (scentite.com), is The Tent Chair Blind Condo, a two-hunter blind that sets up quickly by unfolding the built-in full-size folding chair and pulling the water-resistant camo outer shell over you and your partner. Inside, hunters will find armrests and cup holders as well as a pair of storage pockets for calls, scents and snacks. Large side windows help waiting hunters track approaching game. $179.
What do you think? Would you prefer to stay up in the trees or come back to earth?
—Slaton White [ Read Full Post ]
The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors yesterday officially approved the addition of a bass fishing tournament as an IHSA activity.
With the historic action, Illinois has become the first state in the nation to sanction competitive fishing as a sport in its public schools.
(See “Varsity Bass,” in the February 2008 Outdoor Life SnapShots section.)
The Board, acting on a recommendation from executive director Marty Hickman, unanimously approved fishing “as an IHSA activity beginning in the spring of 2009, provided that adequate sponsorships are secured in advance for the tournament.”
Hickman and other supporters of intra-school tournaments have indicated that numerous sponsors and volunteers have already stepped forward to offer their support for the program.
“The level of support for a bass fishing tournament, from both our membership and from other non-school groups, has demonstrated clearly to our Board that this event is one with potential tremendous value to our schools,” Hickman said after yesterday’s announcement.
“Implementing such an activity will enable our schools to provide another opportunity for students that will enrich their educational experience and keep with the Association's mission,” Hickman said.
While the news of the country’s first-ever sanctioned high school fishing competition didn’t lead the national or regional wire services today, here at the Outdoor Newshound, we think it’s definitely the biggest story of the week. [ Read Full Post ]
What do 500 hardcore hunters do once deer season comes to a close? Well, go coyote hunting, of course. That’s what took place last weekend during the first-ever Sullivan County, New York coyote contest. With $2,000 prize awarded to the hunter with the biggest coyote, sportsmen came out in droves to participate. Click here to read more… [ Read Full Post ]
An unexpected chemical reaction is causing 2008 Oregon Hunting and Fishing Licenses to vanish.
Like, disappear. No fooling.
As part of a new license design implemented by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Department, the 2008 license is printed on a high-tech synthetic material intended to resist water and wear.
That’s a good thing.
On the downside, some of the 500,000 Oregon hunters and anglers who bought their 2008 thermo-paper combo license and placed it in the plastic holder issued at the time of purchase found that the writing on the paper, uh, disappeared in a few weeks.
Poof! Like magic, a vanishing license!
Imagine how sportsmen reacted when they removed their license from its holder and discovered a blank piece of paper—or, in some cases, a license that was considerably faded to the point of being illegible.
“I’m not a chemist,” said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Doug Juergensen, “but the new paper somehow reacts to plastic.”
Addressing the problem as only a state agency can, ODFW issued a press release last month instructing license purchasers not to place the document in the plastic holders or to have them laminated.
In addition, the agency said it would provide fade-resistant Tyvek holders at all state license vendors beginning next week.
But what about the hunters and anglers who find themselves in possession of a fancy piece of blank, water-resistant paper?
They’ll have to pay $6.50 for a replacement license, says the ODFW. [ Read Full Post ]
Beginning with the fall 2008 deer hunting seasons, Missouri firearms deer hunters will be allowed to use .40 caliber or larger air-powered rifles, thanks to a regulation change unanimously (and somewhat quietly) approved last year by the state conservation commission.
A short announcement in the February 2008 issue of Missouri Conservationist Magazine reports that legal air rifles for deer hunting must be charged only from an external high compression power source, like an external hand pump, air tank or air compressor.
The article notes that prior to the regulatory move, Missouri Department of Conservation staff members “tested large bore air rifles powered by compressed air and found them suitable for hunting deer.”
The changes officially take effect March 1, but the rifles will not be legal for hunting until regular-firearms deer season opens November 15.
“These firearms are not Daisy air rifles. They are high-powered, large-caliber, generally very expensive firearms that carry the foot-pounds of energy necessary to take down large game,” said commissioner Dennis Steward.
One of the leading makers of .308 and .50 cal. big game air rifles, Quackenbush Air Guns, is located in Urbana, Missouri. According to the company’s Web site, its .50 cal. Bandit rifle holds 3,000 psi of air and shoots a 180-grain ball at a velocity of 800 fps, depending on the gun and air temperature.
A Red Ryder, it ain’t. [ Read Full Post ]
When you spot 12 adult gobblers in your turkey woods the day before the season opener, tag-punching prospects seem pretty darn good. At least that’s what hunting buddy Dave Streb and I thought last spring when the dozen longbeards single-filed it across the road in front of my truck. Even though we were unable to roost the bunch that evening, I still liked our chances. Well, I’m sure you already know how this one turned out. Suffice it to say, it did not go as planned. Another hunter in our camp called up the flock—and took a bird—more than a mile from where Streb and I had first spotted them. Even more surprising to me, the group vanished without a trace for the rest of the season. Surprise turned to astonishment when another hunting buddy told me he spotted a flock of 12 gobblers a week prior to opening day a full five miles from where I first saw them.
I’ve thought a lot about turkey movement since then and thanks to some early results from an ongoing three-state (New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania) study, some of the mystery surrounding wild turkey movement is gaining clarity.
New York’s State’s turkey movement study project coordinator Mike Schiavone tells me that although those 12 vagabond gobblers might have surprised me, it’s really not all that unusual.
“Thus far we’re finding that most gobblers are taken within five miles of where we first trapped and banded them,” says Schiavone. “We have had some other birds that have taken longer trips. Two gobblers went about 20-miles. In general, jakes seem to move the farthest. Hens do as well and we’ve had several 12- to 15-mile treks.”
Birds for the study are cannon-netted and banded in several counties in the three cooperating states. The metal leg bands bear a toll-free phone number for harvest reporting. About half of the bands are reward tags that can be redeemed for $100. In the past two years, 670 gobblers and 753 hens have been banded in New York State. Schiavone says that 120 gobblers were reported shot by hunters last spring.
This is the third year of the four-year study that is partially funded by the National Wild Turkey Federation. Penn State wildlife professor Dr. Duane Diefenbach is leading the team that will interpret the harvest results. For more information on the project, you can e-mail the DEC at: firstname.lastname@example.org
—Gerry Bethge [ Read Full Post ]
It was once said that a family who hunts together typically stays together. Recently, I spoke with Dave Forbes, owner of Hunter’s Specialties and he was telling me about a very special hunt that took place this past gun season that proves this point. Dave Forbes is very fortunate to have the opportunity to hunt all across the nation, but his favorite hunting spot would have to be his farm in Missouri, where Forbes field-tests a lot of the H.S. products long before they hit the stores. The property is strictly managed for whitetails and turkeys and Forbes has put a great deal of time and work in managing his farm.
Forbes loves hunting his property in the fall with his family and it allows him to escape a very demanding schedule. In fact, the Forbes family is extremely close and tries to spend every moment they can together in the woods. This past deer season, Dave along with his wife Carman, granddaughter Morgan Michels, and son-in-law Tony Michels were all able to drop the hammer on some nice Missouri bucks. This hunt was extremely special because this was the Forbes’s granddaughter Morgan Michels’s very first deer hunt. Morgan is only eight-years old and you can bet this hunting experience will stay with her for the rest of her life.
What makes this hunt even more unique is the fact that each family member was able to tag out together. Carman Forbes, co-owner of H.S. and longtime hunter, dropped her buck with a T.C. 270 and her son-in-law Tony Michaels took his buck with a .270 as well. Dave Forbes concluded his hunt with a nice top-heavy Missouri buck and commented that he would not have traded this hunt for anything in the world.
“I was very proud of my granddaughter and impressed that she was able to fight her nerves and make the shot on her first buck,” says Forbes.
As a deer hunter, I understand exactly where Dave is coming from as I’m sure all of you do as well. It’s good to see families spending time in the woods together creating strong bonds and memories that will last a lifetime. This is what deer hunting is all about and it is also the part that anti-hunters will sadly never understand. Congratulations to the Forbes family on an outstanding hunt. Can’t wait to hear what happens when you hit the woods again this fall.
—Travis Faulkner [ Read Full Post ]
Whether you're toting a pair of binoculars that costs $150 or a pair that costs thousands, you need to get them focussed properly to get the most out of them. Follow these four easy steps for clear viewing every time. To focus field binoculars. 1. Place a hand over the diopter lens and focus the non-diopter lens first. 2. Then place a hand over the non-diopter lens and focus the dioper-adjusted lens. 3. Double-check your focus using the normal adjustment wheel and check your focus by viewing something distinct, like wire on a phone pole or fenceline. 4. Check your focus on objects that are 50, 75 and 100 yards away to be sure. -Todd Smith
Whether you're toting a pair of binoculars that costs $150 or a pair that costs thousands, you need to get them focussed properly to get the most out of them. Follow these four easy steps for clear viewing every time.
To focus field binoculars.
1. Place a hand over the diopter lens and focus the non-diopter lens first.
2. Then place a hand over the non-diopter lens and focus the dioper-adjusted lens.
3. Double-check your focus using the normal adjustment wheel and check your focus by viewing something distinct, like wire on a phone pole or fenceline.
4. Check your focus on objects that are 50, 75 and 100 yards away to be sure.
-Todd Smith[ Read Full Post ]