Outdoors With Charlie Chalk

Outdoors Archives

June 30, 2006

Helping our Troops

“Shooting USA” decided that they would see if there wasn't something more they could do to help our soldiers serving in the Middle East.  Consequently, Shooting USA organized “Operation Thank You” in the fall of 2005 when soldiers in Iraq, who were watching the TV series on the Armed Forces Network, asked for a shipment of DVDs and other items that might help the morale of the troops.  Operation Thank You is an effort to let those troops know we care about them and we support them.  On www.shootingusa.com they are posting the information for those of you who would like to express your thanks with a letter, a card, or a package of small, but useful items.  They select one unit at a time, serving in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, tell you a little about them, the location of their forward operating base, and about their mission.  They post a contact and mailing address so you can send a note or a card of thanks.  They also list the process for sending a package, if you would like to express your thanks for their service with some small items they may find useful in a hostile environment.

Fishing notes:  New Boston, Piscataquog River, has been stocked for the past several weeks.

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June 23, 2006

Fishing Facts

Catch-and-release-only season for smallmouth and largemouth bass ended at June 15.  From June 16 to 30, the bag limit for bass is two fish daily.  The bag limit returns to five fish for July 1 through October 15.  Fishing tip:  Warm temperatures caused largemouth and smallmouth bass to finish spawning in smaller to medium-sized ponds.  Females will now be found in deeper water from 10 - 15 feet deep and good action for males can be had in shallow water since the nests are abandoned.

Hartford will celebrate the nation's rich fishing history July 5 - 8.  Specifically, the city will host the nation's top weekend bass anglers as they compete for a share of $1 million on the Connecticut River in the 23rd annual Bass Fishing League All-American.  The All-American begins July 5, with an official practice day, and competition begins Thursday.  Surrounding the weigh-in is the FLW Outdoors Family Fun Zone and Outdoor Show featuring dozens of exhibits from Ranger Boats, Chevy, Berkley, Lowrance, Evinrude, Yamaha, and many more premier companies.  The doors open at 2:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 11:00 a.m. Saturday.

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June 16, 2006

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

The new Gulp! baits from Berkley are the perfect baits for the angler in your life, no matter the species of fish they go after.  Gulp! baits out-fish live bait because they disperse 400 times more scent and flavors into the water than plastic baits Berkley has a line that is perfect for any species of fish and any situation.  

FireLine™ and Big Game are my choice against the biggest fish in any environment.  Gerber Legendary Blades© (www.gerberblades.com) introduces the latest addition to its line of popular and dependable multi-tools, the Diesel Multi-Plier.  With improved pliers, even tougher tools and deployment at the flick of the wrist, the new Diesel Multi-Plier is all business and ready for action. 

Dad is sure to be popular at his cookout with Coleman's new RoadTrip Grill LXE features a pair of adjustable 10,000-Btu propane burners for open-flame grilling, and Coleman brought back by popular demand the 54-quart Coleman Steel Belted Cooler.  What many consider to be the quintessential outdoor ice chest, this rugged, reliable and traditional-looking steel cooler has been completely redesigned.  It blends the retro look with contemporary styling in traditional green or bright red.

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June 9, 2006

Take a Kid Fishing

June is National Kids Fishing Month, and Hooked On Fishing International, offers these ideas to make the most of the quality time together.  If youngsters under age eight are along, include additional items to keep them entertained beyond just fishing tackle.  Things like squirt-pistols, butterfly nets, bubble makers, etc., are good options.  Make sure everyone has appropriate clothing for the day's weather forecast.  Apply sunscreen before leaving home, and take the bottle along to reapply as necessary.  Take insect repellent and pack plenty of drinks and snacks to cover the duration of the outing.  Don't forget to bring a camera to take a picture of the "big fish" the kids caught and capture the fun-filled family memories.

The most important tip of all?  Approach the day with the intention of making it fun for everyone.  Be patient and flexible in dealing with the kids and keep an eye out for when their interest starts to wane.  Call it a day before the kids tire.  They'll be even more ready for the next trip if everything concludes on a positive note.

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June 2, 2006

NRA Convention in Milwaukee

I was able to attend the NRA Convention in Milwaukee.  This is truly a unique event, with opportunities to meet Tom Selleck, Ted Nugent, and the "Gunny.”  More important, makes of all kinds of products were there, and some received prestigious awards for their work: 

  • Smith & Wesson was honored "for a continuing commitment to 100 percent, American-made firearms, introducing 43 new products, the re-introduction of the Models 29, 21 and 22 and for supporting NSSF's First Shots and Step Outside programs, plus many women and youth shooting sponsorships." 
  • Springfield Armory's XD .45 was named the Handgun of the Year. 
  • Marlin received the Rifle of the Year award for the Model 336XLR .30/30 designed for Hornady's LEVERevolution ammunition. 
  • Benelli was presented the Shotgun of the Year award for the Super NOVA with ComforTech. 
  • Hornady's LEVERevolution Spire-Pointed, Flex-Tip Cartridges were named Ammunition of the Year.
  • Leupold was honored with the Optic of the Year award for the VX-L Riflescope with concave objective lens.  Crimson Trace's G-Series Lasergrips for Glock received the High-Tech Product of the Year award.
  • Benchmade was presented the Knife of the Year award for the Model 610 Rukus.
  • SureFire received two awards: The Specialty Product of the Year for the Kroma Flashlight and the Safety Product of the Year for the Fox Ears Digital Inside-The-Ear Canal Hearing Device.
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May 26, 2006


Nearly ten million Americans are avid paintball fans and players.  Paintball is, essentially, a version of capture the flag.  Competitions take a number of formats and vary from three, five, seven or ten members per team.  Paintball, however, wasn't intended to be a mainstream pasttime.  It was a survival game conceived to settle a dispute between two friends, a New York stock trader named Hayes Noel and a writer from New Hampshire named Charles Gaines.  To settle a bet, Gaines, Noel and 10 others took to the woods of New Hampshire in June 1981.  Following the competition, one of the writer-participants, Bob Jones, wrote a Sports Illustrated piece about the game; later the other two writers had articles published in Time and Sports Afield.  Paintball is, perhaps more than any other outdoor activity -especially an activity involving shooting - represents the basic elements of one-on-one combat, albeit in tightly controlled conditions and surroundings.  But it also teaches teamwork, coolness under duress and the physical discipline involved with combinations of high-speed moves and stealth.

(Courtesy, "Shooting Wire")

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May 19, 2006

Funding Wildlife

As someone who loves to hunt and fish, your voice is needed now to convince the Senate to increase the $50 million House proposal for State Wildlife Grants funding to $85 million.  In New Hampshire, we benefit tremendously from the comprehensive on-the-ground management and habitat restoration funded by State Wildlife Grants.  Your letters were successful in persuading 170 Representatives and 56 Senators to sign on supporting the $85 million appropriation.  However, on May 4, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee only included $50 million for 2007, a 27 percent cut from the 2006. 

If you want to make sure that State Wildlife Grants are funded at the $85 million, level now is the time to tell your Senators how important this issue is to hunters and anglers.  You can tell them that $50 million is a huge reversal and jeopardizes the future of many species of fish and wildlife that are already imperiled by lack of funding for conservation and management.  Contact Senators Gregg and Sununu, today, through their New Hampshire offices.

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May 12, 2006

Fishing and Friends

Just this past weekend, I got together with a few friends to spend some time fishing. While the quality of fish caught was not what was expected, it was still a good time.  The winds blew, fingers got cold from the water, and more than a few flies were “set free” on tree limbs and rocky snags.  Nevertheless, we laughed and forgot our troubles for just a little period of time.  And, is that not really what it is all about?

I have hunted and fished alone and with others, and the best experiences are the ones shared with others.  You probably have had similar experiences.  So dust off the old fishing gear and get out there.  Make some time in your life to fish.  Not many things in life are more important than times spent with friends and family.

Fishing Report:  South of the Lakes Region reporting good fishing.  Stocking continues in all areas.  Up in the mountains, water is good despite the lack of snow, but cold water is making for a slow start.

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May 5, 2006

Sunglasses and Anglers

Many anglers overlook their sunglasses.  Glare reduction is key when you're trying to land a trout.  Rippling water, waves, really any water in motion, produces reflected glare.  A polarized lens will greatly reduce that glare and help you catch your fish.  Polarized lenses allow your eyes to see more contrast and enhanced colors to separate the fish from bottom detail.  In addition, by eliminating reflected glare from the water's surface with a polarized lens, your vision will be sharper and your eyes will ultimately be more comfortable.  An amber color lens is necessary for fall and winter conditions or for any angler who plans to fish near the coast or in lowlight conditions.  The blue component of the light is predominant and the amber color cuts this light much more than other colors.  A vermillion lens is recommended on cloudy days because it brings out the red in your field of vision, providing an exciting contrast.  Brown or copper lenses are ideal when casting spinners or spoons in high sun.  The brown pigment cuts the red component of the light, which is the brightest when the sun is stronger.  Also, remember children need protection, too.

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April 28, 2006

Wal-Mart Says Goodbye to Guns

In case you have not heard, Wal-Mart, the only 'big box' store left to sell shooting gear, has said it will discontinue sales of this less than popular product.  Supposedly, only 1,000 stores with low volume will be affected; and that includes ours in Hudson.  While we still have some local gun stores in Hudson and Pelham, (love that old .410 I just bought) which we should support, it is the overall effect on the sport that concerns me most.  Society has pushed guns, hunting and shooting to fringe where it is almost considered an evil.  I must ask you; are we the last generation to pursue these sports?  Will we see the local gun shops close?  The answer is that we must educate and become, ambassadors of the shooting sports.  

On another note, another manufacturer of outdoor products, Heatmax, has begun to supply our troops with "HotHands" heat packs.  Some customers are helping with shipping costs.  I urge those of you who use the product, to support the effort for our troops.  Contact them; jeff@heatmax.com, and ask them how.  Please mention you saw it here.

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April 21, 2006

The New ‘Trailblazer’

As outdoor recreation goes increasingly high tech, more of us are looking for sensible technology solutions to help improve our planning, navigation, and information sharing.  DeLorme (of Yarmouth, Maine) is meeting that demand with its newly released Topo USA 6.0.

As its name suggests, it covers the entire U. S. with comprehensive terrain detail - represented by elevation contours and shaded relief - all on a single DVD-ROM.

Topo USA 6.0 introduces a new 3-D flyover experience, to scout the terrain for large areas before you leave home.  Adjust the viewing angle from vertical to horizontal to follow a river or trail through valleys or canyons.  You can also circle around a location from any compass point, or get an outward-looking 360-degree perspective from any point.  The 3-D images can be viewed in split-screen, side by side with the regular 2-D map, or in full-screen mode.

Also, aerial photos, satellite imagery, and genuine USGS 7.5-minute maps, provide an enhanced picture of what exists at any location - structures, agricultural lands, new roads, and more.  These are the most current available.  So, you could actually plan a trip from home, see the points of interest for ATV, hiking or just sightseeing before you leave.  Then you could download routes to those points in your GPS.

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April 14, 2006

Food for Thought (and Energy)

With the advent of spring, we all want to spend more time outdoors.  Time is so precious to us all, that we often go about our activities and feed our hunger with greasy foods or candy bars.  This soon lets us down, and we hit a new low for energy.

Well, there is a new product on the market that you may not even know existed.  What if I said that you could gat a well balanced combination of protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals; all that and approved by the U. S Military?

Hooah!  Bars come in unsweetened chocolate and apple cinnamon.  They are not your ordinary snack food; rather a sustained energy release product that I believe you will try once and not go without.  They give a steady release of energy that keeps you going.  They will always ride with me in the field; I believe in them.

The bars are found at CVS, 7-Eleven, Wal-Mart, and GNC.  They come in a silver wrapper with the word Hooah! on the top.  A portion of the proceeds goes back to labs that create foods for our troops.

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April 7, 2006

Dusting Off the Gear

   With the improving weather, it is time to get ready for fishing and turkey hunting.  Many turkeys have been spotted in fields around our area, and that means a good season, considering the mild winter and potentially dry spring weather.  May 1 opening means practice, practice!  Fishing may be a bit worse off, with many small streams at low levels already.  But, good news in the fact that New Hampshire Fish and Game, in cooperation with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, offers a unique sport-fishing opportunity in the Merrimack and Pemigewasset Rivers -- the Atlantic brood stock salmon program.  Biologists expect that a total of 1,400 brood stock salmon will be released in 2006.  Hatcheries have targeted about 1,000 salmon for release in the spring and 400 in the fall.  New Hampshire's brood stock Atlantic salmon season is year round; but you can keep 1 fish/day, 5 fish/season, April 1 - September 30.

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March 31, 2006

Kayaking, Anyone?

       Global explorer, writer, and National Geographic Adventure Contributing Editor Jon Bowermaster will be premiering his newest film, "BorderLand" at the New England Paddle Sports 2006 show in Durham on Saturday, April 8 at 11:30 a.m.  "BorderLand" documents Bowermaster's sea kayaking expedition 400 miles down the remote Dalmatian coast of Croatia.  "BorderLand" will have its world premiere in Durham at the New England Paddle Sports 2006 show.  This annual exhibition is one of the largest kayak and paddling shows in the country.

       In addition to the film premiere, New England Paddle Sports will feature talks, seminars and slide shows by dozens of prominent industry insiders and authors.  The authors include: Derek Hutchinson, author of Eskimo Rolling, The Basic Book of Sea Kayaking and Expedition Kayaking; Jeff Lopez, 2005 Northeast Extreme Edge Kayak Angler of the Year, speaking and demonstrating successful kayak fishing; Shelly Johnson and Vaughan Smith, authors of Guide to Sea Kayaking in Maine; Karyn Roy, 2003/2005 reigning U. S. Women's Freestyle Kayak Champion and Maine Sea Kayak Guide, and many, many others.  Admission to the 2006 New England Paddle Sports show is $6.00, with free admission for those under 16.  The show will take place April 7 - 9 at the UNH Field House in Durham.

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March 24, 2006

Keeping Busy

   Here are a few things to chase the “Winter Blues.”  How about free seminars at the Kittery Trading Post, in Kittery, Maine?  Fishingfest 2006:  A four-day event running from March 23- 26.  They will have the Sage Casting Analyzer here and manufacturers’ representatives from just about every product maker in your tackle box.  Not coincidentally, Fishingfest will also include the lowest prices of the year on fishing equipment.

   Turkey Hunting Seminars:  March 30, Thursday, 7:00 p.m.; Blaine Cardilli from Hunter's Specialties, March 31, Friday, 7:00 pm; Bob Humphrey a good friend and award-winning outdoor writer and photographer from Pownal, Maine.  Bob will also be signing copies of his book while he's here.

   New England Paddle Sports Show 2006:  Friday - Sunday, April 7 - 9 at the UNH Field House, Durham.  Tickets are $6.00.

   The 25th Annual Lake Champlain Father's Day Fishing Derby's deadline for early registration is close of business March 31.  This year the event is June 17 - 19, all across Lake Champlain.  Nearly $200,000 in cash and prizes is up for the winning in this catch-and-release, family-oriented Lake Champlain tradition.  Individuals and families may register by calling 802-879-3466, 24 hours a day, or online at www.lciderby.com.

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March 17, 2006

Making Future Fishermen

   Are you a parent?  Do you want to continue a wonderful outdoor tradition?  Then contact your schools and tell them the Future Fisherman Foundation (F3) has $200,000 available in grant funding for physical education teachers who incorporate fishing and boating education into their curricula, offering up to $5,000 individual grants to help foster active leisure lifestyles and ethical attitudes about the outdoors.  Grant monies can be used for fishing and boating equipment, field trips, curriculum materials and other resources to assist instructors in carrying out fishing and boating education.  The partnership also provides training, access, and ongoing guidance from experts.  A training workshop for grant recipients provides instruction on angling and boating skills, safety, and ethics; basic equipment set-up and maintenance; fish and their habitat needs; taking part in community conservation efforts; developing partnerships for access to fishing and boating sites; and recruiting long-term mentors for children. 

   Applications must be received at the foundation office on or before Friday, April 14 at 5:00 p.m.  To obtain grant application forms visit www.futurefisherman.org or contact PE Grants Coordinator Jesse Graytock at jgraytock@asafishing.org or 703-519-9691, extension 224.

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March 10, 2006

Advocating the Principles of Fair Chase

   "House Bill 1269 Notwithstanding RSA 212:30-e, V, persons licensed to propagate red deer or elk shall be permitted to sell live animals for on-premises field harvest by the purchaser."

   Recently a bill was passed that allows someone to purchase and harvest red deer and elk.  Note, I did not say hunt; for the shooting of a farm-raised animal, is not hunting.  Am I opposed to such harvesting?  Yes, I am.  To many this will now become sport.  That weakens the ethics of hunting.  They will pay for shooting animals that may be allowed to range over some acreage, but cannot leave a defined area.  Hunting is an intensely personal experience filled with personal choices.  Consider what is legal and what is ethical.  In short, legality describes the outside boundaries within which ethical choices are made.  It is left for each individual to set his or her own ethical standards.  Hopefully, all of our collective decisions will shine positively on hunting, management and its traditions.

   I personally will only hunt by the principles of Fair Chase; no penned animals or other means of holding or making the hunt easy.  "Fair Chase" is the original code of conduct first used by Boone and Crockett Club members in the early 1890s at a time when sportsmen emerged as the guardians over our game animals and birds.  It was defined as the ethical, sportsmanlike, lawful pursuit, and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.

   As sportsmen, we all are presented with opportunities to present our sport to those who may not participate.  All I ask is that you consider the image you represent.

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March 3, 2006

Deer Tax?

Lincoln Plantation, Maine  - This tiny settlement on the New Hampshire border -- population 46 -- voted to raise $8,000 to feed the deer last winter, according to Muriel Potter, the Town Clerk, Registrar, Treasurer and Tax Collector.  That is about $174 per person, but there is near-unanimous support for the deer at Town Meeting each year, she said.  The owner of a small diner and gas station in the village center, known as Wilsons Mills which lies on the Magalloway River in a historic deer wintering area, began collecting donations in a glass jar on the counter and feeding the deer outside.  The town began the official feeding program in the 1950s or 1960s, after timberland owners clear-cut much of the forest to salvage trees damaged by a spruce budworm epidemic.  Residents are consistent and careful, buying special deer feed, spreading it at several locations and keeping feed sites away from roads, she said.  Another budworm epidemic in the 1970s, the ice storm of 1998 and a tornado-like storm that "flattened what was left standing" kept support for deer feeding strong, said Warren Bennett, who feeds about 70 deer on his land.

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February 24, 2006

Key Conservation Land Purchased

The Nature Conservancy has announced that it has purchased two key parcels in Freedom and Ossipee, protecting outstanding examples of a globally rare and imperiled forest type.  The Conservancy has purchased 170 acres in Freedom and 65 acres in Ossipee, both of which contain the unique and rare pine barrens habitat that the organization has been working to protect since 1988.  The Conservancy has also secured a contract to protect an additional 25 acres in Madison.

Join TNC February 25 for a hike into the Ossipee Pine Barrens.  Set out on snowshoes to explore this unique and rare landscape, led by Jeff Lougee, TNC's Mount Washington Valley program manager.  Trip runs from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., meeting at the preserve entrance on Route 41 in Madison.  For more information or to sign up, contact Megan Lepage at 603-224-5853, ext. 23.

Also, the 300,000 sq. ft. Springfield, Massachusetts, Sportsman's show is Friday – Sunday, February 24 - 26 at The Big E.  I will be with MDM Muzzleloading in their booth, so stop by.

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February 17, 2006

Funding Cuts Jeopardize National Wildlife Refuges

The Refuge System already suffers from a crippling $3 billion backlog in top priority operations and maintenance (O&M) needs.  Aggressively cutting funding for refuges this year will harm our ability as a nation to conserve America's unique wildlife heritage, said NWRA President Evan Hirsche.  Should this request be approved by Congress, vital wildlife conservation activities across the country will be curtailed; popular visitor opportunities will end; and refuges in many states may have to close their doors.  Our own Umbagog Refuge may lose $400,000.  The president's FY 2007 budget requests $381.7 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System's O&M account, approximately $11 million less than last year's request.  In addition, the FY 2007 budget proposes a 57 percent cut in construction funding for the FWS and a three percent cut for land acquisition.  While the NWR system may seem distant and unimportant, they are a place for conservation and wildlife programs.  Now is the time to contact our representatives.

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February 10, 2006

Invasive Plant Database

The Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) and the New England Wild Flower Society are seeking citizen volunteers to help gather data on non-invasive plant species in their local area.  Information gathered by volunteers is submitted via the IPANE website to a regional database.  All data collected are available on-line in map and text form.  The gathered information is then used for predictive ecological research and planning rapid response and control efforts.  All necessary training is provided.

In addition to training, volunteers receive weekend workshops and educational courses provided by project staff at no charge.

Currently more than 400 volunteers are participating in all New England states.  Many more are needed to gather the necessary data and make the project a success.  Individuals, school groups, Scout troops, students and clubs are all welcome to participate.  An interest and working knowledge of invasive plants is helpful, but not required.  More information and applications can be found at www.ipane.org.  Contact Bill Brumback at brumback@newfs.org if you have questions.  (Information from The Nature Conservancy.)

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February 3, 2006

Hunters and Anglers, Be Heard

Do you care about the future of fishing and hunting?  Hunters and anglers nationwide are encouraged to take part in a brief survey at www.huntersurvey.com or a similar survey for anglers at www.anglersurvey.com.  Those who consider themselves hunters and/or anglers are encouraged to participate in each; there is no age restriction.

Hunters and anglers who complete surveys will:

  • Help provide fish and wildlife agencies and hunting organizations with information needed to protect and enhance hunting and fishing opportunities.
  • Provide input that will improve hunting and fishing products to meet their needs.
  • Explore fast, fun, and interactive feedback from other hunters and anglers nationwide.
  • Be eligible to win gift certificates from hunting and fishing retailers.

E-mail addresses will be collected only to send monthly electronic surveys; they will never be sold, given away, or used for any promotion or solicitation.  Surveys take less than two to three minutes to complete, and participants must complete a short registration form during the first visit.  Each month, participants will receive an e-mail allowing them to click directly into the survey without recalling passwords or usernames.  The survey is supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) to help state fish and wildlife agencies, conservation groups and outdoor retailers learn more about hunters' and anglers' needs and trends.

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January 27, 2006

Winchester 94 Rides into the Sunset

Last Wednesday's announcement that Winchester would close their New Haven, Connecticut, facility on March 31, 2006, closes the books of history on the Winchester Models 70 and 94 rifles.  

Scott Grange in the parent company headquarters in Utah says, "Even if we wanted to, there are problems associated with making those models anywhere else in the world that make the idea impossible.  These models simply will not be made after March 31.  Service and warranty work are going to continue for the next ten years," he said, "that work is done in Arnold, Missouri, so there's no reason for people to worry."  Make plans now for the Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Exposition running February 9 - 12 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.  This is the largest and best family outdoors show in the northeast.  If you want to “think spring,” then you want to see the boats, fishing gear, and attend seminars on a variety of subjects.  Hunters, you will also find gear, outfitters and travel locations.  If you go, stop by Newfoundland and Labrador's booth and tell them I sent you.  They will be glad to set you up with my Victoria Lodge caribou hunt.

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January 20, 2006

Caution:  Thin Ice

Despite all the precautions that anglers take, a few go through the ice each year, and all ice anglers should know something about rescue techniques and first aid for hypothermia.

Drowning is one immediate danger, but usually the victims are able to keep their heads above water by clinging to the edge of the broken ice or to floating gear.  Most fatalities are caused by hypothermia, a rapid, drastic lowering of body temperature which causes loss of the use of limbs, disorientation, unconsciousness and, finally, heart failure.

Some anglers carry spikes in easy-to-reach pockets or on strings attached to the sleeves of their coats.  Dug into the slick, wet ice at the edge of a hole, they can help a victim crawl out of the water.  In an emergency you can also get a grip on the ice with a pocket knife, a gaff, or the ice cleats from your boots.

If you see someone go through the ice, be extremely careful attempting a rescue.  Reach for the victim with your ice auger, fishing poles, or anything of adequate length that lets you remain out of danger.  Remove your belt or other clothing and fashion a rope to reach the victim.  If more people are available to help, form a human chain to reach the person in trouble.  When the victim is removed from the water, it is imperative that first aid begin as soon as possible.

A condition called after-drop is at least a potential problem in all cases of hypothermia.  After-drop is the continued decline of core body temperature even after rescue as the relatively warm core continues to lose heat to the cold outer body tissue.  The risk of after-drop is increased by premature exercise or warming of the extremities.  The physiological result of a sudden influx of cold blood may cause the core temperature to drop to a level that could be fatal, even after a successful rescue.

*From Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Ice Fishing Guide

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January 13, 2006

Native Alaskan Point of View

Tara Sweeney is an Inupiaq (Eskimoan people) from Barrow, Alaska.  She has worked on the ANWR issue for a decade.  This recent information was sent to me by her, and is reprinted for your consideration.  If you listened only to the news media and environmentalists, you'd think the debate over oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was about caribou and ecology.  It's not.  ANWR is about land.  It is about Alaskan Natives' rights of self-determination - our right to decide how our own lands and resources will be used.  About whether the United States will honor its agreements with natives who ceded their claim to vast ancestral lands and resources, in exchange for the right to determine our destiny on the lands we retained - or so we were told. 

Anyone who professes to respect native rights, civil rights, human rights, and property rights has only one choice in this matter.  They must support what Native Americans who live in ANWR overwhelmingly want:  drilling in accord with guidelines that we will negotiate ourselves.  

Right now, it's 30 below zero in Kaktovik, the only village within the entire 19.6 million acres of the federally recognized boundaries of ANWR.  It is total 24-hour darkness, and the wind is howling.  The pure luxury of running water, flushing toilets, local schools, local health care clinics, police and fire stations, were unavailable prior to the discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay, America's largest oil field, 90 miles to the west.  Kaktovik was the last community on Alaska's North Slope to get these wondrous things, courtesy of tax revenue from oil operations at Prudhoe Bay.  Yet these are the basic amenities that radical environmentalists of the Sierra Club and Wilderness Society say the Inupiat Eskimo people should be denied.  Even worse, many members of Congress also want to deny the Inupiat people of ANWR one of the most basic principles of our society:  the right to own, control, and use our private property.  With one breath, members of Congress are preventing us from developing oil and gas on our own private lands in ANWR.  With the next breath, they are pleading for gas and heating oil subsidies for their constituents.  These actions are appalling and offensive to my people.  

"The Inupiat Eskimo people are subsistence hunters," said Jacob Adams, president of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation.  "Based on close personal experience, we know we can have carefully regulated oil exploration and development in the Coastal Plain study area.  We can preserve the environment and wildlife resources of ANWR - and still provide economic and energy security benefits to our people and the nation."  Congress created and set aside the Coastal Plain specifically for oil and gas exploration - to compensate the Inupiat for having given up rights to their other ancestral lands, and as a compromise for designating other Alaskan lands as wilderness.  The 1.5-million-acre is larger than Delaware, in a refuge the size of South Carolina.  But Kaktovik's 92,000 acres of private land have been trapped, locked up, and made untouchable by crass political forces, because it lies within the borders of ANWR.  Any oil or land development here can take place only with Congressional approval.  The people of Kaktovik overwhelmingly support drilling.  We know the tax revenues from oil exploration on our land will fund our basic utilities, educate our children, and preserve our culture and heritage.

In 1970, when oil development was first proposed at Prudhoe Bay, my people in the Arctic Native community were understandably concerned and hesitant about our future and the effect of development on our homelands.  Would the whales and caribou be chased away forever?  Would our culture be destroyed?  To meet these concerns and challenges, and ensure the preservation of native lands and heritage, Inupiat leaders, the Alaskan government, oil industry and federal government have managed a symbiotic, rational, and successful relationship.  Indeed, the operations here are easily the most community involved, environmentally strict, and technologically advanced of anywhere in the world.

The results are equally clear.  During three decades of oil development, 3,000 caribou have turned into 32,000.  Not a single species of animal, fish, bird, or insect has declined even a fraction.  We urge all decent Americans to call their senators and congressmen, and tell them to vote for drilling in ANWR.  The natives who actually live there want this.  Our nation needs it.  It will be good for the environment.  And it will provide jobs, revenues, and energy for natives and non-natives alike.

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January 6, 2006

Welcome to the New Year

Remember, your hunt/fish license expired January 1, so go online and renew today.  Some of you have asked about the "Forever Locked," moose exhibit by New Hampshire Fish and Game.  This press release will give you the best location to see the exhibit.

Visitors to the Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Exposition on February 9 - 12 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, will be able to see a sight rarely glimpsed in nature -- two massive bull moose forever locked in combat by their massive racks.  The giant animals have racks of 53 inches and 61 inches respectively.

This amazing real-life scenario happened in Gile State Forest in Springfield, New Hampshire, in October of 2003.  Ray Deragon, an avid hunter, stumbled upon the pair of moose, who had died of stress and starvation after they became hopelessly trapped by their antlers.  Deragon contacted a New Hampshire conservation officer who photographed the scene.  It was agreed that this unusual natural phenomenon would make an incredible educational exhibit.

"Forever Locked" is an amazing sight.  Few people ever glimpse the annual autumn battles between these giants of the woods, much less this kind of outcome.  Don't miss your chance to see this unforgettable display.  "Forever Locked" appears courtesy of the New Hampshire Locked Moose Antler Project. Visit www.sportshows.com for complete details on the 2006 Expo.

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