Outdoors With Charlie Chalk

Outdoors Archives

December 14, 2007

From the ‘Outdoor Wire’

“Though exact numbers have never been compiled, it is estimated that whitetails in North America numbered between 30 and 50 million before the arrival of settlers.  Ranging from the deserts of Mexico to the frozen plains of many Canadian provinces, from the wooded hills of Virginia to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the whitetail inhabited all manner of ecosystems.  It is its adaptability that has aided its rebound in the last century.

The establishing of hunting seasons, bag limits and stocking have all increased the population to levels never before seen.  The money collected from the sale of sporting goods and the efforts of sportsmen and women nationwide have resulted in the greatest conservation success story the continent has ever seen.”

For many, the deer season is now over.  I hope yours was successful, not with just game, but a true adventure shared with friends or just spending time in the woods surrounded by the sounds of nature; memories to last a lifetime.  Remember that if you have too much meat, that many food shelters and banks will take the excess in a program called “Hunters Helping the Hungry.”

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December 7, 2007

Youthful Hunter Numbers Growing

New data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show that young people represent ever-larger portions of Americas ebbing hunting population.  The ratio of hunters age 6 - 15 has grown nearly 4 percent since 2001.  Of the three outdoor activities tracked by the federal conservation agency, only hunting showed an increase in the percentage of youth participation.  The ratio of young anglers fell more than 5 percent while young wildlife watchers showed the largest decline at 10 percent.  The statistics are part of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Services 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.  The survey shows that hunters age 16 and older slipped more than 3 percent to 12.5 million since the previous survey in 2001, while hunters age 6 - 15 held steady at 1.6 million.

The shooting, hunting and firearm industrys nonprofit trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), attributes the youth stability to several factors.  These new data suggest that hunter attrition between 2001 and 2006 centered on aging hunters.  Participation among youngsters hasnt wavered, which makes them a larger subset within the total.  Thats welcome news because hunters have long emphasized the recruitment of youth as critical to the future of hunting and conservation, said Chris Dolnack, senior vice president of NSSF.

Twelve states have changed laws and regulations to enhance future hunting opportunities for youths and their families.  Half of those states are already reporting a significant climb in new hunters.  Data from Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi and Ohio reveal that apprentice hunting license programs brought nearly 34,000 new hunters to the field (without a single hunting-related shooting incident) in just two years. 

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November 30, 2007

Young Hunters

New data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show that young people represent ever-larger portions of Americas ebbing hunting population.  The ratio of hunters ages 6-15 has grown nearly 4 percent since 2001.

Percentage of Youths Age 6-15 Among Total Participants
Hunters Anglers Wildlife Watchers
2001 10.9 percent 23.0 percent 16.0 percent
2006 11.3 percent 21.7 percent 14.4 percent
Percent Change +3.7 percent -5.6 percent -10.0 percent

Of the three outdoor activities tracked by the federal conservation agency, only hunting showed an increase in the percentage of youth participation.  The ratio of young anglers fell more than 5 percent while young wildlife watchers showed the largest decline at 10 percent.  The statistics are part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.  The survey shows that hunters age 16 and over slipped more than 3 percent to 12.5 million since the previous survey in 2001, while hunters age 6-15 held steady at 1.6 million.

The shooting, hunting and firearm industrys nonprofit trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), attributes the youth stability to several factors.  These new data suggest that hunter attrition between 2001 and 2006 centered on aging hunters.  Participation among youngsters hasnt wavered, which makes them a larger subset within the total.  Thats welcome news because hunters have long emphasized the recruitment of youth as critical to the future of hunting and conservation, said Chris Dolnack, senior vice president of NSSF. 

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November 23, 2007

Traveling Hunter

Occasionally, I get the privilege to travel to hunt.  Most times, there is a story to tell or an adventure worth remembering.  Well, I traveled to Newfoundland, Canada, for the opportunity to hunt grouse, ptarmigan and snowshoe hare.  They allow several dozen birds a day, so that was just too great of an opportunity to pass up.

Packing my Brittany spaniel, wife and a mound of gear in the truck, we journeyed 16 hours to the ferry in Nova Scotia and crossed to the island.  We traveled six hours on the Trans-Canada Highway, where you could actually pull off almost anywhere to hunt, and never see another soul, house or town.  My destination was an outfitter, Victoria Lodge, where we were actually 36 miles in the backcountry.  The hunting was all I expected.  The small game license is only $60, and another $21 gets you a duck stamp.

Should you have an interest in such an adventure for small or big game, contact Newfoundland Tourism for their free hunting and fishing tourism guides, at www.newfoundlandlabrador.com or call Ed Best, hunting and fishing specialist at (709) 729-0096.  Contact Victoria Outfitters at devans@victoriaoutfitters.com.  Tell either one that you read about it in this newspaper. 

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November 16, 2007

New Website for Hunters

On November 1, The National Rifle Association launched a new Website devoted to hunters’ rights.  All factors that affect your freedom to hunt, and the future of the sport itself, will be addressed at www.nrahuntersrights.org.  The site will alert you about threats to hunting and NRA’s efforts to combat them — our direct lobbying efforts at every level, our hunter recruitment and instruction programs and our funding of conservation and range improvement projects.  The new site will give credit where it’s due, too.  If a new range opens in your state, if a season is extended or added, or if a youth mentored hunt is instituted, you’ll read about it at the site.  With limited time and resources, hunters need to know about every new opportunity, place to hunt, or new season available.  The site will also provide many opportunities for hunter input and recognition.  We’ll be open to stories from you on a variety of topics, such as: 

  • Trophy Gallery — Share your hunting photos with others. 
  • Hunt Reports — Had a particularly good or bad experience with an outfitter?  Let us know.  
  • Gut Check — Your true stories of survival.
  • Unsung Heroes — Know someone in your state doing good work for hunters?  Let's give that person some recognition.
  • Regulatory Nonsense — Is there a hunting law in your state you feel just doesn’t make sense?

Guidelines for submitting all such material are available by sending e-mail to:  huntersrights@nrahq.org.  Just put Hunters Rights Guidelines in the subject line.  Your questions and comments on the site are welcome at the same address.  Let’s work to preserve our hunting heritage in the southern part of our state.  Send in materials and let them know what is happening where you live. 

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November 9, 2007

72 Hours to Live

With more than 500,000 Southern Californians displaced as a result of wildfires it is time to consider your plan of action.  Too often we say that our part of the country is the safest place to live.  But, preparedness is a basic skill, even in New England. 

Consider the advice of Doug Ritter.  A recognized expert in survival, Ritter and his Equipped to Survive Website (www.equipped.org) are a great source of information and common sense advice.  Ritter has observed it’s essential in areas with regularly unstable weather that everyone be prepared to evacuate and survive 72 hours from their own resources.

  • The first basic human need - water.  Water can be bought or self-stored.
  • Next, you need nourishment.  There is a variety of ways to get that done, from your own foodstuffs to prepackaged survival meals.  Remember you need complex carbohydrates and starches as they provide long-lasting energy and are easy to digest with minimal water.  You need to plan on a minimum of about 1,200 calories per day — if you're exerting yourself, 2,000 is better.  Here’s a tip from personal experience:  when you’re looking at food, look at food your family normally likes to eat.  Don’t add to the misery with food that only causes grumbling.
  • Other stuff is pretty logical:  medications, spare eyeglasses, batteries for hearing aids and flashlights.  As far as tools, a good knife isn’t an option, and it’s the most basic tool.  I also have a multi-tool, a multi-tip screwdriver, mini-socket set, pliers and hatchet.  Finally, paper, pencils, a small sewing kit, and safety pins give us the ability to effect minor repairs.  I also carry several small tubes of “super glue” and duct tape along with a windproof lighter and matches.

We use  “Space Bags” for our gear as it enables us to keep all our equipment in a small footlocker ready to “bug out” should the need present itself.  We also keep a change of clothes (adjusted seasonally) per person and three changes of underwear.  In a tough setting, even the smallest comforts are big, so toilet paper and baby-wipes also are essential items.

Ritter suggests taking the time to scan all critical paperwork, insurance policies and such, and put it on a USB drive.  The few hours of effort can save untold hours of hassles.  If you’ve not already done it, now wouldn’t be a bad time to start. 

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November 2, 2007

See Me Now?

If you hunt or if you go into the woods in the highly populated areas of southern New Hampshire, you should always include some fluorescent hunter orange clothing with your other essential gear.  Your visibility at this time of year is critical.  Concerns that deer are scared by hunter orange are unfounded.  Recent research suggests deer do see color, but they have no red-sensitive cone cells, so they can’t tell red or orange from green and brown.  In addition, deer have a different sensitivity to various wavelengths of light.

They see short wavelength colors such as blue brighter than humans do, but are less sensitive to longer wavelengths such as orange and red, so these colors look darker.  Fluorescent colors like hunter orange look bright to humans because they absorb ultraviolet rays we can't see and turn them into longer wavelengths we can see.

The effect is opposite on deer.  Hunter orange reflects less of the UV that deer see well and more of the rays deer don’t see as well.  Yearly deer harvests in many of the states that require hunter orange, like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, exceed several hundred thousand animals a year.

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October 26, 2007

Refuge Group Launches Third Annual Photo Contest

The National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) announces its third annual digital photo contest showcasing America's national wildlife refuges.  Entries for the 2008 Refuge Photo Contest can be submitted until December 15, with results to be announced in March 2008 surrounding the 105th anniversary of the establishment of the first national wildlife refuge.

The National Wildlife Refuge System includes more than 546 refuges throughout the nation.  Images submitted for the photo contest can be of birds, mammals, insects, fish, other animals, plants, people, or shots of refuge scenery.

This year, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. has donated the grand prize:  a 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. 

Other prizes include a class at the Art Wolfe Digital Photography Center, a Canon EOS 40D camera, Steiner 8x42MM Peregrine Binoculars, a TrekPod Go!, and offerings from Barbara's Bakery, Wild Bird Centers of America and Houghton Mifflin.

In addition, the winner’s images will be highlighted on NWRA’s Website and future publications.  At least 200 images will be selected for inclusion in the NWRA Refuge Image Library and every photographer submitting an entry will receive a complimentary one-year membership in the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

For photo contest details visit www.refugenet.org and click on '2008 Refuge Photo Contest.’ 

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October 19, 2007

Dying to Hunt?

Keep yourself safe this fall by using common sense tips like:

  • Always wear your safety harness whenever you use a tree stand.  It is the single most important safety item a tree stand hunter can use.  One of the leading causes of injury to deer hunters isn’t being shot by another hunter – it is a fall from a tree stand.  One in four tree stand incidents results in a fatality.
  • All hunters during firearm/muzzle loading deer season, or any other period when firearms can be used for deer hunting, should wear hunter orange clothing.  Hunters should wear solid, unbroken hunter orange color visible from all sides on the head, back, and chest.  Hunter orange should also be worn by anyone accompanying a gun deer hunter.
  • Avoid the temptation to fire just at a sound, movement, or color.  It may not be a deer.
  • Do not cross a fence, brook, or downed tree without completely unloading your firearm beforehand.  If you’re hunting with a companion, unload your firearm then hand it to them to hold while you’re crossing.
  • Finally, areas along railroad tracks are private property.

Trespassers on any railroad’s right of way are subject to arrest for violating trespassing laws and can face jail time and a fine.  Through August 2007, nationally 26,461 people have been caught trespassing on railroad property.

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October 12, 2007

Something Stinks in Clothing

Personally, I have never thought much of the carbon, scent-covering clothing.  Of the many things I own, those clothes do not have a place in my rack.  Now, four Minnesota men filed a lawsuit claiming that scent-disguising clothing has duped hunters out of millions of dollars by selling them a product that does not work.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota alleges the clothing doesn’t work and hunters have been - and continue to be - defrauded.  ALS Clothing of Muskegon, Michigan, the manufacturers of the “Scent-Look” clothing line is named in the suit.  The suit says ALS is the largest manufacturer and license holder for scent suppression clothing, and licenses their products to at least 22 other companies, including Gander Mountain, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, and Browning Arms.  Those four, incidentally, are also listed in the suit.

The suit alleges the five firms conspired to deceive customers, as well as concealing the truth about scent-disguising clothing.  “Consumers have been duped into spending significant amounts of money on a product that does not work as represented,” the suit states.

A spokesman for ALS says the suit is baseless, saying the company had conducted “years of research” and collected “hundreds of testimonials from consumers over the years.”

What is your opinion?

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October 5, 2007

I Am Now Going 'Green'

Officially, hunters and anglers are the original environmentalists.  The more than $1 billion we spend annually on licenses, stamps, tags, and permits goes to fund conservation programs run by state fish and wildlife agencies.

So how much total money?

  • We generate $76 billion annually — with more than $25 billion a year in federal, state, and local taxes.
  • We are nearly 40 million sportsmen of voting age in the United States.  Nearly eight in 10 hunters say they always vote in presidential elections — and that outdoor questions (including the Second Amendment issue) represent their litmus test (realize that only 10 percent of Americans think hunting should be illegal — 73 percent, however, say they approve of hunting).
  • We spend more than $700 million annually in Federal Duck Stamp purchasing — that money has purchased more than five million acres of land open to non-hunters, bird watchers, and all Americans.
  • We spent more on lodging than the annual revenues of Quality Inn, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, EconoLodge, Rodeway, and Sleep Inn, combined ($619 million versus $482 million).

All this information might seem a bit like trivia to the average outdoors lover, but it’s not.  It is tangible evidence that American hunters and anglers are not just ‘fringe’ members of today’s modern society.  So, share the true facts with those who think hunting and fishing are not really ‘sports’ like baseball and football.

Facts courtesy of the Outdoor Wire

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September 28, 2007

I recently read a piece that applies to fishing, but began to think how this applies to hunting also.  So to paraphrase, by changing all fishing references to hunting; "What this means is that conservation agencies, guides, facility planners, and hunters, all can play roles in making hunting more fun and satisfying for everyone.  The key is an abiding love for the resource and the conservation stewardship ethic that helps keep those natural resources pristine.  The following checklist of ethical hunting practices provides a starting point that will make hunting more enjoyable for everyone and help ensure current and future generations can enjoy safe and sustainable opportunities.”

An ethical hunter:

  • Promotes, through example and mentoring, ethical behavior in use of resources.
  • Values and respects the environment and all living things.  Treats other hunters and property owners with courtesy and respect, including removing vehicles promptly from gated access, watching his shooting around other hunters, and providing adequate space to hunters already on the field.
  • Avoids spilling and never dumps pollutants, such as gasoline or oil.  Appropriately disposes of trash, including shot shells, ammo boxes, and brass.  Recycles whenever possible and keeps hunting sites litter-free.
  • Purchases required licenses and permits.  (If you are exempt, you still may purchase a license as a way to contribute to conservation.)
  • Learns and obeys regulations and can identify game so they can adhere to the rules.
  • Keeps no more game than needed for consumption, and never wastefully hunts, while complying with the law.
  • Participates in conservation efforts such as land cleanups, vegetation transplanting, tagging studies, and game surveys.
  • Practices safe hunting by following the laws and using common-sense practices to prevent injury to himself, others, or property.
  • Conserves energy and water in his daily life, knowing how it affects local fish and wildlife.
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September 21, 2007

While I still like New Hampshire hunting, Vermont has some great opportunities and low license fees.  For example, Vermont has an annual limit of two deer per year but several different hunting opportunities.  Vermont's 2007 archery deer season is split:  October 6 - 28 and December 1 - 9.  One legal buck may be taken anywhere in the state during this season.  In addition, one antler-less deer may be taken in 19 of the state's designated 24 wildlife management units during archery season.  A second archery license is allowed for the second deer.  The rifle deer hunting season starts November 10 and continues through the 25th.  One legal buck may be taken anywhere in the state during the rifle season if a hunter's two-deer limit has not already been reached.  If you like a later hunting season, which is my choice, plan on Vermont's December 1 - 9 muzzleloader season, which is open for one legal buck statewide if a hunter's two-deer limit has not already been reached.

Last year, hunters took 12,682 deer in Vermont's deer hunting season.  To learn more about Vermont deer hunting, check in at the Fish and Wildlife Department's Website at www.vtfishandwildlie.com.

This information is courtesy of Vermont Fish and Wildlife. 

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September 14, 2007

Know before you Go

Planning to hunt or travel in the White Mountain National Forest or Green Mountain National Forest?  The U. S. Forest Service is imposing travel restrictions on off-road vehicles across the country, reversing a principle that said all areas were considered open "unless designated closed".  The new regulations seem to establish that all areas should be presumed "closed unless designated open." 

The net of the ruling means that off-road vehicles will only be allowed on trails marked on new travel maps currently being drawn up for each national forest.  Those new maps, we're told, will exclude some very popular existing routes.  The maps are being created today, and will gradually be phased in over the next two years at which time all routes will be either open or closed.  ATVers caught on the closed routes will be ticketed. 

The changes in each district become official as soon as the maps are available, with some not expected until 2010, creating the potential for varying rules across boundary lines.  Important:  At this point, however, the Forest Service has closed two million acres that have been open to cross-country travel.  Ultimately, the Forest Service says it is seeking to restrict motor vehicles to designated routes on all 193 million acres.  So, prior to travel, contact the Ranger Station.  Remember, too, the carrying of firearms in ATVs require them to be unloaded by Fish and Game laws.

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September 7, 2007

For those who wait for the Hooksett and Scarborough stores to open, Cabela's® will open its newest destination retail store in East Hartford, Connecticut, on Friday, October 19.  The Connecticut store, Cabela's first in New England, is the company's 22nd retail location in the country.  The 185,000-square-foot (equivalent to nearly three football fields in size) store is located near Interstates 91 and 84 at the historic Rentschler Field in East Hartford.  With a unique design and showcasing thousands of products from its world-famous catalog, a customer's average stay at a Cabela's store has been estimated at a remarkable 3 1/2 hours, with half of the visitors coming from outside of 50 miles.

Unique attractions for every member of the family including:

  • Hundreds of animals in extensive, museum-quality dioramas, including an African scene, that re-create animals in action in their native habitats.
  • Cabela's hallmark two-story Conservation Mountain, complete with running waterfalls and stream, a trout pond, and wild game in their distinctive habitats.
  • Huge 16,000-gallon, walk-through aquarium, stocked with freshwater fish, including those native to Connecticut.
  • Customers will be greeted outside Cabela's by an original bronze signature sculpture.  The identity of the sculpture will be revealed at a special unveiling on Thursday, October 18.
  • 2,800-square-foot wildlife museum with an extensive collection of trophy mounts.
  • Other highlights include a laser arcade, furniture department, gun library, general store, fly fishing shop, gift shop, restaurant, boat showroom, and maintenance shop.
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August 24, 2007

Ammunition Costs Rise

As we approach the hunting season, you will dig deeper for the cost of shooting, especially if you are a shot-gunner.  All the raw products such as copper, brass, nickel, steel, and lead are up in price, as well as shipping.  For instance, China's construction has added to its manufacturing capacity, and components needed to manufacture ammunition are also used for laying power lines and buildings.  "We were paying $1 a pound for copper two years ago.  Now we're paying $3 per pound," said Brian Grace, a spokesman for Minnesota-based Alliant Techsystems, the military's biggest producer of small-caliber ammunition.  "Not all the costs are being passed on.  We've tried to soften the blow with supply chain management and improved efficiency.”  Certain rounds, such as .223-caliber, used in the Army's M-16 and law enforcement's AR-15, have become increasingly difficult to find in the civilian market.  Supplies of the .308 cartridge, the standard round for NATO and a favorite of hunters, are becoming more costly.  Some calibers cost only 10 percent more than a year ago; other varieties have more than doubled in price.  Watch for an additional cost increase in September.  Sales of ammunition parts for hand-loaders have gone up, so do-it-yourself ammunition production isn't cheap either.  “Someone making his own shotgun shells is going to spend roughly a third more than last year on supplies,” said Don Snyder, executive director of the National Skeet Shooting Association and the National Sporting Clays Association.

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August 17, 2007

Lost Outdoor Programming

For those of us who subscribe to the DISH Network, the recent loss of the “Men’s Outdoor & Recreation” channel has been a great mystery.  Neither DISH nor MOR will give you any answers, until just a few days ago.  The “Outdoor Wire” which often supplies me with information, sent this: 

“We checked into it and learned there were ongoing negotiations happening between DISH and MOR.  We were also told both parties hoped to have the matter resolved ‘soon’.  Yesterday, a terse news release announcing that Turner Media Group (also known as The Media Group), parent company of Men’s Outdoor and Recreation - and seven other networks - had entered a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  The Media Group release gave no explanation for the reason for the filing, simply stating that the TMG had filed for Chapter 11 protection in order to ‘reorganize the companies, restructure its obligations, and promptly repay all of the debts legitimately owed’.  Men’s Outdoor & Recreation is still programming, available via cable television, local stations, and DirecTV to more than 20-million U. S. households, even without DISH network.”

So, there is the story. 

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August 10, 2007

Kids Fly-Fishing Class

Here’s a great way to spend some time with the kids before they head back to school.  The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and Kittery Trading Post (KTP) will co-host a free Fly-Fishing class which is open to all kids 8 –15 years old.  Participants will learn about fly-fishing basics from KTP Fishing Department staff, while rangers from the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge will outline fishing opportunities on the refuge and explain modern conservation practices, including the use of lead-free flies and tackle.  A casting session will give participants a chance to learn and practice the rudiments of proper casting.  In order to maximize instruction time, class size will be limited to 15 participants, and each kid must bring their own individual adult.  Those who already own fly-fishing equipment are encouraged to bring it, but Kittery Trading Post will provide plenty of gear for everyone.

  • Date:  August 11, 2007
  • Time:  1 - 2:30 p.m.

Location: Kittery Trading Post, Katahdin Seminar Room

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August 3, 2007

Intermediate Fly-Fishing Workshop for Women

Women who have tackled the basics of fly-fishing and are looking to move towards independence as a fly-angler can get the help they need - and have a great time in the company of other women anglers - at an intermediate fly-fishing weekend offered September 28 - 30 at Purity Spring Resort in Madison.  Registration opened July 2.  This event is for women with some fly-fishing experience who want to become more confident fly-fishing on their own.  The weekend will cover the finer points of casting - accuracy, timing, shooting the line; reading the water and then picking a proper fly and knowing how to cast it; what to do when you catch a fish - playing and releasing.  Participants will have the opportunity to fish both still and moving water.  The weekend cost includes meals, lodging, materials, and instruction.  Participants must be at least 18 years old.  A registration form and course descriptions are available at www.nhbow.com or call 271-3212 to request an application by mail.  Class space is limited and registration is on a first-come/first-served basis, so be sure to sign up early.

Also, Hunter Education class, Hudson Fish and Game Club, September 5 – 9; pre-registration is required by phone; call Andy Onderdonk at 889-6908.

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July 27, 2007


The fourth highest Canadian pond count on record propelled the breeding populations of three duck species - northern shovelers, redheads, and canvasbacks-to all-time highs, and pushed the green-winged teal population to its second highest level on record.  Blue-winged teal took advantage of improved water conditions on both sides of the border to achieve their third highest breeding population ever.  The total duck breeding population climbed 14 percent to 41 million birds, and mallards rose 10 percent to just over eight million.  Many ponds across the surveyed area were at seven million, a 15 percent increase from 2006, and 44 percent higher than the long-term average.  Of the other surveyed species, gadwall rose 19 percent to 3.4 million breeding birds, wigeon jumped 29 percent to 2.8 million, green-winged teal rose 13 percent to 2.9 million, blue-winged teal were up 14 percent at 6.7 million, shovelers rose 24 percent to 4.5 million, redheads climbed 10 percent to just over one million, scaup bounced six percent from the year’s record low to 3.5 million and canvasbacks jumped by a surprising 25 percent to 865,000.

Hunters and non-hunters alike should all remember that the federal duck stamp from the Post Office puts monies into conservation efforts.  Did you also know that you could purchase a Canadian Duck stamp to continue the efforts?

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July 20, 2007

What is “Rock Snot”?

Most of us who fish will need to heed this warning.  This information is the most current out there.  The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources today confirmed that the aquatic nuisance algae known commonly as “didymo” or “rock snot” has invaded the northern reaches of the Connecticut River, marking the first official report of Didymosphenia geminata in the Northeastern United States.  The suspected didymo population was reported June 25 to fish and wildlife officials by an alert fishing guide who spotted the algae growing on rocks in the Connecticut River near Bloomfield, Vermont.  “This algae resembles cardboard colored toilet paper, and clings to rocks where it can cover the rocky streambed of rivers and streams.  It seemed quite widespread from Lyman Brook downstream on the Connecticut,” said the guide.  Anglers, kayakers, canoeists, boaters, and jet skiers can all unknowingly spread didymo.  The microscopic algae clings to fishing gear, waders, boots, and boats, and remain viable for several weeks under even slightly moist conditions.  Decontamination requires soaking clothing and equipment in hot water containing detergent, or a 2 percent bleach solution.  Thoroughly drying clothing and equipment for a minimum of 48 hours can also be effective, but only if absolutely complete dryness is maintained.  She also cautioned that even if didymo isn’t visible, it could still cling to clothes and equipment.

For more information, visit the following resources on Website:  http://www.epa.gov/region8/water/didymosphenia

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July 13, 2007

OSHA Rules

Talk about foolish rules … firearms and ammunitions manufacturers and trade organizations became aware of a series of regulations proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the government agency in charge of assuring the safety and health of American workers.

At the heart of the potentially dangerous regulations is OSHA’s indiscriminate definition of ammo, powder, and primers as “explosives.”

If implemented, industry representatives say the new rules could have a dramatic effect on the storage and transportation of ammo and reloading components, including primers and black and smokeless gunpowder.

Among the many provisions, the proposed rule changes would:

Prohibit possession of firearms in commercial “facilities containing explosives,” thus creating an obvious dilemma for all types and sizes of gun and sporting goods stores.  (Do gun stores sell ammunition?)

Prohibit delivery drivers from leaving “explosives” unattended, preventing services such as UPS and Fed-Ex from delivering ammo or gunpowder to individuals or dealers (no more online and catalog/mail order ammo sales business).

Require evacuation of all “facilities containing explosives” during any electrical storm.  (Think about any Wal-Mart or sporting goods store that carries ammo.)

Prohibit smoking and possession of matches and lighters within 50 feet of “facilities containing explosives.”

What effect would such regulations have on the availability of ammunition and reloading supplies to safe and responsible shooters such as you?

Currently, the public comment period on the proposed OSHA-2007-0032 rule is scheduled to end July 12, though attempts are currently underway to extend the period by 60 days.  Notify your sporting goods dealer to send comments to OSHA today.

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