Thursday, September 30, 2010

California Hunting Tag Fee Bill Signed Into Law
Have you heard of Senate Bill 1058? I hadn't, but I feel very fortunate to have Senator Tom Harman backing us hunters up. It's about time we got this put into law. Over and over again, people have said that our tag fees go directly to the conservation of our hunting heritage. While some of it used to, much of it, I am sure, went to other funding for projects unrelated to hunting and fishing. Props to the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance and to Senator Harman. Thank you all for your hard work in getting this passed!


Sacramento - Senator Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) announced that Senate Bill 1058, a measure to ensure that hunting license tag and stamp funds directly benefit game species and their habitats, has been signed by the Governor. The measure was sponsored by the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA).

"The Governor's signature on Senate Bill 1058 means wildlife and habitat restoration will once again be the priority of hunting tag and stamp fees. That is what those fees are supposed to be used for - not bureaucratic paperwork," said Harman. "I am very pleased my bill has become law."


Current law has allowed hunting tag funds to be used for non-game purposes. SB 1058 protects these funds by requiring that, before any of the hunting tag monies can be expended, hunting-related organizations would have an opportunity to review proposed projects and provide comment to the Department of Fish and Game.


"SB 1058 furthers two causes that I am passionate about: increased transparency in government spending and conservation of the environment," Harman stated.


SB 1058 was a reintroduction of Harman's Senate Bill 589 last year, which was vetoed by the Governor. Senate Bill 1058 addressed the concerns raised by the Administration and was signed into law on September 28.


Senator Harman represents the cities of Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Rossmoor, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine, Cypress, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Laguna Beach, Dana Point and portions of Buena Park, Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Westminster.
Contact:
Eileen Ricker 916-651-4035
Safety Comes First And Foremost – HSS Issues A Voluntary Recall Of Carabineer On Ultra Lite Harness
Danville, Alabama (September 28, 2010) Hunter Safety System is committed to providing treestand hunters with the highest quality safety products on the market. In keeping with those commitments to safety, HSS announced an immediate voluntary recall of the carabineers that were included with the new HSS 300 Ultra Lite Harness.

There have been no reported incidents involving these carabineers; however, based on the high standards that Hunter Safety System requires, the company feels it is necessary to issue a voluntary recall based on recent findings. Through rigorous testing, it became apparent that the carabineer gate retention pins can inadvertently detach, permitting the carabineer gate to open and creating the possibility of the treestrap or lineman’s climbing strap to release from the carabineer, thereby allowing the user to fall.

“We feel this product does not meet our safety standards,” said John Wydner, HSS co-owner and president. “For this reason we are replacing all carabineers that were included with the HSS 300 Ultra Lite Harnesses free of charge, including shipping. Although we have not had any reports of this happening outside our factory, we are issuing this voluntary recall to maintain the highest possible product-quality standards for all of our customers.”

Hunter Safety System representatives have been working around the clock to contact dealers and individuals who have purchased the HSS 300 Ultra Lite Harness regarding this recall and potential problem with the carabineer. The UPC Code for this item is: 8-59540-00083-0. All owners and users of the HSS 300 Ultra Lite Harness are directed to immediately discontinue use of the carabineers and the included Lineman’s Climbing Strap, and they should contact Hunter Safety System at 877-296-3528 for a carabineer exchange.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our loyal customers,” Wydner said. “We are doing everything in our power to make this exchange as easy as possible; however, we want everyone to be safe. That is the most important thing in the world to everyone here at Hunter Safety System.”

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Danville, Alabama, Hunter Safety System is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative deer hunting gear and hunting equipment for the serious hunter. For additional information, write: The Hunter Safety System, 8237 Danville Road, Danville, AL 35619; call toll free 877-296-3528; or visit the company website at www.hssvest.com.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hog Hunting Seminar
Ron Gayer will be doing another Hog Hunting Seminar on Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 11am at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga. He'll be joined by author and hunter Durwood Hollis.

It is $30 for advance booking or $45 at the door.  The seminar runs from 11am to 3pm.

Seating is extremely limited and the spots are filled first-come, first serve, so early registration is encouraged. 

To pre-register and reserve your seat, call (909) 605-3719, or (661) 809-1613.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fat Guy + 100 Degrees = Long Day
Saturday was the day before the last day of archery in unit D15. I wanted to get out and try to hunt, but there were plenty of factors that rose against me. First, the moon wasn't quite a full moon, but it was close at about 90% full. Then the heat factor of 100+ degrees kicked in, but like most of you know, I am stubborn. I called Eric and asked him if he wanted to go do some hunting. I certainly owe him a few cold ones after the heat we dealt with.

We first decided to move my treestand as we found another area with a much better chance of getting a bear and it'll be a bit easier on my car. The general bear season doesn't pick back up until October 9 and I am hoping to go when the weather cools a bit. It's only supped to be in the mid-to-lower 80's that weekend. Too friggin hot for me still, but I'll be out there. I think we both went through more than a gallon of water each out there. I am just glad we packed in enough!

Here are the new claw marks we found on the base of the tree before we moved the stand.

When we got back from moving the stand, we sat down for a quick refreshing beverage. After an hour of cooling off, Eric took me to a great new spot to see if we could glass up a buck. It was late by the time we got there and only had about an hour to glass. It left us little time, but we both knew the moon wasn't right and it was just too damn hot. We still sat up there and glassed until dusk. Eric had his Swaro's on his tripod (I highly recommend this style of glassing) and was sporting his Cactu-flage. Even though it was hot and the moon wasn't in alignment for a good hunt, we still had fun. We were out there doing what we love to do. Being the last weekend of archery I needed to be out there to have a chance at a buck. While we were packing up, we did see a nice coyote from about 500 yards off. He checked us out for a few minutes and then took off. That sighting made the walk back to the truck that much more exciting.

Now I just have to wait for almost two weeks and try my hand at bear hunting again. I've been spending a bit more time scouting and hunting this year than I have in the past. I realize how difficult SoCal hunting can be and how I am looking forward to arrowing my first SoCal animal. It'll be worth the sore muscles, extra water being packed in and long hours spent planning and executing our plans. I love it all!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Time For Some SoCal Mule Deer Hunting
Archery bear season is now closed and the general season (for D-14) doesn't open back up until October 9, so I am headed out to do some spot-and-stalk mule deer hunting this weekend. I have an AO tag that is begging me to fling an arrow. Seeing as it's a full moon tonight, I am sure the morning hunt will be fairly poor on Saturday, so Eric and I are planning on moving a treestand in the early part of the day and then glassing in the afternoon. We found a new spot for bears (in addition to the one we have) and we want to try to cover some more ground, hence to moving of one stand. Two weeks ago there were cub claw marks all over my tree. I am most excited about checking out the photos on the trail cam. There are sure to be some nice ones on there!

In regards to product reviews, I have been asked when I'll be reviewing specifically named products. Provided I have already purchased them or the manufacturer has sent me one to field test, the reviews will come as time permits. I would love to be able to put a review up every week, but I need time to properly review each product. I also have a family, a FT job, a business to run, and I do like to hunt once in a while. I also don't want to clutter up my blog with strictly product reviews either. If there is something specific you want to see reviewed, let me know. I am open to suggestions and I want to deliver what you guys want to see. If you are a manufacturer and want me to give your product a thorough test, please contact me. I love testing out gear! It's one of my simple pleasures in life. I do have a few reviews coming out in the next couple of weeks that I know my fellow archers will love to see. I'll be posting my review on the Insane Archery Camera Mount very soon.

On a side note, Team DIY Pro Staffers Eric and Nathan Welsh both came home with meat for the freezer on their trip to Colorado. The story is coming and I assure you it's a good one! It's not your typical bowhunt and it's a true testament to the DIY spirit.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Product Review: Don't Bite Me! Patch Bug Repellent
Black flies and mosquitoes are devils with wings! I hate them and I am sure many of you don't particularly care for them either. While I love my ThermaCELL, the refills can get costly and the unit can be bulky. I had heard about the Don't Bite Me! Patch and wanted to give them a try. I figured that if I didn't have to fire up a device or have extra weight in my pack that it would be beneficial. These patches take up no backpack space, weigh next-to-nothing and are kid safe.
The Don't Bite Me! Patch comes in different quantities and cost approximately $1 each.
These are the Product Features listed on their web site:
  • DEET Free
  • Deters not Repels
  • Lasts up to 36 hours
  • Total Body Coverage
  • Clear, Discreet Patch
  • Safe for Use on Children
  • Waterproof
  • Made in the USA
  • Individually wrapped
  • Acrylic Adhesive
  • Breathable Patch Material
  • No sprays
  • No lotions
  • No towelettes
  • Natural, Simple, Safe!
The Don't Bite Me! Patch provides an alternative to traditional insect repellent by deterring insects, not repelling them. Studies have shown that Vitamin B1 metabolizes in the body to reduce human odors attractive to insects.  Now you can simply put on a patch - The Don't Bite Me! Patch, for up to 36 hours of total body coverage.
Only apply patch to recommended areas: hip, rear, shoulder, back. For small children, the best place to apply the patch is between their shoulder blades or on their rear. Do not apply patch on biceps. The constant flexing of this muscle can cause skin irritation with the patch. 
The first time I applied the patch I learned that last part the hard way. I wanted to see how irritated my skin might get (because that's the kind of guy I am). Sure enough, my bicep had some pretty nice swelling under the patch. Note-to-self: Next time, read and follow the directions. This is extremely good to know, especially if you place a patch on a child. It hurts like a mother coming off the bicep after a long day! This video (not recorded by me) shows how to put it on, but they show it on a forearm. Still not the best place for it, but you get the idea.


Here are the Pros and Cons of the Don't Bite Me! Patch

Pros: Once you have the patch on you don't have to worry about it for 36 hours. It's supposed to last that long. Another Pro is there are no sprays, no DEET and not having to worry about the product stinking and alerting game. It also helps because you don't have to pack a ThermaCELL and all of the refills you might need. It's supposed to reduce human odor that attracts bugs, so maybe it'll work in my favor for hunting, too. If it can reduce any odor I would find that beneficial. You can use it doing just about any activity, even swimming. Let's see a spray or ThermaCELL do that!

Cons: The patches cost roughly a dollar each. I bought the 5-pack to test out. I tested the product out three times. Two-out-of-three times I used the product I got bit. I placed one patch on the first time I went out. For a while I was fine, but soon the flies and mosquitoes were locked on to me and I got bit up. I went home and read the box again and it says if you weigh over 200 lbs. you may need to apply more than one patch. That's what I needed to know the first time (see earlier note-to-self). Weighing in at well over 200 lbs. I needed to apply at least two patches. I did just that. I applied two patches, waiting the allotted 2 hrs. and hit the woods. The second time I tested it I didn't get bit and thought I was home-free. Then came the third day of testing a couple weeks later. For most of the day I was fine, but about 12 hours after putting the patches on my hands got attacked. Three black fly bites later and I was miffed. 

Now, you might think I'd give this product an immediate thumbs down, but I'm not going to do that. There are a few reasons why. First, the Don't Bite Me! Patch is less expensive than ThermaCELL refills and you can easily pack a bunch of these and take them on a plane. Second, no spray and no smell. The third, and quite possibly the main reason, is I plan on seeing if I need to put on three patches to get them to work. I sent a letter to the manufacturer to ask them about my size and if I might need to do something different. This was the response I received:

Couple of things could be going on here. 

1.  It depends if you are deficient in B1 in your diet.  Could be that you just need extra patches for a few days to replenish the B1 your body needs.

2.  If you drink alcoholic beverages or smoke, this too could impact your results and could require another patch.

Bottom line is the patch works for about 8 out of 10 people.  You could have one of these things going on or you could be in the 20% it just doesn't work for.  Hope this helps. 

I might be deficient in B1, who knows. I drink and smoke about the same amount - maybe a beer/cigar or two each month. In one of our bear seminars I mentioned this product and a gentleman expressed his approval for Vitamin B1. He said he takes it a day before he goes hunting and does not get bit up. That will be my next test. Instead of buying a bunch of patches that I have to apply and take off, I am just going to pop a vitamin or two and not have to worry. We'll soon see as I plan on testing that theory this weekend on a deer hunt!


Monday, September 20, 2010

First Trail Cam Pics of 2010 (NY State)
My dad and brother just set up our new trail cams in NY this weekend and one of them caught this nice spike horn on the first night. By the looks of pic #2 it looks like a spike. I recommended that they put the cameras in a place where there isn't goldenrod in the way, but I would say the cameras are doing their job. This is the first time we have used trail cameras for scouting. I can already tell it's going to be a very useful tool.

I can't wait to head back to NY for some whitetail hunting!

Pope & Young Club founder, Glenn St. Charles, 98
I felt that this should be mentioned to all who read my blog and are archery enthusiasts. I read this today and while I don't have any Pope & Young animals, records or have ever submitted anything, I was still saddened.

Stcharles(From The Outdoor Pressroom) Glenn St. Charles, archery pioneer and one of the principals often credited with legitimizing the bow and arrow for big game hunting with state game agencies across the country, died this morning in Seattle at the age of 98. The founder of the Pope and Young Club was one of the first inductees into the National Archery Hall of Fame and was a driving force in the industry for more than than 50 years.

Rest in peace Mr. St. Charles.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

CDFG Launches Automated License Data System
I just received this press release in my email from the Department of Fish & Game and was delighted to see this is finally happening.
California Department of Fish and Game News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 16, 2010

Contacts:
Richard Reyes, DFG License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-6899
Lorna Bernard, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8911

Department of Fish and Game Pilots New Automated License Data System for Hunting and Fishing Licenses


Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Director John McCamman announced today that Californians will soon purchase hunting and fishing licenses using a real-time automated system. Developed especially for DFG, the Automated License Data System (ALDS) is already in place at DFG license sales offices. The system will be piloted at select license agent locations beginning the week of Sept. 20, with full statewide implementation expected between November 2010 and early January 2011.

"This system is the largest of its kind in the world," said Director McCamman. "This long-awaited, long-requested system will provide an unmatched level of service to our license-buying constituents."

Unlike automated systems in other states, California's ALDS is a real-time system.

"A real-time system gives customers immediate access to our license inventory which will eliminate the need to visit a DFG office or wait for high-demand products to be issued via mail," said James Fong, chief of DFG's License and Revenue Branch. "For example, a deer hunter will be able to go to his or her local license agent and immediately purchase any available deer tag rather than having to mail in an application or travel to a DFG office to make the purchase."

ALDS will provide numerous advantages to fishing and hunting license buyers. License Agents won't run out of licenses and stamps, for example, and customers will be able to easily replace lost licenses at any license agent for a reduced fee.

"The advantages of this system go far beyond convenience," said Fong. "Not only will we be able to improve customer service, but we will be able to use the information in the database to better manage wildlife and comply with federal grant requirements, which translates into more revenue for our wildlife management and enforcement programs."

During the first year of ALDS, customers should be aware that new requirements exist. For example, items issued through ALDS will be subject to a three percent surcharge for system maintenance. Also, customers must provide some form of legal identification and a telephone number when they first make a purchase through ALDS. Customers are able to purchase licenses for other people as long as the licensee's prior year license is provided along with a driver license number. Without the prior year license, the purchaser must provide the licensees date of birth, legal identification number and type, address, and physical description. If the purchaser does not have all of the licensees personal data, they can purchase a license voucher that can be redeemed for a sport fishing or hunting license at any ALDS license agent.

The new requirements will ensure a complete and accurate customer database, reduce the risk of fraud, improve DFG's ability to better manage resources, provide more equitable outdoor opportunities and meet federal mandates that require complete customer data. Although customers may experience slower license sales transaction times the first year, the process will be quicker in the future, as the customer's information will already be in the system.

The license agents in the initial pilot of ALDS include:

- Browns Sporting Goods - Garberville, Calif.
- Kalinas Hardware - Malin, Oregon

- The Tackle Box - Salinas, Calif.

- H & M Landing - San Diego, Calif.

- *Big 5 - El Segundo, Calif.

- *Walmart - Susanville, Calif.

- *Sports Authority - Temecula, Calif.

- Broadway Bait, Rod & Gun - Sacramento, Calif.

- Herb Bauer Sporting Goods - Fresno, Calif.

- Doms Outdoor Outfitters - Livermore, Calif.

- Diamond Sporting Goods - Ukiah, Calif.

- Floyds General Store - Bakersfield, Calif.

- The Grant Boys - Costa Mesa, Calif.

- *Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World - Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

- Half Moon Bay Sportfishing and Tackle - Half Moon Bay, Calif.

- Newport Landing - Newport Beach, Calif.
*This location only

Traditional hunting and fishing licenses will still be available at non-ALDS license agents until the system is fully implemented statewide. Fishing licenses also continue to be available for purchase online at www.calicensetofish.com. Hunting licenses are expected to be available for purchase online in 2011.

To find a license agent near you, or to learn more about ALDS, please visit the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Animals In The News
I read news articles everyday regarding hunting and the outdoors and most of it is from blogs and The Outdoor Pressroom. They always have news articles I am interested in reading and I thought I would share two of them with you today.

The first is from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in Bozeman, Montana. There was a Bozeman bowhunter who was attacked by a grizzly. The article is weak on information from the attack. I wonder what time of day it was. He couldn't reach his bear spray, which is very possible even if it was on his belt. My guess is that it wasn't within quick reach. From what I read, it sounds like he was walking to or from his hunting spot during the day because he was 'traveling back to his truck when the attack happened'.
"This is just something that has the potential to happen when people archery hunt in those areas with a resident grizzly bear population," Sheppard said. "You're stealthing along, cammo-ed up, being extremely [quiet] and you just bump into them."
The only way I can figure it was during the day is because he was being quiet. Otherwise he should be making noise and letting the bears know he's there.

The second one is an article about wild hogs in Southern Florida from the TC Palm. Take a look at the damage the hogs did to the greens on the Sebastian Municipal Golf Course. They want to trap them and have them humanely removed. I say bring on the bowhunters! The article talks about how pigs carry disease, which is true, but they also carry delicious meat ready for the smoker. I am sure some golfer out there has a smoke pole in his golf bag just waiting to put a hole-in-one!

Ok, enough from the comedian. I am going nutty thinking about getting back in the woods to do some hunting. I say a bunch of us plan a golf trip to Florida. Any takers?

Monday, September 13, 2010

No Hunting For Me Last Weekend
Life was very busy this past week and I didn't do much in the way of hunting. I did call my dad and discuss my November whitetail archery hunt with him, but that was about it. This weekend I took a break and took my wife out to a couple of concerts. She loves country music and she's been doing so much work raising our daughter and giving me time to go scouting and hunting that I felt she deserved a much needed break. A marriage kinda works like the California hunting lottery system. You have to put in lots of time and money in order to try and pull a tag. I kid because my wife is very understanding of the fact that I am obsessed with being in the forest and hunting. 

We were able to go see Blake Shelton (for free) at the Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! show on Friday night and then Darius Rucker at the LA County Fair last night. Anyone that knows Blake knows he's a big time archery hunter and has been on plenty of hunting television shows. I could care less about the shows, but his demeanor and character add to the hi-jinks of the episodes. He's got a different way about him that I find fascinating and hilarious. Blake's show was excellent and we had a front row view. We got to hear and singalong to 5 great songs before he had to hit the road for a Saturday deer hunt. Lucky! Darius put on a great show, too. He sang his hit songs, some covers and some of the great songs from his Hootie and the Blowfish days. It was fantastic!

I guess the only 'hunting related' thing I did do was to put together my 5-tiered shelf for the garage (my man cave). I was able to finally organize most of my hunting gear by placing items in Totes or just on the shelves. I can now see my garage floor. Holy crap, there is hope! I definitely need to get another shelving unit, but for now this is a great start.

I have a couple of product reviews coming this week. With hunting seasons in full swing and more opening dates on the horizon I felt I needed to get some posted right away. I've done a lot of reviews over the past few months and just need to get everything from my head to the keypad.

I hope you all had a great weekend and that it was successful. The other three Pro Staffers for Team DIY went on a successful Coues deer hunt in Arizona and elk hunt in Colorado last week. Photos and stories to come!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Back From A Day In The Forest
Saturday was a long, but incredibly fun-filled day. Sure, hiking up steep hills, putting up treestands in 90+ degree weather and sitting out in the hot sun glassing for three hours may not be everyone's cup-of-tea, but I loved it.

I left my house at 3:30am to be sure I got to my glassing spot before sun-up. Got there at 5:30am and was able to get geared up just as the sun was peeking over the mountains. I hiked down the road and then up a steep hill to find a spot to glass from. Found a great spot, set-up and started glassing. Not sure how many people know this, but I use my bino's on a tripod. Why? There are two reasons. The first is because you can use both eyes together instead of one. The second is that you can't detect a lot of movement by using binoculars that are just hand-held. By utilizing a tripod you can catch that ear flicker or slight movement in the grass. Anyway, I sat up there for three hours and saw a young jack rabbit and nothing else. By 10am I was roasting and made my way down to my car and met up with my hunting buddy Don.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a banana and a Rockstar made for a nutritious breakfast as Don and I discussed our plans for hanging his stand. We decided that we would head down the opposite side of the wash where my stand was located. After a short hike, we found a great spot. There were multiple sets of bear tracks, scat and a trail wide enough to easily walk through. We spent a lot of time clearing brush, opening up a spot on the tree and taking water breaks. It was hot and involved a lot of hard work, but it was worth it. We finished a while later and began the slow, uphill hike back to the cars for lunch.

The area we hiked through was incredibly beautiful. There were manzanita bushes that were completely dry from lack of water, blue sky, and peace and quiet. Beauty was soon forgotten as I finished off my 2 liters of water about 100 yards from the vehicles. I had another liters on ice and that was fantastic. We both got in our respective vehicles to eat lunch. It didn't take long for me to drink another liter of water, down a sandwich and decide it was time for some shut-eye. I was beat. I checked my watch and knew we had about 2 hours before we needed to be back in the stands. So, I reclined my seat and drifted off for an hour. It was heaven! Once I woke up and changed into my clean camo,  I walked over to see if Don was awake yet. We were on the same page as he had woken up at about the same time and was getting his things together as well.

We both hiked in together and split up at the wash head. We had a short hike to our stands, but when I got to mine I was a bit unnerved. When we put our stands up last week our trees were smooth except for bored holes by woodpeckers. Within the past week a couple of bears decided they were going to use the trees at a scratching post. Was that the unnerving part? Nope! What was unnerving was the fact that they had climbed up to investigate the stands and THEN went up another 8 feet. There were claw marks all over from at least one, if not two young bears. (I had seen small tracks on the way in to my stand, too). That was the part that had me on edge. Don't get me wrong or think me a naive fool. I know that there are plenty of mama bears with cubs. I just don't want to run into them in such a small area! So, for two hours I sat with my eyes picking up every little movement until dark. When a covey of mountain quail peeked out from under my stand I was jumpy, but excited. They were beautiful! I had seen them from a ways off before, but these guys were at 7 yards and peeping away with gusto. Once darkness fell I was packed up and out of the tree.

I highlighted this paragraph because I get my balls busted all of the time for having gadgets, extra gear and being a 35 year-old Boy Scout. Keep busting away people because this next part might make you think twice. Before I left my house I had put new batteries in my flashlight and headlamp. I tested both out and they worked to perfection. When I got my headlamp out of my pack and turned it on my heart sank. It came on and then died. (I had placed a piece of duct tape over the switch to keep it from turning on in my pack). One of the connections wasn't doing its job and I was without a headlamp. @#%^!!! At first I got pissed and then acutely aware of my surroundings. My backup flashlight turned on at first click and made me very happy. It meant I didn't have an extra hand free, but now I could see the trail and if any bear stood in my path. Thank God! I said a quick prayer and made my way to the trail head. It didn't take me long as I talked loudly and flashed the light around as I felt my adrenaline level rise with each step. I met up with Don and we both briskly walked to our vehicles. Neither one of us had seen anything, but it was a great day none-the-less.

Each day I can be out hunting in the forest with friends is a great day for me. I don't measure hunting success by killing an animal every time I go out. I measure hunting success by the different things that I learn, the memories I make with friends and the stories I can tell. It'll be a couple of weeks before I can make it out there again, but you can bet I'll be ready!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Dick's Custom Wood Bow Grips Winners
The Dick's Custom Bow Grips giveaway has ended. Your two randomly chosen winners are kmurray and kmhayes3! Congratulations to you both! Please email me and I will send you the information you need to collect your prizes.

You both will need to choose from these exotic woods for your custom grips.

Seeing as we only had three entries in the contest I am going to send Lunkerbuster a small gift as well. Kent, please shoot me an email and I'll share what your gift is.

Thank you to all three of you for entering and following my blog. Please let me know what you think of your grips when you get them on your bows.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bear Baiting and Scent Attractants
If you have ever hunted in California you should know that baiting is illegal. I am sure Ted Nugent will never make that mistake again. The reason I mention Uncle Ted is that we all have to follow the law. Everyone must adhere to the law and that includes celebrities with TV shows. Now, while it is against the law to bait, I don't necessarily feel that the law is right. I have discussed bear baiting with my hunting buddies and with Kari Murray over at her blog, I Don't Wear Pink Camo to the Woods. Kari's recent post about bear baiting is exceptional and I urge you to go read it. No, she doesn't bash anyone, nor does she put people down. She explains her stance and why she does it. It's a very good read. Be sure to read the comment from Tammi as she makes an excellent point.

I have been talking to people and trying to find a good way to hunt SoCal black bears without bait and within the letter of the law. Not only are we not allowed to bait, but we also are prohibited from setting up near a water source for more than 30 minutes. You'll find that tidbit in the 2010 CA F&G Digest under CCR T14 Section 730(c). I think that it is ridiculous, but I have to follow the law. What about CA F&G biologists? Are they exempt? If you read this 2008 article by Mark Muckenfuss of the Press-Enterprise out in San Bernardino/Riverside area you'll think that CA F&G biologist Kevin Brennan is. The very last paragraph states:
After sitting for an hour on a perch above a trickling stream waiting for a bear, all that emerges is a nearly full moon, climbing into the darkening sky. Brennan packs up his gear and heads back to his truck, leaving at least one bear far happier tonight than it otherwise might have been.
I wrote to Mr. Muckenfuss last year regarding this article. Not sure why, but I never got a response back. Here's part of my letter sent to Mark:
I wanted to comment and ask you about Keith Brennan and the laws regarding hunting in California. Did you know it is illegal to hunt over a water source for more than 30 minutes? In the article you say he is in his stand for an hour. On the DFG Q&A website there is an article regarding hunting over water. Here it is:
http://californiaoutdoors.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/hunting-and-camping-around-wildlife-watering-holes/
§730. Camping Near or Occupying Wildlife Watering Places.
(a) Camping/Occupying Defined. For purposes of this Section, camping/occupying is defined as establishing or inhabiting a camp; resting; picnicking; sleeping; parking or inhabiting any motor vehicle or trailer; hunting; or engaging in any other recreational activity for a period of more than thirty (30) minutes at a given location.
(b) Wildlife Watering Places Defined. For purposes of this Section, wildlife watering places are defined as waterholes, springs, seeps and man-made watering devices for wildlife such as guzzlers (self-filling, in-the-ground water storage tanks), horizontal wells and small impoundments of less than one surface acre in size.
(c) Prohibitions.
(1) Camping/Occupying is prohibited within 200 yards of the following:
(A) Any guzzler or horizontal well for wildlife on public land within the State of California.
(B) Any of the wildlife watering places on public land within the boundary of the California Desert Conservation Area as depicted on the Bureau of Land Management maps of “Calif. Federal Public Lands Responsibility,” “Calif. Desert Conservation Area” and the new “Desert District, B.L.M.”
(2) Camping/Occupying is prohibited within one-quarter mile of the following wildlife watering places:
(A) Butte Well--T31N, R14E, Section 28, NE1/4, M.D.B.M., Lassen County.
(B) Schaffer Well--T31N R14E, Section 25, Center, M.D.B.M., Lassen County.
(C) Tableland Well--T31N, R14E, Section 17, SE1/4, M.D.B.M., Lassen County.
(D) Table Mountain Well--T31N, R14E, Section 32, SE1/4, M.D.B.M., Lassen County.
(E) Timber Mountain Well--T44N, R6E, Section 33, M.D.B.M., Modoc National Forest, Modoc County.
(F) Belfast Well--T31N, R14E, Section 31, NE1/4, M.D.B.M., Lassen County.

To me it looks like Mr. Brennan is clearly breaking the law. What's your opinion on it? I have brought this issue up before on other blogs with mixed results. Some feel it's breaking the law, while others state the law is meant for campers who are near lakes and ponds. I say the law is the law. If it says you can't be over water for more then 30 minutes then you'll have to move.

There's no hunting over waterholes in California. Ok. Sure, it's a dumb law, but ok. So I wondered if we could use scent attractants, especially for bears. Is there another law that says we can't do that either? I received my answer in the form of a California Department of Fish and Game News Release through the California Outdoors Q&A newsletter. Here is the question and answer from the email.
Question: I know you can't bait bears but can I use any scents (liquids or sprays)? (Kendon A.)

Answer: Yes, you can use scent attractants when taking bears, but use extreme caution in your selection and use of a scent product. Under some circumstances and depending on the nature of the product you use, it could be classified as bait.  Aerosols sprayed into the air and not onto any solid surface are probably the safest types to consider.

Baited area is defined as "Any area where shelled, shucked or unshucked corn, wheat or other grains, salt, or other feed whatsoever capable of luring, attracting or enticing such birds or mammals is directly or indirectly placed, exposed, deposited, distributed or scattered, and such area shall remain a baited area for ten days following complete removal of all such corn, wheat or other grains, salt or other feed" (California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 257.5).

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) retired Capt. Phil Nelms, using any substance that can be seen or felt and not just smelled (e.g. liquids that do not immediately evaporate, scented pastes or gels, even aerosols sprayed onto trees or leaves) may be sufficient reason to classify them as "feed" because they can be eaten or can entice the animal to consume the surface on which the scent is deposited. 

It looks like I am going to give something like the Bear Bomb - Sow in Heat a try. Have any of you used it? Have you been successful? Most of all, how do you all feel about baiting?

I'll be going out sometime this weekend to bear hunt, no bait, no waterholes and I'll follow the law to the fullest. I am going to try the Bear Bomb and see if it'll work. Hopefully, come Labor Day, I'll have meat in the freezer and a deposit down at the taxidermist. There's probably some law against THAT, too.
Last Day for the Custom Bow Grip Giveaway!
Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for a chance at some custom-made wood bow grips. So far we only have two entries and Dick's Custom Bow Grips just happens to be giving away two set of grips. Your odds are quite good if you get your entry in before midnight tonight. After that I'll be randomly choosing the two winners and posting the results tomorrow. 

Good luck to all!