Friday, August 22, 2014

Archers Unite! 3D Animal Targets Main Focus of LBPR Commission Meeting

One of the images of the 3D targets provided to the Commission by animal rights activists. Hard to tell what some are, right?

Yesterday, the Long Beach Parks & Recreation Commission held their monthly meeting at El Dorado Park Senior Center to discuss many things, of which were the separate renewal of permits for three archery groups to use the park facilities; Long Beach Bowhunters, El Dorado Archers, and Santa Fe Archers. Knowing that the subject of 3D animal targets would be brought up, archers assembled from all over showed up in support, filling every seat and leaving standing room only. 
Allow me to preface this article by informing archers, bowhunters, AND animal rights activists that I have been an archer and bowhunter for 30 years. I have also worked with the Seal Beach Animal Care Center in donating my time to aid in the care and welfare of the cats and dogs there. I own a cat, have owned many cats and dogs in the past and love animals in general. I also love to bow hunt.
When the topic of the 3D animal target ban was brought up, you could hear everyone shift in their seats. Director of Parks and Rec, George Chapjian began by saying the 3D animal target ban has been in place for two years, ever since LB Animal Care Services fell under the umbrella of Parks & Rec. 'We don't want to send the message that it's OK to shoot these animals. That's why we don't allow target practice of animal figures or likenesses of animals.'

My thoughts: This ruling takes away a cost-free opportunity for El Dorado Park. I am one of the few who brings my own 3D animal targets. Most of the time it is target archers using the bale targets. Again, it costs the park nothing for us to bring in our own targets to shoot and they actually make money. We bring them in and take them out every time. We do not do damage to the bale targets because we shoot our own foam targets and this prolongs the life of the bale targets.

The park did not inform the public of this 3D animal target change! I asked if I could see the official letter they sent out to people. The park did not draft a letter to go out and they didn't post notices around the range stating that archers couldn't use the targets in question. When a rule is changed like this, shouldn’t the public who use the facility be made aware through the posting of signs, an email, and website update? From what I am now hearing, there is an option to ban all paper targets of animals as well. Is this the case? We go from being able to practice and enjoy shooting at different targets to only shooting Olympic style archery?

Richard Grossman, an avid archer, archery instructor, and member of both the Long Beach Bowhunters and El Dorado Archers, spoke up to share why the targets are used. He also picked apart the propaganda packet that was sent to the Commission by one of the animal activists. It contained photos of animals shot with arrows and gave the impression that it was done here.
Richard spoke articulately, and based everything on facts, stating these images are found on Google and can be downloaded by anyone. It is obvious this woman is just trying to get an emotional (rather than rational) response from the Commission.

Val Rosas, an archer for 35 years at El Dorado park, also spoke his mind and shared facts regarding the use of targets. His response was passionate as he excitedly described the paper animal target he had and why we shoot at it.

One animal activist spoke up and began addressing the archers and not the commission. Was she taunting the group? I have no idea, but she was quickly informed to address the Commission. She went on to say that she 'appreciates what [we] do]', but fails to see why we feel the need to shoot at anything resembling an animal. It sounded like she was trying to say that archers are not animal lovers.

Lori Prichard, a state champion archer (in many categories) and single mom, debunked that. She spoke about 3D tournaments, like the one held in Redding, C.A., and how iIt is one of the largest around drawing more than 1200 participants each year. Archers from Long Beach do participate in this, including Lori. She continued to say she is also an animal lover with pets and even drove all the way out to New Mexico to rescue her current dog. Archers love animals, too!
We do not shoot at 3D animal targets that look like domestic CATS or DOGS. We shoot at 3D foam and paper pigs, deer, bear. These are animals we hunt for food and yes, we eat them and do not waste them.

Commission Vice-President Ben Goldberg spoke up and said, 'I am a hunter. I get it.' I think that surprised everyone in the room. It was great! He sees the need to practice and he proposed we shoot at something 'as large as say, a bear' to get the feel for it. While I see how is trying to mend the gap between the two sides, I don't see this helping. He as a hunter must know that shooting at a box the size of a bear looks nothing like the bear, thus it is not a proper way to practice to make an ethical shot on a bear.

Another animal activist (said she is 'not an animal rights activist, but an animal activist') also went on to say that the 3D targets are bad and that we can't hunt here in Long Beach so why allow hunting target practice. She said for us to go practice someplace else. I would share with she and the other activists that we can hunt within >30 miles of Long Beach and in order for us to make an ethical shot on a WILD GAME animal (not a pet), we must practice locally. The best part was when she said there is no need to hunt for your own food anymore. 'If you want meat, go to the store and buy it.' Yes, she really did say that.

As soon as she sat down, a fellow archer two seats away from her stood up. He is a 20 year vegetarian. He does NOT eat meat, but he made an excellent point validating hunting and the use of 3D animal targets. He said that the animal activist was wrong and that if you want to promote the 'suffering and inhumane treatment of animals' you can go buy your meat at a store! He continued by stating if you really want to eat meat 'hunt it yourself.' He is right on with that statement and the room erupted with applause.

A representative from the Santa Fe archers spoke and said that while they do not use 3D or paper animal targets, they fully support the people in attendance that do.

One activist stated that she was opposed to the animal targets because she didn't see the need for them. She also mentioned that in the movies you never saw Robin Hood shooting at an animal target. She continued to say that perhaps 'Hollywood has swayed [her]a bit'. I think the Hollywood mentality has blinded many and they react emotionally versus rationally.

A woman spoke at the very end stating that she is not an archer, nor is she a bowhunter. Her son, who was in attendance, is an archer at El Dorado Park and while he does not hunt and probably never will, not allowing the use of animal targets to be used is very one-sided.

There has been MUCH talk about the two cats that were shot by arrows earlier in 2014. LB Animal Services mentioned this and also went on to say that others in the past have also been shot with BBs and other weapons. Also, the cats were shot within a block of each other, which, to me, appears to have been done by one person. This is not what responsible archers do.

The motion to approve the permits was tabled as none of the archery clubs would agree to them the way they are written. The Commission referred it back to Parks & Rec and their lawyers to be discussed later. It was stated that the archers could continue to do what they are doing now until an agreement is reached, but that does not say we can use the 3d animal targets until further notice. What I understand it to say is we are still restricted and can shoot at the range, but cannot use 3D animal targets.

Many of us buy an annual park pass specifically to use the archery range. At $60 per pass or $7 per vehicle if you don't have a pass, it isn't cheap, but it is worth it to be able to practice out to long distances. By offering free classes on Saturdays, these archery groups generate more than $350 on a given Saturday as more than 50 cars enter the park with people looking to shoot. 

I have asked numerous people at the range, while I was shooting my 3D animal targets and my paper animal targets if what I was doing was offensive in any way. 100% of the people asked said they are not offended and many have commended my friends and I for practicing on such an interesting target to improve our skills. Some have asked if they can shoot with us and I welcomed it!

This is far from over. More information will be shared as it comes available. Keep shooting, have fun, be respectful, and be safe. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gear Issues - Right Before Hunting Season

This off-season has been a trying time for me when it comes to gear, and it's not all faulty gear. Most of the time it is me! Recently, my peep was slightly rotated and before I took it to the shop to add a twist to the string I wanted to verify that my bow was 100% set-up properly. As I checked it over I noticed my arrow was sitting a bit high on the string. I mean really high, like 3/8" high. I hastily checked the rest and it was fine, but...but I hadn't marked where it should be locked in. Usually I take the time to use a silver Sharpie and make a tic mark where the screw and rest line up, but I was rushing. I had forgotten to do it. It was a mistake I would only make once.

In my haste, I hadn't checked the OTHER side of the rest. I have had my d-loop slide up before, so I tried sliding it back down and it wouldn't budge. Proceeding to remove it, as  I cut the last bit of the loop, I noticed movement in my Ripcord rest. As I picked it up, it slid down. All the way down. On further inspection I noticed the screw had come loose...AGAIN! This happened a few weeks back at the archery range, too. I had cranked it down pretty tight and it still came loose. So, I reset everything (whilst mumbling under my breath) and squared up the rest with the string. I then installed another d-loop and rechecked everything. I was ready to hit the range to sight in my bow - yet again.

At the range, I felt comfortable and confident. Within eight shots I had my bow dialed in to eighty yards. I was thankful to have an HHA single pin sight that is so easy to dial in, but I was mad at myself for allowing me to be in this position. Don't let this type of thing happent o you. Take the time to go over everything well the first time.

Perfect I am not. Patient? Most of the time, but now it's crunch time and my bow needs to be at peak performance. I will keep an eye on that rest. If it does it again I may just have to switch my rest...again. I say that in jest, but I know that from here on out I must check my gear after each practice session, prior to each session, and be sure it is all working properly. Have you ever had issues like this arise right before hunting season?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

3D Animal Target Issue - Long Beach Parks and Rec Commission Meeting - August 21

The 3D animal target issue is going to be discussed at the Long Beach Parks and Recereation Commission meeting on Thursday 8/21/14 at 9.a.m. at El Dorado Park West Community Center Senior Center Library, 2800 Studebaker Rd., Long Beach.

We need to get as many archers there that we can! Spread the word and get numbers up. The proposal I have heard is that the commission wants to govern what targets we can and cannot shoot. We have to let them know that we are fully capable archers and that 3D animal targets help us improve as bowhunters! 

Will I see you there?

New Book Chronicles Badlands' Twenty Year Rise

Capturing the struggle, persistence, and ultimate success of the Badlands brand, the 20 Year Anniversary Book from one of the industry’s most iconic companies is now available in a full-color hardbound limited edition volume.

Having roots in a storage shed, fed only by relentless ideas of innovation and industry changing technologies, the special edition book tells the story of how a sewing machine, an oven, some spray paint and a little mad science changed the way hunters think about gear forever.

Not just telling the story of how Badlands came to be, the company also focused on the most important aspect of any business – the customer. Overflowing with customer photos, stories and anecdotes, the 20th Anniversary Book shows in vivid color and text just how Badlands has helped hunters achieve their goals over the last two decades.

Badlands founder Bill Crawley writes in the book, “Through all of it, we have tried to stay true to our 20 year promise – To simply make the very best products we know how and honestly stand behind everything we make. We do this in the same manner that we would for family members and close friends because that is exactly how we see each and every customer.” 

The 130 page book will be available to customers at no charge on with only a minimal shipping fee. The Badlands 20 Year Anniversary Book will be available 9/1/2014 while supplies last.

Now in its 20th year, Badlands continues to focus on exceptional quality, continuing innovation, unmatched performance and as always the only unconditional lifetime warranty in the industry.

For more information about the limited edition book, other products in the Badlands line, or general inquiries, please contact Blake VanTussenbrook at 1.800.386.7839 or

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Be Careful What You Hunt This Season!

I am not sure they have anything in my First-Aid kit for this!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Do Deer Always Shed Their Antlers?

After talking with my hunting partner about a recent buck encounter, I asked this question to the CA DFW. Now I know a little bit more about the deer around here. This is from the Q&A with Carrie Wilson.

Question: I recently heard about a few Southern California bucks that seem to carry their antlers year round. One person I heard from insisted they were mountain biking and repeatedly saw the same deer in January and in May with a 4x3 rack. While I disagreed with the person telling me this, I admitted I am no biologist and didn't know what they were seeing. Do some deer out here not shed their antlers? I was under the impression that even though nutrition, water and climate might affect when they shed, that deer always shed their antlers. Can you share some info or point us in the right direction to learn more about the antler shedding process here in SoCal? (Al Q.) 

Answer: Deer that don't shed their antlers are commonly called "stags". This is usually the result of some kind of injury (or maybe deformity) of the testicles. Testosterone plays a role in both antler development and shedding, so injuries can really affect the types of antlers they have. Weird looking antlers can also result from injury to the antlers while in velvet ... but those usually fall off normally and are replaced the next year with "normal" antlers. 

So, this proves there are indeed exceptions to every rule -- even biological ones!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

CDA Offers FREE Pig Hunts at Tejon Ranch!

Who wants to have a chance at some pigs on a great ranch in California? The California Deer Association wants to give you that opportunity! I know I am submitting my info and I hope you do, too. This doesn't happen all the time and I highly recommend getting in on the action.

From the California Deer Association website:

Here is a chance for you and a hunting partner to help California deer habitat and at the same time have an awesome fully-guided pig hunt. Pigs on the famous 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch are having a negative effect on the habitat, which has resulted in reduced deer numbers in the area. Consequently, the number of deer hunts available on the ranch for CDA’s annual Sharing the Tradition junior deer hunts have been reduced.

CDA was able to obtain a grant from the DFW Big Game Management Account to help improve the habitat in the area of Tejon Ranch for deer and other wildlife. This will be done by having 40 guided wild pig hunts (20 two-party hunts) on the ranch which will be given away in a free, random drawing conducted by CDA. Applications must be for a party of two hunters — no single hunter applications will be accepted. The hunts will be two hunters per guide. The ranch’s normal hunt or access fees will not be charged. Lodging and meals on the ranch are included. Hunters will have an option to shoot a second pig but they must pay $250 for this opportunity.

These are two-day hunts and conclude after two days or when you have taken your pig/pigs. This is a random drawing conducted by the California Deer Association.

Click to apply online for this hunt. (only online entries will be accepted)

Entry deadline for the drawing is September 22, 2014.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Product Review: BOGS Eagle Cap Hiker Boots

If you take care of your feet, they will take care of you. How many times have you read that on my blog? Having a pair of boots that protect your feet and keep them comfortable ranks as one of the highest priorities for a hunter. For months now I have been field testing the BOGS Eagle Cap Hiker boots with incredible results. (That means my feet are very happy.)

A bit of back story is needed for this review. In 2011, my friend and fellow blogger Bill Howard, mentioned BOGS to me. We emailed back and forth while I checked into the details. I wasn't convinced. He reviewed the BOGS Copperhead Boots and I even left a comment stating these must have been made for moderate temps and not California. There, I said it. A full rubber boot in the high desert heat of Southern California? It wasn't going to happen. He insisted I mull it over and said he was very happy with the performance of his boots on the east coast. The math didn't add up for me. Why would I want to make my feet sweat in rubber boots while hiking in harsh terrain out here? Not sold, I dropped the notion of trying them out.

Fast forward to earlier this year when I spoke with the folks over at BOGS. They contacted me asking if I would be willing to give their boots a field test. I quickly explained the concerns I had, as I did to Bill. They were very open-minded and while they understood, asked me to judge them for myself. I agreed and was sent a pair for review.

The only drawback I found with the BOGS boots is that they don't come in half sizes. I normally wear a 10.5, so I opted for a size 11 because I didn't want my toes to be crushed. That was a bad choice for me as they were too big and did not feel comfortable. With the BOGS 100% satisfaction guarantee, I was able to swap for a size 10 and they fit perfectly! I had plenty of room to move my toes and they are extremely comfortable. Should you choose to purchase a pair, be certain of your size and if you have questions, contact them and ask.

The construction of the boots is impressive. The molded rubber is made to fit your foot like a glove and it does. The wicking layer on the inside keeps your feet dry and warm. The laces are interesting, too. It takes a bit of getting used to tightening up the laces just right. Once you do, they hold fast and have not loosened on me one time. That was impressive. BOGS states that the boots are also snake-proof. That's a plus for me!

How did they perform? I have been hiking with these in moderate to high temperatures in SoCal. I have hiked six miles with 90# on my back, with the Eagle Cap Hikers on my feet and they felt great! My feet were more comfortable in the BOGS than sneakers (most people call them tennis shoes out here, but I don't play tennis). I have worn them walking on concrete, sand, and rock. I have worn them in 50 degree weather and 100 degree weather and I have to say that my feet felt great. Sure, on the 100 degree days my feet do sweat, but my feet stayed very comfortable, slightly warm (never hot) and while they did sweat, I never had a blister or hot spot. Let me tell you, I have been putting these through some serious tests. 

My final test came when we finally got some rain out here. After all the hiking on rocks and sand, I wanted to make sure they stayed waterproof. I took my daughter to jump in some puddles. We kicked the water, walked in it, and then jumped in it over and over. My feet stayed completely dry, warm, and comfortable. I also like that I can spray them with cover scent or a scent killer and my feet stay dry. Great job BOGS!

The mid-size BOGS Eagle Cap Hiker boots have great ankle support, too. That was a must for me. Plus, the boots have an awesome tread design that really grips in the sand and holds steady on rock. The arch support is there and my feet never felt fatigued and my arches were always comfortable. My toes were able to breath and never felt too snug at the end.

I will warn you, wearing wool socks with the Eagle Cap Hikers will make your feet hot, sweaty, and will likely slip around causing hot spots or blisters. I tested these wearing the SealSkinz mid-length hiker socks and they are THE best combo I will recommend. There were no hot spots or blisters in five months of testing these. Not one!

I will be the first to admit that testing the BOGS Eagle Cap Hikers changed my mind about rubber boots in Southern California. These are a high quality, rubber boot made for hunters. I'll bet these work great when the temps drop in December for keeping my feet warm. Right now they only come in the Mossy Oak pattern, but that has nothing to do with the performance level of the boots. They retail for $150.00 and with free shipping and returns in the US, you have to love that. I highly recommend the BOGS Eagle Cap Hikers for anyone...anyone who hunts, fishes, hikes, or just like the outdoors. I have a feeling these will last me a long time and they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. How can you beat that? Definitely take some time to check them out as hunting season is right around the corner. Remember, if you take care of your feet, they take care of you!