Thursday, May 21, 2009

Five Star Restoration Program Announces New Grants

WASHINGTON - The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) announced that the Five Star Restoration Program will award new grants totaling $765,429 to 27 different community-led wetland and streamside restoration projects nationwide. These communities have committed an additional $2.2 million in local project support.

The Five Star Restoration Program, founded in 1999, receives major funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Southern Company and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company's (PG&E) Nature Restoration Trust. This year, projects in California are also receiving funds from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Since its founding, Five Star has supported 478 projects with more than $4.1 million in federal funds, $900,000 in corporate contributions and $12.5 million in matching funds at the local level.

"America needs more people to step up and become stewards of our precious wetlands," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, "and the Five Star Restoration program specializes in fostering exactly this type of conservation ethic. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is extremely proud to collaborate with a diverse range of partners to continue to build community connections across America through the program."

"EPA is proud to support the Five Star Restoration Program because of the opportunities it provides communities acting through partnerships to restore and improve wetlands, streams and coasts," said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water, Michael H. Shapiro.

"PG&E is delighted to support habitat and wetlands restoration projects in the communities we serve," said Steven L. Kline, vice president of corporate environmental and federal affairs for PG&E Corporation. "Environmental stewardship is one of our company's core values, and supporting these projects is one of the ways that we're able to continue to conserve California's diverse habitats."

"Southern Company is proud of its longstanding partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to provide conservation challenge grants to leading organizations throughout the Southeast," said Chris Hobson, Southern Company's senior vice president for research and environmental affairs. "The Five Star grants serve to further the important grassroots efforts working on-the-ground to restore and protect our wetlands, streams and coasts and the wildlife that inhabit them."

"On behalf of the nation's counties, I congratulate the 2009 NACo Five Star grantees," said NACo President Don Stapley, supervisor, Maricopa County, Ariz. "NACo is very proud of its longstanding support of the Five Star Restoration Program. Counties and their partners across the country are fostering environmental stewardship and building diverse partnerships that promise to restore and protect the environment well into the future."

Major funding for the program comes from EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds. In addition to federal funding, PG&E has committed $1 million over three years through its Nature Restoration Trust, and Southern Company has committed $1.2 million over five-years to Five Star.

The Five Star 2009 winners were selected from a competitive pool of more than 165 applications. Consideration for funding is based upon the educational and training opportunities for youth and the community at large, the ecological and other cultural and economic benefits to the community. Five Star projects must also involve a high degree of partnership between local government agencies, elected officials, community groups, businesses, schools, and environmental organizations for improving local water quality and restoring important fish and wildlife habitats. For a full list of the 2009 grant winners please visit www.nfwf.org/fivestar and http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/restore/5star/ .

Project Spotlight
In Northwest Georgia, the Conasauga River Alliance will partner with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Tennessee Aquarium Aquatic Research Institute, Badger Farm Bed and Breakfast, Murray County Public Works, and the Limestone Valley RC&D Council to restore the heavily silted Colvard Spring. Cleaning the stream will improve vital habitat for the Georgia-listed Coldwater darter. Georgia Department of Natural Resources proposes to evaluate Colvard as a safe-guard population site for Tennessee yellow-eyed grass, a federal endangered wetland plant of the Limestone Ridge and Valley Province. The project will result in the restoration of a 1.5 acre spring pool habitat and a demonstration workshop for county, landowner, and resource managers.

In New Mexico, the Sky Island Alliance will partner with the New Mexico Environment Department, U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore a degraded creek and wetland. This project will reconnect one of the largest desert ciénegas to its subsurface water source and protect a large population of Chiricahua leopard frogs. Cloverdale Ciénega is a historic wetland of approximately 150 acres of which 90 acres has dried. Partners on the project will remove all levees and plug the spillway gully with material from the removal of the levees as a coordinated set of restoration treatments. The water table is expected to rise, and the ciénega surface should become fully saturated, eventually killing the upland species that have invaded the site, as a natural transition back to a wetland plant community occurs over the next decade.

In California, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County will partner with the Water District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Soquel Neighborhood Alliance, Natural Resources Conservation Service, County Weed Management and several local schools to restore 1.25 acres of degraded riparian habitat. The project will reduce invasive plant species along lower Soquel Creek where the steelhead population is declining. This restoration project will lead to a more educated community with conservation values and place-based connections with Soquel Creek by involving students and the public in hands-on restoration and educational activities.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Founded in 1935, NACo provides essential services to the nation's 3,068 counties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public's understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research, and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. For more information about NACo, visit www.naco.org.

The Wildlife Habitat Council is a nonprofit, non-lobbying organization dedicated to increasing the quality and amount of wildlife habitat on corporate, private and public lands. WHC devotes its resources to building partnerships with corporations and conservation groups to create solutions that balance the demands of economic growth with the requirements of a healthy, biodiverse and sustainable environment. More than 2.4 million acres in 48 states, Puerto Rico and 16 other countries are involved in WHC-assisted projects. For more information, visit WHC online at www.wildlifehc.org.

A nonprofit established by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation sustains, restores and enhances the Nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Through leadership conservation investments with public and private partners, NFWF is dedicated to achieving maximum conservation impact by developing and applying best practices and innovative methods for measurable outcomes. Since its establishment, NFWF has awarded over 10,000 grants to over 3,500 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged - with its partners - more than $600 million in federal funds into more than $1.5 billion for on-the-ground conservation. For more information, visit www.nfwf.org.

Press Release found at the Outdoor Wire

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Pheasants Forever Chapter Formed

Gillette, Wyoming - Hunters and conservationists from Campbell County, Wyoming have formed the state's newest Pheasants Forever (PF) chapter, known as the Thunder Basin Chapter of PF. The chapter is dedicated to improving habitat for pheasants and other wildlife, as well as providing ways for youth to become involved in outdoor activities.

"One of our tops goals is bringing children to the outdoors through education and participation," said Paul Connelly of Gillette, the Thunder Basin chapter's newly-elected president, "By holding youth outdoor days, working with local schools and also partnering with other organizations in conservation efforts, we feel we can enhance Pheasants Forever's No Child Left Indoors initiative." Launched last year, No Child Left Indoors is part of a national movement aimed at getting youth unplugged from electronics and turned on to the outdoors, nature and wildlife.

"With over 45 people at the chapter's start meeting alone, it's evident there's a spirit for conservation in Campbell County," said Bob Hix, PF Field Representative in Wyoming, "With Pheasants Forever's local model, there's a tremendous opportunity to better wildlife habitat for pheasants, but also sage grouse, chukars, antelope and mule deer." Pheasants Forever and its quail division, Quail Forever (QF), are the only national conservation organizations that empower local chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds will be spent. As a result, chapter volunteers are able to see the fruits of their efforts locally, while belonging to a larger national organization with a voice on federal and state conservation policy.

Hix also sees the chapter continuing PF's strong support of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission's Access Yes program, which provides public hunting opportunities on private lands. On average, every dollar donated to the Access Yes program results in about 4.2 acres of hunting access. Wyoming's PF chapters have donated a total of $39,100 to the program, which translates into over 164,000 acres that PF dollars have helped open up for public access in the state.

The Thunder Basin Chapter of PF has also elected Adam Mathes of Gillette as vice president, Michelle Smith of Gillette as secretary, Greg Smith of Gillette as habitat chair, James Smith of Gillette as youth/education chair and Jaci Mathes of Gillette as treasurer. The chapter will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, May 27th at 7 PM. For more information about the chapter and its upcoming meetings and events, contact Paul Connelly at (810) 614-1672 or via email atcrazie4gsp@yahoo.com.

Wyoming is home to six PF chapters and over 1,000 PF members. Those chapters have historically spent $675,000 to improve Wyoming wildlife habitat, completing 600 habitat projects benefitting over 13,000 acres for wildlife. For more information about Pheasants Forever in Wyoming, to start or join an existing chapter, contact Bob Hix, PF Field Representative in Wyoming at (303) 743-8957 or via email at BHix@pheasantsforever.org.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 130,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.

Press Release found at the Outdoor Wire

Monday, May 18, 2009

SCI Making International Trophy Records Now Available

If you've ever wondered where your big buck, granddaddy elk, or boss gobbler would rank in the record books, Safari Club International (SCI) has all of that information right at your fingertips with the SCI Online Record Book.

The Online Record Book features SCI's full database of trophy records and allows members to search the hunting records of individual species by continent or state/region, measurer, guide service, and method of kill. It also features helpful population density maps and taxonomic information to assist hunters in planning future big game hunts.

The first SCI Record Book entry was submitted in 1977. Today, the Online Record Book has nearly 150,000 entries for more than 100 species from all around the world. It is a great resource to assist hunters in preparing for their next hunting trip, as it provides all of the tools a hunter needs to successfully identify where and when the best opportunity is to harvest a trophy-class animal. Hunters can determine the best areas to hunt a particular species and become familiar with the antler and horn measurements before entering the field. Visitors to the Online Record Book will also soon have the ability to view contact information for guides and outfitters.

For those unfamiliar with the SCI scoring system, the Online Record Book uses a unique, all-inclusive record keeping system to preserve and document our hunting heritage. The SCI scoring system recognizes typical and non-typical animals and also has distinct trophy categories for free range and estate-harvested animals. SCI measurements enforce no deductions on animals with asymmetrical antlers or horns. It is the only world-wide recognized scoring system that does not penalize animals for asymmetry. Green-scored animals can be submitted immediately to the Online Record Book and Top 10 entries are eligible after a 60-day drying period.

The SCI Online Record Book is the only dynamic, automatically updated trophy records system in existence. Every evening, entries to the Record Book are ranked, and approved changes are added to the database. It is an informative and exciting way to monitor trophy records for a specific species or region, and it is available to everyone.

The Online Record Book offers a variety of subscriptions, including a one-time, absolutely free 24-hour trial membership. Discounts are offered to SCI members, but anyone can purchase an annual subscription to the site. A one-year subscription costs $69.95 for SCI members and $99.95 for non-members. A seven-day subscription is also available for $9.95.

To learn more about the SCI Online Record Book and its exhaustive information on trophy records, please visit the site at www.scirecordbook.org.

Press release found at the Outdoor Wire

Friday, May 15, 2009

TRCP Says Some Sportsmen Programs Get Funding Boost In Obama Budget


WASHINGTON - The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and its partners lauded key provisions in President Obama's 2010 budget, but also raised concern about some of the cuts and restrictions the President has placed on strategic programs aimed to conserve fish, wildlife and the habitat on which they depend.

"While the sportsmen and conservation community is still examining and digesting the President's budget, we're happy to see that climate change and the Open Fields programs for example are issues that the Obama administration is putting its resources behind," said George Cooper, TRCP president and CEO. "But we're disappointed that the President's budget also includes cuts and restrictions on other programs aimed at conserving habitat on private lands and encouraging property owners to open their lands to hunters and anglers. As the budget goes forward, we look forward to working with the administration and our allies in the House and Senate to ensure that sportsmen programs across the board receive necessary funding."

The highlights of the President's budget include increases in the allocations for wildlife grants to help states implement climate change adaptation programs, comprehensive funding for the implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and support for the new Open Fields program. The lowlights include cuts to Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program and Wetlands Reserve Program.

"Many of the issues that we work on at the TRCP have been affected by the President's budget," said Tom Franklin, TRCP senior vice president. "And whether the change is positive or negative, we're looking forward to working with our partners, the administration and congress to make sure that hunters and anglers will continue to benefit from these important conservation programs."

Here are some of the details from President Obama's budget that affect sportsmen:

Department of Agriculture (USDA) Programs:
Wetlands and Habitat Conservation on Private Lands:
The suite of conservation programs within the USDA represents the largest federal investment on private land, yet still only accounts for roughly 8 percent of the department's budget. A positive increase of more than $11 million to Technical Assistance within Conservation Operations will provide landowners with proven methods to carry out best management practices on their land.

However key habitat conservation programs saw their budgets decrease under the new proposal. Most notably, the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) saw major reductions from last year's levels-levels that are not consistent with the sportsmen and conservation community's recommendations for achieving maximum benefit to fish and wildlife habitat. WRP-the only USDA program solely dedicated to wetlands conservation and responsible for nearly 2 million acres of wetlands since its inception-was cut by $27 million, from $418 million to $391 million. The very popular WHIP program, which focuses on improving key wildlife habitats, has been underfunded from the program's inception, as applications have outnumbered the funding by a 2-to-1 ratio. Unfortunately this program has been cut by 50 percent in the budget.

Access:
TRCP was pleased to see that the new hunter access program, Open Fields, is funded at $50 million in the president's request. Passed in the 2008 Farm Bill, this represents an unprecedented added resource to states to promote public access to hunting and fishing opportunities and thereby stimulate local economies.


U.S. Forest Service (USFS):
The USDA budget also included a $60 million increase in available funds for capital improvements, including national forest road maintenance, upgrading, and decommissioning, within the budget for the USFS. Over 380,000 miles of mapped roads currently exist in the USFS. Maintaining these existing roads should be a priority in addition to a focus on conserving the 58.5 million acres of national forest roadless areas in order to provide continued quality access to important hunting and fishing destinations.

Department of the Interior (DOI) Programs
Climate Change:

This initiative has some of the largest increases of any other individual issue in the entire budget. The President included a $133 million department-wide increase in the Interior's budget to combat climate change-including a $15 million increase for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) received the largest increase of any department agency, including a $40 million enhancement to fund State Wildlife Grants. This increase provides the FWS a total of $115 million to help states incorporate climate change adaptation strategies into State Wildlife Action Plans and tribal wildlife plans.

The TRCP lauds the administration for establishing an interagency approach to combat climate change, and establishing a process to monitor resources and recreational uses as agencies move forward with these strategies.

Energy Development:
The proposed budget for the DOI's energy development did not address many fish or wildlife concerns. Two visible changes in the budget from the 2009 fiscal year's budget is an initiative to develop more renewable energy sources and an increase in the fee from $4,000 to $6,500 for the application for permit to drill (APD)-making the fee more in line with cost-recovery policies of other industries and is closer to representing what it actually costs the BLM to process an APD. The budget proposes to sustain the level of funding for its oil and gas program at the same capacity to process the same number of permits as they did during the. Although there is an increase in funding for fish and wildlife programs, it is not commensurate with the increases the energy programs are receiving. TRCP believes that more attention is needed to maintain sustainable fish and wildlife populations on public lands and with ever increasing focus on energy programs that will take time and resources away from the biologists tasked with that job. The recommendations contained in the TRCP's FACTS for Fish and Wildlife principles and CAST principles outline the importance of addressing the approach to energy development on public lands and waters to better manage fish and wildlife during energy development on public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf.

Wetlands:
Good news for wetlands conservation appears within the DOI budget proposal where funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) sees an increase of $10 million.

Youth Participation and Education:
In order to encourage more young Americans to get outdoors, the president included a total $38 million directed at programs to increase youth involvement in hunting, fishing and conservation. The largest sum of money, $28 million, will go to states to help them fund programs to educate young hunters, anglers and wildlife managers. An additional $8 million will create a 21st century Youth Conservation Corps to encourage a new generation to pursue public service careers within natural resource management.

Other Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Issues:
The budget did put an emphasis on treasured lands managed by the National Park Service and the BLM's National Landscape Conservation System, where a significant amount of important fish and wildlife resources are found. The budget also allows the United States Geological Survey to take a greater role in the use of science in management actions and provided an increase in funding for the Land & Water Conservation Fund.

Department of Commerce Programs
Marine Fisheries:
Within the Department of Commerce budget, the administration proposed a $56.5 million increase for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to support the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) implementation process. Signed into law in 2007, MSA governs marine fisheries management. The law included many positive changes for recreational saltwater anglers and included all of the SALT Principles recommended by the TRCP's Angling 4 Oceans coalition.

The total budget request for fisheries came to a total of $911.8 million for this fiscal year, which is $32.8 million more than what was enacted in the 2009 fiscal year budget.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Programs
Water and Wetlands Conservation:
The proposed budget for the EPA stands at approximately $10.5 billion for FY 2010. This represents nearly a $3 billion increase over the last fiscal year's enacted budget for the agency. Notably, some 48 percent of this proposal is directed towards Clean and Safe Water goals within EPA including state revolving funds, a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and a Chesapeake Bay program.

One issue that remains very critical to helping restore federal protections for these areas is passing the Clean Water Restoration Act currently under consideration in the Senate and likely to be marked-up in the near future by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. We have been encouraged by supportive statements by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and others for finding a legislative solution to the problem and we urge the administration to continue supporting the bill as it makes its way through the legislative process.

Press release found at the Outdoor Wire

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

HUNTFEST, Canada's Biggest Hunting Event August 14-16

August in Edmonton will never be the same with the introduction of HUNTFEST 2009, Canada's Biggest Hunting Event, sponsored by Wild TV.

Taking over the Twin Rinks at the River Cree Resort and Casino, and over 6 acres of outdoor space, HUNTFEST is looking to set the standard as a true hunting festival. With over 100 of the top brands in the industry displaying every product a hunter could need, outside archery lanes to try the latest bows, 4x4 mudpit and test drive track, Wild TV celebrities speaking on the hottest topics, topped off with a host tent and live bands, HUNTFEST gives every Canadian hunter the opportunity to let loose and get ready for the 09 season.

"HUNTFEST meets the need for a true hunting event, one that offers something for every level of hunter, making it a great way to kick off the season." says Elizabeth Bolivar, HUNTFEST Show Manager. "Coupled with Wild TV's ability to reach our audience across the nation, HUNTFEST is set up to be a 'can't miss' destination for every hunter in Western Canada."

"Wild TV is proud to be the presenting sponsor of this event," said Ryan Kohler, Vice President, Wild TV. "We have always been committed to delivering in-demand entertainment to the Canadian hunting community and we see our involvement with HUNTFEST as a great way to continue serving our audience in a whole new way."

Already living up to the larger than life reputation, HUNTFEST has secured a display of 10 of the biggest whitetail bucks in North America to act as a focal point of the show. The display, brought in by Artistic Antlers, is sure to have every hunter drooling as they set their sights on their own trophy buck this season.

HUNTFEST is proudly supported by the Alberta Conservation Association, Trijicon Inc., and Western Sportsman Magazine.

Press release found at the Outdoor Wire

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sportfishing Industry Association Launches New Outdoor Sports Show

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is pleased to announce the addition of a fourth show to its East Coast-based fishing, hunting and outdoor consumer show roster. The Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow will take place February 25-28, 2010, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, a short drive from downtown Philadelphia.

ASA, under its consumer-show management company, ASA/Eastern Fishing & Outdoor Exposition, is a leader in producing sports shows in the eastern United States, showcasing fishing, hunting and other outdoor sports for enthusiasts. In 2006 ASA, the sportfishing industry's trade association, assumed ownership of Eastern Fishing & Outdoor Exposition from founder, Paul Fuller. For more than 30 years, the Eastern fishing shows have entertained and educated hundreds of thousands of sportsmen and women and been host to thousands of exhibitors.

The new show will serve the millions of fishing, hunting and outdoor sports enthusiasts who live in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware region who collectively spend over $3.9 billion in pursuit of fish or game each year. The Suburban Philadelphia Market has not had a venue capable of housing a large-venue sports show since 2006 when the Fort Washington Exposition center closed.

"Sportsmen and women will really enjoy this new Philadelphia show," said ASA's Consumer Shows Director Jonathan Sauers. "For over 30 years we have been providing a showcase for the best there is in the fishing, hunting and marine industries. In the tradition established by Paul Fuller, we are going to produce a first class show that will be a key destination for exhibitors and attendees alike. Big name talent, big name features, super seminars and, most importantly, first class exhibitors are hallmarks of ASA's consumer shows and I can assure you that the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow will enjoy the same success as our other shows."

"Times are tough, but that's all the more reason to get outside and enjoy the simple pleasures that can be found in our great outdoors," said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. "What we're finding is that many folks that have not been afield in some time are returning to the sports they enjoyed in their youth and are bringing the next generation along with them."

With the addition of the Philadelphia show, ASA/Eastern Fishing & Outdoor Exposition will produce four East Cast consumer shows in 2010 serving all of the major metro markets on the eastern seaboard from Delaware to Maine.

The dates and locations of the 2010 shows are:
Eastern Fishing & Outdoor Exposition, Worcester, Mass., Feb. 11-14, 2010
NEW! The Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow, Oaks, Pa., Feb. 25-28, 2010
World Fishing & Outdoor Exposition, Suffern, N.Y., March 4-7, 2010
The Saltwater Fishing Expo, Somerset, N.J., March 19-21, 2010

The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks is one of the largest privately owned exhibition centers on the East Coast with 210,000 square feet of exhibitor-friendly space and is just 20 minutes from central Philadelphia. The Expo Center has the following features:

* Services the tri-state region (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware) and is within driving distance of all five counties in the Greater Philadelphia area
* Easy access to the building right off the highway.
* More than 5,000 free on-site parking spaces.
* Wireless internet service.
* Eight 14 x 14 drive-in loading dock doors.
* Ceilings that measure 22-45 feet.
* Privately owned by American Expo Corp.
* Managed by experienced professionals from the Fort Washington Expo.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry's trade association, committed to looking out for the interests of the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry a unified voice speaking out when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. We invest in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic and conservation values of sportfishing in America. ASA also represents the interests of America's 60 million anglers who generate over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for over one million people.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pheasants Forever And Trout Unlimited Team For "Ultimate Nature Experience"

Sandstone, Minnesota - Pheasants Forever (PF) and Trout Unlimited (TU) have partnered together for their second-annual youth weekend in the woods. The Ultimate Nature Experience (T.U.N.E.) camp will be a four-day, action-packed outdoor experience at the Audubon Center of the Northwoods in Sandstone, Minnesota, this June 19-22.

T.U.N.E. is a chance for youth entering grades 6 through 12 to explore the outdoors, relax around the campfire and meet new friends while participating in the multitude of activities being offered, including: Fly-fishing with experienced guides, shooting sports, high ropes course, archery target range, canoeing, wetland biology, dog training, pheasant ecology, outdoor survival and much more.

"This weekend promises to be one of the best these campers will have all summer long," said Janine Kohn, PF's National Education Specialist, "Not only will it be extremely educational and informative, but it's going to be fun and exciting for everyone too."

T.U.N.E. underscores PF's No Child Left Indoors initiative, which is part of a national movement aimed at getting youth unplugged from electronics and turned on to the outdoors, nature and wildlife. "It's so important to invest in our future generation of outdoorsmen and women because if we can't instill in them the significance of having and enjoying wildlife habitat, we eventually won't have anyone left to protect it," added Kohn.

The cost of the camp is $350 and limited scholarships are available. For more information about the camp, contact Diane Weyandt at (651) 209-4940 or via email atDWeyandt@pheasantsforever.org; or Janine Kohn at (651) 209-4971 or via email at JKohn@pheasantsforever.org. Registration materials can be found at http://ladyslippers.pheasantsforever.org/page/101/tune.jsp.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters hold more than 500 youth events a year connecting 25,000 plus youth to the outdoors. Many provide educators with scholarships to attendLeopold Education Project workshops. They reach out in their communities to sponsor youth mentor hunts, outdoor conservation days, shooting sports competitive events, conservation camps, youth fishing tournaments, outdoor expos, hunter education classes, schoolyard habitats and much more.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 130,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.

Press release found at the Outdoor Wire

Thursday, May 7, 2009

NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program to Tour Phoenix Area Schools

Schoolchildren in Phoenix will soon learn the lifesaving message of the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program. The Eddie Eagle staff, in conjunction with the Phoenix Police Department will be presenting the award-winning program to children in several elementary schools in the Phoenix area from Monday, May 11 through Wednesday, May 13.

Eddie Eagle is a firearm accident prevention program designed for children Pre-K through the 3rd grades. The program teaches children, if they find a gun, to: "STOP! Don't Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult." Now in its 21st year, the program has reached over 22 million children nationwide.

Since the Eddie Eagle program's inception, over 640,925 Arizona children have been taught its lifesaving message. Much of this has been made possible through funds raised by Friends of NRA and grants distributed through The NRA Foundation, which have provided free curriculum materials for instructors of the program.

"We are excited to work with the Phoenix Police Department while helping bring Eddie Eagle's life saving message to the local elementary schools," said Eddie Eagle Program Manager Eric Lipp. "It's great to see local law enforcement's commitment to teaching children firearms accident prevention."

Accidental deaths with firearms have been decreasing for decades and are now at an all-time low among the U.S. population. Among children in the Eddie Eagle age group, fatal firearm accidents have been reduced more than 80% since the program's nation-wide launch. NRA feels that firearm accident prevention programs such as Eddie Eagle are a significant factor in that decline.

The program was created by past NRA President, Marion P. Hammer, in consultation with law enforcement officers, elementary schoolteachers, and child psychologists. It has been endorsed by the Office Of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention (within the U.S. Department of Justice) and has been praised by a host of national and community organizations, governors, and state legislatures for its effectiveness.

"The NRA is committed to helping keep America's children safe," said Ms. Hammer.
"This program also instills in our youth the important values of leadership, discipline, and personal responsibility that will help our children throughout their lives. It is imperative that all parents be responsible for teaching good judgment and gun safety to their children," she added.

The NRA encourages citizens nationwide to participate in heightening firearm safety awareness within their local communities. Schools, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, and other interested in more information about the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program should call the Eddie Eagle Department at (800) 231-0752 or visit their Web site at: www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie. Eddie Eagle will also be making public appearances at NRA's 138th Annual Meeting and Exhibits, to be held May 15-17 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, AZ.

Press Release available at The Outdoor Wire

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Zeiss Optics Announces Partnership With The Evans Group

CHESTER, VIRGINIA- Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, a leading manufacturer of binoculars, riflescopes, spotting scopes and opto-electronics products, today announced that it has signed The Evans Group as its national sales agency, effective June 1. This strategic move is a key milestone in the implementation of the Carl Zeiss growth strategy in the United States and ongoing efforts to significantly increase market share through excellence in products and services.

"The Evans Group has a most successful record in representing and promoting leading premium brands in the outdoor, birding, shooting and hunting markets across all 50 states in the U.S.," said Erik Schumacher, president of Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. "We currently have one of the strongest product portfolios in the sports optics market. The excellent relationships of The Evans Group, with independent dealers, chain stores and distributors alike, will help us to further penetrate and grow the network of ZEISS dealers and provide better availability and service to consumers."

The Evans Group has a strong management team led by Mike Evans, and a large national infrastructure that allows them to call on independent dealers, distributors and individual chain store locations and their respective headquarters on a regular basis on behalf of the manufacturers they represent.

"Carl Zeiss is a premium brand with a reputation for unparalleled optical excellence and innovation," said Mike Evans, president of The Evans Group. "In 1979, I bought my first pair of binoculars - a ZEISS 8x30 - and now, 30 years later, they are still in as fine a working order as the day I bought them. They have given me a greater return on "investment" from a sheer use and enjoyment point of view than probably any other piece of outdoor equipment I own."

Evans continued, "With over 160 years of history, the ZEISS brand stands for unrivaled quality and value, and we are extremely proud and pleased to represent them. Our team is fully committed to substantially increase the presence of ZEISS optics throughout the U.S., and we look forward to working with our valued customers to make that happen."

About Carl Zeiss:

The ZEISS brand is synonymous with the world's finest, highest precision optics.

Based in Oberkochen, Germany, the Carl Zeiss Group is a global leader in the optical and opto-electronic industries and an innovative, research-intensive, high-tech company. The Carl Zeiss Group is comprised of five business groups: Semiconductor Technology, Medical Systems, Microscopy, Industrial Metrology and
Consumer Optics/Optronics, each focused on developing the most advanced technology, products and solutions in their fields to enhance people's lives. Carl Zeiss' portfolio of products includes: state-of-the-art medical equipment used in neurosurgery, ENT and ophthalmic surgery and diagnosis; advanced microscopes for medical and scientific research; premium sports optics and opto-electronic products; camera and cinematography lenses; planetariums; eyeglass lenses; anti-reflective lens coatings; industrial metrology solutions for the aerospace and automobile industries; and the highest resolution optics for machines that produce the majority of today's semiconductor memory and processing chips, among others.

As part of the Carl Zeiss Group, Germany, Carl Zeiss Optical, Inc., Chester, Va., is responsible for sales, marketing and distribution of ZEISS sports optics, such as binoculars, spotting scopes, riflescopes and laser rangefinders, throughout the United States. For more information, visit: zeiss.com/sports or call 1-800-441-3005.

Press release found at the Outdoor Wire

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Elk Foundation Grants Benefit 12 Washington Counties

Twelve counties in Washington are slated for wildlife habitat conservation and public education projects using $199,651 in new grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The 2009 RMEF grants will affect Asotin, Clallam, Cowlitz, Ferry, Grays Harbor, Kittitas, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Skamania, Stevens, Thurston and Yakima counties.

Additionally, a biological research project has statewide interest.

"Our volunteers across Washington helped drive the 2008 fundraisers that made these grants possible. This is where Elk Foundation banquets, auctions and other events transform into on-the-ground conservation work, and it's part of the payday for supporters who are passionate about giving something back to the outdoors," said David Allen, Elk Foundation president and CEO.

Elk Foundation grants will help fund the following Washington conservation projects, listed by county:

Asotin County-Identify and treat new weed infestations to improve forage for elk and other wildlife; treat 425 acres of newly discovered invasive rangeland weed (whitetop); treat 240 acres of noxious weeds along Lower Grande Ronde River.

Clallam County-Use herbicides, lime, fertilizer and seed to improve 15 acres of elk forage near Bogachiel River.

Cowlitz County-Harrow, lime, re-seed and/or fertilize 145 acres to reinvigorate herbaceous vegetation and improve elk forage at Mount St. Helens.

Ferry County-Prescribe burn 1,022 acres of elk winter range to reclaim and maintain forage openings in Colville National Forest; enhance and expand Disabled Hunter Access program in Colville National Forest.

Grays Harbor County-Create forage openings in dense tree stands and seed to improve habitat for elk and other wildlife in Quinault River Valley.

Kittitas County-Assist with communication and education materials for Washington Department of Natural Resources' Green Dot Access Management Program to enhance elk habitat in Naneum Ridge and Ahtanum State Forest (also affects Yakima County); prescribe burn 208 acres to reduce fuel loading, control weeds and improve elk habitat in Naneum Ridge State Forest.

Pend Oreille County-Treat 20 acres of noxious weeds with herbicides, and prescribe burn 300 additional acres, to improve elk range in Colville National Forest.

San Juan County-Sponsor youth conservation education camp in partnership with numerous other sponsors.

Skamania County-Thin overgrown forest on 891 acres to improve summer range for elk and other wildlife in Gifford Pinchot National Forest; restore native vegetation and improve winter forage on 1,150 acres in Mount St. Helens mudslide area where elk have been nutritionally stressed in recent years.

Statewide-Use data previously collected from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming to answer questions regarding roles of climate, wolf predation and habitat quality on elk calf recruitment.

Thurston County-Sponsored youth and family conservation programs in partnership with numerous other sponsors (also affects Stevens and Pend Oreille counties).

Yakima County-Improve elk cover and forage by thinning and prescribe burning 394 acres in Wenatchee National Forest.

Partners for 2009 projects in Washington include Bureau of Land Management, University of Montana, U.S. Forest Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Natural Resources, other agencies, corporations, landowners and organizations.

Since 1984, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed more than 402 conservation projects in Washington with a value of more than $96.8 million.

An additional $43,172 remains in the RMEF budget for additional Washington grants for 2009. Selected projects will be announced later this year.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.5 million acres-a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.

Press release found at the Outdoor Wire

Monday, May 4, 2009

Easton Foundation Donates To Grow Archery And Bowhunting

MINNEAPOLIS - The Easton Sports Development Foundation (ESDF) presented the Archery Trade Association (ATA) with a check for $200,000 to support the group's efforts to grow archery and bowhunting through the Community Archery Program.

The $200,000 gift was presented at the ATA's board of directors meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"We understand the importance of not only introducing our sport to others, but also expanding participation opportunities for archery," said Greg Easton, a director of the Easton Foundations and president of Easton Technical Products, Inc. Mr. Easton also serves on the ATA Board as vice chair."The ATA has been effective in developing community-based programs to grow archery and the support from the Easton Foundation will help to expand these efforts."

The goal of ESDF is to promote the sport of archery and develop Olympic hopefuls at a grassroots level and continue these efforts through college and university programs. The organization is also a catalyst in the development of archery as a mainstream sport and promotes growth at the state, regional and national level.

"Through generous funding from groups like the Easton Sports Development Foundation, we believe we can build archery shooting facilities and archery programs that are very much a part of communities around the country," said Michelle Doerr, the ATA's director of archery and bowhunting programs.

Thanks in part to the ATA's concept of Community Archery Programs (CAP) and support from groups like ESDF, the ATA expects archery facilities to open in East Lansing, Mich. and Juneau, Alaska this summer. In both areas, the ATA has also worked with state agencies to fund and initiate introductory archery programs in the immediate area around the facilities. These on-the-ground archery success stories will showcase how archery can be incorporated into all aspects of the community - schools, recreation programs and facilities. Then, through strong partnerships, resources are combined in collaborative efforts.

The Community Archery Program promotes NASP as a key introduction to archery in schools, works to make archery available in local community recreation programs and funds the shooting facilities all archers need to participate in shooting year round. Since 2004, the ATA has provided funding totaling approximately $884,000- including grants provided through CAP - to initiate the National Archery in the Schools program in the United States, Canada and Australia. It has also contributed nearly $960,000 in Community Archery Program grants, equipment and direct aid to state wildlife agencies to grow archery and expand bowhunting opportunities.

For more information about the ATA's efforts to grow archery and bowhunting, please contact Michelle Doerr at michelledoerr@archerytrade.org or call (320) 562-2680.

About CAP: The Community Archery Program (CAP), developed in 2005, was designed by the ATA as a four-pronged approach to grow archery and bowhunting participation. The ATA provides funds, expertise, equipment and targets to support state wildlife agencies to lead the CAP initiative and for local communities to develop and manage archery parks and school and after school programs. CAP promotes NASP as a key introduction to archery, works to make the sport available through the After School Archery Program (ASAP) in local community recreation programs and funds the development of shooting facilities all archers need to participate in shooting year round. The fourth leg of the initiative is a supporting role provided by local archery shops, clubs and organizations..

About the ATA: Since 1953, ATA has been the trade association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, sales representatives and others working in the archery and bowhunting industry. ATA is dedicated to making the archery and bowhunting industry profitable by decreasing business overhead, reducing taxes and government regulation and by increasing participation in archery and bowhunting. ATA owns and manages the ATA Trade Show, the archery and bowhunting industry's longest running and largest trade show worldwide.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

Two years ago, my wife and I were blessed with a beautiful baby girl and boy...twins. What has amazed me is the fact that being a boy and girl is just born in them. When they eat, she is dainty...he shovels eveything in his face. When they want something, she is polite and he screams. When they go somewhere, she walks...he runs. He is a daredevil...she thinks it out. It truely is amazing and as such, I cut my boy a little slack..."boys will be boys".

So last night I called my best friend from high school, Chuck. We have kept in touch over the years with a phone call every several months or so and it seems like we just pick up the conversation like it was back in the day. I hung up the phone and got to thinking about all the hunting expeditions we've been on together since middle school. One kept making me think how lucky we were and also explains how "boys will be boys".

We were sophomores and hunted together ever Sat. This day was no different as we wanted to hunt pheasants, but also see if we couldn't pick up some grouse and partridge. So we headed south of town to the government pasture towards the Badlands. This is a full day trip which meant a lot of driving and road "hunting". You have to remember we were punk kids...walking a bunch wasn't something we looked forward to. Pick off the easy ones and only walk when necessary was our philosophy. "When necessary" is defined as "the time when you haven't filled your tag and almost home".

So we get on top of the pasture and you're really in the middle of nowhere. The snow on the ground is relatively light, however the pasture trails are covered. We're basically just driving into unchartered territory. I had hunted the general area with my father a few times, but this wasn't somewhere we went every day because dad believed in hunting. Hunting being defined as "walking to flush and kill pheasants, grouse and partridge". This meant you never needed to drive very far away from home. So the area is familiar, but there's nothing but snow and peaks and valleys. Not lost, but not knowing exactly where we were.

As we're driving along, we kick a coyote out of a draw and the chase is on. I was driving a Ford Ranger stick and dropped down a gear to try and get ahead of him. So we're in a open field, no road, snow on the ground, going about sixty, chasing a coyote when we have one of those "OH SH*T" moments. In fact, I think Chuck actually said "oh sh*t". The precise moment came when we got to the bottom of the hill and realized we were about to hit a "wash-out". I don't remeber the actually impact, but recall the after affects vividly.

Chuck was wearing a beanie and it protected him from the glass as his head "spidered" the windshield. I fealt like I had a couple broken ribs from the now bent stearing wheel. The tires looked the ones from the movie "Vacation" after Chevy Chase jumped the car "fifty feet"...and nothing in sight, not even the coyote. Thank god the truck still ran as we just turned around and followed our trail back out the way we came. Windows down to see where we were going...the stearing wheel looking like we were taking a hard left, but going straight...only going about forty...and thinking dad was going to kill me.

Well, we made it home and dad didn't kill me...I think it's because "boys will be boys". Chuck and I definitely took the phrase to extremes over the years, but I think it will make me a better dad. I know about how much slack I'll give my sons (3) before I reel them in and since Chuck and I got into about everything, they won't get away with much. For the most part, I'll just shake my head, look at my wife and say "boys will be boys".

Don't forget to register here for the Free Archery Whitetail and Pheasant Hunt

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bass Pro Encourages Parents And Kids To "Go Outdoors"


Springfield, Missouri-Once upon a time, not so long ago, kids went outside to play. Many a fort and treehouse were built, favorite swimming holes were enjoyed, and stringers of fish meant campfires and fish fries. Kids got bumped, scraped, bruised, stung, bit and sunburned. But, they got exercise and learned about the outdoors-how to fish, pitch a tent, make a campfire, identify which plants (and snakes) are poisonous and count the stars at night. It was the real world.

Today, kids don't walk to school or anywhere else much for that matter. They and adults are inside spending countless hours in front of hand-held monitors or TV screens playing video games. They get caught in the artificial worlds of watching television shows, chatting on the Internet and text messaging. And, studies show that living in the daily urban world with all its distractions, stimuli, and confusion can seriously impair cognitive thinking and mental health in general. Bottom line, kids and adults are not getting enough time outdoors.

During the National Go Outdoors Event going on at 51 Bass Pro Shops store locations from May 16th through May 25th, the company is offering kids and adults all kinds of ways to get off their couches and go enjoy the great outdoors. Events include a life jacket trade-in, outdoor skill demonstrations, interactive activities and a chance to win a sweepstakes package with a retail value of approximately $11,000.00.

"One of the most exciting and invigorating places to go this summer is just beyond your front door," said Larry Whiteley, Bass Pro Shops Manager of Communications. "Bass Pro Shops is committed to helping adults and children across the nation put away their laptops, video games, and cell phones this summer and head outdoors. Whether it's fishing, hiking through a local park, or simply laying on your lawn watching the stars at night, there are so many great things to do outdoors this summer."

Why is this important?

Bass Pro Shops' National Go Outdoors Event is a way to give kids (and adults) the chance to learn about the outdoors and the reason why is simple. Kids need this chance to re-connect with the outdoors to learn valuable lessons -how to swim, how to camp, first aid, survival techniques, orienteering, conservation-but more importantly, to become good stewards of the land and its natural resources, to feel good about themselves and to improve their general health and well-being.

Likewise, adults need this "disconnect" from their everyday urban life. An article that appeared in the Boston Globe January 2, 2009, cites studies scientists are conducting to examine how urban life affects the brain and our mental health. "The mind is a limited machine,"says Marc Berman, a psychologist at the University of Michigan and lead author of a new study that measured the cognitive deficits caused by a short urban walk. "And we're beginning to understand the different ways that a city can exceed those limitations." The article goes on to state that "natural settings are full of objects that automatically capture our attention, yet without triggering a negative emotional response -- unlike, say, a backfiring car. The mental machinery that directs attention can relax deeply, replenishing itself."
Read entire article here.

Listed below are some supporting facts and figures:
*Long-term health concerns among children are increasing. According to information from the US Fish and Wildlife Web site (www.fws.gov), Americans, kids especially, spend less time playing outdoors than any preceding generation.
*Kids spend an average of 6.5 hours a day with television, computers and video games and are six times more likely to play a video game than ride a bike.
*In fact, of all the major recreational activities in 2006, bicycling suffered the worst in declining participant numbers (down 13.3% from last year) according to an annual report by the National Sporting Goods Association. ("Sports Participation Series I and II")
*Stress, depression, obesity, and low self-esteem among children are on the rise.


Why is going outside good?
*According to information from the US Fish and Wildlife site, nature is good for your health. New research shows that children who feel connected to nature have better physical, mental, and emo*/*tional health. Berman's study, as cited in the January 2nd article in the Boston Globe, states that, according to several studies, "children with attention-deficit disorder have fewer symptoms in natural settings. When surrounded by trees and animals, they are less likely to have behavioral problems and are better able to focus on a particular task."
*Other various studies have shown that kids that engage in outdoor classrooms have improved grades and test scores.
*These same studies show that kids involved in the outdoors are more motivated to learn and achieve.
*Studies suggest that families that interact together outdoors create lasting bonds by making life-long memories.

As you look forward to this summer and begin to wonder what you will do with the kids while they are out of school, investigate summer programs that your local Park Board, YMCA, or Boys Scouts and Girls Scouts offer that will help them benefit from being outside. In the meantime, begin with Bass Pro Shops' National Go Outdoors Event at your local Bass Pro Shops store location. Exciting events being offered to entice kids and adults to go outdoors include canoe and kayak demonstrations, casting contests, rock climbing walls, GPS classes, outdoor skills workshops on boating safety, Dutch oven cooking, outdoor survival training and much, much more. (Events will vary per store. Please visit http://www.basspro.com/gooutdoors and select individual store location for events listing.)

The US Coast Guard Auxiliary will be on hand at most Bass Pro Shops store locations to answer questions on the proper fit of life jackets as well as to address water safety questions. You can even bring any old or non-fitting life jackets into your local Bass Pro Shops on Saturday and Sunday, May 16th and 17th, for recycling and receive an instant discount of $5 to $20 off the purchase of a new Bass Pro Shops or Stearns life jacket or SOSPENDERS® inflatable PFD.

While at Bass Pro Shops, register to win the "Experience the Great Outdoors Sweepstakes." The National Grand Prize will be awarded to one winner nationwide and has a retail value of approximately $11,000.00. Each store location will select a first place winner who will receive a gift package with a retail value of $550.00. See store for more details.

This year, commit to getting outdoors with your kids for all your health's sake. Visit Bass Pro Shops during the National Go Outdoors Event, interact with your family in the great outdoors and make some memories to last a lifetime.

Press Release found at The Outdoor Wire

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Utah Cougar Hunt-Success

Here’s a pic of the tom lion Outdoors International's Utah Outfitter harvested this week. Hunting conditions were hard, but they were able to make it happen. The hunter John N. said this was an exciting hunt with the lion coming down the tree to challenge a pack of excited hounds. Luckily no dogs were killed.

To learn more about this exciting hunting opportunity and others contact Outdoors International.

Feral Hogs Not Tied To Swine Flu

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reminds hunters and trappers there is no indication of a human-animal disease relationship with swine flu and to continue to use common sense when handling feral hogs.

While there is no known threat of contracting swine flu from feral hogs, they do carry other potential hazards.

Due to the danger of contracting swine brucellosis, the Texas Animal Health Commission urges hunters and trappers to always wear a mask or bandana and gloves when handling feral swine during processing. Trappers or any producers who have pigs that are ill with respiratory infections should contact their veterinarian. Trappers or hunters that become ill should seek medical attention and inform their doctors they have been around pigs.

Safeguards for Hunters

* Wear gloves when dressing out hogs and dispose of gloves properly.
* No eating/drinking/smoking while doing so.
* Wear eye protection if there is risk of eye splashed with blood/other fluids.
* Wear coveralls over clothes or promptly change into fresh clothes after dressing animals.
* Wash hands and equipment thoroughly with hot, soapy water.
* Practice good handling/storage procedures with the meat.
* Properly cook the meat.


Information about Swine Flu

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

* People cannot get swine flu from eating pork or pork products. Most influenza viruses, including the swine flu virus, are not spread by food.
* Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.
* No food safety issues have been identified, related to the flu.
* Preliminary investigations have determined that none of the people infected with the flu had contact with hogs.
* The virus is spreading by human-to-human transmission.

The CDC recommends the following measures to prevent the transmission of flu:

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
* Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands frequently and use alcohol-based sanitizers.
* Try to not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus.
* Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
* Try to stay in good general health.
* Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Detailed information and updates on the flu outbreak may be obtained at:
Texas Department of State Health Services http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/

If you own swine, consider the following practices to enhance the biosecurity on your farm to prevent the disease from being transmitted to your herd:

* Workers should shower and change into farm-specific clothes and shoes before entering swine facilities.
* Establish, implement and enforce strict sick leave policies for workers presenting influenza-like symptoms.
* Recommend that workers with symptoms be seen by a medical provider immediately.
* Restrict the entry of people into your facility to only workers and essential service personnel.
* Prevent international visitors from entering your facilities.
* Ensure adequate ventilation in facilities to minimize re-circulation of air inside animal housing facilities.
* Vaccinate pigs against the influenza virus. Vaccination of pigs can reduce the levels of virus shed by infected animals
* Contact your swine veterinarian if swine exhibit flu-like or respiratory illness, especially if the onset or presentation of the illness is unusual.
* Notify your Texas Animal Health Commission area office or the Austin headquarters at 800-550-8242, after you have contacted your veterinarian.

The Texas Animal Health Commission is ready to assist with on-farm investigations, if pigs are present where a known human case has occurred, and to assist with epidemiological investigations with any human cases that may have links to swine in Texas.

More information for producers may be obtained at:
National Pork Producers Council http://www.nppc.org/
Texas Pork Producers Association http://www.texaspork.org/

Press Release found at The Outdoor Wire

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Total Outdoorsman Challenge Results Are In



So the challenge came and went...along with it my chances to get Field Dress in front of the folks at Field and Stream. Didn't embarrass myself, but should've spent some time practicing as I'm confident I could've made it to the next round. Bait casting did me in.

The challenge comprised of three parts: Bait casting, archery, and shooting an air rifle. There was a small line for the archery so I did the bait casting first. You had to cast to several hoops placed in the small pond outside BassPro from a boat deck about 45' out. After several practice casts, I then took aim and went 0 for 5. Game over! Never got the chance to practice before going out, but I wasn't even really close. Little disappointing, however I can't expect much. I'm a walleye fisherman...drop the line off the boat and troll along.

New the pressure was on and moved on to the air rifle. The first picture shows the results. Not too bad. You were placed about 60' away and had two practice shots and five that counted. I declined the rest and to my surprise hit three in the center for 10's and two in the next ring for 9's. The guys running the challenge said I had the best of the day, but since it wasn't too busy I think they were just trying to make me feel good.

Then on to my love...archery. An easy twenty-five yard shot. This I was disappointed in as I have tournament shot since I was six. The second target shows the results...one in the center for 10, two in the 9, and two in the eight. With just a little bit of practice this should've been a slam dunk, but I guess life sometimes gets in the way.

So, I will have to wait till next year. Practice, practice, practice...I'll get my new baby into the world in a few weeks and find my groove as a father of four. Then look out next year, Field Dress will put on a good showing.

Don't forget to get registered for the chance to win a Free Archery Whitetail and Pheasant Hunt

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fox Sports Nets to Air Hunts for Heros' Veteran Outdoors


Georgetown, Texas-- A new patriotic and uplifting show honoring our country's heroes is a refreshing antidote to the excessive negativity of most reality programs on television today. Hunts for Heroes' Veteran Outdoors, a platform for wounded veterans to share their stories and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime hunting or fishing adventure, will air on 10 regions of Fox Sports Net channels beginning Saturday July 4th, 2009.

Thirteen (13) original episodes will begin airing weekly at 7:00 a.m. (local) on Saturdays, and will run through December 26th. The show will reach an estimated 110 million households weekly and will also be re-ran a second time each week (times to be announced) for 26 consecutive weeks. Hunts for Heroes' Veteran Outdoors will be aired on FSN Arizona, FSN Detroit, FSN Midwest, FSN Ohio, FSN South, FSN Southwest, FSN West, FSN North, FSN Wisconsin, and FSN Florida.

"We are extremely pleased that Hunts for Heroes' Veteran Outdoors will be airing on Fox Sports Net, and we couldn't have hand picked a better day for it to debut than our country's Independence Day," says host Cody Hirt. "Our goal is to give our heroes a platform to tell their inspiring stories. We want to honor their patriotism and their sacrifice to our country."

Over the past few years U.S. Army Veteran Wes Higgins and Cody Hirt, the show's hosts, have participated in and coordinated numerous hunting and fishing trips for wounded veterans. It was on these trips, listening to the powerful stories told by these brave men and women, that they realized that everyone needs to hear these stories of triumph! Their struggles and their stories truly make you appreciate the life you get to live...and our quality of life is a direct result of these heroes.

Hunts for Heroes' Veteran Outdoors is a project of Four Point Productions LLC and Careco Multimedia Inc. The shows sole purpose is to honor our country's service members who have been wounded in combat by giving them a platform to tell their story in their own words. The program is both emotional and uplifting as it surprises participating veterans with their dream hunting or fishing adventure as a way of saying "thank you" for their service.

Contact:
Veteran Outdoors Brad Strittmatter (832) 607-4778 or brad@veteranoutdoors.com
Hunts for Heroes, Billy Hodges (979) 543-3861

Press Release found at The Outdoor Wire

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sportsmen Urge USDA Intervention in Colorado Roadless Plan




WASHINGTON - An assemblage of prominent sportsmen-conservationist groups today pointedly criticized a proposed plan for management of Colorado's national forest roadless areas and asked U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to intervene in the rule-making process until fundamental problems with the draft plan can be resolved.

Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Colorado Trout Unlimited, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Trout Unlimited's Sportsmen's Conservation Project expressed significant concerns about the ability of the proposed Colorado roadless rule to sustain important fish and wildlife habitat. The groups stressed that finalization of the Colorado roadless rule should be deferred until key officials are appointed at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service and a review of the proposed rule can be undertaken.

"The proposed Colorado roadless rule does not adequately conserve Colorado's roadless areas and can be substantially improved and clarified," said Joel Webster, TRCP associate director of campaigns. "Colorado's backcountry areas are world-class, and hunters and anglers have a huge stake in assuring their responsible management."

Organized sportsmen have been meeting with representatives from the state and U.S. Forest Service throughout the development of the Colorado roadless rule, which was initiated in 2007 by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. Contrary to the governor's stated intentions, a draft rule released by the U.S. Forest Service in 2008 is considerably weaker than the national roadless rule and includes exceptions allowing energy drilling, coal development, major water projects, transmission corridors and timber cutting in valuable public-lands fish and wildlife habitat.

"Trout Unlimited has been at the table with other sportsmen's groups negotiating earnestly with both the state and the Forest Service throughout the Colorado roadless rule process," said David Petersen, TU Colorado field director for sportsmen's conservation projects. "Consequently, we are deeply disappointed that at this terminal stage the proposed rule continues to propagate undesirable management practices and paradigms. As currently written, the proposed rule is rife with exceptions that could adversely affect public-lands hunting, fishing and watersheds, and it largely ignores the clearly expressed desires of Colorado sportsmen - as well as the Colorado Division of Wildlife and an overwhelming majority of citizen input asking for maximum roadless area protections."

The sportsmen point to specific examples of overly permissive language in the proposed rule, including the following:

  • excessive discretion and allowances for timber cutting and road building in the backcountry, far removed from forest-edge communities
  • expanded utility and water conveyance allowances
  • roadless coal mining provisions (especially in the Priest Mountain area).

"Exceptions allowing road building and development in roadless areas must be narrowly and clearly defined in order to sustain the economic boost provided by Colorado's backcountry," said David Lien, co-chairman of Colorado BHA. "Especially in these troubling financial times, our towns and rural communities rely on the income provided by sportsmen now more than ever."

Colorado's 345 roadless areas comprise approximately 4.4 million acres. Roadless areas provide superior habitat to species prized by sportsmen, including elk, mule deer and native Colorado cutthroat trout, and form the core of the more than $1 billion hunter and anglers contribute annually to Colorado's economy.

"To favorably resolve the Colorado rule, its problems must be addressed so that roadless area characteristics are conserved at a level comparable to the national roadless rule," said David Nickum, executive director of Colorado TU. "Our groups want to conserve roadless values in the places where Americans hunt and fish - and ensure that our backcountry traditions are upheld for future generations to experience and enjoy."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Training is Depressing


So all week I've been meening to get out the bow and rod and practice a bit before this weekends Field and Stream's Outdoorsman Challenge. When you have three kids and another due in a couple weeks and a couple jobs to make sure I can feed them...not much time left over, but last night I finally stopped and said I had to do it.

However, it's pretty depressing when you have to climb into the attic and break into your bow case because you can't remember the combination. When I finally cut though the case handle to "release the beast", I was just happy the string was in tact and sights still straight. So here's the deal. I've had an old Hoyt for twenty-one years...yup...I know...but I never fealt the need to spend the money when I only had time to hunt one week per year and I knew where the arrow was going. Yes, one week per year. I make it a point to go to either ND or CO every year for a week. The last couple of years have been a struggle with twins and starting a new business. So I've lived through the stories of my blogging friends and the hunting and fishing forums...that's even more depressing.

Back to last night. Called a buddy of mine who is a member of a local archery club and he offered to take me out and "show me how it's done". A little trash talking is always fun, but I didn't want to offer a response since my confidence was a little bruised. When I arrive, the targets are set from 10 yards out to 40 and they have an outdoor lighting system so I plan on sticking around for a while. My friend pulls out a new case, Mathews Switchback, release, and starts to laugh as I "release the beast" from the broken twenty-year old case, put on my fingertips and armguard, straighten a couple of sites and say "pick your poison".

Thirty-yard target was first and I am happy to say the bow still works...with a little user error. I kept pulling to the right, but had decent groupings. More than anything, I'm really happy everything is set the way I left it two-years ago...OUCH. After a few adjustments and thinking about all the arrows over the years, I found my groove and backed it up ten yards every ten arrows or so till I hit sixty. Results weren't too bad and the trash talking picked up quite a bit on my end. New Switchback....hah.

Anyways, a little sore this morning...getting old, but I had better grab the rod and see if I still remember how to cast to a spot. This could get ugly so I better make sure the kids are inside or I might catch more than I bargained for...windy today so maybe I can blame the conditions for my failed attempts. Will keep ya'll up to date.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Outdoors Magazine Seeks "Cover Girl"

Outdoors Magazine, the East's premier publication devoted to the better hunter, angler, and trapper, is looking for an exceptional cover photo to adorn the July issue showcasing women in the outdoors.

"The things we have lined up for this issue are absolutely fantastic," said Outdoors Magazine Publisher James Austin. "The edit is exceptional and the response has been tremendous from across the country. This issue isn't just a superficial 'tip of the hat,' it is absolutely devoted to serious female hunters and fishers. It celebrates their talents, strengths, accomplishments and journeys in a way that hasn't been done before. I am incredibly excited about the way it is all coming together," he said.

"The one thing we need to wrap it up is the perfect picture to put on the cover," added Austin.

The ideal photo would be a "trophy shot" of a woman with a whitetail, moose, trout or salmon. Well composed pictures with other big-game animals/fish will also be considered. Backgrounds in the picture are important as is the sharpness of the image. Because cover photos on Outdoors Magazine are dramatically enlarged, photos must be large in size (approximately 300 dpi).

Send pictures via email to Kyle@elkpublishing.com or via post to: Outdoors Magazine, 531 Main St., Colchester, VT, 05446. Call (802) 879-2013 if additional information is required.
Contact:
Kyle Scanlon (802) 879-2013 or Kyle@elkpublishing.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lutto and Nischalke Form New PR Agency

San Antonio, Texas -Karen Lutto, former president and owner of Lutto & Associates public relations, and Mike Nischalke, former editor-in-chief of Shooting Times Magazine, have launched a full-service outdoor public-relations agency, Hunter Outdoor Communications.

Named after Lutto's son Hunter as well as drawing focus toward the outdoor industry it will primarily serve, Hunter Outdoor Communication was created as a legacy company that brings the benefit of Ms. Lutto's and Mr. Nischalke's combined 35-plus years of practical experience amassed while working in this industry.

The combined backgrounds of the two principals of HOC offer their clients a unique form of PR agency. Lutto has owned and operated an independent public relations agency for more than 16 years. With a primary focus on the outdoor industry, her company has also handled real estate, banking, and business-to-business enterprises. Lutto is a veteran of the public relations field, bringing forth more than 24 years of public relations experience, including work at a Silicon Valley PR agency, a national advertising agency, and as an in-house director of public relations for an international optics company.

Including his term at the helm of Shooting Times, Nischalke brings 17 years of editorial and media relations experience, beginning in the Marine Corps, where he escorted multinational members of the media during such events as Operation Restore Hope in Somalia and a high-level espionage trial at Quantico, VA. Nischalke also spent nearly a decade at the National Rifle Association, first as a staff photographer, later as the editor ofShooting Sports USA, and finally as the senior editor of the American Rifleman. He was also a frequent contributor for "American Rifleman TV."

A 20-year veteran in the public relations arena, 16 of which have been with Lutto & Associates, Kimi Herndon will join HOC as an account executive. She will remain in Richmond, Virginia where she will manage the HOC satellite office. Herndon can be reached at kimi@hunteroc.com.

The team members of Hunter Outdoor Communications are extremely excited to launch their full-service public relations agency, with its headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, and a satellite office in Richmond, Virginia. For more information on the company please call (830) 755-4308, or e-mail info@hunteroc.com
Contact:
Karen Lutto (830) 755-4308 or Karen@hunteroc.com or Mike Nischalke (703) 380-3595 or mike@hunteroc.com

Press Release found at The Outdoor Wire

Monday, April 20, 2009

Field Dress to Compete

Time to dust off the bow, check the eye-sight, and practice a cast as I embark on the quest to become the TOTAL OUTDOORSMAN. Alright, a little dramatic...saw the press release and thought it might be fun, as well as, get a chance to put Field Dress in front of a few people.

Been a couple years since I've been in the woods or water so it might be interesting. Being a dad and trying to pay the bills has taken precedence over my passion for the outdoors. Training starts today...wow how things have changed.

Field & Stream's Total Outdoorsman Challenge Returns

New York, New York-The search for the country's best all-around sportsman is officially on as FIELD & STREAM, the world's leading outdoor magazine and Bass Pro Shops, America's favorite outdoors store, today unveiled the dates for the 2009 FIELD & STREAM TOTAL OUTDOORSMAN CHALLENGE•PRESENTED BY MOBIL 1. Now in its sixth year, the annual coast-to-coast competition offers sportsmen and -women more chances to qualify than ever before with a beefed-up roster of local qualifiers taking place April 25-26 at Bass Pro Shops. The Total Outdoorsman Challenge will culminate in an intensive, three-day, final championship event in Springfield, Mo., September 10-13, 2009, pitting 16 of the nation's top outdoorsmen in head-to-head competition in seven outdoor skill challenges: fly-fishing, bass fishing, rifle, shotgun, endurance, archery and ATV handling.

Widely celebrated as the country's premier competition for outdoorsmen, the 2009 Total Outdoorsman Challenge kicks off with free local qualifiers taking place April 25 and 26 at 48 Bass Pro Shops nationwide - twice as many locations as last year - allowing thousands of hopefuls across the country more opportunities than ever before to showcase their skills in baitcasting, air rifle and archery (participants must bring their own bows).

Field & Stream editors will evaluate the local qualifier results to cull the top 200 participants to contend in one of four regional qualifying events taking place in June 2009. Participants who place in the top three positions at the regional qualifiers will then advance to the Championship Event, where they will face off against the top three finishers from the 2008 Total Outdoorsman Challenge and a sole "wildcard" competitor selected from online submissions at www.totaloutdoorsmanchallenge.com. The sportsman who is able to out-fish, out-shoot and out-hustle his or her opponents will win the grand prize package, which includes: $25,000, a profile in Field & Stream, a Yamaha ATV, a year's supply of Mobil 1 motor oil, and extensive exposure on FieldandStream.com and the Outdoor Channel's Total Outdoorsman Challenge television show.

There is no fee to enter the Field & Stream Total Outdoorsman Challenge and each event is open to the public. Anyone is invited to cheer on sportsmen from all walks of life as they test their abilities across a wide range of outdoor disciplines.

"Three-time Total Outdoorsman champion Paul Thompson told Field & Stream that a ˜total outdoorsman' is a ˜jack-of-all-trades,'" said Anthony Licata, editor of Field & Stream. "That's what we're looking for - outdoorsmen who approach every experience in the outdoors, whether they are hunting, fishing or camping, as an opportunity to grow their skills and have fun doing it."

For the second year in a row, Field & Stream will host a regional qualifier during the widely-attended, four-day Country Music Festival in Nashville, Tenn., June 11-14, 2009, the "crown jewel" of country music events. Total Outdoorsman defending champion Paul Thompson will show off his keen outdoor skills against a field of country music stars in a special celebrity edition of the competition on June 11 leading up to the regional qualifier slated for the following day.

The May issue of Field & Stream (on newsstands now) features an exclusive Q&A with Thompson, in addition to training tips and advice and complete event registration information. Before heading to Bass Pro Shops for local qualifiers, sportsmen who think they have what it takes can also brush up on fishing, hunting and camping tips from every U.S. state with the May issue's cover story, "The United States of Skills."

Sponsors of the 2009 Field & Stream Total Outdoorsman Challenge include: Mobil 1, Bass Pro Shops, Yamaha, Toyota, 2009 CMA Music Festival, Rocky Boots, Mossy Oak, Under Armour, Veramyst Smith & Wesson, Thompson Center, Diamond Archery, Eukanuba and The Outdoor Channel.

Press Release found at the Outdoor Wire

Get registered for a Free Archery Whitetail and Pheasant Hunt here

Friday, April 17, 2009

Panhandle Habitat Work Focus for New Dallas-Forth Worth Pheasants Forever Chapter

DFW chapter forms around Pheasants Forever's grassroots model

Dallas, Texas - Upland game enthusiasts from the Dallas-Forth Worth area have formed the region's newest Pheasants Forever (PF) chapter, the DFW Chapter of PF. The new chapter will work with local natural resource agencies and landowners within the 37-county panhandle portion of Texas to improve land management practices for pheasants and other upland birds.

Although the chapter will be based out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the bulk of the state's pheasant population is found a few hours away in the panhandle region. The new chapter will utilize PF's grassroots model to raise funds in the population center that go toward habitat projects in the panhandle. Pheasants Forever and its quail division, Quail Forever (QF), are the only national conservation organizations that empower chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds will be spent. As a result, chapter volunteers are able to decide where their locally-raised funds are best put to use, while belonging to a larger national organization with a voice on federal and state conservation policy.

The panhandle area consistently reports strong pheasant numbers during Texas' three-week pheasant hunting season, but there is plenty of room for habitat improvement. Not only will the DFW Chapter of PF add to the wildlife habitat found in the agricultural and set-aside lands located within the panhandle, their agenda also includes becoming a catalyst and leader for future chapters to follow.

"The people of Dallas-Fort Worth are passionate about conservation and we want to show them what's possible when given the proper tools to succeed," said Jordan Martincich, PF/QF Regional Representative, "There is a great deal of excitement about pheasants and it's just a matter of time before this enthusiasm translates into better habitat, more birds and happier hunters."

The DFW Chapter of PF has elected Kacey Cain of Rockwall as president, Phil Hartman of Garland as the treasurer, Jeremy Wethington of Grapevine as habitat chair and David Nobles of Dallas as the youth/education chair. For more information about the chapter and upcoming events, please contact Phil Hartman at (214) 325-6362 or via email at Phil.Hartman@hopelumber.com.

Texas is home two PF chapters and six QF chapters. For more information on PF/QF in Texas, to start a chapter or join one of the state's existing chapters, contact Jordan Martincich, PF/QF Regional Representative, at (816) 560-1070 or via email at JMartincich@pheasantsforever.org.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 130,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.

Press release found at The Outdoor Wire

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Firearm Safety by Dumb and Dumber

The stupidity of people amaze me on a daily basis. Nothing better to do. I can't believe I'm going to contribute to their "five-minutes of fame"!

video

Register to win a Free Archery Whitetail and Pheasant Hunt here

Elk Foundation Grants to Benefit 12 Montana Counties

MISSOULA, MONTANA-Twelve counties in Montana are slated for wildlife and habitat conservation projects using $149,665 in new grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The 2009 RMEF grants will affect Carbon, Deer Lodge, Lake, Lewis & Clark, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Park, Petroleum, Powell, Stillwater and Sweetgrass counties.

Additionally, a biological research project has statewide interest.

"Our volunteers across Montana helped drive the 2008 fundraisers that made these grants possible. This is where Elk Foundation banquets, auctions and other events transform into on-the-ground conservation work, and it's part of the payday for our supporters who are passionate about giving something back to the outdoors," said David Allen, Elk Foundation president and CEO.

Elk Foundation grants will help fund the following Montana conservation projects, listed by county:

Deer Lodge County-Treat noxious weeds to improve elk habitat in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.

Lake County-Restore native grasses and shrubs for elk and other wildlife by prescribe burning 250 acres of overgrown forest in Flathead National Forest.

Lewis & Clark County-Thin 650 acres of overgrown forests to improve winter and transitional range for elk in Helena National Forest.

Lincoln County-Using prescribed fire, reduce tree density and improve elk forage on 989 acres in Kootenai National Forest.

Mineral County-Offset nearby private-land development by prescribe burning 700 acres to improve elk winter range on 700 acres in Lolo National Forest; aerially treat 522 acres of spotted knapweed in Lolo National Forest.

Missoula County-Rejuvenate native grasses and re-establish natural fire regime in upper-elevation shrub fields using prescribed fire on 325-plus acres of elk range in Flathead National Forest and Lolo National Forest (also affects Powell County).

Park County-Treat 300 acres of noxious weeds to enhance habitat for elk in Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness (also affects Sweetgrass, Stillwater and Carbon counties).

Petroleum County-Prescribe burn 1,787 acres to reduce fuel loading in ponderosa pine habitat and improve forage for elk and other wildlife on BLM lands in Lewistown area.

Powell County-Increase winter-range forage for elk using prescribe burns on BLM lands; improve fencing and water developments to distribute livestock away from riparian and overgrazed areas in Blackfoot River watershed.

Statewide-Use data previously collected from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming to answer questions regarding roles of climate, wolf predation and habitat quality on elk calf recruitment.

Partners for 2009 projects in Montana include Bureau of Land Management, University of Montana, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Forest Service, other agencies, corporations, landowners and organizations.

An additional $159,503 remains in the 2009 RMEF project budget for Montana. A second round of grant proposals will be reviewed later this year. A committee of RMEF staff, volunteers and partner representatives will select projects for funding.

Since 1984, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed 605 conservation projects in Montana with a value of more than $113 million.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.5 million acres-a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at http://www.rmef.org/ or 800-CALL ELK.

Press Release found at The Outdoor Wire

Get Registered for the Free Archery Whitetail and Pheasant Hunt here