Outdoors With Charlie Chalk

email Charlie:
outdoors@areanewsgroup.com

Pre 2005 Archive

Outdoors Archives

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Now, here is something you won’t see me report on often -a Rock Star. But this person is just a little off the center of that world. That is the drug-free, hard-hunting Ted Nugent. He has a new book, just published, “Blood Trails II”

Written by one of the country’s best-known deer-hunting fanatics the book is packed with lore and lessons on hunting whitetails today. Sharing his own bow hunting experiences and philosophies, this completely updated and revised edition brings together strategies and tactics that are proven winners – in some cases; little-known techniques that just may work for you when nothing else will.

Learn from Ted how to improve your arrow placement with his three-step archery prayer for shooting accuracy. Reflect on the blessings of the hunting season and how he believes, “self-sufficiency, after all, is the ultimate American Dream of independence and individualism…no doubt about it, hunting is the last and best way to remain in touch with a planet that miraculously sustains us all.” Understand his love of bringing archery to new shooters as he declares, “Every man, woman, boy, or girl, falls in love with the Zen-like charge of making that next arrow better.”

This hardcover book has 256 pages including an 8-page color insert, over 80 new black and white photographs.

“In this day and age of intense scheduling and crazy pace, I prescribe peaceful time in the wild together to bring a family closer together and upgrade and increase the happy times together. Life is a BBQ. These grand family hunting adventures are the sauce for the soul.” Ted Nugent

Suggested retail: $24.95 with $3.80 for shipping and handling. Available from the publisher, Woods N’ Water, Inc., P.O. Box 550, Florida, NY 10921.

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Fishermen, how was your striped bass season? This report is just in from Stripers Forever. Striped bass anglers are catching fewer and smaller fish than they were five years ago, according to a 2004 survey of recreational anglers from Maine to North Carolina.

One hundred and forty anglers out of a total of 275 respondents reported catching fewer or many fewer striped bass, while only 48 said they caught more. The rest of the responding anglers saw no change in their striper catch.

By a margin of 1.5 to 1, the anglers who responded to the survey also said that the fish they have been catching were getting smaller. The combined results of fewer fish and smaller size caused the anglers to decide that the quality of striper fishing was worse in 2004 than at other times within the last five years.

Brad Burns, president of Stripers Forever, an internet-based membership organization dedicated to managing the wild striped bass for personal use/recreational fishing, said the recent survey results should come as no great surprise. “Bigger commercial catch limits, including a 40% increase in the coastal commercial quota just last year, have consistently been put in place by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) which manages the striped bass fishery all along the Atlantic coast – over the protests of recreational anglers,” Burns said. “In addition, fishery scientists are reporting reduced survivability of young striped bass in Chesapeake Bay, the fish’s prime breeding grounds, due to diseases that are affecting a large percentage of young stripers.”

Stripers Forever, plans to release later this winter a detailed study showing the overwhelming economic and social benefits that would accrue if commercial fishing for striped bass were stopped, reserving the fishery for personal use angling and replacing wild stripers in the marketplace with high quality farm-raised product.

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Occasionally, a story comes to my attention, which just needs to be shared. Such a story came in the form of a phone call from a young man in Pelham. Sebastian Diaz called the paper and said he wanted to tell me about a bass he caught. I took time recently to visit Sebastian and his dad, and see his fish.

What a fish it was, a largemouth weighing 5 pounds and 21 inches in length. He caught it in Derry, on the afternoon of July 21. He took five minutes to land it on his Shakespeare carbon rod with closed reel. The reel carried 12 pound test Stren line. He uses mostly Berkley Powerbait, which he feels are the best bait to use. This young man knows good equipment and uses some of the best.

The bass is now proudly displayed over the family fireplace. Sebastian, fishing since he was five, fishes with his Dad as often as he can, and he also credits his Grandfather up in Canada, who has given him some pointers. He has a few friends he fishes with and he has watched other fishermen to improve his techniques.

This fifth-grader at Our Lady of Good Council in Lawrence, Massachusetts, wants to go into professional sports when he finishes school. Several areas interest him, including professional fishing. I believe this young man has a good future ahead of him, and I wish him well.

Friends, this short story reinforces my belief that we need to get our kids into the outdoors. Memories are being made around fishing trips, hunting camps, and camping adventures. Take a young person outdoors, and who knows, they may have a memory to place above the mantle of your home, too.

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Usually, around this time of year I provide you with the “Sportsman’s Christmas list.” The criteria for making this list are simple, in my eyes. First, items must be of quality or from a reputable company. Second, they must be of interest to anyone; old, young, male or female. Individuals need only need to have a love for hunting, fishing or other traditional outdoor sports. Third, (and this is very important) it has to be something I would like to receive for myself. Simple, so here we go…

Magazine subscription (pick a sport; there is a magazine written about that subject, quality knife (Buck or Marbles companies), compass or GPS, artwork for the house (Terry Redlin), gun rack/safe, rod case, gun cleaning kit (Otis All Gun; hands down top choice), flashlight, stainless steel thermos and finally a membership to organizations that support the sport of choice (BASS, Ducks Unlimited, Ruffed Grouse Society, NRA).

For ‘stocking stuffers’ get game calls, logo caps, gun/rod care products (Blue Wonder products especially ‘Armadillo’) ammunition, fishing line or lures and disposable cameras.

All great ideas are found in local stores or on the Internet. Hope these helped. Still confused, just email me and I will try to sort out any questions you may have. I am glad to do that for my readers.

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As the weather turns on us, prepare to make each outdoor hunting adventure a safe and comfortable event. There are some basic considerations for winter events that should be reviewed.

First, recognize that when hiking in extreme cold (below 10 degrees F.), you will be burning an additional 500 calories/day. The need comes from the extra effort it takes to move more gear over snowy terrain. Getting more food when weather is extremely cold becomes a challenge, since stopping for lunch means a drop in body temperature which can cause you to chill. Frequently snack throughout the day to most effectively fuel your muscles. To adapt add 4 - 8 extra servings of high carbohydrate/high fat snacks per day, with lunch reduced to something eaten quickly. Also take foods that won't freeze easily. Foods like cheese, pepperoni, peanut butter crackers all work well at low temperatures. Supper back at camp can be the cooked meal of the day.

Put on extra layers before you need them, as soon as you slow down, to avoid the need to warm up cold extremities later on. To avoid robbing your arms and legs of necessary circulation, eat small meals, rather than large meals that shunt blood to the intestine. Timing your meals will also make a difference in how you feel. Eating dinner or a hearty snack just before you go to sleep in an outdoor camp (500 - 1200 calories) will help you sleep warmer and more soundly. Stay well hydrated. The most dangerous of all cold weather problems, dehydration compounds the effects of cold weather exertion. You may not feel thirsty, but drink often to keep hydrated. To keep water bottles from freezing, pack them inside your jacket next to your body. Two partially full bottles will freeze faster than one full bottle, so combine the water bottles if you have two that are less than half full. Adding powdered drink mixes will depress the freezing point, keeping it liquid longer.

Enjoy the outdoors by preparing to meet its uncertainties.

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Snowmobiling will soon be here. Safety on the trails is important. New Hampshire Fish and Game has classes available for new riders. Do you plan on getting into the sport, or do you have a child who is ready to 'solo', this year? If so, OHRV Safety Education Courses are taught by Department-certified volunteer instructors. The schedule is current and is updated frequently with new course additions. The safety course certifies children 12 years of age and older. There is no charge to take this course. Parents are encouraged to stay during class time. If you have signed up for a class and are unable to attend, call the course contact person as soon as possible. Most classes have a waiting list.

Pelham: Pelham School, November 20, 9:00 a.m., Jim Salerno, 635-3330

Nashua: Law Motor Freight, December 4, 8:00 a.m., George Lyon, 424-6795

Londonderry: Charles Case Garage, December 4, 8:00 a.m., Harold Case, 437-2848

Londonderry: Londonderry Police, December 11, 8:30 a.m., Chris Childs, 432-1118

OHRV law books are available wherever registrations are sold. Keep current with the laws, and respect the rights of landowners.

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I just received notice of a real valuable web site. Eric Orff, a friend and wildlife biologist, just put up a site with almost anything you need to know about New Hampshire wildlife. Included are things like tides, radar weather, fish stocking schedules, in-season deer and bear kill counts and much more.

Eric is truly one of the best resources you can contact at Fish and Game, and now he is on the web.

If you area sportsman, you need to take a look at this site. I promise it will be worth the time. You can find the site at http://www.nhfishandwildlife.com/

Notice to all who will enter the woods over the next month - wear orange to avoid accidents. Hunters will be in the field in search of deer; so orange is the color to wear. Let's all get home safe. Hunters know your target.

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Some hunters out there may harvest several deer this year. Why not do something for others with your meat? Did you know donations of whole or processed game animals are being collected by the New Hampshire Food Bank of Manchester, which distributes food to more than 270 food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and group homes statewide? Last year, Hunt for the Hungry took in more than 1,000 pounds of donated deer, bear, moose, duck, and other game meat. The program offers packaging instructions and can pick up your meat donation. To donate game meat to Hunt for the Hungry, call the New Hampshire Food Bank at (603) 669-9725.

"Wild game has historically provided a source of food to hunters, their families and their communities," said Lee E. Perry, executive director of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. "This program is a great way for hunters to give back to their communities by providing needy families with food to help them get through the winter."

"We thank New Hampshire's hunters!" says Michele Garron, the food bank's operations manager. A hunter herself, Garron hopes to be successful in the field this season so she can contribute some venison to the program. She noted that deer meat is delicious and healthful - high in protein and low in fat. "These donations from hunters make a real difference for the needy in our state."

So, good luck to you all, and remember those less fortunate.

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From the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation: Public Hearing Addresses Proposed Moose, Bear, and Trapping Rule Changes Hunters, trappers and other interested parties should note that the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will hold a public hearing on November 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Department headquarters on Hazen Drive in Concord to discuss proposed changes to wildlife rules affecting the moose lottery, moose hunt seminars and black bear hunting. The proposal would clarify residency in the moose lottery application process and would no longer require moose permit holders to complete a pre-hunt moose seminar. The proposal also would clarify the number of bait sites allowed for bear. A separate rule being discussed at the hearing would readopt with amendment an interim rule affecting certain restrictions on trapping and remove outdated references regarding bear trapping. The proposed changes also would require the previous year's trapping report information to be filed with Fish and Game before a trapping license would be issued. The complete rulemaking notice forms, with original and proposed rule language, may be found at the Fish and Game Website for the proposed wildlife rules, and here for the proposed trapping rule changes.

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Register to vote. You can’t influence election outcomes if you are unable to exercise your Constitutional voting right to select your representatives. If you’re not registered, now is the time to do so. Tell your hunting and shooting friends to register, too. Become an informed voter!

Know why the sportsman's vote is so powerful? The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation commissioned a Roper Starch Worldwide survey to evaluate whether hunters voted their sport. Melinda Gable, executive director of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, stated that the survey pointed out very clearly that sportsmen have the potential to be an important — even decisive — voting bloc. “Every year 15 million Americans purchase a hunting license. Given this statistic, it has long been known that hunters have the numbers to affect elections and influence policy, yet up to this point, it has been unclear whether or not sportsmen were truly a voting bloc,” wrote Gable.

How important is the sporting vote? In the Thursday, October 7, edition of the NBC Nightly News Assignment America, Brian Williams reported on the value of the sportsmen's vote in this year's presidential election—noting that both camps in the election are courting the "Cabela's voter", reinforcing the value of knowing where your candidates stand on hunting issues and firearms rights and the importance of voting your sport.

Don’t be fooled by the sportsman-for-today candidates who give ‘lip-service’ to issues about which you care deeply. Help educate other voters with this information. On Election Day, Vote Your Sport!

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This information was just released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy. They announced today the addition of 615 acres to the Pondicherry Division of the Silvio Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson and Whitefield Funding for the purchase comes from federal migratory waterfowl permits, Duck Stamps which are purchased by waterfowl hunters and other bird enthusiasts.

The newly acquired land in Jefferson has a wide diversity of important wildlife habitat, including a large and exemplary black ash swamp, extensive lowland spruce-fir forest and portions of several small streams that flow into Cherry Pond. The land is just south of Cherry Pond and abuts two snowmobile corridors. The deal to purchase the refuge's additional tract was completed today. With the new addition, the Pondicherry Division now totals about 4,300 acres. The refuge is a division of the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses six other refuges and critical habitats in the Connecticut River watershed.

"This is an amazing place," said Daryl Burtnett, director of The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire. "The rare mix of wetlands and diverse forest types, coupled with its niche as a key migratory bird stopover along the Connecticut River valley, makes Pondicherry a TNC priority for bird and other wildlife habitat protection. We have been pleased and honored to assist the Fish and Wildlife Service in its expansion of this refuge." It is an important migratory bird stepping stone on the Atlantic Flyway. Pondicherry has been declared a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Interior Department.

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Tools for the outdoors. You should consider adding a few tools to your gear to help make your hunt more enjoyable and productive. Here are some to consider: Hatchets, some consider them as important as a knife. Hatchets can be used to help clear tree limbs when you set up your tree stand, work as a hammer as well as cut kindling and firewood, although it will take a little more effort than an ax. You should get a handle that won't slip from your perspiration. Rubber and leather laminations work well. If you select wood, though, check to make sure the handle is chemically bonded to the head. Hatchets come in a number of sizes and weights to meet your needs. A good all-purpose choice is a hatchet with a 1-pound head and a handle about a foot long. My first choice is the Marbles #9. Nothing comes even close for the quality. Marbles Knives Co. is a Michigan company, and they have been around for over 100 years. Saws are the best choice for camp firewood. You can pack a foldable saw to help with clearing tree limbs and cutting smaller logs. Saws give you the advantage of precision and speed. In general, a 20- to 24-inch blade will cut through wood that's 10 to 12 inches thick. If you want a saw to go through larger logs, buy one with a 36-inch blade.

Multi-purpose tools round out my list of picks. Manufacturers offer a multitude of tools that incorporate a variety of blades, pliers, can openers, and more into a compact package. Look for one with the minimum number of features you will need. Remember, it is always better to have too many options than too few. Finally, you should always carry sharpening steel and pocket-sized whetstone to touch up your blade as it dulls during use.

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Someone asked me the other day about knives. Now I always carry a knife; at work I find the Swiss Army to be a good choice. When I go into the outdoors, I choose according to the type of activity.

But to answer the question as to how do you pick a good knife, here are some tips. There are two key considerations when choosing the right size knife, the blade length, and the handle length. The blade of most fixed knives is usually preferred to be no longer than 4 1/2 inches, although you may choose a longer blade for heavy-duty chores. If you are undecided, find a 5-inch blade, which gives you a knife that can perform several jobs. On the handle, you should have a grip that gives you about one-quarter inch of space on each side of your hand. This maximizes your comfort, especially when you use your knife over extended periods.

Many blades are made of stainless steel to avoid rust and to provide the temper needed to do the job for which the knife is designed. I prefer knives with more carbon steel because it makes sharpening the blade easier, but these generally require more care to avoid rust and stains. To enhance hardness, a titanium nitride is sometimes coated on the steel as this makes the blade hold an edge.

Many manufacturers list a rating on their steel known as the Rockwell C scale; this measures the ideal hardness of a blade. A Rockwell C scale hardness in the mid-to upper 50s is considered best for most blade applications. Good knives will always tell you the Rockwell scale. The balance is to get an edge to hold well and to easily sharpen.

Next time, I will discuss multi tools and the ax that I consider the best little piece for the backwoods.

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Just a few thoughts on some various items this week. First, hunting season is soon upon us. By now, you should be considering taking out the guns and gear for a once over. Broken parts that somehow did not get fixed before storage will need some quick attention.

Then there are those firearms that need some oil and grease. Did you know that oil will evaporate over the summer and may pick up some dirt and grit? Working the action of a gun, without lubrication or with grit… well it is just not good. Two new products that I highly recommend are Blue Wonder Disotec XFR, (www.Bluewonder.us) for all oiling and Armadillo for external protection. Both have my highest recommendation for the upcoming season. They work exactly as promised, and that makes them my choice.

Finally get some good cleaning tools. I just bought the Otis gun cleaning kit that will clean everything from a .17 cal to a 10 Ga. It was not too expensive and believe it or not, it fits in the palm of my hand! The key element is the flexible rods. Again, just quality parts that work.

Find these products at your gun store or on line.

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The real-time mapping of North America's ducks and geese had been accomplished by the creation of Waterfowler.com’s interactive GIS Migration Mapping System. This season, hunters will be able to view the map and contribute information online through DU’s Website or Waterfowler.com. “WFC’s Migration Map is a magical experience for any passionate waterfowl hunter,” stated Waterfowler.com’s Webmaster and Publisher, Darin Sakas. “The map allows users to stay in touch with what’s going on in the field, even when they are trapped behind their desk at work.”

The map relies on input from the hunting community, so get on and add your input, because you are most qualified to provide accurate, day-to-day, field observations. This map can be found at www.ducks.org/migrationmap. Activity is still low, but this map should be valuable in coming weeks.

The map is a GIS program that plots the intensity of waterfowl migration for the US and displays it in a simple color-coded format. The information submitted by users is averaged and updated every fifteen minutes and reset to zero every twenty-four hours.

A complete “How-To Guide” is available at Waterfowler.com. Map participation is open to all readers, registered guests and members of Waterfowler.com. Registration and membership are not required to submit or view map data.

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I'd like to tell you about the resolution of the Iams/Eukanuba/Humane Society of the United States/sporting dog community situation. Since HSUS is an anti-hunting organization, sportsmen and women felt betrayed by Iams, which has done and continues to do a lot for the sporting dog folks

That's the background. Here is where we are. Thanks to letters of dissent, Iams will no longer be sponsoring the Pet Fest America events, and among several additions made to the board is Dr. Kelley Donham of the University of Iowa. Dr. Donham specializes in occupational health as it relates to caring for/interaction with animals. I am also pleased to add that Dr. Donham is a Vizsla field trialer and sportsman. The beautiful thing about his appointment is that he fills a real need on the animal care advisory board while at the same time providing the board with insight into the needs of sporting dogs.

Some will say it's too late, that they will never forgive and forget and they have moved to another brand and won't go back. My response is that is your right; you should do what you feel you need to do. Fact is Iams/Eukanuba's intention to rededicate itself to the sporting dog and to continue to sponsor and materially contribute to wildlife organizations and sporting dog events at all levels across the country.

PS.: don’t confuse the HSUS with the small h, small s humane society, the generic term for most towns' local animal shelter.

(The above information is from the Pointing Dog Journal)

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If you enjoy learning about wildlife, like kids, and have time to volunteer during the day, you may want to consider becoming a Wonders of Wildlife (WOW) educator for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. A three-month training course for new volunteers begins September 9. "WOW is a great way to get involved with natural resource education," says Judith Silverberg, Wildlife Education Coordinator for Fish and Game. "The in-depth training we give our volunteer docents - learning firsthand from wildlife biologists and other ecology experts - really prepares them to be effective environmental educators." Trained WOW docents travel to schools or organized youth groups to present programs focusing on New Hampshire wildlife and endangered species, aquatic ecology and wetlands. They also can lead activities for environmental festivals and field days. After the training is complete, WOW volunteers commit to at least 48 volunteer hours to natural resource education over the following two school years, delivering programs to school children or organized youth groups. Both the training sessions and presentations take place during school-day hours. Volunteers receive mileage reimbursement for their travel to present programs.

For more information on volunteering for the WOW program, contact Mary Goodyear at Twin Mountain Fish and Wildlife Center, RR1 Box 341, Whitefield, New Hampshire.

Hunting Season dates to remember: White-tailed deer*: Archery – September 15 - Dec. 15. Black bear*: Starts September 1. September goose: September 7 - 25

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