Outdoors With Charlie Chalk

Outdoors Archives


June 27, 2008

Bikes and Trails

Did you know that Shimano, the maker of some great fishing tackle is also the world’s largest bicycle component manufacturer? 

“We’re excited about encouraging people to get on bikes, and encourage them to support an organization that creates great places to ride,” said Shannon Bryant, Shimano Coasting Girl.  “It’s an ideal partnership encouraging healthier lifestyles through outdoor recreation and bicycling.” 

“Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is thrilled to be a beneficiary of Shimano’s Coasting tour,” said Keith Laughlin, president of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy advocates for healthier places for healthier people by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors.  Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s national office is located in Washington, D.C. Visit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy on the Web at www.railstotrails.org. 

Here is one local trail:  Mason Railroad Trail.  To get to the trail take Route 119 northwest to Townsend, Massachusetts.  Continue west toward West Townsend for less than two miles, veering right at a sign that points toward Mason, New Hampshire, and another that reads “Greenville 8.”  In 1.5 miles, veer right at the fork and proceed 1 mile to the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border.  A gravel trail parking lot is located on the left side of the road.  To get onto the trail, take a right on Morse Road (which is just up the road ahead of you) and travel uphill for 0.3 miles.  You will see an orange gate on the trail corridor to the left, which is the direction you want to travel.  If you head right, the trail ends in less than a half-mile at the state line because the tracks are still in place in Massachusetts. 

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June 20, 2008

Women Take Charge of Safety

Women across the country are packing classes where they learn about all aspects of handgun ownership.  One of the main reasons for attending these classes, they say, is to learn more about how to take charge of their own safety.  In the classes, women also learn about safe handling and storage of firearms, state and local permitting processes, how to purchase a handgun, what model and caliber is right for them, how to determine proper fit, holsters, apparel and that some handguns even come in colors designed to be more appealing to women.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which two years ago launched “First Shots,” a program that provides an introduction to handgun shooting in cooperation with shooting ranges across the country.  The classes are open to women and men.

“The key to making these events appealing to women is to conduct them is a relaxed, supportive environment,” commented Cyndi Dalena, manager of the First Shots program nationally.  The nearest to us is Tuesday, June 24, 6 p.m. and again July 31 at Smith & Wesson Shooting Sports Center, 299 Page Boulevard, Springfield, Massachusetts.  Call to register 413-846-6400. 

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June 13, 2008

Fishing Slobs

Ah, a fine place to fish!  Casting my line on a small pond, with public access is a fine pleasure and a privilege.  Key in on that word privilege, while I tell you more of the story.  No success at the first place, I notice a small path through the woods around the pond.  The next spot showed promise, but my focus was on the shore and the trash of other anglers; though I would rather describe them as slobs.  Old bait cups, styro coffee cups, paper food wrappers.  I just cant leave the vision behind!  Moving again to the boat launch where I promptly tangled a lure in a ball of old monofilament line.  An old cigarette lighter lay in the water off the dock.  That was it; action time.  A full bag of trash went home with me.  No fish today, but I left at least one place better than it was.

While I may be speaking to anglers who would not leave anything behind, it is time to speak up when we see someone trash our access points.  It is also time to make the sites cleaner than they are now. That is the right thing to do. 

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June 6, 2008

Geocaching

Geocaching is really an interesting use of a GPS.  If you are interested, here is an event of note in Vermont this weekend. Geocaching is a treasure hunting game using GPS.

An afternoon of chatting, chewing, and chasing caches through some nice woods in the foothills of Mount Mansfield.  This relaxed event will have some new permanent caches and some temporary ones, with help from QSeekers and our neighbors.  There will also be plenty of food and socializing.

Approximate schedule: 

  • Noon – Potluck lunch
  • 1:30 p.m. – Caching (information sheets will be handed out at this time)
  • 4 p.m. – Regroup for awards and a bonfire (conditions permitting) with smores
  • Dusk – Grounds close for caching

It is also suitable for children – we have a small play structure and a large trampoline which kids and adults are welcome to use.  There is a brook on the property (a short hike down a steep hill) in which you can wade or swim, but its very cold as it comes down off the mountain.

Bring your own chair and a dish to share at the potluck, or drinks, napkins, etc.

Navigation note:  Follow your GPS to the coordinates N 44° 31.094 W 072° 52.608.

For more info on geochaching, see the June issue of Hawkeye magazine.

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May 30, 2008

Improving Fuel Economy

Time to get out fishing and boating, but we all are facing high costs.  I encourage you to continue to spend time on the water.  Perhaps it will be local bodies of water, close to home.  We often forget that some real gems exist close to home, but we pass them by for the adventure of far travel.

With gas prices hitting all-time highs, this summers travel season looks as if it will be spent closer to home.  To combat these higher gas prices, the folks at ShoreLandr Trailers offer a list of trailering tips that will help get the most out of your gas money.

  • Check tire pressure on the vehicle and trailer.  Low tire pressure can drag the vehicle and trailer, reducing fuel mileage.  Low tire pressure also can lead to heat-caused tire failures.
  • Proper tongue weight is a must.  Proper tongue weight should be between 5 to 7 percent of the total tow package, which will include the weight of the boat, all loaded gear and the trailer weight.  This helps the trailer tow properly by reducing swaying.
  • Proper adjustment of your boat to the trailer.  Make sure the boat is level on the trailer and the trailer/boat is level when hooked to the vehicle. 
  • V-frame trailers allow for the lowest adjustment of the boat to the trailer and enable easy loading and unloading without any damage to the trailer or boat.

Courtesy of Shoreland Trailers

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May 23, 2008

Animal Rights?

On April 24, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the world’s largest animal rights organization, announced a partnership with Meijer, a regional Midwest discount retail chain, to raise $5,000 for the organization’s fund to address the purported problem of abandoned pets as a result of the national home foreclosure crisis.  The USSA, a national organization founded to protect the rights of sportsmen, responded with an alert asking hunters to contact the retailer to protest the partnership.  Meijer quickly responded by canceling the arrangement.  Since that time, some animal welfare activists have questioned why USSA would oppose a partnership alleged to benefit pets.  “Most people simply don’t know that the HSUS is actually an animal rights organization that is opposed to any use of animals for the benefit of humans,” said USSA president and CEO Bud Pidgeon.  It advocates for restrictions on livestock farmers, bans on life-saving medical research performed on animals and opposes zoos, circuses and rodeos.  The HSUS does not operate or represent the local dog and cat shelters that exist across the United States.  “Some animal rights groups masquerade as pet shelters, so donating to a local organization gives the contributor the opportunity to determine how their funds will actually be spent,” said Pidgeon.

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May 16, 2008

Did Ya’ Know?

The season for biting insects is here and so is the perennial question about whether DEET should or should not be an ingredient in your repellent.  While it works well, and there is no known physical danger, there are certainly some issues.  For Dan Ritter of BugBand Products, the answer is “certainly not.”  “DEET destroys plastic, rubber, nylon, and more.  DEET will damage your sunglasses, the crystal on your watch, your fishing line, painted surfaces, and, personally, I wouldn’t trust it on my skin either,” said Ritter.  Ritter said the main insect-repelling ingredient in his BugBand repellent is the natural oil Geraniol which sets up a pleasant-smelling vapor barrier to ward off insects.  Info at www.bugband.net.

Also, this just in …

Whale-watching is a $30 million tourist industry in New England with some 40 whale-watching boats out on the water on summer weekends looking for humpback, minke, fin, and right whales.  Researchers with GPS receivers went undercover in 2003 and 2004 and now report that whale-watching vessels are exceeding their agreed-upon speed limits and changing whale behavior.  (Outdoor Pressroom, Boston Globe)

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May 9, 2008

Climate Changes Threaten Game Habitat

Believe in global warming, the next ice age (I think it started this past winter), or a dozen other theories about this ball we live on, weather is of importance to all of us.  Changes in climate affect the wildlife around us as much as the expansion of urban sprawl.

The Wildlife Management Institute, joined by eight leading hunting and fishing organizations, released a new report on the predicted effectss of climate change on wildlife and fish habitat and on hunting and fishing.

Seasons End: Global Warmings Threat to Hunting and Fishing is available online (http://www.seasonsend.org/view/web/id/33/title/Seasons_End) and in book form.  Among the reports many findings are that the prairie pothole region could lose up to 90 percent of its wetlands, reducing the continents breeding ducks by 69 percent, and that fragmentation and loss of winter range could dwindle the number of mule deer and elk in the Rocky Mountain states.

Events:  The new Cabelas store opens in Scarborough, Maine, on May 15.  Great place to spend your stimulus check …

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May 2, 2008

Sportsmen Beware:  Clean Water Restoration Act

Washington, D.C.:  The Oberstar/Feingold Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA), would do more to threaten the cherished pastimes of hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts than it would to ensure the cleanliness of our nations water, charges the National Center for Public Policy Research in a new study.  Hunters could be required to obtain costly permits under CWRA, and could be cited as polluters for firing shot.  Boaters would likely find the construction and repair of fishing piers and boat docks receiving enhanced scrutiny from the federal government.  Fishermen risk losing access to some of their favorite rivers and streams.  Other outdoor sportsmen could find their activities constrained.

The study is available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA567.html.

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April 25, 2008

Wal-Mart Tightens Gun Purchases

In case you have not heard, a major retailer has made it more difficult for firearm purchases.  Wal-Marts announcement last week that it had agreed to a 10-point code of business conduct called the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership.  Extended record retention, employee background checks, possible video recordings of sales, are part of this change.

This will mean a reduction in sales and possible elimination of guns in many stores.  Tommy Millner, CEO of Remington Firearms, Wal-Marts largest supplier of firearms and ammunition, said Remington was both surprised and disappointed by the unilateral announcement (source:  The Outdoor Wire). 

Today, Wal-Mart sells firearms and ammunition in approximately 1,100 locations across the United States.  For Browning, Ruger, Savage, Remington, Henry, C-Z USA, Weatherby, H & R and Thompson/Center ammunition including Winchester, Federal, and Remington, this could be a hit in todays economy that some will not be able to withstand.

While I have never purchased a firearm at Wal-Mart, I still see the handwriting on the wall.  Remember when they came to town, and local gun shops said they would take away sales from them?  Well, soon only gun shops will sell guns, again.

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April 18, 2008

Unique Information

Occasionally, I find the unique information that may just interest a few of my readers.  Our neighbors in Vermont are doing something good:  Vermont Fish and Wildlife and Vermont outdoor equipment manufacturers are partnering to offer a time-limited Hunter Heritage Collector’s Series of high quality items.  A portion of the proceeds from a purchase will go to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to support conservation and restoration programs.

Background:  The three products being sold in the New Hunter Heritage Collector’s Series 2008 via the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s Website (vtfishandwildlife.com) are listed below.  The muzzleloader and knife are serially numbered.  These are time-limited products for 2008 and are made when the order is received.  Items cannot be ordered after September 30, 2008.

  • MDM Quicshooter Limited - $499.95.  Engraved with Vermont Fish and Wildlife logo, a Whitetail Buck, ID number, and deer tracks on grip.  .50 Caliber/Stainless Steel/26-inch Magnum Barrel.  Walnut finished stock and forearm.  Lifetime warranty.
  • Kingdom Knives - $180.  “Palmer” fixed blade and folder - made in Vermont.  D2 Toolsteel 2 3/4-inch blade for superior blade edge retention.  Engraved Dymondwood handle and Vermont Fish and Wildlife logo on high quality leather sheath.
  • Beagle Utility Bag - $41.50.  Made in Vermont from 22 ounces Melton wool, enhanced with a wind and water resistant membrane so your important items won’t get wet.  Great for carrying extra ammo, lunch, fire starters and more.  Vermont Fish and Wildlife logo and big buck embroidered. 
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April 11, 2008

Firearms vs. Golf

Some would say that the traditional outdoor sports like fishing and hunting make little impact financially.  Therefore, sporting goods stores limit space for the equipment.  Some big-box retailers have cut down on firearms, saying no one is buying the products.  Well, someone is buying … read this: 

Hunting- and shooting-related equipment has out-driven golf in sales, according to data released by the National Sporting Goods Association.  New statistics show that hunting gear and firearm sales topped $3.7 billion in 2006, up 4.1 percent from the previous year.  Only exercise equipment performed better, with sales of $5.22 billion, according to NSGA's most recent "Sporting Goods Market" report.  Golf equipment, which claimed the number two spot the previous year, fell into the third spot with $3.66 billion in sales.  NSGA's sales projection for 2007 shows golf equipment and hunting and shooting equipment again running neck-and-neck to claim the number two spot, with exercise equipment remaining at number one.  Included in the hunting- and shooting-related equipment category are firearms ($2.18 billion in 2006 sales), airguns ($224.1 million), ammunition ($977.1 million), knives ($51.8 million), paintball guns/packages ($220.9 million) and reloading equipment ($52.0 million).

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April 4, 2008

Skill is What Matters

I just realized something; turkey season is just a month away, and I have not bought the latest gear!  A camouflaged semi-automatic shotgun, a new tree bark full camouflage from head to toe, a turkey hunting vest that has a seat cushion, and the latest shot shells.  Last year’s products are so “out of style” and I could be caught in the woods with a bad fashion statement!

This is, of course, not a criticism, but a wake-up call — new gear doesn’t get the bird; skill does.  “Take the time to learn to hunt before you buy anything,” said Norm Minch, avid turkey hunter and assistant director of the information and education division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.  “Getting a turkey close is much more important than the cost of your equipment.  Increase your woodsmanship and decrease your cost.”

Slate, push button, or box calls are good choices for a beginner.  Older styles still sell because they work, but they are usually the cheapest on the rack.

Military surplus stores carry military-style of camouflage, helping hunters take turkeys before all the new patterns were ever created.  The main purpose of camouflage is to break up the outline of your body in the woods.  Old shotguns sell cheap, and ‘old uglies’ sell for even less.  Dress them in camo tape and no one will be the wiser.

Use some of these tips to save money if you want to try turkey hunting this spring.  The turkeys don’t care how much you spent on your equipment.

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March 28, 2008

‘Roe vs. Wade’ of Gun Control

The Second Amendment in the Supreme Court.  Two things have changed the world in which we live, the internet and talk radio.  Through those communication devices, we have been able to make the other major change; vocabulary in main stream media.  Words like pro-gun are now common and known by everyone.  Consider USA Today’s story began, The Supreme Count will hear oral arguments Tuesday in the gun rights case …   Absolutely, we have a right, under the Constitution!

Many believe the court will return a decision declaring that individuals in the United States of America have a right to keep and bear arms.  Public opinion supports the concept of individual gun rights.  Will lawsuits challenging gun laws begin after the decision?  Perhaps, and if so, that may continue for many years to come.  Some legislation may be rolled back, but more importantly, it will be unlikely that there will be an increase on new legislation.

Take little comfort in that because as we have recently seen, ideas like micro-stamping on ammunition, and lead bans on bullets could well put the cost of ammunition and new firearm prices well out of our reach.  The Second Amendment does not guard our right to pay reasonable costs.  Mark my words; there will still be battles for our freedoms.  Celebrate any victory.  Stay vigilant. 

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March 21, 2008

Swimming Upstream

by Eric Aldrich, New Hampshire Nature Conservancy

Somewhere in a small stream near you, an eastern brook trout is trying to swim upstream, seeking cool, fresh waters, food, and cover.

It races against the current, darting around rocks and resting behind a boulder before bolting upstream again.  The speckled beauty repeats the process, a seasonal exercise ingrained in its genetic makeup and practiced over the eons in small streams like this one.

After another burst of athletics, the brookie reaches a torrent of falling water.  Despite a few leaping attempts, the fish returns downstream, where temperatures are warmer and conditions are less than ideal.

What has thwarted this trout’s travels is the voluminous spout pouring from a poorly placed or designed culvert.  In this particular culvert, the problem is called “perching,” when the outlet drops water so far and fast that fish can’t swim upstream.  Culverts can also become barriers by causing low flow depth or high velocity.

This all begs the question: “What’s a good culvert?”  Well, a culvert that allows fish, turtles, mussels, salamanders, and other organisms to move freely up and downstream has these characteristics: It spans the stream and banks; doesn’t change water velocity; has a natural streambed; and creates no noticeable change in the river.  They can include bridges, open-bottom arches, and culverts that span and are sunk into the streambed.

 

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March 14, 2008

Some Surprising Figures

In New Hampshire, spending by hunters and anglers directly supports 4,000 jobs, which puts $137 million worth of paychecks into pockets of working residents around the state.  Of course, government coffers also benefit - spending by sportsmen in pursuit of these outdoor activities generates $25 million in state and local taxes.  These latest figures demonstrate that season after season hunters and anglers are driving the economy from big businesses to rural towns, through booms and recessions.

  • Sportsmen support more jobs in New Hampshire than Dartmouth College (4,000 jobs versus 3,500).
  • Annual spending by New Hampshire sportsmen is more than the combined revenues of Cedar Point Communications, GT Solar and Red River Computers – the state's fastest growing companies ($257 million vs. $243 million).
  • New Hampshire sportsmen annually spend more than the cash receipts from all agricultural commodities ($257 million versus $162 million).
  • New Hampshire sportsmen outnumber populations of Manchester and Rochester - two of the largest cities in the state (141,000 versus 140,000).
  • The economic stimulus of hunting and fishing equates to an astounding $700,000 a day being pumped into the state's economy.

Info: by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation

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March 7, 2008

Think Fishing

The striped bass stock assessment report released recently by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) fails to recognize that the recreational fishery for stripers on the Atlantic Coast is slipping away, according to Brad Burns, President of Stripers Forever.  The spin message from the ASMFC assessment is that striped bass are not being over-fished, says Burns.  But as commercial and recreational removals continue at historically record levels, anglers from North Carolina to Maine are catching fewer and smaller stripers.  Even through the fog created by the ASMFCs wildly vacillating stock assessment numbers, the real message is clear: by every measurement, fishing mortality on stripers is rising and the spawning stock biomass is shrinking.  The full commentary by Stripers Forever on the ASMFC stock assessment report is available at www.stripersforever.org under recent items.  Stripers Forever is an internet-based organization that advocates game fish status for wild striped bass by eliminating all commercial fishing for the species and managing the resource for the 3 million recreational fishermen on the Atlantic Coast who support an industry dedicated to striped bass angling valued at upwards of $2 billion.

Events:  This weekend, March 8-9 is the Franklin Sportsmans Show; Franklin Middle School, Franklin, New Hampshire.  A great show, well worth the trip.  Get $2 off coupon in the February Hawkeye.

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February 29, 2008

Who Let the Dogs Out?

All wildlife species differ in their strategies to cope with winter.  White-tailed deer build fat and fur through autumn, then reduce their metabolic rate in winter.  Whitetails are near the northern extent of their range in Vermont, where our harsh winters can take a toll, especially on fawns and older deer.  Doe reproductive rates and early fawn survival also can be affected.  When snow gets to about 18 inches, deer move to winter habitat, or deeryards.  Pushing through deep snow burns lots of energy.  Deer reduce their movements in winter, but they still need to move around to forage and evade predators such as coyotes and domestic dogs.  For these reasons, deer seek areas with less snow depth.  Domestic dogs can be especially problematic because not only do they kill wintering deer (as do coyotes), but also because they are widespread, abundant, and they often chase deer, leaving exhausted deer to die.  Recreationists and landowners are responsible for their dogs activities and should keep their dogs in voice control or leashed when near deer winter habitat.  Deer wintering areas are often found on south-facing slopes.  Short-wave radiation from the sun has little influence on highly reflective snow.  However, snow is very absorbent of long-wave radiation that is converted from the sun and emitted by trees.  Dense softwood stands reduce wind, capture heat from long-wave radiation, and promote sublimation (solid to vapor) of snow from the base and canopy of trees.  The result is less snow on the ground and a favorable microclimate that reduces energy expenditure by deer that are struggling to survive. 

Thanks to Vermont Fish and Game for the information. 

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February 22, 2008

Gun Ownership

By now, all gun owners know of the Supreme Court taking up the Heller vs. D. C. case.  The basics are that gun ownership is either an individual right, or a position of state militias.  This will be an important case for the Second Amendment.  Earlier this week, Vice President Dick Cheney, acting in his capacity as President of the United States Senate, added his name to a congressional amicus curiae brief supporting the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment.  Mr. Cheney has been a friend of gun owners for his whole political career.

With the Supreme Court arguments creeping closer, more attention is being put on the case.  None of the candidates running now have made a comment on the case, but Senator McCain did sign on with many other Senators; but none from Illinois and New York. 

Thirty-one state Attorneys General have weighed in on the case, signing an amicus brief that supports the decision of the U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in striking down the District of Columbia's thirty-plus year gun ban.  Our own Attorney General, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, as well as Senator Judd Gregg, Senator John Sununu, and Representative Paul Hodes (NH-2) all signed to support our Second Amendment rights.

Take time today to send them all a word of thanks. 

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February 15, 2008

Seventeen Acres of Gun Products

Seventeen acres of outdoor gear in one place.  That gives you an idea of the size of the Shooting Hunting an Outdoor Trade show last week in Vegas.  I was there for five days, and still missed some of the exhibitors; that is how big it really is.  However, the outdoor sports are alive and well.  Many say business is off but most are prepared for a lean season.  Still, many new products came out.  Smith and Wesson Corporation unveiled 71 new product models and extensions.  The new product lineup featured extensions to the companys Military and Police (M and P) Pistol and Rifle Series and a stainless steel variation of the i-Bolt bolt-action rifle.  Smith and Wesson also introduced the new Night Guard series of revolvers designed for personal protection as well as several new models and extensions from the Performance Center and Thompson/Center Arms.  Another interesting entry is E. Remington Company, which in collaboration with U.S. Firearms of Hartford has reintroduced Remington pistols in cartridge and percussion.  This should be of interest to cowboy action fans.  Other small companies like Turtle Skin Armor (turtleskin.com) of New Ipswich make thorn and snake resistant chaps, and Sentry Solutions (sentrysolutions.com) of Wilton, which makes knife-care products, are examples of some of the great small companies from our back yard.  This small view of the 2008 products will be discussed further by the big magazines in the coming months; but you heard it here first.  Email me at tandlr@outdrs.net if you want information on any specific product. 

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February 8, 2008

Latest 2008 Products

This week, I am at the largest trade show for the outdoor industry, the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) show in Las Vegas, Nevada.  This is where the new products come out for 2008.  The sheer size of the show is amazing: more than 17 miles of aisles, thousands of manufacturers, and way more than I can see in just four days.  What questions I will be asking is how the industry is fairing in this economy and what is predicted for the future.  I will focus on New England industries.  Also, I will get the best new product information out to you, my local readers.  This will be out in the big publications later next month; but you will see it here first.

It is hoped that our favorite sports will continue to prosper, survive political pressures and grow in the upcoming year.  Please catch our column next week. 

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February 1, 2008

The Silent Majority

The D.C. v. Heller case is by far the most important Second Amendment court case of our lifetime.  The Bush administration has continued veering toward gun control, signing the first gun control legislation in over a decade, (HR 2640).  For another, the very anti-gun brief the solicitor general (the Justice Departments lawyer) filed in the D.C. gun-ban case.  You should research this brief where statements were made that some guns should be regulated (no specific type is mentioned).  Representative Virgil Goode is rounding up other members of the U.S. House of Representatives to join with him on his letter to the president asking him to withdraw that brief.  We need to urge all members of Congress to support Goodes efforts.  It would be very helpful if you — and as many gun owners as you can recruit to help — would call the National Rifle Association and urge it to publicly encourage members of Congress to join with Goode by signing his letter to the White House.  The toll-free number at the NRA is (800) 392-8683.  To maximize your effort, please call rather than e-mail. 

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January 25, 2008

Looking to Make an Impact on Local Waters

Consider this release:

Alexandria, Virginia - Don’t miss out - the deadline for non-profit groups to apply for BoatU.S. Foundation grant funds, up to $4,000 for projects that educate boaters about clean water issues and environmental stewardship, is February 1, 2008.

While applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that strive to improve the marine environment, projects that help stop the spread of invasive species will receive extra consideration this year.

Susan Shingledecker, Environmental Program Manager for the BoatU.S. Foundation.

The Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water said, “Invasive species wreak havoc on the waterways boaters and anglers enjoy.  Our grant program can help these groups educate fellow waterway users about some simple behaviors that can make a big difference, such as removing any standing water, mud and plant life from your boat at the launch ramp before you head home.”

The 2007 Clean Water Grant program received over 100 proposals.  Of these, 14 projects in 11 states were selected for funding.  To view previous grant projects or learn more about marine debris visit http://www.BoatUS.com/foundation/cleanwater/grants or call Shingledecker at (703) 461-2878, ext. 8358.  Applications must be submitted electronically or postmarked by midnight February 1, 2008.   

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January 18, 2008

Cross-Country Ski Tour of Great Bay

The New Hampshire Nature Conservancy has a great free winter activity for families on Saturday, January 26, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Overview:  Enjoy the winter wonderland of Great Bay on cross-country skis.  Well discuss the winter ecology of Great Bay and the woods, wetlands and fields around it.  Well also discuss - and see - the tremendous land protection efforts here led by the Conservancy and the Great Bay Resource Protection Partnership.  Well kick things off by meeting at the Conservancys Great Bay office for some hot cider and snacks.

Guide: Tiffany McKenna and Duane Hyde

How to Prepare for the Hike: Bring cross-country skis and warm clothes.  Bring a camera, if you like.

Registration:  Please sign up by contacting Megan Lepage, 224-5853, ext. 23.  The hike is free for all.

Meeting Location:  The Nature Conservancys Great Bay office; 112 Bay Road, Newmarket. 

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January 11, 2008

Winter can be Fun

Dead of winter and not really sure what to do?  Well, how about attending some great outdoor shows?  These are great family entertainment and a great way to find the latest gear.

 This coming weekend is a fine local show with much to see at the Family Expo at Rockingham Park, Salem.  See my friends at MDM muzzle loading for some great new products.

Then you can plan for the 32nd Toyota Eastern Fishing & Outdoor Exposition, February 7 - 10, at the Worcester DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Among the greats are Terry Scroggins, who appears at the Expo for the first time. 

Scroggins is a leading money winner on the bass tournament circuit and placed fourth out of 108 anglers in the 2007 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.  He is also a four-time qualifier for the Bassmaster Classic, and has finished in the money in 56 out of 81 tournaments entered.  His earnings now approach $1 million.  Scroggins appears Friday and Saturday, courtesy of Toyota.  

Hunters won't want to miss the lineup of incredible talent.  Appearing Friday and Saturday is Tim Andrus, Realtree television star, who will present seminars on deer hunting.  Also appearing Friday and Saturday is Steve Hickoff, popular contributor to Outdoor Life Magazine.  Hickoff will "talk turkey," sharing his expertise on hunting these wily game birds.

See, winter can be fun. 

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January 4, 2008

Appraising Antiques or Attic Treasures

Winter blues?  Drop by Kittery Trading Post’s (KTP) annual Sporting Antiques Appraisal Fair on Saturday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  KTP will have a big room full of experts offering exhibits and free appraisals.  The Northeast Big Buck Club (NBBC) will also be on hand exhibiting, measuring, and scoring deer racks.

The Sporting Antiques Appraisal Fair is always a great opportunity to clean some gear out of the hayloft or attic, to find out what that old musket is really worth, and to decide whether Grandpa’s split bamboo fly rod needs to be added to the insurance policy.  The appraisers will be showing antiques from their own collections, the NBBC will have a number of record racks to check out, and it’s intriguing to see the treasures people bring in for appraisal.  You’ll find it well worth a trip down to Kittery for this lively and enjoyable event – there’s a little something for everyone, and it’s a great reason to get out of the house in the heart of New England’s winter! - Antique firearms appraisal by John Barnovski and a team of KTP experts - Antique fishing gear (fly and conventional) appraisal by Dan Leroux, Santé Giuliani and friends (National Fishing Lure Collectors Club) - Waterfowl decoys, decorative bird carvings, sporting art, paintings and etchings with Jim Cullen - Trophy deer rack exhibit and scoring with the Northeast Big Buck Club - Appraisal and identification of collectable hunting and military knives with David Michniewicz - Antique camping gear, ice fishing and outdoor recreation ephemera appraisal by Harold Porter, America’s #1 Coleman® collector. 

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