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New This Week & Where To Find It

Bass Pro Shops 2015 Easter Event
EVENTS

2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship Photos
PHOTOS

Huge Field Competes in 2015FLW College Fishing National Championship
NEWS

Tenzing: The Best for your Binos
PRODUCTS

Long Beard XR Packs A MAGNUM Punch
PRODUCTS

Wildlife Museum and Aquarium Announcement
NEWS

Coastal wetlands loss costly and continuing
REPORTS>DU NEWS

Wilson Sporting Goods Acquires Louisville Slugger Line from Hillerich & Bradsby
NEWS

TWRA Deer Rally Photos
PHOTOS

Plano Top Brand with Fish-Heads
PRODUCTS

Chris Lane Makes Midday Adjustment To Claim Elite Series Victory
NEWS

Hunter Safety Systems Introduces Nite & Day Trail Markers
PRODUCTS

Interviews from March 21, 2015
VIDEO/INTERVIEWS FROM THE MARCH 21st, 2015 SHOW

Avery Outdoors Announcements
REPORTS

Watch, Listen and Adapt for Season-Long Turkey Hunting Success
EDITORIAL

Strike King adds Jamey Caldwell to Pro Staff
NEWS

Special Screenings of “JERUSALEM 3D” return to IMAX (Chattanooga)
EVENTS

Golf Course Architect Gil Hanse and Mossy Oak Join Forces
NEWS

Gulf States Unveil Solution to Red Snapper Management
NEWS

Interviews from March 14, 2015
VIDEO/INTERVIEWS FROM MARCH 14, 2015

Man Uses Classic Mepps® Lure to Catch Giant Record Trout
NEWS

TWRA Announcements
REPORTS

St. Jude Bass Classic Website
EVENTS

The Mississippi Wildlife Federation Camo Coalition
NEWS

"The Wildrose Way" Workshops
EVENTS

Bartlett Hills BC Wild Game Supper
PHOTOS

The 2015 Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship Approaches
NEWS

Kayser and Krahn to join Deer & Deer Hunting TV
NEWS

Golden Rhode Again; U.S. Women’s Skeet Team Dominates Again with Gold, Silver, 6th & Olympic Quota
NEWS

New Position Announcements at Avery Outdoors, Inc.
NEWS

Ready, Set, Wear It! Life Jacket World Record Day
NEWS

USACE Public Meeting News Release
NEWS

DU Crawfish Boil
EVENTS

When Tagged Animals Play Tag With Kids
EVENTS

Steve McCadams Kentucky Lake Fishing Report
REPORTS

What's Happening at Discovery Park
EVENTS

The Avid Angler’s Wonder Rod
PRODUCTS

Sports & Boat Show pix
PHOTOS

Upcoming Deer Rallies
EVENTS

Larry and Ron Tour DU, Bass Pro
PHOTOS

Arkansas: A Century of Conversation
JUST BECAUSE

Bill Dance gives a Tour of Bass Pro Pyramid
JUST BECAUSE

Lew's & Missouri FOP in fundraiser for wounded Springfield police officer
EVENTS

Plano's Perfect Tackle Bag for Combat Fishing
PRODUCTS

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OLR Countdown to the Classic Contest

Pick the winner of the 2015 Bassmaster Classic and their total catch weight, rounded to 10ths/lb. (Ex. 40.25 lbs.) The contest winner will receive a fishing tackle package worth over $600. Entry deadline is February 19th. One entry per person. In the event of a tiebreaker, the earliest entry received wins. The winner will be announced on the February 28th airing of "Outdoors with Larry Rea"

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The Show

"Outdoors with Larry Rea" is in its 14th year on the air, broadcasting from Entercom Studios in Memphis, TN. The show's host, Larry Rea, is an expert in Outdoors media, having been the Outdoors Editor for the Memphis Commercial Appeal prior to his move into radio. The show, as well as its website, www.lroutdoors.com, has consistently won awards for excellence in broadcasting, most recently at the annual Southeastern Outdoors Press Association conference. Airing on Saturday mornings, the show features a broad list of segments, including interviews with the most interesting and accomplished Outdoorsmen and women in the U.S. and beyond, but offers a local flavor as well. Larry and his team of show contributors cover the latest news, reports, products and events. In addition to the radio booth, the show hits the road to cover some of the most prestigious events in the industry, such as the Bassmaster Classic, the National Field Dog Trials and more.
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The Mississippi Wildlife Federation Camo Coalition

The Mississippi Wildlife Federation wants to partner with citizens of Mississippi who care about conservation, wildlife, and fisheries so we can better our state for generations to come.
Camo Coalition is a network of sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts from across Mississippi dedicated to ensuring that all Mississippians – present and future – will have the opportunity to enjoy hunting, fishing and outdoor recreational opportunities without those rights being threatened. 
The new and improved Camo Coalition will keep you informed on wildlife and conservation issues at the federal, state and local levels so you’ll be able to receive breaking news and respond with a new level of effectiveness.
The Camo Coalition monitors state and federal legislation as well as regulatory proposals from natural resource agencies and organizations that could benefit or harm wildlife conservation here at home.  The Coalition provides you with the facts and access to decision makers so that you can act quickly to make an impact on issues related to hunting, fishing and the great outdoors.
Through this FREE, easy-to-use tool, we can now share your feelings with our representatives on a district-by-district basis. Once you are signed in, you can read details on pending wildlife and conservation legislation that affects you as a sportsman or outdoor enthusiast. You can also vote and comment on that legislation before your representatives cast a vote on it.
So, join forces with your fellow sportsmen and women and make your voice heard on the issues that have a direct impact on you and the things you hold dear. You can sign up by going to www.mswildlife.org and clicking on Camo Coalition.

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Strike King adds Jamey Caldwell to Pro Staff

Collierville, Tenn.— Strike King Lure Company Chief Operating Officer Allan Ranson, announces the addition of Jamey Caldwell of Carthage, NC to the Strike King national pro staff. “I have known Jamey for 5 years and it is rare to find someone who puts as much energy and effort into whatever he is doing to be the best that he can be,” says Ranson. “He is an expert on technology and all the equipment used for fishing, and has lots of experience with product development. He is an accomplished angler, is great at giving seminars and is active on all forms of social media.”
Caldwell
Becoming a bass pro is a second career and a dream for Jamey. In December 2014, he retired from a 21-year career in the U.S. Army. Most of his first 7 years were in the 75th Ranger Regiment, before spending 14 years in an Elite Special Operations unit at Ft. Bragg, NC. The majority of his career was spent fighting the War on Terror. He was too humble to share, but Strike King says his official military records state that Caldwell was deployed 14 times to various theaters for combat operations. He received 8 Bronze Stars (2 with valor), 3 Defense Meritorious Service Medals, 1 Meritorious Service Medal, 2 Army Commendation Medals (1 with valor), 16 other medals and 11 other awards, as well as a long list of training courses and expertise in many areas. After being a Tier One Operator for so long, he is now ready to pick up a fishing rod full time.
“The characteristics of the men that achieve this highest level of military training and achievement uniquely position them for success at whatever they chose to do. They have the drive, smarts and energy to win,” says Ranson. “I have seen Jamey take these traits into his fishing, even win a tournament right after a deployment on which he did his pre-fish planning while in Iraq! He was infectious energy and is fun to be around. We want to help him fulfill his dream and know that he will be a tough competitor and a great ambassador for our company. This year, he will be fishing the Southern and Northern B.A.S.S. Opens with the hopes of qualifying for the ELITES. ‘Elite’ is a good word to describe Jamey, so I expect it to happen!”
Says Caldwell, “While serving in a special operations unit, I was provided with the best tools available to do my job. Now, Strike King is arming me with the best lures on the market to fish at the Elite level. It is a great privilege to be part of such an amazing company and I am honored to represent them. The road to the Elite series is not going to be an easy one, but nothing I have chosen to do in life has been easy.”
For more information on Strike King products, visit www.strikeking.com or your preferred fishing tackle retailer.

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Wildlife Museum and Aquarium Announcement

Springfield, Mo. – Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops and leading conservationist, in partnership with noted conservationists from around the world, has unveiled plans behind America's Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri, envisioned as the most elaborate conservation attraction of its kind for fish and wildlife conservation. Scheduled to open in spring 2016, the 315,000-square-foot educational experience will consist of multiple thematic attractions and exhibits on a scale unlike anything else in the world.
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Ready, Set, Wear It! Life Jacket World Record Day

On May 16, 2015, boating safety educators, marine enforcement officials, politicians, media, and the general public will gather across North America and throughout the world to try to beat the 2014 world record of 6,973 life jackets worn and inflatable life jackets inflated. Ready, Set, Wear It! Life Jacket World Record Day aims to raise public awareness of the importance of life jacket wear and general boating safety practices. The event is being done to officially launch National Safe Boating Week, which run from May 16 – 22 this year. This timing positions the campaign just before the Memorial Day weekend, the "unofficial start of summer" when in the upper states the water is dangerously cold and throughout America, historically, a large number of boating incidents occur. Ready, Set, Wear It! events, including inflations of the life jackets makes great TV and photo opportunities, but it is just the beginning of the Wear It! message. The purpose of the event and the yearlong campaign is to raise public awareness of the importance of life jacket wear and general boating safety practices. The event is coordinated by the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) in partnership with the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) along with their respective members and affiliated organizations. Local events will be held by marine enforcement officers and boating safety educators who will engage the public, politicians, and you, the media, the participate. Many of these events are expected to take place at government buildings (the states of your state capital, city hall, etc.), popular ramps or marinas, and popular retail stores like Cabela's and West Marine. A complete list of the venues and event coordinators is posted at www.ReadySetWearIt.com so you can find a location that will serve your audience. Simply go to the "View a Location" and find an event closest to you. The organizer's contact information can be found there and you can simply drop them an email and let them know you'd like to cover the story and maybe even join in. To document each Ready, Set, Wear It! Life Jacket World Record event, pictures and videos will be taken by the event coordinators and posted to www.ReadySetWearIt.com. Once the numbers have been accumulated, the official number of participants will be posted to the website. We hope to beat the record set in 2014 of 6,973 participants! Please take a few moments to explore the information on the website to garner some background on life jackets and the different options that are available, such as inflatable life jackets. It is proven that life jackets save lives and now, with so many styles and colors, there is no reason not to find one that is comfortable and fashionable enough to wear whenever you're on the water.
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Huge Field Competes in FLW College Fishing National Championship

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – A huge field of 194 college teams launched Friday morning on Kentucky Lake, shattering the record to become the largest collegiate fishing tournament ever held. Once the final ounce had been tallied Saturday evening, the University of Arkansas team of Zachary Pickle of South Lake, Texas, and, Drew Porto of Colleyville, Texas, were named champions of the inaugural FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. The Razorback duo brought five bass weighing 21 pounds, 15 ounces to the scale for a two-day total of 10 bass totaling 43 pounds, 12 ounces. The victory earned the club a new Ranger Z117 boat with a Mercury or Evinrude outboard engine and a berth into the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

"I never thought we were going to win it," said Porto, a senior majoring in Marketing. "I knew we had enough weight to push us into the top 10, but I never thought we would come out with a victory."

"We were pretty nervous up on stage," said Pickle, a freshman majoring in Agricultural Business. "I had lost a couple of three- or four-pounders during the tournament so I was hoping that it wouldn't come back to haunt us."

The freshman's mishap didn't hurt the duo as the two went on to win the tournament by fishing the Big Sandy River area, where the fish were active along 30 yards of chunk rock and a creek channel bend.

"We were dialed in on the exact 30-yard stretch both days. We just went back and forth along the rocks at a consistent pace," said Porto. "During practice I found the water was warmer there – about 53 degrees. After 20 casts, I had put three fish weighing around five pounds each in the livewell. I knew we would have to return there during the tournament."

The anglers said that they caught 12 keepers in the tournament, all coming on a black chartreuse-colored Xcalibur XCS Square Lip Silent Crankbait. 

"The bait worked perfectly in that warmer water," said Pickle. "The bass were right where we wanted them. This whole week was really exciting."

The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship are:

1st: University of Arkansas — Zachary Pickle, South Lake, Texas, and Drew Porto, Colleyville, Texas, (10 bass, 43-12)
2nd: University of Alabama — Konnor Kennedy and Ethan Flack, both of Cullman, Ala., (10 bass, 43-5)
3rd: University of Illinois — Qiurun Chen, Urbana, Ill., and Luke Stoner, Pekin, Ill., (10 bass, 43-0)
4th: Northwest Missouri State University — Andrew Nordbye, Saint Joseph, Mo., and Adam Almohtadi, Blue Springs, Mo., (10 bass, 41-14)
5th: Bethel University — Joseph Huggins, Ovieda, Fla., and Ty Dyer, Lexington, Tenn., (10 bass, 38-1)
6th: Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville — Dalton Wesley, Worden, Ill., and Zach Hartnagel, Edwardsville, Ill., (10 bass, 37-4)
7th: Bethel University — Kristopher Queen, Catawba, N.C., and Grant Rutter, Dillsburg, Pa. (10 bass, 36-2)
8th: Bethel University — Alec Piekarski, Greenfield, Wis., and Kyler Chelminiak, Franklin, Wis., (10 bass, 34-9) 
9th: University of Tennessee-Chattanooga — Patrick Hoskins, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Dillon Falardeau, Slatersville, R.I., (10 Bass, 34-6) 
10th: Iowa State University — Zac Beek, Bloomington, Minn., and Zachary Hartley, Minneapolis, Minn., (nine bass, 32-14)

Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com. 

This FLW College Fishing Open was hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. The next event for FLW College Fishing anglers is a Central Division event scheduled for April 11 at Table Rock Lake in Kimberling City, Missouri, and is hosted by the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce.

FLW College Fishing teams compete in qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top fifteen teams from each regular-season tournament will qualify for one of five Conference Championship tournaments. The top ten teams from each of the five Conference Championship tournaments, along with the top-10 teams from the FLW College Fishing Open, will advance to the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing. Visit FLWFishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.
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Wilson Sporting Goods Acquires Louisville Slugger Line from Hillerich & Bradsby

CHICAGO and LOUISVILLE, KY -- This is a historic day in the baseball and softball business. Wilson®, the Official Glove of Major League Baseball® (MLB) will now take the field with Louisville Slugger®, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball. Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a division of Amer Sports Corporation, and Louisville Slugger, a division of Hillerich & Bradsby, Co., (H&B), announced Monday that Wilson has acquired global brand, sales and innovation rights to Louisville Slugger from H&B. The deal is pending H&B shareholder approval. 
Under the terms of the agreement, H&B will become Wilson's exclusive manufacturing partner for wood bats. H&B will manufacture all Louisville Slugger-branded MLB, Minor League Baseball, amateur player and souvenir wood bats for Wilson. H&B will continue to manufacture wood bats at the Company's downtown Louisville factory. 

H&B will also maintain ownership and continue to operate the highly successful Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and Gift Shop, a cornerstone of the city's tourism business. H&B's Bionic Gloves division and Powerbilt golf brand are not part of the agreement with Wilson.

"The decision to sell the Louisville Slugger brand was a difficult and serious one to make. The Hillerich family, and those closest to the brand, firmly believes that a new business model is necessary to realize the enormous potential of this brand in the future," said John A. Hillerich IV, Chief Executive Officer of H&B. "We recognized from our first conversation with Wilson that they would be a great partner and steward of the brand our family created and so many have nurtured for 131 years."

"The Wilson brands - Wilson, DeMarini and ATEC - all have great presences in baseball and softball," Hillerich continued. "Wilson has the financial resources, research and development staff and structure, and the experience with big brands to create great synergy and grow the Louisville Slugger business, ensuring that it will remain synonymous with baseball for decades to come."

"We are excited to welcome Louisville Slugger into the Wilson family. Growing our baseball and softball business globally is a key business strategy, and H&B has created one of the most recognizable baseball brands in the world," said Mike Dowse, President of Wilson Sporting Goods, Co. "We believe Louisville Slugger will enrich our company significantly, enhance our baseball and softball product offering at all levels of the game, and ensure we are delivering only the best performance products to athletes of every age."

Wilson will market and sell Louisville Slugger-branded products through its baseball and softball business unit. The Company currently manufactures and sells high performance gloves, bats, uniforms, apparel, protective gear, accessories, and player development equipment and training tools through its Wilson, DeMarini and ATEC brands. Like its DeMarini brand, Wilson will market and sell Louisville Slugger as a stand-alone brand, similar to how it is sold today.

For the industry and baseball, fastpitch and slowpitch softball players, the Wilson and Louisville Slugger agreement greatly accelerates new research and technology initiatives and product development to support every type and level of baseball and softball player. 

Wilson intends to grow the Louisville Slugger brand domestically and abroad utilizing its R&D, sourcing, distribution, and sales and marketing infrastructure, and the deep global resources of its parent company Amer Sports.
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Gulf States Unveil Solution to Red Snapper Management

From Fishing Tackle Retailer magazine March 16, 2015

Washington, D.C. — In a move long-awaited by the recreational fishing and boating community, the directors of the state fish and wildlife agencies from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas announced an agreement for state-based management of Gulf of Mexico red snapper, which in recent years has experienced increasing privatization of this public resource and decreasing recreational fishing opportunities. The announcement was greeted with strong enthusiasm from the recreational fishing and boating community, which has supported greater state control of Gulf red snapper.

“Throughout the country, states have proven to be highly successful at fish and wildlife management in a way that conserves natural resources while allowing for reasonable public access,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “The Gulf states are among the nation’s leaders in marine fisheries management, which is why we have continued to look to them as the vehicle for managing Gulf red snapper going forward to get us out of the current mess created by federal mismanagement.”

Gulf of Mexico red snapper is presently managed by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, under the National Marine Fisheries Service. The states’ agreement, which is predicated on transferring management authority away from the Council, describes the key elements of a plan in which the Gulf states would coordinate management of red snapper throughout the Gulf of Mexico through the proposed Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority.

“Coordinated management among the states is the only solution to an unaccountable federal system of fisheries management,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “Faced with an untenable situation, the states have risen to the challenge and collectively identified a clear path to a more balanced fishery.”

Under this management structure, each state would have authority to manage red snapper out to 200 miles off its coastline. Each state would be responsible for developing and implementing a red snapper management plan for its waters, which would be approved by the rest of the states.

“We have long pushed for the states to take over Gulf red snapper, but until now, we haven’t had a detailed plan for what state-based management would look like,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “Under this approach, we are confident that management outcomes will begin to align with the health of the resource and anglers’ access to it.”

“Gulf red snapper is incredibly important to the economy of coastal communities throughout the Gulf of Mexico region, and attracts anglers from all across the country,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. “It’s abundantly clear that the states are best equipped to manage this valuable fishery. It’s time we give them that opportunity.”

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Kayser and Krahn to join Deer & Deer Hunting TV

IOLA, Wis.— Veteran deer hunters Mark Kayser and Gordy Krahn will join the top-rated Deer & Deer Hunting TV show when it returns to NBC Sports later this year. The show will not only feature a prestigious lineup of hosts, it will include some of the best whitetail behavior footage aired on television.
Now entering its 11th season, Deer & Deer Hunting was the No. 1 prime-time hunting show on NBC Sports for the most recently completed season. An extension of America's first and foremost whitetail magazine, D&DH-TV focuses on hardcore whitetail hunting tactics, deer hunting behavior, biology and research. The objective of each episode is to educate whitetail enthusiasts so they can become better hunters and land managers.
This year, the show will be cohosted by four of the most recognizable whitetail authorities in North America:

Mark Kayser. Kayser is one of the country's most respected whitetail hunters on television. He obtained a journalism degree from South Dakota State University and worked with the South Dakota Department of Tourism. Kayser has been published in nearly every major outdoor publication on the market and has also had a long career in outdoors television with credits on Whitetail Revolution, The Versus Whitetail Challenge, Ultimate Big Buck Zone, North American Hunter, Tales of the Hunt, and scores of others.

Gordy Krahn. Krahn is an avid rifleman and bowhunter with more than 40 years of experience. Now editor for Deer & Deer Hunting, he grew up in a small community in northern Minnesota where he spent his youth hunting and trapping. He has hunted big and small game across the United States and Canada as well as South America, Mexico, Africa and most recently Russia, where he killed a giant coastal brown bear. As editor-in-chief for North American Hunter magazine for 15 years, he co-hosted its North American Hunter-TV and Tales of the Hunt TV shows.

Steve Bartylla. Bartylla is one of North America's most experienced trophy whitetail hunters and private-land deer managers. With more than 20 years of professional experience, Bartylla has devised successful deer hunting and management plans for large and small properties across the country. A full-time outdoor journalist for more than 30 years, Bartylla's work has appeared in such magazines as Deer & Deer Hunting, North American Whitetail, Buckmasters and Whitetail Journal. He has also authored numerous books on deer hunting tactics and land management techniques. Bartylla's national deer hunting seminars have attracted more than 100,000 attendees over the years.

Dan Schmidt. Schmidt has appeared on D&DH-TV since its inception. He is editor-in-chief of Deer & Deer Hunting magazine, where he has been on staff for more than 20 years. He is an expert on whitetail behavior and hunting tactics, and has also specialized in the study of deer biology, physiology, scientific research and herd management. Schmidt was recently named in a Twitter poll as one of the "Top 10 Tweeters in the Hunting Industry." He is a voting member of the Archery Hall of Fame and a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association.


For more on the show and the Deer & Deer Hunting brand, please visit www.deeranddeerhunting.com

About Deer & Deer Hunting
Deer & Deer Hunting gives outdoor enthusiasts who hunt white-tailed deer must-know information, from deer behavior to rut predictions. The brand's magazine success spawned the outdoors television shows Deer & Deer Hunting TV, aired on NBC Sports Outdoors; Land of Whitetail aired on The Pursuit Channel and Destination Whitetail airing on The Sportsman Channel. Deer & Deer Hunting also produces groundbreaking software programs, numerous books and educational media. Visit www.deeranddeerhunting.com for more information. Deer & Deer Hunting is an imprint of F+W, A Content + eCommerce Company
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Chris Lane Makes Midday Adjustment To Claim Elite Series Victory

March 22, 2015
 
Chris Lane Makes Midday Adjustment To Claim Elite Series Victory

ORANGE, Texas — Chris Lane left the City of Orange Boat Ramp Sunday morning with a clear game plan in mind.

He was going to make a lengthy run upriver to the grassy canals and ditches where he had caught the majority of his fish during the first three days of the Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River presented by STARK Cultural Venues. But if the fish were no longer biting there due to the heavy rains that fell across the region Saturday, he was going back downriver to win or lose the event on the main body of the Sabine.

He stuck to the plan, bailing on the suddenly unproductive areas upriver around 12:30 p.m. and traveling back to the Sabine to finish a five-bass limit that weighed 10 pounds, 6 ounces. The weight gave him a four-day mark of 50-0, earning him his seventh victory on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail and a winner’s check for $100,000.

Lane is the first angler to lead all four days of an Elite Series event since Brandon Palaniuk did it on the St. Lawrence River in 2013.

“I just kept wondering if the water was clear up there where I had been catching them,” Lane said. “I ran all the way up there, and all I caught were two keepers and a bunch of short fish. I finally just decided that I couldn’t make those fish bite, and I wasn’t going to lose the tournament right there.”

The run back downriver produced three bass that helped Lane fill his five-fish limit and one more that allowed him to cull for added weight.

“Experience really gave me a confident attitude about coming back downriver,” Lane said. “I caught two fish down here on back-to-back casts late Saturday, and I knew there were fish here. That was a real confidence builder.”

The decision to change locations was one of several good ones made by Lane during a week he owned from start to finish.

He targeted shallow spawning fish most of the week and caught the majority of his weight on a new plastic bait called a “Live-Motion Drop Dead Craw” from Luck-E-Strike. It’s so new, in fact, that he only had about 25 to last the entire week.

“When you’re catching five or six nonkeepers and you go through four or five baits, you have to make a decision,” Lane said. “You have to decide if you want to just keep using them until they’re all gone or save some for later in the week. I ended up having just enough.”

As the week drug on, Lane said he put added pressure on himself to pull off the rare wire-to-wire victory.

“With a 2-pound lead going into today on a place like this — where I knew 10 pounds would probably carry me in — I wanted to put pressure on myself,” Lane said. “I didn’t want to go out there and just think I was going to catch them or just give it away because it was muddy. I wanted to finish the deal.”

With other anglers from the top of the leaderboard fading on the final day, Lane’s closest competition came from Mike McClelland. The Arkansas pro, who started Sunday in fourth place, caught 13-1 and finished the event in second with 46-0.

He caught his fish by making a 228-mile boat run, round-trip, to Galveston Bay and back each day. He burned 80 gallons of gas per day and arrived back at the City of Orange Boat Ramp on Saturday with only four seconds to spare.

“The fastest I could make the run was two hours,” McClelland said. “On Saturday when it was so rough, it took me two hours, 47 minutes. It was absolutely brutal. That was the day I made it back with four seconds to spare after running 114 miles.”

Aaron Martens, who entered Sunday in second place, managed only four bass that weighed 6-15 and finished third with 44-8. He used a pattern very similar to Lane’s for most of the week, targeting shallow spawning fish in narrow, grass-lined ditches and canals.

“I had my fifth fish on about eight times, but I never put it in the boat,” Martens said. “I probably had more than 20 bites. It was really frustrating, but this is a great fishery that’s going to keep getting better and better.”

The remainder of the Top 12 was as follows: Brandon Lester (43-2), Greg Hackney (42-14), John Crews (41-9), Shaw Grigsby (39-9), Scott Rook (37-12), Todd Faircloth (36-7), Justin Lucas (36-2), Keith Poche (34-15) and Micah Frazier (31-10).
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Renowned Golf Course Architect Gil Hanse and Outdoor Brand
Icon Mossy Oak Join Forces to Create a One-of-a-Kind
Nature's Golf Experience in the Southeast

WEST POINT, Mississippi  - The George Bryan family, founders of Old Waverly Golf Club, announced today that it has joined two forces of nature - golf course architect Gil Hanse and outdoor brand Mossy Oak - to create a truly unique new golf experience with the highest detail in nature preservation.
 
Mossy Oak Golf Club is set to open in 2017 in West Point, Mississippi, and will feature a 7,400 yard, par-72 golf course, a clubhouse and guest cabins to accommodate golf travelers. Together, Hanse, Mossy Oak, the George Bryan family and 76 founding members are creating a new premier golf destination experience that will be known as Nature's Golf, a sustainable and mindful approach to course development that leaves a gentle footprint on the local habitat while delivering a world-class golf experience.
 
"Nature's Golf is a perfect complement to Hanse's minimalist approach to course design and a logical extension of the Mossy Oak brand," said George Bryan and Toxey Haas, co-founders of Mossy Oak Golf Club. "The lay of the land and depth of the untouched prairie will guide the development of this new course and inform fairway routings, to the point of utilizing existing ridge views for the final green complexes on which legendary putts will be made."
 
Many great courses are equally recognized for their natural beauty and minimalistic design, but few have delivered a 360-degree nature experience from course design and development, native landscaping, management techniques, irrigation strategies and the player experience.  Not only will Mossy Oak be the namesake for this new course, but its team of experts are partnering with Hanse to physically prepare the land for course development and guide the selection of native grasses, wildflowers, plants and trees to be used in the project.
 
"Mossy Oak is an iconic thought-leader in the outdoor industry and I've admired the approach that they have taken towards preservation and the love of the outdoors," said Hanse. "We are excited to learn from each other and innovate in the way we approach the design of the overall golf experience. We believe that the outdoor enthusiast and avid golf traveler share a common love of nature, and the inherent qualities in this site will allow us toseek to create the ultimate in Nature's Golf."
 
For the last three decades, Mossy Oak has been pioneering new techniques to help land owners manage the process of growing and maintaining natural habitats. Mossy Oak has grown from a leader in outdoor camouflage print into a family of recognized brands that enable people to live their best lives outdoors. The company's Mossy Oak Properties is a leader in enabling land owners to secure prime recreational and hunting land. ThroughGamekeepers, Mossy Oak delivers thought leadership in not only preserving and restoring natural habitats, but also in establishing native vegetation to nurture the survival of local game wildlife. Its Nativ Nurseries incorporates superior root-system growth strategies to produce hearty vegetation that enable reforestation and habitat preservation.
 



"The person who invests in time and energy into proper land ownership and the experiences of nurturing wildlife in some of the world's top habitats is often a golf enthusiast," said Mossy Oak founder Toxey Haas. "Based on our research, golf is the top crossover athletic sport among outdoorsmen, and we see this as a unique opportunity for Mossy Oak Golf Club and the development of Nature's Golf."
 
In addition to the new golf club, Hanse has designed the practice facility to serve as the official home for the Mississippi State University men's and women's golf teams. The facility includes a five-green driving range, short-game training areas and a 16,000 square foot putting green formed into the shape of the State of Mississippi.

The first phase also features a 6,400-square foot team clubhouse with locker rooms, players' lounge, coaches' offices, indoor putting center (with SAM PuttLab training system), exercise room and conference room. Construction is expected to be completed in 2015.
 
The project will also feature a 2,400-square foot indoor hitting bay, equipped with two Trackman swing and ball flight analysis systems and a club repair room which will be constructed in 2015.
 
"We are honored and privileged to receive the generosity of our supporters and the partnership of Mossy Oak and Mr. Bryan to make this truly amazing practice facility a reality for our program," said Ginger Brown-Lemm, women's golf head coach for Mississippi State University.
 
"This facility is a program changer for us and we are overjoyed by the partnership and vision of both Mossy Oak Golf Club and Gil Hanse to make our dream a reality," said Clay Homan, men's golf head coach at Mississippi State University.
 
Mossy Oak Golf Club is adjacent to Old Waverly Golf Club of Mississippi, one of the premier golf courses in the Southeast and home to the 1999 Women's U.S. Open and 2014 ISPS Handa Cup. The George and Marcia Bryan family have owned and operated the private club since its creation in 1988. The membership has stretched beyond West Point, Mississippi, to include people from a 200-mile radius around the South, and the family sees the addition of Mossy Oak Golf Club contributing to the positive economic impact for the region. The new course will become an extension of the Old Waverly Golf Club, with opportunities for guests to stay and play at both championship courses.
 
About Mossy Oak
Mossy Oak is one of today's iconic outdoor brands. With beginnings as a maker of camouflage print for hunting, Mossy Oak has grown into a family of brands that address the full spectrum of preserving, caring for and living your best life outdoors. Today, Mossy Oak includes Mossy Oak Gamekeepers, a membership club that serves as a thought leader in preserving and nurturing natural habitat and wildlife; Mossy Oak Properties, a real estate company that helps land owners find and preserve natural habitats; Nativ Nurseries, a horticultural company that shares root-system growth strategies and plant varieties with land owners nationwide; and Mossy Oak Biologic, a supplier of wildlife feed products sold through traditional retail outlets. Mossy Oak Productions and Moose Media have become one of the nation's largest independent outdoor segment production companies. Mossy Oak produces and directs the popular Outdoor Channel series "Hunting the Country," which appears weekly on the cable network. For further information, visit www.mossyoak.com.
 
About Hanse Golf Course Design
Hanse Golf Course Design was formed in 1993 by Gil Hanse and joined in 1995 by partner and Vice President, Jim Wagner. Headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania, the firm has dedicated its professional practice to the hands-on creation and restoration of some of the finest golf facilities in the world by creating golf courses that are fun and interesting to both professional and recreational golfers. In 2009, Hanse was elected "Architect of the Year" by GOLF Magazine and in the same year his Castle Stuart golf course in Scotland was considered to be "the Best New International Course." He has since designed recognized golf courses such as the Blue Monster Course at the Trump National Doral, Miami, and in 2012, Hanse Golf Course Design was selected to build the Olympic Games Golf Course for the 2016 games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil by the Rio 2016 Organising Committee. For further information, visit www.hansegolfdesign.com.
 
About Old Waverly Golf Club
Considered one of the premier golf clubs in the South, Old Waverly was founded in 1988 by the George and Marcia Bryan family. Designed by Jerry Pate and Bob Cupp amidst the rolling hills and natural lakes outside West Point, Mississippi, Old Waverly is an 18-hole, 7,200 yard, par 72 championship golf course. The club has been the host of many USGA amateur qualifiers, the 1999 Women's U.S. Open and the LPGA Legends Tour 2014 ISPS Handa Cup. For further information, visitwww.oldwaverly.com.
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Arkansas Outdoors

Today’s topics:
 
Commission hears proposals on hunting regulations
LITTLE ROCK – During the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s March meeting, Commissioners received a briefing on the public response from hunting regulations the agency has proposed.
More than 12,800 people have responded to the public input survey. During last year’s public input survey period, more than 7,200 people provided online feedback on proposed regulations. AGFC Commissioner Ken Reeves said the amount and quality of information was impressive. “It’s obvious this has been a great success and we got a tremendous response,” Reeves said.
            Some of the proposals being considered for the 2015-16 season are:
·               Extend archery deer season through the month of January on Freddie Black Choctaw Island WMA Deer Research Area east unit.
·               Move muzzleloader deer season from October to January on Freddie Black Choctaw Island WMA Deer Research Area east unit.
·               Change the boundary lines of White Rock, Piney Creek, Ozark National Forest, Lee Creek, Magazine and Sylamore WMAs. 
·               Prohibit use or possession of alcohol on AGFC-controlled WMAs.
·               Extend the Black River Flood Prone Zone to the Missouri state line.
·               Move bear archery season opener to the last Saturday in September.
·               Split the modern gun bear season in zones 1 and 2 to coincide with the modern gun deer season.
·               Increase bear zone 1 quota from 200 to 250 bears (205 for October and the remainder for November) and remove the quota for bear zone 2.
·               Provide youth only dates during public and private land elk hunts.
To see a complete list of proposed regulations, go to: http://www.agfc.com/enforcement/Documents/GeneralHuntingRegsProposals.pdf. Comments are still being accepted through the online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AGFC2015GeneralHuntingRegs. The Commission will vote on the hunting regulation proposals at its April 16 meeting.
In other business, the Commission:
*Approved two small land transfers to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. One land transfer contained a 1.45-acre tract on the Mike Freeze Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area along Interstate 40 in Prairie County. It also includes a temporary construction easement. Value of the land has been appraised at $3,925 with $600 for the easement. The land will be used for a new I-40 bridge over the White River. Another land transfer involves a 1.74-acre tract on the Freddie Black Choctaw Island WMA. The land is valued at $7,645 with a temporary construction easement at $1,100. The land is part of the land acquisition for the future Interstate 69 project.
*Approved a grant of a surplus trailer to the Northeast Arkansas Affiliate of the Wounded Warrior Project. The trailer will be used to transport wheelchairs and equipment for hunting and fishing events.
*Approved a budget increase of $158,000 for the purchase of two new fish delivery trucks. The trucks will replace two trucks that were purchased in 1998 and have more than 230,000 miles each. The fish tanks on each of the older trucks will be removed and placed on the newly purchased trucks.
*Honored 16 employees for their combined 270 years of service to the AGFC.
*Chris Caldwell, Projects Director for Sen. John Boozman, congratulated the AGFC on its centennial by reading several remarks that were entered into the Congressional Record by the senator.
 
AGFC wildlife officer finds missing Fayetteville child
FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Wildlife Officer Clay Hungate located a missing 3-year-old Thursday, March 19, after the child was reported missing from his Fayetteville home Thursday afternoon.
            Local authorities sent out a call for help from law enforcement and search-and-rescue volunteers to help find the young boy Thursday night.
            “I heard Incident Command over my scanner asking for all available help to respond,” said Hungate. “I radioed Sgt. Rusty Johnson to let him know about the incident, and after a brief conversation with Incident Command, we called other AGFC officers to head our direction and help as well.”
            Once given his search assignment, Hungate joined a local firefighter, Eric Sparks, and a civilian volunteer, Leslie Ramey, to begin their search.
“The amount of people that volunteered to search on such short notice really was inspirational,” Hungate said. “With the amount of area to search, no one person could have located the child so quickly.”
            “We searched several hunting cabins and an abandoned two-story residence before finding the child,” Hungate said. “He was approximately one mile north of his residence and approximately 60 yards into the woods and walking the wrong direction when we spotted him.”      Hungate says when he called the child’s name, the child stopped and looked back.
            “I ran into the woods and picked him up, then came back to the road to call for help,” Hungate said. “I’m happy we were able to locate the youngster before anything bad happened. As far as he was from his home, this could have ended in tragedy.”
 
National survey shows Arkansas deer rankings improving
LITTLE ROCK – Deer in Arkansas are on the increase in terms of numbers and hunter success, according to a national survey by Quality Deer Management Association.
Arkansas is moving up in comparison to other states, the survey also shows.
A significant shift in Arkansas deer hunting has been the achievement of a virtual 50-50 ratio between bucks and does checked by hunters. This has put the state among the top states in the nation in this regard.
The amount of antlerless deer, does and button bucks, killed in Arkansas rose during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 hunting seasons in contrast to a slight decline nationwide. In the 2013-14 season, Arkansas hunters checked 122,067 antlerless deer.
This was tops in the nation in percentage of increase over the last decade. Arkansas hunters checked 187 percent more antlerless deer than 10 years previously. The Arkansas increase was far ahead of any other state. Rhode Island was second with a 96 percent increase in antlerless harvest.
Arkansas ranks third in the nation in age of antlerless deer checked by hunters, according to the QDMA survey. In the 2013-2014 season, 48 percent of Arkansas’s antlerless deer harvested were 3 1/2 years or older, showing an overall trend toward more mature deer. Only Oklahoma and Texas ranked higher in age of antlerless deer.
Arkansas was second in the nation in age of bucks checked by hunters in 2013-14. Bucks 3 1/2 years or older accounted for 67 percent of the buck harvest. Only Louisiana was ahead of Arkansas in this statistic.
“Let the deer get some age on them” has been an objective of the Arkansas Game and Fish commission and many deer clubs and hunters since 1998. Since then, male deer had to have at least three points on one side of their antlers before being legal to take, and the age structure of the entire harvest began to shift.
Arkansas deer hunters continue to take nearly three-quarters of their deer with modern firearms – rifles and shotguns. These amounted to 74 percent of checked deer. Muzzleloaders took 14 percent of Arkansas deer, and archery (including crossbows) took 9 percent. “Other” or unknown methods accounted for 3 percent.
QDMA asked Arkansas to rank the impacts of disease, predation, bad legislation, high deer density, low deer density, too few deer-focused staff members and poaching on its management efforts. Disease, high deer density and too few deer-focused staff members were listed as problems in the state.
“Bad legislation” is not a problem since deer regulations are not under the authority of the state legislature as they are in most other states.
Poaching, meaning illegal hunting, was listed as a moderate problem in Arkansas. Predation and low density in some areas were listed as minor problems.
Arkansas ranks near the middle of states on the issue of minimum fines for poaching. The minimum in Arkansas ranges from $300 to $600, but jail time and restitution are not penalties as they are in a few other states.
 
AGFC wildlife officer graduates FBI National Academy
QUANTICO, VA. – Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Captain Greg Rae of Mt. Ida graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy Program in Quantico, Virginia, March 20. Rae is the first person from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to attend the program since its formation in 1972. 
Rae was one of 220 law enforcement officers to graduate the 259th session of the academy. The class included men and women from 49 states, the District of Columbia, 24 countries, six military organizations and five federal civilian organizations. The program consisted of 10 weeks of advanced investigative, management and fitness training Rae will be able to bring back to Arkansas to share with fellow officers.
“This was the most intense, educational, leadership-oriented law enforcement class I have ever attended,” Rae said. “It’s the premier leadership class anywhere and builds partnerships with local, state and federal agencies and the FBI.”
AGFC Director Mike Knoedl said he’s excited about the knowledge Rae gained and knows it will be put to good use in Arkansas.
“A wildlife officer’s job is very different from just a few decades ago,” Knoedl said. “We’re often called on for search and rescue, drug eradication and many other non-wildlife-related law enforcement efforts because of our knowledge in the outdoors. This training will undoubtedly help Capt. Rae in his future work for the people of Arkansas.”
 
AGFC biologists working to improve Wattensaw WMA
DEVALLS BLUFF – Mike Freeze Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area has a total of 23 miles of roads that are open to vehicle traffic. Between Sept. 1 and Feb. 28 all roads are open for public use. From March 1 to Aug. 31, four miles of road are gated off, but public access to several boat ramps and camping areas remain available. Three roads that are gated include Robinwood, Bethel Cemetery and Oil Well.
AGFC biologists are conducting gobbler surveys and turkey permit hunter surveys to better understand the dynamics of the area’s turkey population. The land behind these three gates represents some of the best turkey nesting, brood rearing and bugging areas on the WMA. AGFC biologists feel strongly that reducing disturbance in these areas during nesting and brood-rearing times, will benefit overall turkey production on this WMA. The gates also will create walk-in areas for the upcoming permit turkey hunt to reduce disturbance and increase the quality of hunts for those who drew permits.
During the last 10 years, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife biologists have worked extremely hard to create high-quality open lands on the WMA and increase the quality of the wildlife habitat. The AGFC has competed for several grants to fund this work, including National Wild Turkey Federation Superfund Grants and State Wildlife Grants. During the last 10 years, more than $100,000 of these funds have been spent to add and enhance more than 150 acres of open land habitat on the WMA, which is an island of bottomland and upland hardwood in an intensive agriculture dominated landscape. 
Currently, the AGFC manages the following acreage of the WMA in open-land habitat annually:
·         There are 525 acres of old field habitat currently managed on a three-year rotation. Sweetgum and persimmon sprouts are prolific on this WMA and a three-year rotation allows the AGFC to control woody sprouts in these old fields.  After each disturbance, annuals such as wheat or oats are planted as a cover crop to reduce erosion and provide browse and cover for wildlife. Due to many of these field systems being converted to hay pastures in the past, Bermuda grass is also a huge problem.  This exotic grass chokes out native plants that are desirable for many wildlife species.
·         The AGFC manages 122 acres as wildlife openings on the WMA, which are planted in perennials. When the White River floods, this WMA plays a vital role as a sanctuary for many wildlife species. Flooding is most common in late winter and early spring, which is a critical period for white-tailed deer and ground-nesting birds. These perennial wildlife openings provide food, cover, nesting habitat and brood-rearing habitat during spring floods.
·         The AGFC currently manages 274 acres on the WMA as native warm-season grass prairies. In 2009, 120 acres of prairies were established through a State Wildlife Grant. All prairies established on the WMA since 2000 have been planted with native seed collected from local small remnant prairie sites near the WMA.
Increased emphasis on open-land habitat, selectively thinning some dense stands of hardwoods and managing through the use of prescribed fire will help turkeys thrive on the WMA. Deer, rabbits, quail, woodcock and other game species also will greatly benefit from this habitat work.
 
 
When spring arrives, white bass get into action
ROLAND – The white bass run may be a little late this year because of recent wintry weather, but fishermen are ready for some fast action.
Several areas have well deserved reputations as hot spots during the spawning run. One is the Maumelle River above Lake Maumelle. Another is the White River above Beaver Lake.  Try any feeder stream above a lake or off a major river, and you are apt to find white bass in abundance. Feeder streams to the Arkansas River are other major white bass destinations.
The statewide daily limit on white bass is 25, and a couple of anglers with limits of nice-sized fish will have a heavy load to take home. The gear used isn’t a major factor, but some fishermen like to use ultralight rigs with 4- or 6-pound line for the fun of fighting rambunctious white bass.
Bait and lures vary widely as well, but most white bass fishermen use lures like silver spoons, small crankbaits and small spinners. White, pearl finish and anything resembling a shad are favored.
The white bass travel up creeks for spawning, so just below shoals and rapids is a good area to seek them. Even culverts under roads across creeks may produce white bass. When a fish is caught, be ready to get it off the hook, and get your lure back into the water. Multiple catches may be possible in a small area.
White bass can make a great meal. Some fishermen like to remove the red streak down the side of the meat, believing that this takes away a strong or “fishy” taste. Others don’t bother and still enjoy a white bass meal. Filleted white bass can be prepared by any method – rolled in corn meal and fried or broiled, baked, added to soup or chowder. You get the idea.
 
Cache River public information meetings scheduled
JONESBORO – Public information meetings have been scheduled in McCrory and Jonesboro by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission to explain the process that will be followed in the development of watershed-based management plans for the lower and upper Cache River.
During the next 16 to 18 months, the agency will develop voluntary watershed-based management plans to help reduce nonpoint pollution. The purpose of these plans is to provide a framework for landowners, communities and qualifying organizations that want to voluntarily participate in the watershed program to be able to apply for grants from ANRC and undertake projects.
The meeting at McCrory will focus on the lower Cache River watershed, downstream of Grubbs, and will be held at 10 a.m., March 30, at the Chappell Civic Center, 103 North Edmonds, which is south of Highway 64, in the downtown area. The Jonesboro Upper Cache River meeting will be the same day at 2 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce, 1709 East Nettleton Ave., and focus on the Cache River watershed upstream of Grubbs.
Each public meeting will last about an hour. Farmers and other watershed landowners, community leaders and representatives of groups and agencies interested in the watershed are encouraged to attend either or both meetings. 
There will be several other public meetings during the development of the Cache River watershed-based management plans. For more information on the process or to add your name to the list to be notified of future meetings, contact Terry Horton at 501-225-7779 or email at twh@ftn-assoc.com.
 
 
Boating education class schedule
Click here for boating education information: http://www.agfc.com/education/Pages/EducationBoating.aspx.
 
Hunter education class schedule
Click here for hunter education information: http://www.agfc.com/education/Pages/EducationHunter.aspx.
 
What’s open for hunting
Click here for hunting season information: http://www.agfc.com/hunting/Pages/HuntingSeasons.aspx.
 
Coming up in the outdoors
Click here for information on programs, meetings and other things to do in the outdoors: http://www.agfc.com/Pages/eventsAll.aspx.
 
For the latest in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission information go to www.agfc.com or call the Wildlife Information Hotline, 800-440-1477.
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JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 3/27/2015

During the past week, we have had several rain events, (a bit less than an inch here in Cotter), warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose one and six tenths feet to rest at one tenth of a foot above seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is thirty five and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose one and one tenth feet to rest at one tenth of a foot above seasonal power pool and fifteen and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose one and four tenths feet to rest at one and four tenths feet below seasonal power pool or eleven feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had brief periods of heavy generation in the morning with several days of wadable water. Norfork Lake rose one and two tenths feet to rest at five tenths of a foot above seasonal power pool of 553.7 feet and twenty five and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had wadable water every day with generation most mornings.

The siphon to accommodate minimum flow on the Norfork is down for repairs. They will be running the generators on a speed-no-load option to make up for the lost siphon flows.

The water level for the top of power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to recent rains, three of the lakes on this system are above seasonal power pool.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam was closed from November 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park was seasonal Catch and Release for the same period. There are redds in the area. They will appear as shallow clean depressions in the gravel. Please avoid them when wading or dragging chains to protect the eggs in them.

On the White, the hot spot was Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (try a prince nymph with a ruby midge or red fan tail midge suspended below it).

Conventional wisdom states that hopper fishing begins in late summer. I reject this idea and fish them all year. I favor shorter leaders (seven and a half foot 3X) and a stiff six weight rod to proper deliver these weighty flies. My favorite flies are Dave’s hoppers (#10) and the western pink lady (#8). To increase hook ups I always use a dropper. I am currently using a ruby or root beer midge in size eighteen on a three foot or longer tippet (depending on the depth of the water I am fishing).

There have been several reliable sightings of caddis hatching. This is our major hatch of the year. They are size fourteen and easy to see. Before the hatch, you should concentrate on fishing prince nymphs. When the trout key on the top but no insects are present, switch over to my green butt. When you observe trout taking adult insects from the top of the water column, you should switch over to elk hair caddis dry flies.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are stained and high. With the weather warming, the smallmouths should be active soon. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

The Norfork River has fished a bit better recently. With the colder weather there was little fishing pressure on the Norfork. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#14, #16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis).The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.

There was more fishing pressure on Dry Run Creek due to spring break. It has been a great time to fish there. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #10). While you are there take a few minutes to visit the adjacent Norfork national Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.

The water on the Spring River is stained and high. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer boats on the river to interfere with your fishing. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

The Sow bug Roundup is this week!

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

STELLAR DAY ON DRY RUN CREEK

BY JOHN BERRY

Last week I had a guide trip with John and his two sons, Jack and Walter. When I first booked this trip with John a couple of months ago, I learned that Walter was fourteen years old. I immediately began discussing the possibility of taking him to Dry Run Creek. John agreed and we decided to spend a half day on the Creek. The trip was to be a spring break trip with a visit to The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Jack’s college choice.

We were scheduled to fish for two days. Whenever I have a two day trip, I try to spend one day on the White River and one day on the Norfork River. That gives my clients a better look at the quality of the fishing that we have here. The first day on the White started a bit slow. We began at Wildcat Shoals and it just wasn’t happening. We loaded up and drove over to Rim Shoals. The fishing was much better there and we ended the day with several fish. All of the guys were competent casters and could set the hook. Walter had the hot hand, which was a good omen for his tour on Dry Run Creek the next day.

We were the first ones on Dry Run Creek the next day. Walter was on fire. He caught fish after fish. We decided to move upstream, to a big fish hole, that I try to hit every time I fish there. With the body count up, we decided to concentrate on landing a trophy. We hit a great rainbow and after a lengthy fight we managed to land the fat twenty five inch male. We landed a few smaller trout and then hit another big Rainbow. Walter fought it for several minutes before it wrapped a big rock and slipped the hook. The next trout was a huge brown that had its way with us for fifteen minutes before slipping the hook. Despite his earlier success, Walter was getting discouraged. Another big fat rainbow changed all of that.

The whole time that Walter was fishing John and Jack were sitting on the bank cheering him on. Around noon we reluctantly left the stream and ate lunch quickly. Jack and John were ready to fish. We drove over to Quarry Park and started fishing. John caught some nice trout but Jack and Walter were struggling. We were fishing near the confluence of Dry Run Creek and The Norfork. I looked up the Creek and realized that Jack could fish there. I moved him up the creek and he was immediately into fish including a couple of twenty five inch rainbows. I move Jack into a more productive spot and he began catching trout.

The action slowed and we drove over to the Ackerman Access and walked up into the Catch and release Section. John and Walter caught several but Jack was struggling. I took him to a better spot and showed him how to fish it. He was soon into a good trout and caught several including a substantial nineteen incher. He had a larger one on but it was uncooperative. Before we knew, it was time to go. It had been a long day.

Dry Run Creek stood out as a remarkable fishery. John assured me that he would tell all of his friends about it.

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THREE NEW MEMBERS JOIN TFWC; LARGEMOUTH BASS RECORD HOLDER VISITS MEETING

NASHVILLE --- The man who broke the state record for a largemouth bass was recognized at the March meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission on Thursday. In addition, the TFWC welcomed three new members.
Gabe Keen was a guest at the meeting and was presented a certificate for his state record catch of 15 pounds, 3 ounces which came Friday, Feb. 13 on Chickamauga Reservoir.
The new mark surpasses the record which had stood since Oct. 17, 1954.  James "Logue" Barnett had the previous long-standing mark of 14 pounds, 8 ounces with his fish caught on Sugar Creek in Lawrence County.
A video was also shown about the history of the previous long-standing record. The video also featured interviews with Keen, TWRA Fisheries Division Chief Bobby Wilson, TWRA Region III Fisheries Biologist Mike Jolley, and members of the Campbell County High School Bass Fishing team which he coaches.
The March meeting was the first for three new commissioners who recently had their appointments confirmed. Kurt Holbert of Decaturville is the new commissioner for District 7 which includes Henry, Carroll, Benton, Henderson, Decatur, Perry, and Hardin counties. Receiving appointments as statewide commissioners were Jeff W. Cook, M.D., of Franklin and Bill Swan, of Dunlap. The meeting was the first led by commission chairman Jim Bledsoe of Jamestown.
A June 2014 flood caused damage to the gates which forced their removal at TWRA’s Carroll Lake in West Tennessee. The lake has remained completely drained.
The commission had asked the TWRA to explore options concerning the lake’s future. TWRA Region I Manager Alan Peterson and TWRA Engineering Division Chief  Dwight Hensley each spoke to the commission and presented the Agency’s options. The commissioner took the options under advisement. TWRA staff will discuss the options with Carroll County government officials and revisit the issue at the TFWC’s April meeting.
Next month’s meeting will return to the regular two-day format. It will be held in Paris on April 23-24 at the Holly Fork Shooting Complex.

RECORD FIELD EXPECTED FOR NINTH ANNUAL NASP STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS APRIL 1-2 IN MURFREESBORO

NASHVILLE --- The Ninth Annual Tennessee National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State Championships will be held April 1-2 (Wednesday-Thursday) at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro.

The NASP State Championships will return to the Miller Coliseum for the sixth consecutive year. A record field of almost 1,800 students is expected to participate by the time the registration concludes. The students will be representing more than 80 schools. Sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), many of the Volunteer State’s best student archers will again participate in this year’s event. The NASP began in Tennessee in 2004 and has seen tremendous growth since its inception.

There will be three divisions. Schools will compete in the elementary, middle school and high school divisions. Awards will be presented to the top teams and individual finishers in each division.

The record field has caused the increase of an additional flight to be added on the first day. Competition will start at 2 p.m. on Wednesday with the first flight and two more flights to follow. On Thursday, there will be six flights with the first flight to begin at 8:30 a.m. and continuing until the final flight starts at 3:30 p.m. The awards ceremony is expected to begin at 5 p.m. The public is welcome and invited to attend. There is no admission charge. Last year, White County won its first state championship crown in the high school division. Rutherford County’s Whitworth Buchanan Middle School and Christiana Elementary were repeat winners in their respective divisions. Tennessee began NASP in late 2004 with 12 pilot schools participating in the program. The number of schools has grown to 282 that now participate in the program. NASP is a two-week curriculum taught during school that teaches International Style Target Archery.

Each student will shoot 30 arrows, 15 from 10 meters and 15 from 15 meters with a maximum score of 300. The top team and top 10 individuals in each division automatically receive a bid to compete in the 2015 National NASP Tournament to be held May 7-9 in Louisville, Ky. There will also be at-large bids for those who qualify.

If a school or teacher is interested in starting a NASP program, please contact Don Crawford, Assistant Chief of Information and Education at Don.Crawford@tn.gov or (615) 781-6542 or Matt Clarey, Regional Training Coordinator in TWRA Region III at Matt.Clarey@tn.gov or (931) 484-9571.

NEW CLASS B STATE FISHING RECORD SET FOR SILVER CARP

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has confirmed a new fishing record for silver carp in Class B (method other than rod and reel) which came from Cheatham Lake.

Connor Edwards, of Cedar Hill, took the fish by archery at Cheatham Lake on March 14 at 10:30 p.m. The fish weighed 36 pounds, 13.92 ounces and was 39 1/2 inches long. The new record fish surpasses the previous record of 36 pounds set in 2013 on Kentucky Lake.

The criteria to be considered for a state record fish and instructions, along with state records and fishing license information are in the 2015-16 TWRA Tennessee Fishing Guide, available where licenses are sold. Information, along with the record fish application, is also available on the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org by clicking on “For Anglers” located on the left side of the home page.

NASHVILLE FROGWATCH SUBJECT FOR NATURE @ NOONTIME PROGRAM

NASHVILLE --- Lisa Powers, founding president of the Tennessee Herpetological Society and co-coordinator for the Nashville Zoo’s FrogWatch Program, will be the featured speaker for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s April Nature @ Noontime.

The program will be held on Thursday, April 2 at the TWRA’s Region II Ray Bell Building located in the Ellington Agriculture Complex.

In addition, Lisa is also a herpetological consultant for Project Noah which explores and documents wildlife. She also works as the North American coordinator for iFrogs, the Indigenous Forest Research Organization for Global Sustainability.

FrogWatch is a citizen science program of the Associations of Zoos and Aquariums. It provides individuals, groups and families with an opportunity to learn about wetlands in their communities and report data on the calls of local frogs and toads. Volunteers collect data during their evenings from February through August and have been submitting data for more than 15 years. Hosted by the Information and Education Division, Nature @ Noontime is held the first Thursday of each month. TWRA Nature @ Noontime presentations are about natural resources related topics and last about 30-45 minutes, allowing time for discussion during the allotted lunch hour. Contact Don King (615) 781-6502 or by e-mail: don.king@tn.gov for more information.

2015 CHEATHAM WMA YOUTH TURKEY HUNT SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 28

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Young Sportsman Foundation, along with the support of local state chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will host a youth-only turkey hunt on Saturday, March 28 at the Cheatham Wildlife Management Area.
The annual hunt is for youth between the ages of 6-16 will be conducted on more than 20,000 acres of prime wild turkey habitat at Cheatham WMA. The hunt provides an opportunity for the young turkey hunter to hunt the WMA on a day that is only open to juveniles.
Participants 10 years and older must have successfully completed the hunter education class and must have the appropriate licenses and permits. In addition, volunteers 18 and older that have turkey hunting skills, are needed to serve as mentors and share the experience of the outing.
There will be a cookout and campout for volunteers and participants on Friday, March 27. Lunch will be provided on Saturday. Door prizes will also be given to the young hunters in attendance.
Registration forms are available on the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org and for assistance and further information any of the following persons can be contacted:

Davidson County        Darren Rider               (615) 781-6669
Dickson County          Mitchell Bailey            (615) 441-1142
Robertson County       Mike Murdock            (615) 696-2775
Williamson County     Donald Hosse             (615) 781-6541
Cheatham WMA         Randy Cromer            (615) 792-4510
Cheatham County       Eric Tummins              (615) 294-5432


ONE DAY COMMISSION MEETING SET FOR MARCH 26 IN NASHVILLE

NASHVILLE --- Jim Bledsoe will lead his first meeting as chairman of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission when it convenes on March 26 at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Ray Bell Region II Building.
The March meeting will be held on one day. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. and the public is invited to attend.
Commissioner Bledsoe moves into the position after serving as vice chairman. The Jamestown resident replaces Jeff Griggs as the commission chairman. Harold Cannon of Lenoir City is the new vice chairman and Jamie Woodson of Lebanon was elected secretary.
Gabe Keen will be a guest that will be introduced to the commission. He will be recognized for catching the new state record for a largemouth bass of 15 pounds, 3 ounces that came at Chickamauga Lake on Feb. 13.
A June 2014 flood caused damage to the gates which forced their removal at TWRA’s Carroll Lake in West Tennessee. The lake has remained completely drained. Several options are available for the lake’s future. TWRA Region I Manager Alan Peterson will present an update of the options to the commission.


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Get Wild at “NatureFEST”-a “Southeast Top 20 Event”

JACKSON—The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks’ Museum of Natural Science will host the 15th Annual NatureFEST event on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.  “This year’s NatureFEST will be a wild world adventure featuring the Wild World of Animals and a BioBlitz Discovery!” says museum director Charles Knight. The event is a festival, a nature outing, and a fascinating Museum trip, all wrapped into one exciting day.  The Southeast Tourism Society (STS) recently recognized NatureFEST as a “Top 20 Event”! According to STS, the best events across the Southeast compete to receive the prestigious “Top 20” designation. The Museum is also the current “Escape to the Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year”!
 
NatureFEST offers a full day of fun for the whole family, including:
·   live exotic animal shows by Wild World of Animals stage master Grant Kemmerer, III
• expert guided behind-the-scenes tours of aquariums, research, and Museum collections
• BioBlitz activities: team up and track down as many local species as possible
• reptile presentations by conservation educator Terry Vandeventer (“The Snake Man”)
• mermaid scuba diver fish feeding in giant aquariums
• nature-themed interactive photo booth (take home a free photo)
• Inky the Clown, Bubbleology, and an aquatic touch tank – plus, much more!
 
Visit www.msnaturalscience.org for activity details, a schedule, and a map, or call 601-576-6000. Food will be available for purchase. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors (60+), and $4 for youth (3-18). Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the door. The Museum is located at 2148 Riverside Drive in Jackson, Mississippi. Follow us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/msnaturalscience or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MSScienceMuseum.
 
For more information regarding conservation in Mississippi, visit us at www.mdwfp.com or call us at 601-432-2400. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.

VEC to Host Fish Predator Program

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Visitor Education Center (VEC) will host a “Fish Predator” program for youth on Saturday, March 14 at 2 p.m.
 
The Fish Predator program gives youth an opportunity to learn about fish and other animals that prey on fish. This program identifies some reptiles, amphibians, and birds whose diets consist primarily of fish. Participants will get the opportunity see skulls, replica eggs, claws, and teeth of some of these predators! 
The program is free with the price of admission. Admission is $2.50 for adults ages 18-59, and $2.00 for youth ages 3-17 and adults over the age of 60. For additional information or to pre-register for the event, call the VEC at (662) 563-8068.
The VEC is part of MDWFP North Mississippi Fish Hatchery and is located adjacent to Enid Reservoir at Exit 233 east off I-55.
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com/fishing-boating or call us at (601) 432-2200. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mdwfpor on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.

2015 Fishing Forecast for Flood Control Reservoirs

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) fisheries biologists predict mixed success in 2015 on the Corps of Engineers’ flood control reservoirs (Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid, and Grenada Lakes), based on sampling completed last fall.
One to two pound largemouth and white bass were abundant in Sardis and Arkabutla Lakes, but the biggest largemouth bass were collected in Enid Lake.  The daily limit on largemouth bass is seven at these lakes, but anglers can keep an unlimited number of white bass.
Blue catfish (white humpbacks) were the most numerous catfish on all lakes except for Enid, and many weighed over 10 pounds.  Cut or whole shad are better baits for blues than typical “catfish stink baits.” Channel catfish were most numerous at Enid Lake.
Black and white crappie had big spawns in 2013 and 2014 on all lakes, but all the fish were under the 12 inch minimum length limit.  Anglers have had good luck the last few years catching white crappie which averaged about 2 pounds, but their numbers have been reduced by harvest.  Weaker spawns in 2010 and 2011 led to few white crappie from 13 – 15 inches.  However, black crappie of that size are plentiful on Sardis and Enid Lakes.  These fish have been surviving by hanging around standing timber and brush tops.  Anglers will have to give up trolling and use a single jig to catch these fish.
MDWFP operates state parks on Sardis, Enid, and Grenada Lakes; book ahead as they fill up quickly during peak fishing times.  Food, lodging, and other amenities are available in Hernando, Batesville, Oxford, Grenada, and other nearly towns.    
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com or call us at (601) 432-2212. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.

MDWFP Announces Pond Management Workshop Schedule

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Fisheries Bureau is conducting 11 pond management workshops during 2015.  The workshops consist of an hour-long presentation and include topics on pond design, fish stocking, harvest, vegetation control, liming, and fertilization. A question-and-answer period will follow.
 
“These workshops allow biologists and private pond owners an opportunity to discuss management options to improve fish populations and habitat,” according to MDWFP Assistant Bureau Director Larry Bull. “We talk to people each year that want to manage their ponds effectively and this is a great way for us to provide how-to information that can help pond owners achieve their goals.” 
 
The complete workshop schedule can be found at www.mdwfp.com under the Pond Assistance tab of the Fishing and Boating page.
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit our website at  www.mdwfp.com or call us at 601-432-2212. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.
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Clagett Talley Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

Pickwick Lake Elevation 410

Water Temp. 55

BASS

Lately I have had several fishing trips that start off slow and then we hit a good area where we start catching fish in the 3-4 pound range. The best way I have found bass has been covering a lot of water fast with a Red Eye Shad or cranking slow with a Strike King Series 3 Crank bait inside coves and along bluffs. The Series 3 in crawfish colored crank baits are in my opinion the best crank bait for this time of year. Keep it slow but keep your boat moving.

White bass

White bass are running strong! I have had several fishing trip lately where the clients wanted to either catch white bass or they would just say they wanted to catch fish in general. With that request I have had no problem catching several white bass. The way to catch them changes slightly. One day last week we caught over 50 on dead crawfish and a red crawfish colored Series 3 Crank Bait. The very next day we caught 50 or more on live crawfish and Series 3 Crank Baits but they would not eat dead crawfish. Today, after trying live crawfish we caught more on the red colored Strike King Series 3 Crank Bait.

Stripers

Stipers are through out the river and lake, it is just hard to fish for them right now. You can occasionally catch some on deep diving Strike King Series 6 Crank Baits around the Dam. The good news is that stripers will bite better and better from this point on. Over the next few weeks I expect to see some of the biggest stripers I will see all year and numbers will increase after that.

Sauger

It's been a tough couple of years for sauger. TWRA had boats out Monday gathering sauger to reproduce in their hatchery and return to our area in order to improve the population of sauger in our area of the Tennessee River. The standard way of fishing with a sauger jig in water as shallow as 15' and water as deep as 60' will continue to work throughout March. Look forward to catching them on crank baits in the next few weeks.

www.pickwickareaguide.com You can ago to my website to access TVA’s website and by doing so it will take you straight to Pickwick lake.

Compliments of Clagett Talley 731-607-5266

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Gary Harlan Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

Pickwick Lake

April fishing forecast

02/17/2015

Water temp: 58-60

Clarity: Stained, but clearing

Lake level: 410.2

First of all, Pickwick is on the rise as normal for this time of year according to the TVA operating guide. TVA will raise the lake slowly to the summer pool of 414.0 around mid April. The bass are just starting to make their move towards the shallow and the rising water is helping that. There are plenty of shad roaming around for them to feed on. The water has warmed up really fast. There are a lot of fish hung up in deep water where it’s still cold. The best bet for catching fish right now is to put a Texas rigged creature bait like the Strike King Game Hawg or lizard in green pumpkin and go fishing. You need to cover a lot of water to find them. When you locate the fish, there are usually several there. I cannot tell that they are relating to anything specific and it seems as though they are moving around a good bit chasing bait. The ones we are catching are like butterballs, completely stuffed with shad. I do not have any Smallmouth stories to tell. They haven’t shown up much on our end of the lake. I have heard of a few being caught on the lower end near the dam but no big ones. Let’s hope the cold weather is behind us now, and we can get those shorts and flip flops out!
The Crappie and the Catfishing is getting better every day as well. There have been some real good stringers of both coming out of all the major creeks in the lake. Please use caution when running, with the rising water there is lots of debris (logs, limbs, etc.) floating on the river right now. Capt. Gary Harlan  @ www.fishpickwick.com
 
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Steve McCadams Kentucky Lake Fishing Report
(Updated March 25th, 2015)

TROLLING TECHNIQUES WORKING ON SCATTERED CRAPPIE…BASS ON GRAVEL BANKS

By Steve McCadams

CRAPPIE PATTERNS, DEPTHS AND LOCATIONS CHANGING…COLD FRONT CONCERNS ANGLERS

By Steve McCadams

 

    Bass and crappie anglers have been riding high as spring’s first full week kicked off with great weather. Above average temperatures and light winds delivered ideal fishing conditions since spring arrived last Friday but a cold front now in progress may temporarily upset the apple cart.

    Fish have really been on the move this week in response to rising surface temperatures. Crappie anglers have been using a variety of methods across Kentucky Lake this week and in a variety of depths and locations.

    From slow trolling multi-pole rigs to casting the banks, fishermen are trying just about every technique known to locate and catch fish. It’s that time of year when just about all the techniques produce on any given day too.

    While the most fish have been taken up Big Sandy this week in the New Hope and north of Country Junction, a few boats were vertical fishing jigs around midrange stakebeds with mediocre results. There have also been a few still clinging to deep drop-offs in the main lake where depths of 20 feet have given up some scattered fish at times as anglers tightlined minnows and jigs.

    Also emerging is the shallow water pattern by anglers casting curly tail grubs and road runner style jigs around shallow shorelines and stakebeds. Some are using slip bobbers to regulate their depth around shallow cover.

    Surface temperatures this week warmed to the 60 to 62 degree range in the upper ends of bays and creeks where shallow water areas heated up after long hours of sunlight. Main lake areas are a bit cooler with readings in the 55 to 56 degree range.

    Lake levels have been falling slowly this week and projected to be in the 355.7 range at Kentucky Dam this weekend. Upstream in the New Johnsonville area lake stages will be in the 355.8 range.

    TVA’s curve is scheduled to begin the climb toward summer pool on April 1. The target date is May 1 each year. However, the reservoir has been about a foot above normal the last week or two for this time of year.

    Water color has improved this week and the overall reservoir is in good shape. The muddy water present in some areas last week has disappeared and even the main river channel has cleared.

    The uninvited cold front now underway with nasty north winds will rob some of the gains made earlier in the week. March came in like a lion and it appears it had one more growl left as temps are expected to fall below freezing Friday night.

    No doubt surface temps will backslide this weekend. However, moderate weather is in the forecast for next week so a slow rebound will begin soon.

    And what will this do to the spawning timetable for bass and crappie? Odds are both will have a mood swing for a day or two until winds shift back to the south. The first day or two after a cold front usually means high skies and a rising barometer, not to mention a nagging northeast wind.

    Crappie were scattered for most anglers this week but headed shallow in some areas. Male crappie have been slow to head shallow and take on their darkening change in appearance, an indication that hormonal changes are sluggish getting started.

    All indications point toward spawning phases being another week to ten days away as to peak. The preferred range is 62 to 66 degrees with some stability in the weather.

    Meanwhile, crappie in the Paris Landing area have been stubborn for most anglers who have tried a potpourri of presentations with limited results. Fish have been reluctant to relate to structure in this sector.

    Up Big Sandy the trolling techniques have scored well as crappie were staging in depths of 9 to 13 feet and suspending in open water before making a blitz to spawning territory. Last week the fish seemed to move out of the West Sandy area and migrate toward the upper Big Sandy basin.

    Bass fishermen were landing some hefty ones this week. Topping the list was a trophy largemouth taken last Saturday by Union City angler Bill Lawrence that tipped the scales at a whopping 11 pounds, 2 ounces. He caught the fish on a spinnerbait around a shallow stakebed in Big Sandy when dingy water was present.

    Crankbaits on gravel and rocky points have produced this week as have jig and craw combos. Some sloping points off the main banks are holding bass too as are ledges nearby.

    Some boats are laying out away from the main shoreline and tossing crankbaits, Alabama and Carolina rigs or working Strike King’s Red-eye shad and Rattle Traps in shallow pockets and around mud banks.

    A lot of fish appear to be laying out away from the shallow banks and staging in slightly deeper water at times.

    As April arrives anglers are hoping the odds for stable weather increase. Most everyone is ready to wave goodbye to the roller coaster month of March.

    Better keep the coveralls and sunscreen nearby. You never know which one you’ll need this time of year!

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Ducks Unlimited News

Coastal wetlands loss costly and continuing

NEW ORLEANS – March 24, 2015 – An important study and corresponding conservation planning tool recently released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) should help officials protect the most important areas along our nation’s coastlines. According to NOAA’s analysis, the U.S. lost more than 1,500 square miles of coastal wetlands between 1996 and 2011.  
Coastal wetlands, despite their economic and ecological importance, continue to be lost.
“Ducks Unlimited is concerned about what this wetland loss means for waterfowl, but we also recognize the staggering economic and environmental impacts,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt. “These coastal wetlands protect many of the nation’s most populated areas, support large shipping, energy and fishing industries and provide habitat for millions of migratory birds and a variety of fisheries.”
The NOAA report cites a total of nearly 65,000 square miles of land change – development and loss of forests and wetlands – along the coast, resulting in diminished protection from rising sea levels, storm and tidal surges, and other events that have dramatic effects on coastal communities and populations.
Studies of the Gulf Coast documented significant impacts of wetland loss due to flood damages based on real insurance costs. A series of studies indicated that of all the factors examined, a healthy wetland environment had the greatest influence on reducing flood damages. Likewise, areas with greater wetland loss had more significant flood damages associated with a given amount of rainfall.
“In addition to wildlife habitat loss, wetland loss is bad for flood control, storm protection and water quality,” Schmidt said. “It’s costly to taxpayers, insurance companies, individuals and businesses, and coastal wetland loss has far-reaching repercussions to the national economy, which is dependent on coastal infrastructure and products. We know wetlands provide enormous economic and ecological values, yet loss of these economic stabilizers continues to accelerate.”
Nationwide wetland loss has accelerated by 140 percent since 2004, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“There remains great need for funding to protect and restore these valuable coastal wetlands. There are many groups and individuals working to conserve and restore wetlands, but without significant investment and commitment from everyone, we won’t be able to stem the loss,” Schmidt said.
NOAA has provided the data and online mapping tools in the Land Cover Atlas to help federal and local officials prioritize coastal resiliency efforts. 
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at www.youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.

Ducks Unlimited Continental Shoot winners announced

Annual event features top-notch shooters

LAS VEGAS – The 2015 Ducks Unlimited (DU) “Ducks in the Desert” Las Vegas Continental Shoot lit up Las Vegas, and DU is recognizing competitors and event winners. The shoot was held Feb. 12-15, at the Clark County Shooting Complex.

“Ducks Unlimited supports the shooting sports, and this competition always brings out the best of the best,” said Jim Konkel, chair of DU’s National Shooting Committee. “This event is increasing in popularity every year. This venue allows us to include more shooters and the prize package puts this contest at the top of the 'must shoot' list for many competitors. Adding the sub-gauge event has encouraged participation, too. The size of the field and the prizes add a lot of excitement.”

Main Event winners: 
• High Overall Champion: Zachary Kienbaum
• Lady Champion: Desirae Edmunds
• Junior Champion: Edgar Sanchez
• Sub-junior Champion: Damian Gardiner
• Veteran Champion: Steve Korin
• Super Vet: Michael Taylor
• Senior Super Vet: Gary McStay
• Hunter Class: Tom Parce

Preliminary winners:
• 100 Targets High Overall: Tom John
• Lady: Desirae Edmunds
• Junior: Edgar Sanchez
• Sub-junior: Shabaz Bassi
• Veteran: Tom John
• Super Vet: Dick Connolly
• Senior Super Vet: Gary McStay
• Hunter: Keith White

5-stand winners:
• 50 Targets High Overall: Carl Zapffe
• Lady: Josey Martin
• Sub-junior: Josey Martin
• Junior: Edgar Sanchez
• Veteran: Tim Le Neave
• Super Vet: Ernie Richardson
• Senior Super Vet: Carl Zapffe
• Hunter: Jimmy Capps

20-gauge winners:
• 50 Targets High Overall: Edgar Sanchez
• Ladies: Leslie West
• Sub-junior: Damian Gardiner
• Junior: Edgar Sanchez
• Veteran: Tom John
• Super Vet: John Markel
• Senior Super Vet: Carl Zapffe
• Hunter: Mark Harris

28-gauge winners:
• 50 Targets High Overall: Zachary Kienbaum
• Ladies: Leslie West
• Sub-junior: Damian Gardiner
• Veteran: David Moore
• Super Vet: Stephen Sexton
• Senior Super Vet: Carl Zapffe
• Hunter: Dale Judd

.410 bore winners:
• 50 Targets High Overall: Zachary Kienbaum
• Ladies: Phyllis Darr
• Sub-junior: Dylan Cook
• Veteran: Steve Korin
• Super Vet: Dennis Bristle
• Senior Super Vet: Carl Zapffe
• Hunter: Don Harris

Support from industry leaders adds to the success of this event. Supporters include Browning, Fiocchi Ammunition, Aliante Hotel and Casino, Brownells, Bushnell Performance Optics, Hornady Manufacturing Company, Walker’s Game Ear, DAC Technologies, Gerber, Peet Shoe Dryers, Smith’s Abrasives, Kick-eez, Duck Commander and many others.

The 2016 Continental Shoot will take place at the Clark County Shooting Complex Feb. 17-21, 2016.


2015 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards

DU recognizes contributions to wetlands and waterfowl conservation

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – March 13, 2015 – Ducks Unlimited announced the winners of the 2015 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards today during the 80th annual North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, held in Omaha, Neb.
DU’s 2015 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards were presented in six categories and recognized individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and restoration of North America’s wetlands and waterfowl. DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt presented the awards. This year's winners are:
Senior Federal Official: Congressman Rob Wittman, US Representative from Virginia
Federal Agency Employee: Dr. Fred Johnson, United States Geological Survey
State/Provincial Agency Employee: David Norris, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Research / Technical: Dr. Gary Hepp, Auburn University
Conservation / Private Citizen: Mo Buder, Missouri 
Communications: Hal Herring, Montana
“These winners represent the way people from various walks of life who have a shared passion can achieve great things for wetlands and waterfowl conservation,” Schmidt said. “DU is honored to recognize their work and hopes their achievements inspire others to follow suit.” 
To read more about the individual winners, visit www.ducks.org/wetlandawards.
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Avery Outdoors Announcements

Greenhead Gear® Pro-Grade™ and FFD Specklebelly: Full Body, Shells & Floaters

White-Fronted geese, also known as the Specklebelly, have expanded their range and increased their numbers in recent years. Greenhead Gear® decoys have produced some of the best Speck decoys around for years, but have now decided to take that a step further. Additional feather detail and a low maintenance one-piece design combine with a durable and realistic finish to make this the ultimate Speck decoy. Those in need of a fully-flocked decoy will be pleased to have this option as well.  Active and feeder styles are equipped with motion systems. Greenhead Gear® applied the same look as their full bodied decoys to a new line of Specklebelly shells and floaters to cover all you Speck hunting needs.

Pro-Grade™ & FFD Full Body Specklebellies available at www.greenheadgear.com

MSRP:
Pro-Grade™ Full Body Specklebelly/Harvester Pack: $159.99 (½ Dozen)
FFD Elite Full Body Specklebelly/Harvester Pack: $219.99 (½ Dozen)


Avery Outdoors announces 2nd Annual Spring Break Giveaway

Memphis, TN – Avery® Outdoors is proud to announce the 2nd Annual “Spring Break” Giveaway, taking place through Avery’s Facebook Page and affiliated social media outlets.  The company has partnered with K2 Coolers & Field Proven Calls to present over $600 worth of merchandise for the Spring Turkey lover.  Prize package includes:

  • K2 Summit 60 Cooler
  • Field Proven Twisted Triple Turkey Diaphragm Call 3 Pack
  • Field Proven Zebrawood Combo Slate/Glass Call
  • BuckBrush PowerSeat
  • BuckBrush Finisher Gun Sling
  • BuckBrush Mesh Back Cap
  • Black and White Mesh Back Cap
  • BuckBrush 8oz Oil Cloth Cap
  • BuckBrush XL Folding Floating Gun Case
  • BuckBrush Guide’s Bag
  • BuckBrush Fleece Hand Muff

 

The “Spring Break” Giveaway runs from Friday, March 20th until Friday, March 27th.  Winner will be randomly chosen and announced on the 27th.  Contestants must share the giveaway post and like the Avery® Outdoors page in order to be entered to win.


Avery Migration Reports

Migration Reports
For the week of March 23-29, 2015

Central:

Name: Kirk Steffensen

Date: March 25, 2015

Location: Lincoln, NE

Weather: More seasonable temperatures with daytime highs in the 60’s with overnight lows in the 30’s. 

Snow Cover: None

Water Conditions: Area lake and ponds are open.

Feeding Conditions:  Fields are all open and relatively dry.

Species and Numbers: Very few snow geese in the area.

Migrations: Numbers declining quickly, I would say the majority of the birds are north of us now.

Season Stage: Snow goose conservation season open.

Hunting Report: Below average, frustrating spring season.

Name: Jared Shepard        

Date: 03/24/15

Location: Scottsbluff, NE

Weather: Spring temps continue as daytime highs reach the 60’s and 70’s and overnight lows dip only into the upper 30’s to lower 40’s.

Snow Cover: NO snow!

Water Conditions: Local lakes and ponds are completely thawed including the main roost/rest ponds used by the snows on their way through.

Feeding Conditions: Lots of corn and now winter wheat are available for the geese.

Species and Numbers: Snows, Blues and Ross’ geese continue to move through the area but the numbers have died down drastically. Occasional flocks have been spotted over the past week but the long strings are no more.

Migrations: The spring snow goose migration continues daily but the number of geese continues to drop.

Season Stage: The Light Goose Conservation Season ends in the west zone on April 5th.

Hunting Report: No report to report. Should be pretty slow for the last week and a half.

Gossip: Unfortunately I didn’t hear much gossip the last few weeks other than a group of guys doing pretty well near the NE/WY border into Torrington, WY.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable and minimally frustrating spring season!

 

Mississippi:

Name: Richard Shamla
Date: 03/24/15
Location: Watertown SD
Weather: daytime high in the forties with nighttime lows around freezing.  Over cast and windy with rain coming this afternoon.
Snow Cover:  None
Water Conditions: Most small lakes and ponds are open in the area.
Feeding Conditions: Snow geese are fielding in cornfields throughout the area along with the dark geese and ducks.
Species and Numbers:  Good pockets of snow geese are present in the area. 
Migrations: No major movements but new flocks come into the area and go north each day.
Season Stage:  Mid to late migration season.
Hunting Report: The hunting has been hit or miss with one day success and the next day hard to decoy flocks.  This has to with changing weather as well a cold front that pushed through the area. We are starting to see some more juvenile snow geese, which helped the past few days.
Gossip:  Better hunts with more juvenile snow geese are present south of this location if the weather warms and south winds come soon a push of fresh snows should happen in the next couple days.

Name:  Greg Owens 
Date: March 24 2015 
Location: Rochester, MN 
Weather: Lows in the mid 20’s and highs in the mid 30’s 
Snow Cover: It’s back…. We got about 10” of snow over the weekend, but it probably won’t last long. 
Water Conditions:  Most of the area lakes are at least partially ice free, and a majority of them are completely open now. 
Feeding Conditions:  There is still plenty of food around.   
Species and Numbers:  We have a good number of ducks and geese in the area.  They are pairing up and thinking about making little puffballs. 
Season Stage: The season is closed now. 
Hunting Report: N/A. 
Gossip:  Bring on the Turkeys!! 

Atlantic:

Name:  Kevin Addy
Date: March 23, 2015
Location: Reading, PA      
Weather: We seem to have some fairly stable weather now – except for the snow this past Fri.
Snow Cover: Only patches remain in shady areas.
Water Conditions: Most lakes and ponds are still frozen but are thawing quickly.
Feeding Conditions: The conditions are good. Snows still hitting the cornfields and the Canada’s are using pastures.
Species and Numbers: The duck and Canada numbers are still through the roof. The snow goose numbers are on a decline since last week. Many will be gone this week.
Season Stage:  Ducks closed 1/15 and AP goose closed 1/26. CO snow goose season is open until April
Hunting Report: Weather hasn’t been great but we’ve been grinding out the snows as much as possible.
Gossip: The circus still going strong – worst year I’ve seen for yahoo’s chasing snows.

Name: Mike Bard      
Date: March 23, 2015
Location: Montezuma, NY
Weather: Things continue to thaw, but at a slower pace than the week previous. Temps have been in the 20’s and 30’s during the day, and then single digits and teens overnight. The forecast isn’t much better for the next 10 days.
Snow Cover: Melting, but still approximately 4” of hard packed crusty snow remains on the ground – plenty of bare spots on hillsides.
Water Conditions: Most water north of Rt. 90 continues to be frozen, outside of the Seneca River – the larger Finger Lakes are open.
Feeding Conditions: Fair and improving
Species and Numbers: Numbers for all waterfowl continue to increase.
Migrations: The spring migration continues – ducks, swans, Canada geese and snow geese are all arriving.
Season Stage: Spring Conservation Season
Hunting Report: A large number of hunters have been out over the last week chasing snow geese, but success has been limited.
Gossip:  It seems the snow geese are temporarily stalled out in the Finger Lakes due to the snow in the northern part of NY.  Expect them to push out quickly once they can.

Name:  Sean M. Fritzges
Date: 23 March 2015
Location: Bel Air, MD        
Weather: Temps cool but warming.
Snow Cover: No snow at this time. 
Water Conditions: Bay tide levels normal, no ice.
Feeding Conditions:  Canada geese feeding in winter wheat fields. All corn and soybean fields have been picked clean.
Species and Numbers:  Canada geese numbers low.
Migrations:  Canada geese continue to move north in large groups.
Season Stage:  AP season closed.
Gossip: Come on turkey season!!!

Name:  Marshall Starkey
Date: 3/23/15
Location: Essex, MD
Weather: Warmer weather has returned. Seasonal temps this week.
Snow Cover: Most of the snow has gone.
Water Conditions: Most water has opened.
Feeding Conditions: Cut agricultural fields that are not snow covered.
Species and Numbers: Canada goose numbers are way down as a lot have moved north. Snow geese have mostly moved north. There are a few woodies in the area and still some divers on the Patapsco.
Migrations: Most geese left the area last week.
Season Stage: Snow goose conservation season remains open.
Hunting Report: Snow goose hunting is pretty much done.
Gossip: Bring on turkey season.

Name: Bryn Witmier
Date: 3/24/2015
Location: Strausstown, PA
Weather:  Still about 10 degrees below average.  We received 6 inches of snow last weekend.  Surprise!!!!!
Snow Cover: None
Water Conditions:  Most lakes have at least a little bit of open water.  Still a good bit of ice on most.
Feeding Conditions: Good.  Any remaining waste grain is available as well as winter wheat.
Species and Numbers: Canada goose numbers are staggering.  Piles of all kinds of species of ducks are around. 
Migrations:  There was a huge push out before the snow on Friday.  Snow geese have been pushing almost every day.  It is supposed to be 65 here on Saturday.  That may be the kiss of death.
Season Stage:  We may get another weekend for snow geese.
Hunting Report:  Quite a few juvies around right now making for some decent shooting.
Gossip:  It’s almost time to clean up the equipment.

New Position Announcements at Avery Outdoors, Inc.

Memphis, TN – Avery® Outdoors, Inc. is proud to announce the following new promotions within the Pro Staff team.

Mark Brendemuehl started with Avery® Pro Staff in 2003 as a Flyway Manager and was promoted to Territory Manager of the Mississippi Northern Flyway in 2011. This year, Brendemuehl has accepted a new opportunity with the company as Manager of Online Sales. He will be responsible for the company's websites management and product sales, as well as managing Avery® image distribution.

Arliss Reed joined the Avery® Pro Staff in 2010. After 5 years as a valued team member, Reed has been promoted to Territory Manager of the Atlantic Flyway. Reed is excited to lead the region's Pro Staff and continue building valued relationships with Avery's dealers and customers on the East Coast.

Bailey Ortley, an Avery® Pro Staff member since 2008, has been promoted to Territory Manager of the Mississippi Northern Flyway. With a strong background in sales and experience on Avery's Decoy Production Team, Ortley is enthusiastic about this new promotion within the company. He looks forward to managing the Mississippi Northern Flyway Pro Staff and continuing to advance Avery's dealer and consumer relations in the region.

Avery® Outdoors, Greenhead Gear® and Avery® Sporting Dog brands would like to congratulate the gentlemen on their advancements within the company, and look forward to their many successes within these new capacities.



Decoy Specialist Rejoins Avery® Outdoors

Memphis, TN – Avery® Outdoors is proud to announce the return of Decoy Program Manager, Matt Vanselow, to the Avery® team.  While with the company from 2010 – 2013, Vanselow was instrumental in leading the prototyping, molding, research and design, and paint scheming of many innovative Greenhead Gear® and Avery® Sporting Dog products.  Vanselow started his career in the decoy industry in 2004 molding and painting decoys. He advanced his specialism by attending the Pennsylvania Institute of Taxidermy in 2008, an experience that propelled his mastery of decoy molding, sculpting and painting.

As Decoy Program Manager, Vanselow’s role encompasses a lengthy list of crucial responsibilities in the advancement of the company’s product lines.  From hiring world-class carvers, determining decoy poses, refining prototyping processes, developing paint schemes and painting decoys, to making sculpting modifications for blow-mold compatibility and enacting innovations on both decoy functionality and packaging, Vanselow will maintain a critical position on the Avery® team.   Vanselow was essential in the development of many GHG decoys, both established and new in the 2014 – 2015 season.  Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Eiders, Honkers, Snows & Blues, Pintails, Gadwalls, Redheads, Canvasbacks, popular EZ Bird bumpers and many others decorate his experience with the company.  

As Avery® Outdoors, Greenhead Gear® and Avery® Sporting Dog refine and expand their brands in 2015, the addition of Vanselow comes at an opportune and exciting time.  Vanselow hopes “to continue building the best decoys on the market,” and to “keep innovating and improving in the future”.   Avery would like to extend a warm welcome back to a respected authority in the decoy industry, and looks forward to many more years of ultimate realism and attention to detail in the nation’s most diversified decoy product line.


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Hunter Safety Systems Introduces Nite & Day Trail Markers

DANVILLE, Ala. (March 23, 2015) – Navigating to and from a newly placed blind can be difficult and even dangerous in the dark. To make this journey safer and easier, Hunter Safety System has introduced the new Nite and Day Trail Markers. The carefully selected colors of day-glow orange and chartreuse provide extremely high visibility in daylight hours, and the highly reflective materials make them easy to find in the dark with the beam of a flashlight.

Made of a durable and flexible highly reflective vinyl that will provide years of use in the field, each Nite and Day Trail Marker is equipped with a black spring-loaded metal clip for easy placement and removal. The materials used in the Nite and Day Trail Markers are reflective enough to use with a low-powered flashlight with a red filter or a red LED light that will protect your night vision as you make your way to the stand. The Nite and Day Trail Markers are also ideal for marking and retracing blood trails, scouting new areas and placement as yardage markers.

With so many uses, no hunting pack should be without the new HSS Nite and Day Trail Markers. They will be available at retailers nationwide the spring of 2015 and online at www.huntersafetysystem.com for a suggested retail of $6.95 for a pack of 10.

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Danville, Ala., Hunter Safety System is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative deer hunting gear and hunting equipment for the serious hunter. For additional information, write to: The Hunter Safety System, 8237 Danville Road, Danville, AL 35619; call toll-free 877-296-3528; or visit www.huntersafetysystem.com.
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The Avid Angler’s Wonder Rod
St. Croix’s Avid X earns seasoned veteran status in the year of its birth.

Park Falls, WI (March 11, 2015) – By the time he was 4 years old, chess prodigy Samual Reshevsky was making the ultimate checkmate commonplace; a few short years later he was defeating even the most accomplished players with ease. Then there was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who, also by age 4, was considered one of the most prolific music composers of the Classical Era. And then who could forget Pablo Picasso who, you guessed it, was a 4-year-old when he brushed his first masterpiece: Le picador.

Satirically, one must wonder: What took these kids so long to get noticed?

Fishing has its own prodigy children, too. Every now and then, a brainchild prototype leaves the minds and machines of its creators graced with the predetermination to become a quick legend. Said phenomenon happened to St. Croix Rod.   

A mere five-and-one-half months after its introduction at ICAST in July of 2014, the Avid X series was set free to stock St. Croix’s elite dealer base. Within mere weeks of delivery, many of the most ardent-anglers owned and were already praising Avid X.

Seven months after its debut, Avid X casting models garnered top rod honors inField & Stream’s Best of the Best: New Fishing Gear 2015 – an honor parallel to a truck being recognized by Motor Trend.

Piling-it-on in a good sort of way, Game & Fish Publication/Sportsmen Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award went to St. Croix Rod’s Avid X for “Favorite Spinning Rod.”

The editors have spoken, and so have the anglers.

So what makes the Avid X so perfect to palm and cast, as well as gobble up votes like a Republican candidate in Texas? Technology, craftsmanship and knowhow. Every Avid X spinning and casting rod is a ground-breaking version of the company’s ever-popular Avid Series, sharing the same core blank technology. This means it’s built on a premium, featherweight, high-modulus SCIII graphite blank with Integrated Poly Curve® tooling technology, which offers smooth-action alongside incredible sensitivity and strength.

A Fuji® reel seat with gunsmoke hood is fitted to the blank, surrounded by lightweight, all-new counterbalanced select-grade split-grip cork handle. There’s even an innovative hook-keeper to hold a bait of most any caliber, all the while abolishing issues associated with annoying line wrap.

As for the Kigan® Z micro-guide platform offered? The Z guides with slim, aluminum-oxide rings and reel-seat-matching gunsmoke frames are designed to reduce weight while maintaining proper stripper guide ring height for optimal line flow. To boot, the guides are skillfully wrapped with nylon thread and sealed with two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish.

Designed and handcrafted in Park Falls, Wisconsin, the new Avid X series melds the utmost performance with unparalleled value, in lengths, actions and powers built for extreme bass and walleye anglers. The series features 18 one- and two-piece spinning and casting models, with every 2-piece model sporting St. Croix’s exclusive slim-profile ferrules. And all are protected by a 15-year transferrable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. Most Avid X models retail at $200.

As the editors of Field & Stream put it: Best of all, you get St. Croix quality at a sweet price.

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Plano Top Brand with Fish-Heads

PLANO LEADS TACKLE STORAGE SALES WITH ONGOING PRACTICAL INNOVATION

SOUTHWICK SURVEY SAYS CONSUMERS CHOOSE PLANO TACKLE STORAGE SOLUTIONS MORE THAN ANY OTHER BRAND

Plano, IL (March 24, 2015) – In a recent internet-based survey of nearly 16,000 anglers completed by Southwick Associates, the nation’s premier outdoors market research firm, participants said they purchased Plano tackle storage products more in 2014 than any other brand.

Plano’s continuous drive for innovation comes from a unique company dynamic rooted in over sixty years of making quality products that are meaningful to anglers.  In an age of corporate conglomerates, there’s often an unfortunate and growing disconnect between company personnel and the ultimate consumers they serve; not so with Plano Molding, which – top to bottom – remains a company of fishermen for fishermen.

Ryan Kleckner, Plano Vice President of Engineering, is not unlike the typical Plano customer.  “We’re driven to make the fishermen’s experience more efficient and, ultimately, more enjoyable,” says Kleckner, who spends time on the water each year himself, along with family and friends. 

“Any time we can save an angler by keeping him or her more organized means more time spent doing what they enjoy… that’s real value."

“Individual preferences are also very real,” says Kleckner, “And we continually push ourselves to develop multiple solutions to tackle storage challenges… from soft bags to molded products and modular component systems, Plano continues to innovate on all fronts,” he concludes.

Indeed, Plano engineers and manufactures over 170 unique tackle storage products – more than any other manufacturer – including the new-for-2015 Plano Hybrid Hip Tackle Boxes and Marine Storage Trunks.

PLANO HYBRID HIP STOWAWAY BOX (723700) & HYBRID HIP TRAY BOX (723300)

The new Plano Hybrid Hip StowAway Box and Hybrid Hip Tray Box add an unparalleled level of functionality and sophistication to the traditional, telescoping three-tray design. Instead of opening your treasure chest of tackle into a trio of fixed and slotted trays, you’re yielded creative license to customize the arrangement with surgical precision.

Plano VP of Engineering Ryan Kleckner says versatility is what makes the Hybrid Hip Box so unique. “Instead of being categorized as a top-loading or front-loading tackle box, they do both. You can access the individual trays without opening the top, or go ahead and open it up and let the trays telescope-out for total access.”

Each tray doubles as a drawer. Open the clear outer door like an oven and access your chosen tray. Open the top of the tackle box, and the same trays are accessible and viewable from a vulture’s perspective. (Discover a hot bait and friends become scavenging birds of prey...)    

Both durable boxes offer generous belly space for housing fishing line, bags of plastics, pliers…and even more Plano StowAway utility boxes! The lids feature two top-access storage areas. Three heavy-duty brass-bailed latches keep matters managed internally. 

Plano’s new large-drawer and tray design is available in two configurations. The Hybrid Hip Tray Box features three conventional, removable trays. The more premium Hybrid Hip StowAway Box comes with a trifecta of Plano ProLatch™ 3700 utility boxes – each box (14" x 9.13" x 2") sporting 4-24 customizable compartments.

723700 HYBRID HIP STOWAWAY BOX

  • Drop down front door allows for easy access to StowAway® Utility boxes
  • Includes two 3700 series and one 3701 StowAway® utility boxes
  • Two top-access storage areas
  • Three heavy duty brass-bailed latches
  • Large bulk storage area
  • 20”L x 12.5”W x 12.375”H

723300 HYBRID HIP TRAY BOX

  • Drop down front door allows for easy access to drawers
  • Drawers are removable, allowing StowAway® utilities to be stored in their place
  • Two top-access storage areas
  • Three heavy duty brass-bailed latches
  • Large bulk storage area
  • 20”L x 12.5”W x 12.375”H

PLANO MARINE TRUNKS (161960171960 & 191960)

Seems like no matter how big your boat, there’s never enough storage. In fact, the bigger the boat, the more essentials you need for a day on the water. From PFDs to extra clothing, rain gear, species and technique specific gear and tackle, emergency and tool kits, fenders, you name it, sometimes it feels like we need a boat to tow behind the boat – one for fishing and one for gear.

Thank goodness for Plano Marine Trunks.

Available in three introductory sizes, Plano Marine Trunks are the perfect storage solution. A clean boat is a happy boat.

Plano Marine Trunks have been painstakingly designed to take a beating from the water, salt and sun – even your bull in a china shop buddy who breaks everything. Nope, not your Plano Marine Trunk. These babies are made to withstand the rigors of real-world use like sucker punches from rough seas, off-road transport and shoves from dock onto deck.

These tough trunks are molded from a UV resistant HDPE material that resists fading, heat damage and ensures years of use and abuse. All sizes feature an O-ring seal to ensure contents stay dry and out of the elements. Go ahead and stack ‘em high. The reinforced, molded-groove lid is designed to support heavy loads without cracking or splitting.  Finally, Plano Marine Trunks also feature sturdy, removable and easy to open/close buckles and molded ports that make securing your trunks easy with standard tie-down straps and padlocks.  

 

161960 – 56 Quart Marine Storage Trunk / 24.00” x 15.00” x 13.00”

171960 – 68 Quart Marine Storage Trunk / 30.00” x 14.25” x 12.75”

191960 – 108 Quart Marine Storage Trunk / 37.75” x 14” x 18.25” 

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Grip & Grin with Confidence

Rippin Lips new PRO Big Fish Gripper clutches cats and other fish with beastly maws

Chambersburg, PA (February 27, 2015) – Having a good grip is pivotal to premium performance. Consider the carpenter. Without a solid grip of his hammer-handle, there’s little chance of sending a nail true and deep. A NASCAR driver would eat the wall coming off turn-two without gloves planted firmly on the wheel. And the angler? Well, let’s just say feeble handling can result in a lunker dumped boat-side, or worse, that same animal going psycho onboard, injuring itself, even you.

Adult-strength fish-grippers have been subduing aquatic brutes for decades. First finding their way onto crusty commercial boats and saltwater charters, fish-grippers have long tamed oceangoing savages like barracuda and billfish. Today, freshwater anglers manage mega-fish like striped bass and leg-length catfish with these now must-have, handheld devices. Catfish experts Rippin Lips is following the successful release of their original gripper with the new, beefier, simple to operate, PRO Big Fish Lip Gripper. The tool’s burly clamps clutch a fish’s jaw in a single, one-handed motion. Just as easily, a temperamental fish can be released in a solo stroke, making the PRO Big Fish Gripper ideal for both crews and one-man operations.

Defying rust and the nemesis of saltwater, the PRO Big Fish Gripper is constructed of non-corrosive stainless steel, affording years of flawless operation. Giving grip to the gripper – the angler – the solid-state tool features a non-slip rubberized handle with adjustable wrist-strap, yielding even more control.

Rippin Lips cofounder and professional catfish angler John Jamison is a control freak when it comes to dealing with tape-measure catfish. “Safety is number one,” says the decorated tournament champion. “A giant blue, flathead or channel can tear you up. Getting gashed by a dorsal or pectoral fin will ruin your day. The PRO Big Fish Gripper helps hold a giant cat solidly in place while you remove the hook, take photos and measurements, and bring her right back down to the water for a clean release.”

On the topic of weights and measures, Rippin Lips’ PRO Big Fish Gripper features a built-in scale that goes to 50-lbs of fins, scales and fillets. Anything bigger and you’re probably going to round up for storytelling purposes anyway.

The Rippin Lips PRO Big Fish Gripper is introductory priced at $29.99

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THE PERFECT TACKLE BAG FOR COMBAT FISHING

PLANO'S NEW SOLDIER-STRONG MILITARY BAGS HONOR WAR VETS WITH DISTINCTION AND FISHABILITY

Plano, IL (February 18, 2015) – Word has it that in the days following the Iraq war, U.S. military members relieved stress by wetting a line in the private lakes of none other than Saddam Hussein. Not surprisingly short on tackle, these brave angling soldiers fashioned their own hooks, whittled lures and scavenged odd forms of livebait from the Iraqi desert. Some interesting fish were caught, and for a few hours, the defenders of our freedom relived a passion they’d left at home, but never truly forgotten.

It’s in honor of these service men and women around the world that Plano has designed new military-themed tackle bags—tough-as-armor 3700 and 3600 Military Bags. Constructed with a durable canvas that’s reminiscent of an army rucksack, these fully armed soft bags include two 3700- or 3600-size StowAway® Utility Boxes and feature four external zippered pockets, as well as an adjustable shoulder strap.

Adorned with the exclusive emblems of the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF), Plano Military Bags make a statement that supports this special organization. Providing recreational fishing, hunting and other family outings for wounded military members, the goal of the MWSF is to give back and thank these men and women for loyal service to their country.

To further demonstrate Plano’s military appreciation and support, these striking Military Bags wear specialized A-Tacs camo – the same tactical Arid/Urban pattern that has proven itself in a variety of outdoor environments.

Soldiers have since talked about the strange monster fish lurking in Saddam’s lakes. If only they’d been armed with Plano Military Bags and StowAway boxes stuffed with their favorite fishing tackle...

Plano Military Bags

Models 447053 / 446053

Includes: Two 3700 or 3600 StowAway® Utility Boxes, 4 external zippered pockets, adjustable shoulder strap

Dimensions: 3700 – 18” L x 9.5” W x 10” H / 3600 – 14.5” L x 8.5” W x 8” H

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Tenzing: The Best for your Binos

ULTRA-COMFORTABLE TENZING TZ OSS15 OPTIC SUSPENSION SYSTEM PROVIDES PREMIUM PROTECTION FOR YOUR EXPENSIVE HUNTING OPTICS

Plano, IL (March 26, 2015) – In the world of hunting optics, you get what you pay for.  You can shell out $150 - $200 for a pair of decent binoculars or spend well over $1,000 for the very best in high-class glass.

Whether you are a professional who demands the very best quality and performance or an enthusiast who values and appreciates those attributes, toting those expensive optics into the harsh wilderness battlefield by a string around your neck can be nerve wracking.  We call it insane.

 

It’s time for a better binocular harness…  a bomb-proof vault for your binos that’s comfortable to wear, easy to use, and worthy of the Tenzing name… an optic suspension system that helps hunters go further and hunt longer.

The new Tenzing TZ OSS15 Optic Suspension System is the finest and best performing binocular harness ever made, providing premium-quality comfort and premium-quality protection for your optics investment.

The heart of the TZ OSS15 Optic Suspension System is its 5.5” x 7.5” x 2.5” 500 Denier Nylon binocular pocket.  It’s covered at the top by a stiffened protective flap for easy one-handed access, and is large enough to accept most roof prism binoculars up to 10 power with 50mm objective lenses.  The sides of the pocket are breathable to prevent fogging and feature additional mesh pockets to hold pen-style cleaners, wind detectors, hunting calls or other small items.

Wearer comfort is a hallmark of the Tenzing brand.  Our packs are engineered and constructed to carry incredible loads without slowing you down.  The TZ OSS15 Optic Suspension System continues this legacy, combining ergonomic design with high-tech materials to create shoulder straps that move with the hunter and distribute the weight of heavy, quality binoculars efficiently. Fully-adjustable straps keep the binocular pocket close to the body to avoid snagging without pinching or binding.

Quality Tenzing touches throughout the TZ OSS15 improve comfort, performance and durability.  Impact-resistant buckles are covered in Hypalon material to minimize noise, while a built-in retractable cleaning cloth provides additional utility.  Shoulder straps and binocular pocket are finished in the cutting-edge Kryptek Highlander camouflage pattern for the ultimate in concealment in a wide variety of hunting terrain.

Tenzing TZ OSS15 Optic Suspension System

  • Designed to fit most roof prism binoculars
  • High performance 500 Denier Nylon construction
  • Padded contoured breathable shoulder straps with built-in internal comfort stretch elastic system
  • Water resistant 5.5” x 7.5” x 2.5” binocular pocket with breathable side panels to prevent fogging
  • Two additional side pockets on bino pocket for calls or wind detector
  • 1-inch adjustable webbing straps to keep binos and pocket tight to the body
  • ½-inch Duraflex side release buckles allow binos to detach from suspension
  • 1-inch stiffening spine across inner top to keep binos clean and protected
  • Hypalon covered buckles to minimize noise
  • Built-in retractable cleaning cloth
  • Kryptek Highlander camouflage

MSRP: $79.99

One of two all-new hunting optics suspension products from Tenzing for 2015, the premium TZ OSS15 Optic Suspension System provides top-of-the-line performance and protection for your valuable hunting binoculars.  Go further.  Hunt longer.  And stop worrying about your binoculars.  Learn more at www.tenzingoutdoors.com.

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Humminbird® ONIX™/ION™ 2.000 Software Released

EUFAULA, AL (February 25, 2015) – Humminbird ONIX™ and ION™ just got even better, thanks toVersion 2.000 Software, a free download now available to all ONIX and ION users.  

For starters, Version 2.000 dramatically increases the speed and performance of both ONIX and ION units. That means that exclusive features like ONIX’s AutoChart Live™, SmartStrike™ and CrossTouch™ all operate with enhanced responsiveness, making them all the more potent. In total, Version 2.000 includes many performance enhancements!

To begin the update process, users should first verify they have registered their product on Humminbird.com, followed by reading the documents found at this link in their entirety before performing the software update. This is critical.

Following product registration and reading the PDF instructions, users should download the software to their computer. Please note that the file download can take up to 30 minutes depending on your internet connectivity speeds. Once successfully downloaded onto your PC, unzip the files on your computer before copying them to a blank 4 GB or greater Class 6 SD card. Do not rename files.  

Once the files have been saved to the blank SD card, eject the card from your computer or external card reader and insert into your Humminbird unit. Please note that during the update process it is critical that you maintain continual power to your unit.

Once installed, ONIX users will note significantly improved speed as well new features, including:

  • New Real Time Sonar (RTS) window in Down Imaging (DI) mode that provides instant view of all returns, which is ideal for vertical fishing situations.
  • NMEA 0183 defaults and on/off toggle
  • AIS Source Selection
  • AutoChart Live data loads at cursor
  • Partial Fuel Tool networking support
  • 50/83/455 kHz 2D Offset Menu
  • Simultaneous Med/High CHIRP support with SM3000
  • 14 Pin 200/455 DI transducer support
  • Additional Airmar transducer support

For more information visit humminbird.com, contact Humminbird, 678 Humminbird Lane, Eufaula, AL 36027, or call 800-633-1468.

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NEW PREMIUM AERATORS SUCK (AND SPRAY) BIG TIME

Plano, IL (January 26, 2015) – There’s no need to remind you about the price of bait nowadays – but we did anyway. And there’s really no reason to point out the cumulative costs of gas, coffee, breakfast burritos and lost sleep to capture your own bait at zero-dark-thirty. But we did it again… (Stick in there, we’re building a case for common sense.)

 

It was in the spirit of conservation and fiduciary responsibility that Frabill masterminded two new best-of-class, extremely-portable, non-corrosive aerators that will suck, spray and roil the water’s surface in any large container to keep oxygen flowing freely. Welcome the AQUA LIFE 1438 Spray Bar Pump System and 1439 Tower Pump System…  

Got an oversized cooler or rain barrel lying around? Now you can turn it in to the “Bait’s Motel”. How about a boat livewell that didn’t come with a respectable recirculation system, or none at all? Now your catch can stay healthy and happy until tournament weigh-in. And then there are those multi-tasking moments you need an extra bilge pump to either remove splash-water from your vessel, or, to spray water direct from the drink to clean-up fish slime or your buddy’s spilt beer.

 

Engineered to saltwater specifications, Frabill’s AQUA LIFE Tower Pump System stays put on the floor of a non-porous bucket, tank or cooler with its grippy suction-cup feet. The powerful pump pushes 360 gallons-per-hour (GPH) through its PVC spray tube, which is also customizable for length. Tighten or loosen the tube to adjust spray intensity, amplifying or trimming oxygenation. Frabill recommends keeping the surface water constantly roiling to remove naturally produced gasses that can be harmful to fish.   

  

The brawnier AQUA LIFE Spray Bar Pump System purges an impressive 500-GPH through its amply sized spray bar, which comes with suction-cups and 5 ½-feet of flexible tubing to accommodate virtually any sized tank. The device crosses over as a pump-out system, too, for bilging water out of the boat or for a freshwater spray-down of your saltwater craft after a day on the bay.

 

Both models come with a 6-foot power cord and hardwearing copper battery clips for easy on-and-off to any 12-volt battery.

1438 AQUA LIFE Spray Bar Pump System

  • 12V DC 500GPH low current pump
  • Aerates up to 30 gallons
  • Used to pump water in or out of boat or bait tank, as well as wash surfaces
  • Suction Cup Mounts allow mounting to any non-porous surface
  • Spray bar can be permanently mounted or mounted with suction cups
  • Produces close to 100% saturation of dissolved oxygen
  • Package includes: Pump with suction cups, spray bar, mounting hardware, 5.5 feet of flexible tubing
  • Spray tube can be cut to fit bait container
  • Standard 1/2 inch PVC pipe can be used to extend spray tube
  • Replaceable Filter removes livewell debris
  • 6’ power cord with copper battery clips and on/off switch

MSRP $59.99

 

 

1439 AQUA LIFE Tower Pump System

  • 12V DC 360GPH low current pump
  • Suction Cup Mounts allow mounting to any non-porous surface
  • Spray Pattern adjusts from tight to wide spray
  • Produces close to 100% saturation of dissolved oxygen
  • Aerates up to 30 gallons
  • Spray tube can be cut to fit bait container Standard 1/2 inch PVC pipe can be used to extend spray tube
  • Replaceable Filter removes livewell debris
  • 6’ power cord with copper battery clips and on/off switch

MSRP $44.99

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Missile Baits Reloads with the D Stroyer
Salem, Va. – February 11, 2015 – Missile Baits is reloading their lure line up with the all-new D Stroyer. This new bait is a monster creature bait like the D Bomb that has morphed into a bait with more arms, bigger appendages, and twin tails on the back that will not stop moving. Dick’s Sporting Goods has begun arming all of their stores with four colors of the D Stroyer that will be complete by the middle of March. Dick’s will also be featuring the D Stroyer in their booth at the Bassmaster Classic. The full run of D Stroyers is expected to land in early March.

“The D Bomb has been a great bait for me and many anglers but I have wanted a big profile creature with action to add in my mix,” says pro angler and company owner, John Crews.  “The D Stroyer is a beast of a bait with great action but it is not too big. I am already dreaming of all the events that I will be using the D Stroyer this year.”

The D Stroyer will come with 6 baits in a pack for a suggested retail price of $4.99. The big creature bait will come in 8 colors: Green Pumpkin, Bruiser, Superbug, California Love, Bruiser Flash, Watermelon Red, and Green Pumpkin Flash. Applications for the D Stroyer include pitching, flipping, Carolina rigging, punching, or dragging on a wobble head jig.
 

MISSILE BAITS is a small company dedicated to creating SERIOUS soft plastic baits to help anglers catch more fish. The designs are straight off the top-level professional bass tour. Based in Salem, Virginia, MISSILE BAITS works relentlessly to make the best baits, show their customers how to use them, and stay on the cutting edge of bass fishing. Founded in January 2012, new products and videos will continue to be launched. Log ontowww.MISSILEBAITS.com for videos, tips, forums, and more.
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"The Wildrose Way" Workshops

You can now register for all Wildrose Oxford events at Wildrose Events

The 2015 Wildrose Workshop Season has begun with record attendance at the Oxford facility for both the January "Starting Your Dog the Wildrose Way" workshop and the "Basic and Advanced Handlers Workshops" coming up this week.  Additional exciting training opportunities are offered by Wildrose in different locations across the country.  We hope many of our subscribers will join us in the field to experience "The Wildrose Way."
March 13, 14 - Basic Handlers Workshop, Wildrose Oxford. Contact Cathy at662-234-5788 or info@uklabs.com.
 
March 15, 16 - Advanced Handlers Workshop, Wildrose Oxford. Contact Cathy at 662-234-5788 or info@uklabs.com.
 
March 28, 29 - Adventure Dog Workshop & Certification, Wildrose of the Ozarks, Jasper, AR, Contact Cathy at 662-234-5788 or info@uklabs.com.
 
April 18, 19 - Basic Gundog Training the Wildrose Way - George Hi Plantation, Garland, NC.  Contact Dan O'Connor at 910-564-5860 orhunt@georgehi.comwww.georgehi.com
 
April 23 to 26 -Gundog & Adventure Dog Training the Wildrose Way - Orvis Sandanona, Millbrook, NY. Two-day basic gundog & adventure dog - Two-day seasoned gundog.  Contact 845-677-9701 or email sandanona@orvis.com.  www.orvis.com/sandanona

May 1, 2 -Basic Gundog Training the Wildrose Way - Burge Plantation, Mansfield, GA.  Call 770-787-5152 for more information.  www.burgeclub.com
 
May 16 - Starting Your Dog the Wildrose Way, Wildrose Oxford. Contact Cathy at 662-234-5788 or info@uklabs.com.

May 27 to 31 - Ducks Unlimited National Convention appearing with Purina, Milwaukee, WI.  http://www.ducks.org/events/national-convention/national-convention
 
June 6, 7 - Retriever Training for Driven Shooting - Blixt & Co, Tetonia, ID, Contact Lars at 307-731-5450 or lars@blixtco.com.   www.blixtco.com
 
September 26 - Starting Your Dog the Wildrose Way, Wildrose Oxford. Contact Cathy at 662-234-5788 or info@uklabs.com.
 
October 16 to 18 - Double Gun Retriever Classic, Wildrose Oxford, Contact Cathy at 662-234-5788 or info@uklabs.com.
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Upcoming Deer Rallies
1.    March 10 (scoring deer from 5:00 to 7:00 pm)
        NWTF Banquet
        Decatur Co. Fairgrounds
        1925 Hwy. 641 south
        Parsons, TN 38363
        contact: Nick Luper
        phone: 931-287-8382
        email: nick.g.luper@tn.gov
 
2.    March 14 (scoring deer from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm)
        Haddad's Department Store
        69 Crigger St.
        Munford, TN 38058
        phone: 901-837-8025
 
3.    March 21 (scoring deer from 12:00 to 3:00 pm)
        Water Wells Solutions Tennessee Tractor
        11495 Hwy 64
        Somerville, TN 38068
        phone: 901-465-9811
 
4.    March 29 (scoring deer from 1:00 to 4:00 pm)
        Sagamore Lodge at Chickasaw State Park
        20 Cabin Ln.
        Henderson, TN 38340
        contact: Scott Easley
        phone: 731-989-5141
        email: Scott.Easley@tn.gov
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Bass Pro Shops offers free, fun family activities for Easter

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Families are invited to celebrate Easter at Bass Pro Shops this spring by enjoying free photos with the Easter Bunny, crafts for the kids, and an old-fashioned Easter egg hunt. This free, family Easter event is hosted at Bass Pro Shops 68 stores across the U.S and Canada from Saturday, March 28 to Sunday, April 5*.

The Easter Bunny is a favorite holiday symbol for many children, and families are invited to bring the kids to their nearest Bass Pro Shops store to have their FREE 4x6 photo taken with the Easter Bunny during the following days and times:

  • Saturdays and Sundays, March 28-29 and April 4-5

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • Monday-Thursday, March 30 through April 2

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

  • Friday, April 3

2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Kids ages 2-10 will have a blast searching for eggs during Bass Pro Shops old-fashioned Easter egg hunt.

  • Saturdays and Sundays, March 28-29 and April 4-5
  • 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Registration begins at 1:30 p.m. at main entrance.
  • Hunt starts promptly at 2 p.m.
  • Kids that find five eggs can return to registration for candy.

Another fun activity includes holiday crafts for the kids, such as:

  • Color an Easter basket magnet

 Saturday and Sunday, March 28-29
1 p.m. - 4 p.m. (while supplies last/crafts may vary)

  • Color a wooden bunny

Friday, April 3
4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

  • Color a wooden chick

Saturday and Sunday, April 4-5
1 p.m. – 4 p.m. (while supplies last/crafts may vary)

Head to Bass Pro Shops March 28 through April 5 where families can enjoy making special Easter memories.  For more information visit http://www.basspro.com/easter/ and click on the local store link for more details.

*Easter event not available at Bass Pro Shops Toronto store Friday, April 3 or Sunday, April 5   

About Bass Pro Shops®
Bass Pro Shops®, which specializes in outdoor fun, operates 90 stores and Tracker Marine Centers across America and Canada that are visited by more than 120 million people every year. Bass Pro Shops stores, many of which feature restaurants, offer outdoor gear; while their catalogs and website serve shoppers throughout the world. The company Tracker Marine Group®, a leading brand of fishing boats for more than 36 years, manufactures and sells a variety of boats for fishing and cruising. Family fun is on tap at Bass Pro Shops resort Big Cedar Lodge®, voted number six by Travel + Leisure Magazine as World's Best Hotels for Families. For more information, visit http://www.basspro.com. To request a free catalog, call 1-800-BASS PRO. Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bassproshops.

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TITANIC: THE ARTIFACT EXHIBITION ON DISPLAY AT DISCOVERY PARK OF AMERICA

UNION CITY, TN- Titanic: the Artifact Exhibition is on display at Discovery Park of America from January 31st through May 2nd.  The Exhibition stars more than 200 actual objects recovered from the ship’s wreck site.  This Exhibition is Discovery Park’s first traveling exhibit, and is produced by Premier Exhibitions out of Atlanta.  RMS, Titanic, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Premier and was granted exclusive rights to recover the artifacts from the wreck site by court order in 1994 (reconfirmed in 1996).  The exhibit is sponsored exclusively by First State Bank, and will be located in the ATA Traveling Exhibit Hall inside Discovery Center.

According to CEO Jim Rippy, Discovery Park plans to have one or two traveling exhibits each year.  “When we built Discovery Center, we built a special 4,000 square foot room just for traveling exhibits”.  The room was built to Smithsonian standards including dust free and temperature controlled features.  “By offering a secure, controlled environment, we have the opportunity to bring more compelling exhibits to Discovery Park,” Rippy added.

 

Along with dramatic room re-creations and in-depth research of the ship’s passengers and crew, objects on display in the Exhibition tell one of the world’s most compelling stories.  Every aspect of the ship’s brief history is included in the Exhibition; from its conception and construction to its encounter with the iceberg that changed so many lives forever.  Visitors will come face to face with history as the Exhibition connects them to the tragic events of the maiden voyage and the passengers who make her story so poignant. 

The Exhibition is educational and exciting, offering one of the most compelling opportunities to learn about this historic event.  The story has applications across all curricula including science, math, history, social studies, language arts, reading and fine art.  The Education Department at Discovery Park has worked closely with the Premier Education team to develop a vast array of tools and programs designed to enrich the Titanic story for students and teachers.

 

“In addition to entertaining and educating our regular guests at Discovery Park, we are hoping that schools will take advantage of the unique opportunity of having an Exhibition of this caliber so close by, and will bring students here on field trips to see the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition,” Rippy said.  “To have something like this in rural West Tennessee is amazing.  We are so hopeful that the people of this area and this region will show support by attending the Exhibition!”

Upon entering the Exhibition, each guest will receive a Boarding Pass with the name of an actual passenger who was on the Titanic.  The Boarding Pass will tell where the person traveled from and where they were going, whether the passenger stayed in a 1st, 2nd or 3rd class cabin, why the passenger was traveling and other interesting facts about the passenger.  While going through the Exhibition visitors can imagine what it was like to board this amazing, brand new, practically unsinkable ship.  Guests will learn about the difference in treatment of 1st and 3rd class passengers.  And guests will be exposed to amazing details like the cost of a first class ticket.  (The two most luxurious suites were located on B deck and were a staggering $4,500 dollars; approximately $103,000 today!)

Park officials estimate that a trip through the Exhibition will take approximately 45 minutes for most guests.  Some might take longer if they wish to read all the educational information and watch all the videos available.  At the end of the tour, each visitor will have the opportunity to see if the passenger’s name on the Boarding Pass that they received at the beginning is on the list of survivors or the list of those who did not survive.   In addition, there is an opportunity to have a picture made that can be purchased at the end of the experience as a keepsake.

Titanic:  The Artifact Exhibition will be open to the public during Discovery Park of America’s regular hours:  Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  After gaining admission into the park, the cost of visiting the Titanic Exhibit is $7.00 for a non-member; $6.00 for Discovery Park members, anyone 65+ and groups of 20 or more and $5.00 for school groups and children ages four through 12.  Anyone three and under can go through the Exhibition with a paying adult, free of charge.

   

In addition to Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Discovery Park of America offers monthly wine and paint classes, clay classes and animal education classes.  Park officials say that Discovery Park has plans for helicopter rides, singer songwriter events, the second annual cardboard boat regatta, visits from PBS characters, a Car & Bike show, concerts, a BBQ cook-off, a chili cook-off, an air show, a beer fest, wine tasting events, a special Alvin York exhibit, a Polar Express event, Santa and an expanded Christmas exhibit in 2015.  The complete calendar is now available on the website.

    

Discovery Park is located at 830 Everett Blvd. in Union City, TN.  To find out more about the Titanic or the park, you can visit the website at www.discoveryparkofamerica.com.  The park is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and is a unique blend of history, science, architecture, art and fun.

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What's Happening at Discovery Park

Saturday, April 4th- Easter Egg Hunt  
TELL YOUR FRIENDS...The Easter Bunny will be arriving in a Helicopter at 1:30 PM! Bring your camera! Then, plan to hunt Easter Eggs with us on the Great Lawn! Click here for details!
2:30 PM- Ages 3 & Under
3:00 PM- Ages 4-6
3:30 PM- Ages 7-10

Sunday, April 5th- Closed for Easter
 
Saturday, April 11th- Helicopter Rides
Have you always wanted to ride in a Helicopter? Now is your chance! Helicopter Rides over the park are available from 1 PM - 5 PM. Tickets are only $20 per person! There are a limited number of tickets, so call 731-885-5455 to purchase yours today! 
 
Sunday, April 12th- Feelin' Froggy?
Are you interested in identifying frogs in your backyard? Join us for Feelin' Froggy and you will learn how to identify frogs by their calls! This program is FREE with admission at 2:00 PM in the Reelfoot Room. 
 
Thursday, April 16- Potter's Wheel Class
If you have always wanted to try your hand at the potter's wheel, then this class is for you! Let potter Jim Keeling be your guide as you create your very own piece! Click here for more information!
 
Friday, April 17- Wine & Paint Class
Enjoy two free glasses of wine while painting a gorgeous picture! Call your friends and plan to meet them for a great time! Click here for details!
 
Sunday, April 19- Birds of Prey
It is back by popular demand! Enjoy Birds of Prey from Reelfoot Lake State Park! FREE with admission!
 
Wednesday, April 22- Administrative Assistants Luncheon
Bring your assistant or assistants to Discovery Park of America and show your
appreciation for "a job well done" with a lunch including a gift to take with them. Call the special events department to make a reservation at (731) 885-5455, ext. 22.  Space is limited- Call today! Click here for more information!
 
Weekend of April 23, 24, 25- Civil War Days
This is going to be an AWESOME WEEKEND! Are you interested in history or want to learn more?  You will love this! We will have the Confederate and the Union represented, artillery demonstrations every hour, storytelling and so much more! The Great Lawn will be FULL of all sorts Civil War demonstrations! Mark your calendars and plan to attend this fun-filled weekend!  
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Lew's partners with Missouri FOP in fundraiser for wounded Springfield police officer

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Feb. 13, 2015) - Lew's and the Missouri Fraternal
Order of Police have teamed in a major fundraiser to benefit
Springfield, Mo., police officer Aaron Pearson and his family. Pearson was seriously wounded late last month while responding to a burglary call.

The fundraiser, deemed the "Team Pearson Boat Raffle," is the result of Lew's officials providing the FOP with significant prizes to stimulate ticket sales in support of the Pearsons' needs. The grand prize is a fully rigged 2015 Ranger boat with trailer and a Mercury 250 horsepower outboard motor, a package valued at $75,000. The two runner-up prizes are considered "dream fishing trips," as each is with a nationally recognized angler.

One trip is with Hank Parker, host of the "Hank Parker's
Outdoor Magazine" television show and a two-time
Bassmaster Classic champion. The other trip is with Jason
Christie, a highly successful Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour bass tournament angler, who is currently ranked the #1 pro in the world by BassFan.com. Both trips are for the respective prize winners and a guest.
Officer Aaron Pearson was shot while on duty in
The Parker prize package is valued at $10,000 and the Springfield. Groups from all areas have rallied insupport to help Pearson and his family.
Christie trip $5,000. All three prizes also include an assortment of fishing rods, reels, tackle bags and lures. Raffle tickets cost $20 each and can be purchased at www.officerpearson.com.

Lew's is headquartered in Springfield. CEO Lynn Reeves says that Pearson is a true American hero, and the team at Lew's has a responsibility to help.

"Officer Pearson is an American hero," Reeves said. "He sacrificed to keep our community safe. We know that it's now our turn to make sure Aaron and his family have everything they need to see them through their challenges ahead."

While Pearson has been steadily improving, and is now out of the ICU, he will face long-term care and rehabilitation.

"Aaron's an outstanding officer and we're ready to stand by him," said Mike Evans, president of the Springfield Police Officers Association. "So many local businesses have come forward to help, and we're thrilled to see this effort from Lew's. With everyone coming together for this raffle, I think we'll be able to take great care of Aaron and his family. And that's what it's all about."

Reeves also said a number of outdoor industry companies in addition to Lew's helped make the prize packages possible, and extended a "thank you" to them on behalf of everyone in the Springfield area. packages possible, and extended a "thank you" to them on behalf of everyone in the Springfield area. Among the other prize contributors were Grosse Savanne Waterfowl and Wildlife Lodge, Gene Larew Lures, Plano, Onyx Lifejackets, Strike King, River2Sea, Rat-L-Trap, Owner Hooks, Bullet Weights, K2 Coolers, Ranger Boats, Mercury, Humminbird, MinnKota, Power Pole, TH Marine and HydroWave.


Mike Evans, president of the Springfield Police Officers Association, stands alongside the "Tournament Ready" 2015
Ranger bass boat that is the featured item of a grand prize package that local-based Lew's and many of its fishing industry friends helped provide for a raffle to benefit wounded Officer Pearson. (Click for hi-res image)

Team Person Boat Raffle tickets are available for purchase during the period of Feb. 13 - May 31, 2015. A third-party accounting firm will conduct the drawing on June 5, 2015.

The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization. The Missouri Constitution, Article 3, Section 39(f), states that any organization recognized as charitable or religious pursuant to federal law may sponsor raffles and sweepstakes in which a person risks something of value for a prize. Such laws vary by state. The Team Pearson Boat Raffle is void where prohibited.

Visit www.officerpearson.comfor more details about Officer Pearson, the fundraiser and prizes.

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St. Jude Bass Classic adds Club Division

For the first time, the St. Jude Bass Classic will have a Club division. Members can fish for the chance to win the $1000 top prize for their club.

There is no extra fee to participate. You must be a active bass club member. Deadline for entry is at check-in May 23rd.

The top 3 weights from club teams will be awarded:

1st place: $1000 to the Bass Club /$250 Bass Pro gift card/plaque for the team

2nd place: $750 to the Bass Club /$200 Bass Pro gift card/plaque for the team

3rd place: $500 to the Bass Club /$150 Bass Pro gift card/plaque for the team

The more teams your club enters, the better your club’s chance to win. Each team qualifies for all other team prizes. Money provided for the club tournament is provided by the sponsorship of the Memphis Auto Market. For more information, contact Rick Lesley at ricklesley@hotmail.com or call 901-412-7683.

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When Tagged Animals Play Tag With Kids

Tennessee Aquarium Unveils High-Tech Animal Tracker Program Using Beacon Technology
Chattanooga, Tenn. (March 12, 2015) – Scientists, like the researchers at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI), employ various technologies to monitor the health of wild populations and measure the success of restoration efforts. Almost microscopic wire-coded tags implanted in Aquarium-reared Southern Appalachian Brook Trout and sonic tags that broadcast the underwater whereabouts of reintroduced Lake Sturgeon, provide a wealth of information about TNACI’s freshwater conservation efforts.
 
Other biologists around the world use powerful electronics to monitor the movements of everything from sharks and sea turtles to Polar Bears and even the amazing journeys of the Wandering Albatross. So right now it’s an exciting time to be a scientist tracking animals from around the world – whether on land, overhead or under water.
 
Starting March 12th, kids who visit the Tennessee Aquarium during spring break can dive into the role of High-Tech Animal Trackers with their families trailing some rare, threatened or rarely seen animals. Powered by tiny transmitters called Beacons, the Tennessee Aquarium is the first aquarium to utilize this new technology.
 
In the Aquarium’s mobile optimized adventure, a team of wildlife biologists is seeking the help of young citizen scientists to observe animal behavior and collect data. While exploring the Aquarium’s two buildings, kids will receive notifications when they are approaching the habitats of “tagged” animals. In River Journey, herpetologist Ana Conda may ask you to observe Giant South American River Turtles. In Ocean Journey, entomologist Olive Buggs could give you the task of identifying a specific butterfly species. Or, ichthyologist Finn Skales may need your help observing a colorful endangered fish species. “We’re using Beacon technology to put our guests in a more active role during their time with us,” said Thaddeus Taylor, one of the Aquarium’s senior educators. “I’m excited about adding another layer to our experience, one with a game-play feel that increases learning about our animals because it’s so much fun.”
 
Beacons allow mobile apps to understand their position with tremendous accuracy. By using Bluetooth Low Energy technology, information can be transmitted over short distances. Guests opt-into the program by first downloading the free Tennessee Aquarium app. Once device settings allow Bluetooth connections and push notifications, they’re ready to begin tracking. “It’s exciting to be on the forefront of this new technology, creating some engaging content for our guests,” said Taylor.
 
Equally excited are the co-founders of CloudBeacon, the Chattanooga-based technology company that developed the magic behind the scenes of the High-Tech Animal Tracker Program. Co-Founders Justin Junda, Jason Provonsha and Peter Van de Put launched CloudBeacon as a full-service company specializing in mobile app development and Beacon strategies, and CloudBeacon is a company within Chattanooga-based LPG Lab, the start-up studio of Lamp Post Group. The retail sector may have been the first industry to adopt beacons, but Junda, Provonsha and Van de Put are poised to use their content management system to light up tourism with many more engaging experiences like the one they are launching with the Aquarium. “We have some pretty lofty goals about how to bring beacons to this city and many others,” said Junda. “Chattanooga is developing quite a reputation as a technology hub and we are glad to be a part of that growing reputation. The Aquarium project is a great test case as we continue to expand.”
 
Because content on the CloudBeacon platform is easily changed, the Aquarium has plans to offer new beacon programs at different times throughout the year. Taylor is already looking forward to creating new fun and inspirational themes. “I hope this alters the way our guests look at animals,” said Taylor. “So that even after they leave the Aquarium, there is a long-reaching effect of creating a desire to closely observe the wildlife around us rather than simply noticing the animals.”
 
Ready to become a High-Tech Animal Tracker? Download the FREE Tennessee Aquarium app from the iTunes Store or Google Play.
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Just in Time For Easter, Screenings of “JERUSALEM 3D” return to IMAX Mar. 27 – April 10
First-Ever Giant Screen Film to Soar Above the Holy Land

Chattanooga, Tenn. (March 17, 2015) – Jerusalem: sacred to half the people on earth; fought over more than any other place in history; conquered and destroyed, rebuilt and reinvented repeatedly over 5,000 years. Now, for the first-time ever, a new 3D giant screen film immerses audiences in a spectacular cinematic journey—soaring high above the Holy Land and plunging deep into the vibrant Old City—so they can experience as never before the iconic sites cherished by billions. The Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater will offer special screenings of JERUSALEM 3D March 27 – April 10, a captivating film that explores the intersection of history, religion and archaeology in this enigmatic city.
 
In response to overwhelmingly positive visitor feedback, and requests for screenings for groups, the Aquarium is bringing back this compelling documentary in time for Easter observances. National Geographic offers educational materials to supplement any lessons for those who wish to explore Jerusalem further from a spiritual perspective:http://www.jerusalemthemovie.com/#/?modal=0&page=learning-tools
 
Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch ("Star Trek into the Darkness," PBS's "Sherlock"), JERUSALEM 3D gives audiences a rare glimpse of the ancient, storied city, as well as exclusive access to iconic holy sites and little-known parts of the region—including the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, and the mountain fortress of Masada.  "Through the unrivaled beauty, visceral nature and incredible technology of the giant screen format, you feel as if you are experiencing Jerusalem up-close and first-hand," said Daniel Ferguson, the film’s writer/director.
 
Ferguson and his team were granted special permission in the region’s strict no-fly zone, enabling them to capture the first-ever large format aerial images of the Old City and throughout the Holy Land.
 
Audiences will discover why this tiny piece of land is sacred to three major religions through the stories of Jewish, Christian and Muslim families who call Jerusalem home. They will also join renowned archaeologist, Dr. Jodi Magness, as she travels underground to solve some of this city’s greatest mysteries and see why, after thousands of years, Jerusalem and the Holy Land continue to stir the imagination of billions of people.
 
View the official JERUSALEM 3D trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3P_RDXDWow
 
Showtimes for JERUSALEM 3D at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater:
Friday, March 27th at 7pm
Saturday, March 28th – Friday, April 10th - Daily at 2pm & 7pm
 
Purchase tickets online at: www.tnaqua.org/imax
 
View a behind-the-scenes look at the making of JERUSALEM 3D: http://vimeo.com/98289038
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Rules...On The Go?

We had some deer hunters using the pot on the wrong spot. All along a road. I wrote a little something to help them understand they could leave their rifle in the road but needed to unload in the bushes …………………
As some of you perhaps saw, I wrote a note on the sign-in board about the need to do alimentary paper work out of the road. Some of the Ames house wives, having occasion to be out on the field trial courses and one class of Vet Students made comment about how unsightly toilet paper was, as one metaphor-minded wife put it, “strung along the road like popcorn on a Christmas string.” I will have to confess, I went, I saw and t’was so … and popcorn strings no longer adorn my tree. Now, certainly nature calls and sometimes it comes on a fellow about like a tactical team coming through the door. It is something that cannot be ignored or denied. When you gotta go, dawdling is often not an option and the woods are after all, deer stand aside, our throne.
It reminds me of a day about 10 years ago when I was making one of my “get-in-shape” jaunts down toward Calley Bell. Suddenly, and I mean suddenly, that niggling little back-of-the-mind discomfort came roaring to the fore, or to be more precise about the whole thing, to the aft. It was almost certainly the courtesy of a lunch time pork sandwich catalyzed by a 90-degree day. There was no denying the urgency and there was no way I was going to get back home. I was not going to get half way back home. I was not going to get much of anywhere except right here.
I bounded off into the bushes and made do as best I could under the circumstances.
At the time we had two Golden Retrievers, one of which is still alive. Timber was just under two years old and was already a powerful dog, not full grown but pushing 85 pounds and strong enough to pull a truck out of a mud hole. He once confounded two vets who thought they were going to have to break off his clamped-down tail to get his temperature. I cannot repeat just what it was the vets said, but they did indicate it was the first time the rear end of a dog had nearly whipped them.
From my perch I could see Timber out in the soybean field. Our other dog, Nugget, would lay down, hiding in the tall vegetation and this would drive Timber to distraction as he tried to find her. He was bouncing in great kangaroo leaps, high above the tops of the 3-foot-tall beans as he looked for her. I was peeping out among the grasses hoping against hope he did not find me.
But of course he did. At the top of one of his leaps I saw gleeful recognition as he spied me hiding in what surely seemed to him to be a “let’s play” stance.
And so, here he came, head periscoping above the beans with a look or pure and unadulterated joy. This was shaping up to be a disaster of major proportions … 85 pounds of enthusiasm in my lap was not what I needed at the moment.
Overwhelmed with his good fortune in finding me, he looked a little flummoxed on how to make the best of the opportunity. Questing about for few seconds he picked up several sticks before settling on a big one, a small log really. He has always carried things, usually sticks of wood and spends a fair amount of the winter dismantling my firewood pile. The stick he had in his mouth was full on to 5-feet long and carrying it sideways here he came, a bundle of canine catastrophe, full tilt, head up and convinced that the best game in the world would be to knock Master over. There was simply no where I could go. I felt like Robin Hood facing Little John, and condemned to play the part as a wee gnome jabbing my finger frantically at Little John’s knees.
I could not even crab around and try to get away. I was stuck.
At the last moment I spied me own shillelagh, a small whip of a stick, but it was all I could reach. Balanced in a most precarious three point stance I could do little to counter the thrust except to parry the intended blow over my head as he pounded past. He raced on about 30 feet and turned much like a battle horse, big neck bowed, eyes on me and the stick tilting in his mouth like the wings of a banking airplane. Then he came again, charging from behind.
My fighting blood was up now. The uncouth lout, he had me at every disadvantage. Coming from behind was entirely unsporting; but the geometry worked a bit to my favor should he actually manage to topple me over. With that small strategic advantage I was able to give a little more attention to counter moves.
This time as he came flying by I was able once again to parry the blow over my head, and also to give him a stout whack on the rump. The effect was much like hitting a tractor tire with a ball peen hammer. There was no effect. He was a big dog and tough. I doubt he felt it.
But my parry had managed to partially dislodge the stick and as he made the turn this time he dropped it and gave me a speculative look. I watched him too, barely able to peep above the grass, but I could see him clearly enough. He studied the situation for a moment and picked up the stick again, but this time very near one end. It looked like he was smoking an enormous cigar and here he came, his great head cocked sideways and the stick, much like the jouster’s lance was aimed directly at the center of my chest.
This was a new strategy and it took me unaware, so much so I barked out an involuntary little “oh.” I had known him to be a highly intelligent dog, but I had not given him the credit he just now proved he deserved. I was actually a little proud of him, but was not able to dwell on the matter because here he came, a knight of old; and the image would not have been any less vivid if he’d had a demonic monkey on his back holding the lance and clearly bent on ignoring every ideal of chivalry in the pas d’armes. Lance against shillelagh, the only battle so far, and so far as I know, ever recorded.
But once again, with an effort inspired by position, posture, and very nasty potential I managed to ward off the blow and this time gave him a smart rap on the snout as he passed, the sharp little blow sounding like a coconut dropped on concrete. This one he felt. He dropped the stick, giving over to a sneezing fit and gave me an aggrieved look as if to say I had not played by the rules. I took all this in with considerable satisfaction. The break in the action gave me time to finally, after a moment, stand and assume my place as leader of the pack.
Completely unfazed he came over for a scratch and a look up to see if maybe we could play this game some more. Seeing no particular enthusiasm on my part he went bounding off into the beans looking for Nugget carrying my small stick with him.
The point of this little story to is to say I went off into the bushes to do my business.
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Anticipation

While walking on our evening walk
I heard some quacking overhead
And though so dark I knew it was ducks
In a “V” formation and in good stead.

The moon and stars could not be seen
Clouds had hid them from my sight.
How could those ducks be finding their way
Navigating through the darkened night?

Ol’ Dan looked up me and moaned,
He knew quite well they were ducks.
He recognized that quacking sound
And recalled past rides in pick-up trucks.

Now Dan’s a lab and black as night
And he can retrieve downed birds
Which have fallen in the chilly marsh
Following my hand and commanding words.

“We’ll just have to wait ‘till opening day
And fields are flooded in Arkansas.”
Then pent-up energy can be released
With a wagging tail and a waving paw.

The ducks have gone but not very far,
They’ve flown to some nearby lake
Where they’ll doze and spend the rest of the night
On water which has no wave or wake.


Charlie Covington        10/05/14

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Only You Can Make The Choice

Into the Fray Episode 16: Only You Can Make The Choice Whether or not you choose to shoot is up to you. Just because you have the legal right to shoot someone does not mean you SHOULD pull the trigger. Remember, your problems don't end when you shoot someone; they are just beginning. If you can get out of the situation without firing a shot, by all means, please do that. But, again, that decision is up to you and based on the circumstances at the time.
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Watch, Listen and Adapt for Season-Long Turkey Hunting Success

By Josh Lantz with Eddie Salter

Evergreen, Alabama’s Eddie “The Turkey Man” Salter is one of the world’s most experienced turkey hunters.  Over nearly 50 years of observation, Salter has refined his skill set through trial and error to learn what works in the turkey woods and why. 

Most of the time.

“Old Tom Turkey plays by his own rules,” says the Plano-Synergy pro, who may hunt a dozen different states each spring. “Just because I can puff out my chest after fooling one doesn’t mean the next one’s going to come the same way,” he continues.

A portable blind excels at concealing movement and keeping hunters comfortable during unpredictable early season weather.

Yes, the Turkey Man is quick to admit that no single strategy works 100% of the time.  It’s what keeps him coming back to the field spring after spring, searching for the next unique experience or observation that will make him an even better hunter the next time out. 

Humility is an important trait in any hunter, and Salter maintains his through ample lessons from the birds he loves, as well as a sincere appreciation for the opportunity he’s been given to hunt turkeys for a living and to share his knowledge with others.

I had the opportunity to shadow Salter and his cameraman, Mike Miller, on a challenging hunt in the hills of central Kentucky during filming for Salter’s popularTurkey Man television series last spring.  Two things quickly became apparent over the course of our two-day hunt.  First, Salter never gives up.  If there’s a tom in the neighborhood, he’ll work that bird ten different ways until he either puts it down or pushes it into the next county.  Second, Salter – a two-time world champion – is the finest turkey caller I’ve heard.  His ability to effectively vocalize all manner of turkey sounds – with or without an actual call – is truly remarkable. Miller is an incredible caller as well, and the team worked in tandem to light up every bird within earshot.

“Calling is an important skill a turkey hunter needs to have,” says Salter, “but it’s more important to know when to make those sounds.  Anyone can learn to call, but if you want to kill turkeys with regularity, you’ve got to listen to those hens and jakes and toms in the field and watch how they interact together,” he adds.  “There’s no substitute for experience.”

While every turkey-hunting situation is different, the Turkey Man has strong views on how hunters can, and should, adjust their strategies throughout the spring season.

Salter and Miller watch and listen for clues on the best way to set-up for and call to turkeys on an adjacent ridge.

Early Season

Most turkey hunters believe the opening days of the spring turkey-hunting season offer the best chances at taking a bird.  This is probably true in most cases.  Turkeys that haven’t been hunted in months can up the odds for success, but an abundance of weather-related variables can easily turn what should be prime turkey killing days into disappointing outings that often leave less-experienced hunters scratching their heads.

If opening day arrives on the heels of typical spring weather, hunters can expect toms to be fired up for breeding yet frustrated by hens that aren’t quite ready.  These are great conditions for the turkey hunter, as toms will be close to the hens and establishing dominance.  These are birds that can be expected to respond favorably to effective calling – especially the less-dominant toms.

“You’re mostly hunting satellite toms in the early season,” says Salter, who often hunts from a portable ground blind during this period.  “You’ve got a lot less cover at the start of the season, and a blind is a key tool,” he continues.  Turkeys are often less vocal now, too.  “Silent birds can be on top of you before you know it during the early season,” he says.  “A good blind set up is going to conceal your movement when repositioning your gun towards the old tom that seemed to pop out of the ground right next to you like a mushroom,” he concludes.  Of course, a ground blind also provides welcomed comfort and protection from early spring’s unpredictable weather.

Avian-X Feeder Hen

Most seasoned hunters agree that weather is the single largest variable in early season turkey hunting. “So many times in a cold early season, the birds don’t crank up when you want,” says Salter, who recently experienced this very challenge during the opening days of Alabama’s 2015 spring turkey season. “Go to areas with a lot of sign that you know birds are using and try to deer hunt them a bit,” he says.  “Use a couple decoys and try a little calling, but don’t be surprised or concerned if they don’t gobble,” he advises.  “Have patience and move on to a different location after an hour or so.  Pack a lunch and hunt all day if your state allows it.  You’ll probably stumble up on one,” concludes Salter.

When it comes to early season decoy strategies, Salter prefers a single Avian-X Breeder or Feeder Hen and a single Flextone Thunder Chicken Jake.  “I don’t like big, fluffed up decoys or a lot of them,” says Salter, who appreciates the relaxed posture of the Avian-X hen’s head, and the feather-like fan that moves in the wind on the Thunder Chicken Jake.

“Those small details help put birds at ease and can make a big difference whenever you hunt,” he says.

Deciding how much or how little to call can only be learned through experience, and is a critical consideration during the early season.  “When toms are sorting out their pecking order during the pre-breeding period, you can have great success with aggressive calling,” says Salter.  But it’s important not to overdo it right out of the gate.  “Guys have a tendency to keep hammering away, especially when turkeys aren’t gobbling, but that isn’t always what the birds want to hear,” adds Salter.

Tenzing’s unique TZ TP14 Turkey Pack allows turkey hunters to set up anywhere and remain comfortably motionless while working birds – without the need for a tree or stump to lean against.

Instead, Salter suggests starting with three or four little notes and building up gradually. “Wait a minute after those soft initial purrs or yelps, then apply a little more pressure,” he says.  Salter will repeat this process a couple more times, getting louder and extending his sequence each time.  “By the fourth time, I’m screaming 10 to 12 notes at them... feeding calls and throwing some cuts in, too,” says Salter, who often rustles leaves with his hand or a branch between calling sequences to simulate scratching and add realism. “Mix it up, and wait different periods of time between calling. Hens have a lot of personality, so put feeling into your own calling,” he suggests.

Salter’s point about each hen being – and sounding – different, was proven on our Kentucky hunt last spring.

We were set up on a ridge of oaks attempting to call in a stubborn tom from the next ridge over.  Salter and Miller were each working slate and mouth calls simultaneously, playing off of each other and the live birds in the area with the precision and artistry of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts jamming the bridge toJessica in 1972.  During a brief pause, the world’s worst turkey caller started yelping down slope from us and out of view. 

Out of cadence and more grunt than yelp, the calls sounded like someone working very hard to sound like a hen turkey, but failing miserably.  The three of us, moderately amused, looked at each other with stunned faces. Thirty seconds later, a live hen turkey – completely normal by all other accounts – cleared the ridge and proceeded to continue with her unconventional and entertaining yelping.  She busted us and ran away when someone began laughing.

Turkey Man TV videographer, Mike Miller, works a diaphragm call in conjunction with Salter’s calling to locate a late season tom.

Late Season

Conditions change in the late season, and hunters should adapt their set-ups and calling strategies accordingly. 

Breeding is winding down at this time, and many dominant hens will be nesting.  But while these older gals are laying and sitting, a number of younger hens will still be out and about broadcasting their availability to suitors.  Those are the birds hunters need to observe and mimic.  The toms are listening.  Are you? 

Salter says it’s usually a good idea to tone down your calling during the late season, but recognizes that hunters should continue to let the birds tell them what they want.  “If they aren’t doing a lot of calling, I’ll stick with those softer purrs, clicks and yelps,” says Salter, who carries and uses a pack full of calls during this period.  “I like to try a bunch of different calls later in the season… just for variety… to try and find that one he’ll key in on,” he adds. “If I can get a tom to answer, then I’ll stick with that one call he likes, but won’t be too aggressive.”

Gobbler calls can also become effective hunting tools during the late season.  Such a call can be used for shock gobbling birds on the roost, but also excels when used in conjunction with a mating yelp.  It’s a deadly combination that can bring a jealous old tom running in to look for a fight.  But gobbler calls can serve another purpose in the late season as well.

“Gobblers will switch gears at some point late in the season and look to buddy up again,” says Salter.  “A call like Flextone’s Thunder Gobble is underutilized, especially late in the game when toms become more interested in each other’s company again,” he says.

The physical hunting environment also changes throughout the season.  An increasing amount of foliage on the ground and on the trees makes visibility – for both turkeys and hunters – more challenging as the season progresses.  But the heavier vegetation can also be an asset.  “We often need to cover more ground in the late season, and the increased cover makes mobility and concealment easier,” says Salter, who recommends leaving the ground blinds at home at this time of year.

“I’ll work paths, trails and clearings where I can see more, but tuck into available cover using my turkey pack,” says Salter, referring to his Tenzing TP 14 Turkey Pack, which has a fold-down padded seat and unique spring-loaded legs to create a comfy backrest.  “I can set-up anywhere with that pack in seconds and don’t need a tree or a log to lean against… It’s been a real game-changer, for me and a lot of other turkey hunters,” he continues.

The late season provides another key advantage for the turkey hunter, the importance of which cannot be overlooked.  There’s simply less competition from real hens.

“If you find a tom that isn’t henned-up, he’ll likely be sucker for the proper calling and set-up,” says Salter, who tends to stick with his hen and jake decoy set-up throughout the late season.  “Toms seem to make more mistakes during the late season,” he says, “and seeing that single jake with a hen is just something he’s not going to be able to brush off. He’s coming in; so let him make the mistake, not you.  Watch what he likes, then keep doing it and you’ll get your bird.”

The most successful turkey hunters avoid mistakes by watching, listening and adapting their strategies accordingly – throughout the course of a single hunt and over the changing conditions and circumstances of an entire season.  Still, everyone makes mistakes.  The key is racking up enough experience to realize errors right away and make immediate adjustments.

Spend enough time in the woods and the birds will show you what they want.

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