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New This Week & Where To Find It

Alabama Black Belt Adventures Celebrates Stokes World-Record American Alligator
NEWS

Interviews from May 23rd, 2015
VIDEO

TFWC sets 2-Buck Limit for 2015-16
REPORTS

Control boat speed and stay on the fish with Bass Pro Shops Extreme Drift Anchor
PRODUCTS

John Berry Fishing Report
REPORTS

Sardis Lower Lake to Host Youth Fishing Rodeo
REPORTS

Crappie Regulation Changes Proposed for Flood Control Reservoirs and Eagle Lake
REPORTS

Avery® Outdoors Memorial Day Sale
EVENTS

Bassmaster Sacramento River
VIDEO

Family-Friendly Fun Is In Store At BASSfest In Northwest Tennessee
EVENTS

Potential No. 1 redfish caught, released in Venice
NEWS

Ducks Unlimited and Unimin forge four-year conservation partnership
REPORTS

MDWFP Celebrates National Fishing and Boating Week
REPORTS

Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Jamey Caldwell Joins Plano Synergy Pro Staff
NEWS

A Cast to the Other Bass
EDITORIAL

Crappie Masters-Rend Lake Results
NEWS

Delta Waterfowl 2015 Research Projects Include Oil Impact Study, Hunter Recruitment Work
NEWS

DU: Bills to maintain conservation funding under consideration
REPORTS>DUCKS UNLIMITED NEWS

Sonic Tags Let Researchers See What Lake Sturgeon Do When No one’s Looking
NEWS

Best Paddling Towns: Memphis, Tennessee
EDITORIAL

Interviews from May 9th, 2015
VIDEO/INTERVIEWS FROM THE MAY 16th, 2015

First Wood Bison Calf Wild-Born In Alaska In At Least 100 Years
NEWS

Humminbird® Pro Aaron Martens Steals Cliff’s Perch On Blackbird Pattern
NEWS

What's Happening at Discovery Park
EVENTS

Jessie Duff Wins 2015 Single Stack Nationals
NEWS

Fishing is therapeutic
EDITORIAL

AquaVu:From Squid Surveillance to the ‘Search for Sasquatch’
PRODUCTS

Important Crop Insurance Deadline Near For Mississippi Producers
NEWS

The 2016 TRACKER® Pro Team™ 195 TXW is ready to hit the tournament trail
PRODUCTS

Discovery Park of America sees 400,000th Visitor
NEWS

New Long-Term Funding Announced for Federal Trout Hatchery and Stocking Program
REPORTS

Discovery Park of America WWII Living History
EVENTS

Clagett Talley's Pickwick Lake Fishing Report
REPORTS

Plano Expands International Presence
PRODUCTS

Take the K.I.S.S. Principle Home for National Safe Boating Week
NEWS

16th Annual Muzzy Classic Sets Turn-Out and Pay-Out Records
NEWS

USDA Announces $235 Million Available for Innovative New Conservation Partnerships
NEWS

A Furry Crown: What is Velvet?
EDITORIAL

Dr. Allan Houston: Here is bird number two …………
EDITORIAL

New Humminbird® Software Bridges the Gap Between ONIX® and Core Units
PRODUCTS

Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid Celebrates Its Iconic Grand Opening
NEWS

Lew's American Hero program supports Take a Warrior Fishing
NEWS

Mid South Quail Forever to host West Tennessee YHEC
NEWS

Results from Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters tournament on the Tennessee-Tombigbee
NEWS

Bass Pro Shops Go Outdoors event helps families prep for summer fun
EVENTS

Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center is Flying High
NEWS

TWRA ANNOUNCEMENTS
REPORTS>TWRA ANNOUNCEMENTS

TWRA Requesting Public Input for 2015-16 Hunting Regulations Proposals
NEWS

Interviews from May 9th, 2015
VIDEO/INTERVIEWS FROM THE MAY 9th, 2015

North Mississippi Fish Hatchery to Host Youth Fishing Rodeo
EVENTS

B.A.S.S. Announces First-Ever High School All-American Team
NEWS

Gastons Media Gathering
VIDEO

Lucas Gets Career Victory No. 1 In Front Of Big Home Crowd
NEWS

Interviews from May 2nd, 2015
VIDEO/INTERVIEWS FROM THE MAY 2nd, 2015 SHOW

Bassmaster Elite Series on Sacramento River
PHOTOS

Avery Outdoors, Inc. Returns to Bass Pro Shops
NEWS

A Poem from Charles Covington
EDITORIAL

Jeff Riddle and David Maddux Take Their First Win on Beaver Lake
NEWS

Plano: Leaking Liquid Salvation
PRODUCTS

Ty Dyer's Blog
EDITORIAL

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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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Delta Waterfowl 2015 Research Projects Include Oil Impact Study, Hunter Recruitment Work

BISMARCK, N.D. — From adding ducks to the fall flight to unlocking doors for new hunters, Delta Waterfowl’s mission is guided by science, which is a policy dating to founder James Ford Bell’s declaration that “one must follow where research leads.” 

“Much of what is known about waterfowl today was discovered through Delta’s pioneering research,” said Joel Brice, Delta Waterfowl vice president of waterfowl and hunter recruitment programs. “Nearly eight decades later, the focus is on applied research: Studies that address a specific waterfowl-management problem and find the solution. As ducks, their habitats and duck hunters face future challenges, Delta will be there to find the remedy.” 

Where have more than 75 years of duck studies led? Here are Delta’s current research projects and the waterfowl mysteries they seek to resolve. 

Oil Development and Waterfowl: Oil development has expanded greatly in the Prairie Pothole Region — home to North America’s highest densities of nesting ducks — yet little is known about its potential impact on waterfowl. Therefore the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has called upon Delta researchers to investigate. Using a study framework devised by Louisiana State University, Delta will determine any variations in nest success among areas of low-, medium- and high-intensity oil development. Based on the findings, Delta will provide oil companies with impact-mitigation strategies, and help devise new waterfowl management actions in the oil fields. 

Alberta Hunter Recruitment: The number of waterfowlers across prairie Canada is in decline, and Delta Waterfowl wants to know why. Delta is partnering with the University of Alberta’s Dr. Lee Foote to assess several factors, including the complexity of game regulations that may be reducing hunter recruitment and retention. The findings will also indicate any necessary adjustments to mentored-hunting programs such as First Hunt, which Delta established in Canada. 

CRP and Landowner Attitudes: Why did so many landowners choose not to enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program? Given that declining CRP acreage has serious ramifications for ducks and duck hunters, Delta Waterfowl has partnered with North Dakota State University to find definitive answers. A survey begun last year will assess how prairie pothole farmers and ranchers view CRP, and how it could be adjusted to better meet the needs of all parties. 

Wood Duck Harvest: Measuring the effects of hunter-harvest on migratory waterfowl is challenging, but an isolated population of Nevada wood ducks presents a unique opportunity. Noting the potential for study, Delta has partnered with Dr. Chris Nikolai to monitor the experimental manipulation of hunting regulations in the region. Essentially, all wood ducks in the population have been banded, thus ensuring delivery of critical data on hunting’s impact. 

Predator Management: Delta Waterfowl remains committed to Predator Management research in Canada and the United States. A study in Manitoba will measure the impact of predator removal on overwater-nesting ducks such as canvasbacks. In Alberta, a pilot study involving grassland-nesting ducks is underway. The results will help predator managers fine-tune techniques for Alberta’s drier prairie habitat. Finally, a study in North Dakota is ongoing to determine if targeting grassland habitats for trapping can increase predator management’s efficiency. 

Whitewater Lake Landowner Survey: Manitoba’s Whitewater Lake is critically important to staging, molting and breeding ducks, but its expanding wetlands are creating conflict with landowners. So, in search of a conservation compromise, Delta has partnered with the University of Manitoba to survey the local community’s interest in saving the wetland habitat. Pending analysis of the results, Delta might offer Alternative Land Use Services as a means for landowners to voluntarily conserve wetlands. 

Great Salt Lake Phragmites: Phragmites have overtaken large expanses of Great Salt Lake marshes — habitat that supports vast numbers of waterfowl — with serious consequences. A team of graduate students from Utah State University is working with Delta to study treatments to manage phragmites and reestablish desirable wetland plants. 

For more information, contact John Devney, vice president of U.S. policy, at (888) 987-3695 ext. 218 orjdevney@deltawaterfowl.org

Delta Waterfowl Foundation is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and ensure the tradition of duck hunting in North America. Visit deltawaterfowl.org.

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Crappie Masters-Rend Lake Results

ROBERT AND TODD DENT WIN THE OZARK RODS OPEN ON REND LAKE

Lake Cove Resort and Lake Zone Bait and Tackle hosted the Ozark Rods Open on Rend Lake Saturday, May 16, for a one day national qualifying Crappie Masters event. Mother Nature again played a role on tournament day for the anglers, but did not stop a huge crowd from coming out to cheer on the competitors. After the 54 team field, from thirteen different states, made their way through the scales, another local team was left standing on top.

Robert and Todd Dent weighed in a seven fish limit of 9.87 pounds to take the top spot and were crowned the Ozark Rods Open Champions. The Dents were one pole fishing in 6.5’ of water over submerged brush piles, catching their crappie just off the bottom with their home made Papa Dent black and white jigs on Ozark Rods. Electronics were a major player in their success thanks to Humminbird Electronics and a Minn Kota trolling motor. The Dents are sponsored by The Golf Cart Guys and took home a check for $4992.00 which included a $250.00 bonus, donated by the Missouri Corn Growers Association and American Ethanol, for using E10 gasoline in their boat motor and $742.00 for big fish of the tournament honors with a 1.74 pound crappie.

REND LAKE RESULTS

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Take the K.I.S.S. Principle Home for National Safe Boating Week

ANNAPOLIS, Md., May 11, 2015 – May 16-22 is National Safe Boating week, reminding anyone who spends their time on the water to think about ways they’ll have a great summer and avoid any chance of becoming US Coast Guard statistic. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water has four tips that follow the familiar K.I.S.S. principle – but with a bent for boating safety – that are near universal:
Keep your life jackets handy: This means readily accessible within arms reach, not still in it’s plastic bag or behind compartment doors buried under junk. Better yet, wear it. You’d be surprised at how comfortable and slim today’s newest inflatable life jackets are.
Instruct your passengers on where to sit and how to move about the boat safely. This applies to all boats, but the smallest ones can have biggest problems: swamping, large wakes and overloading can turn your day into one you’d rather forget.
See that all passengers are briefed on where emergency equipment is kept and how to use it: don’t forget to show how to use the VHF radio, and what everyone needs to do in case someone falls overboard (designate a spotter).
Share your float plan with someone ashore to let them know where you’re headed and expected to return. The simple act of telling someone has been demonstrated to greatly reduce a rescuer’s response time.
For more information on boating safety or to take a no cost online boating safety course, go to BoatUS.org.
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About the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by donations from the over half-million members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the non-profit provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses – including 34 free state courses – can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.
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TWRA Requesting Public Input for 2015-16 Hunting Regulations Proposals

PROPOSED REGULATION CHANGES

At its April meeting, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Wildlife Management Committee passed a motion directing the TWRA to develop a proclamation for a two-buck limit for their consideration. The TFWC will consider this and a three-buck bag limit at the May 21 and 22 meeting. Other proposed changes presented by TWRA biologists including fall turkey bag limits, bear dog training, elk hunt zone modifications and more, may be found on the TWRA website,www.tnwildlife.org.

LEARN MORE


PUBLIC COMMENT REQUESTED

This is an opportunity for the public to share ideas and concerns about hunting regulations with TWRA staff before seasons are set at the next meeting of the TFWC onMay 21 and 22 in Nashville. Comments may be emailed totwra.comment@tn.gov now through May 18. Please include “Hunting Season Comments” on the subject line of emailed submissions.

COMMENTS


BUY BEFORE JULY

Thank you for supporting wildlife in Tennessee – without you, our work would not be possible. Tennessee hunting and fishing licenses expired February 28, but you have an opportunity to renew now at current prices. The proposed increase is scheduled to go into effect on July 1. Click here to renew your license today!

BUY A LICENSE


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Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Jamey Caldwell Joins Plano Synergy Pro Staff

AMERICAN HERO FINDS NEW CAREER AS PROFESSIONAL ANGLER

Plano, IL (May 19, 2015) – Plano Synergy, parent company to the time-trusted Plano and Frabill fishing tackle brands, is proud to announce the addition of retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Jamey Caldwell to their Pro Staff. 

“Jamey exudes excellence and honor in his personal life, his accomplished military career, and in his fishing,” says Plano Synergy Marketing and Pro Staff Coordinator, Justina Whalen.  “We appreciate those attributes and are thrilled to be partnering with Jamey in his new career as a professional angler.”

A resident of Carthage, North Carolina, Caldwell is beginning a new chapter in his life as a tournament bass angler after retiring in December of 2014 from 21 years of service to our country; the first seven as a U.S. Army Ranger, and the last 14 in an Elite Special Operations unit at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.  Caldwell has been deployed 14 times for combat operations throughout his distinguished military career and has been honored with eight Bronze Stars (two with Valor), three Defense Meritorious Service Medals, one Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Commendation Medals (one with Valor), 16 other medals and 11 other awards.

“Jamey’s training and work experience in conditions that are unimaginable to us as civilians make him uniquely qualified to succeed in any environment he chooses to work,” says Plano Synergy Director of Marketing, Ben Rand, who has the greatest confidence in Caldwell’s ability to win while serving as an inspirational ambassador for the Plano and Frabill brands. 

“We’re really excited about helping to support Jamey and his dream of competing as a professional angler,” adds Rand.  “In addition to being a great guy, few other competitive anglers have the unique combination of ingenuity, drive and commitment that Jamey possesses.”

Caldwell humbly acknowledges that his hard-earned skill set will be a major plus on the water.  “While serving in Special Operations, I was placed into situations few others would ever want to be in,” says Caldwell, who has been trained to excel in bad conditions and points to his mental toughness as a likely key to success in his professional fishing career.  “I was also given the best possible tools to do my job,” he adds.  “Now, Plano and Frabill will be giving me the effective and functional tools I’ll need to stay organized and efficient on the water.  I can’t think of another company I’d rather be working with.”

Caldwell will help spread the word about Plano and Frabill products while on tour this season, as well as through his extensive social media reach.  He is fishing the BASS Southern and Northern Opens this season with the primary goal of qualifying for 2016 BASS Elite Series and will also appear at the Plano / Frabill booth at the upcoming 2015 ICAST Show, July 15-17 in Orlando, Florida.

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Humminbird® Pro Aaron Martens Steals Cliff’s Perch On Blackbird Pattern

EUFAULA, AL (May 14, 2015) – Bass Elite pro Aaron Martens is one happy man after breaking a seemingly unending streak of second place finishes. Even better that it happened on Mother’s Day with mom at his side during the final day weigh-in.

“I told my wife Lesley, ‘I’ll need 13 second places before I get another first place – and that is exactly what happened.  All I have to say is it’s fun to win again,’” says Martens.

Prior to this recent win at the Bassmaster Elite on Lake Havasu, it had been three years since Martens took first, the last at Illinois’ Lake Decatur in 2012. Since, he’s finished second 13 times, most recently on the Sacramento River.

“It’s not really superstitious, just something I felt in my gut. Now I have to offset all those second places with firsts!”

What’s even cooler is how Martens won the tournament, showing what a fantastically well-rounded angler Martens really is.

Although known as a finesse fishing guru, a guy who knows light line, dainty baits and fishing electronics inside out, Martens is also a student of the natural world – and bass fishing history.

Case in point, a tournament-winning pattern that harkens back decades to a time when fishing magazine cover art routinely featured leaping bass smashing feathers amidst bulrushes and cattails. And when lure companies marketed hard baits that mimicked birds, specifically the red- and yellow-winged blackbirds that make their homes in bassy waters.

Fast-forward to 2015: Aaron Martens steals Cliff’s perch on a blackbird pattern.

“I’ve known about the blackbird thing since I was a kid. It’s helped me in tournaments on the Delta, some smaller California lakes and now, Havasu. But it happens all over the country. Bass attack birds like sharks when they drop in the water. It can be pretty easy. And I'm pretty sure they'll jump out of the water to eat birds, too,” says Martens.

But Martens says he wasn’t necessarily matching the hatch, although he had fish spit up feathers in his livewell. “They were eating birds, crawdads, anything they could get their mouths on.”

He alternated between a ½- and ¾-ounce weight with a 4/0 Heavy Cover Gamakatsu hook with a green pumpkin skirt and either a Strike King Rage Craw or Zoom Speed Craw, flipping areas of the thick tule-lined banks of the Colorado River inhabited by blackbirds.

Although he found most of his fish by simply watching for the presence of birds, he also glanced down at the ‘birds on his boat – specifically, ONIX 10ci SI units.

“I used the ONIX Side Imaging to run the reed lines and look for fish, although the majority were way back in the thick stuff. But I also used SI to find the best manmade habitat in the lake. I also weighed three fish caught deeper off habitat,” says Martens

Martens has been running two Humminbird ONIX 10ci SI units this season and calls the imagery “stunning.”

“What I really like best about ONIX is the imagery … the incredible detail of both the Side- and Down Imaging. Both are fantastic tools for finding structure and fish, shallow or deep. Even reallyshallow. I can find cover and fish with Side Imaging in two feet of water.”

He continues: “I use Side Imaging a lot … it’s the best tool I have. It’s like my eyes underwater. The ONIX SI draws a really true image, shows a lot of detail; really clear.”

Martens says running Side Imaging is a huge part of his pre-fishing program anywhere in the country.

“First thing I do is set the color palette to blue, which I can see the best. Then I idle around with the range set to 100-150 feet. If I’m fishing shallow I may bring it in a little bit, but the detail is so good that I can cover water faster, looking for cover and fish with the range set pretty far out.”

Martens is also optimistic about tournaments later in the year that will put him back on deep water.

“The new ONIX transducer changes everything about Humminbird Down Imaging. It’s so clear now you can see the heads and tails of fish.”

Martens has been using the new version 2.300 software, which he says has improved ONIX functionality.

“I’m always using a combination of touch screen and buttons. And the new updates have made operation much easier. Like zooming in quick on the map with the track wheel.  It’s also made it much easier to turn off the sonar when I’m fishing. That’s one thing I do in super-clear waters like Havasu. If fish are spooky, I turn the pinging off. I don’t want any extra noise in the water.”

Martens is already strategizing for upcoming events on Lake Fork and Kentucky Lake. “I really think Humminbird 360 could come into play at these events. I’m also excited to play around with Humminbird SmartStrike and the new maps at some of the upcoming tournaments.”

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Potential No. 1 redfish caught, released in Venice

A giant redfish that would have almost certainly broken the current state record was caught — and then released — last Friday afternoon in Venice along the shoreline outside of South Pass.

Capt. Mike Frenette, with Redfish Lodge of Louisiana, said the massive fish measured 53 1/2 inches long with a girth of more than 31 inches, and weighed approximately 65 pounds.

Estimating the weight of a redfish is fairly easy, using a simple mathematical formula.

“Without a doubt — no question, no hype, no B.S., no nothing — if we would have killed the fish and brought it in, it would be a new state record,” said Frenette, who estimates he catches and releases 15 to 20 redfish each year weighing more than 50 pounds. “The largest I’ve ever caught was 58 pounds on a topwater bait, and this fish was bigger than any of those.

“When I saw it first come up to the surface fairly close to the boat, I knew it was a special fish. It’s the first redfish ever — and I release a lot every day — that I couldn’t hold onto it’s tail with one hand. I couldn’t hold on to the base of it’s tail. I had to use two hands just to revive it.”

According to the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association, which maintains official state records in Louisiana, the largest redfish caught in the state was a 61-pounder reeled in by David Weber in June, 1992.

“This was truly a special fish, without a doubt,” Frenette said. “One, I’m not sure I thought I would ever catch one that big, and two, I’m not going to gamble against it, but I doubt we ever will again. 

“It’s just a special fish.”

The angler who reeled in the beast — a task that took about 70 minutes Friday afternoon — was Dr. Darrel Gilbert, a dentist from Atlanta. 

"It was pretty amazing," Gilbert said. "I've caught redfish before, and I've learned you can't determine its size by its fight. So when I first got it on, I didn't think anything of it. I thought it was just another redfish." 

His impression of the fish started to change as the fight wore on and the fish made one run after another, eventually circling the boat several times and almost getting caught in the motor.

"I was getting a little nervous because I was looking at the spool and there wasn't a lot of line left," Gilbert said. "But I worked it in and made some progress, then we went back and forth quite a while."

At the time Gilbert was hooked up with the giant, Frenette was assisting Gilbert’s son, Perrin, in landing a 39-pounder.

“For the first 45 minutes of the fight, I had no idea of the magnitude of the fish, absolutely not,” Frenette said. “I just thought it was another good fish. We were kind of giving him grief because he’s taking forever to get this fish in. It took almost all the line and we never really got to see it.

“I even asked him, I said, ‘Are you sure this is a redfish and not a jack crevalle?’ He said, ‘Mike, I saw it once and I swear it’s a redfish.’”

Gilbert was using a 7-foot light/medium Quantum rod spooled with 20-pound Vicious braid and a 25-pound Vicious Elite fluorocarbon leader. The big red hit a pumpkin and chartreuse Strike King Redfish Magic glass minnow on a 3/8-ounce jighead about 2 1/2 feet under a popping cork in shallow water, Frenette said. 

“It wasn’t until I finally got the fish’s head in the net that I looked at Darrel and said, ‘Buddy, you have no idea how big this fish is,'" Frenette said. "'This is going to be huge.’”

At that point, Gilbert was just happy to have landed the monster. 

"I was exhausted," he said. "I was pretty sweaty and tired and my right arm was tired. It was a relief to get it in the boat."

The big red was measured and photos were taken, but Gilbert said he wasn't aware of any potential state record until after the fish had already been released and Frenette started crunching the numbers.

The decision to ultimately let the bull swim free is one the guide is comfortable with.

“About 99.9 percent of my customers always release the fish, and there was no reason to change it because of this one..." Frenette said. "He did the admirable thing, which is special in itself.

“I told him, ‘You’re going to have this memory for the rest of your life. You’re more of a sportsman for what you just did.’ If we’d have brought it in for a dead fish picture, we’d have probably looked at each other and said, ‘I really don’t feel good about what we just did.’ There’s no question in my mind we would have said that. Afterwards, we would have felt worse.”

Frenette said the big red swam off after about five minutes, seemingly no worse for the wear.

“It was in absolutely perfect shape,” he said. “It swam off ready to do it again.”

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Alabama Black Belt Adventures Celebrates Stokes World-Record American Alligator

Giant Gator’s Age Revealed as 24 to 28 Years Old

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association, created in 2009 to promote the 23 Black Belt counties in Alabama, today celebrated the unveiling of the world-record American alligator caught on the Alabama River and now on exhibit through May 24 at the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum in Montgomery.

“This is a great example of the many activities that draw outdoors enthusiasts from all across the U.S. as well as Alabama residents to this region each year,” said Pam Swanner, ALBBAA Project Director. “It’s a testament to the fact that Alabama’s Black Belt region is a premier outdoor destination.”

Lifelong Black Belt residents Mandy and John Stokes of Thomaston, joined by Mandy’s brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his teenage children, Savannah and Parker, had no idea their first attempt to bag an alligator during the state’s short gator season would yield a Safari Club International-certified world record.

“It was just amazing,” Mandy Stokes said. “That was a long night, but it didn’t seem long. There were a couple of times we were sitting and waiting, but we had a job to do.”

The bull gator measured 15 feet, 9 inches to earn the Safari Club designation. It weighed 1,011.5 pounds and experts determined it was between 24 and 28 years old.

The Stokes family was joined at the unveiling by Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner N. Gunter Guy, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Director Charles F. “Chuck” Sykes, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and State Sen. Clyde Chambliss of Prattville.

“I see this today as a celebration,” Guy said. “It’s really a celebration of the American hunter and the hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists who support our cause.”

The Mann Wildlife Learning Museum at the Montgomery Zoo, 325 East Vandiver Boulevard, is open from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

PHOTOS: Mandy Stokes team – From left, Kevin Jenkins, Parker Jenkins, Savannah Jenkins, Mandy Stokes, John Stokes.

Podium – At left, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Gunter Guy and Pam Swanner.

 

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is committed to promoting and enhancing outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in the Black Belt in a manner that provides economic and ecological benefits to the region and its citizens. For information, go to www.alabamablackbeltadvantures.org.

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Mid South Quail Forever to host West Tennessee YHEC

Mid South Quail Forever is proud to announce they are teaming up with the NRA and the Friends of the NRA to hold the 2015 West Tennessee National Rifle Association Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) on Saturday, June 13, 2015. The event will be at beautiful Anderson Farms in Oakland, Tennessee, where Ronnie Downs, our venue host, has graciously allowed us to conduct the event. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Sportsman's Warehouse, Modern Woodmen of America, and Avery Outdoor Superstore will also be providing equipment and volunteers for the event.

The NRA refers to the YHEC as the graduate program of hunter education. It is a competitive event with points awarded, but it is also a learning opportunity. It is open to young people 9 to 18, and will consist of several competitions including archery, rifle marksmanship, hunter skills, and knowledge of hunter safety. A hunter safety course is not required for this local event, and there is no charge to participate.

We need participants, volunteers, and prize donations. If you know a young person who wants to compete, or if you want to volunteer, please register atwww.midsouthquailforever.org. If you have questions, call Mary Sue McFarland at (901) 734-2745 or send e-mail to msmcf10@aol.com. All competitors MUST be pre-registered, and the event will be limited to 40 participants.
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First Wood Bison Calf Wild-Born In Alaska In At Least 100 Years

Washington, DC - Joseph Hosmer, President Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) announced recently that the first wild-born calves were spotted during an Alaska Department of Fish and Game aerial survey.

This marks the first time in 100 years that a bison calf was born in the Alaskan wild. This exciting milestone is part of a 20 year wood bison reintroduction project that sought to reestablish a wood bison population in the Innoko River region.

"It felt like having a baby shower or something. It's just huge," Cathie Harms, Alaska Department of Fish and Game regional program manager said. "It's like the completion of the circle. We finally got animals into the wild and they are taking to it tremendously."

SCI Foundation has aided the wood bison reintroduction effort for the past 10 years and is a member of the Wood Bison Restoration Advisory Group. Through its contributions, Safari Club has applied hunter dollars towards the maintenance of the bison holding facility, the care of the bison while in captivity, and the relocation of bison to the wild.

"We are excited to learn that the bison are successfully adapting to their new environment and that the herd is already growing," SCI Foundation Director of Conservation, Matt Eckert, said. "Reestablishing the Alaskan herd is not only good for bison; it benefits other species and will eventually become a sustainable resource of Alaska's people to manage. We just hope that the general public understands that hunters played a pivotal role in this wildlife conservation effort."

For more information about this and other SCI Foundation Conservation Partnerships and Projects, contact Caroline Jaeger at cjaeger@safariclub.org or call (202) 543-8733.

Safari Club International Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that funds and directs worldwide programs dedicated to wildlife conservation and outdoor education. Any contribution may be tax deductible under Internal Revenue Code section 170(c) as a charitable contribution to the extent permitted by law. Tax deductible amount of gift is reduced by the "Fair market Value" of any goods, services, or advantages that a sponsor receives for the donation. EIN #86-0292099
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Arkansas Outdoors

Today’s topics:
Bald Knob AYSSP squads snag regional titles
Private land elk hunting permit applications available June 1
Quail project is benefiting Beaver Lake fish habitat
Endowed waterfowl research fund to honor the Late Robert H. Burch Jr.
Unusual raptor captured, taken for treatment
AGFC stocks over 213,800 fish during April
 
Bald Knob AYSSP squads snag regional titles
JACKSONVILLE – The third week of the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program regional finals is now in the books. Over 200 teams competed in this week’s AYSSP north regional tournament. Bald Knob captured both the senior and junior regional titles. The regional tournament was held May 15-16 at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation firing range at Jacksonville.
One more regional tournament will be held in the coming weeks, followed by the state finals June 5-6 at Jacksonville. The top 16 teams from each region will compete in the state finals. During competition, junior high teams shoot 125 rounds and the senior high teams shoot 250 rounds.
During the junior competition, Bald Knob’s Parker Hepner, Hayden McAnelly and Hunter Throckmorton, Braden Healy of Beebe, Ross Wingert of Rose Bud and Michael Saunders of Cotter each shot a perfect score of 25. In the senior competition, Chase Martin of Bald Knob, Dylan Watters of Quitman and Clay Williams of Bee Branch each shot a perfect score of 50. All of the competitors will be competing for the State Champion of Champions title during the state competition.
The AYSSP is an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission program that encourages youth to learn to shoot shotguns safely while enjoying the outdoors. To learn more about the AYSSP or to become a coach, visit www.agfc.com to download a brochure or contact Chuck Woodson at 501-230-4738.
Junior High Division
1.      Bald Knob Bulldog Claybusters 1    121
2.      Beebe Little Mavericks                     113
3.      White County Central Cubs              111
4.      Bald Knob Bulldog Claybusters 2    109
5.      Batesville Squad 1                             109
6.      Bergman Panthers Squad A              108
7.      Rose Bud Full Throttle                      105
8.      Cave City Junior Cavemen                103
9.      Timbo Hot Shots                               101
10.  Faulkner County 4H Juniors1           100
11.  Beebe Badger 1                                 98
12.  Mount Vernon Enola Dusters           97
13.  Melbourne Trap Junior 1                   97
14.  Mountain Home Bomb Squad          96
15.  Bald Knob Bulldog Claybusters 3    96
16.  South Side Orange Crush                  95
 
Senior High Division
1.      Bald Knob Bulldogs Squad 1           233
2.      Beebe Mavericks                               230
3.      South Side Lead Count                     228
4.      Cave City Clay Breakers                   228
5.      Quitman Squad A                             226
6.      Batesville Pioneers Squad 1              225
7.      Viola Squad 1                                    225
8.      Shooters R Us First Flight                 225
9.      Faulkner County Banded Mallards   224
10.  Cedar Ridge Alpha Dawgs               224
11.  Bald Knob Bulldogs Squad 2           224
12.  Clinton FFA Top Guns                     224
13.  McRae First Baptist Church              223
14.  Mount Vernon Enola Squad 2          223
15.  Marshall Trap Team 1                        221
16.  Melbourne Trap Squad 1                   220
 
Private land elk hunting permit applications available June 1
LITTLE ROCK – Permits for Arkansas’s private land elk hunts will be available beginning June 1. Elk hunting on private land is restricted to one zone, consisting of all private land in Boone, Carroll, Madison, Newton and Searcy counties, with the exception of a portion of Boxley Valley.
The application period is open from June 1 to July 15. The private land permits are issued through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Elk Management Assistance Program. Landowners will be issued a number of permits based on the acreage of their property and the quota for the season. The 2015 quota is 12 bull elk and 24 anterless elk. Permits will be issued to eligible landowners and will be transferable from the landowners to eligible hunters. EMAP permits must be used only within the boundary of the EMAP property they were issued to.  
The special youth only antlerless elk season (ages 6-15 and by permit only) will be Nov. 7-8 and the private lands quota hunt will be Nov. 9-13.
To be eligible to hunt in the EMAP private land elk hunt, individuals must be 6 or older as of November 7, 2015, possess a valid Arkansas hunting license issued by the AGFC, and possess a valid EMAP permit issued by the AGFC. Individuals who have accrued 12 or more violation points within the past five years will be ineligible to participate.
Either-sex permit holders must stop hunting between noon and 2 p.m. each day and call the wildlife hotline at 800-440-1477 after 2 p.m. each day of the open season to see if the bull quota was filled during the morning hunt. Antlerless permit holders can hunt during legal hunting hours as long as the quota is still available at the beginning of the day.
All EMAP permit holders must call the wildlife hotline 800-440-1477 after 8 p.m. each night and listen for the correct numeric prompt for updates on elk harvest quota information.
The hunt will end the evening of Nov. 13 or the evening that the 36 elk quota (12 bulls, 24 antlerless) is met; whichever comes first.
Public land elk hunting permits are also available at http://www.agfc.com/licenses/Pages/PermitsSpecialElk.aspx.
 
Quail project is benefiting Beaver Lake fish habitat
PEA RIDGE – A multi-partner project to restore quail at Pea Ridge National Military Park is developing additional benefits. It is recycling on land and in the water.
Cedar trees removed at the park are going into Beaver Lake as fish habitat structures, With the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers joining the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, National Park Service and National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative in the work.
It started when the park launched an intensive campaign to restore the battlefield to look like it did in 1862 when the biggest battle of the Civil War was fought. Historical photos and soldier accounts indicate that much of the battlefield was substantially more open.
Much has changed on the landscape in a century and half. One item was the occasional cedar trees of long ago becoming prevalent today due to the removal of fire from the landscape.
Heavy cedar growth is not good for quail either, their encroachment creates a closed canopy and crowds out the native herbaceous plants that quail thrive in, so thousands of cedars have been cut by machine and by hand at the battlefield. A few of the trees are being made into split rail fencing, but most have to be burned or composted. Prescribed fire also is being used to restore and maintain the appearance. A third option is to move the cedars to nearby Beaver Lake, weight them and sink them for fish habitat.
For many years, Beaver Lake has benefited from discarded Christmas trees being put into the lake. Crappie especially have responded well. But spruce and fir trees only last a few years underwater. Cedars last a long time. "These cedars will be around for years and years," said Jon Stein, a fisheries biologist with the AGFC.
Cedar trees make good hiding places for young fish after they hatch, Stein said. Game fish like crappie, black bass and catfish hang around the cover to pick off the young fish.
Beaver Lake is a Corps of Engineers impoundment on the White River, and at 50 years old, it has lost much of its underwater timber.
The cedars cut on the battlefield are hauled to the lake’s shores, mostly in the northern and central areas, tied into bundles, weighted with concrete blocks then pulled by a work boat to a specified spot and dumped into the water.
Removal of the cedars will help reduce underbrush and make it closer to the way it was on March 7-8, 1862, when thousands of Union and Confederate troops battled fiercely. More open forest with edges is good for wildlife, especially quail, said Nolan Moore, the park's biologist.
The quail restoration project covers about 2,900 acres of the 4,300-acre park. Expanding the restoration to nearby private land is in the plans also, said Mark Hutchings, an AGFC wildlife biologist.
 
Endowed waterfowl research fund to honor the Late Robert H. Burch Jr.
            MONTICELLO – Family, friends and colleagues of the late Dr. Robert H. Burch, Jr. have begun a campaign to create a waterfowl research endowment in the University of Arkansas at Monticello Foundation Fund.
           The fund honors the late Dr. Robert H. Burch Jr., of Monticello, a dentist, waterfowl enthusiast and avid duck hunter who died Jan. 30, 2015. Funds generated by the endowment will be used for waterfowl research and waterfowl-related academic activities, with first preference given to undergraduate or graduate research. Examples might include undergraduate scholarships, graduate assistantships or stipends, expenses for travel and conference participation, or equipment.
            Funds will be allocated by a committee chaired by Dr. Christopher Sims, a biology professor on the UAM faculty and a close friend of the late Dr. Burch. The committee will include representatives from both the School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences.
            Dr. Burch began his dental practice while serving in the United States Army and was actively involved in Ducks Unlimited. A graduate of Monticello High School and Hendrix College, he earned a doctorate of dental surgery degree in 1985 from the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences and graduated from two general practice dental residencies during his 12 years of active military service.
            He returned to Monticello in 1998 to take over the dental practice of his late father, Dr. Robert H. Burch, Sr. In addition to his dental practice, he served 10 years on the Monticello School Board, including two terms as president.
            For more information, contact the UAM Office of Advancement at 870-460-1028.
 
Unusual raptor captured, taken for treatment
OIL TROUGH – A bird never before seen in Arkansas was found helpless near Oil Trough in Independence County. It was captured and taken to a rehabilitation center for treatment.
The crested caracara is a large raptor that lives in Mexico, southern Texas, Arizona, the southern tip of Florida, Cuba and South America. It is kind to vultures and feeds on carrion as well as some live small animals.
Dan Scheiman of the Arkansas Audubon Society said the bird found near Oil Trough is the first on record for Arkansas. It was on land of Craig Shirley.
Wildlife officer Roger Tate with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and volunteer birders were able to capture the crested caracara which appeared emaciated and with a possible eye injury. It was taken to Raptor Rehabilitation of Central Arkansas at El Paso for treatment.
 
AGFC stocks over 213,800 fish during April
LITTLE ROCK – The weather has been a real problem for the state’s anglers, but the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has been busy stocking fisheries around the state.
Fisheries crews from the AGFC stocked over 278,100 fish in Arkansas lakes and rivers during March. The total stocking weighed over 105,700 pounds. Sportfish stocked included trout and catfish.
April stockings:
Arkansas State University Pond, Craighead County, 250 catchable channel catfish
Lake Atkins, Pope County, 1,101 catchable channel catfish
Lake Bailey, Conway County, 420 catchable channel catfish
Ben Blann Pond, Calhoun County, 200 catchable channel catfish
Lake Bentonville, Benton County, 800 catchable channel catfish
Benjamin Glenwood Community Fishing Pond, Pike County, 500 catchable channel catfish
Bois d’Arc Lake, Hempstead County, 4,080 yearling channel catfish
Bragg Lake, Ouachita County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Lake Brewer, Conway County 1,100 catchable channel catfish
Calion Lake, Union County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Camp Clearfork Lake, Garland County, 368 catchable channel catfish
Camp Robinson Golf Course Pond, Pulaski County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Carol Ann Cross Park, Sebastian County, 800 catchable channel catfish
Lake Cargile, Conway County, 420 catchable channel catfish
Cavester Cove, Sharp County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Cedar Creek Lake, Perry County, 600 catchable channel catfish
Lake Columbia, Columbia County, 5,280 yearling channel catfish
Cox Creek Lake, Grant County, 500 catchable channel catfish
Cox Creek Lake, Grant County, 9,100 fingerling white crappie
Craighead Forest Kids Pond, Craighead County, 400 catchable channel catfish
Crowley’s Ridge Swimming, Greene County, 250 fingerling grass carp
Lake Cortez, Garland County, 250 catchable channel catfish
Crystal Hill Pond, Pulaski County, 300 catchable channel catfish
DeGray Lake, Hot Spring County, 1,501 catchable channel catfish
DeSoto Boys Camp, Union County, 800 catchable channel catfish
DeWitt City Lake, Arkansas County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Diamondhead Pond, Garland County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Lake Dieffenbacher, Miller County, 800 catchable channel catfish
Dry Fork Lake, Perry County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Dublin Recreation Area, Logan County, 300 catchable channel catfish
El Dorado City Pond, Union County, 1,000 catchable channel catfish
Entergy Park Lake, Garland County, 400 catchable channel catfish
Family Park Lake, Garland County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Georgia Pacific Lake, Ashley County, 450 catchable channel catfish
Lake Grandview #1, Hempstead County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Lake Grandview #2, Hempstead County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Grandview Conservation Pond, Hempstead County, 250 catchable channel catfish
Greenwood City Lake, Sebastian County, 900 catchable channel catfish
Lake Greeson, Pike County, 7,360 yearling channel catfish
Gurdon Lake, Clark County, 595 catchable channel catfish
Harris Brake Lake, Perry County, 1,300 catchable channel catfish
Lake Hinkle, Scott County, 1,306 catchable channel catfish
Hunter’s Pond, Chicot County, 250 catchable channel catfish
Lake Jack Nolen, Sebastian County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Jacksonville Shooting Range Pond, Pulaski County, 500 catchable channel catfish
Judsonia City Park Lake, White County, 250 catchable channel catfish
Lake June, Lafayette County, 4,160 yearling channel catfish
Lake Village Community Lake, Chicot County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Little Missouri River, Clark County, 422 catchable channel catfish
Little Missouri River, Pike County, 1,320 catchable rainbow trout
Little Red River, Cleburne County, 10,410 catchable rainbow trout
Logoly State Park Pond, Columbia County, 250 catchable channel catfish
MacArthur Park Lake, Pulaski County, 500 catchable channel catfish
Mansfield City Lake, Scott County, 300 catchable channel catfish
Marion City Park Lake, Crittenden Lake, 152 catchable channel catfish
Mike and Janet Huckabee Lake, Hempstead County, 200 catchable channel catfish
Mike and Janet Huckabee Kids Pond, Hempstead County, 750 catchable channel catfish
Mirror Lake, Stone County, 3,500 catchable rainbow trout
Moms Lake, Clay County, 400 catchable channel catfish
Monticello High School Pond, Drew County, 700 catchable channel catfish
Murphy Park Lake, Washington County, 500 catchable channel catfish
Newark City Lake, Independence County, 300 catchable channel catfish
North Fork Lake, Montgomery County, 200 catchable channel catfish
Ola City Lake, Yell County, 350 catchable channel catfish
Ouachita River, Hot Spring County, 1,320 catchable rainbow trout
Lake Ouachita, Garland County, 2,600 catchable channel catfish
Upper Ouachita River, Polk and Montgomery counties, 700 catchable channel catfish
Lake Overcup, Conway County, 1,100 catchable channel catfish
Pathway Youth Camp, Saline County, 350 catchable channel catfish
Pleasant View Park Pond, Pope County, 250 catchable channel catfish
Rich Mountain Community College Pond, Polk County, 350 catchable channel catfish
SUA Armory Pond, Columbia County, 250 catchable channel catfish
Searcy City Lake, White County, 250 catchable channel catfish
Sherwood City Pond, Pulaski County, 250 catchable channel catfish
Spirit Lake, Faulkner County, 250 catchable channel catfish
Spring River, Fulton County, 12,818 catchable rainbow trout
Lake Springdale, Washington County, 500 catchable channel catfish
Square Rock Lake, Scott County, 200 catchable channel catfish
Stinger Lake, Stone County, 600 catchable channel catfish
Sugarloaf Lake, Sebastian County, 600 catchable channel catfish
Sulphur River Waterfowl Association Pond, Miller County, 300 catchable channel catfish
SWEPCO Lake, Benton County, 25,000 Fingerling Bluegill Bream
Toms Lake, White County, 1,000 Fingerling Bluegill Bream
Truman Baker Lake, Scott County, 226 catchable channel catfish
Waldron City Lake, Scott County, 971 catchable channel catfish
Walnut Ridge City Park Lake, Lawrence County, 350 catchable channel catfish
Welles Lake, Sebastian County, 1,000 catchable channel catfish
Lower White Oak Lake, Ouachita County, 600 catchable channel catfish
White River, Baxter and Izard counties, 73,110 catchable rainbow trout
Woolly Hollow State Park, Faulkner County, 750 catchable channel catfish
Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery
Little Red River, Cleburne County, 14,640 catchable rainbow trout
Norfork National Fish Hatchery
Beaver Tailwater, Carroll County, 16,146 catchable rainbow trout
Spring River, Fulton County, 50,000 fingerling rainbow trout
 
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 5/22/2015

During the past week, we have had several significant rain events (combined for a bit over an inch and a half here in Cotter), warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose two and six tenths feet to rest at six and four tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet. This is twenty six and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose six tenths of a foot to rest at four tenths of a foot below seasonal power pool and fourteen feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose three feet to rest at five and one tenth feet above seasonal power pool or three and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had moderate generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose one and one tenth feet to rest at three and three tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet and nineteen and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had wadable water every day.
 
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to recent rains, the lakes on this system are above seasonal power pool.
 
On heavy generation, the best way to catch fish is to switch to longer leaders and heavier weight. On the White, the hot spot was the Catch and Release section at 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 root beer 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 better recently. 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. My favorite combination has been a grass hopper with a root beer or ruby midge dropper.
 
There is a major construction project at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery and the walkway between the two sets of stairs to the creek is closed. You can still access the creek by walking the trail beside it. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #10).  
 
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.
 
John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.
 
 
 
 
BOATING ETIQUETE
BY JOHN BERRY
Yesterday a group of guides were sitting around talking after the finish of a two day corporate fishing trip. We do this several times a year for this particular customer and the end of the last day is a great time for us to catch up with each other and discuss fishing in general and challenges in particular. One of the main topics yesterday was boating etiquette. We are on the river a lot and share it with all users. Some users exercise proper etiquette and others do not.
 
The main issue concerned passing others. Bait fishers tend to park and fish specific spots and fly fishers tend to drift and cover a given stretch of water.  Whenever I pass another boat, I carefully check which side of the boat the anglers are fishing from and try to pass them on the other side. If I am unable to do this, due to limited space or navigation obstacles, I will carefully pass or even wait until they have passed me before I motor by them. Whatever you do, avoid running over any anglers lines. That is not a great way to make friends.
 
When you are passing others try and avoid waking them. River boats can throw up a pretty good wake. Jet boats can create a huge wake. Wakes can be a problem for anglers fishing particularly when they are standing. I have lost my balance more than once due to a wake. When I pass other anglers, I will slow down when passing so that I do not throw a wake. Drift boats, canoes and kayaks deserve even more consideration. Always give them the right of way and please don’t wake them for fear that you could capsize them.
 
When drifting, pay particular attention to the drift of others. When setting up a drift make sure that you do not crowd other anglers. The downstream boat has the right of way. It is considered bad form to begin your drift just below another boat. This is called low holing and is frowned on because you are drifting where the other boat was going. It is much better to go upstream above the other boat to begin the drift.
 
In lower water you will also have to consider wade fishers. When there is no generation, most waders essentially fish the main channel. This brings them into conflict with boaters. You will have to use the main channel. Be respectful when passing and do not wake them. If they have a fish on, wait until they have landed it or effectively controlled it.
 
Then there is ramp etiquette. Everyone there wants to use the ramp. Prepare your boat for launching or for the trip home in the parking lot before you get on the ramp. The only thing you should do on the ramp is to launch or put your boat on the trailer. This is not the place to work on your motor, rig your rod or clean fish. If you motor over to the ramp to eat lunch, use the facilities or stretch your legs, park in such a way that you do not block the ramp, so that others can use it. Some anglers are like me. I drive a Suburban with a long trailer and I need quite a bit of room to maneuver it. Also when you leave the ramp, drive far from the ramp to give other boaters plenty of space to use it.
 
If you keep the suggestions in mind, our rivers can be a better place and we can maximize the benefits of being on the water.
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TWRA Announcements

COMMISSION SETS TWO BUCK LIMIT EFFECTIVE WITH STATE’S 2015-16 HUNTING SEASONS

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TFWC) has voted to reduce the white-tailed buck limit for the 2015-16 seasons. Deer hunters will now be able to take a total of two bucks throughout the deer hunting seasons.
After months of discussion and consideration, the action came during the TFWC’s May meeting which concluded Friday at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Ray Bell Region III Building.
The TFWC also approved the motion to extend the season for antlerless deer in Unit L counties for five days following the conclusion of the regular deer season in January. The hunting opportunities for antlerless deer will now extend through the day before the Young Sportsman Hunt.
“This issue has created more public discussion than any I can remember, which demonstrates the passion of our state’s deer hunters,” said TFWC Chairman Jim Bledsoe of Jamestown. “We share that passion, and we have spent a lot of time exploring the harvest data and working with our TWRA biologists to develop this proposal.
“We are focused on enhancing hunter opportunity, and only a small percentage of hunters have historically taken three bucks in a year. We believe that protecting this small percentage of antlered deer will have a positive impact on the percentage of mature deer in the herd. Within a few years, we should be able to measure the benefit.”
Deer harvest data from the 2014-15 season, gathered from the mandatory big game check-in process and field surveys, showed that less than 2,700 of 240,000  Tennessee deer hunters took a full limit of three bucks.
TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter said that, from a herd management standpoint, some areas in Middle and West Tennessee could benefit from the anticipated increased doe harvest where overall deer population numbers need to be stabilized, or in some cases decreased.
“Many of our deer hunters are filling their freezer, and we encourage that – our state’s deer herd is generally healthy and strong,” said Carter. “We have to continue to manage the numbers so that the deer population can continue to grow in places where it is below optimal levels, but maintain or decrease those numbers in other areas.
“This new approach of a reduced buck limit may result in an increased doe harvest in certain parts of the state and ideally will increase the harvest of mature bucks over time.  It is unlikely that we will see a decrease in the overall annual deer harvest as a result of these changes.”
Quota hunts, where a limited number of bonus buck tags are made available by random draw on certain TWRA Wildlife Management Areas, allow permitted hunters to take additional bucks during those dates. Carter says TWRA deer biologists are continually looking for ways to provide more opportunities for hunters while managing the resource most effectively. Herd management proposals, including season dates and bag limits, are significantly influenced by public input.
“The Agency received a significant number of public comments during this year’s season setting process,” Carter said. “The opinion and desires of Tennessee’s outdoorsmen and women are an important factor in crafting our recommendations to the Commission and we will continue working to provide more ways for the public to be able to weigh in on an ongoing basis. We are all in this to protect the resource, create opportunities for people to connect with the great outdoors and to provide an additional source of food for families.
“With our ongoing sound management practices, we believe Tennessee will continue to provide excellent deer hunting opportunities for all to enjoy.”

 

The Agency rescinded its earlier recommendations for fall turkey hunting season that called for the closing of four southern Middle Tennessee counties, Coffee, Franklin, Lincoln, and Moore.  Also, the Agency rescinded its proposal to reduce the fall turkey bag limit fall from six to three birds in 16 counties in the mid-state area. Fall turkey hunting will remain closed in Wayne, Lawrence, and Giles counties as set last year.
The Agency added two new elk hunting zones (EHZs),  EHZ 6 (Braden Mountain) and EHZ 7 (Tackett Creek), but will close EHZ 1 (Chestnut Ridge and Fork Mountain) and EHZ 4 (Anderson and Masengale Mountain). The closure is designed to reduce pressure on herd bulls in those two areas.
A date change to the bear dog training season and a zone expansion in a transitional bear hunt zone was approved. A shift was made for bear dog training dates in bear hunting zone 3 to comply with a request by the U.S. Forest Service to avoid the Labor Day holiday. The bear zone expansion now includes all of Hamilton County.
Several minor WMA regulations were also passed for WMAs in the TWRA four regions. All changes will be reflected in the 2015-16 Tennessee Hunting and Fishing Guide which becomes available in late July.
In other agenda items, the 2014 Shikar Safari Wildlife Officer of the Year was recognized. Jefferson County Wildlife Officer Wayne Rich received the award.
In another special presentation, TWRA Assistant Executive Director Steve Patrick was presented the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriotic Employer Award. He was nominated by Region II Regional Manager, Tim Cleveland, who is also a Lt. Colonel in the Tennessee Army National Guard.  He was presented the award by Major General Max Haston, Tennessee Adjutant General.


2015-16 HUNTING SEASONS TO BE SET AT MAY TFWC MEETING

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission will set the state’s 2015-16 hunting seasons at its May 21-22 meeting to be held at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Ray Bell Region II Building.
The meeting will begin on May 21 at 1 p.m. with the committee sessions. The formal meeting starts at 9 a.m. on May 22.
At the April meeting, TWRA staff presented the TFWC Wildlife Management Committee with recommendations including increased deer hunting opportunities in Claiborne and Rhea counties. The Wildlife Committee passed a motion directing TWRA staff to develop a proclamation for a two-buck deer limit; which has allowed for public discussion and a comment period on this potential change in deer harvest regulations since the April meeting.
An increase in elk zones from 5 to 7 with no increase in permits issued was proposed to reduce harvest pressure on certain zones. A limited elk hunting season in October has been held since 2009 at North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. Five permits are issued for a five-day season and an additional youth permit has been issued for a two-day young sportsman hunt since 2012.
There was also a recommendation to change turkey regulations on bottomland Wildlife Management Areas in West Tennessee by moving 14 WMAs from quota hunts to non-quota hunts and five WMAs from statewide regulations to non-quota hunts. Fall turkey hunting in Middle Tennessee was proposed to be closed in four counties and reduced in 16 others due to hunter concerns over population levels in the specific counties.
A date change to the bear dog training season and a zone expansion to include all of Hamilton County were proposed. New regulations were recommended for the recently acquired 1,800 acre Happy Hollow WMA in Hickman County. Several other minor WMA regulations were also proposed.
In other agenda items, the 2014 Shikar Safari Wildlife Officer of the Year will be recognized. There will also be a report on the recently announced long term funding for trout production at federal hatcheries and stocking in 13 TVA dam tailwaters. The TWRA’s Chris Richardson will give a legislative update.
The public is invited to attend. To view previous TFWC meetings, visit the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org and click on the commission link


WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET TO WORK DAY PRECEDES START OF 2015 NATIONAL SAFE BOATING WEEK

NASHVILLE --- The 2015 National Safe Boating Week is May 16-22 and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be participating to promote the wear of life jackets as the summer boating season begins.
The Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day is Friday, May 15 with the goal of demonstrating how easy it is to wear a life jacket. Participants wear a life jacket to work, demonstrating how easy to wear one, even while at work. Those who wear a life jacket to work are asked to have a photograph taken and email it to tennesseewearit@gmail.com. Group photos are also welcome.
On Saturday, May 16, Ready, Set, Wear It! , will enter its sixth year in trying to bring awareness on the importance of life jacket wear by holding a world record day. 
The worldwide event kicks off the start of National Safe Boating Week.  Participants will be part of the attempt to break a world record for the most life jackets worn at one time.  
Both events help usher in National Safe Boating Week which is annually held the week prior to Memorial Day Weekend. Boating partners across the United States and Canada are teaming to promote safe boating practices, including the wear of life jackets for National Safe Boating Week and throughout the 2015 boating season.
The goal of National Safe Boating Week is to educate the public about the importance of safe boating practices and wearing life jackets while on the water.


NEW LONG-TERM FUNDING ANNOUNCED FOR FEDERAL TROUT HATCHERY OPERATION, STOCKING PROGRAM

ERWIN, Tenn. --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR) joined U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander and leaders from the Tennessee Valley Authority in an announcement to provide long-term funding for trout production and stocking in 13 TVA dam tailwaters and reservoirs in Tennessee and Georgia.
The announcement for the multi-agency agreement to the USFWS came in a press conference at the Erwin National Fish Hatchery on Monday (May 11). The agreement ensures popular trout stocking programs in the region will continue beyond 2016, when a temporary TVA funding agreement reached in 2013 is set to expire.
The agreement supports continued TVA reservoir and tailwater stocking of non-native trout that are raised at three federal fish hatcheries operated by the USFWS: Erwin National Fish Hatchery in Erwin, Tenn.; Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery in Celina, Tenn., and Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery in Suches, Ga. The hatcheries produce 1.5 million trout annually for stocking.
“On behalf of all anglers who fish Tennessee waters, our agency appreciates Sen. Alexander’s leadership and the collaborative effort of the TVA, the USFWS, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, insuring the continuation of trout hatchery operations supplying our streams and tailwaters, said Ed Carter, TWRA Executive Director.  “It gives me great comfort to know that the economic benefit to all Tennesseans and the fantastic angling opportunities these vital fisheries provide will continue.”
With the help of a working group of key stakeholders, the agencies developed a plan to collectively fund future trout hatchery operations at current levels in the following manner: TVA will provide base funding for the trout stocked; Fish and Wildlife Service will fund infrastructure and maintenance costs at the hatcheries, and the state agencies will take care of costs to distribute and monitor the fish.
“Nearly 900,000 Tennesseans and visitors buy fishing licenses each year,” Sen. Alexander said. “This means that the federal fish hatcheries in Erwin, Dale Hollow, and Georgia will continue to provide each year to Tennessee rivers and lakes more than 1 million fish that make out trout fishing some of the best in the country. TVA will support the hatcheries in the same way that the Army Corps of Engineers does when it replaces fish killed by dams on the Cumberland River and in the same was the Bonneville Power Administration supports fish on the Columbia and Snake rivers.”
The USFWS was directed by Congress and the Office of Management and Budget to seek reimbursement for its trout production at these and other hatcheries across the nation in this era of challenging federal budgets. The Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration are also providing funds for stocking at their respective facilities.
The federal trout raised in Tennessee and Georgia are provided to TWRA and GADNR for stocking in the colder water of the reservoirs and tailwaters of the TVA dams. TVA has worked to improve water quality and enhance aquatic habitat by adding dissolved oxygen, foregoing hydroelectric generation and maintaining minimum water flows through its dams.
However, in most of the waters the trout cannot naturally reproduce, requiring regular stocking to maintain fishable populations. Through this hatchery funding agreement, trout will continue to be stocked for recreational fishing in reservoirs or tailwaters at the selected TVA dams in Tennessee and Georgia: Apalachia Dam on the Hiwassee River; Blue Ridge Dam on the Toccoa River; Boone Dam on the South Fork Holston River; Cherokee Dam on the Holston River; Ft. Patrick Henry Dam on the South Fork Holston River; Normandy Dam on the Duck River; Norris Dam on the Clinch River; Ocoee Dam No. 1 on the Ocoee River; South Holston Dam on the South Fork Holston River; Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River; Tims Ford Dam on the Elk River; Watauga Dam on the Watauga River; and Wilbur Dam on the Watauga River.
More than 256,000 anglers are estimated to fish for trout in Tennessee and Georgia waters each year, spending about $73 for every $1 invested in the hatchery program and producing an economic impact of about $45 million.


2015 YOUTH FISHING EVENTS SCHEDULED THROUGHOUT THE STATE

NASHVILLE --- There are numerous youth fishing events scheduled throughout Tennessee this spring and into the summer. Interested persons can check the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s website at www.tnwildlife.org for scheduled events or contact their regional office.  
The 2015 Free Fishing Day in Tennessee is Saturday, June 6 when anyone in the state may fish free without a license in Tennessee’s public waters. There are several events scheduled specifically for that day, but some events will be held during May and into the summer.
The list of current scheduled events is listed for each of the TWRA’s four regions in the For Anglers section of the website. Anglers and potential anglers should check the events list on a regular basis as events are frequently added or change.


STATE TO BE WELL-REPRESENTED AT NASP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) will have a good representation at the 2015 NASP Championships set for May 7-9 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.
A record 457 students from Tennessee ranging in grades fourth to 12th have registered for the national event. Student archers from 41 states plus the District of Columbia will be competing in their respective fields.
The top teams in each of the three divisions, along with the top 10 individuals, received automatic bids. Other students will be making the trip that had qualifying scores.
At the NASP State Championships in April at Murfreesboro’s Miller Coliseum, White County repeated as champion in the high school division while Rutherford County’s Buchanan won the elementary title and Central Magnet claimed the middle school crown. A total of 24 schools will be represented by teams or individuals.
Each student will shoot 30 arrows, 15 from 10 meters and 15 from 15 meters with a maximum possible score of 300. 
STATE SCHOOLS REPRESENTED: Powell Valley Elementary, McMinnville Hickory Creek Elementary, Riverdale High, Rockvale Middle, Rockvale Elementary, Browns Chapel, Buchanan Elementary, Siegel High, LaVergne, Central Magnet, CHET, Christiana Elementary, Christiana Middle, Stewarts Creek Elementary, Crossville Stone Elementary, Meigs County Elementary, East Lincoln Elementary, East Montgomery Elementary, Warren County Middle, Rock Island Eastside Elementary, Harrogate Forge Ridge, Murfreesboro Oakland High, White County High, Whitworth Buchanan Middle.


STAKEHOLDER CONTRIBUTIONS INFORM TENNESSEE STATE WILDLIFE ACTION PLAN REVISION

Revision of the Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan (TSWAP) is underway. As a critical part of this process, the Tennessee Wildlife  and The Nature Conservancy hosted meetings this spring to bring together wildlife and habitat experts from around the state to provide valuable input.
The main objectives of these meetings were to provide partners with an overview of State Wildlife Action Plans and TWRA’s 2015 update process, engage partners in discussions of draft “Conservation Opportunity Areas,” get feedback on boundaries & the potential for guiding on-the-ground collaborations, get partner feedback on key strategies & opportunities for multi-agency collaborations, and to determine a desired follow-up process and next steps for continued engagement.
At the first meeting held on March 18, 30 attendees from 13 state and federal partner agencies convened at the Cumberland River Center. On April 9, 31 experts from 24 conservation organizations met at the Ellington Agricultural Center. Both groups participated in workshop sessions and collaborated to identify opportunities for partnering on wildlife and habitat protection and restoration strategies. Additionally potential projects across the state were identified.
To guide the process at both meetings, TWRA’s regional diversity coordinators gave presentations representing the different geographies of the state and their perspectives on conservation priorities and opportunities. The expert input received is being incorporated into the draft version of the Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan Revision that will be available for public comment in early June 2015. The plan update will be accessible and feedback will be able to be submitted through a new Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan website. The Tennessee SWAP revision will be complete by October 2015.
One positive example of a collaborative conservation project that supports the goal of TSWAP is to “keep common species common,” is a research project investigating the relationship of temperature and disease in hellbenders. According to this study, elevated water temperatures in creeks and rivers, where trees have been removed along the banks and no longer shade the stream resulting in increased water temperature, may contribute to the decline of hellbender populations in Tennessee. A successful collaboration between the Center for Wildlife Health and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Sichuan Agricultural University in China, the TWRA, and the Nashville Zoo, this study will clarify the role water temperature plays in hellbender fungal and viral infections and propose possible solutions.

To learn more about Tennessee’s conservation goals and the measures necessary to recover endangered species, restore unique habitats, keep rare and imperiled species off the endangered species list, and to keep common species common, visit the Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan page at www.tn.gov/twra/cwcs/cwcsindex.html. For questions about the ongoing Tennessee SWAP update process or to make comments contact Bill Reeves, TWRA Chief of Biodiversity, 615-781-6645 or bill.reeves@tn.gov.


WINNING PHOTOS FOR TENNESSEE WILDLIFE’S 2015-16 CALENDAR CONTEST SELECTED

NASHVILLE --- The winning entries for the 2015-16 Tennessee Wildlife magazine photo contest have been selected by staff members of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The selections will be unveiled in the annual calendar issue of the magazine which will be available in early July.
The staff selected the winning photographs from hundreds of submissions and had the challenge to narrow the entries to 13 photos that will appear in the calendar issue. The 2015-16 calendar issue will begin with the month of August. Other entries will be kept on file and could have the opportunity to appear in future agency publications.
The photographers, who have entries that will appear in the 2015-16 calendar are Bruce Cole (Kingsport), Jerry Dale (Manchester), Russ Gunter (Johnson City), Jimmie and Donna Marr (Flintville), David Mayes (Pulaski), Charles Payne (Georgetown), Brian Shults (Greenback), Brenda Walker (Clarksville), Terry Weaver (Savannah), and Ryan Yoder (Maryville).
The staff of Tennessee Wildlife offers congratulations to all of the winners and reminds photographers that if your photo was not chosen this year, your next year’s entry could be a winner.  Rules and deadlines for the 2016-17 Tennessee Wildlife photo contest will appear in the fall and winter issues of the magazine and also in the fall on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s website, www.tnwildlife.org. Photographers will again be invited to submit their best photos on fishing and wildlife species native to the Volunteer State, and fishing and hunting scenes in Tennessee.


SPRING SQUIRRELSEASON RUNS MAY 9-JUNE 14

NASHVILLE --- Tennessee’s spring hunting season for gray, fox and red squirrels opens Saturday, May 9 and will continue through Sunday, June 14. 
The daily bag limit is 10, the same for the fall/winter squirrel season which is from late August to the end of February.
There are five species of tree squirrels found in Tennessee. Two species, the southern flying squirrel and the northern flying squirrel, are not hunted. They are small and nocturnal and seldom seen.
For more information on Tennessee hunting seasons and license information, obtain a 2014-15 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide, available at TWRA Regional Offices and at hunting and fishing license agents or go online to TWRA’s website www.tnwildlife.org to view a copy of the guide.


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Sardis Lower Lake to Host Youth Fishing Rodeo

JACKSON –Youth 15 years and younger are invited to a youth fishing rodeo at the Cypress Point Recreation area on the Lower Lake of Sardis beginning at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, June 6. The free event is hosted by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP).
 
The Cypress Point Recreation area is located just off Highway 35. Participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing gear, catfish bait, and stringers. 
 
The event is a good opportunity for young anglers to fish a lake that is well stocked with catfish which are typically easy to catch. Families are invited to come enjoy quality time together in a safe environment.
 
For more information about the youth fishing rodeo, call Sardis Lake at (662) 712-1188 or the MDWFP Fisheries Bureau at (601) 432-2200.
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit www.mdwfp.com or call (601) 432-2200. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.


Crappie Regulation Changes Proposed for Flood Control Reservoirs and Eagle Lake

JACKSON - The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Fisheries Bureau announced a proposal to change crappie regulations on Arkabutla, Enid, Sardis, and Grenada Lakes, also known as the Flood Control Reservoirs (FCRs), and Eagle Lake. The proposal for the FCRs will make the regulations uniform across all of the lakes.  The proposed rule consists of making the minimum length crappie that anglers can keep 12 inches, setting the daily creel limit to 15 fish per angler, and limiting the number of poles an angler can use to three.  In addition, boats with 3 or more anglers will be able to keep 40 crappie per boat.  Daily creel limits in the FCRs’ spillways, including Sardis Lower Lake, will be reduced to15 fish per angler.
“The proposed rules for the FCRs are intended to maintain our top-ranked, nationally recognized crappie fisheries”, said Larry Pugh, MDWFP Fisheries Bureau Director.   “Having the same regulations on all of these lakes will also simplify regulations for the anglers”, added Pugh.  
On Eagle Lake, the proposed crappie rule will impose an 11-inch minimum length limit and reduce the daily creel limit to 30 fish per angler.  “The proposed rule will protect smaller fish from harvest and allow more fish to grow to a larger size”, said MDWFP Fisheries Biologist Jerry Brown.  The proposed rule change will be contingent upon Louisiana adopting the same regulation, and will be effective October 1, 2015.
Anyone wishing to comment on the proposed change may do so in writing to the Fisheries Bureau, MDWFP, 1505 Eastover Dr., Jackson, MS 39211, no later than June 21, 2015.
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 Celebrates National Fishing and Boating Week

JACKSON - Mark your calendar for National Fishing and Boating Week June 6 -14, a national celebration of fishing and boating.  June 6 and 7 are designated as “Free Fishing Days” in Mississippi, and any person may sport fish without a license.  In addition, daily permits to fish at state fishing lakes and parks are not required.
 
July 4 is also designated as “Free Fishing Day” statewide, and anglers will be able to fish without a license on any public waters. However, daily permits will be required to fish any state fishing lake or state park lake on July 4. 
 
Those seeking additional information can call the MDWFP Fisheries Bureau at (601) 432-2200.
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit www.mdwfp.com or call (601) 432-2200. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.

Infrastructure Improvements on Charles Ray Nix WMA

JACKSON –The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) is planning to repair and improve access on Charles Ray Nix Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Panola County.  Work will include stabilizing creek crossings, replacing culverts, and repairing sections of WMA roads.  When completed, the improvements will restore management access to remote parts of the WMA, reduce erosion, and provide better access for WMA visitors.  Work is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015.  Similar infrastructure improvements are also planned for Canal Section, John Bell Williams, and Sardis Waterfowl WMAs.  Work on Sardis Waterfowl WMA will be performed by the Sardis Lake Corps of Engineers.
The MDWFP recognizes the importance of access for managing wildlife habitat, conducting general maintenance, protecting wildlife resources, and providing public use of wildlife management areas.  The scheduled improvements will ensure that each of these important objectives is met by providing a reliable, safe, and efficient access system.
For more information regarding wildlife management areas in Mississippi, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com/wma or call us at (601) 432-2199.  Follow us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.

MDWFP Foundation Super Hunt Fishing Rodeo

Jackson – The Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Foundation (MWFP) is sponsoring the Super Hunt Fishing Rodeo for youth with disabilities at Turcotte Education Center onSaturday, May 9.  This event is open to disabled youth ages 6-17, and will begin at noon.
 
It will be an afternoon full of fun activities and fishing where kids can just be kids.  Participants will be provided lunch and all the necessary fishing equipment upon arrival at Turcotte. Families are encouraged to bring coolers and lawn chairs. 
 
Volunteers are welcome.  If you would like to help at this event contact Alan Mumbower at Alanm@mdwfp.state.ms.us.  Donations to support the SuperHunt and other activities can be made through the MWFP Foundation website at foundationmwfp.com.
 
For more information please visit foundationmwfp.com/superhunt, or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FoundationSuperHunt.

Camp Fish 2015

The Mississippi Wildlife Federation and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks will host three Camp Fish events in 2015. The purpose of Camp Fish is to introduce Mississippi’s youth to fisheries conservation, management and sportfishing.  The first camp, co-sponsored with the Coahoma County Youth Outreach Program, is scheduled for June 2 and 3 at the Coahoma County Expo Center in Clarksdale. The second camp will be held June 8 and 9 at Percy Quin State Park near McComb, and the last camp will be conducted at the Turcotte Education Center near Canton on June 24 and 25. The camps are open to youth ages 11-15.

“Camp Fish is such a great opportunity for kids who are interested in learning more about fishing,” said MWF Executive Director, Brad Young.   “By the time they finish one of these 2-day camps, they will have all the knowledge and experience needed to become life-long fishermen.”

Due to limited space, only 20 applicants will be accepted for each camp. Camp applications can be completed online at the Mississippi Wildlife Federation’s website, www.mswildlife.org or you can call (601) 605-1790 to receive a paper application. The application deadline for the camps at the Coahoma County Expo Center and Percy Quin State Park is May 25. Applications for the camp at the Turcotte Education Center must be received by June 15.

All applications will be ranked by quality and content of the application essays. For questions about Camp Fish, contact Larry Bull with the MDWFP Fisheries Bureau at (601) 432-2200 or by email at LarryB@mdwfp.state.ms.us

For more information regarding this and other youth events by Mississippi Wildlife Federation, visit our website at www.mswildlife.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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Clagett Talley Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

Pickwick Lake Elevation 414
Water Temp. 69 
 
BASS 
Bass fishing has really picked up over the last week. I fished Sunday (Mothers Day) with Lisa Adkins from Jackson Tn. We caught several smallmouth bass on a Strike King Series 3XD.  I have been fishing the  Series 3 around any rocky point catching a lot of fish and catching at least one most days over 5 pounds. The depth and size of the Series 3 seems to be perfect for largemouth and Smallmouth bass right now. I also fish with the Series 3 along the river banks below the Dam, you can fish these on rocky banks and gravel banks and treetop without changing baits all day. 
White Bass
If you like to catch a lot of fish you can still load up on white bass right now. Using the same Series 3 Strike King crankbait in the river will catch a large number of white bass while catching largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass along the way. The Botel area below the Dam is a good area to cover for all these species with the 8' diving Strike King crankbait. 
Stripers 
Stripers are biting really good when the Dam is generating. Yellow tail minnows are running strong right now and accounting for a large number of fish. Fish these yellow tail minnows close to the bottom and drift down stream. If you fish during the morning hours or late afternoon you can catch at lot of fish on a King Shad by Strike King, this bait runs below the surface and is big and strong enough to hold up to big stripers. It is best to fish the King Shad on 12 pound test line and throw it where there is a lot of current, because it is jointed its action attracts fish when you simple reel it back slow with tight line. Lisa Adkins from Jackson Tn caught a striper over 20 pounds last Sunday. 
Catfish 
I have caught a few catfish while striper fishing. I see a lot of catfish caught below the dam in 20-25' of water. Most people I see are using bait they are catching in the water such as yellow tail minnows and skip jack.  You can still catch them shallow along river banks in 5-8' of water using night crawlers and crickets.
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Gary Harlan Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

Pickwick Lake
May 15, 2015
Fishing Report /Forecast
Water temp: 72-76
Clarity: 2-4’
 
Now that most of the spawning business is winding down (except for the Bluegill and Catfish) the Bass are ready to go back to biting. It seems like they are feeding on almost anything that happens by.  Last week, I put some fish in the live well to take a few pictures with and later that evening while cleaning the boat I noticed the bottom of it was full of crawfish pinchers. Since then I have been “inspecting” each fish we catch to see what’s in its throat. So far I’ve found just Shad, Bream and Crawfish…no Blackbirds like at Havasu.  I’m checking them out just in case, if that pattern shows up here I’ll be the first to let you know. I am trying to find which one of the
‘Coffee Scented” plastics from Strike King the bass won’t bite. I have used worms, creature baits and everything in between this week.  This time of year you can catch them on the banks or out deep. We caught some “ghosts” this week in 16-18 foot of water.  These are fish that have not been shallow this t year and still have that milky white winter look to them. There has not been much action on topwater baits that I have found, but it could break loose any day now so keep one tied on! We have had a few good sized fish on a ½ oz. Strike King double willow spinnerbait recently. Use white in clearer water and the sexy shad color on cloudy days or in stained water.
Bluegill, have been on a tear lately and there have been some big shellcrackers showing up too. Most of the shellcrackers are coming on red worms.
If you are planning a trip to Pickwick please be aware of the other boaters. Even though the lake is fifty four miles long it can get crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee’s state park and wildlife agencies have safe boating courses on line as well as the PFD requirements.
 
Capt.Gary L. Harlan
31 CR 117
Tishomingo,MS 38873
cell:901-413-2650
US Coast Guard Licensed Fishing Guide
Roger Stegall's Professional Guide Service LLC
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Steve McCadams Kentucky Lake Fishing Report
(Updated May 20th, 2015)

CATFISH/BLUEGILL/BASS BITE HOLDING UP WELL

By Steve McCadams

 

   Despite a cool snap and several rainy days, Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene has held up well this week.

    Last weekend the rainy season returned and drenched fishermen for a few days. In the aftermath of those heavy rains lake levels on the big pond swelled a bit and were a foot above normal summer pool at midweek before the crest occurred.

    As the weekend approaches lake levels will begin to fall slowly as TVA pulls the reservoir back down to the normal summer pool elevation of 359. Readings this week topped out at 360 at Kentucky Dam at midweek.

    Projections for Kentucky Dam this weekend show an elevation of 359.8 and 359.7 upstream at New Johnsonville. Anglers can expect a slow fall to continue for the next few days.

    Surface temperatures have been a bit below average this week due to some cool, north winds. Readings were in the 72 to 74 degrees at midweek. Weather is predicted to moderate in the next few days with a return to the 80 degree range. Water temps will warm slightly throughout the weekend.

    Water color has been clear across most of the reservoir with a slight stain found in the upper ends of some bays where feeder creeks have delivered recent runoff.

    Bass have been hitting pretty good as the rising lake levels earlier in the week inundated shallow shoreline habitat and increased activity around buck bushes and visible weedbeds. From Texas rigged worms to spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and floating fluke style worms, the shallow bite has held up well for a variety of lure presentations.

    Fish have been aggressive and several fish have also been taken around gravel banks near pockets or feeder creeks too. There are a lot of bait fish in the shallow areas as bluegill are abundant and shad are feasting on schools of tiny fry that have been hatching out the last week to ten days.

    That has pulled a lot of bass to shallow areas and that should continue to be productive for quite some time. Islands are holding fish too as pondweed and other aquatics are holding schools of pin minnows around rims.

    At the same time several boats are still targeting main lake ledges and that bite will likely improve even more as current enters the picture. A slow drawdown now underway will see more fish relate to drop-offs in the days ahead.

    Big swim baits, jig and craw combos, deep diving crankbaits, Texas and Carolina rigs will be popular choices for ledge fishermen.

    Crappie have improved and more fish are now relating to structure in the 10 to 14 foot depth zone. Live minnows have been working well or jigs tipped with minnows have been appealing.

    Vertical presentations over stakebeds have produced this week but a few boats are trolling crankbaits and finding some suspended fish in depth of 15 to 16 feet out over 20 to 25 foot depths at times.

    Watch for crappie action to continue to improve as the fish now have spawning in their rearview mirror. That, coupled with stable weather and lake conditions, will see more fish relate to cover. The late May period and most all of June should be good for crappie.

    Hefty stringers of catfish continue to come in this week. Bank fishermen have done well as have boats working the rocky banks, levees and bluffs where fish are moving up to spawn in the crevices.

    Good stringers of catfish have also been taken by bluegill fishermen this week as they roam the shallows.

    Bluegill and shellcracker continue their spawning phases, although activity diminished at midweek when some cool days and north winds curtailed the bite. By this weekend activity should rebound as fish respond favorably to the warmer surface temperatures.

    Good numbers of bluegill were taken in 5 to 7 foot depths earlier this week but both bluegill and shellcracker moved up shallow once rising lake levels put more water around grass and bushes. Anglers can expect action to hold up well next week and another full moon will arrive on June 2, which should see a late wave of spawning activity resume.

    Some of the better bluegill beds may well be back off the banks as normal lake levels return.

    The overall fishing scene has been good this week with a short hiatus when fall like weather slipped in the door. Time to shed the long sleeves and get the sunscreen back out!


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Ducks Unlimited News

Ducks Unlimited and Unimin forge four-year conservation partnership

Minerals producer to provide financial support on three DU conservation initiatives
MANKATO, Minn. – May 19, 2015 – Unimin Corporation will continue to partner with Ducks Unlimited on three conservation initiatives in North America through 2018 totaling $230,000.
 
In March, Unimin’s Minnesota plants provided $50,000 to Ducks Unlimited’s Living Lakes Initiative, in addition to the $40,000 the company donated in 2014.

Beginning in May, Unimin’s Illinois and Tennessee plants will provide an additional $140,000 to  DU’s Big Rivers Initiative and America’s River initiative, respectively, through 2018.  
“We are incredibly thankful for Unimin Corporation’s support. This support helps ensure the safeguarding of wetlands and waterfowl for generations across three continentally important landscapes,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall.  “Because of private donors like Unimin Corporation, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres of wetlands.”

Since 2004, the Living Lakes Initiative has aimed to enhance, restore and protect shallow lakes and wetlands from central Iowa through northern Minnesota and provides aquatic food and habitat for migrating and breeding waterfowl.The Big Rivers Initiative focuses on restoring wetland complexes on public and private lands within the six states bordering the Mississippi River, plus Indiana and Ohio, where nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population lives.The America’s River Initiative conserves and protects the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, one of the most productive wetland systems on earth.

Unimin is in a position to uniquely understand the positive effects of lakes and wetlands, having operated two facilities in Minnesota for 45 years, several in Illinois since 1979, and in Tennessee since 1996.
“Our reclamation strategy fits together really well with DU’s goals, so it is only natural that we would seek to partner with them and help fund the initiatives” said Nathan Jungers, Unimin plant manager at Utica, Ill.
Unimin Corporation is one of North America's leading producers of non-metallic industrial minerals, including quartz, feldspar, nepheline, calcium carbonate, clay, kaolin, lime and limestone. Its products are the essential raw materials of nearly every manufacturing process.
For more information on Unimin’s sustainability program, visit www.uniminsustainability.com.

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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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The 2016 TRACKER® Pro Team™ 195 TXW is ready to hit the tournament trail

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Demanding anglers expect the best from their gear. You can’t have anything fail when a tournament is on the line. TRACKER Boats, one of the most trusted names in fishing, unleashes the all-new Pro Team 195 TXW, the biggest, most powerful all-welded Mod V boat in the lineup.
You don’t have to be a tournament angler, however, to appreciate the features that make the Pro Team 195 TXW the most competition-ready aluminum boat Tracker offers. At 18 feet 7 inches long with an 8-foot 2-inch beam, and made from 0.100-inch thick 5052 marine –grade aluminum alloy, the 195 TXW has an amazingly smooth ride, super stability and outstanding durability. It’s also backed by the best warranty in the aluminum boat industry – The TRACKER Promise –  a five-year, bow-to-stern factory warranty that also includes a three-year warranty on the powder-coat finish, factory-installed trolling motor and factory-installed depth finder, a limited lifetime structural and deck warranty, and full coverage during the warranty period with no prorating. 
The foundation of this new boat’s ride and performance is the Revolution™ Mod V hull. Structural integrity is provided by a robotically welded longitudinal stringer system and box-beam transom that are welded directly to the hull to create a strong unitized structure. Its PowerTrac™ set-back transom delivers a quick holeshot and improved cornering. Injected foam adds flotation and rigidity to the hull while deadening sound. Tracker is so confident about the ride, they back this new boat with their exclusive Smooth Ride Guarantee™.
Plus, the massive 39-square-foot bow casting deck gives you and up to three passengers plenty of space to catch fish from. And feel free to haul all of your gear, too. The Pro Team 195 TXW has plenty of storage compartments for all your tournament gear, including a center rod locker for 12 rods that are up to 8 feet long. In addition, you can keep your catch healthy with the 27-gallon, lighted and divided livewell.
Rated up to a 150hp, the Pro team 195 TXW comes standard with a Mercury Marine outboard. Tracker also outfitted the boat with a Minn Kota trolling motor and Lowrance electronics. The boat is finished using Diamond Coat™ for long-lasting appearance and the package comes with a matching Galvashield trailer. You won’t find a better performing or looking boat on the water.
For more information about the 2016 Pro Team 195 TXW and other Tracker fishing boats, visit http://www.trackerboats.com or visit a Tracker dealer near you.
About Tracker Marine Group
Tracker Marine Group (TMG), a division of Bass Pro Group, is a leading boat builder in the United States. Founded in 1977, TMG manufactures TRACKER aluminum fishing boats, SUN TRACKER and REGENCY pontoon boats, NITRO performance fishing boats, TAHOE family sport boats, MAKO saltwater fishing boats and ASCEND kayaks in the Midwest. Each brand is manufactured within 100 miles of company headquarters in Springfield, Mo.  The Tracker Marine Group boat brands are sold and serviced through more than 90 Bass Pro Shops locations and more than 200 independent dealers from coast to coast. Visit http://www.trackermarine.com for more information.
2016 TRACKER® Pro Team™ 195 TXW         
Length 18' 7''
Beam      98"
Bottom width 66"
Max. recommended HP 150 HP
Fuel capacity 30 Gal.
Max. person capacity 4 Persons
Max. person weight 685 Lbs.
Max. weight capacity 1350 Lbs.
Depth inside      21"
Transom height 23"
Deadrise at transom 10°
Deadrise at bow 16°
Hull material   0.100 5052 Marine Grade Aluminum Alloy
Approx. weight   1215 Lbs.
Approx. package weight 2541 Lbs.
Package height 6' 3''
Package width 8' 2''
Towing length    24' 9''
Storage length 20' 7''
           
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From Squid Surveillance to the ‘Search for Sasquatch’
Aqua-Vu Micro cameras playing key role on TV’s Survivorman: Bigfoot

Crosslake, MN (May 12, 2015) – Evidence. Existence. Our need to know the truth. The human desire to document the unknown has never wavered, and lately, has manifested itself in the form of very real video verification, thanks to specialized “trail cameras.”

Count the Discovery’s channel’s Les Stroud among the inquisitive. Through vast time and travel in the bush, Stroud has experienced unexplained phenomena convincing him not only of the possible existence of Bigfoot, but of the creature’s intelligence. So when Stroud set out to capture footage for his new TV series, Survivorman: Bigfoot, he knew he’d need the stealthiest surveillance cameras available.

Having worked with Aqua-Vu Underwater Viewing Systems on numerous past projects, Doug Hajicek, wildlife researcher, television producer and Tech Director for Survivorman: Bigfoot, immediately consulted with the popular marine optics company. Ultimately, Hajicek secured and equipped eight Micro 5 underwater camera systems for filming of the new hit Discovery Channel series.

“All previous trials with traditional trail cameras have failed,” noted Hajicek, President of Whitewolf Entertainment, who has produced over 200 TV features since 1987. 

“It’s known that many animals in the wild possess acute hearing and vision capable of detecting or sensing light in the UV and even infrared spectrum. The Aqua-Vu Micro cam has proven ideal for capturing potential Bigfoot footage because it is so stealthy, totally silent and compact enough to allow us to conceal the acorn-sized optics within natural objects.”

“Host of Survivorman: Bigfoot Les Stroud places a stuffed grouse rigged with an Aqua-Vu Micro cam into strategic position.”

Stroud, who has filmed wildlife and challenging outdoor environments with numerous camera brands, has been impressed by the Micro systems. “The Aqua-Vus performed incredibly well under tough weather conditions,” Stroud said. “They were the perfect cameras for the task at hand, and have greatly enhanced my ability to incorporate unique and stealthy camera angles during the making of Survivorman: Bigfoot. The ability to quietly record outside, well away from a tent, and then to watch live from the inside gave me story content I couldn’t have captured any other way.”

While traditional trail cameras consist of larger boxlike units that often give off audible noises and flash with small lights, the Aqua-Vu features a tiny camera connected to a handheld monitor via 100 feet of ultrathin cable. During show filming, this configuration allowed Hajicek and Stroud to hide multiple cameras in benign objects such as stuffed grouse mounts, tiny tree knots, duck decoys and even inside artificial water lilies. In each case, the camera cable was buried while the LCD/recording unit was concealed 100 feet away, keeping any potential light or sound well away from the vicinity.

Camouflage decals further conceal the small stealthy Aqua-Vu camera optics, in hopes of recording the first verifiable bigfoot footage.

“It’s pretty interesting that the best stealth trail camera design on the market is actually one designed for aquatic applications,” says Hajicek. “Even though it’s used mostly for fishing and underwater observation, the Aqua-Vu Micro gives us the best possible chance to record footage of a live Bigfoot.”

 

Utilizing the Aqua-Vu’s motion-sensing function and built-in DVR, any movement or heat signature passing in front of the optics triggers the unit to record, automatically employing invisible IR lighting, as necessary. Hajicek also said that during TV filming, each Aqua-Vu was connected to an auxiliary 12-volt battery—in addition to the unit’s built-in Lithium-ion battery—for almost unlimited runtime beyond its internal 8-hour cycle. For maximum resolution and viewability, Hajicek also extolled the Micro cameras’ auto Color/B&W function for capturing clear footage in low-light conditions.

Doug Hajicek, Tech Director for Survivorman: Bigfoot has hidden Aqua-Vu cameras in some surprising objects, including artificial water lilies, duck decoys and stuffed ravens, doves and other animals.

In addition to six new episodes of Survivorman: Bigfoot, Hajicek has employed Aqua-Vu cameras for numerous other TV shows and scientific studies. “Right now, we’re planning to use Aqua-Vu Micros in another Bigfoot show pilot. But we’ve also used Aqua-Vu cams to record and document never-before-seen beaver and bear behavior in their dens, as well as eagle nests and other fascinating applications.”

Perhaps most remarkable was a project in which an Aqua-Vu cam was actually “worn” by a Humboldt squid, used to attract giant squid, which often prey upon the smaller species. Hajicek captured footage of the largest live, free-swimming squid ever recorded, at over 54 feet in length. The resulting video has aired on the History Channel, providing numerous breakthroughs in squid research, as well as some of the most compelling underwater video ever seen.

“Aqua-Vu’s aren’t just for fishermen,” says Hajicek. “Even with hundreds of trail cameras on the market, the Aqua-Vu Micro gives us the best chance to capture video of a live bigfoot.

“If he’s out there, it could be just a matter of time.”

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PLANO EXPANDS INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE
PLANO SIGNS MAJOR DEAL WITH INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT ORGANIZER, ANGLING SPIRIT
PLANO, IL (May 11, 2015) – Plano is pleased to announce its new partnership with one of fishing’s leading tournament and event organizers, Angling Spirit, and will be supporting all of their Classic events.
Pete Angle – VP of Marketing for Plano’s parent company Plano Synergy, explained: “We’re delighted to be supporting the fine work of Angling Spirit and affiliating ourselves with the leading European-based angling tournaments and events.
 
“We see there is a great opportunity to engage the international fishing audience and participate in and support Angling Spirit events. There is also crossover for us to promote other brands within the Plano Synergy stable family, like Frabill, with this audience, which is an aspect that looks positive for us.”
 
Angling Spirit owner and founder Ross Honey added: “This is a significant milestone for Angling Spirit and the WCC and WPC and all their affiliated sub-events. Plano is one of the most well-known brands in fishing and I know from discussions with the Plano team, they will be fully utilizing our platform.
 
“Plano has serious plans to use our events to help consolidate and grow Plano and their other brands in Europe and the rest of the world. This sponsorship is a significant part of Plano’s global strategy, and we are delighted to be able to work with them to achieve their goals and promote angling in a positive way throughout the world.”
 
Plano will sponsor the Inaugural 2015 World Carp Classic Junior event on May 27-30, 2015, on Lake Katlov in the Czech Republic, followed by the World Predator Classic in Haringvilet, the Netherlands on June 24-27, 2015, and the 2015 World Carp Classic at Lac de Madine, France on September 19-26, 2015.
 
 
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Control boat speed and stay on the fish with Bass Pro Shops Extreme Drift Anchor

One of the most important factors for consistently catching fish is boat control. When you’re at the mercy of the wind, presenting a lure at the right speed and depth can be a challenge whether you’re trolling, casting or drifting the hot bite.  An affordable solution for controlling boat speed so you can stay on fish is Bass Pro Shops Extreme Drift Anchor.
The idea of a drift anchor is pretty straight forward. As your boat is pushed across the water by the wind, deploying a drift anchor slows you down; much like a parachute keeps someone from gaining too much speed when they jump from an airplane. Place the drift anchor in the right position on the boat, and you can achieve a completely horizontal drift. That way everyone onboard gets an equal shot.   
The Bass Pro Shops Extreme Drift Anchor is a proven and economical way to ensure your boat is well positioned and moving at the right speed. Built from durable marine grade polyester with a polyurethane coating, the anchor has a new strap reinforcement design, ensuring reliable performance season after season. The 76-inch tethering strap has corrosion-resistant clips for easy attachment to your boat. Bass Pro Shops’ keel-and-float system allows the anchor to deploy fast and keeps it from spinning and twisting the straps. Bringing the anchor back aboard is easy with a strengthened retrieval strap, which removes resistance by forcing water from the deployed anchor.
The Extreme Drift Anchor is available in seven sizes, ranging from 18 inches, perfect for smaller boats, all the way up to 54 inches. There is an anchor for every boat and weather condition. The compact design makes for easy storage, so you can always have a way to keep fishing. Get one for your boat by going tohttp://www.basspro.com/ or your nearest Bass Pro Shops® store.
Bass Pro Shops Extreme Drift Anchor
•    New strap reinforcement design
•    Keel-and-float system
•    Includes 76" tethering strap with corrosion-resistant clips
•    MSRP $17.99 to $44.99
•    Available at http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Extreme-Drift-Anchor/product/1410250621443/
About Bass Pro Shops®
Bass Pro Shops®, which specializes in outdoor fun, operates 92 retail 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 huntingfishingcamping and other outdoor gear while their catalogs and website serve shoppers throughout the world. The company’s Tracker Marine Group® (http://www.trackermarine.com/), a leading brand of fishing boats for more than 37 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® (http://www.bigcedar.com), voted one of the top 50 Best Hotels for Families in the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.basspro.com/.  To request a free catalog, call 1-800-BASS PRO.  Follow us on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/bassproshops.
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Rippin Lips team continues turning heads and jerking whiskers on monstrous catfish

Chambersburg, PA (April 8, 2015) – “Go big or stay home” is a trendy little axiom heard predominately in sporting circles. Big plays. Big hits. Big goals. In competitive catfishing, it means bringing ‘shoulder-dislocating’ sized catfish to the scales. And so far in 2015, it’s been Rippin Lips’ starting lineup that’s played the biggest.

Spiritual leader of Rippin Lips' Pro Staff, John Jamison continues setting the bar with big tournament feats. Photo by Bill Lindner 

The most recent example of this knack for going beastly was at the KC Catfish Tournament in late March in Rocky Mountain, MO on Lake of the Ozarks. Optimistic anglers launched from the Coffman Beach Access contemplating their acceptance speeches and what bills to pay down on their earnings. Fact of the matter, though, was that the river played tough and some boats posted zeros.

This wasn’t the case, however, for Rippin Lips’ John Jamison and partner Mark Thompson. The going was tough, but the tough got going.

“Until 1:30 in the afternoon, all we had to show was a half-pound channel cat,” said a befuddled Jamison. “Then all of a sudden it was on,” said the same catfish-menace with a tone of rejuvenated confidence.

Literally, in less than an hour-long span, Jamison and Thompson boated a bushel of mega-blue catfish. “We caught scads of releasers,” he said. “We put back a dozen 20-pound catfish. Lake of the Ozarks has a 26- to 34-inch protected slot, so even fish weighing up to 22-pounds had to go back.”

Fortunately, mixed into the firefight of 20’s, they yanked legal cats, including what turned out to be Big Fish with a 59.60-pound specimen, earning Lund Boat’s Contingency Bonus. (Jamison and Thompson run a mammoth Lund 2075 Pro Guide – the quintessential catfishing warship.) Oh, and cumulatively, their bag scaled over 108-pounds, claiming second place overall – almost forgot that part…

Well aquainted with the winner's circle, Rippin Lips pros Mark Thompson and John Jamison took Big Fish and Lund's Contingency Bonus. Photo courtesy of KC Catfish

Patience of a Bow Hunter

Besides your friends, family and maybe an obsessed fan or two, the average Joe doesn’t get too caught up in tournament results. But what they do care about is “how” a winning angler put fish in the boat. To that, Jamison willingly spills the beans.

Blue catfish stereotypes place them in river basin abysses and wallowing beneath power dams. At times, blues inhabit these areas. But right now, in early spring, and as Jamison and Thompson discovered, the fish ranged much shallower.

“We anchored in 12-feet of water, in casting distance of a 6- to 8-foot flat and 15-foot deep channel,” explained Jamison. During the day, said Jamison, blues lay in channels until they decide it’s time to feed. The blues bum-rush flats to scarf down shad and other edibles. So from their anchored position, Jamison and Thompson could reach both environments.

Not surprisingly, 90-pecent of their catch came off the flat. “They eat so much, and so fast, you better have lines down on the flat at all times,” said Jamison, who anchored as patiently as a bow hunter waiting for the money shot.

It's becoming known as "The Juice" in catfish circles: Scent Trail Catfish Attractant.

This time of the year, Jamison prefers cut bait over live offerings. “We used fresh-caught shad cut in 6-inch chunks, and sliced their tails so the bait would bleed.” But the shad alone weren’t the winning formula. They would soak the pieces in Rippin Lips Scent Trail to exaggerate the shad’s attractive taste and natural smell. Scent Trail, he notes, performs wonderfully as a marinade for all sorts of baits – live, cut and dip – on all species of catfish.

Chunks were rigged on simple bottom rigs – hook, swivel and sliding sinker – highlighted by an 8/0 Rippin Lips Circle Hook. The benchmark red catfish hook is remarkably sharp and curved ideally for lip-hooking catfish. (Jamison recommends 65-pound Spider Wire Stealth on the spool and a 60-pound fluorocarbon leader.)

Despite the size of the catfish, Jamison put to use moderately powered rods. “We fished Rippin Lips Medium/Heavy SuperCat Casting Rods. The tip is soft enough so a fish can fold it over, yet has enough strength to fight big fish.”

These same rods, said Jamison, are fished by many of the top tournament catfish anglers. In fact, the winner’s circle at a number of recent events had SuperCat paw-prints all over the place.

Nothing indicates Jamison & Co.’s beast mode will end anytime soon. Plenty of tournaments on the schedule, too. Expect to read more about the Rippin Lips crew’s conquests this summer. 

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St. Croix Bringing the Rare to Reality

Duo of exceptional 2-piece casting models added to Legend Xtreme line

Park Falls, Wisconsin (April 20, 2015) – Gadolinium. Dysprosium. Samarium. Yttrium. Four precious metals found here and scattered there throughout the world... These and a scanty handful of other building blocks of the periodic table are found so sparingly they have been given status of “rare earth elements”.

To the untrained eye, these scarce nuggets might look like any other matter crammed in a hunk of rock. But they are so uncommon that they play vastly important roles in the big scheme of things. In the hands of the right person, rare earth elements are worth much more than their weight when compared to a popular counterpart – gold.

Putting something similarly rare in one’s hands is often what it takes to get them to realize the greatness of it. Take, for example, St. Croix's top-of-the-line series, Legend Xtreme. Not your typical fishin’ sticks. And to the delight of X devotees, two new models have been created for 2015, so rare they’re the only ones like ‘em on Earth.

And like the rarest of elements, they play a cosmic role when placed in the hands of the most discriminating angler.

“It all started with a request for 7’ high-performance, two-piece casting rods from customers in Russia,” said Jeff Schluter, vice president of brand management at St. Croix Rod. “At the time you couldn’t find a high-end casting rod that broke down. But we listened and fulfilled that missing link. These are great rods for anglers on the go that demand using only the highest-of-quality rods.” 

Today, two innovative 7-foot, 2-piece, fast-action Legend Xtreme casting rods (models LXC70MF2 for 10- to 17-pound testand 1/4 to 5/8-ounce lures andLXC70MHF2 for 12- to 20-pound test and 3/8- to 1-ounce lures) with medium and medium-heavy power ratings, respectfully, are offered. And like all Legend Xtreme rods, they are built with blanks utilizing St. Croix’s Fortified Resin System (FRS), which combines a proprietary fortified super resin with computer-operated curing ovens that provide improved temperature and time management through all stages of the curing cycle. This keeps the carbon fibers in proper alignment for 33% greater strength than blanks built with standard resins and curing methods, which subsequently prevents microbuckling.

Every Legend Xtreme blank is patterned using St. Croix’s innovative Taper Enhancement Technology(TET) that begins with precision-cut, curved blank patterns made possible by a state-of-the-art computerized pattern cutting machine. When combined with Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC®) engineered mandrels, these unique patterns create blanks with better actions and improved sensitivity.

All Legend Xtreme blanks are built from high-modulus/high-strain SCV graphite with

carbon-matte scrim for unparalleled strength, durability and sensitivity. Plus, the super-high-modulus SCVI graphite in the lower section allows for maximum power yet reduced weight where it matters. Finally,Advanced Reinforcing Technology™ (ART™) provides additional "hidden strength" at key stress points, including the slim-profile ferrules on 2-piece models.

“And it’s the slim-profile ferrule that’s the key to any multiple-piece Legend Xtreme rod, giving it the feel of a one-piece,” added Schluter. “Because of ART, we could take the area most subject to failure and underperformance and create a ferrule that is pliable, resists crushing, and yet has a thin wall. It gives any rod with this technology a uniform flex where there would commonly be a flat spot in the arc.”  

Add to all this, St. Croix’s exclusive Xtreme-Skin handle, which offers outstanding comfort, sensitivity and improved durability, and a lightweight Fuji® SK2™ split reel seat that delivers even more sensitivity.

And all Legend Xtremes are fitted with Fuji® K-R Concept Tangle Free guides with SiC rings and exclusive E-color finish frames, ideal for monofilament, fluorocarbon and superline alike. And their sloped frames and rings get rid of line tangles before they can be formed. All thread wraps are protected by two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish.

The entire Legend Xtreme family is designed and handcrafted in Park Falls, Wisconsin, and protected by a lifetime limited warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service, and come with protective rod sacks. Retail is $440 for the new Legend Xtreme 2-piece casting rods.

St. Croix, makers of the “Best Rods on Earth”, turns the rare into reality when it comes to finding the perfect rod for the Xtreme angler.

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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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New Humminbird® Software Bridges the Gap Between ONIX® and Core Units

Latest version 2.300 software update allows anglers to network ONIX with core units, share waypoints and much more!

EUFAULA, AL (May 6, 2015) - In response to anglers' requests to network ONIX and 800, 900 or 1100 series units on the same boat, Humminbird engineers rolled up their sleeves and started writing code.

Now, after months of caffeine-fueled sessions in the lab and on the water, Humminbird® is proud to announce Version 2.300 Software, a free download available through each unit owner's "My Humminbird" account that seamlessly integrates 800, 900 and 1100 Series units with ONIX. 

Most notably, Version 2.300 software offers significant performance upgrades and features, including the ability to share waypoint data (and Spot-Locks) in both directions between core units and ONIX.

Another breakthrough feature of Version 2.300 software is a new waypoint list view that allows easy viewing of map areas with dense waypoint clustering, which will be of particular interest to tournament anglers and guides.

Additionally, Version 2.300 software saves anglers considerable time and frustration when transferring waypoint data from non-Humminbird sources via an SD card. Version 2.300 imports and converts Raymarine, Lowrance, Garmin, and Google Earth waypoints, which can be immediately shared between ONIX and core units on the same network. No PC or laptop required.

The Software Update Process

To begin the update process, users should first verify they have registered their product and previously updated to Version 2.000 or 2.100 software via the owner's My Humminbird account

Following product registration, users should download the software to their computer. 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 the installation is completed, power down the unit and restart. Following restart, users will note significantly improved speed and additional new features, including:

  • Improved cartography data load times
  • Faster zoom in/out on cartography
  • Viewable waypoint list for map areas of dense waypoint clustering
  • Faster network syncing for units with thousands of waypoints
  • Current navigation track is saved in the event of power loss
  • Improved waypoint accuracy on chart when waypoints are selected in sonar, Down Imaging or Side Imaging view
  • Direct import of competitive TWR data (HWR, USR, GDB, MPS, KML, RWF, and GPS Babel extensions)
  • AS RC1 Bluetooth Remote support
  • LakeMaster PLUS support

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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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Keenaw Tackle Keepin' It Real...and Local

Keweenaw Tackle Company lends a hand so others can achieve their full potential 

Traverse City, MI (April 9, 2015) - When you look up the word “business” in the dictionary, one definition says: The practice of making one's living by engaging in commerce.

Even for some of the smallest of companies in the fishing industry, business is, well, business, and amassing the all-mighty dollar often wins out over all other motivations.

But let’s go behind the scenes of the production of Keweenaw (KEE-wi-naw) Tackle Company’s Fin-Wing. You know: “The Lure that Swims”, which was created in the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula’s “Copper Country’s” Keweenaw Peninsula in 1948.

What’s so unique about this bait besides its wide-wobbling, fish-attracting, spoon-meets-swimbait action? The fact that the entire bait was not only developed in, but remains manufactured and assembled right here in the good ol’ U. S. of A. – start to finish.   

First, let’s talk about the snipping and stamping of its high-quality steel. The so-called blacksmithing takes place in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes. And then there’s the craft of applying topnotch coats of classic-hue paints. Yep, the same state’s where that happens, too.

Now, here’s where the plot thickens – the assembly of the split-ring and high-grade hook, as well as packaging and shipping.

Not a big deal?

Well, let us introduce you to the “Goodwill Industries of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Inc”. Their mission: Helping people achieve their full potential through the power of work.

Here in Calumet, Michigan, just a few miles from where the Fin-Wing was first forged, people with disabilities get paid, receive vocational training and other benefits all while contributing to commerce. Not only do the employees here earn cash, they build pride and confidence while being part of a highly productive team. And trust that this spills out into the Calumet community in a positive way.

“There are so many benefits from employing the dedicated staff at Goodwill,” says Keweenaw Tackle’s President, Dale Elliott. “Fin-Wing has a perfect profile to provide growth in an area that, overall, is considered depressed. It’s a win-win.

“Besides that, the Fin-Wing was invented in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and it makes sense that it is made there.”

So what are the duties of the folks employed by Goodwill Industries of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Inc? Receiving Fin-Wing customer orders and then computer assembling, packaging, and shipping.

“It’s a great opportunity for folks with non-defined motor skills,” says Keith Stenger, manager of the Calumet’s work center. “There are so many diverse jobs on so many different levels. And we can match the skills needed to the person at hand.

“This work could have gone anyplace other than the community of its roots, but Keweenaw Tackle kept it local...literally right where it was invented. And the company is very committed to what we are doing here, as well as dedicated to our cause.”

Made in the USA and assembled in Michigan. That’s what Fin-Wing is all about. Oh, and they catch fish, too. 

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Avery® Outdoors Memorial Day Sale

Memphis, TN – Avery® Outdoors, Inc. is celebrating Memorial Day weekend with a site-wide sale in the online store. From Saturday, May 23 through Tuesday, May 26, customers will receive 10% off their entire purchase, including already discounted Power Deal sale items. Discount is applied at checkout. The sale is offered at the Avery® Outdoors, Greenhead Gear® and Avery® Sporting Dog online store websites. Avery® looks forward to providing customers with this discount off of their entire purchase for the extended holiday weekend.

Visit www.averyoutdoors.comwww.greenheadgear.com and www.averysportingdog.com to take advantage of the site-wide sale!

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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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New Wave of Environmental Education Using Oculus Rift Tennessee Aquarium/Tennessee Tech Unveil 3D Virtual Snorkeling for Students

Chattanooga, Tenn. (April 26, 2015) – The Conasauga River, which flows along the Tennessee/Georgia border about 1.5 hours from downtown Chattanooga, is incredibly alive. Within its crystal clear waters lives 76 native fish species, more than the Colorado and Columbia Rivers combined. These fishes, and the dozens of other animals that make up the aquatic community, live within less than one percent of the area of the other two enormous watersheds.
 
“Whenever we take students snorkeling in the Conasauga, they are changed by the experience,” said Dr. Anna George, director of the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI). “They see all of this life – right here in our backyards - and realize that we live in a special place worth protecting.”
 
Traveling with large groups to the river is impractical. But now there’s a way to bring the river to students at the Tennessee Aquarium, thanks to a new collaborative project with the BusinessMedia Center at Tennessee Tech University using Oculus Rift.
 
Oculus goggles allow users to become immersed in a 3D virtual reality world that offers high-definition visuals in a 360-degree field of view. Computer processing speeds have become powerful enough to allow Oculus users to look up, down, or behind themselves and the complex scenery seamlessly follows their motions.
 
The gaming industry has been rushing to develop content ever since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg purchased Oculus VR for a cool $2 billion in cash and Facebook stock.
 
“The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community,” said Zuckerberg in a Facebook post announcing the acquisition. “But this is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences.”
 
While most developers are rushing to complete entertainment projects by the widespread release of the Oculus Rift system, which is forecast to be available by Christmas of this year, others like Tennessee Tech University (TTU) have forged a different path focused on education. “When we first started thinking about virtual reality projects, we thought about partnering with the Tennessee Aquarium,” said Kevin Liska, director of the BusinessMedia Center at TTU. “We felt there was a tremendous opportunity to develop the world’s first environmental education virtual reality game.”
 
The idea to create a snorkeling game came from Thaddeus Taylor, the Aquarium’s learning specialist. While on a snorkeling trip to the Conasauga River, Taylor wondered aloud, “How can we give all of our Aquarium student groups this unique experience without having them travel to this remote location?”
 
Six months ago Liska, and a project team of eight people from TTU, met with Aquarium educators and scientists from TNACI to brainstorm how to captivate students with a new virtual reality lesson plan. “It was an ambitious project but between our team and the Aquarium’s, we were drawing on 16 different academic backgrounds,” said Liska. “So the final product isn’t just a cool game idea, it’s a way to immerse students in an environmental lesson that’s rooted in science.”
 
When school groups book a field trip this fall, they will be able to add the “Stream Scene Extreme,” a classroom program based on the Oculus Rift project, to enhance what they experience in River Journey and Ocean Journey. “This is very much like snorkeling a thriving river,” said Taylor. “Virtual reality allows us to place them in a healthy ecosystem and then create different pollution events for the students to actually experience.”
 
As the water changes from clear to murky, species begin to disappear.  It’s up to the students to surface and become environmental superheroes by identifying the source of the pollution. Then they must choose the right corrective action, or actions, to restore the watershed.
 
A group of Red Bank Middle students seemed engrossed in the game when they “test drove” the Oculus project in March. One student, who was reluctant to try the Oculus goggles, was very excited by what she saw. “It was super cool!”
 
Liska’s team is sharing this ground-breaking Oculus project with the world, hoping it becomes an environmental education game-changer. “In addition to reaching students at the Tennessee Aquarium, we will post this on the Oculus website for everyone,” said Liska. “Making this project publicly available for classrooms and homes across the nation is really exciting because it may help encourage waves of students to value and protect river systems.” 
 
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The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder, appreciation and protection of water and all life that it sustains. Admission is $26.95 per adult and $16.95 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $9.95 per adult and $8.50 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $32.95 for adults and $22.95 for children. Excursions aboard the new River Gorge Explorer depart daily into “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon.” Cruise tickets are $32.00 per adult and $24.50 per child (3-12). Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities.
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The Wildrose Way Workshops

 Please register for all Wildrose Oxford and Arkansas events at  http://wildrosetradingcompany.com/collections/wildrose-events
2015
April 18, 19 -  Basic Gundog - Upland and Waterfowl, The Wildrose Way - George Hi Plantation, Garland, NC.  Contact Dan O'Connor at 910-564-5860 orhunt@georgehi.com.
 
April 23 to 26 - Training the Wildrose Way (2-Day Basic, 2-Day Seasoned for Gundogs/Adventure Dogs) - Orvis Sandanona, Millbrook, NY.  
Contact 845-677-9701 or email sandanona@orvis.com.

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

June 6, 7 - Retriever Training for Driven Shooting - Blixt & Co, Tetonia, ID, Contact Lars at 307-731-5450 or lars@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, Train, Shoot and Retrieve (TSR), Wildrose Oxford, Contact Cathy at 662-234-5788 orinfo@uklabs.com.
Visit www.uklabs.com for more information about Training the Wildrose Way.
 
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North Mississippi Fish Hatchery to Host Youth Fishing Rodeo

Jackson -  Children 15 years and younger are invited to a youth fishing rodeo at the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery Visitor Education Center (VEC) beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday, May 16. The free event is hosted by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP).
 
The VEC is located off County Road 457, adjacent to Enid Lake. Participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing gear, catfish bait, and stringers. However, a limited amount of fishing gear will be available.
 
The event is a good opportunity for young anglers to fish a lake that is well stocked with catfish which are typically easy to catch.  Families are invited to come enjoy quality time together in a safe environment.
 
For more information about the youth fishing rodeo, call the VEC office at (662) 563-8068 or the MDWFP Fisheries Bureau at (601) 432-2200.
 
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit www.mdwfp.com or call (601) 432-2200. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.
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What's Happening at Discovery Park

Thursday, Friday & Saturday, May 14-16- Walking & Fishing for DPA Members! Hours 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM Enter gate near Train Depot!
 
Thursday, May 14th- Libation Station at the Train Depot 5-9
Enjoy Snappy Tomato Pizza Snacks and a full service bar! Roger Alexander will be playing the keyboard! Sponsored by Davis Wealth Services, Williams Country Sausage, & Snappy Tomato Pizza. 
 
Friday, May 15th- Libation Station at the Train Depot 5-9
Enjoy Snappy Tomato Pizza Snacks and a full service bar! Dustin Hamlin will be entertaining us by singing and playing the guitar! Sponsored by Davis Wealth Services, Williams Country Sausage, & Snappy Tomato Pizza. 
 
Saturday, May 16th- Libation Station at the Train Depot 5-9
Enjoy Snappy Tomato Pizza Snacks and a full service bar! Polly Brasher will be playing the keyboard! Sponsored by Davis Wealth Services, Williams Country Sausage, & Snappy Tomato Pizza.
 
Saturday, May 23rd- Family Punch & Paint Class
Bring the family to Discovery Park and enjoy our Punch & Paint Class! This is sure to be fun for everyone! Click here for more information!
 
Weekend of May 23-25- WWII Living History
Come experience a educational weekend as you learn about WWII! Military vehicles and demonstrations will cover the Great Lawn.  What a great way to spend time on Memorial weekend! Sponsored by Coca-Cola
 
Monday, May 25th- Discovery Park of America is OPEN for Memorial Day! 10-5
 
Saturday, May 30- Cardboard Boat Regatta It is time to start building your cardboard boat for our Cardboard Boat Regatta! Click here to register!
 
TICKETS ARE ON-SALE NOW!  The Restless Heart Concert is June 13th at Discovery Park! Tickets are on-sale now by calling 731-885-5455 or online!
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Family-Friendly Fun Is In Store At BASSfest In Northwest Tennessee

May 21, 2015

PARIS, Tenn. — When the second annual BASSfest celebration gets underway June 3, 124 of America’s best bass anglers will be focused on one goal — winning the lion’s share of the $850,000 prize purse.
 
Fans attending the event June 3-7 will have a multitude of options to keep them entertained for days, however.
 
The Zippo Bassmaster BASSfest at Kentucky Lake presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps will feature an outdoors expo, a carnival for kids, an arts and crafts show and more. On Friday, June 5, Bassmaster University will offer must-attend seminars taught by Bassmaster Elite Series pros and B.A.S.S. staff.
 
Fishing fans and their families can join in all the fun for the five days. All B.A.S.S. events are free. Following are 25 things to see and do at BASSfest in Paris.
 
1. Take off with the anglers. On Wednesday and Thursday, June 3-4, the full field of 124 competitors — including 111 Elite Series anglers and 13 from the Opens Series — will blast off from Paris Landing Marina at 6:15 a.m. to fish Kentucky Lake. And, on Saturday and Sunday, the top anglers will take off from the same dock in hopes of earning the $100,000 first prize.
 
2. Who will earn a second shot? On Friday, June 5, anglers who finished below the Top 50 on Thursday try to redeem themselves on Lake Barkley (takeoff at Lick Creek State Park at 6:15 a.m.) for a second chance. All weights are zeroed for this one-day shootout, and the Top 10 anglers advance to Saturday’s semifinal competition.
 
3. College teams clash. While the pros compete, college anglers will also battle on Lake BarkleyJune 3-5 in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Wild Card presented by Bass Pro Shops. Takeoff will be at 5:30 a.m. at Lick Creek Recreational Area, with the weigh-in on Friday on the main event stage at Paris Landing State Park. The weigh-in will determine which teams will head on to the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro ShopsJuly 9-11 on Lake DuBay on the Wisconsin River.
 
4. Watch us — live! On Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., be sure to log on to Bassmaster.com and follow the competition with the new Bassmaster Live on-the-water coverage. Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders from The Bassmasters television show, and B.A.S.S. emcee Dave Mercer will be on-hand with commentary.
 
5. Get to know the High School All-American team. B.A.S.S. recently named 12 outstanding high school anglers to the first Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team. At BASSfest, these 12 anglers will be paired with Elite Series pros who are not competing Saturday to fish Lake Barkley in a one-day competition. See these 12 star students weigh in on the Elite Series stage prior to the official Elite Series weigh-in.
 
6. Feel that horsepower. Blast off in a new bass boat during a free demo ride. Rides are offered after takeoff Friday, Saturday and Sunday by the Skeeter Performance Boats Demo Tour, Yamaha’s 2015 Discover VMAX SHO Demo Tour, Mercury ProXS Demo Tour, the 2015 Triton Demo Tour and the Nitro Boats Demo Tour.
 
7. Entertain the kiddos. Kids can have hands-on fun at the petting zoo at Paris Landing State Park, before taking a whirl on the rides at the kids’ carnival, complete with cotton candy and other carnival foods.
 
8. Enjoy live music. Following the weigh-in Friday, fans can enjoy live music from three different singer-songwriters. Philip White has written songs for country music greats such as Rascal Flatts, Reba Macentire and Blake Shelton. Monte Holmes, who has penned songs for George Strait, will perform as well, followed by Scotty Emrick, who wrote well-known lyrics for Toby Keith, Billy Currington and more.
 
9. Check out the outdoors expo. More than 125 national and local exhibitors, including a variety of food and beverage vendors, will be on hand starting at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday and noon on Sunday. Locally, be sure to stop by the Tennessee National Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Center and Land Between the Lakes booths, plus more.
 
10. Score lots of freebies. Minn Kota will register fans to win a great Minn Kota product. One lucky fan will win an Evan Williams Bourbon Cooler prize pack on Sunday. And Carhartt will offer chances to win Carhartt-branded prizes with a spin-to-win game.
 
11. Follow us! Use the hashtag #bassmaster on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest or Facebook to keep an eye on the action. And check out the BASSfest Facebook event pagehttps://www.facebook.com/events/1487037278214938/ for pictures and updates.
 
12. Kids’ fishing fun. Let your children join in the fishing competition fun Friday with catfish races starting at 1:30 p.m. and a kids’ fishing rodeo.
 
13. Inspect new lures and reels. The Berkley Experience Trailer will be at the outdoors expo with free seminars about how to use different types of lures. Shimano will have a casting-target course set up to test your accuracy.
 
14. Hone your fishing skills. Bassmaster University will convene on Friday, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., offering free how-to seminars. Learn from Elite Series pros and Bassmaster staff, including bait techniques, lure presentations, electronics and motors, flipping, pitching and more. New topics begin every half-hour. For information on-site, please visit the B.A.S.S. booth.
 
15. Get crafty. Visit the arts and crafts show at the event grounds, featuring more than 80 vendors.
 
16. Discover new gear. Be sure to check out the latest products from Allstate, Costa, Huk and Star brite at the outdoors expo.
 
17. Trick out your truck. Take a look at the latest gear for your truck with A.R.E. Truck Caps, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels and Rigid Industries so you can pull your boat to the lake in style.
 
18. Master electronics. Get advice on your marine electronics from Humminbird and Lowrance. Experts will be on-site to answer any electronics questions you may have.
 
19. Try your luck. Toyota fans can try their luck and win prizes in the Toyota Dice Roll game. You can also charge your cellphone — for free! — in the truck bed of a Toyota Hiring Our Heroes Tacoma. Enter to win a Bass Pro Shops gift card with the Tundra Puzzle Block Challenge, find out more about Bonus Bucks and take photos with anglers from the Toyota Fishing Team.
 
20. Tech talk. Stop by the Livingston Lures booth to learn about its sound-producing lure technology and to check out lures for purchase.
 
21. Shallow-water savvy. Power-Pole will display various models of shallow-water anchors at the outdoors expo, including the Pro Series and the Micro Anchor.
 
22. Win big with Fantasy Fishing. Fans can choose their Top 5 Elite anglers for a chance to win a $2,500 Bass Pro Shops gift card and a grand prize (for the full season) that includes a boat and motor. Visit Bassmaster.com/Fantasy to learn more.
 
23. Keep an eye on the competition. Download the Bassmaster News App or visit Bassmaster.com for up-to-the-minute blog posts, photos and videos from on the water.
 
24. Win your own GoPro camera. The GoPro experience trailer will be onsite and offering tutorials on how to perfect your photography and video skills. Stop by the GoPro truck to learn about the latest products from GoPro, daily HERO4 giveaways, tips and tricks to get the most out of your GoPro camera.
 
25. Spin to win. On Saturday and Sunday at the B.A.S.S. expo booth, visitors can win prizes by taking a turn at the Spin ‘N’ Win wheel.

2015 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2015 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: A.R.E. Accessories, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Huk Performance Fishing, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano
About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by TNT Fireworks, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.
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Project ChildSafe Releases New Firearm Safety Video
First-of-its-kind resource from NSSF encourages open conversations between parents and children about firearm safety

NEWTOWN, Conn. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) today released a new, first-of-its-kind educational resource, the “How to Talk to Your Kids about Firearm Safety” video. The video, starring champion shooter and mother Julie Golob, encourages parents to have “the talk” about firearm safety with their kids sooner rather than later, and provides tips for how to have a helpful discussion.

“Too often, children don’t know what to do if they find a gun,” said Steve Sanetti, President and CEO of NSSF, which developed and sponsors the Project ChildSafe firearm safety education program. “This video opens a door for honest conversation and empowers parents to be the authority on gun safety for their kids, whether they have guns in their homes or not.”

The “How to Talk to Your Kids about Firearm Safety” video was created as a resource to start positive and constructive conversations by encouraging discussion rather than lecture, and helps parents responsibly demystify the subject of guns.

“As a mother, I know full well how challenging this conversation can be,” Golob said. “It’s crucial that parents set an example and teach their kids about firearm safety so children don’t learn about guns solely from what their friends say or what they see on video games and TV.”

The video features Golob expressing the importance of adults having gun safety discussions with young people, emphasizing that education on responsible safety and storage is the number one way to prevent firearm accidents in the home. The video has two sections, one for talking with younger children, the other for talking to older kids and teens.

“How to Talk to Your Kids about Gun Safety” is available—and shareable—online at www.ProjectChildSafe.org and on the NSSF YouTube page at www.YouTube.com/user/TheNSSF. NSSF is also promoting the video with its members, law enforcement partners, local communities, conservation groups and other supporters, starting with a national launch in partnership with Sportsman’s Warehouse, which streamed the video in all of its stores across the country.

“Talking to kids about gun safety is not something to be put off or ignored—it’s an essential part of responsible gun ownership,” Sanetti added. “This video supports our industry’s “Own It? Respect It. Secure It” initiative, and we hope firearms owners everywhere watch it and share it with their communities.”

The video expands Project ChildSafe’s safety education resources that encourage safe firearms handling and secure storage by gun owners and their families. The video complements such program resources as the Safe Storage Options Infographic and the Parent-Child Safety Pledge. Since 1999, Project ChildSafe has worked with more than 15,000 law enforcement departments throughout the United States to distribute educational resources and free firearm safety kits, which include a gun lock, to their communities. To date, the program has given away more than 36 million safety kits and gun locks in all fifty states and the five U.S. territories.

Project ChildSafe’s public commitment to firearms education and making our communities safer is supported by Project ChildSafe, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. To learn more about Project ChildSafe, visit www.projectchildsafe.org.

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Dr. Allan Houston: Here is bird number two …………

By Dr. Allan Houston

I had been after this bird before, maybe even last year; and if not him then an apprentice because he pulled the same tricks.  But I felt good this morning; optimistic in an unusual and unbidden way. Even before I left the house my socks and shirt seemed particularly suited, as if bought especially for this one hunt, lucky somehow and like I was going to Church and knew the coat and tie looked good. This morning’s outfit seemingly ordained for this particular morning and anticipating something.
I felt the ambience, the subtle but tangible encouragement from these inanimate things, but tried not to put much stock in the feeling. I sat aside from it like a team sits away from the pitcher when he is late in the game and throwing a no-hitter … afraid to jinx him.  I put it all down to the good weather, rising barometer, fair winds and sky.  A man feels good on such a day and thankful he is going to see it.
But, it was, indeed late in the game. The gobbling season was cranking down.
This bird had already pulled several tricks out of his bag.  I had him roosted one night, cold-sure to the single tree and I knew the route he’d use to get to it. And I knew where his hens were.  With luck, stealth and the moon behind a cloud I felt sure I could get nearly between them next morning, a shallow lover’s triangle with me at the apex.
And, I did.  As the eastern skies began to whiten he began to grumble a little on the perch, not the manic gobble of a desperate bird, but the low pitched threats of a mature bird not accustomed to being challenged.  It was a warning to everyone within earshot he was at the height of his game and not something easily defeated. The volume was mostly for his hens.  The tone was for everything else.
I should have listened.
The hens flew to the field and I heard him hit the woods behind me.  The best pathway to the field, the path of least obstruction and the open-wooded air turkeys like was all around me.  I called just enough to encourage him to use it and he answered.  Almost immediately I saw a head bobbing toward me, suspicious as a cat in the dog pound, but the hen came to me and then by me.  The gobbler was behind her, surely, not yet in sight, but everything I knew about turkeys was falling into line for him to come walking into the shotgun’s bead.
Then I heard a gang of hens cackling a fuss and I knew he’d been intercepted, fifty yards away and just ten more yards from sight. They led him to my right.
After a bit I moved slowly, several steps at a time and kicking the leaves to mimic scratching.  After about seventy-five yards he thundered in the woods, a sound so close and so intense I almost gobbled back.  I scrambled for a tree and sat facing the woods, the field at my back, everything perfect, everything as sure as it could be with spurs this big coming my way.
I called very lightly, more a satisfied purr as opposed to a suggestive yelp.
He is an acoustic genius, a magician with the airwaves and resonance; and he’d thrown the sound ninety degrees away from where I thought he was, a trick not too hard to perform on my slow ears, more-so nearly mere appendages now days as opposed to good receivers, easily fooled and generally unreliable.  He came behind me and stood, studying the woods with those goggle eyes, knowing within a few feet of where the call had originated and he waited still as a statue, a mere thirty yards away; he waited until I moved then he popped his victory and ran away.
He did this to me in one form or another and he’d done it two years running.
But this morning was different.  The omen of socks and shirt seemed solid.
I sat up opposite his side of the field.   I stopped short of where I thought I should be because I imagined a turkey sound ahead of me.  Bad hearing means you pay attention to sudden imaginations.
The tree I had to lean against was too little, not much more than six inches, but near enough the edge of the field, and I had a bit of a leafy screen in front of me.  I realized suddenly that he was already on the ground, a good fifteen minutes ahead of expected arrival, pacing back and forth the complete picture of a professional late for an important meeting and having to wait on someone. 
I called and he gobbled.  I waited until the sky had tinged with more light, gaining some color like a dead man coming gratefully back from the edge of death; then I showered down on the call, a new one made by a local craftsman, raspy as a crow and almost irresistible to a fired up bird. 
A hen’s head appeared at the edge of the woods and I decided not to antagonize her.  I purred and made a few soft clucks. It was clear the gobbler wanted to come this way. He ran to the hen and began to insist she hurry up.  Hen-like and maybe woman-like she ignored him until she could start without it seeming like she was in obedience as opposed to agreement. He thought she was late.  She thought she was on time enough.  But suddenly here they came, on a line and with him not so far behind that the hen would have time to discover me and scurry away.
The socks had been right.
Two hundred yards, 150, 100, 90 … then a gobbler from the right burst into the field, between me and the big bird.  He cast hurried looks at him and quick glances my way trying to find the hen.  He began to march across my line, too far out in the field, but purposely and with no seeming intent to stop, quick choppy gobbles.  He wanted to see around the corner.  I was at a quandary’s doorstep, should I shoot and if so when?  A little high-school geometry came to mind and I found the point where he would pass closest to the front of the gun. Slowly I pivoted the barrel and laid the bead on where his head would appear. 
He walked to the spot and as if on que, like a performer hitting his mark he stopped.  He grew exponentially nervous with each passing moment and turned on that dime turkeys have about them, the uneasy twirl showing the back of the head that says I may be about to run.  I pulled the trigger and he went down in a pile.  As I hurried out, I caught sight of the big bird and we made momentary eye contact before he ran.
It was clear and he wanted me to know it; he could see the entire field of battle and had clearly outmaneuvered me.  He’d sent a point man, a good one who had probably figured me out hunkered down in such a feeble hide.  But I sent a message back. 
Wars are won battles at a time.  And generals learn from each other.
And too … it was OK; after all, it was late in the game.
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A Cast to the Other Bass
Overlooked and underappreciated, white bass are a blast

By Mitch Eeagan

You’d be hard-pressed to find an avid angler who doesn’t recognize bass as the most sought-after sport fish in North America. We all have our favorite fish, but statistics prove that bass are #1. 

Overlooked and underappreciated, however, is a bass of a different color. Its DNA differs from the most popular, yet the species roams a majority of waterways throughout the lands. I’m talkin’ white bass.... And they are a blast to catch.

White bass fans look forward to massive spring spawning runs in rivers that connect to the large natural lakes and reservoirs the fish call home during the rest of the year. But after the run, most anglers set their sights on other species.

So why are they summer’s Rodney Dangerfield, earning such little respect?

It can’t be their unwillingness to whack a vibrating or flashing lure. The fact is, white bass have voracious appetites, and once schools are located, the catching comes quite easy.

It’s certainly not what they lack during battle. White bass zig-zag and power-dive straight for the fathoms. And, by far, it’s not their poor table fare. On the contrary, white bass make for good eats if you ice ‘em right away or keep them in a well-aerated livewell – and then remove all the red-colored flesh when filleted.

More than likely, it’s simply because they aren’t easy to find come summertime. Just like their saltwater cousins, the striped bass, white bass turn pelagic. They don’t dwell near bottom or hug shoreline structure, making them more difficult to find. Instead, white bass rove high in the water column and create havoc with pods of nomadic baitfish.

Or maybe they’re simply not trendy enough to target. But that’s about to change.

When the lovin’ is over

Enter ardent angler Jim Edlund, who is far from troubled to speak in favor of targeting white bass. The Minnesota-based outdoor writer says he fishes white bass every chance he gets, and now coaches his daughters on how to catch them year-round; even well after the massive spawning migrations have ended.

“Springtime is primetime, typically when water temps are in that 50 to 60 degree range. Fish a day or two before, on, or immediate after a full moon and you’re really rocking. That’s when the spawn is in full-swing. It’s the perfect bite to get kids really excited about fishing. Not surprising, my kids are big fans of white bass,” says Edlund

The Technological Angler, Jason Halfen, shares why the Fin-Wing is so productive on white bass

Although spring can be easy pickings, Edlund says good electronics can help you find white bass the rest of the year.

“Despite all the pretty pictures of bridges and sunken boats you see in the advertising, what Side Imaging really does is minimize the amount of time it takes to find fish,” says Edlund. “I simply idle around river points, sandbars, feeder creeks and watch for white splotches of bait and fish on my SI screen. Once I see life, I scroll the cursor over the spot and boom, there’s the waypoint on my LakeMaster map. This lets me back off and idle into the spot from upwind with my Minn Kotaand get the kids casting without spooking them.”

A fan of river fishing from a small, aluminum Lund that’s taken years of abuse, Edlund calls his system “high-tech, old-school.”

“To think that a guy can get Side Imaging, Down Imaging, mapping and 2D sonar for under $500 is awesome. Fishing with the Humminbird Helix SI GPS is like drinking Don Perignon on a Boone’s Farm budget.”

As Edlund nears the waypoints he marked on Side Imaging, he switches to split-screen view of 2D sonar and LakeMaster map, noting the depth marks start appearing, more than likely the same depth white bass will move into if the wind kicks up and waves roll over sunken islands or points adjacent to the deeper water.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped jigging walleyes on the Mississippi River to chase a school of white bass. I have buddies who just shake their heads. Then out comes the casting stick for as long as the whities will play along.

"Same goes for North Dakota’s Devils Lake. Take a break from walleyes and survey a few windswept shorelines with Side Imaging until we find fish; doesn’t take long. And they’re giants out there. They’re just too much fun to be ignored, especially with kids in the boat. My new plan is throwing Clousers at ‘em with a 4 or 5 weight fly rod. That should be a hoot!”

Overall, once white bass have spawned, they move out into the main lake and can be found in areas with a turbid layer over ultra-clear water. In reservoirs, both bait and bass are often found along the old river and creek channels. In natural lakes, white bass tend to hover over main-lake flats. It’s in these areas you may see baitfish leaping for their lives, indicating there are white bass below attacking the clan.

“Although electronics are great, always pay attention to what’s going on around you, like busting bait and surfacing fish. And watch where the birds are feeding on the water,” says Edlund.

Once it’s determined the bass are at the surface or just below, it’s time to cast into the chaos.

Fluttered deep or burned across the surface, the Fin-Wing is a nemesis to white bass

Gearing up

Lures and gear should be beefed up from what one might expect when catching fish that range from 1-4 pounds. Because white bass feed on shad and shiners, lures that match the size of the baitfish are best. Vibration and flash are key as well.  

Soft jerkbaits with large paddle tails, such as 3.5-inch Castaic Jerky J Swim Series and Custom Jigs & Spins 3.25-inch Pulse-R Paddle Tail, rigged onto a jig head with a narrow shape like an H20 Precision Jig, or the Rapala Ultra-Light Rippin’ Rap are some of Edlund’s favorite baits to cast. He throws them with 10-pound-test superline and an 8-pound-test fluorocarbon leader on a fast-action medium-power St. Croix AVID-X spinning rod.

“I could use lighter gear, but I don’t like to baby ‘em. Plus, it’s a numbers thing; I want to boat the fish without any unnecessary ballet and get right back out to hot fish. Plus, these same river spots can produce some big ‘eyes, smallies, cats … when there’s a lot of bait getting slashed, your next fish could be anything,” says Edlund

Spinners are also a great choice for whities, with number-3 and -4 Mepps Aglia in-line spinners mainstays. Spoons with a wide wobble that can be fished both fast and slow and can be stopped and fluttered on the fall, such as a size-1 Fin-Wing or Custom Jigs & Spins Pro Series Slender Spoon, work wonders, too.

Cast, retrieve, repeat

Overlooked and underappreciated? That’s the white bass. Once located high in the water column, catching them is straightforward – just cast, retrieve and repeat. Once you land a few you’ll realize just why white bass should rank right up there with black and brown bass.

Mitch Eeagan is a writer that lives off the land and water, who resides in the heart of the mosquito-filled cedar swamps of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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A Furry Crown: What is Velvet?

Antlers. They have fascinated man since the beginning. Going back thousands of years, one can see man's love for animals with antlers etched and painted on the walls of caves. Antlers were a trophy in a different way before they were used to decorate walls of our hunting camps and game rooms. Before modern civilization, antlers were used to make tools, ceremonial wear, and weapons just to name a few. So how do these intriguing bones grow? What are they made out of?  How do they go from this soft looking, furry velvet, to a durable set of rock hard fighting gear?
 
Antler genesis is an amazing process and is one of the fastest growing tissues known. The antler growing process for whitetails is an annual event and is regulated by hormones which are controlled by the photoperiod or length of day.  The primary hormones responsible for antler growth are testosterone and IGF (insulin like growth factor). The rise and fall of testosterone levels initiates the peeling off of the velvet and the casting or shedding of the antlers, while IGF that is produced in the liver promotes actual growth. The longer days correspond with a drop in melatonin production; this kicks off the hormone cycle for antler growth. You can get very scientific and complicated with all the glands and organs involved in this process, but basically a buck's brain measures the length of day by the amount of melatonin produced. This in turn influences testosterone and IGF levels. If you have ever noticed the bucks that are late in the velvet shedding process are often the yearling bucks and older bucks that have survived and are past their prime. This is directly related to the lower levels of testosterone output.
 
To fully understand antler, and more specifically, velvet antler growth we need to start at the beginning. In a whitetail's case, the beginning would be the pedicel. The pedicel is the base from where the antlers will form and are located on the frontal bone of the skull. Buttons begin to grow from the pedicels somewhere around 6 months of age in male whitetails. During the growing season (spring& summer) a whitetails antlers are covered in a very fine and soft membrane most commonly called velvet. Underneath this furry membrane, the antlers are supplied by a very rich supply of blood and nutrients by veins that run on the outside of the antlers and back down to the base. During the growing stages, antlers are high in water and blood content and low in dry matter. The dry matter at this stage is around 80% protein and 20% phosphorous and calcium. Conversely, in the hardened stage, antlers are about 60% phosphorous and calcium and 40% protein. While in the velvet stages, antlers feel alive and warm to the touch because of all the activity taking place inside. I was lucky enough to feel this first hand while helping raise whitetails for a couple years.
 
When antlers are in velvet, they are very vulnerable to being injured. Bucks seem to be very aware that they have this fragile treasure on their head and are very careful in their actions through antler genesis. Bruises, cuts, or tears to the velvet can all have an impact on the formation of the antler. These injuries often result in abnormal points or in serious injuries complete deformation.  It is worth noting that leg and pedicel injuries can also lead to deformed antlers. Vehicle collisions, bullet or arrow wounds, and fighting injuries to the legs, shoulders, or hind quarters can be seen sometimes in the following season's antler growth by abnormal points or deformed main beams. Injuries on the rear legs affect the opposite side antler, where front leg or shoulder injuries will affect the same side. Research shows this oddity may be from the buck's ability to pull or redirect nutrients for healing the injured leg. Pedicel injuries can happen during the numerous fights during the rut causing part of the pedicel to shed with the antler. If the pedicel injuries are bad enough, they can sometimes affect antler growth for several years.
 
With the days of late summer getting shorter, testosterone levels begin to rise and the growth cycle begins to slow down initiating the process of hardening or mineralizing of the antlers. So how does the velvet come off?  The velvet ceases to be fed by blood by the formation of what some call the base or the burr on the antler. When the buck grows this burr at the end of the antler cycle, it puts a "kink in the hose" so to speak, cutting off the blood supply to the velvet. In as little as a few hours, the drying velvet is rubbed off on trees and bushes the buck is left with a blood stained rack that he will continue to polish for several days. I think many early fall rubs that are seen are areas where bucks use sapling trees and bushes to scrub the drying velvet from their newly hardened set of headgear.
 
There are rare cases where a buck does not shed his antlers, and instead keeps a velvet covered rack that continually grows throughout the year.  The condition is referred to as cryptorchidism. These "cactus bucks" are the result from an injury or castration of the testes at some point which alters their testosterone levels. The age at which the injury occurs will determine the severity of antler deformation or interruption in the normal antler cycle. Fawns that are castrated will likely not develop a pedicel and therefore never grow any antlers. An older aged buck that has a testes injury or castration while he is hard antler will likely shed his antlers early due to the sharp decrease in testosterone production. The following season the buck can grow a rack that is permanent and stays velvet covered and growing.
 
The antler growing process is very interesting and one of the most unique cycles in the animal kingdom.  Whether it be whitetail, mule deer, or elk, antlers are a large part of hunters fascination with these big game animals.
 
Would you like to learn more about improving your hunting and get discounts on the products you need? Learn from the experts by joining the new Mossy Oak GameKeepers Club at www.gamekeepersclub.com
or call 662-495-9292
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Ty Dyer's Blog

Time with Ty
 
Hello – I’m Ty Dyer from Lexington, Tennessee.  I’m currently a sophomore at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee, majoring in Business Administration.  I’m fortunate to have a deep passion for the outdoors.
My first introduction to the outdoors came from my father as he took me hunting and fishing at a very early age. We spent our winter weekends hunting ducks and deer. During spring mornings I learned to turkey hunt. I am extremely thankful for all the positive lessons instilled in me through my outdoors experiences. 
I learned to respect nature and adhere to high morals in the pursuit of any fish or game. As I recall, I was introduced to fishing around the age of two on the Tennessee River. My first memories of fishing are spending days on the river bank fishing for stripe or white bass with family. From that first trip on I was completely overtaken with a passion to fish. 
I continued to fish recreationally with my friends and family until my sophomore year of high school when it was announced that our school would have a fishing team coached by Kenny Dunavan. I will always be grateful to him for providing my first opportunity to fish competitively.
I immediately felt a love for the competitive side of the sport.   My senior year I received the Angler of the Year Award. The high school team allowed me to make many great memories and lifelong friendships. I am extremely thankful for the positive influences of my coaches and fishing partners.
It is through my high school team that I met my two lifelong hunting and fishing partners, Hunter and River. 
My relationship with college fishing began my junior year in high school when I signed a letter of intention to pursue my passion at the colligate level with Bethel University.
As I started the spring semester of my freshman year I competed in my first tournament – the Cabela's Big Bass Bash on Kentucky Lake where I placed second with a 7-pound, 4-ounce largemouth.  Success at my first tournament deepened my passion for the sport. 
My post college aspiration is to pursue a career in the fishing industry. A successful professional angling career would be the pinnacle. I also have a strong interest on the public relations and journalism side of the fishing industry.
Entering my sophomore year at Bethel I was selected to be a member of the 2015 traveling team. My partner is Joseph Huggins. We will be fishing the following tournaments: Cabela’s’ Big Bass Bash on Kentucky Lake, FLW College Open on Kentucky Lake, BASS College Eastern Regional at Lake Norman, Cabela’s’ College tournament at Lake Chickamauga, Cabela’s’ National Championship at  Pickwick Lake, Triton Boat Owner’s Tournament on Kentucky Lake and the BASS Wild Card tournament on Lake Barkley.
Since the beginning of my collegiate fishing coach Garry Mason has taught me to give back. I’ve grown to enjoy teaching others what the outdoors is all about and to promote the fishing industry. I had the opportunity to meet my girlfriend, Morgan, who had never set foot in the outdoors as a hunter or angler. 
Over the past winter I introduced her to squirrel hunting and this spring to turkey hunting. Her next lessons will be in the boat where she will learn to fish. I also enjoy teaching and talking about fishing to all that have an interest.
As a competitive angler I've been very fortunate to have gained several sponsors. First and foremost is my mother Kay Jackson, who is my No. 1 sponsor.
My other sponsors are Lew’s, Peanut Craft Lure Company, ACS Marine and Artic Ice. I am deeply appreciative for all the support and encouragement I receive from my sponsors, family and friends.
In ensuing articles I’ll be sharing about my tournaments; things I’ve learned and tips that can hopefully help you. Also, I’ll occasionally be on the Outdoors with Larry Rea radio show on ESPN-790 in Memphis.
Until next time, practice good water safety and tight lines.
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One Cautious Old Bird

Thomas left his night roost with flaps of his wings
And he landed in leaves near the creek.
The hens were still sleeping and none on the ground
And the ‘ol morning sun was preparing to peep.

A few moments later a car door was shut
Maybe two hundred yards ‘cross the field.
Was that sound not intended or deliberately done?
It didn’t blend with the birds and their new morning spiel.

And then Thomas heard a crow that seemed hoarse,
He was raspy and sounding quite weak!
So Thomas decided to hold off his “hello”
Just to see if that crow would be trying a tweek.

While waiting and pondering Tom heard an old owl
With some extra “hoot hoot, hootie hoots.”
Why did Ollie make those additional sounds?
Was he just becoming like the other old coots?

Still scratching the leaves and withholding his gobble
Thomas heard some faint clucks and a purr.
(Now all of his hens were still up in the tree…)
He wanted to answer, but wasn’t quite sure.

Something strange this morning as he turned up a grub,
His suspicions were now rising quite high.
Should he let off a gobble and thus tip his hand,
And was that a deer slowly walking up nigh?

Thomas didn’t see a thing—instinct told him to run--
All those sounds just did not compute!
So he quickly got lost in a large cane brake
Long before some hunter decided shoot.

Charlie Covington       April 7, 2015

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Best Paddling Towns: Memphis, Tennessee

With America’s great riverine artery pulsing through, Memphis (pop. 653,000) has always been a river town. The Mississippi carried influences from north and south, and stirred the pot that gave us such cultural delicacies as barbecue and the blues. The Big Muddy, with its intimate back channels and quiet tributaries like the Wolf River, also makes Memphis a first-rate paddling town. Each June, the city plays host to the South’s biggest paddling event, the Outdoors Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race. The 34th running takes place June 20, with organizers expecting more than 500 people in everything from SUPs to war canoes. In the event’s trademark mass start, Olympic gold medalists rub gunwales with first-time paddlers, and everybody has a good time. — Katie McKy

See more: NORTH AMERICA’S BEST PADDLING TOWNS.

This story will appear in the June 2015 issue of Canoe & Kayak.


Photo: Joe Royer

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Interviews from May 23rd, 2015
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