Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What To Get Your Wilderness Babe For Christmas

Over the past few weeks several people have asked me what on earth they should get their huntress friend/girlfriend/wife. So, I figured I would share a few of my brilliant ideas. (Well I think they're brilliant anyway!!!)


Yes, I KNOW Christmas is less than a week away...but for those of you who don't know what to get an outdoor woman for christmas...here are a few ideas that are more unique than your average gifts. If you already got her something, then save these ideas for next year!!!!


1.  If she likes jewelry, get her something from the Lucky Buck Club. I think that their jewelry is beautiful, though some of it isn't exactly my taste I love that it's outdoor themed. Go to http://www.luckybuckclub.com/ to see their whole collection.





2. Here's something interesting...a handgun holster that fits in your bra. Now, I'm not exactly sure how it would work, or how comfortable the thing would be but its certainly a unique and interesting gift. It obviously wouldn't be something you would use if you were going to a gunfight since it would take a few minutes to pull your shirt up and pull the gun from the holster (though that might work to your advantage since your opponent may think he's going to get a show). I can see that it might come in handy when you want to feel safe but don't want to be obvious about carrying a weapon. Not sure if this would work on small chested women. The girl in this picture is wearing one, and you cant tell. You may want to include a push up bra with this gift!!! 



http://www.womensoutdoornews.com/2011/12/week-4-of-bang-bang-boutiques-giveaway-streak-featuring-the-flashbang-holster/


3. Scent free bodywash, shampoo, conditioner, and body spray!!!! This is something that as a women hunter I LOVE. Most scent free products dry my hair and skin out and make me feel like I have alligator skin and two million split ends. It takes me weeks to get my hair and skin back to its usual self. My favorite product so far is from His & Hers Outdoors, my skin stays moisturized and my hair stays moisturized and keeps its usual body instead of falling flat...

It's like a small miracle. 



http://www.hisnhersoutdoors.com


4. One of my favorite ideas (but that's just me) is fun camo clothing, specifically lingerie. It's the gift that keeps on giving if you are her boyfriend/husband. My favorite site of all time is www.camodiva.com, and I also love www.camochic.com. I do believe it's time for them to come out with some new things since I own pretty much everything on their sites already!!!



Or you could get her a dress, this one is super cute and comfy (I own it)


Or...


It's your choice!!! I promise she will love it.

5. If you want to check out some more super cute apparel, check out www.trophychickapparel.com...A new clothing line with a unique twist specifically made for outdoor women. 








6. For something else that is unique, outdoorsy and extremely beautiful, check out my friend Rochelle's handmade wreaths. You can find them on facebook at: 

http://www.facebook.com/OWLFEATHERSWILDWREATHS?sk=info 

AND you can even design your own!!! If you love deer hunting, you can make it more of a whitetail theme, if you're into pheasant or turkey, make it more themed to that...each one is one of a kind!!!



This one is my favorite...


Turkey and deer hunting, and it reminds me of fall.



And, that's about all I could come up with for now...

Merry Christmas!!!








Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Article Published on hunting.outdoorzy.com

Recently got another article published on a website, I've decided to share it here :) I would love it if you could go comment/share/let me know what you think!!!


The hunting world is made of mostly of men, and being a woman in the middle of it all can be a challenge. Though most people welcome women into the hunting industry, not everyone takes kindly to a woman hunting, and many people have a biased opinion of what women who hunt will be like. Being a woman in the hunting world myself, and also living in a rural area where not many women hunt, I have dealt with the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am by no means a feminist, but I sometimes feel that I have to defend myself a little too often as a woman hunter.
Women who are trying to make their way into the hunting world have a much harder time getting there than the men. If a woman is looking for a job in the hunting industry she has to be twice as smart, work twice as hard, and be twice as careful about how she is portraying herself, in order to get respect.
Just because you hunt, doesn’t mean that you have to give up being a woman, as many people don’t relate the two. Hunting is and always has been my favorite thing to do. However, I am very proud to be a woman. There is nothing wrong with trying to remain feminine while being tough, hardcore, and adventurous. Some of us have that drive in our blood. We need to chase it, but remain proud of who we are. Grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, and most importantly an individual who dares to pursue her passion.
That being said, it is much easier to be feminine in the world of hunting now that there are a lot more great lines of clothing for women who hunt, clothing that promotes a woman’s appearance both in and out of the field.
This of course leads to the question, ‘are appearances an issue for women in the hunting world?’ Of course, this wouldn’t be fair, but that’s just how the world works.
A few years ago was the first time I went to the Harrisburg Outdoor Show in Pennsylvania. I waited in line to meet The Crush Team, Lee and Tiffany Lakosky. The line was long, really long. My sister and I waited in line for nearly an hour, which really wasn’t so bad since we could talk to other people while we were waiting. Most of the people in line were guys, wanting to meet Tiffany. I mean, really, what guy would want to meet Lee when Tiffany is around? After finally meeting the Lakosky’s, my sister and I decided to check out the Whitetail Freaks booth, where Don and Kandi Kisky were. To my surprise, there was no line whatsoever at their booth. Kandi Kisky is a wonderful person, friendly, down to earth, a pretty woman and an amazing huntress. Yet, she was up against curvy blonde Tiffany Lakosky whose smile, among other things, won over fans all across the country.
Being a fan of Tiffany Lakosky, I myself have often wondered what she has had to put up with because of all her male fans. It is true that the Lakosky’s use Tiffany’s good looks and personality to their advantage. Some people dislike this fact, and have lost some of their respect for the Lakosky’s. Does this make Tiffany Lakosky the sex icon of the hunting industry, as some people like to think???
In reality, women in the outdoors are a saving grace to the whole hunting lifestyle. Hunters overall have declined but women hunters have increased significantly over the past decade. To quote Brenda Valentine, “I believe that not one buck, bull or gobbler I’ve shot cared one whit about my gender”.
Really, it doesn’t matter what others think, as long as you are doing what you love and are passionate about it, but these questions have been asked many times by different women. There are many different opinions and views on the topic of women hunters, yet there are women out there like Brenda ValentineTiffany LakoskyKandi Kisky, and Vicki Cianciarulo, who have proved time and again that women can and will succeed wonderfully in the hunting world, and still be beautiful doing it.
What are your thoughts about women in the hunting industry? Do you think they give hunting a good image?



http://hunting.outdoorzy.com/author/bharris/

And the LUCK continues

Our Bear hunting trip to NJ didnt' exactly go as planned. Mike and the kids and I left Ohio at a reasonable time, calculating that we would be in NJ in time to hunt the next morning since it only takes about 5-6 hours to get to there. But, our GPS had other plans. We were sent on a wild goose chase off route 22 in PA, weaving off and on the interstate and wasting 40 minutes of our time. Needless to say we got there a little later than planned.

We had made reservations in a local motel so that we wouldn't have to stay at my parents and kick some of my siblings out of their beds; so the first night there Mike and I headed down to the motel to check in and pay the motel.  At the sight of our room, we changed our minds. We would just kick my siblings out of their beds and stay at my parents; the room was so disgusting that even standing in it made me feel like I would catch a disease. If we stayed we would probably end up abducted or something.

And of course it was raining. It felt like it was summer, it was nearly 60 degrees and it rained for the first three days we were there. The bears don't really appreciate strolling around in the rain. Besides the fact that there were probably 2 million deer hunters doing drives around the area, the bears were coming in the middle of the night to eat the bait that we scattered around. They didn't touch the corn but they loved the apples. Who knew bears would be so picky??? Only in NJ...

The fourth day it was sunny and WINDY and FREEZING...also not ideal bear hunting weather. When it gets super cold the bears find some hidey-hole and cuddle up until it gets a little warmer. Mike and I spent hours walking through the rhododenrons and azaleas out in the swamps looking for even a glimpse of a bear. 

The last day there we finally saw signs of life in the forest again...we saw several deer, running away. And we almost got shot. Good times.



Needless to say it turned out to be an unsuccessful trip and we didn't even SEE a bear, which was a huge disappointment. 

Now that we're back in Ohio I've been out hunting several times and my luck has yet to change. We put up some new deer stands and its snowed last night. Last night I actually saw a deer here, which is the first time in weeks I've seen a deer while hunting. It was a tiny little fuzzy fawn that was so tiny that at first I thought it was a rabbit. Someone had shot a doe near there that morning so I'm assuming he was looking for his mama.

Tonight if he comes back I think I may try to catch him. I went out this morning to see if he was still bedded down but there was no sign. He may have been eaten by the coyotes already, I doubt a fawn that tiny is going to survive the winter. 

Wish me luck tonight. It's gun season but I've been taking my bow out (which is legal) since I really would rather shoot one with my new Ross than with my muzzleloader. Maybe just MAYBE a big buck will walk by.




Saturday, December 3, 2011

Where Have All The Deer Gone???

When I first moved to Ohio, I was scared to death. I'd just left behind my family, my friends, my dog, emptied my bank account, and was leaving all that was familiar behind me. I would be moving in with someone for the first time; I would be taking care of the house and cooking and cleaning but not only for myself anymore. And would also have to be a mom for two kids who I wasn't even OLD enough to be a mom too.  So, really I had plenty of worries when it came to everyday life in Ohio.


One thing I never took time to worry about was the deer season in Ohio...Mike and his dad and plenty of other people from Ohio were always telling me about the hundreds of deer that they saw every season, of the giant bucks they saw and shot. In New Jersey you could hunt for years and never even SEE a deer as big as what they had here. Heck, I was more excited than anything to hunt here!!!


Needless to say, this season hasn't been that successful. My last encounter with Mr. Big the 11 point is still my last encounter with him. I have yet to see him again. Mike has caught glimpses of him several times but hasn't had any shots. It's been weeks since I've seen a deer while I'm hunting...the only deer I see are when I'm driving down the road and see them in fields, or see them crossing the roads.


I would like to say it's just me having bad luck, but it's not. No one else is seeing anything either. Mike shot a doe a few weeks ago on a bitter cold day, right at dusk. But, the next day it was back up to 50 degrees again and there was no more deer movement.  And hasn't been any more deer movement.


This is really a depressing season. I hope it changes soon.


Opening day of firearm season here in Ohio was Monday, and I missed the first few days due to being sick. I went out yesterday and saw nothing, going to try again today. Monday bow season opens up again, but early Tuesday morning Mike and I will be packing up our guns and the kids and heading to New Jersey to hunt some black bear. Who knows, maybe I'll have a chance to shoot a buck back in New Jersey. How ironic would that be???

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Meet Mr. Big

Three nights ago I finally got my first glimpse of an Ohio buck. It was my first night in the stand that it DIDN'T rain, and with pre-rut kicking in I was pretty excited to get out there. I was alone again since Mike was working on our house, which really didn't bother me all that much since I just wanted to get out there.

As I sat there in my stand, the sun directly in my eyes, I couldn't help but think that so far this year was kind of sucking. I hadn't seen any good deer so far, and from the way Mike talked about Ohio deer, I figured I would be at least seeing lots of does.



There were deer tracks under and around my stand so I knew they were there...but the trail camera wasn't exactly doing its job so that wasn't really helping out. Mike has Wildgame cams set up, and they don't really work that well in my opinion. If it gets too cold or rainy it just plain doesn't take any pictures. Or it takes lots of pictures and they're all just black. I'll stick to my moultrie.

I had brought my grunt tube with me, and every hour or so I would use it. About 5 oclock I heard a buck grunt in return, and the crunching of leaves. Something was coming my way. Fast.

It was behind me so I stood up in my ladder stand and face backwards. Really, I wasn't sure how I was going to get a shot this way since there were so many vines hanging down, but I could certainly wait and see. 

The next five minutes happened fast and slow at the same time. A big buck walked into the clearing, looking around for the other buck that had made the grunts. My heart pretty much stopped. In the back of my mind I remembered I still had my gloves on. Using my teeth I took the glove off my right hand and dropped it onto the seat of my stand, then tried to clip my release onto the loop on my bowstring. And tried. And tried. The buck started rubbing a small tree in the clearing and pawing at the dirt. I valiantly tried to get my release on my bow and after a few minutes of shaking I managed to get it. 

This is what happens to me when I see a deer and I know that there's a good chance I will get a shot. It doesn't even really matter if its a buck or a doe, I just start shaking. My legs were wobbly as I watched the buck, only 20 YARDS AWAY!!!! And the vines were hanging down directly in my shooting lane. I wasn't sure I could do anything to bring him closer, if I blew on the grunt tube again he would probably bust me. He would have to come around the other side of my tree in order for me to get a shot.

The buck continued to work the scrape, and I waited impatiently for him to do something. I suddenly remembered my camera hanging around my neck. Slowly I moved my hand up and turned it on and held it out away from my body and snapped a picture. I had no idea if it would turn out or not, or even if the buck was in the frame but I didn't want to move around too much just in case he saw me. 

The buck only stayed there for about five minutes before once again scanning the field and turning and heading down hill. Away from my stand. Out of my life.  Noooooo!!!!!! I waited until he was about 50 yards into the brush and softly blew on the grunt tube again. He stopped and looked back but it wasn't working. He was gone. 

On the bright side, he wasn't spooked. He had a fresh scrape that looked like he had been using fairly often. There were two other shooter bucks we had on trail cameras at this same spot. All was not lost.

I sat back down in my stand and I couldn't stop shaking. My knees were wobbly and I was starting to get  cold.  I waited about 20 minutes before I sent out a few text messages to Mike, Sarah, and a few of my friends. And I checked out the picture on my camera; it had come out beautifully. The buck was an 11 point (I never think to count points when the buck is right there, I just judge the mass and tine lenght/width), he was an old deer and a definite shooter. 



That night is the best one I have had so far, and it made me that much more excited to get out there again. I've been out to the stand again in the evening and had some coyotes scare away some deer that were coming in. The rut should kick in the end of this week/beginning of next week. I'm going to be hunting alot over the next few weeks. It's all I can think about, I just want to be out there 24/7. Mike and I put another stand up this week that we will be hunting together Tuesday and Wednesday. I've got my fingers crossed that I'll see (and kill) a shooter buck this week and it will make it alot easier to concentrate on filming Mike shooting some deer. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just Another Rainy Day

Last night I went out hunting again, and of course it was raining. Mike had some work to do on the roof of our house since he goes back to work tomorrow, so he was at the house with the kids and I was finally able to get out in the woods again.

Driving down the road to the property I was going to hunt, I suddenly felt free. I was going hunting in the evening and was going to be able to stay until dark; I wouldn't have to worry about being home for the kids or to make supper or anything. It was like "the old days" when I hunted every day and it didn't really matter how late I stayed in my tree or if I would be home by suppertime. Really, it was nice. I didn't even mind the rain.



I brought two cameras with me, the one I use to film Mike and also my small handycam that I used for the past few years to film myself. If the rain continued I was just going to bring my small camera so the big one wouldn't get wet.

By the time I was walking to my stand it was pouring rain. I stopped by our trail cam and checked the memory card...some pictures of two different shooter bucks certainly made me all that more excited for my evening hunt.

I got situated in the tree and turned my phone on silent and settled in for the next few hours. I was sitting in what I always considered my "lucky stand". It's an old metal ladder stand that I've sat in and killed pretty much every deer I've shot in the past few years, including my big 8 point from 2009. Sitting in that stand pretty much makes me feel like I'm at home.



After about an hour in the stand the rain let up a little and some does came out to feed behind me, then walked along the edge of the field and over the hill. If I had stood up in my stand and knelt on the seat I probably could have shot one of them, but not having a place to hang them right now, Mike and I don't want to shoot any does this week. If it was a monster buck, it wouldn't have mattered. He would have had to die, whether we had a place to hang him or not.

The evening turned out to be pretty quiet. The sun came out right around dusk, which made for a beautiful sunset. It was cold enough that I could see my breathe, and it was so still I could hear the birds walking in the leaves. I wanted to hold my breath it was so quiet.



I was pretty sure I was going to see some more deer, and was really hoping to see a buck, but it didn't happen. It got dark and I climbed down and went home to make supper for Mike and the kids.

Tomorrow I'm headed back out to the woods in hopes of seeing a nice buck, and on Thursday and Friday Mike will be coming along with me. I'm going to start hunting every day since it's pre-rut and the deer are moving.  I don't have the time to hunt that I used to since I got an instant family over the summer, so I need to make the best of the time I do have, and try to put a big buck on the ground!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Luck Needs To Turn!!!

So, I finally got a chance to get out there and sit in the treestand here in Ohio. I have to say, it didn't really go as planned.


First off, Mike and I had to wait until I got Cheyanne on her bus at 8 o'clock am, then we had to get all of our hunting stuff ready (we should have done it the day before) then load everything in his truck, make sure we had everything, and drive to our spot. 


As we were pulling out of the driveway dark clouds were moving in on the horizon. When I say dark I mean BLACK clouds. It was definitely going to rain. 


We got to our spot, parked, unpacked our stuff, walked to the treestand we put up earlier this month. Then realized we'd forgotten rope to pull our bows up with. Ok, no big deal I would climb into my stand and strap myself in and then mike would climb up and hand me my bow. 


We came accross another problem when I tried putting my safety harness on. Neither one of us could figure out how the heck to put it on me. After ten minutes we gave up and I wore Mike's harness since I was going to be in a lock on that was extremely high in the tree, and he was going to be in a climber.


I finally got settled and it started raining. Mike was going to set up in a tree slightly behind me with his climber. I could hear alot of banging and clanging going on as he tried to get the climber situated. Several times I heard a loud sound that SOUNDED like he had just fallen...which he hadn't luckily. The stand kept slipping on the wet tree. 


Awhile later we were both finally set in our treestands and it was POURING rain. I could feel water soaking into my two layers of camo, I could feel it dripping down my face. My hair was soaked. I felt like I had just taken a shower. To make it even better it was COLD out. I could see my breath in the air. And the rain meant that we wouldn't be able to film, or even take pictures with our new Hycreek camo on. 


We probably sat there for an hour or so before we decided to climb down since I was soaked and we weren't seeing anything. The last thing I need is to get sick on the first time in the treestand. 


We started back up the hill to the truck and soon discovered that with all the rain, the hill was impossible to walk up without falling flat on your face in the mud. Or flat on your butt in the mud. Or on your side. Or any other awkward position you could think of. 


We ended up turning around and going back the long way, which wasn't quite as muddy. 


All in all it really wasn't a successful hunt. It wasn't even all that fun. But, at least we got a chance to get out there and make some memories.  We're headed back out this weekend, and if this awful torrential rain will let up I'm going to try some spot and stalk by myself in the next few days.


I took a drive yesterday and saw some does near the property we hunt, but didn't see any bucks until I started driving back home. Then of course I had a big buck run right across the road in front of me...right in front of some peoples houses. So it didn't matter anyway.






Last night I was at Mike's parents with the kids and we saw some small bucks in the horse pasture...if they had been bigger it would have been a fairly easy spot and stalk. Wyatt took a walk out with the dog and they both got within 40 yards, walking directly across the field. If they were big bucks, I could have gone around the edge of the field and come in right behind them and they never would have known what hit them. So, I'm keeping my eye out in the pasture for this week. I also may go for a drive down to the property we hunt and see if I can see any deer out in the fields. It's time to make the best of this weather!!!







Thursday, October 20, 2011

Last Years Regrets

Recently I was going through all my deer hunting pictures and videos from last year, and it hit me: I have quite a few regrets from last year that I really need to let go. It’s not like my life will be destroyed if I don’t or anything, but really I need to get over it. 

The first thing (just a small regret, nothing that really bothers me) is that I wish I would have arrowed a few of the does that I had under my stand every night. If nothing else, I would at least still have some meat in the freezer. I shot one deer last year  in October, a BIG deer, and I ran out of meat in April…I ate it all myself…yes I ate a lot of deer meat. It’s pretty darn good. And also I was too poor to go out and buy beef all the time. 

My second regret is that I wish I hadn’t passed up the big 8 point buck that I saw twice underneath my stand. Of course, I was holding out for Mr. Big…who never showed up for our date. Most of you probably remember me blogging about the 8 point and of course Mr. Big, who is practically famous.  Needless to say, the 8 point would have been a nice addition to my wall. He was a big bodied deer, and had a unique rack. At the time it wasn’t what I wanted, so I’ll have to learn to live with my decision.



Third: I guess this really can’t be considered a regret since its not my fault…but I still wish I would have shot Mr. Big. Bow, shotgun, muzzleloader I don’t care how. I’ve never hunted so hard in my entire life as I did last year for that big ten point. And then some other city hunters had to shoot him on opening day of firearm season. During a drive. It wasn’t how I imagined him dying.  I imagined him dying with a hole through his lungs from my arrow.

I hunted him day after day, week after week, all through bow season and muzzleloader season. I barely missed a day. It was my obsession, it was what I got up for in the morning. My friends and family never even saw me…it was kind of like I was dating a deer. Anyone else ever have this problem???

I still remember the day I found out that someone else had shot him…my dad called me on the phone (I was bear hunting with one of my friends) and I knew it was going to be bad news by the tone of my dads voice. I’m pretty sure I almost started crying when he told me Mr. Big was no longer. 



Looking back, I was more upset about Mr. Big being killed by someone other than myself  than I was about the recent breakup I had gone through that October.  And STILL when I look through my pictures of Mr. Big, and the one video I took of him, I think: that would have been just AWESOME if I had actually shot him like I had planned!!!

Just goes to show you, life doesn’t always go as planned!!! 

This year had been a lot different so far…I haven’t got to hunt as often, and I’m not as familiar with the land since this will be my first time hunting Ohio. There are more bucks, and a lot BIGGER bucks, which is a good thing.  The weather is cooling off, the rut is just around the corner, and I’m looking forward to spending the days in my stand until I have to pick the kids up from the bus in late afternoon.  It certainly is a change having kids around to look after and not being able to hunt every day whenever I want...but I'll get out there!!!

All I want is one chance at a big buck and I’ll be more than happy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lead Bullets: The Ban

This is something I rarely do on my blog...but being a hunter I find these articles quite interesting, and for lack of any other interesting hunting stories (like I wish I shot a huge buck), I decided I would share these articles with all of you...

It makes you think!!!


Lead Bullets


Anti-hunting and anti-fishing interests are currently litigating against the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to force the EPA to expand its Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) authority in order to regulate traditional ammunition and recreational fishing tackle. 

When the Act was established in 1976 Congress explicitly excluded from regulation any article subject to excise taxes -- including pistols, revolvers, firearms, shells and cartridges.

The EPA has already once declined a petition that asked the agency to prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of lead for shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers because it did not have the authority to do so under the TSCA. 

Anti-hunting and anti-fishing interests assert the EPA does have the authority and that a lead ban is necessary to address the significant impacts to wildlife populations that are resulting from traditional tackle and ammunition.

The assertions made by the petitioning groups lack credible scientific foundation, especially when seeking a blanket ban on all lead use. Outside of the California condor, where every death is significant, there is no evidence of a lead crisis at the population level – an entire group of one species living in a specific area.

The biggest threat of lead in wildlife is with birds that have gizzards, which hold on to and grind up food, rather than pass it quickly through their systems.

Proponents of the ban cite the impacts on individual raptors, such as Bald Eagles even though raptor populations are increasing across North America and the Bald Eagle was removed from the Endangered Species list as recently as 2007.

If a complete ban on lead in ammunition where achieved it would have a dramatic negative impact, because of the increased cost of alternative metals, on the cost of ammunition, and therefore participation in hunting and recreational shooting, which in turn is the engine that drives most of the funding for conservation and wildlife management through the excise taxes paid on the purchases of ammunition.

Sportsmen groups have rallied to push forward the introduction of the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S.838 & H.R. 1558), which will amend TSCA in a manner that serves to protect and enhance our hunting, recreational shooting and recreational fishing heritage while concurrently facilitating the important benefits that the hunting, shooting and recreational fishing industries contribute to the betterment of our nation’s economy and treasured natural resources.

The Act is now being discussed and considered in committees. To learn more:

 HYPERLINK "http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-838" http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-838

And the second article I read was this one...

Lead Elephant
Lead in all its forms has become a four-letter word in our society. Of late it has become a tool for environmentalist, animal activist and anti-hunting and fishing groups – a tool with dangerous consequences, in some ways maybe more so than the metal itself. If there ever was an elephant in the room that could affect how we hunt, shoot, and fish from here on out, this is it.

Environmental groups are now claiming that wildlife on a large scale are being impacted by lead poisoning, either by ingesting spent lead, or in the case of large raptors and scavengers, ingesting lead fragments from consuming gut piles or unrecovered game.  They further claim a human heath risk from eating wild game. They make no secret; they are pushing for a complete ban on the use of lead in all ammunition and fishing tackle. 

The facts surrounding this issue are complex and the ramifications of a complete ban far reaching.  

Lead is the easiest and least expensive metal to form into bullets, birdshot, and sinkers. As such lead is at the foundation of the traditional outdoor actives of hunting and fishing. All forms of hunting with a firearm, plus recreational, law enforcement, and military shooting involve lead ammunition. In fishing lead is used in weights, sinkers, and jig heads, and in flyfishing, in split shot and twist-ons.

Because lead is so widely used in the products that support these activities, two issues emerge – funding for wildlife conservation and management, and the low cost participation in these activities by young hunters, shooters, and anglers.

It’s no secret that sportsmen and women, shooters and anglers pay for the majority of wildlife conservation and management through the excise taxes on equipment purchases, including ammunition. It is also no secret that if equipment manufactures are forced to use alternative metals that cost more to source and produce into product, the cost of these products has to go up, and in some cases go up substantially. Ramification #1 is future conservation funding – as costs go up participation goes down, purchases go down and excise taxes go down. Ramification #2 is the loss of inexpensive ammunition for young shooters getting into shooting or hunting. The last thing conservation, our wildlife, and hunting and fishing needs is another obstacle keeping young people for getting active outdoors.
Shots Fired
On August 3rd, 2010 environmental groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a complete ban under the Toxic Substance Control Act. Congress had specifically excluded ammunition from this legislation and the EPA rejected the petition on the grounds it did not have the authority for such a ban. Subsequently, environmental groups filed suit against the EPA claiming they do have authority to ban lead ammunition. Those behind this petition would have us believe that any amount of lead deposited into the environment is a threat to wildlife and humans. 

Real Science
Lead is a naturally occurring element in the environment and has no functional or beneficial role in biological systems. Based on our knowledge of its toxicity, lead has been banned in paint, toys, and gasoline – gasoline being of the biggest concern in transfer to humans. Over concern for waterfowl eating spent lead pellets and the threat of lawsuits by environmental groups, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service banned lead in all waterfowl hunting in 1991. The ban followed from research documenting the accumulation of lead shot in wetland habitats that were heavily used by waterfowl hunters, and other studies reporting mortality in bottom-feeding waterfowl following the ingestion of lead pellets while foraging. 

Depending on a range of factors lead can be toxic to some wildlife, but it is primarily an issue with birds.  This is because birds have gizzards, which hold on to and grind up food, rather than pass it quickly through their systems. The right type of lead can also be a toxic to humans depending on the amount consumed, over certain duration of time, individual body size, and age.

Proponents of the ban cite the impacts on individual raptors, such as Bald Eagles even though raptor populations are increasing across North America and the Bald Eagle was removed from the Endangered Species list as recently as 2007.

Understanding this issue and sorting fact from fiction is difficult because of all the variables. It is being made even more difficult by groups asking for more science.  Many  studies  have already been conducted and a technical review of existing scientific literature on the subject was completed by The Wildlife Society, the premier professional organization for wildlife science and management, in collaboration with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. These studies show that potential ingestion rates and health impacts vary by species, age, body size, amount consumed, method ingested, and geographic area. Some have measured the amounts and distributions of lead fragments  found in carcasses and gut piles. We know that ingestion rates are related  to lead concentration in the specific environments where animals may possibly ingest pellets or fragments while feeding. On the extremely low-hazard end are individual bullets fired in the field. On the high side is where shot-shell pellets concentrate where shooters regularly use the same locations, like dove fields and trap and skeet ranges.

Other than condors there is no evidence lead bullets are a serious conservation issue at the population level – meaning an entire group of one species living in a certain area. With the endangered California condor, every death is significant and so banning the use of lead ammunition in condor range made sense and sportsmen have supported this effort. 

Considering human health, we have to realize that the lead in gasoline was emitted into the air and settled everywhere in our environment and that is very different from how hunters and anglers are depositing lead.  The question is not whether lead fragments or pellets can be found in wild game. The question is can this be a source of lead toxicity for humans? The only reported human health issue from ingested lead ammunition comes from a study of subsistence hunters in Northern Canada that ate lead-harvested wild game in high quantities every day. 

The punch line is, if there is more science needed it would on be at the population level for a specific species in a specific area. The real question with lead is should our policy-makers take a sledge-hammer approach to an issue science says is tightly limited to certain populations and situations?
Bottom Line
The tools used for centuries by hunters, shooters, and anglers are in the crosshairs of environmentalists whose agenda appears to be mixed. Some would say theirs is a real concern for wildlife and humans. Others contend the plot to ban all lead is just another attempt to chop the legs out from under sportsmen and the user-pay model of wildlife conservation.

A blanket ban on all lead ammunition and in fishing tackle is clearly overreaching, especially when it includes lead that has no chance of being deposited in the environment, like indoor facilities for shooters, self-defense and law enforcement training. This is not a one-size fits all issue. The science simply isn't there to support a human health issue. As for wildlife, in terms of the health of populations and ecosystem function there may be the need for localized restrictions, but those decisions are best left to local managers, not judges. Our wildlife professionals need to clearly articulate to policy-makers what is a conservation issue requiring drastic regulatory changes and what is a non-issue, or a personal choice based on a desire to not kill or sicken individual birds. 

S. 838
After the environmental groups filed suit a Bill was introduced to Congress supported by sportsmen’s organizations that would amend the Toxics Substance Control Act to clarify the jurisdiction of the EPA. The S. 838: Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act is now being discussed and considered in committees.  HYPERLINK "http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-838" http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-838

Where this issue will land is yet to be seen. What we do know is that sportsmen care about wildlife, all wildlife, and have proven so time and again. If or where real science, not advocacy called science or agenda-based science, but real science that holds up to scrutiny demonstrates a population impact and the use of non-lead products is warranted, sportsmen will do their part. The best thing you can do now is stay informed and let yourself be heard, especially regarding the proposed Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act.

It makes you wonder what Hunting will be like in 10, 20, 50 years from now...

Sorry if I bored you with the articles...just something I thought I would throw out there!!! Hopefully my next post will be something exciting (like me shooting a huge buck, with tons of pictures to post!!!). 








Sunday, October 9, 2011

Life in Ohio

The other night Mike and I went and put up a treestand on one of the properties we'll be hunting. It's down in a hollow where three or four deer trails come together...I'm pretty excited to get out there. I just need to go get my Ohio resident hunting license and deer tags.


Last week I went and got my Ohio drivers license, switched my truck title and got new license plates. I even had to take a drivers test (written) which I passed fortunately since I didn't know all the answers on the test and had to play multiple guess.


It's kind of weird being here in Ohio for hunting season. I'm used to being able to go out every single day, morning and night, right from opening day. Now I have 2 kids to take care of and get on the bus, pick up from the bus stop, football games to go to, etc. Not that I'm complaining or anything, it's just different than what I'm used to. I think I'm going through deer hunting withdrawal a little bit...but next week I should be able to go sit in the woods with my bow and video camera!!!


I'm hoping to get a big ohio buck on the ground before our next out of state hunting trip...which I'm not altogether sure when (or where) our next trip will be. We have been planning to go to Kentucky for whitetail, as well as back to Jersey for a bear hunt. We put in for our cougar tags the other day so if one (or both) of us makes the draw, we'll be headed to Cougar Creek Outfitters in Utah for our first time ever cougar hunting. With bows!!! Which makes me happy. 


I need to get all of my hunting stuff ready for here in Ohio...bow, broadheads, arrows, rangefinder, knives, release, camera, camera arm, camo. I think I may need to make a list. It feels like it's been years since I've been hunting. Mike likes turkey hunting better than deer hunting so he hasn't been as excited as I am to get out in the treestand. Fall is my time; I love bowhunting whitetail more than anything.


I kind of feel like I missed out a little this year on all the pre-season scouting, food plots, trail cams, looking for scrapes, setting up stands...I guess I'll have to wait to do all that again until next year here in Ohio. All of that was done by the time I moved here, and I kind of miss doing it. 


But, hopefully next week I'll have a chance to shoot a big buck or even a doe here in Ohio. It will be my first Ohio deer, my first time killing anything with a Ross bow, and also my first time using Rage broadheads. Wish me luck!!!



Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hunters Delight

The other night I had my first taste of elk meat...and it was SO GOOD!!! Mike and the kids all loved it, we had leftovers the second night and all of them still had second helpings. I used cubed steak meat for what I made the other night, and I can't wait to try an actual steak on the grill.

*Hunters Delight*

2 and 1/2 lbs of red potatoes, uncooked, peeled and sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
2 lbs of uncooked cubed uncooked elk meat (can also used venison or beef)
1 to 2 lbs of cooked bacon, crumbled
2 cans of creamed corn
1 tsp sugar
4 tbs Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

In a crockpot, layer the potatoes and onions. Second layer: meat and bacon.
In a bowl, combine corn, sugar, W. sauce, and salt and pepper. Pour over meat layer. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I served it with homemade mozzarella sticks, it was so yummy!!!

*Mozzarella Sticks*

12 cheesesticks
12 eggroll wrappers (Can be found in the refrigerated organic food section at your local supermarket)

Wrap the eggroll wrappers burrito-style tightly around each cheese stick. Fry in hot oil until golden brown on both sides.