Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: Target shooting

Fish and Game Q&A: Can trespassing wildlife be trapped and relocated?

Raccoon in a tree. In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: Is it illegal to trap and relocate raccoons? I live at the base of Tauquitz Canyon Mountain in Palm Springs and we have a population of raccoons. One of the residents is determined to trap any and all animals that venture onto his property. The problem is he is not trained to trap and he often keeps the animal for three to five days with no food or water until he feels like getting rid of them. I’ve even released a cat from one of his traps in 110 degree heat! Most of the other residents have been educated on how to keep raccoons from doing any damage and how to keep them out of the trash. They are wild and beautiful and I don’t want anything more to happen to them. Can something be done? (Laurie S., Palm Springs)

Answer: The situation described is illegal, cruel and inhumane. When trapping wildlife, traps must be checked every 24 hours and the animals either dispatched or released in the immediate area.

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Poll finds rifle hunters, shooters consider scopes essential gear

Kathy Hansen, right, tests a Trijicon rifle scope at January's Safari Club International Convention in Reno.

Scopes are considered to be essential gear for sportsmen who shoot or hunt with rifles, as evidenced by the number of respondents to a recent survey. Conducted by HunterSurvey.com, the poll revealed more than 92% of rifle owners own at least one scoped rifle, and nearly three out of four own multiple scoped rifles, while only 7.7% responded that they do not own a scope.

Scopes are also a prominent purchase for many shotgun and handgun owners. While both types of firearms are generally used with open sights, 28.7% of shotgunners and 24.5% of handgunners say they own at least one scoped model.

"While firearms and ammunition purchases have been extensively analyzed, not a lot is known about scope ownership and usage," said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which creates and manages the surveys. "This information can be valuable to manufacturers and particularly retailers who now know nearly every rifle buyer is also a potential scope customer as well."

Of those sportsmen surveyed, 26.2% said they intend to purchase a scope in 2011, while 32.5% are not sure.

Launched in 2006, AnglerSurvey.com and HunterSurvey.com help the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials, and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. The results are scientifically analyzed to reflect all U.S. anglers and hunters.

Those who hunt, fish and target shoot are invited to participate in either or both survey sites. Respondents are entered in a monthly drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Kathy Hansen, right, tests a Trijicon rifle scope at January's Safari Club International Convention in Reno. Credit: Max Whittaker / Reuters

Fish and Game Q&A: What is the law on hunting exotic ranch animals on private lands?

Non-native animals, such as this bison, kept behind confining fences are not classified as either game or nongame wildlife. Thus, no hunting regulations apply.

In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: What is the law in regard to hunting "exotic ranch animals" on private lands? I see an advertisement for hunts (pigs, goats, etc.) with no tags or licenses required. These hunts are offered 24/7 year-round. How can this be legal? (Monty S.)

Answer: Imported animals that are not native to California and that are put behind a confining fence are not classified as either game or nongame wildlife. They are considered domestic animals/livestock and are not covered by state Fish and Game laws, so hunting regulations do not apply and no hunting licenses or tags are required.

Feral (domestic animals that have reverted to the wild) goats and a number of other species that have become wild in California are covered under nongame laws (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 472). A hunting license is required to take any nongame animals listed in this section.

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Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, California, releases its 2011 workshop schedule

Fly-fishing workshop attendees practice casting before heading to the water.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, California, has posted its 2011 workshop schedule on its website.

The first clinic is a duck hunt on Jan. 15 in Williams. Limited to 10 participants, the California nonprofit's president, Susan Herrgesell, recommends that those interested in attending this workshop should register soon.

Other clinics include fly-fishing, pheasant hunting, whitewater rafting, shooting and ATV/dirt-bike riding. The organization's popular multi-course workshop will take place from Oct. 7 to 9 at Wonder Valley Ranch in Fresno County.

For both the novice and the expert, these one-, two- or three-day workshops feature hands-on training with top-of-the-line equipment as well as knowledgeable and encouraging instructors and include classroom time, equipment overviews, safety and field instruction.

Registration can be completed either online on the BOW-California website or by printing and mailing a registration form.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Fly-fishing workshop attendees practice casting before heading to the water. Credit: BOW, California

Enter SOG's 'Are You The Gunny?' contest to win SHOT show admission and meet R. Lee Ermey


Think you've got what it takes to be "The Gunny?" If so, SOG Specialty Knives and Tools wants you -- to enter its "Are You The Gunny?" contest.

The most talented entrant with the grit, guts and gall to show his or her best impersonation of the one-and-only retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. R. Lee Ermey, a.k.a. The Gunny, will win a trip for two to January's not-open-to-the-public Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas, plus get to meet The Gunny himself.

Ermey has a long history of film and TV appearances, recently as the "caring" therapist in the above GEICO commercial.

Entries may be submitted by uploading a video no longer than 4 minutes to YouTube and then posting the entry video to the SOG Facebook page. The submission deadline closes at noon on Dec. 21. Full contest details and rules are available online.

SOG will announce the top three entries on Dec. 23 on its Facebook page and then public voting will commence, closing at 5 p.m. Dec. 29. The grand prize winner will be announced Dec. 30, also on Facebook.

The SHOT show is the largest and most comprehensive exposition of firearms, ammunition, archery, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics, camping and related products and services. Owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, admittance is restricted to the shooting, hunting and outdoor trade and to commercial buyers and sellers of military, law enforcement and tactical products and services.

-- Kelly Burgess

Video: GEICO commercial featuring R. Lee Ermey. Credit: GEICO via YouTube


Firearms industry responds to petition filed with EPA seeking to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle

Ammunition for sale at the Los Angeles Gun Club.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, stated its opposition to a petition filed Tuesday with the Environmental Protection Agency seeking to ban the use of lead in ammunition and fishing tackle.

"There is simply no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations that would require restricting or banning the use of traditional ammunition beyond current limitations, such as the scientifically based restriction on waterfowl hunting," NSSF President Steve Sanetti said in a press release. Using lead ammunition for waterfowl hunting already is banned nationally and in California is not allowed when big-game hunting in areas designated as California condor range.

Filed by several environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy and the Assn. of Avian Veterinarians, the petition claims that traditional bullets used by hunters are inconsistent with the Toxic Substance Control Act and that such ammo poses a danger to wildlife, in particular raptors, that may feed on unrecovered game in the field. The EPA has 90 days to issue a ruling that it will either accept or reject the petition.

NSSF also expressed its concerns over the possible ramifications such a ban would have on wildlife conservation. According to the group, a federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of ammunition is a primary source of wildlife conservation funding.

"Needlessly restricting or banning traditional ammunition absent sound science will hurt wildlife conservation efforts as fewer hunters take to the field," said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. "Hunters and their ammunition have done more for wildlife than the Center for Biological Diversity ever will."

-- Kelly Burgess


Photo: Ammunition for sale at the Los Angeles Gun Club. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Women outpace men as new hunters

An unidentified woman shows off the turkey she shot. More women than men took up hunting last year, according to new figures from the National Sporting Goods Assn.

While total hunters in the U.S. decreased slightly (.05%) between 2008 and 2009, the number of female hunters increased by 5.4%, netting 163,000 new participants. Growth areas for women included muzzleloading (up 134.6%), bowhunting (up 30.7%) and hunting with firearms (up 3.5%).

The data also show women outpaced men among newcomers to target shooting with a rifle, with female participation growing by 4.1%.

"New hunters, shooters and anglers are a good thing for everyone who loves the outdoors," said Denise Wagner of the Wonders of Wildlife museum in Springfield, Mo., the official home of National Hunting and Fishing Day.

"Hunting and fishing license sales, combined with special taxes on firearms and ammunition, bows and arrows, and rods and reels generate about $100,000 every 30 minutes, totaling more than $1.75 billion per year, for conservation," Wagner added. "When it comes to funding for wildlife and wild places, more is definitely better."

National Hunting and Fishing Day, scheduled for Sept. 25 this year, was established by Congress to recognize America’s sportsmen for their leading role in fish, wildlife and habitat conservation.

The growth in new participation among women is no surprise to Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the shooting, hunting and outdoor industry.

"Over the past several years, our industry has worked hard to help build this segment of our market. We’ve developed shooting and hunting products especially for women, reached out with welcoming and instructional workshops for women, and encouraged existing hunters and shooters to introduce their spouses, daughters and other newcomers to shooting sports and outdoor lifestyles," Sanetti said. "I believe these efforts are paying off, which is a bright spot for our industry as well as for conservation."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: An unidentified woman shows off the turkey she shot. Credit: Jim Bulger / Colorado Division of Wildlife

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, California offers shotgun skills workshop June 26 at Raahauge’s

Instructor Cherel Hansen-McCracken helps a workshop attendee with her shotgun shooting skills.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, California is hosting its popular shotgun skills workshop, A Day at the Range-South, on June 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 at Raahauge's Shooting Enterprises in Corona.

The workshop, limited to 30 participants (and yes, it is open to men also), offers expert advice on shotgun safety, shooting and maintenance.

BOW California President Susan Herrgesell has designed the one-day workshop for anyone who has considered taking up shooting as a hobby or for those interested in hunting.

"More and more women are taking up the sport," said Herrgesell. "Women can be intimidated the first time they shoot a shotgun, but once they break that clay, it’s difficult pulling them off the range."

The instructor will be Cherel Hansen-McCracken, a pioneer in women’s shooting and the first recipient of the Annie Oakley Award by the Women’s Shooting Sports Foundation. Hansen-McCracken, along with her husband, Scott, will tutor each participant in basic firearm safety, the different types of actions, different chokes and patterns, and outdoor shooting ethics. She will also cover proper shotgun cleaning and maintenance. The course will also help prepare potential hunters for the state’s required hunter safety class.

The cost of the class is $150 and includes all equipment, including the shotguns, ammunition, eye and ear protection and lunch. Registration can be completed by mail, online or by calling (530) 347-0227.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, California, is a nonprofit organization whose workshops foster the learning process and provide the opportunity for women to enjoy the outdoors while encouraging and empowering them to build their self-confidence. The program offers workshops in one-, two- or three-day formats with valuable hands-on experiences.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Instructor Cherel Hansen-McCracken helps a workshop attendee with her shotgun shooting skills. Credit: BOW California

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Shooting sports, nonprofit organizations team up on tips to help shooters minimize impact on environment

Sign along Alaska's Seward Highway. The nonprofit organization Tread Lightly! has partnered with some of the nation’s most influential shooting sports organizations to come up with nine tips to help shooters minimize their impact on the environment.

The tips are part of a recent "Respected Access is Open Access" public awareness campaign, developed to help shooters and hunters keep their access to public and private land open by encouraging proper environmental and social behaviors.   

"The message of the campaign is simple -- responsible behavior leads to continued access," said Lori McCullough, executive director of Tread Lightly. "Outdoor opportunities in America are dwindling at a rate so serious it demands our immediate action.  Damage caused by a few uninformed or uncaring recreationists is contributing to the loss of access for everyone.  This campaign will help change that."

Funding has come through grants from Yamaha Motor Corp.'s OHV Access Initiative, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Safari Club International, National Wild Turkey Federation, Boone and Crockett Club, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Here are the nine tips:

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Fish and Game Q&A: If I catch my limit of fish can I continue fishing catch-and-release?

Trout In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: If I catch my limit of the fish I’m fishing for, can I continue fishing catch-and-release? If my buddy doesn’t have his limit, can I fish for him? If I don’t want to keep the fish, can I fish for other people? (Michael H.)

Answer: When fishing in freshwater, each person is allowed to take only one daily bag limit per day. Once you catch your daily limit for a species of fish, you are done fishing for that type of fish.

If you want to catch and release fish, you must do that before you take the last fish of the limit. If you want to give someone your fish, you may do so but those fish will still count toward your daily bag limit, and the person receiving the fish cannot have more than the legal limit in their possession either.

In addition, if you take an overlimit (for example, seven trout when the limit is five), and you give two to someone else, that person is now in possession of illegally taken fish and could be cited too, even if they are not over their daily bag limit.

When fishing in the ocean, however, boat limits are allowed for anglers fishing from a boat. This means that all anglers can continue fishing until the total numbers of fish on the boat are equal to the total number of fish allowed for every angler, despite who actually caught each fish. Upon departing the boat, each passenger can only possess one daily bag limit.

Q: If I have been convicted of a felony, can I still apply for a hunting license? My felony was considered "white collar" and was nonviolent with no weapons involved. (Michael S.)

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Fred Hall Show opens Wednesday at the Long Beach Convention Center

The 2009 Fred Hall Show in Long Beach was as bustling and popular with outdoor enthusiasts as ever.

The 64th annual Fred Hall Fishing Tackle and Boat Show hits Southern California this week, opening Wednesday at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center.

Occupying nearly 750,000 square feet of space, this extravaganza of exhibits and seminars is a must-visit for any outdoor enthusiast.

To refer to the Fred Hall Show as a fishing tackle and boat show seems a misnomer these days. The exhibitor list has grown to include hunting lodges, firearms manufacturers, outdoor adventures, shooting sports and fishing destination resorts worldwide.

But not to worry -- fishing will still be well represented in the approximately 600 vendor booths and 400 seminars taking place over five days. Plus, 16 boat dealers representing 30 watercraft manufacturers will be on site.

"The Fred Hall Shows, both in Long Beach and Del Mar, are the only major boat shows left in California," Bart Hall, Fred's son, told Outposts. "The boating industry in this state has been decimated by the recession -- nearly 50 dealers statewide have gone out of business -- but last year there was no recession at the Fred Hall Shows, and we expect it to be the same this year as well."

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Western National Shoot muzzleloader event this weekend near Phoenix

Cannon demonstration from a previous event at the Ben Avery Shooting Complex.

Those in the Phoenix area this weekend might want to check out the Western National Shoot, a National Muzzle Loading Rifle Assn. competition taking place through Sunday (the awards ceremony is Monday morning) at the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Ben Avery Shooting Facility, located 25 miles north of Phoenix.

It may seem as though frontier history has come back to life, because many of the participants and attendees dress in period clothing while competing in primitive archery, black powder muzzleloader shooting, and tomahawk and knife throwing. Plus, there will be demonstrations, including the firing of old-style, smoke-belching cannons.

San Diego County Muzzle Loading will have its popular "Turkey Shoot" machine. No actual turkeys are harmed -- shooters have to "call" a turkey, and if they are convincing enough, up pops a turkey head target for them to shoot at.

Besides the competitions, there are plenty of things to see, do and eat, including an area called "Traders Row," where period clothing, toys and vintage firearms are available for purchase. As for vittles, hungry folks have culinary choices ranging from hot dogs to mountain man stew.

Events begin each day at 8 a.m. Admission is free, though there is a fee for parking.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A cannon demonstration from a previous event at the Ben Avery Shooting Complex. Credit: Rory Aikens / Arizona Game and Fish Department

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About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.