Claim the privilege of hunting according to the dictates of your own conscience, and allow all hunters the same privilege;
let them practice how, where, or what they may.








Friday, June 12, 2009

Scouting for Wild Hogs

Scouting for Hogs the Right Way!
© 2009-2012 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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"It looked bad, but it wasn’t like I was bleeding all over the place and in danger of imminent death."
You can only just make out the scars now, it has been that long.
DumbAss Credit: Albert A Rasch
Sun, wind and weather have faded them to faint lines on my forearm. The splintered end of the branch had skewered me but good. About four inches of it had stabbed through me, just under the surface of the skin. It had, by sheer luck and happenstance, missed going through muscle, artery, or tendon. I pulled my impaled arm off the branch cursing and sputtering deprecations at anyone and anything I could think of. I had already dropped my rifle anyway so my free hand instantly wrapped around my forearm as it cleared the spearlike point of the broken branch. All I had time to see was the bloody splinter sticking out of my forearm before I pulled my arm off, and now my hand was clamped onto my arm and threatening to cut all the circulation off to the other hand. It’s as if it had a mind of its own.

Image Credit:
ZedaxisI had been scouting for hogs that morning. As usual, my route took me right up the railroad tracks going through the local ranches. The track maintenance crews use a mechanical, one-armed, articulated monster with a three-foot diameter circular saw on the working end to hack back the encroaching trees and brush. Among the shredded remains of the plant life are an innumerable number of branches that are left jagged and splintered, Punji stake like, waiting for an unwary idiot like me to impale himself. Which is exactly how I was now to be found.

At that particular point, I could have cared less if Britney Spears was prancing by me nude, naked, or disrobed. I was on the job, scouting for hogs, and now I was out of commission. Well, I might be curious why Britney was there and what brand of mosquito spray she used, or if she put on enough sunscreen and maybe needed some help making sure she had enough on, but that’s about it.

Scouting for hogs, or any animal for that matter, requires a bit of thought. When you are out their looking for hogs, you have to start by taking a broad view. I mean that both metaphorically and physically. Step back a moment and considering the hogs needs first. Then making calculated decisions based on your observations.
Image Credit: Mape_S
Let’s say you are scouting an abandoned farm or grove that you now have access to. Hogs move from cover, to feed, to water; that’s pretty much their routine. Throw in a wallow at the local mud hole and you pretty much got it. They tend to move early in the morning to their feeding areas, then quench their thirst with the regulars at the watering hole, and move into heavy cover before the day warms up too much and makes them uncomfortable. Breeding is a year round affair so there is no rut to contend with. But a sow in heat will attract every willing male in the county. Regardless, the first thing to do is determine if they are making regular forays into the property and why.

Image Credit: Stile di Pallanti

A great tool for pre-scouting or familiarizing yourself with an area is Google Earth. Back in the day we had to buy topographic or aerial photographs of the area in question. Now you can get all sorts of whizbang satellite imagery! My biggest issue is that I can’t seem to figure out how to save a screen shot or print it out. So I’ve used shrink-wrap and fine tipped markers to trace the terrain and landmarks directly on the plastic while on the screen and then transferred it to paper. Maybe someone will take pity on me and explain to me how I can do it on the computer.

Image Credit: Retro Traveler
Maybe if I had taken a better look at an aerial view, I wouldn’t have jumped off where I did, and found myself looking like an Hors d'oeuvre on an oversized toothpick. My arm was throbbing under my cold, clammy grip, and I could tell I was suffering from a mild case of shock. My face felt cold even though it was the middle of summer. I sat down, took a couple of deep breaths, and quickly decided what I should do. First thing on the list was: Get a better map… Hell, get any map! Next on the list is a shot of Bourbon, for medicinal purposes of course. Time to get a flask…

There’s a lot you can learn from an aerial or topographic map. The overall lay of the land is better understood from the vantage point of a satellite or airplane. You can see how land, vegetation, and features make natural corridors and lanes, which will guide any kind of traffic including air movements. You can see where thick vegetation may be, and how it might be accessed. It gives you a starting point for your scouting and helps you visualize the context of what your feet are standing on when you are there. Now you can see the forest and the trees!

Image Credit: Lucycat

Now that you have a broad view of the property, let’s look for the specific needs of wild hogs. Is there a food source for them right now; if so what is it. Food sources that are constantly replenishing themselves will have the hogs visiting regularly while the food is available. For instance, when nut trees ripen and drop their mast, it is over a period of time. Hogs will visit for the time that the trees are dropping their bounty. Once the nuts stop dropping, the hogs stop visiting, except by happenstance if they happen by to see if they can glean a few more nuts out of the ground. Old orchards will also be attractive to hogs for the same reason. Grain crops have a narrower window depending on the amount of grain and the size of the predation. Once millet or corn is ripe, it’s all ripe and that’s it. A hungry boar can chew up and destroy a substantial amount of acreage in a night, but when the food is gone, it is gone. Wild pigs will also graze and root for vegetative matter. In the spring time hogs will graze new growth and in the fall they will use those bulldozer noses to rip out tubers and roots.
Image Credit: Valeriep
One thing to be aware of is that rooted up areas are a sign that hogs were there, as in past tense. They are unlikely to be back in that general area. They’ll find another area to root up the following night, sometimes far away from the one you are looking at. It is a good sign that the pigs are in the area, but nothing more.

I hadn’t seen any sign like rooting, but I knew that there were plenty of hogs in the area. I thought I would scout out what looked from the ground to be a promising area, after crossing the overgrown right-of-way. Now I was sitting there like a dummy. I screwed up my courage, let go of the arm, and took a look at the carnage. It looked bad, but it wasn’t like I was bleeding all over the place and in danger of imminent death. So I took the water bottle, poured some over the holes and poked at it with my dirty fingers. The pale jagged edges of the punctures looked like I had tried to use a drill on my arm, and where the splinter had run me through, the flesh was bruising and full of dark blood. I washed it with more water, pulled the now famous do-rag off my head, and proceeded to wrap up my arm.

Image Credit: BamaWester
Water plays the most important role in animal movement, and of course affects how and where you scout. If there is a scarcity of water, it makes sense to concentrate your efforts on waterholes, streams, and rivulets that will attract a thirsty pig. Again, when scouting, look at the big picture. Where are the avenues from potential feeding areas to the water? Hogs will follow established paths to their preferred drinking areas. If you can determine how they get there, you are close to bagging your hog. Now if you don’t have access to the areas with water then your plan must by force, look elsewhere. In other words you must look to the food and shelter aspects.

Image Credit: Paul Voskamp

My preferred method is to find the wild boars’ travel corridors, and lie in ambush. Usually it is either from a bedding area to a feeding location, and these can vary according to season, or from the watering holes to the bedding areas. In Florida, during the wet season, food sources are the easiest areas to locate and prepare for. Water can be everywhere down here! But during droughts and the dry season it is very much like those pictures you see from the Serengeti plains. All animals go to the limited water.

What I had seen from the railroad tracks was what looked like an open corridor through the scrub and palmetto. It was hard to tell from the roadbed, which is why I had jumped into the right of way in the first place. I picked my .308 Mauser up out of the dirt where I had dropped it and climbed back out of the ditch. I could feel my forearm starting to swell, and I had to force my hand to make a fist. I knew I was in for an uncomfortable night.
Image Credit: Zedaxis
Look for corridors, natural or man made, that hogs travel on

Narrow or wide corridors create edge avenues that animals exploit for movement or even feeding. Animals will use the edges to move adjacent to the corridor, and then possibly feed in the open areas if they are grazing, or cross at certain points to access other routes or feed locations. Hogs in particular will move along the overgrown right of way, adjacent to fence lines, and on the edges of wooded areas, before stepping out or crossing into an area where they might feed. Look for a depression under the wire where hogs have scooted under, and also check out low spots on stone walls for places they have gone over.
Image Credit: Markeveleigh
My suggestion to you, and this works for any game animal, is to concentrate on how the animal gets to and from its food sources and water. Start with aerial views to help you narrow potential areas of interest, and then put in the footwork that is needed to confirm your hunches. Look for fence lines, hedgerows, timber edges and corridors that guide or funnel animals from one area to the next. Remember to minimize any disturbances. Don’t walk on game trails, keep your distance. Don’t push into bedding areas, skirt around them. Mind the air currents. Try to get out early, preferably before dawn, find a vantage point based on what you have determined, and observe what is going on. Keep a sharp eye out, and listen intently; wild pigs can be noisy! Many birds also sound the alarm and scold animals moving through.

Most importantly, go out there and enjoy what you are doing!

As for me, by the time I got home, I could no longer close my fist. I mean it hurt! I stuck the arm under the kitchen faucet, turned on the hot water, and proceeded to scrub the wound with dish detergent and a wash cloth. I grabbed my first aid kit and jeweler’s loupe and went to the table where the light was better. After a thorough examination, it looked like it was debris free, so I pushed some anti-biotic cream into the holes, stuck a couple of band aids over the holes, and poured some Bourbon over ice.

A few days later it opened up and left me with an angry, nasty, open gash, but it started healing right away and after a couple of weeks I could finally use that hand again.

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Shindand Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Technology and Something as Simple as a Bore Patch

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Friends,
Image Credit: Borepatch
Bore Patch
Internet Security and Firearms. Either way, helping you keep your muzzle clean. No extra charge.

I've been following Bore Patch for some time now.

I especially enjoy his internet security updates and the simple instructions on how to protect yourself and your computer.

Recently Bore Patch wrote an interesting piece on political power and the perceived strength of the average everyday gun owner.

Power and the Barrel of a Gun

I am contemplating doing the same thing that Bore Patch has done. If we, the gun owning citizens, collectively flexed our muscle, all of these gun control issues would be moot. The truth is that the NRA and GOA are a perceived power, whereas your letter or e-mail is a definite exercise of power. That's what politicians understand.

We have had some positive actions this year, but overall we have a great way to go. Only through proactive action will we continue to advance and protect our inherent rights.

Regards,
Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

TROC Wins Prestigious Editor's Choice Award

© 2009 Albert A Rasch
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First Place Editor's Choice Award


In what I can only say was a complete surprise to me, and to my utter delight, The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles has won the First Survival and Disaster Preparedness Carnival. Actually my post A Ruger 10/22 Rotary Magazine Tutorial won the Editors Choice Award.

Image Credit: Belavista
When Flea at Be a Survivor first invited me to join in his carnival, I thought it was an invitation to Rio, but no, it was to a Blog Carnival.

Still hoping, I asked, "Are we going to Rio for it?" I feverishly dug through my box of assorted weird stuff, shoving aside the shrunken pygmy skull that I picked up in Little Haiti, and the ceremonial Polynesian loincloth given to me by a grateful Islander princess, looking for the carved Nordic mask of Loki, God of Mischief. "No, no, no you crazy loon, send me one of your favorite posts on survival or preparedness. By e-mail. This all done through the intnetz!" Dejected, I shoved the "box of the weird" way back in the closet where neither Al Gore nor the kids will find it...

Image Credit: SoftyPapa
Blog Carnivals, for those of you that aren't familiar with them, are organized by an individual and gather as many blog posts about a particular subject. Over twenty submissions were made to this one, all of them worth reading and many of them as good as it gets.

Mosey on over and take a look at some of the offerings; you'll be glad you did!

Now to make me a little widget with a trophy....

Regards,
Albert
The Hunt Continues...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Alert: Florida Panther Shooting!

Florida Panther Killed by Poacher

My friends, a tragedy has unfolded.
Image Credit doncon402
The Florida Panther

Some sorry piece of human waste has shot and killed a Florida Panther.

There is a $15,000.00 reward for the capture of this felon.

Not one to miss any opportunity to profit from the issue, HSUS has contributed money to the reward. I'll take their money, but I hope that all Florida Sportsmen put there money where their mouth is and make this reward a whopping one, and then push for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

The FWC alert shot across my screen just a few minutes ago. You can read it in its entirety here: $15,000 Reward Offered in Hunt for Panther Shooter

"The FWC encourages anyone with information that leads to an arrest in this case to come forward, so we can bring the person or persons responsible for this crime to justice," said FWC Capt. Jeff Ardelean. "It is our agency's mission to protect and preserve the rare and magnificent panther, the state's official animal, for future generations."

Anyone with information regarding this case should call the USFWS's Office of Law Enforcement, in Fort Myers, Florida at (239) 561-8144. Those wishing to stay anonymous should call the FWC's Wildlife Alert Line at 1-888-404-3922.

I've placed a call to the Florida Wildlife Commission for more information on where to send the money so we, the Hunting Sportsmen of the United States can up the reward!

On a similar note:
"Jesse Barresse of Hudson was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Tampa today for intentionally shooting and killing a bald eagle, while he was illegally duck hunting in Ruskin on January 13, 2008. Barresse received six months in federal prison, followed by a year of supervised release. He also must pay $500 in restitution to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund and $25 in court fees. Barresse was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Steven D. Merryday."
From the USFWS

Whomever shot and killed the panther will get caught and punished.

The Hunt Continues...
Albert

Monday, June 8, 2009

Norwich University Class of '84

© 2009 Albert A Rasch
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Norwich University Class of '84

Michael H Shields of the Norwich University Class of '84 is now a Brigadier General!

Col. Shields was selected for the rank of Brigadier General in July of 2008, and promoted this April.

Among his many assignments, he was the initial Commander of the newly constituted 172nd Stryker Brigade first known as the "Arctic Legionaries," then the "Snow Hawks."

Col. Michael Shields, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team commander, attaches a new battle steamer to a guidon during the brigade’s redeployment ceremony outside Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Dec. 13, 2006. Defense Dept. Photo by William D. Moss

Based in Alaska, the 172nd earned the sobriquet the Arctic Wolves when they deployed their Stryker fighting vehicles. Said then Colonel Shields,“We just felt that the Arctic Wolves was more in line with our future of transformation. They hunt as a pack, never leave a comrade, hunt and commute over extended distances–in Alaska over 1,000 miles–survive in darkness and six or seven months of extreme cold weather, and hunt and kill any prey that they run into.

They fought in Iraq for over 450 difficult and deadly days where the 172nd earned and was awarded the Valorous Unit Award. General George W. Casey, Jr. who was the signing General wrote:

"The 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team distinguished itself by extraordinary heroism while engaged in military operations between 16 August 2005 to 3 December 2006 during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM III in both the Ninewah Province and Baghdad Iraq. Beginning with deployment operations and continuing through an accelerated RIP/TOA process at a time when some of the heaviest fighting was taking place in Northern Iraq, the Brigade valiantly fought the enemy using lethal and non-lethal means which created a safe environment for the October 2005 constitutional referendum and 2005 National Elections. The security provided by the Brigade created a higher turnout by percentage between the three elections and culminating in the transition of battlespace to the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police. The 172nd Stryker Brigade controlled almost 50,000 square kilometers, leveraging the full spectrum of assets from Brigade to National level in order to engage the populace and neutralize the enemy. The 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team was chosen by the President of the United States to extend their year-long deployment for an additional 120 days to support operations in Baghdad. Their warrior spirit and professionalism quickly made an impact in the Baghdad area of operations. The men and women of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team displayed extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty which were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect distinct credit upon them and the Armed Forces of the United States."

In addition two Soldiers earned the Distinguished Service Cross, and six Soldiers earned the Silver Star for actions in Iraq.


Col. Mike Shields, commander of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, and Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Ulibarri, 172nd BCT senior noncommissioned officer, case their unit’s colors during a Nov. 24 ceremony at Camp Liberty, Iraq. The Arctic Wolves served 16 consecutive months in Iraq and are officially head back to Alaska. Photo by Spc. L.B. Edgar, USA
BG Michael H., Shields
Publish at Scribd or explore others: Resumes & CVs bg shields

Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey, Maj. Gen. Charles Jacoby and Col. Michael Shields render honors during a redeployment ceremony for the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team near Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Dec. 12. Photo by William D. Moss



United States Army Frocked Brigadier General Michael H. Shields Deputy Director for Operations National Military Command Center, J­3 The Joint Staff 3000 Joint Staff Pentagon Washington, DC 20318­3000 Since: Nov 2008 SOURCE OF COMMISSIONED SERVICE ROTC EDUCATIONAL DEGREES Norwich University – BS – Physical Education Central Michigan University – MS – Administration United States Army War College – MS – Strategic Studies MILITARY SCHOOLS ATTENDED Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses United States Army Command and General Staff College United States Army War College FOREIGN LANGUAGES None recorded PROMOTIONS 2LT 1LT CPT MAJ LTC COL DATE OF APPOINTMENT 31 Aug 83 26 Mar 86 1 Feb 89 1 May 95 1 Jun 99 1 May 04 FROM TO ASSIGNMENT May 85 Nov 86 Platoon Leader, A Company, 2d Battalion, 32d Infantry, redesignated 3d Battalion, 27th Infantry, 7th Infantry Division (Light), Fort Ord California Dec 86 May 88 Scout Platoon Leader, 3d Battalion, 27th Infantry, 7th Infantry Division (Light), Fort Ord California Jun 88 Nov 88 Student, Infantry Officer Advanced Course, United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia Mar 89 Dec 90 Commander, B Company, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 12th Infantry, 8th Infantry Division, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany Jan 90 Jan 93 Commander, Long Range Surveillance Detachment, 108th Military Intelligence Battalion, later 501st Military Intelligence Battalion, 1st Armored Division, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany Jan 93 May 94 Small Group Instructor, Tactics Division, Combined Arms and Tactics Directorate, United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia Aug 94 Jun 95 Student, United States Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Jul 95 Jun 96 Operations Officer, G­3, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina Jun 96 Jul 97 Operations Officer, S­3, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina Jun 97 May 00 Battalion S­3 Trainer, later Chief of Plans, G­3, United States Army National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California May 00 May 02 Commander, 3d Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina May 02 May 03 Assistant Chief of Staff (Operations), C­3, Coalition Task Force­82, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan Jul 03 Jun 04 Student, United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania Jul 04 Dec 06 Commander, 172d Brigade Stryker Combat Team, United States Army Alaska, Fort Wainwright, Alaska and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq Jan 07 Aug 07 Chief, Eastern Europe and Eurasia Division, Deputy Directorate for Politico­Military Affairs (Eastern Europe/Eurasia), J­5, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC page 1 of 2 Aug 07 Nov 08 Assistant Deputy Director, Europe/North Atlantic Treaty Organization/Russia/Africa Policy, The Joint Staff, J­5, Washington, DC Nov 08 Present Deputy Director for Operations, National Military Command Center, J­3, Washington, DC May 02 May 03 Assistant Chief of Staff (Operations), C­3, Coalition Task Force­82, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan Jul 03 Jun 04 Student, United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania Jul 04 Dec 06 Commander, 172d Brigade Stryker Combat Team, United States Army Alaska, Fort Wainwright, Alaska and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq Jan 07 Aug 07 Chief, Eastern Europe and Eurasia Division, Deputy Directorate for Politico­Military Affairs (Eastern Europe/Eurasia), J­5, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC Aug 07 Nov 08 Assistant Deputy Director, Europe/North Atlantic Treaty Organization/Russia/Africa Policy, The Joint Staff, J­5, Washington, DC Nov 08 Present Deputy Director for Operations, National Military Command Center, J­3, Washington, DC SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS Assistant Chief of Staff (Operations), C­3, Coalition Task Force­82, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan Chief, Eastern Europe and Eurasia Division, Deputy Directorate for Politico­Military Affairs (Eastern Europe/Eurasia), J­5, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC Assistant Deputy Director, Europe/North Atlantic Treaty Organization/Russia/Africa Policy, The Joint Staff, J­5, Washington, DC Deputy Director for Operations, National Military Command Center, J­ 3, Washington, DC SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS ASSIGNMENTS Assistant Chief of Staff (Operations), C­3, Coalition Task Force­82, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan Commander, 172d Brigade Stryker Combat Team, United States Army Alaska, Fort Wainwright, Alaska and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq US DECORATIONS AND BADGES Legion of Merit Bronze Star Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster) Meritorious Service Medal (with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters) Army Commendation Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters) Army Achievement Medal (with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters) Combat Infantryman Badge Expert Infantryman Badge Master Parachutist Badge Senior Parachutist Badge Pathfinder Badge Parachutist Badge Air Assault Badge Ranger Tab DATE May 02­May 03 Jan 07­Aug 07 GRADE Lieutenant Colonel Colonel Aug 07­Nov 08 Nov 08­Present Colonel DATE May 02­May 03 Jul 04­Dec 06 GRADE Lieutenant Colonel Colonel page 2 of 2
I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to Mike for a job well done! As a matter of fact, his performance was so exemplary that even the Department of the Army thought so too, and awarded him the Legion of Merit!

Legion of Merit
Awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service.


As I frequently have said, it has been my honor to attend Norwich University, and it has been an honor to have known and spent time with all the fine men and women I met at Norwich.

I just hope they all remember the troubles I took to keep them entertained!

Ranger Rasch the Rock Kommando