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.








Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Range Reviews: Tuff Products Quick Strips

© 2008, 2009, 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Tuff Products Quick Strips

When I head out with my Vaquero, I usually toss another handful of my homebrew +P 45LC rounds in my pocket. I use 320gr Cast Performance LBTs over 21.5 grains of Hodgden H110 powder fired off with Federal magnum primers. That load isn't for the meek or faint of heart. If I got into a gunfight with a cape buffalo, it would be a toss up if I would want my Ruger #1 in 458WM, or the Vaquero stoked to the gills with the LBTs.

I have frequently thought that there must be a better way to carry extra rounds in a neat and orderly manner. Trying to pull loose rounds from your jeans when you're in a hurry doesn't work all that well.

Tuff Products Quick Strips

Fortunately, Tuff™ has produced a series of "Quick Strips" in a variety of cartridge head sizes. They hold the cartridge securely but allow the cartridge to pop free with a minimum of effort.

Quick Strips are available in:
  • Ten round 22 rimfire, which will hold 17, 5mm, 22 short or long rifle, and 22 magnum.
  • Eight round 32 caliber, that not only carries the 32 S&W to the 32 Magnum, but 30 carbine and 22 Hornet also.
  • There is the six round 38 Caliber for 38 special and 357 magnum.
  • The 44 caliber Quick Strip holds six rounds of all the 44s, all the 45s, the 454, 460, and 410 shotgun.
  • The 50 holds 500 Linbaugh sized case heads.

I filled up several of the Quick Strips and put them in my pants pockets, jacket pocket, the Mrs' purse, and I also used the Tuff™ Quick Strip Pouch. I found that pistol cartridges fared very well in the Quick Strips carried in my pockets. The 30 Carbine and 22 Hornet lost a round or two when I would pull it from my jeans. In jackets or coats the Quick Strips held their cartridges firmly.

The Mrs reports that she didn't lose any rounds to the unfathomable depths of the purse. I found that very surprising, as any money that goes in there is irrevocably lost, never to be seen again. Kudus to Tuff™ and their Quick Strips!

S&W M10 and Tuff Products Quick Strips

With a S&W M10, I found that, with practice, I could load two rounds at a time quickly and with little difficulty. Pulling the strip from the belt pouches was easy. Like everything else in life, if you are going to stake your life on it, practice, practice, practice.

Quick Strip Single Strip Pouch

The Nylon pouches are well made and hold the strips and cartridges securely. It wraps around belts up to two inches wide. It is stitched at the bottom to create a small pouch where you can stash another couple of rounds, or a small item you may deem necessary.

Quick Strip Double Strip Nylon Pouch

Overall, I consider the Tuff™ series of "Quick Strips" a great accessory for a variety of shooters. If you are a wheel gun fan, but don't want or need the bulk of speed loaders, this is a viable alternative. Hunters can carry extra rounds in a convenient fashion, keeping them clean and close at hand. A quick perusal of Cartridges of the World will determine which cartridges will also fit in the Quick Strips.

Tuff™ Products
877-883-3776

Quick Strips
MSRP: $8.49

Tuff™ Single Quick Strip Pouch

MSRP: $19.99

Tuff™ Double Quick Strip Pouch
MSRP: $22.99

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



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Couple of Bucks and a World of a Difference

© 2009, 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Hunter and Angler Fact Sheet!

Well it's that time of year again, the holidays have come and gone, Spring hunting season is a couple of months away,and we are all thinking about the summer that is far off!
Photo Credit: UW Collection
Ummm... Yeah...

But let's not forget our responsibilities to educate and elucidate for our non-sporting friends and neighbors.

The National Hunting and Fishing Day Organization has several assets available for the conservationist to use. Among them is this easily printed PDF with great facts on the leadership and conservation that Hunters and Anglers provide in the great outdoors.

Click below for PDF
Hunter and Angler Fact Sheet

Take a few moments, and print out a dozen copies, (it's only a single side), and it won't even cost you a couple of bucks! Share them with non-hunting or non-fishing friends and let them know the facts about hunters and anglers, it will make aworld of a difference!



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, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida


Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010, Afghanistan

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Another Christmas finds me far from home. Far from my family, my loved ones, my friends. Times like these make you remember the poignant, and coarse, the laughter and tears, the life left behind.

As you read this, our day is well under way, another day spent passing the time dilligently applied to our tasks. I think of you and the campfires we will share.  Yours truly, Albert

To all our friends,
Both near and far,

to those still with us,
and those gone, but not forgot,


"Tannenbaum"

Here is wishing you the very Merriest of Christmas, Happiest of Holidays, And all the Peace and Prosperity God may Grant You!


May you find the very best gifts around your trees,
Your friends and family!

"Holy Night"




Good Wishes to All!
Albert, Cristal, Jordan, and Blake




Drawings by my great-uncle, Guillermo Rasch, 12/24/1947
Malaga, Spain

Thursday, December 23, 2010

West Central Florida Fishing Forecast 12/24

West Central Florida Weekend Fishing Forecast for Dec 24th thru 26

West Central Florida Fishing:
From Aripeka to Longboat Key which includes Hudson, New Port Richey, Anclote Key, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Anna Maria Island and Bradenton.

Capt Ray says:

It’s only right to expect cold weather for the Christmas holidays and the holiday season this time of year. The weather prognosticators have been a bit off lately, but the patterns seem to be similar each week. The weather warms up through about Friday. The winds lay down, and by the weekend, it starts to go back downhill into another front. This holiday weekend’s prediction is for similar weather, but don’t let that hold you back and keep you from going fishing, unless you’re headed offshore, then a more prudent approach should be taken.

For you OFFSHORE Fishermen

The weatherman has made it tough on offshore anglers looking to get out before grouper season closes next Saturday, January 1. Federal waters will become off limits for grouper at that time. The inshore waters remain open and plenty of grouper have been caught inside Tampa Bay and the channel running in from Egmont Key, well inside the bay. While this may not qualify as offshore, Tampa Bay can get mighty mean if the winds are blowing, and an offshore boat is the only way to get out and get them. Trolling a number 2 or 3 planer with a big Bubba’s Curly Tail Jig on a heavy jighead is a favorite of top trolling skippers like Vance Tice and Channel 13’s Doug Hemmer.

Captain Dave Zalewski out of Madeira Beach likes a broken-back gold Bomber lure. Trolling is a good way to find fish, and using a downrigger is best, since the approach to the fish is “up and down” with some blowback from the downrigger ball. Hitting the waypoint save button and using the plot feature on your bottom machine could bring you back to the mark where you were hit to anchor up for some bottom time.

Not much else was reported this week, with the weather taking its toll. Water temperature has dropped to the low 50s and frozen bait is the way to go to get lethargic fish to begin eating. Chum should be an absolute necessity, and with the full moon on Tuesday, the current will be running pretty hard, so give fish time to move up your chum slick to feed.

Inshore fishing on Florida's West Coast

At this point, December in the West Central area is on point to rank as one of the top 10 coldest Decembers since records were first taken. NOAA National Weather Service in Ruskin recently said that the average temperature has been running 10 to 12 degrees below normal for December. What should this mean to anglers? Here are a few tips to help you catch more fish in this cold weather.

Well, for starters, make sure your start time on the water is later in the morning or early afternoon when the sun has a chance to begin warming shallow waters. This should help fish get more in a feeding mood. Presentations should be ultra slow.

Reports this week were limited, but the ones received were similar. The bite was slow in most locations, with trout, redfish, flounder, sheepshead, and bluefish headlining the catch. Live shrimp have been in limited supply in some areas due to the cold and windy conditions.

If you’re thinking about using jigs or artificial shrimp, now is the time to use the bait with a red, brown or chartreuse tip on the tail. Working these baits slowly on the bottom will imitate shrimp that have just come out of the mud, where their tails have been discolored from burying in for several days. The DOA night glow/ fire tail shrimp or the night glow/ chartreuse tipped tail produce exceptionally well now.

Water in most areas is gin clear when out of the wind. Make leaders extra long out of stealthy leader material like Seaguar or Ande fluorocarbon material, or blue Ande Backcountry Copolymer. These materials are nearly invisible in the ultra clear waters during winter. Downsize baits, both natural and artificial to match appetites that are stunned by the cold. Make casts as long as possible to avoid spooking fish. When sight-fishing, don’t drop baits on top of fish, but cast beyond and bring the baits by in front of the fish within their strike zone. Remember, strike zones shrink in cold weather and fish rarely chase down bait. Move both live and artificial baits very slowly. Fresh cut baits and “stink baits” like Berkley Gulp excel when fished in the “dead-stick” mode without moving the bait, particularly with some current or water movement.

FRESH WATER

Work plastic worms slowly around boat docks and structure. Bass have been holding tight to grass beds and deeper structure in the rivers and in the lakes, such as Lake Tarpon. Crappies are beginning to show signs of schooling in Central Florida Lakes. Look for the action to be on the rise this weekend with the full moon this week.







Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's the Right Time to Hunt Squirrel!

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Top Squirrel Hunting Tips and Techniques

Florida’s small game season extends from November 13th through March 6th, offering both new and experienced hunters ample opportunity to keep their skills honed for the bigger game they pursue. Squirrel hunting, traditionally a family pastime, is no longer the most popular off season hunting activity that it used to be. The exponential growth and distribution of turkey, and the burgeoning population of deer, has taken the luster off of small game hunting in general, and squirrel hunting specifically. That’s a real shame too, because with such liberal seasons and bag limits of up to 12 per day, Mr Bushytail offers excitement and skill building that we all need.

Finding squirrels is as easy (LOL!) as finding acorns! But what about those times when the acorns are scarce or the trees non-producing? You would do well to look for any fruiting tree. Mulberry, persimmons, paw paws, and peach trees when ripe; even green hickory nuts are a prime draw for foraging squirrels. Evergreen cones are frequently full of seeds year round. Remember, that they don’t just eat nuts! They frequently forage on the ground, looking for root plants and tubers, along with seeds heads, green plants, and mushrooms.

Black, or melanistic squirrel. Common in some populations.

Of course, food availability will dictate what squirrel populations will be like in any given area. In good mast years, squirrel litters will be large and well fed, and many more of them will survive. Bad years cause the opposite, weakening the population and limiting numbers. This is of course common with all rodent populations; boom and bust cycles affect the population on a regular basis. Remember, gray squirrels build a nest, (known as a drey), in the forks of trees. The drey is made up of dry leaves and twigs and here in Florida, Spanish moss is commonly used to build a comfy domicile! In the winter, look for them up in trees; where there are lots of them, you will find lots of squirrels!
White Squirrel

Squirrels, like all rodents, are very prolific, and a good year of seed and mast production insures an even better season to come. In a good year, it does not take long for several female squirrels to multiply prodigiously and repopulate an area as they breed twice a year, giving birth to a litter of up to 8 pups. Hunting barely affects the furry nutcrackers, and even under exceptional pressure recruitment from neighboring areas quickly repopulates the bushytails.

As common as they are in many areas, it makes sense to keep them in mind when initiating someone into hunting. Young people will appreciate the quicker tempo of small game hunting and be better prepared for the needed patience of a deer or turkey hunt. Adults will be challenged and again, as an introduction, squirrel hunting provides the potential for just enough action, without being overwhelming. Everyone will learn the importance of picking their shots and shooting accurately; lessons that will be of utmost importance when bigger game is sought. Keep in mind that early in the season they are most active early in the day, and again later in the afternoon. Once the days start to shorten, they spend much more time foraging and burying nuts for the winter. Once the cold sets in, they'll be on the forest floor digging up their cached bounty.

Firearms for Squirrels. Rimfire, Black powder, and Shotgun.
Your old trusty twenty-two, or that new rimfire 17HMR may be your ticket to a limit of squirrel. An accurate bolt action or repeater will put the lead where it needs to be, and help you to ethically collect your game. A good scope helps immensely, especially when trying to pick out the top of their heads while they plaster themselves to a branch. Remember that most all 22s are finicky about which brand of ammo they will shoot accurately, so make sure you’ve bench tested your rifle and know which brand will give you that good accuracy you want.

Shotgunning for squirrels is also a popular way to bring them down. #6 shot in a low base shell is more than adequate out of a 12 or 16, as well as in a 20. Lots of folks chase them with 410s, and I bet the occasional 28 does too.

Blackpowder hunters have their own rifles for bushytails, “Squirrel Rifles!” Usually in 32 caliber, they are fairly quiet, conservative in their powder use, and 44 inches of Pennsylvania barrel makes for a very accurate roundball. Even up to 45 caliber, some aficionados use reduced loads to collect Mr Nutcracker. Head shots are the ticket here.

Hunting Tactics for squirrel.:


Still hunting: When still hunting, a hunter finds a place that he knows harbors an abundance of squirrels. After locating a promising area, you sit and wait for a squirrel to come and announce himself, hopefully in front of you! After that, all it takes is careful aim! Immediately recover your game, and sit down again. In a short while the woods will come back to life, and you will be presented with another opportunity.


Stalking: Walking quietly through the woods in search of squirrels can be another very effective way to hunt Mr Bushytail. Not only is it effective, but it is great training for big game too. Walking alone or with a partner, slowly make your way through the woods untill you perceive the busy squirrel. Stalking to within range takes great care and practice. But even if spotted, you can rest assured that after a short time, the Nutcracker will reappear to investigate. If hunting with another person, always keep gun handleing safety in mind.

Dog Hunting: In many areas, squirrel hunters hunt with the help of a hunting dog. Squirrel dogs can be pure bred hunting dogs, to rascally mutts, like my very own Charlie, who can sniff out the scent of the squirrel and track the squirrel. A good squirrel dog will tree the squirrel and lead the hunter to the spot, thus providing the hunter with the opportunity to take his shot.

Preparing Squirrels: There are many guides to skinning and cleaning squirrels on the internet, so I would urge you to take a look. The one important thing I learned, was to wet the fur real good before you start. It helps keep stray hairs from getting on the meat! (How to Clean a Squirrel)

Squirrel Hides and Tails: Hides can be tanned at home for any number of projects. The tails especially are of some value to fly tiers. Again research the internet for more explicit instructions.

Squirrel recipes.

Here is a tasty looking recipe that I wish I had known about twenty years ago when I was reduced to hunting squirrel for sustenance. Squirrels and a handful of Chinese radishes kept me from starving to death until that first check came in!

Ozark Squirrel with Mushrooms

Ingredients:

1 squirrel, cleaned, dressed and disjointed
1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 strips bacon, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 c. chicken broth
1 c. mushrooms, sauteed in butter

Directions:

Dredge squirrel in seasoned flour. Cook diced bacon over moderate heat and remove browned bits. Saute squirrel in bacon fat until browned on both sides. Add garlic, thyme, tomato and chicken broth. Cover and simmer about 1 hour or until tender. Serve with sauteed mushrooms, grits and green salad.

Servings: 2

I hope the motivates you to go out and do a little squirrel hunting! Take a non-hunter or aspiring hunter with you, and show them the ropes from start to finish! Remember, every hunter you recruit, even if its for only one hunt, is a person that now understands the role of the hunter.

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, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida




Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.




Monday, December 20, 2010

Catch Your Own Stone Crabs!

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Trapping and Catching Stone Crab

Florida Fishing, Albert Rasch, The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, best fishing in Florida
I got to thinking about some of the really delicious things that come out of the ocean, especially after a great day of the best Florida fishing! Among them is the oh so delicious Stone Crab Claws! For those of you who live here in Florida, and maybe some of you who are visiting, I thought I would put together some of the tips and tricks we use to harvest some succulent claws. The season for Stone Crab is currently open and stretches from October 15 to May 15.

The retail price of Stone Crab claws is always high. We have always enjoyed fresh claws and used to make it a point to go occasionally with friends on a foray for them using either commercially made inexpensive traps or snorkleing gear to dive for the Stone Crabs.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) allows anyone with a recreational fishing license to possess up to 1 gallon of claws (By the way, you can only harvest the claws, the crab MUST be released unharmed) per person or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less.

Again, here are two methods that you can use to catch a Stone Crab Claw dinner. You can put out your own traps or dive for the crustaceans.

  • Florida law allows any recreational angler to use up to five stone crab traps.
  • The rules for recreational traps are simple and straightforward, and must meet the following criteria:
  • Buoys must have a legible "R" at least two inches high, permanently affixed to them.
  • Traps must have the harvester's name and address affixed to them in legible letters.
  • Traps must be retrieved manually during daylight hours.
  • Traps cannot be placed in navigational channels or waterways.
  • Each trap must have a degradable wooden panel equal to the size of the entry hole on the top of the trap. This panel is designed to rot away and allow crabs and other creatures to escape should the trap ever be lost. This avoids it becoming a ghost trap.
Florida Fishing, Albert Rasch, The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Most bait and tackle shops carry prerigged plastic and wire traps. A single trap is usually less expensive than cost of a pound of claws at your local supermarket, even in Florida!

When situating your traps, look for rocks, cover like some old tires or a shallow wreck, or sand bottom for the best results. Use large fish heads for bait as they will usually last a week, which makes it easier for you to keep up with the traps. Half a ladyfish is also very good, as is a good sized Jack Cervalle.

I would suggest that you set up all of your traps (up to five, remember) in a line about one hundred feet apart, and record the GPS coordinates at each end. Give your traps three to five days, and check them. This will give the crabs time to find your traps and enter.

Snorkleing takes a little practice, but is loads of fun! Not only will you see all sorts of marine life, but you will recover TONS of fishing gear! Seriously. Shallow rock piles and jetties are great places to started at, and of course great places for fishermen to snag and lose gear. Be careful though. Dont get tangled up in any fishing line, or snagged by a rusty old hook. Bring diagonal cutters and a mesh bag for any treasures you come upon.

Check along the bottom edge of the rocks and examine each hole for the telltale sign of the crabs. If a Stone Crab occupies the hole, you will usually see sand and broken shells littered about the the opening of his excavation.

Most divers use a short metal or heavy plastic rod with a 90-degree or more angled end to reach behind the crab and pull it out. Remember, that anything less than 90-degrees is considered a hook and is therefore illegal!


Image Credit: Pinellas Marina 
Stone crabs move fairly slowly, so in most cases you can pull them out and into the open before they clamp down on your fingers should you allow the unthinkable to happen. Once you have pulled them out of their hiding place, release them in a clear spot on the bottom. Thus exposed, they assume a defensive posture and they will raise their claws waving them up toward you to ward you off. Now grab a claw in each of your hands.

Now you have your hard won crab!  But before removing the claws, by law you must measure the claw and make sure it is over the minimum size required. . The minimum claw size is 2 3/4 inches measured from the lower tip or "finger" to the first elbow joint. At no time may you remove claws from any egg bearing females. A minor twist of the claw will cause the crab to release it so be careful when handling especially if you aren't sure they are legal size. Once you are ready to remove the claw, twist it toward the center of the crab and up. I have always avoided removing both claws, I only take one. Some folks say it doesn't matter, but I just don't feel right about takeing both claws. Call me a softy.

Note: I just found this!
Studies by the state of Florida have shown that removing both claws do not harm the Florida stone crab in any way when removed properly. In fact numerous studies have shown that by removing both claws, Florida stone crabs are forced to eat sea grass which has been proven to be more healthy for their diet and regenerate their claws faster and female Florida stone crab have more baby stone crabs since they are unable to fend off the advancements of the male crabs. Now that I have science to rely on I can create double amputees without any guilt! Study here.

Try to release your clawless crab close to the rock pile you harvested them from. If you got them from a sand bottom area, try to find the closest rocks or jetty and release them there. The abundance of food and cover will allow them to regenerate more quickly.


Florida Fishing, Albert Rasch, The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Do not put your harvested claws on ice. Putting them on ice will cause the meat to stick to the shell. Set the claws into an empty cooler that has some ice in a container to keep it cool. I have seen people keep them in an empty bait well.

Our next installment on Stone Crabs will be preparing them for the table!


Until then, Good Hunting, and Great Fishing!

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, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida


Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mr Hunting Expert!


It's not often that I have the opportunity to introduce a world class hunting expert to my friends, but here it is!

Ian Nance is a lifelong resident of Central Florida with a passion for hunting just about anything. He is Mossy Oak Regional ProStaffer and proud member of NWTF and DU.

If you have a couple of minutes, click on Mr Hunting Expert's link, and be prepared for the wit and wisdom of Mr Hunting Expert!

Mr Hunting Expert

Gone Fishin'! : Releasing Fish Unharmed

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Here are some important tips on releasing fish unharmed, so they will live to be caught another day.

Fishing isn't what it used to be, there was a time when you just went out and fished with little regard for the fish. Regulations were far and few in between, and social customs different.

But now we have slot limits, catch limits, open and closed seasons, catch and no-catch zones; it's a wonder we can still fish! The fish though keep on biting, and we must do everything we can to make sure the resource isn't harmed by our actions. How you release a fish, determines if it will survive to fight another day, or if it becomes food for crabs and seagulls.

I read a long treatise (available here) on Striper mortality with respect to fish hooks. The long and the short of it is that the major cause of mortality in released fish comes from where a fish is hooked, and how the hook is removed. To make it short, circle hooks don't kill stripers as readily as J hooks. Circle hooks tend to only hook the fish in the jaw, whereas there is a high percentage chance of a J hook hooking a fish past the gills. The odds of a Striped Bass dying were 17-times higher if the bass was deeply hooked. The J-shaped hooks had 3.7-times greater chance of gut hooking a fish than circle hooks did. By switching to circle hooks, you can reduce fish mortality by a factor of four!

Wild Ed wrote a very good piece on the circle hook, Texas Fishermen Love the Circle Hook. He says: "All you had to do was start reeling and the fish would hook themselves. The best part was ninety-nine percent of them were hooked right in the corner of the mouth. No more gut hooked fish and no more undersized fished hooked so deep they would die upon release!"

There are other steps we can take to help nurture and protect our fish resource. The way you handle your catch makes a difference in how well they survive the encounter.

As you may know, handling a fish can remove much of the protective slime coat off of the fish's body leaving it vulnerable to parasites and infections. The best technique for releasing a fish would be one where you don't touch it. There are de-hookers available that allow you to remove the hook with out touching the fish. If you have to handle the fish, wet your hands, or use soft gloves that are wet to gently hold the fish and not rub the slime off. If you frequent any of the flyfishing blogs, you'll notice that they always take great pains to carefully unhook the fish, many times barely holding the fish where it breaks the surface. They tend to use barbless hooks, and soft rubber coated nets.

Give a thought as to how you handle you fish. It is a resource that is renewable, and we need to treat it with care!

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, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida


Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dealing With Muslim Extremism "Chronicles" Style

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

How to deal with Muslim Extremist street singers.

When Muslim street singers attack innocent people's ears!

Disclaimer: No Muslims were injured in this French Dramatization.

video

Ok... Maybe a little...

Best Regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
Albert Rasch In Afghanistan: She had Beautiful Green Eyes…

Wayne Pacelle and "Vick Gate" or All I Want for Christmas...

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Wayne Pacelle's BFF Michael Vick,
Wants a Puppy for Christmas!

Well my friends, as you know the internet never sleeps, and the way things are going niether do I! I haven't rattled Wayne's chains lately, but he and his Quarterback Best Football Friend Michael Vick are in the news and then some. There appears to be quite a bit of consternation with Wayne Pacelle's cozy relationship with Dog Fighter Kingpin Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles. It seems that Vick feels he has been sufficiently rehabilitated, and now has a desire to have a dog again. (How much do you want to bet it isn't a Maltese?) Guess what? Pacelle of the HSUS animal lover that he is, feels that it's ok that his good friend Vick should be allowed to have a dog again.

Lets see what the internet has to say about it!

Mayzie’s Dog Blog: Wayne Pacelle is “NOT supposed to be enabling an animal abuser” like Michael Vick


The Dog Dish: “I would sooner give O.J. Simpson a knife…” then give Michael Vick a dog

E! blogger: Should we forget because Vick is just “going through the motions”?

KC Dog Blog: If HSUS really supports “rehabilitation,” it should focus inward

•K9 Chronicles author discusses why she can no longer support HSUS

HSUS’s CNN buddy Jane Velez-Mitchell: Vick’s HSUS work “doesn't erase the past”

•Animal advocates are taking to Twitter over "Vick-gate"

•Yes Biscuit! blogger calls Wayne Pacelle a "dog killing advocate"

BadRap Blog details Vick’s violent past with animals

•Delaware’s mom-blog poll says Michael Vick should never be allowed to own a dog again

•Gossip writer: Now that Michael Vick is succeeding, he thinks it’s a “case of forgiving and forgetting”

•Cartoon: Even Santa Claus is stunned by Michael Vick’s Christmas wish

Thanks to HumaneWatch.Org for illuminating, collating, and organizing much of the information about the HSUS available on the net.


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, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

FWC, Partners Rescue Cold-stunned Sea Turtles

Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Here is more Florida cold weather reports; seems like I'm not the only one suffering from the cold! (Even though I'm halfway around the world!)

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and
Wildlife Rescue Partners Rescue Cold-stunned Sea Turtles

Recent cold temperatures in Florida left many cold-stunned sea turtles close to death, floating listlessly in the water. Working with staff from county, state and federal agencies as well as volunteers, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists helped to coordinate the rescue of hundreds of sea turtles this week.

Rescuers pulled more than 250 stunned turtles from the frigid waters. The majority of the rescues took place in the Cape Canaveral area of Brevard County. However, rescues also took place in Indian River, Gulf and Pinellas counties.

Most of the sea turtles affected by the recent cold weather in Florida are green turtles, with smaller numbers of loggerheads and Kemp's ridleys, as well as one hawksbill turtle. FWC biologists predict the majority of the affected turtles will survive.

The FWC and its partners worked together to pick up the turtles and transport them to places where they can recover from the cold shock. Sea turtle rehabilitation facilities throughout the state are housing these animals until they can be released when temperatures warm.

When the water temperature drops, stunned sea turtles may float listlessly in the water or wash onto shore. Although these turtles may appear to be dead, they are often still alive. However, in this listless condition, they are especially vulnerable to further impacts from the weather and may become prey to scavengers.

With temperatures increasing, biologists are hopeful that, for now, turtles will no longer be in need of rescue.

Stranded sea turtles and all other distressed wildlife should be reported to the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

For additional information on fish and wildlife research, visit http://research.myfwc.com/.


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, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

Friday, December 17, 2010

FWC Rescues Young Manatee from Chilly Waters

FWC Rescues Young Manatee from Chilly Waters

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, hunting in florida, albert rasch
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) rescued a young male manatee in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

The 7-foot juvenile manatee was thin and showed signs of cold stress. This condition, which can result in death, occurs as a result of exposure to water temperatures below 68 degrees for long periods of time. Biologists also were concerned that the manatee was far from any warm-water sites, where manatees typically go to seek refuge from cold water temperatures. Because of these factors, biologists determined that the young manatee should be pulled from the chilly waters of Bayboro Harbor.

The rescue took place just outside the FWRI headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg. Biologists learned of the cold-stressed manatee when a concerned resident reported it.

After the rescue, biologists transported the manatee to Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo for rehabilitation.

To report a dead or distressed manatee, call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

For more information on manatee research, visit http://research.MyFWC.com/manatee.

Cold Weather May Lead to Florida Fish Kills

Cold Weather May Lead to Florida Fish Kills

The recent cold weather in Central Florida has resulted in several cold-related fish kills in Volusia, Brevard and Indian River counties. Chilly winter temperatures can lead to fish die-offs in Florida's marine habitats, rivers and lakes.

The good news is that these events are natural occurrences and typically do not cause permanent damage to the ecosystem or to fish populations. In some cases they are even beneficial, in that they help limit the spread of invasive, exotic species.

Fish kills are often caused by sudden temperature fluctuations or by extended periods of extreme temperatures. Such kills can occur any time of the year in Florida, but they are most common in winter, when air temperatures drop. Although water stays relatively warm for awhile after the air cools, extended cold snaps can cause water temperatures in inland water bodies and estuaries to drop. The cold may kill fish outright by cold stress or weaken them so that they are more susceptible to disease. Another phenomenon, called lake-turnover, may occur when suddenly cooled surface water sinks and mixes with deeper, oxygen-poor water. This can cause fish to suffocate, often leading them to gulp at the surface before they die.

Warm-water species, including popular game fish like snook, are particularly vulnerable to cold temperatures. Exotic species such as butterfly peacock bass, tilapia, and sucker-mouth catfish are also especially susceptible to cold weather.

Fish affected by the cold may appear lethargic and may be seen at the surface where the water may be warmer from the sun. All recreational regulations still apply to fish impacted by the cold temperatures, even if they appear to be dead or dying.

It is important for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission scientists to keep track of the location and extent of fish kills in natural lakes and estuaries, to see if there are problems developing in an ecosystem that might require investigation or restorative measures. Although it is not necessary to report fish kills in private ponds, FWC scientists can assist the public by providing information about cold-weather fish kills in these water bodies. Residents can report fish kills in natural water bodies to the FWC at http://research.MyFWC.com/fishkill/submit.asp or call the FWC Fish Kill Hotline at 800-636-0511. For more information on fish kills, visit http://research.myfwc.com/ and select "Fish and Wildlife Health" under the "Explore" section.

Hundreds of Trophy Class Deer Poached!

Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Massive Poaching Crime Uncovered

The magnitude of the following just boggles my mind! The depravity, selfishness, temerity... I hope they throw the damned book at them backed by load of OO Buckshot.

"Three Stewart County, TN men are facing state and federal charges for allegedly poaching "hundreds" of trophy-class whitetail deer on the Fort Campbell military installation, which is located in parts of Tennessee and Kentucky. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be holding a Friday press conference to display the deer and seized property from the case. Curtis Wallace, 45, and Jim Edward Page, 43, both of Dover, and Wendell Taylor, 43, of Big Rock, have been charged with several federal poaching-related charges." Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle and The Tennessean.

This is a massive poaching crime, click on the Tennessean link to see some of the mounts. It is beyond my comprehension how three individuals could rob the public of so much.

Albert
Albert A Rasch

Member: Shindand Tent Club
The Range Reviews Tactical: How Terrorists Choose Their Targets

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

QDM: Fruit Bearing Trees for your Land

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Planting Fruit and Nut Trees

I know it's only Christmas, but it's a good time to plan your spring planting for fruit bearing trees. We all know that deer love the carbohydrates from ripening fruit, and a good stand will draw them from miles away. A well planted and designed orchard will not only provide an irresistable food source for deer, (And other game too!) but will definitly increase the value of your property! While it does take longer to get an orchard established, the long term cost is much reduced compared to other food plots. Maintainance is less, and the production can be quite long depending on the species of tree planted.

It is important to realize that planting fruit trees from bare root stock can take many years to produce. If you have the time and inclination to wait, then you can purchase many at a good price. The other option is to buy potted trees that may be ready to produce within a couple of years, maybe that same fall! All you need is a shovel to dig the hole it will be in, a bucket for water, and a handful of fertilizer to get it started.

Actually, it is a little more involved than that! But not by much. Realize that bareroot stock, even though it is dormant, is still very delicate. The most important thing to remember is to protect the roots from any moisture loss!  Even when transporting them to their new site, keep the roots covered,  protected and moist.

If you need to keep the bareroot trees more than a couple of days before you can plant them, bury them in a moist medium like peatmoss and sand, or potting mix. This will keep them safe until you can plant them. Make sure it's in a shady spot, and water them well. Of course protect them from any possiblity of freezing. You can actually keep them like this for a few weeks, but you must plant them before they show any signs of growth! Before you plant them, soak the roots in water overnight.

If you have the opportunity, pre dig the holes where you want to plant your orchard. This will minimize any possibility that your trees' roots may dry out.

Two stakes to either side are better...

It would not be a bad idea to bring a couple of stakes, and some raffia or manila twine to stabilize the newly planted tree. You will also need something to protect the trunk from rodents. Some inexpensive hardware cloth wrapped around the trunk is an easy to use barrier against the gnawing teeth of rodents.

The next question you must ask yourself is where in particular are you going to plant your orchard.

You want to make sure you plant the trees in a well drained area. I had to create mounds about 18 inches high to get my orange trees high enough above the water table here in Florida. The persimmons I planted are on a slight rise, but I mounded them also. You may or may not need to do the same, but it is important that drainage is adequate. Fruit and nut trees need sunshine in order to give you maximum production. So you may need to do some clearing in order to maximize the potential of your orchard. Without adequate sunlight, you cannot eapect your trees to reach their best production rates.

You know, before you dig that first hole, you really should plan for your stand placement. Don't plant a beautiful, productive orchard, and then realize you have no place for a stand or hide! You should be aware of the other assets in your area, beds, runs, rub lines, fences, and plan accordingly.

Remember to study the types of trees you will be planting, taking into consideration size at maturity, when they ripen, the number needed for adequate pollination, etc. For those of you in the North, apples in particular are known to have early, mid, and late season varieties which will drop fruit over several  months, giving you an incredible season of opportuity!

(I'm a big fan of the American Persimmon; Native Americans loved them, and they are a popular food for wild turkey, mockingbirds, deer, squirrels, and all sorts of other wildlife! They are a largeish tree, growing to sixty feet, and they definitly need to be planted with others as they are either male or female.)

I would suggest that fruit and trees are one of the best improvements and investments you can make to your property. Over the long term, they are a low maintenance crop that deer will concentrate on. Not only that, but an established orchard carefully situated, and producing deer consistently will add immeasurably to your enjoment, and to your property's value!

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, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida


Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Honest Honor Roll High School Student Faces Expulsion

2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Law-Abiding, Honor Roll
High School Student Faces Expulsion

I don't want you to think I have fallen asleep behind the keyboards here in Afghanistan!

Support from all gun owners needed!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Demari DeRue is a 16-year-old junior at Columbia Falls High School in Columbia Falls, Montana. She is an honor roll student, a cheerleader and a hunter. On Monday, December 13th, she faces expulsion from school because, after a recent weekend family hunting trip, she inadvertently left her unloaded and secured hunting rifle locked in her trunk, and then drove to school Monday morning and parked on school property.

The expulsion could be for as long as a year, but any expulsion could seriously hurt Demari’s college plans.

Details of Demari’s situation can be read here:

Unreasonable School Administrators Shoot Down Cheerleaders Chances

School officials claim they have no choice but to expel Demari. But the facts of this case show the unreasonable nature of the “zero-tolerance” mindset. Further, both federal and state law give discretion to school officials to modify the expulsion provisions in the statutes.

The no firearms rules were created to punish students who present a danger or who intend to commit crimes; not to punish an upstanding honor student who simply had a memory lapse. Further, it was Demari who voluntarily informed school officials when she remembered she had left the rifle locked in the trunk of her car. It is appalling that Demari is facing expulsion because of her honesty.

The hearing for Demari will be Monday, December 13, at 6:00 p.m. (plan to arrive by 5:00 p.m.), in the Administration Building at Glacier Gateway Elementary School, located at 501 sixth avenue west, in Columbia Falls. If at all possible, please attend this hearing and support Demari. Politely tell school district officials that blind adherence to unreasonable anti-gun policies does not make our kids safer, and in this particular case, would be a grave injustice.

Let them know that the only reasonable outcome of this hearing is to completely purge Demari’s high school record of this incident, so she won’t be in a position of trying to explain a “gun crime” to firearm-averse review committees considering college and scholarship applications.

Please take a few moments and contact high school officials, the superintendent and the school board and politely let them know that you support Demari, that you oppose any action to expel her and that a complete expungement of her record is in order. Contact information can be found below.

Mike Nicosia Superintendent           mnicosia@sd6.k12.mt.us

Alan Robbins Principal                    arobbins@sd6.k12.mt.us

Scott Gaiser Asst. Principal             sgaiser@sd6.k12.mt.us

School Board Members:

Jill Rocksund                                 jrocksund@sd6.k12.mt.us
Dean Chisholm                              dchisholm@sd6.k12.mt.us
Barbara Riley                                briley@sd6.k12.mt.us
Darrell Newby                              dnewby@sd6.k12.mt.us
Gail Pauley                                    gpauley@sd6.k12.mt.us

Jim Henjum                                   jhenjum@sd6.k12.mt.us
Larry Wilson                                 lwilson@sd6.k12.mt.us
Scott Emmerich                             semmerich@sd6.k12.mt.us

I've sent them an email urging them to expunge her record. 13DEC2010 2241 Afghanistan Time!

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

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wild Ed's Texas Outdoors: The Texas Native Fish Aquarium Project

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Wild Ed has put together a native fish aquarium, and has started to document the native fish he as put in! This is a project that Ed came up with earlier this year, rightly thinking that the whole project, from set-up to stocking, and then the observations, would be an invaluable tool for educating his grandchildren. 


"The Texas Cichlid is the only Cichlid native to Texas and the only Cichlid native to the United States. It is a popular aquarium fish all over the world and under appreciated here at home in my opinion. It is also a popular game fish in Texas and northern mexico and is often referred to as the Rio Grande Perch. The Texas Cichlid is a subtropical fish that lives in the creeks, streams, rivers and lakes of Central to South Texas. Its native habitat is the lower Rio Grande drainage in Texas, and north-eastern parts of Mexico."

Great stuff that we should all be doing with our kids and grandkids! What an opportunity to help educate family and friends on the great outdoors. In fact, this is such a great project, that Bubby and I are going to put an aquarium together when I get home next year! I'll have to get with Wild Ed and see what kind of set up I'll need. I once saw an 80 gallon "High" fish tank, and I have always wanted one.

I wonder what size bass I could keep in it....?


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

Friday, December 10, 2010

George Washington, Fisherman

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

George Washington, General of the Continental Army,
President of the United States...
and Fisherman


“Fishing Case for the Pocket—
properly furnished with Line & ca.”


As it turns out, our Founding Father and first President of the United States, George Washington, was an avid fisherman. From childhood, Washington loved to go fishing and bring his catch home to be prepared and eaten. Well into his latter years he fished not only from shore, for any number of freshwater fish, but offshore as well as his documented catches of cod attest..

We are fortunate to have one of Washington's original tackle boxes! As you can see above in the picture of George Washington's fishing kit, he traveled light. His fishing equipment fit in his pocket, where he would be prepared to fish at a moments notice.As I mentioned earlier, Washington was a fisherman throughout his life, including during his Presidency; and the Potomac was full of fish with regular runs of shad and herring, according to accounts of that time.

Interestingly, it is said that Washington's favorite food was actually fish, and shad was his favorite among fish.

There are some that insist that General Washington was a fly fisherman. Unfortunately, there is no proof that he ever flyfished. (Sorry Troutragous.) He was meticulous in his record keeping, annotating every expense he incured. While there is mention of nets, fish hooks, and line, no mention is made of any flyfishing gear.

Washington was also involved in a commercial fishing enterprise, and this is also noted in his ledgers from Mount Vernon.  He actually made quite a bit of money in the business selling fish locally in Alexandria and other Virginia towns, but his best markets were the British colonies of the Carribean, where he sold barrels of his salted catch. An interesting aside which relates to the abuses ofthe English Parliment against the Colonies, is that of the salt tarriffs. The best salt came from the Mediterranean. Parliment levied such a high tariff on this salt, that the colonies were forced to buy the poor quality salt available from the British. Washington was greatly vexed by this and remembered it well.

It is both fascinating and gratifying to know that our First President was a sportsman of highest caliber.

This post is a direct result of my new found interest in the pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary era of the United States. As I search for the core values of America, those values that brought us to preemminence in the world, I will share with you what I find, both serious, and not so serious!  It is my belief that before I can understand where we are going, I MUST understand where we have been, what we were, how we became what we are. It will be a long journey, one that I hope you will share with me.

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

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