Saturday, March 7, 2009

Getting Access to Hunt on Private Properties

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

The inevitable question that comes up with alarming frequency is:

"Where can I go to hunt?"

If you live on either of the coasts, any blue state, or one of the major metropolitan areas, you are probably one of those folks that ask that question. Whether because of time constraints, responsibilities, or access issues, people who hunt or want to hunt are increasingly wondering how they are going to practice their craft.

I have been studying the High Fencing issue, (and by-the-way I'm almost done), and many times I have found that for many people, a high fenced property that is the only alternative they have, and they are willing to pay for the privilege of accessing someones property in order to hunt.

Permits for Wildlife Management Areas, WMAs, are harder to come by as the number of people that need to use them increase. Florida in particular, and as I believe it is in most places, suffered through a vast change in the last 15 years. The accessible land has been fragmented and lost through construction, ownership changes, and habitat loss.

The construction boom alone destroyed untold thousands of acres in the race to build as many homes as could be fit on a parcel. All of these properties were close to centers of existing commerce and living. These properties were at one time ranches, farms, or lands left fallow by the owners for various reasons.

Many of these properties were hunted by family members, friends, and associates. Now they are subdivisions, shopping malls, and commercial space. When I was thick in the middle of building homes, I frequently was asked if there was some way I could get them permission to hunt "over there," or could access be granted for property "X or Y." I was never able to get permission for myself or anyone else for the simple reason that the corporate lawyers wanted nothing to do with hunting on the companies' land; liability they would say. It is interesting, that many of these properties are now lying abandoned.

So, what to do...

If you are looking for a place to hunt, first consider what public properties are available to you. Call your state Fish and Game Department and ask them what they would recommend.

Have some cards made up. You can got to the local stationary shop, and buy a package of business cards that you can print out on your home computer. On the card put your name, a phone number, and something that says "I am looking for a place to hunt please help." I'm exaggerating of course, but come up with a clever phrase. On the back of the card print a list of things that you are willing to do and abide by. For example:

  • I will close all gates I open.
  • I will pick up any trash I find.
  • I will report anything strange or unusual that I find.
  • I abide by all the game laws.
  • I will not allow anyone else access without permission.
  • I will share my game.

I'm sure there are other ideas you can come up with.

When you are out looking for places to hunt, dress appropriately. Think about the impression you are making. Dress neatly, look smart, speak properly and be well mannered. These folks didn't get to where they are by tolerating fools, so don't be one. You are the one asking for permission, and they don't have to give it. If no is what you get, accept it graciously, shake hands and tell them you'll check with them again next year.

Be prepared to trade your knowledge for a permission. Be prepared to trade hard work for permission. Offer a trade in what you know you can do and deliver. I've traded honey for a weekend of access, which then turned into permanent access.

You may have to work at it for several seasons before they finally relent; keep at it. It's better than not having anyplace to go.

I touch on the next point briefly as I have a full length post in the works on the subject.

Think about this, if there is no public access available, who's fault is it?

Write you local congressmen, write your national congressmen, write the Dept of the Interior! Get involved, do something. Pick a fight and go for it. When that one is done, find another and slug it out there too! Start a local group specifically looking to push the government into land acquisition for the use of sportsmen.

All of us should make an effort to do a number of things to guarantee the future of hunting, shooting, and gun ownership.

  • Teach children about the outdoors. Do it on your own, or join an organization like Pass It On!
  • Become a member of the NRA, GOA or any other organization that promotes shooting and hunting.
  • Write to your Federal and State Congressmen and Senators. The links are on the right hand column.
  • Write your local elected officials. It only takes a few minutes to find out who they are through the internet.

Just go out and do something, that's all it takes!

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

Not Florida Felons Report

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

At least I can say Floridians aren't the only scofflaws and miscreants.

Teens Plead Guilty to Killing 109 Coots

"Two juvenile teen brothers from Laporte, Minnesota and another juvenile teen from Akeley have been fined $1,600 and placed on probation after pleading guilty on Feb. 4 to killing 109 American Coots. Coots are defined as migratory game birds and protected by both state and federal law."

They plead guilty and at least they knew they had done wrong.

It’s an unfortunate incident, but hopefully a learning experience for these young men,” Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer Paul Parthun said.

The whole report here.

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

The Great White Hunter is Back!


The Great White Hunter is back after a lengthy hiatus!

I always like a good read, and GWH always has something to entertain, elucidate or educate.

Let's welcome him back!

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tracking and Trailing: After the Shot

© 2009, 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Even with every preparation, proper equipment choice, and skill, there are always times when game is not killed outright. A moments inattention, or perhaps premature congratulation may allow an animal to run off when the hunter should have been preparing for a follow-up shot.

Recovering game that doesn't drop immediately after the first shot, requires a moment of thought, and the acknowledgment that the work is just beginning.

The first thing you need to do, even before taking the first shot, is to be aware of the surroundings. You have to know where you are, and where your quarry is. When you have the shot, and take it, know where the quarry is exactly. As the range increases the difficulty of finding the exact spot becomes more difficult.

Also watch the reaction of your game. Deer will take off at a dead run, or jump straight up and kick when hit in the ticker. Hogs turn on the afterburners when shot and then either pile up or get into cover. Watch where the animal goes and try to remember where you lost sight of it.

After taking the shot, crank your scope down as low as it goes. You'll thank me for it later if you need to get an animal in your sights quickly.

When you make your way to the spot where the animal was, carefully note any sign such as hair or blood. Also sight along the path it took on its way out. The blood left at the initial site may provide clues to determine where you hit. Bright red, frothy blood indicates a lung shot. Dark colored blood could mean the liver was struck. A heart shot will be bright red blood. Look for signs that may indicate a poor shoot. If there is digested vegetation mixed in with the blood it could very well indicate a paunch hit.

When an animal takes off, the direction it went will frequently be marked by blood spatters. At times it may diminish to drops. This is all too common with hogs, where the fat and hide will frequently stop the external bleeding. It is important to follow up slowly and carefully, noting every drop of blood and every disturbed leaf. Blood can be anywhere from the sides of the trail to the ground. Wild Ed of Wild Ed's Outdoors, reminds us also to keep an eye on the brush or grass on either side of the track, not just at ground level but higher. The height can indicate where an animal has been hit. Mark your observations with tissue paper or surveyors tape, (Make sure you pick it up when you are done!) so that if need be, you can retrace your steps.

If you lose the track, go back to the last sign you found and carefully start again. Remember look at it from the animal's perspective. This means get down on your hands and knees. You will be surprised what it looks like from down there! Follow the path of least resistance.

Always be on the lookout for your game. It could be that dark spot there, or the light line there. Always be ready.

Tracking a wounded animal is hard work and a grave responsibility. Every effort should be made to recover a lost animal. In many states there are tracking services available that use blood tracking dogs to find lost game.

Born-To-Track News and Views
covers the Blood Tracking dog world, and in particular the Wire Haired Dachshunds. Look through the archives and you will find several posts on deer that have been found by these amazing dogs. And golly, they are cute as can be!

In those states where dogs cannot be used, then you must use every sense and every clue to find your animal. Perseverance and patience are the keys to recovery.

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 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.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Range Reviews: WR Case Ridgeback Knives

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

The fine folks at WR Case and Sons were kind enough to forward several of their knives for me to field test and review.

The Ridgeback series are skinners made for the hunter, as are the Rosewood Hunters.

I have not had the opportunity to put them through their paces yet. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get a hog to skin out and butcher. But I have plans to get out and do that as soon as I can.

In the meantime I thought I would share pictures of them with you.

Ridgeback Hunter Swept Skinner Blade

Ridgeback Hunter Drop Point Blade

Rosewood Hunter Drop Point Blade

Rosewood Hunter Clip Point

I am looking forward to using these knives. They are of moderate size, well designed, and very attractive. As soon as I can get a hog or two, you will be the first to know and learn how these worked out!

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

How Free is Your State?

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

As I mentioned previously, I'll be posting links to articles on The Range Reviews: Tactical that don't fit in with the general theme here at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.

This is an interesting paper that ranks states on their public policies affecting individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres.

How Free is your State?

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

A Severe Case of the Dumbass: Kid Shoots Himself in the Foot

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

This is another indication why people like Sarah Brady, The Gun Guys, and all those other organizations are hell bent on taking all firearms away from law abiding citizens.

At least the 17-year-old tried to keep the 15-year-old from hurting himself or others.

"Manatee County, Florida - The Manatee County Sheriff's office says a 15-year-old boy shot himself in the foot.

The 15-year-old wanted to show his friend that the gun was safe by pointing it to the ground and pulling the trigger."

Full Report

What a dumbass. I hope his parents whip the living crap out of him!

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

European Skull Mount Tutorial with Wild Ed

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

"To say he was surprised to find out I had done my own and the cost was under $10.00 per skull for chemicals and $35.00 for the wood plaque to hang it on the wall was an under statement."
Wild Ed

Wild Ed of Wild Ed's Texas Outdoors has a great tutorial on doing cleaning and bleaching all those skulls you've been stuffing in the garage freezer.

Wild Ed's European Skull Mounts the Texas Way

Don't forget to invite him to join us in the Outdoor Bloggers Summit. He has a lot of good stuff on his blog too! And remember to click on his sponsors and help your fellow blogger, while you learn something new too.

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

The Range Reviews: aLOKSAK Bags

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

Made by LOKSAK, aLOKSAK® bags are resealable element-proof storage bags, that hermetically seal with a slide and squeeze of the finger and thumb. That means absolutely no water, air, dust or humidity can get into the bag. Sort of like a Ziploc, but much better.

They are designed for a wide range of applications and environments. They come in multiple sizes ranging from 5" X 4" to 32" X 16". You can fit anything from a PDA to a rifle in these bags. The transparent bags are flexible and puncture resistant, and can be sealed over and over again. The unique and patented materials, closure systems and manufacturing techniques used to fabricate the aLOKSAK meet the most rigorous testing standards including those of the US Navy. The US Army Special Forces Group Dive Detachment also uses them to protect their valuable electronics from salt water and hot humid conditions.

Well if they are that good, let me put them to the test.

Will it leak?

So I got a little crazy. I took a couple of 5.56 rounds, a carbide blade sharpener, and a ball of tissue paper, and stuffed them into the 4.5" X 7" LOKSAK, and...

Washer filling up; LOKSAK up to the challenge.

Dumped it all in the washing machine.

Well, after the cotton/heavy cycle I am happy to report that no water made it into the bag. The tissue paper was absolutely bone dry. The bags are puncture resistant. With the beating it took in the washer, I was pleasantly surprised that bag showed no sign of abrasion from the carbide sharpener.

Kodak EasyShare Z710 inthe LOKSAK

Feeling much more confident I took the large bag, a 12" X 12", and put my Kodak EasyShare Z710 digital point and shoot camera in it. The Mrs has a Fuji FinePix F50 SE so I borrowed that, to take pictures of what I was about to do. I went to the lake and submerged my Kodak. Fiddling around with the controls from outside the bag, I was able to turn it on and take a few pictures, none of which came out in that pea green soup near the edge. But the camera didn't get wet, and you can take pictures through the bag. I'll be testing that capability further.

This is going to take some work to wring the picture taking bugs out.

After squeezing as much air out as possible, I found that a left to right squeeze and slide, and a right to left reiteration, made sure that the seal was 100%. This is important, as any lack of seal will allow water to penetrate. Yes it takes a few more seconds to do right, but it is worth it. I have read of failures with the bag, and I suspect that either an excessive amount of air was left in the bag, which then forced its way out through the seals, or the bag was not sealed properly to begin with.

Keeping valuables safe.

The LOKSAK has a myriad of uses. It works great for its intended purpose of keeping water out, but it also works just as well at keeping things in. Dehydrated foods can be rehydrated by pouring boiling water into the bag. It can be used to protect valuable items from weather or environmental damage.

So far, I really like the aLOKSAK. It performs as advertised, and does the job well. I Rate this another solid buy for those people that need to keep things safe and undamaged while outdoors.

And remember, it's made in the USA!!!

Street prices range from$6.99 to $11.99 depending on size.