Saturday, May 2, 2009

Florida Felons Report: Holding an Endangered Green Turtle

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

There are just some things you shouldn't do.

Messing around with an endangered species in Florida is among them.
Image Credit: Peter Liu
Green Sea Turtle being cleaned by tangs.

While on routine patrol, officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) stopped a group of fishermen on the J.F.K. Causeway in North Bay Village in Miami-Dade County, and asked to see their buckets. Observing a cooler in one of their trucks they asked to see it.

"The owner of the truck identified himself as Ramon Puente (DOB 8/1/65) of Miami. Officers asked Puente if he had fish or other marine life in the cooler, and he said no. As officers were opening the cooler, Puente advised them he had caught a sea turtle and was going to take it to a rehabilitation facility. Officers opened the cooler and found a live, endangered green sea turtle inside. Puente was charged with unlawful possession of a marine turtle, a third-degree felony. He was booked into the TGK Correctional Center."

Our Conservation Officers are doing their very best to keep all of our wildlife safe and sustainable!

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Whitetail Deer Season Prep Starts Now: May

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

Photo Credit: BricksandCo
Across the lakes.

I have decide that this year is going to be the year I get my first Whitetail deer. It seems everybody else does it, so why shouldn't I?

It's not like I haven't tried before. I've been a few times. But for a number of reasons, I have never connected with a whitetail. Usually its because I dozed off, so as you can imagine, the crashing and breaking limbs and then the resultant thud on the ground of my body falling from the stand is enough to send every deer in the area elsewhere.

This being the end of April beginning of May, I'm off to a late start. The first order of business is scouting. Something I should have started to do in January. Getting permission to scout may be the second most difficult part, with being allowed to hunt the most difficult. Here the key is making sure that you ask politely, and always thanking the person for their time, even if you didn't get what you came for. Who knows, they may be able to tell you who might allow you.

While scouting, it's important to narrow it to an area where there appears to be plenty of sign and where the chances of success appear to be good.

I found an area consisting of a patchwork of brush, narrow wood lines, grasslands, and lawns. This is also an area that consists of many private land holders, some larger than others.

Since I live in a large subdivision I figure I'll start with the areas I already have access to and proceed outwards from there. One thing that I am going to ascertain is the legality of bowhunting within the county and city limits and if they are applicable. (Note: I have checked and that will be the subject of another article.)

In the meantime, while I am scouting, what I will be looking for is where the deer are, what are the main food sources, where they are watering, and where can I position myself in order to have a good chance at success.

Suburban deer aren't normally subjected to the same pressures that deer in public management areas are. I suppose that the occasional dog chases them around now and then, but come hunting season they don't see too many fellows traipsing around the woods after them. At least not in this area.

Photo Credit: RWKPhotos
Whitetail in the woods.

Fortunately, I have found an area where I have seen deer. My next step is to carefully, and thoroughly inspect the area. Using an aerial map I will be making notes of the terrain, trails, bedding areas, food sources, and specific trees with the potential for a stand. If you are working in a limited space (or with a limited budget) you can print out an aerial view from Google Earth and then trace it onto paper. Make note of the prominent details and then add those that are most important to the task at hand.

Pin pointing the bedding area, or at least the trail to and from, is very important. The routes to and from beds to feeding area are used constantly by the does. While the bucks tend to move far and wide, especially during the rut, the does will normally, unless disturbed, keep to the same routes. The bucks will frequently use these same routes looking for a willing partner.

I'll be on the lookout for old rubs where the bucks thrashed it out this winter. Anything I find I'll make a note of now, so that I won't have to disturb the area come fall.

The same goes for mast trees like oaks and hickories. I want to pinpoint them now so that come fall I know where they are and I don't have to blunder around and get the deer riled up by my presence.

Photo Credit:Jim-AR
Hickory nuts, a great mast crop!

Once I have gathered all the information, I am going to look for trees that provide a suitable position for a tree stand. I'll be looking for avenues of approach and shooting lanes. I'll need to keep in mind everything I learned this spring and early summer about the terrain so that when I go in during the season, I can minimize the disturbance I will cause.

So far so good. I have a plan to follow, so all that is left is equipment selection, and physical conditioning. Since this will be hunting in the suburbs, bowhunting will be the method of choice. The first area to concentrate on is getting my body back in bow drawing shape. That means drawing the bow regularly, just like a workout session. Not only that, arrows have to fly. So a target butt and lots of practice in hitting what I aim at, will be part of the course. As I equip myself with a good bow, proper arrows, broadheads, clothes, a stand, and all the other bits and pieces of gear, I'll cover them, telling you why I chose to use them, and how I will apply them.

This is the first part in what I hope will be a series. I've been rereading Precision Bowhunting by John and Chris Eberhart, and I will be following their recommendations. Every few weeks I am going to let you know what I am doing, with updates on what I find and what I learn. Wish me luck!

I would like to hear from some of the more experienced deer hunters out there.

  • Who else is preparing now for the coming season?
  • If you are, what exactly are you doing?
  • Do you hunt public, or private lands?

Thanks again for participating!

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Afghanistan Lessons Learned

© 2009 Albert A Rasch
"We don't promise to always agree but these will be things we dig out of the Large Green Rucksacks we call blogs, shake off some of that moondust, and consolidate it into one place so you can fill up all the pockets on those new ACU's."
Afghan Lessons Learned for Soldiers

I get several visits from our servicemen out in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not many, but enough that I see them popping up regularly on Analytics. With the limited amount of down time that our brave fellows get, I am humbled that they spend it with all of us here at the Chronicles.

So I am going to make a quick departure from the norm and point everyone to a couple of blogs that deal with the War on Terror and specifically with the Afghanistan theater. I've been reading them for some time, in addition to others in the field.

What I would like everyone to do is to forward these links to anyone that you think might be helped by having access to pertinent, real time information that could save their lives. We all have friends and family serving in the military; make it a point to take a few minutes and forward these blogs to them.

First is Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure.

Bill and Bob's is written by a career Citizen-Soldier with 27 years of service. He volunteered to go to Afghanistan in order to train and advise the Afghan National Army. His final duty was to train and mentor the Afghan National Police Force, the law enforcement arm of the Afghan government, and very frequently the only contact that citizens of Afghanistan have with their government.

Bill and Bob's covers the latest discussions on Counter Insurgency doctrine. (COIN) There are plenty of links to great material and sources of information in addition to B&B's insightful commentaries and discourses.

The other blog is ALL = Afghan Lessons Learned for Soldiers

ALL is written by four MilBloggers that saw the need to help prepare soldiers deploying to Afghanistan. They cover everything from equipment needs to sociology and history. Anyone that has even a passing interest in Afghanistan, would do well to review the material in ALL as it is well thought out, and practical.

Pass this on and get it into the hands of those that can use it most.

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blog Posts that are Great, Really Great!

© 2009 Albert A Rasch
...maybe it's just that killing an animal is serious: this isn't fiction, it's real, it's happening.
Hubert Hubert on Doing Something

Hubert Hubert at Rabbit Stew is another friend from England that The Suburban Bushwacker has introduced me to.

Hubert Hubert has such a way with words that he just gets to the heart of the matter each and every time he writes. His style is eloquent and emotive, sparse yet complete. I'm always thrilled when he pops up on my feed/reader.

In another well written exposition on the emotion that comes with being a hunter, Hubert sums up the shot, the slip of the sear.

Find it at Doing Something.

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

Photo Credit: Hubert Hubert

Monday, April 27, 2009

The High Fence Discussion Continues

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

"You are hunting if your moral compass is steady and tells you, you are hunting."

Photo Credit: Ben
I had an interesting exchange with Zack, also known as Dukkillr, at his blog The Daily Limit, in his post The “Facts” About High Fence Shooting?!?. It wasn't exactly a discussion of the pros and cons of high fence, preserve, or game ranch operations, but it was a discussion none-the-less.

Zack hails from Kansas, a wonderful state of grain and beef, a quintessential breadbasket if you will. It is also a place where hunting pressure is low, and the deer get big. It is on a major waterfowl flyway, and through the efforts of Ducks Unlimited and any number of conservation organizations, affords its citizens some of the best waterfowling in the nation.

We also exchanged an e-mail, on my part to clarify my points and what I thought were a couple of inaccuracies in his description of our discussion Game Reserves, Preserve Hunting, High Fence Hunting, What are the Facts? Though I appreciate Zack's commitment to traditional hunting I wanted to clarify some points of our disagreements.

Zack says, "I eventually finished the piece and when I was done I couldn’t find a single fact. There were some quotes… a few opinions… much pontificating… but no facts."

I agree with most of that, especially the pontificating. I love to pontificate, elucidate, and prognosticate. There is only one small point of contention...

There were plenty of facts.

Fact #1: "One of the laws of capitalism is that things exist because there is a market for it. Obviously there must be a market for it."

Fact#2: "I'm sure many of the same hunt tactics are used that are acceptable in 'fair chase'. Sitting over water, over food plots, over bait, or even on trails."

Fact #3: "The real fact of the matter is that "all" legitimate and licensed preserves must have a veterinarian validation of the herd before transport, and also another veterinarian validation before introduction of the herd into the preserve."

That's just three for starters.

Now, in Zack's post he continues with an explanation of what fair chase isn't. I am, for the moment, going to ignore his insulting comment on what kind of person hunts on a preserve. First of all, it is unseemly, but it is also unprofessional, and gives a bad impression. He didn't seriously mean it, but if an outsider was looking it over, that is what they would take from it.

He does give an example of what isn't hunting, and I am taking his word on it, as I didn't see the show, but it is an example which I whole heartedly agree with him on.

What I was hoping for was that Zack would include what he thinks fair chase is. Well, to be fair he did say,"Hunting is pursuing wild game in their own environment." But that isn't enough to explain why High Fence operations cannot provide a hunting experience. Nor does it explain what fair chase has to do with hunting. Not that I don't understand the definition of "fair chase", but the discussion revolves around ethics and hunting. Fair chase is a concept that is separate from hunting and ethics.

Going on; I would like to point out that I did not dismiss CWD. I just pointed out that it, in and of itself, is not a reason to condemn high fence, preserves, or game ranches. There's plenty of brucellosis in wild and tame herds, tape worms, parasites, ad nauseum. That is the state of affairs. How we manage these threats is what is important. When a law is broken by someone transporting animals illicitly, then it becomes a law enforcement issue. It has nothing to do with xyz ranch that has been scrupulously abiding by the letter of the law.

Zack, unfortunately brings up an example that doesn't quite make a convincing argument in his favor. We could make up examples that are ludicrous, but we are talking about the practical realities. Private enclaves aren't pig lots, and private enclaves can provide wonderful hunting experiences.

After I responded in Zack's blog I emailed him, and in that exchange he commented, "My initial post was designed primarily to show an objection from myself and hunters like myself who simply do not share your, "if it's killing it's hunting" thesis."

I think that has bothered me more than anything else.

Nowhere did I even imply that "if it's killing it's hunting." Quite the contrary, I spent most of my effort, my thesis if you will, in explaining that only the person in the field can decide for himself if he is hunting. Where Zack and I seem to be missing each other, is that in my judgment, the moral imperative when you are defining the hunting experience, revolves on the person's belief system. Hunting is not just pulling the trigger, it isn't humping the hills, it isn't the bow, flintlock, or levergun.

No, not any of that. What it is though, is the experience. Hunting is the experience. Whether you sit in an elevated blind and shoot a beanfield rifle, our set up for turkey in a spot that you know is going to produce, or wait to ambush ducks by an open piece of water, you are hunting. That is, you are hunting if your moral compass is steady and tells you you are hunting.

I am hoping that Zack will weigh in here at the Chronicles, I've sent him an e-mail inviting him over. Y'all know me, always room at the campfire...
Photo Credit: Kronhoff
And behind the wood shed...

Related Posts

The Ethical Question, Hunting or Shooting
The High Fence Discussion Continues
The Hog Blog: Hunting Ethics Vs. Logical Debate

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

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Though 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.

Great Post by Dennis Carroll of Montana Elk Hunting

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

Dennis Carroll at Montana Elk Hunting has written a really informative post on a subject, a subject that those of us that want to spend our hard earned money on a guided hunt, will greatly appreciate.

Selecting an Outfitter Part I has great advice for anyone contemplating the formidable task of choosing an outfitter and guide.

Short and informative, it is a great read! I'm looking forward to Part II, so let's keep our eyes open for it!

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
The Range Reviews: Tactical.
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit.

A Guest Post on Affordable Education

Image Credit: Inx

Katie Wilson of Distance Learning Net sent me nice e-mail asking me to allow her to write a post that points outdoorsmen in the direction for further education. As I am a big proponent in investing in one's education I thought it a grand idea. Things to keep in mind, not all accreditation are equal. Some school are accredited by unsanctioned organizations. Have a plan for what you wish to accomplish; do your research. Lastly, make sure you are having fun!

Image Credit: Lochaven

Sportsmen Can Find Affordable Education Online
Katie Wilson

Ever wondered if the internet had any courses available to those who live to spend their lives outdoors? Of course there are! The internet is full of opportunities for advancing oneself, whether through education or other areas of study. Of course, not all programs are created equal, but there is something for every sportsman who’d like to get the credentials necessary to work in his preferred field.

Penn Foster Online

The folks at Penn Foster can get you started and ready to go within six months with a forestry management degree. Low tuition costs include books, coursework, instruction, and online access to their materials. If you are interested in furthering yourself and your career in this high-need industry, take a look at what Penn Foster has to offer.

Cal Campus

Cal Campus has been offering distance learning courses since 1986. That said, they have the necessary accreditation to ensure that your coursework will be recognized after you’ve put in the hard work. Visit Cal Campus online and see if their forestry course is something that will get you on the road to the career you want.

Independent Study

Many things that can be learned about forestry can be done without needing to spend time in classes; the desire to learn may be all that you need. If this is the case and you have some practical experience, then you may want to check out the University of Idaho’s free interactive archive on forestry. This can be viewed here.

Search for What You Want

Online, there are many campuses that claim to be able to help you out. The best policy is to do your due diligence and not let anyone talk you out of your money without being able to give you evidence of results. First and foremost, you want accreditation. Secondly, if this course of study will take a while, you want financial aid. Any help available could mean the difference between success and failure.

The Next Step

Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, see what others are saying about the school. Above all else, you need to feel good about the decision you’re making and know that you aren’t going to be wasting your time and money. Federal Financial Aid is usually a good sign that the school is worth attending. Do your research, investigate the programs, and decide what’s best for you and your lifestyle. You’ll thank yourself later.

This post was contributed by Katie Wilson, who writes about top distance learning. She welcomes your feedback at KatieWilson06 at

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Range Reviews: AGI Armorer's Course Colt 1911

© 2009 Albert A Rasch
AGI Technical Manual & Armorer's Course Colt 1911 45 Auto Pistols DVD

The truth is that I have a 1911 and the best I could do to it was field strip it.

But that has changed now. I recently received American Gunsmith Institute's Technical Manual & Armorer's Course for the Colt 1911 45 Auto Pistols.

Once again, Robert Dunlop and AGI have created a step by step DVD that takes you through the complete disassembly and assembly of any 1911 or clone. Most people work much better with a real time demonstration, rather than with a written description. As good as my tutorials are, a video is much better!

Robert Dunlop begins the program with an overview of the various modern Colt pistols: full size, Commander and Officers models, as well as the Double Eagle double action. Dunlap touches momentarily on guns of other manufacture, but mentions only Para Ordinance by name. Considering that clones are clones, and only the materials and fit and finish differ, I don't think that matters much.

The first chapter is a well executed detailed demo of the operation of the 1911 pistol. Utilizing a good cutaway gun, Bob shows each part in proper context and relationship and how they interact in operation. This was an eye opener and very useful because it made it easy to understand how everything interacted while in action. Bob also offers several gunsmithing and tuning tips right from the beginning.

The section of field and full disassembly does a very good job of noting differences between series 70 and 80 guns and how each one should be handled. The visual detail of the disassembly and assembly is excellent. It is clear and there is more than enough detail to keep the most prone to nervousness, worry free! Bob once again shows AGI's own non-toxic cleaning method. I know I promised to show you all, and as soon as I can get the components I will!

As I mentioned earlier, a technical manual offers the same explanation and instructions, but it is much easier to understand while watching the procedure on DVD with an explanation by someone who knows what he is doing.

The trouble shooting and maintenance section is again, very good with all the checks for barrel, extractor, firing pin, the trigger, and many other points. Bob even covers the magazine, an often overlooked source of troubles.

AGI has their Bulletproof Guarantee:

All of AGI's courses are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with any AGI video or product purchased directly from AGI, you may return it up to 90 days from the purchase date for a full refund (less shipping). The only question we will ask is "How did we fail you?"

How can you beat that?

I was once again pretty impressed with AGI's Technical Manual & Armorer's Course for the Colt 1911, I learned quite a bit, to the point were I feel confident that I could take a box of parts, and put together a fully functional 1911.

My only complaint is that the DVD is a bit dated. I think it is time to re-shoot it with the latest offerings from the clone manufacturers, and the newest accessories. This doesn't take away from the mission that AGI's Technical Manual & Armorer's Course for the Colt 1911 fills, it's just that I would like to see a new and updated version.

I would rate this course a solid, definite buy for any 1911 owner.

And remember, it's made right here in the
United States of America!

We have also reviewed the AGI Armorer's Course for the AR15 at
The Range Reviews: Tactical - AGI Armorer's Course for the AR15,
and at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles - AGI Armorer's Course for the AR15

AGI Technical Manual and Armorer's Course Colt 1911
MSRP: $39.95