Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blog Rodeo: August 29

Chronicles Rodeo for August 29th

Though a slight bit outside of my usual area of expertise, Freedive Spearfishing has a great post on holding your breath. What is interesting is the technique and its many applications. My Breath Holding Technique is very useful when you know you have to push for less than a minute, and need a burst of oxygen to the brain synapses.

My Favorite Marlin checks out the Taurus 1911 with a very thoughtful and informative user's review.

Extreme Outdoors with Map Your Land is a great post on using some of the tools on your computer to help you get a grip on what and were stuff is going on.

Good ol' Wild Ed has another post on shotgunning. In Dove Hunting is Around the Corner, Ed who was an instructor in the field of shot-gunnery, gives plenty of tips to up your bird shooting scores.

This one is too cool! Turning birdshot into slugs is a useful skill in places where slugs might be "unavailable."
The Firearm Blog has a guest post by Y-Man covering just that. In Turning Birdshot into Slugs for Self-Defense, Y-Man cleverly converts some scrap steel, a washer, nut, and bolt into a slug making mold. It's a must see!

The Suburban Bushwacker.: Mongol Rally - Making Life Less Boring It seems that my good friend SBW has stumbled upon a road rally of epic proportions. Furthermore it appears that some of our esteemed readers have decided that they would like nothing more than to be entertained vicariously by SBW and yours truly. Now, I am not adverse to such an adventure, and I am, as a matter of fact, putting together a proposal for my dear friend SBW to review. The only hitch I see is the border crossings and the stash of octane boosting Bookers Bourbon that we will need. One of our fans, Mike Spinelli at Mike's Travels... and Travails, has started the ball rolling by publicly calling us out!

Now on another note, Mr Hank at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook has reminded me of a neighbor who had an exceptional fig tree in his backyard. I remember being a little kid and walking into his backyard to pluck a ripe purple brown fig from the tree. I would flick off the ants that invariably would be running around the butt end of the fig, squeeze it until it popped, and eat the insides before chewing up what was left, and spitting out the stem. It seems that the lucky Mr Hank has a super-abundance of figs and fortuitously he has several recipes for resolving the dilemma. Check out what he concocts with "Too Many Figs - What to Do?"

My good friend Steve, The Rabid Outdoorsman has published his fifth, that's right, FIFTH article in The Maine Sportsman, New England's largest outdoor publication! The article will appear in the September issue, and Steve has kindly included the unedited version on his blog The Maine Outdoorsman. Steve's a heck of a good guy and I have corresponded at length with him on a variety of subjects, and not once has he mentioned his writing accomplishments. Oh, and the post is darned good too!

Borepatch, the really smart guy I read regularly, has a very interesting post on climate change. The data being used, and the methodologies being used to determine what the hell is going on is, how would you put it... questionable. Now I believe that something really strange is going on. And as far as I can tell, it sure as hades is getting warmer. Now what that means is beyond my ability to figure out. But if you look at many of the Naturalist paintings of the late 1800's and it seems that it sure was a lot colder back in the day. And there is no denying that the ice pack and glaciers are retreating. So the issue is what does this all mean? Borepatch doesn't give you an answer, but he gives you plenty to think about!

Well that, I think, is this week's round up of really good posts.Italic Stop by and take a look at everyone's offerings, they put a lot of hard work into it!

Best Regards,

Friday, August 28, 2009

Poachers Nabbed!

Several Poachers and poaching rings have been busted up recently. Aggressive police work has put a major hurt on these scoundrels, and may act as a deterrent to any other clowns that might be considering any shenanigans.

In Utah...
"a call to Utah's Turn-in-a-Poacher hotline has resulted in a major poaching arrest in southwestern Utah.

On August 18, Hurricane resident Mathew Steven Spendlove was charged with four Class A misdemeanors and three Class B misdemeanors in 5th District Court in St. George.

The charges stem from the poaching of seven buck deer in Washington County. If Spendlove is found guilty, he could spend the next five years in jail, pay $13,000 in fines and pay $2,800 in restitution for the animals he took."

In Yosemite National Park
..."Three men face multiple poaching charges for hunting within Yosemite National Park, according to park officials.

Southern California residents Chad Gierlich, Chris Gierlich and Kyle Naraska allegedly poached multiple trophy-sized buck within park boundaries, officials said. "This is the most egregious case of illegal hunting we have uncovered here in Yosemite," chief park ranger Steve Shackelton said.

This one in Washington is a gang of the most slime soaked, scum of the earth, pieces of crap, I have read about in a long time:

"The investigation that started in 2006 finally ended in November, when the last of four defendants — including Gordon — pleaded guilty to poaching-related charges in Lewis County.

Gordon, a one-time hospital nurse who is now serving 13 months in prison, declined to comment. But the state Fish and Wildlife Department recently opened its files from the investigation, which included the account of Sharpe's first meeting with Gordon. The case is notable for its colorful characters, the extensive use of an undercover officer, the fact that jail sentences were handed down in a case where people poached for fun rather than profit, and the scale of wanton carnage claimed by a group of Southwest Washington men.

Nothing, it seemed, was too big or too small for the hunters, who took wildlife both legally and illegally. Their claimed victims included house cats, bobcats, mountain lions, elk, deer, bears, a turkey vulture, fish and one of their own hunting dogs."

All of us have a duty and obligation to report any poaching, of any wildlife. Know the laws in your state. Report violators and be proud of the fact that you are safeguarding these natural resources for the future.

Do the right thing.


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Florida matters: Florida Deer Hunters: When's the Rut?


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants to hear from hunters around the state regarding "when" they think the white-tailed deer rut happens in their neck of the woods.

The FWC, along with its deer management stakeholder group, is considering making possible changes to Florida's deer hunting zones and corresponding season dates. The first goal of the "Strategic Plan for Deer Management in Florida 2008-2018" is to manage deer at a more local level and better align hunting season dates with peak rutting (breeding) activity.

The FWC has deer-breeding information from many counties and several of its wildlife management areas, but there are gaps in the biological data. The deer management stakeholder group would like to obtain rut information from hunters to try and close gaps in the data.

The agency recognizes the value of local knowledge and is asking hunters who are familiar with when the deer rut historically occurs in the areas where they hunt to fill out an online survey. The FWC would like to take this information to compare hunters' perceptions of the rut with scientifically known conception data.

During rutting periods, bucks are more active during daylight (shooting) hours and often less cautious, making the chances of seeing them in the field better.

"Deer hunters want to hunt during the rut, and we want to be able to share comprehensive information about when the rut occurs with the hunting public," FWC biologist and deer team coordinator Cory Morea said. "We realize a lot of hunters know when the rut happens in their area, and we want to take this information and compare it with our conception data to see if they are similar. It would be great to be able to use any new data to help fill in the holes in what we already know.

"At the very least, we think there is value in knowing what hunters perceive as the peak of the rut where they hunt," Morea said.

To fill out the deer rut survey, see the latest updates on proposed deer zones and season dates or to comment on these potential changes, go to

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Florida Matters: Florida Hunter Safety Courses

Hunter Safety Course Offered in Okaloosa County

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering a free hunter safety course in Okaloosa County.

The course will be at the Okaloosa County Extension Office, 127 W. Hollywood Blvd. in Fort Walton Beach. Instruction will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 8, 9, 10 and 11; the range portion of the class will be Sept. 12.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Students are encouraged to bring a pencil and paper with them to take notes.

The hunter safety course is required for anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, to purchase a Florida hunting license. The FWC course satisfies hunter safety training requirements for all other states and Canadian provinces.

People interested in attending this course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at or by calling the FWC's regional office in Panama City at 850-265-3676.

HSUS Employees Sowing Dissension by Impersonating Hunters

HSUS Employees Posing as Hunters
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Bitter of Snow Flakes in Hells has had an interesting exchange with an individual posing as a hunter. Knowing my keen interest in the matter, he thought I might be interested in the exchange. I most certainly am.

Hi Albert,

As a hunting blogger and your previous posts on related topics, I thought you might be interested in this:

An HSUS staffer actually came to the blog posing as a hunter and claimed, "Growing up I remember the thrill of the chase."

Given that the blog is mostly focused on guns, he pretended to be a longtime reader and gun owner. Though it appears to have been a sham to attack NRA for putting their weight behind HSUS anti-hunting projects.

"Sebastian I like your blog, but in general feel that hunters are getting so caught up in the 'US vs THEM' fight, it’s a lot easier to defend hunting wild game then explain why one would rather hunt elk in a fenced in area – what kind of sport is that?"
"it’s one thing to oppose them on issues that makes sense – but I nearly canceled my NRA membership when I saw them fighting a puppy mill bill – we could be more effective by not opposing every single thing with their logo on it, and only that which actually effects us!"
"But regardless, my point was more why the NRA was getting involved – I’d rather have them focus on gun leg!"

As soon as his IP address was pointed out, he has not commented again even though he had been commenting every few minutes for half an hour.

While there is certainly room for legitimate debate on issues in the community, pro-hunting bloggers should check their logs to see where unknown or new commenter are coming from if their post is about hunting or fishing issues HSUS is taking up. They could be HSUS employees posing as hunters trying to divide the community. They may claim to be members of pro-hunting organizations as part of their charade.

Feel free to post about this, pass word on to the hunting blogosphere, or use it just to keep an eye on your site.

Bitter &"

Thanks to Bitter and I appreciate Bitter taking the time to let me know what's going on. This is one of the many reasons why I argue against folks taking a purist's or elitist stance. There is room for compromise among all hunters. When we become divisive among ourselves organizations like the HSUS exploit those cracks, which will allow them to divide and destroy our way of life.

Related Posts:

Giving Conservation a Bad Name
Game Reserves, High Fence Hunting What are the Facts?
Sometimes it is Hard to See the Forest...
High Fence Hunting

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Florida Matters: Snook Season Opens September 1st !

Snook Season Opens Soon!

For Florida fishing aficionados, September 1st is a big deal. Snook season opens! The linesiders will be available for table fare if you are so inclined.

Here are the rules courtesy of the FWC's Snook Rules Page:

"The recreational harvest season for snook opens in all Florida waters Sept. 1.

Anglers may keep one snook between 28 and 33 inches total length daily in Gulf of Mexico, Everglades National Park and Monroe County coastal and inland waters until the season closes in these areas on Dec. 1.

In coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean and in inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, anglers may take one snook between 28 and 32 inches total length daily until the season closes in these areas on Dec. 15.

Licensed saltwater anglers must purchase a $2 permit to harvest snook. Snatch-hooking and spearing snook are prohibited, and it is illegal to buy or sell snook. Snook regulations also apply in federal waters."

Screaming drags and popped lines are the order of the day when linesiders come out to play!

Best regards,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mongol Rally - Making Life Less Boring

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

"We don't want guided tours up the first third of Everest. We don't want some gangly suntanned arse from Peckham explaining how the “locals” cook pickled gonads while ushering us around tourist sites we saw last week on the telly. Flush your guide books down the loo people. Join The Adventurists in our battle with an increasingly boring, sanitised world."

I am carefully minding my own business when I get an e-mail from Mike Spinneli over at Mike's Travels...and Travails. It seems that Mike has made a motion to induct our fearless overseas correspondent, SBW, and the foolhardy Florida correspondent, ME, to participate in the aforementioned Mongol Rally!

Besides the fact that I am clear over on this side of the proverbial pond...

Well, there really isn't anything holding me back from participating, other than I don't have two cents to rub together, but that's has never stopped me from doing anything senseless before.

So now I am giving serious consideration to this potential misadventure.

All I will have to do is line up some sponsors, get a case of Booker's, find a car, grab SBW, and rally to Mongolia. What could be simpler?

While I was reviewing the maps of the un-route, I noticed they have a scenic by-pass through the northern reaches of Afghanistan! What could be better! I've heard that most of the people are friendly, they have a Fourth of July type of celebration almost daily, and that the goat and rice dishes are to die for!

The more I read about the Mongol Rally, the more enthused I am becoming. SBW and I would become "Adventurists," challenging the world and quite possibly going down in a flames of glory, or ending up in prison after causing some kind of international incident that only Bill Clinton can get us out of.

"These adventures are genuinely dangerous things to do. The website is written in a light-hearted fashion but you cannot underestimate the risks involved in undertaking this kind of adventure. Your chance of dying can be very high, some past teams have been seriously injured. These adventures are not a glorified holiday. They are an adventure and so by their very nature extremely risky. You really are on your own. If it all goes wrong, that's it, tough."

Man! could they have phrased it in any other way that would not have drawn me like a moth to a flame? I don't think so!

Daihatsu Charade before TROC/SBW makeover.

After the makeover...

Post Rally...

Yes my friends, I get the feeling that this may take a life of its own.

Now to convince SBW...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

On Sale Now! - Whitetail Woods Shirts

Whitetail Woods: On Sale Now! - Whitetail Woods Shirts

I just want to put this out there for everyone to take note of. Rick Kratzke has printed out some very nice shirts with Whitetail Woods on it.

I would encourage everyone who can to invest a few dollars in them. Not only do you get a nifty shirt, but you are helping support the incredible effort made by Rick to keep you informed, entertained, and enlightened.

I'm saving some pocket change for a couple of weeks and ordering one from Whitetail Woods.

Best Regards,

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Range Reviews: SiegeWork Creations Longbow Pt I

High marks on an impressive bow!
© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

The SWC American Longbow

She doesn't have a name...yet.

I have had a traditional hunting bow since I was thirteen years old. It's a Ben Pearson Flame Hunter recurve take-down, drawing 50lbs at 28". I shot that bow religiously throughout my teen years until I was a senior in high school when I bought a Browning Compound Cobra. Try as I might, I never had the opportunity to hunt deer in all those years.

Every so often, I pull those bows down off the shelf, and after looking them over and dusting them off, draw them a few times, and maybe shoot a few arrows and then unceremoniously put them away to gather dust again.

I really have been meaning to get around to shooting the bow again, specifically traditional archery, but it seems that there is never enough time. Figuring that I would be long gone, dead and buried before I ever "got around" to it, I decided that I was going to make time and rekindle my love affair with the bow. Remember, unlike my Ruger 458WM #1, a traditional bow is quiet, relatively non-threatening, and I can practice with it anytime I have fifteen yards of space available to me.

I looked around Al Gore's Internet and found dozens of traditional bow makers of all shapes and sizes, strewn throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, and some places even I didn't know existed.

Dave the Scythian
Digging in a little deeper, I narrowed in on a great little company out of Texas. Named SiegeWork Creations, in reference to their medieval roots, they still handcraft traditional wood bows for the hunter and target shooter.

A few things attracted me to them. First and foremost it's an American company using American materials wherever possible. Secondly, the bows are handmade one at a time. Some machine work is done of course, but it is done by hand. Third, the prices are very reasonable. You could save your lunch money and spare change for a few weeks and get a full set up. To top it all off Dave, the owner of SiegeWork Creations, rides a horse and shoots with his bows. That's just too cool in my book!

SiegeWork Creations is owned by Dave Ruff and his wife Sara Ahlers. SWC actually originated from Dave and Sara's medieval faire vendor business. Selling bows to re-enactors and fans of the medieval era, they did pretty well, but Dave, having shot bows since he was a young man, wanted something more.

During the winter of 2000 Dave started building bows, and after six months of “practice” (also known as making kindling), he was carving out some pretty good bows. Before long he was selling them locally and garnering a reputation for a good dependable bow, at a reasonable price.

So light, she floats!
“Our mission is to provide a good and dependable bow without the high dollar cost that they seem to bring.” Dave said over the phone. “Let’s face it; the cost of materials is equal in a $700 custom laminate bow that has a big name and a $300 custom laminate bow that has a small time maker’s name.”

Dave continued, “No need to spend hundreds of dollars more on a custom bow, when our bows are custom made using the same materials that the higher priced bows are made of, using the same methods of construction, but are 30 to 50% less in price.” He paused, “And why is that? We don't believe in over-charging our customers for them to get into a great all round bow.”

I was intrigued. I’ve coveted a long bow for as long as I have been using a bow, and in particular I’ve wanted a Howard Hill laminate long bow. I remember watching Howard Hill when I was a little kid, and being mesmerized by his abilities. I mentioned it in passing to Dave.

“Albert, we also make the SWC Long Bow in a wood and bamboo laminate. We have a wood supplier here locally that runs a mill, and we have access to well over 3000 board foot of lumber that we crawl through every month looking for bow wood. I can guarantee you a bow as good as anything coming from any manufacturer without the high price tag for the signature. And they are all handcrafted, one at a time by our master bowyer.”

Well, I really wanted to try one now! So after consultation with Dave and some deliberation I decided on the SWC American Long Bow… Just a plain Jane standard model to start with. In a few months I may decide on something a little more extravagant and with more weight.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. From the vantage point of the "office" window, I saw the postman drive up, and I could also see a long narrow package on the dash of his vehicle. You know what that was! Heedless of dog, cat, and prostate children, I rushed down the stairs taking the steps in bounds of two and three. Seeing me coming up fast, the postman quickly stuck the long, narrow box out the driver’s window, knowing full and well that I was quite capable of climbing in and claiming what was mine.

Eagerly opening the end of the box and sliding out my new bow, I carefully unwrapping it from the packing material. I was immediately taken by the well crafted string nocks. As I peeled the paper back from the limbs, I noted the smooth satiny finish, the even laminations, the color contrast, and the weight - boy was it light. Even my jaded postman was impressed.

I noted the writing on the lower limb. 51# @ 28. I have a slightly longer draw length just shy of 30”, and Dave has assured me that I can draw it to 31” without any problem. That should put it at about 53# to 55# at my draw length. And that my friends, is more than adequate for any pig that crosses my path.

Grip and Arrow Shelf

Let’s take a closer look at the bow itself, before we go shoot it.

Grip to Riser

The SWC American is 70.75 inches overall unstrung, and weighs about 16 ounces. Dave suggests a minimum brace height of 6.5 inches and up to 7.5. Strung to 7.0 inches the overall length is 67 3/4th inches.

The grip transitions smoothly to the risers, and they in turn transition into the limbs with no abrupt change in geometry.

The grip and riser length is 18 and 1/4 inches from the point it narrows at each limb. The grip is made of walnut with three laminates of maple on the outside. A layer of black e-glass goes over all, and at the grip there is a walnut addition of finger grooves. Above and below the grip there are an additional two layers of maple for the limbs plus the belly layer of e-glass. The total depth of the grip is 2 and 1/16th inches, and it is what I would describe as straight. The sight window is 3 and 1/2 inches, and the arrow shelf is 7/16th of an inch in depth. Dave includes a calf hair pad on the shelf and side plate.

The limbs are 26 1/4 inches long from the riser’s end to the tip. As it is a long bow, the limbs are perfectly straight. The draw weight is, as I mentioned, 51# at 28 inches, and it will draw to 31”. The limbs have a rectangular cross-section, and are 1 and 5/16th inches at their widest. The bow nocks are made of walnut, and are handsomely carved out of the tips.

Walnut and Maple Laminations

The string is a standard 3-ply Flemish in brown and green, and is as good a looking piece of woven string as any I’ve seen.

The draw is smooth with a constant increase in poundage.

There is no hint of stacking at the end of the draw. Stacking is when you hit a point where the bow is not going to bend any further. The fibers on the back of the bow are as stretched out as they will go and the ones on the inside are at maximum compression. The American is smooth all the way back, with room to spare for those of you that are longer reached.

I also draw with three fingers, no mechanicals for Albert. As it is a long bow, the string angle is great enough to make finger pinch a none issue. For shorter bows a release might be necessary, or a different gripping method such as a thumb ring.

Those are the physical attributes of the SWC American Long Bow. I am really impressed by the fit and finish, the quality of the materials; for the money you cannot go wrong!

In the next couple of days, I’ll delve into my impressions from the initial shoot, and what I am going to need to work on.

The SWC American Longbow
Base Price: $189.00

NEWS: The American is now being hand crafted by Michael Lee of Stickbow Archery. Same quality, same great price. Check out Michael's blog Michael Lee's Stickbow Archery!

Post of Interest:
The SWC American is Here!
The Range Reviews: SiegeWorks Creations American Longbow Part I
The Range Reviews: SiegeWorks Creations American Longbow Part II

Florida Matters: CWD in Florida, Pythons on License, Youngest Grand Slam

A few" Odds and Ends" this morning.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has not found any evidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) after extensive testing of the state's white-tailed deer population.

"While we can never say that Florida is entirely free of the disease without testing every deer, this sample size gives us confidence that if CWD is present in Florida, it is at low levels," Dr. Mark Cunningham, FWC's wildlife veterinarian, said. "However, even low numbers of CWD-positive deer would be cause for concern, so we plan to continue testing for the foreseeable future."

"We're asking hunters to report any sightings of sick or emaciated deer, or deer dead of unknown causes," Cunningham said. "If you see such a deer, call toll-free 866-CWD-WATCH (293-9282). Please do not handle the deer. Wildlife biologists will respond, and if necessary, collect deer tissue for testing. It's important to contact us as soon as possible, because sample collection must take place within 48 hours of a deer's death to yield reliable results."

I knew that sooner or later they would put the pythons on license. Now my question is how long before someone outfits for "Burmese as Long as a Bus!"

"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Big Cypress National Preserve will implement a program to reduce the number of Burmese pythons in the wild in Florida. Beginning August 29, the FWC and Big Cypress will enlist the help of licensed hunters on specific wildlife management areas in South Florida."

"It is only natural that we enlist the aid of hunters," said Rodney Barreto, FWC chairman. "Historically, hunters have played a great role with wildlife conservation in this country, and they know the land and have a vested interest in conserving native habitat and game species."

A great family story

"At age 7, Adriana Armstrong may be the youngest girl to harvest the grand slam of turkeys. Her older sister, 11-year old Alli, also scored a grand slam in the spring of 2009. Although many hunters strive to achieve this coveted milestone, the two Illinois siblings are believed to be the youngest grand-slam-sister-team on record."

"The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) identifies the grand slam of turkey hunting as harvesting an Eastern, Rio Grande, Merriam’s and Oscelos (Florida) birds. The NWTF awarded the girl’s accomplishments with official certificates and pins. Adriana is believed to be the youngest girl to complete a grand slam."

The day is just starting! Lots to do so keep on the lookout for further posts!