Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sambar Deer in Florida

National Wildlife Refuges Offer Special Hunts

Here is an adventure that I am surely going to have to try to get in on! This fall, Northwest Florida offers  a unique "big-game" hunt on the island of St. Vincent NWR.

For hunters looking to rough it a bit more and go after some truly big game, the 12,490-acre, undeveloped barrier island of St. Vincent NWR in Franklin County is where the hunt's on for the enormous, imported sambar deer. These reddish-brown deer, which are actually in the elk family, are native to Southeast Asia and were introduced on the island in 1908. They can measure 6 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh more than 700 pounds in Florida.

You also can harvest wild hogs on this hunt, but it must be with bows or muzzleloaders. Hunters with a Disabled Crossbow Permit may use crossbows.

Image Credit: David Behrens
Stags Battleing!
 The primitive-weapon sambar deer/wild hog hunt takes place Dec. 2-4, and there are 200 permits available, costing $25. Hunters who drew this hunt last year aren't eligible to apply this year.

The bag limit on sambars is two (male or female), and there is no bag limit on hogs.

You can get to St. Vincent Island only by boat. If you don't have one, you can contact the local chamber of commerce for a list of boat captains who will ferry you to and from the island for a fee.

The island has no electricity, and generators are not allowed, so it's all about primitive camping for three days. Hunters may have a small campfire, but only using wood they take with them or dead wood they find on the ground.

Take a bicycle, unless you plan to walk everywhere. If you do harvest any game, however, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff will pick up you and your animal in one of their trucks. That's the only way you're catching a ride in a motorized vehicle, unless you're a disabled hunter. Those hunters receive special accommodations and transportation to and from their hunting spots.

Sambars feed on aquatic vegetation, so you're not likely to find them in drier, upland habitat. It's best to set up in marshes. Sambar prefers staying in the forested hill-sides preferably near cultivation. They are almost nocturnal, feeding mainly at night and retiring by daybreak. Their diet is mainly grass, leaves, various kinds of wild fruit. These animals have a life expectancy ranging between 16 - 20 years.Shooting hours for this hunt end at 3 p.m. each day.

All hunt permits are nontransferable. An adult must accompany permit holders under age 16 on all of these hunts, but that person may not hunt. Mobility-impaired hunters can bring one guest who may hunt, but both hunters must share a single person's bag limit.

Up to five hunters can choose to apply as a group. To apply as a group, one person must first apply as group leader, indicate the creation of a group and enter the hunt choice for the group. The group leader receives a group number (prints on receipt), which group members must have. Each group member must then submit a $5 application and indicate the group number.

To apply, fill out the 2010-2011 NWR worksheet at, select text under "Limited Entry Hunts" and enter the four-digit hunt number for the requested hunt date. Submit completed applications at, county tax collectors' offices or retail outlets that sell hunting and fishing supplies, through 11:59 p.m. June 10. (OOPS!!! I'm a little too late!)

The FWC issues these permits by a random drawing that takes place in early August. You may apply only once for each hunt. The application fee is $5. If you submit your application at a license agent or tax collector's office, be sure to get your worksheet back from the clerk, along with your receipt.

You can check the results of the drawing online at; click on "Limited Entry Hunts" and look for the link "Check Permit Availability and Drawing Results."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Range Reviews: Desert Locust PDQ

You know that I find the glasses and goggles made by Revision Eyewear are the cat's meow. Personally I wear their Desert Locusts and my favorite, the Bullet Ant. Bubby wears the Sawfly and Hellfly, while Jordan has a set of Sawfly shooting glasses.

Revision Eyewear's Desert Locust PDQ Release is a new goggle strapping system designed by Special Forces type operators who need and demanded a system that allows eye protection to be quickly taken off and on in an instant.

Revision has developed a patented system that allows for single-handed removal and reattachment of the Desert Locust Goggle while keeping the eyewear convenient and ready to deploy. The Desert Locust PDQ does not interfere with any other helmet mounted gear. Where conventional straps might interfere with night vision goggles, lights, or other equipment, Revision's system doesn't.

Combat tested and proven in rapidly changing environments, Revision's Desert Locust PDQ Release system includes elastic halo, 2 side straps with end clips for $36.99 and available online.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bowman Lodge: Serving Those that have Served

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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To Serve Those who have Served Us
 Bowman Lodge

I have the distinct pleasure of introducing to you a new lodge and hunting facility that I hope to visit and report on in the near future.

I first spoke with Paul Bowman Jr almost a year ago while we were all discussing private property concerns and the issues of access, game management, and fencing. Paul and I discussed many of the issues in depth, illuminating many areas, and leaving others open to more discussion.

Paul had a vision, and as a veteran of the United States Marine Corps (Operation Desert Storm), and having served in law enforcement for eight years in the Lone Star State, he has seen first hand the almost insurmountable odds that disabled veterans have to contend with.

His wife Britani, comes from a family steeped in outdoor pursuits. Britani's father, William W. Talley II, served as a nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy and was a lifelong member of Safari Club International. An avid hunter, he often traveled the world over. He instilled in Britani a great interest in wildlife and conservation issues. With a strong desire to give back to their country and support his fellow vets, they have combined their love of the outdoors, with the desire to honor her family's legacy by creating Bowman Lodge at their Lone Tree ranch.

Several days ago I received this email from Paul:

just wanted to touch base with you and let you know that our lodge is finally complete! We are in the process of furnishing it and moving stuff in; we hope to have our open house sometime in July. Our first group of disabled hunters will be a group of 101st Airborne Soldiers from Ft. Campbell in October.

Wow!!! I'm excited, and I'm halfway around the world!

Paul has set up a very attractive website to get the word out: Bowman Lodge

From the  Bowman Lodge website:

To Serve Those who have Served Us

Many military personnel have hunted and fished all of their lives. They enlist, train, deploy overseas to serve our country – and sometimes return as disabled veterans. They wonder if they will ever again be able to enjoy the outdoor sports they once loved.

The  Bowman Lodge at Lone Tree Ranch was established by vets, for vets…to give them the complete outdoor experience they deserve.

A natural hunter’s paradise awaits!

Lone Tree Ranch is 1,100 acres of mixed hardwood forests and open grassland, located outside Morris, Oklahoma. Trophy whitetail deer, turkey, and a variety of small game animals abound. Fifteen stocked ponds provide ample fishing opportunities as well.

Here, there are no limits on what you can do.

We offer all the luxury of a high-fenced, commercial hunt , minus the restrictions. If you sight it, you can shoot it. We have worked with other vets to provide a variety of adaptive hunting measures – special transport, blinds and stands – to ensure an exciting, fulfilling hunt. All hunts are fully guided by a fellow veteran.

The Hunting Grounds

Built for disabled vets from the ground up.

Bowman Lodge is an 8,000 square-foot, 5-star lodge that is wheelchair-friendly and ADA-compliant. It can house up to 4 hunters (each with a non-hunting guest, if desired). The lodge features an expansive community area with amazing views of the property, as well as a full bar and poker table. Delicious, homestyle ranch meals are provided by the founders, as well as Starla, owner of the most popular café in the region.


All lodging, meals, beverages, travel expenses, hunting licenses, tags, fees and meat processing fees are provided at absolutely no cost to the hunter. Funding is provided through the Talley Bowman Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. The Foundation is dedicated to helping vets re- discover the confidence and camaraderie that the great outdoors can provide.

Please visit the their website, and leave a few words of encouragement on their blog! Personally, I am looking forward to visiting Bowman Lodge and spreading the word on this wonderful opportunity for disabled veteran sportsmen!

Albert A Rasch
Member Bagram 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, 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