Friday, January 28, 2011

Things To Do After Hunting Seasons End

After winter hunting seasons are over, most hunters have a little spare time before spring arrives. The following list offers a few ideas for outdoors and hunting-related activities.

 - store and maintain decoys and other waterfowl hunting gear
 - experiment with game feeders and monitoring cameras
 - scout out new hunting areas
 - take an outdoor photography trip
 - maintain hunting areas and pickup trash from recent hunting trips
 - perform feed plot maintenance
 - take a shell collecting trip to a local beach
 - harvest shellfish such as clams, oysters and mussels
 - go ice fishing
 - cut wood for smoking wild game or for fuel
 - plan a spring turkey hunting trip
 - visit an outdoor expo
 - process harvested game by smoking, making jerky, etc.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Satellites Aid in the Rescue of 295 People in 2010

In 2010, NOAA satellites were critical in the rescues of 295 people from life-threatening situations throughout the United States and its surrounding waters. The satellites picked up distress signals from emergency beacons carried by downed pilots, shipwrecked boaters and stranded hikers, and relayed the information about their location to first responders on the ground.

NOAA’s polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites, along with Russia’s COSPAS spacecraft, are part of the international Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking system, called COSPAS-SARSAT. This system uses a network of satellites to quickly detect and locate distress signals from emergency beacons onboard aircraft and boats, and from smaller, handheld personal locator beacons called PLBs.

Alaska had the most people rescued last year with 77, followed by Florida with 37, and West Virginia with 17, who were aboard a downed Army Reserve helicopter.

When a NOAA satellite finds the location of a distress signal within the United States or its surrounding waters, the information is relayed to the SARSAT Mission Control Center based at NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md. From there, the information is quickly sent to a Rescue Coordination Center, operated by either the U.S. Air Force, for land rescues, or the U.S. Coast Guard, for water rescues.

Now in its 29th year, COSPAS-SARSAT has been credited with supporting more than 28,000 rescues worldwide, including more than 6,500 in the United States and its surrounding waters.

source: NOAA press release

Friday, January 21, 2011

USDA to Fund Public Access for Hunting, Fishing, Recreation and Habitat Restoration

On Jan. 19, 2011, USDA officials announced that an additional $8 million is available to create or expand existing public access programs or provide incentives to increase access to hunting and fishing and to improve wildlife habitat on enrolled lands. The funding is being provided through the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).

The funding is authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill. Approximately $11.75 million of VPA-HIP funds were awarded to 17 states in 2010.

Twenty-six states have public access programs for hunting, fishing and other related activities. These programs provide rental payments and other incentives, such as technical or conservation services to landowners who, in return, allow public hunting, fishing or other compatible recreational activities on their land.

States and tribal governments can submit VPA-HIP applications for 2011 funding through the federal government's grants portal - to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for consideration. Funding will be awarded to those state and tribal governments whose proposals are accepted by FSA. States with approved applications and funding awarded in 2010 associated with multi-year VPA-HIP proposals do not need to re-submit request for application in 2011.

For more information on VPA-HIP, visit

source: USDA

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pennsylania On-Water Hunting Safety Tips

Pennsylvania's Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is urging hunters to wear their life jackets when they are on the water.

“Hunters using boats, canoes and kayaks must remember to wear the most important piece of equipment while on the water – a lifejacket,” says Ryan Walt, the Commission’s boating and watercraft safety manager. “People drown needlessly every year because they fail to wear their life jacket.

“If you are headed out on the water for a day of hunting, or running that winter trap line, following basic water safety tips will go a long way towards making sure your hunting trip is a safe one.”

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission To Hold Deer Antler Scoring

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers will be scoring deer antlers on January 29, 2011. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at Scott's Gunsmithing and Sales, 4201 S. U.S. 441 in Lake City, Fl.

The deer being scored must have been taken in Florida by fair-chase methods. Qualifying antlers will be recorded in the Florida Buck Registry; owners will receive a certificate suitable for framing and a patch.

The FWC established the Florida Buck Registry in 1982 to provide hunters with a record of the number and quality of white-tailed deer taken in Florida and to give recognition to Florida hunters. The minimum qualifying antler score is 100 Boone and Crockett inches for typical antlers and 125 for non-typical antlers.

For more information, call Scott's Gunsmithing and Sales at 386-752-9898. To learn more about the Florida Buck Registry, go to

source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bighorn Sheep Released in Oregon

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) recently released California bighorn sheep at two new locations, Cottonwood Canyon State Park and near the John Day Fossil Beds.

Cottonwood Canyon is a new state park in the John Day River Canyon scheduled to open in 2013. While there are a few bighorn sheep in the park’s southern edge, this month’s operation was the first time sheep have been released at the park.

The other release occurred on BLM land, in the Branson Creek portion of the upper John Day River, near the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

As the herds get established in these two locations over the next few years, visitors will find viewing and eventually, hunting opportunities for the sheep.

The bighorn sheep released were first captured from areas where they are more plentiful—20 from around the Lower Deschutes River and 40 from around the John Day River. Twenty each were released at the two Oregon locations.

The final 20 sheep went to the Seminoe Mountains in Wyoming to supplement a release made last year. Wyoming Game and Fish paid for the cost of the capture and transport of these sheep.

Bighorn sheep are native to both areas where they were released in Oregon. The relocations are part of ongoing efforts to restore this animal to its native range.

Bighorn sheep are one of the rarest game mammals in Oregon today. They were extirpated from the state by the 1940s due to unregulated hunting and their susceptibility to domestic livestock diseases. Less than 100 bighorn sheep tags are offered to hunters each year on a “once-in-a-lifetime” hunt basis.

ODFW also auctions and raffles off a bighorn sheep tag each year at events sponsored by sportsmen conservation groups; proceeds from the sales benefit the management of bighorn sheep. Sportsmen conservation organizations like FNAWS also contribute monies to fund bighorn sheep recovery across North America.

A small population of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep live in the Wallowa Mountains; the rest of the animals in the state are California bighorn sheep. ODFW generally relocates 20-80 bighorn sheep annually with the ultimate goal of creating healthy bighorn sheep populations in all available, suitable habitats within Oregon.

source: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife