Crimson Trace

SUBSCRIPTION    SUBMIT RELEASES    ADVERTISE    ARCHIVES    CONTACT                                  THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2014
— EDITOR'S NOTE
Final Editions for 2014
The Friday, December 19, 2014 editions of The Outdoor Wire Digital Network will be our final editions for 2014. As we have for the past 12 holiday seasons, we're taking that time for organization and preparation for 2015 as well as some quality time with our families. If you have information you want distributed prior to January, 2015, it must reach our mailboxes no later than 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 18. That news will be included in the appropriate Friday editions. Over the holiday we will be updating you with our Twitter feeds and more -and Friday's edition will carry news of new services for our readers in 2015.

— ACQUISITIONS
Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc. has acquired Weston Products, LLC from Highgate Capital LLC. Weston Products, a leader in wild game processing equipment, will become Weston Brands under Hamilton Beach Brands. (MORE) Hamilton Beach Acquires Weston Products | For More...

— BIRDING
Public and private groups in Oklahoma have collaborated to offer more than 30 dates over the winter throughout the state that will offer the public opportunities to observe bald eagles wintering there. | For More...

— COMPETITION
With the fall semester coming to a close, the 2015 Cabela's Collegiate Bass Fishing Series is on its way. | For More...

— CONTESTS
The 2015 contests allows promising young writers and poets to showcase their skills and win cash prizes totaling $1,700, thanks to the support and sponsorship of Safari Club International Foundation. | For More...

— INDUSTRY
Moon Shine, LP, designer of Moon Shine Camo, announces their partnership with Northwest Seat Covers. NW Seat Covers now offers two styles of custom seat covers in Muddy Girl Camouflage throughout North America. | For More...

Midwest Whitetail has partnered with internet and social media marketing company Stone Road Media to help increase the shows online footprint and deer hunting community. | For More...

The High Road television show and Keith Warren announce a sponsorship agreement with iON Cameras. Warren will use iON CamoCAM™ point-of-view (POV) cameras to capture high-definition footage during the production of The High Road series. | For More...

XLR Industries (www.xlrindustries.com) has added Travis Gibson to its competitive 3 gun team. | For More...

— JOBS
CREST MARINE is looking for candidates to join our innovative and award winning organization that can make significant contributions to our product development function. | For More...

Whitetails Unlimited has a career opportunity for two Field Director positions, one in Georgia and one in Virginia. | For More...

— MARINE ELECTRONICS
The all-new, easy-to-use Mark-4 and Elite-4 combine CHIRP Sonar with DownScan Imaging™ technology, a super-bright, daylight-viewable, LED-backlit display, built-in GPS antenna and high-definition mapping options - all at affordable prices. | For More...

— MARINE RESEARCH
Climate change seems to be pushing several species of fish and crustaceans northward along the east and west coasts of North America which could have serious effects on birds, marine mammals and those who depend on fishing for food and income. | For More...

— NEW PRODUCTS
LaserLyte® announces the release of their latest laser training pistol with an integrated laser for training: The LaserLyte® Trigger Tyme® Laser Pistol. With instant laser feedback anyone can practice trigger control anywhere and anytime with the realistic feel, balance and weight of the LT-TTL. MSRP is $149.95. | For More...

TALON Ordnance, announces the introduction of the Eagle Shield line of weapon lubricants and cleaners. | For More...

After delivering over 600,000 M9 pistols to the DOD and on the heels of being awarded a new contract for up to 100,000 M9s, Beretta USA announces the presentation of the M9A3 to the US Army. The M9A3 introduces major improvements to the M9 that will increase the operational effectiveness and operational suitability of the weapon. | For More...

The new Bass Pro Shops® Extreme Series spinning reel justly and proudly bears the label "Extreme:" It's tough enough to take anything you or the tournament trail can throw at it. | For More...

— NEWS
Heizer Defense announced the shipping of the new PAR1 "Pocket AR Pistol" in .223. The pistol is the next caliber offering in the Heizer Defense Pocket Pistol Family. | For More...

— OLYMPIC SHOOTING
In a year that included historic results for USA Shooting's shotgun program, it is only fitting that the two athletes that earned this season's biggest prize be honored as USA Shooting's Athletes of the Year. Double Trap World Champion Josh Richmond and Skeet World Champion Brandy Drozd are this year's honorees | For More...

— ORGANIZATIONS
The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership has released their comprehensive list of the Top 10 Underreported Conservation Stories of 2014. | For More...

Two vacancies on the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) board have been filled by Steve Bendzak, Vice President of Sales at Simms Fishing Products, and Dr Brandon Shuler, freelance journalist and Oceans Advocate for The Oceans Conservancy. | For More...

The East Gulf Coastal Plain Joint Venture has released its prescribed fire communications strategy, entitled "A Burning Issue: Prescribed Fire and Fire-adapted Habitats of the East Gulf Coastal Plain" focusing on policy, outreach and education goals that address current impediments to the use of prescribed fire. | For More...

Houston Safari Club (HSC) has provided a grant to the Texas Game Warden Association (TGWA) in support of their annual youth hunt. | For More...

— PEOPLE
A Cheboygan man who has been involved in teaching hunter education and firearm safety for 67 years has been named the 2014 Hunter Education Volunteer Instructor of the Year in Michigan. | For More...

— PUBLISHING
Whether you are new to AR-15 fandom or a lifelong enthusiast, Kevin Muramatsu's new book, Gun Digest Guide to Customizing Your AR-15, is sure to inspire firearm owners to reexamine their gun's potential and range. | For More...

50 Famous Firearms You've Got to Own: Rick Hacker's Bucket List of Guns, the latest offering from Gun Digest Books, details Hacker's personal picks for the best all-around firearms for shooting, investment, collecting, self-protection and plinking. | For More...

— RADIO
During this week's Armed American Radio national broadcast, host Mark Walters and his on-air guests, self-defense expert Massad Ayoob, Gail Pepin and Claude Werner were surprised when they received a call from George Zimmerman. | For More...

— SPONSORSHIPS
Ranger Boats will expand its support of the 2015 Cabela's Collegiate Bass Fishing Series in 2015. | For More...

— STATES
The holidays are here and Michigan state park lodges offer perfect places for a fun and affordable staycation. The modern accommodations provide all the comforts of home, in a variety of beautiful outdoor settings. | For More...

Eagle Imports, Inc., the exclusive distributor of Metro Arms, Bersa, Comanche and Grand Power firearms products, announces the return of the Firestorm .380 Concealed Carry for sales in California. | For More...

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is seeking information on a female mountain lion that was illegally shot and left lay in the Pine Ridge National Forest south of Chadron in Dawes County. | For More...

Trey Martin will become the new Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, effective January 2, 2015. | For More...

Nine community parks across Michigan and one DNR recreation facility in Oceana County have been recommended to share $930,700 in Land and Water Conservation Fund grants. This federal program, administered in Michigan by the DNR, supports cities, townships, counties a | For More...

— TECHNOLOGY
HuntSoft.com announces the official launch of its mobile application for Apple iOS. The free app allows hunters to easily create a map of their property, enter game log data, access weather, and more. | For More...

— TELEVISION
On Monday, December 29, Craig Boddington and Kyle Lamb, hosts of Sportsman Channel's award-winning Guns & Ammo, kick off a new season with more gun talk and firearm know-how. Decades of firearm experience return for the season premiere of Guns & Ammo at a new time - 9 p.m. ET on Sportsman Channel. | For More...

n a new season of Sportsman Channel's Bowhunter TV, Host Mike Carney, Bowhunter magazine Editor Curt Wells, and Producer Danny Farris deliver more action-packed bowhunting adventures from across North America. | For More...

— VIDEO
On November 11, Midwest Whitetail Prostaffer Jared Mills captured on film what could arguably be the "Greatest Buck fight Of All-Time".Not even large tree limbs or ice-cold water could cause these two to pause for a second. | For More...

— WILDLIFE
Program biologists from The Peregrine Fund and Zion National Park have confirmed that two California condor chicks have left their nests and taken flight in northern Arizona, but hopes of a third chick successfully reaching the fledgling milestone in southern Utah have been dashed by a lack of visual observation. | For More...

FEATURE
SHOPPING BRIEFS
For those who really, really procrastinate, some last-minute gifts for the outdoors enthusiast....

If you're outdoors -at all- and suffer from cold toes, heated insoles are appealing. Until you realize that the chemical ones need oxygen to heat and there's not that much in the bottom of a good boot. So...how about battery powered and rechargeable ones? Yep, those exist...Therma-Cell's newest units have flexible lithium polymer batteries, a remote control and are rechargeable up to 500 times. We've used a pair, and they're warm. But you're not going to get warm feet on the cheap. The MSRP's $134.99 per pair, but they're available from a variety of retailers and online for around $100.

Motorola has always been synonymous with radios. And their new Two-Way Talkabouts are advancing the two-way. I've been working with a pair of their new MU series two-ways and have found them to be awesome. They have a theoretical 35-mile range, and are pretty much weatherproof. They also have the ability to tune to the 7 NOAA weather radio channels to keep you up-to-date on weather conditions. Additionally, there's a small built-in flashlight that comes in handy when you just need a little bit of light and don't want to go searching for a flashlight. The primary attraction to me is the ability to connect the radio to a bluetooth headset and go wireless. If you've ever fumbled around in a ground blind, tree stand or on a bike with cords, you know the ability to simply use the push-to-talk button and speak is terrific. They're available nationwide, and the price for a pair is in the $100 range. Money well spent to keep in touch.

I own and regularly use GoPro (and other) action cameras. They're equally good for strapping to God-only-knows-what piece of sporting gear and shooting great photos- or pitching in a shirt pocket or pack just-in-case. But they can get knocked around -and the accessories are always a challenge to keep track of. That's where two affordable items from Incase Designs come in. I use their Protective Case ($29.95) on GoPro cameras just to give them a little extra shielding. It can be a pain to take off at times (think with gloves), but otherwise it's just another layer of protection. Their Accessory Organizer ($19.95) is a small, zippered ballistic nylon pouch with frosted TPU window panels. It lets me keep the GoPro accessories with each of the cameras. And when I'm not using the cameras, I simply zip them into the accessory case and it's all together for tossing into the car, boat, backpack or bike. Available nationwide or from the company at:
https://www.goincase.com/shop/action-camera/ancase-accessory-organizer-for-gopro-hero3/

Finally, a tool everyone can use. Stanley Works is synonymous with useful tools for any sort of work. And their TLM65 laser distance measurer might not seem to be a tool you'll use a lot in the outdoors, but I disagree. Since getting this affordable device (MSRP: $59.95 and available at Amazon, HomeDepot and others online) I have used it for everything from accurately measuring room sizes to make certain I ordered enough construction materials to making certain shooting targets supposedly at seven yards really were at twenty-one fee. One of my bowhunting friends borrowed it to accurately measure his 20-yard shooting arcs from his treestand, and credited the TLM65 with correcting a perception problem he had with distances from elevations. His archery gear corrected for the arcs, but his distances were wrong. Problem solved. It also calculates -instantly- square footage or volume of rooms- if you're ordering materials or HVAC, you'll appreciate it immediately.

That's all of the 2014 holiday suggestions- so you are on you own with six days left before Christmas. Get busy!
FEATURE
Hunting the Pheasant Capital - South Dakota
You can tell from the time that you cross the border that South Dakota is a different kind of place. Not different bad, different good.

This sign was in the window at a convenience store in Mitchell, SD. Every gas station, hotel and restaurant welcomes hunters with open arms in South Dakota. Jodi Stemler photo
The very first gas station you stop at will have a "Welcome Hunters" banner. There will be blaze orange hats and gloves, shotgun shells stocked on the shelves, and of course you'll start seeing pheasant paraphernalia everywhere. After all, it is the state bird and I'm guessing it's the only state to bestow such an honor on a non-native species. But there is no doubt that without pheasants, the state would lose a little bit of its identity - and perhaps a lot of its annual income.

That's because pheasant hunting is big business in the state in large part because it attracts so many people from across the country. The South Dakota state report of the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation found that in 2011 there were 127,000 resident hunters and 144,000 non-resident hunters. Those hunters spent about $597 million dollars. But 208,000 of those resident and non-resident hunters were there to chase pheasants, so you can bet that pheasant hunting brought in a big chunk of that money.

Redfield, located just south of Aberdeen, welcomes hunters in Grand Style. Jodi Stemler photo.
I can see why. In early December, I joined Pheasants Forever and HuntFishSD.com for my first ever South Dakota pheasant hunt based out of Aberdeen. For two days we saw how good conservation practices translate to good habitat, which translates into lots of birds. And when I say lots of birds, I mean it. In one field alone on Johannsen Farms, we estimated that we flushed over 500 birds. At neighboring Stotz Farms, where owner Randall Stotz received the 2014 Habitat Steward Award from HuntFishSD for his conservation efforts, another 300 or more birds poured out of a field dubbed the "honey hole."

The author's husband and daughter fill her game bag on Stotz's Farm. Andrew Johnson photo with permission.
Both the Johannsen and Stotz families have implemented a number of conservation practices on their properties for many years (Stotz spent over 30 years as a member of the Potter County Conservation Board). Utilizing funding through the Farm Bill, they are protecting some marginal lands in the Conservation Reserve Program as well as implementing cost-share programs to make their farm more sustainable through rotational grazing, crop rotation, no-till and other conservation practices. This keeps their farm profitable, improves and maintains wildlife habitat - and produces lots of pheasants.

"Using what we have, we make every square foot of our farm work to its best purpose, whether that is for crops or for habitat or just letting a prairie pothole stay as a wetland," said Eric Johannsen during his presentation on his property. "We're in this for the long haul and our goal is stay consistently profitable. We don't get caught up swinging for the fences and risk striking out."

Jodi and her Brittany, Mesa, heading out of a field. Britney Starr photo with permission.
On the second day, we joined Dennis Foster with Dakota Pheasant Guide for a fast-paced hunt on a number of properties that his service has access to. Foster works with local farmers to allow hunters access to their farms and to encourage them to maintain quality pheasant habitat. You can join Dennis for a fully guided hunt or do a self-guided hunt on some of these properties. We traveled between a number of properties around Aberdeen and Redfield, and while the fields didn't hold hundreds of birds there were still plenty flushing throughout the day and hunters had the opportunity to shoot their three-bird limit.

I will say that two days was not enough. Late season hunts often mean that birds are grouped together in thermal cover to protect against the South Dakota cold. But they're more jumpy and most flushed well ahead of our big group - this didn't play as well into the game of our pointing dog. We still had plenty of action and it really was mind boggling to see the sheer numbers of birds. These truly were wild birds, and to me that was the most important part.

So it worked - what I thought was me checking off a bucket list item with a South Dakota pheasant hunt only served to whet my appetite. I want more and my family and I are already plotting our next trip. Aberdeen is a lovely town to visit and everyone is extremely friendly. South Dakota truly opens its arms to hunters and it's obvious why every gas station, hotel and restaurant promotes the princely pheasant. It should be on every hunter's bucket list, but then you'll be like me and realize you can't just do it once.

Details: South Dakota's pheasant hunting season opens in mid-October and runs through the first few days of January. HuntFishSD.com is your one stop source for travel information in the Aberdeen area including guides, restaurants and places to stay. South Dakota also has a lot of great public hunting opportunities from Game Production Areas (281,000 acres) to Walk-In Areas (1.25 million acres) to Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) properties. The James River Watershed near Aberdeen was a target area for the CREP program and over 82,000 acres of land was opened to public access this fall. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks publishes a Public Hunting Atlas that is a treasure trove of information for the do-it-yourselfer. Oh, and if you need more gear when you come to town (and really, who doesn't?) make sure you stop at the "igloo" at SoDak Sports and say hi to AJ.

-Jodi Stemler

In addition to being another of those very talented writers we're adding to The Outdoor Wire Digital Network, Jodi Stemler is President of Jodi Stemler Consulting and provides policy and communications expertise to the sportsmen's/conservation community and outdoor industry. Jodi lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and daughter (who joined her on this hunt and loved South Dakota too!).
Dec 20
Universal Shooting Academy - Frostproof, FL
Jan 10
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama
Jan 14
Elm Fork Shooting Sports, 10751 Luna Road, Dallas, TX 75220
Jan 15-18
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas, Texas
Jan 20-23
Sands Expo Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
Jan 23-25
Kansas Expo Center, Topeka, Kansas
Feb 4-7
Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
Feb 19-22
Lake Hartwell and Greenville, SC
Feb 19-22
Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah
Feb 20-22
Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa
Feb 26-28
Smith & Wesson Academy 299 Page Blvd. Springfield, MA
Mar 4
Mesa, Arizona
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