For the second year in a row, the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail in Baldwin County, Alabama, has been chosen as the top recreational trail in the country in the 2024 USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. The awards were announced Wednesday, April 17.
The Cisco Lake Boating Access Site maintained by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will be closed for the next few weeks until repairs can be made. Meanwhile, Cisco Lake can be accessed via the Thousand Island Lake Boating Access Site.
On April 11, the FWC issued a new executive order outlining regulations designed to increase sampling and slow the spread of chronic wasting disease in Florida deer. Existing regulations pertaining to the establishment of the CWD Management Zone, prohibition of rehabilitating or releasing injured or orphaned deer, feeding restrictions, and prohibition of exporting high-risk parts remain in effect.
Hornady congratulates sponsored shooter Jessie Harrison for her performance at the 2024 U.S. IPSC Nationals, April 12-14, 2024, in Mesa, Arizona. Harrison used Hornady 9mm 125 gr. HAP (Hornady Action Pistol) bullets to win the Ladies Open Division.
Krieghoff International, Inc is proud to announce that Team Krieghoff won multiple champion titles at the Southeast Regional Sporting Clays Championship at Forest City Gun Club in Savannah, GA April 9-14, 2024.

Leupold & Stevens, Inc. announced that international Leupold Pro Shooter AJ Deysel has won the National Rifle League (NRL) Hunter South Africa 2024 Heavy Division Championship.
Calling all vendors. Reservations are now being accepted by the Ohio National Guard for space on the celebrated Camp Perry Commercial Row: an entire section dedicated to retailers during the annual National Matches.
Shoot Like A Girl® will be making a stop at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s in Broken Arrow, Okla., bringing an interactive event that aims to introduce women and their families to the exciting world of shooting sports in a fun, safe and comfortable atmosphere.
You have less than a week left to register for the Professional Outdoor Media Association’s Annual Meeting, held May 6-8 in Pinewood, South Carolina, hosted by the South Carolina Waterfowl Association. Registration closes on April 22 at midnight.

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast itching for spring then be sure to check out the Herricks Cove Wildlife Festival on Sunday, May 5, at beautiful Herricks Cove on the Connecticut River in Rockingham, Vermont. invites everyone to join us at CANCON Arizona April 19-20 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix.
Whether it’s catching a rainbow trout, taking aim with a bow and arrow, or getting up close and personal with live critters, the family-friendly Payson (Arizona) Wildlife Fair will be offering a variety of outdoor fun Saturday, May 4, at Green Valley Park.
VKTR Industries announced their attendance and conference level sponsorship of the Texas Tactical Police Officers Association Conference from April 25-26, 2024.

PTR™ Industries will be at CanCon Arizona hosted by Recoil from April 18-20. The show will be held in Phoenix, AZ at The Ben Avery Shooting Facility. If you are attending be sure to stop by and visit.
With thousands of brown trout swimming in Arkansas tailwaters, it’s hard to single out one as special, so the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission picked 150. That’s the number of brown trout swimming in the Little Red River below Greers Ferry Dam being followed throughout the year by the AGFC and researchers from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the approval of the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) signup in all 82 counties in Mississippi. This program aims to provide financial and technical assistance to owners of nonindustrial private forestland (NIPF) to restore NIPF damaged by a qualifying natural disaster event.
- GEAR -
Full Forge Gear announces the launch of its latest innovation: the Feather Weight Level 4 Armor Plate. Engineered to provide unparalleled protection against high-velocity rifle threats while offering maximum comfort and versatility, this plate sets a new standard in ballistic protection.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is accepting applications for its 2024-2025 Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Grants through May 3, 2024. These grants are available to not-for-profit organizations and federal, state and local government agencies.
Two grants from Wildlife Habitat Canada have been awarded to Delta Waterfowl to bolster the organization’s Hen House program, as well as HunteR3 recruitment and advocacy efforts throughout Canada.
Youth wild turkey hunters in Ohio checked 1,785 birds during the special youth-only hunting weekend on April 13-14, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
There’s still time to get a turkey license. See which hunt units have licenses available and snag one before they sell out. You can buy a license from any license agent, online at or through the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app.

- JOBS -
The Archery Trade Association (ATA) is looking for a qualified candidate to join the Association as the Trade Show Director. This position develops and directs the overall strategic planning, budget, and execution of the ATA’s annual Trade Show.
Camfour announces new Camfour Customs Glock Templar from Shark Coast. Camfour’s lineup of custom firearms include everything from basic Cerakote colors to the always popular American Flag guns, and now engraved, stippled, and aggressively styled theme guns.
Silencer Shop announces the expansion of the exclusive CAT (Combat Application Technologies) suppressor lineup with the introduction of the new CAT MOB and CAT JL models.
C&H Precision announces the release of a new line of scope tube mounts to allow the mounting of micro red dot optics to firearms outfitted with scope tubes. The new mounting solutions are available for 30mm or 34mm scopes and are fabricated from aircraft-grade aluminum.

The Sportsmen’s Alliance has an all-new website that showcases the advocacy organization’s expansive work to protect hunting, fishing, trapping and sport shooting in state legislatures nationwide.
The Walther Arms, Inc. and Hornady Security consumer promotion is quickly coming to an end. With only two weeks left (through April 30, 2024), consumers are eligible to receive a Hornady Treklite Lockbox XXL or a Hornady One-Gun Keypad Vault with the purchase of the following listed Walther handguns.
"The Objective" by SIG SAUER is proud to publish SIG MMG 338 Program: Conception to Reality (Part 1). This two-part series details the journey of SIG SAUER’s machine gun development effort that began with the SIG MMG 338 for U.S. SOCOM’s LMG-M program.
Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, announces it will be the exclusive motorized recreation sponsor of the Recreation exhibit at the National Conservation Legacy Center (“Center”) of the National Museum of Forest Service History (Museum) through a grant from the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative (Yamaha OAI).
Precision Rifle Series (PRS) is proud to welcome Zero Compromise Optic as an Affiliate Sponsor of the PRS for the 2024 season.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet in person May 1-2 at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Mori Hosseini Student Union Event Center, 610 Aerospace Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL, 32114.
All campsites at Nebraska’s Calamus State Recreation Area near Burwell temporarily will be available on a first-come, first-served basis this upcoming season. A roads project in 2024 has affected the ability for reservations to be accepted at campgrounds.
Prepare for an adrenaline-fueled adventure with the drop of JUST SHOT™: Spring Thunder by the crew at Realtree, now available on MyOutdoorTV.
Dozens of projects benefiting Utah wildlife — including wildlife research, conservation and habitat restoration projects — have been funded after a record $4.8 million was committed to the projects by participating conservation groups during the annual conservation permit project funding meeting held on April 10.
Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) officials advise those living or visiting bear country to avoid feeding wildlife and to not leave trash, food or other attractants accessible (such as pet food or bird seed). Unfortunately, a fed bear is a dead bear.

When bass are in open water, most top tournament anglers turn to "video game" fishing with scanning sonar, allowing pinpoint casting and enticing fish to bite. (Garmin)

Wisconsin has become the first state to officially ask the question that has been in the mind of a lot of anglers for the last decade or so—is electronic technology getting too good, to the point where anglers using systems like forward-facing-sonar/livescope/360 imaging are finding all the reserve fish that used to escape harvest and catching them? The state DNR is currently conducting a survey that includes this question:

With the ability of these types of units to detect fish, as far as 180’ from the user, anglers have become more efficient at locating and catching fish. This type of pressure could reduce fish populations, which may lead to reduced bag limits for anglers.

Would you support banning the use of live scopes, and similar 360° imaging electronics in all Wisconsin waters?

The survey did not come out of the blue—it’s a response to what a fair number of anglers have been mumbling under their breath for the last decade or more. The best equipped recreational anglers now have fish finding technology far beyond anything imagined formerly, and there are more people buying it every season.

Large monitors and finely tuned electronics make it easy for experienced anglers to find schools of fish that most of us never knew were there. (Garmin)

The technology probably won’t have much impact on largemouth and smallmouth bass, the two species which are most sought in big money freshwater tournament events, because very few anglers who can afford it are fishing for food. It’s all about catching them, keeping them healthy to weigh-in, and then hopefully releasing them back to the same waters in good health. 

While perhaps 10% of these fish are lost, most survive per extended studies by several states. (Moving them around, especially during spawning season, no doubt has an impact, but it only takes a few successful spawners to keep fish numbers high in these species, per most state biologists.)

But what about fish that are too tasty for most of us to release like walleyes and salmon, or those that don’t survive handling well, like striped bass and, in saltwater, spotted seatrout?  Lots more fish caught and kept? During periods when the fish are schooled in open water, that will probably be the case.

The have/have not issue is mostly economic. Anglers who fish for a living and those who are sponsored by fishing companies can afford this technology, currently around $2200 for the most basic setup and more like $5,000 to $10,000 for a full multi-screen array. The vast majority of those who fish for weekend recreation can’t justify that kind of investment. The rich folks have it, the rest of it don’t. A sure recipe for rebellion.

Special transducers mounted on the trolling motor allow beaming the sonar scan in any direction. Anglers can observe fish reaction to various lures, as well as finding them in the first place. (Frank Sargeant)

Of course, there has always been a de facto economic bar to some fisheries—the average guy is never going to catch a blue marlin. It’s just too costly. Either you charter a boat to take you out there for what amounts to over a week’s pay for most of us, or you own a boat that can fish offshore, and that likely costs at least as much as the houses most of us live in and maybe 10 times that.

If it comes down to managing by vote, forward scan probably loses—there are a lot more anglers who don’t have it and never will be able to than there are who do have it. 

But that’s a slippery slope. If we start managing based on public opinion rather than fishery science, things can get out of whack pretty quickly in the direction of things like total fishing bans supported by well-meaning non-fishing folks, who outnumber we of the clan considerably, and whose numbers grow with every generation. 

Be that as it may, it will be interesting to observe the result of the Wisconsin survey, and also to see whether it triggers other states to start looking in the same direction.

— Frank Sargeant

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