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Across the Campfire

April 2004

(April 27, 2004)

HSUS ANTI-HUNTING GROUP loses their support from Iams!

We reported in past issues of WesternHunter.com that the dog food company Iams was supporting an anti-group and asked for hunters to contact Iams requesting they pull their support. Here is what we learned today.

A leading dog food manufacturer has ended a relationship with the largest anti-hunting group in the country. The announcement came in the wake of a storm of protests from sportsmen and sportsmen’s groups.

In January, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance alerted outdoorsmen that the Iams Company, maker of Iams and Eukanuba pet foods, joined forces with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) as Grand National Sponsor of the Pet Fest America tour. The tour is a series of animal shows, developed by HSUS, which were being presented in major metropolitan areas, nationwide. They debuted in early 2003 and ended in mid-April 2004.

Literally a flood of sportsmen’s calls, faxes and letters ensued. In the end, the Iams Company, a division of Proctor and Gamble, decided to listen to the sportsmen’s point of view and discontinue support to the anti-hunting group. They announced the decision in a letter to Bud Pidgeon, president of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance .

“We want to inform you and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance that the Iams Company is officially announcing that we are not funding the Petfest America events with the HSUS again next year,” stated Kelly Vanasse, Associate Director, External Relations. “We appreciate the feedback we have received from the sporting dog community and apologize for the frustration that this sponsorship has caused.”

The announcement ended a four month stand-off that caught the company in the middle between hunters and anti-hunters.

“We are very pleased that Iams has seen the light about this situation,” said Pidgeon. “It was a very difficult situation for this company that has been a good supporter of sporting dog events and for those groups accepting the sponsorship dollars. These sporting dog groups were perplexed at the companies’ support of the largest anti-hunting group in the country.”

(April 26, 2004)

How do you "grow" more mule deer? Well, the Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners recently endorsed a plan they hope will do just that.
Although mule deer populations are good throughout most of our state, parts of eastern and southeastern Idaho and a bit of south central Idaho are not meeting the Department of Fish & Game's objectives. In southwestern Idaho, population numbers are better but high vulnerability to hunters leaves too few older bucks to meet hunter expectations. The wildlife agency said it's time that changed. "It basically came down to we can't continue what we're currently doing. We're going to have to do something different," said Brad Compton, State Big Game Manager. "We're going to have to get more engaged in intensive management, so to speak."

Over the next year, the Department of Fish & Game will be partnering with federal and state land agencies, sportsmen's groups and private landowners to launch an intensive effort to promote mule deer numbers. "It's pretty exciting for those of us in the Department that really kind of like mule deer," said Compton. "And it's an opportunity to do some things that are the
reason we got into this business."

Look for the whole story in the next issue of WesternHunter.com.

(April 18, 2004)

DECISIONS, HOW DO you make them? Right, now I find myself trying to figure out what hunts to try for this year. Besides trying for those outside chances of Supertags in Idaho and the Special Big Game Raffle in Oregon, what about the following: Which area to try for in Nevada, add to that rifle, muzzleloader or archery. Then what hunt for elk and deer in California — again rifle, muzzleloader or archery. What about my Preference Points in California - go for the sure thing so I can hunt some familar grounds or keep getting those points in hopes of a really special tag? Then what about the over the counter archery tag for the eastern Oregon mule deer?

Only one day left to make the decision about Nevada, six weeks or so for the California decision.

With my past luck in drawings it probably doesn't make much difference, but there is always hope.

Making More Mule Deer!

(April 17, 2004)

WHY DO DEER across the road? It might be to get on the other side for food or water.

A few years ago I had a chance to tour a ranch north of Susanville, California with the Fish & Game and the ranch owner, Tom Swickard. Swickard told me that he felt he had reduced the the number of deer killed by cars crossing the highway through his ranch. What he had done was plant an alfalpha field on the west side of the highway so deer didn't have as much need to cross the highway to the fields on the east side.

The Access and Habitat (A&H) Program in Oregon is working under the same method. Just recently they approved the following projects:

• Crown Pacific Guzzler Replacement: A&H funds of $4,145 will help fund an $11,437 project in Klamath County to replace an artificial watering hole that reduces the need for big game to cross U.S. Highway 97.
• Dunn Water Development: A&H funds of $4,406 will help fund a $7,954 project in Douglas County to install an artificial watering hole, or guzzler, and develop two springs on private property to prevent deer and elk from crossing the Tiller Highway in the summer months.

(April 14, 2004)

ARIZONA DEER OUTLOOK is promising according to Game and Fish Department biologists this year thanks to increased fawn reproduction and retention. “Statewide fawn-to-doe ratios improved over last year for both white-tailed and mule deer, but large scale population improvements over last year’s low level—which resulted from a record drought — have not occurred,” says Brian Wakeling, the department's big game supervisor.

(April 13, 2004)

THE NEVADA DEADLINE for applying for big game tags is next Monday, April 19, at 5 p.m. You can apply online at www.huntnevada.com.

Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists say the deer outlook is more promising this year thanks to increased
fawn reproduction and retention.

PREFERENCE POINT DRAW for California shows some interesting stats. If you want to see what they were for the popular X Zones hunts click on this link X Zone Stats.

(April 11, 2004)

TERRY KNIGHT, THE Turkey Guru of California, mentions in his turkey seminars that the real challenge in turkey hunting is taking a gobbler on public land. Today, I received this email from Terry.

True to my calling of only hunting the more difficult truly wild
turkeys, not those barnyard varieties. I took my grandson up in the
Mendocino National Forest on Saturday where I called in a nice tom and
he shot it. It was so remote and the turkey was so surprised to see a
hunter it nearly died of a heart attack. That's a true story. We didn't
see another hunter.

Now, if I can just convince Terry that I am a long lost grandson of his before next weekend.

(April 10, 2004)

THE FIRST TURKEY for hunter, Bud Neville, of Foresthill, California, sported an 8 1/2 inch beard. Neville was hunting the Wilderness Unlimited, Clarke Ranch in northwestern California when he took this nice gobbler. Though the birds were silent that day, Neville was able to get in the right position to collect a great tom last Tuesday afternoon.

(April 8, 2004)

OH, BOY, THOSE turkeys can sure make you wonder what's going on. I was out chasing them around Tuesday, Wednesday and today. The score is Turkeys 3, Jerry 0.

In the Laytonville, California area the pressure from hunters had the gobblers running silent. I only heard one gobble and had a chance to watch four hens. The turkeys were in the area but with the hens still out and about the gobblers didn't have a lot of reason to gobble.

This morning I tried some private land with outdoor writer, George Carl, from Napa and boy was it different. We were running about 30 minutes late but had quite a show when we entered the property. The turkeys were off the roost and three king size gobblers were strutting their stuff for some hens. But our late arrival made it impossible to get setup in the location George wanted us to be. You guessed it, that was the exact location the turkey went through when leaving the area. With hens still around we couldn't get any action to come our way. Oh, well, there are still more days to get after these boys.

If you have connected already, how about sending me some of your pictures.

(April 1, 2004)

WHAT A WAY to go! A couple of our readers emailed us these pictures. Hunters should remember you could find yourself in this same position if you are not careful.

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