John Stallone Talks Hunter Recruitment and #HUNTERUP
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Friend John Stallone hits the nail on the head with this piece on hunter recruitment.

John starts out stating, “I am very concerned about the direction the “Hunting Industry” is heading. Aside from the Hunter on Hunter hate that runs rampant in social media, there is heavy competition and a general lack of camaraderie in today’s hunting culture. As a result, the non-hunting community portrays us as toothless hillbilly running around the woods shooting anything we see, or blood-thirsty savages only concerned with the kill and the trophy.”. He goes on to state a number of contributing factors: selfishness, negativity in society, and a lack of unity in the hunting community.

I think the urbanization of society has resulted in people growing up not knowing where meat comes from; not knowing or understanding the circle of life; and having a romanticized view of nature. One needs to look no further than the election map to see a generalization of the differing values in this country, with cities voting one way, and rural areas voting another.

Hunting used to be taught in families, passed down from generation to generation. Now, the knowledge is waning, families are busy and there are too many other alternatives for kids out there.

Also, society has shifted focus from us being citizens to consumers. Citizens have an obligation to their fellow citizens; consumers have no obligation to other consumers. Now, it is “What’s in it for me?” This is more than evident on Social Media where hunters are woefully fragmented, bickering about nearly every topic that pops up. New hunters are blasted for asking questions. Novices are mocked for misconceptions or mistakes.

According to a survey completed in 2011 by the Fish & Wildlife Service there were 269,000 Hunters in Arizona. How many do you think gave back through wildlife conservation groups? Groups like Arizona Mule Deer, the Arizona Elk Society, Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, Arizona Antelope Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation and many other do amazing work in Arizona. They do habitat work, youth education, adult education, community outreach and more. How many hunters belong to one or more of these groups? 2000? 5000? 10,000? Not nearly enough. Consumers, not citizens…

Arizona Game and Fish knows the necessity of recruitment, retention and re-engagement (R3) efforts – they have a whole program dedicated to R3 – HAHWG

Hunters need to unite, plain and simple. We need to educate the public. We need to quit bickering. We need to quit being so selfish. We need to embrace newbies to the fold. We need to participate in the critter groups. We need to self-regulate, reporting the slobs and poachers among us. Anti-hunting groups are organized, united and well-funded. They are on the move and won’t stop.

John has a plan to help.

THE #HUNTERUP INITIATIVE:

What’s the solution to all this negativity? The solution to the decline in hunting participation?

I would like to start an initiative to right this ship, stop fighting amongst ourselves, and most importantly, work on hunter recruitment. Hunter Recruitment and Retention is an important issue for anyone concerned about wildlife management, conservation and the future of our hunting heritage.

If 5% of us were able to bring on one new hunter a year, in 5 years we would reach hunter participation numbers we once had in the 1980’s. I challenge every hunter to recruit one at least one hunter into hunting each year, work with and foster their new interest. Help them learn to shoot, take their first animal, prep it, cook it, and enjoy it with their families. Then help them go hunt again.

I challenge those TV shows, Podcast Hosts, Bloggers, and influencers to push the #hunterup initiative. I also challenge everyone year-round to not engage in hunter on hunter hate or arguments in public forums. If you feel strongly about a situation, respect your fellow hunter enough to contact that person directly in a private message. Take it off social media, show the world the strong unified, front of hunting.

I can already hear the whining… I know a lot of you are thinking to yourselves “I don’t want more competition in the woods”, “I already have a hard time finding a place to hunt, why do I want more people?” Sometimes it’s hard to see past our own wants and immediate needs and see the big picture. But I promise you, we will lose hunting rights and privileges if we fail to see the bigger picture. Or think about it like this, if you introduce a child into hunting, by the time he/she is an adult, it’s more than likely they won’t be direct competition for you anyway.

In the video below we discuss the benefits of taking a non-hunter and introducing them to hunting.

The inaugural launch of this initiative will be July First 2018 and each year in July we will have Hunter recruitment month with participants posting their pics and videos of their new hunting buddies with the hashtag #hunterup.

Talking Bass With Robert Earl Woodard
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A big tip of the hat to Danielle Grobmeier and the folks at Lavidge for reaching out to me about this book and connecting me with the author! ~DesertRat

Seasoned Fisherman Releases Beginner’s Guide to Growing, Catching Trophy Bass
Robert Earl Woodard twines personal anecdotes with tried and true techniques in new book

BLOUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Feb. 12, 2018) – An experienced bass fisherman, whose video of him catching a more than 16-pound bass by hand went viral in 2016, has published his practical beginner’s guidebook to growing and catching trophy bass.

In “Eye to Eye with Big Bass: ‘Let Her Go! She is Just Another Big Fish!’,” author Robert Earl Woodard details the bass movements, behavior and feeding patterns that factor into a successful catch and delineates his own lake construction and management practices, which he uses to grow trophy bass and house his pet bass. Woodard also delivers colorful accounts of his numerous Alabama fishing trips and reflects on the nuanced techniques he’s acquired over decades of catching and interacting with bass.

“I want this book to give the reader an understanding of the tools and strategies I used to find success in my fishing career so that they can take that knowledge on their next fishing trip – hopefully to catch their own trophy,” Woodard said.

Peppered with entertaining anecdotes and nostalgic photographs that span Woodard’s more than 50 years of fishing, “Eye to Eye with Big Bass” offers new fishermen and fisherwomen an easy-to-follow introduction to the art of recreational bass fishing, aquaculture and pond and lake management.

“Eye to Eye with Big Bass: ‘Let Her Go! She is Just Another Big Fish!’”
By Robert Earl Woodard
ISBN: 9781546213062 (paperback); 9781546213055 (electronic)
Available through the AuthorHouse Online Bookstore

About the author
Robert Earl Woodard has more than five decades of experience catching and growing trophy bass. Currently retired, Woodard spent 38 years as a physical education teacher and sports coach and holds a master’s degree from Auburn University. He is also the author of “The Way It Was Back Then: Short Stories From a Country Boy” and currently resides in Blountsville, Ala. To learn more, please visit the author’s YouTube Channel

Interview With Robert Woodard

Publicist Danielle Grobmeier from Lavidge was kind enough to facilitate an interview with Mr. Woodard:

1) This book doesn’t just talk about catching bass, it talks about growing them too – what prompted you to write the book?
Everyone always wanted to know how I caught the big bass, what did I catch it on, and where did I catch it. Hopefully I answer these questions in my book. Many people ask me about management of ponds and lakes. That prompted me to write about the lake management that had worked for me and address those questions in my book.

2) What is the biggest mistake new bass fisherman make?
The biggest mistake a new bass fishermen might make is not understanding the proper presentation of the bait in the strike zone. Also, not understanding bass feeding patterns based on seasons and weather conditions. All of these questions are addressed in the book.

3) Do you fish smallies too? If so, what are some of the biggest differences in fishing strategies?
No, I only fish for largemouth bass.

4) In catching big bass, what do you feel is the most overlooked or under-utilized technique?
People overlook structure that hold big bass because they don’t slow down and approach the cover and structure properly. One of the most under-utilized techniques is choosing the right baits for the seasons and using current and wind to your advantage.

5) Is growing a quality bass population hard? If someone wanted to try, what are the minimum requirements for the pond?
It is not that hard, it takes a lot of planning, time, money, and proper management to grow the bass to reach their potential. The minimum requirements are you must have a good source of water, forage for your bass, and proper management for the lake to reach its potential.

6) You’re a bass guy but what else do you like to catch?
I like catching big bluegill and catfish.

7) What’s the big fishing trip on your bucket list?
Maybe a trip to the Big O in Florida or Lake Fork in Texas.

A huge “Thank You” for Mr. Woodard taking time out to answer some questions. I strongly encourage you to check out his book!

Checking In With Sparky From M2D Camo
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I used to check in with Sparky Sparkes from M2D Camo every couple of years or so, and then it struck me one day that it has been 6 years since I last talked with Sparky. Holy Cow!I was wayy overdue so I reached out to him and as usual, he was game! As always, I really appreciate him taking time from his busy schedule to andser some questions. ~DesertRat

1. Wow – its been awhile since I checked in! How’s the camo business? Anything new or exciting on the camo front?
Camo business has been on the outs since Idaho Fish and Game fabricated false accusations against me in 2013 and ruined my business. I still have some inventory but do not do much with it anymore. Long story and hopefully someday I can ask you to help me make it public.

2. Your camo has been around awhile. What’s the key to your longevity and surviving such a competitive business?
M2D CAMO has stuck around because it just works. It really is a great pattern for any type of hunting. Its hard to argue with a product that works.

3. You’re booking a lot of hunts via M2D Properties. Tell my readers what you have going on
M2D CAMO Properties is very successful because we cater to high opportunities at success and not just run numbers through our ranches. Lots of operations are all about running as many people as they can. We are about running the right amount of hunters to keep our success rates high. Our guided rifle elk hunts are 100% shot opportunity on cows and bulls. Our guided deer hunts are also 100% shot opportunity at good bucks. We have great properties and that is the key. Private land and proper management is a huge part of our success.

4. Ive sent some folks to you for some great deals on Vortex Optics. What other products are you carrying?
I appreciate you sending me customers on hunting products. I know you send people to me because you trust my integrity and we strive to take care of our customers. Life is about connections and treating people properly. We are all about taking care of our people. We love Vortex products because they too provide great customer service and take care of all our needs. We have also over the last few years become a dealer for many products. We now deal with Sig, Zeiss, Manfrotto, GSM, Stealth Cam, Covert Cameras, Gibbz Arms, Double Tapp Ammo and many more. I am working on a new site called Jokers Wild Outdoors that should be up and running in due time. I hope by May 1.

5. Youre a firefighter, right? (Thanks for your service!) You still fighting fires, or are you in the M2D business full time now?
I retired from the Fire Department after 20 years of service and now only do M2D CAMO Properties, M2Ds Livin the Dream TV Show now. I also do the dealing of hunting products and also recently started Sportsman’s Dream Adventures which is a free guide referral business. Even if people do not book with me I want to make sure they book the proper outfitter who has been vetted and I know personally is a great outfit. Its unfortunate in our society today that people still get misled on guided hunts and make bad mistakes when booking.

6. What’s your favorite hunt?
My favorite hunt is taking someone after a species they have never hunted before. To watch a person who has saved a few years pay to go after a bull elk and harvest a nice 6 x 6 is amazing to see. Sometimes its as simple as a turkey hunt or a whitetail buck, but anytime I can take new hunters in the field its a blessing. If you want to know what I love to pursue personally, I just love being out there. The experience, the lessons, the learning, the smells, the wonder of nature is all so impressive if you ever really stop and just take it all in. I love to chase big mule deer bucks and my nemesis is cougar hunting. I have hunted cougars 7 times in 5 states for over 40 days with dogs and still have not harvested a nice big mature tom. Someday I will have the fortune of posing with a big cat.

7. What hunt is highest on your bucket list?
My bucket list hunt is a tough question. I have been fortunate to harvest many different species over my years in the hunting industry and I am thankful for all of them. If money were no object I would someday like to harvest a Grizzly Bear and or Desert Bighorn Sheep. I apply in many states for sheep but have never been lucky enough to draw. Maybe someday. For now I will enjoy all life has afforded me and continue to spend my 300 plus days a year in the field doing the things I love.

OneUp Launches theWorld’s Most Compact Self-Activating Life Float
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Compact Carrier Case Transforms into Life Preserver with a Single Toss and Contact with Water

Canary Islands–April 4,2018 – According to the World Health Organization, on a global scale, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional death with an estimated toll of 360,000 lives annually or 42 deaths every hour.To help families, fishermen, boat owners, water enthusiasts and first responders stay safe at the beach, lake,ocean or pool, life preservation company OneUp,today unveils its flagship device, aimed to be the solution to improve water safety. At 20x smaller than standard, bulky flotation devices that are difficult to maneuver when speed is of the essence, OneUp is a compact, soft drink can-shaped tube that explodes into action when it comes into contact with water, self-inflating to become a one size fits all life preserver.

Named as a tribute to classic video games of the 1980’s, OneUp’s new,“extra life” approach to aquatic safety enables both professional rescuers and recreational water enthusiasts with the ability to save lives without sacrificing time to manually activate a life preserver. Available today for a discounted early bird price of $49 on Indiegogo, the compact, easily stored device provides on-the-go-safety in both salt and fresh water. Simply toss or hand the lightweight tube to a person in need for automatic inflation and assistance as soon as it contacts water.

“Our mission at OneUp is to improve water safety forever,while giving people an easy-to-use tool they can rely on during any water activity,” said Saúl Arteta, CEO of OneUp. “Until now, life preservers have been bulky and difficult to manage.With our new device, people can still enjoy their time on the water and trust that if an issue arises, OneUp is thereto save anyone in just seconds.”

Safety with a Single Toss

At the size of 6.8inches and weighing only 0.8lbs, the MSDS and CE certified device comes with a waterproof cover to house the life preserver and a carabiner which allows users to clamp the device to bags and belt loops for added portability. When OneUp is needed, the rescuer simply hands or throws the device to the victim preventing tragedy.You can see OneUp in action HERE.

The Science Behind Safety

OneUp was designed with the principals of speed and portability allowing for quick action in the event of an emergency. Its ability to self-inflate is made possible by a small salt pod and CO2
inflation sensor that is commonly used in aeronautical and naval security. Upon contact with water, the salt pod dissolves, releasing the spring which activatesthe rapid release of CO2 causing instant inflation. The entire process from activation to full life preserver takes only two secondsand the device is reusable with just a 60 second reset time. A single OneUp preserver can hold up to 330 lbs of weight.

The OneUp Advantage

With OneUp on hand, water enthusiasts no longer have to worry about being in non-security areas without lifeguards or life preservers nearby. Now, pool goers, boat owners, fishermen and those who enjoy water activities can provide their own security network for themselves and those nearby through individuals owning OneUp. On a larger scale, OneUp has the potential to minimize government costs in rescues and searches. According to the World health Organization, the United States alone accounts $273 million each year in direct and indirect costs related to drowning.

Availability

OneUp is available now for preorder at Indiegogo.com with pricing starting at $49 and shipping slated for summer 2018.For more information, please visit: oneupsaves.com.

About OneUp

OneUp consists of a small team of water-loving individuals with a passion for activities and sports. Their strong experience in business, production, and manufacturing lead to the company’s creation in 2015 where they worked hand-in-hand with world-wide non-profit organizations and collected early innovation awards.The company’s goal is to globally reduce the amount of annual drownings by spreading awareness and education on the importance and severity of water safety.

Book Review – Wide and Deep
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A tip of the cap to the good folks at GWPR Books and Skyhorse Publishing for reaching out to me and getting me a copy of this great book to review! ~DesertRat

Wide and Deep By Randy Spencer

Tales and Recollections from a Master Maine Fishing Guide

From the release:

There is little about the remote town Grand Lake Stream, in eastern Maine, and its surrounding lakes that Randy Spencer doesn’t know like the back of his hand. Spencer, a Master Maine Guide, has learned from the best, and has enough experience as a hunting and fishing guide to fill several lifetimes.

Wide and Deep transports readers to remote backwoods and crystal clear lakes. At its most remote, rural Maine is truly breathtaking in its natural beauty, and Spencer is unrivaled in his ability to capture like no other the experiences of fishing and hunting in some of the most hidden and undisturbed areas in the world.

The relationship between a sport and his guide is an ongoing conversation, one that can last hours, days, and even years. The company you offer is just as valued as the company you keep. Whether they are stories of joy or of pain, there is nothing like listening to Randy Spencer, and Wide and Deep perfectly captures the moments on the water that people wait their entire lives for and spend the rest of their lives remembering.

This was one of my favorite books yet to review – because it took me home. I was born and raised in this part of the country, growing up in New Brunswick along the Maine border. I moved to northern Maine and lived there several years before moving to Arizona 20 years ago. My grandfather was born in that part of Maine and I’m pretty sure there was at least one Maine Guide in the family tree, somewhere along the way.

Spencer writes in the soft-spoken, matter of fact style that is the way a lot of Mainers talk – it was comfortable to me and reading the book with the Maine accent in my head made it even more so. Spencer is the old-time guide; an expert at woodsman-ship, a master in the canoe, a steward of the land, and essentially – a biologist too. His love of the woods and waters where he works is apparent, as his admiration of his clients and respect for his quarry.

Reading this book, you’ll get a glimpse of the ways of the native Americans who inhabited the lands for centuries. You’ll read of their lore, their fellowship with the animals and birds, and their history. You’ll get an appreciation for the complexity, the beauty, and the dangers of the waters near Grand Lake Stream. You’ll read stories both funny and tragic, and by the end you’ll discern that in the course of his job, Spencer makes friendships with clients that last quite literally – lifetimes. You’ll read of fishing of course – his style such that you can almost feel the smallmouth yanking the rod in your hands, and feel the splash of water on your face. You can smell the fresh but musty smell of bogs and deadwaters and slow moving streams. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to pick fiddleheads – you know the smell I mean.

Of course, you can’t have a conversation with someone from Maine without a bit of wry humor rolled in and I have to tell you – in Spencer’s book I read what was quite possibly the funniest moose story I have ever heard. I’m still chuckling when I recall it.

Absolutely recommend this book – Mr. Spencer writes is a great style; a style I imagine is awfully close to how he talks. The book is funny and sad, and small town quaint. It is woods and waters and fish and fieldcraft – done in the old ways. It is fish fried in butter on the shore, with loons crying in the distance – happy, simple, and inducing one to reflect. Great book – it’s easy to see why it won so many awards.