Number Of Hunters On The Rise

turkey-hunting-091212FWS reports that according to The State Overview Report, participation in wildlife-associated recreation increased in 28 states since 2006. The State Overview Report is the second in a series of reports to be released by the Service over the next few months highlighting results from the National Survey.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar released the first report on August 15, 2012.  The National Survey, conducted since 1955, measures participation in these activities and related spending on trips and equipment across the nation and in individual states. The 2011 National Survey data show that hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers spent $145 billion last year on related gear, trips and other purchases such as licenses, tags and land leasing or ownership.

coyote-091212“Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching are part of our national heritage, and the trip and equipment-related spending of participants forms significant support for local economies across the country,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “These survey results are good news for the small businesses and rural communities who depend on wildlife-related tourism, and it shows an encouraging increase in personal investment of citizens in the future of wildlife and wild places.”

Public lands managed by federal and state agencies support much of the fishing, hunting, and wildlife-associated recreation that Americans enjoy. The State Overview, released today, provides national survey data on wildlife-related recreation at the state level, which helps state natural resource agencies to plan and provide wildlife-related recreation opportunities.

flyfishing091212“The State by State data from the National Survey is where the rubber meets the road for state fish and wildlife agencies,” said Dr. Jonathan Gassett, Commissioner of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “These results help each state set the course for future fish and wildlife conservation and they help quantify the results of investments that each state has made in its wildlife-related recreation programs, especially hunter and angler recruitment and retention programs.”

Highlights from this overview include the following information:

  • Of the 28 States with increases in the number of wildlife-related recreation participants from 2006 to 2011, the largest percentage increases were seen in Alaska (47 percent) and Louisiana (40 percent).
  • South Dakota had the highest proportion of state residents who hunted­ 21 percent.
  • Alaska had the highest proportion of state residents who fished­ 40 percent.
  • Vermont had the highest proportion of state residents who wildlife watched­ 53 percent.

black-bear-091212Overall, the 2011 Survey found that 38 percent of all Americans 16 years of age and older participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011, an increase of 2.6 million participants from the previous survey in 2006. Participation in recreational fishing increased by 11 percent and hunting was up 9 percent.  This increase reverses a trend over previous Surveys showing a 10% decline in hunting participation between 1996 and 2006. The 2011 Survey reports a corresponding increase in hunting equipment expenditures, which are up 29 percent from 2006.

Through landmark conservation laws supported by American sportsmen and women, funds collected by states through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses are combined with federal funds from excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition and on angling equipment to pay for fish and wildlife conservation and associated recreational opportunities. Together, these laws support the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs, first established 75 years ago.  Since then, hunters and anglers have paid more than $11 billion in excise taxes on purchases of firearms, ammunition, archery, fishing and boating equipment toward thousands of conservation projects, wildlife-associated recreational opportunities and access, and sport shooting ranges around the nation.  The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, conducted every five years since 1955, has become one of the most important sources of information on fish and wildlife recreation in the United States. Federal, State, and private organizations use the rigorously compiled and detailed information to manage wildlife and wildlife-related recreation programs, market products, and forecast trends in participation and economic impacts.

whitetail-deer-091212The 2011 report was requested by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Survey Branch of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, and administered by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The Census Bureau conducted detailed interviews from individuals at 48,627 households across the country to obtain samples of sportspersons and wildlife watchers. Information was collected through computer-assisted telephone and in-person interviews. The Survey is funded through a Multi-State Conservation Grant from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.  The Survey is being released in phases–the first report was issued in August 2012 and presented data for the nation as a whole.  The final national report will be available in November 2012, and the detailed state reports will be issued on a flow basis beginning in December 2012.    The full State Overview Report can be downloaded.

 

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Jim Shockey Signature Series Cannon Safe

Keeping your guns in a quality safe helps reduce the chances of your guns being stolen or damaged during a fire. Hunters who are fans of Jim Shockey will like the new Jim Shockey Signature Series that Cannon Safe recently added to its line of high-security safes.  As a proud sponsor of “Jim Shockey’s The Professionals,” Cannon designed the Jim Shockey Signature Series safes to combine Shockey’s grit and charisma with the industry leading safe technology Cannon is known for.

Jim-Shockey-Cannon-SafeThe Jim Shockey Signature Series is built of heavy gauge steel and has a massive four-inch double-steel composite door with 1.5-inch active-locking bolts on the top and side.  The body is painted Hammertone Beige with camouflage accents on the handle and lock, while a Jim Shockey decal with signature is boldly displayed on the front of the door.

Inside the safe, the walls and shelves are covered with a tan luxury grade upholstery finish.  The adjustable shelving gives users the ability to utilize all the available space in a way that best suits their needs. A convenient door organizer kit is attached to the inset door panel and can easily store multiple pistols, magazines, knives or anything else one might need–all within arm’s reach after the door is opened.

Multidirectional LED lights that activate when the door is opened and shut off when closed brightly illuminate the interior of the safe.  Inside, there is also a state-of-the-art internal power supply system with two 110-power outlets, USB port and an RJ45 Ethernet connection that keeps computers and other electronics charged and connected.

Safe contents are accessed with a high-security commercial grade Type 1 electronic lock that is backlit and protected with three layers of extra-hard, 60+ RC steel hard-plate.  It features Surefire multiple re-lockers, patented TruLock internal hinges and a pre-drilled bottom for bolting to the floor.

The Jim Shockey Series has an Intertek-ETL verified fire rating of 1200° F for 60 minutes and features a triple fin intumescent cold smoke expandable seal and heat-activated door seal that expands when exposed to heat.

SPECIFICATIONS:
Model: JS6030
Weight: 560 lbs.
Dimensions: 60”x30”x24” (depth includes dial and handle)
Gun Capacity: 24 (gun capacity can vary depending on gun size)

Model: JS6040
Weight: 730 lbs.
Dimensions: 60”x40”x24” (depth includes dial and handle)
Gun Capacity: 36 (gun capacity can vary depending on gun size)

MSRP: $2,172 to $2,400

 

New Green Measured World Record Cheetah

world-record-cheetah-1-091112Getting a cheetah may be one part pure luck, but getting the world record cheetah during a driving thunderstorm is something else entirely.

It was 5 a.m. and time to get up.  After breakfast, we moved toward one of our concession areas.  My hunter Johan’s, main trophy was the elusive cheetah.  They are beautiful animals and plentiful in Namibia, but as I explained to him, “ It is pure luck, you cannot bait a cheetah. They do not eat rotten meat; you can only sit at a play tree and hope for the best, or spot them and then ambush them on foot. It is pure luck to take a cheetah trophy home.”

We had been driving the same area for five days, and three days ago saw where two mature male cheetahs had entered the area, but then lost the tracks.  We stayed positive and wanted to drive the area one more time.  The elements were working against us–with much rain and very tall grass, our chances of success were very slim…or so we thought!

We drove fence-line after fence-line looking for tracks, and eventually found where the two cheetahs went back into the neighboring concession, and then turned around and came right back into the area we were in.  That meant that they might still be where we were hunting. We spent the entire morning looking for them, but had no luck.  The vegetation was so thick that it was very difficult to see any animals and we returned home for lunch.  I felt positive, though, and started telling my client what he could expect; that he would see only its head above the grass, and that we would then have to crawl in order to get close enough to make a good shot.   He would have to figure out where the vitals on this animal were before taking his shot.

100% of SCI Record Book and World Hunting Award net proceeds go to anti-poaching and conservation efforts worldwide.

Thunderstorms were booming in the far north as we headed out again after lunch toward the same area.  We started driving the by-now familiar bush tracks when my tracker, Martin, knocked on the roof for me to stop the hunting vehicle.  There they were!  Two huge male cheetahs sitting under a camel thorn tree with their backs toward us, about 400 yards away!  We got off the hunting truck and started moving very low and very slowly through the bush in their direction.  Soon the grass seeds irritated our eyes and it felt as though our heads were about to explode from the allergies.  We had to go at least another 100 meters to give Johan a good shot. At that point, I could not see anymore as the tears were flowing and I badly wanted to sneeze.  I touched him on his shoulder and whispered to him, “Either you take the shot, or I will just have to sneeze and then they will be gone.”  He gave me a nervous look, but I smiled at him and assured him, “You can do it!”   We were about 300 yards away when I set up the shooting sticks and let him get in position on his knees.  The shot went off and the one male tumbled backward, got up and disappeared in the tall grass.

We walked to where they had been sitting and found blood on the bush the cheetah had tumbled into, so I sent Martin back to the hunting vehicle to get my tracker dog, Snippie.  We were only about 50 meters on the blood trail when a really strong thunderstorm broke loose. The dog lost the blood and we could hardly see a meter ahead.  The rain was pouring down and the lightning and thunder were striking on both sides of us.  My hunter was worried while my adrenaline was pumping out of my ears, and I could hear every one of my heartbeats.  “We have to find this animal,” I thought to myself. “If we give up now, he will die on his own and that would be unfair.”  We were soaked to the bone, but we continued searching for the wounded cheetah. The only thing that was going through my mind was, “Please God, let us find this cat.”

Snippie was running up and down like he knew something. We went forward wiping the raindrops from our faces when Snippie all of a sudden started barking.  Our legs could not carry us fast enough through the mud and puddles of water to the bush where Snippie was standing. world-record-cheetah-2-091112

There, an enormous cheetah was snarling at us.  The client finished him off.  I could not help but wipe a tear from my eye in gratitude for finding this cat.  “Thank you Lord,” I prayed loud and clear and everybody looked at each other with emotions you could only understand if you had been there. I grabbed Johan and hugged him tightly to congratulate him on his beautiful cheetah.  The first shot was just a little high,  but it did enough damage to slow the magnificent cat down for us to finish him off and go home feeling that we had truly earned him.

The rain was still coming down in buckets and by now we were walking in ankle deep water.  We needed to get to the car quickly because it was getting dark and the storm getting worse.  My faithful tracker put the cat on his shoulders and off we went.  He started walking east when I told him that he was going the wrong way.  We need to head west.  We were looking at one another when I realized that we were completely lost!  I did not have a clue where we had left the hunting track.  The rainstorm had us all totally confused.

We started heading to where I thought was west when Martin again differed from me telling me that we were going the wrong way. This time he wanted to go north.  “Great!” I thought to myself, here I am, a professional hunter with my highly skilled tracker and the assistant who was actually born in this area, with not one of us knowing where we were going!  We decided to keep on heading west, “somebody must take the lead,” I mumbled.

After two hours of struggling through the mud and the water, we finally reached the road.  I knew we had to start walking to the right along the fence line, and after another half hour we reached the hunting truck where we took one quick photo and started heading home.  All were quiet and happy thinking about this awesome hunt in the most beautiful place on earth, the beautiful Namibia, with the most amazing lightning and thunder and feeling so vulnerable and realizing how small we actually are.

Everybody in camp had been worried and wondering what we were doing out in the rain–they probably thought we had been stuck in the mud.  We all took hot showers, warmed up in front of the fireplace and told the rest of the party our story.

When we measured the skull two days later, we realized that this magnificent cat is likely the new world record cheetah. —By Johan Van Der Westhuizen hunting with PH Elaine Coetzee of CEC Safaris, Namibia.

 

French SCI Member Likes .338 Lapua

I’m an SCI Member from France, writing in answer to your question about what kind of rifles, scopes and types of bullets I am currently using when hunting. I have now done 38 hunting trips since 1985 when I first hunted in Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean. There I was lent a .300 Savage for the first wild boar I shot and it worked fine.

Africa

I started to hunt in Western Africa (Burkina Faso) in 1989, 1990 and 1991. I used at the time a .375 H&H Heym rifle topped with a 2.2-9x42mm Swarovski scope and Nosler Partition or Trophy Bonded bullets. That combination worked fine on all kind of animals, including western buffalo.

Since 1998, I’ve shifted to a .416 Rigby–a bespoke rifle based on a Mauser action. With it, I took my first lion using Woodleigh bullets. The performance was devastating. As a second rifle, I had a .338 Lapua Magnum—a Sako model TRGS that is now discontinued. It is a great caliber and rifle, and I personally handload my cartridges using Vithuaori N165 powder and 250-grain Nosler Partition bullets.

The Rigby is scoped with a 2.5x20mm Kahles; the Sako with a 1.1-4x24mm Schmidt & Bender.

red-deer-091012

In 2000 in Burkina Faso, I used only the .338 Lapua Magnum Sako, as the stock of the .416 Rigby was broken when I arrived in the country. Using 250-grain Nosler Partition bullets, I took a buffalo, a lion and various antelope including (at that time) the SCI World Record western bushbuck that scored 39 6/8 (it now ranks 7th).

In 1997 (in Benin), and 2004 (in Burkina Faso), I did most of my hunting using a .458 Win. Mag. Brno rifle and A-Frame 500-grain bullets along with my .338 Lapua Magnum Sako rifle. I shot a buffalo with the .458.

Mountain Hunting

For this kind of hunting (Scotland, Kazakhstan, Azerbajan, also France where I hunt the Corsican sheep with shots up to 270 meters), I currently use a 7mm Rem. Mag. Prohunter Steyr Mannlicher, using handloaded 150-grain Ballistic Tip bullets, or factory-loaded 162 KS RWS bullets. All of them are extremely accurate (three bullets in a 2-inch circle at 300 meters). The recoil of the 7mm Rem. Mag. is mild and allows very long, accurate shots. The rifle is scoped with a Multi-Zero CS 2.5-10x50mm Kahles that allows me to sight up to 500 meters.

Eastern Countries (Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary) And Driven Hunts In France

I now use a bespoke .300 Win. Mag. rifle based on a 1924 Mauser action made by a French master gunsmtih, Joel Doreac, from Perpignan.  I stuck with the .300 Win. Mag. as I use mainly 200-grain Norma Oryx bullets when stalking wild boar (from 100 to 350 pounds) or red deer, and 220-grain Sako Hammerhead bullets when on driven hunts in France. I use a 3-12x56mm Multi-Zero CS Kahles scope for stalking and a red dot Docter for driven hunts.

Buffalo Hunting

I’ve shot three buffalo using three different calibers. With a .375 H&H, the buffalo walked 80 meters after being shot; with the .458 Win. Mag., the buffalo fell in its tracks; with the .338 Lapua, it walked 30 meters and fell, but I had to reshoot three times to kill him.

I personally think that the caliber in Africa will depend on the territory you hunt. In open field, a .375 H&H will be enough for buffalo when using 350-grain bullets, but you will be safer in very heavy brush with a larger caliber. –Christian S.  Limoges, France

 

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