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OUR LATEST POSTS

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It saddens me to read stories about how overfishing is depleting fisheries around the world. Several species are being fished to the brink of extinction. As much as it sometimes hurts to deal with new regulations around size limits, protected areas, or reduced bag limits, I’m happy to know that the sport I love is going to be around for my kids and grandkids to enjoy. Thankfully, the United States has a robust fisheries-management infrastructure, so we’re saving the resource for future generations.

Conversely, it makes me really happy to see fishery restoration successes. One example is the brook trout fishery in the Great Smoky Mountains. Read about it in this article from The Daily Times.

smoky_flyguyThe six-year-long closure of Lynn Camp Prong in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to fishing could be coming to an end.

Fisheries Biologist Matt Kulp said a long-running restoration project to reintroduce native Southern Appalachian brook trout to several streams in the Tremont area has been going well. He expects that a proposal to reopen the area to fishing will be presented to park managers soon. “I’m very hopeful that it will reopen. There is no reason it shouldn’t at this point. I’m excited.”

In 2008, the park closed an 8-mile segment of Lynn Camp Prong, a half-mile section of Indian Flats Prong, Marks Creek and all tributaries of the Middle Prong of the Little River in order to poison nonnative fish in the streams. Park biologists used Antimycin A, a fish poison approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, to kill nonnative rainbow trout in the affected streams, which were restocked with the native fish.

Populations of brook trout are on track to surpass the numbers of rainbow trout in the streams previous to the treatment in the next year or so, Kulp said. The brook trout populations have grown despite an attempt to sabotage the project by unknown parties, who began restocking the streams with rainbow trout in the year-or-so after efforts began.

Photos: Cornell University (top); The Daily Times (above)

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This bowhunter manages to make a heart shot. Lying down!

There are all types of ways hunters must compensate for a shot during a hunt, but never have I seen a shot from a bowhunter lying on his back.

If that wasn’t enough, he put the arrow right through the heart. Check out this footage, captured by a GoPro.

A bowhunter always has his challenges during a hunt, and this particular bowhunter manages to overcome his challenges by making this shot from a completely atypical angle. When he walks up to the doe, you can see the placement was perfect, right through the heart.

Heck of a heart shot, sir!

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An Ohio deer farm owner who violated quarantine orders from the Ohio Division of Agriculture will have 300 of his deer euthanized by the state.

Daniel M. Yoder, the owner of World Class Whitetails of Ohio Ranch in Holmes County, has been informed that 300 of his deer will be euthanized and checked for signs of chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The quarantine on Yoder’s deer was initially ordered by the state in April 2014, when the deer were suspected of being exposed to CWD from an animal shipped to the farm from Pennsylvania.

On Oct. 22, 2014, a deer on Yoder’s farm tested positive for CWD, which causes problems with the brain and nervous system of deer, moose and elk, and eventually is fatal. Hunting on the ranch was still allowed during this time, but all dead deer were ordered to be tested, and no new deer were allowed to enter the property’s herd.

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Yoder allegedly repeatedly violated the state-mandated quarantine and failed to keep accurate records that are required by the state. In fact, the state has dealt with record-keeping issues from Yoder for some time before the current CWD event.

“Transferring deer to Honey Run Farm was a clear violation of the quarantine,” said Erica Hawkins, Ohio Department of Agriculture director of communications. “Yoder willfully violated the terms of the quarantine, and we’ve also had chronic record-keeping issues with him.”

The worst problem occurred when several deer escaped from the farm, putting the entire wild deer herd at risk of exposure to CWD. Ohio Division of Wildlife officers have killed five deer with ear tags in recent months. The tags indicate the deer were escapees from farms or preserves, and two of them proved to be from World Class Whitetails. Luckily, none of the five deer tested positive for CWD.

“The last straw was deer escaping from his property. That could allow the disease to potentially spread to hundreds of thousands of wild animals in the state,” Hawkins said.

Due to the issues with CWD at Yoder’s farm, Holmes County hunters were asked to bring any harvested deer to physical check stations so they could be tested for CWD. Scientists need the lymph nodes and brain stems of deer in order to test them for the disease. Officials were hoping to test as many deer as possible, but not many hunters brought their deer to the stations.

Ohio allows hunters to check harvested animals via an online system, which may have contributed to the low turnout. The total amount of harvested deer was also about 6.7 percent lower than previous seasons. ODOW officials also collected the necessary organs from deer-processing facilities and taxidermists.

Of the more than 500 deer farms and high-fence hunting preserves in the state, World Class Whitetails is one of the largest. Its website includes many pictures of the massive-sized bucks that are raised for hunting on the ranch. The trophy bucks are sold for prices ranging between $7,000 and $20,000.

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Due to fair chase laws, none of the bucks harvested at the ranch are eligible for inclusion in either the Pope & Young or Boone and Crockett record books.

High-fence hunting preserves get a lot of negative media attention for their unfair hunting practices. This recent incident with CWD is just another reason why many hunters dislike the practice.

It is a shame that 300 deer must now be euthanized because of unsafe practices by a farm owner, but the safety of the state’s wild deer herd cannot be risked.

A human has never contracted CWD, but hunters are encouraged to report any deer with ear tags or those that appear to be sickly. The Ohio deer-hunting season runs through Feb. 1, 2015. Archery and the muzzleloader season runs from Jan. 2 to 5, 2015.

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Watching this fast-paced hunt will definitely have you on the edge of your seat. Alberta waterfowl hunting is where it’s at.

If you’ve never traveled to Alberta, Canada, this hunting video will have you planning a trip in no time, especially with that background music. Alberta waterfowl hunting is definitely lucrative.

Forget hiding and waiting in a blind while your decoys float nearby. These waterfowl hunters dressed the part and hid among their many decoys.

Without a doubt, their strategy worked, as anyone can see. The ducks and geese swarmed the field, and so many dropped, the faithful dog could barely keep up.

Looking at the sky alone, you’d almost think the area was under a missile attack!

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Our hunting treestands are our treetop palaces of the hunt, but someone in Indiana thinks otherwise. This act of treestand sabotage could have been very dangerous.

Indiana game wardens rush to find the culprit of blatant treestand sabotage.

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The Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Facebook page states this is probably a form of hunter harassment that is indeed illegal in the state. In fact, it’s a misdemeanor. This outright act of vandalism could have been lethal had the hunter tried to use the treestand and not been aware of the damage. This was done on private land, so a trespasser was the likely culprit.

Be aware out there in the wilds and report any illegal activities you may encounter while out there.

Be safe and watchful always and report all hunting and fishing violations at 1-800-TIP-IDNR.

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Call me weird, but my kids and I enjoy looking at the fish in the grocery store and making fun of the people who buy it. I catch my own fresh fish on a weekly basis  I’ve got a freezer full of only top notch catches: tuna, yellowtail, white seabass, and lingcod. The fish I typically see in the market looks terrible. Cloudy with red eyes, they typically have poor color and texture. Then you read the label to find that they’re farmed fish with color added. Count me out.

I’ve been noticing a lot of fished marked as keta salmon. I’d never heard of keta salmon, so I looked it up. Keta salmon comes from the scientific name of Onchorhyncus keta, also known as chum or dog salmon. You won’t find Alaskans eating chum salmon, but as a sportfish, they’re another story. Learn about keta (or chum) salmon as a gamefish in this article from Orvis.

keta salmonThe chum salmon (Oncorhyncus keta) is familiar to most anglers only because of the unique “tiger-stripe” patterns of red, purple, and black that spawning fish develop along their flanks. Because the species is not known for excellent table quality, its popularity suffers, compared to the more desirable Chinook, sockeye, and coho salmon. But chums are second only to Chinooks in size, readily take flies, and fight by making tackle-burning runs.

Range and Life History
The chum salmon may have once been the most abundant of all the Pacific salmonids, and it still has the widest natural geographic range: it is native on both the North American and Asian continents, and it spawns farther into the Arctic Ocean than do other species. Originally, chums could be found as far south as Monterey, California, but the Golden State hosts only tiny, intermittently spawning populations today. Tillamook Bay, in northern Oregon, is now considered the southern end of the species’ effective range in the U.S., and there are fishable populations along the Washington coast. In Asia, chums can be found from Korea and far northern Japan north into Siberia.

Chums return to their natal waters to spawn after three to six years. Unlike other Pacific salmon, chums usually spawn at the mouths or in lower sections of rivers, with two exceptions—the Yukon River and Russia’s Amur River—where they travel as far as 2,000 miles upstream. The Yukon hosts two distinct runs, known as “summer” and “fall” chums, with the later fish being older, heavier, and traveling farther upstream.

Photos: Orvis (top); Green Polka Dot Box (above)