Monday, January 28, 2013

Shot Show 2013 Impressions

Though certainly not a newbie to the glitz and glam of Vegas, this was my maiden voyage to the Shot Show and when this incredible event is placed against the back drop of the city of sin, you create an overall visceral experience with A LOT of WOW factor. It is difficult to describe the Shot Show in the written word, for it needs to be experienced firsthand to be fully appreciated.

Quite honestly, the immensity or entirety of the experience is overwhelming. My participation was as media presence and I enjoyed getting a chance to meet with different product vendors and see the latest, greatest and newly released hunting products.

As a blogger and publication writer, I was granted permission to attend for this event is not open to the general public. For the writing crowd, Shot week started with a real BANG, with Monday’s festivities that started with tour buses transporting hundreds of us out into the waste lands of the desert to “play” at a titanic sized gun range. Coined “Media Day”, this event had me firing, throwing and operating a wide selection of weaponry including; crossbows, SOG knives and hatchets, 1911 Pistols, Benelli and Browning Shotguns and a mind blowing selection of fully automatic firearms.

Of all of the vendors, most impressive were the individuals from KRISS, their firearms, sales staff, weapons overview and shooting suggestions were spot on. Despite temperatures that hovered around 40 degrees F all day and sustained 30 mph wind speeds with gusts up to 40 mph, all of the vendors were in great spirits and did everything to make participants have a fantastic time.

The fuel for this successful event was surely the food. Lunch was a decadent selection of comfort foods, provided free of charge. Included in this “feast” were pork ribs, chili, mac and cheese, potato salad coleslaw, cookies, brownies and a huge selection of beverages . . . AND thankfully, piping HOT coffee! The lunch tent was a VERY welcomed short escape from the desert weather that attempted to punish us throughout the course of the day and had even this Maine boy glad he brought 3 heavy base layers, wool hat, boots and gloves.

HIGHLIGHT of media day was most certainly seeing Full Metal Jacket drill sergeant, Glock Representative and general tough guy . . . Ronald Lee Ermey!

Monday night found many of us on the social media platform Twitter at a “Tweet-up” or meeting of twitter users at the V-Bar in the Venetian. This laid back drinking hole, promoted an easy to talk atmosphere and wait staff that were amazingly gorgeous. As is usual, the tweet-up participants were a great blend of fun people with unique thoughts, ideas and opinion . . . AND of course there was free alcohol. I met several people I have been following for years and even met a few new “twerps” that I am planning to follow. If you are not on twitter or have never been to a tweet-up, I strongly suggest you do!

Tuesday was pure insanity; the Shot Show floor is 600,000 square feet and covers multiple floors. Slowly wandering around the hunting section alone, took me 5 hours and I still didn’t even come close to seeing all of the companies that were represented. Favorites include the fine ladies at Prois, who work tirelessly to promote more women entering the sport of hunting. Also the infrared/night vision company who graciously offered to set me up with their IR technology and video camera for night hunting coyotes this winter season. Our shared hope is that I will be able to capture video of shooting of coyotes that will be posted on their website, my blog and also features in various predator hunting presentations I plan to offer.

After the show closed its doors at 5:30, I was treated to a social event at the bar Lavo in the Venetian Palazzo hosted by These fun events, offer a great way to socialize and make new connections. I could see immediately, that some people are very practiced with this art form, being very good at promoting themselves, their companies, blogs and websites. I have a lot to learn from these well “polished” individuals before Shot Show 2014! It is my sincere hope, that I will be able to return to the Shot Show next year but as with so many things in life, I will need to make that decision when the date moves closer. Maybe what I REALLY need to do is find a SPONSOR!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse First Aid Kit

You knew it would happen sooner or later, a deadly virus has been released from a secret underground government laboratory and has converted half the earth’s population into brain munching undead. As zombies roam the countryside in search of fresh meat, it is your obligation to make sure you have organized a first aid kit that provides ample assistance to you and your family should someone in your inner circle become injured.

A first aid kit should be matched to the individual, the situation and distance from help. For example, someone with an allergic reaction to bee stings hiking alone across a desert 25 miles from the nearest outpost of civilization will require a completely different medical kit then a mountaineer. I mean how many bee stings and heat related injuries will occur on a glacier at 20,000 feet? While you certainly are able to buy a medical kit that will meet MANY of your needs, you will quickly find that organizing your own kit ensures it will contain ALL the items you will need.

In this degree of apocalyptic catastrophe, you will obviously need to be prepared for any and all contingencies and it will pay to have a number of components in your kit that will allow you to render first aid assistance across a large spectrum of injuries and illnesses.

The Red Cross recommends that all STANDARD first aid kits for a family of four include the following:
* 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
* 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
* 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
* 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
* 5 antiseptic wipe packets
* 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
* 1 blanket (space blanket)
* 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
* 1 instant cold compress
* 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
* 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
* Scissors * 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
* 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
* 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
* 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
* Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
* 2 triangular bandages
* Tweezers
* First aid instruction booklet
* Personal medications or other items suggested by your health-care provider.

Remember to check the kit regularly. Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents.

Of course during the Zombie Apocalypse the recommendations of the Red Cross will be woefully inadequate. After all, battling the undead is bone breaking; shoulder disjointing, ligament tearing, heavy arterial bleeding work, so make sure to pack in some serious first aid hardware. Tops on the list are Sam SplintsIsraeli bandage, tourniquets, Quick Clot, a small surgical kit, giant super blood absorbing gauze pads, large hypodermic needle for washing out deep wounds, large square bandages for wrapping damaged extremities, sutures or staple kit and several extra cartridges of zombie stomping 12 gauge 00 buckshot rounds.

 Since having the right medical kit is practically worthless without some level of training, it pays to at a minimum take a first aid and CPR class and do some additional reading. I suggest, two of my favorite reads, “Where there are no doctors” and “Where there are no dentists”.

It should be noted that as a Maine guide, frequently guiding clients well into the backcountry and no where near medical attention, the Zombie Apocalypse First Aid Kit is a valuable resource to have at your disposal. With the proper training, the kit is adequate to handle everything from a small scrape to a bullet wound. Please when venturing into the Maine woods, be sure to be adequately prepared!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wildlife Quiz - Maine Moose

Maine’s Moose 

The eastern moose (Alces alces Americana) belongs to the deer family Cervidae. One of six subspecies, it exists in Europe as well as North America. In North America, moose have a massive range, including almost all of Canada, Alaska, sections of New England, and stretching into northern parts of New York, Minnesota, Michigan and the Rocky Mountains.

Weighing up to1500 pounds and measuring as high as 7 feet at the shoulders, moose rank as one of North America’s largest animals, second only to the American buffalo. Though a seemingly sedentary creature, moose can move incredibly fast, able to run almost 35 miles per hour and capable of swimming 6 miles per hour. An herbivore, moose eat only plants, consuming almost 70 pounds of food per day to maintain their colossal size. Time of year determines diet for these browsers. Moose strip bark off alder trunks and also eat lichen, balsam fir and white spruce to consume the calories necessary to make it through a harsh winter, in summer moose feed heavily on aquatic plants, a salt laden favorite. Unfortunately for motorists, salted highways also attract moose and the Maine Department of Transportation reports approximately 700 of these animals are hit every year, occasionally with fatal results for both moose and motorist.

Moose-mating season occurs in September-October with birthing occurring in May and June. For securing breeding rights with receptive females (cows), males (bulls) grow a new set of antlers each spring, that are put to good use in spectacular battles for dominance over other males. Antlers fall off shortly after the mating season and by December shed hunters are out attempting to find these discarded treasures. Moose have a great sense of hearing and smell but poor eyesight, therefore caution should always be used when hunting and photographing these majestic animals.

Q1 How much does a newborn moose weigh?
A1 A newborn moose weighs approximately 30 pounds.

Q2 How long does a moose live?
A2 Moose live between 15 to 20 years.

Q3 What is the average moose hunt success rate?
A3 The success rate on moose during the 2011 season was 71% in northern and 22% in southern districts. The overall success rate was 66%.

Q4 When do moose give birth?
A4 Moose give birth in May-June.

Q5 What is Maine’s estimated moose population?
A5 According to state wildlife biologists, Maine's moose population is estimated at 76,000.

Q6 What is an immature moose called?
A6 An immature moose is called a calf.

Q7 When is the Maine hunting season start and end?
A7 Moose hunting season is variable depending on the Wildlife Management Area. It starts roughly at the end of September and runs until the end of November. It is a lottery system.

Q8 Where is the 2013 annual moose lottery drawing to be held?
A8 The 2013 moose lottery drawing will be held in Greenville on June 14-16.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Washington County Report – January

The Maine Sportsman - New England's Largest Outdoor Publication – Has assigned me as the writer for the magazines monthly Washington County Report. The column will highlight seasonal hunting, fishing and outdoor activities in Washington County, Maine. The copy below is the originally submitted unedited version. Enjoy! 

For more information on the Maine Sportsman Magazine or to order a subscription click this link: and
Ice Fish Like a Kid Again 
By the conclusion of the holiday season, I breathe a sigh of relief that the mayhem of Thanksgiving and Christmas have finally concluded and I can relax and begin planning for the return to hard-water fishing. While it will be another month before the classic West Grand is open for ice fishing, in the meantime, there exist many small ponds that beckon me to fish their waters.

While I love catching big fish, there also exists a part of me that relishes exploring waters providing nonstop flag-popping action. Washington County provides many lakes and ponds that offer tons of fun for children or those uninitiated with the ice-fishing experience. No better way exists, to hook someone new into fishing, as few anglers can contain their excitement, when even the “trash” fish are really biting.

One of my favorite ice-fishing memories comes from pickerel fishing on Conic Lake in the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge ( in Baring. The lake is accessible by parking along the side of Route 191 and walking or snowshoeing the short distance to the lake. The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge maintains special regulations against gasoline-powered motors anywhere within the boundaries of the refuge, so individuals wishing to ice-fish Conic Lake must walk or snowshoe into the lake (no snowmobiles) and drill holes using a hand-crank ice auger or chisel. While this might discourage individuals, I find it a distinct pleasure to fish using these “primitive” tools and it creates a deep appreciation for the gas and propane augers we have now!

While it is highly unlikely that the next state-record pickerel will be pulled from these waters, Conic Lake offers fast fishing that is certain to be enjoyed by all. Just don’t forget to tell any newbies in your group that pickerel pack a mouthful of razor sharp teeth!! While many will likely pack in red hotdogs and other classic ice-fishing fare for their day on the ice, pickerel rank in my book as delicious. With a generous daily bag limit on pickerel set at 10 fish and with no length limit, even the hungriest anglers will get their fill. Decapitated, gutted, wrapped in tinfoil and thrown on the coals of a fire they are a treat ready in minutes. Look for Conic Lake on DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 36, C-4.

Summit Mt. Magurrewock
In addition to the ice-fishing opportunities, the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge also maintains over fifty miles of dirt roads, closed to private vehicles. This makes these thoroughfares ideal for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Nature watching, along these byways, always seems to offer up excitement, typically treating visitors to encounters with a wide variety of woodland creatures. The refuge opens to the public daily from one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset.

A trek to the top of Mt. Magurrewock will challenge winter hikers to a fun and challenging adventure. Though rated as a moderate climb, with a summit only 381 feet above sea level, it will still get your heart pounding, trudging up the inclines through deep snow, in awkward snowshoes and carrying a light backpack. Enjoyable views of the ice-covered lowlands treat those reaching the summit.

Maps of the various trail systems are available at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge main office, located in Baring. Watch for the refuge boundary sign along Rt. 1 and follow the Charlotte road approximately 2 miles before seeing the Moose Horn Headquarters road on the right. The office is open Monday - Friday, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., except holidays. An information booth provides after-hours visitors with brochures and maps.

A reminder to hunters, the refuge only opens to deer hunting during the Maine rifle and muzzleloader season. It is closed to all other species and hunting seasons.

Eat Crow
Crow hunting start on Jan. 21st and goes to March 31st. With no limit to the number of birds taken per day, this species provides excellent shooting, with the added benefit of providing farm crops, nesting waterfowl and upland game birds with a small degree of relief from this crafty scavenger. I believe strongly in eating what you kill but some animals are difficult for even me to choke down and that includes the crow. Though I certainly have relocated my fair share of these winged vermin to heaven, I still have never been able to work up enough of an appetite to eat one. The reasoning for my distaste occurs because crows are well known carriers of disease, including the West Nile virus. To protect against possible infection always use rubber gloves when handling these avians and make sure to dispose of the carcasses in a means that does not allow access by cats, dogs or other animals.

Basic crow hunting requires a few plastic crow decoys and/or handmade silhouettes and a crow call. Place decoys in a field and a few in the nearby trees as “sentinels”. Fill a spray bottle with water and red food coloring and squirt on the snow to make a realistic “kill” area, this becomes especially effective when joined by a few turkey feathers stuck in the snow or small patch of fur.

On occasion, I have watched crows actually eat this “fake” blood. As hunters get more advanced, more crow decoys can be added and an owl decoy. This set-up works well to fire up the crows and dozens sometime respond in just a few minutes. Adding an electronic remote controlled game call adds yet another dimension to your decoy spread and increases success. It pays to have a rifle handy in these set-ups, as on occasion, I have had coyotes come running in to investigate the crow calls.

A few phone calls to local farmers will typically yield access to property for hunting opportunities, as most farmers understand the destructive power of the crow.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...