Crimson Trace

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— CONSERVATION
More than 570 baby sea turtles are scheduled to be released back into the Atlantic Ocean Monday in a joint effort between the Coast Guard and the Gumbo-Limbo Nature Center. | For More...

— CONTESTS
ABM Ammo has teamed up with Brownells, Inc. to give 10 lucky winners free ammo of their choice from their Hunt Ready™, Mission Ready™ or Match Ready™ lines. | For More...

FeraDyne Outdoors announces the launch of the #TimeToHunt consumer social media contest. The contest challenges hunters nationwide to show how they are gearing up and getting ready for the upcoming hunting season. Winners will receive a #TimeToHunt prize package valued at nearly $750. | For More...

— ENFORCEMENT
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested three men for alleged oyster harvesting violations in Terrebonne Parish. | For More...

— EVENTS
American Fishing Wire/HI-SEAS has signed on to sponsor the 2015 Bisbees tournament season. | For More...

One year after Canada's worst mining disaster – the August 4, 2014 Mount Polley tailings dam collapse in British Columbia – Alaska Natives and First Nations will mark the tragic event with a ceremony in Wrangell to bless the Stikine River, a major transboundary salmon near a newly opened Canadian mine, Red Chris. | For More...

— GEAR
ScentBlocker® has announced the introduction of the Matrix jacket and pant in Mossy Oak® Break-Up Country™. The stylish jacket and pant sets a new standard in wind protection with WindBrake™ technology. | For More...

— INDUSTRY
The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) announces Reeves & Dola LLP as the newest Bronze Sponsor of the upcoming Import/Export Conference set for August 4-5 in Washington. D.C. | For More...

The National Shooting Sports Foundation® announces Mark Barnes & Associates as a Gold Sponsor for the upcoming Import/Export Conference set for August 4-5 in Washington, D.C. | For More...

Swanson Russell of Lincoln, Nebraska, received four Silver and two Bronze awards at the 36th Annual Telly Awards. | For More...

— JOBS, JOBS, JOBS
Viridian Green Laser Sights, a leading innovator in tactical lasers, lights and holsters is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Director of Marketing. This position is located at Viridian's headquarters outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. | For More...

— MEDIA ADVISORY
A public event to celebrate the addition of 330 acres of land to the Lemon Fair Wildlife Management Area in Cornwall and Bridport, Vermont will be held tomorrow (Tuesday, July 28) beginning at 10:00 a.m. | For More...

— NEW PRODUCTS
Anyone looking for a rugged assisted opening lockback with a great blade at a very affordable price will appreciate the new F.A.S.T.® 2.0 R11609 Medium Folder from Remington® Cutlery. | For More...

St. Croix seized "Best of Show" in the fly-rod category at ICAST with a stick built specifically for casting full-size flies to big bait-bustin' bass. | For More...

— OPTICS
Carl Zeiss Sports Optics announces the world's first premium crossbow scope, TERRA 3x XB75 with patented ballistic reticle. The new XB75 2-7x32 offers crossbow enthusiasts the ability to determine aiming points from 20 – 75 yards in 2 ½ yard increments based on the chronographed speed of the bow. | For More...

— PROMOTIONS
The Berkley Trailer is scheduled in Waddington, N.Y., at the B.A.S.S. Elite Series July 31- August 2 to entertain and offer great deals to consumers. | For More...

— RADIO
Northwestern Outdoors Radio was awarded five Excellence in Craft awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of America this summer and they are sharing a couple of our first place features with listeners this week. | For More...

— SCTP CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Jacksonville (Florida) University Sporting, Skeet & Trap Team, which also took the Sporting Clays title, added the Double Skeet title in the Collegiate Division during competition at the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) National Team Championships.
| For More...

The Ben Avery Clay Crushers of Arizona, which finished fifth in Sporting Clays, held off squads from Montana and Tennessee to take home the Intermediate/Entry Level Division title in Doubles Skeet at the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) National Team Championships.
| For More...

The Volunteer State's Southern Shooting Sports squad of Austin Brown (Cumberland City), Ely Weakley (Ashland City) and Tyler Byard (Clarksville) broke a combined 247 of 300 targets to win the Intermediate/Advanced Division title in Doubles Skeet at the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) National Team Championships. | For More...

Led by the the high overall shooter in Doubles Skeet, the Haywood Young Guns of Tennessee claimed the Doubles Skeet title at the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) National Team Championships. | For More...

The Ft. Lee Dusters of Virginia outpaced squads from Tennessee and Georgia to take the Junior Varsity Division title in Doubles Skeet by breaking 276 of their 300 targets during the the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) National Team Championships. | For More...

The top male and female athletes were recognized by the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) at the 2015 National Team Championships for their outstanding individual performances in each of its six competitive divisions, including Doubles Skeet. | For More...

— STATES
Winners of the 10th annual "Arizona Big Game Super Raffle" were announced last Thursday night during a Sportsmen's Open Forum at Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters. In addition to awarding great prizes, the event raised a record-setting $598,400 for wildlife and wildlife management in Arizona. | For More...

The California Sportfishing League says that the California Sportfishing Stimulus Act of 2015 (SB 345) may not advance in the California State Assembly this year, unless a key provision of the legislation is reintroduced. | For More...

— TELEVISION
This week on GUNTALK: Two top trainers – Greg Lapin with VATA Group, and Chris Cerino of Cerino Consulting and Training Group - demonstrate self-defense training skills. | For More...

This week, Guns & Gear, one of the top-rated television programs to showcase products for shooting and hunting, features LaserLyte's Laser Body/Master Module kit for SCCY pistols; Ruger's family of American Rifles; the competition-ready Model 3T-M rifle from Stag Arms; DoubleTap Ammunition's DT Long Range ammo; a full line of green lasers from Crimson Trace; and Sig Sauer P320 modular pistol. | For More...

— TOURNAMENTS
From start to finish Alex Heintze and Justin Watts of Baton Rouge, La., held the lead at the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship presented by TNT Fireworks on Kentucky Lake. | For More...

— YOUTH EVENTS
For the past 28 years, this unique outreach program has targeted children from throughout Palm Beach County who don't normally have the opportunity or means to experience saltwater fishing aboard a big boat. | For More...

FEATURE
Conservation Genetics Steers Gila Trout Management
A trout that once stared at extinction offers wilderness angling opportunities

The trout stole its color from a southern New Mexico summer sunset. Gila trout sport a painter's pallet of pink and olive, rose, yellow and copper and a few tones in between. Beneath the black pepper flakes that fleck its side lies a lexis—a language carried forward from another time. It's an ancient language coded in molecules of proteins written by the press of time and experience in a land turned arid.

Gila trout, native only to headwater streams that vein over the Mogollon Rim of New Mexico and Arizona, have expressed in their genetic makeup a mapping of how to survive in the vestiges of what surely was a large and contiguous range. Their genetics equip them to face what nature may hurl at them in an already harsh environment.

It's those innate characteristics coiled in the double-helix of DNA that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists strive to preserve in the fish. Conservation genetics is at its heart an investment in the future with an eye on the past. Dr. Wade Wilson with the Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources and Recovery Center in Dexter, New Mexico, knows Gila trout like few others can; he's a geneticist and can de-code the language. It's his charge in the conservation of Gila trout to help ensure that the diversity of genetic characters unique in this fish stay in the fish going forward.

Wilson works adjunct with another U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility in New Mexico, the Mora National Fish Hatchery near Las Vegas where captive stocks of the rare yellow trout are held. Hatchery biologists are fully immersed in Gila trout captive breeding, and it's done smartly, carefully, through the consult of Wilson.

"We monitor genetic diversity in captive trout to ensure that what we have in the hatchery represents what we have in the wild," said Wilson. That mixture is essential for the future. "The more genetic diversity that exists among the fish, the better chance those future generations of Gila trout can adapt to changing environments and stressors and diseases in wild populations," Wilson adds.

"Here's how we get it done," explains an enthusiastic Nate Wiese, Mora's manager and lead fisheries scientist. "Each fish gets a microchip injected just under the skin just like your vet can do for your dog. That chip gives each fish a personal ID, like a social security number. Knowing each fish at an individual level is a first step in securing the future of Gila trout."

With every captive fish in the hatchery marked as such, biologists take non-lethal tissue samples from the fish, a tiny piece of fin. From there it's up to Wilson and his staff using leading-edge technology to look deep at each fish—at the molecular level. Wilson will pinpoint individual fishes with the rarest of genetics in the captive populations and suggest what Wiese calls "pair-wise spawns." It's akin to arranged marriages but with the express scientific purpose to ensure that the rarest of genetic characters found by Wilson are carried forward in the next generation of fishes. Males and females that differ among various genes make the best partners.

The Gila trout was described by science a mere 65 years ago. Through much of that intervening time—50 years—it had been closed by law to angling as the fish stared at extinction. Its lot improved with conservation and was down-listed from "endangered" to "threatened" in 2006, and opened to fishing a year later. And so it remains, threatened and fishable, despite a welter of catastrophic wild fires—the sort that makes the evening network news broadcast for days on end.

"An integral part of the conservation strategy calls to replicate in the wild the distinct genetic lineages," said Wiese. It's a measure of conservation security to give a geographic spread between populations. "But what happens when a massive fire threatens to gobble up the original and replicate populations? The hatchery is the back up."

Fire is hard on trout, particularly when a mountain stream turns into a slug of ash slurry at first rain post-fire. The Whitewater-Baldy Fire that decimated the Gila Wilderness in 2012 necessitated a trout rescue ahead of such circumstances. New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office biologist Dustin Myers based in Albuquerque led such rescues involving pack horses and helicopters and hatchery trucks from streams sure to be slugged by ash. Now, Mora National Fish Hatchery is home to the only known population of the Spruce Creek lineage of Gila trout. Three other strains are held there, too: Main Diamond Creek, Whiskey Creek and South Diamond Creek lineages.

Aside from the robust genetics plans that steer captive breeding, Wiese manages the hatchery to produce Gila trout conditioned toward a wild environment. Instead of growing lazy trout as fat as toads, they are in a captive environment that mimics nature—like boulders, plants and fast-flowing water. "We get them off the couch and on a treadmill," said Wiese. "They are going to be better suited for real streams. It's like tough-love for your children."

Those real streams are still healing from the 2012 fire and the Silver Fire that scorched headwaters atop the Black Range in 2013, and fish will return to them this autumn. Myers makes that call as to what streams are ready for trout. "Since the Whitewater-Baldy Fire we've replicated Whiskey Creek lineage in McKenna Creek and Upper White Creek," said Myers. "Whiskey fish will also go into Sacaton Creek this year. But Whiskey Creek itself is still healing and we have to wait for habitat conditions to improve."

It's about the habitat—including ensuring that Gila trout waters remain free of mongrel or nonnative trouts that compromise the genetic integrity of pure lineages via interbreeding. Barriers, made on site, or natural waterfalls are a means of segregating fishes. Toward that end, Myers recently worked with the Forest Service to restore a vital barrier, a natural waterfall, by blasting out lodged boulders to ensure 21 miles of prime Gila trout habitat in the West Fork Gila remain free of unwanted fishes.

The lack of habitat has been a vexation in Gila trout conservation. But science married with the resolve of individuals who care about this beautiful bright trout is a way forward. A certain splendor in the spectra of inspiring pigments reflected by a wet Gila trout call to mind Emerson: "If eyes were made for seeing, then beauty is its own excuse for being." But the beauty is richer than what strikes the eye; it's that Gila trout sheltered in a hatchery and those facing the rigors of the wild still carry today the impress of the past.

—Craig Springer

Craig Springer works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Learn more at www.fws.gov/southwest

Editor's Note:

The Southwest Region recently introduced Emphasis Areas as a way to focus our limited resources on geographic areas with the highest conservation need and potential for success, which also have opportunities for leveraging funding. The Mogollon Rim, home to Gila trout, is one of five geographic areas determined by the Regional leadership team to be an Emphasis Area.
Jul 25-26
Sparta Rod & Gun Club, Sparta, Wisconsin
Aug 1-2
Bass and Bucks, Wabash, Indiana
Aug 8-11
Toronto, Canada
Aug 11-16
Wroclaw, Poland
Aug 15-16
Saginaw Field and Stream, Saginaw, Michigan
Aug 23-30
Donaueschingen, Germany
Aug 29-30
Echo Valley Archers, Fayette, Iowa
Sep 3-4
College Station, Texas
Sep 5-7
College Station, Texas
Sep 8-13
Medellin, Colombia
Sep 11-13
Tusco Rifle Club, New Philadelphia, Ohio
Sep 26-27
Lake Murray, South Carolina
Oct 9-11
Old Fort Gun Club, Fort Smith, Arkansas
Oct 10-11
Douglas Lake, Tennessee
Oct 10-11
Louisville, Kentucky
Oct 17-18
Lake Guntersville, Alabama
Oct 17-18
Mexico City, Mexico
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