Crimson Trace

SUBSCRIPTION    SUBMIT RELEASES    ADVERTISE    ARCHIVES    CONTACT                                  TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
— ACQUISITIONS
PRADCO Outdoor Brands, the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of fishing and hunting brands and products, has acquired Bandit Lures of Sardis, Mississippi. | For More...

— BOATING
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is offering those serving active duty, in the Reserve or National Guard 10% off BoatUS' on water towing services. | For More...

— CONSERVATION
The new 714-acre Wildlife Management Area in Rock County is the second largest land acquisition project completed by Pheasants Forever in Wisconsin. | For More...

Sportsmen are urging the Bureau of Land Management to chart a more effective and efficient course for the future of land use planning as the agency holds a series of meetings as part of the revision of its current planning process. | For More...

— EVENTS
One of the longest running public celebrations of wildlife and conservation will be held in Springfield, Mo., in 2016. Three partners recently announced the event: organizer Boone and Crockett Club, host Wonders of Wildlife and logistics coordinator Bass Pro Shops. | For More...

— FISHERIES
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Atlantic Herring Section will hold a meeting on October 3, 2014, at 9:00 a.m., to review landing effort and discuss 'days out' measures for 2014 commercial herring harvesters. | For More...

— FISHING TOURNAMENTS
In the walleye world, there is no bigger event than the Cabela's National Walleye Tour (NWT) Championship that made a stopped in Oshkosh, Wis., this past weekend. Young Berkley pro Korey Sprengel showed up in a big way, winning his first NWT Championship title with a final two-day weight of 43.69 pounds. | For More...

For the third time in the past four years, North Carolina's Lake Norman plays host to the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open presented by Allstate. This event challenges competitors with very different conditions than in the two preceding Opens held on Lake Norman. | For More...

— GEAR
GoPro's Emmy®Award-winning imaging technology combines with enhanced ease-of-use and powerful new features such as 4K30, 2.7K50 and 1080p120 video capture (Black) and built-in touch display convenience (Silver), to make it easier than ever for consumers to self capture and share stunning, professional quality content of their favorite experiences. (MORE) | For More...

— HUNTING
The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) and the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences are conducting a research project in four locations to determine the adult survival rates and movement patterns of white-tailed deer in Alabama. The WFF is encouraging hunters to avoid harvesting deer wearing the orange GPS collars. | For More...

The hunting of all mountain lions in Montana hunting district 309, which includes portions of Gallatin counties, closed one-half hour after sunset on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. | For More...

The hunting of all mountain lions in southwestern Montana hunting districts 323, 324, 325 and 327, which include portions of Madison and Beaverhead counties, will close at one-half hour after sunset on Tuesday, Sept. 30. | For More...

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is the latest of many states to approve HunterEdCourse.com as an official online hunter safety course. | For More...

— INDUSTRY
The Remington Outdoor Company ("ROC") is pleased to announce Ginger Chandler's appointment as Sr. Vice President, New Product Development and Innovation. | For More...

Arctic Ice is proud to partner with Canfield's Sporting Goods in Omaha, NE to bring their product offerings to outdoorsmen in eastern Nebraska. | For More...

Intrepid Powerboats will debut their Intrepid 327 center console, the first hybrid yacht factory powered by natural gas, featuring fuel-system technology from Blue Gas Marine, Inc. to power its outboard motors. at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, February 12-16, 2015. | For More...

Michael Muir, great-grandson of John Muir, and a wilderness advocate in his own right, was chosen as the recipient of the 2014 award exemplifying the spirit of the outdoors from the Outdoor Writers Association of California. | For More...

Robinson Outdoor Products, manufacturer of ScentBlocker® hunting clothing and scent eliminating liquids, and Tree Spider® hunting safety equipment, announced today that it has appointed Todd Leidall as Vice President of Sales. | For More...

— JOBS JOBS JOBS
Bass Pro Shops is seeking a Online Media Specialist to work with freelance writers to procure, write, edit, coordinate production of and upload content to the Bass Pro 1Source website. Key to this task is focusing on areas of text, graphics and video to search optimize content with keywords, meta-tags and descriptions. | For More...

— NEW PRODUCTS
With installation of a new 10x32 Monocular Attachment, Pulsar's highly sophisticated DFA75™ - the world's first digital front attachment that converts a daytime riflescope into a powerful digital night vision riflescope - can now be converted into a hand-held 10x32 digital night vision monocular. | For More...

Proforma has introduced the Mossy Oak camo, durable party cups in three styles. | For More...

Two new versions of Dirty Bird® 12"x18" Silhouette Targets are available - a Blue/Orange version and a Transitional model. Both targets feature a white "halo" around each shot to help shooters quickly see their shots for faster hand-and-eye coordination and reduced training time. | For More...

Make the most out of your dove-hunting days afield in the Game Winner® Men's Game Vest, available only at Academy Sports + Outdoors for only $9.99. | For More...

New for 2015, Steiner is proud to introduce a new line of Navigator Pro marine binoculars. Perfect for the recreational sailor, angler or cruiser, the new Navigator Pro series offers exceptional performance at an affordable price. | For More...

Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), yesterday announced Hunt View Maps, a series of preloaded microSD cards containing land ownership data for Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah | For More...

— ORGANIZATIONS
The Hunting Heritage Foundation announces the publication and distribution of the 2014-2015 Alabama Hunting & Fishing Almanac. 24,000 copies of the Almanac were published in partnership with the Alabama State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Alabama Farmers Cooperative. | For More...

The award winning urban hunting and shooting elongation program Camp Compass teamed up with Cabela's to challenge urban students in Allentown, PA to a virtual competition and some academics. | For More...

Tread Lightly! celebrated the second anniversary of the "RIDE ON Utah" campaign on National Public Lands Day this past Saturday, September 27. Working closely with campaign partners, Tread Lightly! has worked to keep nearly 4,000 miles of motorized trails (across 1.8 million acres) in Utah open to the public. | For More...

In an effort to support youth shooting sports, the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) has donated funds to the MidwayUSA Foundation. The donation of $416,000 will benefit over 50 youth shooting teams that have an active Team Endowment Account with the MidwayUSA Foundation. | For More...

— PUBLISHING
This fall, Outdoor Life is featuring its first illustrated deer cover in nearly two decades. Celebrated wildlife artist Ryan Kirby spent 65 hours in the studio transforming a blank canvas into a work of art that resonates with outdoorsmen and women everywhere. | For More...

— RADIO
On Sunday, October 19, George Zimmerman, who put the right of self-defense in the spotlight when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, will tell his story in excruciating detail for the first time in an exclusive live discussion with host Mark Walters on the nationally syndicated Armed American Radio program. Exonerated in court, Zimmerman's life was turned upside down by the experience. | For More...

— RETAIL
The popular tackle maker Abu Garcia's newest rods and reels, introduced at the 2014 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) in July, are now available at retail outlets nationwide. | For More...

— SHOOTING COMPETITIONS
SureFire congratulates Team SureFire members, Mike Voigt and Maggie Reese on their outstanding performance at the USPSA Handgun Nationals. Mike Voigt took home the High Senior Trophy in Open Division and placed 12th overall, while Maggie placed 3rd in the Ladies Category of Production Division. | For More...

— SHOOTING INSTRUCTION
A Project Appleseed marksmanship clinic will be held October 25-26 at the Wyoming Antelope Club in Clearwater, Florida. | For More...

— SPONSORSHIPS
Cross Timbers Action Shooting Association (CTIDPA) is pleased to announce that Lone Star Medics will return as a Platinum sponsor of the 2014 Lone Star Championship. | For More...

— STATES
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will host an open house Oct. 1 in Crystal Falls, Michigan, to provide information and receive public comment on proposed forest management treatments for 2016 in the Crystal Falls management unit, which includes Dickinson and Iron counties. | For More...

With winter quickly approaching, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds residents that fuelwood permits are available for the 2014 season, which runs through Dec. 31. | For More...

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources yesterday announced that the Michigan State Waterways Commission meeting, originally scheduled for Oct. 3 in Marquette, has been canceled. | For More...

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has announced a nearly 13,000-acre tract that had received board approval to be added to State Game Lands 25 in Elk County will not be acquired. | For More...

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' (LDWF) iPhone app will be renovated in coming months to make the information resource more user friendly. | For More...

Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough yesterday urged the state Senate to act quickly to pass legislation that would allow Wildlife Conservation Officers working for the Game Commission and Waterways Conservation Officers working for the state Fish and Boat Commission to wear body cameras in performance of their official duties. | For More...

A Many, Louisiana, man has pleaded guilty of possession a shotgun and ammunition after being convicted of multiple felonies. He was apprehended by Louisiana agents in possession of the shotgun while hunting on private property without permission and using a stolen deer stand. | For More...

Catchable-size rainbow trout will be stocked by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in October to enhance fishing opportunities this fall and winter. | For More...

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the purchase of nearly 4,200 acres in Douglas County to protect important shrub-steppe habitat for wildlife and provide public access for outdoor recreation. | For More...

— TELEVISION
Join co-hosts Shawn Michaels and Keith Mark for Chapter 1 of Season 4 of MacMillan River Adventures (MRA) Hunting starting September 30, 2014 on Outdoor Channel. | For More...

This season of Dropped: Project Alaska 2.0 has Chris and Casey Keefer once again pitting their skills as hunters, woodsmen and anglers against an unforgiving landscape. | For More...

This week, Destination Whitetail cameras travel to Alabama to follow researchers at Auburn University's deer lab and find out what mysteries they've uncovered from their seven-plus years of deer observation and testing. | For More...

Blaine joins the world renowned Maine bear crew this week. After 3 cubs were abandoned by their mother, The crew brings the bears into a rehab center. | For More...

— WILDLIFE
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains a ruling that restores federal protections to wolves in Wyoming is basically a technicality that can easily be fixed on Wyoming's end. The State of Wyoming is in the process of adopting an emergency rule to do so. | For More...

— YOUTH
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) will host a youth fishing rodeo at Lake Bogue Homa on Saturday, October 4. The fishing rodeo is open to youth 15 years and under. | For More...

FEATURE
Waterfowling Is Hard Enough
Editor's Note: Occasionally, we receive submissions that are full of good information for first-time or experienced outdoorsmen. Here's one we think you'll enjoy on waterfowling.

Better Organization And Stealth Battlefield Tactics Yield Minimal Misery And Maximum Success

Waterfowlers are a dedicated bunch. Wet, cold and windy weather are our ideal hunting conditions. Such miserable elements prompt ducks and geese to move more regularly between roosting, feeding and loafing areas while also pushing fresh birds down along their fall migration routes. Sure, it's nasty outside, but you'd better be there if you want a shot at knocking them down.

Joe Balog's appreciation for organization has been garnered from thousands of trips on the water as a hunting and fishing guide and touring FLW pro. Photo courtesy of Joe Balog.
Our sport is also gear-intensive, requiring long hours of preparation before we even set foot in the field or marsh. At least it should. And once that abundant gear is readied, it needs to be transported to and from the field in some of the most difficult and physically challenging conditions imaginable.

Yes, waterfowlers are among the most dedicated of hunters, but they also make things harder than they need to be, inflicting unnecessary pain upon themselves and others in their hunting parties through a lack of organization.

Harrison Township, Michigan waterfowl pro Joe Balog logs hundreds of hours each season on the storied St. Clair Flats, home to some of the largest concentrations of migrating waterfowl in the often harsh and unforgiving Great Lakes region. Organization is central to Balog's waterfowl strategy. From decoys to dogs and the myriad of other gear he takes to the field, every critical piece of equipment has its proper place in Balog's waterfowl system. "When you hunt daily, as my group often does, anything less than total organization makes life miserable," he says.

Texas rigging your decoys is one of the best things a duck hunter can do to minimize headaches in the field. Photo courtesy of www.rigemright.com.
Decoys are among the most cumbersome and space-intensive hunting essentials imaginable. They are bulky, heavy and require anchors and lines that can quickly become a tangled nightmare when rigged and transported traditionally.

While many hunters employ vast decoy spreads, especially during flight days, Balog rarely does. "I hunt an area with large numbers of mallards and incredibly high hunting pressure," says Balog, who seeks out the tiny, more remote pockets to hunt, where smaller and more realistic decoy spreads yield excellent results. In this case, smaller often means just 9-24 decoys. Less is more, and realism is key. "I want my spread to look like a couple small groups of ducks gathered in a remote sweet spot to escape pressure and loaf," says Balog, who uses mostly mallards, with a couple of other species like gadwall or widgeon mixed in. "Late in the season I use more black ducks," he adds.

Balog forgoes traditional decoy rigging and the accompanying potential for temper-flaring tangles in favor of a Texas style rigging system made by Rig 'Em Right. "Texas rigging their blocks is one of the best things marsh hunters can do to eliminate headaches in the field," says Balog, who keeps rigs of six to 12 decoys worry free and ready for deployment inside 108-quart Plano Sportsman's Trunks.
Durable, waterproof Sportsman's Trunks, like these made by Plano, are steps ahead of the cheap ones you'll need to replace each season, and serve double duty as movable shooting benches. Photo courtesy of Joe Balog.
"These surprisingly affordable and durable trunks are like gold in my boat," says Balog, who also uses them as movable shooting benches and dog platforms in addition to a safe, dry place to stash other gear like PFDs and additional dry clothing.

Balog's penchant for setting up in out-of-the-way pockets means his stash of gear also includes a variety of tools and equipment to aid in fast and flexible concealment. "I often hunt by constructing fast, temporary blinds," the Realtree prostaffer says. "Most times, my group and I like to pick an area that has good overhead cover - like a thick bunch of cattails or phragmites, but I always bring real-grass grass mats, too - like the ones from Avery or Cabela's - and put them on conduit poles to make temporary blinds whenever the natural cover is insufficient." The key to successfully setting up and hunting in these small hot spots is concealment. "Again, we try to hunt in remote areas and have the ducks come in right on top of us." Continues Balog, who wears face paint 100% of the time. "It's mandatory to hunt in my crew." He says. "Even the dog gets camouflaged with a custom-built cover."

Lake St. Clair is big water that commands great respect, along with additional preparation and gear. The lure of the big lake and all its ducks attracts many hunters who are unfamiliar with the lake and hunting big water in general. Unfortunately, many hunting parties find themselves stranded each year.

Balog takes no such chances, maintaining a dedicated, waterproof boat box containing distress signals, a handheld VHF radio, spare spark plugs, electrical and duct tape, penetrating oil, cable ties, first aid kit, extra flashlight and batteries, and boat paperwork. He keeps an identical box loaded with a variety of tools, including a small, propane torch and striker for de-icing duties. "I'm amazed by the number of hunters who don't keep these essential safety and maintenance items in their boats," Balog says. "They're just asking for trouble, and sooner or later they'll get it."

A blind bag is considered standard-issue equipment for the waterfowler, but not all blind bags are standard. Choose a fully waterproof model with additional features that provide maximum utility. Photo courtesy of Joe Balog.
While Plano and a few other companies make specific marine safety boxes for this purpose, most are orange - no good on a duck boat. Balog employs Plano's model 171200 Ammo Case instead. "It's a durable, waterproof box that's big enough for the chore, but not so big that it takes up too much space," he says. "And it's olive drab in color."

Of course, a blind bag is a must-have piece of gear for any waterfowl hunter, providing space for items like shells, calls, gloves, phone and other items. But not all blind bags are created equal. Balog prefers the WF 13 bag by Tenzing, and uses it exclusively. "When something works, I stick with it," he says. Whatever bag you choose, features like a durable waterproof base and full waterproof exterior are a must. "Any other features are a bonus," says Balog, who likes the WF 13 because of its durable zippers and hardware, storm shield cover, pull out hand muff with built-in hand heater pockets, clear phone pocket, and shoulder strap with built-in bird loops. While contents vary from hunt-to-hunt, Balog keeps certain items inside his blind bag at all times, including shells, choke tubes and wrench, ear plugs, hand warmers, gloves, hats, face paint, call lanyard, dog whistle, ratcheting brush cutters, more cable ties, multi-tool, and extra bottles of water.

You don't have to learn the hard way. Anyone who hunts from a boat should keep a dedicated, waterproof box containing emergency and maintenance tools and supplies. Photo courtesy of Joe Balog.
Waterfowlers spend thousands of dollars on gear, so it makes sense to spend a few extra bucks on the specialized products that help keep it safe, dry, organized, and in good working order. While many hunters do, most fall short of Balog's standards. "My system is extremely organized," says Balog, who learned the importance of preparation and efficiency through years of fishing professionally on the FLW Tour and guiding fishermen and hunters alike. "Organize or fail," he says. "Sooner or later we all realize this."

Waterfowl hunting is challenging enough. Develop and implement a storage system with the right, quality products, and you'll become a happier and more successful duck hunter.

-- Josh Lantz (with Joe Balog)
Oct 2
Albuquerque, NM
Oct 3
Sir Walter Gun Club, Creedmoor, NC
Oct 3
North Versailles, PA
Oct 3
Rolla, MO
Oct 6-8
Turnberry Isle Resort, Miami, Florida
Oct 10
Lefthanders Gun Club, Loami, IL
Oct 11-12
Minneapolis Marriott West, Minneapolis, Minn
Oct 11-12
Hernando Sportsman's Club, l16121 Commercial Way (U.S. Hwy. 19), Brooksville, FL.
Oct 14-17
Statehouse Convention Center Little Rock, Arkansas
Oct 16
Old Fort Gun Club, Ft. Smith, Arkansas
Oct 31-Nov 2
Cops Range at Rolla MO
Oct 31-Nov 2
Hansen Range, Punta Gorda Florida
Nov 2
Rio Salado Sportsmans Club, Mesa Az.
Nov 7
3043 E. SCHOOL ROAD, BELVILLE, TEXAS 77418
Nov 7
Sanners Lake Sportsman's Club
Nov 7-9
South River Gun Club, Covington, GA
Nov 29-30
Hernando Sportsmen's Club, 16121 Commercial Way (Highway 19), Brooksville, FL
Dec 20
Universal Shooting Academy - Frostproof, FL
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