Crimson Trace

SUBSCRIPTION    SUBMIT RELEASES    ADVERTISE    ARCHIVES    CONTACT                                  FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017
— ARCHERY
Gold Tip and Bee Stinger pro shooter Tommy Gomez took home the first Archery Shooters Association (ASA) Pro/Am title of the season this past week in Foley, Alabama. In addition, Gold Tip and Bee Stinger continued their ASA tournament dominance. | For More...

— BOATING
If you boat on two popular waters in Utah, you need to be aware of two major changes. In addition to stopping at all mandatory inspection stations that are open, you must follow several other procedures to prevent spreading quagga mussels. | For More...

— COMPETITIVE SHOOTING
Smith & Wesson is proud to announce that long-time team member Josh Lentz, won the revolver class at the 2017 Florida Open Pistol Shooting Championship. Josh fired 300 rounds over 11 stages with his Performance Center Model 929 revolver. | For More...

— CONSERVATION
For his unwavering and unsurpassed support of the National Wild Turkey Federation and its mission, Johnny Morris, noted conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops, received special recognition during the 41st annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville. | For More...

Gib Rhodes has a passion for introducing youth to hunting and conservation of the wild turkey, thereby preserving our hunting heritage. For his dedication to the National Wild Turkey Federation's mission, Rhodes earned a national award. | For More...

For their dedication to conservation and the preservation of our hunting heritage, David and Judy Vaughan earned national awards from the National Wild Turkey Federation. | For More...

— EVENTS
More than 52,000 turkey hunters, conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts flocked to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center for the National Wild Turkey Federation's 41st annual Convention and Sport Show, Feb. 15-19. | For More...

— FISHERIES
If you're an avid Pelican Lake angler, you've likely noticed that the bluegills you've caught over the past 10 years have gotten smaller in size, but that may soon change, if the Utah DWR is successful in completely eradicating carp with a treatment of rotenone. | For More...

More than 100,000 rainbow trout are expected to be released this spring in 64 Ohio public lakes and ponds, creating excellent fishing opportunities for anglers all across Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The first rainbow trout release is scheduled for Friday, March 3, at Adams Lake in Adams County. | For More...

— HUNTING
The hunting of female mountain lions in western Montana hunting districts 200 and 201, which includes portions of Mineral, Sanders and Missoula counties, will close one-half hour after sunset on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. | For More...

— INDUSTRY
F-3 Media LLC, a digital marketing, media and production company based in Carthage, Missouri, announces the addition of Ryan Litwin as Vice President of Sales and Marketing | For More...

HIVIZ Shooting System is excited to add the Yackley family of professional shooters to the HIVIZ pro staff. Husband Mark and wife Becky along with their three sons Tim (16), Sean (14), and Andrew (9) will proudly represent the HIVIZ brand at shooting events throughout the country. | For More...

AcuSport Corporation is proud to support their partner, Air Filters, Inc. to introduce its revolutionary new product The Blue Crush. The Blue Crush compactor is a commercial grade air filter compactor specifically designed to reduce filter waste while lowering overall disposal and storage costs. | For More...

— JOBS
Sightron Sport Optics, manufacturer of rifle scopes, binoculars and spotting scopes is looking to expand its sales presence. Independent sales representation sought in TALO and Western states. | For More...

— LAND MANAGEMENT
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently launched a project designed to demonstrate to private landowners that they can accomplish their wildlife habitat enhancement goals and objectives by careful implementation of a well-written resource management plan. | For More...

— OPTICS
Sightmark is proud to announce the release of new Wolverine Red Dot Sight models. Four new models are being added to the line. Wolverine CSR and FSR models will be adding a locking, quick-detach mounting system. | For More...

— ORGANIZATIONS
SportDOG® Brand is the newest member of the Sportsmen's Alliance Business Partner program. | For More...

— POACHING
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is making it easier for citizens to report fish and game violations through the convenience of text messaging. | For More...

— PRODUCT NEWS
Apex Tactical Specialties announces the expansion of its line of patent pending Apex Grade Barrels for the Smith & Wesson M&P with the upcoming availability of Apex Grade 40/9 Conversion Barrels in Semi Drop-In and Gunsmith Fit configurations. | For More...

Lipsey's has added the highly anticipated stainless steel option to the popular line of Ruger Bisley Flattop .44 Special revolvers. They are being built on the mid-size 357 Magnum frame in both the 4-5/8" and 5-1/2" barrel lengths. | For More...

Wilson Combat is pleased to announce an expansion of our large format AR rifle line with two new models in 6.5 Creedmoor. Adding the wild popularity of the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge, in addition to existing .308 and .338 Federal caliber choices, Wilson Combat has a custom AR-10 style rifle for even the most discriminating of shooters. | For More...

— PUBLICATIONS
A new book from Gun Digest Media, P.O. Ackley: America's Gunsmith by noted author and gunsmith Fred Zeglin, takes the most comprehensive look ever into the life and work of P.O. Ackley, the eminent gunsmith, barrel maker, teacher and cartridge developer. The book is set for release the week of March 6, 2017. | For More...

— RADIO
It's all about NASCAR and the great outdoors this week on Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World radio. Host Rob Keck will be visiting with three talented drivers, all part of the Bass Pro Shops racing family as they prepare for the Daytona 500 race. | For More...

This week, it's special cartridges from Black Hills, a big win for gun rights, range reports, and more, on Tom Gresham's Gun Talk®, the original nationally-syndicated radio talk show about guns and the shooting sports. | For More...

— RECOGNITION
For unmatched support of the National Wild Turkey Federation's efforts to recruit hunters and conserve critical wildlife habitat, Mossy Oak recently earned the NWTF's Corporate Achievement Award during the 41st annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville. | For More...

The Making Tracks with the USDA Forest Service awards recognize people and projects that best incorporate conservation education, partnerships and wild turkey management. The awards were presented during the 41st annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show to individuals, projects and programs that achieve goals of the organization's Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. | For More...

Galon Hall and Barb McWhorter recently accepted Making Tracks with the Natural Resources Conservation Service Awards at the 41st annual National Wild Turkey Federation Convention and Sport Show in Nashville. | For More...

Senior Conservation Officer Rob Brazie is an exemplary wildlife officer within the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. For his dedication in creating the next generation of hunters and sportsmen, as well as his accomplishments in upholding the state's game laws, he earned national recognition from the National Wild Turkey Federation. | For More...

For his years of dedication to mentoring others, Ralph Warzecka received the National Wild Turkey Federation's Mentor of the Year Award during the 41st annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville. | For More...

In recognition of Micah Poteet's dedication to wild turkey research and management, he received the National Wild Turkey Federation's Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of the Year Award at the 41st annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show. | For More...

For his dedication to teaching others to hunt, Theodore (Ted) Lidie received the JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) Volunteer of the Year Award during the 41st annual National Wild Turkey Federation's Convention and Sport Show in Nashville. | For More...

— REGULATION
Public hearings on the status of waterfowl populations and proposed waterfowl hunting seasons for the State of Vermont and Lake Champlain zone in New York will be held Tuesday, March 14, in Whitehall, New York, Wednesday, March 15 in Essex, Vermont and Thursday, March 16 in Newport, Vermont. | For More...

— SHOOTING GEAR
Made entirely of non-ricochet (non-metal) parts, RTS Targets can be used by individuals or groups for CQB out to 300 yards. Whether you want to shoot knockdowns, spinners or stationary, RTS has the system for you. | For More...

— SPONSORSHIPS
Otis Technology is delighted to announce its renewed partnership with the Kids & Clays Foundation, a charity group whose proceeds benefit various Ronald McDonald House Charities. Otis Technology has partnered with the organization since 2015. | For More...

As the official jack plate sponsor of the Cabela's Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, Bob's Machine will be supporting collegiate anglers at each of the Cabela's Collegiate Bass Fishing Series events along with offering anglers a 30% discount on their purchase of jack plates. | For More...

Styrka optics has renewed their Whitetails Unlimited sponsorship, and WTU President Jeff Schinkten said that WTU members are excited about having Styrka optics at WTU events. | For More...

Shadow Hunter Blinds has become the newest Corporate Partner of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). | For More...

— STATE PARKS
After drilling four core holes, Highland Copper has interrupted its winter exploration on a 1-mile-square section of state-managed property at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park due to unseasonably warm weather. | For More...

— STATES
Representatives of waterfowl organizations, interested hunters and the public are invited to attend a briefing on Friday, March 10, co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Northwest Pennsylvania Duck Hunters Association, on the status of Atlantic Flyway waterfowl populations and proposed federal frameworks for the 2017-18 waterfowl hunting seasons. | For More...

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is recruiting instructors for its off-road vehicle safety education program. | For More...

The Equine Trails Subcommittee will hold its next scheduled meeting Friday, March 10, at the MSU Diagnostic Center in Lansing. | For More...

The Mackinac Island State Park Commission, in partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, have come up with the idea to the share the rich Native American history through a series of interpretive stations on Lakeshore Boulevard (M-185), the road around the perimeter of Mackinac Island. | For More...

— TELEVISION
CBS Sports Network viewers will enjoy fishing programs located in the southern regions starting Saturday morning at 4:30 AM. | For More...

Destination Adventure presents youth fishing and challenging catches this Saturday and Sunday. | For More...

World Fishing Network viewers will learn several unique fishing techniques during the week of February 27– March 5 as Captain Eric Ciocher goes to Florida to check out the Grande Lakes on Ultimate Catch; Chad Hoover is in Virginia to take part in the Annual YakAttack Kayak Fishing Tournament on Kayak Bassin' TV; Kim Stricker teaches the Aqua-Vu president a few difficult fishing techniques on Hook N' Look and Pete Kutzer gives some helpful tips on catching smallmouth bass on The New Fly Fisher. | For More...

Sportsman Channel viewers will join the action during the week of February 27– March 5 as Steven Rinella is hunting in south Texas on MeatEater; Jackie is joined by Big Bill Busbice to recap the Classic Life Hunt on The Jackie Bushman Show Classics. | For More...

During the week of February 27–March 5, Outdoor Channel viewers will get down and dirty on some wild adventures. The Strut Commander boys go for a double Grand Slam on Commander Life; the Duckmen of Duck Dynasty have high aspirations for a new duck blind. | For More...

This week on Deer and Wildlife Stories, Keith Warren stays in the state of Texas to showcase Tajada Whitetails. | For More...

— VOLUNTEERS
In recognition of their tireless work, Jennifer Ford and Kelly Dalbec were co-honored with the Annie Oakley Award, the highest honor given to Women in the Outdoors volunteers. They accepted the award during the 41st annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville. | For More...

— YOUTH
The Calvert Marine Museum is pleased to host the annual Youth Art Month Exhibit entitled "Portraits of the Chesapeake" through March 28 in the museum lobby. See the inspiration behind these young artists living on or around the Chesapeake Bay with over 140 original works of art from students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. | For More...

FEATURE
For Love of the Sport
OK, our team didn't win- again.

Having gotten that bitter pill out of the way, here's the real takeaway from the 2017 SquirrelMaster Classic, GAMO USA's partnership with Buckmasters that has morphed from a made-for-TV event into a real tool for recruiting kids into hunting- and adults into airgunning.

It was fun. Not just being-polite-like-a-good-guest fun, it was darn, I'd like to do this some more-grade amusement.

Seeing 4-H kids who have competed for the right to accompany a bunch of high-powered TV hunting celebrities on their first-ever hunting experience was terrific. That connection between the kids and the hosts and other hunters brings back the great memories of hunting with friends and family for old guys like me.

It's not just nostalgic, it's a connection to that strongest connection that brings birders, hikers, campers and hard-core hunters to America's wild places: the almost magical connection of the outdoors with our souls.

Sloshing along Alabama's rain-soaked ridges and river bottoms in the quest to fill our quota of squirrels, you couldn't help but be struck by the amazing process of greening up of the drought-stricken woods.

An abnormally dry summer had literally drained the life out of much of the south's wooded areas. But steady rains that were only just ending as we took to the woods early Wednesday morning had brought life- and color - back to that formerly dull palette.

Lush green mosses, early buds, and emerging spring flowers made the sloshing around in ankle-deep muck more bearable- although it didn't do anything to make the climbing from river bottom to ridge lines any easier.

If you've never hunted, you might not understand that the harvest is only part of the hunt. But if you love the wild places for any reason, you know exactly what I mean.

The 2017 SquirrelMaster Classic championship team in their official victory pose looks like any other group of semi-serious competitors (above). It's not until you see their ebullient team leader T-Bone Turner of Bone Collector fame posing with his trophy (below) that you realize there was more fun than hunting in GAMO USA's revised format. Mark Sidelinger photos with permission.

Add in barking squirrel dogs and the adrenaline of trying to surround a small, fast creature in trees that are 100 feet or more tall and dripping with Spanish moss and other impediments, and you have a bonding experience that quickly has bashful teens laughing and joking around with adults the same age as their grandparents.

The desire to continue that experience is exactly what led Jackie Bushman, founder of Buckmasters and one of the pioneers of television hunting programming to go back to his longtime friends at Southern Sportsman lodge and convince them to host an event that, like the original Buckmaster Classic three decades ago, was designed to reconnect adults with hunting.

And Bushman turned his sales abilities to GAMO USA, convincing them to sponsor the original SquirrelMaster Classic.

I've attended all four, and it's been an amazing process to watch. From its original premise, it's changed into a real-life event . This year's wrinkle added what was essentially a two-gun competition (rifle and pistol) to the hunting.

It's no secret that I love shooting sports, but I admit wondering just how much fun that would actually be.

As it turns out, it was as much fun as any shooting event I've ever attended with the possible exception of our own Starlight 3 Gun Championship. But lights, lasers, pyro and live music can amp up the interest in almost anything.

Precision shooting with a big-bore PCP airgun is still a test of your abilities. It's especially so in a light breeze and a final target that requires a scope holdover because it's beyond the "normal" range of the rifle.

Factor in falling metal plates and exploding targets and tough becomes fun.

Two-man shooting stages are tough, too....until you make the long-gun a Red Rider BB gun. At that point, it becomes a giggle-fest where even poor performances by the adults are lost in the fun of remembering your own first experience.

I think you get where I'm going.. I think the brains behind this event have added another key element to reconnecting kids to shooting sports- and the outdoors.

We didn't do anything stupid or unsafe, but we did show the kids of today's digital generation the fun of our profoundly analog world.

And don't forget the fact that many of us were using Twitter to post pictures from the field- we might be old, but we're not afraid to use their tools, either.

I'm completely sold on the idea of building generational bridges - and we're going to have some announcements coming that will prove that in a couple of weeks.

Watch this space- because as always, we'll keep you posted.

--JIm Shepherd
Feb 23-26
Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks, PA
Feb 24-26
Smith & Wesson Shooting Sports Center, 299 Page Boulevard Springfield, Massachusetts 01104
Mar 2-4
Omni, Nashville Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee
Mar 2-5
SUNY Rockland Community College Field House, Suffern, NY
Mar 10-11
Copperhead Creek Shooing Club, Marble Falls, Texas
Apr 5-8
Union Station Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri
Apr 5-9
Oklahoma City Gun Club Arcadia, Oklahoma
Apr 27-30
Apr 27-30
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia
May 12-13
Sig Sauer Academy, 233 Exeter Road, Epping, NH 03042
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