Week of December 2, 2013

Words to Ponder
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues


Veterans Issues

Other Breaking News Items


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Words to Ponder




Words to Ponder


Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

BLACKHAWK! Holsters Named 2013 ‘Holster Brand of the Year’

NORFOLK, VA - The BLACKHAWK line of premium-made holsters was recently named the 2013 “Holster Brand of the Year” as part of the annual OpticsPlanet Brilliance Awards. This marks the third consecutive year the BLACKHAWK! brand has received the award for “Holster Brand of the Year.” The BLACKHAWK! SERPA® Level 3 Tactical Holster was also awarded the Experts’ Pick for “Best Tactical Holster.”

Recognizing outstanding products and brands for exceptional quality, innovative technology and dependability, the OpticsPlanet Brilliance Award is a seal of approval and signifies trusted quality. The awards serve as a guide to customers searching for products selected and approved by their peers.

“It’s an honor to receive two Brilliance Awards,” said BLACKHAWK! Brand Director Chuck Buis. “To be chosen a third consecutive year as the ‘Holster Brand of the Year’ is a testament to consumers’ trust in BLACKHAWK! products and recognition of our commitment to producing the best tactical and duty gear in the marketplace.”

The BLACKHAWK! line of high quality holsters offers a multitude of carry options for shooting enthusiasts, law enforcement members and military personnel. As the only manufacturer offering complete injection-molded, leather and nylon holster lines all from the same company, BLACKHAWK! leads the industry in product innovation. The Brilliance Award for “Holster Brand of the Year” and the Expert’s Pick for “Best Tactical Holster” have singled out BLACKHAWK! for its inventive designs and reliability in action.

BLACKHAWK! has a proven track record of providing the highest-quality products that stand up to the rigors of the job. The popular SERPA® is the fastest selling holster in history with more than 6 million holsters sold worldwide. The U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Special Operations Command and German army, along with numerous law enforcement departments, rely on BLACKHAWK! holsters during service every day.

For more information on BLACKHAWK products, log on to www.BLACKHAWK.com or call 800-694-5263.




First Prosecution of Wind Company for Killing Birds

Washington, D.C-- The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement on the prosecution of Duke Energy’s wind developments in Wyoming in connection with the deaths of 14 Golden Eagles and 149 other protected birds, amounting to $1 million in fines and mitigation actions. This is the first prosecution of a wind company in connection with bird mortality.


The charges stem from the discovery of 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds, including hawks, blackbirds, larks, wrens and sparrows by the company at its “Campbell Hill” and “Top of the World” wind projects in Converse County between 2009 and 2013.   The two wind projects are


comprised of 176 large wind turbines sited on private agricultural land.


The Department of Energy in 2010 published a renewable energy plan for the U.S. that called for a 12-fold increase in wind-generating capacity by the year 2030. In 2009, the wind industry was estimated to be killing about 440,000 birds. In 2012, a new estimate by Dr. Shawn Smallwood suggested that it was killing closer to 600,000 birds.


In March 2012, the USFWS published voluntary operating and siting guidelines for the wind industry, following consultations with a Federal Wind Advisory Committee dominated by supporters of wind energy.

U.S. House Introduces New Sportsmen's Act, HR 3590

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, today noted that Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Bob Latta (R-Ohio) has introduced HR 3590, a new bipartisan version of the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2013.


Earlier this year, Latta and CSC Co-Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), joined by Vice-Chairs, U.S. Reps. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), introduced the SHARE Act as a package of pro-sportsmen's legislation designed to safeguard and promote America's hunting and fishing traditions. The legislation enjoys wide support from both sides of the political aisle.


“The SHARE Act is made up of several pro-sportsmen's bills that will help ensure our outdoor traditions are preserved, protected and promoted. HR 3590 addresses some of the most pressing concerns of American hunters and recreational shooters. Its passage would be a significant


accomplishment for the sportsmen's community and for America. We

salute Congressman Latta for his continuing stewardship of this important legislation.”


Priorities addressed in the SHARE Act include: protecting the traditional use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle by American hunters and anglers, the potential increase of more Pittman-Robertson funds for shooting ranges, the permanent authorization of the electronic duck stamp, and helping facilitate the use of and access to Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands and waters for hunting, recreational fishing and shooting. It also prohibits the enforcement of individual firearm regulations at water resources development projects administered by the Corps of Engineers, and prohibits additional fees for commercial filming on federal lands and waterways.


In addition, this legislation will also permanently establish the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee to advise the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture on wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting and recreational shooting.

Thanksgiving 2013

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, Jeanette and I did; we were again blessed – along with the Villa Park VFW Post 2801, entertaining some of America’s finest – 140 recruits from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.


During their short visit with us they had access to 20 plus computers w/internet & e-mail access, 6 pcs of video equipment w/oversize screens, 50+ fully charged cell phones for the whole day plus ATT was there with ten more to loan out – and a host of volunteers to make them feel



We had them for a late breakfast, sumptuous Turkey & Ham dinner with all the trimmings, snacks all day, and then sent them back to camp with full stomachs about 6:30 PM. It was again a memorable Thanksgiving.


Our best go out to all our troops - wherever they may be.


Dan & Jeanette Thomas



DNR reminder: ice is not safe right now

Parents reminded to warn children of ice dangers

The Minnesota DNR said the thin layers of ice that are forming on Minnesota waters right now are not safe. This reminder comes after a DNR conservation officer helped rescue a man Nov. 15 who was fishing and fell through the ice on Little Rock Lake in Benton County. 


The DNR is also warning parents to keep an eye on their children as they visit friends and family who live near a pond or other body of water where only a thin coating of ice may have formed. “Kids are adventurous and want to go out and play while mom and dad are cooking or visiting with friends,” said Kara Owens, DNR boating and water safety specialist. “Right now, a thin coating of ice has formed on many lakes and ponds. An inch or two of ice is not safe.”


Children should not go out on the ice without adult supervision, even when conditions improve, she added.  “Parents should also tell their children to stay away from any frozen water bodies around the home and that no ice


is ever 100 percent safe,” Owens said.


“The bottom line is it’s crucial that people do not let their guard down,” said Owens, “because ice is never 100 % safe. A few days of cold temperatures don’t create ice strong enough to hold a person.”


According to Owens, six people died last winter after falling through the ice.  The DNR recommends anyone heading out on the ice should: carry a set of ice picks, check with a local bait shop or resort— ask about ice conditions— and measure the ice.


DNR clear ice thickness recommendations are:

4 inches for walking.

5 inches for a snowmobile or ATV.

8-12 inches for a car.

12-15 inches for a medium-sized truck.

For more information, visit the ice safety website.

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Nov 29 


Temperatures throughout the region were below average for the Great Lakes Basin last week. Precipitation for the most part was insignificant through the region with the exception of the eastern edge of the basin which received heavy precipitation. Temperatures through the weekend and into next week are expected to be colder and below their seasonal averages throughout the entire Great Lakes basin.  Possible snow showers are forecasted throughout the region with a mixture of cloudy and partially sunny days.    


Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are 12 and 15 inches, respectively, above their levels of a year ago.   Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 9, 6, and 13 inches, respectively, above what they were at this time last year.  Over the next month, the Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are forecasted to decline 3 and 2 inches, respectively.  The level of Lakes St. Clair and Erie are predicted to remain at their current level, while Lake Ontario is predicted to fall 2 inches below its current level, over the next 30 days. 


Lake Superior’s outflow through the St. Mary’s River is projected to be near average for the month of November.  Lake Huron’s outflow into the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair’s outflow into the Detroit River are both expected to be below average throughout the month of November.  The

outflow of Lake Erie into the Niagara River is expected to be near average

while the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River is predicted to be above average in November.


Official records are based on monthly average water levels and not daily water levels.  Lake MichiganHuron is at chart datum and expected to remain below datum over the next several months. Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.





St. Clair



Level for Aug 4






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr







Veterans Issues

VA Fraud Alert

The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a fraud alert about a marketing scam that is targeting veterans who mis-dial the VA National Call Center (800-827-1000) or the GI Bill Call Center (888-442-4551) phone numbers.  A marketing company created two phone numbers that differ from the real VA numbers by one digit.  If a veteran misdials and calls the bogus number, the answering party will offer a gift card and try to obtain sensitive personal data, to include credit card information.  Please note that the VA will “never” ask for credit card or banking information over the phone. 


The two bogus numbers are 800-872-1000 and 888-442-4511. Please forward this information to all your members, Posts and friends, and share it on your websites.  The bottom line is make sure you know who you are talking to before providing personal information over the phone.  The VA has notified law enforcement authorities. 


For a list of toll-free VA numbers: https://iris.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1703



Are You Wasting Your Army Benefits?
Start Now Before 2013 Ends

As a Veteran you've got two benefits that can change your future. 2013 is

coming to an end. Now is the time to take the first step to using the VA Loan & GI Bill.



Help Prevent spread of Invasive New Zealand Mud Snails
Recent find in Wisconsin prompts alert to Illinois residents and visitors

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois DNR is asking for anglers, hunters, trappers and boaters to “Be A Hero, Transport Zero” and be on the lookout for a new aquatic invasive species now found in small streams of the Midwest.  The Wisconsin DNR reports the New Zealand mud snail has been found in Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin.


“This is a significant and disappointing find in Wisconsin,” said Bob Wakeman, who coordinates the WDNR aquatic invasive species efforts. “The New Zealand mud snail can be extremely prolific, has altered the food chain, and may be having an impact on fish populations in Western streams.  We don’t know what the impact will be in Wisconsin, but we do know that there is no good way to eradicate the snails so we are focusing on containing them as quickly as we can and ask for citizens’ help in doing that as well.”


Kevin Irons, Aquatic Nuisance Species Program manager for IDNR fisheries said the New Zealand mud snail has, to date, only been found in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan, and the spread is facilitated by water users.


“Where found in creeks, anglers, hunters, and trappers can transport snails, most commonly on boots, waders, and equipment such as duck decoy anchors,” Irons said.  “We want water users to remember our motto


when leaving a body of water to ‘Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!’ – and to ‘Be a Hero – Transport Zero.’”


The ‘Be a Hero – Transport Zero’ campaign recommends three simple steps:  1) Remove plants animals and mud equipment; 2) Drain all water from your boat and gear; and 3) Dry everything thoroughly with a towel. 

More information about cleaning your equipment can be found at www.transportzero.org.


Dane County, Wisconsin is approximately 25 miles from the Illinois state line, meaning New Zealand mud snails are only about 45 miles from Illinois streams.  These snails can be transported by mud on waders, decoy weights, boats and trailers, or other clothing and equipment that they may come in contact with.


“There is little that we can do to target and detect these types of species without the help of sportsmen and women.  We depend on best practices and cleaning equipment that will reduce the spread of these and other nuisance species into and across Illinois,” Irons added.


To find out more about the New Zealand mud snail, check the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species website at http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=1008

Schools of Gizzard Shad found in Chicago harbors

A few of Shedd Aquarium’s Great Lakes researchers – Solomon David and Phil Willink – went out last week to take a peek at what’s happening beneath the surface of Chicago’s harbors. What did they find? A “gizzard

shad-nado!” – a huge school of gizzard shad swimming near the shore. It’s a sight often seen in marine environments, and amazing video to remind local folks that cool fishes are right here in Chicago. The video shot with a GoPro is on YouTube: http://youtu.be/9T3Y5Qukqyg.



Spring turkey hunting applications accepted through Jan. 10

Applications for the 2014 spring season will be accepted wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold and online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense  from Wednesday, Nov. 27 through Friday, Jan. 10, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.


The 2014 spring hunt will consist of six five-day and two seven-day seasons. A regulation change in 2014 means hunters need to apply for only the first three time periods, seasons A through C. All licenses for the last five time periods, seasons D through H, are unlimited and available over-the-counter.


A second regulation change closes the portion of Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area (permit area 511) surrounding the wildlife office headquarters to hunting. The remainder of Carlos Avery will remain open to wild turkey hunting.


Wild turkey hunters interested in hunting this spring must apply at a DNR license agent, online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense or toll-free, 888-665-4236. A nonrefundable $4 application fee must be paid at the time of application. There will be an additional fee for Internet or telephone transactions.

Hunters who are successful in the drawing and choose not to buy a tag will lose the current year’s preference point for future drawings but not accumulated preference points from past years. Hunters who are not successful in the drawing will be eligible to purchase surplus turkey permits, which are sold on a first-come, first-served basis in mid-March.


Archery spring turkey licenses are good for the last five time periods in their entirety.


Hunters younger than 18 must purchase their licenses over-the-counter and need not apply for any season. All youth licenses are valid for all eight time periods of the spring hunt.


Prospective hunters may obtain an application information sheet at DNR license agents or view online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/turkey beginning Wednesday, Nov. 27. Hunt information materials include a map of wild turkey permit areas, permit quotas, dates and information on changes.


For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157, toll-free, 888-646-6367 or [email protected] For questions about the changes to the Carlos Avery (permit area 511) call the Carlos Avery office at 651-296- 5290.



Deer-Gun Season Opens Dec. 2

Adds more Hunting Time after Sunset

COLUMBUS, OH - Deer-gun season, one of Ohio’s most revered hunting traditions, begins Monday, Dec. 2, with 30 more minutes of prime hunting time each day, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Ohio’s deer-gun season is open through Sunday, Dec. 8.


Hunting time is extended 30 minutes for all deer-gun seasons. Hunters were already allowed to hunt deer 30 minutes before sunrise, and this year an additional 30 minutes has been added after sunset for gun seasons.


“We are eager to increase opportunities for Ohio’s sportsmen and women,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “Ohio is a top 10 whitetail hunting destination, and the extra half-hour after sunset will give hunters more opportunities to bag a deer.”


Deer hunting in Ohio continues to be a popular activity for many who enjoy the outdoors. The ODNR Division of Wildlife anticipates 80,000-90,000 deer will be harvested during the weeklong hunt. Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in this year's season, including many out-of-state hunters. Hunters checked 86,964 deer in the 2012 weeklong deer-gun season.


Deer can be hunted with a plugged shotgun capable of holding no more than three slugs, a muzzleloader .38 caliber or larger, a handgun .357 caliber or larger and bows during deer-gun week.


“Hunters are reminded to use safety precautions while hunting, including wearing required hunter orange clothing, using a safety harness while in a tree stand and safe handling of firearms,” said Scott Zody, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife.


Deer bag limits are now determined by county. The statewide bag limit is nine deer, but a hunter cannot exceed an individual county bag limit. Hunters may harvest only one antlered deer, regardless of hunting method


or season. A valid deer permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio

hunting license. Hunters must purchase an additional deer permit to hunt more than one deer. Antlerless deer permits will not be sold after Sunday, Dec. 1, and these permits are not valid after that date unless used for an ODNR Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunt.


A new tagging procedure administered by the ODNR Division of Wildlife requires hunters to make their own game tag to attach to a deer. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time and county of kill. Go to the Deer Hunting Resources page at wildohio.com for more information on changes to the game check process.


More deer hunting information can be found in the 2013-14 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and at wildohio.com. Hunters can share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.


Hunters are encouraged to harvest more antlerless deer in some areas of Ohio this season to help the needy in their area and also manage deer populations. The ODNR Division of Wildlife is working with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate a deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as funding for the effort is available. More information about this program can be found online at fhfh.org. Hunters can also donate venison through Safari Club International’s Sportsmen Against Hunger program by learning more at safariclubfoundation.org. Whitetails Unlimited chapters also use local funds for programs such as venison donation. Go to whitetailsunlimited.com to find a local chapter and make a donation.


Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.

Ohio Concealed Carry Licenses Soar

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has released the concealed handgun license stats for the third quarter of 2013, and with only nine months gone

by in the year, new records have been set for the most initial licenses issued and most licenses renewed in a year. Read the press release here.



Holidays mark beginning of new Fishing Season

HARRISBURG, PA — The holiday shopping season is here and that means it’s time for anglers to get a jump on the 2014 fishing season. Anglers can purchase a 2014 license beginning December 1, which gives them a bonus month for free.


For anglers who want to be ready to fish for years to come, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) offers 3-year and 5-year licenses. Introduced for the first time for the 2013 season, the multi-year licenses have been a popular choice for anglers, who have purchased more than 20,000 3-year and more than 10,000 5-year licenses.


Customers who buy multi-year licenses save money by avoiding transaction and processing fees each year. A 3-year resident license can be purchased for $64.70 and a 5-year for $106.70. Anglers can also buy multi-year trout/salmon, Lake Erie and combo permits and experience similar savings.


The PFBC also sells fishing license vouchers, which are similar to gift certificates.


“Fishing license vouchers make great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers,” said Bernie Matscavage, director of the PFBC’s Bureau of Administration, which oversees sales. “We sell about 6,000 vouchers each year. They are easy to purchase and require only a method of payment. The recipient then redeems the voucher for a fishing license.”


“A resident annual fishing license costs $22.70,” added Matscavage. “Add in a typical trout-salmon permit for $9.70 and an angler can enjoy more than a year of fishing for $32.40 – less than a typical dinner for two and about the price for two people to see one movie.”

Vouchers and licenses can be purchased online through the PFBC’s Outdoor Shop (www.pa.wildlifelicense.com), at more than 900 issuing agents (http://fishandboat.com/flagent.htm), at county treasurers’ offices, and at most PFBC regional offices.


All regional licenses are available online at: /www.great-lakes.org/licenses.html  



PA Commission opens grant program to improve Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed

HARRISBURG, Pa.  – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced an invitation for project applications to the Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed Restoration Grant Program.


Project applicants must meet the eligibility criteria and must use the application form specified in the grant application package. Project applications must be postmarked no later than Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. The PFBC anticipates final selection and public announcement of grant awards by mid-May 2014.


This funding is available through a 2007 settlement agreement with Norfolk Southern as restitution for environmental damages from a June 30, 2006, train derailment in rural Norwich Township, McKean County. The accident spilled sodium hydroxide into Big Fill Run, Sinnemahoning-Portage Creek and the Driftwood Branch of the Sinnemahoning Creek. Under the settlement, Norfolk Southern agreed to pay the Commonwealth $7.35 million as restitution for environmental damages. The PFBC received $3.675 million of the settlement and must use the funds to develop and

implement projects that benefit fishing, boating and aquatic resources in Cameron, Elk, McKean or Potter counties.


The PFBC’s primary emphasis will be on projects in the Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed upstream of the confluence with the First Fork of Sinnemahoning Creek. Projects that will be considered for funding include, for example, acid mine drainage abatement; habitat protection, enhancement and restoration; and the acquisition of properties for public fishing and access.


Awarding of funds for any selected projects will be contingent upon availability of funds. Currently, the balance of funds remaining in the program account is approximately $2 million. The PFBC will consider individual grant awards in the range of $10,000 to $200,000. Applicants must secure matching funds equal to at least 25% of the total project costs. 


For more information about applying for this grant program, contact Fisheries Biologist Jeff Schmid at 814-359-5242 or [email protected].



Entries accepted for Wisconsin’s Great Lakes photo contest
MADISON – Entries are now being accepted for Wisconsin’s Great Lakes photo contest, with the winning entries to be featured in a beautiful four-

color calendar available at the Wisconsin State Fair and for download.   -  Read Full Article


Other Breaking News Items

(Click on title or URL to read full article)


2nd Amendment not just for guns

a new argument prepared by three legal experts goes further, arguing that the Second Amendment’s protection of “arms” includes knives as well. The recent landmark Heller and McDonald case precedents could now be used against many local restrictions on carrying knives, the authors say.

Gun group warns Madison transit over weapons ban on buses

Public transit is not one of the places Wisconsin's concealed carry law explicitly restricts even permit holders from taking their guns, but in Madison that's been the rule: no guns on city buses.  Now one of the state's gun rights advocacy groups has taken aim at that

‘I Won’t Enforce It’: Pro-2nd Amendment Stance helped New York Sheriff In Re-Election

Back in May, one county sheriff pledged not to enforce the New York SAFE Act, a bill that came early in the post-Newtown backlash of knee-jerk gun control legislation that swept through the Nation’s social progressivism outposts. His stance on gun control resonated with Erie County voters.


Republicans take note Of Minnesota GOP Congressional Candidate 
Americans are frustrated with career politicians who are responsible for Nation’s current condition. The discontent is creating a new type of unlikely politicians, like Minnesota resident Stewart Mills, who is the vice president of Mills Fleet Farms, a


Gunmakers tell feds to butt out

Montana firearms activists want Washington to butt out – and stop interfering in gun sales that take place within the state’s borders. They’re asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rein in the “tyranny” that is coming out of Washington by recognizing


U.S. Generals take action to watch Obama

After one of them called for the “forced resignations” of President Obama and congressional leaders in response to multiple grievances, including the alleged political purge of hundreds of senior military officers, two retired U.S. generals are creating a

General: Obama urposely weakening U.S.Military/

Army Gen. Paul Vallely, retired, charges in a 21-page position statement titled “The Obama Military – Evolution and Legacy,” that Obama already has begun working with Russia to reduce nuclear weapons without a treaty, which would require Senate



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