Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Urbandale Open House (It's alive!)

Gossip that Urbandale Gun Club in Madison Township is dead are terribly misguided.

While the popular public trap and skeet range has seen a series of owners the operation remains in business. Which is good since there are few places where a shot-gunner can go and break clay targets.

To help get the word out that Urbandale is very much alive its current owners will host from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday an open house. During this time shooters can take in a 25-round course of either trap or skeet for just $2. That's $3 off the regular walk-on price and less than other area private ranges.

On top of that the owners will host a cook-out featuring free hot dogs and burgers.

For more information, call 440-298-3200. Urbandale is located at 6347 East Loveland Road.

Getting the word out - Southwick Associates notes that anglers are increasingly turning to the Internet for their main source of information. That's a change from 2008 when the majority of anglers said their primary source were fishing-related magazines.

This time around Southwick's Anglers, Hunters and Shooters Survey revealed that just under 42 percent of anglers got their material from the Internet - an 8.2 percent increase from 2008. Magazines came in second with 32.5 percent.

However, hunters still depend most on the printed word and which likewise represents an increase from 2008. This year 49.9 percent of hunters said their primary source of information came from magazines, up from the 46.7 percent in 2008.

Internet-based information did continue with second place, though. This year 26.1 percent of hunters said the Internet was their Number 1 choice for news, down slightly from last year's 26.9 percent.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, July 20, 2009

Outdoor notes (OK, a few days late)

Ohio is losing its top wildlife biologist though Montana is going to gain a new fish and wildlife chief.

Leaving as the Ohio Division of Wildlife's wildlife administrator is Dave Risley who will become the newest chief of the Montana Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Risley's been with the Wildlife Division for heaven only knows how many years and brought a human face and dry humor to an agency badly in need of both.

SAY IT AIN'T SO - Rats, just as I own two Knight muzzle-loading rifles comes word that after 24 years Modern Muzzleloader/Knight Rifles has gone belly up. This firm was the spear point in the in-line muzzle-loading design movement but fell victim to the decline in the economy.

Parent company Pradco could not find a buyer for either the company or the product line and so there will no longer be any more Knight rifles. That includes my .45-cal. model and my recently purchased .50-cal. Long-range Hunter that is supposed (or was) the most accurate production in-line muzzle-loader.

Even though Pradco promises that it will still provide gunsmithing and repair services along with accessories, I am afraid that I'll have to go out and buy the necessary primer holders and horde them. Either that or I'll have to sell one of the rifles (the Long-range model likely) at a fire-sale price.

PYTHON POSSE - That's what Florida is calling for in an attempt to combat the highly invasive and dangerous explosion of Burmese pythons - one of which killed a toddler only a couple of weeks ago.

It seems that once the pet pythons grew too large that pet owners released them into the Everglades. The critters took hold, bred and the population rapidly expanding and now numbers in the thousands. This expansion has threatened native predators - including alligators - as well as prey such as wild hogs, 'gators, deer, and smaller mammals.

The concern is too that the species will spread further north. As a result, Florida has authorized posses to round-up the pythons, offering a bounty on them.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Big bass (maybe a record-breaker)

A potential new world record largemouth bass may have been caught.

However, this monster bass was not caught in Texas or California or even Mexico. In fact, it wasn't even caught in North America.

Nope the possible new record holder (or record tier) was taken July 2 in Lake, Biwa, JAPAN.

This fish weighed 22-pounds, 5-ounces, measured 29.4 inches and was taken by Japanese professional angler Manabu Kurita.

The current record - the world's most heralded sport fish record - weighs 22-pounds, 4-ounces and was caught June 2, 1932 by George Perry from Lake Montgomery, Georgia.

However, the International Game Fish Association says that for any potential record fish weighing less than 25 pounds it must beat the existing record by at least two ounces, reports Outdoor Life's Internet web site.

Since the Japanese fish appears to weigh "just" one ounce heavier it will be considered a tie.

For a five-photo look at the potential record-breaking bass, visit Outdoor Life's web site at and follow the link to potential record bass.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Sportsmen raised their voice (and were heard)

Ohio’s sportsmen were heard collectively and the state legislature acted accordingly.

With the recent passage of the nearly $51 billion state budget, gone were the odious references to the theft of money from the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Gone (for now anyway) is the provision to grant free licenses to Ohio National Guard members,

Other provisions included one that would give free hunting and fishing licenses to out-of-state sportsmen who own land in Ohio. The proposal also would grant free licenses to the grandchildren of these nonresidents.

And another one would complicate plans for the future recording of harvested deer and turkeys.

“The bottom line is that they were all taken out. We’re definitely glad that the division didn’t have to take a $2 million (annual) hit,” said Rob Sexton of the Columbus-based U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.

Clearly it was the help of organized sportsmen that helped make the difference, Sexton said.

“We worked the phones to key decision-makers. We and the Natural Resources Department also made contacts with the legislators. That always makes the difference,” Sexton said.

Flexing one's political might should never be done lightly but in this case the risk of $2 million annually in sportsmen's funds was just was to much to tolerate.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Up a creek (for ladies and teens)

The Chagrin River Canoe and Kayak Club is hosting a summer series of Ladies Night canoe/kayak floats from 7 p.m. to sunset on Tuesdays. The cost is a minimal $15 and participants can paddle through the maze of islands found in the lower Chagrin River.

A Teen Night paddle is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m., July 16 for those age 16 and older and costing also $15.

In fact, a variety of paddles are available at the club along with canoe and kayak rentals. This includes a special Red Hat Society paddle at 10 a.m., July 20.

The club is located off Erie Road in Eastlake and is the former youth ball field area across from the FirstEnergy Illuminating Company entrance.

Call 440-942-4141 for details.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Are they serious (Strange deer "call," fishing rod finish

We've got deer grunt calls that imitate a buck's breeding call. And we've got doe deer bleat calls and fawn distress calls. We also have real and manufactured deer antlers that mimic the sound of two bucks scraping their "horns" (antlers) together in a dueling match that brings in the big, bad boys.

But I never would have imagined that a nationally known game call maker would come up with a "call" that replicates the sound of a deer munching on acorns. But that is exactly what Hunter's Specialties has done.

It's called the "Kruncher" and is intended - says the press release - to simulates "the sound of deer feeding on acorns. This natural sound relaxes deer in the immediate vicinity of your stand. It can also call in other deer that think there is food available."

Now Hunter's Specialties is a great game call maker and I own several of its fine products. However, something inside me says this $10 product is quickly going to find its way unto the outdoor store's bargain table.

Then again, someone who buys this call can say they've always wanted to sound like a nut.

And now on the fishing front. USA Custom Rods of Houston, Texas has teamed up with Mossy Oak to produce high-end fishing rods in (I'm trying not to laugh here) Mossy Oak Break-up, Pink Break-up, and Mossy Oak Duck Blind finishes.

The rods will retail for about $140 each and will be offered in even fly fishing models.

I know the fishing tackle and hunting industries are hurting like every other business but it seems like gimmicks are not the answer. Then again, maybe I'm wrong and the acorn "call" and camo-pattern fishing rods really are functional and good-looking tools. It wouldn't be the first time I was wrong about a product.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn