Tuesday, March 6

Sportsmen Vote!

Wildfowl Magazine has created a new website that provides information on the state and federal issues that impact sportsmen and sportswomen in the United States.

Found at http://www.sportsmenvote.com/, this site reviews the Hot Button issues, such as Clean Water and Concealed Carry, as well as providing information on the stances of the current crop of presidential candidates. This site provides an excellent overview of the major issues that impact us, but we must take the next step and get involved with local, state and federal elected officials.

As we look to the next fishing and hunting season, I look to the future of my children's outdoor landscape and the promise that it will hold.  For me, being active now on the outdoor issues helps provide that my young conservationists follow in my footsteps and enjoy the bounty in the Bay and sow the seeds in the dove field.

Sportsmen Vote! is a forward thinking initiative which allows my comdrades with arms to act on issues important to them and those who take up the mantle when they finally put that A-5 to rest.


Sunday, March 4

The Way of the Wildfowl Ninja

  The Wildfowl Ninja continues his training with recent exploits in the classroom. He passed Maryland Hunter Safety Course yesterday.  Here he fashions new blaze orange that was a gift to commemorate his passing the course.

The Wildfowl Ninja says "Safety First"

  Having also completed 4H Shotgun Safety Training,  he is gaining the fundamentals of becoming a responsible sportsman.

  We spent another Sunday afternoon today on the skeet range and he is progressing well in his ability to feel confident with his shotgun and he is working on his mount and swing. The first time out, we spent our time shooting the low house on Station 7, but he is now making his way around to the other stations, though I have been holding off on having him shoot doubles. 

  One Bird, One Shell.  

  Last week at Station 7, he turned to me and asked if he could load two shells.  I nodded and he asked for a high and then a low, basically what is known as a report pair (where he calls for the first target and I release the second when he pulls the trigger)

  He crushed the high house close to the mid field stake and acquired the low and snapped the trigger. The sky was momentarily clouded with a fine ash as the wad arched softly to the ground.  He turned and I saw it on his face: that mix of satisfaction and confidence that comes from applying what classroom and field work into a disintegrating achievement.  

Saturday, March 3

Muskrat Love

  Last Saturday, I attended the The National Outdoor Show held in Church Creek, Maryland. It is an annual event and showcases the outdoor activities of Dorchester County. There are duck, goose and turkey calling competitions; field dog demonstrations; muskrat skinning competitions, as well as local vendors selling crafts and outdoor items. There was also oyster shucking and seafood cooking demonstrations, as well as local cuisine, including muskrat. I found the muskrat to be good, but it was prepared for hundreds and I am sure there is a way to take some of the gaminess out of it. The muskrat skinning demo did elicit some cringing looks from those near the stage, as in evidence below
Muskrat Skinning Demonstration

  Although I am not completely clear on it, there is a '"sister" festival in Cameron Parish, Louisiana which is south of Lake Charles.  The two shows crown Little Miss and Little Mr. Outdoors, as well as Miss Outdoors.  Miss Outdoors (Dorchester County) is the honored guest of the Louisiana show and vice versa. A fun highlight after the pageant was all the contestants throwing beads to those in the auditorium. People love beads, but I  came up short.
Laissez Les Bon Temp Rouler !!!

  While we had seen ads for the show in the local paper every year, we had never attended.  I was glad that I went to experience it. All in attendance were in great spirits and the locals welcomed all. There was no division among local and visitors.

 We enjoyed sharing in the fun in a rural region of Maryland nestled among the marshes of the Blackwater Refuge; a beautiful area steeped in outdoor tradition.