NRA Endorses Donald Trump for President

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On Friday the NRA endorsed Donald Trump for President. This early endorsement of Trump (in a presidential election year, the NRA typically waits until much later in the fall to endorse a candidate) reveals how important the gun-rights organization feels this election will be.

In a statement, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox said: “The stakes in this year’s presidential election could not be higher for gun owners. If Hillary Clinton gets the opportunity to replace Antonin Scalia with an anti-gun Supreme Court justice, we will lose the individual right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense. …  So the choice for gun owners in this election is clear. And that choice is Donald Trump.”

Moments after accepting the endorsement, Trump spoke to a gathering of NRA members at the organization’s annual meeting in Louisville, KY and said 3 things that you as a gun owner need to remember:

“Crooked Hillary is the most anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment candidate,” he said. “She wants to take your guns away from you, just remember that.”

He took it further, saying, “Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment.”

To all of us Trump said, “I will not let you down.”

It’s no secret that Hillary has been anti-gun for decades, but as the socialist Bernie Sanders continues to drag her further and further left, she has increased up her hateful rhetoric on guns and our gun rights even more.

I began my career working at the NRA 30 years ago. I am a proud life member of the NRA, and have followed the #2A debate closely ever since. To my mind, there is little doubt that for us gun owners this is the most important presidential election in history.

The NRA’s endorsement of Donald Trump is major because gun owners vote and vote in numbers. If you are not an NRA member join now.

 

Vermont Deer-Poaching Couple

VT poaching 2Wayne and Jennie Dion are not your typical deer thieves.

Most poachers are young and misguided males, many of whom are into drugs.

But the Dions, both well into their 60s, could illegally kill deer with the best of them.

Several years ago Vermont Fish and Wildlife officials got wind of suspicious activity at the Dion property in Northeast Kingdom and began an extended investigation. Over time the wardens found well-worn deer trails leading from the woods to the couple’s backyard, which was hidden from the neighbors by a thick cedar hedge.

The stunner: Wardens discovered a sliding port complete with a gun rest cut into the back of the house. Five spotlights were pointed towards the backyard, at the center of which was a large pile of corn and apples. Baiting deer is illegal in Vermont.

Apparently Wayne and Jennie could sit inside their warm home watching TV at night, peek out the port from time to time, say, “Hey honey, there’s a nice buck,” and shoot him dead.

A warranted search of the Dion’s home turned up 91 deer antler plaques and 15 shoulder mounts.  The search also revealed seven chest freezers and several plastic totes containing corn and apples, which wardens believe were used to illegally bait deer.

Wardens discovered a large 9-point buck that they believe was killed the night before the 2014 season opened.  The deer was not tagged. Wardens seized the ATV that was allegedly used to drag the deer to the Dion’s basement, in addition to seizing the deer.

Officials say that more than 100 deer were likely shot, but they do not know for sure how many might have been poached over the years.

Wayne Dion faced multiple charges, including taking big game in closed season; transporting and possession of big game by illegal means; spotlighting; feeding deer; and failure to tag. Jennie Dion faced charges of aiding in a big game violation and possession of big game taken by illegal means.

Each charge carried a possible 60-day jail sentence and fine of $250-$500. They also faced a 3-year loss of hunting privileges.

In February of this year, WCAX.com reported that Jennie Dion pleaded no contest to possessing big game. The same for Wayne Dion for baiting deer and taking a deer out of season, and guilty for failure to tag deer. Both were fined. No jail time.

It is unclear whether or not they had their hunting licenses revoked, but surely that was the case. If not, it would be a travesty.

As you might expect, this sad story elicited a barrage of comments from locals in the community. A sampling:

This is a not hunting… I could understand if it was to put food on the table because you can’t afford to buy food but…that is not the case here…pure greed, whether for more trophies or to sell the meat…they stole from the rest of us…

People wait all year for hunting season and these jerks monopolized the entire herd by year-round feeding and baiting…these people cheated the entire community!

Despicable. I have to wonder why Vermont Fish and Wildlife investigated for almost 5 years before busting these cretins.

This is less than a mile from my land. This explains a hell of a lot, as we’ve seen a serious decrease of deer in the area. I hope they throw the book at them.

As for the verdict, every person who commented said it was way too soft.

I have reported on many poaching cases in the last 20 years. They are all sad and disgusting, and this one is no different. I am forever amazed at the lengths people will go to poach deer, and especially big deer.

These poachers were eventually busted because of the many anonymous tips the wardens got from the neighbors and locals. Every state has a toll-free poaching tip line; keep it with your license and use it if you must.

Why Is Donald Trump on BIG DEER?

Donald-Trump-on-politics-and-conservation

As Donald Trump is fixing to win big in more voting tomorrow en route to amassing 1,237 delegates and capturing the GOP nomination, I take you back to a post I wrote in 2011, in which The Donald was saying the same things: China is ripping us off… Make America great again…

Actually that post 5 years ago was more about Donald Trump Jr., who is one of us and enjoys hunting.

More to the point now, since Trump Sr. is on the verge of the Republican nomination, are his views foremost on guns and gun ownership, and to a lesser degree on public lands and hunting. While the latter two are obviously important issues for us, this will be the most important election ever regarding the Second Amendment; hard to believe, but Hillary is farther left than Obama on our right to own and carry firearms.

So what are Donald Trump’s views on guns? According to a recent interview in Petersen’s Hunting magazine:

On Second Amendment issues he was spot on… Gun-free zones create easy targets for criminals. If citizens were armed, there would be fewer casualties in mass shootings, and under his watch there would be no new federal gun laws.

As for protecting federal lands for hunting and fishing, a huge issue with sportsman especially in the West:

Donald Trump didn’t waffle, stating that a USFWS Director appointed by him would “ideally be a hunter” and under his watch there would be no sale of public Western lands.

So what do you think of Mr. Trump? Will you vote for him over Hillary?

Kids Hunting: What is the Right Age?

MD abby dannyI was astonished to read one time that a 4-year-old Mississippi boy shot his first deer. The local paper did a big story on it, saying the kid didn’t want a doe (he didn’t want a doe, or his Daddy didn’t want him to shoot a doe?). The boy waited for a 6-point buck and smoked him.

Stories like this are cute and make us feel warm and fuzzy that our kids are getting into hunting and helping to perpetuate what we do. But how young is too young?

Can a 4-year-old handle and aim a rifle safely, even with Dad holding it and pointing out the animal, which is hard if not impossible for a kid that age and size to find in the scope? Can the youngster know to shoot buck in the shoulder?

Can a 4-year-old comprehend what it means to shoot the life out of an animal, something that is very personal (bordering on the spiritual) for those of us who do it right?

I submit to you, no way.

I am sure the parents of kids like this are my kind of people—salt of the earth, hard-working, well-meaning hunters. But I cannot help but to think that in some way they must be living vicariously through their kids to let them kill a deer at such a young age.

I fear this is becoming a competition. Next, some Daddy will try to have his 3-year-old break the record…then a 2-year-old will shoot a deer…where might it end?

This topic came up earlier this year with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which tweaked its rules. As I understand it, now a kid of any age can kill a deer if accompanied by a mentor (and using the adult’s tag on the deer). To get their own deer tag, a kid would have to be 7.

“We’re not taking away the ability for the 2-year-old to shoot an antlered buck. If the parent decides, ‘I think little Susie is ready to wail away’ — go ahead. But they have to use their (parent’s) tag,” said the president of the Board of Game Commissioners.

A 2-year-old shooting a deer, are you serious?

I raised two boys. I understand every kid is different. To me 8, 9 or 10 years old seems a reasonable age to kill a deer. I do agree with those who say that only a parent (or grandparent) will know when their kid is mature enough to do it and handle it.

This I know for sure: I challenge any of you to look at his or her 2- to 4-year-old rumbling around the house and tell me that he or she is ready to kill a deer.

What do you think is the right age to shoot a deer?

Indiana To Shoot Down Centerfire Rifles for Deer Hunting

rifle hunter compressedFrom indystar.com: A controversial proposal that would have allowed Indiana deer hunters to use high-powered rifles is likely dead. Wildlife officials at the Department of Natural Resources are recommending against the proposal, saying the deep rift it caused among hunters has proven too contentious.

While it’s possible the Indiana Natural Resources Commission could buck the agency’s recommendation next week, longtime followers of the 12-person board say it’s very rare for that to happen.

The proposal would have allowed the use of centerfire rifles larger than .243 in Indiana’s firearms deer season. Currently, only muzzleloaders and slug guns are allowed, along with a few pistol calibers.

The DNR says Indiana’s nearly 266,500 deer hunters were split on the issue.

But officials say that based on their research, the use of rifles wouldn’t greatly increase the number of deer killed each season , nor would it reduce the size of the herd. And I say the safety issue is a non-starter; most states allow centerfire rifles for deer hunting without problems.

So why is the Indiana DNR now recommending against rifles? Officials say it has become a “social issue,” and the strong opposition to rifles prompted them to recommend against the change.

While I do not believe that wildlife management and hunting decisions should be driven by  “social issues”—these decisions should be based on science, practicality and common sense—I actually get it here.

Last year, after decades of controversy, my home state of Virginia finally allowed hunting on Sundays (until then, Sunday had been a day of rest for wildlife and hunters). There was never really a good reason for not allowing people to hunt on Sundays. But for those of us who grew up here decades ago, you just never hunted on a Sunday. That was just the way it is. It had become a social issue. Right or wrong, old traditions die hard. (BTW, I have still never hunted on Sunday in Virginia, and I doubt I ever will.)

It is no different than the proposal to allow rifles in Indiana. For all these years, hunters have been restricted to shotguns and muzzleloaders, and the hunting has been just fine. So many hunters say, why change? I get that. I don’t necessarily agree, but I get it.

Two more observations about the proposed rifle law in Indiana. If it were to pass, more mature top-end bucks would be killed each year. Bucks at 200-300 yards that hunters let walk with slug guns and muzzleloaders would fall to a .270 or .30-06. Depending on what side of the fence you’re on, this is either a good or bad thing. How many more big bucks would be killed, and how would that factor in to the herd management and age structure of bucks in the state? Hard to say, but it looks to be a moot point.

Also, proponents say the use of rifles would allow more people, especially women and kids, to get into deer hunting. I agree. Rifles like a 7mm-08 are easier to shoot, learn with and kill deer with than a muzzleloader or slug gun (and have less recoil). More people would try them for sure.