8 of 10 Hunters in America Hunt Deer

va 2017 tyler 1.jpg compressIn its latest study on outdoor recreation the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) reports that 11.5 million people hunted in 2016, and of those, 9.2 million hunted big game.  Take away I million or so that hunted mule deer and elk (my estimate) and that leaves more than 8 million that hunt the white-tailed deer each year.

As I have long said, hunting the whitetail is what supports our industry. If whitetail herds were to crash significantly across the country, it would be devastating. That is why the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease is so concerning.

Back to the survey, the 11.5 million hunters spend about $25.6 billion a year on licenses, equipment, trips, gas, land leases, etc. That breaks down to about $2,200 per hunter. Do you spend that much, or more, on your deer hunting?

The survey says that on average, each hunter spends 16 days in the woods. Do you hunt more than that?

Summarizing the study the USFWS wrote:

Wildlife recreation is not only an important leisure pastime but it is also a catalyst for economic activity. Hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers spent $156.3 billion (combined) on wildlife-related recreation in 2016. This spending contributed to local economies throughout the country, which improved employment, raised economic output, and generated tax revenue.

But troubling to me is that since 2011, the number of hunters in the U.S. dropped from 13.7 million to 11.5 million. The USFWS says the 16% decrease is “not statistically significant” but I disagree. When fewer hunters spend $4 billion less on licenses, gear, trips, etc. that leaves less money for conservation, local economies, gear manufacturers and the like.

It’s Official: Bass Pro Shops Buys Cabela’s

cabelas store maine

Fox business reports that the merger of Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s (CAB) has received the go-ahead from antitrust regulators. In a filing with the SEC, Cabela’s said Wednesday the Federal Trade Commission informed the company earlier this week that it concluded its investigation of Bass Pro’s $4.2 billion buyout. Cabela’s shareholders will vote on the deal July 11. The transaction is expected to close later this summer.

We all knew this was coming… So now, what does it mean for your favorite outdoor company and store, which for readers of BIG DEER is definitely Cabela’s?

There will be changes, anytime a sale goes through that happens. But I believe Bass Pro’s Johnny Morris, who said last year, ““We look forward to continuing to celebrate and grow the Cabela’s brand alongside Bass Pro Shops…as one unified outdoor family.

“I have enormous admiration for Cabela’s and the remarkable brand and business they have built. Cabela’s is a great American success story.”

As of now, the plan is to keep the Cabela’s headquarters in Sidney, Nebraska, and it is business as usual for all Bass Pro and Cabela’s stores. Bass Pro Shops has some 99 stores and employs about 20,000 people. Cabela’s has 19,000 employees and 85 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

A little bird in the industry told me that the new strategic plan is to build upon the incredibly strong hunting brand and market that Cabela’s has built, while their fishing and boat presence will be contracted. Bass Pro Shops will still have a hunting presence, but will carry on and continue to grow with its massive fishing and boating business.

We will have to wait and see, but that makes perfect sense to me.

Summer of Snakes and Ticks!

DSC03313

The other day I told you that after the mild winter of 2016, many entomologists have predicted a longer and more severe tick season this summer. From some of the responses I got from that post on social media, it appears the experts were right.

People from Connecticut (heart of Lyme disease country) to Mississippi to Texas reported that ticks are bad and thick. Jeff from Kentucky told me, “Worse tick season I’ve ever seen in Kentucky, and I’ve see some bad ones. Stand in the grass one minute and you’ll pull off 20 of them!”

The short, mild winter can also be blamed for an increase of another critter we love to hate, snakes! For example, snake bites in Georgia are up 40 percent this year, and South Carolina is reporting a 30 percent increase. North Carolina has seen a notable spike in bites.

I tell you this because July 4th weekend is the unofficial beginning of deer season 2017. It’s hot out, but our minds are starting to turn toward cooler October days and what they might bring. This weekend, in between flying the flag and celebrating America with family and friends, many of us will slip away to the woods to set out more minerals, hang trail cameras, or just look around and dream.

Remember those ticks and snakes crawling out there and take precautions!

boots tick

The best thing you can do is to wear knee-high boots, which protect against both snakes and ticks. From July to September, I NEVER go into the woods without tall boots. These will alleviate 90% of potential problems.

Spray your clothes with Permethrin, use Deet and remember these tips to protect from ticks.

On to snakes, which I totally hate. About 30 percent of snakebites are “dry,” meaning no venom is injected. Some 7,500 venomous snakebites are reported each year in the U.S, but only about 5 people a year die, thanks to anti-venom.

Obviously look around and be careful where you step. Before pouring out minerals and setting cameras, when your arms and hands are lower to the ground, look close and make sure the coast is clear of snakes.

Your snake boots will protect you 99% of the time. But if on the off-chance bitten you’re bitten, get to a clinic or doctor fast as you can. Try to remember the size and color pattern of the snake that bit you. If you think or know that the snake was venomous, call 911.

I am so damn scared of snakes that if I get bit, I’ll probably have a heart attack and be down and done. But you should remember these snake-bite tips from the Mayo Clinic:

–While waiting for medical help, remain calm and move beyond the snake’s striking distance.

–Remove jewelry and tight clothing before you start to swell.

–Position yourself, if possible, so that the bite is at or below the level of your heart.

–Clean the wound, but don’t flush it with water. Cover it with a clean, dry dressing.

–Caution! Don’t use a tourniquet or apply ice. Don’t cut the wound or attempt to remove the venom.

On a brighter note, enjoy the woods this weekend and have a great 4th!

Bad Tick Summer: Beware Powassan Virus

deer tick

After the mild winter of 2016 in many regions, some experts are predicting a longer and more severe tick season this summer. Warm winters are easy on mice and deer, the animals that ticks typically infest. A greater number of ticks survived the mild winter, and an early spring awakened dormant insects sooner.

There is concern this will trigger an increase in tick-borne illnesses. Researchers are especially worried about an uptick in Lyme disease and the Powassan virus, a rare condition that can cause brain inflammation.

While you have heard of Lyme disease—there were more than 28,000 cases in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—the Powassan virus is still rare. Only 75 cases have been reported over the last 10 years in the United States according to the CDC. But with the predicted heavy tick summer, conditions are ripe for an increase.

Like Lyme disease, Powassan is carried by white-footed mice (also known as wood mice) and transmitted to humans via deer tick bites. It’s more prevalent in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions, just like Lyme disease.

Powassan’s transmission to humans is quicker than Lyme and tends to be more fatal. Many people bitten by Powassan-infected ticks do not develop obvious or immediate symptoms. Others may experience flu-like symptoms, a mild rash, fever and headache.

In extreme cases, the virus can affect the central nervous system and lead to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the membranes the surround the brain and spinal cord), causing symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, seizures and loss of consciousness. These begin appearing a week to one month after being infected. Currently, there aren’t any medications to treat Powassan or vaccines to prevent it.

Most of you are going to spend time in the woods and fields over the next couple of months, working land, scouting, setting/checking trail cameras… Here are some tips to protect from a tick-borne illness like Powassan or Lyme.

Dress in long sleeves and long pants and wear socks (no flip-flops!). Use permethrin as an insecticide and spray it on your clothing and boots. I wear calf-high snake boots and tuck my pant legs inside.

Apply insect repellent to your skin. Generally, products with DEET and picaridin are most effective.

Outside, try to avoid walking through heavy brush and piles of leaves where gaggles of ticks and larvae concentrate.

Immediately after arriving home, strip and run your clothes through a hot dryer for 10 minutes. Take a hot shower and scan your body for ticks.

If you find one embedded, the safest way to remove it is to grip the tick with tweezers as close to your skin as possible and pull. After a tick is removed, monitor the bite site, and call your doctor if you experience deep redness, a bulls-eye rash or other unusual characteristics. Don’t take any chances with tick bites!

Are the ticks bad this year in your neck of the woods? Lots of ticks here in central Virginia, but I’ve seen worse.

Illustration Source: Tick Encounter Resource Center  

Rage Broadheads Protected From Chinese Knockoffs

hanback w rage buck

FeraDyne Outdoors announces that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued a powerful General Exclusion Order (GEO) that will protect FeraDyne’s popular Rage broadheads from foreign patent and trademark infringement. The GEO, which takes effect immediately, empowers more than 20,000 Customs & Border Protection Officers at more than 300 U.S. ports of entry to identify and bar from entry all foreign-made broadheads that violate Rage patents and trademarks.

rage close up

In 2006 FeraDyne released the original slip-cam Rage (pictured), which changed the face of the archery-broadhead business, especially as pertains to deer hunting. The original Rage quickly became the market leader and has since been joined by a growing line of patented Rage broadheads, all of which are designed and manufactured by American workers in the United States.

It didn’t take long for Chinese counterfeiters to begin creating cheap knock-offs of the Rage that illegally copied FeraDyne’s patented designs. Wisconsin-based FeraDyne filed a complaint with the ITC in November 2015. The ITC’s investigation found infringement on the Rage design and trademark by at least 9 foreign companies.

The ITC recently issued the GEO to close the U.S. market to all foreign-made broadheads that infringe on the Rage, regardless where the knock-offs are made or the identity of the party seeking to import them. The GEO, which covers both direct copies of Rage broadheads as well as other infringing designs, will be in place indefinitely.

“We are pleased to see (our) intellectual property rights affirmed by the U.S. International Trade Commission, and we are grateful that the dedicated law enforcement officers of Customs & Border Protection have joined in the fight to keep our company and customers safe from counterfeiters,” said Todd Seyfert, president and CEO of FeraDyne. “While we don’t ever want to see customers lured into buying a foreign knock-off in the first place, (hunters) should know that now those orders might not arrive (in the U.S.) at all.”

A solid ruling and another good reason to buy American and #Make America Great Again.