The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

blog subhead pic

Many US States looking to increase Hunting and Angling fees

I know........ we were shocked by the news just like many of those in the states effected.  Here are some huge reasons why a social network dedicated to hunting and fishing could have such a profound effect on what we are about to discuss.  Last year we talked about where the money goes from increases in license fees.  Many times it goes nowhere.  Reasons.  Thanks to many of our founding fathers experiences with the concept of redistribution of tax dollars they added a sweet little piece of pie that prevented any state from using fees collected for hunting and fishing licenses to be used for anything other than items or projects related to hunting and fishing.  What they did not figure on was borrowing against those accounts to fund other projects.   

License Money not being used to better Wildlife

What the founding fathers did not bet on was the potential loop hole.  Though they can not use that money to fund projects outside the Department of Wildlife what they can do is use the money in the account and borrow against it to fund other projects.  Those sneaky devils.

Creating a Larger Voice using Social Media for Hunting and Fishing

There are some absolutely phenomenal wildlife, hunting and fishing organizations, magazines and groups. Creating a space to act as one large voice could help to free those tax dollars to be used to help develop larger scale projects to help with many of the issues we are facing.  Whether you take the side of conservation, creating better water resources, or wildlife habitats it solves bigger issues than many would care to admit.  However, it would also take away borrowing power to fund projects not Wildlife and Parks related.  It is definitely would make a great discussion on one of boards?  Hope you come join us and add your thoughts.  We would love to share them with our other social media outlets that do not dedicate themselves to the great outdoors like Shotem and Caughtem.

We at Shotem and Caughtem have noticed that once again the hunting and fishing permits are rising in many states.  We also know that one way to help off set the increases that seem to happen every year is to apply for a Lifetime hunting and fishing permit should your state offer them.  However, it still begs the question.  Where does all that money end up?

Lucky for us our law makers knew they would not be able to keep their hands off the money and made it so that all money collected by wildlife and parks must be used for wildlife and parks projects and funding only.  However, the lawmakers also found a way to use the money in a different way.  Got to love politicians.  They use the vast amount of unappropriated funds as leverage to cook the books in other departments.  So when the state roads department goes over budget they use the surplus in the wildlife budget to offset the overage.  

Now the bad.  Because they need to leverage the positive dollars in the wildlife and parks fund to go over budget in other areas, many wildlife and parks project money gets stalled.  Projects that would help expand or create a better environment for hunters and fisherman/woman to use typically get sidelined.  As is the case with many things follow the money.

The best way for many to help loosen the reigns on these funds is to make sure you stay active in creating areas in your own area worthy of spurring our environments.  Using the land you hunt and fish wisely and contacting your state government on projects you feel are worthy of our license dollars might just help get some of these projects moving.

So the positive is all those increases in fees go towards wildlife and parks.  The bad, much of the money never gets used for wildlife and parks.  It sits and accrues interest so that other projects look flush.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.  As always get outdoors and share your adventures in our galleries. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 21:21

Elk Deaths in New Mexico

We at Shotem and Caughtem read a report from Benjamin Radford about a recent mass death of Elk North of Las Vegas, New Mexico that we felt was worth repeating.  With many hunters admiring their prized Elk Tags for their upcoming hunt, the news could be disturbing.

 

Officials with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish are puzzling over the mysterious deaths of more than 100 elk, apparently all within a 24-hour period, in rural New Mexico.

The elk were found Aug. 27 on a 75,000-acre ranch north of the city of Las Vegas.  So far wildlife officials have seemingly ruled out most of these possibilities: The elk weren't shot (nor taken from the area), so it was not poachers. Tests have come back negative for anthrax, a bacteria that exists naturally in the region and can kill large animals. There seems to be no evidence of any heavy pesticide use in the area that might have played a role in the die-off.  Though lightning strikes are not uncommon in the Southwest and in New Mexico specifically, killing over 100 animals at one time would be an incredibly rare event. It might be an as-yet unidentified disease, though killing so many at once — and so quickly — would be very unusual. Another possibility is some sort of contamination of the well or water tanks, but so far no toxins have been identified.

Wildlife officials are hopeful that they will be able to identify the cause of death — if for no other reason that it would give peace of mind to ranchers and hunters.

Let us know in the comment section below if you have seen or run across any dead elk in your scouting adventures in the comment section below.  We hope the Elk have not found a bug like the Deer have found here in the Midwest that will deplete the herd further.  As hunters it is our duty to help these organizations find as much evidence as they can to help find out the who, what, when and where.  

We at Shotem and Caughtem read the news that people in the state of Georgia will recieve a free three days of fishing should they own a registered boat in the state as a added bonus and birthday present to those anglers who lawfully abide the laws.  We thought it was a great way our government could repay those fishinerman/woman and hunters who obey the rules and thought it bore repeating.  We think more states should adopt this law.  Even though many boaters probably already have a proper license we felt at least it was at least a nice gesture. 

Department spokeswoman Melissa Cummings says beginning in July Georgia residents who have a boat registered with the state can fish on their birthday and for two days afterward as part of their boat registration fee.

Department officials say the three-day bonus they're offering to about 300,000 Georgia boaters also extends to some of the state's shooting ranges and more.

Officials say boat owners must carry a state identification, their plastic vessel registration card and show proof of valid vessel registration.

Trout fishing and big game hunting require additional paid licenses. Saltwater fishing and migratory bird hunting also require additional permits, which are free.
 

Let us know if you plan on taking advantage of this or your thoughts on the subject in the comment section below.  As always post photos of your adventures and tell us your story in the galleries.  

 
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 22:40

Drone Hunting?

Nope you read the title correctly.  We at Shotem and Caughtem never thought that this would be added to our Shotem Gallery but one town in Colorado has decided to permit its residences to shoot unmanned drones out of the sky should they try and fly over the town.  Think of all the fun one can have trying to score, mount or even actually hunt one of these elusive creatures.  For nothing else it is a fun quick read.  Whether or not it actually will happen is for another blog.

The small town of Deer Trail, Colorado is considering a bold move. The town board will be voting on an ordinance that would create drone hunting licenses and offer bounties for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Deer Trail resident, Phillip Steel, drafted the ordinance.

"We do not want drones in town," said Steel. "They fly in town, they get shot down."

Even though it's against the law to destroy federal property, Steel's proposed ordinance outlines weapons, ammunition, rules of engagement, techniques, and bounties for drone hunting.

The ordinates states, "The Town of Deer Trail shall issue a reward of $100 to any shooter who presents a valid hunting license and the following identifiable parts of an unmanned aerial vehicle whose markings and configuration are consistent with those used on any similar craft known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government."

Let us know your thoughts on the subject in the comment section below and should you actually get the opportunity post your Shotem drone pics to the gallery and tell us how you were able to find one of these elusive animals over the town.

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem noticed that many states across the nation will be conducting free fishing days throughout the first week in June which starts tomorrow.  This creates a perfect chance for those would be fisherman/woman such as kids, friends or family to go out and give the sport a try with little to no investment.  It creates a perfect draw for those that know people who are dedicated to the sport to tag along and see if they like the experience before investing the money needed to have a decent set up and purchase a fishing license.  We can think of no better way to get newbies out to the great outdoors, test the sport and see what they have been missing/feed a new addiction.  We hope that many take advantage of the free chance to explore the sport of fishing dependant on your states rules and regulations.  Visit your states Wildlife and parks website for more information on dates, rules and tournaments being held at different lakes and streams in your community this weekend/week. 

Share your experiences with your new found fishing partner in the Caughtem gallery or leave comments in the section below.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013 22:15

Elk Hunting Public Lands in Chama, NM

We at ShotemandCaughtem this last Elk season got the opportunity to go on an Elk hunt in Chama, New Mexico.  It is one of the prime hunting grounds for public access hunting of Elk any where in Colorado.  Only a limited number of permits are given out each year and we were lucky to tag along with a couple of folks that have hunted this area for over a decade.  6 guys, 2 Kawasaki mules, 3 horses and enough equipment to allow us to be stuck on the mountain for more than a week (even though permits only last 4 days) made the long and difficult track up the mountain to base camp.  Our 2 Kawasaki mules barely fit through the vehicle gate loaded to the hilt with supplies.  Even hunters were impressed that we were able to squeeze through.  The trail up to our base camp was difficult.  Though we started out in nice weather, as we moved higher in elevation we went through rain, then snow, then rain, and then snow.  The trails for the off road vehicles is not for the inexperienced.  Steep inclines and declines mixed with rock trails and river crossings make for an interesting and difficult journey.  However, once we reached base camp and were able to get things set up we could not ask for a more breathe taking view.  The trip to our base camp from the public parking point took approximately 4 hours by UTV and 2.5 hours by horseback (the horses get a straighter path).  We had three in our group who had Elk tags to fill and 3 of us to hang around camp, fish the ponds for trout and run around with our .22 rifles and shoot small game for dinners.  Once camp was set, the three with tags ventured to the top of the ridge in the photo to camp for the night and hunt opening morning.  Though we came with some comforts of home (tent, sleeping bags, rifles, axes, lights, snacks, etc), our primary source of warmth and water would come from the woods around camp and boiling water from a stream which flowed from Chama Lake close to camp.  It is a true test to any hunter to be this far off the grid but in this country it was worth the trip.  Though we only came home with one bull, we were able to run into a flock of Grouse during our adventures and have a wonderful fresh dinner one night.  I had never had Grouse before and I highly recommend it.  Our trout fishing was not as fruitful but the hike, scenery and weather minus the first day was awesome.  If you have never traveled to the area it makes for an absolute awesome camping experience when the weather is right and we plan on heading out this summer when the weather might be more forgiving to see more of the area.  Let us know about your experiences in Chama if you have ever been and as always post your photos to Shotem and Caughtem and share your story.