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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.

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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.

Published in News/Events
Thursday, 05 June 2014 21:48

If we were to Ban Hunting and Fishing

With the recent news of Metallica's front man James Hetfield taking heat for just being the voice of a new hunting series, we at Shotem and Caughtem felt it was once again time to search the internet for more articles related to the subject of hunting.  Right wrong or indifferent, however, one might feel about the subject no one nation or country feels the effects of this debate more than Africa.  A constant struggle between available resources, a huge human population and not enough food produced to sustain growth.  No one knows the battle better than those who live that life day to day.  We already have some great members who share their adventures from this region so it was not hard for us to turn to resource that would report on what is happening through their own eyes.  We hope that you take the time to read and forward this well written article to those who judge without proper evidence of just how beneficial our passion for this lifestyle can be and it's effects.  A big thanks to All Africa for sharing their views.  

Here is just a brief excerpt from the article the link to the full article is below:

Put very simply - if wildlife does not generate benefits, it will be displaced by agriculture and other land uses. Even national parks must provide benefits to neighbouring communities if they are to be viable conservation entities, rather than isolated islands surrounded by conflicting land uses and communities hostile to conservation.

By allowing wildlife management to be a viable land use, with both hunting and tourism providing the returns, large tracts of African habitat can be maintained in a healthy state. This includes habitat for valuable, rare and endangered species such as rhino, elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah and numerous other species. In Namibia, healthy populations of all these species occur in communal areas, on private land and in national parks - simply because they generate income. Take away legal trophy hunting, and wildlife will be the loser. Commercial poaching is minimal in Namibia, because poaching is seen as stealing from local communities. In the very few incidents of rhino poaching, the help of local people has lead to the arrest of the culprits.

What of the ethical and moral implications of hunting a wild animal?

At some stage, each individual animal must die. That is part of the cycle of life itself. Generally, old or weak wild animals die a painful or violent death - either from starvation or disease, or by being killed and eaten by predators, or by being killed by rivals of their own species.

But the overall population continues to thrive - as long as there is enough suitable habitat available.

Saying 'I don't want any animals to die' does not help the situation. Becoming a vegetarian will not save any African wildlife. Condemning legal hunting does not help either. African land is needed to generate livelihoods - if these livelihoods are not generated through wildlife use, then wildlife disappears. The less wildlife is used, the less it will be able to survive.

Eating game meat is in fact an ecologically sustainable option, because it adds another area of income that gives people the incentive to allow wildlife to remain on the land.

Trophy hunting generally focuses on post-reproductive males, as these have the most mature trophies. Only a very small percentage of the population is hunted (0.5 to 2%), with no impact on the overall health of the species.

To read more of this article follow the link http://allafrica.com/stories/201406050519.html 

Published in News/Events
Friday, 02 May 2014 16:50

Hunting Turkey's and Conservation

We at Shotem and Caughtem try to continue and stay on the topic of how hunting effects conservation.  Many groups feel that hunting is the cause of many of the problems involved in wildlife habitat and survival.  We felt like since spring turkey season is in full swing or ending in many areas we would find a story that once again talk about the great things that happen in our wildlife environment that promotes why we do what we do in a conservation capacity.  Our dollars from tags, permits, and taxes go to help promote the well being of the animals we cherish.  Let us know about your conservation effort and how you help the cause in the comment section below.

In 1974, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources agreed to send 135 Coulee Region ruffed grouse to Missouri in exchange for 334 eastern wild turkeys.

The turkeys were released in different locations around the state for a three-year period, beginning in 1976.

As far as conservation is concerned, it may be one of the best trades the state has ever made. For it was that exchange which successfully re-established the wild turkey population in Wisconsin.

For all intents and purposes, unregulated hunting and a variety of natural factors left the state without wild turkeys since roughly 1881.

After decades of futile attempts to reintroduce turkeys by releasing birds that were raised on farms, the batch of birds from the Show Me State put Wisconsin’s population on the fast track to recovery. By 1983, the state was able to hold its first modern-day statewide turkey season. In 2009, hunters in Wisconsin harvested more turkeys than any other state in the union.

Today, the DNR divides the state into seven zones. Manitowoc County is in Zone No. 2.

Last year, hunters in Zone 2 harvested 8,955 birds during the spring hunt, for a hunter success rate of 21.3 percent, the highest mark across all seven zones. The previous spring, hunters in Zone 2 took 10,486 birds, a 26 percent hunter success rate which was, once again, tops in the state.

Scott Walter, an upland wildlife ecologist with the WDNR, says that the quality of habitat in the area is the primary reason hunters in the area have seen so much success in recent years.

“It’s simply the way the landscape is managed. It provides a nice heterogeneous mix of open habitats and forested habitats in which they tend to do very well,” Walter said. “Just by nature, this nice mix of wood lots and agriculture...provides a super habitat base.”

The spring season is divided into six weeks, with each hunting permit good for only one of those six weeks. The third week begins today. In spring, hunters may only take male turkeys, allowing the females to nest undisturbed.

While the turkey population has, generally, been steadily increasing, Walter pointed out that the experience of any particular hunter may vary based upon long-term and short-term weather trends.

“I think it has certainly become clear to those of managing turkeys and hunters themselves that we have turkeys established in healthy numbers statewide,” Walter said. “But, we’re going to have to expect that, from one year to the next, the number of birds we see in the field are going to go up and down based on what weather conditions have been like the past year or two.”

Walter added that weather conditions are especially crucial two times per year: winter, when snow cover can deny birds access to food, and late spring, when warm temperatures and small amounts of precipitation help facilitate the nesting process. As the numbers of turkeys continues to rise, so does the number of hunters pursuing them. The WDNR made 237,420 permits available this spring, a fair increase from the 234,985 of last spring.

“Probably the only thing that increased more than the turkey population itself was the interest in this new hunting opportunity,” Walter said. “Our state hunters just embraced this. It’s a chance to get out in the woods in the spring, which is one of the things that makes the spring turkey hunt unique. In terms of hunting, there aren’t many other opportunities out there that time of year.”

Turkey hunting and the turkey population have made significant strides in Wisconsin in recent decades. But Walter maintains there is still work to be done.

“Getting the next generation engaged in this, now firmly-entrenched, tradition of turkey hunting in Wisconsin is going to be really important,” Walter said. “It’s something that we all have to think about, at least those of us who are passionate about the hunting tradition.”

Walter also called upon current hunters to make sure they are respecting the land they hunt on.

“When turkey hunters are out in the field they have to respect the land and the property owner rights, especially if the happen to be hunting on private land. Closing gates, not littering, and being respectful of the land you’re on is going to be really important in terms of maintaining a positive public image of turkey hunting in general.”

Walter hopes all of the effort he and other wildlife officials and organizations have, and will continue to, put forth will continue to help others experience something that many in this state went their entire lives without: a morning in a turkey blind.

“It’s just a really unique and special experience, “ Walter said. “It’s hard to put into words. The sun’s coming up, that gobbler is up on the ridge belting away and the ability to interact with that bird through the calling, through the use of decoys and to have him coming in, it’s a very interactive hunt that just leaves memories.”

Published in News/Events
Thursday, 03 April 2014 21:49

Hunting vs. Shooting

We at Shotem and Caughtem have been busy little bees.  With spring quickly approaching our need to be outdoors has been great.  Due to these reasons we have not spent much time (our apologies) keeping you a breast of what is happening around the world in the hunting and fishing industry.  So we decided to see what had been written recently around the inter web.  We felt what a great way to start a debate than finding this article about the hunter turned away from the industry because of shooters.  To read the whole article before a short intro to it below and our thoughts check out http://www.spokesman.com/outdoors/stories/2014/apr/03/guest-column-shooters-spoiling-the-sport-of/ 

Here is a brief intro to the article:

Hunting got some scrutiny in this newspaper at last. Washington State has lost more than 16,000 hunters in the last five years, Thomas Clouse noted. On the same page, Rich Landers lamented that we fail to “curb poaching problem.”

Ethical hunters driven from the field by shooters make the two stories converge.

My distinction here, between hunters and shooters, rests on the reverence extended toward game animals and birds. True hunters, indigenous or otherwise, honor prey in various ways. They obey state laws, care for the meat, enhance habitats, and maybe even mumble a prayer.

Shooters, though, they care more about rocking the world off its axis with the firepower they wield.

Environmentalist and author Aldo Leopold characterized the shooter’s impulse as “trigger itch,” a simple craving to blast away. Leopold regretted his trigger itch when he shot a wolf with pups and watched the “fierce green fire” die in her eyes. His honesty endeared him to millions of readers since his “Sand County Almanac” came out in 1949.

To make a full disclosure, I am a born-again non-hunter. I swung guns and drew a lethal bead for thirty years. Finally, though, my heart began to grate and brim over with tender empathy for the dead.

During my spell as a hunter, game habitats shriveled and crashed, an upshot of the human population’s pressures in Washington State where I came of age. I felt my pastime added to the wreckage of sensitive and dwindling species, as shooting had for dodos, bison, passenger pigeons, prairie chickens, sharptail grouse, sage grouse, and so on. But the greatest turnoff came from run-amok shooters.

Shooters deploying technology irresponsibly change the stakes of fair chase. At the same time when wildlife officials are desperate for ways to curtail poachers and their impact on wildlife, manufacturers are enhancing the chances that shooters might score in the great outdoors no matter how unfairly.

Here are just a couple of things we would like to point out that might help bring the author back into the fold.  Hunting and Fishing promotes conservation at its core.  Through the purchasing of tags, licenses and related gear we support an industry that protects what drives us outdoors.  Money is used by these industries to protect wildlife, fuel habitat efforts, reintroduce animals to areas that have lost them, and on and on.  Half the reason the wolf, cougar, bison, elk, antelope and the list continues have began to come back in parts of the United States is through the Wildlife and Parks departments and different non-profit organizations based on different species.  These organizations would not have the means nor the funds without the money we as hunters and fisherman/woman spend.

Many of the reasons the hunt has been burned by shooters we believe is due partly from the lack of access.  More and more land has been taken over by our cities, farming and ranching efforts.  Add into the fact that hunting properties that use to be accessible through relationships have now become cash cows for those doing guided hunts or leasing their ground for an insane amount of money to those hunters from out of state.  

Most of all we want to hear our members comments in the section below so that we can help spread the word.  It is part of the reason we started Shotem and Caughtem.  We want to provide a large community the opportunity and the ability to speak as a whole.  Our mission is to hopefully build a base that gives us the means to continue and support all these great organizations.  So continue to help us build a thriving community of those who hunt and fish!

Published in News/Events
Friday, 14 March 2014 20:39

A Hunting Environmentalist

We at Shotem and Caughtem have weighted in on the hunting and fishing debate.  Pros, cons and why we love the great outdoors.  We also like to draw from others opinions to help support our beliefs.  Since we have heard a lot from our followers and members about constantly battling this debate we felt it was time to once again hit on this debate.  We felt like bringing in another persons point of view this time.  Lucky for us the Atlantic just produced such an article.  Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Published in News/Events
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 23:19

Paddlefish return to Texas

We at Shotem and Caughtem talked yesterday about where your money from license fees goes due to all the rate hikes happening throughout the nation.  Lucky for us a story released today shows where some of that money ends up.  As outdoorsman and woman already know the key to a sustainable industry can only come from a robust eco-system.  Too many of one thing or not enough of another and things get out of whack.  With this in mind Texas has decided to reintroduce the paddlefish into a Texas lake that was once home to plenty of the species and plans to track how this fish and the eco system reacts to having them back in the picture.  We hope to share their story as it becomes more available in the years to come.  As is the case many times it becomes a learning experience as to just how much we are all apart of a larger picture and balance.

A cooperative effort between federal, state, local and private agencies and organizations is once again attempting to return paddlefish to the waters of East Texas.

About 50 of the fish that can be traced back to prehistoric times were released Wednesday in Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake, marking the first release of the fish since 2000.

This stocking, which is a joint effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Northeast Texas Municipal Water District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Nature Conservancy and Caddo Lake Institute, is different than previous attempts to bring the fish back to Texas because it is a science-based experiment. Positive results could lead to more stockings in the future.

The 2- to 3-foot long fish recently captured in Oklahoma have been fitted with radio transmitters. Three monitoring stations, one below Caddo Lake, one at the lake and another near Jefferson, will follow the fishes travels to see if they will stay in the lake and upstream in the river where a gravel spawning bed was built by the USFWS near Jefferson. The bed is already being utilized by more than 30 other fish species.

One of the keys to the restocking program will be the water flow in Big Cypress Bayou below Lake O’the Pines. For the past 10 years the participants in the program have been working with Northeast Texas Municipal Water District to create downstream flows that will mimic what would have occurred in the river naturally during wet and dry conditions.

It is believed the fish, which can live as long as 30 years and grow to more than 7 feet long and weigh 200 pounds, disappeared from the bayou after construction of the Lake O’the Pines Dam in the 1950s.

“The dam changed the natural flow patterns, including the high flows or ‘spring pulses’ that provided paddlefish and other fish species a cue to move to spawning sites and foraging habitat the high water made accessible,” said Pete Diaz, a USFWS fish biologist.

Texas’ dam building era of the 1950s and 60s may have also led to the species’ demise in the Sulphur, Neches, Sabine, Angelina, Trinity, San Jacinto rivers where they also existed.

A fish species that is more than 300 million years old, today paddlefish are considered a species of concern under the Endangered Species Act and is rarely found in Texas. While restoration projects have been successful, that hasn’t been the case here.

Published in News/Events
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 23:15

Hunting Back in the News

Some of us here at Shotem and Caughtem did not come from a long line of hunters or fisherman.  We did not learn how to shoot until we starting hanging out with certain crowds.  Some did not end up enjoying what they had to offer.  Others found the passion for the lifestyle and dedicated more and more time to the outdoors.  Hunting and fishing is not for everyone as is the case with anything.  So we were not surprised when it came up for conversation with part of our family when the news broke of the 350,000 Black Rhino hunt being auctioned off by a Dallas Outfitter.  What follows is only part of our justification for what our industry does for wildlife conservation.  

Namibia is just about the only place to have gotten conservation right for rhinos and a lot of other wildlife. It has methodically repopulated one area after another as its rhino population has steadily increased. As a result, it is now home to 1,750 of the roughly 5,000 black rhinos surviving in the wild. (The worldwide population of Africa’s two rhino species, black and the more numerous white, plus three species in Asia, is about 28,000.) In neighboring South Africa, government officials stood by haplessly as poachers slaughtered almost a thousand rhinos last year alone. Namibia lost just two.

Namibia has the advantage of being home to only 2.1 million people in an area twice the size of California — about seven per square mile, versus about 100 in South Africa. But Namibia’s success is also the product of a bold political decision in the 1990s to turn over ownership of the wildlife to communal conservancies — run not by white do-gooders, but by black ranchers and herders, some of whom had, until then, also been poachers.

The idea was to encourage villagers living side by side with wildlife to manage and profit from it by opening up their conservation lands to wealthy big-game hunters and tourists armed with cameras. The hunters come first, because the conservancies don’t need to make any investment to attract them. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism sets limits on all hunting, and because rhino horn is such a precious commodity, rhinos remain under strict national control.

The theory behind the conservancy idea was that tolerance for wildlife would increase and poaching would dwindle, because community ownership made the illegal killing feel like stealing from the neighbors. And it has worked. Community conservancies now control almost 20 percent of Namibia — 44 percent of the country enjoys some form of conservation protection — and wildlife numbers have soared. The mountain zebra population, for instance, has increased to 27,000 from 1,000 in 1982. Elephants, gunned down elsewhere for their ivory, have gone to 20,000, up from 15,000 in 1995. Lions, on the brink of extinction from Senegal to Kenya, are increasing in Namibia.

Under an international agreement on trade in endangered species, Namibia can sell hunting rights for as many as five black rhinos per year, though it generally stops at three. The entire trophy fee, in this case $350,000, goes into a trust fund that supports rhino conservation efforts. The fund pays, for instance, to capture rhinos and implant transmitters in their horns, as an anti-poaching measure. Trophy hunting one rhino may thus save many others from being butchered.

Many wildlife groups also support the program because Namibia manages it so carefully. It chooses which individual will be hunted, and wildlife officials go along to make sure the hunter gets the right one. (So much for the romance of the Great White Hunter.) The program targets older males past their breeding prime. They’re typically belligerent individuals that have a territorial tendency to kill females and calves.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.  

Published in News/Events
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 22:51

Melissa Bachman and the Hunting Debate

We at Shotem and Caughtem built this website to share and celebrate the great outdoors.  We come from a family of non hunters and have had many conversations about the pros and cons of hunting.  The debate spurred recently around Melissa Bachman is no different.  We as outdoorsman/woman have always had to defend our passion for the outdoor lifestyle.  As a matter of fact it was not until the industrial revolution that hunting and fishing even hit the spot light.  Lucky for us we have Mara as a member of our site so we were able to go direct to the source for answers.  We hope you add your debatable comments in the comment section below.  Here is what she let us know.

Hi Shotem and Caughtem Staff,

Melissa Bachman hunted at Maroi Conservancy a couple of weeks ago. She only hunted plains game here (Zebra, Nyala etc.). On her wish list was a lion. There are no lions on Maroi as they do not occur here naturally. 

We contacted an outfitter in the North West Province and we facilitated the hunt for Melissa. After making sure that all the legal documentation was in place, we transported her to this area where she was handed over to another outfitter and PH.

Foreign hunters have a big impact on the economy; hunting contributes significantly to conservation, tourism development, job creation and sustainable development in rural areas. This area has many game farms and services for game farms that use the funds generated by hunting or eco-tourism to contribute to conservation. Examples of things that the funds get used for includes:  Supplying water to game, planting and stockpiling feed for draught conditions, rebuilding border fences, roads, dams that were washed away during the January 2013 floods, combatting erosion and employing specialist anti-poaching units to protect our game.

Hunting permits for specific animals are only issued by Nature Conservation if the farm where the hunt takes place, comply to the rules and regulations laid down by Nature Conservation. They also take into account how many permits have been issued in the area, population numbers, how big the property is, how long the lions have been free roaming in the area etc.

Almost everybody is under the impression that this was a canned lion hunt. Unfortunately you get canned lion hunts in South Africa and that is specifically why we made sure that the hunt was legal, all documentation in place and the lion was free roaming. You can contact PHASA on more information about the requirements for a lion hunt. We basically referred Melissa to another outfitter and we did not profit financially from this hunt at all.

It is important to know the difference between a canned lion hunt and captive breeding for hunting on an open area where the lion is free roaming on 2000ha. A Lion is still a very dangerous predator, stalking a lion on a large property.

Please feel free to ask me any more questions as I will be happy to give you the facts. You can also have a look at Maroi Conservancy’s facebook page for more facts. There is a status update that contains more facts. Feel free to use that information also. 

Kind Regards 

Mara Nel 

Maroi Conservancy

Published in News/Events
Thursday, 14 November 2013 22:25

Hunters and Conservation Amazing Video

We at Shotem and Caughtem take great pride in what we have the opportunity to see and experience in the great outdoors.  We have said time and time again that this sport and lifestyle offers us the opportunity to see things many never get the chance to experience.  As hunters we are constantly reminded of how powerful animals are in the wild.  At the same time we know that in order to make sure animals are available to the next generation we must help to protect our resources.  

The attached video showcases all these aspects.  Bucks commonly get their horns locked in a good fight for dominance to breed.  As such many times these animals can become tangled.  Unless lady luck steps in and the two are capable of freeing themselves from one another, many times both will perish.  Luckily for these two a couple of guys were willing and able to step in to lend a hand.  

It is amazing to think that these animals might have been this way for sometime before being discovered, yet still had enough power and energy to keep fighting.  

Leave your comments on similar experiences in the comment section below or share your videos and photos of like adventures in the galleries.  

Published in News/Events
Thursday, 24 October 2013 21:07

Why we Hunt

We at Shotem and Caughtem heard the news that NBC has decided not to run their latest installment of their Into the Wild show due to too many people being upset by the depiction of an Elephant being hunted.  We too have had some comments on our Facebook page about what a bad sport hunting and fishing is and how we should not be advocating bragging about our adventures in the Great Outdoors.  

Lucky for us we have a resident expert on African Safari Hunting.  We have had many lengthy discussions on their efforts and what they are all about.  Mario Conservancy maintains a herd of multiple animals on their land.  They try to regulate a perfect balance so that all their animals are capable of thriving.  As such sometimes older, unhealthy or over populated animal species need to be balanced.  They use this as a way to make a little money so that they continue creating the perfect environment for their animals.  Note:  All their efforts surround the animal species not how big can we get them so people can shoot them.  It is at the core of anyone who truly cherishes the sport.  As is the case with everything humans do a few bad apples can derail even the majority of those who love the sport and treat it as such.  


Published in News/Events
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