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August 29, 2008
BuckTracker: On Programmed Bucks

Check out the video link below. It features a clip of a 400” captive buck that is 2-1/2 years old. And no, I did not confuse any of the above numbers. Some readers are no doubt well aware of the antler sizes that can be attained by a buck that has no worries about predation, the quality of his food and, perhaps most importantly, not having to work that hard to punch a meal ticket.

And of course there’s another, perhaps more interesting, issue at work here; selective breeding. Animals like this are genetic freaks, but they’re still produced by pairing the semen from a mutant buck with the DNA of a super doe, and that coupling (translation: Artificial insemination” or as the farmers in my neighborhood call it “A-I”) is rarely left to chance. Breeders of champion (insert livestock of choice here) specimens have little on some of the current whitetail farmers. “Straws” (a small vial containing semen) from the top-end bucks are sold for thousands of dollars each, and of course they come with no guarantees.

So what are your thoughts on a deer like this? Do you find antlers like these an awe-inspiring example of what a whitetail could be if all the cosmic tumblers clicked for him? Or does a behemoth buck not “count” because he’s been—for lack of a better term—“programmed” to do just what this freak has done. We have a long weekend to run this one through the grinder, so feel free to take your time and expound…..

The buck's name is "Sudden Impact." Click Here to watch the video of the monster.


August 28, 2008
Michigan’s First CWD Case Prompts Immediate Baiting Ban

In case you missed this important story on our Field Notes blog, here’s the original report:

From The Detroit News:

State officials are prohibiting deer baiting or feeding throughout the Lower Peninsula after they discovered a white-tailed deer in a small Kent County herd has Michigan's first case of chronic wasting disease.

The precautionary measure will change hunting practices during the upcoming firearm and archery deer seasons. Baiting and feeding have become common practice among hunters.

Officials also quarantined all 580 of Michigan's privately owned farms, hunting ranches and hobby facilities where deer, elk and moose are raised and kept in Michigan. Neither live animals nor their carcasses can be moved off these facilities, Agriculture Director Don Koivisto said.

And here’s the latest:

50 Deer Killed In Kent County
www.mlive.com

Hunters Asked to Take Baiting Ban Seriously
www.freep.com

Baiting Ban Will Hurt Local Businesses
www.lansingstatejournal.com

Ban Could Devastate Beet Farmers
www.ludingtondailynews.com


August 26, 2008
A Sobering Reminder for Tree Stand Safety

One of my closest hunting buddies fell from a tree stand last week. Bob was just planning to check his stand, maybe sit ‘til dark and watch one of his favorite early-season fields. All was fine as he crawled onto the platform, and the stand held as he settled into the seat. But something felt strange—like the stand base wasn’t quite snug to the tree—so he bounced a bit on the seat.

The next thing Bob remembers was lying on the ground. “It was like getting the wind knocked out of me, but this time, my breath wasn’t coming back,” he told me when I visited him. “And then the pain set in.” He didn’t know it, but he’d bounced off a fence post on the way down, then landed on one side. End result: 10 broken ribs, a punctured lung, a fractured skull (around his eye socket), a concussion, and too many bruises and contusions to count. 

Like all accidents that don’t end in a fatality, Bob’s incident was a good news/bad news affair. On the plus side: He was carrying a cell phone and remained conscious so he could call his wife. He was in an area where he could pick up a cell signal. A friend knew the approximate location of his tree stand. Emergency personnel had an ATV and could reach him. They were also highly trained enough to diagnose the punctured lung and insert a half-inch tube to drain the fluid (doctors later told Bob he’d have suffocated to death had he laid there 2-3 hours without this procedure). By nightfall, my friend had been airlifted to a nearby hospital. He’s home now and expected to make a long and painful—but complete—recovery.

Here’s what went wrong. Bob had left the stand in the tree too long, and the tree’s growth had snapped one prong off the hook that held the fastening chain. And though he’s a devout wearer of a full-body safety harness, Bob had decided that day that a simple belt would suffice. That single strap may have slowed him for a split second, but it clearly didn’t prevent the fall.

You hear the safety messages all the time, and so do I. Wear a safety harness, no matter what. Pull your stands after season and keep them maintained. Always let someone know where you’re hunting and when you expect to be back. This stuff is in our heads, but many of us don’t obey the rules…every time…no matter what. 

Please do.


August 22, 2008
How Big is Your Tree Stand?

Every type of tree stand has its place. Postage-stamp assault stands for that long hike to a remote place. Climbers for those nice, straight trees.  Heavy-duty hang-ons for a spot I know I’ll sit all day. And I’m growing increasingly fond of ladders, which surprises me. Thought they were too heavy, bulky and obtrusive for my tastes. But I started monkeying with them and there’s nothing safer—once you get them up—and the best ones don’t bother deer.

I’ve had the same prejudices against the widely-popular “shooting house” for the same reasons I disliked the ladders. But of course, I have to confess my bias is rooted in ignorance. I’ve rarely hunted from one. And also (of course) several of my deer buddies have proven me dead-nuts wrong about their effectiveness. So in the spirit of experimentation I suppose I’ll have to build one some day.

My efforts, however, will not reach the heights achieved by the men who built (erected?) the monstrosity found here. I stand in awe not only of the achievement, but of the man who even thought it up. So how ‘bout you? Ever hunted from something this unique? Have a deer stand that can rival it for sheer audacity? By all means, let me know!


August 21, 2008
Michigan Hunters Get Special Early Doe Season

From the Jackson Citizen Patriot:
Small herds of deer grazing in soybean fields, year-round car-deer crashes and browse lines in suburban woodlands indicate hunters are not keeping pace with whitetails in southern Michigan.

The newest response by game managers is a special five-day hunt for antlerless deer Sept. 18-22. More than 20,000 doe permits are available in Jackson County.

"We have looked at this for several years because we have a tremendous deer population in southern Michigan," said Rodney Clute, Department of Natural Resources big-game specialist.

The newest response by game managers is a special five-day hunt for antlerless deer Sept. 18-22. More than 20,000 doe permits are available in Jackson County.

"We have looked at this for several years because we have a tremendous deer population in southern Michigan," said Rodney Clute, Department of Natural Resources big-game specialist.

The newest response by game managers is a special five-day hunt for antlerless deer Sept. 18-22. More than 20,000 doe permits are available in Jackson County.

"We have looked at this for several years because we have a tremendous deer population in southern Michigan," said Rodney Clute, Department of Natural Resources big-game specialist.

More Whitetail News:
Six-Legged Deer Recovering From Surgery
Vermont Wardens Bag Six Deer Poachers
New Turkey Season Could Ruffle California Deer Hunters


August 18, 2008
Countdown to Deer Season: How Do You Kill the Time?

I cursed at a trail camera the other day. Had it out for five days in an area where I knew a good buck lives and, when I plugged the memory card into my computer, 34 of the forty images were black. I spent a day being mad at the camera. Checked the batteries, banged my card-reader on my desk. Even tried to photo-shop a couple of the black holes into visibility. Nada.

Then I realized I hadn’t programmed the thing correctly. I’d accidentally programmed it out of flash mode, a move that naturally renders a trail cam useless when deer are most likely to show. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Deer season is a little over a month away and I’m a wreck. Doing lots of busy little prep-things that don’t amount to squat; counting tree steps, taking a stand inventory, marking arrows that need repair….Just lots of busy work I convince myself is important, but what amounts to little more than pacing the floor. And, as the camera-thing illustrates, probably not doing much of anything very well.

So what about you? How do bide time as you count the days? Last weekend, I accepted an invite to take a deer drive with one of my buddies on property he manages for his employer. The place resembled a whitetail zoo; we glassed close to 50 bucks (including some real studs) in one four-mile stretch of road. I was jazzed at the time, but the next day my illness was worse. And then my buddy sent me the trail cam pics below. “These are a couple we didn’t see,” he joked in his email. “You should come back again and see if we can find the real toads.”

Well, maybe. Until then, I’ve got a trail cam to set out again. This time, I’m gonna let my kids program the thing….

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August 14, 2008
American Deer Hunter Eats Burgers, Wins Gold

From Reuters:

A bad ham sandwich in Sydney eight years ago taught Walton Eller an important lesson -- stick to American hamburger and pizza.

The deer hunter from Texas won the gold medal in the men's double trap on Tuesday, a lopsided victory that erased painful memories of food poisoning from a rotten sandwich in Australia that may have cost him an Olympic medal in 2000.



Whitetail News Roundup

Is Pennsylvania Selling Too Many Doe Permits?
www.mcall.com

Northern Minnesotans Get Bonus Early Doe Hunt
www.duluthnewstribune.com

Alabama Starts Big-Buck Record And Recognition Program
www.al.com

Trail Cams Catch More Than Deer
www.eveningsun.com





August 07, 2008
Don’t Throw Out Last Year’s Deer License

From the Jackson Citizen Patriot:

To most hunters, the licenses needed to score a buck might seem useless once deer season is over.
Not so for Greg Woodland. The Pleasant Lake man treasures the licenses like many hunters treasure an eight-point rack. . . .

Woodland, 54, is president of the Michigan Hunting & Fishing License Collectors Club, a niche group with about 125 members from several Midwest states. . . .

[T]he holy grail of hunting licenses, an 1897 Michigan deer license with all five coupons -- which allowed for five deer to be killed during a season -- still attached, would sell for about $3,000, Woodland said.



Whitetail News Roundup

Iowa State Fair Cookout Contest Features Venison
www.desmoinesregister.com

California Hunters Face Non-Lead Ammo Shortage
www.sbsun.com

Expanded Deer Hunting Opportunities in Maryland and Delaware
www.midatlanticgameandfish.com

Why Bucks Make Bad Pets
www.wakulla.com



Tattoo Contest

Send us a photo of your deer tattoo. Our pick wins this Leatherman, worth $80!

Name: Email Address: Attach photo here:
Tell us why you got this tattoo!

100 Top Public Lands
Field & Stream reporter Steven Hill spent two months interviewing state game agency officials, deer biologists, and whitetail experts to identify the absolute best public whitetail hunting grounds in the nation.

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    This is posted eleswhere on the site as current content, so this copy can be looked upon as the archived version, accessible once we pull it from the other pages, or just as another fun read, for the short term memory impaired............


    The Patriot Post

    29 August 2008 Patriot Vol. 08 No. 35    

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    No Obamanation

    THE FOUNDATION

    “We have heard of the impious doctrine in the old world, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the new, in another shape...?” —James Madison

    PATRIOT PERSPECTIVE

    “Change” the channel!

    By Mark Alexander

    At the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing, I found a small Chinese flag had been placed on my seat, and on 90,999 other seats in the Bird’s Nest stadium. Needless to say, I did not wave that flag—we smuggled in our own 3x5 foot American flags, which we displayed with honor. But there was a sea of little Red flags around us.

    Apparently, the organizers of the big Demo confab in Denver took a cue from the Chinese and supplied small American flags on every delegate’s seat, which the cadre of Obamaphiles waved obediently and incessantly. (I suspect those flags were made in China.)

    No small irony here that the subject of all this fervor, Barack Hussein Obama, refused until recently to wear that flag on his lapel, much less recite a pledge to it.

    Of course, all the flag waving played well for the TV audiences, but liberal protagonists have always been about appearances, appealing to feeling, style over substance.

    Indeed, as I previously summarized in an essay entitled, “Why the Left can’t get it Right,” ask liberals about some manifestation of their worldview—for example, why they support a charlatan like Obama—and their response will be predicated by, “Because I feel...”

    On the other hand, ask conservatives about what they believe, or why they do or don’t support John McCain, and their response will be predicated by, “Because I think...”

    At Obama’s crowning, we witnessed a stadium full of feelers—sensitive, emotional, sentimental types, bursting with tearful glee at the prospect of one of their kind becoming the next president of the United States.

    Now, I don’t mean to suggest that there is something wrong with strong feelings; had I not contained my own on occasion, there’d be fewer Leftists on our planet. It’s just that we need to set our feelings aside when making serious decisions, such as who will be our next commander in chief.

    All this notwithstanding, here are a few “feeling” moments from the past week.

    Nancy Pelosi felt proud: “I am very proud of the Democrats in Congress,” the House Speaker told delegates. Proud of what, that the Democrat-controlled Congress now has an approval rating of 9 percent? Or are they proud of all the feel-good resolutions coming from Pelosi’s colleagues in the House—more than 1,900 of them—a congressional record?

    John Kerry felt the need for change: “We need a leader who understands all our security challenges, not just bombs and guns, but global warming, global terror and global AIDS.” That assertion left me wondering why anyone would vote for Hussein instead of McCain. Of course, I had to think about it.

    Since Jesse Jackson had already let us know how he feels about Obama, Bill Clinton took his place at the podium, lip quivering as he felt our pain. And Hillary was just radiant, feeling that all the stars were aligning for her campaign in 2012.

    Michelle Obama felt good about herself. “I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities.” I suppose the best part of that feeling is the $275,000 annual salary she draws from a privately owned hospital whilst “working to empower young people.”

    And Michelle no doubt felt good about hubby Barack, who she says will “bring us together and remind us how much we share and how alike we really are.” Can’t you just feel it?

    Capping the DNC love fest, The One himself, whom I fully expected to walk onto his Greek temple set in a toga and gold laurel leaf crown, appeared before thousands of delirious, glossy-eyed sycophants who were chanting his mantra. Obama, a master propagandist whom running mate Joe Biden described as “the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” albeit “naive,” offered his own slate of feel-good sentiments about a “country I believe in.” (How about that American flag lapel pin on his $1,600 suit!)

    In short, Obama constructed his ruse around a few themes.

    He insisted that he is our savior, the embodiment of a “promise that has always set this country apart—that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family.”

    He promised to reverse the “failed policies of George W. Bush,” and a “third” Bush term, as he frames McCain’s policies.

    He proclaimed that, “Ours is a promise that says government... should do that which we cannot do for ourselves” and proceeded to outline the same worn socialist policies his “useful idiot” predecessors have promoted for the last half century.

    In his final appeal to the faithful, Obama promised a presidency “that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.”

    At least he was able to correctly identify the city he was in this time.

    I am sure it comes as no surprise to genuine American Patriots, those who recognize a kindred spirit in the Patriot character of presidential candidate John McCain, that at the conclusion of Obama’s coronation in Denver, thousands of those little flags ended up in trash bags with other delegate refuse.

    It’s not that those Demo flag-wavers don’t like our national flag, it’s just that they don’t have a clue about the “Republic for which it stands,” or its seminal document of incorporation, our Constitution, or the Patriots who have pledged “To support and defend... so help me God,” or the hundreds of thousands who have given their lives to honor that pledge since our founding.

    Obama certainly does not get it.

    In the end, of course, no amount of logical dissent will make a lick of difference to most Democrat voters. Logic, after all, requires thoughtful analysis, and the Democrat hordes are too busy feeling great about Obama to muck that up with logic.

    (PUBLISHER’S NOTE: There are 67 days before the presidential election. Please visit PatriotShop.US to view our popular collection of political merchandise. Let your opinion be read loud and clear! As always, proceeds from PatriotShop.US support our mission of service to America’s Armed Forces.)

    Quote of the week

    “If Socrates had engaged in an interminable presidential campaign in a media-drenched age, perhaps he, too, would have come to seem banal. But the fact that Obama lost nine of the final 14 primaries might have something to do with the fact that when he descends from the ether to practicalities, he reprises liberalism’s most shopworn nostrums... Obama’s rhetorical extravagances are inversely proportional to his details... The diminished enthusiasm of some voters hitherto receptive to his appeals might have something to do with the seepage of reality from his rhetoric.” —George Will

    Open query

    “The recent death of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn should make us recall what he said when he was awarded the Nobel Prize: ‘The timid civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles.’ What would a Barack Obama presidency mean, other than more concessions and broader smiles, while Iran goes nuclear?” —Thomas Sowell

    The BIG lie

    “So I’ve got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first.” —Obama

    This week’s ‘Alpha Jackass’ award

    “John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war [in Iraq]... You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances.” —Obama

    Let us know what you think: Click here to comment on this section

    GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

    Campaign watch: Obama picks Joe Biden as VP

    Despite the lackluster efforts of some Hillary Clinton dead-enders to de-rail his train at the Demo Convention, Barack Obama is now the official Democrat nominee for president of the United States. Yet the real news of the week was that Barack Obama, the Senate’s most liberal member according to the non-partisan National Journal, chose Delaware Senator Joe Biden, the Senate’s third most liberal member, to be his vice presidential running mate. So much for balancing the ticket.

    So much for “change,” too. Biden is a Beltway lifer, having been first elected to the Senate in 1972, while Richard Nixon was carrying 49 states against George McGovern, while John McCain was languishing in the Hanoi Hilton, and while Barack Obama was a sixth-grader at the elite Punahou School in Hawaii. Biden is supposed to bring two qualities to the table: experience and foreign policy expertise. Biden does, in fact, chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he voted in favor of the 2002 Iraq War Resolution. Obama, who was then a part-time Illinois state senator representing Chicago’s notoriously liberal Hyde Park, opposed the removal of Saddam Hussein, calling it “the most important foreign policy decision in a generation.”

    Biden, like Obama, is the slippery sort. This is, after all, the same guy who withdrew from the 1988 Democrat presidential primary after being caught plagiarizing British Labour party leader Neil Kinnock in his stump speeches. Biden also plagiarized a law review article at Syracuse University, lied about having attended college on an academic scholarship, lied about how many degrees he had earned, and lied about having graduated in the top half of his law school class (he was 76th in a class of 85). “I exaggerate when I’m angry,” Biden once said, “but I’ve never gone around telling people things that aren’t true about me.” Clearly, this guy can’t even tell the truth about not telling the truth.

    Biden’s comments about Obama in the early days of the presidential contest certainly call into question whether the six-term senator has much respect for his younger colleague. When Biden was himself a candidate for president, he said that the White House was not a place for “on-the-job training,” a swipe at Obama’s youth and inexperience. Biden also got himself into hot water when he noted that Obama was “articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” a remark the thin-skinned Obama campaign interpreted as racist. Biden has made more than his share of slips over the years. It happens when one’s mouth is constantly running.

    The strengths that Biden might bring may not be enough to offset Obama’s glaring weaknesses, particularly in light of Biden’s own issues. And the comedy of errors that surrounded the VP announcement last week didn’t help. Obama had apparently made his decision early last week, but wanted to keep it quiet until the Saturday before the convention when he and Biden could campaign together. Consequently, the press was told they would be notified by text message, which led to a series of fake messages being sent by pundits playing the guessing game and pranksters looking for a good laugh. Everyone from Indiana Senator Evan Bayh to Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps was announced as Obama’s VP selection, leading some in the media to disregard the actual pick when it finally came out at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. What media strategist in their right mind makes a press announcement at 3:00 in the morning on a weekend? As Rush Limbaugh suggested, maybe Obama is just trying to prove that he can indeed make a decision at 3:00 a.m. Or maybe he’s just inadvertently proving that no matter who he picks as his running mate, he just doesn’t have what it takes to make a coherent decision.

    All that said, however, the most significant shortcoming of Joe Biden might be his vanity: We all know he’s had hair plugs surgically implanted in his scalp, but how on earth did he ever get those gleaming white choppers?

    Hillary never had a shot at VP

    As the Democrats in Denver call for unity and look forward to the November contest, it now becomes clearer than ever that Barack Obama never gave Hillary Clinton serious consideration as a possible running mate. Obama’s staff did not approach her once with any requests for paperwork or background access that is standard in the VP vetting process. After Obama sealed the nomination in June, he ducked questions from the media and Clinton supporters about his intentions for her by noting that Clinton was the most closely vetted candidate out there and that she would not need to go through the process again. Advisers close to Obama, however, knew that such a partnership could never work, particularly after the bruising battle between him and Clinton for the nomination.

    Clinton has had no luck in getting Obama to help her with her campaign debt, either, something he would have been somewhat obliged to do by picking her. She obliquely solicited his help after admitting defeat, and he suggested that his supporters help her alleviate the $25 million debt her campaign accrued. Two months later, though, Clinton’s debt still stands at $24 million, $13 million of which is owed to the candidate herself. While that portion is likely to be forgiven and forgotten, other creditors, including former campaign advisor Mark Penn’s firm, are still awaiting payment. Given the Obama campaign’s distaste for Penn, Clinton shouldn’t count on any help there. Per his campaign rhetoric, Obama wants to lift everyone above debt and out of the poor house, but he’s not going to help his enemies—or even his own brother—and he’s surely not going to do it with his money.

    Finally, make no mistake—while Hillary and Bill Clinton each gave “emphatic” and “forceful” pleas at the convention for Democrats to unite behind Barack Obama, it’s doubtful they will help Obama’s campaign. They may even work toward his defeat.

    On cross-examination

    “Imagine if it were the [GOP] undergoing equivalent convulsions [to those of the Democrats]. Let’s say Mitt Romney’s supporters demanded an open floor vote and were seething with public resentment against John McCain, the way Hillary’s delegates are against Obama. Add to that former President George H.W. Bush verbally undercutting McCain at every opportunity, in the manner of Bill Clinton’s anger toward Obama regarding Hillary, because of, say, statements he made against his son, the sitting president. Finally, what if Mike Huckabee were involved in a cheating/love child scandal the way John Edwards is, and had become so much of an embarrassment that, like Edwards, he couldn’t even speak to his own party’s convention after winning lots of electoral votes? Is there any doubt that the Democrats and the media elites would classify such a GOP convention as the biggest fiasco in the history of party politics?” —Investor’s Business Daily

    GOP convention speakers draw concern

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has been known to be at odds with conservatives in his party, so his strategists are on the lookout for any opportunity to prove otherwise. Inviting moderate Republican Rudy Giuliani to be a keynote speaker at next week’s convention in Minneapolis, however, looks like a lost one. Giuliani, whose own campaign imploded after his inane strategy of skipping the first five contests to focus on winning Florida’s big one, is admittedly pro-choice, pro gay-marriage and pro-gun control. In other words, he’s a Democrat in elephant’s clothing. Terrorism and national security are Giuliani’s supposed strong points, and that is what his focus will probably be, thus allowing the GOP to reframe the contest in a national security light.

    Liberal Democrat Joe Lieberman is also slated to speak. He is rumored to have an outside shot at being chosen McCain’s running mate. While that is highly unlikely to happen, Lieberman’s and Giuliani’s speaking appearances at the convention will send mixed signals to say the least. Worse, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the man who saved California from Gray Davis and then tried to ruin it himself, will be speaking as well.

    Meanwhile, conservative Republicans that should be on the docket have been left off: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. The GOP prides itself on being a Big Tent, which sometimes is one of its strengths, but there is a fine line between being inclusive and trying to be all things to all people. The Democrats claim they are the former when they often practice the latter, and it has yet to serve America. Republicans would be wise to keep that in mind.

    As we go to press, McCain has not announced his vice presidential pick, though according to Fox News, “Speculation about who John McCain would name as his running mate focused on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin after reports circulated early Friday that two short-listers—[former Massachusetts Gov.] Mitt Romney and [Minnesota Gov.] Tim Pawlenty—were out of the running.” Palin would be slick politically—a young woman who is known for her reformist ways would counter Obama’s supposed strong point.

    Stevens wins, Young not sure

    Embattled Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) won his primary bid this week despite having been indicted for lying on Senate disclosure reports and concealing more than $250,000 in home renovations and gifts from oil industry executives. Stevens won big, too, with 63 percent of the vote, though he faced six challengers, who split their votes. He now faces an uphill re-election battle against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. It’s a shame that Alaskans seemingly aren’t willing to part ways with the 40-year pork king of the Senate, but it may happen anyway if Stevens is convicted and removed from office. Also facing a tough primary Tuesday was the state’s at-large Rep. Don Young, an old veteran who likewise faces ethics charges. Young currently leads his primary against Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell by only 152 votes, with thousands of absentee ballots yet to be counted. Vote counting will not conclude until 5 September, and the results officially will be certified on 16 or 17 September.

    Let us know what you think: Click here to comment on this section

    NATIONAL SECURITY

    Warfront with Jihadistan: Withdrawal agreement

    Iraq and the United States reached a tentative agreement last week for the gradual withdrawal of U.S. combat troops by the end of 2011—contingent on conditions in Iraq between now and that date, of course. While we certainly can be hopeful of continued progress in Iraq’s ability to govern and protect itself, the deal is intended first and foremost to soothe Iraqi feelings and thereby bolster Prime Minister Maliki’s political safety. If Iraq is not prepared to protect itself by the end of 2011, the agreement is not binding in its call for the removal of all U.S. troops. Iraq’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Haj Hamoud stressed that “if the Iraqi government at that time decides that it is necessary to keep the American forces longer, they can do so.”

    Watch for pundits, pols and presidential candidates on the Left to claim this deal as vindication of their “out of Iraq now” stance over the last three years. It most assuredly is not. The Left’s demand was for the immediate removal of U.S. troops regardless of conditions in Iraq, and regardless of the consequences of a headlong withdrawal. Nor is the deal a repudiation of John McCain’s statement that he would support a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq. The deal would still leave many thousands of American troops in Iraq beyond 2011, training and supporting Iraqi forces. We sincerely hope that Iraq is a stable, self-governing and secure nation by 2011, and that U.S. combat troops can be drawn down significantly by then. But all concerned should clearly understand that this deal is about internal Iraqi politics first and foremost, and is only secondarily about the actual removal of U.S. troops.

    Answering the critics on Iraq

    Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ron Suskind claims in his recently released book, The Way of the World, that in early 2003 the White House learned that Saddam Hussein no longer possessed weapons of mass destruction but decided to proceed with the war anyway. Suskind writes that British and U.S. intelligence officials obtained this WMD information in secret meetings with Saddam’s spy chief, Tahir Habbush. But the book’s most explosive allegations are that under White House orders, the CIA forged information designed to influence public opinion about the war and enlisted Habbush’s help to write a fake letter stating that Iraq helped train Mohamed Atta, leader of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks.

    If all of this is true, then the Bush White House broke numerous U.S. laws and lied to the American people about the war in Iraq. Too bad for the Looney Left, the book is little more than a cheap spy novel, the stuff of which paranoid leftist fantasies are made. Last Friday, the CIA issued an extensive rebuttal based on an internal agency investigation. It included a full records search and interviews with those officers directly involved in operations in Iraq at the time. No one, including foreign intelligence services, could substantiate any of Suskind’s claims. Naturally, Suskind stands by his book, but even many of his alleged sources have now disputed his accounts. Suskind retorts from his safe house that the administration is pressuring his sources to change their stories. And coming to their comrade’s rescue, House and Senate oversight committees, which, with $4-a-gallon gas, the Long War, a slowing economy, etc., apparently have nothing better to do, are investigating Suskind’s claims. Is it asking too much for Congress to give up wild goose chases and concentrate on the real world?

    Profiles of valor: USA 1st Lt. Pixler

    In October 2007, then-First Lieutenant Ross Pixler of the United States Army Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division was on patrol in al Bawi, Iraq, when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle was hit by an IED. The ensuing explosion killed three fellow soldiers and wounded Pixler, the driver and the gunner. Pixler, acting on his training, immediately checked on the driver and gunner, both of whom were unconscious, and then took up a defensive position. “Everything goes really fast, and I wasn’t really stopping to think about what I was doing,” he said. “I was doing what I was trained to do.” Still reeling from his concussion, Pixler and the rest of his unit had to fight off a small arms attack; Pixler directed air support as well.

    Hours later, as the attack was repelled, Pixler and the other survivors were loaded onto another Bradley and began moving toward base when another IED exploded, crippling that vehicle. The soldiers then fought off a second attack before finally making it back to their base. For his bravery and tenacity while injured and under attack, Pixler was awarded the Silver Star. Now-Captain Pixler considers it “an award for every single one of the soldiers that were out there, and the ones that can’t come home.”

    Immigration front: ICE offers aliens a deal

    Between 5 August and 25 August, Immigration and Customs Enforcement offered a special program to 457,000 illegal aliens who have no criminal records yet have failed to follow a court’s order to leave the country. The pilot program, Operation Scheduled Departure, had offices in six U.S. cities where aliens could “turn themselves in, get their affairs in order and leave the country without being detained.” The program was advertised on Spanish language media in the cities where the ICE offices are located.

    According to Julie Myers, HSD Assistant Secretary for ICE, the program would have assuaged the “concerns raised by aliens, community groups and immigration attorneys who say ICE unnecessarily disrupts families.” But Jim Hayes, who supervises deportation for ICE, claimed that advocacy groups and lawyers had counseled eligible aliens not to participate—as an act of protest. “What the advocates state is that... we don’t like enforcement of the law itself,” Hayes said.

    In any case, the program was a bust, enrolling a total of eight (that’s 8) aliens. Hayes saw it as a victory because it proved the efficacy of capturing illegal aliens over trying to coax them to comply in the current climate of entitlement. None of the eight has yet departed, Hayes said. They are an Estonian, two Indians, two Guatemalans, a Lebanese, a Mexican and a Salvadoran, proving that, if nothing else, the U.S. government is an equal opportunity deporter.

    Let us know what you think: Click here to comment on this section

    BUSINESS & ECONOMY

    Revised economic picture

    “Better than expected” was the buzz once again for the economy in the second quarter after the Commerce Department released revised numbers this week. The new numbers indicate that “gross domestic product, or GDP, increased at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter,” reports the Associated Press. The government had originally reported growth of only 1.9 percent, short of its forecast of 2.7 percent. Of course, the good news is not good enough to impress the army of economic-expert editorialists, er, reporters at the AP. They warn, “Still, the growth pickup is not likely to be seen as a lasting sign that the fragile economy is back on solid ground.” It should go without saying that current growth is no predictor of future economic activity, but the AP simply cannot leave readers feeling optimistic. AP continues, “A growing number of analysts fear that the country will hit another economic pothole in the fourth quarter.” These analysts who have been wrong all year—not only was there no recession, but we had “better than expected growth” —will continue with their depressing drumbeat despite every report to the contrary.

    From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File

    Congressional Democrats are pushing for a four-day workweek to “limit unnecessary commuting” in these “times of high gasoline prices.” The extra day off will not come for ordinary Americans, however, but federal bureaucrats. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said, “I believe the federal government should do all it can to ensure that federal agencies and departments are appropriately reducing gasoline consumption.” We think a little extra time off for bureaucrats could be a really good thing... but for other reasons.

    Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) lived up to the dignity of her office this week by taunting pro-drilling protesters in Denver. In answer to signs that read “Drill Here, Drill Now,” Pelosi coyly replied, “Right here?” and “Can we drill your brains?” Heaven knows we wouldn’t find much between Pelosi’s ears.

    To wit, the Speaker doesn’t even know what fossil fuels are, declaring Sunday, “I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels.” Memo to Nancy: Natural gas is a fossil fuel. We think she’s just confused because she and her husband have invested so heavily in natural gas—to the tune of $50,000 to $100,000. Move along, folks. No conflict here.

    From the ‘Court Jesters’ File: Legal lotto

    Gambling is a risky business, but it sure paid off for a retired police officer in Minnesota, thanks to the misguided generosity of a jury. The man was recently awarded an $8.2 million judgment—mostly punitive damages. A longtime gambler, the man claimed that the prescription drug Mirapex, used to combat Parkinson’s Disease, caused his gambling habit to become a compulsion which led to financial losses amounting to $204,000. While Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer, the manufacturers of the drug, did issue a warning in 2005 that Mirapex may cause compulsive behavior, The Gambler has admitted that he had been taking the drug for more than four years before his gambling became compulsive. Clearly this fact was irrelevant to the jury during deliberation.

    Still, the issue here is not even that the plaintiff won, but the crippling amount of the award. When wronged, people have a right under the law to be made financially whole. But punitive damages in the millions can cripple industry’s creativity and technological advances. For example, whereas the coffee case debacle led to widespread use of coffee sleeves and temperature warnings on Styrofoam, cases like the one over Mirapex may hinder the development of new drugs that help millions of people fight pain and disease. Drug companies already spending between $800 million and $1.7 billion for the development of a new product may think twice when they have to worry about the army of rapacious ambulance chasers and jury awards in the millions. Republicans should restart their 1990s tort law reform efforts.

    Regulatory Commissars: CFLs

    In addition to alcohol and cigarette and drug smuggling, we should soon be able to discuss incandescent light bulb smuggling. That’s right folks, as we have reported before, those geniuses we continue to elect to Congress decreed that 20-cent filament light bulbs must be replaced by $3 compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) beginning in 2012. Readers may note that only the manufacture and sale of the bulbs will be illegal, not possession. Buy incandescents now while it’s still legal.

    Now, it is true that, properly used, CFLs are more energy efficient than filaments. They do claim “up to” 10,000 hours of life. But proper use involves long periods of continuous use, proper disposal to avoid mercury poisoning, buying fixtures in which they will fit—something we’re sure most folks are looking to do anyway—and living with the fact that they simply will not turn on completely bright, taking time to warm up. We’re sure Congress thought of all that when making this tough decision for the American public. Free choice in the marketplace is overrated anyway.

    Let us know what you think: Click here to comment on this section

    CULTURE

    Village Academic Curriculum: Pre-K

    Fight crime... send your toddler to preschool! Such was the message brought to Washington last week by law enforcement personnel and universal pre-K advocates in hopes of bending Congress’ ear—and loosening its purse strings. Supporters like David Kass, president of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, pointed to a report released by the organization stating that boosting graduation rates through implementing government-funded pre-K will save $10 billion in annual crime costs as well as preventing 3,000 homicides and 175,000 aggravated assaults annually. In fact, so eager is Kass’s group for Uncle Sam to become Professor Sam that it would include “in-home parenting coaching” in its program.

    Unfortunately, Kass has a ready ally in Barack Obama, whose “Zero to Five” plan would farm even infants off to government-run schoolhouses—at a cost of $10 billion per year.

    Obvious—and compelling—arguments that parents are a child’s best teachers aside, data show that preschool is not universally beneficial and may actually be harmful to children. According to James Heckman, a University of Chicago Nobel laureate in economics, “[T]he solid evidence for the effectiveness of early interventions is limited to those conducted on disadvantaged populations.”

    In fact, as noted in a recent Wall Street Journal column, while preschool attendance has skyrocketed from 16 percent to almost 70 percent in the last 50 years, fourth-grade reading, science and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have remained nearly unchanged since the early 1970s.

    But what matter the facts when a federal entitlement is involved? Unfortunately, not much to those who want Washington to whisk away toddlers from their parents for the imagined utilitarian good of the greater society.

    http://patriotpost.us/Support.asp

    Faith and Family: HHS protects doctors

    A measure proposed by the Bush administration last week would prevent healthcare organizations that accept federal dollars from penalizing doctors who refuse to perform abortions on moral grounds. “Freedom of conscience is not to be surrendered upon issuance of a medical degree,” said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt. “The first principle of free speech is protected conscience.” If implemented, nursing homes, doctor’s offices and other organizations that violate the measure would have their federal funding terminated. This stands in stark contrast to last week’s Supreme Court of California ruling that doctors must artificially inseminate any woman who requests it, regardless of the doctor’s religious beliefs.

    Planned Parenthood, however, is predictably none too pleased about the HHS rule. “Women’s ability to manage their own healthcare is at risk of being compromised by politics and ideology,” said its president, Cecile Richards. Some groups have argued that doctors would take advantage of the rule and refuse to prescribe birth control. Sec. Leavitt countered, “This regulation is not about contraception. It’s about abortion and conscience. It is very closely focused on abortion and physician’s conscience.”

    Abortion groups have promised to put up a fight, but it’s doubtful that concerns over issuance of birth control will create enough leverage to turn the tide. The measure is very specific in its scope to protect “any individual healthcare provider or institution from being compelled to participate in, or from being punished for refusal to participate in, a service that... violates their conscience.”

    And last...

    Earlier this month, the Rocky Mountain News headlined, “With DNC in mind, city bans carrying urine, feces.” Knowing Democrats, this sort of thing was certainly going to be a problem. The report began, “Poo and pee dominated a public hearing... on a new law that prohibits people from carrying certain items if they intend to use them for nefarious purposes.” Uh, who carries those things around for non-nefarious purposes? The city council turned out to be prophetic, however. The Denver Post reports, “A 22-year-old Massachusetts man was arrested Monday after police saw him carrying a bottle filled with feces.” How he got it in the bottle remains a mystery. The University of Massachusetts student was charged with “interference, disturbing the peace and possession of ‘irritants’ in public.” A police spokesman explained that an “irritant” is something that smells bad. The student, who was the first to be arrested under the new law, complained that the cops who arrested him stretched his shirt, adding, “I did not deserve to be arrested because I’m here to organize community and take part in a beautiful new world.” So in that beautiful new world, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do with poo


    L.P. Brezny Article from Shotgun Sports Magazine. Posted with permission of Hastings Inc. Two Versions Here, first is screen size, second is 2000 pixels wide, for those having trouble reading the fine print.

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    Shown Below is what looks to us to be a Trophy Level buck Taken by a Real SlugShooter.
    This is shared with us by Our Pals at what used to be the Hastings Ammunition Division. Edit

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    Jerry's Buck Edit

    This is the Letter Sent to Hastings with the Photo Above:

    Dear (Hastings Ammunition Advisor)

    Thanks for the advice you gave on shotgun hunting and for the awesome slugs. Jerry Burns and I took four Greene County Illinois deer with the three inch slugs with devastating results. My buck rough scores at least 135 2/8 - scored by Jerry who is pretty conservative on his measurements. My doe was very large. The doe was shot behind the front shoulder. She stumbled around for about 10 seconds and piled up. The buck came behind her. My first shot was behind the front shoulder. He took a few more steps and quartered toward me. I shot him again in the front shoulder and he stumbled a few yards and piled up. My shots were at about 35-40 yards, I think. Jerry's buck (pictured) rough scores 190 as a typical. It is huge weighing some 300 pounds, he said. His buck was shot at 70 yards in the front shoulder and went 30-40 yards. The doe was shot at about 40 yards and stumbled a few yards and died. Jerry was so impressed with my Browning BPS 3" mag with Hastings barrel that I offered it to him to do his last morning hunt. The slugs were incredible. The shock and stopping power like a rifle. Once again, thanks for making this a great hunt and for telling me to hold the front end of the barrel down.

    A Happy Hunter,

    Darrell Johns

    Slug Comparison Chart Compiled by one of the Majors, just happened to find its way to the ASSA thanks to an insider pal of ours......FYI, Boys and Girls!

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    Proof-House Test Results Form - Brennke 20 Ga 3" Mag.
    Another insider doc. that found its way to our folks. Note the Spread of velocities and the pressure variations. Somebody using these could be in for a few surprises!

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    FYI - Typical Proof-House report on a set of slugs submitted for testing and verification of conformance to SAMMI specs.
    Anybody with the cash can test anybody's product at a Proof-House. You just have to be interested enough to spend about $250.00 to $500.00 to satisfy the old curiosity bump.

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    Proof-House Test Results on Hornady 20 GA Magnum Sabot slugs advertised as 2000 fps mv high performance/high velocity screamers. Seems real -world results are not quite as advertised. Pretty close, but 10% under, with fair consistency.

    SAAMMI_Hornady_TEST5_inwide.JPG

    Article below published in the NRA American Hunter Magazine not too long ago. Items of inteest are the unexpected performance levels of several slugs tested, and of course the fact that the article is written by Dave Henderson, who happens to be the moderator of our SlugHunting forum right here at ASSA.

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    So, your group size was what, exactly? Below is a sample target and indication of the significant difference in group sizes one can have, depending whether measurement is done by the National Bench Rest Association, or our own ASSA method. Want to guess which way of doing it WE think is correct?

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    Click Here To Contact Us Immediately:10ring@SlugShooting.com

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