September 10th, 2015 by Danielle Breteau

Northwest Pre-Hunting Prep


Story and photograph by Troy Rodakowski


With one of the driest years on record, the Pacific Northwest is looking at potentially some of the toughest hunting conditions in decades. Fire restrictions and private land closures coupled with access restrictions to federal and state lands may make it tougher than ever for hunters to fill their freezers this season. I don’t mean to be Mr. Negative, but I have personally never seen things quite so tough in my lifetime.

What is going on? It’s simple: times are changing. First of all, the weather has thrown a major monkey wrench into where and how we will hunt this season. State agencies throughout the Northwest have declared 2015 “the worst drought on record and 98 percent of Washington is included.” Virtually, every county throughout the region will qualify for some relief funds solely due to weather. “Weather patterns in the region show a strengthening El Niño with warmer water and weather,” said Nick Bond from the office of Washington State Climatologist. This is not great news for many outdoor enthusiasts and will make for tough times ahead.

Troy Rodakowski

Getting prepared for hunting season can take a lot of effort and research, but if you stay on top of your fitness level, the weather conditions, land closures and updates, you will find yourself far ahead of the game when the opening bell rings.

With that being said, there are still a few bright spots. Brian Wolfer, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist from Springfield, Ore., says, “With no snow cover, there was plenty of winter forage and the south-facing slopes greened up early. This was good for the elk, but it made our herd-composition surveys difficult. The elk should have entered this spring in good condition.”

Wolfer made sure to point out that a prolonged drought could be a different story and would more than likely start to impact populations.

This will be a key ingredient for success this year, and if you haven’t figured out where you might want to hunt, you better start doing some research. It is possible that many locations will have restrictions due to severe fire danger. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting hotter, drier weather for the Pacific Northwest – and California as well – during the weeks leading up to hunting season. But it’s the weather; anything can happen, as we all know.

Troy Rodakowski

In the Pacific Northwest, you may find that your traditional hunting locations are not available due to the current drought and fire restrictions. Having to explore other areas or venture further into the wilderness for the same level of opportunity might be on the menu this season.

“We measured several inches of rain in late May, which resulted in very good forage conditions across the district,” says biologist Craig Foster in Lakeview, Ore. “Now with things turning hotter earlier, grasses and forbs will dry and forage quality will drop. If the hot weather persists, I expect to see the few elk we have start using higher elevations or northern slopes to beat the heat and find the best feed. Usually when it’s really hot they spend most of the day bedded and feed early in the morning or late in the evening. This isn’t very different from any other summer, but the amount of time laying around in the shade increases with hotter weather. No matter where you are in the country, the weather patterns have shifted and we must adapt accordingly.”

When it comes to preparing yourself for hunting, make sure that you hit the range several times with your rifle, muzzleloader and archery equipment. If you can’t be in the woods scouting, you might as well get into top shooting form and practice. Shoot at different yardages and at different times of day. People tend to forget that equipment performs differently in relation to temperature and elevation. Acclimate yourself accordingly with your weapon of choice. You might be asking, what does he mean? Every hunting situation produces its own unique set of variables. Practice on windy days, in low-light conditions or in the early morning when it’s cool and foggy. You will find that your confidence level rises when presented with real-life hunting scenarios. The game of success is at least 75 percent mental. Visit some archery 3-D shoots, train-to-hunt challenges, long-range rifle or local competitions to hone your skills.

There is a pretty good chance that you will have to hike and hunt farther from road systems and trails to find your prize this year.

Big game species will frequent the cooler slopes of mountain ridges as they seek out secluded creek drainages with water sources. Find the water in late September and October and you will have increased your odds of success. Many of these locations can be found a ridge or two over from high-traffic areas. Another option for overcoming some of the restrictions this year would be to get into the backcountry. These hunts are difficult and require even more physical excertion and effort. All the more reason to be in the best physical condition.

Troy Rodakowski and Sage

Sage loves to go on hunts and rewards her owner when he doesn’t miss a shot.

 

Eating healthy is very important, and drinking plenty of water along with a balanced vitamin intake can greatly help you hike that extra mile. I like to use Muscle Milk and MTN OPS vitamin and energy supplements during the season. While it is never too late to start a healthy fitness regime, it makes even more sense to stay in shape throughout the year.

So what does this all mean? It means that the places we are familiar with and have hunted in the past may not be accessible this season or even available at all. Making alternative plans and knowing the restrictions in place for your area is top priority. This may be the year you book a guided trip on private lands where access is allowed. Believe me, it is tough to spend the extra money on a hunting trip, but this year, more than ever before, I am more than willing to throw some greenbacks at Mother Nature. If she’s going to throw me a curve ball, I’m going to take my best swing at what she is offering. ASJ

Troy Rodakowski

Many hunters may have to pack out this fall. While this can be a lot of extra work, it is one of the most rewarding forms of hunting, and will require a certain level physical fitness. These longer treks may  be necessary due to warmer weather.

Author’s note: For updates on current land restrictions here are some links: 

US Forest Service

fs.fed.us

n Bureau of Land Management

blm.gov/wo/st/en

n National Interagency Fire Center 

gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc

 

 

 

 

 

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August 4th, 2015 by Danielle Breteau

BENEFIT SHOOT for Raahauge

In Memory Of Terry Raahauge 

 

Terry-Raahauge

Terry Raahauge

WHEN

SATURDAY AUGUST 15, 2015

 

WHERE

Raahauge’s Hunting and Sporting Clays
25835 County Road 8
Dunnigan, California 95937

 

SUPPORTING

THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY

 

 

 

A GREAT TUNE UP for dove season opening in a few weeks.
Terry lost his battle with cancer in 2013. He was a well liked, fair and
an honest man. His family name is known by hunting and sporting clay
enthusiasts all over the state of California.

 

DETAILS The cost is $89.00 for registered shooters (includes NSCA fees).
For non registered shooters the cost is $83.00 (everyone’s Invited).
Targets will be set by Will Bruce. All sub-gauge and preliminary events can
be shot on Friday before the shoot.
We’ve made a lot of changes to our sporting clay course. Come & enjoy
the new look.
One hundred sporting clays, lunch, games and an outdoors-gear raffle sponsored
by Kittles Outdoor Sports of Colusa.
We will have a delicious all-you-can-eat taco bar catered by Pedi, real Mexican food.
Rsvp by calling the club at (530) 724-0552 or visiting Raahauge’s at lincraahauges.com

Raahauge Benefit info flyer

Raahauge’s Hunting and Sporting Clays
P.O. Box 408 Dunnigan, Ca. 95937
(530) 724-0552
traahauge@yahoo.com

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July 22nd, 2015 by Danielle Breteau

The American Shooting Journal, their readers, writers, graphics artists, sales rep’s — pretty much anyone under the AMSJ family umbrella — work diligently to pick the “who’s who” in the yearly TOP 10 awards.

This month

HOLSTERS

Due the immensity of the shooting world, it was a very tough call, not only for categories, but for final winners. These decisions do not come lightly. Not only does our inquiry start with reader recommendations, it continues through intense research on the company, the product, and the differences they make in the industry.

There are so many fantastic products out there, however, in keeping with the Top-10 concept, we had to make tough decisions. Here are the 2015 Best Holsters of the year!

DUTY

Safariland 6365Safariland ALS 6365

Why We Love This Holster
• Low-ride belt loop streamlining the draw and ease of access.
• Rides very close to the body.
• Straight-up draw for clean movement.
• No twisting or strange maneuvers to draw under extreme stress.
• Automatic locking system.
• Suede interior so your gun does not rattle around. #PROFESSIONAL Check It Out!  $147

 

DAILY CARRY OWB

Forest City Tactical DeltaForest City Tactical Delta

Why We Love This Holster
• Extreme low-profile, perfect for wearing even with a t-shirt.
• Higher ride for better concealment.
• Deep cut for positive access grip.
• Solid stability.
• Multiple model sizes.

#CLOSEANDPERSONAL Check It Out!  $60

 

CONCEALED – IWB

Cardon SpitfireCardon Spitfire

Why We Love This Holster

• Single holster clip for minimal exposure.
• Holster spacing does not flatten so reholstering is a breeze.
• You can tuck your shirt IN with this model.
• You can adjust the angle of the draw – Nice!
#HIDDENGEM Check It Out!  $65

 

HUNTING

Space CowboyTriple K Space Cowboy

Why We Love This Holster

• Vertical carry.
• Designed specifically for scoped hunting handguns.
• Versatile because it can be carried as a thigh rig with drop a drop belt.
• Excellent leather quality and stitching.
• Multiple generation family owned and operated.
#BIGGUNCOOLHOLSTER Check It Out!  $139

 

 

 

 

 

INNOVATIVE

Raven Concelament Vanguard 2Raven Concealment VanGuard 2

Why We Love This Holster

• Super minimalist IWB holster.
• Innovative because it only covers the trigger guard making it the ultimate minimalist design.
• Eliminates almost all the bulk.
• Great price and great people.
#ITSTHELITTLETHINGS Check It Out!  $35

 

SPEED HOLSTER

Super Ghost UltimateSuper Ghost Ultimate

Why We Love This Holster

• Full free-float design allows adjustments in tilt, height and distance from the shooters body. This is perfect the ultimate comfort and speed.
• The locking mechanism is solid and allows the shooter to draw straight from the holster without interference.
#NEEDFORSPEED Check It Out!  $145

 

 

COWBOY FAST DRAW

Cowboy fast Draw REF3Mernickle Holster

Why We Love This Holster

• Hand made by world-champion, fast-draw competitors.
• Detailed cut designed for drawing extremely fast
• American Herman Oak leather
• Sits away from the body to avoid clothing
#YEEEHAWW! Check It Out!  $340

 

 

CUSTOM HOLSTERS

Savoy Leather1776 PatriotSavoy Leather 1776

Why We Love This Holster

• Exceptional personalized graphic designs; think “engraved tattoo” for your holster.
• A huge array of options or create your own.
• Hand Made – Hand Tooled.
• Finest-grade leather.
#DECISIONSDECISIONS Check It Out!  $180

 

OFF-BODY CARRY

the Wilderness SafepackerThe Wilderness Safepacker

Why We Love This Holster

• Completely protects your firearm.
• Does not look or feel like a gun-carrying pouch.
• Can be worn on the belt, gear bag, shoulder strap or seat belt.
• This is NOT a one size fits all. It’s tailored to the firearm model.
• Cordura nylon and thick closed-cell neoprene for all-day comfort.
#GOANYWHERE Check It Out!  $100

 

JUST FOR WOMEN

Well Armed Woman HolsterThe Well Armed Woman – OWB/IWB Convertible

Why We Love This Holster

• Natural curve for women’s hips.
Super slim and trim.
• Low ride adjustable clip which is great for women and their clothing choices and shorter torsos.
• Made to follow the natural curve of your hip and waist – for a solid, comfortable and very slim carry
• Reversible for both OWB and IWB carry – What woman doesn’t want options?
Awesome color options
#NOBOYSALLOWED Check It Out!  $65

 

 






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