Friday, November 29, 2013

Endorsements 3

     Time to put the ASO name behind a couple more products. I don't think too many readers won't be familiar with these next two endorsements. I've chosen them because they've proven themselves in the field. Both Filson, and Stormy Kromer have been around for quite a while, and are no stranger to the working man. They've left their mark, and it is my belief that these products can improve a sportsman's life.

     ASO pro staffer BK has been wearing Filson Tin Chaps in the uplands of New England for years, and I don't see him changing anytime soon. I own, and have put one of their upland jackets through the paces, and it's proven to be a serious fowl/cold weather staple. 

     A Stormy Kromer hat recently, after wanting one for a long time, joined my family. From day one of my Maine deer hunt I knew this hat would be getting the called up as my go to deer hunting hat. Warm, comfortable, and with a timeless style, I'm shopping for another (non-blaze orange) one to add to my regular hat rotation.




A Northwoods Goulash - Maine Deer, Vermont Grouse, and a Surprise

     With October drawing to a close, and November coming into bloom, the ASO crew found themselves moving about and getting down to business. Some of our travels proved more fruitful than others, but regardless, camps were filled, boot leather worn down, lungs filled with crisp air, and time was spent afield.

     ASO regular S.S. took a crew deep into the North East Kingdom of Vermont on a grouse hunting adventure. S.S. has been talking about hunting the NEK for a few years now, and this year he threw down the gauntlet, and took on the challenge. The reports were far from disappointing,and the guys were thick into birds. And considering they were hunting dogless, I'd say that speaks well of the grouse and woodcock populations in the NEK. The area they hunted was only a stones throw away from my regular haunt just over the border, so perhaps next year I'll spend a little time over that way, too.


Some Vt Scenery

The ASO Crew


Grouse N Gun

A nice Vt Covert

Vt Mixed Bag
     Shortly after the crew held their successful pilgrimage to Vermont, I found myself in Maine. I hadn't hunted Maine in about 10 years, but I had a hole in my schedule, and an invitation that fit, so I headed up. My good friend from the kennel, Bruce, invited me to join him and his friend John in deer camp.
     While I'm not anywhere near as serious about deer hunting as Bruce and John I accepted the invitation. The plan was, I'd grouse hunt in the mornings, and if I found good deer sign, sit with my deer rifle in the afternoons. I wish I could tell you all that things worked out that way, and I shot a bunch of grouse, and a deer. It just didn't work out that way, however. Road prospecting the area I found lots of cover that looked promising, but we just weren't finding any birds. Oh, they were there, just not in any significant numbers. I was finding lots of good, fresh deer sign. So after two days of fruitless grouse hunting, I put down my double, and picked up my rifle.
     I'd decided to concentrate my deer hunting efforts on a spot that had two things I very much like when hunting any species; fresh sign, and no other hunters. I found such a spot, and the deeper I got into the woods away from the heater hunting locals, the more fresh sign I found. In fact, every visit I found more fresh sign. I was getting excited.
     The plan, as it developed, was to basically get into the area with the thickest sign early and sit on a stump. Then, after the morning had passed I'd sneak about as quietly as the forests carpet would allow, hoping to make my own luck. Hopefully a little snow would fall, quieting things up for a bit, but that, too never happened.
     The last day I found myself in the "zone". The weather had warmed, the melted frost quieting the leaves under foot, the wind seemed to miraculously be blowing steadily in my face no matter how many course changes I made, and I'd carefully selected the night before's meal so as to sully the area with flatulence. Now, I can't say with any certainty that the obviously large animal I herd making it's departure from the crest of the ridge 30 yards above me was a deer, but it sure made enough of a fuss busting over the top.  Nor can I say with any certainty, that had it not busted out that I'd have seen it, or even gotten a shot at it. But I can say this, I blame that damned red squirrel, and all it's chatter. All was not lost; I had seen a deer a few days earlier. Just not anything with the required head gear. Oh well. Being in camp was still great, and I firmly believe that a good campfire beats out television any day of the week.


A Selection of Rubs

A Fresh Scrape

A Couple of Fresh Tracks.
(These were tracks I found back tracking that had cut my track)

A Big Clump of Moose Hair
     Hunting camps all around the globe are filled with various traditions. My annual grouse camp wouldn't be complete without Old Fashions in the evenings, scrapple in the mornings, and the annual "Toast to the dogs of yesterday". Bruce and John, too, have a tradition, and it is because of their tradition of watching Escanaba in da Moonlight that I've finally seen this hilarious movie.
     While the content of the movie might well fall squarely into the "you can't make this stuff up", our camp too, experience a bit of that. Shortly after arriving in camp Bruce received an interesting text from his brother Doug. While we were driving north, Doug, a die hard bow hunter, was sitting in a stand behind the kennel. Yup. He killed a big 205lb, 11 pointer.  You can't make this stuff up.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Action Alert: Maine Bear Hunting in Danger

     Bear hunting as we know it in the state of Maine is in danger of being irreparable changed. Special interest groups, which is a nice way of saying anti-hunting groups, have decided that they know what is better for Maine, and it's bear population that the professional, wildlife biologists and managers who are employed by the state. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting are collecting signatures to get a referendum on next Novembers ballot that would stop trapping of bears, and the hunting of bears using bait, and dogs.

     If you've ever spent any time hunting bears then you know that to manage the bear population in bear rich state like Maine without the use of these management tools is impossible. In fact, even with the use of these tools it is quite difficult, and Maine's bear population continues to grow. It is important to manage all species of wildlife, and bear in particular, with all the tools available to both minimize bear human encounters, and for the health of the bears. Yes. For the health of the bears. Any area of habitat used by a species only has enough resources for so many of that species. Once a population goes above the carrying capacity of the habitat the species is subject to malnutrition, starvation, and disease.

     So what can you do, you might ask? First, check out to fully educate yourself on what is happening, and why it is bad. While your there, check out, and like them on Facebook, so their message may be spread further. Then, be sure to educate your friends, especially if they live in Maine. And lastly, if you're in Maine, please remember to vote next November.

     And remember, even if you're not a bear hunter, or a big game hunter, the tactics used by HSUS can be used against you, to attack your sport one day. We must all stick together to make sure that sound science, and best quality management practices are used in our woodlands and forests.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Action Alert: Square Inc Bans Firearms Sales

     Time for sportsmen to take action. It has come to my attention that Square Inc. has changed their user agreement forbidding the sale of firearms, and ammunition by their users. If you're not familiar with Square Inc., they are a company that created a device retailers can attach to an iPad, or iPhone allowing them to swipe a credit card for sales. With lower fees than conventional credit card apparatus, Square Inc. has grown in popularity with small business owners. Time to take action, and write a letter to Square Inc., and do what we can to make Square Inc. feel the effect of this poor decision. Square User Agreement

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Endorsements 2

     In my quest to entertain and educate sportsmen I have decided to further expand my endorsements. I've added an endorsements page where you can see the products, retailers, outfitters, and things all seasons outdoors that I believe warrant attention. All you need to do is click on the endorsements tab just below the ASO logo to see what products I believe in.

     I've included a couple new endorsements. If you live in New England and need new equipment or clothing there are only two retailers that I believe know what the sportsmen of the region not only want, but need. While some of the bigger names have fancy advertising, and large, colorful catalogues, I've found that their regional marketing often falls flat. This is especially noticeable when you visit their mega-stores looking for something you could use. It is for that reason that I am endorsing both Kittery Trading Post, and LL Bean.  Both of these retailers know what the north east outdoorsman needs, and both have knowledgeable salespeople working their (in the case of LLB, flagship) store.