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Archive for October, 2012

Aaron Martens Donates $15,000 to the Tackle The Storm Foundation, which helps kids get back to the peace of the lake and away from the violence from the sky.

Aaron Martens is finally returned home after a nearly two month tournament trail road trip. He would like to take the time to thank everyone for the support and votes that sent him to the All Star event, and eventually a victory. “It was almost more rewarding being voted in instead of qualifying in the top eight. It means a lot to have the fans support me. I narrowly missed qualifying in the top eight, but to get over 17,000 votes really blows me away and I can’t think the fans enough.”

Before he was officially voted in, he promised to hold a drawing from the names of those who voted for him. The winners and their prizes are as follows:

Steven Letson – 10 Megabass baits
John Valerio – A tournament used (pristine condition) Megabass Rod
Tim Patterson – An autographed tournament worn jersey
Rob Melendez – A day fishing with Martens himself.

The real winner of the contest, however, was the Tackle the Storm Foundation. The Tackle the Storm Foundation helps children who are victims of devastating storms – and often lose everything – “get back some of the magic of childhood by providing fishing gear so they can escape back to the peace of the pond, the bank of a river, the gentle rocking of a boat and, just for awhile, escape all the sadness and destruction around them.”

Martens had promised to donate at least 25% of his winnings to this great cause, so Tackle the Storm won $15,000!

The drawing was held via live webcast September 21st and can be viewed at For those who would like to see a replay of the drawing visit
http://aaronmartens.com/live-drawing-for-all-star-voters/.

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President Barack Obama, Presidential Debate, October 16, 2012: “We’re a nation that believes in the Second Amendment, and I believe in the Second Amendment. We’ve got a long tradition of hunting and sportsmen and people who want to make sure they can protect themselves.”

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Lew Carpenter fly fishing on the Big Thompson River, Colorado. Photo: Christine Carpenter

Four years ago, President Obama made promises to sportsmen on the Second Amendment, conservation and access issues they cared most about. He has kept those promises, listening to sportsmen and partnering with them along the way. Mitt Romney has a record that doesn’t match up to his tall tales, including those he told in the debate last night. As President Obama pointed out in the debate, Mitt Romney can’t hide from his record. When Mitt Romney was Governor, he quadrupled fees on purchasing or carrying firearms and supported an assault-weapons ban, stating, “I don’t line up with the NRA.”

President Obama supports the rights of gun owners that are protected under the Second Amendment, and signed legislation that expanded the rights of licensed gun owners early in his presidency, allowing them to bring firearms into national parks. He is working with states and landowners across the country to make more land available for hunting and fishing and has invested in public access programs in 25 states that will open up an estimated 2.4 million acres of private lands for hunting and fishing. President Obama’s administration is also investing in projects in all 50 states to conserve wildlife and lands and signed one of the largest expansions of wilderness conservation in a generation. This is in contrast to Mitt Romney, who has lied about being a “lifelong hunter,” and Paul Ryan, who – even though he hunts and fishes – has proposed to gut important sportsmen programs. See for yourself:

1. ROMNEY’S PROPOSALS WOULD GUT PROGRAMS IMPORTANT TO SPORTSMEN

· The Romney-Ryan Budget Would Gut Programs Most Prized by American Sportsmen: The Romney-Ryan budget could cut funding for conservation and outdoor recreation programs by nearly 20 percent – including those that conserve waterfowl habitat, assess fish stocks, eradicate invasive species, and set land aside for recreation and conservation.

· The Romney-Ryan Budget Would Cut Funding for Hunting Grounds:The Romney-Ryan budget could cut those funds needed to manage the National Wildlife Refuge System, which conserves some of the most important hunting grounds in North America.

· Mitt Romney Would Sell Off Public Land: Romney has said that he doesn’t understand the purpose of federal land. His proposal would sell millions of acres of public land now used for hunting and fishing, handing them over to special interests – even though recreation and tourism on public lands supports more than 400,000 jobs and generates nearly $50 billion in economic activity.

2. ROMNEY’S REAL RECORD REVEALS A CANDIDATE THAT “JUST DOESN’T GET IT”

· Mitt Romney Quadrupled Fees on Purchasing or Carrying Firearms: After taking office as governor of Massachusetts, Romney drastically increased fees for firearms dealers, ammunition licenses and more.

· Mitt Romney Tried to Raid Sportsmen Funds: As governor of Massachusetts, Romney tried to raid the fish and game fund created from hunting and fishing license fees and used to conserve wildlife across the state.

3. ROMNEY’S “EXPERIENCE” SHOWS THAT HE IS WILLING TO SAY ANYTHING TO BE ELECTED

· Mitt Romney Wasn’t Honest about his Hunting Experience and Gun Control Record: When Romney ran for the Senate in 1994, he said “I don’t line up with the NRA.” But in 2007, Romney falsely claimed to have been endorsed by the NRA when he ran for governor. He later joined the NRA only after deciding to run for President. In 2007, he claimed “I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life” but admitted he only had gone twice.

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Louisiana Sportsman magazine owner Tony Taylor and a thick flounder. Photo: Lew Carpenter

Venice, LA – The incredible value of the Louisiana wetlands spans economic, cultural and environmental functions too great to be lost by any one generation. And as the rapid loss of wetlands continues it is important to note that we can fix this problem. We must. It’s a responsibility we have to be sure future generations can enjoy one of the world’s great ecosystems.

Just how important this resource is to sportsmen was never more evident than this past week when a hearty group of anglers descended upon the marsh to chase bull redfish as they have each year for well beyond a decade. This group of more than 50 anglers engage in a self-titled “Marsh Madness” event that brings together boaters from Louisiana and Mississippi with hunting and fishing industry representatives, outdoor writers and Vanishing Paradise. Many proclaimed the fishing has never been more dynamic – a galvanizing statement that places the value of this resource in the crosshairs of the importance of restoration. We simply cannot afford to lose this sportsman’s paradise.

Heading into a violent batch of thunderstorms that seemed to camp directly on the marsh it was tough to determine how the three days of fishing would unfold. Day one we waited out the torrential morning rains and headed out around lunch into strong winds and dark skies.

Tony Taylor, owner of Louisiana Sportsman magazine remarked on the damage of Hurricane Isaac as he made his first dive into the marsh since the devastation.  “It’s hammered, it’s blown out,” he remarked, as we pushed through the marsh looking for clean water and cover from the wind. The roseau cane was battered and flattened everywhere we looked and it was obvious the hurricane had compounded the rapid loss of wetlands in the area. Without a good source of incoming freshwater sediment the marshes ability to recover is severely compromised.

Author Lew Carpenter with an 18-pound bull redfish. Photo: Land Tawney

We picked away at the rat reds until we moved into the river and Taylor’s rod bent further than one could imagine. The fight went on for 15 minutes before a fat jack crevalle came to boat. From that point on we were into decent reds and big flounder – all on the great jigs provided by Top Brass Tackle, the organizer of the event and ZMan plastic baits.

Day two, the weather began to subside, though it was cool by Louisiana standards. The red were increasing in size as we pitched along the rip rocks, points and cuts of the marsh edge.

Day three, the magic revealed itself. The class size of the reds increased. I landed an 18 pounder and followed it with a 16 before we headed to South Pass and nearly every fish was between 12 and 30 pounds! If this wasn’t a testament for saving the marsh, nothing would be. One fish after another came to boat all afternoon, mixed in with powerful jack crevalle, sharks and speckled trout to 8 pounds. It was a remarkable sight, and an unforgettable experience.

The Marsh Madness team truly understands the value of this special place, and some, like Eric Cosby of Top Brass have traveled in

Eric Cosby of Top Brass Tackle and a nice jack crevalle. Photo: Lew Carpenter

the recent past to Washington DC to speak to their senators about passing the Restore Act. With the help of sportsmen, the Act was passed this summer, directing 80 percent of the BP oil spill fines under the Clean Water Act to go back into restoring the wetlands. A great victory for sportsmen and the ecosystem.

And it’s not just these sportsmen of Marsh Madness who care, Field and Stream and other media outlets are reporting on a recent poll by GOP-aligned polling firm Chesapeake Beach Consulting on key conservation issues among 800 hunters and anglers conducted for the National Wildlife Federation. The poll shows this fairly conservative set of voters wants more action on a range of conservation issues that remain inadequately address in this election cycle. The composition of respondents was 55% both anglers and hunters; 33% anglers only; and 12% hunters only. NWF and its local affiliates, field and supporters are urging candidates for office around the nation to pay more attention to critical conservation issues.

The political preferences of those polled was:

• 42%, Republican; 32%, Independent; 18% Democrat;

• 27% indicated they split their ticket;

• 50% consider themselves conservative, including 22% who consider themselves to be very conservative;

• 60% said that they vote in every election and additional 21% said they vote in almost all elections.

The sample was randomly drawn from a list of self-identified hunters and anglers (sources included magazine subscribers, hunting and fishing license holders, and members of sporting groups). To qualify, a respondent had to indicate that he/she is a hunter, an angler or both and a registered voter. All interviews were conducted by telephone, including 15% of the interviews by cell phone. The margin of error for this study is plus or minus 3.2% at the 95% confidence level.

The poll offers some insights for the Louisiana wetlands and the region as it continues to recover from the BP disaster.

Among respondents in the national poll:

• 81% believe that BP should be held accountable and fined the maximum amount allowed for the 2010 oil spill and required to restore the Gulf to ensure the recovery of fish and wildlife populations.

  • 87% of hunters and anglers want BP fines and penalties to be used exclusively to restore fish and wildlife habitat and not for infrastructure such as roads, bridges, ports and convention centers.  For those who identify with a political party, 81% of Democrats and 88% of Republicans agree.

Many of the sponsors for Marsh Madness signed on to NWF’s letter to Congress on the Restore Act, and we’d like to thank Top Brass Tackle, Plano Molding, BASS, Louisiana Sportsman magazine, Seaguar Line, WileyX sunglasses, ZMan baits, RealTree Camo, Skeeter Boats, and Under Armor clothing for their support of this event and its ability to highlight the tremendous value these wetlands provide to the American sportsman and the wildlife within.

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Critical wildlife habitat in Hoback Basin encompassed in lease buybacks
made possible through the Wyoming Range Legacy Act

Wyoming Wildlife Federation’s Executive Director Steve Kilpatrick address WG&F, USFS, NOLS and the WWF Board of Directors and staff at the PXP site in August. Photo: Lew Carpenter

WASHINGTON – Under a groundbreaking agreement announced today, 58,000 acres of valuable fish and wildlife habitat in a fish- and wildlife-rich region of northwest Wyoming prized by sportsmen will be permanently withdrawn from oil and gas development.

Located in northwest Wyoming’s Hoback Basin in and around the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the lands had been leased for development by Plains Exploration & Production Company, or PXP. The Trust for Public Land, a partner of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, entered into an agreement with PXP to purchase the leases; upon completion of the transaction, the leases will be retired. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and TPL announced news of the arrangement in Jackson, Wyo., this morning.

The Hoback Basin, a sportsmen’s paradise in northwestern Wyoming, has provided Americans with hunting and angling opportunities for more than a century and is home to outstanding elk, mule deer, moose and bighorn sheep hunting, as well as fishing for Snake River cutthroat trout.

“We are thrilled with the outcome of negotiations between PXP, the Trust for Public Land and others that will conserve critical wildlife habitat for sportsmen and other recreationists to experience and enjoy,” said Ed Arnett, director of the TRCP Center for Responsible Energy Development. “Even the most carefully planned development in this area could have further jeopardized mule deer herds already in serious decline.”

At the Hoback PXP site in August. WWF, WG&F, USFS and NOLS. Photo: Lew Carpenter

Conservation of this portion of the Wyoming Range is critically important to mule deer herds already impacted by energy development on Wyoming’s Pinedale Anticline, which has seen 60-percent losses in mule deer numbers over the past decade. The PXP leases encompass important stopover areas used by mule deer during their seasonal migrations. These areas play a critical role for mule deer – both in the spring, while the deer are building strength to reproduce and move to summer range, and in the fall, when they are gaining weight to prepare for winter.

“This agreement shows that we can find common ground between conservationists, hunters, anglers – and even oil and gas developers,” said TPL Northern Rockies Director Deb Love. “We can come together to solve our toughest problems and reach solutions that are fair to all sides.” The Trust for Public Land must raise an additional $4.25 million by Dec. 31 to complete the transaction.

The energy lease buybacks are made possible under the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, legislation whose introduction and passage was long championed by the TRCP and other sportsmen’s groups. Before his death, Sen. Craig Thomas of Wyoming conceived of the act, which was formally introduced by Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi and signed into law in 2009. Among other provisions, the Wyoming Range Legacy Act allows leases to be retired permanently when purchased instead of being resold to other oil and gas companies.

“While the TRCP commends this agreement and the implementation of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, responsible energy development begins with better planning that avoids such important areas in the first place,” concluded Arnett. “Our goal should be to eliminate the need for buyouts as a mitigation tool as we continue to develop energy resources on public lands.”

Wyoming hunters and anglers identified this area as one of the most important in the state through the TRCP’s Sportsmen Values Mapping Project.

The TRCP believes that to better balance the concerns of fish and wildlife in the face of accelerating energy development, federal land management agencies must follow the conservation tenets outlined in the FACTS for Fish and Wildlife.

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