From the Utah Division of Wilderness Resources - Want to gather shed antlers in Utah?

Late winter and early spring is the worst time of the year for elk, moose and especially deer in Utah.

In the winter, deep snow makes it hard for deer to move and find food. And cold temperatures sap the deers' strength. By the time winter ends, deer are usually the weakest they'll be all year.

Winter is also the time of year when male deer, elk and moose shed their antlers. The animals will be without antlers until spring, when they'll start to grow a new set.

Gathering shed antlers

Antler Sheds - Photo by Brent Stettler, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Gathering antlers that drop off of deer, elk and moose is a popular activity across the country, including here in Utah. The downside to shed-antler gathering is that it happens during the worst time of the year for the animals. And it takes place in the habitat the animals rely on in the winter.

"By the time winter ends, the animals are stressed," says Mike Fowlks, deputy director of the Division of Wildlife Resources.

"Also, the habitat is wet," he says. "It's easily damaged. Once the habitat is damaged, it can take years for it to recover."

Fortunately, Fowlks says you can have fun gathering shed antlers without stressing the animals and damaging their habitat.

More on hunting sheds in Utah ...

From Browning - Browning to Add the BT-99 to its Micro Midas Line

The new BT-99 Micro Midas 12 gauge trap

Morgan, Utah-Browning will expand it's Micro Midas line of youth oriented firearms to include the new BT-99 Micro Midas 12 gauge trap for 2013.

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Explains how Universal Background Checks are the universal registration of your firearms

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks at the Mule Deer Foundation Banquet on Universal Background Checks

Salt Lake City, Utah - On Saturday, February 23rd, NRA Executive Vice President addressed the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City. The following is Mr. LaPierre's response to call for Universal Background Checks:

I know that you, as gun owners and NRA members, deeply care about our Second Amendment freedom in the United States. The Second Amendment is not just words on parchment. It was not a frivolous “suggestion” from our Founding Fathers to be interpreted according to whim. It lies at the very heart of what this country was founded upon. Our Founding Fathers knew that without the Second Amendment, all of our other freedoms could be in jeopardy. Our individual freedoms — that we have as American citizens — are the very essence of America. They are what make America unique.

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Lance Frazier from the Herald Journal has a good interview with the manager of the Cache Valley Public Shooting Range in Logan, Utah, who recently received a grant from Friends of NRA to construct a new range facility.

Logan shooting range manager talks about future of facility

The Cache Valley Public Shooting Range opened in 1991 on Logan’s west side. Known at the time as the Cache Valley Hunter Education Center, the range was small, but over the years it has grown to include shooting options for virtually any type of weapon, and a variety of shooting events for adults and youth.

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Spudz and Gun Slickers from Alpine Innovations on NRAblogOdgen, Utah - Wear glasses? Take pictures? Shoot video? Have a flat screen or a iPhone? Use a scope on that rifle? Then you better have a Spudz.

Spudz are those microfiber cloths wrapped inside a neoprene pouch. The cloth will clean your glasses, wipe your camera lense or erase all those finger prints that are piling up on your iPad. As one who uses a camera and an iPhone quite a bit at work, I'll tell you that I never leave home without it (apologies American Express).

As luck would have it, I ran into David Poppleton from Alpine Innovations at the 2011 Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) Conference in Utah. Alpine is the maker of Spudz along with a comprehensive line of ancillary accessories. Let's just say that I spent a good deal of time thumbing through his collection of cloths.

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Media Day at the 2011 POMA Conference on NRAblog

Ogden, Utah - When it comes the life of a reporter, it's difficult to come up with a better day than Media Day. That's when you're allowed to test out some of the top manufacturer's firearms, bows and ammunition. And the Media Day for the Professional Outdoor Media Association's business conference in Ogden, Utah was no different.

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2011 Pinnacle Award winners on NRAblog

Ogden, Utah - This weekend at the 2011 Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) Business Conference in Odgen, Utah, POMA teamed up with Mossy Oak to name this year's winners of the Pinnacle Awards. Founded in 2006, the Pinnacle Awards recognize exceptional achievement in traditional outdoor sports-focused communications, including writing, photography/illustration/art, broadcasting focused on wildlife conservation.

Pictured above are a collection of this year's winners including Tom Gresham, Andrew Chamberlain, Kevin Reese, Brandon Butler and more.

More on the 2011 Pinnacle Awards in Utah ...

Crosman's Benjamin® Rogue™ .357 Big Bore ePCP™ Air Rifle on NRAblog

Ogden, Utah - One of the highlights for the Professional Outdoor Media Conference each year is the Product Showcase. That's where vendors and manufacturers bring out their latest goods and wares for those of us in the Outdoor Media to see. One of the first items to catch my eye was the Crosman's Benjamin® Rogue™ .357 Big Bore ePCP™ Air Rifle. This bolt-action beauty is computer controlled so that each shot receives the same amount of pressure (800 fps) no matter how much air is left in the tank. Whether or not you use the auto-indexing clip, shooters can fire as much as 20 small grain shots and 4 large grain shots before refilling the tank

Under Armour hunting boots on NRAblog

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Youth Hunters in Utah during NRA competition

Thanks to Utah's Uinta Basin publication, The Edge Magazine and author/photographer Robert Strole for sharing this article and photos about the Utah State Youth Hunter Education Challenge event held earlier this year:

Competitors from across Utah met at the Vernal Rod & Gun club on April 15 & 16 to participate in the 2011 Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC). YHEC is a program sponsored through the National Rifle Association, along with local organizations and the help of the Division of Wildlife Resources, which allow youths to compete against each other in shooting events and other knowledge based events. The national YHEC program draws an estimated 50,000 youths each year, with more than a million participants since its inception in 1985.

Vernal hosted the state competition this year with 93 youths from Vernal and across the state competing against each other. The facilities at the Vernal Rod & Gun club were generously donated to set up the different ranges for the events. Mark Partdridge, the event coordinator, organized the best attended event in the history of the state YHEC program. With the competitors, parents, volunteers, Division of Wildlife Resources employees, and spectators, around 300 people attended the 2011 competition.

More on Edge's look at a Utah NRA YHEC event ...

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