How to Recognize 5 Common, Lethal Deer Diseases

How to Recognize 5 Common, Lethal Deer Diseases

As always, using rubber gloves when field-dressing a deer and cooking the meat thoroughly will help lower the risk of any contamination.

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD)

Deer believed to have died from EHD. Courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Quality Deer Management Association.
Deer believed to have died from EHD. Courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Quality Deer Management Association.

EHD is a disease that can kill large numbers of animals, usually deer species, in a very short period of time. It is arguably one of the largest threats to deer in North America, and tends to occur in the summer. Deer infected with the illness can show symptoms as early as seven days after transmission, including loss of appetite, weakness, fever, becoming oblivious to predators, and eventually fatal hemorrhages. Other animals such as sheep and cattle can also contract the disease, although it is rarely fatal for domesticated animals. EHD is transmitted by the biting midge. So far over 30 states have reported cases of EHD. EHD (along with chronic wasting disease) is considered one of the major threats to wild deer nationwide. EHD does not affect humans and experts say that meat from an affected animal can be consumed.

How to recognize EHD:

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, common signs of EHD are lesions. As you begin to skin the deer, you will discover hemorrhagic material just under the skull, sometimes around the muscle bundles. The organs might also be congested with blood and will slowly ooze out during the skinning process. There may be external signs as well, including swelling and blood “leaking” out of the nose or mouth. Watch the video below to learn more.

Bluetongue virus

Deer with Bluetongue virus. Image courtesy Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.
Deer with Bluetongue virus. Image courtesy Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

Experts often compare bluetongue disease to EHD, as both share the same symptoms, affect the same species, and are not considered contagious. Bluetongue, however, has a reputation for causing affected animals to develop foot lesions. In animals like deer, elk, pronghorn, and cattle, it can be extremely painful and eventually causes death. The erratic movements caused by the foot lesions have led bluetongue to be known as the “dancing disease.”

“Both diseases are spread to animals by the bite of a certain type of midge,” said New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Chanda. “Neither disease can be transmitted to people. While EHD is only found in deer populations, the bites of the midge can transmit bluetongue to certain types of livestock.”

How to recognize bluetongue disease:

Bluetongue has the same symptoms as EHD, save for a high chance for animals to develop foot deformities. The lack of oxygen in the animal’s blood will also drain the color from certain parts of their body, especially the oral mucosa. This is what gives this disease its name, by turning the deer’s tongue blue. You can learn more about the disease in the video below.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD)

A skinny deer with CWD. Image courtesy Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife.
A skinny deer with CWD. Image courtesy Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife.

CWD is a neurological disease that affects deer, elk, and related species. Common symptoms include weight loss, excessive salivation, appetite loss, and other abnormal behavior. It is contagious, always fatal, and considered to pose a major threat to wildlife populations. It is not believed to affect humans.

The first case of CWD in North America was discovered in Colorado in 1967. Since then the disease has spread to wild deer populations in Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and certain locations in Canada. As of yet, there is no known cure or method to test live animals.

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How big of a problem does CWD pose to deer herds? The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship quarantined an entire captive deer herd last month due to the presence of CWD within the group. The herd—356 animals—was destroyed to stop CWD from being spread to wild deer, which are extremely vulnerable to the disease. Even the chance of a single animal being infected with the disease could lead to a quarantine of captive deer herds across the state, as seen in Ohio’s first case of CWD discovered last month.

Many officials advise against eating meat from deer that tests positive for CWD.

How to recognize CWD:

CWD is very hard to recognize on dead deer, although live deer with CWD may stagger, drool excessively, and have rough coats. Animals afflicted with CWD will likely be skinny and have developed lesions as well. Researchers studying the disease will often harvest lymph nodes for testing, which is one of the only ways to be sure. Watch the video below to find out more.

Mange and hair loss

Deer doe with mange. Image courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Deer doe with mange. Image courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Mange is a contagious skin disease caused by mites that often results in hair loss and thickening of the skin. Although mange is not as common as the other diseases on this list, it can be fatal to deer, especially fawns. Other conditions that cause deer to shed their coats, such as lice or “Hair Loss Syndrome,” also can have drastic impacts on deer herds. In these cases, the animals develop a hypersensitivity to the pests and will engage in excessive grooming. That leads to the loss of guard hairs, which leave patchy yellow or white spots on their sides.

How to recognize mange or hair loss:

This one is relatively easy. If you see hair loss or the presence of mites or lice, it is likely that the deer is suffering from mange or some other type of hair loss illness. Thick, wrinkled skin is also a sign of mange. You can learn more in this video.

READ NOW: 5 strange parasites that infect deer

“Deer warts” or cutaneous fibromas

Cutaneous fibromas is not a pretty sight. The warts caused by the virus are generally gray or black in color and can grow anywhere on a deer.
Cutaneous fibromas are not a pretty sight. The warts caused by the virus are generally gray or black in color and can grow anywhere on a deer. Image courtesy Nathan Pyle/Quality Deer Management Association.

Perhaps the strangest-looking entry on this list is the condition commonly known as “deer warts.”

No, it’s not a severe case of deer acne, but the grotesque and wartlike growths called cutaneous fibromas may leave some outdoorsmen confused. Common questions are often: is the meat safe to eat? Is it a symptom of chronic wasting disease? Is it contagious?

The answers would be yes, no, and no, respectively. Cutaneous fibromas are caused by a virus that affects the skin. Bucks are more likely to contract the virus through wounds, often after a fight with another male or by rubbing antlers on a tree. Other modes of infection involve biting insects, which seem to be a never-ending hazard for deer. The virus that causes cutaneous fibromas is found throughout the entirety of the whitetail deer’s range.

This bizarre disease is also perhaps the least dangerous one on the list. Although cutaneous fibromas can cause death by either blinding the deer, rendering it immobile, or growing in such a way that it finds it difficult to eat, the disease is usually not fatal.

The meat from a deer with this condition is good to eat, granted that there has been no bacterial infection.

How to recognize cutaneous fibromas:

Big, scary-looking “deer acne.” You can see an example of a deer with an extreme case of cutaneous fibromas below:

Are there any other deer ailments hunters should be aware of? Let us know in the comments.

Exotics – Timeline of Events


Timeline of Events


C Number of exotic hoofstock in TX in 1966: 37,5001


C Number of exotic hoofstock in TX in 1974: 57,3001 C

Llamas become popular as novelty. Products: meat, wool, pack and guard animal C

Farmed bison estimated at 30,000, with four bison ranchers producing the bulk of commercial meat (1972) 2


Number of exotic hoofstock in TX in 1988: 164,3001 C

Ostrich ranching began again in early 1980s (were raised in AZ & CA from about 1880 to late 1930s, mainly for feathers, but industry died out when demand did)3 C

Prices for ostriches soared, in part as a result of South Africa stopping exports and the US temporarily banning imports due to disease concerns (1988) .


General C As of 1993, bans or severe restrictions on owning potentially harmful exotic species exist in CA, WY, AZ; regulations tightened or proposed in LA, NH, WI, SC, MO, OH, IN, CO.4 C

The Livestock Conservation Institute in 1997 reaffirmed 3 resolutions concerning alternative livestock due to “the increasing growth of the captive wildlife and alternative livestock industries”.        The resolutions encourage APHIS to provide leadership on several issues regarding legal authority, interstate movement, and disease transmission. 5 C

Number of exotic hoofstock in TX in 1996: 198,060 6 C

Other principal states with exotic big game: CA, FL, HI, MA, MO, NE, NH, NM, NY, NC, PA, TN, VA C

Big game products: meat – mainly to gourmet establishments; by-products (antlers, horns, hides) – mainly to Asian countries C Other income from big game: fee hunting – examples of number        of entries in Farm Journal’s fee hunting directory: 8 in CO; 16 in KS; 25 in NE; 48 in SD (October 1997)

A potentially disease-carrying tick was found on an imported ostrich. Other diseases of a ostriches or ostrich products that pose a potential animal health threat are: Newcastle disease; avian influenza, and born a disease.

Deer and Elk

North American Elk Breeders Association founded in 1990 and had 300 members; up to 1,400 members with 90,000 member-owned elk in 1997 8 C

Estimated 126,000 farmed deer in 1996, up from 44,000 in 1992 9 C

The US supplies only 25-30% of venison consumption (1997)9 C

States that do not allow deer and/or elk farming due to disease concerns, primarily tuberculosis: AL, AZ, CA, MD, MA, OR, VA, WA, WV, WY (1997)

Ostrich and emu

New ratite industry featured in national news services, national newspapers and magazines, and major TV networks (early 1990’s) C

Booming emu market in TX in early 1990s, with breeding pairs selling for as much as $40,000. Emu products: meat and oil11 C

One million emu nationwide in 1997 12 C Emu market collapses, with breeding pairs selling for $400, and owners turning their animals loose or killing them (1997) C

Imports of ostrich chicks and eggs re-opened in 1991 C

American Ostrich Association (national level) founded in 1992 C

350,000-500,000 ostriches in 1995, up from about 15,000 in 1992. Major states are TX, CA, AZ, and OK. Ostrich products: meat, hides, feathers3,13 C

Prices of ostrich breeding pairs dropped from $45,000 to $5,000 in five years14 C 1997: Ostrich sales are up during the past two years; 2,500 birds slaughtered in the US monthly, compared           with 100 a month two years ago, with close to 70% of that meat going to foreign markets15 C

1994: FSIS begins voluntary, fee-for-service inspection of ostrich plants and expands this to include all ratites in 1995 16 C

1996: NPIP allowed ostriches to be regarded under its regulations as poultry, and have their own subsection under the program


About 250,000 bison in 1997, up from 116,000 in 1992 2,18 C

More than 100 bison-producers in CO14 C Denver Buffalo Co (founded in January 1990) sold 2 million pounds of bison in 1997, double that of 1996 14 C

American bison industry growing by 30% a year15 C

Demand for bison meat is greater than supply


118,000 llama in 1997, up from 7,000 in 1984 19 C

Prices collapsed in early 1990’s due to oversupply


“Bison is here to stay as a viable niche market … but it will never be a direct threat EXOTICS 34 to beef.” (executive VP of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association)14 C

Continued interest of consumers in healthier alternatives to ‘usual’ red meat

Uncertainties For The Future

Continued expansion of captive wildlife For: favorable characteristics of meat (healthier than most others, palatable) Against/barriers: public reluctance to try unfamiliar meat; urban development; price of meat; inconsistent health and meat handling regulations (regulations re: handling and sale of exotic game meat vary from state to state) C

Regulations re: captive wildlife. The market for captive bred animals has largely been overlooked by regulators because the focus of much animal trade regulation and enforcement has been on protecting animals in the wild.




3 Gun Laws President Trump Could Change Within the Next Month

3 Gun Laws President Trump Could Change Within the Next Month

Silencers for all and universal concealed carry are just two of the changes the new president could propose.

The NRA spent more than $36 million on advertising supporting its favored candidates during the 2016 elections — an all-time record. That support paid off big time when pro-gun Donald Trump won the top of his ticket and was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday. With Trump, along with firm Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, we could begin seeing loosened gun control laws in relatively short order.

What follows are just a few of the changes President Trump might propose.

Gun Suppressor Silencer

Sea to shining sea reciprocity

On the campaign trail, Trump famously promised to expand reciprocity  for holders of concealed carry permits, such that a gun owner with a permit issued in one state would be entitled to carry a weapon in all other states.

That’s not how things work right now. If I have a concealed carry permit issued in Indiana, for example, it will be valid in 32 other states — but 17 states and the District of Columbia will not recognize it, and can arrest me for concealed carrying in those jurisdictions. A permit issued in California, despite the state having even stricter gun laws, is not valid in 26 other jurisdictions. Conversely, an Alaska-issued permit is valid in all but 12 jurisdictions.

According to Trump: “A concealed carry permit … should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state.” In a very short time, he could make that opinion law.

Reverse President Obama’s midnight executive actions

In the waning days of his administration, President Obama pushed through roughly two dozen executive actions designed to tighten gun control without the need for any laws being passed by Congress. Among other steps, Obama has directed the Centers for Disease Control to conduct research into gun violence, permitted doctors to ask patients whether they own guns, and required all firearms dealers to obtain federal licenses and conduct background checks on all buyers. The latter rule, issued just two weeks ago, requires anyone who sells a gun, even if only at a gun show or over the internet, to obtain a license and conduct background checks regardless of how many guns they sell. Failure to comply could earn a violator up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000.

President Trump immediately promised to “unsign” this directive once he takes office.

You have the right to remain silent

Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans are pushing a new law called the “Hearing Protection Act,” aimed at reducing restrictions on the purchase of “silencers” for firearms. Currently, silencers are legal to purchase in 42 states. However, the purchase of a silencer entails the payment of a $200 federal tax, and requires a waiting period of up to 17 months to receive approval from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

The act, by the way, gets its name from the fact that guns are loud — your average 9mm pistol produces a retort measured at 160 decibels. Attaching a silencer drops this volume down to 125 decibels, which is less damaging to human ears, and also makes outdoor shooting ranges less of a public nuisance. (Click the link to get an idea of how loud gun reports can offend the ears of non-shooters.)

Opponents of the measure argue that permitting easy access to silencers will permit criminals to kill in silence. Proponents respond that silencers are only “rarely” used in crime — and in any case, 125 decibels, while easier on the ears than 160 decibels, is far from “silent.” 125 db may be quieter than a jackhammer (130 db) but it’s still significantly louder than a police siren (115 db).

What it means for investors

While all of these laws may have an effect on the gun industry, it’s this last one that might have the most visible effect on publicly traded gun businesses. American Outdoor Brands(NASDAQ:AOBC), the company formerly known as Smith & Wesson, sells handguns with specially threaded barrels to accept suppressors, for example, and could enjoy greater sales of such products if silencers become easier to buy. Rival Sturm, Ruger (NYSE:RGR) actually makes and sells suppressors.

Now consider that as of the last report, Americans owned 265 million guns — but fewer than 1 million silencers. That’s a huge market that American Outdoor Brands and Sturm, Ruger would love to sell into. Easing restrictions on silencer sales could have follow-on effects, too. Granting easier access to suppressors could reduce noise complaints at open-air shooting ranges, making it easier for such businesses to open, which would attract more customers, resulting in more ammunition being used, resulting in more ammunition being sold, resulting in more sales (and profits) for ammo makers such as Olin Corp (NYSE:OLN), Vista Outdoor(NYSE:VSTO), and Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA).

Long story short, any relaxation in America’s gun laws under a Trump Presidency would be good news for the gun industry — but easing restrictions on silencer sales could give the NRA the biggest bang for its campaign contribution bucks.

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Shooting with the Mann: What’s the Best Stance?

Shooting with the Mann: What’s the Best Stance?

I’ve got ‘em too, and I’m not so sure they’re all that popular with my contemporaries, or even my gun fighting school alma mater – Gunsite Academy. During one of my pistol classes at Gunsite, an instructor asked me, “Where the hell did you learn that stance?”

I believe the only way to measure the validity of your defensive handgun shooting stance is through the balance of Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas, or “DVC” as Colonel Cooper referred to it. These three words are Latin for accuracy, power, and speed, and their balance is the holy grail of defensive pistol craft. The position you assume that allows you to achieve this balance ­­– in each individual situation – is the position you should use.


Best Stance
Gunsite founder Jeff Cooper popularized the Weaver stance. Gunsite Academy has been teaching the Weaver for 40 years, and it works.

The stance argument mostly revolves around two concepts: isosceles and Weaver. The problem is nailing down a definitive description of either because all humans are different. For example, if I try to impose my nose picking position on you, you’ll likely find it unsuitable and will modify it accordingly. Shooting positions are no different. After all the input and training I’ve received, I shoot what might be called a modified Weaver or a hybrid isosceles.


Best Stance
The most common stance I shoot from could be considered my default stance. It’s a hybrid Weaver-isosceles stance that fits me, but it might not work for you.

There was a time when I did a lot of competition shooting, and the isosceles worked well for me. When you know the location you’ll shoot from, when you know where all the targets are, when you know how many times you’ll have to shoot each target, and when and where you’ll have to move to, I believe some form of the isosceles stance is best for most shooters.


Best Stance
Most competitive shooters such as Travis Tomasie use the isosceles stance or something very similar. It dovetails very well with the kind of shooting they do.

Conversely, if you don’t know if you’ll have to shoot, which direction you’ll have to shoot, who or what you’ll have to shoot at, how close the target/threat will be, and where you might have to move to, or more importantly, how you may have to fight, I’m convinced some version of the Weaver is superior.

Maybe a simpler way to say it would be that in personal protection situations – not in simulated combat competition – go Weaver. It allows for a smoother transition to and from the retention and fighting positions and, quite critically, a variation of the Weaver must be employed when using the best flashlight techniques. It also works very well for shotguns and carbines.


Best Stance
If you’re not careful, then the isosceles stance can lead to turtling. This reduces your peripheral vision and places you off-balance.

Training, experience and necessity morphed my shooting position into something halfway between the Weaver and isosceles. My shooting elbow isn’t locked, and my support elbow is bent at about 23 degrees. I’m not trying to sell you on my position; I’m trying to convince you that you need to adapt one, the other, or both of these stances to suit you. Who cares what it’s called if it works?

I believe that, at the core of the conundrum, for most shooters the Weaver stance is the best reactive/protective stance. When you don’t know what’s coming, but you expect it to be bad, a Weaverish-like stance is best.

On the other hand, if you’re attacking a pre-determined course of fire, the isosceles-styled stance probably has an advantage. Just don’t be afraid to work around these stances to come up with a mutation that works for you.


Best Stance
My 16-year-old son was initially trained by me before he graduated Gunsite. He utilizes what in some folk’s mind is a perfect example of the Weaver stance.

That way, when a Gunsite instructor asks you, “Where’d you learned to shoot like that?” you can say, “I taught myself.” Of course, if your shooting sucks, you might want to blame someone else.



Save Lives Like a Combat Medic: How to Use a Tourniquet to Control Major Bleeding

Save Lives Like a Combat Medic: How to Use a Tourniquet to Control Major Bleeding

vintage military medical officer in field making tourniquet

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Bruce A. West. Mr. West served as an Army medic in the Iraq war. He taught over 500 soldiers how to save lives in a class called Combat Lifesaver, and will be sharing his knowledge here on AoM in a series on important first aid/first responder skills every man should have.

You’re hiking along a trail with your buddy when a mountain lion darts out from the bushes, leaps onto your friend, and sinks its teeth into his leg. You grab your pocket knife and stab the cat with it, causing the animal to run off. Your buddy’s leg is a chewed up mess, and it’s bleeding profusely. You’re miles from civilization…do you know what to do?

Basic emergency medical skills are a must-have to survive the perils you encounter in the wilderness–or even in your own backyard. There are many schools of teaching in first aid, but few know how to keep it SIMPLE quite like the Combat Medic. Sure, modern medics carry bags full of fancy gear, and they use it too–but what they can do in lieu of these tools is what a man should know for survival.

In the woods, along a road, or in the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster, you won’t have major trauma equipment. At most you’ll have a first aid kit, the clothes on your back, and whatever is available in the environment around you. But when you know how to improvise, these are all the tools you need. These techniques aren’t in textbooks. They don’t follow all the rules. They’re the battle-tested survival skills that have been passed down through generations of line medics. They’re fast. They’re simple. And they save lives.

One of those skills is knowing how to control major blood loss without dedicated gear. And it’s something every man—whether soldier or civilian–should be well-versed in. Today I’ll be providing a primer on this lifesaving piece of knowhow.

Your Blood Loss Control Battle Plan

If there’s someone else with you besides the victim, have them call 911. If it’s just you and the victim, stop the victim’s blood loss first, and then call 911. To stop the blood loss, follow these steps:

Step 1: Make sure your surroundings are safe, and keep yourself safe by wearing gloves.

Protect yourself from immunodeficiency diseases (and all other diseases) by putting on some rubber gloves. Because of people’s potential allergies, I would suggest spending a couple dollars more and investing in powder-free, latex-free gloves for your car or first aid kit. The common gloves used in today’s EMS are made of nitrile. They’re cheap, and they fit nicely in your car’s…glove box (finally it will live up to its name!). Your use of gloves doesn’t commonly anger people you’re saving, so do it for ALL victims.

Step 2: Expose the open wound.

We have a saying in emergency medicine: “A happy trauma patient is a naked trauma patient.” You just don’t know what’s wrong with them if you can’t see it.

Remove the clothing over the injury. Nothing fancy to it: tear the pant leg or shirtsleeve out of your way. If their clothes are too tough to rip by hand, carefully start the cut with your knife.

Step 3: Apply firm, direct pressure to the wound site.

Use gauze on the wound during this step if it’s available. If there is no gauze, use a towel or washcloth or a rag torn from a shirt. Try to avoid having to use this homemade dressing unless it’s an emergency situation, i.e., the patient is bleeding excessively, or you are far from civilization. Non-sterile bandages can cause further unnecessary infection–but keep in mind that if you’re five miles from nowhere it is better to contain the wound with only a few germs than leave it exposed to all germs.

If the pressure does not stop the bleeding, and the dressing becomes soaked with blood, you will need to apply a tourniquet.

Wait! Are tourniquets safe?

Before we move on to the next step, I think a word about the safety of tourniquets is necessary, as much of what you think you know about bleeding control is probably based on outdated knowledge. For decades, standard emergency medical services (EMS) controlled bleeding using a series of six tedious steps. The tourniquet was seen as the nuclear option and was used only in a last ditch effort to stop bleeding. The aversion to the tourniquet was based on the belief that by completely stopping blood flow to a limb, tissue around the limb would start to die, which would result in the patient having to undergo amputation.  Unfortunately, by following traditional bleeding control steps and leaving tourniquets as a procedure of last resort, people lost more blood than they needed to.

vintage military handbook manual how to apply tourniquet

Unlike civilian EMS, military medicine practices have long called for tourniquet application much earlier in the treatment for blood loss. Recent research in military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan has shown that, contrary to popular belief, using a tourniquet doesn’t guarantee limb amputation or even nerve loss. In fact, researchers found that among patients who had a tourniquet applied to a limb before arriving to the hospital, only 0.4% of them underwent an amputation and usually the reason they got an amputation had nothing to do with the tourniquet. On the nerve damage front, only 1.5% of tourniquetted patients suffered any kind of permanent nerve damage. Based on this newfound knowledge, many civilian EMS teachers and practitioners are starting to encourage tourniquet use much sooner.

Necrosis of muscle tissue doesn’t onset until after 2 hours without blood flow, and can even last 5-8 hours without consequences resulting in amputation; so you can keep the tourniquet on for awhile–but you want to get the victim help as soon as possible.

Now with that FYI under your belt, let’s move on to choosing and applying that tourniquet.

Step 4: Choose a tourniquet.

In today’s military, all soldiers are issued tourniquets to accompany their armor and weapons, and every soldier is trained and proficient at applying his tourniquet–even one-handed on his own arm. The common tourniquet used by the army, the Combat Action Tourniquet (CAT tourniquet), is made for single-handed application; they run around $30 and aren’t practical for a civilian to carry around in his pocket every day.

Luckily you don’t need a dedicated tourniquet to save a life. Look around you; there are tourniquets everywhere. Are you wearing a belt? Tourniquet! Have laces on your shoes? Tourniquet! Long sleeve shirt, bicycle inner tube, backpack strap, or a female observer’s brassiere? All tourniquets! You can fashion this lifesaving device out of anything your mind can conceive as a tourniquet. (You might consider rope or a survival bracelet first if you have them handy.)

In order to tighten your tourniquet, you’ll also need a torsion device. This can be anything long and stick-like. If you’re in the woods I recommend using, well, a stick. If there are absolutely no sticks or stick-like objects around you, then close your knife’s blade, or put the sheet on it, and give it up for a good cause. It’s now your torsion device.

Step 5:  Apply the tourniquet.

First, so we’re all on the same page: Tourniquets are ONLY applied on limbs! Never on a neck! (If you did this, you wouldn’t be the first.) Major bleeding control practices in areas not accessible by tourniquets (like the stomach and back) will be covered further at another time.  With that out of the way, here are the steps of applying a tourniquet:

how to apply tourniquet wrap limb with rope belt

Wrap the limb with a rope/belt/bra at least two inches closer to the body than the wound. Do not apply a tourniquet over a joint–blood passageways are protected in joints, and you’ll never put pressure on the arteries. Place it closer to the body than the joint.  Then tie the tourniquet in place once using an overhand knot.

how to apply tourniquet overhand square knot torsion

Place your desired torsion device on top of the overhand knot. Tie another overhand knot, then another (or tie a square knot if you’re knot savvy) to secure the torsion device onto the tourniquet.

how to apply tourniquet illustration twist torsion device

Twist the torsion device in one direction until bleeding stops.

Secure the tourniquet in place. This can often be accomplished by using the loose ends from your last knot to tie one end of the torsion device to the tightened tourniquet, or to the limb.

Step 6: Assess for shock.

So you’ve saved this person from bleeding out with a handy-dandy tourniquet. They’re not home free yet. Make sure they’re still breathing. Seems obvious, but if you fail to do so you’ve wasted a tourniquet. You’ve probably heard the adage: Look, listen, and feel! Put your ear near their mouth and listen and feel for breathing while looking at their chest to make sure it rises and falls. If it doesn’t, make it. Here is where you apply CPR. But that’s another lesson for another day.

After you’ve made sure your patient is indeed still breathing, check for signs of shock. If you’ve placed a tourniquet on the patient, it’s very likely they’ll suffer hypovolemic shock. Don’t freak out–it’s a big sounding word, but it basically means: “too little volume.” They’ve just given up a lot of blood volume, so it’s kind of a given–though not a guarantee.  Signs of hypovolemic shock include:

  • Cool, clammy skin (moist, cool, and pale skin)
  • Cyanosis (big word, but it means blue skin)
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Rapid breathing
  • Unconsciousness

To treat shock, first lay the patient down flat on his back. You may have once learned to elevate their feet–dismiss this practice! Research has shown this can cause pooling of blood in the organs and brain and other damage. Next cover the person to keep them warm: employ blankets, coats, and clothes, whatever you can offer–just keep them warm! (That old hypothermia technique of huddling for heat can come in handy here too.)

Step 7: If 911 has not been called yet, do so now.

If rescue workers cannot get to you where you are, or there is no phone service, never leave the victim alone to look for help–grab them and go. Be prepared to do the fireman’s carry.

Congratulations! You now know how to save a life! Go out unto the world knowing you can help make it a safer place.

Disclaimer:  This lesson, while informative, far from replaces the invaluable experience of taking an American Red Cross first aid course. It is strongly recommended you contact your local Red Cross representative to set up a class and become certified. While you’re at it, take CPR as well! You’ll rarely regret your decision to be educated in lifesaving when you’ve had the opportunity to apply it.

Scientists are building an animal fart database

Scientists are building an animal fart database

January 11

Do baboons fart? What about salamanders? Millipedes?

These questions sound like the sort Bart Simpson might have asked to derail science class. But real-life scientists are now taking to Twitter to provide answers. So far, they’ve created a hashtag — #DoesItFart — and a Google Spreadsheet that details the flatulence habits of more than 60 animals.

 So, which animals cut the proverbial cheese? Tons, it turns out. Bats do, according to David Bennett, a PhD candidate at Queen Mary University of London. And the bigger they are, the harder they honk.

Rats, zebras and bearded dragons are also among Those Creatures That Fart. Birds, on the other hand, do not seem to have a biological need for passing gas, but they could let one rip, theoretically. Marine invertebrates such as oysters, mussels and crabs? Alas, they are whoopee-impaired.

The science of farts is not just about potty humor, by the way. Cattle gas, for example, is a significant contributor to atmospheric methane that contributes to climate change. And fauna flatulence is also a hot topic among certain crowds — ones scientists want to engage.

“Does it fart?” is one of most frequent questions zoologists receive from kids, said Dani Rabaiotti of the Zoological Society of London. In fact, the whole #DoesItFart adventure started when her teenage brother asked if snakes ever experience flatulence. Rabaiotti knew from her own work that the wild dogs of Africa definitely fart, as do the extremely gassy seals that reside on the Atlantic island of South Georgia. But she wasn’t sure about snakes, so she consulted snake expert David Steen.

The short answer is yes, says Steen, a wildlife ecologist at Auburn University. “Snakes sometimes discharge feces and musk as a defensive strategy, and this is often accompanied by what I would consider classic fart noises,” he said.

Steen said this is far from the first time he’s fielded this question, as it seems to be a favorite of the preteen crowd.

“I don’t know if animal flatulence questions can serve as a significant gateway to a greater appreciation of biodiversity, but it is always fun to see what captures people’s attention,” he said. “It is at least an opportunity to engage with a larger audience and bring new folks into the conversation.”

And if engagement is the goal — or at least a byproduct — does it really matter what the topic is? “Just because it’s flatulence doesn’t mean it’s inherently silly,” said Adriana Lowe, a researcher of biological anthropology at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. “The diets and digestive systems of animals are an important and fascinating field of study, and gas is just a part of that.”

Lowe studies chimpanzees in Uganda’s Budongo forest, animals whose gas appears to vary with their diet. “Fruit is tootier than leaves, and figs seem to be the worst offenders,” she said. On occasion, these bodily functions have even aided in her research. “Several times I have been with one or two chimps and not been aware others are nearby until the farts start,” says Lowe. “Some of them have that very long, air-being-released-from-a-balloon quality, which is handy because it gives you a bit longer to pinpoint where it’s coming from.”

#DoesItFart is only the latest in a series of spur-of-the-moment hashtags created by scientists and snickered at by the general public. (Such as: #JunkOff and #FieldWorkFail.) And then there are longer-running, single-scientist efforts, like the snake identifications Steen provides by way of the hashtags #NotACopperhead and #NotACottonmouth. Similarly, Michelle LaRue, a research ecologist at the University of Minnesota, hosts a game in which she posts pictures of cats big and small and asks followers to guess whether the animal is a #CougarOrNot. And Kaeli Swift, a PhD student at the University of Washington, orchestrates a game called #CrowOrNo. (Note: Both games are far more difficult than they might sound.)

At this point, I should probably tell you that I also have a hashtag. It’s called #ButtOfWhat, and its premise is simple: Educate and entertain while talking about animal backsides. Is it a bit of a childish gimmick? Sure. But I guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two by following along. (For instance, porcupine coitus involves a fair bit of screaming.)

“When scientists can present these seemingly silly facts, it invites people to be part of what we know and to find out what we don’t, which enables us to show how science works,” said Cassandra Raby, a researcher with the Zoological Society of London, who confirms that baboons can drop some bombs. (Females with swollen genitals are the worst, by the way.)

You could also make the argument that diversions like these provide scientists with an chance to share data they might otherwise leave in a notebook.

“We spend a lot of time with our study organism and see some interesting or weird behaviors,” said Nick Caruso, a researcher of salamanders (which do not fart) at the University of Alabama and creator of the open-access #DoesItFart spreadsheet. “This type of info, unless directly relevant to the study, may not make it into our publications and we don’t always get a chance to talk about it.”

So some people are interested in these games for the outreach or data collection they provide, while others just see them as good old fashioned fun. Me? I’m obviously in it for the butts. And I’ve already got my next topic lined up: Millipedes.

Whereas most animals that fart have soft, fleshy derrières, millipedes have hard valves that probably act as silencers for their toots, said Angie Macias, a graduate student studying forest pathology at West Virginia University. What’s more, research has shown that the arthropods create quite a bit of methane in their intestines, and that gas has only one place to go — out the back.

“Put it all together, and I would say that millipede toots are probably very smelly, and definitely flammable,” says Macias.

Silent, in other words. But potentially deadly.

5 Ways a Plastic Bag Could Save Your Life

Flickr Plastic Bags by Ryo Chijiiwa 8-22-16

In a survival situation, we are often forced to adapt and overcome. You may find that time outdoors doesn’t go as planned and your return is delayed, or worse you may become injured and forced to wait for assistance. During times such as this, having a few tricks up your sleeve very well may keep you alive.

Plastic bags are something in heavy use on this planet. As a result of their constant circulation, it is possible to find one just about anywhere, including in nature. You may even have your own on you when the time comes that you need it, and here are five ways it can save your life.

  1. Use bags to make a signal flag. If you find yourself injured and unable to cover ground yourself, you can use a bag to draw attention to yourself. Simply affix a bag or bags to a stick to wave and be seen. If you’re not up to the task of waving, tie the bag off in two places to create a windsock that can be seen moving in the breeze.
  1. When it comes to first aid, plastic bags give you many options. They can be used to stabilize splints so injured limbs can be supported. In the event of a sucking chest wound, a plastic bag can be positioned over it to seal the wound. It is also possible to use them to create tourniquets as well. Even tying a bag over a regular bandage will help keep moisture out and the wound clean.
  1. Depending on the weather conditions with which you’re faced, wet feet can become a problem. Feet that are constantly in damp conditions become prone to skin breaks and infection. Since no one wants trench foot, affix bags over your shoes and/or your lower legs to prevent water entry into shoes. Some bags will work better for this than others and if you are hiking, tearing becomes a possibility, but something is always better than nothing.
  1. Speaking of staying dry, it is not just your feet than can benefit from bags. Use them to create a moisture barrier/act as a ground sheet between yourself and any ground on which you may be forced to sleep, ideally preventing issues such as hypothermia. It is also possible to use them to prevent moisture from the air from seeping into your sleeping bag by covering it with plastic.
  1. Cord is another possible use for plastic bags. The load-bearing capability is not there, but if your belt breaks and your pants are falling down, or you have to fix a broken guy-rope on your tent, a plastic bag could be the answer. Of course, it may be necessary to break the bag down and tie strips into cord or even tie multiple bags together to increase strength, but the option does exist.

There are many types of plastic bags ranging from grocery bags to trash bags and even sandwich bags. All of these are lightweight and fold up to fit in your car, daypack, or even pocket, so you can always carry a few without compromising much space or creating an excessive burden. Plus, as long as litter bugs exist, you might find them discarded in unexpected places but still ready to serve.

FYI: The average plastic bag is used for 12 minutes, and Americans use 30 million of them annually, plus they take 20-100 years to break down, so put yours to good use potentially saving your life.


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Take me outside: How deer keep warm in the cold months

Take me outside: How deer keep warm in the cold months


Deer hunting season continues through the end of December (depending on the type of firearm used). However, those animals which escape the arrows and bullets will still have plenty of challenges ahead. Deep snow and severe cold are hard on them, but they have various physical and behavioral adaptations that help them survive the harshest season.

In the fall, white-tailed deer shift their diet from green plants to nuts and woody plants. Look for shaggy branch ends or jagged scars on trees where deer have used their lower teeth to tear off branches or scrape the bark. They have no upper incisors, so they don’t leave a clean bite as a rodent would. To build up their body fat, they must consume five to nine pounds of food each day. Deer will draw on this fat reserve through the winter to supplement their food consumption. They may lose up to 20 percent of their body weight by spring.

Consuming energy is one way to stay warm; conserving it is another. A deer’s “winter coat” is made of hollow hairs that trap air. This provides an insulated outer layer that can keep them warm even when it gets to -30 degrees (F).

Deer gather in “yards” composed of evergreen trees, often on a south facing slopes. They take advantage of less wind and shallower snow, sharing paths, which reduces their energy exertion.

When groups of deer congregate they also provide protection for each other. It is common to see a group situated so that they are all looking in different directions, watching for predators. If a predator is spotted, a flash of the white under part of the tail serves as a warning sign to the rest of the herd.

These natural gatherings are kept to reasonable sizes by limitations of the habitat. When people set up feeding stations for deer, an artificial yard may be created. These can actually cause more harm than good to the deer.

Human-sourced food is not as easily digested; higher densities of deer attracted to feeding stations can lead to disease transmission, more aggression between individuals, and over-browsing of the natural vegetation. For these reasons (and more) biologists and wildlife managers advise against feeding deer in the winter.

Male deer (bucks) and female deer (does) often intermingle on the wintering grounds. They can be distinguished by size, because bucks are larger, weighing between 150 and 310 pounds, while does range between 90 and 210 pounds.

Bucks may have antlers, while the females rarely do. However, as the season progresses bucks will begin to drop their antlers.

This phenomenon is one of the most intriguing aspects of the deer life cycle. Antlers, which are made of bone, begin as tiny buds emerging from the top of the buck’s skull in April.

They are covered with “velvet” which supplies the growing antlers with blood and nutrients. They grow during the spring and summer.

Antler size depends on nutritional levels more than on the age of the animals (though young and very old bucks tend to have fewer tines). When shorter day length triggers the “death” of the antlers, the velvet is rubbed off to reveal a hard boney rack. These are used during competitive “wrestling” matches when two bucks vie for the chance to pass on their genes. You’ll have to wait until next year to listen for the sound of antlers clacking against each other though. November is the time for this display, during the “rut” or mating season.

Now is the time when those antlers, having served their function for this year, start to fall off. From late-December through February, antlers are shed, one at a time, reducing the weight on the buck’s head, another adaptation for winter survival. Good luck finding one of these discarded appendages. Even though between 85,000 to 95,000 deer live in Massachusetts, and many are bucks with a pair of antlers each, rodents will consume them nearly as fast as they are dropped, recycling the calcium that is concentrated in those bones.

Nothing is wasted in nature. Even if a deer doesn’t make it through the winter, it will become food for other animals who are also trying to survive in the circle of life.


Exotic Wildlife Association
“Promoting Conservation through Commerce”
Attention Landowners, Helicopter Operators, Hunters, and Sportsmen: Changes to the Landowner Authorization (LOA) Permits at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Coming Soon!
The Exotic Wildlife Association and the Texas Deer Association are pleased to announce that TPWD will be releasing amendments to the current LOA rules. Expected changes include a 90 day extension or grace period on the new rules to allow for education efforts for impacted landowners.  All LOAs currently in the system are expected to remain active without the maps until March 31st.
We would like to offer a special thanks to the members and directors at TDA and EWA that have worked diligently with the department, helicopter operators, and the landowner community to  ease the impacts of the new rules on businesses.
We expect that TPWD will be releasing a statement on the full changes to the rules in the coming days. Please be sure to tune into their release for full details

Exotic Wildlife Association
Charly Seale, Executive Director

105 Henderson Branch Rd., West
Ingram, Texas 78025

Gun Sales in America Reach Record Numbers in 2016; Thanks Obama!

Gun Sales in America Reach Record Numbers in 2016; Thanks Obama!

Guns Sales in America

Threats of terrorism and a potential Hillary Clinton administration were enough to tip the scales on gun sales in America to record levels in 2016.

According to the Washington Examiner, FBI background check numbers totaled some 27,538,673 for 2016. That’s 4 million more than in 2015, and nearly double the number in President Obama’s first year as president. These background check numbers roughly equate to gun sales, and do not include guns sold to or given to friends and family.

Gun Sales

Additionally, as terrorist attacks around the world and in the U.S. increased, people were driven to seek personal protection. Gun sales hit record numbers for 19 months in a row. The increase paralleled the amount of people seeking to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon.

Hunting Safety: Tips for being a Safe Hunter

Hunting Safety: Tips for being a Safe Hunter

When talking about safety in relation to hunting, the first place we obviously have to start is with our firearms. We have a detailed article on firearm safety and I would advise reading that article as the first step in making sure you’re safe while out in the field. The biggest take away from that article is to always assume any firearm you come in contact with is loaded; if you remember that, you greatly limit your chances of being accidentally injured when handling a gun.

Following Game while Hunting

Never take for granted the fact that you are carrying a loaded weapon. Most firearm accidents occur because people don’t respect the fact that they’re holding a weapon that is meant to kill. It’s your duty as a responsible hunter to always follow safe firearm practices; if these safety practices aren’t second nature, I advise staying home until they are.

The Big Four of Hunting Safety:

Hunting Accidents have Four Common Causes:

  1. Judgment Mistakes: The number one cause of hunting accidents is mistakes in judgment, such as mistaking a person for game, not checking what’s in front of or beyond your target, and getting caught up in the excitement of the hunt which can cause you to make foolish mistakes.
  2. Not Following Firearm Safety Rules: Another common cause of hunting related accidents is not following safe firearm practices like the four primary rules of firearm safety.
  3. Not Enough Practice: A huge problem that I see out in the field is hunters who don’t know their firearms capabilities. This stems from a lack of practice that can lead to things like accidental discharges and stray shots.
  4. Mechanical Failures: When it comes to firearms you can never let your guard down; mechanical failures can and will happen, so you must know how to deal with them when they do.

The Four Primary Rules of Firearm Safety While Hunting are:

  1. Always keep your muzzle pointed in a Safe Direction: The muzzle of your firearm should never be pointed towards anything that you don’t intend on shooting. Practicing safe muzzle control is one of the most important things that you can do out in the field, and should be something that’s second nature long before you ever head out into the field.
  2. There is no such thing as an Unloaded Weapon: Every firearm should be treated as a loaded weapon, therefore they should always be given the respect due a loaded weapon. When being handed a firearm in the field, always assume the gun is loaded, even if someone tells you it’s unloaded.
  3. Make Sure You Know What’s in Front of & Beyond the Target: When taking a shot, you must always be sure of what’s in front of and what’s beyond your target. If you cannot see what lies beyond your target, NEVER TAKE THE SHOT.
  4. Keep Your Finger OFF the Trigger: When carrying any firearm, your finger should never be inside the trigger guard unless you’re ready to shoot. This is a huge problem that I see time and time again with inexperienced shooters, and it’s something should be mastered before ever going on a hunt.

Following Safe Shooting Practices

huntingblindSafe Zone-of-Fire: One of the most important aspects of safely firing your gun while out on a hunt is to never fire your gun outside of your Zone-of-Fire.

Your Zone-of-Fire is the 45 degree area directly in front of each hunter. The reason we stay inside that 45 degree area, is that anything outside that area cannot be seen with reliability, and should be considered outside your field of view. Also, keep in mind your Zone-of-Fire will change with every step that you take, so make sure you’re always aware of your hunting partners locations at all times.

Self-Control: Another important aspect of hunter safety is self-control.  It’s not uncommon for hunters to become excited while out on a hunt; just remember that this excitement can cause you to make careless mistakes, so you need to do your best to control your emotions while out on the hunt.

If you find yourself becoming anxious, or overly excited, it’s time to slow down. If that means temporarily putting a stop to the hunt, then you need to err on the side of caution. No hunt is worth taking unnecessary risks; the safety of everyone who may be out in the field is always the number one consideration. A calm shooter is always a better and more accurate shooter.

Practice & Accuracy: Shooting accurately is not only the key to being a successful hunter; it’s also one of the most important aspects to being a safe hunter. If you cannot routinely hit your targets while out at the range, you have no business hunting anything. You are putting yourself and everyone in the field at risk.

Target Identification: If you’re not 100% sure of what you are shooting at, DO NOT TAKE THE SHOT. Anything you shoot at needs to be identified, and needs to be 100% in your field of view before ever taking a shot.

Safely Carrying your Firearm While in the Field:

huntingforestThe way you carry your firearm in the field is extremely important to the safety of everyone in your hunting group, as well as anyone who may be in your range of fire. By following the number one rule of firearm safety – always keeping your muzzle pointed in a safe direction – you ensure the safety of those around you, and you limit the possibility of someone being injured during an accidental discharge.

I’ve seen a number of websites advice people to always point there barrel at the ground when walking; in my opinion, this isn’t always the safest way to carry a firearm. If you’re traveling in a group where another hunter is walking directly in front of you, do you really want to be pointing your weapon at the ground in front of you?

There are a number of proper ways to carry your firearm in the field, each with their own fancy name and proper technique; I’m not going to go over them in this article. There are just way too many variables to be able to tell you that one technique should always be used in a specific situation. What I will tell you is something that I have mentioned at least a couple of times already in this article; whatever technique you choose, make sure your muzzle is always pointed in a safe direction, and make sure your finger is always outside the trigger guard unless you’re about to shoot. If you remember both of those tips, and make them something that becomes second nature, you greatly cut down on the chances of having a hunting accident out in the field.

Stay Safe, Stay in Control, and always follow the rules of firearm safety.

Hoofstock upcoming events.

International Ungulate Day

Celebrate the diversity of ungulates from around the world!

The International Hoofstock Awareness Association has put together a wealth of resources for planning events at your facility.  Check out for information, signage ideas, and crafts – and be sure to share what YOU are doing to celebrate!

World Okapi Day

12:00 AM

World Okapi Day


777 Ranch main hunting lodge
777 Ranch main hunting lodge
777 Ranch main hunting lodge

Circle H Ranch & Lodge is one of the most unique places in the Texas Hill Country. If you are looking to have an unforgettable vacation in the Frio Canyon, or wanting to purchase exotic Deer, Antelope, or Sheep for your ranch, Circle H is the right place for you. Started as a Harwood family getaway, Circle H Ranch has turned into one of the most respected exotic hoofstock breeding operations in the State of Texas.

CIRCLE H RANCH has long been known for its active involvement in politics as it pertains to protecting private property rights while also protecting animals from useless and harmful legislation. We are and have been involved with efforts to reintroduce animals back to their native homelands. Breeding a large variety of both super exotic and common exotic hoofstock, while dealing with surplus animals from across the country, we here at the Circle H Ranch can help anyone find almost any species. Red Deer, Blackbuck, Axis, Fallow, Mouflon as well as Kudu, Zebras, Scimitar, Bongos, Addax, Ibex, Markhor, Red Sheep, Transcaspian Urials and so many more are available. We have very strict guidelines for our breeding operation and require nothing but the best from our brokers when dealing with extra surplus from other facilities around the country. If you have an idea about what you are interested in, or don’t have any idea about what would work best for your particular location, we can help you. No order is too small or too large. We do have a surplus list from our holding facilities that we send out to a few select customers and ranches. If you would like to be added to the list we would love to have you. Please e-mail us and tell us to add your e-mail to our surplus animal inventory list. Look through the website and see if there is anything we can help you with. Don’t hesitate to call or e-mail us about any questions you might have because we would like to help.

CIRCLE H LODGE  offers a one of a kind adventure vacation for people of all ages.  No matter the time of year, Circle H Ranch can be enjoyed by all. Explorers and relaxation enthusiasts, alike, can enjoy the changing of the leaves in the Fall and the roars of the exotic deer during mating season. Winter is perfect for campfires and star gazers or for cuddling up with a good book and hot cocoa on the enclosed sun porch or next to the fireplace. Spring is absolutely a gorgeous time to enjoy the beauty of nature at its finest. Summer of course brings fun in the sun at our pool or on the Frio. Located in the Frio Canyon, Circle H lodge is a uniquely special place for lodging, fun, and relaxation in the tranquil Texas Hill Country.  Relax on the porch or decks and soak up the panoramic views of nature at its finest. We are just minutes away from the Frio River for tubing out of Concan, Garner State Park, Utopia, and Lost Maples Natural Area.  Although you might venture out for the day to one of these other locations, most of our guests choose to spend their time relaxing at our own peaceful haven in the natural, spring-fed private pool.  Circle H Lodge is a secluded, private, and historic home which can accommodate both large groups and small parties.  The lodge is perfect for family vacations, reunions, private parties, wedding venues, or as a romantic getawayBikers, bicyclists, and car club members are welcome.

You will be absolutely amazed at the breathtaking views and variety of wildlife surrounding the lodge in a free roaming environment. You might even think you are in another country or perhaps even paradise. The stars at night will dazzle anyone who lives in the city and has forgotten just how many you can see in the country sky.   Campfire stories can be told while relaxing by the firepit as big and little kids enjoy roasting marshmallows.  The serene, refreshing water and lazy, shaded hammocks will make you forget all your worries. Fishing is available on site.  The kids will never want to stop catching tadpoles, minnows, and crawdads in the creeks and streams that surround the lodge.  Hiking is available to those wanting a little more adventureBird watcher enthusiasts will enjoy one of the best bird watching areas in the United States.

Our friendly and helpful staff is here to help you have the most unforgettable experience at the lodge, or help you with picking out the right animals for your ranch.

Thanks for visiting.  Please let us know if you need any other information or need help booking your reservation with us.

Meet our Team
Circle H Ranch Team Circle H Ranch Team Circle H Ranch Team Circle H Ranch Team
John Harwood
Jen Harwood
Operations Manager
Nina Maguire
Office Manager
Lori Shackelford
Circle H Ranch Team Circle H Ranch Team Circle H Ranch Team
J.R. Vasquez
Ranch Foreman
Call Office
Jake Woodard
Ranch and Deliveries
Call Office
Mike Wiersing
Ranch Maintenance
Call Office


777 Ranch main hunting lodge
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Chemical Immobilization of Animals

Chemical Immobilization of Animals:
White-tailed Deer, Elk and Non-Native Deer

This is Safe-Capture’s Internationally Acclaimed
16-Hour Chemical Immobilization Workshop for those working with:
White-tailed Deer, Elk, Non-Native Deer (Mule, Fallow, Sika, Axis, Red, Reindeer)

Over 90% of our workshop participants rate our training programs “excellent”
– many stating this was “the best workshop they had ever attended!”

Multimedia Lecture Presentation and Discussion (14 Hours)

  • Custom drug combinations and formulations which minimize induction times-the time from dart impact until the animal is immobilized. (Dr. Amass has drug combinations and techniques that will safely immobilize a White-tailed Deer in 64 seconds, with drug combinations now mixed according to ambient temperature!)

  • Safe and reliable drug and dosage recommendations for Deer & Elk in various levels of confinement-from tame animals in close captivity, to wild temperament animals that are in large enclosures or free-ranging. (One drug combination or dosage does not fit all situations!)

  • Proper injection sites to ensure rapid drug absorption and effects.

  • Capture strategies to minimize capture stress on the animal, and procedural stress of the operator.

  • Drug delivery technology: Advantages and disadvantages of the various commercially available darting systems including Pneu-dart, Telinject, Daninject, Palmer, Paxarms, and Distinject. Choosing the system to best fit your needs-maximizing the utility of the dart projector/tranquilizer gun you already have.

  • Sighting Techniques in dart projectors/tranquilizer guns to ensure accurate, atraumatic dart delivery.

  • Techniques and modifications which are necessary to have field accuracy and consistent results with currently manufactured darting systems and radiotracking devices.

  • Dosage calculation

  • How to re-dose animals incompletely immobilized on approach.

  • “Superconcentrated” drugs: Where to obtain and how to use them to give you a faster knockdown, and allow you to use smaller, less traumatic darts.

  • Post Immobilization Care of Deer and Elk: Species specific tips on proper body and head position to prevent aspiration, dart removal techniques to minimize tissue trauma and techniques of wound care to decrease the chance of a dart wound abscess.

  • Medical monitoring: Assessment techniques to ensure the immobilized animal stays physiologically stable throughout the procedure. The “Vital Signs” – how to monitor and interpret temperature, pulse, heart rate, respiratory rate, capillary refill time, pulse oximetry, capnography-with checklists provided to help keep you organized and on track in the field.

  • Medical emergencies associated with capture and handling: How to prevent, recognize, and treat bloat, capture myopathy, shock, hyperthermia, hypothermia, seizures, and other complications which can be avoided and managed in association with chemical immobilization.

  • Immune suppression associated with capture and translocation.

  • When not to capture: The time of the year when Cervids and most susceptible to capture-related mortality (and it’s not rutting season).

  • Accidental human exposure to immobilizing medications: Which drugs are dangerous to humans? What can you expect with accidental human exposure? Standard Operating Procedures to prevent human exposure to immobilizing drugs. How to coordinate with your physician and local poison control to develop protocols should an accidental exposure occur.

Pearl Harbor Day: Remembering the date which will live in infamy

Pearl Harbor Day: Remembering the date which will live in infamy

Val Lauder, a former reporter for the Chicago Daily News and lecturer at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, is the author of “The Back Page: The Personal Face of History.” The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own.

(CNN)Let’s remember Pearl Harbor

As we go to meet the foe
Let’s remember Pearl Harbor
As we did the Alamo
We will always remember
How they died for liberty.
Let’s remember Pearl Harbor
And go on to victory.
— Lyrics of a song recorded by big-band leader Sammy Kaye
I remember.
It was 75 years ago. But I remember.
It was a Sunday afternoon, my senior year in high school. My parents and I gathered around the radio, an old Philco with the arched top, listening to the stunning news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Val Lauder

I think my father was listening to the radio when the station broke in with the news. My mother was probably in the kitchen after Sunday dinner. I was in my room doing homework when they called to me. What I remember — clearly, vividly, testify-to-it-in-court — is the three of us huddled around the radio, trying to take it in. The bolt-from-the-blue event, comparable in our time only to 9/11, that would change life as we knew it.
War was nothing new. But it was always somewhere else, somebody else.
I’d listened to the radio when Poland was invaded. Paris occupied. Dunkirk evacuated. Edward R. Murrow reported from London, bombs falling in the distance. Now they’d fallen on US Navy ships in a place I’d never heard of.
The next day at school we were all buzzing about it. Someone said, and everyone picked it up: “America has never lost a war.” When we walked into American history class after lunch, our teacher said, “Neither has Japan.”
It was in that history class I heard President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s address to a joint session of the US Congress when our school P.A. system piped it into classrooms. The President was asking for a declaration of war, declaring the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.”
Several years later, on a visit to Washington, I went to the National Archives. Up the marble stairway, past the framed copies of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, the walls of the second floor were covered with documents in narrow black frames. I stopped at the typed text of President Roosevelt’s speech to Congress that day. I noticed the text said “a date which will live in history.” History had been crossed out, a word penciled in above: infamy.
According to a one-page, historical footnote by former Times Executive Editor Max Frankel in The New York Times Magazine years later, President Roosevelt had dictated the speech but then felt “history” did not cover the treachery, the heinous nature of the surprise attack.
Infamy does better convey the deed, and toll.
The Japanese attack destroyed or damaged 19 US Navy ships, including eight battleships. It killed 2,403 Americans and wounded 1,178. Civilians weren’t spared, either — 68 were killed.
Not that any of these figures were released at the time — valuable intelligence for the enemy, impact on morale on the home front.
Years later, I chanced upon a fact that is the one I remember today. The seemingly small detail that lingers. A comment by the legendary Chicago Daily News foreign correspondent Robert J. Casey, whom I had the pleasure of knowing when I was at the Daily News. Casey, who had been covering the war in Europe — the Fall of France, Battle of Britain and London Blitz — had turned his professional attention to the Pacific. When he arrived in Pearl Harbor shortly before Christmas (I think I read this in a Daily News Alumni newsletter), he said the smell of burning oil and rubber was still in the air.
That Christmas, I was trying, as was everyone, to cope with the news of another loss — Wake Island, December 23. Then Manila.
The only good news for months came with the Doolittle Raid, April 18, 1942. Sixteen B-25 bombers under the command of Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle took off from the USS Hornet aircraft carrier to take the war to the Japanese, bombing Tokyo and military targets in Japan.
One hooray! yahoo! hallelujah! moment in the long dark months.
Bataan fell April 9. Corregidor May 6.
In one of those twists of fate encountered in novels rather than our own lives, the morning of February 1, 1945, when I arrived for work at the Chicago Daily News — I was a copygirl then — I was told not to go to my usual post, but to a desk where I would receive the names of the men who had just been freed from a Japanese prisoner of war camp, the men taken prisoner when Bataan and Corregidor fell. The names were being released as they were obtained and needed to be put in alphabetical order. I cut The Associated Press copy into strips and put the names in order. All morning and well into the afternoon. On my way home that night, I read The Associated Press story on the men rescued, the first glimpse of the horrors of the Bataan Death March.
When a copyboy dropped off copies of the latest edition at the city desk a few weeks later, I saw the picture of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima — page one, front and center. No missing it. News stories documented the bloody struggle. So bloody the US Marine deaths on Iwo Jima were one-third of all Marine deaths in World War II.
One day I was told to go the library — the morgue of an earlier time — to get the clips on Ernie Pyle, the beloved correspondent fatally shot in the early days of the Battle of Okinawa, “the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War.”
The war was always there.
Perhaps I remember so much because I’m part of “the greatest generation,” on the young side, granted, military service aside. Those who did serve are passing at a rate that has been the subject of a number of stories. Whether someone served on the front lines or kept the home fires burning, each passing reduces the number to remember, to talk about these things, write about them.
Without that, the events, like the memories, fade with the years, as surely as the wallpaper that gets full afternoon sun.
The song “Let’s remember Pearl Harbor” was played so often I could — fudging just a few of the lyrics — sing it for you today.
I only had to Google precise dates and the number and type of planes in the Doolittle Raid for this story.
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I’m not a military historian. I don’t bury myself in libraries, doing research on battles — air, land, or sea. But I’ve been interested in what goes on in the world since I can remember, enhanced and polished by years in the newspaper business or its environs. And, perhaps, the impact — on my world, our world — of that long ago Sunday.
December 7, 1941.
The date which will live in infamy.
The Sunday morning Japanese bombs rained down on US battleships and cruisers and destroyers. Torpedoes sped toward them. Machine-gun fire raked the decks.
The USS Arizona may be a beautiful memorial today. But 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on the USS Arizona that Sunday are entombed below its decks. And, each day, up to nine quarts of oil rise to the surface from the submerged wreckage. It is sometimes referred to as the “tears of the Arizona,” or “black tears.”

What is Exotic Wildlife Association?

What is Exotic Wildlife Association?

The EWA is a non-profit organization formed to encourage and expand the conservation of indigenous and non-indigenous hoofstock animals.


TPWD Draws Second of Three Lifetime License Winners


AUSTIN— The second winner of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Lifetime License Drawing is Stanley B. Ross, II from Ennis.

There’s still one more chance to win a $1,800 Lifetime Super Combo license this fall. The final winner will be drawn Dec. 1 and entries must be purchased by Nov. 30 to be eligible for the last drawing. Those who have already purchased entries are still eligible.

Entries for the drawing cost $5 each and may be added to yearly license purchases at retailers, by phone 1-800-895-4248 and online at is no limit on the number of entries that may be purchased.

Proceeds from entries go toward TPWD conservation efforts that will help keep hunting and fishing great in Texas.

White-tailed Deer Management

South Texas Wildlife Management

White-tailed Deer Management

white-tailed deer

When someone mentions South Texas to a hunter visions of white-tailed deer abound. The sight of a huge multi-point buck sneaking through the brush excites most hunters even on the coldest morning in the brush country. Although south Texas is considered by some as a harsh unforgiving land to it’s inhabitants, the diverse plant community provide excellent habitat for producing white-tailed deer. The philosophies and ideas of deer management have evolved dramatically in the last 20 years, and a plethora of information is available to hunters, biologist, deer enthusiasts, and many others. Deer management can be divided into two basic categories: Habitat Management (nutrition), Population Management (age, genetics, population control). The relationship, interactions and individual contributions of these elements play a key role in deer management. No one factor is responible for the production of trophy bucks or a healthy deer herd, rather a combination of all. Sound habitat management is probably the single most important factor in managing a healthy deer herd. Healthy habitat provides the ground work for good nutrition, cover from predators and hunters alike, and protection from the hot south Texas summers.

Popular African PH dies

Popular African PH dies

Photo by Lili Sams

Herman Coetzee, a professional big game hunter with ties to Texas, died suddenly in Africa this month near his home.

Coetzee, 35, was found dead Oct. 21 at Avis Dam in Klein Windhoek, Namibia. According to Namibian media reports, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound with a hunting rifle.

He was born in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, growing up in the Bushveld region. Coetzee knew his calling from an early age, according to online sources. When he was 9, Coetzee told his teacher he wanted become a big game hunter – which he did. He was a highly experienced and qualified professional, who hunted big game for nearly half his life. At 16 he completed his professional hunting course and started guiding clients on Safari in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. He worked for Thormahlen & Cochran Safaris from 2006-2012. He joined Chapungu-Kambako Safaris of Namibia in December 2014.

Anso Thormahlen said her former employee guided many successful safaris in South Africa – and had accompanied her daughter, Liane, on a leopard hunt. “It is with great sadness that we learned of the sudden passing of our former professional hunter, Herman Coetzee.”

Over the years, he touched the lives of hunters from all over the world, including Texas. David J. Sams, CEO of Lone Star Outdoor News, said Coetzee’s influenced several Texas hunters including his own daughter Lili, whom he guided on her first safari.

“He treated Lili like she was his own daughter and taught her the ways of safari hunting. He made a real hunter out of Lili on that trip. We can never forget the laughs and stories he told us. Lili looked up to him with great respect and admiration. We were truly blessed to have had Herman as our first professional hunter,” Sams said.

Coetzee is survived by his wife, Jeanetta Johnston, and a 1-year-old daughter.