Hypocrisy of PETA Currently On Trial

I hate PETA.   In the past I have made my sentiments about this group perfectly clear…in my opinion this money-hungry group is one of the top enemies not only to the sportsman, but also to ranchers and to medical researchers.   The very nature of the group promoting itself as a non-profit entity looking out for the welfare of those creatures without a voice is pure rubbish.   In fact, maybe it’s time the actions of this group will finally lead to a public condemnation…but it won’t happen unless the sportsman community knows about it and spreads the word better.

PetaboxYou see this tackle box right here.   It is filled with euthanizing drugs that two employees of PETA allegedly used to kill dozens of stray pets.   That’s right.   The organization that purports itself to be the champion of God’s creatures that do not have a voice or rights…well, apparently they killed several of those precious creatures and are now ironically on trial for cruelty (among other charges).   Animal control shelters actually turned stray pets over to the PETA employees thinking the animals would find a home thanks to PETA’s efforts.   They were mistaken.

The pets found a home alright.   How about a final resting place in some dumpster behind a North Carolina grocery store.   The store reported the regular occurrence of the dead animals showing up in the bin, so when the police staked out the scene eventually the killers showed up driving a white PETA-owned van with enough evidence possibly to convict the accused of a felony crime in North Carolina.

The trial is currently underway for the fourth day.   If you are interested in the happenings you can Google “PETA trial” or follow the happenings at http://www.petakillsanimals.com/ where you will see a daily complete rundown of trial happenings.

This could become a major public relations nightmare for PETA, but I fear the general public is not being made aware of this news.   Here is one of the wealthiest groups of its kind on trial for a flawed philosophy that is only good on paper, and not in practice.   It’s not just the actions of these two employees who are on trial…it is the credibility and the public perception of the group they represent that really should take a major hit in the public’s eye.

Pet owners especially should be turned off to the actions of this organization.   Under the guise of doing what’s right to find animals a new home…instead the two employees apparently operated a rolling slaughterhouse from the back of their van.   And as if that wasn’t bad enough, they were so brazen to believe they could get away with dumping the animals in some trash bin behind a store.

No, sportsmen need to sit up and take a keen interest in what is currently happening with this trial.   We need to spread the word about this event so it does not continue to occur under the news radar.   If it was a conservation organization instead on trial for its wildly hypocritic actions the group would soon be dead in the water…as it should be.   But I fear that won’t necessarily be the case with PETA no matter how this trial ends up.

If you surf to PETA’s website don’t expect to read anything newsworthy about the ongoing trial.   Not a word neither supporting or denouncing the actions of its employees.   You see…PETA just doesn’t seem to operate that way.   This group doesn’t care to be burdened by recognizing the realm of reality.   And as the trial heats up in the days to come…what’s at stake here is not two rogue employees so condemned by the organization’s leadership.   Nope, it’s about an organization that time and facts will likely prove can’t even live up to its own principles or name.

© 2007 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Allowed Without Prior Permission.

Podcasting About The Outdoors…Taking It To The Next Level

In case you’re wondering why blogging has been a little sporadic as of late, it’s partly due to time being spent gearing up and getting ready to do some serious podcasting here this coming spring.   Right now the equipment is finally in-house and the studio is…well, coming together with a little bit of effort.   Fact is setting up the studio and learning about the proper use of all the equipment is taking a considerable amount of my spare time…but hopefully in the end it will be well worth it.

There are many ways to become a podcaster.   As Rich Lindgren recently pointed out to me in an e-mail there are services such as BlogTalkRadio that requires nothing more than a telephone to produce a podcast.   In fact, another very popular service is www.Audioblog.com where a person uses the telephone instead of a microphone.   A lot of successful folks produce their shows in this manner and do a fabulous job.

The next step up is to get some sort of a microphone for the computer.   Here again, a number of successful podcasters get a good USB mic such as Samson C01U USB mic that is basically a plug and play mic into the computer.   Pull the mic out of the package, plug it into the computer, and within minutes a person is ready to do some serious recording.   Download a free audio editing program such as Audacity and you’re in business having invested only a small amount of money into fairly easy to operate equipment.

Then, of course, there’s podcasting by taking the next step using broadcast quality mics, professional mixing equipment using pre-amps, compressors, equalizers, telephone interface equipment all channeled into a computer via fire-wire for post-production processing.   In most cases this process is merely a scaled down version of the very same broadcast equipment a person would find at a local radio station studio.   The quality is superb and very professional sounding, but I dare say the learning curve, not only in connecting all the necessary wires and cables, but also in setting the proper levels on all the controls is almost overwhelming for this novice.   Yet, just like that wily old buck that teases and taunts you all summer…the challenge lying ahead can be invigorating for both the mind and the spirit.

That brings me to a point where I want to involve you…the Sportsman’s Blog reader.   In your opinion what makes an interesting podcast?   Your input is not only welcomed, but strongly encouraged.   Over the next several weeks I will be practicing with and tuning up this equipment for an early March ‘07 re-launch of my podcast.   Yes, it is a re-launch because last year my podcasting effort fizzled out after just a few episodes.

This time around I plan to do things a bit different.   How so, you might ask?   Well, the plan is EVERY show will feature an interview with some expert in the outdoors industry.   Not only do I think the interview format makes things more interesting for the listeners, but it actually makes things more fun for the podcaster, as well.   I’m not knocking those podcasters who show after show do nothing but preach…but let’s face it, eventually that format gets a little boring.

So, starting hopefully in early March when I begin podcasting in earnest once again, expect to hear lots of short interviews (20 to 30 minutes in length) with the movers and shakers of this outdoors industry.   If you have an idea as to who might make an interesting interview…drop me a line and let me know.   I’ll try my best to line it up.   I want to keep things diverse covering lots of varied topics…yet I also want to keep the subject matter timely as to what is currently happening in the outdoors.

My goal is to upload a new podcast episode each week…but that will depend on how much free time I have to produce the show throughout the year.   Again, now is a critical time for your input in terms of how I am developing the show.   If you have ideas and care to share them…please do so.   The purpose of podcasting is to enhance the blogging effort, not to replace it.   I really think the new interview format will end up working out quite well…I know I am anxious to get going, I just hope you are likewise a bit anxious to hear the finished result of my most recent audio blogging efforts.

© 2007 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Allowed Without Prior Permission.

SHOT Show 2007 New Product Picks

Okay, first off let’s get something perfectly clear.   I’ve learned that new products promoted as such at the SHOT Show are not necessarily “unveiled” at the show…at least not in all instances.   Take, for instance, the new T/C Icon Rifle being promoted as new for 2007.   By all appearances at the show one would think this gun was first being introduced at SHOT, but not so fast.   The cover story on the latest Guns and Ammo Magazine already had the full story.   In fact, the magazine had a feature on most of the new guns at SHOT.

So, with that said…if one of my picks happens to be a new product that you have already seen in the press (or possibly in the stores, my apology).   These days the line of what’s new and when it is promoted as being introduced is not always so clear.   Okay, on to the picks:

Garminastro1.  Garmin Astro (GPS-enabled dog tracking system for hunters).   Basically it works like this…you have a hand-held GPS unit and your dog(s) wears a transmitter collar.   This nifty little device allows you to log your position on a map as well as the course your dogs took through the cover.   Two main advantages I see with this device.   First, by checking the “bread crumb trail” on the mapping screen you can easily tell if there was perhaps some cover that did not get proper attention on the initial sweep through.   This might allow a hunter to re-group and go back for a second pass hitting these “overlooked” spots.   The other big benefit is the security of never having a lost dog again.   At a somewhat hefty price tag, this new gadget lets you keep better control of your most important four-legged hunting partners.   Check it out…go to the Garmin website and enter the contest as they are giving away a FREE unit.

2.  Bushnell Onix400 NavSystem (Hand-held GPS).   Okay, I know what you are probably thinking…another GPS!   Yea, but this one is so different it deserves mention.   Not only does this unit offer full color mapping, but it also integrates by georeferencing satellite photography.   Now as you walk along you can actually watch the “bread crumb trail” move across a photo rather than just a bland old featureless map screen.   This unit has so many options it will boggle your mind.   And just when you think it does enough, you then learn that this hand-held unit also has XM Satellite Radio, including live weather information plus weather mapping.   Get bored with the weather…then check out the sports scoreboard.   Just one word of caution on this device.   In talking to the reps from Bushnell, I really got the sense that this product development is so fast moving they don’t have all the bugs worked out quite yet.   At the very least, I don’t think they have thought through just how many of these features would actually be useful to the sportsman.   My suggestion…hold off on buying this technology a bit longer.   I think there will be many big changes coming in the next year or two once they have their products refined just a bit more.   In the meantime, isn’t it interesting to see just how much we can do in the palm of our hand?   Imagine what it might be like even a decade from now.   By the way…don’t expect to read about this unit on Bushnell’s website quite yet.   As of this writing it is still not being promoted directly to the public.

Magellancrossover3.  Magellan Crossover GPS (Car-Boat-Trail).   One last GPS unit to review…and this one I actually have on order because I was so impressed with it.   This unit has all the features of the auto navigation (for use in the truck) as well as the portability to unplug and take out on the trail (as a standard hand-held GPS) with the option of buying a memory chip that includes lake maps for use on the water.   Essentially the “crossover” aspect of this device means one unit does it all with no longer the need for three separate devices.   “Crossover” seemed to be a catchy new buzzword at SHOT ‘07 and I think many product developers are recognizing the consumer sales benefits of making one single device serve multiple purposes.

4.  Hunter’s Golden Retriever  (Retrieves dropped gear from a treestand).   Yes, I know…this is sort of a gadgetry item, but this sort of ingenuity is what I miss seeing more of at the SHOT Show.   A simple device designed to take care of a simple problem.   I guess if you are one prone to have the “dropsies” when you are out sitting in the tree stand, now you have something else to carry in your pack.   Heck, if the deer hunting action is terribly slow…you might even want to drop your hat on purpose just to play with this nifty device.   A hunting essential…absolutely not.   A novelty item of some value, sure…you bet!

5.  Bluestar USA (Blood finding agent).   Mix two tablets in water and place in a squirt bottle.   Viola!   You have yourself a blood trail finding chemical agent that is purported to be formulated after those used by forensic investigators at crime scenes.   Check it out.

WeberCamo6.  Women’s Camo.   Let’s face it…women are one of the fastest growing segments of the outdoors market and the product developers are recognizing it.   Check out these new hunting clothing suppliers made exclusively for the feminine sportsman:  SHE Safari, Girlie Gear Camo (no website), High Maintenance Camo, Foxy Huntress, Weber’s Camo Leather (for after the hunt—if you catch my drift.   Look in the “wilderness dreams” section of the product listing).   I expect the womens outdoor clothing market to continue to grow each year (maybe even at a faster pace then the men’s clothing).

7.  Timney Triggers.   Has a new replacement trigger for AR-15 owners that offers the feel of a quality bolt action rifle.   It’s said to take only a few minutes to replace the existing trigger with this new version.

8.  Ded Nutz One Piece Scope Mount.   Put an end to misaligned rings and scope mounts.   This one piece solid aluminum construction is said to offer one of the most secure and stable scope mounting systems on the market.   A bit pricey, but check it out.


9.  CVA Muzzleloaders unveils the first electronic ignition muzzleloader fired by a common 9 volt battery.   Oh, I can already hear the upheaval from the traditional smokepole shooters on this one.

10.  Diaphresh (turkey mouth call storage and cleaning container).   A nifty little designed container promoted to keep your mouth blown game calls clean and fresh between use.

Alright, please understand there were lots of other noteworthy products that perhaps ought to have been included in my list.   I just picked out several that caught my eye as I was walking the show.   You know, sometimes going to SHOT isn’t always just about product, but also learning how certain companies have aligned themselves with other companies.   For instance, T/C being purchased by Smith and Wesson.   These buy-outs or company alliances are often in the works long before the SHOT Show, but the news finally gains notable attention during the show.

If anyone who attended SHOT ‘07 recognizes some important products that I overlooked that you feel are worthy of mentioning (and I’m sure there are hundreds of potential such items)…please leave a comment (below).   Likewise, if you wonder about some new outdoors item…leave a comment about that, as well.   Maybe someone will have the answer.

In conclusion, of all the new items I witnessed there is only one I plan on purchasing (the Magellan Crossover GPS) as a result of seeing it at the show.   You know, and that’s the great thing about SHOT,…everyone who attends has their own unique interest and product niche, so perhaps no two people will be excited about the very same products.   Yes, for those who know me I tend to be a “gadget boy” and I like electronics…hence, the heavy emphasis on GPS in my product rundown.   Others might focus more strictly on shotguns or perhaps camo clothing.   I guess no matter what your current interest is in the outdoors…the annual SHOT Show is definitely big enough to scratch that perennial itch for new gear many of us sportsmen seem to have.

© 2007 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Allowed Without Prior Permission.