AYSSP regional tournament provides some good youth shooting

<span>The Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program (AYSSP) regional trapshooting tournaments began May 2-3 at the AGFC range in Jacksonville with the North Region. Each region competes during a weekend, with the top 16 squads advancing to the state championship June 6-7.</span>

<span>The North Region Juniors’ (6-8 grades) top score was 113/125, and 16th place was 89/125. Seniors shot 50 rounds each, and had a top score of 239/250, with 16th place at 215/250. Their scores were a barometer for following weeks.</span>

<span>The Southern regional was Friday and Saturday, and the Juniors clocked a 115/125 for first place. But, the scores were higher overall, and it took 102/125 to make 16th place on Friday. The Bradley County Junior A squad shot a 96/125 which left them out of the state tourney. The same score in the North Regional would have netted them seventh place.</span>

<span>Individually, their scores were Gage Reep 17, Mason Bigham 21, Mastin Frazer 25, Davis Pennington 18 and Peyton Sisson 15. Frazer’s 25/25 wins him a berth at the state meet in the individual competition. Squad B had an overall score of 72/125, and was manned by Josh Nichols, Parker St. John, Braden Hargis, Armani Meza and Josh Peyton.</span>

<span>Things were much the same on Saturday when the Seniors took the field. A Stuttgart squad shot a 236/250 for the high mark, and Columbia Christian locked up 16th place with a 219/250. It didn’t leave much wiggle room, but the Bradley County Senior A squad shot a 223/250 to clinch 11th place.</span>

<span>The individual scores for the squad were Ty Hudson 47, Wesley Cornish 43, Peyton Hargis 48, Jason Miranda 39 and Joseph Nichols 46.  The B squad was composed of Alex Dean, Stephen McClellan, Joseph Davis, Adam Nolan, and Mark Garcia, and they shot a respectable 193 which left them at 54th place in a field of 124. They tied with Hermitage.</span>

<span>The third squad lacked a fifth man at the meet but shot in the individual competition. Their scores were Stevie Richardson 41, Ryan Haynes 38, Jordan Camp 29 and Brodey Barnett 19.</span>

<span>Other local schools in the Junior regional included Stuttgart A (ninth), Smackover (10th), Stuttgart B (13th), Hamburg (14th), Hermitage (58th) and Fordyce (62nd). The field included 107 teams. In the Senior division, local teams included Smackover (fourth), Crossett (fifth), Camden Fairview A (10th), Camden Fairview B (13th) and Sheridan (22nd).</span>

<span>The AYSSP program is free, and is open to boys and girls in grades 6-12. Sign-up begins in January each year, with the deadline of February 1.  Teams practice February through April and compete in May. The state championship is the first week of June. For more information, contact your local wildlife officer. In Bradley County, call Charles Bridwell at 870-820-2253.</span>

<span><em>Editor’s note:</em></span> <span>There were also three complete teams and one partial team from the Drew County 4H Shooting Sports Club that competed in Jacksonville. None of the teams finished in the top 16 but one senior division team did place in the top 25.</span>

<span>DC Team 1 totaled 214/250 points to finish just five points out of the top 16 in 25th place. DC Team 2 scored 196/250 points to finish in a tie for 49th and DC Team, a partial team, scored 84/250 points to finish 102nd.</span>

<span>In the junior division, Taylor  Owen (12 points), Hunter Workman (17), Ryan Workman (17) and Barrett Hunnicutt (11) scored 57/125 points, good for 81st place.</span>

<span>For more information about the Drew County 4A Shooting Club, interested shooters in grades 5-12 and/or their parents may contact coach Terry Koone at 870-723-6428 or Matt Pelkki at 870-723-3779.</span>

<strong>New Jacksonville firing range dedicated</strong>

<span>JACKSONVILLE—Official dedication ceremonies were held recently for a new state-of--the-art public shooting range in Jacksonville. Several dignitaries, including Gov. Mike Beebe, were on hand for the dedication.</span>

<span>The facility is located at 2800 Graham Road in Jacksonville. It opened in early 2014. The facility is a partnership between the the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation and the City of Jacksonville.</span>

<span>The $4 million multi-use complex is the largest of its kind in the state. It includes a 14 trap fields, three skeet overlays, three lighted fields, two pavilions, a stocked lake and a 5,100-square-foot clubhouse with classroom.</span>

<span>Future plans for this site include a 3D archery range. To schedule use of the range, the classroom or pavilions call 501-241-2441. (AGFC Press Services)</span>

<strong>Warren shooting facility coming along</strong>

<span>Work is moving quickly toward the final construction phase of the shooting facility south of Warren. The dirt work has been completed and bids have been let for some of the construction. The clubhouse, which was built on school property in front of Warren High School, is at last report on beams and ready to be moved to the shooting facility.</span>

<span>The range will have three combination trap and skeet fields, which means they can be used for either trap or skeet. For now, the range will be limited to these shotgun sports. Further expansion is possible on the 80-acre parcel.</span>

<span>At latest report, it appears the range will be complete sometime this summer if the weather holds and allows for construction. Hopefully, residents can begin using the range to get ready for dove season next fall.</span>

<span>The range will be located on Bradley County Road 38, about a mile west of U.S. Highway 63 South between Warren and Hermitage. It is a joint effort between the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the city of Warren, and will be open for public use as well as youth shooting programs.</span>

<strong>Give fish the old one-two punch</strong>

<span>Fish are picky sometimes, and it can be difficult to find just the right lure to entice them to bite. A great way to speed up the process is to offer more than one lure at a time.</span>

<span>Bass anglers keep several rods at the ready. If a fish hits and misses a lure, they’ll often pick up a rod with another type lure and toss it back to the same spot. Many times, it will get a bite. The Front Runner and similar lures are designed to be fished in tandem with topwater plugs and crankbaits. These rigs look like the lure chasing a smaller fish, and bass can’t stand it. Such a commotion triggers their predator instinct and makes them strike even if they’re not hungry.</span>

<span>Crappie anglers often divide into two groups; those who use jigs and those who fish with minnows. Some of them know that tipping a jig with a small minnow is a great way to catch more crappie. And, it’s possible to tie two or three jigs on one line, or use a two-way rig to fish two minnows at once. All are proven methods.</span>

<span>Anglers who troll for whites, hybrids and stripers can fish a variety of lures at different depths and quickly discover what works best. When fishing multiple rigs, it’s a good idea to use different lure colors and pay out more line for some lures. When one begins to get some action, it’s time to change the other lures and run similar colors on all rods.</span>

<span>If you like fly-rodding for bass or bream, you’re probably aware of how effective it can be to pair a popping bug with a dropper fly. The popper will act as a cork for the bream fly, and you’ll often catch bream on the fly and bass on the popper. It’s a great way to fish ponds in the summer, and even works on smaller streams and lakes.</span>

<span>If you really want to go nuts with multiple lures, try the umbrella rig. It features up to a dozen spinner blades or lures, and appears to be a school of bait fish swimming by. It’s great for trolling in clear, open waters, and is a favorite for stripers and hybrids.</span>

<span>We’ve come a long way from dabbling worms and grasshoppers to catch our dinner. Some say it is progress; some argue it makes fishing too complicated. The good news is that you can fish just about any way you want to here in Arkansas within reasonable limits. If you want to up your game though, try fishing two lures at a time.</span>

<strong>Conditions appear favorable for Bonanza</strong>

<span>LITTLE ROCK—Predicting conditions for a fishing competition several weeks in the future can be a lesson in futility. Still things are looking good at this point for the 2014 Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza.</span>

<span>This is the state’s most popular fishing tournament. Around 2,000 anglers, sometimes more, working the waters of the Arkansas River anywhere from the Oklahoma state line to the junction of the Mississippi River trying for the guaranteed $50,000 first prize.</span>

<span>It is an event only for amateur fishermen and likely is the largest such contest in the nation. Fishermen who compete in the professional bass circuits are not eligible.</span>

<span>In nearly three decades of the Bonanza and its predecessor, there has not been a repeat winner.</span>

<span>Last year’s champion was Jonathon Swink, 28 at the time and a resident of DeValls Bluff. He caught a 6.63-pound largemouth bass on the first morning of competition and it held up all the way.</span>

<span>Tournament dates this year are June 27-29. Entry fee is $80 per day through June 11, then it will increase by $10. Big Bass Bonanza is an undertaking of Arkansas Hospitality Association with the assistance of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. All the entry money is returned in prizes except for the costs of the tournament, and sponsors help with these expenses.</span>

<span>The river is divided into five fishing pools, and the five weigh-in sites are:</span>

<span>• Clear Creek Park, Fort Smith.</span>

<span>• Dardanelle State Park, Russellville side.</span>

<span>• Verizon Ramp, North Little Rock.</span>

<span>• Regional Park, Pine Bluff.</span>

<span>• Pendleton Bridge, east of Dumas.</span>

<span>Contestants can to fish any of the five pools and can fish different pools during the three-day event. However, all fish must be weighed in the pool in which they were caught. Eligible fish species include largemouth, smallmouth and Kentucky or spotted bass.</span>

<span>Tournament anglers may register online at www.arkansasbigbass.com. Registration information and applications are also available at fishing and outdoors shops across the state.</span>

<span>For more information about the tournament, contact the Arkansas Hospitality Association at 800-472-5022 or by e-mail at aha@arhospitality.org. (AGFC Press Services)</span>

<strong>Unattended baby deer

may not be abandoned</strong>

<span>LITTLE ROCK—It’s the time of year when many people in Arkansas are finding newborn wildlife. The state is blessed with an abundance of wildlife and their offspring. Throughout the spring and summer, it is not uncommon to come across unattended baby wild animals. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission receives many calls about abandoned animals and what to do with them.</span>

<span>Many people discover what they feel to be lost or abandoned wildlife young and take them in, thinking they are doing the right thing. This always does more harm than good, said AGFC deer biologist Ralph Meeker. “We get quite a few calls about people thinking fawns have been abandoned by their mothers. Early in life, fawns lay very still so as not to attract predators (like well-intentioned humans), and are frequently mistaken for being in distress or abandoned,” Meeker explained.</span>

<span>“More often than not, their mothers are usually within hearing or visual range,” he added. In addition to being removed from their mother’s care, many people try to care for these fawns, which is illegal under the Arkansas Game and Fish Code of Regulations as of July 1, 2012.</span>

<span>Wildlife are just that, wild. If you feel that a fawn is in immediate danger by laying in or very near a road or in the path of haying equipment, pick it up and move it over a few feet. However, you should never remove it from the immediate area. The mother will periodically check on her young. Meeker says most wild animals don’t spend very much time at their young’s side in order to not attract predators to the area. “Bottom line; just leave them alone,” he said. “Allow them to be wildlife. If you remove them from the wild they cease to be just that.” (AGFC Press Services)</span>

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