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James Drake

How important is it for you to see a label reading “Made in the USA” on something you're about to purchase?

It's a no brainer if the price is right.

Let’s say you’re about to buy a new pocket knife. You look at two similar models and one has “Made in China” stamped on the blade and the other “Made in USA.” Both cost $19.95.

I can’t imagine buying the one made in China when everything else is equal.

Surveys conducted by and recently visited this very issue. This analysis wanted to see just how much weight the “Made in USA” tag carried with sportsmen when making purchases of outdoors equipment.

Most of the respondents agreed that USA-made products were of better quality and it was important to buy them and support our home economy. However, these surveys also discovered that there is a very slim margin sportsmen are willing to pay extra for that “Made in USA” brand.

Just about 89 percent of the anglers polled said it was somewhat or very important to buy fishing tackle that is made in the United States and 94 percent of hunters agreed it was somewhat or very important to buy American-made hunting equipment. At the same time, 47 percent of those anglers and 63 percent of hunters believed that gear made in the USA is of better quality than similar products made overseas.

So, just how much more are sportsmen willing to pay to support American jobs?

If the “Made in USA” product is five percent or less in additional cost, 85 percent of anglers and 89 percent of hunters reported that they would buy the American-made product.

Five percent was about the limit and after that, the numbers in these two surveys dropped sharply. Once the USA product exceeds 20 to 30 percent in cost, only 34 percent of anglers and 36 percent of hunters said they are willing to fork over the difference.

“All things being equal, sportsmen appreciate American quality and are certainly eager to support American jobs; however, it doesn’t take much of a price difference before economic realities set in and hunters and anglers are forced to make important decisions about how much they will spend,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, the company that designs and conducts these angler/hunter surveys.

All sportsmen are encouraged to participate in these outdoors surveys at and/or to help track consumer activities and expenditure trends.

To sweeten the deal, each month participants who complete the survey are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.

‘Save the Menhaden’ shirt

Speaking of “Made in USA” products, the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland is selling high-quality, performance wear shirts and they really are made in the USA.

These shirts are constructed of 100 percent moisture-wicking mesh polyester with UPF 40 sun protection and are printed using dye sublimation, the latest in permanent printing technology.

Besides the “Save the Menhaden” shirt, designs are available for sailfish, striped bass, wahoo and even a school of tuna is depicted on one design.

For more information, go to and click on “CCA Apparel.”

These high-quality shirts retail for $34.95 and a good chunk of that goes back to the resources as a donation to CCA-Md. They are even offering free shipping until Jan. 7.

Besides the shirts, you can buy other American-made CCA apparel through CCA-Md. from mermaid decals to hoodies and hats.

Calling all artists

The 17th annual Maryland Black Bear Conservation and 39th Maryland Migratory Game Bird stamp design contests are now open and awaiting submissions.

The Migratory Game Bird Stamp contest is open to Maryland residents only but anyone can submit entries for the Black Bear Conservation stamp.

Waterfowl and wildlife artists may submit their original artwork through March 15. Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources will conduct the judging on March 24 at the Patuxent National Wildlife Visitors Center in Laurel as part of the 24th annual Patuxent Wildlife Art Show.

For the bear stamp, participants may only submit one entry along with a nonrefundable $10 entry fee.

Artists may submit up the three entries ($15 for one entry, $20 for two and $30 for three entries) in the Migratory Game Bird stamp contest.

Proceeds from the bear stamp sales are used to compensate Maryland farmers who experience agricultural damage cause by black bears. Proceeds from the bird stamp help fund waterfowl and migratory game bird projects and research.

For this 2013-14 Migratory Game Bird Stamp contest, species depicted on the artwork may not be Hooded Merganser, Canada Goose or American Wigeon.

To see all the contest rules, judging guidelines and entry requirements, go to and type “2013-2014 stamp contest” into the search box.

Active volcanoes

Thinking about the lower 48 plus Alaska and Hawaii, how many potentially active or currently active volcanoes do you think there are in the United States? 169, 269, 369 or 1,169?

The correct answer is 169 and many of these looming mountain bombs could erupt at any time.

The good news is that the United States Geological Survey is actively looking for signs of unrest before they erupt. Changes in gas emissions, swelling of a volcano and swarms of small earthquakes are sure signs that a mountain is awakening.

The USGS has equipment in place to detect these signs of instability at the earliest stages and will issue warnings to prevent episodes of volcanic activity from becoming volcanic disasters.

Lastly, I only have four words to say: Hail to the Redskins.