Willow Beach to benefit from new pier

Anglers who fish at Willow Beach soon will have a new fishing pier that will give them a chance to reach fish that congregate a little farther off shore than the average guy can cast his bait. Those fishermen who long have yearned to fish from the nearby boat docks will have a floating platform from which to do so.

It’s against the law to fish in a marina or from a boat dock because monofilament line left behind by thoughtless anglers can be the death of a boat’s lower unit. Whether the new fishing pier will enhance an angler’s catching ability remains to be seen. But if the popularity of the Hemenway Fishing Pier at Lake Mead is any indication, the Willow Beach version is bound to be a popular destination for Southern Nevada fishing enthusiasts.

Lake Mead National Park superintendent Bill Dickinson said, “We are grateful for the assistance the state of Arizona has provided to help improve public fishing facilities on Lake Mohave.”

The $826,000 project is funded in part with a grant from the Arizona State Lake Improvement Fund (SLIF) that, together with other sources, provided about $625,000. Arizona’s legislature created the SLIF in 1960 as a means to help local governments and state agencies fund projects on waterways within the state on which powerboats are permitted to operate. Money for the SLIF comes from a percentage of the state’s motor vehicle fuel tax revenues attributed to watercraft, a percentage of the taxes boat owners pay the state when they register their vessels and from the interest earned by the fund each year.

ELECTRIC HUNTING VEHICLE — With the attention on rising fuel costs, it was only a matter of time before some entrepreneurial type developed an electric vehicle with hunters in mind.

Ruff & Tuff Electric Vehicles (RTEV), a company based in South Carolina’s whitetail deer country, just stepped into that arena by launching what it calls “the first-ever single-motor, 4-wheel drive electric hunting vehicle.”

At first glance, the vehicle looks like little more than a camouflage golf cart on steroids, but the folks at RTEV claim it is “ready to tackle hillsides with up to 1,000 pounds of people and equipment on board.” I guess the question is: Can it deliver in the field?

The vehicle is available in two models, one for two passengers and one for four. Each model is powered by a 14-horsepower, 48-volt electric motor that delivers an estimated range of 30 to 50 miles on a full charge.

As you might suspect, the actual range is dependent upon how you drive, where you drive and how heavy your payload is. It also depends on which of two available battery configurations the buyer selects when ordering.

Both models come with independent front suspension and leaf springs in the rear. Their payload capacity is 1,000 pounds. A cabin-mounted gun rack is standard equipment, as are cup holders and a locking glove box.

Beyond that, buyers can select from a long list of bolt-on options to give their new hunting vehicle a more rugged look and perhaps increased functionality. Optional equipment items include a 2,000-pound front-mounted winch, brush guard, utility box and a convertible rear seat that changes into a cargo carrier.

Having watched hundreds of unwitting road hunters scare away game with their four-wheelers and pickups, I am intrigued by the possibilities of an electric hunting rig. My biggest concern for Western hunters is whether the estimated travel range is sufficient and if the vehicles are sturdy enough to withstand the punishment the outdoors can dish out.

BIGHORN BANQUET — The Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn will have its annual banquet at the South Point on July 12. Doors will open at 5 p.m., dinner is at 7 and the auction thereafter. The door prize this year is a Swarovski ATS HD 65 spotting scope. For tickets and information, call Paul Harris at 596-6849 or Cindy Alexander at 367-8227.

All money raised will be invested in Southern Nevada’s wildlife through completion of on-the-ground conservation projects. The organization has no paid staff.

Doug Nielsen is an award-winning freelance writer and a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His column is published Thursday. He can be reached at doug@takinitoutside.com.

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