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  • October 31, 2007

    Mexican Eatery Cited for Dead Deer in Kitchen-7


    Forget all the clichés and jokes you’ve heard about the meat served at some restaurants specializing in certain types of exotic cuisine.

    A Mexican food establishment located in Greencastle, Indiana was closed for two days last week after health officials said a deer carcass was discovered in the process of being butchered in the kitchen there.

    And it gets better.

    According to a report in the Greencastle Banner-Graphic, employees of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division allegedly delivered the deer, a victim of a run-in with a motor vehicle, to the back door of the restaurant.

    I ask you, fine readers of the Outdoor Newshound, where else are you going to find stories like this???

    Inspectors from the Indiana Board of Health went to the La Charreada Mexican Restaurant Wednesday afternoon after they received a complaint about the carcass from an electrician who happened to be in the kitchen when it was carried in the back door.

    When the inspectors arrived, they reportedly found an employee butchering the deer on the floor of the kitchen, and large pieces of meat had been cut from the carcass, said Environmental Health Specialist Darrell Brackney.

    Brackney stressed there was no indication that employees or the restaurant intended to serve deer meat to customers—or that it had ever done so in the past.

    The newspaper reported that Socrates Montano, a district manager and member of the family that owns 32 Mexican restaurants in Indiana and Arkansas, said the employees who were responsible for bringing the deer into the restaurant have been fired. He denied that the employees butchered the deer in the kitchen.

    The restaurant manager told the local newspaper that DNR officers acquainted with the employee brought the road-killed deer to the restaurant at the employee’s request.

    Putnam County health inspectors cited the restaurant for a “gross unsanitary occurrence and condition,” according to the inspection report.

    The kitchen was thoroughly cleaned and the restaurant re-opened for business Friday evening.

    Rumors of new menu items, like Backstrap Con Queso, or Red Chile Venison Echiladas, were unfounded.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 30, 2007

    A Trailcam Sham-2


    Here’s a story that seems appropriate for Halloween Eve. A Pennsylvania hunter’s fuzzy, black and white digital images captured on his trail camera last week have the Internet and other folks with more idle time than common sense buzzing with the notion that Sasquatch has taken up residency in the Allegheny National Forest.

    The only more appropriate time for a story like this to make the news would be on April Fool’s Day.

    We all know that new digital technology has made pre-scouting with trail cameras a viable and legitimate part of the modern hunting scene. Trailcams can also assist biologists and state game agencies with valuable data about the movements and location of specific species.

    A good example is the story about the Minnesota hunter whose trailcam recorded an excellent shot of a mountain lion last month—and reported here on the Outdoor Newshound. That hunter definitely deserves credit for not only providing a great photo to science, but for doing the right thing and working with his state agency.

    Which brings us to the trailcam joker in Pennsylvania, whose name I won’t even mention, as he’s already achieved far more than his 15 minutes of fame for this bogus story.

    Despite the fact that experts from the Pennsylvania Game Commission have unequivocally identified the low-quality digital image as a young black bear suffering from a severe case of the mange, this yahoo went directly to the Bigfoot Research Organization, the group that pursues reports of a creature that has never been captured or legitimized through science.

    Not surprisingly, the organization has said the animal in the trailcam photo is “a juvenile Sasquatch.”

    Yeah, right.

    If you’d like to read more on the story and see the photograph in question appearing in the Bradford Era newspaper, here’s the link. (I won’t post it because the trailcam owner has plastered his name and copyright on it.)

    And beware of mangy bears while you’re trick-or-treating.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 30, 2007

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-0


    “Great bird dogs are more than game finders. They are the alibis we need to flee our domesticated lives for a few moments of sanity in the marshes, fields, and woods. A good bird dog also travels well. That means he doesn’t mind long sojourns in a pickup, and he knows how to peek around corners and run for the door when sneaking him into a roadside motel in bird country.”

    -Chris Dorsey
    “Exclamation Points”
    From the anthology: A Breed Apart--A Tribute to the Hunting Dogs That Own Our Souls, 1993

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 26, 2007

    Thieves Swipe Wilderness Hunting Camp-4


    Gunnison, Colorado hunter James Perkins is still scratching his head. He can’t figure out why someone stole the entire set-up hunting camp he packed into the Uncompahgre Wilderness with the help of five horses last week.

    And not only why, he wonders just how the heck they pulled it off.

    (Sounds to me like we’ve got some new qualifiers for the Outdoor Newshound’s Scum-Sucking Bottom-Feeder Award.)

    So far there are no leads in the disappearance of a 17-by 20-foot wall tent, outfitter’s stove, five cots, five lanterns, five sleeping bags, two folding chairs and a hatchet from a location accessible only by foot or horseback, Gunnison County Undersheriff Rick Besecker told the Grand Junction Sentinel.

    Two days after packing the camp into the remote location south of Silver Jack Reservoir, Perkins returned to the spot, accompanied by his son, James, Jr. At first the younger Perkins thought his dad had mistakenly led him to the wrong location.

    “He thought maybe the tent fell down but all that was left was two pieces of rope,” his mother, Mary Perkins, told the Grand Junction paper.

    Meanwhile, the sheriff’s department can only hope someone who saw the culprits hauling out the Perkins’ camp will come forward with information.

    “My question would be what would they have on hand to enable them to bring the camp back out?” Undersheriff Besecker wondered.

    But Mrs. Perkins is not very optimistic the lowlifes will be apprehended or punished, at least not in this lifetime.

    “We’ll probably never get it all back, but God will take care of them,” she said.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 26, 2007

    Elk Hunter Drops Charging Grizzly at 8 Yards-2


    A Montana man hunting elk this week killed a charging sow grizzly bear that had closed to a distance of eight yards with a single, well-placed shot from his .30-06 rifle.

    The incident was the latest in a spate of grizzly/hunter encounters in Montana this fall.

    Carl Haggar, 54, of East Glacier, Mont., has no doubt in his mind that his one rifle shot saved his life.

    “This was the angriest bear I’ve ever encountered, so I knew I was in deep trouble,” Haggar told the Great Falls Tribune.

    The hunter said he stumbled upon the grizzly when he surprised it and a single cub near a gutpile in a ravine located in the Lewis and Clark National Forest.

    With the bear about 20 feet away, Haggar told the Great Falls paper he began slowly backing up with his gun in both hands across his chest. He shouted “whoa!” a few times in a deep voice. The bear paused, but Haggar tripped and fell to the ground as he was backing up.

    The bear, head down, resumed its charge.

    Pardon the cliché, folks, but it sure sounds like “do or die” time to the old Newshound.

    From the ground, Haggar pulled his rifle up with his right arm—while bracing himself with his left—and fired from about mid-thigh, hitting the charging bruin just above its left eye. The bear dropped immediately.

    “It was an amazing sound,” said Haggar, recalling the bear’s heavy collapse, “because it was a lifeless sound.”

    Outdoor Newshound regulars will likely remember the incident a couple of weeks ago when Montana bowhunter Roman Morris was injured by an attacking grizzly. Last week, a grizzly seriously injured pheasant hunter Brian Grand of Stevensville, Mont.

    Wildlife managers say the latest incident brings the number of grizzlies killed by trains, cars, hunters and bear managers in northwest Montana to 23 this year, nine shy of the record.

    In Haggar’s case, the state has already ruled the killing was justified.

    And you can bet there’s a Montana elk hunter who will never forget one shot he took with his .30-06.

    “I would have been killed if I hadn’t had a killing blow,” said Haggar.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 25, 2007

    Still on the Mark-0


    Here’s one for all you hardcore outdoors folks who’ve been up and down the trail a few times. Name the hunter, angler and outdoor magazine writer who’s been quietly educating Americans about wildlife, conservation and outdoor ethics for more than 60 years.

    Give up?

    Here’s a hint: Check your Sunday newspaper's comics section.Mark_trail_outdoor_tips

    Since 1946, the soft-spoken, square-jawed veteran outdoorsman Mark Trail has been teaching us about wildlands conservation and game species management through his weekly appearances on the comic strip pages of American newspapers. Created by Ed Dodd in 1946 and drawn by Jack Elrod since 1978, today Mark Trail continues to appear in more than 100 U.S. newspapers.

    In the comic strip, Mark Trail lives in a house in Lost Forest with his wife, Cherry; Rusty, their adopted son; and Cherry’s father, Doc. These days he typically spends his time tracking and smacking around poachers, drug smugglers and other ne’er-do-wells who pass through Lost Forest.

    This week, Elrod, 83, will be honored with the Outstanding Forestry Journalism Award from the Society of American Foresters during the organization’s national convention in Portland, Ore. It will be added to the long list of awards presented to Elrod and his cartoon alter ego.

    Elrod was honored in 1988 by President Reagan for his efforts to develop pride in America. The cartoonist has also produced a variety of educational materials for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition, Mark Trail is the official spokescharacter for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), making him the voice of the National Weather Service and NOAA Weather Radio.

    If, like me, you grew up learning to appreciate woodsmanship and conservation from Mr. Trail via the funnypages, I’ll bet you didn’t know the comic strip has an Outdoor Life connection.

    Indeed, Dodd said his character of Mark Trail—originally appearing as a magazine writer and photographer--was loosely based on his association with one-time forest ranger Charles N. Elliot (1906-2000), who served as Outdoor Life’s editor from 1956 to 1974.

    Though he’s apparently no longer writing and taking photos, most recently Mark Trail urges readers to “reduce carelessness and abusive activity such as littering, vandalism and theft, and wildlife poaching.”

    Some major newspapers have seen fit to cancel the admittedly slow-moving relic of a comic strip in recent years. Often, those papers find themselves besieged by vociferous members of the Mark Trail Fan Club, who refer to themselves as “Trailheads.”

    The Trailheads don’t have an annual meeting or Web site, but they do have song. Here’s a verse:

    “He can walk into the bushes and bring back lunch
    He can knock out all the bad guys with just one punch
    If you've got evil intentions, then you'd better beware
    'Cause he can tell that you're a bad guy by your facial hair!”

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 24, 2007

    West Virginia: Number One, With a Bumper-4


    Where do drivers have the highest odds of hitting a deer with their vehicles? According to data released today by the State Farm Insurance Company, it’s West Virginia, where a driver’s chances of hitting a whitetail in the next 12 months are one in 57.

    According to the company’s deer claims data from the last half of 2006 and the first half of 2007, combined with state motor vehicle registration numbers from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm confirms that The Mountain State is number one—with a bumper!


    Coming in at number two is Michigan, where the likelihood of a specific vehicle striking a deer in next year is 1 in 86. Rounding out the top five are Wisconsin at 1 in 99; Pennsylvania with 1 in 100; and Iowa, 1 in 109.

    The bottom half of the top ten consists of Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota.

    The state where motorists are least likely to smack a deer is Hawaii.

    On the accompanying map, high-risk states are colored red, medium risk states are yellow, and low-risk states are green.

    If you think like a racing handicapper, State Farm notes that West Virginia’s 1-in-57 odds are nearly three times higher than your possibility of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service in 2008, and 5,000 times higher than your likelihood of being struck by lightning in the next 12 months.

    Further, the insurance company’s data shows the total number of deer-vehicle collisions in the U.S. has increased 6.3 percent in the last year. The average property damage cost of these incidents was just under $2,900, up 3 percent from a year ago.

    According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are approximately 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions annually, causing more than 150 fatalities and $1.1 billion in property damage.

    To see where your state ranks, follow this link to the complete state-by-state listing.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 23, 2007

    Roadkill Doesn’t Qualify for Earn-A-Buck-1


    The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is reporting that some deer hunters are apparently playing loose with the state’s “earn-a-buck” program rules in order to acquire a tag allowing them to shoot a whitetail buck.

    And they’re using road-killed does to facilitate their deceitful act.

    Just a few days ago the Newshound informed readers about some Idaho anglers who are apparently cheating in a “fish-for-cash” scheme. Now, it’s hunters bending the rules in Wisconsin.

    For the past several hunting seasons, the Wisconsin DNR has operated a hunter incentive program aimed at reducing excessive whitetail doe populations in certain regions of the state. In selected units, a hunter must first shoot and check-in a doe in order to qualify for a buck tag.

    Tags are issued directly to the qualifying hunter at the state-authorized deer-registration stations. Hunters who shot and checked a single doe in 2006 automatically qualify for a buck sticker in 2007.

    On paper, the earn-a-buck (EAB) program sounds like a sure winner, right?

    Well, the DNR evidently received reports from some of the state’s deer registries that they have seen a few does brought in that appear like they’ve received more than a broadhead to the brisket, let’s say.

    This year, as part of its training program, the DNR is instructing registry staff to be on the lookout for “damaged does,” or female deer that have likely met their demise from a run-in with an Accura rather than with an arrow.

    “Hunters have been out in force, particularly in earn-a-buck units taking antlerless deer in order to qualify for buck stickers,” says DNR warden supervisor George Protogere.

    But, Protogere warns, it’s strictly illegal to substitute roadkill for a hunted doe. Doing so can result in a fine and revocation of hunting privileges.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 22, 2007

    One Big Dam Builder-6


    Dan Siudut, a trapper from Brentwood, New Hampshire, has captured hundreds of nuisance animals as a licensed wildlife control business proprietor, but even the experienced critter-catcher was in awe when he nabbed a beaver built like an NFL linebacker last week.

    In fact, he caught a pair of enormous tree-chewing dam-builders with a combined weight of 153 pounds!Beaver

    In responding to a call to remove beavers that kept chewing through a woman’s electric fence around a backyard pond, Siudut used submerged, conibear-type traps to catch 93-pound and 60-pound buck-toothed mammals.

    That's right--93 pounds!

    We can only imagine the two of them swimming together caused a wake like a river barge. (Photo by Eric Parry, North Andover Eagle-Tribune)

    The trapper didn’t know offhand if he’d caught a record animal approaching the 100-pound mark, but he knew it was one humongous Castor Canadensis.

    “It’s just obnoxious how funny and huge this thing is,” Siudut told reporter Eric Parry, writing for the North Andover (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune. “I didn’t even charge the woman for these because they’re so big.”

    The professional trapper said he normally charges $50 for his services, sometimes more for coyote and fox.

    The New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game doesn’t keep statistics on such things, but retired biologist Eric Orff didn’t know of a larger beaver caught in the Granite State.

    “That’s far bigger than anything I’ve ever heard of,” said Orff, who headed the agency’s hunting and trapping department for 30 years before stepping down in June.

    A quick Web search revealed that the average beaver weight is 35-45 pounds, though 60 pounds “is not uncommon.”

    A beaver trapped in Wyoming in 1938 is considered the largest caught in North America. It weighed 115 pounds.

    Doubtless, Siudut can be credited with catching one bruiser of a beaver.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 22, 2007

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-0


    “You probably don’t even know the bluegill’s Latin name, which is Lepomis macrochrisus. I don’t care what its Latin name is either, but I quote it to shame those who can Latinize a whole batch of trout-stream flies but feel a bluegill is beneath their dignity.”
    -Charley Waterman
    “Panfish Get No Respect”
    Ridge Runners and Swamp Rats, 1983

    [ Read Full Post ]
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