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  • November 27, 2007

    Here’s to Pete, Our Best Fishing Chum-2


    An ailing British angling champion and sportswriter who doesn’t have long to live wants his remains mixed with fish attractant so his angling buddies can pay their last respects by hooking carp with their old chum.

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.


    Pete Hodge says his last will and testament contains strict instructions about what is to be done with his body following his death. He wants his remains (cremated remains, we assume) to be added with groundbait, a popular chum used for coarse-fishing, and then scattered freely in his favorite fishing waters so his friends can have a fine day of carp angling—on Pete.

    The 61-year-old angler, who is suffering from Motor Neurone Disease, has won hundreds of angling competitions in the greater London area and has held the title of National Champion. He continues to write a fishing column for Bridgwater Mercury, despite being unable to enunciate words because of the effects of the debilitating disease.

    In his column dated November 2, Hodge writes that friends and colleagues may write him at a hospice located in Puriton, UK.

    “As for my own health, I can’t speak now, only baby talk,” wrote Hodge. “But through my articles in the Mercury, I can talk to my rugby, soccer, fishing and skittles friends, everyone I miss. It is my only communication.”

    In an article about his peculiar last wishes appearing in The Sun of London last month, Hodge was quoted saying that he wanted his many fishing friends to help celebrate his life by doing something that brought him great joy—catching fish.

    “It may sound strange,” he told The Sun, “but this is my dream. I hope my friends make me proud with their catches.”

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 26, 2007

    Idaho Sting Nets Would-be Poachers-1


    The Outdoor Newshound has offered evidence in the past that game law violators aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, but a story out of Idaho only reinforces the premise that poachers are basically, well--numbskulls.

    And above all, one should never, ever confuse them with hunters and sportsmen.

    Chances are you’ve read reports about how various state game agencies occasionally place game animal decoys in strategic woodland locations to see if potential lawbreakers will take the bait and show their disrespect and negligence of game and hunting regulations. Some agencies regularly utilize elaborate, remote-controlled robotic deer for stakeouts in areas where poaching and illegal spotlighting is suspected.

    If they’re lucky, agency law enforcement officers will catch the game thieves in the act of committing a violation, and obtain ample eyewitness evidence to bring charges against the bums.


    Well, in the past couple of weeks, agents with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game got more than they bargained for in a sting operation near Coeur d’Alene. There, game and forest service authorities used an immobile, life-sized bull elk decoy to nab 15 would-be poachers and write citations for 20 violations.

    The first two-day operation on Nov. 10 and 11 netted eight poachers, with an encore performance the following week catching seven more.

    You’d think word would have gotten around after the first eight ne’er-do-wells were collared. (Further proof we’re not dealing with rocket scientists here, folks.)

    Violations included attempting to take wildlife out of season, shooting from a vehicle, shooting from a road, aiding and abetting a minor, and alcohol possession.

    Regional IFG enforcement officer Craig Walker told the Coeur d’Alene Press some of those arrested in this month’s operations exhibited dogged determination while committing their particular infraction.

    “I witnessed people shoot four to five times at an animal that’s not moving,” he said. “They typically respond by trying to reload and shoot again.”

    IFG spokesman Chip Corsi said the agency would likely keep repeating the operation as long as the local supply of wildlife scofflaws continues to provide work for the court system.

    “(It caught) more people than we were thinking it would,” Corsi said. “It’s remarkable.”

    Remarkable—in a disgusting kind of way.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 26, 2007

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-1


    "Never knew a man not to be improved by a dog."
    -Robert Ruark
    Something of Value, 1955

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 22, 2007

    Huck & Chuck-3


    Regular visitors to the Outdoor Life Web site have likely viewed the feature posted earlier this week that highlights “The Outdoor Life 25:” individuals who have made a major contribution to hunting, angling, conservation and the shooting sports.

    I had the opportunity to write and research the OL 25 profiles (half of them, actually), along with my longtime friend (and turkey-hunting buddy), Brian McCombie.

    If you haven’t read about these outstanding and influential individuals, be sure to do so and to vote for your favorite.

    One of the OL 25 who has received some coverage from the mainstream media for his inclusion in this elite group is GOP Presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee.

    In the clip included here, Huckabee receives an endorsement from tough-guy icon Chuck Norris. Actually, I'm not really sure who's endorsing whom--but's it's great fun.

    Enjoy, and have a great holiday!

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 20, 2007

    Hunters: Law Enforcement’s Eyes in the Woods-1


    You might be surprised to learn that more and more police and sheriff’s departments across the country anticipate the discovery of critical new evidence in unsolved criminal cases as millions of hunters head to the fields and forests every fall.

    That’s because law enforcement is learning to depend on outdoorsmen as their eyes in the backwoods, and more and more hunters are coming forward to report finding human remains and other evidence.


    An article appearing in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last week noted several recent cases in which hunters found bones of humans believed to be the victims of violent crimes.

    The newspaper reports that in an area such as greater St. Louis—with both a high incidence of murder and an abundance of sportsmen—worlds often collide.

    Several deer and small-game hunters as well as anglers have found human remains in recent years in the St. Louis area, according to the Post-Dispatch. Authorities say they welcome the discoveries and want sportsmen to report their findings--even if there is some doubt the bones are human.

    “If you’ve never seen skeletal remains, you may assume it’s some kind of animal and not follow through with a call,” Master Sgt. James Morissey of the Illinois State Police told the newspaper.

    Last year Jason Mathenia was hunting antler sheds with a friend along some railroad tracks on the Illinois side of the Mississippi when he came across the skeleton of a young woman. She has never been identified.

    Mathenia says the discovery still haunts him.

    “You never think it’s going to be that big of a deal,” he said. “And then it happens and you’re thinking, ‘I’ve got three kids of my own.’”

    A quick search on Google reveals news stories from just the past couple of weeks about hunters discovering bodies and remains in at least seven states. Outdoor Newshound readers may remember the blog posted earlier this month about a hunter who discovered the body of a missing Colorado man, along with his two retrievers that remained by the side of their dead owner for nearly a month.

    So, when you head to woods after venison in coming days and weeks, be particularly vigilant and observant.

    The cops are counting on you.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 19, 2007

    Unusual Sighting: Black Mule Deer-0


    Wildlife officials in northern Nevada are saying a solid black mule deer that has been sighted near Winnemucca is a one-in-a-million anomaly.

    The phantom deer that’s been causing quite a buzz among hunters and ranchers is a “melanistic mutation,” according to Nevada Department of Wildlife big game biologist Mike Cox.


    “There are genes that map out the characteristics of an animal in its embryonic stage,” Cox said. “Sometimes it’s a funky hoof, or a tweaked antler, or in this case the hairs of this mule deer are a different color than the normal mule. Sometimes there are recessive traits that are hidden in those genes that never see the light of day except for maybe one in a million, or one in two million."

    As a Nevadan, Cox used an appropriate analogy to the state’s infamous one-armed bandits when he described the potential odds for having the exact genetic combination to produce a solid black mulie.

    “We may never see it again for a generation, or 50 years, or we may see it next year,” he said. “It’s almost like slot machines. You have to pull that slot machine a long, long time until you get the right combination, and that’s what happened with this melanistic mutation.”

    Just how black is it?

    “It looks like it fell into an oil spill, but obviously we don’t have those in the middle of Nevada,” Cox said.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 16, 2007

    Wisconsin: The Rut is On!-0


    What’s a sure sign the whitetail rut is in full swing in your region? How about when you see a buck trying to mount your springer spaniel?

    Earlier this week, Bill Lindberg stepped into his Siren, Wisc. backyard and saw a single-antlered young buck lying on the ground and peering into the doghouse.


    Approaching the deer while readying his camera phone, Lindberg was surprised to see the deer get up and walk toward him—so close that he was able to reach out and scratch the buck’s head.

    The relative calm was short-lived, however.

    When Lindberg’s springer spaniel came out of the doghouse, the deer suddenly turned amorous and tried to mount the unreceptive hound.

    In an effort to protect his dog from the buck’s romantic intentions, Lindberg grabbed a broom and began yelling at the deer. That’s when the deer turned and became aggressive.

    According to a report in the Inter-County Leader newspaper, Lindberg hollered to his wife to phone authorities as he grabbed the buck’s antler and bulldogged it—rodeo style--to the ground.

    The ensuing wrestling match lasted a long five minutes before police arrived and a local game warden dispatched the rut-crazed buck.

    When faced with a lovelorn buck in the future, does he think he’ll try to rub its head?

    “When deer go through rut, they become like a stupid, careless animal,” Lindberg said. “This is something that will never happen to me again.”

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 15, 2007

    Pool Party Animals-0


    Authorities in suburban Baltimore, Md. were summoned by homeowners Bob and Judi Olwine to remove five individuals trespassing on their property and swimming in their backyard pool.

    The Olwines were preparing their pool for winter and left the gate open when two deer—a buck and a doe—entered the backyard and walked down the steps into the water.


    Moments later, three additional young does arrived on the scene, crawling under the fenced area and leaping in the 16 x 32-foot in-ground pool.

    Things were going, uh, swimmingly, until the fivesome began trying unsuccessfully to exit the pool, nervously kicking and flailing in the water.

    That’s when the Olwines called 911 for help.

    In the end, it took five police officers and a Maryland Department of Natural Resources deer biologist about an hour to ensnare the deer using a pole normally used to capture stray dogs.

    According to Bob Olwine, the ordeal was quite comical, as he and Baltimore County’s finest learned firsthand how whitetails can move in the water.

    “They’re good swimmers all right,” he said. “We’d go to one end of the pool to try and help them out, and they’d swim to the other end!”

    For the record, the police said it was the first time they’ve ever responded to a “deer in the pool” call.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 15, 2007

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-0


    “Those of us who shoot cannot help being perplexed when we encounter people who are apparently haunted by a fixed and morbid aversion to our guns. When first we meet such persons we generally respond with explanations, as is only reasonable. But with time we discover that often we are not dealing with rational minds. That is not to say that everyone who is opposed to shooting is mentally aberrant, but it is to say that those who latch on to an unreasonable notion and thereafter refuse to listen to any further discussion of it have problems that are more amenable to psychiatry than to argument.”
    -Jeff Cooper
    “The Root of All Evil”
    To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth, 1988

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 14, 2007

    Teacher Nails Skinning Lesson-6


    There has been a lot of discussion recently about how “gun free zones” at public schools and college campuses may actually serve to endanger students and faculty by prohibiting licensed and law-abiding gun owners to carry weapons to protect themselves and others.


    In a quirky kind of way, a story out of Arkansas this week provides another example of an instance when a firearm could have had a practical and necessary application at a school, while also proving that sometimes there’s no substitute for a gun.

    Take the situation faced by Huntsville High School agriculture teacher Jerick Hutchinson. On Friday, he was prepared to present a class on furbearers and a skinning demonstration to his students.

    A parent of one of Hutchinson’s students graciously volunteered to supply a raccoon for use in the hands-on skinning and hide-preparation instruction.

    Unfortunately, when the student presented the raccoon to his teacher before class, Hutchinson realized the animal wasn’t quite ready to be skinned. That’s because the parent had sent a live-trapped coon, like those often used to train hounds to tree.

    Faced with an unusual predicament, the resourceful teacher decided to utilize the closest alternative to a firearm legally allowed on the school campus.

    “He used a nail gun to, as they say, to dispatch the animal,” explained school superintendent Alvin Lievsay.

    As news of Hutchinson’s skinning lesson and his method of ‘coon dispatching spread, both teacher and school began to take a little heat over the incident, mostly from people far removed from rural Huntsville, Arkansas, where hunting and trapping have been practiced for generations.

    As a result, superintendent Lievsay told the Associated Press this week that Hutchinson has been instructed not to kill any more animals on school grounds and to provide school officials with more detailed lesson plans in the future.

    Lievsay went on to defend the instructor, explaining that no students were present when he killed the raccoon.

    “It wasn’t like he held a nail gun against the head of a cute little animal in front of the class,” he said, adding that Hutchinson is well liked and respected by students and faculty.

    “He does a great job. The kids love him,” Lievsay said.

    [ Read Full Post ]
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