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  • May 31, 2007

    When Nature Calls, Anglers Use the “Bassroom”-2


    Matt and Kirk Smith, father and son fishermen from North Texas, think they’ve come up with a product that may prove popular among anglers who find themselves aboard their bass boat and out in nature when, uh, nature calls.

    The Sulphur Springs Country World News reports today that the Smiths have designed a portable privy that can be assembled atop a bass boat in two minutes or less.

    And its name? The Bassroom, (patent pending), of course!

    Father Matt Smith told the newspaper the Bassroom is “environmentally better” than the alternatives (which, we assume includes simply unzipping and peeing in the lake). Bassroom

    Matt went on to make another interesting case for his product, citing a growing concern among anglers--especially pros--over liability issues.

    “With a growing number of houses around lakes, and with more folks having cameras on their cell phones, exposing oneself to take care of personal business can land one in trouble,” he told the newspaper.

    Trouble, indeed.

    The Bassroom system includes a domed cover, stool with full toilet seat, and black, zip-up plastic bags for waste. The cover folds so it can be stored into a one-inch-thick by 23-inches-around bag. Plus, the system includes another 18-inches by 21-inches storage bag for the stool.

    So far, the Smiths say their product has received an enthusiastic response—especially from the ladies.

    “I’ve had some of the lady pros tell me something like this has been needed for a long time,” said Matt.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • May 31, 2007

    Hogzilla II: The Questions-2


    By now most of you have likely seen or heard some or part of the extensive television, newspaper or Internet coverage about the wild hog purportedly weighing 1,051 pounds and allegedly killed by a young handgun hunter at a private Alabama commercial preserve on May 3.

    Jamison Stone, 11, is said to have shot the 9-foot, 4-inch boar while with his father, Mike Stone, and two guides inside a 150-acre fenced area at the Lost Creek Plantation.

    Up to this point I have chosen not to blog about the incident, mainly because of questions I have about it. Moreover, I’m particularly bothered by the intense coverage of this “hunt” by the likes of TV and the rest of the mainstream media—most of which regularly ignore countless opportunities to cover wonderful and positive stories about youth hunting and recreational shooting. Hogzilla

    Now, it appears that Alabama wildlife officials have some questions of their own.

    While Alabama authorities stress they are not accusing the boy and his father of any illegal activity, they would like to know how a hog estimated to weigh 1,051 pounds ended up in an enclosed area on the Alabama plantation.

    Allan Andress, enforcement chief for the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, was quoted in an Associated Press story this morning: “There are some questions about where the animal came from, how he got there, how long he’d been there.”

    Officials also want to determine whether the hunt was in compliance with the state’s fair chase regulations.

    Today’s AP story reports that Eddy Borden, owner of the 2,500-acre Lost Creek Plantation, declined to comment about how the hog found its way to the commercial operation and to the fenced enclosure.

    Alabama, like most states, operates under strict guidelines regulating the sale and transportation of all livestock, including swine.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • May 30, 2007

    The Perry Record: 75 Years and Still Standing-2


    Records in today’s professional sports are eclipsed all the time, it seems. From home runs and batting titles in baseball, points scored in basketball, and yards rushing in football, the standards of excellence are always rising.

    And then there’s bass fishing.

    It will be 75 years ago this coming Saturday--on June 2, 1932--when a 20-year-old Georgian by the name of George Washington Perry was sharing a fishing rod and single lure with a friend when he landed a 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass. Since that time long ago on Montgomery Lake, Perry’s bass has withstood multiple challenges--but today remains the holy grail of bass fishing.

    Put in context, the fact that Perry’s record still stands is truly mind-boggling. While hundreds of professional athletes compete for their respective record books each year, literally millions of bass anglers have had the opportunity to surpass the Perry mark--for three-quarters of a century!

    The record was nearly shattered in 2006 when California angler Mac Weakley landed and released a bass at Dixon Lake that weighed 25 pounds on a digital hand-held scale. Unfortunately, the fish was foul-hooked at did not qualify under International Game Fish Association standards as a new record.

    Weakley, along with several of his California angling cohorts has been on a mission to break Perry’s record in recent years. Their exploits were the subject of a popular book, Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World Record Largemouth Bass, by Monte Burke.

    It is said that the bass that finally outweighs the Perry fish will be worth millions of dollars in endorsements to the angler who lands it.

    So, what did George Perry receive for his behemoth bass?

    By winning the Field & Stream magazine fishing contest in 1932 (the publication kept records prior to the IGFA), Perry got a $75 gift certificate he redeemed for a Browning automatic shotgun, a rod and reel, shotgun shells and outdoor clothing and gear.

    Oh yeah, and he ate the fish.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • May 30, 2007

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-1


    "I love pack trips and I love getting away from people, telephones, the smell of gasoline, typewriters, cocktail parties, television, importunate letters from editors. A long pack trip enables one to get back to basics. On each pack trip I relearn how important such things as food, warmth and rest are. A washpan filled with hot water is an incredible luxury, a seat on the pack pannier with a Scotch and creek water in hand is contentment."
    -Jack O’Connor
    The Stone Sheep
    Sheep and Sheep Hunting, 1974

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • May 29, 2007

    Reel Catches: Bodies to Bobcats-2


    While tracking weird and wild stories about the outdoors, I occasionally unearth reports about anglers who reel in noteworthy catches of the non-fish variety. Some that come to mind are snagged packages containing contraband like marijuana and other drugs, as well as firearms that have been dumped in the drink by bad guys.

    Then there’s the rather common hooking and retrieval of fishing gear and tackle boxes that other anglers have unfortunately lost overboard.

    At a recent fishing gear show held in Alabama, nearly 2,500 attendees responded to a survey called Hook, Line & Sinker conducted by Houston-based Pennzoil Marine. As part of the questionnaire, anglers were asked to detail some of their more unusual catches.

    Answers ranged from the strange to the macabre.

    For example, four anglers reported hooking human corpses.

    Other catches included false teeth, drums, lawn chairs, shopping carts, a refrigerator door and a ladder. Owls

    Apart from the inanimate objects, responding fishermen also reported their share of critters other than fish. Survey answers ranged from water-dwellers like frogs, snakes, turtles, eels and alligators to a bobcat, beaver, a peacock, pelican and owls.

    “We have always heard that anglers can tell the best fish tales,” Peter Bukaty, Pennzoil brand manager, told the Houston Chronicle. “What really caught me off guard was the variety of things people are catching.”

    How about our Outdoor News Hound blog readers? What are some of your wildest catches?

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • May 25, 2007

    National Park Grizzly Attack Raises Questions-4


    The news story about a Montana author and photographer who was seriously injured in an attack by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park this week is sure to raise some questions from park (and wildlife) authorities—as well it should.

    Jim Cole, 57, author of the books Lives of Grizzlies, Montana and Wyoming, and Lives of Grizzlies, Alaska, was listed in fair condition yesterday at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

    According to reports, Cole told park rangers a grizzly sow with a cub attacked him while he took photographs in the Yellowstone backcountry Wednesday. Following the attack, he hiked about three miles to a road where he was found by authorities and airlifted for emergency medical care.Grizzly

    Initial news reports indicate it was not the first time Cole has experienced close calls while photographing bears in national parks. In September 1993 he was injured by a grizzly while photographing in Montana’s Glacier National Park.

    Further, a story in yesterday’s Casper Star-Tribune reported that in 2004 Cole was charged with purposely approaching within 20 yards of a grizzly bear, in violation of park regulations. While he was subsequently acquitted, news reports at the time indicated that prosecutors called for Cole to be banned from the park for a year, plus receive a fine and suspended jail sentence.

    Have you ever watched tourists and other folks with cameras walk dangerously close to elk, bison and other animals at national parks? Should novice and professional close-proximity wildlife photography in national parks--where the animals are protected and never hunted—be a violation of park safety standards and subject to a citation?

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • May 24, 2007

    The Jig Was Up-2


    A North Carolina angler gave a whole new meaning to the term “fighting rod” last week when he used his fishing gear to subdue a would-be robber who threatened him with a knife.

    The Gaston Police Department blotter reports that an unnamed man and his young son were fishing at a city pond when the perpetrator, described as a black male with neat hair and wearing blue, brandished a knife and demanded the twosome “give me what you got.”Catswhiskerorange

    When the father requested the n’er-do-well be a little more specific in his request (as he slowly reeled in his fishing line), the bad guy demanded money and valuables, according to the Roanoke Daily Herald.

    While understanding the age-old concept characterizing a general lapse in good judgment for bringing knife to a gunfight, the wise father equally grasped the basic geometric disparity between a four-inch blade and a six-foot fishing rod.

    So, dad simply proceeded to beat the bejesus out of the bad guy using the business end of his fishing rod, including the lure, which hooked deeply into the unfortunate thug’s hide.

    Gaston police said a man fitting the description of the alleged assailant was seen fleeing the scene, with a bright orange jig still embedded in his arm.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • May 23, 2007

    “Bear Proof” Testing Team Has Credentials-0


    Alert readers have likely noticed the spate of stories posted here and elsewhere in recent weeks regarding numerous incidents involving bears, both the black and grizzly variety.

    A feature story in today’s Homer (AK) Tribune addresses the need for care and diligence when handling garbage in and around the city due to the healthy population of brown bears there. Outdoor News Hound readers may recall that a home video of a brown bear killing and eating a moose just outside Homer was the buzz of the Internet a couple weeks back.

    Anyhow, Homer recently received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to make grizzly-proof garbage containers affordable and available to its residents.

    So, who determines whether a commercially produced container is indeed bear resistant?

    The answer is Patti Sowka, who manages the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park’s Wildlife Center in Helena. Ms. Sowka works with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee and the West Yellowstone Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center to develop testing protocols for products to be used on private land in bear country. Bearcan

    And the key to her testing is simple—she accepts no substitutes.

    “Testing with real grizzly bears in a controlled setting ensures that when people pay for a bear-resistant product they get something that is bear resistant,” Sowka said.

    The OTTO BearSaver Grizzly Model, a 95-gallon rolling garbage bin being offered to Homer residents, withstood relentless abuse from Sowka’s crack testing staff--eight captive brown bears with six years experience thrashing and clawing garbage cans claimed to be bear proof by their manufacturers.

    Packed with “good-tasting stuff,” the baited cans get everything the bears can dish out. Sowka says a container receives her seal of approval if it survives 60 minutes under a hungry bear.

    “These are seasoned professionals, so it’s a pretty rigorous test,” she said.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • May 23, 2007

    Dueling Banjos, Anyone?-1


    From the Outdoor News Hound’s “Life Imitates Art” department comes this tale with an uncanny similarity to James Dickey’s 1970 novel, Deliverance.

    According to an Associated Press report, an 86-year-old, bib-overalled fisherman was arrested after he allegedly shot one of two bass tournament anglers on Georgia’s Oconee River Saturday.Deliv03

    Authorities in Greene County said John Burke Yearwood of Madison allegedly shot a rifle three times at the men’s boat, apparently because he believed they were interfering with his own fishing lines. One of the anglers sustained a minor wound when a single small caliber bullet hit his arm.

    Sheriff Chris Houston told the AP that Yearwood has fished the same area for many years.

    The octogenarian was charged with aggravated assault.

    We can only assume, for this 2007 version, the anglers were in a bass boat rather than a canoe. (Key the banjo music, please.)

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • May 22, 2007

    Camo Craziness-0


    Yep, we hunters love our camouflage. From Mossy Oak to Realtree/Advantage and everything in between, we just can’t seem to get enough of it.

    Or, can we?Tire1

    I’ll admit I’ve got just about as many camo-adorned items as the next hunter (unless, of course, that next hunter is Mike Hanback). In addition to all the shirts, pants, caps, boots, packs and other gear, I’m the proud owner of a Mossy Oak recliner. Heck, my roadside rural mailbox sports a Hardwoods vinyl overlay.

    But I’ll wager a fiver that even Hanback would be amused with Goodyear’s new ATV replacement tire, the Rawhide Camo.

    That’s right, a camouflage ATV tire.

    According to its press material, to produce the pattern, “Goodyear’s engineers developed a proprietary process that molds a three-color paint veneer into the tire during the curing stage. Once the tire has cooled, the appearance is dramatic. Together with the natural black of the rubber compound, the resulting four-color pattern blends subtly into natural backgrounds. Tire2

    Under normal riding conditions, the high areas of the tread will wear down over time to the black rubber, yet the sidewall--which is most visible in profile--remain essentially unchanged. Which makes the camo the perfect complement to the growing number of camouflage body designs offered by the leading ATV manufacturers.”

    You be the judge. The top photo depicts the new Rawhide Camo tire developed using the (gasp) “proprietary process.” I snapped the bottom photo of the left rear tire on my Yamaha Rhino this morning.

    I ask you--which tire is a more “perfect complement” to a camo ATV?

    [ Read Full Post ]
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