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  • January 30, 2008

    A No-Brainer: Buy a Hunting License!-2


    A recommendation to all would-be poachers and game law violators out there: If you shoot a massive whitetail when you haven’t purchased a hunting license, it might not be a good idea to have your deer photos and story splashed all over the local newspaper.

    Can you say: DUH?!

    Alert authorities with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources compared information contained in a newspaper article about a 24-point buck taken during the archery season with the department’s hunting license database to discover that the hunter was unlicensed at the time the buck was shot.


    Doubting the claims made by Christopher James in an Oct. 26 story appearing in the Jackson Citizen-Patriot, conservation officers ran a DNR computer search and verified he did not purchase a license until the morning after he shot the buck.

    In the newspaper article, James said he shot the buck in a Spring Arbor Township swamp at dusk on Oct. 24. He said he tracked a blood trail part of the night and returned to recover the deer the following morning.

    He conveniently omitted the part about buying a hunting license after he found the deer.

    “He bought the license at 9:44 the next morning at Pine Hill Lake Marina,” Conservation Officer Troy Bahlau told the Citizen-Patriot.


    Authorities have seized a record-class deer rack and filed poaching charges against James.

    The paper reported that James confessed to the charges and said he will plead guilty in court. He faces a mandatory jail term of 5-93 days, a $1,000 fine and loss of hunting privileges for three years.

    And all of it could have been easily prevented.

    “He lost the buck of a lifetime for the lack of a $15 license,” Bahlau said.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • January 28, 2008

    On Course: PGA Pros Love to Hunt, Fish-3


    Here’s an intriguing fact: Almost half of the 166 professional golfers listed in the 2008 PGA Tour Official Guide say fishing or hunting is their favorite special interest off the course.

    The list of current golfing outdoorsmen includes Boo Weekley, Frank Lickliter, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Jose Maria Olazabal and David Duval.


    If you follow pro golf to any degree, you probably know that Boo Weekley, who burst onto the scene last year, is an outspoken hunting proponent. One of Weekley’s primary sponsors is outdoor gear giant Mossy Oak Outdoors.

    Hunting camouflage on the golf course? A few years ago, who would have dreamed it was possible?

    Weekley took some time off during last week’s Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, Calif, to tell reporters what he values in golf, and in life.

    Were World rankings important to him? No.

    The Ryder Cup? Nope.


    Ed Zieralski, outdoor writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the press corps finally asked the 34-year-old from Jay, Fla. just what he cared about in his golfing career.

    “If I play, I play,” he said. “Just let me get my five, six years in and let me get out of here. Let me make enough money so I can invest it where I need to get it. If I can get $8 million in five, seven, 10 years, however long it takes me to get it, I'm out of here.”

    Then what?

    “Go hunt and fish and spend some time with my little boy to make up for the time I’m out here right now and not home watching him grow up,” Weekley said.

    Oh, there have been famous golfers in the past who also shared a love of hunting and shooting sports, they just weren’t as in-you-face about it as Weekley.

    Senior PGA tour pros well known for their love of hunting include Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Fuzzy Zoeller and Greg Norman.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • January 25, 2008

    Striper Catch Makes Waves-1


    A 73-pound striped bass caught off the Virginia coast this week has the Internet fishing forums and angling blogs buzzing.


    Fred Barnes, 63, a Chesapeake, Va. telephone contractor, shattered the state’s rockfish record and came within five pounds of breaking the world record for the species.

    The pending state record measured 52 inches in length and had a girth of 31 inches.

    Barnes was fishing Wednesday with Capt. Pat Foster aboard the Country Girl out of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center.

    The Virginian-Pilot reports today that the huge striper hit a red and white Stretch 30 trolling lure. The fish was fought for about 10 minutes on a Penn 30 level-wind reel spooled with 50-pound test line.

    Barnes’ behemoth is one of only a few rod-and-reel stripers topping 70 pounds. The current International Game Fish Association all-tackle world record--a 78-8 striper--was caught in 1982 by Albert McReynolds off a beach in New Jersey. The standing Virginia striper record is a 68-pound, 1-ounce fish caught in 2006.

    A dedicated striper angler, Barnes landed a 58-pound, 13-ounce rockfish in 2005.

    Does the fortunate fisherman plan to take his catch to a taxidermist?

    Nothing doing, he told the Hampton Roads Daily Press. It’s filets all the way.

    And if you’ve ever eaten fresh, cold-water East-coast striper, we bet you’ll find it hard to fault his decision.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • January 25, 2008

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-1


    “Hunters these days ultimately hunt memories as much as meat to put on the table. Memories feed dreams, and hunters must have dreams to keep them motivated. When you lose your dreams, you lose your mind.”

    -James Swan
    In Defense of Hunting, 1994

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • January 23, 2008

    6,700 Miles—As The Duck Flies-2


    A duck hunter on the Mississippi Delta noticed that a pintail his retriever brought him on January 2 had a band attached to its leg, which is not an unusual occurrence on the waterfowl-rich flyway.

    Freddie Scott took the banded bird over to a well-lighted corner of the blind so he could read the information contained on the metal tag.


    The first word that caught his eye was different than anything he’d ever seen on a duck or goose band—far different.

    It was the word: JAPAN.

    “There was no phone number like you usually see on a band,” Scott later told the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger. “There was just a series of numbers and the words ‘Kankyocho-Tokyo Japan,’” he said. “I said out loud ‘this ain’t right,’ and I started thinking somebody was playing a trick.”

    Two days later, returning to his home in LaGrange, Ga., Scott began doing some research on his well-traveled waterfowl.

    He contacted USDA biologist Jeffrey Lee from the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Pearl, Miss., who subsequently was referred to Yamashina Institute of Ornithology Bird Migration Research Center in Konoyama, Japan. And thanks to the wonder of e-mail, within 24 hours Lee discovered the long-distance duck had been banded in Japan, by Ryuhei Honma, a member of the Japanese Bird Banding Association, on Hyoko Lake near the country’s northwestern coast on Feb. 16, 2000.


    Hyoko Lake is more than 6,700 miles from Ruleville, Miss.—as the duck flies, that is.

    So, not only was Scott’s pintail an incredible world traveler, but it was also a grand old duck, as most wild birds of that species live an average of 2 to 3 years.

    “Because the bird was said to have been at least a year old when banded, that means it had to be at least 8 years old,” Lee said. “They also said that prior to this, Utah was the farthest a Japan band had been collected.”

    Now there’s a hunting story that one duck hunter will carry around for years—and you can bet the proof will be firmly attached to his duck call lanyard, for everyone to see.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • January 22, 2008

    KY Law Aimed at Stopping CWD Spread Challenged-1


    A suit filed in U.S. District Court last week is challenging the interpretation of Kentucky’s law aimed at preventing the spread of chronic wasting disease.

    The action, filed by a Tennessee elk and bison ranch and a national deer farmers’ group, claims Kentucky’s law that prohibits the transportation of live deer and elk into the state is unconstitutional on grounds that it interferes with interstate commerce.


    Kentucky, like several other states, also strictly prohibits the transportation of intact deer and elk carcasses across the state line by hunters when the animal was taken in a state where CWD is known to already exist in the cervid population.

    Attorneys for Two Feathers Elk and Bison Ranch in McMinville, Tenn., and the North American Deer Farmers Association claim that Kentucky is the only state that strictly interprets its law to cover the intra-state transportation of live deer and elk.

    Kentucky has yet to confirm a single case of CWD in its wild whitetail or elk herds.

    Named in the lawsuit filed in Lexington District Court are Jonathan Gassett, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, and Karen J. Alexy, division director of wildlife for the department.

    In September, Kentucky Wildlife and Fisheries confiscated and destroyed a shipment of deer and elk being transported through the state en route to a private hunting operation in Tennessee, according the Associated Press. That case is pending.

    In a correspondence with the attorney for Two Feathers Ranch, Morgain Sprague, general counsel KF&W, warned that any animals confiscated in Kentucky would be destroyed. He said the law is Constitutional and is being interpreted correctly.

    “Your clients are free to use the interstates surrounding the Commonwealth of Kentucky to import cervids into Tennessee,” Sprague wrote.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • January 18, 2008

    Bass Pro Shops' Morris Honored as Innovator-0


    Any time the business of hunting, angling, boating and the shooting sports is recognized in the mainstream corporate world, it’s a good thing for the future of the pursuits we cherish.

    Earlier this week, John L. (Johnny) Morris, founder of mega-outdoors retailer Bass Pro Shops, was named “Innovator of the Year” by the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association.


    Morris was formally recognized by the NRF on January 15 during the association’s Annual Convention and Expo in New York City.

    Morris opened the first Bass Pro Shops in his hometown of Springfield, Mo. in 1971, where the flagship retail facility remains today.

    As an avid bass fisherman in the Missouri Ozarks in 1970, Morris said he was unable to find the fishing equipment he had seen while competing in bass tournaments there. He subsequently opened a room in the back of one of the liquor stores owned by his father and began selling new lures and innovative fishing tackle.

    “I was looking for an excuse to stay close to fishing,” he said in a recent interview. “At the time, I was just trying to get the shelves stocked everyday and have some fun while we were doing it.”

    From its first catalog mailing in 1974, Bass Pro Shops has built an enterprise that now serves millions of hunters and anglers around the globe. Today, Bass Pro mails more than 125 million catalogs and sales flyers annually, and its Web site has more than 2.5 million visitors monthly.

    Other NRF honorees included Terry Lundgren, Chairman and CEO of Macy’s, Inc., with the Gold Medal Award and Lane Crawford, an Asian retailer, with the International Retailer of the Year Award.

    “This year’s retail award winners have continued to keep up with their customers by providing some of the most advanced, innovative ideas around to handle their demands,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “We are thrilled to honor these visionaries for all they’ve accomplished in the ever-changing world of retail.”

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • January 17, 2008

    Cougar in Close Quarters-2


    A plumber working in a crawlspace under a rural cabin near Crested Butte, Colorado was able to safely and quickly reverse his forward motion after he encountered a snarling mountain lion in close quarters last week.

    Josh Pierce said he thought he smelled a wet animal as he wormed his way into a two-foot corridor to check for some frozen pipes—and he hoped he wouldn’t come face-to-face with a skunk or coyote.


    Then, after about 20 feet of belly crawling, he discovered he had company of the feline persuasion.

    “After it hissed and spit at me, I realized I was looking into the eyes of a lion not more than five feet away,” he told the Crested Butte News.

    Pierce, an experienced hunter and outdoorsman, said he knew that a key to defending oneself in a cougar confrontation is to stand tall and appear as large as possible. Unfortunately, he knew he didn’t have that option while crawling on his stomach beneath a house.

    Without so much as a wrench to defend himself, the plumber slowly and deliberately backed out of the area and retreated to the safety of a garage.

    Pierce subsequently contacted an acquaintance who had a Colorado lion tag and the cat was rousted from his hideaway by hounds and killed two days later.

    In the interim, the homeowner and her children remained safely indoors.

    So, what does Pierce think about the hazards of being employed as a plumber in the wilds of Colorado?

    “I don’t get paid enough for this,” he said.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • January 16, 2008

    Lab Retains 'Top Dog' Title-1


    The American Kennel Club reports today that the Labrador retriever continues to be the most popular (registered) purebred among U.S. dog owners--a distinction the favored sporting breed has held for 17 consecutive years.

    In recent years, the Lab has led its closest competitor to the number one spot by nearly a 3-to-1 margin, based on the number of AKC-registered purebreds.


    Rounding out the AKC Top Five for 2007 are the Yorkshire terrier, German shepherd, golden retriever and beagle.

    The AKC also breaks down the national data and provides individual metropolitan figures for 50 major U.S. cities.

    Interestingly, Detroit, Knoxville, Miami, Honolulu and Orlando are the only cities where Labs do not reign supreme. Detroit and Miami favor the German shepherd, Orlando prefers Yorkies, Honolulu the golden retriever and Knoxville the boxer.

    And yes, Labs are even top dog in New York City and other highly urban locales.

    The AKC notes in its press material that the poodle and dachshund, breeds that held the top spot in Manhattan for the past three years, now share a tie for third place, ousted by the dominant Lab.

    Keep in mind that the rankings refer only to AKC registered Labs, and not all purebreds or mixed-breed Labs.

    Another interesting item of note: The beagle is the only breed that has consistently been included in the AKC Top 10 list since 1915—the year that record-keeping began. The popular rabbit-hunting dog held the number one spot from 1954 to 1959.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • January 14, 2008

    Unsticky Situation: New Boat Decals Don’t Stick-1


    There’s just one minor problem with the new permit sticker that licensed saltwater anglers in Delaware were required to place on their boats beginning January 1—it doesn’t stick to watercraft and quickly disintegrates in salt water after one day.


    Delaware fisheries administrator Roy Miller says the complaints began pouring in soon after the first stickers were issued and anglers began trying to put them on their boats.

    “It’s most unfortunate,” Miller told the Wilmington News-Journal. “It’s more criticism that we don’t need.”

    As in other states, Delaware requires a freshwater fishing license, but only last year approved a license for saltwater fishing as well. With last year’s reauthorization of the Federal Fisheries Act (Magnuson-Stevens), lawmakers and fisheries folks recognized that the state could fail to qualify for some federal dollars without a method to accurately track the number of saltwater fishermen.

    The potential loss of federal monies spurred the state into action, and a new license was quickly created.

    And so was the boat sticker. Perhaps a little too hastily, however.

    Edward Dwornik, who owns the company contracted to supply the stickers said he wasn’t aware there was a problem until the complaints began. He described the stickers’ apparent aversion to salt water and watercraft surfaces as “a material failure.”


    Once new materials are thoroughly tested, new decals will be mailed to Delaware saltwater anglers, Dwornik said.

    In the meantime, saltwater fishermen are being told to carry their sticker in case they need to present it for license verification.

    But don’t even try to stick it on a boat.

    [ Read Full Post ]
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