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  • February 28, 2008

    Crazy About Sheds? Meet The Antler Man!-0

    by

    If you’re an Outdoor Life subscriber, chances are you read the March 2008 cover story, “Secrets of the Shed Masters,” about the Lemke family from Iowa and how they’ve amassed more than 1,000 whitetail sheds in the past few years.

    Sheds2

    And, if you’re a regular visitor to the Outdoor Life Web site, it’s likely you also caught my pal Bob Butz’s great piece about how to train your dog to become an antler-finding machine.

    So, just in case you haven’t had your fill of shed antler stories, the ol' Outdoor Newshound has a special treat for you.

    Meet Jim Phillips: The Antler Man.

    The Three Forks, Mont. native’s phenominal shed antler collection comprises some 14,500 sheds displayed from floor to ceiling—and everywhere in between—inside a 30 x 64-foot building he constructed specifically for its display.

    And, yes, he personally found every one.

    Phillips, 59, has been hunting shed antlers in the Gallatin National Forest and on other Montana public lands for the past 50 years. An employee of the Montana Talcum Company, he spends most of his free time hunting—mule deer, whitetail, or their headgear—depending on the time of year.

    Sheds1_2

    Until recently, Phillips and his antlers were relatively unknown outside of Three Forks (population 1,735), where local folks know they’re always welcomed to bring visitors to view the impressive collection.

    But today, thanks to the Internet, Phillips is becoming a cult hero among the growing legion of shed collectors who have recently discovered his new Web site, along with his virtual tour, descriptions and stories about his elk and deer racks.

    Not only does his vast array of antlers provide a visual feast to the viewer, but each shed also has its own individual story--thanks to The Antler Man’s meticulous record keeping. Yes, Phillips has kept a detailed diary of every shed-hunting trip he has taken since 1969!

    Does he ever get tired of looking at his antlers?

    “I go out into the horn shed a couple of times every week,” Phillips said, “and each time I always see something new.”

    The next time you’re out Montana way, may we suggest a side trip to the little town at the headwaters of the Missouri River? Tell Jim the Newshound sent you!

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 26, 2008

    W. Virginia Most Dangerous State for ATV Riders-5

    by

    A new report released last week by the Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that 555 Americans--including more than 100 youth--died from injuries sustained in all-terrain vehicle accidents in 2006 (the most recent year numbers are available).

    The 2006 fatality numbers were was down from 666 in 2005.

    The new data also revealed that an additional 146,600 people received emergency room treatment for ATV-related injuries in 2006.

    Upsidedownatvm

    The report also noted the top ten states for ATV fatalities between 1982 and 2006. In order they are Pennsylvania, 420; California, 418; West Virginia, 398; Texas, 386; Kentucky, 367; Florida, 349; Tennessee, 322; New York, 303; North Carolina, 297; and Michigan, 296.

    John McCoy, my good friend and the fine outdoors scribe for the Charleston (WV) Gazette, put pencil to paper to reveal how the fatality numbers were a particular indictment of ATV riders—and ATV regulations--in The Mountain State.

    Based on population, McCoy calculated that West Virginians are 2 1/2 times more likely to die in and ATV accident that residents of any other state.

    By state, the chances of dying in an ATV wreck are: West Virginia, one in 4,554; Kentucky, one in 11,561; Texas, one in 16,260; Tennessee, one in 19,121; Pennsylvania, one in 29,673; North Carolina, one in 30,303; Michigan, one in 34,483; Florida, one in 52,356; New York, one in 62,500; and California, one in 87,719.

    While some consumer groups and parents claim ATVs to be inherently unsafe, the industry points to speeding and operator judgment as contributing factors in most accidents.

    “ATVs have never been shown to be an unsafe product, but there have been bad decisions made by people (operating them),” said Mike Mount, a spokesman for the California-based Specialty Vehicle Institute of America.

    Indeed, in more than 75 percent of the incidents where speed could be determined, it appeared that the ATVs were being driven too fast for conditions. In nearly 60 percent of the fatalities, riders were not wearing helmets. For younger riders, ages 6-11, about 30 percent of the ATV accidents involved collisions; at least 27 percent involved ATVs that rolled over.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 26, 2008

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-1

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    “Poets talk about ‘spots of time,’ but it is really the fishermen who experience eternity compressed into a moment. No one can tell what a spot of time is until suddenly the whole world is a fish and the fish is gone. I shall remember that son of a bitch forever.”
    -Norman Maclean
    A River Runs Through It, 1976

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 25, 2008

    Switcheroo: Bear Found Wearing Goat’s Radio Collar-0

    by

    Last fall, a radio signal led Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Kevin White to a black bear wearing a bright orange GPS tracking collar.

    Nothing out of the ordinary for a fish and game guy studying critters in the Great White North, right?

    Not really, except that the signal White was receiving was from a tracking collar that he personally placed on a Rocky Mountain goat in 2006.

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    “I’ve never heard of anything like this happening,” White told the Juneau Empire newspaper about the incident this week.

    A big game collar swap?

    After initially picking up a radio transmission while doing an airborne survey, White said he later followed the signal on the ground to an alpine plateau north of Juneau, where he observed a black bear wearing a collar.

    And he knew there were no other Alaska biologists studying black bears in the area.

    White figured there were two possibilities: Either a Canadian researcher collared a bear in the Yukon or British Columbia, and it wandered over to the coast; or the bear had scavenged the carcass of the goat and somehow managed to put on the collar and wear it.

    “When I was considering different scenarios to explain the situation, it seemed inconceivable that this bear could be wearing the missing mountain goat collar,” White said. “For one thing it was a nanny collar; it was small, not much bigger than a collar for a large black-tailed deer.”

    After further scrutiny of the signal data, White and his research partner, LaVern Beier, conclusively identified the collar as belonging to the goat, now deceased.

    “Bears...are really curious about foreign objects in their environment,” said Beier. “He didn’t really put on the collar—it’s not like he was trying on clothing.”

    Just think of it as identity theft, Alaskan wilderness style!

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 21, 2008

    Power Tools, Rifle Cartridges Don’t Mix-4

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    Do you ever recall some of the dumb stunts you pulled when you were a youngster—and think about how you’re fortunate to be alive, despite yourself?

    Chances are that a couple of Sheboygan County, Wisc. teenage boys will remember an incident occurring this week as one of those seminal moments in their lives—that is, if they make it to adulthood.

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    Benjamin Fisher, 18, and a 17-year-old friend were messing around in Fisher’s backyard shed Monday when they got the wild idea to remove the gunpowder from some surplus 7.62x54R cartridges they found.

    The two Sheboygan Falls High School students first tried to pull the bullet from the live cartridge using pliers. It didn’t work.

    That’s when they opted for power tools.

    After cutting the tip of the bullet so it offered a flat surface, one of the teens held the cartridge with pliers, while the other used a drill to bore through the bullet.

    Within seconds, the backyard shed became a classroom of sorts, as the teens were taught an important lesson about physics and compressed gunpowder.

    The two were fortunate to receive only non-life threatening burns from the resulting explosion.

    Those burns, in time, will disappear. But the marks left by youthful indiscretion will remain. And the boys already know it full well.

    “It’s just, I guess, bad judgment on my behalf, just kids being kids,” Fisher told the Sheboygan Press Tuesday. “I’d kind of like to drop it right here, but I know that’s not going to happen.”

    You’re right, kiddo, it’s not gonna happen.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 19, 2008

    Hillary Plays the Hunting Card-11

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    Does anyone else find it incredibly ironic that just hours before one of her most crucial primary election contests—in one of the biggest whitetail-hunting states in the country—that Sen. Hillary Clinton casually mentioned during a campaign stop that she once shot a duck?

    “I know you don’t believe it,” she told an enthusiastic audience at Kenosha’s Brat Stop on Saturday, “but it’s actually true. My father taught me to shoot 100 years ago.

    Claiming to appreciate the Second Amendment and the finer aspects of hunting didn’t seem to make much of a difference to the (failed) presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.

    The New York Senator, who asserted Saturday that she has shot “a lot of tin cans targets and some skeet,” also spoke about the right of Americans to legally own firearms.

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    “I think we’ve got to do two things simultaneously. We should be smart enough to figure this out--protect the rights of lawful gun owners, whether it's hunting, collecting, target shooting, whatever the purpose is, it’s a lawful right--period,” Clinton said.

    So, is it an indication that Sen. Clinton’s campaign is on the ropes when she proudly proclaims, “I’ve actually gone hunting,” in a state where deer hunting is nothing less than a treasured heritage among its citizens?

    The Outdoor Newshound doesn’t recall the former First Lady mentioning anything about blasting greenheads out of the sky during the New York primary election campaign, do you?

    Next up—Ohio. Will we see another Clinton in camo?

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 19, 2008

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-0

    by

    “He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survived.”
    -Jack London
    The Call of the Wild, 1903

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 18, 2008

    Hunter’s Trail Cam Nails Trophy Scumbag-3

    by

    Johnny Sandlin was sick and tired of people breaking into his South Lebanon, Ohio home.

    In the past two years, Sandlin has been the victim of at least six burglaries, in which he lost guns, cameras, a computer, a weed eater and even food from his refrigerator to thieving scumbags.

    After a break-in occurring in early December, the homeowner decided enough was enough. Sandlin placed the digital trail camera he normally uses for deer scouting in the fork of a maple tree and aimed it toward his driveway at the end of a secluded cul de sac.

    Trailcam

    And, bingo! His trusty trailcam recorded the image of a lone burglar—his car and its license plate—on two subsequent days.

    For Sandlin, the pictures meant as much as if they’d been of a 10-point buck on a salt lick.

    He presented the digital photos of the ne’er-do-well to Warren County sheriff’s officials, who in turn arrested and charged the culprit—thanks to the expert evidence provided by the camera.

    “This is a perfect example of a homeowner thinking outside the box,” Chief Deputy Larry Sims told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Mr. Sandlin did his part and our detectives were able to make a case out of the evidence he gathered.”

    In the meantime, Sandlin said he’s going to keep his camera strategically placed in that maple tree.

    He may have to buy another one for deer scouting.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 14, 2008

    Internet Search: Use The Nuge!-0

    by

    Ted Nugent, rock icon and advocate of everything about hunting and shooting, is partnering with a provider of branded online search engines to bring a unique, Nuge-style Web site and sweepstakes to the Internet.

    Toddnuge

    Fresh from his appearance last week at the Outdoor Life 25 Awards during the 2008 SHOT Show (he’s pictured here with Outdoor Life Editor-in Chief, Todd Smith), the uncompromising musician, author and NRA board member now has his own search engine: searchwithtednugent.com.

    The site is the result of a partnership between Nugent and Prodege LLC, a company that identifies itself as the Internet’s leading provider of branded search engines.

    Users of the new site, which combines the power of search engines Google and Ask, will have a chance to win digital dollars called Swag Bucks, which can be redeemed for exclusive Nuge prizes, including autographed CDs, DVDs and copies of Ted’s official cookbook: “Kill It and Grill It.”

    In addition, a lucky sweepstakes winner will have the opportunity to accompany Ted on one of his future hunting trips.

    As one who uses Internet search engines as much as anyone who taps on a keyboard, the Outdoor Newshound enthusiastically gives Search With Ted Nugent two thumbs (and eight fingers) up!

    Rock on!

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 14, 2008

    Hunting for a Valentine’s Present? Buy Her a Gun!-1

    by

    Can’t decide what to get the love of your life for Valentine’s Day?

    Tired of buying her the obligatory dozen roses, box of candy or sexy lingerie?

    Here at the Outdoor Newshound, we feel your pain, men!

    That’s why we’re passing along a tip from Big Al’s Guns, located in Pineville, Louisiana.

    Big Al’s is running a radio ad for Valentine’s Day suggesting that “if your lady’s hotter than a $2 pistol,” a handgun may just say “I love you,” better than flowers or chocolates ever could.

    Pink_handgun

    Stephanie Forest, co-owner of Big Al’s Guns, told the Pineville Town Talk newspaper that she thought up the Valentine’s Day tie-in between guns and love while driving in her car. She couldn’t get the George Jones song, “The One I Loved Back Then” out of her head and decided it would make a good ad for the sweetheart holiday.

    Forest’s suggestions include the feminine-sized Keltec 9mm, and the pink-gripped .22-caliber revolver made by North American Arms.

    Take it from the old Newshound: Pink is the ticket this February 14th!

    [ Read Full Post ]
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