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  • April 29, 2008

    New Online Record Book For Road-Killed Trophies-3


    Sure, the 12-point whitetail deer or 300-pound black bear you bagged while using a firearm or bow may qualify for Boone & Crockett, Pope & Young or Safari Club International’s record books, but what if you accidentally took it with your F-150 on Interstate 64?

    Well, for one thing, you could forget about honoring the exceptional beast by recording its dimensions, weight or other vital statistics in a place where others could view and enjoy the information.

    Until now, that is.

    That’s because now there’s The Road Kill Record Book Club, the brainchild of a Wisconsin man who is quite serious about his venture.


    “It is not their fault they were hit by a car or truck,” Web site creator Richard Sanders told Kevin Harter of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “They shouldn’t go unnoticed.”

    Sanders said he came up with the idea after he discovered a huge road-killed black bear along the highway near Hudson, Wisc. He said it was larger than anything he or his hunting companions had ever taken, and he thought it deserved more than a trip to the landfill from the state road crew.

    So Sanders, 60, created the Road Kill Record Book Club Web site, where, for a $10 registration fee, folks may enter animals ranging from big game to songbirds, and (literally) everything in between.

    Now don’t think for even a minute that a record book dedicated to roadside carnage is lacking in scruples and ethics—not on your life!

    Just take a gander at Road Kill Record Book Bylaw 101-B:

    Only animals that have accidentally and legitimately been hit by motor vehicles, (cars, trucks, ATVs, SUVs, snowmobiles, motorhomes), that have passed before you are eligible for entry into the Road Kill Record Book. Intentional harvest of creatures by vehicle is strictly forbidden. Any violation of bylaw 101-B will result in the denial of all rights. All entries by the guilty party will be permanently withdrawn and all fees forfeited. Further, the guilty party will be banned for life from membership in the Road Kill Record Book Club.

    As you might expect, Sanders’ idea is not being enthusiastically embraced by everyone in the hunting and outdoors community.

    “I thought I had seen everything, but I hadn’t until now,” Lou Cornicelli, big-game program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources told the Pioneer-Press.

    “I don’t see it serving a purpose, but if he wants to have a Web site for animals smacked by Buicks, more power to him,” Cornicelli said.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 28, 2008

    Survivor Takes Multi-Bearded Bird-0


    A Mississippi outdoorsman who was sidelined from enjoying his springtime passion--turkey hunting---by a severe heart attack three years ago, was back in the woods this year with renewed enthusiasm.

    And his season turned out to be one for the books. The record books, that is.

    Jerrell Keele, a 67-year old hunter from Burnsville, Miss., shot a 17.28-pound, seven-bearded turkey late in March. Its multiple beards qualified it as the non-typical record for the state of Mississippi.


    An ardent turkey hunter, Keele says he nearly died of a heart attack three years ago.

    “That heart attack liked to killed me because I didn’t get to hunt turkeys that year,” he told outdoor writer Buster Wolfe of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. “But I believe the Lord will help a fellow who wants to help himself. So I kept trying.”

    Armed with a Remington Super Mag 12-gauge pump shotgun—and fitted with a defibrillator and a pacemaker--Keele bagged his record bird early March 17.

    “I let out a flydown cackle, and I heard a bird gobble on a ridge about 15 minutes to 7:00,” he said. “I did four or five more yelps and he jumped on that. So I put out the decoy. He saw that and had to come on.”

    Keele’s tom had so many beards that the National Wild Turkey Federation registration form had to be altered to hold all the necessary information.

    “The form only has room to write in (the measurements for) six beards for each turkey,” said Keele, whose turkey scored a total of 151.155 points non-typical.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 24, 2008

    Fishing Under Fire-0


    In a story that could be destined for Outdoor Life’s “This Happened to Me!” section, a fly-fisherman is recovering from life-threatening, third-degree burns after he was trapped by a wildfire last week near Carbondale, Colo.


    Larry Garfinkel, a retired Los Angeles Police Department detective, was fishing with two companions April 15 when the wind-whipped fire overtook them. They were returning to their parked vehicle when they suddenly were faced with a wall of flames.

    “It just began to crescendo. It was just like an unstoppable locomotive,” Garfinkel later told reporter Scott Condon of The Aspen Times. “It's roaring — you can hear that sound, you can feel the temperature go through the roof. And we began to run.”

    Unfortunately, 61-year-old Garfinkle’s bad knee prevented him from outrunning the flames.

    “I told Chuck and Tom to save themselves,” Garfinkel said. “I couldn’t keep up.”

    Then a willow tree on the banks of Sopris Creek, a tributary of the Roaring Fork, burst into flames, severely burning the angler’s left hand.

    Garfinkel told the Aspen paper he doesn’t know if it was acting on instinct or courage under fire, but he found water deep enough to completely submerge himself while the flames shot overhead, just inches above him.

    “The fire just keeps coming,” he said. “I came up for air once and then went back down.”

    For five days Garfinkel remained in the intensive care unit at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, where he was treated for third-degree burns on his left hand, burns on the back of his head, smoke-filled lungs and complications with extensive swelling. A skin graph was taken from his left thigh for his hand.

    A southpaw, Garfinkel has high hopes for the grafting procedure—after all, it’s his fly-casting hand.

    And despite the close call, he’s keeping a positive attitude.

    “I looked in the mirror and said, ‘You’re one ugly son of a bitch, but I’m glad to see ya!”

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 22, 2008

    Hello, 911? There’s an Alligator in my Kitchen!-0


    Sandra Frosti told authorities that when she investigated a noise in her kitchen about 10:30 last night, she was shocked to see the front half of an 8-foot, 8-inch alligator.

    That was enough to send the 69-year-old Pinellas County, Fla. woman scurrying to the telephone to call 911—then she hightailed it out of the house.


    “There’s an alligator in my kitchen!” Frosti excitedly told the dispatching officer who answered her call at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department.

    “How long do you think the alligator is?” asked the dispatcher.

    It’s HUGE!!” responded Ms. Frosti.

    “Well, how long is huge?”

    “I don’t know,” explained the 911 caller. “I only saw the front half of it, and that must have been at least three feet!”

    “You sure it couldn’t be something like an iguana or a really large lizard?”

    “Oh no, no, no, no, no, no!” Ms. Frosti emphatically replied.

    Investigating county sheriff’s deputies said the big fellow apparently broke through the back porch screen door, trying to get to the family cat, which survived. It entered the home through an open sliding glass door, and then made its way in through the living room, down the hall, and into the kitchen.

    A trapper successfully removed the big amphibious reptile and Ms. Frosti was able to safely return to her home.

    No word on how soundly she slept last night, though.

    Listen to Ms. Frosti’s 911 call here.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 21, 2008

    Croaked: Roadkill is 93% Amphibian-2


    When you think about roadkill, probably the first animal that comes to mind is the whitetail deer, right? It’s certainly the most visible to many driving Americans, and it’s the animal those of us in the nation’s heartland are most fearful of engaging with our car’s front bumper.

    After deer, depending on the part of country you inhabit, the next critters you may consider as popular roadside attractions are the opossum or armadillo, those often-squashed fatalities of both Interstate and backroad.


    But a 16-month scientific study performed by researchers at Purdue University in Indiana found that the most numerous victims of Firestones and Michelins are not slow-moving or headlight-mesmerized mammals—not by a long shot. Rather surprisingly, appearing atop the roadkill carte du jour by a wide, 93-percent margin are amphibians.

    The study findings are published in the most recent issue of Herpetological Conservation and Biology.

    Collecting data from four different Hoosier roadways, the researchers found that amphibians comprised 10,515 of the total body count. The most common species was the bullfrog, with 1,671 killed. Coming in a distant fourth—trailing the green frog (172), tiger salamander (142) and American toad (111)--was the Virginia (common) opossum at a mere 79.

    Rounding out our Outdoor Newshound “Roadkill Top Ten” is the leopard frog at 74; raccoon, 43; deer mouse, 39; cottontail rabbit, 37; chimney swift, 36 and garter snake at 35.

    Only four whitetail were among the Indiana blacktop victims, placing venison significantly behind frog legs on the carrion buffet.

    It should be noted that all the study areas in the Boilermaker research project were near or adjacent to wetlands, which to some degree helps explain the abundance of bullfrogs.

    Researchers also noted that due to “carcass degradation” (which, in layman’s terms means flat, moldy and chewed on by crows and buzzards), many of the animals were unidentifiable.

    Bon appetite!

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 21, 2008

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-0


    “A wild bear chase, didst ever see?
    Then hast thou lived in vain.
    Thy richest bump of glorious glee,
    Lies desert in thy brain.

    When first my father settled here,
    ‘Twas then a frontier line:
    The panther’s scream, filled night with fear
    And bears preyed on the swine.

    But wo for Bruin’s short-lived fun,
    When rose the squealing cry;
    Now man and horse, with dog and gun,
    For vengeance at him fly.”

    -Abraham Lincoln
    The Bear Hunt (excerpt), 1846

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 17, 2008

    Golf Ball Diver Smuggled Finned Water Hazards-0


    A Texas contractor pleaded guilty to illegally planting non-native grass carp in golf course lakes and ponds to make it easier to find and retrieve golf balls.

    You might say it proves that when it comes to bottom-feeders, it takes one to know one.


    William Lamar Stoner, whose business is removing balls from the lakes and ponds located at golf courses around Texas, was charged with misdemeanor importation of harmful fish without a permit.

    Acting on a tip from an Arkansas fish farmer, federal authorities stopped Stoner in Texarkana and arrested him with what they said was a load of 50 unsterilized Asian grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), an invasive species known for its voracious appetite for marine vegetation growing on lake bottoms.

    When uncontrolled, the Asian carp are widely known among fisheries biologists for the adverse effect they can have on an aquatic ecosystem. As a result, many states, including Texas, allow the importation of only sterile carp and require a special Parks and Wildlife Department permit to do so.

    Because of Stoner’s illegal fish-farming efforts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists were deployed to round up grass carp at five different water hazards at the Quail Creek Country Club in San Marcos, Texas. Fisheries managers were concerned that a flood on the San Marcos River would allow the fish to escape the golf course water hazards and threaten native vegetation, including endangered Texas wild rice.

    Under terms of his plea agreement, Stoner will receive three years probation and a $2,000 fine and must pay $3,186.56 in restitution to Texas Parks and Wildlife and $5,000 in community restitution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Native Plant Conservation Initiative, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble. He could have received up to five years in federal prison and fines up to $20,000.

    “We don’t get a whole lot of grass carp cases,” Noble told the Austin American Statesman in bona-fide understatement. “I tried to find a sentence that would impress upon Stoner and the public that it’s a serious crime and there will be serious financial consequences. But I don’t think it’s necessary that Stoner be incarcerated for his offenses.”

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 16, 2008

    City Marina Nixes Topless Fishing Charter-2


    Kathi and Harold Coombes, who have been offering bikini and topless fishing charters since January, have been told they may no longer operate out of a Florida city marina.

    Dean Kubitschek, manager of the Fort Pierce City Marina, said the business was in violation of its family friendly policy.

    “We had no idea this was going on,” Kubitschek told The Palm Beach Post. “I can’t have families running up to me with brochures with nude ladies on them saying, ‘What's this?’ It’s not right.”


    The Coombeses insisted that nothing lurid or sexually explicit takes place during the charters, and that the women primarily serve as mates, providing drinks and bait.

    “Guys like seeing girls in bikinis rigging baits and setting the hook,” Ms. Coombes said.

    Smokin’ ‘Em Charter tours charges $1,250 for eight hours of fishing, with an additional $100 for each woman in a bikini and an additional $150 for each topless woman.

    In describing the charter’s clients, Ms. Coombes said, “They’re going to spend more money in a strip club, which isn’t as classy as what we do. It’s just entertainment.”

    The Coombeses have since resumed their charter business at a private marina.

    As a side note, The Smokin’ ‘Em Charters Web site is now announcing that the service is in need of some additional, uh, mates.

    “Some of the girls have not taken so well to all the publicity we have gotten lately. So if you can handle the job and want to make some good money call us today.”

    The job requirements?

    “No experience needed but you must be HOT in a bikini!”

    ‘Nuff said.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 15, 2008

    VP Cheney Taking Hillary Hunting?-2


    It’s widely accepted among most Americans—even journalists--that you can’t believe everything you read in the newspapers these days.

    That was especially true if you happened to pick up a print copy of The Boston Herald the other day and read the story appearing at the top of page 6. The one with the headline: “VP guns for shootout with Hill,” with credit given to the Associated Press.


    Here’s the lead paragraph:

    “One day after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton professed an abiding affection for guns and hunting, her love of firearms came under attack from another sometime hunter in Washington. Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Vice President Dick Cheney said that a hunting contest between him and the New York senator was ‘the only way’ to determine whether Sen. Clinton's tales of her gun prowess were for real.”

    What a story, huh? Except that there wasn’t a shred of truth to it, of course.

    The Boston Daily blog, a production of Boston Magazine, reported yesterday that the Herald was completely duped by the story, actually the work of satirist Andy Borowitz that had appeared on several left-leaning weblogs, including The Huffington Post.

    Among the fabricated quotes that should have been a red flag for the Herald editors is this juicy morsel:

    “To be frank, Hillary Clinton’s stories about her adventures with guns don’t exactly pass the smell test,” the vice president told host Tim Russert. “If she really wants to show that she knows how to handle a rifle, there’s an easy way to do that: meet me in the woods.”

    Herald publisher Kevin Convey told Boston Daily that his editors were “bamboozled” by the fake story.

    He said the story was picked up as straight news in Google, and was folded into unrelated wire reports from the AP, making it into both the online and print editions of the paper.

    “We failed to double-check the item against the Meet the Press website, which we should have done. We have changed our policies a bit to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Convey told the Boston Magazine blog.

    The paper has since published a correction.

    It’s too bad, though. Guess we’ll never know the outcome of a Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton hunting challenge.

    Now THAT would be news!

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 11, 2008

    Are Radio-Collared Game Animals Targeted?-4


    Under a proposal being considered by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, hunters would be barred from using telemetry equipment to hunt and track down big game animals that have been fitted with radio collars for study by state and federal game agencies.

    What?? Is this a cause for concern? If so, it’s news to this Newshound.


    Dave Ware, game division manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife admits there are no documented cases of such incidents in Washington, but he says he’s heard anecdotal evidence elsewhere of situations where “there sometimes are an unexplained number of (collared) animals harvested in a year.”

    Talk about a term du jour. “Anecdotal evidence,” is today what “thinking outside the box,” used to be a few years back.

    Anyhow, Ware and others with the Washington agency believe that some unscrupulous (and telemetry-savvy) hunters could be using radio equipment to hone-in on collared deer, elk, cougar, bear, moose, mountain goat and bighorn sheep, and they’d like the Commission to pass regulations specifically prohibiting it.

    If the proposal passes, Washington would be the first state in the country with such a provision. It would not affect radio-controlled hunting dog collars or two-way radio use.

    In my limited experience with game biologists who use radio-tracking technology to study the behavior and range of certain game animals, I’ve found it is often utilized through a combination of aerial and ground-based tracking. In addition, by no means does it regularly involve desirable (trophy) animals and may often target females of the species for fertility-testing purposes.

    And how would a novice tracker be able to differentiate between a signal from a collar worn by a bull elk or a bobcat?

    That’s why it’s hard for me to fathom why it could be perceived as a potential problem for game agencies.

    “The potential is as receivers become more sophisticated, it could become more of an issue as it becomes available to more people,” Ware told the Tri-City Herald. “We just want to be ahead of it before it becomes an issue.”

    Oh, it’s kind of like thinking outside the box, huh?

    I’d like to know what my Newshound regulars think about this one. I’d especially like to hear from a game biologist or someone with experience studying game using tracking collars.

    [ Read Full Post ]
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