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  • September 30, 2008

    Now, Where Did I Leave My Beer?-5


    The Outdoor Life Newshound’s fading and sporadic memory has not yet deteriorated to the point where I can hide my own Easter eggs.

    At least, not yet anyway.

    However, on occasion, when I’m wandering around the house or outside in the yard or workshop while also hoisting a can or bottle containing my favorite adult beverage, I’ve been known to lose track of where I placed my container of malted refreshment.

    Beginning tomorrow (for a limited time only), thanks to the Marketing Minds of Milwaukee, 12- and 16-ounce cans of Miller High Life beer will be even easier for the outdoorsman to accidentally misplace while in camp or during a post-hunt gathering afield this fall. That’s because the unique can design incorporates a generic, woodland-type camouflage pattern.


    In my long and storied history of imbibing, it’s the first time I’ve ever heard of beer in a camo can.

    To that end, I think it’s a testament—to something, anyhow. I’m just not exactly sure to what.

    Miller’s hunter-inspired offering is a follow-up to last year’s limited edition blaze orange cans, which evidently achieved some semblance of marketing success.

    According to a company press release, the Miller camo cans will be available nationwide in “outdoor-themed 24- and 30-packs” beginning tomorrow, October 1, through the end of the year. Or, in terms the sportsman understands, through most of the fall big game and upland hunting seasons.

    Kidding aside, the Milwaukee-based brewer has a long history of supporting sportsmen’s issues and organizations. The special 2008 packaging and point-of-purchase display notes its affiliation with Whitetails Unlimited and Pheasants Forever.

    “We received a lot of positive feedback from the launch of last year’s limited-edition, blaze-orange High Life cans, so this year’s outdoor-themed packaging is a way to continue that tradition, and include an even broader array of outdoors activities,” said Miller High Life Senior Brand Manager Kevin Oglesby.

    It’s a perfect “win-win” sales and marketing scheme for Miller.

    Not only have they managed to strengthen the bond they have with hunters and sportsmen, but they’ve also made it more likely that guys like me will lose and misplace unfinished brewskis, prompting an early, pre-emptive beer-run.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 30, 2008

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-1


    “Some day, out of sheer vindictiveness, I hope to venture out on the streams of Montana with a trout-fishing purist, catch a trout, hit its head on a rock, heave it up on the bank to rot, and snort something like ‘The slimy buggers are ruining perfectly good sucker habitat.’”

    -Greg Keeler
    “Carp of a Parallel Universe”
    Gray’s Sporting Journal, Summer 1988.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 26, 2008

    14er e-Mail Address Leads to Graffiti Culprit-0


    Chances are, unless you’re a resident of Colorado or an avid hiker in the Rocky Mountain West, you may not know what the colloquial term, “fourteener” signifies.

    In the vernacular, a 14er is one of Colorado’s 54 mountain peaks that exceed 14,000 feet in elevation. Today there are 14er hiking clubs, organizations and Web sites dedicated to the peaks and those who strive to accumulate the most trips to the most summits, coveting the experience like so many trophies or medals.


    As hiking to the peaks has gained in popularity, so have the problems associated with increase in trail traffic and its impact on the fragile alpine environment.

    Officials with the U.S. Forest Service say that a growing trend of leaving mementos behind to signify one’s successful hike to a 14er summit is becoming a growing problem for public land managers.

    And, now there’s also graffiti.

    “Graffiti is something new,” said Forest Service peak manager Loretta McEllhiney, who has recently investigated incidents involving the use of felt-tip markers on rocks located on top of 14,443-foot Mount Elbert near Leadville—the state’s highest peak.

    McEllhiney told The Summit Daily News she has removed plastic dolls, stuffed animals and even a 100-pound granite block from the summit. But one recent graffiti culprit—obviously not the sharpest Sharpie-wielding hiker on the planet—not only wrote his full name on a boulder atop Mt. Elbert, but also penned his e-mail address.

    As a result, Forest Service authorities and hikers outraged by the defacing of the mountaintop tracked down 21-year-old Lewis Daugherty of Fort Collins—within hours of his offense.

    “It was creepy,” Daugherty told the Summit newspaper. “Within seven hours, they knew everything about me except my Social Security number. Somebody even sent an e-mail to my boss.”

    To his credit, the novice hiker apologized for his thoughtless deed and quickly made the second 14er hike of his life--back up Mt. Elbert--to clean the boulder bearing his name and e-mail.

    Has he learned his lesson?

    “I didn’t really know it was technically illegal. It was my first fourteener,” he explained. “I tried to make it good. If I have to pay any more consequences, I will, with no shame.”

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 25, 2008

    Dad’s Arrow Saves Son From Grizzly Attack-1


    Quick thinking, good bow shooting and a prayer combined to help Cody, Wyo. bowhunter Ron G. Leming, 62, loose a single arrow from his compound bow and subdue a grizzly bear that was attacking his son, Ron J. Leming, 37, while the two were elk hunting in northwestern Wyoming on September 12.

    In a detailed article, the Cody Enterprise reports this week that the father and son were on their annual bowhunting and horse-packing trek into the backcountry when the grizzly—an 11-year-old male—emerged from the woods and charged the younger Leming. On impulse, the hunter jumped behind a nearby tree and began dodging the attacking bruin. Then he began to run downhill, hoping to escape and figuring he could move faster in that direction.

    “I passed my dad and I saw an arrow fly right by my leg, about two feet away,” Leming told the Cody newspaper. He realized his father had taken a shot at the moving bear, but was unsure if the arrow had met its mark.


    “I took three or four more steps and I fell,” he said, “The bear was on top of me.”

    Leming was able to free himself after applying several kicks to the bear and then tried to jump through a tree fork, but the relentless bruin attacked him from behind, biting his back. Unable to see his son beneath the animal, the elder Leming used his bow to repeatedly strike the attacker.

    Suddenly, the bear ended its attack and began to move away from its victim.

    “He took a few steps toward Dad, then he started walking down the hill. I told Dad to kill him, but (the bear) was already starting to check out,” Leming said.

    The fatally hit bear stumbled back and fell over a log, dead— after traveling about 80 yards. As it turned out, the elder Leming’s single shot at the running grizzly had severed a major artery and sliced into its heart.

    “I would have been mauled way worse, if not killed, if Dad hadn’t had the nerve to stand his ground and shoot that bear with his bow,” the attack victim later told the newspaper. “There’s not many people who could have done that.”

    After packing out of the wilderness with their horses and gear, the attack victim was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated for numerous puncture wounds and scratches. He was released the following day.

    A spokesman for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said the incident remains under investigation, though the shooting appears to be a clear case of justifiable self-defense.

    And what about the elder Leming’s incredible shot at the speeding grizzly as it chased his son downhill?

    After missing two shots a bull elk with his bow the day before the attack, the senior Leming apparently asked for some Divine shooting intervention, according to his grateful son.

    “The night before, Dad said a prayer for God to guide his arrow,” he explained.

    (Ron G. Leming photo)

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 24, 2008

    Georgia Angler Lands, Shoots Record Fish-1


    What’s the first thing you do after landing an exceptionally large fish following a long battle?

    Stand in silent admiration?

    Grab a camera?

    Search for the nearest certified scale?

    Angler Chad Leonard did none of those things after he fought a massive fish for nearly an hour before dragging it ashore from Georgia’s Alapaha River on September 5. Instead, he reached for his .380 pistol and shot the big bugger.


    Leonard and a buddy were fishing for catfish in Atkinson County when something hit his nightcrawler and began stripping the 15-pound test line from his reel.


    “Next thing I know, there was a big ol’ fish head coming out of the water,” Leonard later told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    And the head was loaded with teeth. Lot’s of ‘em, too.

    The Nashville, Ga. angler said he played the fish for all it was worth, letting it dive, reeling in a little, then letting it run some more. Finally, with the fish and the fisherman equally exhausted, Leonard pulled it on to the bank for his first close look at his adversary.

    “He was ugly as hell,” said the 29-year-old angler. “He was all teeth.”

    And, that’s when he figured he’d better shoot the prehistoric-looking critter, for his own safety.

    After Leonard and his pal, Chad Troupe, tossed the fish in the back of their pickup and drove around to show it off to the denizens of Willacoochee, they eventually ran into the local game warden, who suggested they weigh the fish. When they located a store with a state-certified scale, Leonard discovered that not only did he have a great fish story, but he’d caught the new Georgia state record longnose gar.

    The angler’s 30-pound, 4-ounce, 56-inch fish bested the state high mark for the species by nearly two pounds, breaking the 1995 record of 28 pounds, 6 ounces.

    But the Georgia record book doesn’t mention if the 1995 fish was subdued by the same rod, reel and handgun combination.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 24, 2008

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-0


    “For the hunter, fall is the island and the rest of the year is the swim.”

    -Charles Fergus
    A Rough-Shooting Dog, 1991

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 23, 2008

    Researchers: Gene Linked to Ailment in Retrievers-0


    University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine research published in the journal Nature Genetics this week identifies the direct association of a gene in Labrador retrievers with the sometimes-fatal, exercise-induced collapse (EIC) syndrome.

    After intense hunting or retrieving exercise, Labs carrying the identified mutated gene may lose control of their hind limbs, and in some cases may die.

    Labradors are the most-common purebred dog in the U.S. and are especially popular among hunters and sportsmen. An estimated 3 to 5 percent of Labradors are afflicted with EIC, say the researchers.


    Information on the syndrome appearing on the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Web page notes: “EIC is being observed with increasing frequency in young adult Labrador retrievers. Most, but not all affected dogs have been from field-trial breedings. Black, yellow and chocolate Labradors of both sexes are affected, with the distribution of colors and sexes closely reflecting the typical distribution in field trials (black males most common).”

    The research team identified a mutant form of the dynamin 1 gene as highly associated with EIC. The dynamin 1 protein normally functions to maintain proper chemical communication between adjacent nerves, also known as synaptic transmission. However, the mutated form of the protein can interrupt synaptic transmission during intense exercise, causing the muscle-controlling nerves to malfunction.

    “This is very exciting because it is the first naturally occurring mutation of this gene identified in any mammal,” said James Mickelson, PhD, professor of veterinary sciences at the University of Minnesota and co-principal investigator on the study. “Its discovery could offer insight into normal as well as abnormal neurobiology in both animals and humans.”

    Researchers also determined that up to 30 percent of Labrador retrievers are carriers of the mutation, and they developed a genetic test to indicate whether dogs have the normal or mutated forms of the gene.

    “The test can not only help confirm the diagnosis, but it can also help dog breeders ensure that no dogs inherit two copies of the mutated gene,” said Edward “Ned” Patterson, D.V.M, Ph.D., assistant professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota and co-principal investigator of the study.

    Lab owners can have their dogs tested through their personal veterinarian by submitting a blood sample to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 16, 2008

    Bruin-Related Home Invasions Peaking in New Jersey-2


    Are the repeated years of ignoring the recommendations of the state’s wildlife biologists and rejecting proposed bear hunting seasons starting to come back and bite New Jersey’s governor and the Department of Environmental Protection director? Many in the hunting community are beginning to think so, as black bears—virtually unmanaged and with little fear of humans—continue to cause a record number of nuisance incidents in the Garden State.


    The Daily Record reported last week that since August, the DEP has recorded 1,372 incidents of damage and nuisance statewide—a record—and the agency expects the report numbers to increase in coming weeks as bears prepare for their winter denning.

    Last week, an unusually bold black bear broke through the window and door screens of a Boonton, New Jersey home and helped itself to the contents of a bag of groceries sitting on the kitchen counter. Sgt. Daniel Worts said officers arrived to find groceries, including TV dinner containers, an orange and two small empty milk cartons, strewn across the ground outside the home of a 76-year-old woman.

    Darlene Yuhas, a spokeswoman for the DEP, says the agency has recorded 55 previous reports of bears breaking into homes statewide.

    “Home entries are among the incidents that we consider to be the most serious,” Yuhas said. “And bears that break into homes, we make an effort to capture them, if possible. They’re euthanized.”

    Will the continuing escalation of human/bear-related incidents be enough to persuade the current administration that the need is critical for serious, professional and scientific management of the state’s bear population?

    Perhaps. But it’s not likely that bear hunters will be given an opportunity to do their part to control New Jersey’s bruin numbers for at least another year.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 16, 2008

    Hunters Still Relish Outdoor Magazines-1


    Despite the abundance of online sites and Web-based activities aimed at sportsmen, a majority of American hunters say they continue to enjoy receiving magazines geared toward their favorite outdoor hunting and angling activities.


    And here at Outdoor Life, we believe that’s a good thing, because we give it to you both ways.

    Most of those hunters and anglers responding to an online poll conducted by Southwick Associates, one of the country’s leading firms specializing in outdoors and conservation economics say they subscribe to at least two outdoor magazines.

    The August 2008 survey from that asked hunters about their interest in outdoor magazines found that two-thirds (about 67 percent) subscribe to two or more outdoor magazines. Only 14 percent reported that they receive no outdoor magazine subscriptions at all.

    Here’s the breakdown of responses: five or more magazine subscriptions, 16 percent; four subscriptions, 11 percent; three subscriptions, 17 percent; two subscriptions, 23 percent (the largest single response); and one subscription, 18 percent.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 16, 2008

    JR's Random Outdoor Quote-0


    “An inexperienced shotgun user will check out a gun by lifting it to his shoulder and then putting his face against the stock and squirming around until he can look down the barrel or rib. A good shot will invariably pick out a target or imaginary target, push the gun muzzle at it, and then see just how the gun fits. He doesn’t thrust his head forward extremely far, but he endeavors to meet the gun stock with it.”

    -Charles F. Waterman
    “Guns and Using Them”
    Hunting Upland Birds, 1972

    [ Read Full Post ]
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