May 9, 2008
Did you hear the one about the Polish green activists?
It seems that the members of a Polish environmental organization reported an illegal logging
operation they discovered at a nature reserve near the northern town of
Subkowy. They told authorities that the clear-cutting ne’er-do-wells had
already chopped down and neatly stacked 20 trees at the reserve and marked
several more with matching notches, obviously planning to return and mow them down
investigated the report, sure enough, they found the logging crew at work. In
fact, the entire clandestine operation, which included several tree cutters,
was operating quietly, under cover of darkness.
If you guessed beavers, you win.
Austrian Times reports today that when they were confronted with the
news, the Polish enviros were taken aback.
“The campaigners are
feeling pretty stupid,” a police spokesman told the newspaper. “There’s nothing
more natural than a beaver.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Here’s some advice for
extreme environmental activist types everywhere (even in Poland): Don’t react too quickly when
it comes to important matters of nature and the outdoors.
So, just chew on this.[ Read Full Post ]
Longtime friend Mike Pearce's outdoor page for the Wichita Eagle (www.kansas.com/outdoors) is always on my reading list—especially during deer season. Mike does a great job of staying on top of the Kansas big-buck scene, but recently reported on a 27-pointer that just might be the biggest-racked doe that anyone has ever seen.
Mike Smith of Clay Center, Kansas shot the gnarly horned deer on opening day of the Kansas firearms season last week and got the surprise of his life when he went to load the deer into his truck—it was missing a couple of parts. Like most antlered does, this deer's rack is covered in velvet and, well, a bit ugly. The doe grosses 179 and will likely net somewhere near 164. Although there is no official record-keeping system for does, the only other notable doe rack grossed about 155. [ Read Full Post ]
Teacher Leslie Vanlet was instructing her
Coopersville, Mich. East Elementary students yesterday about the demeanor and
characteristics of animals when an unannounced (albeit somewhat appropriate)
visual aid entered her third grade classroom--a six-point whitetail buck.
It was the buck’s method of entry that probably did the
most to disrupt the demeanor among the 23 students seated in the classroom.
That’s because it shattered a double-pane window and began galloping through
the classroom, wildly slinging a set of mini-blinds hooked onto its antlers
while leaving a trail of broken glass, tipped chairs and dumped desks.
During a lull in the action as the buck stood in a corner,
Vanlet was able to shuttle the children safely out of the room with the aid to
two other teachers.
“There was this horrific crash and glass shards were
flying everywhere and you wonder what in the heck is going on,” the first-year
teacher told the Grand Rapids Press. “It happened so quickly and yet it all
seemed like slow motion.”
Principal Marty Alexander told the paper that one boy was
treated for a small cut he received from flying glass. He said that one little
girl was “emotionally shaken” after the buck brushed against her.
There was no report on the emotional (or physical) impact
the whole ordeal had on the young buck, which exited the room the same way it
In addition to the mess the estimated 160-pound deer left
behind and the turmoil it created, the children have something else to help
remind them about the day the buck crashed their classroom: a cracked two-point
antler that was discovered on one of the student’s notebooks.
“I’ll be able to tell this story for years,” the teacher
now she has the broken forked tine to use as a far less-disruptive visual aid. [ Read Full Post ]
Right now, you Strut Zoners are probably in your best physical shape of the year outside of spring turkey season. You’ve been hiking hills, climbing treestands, and on occasion, you’ve dragged a deer out of the woods. You’ve put on drives (where legal), and maybe even hunted a wild turkey or two. Spring gobbler season is coming before you know it. Here are some ways to stay in playing shape, and even to keep what you’ve earned over the years while doing it.
Hunt Small Game: Many “second seasons” are offered for rabbits and upland birds around the country, including wild turkeys and even deer way down south. Ducks. Geese. Don’t stop. Keep at it. Spring turkey will follow all the fun, and it will make winter pass that much faster.
Move That Body, Part II: Don’t care to hunt small game following deer and fall turkey seasons? Join a recreational hoops league (I play weekly in one with several fellow hunters on my team). Indoors, you can also lift weights. Do pushups. Swim. Stay active. Outdoors, you can ice fish. Take up snowshoeing, which is a great way to scout, and even to check out access for new hunting areas. Get out there. You guys down south basically keep going until you hunt that first gobbler. It's tougher up north in the Snow Belt.
Secure Landowner Permission: If you’ve hunted land this fall and want to keep it, make sure you thank the landowner now. Send a holiday greeting. Drop by his house for a friendly post-season chat. Make an effort to expand your hunting areas too. Sometimes contacting the person who posts his land now will let you hunt gobblers in a few months all by yourself. Permission granted.
I recently talked to a Maine farmer who said, “I need all the help I can get with the wild turkeys. There are just too dang many of them!” This morning, as snowflakes fell, I walked his land these many months before spring turkey season to get a feel for it, and found all sorts of turkey sign. Not that these particular birds will stay, but that’s the fun. Do it. Like me, you’ll have a jump-start next year, and something to look forward to.
What do you guys do in the off-season to make sure you’re in shape for next year? Do you have any special tricks for keeping landowner permission, or getting new land to hunt?— Steve Hickoff [ Read Full Post ]
Saltwater fishing has slowed down. Our blackfish season has
just ended. Few of the lakes in
the NW corner of the state have 3 to 4 inches of ice. Panfish and smallmouth bass. One northern pike entered in the winter-long icefishing
season. Atlantic salmon on the
Chitucket and Naugetuck Rivers. Guys are landing fish from 2 to 20 pounds with a fly, spoon, or inline
spinner. Conn River the fish have
started to move into wintering locations. Northern Pike active on coves and shallow
weed beds. Target the fish with a
large shiner under a bobber or a large 7 to 9 inch soft plastic or Rapala.
Black crappie bite very good on Conn River with slip bobbers and small shiner
or casting jigheads with small shiners or soft plastics. Find the fish over structure from 6 to
20 feet deep in the coves of the river. Thames River will start to heat up with big striped bass moving up the
river. Guys have been catching
fish to 28 inches with small soft plastics and a ½ ounce jig head. As it gets colder, the fish will move
up to Norwich Harbor where they will stay all winter.
-Terry at Connecticut Outfitters. [ Read Full Post ]
It was an
elaborate scheme to cover up an illegal deer kill, but a quick-thinking and
sharp-witted New Hampshire Fish & Game conservation officer who wasn’t
afraid to get his hands a little dirty got to the bottom of the case.
final analysis, all it really took was some guts.
The case began Nov. 8
when officer William Boudreau was called by a landowner who reported hearing
shots and finding deer entrails in an area closed to hunting.
Portsmouth (NH) Herald reports that
Boudreau quickly determined that the remains came from a female whitetail,
while the marks on the ground indicated the deer had been dragged to a nearby
gravel pit owned by the University of New Hampshire, where it was placed into a
then took him to local deer check stations, where he discovered that no doe
deer had been registered that day.
The CO’s detective work
next led to UNH public works supervisor David Howard, one of the few persons
who had access to the locked gravel facility. Howard told the officer he had
killed a doe on Nov. 8, but in a different township than the area near the
That’s when CO Boudreau
morphed into a conservation super sleuth and began to lay his trap.
He returned to the site
of the illegal kill, located the gutpile, and placed his Game and Fish
Department business card (with the time and date
hand-written on the back) inside the deer’s stomach. Boudreau then phoned
Howard and requested that he (Howard) take him to the location of his Nov. 8
kill the following morning. Howard agreed.
On the next
day, when the two drove to the site where Howard claimed to have shot and field-dressed
his doe, sure enough, there was a gutpile. And the deer stomach containing Boudreau’s business card? It
was there, too.
In the end, Boudreau’s
hunch that Howard would move the doe’s remains played out like something from a
crime novel or a television script.
Kind of a CSI: Gutpile.
to the newspaper, court records indicate that Howard has presented the fish and
game department with a written confession and has admitted to hunting on posted
property. He is scheduled to be
arraigned next week in Portsmouth District Court.
Gunpundit has an instructional post on the difference between fully- and semi-automatic firearms. The presenter is a California cop--maybe his law enforcement credentials will give him extra sway with the non-shooting public. I certainly like the fact that he pulls no punches with the press.
--John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
Just weeks after his
mother paid $200 for the class ring signifying his graduation from Houston’s
Universal Technical Institute in 1987, Joe Richardson accidentally dropped the
blue-stone bauble into the water while fishing at Lake Sam Rayburn.
Initially he received
plenty of grief from his mom over the expensive loss, but Richardson eventually
forgot about the ring and went on to pursue a career as a mechanic in Buna,
reaction was—you gotta be kidding,” Richardson told the Associate Press
unlikely was the caller’s tale about how he came across Richardson’s piece of
jewelry after 21 years in the East Texas impoundment. It seems he was fishing
at Sam Rayburn on the day after Thanksgiving and landed a largemouth bass that
weighed more than 8 pounds—though it lost a few ounces after it gave up the
gold class ring with the blue stone.
who was fishing with two other men, said he tracked down Richardson with the
aid of his cellphone-based Internet service. He said the ring came out of the
bass’ mouth and fell into the bottom the boat.
Tx. television station KFDM reported that the angler called four Joe
Richardsons before he found the 1987 UTI graduate. Later that day, the two met
at the Dairy Queen in Buna, where the angler--who said he wished to remain
anonymous--returned the heirloom to its grateful owner.
Richardson’s plans for the ring?
“I have not cleaned it,”
he said. “I told my wife I don’t want to clean it.”
The big-bodied whitetail buck offered Sedalia, Mo. hunter Randy Goodman an open broadside shot with his Remington .270 at about 30 yards—and he didn’t hesitate.
Two shots and seconds
later, Goodman watched as the deer’s front legs buckled and it soon lay
motionless on the ground.
The stoked 47-year-old hunter
slowly climbed down from his treestand and walked up to have a closer look at
his trophy buck.
Goodman grabbed one of
the massive antlers and thought, “Wow, what a big deer!”
That’s when the
240-pound, thick-necked bruiser leapt to its feet and began attacking the
astonished deer hunter, knocking him on his keister and raking him repeatedly
with its 9-point rack.
remained resting against the tree, back where he left it after exiting his
“It was 15 seconds of
hell,” Goodman later told his hometown newspaper, the Sedalia Democrat.
When the angry, wounded
buck finally relented its attack, a bleeding and battered Goodman retrieved his
rifle and was able to pump two more shots into the deer—putting it down for
good this time. (See photo here)
Feeling faint and
noticing his jacket was soaked in blood, Goodman used his cell phone to summon
his brother for assistance. He was soon at the local hospital emergency room,
where he received multiple staples in his head to repair lacerations to his
scalp. He also suffered a slight concussion and bruises to his arms and chest.
A lesson learned?
“If you don’t think
they’re dead, you might want to shoot them again,” Goodman readily admitted.
Good rule. [ Read Full Post ]
no such thing as too many good books or too many paintings and prints. Or
bronzes of Labradors and pointers and Brittanies and setters. Or glasses with
pintails and canvasbacks and salmon and trout flies. Or pictures of you and
Charlie with old Duke and a limit of bobwhites, or a pair of muleys, or a
half-dozen Canadas, or about a yard of rainbows. Or old decoys and duck calls.
There are never too many memories of days past or too many dreams of good times
A Listening Walk, 1985 [ Read Full Post ]
I was contacted by Chris at Chris' Bait and Tackle inquiring about a junior world record. She told me a nine-year-old weighed in a fish over 50 pounds. I rode over to the Eastern Shore to check it out, and sure enough, an excited ilttle boy had a fish that tipped the scale at 50.9 lbs! The existing Small Fry record was sitting at 47-pounds, 9-ounces. I assisted with the application, and congratulated the boy and his family.
Bill Garren and his son, Jake of Ironto, VA were floating eels off of Kiptopeake, when the bobber on the rod Jake was holding dipped under. Jake described how he fought the fish for only three minutes! He also explained that when his Dad saw the fish, he thought it was the biggest striper he had ever seen, but didn't let on to Jake because he didn't want him to get too excited and risk losing the fish. Jake said he battled the fish cleanly to the net his dad held ready.
Jake's striper is now a pending IGFA Small Fry World Record. It is a clean application, so I don't see any problems with it's approval.—Dr. Julie Ball [ Read Full Post ]
I’ve been fortunate to kill some big gobblers over the years in states like Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky, Texas, and elsewhere, birds that weighed in the 22- to 23-pound range. Twenty-pounders aren’t all that uncommon if you hunt hard in a bunch of states as many of us do. Actually, they’re squirts compared to the current Top 3 Eastern (“Typical”) birds registered with the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Kyle Nook’s tops the list at a weight of 35.8125 lbs., a gobbler taken in Guthrie, Iowa back on April 28, 2001. A box call brought the bird to the gun.
Scott Cernohous is next in line. His St. Croix, Wisconsin longbeard creaked the scales at 34.5000 lbs. He got that one by the feet on April 10, 2002. The medicine? Again, a box call.
Allen Vanderpool’s 34.2500 lb. Whitley, Kentucky gobbler ranks third on the list. His date of kill? April 13, 1998. You guessed it. This longbeard was also lured in with a box.
My assessment? Use a box call and hunt in April! Kidding aside, I killed this 22-lb. Merriam's in the South Dakota Badlands this past spring. (Heaviest Merriam's ever? George Connors's 31.5600 lb. Stevens, Washington bird taken on April 29, 2006. Yes, he also used a box call, and a diaphragm too.)
What’s your heaviest gobbler ever, Strut Zoners? What call did you use to pull it into range, assuming you used one? Did you do it in April?—Steve Hickoff [ Read Full Post ]
Recently, we covered a phenomenal buck on the BBZ from New York that was taken by bowhunter Kevin Harris. A few days ago, Harris sent me an email about how his deer has stirred up some controversy with a local Big Buck Club near his home. The club is arguing on whether or not to judge his buck for possible entry in their record buck due to recovery issues.
Initially, Harris was unable to find his giant 15-point buck immediately following the shot. The next day he called upon NY State DEC Licensed Trackers who volunteer their time by using dogs to help find wounded big game animals to assist in the recovery. All involved followed the letter of the law in recovering the deer and no violations occurred.
However, this situation has raised many ethical questions from members inside and outside the hunting community. Harris strongly believes that he made the most ethical move in this situation.
“I do not feel that anything unethical occurred and a lot of other hunters would have probably done the same thing," Harris says. "I have always hunted for the meat, not for a trophy. As a hunter, we owe it to the game we hunt to recover any animal that is shot in the field and I have no regrets. However, I respect the hunters of the BBZ and would like to know what they think about this matter.” On that note, is using dogs to recover a downed deer when the blood trail has gone cold ethical or not? Let us know what you think. – Travis Faulkner [ Read Full Post ]