May 9, 2008
Turkey hunting has really taken off in a place where people once though impossible, but the province of Ontario in Canada has become a true turkey haven. In fact, I got a chance to see firsthand, how into turkey hunting sportsmen are up there as I joined some on a trap-and-transfer project one December. It was the coldest few days of my life, but I met some of the best people you could ever want to meet during the trip.
Jeff Vandrish of Williamstown, Ont., sends us our first entry from Canada. Thanks, Jeff.
Here's a shot he took of a trophy gobbler he tagged this year. It weighed 21 pounds, 9 ounces and had a beard that measured 9 3/4 inches.
Great pic and nice bird, Jeff. You're entered into the Give Us The Bird Photo Contest. Winners will be announced Friday! [ Read Full Post ]
As a longtime writer and devoted newshound, it never ceases to amaze me how mainstream electronic media and newspapers unapologetically skew their news reports to reflect a specific political or social bias. But readers, here’s a story from California (naturally) that absolutely breaks new ground in environmentally overboard wildlife reporting that’s sure to make you howl in agony.
Not only were these critters abnormally aggressive while showing no apparent fear of humans, but they also must have had some massive cajones because they targeted two enormous Rhodesian ridgebacks.
Anyhow, on Sunday night agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s animal services division found and dispatched what they determined were the two offending wild canines.
Well, in America’s heartland that would have been the end of a non-news story, but not in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The headline in the San Francisco Chronicle looked like it was meant for a serious crime story—perhaps even gang-related.
“Two coyotes shot... [ Read Full Post ]
An avid Florida saltwater fly angler experienced a close call with tragedy last week when he tumbled overboard while fighting a 90-pound tarpon, accidentally slicing an arm vein on his boat’s spinning trolling motor propeller. Before the injured fisherman gave up the fight with his silver adversary and motored to shore for help, doctors said he lost nearly a pint of blood.
Del Milligan, fishing scribe for the Lakeland, Fla. Ledger, recently related the amazing story of 54-year-old Rick Cannon, who couldn’t resist going fishing on what appeared to be a potentially lucky day to be on the water with rod in hand--Saturday, July 7 (7-7-07).
“When I turned the trolling motor on, the momentum took me right on out. I hit the water, and my thought process was, ‘I’ve got my hat and my sunglasses. That’s good. But my cell phone is in my pockets, and that’s not good. But the fish is still on,’” he said.
Cannon told Milligan that he... [ Read Full Post ]
“Some taxidermists simply have no idea what certain animals look like, and others create corny or tasteless poses. I think the snarls of lions or bears are greatly overdone myself, but what gives me the vapors is what I call the ‘punch drunk bear.’ One taxidermist produced dozens of life-size mounts of brown and polar bears standing with their front paws down with dazed looks on their faces. They remind me of prize fighters who have been clipped a good one right on the button and are about to fall on their faces for the count.”
“Trophy Collecting and Trophy Rooms”
Hunting Big Game in North America, 1967 [ Read Full Post ]
Gabe VanWormer of Bancroft, Mich., sends us this photo of a very proud Haley Jennings on her 10th birthday with her first every turkey. Haley shot the bird, a 16-pound jake with a 4 1/2-inch beard, at 20 yards away with a 20-gauge shotgun. Her dad, Bill Jennings, called the young tom in as Gabe filmed the hunt.
While Haley's smile says it all, father and daughter got their first true chance to hunt together courtesy of the recent passage of a law lowering Michigan's legal hunting age and creating an apprentice hunting program. The move is underfoot in a number of other states and has been the product of a concerted effort called Families Afield by the National Wild Turkey Federation, U.S. Sportsman's Alliance and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The whole goal is to lower prohibitively high hunting age restrictions common in many Northern and Western states so that children can legally hunt, while still receiving proper oversight and instruction from knowledgable adults. (Being a kid from the South, where that decision is left up to the parent to... [ Read Full Post ]
This is stuff we couldn't possibly make up.
A Utah man pleaded guilty last week to stealing an Alaskan Dall's sheep mount from a wildlife agency anti-poaching display trailer. And, if that act of apparent stupidity isn't paradoxical enough for you, the n'er-do-well caught on tape at a January hunting expo was the same guy who illegally killed the ram in 1999.
Wade Hanks, 37, agreed to pay $6,000 in fines in a plea Friday that will be held in abeyance for a year.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Hanks, from Mapleton, Utah, was fined $2,000 and had his hunting privileges revoked for two years for shooting the ram and a grizzly illegally in 1999. The confiscated grizzly hide was returned to Alaska, while the Dall's mount became part of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources traveling "Wall of Shame" display featuring poached wildlife trophies.
Hanks and an accomplice, who also pleaded guilty to theft and burglary charges, swiped the mount after a wildlife division worker stepped away from the booth for a moment during the event early this year at the downtown Salf Lake City... [ Read Full Post ]
Friday, April 13th was a lucky day for me. I was hunting close to Melvern, Kan., with my buddy Jason, who lives in the area. The day before we'd had two very close encounters while bowhunting, but could not get a shot. With the end of my trip drawing near, I decided to switch to my 12 gauge.
Friday morning we decided to try an area along the river where we had seen turkeys all week. The problem was, the river was up too high to cross and a lot of the turkeys, after roosting on our side, flew across the river. That meant we had to get to them as soon as they flew down.
We got out early and soon heard several gobblers several hundred yards away, along the edge of the field on our side of the river .The river ran right along the edge of the field ,and the steep banks were perfect for sneaking along out of sight of the turkeys that had ,by this time,... [ Read Full Post ]
Show and Tell, I can't help myself on this one.
Sunday morning May 20, 2007, I was waking to an alarm at 4 a.m. on a farm east of Andrew, Iowa. Get the camo on, brush the teeth, pull the hair back, put the boots on out on the porch, put the turkey vest on, check the pockets (extra turkey load, turkey calls, chalk for my favorite box call, brown napkins so you’re not waving a white flag in those needed moments, water, decoy, hand warmer, clippers for the lovely multiflora rose, make-shift first aid kit, and all the other stuff you may have collected from past hunts that you had yourself convinced that you can't live without). Load the gun, put the vest on, hook the seat cushion to the vest, sling the gun over the shoulder, push the truck door shut as softly as you can and then you hear the first gobble of the morning.
There is a peace over the open land... [ Read Full Post ]
I'm heading off to sweltering Las Vegas today to attend the ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) Show, where tackle and related manufacturers display their latest and greatest gear each year. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the event, which used to be called the AFTMA (American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association) Show, a moniker that was considerably easier for me to remember, for some reason.
I try to attend the show every other year or so, in order to catch up with all the industry folks, renew my business contacts and (oh yeah) replenish my tackle boxes with line, hooks, leaders, lures…
I will be traveling sans laptop (my classic Mac isn’t geared for wireless Internet, anyway), so it is unlikely my blog will be updated ‘til Monday—that is, unless Jerry Gibbs and I collaborate while cruising the Las Vegas Convention Center aisles. After all, you never know what kind of trouble a couple of bearded outdoor writers can get into while in "sin city." [ Read Full Post ]
My report on the two new “Radical Reels” column in the August issue of Outdoor Life promised my “curmudgeon test” report after some intense on-the-water use of the products. Those two reels include Doug Hannon’s Wave Caster, and US Reel’s SuperCaster 240SX.
The circumference of the Wave Caster’s spool lip features little teeth that remind me of a miniature skill saw; their purpose is to eliminate line loops on the spool and following problem of birds nests when you make the next power cast—when line just balloons off the reel into the first guide.
The SuperCaster 240SX is a compact, small frame model with an extra-large spool diameter that is advertised as both cutting down on tight-coil line memory that comes from very small spools, and thus increased cast distance. Much was made of the well-tuned drag system as well.
So far I’ve used both reels in both freshwater (for small and largemouth bass) and in an inshore saltwater environment on smaller striped bass and bluefish. I’ve done my regular cleaning routine after saltwater use so only more time will tell if there’ll be any long-term corrosion issues here. Both reels are said to be able to handle the marine environment no sweat.
Federal officials recently ruled that a Wyoming elk hunter acted in justified self-defense last year when he shot and killed a grizzly bear, estimated to weigh 400 pounds, with a single shot at a distance of 23 yards.
Interestingly, the case will likely be the last such incident to be overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as Wyoming grizzlies were de-listed from federal protection earlier this year and now fall under jurisdiction of the state.
Ken Meade, a 65-year-old resident of Lander, Wyo. was camping near Togwotee Pass last October when his chocolate Lab alerted him to an intruder near his camper. Meade told FWS investigators that he yelled at the bear, hoping to frighten it away.
"I could see its nose down to the ground," he told the Jackson Star-Tribune this week. "It got on my trail and started coming at us at a run."
Meade said the bear disappeared from view behind a small hill for a few seconds.
"When he reappeared he was coming at me in a dead run," he said.
Authorities determined that one shot from Meade's .338 cal. rifle hit the bruin... [ Read Full Post ]
Word came late this afternoon that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has granted a 60-day extension for those who wish to submit comments on its proposed regulations that arbitrarily define ammunition, gunpowder, primers and other common reloading items as “explosives.”
Ironically, news of the OSHA proposal became literally explosive itself after shooting blogs and Internet firearms forums began circulating its details this past weekend.
As I blogged here on July 5, industry representatives say the proposed rules pose a serious threat to the commerce of ammo and reloading supplies.
One proposed provision prohibits firearm possession in commercial “facilities containing explosives,” creating an unworkable dilemma for gun and ammo retailers. Another prohibits delivery drivers from leaving “explosives” unattended, preventing services such as UPS and Fed-Ex from delivering ammo or gunpowder to individuals or dealers, a move that would cripple the online and catalog ammo and reloading supply business.
Thanks to efforts from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and affiliate Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI), the comment period was extended from July 12 to September 10, according to a news item electronically... [ Read Full Post ]
After colliding with a 10-foot alligator in the early morning darkness, two women delivering newspapers in Fort Meade, Florida remained trapped while the injured reptile rocked and swayed their small pickup truck for a nerve-wracking 30 minutes before they were rescued.
And the gator wasn’t too pleased about its predicament, either.
The women quickly closed the doors of their truck, phoned 911, and waited—parked in the middle of the highway--for 30 minutes before authorities arrived.
In the interim, the wounded gator thrashed and growled just inches below the two panicked women, shaking the body of the diminutive truck and generally scaring the bejesus out of the two 20-something friends.
“It was grunting and roaring and shaking the whole truck,” said Ms. Maldonado, who was delivering the Tampa Tribune while accompanied by her friend Friday morning.
As they waited for help, the women told the Tribune that traffic drove around them, while one good Samaritan stopped, advising them they were doing the... [ Read Full Post ]
“Too many modern dog handlers take the view that dog training is a testing of a dog’s will against an electric collar, forgetting that the road to a finished bird dog is a scenic path traveled but once. The difference between a thoughtful approach to teaching and the work of an impatient trainer is the difference between taking the time to smell the roses and simply mowing them.”
A Breed Apart, 1993 [ Read Full Post ]
The man in the photo is Keith Gilbertson, who took this longbeard in Jefferson County, Wis., near Sullivan. He was using a Winchester Super X3 shotgun loaded with none other than Winchester turkey loads.
The tale of the tape: 22 1/2 pounds, 10 1/2-inch beard, 1-inch spurs.
'Nuff said. [ Read Full Post ]