May 9, 2008
Legislation creating and funding a statewide venison program to help feed needy residents became law last week in Minnesota. Those who reside outside the state are likely unaware of how contentious the debate over the bill became, and how it needlessly divided many hunters and hunters' organizations.
The final bill was the result of House and Senate conference negotiations after the House version imposed a mandatory $1 surcharge on each deer license to fund the program, while the Senate version made the surcharge a voluntary choice for hunters.
In the end, for 2007, Minnesota deer hunters may choose to donate $1, $3 or $5 to fund the program, while non-resident deer hunters will be charged $5 extra.
What a concept, huh? Stick it to the non-residents. Where have I heard that before?
But the real story on the so-called compromise bill lies in the rift that was exposed between state deer hunters and the 20,000-member Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.
Much to the surprise and dismay of many hunters, the MDHA vigorously opposed and lobbied against the mandatory $1 surcharge.
It’s important to note that the MDHA operates its own venison... [ Read Full Post ]
Just wanted to apologize for a few skipped days and some shuffling around of blog entries during the first week of the Outdoor News Hound blog. I'm slowly becoming accustomed to a new program and system, and it appears I'm finally learning how to post (and how not to post).
Thanks for your patience, and for stopping by. Please feel free to share your comments, opinions and suggestions. [ Read Full Post ]
A great photograph courtesy of Rob Leahy of Simply Rugged Holsters, located in Wasilla, Alaska. (Click image for larger version.)
JR: We were fishing with a group of friends in Seldovia, Alaska (last week). This is at the city dock cleaning station. The fish carcasses draw seagulls, crows, eagles, river and sea otters and at least one sneaky little mink. We were feeding the birds the skin off the fish as we cleaned them. This drew large crowds of birds and the pecking order was quite clear: the biggest toughest eagle was first--all others as they could get in.
Seldovia is a small fishing town 18 miles across Kachemak Bay from Homer, on the Kenai Peninsula. We launch our boats from Homer and stay in Seldovia for fishing, clamming, playing in the tide pools and bear hunting. Great family fun! -- Rob Leahy
Thanks for permission to use this great shot on The Outdoor News Hound blog, Rob. It leaves little doubt what species is perched atop the feathered food chain, at least in Alaska. [ Read Full Post ]
It’s all over for an elusive, freezer-raiding black bear in Western Montana.
You might say the door was closed on the critter’s weeks of raids and hijinks—literally.
The Missoulian newspaper reports the bear dodged numerous traps placed by FWP authorities after residents in the Grant Creek area complained about its burglarizing ways, as well as its affinity for candy bars, frozen foods and garbage.
The bear’s antics ended abruptly one night last week after it opened the door of a parked pickup truck and climbed inside, in search of goodies. The door swung shut, trapping it for several hours before the owner of the truck awoke to the sound of his blaring horn.
In the interim, the bear proceeded to wreak havoc on the truck’s interior.
“(The bear) pretty much destroyed the inside of a brand new truck,” warden captain Jeff Darrah told The Missoulian.
To put it as nicely as possible, the bear did what bears are normally known for doing in the woods, all over... [ Read Full Post ]
In a disturbing sign of the times, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, as part of a major restructuring effort, has announced it will eliminate the paper's hunting and fishing (outdoors) beat.
Editor and Publisher magazine reported Friday that as many as 100 Star-Tribune newsroom staffers may be taken off their current beats and forced to apply for new assignments when the week-long shake-up is complete.
"It is quite unbelievable," Doug Smith, 20-year Star-Trib veteran and its outdoor writer for 11 years told E&P. "The job was basically eliminated. I will have the chance to apply for other reporting or editing jobs, but it is not real pleasant."
Such moves are becoming an unfortunate trend as many struggling newspapers look for ways to cut fiscal corners. Sadly, it is the outdoor writer who often is targeted as one of the first casualties in such belt-tightening efforts.
The news is especially troubling because Minnesota has one of the country's highest per capita hunting and fishing demographics.
More and more newspaper outdoor writers I know are being required to cover multiple events and beats to justify the continued publishing of a weekly or bi-weekly outdoors column or page--even if those other subjects fall outside of their interest or expertise.... [ Read Full Post ]
"If there is anything in life in which I take a pardonable pride, it is my friendship for certain old woodsmen and hunters; obscure men, as far as the world is concerned, but faithful friends, loyal comrades."
"Starlight through the storm"
Life’s Extras, 1928 [ Read Full Post ]
Click here for a few snapshots from Boca Grande Pass!
The winds backed off. It still looked pretty iffy for the tarpon at the ditch—otherwise known as Boca Grande Pass on Florida’s west coast, and if you’ve been following these recent posts you know that Brian Lynn and I hit a dry spell following our little altercation with the guys in the brown suits—sharks, that is—a few day’s back. So Capt. Ray Van Horn, Capt. C.A. Richardson and his girlfriend Jessica, Brian and I were about to head to a little cay where the redfish were supposedly schooled up. Then the Nextel call came. Capt. Artie Price, a close friend of Ray and C.A. and fellow competitor in the redfish tournament game, had a quick message for us. He was already at the pass. “You might wanna head this way,” he said not so cryptically. “We’ll be there in fifteen,” Ray told him. The ‘poons were in.
The bite was on, all right, hot as firecrackers and the word was soon out, too, boats zooming in to start the rotational drifting... [ Read Full Post ]
With something like 280 fires burning throughout Florida, and winds from the west and north, the air is worse than in New York City and the little fish the tarpon eat like popcorn in Boca Grande pass have vamoosed. By the time we arrived at Capt. Ray Van Horn’s other hotspot, a place where the silver kings were corralled by sharks the day before, the fish were gone from there, too. What to do?
We slipped into the backcountry trying to scratch some redfish and snook at least to get tight on something. Bad joss there, too. It took all day to take and release a small snook, and finally a just-legal redfish. That baby went into the cooler for dinner. Not that it would feed Capt. Van Horn, Capt CA Richardson, Senior Editor Brian Lynn and yours truly, but it was going to make some pretty picking, Cajun style, as a test, really. The restaurant at Burnt Store resort/marina where we were staying is called Porto Bello, and they’ll cook up fish you elect to keep. Let me tell you... [ Read Full Post ]
Well-known fly angler Dr. Martin Arostegui of Coral Gables, Fla. has surpassed an incredible fishing milestone by becoming the first person to list 200 world record fish with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA).
In a press release, the IGFA noted that the retired physician’s first world record fish was caught in the summer of 1994, a 10-pound triple tail on 4-pound tippet near Flamingo in Florida’s Everglades National Park. His 200th, also on a flyrod, came nearly 14 years later with a mullet snapper caught in Costa Rica.
“Dr. Arostegui’s accomplishment of achieving 200 world records is truly a remarkable feat,” said IGFA President Rob Kramer. “Through careful planning, detailed preparation and steadfast perseverance, he has taken world record game fishing to an all time high.”
Last spring, Arostegui made waves on the fishing blogs when he caught the heaviest fish ever recorded on a flyrod, a 385-pound lemon shark off Key West, Fla.
“When it opened its huge mouth, I said to myself this shark could eat half of me in one bite,” joked the 5-foot, 125-pound... [ Read Full Post ]
Deer hunters across much of the Midwest and South who own their hunting property may be wise to consider supplemental wildlife food plots this year. That’s because game managers from Illinois to Georgia are indicating that this spring’s record cold temperatures (aka: The Easter Freeze) have all but guaranteed a greatly reduced amount of both hard and soft mast crops—the favored food of whitetail deer and turkey—for the remainder of 2007.
“This freeze affected forests across the South, but it didn’t affect every plant in every location the same way,” Martin Blaney, statewide habitat coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, told the Arkansas News Bureau.
“What’s interesting is that you can find some trees that weren’t very affected within some of these hard hit forests, he said. “It was a widespread event, but different areas were affected to varying degrees.”
The bottom line for hunters is this: In many cases, acorns, hickories and other nuts won’t be available for wildlife this coming fall and winter. In addition, many of the “soft mast,” fruit and berries were also harmed during the Easter freeze of 2007.
Blaney noted... [ Read Full Post ]
Mark Henckel, my good pal and longtime outdoor scribe for the Billings Gazette, dropped me a note of appreciation for this week's random quote by Gordon MacQuarrie, perhaps the premier writer in the hunting and fishing genre during the 1930s and 40s.
"MacQuarrie is the outdoor writer who I admire more than any other in terms of his ability to paint word pictures and write humor, serious stuff, and really capture the right tone in an article. He was absolutely the best. You mention 1998 as the year of publication. That was through Willow Creek Press. I got a copy of that book back in the 1970s and about wore it out. I lent it to someone and never got it back. I've since bought the Willow Creek Press edition. Nobody else can hold a candle to him. -- mark"
Do you have a favorite writer or quote you'd like to share with the Outdoor News Hound readership? Email me the quote (email@example.com), along with the writer, source and date of publication. [ Read Full Post ]
Yesterday Capt. Bucky Dennis proved that a simple boat drifting technique is primo shark medicine for fishing Boca Grande—the giant pass that connects Charlotte Harbor with the Gulf of Mexico on Florida’s west coast and annually lures thousands of tarpon and the sharks that stalk them like wolves.
Primo medicine, that is, if you have the right bait—which is live stingrays. The first shark to crush a live ray fluttering just below the surface came unbuttoned despite Herculean efforts with Bucky’s custom big game rod sporting a 12/0 Penn Senator reel. The next shark stayed hooked, honking out 80-lb. test-braid line and bucking the rod in grand style each time the drag washers slipped.
The big-headed bull shark finally quit and we brought him boatside thrashing and giving that classic toothsome smile. The fish was maybe 350-400 lbs.
We lost others and caught more including what looked to be the fish we had nailed earlier (sharks aren’t particularly brilliant, but aggressive they are). Finally, Senior Editor Brian Lynn and I hauled our butts into and 18-ft. flats boat owned by one of Bucky’s pals,... [ Read Full Post ]
Here’s a feel-good story about a bottom-feeding angler who received his due in court this week.
On Monday, one of two men who admitted to planting fish during Kentucky fishing tournaments received a probated 5-year sentence providing he pays $23,000 in restitution.
The Paducah Sun reports that Brian Thomas of Dawson Springs was sentenced to one year each for theft by deception over $300 and theft by deception under $300. As part of his sentence, Thomas was also banned from holding a fishing license or participating in fishing events during his probation.
Kentucky State Police began investigating Thomas and his fishing partner, Dwayne Nesmith, in April 2006, after witnesses said they saw the pair take five bass from a submerged fish basket and subsequently weigh them at the Relay for Life Buddy Bass Tournament on Kentucky’s Lake Barkley.
A month earlier, in March 2006, the fraudulent fishermen won a $30,000 bass boat in the Lake Barkley Superbass Championship, allegedly using the same deceptive practice.
Nesmith pleaded guilty to identical charges in his Monday court appearance. He is scheduled for sentencing June 4. [ Read Full Post ]
The opening line spoken by Terri Lyon on a video she taped from her home’s elevated deck Sunday morning is not something you hear every day, not even if you reside outside a remote, last frontier kind of place like Homer, Alaska--as do Terri and her husband, Gary.
Noises coming from his driveway woke Gary Lyon about 6:30 a.m. Sunday, according to a report in Monday's Homer News.
“I looked out the window and to my astonishment there were huge chunks of moose hair scattered up the driveway,” Lyon said. “Then I saw these two big animals--a mature sow brown bear that had this cow moose in its death grip. They were in the midst of the struggle.”
Lyon woke his wife and they began taking still photos and video footage. You can view the result on YouTube here. (Warning--it’s fairly graphic stuff.)
“The bear ripped (the moose’s) chest open, ripped out its heart, took the heart out and ate it. It was just like a horror movie,” Lyon told the local paper. “All the while it was kind of looking at us and looking at... [ Read Full Post ]
In keeping with yesterday's B-slapping (as in B-Mobile) video of a turkey flogging the gobbler decoy with its spurs and wings before absorbing a shot by the Farris women, we've got another one for you courtesy of Primos.
Here, Carrie McCullers fills a quick tag after getting one heck of a show of a Florida longbeard drubbing the snot out of B-Mobile's predecessor—an actual taxidermied gobbler named Bob that the company's film crew used to use during some of their hunts.
This is—er, um, was—one mad turkey!
[ Read Full Post ]