What's On Your Mind

OUTDOOR LIFE GOES TO WAR

Our son, SPC Bryon Norman, is stationed in Iraq with the 1092nd Brigade of the West Virginia National Guard. Bryon has enjoyed OUTDOOR LIFE ever since he was the size of the boy in this photograph. We have been sending Bryon current issues of OUTDOOR LIFE and we also gathered up some old issues to make sure the guys had something to read. I don't know which issue the little boy is holding, but he certainly looks happy with it. Thank you for providing such a good magazine. Kenneth and Sheila Norman, Shoch, WV

Editor's Note: Ironically, the boy is holding our November 2000 issue, in which we featured a debate on gun control and hunting-related issues between then Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore.

CATCH & EAT

I'd like to congratulate Jim Zumbo on hitting the nail on the head in his feature "Catch and Eat" [June/July]. This feature really exposes the "Disneyitis" that is so prevalent in the outdoor media. The young fisherman Zumbo mentioned who refused to kill a fish reflects how the youth of this nation have been brainwashed, as if eating a fish is the eighth deadly sin. How sad. Randy Biggerstaff Dillwyn, VA

I would like to thank Jim Zumbo for so eloquently stating what I and other castigated "fish lovers" have been trying to say to our detractors for years. What started me fishing in the first place and continues today with my sons was the enjoyment and great taste of fish that my Dad and I would catch on our vacations.

I practice and advocate live release, but on the occasion that you'd like to eat your catch, you should be able to do so with a clear conscience. Danny Barrett Jacksonville, FL

BORDER ISSUES

Last fall I attempted to meet a friend and longtime hunting buddy in his home state of North Dakota for a lifetime dream hunt in that state. However, after having contacted every border crossing in Montana and North Dakota, I was unable to obtain enough information to let me cross the border in the West without preplanning and applying for a Federal permit six months in advance!

Worse yet, I received 10 different answers from 20 different U.S. border sources, and finally gave up.

Sad to say, my Gordon missed out, my SKB side-by-side and I missed out and both my friend and I were disappointed to pass up the opportunity to hunt pheasant in a state that, for me, was a lifetime dream to hunt.

I wonder how many U.S. hunters realize that the firearms issue goes both ways. Ken (last name withheld) Via E-mail

GREAT GEAR TEST

Your magazine is rapidly becoming my favorite. Good, objective reviews of current hunting and fishing products, great articles--just a lot of good, entertaining and useful information. Keep up the good work. Dave Clarke Burlington, VT

WHERE'S THE .17 HMR?

I am one of just a handful of people who have been lucky enough to be able to purchase a Savage bolt-action in .17 caliber HMR. I'm very pleased with it but my friends keep wondering why the gun manufactures are delaying in producing and selling this hot new caliber. What's up? T.J. Costner Via E-mail

Editor's Note: The hold-up isn't with gunmakers. In fact, every company that is chambering for the .17 HMR is cranking out rifles as fast as it can. Supply is simply being outstripped by demand, which is why these guns are seemingly scarce. The same goes for ammo, although fortunately both Remington and CCI are now distributing .17 ammunition along with Hornady. Rumor has it that Federal will also probably be introducing .17 ammo soon.

ANGLING FOR THE AGES

Just wanted to drop you a note and let you know how much I enjoyed your May cover story, "Fishing With Kids," by Homer Circle. I purchased my copy of OUTDOOR LIFE in the Atlanta airport and didn't put it down until I landed. It brought back great memories of fishing with my grandfather, which I hope to pass down to my son.

I am starting my son on the basics of angling and have come across an excellent Web site out of Australia. It has great pages on knot tying for fishing and boating that I highly recommend. The site is www.marinews.com. Once again, I appreciate your publication. Keep up the great work. Robert Riley Edmond, OK

"First Casts," by John B. Snow [May], brought back a lot of memories. I have a few things to add to the 10 "Dos and Don'ts." Regarding numbers 2 and 4, try mini-marshmallows and Velveeta Cheese for stocked trout. They're cheaper than jar baits, they don't dry out and you don't have to pack them up to take back home. The kids eat whatever's left after finishing off a couple of bags of chips, popcorn and a six-pack of soda. Vienna Sausages and hot dogs work for catfish.

Regarding number 10, I also include Bactine and Mercurochrome.

Number 11 would be to pack a complete set of clothes, including shoes and a jacket, and a couple of towels. Somehow kids always manage to fall in the water. Add a broomstick or two to your net so they can grab on while you haul them back in. Steve Petroff Beaumont, CA

WHERE'S NINA?

Over the years I've really enjoined Pat McManus's column. Years ago, there was a question about the name NINA showing up in the cartoons of his articles. He said it was his daughter's name and that the number of times her name showed up in the cartoon depended on the "rating" he gave the article. Has he quit this practice? Leon Bath Via E-mail

Editor's note: It was not McManus's practice to put the name NINA in his cartoons; it was the practice of Al Hirschfeld, the noted artist who illustrated Last Laugh from 1981-1992. Nina is Hirschfeld's daughter's name (he incorporated it into all of his illustrations) and perhaps it was he who joked about the number of times it appeared being a reflection of his rating of Pat's article. We're not sure. Sadly, Hirschfeld died in 2002 at the age of 99 [see Snap Shots, May].