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Think of this blog as a comfy room in an old hunting shack. A bunch of pot-bellied guys are sitting around a big pot-bellied stove shooting the breeze about our outdoor exploits, some of which may have actually happened. Several dogs of indeterminate lineage are lying around under our feet, and we’re probably having a drink or two.

How was your duck season? Where’d you shoot that big buck? (besides in the shoulder). Got any hero pictures of the monster trout you caught recently? How’s that new dog working out? Got any good turkey or pheasant stories? Any fly patterns you’d like to share? Read any good books about the outdoors lately? Planning any trips to the San Juan? The White? Canada?

That’s what this blog is all about. What this blog is NOT about is POLITICS unless it pertains directly to outdoor sports. I’m sure you’re not interested in my political opinions and I’m not interested in yours.

So pull up a chair. What’s on your mind?

Big Fishweir Creek

While eating lunch on the deck at Harp’s Pub, which is only a few thousand yards from my house, you can look straight down into the murky waters of Big Fishweir Creek. This once navigable urban waterway meanders from Jacksonville’s trendy Avondale neighborhood under the Herschel Street bridge and into the Ortega River where it joins the St. John’s River.

Kayakers, fishermen and canoeists once enjoyed the recreational opportunities of Big Fishweir but this urban waterway has become shallow and harder for wildlife and boaters to navigate due to sediment from surrounding development and storm events.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has designated Big Fishweir as an area that should be swimmable and fishable. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to start removing sediment and invasive plants in early 2021. The majority of funding for the 6.5 million dollar project is federal while about 35% is from the city of Jacksonville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Black Bears

A recent Associated Press article in the Florida Times Union States that Governor Ron Desantis signed a bill to protect black bears against poachers. I don’t even like poached eggs so I can imagine how yucky a poached bear would taste.

Anyway, the main reason some people were poaching bears is because the Florida bear population has skyrocketed. Which is a good thing if you like bears. In the ‘70s the Florida black bear population was only in the low hundreds. It  has now rebounded to around 4000. But some Floridians don’t LIKE bears, at least the ones that poop on their suburban yards and turn over their garbage cans which seems hypocritical to me because some HUMAN Floridians do these things all the time.

So, bottom line… the bill means there will be MORE bears which will please the pro-bear crowd but the anti-bear folks will be highly pissed.

But wait… there’s MORE! The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has drafted a 10-year management plan that it says takes a scientific approach toward addressing the rising bear numbers. And what is that plan, you ask? They are going to keep the bears off-limits to hunters. Do you see where I’m going with this? How is keeping more bears from winding up as a rug in front of the fireplace in some guy’s man-cave going to address the rising bear numbers?

I don’t know about you but I can’t bear to think about this any more.

 

 

 

 

 

Pets by day, killers by night

They stalk the suburbs by night. With catlike quickness they pounce upon their unsuspecting prey. With no respect for the concept of fair play the nocturnal monsters toy with their helpless victims, often flinging them into the air or swatting them with cruel paws. Eventually tiring of this sadistic game, they commit the unthinkable… they DEVOUR their prey, often while the pitiful creatures ARE STILL ALIVE!

Though these hairy monsters assume their evil deeds are hidden by the cloak of darkness we, thanks to the ubiquitous trail cam, know the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

Camo Wars

Every year hunting apparel manufacturers bring out at least one new camouflage pattern. Pity the poor soul who shows up at hunting camp sporting last year’s pattern. And if       you’re seen wearing the original old government issue brown-over-more-brown pattern…well…turn in your man card and go play jumprope with the girls.

This story was published in the November 2003 issue of Bowhunting magazine.

 

One-Armed Retriever Training

I had just started writing and illustrating The Sporting Life column for Wyoming Wildlife News. My new Lab pup Maggie was ready to be trained.   I was recovering from rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder so throwing training dummies for her was out. That’s how I came up with one-armed retriever training…indoor version.

More exciting urban trail cam photos

Tie your trail cam to a tree in the woods, leave it for a week or so, then take out the chip,  stick it in  your computer and marvel at  the exciting photos. White tail deer, raccoons, possums, all sorts of nocturnal critters roaming the area.

Stick your trail cam on a tripod and set it up in your urban back yard and…well…it’s less exciting. However, in the darkest hours of night my trail cam has recently captured images of two neighborhood cats doing their thing: hunting for rats and mice.

A big round of applause for these, my fellow predators, for their service to the neighborhood.