About BruceCochran

Bruce Cochran graduated from Oklahoma University in 1960 with a B.A. in design. He worked as a humor writer/illustrator for Hallmark Cards from 1960 – 1962 and has freelanced as a writer, cartoonist and illustrator since then. Cochran drew daily sports cartoon for USA Today from 1983 – 1991. He has 10 humor/cartoon books published by Willow Creek Press and his work appears regularly in Wyoming Wildlife, Outdoor News, On Wisconsin Outdoors, Pheasants Forever Journal, Wildfowl, Gundog, Ducks Unlimited magazine, Delta Waterfowl and other publications. He also writes and illustrates a regular humor column for Wyoming Wildlife News. Bruce won first place in the magazine humor category of OWAA’s EIC contest in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Life Sponsor: Ducks Unlimited. Life member: NRA. Member: Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, OWAA and Outdoor Writers of Kansas.

It’s shed time

It was nice of this 6-point whitetail buck to pose for my friend Dave’s trail cam in his back yard. Actually there might be another tine hiding back there. Anyway now it’s a 3 or 4-pointer. It’s a little early in our part of the country for bucks to start shedding antlers but maybe this guy just wanted to get a head start and beat the rush.

End of a duck season

The season ended so suddenly at the Five Guys And A Swamp Duck Club that we didn’t even have time to pick up our decoys. Then we froze solid, and now the water has finally thawed and we can finally get in to do the job we should have done earlier. When we waded in hundreds of mallards took flight. Where the hell were they in November and December? With this fall’s weather they were probably still in Canada or North Dakota.

Dave’s dog Mota

My friend Dave Zumbaugh has a German Wirehair Pointer named Mota. This loveable dog is the quintessential all around sporting dog. Dave uses her for upland bird work, waterfowl hunting, and for all I know she fetches the morning newspaper.

These photos of Mota were taken on a frosty morning at Clinton Lake near Lawrence, KS in 2014 when Mota was still just a pup.

Mota on ice

Good dog!

 

 

R.I.P. The Old North Blind 1985-2015

The Old North Blind had a long and interesting life. Lab pups gnawed its door frames and Canada geese nested in it. Wet, gloved hands were warmed over its charcoal stove while sausage patties sizzled over glowing coals.

Like the men who hunted from it, it began to sag in the middle and its joints loosened with age. Rotten joists were replaced and new plywood flooring added,  to be covered once again with muskrat droppings, spent shotgun shells and assorted feathers.

In spite of annual repairs the blind finally became so dilapidated we feared it could no longer support the weight of men, guns and dogs. So in 2015, like a faded, tattered old flag, it was honorably retired by burning.Blind

 

 

 

 

The Straight Poop On Canada Geese

This story was published in the October 2009 issue of Wildfowl magazine.

Let’s put one vicious rumor to rest right now: Canada geese do not produce one pound of solid waste per day. Some goose hunters might, after a bowl of bad chili or a tainted pizza, but Canada geese? No way.

It may seem like they do if your kid plays soccer or baseball on a field where several dozen geese have been grazing, but according to Dr. Bruce Manny, research fishery biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, the average Canada goose produces 0.3432 lbs. (5.49 oz.) of wet droppings per day, which is equivalent to 0.0722 lbs. (1.15 oz.) of dry droppings. I find this hard to believe, since I’ve scraped that much off my shoes after nine holes of golf.

Now, to me, the key word in this scenario is average. To get an average figure, someone has to weigh the “production” of more than one goose. In fact the more geese used in the study the more valid your average becomes. Therefore someone has what is probably a full-time job weighing goose poop. {I know, I know. it’s a nasty job but somebody has to do it.}

No matter where you work you know that the new guy gets the worst assignments, then works his way up toward the plums that come with seniority. I’m sure Dr. Manny himself doesn’t crawl around on his hands and knees with a little scale picking up blobs of goose poop and weighing them {although he may have when he first went to work for the U.S. Geological Survey}. This assignment probably goes to an intern, maybe a biologist wannabe, or the kid who was hired last week, just out of college. When this unfortunate person gets home from work after a hard day in the field, you can imagine what his answer will be when his wife asks, “How were things at work today, Dear?’

The more you think about it, the more questions arise. Do they put diapers on individual geese, then take them off at the end of the day and weigh the contents? Or is each employee assigned a specific goose to monitor, walking around behind it with a pad and pencil and a measuring cup? What happens if your goose decides to fly away? Are you just **** out of luck? And what is a goose poop day anyway, twelve hours or twenty-four? How do you measure your goose’s production when it goes to roost on water at night? Is proficiency at scuba diving, or at least snorkeling, a prerequisite for the job? What about the poor soul who has to crawl around on his hands and knees trying to decide whether the droppings are wet or dry? There’s only one way to tell. Right?

According to someone named Choo Choo Love {I’m not making this up, as Dave Barry would say} who is evidently an authority on the subject, “theirs smells better than ours”. On what empirical evidence does she base this statement? Personal experience? Talk about your cruddy jobs….

If we think Canada geese make a mess on our golf courses, our parks, and ball fields, we should hope snow and blue geese never take up the habits of their darker cousins. Can you imagine zillions of snows and blues waddling around on your favorite golf course, each one depositing its individual 5.4 oz. wet {1.5 oz. dry} allotment of waste per day? You think sand traps and water hazards are problems…

However they arrive at their alleged “average”, I’m just glad someone other than yours truly has this important job. The next time I’m lying on my back in a layout blind watching these majestic birds circle my decoys, I’ll try to remember that they don’t each produce a pound of waste per day. And I’ll hope that, as they reject my decoys and fly away high overhead, they don’t punctuate their disapproval of my spread and my lousy calling by depositing any of it, either wet or dry, on my face.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pooped out just thinking about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart Of America Fly Fishers One Fly Tournament

The Heart of America Fly Fishers held their annual One Fly Tournament Saturday, June 17th at the Timber Ridge Adventure Center. Timber Ridge is a beautiful 200-acre park managed by the Johnson County Parks & Recreation Dept. It is located south of Kill Creek Park near De Soto, KS. Two small lakes on the property are open one day each year for public fishing. Reservations can be made for special events by phone (913) 831-3359 or email registration@jocogov.org.

The One Fly Tournament is an actual tournament, with rules, winners and losers, and prizes for largest fish and most fish caught. Contestants are allowed to use only one fly. If the fly is lost another of the same pattern may be tied on.

The guys who got there early caught quite a few bass, bluegill, and even a couple of big channel cats.

I got there just in time for the mid-day picnic.

 

 

 

 

 

A Bionic Pheasant Hunt

This story was originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Pheasants Forever Journal.

 

bionic hunt

It was barely dawn when Bob pulled my truck off to the side of the road. We had left home before daylight so I let Bob drive because he can see better in the dark than I can. He’s had his cataracts removed and I’ve still got mine.

“It’s good to be pheasant hunting again”, I said as I eased my bulky body out of the truck. I was anxious to run a few rounds through my new ultra-light 20-gauge. The Doc had suggested I trade in the trusty old twelve after my rotator cuff surgery a couple of years ago. I had missed last season because of Tommy John surgery. I should have known not to keep yanking that damn rope when the chainsaw wouldn’t start.

We both had trouble finding hunting clothes to fit because we had gained a lot of weight over the years. I had to leave my pants partially unzipped but Bob had a new pair that fit him perfectly. He pulled up his coat and I could see why. I didn’t even know they made maternity brush busters.

It’s a good thing my old setter Maggie was still snoring in her crate, otherwise I might have forgotten about her.

“Rise and shine, old girl”, I said as I unlatched the door. She opened one eye, stared at me with that “leave me alone” look, then closed it and started snoring again. I decided to let her snooze a bit but I left the crate open so she could join us when she was ready.

We sat on the tailgate and rested a while. It takes a lot of energy for guys our age to get out of a truck.

I noticed Bob rubbing his knees.

“They bothering you?” I asked. ”I thought you had them fixed”.

“I did”, he answered. I could hear his knees creaking as he flexed one leg, then the other. “But they need regular maintenance and I’m overdue.”

“Time to go back to the Doc, huh?”

He slid off the tailgate and hobbled around a little. “Nope. The Doc put these things in.” He pulled one pant leg up to show me.

“Grease nipples. I get the old knees lubed every time I take my car in for service. Works like a charm but I gotta get them lubed every 6000 miles or six months. Don’t want to void the warranty. “

Maggie stood up, yawned, and stretched on the tailgate, her signal that she was ready to roll. We hefted her down and she looked around but couldn’t find anything stinky to roll in so she lay down and went back to sleep.

I put an electric collar on her and we headed out across the field. Since I started wearing support hose and arch supports in my boots I could walk almost thirty minutes without wheezing.

We hadn’t gone fifty yards when we heard the wail of a siren.

“What the hell is that?” Bob wondered aloud.

I grabbed Maggie and turned the knob on her collar down. “Sometimes my pacemaker creates some sort of electronic field with her e-collar and it winds up on the local sheriff’s frequency. Picks up 911 calls too.”

After I adjusted the collar we could still hear a squeaking, grinding, clanking sound.

“Now what?” grumped Bob.

“The squeaking and grinding is my artificial hip”, I said. “It does that at times like this when I’ve walked too long. The clanking is Maggie’s Kevlar stifle joint. She’s had it so long it’s starting to rust. The vet says I should mix a little WD-40 in with her kibbles.”

Suddenly Maggie stopped walking and sat down. “She’s getting birdy”, I whispered.

Bob stared at the dog. “Isn’t she supposed to point?”

“She did when she was younger”, I said. “Now she just sits down. I guess you could say she’s more of a sitter than a setter.”

Bob wasn’t convinced. “How do you know she’s not just resting?”

“When she wants to rest she lies down.”

Bob took a step forward and a cock pheasant burst from the underbrush thirty yards away. We both shouldered our shotguns but not a shot was fired as the bird sailed off into the distance.

“Why didn’t you shoot?” I asked.

Bob swore at his shotgun as though somehow it was the gun’s fault. ”I couldn’t get the damn safety off. Why didn’t you shoot?”

“I forgot to load my gun”.

Maggie gave us a dirty look, then lay down and immediately started snoring.

“Oh well”, I said. “There’ll be more chances.”

I fumbled at the loops on my vest, trying to remember which side the shells were on. I keep shells in the loops on the right side and suppositories on the left. Or is it the other way around?

I woke Maggie up and then, squeaking, grinding, creaking and clanking, the three of us marched off across the field together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rockbridge, Missouri

Rockbridge, just a hoot and a holler north of Gainesville, MO, is the perfect place to take a kid fishing. It’s the perfect place for anyone who likes to catch big, dumb trout. Sort of like sending a struggling young ballplayer down to the minors to get his confidence back.

With a picturesque old mill, modern cabins, and an excellent restaurant it’s a relaxing place to spend a few days. The stream, a tributary of Bryant Creek, is stocked with rainbow trout and you must keep every fish you catch. A guy cleans and packages them and you pick them up when you check out. You pay for your fish by the pound and if you’re a competent fisherman it can get expensive. But it’s worth every penny.

Raleigh Eggers of Manhattan, KS and I spent two days there recently. Old geezers like me wear out easily so I never fished more than an hour at a time. Using a #12 beadhead olive & black woollybugger I caught all the trout I wanted.

Check it out at www.rockbridgemo.com .

If you can't catch fish here you can't catch fish anywhere.

If you can’t catch fish here you can’t catch fish anywhere.

Typical Rockbridge rainbows

Typical Rockbridge rainbows