If it seems like I’ve been doing this a long time it’s because I’ve been doing this a long time. My first cartoon about outdoor sports was published in Sports Afield…or maybe it was Field & Stream, in 1964.It was followed by a long stream of others too humorus to mention.
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.
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.
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.
Looking east from Jim’s Boatyard at the confluence of Sisters Creek and the St. John’s River…… 6:30 AM…It’s a beautiful sight. I’d love to see it more often if I didn’t have to get up so damn early. It’s a good start for a 4-hour charter with Capt. Andrew Mizell of Southern Marsh Charters.
Saw my first manatee this morning, at least the nose of a manatee. Wasn’t quick enough to get a photo. Maybe next time, if I’m quick enough, I’ll get to see an entire manatee.
Every duck hunter needs a dozen whooping crane decoys and a customized donut lanyard. Want to learn more about these and other great inventions? Read this Fowl Thoughts column from the September 2014 issue of Wildfowl magazine.
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.
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.