The AuCoin Report

News Briefs from the Great Outdoors

February 2012

Let the Wolf Hunts Begin
The states of Minnesota and Wisconsin are moving fast toward allowing wolf hunting now that they have been released from the restrictions in the Endangered Species Act. There are now more gray wolves in Minnesota, about 3,000, than any other state in the lower 48 states. Minnesota legislators are holding hearings on a proposal to allow a hunting and trapping season in November that would permit 400 gray wolves to be killed. Wisconsin is issuing wolf kill permits to selected landowners and farmers and dairy state legislators are taking up passage of a hunting and trapping bill. (Reuters, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Where have all the rabbits gone?
In the 1.5 million-acre Everglades National Park in South Florida pythons have apparently eaten all of the rabbits and all of the foxes, too. Raccoon, 'possum, whitetail deer and bobcat populations are all down 85 percent or more. The huge snakes are even eating alligators and, possibly, wading birds. The information is contained in a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Michael Dorcas of Davidson College, a co-leader of the research project, said pythons could number in the thousands, tens of thousands, and perhaps even hundreds of thousands. U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced a new law making it illegal to import Burmese pythons to the U.S. or to transport them across state lines. (Tampa Bay Times, Reuters)

Asian Carp Solutions? About $10 billion
Electric "barriers" may have kept Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan from Chicago but will they be enough to forever hold off this aggressive, rapidly-populating exotic? That's not likely according to the Great Lakes Commission which has put forth new concepts for physical barriers, each costing up to $10 billion, to protect the Great Lakes and Mississippi River systems. (Medill Reports, Detroit Free Press)

Wisconsin Ponders Sandhill Crane Hunting
Sandhill crane damage to farms in Southern Wisconsin has prompted an increase in kill permits for farmers. Now one legislator, Joel Kleefisch of Oconomowoc, is pushing for a hunting season to help manage the sandhill crane population. Wisconsin, Michigan and Ontario, Canada provide nesting grounds for most of the eastern-migratory sandhill cranes, about 70,000 birds. (WTAQ)

Virginia: Sunday Hunting
Virginia's legislature is considering a bill that slows Sunday hunting on private land. The Senate version, already passed, prohibits Sunday hunting within 250 yards of a place of worship. Gov. Bob McDonnell said he would sign the Sunday hunting measure. (Virginian-Pilot)

Lawsuit filed in Christo River Art Case
A lawsuit was filed in Denver to try to stop the artist Christo from using giant panels of fabric to cover Colorado's Arkansas River. University of Denver law students filed the suit in federal court for a group known as ROAR, short for Rags Over the Arkansas River. The suit says the project violates environmental law. (Denver Post via

Anglers Appeal California's No Fishing Zones
The California Court of Appeals has green-lighted a recreational angler organization to appeal new state regulations blocking boater access to saltwater protection zones. The no-access zones are part of regulations in the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). Coastside Fishing Club filed the appeal with California's 4th District Court of Appeal. California's Fish and Game Commission argued unsuccessfully that the appeal was premature. (

Benjamin Franklin Meet Ernest Hemingway
The Chinese are said to have invented sunglasses in the twelfth century. In the eighteenth century Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals to help people see and read close up. In the twenty-first century those two great ideas gave birth to a third innovation -- polarized bifocal sunglasses. They do in the outdoors what drug store readers do indoors; that is, they help people overcome the problem of close-up vision, sometimes called presbyopia. Credit ONOS Trading Company, the farsighted Alabama firm which now markets polarized low reader sunglasses in two separate collections – ONOS and the Ernest Hemingway collection. That's good news for more than four-million Americans who discover each year they have "aging eyes" including many outdoor lovers who want to see close-up so they can tie better fishing knots, read trail maps or perhaps read Ernest Hemingway short stories on the beach. (ONOS)

Not Your Grandfather's America's Cup
Almost 160 years ago the schooner "America" took the trophy awarded by Britain's Royal Yacht Squadron for winning its race around the Isle of Wight. In September 2013 the race now known as America's Cup competition -- This is number 34 -- will be held in San Francisco Bay. Wind continues to provide the energy and money continues to provide the means, but just about everything else has changed. Since the last cup races defending champion Larry Ellison who owns Oracle Racing has engineered dramatic changes to boat design, rules, judging, as well as TV and Internet viewing. The crew of the old monohull schooner America would not recognize the new vessels. The next generation of America's Cup racers are high-tech catamarans, 72 feet long, that almost literally fly across the waves at more than 40 miles an hour. (Economist)


January 2012

Gray Wolves OK in Upper Great Lakes
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin are thriving. Wolf populations should be monitored, he said, but no longer require special protections under the Endangered Species Act. Minnesota's gray wolf population is now estimated at 2,921. Michigan's Upper Peninsula has about 687 wolves and there are another 782 in Wisconsin. (Detroit Free Press, DOI)

Art? Christo to Cover Trout River with Fabric
The artist currently known as Christo has received permission from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to cover sections of Colorado's Arkansas River with fabric. Anglers aren't pleased with the project, though, and complain it will limit angler river access for at least three years and that populations of trout and other fishes will be marginalized. (Denver Post, Keep America Fishing, Angling Trade)

Rare Hooded Crane in Tennessee
The hooded crane, a rare bird species normally seen only in Asia, has shown up at Tennessee's Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge and it's attracting avid birders from around the country. The exotic bird is quite at home, it seems, mingling with thousands of sandhill cranes. Just in time, too. The Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival is Jan 14-15 in Birchwood, Tennessee. So far there are no plans to change the name to The Tennessee Hooded Crane Festival. But, stay tuned. (, Tennessean,

Snowmobiles in Yellowstone? Comments Welcome
National Park is a favorite winter destination for snowmobilers but, as of now, you can only snowmobile with a guide service. However, in 2012 Yellowstone staff will be accepting public comment this issue. Should snowmobilers be required to hire a snowmobile guide? Or, should the show machines be allowed in Yellowstone at all? (Billings Gazette, Yellowstone Snowmobiles)

Gun Sales Soar
Las Vegas hosts the annual SHOT Show Jan. 17-20 and with U.S. gun sales soaring it looks to be a shooting and hunting industry celebration. Background checks serve as a proxy for purchases. The FBI reported 1.5 million background checks in December and a third of those were in the six days before Christmas. Industry observers say the surge was due to a fear of crime as well as fear of tightening firearm laws in the future. Show producers said they expect orders at the SHOT show to confirm expectations of a strong year for gun and accessory sales in 2012.
(NY Daily News, NSSF)

Danger Lurks: Marijuana in National Forests
Illegal marijuana growing has damaged 67 national forests in 20 states. This was the testimony from U. S. Forest Service to the U. S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. Drug trafficking organizations use armed guards and counter-surveillance methods to protect the illegal cultivation, according to David Ferrell, director of law enforcement for the Forest Service. Ferrell said the situation presents a clear and present danger not just to the environment but also to the public. (Outdoor Hub, Livescience)

Bass Pros Start Their Own Tournament Trail
Twenty-four top bass fishing professionals have teamed with TV's Outdoor Channel to create a new pro fishing tour and big name sponsors are moving their way. Major League Fishing has a made-for-TV format that world champ Kevin VanDam described as the "most intense fishing I've ever experienced." Major sponsors include Geico insurance and Bass Pro Shops. Pro anglers include Denny Brauer, Shaw Grigsby, Skeet Reese, Mike Iaconelli, Gary Klein and Alton Jones. (Yahoo Finance, Major League Fishing)

Hunting Safer than Skateboarding
In the U.S. hunting is safer than snowboarding, skateboarding and 26 other recreational pursuits according to data compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Research analyst Jim Curcuruto said hunting ranked third from the top on the safety list and attributed hunting's safety record to safety training and a hunting culture which encourages firearms safety. (NSSF)

New Fishing Tool: Sunglasses
Vicious Fishing, known for its leading edge angling gear, has introduced Vicious Polarized Sunglasses to help serious anglers locate and land more fish. Depending on the lens, the sunglasses help anglers see changes in water color, drop-offs, underwater structure and more. The Vicious label is the newest brand of sunglasses from Ono’s Trading Company which also markets ONOS Polarized Sunglasses, Ernest Hemingway Polarized Performance Sunglasses and the Roland Martin Signature Series. (Vicious Fishing, Outdoor Hub,

One Big Icy Village
Thousands of ice shanties are springing up on Wisconsin's frozen Lake Winnebago in anticipation of February's annual sturgeon spearing season. The 2012 season opens Saturday, February 11 and continues through Sunday, Feb. 26. Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources reports that sturgeon populations are strong. Last year the state sold 12,423 sturgeon spearing licenses for Lake Winnebago and its upper lakes. More than 1,400 sturgeon were speared, including 94 that weighed more than 100 pounds. (DNR, Journal-Sentinel)

Something Stinks Here
For some reason skunks are attracted to the ocean vacation borough of Avalon, N.J. Residents complain; skunks are removed. But to where have they been banished? In New Jersey there are limits to what you can do to wild animals, even skunks, and the state wants to know where the skunks have been sent. Mayor Martin Pagliughi acknowledges that about 80 skunks were removed. Actually what he said was, "We're trapping them and putting them in the witness protection program. (Press of Atlantic City)

August-September 2011

Wolves delisted. Hunting Set to BeginA U.S. appeals court ruled that wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana can resume in September. Anti-hunting organizations had appealed the case, arguing that Congress was not authorized to delist wolves without a scientific review. Wyoming will also have a wolf-hunting season in the fall if state and federal officials ratify the agreement to delist wolves. (Reuters, Casper Star Tribune)
Virginia: Developer Sues Wade Anglers Who owns the river bottom on Virginia's Jackson River? Allegheny County and Virginia courts will decide who owns the bottom of the Jackson River, anglers or The River's Edge residential project. The developer of the residential project has sued three anglers – one is a pastor – because they were wade fishing in front of the development. The developer says it has river bottom ownership deeds dating back to the eighteenth century. The recreational anglers say they were following state fishing maps that show, in effect, that the state is owner. (Roanoke Times,
Asian Carp Win OneA federal appeals panel has ruled an invasion of the Great Lakes by voracious Asian carp does not appear imminent. The judges rejected the five-state request to close Chicago-area shipping locks. The U. S. Seventh Circuit judicial panel said closing the locks might not stop the carp invasion but, in any case, suggested it might reconsider the issue if carp prevention measures stall. The requesting states are Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. (Chicago Tribune)
Great Lakes Alewives Apparently HealthyLake Michigan coho and chinook salmon apparently have lots to eat and the alewife bait fishes they eat are apparently healthy. Tests have shown that the alewives that washed up by the millions on shore this summer did not have the VHS virus. The die-off was then, presumably, natural and the large die-off on the beaches suggests even more baitfish are alive and kicking in the big lake. (Green Bay Press Gazette)
Anglers asked to Boycott Wal-MartThe Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) has called for anglers to boycott Wal-Mart because the Walton Family Foundation gave $36 million to organizations that want to limit fishing. “The fishing community supports conservation, but we're not willing to accept preservation, exclusion or privatization,” said RFA's Jim Donofrio. (Trade Only Today, Indybay)
Sailor Refuses CG Rescue. High winds flipped Francis Joyon's $20 million, carbon-fiber boat about 70 miles east of Long Island, NY while he attempted to set a solo sailing record from the U.S. to Europe. When the Coast Guard came to rescue him he refused the offer. Instead he stayed with his boat in the rough water for 36 hours until a towboat came. “I’ve spent so many years with this boat, I didn’t want to leave it," he said. "If no one’s on it, you don’t know what will happen.” The boat will go to Newport, RI for repairs. (Soundings Trade Only, New York Post)
Bow Hunting City Deer in GeorgiaMarietta, an Atlanta suburb, is continuing its successful program that allows bow hunters to hunt deer on public and private property. Hunters must get a permit and, for that, they need to be able to place four out of five arrows in a target at 20 yards. Archery testing will be held on Saturdays in September. The season opens September 24. Hunters are also required to have a $100,000 liability insurance policy and permission from the landowner. (Marietta Times)
More Anglers, Including HispanicsThe number of people going fishing for the first time is going up, but slowly, according to new research by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and The Outdoor Foundation. The report determined that 3.36 million persons fished for the first time in 2010, an increase of two percent since 2008. The study reported 3.4 million Hispanics anglers, a 1.3 million-person increase since 2007. (RBFF research)
Minnesota's Moose are DyingAerial surveys show that Minnesota's Northern moose are dying and nobody knows the reason. Is it warmer weather? Habitat changes? Disease. Hunting? Maybe wolves are killing them? Surveys indicate the moose population has been dropping since the 1960s and now the decrease appears to be accelerating. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has drafted a plan, which, if approved, will eliminate Minnesota moose hunting in 2013 if surveys continue to show fewer than two bulls for every three cows. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)
Cougars: Eastward Ho!It turns out the large cat hit and killed by Connecticut vehicle in June was a wild mountain lion. DNA tests confirm that it had passed through suburban Lake George, New York last winter and it was probably the first wild cougar confirmed in New York State in more than 100 years. Officials say the 140-pound male cougar started out in the Black Hills of South Dakota and, moving east, passed through several upper-tier states on its way to the U.S. East Coast. (Press & Sun Bulletin,
Deep Sea LuxuryA five-story resort is opening in the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area. Rooms are a mere $600 per night. It's not on the beach. Actually, it's on the water. For six months of the year the resort, called Fisherman's Paradise, it will be anchored in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore of Tarpon Springs, and cater to offshore sport fishers and divers who want to stay on top of the action. (St. Petersburg Times, Fisherman's Paradise)
Found: Hemingway's SunglassesNovelist and short story writer Ernest Hemingway died in 1961. Fifty years his name is a brand on a line of sunglasses. Patrick Hemingway, the author's son, and Ono's Trading Company announced Ernest Hemingway Polarized Performance Sunglasses at the sport fishing industry's annual trade show. "In my minds eye I see these sunglasses on characters like Jake Barnes, Santiago and Nick Adams," said the son of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner. (Great Lakes Scuttlebutt, Onos)
Angler Reels in Artificial LegIn cartoons, anglers catch rubber boots. In real life, they catch somebody's prosthetic leg. That's the catch Beth Krohn reeled in recently on Lake Ida, near Alexandria, Minnesota. At first she thought it was a real leg. When she realized it was an artificial leg she phoned some specialists and it turned out the leg belonged to Pam Riley of Morris, Minnesota who lost it about three years ago while swimming in Lake Ida. The women met and Riley got her leg back. Both will remember the trophy that didn't get away. (Pierce County Herald via

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July 2011

Dead baitfish litter Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shorelinesWisconsin's Lake Michigan beaches are strewn with millions of dead, stinking baitfish. And that may be a good thing. The fish are alewives, which have a short lifespan, and if they died naturally then it could mean alewife populations are strong. That means coho salmon and other game fish have plenty to eat; indeed, more than enough. But the Department of Natural Resources is worried the large die-off was caused by a virus, and that's not a good thing. Meanwhile beachgoers have to live with the smell and tiptoe around the decaying litter. Beaches in suburbs north of Milwaukee are said to be among the worst. (Ozaukee Press)
Now volunteers allowed to help Michigan's DNRMichigan has passed a money-saving bill allowing volunteers to help the Department of Natural Resources save money. Gov. Rick Snyder applauded the bill which allows volunteers to post signs, groom trails and do other projects. State employee unions opposed the bill. (Detroit Free Press)
Minnesota visitors can't buy fishing licenses
The Minnesota shutdown has fishing camp owners worried they’ll lose a summer’s worth of business because their guests won’t be able to buy fishing licenses. State parks and recreation areas, private campgrounds, and other state-managed areas were closed July 1 and will remain closed until a budget deadlock is resolved between Democrat Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled legislatures. (Grand Forks Herald) (Christian Post)
Montana trout fishers singing snowmelt bluesLast summer Montana hosted more than 800-thousand fishermen who came to fish its blue-ribbon trout streams. This year, there are fewer visitors and those who did come were disappointed. Rivers and streams are running almost twice as high this year because of melting mountain snowpack and they are very murky as well. (Great Falls Tribune via
Eastern Kentucky wins collegiate bass fishing titleEastern Kentucky University won the 2011 BoatUS Collegiate Fishing Open edging out the University of North Carolina at Charlotte after two days of bass fishing on Kentucky Lake. Other teams near the top after weigh-ins at Paris Landing State Park Marina were Austin Peay State University, Purdue University, Murray State University, University of North Alabama, and Northwest Shoals Community College of Muscle Shoals, Ala. (Paris Post-Intelligencer)
Solo Sail Around North and South AmericaMatt Rutherford is a self-taught but very accomplished sailor. Today he is on a 27-foot sailboat in the Atlantic, alone, heading north at about 7 knots. He'll sail west through the Northwest Passage, if the Arctic ice doesn't block him, then south in the Pacific Ocean all the way to and around Cape Horn. Back in the Atlantic, he'll sail north again to his starting point, Annapolis. Rutherford hopes to raise money for disabled persons sailing programs for CRAB—Chesapeake Regional Accessible Boating, which donated the Albin-Vega sailing vessel for the adventure. Follow his voyage at
The sun also risesErnest Hemingway has been dead for 50 years but his powerful name lives on as a novelist, short story writer and, now, as a new brand of sunglasses. Ono's Trading Company will unveil styling and product details for the new Ernest Hemingway Polarized Performance Sunglasses in Las Vegas July 14 at ICAST, the sportfishing trade show. Patrick Hemingway, son of the author, will co-host the press conference. (The Fishing Wire,
Ohio looks for a mountain lion
Is a mountain lion wandering the neighborhoods of Canton, Ohio and the nearby town of Louisville, Ohio? Residents think so, and field officers from the Department of Wildlife are looking for it. Meanwhile, wildlife officials say, cougars prefer to kill and eat deer but, just in case, they are telling residents, keep a close eye on their dogs and cats. (
South Florida's 7-foot lizardsThey were pet lizards, once upon a time, but they grew too big, too fast so the pet owners released them. Now these meat-eating lizards – Nile monitors -- are roaming wildly in subtropical south Florida and wildlife officials are warning residents of Palm Beach and Broward counties to stay away from them and report them if they see one. Originally from Africa, these dragon-lookalikes can grow to seven feet in length. (Miami Herald via
St. Pete's Mystery MonkeyA videographer captured a 27-second video of St. Petersburg's "Mystery Monkey" and it appears the male rhesus macaque is alive and well after two years "in the wild." The cameraman told the St. Petersburg Times that he catches glimpses of the monkey swinging on vines in a two-acre wooded area near his home. (St. Petersburg Times)

May 2011

Gray wolf delisted in Montana, Idaho
Gray wolves were delisted as endangered species in Montana and Idaho and parts of eastern Oregon, Washington, and Utah. Montana and Idaho are expected to establish wolf-hunting seasons in the fall. Plus, the U.S. Interior Department is arguing that gray wolf populations in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin have recovered and should be removed from endangered and threatened wildlife lists in those states, too. (Helena Independent Record via
Will feds appeal $2 million bear death ruling?U.S. attorneys in Salt Lake City are considering a federal appeal to a judge's ruling awarding $1.95 million to the family of Sam Ives, 11, who was killed by a bear while camping with his family in 2007. The boy's parents claimed that his death was caused by U.S. Forest Service negligence because rangers failed to warn campers about the bear. (Deseret News via
Whooping crane injustice?An Indiana man and juvenile were convicted of shooting an endangered whooping crane in 2009 but Wisconsin advocates for the endangered crane were not pleased with the light sentence -- one year on probation -- handed down to Wade Bennett and his cohort, a juvenile. (WTAQ)
San Francisco preps for America's CupSan Francisco had a $306 million annual budget deficit. Now the city wants to spend another $487 million to fix airport runways and water supply plus spiff up the waterfront for the 2013 America's Cup competition. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Utah avalanche kills two skiersRescuers at Grand Teton National park found the bodies of two skiers who were buried in an overnight avalanche while they slept in tents. The bodies of Walker Pannell Kuhl, 27, Salt Lake City, and Gregory Seftick, 31, Columbia Falls, MT, were found under 15 feet of snow. (NBC)
Recreational boating reboundAbout 75 million people went boating in the U.S. in 2010. That's 32.4 percent of the population, the highest proportion since 1999, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). Boat sales continued to decline but NMMA President Thom Dammrich said the industry is encouraged by the increase in participation and in aftermarket accessory sales. (, PRWeb)
A day in the life of a loonRon Schara TV Productions has turned on its famous Loon Cam, one of the most watched wildlife webcams in the U.S. The nest is in central Minnesota, USA and developments are blogged by loon expert Larry Backlund. Visit and click on the link to watch the live action. (
Six-eyed outdoors peopleFew things look as awkward as a person wearing two pairs of glasses -- sunglasses and drug store readers – at the same time. "Six-Eyes," they're called. Fortunately the numbers of six-eyed people are diminishing, thanks to new sunglasses with built-in bifocals for reading and other close-up tasks. Ono’s Trading Company pioneered the dual-purpose polarized sunglasses. Visit (Ono's Trading Company)
Raccoons like Chicago's marinasRaccoons have been a public safety issue in Chicago's parks for years and now they've invaded downtown marinas on Lake Michigan, especially Belmont and Montrose Harbors. The raccoons are living under docks. They ransack boats for food. Some act aggressively toward boaters and others. About 120 raccoons have been trapped and euthanized. (Chicago Sun-Times via
Tarpon great Billy PateGiant-tarpon-on-a-fly legend Billy Pate died in a homestead nursing home at the age of 80. Pate held the world record for 20 years for a 188-pound tarpon caught with a fly rod near Homosassa, Florida. He also caught all six billfish species on a fly rod. (Miami Herald, IGFA)
Hair fashion spikes fly hackle pricesSteven Tyler, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Myley Cyrus aren't fly fishers but they heart fly-fishing hackle. To adorn their hair. So do thousands of other hair-fashion aficionados who recently have taken to a special kind of chicken feather to weave into their hairdos. Fly fishers aren't happy. Tackle store prices for these fly-tying feathers have risen sharply. (Financial Times via

April 2011

New budget bill delists Montana, Idaho wolves
The pending Congressional budget bill delists gray wolves from federal protection in Montana and Idaho, and the language prevents courts from reversing the action. The offices of U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) confirmed that the budget bill includes the gray wolf provisions. With federal protections wolf populations have increased in recent years but so have wolf attacks on big game and livestock. (Billings Gazette/AP via
North America’s historical cultures – fishers and hunters Archaeologists exploring California's Channel Islands have uncovered fishing spearheads that are 12,000 years old and their discovery has given rise to a new story about how North America was settled. The new theory suggests that two different cultures of people settled North America. One was the Clovis culture which was a big game hunting culture. Its people hunted and ate mammoths and other mammals. The other culture was a fishing culture. Their diet was primarily seafood. (New Scientist)
America’s Cup gets 13 challengersThirteen teams will compete for the right to challenge the America's Cup champion Oracle Racing in San Francisco Bay in 2013. Challengers registering before the March 31 deadline include two Italian teams, two French teams, and teams from South Korea, Sweden, China, New Zealand, Australia and four others whose identity was not revealed. (Business Journal, New York Times)
New flight training field for whooping cranes Wisconsin's Necedah National Wildlife Refuge will continue to play a role in the restoration of U.S. and Canada whooping crane populations, but the job of training chicks to follow an ultra light airplane is moving to a new location. After 10 years at Necedah, the north-south migration school for whooping and sandhill cranes will move to a new location in Wisconsin. The International Recovery Team is looking at both private and public lands to find the most ideal location. (Juneau County Star Times)
Starlings top new bird count; robins second There are more European Starlings in the U.S. and Canada than any other bird species. However the American Robin comes in a close second thanks to a huge roost discovered in recent years in St. Petersburg, Florida. These are two major conclusions of the long weekend of the 2011 Great Backyard Bird Count in February. Observers identified 596 species. Other conclusions: Winter finches are moving south. American Crows look like their rebounding. Eurasian Collared-Doves have made it to Alaska. (
Alaska native wins IditarodAlaskan John Baker won the 2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the 1,150-mile test of musher and sled dog toughness. Baker was the first Alaska native musher to win since 1976 and he and his dog team completed the race three hours quicker than the previous record. The new time to beat is eight days, 19 hours and 46 minutes. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Big snowfalls extend ski seasonHuge March snowfalls have prompted some Western U.S. ski resorts to announce that they'll keep skiers and snowboarders on the slopes through May and probably well into June. East coast skiers are also being rewarded by the promise of longer seasons. Killington, Kay Peak, Saddleback and Sugarloaf report they are confident of skiing through April. (San Jose Mercury News, Boston Globe)
New marine species found near Tarpon SpringsTwo marine biologists in St. Petersburg have identified a new marine species, a type of snail without a shell known as a nudibranch. Biologists Nancy Sheridan and Dr. Joan Herera of the Florida Marine Research Institute observed the new species among sponges and other organisms collected from the Gulf of Mexico near Tarpon Springs. The new species is oblong, about one inch long, and has bright red marks against a white background. (Wakulla Outdoors)
New bird book praised for photomontagesA new book for birders -- The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds -- is generating acclaim for the way the author used computer software to merge more than 10,000 birding images. Author Richard Crossley of Cape May, N. J. used photo software to create photomontages of different species in various flying and non-flying positions, in their immature and mature markings, and in their seasonally-changing coloration. Birds are depicted in their modern habitats, too, including natural and not-so-natural surroundings like marinas, golf courses, fence posts and power lines, and urban buildings. More than 640 species are described and photographically illustrated in the new guide, published by Princeton University Press. (, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
All the better to see you, my dearThey say 60 is the new 40. There are just two problems with that – aging eyes. When people turn 40, approximately, eye lens become increasingly inflexible and close-up vision becomes blurred. It's called presbyopia. Indoors, you can read with drug store readers. Now, for the great outdoors, Ono's Trading Company has introduced high-quality polarized sunglasses with low-profile readers. Wearing these, you can see who's calling you on your cell phone, follow a trail map, tie a fishing knot, untangle a backlash, and more. Visit or phone 1-866-865-4695. (Media contact: Bill AuCoin, 727-522-2371)
Florida wins college bass fishing titleThe University of Florida won the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship on Kentucky Lake, its second national fishing title in a row. Teammates Jake Gipson and Matt Wercinski weighed in bass totaling 41 pounds, 8 ounces besting LSU-Shreveport by more than three pounds. First place prizes totaled $100,000 of which $25,000 goes to the University of Florida and $50,000 to Florida’s Bass Club along with a $25,000 Ranger Bass Boat. (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Termite inspector confronts alligatorA termite inspector crawling under a house in St. Augustine, Florida met up with a five-foot alligator. Fortunately, the gator's mouth was taped shut. Alligator trapper Adam Burch, who is a neighbor, claimed the gator. He said it had escaped from a cooler in the back of his truck. (St. Augustine Record via
Michigan will train wolves to herd deer. Well…Michigan's Department of Natural Resources revealed strategies to improve deer hunting opportunities, including a plan to train wolves to herd deer and move them to new areas. The new plan, unveiled April 1, includes assigning DNR personnel to raise crops for deer bait that would be sold to hunters for less than private-sector retailers charge. (Detroit Free Press)

June 2010

Oil leak may wreck Gulf ecosystem for decades

Marine biologists say the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico could create low oxygen zones below the surface that upset the ecology of the Gulf for many years. Rick Steiner said even if the leak were stopped long-term damage to the Gulf ecosystem would occur. Frank Muller-Karger, professor of biological oceanography at the University of South Florida, said oil-consuming microbes would thrive and deplete the oxygen that other species need. (Business Week)

Attacking grizzly shot in Denali National Park

A backpacker shot and killed a grizzly bear in Denali National Park and Preserve when it charged a fellow backpacker. It is believed the first such incident involving a gun since federal law changed to allow visitors with the proper licenses to carry loaded guns in national parks. Park officials are investigating. (Fairbanks Daily-News Miner,

Idaho asks outfitters to kill 20 gray wolves

Idaho game and fish officials have authorized four hunting guides to kill up to 20 gray wolves in the Lolo Wolf Management Zone because the decline in the number of elks. Some opposed to shooting wolves say there are other reasons, perhaps less ground level forage, that account for the decline. (Idaho Mountain Express and Guide)

Cougar attack in Wisconsin

A hunter in Juneau County, Wisconsin watched a mountain lion attack and maul a year-old heifer then drag the 400-pound cow into the woods. The hunter fired a shot, spooking the cougar, and the heifer survived. Wildlife officials believe the wild cat migrated to Wisconsin from South Dakota. They say Wisconsin does not have a mountain lion breeding population. (The Scene Newspaper)

Girl, 17, youngest to sail the globe solo

Jessica Watson, 17, became the youngest person to sail solo around the world. She docked at Sydney Harbor May 15 after a 215-day expedition during which, she said, she became a "master chef" preparing freeze-dried foods. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Boy, 13, youngest to climb Mount Everest

Jordan Romero of Big Bear, California, 13, became the youngest person to climb Nepal’s Mount Everest, 29,035 feet. Romero phoned his mother in California on a satellite phone and said, “Mom, I’m calling you from the top of the world.” Mount Everest is just one of seven tall peaks Romero has or will climb, a goal inspired by a painting of the Seven Summits in his school’s hallway. He has already climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Next? The Vinson Massif in Antarctica. (Telegraph)

Oh say can you squint?

Few things look as awkward as a person wearing two pairs of glasses at the same time. But this is not an uncommon sight in the great outdoors as people with poor close up vision wear, simultaneously, sunglasses and “drug store readers.” To eliminate such awkward outdoor scenes, Ono’s Trading Company has pioneered polarized sunglasses, with or without a prescription, with built-in bifocals for close-up vision. They are sold online, over the counter and in catalogs. Visit or phone 866-865-4695. (Ono's Trading Company, Media contact: Bill AuCoin, 727-522-2371)

New wild turkey champ: Wisconsin

Wisconsin didn’t have any wild turkeys just 50 years ago but, thanks to the state’s ongoing and successful wild turkey reintroduction program, the Badger State was the Spring 2009 wild turkey harvest champ. Wild turkey hunters bagged 52,581 turkeys, besting Missouri (44,713), Pennsylvania (43,680), Michigan (41,000), Alabama (36,600), New York 34,664), Kansas (33,350), Kentucky (29,066) and Texas (19,155). (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via

Haiti relief: Birdcall app for iPhones

Here’s another app for your iPhone. This one lets you look at and listen to 48 of the 300 birds found in The Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  All proceeds are donated to Habitat for Humanity and Partners in Health to support disaster relieve in Haiti. (Princeton University Press)

Georgia Bulldogs win college bass title

University of Georgia bass fishing team won the BoatU.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship on Texas’ Lake Lewisville. Other teams, in order of finish, were University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Western Kentucky, University of Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky University, Tarleton State University, Texas A & M, Georgia College and State University, Oklahoma University and Louisiana State University. (Collegiate Bass Championship)

Injured puppy has 3,300 Facebook friends

Riley, a yellow lab puppy, was run over by a car in Eastern Tennessee. As vets worked to repair his head wound, a broken leg and a fractured spine, they discovered that he had also been shot. In spite of his multiple wounds Riley is recovering and more than 3,000 friends on Facebook are cheering. Riley’s medical care is being taken care of by Labs4Rescue. WBIR,

Rhesus roams loose in Clearwater-St. Pete

A stressed-out rhesus monkey has been roaming loose and lonely in the backyards of the Clearwater-St. Petersburg area for 18 months. Nobody knows where the adult male monkey came from. A speculation is that he was one of the monkeys that live on the Silver River near Ocala and that he left on his own or, perhaps, was rebuffed from the troop by a more dominant male. St. Petersburg Times

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May 2010

Oil spill threatens fishing, wildlife.

In addition to hurting commercial and recreational fishing, spreading oil from the BP rig in the Gulf of Mexico threatens wildlife species including the brown pelican and the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, both entering their breeding/nesting season. (Scientific American, Voice of America)

Gulf recreational and commercial fishing closed

The oil spill from the April 22 rig explosion has prompted National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to close recreational and commercial fishing May 2 for 10 days, possibly longer, in federal waters from the Mississippi River to Pensacola Bay. American Sportfishing Association noted that 6 million saltwater anglers take 45 million trips a year and contribute $41 billion in economic output for the Gulf Coast. (American Sportfishing Association)

Florida manatee makes it to Maryland then dies

A Florida manatee was discovered dead on the banks of the Patuxent River. Biologists believe it died this winter and that its body floated to the surface as waters warmed. (Southern Maryland Newspapers)

Florida highway death: 600-pound black bear

A black bear weighing more than 600 pounds was struck and killed on a highway in northern Florida. It is the third largest bear ever recorded in Florida. Before it could be winched from the road and removed another vehicle hit the hulk and overturned but there were no injuries. (Northwest Florida News)

Should wolves be delisted?

Wolf lawyers have a big day in federal court June 15 in Missoula, Montana. U. S. District Judge Donald Molloy will hear arguments about whether Rocky Mountain wolf populations are large enough and diverse enough to be removed from the list of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act. (Helena Independent Record)

Outdoor recreation firms more upbeat

Outdoor recreation firms are more positive about the economy than in previous surveys according to the Outdoor Industry Association. However, retailers were less optimistic in the survey, conducted in January and February. (Outdoor Industry Association)

St. Pete: Robin capital of America

For the third year in a row St. Petersburg, Florida was the robin capital of North America, judging by Audubon’s annual Great Backyard Bird Count. Tampa Bay Birders reported 1.45 million robins during a four-day weekend in February. Only 400,321 robins were counted in the rest of the U.S. “…it took more than two hours for the entire flock to pass overhead,” said Lorraine Margeson, who lives near the robin’s mangrove habitat. (St. Petersburg Times)

New Kansas crappie record

Gerald Rausch caught a 4.34-pound white crappie, possibly a new Kansas record. Keeping the fish alive, he drove 172 miles to Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, MO so the fish could be kept alive in a tank. If certified as a state record Rausch’s crappie will replace a 4.02-pounder. (Kansas City Star,

Cost of prescription sunglasses go down

Mobile, Alabama – Ono’s Trading Company, which pioneered sunglasses with bifocal readers, introduced affordable, ophthalmic-quality sunglasses that correct for distance and close up vision, too. Orders are submitted online at or by fax (1-205-338-0414). Ono’s Chris Nelson said the prescription sunglasses, with or without bifocal magnification, are priced at only $169.95 with amber or grey lenses and $189.095 for blue mirror over amber or green mirror over amber lens. This is just slightly more than the price of Ono’s non-prescription sunglasses, saving customers as much as $400 compared to prescription sunglasses sold by optometrists. Visit phone 866-865-4695. Media contact: Bill AuCoin, 727-522-2371)

Popular Mosquito Repellent Goes Green

Mosquitoes, horse flies, no-see-ums and other biting insects have a new enemy. Bugband, the brand that introduced natural, safe Geraniol to the repellent wars, has added a new weapon-delivery system to the battle. The new 6-oz pump spray bottle – it is green, naturally – and does not contain any artificial propellants. Instead it relies on a metered pump spray to dispense a fine mist directly on vulnerable areas, including exposed skin. Bugband repellent is also available in wristbands, ideal for children for everyday use and towelettes for heavy-duty applications as well as various commercial applications Visit or phone 800-473-9467.

Frog gigging: newest college sport

Virginia Tech excels in football and…frog gigging. Psychology students join engineering students for these late night gigs and frog leg feasts. (Collegiate Times via

Peek online at the Loon Family

With the ice out on Central Minnesota Lakes, TV producer and host Ron Schara has linked to the Loon Cam which now gets close to 500,000 looks a month as viewers watch for the eggs to arrive and hatch. (Minnesota Bound)

Best bass fishing lake in America

The best largemouth bass lake in America is in Pintlala, Alabama, near Montgomery, according to Outdoor Life magazine. Don’t get any bright ideas, though. It’s a private lake created and owned by Ray Scott, the man who founded Bass Angler Sportsman Society, now part of ESPN. (The Outdoor Wire, Outdoor Life)

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April 2010

Hybrid Wolf Packs Running Wild in Ohio

A hunter shot and killed a wolf-dog that was running with a pack near Bellevue in Ohio’s Sandusky County. The hybrid was genetically 98 percent wolf and weighed about 120 pounds. It is believed to have been somebody’s pet but then released into the wild. Ohio wildlife officials worry that wolf-dog hybrids in the wild are increasing in numbers and could threaten livestock. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Wolves to Blame for Drop in Elk Numbers

Declining elk populations in parts of Idaho will mean more wolves for hunters this fall. Cal Groen, Idaho’s Director of the Department of Fish and Game, released a statement that preserving elk remains a top priority. He wrote that wolves are the main reason the elk population in one management zone dropped 57 percent since 2006. (Idaho Reporter)

 Alaskan Teacher Thought Killed by Wolves

The body of Candice Berner, 32, an itinerant Alaskan teacher originally from Slippery Rock, Pa., was found on a remote gravel road in rural Alaska. Authorities said she was killed by animals, probably wolves. Before her death Berner told co-workers she was going out to get some fresh air. (NewsOXY, Little Chicago Review)

Anglers Worried about Fed Plan

U.S. Anglers are worried that the Obama Administration Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force is about to come down hard on recreational fishing. Pro-angling organizations, including the Recreational Fishing Alliance, complained plan administrators would not listen to their recommendations. (New York Post)

When the Warblers Return to St. Petersburg

April 15 is tax day in the U.S. but in the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area it is also known as Warbler Day. Birders gather round the increasingly famous Mulberry Tree on Fort DeSoto Park near Tierra Verde, to celebrate the return of warblers, grosbeaks, buntings, vireos, tanagers, orioles and other migrant songbirds. Lush purple berries are breakfast, lunch and dinner for the migrant songbirds, arriving hungry after flights of up to 5000 miles from their winter homes in Central and South America. (Canadian Geographic)

Alabama May Lower State Park Fees

Alabama legislators are debating a tourism-stimulus that would cut in half summer entry fees at state parks and room rates at state park lodges. However, park officials say the parks need the summer revenue to continue operating at current levels, and some parks would close if such a bill were passed. (Muscle Shoals Times Daily)

Fossil of Cockroach-Eater Found in Pittsburgh

Scientists in Pittsburgh have uncovered the fossil of a new species, a two-foot, amphibian with tusks that used to kill and eat giant cockroaches. The fossil is 300-million-years old. The extinct animal is being called Fedexia strieglei to recognize FedEx, which owns the land where the fossil was found, and Adam Streigei, a University of Pittsburgh geology student who found the fossil on a 2004 field trip. (National Geographic)

The Wild Turkey Grand Slam

Florida’s one-month spring turkey season opens March 27 and, for many hunters, the focus will be on the Osceola turkey, the elusive fourth member of the wild turkey family. The tough-to-get Osceola can be found in Florida’s Dixie, Gilchrist, Alachua, Union, Bradford, Clay and Duval counties. Others in the “grand slam” of the four American turkeys are Eastern, Rio Grande, and Merriam turkeys. (St. Petersburg Times)

Get out! April's average temperatures

St. Petersburg, Florida – 64-81

Tahneta Pass, Alaska – 19-38

Canyon Lake, Texas – 57-79

Rhinelander, Wisconsin – 29-52

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona – 32-60

Pagosa Springs, Colorado– 24-59

Mobile, Alabama – 57-78

Death Valley, California – 60-89

Millinocket, Maine – 30-51

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina – 49-70


Wanted: More anglers, boaters.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide a grant of more than $13 million to the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation to recruit more boaters and anglers. (RBFF)

Do Big 3D Eyes Attract Fish?

MirrOlure, famous for its record-producing “hard” lures, continues its expansion into the “soft” lure category. The brand has recently introduced Provoker®. This is a 5-inch soft plastic twitch bait with big 3D eyes, also a signature feature of the brand’s hard baits. Provoker has something hard lures do not – a secret scent. “I’m not talking,” said MirrOlure’s Eric Bachnik. Provoker has a large belly pocket for different hook-in-plastic configurations. Provoker follows the successful introduction last year of four other Mirrolure soft plastic lures, Soft Mullet, Soft Minnow, Soft Shad and Soft Sardine. For information call 727-584-7691 or go to

Bifocal Sunglasses Styled for Narrow Faces

Ono’s Trading Company, the pioneer of polarized sunglasses with bifocal magnification, introduced three models styled for narrow faces or small facial features. The new ophthalmic-quality sunglasses have low profile bifocal magnifiers for reading and other close up tasks. The upper portion of the lens is for normal distance vision or for distance vision corrected by bifocals. The new models have reader powers of 1.5, 1.75, 2.00, 2.25, and 2.50. New models are Ocracoke™ with tortoise frames/amber lens, Grand Lagoon™ with black frames/grey lens, and Tuscadero™ with pink frames/grey lens. Visit or phone 866-865-4695. (Ono's Trading Company, Media contact: Bill AuCoin, 727-522-2371)

Florida by Water Website

Boaters are always looking for waterfront restaurants, campgrounds, marinas and hotels. Now boaters in Florida have a new website – -- listing more than 1,500 such places, including GPS coordinates. (

 Popular Mosquito Repellent Goes Green

Mosquitoes, horse flies, no-see-ums and other biting insects have a new enemy. Bugband, the brand that introduced natural, safe Geraniol to the repellent wars, has added a new weapon-delivery system to the battle. The new 6-oz pump spray bottle – it is green, naturally – does not contain any artificial propellants. Instead it relies on a metered pump spray to dispense a fine mist directly on vulnerable areas, including exposed skin. Bugband repellent is also available in wristbands, ideal for children for everyday use and towelettes for heavy-duty applications as well as various commercial applications Visit or phone 800-473-9467. (Bugband)

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March 2010

Block St. Lawrence Seaway to Protect Great Lakes?

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is suing to shut the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal so invasive Asian carp cannot get into Lake Michigan. Now, Eric Sharp, outdoors writer for the Detroit Free Press, blogs that it is also time to close off the Great Lakes from ocean going vessels using the St. Lawrence Seaway. (

VanDam Wins 2010 Bassmaster Classic

Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., won the 2010 Bassmaster Classic on Birmingham’s Lay Lake, weighing-in largemouth bass totaling 51 pounds, 6 ounces in three days of cold weather and water fishing. (Montgomery Advertiser)

Wolves-Elk Argument Escalates

Conservation organizations are going to verbal war on the wolf-elk

battleground. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, in a letter to legislators and editors, accused Defenders of Wildlife and Western Wildlife Conservancy of cherry-picking its data to claim, wrongly, that restored wolf populations have helped increase elk herds in the northern Rocky Mountains. (ESPN)

Exotic Snakes in Hunters’ Sights

Licensed hunters with special permits will be taking aim on Burmese python snakes and other exotics reptiles in the Everglades March 8 through April 17. They are authorized to use pistols, shoguns and traditional rimfire rifles to shoot the snakes, which have been crowding out and feeding on native animal species. (Miami Herald)

Successful Wisconsin Sturgeon Spearing Season

Ice anglers speared 1820 sturgeons on Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago and its system lakes in the 2010 six-day season which ended Feb. 18. One sturgeon speared on opening day weighed 212.2 pounds, a new state record. Biologists will analyze the harvest but preliminary indications are that the fish stock remains healthy. (Wisconsin DNR, (JS online)

Outdoor Recreation Sales Dip

Retail sales of outdoor recreation gear and garments dropped two percent in 2009 compared to the previous year, according to a report released by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). Sales totaled $5.075 billion. Best categories included camping items, climbing gear, and hiking boots. Paddle sports stores were down seven percent. (OIA)

Boating Biz Restart in 2010?

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is predicting recreational boat sales will remain flat in 2010 at 140,000 to 150,000 units, essentially the same as 2009 which showed a significant decline from the year before. (Wall Street Journal)

Gone Fishing…back in ? years.

The number of people buying fishing licenses increased in the U.S. in 2009. The 12-state index managed by the American Sportfishing Association showed a 4.7 percent increase. (New York Post)

Migrating Robins Get Drunk

Robins migrating north along Florida’s Atlantic Coast are eating over-ripe berries and many are exhibiting signs of drunkenness. Ken Gieli with the Cooperative Extensive in Fort Pierce said the birds are eating the berries of an invasive plant, Brazilian Pepper, which are toxic to humans. (

Orphaned Eaglet Has New Home

Dunedin, Florida -- Hoover the eaglet, orphaned at three ounces, now has a new home with a mother and daddy, plus two younger siblings who are also very hungry, as baby bald eagles are supposed to be. On Monday, Feb. 15, members of Audubon’s birds of prey center placed Hoover in his new nest, situated near the top of a slash pine tree in Dunedin. So far, the parents seem to be okay with the family addition. Hoover’s natural parents abandoned him when their nest, built on rotten limbs, fell to the ground. (St. Petersburg Times)

Outdoor gear and destination spotlight

Bifocal sunglasses for narrow faces

Ono’s Trading Company, the pioneer of polarized sunglasses with bifocal magnification, introduced three models styled for narrow faces or small facial features. The new ophthalmic-quality sunglasses have low profile bifocal magnifiers for reading and other close up tasks. The upper portion of the lens is for normal distance vision or for distance vision corrected by bifocals. The new models have reader powers of 1.5, 1.75, 2.00, 2.25, and 2.50. New models are Ocracoke™ with tortoise frames/amber lens, Grand Lagoon™ with black frames/grey lens, and Tuscadero™ with pink frames/grey lens. Visit or phone 866-865-4695. (Ono's Trading Company, Media contact: Bill AuCoin, 727-522-2371)

Visit Galapagos Islands without Leaving Home

Renowned nature photographer Tui De Roy has produced the tenth anniversary edition of Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire. Published by Princeton University Press, the dramatic table-top collection has 245 of her most stunning scenes and images of the diversity of animals, birds and sea-life. Nature is endlessly fascinating and often cruel, as De Roy’s essays and images attest. Iguanas, seeking warmth from volcanic flows, explode in the advancing lava. Pelicans die feeding on scalded fish. But the real threats, she points out, are man-made. (Princeton University Press)

How to be an Outdoor Writer

Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) will host its first Goldenrod Writing Workshop Aug. 1-7 at the University of Montana in Missoula. The $995 fee includes tuition and room and board at the university. (

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February 2010

No Snow for Winter Olympics The Winter Olympics opened in Vancouver but there was a problem: no snow except on the highest slopes. One way or another, there will be snow, officials said. Convoys are trucking it in from mountains across British Columbia. (ABC News)

America’s Cup Racing. Finally Valencia, Spain—Races for the 33rd America’s Cup races between two super –fast, high tech sailing vessels were re-scheduled to start Feb. 10 after too-light winds postponed the Feb. 8 start. Veteran America’s Cup journalist Eric Sharp calls it for the U.S. entry, BMW-Oracle, over the Swiss entry, Alinghi. (Examiner, Detroit Free Press, AP, Sail-World)

Is Bad Corn Killing Quail? Are whitetail deer hunters accidentally killing quail with bad feed corn? Quail hunters in Texas, disappointed in a succession of poor quail seasons, are asking for a study. Deer hunters put out many millions of pounds of corn for the deer, but quail and other birds eat it, too. The suspicious substance is aflatoxin, which is produced by fungus. (Dallas Morning News,

 Interior Strikes Back at Pythons

The U.S. Interior Department proposes an import ban on Burmese python and other constrictor snakes that are overwhelming the Everglades ecosystem.  (DOI)

Manatee Count Up. St. Petersburg, Florida – A Sunshine State cold snap early in 2010 took a toll on the manatees but the cold snap, which sent manatees to places with warmer water, also helped produce a record manatee population count, 5000+. That’s at least 1,200 more than ever. Cold stress in early January was blamed for 77 manatee deaths. (St. Petersburg Times)

Whooping Cranes Now in Florida It took 89 days but the whooping crane “Class of 2009” has landed, safely, in Florida for the winter. Following an ultra light aircraft, they learned the route from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Central Wisconsin. Ten whooping cranes will winter at St. Marks NWR in north Florida and ten will winter at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in West Central Florida. (FWS)

Boating Biz Recovery? Reeling from the recession, the boating industry looks to the Miami International Boat Show for signs of a recovery. Meanwhile “Bail Out” and “On the Rocks” make the top ten list of popular boat names. (Miami Boat Show, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

 Who’s the best bass angler? Birmingham, Alabama – Fifty-one bass anglers compete Feb. 19-21 in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic on Lay Lake near Birmingham.  The field includes female angler Pam Martin-Wells who earned a berth by winning the 2009 Women’s Bassmaster Tour. (ESPN)

College Bass Tournament Registration Registration started Feb. 1 for college anglers to register to compete in the 2010 tournament season. Registration closes May 1. The final field for the 2010 BoatU. S. National Colleague Bass Fishing Championship will be announced May 3. (Collegiate Bass Championship)

Next High School Sport? Bass Fishing The Alabama High School Bass Fishing Club Tournament Series starts March 6.  About 20 high schools are expected to enter angler teams for the event on Wheeler Lake near Florence. Backers are asking the Alabama High School Athletic Association to make bass tournaments an official high school sport. (Florence Times Daily,

Illegal Traps Removed from State Capitol They had a mole problem on the grounds of Washington state’s capitol, so the lawn maintenance people put out traps. The problem was, the traps were illegal. They’ve since removed the traps, but the moles are still in place. Wildlife officers said they would not issue a citation. “The irony is if I’ve got coyotes killing my sheep, I can’t put a trap out. But if you’ve got a mole on the Capitol Campus, you can,’’ said Joel Kretz, a Republican legislator. (The Olympian,

How to Skydive from 120,000 Feet If skydiving is an extreme sport, then what do you call it when you leap into the thin air of`120,000 feet, break the sound barrier and, hopefully, remember to pull the ripcord before you hit earth.  Felix Baumgartner calls it The Red Bull Stratos.” (Popular Science)

Frozen Iguanas? Oh, Good Cold weather takes a toll on many wild birds and animals. And sometimes it’s a good thing. In south Florida, people rather prefer it when Mother Nature takes aim at iguanas (Biscayne Times)


Awkward Outdoor Scenes Few things look as awkward as a person wearing two pairs of glasses at the same time. But this is not an uncommon sight in the great outdoors as people with poor close up vision wear sunglasses and “drug store readers” at the same time. To eliminate such awkward scenes, Ono’s Trading Company has pioneered polarized sunglasses with built-in bifocals for close-up vision needs. No prescription is necessary. Ono's sunglasses are sold over the counter, in catalogs, and online. One just needs to know his or her reader number such as 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5. Visit or phone 866-865-4695. (Ono's Trading Company, Media contact: Bill AuCoin, 727-522-2371)

When binoculars are too heavy… Optics manufacturers are noting an uptick in monocular sales. Monoculars are light and easy to carry. They are your everyday optics on duty anytime you don’t want binoculars around your neck. Retailers report that monoculars are increasingly popular with hikers, birders, fly anglers, hunters and cyclists. (Alpen Optics)

Paul Brown’s Lures Go National Paul Brown’s lure revolution is going national. After years of producing his successful Original series of lures for Texas anglers in his Houston “Shop,” Brown has turned over manufacturing and national marketing to the company that has made Mirrolure into a national success. Mirrolure’s Eric Bachnik said Fishing Tackle Unlimited, Academy and other stores will carry the “Original” series -- Paul Brown’s Original, Paul Brown’s Floating Original, Paul Brown’s Fat Boy, Paul Brown’s Floating Fat Boy, and Paul Brown’s Devil. (


January 2010

Michigan et al Versus Asian Carp
Michigan is suing to make Illinois close the locks from Lake Michigan to shipping canals so Asian carp, a voracious, invasive species, will not get into Lake Michigan and crowd out native species. Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana are backing Michigan's suit. (NY Times)

America's Cup Races Start Feb. 8. Maybe
America’s Cup sailing competition between America’s BMW-Oracle, the challenger and Europe’s Alinghi is supposed to start Feb. 8 in Spain. But will it? The U.S. team may file a protest claiming the European boat has sails made in the U.S.A., which is against the rules. (Detroit Free-Press)

Japan Shares World Record Bass Record
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) ruled that a largemouth bass caught in Japan this year ties the 77-year old record of a 22 pound, 4-ounce bass caught by Georgia'a George Perry. The new co-record holder is Manabu Kurita who caught his bass on Lake Biwa, a reservoir northeast of Kyoto. (IGFA)

World Bass Angler Championship
The 2010 Bassmaster's Classic to determine the bass angler in the world will be held on Lay Lake near Birmingham Feb. 19-20 with 51 anglers competing for top honors and big bucks. BASS has dropped the Women's Bassmaster Tour, citing a drop in participation. (latimesblogs)

Hunters killed 200 Gray Wolves

With wolves no longer on the endangered species list, hunters stalked and killed more than 200 gray wolves in the Northern Rockies in 2009. Another 300 were killed by government agents, ranchers defending their livestock, and poachers. Biologists will now evaluate the impact of hunting season on gray wolf populations in the region. (AP)

SHOT Show expects 45,000
The 2010 SHOT Show for the shooting and hunting trades starts a four-day run Jan 19 in Las Vegas, attracting more than 45,000 buyers, media and exhibitors from all U.S. states and 75 foreign countries. The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference is owned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. (Shot Show)

Ambitious lion study planned
Safari Club International Foundation said it help raise money and provide data to support one of the most ambitious African lion conservation projects ever undertaken. The project will include collecting data in Tanzania and helping produce a new lion management plan based on science. (Safari Club Foundation)

Why skiers die
Skiers absorb more than their share of bumps and bruises, not to mention loads of knee injuries. Deaths are few but, when they occur, a new study shows, the reasons are speed, poor visibility, old snow, new equipment, and alcohol consumption. (Montreal Gazette)

Census report: 17 million boat owners

The U.S. Census Bureau reports there are almost 17 million boat owners who spend $37 billion a year on boats. (Trade Only Today)

Angler protest Feb. 24 at US Capitol
Organizations representing recreational and commercial fishers have organized a "United We Fish" march on the U.S. Capitol Feb. 24 to protest new bans on fishing for red snapper, grouper, amberjack, sea bass and other saltwater fishes. Jim Donofrio of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, one of he leaders, said fishery science is weak and management is broken. Organizers want legislators to address the unintended, negative impact of the Maghuson Stevens Conservation and Management Act, the federal fisheries law. (Recreational Fishing Alliance)

Feds Want to Contact Salt Anglers
U.S. fishery managers are building a contact list of saltwater anglers so they can ask them what and how many fish they are catching. The goal of the National Saltwater Angler Registry is to help get angler information so fishery managers can better assess fish stocks, measure economic impact, and write regulations. Saltwater anglers in Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Virginia or the U.S. Virgin Islands need to register by phone, 888-674-7411, or online by clicking on Angler Registry at (Houma Daily Planet)


Farsighted eyewear for the great outdoors
Mobile, Alabama – "Drug store readers" are a presbyopic's best friend…indoors. But outdoors few things look as awkward as a person trying to wear drug store readers and sunglasses at the same time. Ono's Trading Company has a solution, sunglasses with built-in bifocal magnifiers. No prescription is necessary; you just need to know your magnification number such as 1.5, 2.0, 2.5. Ono's sunglasses are sold over the counter, in catalogs, and online. The latest model, Longitude, features titanium frames, 100 percent polarized protection, and grey lenses. Visit or phone 866-865-4695. Prices range from approximately $60 to $160, depending on the model. (Ono's Trading Company, Media contact: Bill AuCoin, 727-522-2371)

Top Peacock Bass Rivers
For some anglers – and Larry Larson is exhibit one -- the peacock bass makes for angling’s pound-for-pound best rod and reel battle. It's even better than the tarpon, he reports. Alas, one has to travel to South America to pick a fight. Larson polled members of the Peacock Bass Association. They have voted their top peacock bass rivers. Brazil's Negro, Agua Boa, Xeriuini, Tapera, Unini, Jufari, Matupiri/Igapo Acu, Madeira, Uniueixi, Cuini, Caures, Preta, Preto, Urabaxi and Araca rank highest, as do the Pasimoni and Paciba in Venezuela. Destinations and guides are listed in PBA's World Peacock Bass Directory. (Peacock Bass Association)

Fishing lure with colored tail snaps
Tulsa, Oklahoma – Aquatic science suggests that color contrast, more than other factors, is what helps a bass see a lure. Now, a Tulsa company is marketing a plastic worm with a slot in the tail that accepts a two colored snaps. Snap Tail Lure's Robb Line says the extra color or colors – the angler can pair up snaps of six different colors – increases the chances that bass will see and strike the lure. (Snap Tail Lures)

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