Category Archives: General Outdoors

Outdoor and nature news from all over.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. spent the last three days wandering around The Great Land.  Our purpose was mostly just enjoying ourselves but also doing some shopping around of neighborhoods for an eventual semi-retirement.

Alaska is a wonderful place if you like to hunt, fish, camp, or engage in almost any other outdoor activity.  It’s also a great place to go if you want to live a quiet life and be left the hell alone, which has long been one of my fondest wishes.  It’s also the only place I’ve ever been where I never felt hemmed in.

We love Alaska.  It’s one of the best places left anywhere.  Photos from this trip follow.

Animal’s Daily Hunting News

img_0910
Yr. obdt. looking over some Grand County elk country.

Our annual elk hunt, abbreviated as it was by some sudden travel plans, ended with an empty sack.  Note that I do not say “ended sadly,” as any time spent in the great Western outdoors is never cause for anything but happiness.

We had one good shot at filling one of our cow elk tags.  Near the spot shown above, loyal sidekick Rat heard an elk mew softly in the timber.  We split up and stalked into the pines in a pincer movement towards the patch of pines where the sound came from.

Rat overlooking the same country.
Rat overlooking the same country.

As we moved in, through the heavy dark timber I saw a pair of elk legs moving slowly upslope.  I moved up to a large pine, found an opening in the trees, and braced against the tree to place Thunder Speaker’s scope on the opening.  I saw an orange elk butt moving towards the opening from the left at a range of about fifty yards; then I saw in the scope a bit of elk neck, then an ear, then the head…

…then an antler.  It was a young raghorn bull, and we had cow tags.  Oh well.

Anyway, it was a highly enjoyable week.  Photos follow.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

This weekend just past was my last in New England for this gig.  Saturday I was the proverbial barracks rat, as the weather was awful; cold, windy, rainy.  I ventured out to eat and otherwise hung around the hotel.

Sunday was a different story.  The day dawned bright and clear, still windy but sunny and pleasant.  So, with nowhere to go and all day to get there, I piloted my rental car down into Connecticut.  I went far a long tramp in that state’s Bigelow Hollow State Park, then wandered back roads back up to Massachusetts and (eventually) my temporary digs in Braintree.  Nice day.  Photos follow.

Sunday in New England

Smiling BearI can’t abide the political scene here in Massachusetts, but that doesn’t stop me from seeing what sights are available to be seen.  Yesterday (Saturday) I took the great Uber service into Boston, where I spent the day mooching around the Boston Common, where there was a Gary Johnson rally going on(!)  Following that, I hit the original Cheers and  hoisted a few with some locals.  I walked around Beacon Hill for a while, visited a couple of other Beacon Hill local watering holes before concluding the evening back at Cheers and then another Uber ride to my Braintree hotel.  Today (Sunday) I drove down to Cape Cod and spent an enjoyable hour on a tramp through some pine and oak woods.  Photos follow.

Boston:

Cape Cod:

Animals Daily News

Western Diamondback
Western Diamondback

The nation’s own insane asylum, California, has something new to add to its lengthy list of problems:  Rattlesnakes.  Excerpt:

Southern California is known for its sun, sand, and of course, it’s snakes.

And thanks to our ongoing drought, rattlesnakes are making their way out of the hills and into our yards in record numbers.

“They’re out in full force right now,” said Bo Slyapich, who is known as the “rattlesnake wrangler.”

He specializes in snake removal, relocation, and prevention.

Slyapich has been working with snakes for more than 50 years and says homeowners are giving the rattlers exactly what they are looking for.

“If you build it. they will come,” he said. “Just because you build them a cave, leave the door open, garage door open, put a cement pond in the backyard, make it green all around, maybe throw some mice and rats around. They love us humans.”

He suggests building a box around your property, installing one-quarter-inch fencing around the entire perimeter, and reducing landscaping.

Pretty good advice, actually, speaking as one who came from the rattlesnake-friendly hills of Allamakee County, Iowa, where the Old Man’s woods and hills were populated by Timber Rattlesnakes  (Crotalus horridus). Smaller (just) than Californey’s Western Diamondbacks, (Crotalus atrox) the big timber snakes were not terribly aggressive, in spite of their Latin name.  You had to work at it to get bitten.

Timber Rattlesnake.
Timber Rattlesnake.

We still killed them whenever we found them around the house.  Up in the hills they were fine; we always allowed them to proceed with their business unmolested.  But not around the house, not when the folks had legions of grandkids playing outside all summer.  The biggest rattler we killed was pushing six feet long, and a serious bite by a snake like that can kill an adult, much less a child.

We never took too many chances with venomous snakes.  Californians hopefully will do likewise.

Rule Five Hunting FAQ Friday

2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (1)I’ve been working on this for a year or so now; I think I will make it a permanent page here on the site.

Q: Is hunting dangerous?

A:  No, in fact hunting is one of the safest of all outdoor activities.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation gathers and reports data on causes of accidental death and injury in hunting.  Their 2010 data shows a 0.05% rate of injury among participants hunting with firearms.  You have a greater chance of being injured on a golf course or tennis court than in the hunting fields.

Q: Was hunting responsible for the loss of the Passenger Pigeon, and the near-extinction of bison, along with many other endangered and threatened species?

A:  No species has ever been endangered by modern, scientifically regulated hunting.  It’s sadly true that in the last two centuries, over-consumptive practices including unregulated market gunning resulted in the extinction or endangerment of several species.  Habitat loss added to the poor management practices of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  However, modern scientific management has resulted in the dramatic recovery of white-tailed and mule deer, elk, bison, pronghorn antelope, wood ducks, prairie grouse, and many other birds and animals.

Q: Will game populations stabilize eventually without human hunting?

A:  Yes, they certainly will.  They will stabilize through the mechanisms of starvation, disease, vehicle accident, parasite infestation, and a host of other unpleasant means.  Wild ani2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (2)mals rarely if ever die peacefully of old age.

Q: Can we use chemical contraception?

A:  Chemical contraception has proven practical, in deer, in controlled areas, with limited populations, where most of the animals were individually known to the control officers.  On a large scale, it’s impossible.

Q: Does hunting desensitize people, especially young people, to the sanctity of life?

A:  Just the opposite has been shown to be the case.  A Texas Department of Justice study examined several demographic groups of ‘at-risk’ youths.  They surveyed three groups; youths who did not own or have access to guns, youths who owned illegal guns, and youths who owned and used guns legally.  The latter group, which included many hunters as well as recreational shooters, had the lowest delinquency rates of any; lower in fact than teens who did not own or have access to any guns at all.  The study concluded that this group, who received most of their socialization in home and family, was more law-abiding than the other two groups.  If hunting ‘cheapened’ the value of life, these youths would have been at a high risk for delinquency – the opposite of what was observed.

Q: Do modern weapons give hunters an un2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (3)fair advantage over game animals?

A:  Success rates tell the tale.  Success rates on big game average anywhere from 10-40% in most areas.  That rate is calculated on the basis of animals taken / licenses issued; if you figure, roughly, three attempted stalks/shots for each animals, that is a per-attempt success rate of 3.3-12%.  Odds are stacked against the human hunter, indeed; game animals have far more acute senses, they’re stronger, they can run faster, they have natural cunning and an intimate knowledge of their environment.  One needs look no farther than popular hunting literature to see many stories of a hunter outfoxed by a wily deer, elk or bear.

Q: Do h2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (4)unters frequently kill endangered animals?

A:  No, very few.  The main reason is obvious; not many endangered animal are available to be accidental targets.  That’s why they’re endangered.  It’s important to note that the largest cause of extinction or endangerment is habitat loss – and hunters are the uncontested champions of habitat preservation.

Q: What’s the difference between a hunter and a poacher?

A:  A poacher is one who hunts illegally, with callous disregard for the law and for the scientific process of wildlife management.  The ethical hunter scrupulously obeys the game laws of his/her area, and hunts with mindfulness of the surroundings, the game, and the importance of a clean, human kill.  The poacher does none of these things.  In short, the ethical hunter is a sportsman; the poacher is a criminal.

2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (5)Q: Isn’t hunting a bastion of male chauvinists?

A:  Not even close. Women are the fastest growing demographic group in hunter’s ranks, according to recent license sales figures; this reflect a trend towards the view of hunting as a family activity, rather than a guy’s getaway.

Q: Are hunters vicious and cruel people?

A:  Not even close.  Noted German psychiatrist Erich Fromm, in his book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, notes that the impulses for destructive aggression are very different from those involved in predation (hunting) and notes that hunters tend to be very peaceful people.[1]

[1] Erich Fromm. 1973. The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness. Holt,Rinehart and Winston, New York. ISBN 0-03-007596-3

2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (6)

Animal’s Daily News

Smiling BearLet’s clone a cave lion! Excerpt:

Scientists are attempting to clone extinct Ice Age lion cubs by finding DNA in the remains of the creatures.

Two cubs were found in Russia’s Sakha Republic last August in a near-perfect state thanks to the deep-freeze conditions where they lay.

Researchers hope to find living tissues containing DNA in the remains, which will allow them to recreate the now extinct Ice Age cave lion.

The project is a joint venture by Russian and South Korean scientists at the Joint Foundation of Molecular Paleontology at North East Russia University in the city of Yakutsk.

Semyon Grigoriev, who is involved in the lion cub project, is also working on cloning a mammoth using the same process.

Let’s be real about this; these aren’t Jurassic Park shenanigans to bring about genetically-engineered five-ton carnosaurs able to break through 20-foot high concrete barriers.  This project, if successful, will bring about a few – and only a few – big cats very similar to big cats that people routinely keep in captivity all over the world, and have done so since Classical times.  Even if the mammoth cloning project succeeds, we’ll still have animals very similar to elephants which have also been successfully kept in captivity (and even domesticated) since Classical times.

Science!
Science!

I say do it.  I don’t buy the arguments about these animals being “extinct for a reason.”  They are extinct because the last major glaciation ended (oh, damn that global warming!) and the megafauna they relied on as prey largely disappeared along with the unique habitat created by the glaciers.  But we aren’t talking about producing a population of these critters and releasing them into the wild; we are talking about producing a very few animals for study.  They will be pampered, coddled, and contained.

This is what science is supposed to be – a journey of discovery.

Rule Five Animal Rights Kook Friday

2016_03_04_Rule Five Friday (1)“By their words shall you know them, and by their actions shall you judge them.”

The words and the actions of animal rights activists do not lead one to judge them generously.

In June of 2001, I did a horrible thing. I committed an act so vile, so unspeakable, that it has subjected me to everything from death threats to character assassination.

I’ve had objects thrown at my truck. I’ve been accosted in parking lots and threatened. I’ve received e-mailed death threats galore. I’ve been called everything but a child of God.

What was this act?

I published a book.

Misplaced Compassion: The Animal Rights Movement Exposed hasn’t made me a rich man. It will never make the New York Times Bestseller’s list for non-fiction. I didn’t write it for either of those purposes.

2016_03_04_Rule Five Friday (2)I wrote Misplaced Compassion to expose a dangerous agenda, to debunk one of the largest bodies of junk science ever assembled in one place, and to increase public awareness of a “movement” that hides behind a layer of deceit.

“Animal Rights” isn’t about animals. Not at all. It’s about control. It’s about sanctimonious self-righteousness. And not least of all, it’s about hate.

Yes, hate. Radical animal rights advocates do flavor their agendas with hate, and like most radical fringe movements, they do not tolerate dissent, or disagreement.

Here’s a quote from an email I received roughly two weeks after Misplaced Compassion was available:

“Mr. Clark. I hope you die a horrible death from krutzfeld-jacob(sic) disease.”

2016_03_04_Rule Five Friday (3)A few days later the following gem arrived, reproduced verbatim, spelling and grammatical errors intact:

“you are an evil man, i hope someone hunts you with a gun somtime, then your going to know how it feels. people like you should be shot at and chased with hounds until you die of exaustion.”

I’m very open about my love of hunting. Apparently that last anonymous e-mailer picked up on that. But that was only the beginning.

Compassion is of course, the main virtue animal rights supporters claim to possess in greater amounts than the rest of us. They care about animals; they care much more than you or I. They care so much that they feel entitled to dictate to the rest of us.

Of course, when I started promoting Misplaced Compassion on talk radio and on the Internet, the compassion directed towards my person by animal rights advocates became somewhat more, shall we say, enthusiastic.

In November of 2001, I was approached and obliquely threatened by a self-identified “ALF member” outside the Clearchannel radio studios in Englewood.

I’d just done two hours on KOA-AM’s Mike Rosen show, the number one talk radio show in the Denver market. The show went wonderfully; I was originally only scheduled for an hour, Mike asked me to stay for the second hour.

2016_03_04_Rule Five Friday (4)I’m fairly sure the young man waiting in the parking lot when I left the building was not one of the animal rights supporters who called in to the show. But he evidently felt strongly enough to wait for me outside the building. “You’re the animal killer,” he shouted at me as I walked out the studio’s front door. He walked halfway across the parking lot towards me, and shouted another name I won’t repeat here before realizing that I wasn’t about to be intimidated or shouted down.  Indeed, I began to walk faster, closing the gap quickly, ready for action.

After a moment of eye contact, he turned and walked away. But how might he have reacted if I’d been small, elderly, disabled, instead of large, young, healthy, visibly aggressive?

Later that month, a thrown object broke out one of the rear windows of my truck. Over the months to follow, I was the target of crank phone calls, e-mailed death threats, and so on.  It has now been fifteen years since Misplaced Compassion was released, and I still get the occasional hate mail.

Why all the vitriol?

The answer is simple. The animal rights agenda is based on a tissue of lies. Lies I laid bare for the world to see.

They lie when they say they ‘care’ about animals. By their actions shall we know them, after all, and the radical animal rights groups – groups like PeTA and the Humane Society of the United States, with multi-million dollar budgets – do nothing for animals.

Let me state that again, for emphasis.

They do nothing for animals.

They do nothing to help shelter animals find homes. With all of their millions of dollars, they could fund no-kill shelters, at least one in every state. They fund none.

They do nothing to help wildlife. With all of their millions of dollars, they could buy and preserve crucial habitat. They buy none. Hunter’s groups, in fact, completely shame them in this area, preserving vital wildlife habitat to the tune of tens of millions of acres.

They complain about the use of animals in research, but with all their millions, they do nothing to research alternatives. Indeed, they lie when they talk about ‘alternatives’ to the use of animals in research and medicine. The ‘alternatives’ they speak of – cell culture, in vitro testing – use animals as raw materials, even if they do not use them as subjects.

They complain about raising animals for food, but they cheerfully buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the supermarket, ignoring the butcher’s bill of small animals killed in plant agriculture. Rodents and birds in particular are killed en masse for their dinners, but as long as the bodies don’t end up on their vegan plates, they neither worry nor care.

The animal rights movement is overbearing self-righteousness parading as an ethical system, but that Emperor has no clothes, and the wrath of animal rights supporters is quick to lash at any who would point out their ethical nudity.

2016_03_04_Rule Five Friday (5)In early December 2001, my address and phone number were published briefly on a Yahoo animal rights message board. Yahoo pulled the post in accordance with their Terms of Service, but several hours had elapsed. In December of 2001 and January 2002, I received a series of phone calls, usually a few moments of silence followed by a hang-up. A couple of times I heard someone breathing, and in a couple other calls, someone shouted “murderer” before hanging up.

Harmless pranks? Maybe. Maybe not. People ‘case’ homes that way prior to break-ins. I started keeping a loaded .45 in my nightstand, and carrying a revolver in my truck. The calls continued for a period of several weeks. No break-ins were attempted, but I – and my family – remain vigilant, even to this day.

In Misplaced Compassion I outlined the four major character traits that, in twenty years of debate, I have learned are present to some degree in all animal rights advocates. Those four traits are:

  • Misplaced Compassion
  • Intellectual Laziness
  • Denial
  • Arrogance

While you see the first three when you engage animal rights supporters in debate – as I’ve done on radio shows, newspapers, the Internet and in person – it was the last that was displayed in wild abandon when Misplaced Compassion saw press.

And that’s the difference between supporters of totalitarian agendas – like animal right – and their opponents on the side of free society. It’s a hallmark of totalitarians that they will freely resort to threats, to violence, to silence their opponents.

By their words shall you know them, and by their actions shall you judge them.

Compassion? Or control?

You decide.

2016_03_04_Rule Five Friday (6)

Animal’s Travelogue

So, something a little different today.  Last weekend I had a Saturday and Sunday to kill in Massachusetts, and so I decided to explore.  It was a bright, sunny weekend.  I spent much of Saturday mooching around Cape Anne, mostly in Gloucester (which, for unknown reasons, is pronounced “Gloster”) and swung by the Lexington/Concord battle road in the afternoon.  Sunday I wandered down to Cape Cod, walked  a ways down a south-facing beach, then wandered up to Plymouth where I saw, among other things, a famous rock.  Photos follow.

Cape Anne/Gloucester:

Lexington/Concord (hallowed ground, this):

And, finally, Cape Cod and Plymouth.  I’m wondering if that’s actually really the rock – who knows?  But it’s in the right place.