Category Archives: General Outdoors

Outdoor and nature news from all over.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

Over at Glibertarians you can now read the latest in my series, Profiles in Toxic Masculinity!  This installment presents a character from the Old West who was quite a bit different than the movie depiction.

Meanwhile, here are some tidbits from the day’s news:

Democrats don’t want to talk about the economy.  That’s no surprise, since the economy is humming, and their proposals would be pure disaster.

Left-wing violence won’t stop with Andy Ngo.  Of course not; it didn’t start with him.  It won’t stop until one of two things happens:  The thugs of the contradictorially-named Antifa are arrested, tried and jailed, or some counter-protestors start exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.  That latter would lead to some really, really nasty scenes.

But this is a little over the top:  Progressives Are Leading America To Her Demise.  Progressives aren’t leading anything; the Democrats have a small majority in one house of Congress, and that only because they were smart enough to run moderate candidates in swing districts.  They do, however, have control of education, entertainment, the legacy news media and much of the bureaucracy, and that’s concerning.

On a lighter note, this guy has earned a Deluxe Platinum Man-Card.  For life.  Interestingly, black bears are actually more likely to attack you with predatory intent that grizzlies.  A griz may attack you because you’re too close to its cubs, or to a carcass he’s claimed, or just because you pissed him off.   But a black bear may well want to eat you.

And from the world of science – actual science, not pseudo-science nitwittery – GMO crops are yielding huge benefits in Spain and Portugal.  That ought to make some heads explode.

And on that note, we return you to your Tuesday, already in progress.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

It seems some are blaming social media for a sudden increase in trashing of our public lands.  Excerpt:

Social media’s ability to attract swarms of visitors to picturesque meadows and alpine lakes has presented a new challenge to keeping natural spaces looking even quasi-pristine.

“I don’t think anybody anticipated social media — a year ago, or five or 10 years ago — to be what it is today,” said Dana Watts, executive director of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. “There’s no question it’s having an impact. It is something we’re very much paying attention to.

With more people venturing into the outdoors — many in pursuit of the perfect Instagram snap — Romano can reel off a list of etiquette violations he’s witnessed: Litter, off-leash, free-range dogs, keep-out signs ignored, switchbacks cut, social trails splitting meadows and noise.

“The first time I heard music on speakers in the backcountry, I thought, ‘This can’t possibly be.’ Now it’s very frequent, and people are blasting it,’ ” Romano said.

“I’ve heard people say people who do these things are just ‘hiking their own hike.’ That doesn’t mean you do what you damn well please. Trails are on public property and come with rules and regulations. Roads are public property, too, and we share them with a lot of people. I can’t just drive my own drive. … That mentality astounds me. Trails are being inundated with a lot of new, clueless people right now, and we need a massive public-education campaign.”

Here’s a thought:  Post the rules and regulations for the use of these public lands (I am pretty sure this has already been done).  When the park rangers and/or Forest Service officers find people violating these rules, 1) arrest them, 2) fine them, 3) implement sentencing that includes making them clean up their damn mess – or, more likely given the time involved, someone else’s mess.

When I was a little tad, the county I grew up in – Allamakee County, Iowa – along with neighboring Winneshiek and Clayton Counties –  were home to some amazing county parks.  Many of those, like North Bear County Park and Bloody Run County Park, had extensive camping areas along narrow, lightly graveled roads where one could drive back along the creeks for miles, camping along the streamside and in the meadows in some beautiful locations.  But this was in the late Sixties and Seventies, before the anti-littering campaigns started having an effect, and I can well remember my parent’s frustration at the number of people who would leave bags of trash and piles of empty beer cans just laying on the ground when they pulled out of their campsites.

The state and county authorities who managed these parks were likewise frustrated.  How did they respond?  By closing the parks to vehicle traffic.  Oh, they were still public parks.  There was a parking lot next to the road, and a big solid steel gate over the drive in, so only county officials could enter.  Fishermen, hikers and backpackers were free to walk in, but no wheeled vehicles were allowed.  That solved the problem, but at the cost of a great deal of access.  So that may well be what eventually happens in Washington, where this problem is occurring.

You don’t see this much in Colorado, even in roadside camping areas.  You likewise don’t see it much in Wyoming, where Mrs. Animal and I have done a great deal of camping and fishing.

So, what’s different in Washington state?  Any thoughts?

Animal’s Daily Armed Jews News

Israel gets it.

First of all, thanks as always to The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links – and check out some reminiscences about my grandfather over at Glibertarians.

So, it seems a Boston-area rabbi is picking up a tip or two from the IDF.  Excerpt:

BOSTON — A rabbi here has asked congregants to consider bringing guns to religious services as a form of protection in response to recent shootings at synagogues across the country.

Rabbi Dan Rodkin of Shaloh House in Brighton, a Boston neighborhood with a large number of Russian-speaking Jews, told the public radio station WBUR that the rise in hate crimes across the country and the loss of life at the Chabad at Poway and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh influenced his thinking.

Rodkin fears that increased safety measures implemented at Shaloh House — they include security cameras, reinforced glass windows and panic buttons — are no longer sufficient protection. The rabbi said the actions of an off-duty officer at the Poway Chabad center, where one woman was murdered, may have prevented further casualties.

“I know it sounds horrible, but I think it’s a very logical approach for the situation we’re in,” he said in an interview on the WBUR “Morning Edition” program. “I don’t want people to have guns. But I think to protect our families, it’s a necessity now.”

Several of his congregants, including former soldiers and retired police, are now carrying guns into daily services at Rodkin’s synagogue, which also operates a day school.

I think I understand why the rabbi is reluctant, even as he made the right decision.  If this were an ideal world populated by ideal people, nobody would need to carry guns for protection – at least, not from other people.

But it’s not an ideal world, and there are no ideal people, although my late father and mother came damn close.  There is only the world we live in, and in this world, for some insane reason it seems like it’s getting rather less safe to be a Jew.  I’m not sure why; the Jewish people I’ve known have all been fine, upstanding folks.

Rabbi Rodkin is concerned for the safety of people for whom he feels responsible.  I can understand that, having taken a platoon of 32 people into a combat zone.  My people were armed.  There’s no reason why Rabbi Rodkin’s people shouldn’t be armed either.

And if anyone demands justification for their decision to take up arms, here it is:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

‘Nuff said.

Rule Five Bigfoot Friday

Thanks as always to our pals over at The Daley Gator for the linkback!

The FBI has released their official Bigfoot files.  Maybe they thought they might find Bigfoot in the same place as President Trump’s Russian collusion? Anyway, they haven’t found Bigfoot yet.  Excerpt:

The FBI’s Vault is a fascinating corner of the Internet, and a fantastic waste of time. The Bureau’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) library houses thousands of previously sealed or long-buried files on very famous—and very dead—celebrities, criminals, politicians, and other persons of interest. And they’re all on display for free public perusal, which is how you suddenly find yourself scrutinizing reports on everyone from Al Capone to Anna Nicole Smith for three hours one afternoon. No judging.

Now, the FBI usually doesn’t make such documents public until after the person dies, which makes the latest release from the vault—22 glorious pages concerning one Bigfoot—particularly notable for two reasons: It appears to be confirmation that a.) Bigfoot is dead, and b.) Bigfoot was real. Probably.

The mythical creature known as Bigfoot—or, if you prefer, Sasquatch, Yowie, Skunk Ape, or Yayali—has a long, murky history. People swear they’ve been seeing him for centuries, usually in the woods of North America and often in the Pacific Northwest. And the part-hairy ape, part-hairy human, part-hairy bear-thing has inspired such fervor among his fanatics that the fiercest devotees have even gotten the government involved in their pursuit of the truth.

Le me deconstruct that last paragraph:

The mythical creature known as Bigfoot—or, if you prefer, Sasquatch, Yowie, Skunk Ape, or Yayali—has a long, murky history.

Because it doesn’t exist.

People swear they’ve been seeing him for centuries, usually in the woods of North America and often in the Pacific Northwest.

They haven’t been seeing him for centuries.  Nobody has seen even one.  Ever.

And the part-hairy ape, part-hairy human, part-hairy bear-thing has inspired such fervor among his fanatics that the fiercest devotees have even gotten the government involved in their pursuit of the truth.

The truth is simple:  There is no Bigfoot.  No Sasquatch.  No Yeti.  No Skunk-Ape.

Here’s the thing folks fail to understand about a hypothetical creature like this:  There wouldn’t be just a dozen or so of them wandering around.  There would have to be a population of these creatures, living in some pretty well-populated areas, and it’s impossible that one wouldn’t have been hit by a car, or just plain found dead by now.  Even mountain lions, as elusive a critter as you’re liable to find, are seen and photographed pretty regularly, and get hit by cars now and then.  A mountain lion is a capable apex predator, and as such are pretty thin on the ground, and yet people see them all the time.

A sustained population of a man-sized, bipedal creature, presumably an omnivore, would have to number in the thousands or tens of thousands to be viable.  People would be seeing them; hunter’s trail cams would pick them up; they would occasionally get hit by cars or shot in “unfavorable Bigfoot-human interactions,” as happens with bears pretty regularly.  But none of that happens.  Why?  Because, like the Loch Ness Monster, chupacabras and the Tooth Fairy, Bigfoot doesn’t exist.

The fact that the FBI spent time and money on this is just another example of the Imperial government’s prolific waste of the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Reindeer cyclones are a real thing.  Who knew?  Excerpt:

Vikings hunting reindeer in Norway were once confounded by “reindeer cyclones”; a threatened herd would literally run circles around the fierce hunters, making it nearly impossible to target a single animal.

Filmmakers recently captured incredible aerial footage of one of these reindeer cyclones, which aired Feb. 13 on PBS in the documentary “Wild Way of the Vikings,” a program about Vikings and the wilderness they inhabited around A.D. 1000. [Photos: Ancient Arrows from Reindeer Hunters Found in Norway]

One of the documentary’s most striking scenes shows a re-enactment of a Viking hunt interspersed with real footage of reindeer herds. Reindeer were important to the Vikings for their meat, hides, antlers and bones, according to the film.

In the cyclone scene, a lone hunter (an actor playing a Viking) approaches the herd; he notches and releases an arrow. The footage that follows shows an actual herd of reindeer running in circles. As the swirling mass of bodies thunders along a circular path, an overhead camera reveals that the herd’s momentum follows a spiral shape, drawing tightly toward the cyclone’s “eye” at the center.

Faced with this spinning reindeer stampede, any predator — wolf, bear or human — would have a very tough time targeting and overpowering a single reindeer, making this a formidable defense strategy, according to a statement from PBS.

Here’s the image of just such a reindeer cyclone:

That’s actually a pretty great defense against wolves, bears or men armed with primitive weapons.  It’s not bad against a modern, ethical hunter either, as it makes singling out an animal for a clear kill impossible.

Against a hunter or two armed with firearms, hunters who (unethicall) don’t give a shit about how many animals they injure in the process and who are willing to fire indiscriminately into the mass, not so much.

But what I find fascinating about this whole thing is the resemblance to a school of fish, using a very similar, albeit 3-D, schooling tactic to prevent a predator from picking out a single fish.

Nature doesn’t always repeat itself, but it sometimes rhymes.  This is a really neat example.

Rule Five Hoofed Rats Friday

RealClearScience scribe Ross Pomeroy informs us that whitetailed deer are a menace and we should kill more of them.  I know plenty of wildlife biologists, farmers and rural residents agree.  Excerpt:

In 2017, the total deer population in the United States was an estimated 33.5 million, down from 38.1 million in 2000. Hunters should rejoice over their excellent shooting, and then get outside and kill millions more.

This macabre call to arms might unsettle anyone whose heart ached at viewing the plight of poor Bambi, but it’s a prescription that’s sorely needed, for at their current population, deer are ravaging ecosystems across the country.

This wasn’t the case at the turn of the nineteenth century. Then, after decades of wanton hunting, there may have been as few as 300,000 deer left roaming the wilds of America. Hunting moratoriums, favorable human-caused ecosystem changes (i.e. more farm land), declining wolf and cougar populations (the major natural predators of deer), two world wars (leaving fewer hunters at home), and yes, the influential film Bambi, all combined to send deer populations skyrocketing during much of the 20th century. The recovery was wonderful for deer, but terrible for other organisms.

Deer devoured countless wildflowers close to extinction and devastated saplings of cedar, hemlock, and oak. All of this eating, amounting to more than 2,000 pounds of plant matter per deer per year, might account for widespread declines of North American songbird populations, which rely on many of the plants upon which deer gorged themselves.

Observing the detrimental changes wrought by grazing deer, legendary ecologist Aldo Leopold wrote, “I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn.”

“I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer.”

It’s important to note that Aldo Leopold, an old-fashioned naturalist as opposed to how the term ‘ecologist’ is tossed around willy-nilly today, was himself a hunter and advocated the use of scientifically managed hunting as a vital tool in wildlife management.  In fact, Leopold is generally regarded as the father of modern wildlife management.

I remember when I was a little kid in Iowa in the late Sixties and early Seventies, seeing a deer was kind of a big deal.  It was exciting – “hey, I saw a deer the other day!”  By the time I left for good in the mid Eighties, they were a damned nuisance.

The various states need to open up deer hunting.  Some Eastern states are starting to; in some places you can shoot one doe a day.  And does are what we need to kill.  They’re the ones that breed.  And they’re great eating.

A population that outgrows the land’s carrying capacity is headed for a bad end, by starvation or pandemic.  We’re already seeing the spread of chronic wasting disease in cervids all over North America.  Bringing to population down some would help prevent what might be a catastrophic end to our deer herds.

The bad thing is, numbers of hunters are dropping in the US.  Take a kid hunting!  It’s good for the kid and good for the environment.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!  Also, be sure to check out my latest article over at Glibertarians, this one the first part of a multi-part series on the history of the sixgun.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

Mrs. A and I spent Friday and Saturday last week in San Diego, which was… interesting.  It’s a pretty place though, and the harbor tour was fun; some photos follow.  Enjoy!

Continue reading Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks again to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

Here’s a lesson for sporting-goods retailers:  Don’t be a Dick’s.  Excerpt:

Dick’s Sporting Goods may no longer sell hunting-related gear and products.

The CEO for the sporting goods retailer said Thursday that the company was doing a trial run in 10 locations, pulling all hunting merchandise and replacing it with other items.

“Though it’s too early to discuss performance, we’re optimistic these changes will better serve the athletes in these communities,” Dick’s CEO Edward Stack said in a conference call, as reported by JSOnline.

The reason for the new approach may be because sales in that department have plummeted across all of Dick’s 732 stores.

“Specific to hunt, in addition to the strategic decisions made regarding firearms earlier this year, sales continued to be negatively impacted by double-digit declines in hunt and electronics,” said Lee Belitsky, chief financial officer.

Dick’s sadly underestimated the impact of their support of gun control laws, and their virtue-signalling policy changes in not only removing but destroying semi-auto rifles in their inventories.

I’ve purchased precisely one gun from Dick’s, long before any of these shenanigans started up.  They had a sale with a really good price on new Browning Citoris, so I bought my 12 gauge Satin Hunter from them.  That was in 2007, I haven’t set foot in a Dick’s since, and never will.

There are plenty of folks out there like me.

Alienating a key constituent in your target market rarely ends well.  Heard much from the Dixie Chicks lately?  No?  Well, now Dick’s is apparently following the Dixie Chicks model.  Piss off a big part of your target market and see how it ends up.

As my grandfather used to say, you can teach ’em, but you can’t learn ’em.

Animal’s Daily Hunters For The Hungry News

I reckon most of today’s news coverage, commentary and bloggery will concern the election.  Since all you True Believers will face an embarrassment of riches on election news, I figure I’ll bring you something different; namely, Georgia deer hunters feeding hungry folks.  Excerpt:

One in seven Georgians struggles with hunger, according to Feeding America. More than 500,000 of them are children.

Food banks supply Georgia’s 1.6 million hungry residents with canned goods, dried grains and other pantry staples, but they rarely offer high-protein options, like meat.

Georgia Hunters for the Hungry aims to bridge that gap.

Venison is an ideal option to nourish the food insecure, because it’s high in protein and low in fat, Stowe said.

“We have the food banks calling us wanting more, wanting more every year,” he said.

Stowe coordinates with about 20 meat processors throughout the state who accept donations on behalf of the organization. He’s spent years recruiting more hunters and meat processors to help to fill Georgia’s ever-growing need for protein.

Resources are limited, though.

The Georgia Wildlife Federation reimburses processors $1.50 for each pound of meat they butcher. Once the meat is ground up and packaged, it’s delivered to the Georgia Food Bank Association, which distributes the venison to communities across the state.

Incidentally, you can read about my 2018 deer hunt here (my family and I eating all of our venison, though.)

It’s important to note that hunters donating game meat to food banks and homeless shelters isn’t a new thing.  None other than Ted Nugent pioneered the practice and helped set up some of the first programs.

And, yes, this is precisely how charity should be done.  Voluntarily, locally, no Imperial interference, much more efficient, much closer to the people in need.  It would be manifestly A Good Thing if more charity programs were similarly designed and carried out.

Rule Five Get Woke Go Broke Friday

I saw this a while back but didn’t comment on it right away, but a conversation with a friend today got me thinking about the story some more; namely, it seems that Levi’s, of all companies, has jumped on the “OMG ASSAULT WEAPONS” bandwagon.  That won’t hurt them as badly as it would have forty years ago, for reasons I’ll go into in a bit.  Excerpt:

American clothing company Levi Strauss & Co. announced Tuesday the launch of a new campaign aimed at preventing gun violence.

Company President and CEO Chip Bergh penned an op-ed for Fortune magazine saying business leaders have a responsibility to speak up on issues that threaten the American “fabric.”

“We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work,” he wrote. “While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option. That’s why Levi Strauss & Co. is stepping up our support for gun violence prevention.”

Mr. Bergh said the company is stepping up its gun control activism in three areas: First, by creating the Safer Tomorrow Fund, which will direct more than $1 million in philanthropic grants to boosting gun control groups; Second, by partnering with Everytown for Gun Safety and Michael Bloomberg to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety; And third, by doubling the company’s usual employee donation match to organizations aligned with the new Safer Tomorrow Fund.

The company will also pay employees for their political activism, for up to five hours a month.

I don’t like the trends of companies overtly virtue-signaling; if you’re in the business of making jeans, then just make jeans, and talk about nothing more than how great your damn jeans are.

And, once again, a would-be gun-grabber trots out the “gun violence” horseshit.  Now, to be fair, that term is also used by plenty of people who should know better, but the fact is that there is no such damn thing as gun violence.  There is only violence, planned and perpetrated by people, and that’s all.  It’s beyond dumbassery to use a term like “gun violence” when nobody, anywhere, ever, refers to “knife violence” or “fist violence” or “hammer violence.”  It’s only when firearms are involved do people’s brains fly right out.

Still.  One would think that antagonizing gun owners would be an ill-advised move for a company that makes blue jeans, a garment worn by plenty of working folks who like guns.  But I doubt this stance, tedious and stupid though it might be, will hurt the Levi’s brand sales much.  Why?

Because actual working folks shopping for tough, comfortable, durable working garments haven’t been buying Levi’s for years.  Starting about the time I graduated high school, Levi’s became the “style” jeans, mostly worn by townies.  The working jeans market these days belongs to Duluth Trading (my favorite brand), Carhartt, and Dickies.

That gives Levi’s some room to engage in dumb virtue-signaling.  So, fine, go for it; I don’t think it will change anything all that much.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.