Category Archives: Alaska Outdoors

Animal’s Daily Blacktail News

A Sitka blacktail buck.

Before we begin, check out the latest in the Allamakee County Chronicles over at Glibertarians!

Now then:  Our own Governor Dunleavy has floated a plan to transplant Alaska’s only native deer, the Sitka Blacktail, into the Matanuska valley and our own Susitna valley.  The problem is, it probably wouldn’t work.  Excerpt:

The idea came from Gov. Mike Dunleavy: “Establish a huntable population of Sitka black-tailed deer in the Mat-Su,” according to the first page of an internal state report.

In a populous part of Alaska that climate change will warm in the decades ahead, an established deer population might provide a new source of food and wildlife viewing for residents without the means to fly or boat around the islands and coastlines where the elusive ungulates live, according to the administration.

“The governor has directed his commissioners and other officials to look into a host of game enhancement opportunities, including the relocation of species for hunting,” said a statement emailed from deputy press secretary Patty Sullivan. “The creation of new hunting opportunities is a priority of the governor’s.”

I don’t much care for the idea of spending taxpayer dollars to “create new hunting opportunities” in a state already replete with such opportunities, although I will admit that even a big Sitka buck would be a lot easier to handle than a 1,200 pound moose.  But here’s the real onion:

“All ADF&G deer managers and biologists agree that an SBD (Sitka black-tailed deer) introduction is unlikely to succeed in the Mat-Su,” according to the scoping report.

“The Mat-Su is far colder than anywhere within the SBD’s current winter range with mean daily maximum temperatures far below freezing from November through February,” it adds. “It is unlikely SBD can live in the Mat-Su under normal winter conditions.”

The report goes on to explain how deer survive winters in mountainous coastal environments: forest canopies prevent snow from deeply covering forage, and after big snow events the deer can descend toward shore areas to look for more food, even eating kelp on Kodiak beaches to avoid starvation.

“Kelp is rare to nonexistent in the Mat-Su valley,” the authors note.

What’s more, deep snow pack and relatively spare tree cover is likely to leave the deer’s main food supplies buried too long for them to survive through the year.

There is also the question of predators: The valleys of Southcentral Alaska have a lot of them: “Wolves, black bears, brown bears, coyotes and others (e.g. lynx, wolverines, and feral or free-roaming dogs),” the document says. “In years of heavy snow, limited mobility of SBD could lead to higher predation rates by wolves or coyotes.”

When it comes to hunting, Governor Dunleavy is one of us; he hunts and, from what I read about him, always has, but that’s hardly unusual here in the Great Land.  And I appreciate having a Governor who is very friendly to hunters and gun owners, which wasn’t the case any longer in the Colorado that we departed a year ago.

But in this case, the Gov should listen to the wildlife biologists who are educated in the field and experienced in dealing with Alaska wildlife.  This is what we pay them for.  Governor Dunleavy should abandon this plan as a bad idea and a waste of taxpayer money.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

This has been a funny year, outdoors-wise.  I didn’t fish or hunt in Alaska at all this year, and you might find that odd, since the fishing and hunting were one of our main draws to move here.  But since there is a one-year residency requirement before you can buy a resident license, and because I didn’t want to pay non-resident fees, I let it go for now.

Fall in Grand County.

A week from today, though, I will be heading back to Colorado to attend the general rifle elk season with loyal sidekick Rat.  I won’t be hunting, just tagging along with a sidearm, but as much as Colorado has gone loony the last few years, Grand and Routt Counties are still for the most part reasonably sane.  Plus it’s gorgeous country, and maybe Rat will fill an elk tag, after which event I’ll try to talk him out of some tenderloin and a few steaks.

We take our outdoor adventuring where we find it, you know?  Now then…

On To the Links!

President Biden(‘s handlers) to oil companies:  “Please lower your prices, and just forget that I screwed you over earlier this year.”  Oil companies correct response would be “Go fuck yourself.”  We’ll see what happens.

10 Ways the Chinese Government Lied, Misled, and Messed Up Early on in the Pandemic.  No shit.

What economic recovery?

Why China Is Alienating the World.  Well, they’re commies.  It’s what they do.

Here’s an interesting bit on why some of our early ancestors left Africa.

The Incredible Shrinking Dollar.

Entrepreneurship may bring down beef prices.

A slow-motion train wreck.

The Biden(‘s handlers) continues to appoint incompetents.  Yeah, this will end well.

Heels-Up Harris may have violated IRS rules on tax-exemption for churches while campaigning for McAuliffe in Virginia.  Let’s be honest; nothing will come of this.  She has the ultimate political “Get Out of Jail Free Card” – a “D” after her name.

You know, this might just work.

Robert Stacy McCain has an interesting piece on how social media makes people stupid.  Granted plenty of people are already stupid.

This Week’s Idiots:

Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex isn’t just an idiot, she’s an idiot with a toxic narcissism disorder.

Maxine Waters (Moron – CA) remains the stupidest member of Congress.  And she’s up against some pretty stiff competition.

The daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont is still an idiot.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Asshole – RI) is an idiot.

Representative Adam Schiff (Bug-eyed Loser – CA) is an idiot.

CNN’s Ruth Ben-Ghiat is an idiot.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap hack, and an idiot.

Vox‘s Tim Ryan Williams is an idiot.

The Hill’s Antjuan Seawright is an idiot.

OK, that’s all I can take for this week.  I actually do read these, you know.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Back in the Eighties and Nineties I was listening to a lot of George Thorogood and his band, The Delaware Destroyers.  I saw him in concert in a small venue in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, about 1987 or so, and he put on a hell of a show.

His signature piece from that era, of course, was the 1982 tune Bad To The Bone.  In the official music video for that song, George plays pool against one of his musical influences, Bo Diddley (George covered a lot of Bo Diddley songs in his various albums) with real-life pool champ Willie Mosconi looking on.  It’s a fun song, with a lot of Thorogood’s typical rollicking, slam-bang guitar work.  Also, the cigar-ash-tap bit at the end of the last match – priceless.  Don’t forget to check the faces of the female spectators in the concert clips.  Here is that song and that video – enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Alaska is mostly known for big game hunting, as would any state with healthy populations of moose, caribou, black and grizzly bears and so on.  But it’s a great place for small game as well.

Spruce Grouse, almost in our back yard.

The Great Land has good populations of birds – spruce grouse, ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, as well as willow, rock and white-tailed ptarmigan.  There are snowshoe and arctic hares in many parts of the state, and this space precludes me describing all the various kinds of waterfowl.  It’s really an outdoorsman’s paradise here.

Wandering afield with a good scatter-gun looking for birds or hares isn’t as glamorous as heading into the bush with a heavy rifle looking for grizzlies, but it does have one good benefit for a guy my age – you can shoot a grouse, drop it in your game bag, and go looking for another.  Shoot a moose, and even if you have it in a spot where you can get your ATV and meat trailer right up to it, there’s still a lot of strenuous work ahead.  So, yeah, I’ll be hunting the big stuff – but plan on doing plenty of looking about for birds as well.

And with that, it’s…

On To the Links!

Testing early gunpowder recipes.  Interesting.

Welcome to the Weimar Republic, Teil Zwei .

Turns out that maybe Fred Flintstone’s pet Dino wasn’t that far off after all.

It was a stupid idea before, and it’s still a stupid idea.

Smarter people favor free markets.  Morons favor socialism.

To be fair, politicians of all sorts say lots of dumb things, but the Democrats seem to be trying to outdo themselves lately.

Will the EU ever learn to defend itself?  Probably not.  It’s probably too late for Europe.  The barbarians are already inside the gates, Europeans aren’t having babies, they have effectively surrendered.  Too bad.

No shit, Sherlock.

Big, scary, toothy critters.

This is known as belaboring the obvious.

Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller is now a political prisoner.

This Week’s Idiots:

MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem is an idiot.

The New York Times’ Zachary Carter is an idiot.  Seriously, who the hell can call the Biden(‘s handlers) economic plan “centrist” with a straight face?

CVS is evidently run by idiots.

Joe Biden thinks trillionaires exist.  What an idiot.

The Guardian‘s Arwa Mahdawi is an idiot.

MSN’s Jonathan Chait (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The LA Times’ LZ Granderson is an idiot.

Maxine Waters (Repeat Offender Alert) is and always has been an idiot.

Juan Williams is an idiot.  Funny, Juan used to seem like a decent guy – a lefty, but not obnoxious about it.  Nowadays he just seems to be losing it.  Sad.

Squad members persist in proving themselves idiots.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Remember when Southern Rock was a thing?  Back in the Seventies and early Eighties, bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ram Jam, Molly Hatchet and yes, ZZTop defined the popular genre.  Today, the closest you get is some country bands, like Blackberry Smoke.

One of the founding bands of Southern Rock was, of course, the Allman Brothers.  They were influential and popular, getting a lot of Top Forty radio play back in the day as well as (unlike a lot of Top 40 acts) actually being a pretty good band.

Here, from a 1991 performance, is the Allman Brothers Band with their tune Blue Sky, one of my favorites.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

The equinox is in a few weeks, where the sun hits the halfway point on its long march south.  At these latitudes it is quite a journey, and just now the sunset has moved south of the power lines and is giving us some pretty views:

My summertime’s drive for fishing is now being overtaken by my drive to get out in the field after some birds, but I have to wait for full residency, which comes one year after switching my Colorado driver’s license for an Alaska one; specifically, on February second.  I understand the reason for that law, but the beautiful fall weather, the big stretch of borough land behind us and the hand-crafted Tolley side-by-side double in my gun safe are egging me on.  Next year, dammit!

And with that said…

On To the Links!

Peter Boghossian shows us the difference between politics and principles.

The Biden(‘s handlers) Administration just keeps building back better!

I love a happy ending.

Autophagia.

Ever wondered what happens when you dangle a rhinoceros upside-down?  Well, now you know.

Somehow, I suspect most Texans don’t give two shits about what the SFGate thinks.

We can hope.  Having the GOP in control of Congress will… well, it will slow down the decline of the U.S. some.

Beer.  Is there anything it can’t do?

Fauci can fuck right off, the government does not have this authority.

Inflation is skyrocketing.  Nobody should be surprised by this.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Nation‘s John Nichols (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Harry Reid is still a corrupt asshole, and an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

USAToday’s Ben Jealous is an idiot.

The New Republic‘s Timothy Noah is an idiot.

Sawed-off asshole Robert Reich is and always will be an idiot.

It’s idiots all the way down.

MSNBC’s Kavita Patel is an idiot.

The kind of stupidity shown at the VMAs (whatever those are) should be physically painful.

Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex continues to be a tone-deaf idiot.

New York’s new Governor is apparently an idiot with no clue as to the proper role of government.  What is it with that state, anyway?

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Audrey Hepburn was the epitome of style and grace; she was more beautiful in jeans, sweater and a towel over her hair than many women are in evening gowns, as you’ll see in this week’s selection.  And she wasn’t without pluck; during World War 2 she raised money for the Dutch underground during the German occupation of the Netherlands, an activity that may well have gotten her shot had she been caught in the act.

In the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hepburn played the iconic character Holly Golightly opposite a very young George Peppard, with a brief appearance by the remarkable Buddy Ebsen.  It’s a great film featuring a great star, and at one point she gives voice to the song Moon River.  Here, in a clip from that film, is that lovely, classy lady and that beautiful song – enjoy.

Goodbye, (Red White and) Blue Monday

Goodbye, (Red White and) Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links!

No news today, just a few notes.  It was kind of a dreary Fourth, but Willow had a small parade, which went off with enthusiasm.  People up here celebrate Independence Day with gusto.

Today is, again, kind of dreary.  Figures, as we had a beautiful sunny week leading up to the weekend, that a rainy spell would set in.  But that’s Alaska for you.

And on that note – I’m off to enjoy the day, reflect a little bit on the Declaration that this day commemorates, and the two ancestors of mine and the one of Mrs. Animal’s that signed it.  Regular posts resume tomorrow.   Enjoy the day, Americans – it’s our day.

Animal’s Daily For The Birds News

Fortunately none of these are still around.

There are a lot of birds around.  Excerpt:

Through a combination of citizen science and big data analytics, researchers have estimated the entire global population of birds. There are roughly 50 billion individual birds chirping and flapping across the world, about six birds for every human.

“Humans have spent a great deal of effort counting the members of our own species – all 7.8 billion of us,” says Associate Professor Will Cornwell, an ecologist at the University of New South Wales and co-senior author of the study.

“This is the first comprehensive effort to count a suite of other species.”

And:

There are over 9,700 different bird species that we know of, and the eBird catalog covers 92% of these species. The remaining 8% of species are very rare species that are rarely sighted, meaning their numbers are very low so their exclusion from the analysis shouldn’t have much impact on the overall estimate.

While some species are threatened with extinction others are incredibly abundant. In fact, four bird species are in what researchers call ‘the billionaire club’, due to having an estimated population of over a billion. These include the house sparrow (1.6 billion), followed by the European starling (1.3 billion), ring-billed gull (1.2 billion), and barn swallow (1.1 billion).

Having been brought up by parents who were involved in the local Audubon Society, I’ve always been a bit of a bird nut.  I like having them around, and now here, in the Great Land, we have a wide range of avian residents ranging from chickadees to eagles.  Their presence adds a lot to the landscape.

And here’s the thing:  I occasionally have occasion to raise the eyebrows of non-biologist types when they refer to something being “as dead as a dinosaur” by telling them that dinosaurs aren’t extinct; there are more dinosaurs alive today than mammals.  We call them birds, and while it’s the general practice among paleontologists and biologists to refer to “non-avian dinosaurs” as a distinction, the clade Aves (modern birds) are part of the larger group Theropoda, which includes most of the bipedal predatory dinos like allosaurus, the various raptors, and the infamous tyrannosaurs.

While that’s cool to reflect on, mostly, I just like having birds around.  At this time of year, every morning when I leave the house to walk to the office, I’m surrounded by a concert of morning bird song – another reminder of why we chose to move to this wondrous place.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

On Saturday afternoon last, I was out on my deck with an ice-cold beer and a fine cigar, enjoying a fine, sunny Sustina Valley afternoon.  After a bit, I heard a motorcycle stop on the road out in front of the property. Then I heard someone’s voice calling to something, and heard him crashing into the brush. So I went down to see what was going on.  The motorcycle rider had seen this guy, whose left wing was broken.  Near as we could figure, he had made to drop on some prey critter and had clipped the power line.

One of the neighbors came along, said they had a big dip net and a wire kennel. So they went and got it, then motorcycle guy and I managed to get the bird calmed down, into the net and then into the kennel. Meanwhile, the neighbors made some phone calls, and found they could take him down to Houston to the rehab center.

So off he went. Motorcycle guy and I both petted him on the head and told him everything was going to be OK.

And I really, really feel like I personally helped America.

He probably won’t fly again, they almost never do once a wing’s broken, but if not, he’ll have a comfortable career as an ambassador bird for the Matanuska-Sustina Borough schools, teaching kids about raptors.

Just another weekend in Alaska.

And so…

On To the Links!

Lumber prices are skyrocketing.  Because supply chains are a thing, and the Imperial and local governments have wrecked them with the Moo Goo Gai Panic.

Ninth Circuit panel lifts ban on ghost gun blueprints.

Why do the big nuts rise to the top of the bowl?  Metaphor for government?

Begun, the pizza wars have.

Well, I’m glad that’s solved.

Cancer may have been more common way back when than we thought.

Well, here’s one of President Biden(‘s handlers).  Plenty of folks are wondering who is pulling the old fool’s strings, and here’s one of them.

No, Biden Doesn’t Have a Mandate to Remake America.  No shit.  They lost seats in the House, barely maintaining control, and managed a 50-50 tie in the Senate – only technically a majority because Heels-Up Harris holds the tie-breaking vote.  Dems got roundly trounced at the state level.  That, True Believers, does not a mandate make.

Speaking of, it looks the the $4T spending plan proposed by President Biden(‘s handlers) will be going into the trash, where it belongs.  We hope.

Racist!  President Biden(‘s handlers) impose racist travel ban on India.  I mean, travel bans were racist when Trump did them, right?  Sauce for the goose, baby.

Texas mulls over Constitutional Carry.   Predictable pants-shitting from legacy media ensues, even through several states already have this (including our own Alaska) and somehow the predictions of bodies lining the streets haven’t come to pass.

Do you want real racism?  Because this is how you get real racism.

Hypocrisy, thy name is John Kerry.  What an asshole.

April gun sales continue to shatter records.  Good.

So, where is everybody?

It’s probably a little too late for that.

This Week’s Idiots:

Man, it’s a bumper crop of idiocy this week.

Newsweek‘s Meggie Abendschein is an idiot.

Vox‘s German Lopez is an idiot.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

These people are idiots.

John Podesta is an idiot.

Salon‘s Jon Skolnik is an idiot.

CNN’s Clay Cane is an idiot.

Stupid people demand stupid shit.

The New York Times‘ Charles Blow always was and remains an idiot.

Salon’s Chauncey DeVega is an idiot.

Time‘s D. Markovits is an idiot.

Robert Reich is still an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Music is a great vehicle for conveying emotion.  Nobody can dispute this.  And the love song is, of course, a great example of that principle.

But love songs are not all created equal.  In my not-so-humble opinion, the best love song ever written can only be Charlie Rich’s Behind Closed Doors.  Here, have a listen:

Animal’s Daily In The Company Of Chickadees News

One of our local chickadees.

Before we start, check out the latest in my Mystical Child series over at Glibertarians!

Over the weekend I had to run down to Wasilla to take care of a few errands, so while I was there I bought a couple of bird feeders, including a small one to hang just outside our office building door.  That feeder almost immediately attracted the attention of a local nesting pair of one of my favorite birds – chickadees.

The Black-Capped Chickadee is ubiquitous across the northern part of North America.  We have the Boreal Chickadee in these parts, too, although we haven’t seen any at the feeder yet.  We’ve also been visited by a pair of Red-Breasted Nuthatches, and we have Cliff Swallows buzzing around, eating up the early bugs.

Everywhere I’ve lived, I’ve generally run a bird feeder.  In our old Colorado home where we lived for so long, we had mostly house finches and chickadees.  As a kid back at Bear Creek, we had chickadees, goldfinches, cardinals, and what I’ve long considered the most beautiful of North America’s songbirds, the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, which sadly doesn’t range this far north.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

I like chickadees.  I know I’m anthropomorphizing their behavior some, but to me they always seem so indefatigably cheerful.  Even in temps of fifteen or twenty below, these tiny bundles of feathers are out and about with the sunrise, calling, exploring, looking for food.  They are frequently first at the feeder in the morning and last to leave at night.  It’s fun to have them around, and we’re looking forward to having more of their cousins visit as well.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

There are some benefits to growing older and grayer, and since we’re all bound to grow older and grayer anyway, there is certainly no reason to not avail one’s self of those benefits.  Case in point:

For hunting and fishing purposes, Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. don’t become full-fledged residents of the Great Land until one year has passed since our assuming residency.  That’s as it is in most states, and it’s not unreasonable; it precludes folks from swooping in, renting an AirBnB for a few days, claiming residency and harvesting a bunch of game or fish.

However:  By the time I reach that one-year residency requirement, I will have reached another milestone:  My sixtieth birthday.  That entitles me to a free lifetime general hunting permit, which, in the Game Management Unit where we live, enables me to take small game, fish, one bull moose, one caribou, three black bears and one grizzly per year, and exempts me from the state waterfowl stamp and king salmon stamp requirements.  Mrs. Animal will enjoy a similar free lifetime permit not because of age (I’m an awful cradle-robber, and Mrs. A will not see six decades for some time yet) but by virtue of being a 100% disabled veteran.

Every day reveals another reason we made the right choice with this move.

Well then…

On To the Links!

Will the real President of the United States please stand up?

Tucker nails it.

Kayleigh nails it.

This guy really nails it.  I’d buy him a beer any time.  (Note:  Language!)

Piers Morgan nails it.  Yes, really.

Rush Limbaugh gets in one last troll on the Left.

How a time machine would actually kill you.

How the search for yummy snacks actually shaped human evolution.

The space between life and death.

Gasoline prices are headed nowhere but up.  Did you know, by the way, that food and fuel prices are excluded from most inflation indexes?

Do we even have a Republic anymore?  Well, no, we don’t.  We haven’t for some time.

This was the right decision.

On top of everything else – there is now a shortage of sand.

Why the hell is anyone treating a little teen-aged Swedish loon as though she’s an expert on climate science?

This Week’s Idiots:

CNN’s Jeffrey Sachs is an idiot.

Roll Call‘s Mary Curtis is an idiot.

Bill de Blasio is an idiot.  In a just world the people of New York would have fitted this asshole out with a new suit of tar and feathers by now.  Add that idiot Cuomo to that tar and feather party, as well.

Outlaw?

“Wildly unrealistic” doesn’t begin to cover this piece of idiocy from Oregon.

This genderless potato is still a genderless potato, and an idiot.

CNN’s Josh Bivens is an idiot.

Petaluma, California, is governed by idiots.

Robert Reich remains a sawed-off little asshole, and an idiot.

And So:

Tom Petty was a rare talent, and on the list of folks taken from us (stupidly and by his own hand, candidly) too soon.  He formed temporary partnerships with such other notables in music as Stevie Nicks and, as one of the Traveling Wilburys, with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison.

But much of his best work was done with his own band, The Heartbreakers, including this one from his 1984 album Southern Accents – this is Don’t Come Around Here No More, in which video Tom Petty proves that he would have made a far, far better Mad Hatter than that cheap hack Johnny Depp.  And the story behind the song is kind of interesting, as it involves the aforementioned Stevie Nicks, former Eagle Joe Walsh, and the Eurythmic’s David A. Stewart.  Enjoy.