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News Hound archive: Through June 30, 2006

7/5/2006

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    posted June 30, 2006

    What price world record?

    The debate surrounding the potential world record hammerhead shark caught by Clyde "Bucky" Dennis in Florida's Boca Grande Pass famous tarpon waters in late May is likely to become more heated following the discovery that the 1,280-pound female was on the verge of delivering 55 young hammerheads within days of its landing and subsequent killing.

    Sara Lubbes of the Sarasota Herald Tribune reports today that marine biologists at of the Mote Marine Laboratory Center for Shark Research, the facility where Dennis donated his catch, say they have never heard of a female hammerhead carrying that many young in one pregnancy.

    Dennis' shark eclipsed by 289 pounds the current International Game Fish Association World Record of 991 pounds set in 1982. The fish was estimated to be between 40 and 50 years old.

    "I would never have killed her if I wasn't going for the record," Dennis told the Sarasota newspaper yesterday.

    The discovery is certain to spark some renewed discussion among those involved in gamefish record-keeping, as well as among trophy anglers and the aquatic scientific community.

    "Taking this one should not be detrimental to the population," said Bob Heuter, Mote Lab's senior scientist and director. "But we don't want to give anyone the idea that we want people catching sharks for us."

    Dennis says he harbors no regrets for his actions. Since his potential record catch, he has caught and released three additional hammerheads.

    He said it isn't fair to criticize him because other anglers catch pregnant fish.

    "They do it every single day. I just got a lot of attention for it," he said. "I didn't know she was pregnant. All I saw was a big fish."

    Is destroying a potential world-record fish ethical? Did the fact that the hammerhead was loaded with "pups" make a difference? What do News Hound readers think? Let me hear your opinions in our FORUM and MAILBAG.

    Arrest, arraignment in bogus SOS case

    Thinking of using a marine radio for making a bogus SOS call? Think again.

    During this week's arraignment of a Boyton Beach, Fla., man accused of making false distress calls about a sinking watercraft, prosecutors made it clear they are not taking the case lightly.

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the June 11 SOS call allegedly made by Robert Moran prompted Coast Guard vessels, helicopters and planes to embark on a 1,000-square-mile search. If convicted, Moran faces a maximum 10-year prison term and fines up to $700,000.

    "We will not tolerate this behavior and will prosecute these cases to the full extent of the law," Miami U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta said when announcing a bond of $100,000 for the accused.

    Prosecutors contend that Moran radioed a hoax call saying his 33-foot boat was sinking near Boynton Beach and eight people, including his four children and a wife with an injured leg, were in danger of drowning. For two days, the Coast Guard searched the area — at a cost of nearly $350,000 — but called off efforts when nothing was found.

    Authorities were led to Moran after an anonymous tip from someone who heard a TV broadcast of his distress call.

    FORUM | MAILBAG

    posted June 29, 2006

    Take me fishing, eh?

    Almost a month after National Fishing and Boating Week was observed in the U.S., our neighbors to the north will be enjoying their own week aimed at sharing and discovering the pleasures of angling, July 1-9.

    In observance of Canada's National Fishing Week, Jeff Morrison of the Toronto Sun encourages youngsters get off their keisters and try fishing in his column entitled, "Top 10 reasons why fishing is better than a video game."

    Here's a sampling:

    1 A fish will never adversely affect your vision, no matter how long you stare at it. Most fish are actually quite easy on the eyes.

    4. Fishing is exciting! After playing a computer game for a while you come to know what to expect; when fishing, you just never know what you'll catch. (Ain't that the truth!)

    6. A bad day of fishing with friends and family is still more relaxing and healthy than a good day staring at a computer monitor.

    7. No matter the batter or recipe you choose, a computer game will never taste as good as a fish when you fry it.

    FORUM | MAILBAG

    Tournament anglers indicted for planting fish

    Two Kentucky bass tournament partners were arrested this week for cheating in multiple bass-fishing tournaments on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.

    County grand juries on Tuesday indicted Dwayne E. Nesmith, 43, of Island, and Brian K. Thomas, 31, of Dawson Springs, on nine counts of theft by deception of over $300 in Marshall County, Ky., one count of complicity to commit theft by deception of over $300 and one count of attempted theft by deception of over $300 in Lyon County.

    Kentucky State Police say an investigation of the pair began in April, when witnesses allegedly saw the men take five bass from a submerged fish basket and subsequently weigh them at the Relay for Life Buddy Bass Tournament on Lake Barkley.

    Their action sparked an investigation into tournaments the pair had previously won.

    It is alleged that the two won several thousand dollars and a $30,000 bass boat in other tournaments using the same deceptive practice.

    FORUM | MAILBAG

    posted June 28, 2006:

    The 3 bears, minus 2

    The Canadian Press reported last week that a woman in West Vancouver, British Columbia felt a little like Goldilocks in reverse when she arrived home and discovered a juvenile black bear eating oatmeal in her kitchen.

    "It sounds like a nursery rhyme, doesn't it?" joked Sgt. Paul Skelton of West Vancouver Police.

    Officers said the bruin apparently entered the house through an open sliding glass door.

    "The bear didn't appear to be aggressive and wasn't destroying the house, so they just let it do what it was doing and eventually the bear decided to make its way out of the residence and down toward a forested gully," Skelton said.

    Damage was limited to two ceramic food containers.

    And the oatmeal?

    We're guessing it was "just right."

    FORUM | MAILBAG

    Going postal

    Longtime readers of my blogs and magazine articles are fully aware that I am far removed from anything resembling an animal-rights sympathizer. In fact, I have worked directly with campaigns and organizations to help overturn the efforts of anti-hunting groups and their ilk for many years.

    That said, I still find it difficult to take seriously the missive issued last week by the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, a national advocacy group with the purpose of defending the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers.

    The USSA alerted its members and the outdoor media to the recent actions of the Humane Society of the U.S., inarguably the most powerful and vociferous anti-hunting organization in the country.

    It seems that the HSUS is taking advantage of a new program offered by the company, Zazzle.com, in which postage stamps are produced and sold using the animal rights group's name and message. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the stamps is returned to HSUS.

    The USSA is encouraging sportsmen to flood the U.S. Postmaster General with faxes and letters to "convince him that it is unacceptable for the USPS to promote and raise money for the HSUS."

    Granted, the HSUS is out to get hunters. It is the primary organization behind the Michigan ballot initiative aimed at banning dove hunting in the state. It has spent millions to end other types of hunting and fur-taking in the U.S for decades.

    But simply stopping the group from raising money through the sale of postage stamps won't land these folks in the poorhouse.

    Instead, maybe we should encourage every pro-hunting, pro-fishing, pro-conservation group to sponsor its own stamp and raise funding for our side.

    I'd buy them.

    That way, we could "lick 'em" at their own game.

    FORUM | MAILBAG

    posted June 27, 2006:

    Good Book hard to find?

    OK, Mr. Well-equipped deer hunter. So you think you've got every essential piece of equipment necessary for a successful hunt, and it's all covered, dipped and finished in your favorite camouflage pattern to boot?

    Well, think again.

    Sure, you might have camo hats and rubber boots and everything that goes in between. There's camo backpacks, bows, arrows, rifle stocks. Your den may be furnished with camo-upholstered chairs and your bed covered with a camo comforter.

    Heck, there's even camo toilet paper.

    So, what happens when your hunt is going badly and you could use a little true salvation while afield? That's when it's time to turn to The Good Book, available in a variety of style and patterns, and found here at The Christian Outdoorsman Web site.

    But there's more.

    Just so you know that the ESPN.com Outdoor News Hound is on the cutting edge of everything outdoors, here's the last camouflage item the well-equipped hunter will ever need.

    FORUM | MAILBAG

    Hooked!

    If you fish long enough, chances are that you've had a treble hook embedded in your arm or a number 2 plastic worm hook buried past its barb in the palm of your hand.

    If not, you've been with someone who has.

    Whatever the case, most anglers have likely performed some type of hook removal procedure in the field. Whether or not they've sought professional treatment usually has to do with the severity of the injury or the location of the hook.

    In his column yesterday, Sam Cook, the outdoor writer for the Duluth Tribune, shared some Minnesota emergency room fish hook stories that could make even the strongest walleye angler wince.

    "I had one guy come in with a lure hanging from his nose like a nose ring," said Dr. Nancy Rova, a family practice and emergency room physician at Cook County North Shore Hospital in Grand Marais.

    "They come in every different way you can think of," Park said. "I bet we see more in the hands than any place else. The reason is people are taking northerns off the hooks, and the fish flops. Or it's a back cast, and the hook is lodged in the back of their head."

    Cook's article reminded me of a story I did a few years ago on the same subject. Mine focused on Lake Regional Emergency Center in Osage Beach, Mo., the nearest medical facility to the Lake of the Ozarks.

    During a typical summer month, 60 or more anglers will pass through the LR-ER doors with a hook painfully embedded in a part of his or her body, so many that the staff now maintains an expansive hanging lure display, along with some humorous accompanying notes from the formerly hooked — or the hookers.

    "Molly pierced Mom's ear," reads a note next to a crankbait.

    "Didn't catch the most, but caught the biggest!" says another.

    And there's, "Father and son bonding: hand-to-shoulder."

    "There was one couple hooked — really hooked — with the same lure, and by the way they were caught, it's a good guess that they weren't fishing when it happened," RN Roland Vize told me. "It was so unusual, that we didn't ask any questions."

    FORUM | MAILBAG

    posted June 26, 2006:

    It's not the ATVs, it's the bad people

    The results of a rather disturbing report are found in today's Associated Press story about crime and violence against forest rangers and workers on lands managed by the USDA's National Forest Service.

    According to figures released through the Freedom of Information Act, the number of attacks, threats and altercations involving U.S. Forest Service workers reached an all-time high in 2005, with incidents including shootings, stalking and verbal abuse. The USFS data indicated there were 477 reports in 2005, compared with 88 in 2004, 104 in 2003 and 34 in 1995.

    While the published account noted that some of the incidents involved illegal drug operations, like clandestine marijuana-growing farms and methamphetamine labs on public land, it neglected to detail the number of reports that were directly related to the movement and trafficking of illegal aliens across national forests located near borders, especially in the southwestern U.S.

    Instead, the advocacy group behind the release of the information, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, has taken a quantum leap of sorts and blames the skyrocketing increase in crime on forest lands to greater access to remote lands and waterways using motorized equipment — e.g., all terrain vehicles (ATVs) and off-highway vehicles (OHVs).

    Does irresponsible ATV use occur on our nation's public lands? You bet it does.

    Are off-road vehicles the reason for a 540 percent leap in crime against forest workers?

    No, it's more likely because there are simply more bad people doing bad things in the woods.

    FORUM | MAILBAG

    Pelicans accused of flying under the influence

    Authorities in Southern California reported that four pelicans were being detained in an animal drunk tank over the weekend on suspicion of public intoxication.

    One California brown pelicans was injured after crashing through the windshield of a car on the Pacific Coast Highway in Orange County Thursday, according to officials with the California Game and Fish Department.

    The driver of the car was shaken but unhurt.

    The other three buzzed birds were picked up in nearby backyards or wandering local streets in an apparent daze.

    Although the inebriated shorebirds were not tested with a birdie breathalyzer, such behavior usually signals domoic acid poisoning from eating naturally occurring coastal algae.

    Legend has it that domoic acid was the cause of a 1961 seabird invasion that inspired the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie, "The Birds."

    According to news reports of the time, thousands of bewildered birds invaded Northern California towns in August 1961, flying into buildings, cars and people.

    FORUM | MAILBAG

    posted June 23, 2006:

    Alaskan shoots grizzly while answering nature's call

    That's his story and he's sticking to it.

    It's definitely one of those "only in Alaska" stories, but 43-year-old Chris Yeager swears it's gospel, and he's got the grizzly hide with six holes in it to prove his tale.

    It was May 30 and Yeager was planning to check a black bear bait station he had set up in the mountains about 140 miles north of Fairbanks.

    Yeager told the Fairbanks News-Miner outdoor writer Tim Mowry he stopped at the Hilltop Café for "one of those big breakfast omelets that are about 18 inches wide and 4 inches deep."

    Later, down the road apiece and feeling the need to answer nature's call, Yeager pulled over, grabbed a roll of toilet paper, his .460-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and headed into the woods.

    He was searching for "the right spot" to do his business when he heard a sound from behind him and turned around. There was a big inland grizzly bearing down on him, literally and figuratively.

    "He was really close," Yeager told the News-Miner reporter. "I was smelling his breath."

    At that point, there was little Yeager could do but react. He pulled the pistol and fired three point-blank shots at the bear, hitting it all three times. A later inspection of the hide revealed all three shots had completely penetrated the grizzly.

    Fortunately, the hunter had purchased a grizzly license just two days before his encounter. As a result, he can keep his 6-foot, 3-inch trophy hide, the 21-inch skull and the 100-pounds of Italian sausage he had made from the meat.

    "It's not really the way I envisioned getting my first grizzly," Yeager said.

    But he'll take it. FORUM | MAILBAG

    Leaky lake

    Imagine heading down to your favorite fishing hole to catch a few panfish and discovering the body of water had simply vanished overnight — along with most of the fish and other water critters.

    Well, that's pretty much was happened to Scott Lake, located in Lakeland, Fla., this week, when one or more sinkholes literally drained the water from the lake like someone pulling the plug from a bathtub.

    The Lakeland Ledger reports today that a massive whirlpool resulting from the sinkholes apparently devoured everything from fish to turtles to alligators between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

    Tom Champeau, project leader for the Lakeland office of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the sinkhole swallowed three-quarters of the 285-acre lake's aquatic life — or upward of 65,000 pounds of fish.

    "They followed the flow, and the flow led them into the ground," Champeau said. "They'll die in there for sure, because there's no oxygen. There's no springs down there, and they won't pop out somewhere else."

    Sportfish comprised about 20 percent of the lake's biomass, and catfish another 10 percent.

    "Some people said they saw alligators struggling to stay out of the vortex," Champeau said. "They're pretty strong swimmers, but they had nowhere to go." FORUM | MAILBAG

    posted June 22, 2006:

    Trinity River shark was no bull (or was it?)

    Texas anglers who regularly fish the Trinity River below the Lake Livingston Dam are accustomed to seeing some large fish pulled from the tailwaters, including massive flathead catfish and the occasional 100-pound alligator gar.

    But the fish Trey Holmes and Mike Carnegie snagged in the Trinity last week was not only unusual because of its size — about as big as a sixth-grader — but also because it was many miles distant from its usual coastal habitat and sustaining saltwater environs.

    "Right when we put our boat in the water, we saw him. He was in real shallow water, about two feet deep," Carnegie told the Polk County Enterprise. "At first, we thought he was a big spoonbill but, sure enough, it was a shark."

    The men said the five-foot bull shark was struggling to survive in the freshwater and had a cable leader in its mouth when they pulled it from the water.

    "We haven't had a lot of rain this year, so some of our bays, like the Trinity Bay, are saltier now than they normally are," said Texas Parks and Wildlife Coastal Biologist Rebecca Hensley.

    "That causes some of our fish to move up and in our rivers looking for some of the bait that stay on the freshwater interface.

    "When we have really dry years, we see a lot of saltwater fish move up into the freshwater areas. Last year, we saw a lot of that, too — not sharks, but redfish, croakers and flounder, and a lot of different bait fish." FORUM | MAILBAG

    Funnies from the field

    During my relentless search for subjects and stories to bring to ESPNOutdoors News Hound readers, I regularly peruse the news items posted online by state game and fish agencies for interesting tidbits about the outdoors.

    I always look forward to the monthly postings by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, dubbed Conservation Officer Tales, and another from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department titled, Game Warden Field Notes.

    Both offer a real-life glimpse into the day-to-day activities of these dedicated agency personnel who seldom receive the gratitude and praise they deserve. In addition, their reports often make great fodder for stories; it's stuff you just can't make up.

    For example, Minnesota Conservation officer Paul Kuske received a tip last month from a concerned angler who observed a Mississippi River shore fisherman keep two large smallmouth bass before the season was open.

    The tipster attempted to obtain a vehicle license number, but found the shore fisherman had ridden a bicycle to the river. He then followed the bucket of bass and bicyclist home and relayed the address to the department's tip line.

    When officer Kuske arrived at the residence to cite the offender, he found two bass, a couple of perch and walleye swimming in the offender's bathtub.

    Then there's the report from Minnesota Conservation officer Adam Block who notes that a fellow officer using a spotting scope from shore observed an angler using illegal, multiple fishing lines from a dock.

    When he saw Block approaching in a boat, the angler put down his second rod. When informed that he had been observed by another officer, the angler stated, "Well, at least I got my ticket out of the way for the summer."

    And Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wardens recently reported they discovered a fish-shocking device offered by a Texas seller on the Internet auction site, eBay. The officers took part in the bidding process, eventually becoming high bidder and making contact with the seller.

    When undercover investigators went to the seller's residence, the man bragged "about killing 12 ducks after sunset the day before" and gave the breasted ducks to the officers. Additionally, he gave them several homemade "fish bombs" with wet fuses and told of his latest invention — a way to shock doves off a highline.

    The rather inventive, albeit self-incriminating poacher, was arrested and subsequently found guilty as "charged." (Sorry!) FORUM | MAILBAG

    posted June 21, 2006:

    Air Canada's gun surcharge under review

    In reaction to formal complaints from the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International, the Canadian Transportation Agency has temporarily suspended Air Canada's $50 (each way) handling surcharge for checked firearms that became effective June 5 (See the April 18 News Hound blog).

    The CTA's suspension applies only to international flights for the duration of a review process, while the agency considers whether the fees are "just and reasonable."

    Air Canada defines firearms and ammunition as dangerous goods, claiming the surcharge covers the additional handling procedures associated with the items.

    American hunters and firearms enthusiasts who regularly travel to Canada say they are being unfairly charged to handle baggage that is generally standard in its size and weight.

    They accurately point out that Canada's largest airline imposes a similar surcharge for bulky items like bicycles and surfboards, but equipment like golf clubs and skis are treated as part of a passenger's free baggage option, as long as they do not exceed weight and dimension limits.

    "It's pretty clear they're discriminating against firearms owners," Sheldon Clare, British Columbia president of the Canadian National Firearms Association, said in an interview with the CBC.

    FORUM | MAILBAG

    Jail time handed down for violation of Clean Water Act

    In a precedent-setting ruling, a federal judge yesterday sentenced an Idaho developer to 18 months in prison and imposed $9,000 in fines for his violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

    In September, a Pocatello jury found Wyoming resident C. Lynn Moses guilty of three felony charges for bulldozing a streambed and draining wetlands to create land for development.

    The verdict was perhaps the most significant criminal conviction since passage of the federal statute in 1972.

    Moses was indicted by a grand jury in March 2005, accused of knowingly discharging sand, gravel and other fill material into Idaho's Teton Creek without a permit.

    In announcing the sentence yesterday, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill delayed the start of Moses' prison term, pending his expected appeal.

    The Associated Press reports that a 2004 order issued by the federal Environmental Protection Agency requiring Moses to repair the damage to the wetlands will not be enforceable until his sentence is completed. FORUM | MAILBAG

    No surprise: Boating biggest in Florida

    The National Marine Manufacturers Association reports that Florida edged out California to become the state with the largest number of registered boats, at 946,072.

    California, which previously held the No. 1 ranking, became the third-largest registered-boating state, with 894,884 vessels. Michigan occupies the No. 2 spot in the rankings with 944,800 crafts.

    Nationwide, there were nearly 12.8 million registered boats in 2004 — the most recent year for which statistics are available. That number is nearly identical to the total from 2003.

    The report ranks all 50 states by the number of boats registered.

    The remaining top-10 states by powerboat registrations in 2004 include: Minnesota (853,448); Texas (616,779); Wisconsin (605,467); New York (519,066); Ohio (414,938); South Carolina (397,458); and Illinois (393,856).

    The Great Lakes replaced the South Atlantic as tops in regional rankings, with the South Atlantic region falling to third behind the Inland region.

    The study is based on data collected from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2005. FORUM | MAILBAG

    posted June 20, 2006:

    Gator attacks fuel Florida hunt

    Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are convinced the news generated by this spring's three fatal alligator attacks and numerous other alligator-related incidents served as an obvious impetus behind last week's sale of the state's 4,406 hunting permits in a record four hours.

    A total of 2,155 gator hunters shelled out $262 apiece for a 2006 permit and $62 for each individual tag.

    Some hunters attempting to purchase licenses and tags became frustrated because of jammed phone lines and an overburdened Web server.

    The Bradenton Herald reported numerous hunters spent in excess of two hours online or using speed dial to reach the Fish and Wildlife office.

    "(The delay) must have been because of all the publicity they got from the attacks this year," said Dyke Howell, who has hunted alligators in Florida since 1997 and tried 40 times to connect online before he was successful.

    In addition to the record speed of permit sales, it was one of the few times hunters have gobbled up all available permits since the state began offering statewide alligator hunts in 1988, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Monday.

    In fact, hundreds of permits remained unsold last year, when only 2,800 permits were purchased. FORUM | MAILBAG

    Taking back the boat ramps

    The bad guys know a good thing when they see it. And at quiet and secluded boat ramps and fishing-access sites across the country, parked vehicles are sitting ducks for the ne'er-do-wells among us.

    One group of anglers and outdoor enthusiasts in Oregon that is tired of the public drinking, drug use and property crime at boat launches decided to fight back.

    In something akin to a neighborhood-watch program, it formed Oregon Recreationists Against Thieves (R.A.T.) and created a Web site with an incident database and discussion forum. In addition, it printed and distributed thousands of fliers and began its own citizen patrols at certain trouble spots.

    Rebecca Nolan of the Eugene Register Guard reports that local flyangler and river guide Moon Mullen started R.A.T. three months ago because he was fed up with worrying about the thefts and vandalism occurring at some of his favorite boat-launch sites.

    "The whole time you're guiding, you're thinking, 'I hope the car's not getting broken into,'" he said.

    In her article, Nolan wrote that in the past year, Eugene police took 32 reports of car burglaries at lots near Spencer Butte — just one of many popular recreation spots in the area.

    "We want to do something about tweakers (meth addicts) breaking into our cars," said Steve Crook, a Eugene flyfisherman and R.A.T. member. "One out of five people I talk to has been affected by this." FORUM | MAILBAG

    Gulf waterfowl refuge closed … until further notice

    Among the hundreds of under-reported stories about the ecological disasters resulting from last year's Gulf Coast hurricanes is the fate of southwest Louisiana's Sabine National Wildlife Refuge — an area previously known as one of the premier waterfowl hunting destinations in the country.

    Though I have not been there since the devastation wreaked by hurricanes Rita and Katrina, people I know who have visited the expansive 124,500-acre refuge speak about their experience with extreme sadness, much like the reverence afforded to a deceased friend or comrade.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially announced yesterday the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge will remain closed to hunting at least through the end of 2006, due to debris and hazardous material strewn throughout the refuge.

    The "hazardous material" cited by the Fish and Wildlife Service was carried to the refuge by hundreds of containers washed from coastal communities and oil and gas rigs to the south — from the 10,000-gallon tanks commonly used to transport gaseous materials on highways to 35-gallon drums.

    It is estimated 1,400 such containers impact about 32,000 acres of the refuge to some degree.

    As a result, the task associated with the cleanup of the Sabine is daunting. Some believe it may also be an impossible one.

    Because of the dangerous nature of hazardous-materials cleanup and snags in federal funding, the containers have been left virtually untouched, awaiting specialists hired to do the tedious and expensive work.

    Like others close to the operation, Sabine National Wildlife Refuge manager Terry Delaine does not exude optimism.

    "All we are telling people is that it is closed until further notice, because we don't know," Delaine said. FORUM | MAILBAG

    posted June 19, 2006:

    "Jackpine" Bob Cary, 84

    North country legend, author, hunter, angler, artist, outdoorsman and humorist, "Jackpine" Bob Cary, who made national headlines running for president on the Independent Fisherman's Party ticket, died of leukemia at his Ely, Minn., home Saturday at the age of 84.

    Cary served as the outdoors editor at the Joliet Herald News from 1948 to 1955; editor and outdoor writer at the Joliet Spectator from 1956 to 1957; and outdoors editor of the Chicago Daily News from 1958 to 1966. He moved to Ely in 1966 and began an outfitting business. Since 1974, he has been a popular columnist for the Ely Echo.

    His books included "Tales from Jackpine Bob," "Cool Fishing for Kids Age 5 to 85," "The All-American Outhouse" and "Ely Echoes: The Portages Grow Longer."

    As a Marine, he served in the South Pacific during World War II, and compiled his war stories in the 2005 book "Fear Was Never An Option."

    Jackpine Bob's 17th book, on the subject hunting and fishing from a canoe, is scheduled for release July 1.

    In 1980, Cary bankrolled a tongue-in-cheek presidential campaign with $27.50. According to a Duluth News Tribune story from the time, his run generated 300 newspaper stories, 100 radio interviews and 15 television features across the country.

    He lost the election to President Ronald Reagan by a trifling 63 million votes.

    Weekend newspaper accounts report that the colorful Cary wrote his own obituary and prepaid his funeral. He left specific columns for publication in the Ely Echo after his death. Additionally, he recorded a 10-minute message to Ely, his adopted town, to air on the Ely radio station after he died.

    In a 1989 story, Cary said his epitaph should read, "I could have been eminently famous in a number of different fields, but every time I was about to do something great, I went fishing."

    "I never regretted the fishing," he added. FORUM | MAILBAG

    This heir was apparent

    There's something to be said about being born with a silver spoon in one's mouth. Besides the silver spoon, let's add some jigs, a few hackles, a couple of reels, assorted tippets and some leader material.

    That's what authorities found inside The Housatonic Meadows Fly Shop in Cornwall, Conn., last week when they discovered the son of billionaire oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens hiding under a table after store hours.

    Michael Pickens, 51, was charged with burglary and spent three days in jail following his arraignment.

    Police arrested Pickens inside the tackle store when the owner noticed something was amiss and called the authorities.

    State police said investigators recovered a stash of fishing-related items taken from the shop and found Pickens asleep beneath a table.

    The Nocona, Texas, heir was in Connecticut for a weekend of fishing, according to the Waterbury Republican-American newspaper.

    Pickens was indicted last year on federal securities fraud allegations in New York and was free on $500,000 bond.

    He faces 20 years in jail if convicted of those charges.

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    About the author: J.R. Absher shares his perspective while blogging about hunting, fishing, shooting sports, sportsmen's issues and the occasional offbeat outdoor tale. In more than 30 years of writing and a lifetime of enjoying the outdoors, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, photographer, mule wrangler, wilderness packer, magazine editor, political consultant, hunting-equipment copywriter, public-relations director and sportsman's advocate. You may contact him at jrabsher@psci.net.

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