FINDING A PLACE TO BUY A NONRESIDENT HUNTING OR FISHING LICENSE is more often than not like a game of chance. You roll across the state border, anxious to “get legal” and into the field or onto the stream, and then the fun begins. “Joe’s Sporting Goods?
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of A.J. McClane. As a deskbound schoolboy in the early 1950s, I regularly smuggled contraband issues of FIELD & STREAM into my parochial grade-school classroom on Cleveland’s suburban west side.
Sportsmen aren't born; they're taught and nurtured by a group of special authors who are able to inspire others with their words.
I'VE NEVER LIKED THE PHRASE "outdoor writer." It has the connotation of a poet writing odes to the wind or verses in praise of nature, not someone who addresses important outdoor subjects, like guns and dogs and trout and bass and the people who delight in pursuing fish and game.
One way to maintain the status quo is to keep reformers busy with a project that will never be put to any meaningful use.
WE'VE NOW REACHED A point in conservation where a lot of what is ballyhooed as education or problem-solving amounts to little more than environmental basket-weaving. Basket-weaving is a traditional craft, but it’s also a form of physical therapy—a way to keep the disabled from brooding on their fate.
Everyone knows that Superman is faster than a speeding bullet, but how fast does a bullet travel? The answer is, very fast, but the speeds vary a lot. The velocity of a bullet is always given in feet per second (fps). Velocity is determined by the amount of gunpowder that is burned to propel the bullet.
THIRTEEN DISTINCT DEER SOUNDS HAVE BEEN IDENTIfied, including squeaks, bleats, grunts, snorts, wheezes, clicks, and stomps, which makes listening an excellent way to hunt deer. Here are some examples of what to listen for. The most common sound a deer makes is the snort-stom.
JACK ALEXANDER IS A Blologist and hunter who has spent years on Kodiak Island, Alaska, where the biggest bears in the world roam free. Each fall, he takes hunters to the north of Kodiak on a search for blacktail deer. One of these trips turned out to be more of an adventure than he'd bargained for.
CONVENTIONAL RODS AND REELS are designed to reach fish with a long cast. Cane poles reach them with a long rod. This system has some advantages: bait plops down more quietly, you can put it exactly where you want it, and when a fish bites, you pull straight up, which sets the hook securely.
There are many advantciges to fishing with a cane pole. When I was ten, I spent a lot of time trying to catch brown bullheads and white suckers by dangling earthworms in creeks. I wauld walk along with my drifting bait or stick the pole in the ground while I waited for a bite.
AMERICANS FAVOR "COMMON SENSE" APPROACH TO ENDANGERED SPECIES
WETLANDS: MORE EDUCATION NEEDED
PUBLIC LANDS MANAGEMENT: CHANGES NEEDED
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America is consumed by a raging debate over the environment. Granted that it must be protected. But to what degree and at what cost? In today’s economy, can we still afford to have strict environmental standards? In the midst of continuing environmental decline, can we afford not to?
Never mind John Wayne; today's bird hunters know how to take the smooth with the ruffs.
PAUL G. QUINNETT
IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY night, and in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, three tired grouse hunters hunkered down in a freezing rain to make plans for the coming night. First hunter: I say we set up camp right here and make the best of it. Once we have a fire going we can dry out these wet clothes.
Even though gar are fierce fighters on the hook, you won't find many anglers who admit they deliberately fish for them.
YOU OFTEN HEAR OF THE FErociousness of muskellunge, or how salmon melt the guts of fly reels, but, for sheer, primitive nastiness, nothing on earth matches a gar. You look at a gar the way you would look at someone on the street who is foaming at the mouth and carrying a placard reading, “The End of the World is Near.”
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SPORTING FIREARMS, edited by David E. Petzal. 370 pps. Illustrated. Published by Facts on File, 460 Park Ave. S., New York, N.Y. 10016. Hardcover. Available from the publisher for $50 plus $2.50 postage and handling. Shooters and hunters are constantly wanting to know things or, more often, to understand what they think they know.
Like fashion designs, fishing lures are subject to trends: some quickly fizzle; some slowly fade away; and some are destined for immortality.
LAST YEAR, A FRIEND IN THE fishing tackle business sent me a new lure that his company was making, a frog-like bait with separate, jointed legs. My friend said that the lure had a tremendous action, and was a very successful bass catcher. I was reminded of lures from the distant past, including one antique wooden model gathering dust in my own collection, unused for fear of its being lost or damaged.
The National Enquirer couldn't top some of the stories that plague conservation departments.
JOEL M. VANCE
DU CAN HEAR IT JUST about anywhere in Missouri, the story that the Department of Conservation stocked "Mexican quail" years back and they've turned the good ol' bobwhite quail into a brush-loving, wild-flushing little bird "smaller than the na tive quail."
THE BEST BROOK TROUT fishing in North America may occur in a handful of relatively unknown rivers that meander through the summer polar bear range west of Hudson Bay in northern Ontario. Here, incredible numbers of vividly colored brookies, which truly average 2 to 4 pounds with many larger, swarm in shallow limestone rivers and die of old age without ever knowing the charms of a hand-tied fly or glittering spinning lure.
SITTING IN A STUFFY CLASSROOM, FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF, IMAGINING THAT YOU'RE SOMEWHERE ELSE—LIKE FISHING? WELL, HERE'S A SUMMER SESSION WITH A DIFFERENCE, DESIGNED FOR BASS AND TROUT ANGLERS WHO WANT TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF THEIR GAME.
Dry Flies work to perfection, as long as you aren't a slave to tradition.
LEONARD M. WRIGHT
LESS THAN A HUNDRED years ago, dry-fly fishing— as defined by Frederic M. Halford and the other Victorians who pioneered and popularized it—was a sedate, nearly sedentary, sport. Typically, a gentleman clad in a knickerbockered tweed suit and old school tie sat on a collapsible camp stool or shooting stick overlooking a prime stretch of chalk stream.
No reason to get excited. . . Just settle down and patiently apply two basic rules.
HARROP'S HAIR-WING DUN
HERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT a hatch of insects and a rise of trout that instills a mild sense of panic, even in the most experienced fly fishermen. In my case, the panic is linked to past failure and frustration. I can achieve a fine frenzy, changing flies and whipping the water, goaded by the certainty that the hatch is going to end before I can ever identify it, match it, and catch some trout over it.
There’s something magical about catching fish you cannot see.
WILLIAM G. TAPPLY
IT DIDN'T START UNTIL after the sun sank behind the Vermont hills and dusk faded from gray to purple to black. First came the bats and swallows, materializing out of the darkness, swooping and darting over the water, sometimes skimming their wingtips on its surface.
Increasingly, anglers are trading their bait-casting gear for more effective light-line tactics.
BASS AND BAIT-CASTING have long been synonymous, but serious anglers now use spinning tackle more than ever. The transformation is due mainly to light-line tactics that have been proven effective on timid, overfished bass, and in clear lakes where the fish routinely shun big lures and thick lines.
"Incoming" heavy jigs can startle bass into aggressive strikes.
BOMBARDING BASS WITH heavy jigs creates so much commotion that bass may simply flee the area—or they may decide to fight back, aggressively attacking these lures when lighter jigs and other lures are ignored. I often bombard bass in 3 to 8 feet of water with a ½-ounce hook-guard jig tipped with a standard No. 11 pork frog.
Changing water conditions mean changing tactics if you want the bass to bite.
Fluctuating Water Levels
EVERY BASS FISHERMAN gets skunked from time to time. Though the actual reasons may vary, the excuses often have a familiar ring: the water was too cold, too hot, too clear, too muddy, or rising or falling too fast. But if you’re really interested in results, not just excuses, you need to learn how to deal with changing water conditions.
Flippered feet are the propulsion for an ingenious new type of watercraft that's changing the way we fish.
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DATUS C. PROPER
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE way to the 21st century: human-powered watercraft came back in style. Float tubes dot the ponds, pontoon boats are showing up even on rivers, and a third gener-ation of fin-propelled boats is on the market before we’ve figured out exactly what to call them.
Once upon a time, not all that long ago, "roughing it" was part of any angler's vocabulary.
BYRON W. DALRYMPLE
IT'S FUNNY HOW FAR WE'VE COME IN THE PAST FORTY YEARS OR SO. The other day an unhappy angler in his twenties was telling me about the indignities he'd suffered during a recent bass fishing trip. The guide's boat had only a "piddly 50-horse motor," no trolling motor, and the high front fishing seat screeched when he turned around to cast.
FISHERIES BIOLOGISTS DID EVERYTHING THEY could to prevent it, but Atlantic salmon managed to spawn naturally in southern Connecticut last fall. The last time that was known to happen was in 1798, before a dam was built upstream near Montague, Massachusetts.
July is the beginning of prime surf-fishing action along the Massachusetts coast for striped bass and bluefish, and angler Conrad Smith, one of the state's surf-fishing addicts, has a favorite spot he recommends this time of year. A former president and now treasurer of the United Mobile Sportfishermen (an umbrella organization for many East Coast surf-fishing groups), Smith has wet a line off every worthwhile spit of sand between North Carolina and Maine.
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is seeking information about high schools with hunting and fishing clubs. If your local school has such a club or program, contact Division Information and Education Officer Ellie Horwitz, telephone (508) 792-7270.
Nonresident hunters under eighteen years of age can now purchase a season hunting license in Vermont for $25. "The new license was created to help make it financially possible for families to hunt together and to encourage young nonresidents to become familiar with the state's excellent hunting opportunities," says John Hall, a spokesman for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
WITH A LI1TLE PLANNING AND COMMON SENSE, anglers with seaworthy, trailerable 20-foot boats can enjoy blue-water angling for hard-fighting mako sharks along the middle Atlantic Seaboard's 20-fathom curve. Unlike many other shark species, makos are plentiful from Maryland to Long Island, New York, according to Dr. Jack Casey, head of the Apex Predator Research Program at the National Marine Fisheries Service's Northeast Fisheries Center Narragansett Laboratory in Rhode Island.
If you're not comfortable running offshore yourself, the professional charterboats listed below supply everything necessary for mako fishing. These craft usually take parties numbering from four to six anglers. Trip rates vary from $500 to $700 (and occasionally more) depending on the size of the boat, duration (expect at least 8 hours actual fishing time), and design of the trip.
During 1991, both fishing effort and angler success continued to decline at Maine's biggest water, Moosehead Lake. Contained in a special Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife report on Moosehead Lake were these highlights: Winter anglers are catching more salmon than summer anglers, leaving fewer fish for open-water fishermen.
The University of Delaware's Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service (MAS) is charged with providing information on the practical and wise usage and development of marine and coastal resources. Available publications include free brochures and fact sheets on topics such as tips on releasing hooked fish, an explanation of how downriggers work, marine weather, preparing a boat for winter storage and spring fishing, marketing tips for charterboat operators, economics of fishing tournaments, and other items of interest to marine boaters and fishermen.
LOST IN THE SHADOW OF NEW BRUNSWICK'S unparalleled runs of Atlantic salmon is a smallmouth bass fishery that is unsurpassed. With fish that average 2 to 3 pounds and run to 5 pounds, and action that borders on frantic, this little-known haven of bassing is an area waiting to be discovered.
The New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife reminds anglers of the following statewide and local advisories and/or prohibitions regarding certain fish species: Statewide—All sales of striped bass are prohibited. Statewide—Limited consumption of American eels is advised, especially eels from the northeast region of the state.
After debating for months over turkey hunting safety regulations, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has adopted a package of rules designed to curtail the increasing numbers of turkey hunting accidents. Hunters must now wear 250 square inches of daylight hunter-orange material on their heads, backs, and chests (combined) during fall turkey and small-game seasons.
Thanks to stockings, plenty of trophies abound in New York State waters.
TIGER MUSKIE UPDATE
As part of its 1991 stocking program, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation planted about 80,000 fingerling tiger muskies in thirty-five locations around the state—with the objective of providing anglers access to a trophy fish every so often.
Like many professional football players, fish have no necks. A new 128-page pocket guide designed for fishermen and hunters visiting Vermont and New Hampshire is now available. The Sportsman's companion, written by three members of Trout Unlimited, is a combination almanac and journal containing easy-to-understand listings of fishing and hunting seasons, a fly-hatch chart, a river map depicting special-regulation sections, and a directory of guides, fishing-tackle stores, gun shops, environmental organizations, and state fish and wildlife agencies.
It may be the smallest of the Canadian provinces, but Prince Edward Island offers excellent waterfowl hunting opportunities. Tentative season dates run from the first week of October through the second week of December. Prime time is generally from October 20 through November 20.
It's July in Maryland and the living is easy, especially for those who enjoy wading for smallmouth bass on the upper Potomac River. Though trophy smallmouths are scarce during hot-weather conditions, wading anglers can count on nearly continuous action with smaller fish, as well as the possibility of catching a few bass in the 2-pound class.
DOG DAYS GOT YOU down? Then try dog nights. With the water cooling and the insects swarming, bluegills, pumpkinseeds, crappies, and even the occasional black bass become aggressive nocturnal hunters of moths, gnats, beetles, and mosquitoes.
RAINBOWS, BROWNS PROLIFERATE FALLING SPRING BRANCH
FOR OTHER ANGLERS
A LABOR OF LOVE
When a deer can't outrun an enemy, it will frequently take to water to escape. Deer are strong swimmers, and have been clocked at speeds of up to 13 miles per hour. They have also been spotted 5 miles out from the nearest point of land. PENNSYLVANIA'S Falling Spring Branch is one of those intimate trout streams an angler can't help but cherish—both for its pastoral beauty and its productive, specially-regulated fishing.
Pennsylvania's 1991 black bear hunting season was the second best on record. Hunters killed 1,687 bears from an overall population estimated at about 7,500 animals, according to figures compiled by the Pennsylvania Gome Commission.
Deer hunters and anti-hunting protesters faced off at Tyler State Park in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in January, but the hunt went on and 125 hunters killed seventy-five deer on the first day of the four-day hunt. The hunters and about 200 protesters exchanged shouts prior to the hunt, however, no arrests were necessary.
This month: buffalo hunting, terrestrial tricks, and modified flies. ON THE 1 ½-MILLION-ACRE CHEYENNE RIVER Sioux Indian Reservation at Eagle Butte, South Dakota, 20 miles west of Gettysburg, there is no human habitation as far as the eye can see.
BEFORE PLASTIC WORMS, SPINNERBAITS, AND living-rubber jigs hit the market, the weighted casting fly was a standard bass lure. Having rather stiff wings made from the tips of feather quills, the weighted casting fly is more or less snagless, and was a favorite for fishing in grass—and for that purpose, it's still hard to beat.
THE SUBTLETIES OF MAYFLIES, STONEFLIES, AND caddisflies have long charmed the serious fly fisherman. However, the truth is that on many waters, hatches of mayflies and stoneflies just aren't what they used to be, and caddisfly numbers tend to diminish when the temperature rises.
Terrestrial imitations of all kinds are especially useful for performing the "hatch-creation" routine. This involves floating the fly over a particularly good-looking stretch of moving water in an attempt to fool the trout into thinking a hatch is taking place.
PROBABLY THE EASIEST WAY TO IMPROVE THE silhouette and effect of your standard fly pattern is to put a bend in the shank of the hook, prior to tying, with a pair of needle-nose pliers. This will modify the fly's shape and give patterns a more natural look.
IF YOU SUPERSTITIOUSLY SPIT ON YOUR FLIES and lures for luck after tying them on, you are, whether you know it or not, following sound scientific principles. Underwater experiments have shown that human saliva carries with it a scent that actually attracts fish.
THE NATURE OF FLY FISHING; By Steven Meyers, 144 pages, $40. Thunder Bay Press (Distributed by Abbeville Press), Dept. FS, 488 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022. HERE'S AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT A PICTURE book should be. A lavishly illustrated large-format book that celebrates in words, photography, and illustration the world of the Western trout fly fisherman.
THROUGHOUT THE U.S., AND particularly in the West, livebait fishermen encounter serious problems transporting live minnows, especially in the heat of summer and when traveling long distances. For less than $10, however, you can make a bait transporter that will move the most delicate minnows hundreds of miles under the most adverse conditions, and deliver them alive and kicking!
We tried coated-steel tippets of 18-pound-test about a foot long, which proved problematic. It's possible to make a three-wrap clinch knot to the fly, but this may be difficult, and doing so may also induce a bend in the wire. You're better off attaching the tippet end to a snap or line connector with a thin metal tube and using pliers to squash the tube tight.
Few things are as misunderstood as our newest and fastest-growing shotgun game. Here's the truth.
FIVE STAND SPORTING
IN THE RELATIVELY SHORT TIME it's been an organized sport in this country (since 1985) Sporting Clays has significantly influenced American shotgunning. Some hunters who thought they were hotshots on game now really are. Shotguns that lived in closets all summer now come out and play on weekends.
Almost any 12or 20-gauge shotgun (and many 28 gauges) will break the majority of Sporting targets. The best all-around choke is improved Cylinder. Although competition traploads offer the best patterns, inexpensive game loads with No. 7 ½ or 8 shot (often on sale at discount stores) will break any target on most ranges.
American shooters and spectators have the opportunity to see the world's finest Sporting Clays shooters from around the world next month, and the U.S. has its best chance yet to win medals in competition previously dominated by British and European competitors.
There's a science to this stuff, and in upcoming issues, Bob Brister will show you how to shoot Sporting, station by station, and how the tricks you learn can be applied to hunting situations. Watch for it!
In order to select a fly pattern, you've got to figure out what trout are taking. But there are times when what is coming off is too small to see from casting distance, and other times when more than one thing happens at once, giving the trout a choice between two insects.
Despite hours of daylight preparation, you may not always be ready for what can go bump in the night, as illustrated in this story told by Jim Bashline: "Pinney caught a bat this summer night. He had caught them before, and he detested them.
No river is as gentle and amiable at night as it is during the day. The boulder you step over or around when you can see it will trip you up when you can't—at best, filling your waders and sending you home prematurely; and, at worst, spilling you into currents that can drown you.
Sure, live baits produce well—but only if they're active. Here's how to keep yours from fading.
I'M A DEDICATED LURE and fly angler, but I cannot disavow the many pleasurable and productive hours I've spent fishing with live baits. To me, watching a big tarpon or other large gamefish crash a live mullet on the surface is almost as exciting as seeing one nail a surface plug.
An excellent removable baitwell can be made from a large cylindrical or racetrack-shaped acid-proof plastic chemical container of the type popular in the rented plant industry. Chem-Tainer Live Wells (Dept. FS, 361 Neptune Ave., North Babylon, N.Y. 11704,  645-5607) sells 16to 100-gallon-size containers, with lids, for $65 to $168.
The most common problem bass anglers experience when they first take up light-line spinning is breaking off while setting the hook. This is especially prevalent among those who cut their teeth on stiff bait-casting rods, stout line, and the "cross their eyes" mentality.
When you cast a plastic worm into a weed pocket with spinning tackle (A), the line flows freely from the spool and lets the lure sink all the way to the bottom. The resistance caused by a baitcasting reel makes the worm drift toward the angler (B) which often prevents the lure from getting down to the bass.
Hold the rod tip low and make a sharp cast at the water's surface several feet in front of your target. The tube will bounce over the surface several times, covering a distance of 10 feet or more. If it touches down unmolested, jump it up sharply, and let it drop back to the bottom.
The Major and Minor activity periods last 2 to 3 ⅓ hours, and ¾ to 1 ½ hours, respectively. To pinpoint when the best sport can be expected to begin in your area, start by locating the appropriate bold time-zone rule on the map above. Then find the 4-minute rule that is closest to your area on the map.
WHEN YOU HOOK a fish you intend to release, land it as quickly as possible. Fish that are played until they are exhausted often do not survive after they have been returned to the water. It's better to lose a fish while it is still vigorous than to have it die later.
A young boy's life is saved by a stout-hearted dog...and the man goes on to become a pioneering trainer.
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ONE OF AMERICA'S TOP GUN dog trainers not only has owed his livelihood to his dogs, but he's also owed his very life. Here is Sigbot "Bodo" Winterhelt's unlikely story, and how he lived to repay dogdom for keeping him alive. Bodo was born to wealth and aristocracy in 1920s Germany on the river Main in the village of Miltenberg, the ancestral home (Bodo can trace his family back to 1402) of the Winterhelts, a name which means the north slope of the mountain, the cold slope.
ACCESS: For information about planning a fishing trip on the Sutton River, contact Geoff Humberstone, Tourism Coordinator, Hudson/James Bay Cree Outfitters Association, Dept. FS, P.O. Box 941, Timmins, Ontario, Canada P4N 7H1, (800) 667-3222, (Canada only) or (705) 268-4596.
THE OTHER DAY I GOT TO thinking about how long it would take the anti-gun forces to abolish all firearms except those in the hands of criminals and crackpots, and wondering how soon after that they would go after fishing tackle, perhaps on the grounds that fish suffer when caught (and ignoring the agonies that fishermen suffer when unable to fish).