WANDERERS from the North? J. R. Lutz, Mio, Mich., trapper, last winter saw two white foxes. Described them as small, with inconspicuous ears, and big bushy tails. Ford Kellum, district game manager, said they were probably arctic blue foxes, not albino red foxes . . . Cougar near Toronto?
ANY SPORTSMAN'S SUBJECT YOU'RE INTERESTED IN? WE PRINT AS MANY OF YOUR LETTERS AS WE CAN
Wildlife Gets a Hand
Just Like a Ball-point Pen!
Kind Word for Cats
On That Antifirearms Proposal
His 20 Gauge is a Long Tom!
Brow Tines on Four-pointers?
He's Not Ducking the Issue!
No End to This Rainbow
Shooting the Bull
Anybody Know the Answer to This One?
EVERY hunter in Outdoor Life: America ought to read your article, “Wildlife Fights a Crime Wave!” Although my own state of Arkansas wasn’t mentioned, I want to say that I've never before seen such out-of-season hunting. Your article should be published in pamphlet form and distributed widely.
WHEN we asked Frank Dufresne, author of “A Date With Peluk Ben” in this issue, to tell us what his hobbies were, he answered, “Fly fishing, bird shooting, and clean waters.” That last item might seem to be a queer one for a man to list as a hobby—but not when you understand the kind of career Dufresne has had.
NO DUCK HUNTER needs to be told that the waterfowl population of North America took a bad nose dive last fall. The 1946 duck season was a failure. Hunters tagged it “lousy . . . the worst in ten years . . . the poorest since the duck depression.” Some voiced the fear that wildfowling is on the way out.
Fighting lunkers in an overgrown Sahara! How did they get there — and grow so big?
ALMOST a mile down and under the sheer sides of Lower Grand Canyon, a husky, turquoise-tinted stream breaks from the floor of a deep gorge, laces the edge of a verdant valley, then churns over five high waterfalls to plunge into the Colorado River.
WHILE most good citizens pay their taxes without too much cussing, they think of them as an unavoidable headache. Sportsmen are different. They are the only people I’ve ever heard of who actually want to be taxed, and the only ones who ever suggest to the lawmakers that their taxes should be raised.
Fleet prize of the valleys and flats of the West; nervy, wily, and popular — that is the elusive mule deer, herein expertly discussed from stem to stern
IN the West, the mule deer occupies the same position that the white-tail does in the East. The muley is the principal big-game animal —so much so that it could almost be said that he is big game. Some Western states have good elk and antelope herds, but for the most part it is the mule deer that carries the brunt of hunting pressure from Arizona to Montana, and from west Texas to California.
PELUK BEN rolled his cud of fine cut from one lean jaw to the other as though it had suddenly lost its savor. His rheumy blue eyes rested disapprovingly on young Bill who had just made another cast and hooked yet another trout. Standing deep in that cold stream in southeastern Alaska in water threatening to pour over the tops of his well-patched rubber boots at any moment, the tail of his faded red mackinaw trailing in the current, old-timer Peluk Ben was fast losing patience.
They knew it would be the last hunt of the season, and the geese helped make it good!
FRED and I stood beside Red Deer River and peered through the falling snow. With binoculars glued to our eyes we tried to make out how many geese were still on the big bar below the island. Behind the huddled birds the sand lifted in clouds when a gust of wind caught it.
A WANDERER from birth, marvelously adapted to his bleak and chilly environment, here today and gone tomorrow, the caribou is a creature of mystery wherever he is found in the immense solitudes of the northern part of the continent. No one can truthfully say that any one locality is the “home” of the caribou.
WE’VE HEARD much comment on the speed with which America’s Conservation Pledge has swept the country. There’s no mystery about this. The explanation is that from the start the movement has had the wholehearted support of radio, the press, sportsman’s clubs, schools, and federal and state authorities.
Everybody else on the lake was headed home, discouraged, when these two plug casters set out. They had what it takes!
NEWT extended the Spotted Ape between cupped hands. You might have thought it was an infinitely precious and fragile something that the burning sunlight would forever destroy. He glanced with mock concern over his shoulder into water as green and clear as dime-store shaving lotion.
This pet raccoon was cute, but the neighbors didn't appreciate his fine points
GLENN S. LARKINS
ALTHOUGH I love to stroll through wood and field and enjoy Nature's beauty, nowadays when I'm on a hike I keep a wary eye peeled for wild trouble. Poison ivy! Ha! That is mild compared to the kind of wild trouble I mean. While on one of my country excursions if I happen to see a baby wild animal huddling under a bush and trying to deceive me into thinking that it is scared of me, I silently tiptoe around the little creature, then take off like an overdue rocket.
CAUTIOUSLY I shifted my eyes. A thousand feet under my boots I could see white water whipping a jig-saw canyon. The trail, cut through solid rock, was not quite wide enough for the hoofs of Barfly, my saddle horse, but somehow he managed to balance himself like a tightrope artist.
AMONG an angler’s collection of rods there will always be one special one. It probably has a set and likely is battered, but this makes little difference, for the rod is a trusted companion. It suits the man and his fishing, and so he loves the slender bamboo perhaps because, like himself, it is not perfect.
THE LONGSHANK KILLERS ARE INCREASINGLY POPULAR—AND WITH REASON
JACK and I were just loafing along. The sun was nearly down and a light bluish mist had settled on the waters of our favorite Massachusetts lake. We were paddling a canoe close to the rocky shoreline, drifting and fishing half-heartedly. It hadn’t been an especially productive afternoon.
HERE'S SOMETHING PRETTY SPECIAL, FROM A BRAND-NEW WRITER-A LONG AND EXCITING ACCOUNT OF A BIGGAME HUNT, IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, THAT MAKES YOU FEEL YOU'VE BEEN IN THE AUTHOR'S BOOTS FROM START TO FINISH. START READING, AND YOU'LL SEE EXACTLY WHAT WE MEAN!
N. L. McALMOND
HAVE you ever had saddle pains? Those horrible, knifelike stabs of agony that are the result of too many jarring hours in the saddle? I hope, for your sake, you haven’t; but according to seasoned skyline riders, you’ve never really earned your spurs until you’ve gone through this torture.
LAST January James Williams started out to look for cedar posts in a snow-covered swamp in Michigan’s upper peninsula. As he was striding along the trail he suddenly heard a squealing sound from a brush pile a short distance to one side. Thinking that a bobcat or weasel had caught a snowshoe rabbit Williams decided to investigate.
WHEN George LaBranche first wrote about catching nonrising trout by creating an artificial hatch with repeated casts of a dry fly, I adopted the system right away and put it to work for me. It wasn’t long before I discovered that making casts again and again in one spot often was highly rewarding in the case of fish that were rising, yet refused artificial flies when first presented to them.
WHEN trolling all alone in a boat the problem of what to do with your rod is a vexing one. Propping the rod against a seat or thwart is no good— you might lose the whole outfit at the first savage strike! Some anglers grip the butt and reel between their knees, but this is rather uncomfortable and tiring.
WHO is the oldest active fisherman in America? And the oldest still-at-it fisherwoman ? Oldest fisherman in Quincy, I11., according to that city’s Herald-Whig, is Adam Weisenberger, 89. Oldest fisherwoman is Mrs. E. J. York, 81. Send in your nominations.
THE million legal-size—7 in. or more— trout planted in Michigan waters this year are all fin clipped. The reason is that the Department of Conservation wants to let each fisherman know the ratio of hatchery to wild trout in his season’s catch, so that he will have facts to go on in making up his mind whether he wants more or less of his license money spent on put-and-take stocking.
LAST year in this column I ran a letter from Don Martinez of West Yellowstone, Mont., who remarked on the absence of small trout in the stomachs of large browns that he caught. Because of this he posed that old question: Do big browns usually turn cannibal?
HAROLD THOMAS and I were hunting ducks on a lake in western Iowa one morning last fall. Everything looked promising, but fog settled down just as we got the decoys out. In 5 minutes we couldn't have seen a greenhead drake 20 ft. in front of us. We sat there half an hour after it was time to start shooting, and the fog just got thicker.
THE U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that the number of fishing licenses issued in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1946 reached an all-time high11,068,361, an increase of 2,788,485 over the previous year. Michigan led with 904,577 licenses.
OFTEN a fisherman will find an unusually good spot for taking fish in a large lake. It may be that bass, crappies, lake trout, or wall-eyes are drawn there for food. Or underwater conditions may favor the growth of plankton, which in turn is favorable to the gathering of minnows.
There's No Fishing in This Lake . . . Except for Kids
THERE is one place in Iowa where no grown-up may fish or swim unless he gains admission by taking along a boy or girl. That is Whiting Lake, a small artificial impoundment set in wooded hills at the north edge of Iowa City. The lake, 35 ft. wide and 400 long, was built by Sam Whiting and his son, Joe, 15 years ago by damming up a gully.
FISH are said to be interested in the unusual, and if there is truth in this theory, they will no doubt investigate the luminous minnows made by the Kay Mfg. & Distributing Co., of Long Beach, N. Y. The baits come in three sizes, and are minnow-shaped linen cutouts coated with phosphorescent paint.
THE taking of game fish with spear and jack light has been outlawed for many years in most sections of the country, and the regulation is a proper and necessary one. The toll of pike, bass, bluegills, perch, catfish, and even rainbow trout taken on the inland lakes and rivers of many states by spearing parties 40 or 50 years ago was heavy and undoubtedly contributed to poor hook-and-line fishing in many places.
Question: I’m going to do some bait casting this season, using lures weighing from ½ to ¾ oz. What length would you recommend for a single-piece, tubular-steel rod?—James J. Brown, I11. Answer: If you are going to concentrate on ½-oz.
ANGLERS who have had the misfor tune to have a reel drop from the rod because of a faulty fitting need worry about such mishaps no longer, for the Aircraft Standard Parts Co., of Rockford, Ill., have adapted a war proved hose clamp to fishing service.
COMING out on a bluff overlooking my favorite trout river one day I saw a fellow angler fully half a mile upstream from me. What attracted my attention to him was the fact that every time he cast I could see the flash of the sun on his fly rod quite plainly.
TO USE the 10 percent excise tax on sportsmen's fishing tackle, which an glers have been paying since 1941, to improve fishing all over the country-in much the same way that taxes on sporting arms and ammunition are used for game restoration and production under the Pittman-Robertson Act-is the object of a bill (H.R. 1693) introduced in Congress by Representative John D. Dingell, of Michigan.
HERE is an easy way to make eyed hooks of fair size weedless. Squeeze the U end of a hairpin flat, cross the prongs, force the narrowed top of the pin through the eye of the hook, bend the wire back over the shank, and bind. Then bend the two prongs so that they will protect the hook point from either side, and you're ready to fish safely in weedy waters.
AN ELECTRIC fish shocker devised by technicians of the New York State Conservation Department is proving highly useful in obtaining accurate counts of the fish and other aquatic life in narrow, shallow streams. The apparatus, whose safe operation requires a crew of five experienced men, consists of a portable electric generator which keeps a powerful alternating current passing between two electrodes-small grids mounted on poles.
THE experience of a number of state game commissions indicates that the release of quail bred on game farms isn’t worth while; that habitat improvement is much more effective in increasing the bobwhite population and providing sportsmen with better shooting.
WHEN I was about 10 years old, I spent a summer with an uncle, a shooting man who owned a ranch in southern Arizona. He discovered that although I was an earnest pot-shooter, I knew nothing about wing-shooting, so he decided to initiate me into the art. His method was simple.
AMMUNITION components are back • on the list for the first time in years, but it probably will be some time before the handloader can walk into a store and pick up a carton of 1,000 primers any time he likes. Jack Droughan, ammunition sales manager for Winchester, writes: “We are listing ammunition components and beyond this are accepting orders if the materials are available.”
A RUMOR is making the rounds that a certain outfit has developed a new “propellant” for rifle cartridges which is so revolutionary that it will drive the 100-gr. .257 bullet at the astonishing velocity of close to 5,000 foot seconds. If this is the McCoy (and it’s another big “if”), the experimenters better quit working on new case shapes and get busy on barrel steels.
RECENTLY I had the pleasure of talking with Col. Sandy McNab, who has done about as much hunting and shooting as any living man. An old-time regular-army officer, Sandy is famous not only for rifle shooting, but for training rifle shots. He was largely responsible for the methods of marksmanship training which more than doubled the number of soldiers who qualified as sharpshooters and expert riflemen.
will be glad to help you get the best results from your firearms—rifle, shotgun, or pistol. Address your questions to him in care of this magazine, inclosing sufficient postage for his reply, which will be sent to you by mail. Question: A freind of mine wants to put two Tackhole Dot reticules in a low-mounted Lyman Alaskan 'scope on a .270 Winchester Model 70.
A VOLUME which I looked forward to reading was W. H. B. Smith’s Mauser Rifles and Pistols which was published not long ago by the Military Service Publishing Co., of Harrisburg, Pa. Now Brother Smith has been writing gun books right and left-handed for the last two or three years.
THE deer herd of Indiana has increased to about 3,500 white-tails, most of them in Crawford and Harrison Counties. Crop damage is becoming serious, and the state Department of Conservation is considering the advisability of a short open season next fall.
ALTHOUGH flatly opposed to the use of live decoys in hunting, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is relying on decoy flocks of live honkers to reëstablish the Canada goose as a nesting species in large areas of the Midwest from which it has long been absent, and to lure wild Canadas into new and suitable flyways and wintering grounds.
A TWO-YEAR course in gunsmith training has recently been announced by the Trinidad State Junior College, Trinidad, Colo., home town of P. O. Ackley, the well-known gunsmith. In fact, the school gives Ackley credit for the idea for course.
MANY readers have written requesting information about registering their war-souvenir weapons in order to conform with the National Firearms Act of 1934. So here is the dope: The law is intended to keep strictly man-killing weapons, such as machine guns and machine pistols, out of the wrong hands.
A NEW and improved model of the famous Match Target Woodsman automatic pistol has been announced by the Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Co. The gun weighs 41 oz., 5 oz. more than earlier models, having a heavier, fluted barrel with the center of gravity located directly over the shooter’s trigger finger to achieve perfect balance.
OCCASIONALLY a camper gets the notion he ought to design some new and special kind of tent. This impulse is creditable because dissatisfaction with existing standards has been responsible for most of the world’s progress. New conveniences and comforts are invented when somebody doesn’t like the old ones.
HERE is how you can easily change a camp frying pan’s rigid handle so that it will fold over into the pan for convenience in packing. First cut off the handle with a hack saw or file, leaving a lip about ¾ in. long still attached to the pan. Next rejoin the pan and handle by means of a suitably sized butt hinge attached to both parts with flatheaded rivets, as shown in the drawing.
Boys Study Conservation in Three-day Summer School
SEVENTY boys aged 10 to 14, from the farms and villages of five counties in western Iowa, will spend 3 days in the town of Storm Lake this summer in an intensive study of conservation. The special school, sponsored by the United Counties chapter of the Izaak Walton League in coÖperation with Iowa conservation officers, was launched last year with an attendance of 55 boys.
EACH year thousands of campers go out into the woods and start fires by building pyramids of sticks. Of course, given favorable conditions, such fires will burn in spite of their construction. But the smoky area above each pyramid is enough to show that it is inefficiently laid.
Question : My 13-year-old son and I are planning a camping-fishing trip in Canada, off the tourist track. Is there any way I can treat the fresh milk he’ll drink to make sure it’s pure?—Clayton M. Stein, N. Y. Answer: Consult a physician and be guided by what he says.
A RABBIT-SKIN blanket that will keep you warm in any weather and last for years is easy to make -—provided you have enough rabbits. It requires between 50 and 80 hides to make a good-sized robe. The first step is skinning the animals. Start at the hind legs, pull the skin down over the body, and cut it off behind the ears.
Cod, haddock, and cusk are suitable fish for this cold-weather breakfast dish popular with down-Easters. However, a striped bass or a similar firmly meated species may be used. Clean the fish, cut off the dorsal and lower fins, and be certain to wash out the body cavity thoroughly with fresh water to remove the blood.
JUST BECAUSE your vacation lasts only a week or two, and you can’t take the whole summer off, don’t rule out the possibility of a camping cruise. North America’s innumerable waterways offer opportunities for any number of short trips, and some of them—perhaps on a river or a series of connected streams and creeks—may be just around the corner from your home.
AS A SPECIAL service to anglers and hunters who wish to organize clubs OUTDOOR LIFE offers a new handbook, How to Form a Sportsman's Club, an authoritative and informative guide, prepared by Frank J. Valgenti Jr., attorney, sportsman, member and former president of the New Jersey Fish and Game Commission.
WHEN buying a duck-hunting boat for group use, it’s well to remember that all-wood construction is long-lasting—especially when the craft is made strip-planked or lapstreaked. The latter type especially will withstand plenty of hard knocks from snags, rocks, and rough landings because of the double thickness of wood along the plank edges.
CANVAS-COVERED CONSTRUCTION, in the opinion of many, is the amateur boatbuilder’s best friend. To do this work isn’t nearly so hard as some imagine ; it will hide defects in the planking and decking; it normally stays watertight; if laid in proper material it adds strength to the light construction usually used—all good reasons why canvas covering is popular.
BECAUSE of improper care, even a well built lapstreak boat is liable to de velop the faults peculiar to this type of construction, so if you're considering buying one used, be careful. Check the inside and outside for cracks in the planking in line with rows of fastenings.
Question: I have been thinking of building a cottage near Lake Erie, but cannot find a suitable site. A friend who has a houseboat has been trying to interest me in one. He says his is very convenient because he can move around to different fishing spots in the summer, and use it for duck-hunting headquarters in the fall.
WOODEN cleats and chocks for your boat are not hard to make or to fasten properly in place, and they can be easier on ropes than boughten metal ones. If you want to try your hand, here’s all the dope you’ll need: Regular cleat. This is the sort most frequently used, not only aboard boats but ashore on docks, flagpoles, and verandas.
FEW sportsmen—including ardent canovelists—realize how many different types of canoes are available. Besides those made of aluminum, lightweight alloy, and molded plywood, there are many out-of-the-ordinary models in the United States, but the number is far greater in Canada, where the canoe is in considerable demand as a work craft.
Easy Method for Repairing Gouge in a Varnished Hull
J. A. E.
A BAD gouge in a finely finished varnished hull may be repaired in such a way that it can hardly he detected. Obtain a small piece of wood similar to that used in the boat-generally mahogany-and cut into it with a finely set saw until you can collect a few teaspoonfuls of sawdust.
To MAKE a good mildew preventive for use on a new sail or tent of untreated fabric, simply mix 2½ oz. of lead acetate and 4 oz. of alum with 2½ gal. of water. With a sponge or brush, apply this to the canvas as you pull it across a plank laid over a couple of horses; don't dip the sail in the mixture.
FEW boat owners realize how reasonably they can insure their small craft and outboard motors. Annual fire-insurance rates run as low as 1½ percent a year of the insured valuation; a 3-year policy costs less. Fire-and-theft coverage costs about 3 percent a year.
WHEN you plan to use a boat on some coastal waterway—any inlet, bay, or river directly connected with the ocean—better buy a set of tide tables before starting out. Failure to account for the tide may complicate boating and ruin your fishing.
RETRIEVING is an essential part of any efficient gun dog’s bag of tricks. Some breeds, such as many of the spaniels and the true retrievers, appear to come by it naturally. Usually these need only a simple finishing course to sharpen their performance.
PHEASANT shooters don't need to be told that ringnecks can run, but few know that they also can swim-in Wisconsin, anyhow. There one hen, upon release after banding, plunged into the foot-deep water of a drainage ditch. When would-be rescuers neared she swam to the middle of the ditch and got up from the water like a mallard.
Question: My year-old Labrador retriever is so shy and nervous that I've never dared shoot near her. I took her to a professional trainer who said he did not think it would be wise to work her. Yet she has a good nose and delights in running after pheasants.
APPEARANCES, in dog’s as in almost everything else on this more or less puzzling planet, are often deceitful. That cantankerous-looking customer, the English bulldog, for instance, is one of the most good-natured of canines. But the appearance of the greyhound tells the absolute truth.
Dr. Kinney is glad to answer person ally all letters from readers regarding their dogs' health. It should be remem bered when writing him that seriouu ill nesses cannot be treated successfully by a person unable to examine the dog. In such instances, a dependable local veter inarian should be consulted immediately.
FOX TRAPPING can be a profitable business, if you know your stuff and live in the right place. In only part of last winter, Ernest Messling, a Wisconsin farmer, trapped some 700 foxes. After collecting $1,875 in bounties he sold the pelts. He attributes his success to a topsecret bait formula.