Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

You mess with the antelope, you get the horns

Photo drones are fun to use, but they can really irritate wildlife.

A movement is afoot to outlaw harassing critters with drones. I’m sure the owner of this drone in this video wished his state had such a law. If it had, the drone probably wouldn’t have had to go to the repair shop.

Now that’s what I call a nose job!

In this hand out photo supplied by Saving The Survivors, a rhino recovers in an enclosure after being treated by Dr. Johan Marais, an equine and wildlife surgeon, at the Pongola Game Reserve South Africa Friday Aug. 14, 2015. Veterinarians have treated the injured rhino, whose face was mutilated by poachers, by fitting it with a bandage made of elephant hide obtained from a taxidermist  (Johan Marais/  Saving-The-Survivors via AP)
In this hand out photo supplied by Saving The Survivors, a rhino recovers in an enclosure after being treated by Dr. Johan Marais, an equine and wildlife surgeon, at the Pongola Game Reserve South Africa Friday Aug. 14, 2015. Veterinarians have treated the injured rhino, whose face was mutilated by poachers, by fitting it with a bandage made of elephant hide obtained from a taxidermist (Johan Marais/ Saving-The-Survivors via AP)

Wow. Talk about your marvels of modern veterinary science! From the Associated Press:

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Veterinarians in South Africa have treated an injured rhino whose face was mutilated by poachers last week by fitting it with a bandage made of elephant leather.
Dr. Johan Marais, an equine and wildlife surgeon at the University of Pretoria, said Friday that he is experimenting with the elephant skin cover because plastic or fiberglass shields have proven too rigid to fit the contours of an injured rhino’s face.
“We’re looking for a material that’s strong, lightweight but pliable,” Marais said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
Marais, who got the elephant leather from a taxidermist, said it was “ironic” to use a part from one threatened species to treat an animal from another threatened species.
Marais belongs to Saving the Survivors, a group that treats rhinos with poaching injuries. Group spokeswoman Suzanne Boswell Rudham said the hide bandage was obtained by “ethical” means from a dead elephant that had not been poached or shot.
The 12-year-old female rhino with the elephant skin bandage was shot Aug. 5 in Pongola wildlife park in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province and poachers cut off one horn after the rhino collapsed, according to Saving the Survivors.
The poachers apparently fled before cutting the second horn, possibly because the rhino got to its feet. They killed the rhino’s 5-year-old calf and removed its horns.
Marais previously considered a shield made from the leather of a kudu antelope (not strong enough) or a hippo hide (too thick). He installed the elephant skin bandage with steel sutures Monday and hopes it will last four to five weeks until a new bandage is needed.
Marais said he is also considering an elephant hide shield for a rhino named Hope, which survived a similar poaching attack in May.

OK, this is just plain funny!

Hoops, anyone? Photo credit: Andy Kovac
Hoops, anyone? Photo credit: Andy Kovac

Here in West Virginia, we often talk of white-tailed bucks that have “basket” racks of antlers.

In Bethel Park, Pa., a fellow named Andy Kovac spotted a basket-racked buck that had a basketball stuck in its basket! Kovac grabbed his camera and snapped a photo of the would-be point guard. Uh, let’s make that a “six-point” guard.

Here’s the story, from KDKA-TV.

Hat tip: J.R. Absher in The Outdoor Pressroom.

The plane in Maine lands mainly in the … road?

The plane on Maine Turnpike (AP photo)

I can see the memo to the pilots of the Maine Guide Service now: “Please make sure your plane is fully fueled before taking off.” From the Associated Press:

LITCHFIELD, Maine (AP) — A warden service pilot and wildlife biologist escaped injury during their plane’s emergency landing on the Maine Turnpike about 15 miles south of the state capital Friday. At least one motorist had to pull aside to make way for the plane.
Pilot Dan Dufault had to land shortly before 9 a.m. because the single-engine Cessna lost power, possibly after running out of fuel, officials said.
No one was hurt.
State Rep. Christine Powers of Naples said she was traveling northbound when she saw the plane flying low across the turnpike before landing ahead of her.
“I thought it was strange the way it was gliding. The next thing I saw, it was coming in for an approach,” she said. “I was quite stunned.”
About a half-dozen vehicles were in the vicinity, Powers said, and one motorist pulled over as the plane touched down and approached the vehicle. The plane then taxied off the turnpike and into a former service area.
The warden service’s top officer, Col. Joel Wilkinson, said an investigation will look at a variety of factors. Noting that the airplane was able to take off again from the interstate after refueling, Wilkinson acknowledged it’s “highly likely” the airplane had lost power after running out of fuel.
A search of the Federal Aviation Administration database indicated the plane was a military trainer version of the Cessna 172.

Hunters in the northeastern U.S. might soon have a new name for their rifles and shotguns: Anti-aircraft artillery.

That’s because the wierdos at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plan to start looking for “potential illegal [hunting] activity” by flying reconaissance drones over hunters.

According to U.S. News and World Report, PeTA officials are shopping for drones, and are preparing to apply for the federal permits required to fly them.

My guess is this thinly disguised attempt to get under hunters’ skins will last about as long as it takes for a couple of those expensive drones and their equally expensive cameras to come crashing to the ground. Or, better still, for the people controlling them to be arrested by game wardens and formally charged with hunter harrassment, which is illegal in many states.


From Yahoo! comes one of the strangest videos I’ve ever seen.

Taken by a fisherman on Lake Austin, Tex., the 1 1/2-minute clip shows two bass, roughly the same size, wedged together and struggling on the surface. Apparently one bass had tried to swallow the other bass headfirst and failed.

The angler who took the video pulled the two fish from the water, pulled the partly swallowed one from the mouth of the other, released them and watched them swim away.

The video can be found here.

Strange. Very, very strange. But also way cool…

Another good reason to go deer hunting

When Roger Custer of Levittown, Pa., returned home from a deer hunt, he handed a Powerball lottery ticket he’d purchased to his wife and asked her to check it “to see how many millions we’ve won.”

She checked it — and, much to her astonishment and delight, found that she and her husband were $50 million richer. After taxes, they took home a check for more than $33 million.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has the full story.

When asked what he planned to do with his winnings, Custer said what any other red-blooded outdoorsman would say — “spend more time hunting and fishing.” Gotta love it.

Hat tip: J.R. Absher in The Outdoor Pressroom.

Note to skateboarders: Don’t mess with deer!

Skateboarder, meet Bambi. Bambi, skateboarder…(Video capture)

If you haven’t seen it already, follow this link to YouTube for a quick video clip of what happens when you mix a skateboard race, a pack of daredevil skateboarders blazing down a mountain highway at 40 mph, and a deer that picks the wrong time to try to cross the road. Enjoy!

Bear gets zapped, starts wildfire

Imagine that — a black bear nominee for a Darwin Award. Gotta watch how you climb those power poles…

From the Associated Press:

BRADFORD, Pa. (AP) — Investigators say a black bear caused a small wildfire in the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania by climbing a utility pole and knocking down some power lines.
Firefighters from Lafayette and Corydon townships responded to the fire about 130 miles northeast of Pittsburgh about 3:30 p.m. Monday.
Penelec officials determined the bear was electrocuted when they responded. Lafayette Township Fire Chief Don Fowler tells the Bradford Era that investigators believe the bear might have detected a buzzing noise from the wires and climbed the pole thinking there was a beehive.
The wildlife damaged less than a quarter of an acre.
Firefighters were on the scene about 45 minutes.

Boing, boing goes the bear

The bouncy house that caught Foster (AP Photo)

A cute little story, from the Associated Press:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — When a black bear climbed a tree in a central Arkansas city and refused to come down, authorities turned to unconventional rescue tools: bouncy houses.
Foster the Bear — named for the residential street where he holed up in a tree — wouldn’t budge from his branch Monday. So, authorities turned to a local hardware store owner who rents inflatable houses and castles for children’s birthday parties.
They asked him to set up two of the bouncy contraptions beneath the tree. Then, wildlife officials shot the bear with tranquilizer darts.
“He would slide to one side, and we’re like, ‘Oh, oh, oh, he’s going to come down, he’s going to come down,’ ” Conway police spokeswoman La Tresha Woodruff said. “And then he’d balance himself again.”
Foster finally passed out, but he still didn’t come down from his perch. Eventually, firefighters turned a hose on him until he tumbled down onto the edge of the inflatables below.
The bear, about a year old, wasn’t hurt, though he did land in between a blow-up castle and the other inflatable house — kind of “like if you get something stuck between the wall and the bed,” as Woodruff put it.
Spectators who had been watching the bear in the tree for hours cheered and clapped, Woodruff said.
“Foster was fine, just knocked out,” she said.
Wildlife officials plan to release the bear somewhere in the Ozark Mountains.
Police said the bear’s big-city adventure in Conway, about 30 miles north of Little Rock, started before he moseyed up the tree on Foster Drive. Someone had spotted the bear in a different tree on a nearby street before dawn Monday.
“Somehow, he crawled down out of the tree without them seeing him and got away,” Woodruff said.
Then, he managed to climb into another tree and inspire a Twitter feed, where someone posted updates — from the bear’s perspective — into the night.
“You ever have that dream where you’re falling and then you wake up with a dart in your butt?” one post read.
Another tweet summed up the bear’s day out.
“The cops want to shoot me,” one post read. “Fire dept says I’m too big for their cat getter-downer and 75 townies are below cheering my name.”