Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Turkey hunters hit morel jackpot

morel.jpgFrom the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat comes the story of a turkey hunter who stumbled upon the mother of all mother lodes for morel mushrooms.

Bottom line: The hunter and a friend gathered 56 pounds of the tasty fungi. Bet they heard from a lot of friends.

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

Mating eagle falls on car

eaglemate.jpgThe moral of this story, from Cass Lake, Minn., is never to drive under a pair of mating bald eagles.

Conservation officer Mark Mathy was patrolling a stretch of Highway 371 when he came across a group of people on the road’s shoulder, huddled around an object lying on the ground.

It was a bald eagle.

Mathy asked if someone had hit the bird. One of the drivers said, “The eagle fell on my car.” Mathy examined the car and found a large dent in the hood.

When eagles mate they free-fall with one another. According to Mathy, the unfortunate bird, a female,  “forgot to start flying before she hit the vehicle.”

Yeah, but it tasted soooooo good!

megamouth.jpgWhat do fishermen do when they catch the wrong thing? Sometimes they eat it.

When a rare megamouth shark got tangled in a fishing net and died, fishermen in the Phillipines hauled the 1,100-pound creature home and carved it up.

The fact that fewer than 40 megamouths have ever been seen didn’t seem to make much difference to the fishermen; after all, shark meat happens to be the main ingredient in a local delicacy. Environmental advocates tried to persuade the Filipinos not to eat the 13-foot leviathan, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

This story kind of reminds me of one that happened about 20 years ago. A fisherman at the Kanawha River’s Marmet Locks caught a paddlefish — a genuine rarity at the time. I happened to walk into the Division of Natural Resources’ offices about the time a DNR secretary was calling the fellow to arrange a photo for Wonderful West Virginia magazine.

“Hello, this is the DNR,” she said cheerfully. “We’d like to send a photographer over to get a picture of your fish!”

As she listened to the reply, her eyes widened and her jaw dropped.

“You …… ate …… it?”

He sure did — and he said it tasted mighty fine, too.

squrlpeanut.jpgThere’s an easily detectable line where common sense ends and hand-wringing begins, and I believe a public official in Wisconsin just crossed it.

Ron Blair, Assistant Facilities Director at the state Capitol in Madison, has issued a memo to state employees to stop feeding peanuts to squirrels on the Capitol grounds. Why? Because Blair believes it might endanger children with peanut allergies.

No matter that a spokeswoman for the Food Allergy Association of Wisconsin said the squirrel-feeding ban wouldn’t do any good. No matter, either, that a doctor interviewed by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said the chance of a kid having a reaction was rather small.

It’s all about liability limitation, baby!

Raccoon: The other white meat

                                           raccoon2.jpgGee, city folks are learning what we West Virginians have known for a long time — that  properly cooked raccoons can be mighty fine eating.

Witness the success of 69-year-old Glemie Beasley, known in Detroit as “The Coon Man.” He supplements his income by hunting coons, butchering them and selling their carcasses for $15 apiece.

According to a recent article in the Detroit News, Beasley leaves the feet on the carcasses so purchasers will know they’re “getting real coons, and not cats or dogs.”

Choked to death by bait? Ugh!

In an attempt to entertain a chartered fishing boat filled with school children, a California man put a bait fish in his mouth.

Unfortunately, according to the Orange County Register, 54-year-old Jeff Twaddle choked to death on the bait. Attempts to revive him failed.

The sheer absurdity of the incident might amuse some readers, but keep in mind that a man died a most unpleasant death in an earnest attempt to make 20 kids happy, and that those kids witnessed the whole thing. Nothing to make fun of here.

The cops in Sarnia, Ontario, apparently don’t want coyotes in their town — not even ones made of cardboard.

When city park officials put cardboard cutouts of coyotes on the village green in an attempt to scare away geese, no one bothered to notify the cops.

Then, when a jogger complained that one of the coyotes “barked” at her, the cops turned out in force. They surrounded the offending critter, only to find that — it — wasn’t — real.

Sensing a prank, the cops confiscated the cutouts, leaving parks officials to deal with goose poop as best they could.

There’s dumb and there’s dumb. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why two alleged gun-safe thieves literally drew police a map that proved their guilt.

The Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press has the full story of how the cops tracked down the two men by following scrape marks the heavy safe made as they dragged it from its owner’s house to their hideout. Oh, brother…

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

His fishing trip could have ended with a bang

Devin Sullivan, a fisherman from Jonesboro, Ark., knew he’d hooked something unusual when he felt a heavy weight at the end of his line but not much fight.

Sullivan reeled in his line and landed a Remington 870 pump-action shotgun.

He did the smart thing. He called police, as recounted in this KAIT-TV account of the incident.

Wonder what kind of lure Sullivan used? A 12-gauge shell?

 Hat tip: J.R. Absher at the Outdoor Pressroom.