Friday, December 30, 2011

The Old Man Shoots A Waltzing Duck

Searching through the video and picture vault the other evening, I found this clip of Dad, Matt (my brother) and I hunting ducks on Merry Meeting Bay. This segment is classic old man and I chuckle each time it is played. These few megabytes of data help remind my rapidly aging recollections and preserve some of my favorite and most precious memories shared with Dad and my brother.

In this particular video segment, please note Dad’s statement “You boys shoot the ducks that want to swing and lindy hop and I will shoot the ones that want to waltz.” I really don’t remember if the old man fired a single shot that beautiful morning on the bay, I am guessing that sitting peacefully in the boat, drinking coffee and watching the antics of his two sons was likely more enjoyable then the prospect of shooting ducks.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Does This Picture Disgust You?

I am conducting a test, unto which I would invite you to participate. It isn’t a test any of you need worry of passing or failing, as there is no absolute right or wrong answers. This test is only a survey of your reactions on how you view this posts image.

Most of us are certainly familiar with animal furs, leather jackets and the act of buying a hunk of meat from a store shelf, wrapped in cellophane. What many fewer are familiar with and in some cases sickened by, is the process unto which leads to all of these things.

This picture depicts me about ½ way through the skinning of a coyote, so that I may convert its hide to a wall hanging for a family member. For many, unaccustomed to the process of butchering or skinning an animal, this is a gruesome sight. These perceptions and ideals often hamper a person’s ability to see beyond the blood and the slowly decomposing flesh, to an object that with care and proper handing, can become something beautiful or perhaps even delicious. Of course, beautiful and delicious are also relative terms, again based on a set of preconceived notions.

Each of us has a set of morals, principal and standards that have been crafted by our life experiences. These experiences then make certain events, circumstances and situations either acceptable practices or taboo to our individual belief system. The crafting of these boundary setting ideals, is likely a combination of environmental and life factors that with little doubt would translate well to the nature/nurture train of educational thought.

What is an individual’s limit and what do you deem as acceptable? Can you stomach the sight of a pile of guts? Does an animal with no skin sicken you? Could you cut the head off a chicken? Would you think it comical if its headless body ran around the yard? Would you shoot an animal if you didn’t plan to eat it?

I remember shooting a moose about 15 years ago and having to practically climb into the body cavity to finish the gutting process. Upon exiting of the animal, I was so saturated in blood, guts and gore; I had to ride home in the back of the truck. At that time, that particular experience was at the apex of my level of personal tolerance. Since then it would take more than gutting a moose to make me blow chunks on my shoes but that tolerance has been build by partaking in a life time of gut wrenching activities.

Despite what you feel you can and cannot stomach, the most important consideration is that we practice and build tolerance of all other sportsmen and their pursuits. Yes, I am talking about the bow hunters who snub crossbow enthusiasts and those that would harass someone for shooting a duck on the water, those who trap animals purely for their hides and those who won’t butcher their own deer and instead prefer to take it to a processor . . . and just perhaps, even those guys that would refuse to invite a woman to deer camp (Yes, I also like to kick hornet nests!). Remember, we are all sportsmen and must be united in our efforts to insure our traditions don’t just survive but instead thrive!

Also, for more information on this topic read this interesting article: One Man's Meat: Futher Thoughts on the Evolution of Animal Food Taboos by James Serpell

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Brothers Striped Bass Rant

I was sorting through old photographs and videos the other evening and stumbled upon a rather sizable collection of fishing videos featuring my brother and I from the Spring and Summer of 2006. While looking through a couple of the videos, I stumbled across this exquisite gem. After laughing myself to tears, I decided this might be something others would enjoy watching and so I have decided to share. Though I have cleaned up the language quite a bit, eliminating the 10 uses of the F-Bomb in less than 1 minute of commentary, it is still a little rough and should be viewed with caution. Please enjoy my brother sharing his sorted tale of his very first striped bass!

A few points of clarification on this video:
1. No my brother is not REALLY part of the Canadian Drinking team as his shirt suggests. However, he is part of the Upper Lead Mt. Pond Drinking Team.

2. Yes, his arms really are sunburned that badly it is not a trickery of the light and/or shadows. If you think his arms are red you should see his neck. Err wait a minute . . . red . . . neck . . . I think we might be on to something.

3. No he doesn’t REALLY talk like that.

4. Yes, he really did catch the striped bass he describes (I saw the photographic evidence) and yes I anticipate that it probably occurred much in the way of the discombobulated fashion he describes. It is therefore my professional opinion that this rant be classified as a fish “story” and not fish “tale”.

5. Yes, he is typically a pirate in his speaking and actions though he is able to manage this affliction when in church, around small children and in the company of the elderly

Friday, December 16, 2011

Why You Shoot Coyotes!

These pictures are just a few taken from a larger collection of photographs that have been circulating via e-mail. For those who have not yet seen, they are a little disturbing but should serve as a stark reminder as to why coyote populations must remain in check. Maine sportsmen lets do our part by breaking out those deer rifles and giving the coyote populations a little bit of hell this holiday season!

MAINERS Coyote Night Hunting Starts TONIGHT!

More Posts From the Maine Outdoorsman on Coyotes:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bobcat Taxidermy Project Complete

I know there are a majority of sportsmen out there in cyberspace that only kill animals that they plan to eat and then there are others like predator hunters and trappers that kill animals for a variety of other reasons, ranging from population control and selling of pelts to yes even trophy killing like in the case of this particular specimen. What is important to consider, in all of these cases, is that regardless of how and why we pursue out particular sporting endeavors, we must ALL practice tolerance and not look poorly upon another's hunting practices simply because they do not directly align with our own personal opinions. An open mind is an educated mind, while a close mind is a harbinger of prejudice.

It took close to a year for my New Years Eve 2011 Bobcat to finally make its way back home from it’s visit with my friendly neighborhood taxidermist. While it certainly was a LONG wait, now that I sit and stare at the final product, I must admit it was well worth my investment of money and patience. Steve Luce of Fins and Feathers Taxidermy completed the work and did a fantastic job!

Now that I own such a unique and impressive display of taxidermy art, I looked up some of the hints and tips for caring for your new trophy. One of the best sites I found, was at the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) in a posting entitled: Hints and Tips for Caring for your Taxidermy.

For more Taxidermy Postings on the Maine Outdoorsman be Sure to See:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dear L.L. Bean Where is Your Shame?

Wrong on SO Many Levels
Dear L.L. Bean,

I received, in the mail today, your “L.L. Bean Signature” catalog. While I appreciate your willingness to provide me with combustibles for my fireplace, in this particular instance, I really must implore you to NEVER EVER send me another one of these catalogs!

Poor Leon is no doubt rolling around in his grave, knowing you are actually attempting to dress outdoorsmen (or any man for that matter) in pants with little duckies on them and wool sweaters with what appears to be two polar bears having a tickle fight. I can guarantee you that if anyone ever shows up at deer camp wearing 95% of the clothing depicted in this catalog, they will be shot on sight.

Polar Bears? Really?
Now while some among your staff will likely think my comments harsh, I know there still exists somewhere in the deep dark recesses of your titanic corporation, a few remaining sporting aficionados, who are without a doubt reading this and thinking, “HA this guy has got a good point!” My suggestion to you Mistah is to find these last remaining individuals and promote them to the top of your company! Oh sure, you will likely loose millions in revenue as all of the American Eagle, Abercrombie Fitch, Banana Republic and Gap loving yuppies scream foul but at least you will save yourself from this embarrassment and make me and the few remaining Maine sporting traditionalists VERY happy.

Your Friend,

The Rabid Outdoorsman

P.S. A few weeks back, I was in your store and noted that the last time you pictured someone with a firearm in their hands in an actual hunting depiction, in your store display of wall mounted magazine covers, was the Fall of 1990 . . . what is all that about?

Are those Actually Hunters under that Tree?
For more on L.L. Beans fall from grace see: LLBean Vs Cabelas and Unsent.
1. StatCounter tells me that someone from L.L. Bean actually read this post and is certain to be reporting my indiscretions to corporate headquarters. It is likely they offer me a job as their new marketing director after they fire the guy who came up with the idea of the "signature series". In actuality, they are probably plotting to send me the sweater and pants for CHRISTMAS! If you do kind sirs there will be hell to pay!!!

2. If anyone out there in cyber space (who dares call themselves an outdoorsman!) sends me a photograph of themselves wearing either of the two items pictured in this post, I will personally write LL Bean an apology letter AND the brave soul who sends me the photo will receive a free bottle of Code Blue Doe in Estrous Urine. Yes, peeve me off and I will be happy to peeve you off!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Girls At Deer Camp? - Maine Mag Response

Sophie Nelson
The following is an e-mail response from Maine Magazine Writer Sophie Nelson who along with independent photographer Erin, joined the men at this year's deer camp. Her words below are in response to the three "Girls At Deer Camp?" postings, I published on the blog in late November. For links to these articles please see the end of this post. Lastly, thank you Sophie for the kind words, everyone had a great time having you and Erin attend our farting, burping, practical joking, gun shooting manfest we call Deer Camp!

WOW. Steve, thanks for directing us to the blog! I should have known some writings of the sort would make it up on!

You bring up all kinds of things I wasn't aware of. For one thing, I thought that the idea of hosting women at deer camp developed from your initial meeting with Kevin, Susan, and Tyler! Phew, I guess that came as a surprise! Of course, knowing you I know that what you wrote about women (being nagging, gas-free, intolerant and generally obnoxious) was meant as a joke, that you know that plenty of women drink too much beer, enjoy football, burp, etc. etc. just like plenty of men dislike sports, prefer wine, etc. etc.--thankfully we live in a day and age when most people have outgrown such simplistic thinking and don't equate one's value as a person with the degree to which they fulfill gender stereotypes! I wouldn't have felt so comfortable with you and your family and friends if they drew lines like that. And hopefully the mission to involve more women in what has traditionally been a male sport will help in the effort to rid the world of the hurtful behavior and speech that reifies that kind of gendered thinking. Thank you, again and again, for welcoming Erin and I at Deer Camp! You were all so kind and considerate and open-hearted, open-minded. How funny it is to read of fears re: tighty whities and gas! And what a delicious dinner, great music... I could go on and on... good thing there's a place for all I have to say in the forthcoming article! 

It's interesting to me, too, that you saw a "killer glint in my eye!" and I must say I read some of "Steve the jokester" in that assessment... It was probably more like fear and over-analyzing my every move to the point my brain might bust that you read in my wild eyes and hyper behavior. I definitely felt and thought a lot of things while moving toward the partridge with the gun in hand. I was worried about the safety, about whether or not we'd see the bird and if I had it in me to pull the trigger if we did. Honestly, I don't think I could have aimed to kill it. But I wonder about what it would have felt like if skill and bravery came over me all at once and I'd actually killed the partridge. It would have been a challenging thing to think/feel my way through. The experience was definitely awesome in the sense that it was both cerebral and physical, and very inspiring. I look forward to continue working on the story! I'll definitely run it by you when its closer to final form. I bet you'll find it interesting to read my take on the experience, just as I've enjoyed reading yours so much.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too! 

Talk soon,
For more on this series of postings see: Girls at Deer Camp? -  Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Friday, December 2, 2011

Outdoorsman Christmas Gift Ideas

Shopping for the Rabid Outdoorsman on your Christmas list is never an easy task. These individuals seem to have every gadget and piece of outdoor related equipment imaginable. Then when you finally do manage to miraculously find them something they like, they complain that you spent to much money on them and threaten to return it. If this sounds like anyone you might potentially know then please look below for a few slightly unusual holiday suggestions for these curmudgeons.

Reflector Oven:

Homemade Fishing Lures:

Ice Fishing Spears:

Fish Decoys:

Handmade Wood Works - (Clocks, Cribbage Boards, etc. . . . this guy is awesome!):

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