Something Fishy

Something Fishy
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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Dogs important part of Christmas, but what do they think about the festivities

Dogs have always been an important part of our Christmas and holiday season. To the Junkers, they are family.
The dogs at the Junker house have also played an important role as have the dogs at the homes of other family members. That includes: Duke, Ripley, and Kyann.
Our dogs have traveled with us to Christmas events, puppies have pulled ornaments from trees, they have had their own stocking, received gifts, and disliked New Year’s fireworks.
The dogs are part of everything we do. They are always there when kids and grandkids gather around the tree or dinner table.
Our relatively new rescue dog Missy is fitting right in with her first Christmas with us. Christmas shopping is done except for her.
A friend, knowing our love of dogs, a number of years ago sent me a funny item, which probably came off the internet. It relates a dog’s perspective of Christmas. I know my dog must think we are a bit wacky whether at Christmas or any other time.
The advice to dogs (supposedly from another dog) follows:
1. Be especially patient with your humans during this time. They may appear to be more stressed-out than usual and they will appreciate long comforting dog leans or rubs. 
2. They may come home with large bags of things they call gifts. Do not assume that all the gifts are yours. 
3. Be tolerant if your humans put decorations on you. They seem to get some special kind of pleasure out of seeing how you look with fake antlers. 
4. They may bring a large tree into the house and set it up in a prominent place and cover it with lights and decorations. Bizarre as this may seem to you, it is an important ritual for your humans, so there are some things you need to know: 
* Don't pee on the tree * Don't drink water in the container that holds the tree (It could make you sick)* Mind your tail when you are near the tree * If there are packages under the tree, even ones that smell interesting or that have your name on them, don't rip them open * Don't chew on the cord that runs from the funny-looking hole in the wall to the tree 
5. Your humans may occasionally invite lots of strangers to come visit during this season. These parties can be lots of fun, but they also call for some discretion on your part: * Not all strangers appreciate kisses and leans * Don't eat off the buffet table * Beg for goodies subtly * Be pleasant, even if unknowing strangers sit on your sofa * Don't drink out of glasses that are left within your reach 
6. Likewise, your humans may take you visiting. Here your manners will also be important: * Observe all the rules in #4 for trees that may be in other people's houses. (4a is particularly important) * Respect the territory of other animals that may live in the house * Tolerate children * Turn on your charm big time 
7. A big man with a white beard and a very loud laugh may emerge from your fireplace in the middle of the night. DON'T BITE HIM!!! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 has raced buy; still some time for last minute Christmas shopping

Where has the year gone? How can Christmas be just a few days away?
Time is running out for Christmas gifts suggestions, but here are some thoughts from this old guy with a white beard, and I’m not Santa.
I’ve always thought it is easy to find gifts for outdoors people, and a recent news release prepared by my friend Tammy Sapp at Bass Pro Shops, and formerly public relations vice president at the National Wild Turkey Federation, echoed some of my previous thoughts.
“For some folks, getting that perfect Christmas gift for a friend or family member can be a chore. The presents themselves may make your eyes roll to the back of your head and the shopping venue may not inspire either. 
“However, shopping for Christmas gifts for those who enjoy camping, fishing, boating, hunting, target shooting or other outdoor activity is not only easier, it’s actually a lot of fun,” wrote Tammy. 
Here’s why:
1) There is no documented evidence of a hunter, angler, boater, target shooter or camper who has everything. There are approximately a gazillion ways to enjoy the outdoors and the specialized gear to do that numbers in the jillions of gazillions. Suffice to say you’ll never run out of gift ideas. Ever.
2) If you’re an outdoor enthusiast yourself, shopping for other outdoor lovers is awesome when you apply the mathematical “one for you, one for me” gifting rule. Fun!
3) Your favorite hunter or angler will appreciate a gift that the average person would shun. Even presents that smell bad makes them happy. A bottle of deer pee? Yes, bring it on! Stinkbait for catfish? Please and thank you!
4) This may sound a little self-serving but gift giving to the outdoor lover can be a gateway to an amazing product testing gig. For example, give a friend some goose decoys, and you could find yourself in a layout blind waiting for some honkers to drop in. The gift of assorted crankbaits could translate into a day on the water helping the recipient fill the live well. What’s not to love?”
Tammy also listed a Bass Pro site where Christmas gift ideas can be found:
LOCAL SHOPS -- Local stores that carry outdoor equipment also are fun and good places to shop. People at these stores usually know what is popular and what is being sought by outdoor people in the local area.
KDFWR CERTIFICATE -- Consider a gift certificate from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Available online at, it functions much like a gift card. Recipients have five years from the date of purchase to redeem it online for licenses and permits, Kentucky Afield magazine subscriptions, Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area passes or summer camp registration fees.
For the avid hunter-angler, the Sportsman’s license offers a considerable savings compared to purchasing licenses and permits separately. It bundles a combination hunting and fishing license, statewide deer permit, spring and fall turkey permits, state migratory game bird-waterfowl permit and a trout permit at a cost of $95. 
A Junior Sportsman’s license for Kentucky residents ages 12-15 includes a youth hunting license, two junior deer permits and two junior turkey permits for $30. The new license year starts March 1, 2015.
While visiting Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s online home, check out the Kentucky Afield store. There, you can find some of the same apparel worn on the television show hosted by Tim Farmer, and find information if you’re interested in purchasing past episodes. The deer processing DVD is good for new and experienced deer hunters alike.
STOCKING STUFFERS -- Fishing lures, pocket knives, disposable hand warmers, small flashlights, and many others items you will find at your local fishing and hunting store will make good stocking stuffers.
BEST GIFT -- Give of your time and talent to a child, parent, friend. Just give them a card entitling them to a free day of hunting or fishing with you. It could be a weekend where you make the arrangements, or just a day at a local farm pond. Time and friendship is one of the best and most valuable gifts you can give.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Coyotes now found in every state

Yip, yips and howls from coyotes are fascinating and errie sounds. Once rarely heard in much of the Midwest, now the somewhat mournful sounds are common in every U. S. state. They frequently are heard at the edge of towns.
Many people believe that as deer populations have rebounded over the past half century, the coyote numbers have followed them.
Distinctive in appearance, coyotes have pointed noses, pointed ears that always stand erect, and fluffy tails, typically held low. Males can weigh up to 50 pounds, but most coyotes are smaller. In the eastern US, coyotes are typically darker in color, with tan, brown and black fur.
Coyotes spread their range eastward from the Plains and Mountain West, filling the ecological niche of the gray wolf and red wolf, native species that no longer exist here. Researchers believe the migration of coyotes into the southeastern US began in the 1950s.
Indiana DNR furbearer biologist recently prepared a report of coyotes for the 2015 Hunting & Trapping regulations. An abridged version follows:
“Coyotes adjust to landscape, including urban areas...Personal experiences shape our attitudes toward most wildlife. This is especially true for coyotes.
Thoughts range from worthless varmint that should be removed completely to a beautiful creature deserving of protection.
One thing for sure – Indiana is coyote country. Coyotes are a native species once limited to the prairie regions of western Indiana. Reports of coyotes in Indiana began to increase in the 1970s.
They have adjusted to the landscape changes and now are common in all Indiana counties, including many urban areas. For some Hoosiers, this is old news. For others, the sight of a coyote is new and little is known about how to live with this species.
Certainly, I have spent considerable time listening to them at Yellow Bank Wildlife Management Area across from Derby and up river from Derby. I’ve heard them a lot and seen them rarely.
The DNR has a full list of tips to minimize conflicts with coyotes.
If coyotes can find water and shelter, they will find something to eat. Their natural diet includes berries, birds, vegetation, rabbits, deer fawns, and animal remains, but they mostly eat small mammals such as mice, moles, and voles. Reducing the local rodent populations is a benefit to landowners that is often forgotten when talking about coyotes.
Studies have found that coyotes in urban areas have the same general needs as coyotes in rural areas. Human-supplied food items such as household garbage and garden vegetables, as well as domestic animals and pet food, have become part of their diet.
When there is plenty of food, coyote populations expand quickly. Coyotes breed in January and February, and pups are born in a den during March or April. A litter can be as few as one pup or exceed 10, with the average around five.
Small, undisturbed green spaces are all that coyotes need for a den site. A typical den is made underground with a pie-pan-sized entrance that opens into a larger area.
Coyotes usually form breeding pairs and raise their pups together. Lone coyotes do occur, especially in the fall when younger animals leave to establish their own territory. Breeding pairs will establish a territory and defend this area from other coyotes. Occasionally, yearling coyotes will remain with the breeding pair and new pups. When this occurs, it’s called a “group” rather than a “pack.”
Coyote discussions often revolve around conflicts. In rural areas conflicts include loss of livestock and pets or reaction to a trail camera capturing a coyote hauling off a deer fawn. Urban conflicts are focused on attacks on pets, concerns for safety, and fear of the unknown.
The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife manages trapping and hunting seasons for coyotes (Oct. 15 through March 15, 2015). The seasons are not meant to remove every animal, but they do provide a good, low-cost way to manage coyotes while giving hunters and trappers opportunities to pursue coyotes.
Coyotes also can be taken outside of these seasons on private land. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Winter is a good time to enjoy outdoor sports, but cold can be a danger

Many folks can’t wait till spring, however, winter is a good time to enjoy the outdoors. It’s a good time for fishing, hunting, hiking, looking for shed deer antlers as well as other activities.
 Preparation, equipment, including clothing, and common sense are key to safety and having a good cold weather outdoor experience. 
And after last year’s cold, difficult winter, the almanac folks and other long-range weather forecasters and calling for another colder 2014-15 December through March.
Dressing with clothing in layers is important for outdoor activities. You can always take layers off, if you become too warm while hiking or when involved in other outdoor recreation. It also is important to stay dry.
Jeff Manning with Heatmax, the makers of Hothands warms, says the most important thing in making a winter outing enjoyable is to plan ahead.
According to Manning, many people head out without checking the weather forecast and end up underdressed for conditions. That can happen in spring and fall as well. I learned the hard way.
Anyone who spends time outdoors should know about hypothermia, its symptoms and what to do about it. It’s the No. 1 killer of outdoor enthusiasts.
Knowing the symptoms of hypothermia and how to prevent it, could save your life or the life of someone else.
There are three stages of hypothermia. The first appears as uncontrolled shivering, mental sluggishness, and uncoordinated, and slurred speech.  The second or moderate stage includes possible irrational behavior, violent shivering, slurred speech and loss of motor functions like tying shoe laces.
As it progresses into the severe stages, shivering may stop, muscle rigidity begins, breathing, pulse and blood pressure slow and a comatose state soon follows.
The treatment differs somewhat for each level, but re-warming the person is critical. Ironically, the majority of cases of hypothermia occur at temperatures of 30 to 50-degrees, not bitter cold weather.
I recall once making a foolish mistake by not dressing properly on a late spring fishing trip in Canada with my friend, Ted Legge. The temperature probably was near 70 degrees, but quickly dropped to the 50’s. A sunny sky turned to a cold rain. I was soaked while fishing in a boat mid-lake. I quickly went into early hypothermia. I had difficulty buttoning my shirt or doing much of anything.
Once I made it to shore and started hiking back to the cabin, I was OK. I learned a lesson.
To help prevent hypothermia, never drink alcoholic beverages when out in the cold. Alcohol slows circulation. 
Dress in loosely layered clothing made of synthetic materials to help trap body heat.
If your clothing becomes wet, get to a sheltered area, out of the wind. Remove wet clothing and replace it with dry items or cover up with a dry blanket.
Pay special attention to your hands, feet and head, keeping these areas covered at all times. Avoid wrapping clothing too tightly around limbs as this can inhibit your blood flow. Never warm up too quickly. While the temptation is to plunge into a steaming bath, bringing your body temperature up slowly is best.
In severe cold, covering exposed skin especially in windy conditions is the best way to safeguard against another villain--frost bite. Skin protections can help to some degree but covering up your nose, fingers and toes is the biggest step in keeping frostbite away.
When enjoying the outdoors, always let someone know where you will be and when you expect to return. It also is a good idea to have a partner.
In addition, keeping an eye on your environment and being prepared for an emergency will help keep you safe during winter outings.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Wild turkey different than domestic bird; cooking process also varies

 If you are lucky enough to have a wild turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you will have a bird that is better for your health than a domestic bird. I’m not knocking the tame variety, because I’ll be eating one.    
In Kentucky, the wild turkey has made a wonderful comeback and undoubtedly wild birds will be found on a numbr of tables this week, but most people like the Junkers will be eating the domestic variety.
 So what’s the difference between wild and domestic turkeys?
      According to the national Wild Turkey Federation, the domesticated turkey, which most Americans eat every year for Thanksgiving, isn’t as healthy as the one that hunters pursue in the spring and fall.  
     Most pen-raised turkeys live on ground feed and are given antibiotics to keep them healthy. They’ve also been bred to have more breast meat, meatier thighs and white feathers.
     Wild turkeys, on the other hand, feed on acorns, grasses, fruits and plants, which provide them with natural vitamins. And because they forage for what they eat, wild turkeys have less fat content than their domestic cousin.
     “It’s no secret wild turkeys, like any wildlife, tend to search for more nutritional food until they find it,” said Dr. James Earl Kennamer, National Wild Turkey Federation senior vice president of conservation programs. “They prefer acorns, seeds, small insects and wild berries.”
  Pen-raised turkeys grow faster than their wild relatives because modern production methods have sped up the time it takes for tame turkeys to mature. In just 18 weeks, male turkeys can reach a market weight of 35 pounds. Wild gobblers are only five pounds at that age and not nearly plump enough for table fare. You might say wild turkeys are slow grown in the woods, which means that what you’re eating is all-natural, not some frozen food that’s been raised for mass consumption.
     “It’s definitely much healthier to eat wild turkey,” said Chef Albert Wutsch, director of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Academy of Culinary Arts. “Wild turkeys aren’t given dietary supplements or bred for a specific color and flavor.”
     Just as there are genetic differences between wild turkeys and the tamed variety, there also are differences in the way they are cooked and prepared. 
     “One of the most meaningful ways to share in nature’s bounty is by sharing the fruits of the hunt with friends and family," said Rob Keck, head of the NWTF. 
     It is important that wild game is properly field dressed and frozen. Amy Minish, registered dietician in Alabama, says an important first step is to field dress the wild turkey----—or remove its internal parts—soon after the bird is killed. Doing so helps prevent bacteria from spreading to the meat.  She also recommends cooking the turkey at an internal breast temperature of 160 degrees.
      “If you remember nothing else, remember the flavor of game meat depends partly on how it was handled in the woods, how it was hauled home and when it was cleaned,” said Keck. “Many who have eaten wild turkey and think it’s too gamey have likely tasted meat from a poorly field dressed bird.”
     Traditionalists say no turkey is fit for the table without its skin, so years ago, turkeys were plucked by hunters or camp cooks after a long day in the woods.
      Actually, the decision about whether to skin or pluck really depends on how you plan to cook the turkey. For methods that can dry out the meat, such as roasting, the skin should be left on to seal in moisture. Plucking, rather than skinning, also reduces the risk of freezer burn.
 But if skinless is your choice, consider deep-fried wild turkey; the meat will be moist and tender. 
Tips for deep-frying your wild turkey can be found in the NWTF’s Wild About Turkey & Morecookbook: In the cookbook, NWTF volunteers have shared their favorite turkey recipes; many are like heirlooms that have been handed down for generations. 
Also included in the cookbook are ways to bring your game from the woods to a warm kitchen, steps that include field dressing your bird to giving new life to leftovers. Several pages are devoted to the history of turkey hunting, a pastime rich in tradition that began long before settlers came to America.
     Wild About Turkey & More can be ordered by calling 1-800-THE-NWTF or order online at