Outdoors

Bored of the indoors? These are the best outdoor activities for social distancing

The best activities for this summer are the ones that involve staying away from people. After much of the country spent the winter and spring cooped up inside, many people are probably looking for ways to get out of the house during the summer months. Since the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, however, it’s important to remember to social distance. This can be hard with typical summer activities, like going to the beach, amusement parks or outdoor concerts, which all tend to draw large crowds. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, however, posted on its website that most fishing rods are the perfect length for social distancing. On its website, the AGFC wrote, “Most common fishing rods are between 6 and 7 feet long, the distance the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend to space apart from others in public. Of course, the best way to practice this technique is to get outside and enjoy some angling.” While fishing is definitely a great option for people looking to spend some time outside, it might not be for everyone. For families looking to get the kids out of the house, Health.gov writes that playgrounds may not be a great choice, even if they’re empty. Since a lot of people use and touch the equipment, an empty playground can still have germs. Instead, Health.gov recommends playing games like hopscotch or four-square, which keep kids (and sometimes parents) active and don’t require any equipment (other than some chalk and some space). Health.gov also recommends avoiding activities like group fitness classes and team sports. The website recommends practicing individual skills, whenever possible, in an open space. They also recommend going to parks but avoiding ones that are too crowded. Also, the website advises that people come prepared knowing that certain facilities at these parks, like concessions and bathrooms, will likely be closed.

For more, click on the text above.

Survival during coronavirus: Food adventurer, chef fights to save public television show teaching lessons of self-sufficiency

If self-sufficiency had a face, Georgia Pellegrini would be it. After leaving a lucrative job on Wall Street more than a decade ago, Pellegrini enrolled in culinary school and embraced a life that relied on the land around her — teaching herself how to hunt the wild boar and squirrel of the Mississippi Delta, bow fish alligator gar in the bayous of Louisiana and forage weeds in urban sidewalk cracks for nourishing meals. Pellegrini’s philosophy of self-sustainability is now more pertinent than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people everywhere to adapt their basic survival skills and learn what she calls “manual literacy” — or work with their hands — as modern-day conveniences such as restaurants and stores have shuttered their doors. “Learning to rely on your own two hands is the most important thing we can do as humans,” said 39-year-old Pellegrini, who is also an author based in Austin, Texas. “It’s incredibly empowering,” she said. “We’re seeing this resurgence in people baking their own bread or gardening for the first time. I think people are recognizing that becoming self-sufficient makes us far more immune to these global or local events. As hard as this time has been, it’s also brought a great lesson on how these skills are important to hold onto.” Pellegrini — whose third book, “Modern Pioneering,” sold out on Amazon during the outbreak — had plans to share such valuable skills with American households in a new show to air on PBS. But due to economic hardship in the wake of COVID-19, Pellegrini was left without the essential funding to pay for the distribution costs. Now she’s launching a campaign to raise the money herself. As of Thursday, Pellegrini had raised 40 percent of the required $30,000 on her crowdfunding site for the show, named “Modern Pioneering” after her book, a unique manual of basic garden-to-table recipes and life lessons — from learning how to preserve food for months in a pantry to assembling a 48-hour survival tool kit that can fit in a mint tin. She still has a way to go before July 1, the deadline for which to raise the funds. “It’s been a frustrating blow to know that we’ve got this content ready to distribute and we don’t have the funds to pay for the distribution costs,” Pellegrini said. “The episodes are already filmed and a top-notch producer and crew are on board,” she said. “We just need to raise enough money to pay for the distribution costs that will allow the show to reach 99 percent of U.S. households, giving free access to everyone regardless of whether they can afford cable or Netflix.” A national rise in hunting applications and fishing licenses may be indicative of a desire to return to the life Pellegrini embodies. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Colorado Parks and Wildlife received 624,104 applications for its annual big game draw — an increase from last year. As of April 22, 14,443 fishing licenses had been sold in the state since registration opened on March 1, the newspaper reported. In Vermont, resident fishing license sales are up by more than 50 percent from this time last year, and combination hunting and fishing license sales have increased by almost a quarter, according to an analysis by the Vermont Digger. Turkey hunting licenses are especially popular, with sales reportedly up 26 percent in time for the season’s start, which was May 1. “Long term, it has the potential to be really good,” Louis Porter, the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife commissioner, told the Vermont Digger, saying the upward trend in sales may “re-engage folks who have lost touch with how much they enjoyed standing in front of a lake with their kid, fishing.” For Pellegrini, who grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley, the quest to live a self-sufficient life represents a cause greater than herself. “I wanted to create content that was truly valuable for people’s lives,” Pellegrini said. “I want to show them how they can find value where the rest of the world doesn’t think there is — whether it be creative ways to make the most with what they already have, or what is at their fingertips in nature.” “Unfortunately, a lot of our higher education is not teaching such basic skills anymore and there’s a real need for it,” she added. “It’s really been only a generation or two since those skills have been lost, and we can get them back.”

Let’s hope so!  We wish Georgia success with her new show.  America needs to be self-sufficient.  For more, click on the text above to see her video.       🙂

People taking on hunting amid meat shortages in the US

Some Americans are taking on hunting for the first time amid meat shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report on Sunday. New Mexico resident David Elliot first considered hunting elk back in January to help feed friends and family when the U.S. reported its initial coronavirus case — despite not owning a rifle or ever hunting large animals before. He received a permit to shoot a female elk and plans to attend a hunt in November. “I want to make sure it’s a clean, humane shot, as much as possible, and get a bunch of food,” Elliot said, according to Reuters. An increase in hunting licenses and permit applications have been reported by game and fish agencies in multiple states this spring, as the virus continues to spread throughout the U.S. A resurgence is expected with meat shelves at grocery stores noticeably empty for the first time during the last two months, said Hank Forester of the Quality Deer Management Association. “People are starting to consider self-reliance and where their food comes from,” Forester told the news organization. “We’re all born hunters.” Nina Stafford, 42, a building contractor in Georgia killed her first deer back in January, which gave her confidence she could find her next meal amid potential food shortages. “The coronavirus has only made me want to go and do it more so that I don’t have that scared feeling of where’s my next meal going to come from,” said Stafford, according to Reuters. Others feel that hunting allows them to get away and clear their head during a stressful time for many Americans. “Its been so important for me, being able to go out and kind of cleanse my mental card and just go and be present, you really have to be present, and quiet and listening,” said Nathaniel Evans, 38, a teacher who shot a 17-pound wild turkey last month in New Mexico, the news organization reported.

 

Trump administration announces plan to open more wildlife refuge land to hunting, fishing

The Trump administration plans to open 2.3 million acres of land for hunting and fishing at more than 100 national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries under a proposal unveiled Wednesday that is aimed at giving Americans more recreational access on public lands. The plan earned applause from several hunting and fishing groups, but criticism from one conservation organization that called it “tone deaf” to focus on this during the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal would allow fishing for the first time at several national wildlife refuges, including San Diego Bay in California, Alamosa in Colorado, Bombay Hook in Delaware and Umbagog in Maine and New Hampshire and Everglades Headwaters in Florida, according to a list posted online. It would also allow alligator hunting at three national wildlife refuges: Banks Lake in Georgia, Laguna Atascosa in Texas and Savannah in Georgia and South Carolina. In Arizona, hunters would be able to go after mountain lions and mule deer at Cabeza Prieta and bobcats, fox, and mountain lions at Buenos Aires, both national wildlife refuges. In Oregon, migratory bird hunting will be allowed for the first time at Wapato Lake and Hart Mountain national wildlife refuges. “America’s hunters and anglers now have something significant to look forward to in the fall as we plan to open and expand hunting and fishing opportunities across more acreage nationwide than the entire state of Delaware,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement. The plan was announced as part of the Interior Department’s annual review ahead of the upcoming hunting season, department spokesman Conner Swanson said. Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam said in a statement the timing is perfect since Americans hunkered-down during the pandemic are looking for open spaces to recreate. “As millions of people around the country feel trapped in their own homes due to the COVID-19 virus, having the opportunity to hunt and fish in the quiet of the wilderness or the tranquility of a lake is perhaps more important now than its ever been,” Putnam said. “There’s never been a better time to enjoy the solitude of our public lands and distance yourself from the crowds.” People will have 60 days to comment on the proposal.

This is AWESOME news!  And, even though this was just part of the annual review, it couldn’t have come at a better time.  For more more info, click on the text above.   Excellent!!     🙂

Missouri to waive fishing permit requirements during coronavirus outbreak

Missouri will waive fishing permit requirements due to the novel coronavirus until at least mid-April, according to the state’s Department of Conservation (MDC). The MDC and the Missouri Conservation Commission will allow waivers for sport fishing and daily trout tags for residents and nonresidents from Friday until April 15, when officials will “reassess the situation,” according to the department. Other regulations on dates, limits and methods remain in place. “Missouri’s rivers and streams offer high-quality fishing as a way for people to connect with nature while still complying with all health and safety recommendations,” MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley said in a statement on the department’s website. “Fishing is also a great way to get some much-needed physical and mental health benefits during this stressful time.” Pauley also called for residents to stick to existing health recommendations on hand-washing and social distancing amid the pandemic. Missouri’s three state-controlled public trout-fishing parks are open for day fishing, while Maramec Spring Park in St. James, which is operated by the James Foundation, is closed for fishing and all other activities, authorities said. State parks will close overnight camping and lodging beginning Friday to minimize the chance of spreading coronavirus, Missouri Department of Natural Resources authorities said. Other states are looking at similar waivers. On Friday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills tweeted that she directed wildlife authorities in her state “to open all inland waters for fishing immediately” and to waive the recreational fishing license requirement. “There’s nothing better for the heart and soul than a little fishing,” she wrote. “The great outdoors is still open.” The Maine waivers do not apply to anyone who has had their license suspended or revoked, according to the governor’s website, and they do not apply to commercial freshwater fishing. In Arkansas, the Game and Fish Commission voted in favor of a similar policy that began over the weekend, KATV reported. And in Oregon, following an order from Gov. Kate Brown for residents to “stay home, save lives,” fish and wildlife officials clarified that fishing and hunting remain legal, according to the Statesman Journal.

Kudos to Missouri, and these other state, for doing this for the folks.  Fishing IS, indeed good for the “heart and soul.”  Hopefully other states will follow Missouri’s fine lead.    🙂

Wyoming approves first Yellowstone-area grizzly bear hunt in 44 years, backlash erupts

The state of Wyoming announced that grizzly bear hunts are back, and the first one will take place this fall. It will be the first such hunt since 1974. Hunters will be able to capture and kill up to 22 of the large brown bears across a wide area east and south of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. After hearing from both opponents and supporters of the proposal, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission voted 7-0 on May 24 in favor of resuming the hunt, the Associated Press reported. “We heard from the people of Wyoming, they were supportive of this. It’s pretty clear the science supports this,” Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman Renny MacKay told the outlet. Hunting is set to begin Sept. 1 in mountains and basins with a relatively sparse grizzly population, before the hunting zone is moved closer to the park by Sept. 15 and end by Nov. 15, if legal challenges don’t interpose. Grizzly bears were removed from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered list in June 2017 after 42 years of federal protection, the National Park Service reports. The population of grizzlies around Yellowstone leapt from under 150 in the mid-1970s to 690 in 2017. “This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of the state, tribal, federal and private partners,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said at the time, speaking about the grizzly’s removal of the federal protection list. But the news of the impending hunt has not been embraced by all. “This is a very sad day for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region. Wyoming’s decision to allow up to [22] grizzly bears to be killed, including 13 females, just for a trophy on a wall marks a huge setback for grizzly bear recovery,” the Sierra Club lamented in reaction. “Allowing a trophy hunt of these majestic animals ‒ the second-slowest mammal to reproduce in North America ‒ so soon after they lost Endangered Species protections does nothing to build public confidence in state management of grizzly bears.” “Killing grizzlies for fun, when there is ample scientific evidence that the population is not growing, food sources have already been diminished, and the further effects of climate change is unknown, is preposterous,” added nature photographer Tom Mangelsen said. According to The Hill, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has received over 185,000 comments opposing the proposed hunt. The commission, however, stands by its claim that they are taking a “conservative” approach to the matter.

And, indeed they are!  The numbers went from under 150 in the 1970s to 690 last year..   And, they’re only allowing the harvest of 22.  C’mon!  The Sierra Club, as usual is being ridiculous and nonsensical.  The enviro-wakos are losing their minds.  Further, I’m sure there will be a meat-harvesting requirement as there is for any hunting tag.  So, they won’t be just shot and stuffed.  That’s what these lunatics want those not familiar with hunting to think actually happens.  It’s bs; fake news.  But, its the typical lies spread by these nutcases.

Texas huntress forced to defend her lifestyle after receiving death threats

A woman in Texas has built a following on social media for her hunting prowess — but it hasn’t always been positive. Nikki Tate, a lawyer in Dallas, has amassed over 11,000 followers on her Instagram with pictures of herself and her hunting dogs posing with carcasses of deer, hogs and waterfowl. The 27-year-old attorney started hunting “about 10 years ago” at her uncle’s ranch in South Texas, The Daily Mail reports. “It was then when I shot a bow for the first time. I loved the challenge, and given my athletic history and competitive personality, I instantly became addicted,” she said, The Daily Mail reported. Her addiction started with bucks and then moved on to waterfowl. “Ever since that moment, I have been hooked. I’ve hunted several animals, but my favorite by far is waterfowl,” Tate said. “I was always told to stay away from waterfowl hunting or else I would never go back to hunting anything else. Well, they were right,” she added. Tate uses her social media presence to show her kills, as well as share tricks of the trade and endorse products that she uses on her own hunts – and, perhaps most importantly, explain the reasons behind her hunting lifestyle, which some have taken issue with as being controversial. “We eat everything we kill, unless we are hunting predators,” Tate said. “My husband and I skin everything ourselves, and if we can’t eat everything, we donate it to organizations that are aimed at feeding the homeless.” “We pride ourselves in only taking ethical shots, and work hard to make sure that it happens,” she added. Tate has a revolving arsenal for her different hunts. She uses a 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun for duck and dove hunting, a Ruger.270 rifle for deer, and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle for predator hunting. Tate says she spends “almost every weekend waterfowl hunting,” but does try to “get a few deer hunts in a year to help fill the freezer,” naming a 170-pound buck as her largest kill. That particular deer fed her family for nearly six months, she said. Aside from meat, Tate says she hunts for conservation concerns and predator control. “Hunting helps maintain animal populations at levels that are compatible with human life/activity. For example, hogs are insanely overpopulated and can cause serious damage to agricultural products, fields, and other vegetation, which can harm livestock. We also hunt coyotes and bobcats for purposes of predator control,” she shared. Tate has received a lot of support from the hunting community both on and offline, but she still has had her detractors. Some of those morally opposed to hunting have issued death threats Tate via social media. But, Tate continues doing what she loves and trying to teach respect. “I pride myself in respecting others for their beliefs and practices, regardless of whether I agree with them,” she said. “I hunt for food, conservation, friendship, and so much more, all of which are very important to me. If I can respect others’ beliefs, values, and reasons (even those that involve human life and death), please respect mine.” Tate plans to continue moving forward by sharing her hunting stories and “shedding a positive light” on the reasons behind them. “I am who I am and I am not going to change that,” she said.

We hope you never do, Nikki!  What a great role model for the hunting community!  To see some photos of Nikki in her element, click on the text above.  Excellent!!   🙂

Missouri hunter bags 39-point buck after four years of trying

A Missouri hunter finally landed his ultimate prize: a 39-point buck dubbed “the St. Paul giant.” Tim Phillips wrote on Facebook he was “lucky enough to bag” the buck on Saturday, after hunting the animal several years. “After 4 years of hunting the St. Paul giant I finally was lucky enough to bag him. #Walter 39 pointer counting ring hooks. 32 points counting inch or more. ROUGH SCORE 243!” Phillips said in a Facebook post. Believe it or not, this isn’t even the first time Philliips, or someone he knew, had actually shot this specific buck. Phillips told KFVS a woman shot the same deer in 2014, and that his dad struck it with a bow just nine days before he took it down. In the latter case, Phillips says he and his father tried tracking the wounded deer with dogs, to no avail. Not long afterward, though, he was able to bag the buck on his own — for the most part at least: According to KVFS, Phillips also made sure to thank his wife for putting up with his obsession. “Tim says thank you!” the site wrote on his behalf.

Congrats to Tim!  To see photos of Tim with his prize, click on the text above.     🙂

Granny bags gator while on hunt with son, grandchildren

A South Carolina grandmother pulled in a 12-foot, 494-pound alligator in the final hours of the state’s annual public hunt over the weekend as her son and two of her grandkids looked on. Deborah Swails, 60, received an alligator hunt permit from the state’s Department of Natural Resources after her son Joe insisted she apply for the lottery-style drawing. The state issues 1,000 permits a year, but approximately five times that many apply. When Joe Swails called his mother to tell her she’d received a permit, “I wanted to choke him,” Deborah Swails told the Post and Courier newspaper. The paper reported that the Swails made several expeditions with no luck bagging a gator. But at 3 a.m. Saturday, nine hours before the season was due to end, they hooked their massive catch. “You know you have something on there, but it felt like a log,” said Swails, who told the Post and Courier she didn’t realize how large it was until its head broke the surface after 20 minutes on the hook. “Oooh, my God,” she said. “I wanted to call for help.” With the help of Joe and Joe’s children — 13-year-old McKenna and 10-year-old Jackson — Deborah wrestled the gator to the side of the boat, where it was finished off with several shots from a revolver. The family plans to serve the meat at a family cookout while Deborah keeps the head as a trophy.

Excellent!!  To see a photo of this beast, and to read more, click on the text above.    🙂

Michigan hunters told orange, not pink, is safer choice

As hunting season rolls around, those looking to enjoy the sport in Michigan must wear “blaze orange.” A ruling this week by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission rejected a proposal for hunters to have the option of wearing “hunter pink” as their primary safety color in the woods, the Detroit Free Press reported. “The commission has retained the blaze orange requirement for hunter safety,” Ed Golder, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, told the Press. With the decision, Michigan joins Illinois, Maine and Montana in rejecting “hunter pink,” an option that has been touted as a way of encouraging more women to take up hunting. “Hunter pink” has been embraced in Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Virginia and Wisconsin, the Press reported. “We don’t know for certain whether the introduction of blaze pink camo will encourage more women to take up hunting, but many people do, so let’s hope it’s true,” Mike Bazinet, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s director of public affairs, told BearingArms.com earlier this year. “The broader trend of more clothing designed and tailored for women involved in the activity is definitely here, however,” Bazinet added. “Go into a Cabela’s or Bass Pro or virtually any other outdoor retailer, and you will find a wide selection of hunting apparel for women.” Michigan hunters can still wear pink to compliment an outfit, as long as one prominent piece of clothing — such as a hat, jacket or vest — is blaze orange and is “the individual’s outermost garment and be visible from all sides,” the commission ruled. “To be clear, this doesn’t mean that people can’t wear the pink. If you want to wear hunter pink, if you want to wear green, that’s fine. But you have to comply with our blaze-orange requirement,” Golder added. The blaze orange color, an international standard for safety, has resulted in fewer hunting-related injuries and deaths, according to the report, and has been a requirement in Michigan since the 1970s. The report also argued not everyone is in support of switching to hunter pink, and “many claim it divides the hunting community.” That certainly seemed the case earlier this year in Virginia, when state lawmakers debated the question. “There are women who like to hunt, but it’s not about fashion,” Sen. R. Creigh Deeds told Bearing Arms.com. “It’s about being in the woods. And the purpose you wear a color is so somebody can see you and they don’t shoot in your direction. I mean, blaze pink — I just think it’s silly.” Seems that some people in Michigan agree.

Indeed…   The whole notion of “blaze pink” is patronizing toward women, and is putting some trendy fashion sense ahead of common sense.  Blaze orange is universally accepted as the color that hunters should wear, and I’ve already heard from women who think the whole “hunter pink” think is ridiculous.  The smart course of action would be to make “blaze orange” the standard for all states, to erase any confusion and make hunter safety the priority.