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January 09, 2009
Chad Love: Joe the Plumber

I've been writing (poorly, some would argue) for pay (way too little, I would argue) since about 1996, during which I have shamelessly pursued every little bit of swag, bling and/or complimentary product and service I could attach my greedy velcro fingers to.

To date I have managed to score exactly two expenses-paid trips to cover bass tournaments (both taken well over 10 years ago) and - way back when they first came out -  a sample pack of Terminator spinnerbaits.

And if you want to know how successful I've become as a bling-collecting outdoors writer since then, consider this: Earlier this year I wrapped one of those by-now tattered Terminators around a submerged log. Rather than simply snapping the line and tying on a new one from my well-stocked bag full of complimentary tackle, I went wading because A. my tackle box is neither well-stocked nor complimentary, and B. A five-dollar spinnerbait is still a five-dollar spinnerbait even if it's older than my first child.

The point is, writing - of any kind -  is a hard, lonely gig. You pay your dues by toiling in obscurity and poverty for years, patiently perfecting your craft and hoping that somewhere, someone will recognize your hard work and give you a shot. Because when you're a nobody in this business nothing is given: you earn it.

At least that's what I used to believe. Now I realize, of course, that I was a naive dumbass. 

Joe the Plumber to become war correspondent

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Joe The Plumber is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter's notebook. The Ohio man who became a household name during the presidential campaign says he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for the conservative Web site pjtv.com. Samuel J. Wurzelbacher (WUR'-zuhl-bah-kur) says he'll spend 10 days covering the fighting. He tells WNWO-TV in Toledo that he wants to let Israel's "'Average Joes' share their story." Wurzelbacher gained attention during the final weeks of the campaign when he asked Barack Obama about his tax plan. He later joined Republican John McCain on the campaign trail. At one stop, he agreed with a McCain supporter who asked if he believed a vote for Obama was a vote for the death of Israel.

That's right, Joe the Plumber is now Joe the Journalist, and he's getting a break that literally thousands of real journalists would gladly give half a reproductive organ for. Now I'm not bagging on Joe: he may be the next Ernie Pyle for all I know, but maybe he should get his feet wet by covering a city commission meeting or two before he heads into a war zone. It's ridiculous, it's a blatant publicity stunt and it's patently unfair to ink-stained wretches everywhere, but gimmickry is what modern America thrives on and Joe will probably end up parlaying this fraud into a regular column for Time or Newsweek and his own cable talk show.

I'm just worried that Joe also likes to hunt and fish. He's the shizzle right now now and provided he makes it back from Israel alive the editors of a certain outdoors magazine may want to capitalize on that fame by sending him on one of those plum destination assignments I've been fruitlessly begging and pleading for. Joe the Plumber flyfishes Patagonia. Joe the Plumber bags a record kudu on safari. Joe the Plumber shoots grouse over the Queen's dogs in England. Joe the Plumber gets three thousand words in the feature well every month to write whatever he wants while Chad the Blogger makes news by drowning while attempting to recover his last freebie spinnerbait... 

 

 

 

 


Discussion Topic: President Bush Protects Three Marine Ecosystems

President Bush actually won (grudging) praise from environmentalists this week, announcing that he will create three new marine national monuments in the Pacific Ocean. Problem is, at least for now, it will keep some recreational anglers out.

From the Washington Post:

In making the decision, Bush overruled the objections of recreational fishing interests and Vice President Cheney, who argued that the restrictions would create a dangerous precedent. Recreational fishermen will be required to apply for permits to fish in the protected areas. . . .

Michael Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association, decried the new policy, saying that it presumes recreational fishing is "an evil activity."

"If you're going to keep the public out of a public area, you need a darned good reason to do that," said Nussman. . . . "We don't think they've met that 'darned good reason' test."

Check out the full article and tell us what you think.


January 08, 2009
Chad Love: Survival of the Weakest?

My primary deer hunting spot is an extremely popular and heavily-utilized public hunting area. Beginning in October bowhunters swarm this place, followed by legions of blackpowder hunters, who are in turn followed by division-strength hordes of orange-swaddled, cell phone-talking, cannon-toting sniper wannabes whose primary woodcraft skills involve walking around loudly and aimlessly, leaving truly prodigious amounts of trash strewn across the landscape and then gathering around their RV to bitch about not being allowed to drive ATVs on the area.

Ultra-deadly super predators they're not.

But according to a recent Newsweek article featured on Stephen Bodio's excellent Querencia blog, the modern hunter is so efficient and so effective that he is single-handedly responsible for no less than the wholesale reversal of the evolutionary process.

From the story:

It’s Survival of the Weak and Scrawny :Researchers see 'evolution in reverse' as hunters kill off prized animals with the biggest antlers and pelts.

"Researchers describe what's happening as none other than the selection process that Darwin made famous: the fittest of a species survive to reproduce and pass along their traits to succeeding generations, while the traits of the unfit gradually disappear. Selective hunting—picking out individuals with the best horns or antlers, or the largest piece of hide—works in reverse: the evolutionary loser is not the small and defenseless, but the biggest and best-equipped to win mates or fend off attackers."

The gist of the article is that by selectively harvesting the largest and most impressive specimens hunters are, in essence, altering the natural evolutionary process by allowing smaller, weaker inferior animals to sneak in to breed and propagate their traits. It sounds plausible in theory, especially to a non-hunting public that assumes hunting involves walking into the woods, choosing the animal you want and then shooting it as it placidly chews its cud and gazes at you with its big brown deer eyes. In reality, it's a ludicrous assertion. For example, take a look at the age-class breakdown for any recent state deer season harvest and compare that data to the same harvest data from say, 30 years ago. If the article's basic thesis were true, by now we should be shooting whitetails with the body size of a dik dik, the rack of a pygmy goat and the brain of a TSA airport screener, right?

But here's a serendipitous juxtaposition between agenda and reality.

From the story:

"Elk still range across parts of North America, but every hunting season brings a greater challenge to find the sought-after bull with a towering spread of antlers."  

Field Notes:

"Perhaps the largest elk ever produced in the wild—a Utah bull taken in 2008 by a hunter on public land—has been confirmed as a new World's Record. The official declaration was made today by the Boone and Crockett Club."

And remember my public hunting area, which according to the article's reasoning should by now be thoroughly de-populated of dominant bucks? One evening recently I sat on the side of a hill on that area and watched through binos as one after another buck slowly walked into a small winter wheat field and began feeding. These bucks had been subjected to constant, unending hunting pressure for over three months and survived. I'm fervently hopeful that they all got busy during the rut and passed on their inferior genes to the next generation because I can get into that kind of evolutionary monkey-wrenching...


January 06, 2009
Discussion Topic: Brady Campaign Sues Over Park Gun Rule

From a Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence press release:

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence today filed suit in federal court asking that the court strike down a last-minute Bush Administration rule change allowing concealed, loaded firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. 

“The Bush Administration’s last-minute gift to the gun lobby, allowing concealed semiautomatic weapons in national parks, jeopardizes the safety of park visitors in violation of federal law,” said Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke.  “We should not be making it easier for dangerous people to carry concealed firearms in our parks.”

Your reaction?



Breaking News: B&C Confirms New World Record Elk

From a Boone and Crockett Club press release:

Perhaps the largest elk ever produced in the wild—a Utah bull taken in 2008 by a hunter on public land—has been confirmed as a new World's Record. The official declaration was made today by the Boone and Crockett Club.

A Special Judges Panel determined a final score of 478-5/8 Boone and Crockett non-typical points, an incredible 93 inches above the B&C minimum score of 385 for non-typical American elk and 13-plus inches larger than the previous World’s Record.



Video Report: Impatient Motorist Causes 6 Utah Elk To Leap To Their Deaths

From ABC4 News:

“The car in front of us slowed down,” recalled [witness Marchelle] Elmer, “we slowed down. . . .” Then trouble comes around the bend. “This Land Rover came flying past us and started pushing the elk down [the highway]. . . .

Most of the elk ran down the road.  Six. . .  [jumped] over the railing. . . plunging down onto the lanes below.  Those six died.


January 05, 2009
Chad Love: Cloning Neanderthals

The reasons we hunt are many and varied, but a big one for me is the feeling that every time I slip into the woods I am connecting with something buried deep within my genome, something that allows me to see and feel - ever so faintly -   the ghostly after-image of an ancient memory seared so powerfully into the consciousness of our ancestors that it survives still, reaching across untold millennia to remind those of us who care to listen of whence we came.

But as it turns out, from whence we came may not be so far as we thought from whence we are... 

From the story:

Last week in Nature, scientists reported major progress in sequencing the genome of woolly mammoths. They reconstructed it from two fossilized hair samples. One was 20,000 years old; the other was 65,000 years old. Now, according to Nicholas Wade of the New York Times, biologists are discussing "how to modify the DNA in an elephant's egg so that after each round of changes it would progressively resemble the DNA in a mammoth egg. The final-stage egg could then be brought to term in an elephant mother.

 That's certainly interesting, but here's where it gets a little personal for us bipedal hominids...

The full genome of the Neanderthal, an ancient human species probably driven to extinction by the first modern humans that entered Europe some 45,000 years ago, is expected to be recovered shortly. If the mammoth can be resurrected, the same would be technically possible for Neanderthals.
Raquel
Now I'm fully aware of the whole Neanderthal debate and whether they shared a common ancestor or were completely separate from modern humans and if they were too primitive and well, stupid to evolve in the face of  human competition. There's a growing body of evidence to suggest that Neanderthals were in fact highly evolved and adaptable hunters but who knows and really, who cares? Anyone who can bring down a mammoth with a spear is pretty damn advanced in my book and I consider them an ancestor in spirit if not DNA.

Even if cloning a Neanderthal becomes technically possible, I'm sure there are too many thorny bioethical questions for it to occur. However, I have a few suggestions just in case: First, our newly-minted Neanderthal needs to find these guys and whip their asses good. They're giving primitives a bad name. Second, our Neanderthal needs to attend the SHOT show as a living reminder that to be successful as a hunter doesn't require an endless barrage of mostly-useless crap. Third, the F&S Total Outdoorsman Challenge. Who's gonna beat him? You?

And lastly, he needs to hold the short-sighted scientists who created him in his extra-powerful grasp  until they either agree to clone a lady Neanderthal or convince Raquel Welch to break out the fur bikini.  


January 02, 2009
Week in Review: Best of the Boards

Get your new year started right – by checking out this week’s Best of the Boards. We’ve got surfers on enormous waves, killer whales crushing canoes, battling bucks and giant salamanders. You won’t (and shouldn’t) believe some of these photos and videos from around the message board world.

Video: Killer whale crushing canoe isn't real (scroll down to find out why) (stripersonline.com)
Topic: Driver runs elk off cliff (monstermuleys.com)
Video: Bucks battle to the death (msbowman.com)
Video: Dolphin Stampede! (2coolfishing.net)
Pics: Enormous Iowa Buck (huntingforums.com)
Video: Biggest wave ever surfed? (stripersonline.com)
Pics: World record elk? (biggamehunt.net)
Pics: 10-foot salamanders? (jessehunting.com)
Topic: Bluegills as striper bait? (bassbarn.com)
Topic: Same fish twice in one day? (salmoncrazy.com)


December 31, 2008
Chad Love: Doomed Resolutions

2008 is almost in the books, and with it go all those goal-oriented lies I happily deluded myself into stating at this very time last year. I now have a fresh and unsullied set of lies ready to go. All I need is a good hangover cure, a few spoonfuls of black-eyed peas, a short-lived sense of purpose and optimism and a week or two in which to stave off reality.

To be honest I get a little melancholy this time of year because I know that January is the final gasp, the last fading exhalation of the season before the deep freeze of late winter sets in.

But hey, I've still got two weeks of bow season, a couple more weeks of duck season if the water stays open and the quail and pheasant are still out there mocking me. Plus, the good folks at Cabela's just sent me their official February survival kit. They may call it a spring fishing catalog, but that and a warm, cozy bathroom is all I need to make it through those long late-winter days.

Happy New Year's everyone, and may all your hopelessly optimistic and ultimately doomed New Year's resolutions come to fruition for at least one fleeting moment. 



NWTF Founder Tom Rogers Dies Of Cancer

From a National Wild Turkey Federation press release:
"Tom is the reason the Federation is here, working daily to promote wildlife conservation and preserve North America's hunting heritage," said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., the NWTF's chief conservation officer.

"The organization is reflecting on its rich history and honoring the man who started it all. He was a great friend personally, a great asset for wildlife and he'll be greatly missed." 


December 30, 2008
Chad Love: PETA Stinks

I generally try to refrain from blogging too much on PETA because quite frankly the group's antics don't warrant that much attention. As animal-rights groups go PETA is much less a genuine threat than say, the Fund for Animals or the Humane Society of the United States.

Why? Because given a choice between misguided half-nekkid chicks holding placards on a sidewalk or a team of fully-clothed lawyers in a courtroom I'll take the nekkid chicks. Pranksterism and publicity stunts may make headlines; legal action is what influences policy.

Having said that, did anyone doubt PETA would let Burger King's new "Flame" scent for men slide by without a response?

Of course not. So now I present for your culinary and olfactory pleasure..."Gore" the enticing new scent from PETA.

BKcologneinside


December 29, 2008
Discussion Topic: Is Utah Next In Lead-Ban Line?

From an AP story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Conservationists who have battled for years to eliminate lead ammunition they say is the biggest threat to the survival of endangered California condors are now setting their sights on Utah. . . .

"It's a simple fix to just ban lead-based ammunition," said Jay Lininger, an ecologist for the group in Flagstaff. "It would be far less expensive and less of a headache for everyone if widely available alternatives were simply required. . . .”

Chris Parish, who oversees the release of the condors in Arizona for the Peregrine Fund, said a widespread ban on lead ammunition could be helpful but fears it might just anger hunters.

"Even if it were banned nationwide right now, there would still be people out there who do not believe in it and they're not convinced their bullets are doing the damage," he said.

Are you convinced?



Texas Targets Wild Dogs

From The Dallas Morning News:
A directive that allows Ferris police officers to shoot dangerous feral dogs is drawing criticism from animal welfare advocates.

The policy handed down by City Manager David Chavez last week allows officers to use shotguns to kill the potentially violent dogs. . . [which] breed and form packs that roam the town for food. . . .

"It's not a task anybody relishes down here," [Police Chief Frank Mooney] said. "You have to take care of the situation now or wait until someone's dead."

What do you think? Good policy or not?



Alaska Group Mulls Moose Solutions

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
Crosswalks similar to those used in school zones, complete with flashing lights and a warning that a moose is crossing the road.

Electronic mats built into roads that shock moose if they step on them.

Groomed trails leading to feedlots well off the road.

Those are just some of the techniques the Alaska Moose Federation is promoting to help keep moose off Alaska roads.

As AMF president Gary Olson so eloquently put it, “Everybody loves moose and they taste a lot better when they’re not marinated with anti-freeze.”



Chad Love: My Favorite Cell Phone

If there is one object that personifies the overwhelming techno-infatuation that is the hallmark of modern living it is, of course, the cell phone. Never in the history of the world has an item so trivial and unnecessary for survival become so important to so many people so quickly as these little bits of eardrum crack. But of course I'm a misanthrope who never really saw the appeal of talking to other people in person, much less on a cell phone. I fully realize and sadly accept the fact that my point of view is a distinct minority and that for the overwhelming majority of humanity the cell phone is as essential an item as, say, the liver.
 
How else, in these tough economic times, could you explain this:  
 
From the story:
A few days ago, we wrote about how an iPhone application that makes farting noises, iFart Mobile, had reached the number one paid application spot in the App Store and was making the developer nearly $10,000 a day. Developer Joel Comm shared some updated data with us today and it blows the other numbers away (pun intended): Christmas Day saw 38,927 downloads of iFart Mobile, making Comm’s InfoMedia $27,249 in net income! Yes, nearly $30,000 in one day — from a $0.99 fart appFor those who couldn’t believe that a farting application could make nearly $10,000 as it did on December 22, or that it was a fluke, this has to be a huge wake up call. The following day, December 23, actually saw another 13,000+ downloads (and thus, another nearly $10,000 made), and Christmas Eve saw an incredible 19,520 downloads — netting $13,364 after Apple’s 30 percent cut. But the real gem is of course Christmas Day. As Comm says in his blog post, “I had a hunch that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day would be higher. How much higher was anyone’s guess. All I knew was that a lot of people would be getting iPhones and iPod Touch MP3 players on Christmas Day.” Indeed.
 
It's not exactly a Christmas scene straight out of a Rockwell print, is it? The youth of America wake up, rush to the Christmas tree and eagerly tear into brightly-wrapped gift boxes that contain not BB guns or fishing poles or other archaic and dangerous items but...a farting cell phone.
 
Personally, this is the only kind of cell phone I'm interested in any more. Go ahead, yak on it as loudly and obnoxiously wherever and for as long as you want. Who's going to complain? Certainly not some schmuck with a farting Iphone... 
Gunultimatephone


December 24, 2008
Discussion Topic: Obama Picks Marine Biologist Lubchenco To Head NOAA

From the Washington Post:

President-elect Barack Obama has tapped Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco, one of the nation's most prominent marine biologists, to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Lubchenco, a conservationist who… is a vocal proponent of curbing greenhouse gases linked to global warming,… has criticized the agency in the past for not doing enough to curb overfishing.

What do you think? Good choice?




David Spade Makes Gift Of 50 AR-15s

Just in time for the holidays.

From The Arizona Republic:

An unexpected donation from actor David Spade is expected to provide Phoenix police with enough money to buy an additional 50 semi-automatic rifles for patrol officers in 2009.

The $100,000 gift announced Monday means as many as 300 officers could soon be armed with Bushmaster AR-15s [despite] the city's ongoing budget strife.




Lacking Social Skills? Try Shooting

It worked for Eric Clapton.

From Contactmusic.com:

He says, "I'm not really that gregarious. And shooting with groups of people up and down the country has taught me a lot about how to get on with my fellow human beings."

The musician recently cleared out his gun cabinet, [insisting] he had to get rid of the weapons, because he became hooked on collecting them.


He adds, "It is following the same pattern as when I collected guitars - I get obsessed, then engulfed and finally narrow the collection down."



December 23, 2008
Chad Love: A Christmas Story

The beauty of the Internet (or the bane, depending on what side of the argument you're on) is that you can sit at home in your pajamas and anonymously view the creative weirdness of other anonymous souls without having the slightest bit of context or backstory for what you are viewing.

When you think about it, modern humanity isn't linked by common goals, dreams or desires. That's so 20th-century. Forwarded joke e-mail pics depicting giant rattlesnakes, drunken peccadilloes, trail-camera mystery monsters and the singular obsessions and unfortunate mishaps of others is the glue that now binds the global community. Who hasn't received those captionless, authorless photographs that endlessly swirl through the electronic ether and settle in our in-box, captured moments of some unknown soul's life suddenly digitized and exposed to the eyes of the world without benefit of explanation? So we're forced to make our own reality for what we see.

Like this photograph:
Santa
I have absolutely no clue as to the who, what, when, where or how of this photograph. It simply appeared in my in-box, almost lost in the blizzard of spam and mundane chatter that comprises my life. My first thought upon viewing it was "I didn't know any of the guys from ZZ Top hunted" followed by "Man, that's tacky as hell. Who would take the time and trouble to do something like that?"

Who, indeed. I looked again, and a story started forming in my head. A story of a lonely neighborhood widower: a guy with a wife who left him, a son in another state, and buddies who are slowly disappearing from deer camp. He doesn't hunt much these days, and he spends most of his time sitting alone watching the neighborhood punks fall off their skateboards. But there's one that keeps hanging around, a skinny kid with a desire to hunt, a mom who works two jobs and a dad who skipped out long ago. The man knows this kid is desperate for a role model but is either too proud or too ashamed to come out and say it. One day, as he's sitting in his recliner looking at the dusty mounts on his wall, reminders of good years long past, the man gets an idea...

Pure fiction, of course, and cheesy, hackneyed fiction at that. For all I know this dude is an enforcer with the local chapter of Satan's Disciples and the Santa getup is merely a convenient way to confuse the Feds while he's making his weekly smack run. The point is, pics like this are a blank canvas for your imagination.

So give me a Christmas story for this picture. It can be as cheesy, heartwarming, stupid, funny or ridiculous as you like. The only requirement is that it must be a complete and total fabrication and it must reference the elements in the photo.  Pour yourself a big glass of egg nog, add your favorite libation and start lying...    



Discussion Topic: Obama Picks New Jersey’s Jackson For EPA

That’s right, Lisa Jackson—as in the same Lisa Jackson who helped Gov. Jon Corzine put an end to bear hunting in the Garden State.

From The Louisiana Weekly:

President-elect Barack Obama announced Monday that New Jersey's Lisa Jackson, a New Orleanian, will become the first African American to lead the Environmental Protection Agency under his administration.

Your reaction?



New York Cop Goes Duck Hunting, Saves A Life

From the New York Daily News:

Off-duty Suffolk County cop Joe Sarno, 38, was getting ready for duck hunting with his chocolate Labrador, Otter, when they came upon 80-year-old Fred Hall around noon Saturday.

The frail man wandered in the snow into the mucky waters, got stuck and nearly succumbed to hypothermia.

"I was just, like, I got to get this guy out of there," Sarno recalled. "He's going to die out here. . . ."

"It was an excellent day," said the five-year police veteran. "I saved a man's life and got to shoot some ducks."



Wisconsin Deer Donations Way Down

From the Post Crescent:

Statewide, meat processors participating in the venison donation program say Wisconsin hunters have given more than 6,500 deer to help feed the hungry this season.

That's a 40 percent drop from the previous year, said Lee Dudek, founder of Hunt for the Hungry. . . .

"Deer hunters fortunate to get extra deer this year are giving the deer meat to relatives or other folks in need," Dudek said. "Considering the economic times we are living in, these are unprecedented conditions for donations."


December 22, 2008
Discussion Topic: Should 20-Year-Olds Need Permission To Own Guns?

Of course not, right. Yet they do in Illinois, according to this article from The Volokh Conspiracy, posted on the NRA’s website

Federal law makes it harder for 18-to-20-year-olds to get handguns, and some states prohibit it outright; yet nearly all states at least allow 18-to-20-year-olds to have long guns.

Except, it turns out, for Illinois, where state law bars 18-to-20-year-olds from possessing any gun -- including a stun gun -- unless they (1) have a parent or legal guardian's written consent, (2) haven't been convicted of any misdemeanor other than a traffic offense, and (3) the consenting parent or guardian isn't himself barred from owning a gun.

Check out the full article and tell us your reaction.




Homeowner Uses Christmas Deer Rifle To Nab Suspect

From The Charlotte Observer:

A south Charlotte homeowner held a shooting suspect at gunpoint in his garage until police could arrive and arrest the man. . . .

It just so happened that at that moment, Davis, Jr. had been showing off his early Christmas present – a brand new deer rifle. As the family ran upstairs, Davis, Sr. grabbed the rifle, loaded it, and headed to the garage. He cornered the man behind his car and told him to put his hands up.





Coyotes Vs. 17-Pound House Cat

From Washington’s Tri-City Herald:

Buddy is the top cat in his house, and arguably the toughest feline in the Tri-Cities.

The muscular 17-pound bobtail cat, which belongs to William and Shannon Secolo, fought off coyotes inside its Kennewick home early one morning last week. . . .

"There were fur balls everywhere," Secolo said. "Those coyotes didn't stand a chance."



December 19, 2008
Chad Love: On the Taxing of Guns

My home state of Oklahoma is famous for many things: tornadoes (gratuitous self-promoting tornado pic can be found here), Sooner football, quail hunting, Garth Brooks (if you're into chubby yodelers in big hats) and the self-aggrandizing stupidity of our lawmakers.

Like most states, we pride ourselves on our uncanny ability to elect (among a population of over three million souls) a group of people so profoundly unfit for public service that when we do finally realize just how badly we've screwed up, we make amends by electing them again...and again...and again.
The result is proposed legislation like this.

From the story:
Two state lawmakers say they'll sponsor a bill to repeal state taxes on the sale of guns and ammunition in Oklahoma. Rep. Eric Proctor of Tulsa and Sen. Kenneth Corn of Poteau say the tax may be a barrier for people needing protection. Proctor says repealing the tax would have little affect on the state treasury and the people shouldn't have to pay a tax if they need a gun to protect their families. Proctor says he was asked by a constituent to file the legislation

Far be it from me to say bad things about a piece of allegedly pro-gun legislation, but this bill reeks of pandering, a cheap political stunt designed not to address a real issue, but to bring attention to the politician(s) proposing it so he or they can use it as an example of what gun-rights stalwarts they are. The idea that Oklahoma's 4.5 percent sales tax is some insurmountable financial barrier to obtaining a gun and/or ammo for self-defense is, quite frankly, a load of bull, and the (Dis)Hon. Reps Proctor and Corn know it. They are well and truly shining examples of what George Bernard Shaw meant when he quipped that "Democracy is an institution that insures we are governed no better than we deserve."

I would say the bill doesn't have a chance of passing, but I've overestimated the intelligence of my state legislature too many times to say that again.

Here's an idea: instead of eliminating the state sales tax on guns and ammo why doesn't Oklahoma (or any other state) instead earmark those funds for something that would truly benefit the state's gun owners? Perhaps the creation and maintenance of public shooting ranges in suburban areas where shooting opportunity is limited or non-existent. Or maybe the funding of state youth shooting programs to get more youngsters involved in the shooting sports. Maybe habitat improvements on public hunting areas? Anything other than simply creating yet another tax exemption based on a completely specious argument cooked up to generate a little publicity for attention-seeking legislators.

But things like that involve creative thought and a genuine concern for one's constituency, which is of course pure anathema to the empty suits we keep sending to our state capitals. Are there similar bills in other states across the nation, or is Oklahoma alone in its innovative solutions to non-existent problems?



Best of the Boards: Week In Review

Take a break from last-minute online holiday shopping to check out this week's Best of the Boards. We've got footage of a mountain lion attacking a doe, a sea-lion on the interstate, and the best lies to use for playing hooky from the office. If you find an amazing message board link you think deserves to be in next week's batch, send it to fsinterns@bonniercorp.com.

Video: Mountain lion attacks doe! (profanity alert!) (monstermuleys.com)
Topic: Sea Lion lost, hit on interstate (976-tuna.com)
Topic: Triple-amputee still elk hunting (jessehunting.com)
Topic: Best lie to skip work for hunting...(refugeforums.com)
Pics
: GIANT Missouri buck (realtree.com)
Topic: Funniest hunting stories of the year (bowsite.com)
Topic: A college hunting frat..(huntingpa.com)
Topic: Muskies bigger than bucks? (muskyhunter.com)
Topic: Weirdest thing reeled in while fishing (stripersonline.com)
Topic: Bears attacking your trail cams (biggamehunt.net)



Discussion Topic: Should Repeat Poachers Be Considered Felons?

The Wyoming Game Wardens Association thinks so, according to this from an AP story in the Casper Star-Tribune:

People who repeatedly poach trophy game animals in Wyoming could face felony charges under a bill the state Legislature will consider in the session starting next month.

The Wyoming Game Wardens Association is pushing the bill. It would establish that anyone convicted of poaching certain trophy game animals for the second time within a 10-year period could face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.





What do you think?



Update: Environmentalists and Industry Praise Interior Pick

From the Idaho Statesman:

President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for Interior Secretary, Colorado Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar, brought wide praise from both environmentalists and industry. . . .

He’s pro-gun and he’s not Raul Grijalva, the Arizona congressman that many environmentalists and liberals hoped would get the job. . . .

"It could be that a centralist like Ken Salazar can get more done because he’s not a lightning rod and he can work with all sides,” [said Elise Jones executive director of the Colorado Environmental Coalition]. “He’s not going to draw a backlash from traditional commodities industries."




Montana Hunters Howling Over Wolves

From the Daily Inter Lake:

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials in Northwest Montana are hearing from many hunters concerned about the rapid growth of packs and wolf numbers and an obvious decline in white-tailed deer populations.

The reason, Williams said, is that the number of wolf packs has grown from 12 to 28 in Northwest Montana since 2005. And the number of packs throughout the broader Northwest Montana Recovery Area grew from 19 in 2005 to 36 in 2007.

Meanwhile, a decline in the white-tailed deer population has likely been under way for the past two years.



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