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Print

George Little: Conversation starters for the great outdoors

August 31, 2012 at 09:25 AM

The State Journal-Register

One of the great things about outdoor pursuits is that there’s always a nugget of information that will have your friends wondering if it’s for real, or if you made it up. If nothing else, the ensuing conversation will help pass the time while you’re cleaning the cast iron skillets after shore lunch.

Generating 75 foot-pounds of recoil, a 3 ½ magnum, 12 gauge turkey load kicks harder than an elephant gun. It’s like getting hit in the shoulder with a sledgehammer. By comparison, a .458 Winchester, a rifle used to hunt the most dangerous game in the world, throws back a paltry 65 foot-pounds of recoil. No wonder nobody likes to pattern a turkey gun.

When you finally save enough money and time to go on your African safari, pick your shots carefully and polish up your tracking skills. According to Craig Boddington of Petersen’s Hunting Magazine, just one drop of blood from a wounded African animal counts as filling your tag, whether or not you ever see that animal again. There are no mulligans. If you’re after the elusive Mountain Nyala, the license alone costs $15,000 and is paid up front. Better be sure before you pull the trigger.

Wolves are off the endangered species list in the Great Lakes Region, including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The estimated wolf population in those states is more than 4,000. Keep that in mind if you’re venturing into the Boundary Waters. Minnesota is planning a wolf-hunting season, possibly as soon as this year.

The Swiss Army Knife, the original multi-tool, is more than 100 years old. It was invented by Karl Eisner who, as a matter of Swiss national pride, sought to supply the Swiss Army with a knife that was “not manufactured by Germans.” The original version had one blade, a screwdriver and a can opener. The corkscrew came later.

When you see a ruby-throated hummingbird this time of year, tip your hat to the little guy. Hummingbirds are migrating now. Some of them will travel more than 2,000 miles from Canada to their winter grounds in Mexico. This includes a 500-mile non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico.

The average dove hunter harvests five doves out of every box of shells they fire into the sky. Of course, all of us do better than that because we’re all above average. But taking the average into account, somebody must be below average and going 0 for 25 several times a day.

The original Bomber fishing lures were built by two Texans using discarded tobacco cans, hooks from junk lures and cedar chunks from old power poles. Their goal was to design a lure that would dive deep without hanging up on trees and brush. When they started selling Bomber Lures, their slogan, which is still popular in Texas today was, “To enjoy Bomber fishing … just tie one on.”

I wish I’d thought of it.

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