Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.
May 16, 2013 | By Stephanie Mallory
You know what they say, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." I wonder if it's worth a little more if you catch the bird in midair?
During a hunt with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colt McCoy, Austin Community Church Pastor Matt Carter made a "sweet catch" on a quail that just happened to fly within his reach. With a grin on his face and accolades from his hunting buddies, Carter raised the quail above his head in a victory pose.
Friends Carter and McCoy have hunted together for years, and have recently teamed up to co-author a book titled "The Real Win: A Man's Quest for Authentic Success."
Some are doubting the video's authenticity. Others claim they were most likely hunting slow-flying, pen-raised quail, which makes the feat less impressive. Like McCoy, I think the catch was pretty "cool." What do you think?
May 13, 2013 | By Stephanie Mallory
One Florida man escaped immediate capture by the police only to end up in the jaws of an alligator. Talk about karma.
According to the Pinellas County’s Sheriff’s Office, Bryan Zuniga, 20, fled during a routine traffic stop at approximately 2:47 a.m., on May 9, 2013. Deputies attempted to pull his vehicle over for failing to maintain a single lane. Zuniga, brought the vehicle to a stop and jumped out of the passenger side door. While fleeing, Zuniga broke a vinyl fence by kicking the fence line to make a hole for him to escape.
Police found Zuniga a few hours later at a local hospital where he was being treated for multiple puncture wounds to his face, arm and armpit area. Zuniga told deputies he was attacked by an alligator near a water treatment plant in unincorporated St. Petersburg.
According to the New York Daily News, Zuniga ran from police because he was scared.
"I was too scared to stop because I thought he was going to tackle me or taze me or something,” Zuniga says. “He just got really mad because I ran. And then I just couldn’t stop."
Zuniga got into the water in an attempt to hide from deputies, but little did he know he was being stalked by something much more deadly. When the 6- to 8-foot alligator grabbed ahold of him, he thought he was going to die.
He told Fox 13 News he was almost knocked unconscious when the gator's mouth hit his head. With his head and arm in the gator’s mouth, he fought back with both legs and his free arm.
The alligator eventually let him go, and Zuniga managed to walk to the hospital, where police discovered him several hours later. You can see images of Zuniga’s wounds here.
Zuniga was released from the hospital and was transported to the Pinellas County Jail without further incident. He is being charged with breaking or injuring fences, fleeing and eluding a police officer, driving while driver’s licenses suspended/revoked and resisting an officer without violence.
Zuniga told Fox 13 reporters that he’s learned his lesson and if he’s ever pulled over again, he will stop. Do you think Zuniga learned his lesson?
May 9, 2013 | By Stephanie Mallory
Since last September, hunters have turned in more than 6,000 dead coyotes to Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources as part of the state’s coyote bounty program. Those taking part in the Predator Control Program redeem $50 per coyote.
The Predator Control Program was designed to significantly decrease the state’s coyote population in an effort to benefit the deer herds.
Although the Predator Control Program has enjoyed a smooth launch, the effect it will have on the state’s wildlife is being debated.
According to KSL.com, Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, says the Predator Control Program is “ecologically reckless, economically unjustifiable and ethically reprehensible.”
Fox claims that coyote bounties are ineffective at reducing coyote populations and can even be counterproductive. According to Fox, decades of research indicates the systematic killing of coyotes increases reproduction, immigration and survival.
Dr. Robert Crabtree, founder of the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center, agrees, saying, “It cannot be overemphasized how powerfully coyote populations compensate for population reductions.”
John Shivik, mammals coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says although it’s too early to assess the program’s impact, the department has been collecting data to help evaluate the program’s effectiveness. He says the biggest challenge is identifying the deer populations most affected by coyotes, because the DWR is “trying to be as efficient and effective as possible with our resources.”
Another criticism bounty programs often face is they’re susceptible to fraud. Typically, all that is required for payment are portions of a carcass (paws, jaws or ears). For this reason, authorities can’t be sure the coyotes were killed within the state offering the bounty. The DWR requires hunters to document the date and location of each kill before paying the bounty, but this information could be easily fabricated.
Fox claims these past problems are proof that bounty programs are a waste of money. “These programs are very often fraught with illicit activity,” she says. “I would ask: How many of the coyote body parts turned in for the $50 bounty were actually killed in other states?”
Despite the controversy, Utah’s Predator Control Program is receiving enthusiastic support from many local hunters who feel it will have a positive impact on the deer population. Learn more about the program and register for the bounty by visiting www.wildlife.utah.gov/predators.
So do you think the bounty program will be effective at decreasing the number of coyotes in the state? Does your state or region offer a coyote bounty program? Has it worked?
May 6, 2013 | By Stephanie Mallory
A turkey hunter in my home state of Alabama believes he saved his own life by using a bite and sting venom extraction kit after getting bitten by a timber rattlesnake.
According to WSFA.com, Chad Cross was turkey hunting when the snake bit him in the lower leg.
“"[The] Best way I can describe it is as someone taking a full swing with a baseball bat and hitting me in my calf," Cross said.
Cross was alone when bitten.
"I was so nervous and scared," Cross said. "I knew I had to calm down and get my heart rate down because the faster my heart was pumping, the faster my heart was pumping and I knew the faster that venom was going through my system."
Cross pulled out the bite and sting venom extraction kit that he’d carried in his turkey hunting equipment for years. He had to read the directions because he’d never used it.
After using the kit to extract the venom, Cross went to the hospital. He said the doctor told him the venom kit possibly saved his life.
“He said, if you got a full dose of venom in you, you would have died before you ever made it back to your truck if you hadn't had that kit with you," Cross said.
Cross spent two days in the hospital where he received a tetanus shot, antibiotics and pain medicine. So far, no nerve or tissue damage has been discovered.
According to the Center for Disease Control, it is estimated that each year, between 7,000 to 8,000 people in the U.S. are bitten by venomous snakes and about five of those people die. The number of deaths would be much higher if people did not seek medical treatment. Those with severe allergy to snake venom have a much greater risk of death if bitten.
In all likelihood, Cross probably would not have died from his snakebite, even without using the snakebite kit, unless he had a severe allergy. But, he and his doctor believe the snakebite kit saved his life.
I’ve read contradictory research that advises people to forego the kit and seek immediate medical assistance if bitten by a venomous snake. Studies claim the kits remove just a minute quantity of venom. In fact, some doctors fear the deep suction could even worsen outcomes by killing skin at the wound site. Either way, kudos to Cross for remaining calm and doing what he believed he needed to do in order to save his life.
What would you do in this situation? Have you ever been bitten by a venomous snake? Ever used a snakebite kit? Do you believe they work?
May 2, 2013 | By Stephanie Mallory
Hero dads have made headlines in recent days for protecting their families from vicious animal attacks. Last week, I wrote a blog about a man who saved his 6-year-old son from an alligator attack. This week, an Alaska man beat a brown bear with a spotting scope to save his wife and three children from an attack.
According to ABC News, Toby Burke, his wife and children decided to go bird watching along the Alaskan Kasilof River Beach. While observing birds through their scope, they spotted a brown bear in the distance. Burke, a wildlife biologist, was used to seeing bears and was not worried. He watched the bear disappear into the undulating dunes, then assuming the bear had left, he and his family continued their hike through the dunes.
Moments later, they came face to face with the bear.
"The bear is coming, it's coming towards us!" yelled 11-year-old Grace Burke to her father.
The family raised their arms and made loud noises to scare the bear away, but it didn’t work.
Suddenly, the bear bounded toward them. Burke yelled to his wife, "Get behind me!"
With her 7-month old baby on her back, Laura Burke grabbed her two other children and got behind her husband.
Eight-year-old, Damien, wanted to run, but his dad said, “Don't run. Stick together!"
Burke grabbed his scope, which was attached to a 6-foot-long tripod and put it sideways into the bear's mouth, but the bear swatted at the scope and severed it.
Burke used the sharp severed metal tripod to hit the bear in the face to scare it away, but the bear didn’t budge and instead smacked the tripod out of Burke's hands.
"It was just me between my family and the bear," he said. "At that point, I made physical contact. All I could do was put my left arm up. Then its mouth clamped down on my forearm. So I remember hitting it in the face with my right arm."
After several minutes of scuffling, the bear finally ran away, and Burke managed to walk away with only minor bruises and scratches.
"I definitely felt a crushing sensation when it clamped down on my arm," he said. "Fortunately, because I had heavy layers of clothing on, I'm basically just really bruised up."
After the bear left, they notified the Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers about the bear.
"Upon arrival, an investigation revealed a female brown bear was acting erratically by attacking a vehicle, a telephone pole and then, eventually, a male walking on the beach," said a news release by the Department of Public Safety.
As two troopers walked along the tree line in search of the bear, it came running out of the woods toward them, so they shot it.
Talk about one brave dad and one lucky family. What would you do in a situation like this? Would you be brave enough to stand your ground?
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