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Plenty of outdoors in the news


There are tonnes of topics to write about, with so much outdoor-related stuff in the news this week.

Folks often ask me how I manage to find something to say each and every week. Well, I’ve written more than 300 of these columns in a row and I have not once experienced a tad of writer’s block. Actually, like this week, I often have difficulty choosing between this and that subject.

“Paul, can you talk about something besides fishing for a while?” That’s what my mother said to me many years ago on a snowy and blustery winter’s evening. Dad and I were talking up a storm and Mom was knitting me some hunting socks

Dad defended me with, “I suppose we could switch to hunting.” Maybe we did, or the conversation may have turned to woodcutting and horses, or boatbuilding.

Mom always said horse talk invited windy weather. Have you heard that saying?

Anyway, Mom was sort of joking. She loved listening to Dad and me yarning on and on. Maxwell Smith was a great storyteller. I like to think I can entertain my readers because of his early influence in my life. Thanks Dad.

A week with plenty of story fodder, yes indeed it has been.

First off I read about a man from Glenwood who was sentenced to 65 days in jail for poaching salmon in Salmon Pond Brook and Southwest Gander River. Part of the jail time was for a probation violation from a previous poaching conviction. But no matter, it seems judges in our province are treating the illegal netting of salmon quite seriously.

And two scoundrels were fined $4,000 each for stringing a net across Crabbes River. They lost their boat and motor as well. There isn’t mischief much worse than setting a gill net in a salmon river.

You have to be always and never faltering careful with high-powered rifles. It’s hunting season and folks are shooting at critters in the woods. We hunters must take full responsibility for where our bullets fly, and be cognizant of what lies beyond our intended target. It’s like pilots extending the landing gear on approach — forgetting is a lame excuse.

On the news this evening a lady from Flatrock told a reporter how a bullet hit her laundry room window. It smashed through the glass and imbedded in a wall. That’s pretty scary stuff. No doubt there will be an investigation and we will know if this was a stray moose-hunting bullet or a round intended for a coyote.

Either way, a shooter was careless. It can happen in the heat of action, and hunting in areas near homes must be restricted appropriately.

In some populated jurisdictions, outside of Newfoundland and Labrador, only slug guns and other short-range weapons are allowed. That might work for hunting areas close to homes and cabins. It’s worth some thought, at least.

And a man was charged with killing a moose near a school. Not cool.

My father told me a story about a man who shot at ducks with a .303 Enfield rifle and put a bullet through a fisherman’s stage on the other side of the harbour. I believe that happened somewhere on the coast of Labrador, but it was many decades ago.

In more recent history, about 25 years ago, a .30-06 Springfield bullet ruined a wedding dress in a chest at the foot of a bed. It came from a brand new rifle being sighted in on a floating plastic bottle. I suppose it was an accident, and an appropriate monetary exchange compensated the damage.

Technically an accident it was, with no intention to do harm, but very careless just the same.

And the times have changed. Nowadays the incident might be ruled legally negligent. We have to be responsible.

We who tote about rifles know — or should know full well — that these projectiles can skip off water and go far beyond that intended smack off a rock in the pond.

Likewise, don’t discharge rifles at upward angles, with no visible backstop. Maybe a hunter in Flatrock fired at a moose or coyote on a hill and missed.

Bad and unexpected stuff can happen when you are hurling lead at high speed. You must proceed with caution. Watch for ricochets off rocks and hard surfaces.

I have a friend with a scar precariously close to his eye. It’s from a .300 –Winchester Magnum bullet fragment. He finished off his moose with a close-range shot to the head. We have all done it without a second thought. But on this occasion a small piece of the copper bullet jacket bounced off something, a rock maybe, and nailed him in the head. It’s all fun and games until vision is lost. Maybe shooting glasses are a wise investment. I have a pair.

Paul Smith, a native of Spaniard’s Bay, fishes and wanders the outdoors at every opportunity. He can be contacted at flyfishtherock@hotmail.com or follow him on twitter at @flyfishtherock

Folks often ask me how I manage to find something to say each and every week. Well, I’ve written more than 300 of these columns in a row and I have not once experienced a tad of writer’s block. Actually, like this week, I often have difficulty choosing between this and that subject.

“Paul, can you talk about something besides fishing for a while?” That’s what my mother said to me many years ago on a snowy and blustery winter’s evening. Dad and I were talking up a storm and Mom was knitting me some hunting socks

Dad defended me with, “I suppose we could switch to hunting.” Maybe we did, or the conversation may have turned to woodcutting and horses, or boatbuilding.

Mom always said horse talk invited windy weather. Have you heard that saying?

Anyway, Mom was sort of joking. She loved listening to Dad and me yarning on and on. Maxwell Smith was a great storyteller. I like to think I can entertain my readers because of his early influence in my life. Thanks Dad.

A week with plenty of story fodder, yes indeed it has been.

First off I read about a man from Glenwood who was sentenced to 65 days in jail for poaching salmon in Salmon Pond Brook and Southwest Gander River. Part of the jail time was for a probation violation from a previous poaching conviction. But no matter, it seems judges in our province are treating the illegal netting of salmon quite seriously.

And two scoundrels were fined $4,000 each for stringing a net across Crabbes River. They lost their boat and motor as well. There isn’t mischief much worse than setting a gill net in a salmon river.

You have to be always and never faltering careful with high-powered rifles. It’s hunting season and folks are shooting at critters in the woods. We hunters must take full responsibility for where our bullets fly, and be cognizant of what lies beyond our intended target. It’s like pilots extending the landing gear on approach — forgetting is a lame excuse.

On the news this evening a lady from Flatrock told a reporter how a bullet hit her laundry room window. It smashed through the glass and imbedded in a wall. That’s pretty scary stuff. No doubt there will be an investigation and we will know if this was a stray moose-hunting bullet or a round intended for a coyote.

Either way, a shooter was careless. It can happen in the heat of action, and hunting in areas near homes must be restricted appropriately.

In some populated jurisdictions, outside of Newfoundland and Labrador, only slug guns and other short-range weapons are allowed. That might work for hunting areas close to homes and cabins. It’s worth some thought, at least.

And a man was charged with killing a moose near a school. Not cool.

My father told me a story about a man who shot at ducks with a .303 Enfield rifle and put a bullet through a fisherman’s stage on the other side of the harbour. I believe that happened somewhere on the coast of Labrador, but it was many decades ago.

In more recent history, about 25 years ago, a .30-06 Springfield bullet ruined a wedding dress in a chest at the foot of a bed. It came from a brand new rifle being sighted in on a floating plastic bottle. I suppose it was an accident, and an appropriate monetary exchange compensated the damage.

Technically an accident it was, with no intention to do harm, but very careless just the same.

And the times have changed. Nowadays the incident might be ruled legally negligent. We have to be responsible.

We who tote about rifles know — or should know full well — that these projectiles can skip off water and go far beyond that intended smack off a rock in the pond.

Likewise, don’t discharge rifles at upward angles, with no visible backstop. Maybe a hunter in Flatrock fired at a moose or coyote on a hill and missed.

Bad and unexpected stuff can happen when you are hurling lead at high speed. You must proceed with caution. Watch for ricochets off rocks and hard surfaces.

I have a friend with a scar precariously close to his eye. It’s from a .300 –Winchester Magnum bullet fragment. He finished off his moose with a close-range shot to the head. We have all done it without a second thought. But on this occasion a small piece of the copper bullet jacket bounced off something, a rock maybe, and nailed him in the head. It’s all fun and games until vision is lost. Maybe shooting glasses are a wise investment. I have a pair.

Paul Smith, a native of Spaniard’s Bay, fishes and wanders the outdoors at every opportunity. He can be contacted at flyfishtherock@hotmail.com or follow him on twitter at @flyfishtherock

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