Favorites Of 2009

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts, and wild tales from the outdoors

Dec. 30, 2009

Favorites Of 2009
This installment of the Outdoor News Hound marks six full years that we’ve been
bringing the fine folks who visit The Sportsman’s Guide website the wild side
of outdoor news — since our first column appearing in January 2004. As in past
years, with this final edition of the year, we’ve hand-picked some of our favorite stories of the year to share with our
devoted readership. Happy New Year — and we’ll see you down the trail in 2010!

Unluckiest Angler Of 2009
The News Hound’s pick for Unluckiest Fisherman of the Year goes to Sgt. Adam
Rush, a native of Wyoming, who tried fishing on North Carolina’s Blue River,
where he’s with the 8th Engineer Support Battalion stationed at Camp Lejeune.

J.R. Absher

Rush’s trouble began while he was bass fishing March 27 when the battery on
his trolling motor died. An alligator, which Rush later said was around 9 feet
long, left the bank and headed straight for the stringer of fish hanging from
his 10-foot boat.

Rush said when he pulled his stringer of fish into the boat, the alligator
tried to climb into the tiny craft.

"He tried to get into the boat, so I hit him in the head with the
oar," the Marine said.

After breaking his paddle defending himself and his boat, Rush called 911
and reported that the big gator was circling his stranded vessel.

"I was freakin’ out," Rush said of the incident. "I’m from
Wyoming. I’ve never seen an alligator that big and up close before."

By the time Onslow County Sheriff’s deputies and officers with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission arrived at the scene, another boater had
towed the 27-year-old safely back to the shore.

But his bad luck didn’t end there.

After further investigation, wildlife officers cited Rush for keeping
under-sized bass and using an unregistered boat.

Best Shot Of The Year
Soldotna, Alaska, fishing guide Greg Brush was walking his dogs not far from
his home on the morning of August 2 when he turned at the sound of a snapping
twig. There, less than 20 yards away, was a charging 900-pound brown bear,
"ears back, head low and motorin’ full speed."

In a single motion, Brush drew and fired his Ruger .454 Casull revolver. One
shot proved fatal.

"Came with zero warning," Brush later told the Anchorage Daily
. "No woof, no popping of the teeth, no standing up, nothing like what
you think."

Brush told the newspaper he carries a pistol on his walks because bears have
chased his dogs in the past.

"It doesn’t get any closer. He slid by me on his chin when I shot
him," Brush said. "I was backpedaling as fast as I could. I wasn’t
even aiming. I tripped over my own feet as I pulled the trigger."

Brush estimated the bear weighed 900-plus pounds, and was 15- to 20 years
old. It had grass packed in its molars and little fat on its bones. He said he
figured the bruin was starving and saw an opportunity.

"I never ever thought it would happen to me. It’s always some other
(guy), right? It totally wiped me out … (I was) dry heaving and
hyperventilating, with some abdominal cramping."

The fishing guide considers himself fortunate.

"Total luck shot," he said.

Here at The Outdoor News Hound, it’s the best of 2009.

Best Funeral
A funeral service and burial isn’t exactly an event one might consider as
particularly newsworthy; that is, unless you consider the Outdoor News Hound’s
coverage of Lonnie Holloway’s service in Saluda, S.C., earlier this year.

Holloway, an avid hunter and gun owner who died of prostate cancer September
3 at the age of 90, was buried along with all his favorite firearms and his
classic 1973 Pontiac.

Who says you can’t take it with you?

According to his final wishes, Holloway was interred, seated with one hand
on the steering wheel of his classic green 1973 Pontiac Catalina. He was
dressed in style and wearing his favorite fedora, a crisp $100 bill stuffed in
his pocket.

An avid hunter and gun owner, Holloway’s numerous hunting rifles and
shotguns were stowed in the car’s trunk, per his request. Additionally, six
handguns were placed on the passenger seat — within easy reach of the deceased
— just in case he may encounter any trouble on his way to eternity.

During the service, the Rock Hill Baptist Church pastor told those gathered
at the graveside, "This day will be burned in our memories for years and
years to come because us ain’t never seen nothing like this before."

Holloway purchased the classic Pontiac off the showroom floor 36 years

"It was unusual," his caretaker, Rosa Anderson, said after the
funeral, "but it was what he wanted."

Holloway reportedly bequeathed his home and dog to Anderson
and the church received a donation of valuable real estate.

2009 Barney Fife Award
The Outdoor News Hound’s Barney Fife Law Enforcement Award of the Year goes to
the Warren (Michigan) Police Department for surrounding what turned out to be a
stuffed panther, holding it at bay for one hour, then shooting it with a Taser

Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said his officers weren’t taking
any chances after someone phoned the department and reported seeing a large
cougar-like animal in a discarded cement sewer pipe near a city park.

"I’m not playing games," the caller, a male, told the police
dispatcher. "I went up behind it. I shined a light in there. It’s huge!
It’s like a 150-pound cat!"

When authorities arrived at the scene shortly after dusk, sure enough, they
could see the silhouette of something inside the pipe.

"Officers could see the outline of what appeared to be a panther-like
animal lying in the tube, looking out at them," Dwyer later told the
Macomb Daily News. "They backed out, for fear of it lunging at them."

But it didn’t lunge — or even move a whisker, for that matter

Nearly an hour after the first cop arrived at the scene, an officer was
ordered by his sergeant to move in as close as possible and fire his Taser at
the suspected predator.

He did, and nothing happened.

That’s because the big critter was a large stuffed toy, apparently placed
there by someone as a prank.

But neither the cops — who put in three hours of overtime on the call —
nor the police chief, were amused.

Quote Worth Remembering
"You can’t be unconventional until you’re conventional first."
-Col. Charlie A. Beckwith
“Delta Force,” 1983

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear
in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors
weekly for sportsmansguide.com. You may contact him at

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