Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors
July 22, 2015
New Hampshire has reported the first rescue of a person in possession of a $25 Hike Safe Card, which, under a new state law, exempts persons requiring rescue from liability for expenses incurred by emergency personnel and agencies. You’ll also read about how fishing participation by Americans has remained steady during the past year, and much more!
Injured N.H. Hiker a Proud Card Holder
This week, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department reported the first rescue of a person is possession of a newly authorized state Hike Safe Card.
This year is the first that the voluntary cards, which support Fish and Game search and rescue efforts and exempt the holder from certain rescue cost reimbursement, have been offered.
A law passed in 2014 and effective Jan. 1, 2015 authorizes the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to sell a voluntary Hike Safe Card for $25 per person and $35 per family. Those persons who obtain the cards will not be liable to repay rescue costs if they need to be rescued due to negligence on their part, regardless of whether they are hiking, boating, cross country skiing, hunting, or engaging in any other outdoor activity. An individual may still be liable for response expenses, however, if such person is deemed to have recklessly or to have intentionally created a situation requiring an emergency response.
On July 12, Deborah Bloomer, 64, (pictured above) was injured while descending from the summit of Mt. Chocorua while hiking with friends. With the assistance of a U.S. Forest Service employee, she was able to slowly continue her descent, though she was later placed on a litter and carried out.
The new law was passed on the recommendation of the state agency following several incidents in which persons required extensive and costly rescue operations after hiking in unsafe weather or conditions.
Alabama’s 11th Archery Park Opens August 4
Alabama’s eleventh community archery park, located at Oak Mountain State Park, will hold its grand opening August 4. It joins an impressive network of well-designed and professionally maintained public archery facilities across Alabama. Most of the archery parks were built with cooperation from the local parks and recreation departments, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, and the Archery Trade Association (ATA).
The Oak Mountain Archery Park will be open year-round during daylight hours for recreational shooting, competitive tournaments and outdoor educational programming. The facility includes an eight-target adult range from 15- to 50 yards, an eight-target youth range of 5- to 20 yards, and a four-target range of 10- to 40 yards. The park also features a 12-foot shooting platform for bowhunters to practice shooting from an elevated position.
Oak Mountain joins 10 other community archery parks currently in operation throughout the state including Athens, Cullman, Dothan, Demopolis, Decatur, Foley, Heflin, Lincoln, Tuscaloosa, and Ozark. These facilities are one component of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) effort to increase awareness and participation in the life skill of archery.
Shooting Instructor Receives Apology For Polling Place Incident
A Georgia man who was instructed to remove his National Rifle Association Instructor cap before being allowed to participate in early voting at a Douglas County polling place in October 2014 has agreed to drop his lawsuit against elections officials and has subsequently received a written apology for the incident.
A press release issued by Southeastern Legal Foundation earlier this month reports that a settlement has been reached, including an apology, in the case of Bundy Cobb.
In addition, the Douglas County Board of Elections and Registration (BOER) agreed to officially clarify its policy regarding what constitutes illegal campaigning at a polling place.
In October, when Cobb went to a Douglasville polling station to vote early, he was told to remove his khaki NRA Instructor cap if he wanted to vote. Cobb, a retired insurance agent and Vietnam veteran who said he became a firearms safety instructor in his retirement, complied with the poll worker’s order, but later vowed to fight the matter in court.
At the time, Douglas County Elections officials argued that wearing the cap was in violation of Georgia Law requiring that no campaigning or campaign materials are permitted within 150 feet of a polling station or within 25 feet of any voter standing in line.
The apology letter cites the new policy adopted by the Board “to ensure that it protects the rights of all persons in or around polling places in Douglas County.”
U.S. Fishing Participation Rate Holding Steady
According to the 2015 Special Report on Fishing released last week by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), 46 million Americans, or 15.8 percent of the U.S. population ages six and older, fished last year.
Produced in partnership with the Outdoor Foundation, the report details the state of fishing participation throughout the country in 2014, offering detailed information on participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education, and geographic region.
“We are pleased with the findings of this report, including the 2.4 million newcomers who tried fishing for the first time in 2014,” said RBFF President and CEO, Frank Peterson. “Fishing remains a popular outdoor activity and with increasing numbers of newcomers, we look to growing overall participation in the future, securing critical support for state conservation efforts.”
Key finding of the report include:
– Women anglers – Over 47 percent of first-time fishing participants are female.
– Social – Nearly 82 percent of fishing trips involve more than one person.
– Youth – Fishing participation as a child has a powerful effect on future participation. More than 85 percent of adult anglers fished as a child, before the age of 12.
Quote of the Week
“Surely the best virtue of fishermen is their hopefulness.”
– Ed Zern,
“Zane Grey’s Adventures in Fishing,” 1952
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.