Dirty Little Secrets

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

June 15, 2005

Dirty Little Secrets
Have you ever seen those enormous SUVs passing you during your morning commute and wondered how many of them are actually ever used for a real-life, off-road hunting, fishing or camping experience? Well, thanks to an online company located in the United Kingdom, now Tahoe and Escalade owners don’t even have to leave the driveway to make their vehicles look like they’ve just returned from a Florida swamp buggy jamboree. Rounding out our lineup this week are stories of a ghostly muskie in Wisconsin, a potentially explosive catch in Kansas, and more!

J.R. Absher

Let Us Spray
Has it ever crossed your mind that the owners of today’s shiny, spotless 4-wheel-drive behemoths might be the least bit self-conscious about always piloting their crafts upon concrete and blacktop — never having the opportunity to enjoy the self-fulfilling life experience that comes with kicking up dust on a dirt back road, or driving through mud bogs and across swollen mountain streams — just like on those TV commercials?

Urban SUVers rejoice! With Spray-On Mud (www.sprayonmud.com), your mammoth Suburban and Expedition can have that “authentic, off-road look” in a matter of seconds.

Spray-On Mud can provide your city-slicker SUV with the off-road look.

For about $14.50 U.S., buyers receive 0.75 liters (.85 quarts) of genuine muddy water, bottled in the rural countryside located near the England-Wales border. The objective, according to its Website, is “to give your neighbors the impression you’ve just come back from a day’s shooting or fishing — anything but driving around town all day or visiting the retail park.”

But law enforcement authorities in Britain are not enthused about Spray-On Mud. It seems that some motorists are using the product to obscure their license plates so the numbers cannot be read by the automatic number plate recognition equipment that’s used to identify speeders.

Aside from that small glitch, we can see where there’d be a potentially limitless market for such a product in the U.S. In fact, some outdoor entrepreneur could offer a wide selection of regional mud vintages, for the SUV driver who not only wants to look like he’s the rugged outdoors’ type, but widely-traveled as well. For example, he could have Spray On Greasy Gumbo, from Montana’s Missouri Breaks, Spray On Red Clay from the Carolina hills, Spray On Swamp Muck from the bayou backcountry, Spray On Mississippi Mud, from the shores of the big muddy — the list goes on and on!

Wisconsin Ghost Fish
The Wisconsin angling community was abuzz last week on the announcement about the rare netting of a white muskie by Wisconsin DNR fisheries staff during routine population surveys.

According to John Kubisiak, DNR fish biologist for Oneida County, anglers have reported seeing white muskies in the past, but none have been caught until now. For years, anglers have told wild tales of strange, white muskellunge seen while fishing on some of the deeper lakes in the area. These ghostly fish reportedly grow to gigantic proportions and are much more elusive than a regular fish.

The Wisconsin DNR netted an albino muskie.

John Lyons, a longtime DNR fisheries researcher, said he considers the Oneida County fish an albino, although he notes that the muskie has a small amount of pigment in the eyes and around the head.

“I’m not sure there’s an official definition of an albino fish,” Lyons says. “In nature there can be a continuum of levels of pigmentation, and I’ve seen specimens of some species that are intermediate in pigmentation between normal and ‘fully’ albino with pink eyes.”

Albinism is a rare but normal occurrence and is seen fairly regularly in whitetail deer and squirrels.

The Wisconsin “ghost fish” measured 32.7 inches and weighed 7.9 pounds. It was released.

Crossbows Gaining Acceptance In South
Following the 2003 and 2004 inclusion of crossbows in Georgia and Alabama’s archery deer-hunting seasons, other states with large whitetail populations appear to be following suit in 2005.

Just weeks ago, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission approved crossbow use during any hunting season that allows archery equipment, including the archery-only deer season. Crossbow hunters are required to obtain a big game archery license, except for those having sportsman licenses.

In March, the nine-member Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to allow hunters to take deer and wild turkey with a crossbow throughout the regular archery season. However, after hearing from numerous sportsmen’s groups who were unhappy with the commission’s action, interim commissioner Dr. Jon Gassett temporarily set aside the expanded crossbow season last week. Instead, crossbows will be allowed only during the final 10 days of the regular archery season.

“We want additional time to further explore the social implications of lengthening the season parameters during which hunters may use crossbows to take deer and wild turkey,” said Gassett. “We want to use this year to gather additional data and take a closer look at the user side of the issue.”

In addition, it appears that Virginia is also poised to add the crossbow to archery deer seasons for 2005. Public hearings have already taken place across the state and the final vote by the board of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is scheduled to occur June 23 in Richmond.

Unhappy Hooker
A Lawrence, Kan., angler reeled in a 20-pound catch last week that he’d really rather not have hooked — in fact, it ruined his whole day.

Sean Un was fishing Monday afternoon at Mary’s Lake, a popular fishing hole for local youngsters, when he landed a 16-inch, 20-pound pipe bomb packed with gunpowder.

“I was scared to death,” Un told the Lawrence Journal World newspaper. “It looked like someone was up to no good.”

Un was not carrying a cell phone, so he left the bomb on the ground, warned others who were fishing not to touch it, and walked to a phone to call police.

Authorities couldn’t tell how long the device had been submerged, but noted that the powder was still dry and it posed significant danger.

Capt. Ed Schons, Jr., commander of the Olathe, Kan., bomb squad, said it appeared someone may have ignited the fuse, then tossed it in the water. But the fuse stopped just short of igniting the powder.

“I don’t know if they were just building it to mess around or if it was a prank or what,” he said. “They could have just been experimenting with this thing to see what it would do. I don’t know.”

The bomb was subsequently dismantled and destroyed.

Quote of the Week
“Calling fishing a hobby is like calling brain surgery a job.”
-Paul Schullery
“Mountain Time,” 1984

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. Visit his Web sites, The Outdoor Pressroom (www.outdoorpressroom.com and The Outdoor Weblog www.outdoorweblog.com ) to find the latest outdoor news of interest. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for sportsmansguide.com. You may contact him at jrabsher@outdoorpressroom.com.

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