Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors
Jan. 12, 2005
Lost & Found — Briefly
When a duck hunter who was lost in an Arkansas swamp heard a helicopter flying overhead, he realized his potential rescuers couldn’t see him because he was dressed head-to-toe in camouflage and daylight was fading into dusk. Knowing he must act quickly to draw the attention of the chopper crew, the clever hunter tied his only piece of white clothing — his underpants — onto the barrel of his shotgun to use as a signal. Also this week, you’ll read about students who receive extra credit for bringing deer hearts to science class, a stolen seven-hole Minnesota ice-fishing house, and more!
Ben Lipscomb has had plenty of experience with briefs, usually while writing and filing the legal variety for the municipality of Rogers, Ark., where he serves as the city attorney. But last week, he was flying his briefs — on the end of his shotgun, to flag down a rescue helicopter.
Lipscomb and his Labrador retriever, Josey Wales, separated from their hunting partners and subsequently became lost in a vast swamp on a gray, January day.
“I got turned around. I started walking in the general direction of where I though the boat was, but it wasn’t,” Lipscomb later told the NW Arkansas Morning News.
As dusk approached, Lipscomb had all but resolved himself to spending all night in the swamp. He drank a few handfuls of bayou water and chewed on a raw duck breast.
Then, he heard the helicopter.
“They had passed over me a couple of times. I knew I had to do something to get their attention,” he said.
Shortly before 6 p.m., Arkansas State Police pilots reported spotting the lawyer, waving his pair of white undies on the end of his gun barrel.
“It’s hard to see somebody in camouflage at dusk in the woods. But a pair of white underwear is very visible,” Lipscomb reasoned.
Authorities in Waseca County, Minn., were on the lookout this week for a 6-foot x 12-foot, $4,000 ice-fishing house reported missing from the ice on Clear Lake.
According to its owner, the extravagant 72-square-foot structure included wood paneling, blue carpet, two-toned exterior and seven holes in the floor.
While thefts from within ice fishing shanties are occasionally reported, law enforcement officials say it’s somewhat unusual for thieves to pull the whole structure away.
“We get reports not so much about the houses being stolen — that’s a rarity — but more about the house being broken into and items stolen from inside,” said Paul Tschida, chief sheriff’s deputy in Carver County.
Have A Heart, Deer
At Elkhorn Middle School in Frankfort, Ky., Gene Snyder’s eighth-grade science students are supplying their own specimens for a class dissection project — deer hearts.
Snyder offers extra credit to youngsters who bring deer hearts to class, whether they have killed the deer themselves, or have obtained one from a friend or family member who hunts.
“We’re making use of a commodity that would otherwise go to waste,” Snyder said. He said the donations save the school as much as $1,000 it may normally spend to purchase preserved specimens from a commercial supplier.
Snyder, who has taught middle school science for 32 years, said he started the practice 20 years ago when a student brought a heart from a deer her father had killed to class when they were studying the pulmonary system. He said the project has sparked enthusiasm among his students.
“Anything we can do to get these kids excited about learning is great,” he said. “My kids keep asking me how soon we’re going to do the dissections … I like that kind of enthusiasm.”
1-in-3 Women Own A Gun
A recent Gallup Poll survey examining American gun ownership surprisingly revealed that approximately 30 percent of firearm owners are female.
Also contrary to some perceptions, Gallup reports a majority of gun owners, 67 percent, are registered to vote as Democrats or Independents. City dwellers are gun owners 29 percent of the time, suburbanites 40 percent, while 56 percent live in rural areas.
Of those acknowledging to the pollster that they own a firearm, approximately 40 percent reported owning an average of 4.4 firearms. A majority of the gun owners surveyed — seven in 10 — said having a gun in the home makes it safer, and that’s up from the last time the question was asked by Gallup, which was prior to September 11, 2001.
Quote Of The Week
“I had two main worries when I was in the deeper woods and swamps by myself or with other boys: getting lost, and being bitten by a rattlesnake or water moccasin. Being bitten was a more constant anxiety — always threatening to be fatal, because the venom was likely to have several hours to act before the victim could expect to get from a remote swamp to a hospital to receive antivenom serum. All of us learned quite early in life to be vigilant in the fields and along the stream, constantly looking before each step, so that it became a lifetime habit, almost like breathing.”
“Danger in the Woods”
“An Outdoor Journal” (1988)
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 [email protected]