When Sharp Sticks Are Outlawed

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

June 8, 2005

When Sharp Sticks Are Outlawed

Some outspoken British emergency room doctors have launched a campaign to ban long kitchen knives in the U.K. because they contend the utensils serve no good purpose except as weapons — and even staunch anti-gun groups in the U.S. find the notion laughable. Also this week, you’ll read about a new pro-bear-hunting coalition, a new study that shows kids think fishing is really cool, and more!

Missing The Point

While utilizing imaginative culinary imagery in the current issue of The British Medical Journal, Dr. Emma Hern, a specialist registrar, and D. Mike Beckett, an emergency medicine consultant, write that a long-bladed, pointed kitchen knife pierces the body like “cutting into a ripe melon.” The authors further contend that a short knife may cause a substantial superficial wound if used in an assault, but is unlikely to penetrate to inner organs.

J.R. Absher

The doctors, as part of their research intended to identify methods to reduce violence, wrote that they consulted with leading chefs who said long knives were not necessary for cooking.

“Many assaults are impulsive, often triggered by alcohol or misuse of other drugs, and the long-pointed kitchen knife is an easily available, potentially lethal weapon, particularly in the domestic setting,” wrote Hern.

This assertion was especially intriguing to many Americans engaged in firearms’ lobbying and legislative action. In an article appearing in the New York Times, Wayne LaPierre, the vice president of the National Rifle Association, mused, “Are they going to have everybody using plastic knives and forks and spoons in their own homes, like they do in airlines?”

Even a spokesman for a vehement anti-gun group found the idea laughable.

“Can sharp stick control be far behind?” quipped Peter Hamm of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

As for us here at The Outdoor News Hound, we’ll give up our vegetable-chopping knife when they pry our cold, dead fingers from it.

Bear Hunter Coalition Formed

At a recent meeting in Green Bay, Wis., 40 bear hunting organizations from across the country met with U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) representatives to establish a permanent bear hunting protection group, the Bear Hunter Rights Coalition (BHRC).

Many of the coalition’s members were also part of USSA’s National Bear Hunting Defense Task Force formed in 2003. Task force members worked toward the defeat of federal legislation introduced that year aimed at outlawing bear hunting with bait on federal land. The group also derailed efforts to place the ban as an amendment to the Department of Interior spending bill.

The task force played a major role in the defeat of anti-bear hunting initiatives appearing on the 2004 general election ballots in Maine and Alaska.

“The USSA’s initial coordination of the bear hunting community two years ago defeated anti-bear hunting attacks, but our partners wanted to make sure the effort would be continued over the long haul,” said Rob Sexton, USSA vice president for government affairs. “Attacks on bear hunting have not subsided and members agree that formalizing the organization and running it out of the USSA office will provide even greater support to stave off the antis’ attacks.”

“Open Fields” Update

Calling on his colleagues in the U.S. Senate to support the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program Act of 2005, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) recently made a statement on the Senate floor to bring attention to the success of state sportsmen’s access programs for private landowners. The senator cited statistics showing how the proposed federal expenditure could generate much more revenue, along with the added promotion of hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

The Conrad-sponsored bill, commonly referred to as the “Open Fields Act,” would provide $20 million in grants for the Department of Agriculture to disperse to any of the current 18 states with walk-in access programs. These state programs give private landowners a financial incentive for providing hunting and fishing access to their property while protecting them from liability and property damage. It also encourages landowners to improve the fish and wildlife habitat on their property. These programs are extremely popular with landowners and with sportsmen, but a lack of financial resources means that many states are unable to take advantage of the offers by private landowners to enroll in their access programs.

In his statement, Sen. Conrad noted that they “have very successfully begun to reverse the trend of diminishing numbers of hunters and anglers in states with these programs. At the same time, these programs generate cash and economic activity in rural economies by encouraging increased numbers of hunters, anglers, and others who enjoy wildlife-related activities to spend more of their outdoor recreation dollars in rural America.”

Kids: Fishing Is Cool

As if those of us who 1) Fish; and 2) Take kids fishing; didn’t already know it — when given the opportunity, most youngsters love to fish. And, a new study from the folks at Responsive Management, the nation’s leading demographics study firm specializing in the outdoors and natural resource-related subjects, confirms what we believe.

In “Factors Related to Hunting and Fishing Participation Among the Nation’s Youth,” the firm conducted the first detailed national study on youth attitudes toward wildlife and hunting and fishing in nearly 20 years. The project consisted of a literature review on demographic trends and participation in outdoor activities, as well as an analysis of the stages of cognitive development in youth. The study also entailed a series of nationwide focus groups and a nationwide telephone survey of youth ages 8-18.

The results of this study related to fishing included:

– Numbers of participants in some outdoor recreation activities among youth are declining, including freshwater fishing and hunting.

– A large majority (86 percent) of youth “approve” of legal fishing.

– A large majority (85 percent) of youth are “interested” in going fishing, with half (50 percent) of all youth being “very interested.”

– A majority (75 percent) of youth anglers want to fish “more” than they currently do.

– Youth overwhelmingly agree (90 percent) that fishing is a “safe” recreational activity.

– A majority (77 percent) of youth think their peers think that fishing is a “little cool” or “very cool.”

– Youth hear “more” good things than bad things about fishing.

Quote Of The Week

“You probably don’t even know the bluegill’s Latin name, which is Lepomis macrochrisus. I don’t care what its Latin name is either, but I quote it to shame those who can Latinize a whole batch of trout-stream flies, but feel a bluegill is beneath their dignity.”

-Charley Waterman

“Panfish Get No Respect”

“Ridge Runners and Swamp Rats” (1983)

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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