New Jersey: Police Officer Performs C-Section On Doe, Saves Fawn

nj cop c sectionFrom CBS New York: “A resourceful police officer is being credited with saving the life of baby deer after its mother had been hit and killed in Warren County.”

Noticing movement inside the doe, Officer Jim Vernon sprung into action and performed a roadside C-section on the doe, saving the life of one of two fawns that the unfortunate doe carried.

Animal Control Officer Robert Lagonera then arrived on the scene, took the fawn home, warmed it up, and rubbed its chest to help get the little deer’s underdeveloped lungs working. The fawn is apparently doing well and awaiting its new home.

To these officers and to all their brothers and sisters in blue across the country, thank you for all you do every day!

Photo: Washington Township, Warren County police

Hunt Of A Lifetime: Kodiak Brown Bear

AK brown bear sam

My friend and fellow Virginia hunter Sam Fullerton just returned from a dream hunt and filed this field report:

The hunt took place in a special draw area on the northern end of Afognak Island in the Kodiak chain. It took 3 years to draw the permit.

I booked the hunt through Wade Darby at Crosshair Hunting Consulting. Wade booked me with Afognak Wilderness Lodge, which has an extremely remote camp that the Randall family has chiseled out of the Afognak wilderness over the last 50 years. It is an impressive camp considering every single thing was either made from the rocks or trees growing on the island, or brought in by float plane or boat.

We left base camp every day by boat, and after about an hour’s ride to our permitted hunting area we glassed from the boat along the shore lines and hillsides.  We concentrated along the beaches at low tide. When we spotted a bear and determined it was a good one, we launched a Zodiac with a small motor and maneuvered to shore to get a closer look at the animal. We saw from 5 to 20 bears each day. Many were inaccessible and we simply watched to see if they would move or feed into better position, which rarely happened.

One day we spotted a bear, launched the Zodiac and got into position. My guide, Josh Randall, immediately realized we were looking at an exceptionally good one. After a good bit of slipping and sliding we were able to get into a good shooting position on a slime-and-barnacle covered rock along the beach. The bear fed towards us, flipping over rocks and driftwood looking for food.

I shot the bear squarely in the front shoulder with hand-loaded 270-grain Barnes TSX from my .375 H&H. Hit hard with the first shot, it spun and snapped a few times. I followed up with a second shot and the bear dropped on the beach within 40 yards.

I feel extremely fortunate to have had an opportunity to harvest such a majestic animal like this. Walking up to this bear was like a dream. I was in shock at the sheer size of the animal. The hide was spectacular, heavy and thick. Its head was massive.

My guide Josh was as excited as I was. We were able to get the main boat to the beach and winch the bear onto the front of the boat to return to camp for skinning, which was an all-day affair.

The hide was not stretched and had been salted when the hide measurements were taken. The bear squared 10 feet 7 inches claw to claw wide, and was 9 feet 6 inches nose to tail, putting it just over the magical 10-foot squared mark.  Alaska game and fish biologists measured the skull at 27 9/16, which will qualify it for Boone & Crockett awards. It was tentatively aged by the biologist at approximately 25 years old. Nearly all the bear’s teeth were either broken or rotten.–Sam Fullerton

Tech notes: Sam Fullerton is a well-traveled big game hunter and hand-loader. Sam reports that while skinning the bear, he recovered the first Barnes TSX bullet, which had entered the front shoulder at a slightly quartering-to angle; it was bulging under the hide just in front of the opposite side rear hip. “Perfect bullet performance with nearly 100% weight retention,” he says. Sam has also used the Barnes TSX in both 270- and 300-grain on a variety of African big game with the same impressive results.

What To Do If A Rattlesnake Bites You

timber rattlerAccording to government statistics, about 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States each year, resulting in 10 to 15 deaths. While odds are you will not be bitten by a rattlesnake, it could happen, so here’s what you need to do, and what you don’t want to do.

–Stay calm as you can

–Call  911

–Wash the bite area gently with soap and water if available

–Remove watches, rings, etc., which may constrict swelling

–Immobilize the affected area

–Keep the bite below the heart if possible

–Transport the bite victim to the nearest medical facility immediately. If a doctor is more than 30 minutes away, keep the bite below the heart, and get there quick as you can.

DO NOT*

–Do not make incisions over the bite wound.

–Do not restrict blood flow by applying a tourniquet.

–Do not ice the wound.

–Do not try to suck the poison out with your mouth.

*According to the USDA paper on Snake Safety, these methods can cause additional harm; most amputations or other serious results of a rattlesnake bite are a result of icing or applying a tourniquet.

10 Tips to Avoid Rattlesnakes

timber rattlerI am deathly afraid of snakes.

The good news: During decades of hunting, hiking, camping and random rambling around the woods and mountains from Virginia to North Carolina to Alabama, I saw few snakes of any kind, and never had a close encounter with a timber rattler.

The bad news: Last August, on a remote ridge halfway into a 15-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail in central Virginia, I nearly stepped on a huge yellow-phase rattler.

Last week on another day hike on the AT, I passed a southbounder who said,” Be careful, rattler in the trail about a mile back.” About a mile up the trail, leaves rustled just off the path and I jumped two feet. A big black-phase rattler coiled there, looking dastardly and deadly.

With two venomous snake encounters in less than a year, my luck has run out, and so I have done extensive research on how to avoid a rattlesnake encounter. These tips are from the USDA. They are timely, since most bites occur between April and October when snakes and humans are most active outdoors.

–Wear over-the-ankle hiking boots, thick socks and loose-fitting long pants. Never go barefoot or wear sandals in wild areas. (I wear shorts on summer hikes, but have started wearing high, thick wool outer socks which could help stop fangs, God forbid.)

–Stick to well-used trails if possible. (I was on a major trail during both my encounters, so you never know; and when turkey (spring) or deer hunting in early fall, you are rarely on a trail, so look where you’re walking!) Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.

–Look at your feet, watch where you step and do not put your foot in or near a crevice where you cannot see. Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see.

–If a fallen tree or large rock is in your path, step up on to it instead of over it, as there might be a snake on the other side. (Learned this in Boy Scouts many moons ago.)

–Be especially careful when climbing rocks; check out stumps or logs before sitting down.

–Shake out sleeping bag before use. (Now there’s a scary thought!)

–Do not turn over rocks or logs. If you must move a rock or log, use gloves and roll it toward you, giving anything beneath it the opportunity to escape in the opposite direction.

–Avoid approaching any snake you cannot positively identify as a safe species. (No problem there, as I hate all snakes!)

–If you hear the warning rattle, move away from the area and do not make any sudden or threatening moves. Remember rattlesnakes do not always rattle before they strike!

–Do not handle a freshly killed snake, it can still inject venom. (Again no problem, I don’t kill any snakes. Not cause I don’t want to, I’m just running too fast away.)

Photo: My friend John Fink ran across this rattler on his morning hike in north Alabama last week.

Coming tomorrow: First-aid for a rattlesnake bite.

Future Of Deer Hunting: USDA TO Revise Standards for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

cwd map

As I’ve said on the Blog and on BIG DEER TV, CWD is the biggest issue and threat that we’ve faced in the last 50 years, and maybe ever. We need to stay on top of this and learn all we can about this disease.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is currently revising their standards for CWD, and they need to hear from deer hunters from across the country. To that end, TRCP put out this message which I wholeheartedly agree with and support:

Deer hunting is the single most popular form of hunting in the United States, with 9.2 million Americans participating each year, contributing more than $20 billion in economic activity, state and local taxes, and wildlife restoration trust fund excise taxes. Deer hunters play an essential role in the “user pays, public benefits” framework of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Reductions in deer hunting and the number of deer hunters have reverberating impacts that extend far beyond deer and deer hunting directly, including state fish and wildlife agency budgets and their broader fish and wildlife management work, and rural economic health.

Deer populations represent one of the great success stories of American wildlife conservation, and deer hunters have led the way; but the continued spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) across the country represents a stark threat to the future of deer populations, deer hunting, and more broadly, the public’s wildlife resources. Once again, hunters stand ready to take the steps necessary to address this worrisome issue, but we cannot do it alone. Significant progress must also be made by the deer farming industry.

As the lead federal agency tasked with slowing and ultimately ending the further spread of CWD, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) must take proactive and meaningful steps, including:

1. Reducing the spread of CWD to levels low enough that new cases are extremely rare.
2. Including all effective disease control options, to include improved fencing for deer farms and stronger requirements for disease monitoring, surveillance, and decontamination.
3. Covering all native and farmed deer species in North America.
4. Requiring mandatory testing of all dead animals from captive herds.
5. Eliminating the movement of CWD-infected deer from all sources.
6. Recommending a third-party review of the APHIS Herd Certification and Interstate Movement program and Program Standards due to continued detection of CWD in herds monitored beyond five years, largely due to flaws with the program.

TRCP encourages all of us to take action and weigh in on the CWD threat. Fill out the form found here to send a letter to decision makers at the USDA APHIS.