Pennsylvania Bill: Increase Penalties for Trail-Camera Thieves

trail cam theftLancaster Online reports that State Representative Neal Goodman (D-Schuylkill County) recently introduced House Bill 484, which would increase penalties for any low-life who would steal another hunter’s trail camera.

Under the proposed bill the theft of a cam would be added as a specific crime within Pennsylvania’s Game and Wildlife Code. Moving trail cameras to the wildlife code would allow a hunter to report the theft of one to state a wildlife conservation officer, who could then investigate the crime. Currently, the theft of a cam in Pennsylvania (and most other states I assume) must be reported to local or state law enforcement, who as Lancaster Online rightly points out “certainly have lots of more pressing issues to deal with.”

The bill introduced by Mr. Goodman, who must be a deer hunter, would make the theft of a trail camera a first-degree summary offense, which carries a fine of up to $1,500 and potential jail time of up to 3 months. Also, and this is the best part, anyone convicted of stealing a trail camera would have his hunting license revoked for a year.

If it were up to me, I’d go with a mandatory 3- or 5-year hunt license suspension. Nothing worse than stealing!

HB 484 has been referred to the Penn. House Game and Fisheries Committee, where it awaits legislative action. I cannot imagine any push back, but only support for it.

Have any of you had a trail camera(s) stolen by some scumbag? (Tip of the hat to the hunter who wrote the sign above :)

Is This Lion Zebra Fight Best Taxidermy Ever?

taxidermy cool lion and zebraI was looking back through my archives and found this photo, which was sent to be by a reader one time: Mike, I don’t know anything else about this other than it is cool as hell!

The message with the picture read: From the World Taxidermy Championship. Notice how carefully this was put together…look at each angle and consider, there are no ropes or lines holding any of this up. The lion is held up by its tail, where it contacts the zebra leg, and the entire mount is supported by the zebra’s back leg. Pretty amazing.

Yes, cool as hell. Might be the best taxidermy work I’ve ever seen.

Potential State Record Mule Deer Sheds!


My friend Ricardo, a New Mexico hunting outfitter who specializes in limited-entry archery hunts for giant mule deer, found this antler on public land. Look at the size and deepness of the front and back forks–that is what you look for on a trophy mule buck.

The shed taped out a tad over 96 inches. “If you double the antler score for the other side and give him a 30-inch spread the buck would score 223 4/8, potential state record! I’ll keep looking for the other side.”

Picture below is last year’s shed off the same buck. “He put on a lot (tine length and mass) this year, but lost the extra point,” Ricardo says.

Deadline to apply for the New Mexico mule deer and elk draw is March 21.


8 of 10 Hunters in America Hunt Deer

va 2017 tyler 1.jpg compressIn its latest study on outdoor recreation the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) reports that 11.5 million people hunted in 2016, and of those, 9.2 million hunted big game.  Take away I million or so that hunted mule deer and elk (my estimate) and that leaves more than 8 million that hunt the white-tailed deer each year.

As I have long said, hunting the whitetail is what supports our industry. If whitetail herds were to crash significantly across the country, it would be devastating. That is why the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease is so concerning.

Back to the survey, the 11.5 million hunters spend about $25.6 billion a year on licenses, equipment, trips, gas, land leases, etc. That breaks down to about $2,200 per hunter. Do you spend that much, or more, on your deer hunting?

The survey says that on average, each hunter spends 16 days in the woods. Do you hunt more than that?

Summarizing the study the USFWS wrote:

Wildlife recreation is not only an important leisure pastime but it is also a catalyst for economic activity. Hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers spent $156.3 billion (combined) on wildlife-related recreation in 2016. This spending contributed to local economies throughout the country, which improved employment, raised economic output, and generated tax revenue.

But troubling to me is that since 2011, the number of hunters in the U.S. dropped from 13.7 million to 11.5 million. The USFWS says the 16% decrease is “not statistically significant” but I disagree. When fewer hunters spend $4 billion less on licenses, gear, trips, etc. that leaves less money for conservation, local economies, gear manufacturers and the like.

Oklahoma Man’s Amazing Deer-Skull Artwork

ok skull 2018

Three years ago I posted on the amazing skull art of Robert Nichols, a deer hunter from Oklahoma. I told Robert that I thought his work was awesome, incredible really. I figured he had carved, engraved and painted professionally for years. Robert wrote me back:

Hey Mike: Thanks for the compliment on my engravings! This is a new hobby for me. We got snowed in for a couple days last November. My wife had been telling me I should try something like this for a while, so she convinced me to do it. I had a small shed antler and figured, “Why not?”

You asked what tools I use. I’m using a 15-year-old dremel…I just picked it up and hit the ground running.

I was astounded by that and told Robert so. But then I hadn’t seen any more of his outstanding work until these pictures popped up on social. Definitely Robert’s style and as good as ever.

I emailed him and asked why the 3-year break in skull engraving?

Well, turns out Robert suffered a work injury, complications set in and many surgeries followed. He suffered nerve damage, including to one of his hands. “I was off work for 2 years and couldn’t do much of anything,” he told me. “It took a toll both physically and mentally.”

I’m happy to report that Robert is recovering and back to engraving skulls. He has offered to carve and paint a skull for me if I’d send him one. It will go out the door this week and I can’t wait to see it! I also hope to get out there sometime and shoot a BIG DEER TV segment with Robert.

Glad to see you back at it man, you have a gift!

ok nichols art 2018 1