Reading the mail

There’s talk of the U.S. Postal Service cutting back to a
five-day weekly delivery because it’s losing money. No wonder. Who
writes letters anymore? Heck, I don’t even pay my bills by mail
anymore, either. Seems like all I get are ads for services I don’t
want and catalogs for stuff I don’t need. Nevertheless, the mail
still brings some interesting stuff every once in a while.

Those of you out there who remember columnist Art Buchwald know
he often began one of his syndicated columns with the line, “Things
a columnist would never know if he didn’t open his mail.” During
the course of every month or even every week I get some interesting
tidbits from outdoor news bureaus, state game agencies and outdoor
product manufacturers that I find interesting but never have an
opportunity to share. Here are a few of the things that recently
came across my desk or by e-mail.

Most people associate hearing loss with older people, but a
study done at the University of Florida found that 17 percent of
middle and high school students examined were already suffering
some form of hearing loss. Hunters and target shooters were among
the sampling and, not surprisingly, found to suffer hearing loss
just as high as the students. Hearing loss is nearly 100 percent
avoidable and all shooters, regardless of age, should wear quality,
tested ear protection when stepping up to the firing line, running
a lawn mower or when cutting firewood with a chainsaw.

A recent National Shooting Sports Foundation survey was
conducted among bowhunters and sought to learn why more than three
million North American hunters now hunt with a bow and arrow. Top
bowhunting incentives were: the challenge, 58 percent; the longer
seasons, 24 percent; less hunter competition, 13 percent; and
seasons that start earlier, 11 percent. Other reasons for
bowhunting were the change of pace and the quiet and peace one has
during the traditional bow season. We could have told them that if
they had only asked.

A study by Congress determined there are 27,000 injuries a year
caused by rodents; $1 billion in damage occurs every year by
deer/vehicle collisions; 15 deaths per year due to snake bites;
6,000 collisions between birds and airplanes; and $70 million in
annual livestock losses from predators – mainly coyotes.

Despite what many people have come to accept as gospel, the
early Pilgrims did not domesticate the wild turkey found here when
they arrived. As a matter of fact, none of the turkey subspecies
native to North America has been domesticated. The barnyard turkey
we know today actually originated in Mexico and was transported to
Europe during the 1500s. From there, it was brought to the
colonies.

Scientists studying the black-footed tick, the one which causes
Lyme disease, think ticks can detect the odor left by the
interdigital glands of deer as the deer walk through the forest.
Deer have a number of glands on their body and the interdigital
gland is located between the toes of each foot. Scientists think
ticks can detect this interdigital odor and lie in wait in areas of
high deer concentration. When a deer passes, the tick leaps onto
the passing deer and engorges itself on the deer’s blood.
Scientists feel if they can identify and duplicate this
interdigital smell then it may be possible to fool ticks and
disperse them, thus depriving them of the blood meal they need to
survive.

Most experienced turkey hunters already know this, but for those
who don’t, the National Wild Turkey Federation says when it comes
to turkeys breeding, unseasonably cold weather can influence the
timing of the breeding cycle that’s normally regulated by daylight
rather than temperature. According to the information I received
from the NWTF, there are two peaks of gobbling activity every
spring – one when breeding begins in March and April and again when
most hens have been bred. It seems here in the Southern Tier, at
least, the toms have become less and less vocal, probably because
there are so many hens they have no need to advertise. They simply
sit in the tree and don’t come down until they see a hen
approach.

A recent survey of American hunters who went on an international
hunt showed almost 47 percent went to Canada, while 23 percent
trekked to Africa. The average amount spent on one of these hunts
was almost $7,000.

There you have it. Little known factoids that would never have seen
the light of day if I hadn’t opened my mail. Now, don’t tell me I
have nothing to do.

 

Categories: New York – Mike Raykovicz

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