J.R. Absher

Big fish stories: serving-up some angling whoppers

And we’re not referring to hamburgers from the place with that creepy-looking king-guy. Instead we’re serving up a big portion of wild fish tales for readers this week! Hungry Catfish Chomps Researcher A Kansas natural history museum researcher looking for salamanders in the Neosho River last month got much more than he bargained for, when an estimated 30-pound flathead catfish…

Hunting and fishing tales: If it wasn’t for bad luck…

You’ve likely heard the song lyric, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.” This week’s selection of tales offers readers some true “bad luck,” stories, all with an outdoor flavor! Ever Have One of Those Weeks? It was a bad week all around for central Florida resident Guy Daelemans. One day in July he…

Deer hunting 2012: more tales of the whitetail rut

If you enjoyed our last installment of wild rut tales, here’s a few more for good measure! Deer Anxious to Become Venison? It’s the time of year when deer become increasingly active—and unpredictable. For example, a video surveillance camera recorded a deer crashing into the front window of a northern Illinois venison processor one recent morning, leaving the glass shattered…

Sure signs of the whitetail rut? Alert hunters report!

It’s November, and that means the deer are at the peak of rutting season in many regions of the country. In typical Offbeat Outdoors fashion, this week we offer some especially wild examples of what can happen during rutting season, as only we can! Leave that dog alone! What’s a sure sign the whitetail rut is in full swing in…

Bikers + Wildlife = Roadrash

Whether your choice of two-wheeled transportation is the motorized or pedaled variety, when you add wildlife to the mix—be prepared for some serious road-rash! Alaskan Hit & Run An Alaskan motorcyclist reported having a run in with a bear — and we mean a run in, literally. Garrett Edgmon told Alaska State Police he was traveling on a rural highway…

Game-Winning Wardens

One of the toughest ways to earn a living in the outdoors is as a wildlife agency game warden or conservation officer. Poacher Tracking A combination of a convenience store surveillance video and good old- fashioned detective work led to the arrest and conviction of a pair of Wyoming mule deer poachers. While the videotape didn’t catch the culprits in…

Golfers Endure the Flukes of Hazards

Golf Course hazards aren’t always limited to water, sand traps, and hidden bunkers. Shark (Not Greg Norman) Makes Appearance at California Golf Course Golfers at a San Juan Capistrano, Calif., golf course narrowly missed scoring a birdie – or perhaps an eagle or an osprey – on Monday, Oct. 22, when a raptor apparently lost its grip on a two-foot…

Coyote Capers

This week, Offbeat Outdoors serves up a trio of unusual tales about America’s prolific wild canine, the coyote. Bass Angler Catches Coyote Onalaska, Wis., angler Darren Zumach was fishing for bass on a Mississippi River slough when he received a cell phone call from his buddy Bruce Chandler, who was in a separate boat in the same general area. His…

On The Road, Again

Why did the chicken cross the road? To show the deer it could be done! Number One, With a Bumper Where do drivers have the highest odds of hitting a deer with their vehicles? According to data from the State Farm Insurance Company, it’s West Virginia, where a driver’s chances of hitting a whitetail in the next 12 months are…

Only in Alaska

With good reason, our 50th state is known as “The Last Frontier.” And here are some examples of things that you’ll never see reported occurring in The Lower 48. Road-Killed Moose Delivered Fresh to Your Door Think of it like Dominos Delivery, only with road-killed moose instead of pepperoni pizza and extra cheese. For years, Alaska residents and charities could…

Close Calls of the Grizzly Variety

It’s archery elk season in the Northern Rockies, and bowhunters who venture into the backcountry of Wyoming and Montana in September don’t have to be told to watch out for grizzly bears. Here are some reasons why. Dad’s Arrow Saves Son From Grizzly Quick thinking, good bow shooting and a prayer combined to help Cody, Wyo. bowhunter Ron G. Leming,…

Lab Work

It’s little wonder why the Labrador retriever has been the most popular AKC-registered breed among Americans for more than 20 years. But here are some Labs that receive some special treatment, above and beyond the normal pooch. Kiss The Bride, Pet The Dog When B.J. and Josh LaJaunie were pre-planning their wedding that took place in a tiny chapel in…

Rabid Response

We all know that wild critters—big, small and in-between—can be unpredictable. But when the deadly viral infection rabies is introduced in the mix, beware! Couple Slams Rabid Coyote Pennsylvania wildlife officials confirmed that a coyote shot after chasing a man into his house tested positive for rabies, the first confirmed case of the disease carried by a coyote in the…

Golf Hazards of The Wild Variety

At some courses, sand bunkers and water aren’t the only hazards faced by golfers. Bear Attack Par for the Course? At 300 pounds and standing 6 feet and change, Hardyston, New Jersey golf course groundskeeper George Petta is not a man likely to be easily intimidated. But Petta met his match in June on the 17th hole at Crystal Springs…

Pilfering Plants is Poaching, Too

If you associate poaching only with those ne’er-do-wells who take game animals illegally or out-of-season, here are some examples of another type of outdoor thief—the plant poacher. Rooting Out Root Poachers Investigators in Ohio believe rising unemployment and a tough economy is driving some ginseng diggers in the state to illegally harvest the root on private land and out of…

More Weird Catches

Here at Offbeat Outdoors we can’t get enough of ‘em, and neither can our readers. Fluke Angling, Indeed Warwick, Rhode Island resident Tom Walason was jigging for fluke on Greenwich Bay when he landed a 10-carat gold ring, which was a fluke of its own. According to The Warwick Beacon, the man’s class or school-type ring is engraved with the…

Toll-Free and Long-Distance Ducks

Two totally unrelated stories about ducks, and luck. As The Duck Flies A duck hunter on the Mississippi Delta noticed that a pintail his retriever brought him on January 2 had a band attached to its leg, which is not an unusual occurrence on the waterfowl-rich flyway. Freddie Scott took the banded bird over to a well-lighted corner of the…

Rolling the Dice

In hunting, fishing and the outdoors, there’s luck—and then, in some cases, there’s damned good luck. Here are some stories exhibiting the latter form retrieved from our Offbeat Outdoors archives for your reading pleasure. 7-7-7 Not Lucky For Tarpon Angler An avid Florida saltwater fly angler experienced a near miss with tragedy when he tumbled overboard while fighting a 90-pound…

Weird Catches, Revisited

Every few months, Offbeat Outdoors offers a heaping portion of wild angler catches, and with the dog days of summer approaching, we figured the timing was right for a fresh serving. Bon Appétit! Michigan Angler Snags Omni Michael Foor has fished Michigan’s Grand River for the better part of two decades, so when he felt the pull on his line…

Myth America

In the outdoors, you just never know when you might run into a mythical creature, including a jackalope, mermaid or even Sasquatch. Jacks or Better In Douglas, Wyoming, seeing a mythical jackalope (half-antelope, half-jackrabbit) is commonplace, considering that a taxidermist from there is credited for creating the first whimsical creature nearly 74 years ago. Douglas taxidermist Douglas Herrick is known…

Poaching Begets Poetic Justice

There will always be those persons in the outdoors who believe game laws are in place for everyone but them. They just provide more material for the Offbeat Outdoors blog! It Ain’t Rocket Science It should come as no surprise to regular readers of the Offbeat Outdoors blog that those who choose to deliberately break game and fish regulations are…

Summertime is ‘Gator Time

Now that the calendar tells us it’s officially summer, here are some of our favorite stories about alligators, those amphibious reptiles of the South that are most active in the next few months. Hard to Swallow You think you’ve had a bad case of indigestion or heartburn? Judging from the stomach contents of the 13-foot nuisance alligator trapped and killed…

Offbeat Outdoors’ Summer Safety Tips

With summer poised to officially begin next week, The Offbeat Outdoors Blog shares some seasonal safety reminders with readers—as only we can! Up in Smoke “Keep your powder dry,” is a popular adage among black powder hunting and shooting enthusiasts, with its roots in America’s colonial days, when soldiers were reminded by their commanders to always be prepared for adversity….

Gross Fishing Offenses

What constitutes a gross fishing offense? How about when you exceed the limit by 443 fish, like a Minnesota angler was charged with doing last month? Gross Overfishing, Indeed! A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer investigating Chien Van Tran on a Wright County lake found 134 sunfish and 19 crappies on his boat, and more in a freezer…

Kayak Attack!

With more and more adventuresome anglers turning to one-person kayaks these days, that means great fodder for the Offbeat Outdoors blog! Great White Leaves Mark A great white shark dumped a fisherman from his one-man kayak into the ocean for a brief time as he fished with a group of kayak-angling enthusiasts off California’s San Mateo Coast. The angler fortunately…

Offbeat Dispatches

This week we bring you a collection of unusual ways to deal with wild animal attacks—all with a definite Offbeat Outdoors touch! Teed Off Wildcat A pair of 60-something golfing buddies, Ira Girard and Jerry Crown, was finishing up at the 18th green at Tucson’s Skyline Country Club when a full-grown bobcat raced toward the pair in full-attack mode. “Jerry…