Valley Forge sharpshooter deer hunt postponed

December 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (AP) — The National Park Service has called off its plan to deploy silencer-equipped sharpshooters this winter to cull the nearly 1,300 deer overtaking Valley Forge. Read more

Frozen lake leads to tragedy for California family

December 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Noel Smith had moved his wife and teenage daughter to one of California’s most far-flung regions five months ago, a landscape of rolling mountains, rivers and wide valleys near the Oregon border. Read more

Peacocks a colorful scourge on Florida island

December 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

LONGBOAT KEY, Fla. (AP) — Kip O’Neill is worried that peacocks will ruin her family’s Christmas. Her Gulf coast neighborhood is overrun with them: large, regal, noisy, messy birds. Some mornings, O’Neill finds 30 of them on her roof. Read more

Donkeys escape from live nativity scene

December 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

VAIL, Colo. -A living nativity scene in near the Colorado ski resort of Vail almost had to go without two crucial actors when two donkeys escaped.
The nativity scene is an annual tradition for Eagle River Presbyterian Church in the Vail Valley. Pastor Rob Wilson says two borrowed donkeys were being held in a fenced-in pen for the event Wednesday night, but the animals pushed their way through it.A church member who stopped by the church Wednesday morning noticed the donkeys were gone. He and a sheriff’s deputy followed footprints in the snow and eventually caught up with them.
The donkeys had wandered near some railroad tracks but were OK.

The Reason For The Season Merry Christmas

December 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

For centuries, society has been slowly drifting down a broad river of change, but speed is picking up, and we have now entered the rapids. Even Christmas is not immune to these changes. It has become just a “holiday” to the world—and, sadly, even to some Christians. Read more

Attorney charges Tenn. agency with ‘judge shopping’

December 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

Images A Tennessee defense attorney hoping to see his client’s case of boating under the influence dismissed is charging the state Wildlife Resources Agency with unfairly seeking out specific judges familiar with game and fish regulations to preside over such cases, calling the practice “judge shopping.” Attorney Jerry Summers has subpoenaed two judges and three TWRA officers to testify at a Jan 7 hearing. The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Lost Hikers would not stay put

December 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

A story of a lost hiker is nothing new in the NPS Morning Report. What’s interesting about this one in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is that the lost hikers were in cell phone contact with rangers, and they didn’t bother following the searchers’ instructions.

Personnel searched for approximately six hours without luck. The rain did not turn to snow, and plans were made to continue the search at first light the next day. Additional personnel were called in and the search resumed early on Saturday morning. Further phone contact helped them to finally locate the trio in mid-afternoon. Search efforts were hampered by the men continuing to move after being told to stay in one position so that searchers could find them. Tommy Barnes was IC. There were no injuries to either hikers or searchers.

Escaped otters delay Ohio-bound flight in Houston

December 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

COLUMBUS, Ohio -Passengers on a Continental Airlines flight couldn’t believe it when they saw an otter scurry from the plane’s cargo hold and onto the tarmac at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. The daring escape by a pair of otters delayed the Ohio-bound flight for about an hour Tuesday night.
One passenger said that most on board thought the delay was a joke at first. But another said they watched one of the otters scurry across the tarmac.
Airport workers managed to catch the otters and return them to their cages and the flight took off for Columbus.

Information from: WBNS-TV,

Glock Gen4 Unveiled!

December 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

Ed’s Public Safety, a dealer that which calls itself “Georgia’s #1 GLOCK Dealer and GLOCK Law Enforcement Distributor”, has published photos of the Glock 22 Gen4. I am sure Glock’s PR people are pretty annoyed right about now!

Glock 22 Gen4
glock 22 gen 4 tfb Glock Gen4 Unveiled!  photo
Gen4 Duel Recoil Spring. Note magazine has two cut-outs to accommodate swappable mag release.
How the backstrap attaches. Tool provided with gun. Backstraps are marked “M” (medium) and “L” (large).
The new RTF3 texture
Gen4 frame (Left) and 3rd Gen Frame (Right)

So just to summarize all the point about the Glock Gen4 …

  • Initially Glock 17 (9mm) and Glock 22 (.40 S&W) will be available. Compact models will follow later in 2010.
  • Features duel recoil spring which should increase reliability.
  • Features Swappable backstraps.
  • Magazine release swappable between left and right.
  • Old magazines still work, but only when mag release is on left side.
  • Gen4 slide is clearly marked as “Gen4″.
  • Retail price for G17 and G22 Gen4 is about $700 (actual prices will be lower than this).
  • Glock will cease sales of the 3rd Generation and RTF models.

Snoopy is pop culture top dog

December 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

Images In a poll to celebrate its 125th anniversary, the American Kennel Club asked online voters to rank the Top 125 canines made popular through movies, television, art and literature. In first place was Peanuts’ Snoopy, followed by Texas A&M’s collie mascot, Reveille (we suspect a fix). Other notables included the poker-playing dogs painting at number 6, Lassie at 11 and Old Yeller at a distant 34. See the entire list.

Leopold issues counterfeit riflescope alert

December 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

Leupold-medallion Optics maker Leupold® has posted a customer alert on its Web site regarding bogus Leupold products that are apparently being illegally imported from the People’s Republic of China. According to the posting, counterfeited Leupold Mark 4® riflescopes have begun to arrive with increasing regularity at the firm’s Beaverton, Oregon, headquarters for service in recent months.

Trail cam snags shot of Wisconsin cougar

December 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

Cougar dunn 3 As reported here yesterday, a mountain lion photographed by a trail camera Saturday night near Downsville, Wis. in Dunn County is believed to be the same one that left tracks last week near Spring Valley, Wis. and earlier in December in the Twin Cites’ northern suburbs. In The St. Paul Pioneer Press.

They make them tough in Michigan

December 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

WARREN, Mich. -A man who walked into a Michigan diner with a 5-inch knife stuck in his chest ordered a coffee and complained only about the cold weather. The 52-year-old man, who has not been identified, called a 911 operator in Warren on Sunday night to ask that an ambulance be sent to Bray’s, an eatery in neighboring Hazel Park. Read more

Lost Hiker Found After Hailing Taxicab

December 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

After a tragic accident on Mount Hood left a number of climbers dead, authorities in Oregon are suggesting that satellite locator beacons be required for anyone mounting an assault the peak. Read more

Deer crashes into Ala. county extension office

December 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

Cloverroom A young whitetail buck—possibly looking for deer plot-growing advice—crashed through a window at the Chilton County Extension Office in Clanton, Ala. yesterday morning, eventually seeking refuge in the appropriately named Clover Room. The animal was tranquilized and safely removed by police and animal control personnel. The Clanton Advertiser reports.

A Different Outcome on Mt. Hood: Should Locator Beacons Be Required?

December 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

The bodies of Brian Hall and Jerry “Nikko” Cooke — two of the three climbers who went missing on Oregon’s imposing Mt. Hood in December, have yet to be found. The remains of their climbing companion, Kelly James, were located in part by tracing cell phone signals he’d made, but only days later. He was found dead in a snow cave near the summit.

Among the many lamentations issued over those tragic deaths was this one: if only they’d been carrying a Mountain Locator Unit — a device that can be rented for a few bucks — they might have had a chance.

The incident inspired a bill in the Oregon legislature that would make carrying such a device mandatory. Its sponsors now have a powerful real-life advertisement for their mission: A group of climbers — and a black Labrador named Velvet — encountered trouble midway up Mt. Hood over the holiday weekend, and this time had precisely the opposite outcome.

Rescuers gave high praise today to Velvet for keeping the three climbers who spent the longest time on the mountain warm and alive. But they are also making no bones about what they consider the key to the happy ending: they attribute the smooth rescue, in large part, to the locator beacons the climbers carried.

“We were able to really focus all our resources here in one area,” Steve Rollins of Portland Mountain Rescue, told The Oregonian, “instead of looking all over the mountain.”

The devices are not rocket science, of course — nor are they foolproof. From the same article:

The Mt. Hood Locator Unit came into being after a hiking tragedy in May 1986 claimed the lives of nine students and staff from the Oregon Episcopal School who were trapped by bad weather during an annual hike.

The M.L.U. is an electronic device like those trackers would put on a bear or other animal, said Jacob Deck, a technician at the Mountain Shop in Portland.

It sends a radio signal that search teams can use to triangulate the rough coordinates of lost climbers — and Monday it helped guide rescuers to the three climbers and their dog holed up in the White River Canyon area.

The device is sewn into a thick strap and worn across the torso or inside a backpack. When activated, it sends out a radio signal. Searchers on Mt. Hood are equipped with special receivers programmed to pick up the signal, which can extend as far as five miles but is affected by natural obstructions such as cliffs.

“It’s pretty much line of sight,” said [Rollins]. “If we can see it, we can receive it.”

But someone still has to call authorities to alert them of the missing person, or no one will look for the signal, Rollins said.

“Activating a mountain locator unit does not activate a rescue for you,” he said. “And it certainly doesn’t guarantee that we can get to you.”

And it’s that last bit that makes many veteran climbers — for whom the sport, in any case, is all about freedom and adventure and escaping the tethers of life’s myriad have-tos and no-you-can’ts — cringe at the idea of making the beacons mandatory. There are no guarantees in life, they say — and legislation won’t change that.

VelvetVelvet, the black Lab, was credited with keeping three stranded climbers warm while rescuers tried to get to them. The climbers’ Mountain Locator Unit is credited with helping the rescuers find them. (Photo: A.P.)

No state currently requires climbers to carry any sort of locator. But Rep. John Lim, the chief sponsor of the Oregon bill insists that the three climbers who died in December might be alive today had they carried the devices.

Mr. Lim’s rationale is twofold: first, he told the A.P., carrying a beacon shouldn’t be that big a deal, and second, searching for lost climbers is expensive and, often enough, tragic. “It will send a strong message to climbers: this may save your life and spare your loved ones misery,” he said.

The Associated Press quoted a number of climbers — including representatives of search-and-rescue groups — in an article today on the pending bill:

Jim Whittaker, the first American to conquer Mount Everest, said it’s fine for individual climbers to make a decision to carry a locator, but imposing the requirement would take a lot away from the mystique of climbing.

“If you take all of the risk out of life, you lose a lot. You’re removing a personal liberty from somebody who wants to go and explore without having a safety net,” Whittaker said by cell phone from Idaho, where he was on a climbing trip. “You want to go into the wild and enjoy nature and not be followed.”

Charley Shimanski of the Mountain Rescue Association, which represents 100 search-and-rescue groups in the U.S. and Canada, said he worries that relying on electronic beacons could give climbers a false sense of security.

“They might think, `I’ve got this gizmo that tells everybody where I am, so I can take greater risks,’ ” Shimanski said in a phone interview from Evergreen, Colo.

He called Lim’s bill an “overreaction” to the December deaths. Even if they had locators, the climbers would have likely died because conditions were so perilous, he contended.

Indeed, there are a host of other devices that have their own pros and cons — why not legislate those, too? Avalanche transceivers, for instance, both send and receive signals, making it easier for separated climbers to find each other, as well as searchers to locate lost climbers. But their range is limited. Then there are the ever more ubiquitous global positioning devices, which could help climbers navigate their own way off the mountain, but don’t transmit a signal.

How about cell phones — should they be required equipment?

It is also worth noting, as the article does, that missing mountain climbers accounted for only 3.4 percent of all search-and-rescue missions mounted in Oregon in 2005. Apparently hunters, mushroom pickers or others frolicking in the wild account for the better part of the state’s rescue resources.

Still, Jerry Krummel, another Oregon lawmaker who supports the legislation, said climbers who oppose requiring locator units “are being a little bit selfish.”

“Those rescuers are putting their lives on the line,” he told The A.P. “I want to give them all the tools they need to help them save lives. This bill does that.”

Climber clings to icy cliff in 6-hour ordeal

December 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

A YOUNG climber clung to an ice-covered cliff by his fingertips for six hours before he was rescued at the weekend. The 23-year-old was only saved after a mountain rescuer was lowered more than 300ft down the rockface to help him to safety. The experienced climber was yesterday recovering from frostbite to his fingers after his overnight ordeal in temperatures as low as -8C on the cliff face. Read more

Boating means billions to Florida economy

December 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

Images A study of Florida’s boating facilities and associated economics conducted by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission reveals that boating trips and other spending related to vessels support 97,000 jobs in The Sunshine State. Boaters spent $3.384 billion on 21.7 million boat trips in 2007 and an additional $5.15 billion for repairs, marina expenses and other costs. Foster Folly News.

Cougar tracks found in Wisconsin

December 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

Track The mountain lion videotaped by a police cruiser’s dashcam in the Twin Cities Dec. 5 has apparently made tracks, and some of them have been positively identified near Spring Valley, Wisconsin. In addition to the information in this report from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, The Outdoor Pressroom has received word that a trailcam in Dunn County took some photos of the big cat on Dec. 19, near where fresh tracks were observed yesterday.

British, US troops redesigning camo for Afghanistan use

December 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

T1larg.camouflage The Stars and Stripes reports a new MultiCam digital camouflage pattern is currently being wear-tested by 4th Infantry Division soldiers in Eastern Afghanistan, after U.S. soldiers serving there identified the need for improved concealment in the varied terrain. Ironically, the British Army also announced this week it is altering its camouflage uniforms–to a multi-terrain pattern–the first change in 40 years, for the same purpose.

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