Wild Hogs Continue To Do Damage!

August 12th, 2018

PALM COAST, Fla. (AP) — Wild hogs have dug up most of the sod in Rachel Huzior’s backyard, knocked down several lawn lights and ripped holes in her screened-in pool house.

They come in the night, voracious eating machines that can cause massive damage to expensive landscaping.

They are wild hogs, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates they cause about $1.5 billion in damages and control costs each year.

Residents of a Flagler County neighborhood are the latest to fall prey to their destructive nature.

Feral pigs have ravaged several yards in the Hidden Lakes community in Flagler County over the past several weeks, ripping up manicured lawns in a relentless search for food. It’s a problem that has some residents in the resort-style development that abuts Graham Swamp, a 3,000-acre preserve that serves as a natural habitat for the animals, asking for help.

“Everybody’s flipping out,” said Rachel Huzior. “Everybody’s going crazy. They’re saying someone needs to be accountable for this.”

Hogs, most likely rooting for grubs, have dug up most of the sod in Huzior’s backyard, knocked down several lawn lights and ripped holes in her screened-in pool enclosure. She estimates it will cost at least $1,500 to repair the damages.

Widespread problem

Huzior and her neighbors have plenty of company. Over the last year, reports of wild hog damage have bounced around in Flagler and Volusia counties. Packs of feral pigs struck the Woodlands area of Palm Coast in late 2017 and their devastation is hardly limited to Flagler. Edgewater officials in June hired a trapper to capture and remove hogs last month after a pack of them were sighted in that city.

“It’s a sense of helplessness,” an exasperated Alberto Jones said in late November when hogs were plowing through his Palm Coast yard on a regular basis.

It’s a problem nearly as old as Florida, dating back to the 16th Century when Spanish explorers brought domestic pigs to the New World as food provisions. Today wild hogs occupy all 67 Florida counties, and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates their population has grown to more than 500,000 in the state. In the U.S., only Texas has more.

Even state agencies appear short on answers when it comes to reducing such a huge hog population. The conservation commission’s website concedes it’s “usually futile” trying to keep wild pigs off private property, but suggested installing fencing as a way to mitigate the invasion.

“They’re just too driven, like a lot of wildlife,” FWC spokesman Greg Workman said. “Whenever they have their minds set on getting somewhere that has a good food source, they’ll find a way to get to it. They’re resourceful and determined to get that meal.”

Latest outbreak

Residents in Hidden Lakes say hogs began targeting their yards weeks ago. In fact, the animals dug craters into the lawn in front of the communal pool and park area late last month.

Paytas Homes, the exclusive homebuilder in Hidden Lakes, hired trappers to set up cages throughout the neighborhood and they had captured at least 17 hogs in late July, residents said. Trapped hogs legally cannot be released onto public property.

Arnie Roma said six feral pigs were nabbed in his backyard, which has been attacked almost nightly. He spent a day resodding deep crevices in his front yard.

It’s a fix Roma says is required by the homeowners association that governs his stretch of the neighborhood, one that’s going to cost him about $1,500. He plans to install a temporary fence to keep the hogs at bay, but expressed frustration at being forced to restore the aesthetics of his property before property managers have addressed the problem.

“If they want us to fix the front, I’ve got no problem with that. But what happens if they (pigs) come again and dig up?” he wondered aloud. “I’m just supposed to keep throwing $1,500 away? I’m not an idiot.

“They want their cake and they want to eat it too, and they want it both ways besides that,” he added. “You can’t have it both ways.”

Eliminate food source

Representatives from Paytas Homes could not be reached for comment!

Huron Metro Park Fishing With Papa

July 18th, 2018

What a beautiful day we had at the Huron Metro park on Huron Drive off of I-275.  I took my grandson Kyle there to do a little fishing and enjoy this summer cool spell.  We fished from the dock going out into the lake, and could see 10-12 inch bass swimming around in the shallow water.  I think that the bass and panfish were mostly off their nest and they didn’t seem very interested in what we were offering them.

About an hour after we arrived two gentlemen arrived with their 5 year old grand daughter.  they weren’t there 5 minutes and Lacey was reeling in a very nice pumpkin seed sunfish much to Lacey’s delight.  Grandpa (Papa) Chris hooked several more in just a few minutes and would hand the rod and reel to Lacey for her to “bring in the big one!”  Lacey’s other Papa (Mike) was fishing off the shore but not having the success that Papa Chris and Lacey were having.  Papa Chris used to bring his daughter Sascha (Lacey’s mom) hear when she was a little girl.  They live in Taylor so it’s not to far of a drive for them.

I have fished with all of my 14 grandkids except two in California, so I know that “snacks” are an important part of the whole fishing expedition thing.  Lacey had plenty of snacks and a nice cold coke to sip on when needed.

It was very pleasant meeting this sweet little fisher lady and her two Papa’s!  It’s just a wonderful memory building way to spend some quality time with the grandkids, and Lacey and Kyle enjoyed the time with their Papa’s!

Mike

Money Grabbing state Officials At It Again

July 9th, 2018

A few years ago the State DNR upped the price more than double to ride your 4-wheeler or snowmobile on state lands.  In fact if you wanted (or needed) a state sticker you first had to buy another sticker (base) that would allow you to buy the sticker you needed.  What a bunch of crap!  I have two four wheelers at camp and it cost me $72 dollars to ride on state land each year. I recently talked with a couple snowmobilers that quit riding due to the excessive gouging by the state.

Trail number 9 is just down the street from my camp and last year they put up a gate that only allows certain width 4-wheelers to pass through.  In other words if you own one of the bigger 2-6 passenger ORV’s you can’t ride these trails!  What’s the deal on that?  You have to buy a sticker but are limited on the trails you can ride?

And while I’m at it the DNR and seen to make it illegal to carry a person (adult, child, grandchild) on your 4 wheeler even if you have installed an over the counter seat for them! In order to carry a passenger you must buy a four wheeler that has a factory installed seat, not an after market one!  So to satisfy the law one must shell out $5-7,000 dollars on a new orv with a factory installed back rest.  Again what a bunch of crap.

Just yesterday I found out that the Michigan Waterways Commission has a resolution (House Concurrent Resolution 22) that would charge a yearly registration fee of $10.00 dollars on all canoe’s, kayak’s, and paddle board’s.  whats next “squirt guns and nerf toys?”  There are currently around 600,000 canoe’s kayak’s and paddle boards in Michigan and at 10 dollars a crack the total would be $6,000,000 dollars worth of more new fees for Michigan’s recreational users.  Do they want us all to stay home cause we can’t afford the forest and waterways that surround us? Ridiculous!

Mike

 

Cabin Week July 4th.

July 8th, 2018

Finally five days at the cabin.  My wife and I were able to leave Sunday after a grandson’s graduation party and stay until the following friday evening.  Our daughter Tara, her husband Glen, their son Kyle, and his cousin Brady joined us late Tuesday evening.

We crammed a lot into 4-5 days and were even able to relax from time to time!  The various communities had scheduled their fireworks displays for different nights so we had our pick of where to go.

The weather started off with a “heat advisory” for the first three days, but Thursday and Friday were awesome weather wise! Due to the intense heat I went to the local Luzerne hardware store and bought a “kiddie pool” to cool off in!  Might of been the smartest thing I did on this trip.  How refreshing it was to sit in a lawn chair in the middle of the pool and splash water on myself when needed! We also have air conditioning at the main cabin which helped us stay comfortable inside.

I was able to get 9 holes of golf in at the Fairview Hills golf course, and as usual my 13 year old grandson beat me.  Not by much mind you (42-44) but a whooping is a whooping!  We also fished at McCormick Lake, visited Hartwick Pines in Grayling, and went to the Cedar Valley Amusement Park in Comins!

At the cabin we rode 4-wheelers and played “ladder ball golf,” and did some target practice with the pellet guns.  Glen had a rip roaring fire one evening and we ate more “s’mores” than we should of!  I was able to do a little work around the place, but the intent was to enjoy the family and the joys of sharing Michigan’s great outdoors.

On a side note my wives bird feeder was missing, and the third day there I found it in the woods smashed!  The limb it was hanging on was broken so that leads me to believe a hungry black bear visited us “once again!”

Mike

Alaska Bear Attack!

June 21st, 2018

Police in Alaska are searching for an “aggressive” brown bear that they believe killed a hiker who went missing this week and later attacked a member of the search party that was out looking for him, authorities said.

Officers discovered the remains of the missing hiker, Michael Soltis, in a wooded area in Anchorage on Wednesday, not far from where the volunteer searcher was attacked, according to the Anchorage Police Department. Investigators said the attacks were most likely carried out by the same bear.

Police have not released the search party volunteer’s identity, but they said he was seriously injured while searching for Soltis, 44, who disappeared Monday evening while hiking.

The officers discovered his body as they were searching for the bear, the department said.

Anchorage police keeps bystanders away from a bear mauling site near Eagle River, Alaska on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. A missing hiker was found dead Wednesday near the site where a member of his search party was mauled by a bear outside of Alaska's l (The Associated Press)
Anchorage police keeps bystanders away from a bear mauling site near Eagle River, Alaska on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. A missing hiker was found dead Wednesday near the site where a member of his search party was mauled by a bear outside of Alaska’s l (The Associated Press)
A bear sign and police tape mark a site near a bear attack near Eagle River, Alaska, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. A missing hiker was found dead Wednesday near the site where a member of his search party was mauled by a bear outside of Alaska's largest (The Associated Press)
A bear sign and police tape mark a site near a bear attack near Eagle River, Alaska, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. A missing hiker was found dead Wednesday near the site where a member of his search party was mauled by a bear outside of Alaska’s largest (The Associated Press)

“Shortly after the attack, officers entered the woods to search for the bear,” the department said in a statement. “It is at that time they located missing person Michael Soltis who died as a result of a bear attack. It appears the brown bear was protecting the body when it attacked a member of the search party.”

The wounded volunteer was taken to a nearby hospital with “serious” but non-life threatening injuries, including to at least one leg, police said.

The police department urged people to people to avoid the area “due to the aggressive bear,” which was still at large late Wednesday.

Ken Marsh, a spokesman for Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said the agency is investigating whether the bear attack was predatory or defensive.

“A person could have tripped and fell or had a medical condition,” he told the Associated Press. “Until a full investigation and medical examination is done, I don’t know that we can say necessarily, for sure, 100 percent, the cause of death.”

Third Animal Attack This week at Yellowstone

June 7th, 2018

A woman was gored by a bison yesterday as a crowd of tourist once again invaded the territory of these lard beast.  A crowd had gathered on the lower basin when a herd of bison were seen from the road.  People got out of their cars and walked within 15 feet of these dangerous and unpredictable animal.  This is not a petting zoo, but real “wild” animals that can take your life in an instant.  When you encroach on their “turf”you may end up sorry; very sorry!

My grandson worked as a computer specialist for two years at Mammoth Hot Springs near the north entrance. He witnessed many “stupid” things that tourist would do while there including 5 fatalities during his two years!

We visited him two years ago and spent a week exploring the vastness of the park and it’s amazing wildlife.  Right around the Park Headquarters there is always a large gathering of elk who roam freely between buildings, cars, and people.  There are signs all over to stay a secure distance away from these large members of the deer family, but many do not heed the warnings and pay the price.  We saw an Oriental woman trying to put her daughter on the back of a cow elk.  Grandson Quinn yelled at her and she sheepishly back off! There was also a young lady who put her arm around a bison feeding in the grassy area near headquarters who was gored to death when the 1600 pound animal was startled!  All this for a “selfie?”

Bison and elk are two of the more unpredictable animals that need to be given a wide birth, but a lot of tourist (many foreigners) think their at a “petting zoo!” Park personnel do their best but it’s hard to police 10’s of thousands of visitors each and every day!

Not only can the animal’s hurt, maim, or kill you, but the rivers, lakes, and terrain can also do you in. One of Quinn’s acquaintances dove from a cliff into a swift moving glacial river never to be seen again!  Another young man got off the trailway and disappeared into a hot springs where signs are posted all over “Do not get off the boardwalk!”

So I am not surprised at all that “When Animals Attack” is happening at Yellowstone, especially since some people believe these are tame, harmless, cartoon creatures!

Mike

Late Season Turkey Update

June 6th, 2018

My brother Darryl finally arrowed his gobbler, as he once again goes for the coveted Michigan Bowhunters “Grand Slam” award!  He dropped the Jake in it’s tracks as it ran into his decoy after some persistent “hen” calls. He set a personal record this year by helping 11 others get their birds.  Also pictured is Caleb Smiley with his monster tom called in by his dad Scott not far from their house.  It’s Caleb’s second big turkey, and dad took one earlier hunting with Darryl who is his father-in-law! Also pictured is Jakson Ansel (Darryl’s grandson) with his turkey.  His brother Jacob got one earlier!

Looks like me and my brother Brett were the only two turkey hunters that have to go to Krogers this year for their bird.  I guess there’s always the fall hunt?

Mike

Boxing A Bear To Save His dog!

May 30th, 2018

A Michigan man put up quite a fight against a bear as it tried to attack his barking beagle earlier this month.

The Boyne Falls man let his dog outside around 4:30 a.m. When he returned minutes later to let the dog back in, he spotted a large shadow moving slowly across his driveway. He soon realized it was a black bear — the only species of bear living in the state.

“When his beagle barked at the bear it circled around and swatted at the dog as the owner frantically tried to pull him in only to have the leash get tangled,” according to a reportrecently released by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The owner repeatedly kicked the bear as he struggled to untangle the leash. At first, the bear retreated. But then the animal returned and bit the dog.

That’s when the man punched the bear in the nose. The blow to the snout caused the bear to pause just long enough for the man to escape inside his house with the dog.

He then called the Michigan DNR and conservation officer Andrea Erratt arrived at the scene.

“Erratt advised the homeowner to remove all his bird feeders, clean up all the sunflower seed husks, spread some moth balls, and stop feeding corn to the deer and turkeys in the backyard,” the report states.

The owner agreed and then rushed his dog to a veterinarian, where it received several stitches in its side and rear.

There are up to 19,000 black bears roaming the state of Michigan — with about 90 percent living upstate, Michigan.gov explains on its website. Typically, black bears are “shy by nature” but they have been known to attack on occasion, the site says.

“When bears stand their ground, people should do the same thing,” Kevin Swanson, wildlife specialist with the Michigan DNR’s bear and wolf program, advised in an online statement. “In these kind of encounters, you should make loud noises and back away from the bear slowly, giving the bear plenty of room to leave the area. Do not run from a black bear or play dead if one approaches.”

Lions and Black Bears and Grizzly’s Oh My!

May 23rd, 2018

A government wildlife worker who recently landed her dream job researching grizzly bears in a Montana mountain range is recovering from a bear attack that left her with a fractured skull and other serious injuries.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seasonal field assistant Amber Kornak was attacked on May 17 while working alone near a stream in the Cabinet Mountains, agency spokeswoman Jennifer Strickland said.

While being mauled, the 28-year-old Kornak managed to reach a canister of Mace-like bear spray and ended the attack, inadvertently spraying herself in the process.

She then walked to her work vehicle and drove to find help, according to Strickland.

Working with grizzlies had been a longstanding career goal for Kornak, who is recovering at a hospital in Kalispell following surgery for the skull injury and from severe cuts to her head, neck and back, said Jenna Hemer, a friend who spoke with Kornak following the attack.

“She’s obviously passionate about all wildlife, but her dream and her primary focus was to work with grizzly bears,” Hemer said. “Last I spoke with her was yesterday and she’s making great strides but it’s going to be a long recovery.”

Kornak was working at the time of the attack on a genetic study that requires collecting grizzly hair samples. The hairs can be found on trees or other objects that grizzlies rub against, and are used to analyze the animals’ DNA.

Officials speculated that noise from nearby Poorman Creek may have allowed the animal to close in on Kornak without her noticing.

She was apparently following the right protocols for working in grizzly bear country, including carrying bear spray and a satellite communication device that she used to call 911 just after the mauling, Strickland said.

There is no formal rule about government workers travelling alone in bear country, Strickland said. But experts say traveling in groups of three or more dramatically decreases the chance of an attack.

The Cabinet Mountains are home to an estimated 50 grizzlies, protected across the region as a threatened species under federal law. The range also has black bears, typically a less aggressive species.

Officials have not said which type was responsible for the attack that remains under investigation by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.

Bears Gone Wild Cougars Killing Mountain Bikers? What’s going On?

May 19th, 2018

 Authorities say one person was killed and another injured in a cougar attack in North Bend, Washington, CBS affiliate KIRO-TVreports. The two victims were mountain biking in the area when the incident took place around 11:20 a.m. Saturday, officials said.

First responders said they found the deceased victim with the cougar still standing over the body. As wildlife officials approached them, the cougar ran from the scene, a King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson tells CBS News.

The injured 31-year-old biker was taken to a nearby hospital where they were listed in serious condition.

The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife is handling the investigation. The sheriff’s office spokesperson said the fate of the cougar is unclear should they find it.

Cougars make up the largest members of the cat family in Washington, resulting in hundreds of calls to wildlife officers regarding sightings each year, according to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website. It says the increasing human population and decreasing cougar habitat may lead to more encounters between humans and cougars.