John C. Street Articles Archive

Basic training by John C. Street 

The basis for a great many of the skills I use today in my soirees into the back-of-beyond came directly from my father, not so much through verbal instruction but through his willing to spend time with me.  Slow learner that I am, I can’t imagine where I’d be today without his patient tutelage.  Read more

Clean and green by John C. Street 

Shortly after spring turkey hunting began in Pennsylvania in 1968, the makers of outdoor clothing began to get serious about introducing camouflage clothing into their lineup. Since that time, camo, which was developed by the French army back around 1915 and made publicly popular - some say - by the returning veterans of the Vietnam War, has exploded on the outdoor scene.  Read more

In the eye of the beholder  by John C. Street 

For nearly every current topic of public discourse, there is a human proclivity to choose sides.  When these divisions fall on moral, ethical, political or philosophical lines, vilification of the opposing camp is de ri-gueur.  The deployment of an us versus them mentality provides the perceptual fortress from which adversaries conduct their soirees of conflict, retreating to the bastions of the like minded when odds are unfavorable.   

Images of opposites are projected into these divisions, generally benevolent verses malicious, not uncommonly egalitarian fighting greed, frequently intelligencia schooling the befuddled.    Read more

Passing the buck by John C. Street 

They could see the deer, bits and pieces of him anyway, as he slipped across the side hill, screened for the most part by heavy patches of frost striped blackberry canes and grape tangles.  It wasn’t in a hurry but had obviously been disturbed by other hunters.  It checked its back trail as it came. 

The boy, his inexperienced first-year eyes unaccustomed to seeing deer in bits and pieces, had been unable to recognize what his father was seeing until it crossed a small opening and in that instant of recognition he felt his father’s legs stiffen.  It was a very big buck, the largest rack the father had ever seen.  Read more

Private property by John C. Street 

If we were having a conversation and I asked you what pops into your head when you hear the words, “private property,” you’d probably think of your home, right? And if you’re one of us who live out here in the boondocks, you probably also think about your land.  

How about the minerals (assuming you still own the “rights”) like coal, gas and oil beneath the surface of your land? Are they also your “private property?” And how about the trees that grow on your land? Again, assuming you still own the “timber rights,” aren’t these large-form floras your “private property?  Read more

                                      Pretty please with sugar on it  By John C. Street

You probably won’t remember the details but at the end of last year I was publicly taken to the woodshed by the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs – specifically by its president – because I had the audacity to suggest it had blinders on regarding hunter’s reaction to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s deer management program.

What really got the president upset was my suggestion that – in the interest of the future of hunting - the Federation and the Unified (The Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania) get over their animus towards each other. The problem with this suggestion, as I said at the time, was "How … given [their] glaring differences and the consequent fact that neither group trusts the other?" Read more

How things have changed by John C. Street 

If you haven’t heard about this yet, stay tuned, you will.  It’s hard to say just how great an impact it will have but it doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to know it was bound to happen sooner or later.  

Sometime back in the 50s and 60s, hunting and fishing began to change.  And like time-lapse photography, the extent of how much they’ve changed would be apparent if you had a collection of outdoor magazines set out before you. 

If you’re old enough to remember back that far, you’ll recall the dominance of the “Big Three;” Outdoor Life, Field and Stream and Sports Afield.   Read more

Not my idea of reality TV by John C. Street 

From the time I built my cabin out here in the woods in 1985, I employed nothing more than a simple antennae to gather the signal of three or four nearby television stations. Awhile back, however, I went high-tech for this service. Now, instead of being stuck with addle-brained reality shows and politically spun news, I get legitimately good programs and a news channel that doesn’t make me dizzy.    

For over a year, I stayed with the basic package of stations and thoroughly enjoyed seeing real-time weather, fair and balanced news, the latest scientific discoveries and, my favorite, the history channel. But then those dish network folks went and offered a free week of outdoor programs.  Read more  

Bush bashing by John C. Street 

Bush bashing, if common sense would only prevail, could quickly become a thing of the past. But there’s little reason to be optimistic. Old prejudices die hard. Still, there are a few (something just over 100,000 to be exact) of us who are keeping our fingers crossed.   

According to a recent press release put out by Pennsylvania Game Commission, their staff “biologists expect ruffed grouse hunting to be average to slightly above average” this year. But it will be “average to slightly above average,” only “where good habitat exists.”  Read more

Why Johnny won’t (be able to) hunt  By John C. Street

 In the December 2008/January 2009 edition of FIELD & STREAM, Conservation Editor Bob Marshal did an excellent job of shining a bright light onto a dark shadow that is falling over hunting.  Bob’s well researched report, “Why Johnny Won’t Hunt” eviscerated the apathy that is eroding participation in this eon’s old pastime; Johnny won’t hunt because we won’t take him. 

With unflinching honesty and solid research to support his conclusion, Bob limned the economic and societal issues that have led to this sad state of affairs, deducing that despite these impediments the future of hunting depends on current participants making a commitment to introducing young people to the outdoors.   Read more

Hear here by John C. Street 

We had quietly paddled the canoe up the marshy waterway under the cover of early morning darkness, unsure where we were headed let alone how the day would unfold.  A friend of a friend had heard a rumor and being young and foolish (ah, but I repeat myself) we were checking things out. Before that day - one of the best waterfowl hunts I’ve ever experienced - was over, there was a limit of Canada geese secured under the center thwart of our canoe. 

It wasn’t the unexpectedly pleasant day - waterfowling is generally conducted in the most abhorrent of weather - that sticks prominently in my mind nor was it the efficiency of our gunning although the geese were brought to hand with one shot apiece and that was truly remarkable.  Read more

For better or worse by John C. Street 

From the time I was old enough to suspect that getting married was something that would inevitably happen to me, I hoped that I would be able to find a marriage partner who would be understanding about the amount of hunting and fishing I like to do. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe, however, that there was a woman out there who would not only accept my hunting and fishing but have just as much enthusiasm for those outdoor activities as I do.   

My concern, which I was wise enough to realize at a relatively young age, stemmed from the fact that the very process of choosing a life mate, that whole boy meets girl thing, wasn’t at all like picking out a new fishing pole or shotgun. read more

Contrary to ordinary by John C. Street 

An old buddy of mine who was born and raised in a “holla” off the Ohio River down in West Virginia tells wonderful stories about his Great Aunt Jesse’s colorful use of words. When a person was out of sorts Aunt Jesse would say they were  “brigitty” or, as the old country singer Jerry Jeff Walker put it,  “contrary to ordinary.”  Don’t really wish to rub anybody’s nose in it because there are an awful lot of good souls making their daily bread from the business, but this whole thing of fly fishing today has me kinda’ brigitty. 

A terrible number of years have slipped down stream since my Dad, with the patience of a Tibetan Monk, took his youngest son fishing for the first time and by fishing I mean flyfishing. Read more

By any other name by John C. Street 

In a dark little corner of my memories of outdoor experiences, there’s a place reserved for the trials and tribulations that have made me the well-rounded outdoor person that I’d like to think I’ve become. In this corner are things like the numerous procedures for the removal of barbed fish hooks from various parts of my anatomy, the proper place and manner to pitch a tent when the weather forecast calls for high winds and torrential rain (hint: not in a gully surrounded by old trees) and the essential tools that must be carried by the companion of a dog with an everlasting hatred of porcupines. Read more

And noting but the truth by John C. Street 

For quite some time, there has been a running debate between my father and me about our recollections of the way some things actually happened.  I maintain that his eighty-nine year old memory is starting to slip and he accuses me of playing a little fast and loose with the facts, an attribute (can you imagine?) that he claims afflicts most of the people in my profession. 

If he hadn’t cast this aspersion on all my fellow outdoor writers, I might have let him get away with this but I know quite a few of them and can attest to their unflinching honesty. And since I’m absolutely certain that you agree with me that outdoor writers tell nothing but the truth, I’m sure you’ll agree - since I’m also an outdoor writer - that my father is probably wrong about me as well.  Read more

I ain’t a politician but I got views by John C. Street 

“This is the coalition to ban coalitions, I ain’t a politician but I got views.  Some folks want to ban cars, some want to get rid of electric guitars, why don’t you do you’re thing and I’ll do my thing too.”  Merle Haggard 

In the last five years, I’ve dropped membership in all the clubs, associations and organizations to which an outdoor writer would be expected to belong; seven in all, notably including both the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association and the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Read more

Quick learner by John C. Street 

So there I was, stuck for a day in a big city, surrounded by a bunch of ‘suits’ trying to impress each other when out of the blue an unassuming gentleman approaches me and the first words out of his mouth are, “I understand you’re a fly fisherman.”   It just seemed like polite conversation at the time but his parting, “we’ll have to get together and dunk a few worms,” seemed sincere.  How little did I know. 

From the bend where we first entered the stream, I had begun to take note of his gear.  At first glance, everything seemed in order.  His equipment, while certainly not brandy-new, was very serviceable and with the exception of his hip boots - which might be a handicap in reaching some of the deeper water - he looked like he had come prepared.   Read more

 

According to an informed source by John C. Street 

In the last year or so, I have fielded a number of inquiries from people who asked me to look into the Game Commission’s stocking or trapping of mountain lions, bobcats, river otters, chukars, ruffed grouse, eastern rattlesnakes and Michigan whitetail deer.  Some of these stories I have run to ground personally, others I have relied on an informed source in the Pennsylvania Game Commission.  I use the term, “Informed Source,” loosely because this individual wanted me to report that “it’s all true and we’re looking to bring in ‘Bigfoot’ just as soon as we can find a reliable breeder.”  I’m pretty sure he was just kidding.Read more 

The older I get, the better I was by John C. Street 

As I have gotten older, I have lost a great deal of my enthusiasm - and I’m told this is not unusual - for the actual “making” of the meat that sustains me.  I can’t imagine, however, becoming one of those people who interact with the wildness in my life only through the lens of a camera.  For me, the presence of a rifle or a shotgun or a fishing pole is an important part of why I’m out there, a visible totem of my intentions, a physical sign that I am – at least - willing and prepared to take some responsibility for procuring a portion of my daily intake of calories. 

While I’d like to believe this change of attitude is primarily a response to my growing sensitivity to the finite nature of the resources (land, water, fish and game) we must all share, there is apparently more to the changes I am experiencing and those changes have been going on for some time.  Read more

Exceeding the need limit by John C. Street 

I think it should be stated for the record right here in the beginning that this isn’t the type of thing that polite people generally talk about let alone acknowledge in public. Fact is, I know several people who are deeply afflicted at this very moment and, although I’ve raised the subject with them a few times, they don’t understand my concern.  There’s at least an even chance that they never will.   

And I know who to blame. Matter of fact, before I’m done I’m going to break my long standing tradition of being discreet and give you a strong hint about the culprits.  It may be a generic form of finger pointing - there are an awful lot of people involved - but you’ll know who I’m talking about.  I’d even be willing to bet they’ve been, if they’re not right now, in your home. Read more

Wood bender by John C. Street 

About all I can remember of it is that it was made entirely out of wood, had a leather grip and could transport me from the hills of Pennsylvania to the Rocky Mountains in the blink of an eye.  It came into my possession at a time in life when my imagination could make an adventure out of a soiree to the brushy woodlot that was only a block from home and, for a couple of long-ago summers, it accompanied me everywhere I went short of to bed and into the bathtub. 

While some might say – in fact, Good Wife does quit often – I’m going through a second childhood, I bought myself another one of those wooden things a couple months ago and discovered it still has magical time-machine qualities only now, instead of transporting me from the hills of my home state to the Rocky Mountains in the blink of an eye, it makes an hour disappear whenever I pick it up. Read  more

Tribute to a gut pile by John C. Street

Considering that I am an outdoor writer (ergo, a hunter), this might seem terribly incongruent to you but it’s true.  I’ve lost the desire to kill the wild things I spend so much of my time out in the pucker brush looking for.   

I have not, however, forgotten the irrefutable law that governs all living things; the evolution assigned relationship between predator and prey. And I, despite the diminished size of my fangs, am a predator.  Therefore, whether by my own hand or through unknown and unseen surrogates, other living things must be killed in order for me to live. Read more

Never enough by John C. Street 

The rabbit shot through the headlights, his feet barely touching the ground.  Before he jumped the shallow ditch on the far side of the road, a winter-furred red fox fireballed into the light, saw the truck, reversed course and bounded back up the bank.  Total elapsed time, probably less than two seconds. 

Living in the middle of the woods, I’m surrounded by wildlife.  From first light to last, winter spring, summer or fall, there is barely a moment when I can’t look out a window and see some wild resident going about its daily routine.  Read more 

Wing and a prayer by John C. Street         

She was pulled into the air in the fading light of an early October evening.  The year’s first cold winds immediately started pushing her south. Four days later and one hundred and twenty five miles south of her summer breeding ground - a marshy tributary of the Bonnechere River in Quebec - she fluttered to earth, tired and hungry, just inland from the north shore of Lake Ontario.  As the light grew stronger in the eastern horizon, others of her kind dropped from the sky, soft peenting sounds announcing their arrival.   

The mature female had used this staging area once before on her first migration.  Then she had been part of a larger family group that included a mature hen and two of her nest mates. Read more

Don’t try this at home by John C. Street 

Back about ten years ago, Good Wife and I made the decision to plunk down a few of our hard earned shekels to have one of those ugly round dishes planted in our side yard. Having previously been dependent on the “Big Three” (ABC, CBS and NBC) for our evening news, the arrival of that ugly round dish was a real eye opening event.  

But it wasn’t just the new news sources that opened our eyes. Within a short period of time we discovered the outdoor channels and life in our little backwoods home was changed forever. Read more

Bill of [no] Rights by John C. Street 

Awhile back I received a humorous email from a scholarly friend that was called the “Bill of No Rights.” Ostensibly it had been written by State Representative Mitchell Kaye from Georgia as a way to poke fun at some of the absurdities that had been making the national headlines.  For instance, “ARTICLE  III:  You do not have the right to be free from harm.  If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.” 

For those of us who carry a firearm into the woods and uplands as a means to provide meat for our tables, Representative Kaye’s spoof on our Nation’s Bill of Rights doesn’t seem at all absurd.  A current review of firearm litigation suggests there are an awful lot of people looking to become “independently wealthy” and while their covetous eyes have not turned directly on the sportsman yet, it is, arguably, just a matter of time. Read more

There ain't no sense in being stupid  by John C. Street 

The more time I spend roaming around in the tall and uncut, the more I understand and agree with some of the old clichés and adages that are the fabric of our outdoor experiences. There are, for instance, sound meteorological reasons for the oft repeated advice, “When the wind is from the north, no man should go forth.”  Likewise, “Red in the morning, sailors take warning.” 

And who hasn’t heard the adage, “Beware the man who only has one gun for he likely knows how to use it.” Or how about this one; “Since a majority of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, it’s only logical that a person should spend a majority of their time fishing.”  If the logic and common sense of either of these witticisms isn’t immediately clear to you, you aren’t doing enough hunting and fishing. Read more

Ticks  by John C. Street 

From the expression on her face I could tell Good Wife didn’t believe me. And I couldn’t blame her. If someone had told me they’d picked over twenty ticks off their dog after just a thirty minute stroll through the woods, I’d have been skeptical too. And I hadn’t even mentioned the five I’d plucked off my own sorry carcass. 

Anyway, the next day, just to make a point, I poured some rubbing alcohol into a small plastic cup and, upon returning from our morning walk, I collected the ticks the pups and I had accumulated and dropped them into the cup. Can’t remember how many I exterminated by the time Good Wife got home that evening but I do remember there were enough to cover the bottom of that little cup. Read more

Research and development by John C. Street 

Years ago, when I started to get serious about having an accurate rifle, I read everything I could get my hands on and spent as much time as possible with people who had won numerous awards for pulling triggers. The further I got into this research, though, the clearer it became that there was no one universally accepted configuration of an accurate rifle.  

In just the physical characteristics of a stock alone, for instance, some books and experts prescribed glass bedding the entire length of the barrel.  Read more

Easier done that said by John C. Street

Good Wife and I went up to the local sporting goods emporium awhile back to buy our hunting licenses and, since I had forgotten my cheater glasses, I let her handle the necessary paperwork while I sauntered off to the archery section to see all the latest trinkets and doodads being offered to the string pullers.

When I circled back around to ogle the new firearms, Good Wife asked if I wanted anything besides the basic license. I told her that I’d like a migratory bird permit and a federal duck stamp. It’s been an awful lot of years since I’ve shot a woodcock and even more years than that since I’ve hunted ducks or geese but I believe it’s important to support the research work being done for these species. Read more         

  Informed Consumer by John C. Street 

When was the last time you bought an article of clothing – specifically clothing to be worn while hunting or fishing – that didn’t have the name of the maker prominently stitched or stenciled on it?  How in the world have we allowed ourselves to be duped into paying for a piece of clothing and then being a walking billboard for the purveyor?   

And clothing isn’t the only thing we pay for and then advertise for the maker.   Take a gander at you’re hunting and fishing gear and see for yourself just how pervasive this trend has become.  Read more

For everything there is a season by John C. Street 

As much as we Bloodsporters hate to have this brought to our attention, our beloved outdoor activities are living on borrowed time.  

One more generation, two tops, and the essential business of hunting and fishing (procuring food) will be little more than an afterthought to the remaining participants, replaced entirely with choreographed charades that bear the name but are, nonetheless, irrelevant to all but those willing to accept the artificiality of their favorite pastimes. Read more

Memory lane  by John C. Street       

 My brother called the other night to confirm his plans to come back east in late July. He moved his family out to California back in the 70s and, since then, only makes it back once or twice a year. He’s six years older than me so we were never real close as kids and were, for a host of other reasons in addition to our age, about as different as two brothers could be. 

He had an IQ on the edge of being off the charts and breezed through high school. I, on the other hand, made it through by the skin of my teeth and the hard work and compassion of a few, very dedicated teachers. Read more

  A little bit of courtesy by John C. Street 

I thought the spin fisherman was going to be polite and walk downstream further before resuming but instead he waded in at the top of the run she was working and casually moved down in front of her, effectively commandeering the pool and the trout she had been picking off one by one.  He was a husky six footer so his chest waders and extra ballast gave him a lot more freeboard than my diminutive wife. * * *

“Each year,” according to the Fish and Boat Commission, “nearly two million people … go fishing in Pennsylvania.”  And fishing, the Commission claims, “generates about $1.3 billion in economic impact [which means that it] supports 17,000 jobs [and] contributes $50 million to the state’s General Fund in … sales and income tax.” * * * Read more

Agenda item by John C. Street 

It's been so long since I've gone back to the original report that I had to do a Goggle search to find it again. Its full name is “Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy” and it is available through the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation’s web site (www.sportsmenslink.org) under the sub-heading, "Economic Impact Report." 

If you’ve never spent time reviewing this report, it’s worth looking up and reading. In easy to understand pros and pictures, it describes the economic impact that hunting and fishing have on the national – and individual state’s – economy.  Read more

Life’s a glitch and then you die by John C. Street 

I invited a friend up last summer to fish for smallmouth bass with me and, as expected, we caught just enough while the sun was on the river to keep us casting.  “Just wait until the shadows start hitting the water,” I kept saying, “and then things will really start to happen.”   

Naturally, they didn’t. The afternoon wore on until the hills started to block the slanting rays of the sun and the bass, well, don’t ask. We finally gave up in disgust well before dark and dragged the canoe out of the river.   

Had I an inclination that the fishing was going to be slow that evening, I never would have asked my friend to make the two hour drive.  But I had no reason to suspect a glitch in the fishing.   Read more

Temporary inconvenience  by John C. Street 

Haven’t seen one of them in quite awhile but I can remember when nearly every road construction project was accompanied by a sign that read, “TEMPORARY INCONVENIENCE – PERMANENT IMPROVEMENT.” Wish I could find one of those old signs to hang on my front porch. It would be the perfect way to summarize my life of late. 

For a whole host of reasons, some of which I won’t relate because they’d put me in deep do-do with Good Wife and others that I can’t discuss because I’m still struggling to understand them, I’ve had to sit out the best months of this year’s trout season and the entire pageant known as spring gobbler hunting. I keep telling myself it’s nothing more than a “temporary inconvenience” but a little voice in the back of my head keeps niggling at me not to expect too much in the “permanent improvement” department.”   Read more

What I wouldn’t give by John C. Street 

I wouldn’t ever want to give the impression I’ve lived such a goody-two-shoe life that I have no regrets. On the contrary, there are a whole slew of things in my past that I’m not particularly proud of, albeit nothing – I think - that would land me in the hooskow if they appeared on the public record. 

And someday, when I’m sure the statute of limitations has fully expired, I may confess a few of these colorful transgressions.  Although I’m pretty sure they’re nothing more than the type of things that most of you got into at one time or another, it’s like I said, I’ve done some things I’d just as soon not discuss.   Read more

Wish upon a “Star” tonight  by John C. Street 

It might be as much my fault as it is theirs.  

After all, I’ve never even so much as sent them an email let alone made an appointment to sit down and talk with them.  

True, given their numbers, it would take an awful lot of time and require a considerable amount of travel but the stakes are high enough that maybe I should put forth the effort.

Still, I assumed – or maybe this is just my rationalization - that if I had as much to lose as they do, I’d make a concerted effort to stay on top of stuff like this.

Collectively, “They” are one of the largest industries in Pennsylvania, an unaffiliated conglomerate that produces $1.7 billion in sales every year. “They” also employ 28,000 of our state’s citizens and “They” contribute $214 million tax dollars to the Keystone State’s treasury. Read more

Enlightened self-interest by John C. Street 

Let’s put the ugliest part of this right up front and not avert our eyes.  

The process of extracting natural resources is messy, visually disturbing and, in far too many instances, unscrupulous operators walked away, seemingly unconcerned and apparently unaccountable for the degradation left behind.  

Now, decades later, tributaries and secondary streams run with a perpetual red tint and landscapes remain irreparably altered. And the after effects of this economic sugar high still intrude into daily lives like the smell of a wet dog months after an encounter with a skunk.  Read more

Participating in our own demise by John C. Street 

According to a recent press release sent out by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, our state wildlife agency is currently swimming in money as a result of cashing in on their (our) Marcellus gas holdings.  

With all this royalty money pouring in, it may seem illogical to stand by the conclusion (posited in my column, “Would you care to make a bet?” CLARION NEWS, April 28, 2011) that we’ll soon be buying our hunting, and most likely our fishing, licenses from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  

Without reservation, I stand by that conclusion and for good reason(s) as I shall quickly explain.  Read more

High tech red neck by John C. Street 

The first deer gun I ever owned was also the first gun I ever owned.  It was a store brand, 12 gauge, bolt-action shotgun with a generic poly-choke device affixed to the end of the barrel and with it I hunted everything from rabbits and squirrels to grouse and, yes, like I said, I hunted deer with it as well.   

It was clunky and heavy and there wasn’t a comfortable way to carry the dang thing but to a young boy who wanted very badly to believe in the warning, “Beware the man who only has one gun, he likely knows how to use it,” I thought it was everything I needed.  Read more

Would you care to make a bet?  by John C. Street 

Within ten years we’ll be purchasing our hunting (and, most likely, our fishing) licenses from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  

Do you think that’s crazy?  

Would you care to make a bet? 

Before you answer those questions, please consider: 

As recently as forty years ago, Junior and Senior Resident license sales were approximately 1.2 million.  

By 1998, these two categories were down to a little over 910,000. Read more

Following the script by John C. Street 

“This scrambling will, of course, start with an effort to discredit the people who unearthed the documentation and entered it into the public record. And when that doesn’t work, they’ll claim the documents are being taken out of context. Then, when these efforts fail, they’ll enlist their simpaticos (and there are many) in the outdoor press to advocate for their acquittal; Nothing going on here folks, move along.” John C. Street 

Opening this missive with a quote from the “Deergate scramble” (CLARION NEWS, August 12, 2010), is not an attempt by this author to solicit a nomination for the Soothsayers’ Hall of Fame. It was no more difficult to predict how the operators of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s deer management program – and their simpaticos in the outdoor media – would respond than it is to assay that daylight will be followed by darkness. Read more

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it by John C. Street 

More than any other type, I enjoy writing plain old hunting and fishing stories best.  I’d like to believe this proclivity to spin yarns is a throwback to the drawings my ancestors - and yours - scratched on the walls of their caves, a recapping of the day’s events, a way to remember things that may otherwise be forgotten.  I am, after all, just the current evolutionary model of their prototype, a meat eating predator with a carnivore’s intestines, forward facing eyes and teeth designed to tear meat.     Read more

Strike three, you’re out by John C. Street 

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but they are not entitled to their own facts.” ROBERT SOBEL 

Back in 1999 when Dr. Gary Alt was touring the state to sell the new deer management program, he advised the people attending his seminars that the objective of this new initiative was “Healthy forests and healthy deer.”  

In order to accomplish this objective, Dr. Alt recommended that the overall deer herd be reduced substantially to allow our forests to “regenerate.” He also recommended that “antler restrictions” be adopted in order to allow mature (genetically superior?) bucks to do a majority of the breeding, thus enhancing the overall health of the herd. Read more

Acceptable limitations by John C. Street 

This isn’t a cooking column and I’m not going to attempt to wow anyone with my culinary skills. Let it be noted, however, that Good Wife and I enjoy wild fish and game and have developed, or adopted, a number of very tasty recipes for the fauna we bring home, big, long-bearded spring gobblers included.   

Given our preference for eating from the wild, you may appreciate my disappointment when Good Wife advised that professional responsibilities would keep her out of the turkey woods on the opening Saturday of the spring season. Good Wife, as I’ve explained in other columns, is the shooter of our team so, if there was going to be a big, juicy turkey breast for the barbecue grill that weekend, it would be up to me go fetch it. Read more   

A relevant question and a question of relevance by John C. Street 

There’s a little bit of disagreement among those who study these things but, frankly, a few thousand years one way or the other doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. To keep things simple, then, let’s just say the current configuration of our species, Homo sapiens, have been around for something on the order of 200,000 years.  

Granted, several bipedal prototypes predated us by 3,000,000 years or so but they bore as much resemblance to the modern hominid life form as the old Model T bears to the newest Ford F250; they operated in a similar fashion but the newer models have vastly greater capability. Read more

What comes after what comes next? by John C. Street 

License sales have been trending downward for over thirty years so it’s not fair to say the new – albeit now nearly twelve year old - deer management program is solely to blame.  

Based on the last ten years of deer harvest reports, however, it is fair to say the deer management program is accelerating the decline in license sales. When the population of the state’s preeminent game animal declines, hunter interest declines proportionately.  Read more

Two sides to every story by John C. Street 

From time to time the editor and I have a conversation about the contact email address that appears at the end of this column. If you’ve followed my writing for any length of time you may recall there were years when my personal address was listed and other years – as now - when his appeared. We’ve made this change several times since THE OUTPOST was first published in 1998.  

For the record, I’m the one who has requested each of the changes. And not necessarily for the reasons you might suspect.  

When my personal address is published, I receive scads of emails (Ata’boys mostly but a fair number of Bada’boys as well) but when the editor’s address is published, the emails dry up. That’s a shame, and not simply because I miss getting an Ata’boy every once in awhile. Read More

A better explanation by John C. Street 

While I enjoy a good conspiracy theory as much as the next person, day in and day out I am incapable of maintaining the elevated level of paranoia required to be a true believer. Conspiracy theories are my hobby, not my profession; they’re fun, not essential. 

And, too, most of the conspiracy theories afoot nowadays are nearly as cast in concrete as some other canards of conventional wisdom so, as a proclaimed and practicing “Inquisitive Contrarian,” it’s just part of my nature to steer clear of the Kool-Aid bowl. Simply stated, I believe Napoleon Bonaparte was right when he advised, “Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.”  Read more

“Ayuh” by John C. Street 

Up in the New England states there is an old-time colloquial utterance that sounds something like "Ayuh" which means, "I hear what you are saying but I don't agree with you."  

For going on ten years, Pennsylvania deer hunters have been questioning the “science” driving the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s deer management program. “Ayuh,” they kept telling each other, “we hear what you’re saying but we don’t agree with you.” 

Now, thanks to the hard work and diligence (and, although most people aren’t aware of it, the courage) of John Eveland and the support (and an equal dose of courage) provided by the Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League, the full extent of the “mismanagement of Pennsylvania’s deer herd” has come to light.  Read more

Diverse and divided by John C. Street 

If I were asked to give one word to describe today’s entire Blood Sport community, I would offer the word “diverse.”  

And if were asked to give one word to describe the Blood Sport community’s current state of affairs, I would suggest that word is “divided.” 

The Blood Sport community is no longer generically lumped into descriptive categories like “Hunters” or “Trappers” or “Anglers.”  Today this community is separated into numerous sub-sets that are identified with specific fish or wildlife species or hunting and fishing techniques. By any logical application of the word, the Blood Sports - at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century - are diverse. Read more

Never the twain shall meet by John C. Street 

Those of us who hunt and fish are a strange lot, as diverse as any group can be and still be considered, as I and a few other introspective outdoor writers have suggested, members of one - the “Blood Sports” - community. Depending upon who is providing the description, we are both an “economic engine” and this nation’s first and only “true conservationists.”  

Given the dichotomous ground between these accurately descriptive labels, it is fair to ask, “Are the ‘Blood Sports’ really a homogenous community (as the economists label us) or, as we speed down the inexorable trail of modernity, have we finally reached a point where we will split into incompatible, competing factions?”  Read more

Photographic memory by John C. Street 

 I know the popular thing to do when you’re regaling people with a story about fly fishing is to drop as many “who-you-know” names as possible so that you can get a few buffo points for the quality of the people you’ve met.  I know this must be true because I’ve got a whole collection of catchy named books by a guy whose publisher must pay extra for every big name he works into his stories.  

I’ve only ever met - briefly talked to might be more accurate - one of these “who-you-knows”  and from that limited exposure I didn’t think he was all he’d been cracked up to be. Actually, l didn’t know how famous he was at the time.  It happened on a pleasant fall evening and, well, it will soon be apparent why I won’t be getting any of those extra points I just mentioned.  Read more

Generalists and Specialists by John C. Street 

Was thinking the other day about the things I’d learned in over a half century of participating in outdoor activities and the list, to my surprise, was mighty short.  That’s not to say there aren’t a few types of hunting and angling I know how to do, it’s just that there are danged few of them, if any, I can do real well. Read more

What’s really driving the deer management program?    by John C. Street 

If you were asked when the current deer management program began in Pennsylvania and you answered, “The late fall of 1999,” you’d only be partially correct.  True, that was when the Pennsylvania Game Commission set the controversial program in motion but the roots of the Keystone State’s “Healthy Forests, Healthy Deer” initiative go back to a meeting held in Rio de Janeiro on June 5, 1992.  Read more

 Unelected and unaccountable by John C. Street

 A short while back, just before the anthropogenic (man caused) global warming crusade came apart at the seams from the weight of the revelations of Climategate, the National Audubon Society (NAS) put out a press release wherein they claimed that “Many birds are moving north.” According to the NAS, “…those who think climate change impacts will be felt far from home and far off in the future had better think again.”  Read more

John C. Street

AUTHOR’S NOTE - The following missive contains three separate documents: 1/ This author's article titled, “Following in Carnac’s footsteps;" 2/ An email response to that article titled “John Street, the Climatologist in Residence,” and; 3/ This author's response to that reader. 

While at first blush you might surmise this is nothing more than an esoteric argument about a bunch of little dicky birds, this author would ask that you read the following in the context of current events. Many people have wondered why Audubon is so deeply invested in our Deer Management Program. This missive provides the answer. Please pay special attention to the bold/Italicized portion of this author's response to the reader. Read more

 Science or politics by John C. Street 

Since taking up the sack-cloth and ashes existence of freelance writing back in the fall of 1998, I’ve written nearly 100 articles on the natural history of Pennsylvania’s native flora and fauna and a dozen more articles on species that are here but not native. 

In order to get the information I needed to prepare these articles, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in the boonies with “muddy-boot” (as opposed to white-frock) researchers as they went about their daily routine. If you’ve never helped pull a sedated bear out of a culvert trap, untangled turkeys from a net or held a flightless Canada goose (in July when they molt their flight feathers) while a small metal band is affixed to its leg, you’re missing a heck of an experience. Read more

 United we stand by John C. Street
 
There has been a lot of scuttlebutt circulating recently regarding the imminent demise of the state’s two largest sportsmen’s organizations, the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs. An Inquiry, however, yielded the predictable response that there is “absolutely no basis to the rumors.”
 
As shall be quickly explained, a person could be forgiven for hoping the scuttlebutt is true. Read more

Sweet dreams by John C. Street

It had been a good long while since I’d talked with him so I even surprised myself when I recognized his voice as soon as he said “Good morning.” Back when I was writing a bi-monthly column for a state wide newspaper he’d approached the editor to get in touch with me and, after a couple months of sending emails back and forth, we’d started talking on the phone. Read more

Wish upon a “Star” tonight by John C. Street

It might be as much my fault as it is theirs.

After all, I’ve never even so much as sent them an email let alone made an appointment to sit down and talk with them.

True, given their numbers, it would take an awful lot of time and require a considerable amount of travel but the stakes are high enough that maybe I should put forth the effort.

Still, I assumed – or maybe this is just my rationalization - that if I had as much to lose as they do, I’d make a concerted effort to stay on top of stuff like this.
Read more

Science friction by John C. Street

Numerous times over the past couple years I have pointed to the early, six-week long archery season as an example of the questionable science used by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to rationalize their deer management program.

In a simplified nut shell, the whole premise behind instituting “antler restrictions” (a key component of the deer management program) was that it would allow mature bucks to do a majority of the breeding. How, then, I’ve asked repeatedly, does this jive with allowing 300,000+ archers to take to the field to kill these “mature bucks” prior to and during the peak of the rut?

Read more

Ecosystem management by objectives? by John C. Street


Inasmuch as Pennsylvania’s Deer Management Program is being billed by its creators as a major component of their bigger, “Ecosystem Management” plan, it’s fair to ask, “What exactly is an ecosystem and by what, or whose, criteria is the management of this system to be judged?   Read more

Stock Char Tracing by John C. Street
 
If you understand the metaphor about the needle in a haystack, you’ll know what these researchers are up against.   In this instance, there are – hopefully – a whole lot of needles but the haystack takes in hundreds of thousand of acres across seventeen states stretching from the Carolinas to Maine. 
 
Making the search a whole lot more difficult, there are fake needles sprinkled throughout the multi-state haystack – with more being added all the time – and it takes a trained individual to know the difference.  Read more

Guns: Rights and Responsibilities

 by John C. Street
 
With the recent Supreme Court ruling affirming the Second Amendment rights of the residents of Washington, DC, and the same Court’s current consideration of a similar – but slightly different - case in Chicago, the subject of gun rights is front and center in many people’s thinking these days. And all this thinking has led to some interesting ideas, specifically as to where the fist of the federal government meets the nose of the individual states. Read more

It’s up to you by John C. Street

By now you should know that ……

A small, a very small, group of people, ideologically wed to the concept of “Ecosystem Management,” has succeeded in usurping authority over the management of Pennsylvania’s whitetail deer herd. This group claims a scientific mandate for their actions but even their own science refutes this claim. And they, despite overwhelming opposition, have co-opted enough political juice to have their way. Read more

 Whatchu’ gonna’ do about it? by John C. Street

By the time you read this missive the documentation of – what I’ve been calling – “Deergate” will most likely be part of the public record.

And, based on the antics they’ve used to pull off this debacle, it’s not hard to deduce how the architects of the current deer management program are going to respond to these disclosures. Read more

What would happen if …?A case for the privatization of wildlife management  
by John C. Street
 
President Gerald Ford is reputed to have said, “The federal government couldn’t produce a six-pack of beer for less than fifty dollars.”  And the point he was making is clear.  Aside from emergency medical personnel, police officers, fire fighters and the military, there are precious few things run by any level of government that are effective and efficient. Read more

 Bowhunter's Support Association by John C. Street
 
Given the conclusions I’ve reached – and put in writing – regarding the unwarranted, preferential treatment afforded to archers, this disclosure might seem terribly incongruent; Good Wife is a bow hunter.
And when I say she is a bow hunter, I mean she uses one of those new-fangled, pulley assisted contraptions that has better aiming equipment (i.e., illuminated pins and a peep site) than many of the rifles I’ve owned.  Granted, it ain’t as “tricked-out” as some of the bows I’ve seen lately but I’m not at all certain how much more could be added and still allow her to keep a straight face when referring to it as a “bow.” Read more

“Deergate”  scramble by John C. Street
 
A whole lot more years ago than I care to remember, my father introduced me to hunting, fishing and trapping. And. without the slightest equivocation, I would assay these blood sport pursuits have had a greater impact on my life than anything else that I have experienced in six plus decades of living.
 
Considering that these experiences include eighteen years of formal education, two years in the United States Marine Corps and twenty-four years in company with Good Wife, that’s quit an assay.  Read more

As much fun as fishing  by John C. Street
 
I can’t say for certain but would hazard a guess that it happened sometime when I was in my early twenties.  And I think it had more to do with some high-brow  image that was rolling around in my head than anything else although I probably wouldn’t have admitted that at the time. Read more

Consider the “alternatives” by John C. Street
 
It’s been a good long while since I’ve felt the need to jump on my high horse to rescue fellow Blood Sporters from the clutches of the environmental crusaders, especially the ones who are running many of the – heretofore – highly respected, national “Sportsmen’s” groups. And there’s good reason for my inactivity.
 
Despite draconian – but, alas, now documented - efforts by the lame stream media to hide, discredit or deny the “Climategate” revelations, enough Blood Sporters had learned the truth that I’ve felt no need to (forgive the puns) either flog a dead horse or get on a high one. Read more

 Truth emerges from the consequences by John C. Street
 
There’s a reason that I’ve asked for my email address to be posted at the end of this column.  I thoroughly enjoy hearing from readers and not everyone feels comfortable sending in a letter to the editor. 
 
Sure, I like it when the correspondent agrees with me but I’ve learned a great deal those who don’t.  Whether the subject is the climate, the current state of affairs in wildlife law enforcement or someone opining that I’m living a “sheltered life” when I complain about Good Wife’s disregard for my system of replacing ice cube trays, I enjoy them all. Read more

 

 I’ll never be a millionaire by John C. Street
 
Having come relatively close a couple times, I have an inkling of what it must take.  And I can say without equivocation, I don’t have what it takes.  There’s a big difference between enjoying something to the point of being pretty good at it and having the skill to make that something your livelihood. Read more

 

  Fifty miles from home by John C. Street
 
It was a business meeting I really didn’t want to attend but I had to be there and, as was my habit, I arrived a few minutes before the confab was to start.  I was introducing myself to the other people in attendance when I heard someone say my name and then, “Well, everyone, the expert is here.” Read more

 

Walk, stock and peril by John C. Street
 
I check on them every once in awhile, not that it makes that big a difference, they seem to be doing fine.  They live up on a mountain in a little headwater tributary of a larger, quite popular stream that flows through a pretty little town before mixing its water with a big river that ultimately flows into the Mississippi.  They are pretty gullible around strangers so you’ll forgive me if I’m not real specific about where they live. Read more

Lead us not into temptation by John C. Street
 
Many learned treatises are available on the procedures for harvesting “Trophy” whitetail deer with proper portable tree stand placement.  While the efficiency of this method is irrefutable, the advantage of artificial elevation, regardless of the high art of its placement, morphs the experience by defined intention.  The consummate act, as perceived by antihunters, becomes a distasteful selection process not a hunt. Read more

Acceptable limitations by John C. Street
 
This isn’t a cooking column and I’m not going to attempt to wow anyone with my culinary skills. Let it be noted, however, that Good Wife and I enjoy wild fish and game and have developed, or adopted, a number of very tasty recipes for the fauna we bring home, big, long-bearded spring gobblers included. 
 
Given our preference for eating from the wild, you may appreciate my disappointment when Good Wife advised that professional responsibilities would keep her out of the turkey woods on the opening Saturday of the spring season. Good Wife, as I’ve explained in other columns, is the shooter of our team so, if there was going to be a big, juicy turkey breast for the barbecue grill that weekend, it would be up to me go fetch it.  Read more

Lies, damn lies and fly fishing by John C. Street 

Have you ever noticed how clearly the conversation of people in a slow moving boat, talking over the noise of the motor, can be heard from shore?  With this audio advantage, I once learned that people who fly fish don’t have legitimate fathers and I know he was including me because he was looking at me and smiling - unaware I could hear every word - when he said it.  On another occasion, evidently because I was up to the top of my chest waders in a spot where he wanted to anchor and fish, I heard another gentleman suggest to his buddy that maybe he’d just crowd in and anchor anyway and that if I was displeased with their action, I would be encouraged to stick my fly rod where it wouldn’t be damaged by direct sunlight.  Read more

Informed Consumer by John C. Street
 
When was the last time you bought an article of clothing – specifically clothing to be worn while hunting or fishing – that didn’t have the name of the maker prominently stitched or stenciled on it?  How in the world have we allowed ourselves to be duped into paying for a piece of clothing and then being a walking billboard for the purveyor? 
 
And clothing isn’t the only thing we pay for and then advertise for the maker.   Take a gander at you’re hunting and fishing gear and see for yourself just how pervasive this trend has become.  I’d be willing to wager a tidy sum that nearly all your outdoor paraphernalia, from knives and guns and bows and arrows to tackle boxes, fishing poles and boats are plastered with the name of the company that made them.  Read more

Round in circles by John C. Street 

The lengthening shadows of the late afternoon January sun were bending down the side hill when the grouse flushed from the upper branches of a hemlock and sailed clear of the little overgrown clear cut.  While my dog’s enthusiasm to give chase was still strong, mine was sagging.  This was the fourth time we had followed-up on this same bird and he was going out wilder each time.  Read more

The agony of defeat by John C. Street  

It should be common knowledge that fisherman maintain a rather tenuous hold on the truth when relating their experiences.  These dalliances with the facts are a traditional form of story telling, a folk art derived from the mysterious ability of the piscine main characters to either grow or multiply after they have been taken out of the water.          Read more

Will these “Stars” shine as brightly in the future? by John C. Street  

It’s hard to know exactly when the change took place because we didn’t just wake up one morning to find things were different. With the perspective of time it seems like it got started back in the late 1970s and was pretty well underway by the mid 1980s but there is evidence the seeds for this change were in place long before then.   Read more

Arms Race by John C. Street 

The truth, regardless of what I may have implied in the past, is that there are lots of people who can out fish me.  I, however, can tell a better fishing story than 99% of those people.  There is that remaining 1%, though, and I know they’re out there because I met one of them.  I even had home field advantage when it happened. Read more

For purple mountains majesty by John C. Street 

From this back woods road, looking out over the northeastern tip of the 500,000 acre Allegheny National Forest, the view might have been the same as that witnessed by the first Swedish and Italian immigrants who settled here in the 1700s.   Only this forest, primarily maple, beech and cherry, is vastly different.  Read more

Master hunter: Past, Present and Future by John C. Street  

In every walk of life there are people who are recognized as the very best at what they do.  They’re inducted into halls of fame, awarded the Nobel Prize, highlighted on the evening news and featured in our publications.  There is hardly a human endeavor from climbing mountains to making peace, from administering the law to driving fast cars that doesn’t have a handful of people who stand out above the rest.  Read more

Reprehensible … no matter how exigently it is rationalized by John C. Street 

The First Amendment to the Constitution, the codification of our God-given right to “freedom of speech,” is what distinguishes our fifty confederated states - and the consequent republic of the United States of America - from all the other governing systems ever tried.    Read more

A stout stick or suicidal tendencies by John C. Street  

I get to fish on occasion with one of the most adventuresome white water waders I’ve ever known.  Trying to follow him through raging water brings on a pucker factor of about 9 or 10 and usually requires either a stout stick – giving me the stability of a tripod – or suicidal tendencies.  Typically, I rely on the former while the later fits him to a T.  Read more

Americanus lazyasses: An Endangering Species by John C. Street

For three hours I had drifted as quietly as breeze blown confetti across the unusually snowless side hill, sweeping the bench below with binoculars for movement.  Several times the flicker of ears or the horizontal lines of a brownish back betrayed deer, a total count of nine does and two smallish racked bucks, oozing through the screening brush, unalarmed but headed somewhere else with the wind in their noses.  Read more

Cold, wet and miserable by John C. Street 

In my limited collection of sporting memorabilia there is a cartoon that was sent to me years ago, a single frame that shows two guys hunkering in a small boat, fishing through a torrential downpour.  It’s obvious from the expression on the two men’s faces that they’d rather be almost anywhere than where they were at that moment.  Read more

The new whitetail deer: Odocoileus altismadatus by John C. Street 

Dr. Gary Alt, Deer Management Section supervisor for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, working in close cooperation with wildlife researchers at Penn State University, has successfully bred a new strain of whitetail deer.  A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Game Commission said these new deer, which are being bred to replace the state’s existing species, Odocoileus virginianus, are the first known successful cross between two unrelated wildlife species.  Read more

What doesn't kill you by John C. Street  

I’ve taken a header into icy water in the dead of winter and I’ve been good and properly lost in big woods.  I’ve lacerated body parts severely enough to fill a blood donor’s plastic bag and I’ve had mechanical problems far enough from civilization to appreciate having map and compass skills when I had to walk out.  Read more

To its logical extreme by John C. Street 

Before proceeding to the meat of this essay, please be advised this is not an argument either for or against any type of hunting implement or any variation (muzzleloader, center fire rifle, long bow cross bow or compound) of the myriad implements that are prescribed in the Hunting and Trapping Digest as legal for the taking of game.

The subject of this essay, as the title above suggests, is the “logical extremes” that have evolved within the written rules that guide our time afield.  Read more

Alone again by John C. Street  

Shards of light were beginning to tear jagged holes in the predawn sky, illuminating the scudding clouds that were all that remained of last night’s storm.  The brickabrack carpet of last fall’s leaves were rain-softened quiet to the tread of my boots, magnifying the excited hitch in my breathing as I worked my way down the edge of the hill to a little crest that would expose the narrow shelf below.   Read more

Get to work by John C. Street 

I got lambasted at a meeting the other night for things I had written about global warming.  The core of the lambasting (if I’ve filtered it out of the rancorous, condescending tone of his voice correctly) was that the “science” I used as the basis for my opinion was as plausible as a fairy-tale because it was not “peer reviewed” and that anyone who believed there isn’t a “consensus” in the scientific community (that man-caused global warming is real) has an IQ on par with an in-town speed limit.  Read more 

Defeat, defense and detail:A minor treatise on the ethics of “canned shoots” and the future of hunting

By John C. Street 

There’s a hackneyed word puzzle that asks, “Can you use the words defeat, defense and detail in the same sentence?”  And the response is, “Sure, de’ feet went over de’ fence before de’ tail.”  Figuratively and literally, to both the advocates and opponents of high fence hunting, there is something to consider in this corny old saw.  It explains a great deal about the present and the future of hunting.  Read more

No law against being stupid by John C. Street 

“There’s no law,” an attorney once said, “against being stupid.”  Robert Bennett was attempting to explain some indiscrete remarks made by his client, Margie Schott, former owner of the Cincinnati Red baseball team, when he uttered this now famous quote.  That was back in 1993.  The same explanation could aptly be applied to today’s hook ‘n bullet media. Read more

A bird in the dwindling bush by John C. Street

 At the January 7, 2003, meeting of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Roxane Palone asked the “Executive Director to talk to the Bureau of Wildlife Management [to determine if it would be feasible] to extend grouse season …..”  Commissioner Palone explained that she had received correspondence from hunters who wanted more time to pursue their favorite upland game bird.  Read more

When outlaws are gunned by John C. Street 

For the person who hunts, no other symbol defines the experience as precisely as their firearm.  They are a self explanatory manifestation of the hunter’s intention.  What clearer images could be evoked than the terms “bird gun” or “deer rifle?”    For a great many people, however, no other symbol’s intentions are so frighteningly explicit.  For them, the images of “assault rifles” and “shoulder weapons” are clearly understood to represent the dark side of humanity.  Read more

Unpaid Bills by John C. Street 

I wish I could remember the actual wording, or even the author for that matter, of the very sage advise given to those of us who make a living by fishing and then writing about it.  The gist of it was that since we write about fishing, we must know more than the people who read our material.  Read more

You ain’t never gonna’ gitcherdeer by John C. Street 

Please forgive the repetition but I can’t explain this any better than I did in March of last year (“You ain’t gonna’ gitcherdeer - and you deserve to know why, CLARION NEWS, March 5, 2009) when I wrote … “… hunting is one of the largest businesses in Pennsylvania.  According to a report commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Keystone State hunters – nearly all of whom are deer hunters - spend $1.7 billion every year in the conduct of their favorite pastime and, as a direct consequence, support 28,000 jobs and add $214 million tax dollars to the state’s treasury.   Read more

ABCs by John C. Street

 There are unwritten rules that govern behavior in the outdoors, rules that go beyond obeying the game laws, respecting private land ownership and - yes, it can’t be said too often - gun safety.  These understood edicts, recognized by most sportspeople, may be thought of as the lubricant that keeps things working smoothly, stopping the build up of friction that can easily cause damage to the outdoor experience.  Read more

Once upon a midnight dreary: A defense of the Second Amendment by John C. Street

 It was hard for me, a non-lawyerly type, to understand how shutting down the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) for a few days to upgrade the antiquated program was a breach of the Second Amendment.  I opined, therefore, the shut down/up-grade of PICS was poorly timed, surely, but this, I believe(d), could be perfectly “described as stupidity.”    Read more

No bull by John C. Street 

Many, many years ago when I had just reached the level of independence necessary to go fishing by myself, the courageous age of about five if memory serves me right, I was introduced to a stream that held some incredibly stupid fish.  I cast this aspersion on their character because, knowing the skill level I must have had at the time, I remember catching an awful lot of them.Read more

Where the buffalo roam ... but you can't by John C. Street

In the European countries from which many of this nation’s original citizens immigrated, fish and wildlife – as well as large tracts of land that supported them – were owned by a monarchy of unelected rulers. Penalties for “poaching” were harsh.

While attempts to claim the New Worlds’ fish and wildlife were made by the rulers of the countries whose people fled to America, these claims were hard to enforce and largely ignored. Historical accounts reveal that, despite the early establishment of agriculture, fish and wildlife were mainstays of the early settlers’ diet. Read more

Deer fishing by John C. Street I’ve read outdoor magazines since I was a kid and I’ve always read them pretty much cover to cover.  But there’s one certain type of story that draws me like metal shavings to a magnet.  I always read them first.

I’ll tell you right now, though, I’m not the high adventure type. I don’t expect to die as a grizzly bear snack or by being pounded into so much African dust by a rogue elephant.  Read more

Of battleships and rowboats by John C. Street

There is a stream a decent drive from here that my wife and I enjoy fishing together. It has sections that offer relatively easy wading to fit her diminutive physical stature but it also has some water big enough to provide a pucker-factor, even for a strong swimmer like me. We’ve caught a few trout in this stream that were of bragging proportions but mostly we consider anything in the fourteen to sixteen range a major conversation piece and when we fish this stream we generally don’t run out of conversation. Read more

Conduct of organized society by John C. Street 

For good and logical reasons, Pennsylvania’s legislators drafted and enacted laws that depute Wildlife Conservation Officers with general law enforcement powers.

Because of the out-of-the-way places they commonly frequent in the performance of their duties, legislators correctly reasoned there would be occasions when they would be the first, and perhaps the only, law enforcement officers present at the scene of a crime.  Read more

Ain’t tellin’ by John C. Street 

Sometimes I feel like Charley Brown in that annually repeated routine where Lucy offers to hold the football for him and then pulls it away at the last moment.  No matter how many times this happens, I just never seem to learn.   Invariably, when I’m all alone, I’ll have a stellar day at the local fishing hole and - invariably - I just have to tell someone about it.  Then - also invariably - that individual will ask to go along the next time and I, forgetting the lesson for probably the hundredth time, agree to take them.  Read more

Bank fisherman by John C. Street 

Learning how to fish has a whole different meaning today than it did back when my father took his youngest son fishing the first time.  That was over fifty years ago when fly line weights were coded in three letters of the alphabet and aquatic entomology was learning to tell the difference between a “hard” shell and a “soft” shell crab.  Trout preferred the later and bass didn’t care.

 Read more

Sustainable Development: What you need to know (Part 1 and 2)             

A question and answer session with Tom DeWeese from the American Policy Center with an introduction by John C. Street

For some time now I have struggled to explain the threat posed to the future of hunting and fishing by the very innocuous sounding words, “Sustainable Development.”  I am gratified to know, however, I am not alone.  As a learned researcher recently wrote, “[Sustainable Development] is a vast, complicated issue that is difficult to comprehend – even for those of us who have been studying it for so long.”  Read more

Angling for the future – Hunting for the truth:Understanding the threat of “Sustainable Development – Agenda 21”   By John C. Street 

The United States of America has more “recoverable” oil reserves within its contiguous border (i.e., not counting known off-shore reserves) than all the other proven reserves worldwide.  In just one of these known and recoverable reserves, the Bakken, that stretches from Montana to North Dakota and on up into Canada, there are an estimated 500+ billion barrels, enough crude oil, according to both government and industry estimates, to meet this nation’s fuel requirements for over 2,000 years.  Read more

Nothing but a hound dog by John C. Street 

Back when I was first kicking around the idea of getting my very own dog, I fell in with a group of people who enjoyed field trials almost as much as they did hunting.  They belonged to a group called North American Versatile Dog Association and they had some of the neatest canines I’d ever been around.  They had German short and wire hairs, a full color range of labs (gold, brown and black), a new breed – at least back then – known as a puddlepointer and several different styles of spaniels, mostly Britts and cockers. Read more