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Also, snapping turtles as weapons, bovine tuberculosis in Michigan deer, a special hunting-season request, wild prison dinners, a bear adopts a dog, and a rancher hog ties a wolf.

 

For the average outdoorsman, it’s hard to imagine never seeing a deer’s graceful gate, a rabbit’s hurried escape or a turkey’s calculated strut. Yet, for the sight-impaired, our world’s wildlife resources can be thought of as nothing more than abstract words on a page.

Safari Club International’s Sensory Safari bridges that gap,allowing the sight-impaired to finally “see” wildlife through their sense of touch.

The Silver Chapter of Safari Club International, based in Las Vegas, held a Sensory Safari for more than 150 sight-impaired children in Las Vegas. The Sensory Safari program is simple. Mounted animals are put on display, along with large print or braille cards explaining what each animal is. Then, the Safari Club International chapter provides volunteer guides from its membership to take each of the sight-impaired youngsters from mount to mount. At each station the mounts are touched, finally allowing the sight-impaired to “see” each animal. When available, a tape of the noises the animal makes in the wild is played.

Mounts for the Sensory Safari at SCI’s 25th Annual Convention were donated by Jonas Brothers, and the event was coordinated by the Silver Chapter of Safari Club International. For more information about Safari Club International’s Sensory Safari program, contact Ray Stroup at 520/620-1220.…

• Wild animals are apparently becoming the weapons of choice among America’s criminals. A pizza-delivery man was robbed of $50 at turtlepoint after two bandits cornered him at phone booth and held a snapping turtle near his face. In another case, police found a drug lab guarded by a 200-pound cougar. When James Peterson’s would-be assassins’ guns jammed, they stripped Peterson, rubbed his body with bacon, and tied him out the woods for predators to find. Fortunately, he was rescued before the critters got him.…

• Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials are concerned that bovine tuberculosis in the state’s deer is spreading, and they blame hunter baiting practices. DNR biologists say airborne transference of TB pathogens is enhanced when deer feed nose-to-nose at bait stations.…

• In what may be the first move of its kind, volunteers searching for a missing Lear jet near Ellsworth Mountain, New Hampshire, requested a special hunting season to aid the search. A circulated petition said, “One of the most woods-experienced groups of people is hunters. Every deer season you read of various discoveries in the woods by hunters.” As of press time, the state Fish & Game Department had denied the request.…

• Scotland conservationists are trying to alleviate an overpopulation of gray squirrels by encouraging locals to hunt and eat them. Unfortunately, many Scotlanders consider gray squirrels to be unpalatable vermin. The rodents are destroying habitat and squeezing out red squirrels, which some fear will become extinct within the century unless the grays are reduced.…

• Speaking of unpalatable vermin, inmates at the Clinch County, Georgia, jail are certain their civil rights were somehow violated when they were served raccoon meat for supper. The woman who provides the jail’s meals thought she was giving the prisoners “a real treat,” saying raccoon was what she served on special occasions at her own home, including Thanksgiving. The prisoners said, “Thanks, but no thanks….”

• Since we’re on the subject, an injured raccoon hunter rescued by medivac helicopter in western New York state was killed when the helicopter crashed on takeoff. The man was found by ground searchers and loaded onto the chopper after he fell out of a tree while hunting about 45 miles southeast of Rochester.…

• Dodger, a rabbit-hunting beagle-in-training, was recently rescued from a Maine black bear who “adopted” the dog as one of her cubs. The hound was located by its radio-tracking collar in the bear’s winter den. Wildlife biologists helped the owner recover Dodger unharmed.…

• Wyoming rancher Bill Mayo found a novel way to stop a reintroduced gray wolf from killing his sheep—he chased it down with his snowmobile, lassoed and hog tied it, then called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to come and get it.

• The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has gone high-tech: It now has its own DNA testing lab. The facility, built in Caldwell, allows department officials to detect and track microbes and pieces of game animals that might have been taken illegally. Questionable game samples can be taken from one site and matched to those from another site. The new laboratory was funded by grants from the Shikar Safari Club International, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.

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