I grew up with Wildlife in North Carolina. It’s a fine magazine published by the folks of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the same group that commissions the guys that check your fishing license and deer tags. We had a subscription to it as far back as I remember and when I moved out on my own, I started subscribing myself. I think it was $4 a year to subscribe back then, or $10 for three years. Somewhere along the way, I let my subscription slide. After all, next year it’ll be a quarter of a century since I lived in the state and in one of those lean years, it fell to some pencil sharpening and budget cuts. Now, when I return to my parent's home, one of the first things I do is to find my dad’s stash of the magazine and scan through them. I'll pull out a few issues with interesting looking articles. When I was home a few weeks ago, I found the December 2009 issue to be an interesting one. A number of articles caught my attention.
In “The Truthfulness Problem,” Bruce Ingram sets out to explode many myths that sportsmen and women take for granted and pass on to others. Now why did he want to go do that? The myth that hurt was of the intelligence of fish. Quoting a recent article in Fly Fisherman magazine, he suggested that trout have an average IQ of 6. I suppose the good news here is that we will not have to worry about trout taking over Mensa International anytime soon. Of course, I’m going to rethink my fishing tales, especially discussing my tactics for outsmarting an animal with only marginal more intelligence than a chair. Such feats no longer seem to be something worth bragging about.
In another article, “Surviving Carolina” T. Edward Nickens prepares us for an unintended stay in the wilderness. Having spent more than a few nights in the wilderness, I decided to study his helpful hints and learned how to use a bullet, a 9 volt battery and an outboard motor to get a spark for a fire. He also makes suggestions for good tinder such a duct tape or pieces of an old inner tube. I can’t imagine using an inner tube to start a fire. He does warn that the tube will burn with a rank and smoky flame, but it will help dry some better wood allowing you to build a real fire. Another fire building tip involves a beer can and gasoline, which seems to me to have the potential to become a bomb. Isn’t that what the Polish underground used on the Germans in 1944? But the thing that really shocked me is the contents of his “supercharged” (his words) survival kit. Along with trick candles (they won’t blow out) and bailing wire, Nickens tosses in a handful of unlubricated condoms. “The best emergency canteen made,” Nickens’ boasts. I swear, I’m not making this up! I am not that creative. Nickens must be a high-priced lawyer as he sure can think fast on his feet. I can see it now, his wife attempting to slip a love note into his backpack as it sits waiting for his next adventure… and she accidentally discovers the contents of his “supercharged’ survival kit. Confronted by a hysterical spouse, a red-faced Nickens comes up with the perfect excuse! I found myself wondering if he wasn’t planning an Appalachian Trail hike with his friend, the governor of South Carolina. In fact, I thought this article must have been written with the lesser of the Carolinas in mind.
The magazine is still a good deal. It’s only $12 a year (a buck an issue) or $30 for 3 years. Click here to learn how you can support my home state. But with my Scottish blood, I think I’ll just read my Dad’s copies when I’m home.