Mishmash of Thoughts on the Penultimate Day of 2013.

What is it about the word death that sets people to skidding away from the word? Fact that we no longer live in extended families, do not get to see our loved ones and even our friends grow old and die? Something.  Creative writing done, tonight is newspaper night and I just went through the obits of the  local paper. Didn’t know a soul, but I began reading the obits. Obit is a word from the Latin obitus, which translates to death. The past participle of this is obire, to die, specifically “ to go toward,” though nobody seems to indicate a destination.  I’m sure my old English teacher and mentor and polymath HAP will clarify the etymology as needed.

Of the 29 obits I perused, 2 (.724) used the term “passed away, or passed away peacefully or passed away suddenly, or in one case “After a Christmas visit with family, passed away.”  Only 2 of 29 said “died.” Now if we can’t address death frankly and candidly, no wonder we have such screwy language emanating from our politicians on all sorts of other subjects. Death is death, one of the few event/experiences in life (like birth) we all have in common. Why bend  a simple report to religious cant? e.g.,  Entered eternal rest, passed into the arms of her lord and savior, is now resting in God’s embrace, went home to the Lord, and so forth. 

People are of course welcome to their religious beliefs, whatever they might be.  But an obituary is defined as a news article about someone dying and in that regard ought to be strictly who, what, when, where, how and why.  Some of the obits I read did not include a birth year or age, which I found quite odd. The how of death is almost never in an obit, again an example of dodging reality? Obituaries a hundred years ago were much more realistic and factual (in some cases downright shocking, and therefore more interesting to read) than these days. Obits were still that way when we were given them to write in J-School back in the Upper Pleistocene. The difference is that nowadays, you pay the paper and the family writes the obit, rather than it being written by someone from the news staff – the exception being unless you are some sort of local dignitary, in which the staff will write the news article obit in the news section. Times change, and not always for the better. As newspapers continued down the apparent path of extinction and their staffs shrink and become younger and less experience and possessing far less “bottom” than newsies of old, how will we pass the news of deaths through our communities? Just a thought as we tumble toward year’s end.  I am hearing a line, “Lick me all over until I am shiny like a trout.” Anybody got any idea where this is coming from? I have no doubt someone in Grady Service’s life.

Ted Swoboda has scored again, sending along photos of snowy owl he took in a farm field near Saugatuck. Great stuff by a true artiste with true lacrosse blood that runs Spartan Green. Thanks, Boda. We love your work. Over.

ArticOwl 418-001 (2) ArticOwl 432-001 (1) ArticOwl 434 ArticOwl 440 ArticOwl 441 ArticOwl 468 ArticOwl 472

2013 Reading List

Herein, the annual posting of my year’s book reading matter, with no comment on quality or holding power of any particular book.  I have no favorite to offer because the one I am reading is always my favorite, just as the manuscript I am writing is always my favorite. I believe  in focus, and that every book has value, even if the value is to determine you don’t want to read more by that author or any further on that subject. As I’ve said before, a writer spends far more time reading than writing, and more time thinking before he writes than in the actual writing phase.   All of this is kindling for creative fire. With regards to new books, I am now working on the 10th Grady Service manuscript, with the working title of BUCKULAR DYSTROPHY, a tale about deer hunting aberrations, this for fall of 2015. Next fall (2014) will see MOUNTAINS OF THE MISBEGOTTEN, the second Lute Bapcat mystery, this one set in the Porcupine Mountains, Ontonagon County country.  And a second short story collection will be out in spring 2015, working title HARDER GROUND, TALES  FROM THE DISTAFF SIDE.  Lots of work is done, more in the works, my plate remains full, but we hope to have a break this spring summer for more brook trout fishing and exploration of future book settings.

1)   Walt Harrington. Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life. [NF]

2)   Mel Starr. Unhallowed Ground. (#4)

3)   Jon Meachem. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. [NF]

4)   Judith Blahnik and Phillip S.Schulz. Mud Hens and Mavericks. [NF]

5)   John Krich. El Beisbol: The Pleasures and Passions of the Latin American Game.[NF]

6)   Erica Jong. Erica Jong On Henry Miller: The Devil At Large. [NF]

7)   Michael Delp. As If We Were Prey. [SS-E]

8)   John Simon. Paradigms Lost: Reflections on Literacy and Its Decline. [NF]

9)   George Saunders. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. [SS]

10) Bernard DeVoto. Across The Wide Missouri. [NF]

11) Bernard DeVoto. Mark Twain’s America. [NF]

12) Raymond W. Thorp and Robert Bunker. Crow Killer. [NF]

13) William Golding. The Inheritors.

14) Sebastian de Grazia. Machiavelli in Hell. [NF]

15) Patsy Sims. Literary Nonfiction: Learning by Example. [NF]

16) Joseph Heywood. Hard Ground, Woods Cop Stories. [PROOF]

17) Bernard Cornwell. 1356.

18) Adam Hochschild. To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. [NF]

19) Patrick McGinley. Goosefoot.

20) Colin Dickey. Cranioklepty. [NF]

21) Tony Hillerman. Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir. [NF]

22) Carl Van Doren. Benjamin Franklin. [NF]

23) Charles Norman. e.e.cummings: The Magic Maker [NF]

24) Thomas Berger. The Return of Litle Big Man.

25) William Price Fox. Satchel Paige’s America. [NF]

26) Bob Lemieux. Off Wing: Coaching in the Bowels of the Dead Wings in the 1970s.  [MS]

27) Alexandra Horowitz. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know. [NF]

28) Jeff Hirsch. The Eleventh Plague.

29) Robert Ryan. Early One Morning.

30) Antony Beevor & Artemis Cooper. Paris: After the Liberation, 1944-1949. [NF]

31) Antony Beevor. The Mystery of Olga Chekhova. [NF]

32) Ronald Weber. Riverwatcher. [ARC]

33) Arnaldur Indridason. Operation Napoleon.

34) Joseph Heywood. Hard Ground, Woods Cop Stories. [SS]

35) William Golding. The Ineheritors.

36) Robert W Peterson. Only the Ball Was White. [NF]

37) Sigurd F. Olson. The Singing Wilderness. [NF]

38) Cesar Mallan. Short Guide to a Happy Dog.[NF]

39) Dominick Cavallo. A Fiction of the Past: The Sixties in American History. [NF]

40) Wm R. Forstchen. One Second After.

41) Henry Hart. The World As A Lie: James Dickey. [NF]

42) Insiders’ Guide. San Antonio.[NF]

43) Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa. A Taste of Ancient Rome.[NF]

44) Aldous Huxley. Beyond The Mexique Bay [NF]

45) Jason Turbow &  Michael Duca. The Baseball Codes:  Beanballs, Sign-Stealing, & Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime. [NF]

46) Francisco E.Balderrama & Richard A. Santillan. Mexican American Baseball in Los Angles. [NF]

47) Richard A. Santillan, Mark A. Ocegueda and Terry A. Cannon. Mexican American Baseball in the Inland Empire. [NF]

48) Adrian Burgos Jr. Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line. [NF]

49) Zack Hemple. The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals and Secrets Beneath the Surface.[NF]

50) Peter Levine. A.G. Spalding and the Rise of Baseball. [NF]

51) Paul Dickson. The Hidden Language of Baseball: How Signs and Sign-Stealing Have Influenced the Course of Our National Pastime. [NF]

52) Paul Dickson. The Unwritten Rules of Baseball: The Etiquette, Conventional Wisdom, and Axiomatic Codes of Our National Pastime. [NF]

53) Rob Ruck. Raceball: How The Major Leagues Colonized The Black and Latin Game. [NF]

54) Robert K. Adair. The Physics of Baseball. [NF]

55) Buzz Bissinger. 3 Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of A Manager. [NF]

56) Zack Hample. Watching Baseball Smarter. [NF]

57) Bernard Malamud. The Natural.

58) Dirk Hayhurst. The  Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of A Minor League Veteran. [NF]

59) Chris Ballard. One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, and Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season. [NF]

60) Jules Tygiel. Past Time: Baseball As History. [NF]

61) Robert Elias. The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad. [NF]

62) Jack Stallings, Bob Bennett, Eds. Baseball Strategies: Your Guide to the Game Within the Game. [NF]

63) Harriet Doerr. Consider This, Senora.

64) Bill Veeck with Ed Linn. The Hustler’s Handbook. [NF]

65) Antony Beevor. The Mystery of Olga Checkhova. [NF]

66) Amy Waldman. The Submission.

67) Joseph Heywood. Killing A Cold One [Page Proofs]

68) Jim Bishop. The Day Christ Died.

69) John Gardner. The Life and Times of Chaucer. [NF]

70) Walter M. Miller, Jr. A Canticle for Leibowitz. (1959)

71) Susan Cain. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. [NF]

72) Ellen Airgood. Prairie Evers.

73) Henry Adams. Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original. [NF]

74) Percy Lubbock. The Craft of Fiction. (1922). [NF]

75) Kenneth Burke. A Grammar of Motives (1945) [NF]

76) Daniel Kahneman. Thinking Fast and Slow. [NF]

77) Margaret A. Salinger. Dream Catcher. [NF]

78) David P. Wagner. Cold Tuscan Stone. [ARC]

79) Paul Dorion. Trespasser.

80) Bob Lemieux. Off Wing. [NF]

81) Joseph Heywood. Killing A Cold One. [Proofs]

82) John Le Carre. A Delicate Truth.

83) Vladimir Nabokov. Speak, Memory. [NF]

84) Philip Mason. Kipling: The Glass, The Shadow and the Fire. [NF]

85) David Foster Wallace. Consider the Lobster and Other Essays. [NF]

86) Joseph Heywood. Killing A Cold One. [Proofs]

87) James and Kay Salter. Life is Meals: A Food Lover’s Book of Days. [NF]

88) Daniel Swift. Shakespeare’s Common Prayers: The Book of Common Prayer and the Elizbethan Age. [NF]

89) David Foster Wallace. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. [NF]

90) Arthur Phillips. The Tragedy of Arthur.

91) William Benzon. Beethoven’s Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture. [NF]

92) John Heywood. The Proverbes. [NF] [1546]

93) William Shakespear. Twelfth Night. [D]

94) Thomas Dekker. The Wonderful Year, 1603 [NF] [1603]

95) Thomas Dekker. The Gull’s Hornbook. [NF] 1609]

96) Thomas Dekker.  The Seven Deadly Sins of London.[NF] [1606]

97) Robert Greene. A Notable Discovery of Coosnage: Now Daily Practiced by Sundry Lewd Persons, Called Connie-catchers, and Crosse-Biters. [NF] [1591]

98) Robert Greene. Greene’s Groat’s-Worth,Bought With a Million of Repentence. [1592]

99) Maggie Secara. A Compendium of Common Knowledge, 1558-1603: Elizabethan Commonplaces for Writers, Actors & Re-Enactors. [NF]

100)             Dan Baum. Gun Guys: A Road Trip. [NF]

101)             John Jeremiah Sullivan. Pulphead, Essays. [NF]

102)             Katherine Rogers, Ed and Intro. The Selected Writings of Samuel Johnson. [NF]

103)             James Boswell. Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson. [NF]

104)             William Price Fox. Southern Fried Chicken Plus 6.

105)             John Irving. The Imaginary Girlfriend: A Memoir. [NF]

106)             William Price Fox. Ruby Red.

107)             William Zinsser. On Writing Well. [NF]

108)             John Keats. Of Time and An Island: The Writer reflects On His Life in the Thousand Islands – and On Life in America. [NF]

109)             Henry Hart. Seamus Heaney: Poet of Contrary Progressions. [NF]

110)             James Dickey. Buckdancer’s Choice. [P]

111)             Judith Thurmahn. Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller. [NF]

112)             William Price Fox. Wild Blue Yonder.

113)             Gay Talese. A Writer’s Life. [NF]

114)             William Price Fox. Chitlin Strut & Other Madrigals. [NF]

115)             Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa. A Taste of Ancient Rome. [NF]

116)             Louise Catherine Anderson. After the Sun Has Set: Memories of 1898. [NF]

117)             Pico Iyer. Tropical Classical: Essays From Several Directions. [NF]

118)             Washington Irving, Mary E. Litchefield, Ed. Irving’s Sketch Book: Complete Edition [1901] [NF]

119)             Robin Cook. Chromsome Six.

120)             Arthur Phillips. The Egyptologist.

121)             Arthur Phillips. The Tragedy of Arthur.

122)             George Sanders. The Braindead Megaphone:  Essays. [NF]

123)             Bernard Devoto. The World of Fiction (1950) [NF]

124)             Gary Gildner. Cleaning A Raindow: Poems. [P]

125)             Gary Gildner. The Bunker in the Parlsey Fields. [P]

126)             American Prosecutors Research Institute. Animal Cruelty Protetion: Opportunities for Early Response to Crime and Interpersonal Violence. [NF]

127)             Norman Lewis. The World, The World: Memoirs of a Legendary Traveler. [NF]

128)             Norman Lewis. Jackdaw Cake: An Autobiography. [NF]

129)             Norman Lewis. Naples ’44 [NF]

130)             Norman Lewis. The Honoured Society: The Sicilian Mafia Observed. [NF]

131)             Norman Lewis: A Dragon Apparent: Travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. [NF]

132)             William Price Fox. Southern Fried Plus 6. [SS]

133)             Vince Flynn. Term Limits.

134)             Henry Hart. Seamus Heaney: Poet of Contrary Progressions.[NF]

135)             Norman Lewis: Golden Earth. [NF]

136)             Norman Lewis: A Goddess in the Stones. [NF]

137)             The Copper Country Rock and Mineral Club. Red Gold and Tarnished Silver: Mines and Minerals of the Lake Superior Copper District. 2d edition [NF]

138)             Joseph R. Papineau. Old Victoria: Forest Queen of Copper Mines, 1841-1991: 150 years West of the Ontonagon. [NF]

139)             Clarence J. Monette. Camp Sidnaw: A World War II German Prisoner of War Camp. [NF]

140)             Clarence J. Monette. Houghton County’s Street Cars and Electric Park. [NF]

141)             B.H. Johanson. Ontonagon: The River and the Land: An Essay on the History and Development of Ontonagon County. [NF]

142)             James K. Jamison. The Mining Ventures of Ontonagon County. [NF]

143)             Knox Jamison. The History of Ontonagon County Towns. “Ewen and South End Towns, Ontonagon, Rockland –Greenland -Mass, Bergland and Silver City. [NF]

144)             Angus Murdoch. Boom Copper: The Story of the First U.S. Mining Boom. [NF]

145)             Henry Kisor. Hang Fire.

146)             Kurt Vonnegut. We Are Who We Pretend to Be: The First and Last Works. [NF]

147)             Dan Chabot. Godspeed: A Love Story.

148)             James K. Jamison. This Ontonagon Country: The Story of An American Frontier. [NF]

149)             Brian Doyle. Mink River.

150)             Christopher Fowler. Plastic.

151)             George Saunders. Pastorella: Stories and a Novella. [SS]

152)             Louis de  Bernieres. Notwithstanding.

153)             Paul Doiron. Massacre Pond.

154)             Paul Doiron. Bad Little Falls.

155)             C.J.Box. The Highway.

156)             C.J. Box. The Breaking Point.

157)             George Saunders. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil.

158)             George Saunders. In Persuasion Nation. [SS]

159)             S.C. Gwynne. Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. [NF]

160)             Gerard Helferich. Theodore Roosevelt and The Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, and the Campaign of 1912. [NF]

161)             Clive James. Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories From History and the Arts. [NF]

162)             James Salter. Gods of Tin: The Flying Years. [NF]

163)             Clive James. Unreliable Memoirs. [NF]

164)             John Christopher. The Death of Grass.

165)             Phillip Lopate. To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction. [NF]

166)             James Salter. A Sport and A Pastime.

167)             James Salter. Last Night: Stories. [SS]

168)             James Salter. Light Years.

169)             James Salter. Dusk and Other Stories. [SS]

170)             William Morris. News From Nowhere. [NF]

171)             Elmore Leonard. Fire in The Hole And Other Stories. [SS]

172)             John Jeremiah Sullivan. Pulphead Essays. [NF]

173)             Charles Bukowski. Ham on Rye.

174)             John McPhee. Silk Parachute. [NF]

175)             David McCullough. Brave Companions. [NF]

176)             Josh Greenberg. Rivers of Sand: Fly Fishing Michigan and The Great Lakes Region. [NF]

177)             Pete Wurdock. Bending Water and Stories Nearby.[SS]

178)             Roy Adkins. Nelson’s Trafalgar: The Battle That Changed the World. [NF]

179)             Scott Farris. Kennedy & Reagan: Why Their Legacies Endure. [NF]

180)              Mark Kurzem. The Mascot: Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father’s Nazi Boyhood. [NF]

181)             Reginald Bretnor, Ed. The Craft of Science Fiction: A Symposium on Writing Science Fiction and Science Fantasy. [NF]

182)             Robert Claiborne. Our Marvelous Native Tongue: The Life and Times of the English Language. [NF]

183)             Clive James. As of This Writing. [NF]

184)             Paula McLain. The Paris Wife.

185)             Joseph Weisberg. An Ordinary Spy.

186)             Richard Hoyt. The Weatherman’s Daughters.

187)             James Dickey. Alnilam.

188)             Mel Gussow. Edward Albee: A Singular Journey: A Biography [NF]

189)             Tony Hillerman. Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir. [NF]

190)             William H. Gass. Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts. [NF]

191)             Hakan Nesser. Munster’s Case.

192)             Martin Cruz Smith. Tatiana.

193)             Larry Lankton. Hallowed Grouond: Copper Mining and Community Building on Lake Superior, 1840s-1990s.

194)             Umberto Eco. Inventing the Enemy. [NF]

195)             Joe R. Lansdale. The Bottoms.

196)             Robert D. Kaplan. The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate. [NF]

197)             Ron Riekki, ed. The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works.

198)             Philip Caputo. The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean. [NF]

199)             Philip Meyer. The Son.

200)             William H. Glass. Life Sentences. [NF]

201)             Joe R. Lansdale. The Thicket.

202)             Isiaah Berlin. The Sense of Reality. [NF]

203)             John E. Griebel. Cultural Landscape Report: Nonesuch Mine & Village. [NF][Noobs Libes]

204)             John Baird. Biennial Report of The (Michigan) Department of Conservation, 1925-1926. [NF][Randy Clarke]

205)             James Atlas. Bellow: A Biography. [NF]

206)             Peter Levi. The Life and Times of William Shakespeare. [NF} [1988]

207)             Louis De Bernieres. The War of Don Emmanuel’s Neather Parts.

208)             John Jeremiah Sullivan. Pulphead: Essays. [NF]

209)             Adam Sisman. An Honourable Englishmanj: The Life of Hugh Trevor-Roper.[NF]

210)             Michael Dean. I Hogarth.

211)             Norman Lewis. The Missionaries: God Against the Indians. [NF]

212)             Richard Davenport-Hines, Ed. Hugh Trevor Roper: The Wartime Journals. [ND]

213)             Phillip Lopate. Portrait Inside My Head (Essays). [NF]

214)             John Matteson. The Lives of Margaret Fuller. [NF]

215)             Carlos Eire. Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy. [NF]

216)             Robert Wilson. Instruments of Darkness.

217)             E.B. White. The Essays of E.B. White [NF]

218)             Ann Roiphe. Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust Without Reason. [NF]

219)             Edgar Wallace. The Fourth Plague. [1933]

220)             Phillip Lopate. Against Joie De Vire: Personal Essays. [NF]

221)             James Salter. There & Then: The Travel Writing of James Salter [NF]

222)             John McPhee. The Ransom of Russian Art. [NF]

223)             Jonathan Swift. Gullivers Travels.

224)              T.H. White. The Age of Scandal. [NF]

225)             John Simon. Paradigms Lost: Reflections on Literacy and Its Decline. [NF]

226)             Amir D. Aczel. The Jesuit & The Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution and the Search for Peking Man. [NF]

227)             George Steiner. Language & Silence: Essays on Language, Literature, and the Inhuman. [NF] [1958]

228)             Catherin Drinker Bowen. Francis Bacon: The Temper of a Man. [NF][1963]

229)             C.J. Box. Breaking Point.

230)            Jaroslav Pelikan. Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture. [NF]

Photo Blasts from the Past

My former pilot Art Smith (and wife MaryJo)  sent along some great pix of some of my artwork from the 1960s. Art drove B-57s in the Guard, then RF-101s in Vietnam before joining us in the tanker force. Great guy, great pilot, and our irrepressible super pro boom operator Rick Clark. The photo of the wall shows an oil painting I did during that time, and didn’t remember it until Art sent along a photo a couple of years back. Now he sends this  big cartoon, which I don’t remember at all, but I certainly recognize the style and technique.  Over.


Cougar Shot in Schoolcraft County: First Confirmed MI kill since 1906

DNR officials: Bay County residents arrested on suspicion of killing cougar in Upper Peninsula

                    Trail camera photo depicting a cougar in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in December 2013. DNR officials believe two Bay County residents illegally killed this same cougar. (Courtesy the Department of Natural Resources)
SCHOOLCRAFT COUNTY, MI — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has arrested two Bay County residents on suspicion of killing a cougar in the Upper Peninsula, adding it would be the first such feline killed by humans in the state in more than a century.

DNR officials last week investigated a tip that a cougar had been killed in Schoolcraft County and confirmed such a slaying did occur at a hunting camp. Investigators gathered enough evidence to apprehend two Bay County residents in connection with the alleged illegal killing, they report.

Investigators are to turn over the results of their investigation to the office of Schoolcraft County Prosecutor Timothy R. Noble, who will determine if charges will be filed.

Ed Golder, public information officer with the DNR, declined to divulge the suspects’ names, ages or sexes.

Under Michigan law, illegally killing a cougar is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $2,500 fine. The wild felines, also known as mountain lions, are classified as an endangered species in the state.

The DNR’s Wildlife Division recently confirmed that a trail camera had snapped a photo of a cougar in the same area. Investigators believe the animal in the photo is the same one killed. 

The DNR reports that cougars disappeared from the state in the early 1900s. The last confirmed wild cougar in Michigan prior to 2008 was an animal killed near Newberry in 1906.

Since 2008, the DNR has confirmed photos or tracks of cougars on 23 occasions in 10 Upper Peninsula counties. The animals are believed to be young individuals dispersing from established populations in the Dakotas in search of new territory. There is no evidence of a breeding population of cougars in the state.

The Bath-based Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, though, has argued that cougars resurged in the state in the 1950s and are present in the Lower Peninsula, even as far south as Bay County and the Thumb area. In an effort to prove this contention, they previously presented photos of cougars they claim were taken in Oscoda and Alcona counties.

The Wildlife Division’s specially trained cougar team welcomes citizen reports of possible cougar evidence or sightings. Cougar photos and other evidence — such as tracks, scat or cached kills — should be reported to a local DNR office or through the DNR’s online reporting form at www.michigan.gov/cougars.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the recent alleged killing or other poaching cases to call the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline at 1-800-292-7800. 

Information can also be reported online at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers. Tips and information can be left anonymously; information that leads to an arrest and conviction is eligible for a cash reward funded by the state’s Game and Fish Protection Fund.

JOE-NOTE:  FYI, I’ve never paid much attention to any claims by the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, but include it here because it was in the Bay City Times story.


Eagles in the Air

My pal (former Michigan State lacrosse coach Ted Swoboda) sent out a note earlier this week, with lots of interesting photos attached. Here’s his note. (Thanks, Boda):

“Drove out to Davenport Iowa this week after seeing a daily eagle county at the Fulton Lock last week. Wednesday I viewed more than 500 bald eagles at Lock #13…back in the trees. The photographers at the dam told me there were upwards of 1,000 eagles over the weekend. These numbers are unusually high for this time of year, even though we have had temperatures nearly ten degrees above normal for the past two weeks. The locals attribute the high eagle count to a die-off of perch and sheep-head, both providing a huge food source at the base of the Mississippi River dams in that area.

When I took an ornithology course at M.S.U. in the 70s the population of bald eagles in the U.S. had declined to a total of 500 breeding pairs. Ted Swoboda.

Photographs follow. The recovery of eagles can be attributed to the stoppage of DDT use and the point is that when we see manmade problems in our environment, we can reverse the trend and end the problem. But first we have to see it. And THEN  COLLECTIVELY do something with our central focus being the problem, not politics or political parties. What parties doesn’t want clean air, clean water and lots of eagles overhead?  Over.

LockEagles 074 Lock 13&14 009 LockEagles 204 LockEagles 223 LockEagles 372 LockEagles 528 LockEagles 583 LockEagles 629 LockEagles 450 LockEagles 566

One Call for a Conservation Officer

Wicklund Does

This conservation officer has had complaints on a certain house near a UP town for several years, allegations of night-shooting deer and other illegal activity. Recently, he does to the place, which has a giant bait pile in the front yard, and he knocks on the door. Out in the yard in the trees there is a pile of does hanging (See Photo Above). The inhabitants open the door and inside he spies two jars of dope and some joints laying on a table. There is also a loaded .22 in the window. “Used to shoot rabbits,” the inhabs claim. CO says, “But all I see is deer tracks and blood, no rabbit tracks anywhere in the yard.” Then the stories begin to crumble. The CO has to interview four suspects and keeping them apart is difficult, being a lone officer. After interviews the CO estimates six of the 12 does were shot either illegally or filling another person’s tag. After interviewing the four bozos, the CO points out that three of the deer do not have .50 cal holes in them and the house owner steps forward and says he shot the three with his crossbow. When the officer explains crossbow season is closed, the man says he isn’t changing his story “again,” and he will admit to killing the three deer illegally. Three other deer have “gone home” across the bridge and the CO has reason to believe they were also illegally shot, but the subject will not answer his home or cell phone. Another CO  will visit the suspect.  Meanwhile, my friend says he thinks the camp folk learned: 1) Don’t leave a giant bait pile in your front yard, and 2) Check who is knocking on the door before you open it. Makes you wonder how many deer are illegally killed every year and usually by the same jamokes complaining the wolves are killing all the deer.

This is an example of how our CO shortage cuts our officers’  effectiveness.  A second officer or partner would have been able to keep the four suspects apart and allowed for interviews to be conducted without cross contamination.

Holy Pete. What a buncha whackadoodles! Over.


Signing Saturday in Kalamazoo.

This coming Saturday, 4th Annual Author Day at Kazoo Books. I’m there 3-4:30 p.m.
When: December 14, 2013 all-day
Where: Kazoo Books, 2413 Parkview Avenue, Kalamazoo,MI 49008
Join us at our Parkview store on Saturday, December 14, for our 4th Annual Author Day!  We’ll be hosting authors all day.
Artisans that day:…
Beadventure – bead jewelry by mentored youth   Ministry with Community’s – soaps & candles   House Jewelry – Linda Kekic – fused glass jewelry   Artist – Mary Brodbeck – woodblock prints
* Author Ruth McNally Barshaw is creator of the Ellie McDoodle series, an intermediate chapter book.
* Leslie Helakoski is author and illustrator of Dog Gone Feet and Fair Cow, and is author of the Big Chicken series as well as Woolbur.
* Janet Ruth Heller has written How the Moon Regained Her Shape, a story about bullying for children of all ages.
*Grace Tiffany has written several books set in the time of Shakespeare, My Father Had a Daughter and Will. Now her new book is called Paint and takes us back to Elizabethan court.
* Joan Donaldson is an organic farmer and has written a book about the life of growing and farming in Michigan, Wedded to the Land.
* Tom Small‘s title Using Native Plants to Restore Community has become a regional handbook for protecting our native landscape.
* Hedy Habra is a local poet and author of Tea in Heliopolis and Flying Carpets.
New Issues Press is at Western Michigan University and has just produced a gift book of regional poetry and art called Poetry in Michigan. Visit with a few of the authors represented in this beautiful book.
* Mary Brodbeck, one of the artists in the book will be here with some of her special art.
* Judi Rypma will join us. She is author of Amber Room and Rapunzel’s Hair.
* Jacqueline Carey is a local author of the historical fantasy series, Kushiel’s Legacy, The Sundering epic and the new Agent of Hel contemporary fantasy series, Autumn Bones.
* Sarah Zettel joins us from the east side of Michigan. She is author of a vampire chef mystery series, the Isavalta fantasy series and is now writing for young adults.  Her latest historical novel of mystery is called Palace of Spies.
Joe Heywood is back from the north country to chat with us. His latest is Killing a Cold One and he can talk about his next book, soon to be out.
D. E. Johnson is suburb at historical description of Detroit. His latest mystery with Will and Elizabeth is Detroit Shuffle
Mel Starr is continuing his medieval mystery adventures with Rest Not in Peace, just released.
Albert Bell, from Grand Rapids is joining the mystery crew.  Try out his latest historical mystery set in Italy shortly after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

The Day After

Firearms deer season finished the day before yesterday. Muzzleloaders up next, then late archery, so the 2013 deer season is not  yet  finito.

Sunday was another day in the truck. We checked traps and fur buyers and deer processors, made a traffic stop on a young guy that came close to knocking us off a road, visited with an interesting man who makes bows, and had  a great day. Oh yeah, and got another… illegal deer. Shot Thanksgiving afternoon, license bought  on  Saturday, the 30th, and when we went to the house the suspect alleged he shot the buck Saturday night around 5, but pupil measurements and experience told us the animal had been dead at least 18 hours and the story didn’t hold water and the young man “manned-up” and confessed. Good kid. Just made a mistake. Two patrol days, eight illegal deer. Great work by my partner, who seems to have the respect of upstanding citizens and dirt-bags alike in his county. Last night we ended our patrol at a fur operation where seven people were skinning and stretching coons, etc. Amazing visuals but I took no photos. The smell was amazing too. If you don’t trap you may not know that the essence of most trap attractants has a skunk base. Uh huh.  I may go back there at some point just to take photos and o a story about a business that is almost invisible. Lots of people trapping these days. Fur prices are good and in a bad economy this is a way to pick up some income. Plus, Americans have always trapped. In fact, it’s furs that helped launch this colony country.  Interestingly, we hear a lot of reports of hunters seeing no deer and there is an explanation for it. The reason is that EHD has reduced  the deer herd in many counties and reduced fawn production. The DNR tells us that  “Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is an acute, infectious, viral disease found in wild ruminants like white-tailed deer. It does not affect humans so edibility of the venison is not impacted by this disease. There is no evidence that humans can contract the EHD virus either from the midge or from handling and eating venison.EHD has been present in the United States for over 50 years now and no long-term effects on any deer herd have been recorded. Where EHD is more common, deer have built up antibodies to the disease.

Michigan deer do not have the benefit of these antibodies. Losses may be severe, and while impacts on deer numbers are typically restricted to localized areas, recovery may take longer than has been experienced in other states. Large-scale regional deer population decreases have not been observed.”

Scenes from yesterday follow. Over.


Traditional Firearm Deer Season Ends



Mission Complete: CO Jeff Goss in truck bed with shotgun.
Mission Complete: CO Jeff Goss in truck bed with seized shotgun.


Yesterday was the Last day of firearm deer season and I was with an officer from a southern Michigan county.

Funny how things happen. A motorist noticed a pile of deer carcasses.

CO visits scene, finds a tag on one of the deer. Station 20 in Lansing identifies the hunter and provides an address, a female. We motor out there to interview her.

“You shoot a deer?”

“Yah, a doe.”

“Where is it?”

“Gave it to a friend who needed the meat.”

“We found the tag in a pile of carcasses out in a field. How did your tag get out there?”

“I gave it to my friend. I don’t know how the tag got out there.”

“But you shot the deer?”

“I shot it for a friend who is having marital problems and has three kids  and wanted the meat.”

“Who were you hunting with?”

“My dad and my friend.”

“Did your dad shoot anything?”


“Did your friend?”

“Not that day.”

“Another day?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t seen him since then.”

“Which was?”

She gives us the date.

“How big was the deer?” my partner asks. (We have the carcass in the bed of the truck.)

“Medium size.”

What we have is a small button buck with her tag on it. “Okay, what’s your friend’s name and where does he live? Oh, and don’t call him when we leave here.”

We then  motor to Subject B’s place of employment, but he is not working today. Instead, the  dad of Subject A appears out of nowhere and wants to “chat,” sort of explains what happened, etc. Confirms what his daughter told us, but something not adding up. We have Subject A’s deer in the truck and show him. Father of subject A says, “That’s not the deer. It was a really big doe.”

What we have is a button buck, technically not an antlered deer. And it is small. So how did the tag get on this animal? Weird.

Huh. Okay, “Don’t call subject B” Dad agrees. Thus we motor to Subject B’s home. Lo and behold, Subject B is waiting in the driveway for us, because dad has called him. Eventually admits HE shot a buck on Oct 31 AND the  deer with Subject A’s tag.

“What happened to the buck from Halloween?”

“Gave it to friend for his parents.”

“Then you killed the doe because you wanted meat for your kids?”


“That makes no sense.”

“I didn’t know on Halloween I’d be split from my wife and I’m the only one who works.”

My partner says, “You shot Subject A’s deer?”

“Yes, sir, and they were hunting with me and  I did not want to transport it without a tag, which I never bought, because I didn’t want to spend the money.”  He adds, Subject A “volunteered” her tag for the dead doe. Did Subject B dispose of the animal in the field? Nope, Subject B gave it to a friend to process for him, an individual, who is married to his cousin, and who is running an unauthorized processing facility.

“Don’t call ahead,” we advise the man.

We motor to Subject C’s facility, find Subject C and a Subject D and Juvenile kin of Subject D. After much back and forth we learn Subject C shot all six deer being butchered, five does one day, and a buck on Turkey day “because it was suffering from a previous gunshot, and he didn’t want it to suffer.”

And Subject B’s meat is in a freezer and not yet picked up. Subjects B and C confess and write confessions. We take meat from seven deer and a shotgun with us. My partner will write reports and refer them  to the prosecutor for charges. From one tag on a deer carcass, we find seven illegal deer, which we took to a local processor who will handle distribution to needy families. You just never know if you don’t follow through on every detail. There’s more to this, but the details will have to wait. Last day of deer season. Oh yeah, Subject C says, “I’d like to get the gun back. It has sentimental value, ya know, belonged to my Granddad. “ Right, that’s original: we hear this line or some offshoot of it  over and over from folks not wanting their weapons condemned in court. It rarely works.

Wonderful day. At one point we stop at a gas station and a woman comes over and gives us a new box of Christmas cookies and says, “For all you guys do for all of us.”

Way cool.

Back in the truck  today. Who knows what the day  will offer us. Pix follow. Over.


First we check an irrigation ditch for traps and instead find three deer, No tags, of course.
Two shot and not gutted another gutted and caped but all the meat left, like someone in a hurry or someone who doesn’t care. Two-legged pigs.
Disgusting waste.
Long view of the irrigation ditch.
Pile of nine where the tagged remains are found and which takes us on the day’s journey to deer gankers.
Deer season automotive tomfoolery. Reindeer horns? Who knows.
What greets us in the unlicensed processing place.
More from the processing house.
And more.
Another view.
Our unexpected Christmas gift!
A bed of venison.
Checking if the gun has been reported stolen. it hasn’t.
Receipt for the processor, part of the evidence chain recordkeeping.