Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Wolfsbane -- An Ancient Poison for Hunting

I have written in the past
about the history of rat poisons, but not about the use of poisons to kill fox and wolves.
Suffice it to say that using terriers underground, and giant running dogs above ground, is among the slowest, most expensive, and least efficient ways of getting rid of fox and wolves.
Traps and poisons are extremely efficient, however, and there have always been many methods of each, from pits, snares, leghold gins, and baited hooks, to arsenic, strychnine, sodium fluroacetate, and carbon monoxide gassing of underground natal dens.

It's all pretty horrible stuff.

That said, there is a real history here, and it might be of some small interest to know that the Inuit once used flower-derived poisons to hunt whales in Alaska.

Who knew?
One of the oldest poisons used on fox and wolves, is wolfsbane, which is made from a broad class of flowers in the Aconitum family.  Various species of this member of the buttercup family can be found all over the world, from Asia to Europe, and from the New World to Africa. 

In "De Materia Medica," Dioscorides advises that Akoniton lycoctonum is particularly useful for killing panthers, wolves, and other wild beasts.

In truth, many species of Aconitum have been used for centuries to tip arrows and spears used to used to kill everything from deer, ibex, musk ox, tigers and bears to wild dogs.

Aconitum plants contain the relatively fast-acting poison Aconitine which targets the cardiovascular and central nervous system.  Death from wolfsbane poisoning generally occurs when the heart slows and then stops. 

Aconitine is very bitter, so is only rarely ingested, but it can easily kill if a reduction is consumed or put in contact with a wound.

If anyone is concerned because I am (horrors!) talking about a kind of ancient, difficult-to-make, and hard-to-dispense poison, please relax. The pest shelf at your local HomeDepot is the thing to fear -- there is enough modern stuff there to knock out a city block!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Coffee and Provocation

Saved by Tasmanian Devil Milk?
Tasmanian devil milk contains a class of antimicrobial peptides called “cathelicidins” that can even kill the dreaded superbug MRSA.

No Man's Land?
The entire length of the US-Canada border is marked by a 20-foot-wide slash through the trees,

Damn Foreigners!
There are more than 8,500 breeding pairs of ring-necked parakeets in the wild in the U.K.

Finding the Lost Toe of the Bog Man
The missing toe of Tollund Man, one of Denmark’s best-preserved Iron Age mummy's, has been returned after more than 60 years.

Let the Light Shine
Solar power capacity in the U.S. will have nearly tripled between 2014 and 2017.  At the same time, the U.S. price of residential electricity has declined for the first time in 14 years.

Best Description of Trump in 2016 Election
Even when you take it out, scrub it hard, and dose it with Clorox, you can never forget.

Totally Artificial Mice?
Scientists have created baby mice from eggs made in the lab using skin cells from an adult mouse.

Last of the Dog Men

Another amazing photo from the legendary Art Wolfe. This gentleman is from the Yanomamo tribe of Venezuela, who are somewhat protected by the Parima Tapirapecó National Park which also protects the headwaters of the Orinoco River.

Personal Best

New personal best going to work today in the Ford C-Max Hybrid.

Make a Quick $20 With this Trick

Saturday, October 22, 2016

How the Population of the USA Fits in Africa

Selling Fantasy to Ninnies

Southern Quail Hunt | Mossy Oak, MS from Ball and Buck on Vimeo.

This is how you do it
, with young men in clothes so new they still have the tags on them. You walk to a field, stare out over non-existent dogs in nonexistent cover, and 15 dead or half-dead birds are tossed in front of you by a black gentleman who is paid to hold the dogs and throw the birds. Then you climb into your immaculate Land Rover Defender, so new it has not yet been to a car wash, and return to your blonde wife who admires your outdoorsy masculinity.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Nature Porn

Ten years ago,
the BBC gave us "Planet Earth". Now they're about to giving us the amazing sequel. It's six 50-minutes episodes, narrated by David Attenborough, to come on BBC1 in the UK in November.

Fish On Friday

Flying Fish caught between two predators on the deep blue sea.

Maybe It's Not About People

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning. 

We Are So Often Confused

Jake Gyllenhaal and I are SO much alike.

Rigged Against Him

From CBS Radio:
A man who owns large chunks of New York City, inherited millions of dollars in his youth from his father, and is married to a Slovenian supermodel who eagerly agrees with his every word and deed pouted today that the system is set up for him to fail.

"It's so unfair," the straight white man explained to the thousands of reporters around the world who hang on his every word on a daily basis.

"All I ask is that America give people a fair shot at succeeding," added the man, who exists in a society that's given him multiple television shows where he is free to boost his public profile and exercise tremendous power over young businessmen and women, in many cases publicly humiliating them and singlehandedly dictating the direction of their careers.

"It's completely unacceptable that I'd be the target of such a deeply entrenched conspiracy to oppress me and prevent me from flourishing," he shouted before asking one of his five healthy, successful children that other people raised to hop in the family's private jet and just quickly check on the 18 different golf courses he owns around the globe. source

Donald Trump Votes with Billy Bush in 2004

It's a complete disaster
, and yes the infamous Billy Bush is in tow.

Donald does not know where to vote, and he is not on the roles anywhere. It seems that when his idiot son, Donald junior, changed his address, Donald was wiped off the voter roles. Perfect.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Made For You and Me

This land is your land. You own it. Never forget it. Always protect it. Public lands are a public good. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Joe Exotic for President

Were you once a Trump voter, and now need a new name to write into that slot?

Vote Joe Exotic!

Joe Exotic is an animal park owner in Oklahoma who says that while he may not have millions of dollars like Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, he has people in every state committed to running campaign offices.

Three-String Shovel Guitar

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Purple Peppers

How many purple peppers did Peter Piper pick?  Peter Piper picked a peck of purple peppers.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Two Realities in Opposition

If you think things have never been worse
, you need to watch this video.

And if you wonder why so many people are voting for the bleeding hemorrhoid of a man called Donald Trump, I suggest reading this.

This Is a Real Thing

Order yours now.
Operators are standing by.

Jolene at 33 RPM

This is a 45 of Dolly Parton's 1973 hit song "Jolene"
slowed down to 33 revolutions per minute. Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2016

For Sale: Shark Cage. Used Once.

Terrifying video
captures Great White Shark breaking open a diver's cage, with the diver still inside, off the coast of Mexico.

Fishing with Black Walnuts

Black walnuts ripen in the fall and contain Juglone, a chemical that is so anathema to earthworms that if you soak Black Walnuts in water, and pour the water on dirt, the earth worms will pop out on the surface as quick as they can move.

Fish on Friday

Trout skins.  Thanks to Chad Love who posted this image!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Tribe of the Dog

Lakota woman with dog travois, Rosebud reservation.

This piece is from the July 2009 issue of Dogs Today.

From a great distance the indigenous people of the U.S. appear be "American Indian," but as you travel west, you discover it's not one people, but many tribes, and by the time you get to North Datoka, the question is not whether you are Sioux, but what type of Sioux -- Lakota, Yankton, or Santee?

Much the same goes on in the world of angling where we also find tribalism at work. From a distance, it's all "fishing," but in fact the 12-year old bait-baller with a cane pole on the bank has a different world view than the 60-year old man with a deep sea rod trolling for shark off-shore.

In the world of dogs, it is much the same. People obsessed with dogs may fall into any one of dozens of over-lapping categories, and move from one tribe to another over the years.

To an outsider, it is all rather confusing, and the cacophony of bitter voices and conflicting perspectives is a bit overwhelming.

Pit Bull rescuers damn the lunatics at PETA who say the only good Pit Bull is a dead one.

Vegan cucumber crunchers curse dog show matrons and their pedigree pooches, arguing that with so many dogs in shelters, “Every dog bred is another one dead.”

The small hobby breeder, only 10 years in dogs, parrots a potted history made up whole cloth 100 years ago by a dog dealer. The problem is the “backyard breeder” he says, never defining the term, but speaking in the confident tone of one who is certain he is not one. He points to a classified ad for retriever pups, $250 apiece, and a phone number.

On the telephone the woman describes her dogs as “fur babies,” and says she is not one of “those horrible commercial breeders.” Does she have hip scores for the sire and dam? No, but she has papers, she says hopefully.

The commercial breeder has hip scores – at least for some dogs. He is rather vague. What breed do you want? He has 200 dogs and raises 15 breeds, most of them lap dogs raised in battery cages similar to those used for chickens. He points out that the floors of his cages are made of plastic mesh, not chicken wire, and he says his waste management system is “state of the art.” All 200 of the dogs are taken care of by his wife and himself alone. And are there papers? Oh sure! Kennel Club papers for one price, another registry for a bit less – whichever you prefer.

In a telephone conversation, the breed club President waves off the commercial breeder. Only a fool would look there for a dog he says, oblivious to the fact that the head of the American Kennel Club says he started in dogs this way, and that he thinks the financial future of the AKC lies in more puppy mill registrations.

And so it goes, in a round-robin of blame and questions, challenged ethics, and sniffing aesthetics.

The people roar, but is anyone listening to the dog?

And what is it that we should be listening for? How do we read signs that are not written in pen? How do we translate language that is not written in words? How can we tell if we are doing good or doing bad?

One small idea is to look to original design. It is not hard to see what God intended. Left to their own devices, dogs devolve quickly to “pye-dogs” or pariah dogs weighing 30-45 pounds with short yellow coats and pointed faces.

This animal is not a Wolf, but it can breed with wolves and produce fertile young, same as it can breed with a Coyote, Golden Jackal, or Dingo and produce a fertile cross.

What can we say about these natural dogs? Well, for one thing, none have the kind of crooked or “benched” legs common to anchondroplastic breeds such as Bassets, Dachshunds, Bulldogs, and the like.

None have the smashed-in faces common to brachycelphalic breeds, such as Pugs, Toy Spaniels, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and the like.

None have long coats with wild hair cascading down their sides. All have erect ears.

Most of the wild canids are sized between 10 pounds (a small red fox) and 150 pounds (a massive wolf).

In all cases, inbreeding is sharply discouraged. The “lone wolf,” after all, not a myth – it is a very young or old male driven out of the pack to find a harem of its own or die trying. The same occurs with coyote, fox, dingo, and jackal. Mother Nature prefers an out-cross.

What do we hear if we listen to pedigree dogs?

The data here is not deeply hidden. Canine pet insurance companies keep vast data sets on breeds and cross-breeds alike, and they will tell you that mutts are healthier than Kennel Club dogs, and they price their premiums accordingly.

Not only is there less inbreeding among cross-bred dogs than among their Kennel Club analogs, there is also less morphological exaggeration.

With mixed breeds you are less likely to get teacup dogs with serious teeth and neurological issues, and you are less likely to get giant dogs with torsion, cancer, and heart issues.

A mixed breed is less likely to have the skin problems found in deeply wrinkled dogs, and more likely to have the kind of muzzle that prevents eye damage and predictable respiratory and palette problems.

With Kennel Club dogs, there is not only a tendency to select for morphologies unseen in nature, but there is also the requirement that these exaggeration be maintained in a closed registry system in which coefficients of inbreeding tend to drift upward due to popular sire selection.

Of course, what I have said here is not new. Biologists, canine genetic experts, and working dog people have been making these points for decades. But their quiet message has been drowned out by the foot-stomping of those with economic and political interests.

Much the same has occurred with indigenous people the world over.

Their concerns too have been blotted out by issues of money, power, and prestige.

"The native tribes? Who cares about them? The natives don't vote and they don't pay taxes."

And of course neither do the dogs.

But does that mean we should not be listening to them?

Does the welfare of dogs not matter at the top?

Who will speak for the tribe called Dog?

One Man and His Dog, 2016

Footage from the One Man and His Dog 2016 competition, as shown on the BBC1 programme "Countryfile".

Always Put the Perfect Over the Good

Leash Pressure


Moxie will jump up on most anything I tell her with the words "bench." It's a simple trick and seems slightly impressive when it's an actual bench!  

Just Marrried

This Land Is Your Land

This land is your land.
You own it. Never forget it. Always protect it.

Public lands are a public good.

Congrats Bob!

Bob Dylan just won the Nobel Prize for literature!  Terrierman approved.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

We Can't Grow on Like This!

Mark Zuckerberg the Hunter?

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
says people who eat meat should hunt at least a few times for their own food, so they become more connected to their food chain and the circle of life.

Digging on the Dogs

Rags and Pepper at top, and Nate with a nice possum. No animals were harmed in the making of this movie -- the possum was released unharmed.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Story of Nipper, the RCA Dog

The story of Nipper began in 1884 when a small stray terrier was found on the streets of Bristol, England. Adopted by Mark Barraud and named "Nipper" for his habit of biting at people's ankles, he became a devoted pet and companion to the theatre and stage set designer.

Mark Barraud died in 1887 and his little dog went to live with his brother, Francis Barraud. Francis Barraud inherited a cylinder phonograph from brother Mark, and he noticed that when it was played Nipper cocked his head and seemed to listen to it -- as some dogs are wont to do with any strange sound.

Nipper died in September of 1895.

In 1899, four years after Nipper's death, Barraud was casting about for a subject to paint and remembered the little dog listening to the cylinder player. He decided it would make a good subject for a painting, and used the photograph, at right, as inspiration.

Barraud hoped to sell his painting of Nipper as a magazine illustration, but could find no buyers. He then decided it might find a market as an advertising vehicle.

Barraud first went to the Edison Bell Company, the maker of the cylinder player, but they turned him down. He then painted over the Edison cylinder machine and put in its place a Gramophone machine which played a disk record and had a brass, rather than black, horn. William Barry Owen of the Gramaphone Company offered to buy the picture, and "His Master's Voice" was born.

The Gramophone company was owned by Berliner, which patented Barraud's image of Nipper (patent papers pictured at right). Berliner was sued by the Victor Talking Machine Company shortly thereafter and, as a consequence of the lawsuit, Berliner was forced out of business in the U.S. and Victor acquired the painting of Nipper as part of its settlement. In the late 1920s, Victor was purchased by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), and they adopted the Nipper painting as their own trademark.

Somewhere along the line "the coffin story" was added to spice up the true story of how this painting came into being. The coffin story in entirely fiction, but a good tale nonetheless. According to the story, the dog was painted sitting on the coffin of Barraud's brother as the dog was listening to his deceased "master's voice" on the phonograph. A great tale, but pure marketing malarkey.

In 1949 the Gramophone Company decided to honour Nipper and erected a plaque above his grave under a mulberry tree in Eden Street, Kingston-on-Thames, England.

Francis Barraud died in 1924 at the age of sixty-eight, having made a good living painting copies of his now-famous painting. At least 24 "Barraud originals" still exist.

Quo Vadis?

GOP strategist Steve Schmidt left the Meet the Press panel speechless when he said that the Trump campaign reveals the intellectual rot within the Republican party.

An Old Dog Still Young

She's 15, but no one is telling her.