Some interesting tidbits from the outdoors around the state and country…
* The first of Pennsylvania’s two “Fish for Free” days is set for Sunday, May 24.
On that day, anyone, regardless of age, can fish in Pennsylvania waters without first having to buy a license. All rules regarding seasons and creel limits still apply.
Will it get many people out fishing?
The timing of this year’s free day is an experiment.
Fish for Free days have been around for years, and in the past the Fish and Boat Commission offered one on Memorial Day itself, thinking people would be outside for the holiday anyway. Crowds were always less than expected, though. Commission officials think that’s because people had family picnics and/or were gearing down on that Monday to go back to work.
The hope is that switching the first free fishing day to Sunday will get more people casting a line.
The second Fish for Free day, by the way, is July 4.
* The Pennsylvania Game Commission is down one bureau director, and that’s soon to be two.
The question is, when will replacements be hired?
John Dunn, who’s been acting director of the bureau of wildlife management since Cal DuBrock retired from that position last summer, announced earlier this week that he’s retiring, too. He will be gone as of the first week of July.
Still, after nearly 12 months, here’s been no word on when a permanent replacement might be hired, though. The commission re-wrote the position’s job description, but hasn’t seemingly progressed beyond that.
It’s moving faster to replace Bill Capioullez. Formerly director of the bureau of habitat management, Capioullez retired from the agency on May 8.
Once considered the front-runner to become the agency’s next executive director – while simultaneously under investigation by the state Ethics Commission – he left to work with a Christian-based mission project he started in southcentral Pennsylvania.
Senior staff within the commission has already interviewed in-house candidates to take over his job.
* You’ve got “big boy” toys at home: a bass boat, a recreational vehicle, a snowmobile, an all-terrain vehicle.
You use them when you can. The rest of the time, they sit in the garage.
Would you be willing to rent them?
Idaho entrepreneur Kyle Sales thinks you might, and he’s developed a company called Outdoor Toy Share to handle that job. He intends to find people with equipment and link them with others who want to get outdoors but don’t own the same gear.
His company will post available “toys,” screen renters, provide insurance and carry out deals, charging a fee.
It’s going live later this month in his home state, with plans to expand into Seattle, Dallas and Atlanta shortly thereafter.
He’ll go into additional markets once he finds enough willing renters to make it worthwhile, Sales added.
* Companies get fined all the time for having unsafe working conditions, right?
But this is unusual.
An Idaho company is facing $15,000 in fines because it sent an employee into bear country without any way to defend himself.
According to media reports, the Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration is treating the death of 31-year-old Adam Stewart as a “workplace fatality” because his employer, Nature’s Capitol, sent him into an area known to have bears without pepper spray and without any training in first aid in the absence of a hospital.
Stewart was doing a vegetative survey when either a grizzly and black bear — no one could say which kind, given the condition of Stewart’s body when found – killed him.
The company can appeal the fines.
* The point of sale licensing system used to sell Pennsylvania hunting and fishing licenses may be in line for some tweaking.
The state’s contract with the company currently providing that service has expired. The relationship is continuing under an extension. Officials from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat and Game commissions have met with more than a dozen vendors looking to get the next one.
A new contract – and a system with some enhanced features – may come later this year or next, Fish and Boat officials said.
* Backyard plinkers the nation over know all about how hard it’s been over the last couple of years to get their hands on .22 longrifle ammunition.
But is that driving people to shoot airguns?
Yes and no. Southwick Associates, an outdoors polling firm that runs the website shootersurvey.com, asked 4,500 shooters if they had shot an airgun in the last 12 months, and whether they were shooting it more than usual because of shortages of .22 ammo.
Forty percent said they’d shot an air rifle in that time span. Three-quarters of those said they’d have done that anyway.
But one third said they’d have bought more .22 rounds if it had been available, and 18 percent said they’d have shot air rifles less frequently if they could have gotten the ammunition they really wanted.