The Flying Kayak

Hunting, Fishing, Rambling, and Complete Outdoor Hilarity

Month: October 2011 (page 1 of 4)

Everglades Python Eats Deer

Edit: This will take place of Tuesday Terrors this week

Figured I’d throw this one out there before -everyone- had already heard about it. My mom sent me this article the other day, most other article pretty much say the same thing:

As if whitetail Does needed anything else to be paranoid about…

The fact that this happened doesn’t surprise me really. The snakes are everywhere down there and I’m sure this isn’t the first time it’s happened…It’s just the first time we’ve seen it. For anyone that doesn’t know, the Burmese Python (along with thousands of other exotics and invasives) is running loose in South Florida, particularly the Everglades which is most similar to its natural habitat.

The snakes got into the wild via the exotic pet trade. They simply get too big (up to 20ft) and some people didn’t want them anymore and let them go. What resulted was the release of an invasive super predator in the Everglades. The Burmese Python will eat just about anything that it can fit in its mouth and many biologists fear it poses a serious problem for threatened or endangered bird or small mammal species.

During a wildlife techniques course that I took, we were asked to design a poster presentation to help solve a wildlife technique problem. I chose, “Capture methods of the Burmese Python in the Florida Everglades”. The issue right now, is that the snakes are -extremely- difficult to find. The Everglades literally is “a river of grass” and finding them is quite the challenge in the high grass. Baited traps don’t particularly work because the snakes prefer live prey (just imagine the flak someone would catch for live baiting a trap with a cat or something). Funnel traps might work, but then you’re just hoping the snake slithers by and falls in. Scent dogs have the possibility to work, but most of the snake’s time is spent in the water, making trailing by a dog very difficult. Right now, the two most common methods that I’ve heard of are these: Drive along a road at night and look for them crossing the road. And radio tagging adult females and re-releasing them into the wild. Re-releasing actually seems to be a more effective method. This is because when the snakes breed, a female can draw multiple males two her and they have this giant, breeding, snake-ball thing going on. Using radio telemetry, biologists can just locate the female, and dispose of all snakes present around her.

I, of course, made up a beautiful poster for wildlife techniques, presented it flawlessly to the class, and awaited my grade.

80%…B -. Little did I know, that my professor was actually called down to South Florida to be on the conference board to help solve the Burmese Python problem. He said essentially what I said which was “there’s no good way to catch them”. And I guess since he obviously knew a bit more about the situation than I did, he felt my presentation was lacking.

Hopefully we find a solution soon. Their spread north continues, though I question exactly how far north they can spread due to freezing winters. I personally think they should just put a 100$ bounty on each snake’s head, let people take an snake identification test, and if they pass, give them a license and the go-ahead to kill as many as they can find.

Couldn’t hurt…

Tuesday Terrors: Bees and Wasps

As I stood there in Austin Cary Memorial Forest, trying to remember the scientific name of Fetterbush for a Forest Ecology class, something kept buzzing around my head. My group members were all in a similar situation, standing waist deep in Saw Palmettos and blackberry briers, and trying to recall scientific names. The buzzing continued around my head until I finally noticed a Yellow Jacket trying to land on my chest.

You stupid…get away…gah…dumb thing, are the usual thoughts as one tries in vain to shoo away a wasp. The key word here is A wasp. Just one.

Photo taken from entnemdept.ufl.edu

The following sting on the knuckle and emergence of a swarming Hymenopteran death cloud resulted in a slightly different response. The string of expletives that followed could make a drunken pirate blush. To add, my thrashing and near teleportation from the area sent my Forest Ecology group running out of the woods like a live mortar round had just landed nearby.

Yes, for the second time within a year, I’d found a Yellow Jacket nest. They nest in the ground and I managed to stand right on top of it. Luckily (I guess), I was the only person who’d been stung. We soon picked a new area to do our survey, and I used some ice I still had in a cup to help with the swelling on my knuckle. Also, I didn’t get stung as badly as I did over the summer. That resulted in several nasty stings and me running a few hundred yards before I finally escaped.

Getting stung can obviously be avoided. It’s just important to watch where you’re going and what you’re doing. I thank God that I’m not allergic to them. One of the guys in my Forest Ecology group is allergic and had -he- been the one to step on the nest, the outcome would have been much more serious.

I realized that I literally have -no- photos of bees or wasps. They’re generally something I don’t hang out around very often, and certainly not long enough to snap a picture. I’m certain I’ll run into plenty more in the future, but I hope they’re one at a time. Two nests within one year are two too many. 

Outdoor Photography

Taking pictures while out hunting or fishing is sometimes quite a challenge for me. Usually, I only take pictures when I’m kind of bored, or see something -very- interesting. When I’m not bored (catching fish/seeing deer) I tend to not take pictures.

This isn’t on purpose, of course. But when things get exciting in the outdoors, I seem to just forget to snap pictures. I often get -too- into the moment and then afterward think to myself: Dang….I should have taken a picture of that.

What I take pictures of seems to be rather repetitive. I like to target slow/stationary objects most of the time simply for ease. Sunsets or sunrises, caught fish, smooth water, and storms comprise most of my computer’s photo galleries.

Storm in the ‘Glades
Sunrise in Pensacola
My Tarpon

Now, I’d love to snap a great picture of that Bald Eagle, those Turkeys, or that doe and her fawn, but usually their either too far away, or gone too quickly.

There’s a swallow-tailed kite in this picture…I swear.

One of the reasons I don’t usually snap photos of such quick things is because of my camera. Don’t get me wrong…I absolutely LOVE my camera. It’s waterproof down to 10 feet, shock proof, and generally just a tough little digital camera. But it has its limits. There isn’t much of a zoom for those far away shots, and if anything moves with any speed, the picture is blurry. I could probably solve the blurring part, but I don’t generally walk around with my camera set to ‘sports’ mode.

One of my hunting/fishing buddies, Stan, was kind enough to send me some of his pictures he’s taken. I honestly had no idea he even took pictures while out in the field, much less such good ones. Pictures like these are the kind of things I’d like to try taking one of these days. But I think I need a slightly different camera first.

For those of you who take a lot of outdoor photos: What kind of camera do you use? I’d like something with a good bit of zoom and can take high quality pictures at a distance. But at the same time I’d like it to be (relatively) small and durable enough so that when I drop it, it doesn’t burst into flames. Any suggestions?

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