What Makes The Wildlife So Wild, 2009 Edition


December 27, 2009|By CANDUS THOMSON | CANDUS THOMSON,Candy.thomson@baltsun.com

They don't call it wildlife for nothing.

In South Carolina, a governor redefined the term "hiking on the Appalachian Trail," while in Bald Eagle, Pa., a flock of dead geese rained from the sky, the victims of a vicious downdraft during a February thunderstorm. And on the New Jersey Turnpike, Tammy the wild turkey was captured just before Thanksgiving at Exit 14B, after months of dodging cars, and given an E-ZPass to a local zoo.

So without further ado, the staff and management of this column bring you our much-anticipated but seldom-remembered look back at the zany and misguided things performed by animals of the two- and four-legged variety.

First up, this Feb. 18 dispatch from the Associated Press:

A Vermont man who bolted antlers to the head of a dead doe and posed for a photograph with the deer was fined $400 and sentenced to 10 days in jail for game violations.

Marcel Fournier, 19, shot the deer and then used lag bolts and epoxy to attach a 10-point rack, officials said. He showed up at a local market to check the "buck" as lawful game.

After someone dropped a dime to authorities, Fournier admitted his transgression and told game wardens he had "quite a time" drilling and fastening the antlers.

Col. David LeCours, Vermont's chief warden, said add-on antlers are the stuff of legend but that it was the first documented case of it in the state.

Nothing to hide

From Reuters on Feb. 9: Nude mountain hikers in the Swiss canton of Appenzell-Innerrhoden will face on-the-spot fines of 200 Swiss francs ($170).

A wave of naked hiking - particularly popular with German tourists - outraged residents in the conservative canton, which gave women the vote only in 1990.

"We must protect our children from these immoral habits," said Melchior Looser, a local law enforcement official.

It was not clear where naked hikers would find the money. Maybe a fanny pack?

Trashy tale

A story with faint echoes of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" came in August from our friends at the Pennsylvania Game Commission: A wildlife photographer out in the field last spring was in the right place at the right time when two slobs decided to use public land as a garbage dump.

The photographer gave Conservation officer Steve Hanczar a series of photographs clearly showing the faces of the scofflaws as well as the license plates of the vehicles involved.

The only things missing from the 8-by-10 glossy prints? As Guthrie would say, the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. But no matter.

Roger Lee Lonsinger Sr., 49, of Tyrone, Pa., pleaded guilty to littering, and Samuel Howard Brisbin, 59, of Tyrone, pleaded guilty to being an assistant litterbug. Fines and court costs totaled $394.

And like Guthrie, Lonsinger and Brisbin cleaned up the dump site and Lonsinger paid the cost to haul the trash away.

Wild ride

From the Waterbury (Conn.) Republican American newspaper in May came this tale: A white-tailed doe leaped through the side window of a moving Honda minivan in Cheshire, Conn., and thrashed around inside for a minute or so before leaping through a window on the opposite side of the vehicle.

Inside the van, strapped in their car seats, were twin 3-year-old girls.

Witnesses said the van's driver and mother of the toddlers was unaware of the bedlam behind her. Jennifer Sullivan told authorities she knew a deer struck her van, but did not believe the deer was alive when it entered the van.

A witness driving behind the Honda filled in the details for police.

The girls suffered minor cuts and were in need of a good bath because, as their mom said, they "were covered with fur."

Royal flush

Closer to home, we have this gem from The Washington Post:

After 130,000 gallons of untreated wastewater spilled into Piscataway Creek in Prince George's County from a Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission treatment plant in late October (the third time this year), the state's largest water and sewer utility sought to assure the public by saying it wasn't a big deal.

Why? Because most recreational activities at the creek take place in spring and summer months, said spokeswoman Lyn Riggins.

How thoughtful. Now, thanks to WSSC, we don't have to leave our homes to fish or paddle. We can just go in the bathroom and put up the seat.

Long weekend

Finally, we have this nugget that appeared in our sister paper, the Los Angeles Times, and was deemed a keeper by the Web site Regret the Error (regrettheerror.com):

An item in the National Briefing in Sunday's Section A said a bear wandered into a grocery story in Hayward, Wis., on Friday and headed for the beer cooler. It was Thursday.

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