Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

November 29, 2013

Bobcat Pelt


A neighbor killed this bobcat while deer hunting

and gave it to our 13-year-old grandson.

First chore was to skin the cat,

then he took a needle and thread

to mend the holes created by the bullet.

He then put pelt on wire stretcher to dry.

Once dry and “fleshed”,  he put it on a curing board.

You’ll notice yellow TPWD tag attached to head of bobcat.

Now he tries to locate “fur buyer”.

The traditional fur buying markets of Russia and Greece

are now competing with Hong Kong/China

which are driving prices to near all time high.

At one sale in last season over 400,000 Raccoon sold at an overall average of $31.20,

compared to $16.90 last year, an increase of over 80%

according to North America Fur Auctions.

At one auction in 2012,

Bobcat pelts sold at averages of $68 – $380, with the top fur bringing $1,275.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty.

November 28, 2013

Field Notes of Texas Game Wardens

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:21 am
  • Neighborhood Watch
    A warden received a call from Bell County dispatch from a witness who saw someone in a vehicle shoot a deer in a new subdivision in Temple, load it up and leave the scene. As soon as the operator said the street names, the warden recognized the location as his neighborhood. In fact, he jogs there at night. When he responded, the warden met with the person who made the complaint and was given a license plate number for a vehicle registered in Williamson County. The plates also matched with a hunting license held by someone living around the corner from where the deer was shot. The warden went to the house, located the subject and found a doe in a shed in his yard. The man confessed that he and his uncle had shot the deer. During the interview, the man said, “Yeah, I hope we didn’t get you out of bed!  I knew you lived around the corner and me and my uncle had the conversation before we left that it might not be a good idea because the game warden lives right around the corner!” Several deer and weapons seized, and multiple citations issued.
  • You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide
    A Gillespie County game warden received a call from a landowner who had a photo of two unknown hunters standing over a dead deer under his game feeder. The warden found drag marks and blood evidence leading through two other properties. After spending the day knocking on doors and meeting with other landowners, the warden found the subject’s residence, or former residence. The warden spoke to the suspect’s mother and found out that the suspects had moved back to Alabama two days after the deer was shot. The warden then contacted the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for assistance. Alabama wardens interviewed the suspects and secured the evidence. The meat will be donated to a needy family in Baldwin County, Ala. Cases pending.
  • Ruger’s Nose, Knows
    Two game wardens received a call in southern Travis County regarding possible hunting without landowner consent. When the wardens arrived, they found a truck pulled off the road near a construction site and decided to wait until the owner returned. Hours later, the subject had someone drop him off at his vehicle. When confronted, he admitted digging for artifacts and fishing without landowner’s consent. The subject had numerous prior drug charges and seemed to be very nervous during the interview. One of the wardens ran police dog Ruger around the truck and he alerted outside the driver’s door. Ruger then searched inside the vehicle and reacted to the sunglass compartment where less than two ounces of marijuana was found. Numerous citations issued.  Cases pending.
  • Therapeutic Rampage
    Three Sabine County game wardens were dispatched to FM 330, where they met with U.S. Forest Service officers who had detained a man for various violations. The subject shot three white-tailed does, all untagged. The wardens seized the deer, and numerous charges are pending. The man said he was not happy with the way his archery season went and he took his frustrations out on anything he saw that morning.
  • Rules and Regulations
    A Jasper County game warden was patrolling the national forest and saw a man riding an ATV on an adjacent deer lease with two eight-point bucks on the back. After contacting the individual, the warden found that the deer antlers were less than 13 inches wide. The man said he had been hunting his whole life, and for a decade or more years on this lease. He wasn’t aware that he couldn’t take two eight-point bucks. Regulations were discussed. Cases pending.
  • Too Little, Too Late
    An Angelina County game warden who pulled into a deer camp to check hunters came across a man from Lufkin who had killed a 14-inch, six-point buck on opening day. As he continued to check the camp, the warden saw that a deer had been freshly dressed at the skinning rack. The man told the warden that his girlfriend had killed her first buck, but neither the deer nor the hunter was at the camp. The warden asked the man if he had a picture of the 17-inch, nine-point deer, and the he showed him a photo from his phone of a big deer hanging from the skinning rack by the antlers. The game warden asked if he had a photo of his girlfriend with her first deer and the man said no. After further investigation, the warden found that the Lufkin man killed the buck, then called his girlfriend and asked her to purchase a hunting license and tag the deer.  Citations were issued.
  • Homemade Silencer Not Golden
    Two Harris County game wardens responded to a call about two individuals hunting illegally. When the wardens arrived, one of the suspects had been detained by a Harris County deputy while the other was still in the woods.  During the interview, the subject said they were just target shooting, but the wardens found a .17 HMR rifle, range finder, skinning knife, binoculars, a set of rattling sticks and baby bottle nipples that were used as a homemade suppressor. A few hours later the second individual came out of the woods and confessed not only to target shooting but also hunting.  The second individual’s rifle, which was a .22, was located in the woods. Later, during the investigation, the wardens learned that the first subject may have possibly shot a white-tailed buck the night before.  After getting consent to go to the subject’s house to inspect the deer, the wardens found a bloated deer in back of the subject’s truck that had been shot in the head with a small caliber gun.  Charges filed and cases are pending.
  • See You Later, Alligator
    While patrolling Hidalgo County, two game wardens received information about an alligator that was being kept in a tub as a pet. The wardens went to the residence and the homeowners admitted to having the alligator in the backyard. The alligator was seized and later released. The homeowners were educated on the risk and criminal penalties of having an alligator as a pet.
  • Honesty is the Best Policy
    An Upshur County game warden was checking a fisherman at Lake of the Pines as he loaded his boat with a four-year-old impatiently waiting in the front seat. The warden asked the man how the fishing was, and he said that he did not catch any fish. While the man was loading the trailer, the child stuck his head out of the window and said, “Don’t take our fish, game warden” several times. The boy told the warden that the fish were in the boat. The man finished loading the boat, crawled through the car into the driver’s seat, avoiding the warden, and drove off the ramp and out of the parking lot avoiding an inspection. After the warden pursued the man for a short while, he stopped and during the inspection, the warden found 21 black bass in his live well. The man admitted to catching all of the fish, and said he had no choice but to run off the ramp toward the highway and try and escape because he had no fishing license, undersized fish, and was over the possession limit. Cases pending.
  • “You just weren’t the man I wanted to see today”
    While patrolling near the Brazos River, a Palo Pinto County game warden saw someone operating a truck in the closed portion of the river bed. The warden asked him to turn off his truck and exit the vehicle, but the driver said he would not and fled the scene.  When the warden notified dispatch of the pursuit, a Palo Pinto County deputy in the area deployed a spike strip. After driving over the spikes, the subject continued driving on three flat tires until he reached his residence. The driver then exited his truck and made his way to the front door, but the warden chased him on foot and was able to apprehend him before he made it inside. While conducting an inventory of the vehicle, a Palo Pinto sheriff’s deputy found a loaded and cocked .22-caliber revolver under the driver’s seat, and a half empty case of beer.  At the jail, the driver was filed on for driving while intoxicated and evading arrest with a motor vehicle. The warden asked the man why he fled, and the driver said, “You just weren’t the man I wanted to see today.”
  • Swerving into Trouble
    A Jasper County game warden was patrolling his way back home after sitting out for night hunting violation when he came up on a vehicle in his lane of traffic on his side of the divided highway.  After swerving and missing a head-on collision by inches, the warden turned around and pulled the car over. The driver was filed on for several violations including driving while intoxicated. The passenger, also given a FST, was arrested for public intoxication. After interviewing both subjects, the warden found that they left a local bar and never realized that they were on the wrong side of the four-lane highway. Several cases pending.
  • A Poor Role Model
    A Shelby County game warden was patrolling during a youth-only hunting weekend, when he started to enter a deer lease and a truck approached him. The driver said that his grandson shot a doe that morning. The warden decided to inspect the doe and found a total of four untagged deer in the hunter’s possession. A young, excited boy approached the game warden and said that he had shot two deer and his father shot the other two.  The warden asked the boy if his father shot them with a rifle or bow, and replied that a rifle was used. The adult confessed to killing two bucks with his rifle; one was a four-point buck less than 13 inches wide, and the other was a 10-point. His unsupervised son, who shot a buck less than 13 inches wide that day, had not taken hunter education and hunted alone that morning. Restitution and cases pending.

November 27, 2013

On The Bright Side – Mary Howell

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:38 am


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year.  It is a day for family gatherings and is the most American holiday that we celebrate.  Like the pilgrims of 1621, we should stop to give God thanks for His bountiful blessings.  Sometimes we forget how blessed we all are to live in a free country where we can still worship as we choose.  We can be thankful that we can still pray.  Although we may have lost some of our freedom to pray publicly, we can still pray privately and make our personal petitions and praises to God.


One of my favorite Bible verses is “In everything, give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” I Thessalonians 5:18.  In every situation that we find ourselves, we can find a blessing from God if we take the time to look hard enough.


Some of the things for which I am most thankful are that God is my Heavenly Father.  He gave His only son Jesus, to bring love and hope to the world. Those who put their trust in Jesus can have eternal life and the assurance of a Heavenly home after death.


I am thankful for Christian parents and two loving sisters who taught me to love God, home and country.  I thank God for friends who have greatly enriched my life.  Friends brighten the days just by giving a bit of their time. I am thankful for the fellowship of my church family who pray for me.


I thank God for flowers, trees and all the beauties of nature that God has given to me.  We can all be thankful for health and breath of life.  Every morning when we wake up, we should take the time to thank God for allowing us to live one more day.  No matter what our health status is,  we can be thankful that we are still alive and feeling as well as we are.  We can all be thankful for food and physical sustenance that we enjoy from day-to-day.


These are just a few of the many blessings for which I am thankful.  I encourage everyone to take the time to give thanks to God this Thanksgiving for the blessings that God bestows upon us to make a life on the bright side.


November 27, 2013

November 24, 2013


Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 5:57 am



I am certain that you have heard someone use the phrase, “That cost me an arm and a leg.”  We understand it to mean that it refers to something of great cost or value.  It is in common usage, but where did it originate?  Here again, research reveals interesting data.

Most “experts” tell us that the phrase dates back to at least the 1800s and involved portrait painters.  Since there were no cameras back then, if one wanted a portrait done it had to be done by these painters on canvas. It seems that the portrait painters would charge more for larger paintings and that a head and shoulders painting was the cheaper option.  If one wanted the arms and legs included, the price was much more due to the extreme detail involved in painting the limbs.  Thus the phrase “costing an arm and a leg” was born.

Other “experts” disagree with this and argue that the saying originated around World War one. It is a grim reality that there were many US newspaper reports of our servicemen who had lost an arm and a leg in the war.  It is possible that the phrase originated in reference to the high cost paid by those who suffered such amputations.

Another possibility is that the expression derived from two earlier phrases: “I would give my right arm” and “even if it takes a leg”, which were both coined in the 19th century.  An example in print is from an 1849 edition of Sharpe’s London Journal: “He felt as if he could gladly give his right arm to be cut off if it would make him, at once, old enough to go and earn money instead of Lizzy.”

Consequently, the “experts” cannot agree on when or where the phrase originated, but does it really matter?  Perhaps you have heard of the conversation between God and Adam in the Garden of Eden.  God came to the Garden to reveal to Adam that He was going to give him a helper, or a mate.  Adam was confused and asked God for more information on this “helper”.  God explained that his helper would be a female, something Adam had never seen.  “She will be a perfect companion.  She will bear your children without complaint.  She will make your home into a perfect place to live.  She will never get sick.  She will attend to your every desire, and never have a headache.  She will clean the dishes, wash your clothes, and clean the house without complaint.  She will treat you like a king.”

Adam thought about this new revelation for a minute then asked God a question.  “What is this new creature going to cost me?”  God replied, “An arm and a leg.”  After pondering this information, Adam asked God, “Well, what can I get for just one rib?”  And the rest is history.

November 22, 2013

All Time Largest Typical Whitetail Deer – # 13

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:44 am

13. Wayne Stewart

As with many hunters in the 1960s, Minnesota teenager Wayne Stewart wasn’t out looking for a huge set of antlers. Instead, Stewart was on a deer drive with family members, simply looking to fill a tag…and his freezer. As it turned out, Stewart shot the No. 13 typical whitetail of all time, which scored 201 B&C. Because he knew the rack was special, Stewart kept the rack in his garage. After his brother—who had accompanied Stewart on the hunt—was killed in a car accident, Stewart decided to have the antlers mounted. Sadly, the rack was stolen from the taxidermist. After years of searching, Stewart located the rack and returned it to his home, where it now resides.


Because of Facebook photos

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:25 am

AUSTIN – A South Texas man has pled guilty to nine charges of possession of oversized red drum, one charge of no saltwater fishing license, and one charge of exceeding the possession limit for red drum.

The investigation leading to the filing of charges against 30-year-old Luis Castro began with a Facebook post showing a man holding a large red drum with eight other oversize drum on display in the bed of a pickup truck. (The bag limit for redfish is three per day, and they must be between 20 and 28 inches. Only one redfish longer than that can be kept, and only with a properly completed redfish tag attached to it.)

On Nov. 1, game wardens in Cameron County were contacted about the Facebook picture, which had originally been placed on line by Castro’s brother. Accompanying the image was the comment, “just for fun.”

Game wardens ended up receiving multiple complaints regarding the Facebook post. TPWD dispatchers and game wardens were able to review records which eventually resulted in the positive identification of Castro and his place of employment.

On Nov. 6, game wardens interviewed Castro and obtained a signed written statement. Five days later, Willacy County Justice of the Peace George Solice issued an arrest warrant for Castro and game wardens arrested him the same day. Following arraignment, he was released with a court date of Nov. 19.

“Anglers on several social media sites were posting negative comments, and a day after the picture was originally posted, it was removed,” said Game Warden Maj. Alan Teague. “However, the picture had been saved by many anglers and reposted.”

Teague said the picture made it to fishing groups as far away as Florida.

“With tips from anglers and hard work by our game wardens and dispatchers, we were able to track the individual to a city in South Texas,” Teague said.

During sentencing, Justice of the Peace Solice noted how important recreational fishing is to the people in Willacy County which includes Port Mansfield.  Before sentencing Castro, the judge pointed out that there are people in the county whose livelihood depends upon the quality and future of recreational fishing.

“It was an obscene number of fish that you caught,” the judge said to the defendant.  “We are all living paycheck-to-paycheck but none of us are going hungry.  It was completely unnecessary to take that many fish.”

Castro was fined $2,600 and an additional $2,645.91 will be assessed as part of the civil restitution.

November 21, 2013

On The Bright Side – Mary Howell

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:42 am


November 21, 2013 is designated as The Great American Smokeout which is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.  It is a day when smokers are encouraged to stop smoking with the hope that they can quit the smoking habit for days, months or years to come.


Tobacco usage is done in three different ways – chewing, inhaling or smoking.  All of these are detrimental to our health. Chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer.  Many young men will suffer oral cancer due to the chewing of tobacco.


Inhaling smoke is harmful to the lungs.  Secondary smoke is loaded with chemicals and toxins and can be as harmful as if it was inhaled.  Cigarette smoking is the top cause of death and disease that can be prevented.   I watch my friends who are young mothers leave their duties to go smoke at the same time every day. I think to myself that they are not only hurting their bodies, but are hurting their children by smoking and endangering the lives of their own children by smoking.


Every cigarette that is smoked by a smoker causes the loss of 11 minutes of his life.  Smoking is a slow suicide.  Smoking causes fifty different diseases, twenty of which are fatal.  The more a smoker smokes, the more addicted he becomes.


If a pregnant women smokes, her unborn child can suffer. The child is subjected to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  The pregnant women could suffer miscarriage and other bad effects.


Surgeons often ask a smoking patient to abstain from smoking for at least a week prior to surgery.  Smoking prohibits protein production which is necessary for healing.


Smoking can cause a patient to have emphysema, bronchitis or chronic obstructive lung disease.  Ninety percent of lung cancer is directly related to cigarette smoking.  Thirty percent of cancer fatalities are caused by smoking.  Smoking can also cause cancer of the mouth, bladder, kidney, stomach, esophagus, larynx and pancreas.


If you don’t light up, you can have a longer life on the bright side.

November 20, 2013

All Time Largest Typical Whitetail Deer – # 15

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:13 am

15. Brian Damery

After Illinois hunter Brian Damery got his hands on a massive shed his neighbor’s dog had drug in, he was primed and ready to go for deer season in 1993. He spent a few days watching a group of does, then finally put a stalk on a buck that’d been chasing them. He finally caught up with the massive buck, which scored 200 2/8 B&C and is No. 15 all time. He killed it in Macon Co., Ill.


November 19, 2013

Hunters -Elevated Deer Stands – Be Careful

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:12 am

A Corrigan-Camden high school official is fighting for his life following a hunting accident Saturday.

Corrigan ISD Superintendent Sherry Hughes said David Snyder fell out of his deer stand. After being rushed to a Lufkin hospital, he was transferred to a Houston hospital with a broken vertebrae and broken ribs.

“[I’m feeling] pretty overwhelmed. This is a very small school. We’re very close knit. It’s like a family. We met with the district staff this morning to kind of update them on where we were, what is going on with him and his wife and their children,” Hughes aid. “We do feel like a family so when one person has something like this happen to them it impacts all of us. It has a ripple effect.”

Hughes said he had back surgery on Monday and has no feeling in his extremities.

November 18, 2013

All Time Largest Typical Whitetail Deer – # 14

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:28 am

14. James Cartwright

When it comes to trophy whitetails, Washington probably isn’t the first place most hunters think of. But plenty of hunters like James Cartwright know what treasures the state holds. Cartwright was hunting in Stevens County in 1992 when he connected with this 200 3/8 B&C trophy, which is the No. 14 all time typical whitetail. Cartwright noticed some sizable bucks frequenting his fields and decided to track their movement patterns. Cartwright connected with his .338 Win. Mag., and later had the buck scored after his friends urged him to do so.


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