Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

November 17, 2013


Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 6:09 am

I was watching a TV program last week which was identifying the top one hundred inventions in all of human civilization.  Among the top items was the hair comb.  I did a double-take – the lowly comb?  Who would have guessed it?  So, that prompted me to do some research on the matter.

We all know what a comb is, what it looks like, and its intended use.  Back in my day all the guys had a small comb in their shirt pocket to quickly smooth out their hair should a pretty girl approach.  I, too, carried one as I had a lot more hair back in high school.  Being a beautician, my mother used all kind of combs in her work.  She had long ones, short ones, fat ones, some with long teeth, others with short teeth, each with a specific use.


Historians tell us that combs are among the oldest tools found by archaeologists, having been discovered in very refined forms from settlements dating back to 5,000 years ago in Persia.  This is to say that the comb has always been among the most important tools of human civilization.

Combs have been made out of a number of materials, most commonly plastic, metal, cotton material, or wood.  Combs made from ivory and tortoiseshell were once common, but concerns for the animals that produce them have reduced their usage. When made from wood, combs are largely made of boxwood, cherry word, or other fine-grained wood.  Good quality wooden combs are usually handmade and highly polished.


Surprisingly, combs can be used for many purposes.  Historically, their main purpose was securing long hair, matting sections of hair for locking, or keeping a skullcap in place.

The cotton gin is actually a mechanized version of the comb and is one of the machines which ushered the Industrial Revolution.  The cotton gin was used in separating cotton fibers from seeds and other debris.

Combs are also a favorite spot for police investigators to collect hair and dandruff samples that can be used in ascertaining dead or living persons’ identity, as well as their state of health, toxicological profiles, and so forth.

The lowly comb was the inspiration of the kazoo.  I am sure that most of you at one time took a small piece of paper, or a leaf, and placed it over one side of the comb and hummed a tune.  The comb dramatically increases the high-frequency harmonic content of the hum produced by the human voice box.  The kazoo developed from this activity.

Moreover, the comb is also a lamellophone.  Comb teeth have harmonic qualities of their own, determined by their shape, length, and material.  A comb with teeth of unequal length, capable of producing different notes when picked, eventually evolved into the thumb piano and musical box.

Finally, in recent years more specialized combs have been developed such as “flea combs” or “nit combs” which are used to remove microscopic parasites from the hair and scalp.  A comb with teeth fine enough to remove nits, or lice eggs, is sometimes called a “fine-toothed comb.  This produced the metaphoric usage of the phrase “go over something with a fine-toothed comb”.

Sharing combs is a common cause of head lice infections, as one user can leave a comb with plenty of eggs, or even live parasites and transmit them to another user.  Therefore, combs should never be shared with other people.

So, here you can understand why the comb has played such an important role in the civilized world.  Those of you who still use combs should think of its history the next time you treat your hair to a “comb-over”.

November 16, 2013

Texas Game Warden Field Notes

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:03 am


  • Hanging Evidence
    A Pecos County game warden received a call about two mule deer killed on a local ranch enrolled in the Managed Lands Deer Permit program. Since there are several white-tailed deer hunters on the ranch, a Jeff Davis County game warden met up with the game warden and they inspected the place, including a walk-in cooler, while the hunters were out for an afternoon hunt. Inside the cooler, the wardens found two illegal mule deer does. In all, 15 hunters were checked, three citations were issued and two mule deer does were seized.
  • Smoked Out
    A game warden patrolling Coleman County came across a van with no lights on pulling a trailer. He stopped the vehicle and could smell a strong odor of marijuana. The warden asked the driver and passengers to get out and was surprised to see seven adult males emerge. When the warden asked the passengers where they were coming from, they said Denver and headed to Austin. When asked if they had been smoking marijuana, they said yes but that it was not illegal in Colorado. After gaining consent to search the vehicle, the warden found a pipe and several baggies of marijuana. Tickets for possession of drug paraphernalia were filed on the violators.  Cases pending.
  • Lost and Found
    A Burleson County game warden received a call from parents who told the operator that their son was missing and has been known to wander into the neighboring 2,000-acre ranch. The warden and local first responders searched the area and the boy was located about six hours later in a restaurant four miles from his house.
  • Excuses, Excuses…
    A Houston County game warden went into a camp where a doe had been harvested and quartered. The deer had been tagged properly and the harvest log was filled out. The warden asked the hunter if he had shot it with a crossbow, but the subject said the deer was shot with a regular bow. After observing the bow, the warden noticed a broken, bloody arrow in the quiver. Everything looked okay until the warden examined the meat. There was a broadhead puncture wound and exit wound that the subject kept pointing to. After observing it further, the warden found a small bullet hole in the meat. He asked the hunter if he had any shotguns, rifles or pistols in his truck, and the subject said no. After the man gave permission to search the truck, the warden found a shotgun hidden behind the backseat. He asked the hunter why he didn’t tell the truth about the shotgun, and the subject said he thought he had only asked about pistols. The warden asked the hunter where the gut pile and hide was, and was led to a spot behind the camp, but the warden saw no hide. The subject told the warden that a coyote must have drug it off. After circling the camp, the warden found the hide. When the warden spread out the hide, he noted a buckshot hole. Seeing that, the subject put his hands in the air and asked, “How much is the ticket?”  Case and civil restitution pending.
  • Recipe for a Citation
    Two Nacogdoches County game wardens were checking bowhunters when they noticed heavy traffic going through a gate. The wardens entered the property and contacted an individual cooking deer meat in a camp over an open fire. The subject claimed they were only hunting hogs and that no deer had been harvested. Two more hunters arrived in camp with the same story. After the wardens located a skinning rack with deer hair, fresh blood, and a backstrap of a deer in a plastic bag, they investigated the camp further and found a hidden deer head from a buck with a 5 to 6-inch spread. The deer was harvested illegally with a bolt-action rifle during archery-only season.  Multiple citations issued.  Cases pending.
  • Looking for Trouble
    A Montgomery County game warden responded to a call in Walden on Lake Conroe. Montgomery County deputies stopped a suspicious vehicle that was suspected of stealing copper from houses in the neighborhood. While searching the vehicle, the deputies found a loaded rifle equipped with laser sights, a bow equipped with a flashlight, and a flashlight in the truck. Both subjects were interviewed by the game warden and said they were driving around the subdivision looking for a deer to shoot. The next day, the warden followed up on the call by searching the original location where the subjects were seen and getting a statement from the reporting caller.  While searching the lot, the warden found an arrow matching those that were found in the truck.  Both subjects were arrested, and multiple cases are pending.
  • Drive-by
    A Montgomery County game warden received an Operation Game Thief call about four high school-age males road hunting in a neighborhood with a bow. The caller gave a good description, but the violators were gone before she arrived. The next night, with the help of another game warden, the wardens patrolled the neighborhoods where the subjects were last seen and noticed a truck turning around and shining a light on several deer. The wardens stopped the surprised violator who had a bow in his lap, window down, and an LED nock of his arrow lit up. The subject confessed to trying to get a better look at the nearby buck to see if its rack was wider than 13-inches because he didn’t want to break the antler restriction law. He also confessed to road hunting with three friends in the same area the night before. The suspect identified the men he was with the previous night, along with providing a detailed list of their poaching activities. Charges are pending on all individuals involved.
  • Scouting for a Thief
    A Montgomery County game warden received a call from the manager of a Boy Scout camp in Conroe. They’d had several items stolen over the last few months, including gas from their bulk tanks.  The warden was able to set up a department-issued camera that immediately sends photographic evidence to his cell phone when photos are taken. A few nights later, photographs of a suspect pumping gas into his truck and gas cans in the truck bed began pouring in. Wardens and other officers responded immediately and apprehended the suspect. The suspect was arrested for theft and for felony tampering with physical evidence after deleting photos of Craigslist ads he had posted of stolen equipment.  Additional photos were recovered that showed items he had previously stolen from the Boy Scout camp.  Multiple cases pending.
  • Another Day at the Office
    Game wardens from Dimmit and Zavala County, along with Border Patrol agents and Dimmit County Sheriff’s deputies, retrieved 11 individuals by TPWD boat from a fishing camp that had been flooded by a fast rise on the Nueces River. The occupants of the camp, including three elderly individuals, lost eight vehicles to the flooding.  Everyone and four dogs were transported to a shelter located in Carrizo Springs by Dimmit County deputies and Border Patrol agents.
  • A Costly Dove Hunt
    A Webb County game warden on patrol heard shots coming from a ranch. After locating the hunter, the warden noticed a line of cracked corn and milo around a tank where four individuals were dove hunting. After checking the first two hunters, the warden made his way to the last two hunters who had left the spot where they were hunting. These two hunters told the warden they had their limit and were through hunting. After inspecting further, the warden found an additional 15 doves hidden in the brush. All hunters were cited for hunting for hunting dove over bait, and two individuals were cited for hunting over the daily bag limit. A total of 73 doves were seized from the hunters.  The following week, the hunters paid a total of $1,590 in fines to the court.
  • Fishing for Trouble
    Two Willacy County game wardens were patrolling in the Port Mansfield area and inspected a local fishing tournament. Wardens found that approximately 25 percent of the fish guides in this tournament did not possess their all-water fish guide license.  After further investigation, and with the assistance of two Cameron County wardens, they found that most of the fish guides also did not possess their current Coast Guard license and requirements.  Fish guides were cited for no fish guide license.  The wardens continued to follow up on license status on guides still guiding in the Port Mansfield area and found violations still occurring.  Citations were again issued and turned over to USCG.
  • Barking up the Wrong Tree
    A Briscoe County game warden was contacted by a local landowner concerning people trespassing on his property. A few minutes later, the landowner called again and said the subjects were speeding away in their vehicle. The rancher followed the vehicle long enough to tell the warden which direction they were headed. Luckily for the warden, the subjects were headed down the highway toward his position. After stopping the vehicle, the warden found five individuals from New Mexico with large knives and a truck bed full of dogs. The rancher arrived soon after the stop, and once the sheriff’s department got there, the warden gained the facts from the landowner. The five were hunting hogs with dogs on the landowner’s property without permission. Cases pending.
  • Shedding Light on the Situation
    While on patrol, a Henderson County game warden noticed a spotlight beam on a county road. The warden saw a pickup truck drive slowly down the county road with a subject standing in the bed shining the light into the adjacent fields. The driver stopped the truck, jumped out and hopped a fence to get a better aim. The warden contacted the two hunters, who were from Alaska, and explained the laws regarding hunting from public roads in Texas. Cases pending

November 14, 2013

On The Bright Side – Mary Howell

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:22 am


November brings beautiful fall weather to East Texas.  Trees begin to turn hues of red and orange.  Thoughts turn to giving thanks to God for His blessings.


November has many other important events.  We have our Veterans Day on November 11 which is also known as Armistice Day. 


November 2013 will also mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Those of us who are old enough to remember November 22, 1963 will never forget the tragic death of our President.  I was a high school student at the time and I happened to be in Superintendent R. L.Chapman’s study hall. We already knew that a teacher had heard on the radio that something had happened in Dallas.  Mr. Chapman allowed me to turn on my transistor radio so that when they announced that President Kennedy had died, we were all shocked.  It was a day like President Roosevelt said about Pearl Harbor Day.  “It was a day that will live in infamy.”


Three U S presidents had November birthdays James Garfield, Warren Harding and Zachary Taylor.  Famous authors, Louisa Mae Alcott, Margaret Mitchell and Mark Twain were all born in November.


November was originally the ninth month of the Gregorian calendar but when January and February were added, it became the 11th month of the year.





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The flower for the month is the chrysanthemum.  The symbols of the chrysanthemum are optimism and joy.  November seems to be a perfect time for some flowers to bloom.  I have a Confederate rose-bush that blooms every November.  One year I took the time to count the more than 300 beautiful white blossoms on that bush.


Another favorite holiday for food lovers is Thanksgiving.  It is traditionally time for turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie.  Sports lovers are glued to the television to watch their favorite teams play football.


This Thanksgiving, let us make it a priority to give thanks to God for His many blessing and for giving us a life on the Bright Side.

November 13, 2013

Texas A&M – Sportfish Science and Conservation

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

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Texas A&M System Board of Regents has approved the creation of the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation (CSSC) within the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

“The Island University is excited to have the first center of its kind in the nation dedicated to advancing sportfish management, science, and conservation,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President and CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “The new Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation will position the University as a national and international leader in addressing issues related to sportfish.”

Recreational saltwater fishing in Texas generates more than $981 million dollars in retail sales each year with more than 750,000 saltwater anglers supporting an annual economic impact of $1.7 billion dollars.

“We will contribute the expertise and the leadership needed to help ensure that the state’s multi-billion dollar recreational fisheries continue to thrive for future generations,” said Dr. Larry McKinney, Executive Director of the HRI. “The Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation will provide a robust base of scientific knowledge to assure that the best decisions are made in managing fisheries and marine environments.”

Dr. Greg Stunz, Director of the CSSC and Endowed Chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health at the HRI, says that both inshore and offshore, we face many challenges in maintaining healthy sportfish populations. These threats include a changing environment that is seeing diminished freshwater inflows to estuaries; habitat loss due to coastal development; and increasing pressure from commercial fisheries.

“The Center will address the most critical issues and problems affecting sport fisheries today,” said Stunz. “Our team is ready to take on the challenges facing the recreational fishing industry along the Texas coast and the Gulf of Mexico.”

In November 2012, the Coastal Conservation Association-Texas (CCA-Texas) pledged $500,000 to support the CSSC.  CCA Texas is a leader in restoring the fisheries for spotted sea trout and red drum, advocating for freshwater inflows to Texas estuaries, habitat restoration, and education.

In addition, the CSSC will provide hands-on research opportunities for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi graduate and undergraduate students. It will also be a hub for marine research for the Texas A&M University System and other scientists interested in marine fisheries investigations.

November 12, 2013

Lake Corpus Christi Boating Accident

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:09 am

Game Warden STORM Team Investigating Lake Corpus Christi Boating Accident

CORPUS CHRISTI – Two members of a newly created forensic reconstruction and mapping team are helping Corpus Christi-area game wardens in their investigation of a boating accident that injured five persons Sunday on Lake Corpus Christi.

The accident occurred about 4 p.m. near where the Nueces River empties into the lake.

According to Game Warden Capt. James Dunks, an aluminum center console boat with seven people on board collided with an unknown fixed object. Of the five persons transported to a local hospital, two were flown out by helicopter.

After the accident, the operator of the boat was able to beach the craft near a residence and some of the occupants yelled for help. The Nueces County Sheriff’s Department and game wardens responded to the scene.

The team was working Tuesday afternoon to locate the object the boat struck. After that, using state-of-art digital mapping equipment, the team will produce a 3-D video model of the accident.

November 10, 2013


Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 6:11 am



I have always enjoyed exploring the forests of East Texas, particularly the creeks that meander throughout the country.  At the age of twelve or thirteen I purchased my first firearm, a Winchester .22 long rifle from the Western Auto store on the layaway plan.  That rifle, still in my possession and totally functional, was a constant companion as I explored fishing holes, ponds, and creeks, searching for something to shoot, such as turtles, frogs, crawfish, and snakes.  Occasionally a squirrel would chatter and then have to dodge lead from my rifle – don’t worry, I did not hit many of them.

There was a small creek behind my father’s homestead on Highway 147 north of town.  It was responsible for many hours of my exploring.  The creek, Rocky Creek, meandered southwest toward the town of San Augustine.  A wooden bridge spanned its waters when it reached North Milam Street not far south of Johnnie Wells’ home.  At that time a natural spring emitted cool, pure water a few feet west of the bridge.  I would delight in using my hand as a broom, clearing a space to scoop up water to satisfy my thirst.  When I cross this bridge today I am reminded of this spring and wonder if it still exists.

There was one spot on the creek which was wider, and a pool of water about three feet deep congregated approximately eight feet wide – perfect for fishing.  I usually had string and a couple of safety pins in my overall pockets and spent time attempting to catch a few perch.  Yes, you can catch an occasional fish using a safety-pin as a fish-hook.

One day while wading down this creek, I caught sight of something very shiny just below the surface of the water.  I dug it out of the creek bed with my fingers and examined my find closely.  It appeared to be gold, a craggy rock with gold streaks inside it.  I was very excited.  I examined the creek bed closely and discovered several more of these shiny rocks. I could hardly wait to show my find to my Dad.  I was not prepared for his response.

“Son”, he said, “that is not real gold, its fool’s gold.”  Fool’s gold – I had never heard the term before.   “You mean that it is not worth anything?  It’s so shiny”, I pleaded once more.   “I am afraid not, but it would be fun for you to have a collection that you could show your friends.  And that is exactly what I did. I amassed many pieces of fool’s gold for the remainder of the summer.


Many years have passed since my discovery of the mineral “Pyrite”, and I have not seen a piece since those early days.  I can only assume that young boys today do not explore Rocky Creek, nor do they collect the fool’s gold that I assume still exists there.

A check of the mineral Pyrite shows that is a very common mineral. Pyrite comes from a Greek word that means “fire”, and Pyrite definitely fits into this category.  It is a beautiful mineral and extremely interesting.  Its main quality is that it resembles gold.  The only problem is that Pyrite is very brittle and will break away in chunks when fitted for jewelry. While it does not make a good component for jewelry on its own, it does sometimes find itself in lots of jewelry usually under the term “Marcasite” when mixed with silver.


Besides ornamental jewelry, Pyrite has certain other uses including industrial uses such as in the manufacturing of paper and the creation of sulfur gas.

So, I was partially correct in thinking that my discovery of fool’s gold was a huge find so many years ago.  It actually is an extremely popular mineral and can be found almost everywhere in the world.  Why don’t some of you guys around Rocky Creek get out there and see if you can locate some fool’s gold for yourselves?  It makes an attractive collection, and I would love to see some of it again.

November 9, 2013

State Game Warden Hostage Case

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:54 am

Second Defendant in State Game Warden Hostage Case Pleads Guilty

AUSTIN – The son of a former Upshur County commissioner arrested in October 2012 for holding a state game warden at gunpoint has pled guilty to one count of unlawful restraint, a Class A misdemeanor.

In 115th Dist. Court, Judge Lauren Parish sentenced 28-year-old Todd A. Crabtree to a one-year jail sentence, probated for two years. In addition, Crabtree was ordered to publicly apologize to the game warden and other law enforcement officers who responded to the scene last year.

Crabtree also will have to pay a $250 fine, take an anger management class, pay court costs and other fees as well as perform 100 hours of community service. While on probation he will have to submit to monthly drug tests and will be barred from drinking alcohol. He also will be prohibited from possessing any firearms or ammunition during his probation.

The charges to which Crabtree pled guilty stem from an Oct. 6, 2012 incident in which the game warden was disarmed and detained by two armed men while the officer was making a routine check for hunting law violations on private property in Upshur County.

The game warden used his cell phone to call for help, and soon numerous local and state officers came to his assistance and ended the situation with no shots fired.

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division fully supports this plea agreement as well as the previous plea agreement regarding Lloyd Crabtree,” said TPWD Law Enforcement Division Director Col. Craig Hunter.

November 8, 2013

Paralyzed deer hunter chooses to end life support

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:06 am

(AP Photo/Courtesy Jenny Schultz). In this undated photo provided by Jenny Shultz is her brother, Tim Bowers, 32, of Decatur, Ind. (AP Photo/Courtesy Jenny Schultz). In this undated photo provided by Jenny Shultz is her brother, Tim Bowers, 32, of Decatur, Ind.

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Tim Bowers got to decide for himself whether he wanted to live or die.

When the avid outdoorsman was badly hurt Saturday in a hunting accident, doctors said he would be paralyzed and could be on a ventilator for life. His family had a unique request: Could he be brought out of sedation to hear his prognosis and decide what he wanted to do?

Doctors said yes, and Bowers chose to take no extra measures to stay alive. He died Sunday, hours after his breathing tube was removed.

“We just asked him, ‘Do you want this?’ And he shook his head emphatically no,” his sister, Jenny Shultz, said of her brother, who was often found hunting, camping or helping his father on his northeastern Indiana farm.

The 32-year-old was deer hunting when he fell 16 feet from a tree and suffered a severe spinal injury that paralyzed him from the shoulders down. Doctors thought he might never breathe on his own again.

Courts have long upheld the rights of patients to refuse life support. But Bowers’ case was unusual because it’s often family members or surrogates, not the patient, who make end-of-life decisions.

Medical ethicists say it’s rare for someone to decide on the spot to be removed from life support, especially so soon after an injury. But standard medical practice is to grant more autonomy to patients.

The heart-wrenching call to remove life support is more often left to relatives. Even when a patient has outlined his wishes for end-of-life care, the decision can tear families apart.

Shultz, an intensive care nurse in Las Vegas, has seen it happen in her job. But her medical training also meant she understood the severity of her brother’s injuries. His C3, C4 and C5 vertebrae were crushed.

Though his brain was not injured, his body was irreparably broken. Surgery could fuse the vertebrae, but that would only allow Bowers to sit up. He would never walk or hold his baby. He might live the rest of his life in a rehabilitation hospital, relying on a machine to help him breathe.

Shultz said her brother – the youngest of four siblings – wanted to talk but couldn’t because the ventilator tube was still in place. If the tube were removed, she told him, doctors were not sure how long he would live. But when she asked if he wanted the tube reinserted if he struggled, Bowers shook his head no.

Doctors asked Bowers the same questions and got the same responses. Then they removed the tube.

The last five hours of Bowers’ life were spent with family and friends, about 75 of whom gathered in the hospital waiting room. They prayed and sang songs.

Through it all, Shultz said, her brother never wavered in his decision to die.

“I just remember him saying so many times that he loved us all and that he lived a great life,” she said. “At one point, he was saying, ‘I’m ready. I’m ready.'”

Patients often change their minds after they have had time to meet with spiritual advisers and family, said Art Caplan, director of the medical ethics program at New York University’s Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Dr. Paul Helft, director of the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics in Indianapolis, said cases in which the patient makes the decision usually involve a debilitating illness such as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which compromises the body but leaves the mind intact.

“We give patients autonomy to make all kinds of decisions about themselves,” he said. “We’ve recognized that it’s important that patients have the right to self-determination.”

Shultz said her family had an idea what her brother would want because he had previously talked with his wife, Abbey, whom he married Aug. 3, about never wanting to spend his life in a wheelchair.

She knows that not everyone would make the same decision. But she’s thankful her brother was able to choose for himself.

“No outcome was ever going to be the one that we really want,” she said. “But I felt that he did it on his terms in the end.”

November 7, 2013

Coyote taken while Deer Hunting

fk_garrett_coyote_110213This was a team effort.

After sitting in box deer stand for

couple hours without seeing anything,

I decided to try a ‘coyote game call’.

After several minutes of calling,

this guy comes running down a trail.

Grandson Garrett waits until he stops

to locate the howling rabbit.

When he stops, Garrett makes the fur fly.

He will not be eating any more of our deer fawns.

November 6, 2013

Yes, Jesus Love Me – Beautiful Song

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:33 am
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