Biscayne Bay is the stunningly beautiful ecosystem in the shadow of Miami. Jerry told me his dream was to catch a shark so Capt. Mo took us out on the Atlantic side of the bay in the same location I caught my first bonefish with him in 2021.
It didn’t take long to connect with sharks in the beautiful clear waters. Jerry fought a bulldog-like nurse shark for about 10 minutes and achieved his ultimate angling dream.
He ended up catching another, slightly smaller nurse shark and marveled at seeing other nurse sharks, a bonnethead and a large southern stingray swimming around the boat.
Bajio graciously provided Jerry with a pair of sunglasses that were a real trip highlight for him. He told me he loved how they allowed him to see things in the water he never dreamed of being able to see.
Capt. Mo talked with him about the bonefish, permit and tarpon anglers come to pursue there and he left the bay with a feeling of achievement and inspiration.
We went down to Marathon Key and took a helicopter tour that showed the seagrass flats from a whole other perspective. He got to see the prop scarring from boats and saw two manatees, some dolphins, a couple of massive stingrays and an even more massive loggerhead sea turtle.
Higher Calling Wildlife seeks to mentor teens facing special challenges to become wildlife conservationists. Photography was a big part of our trip that we will cover in another post and Jerry has committed to using photography to aid conservation awareness.
We will be sharing more from this trip soon including Jerry’s photography from The Everglades and Big Pine Key.
Would you like to help other teens have experience like this? We will be doing expeditions in Colorado and Tennessee this fall and are already planning Florida for 2024.
A monster black bear has been captured and relocated in Tennessee.
A 500-pound black bear living near Tusculum college in Greeneville had become habituated to human and unnatural foods and was relocated to a remote area of the Cherokee National Forest according to officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).
Wildlife Sgt. David Carpenter said the bear had regular access to garbage, birdseed, and pet food had and been in the area for a few years but ramped up its activity and property damage last year on the agency’s Facebook page.
Wildlife Officers decided to trap it then due to the increasing potential for negative interaction, but were unsuccessful after the bear changed its travel routine. Recent activity indicated it was back to its old ways and Officers Ryan Rosier, Austin Wilson, and Sgt. Carpenter located the bear in a small vacant wood lot and were able to free-range tranquilize it. They worked the bear up and requested the assistance of the Greeneville Fire Department to help move it to the transport cage due to its size. They were glad to help and were able to use some of their specialized equipment to expedite the process.
Kudos to TWRA officials for the successful relocation of a monster bear and reminding us how big black bears can get.
The Most Dangerous Thing In The Woods
A couple of years ago someone asked me what was the most dangerous thing to encounter in the woods.
Since I’ve written and broadcasted extensively on cougars, snakes, feral hogs and bears they were expecting one of those as the answer.
“People, ” I said.
“There is nothing more dangerous than people, especially in remote forests and mountainous regions.”
Deep woods can sometimes mean big dangers. (Public Domain Photo) The answer came from collecting stories as a journalist over the years and my own personal experiences which I will discuss in upcoming posts and broadcasts.
The stories are omnipresent.
Take for example the caller to my radio program “Moore Outdoors” on Newtalk AM 560 KLVI who found a body burning while teal hunting with his son south of Houston.
Another caller revealed that in the 70s he and his father were out night fishing near High Islalnd, TX and see someone against the shoreline burying something and decided to leave.
Turns out it was monstrous serial killer Dean Corll who brutalized dozens of teenage boys.
Remote areas are often the most peaceful but due to the isolation can be extremely dangerous.
My goal is to educate people on what can happen in these areas and how to be prepared so that all deep woods hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing trips are safe.
That will require bringing to light some uncomfortable facts. And it will also involve creating a system of proactive safety.
I see these human-related threats falling into four categories.
*Idiot Hunters: These are those rare , unethical, clueless hunters who should not be in the woods (and give the rest of us a bad name). Every years stories of people shooting someone because they heard something coming through the bushes. This is probably statistically the most dangerous human threat because of the widespread nature of hunters in America.
*Poachers: Encountering a poacher in the woods can be dangerous if they assume you will turn them in or if you make the mistake of confronting them instead of law enforcement handling the duties. It’s not as dangerous as it is in Africa where organized crime and even terror cells are involved in high stakes rhino and elephant poaching but it is a potential threat.
*Drug Trade: Finding meth labs and pot farms is not good. People do not want their operations found out and will go to any length to stop someone from squealing.
*Predators: This is the highest level. This is coming across someone hunting humans whether to rape, kill or terrorize.
I will be doing a podcast series on this topic. Have you had a crazy human encounter in the woods or on the water?
Sharing your encounter might help save someone’s life.
Drugs In Bonefish
A three-year study by Florida International University (FIU) and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) has discovered pharmaceutical contaminants in the blood and other tissues of bonefish in Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys.
“Coastal fisheries face increasing threats associated with human-based contaminants,” said Jim McDuffie, BTT President and CEO.
“Pharmaceuticals are an often overlooked dimension of water quality and their presence in South Florida bonefish is cause for concern. These contaminants pose a significant threat to the flats fishery, an important part of Florida’s recreational saltwater fishery, which has an annual economic impact of $9.2 billion and directly supports 88,500 jobs.”
Since the study began in 2018, FIU scientists and BTT research associates, in partnership with Sweden’s Umeå University and the University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), have sampled 93 fish in South Florida, finding an average of seven pharmaceuticals per bonefish, and a whopping 17 pharmaceuticals in a single fish. The list includes blood pressure medications, antidepressants, prostate treatment medications, antibiotics, and pain relievers. Researchers also found pharmaceuticals in bonefish prey—crabs, shrimp and fish—suggesting that many of Florida’s valuable fisheries are exposed, and not only the bonefish fishery.
At a BTT panel event in Tallahassee, FL, lead researcher Dr. Jennifer Rehage presented the study’s findings.
“These findings are truly alarming,” said Dr. Rehage. “Pharmaceuticals are an invisible threat, unlike algal blooms or turbid waters. Yet these results tell us that they are a formidable threat to our fisheries, and highlight the pressing need to address our longstanding wastewater infrastructure issues.”
Approximately 5 billion prescriptions are filled each year in the US, yet there are no environmental regulations for the disposal of pharmaceuticals worldwide.
Pharmaceutical contaminants originate most often from human wastewater and are not sufficiently removed by conventional water treatment. They remain active at low doses, can be released constantly, and exposure can affect all aspects of fish behavior, with negative consequences for their reproduction and survival. Pharmaceutical contaminants have been shown to affect all aspects of the life of fish, including their feeding, activity, sociability, and migratory behavior.