The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

June 30, 2013

Geese are not safe along Lake Vermilion bridge

BY SAM VAN CAMP
Commercial-News

DANVILLE —  How many crimes against wildlife will it take to make people aware that these brutal killings need to stop? I am making reference to 14 Canada geese killed on Denmark Road, near the Lake Vermilion Bridge, two weeks ago. The several people that have talked to me about this senseless killing of innocent wildlife are really upset over what they saw.

Only three of the 14 geese were adults; 11 were babies (goslings). These were mowed down by a driver during the early morning hours that purposely went off the road near the guard rails to take them out. Not only did the driver kill a group feeding along the guard rail but then turned around and hit others on the opposite side of the road.

Not only have I watched and admired the geese along that roadway that go out of their way to protect their goslings and keep them out of the road but —as one lady told me — so do our children and grandchildren. We get really upset when someone guns down kids in our schools but this is the first time I’ve seen people this upset over a senseless wildlife killing.

Animals such as geese, fish, ants, etc. wake up each day looking forward to the day at hand. Their life to them is equally important as our life is to us. I fully understand hunting, trapping, etc. as wildlife management tools to keep populations in check as I was a hunter and trapper myself. It is hard for me to swallow the fact that something this senseless has gone without mention. Police were called to the scene but no police report was filed — at least not for publication.

I have been promised that if we can come up with a name, a license, a vehicle description, etc. that an arrest can still be made. Someone out there may have seen something, witnessed the incident, or have knowledge of this tragedy. Many times these “nut jobs” as I call them have a big mouths and boast of deeds like this to their friends during a conversation. A simple name, license or description sent to me in care of this paper without your name attached will suffice.

When arrests are made in these situations the guilty party will often lose the vehicle they are driving; wouldn’t that be too bad?

I have seen this before on the Lynch Frontage Road, as well as where I own some property; utter disrespect for life itself. Make my day; send me what I need!

A question about turtles

I get a lot of questions about the outdoors — actually far too many to answer all of them.

This week it was a question about turtles and whether or not I’ve ever eaten a turtle.

I used to catch and eat a lot of turtles. Once the shell is removed along with the skin a fried turtle is about as good as nature offers.

Along with the four legs of a turtle, there is also the neck and small strips of tenderloin that line the top of the shell once the ribs are broken. As for me, I prefer the neck.

A big snapping turtle or soft shell turtle make for great eating but, if you clean and try to eat a painted turtle (often called bitterheads) you will quickly learn how they got their names.

To catch a turtle legally you need a fishing license and you need to have any unattended device such as bank lines and jugs properly tagged with your name and address.

I caught my turtles using gallon milk jugs with about a three-foot line (heavy cord) and a large hook to which I attached a piece of stew meat. Let the jugs float around a pond all night and pick them up in the morning; you might be surprised how many turtles you can take from a small pond.

I used to have a horse tank in a stream in which I put the turtles simply to let them clean off for a couple days. If you can look past the leaches and get past the smell, you will find some tasty meat on your dinner table.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: pamnsam@nwcable.net