Nearly a dozen years ago, I had a thought of creating an Internet forum, or messageboard, as they became better known. The idea of an Internet forum of course, was not mine, as various Internet forums were already well established. In fact, many already boasted large numbers of members who sought a means of communicating with other like-minded individuals. However, for the life of me, I couldn’t find an Internet forum that boasted good numbers related to the outdoors, never mind Alberta’s outdoors.
So, on August 2, 2000, the Alberta Outdoorsmen Forum was launched and its doors were opened to any who wished to discuss our outdoor pursuits.
At that time, social media hadn’t reached its peak in popularity and seven years later, the Alberta Outdoorsmen Forum boasted a mere 2227 members averaging just 75 visits per day with only 2468 total threads (for those who may not know, a thread is the beginning topic of a discussion provided by a member of the forum, of which posts [the actual discussion] are made within).
At that time, costs were becoming prohibitive and it was decided we would put our own servers into action, change the software and launch an entirely new messageboard format, while still preserving the existing database, meaning all existing threads and the posts within them would be retained.
In late May 2007, the Outdoorsmen Forum (outdoorsmenforum.ca) was launched and in short order it began to blossom into what is probably the most popular outdoor-related Internet Forum in the province, and possibly even the country.
Boasting well over 26,000 registered members and averaging better than 13,000 visits each day, with nearly 88,000 threads the Outdoorsmen Forum has indeed become much grander than I ever imagined.
But the real number that simply amazes me is the post count within the threads. By my estimation, the Outdoorsmen Forum will reach one million posts sometime in 2011.
I wonder if it will be “sheephunter” who makes the millionth post.
Innocent Bear Cub Killed
The letter’s headline grabbed my attention. My first thought was, ‘What was the bear cub innocent of?” Harsh as that may seem, that was what I thought. Then, on second take, I thought, “Okay, this has got to be some kind of anti-hunting crusader...” Bingo!
It appears this bear cub, supposedly orphaned from a big, bad ol’ redneck hunter killing its mother, was put down by New Jersey Fish and Wildlife officers because it was becoming a nuisance around campsites.
According to the author of the letter, Gladys Nemirow, “Financially dependent on trophy hunting licences, Fish & Wildlife authorities shoot bears to create a media frenzy and to perpetuate fear and falsehood by citing the necessity for killing bears.”
My thought, Gladys is full of flatus.
A Blue (Green) Summer
Alberta not only has a limited number of water bodies in which we can partake in water activities, but Alberta is also cursed with a short summer season. In fact, if we’re plagued by bad weather over an extended period, our summers can become shortened considerably, and our lakes can become nearly unusable.
|Wet weather causes algae blooms and avian botulism. Baptiste Lake shoreline mid July.
Unfortunately, for most of Alberta this year, rain has created a steady stream of nutrient-rich water flow into many of our lakes, causing regular health warnings about algae blooms that can be quite harmful to both humans and pets. Now this same shatty weather is taking a toll on our birds.
According to Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, “Increased rainfall in June and July has raised the risk of naturally occurring botulism outbreaks in some lakes. Warmer temperatures in August may also lead to blue-green algae blooms. Toxins from the botulism bacteria and the algae can be taken in by birds, particularly waterfowl, and may result in the bird dying. Bird deaths due to avian botulism have already been seen on Utikuma Lake, north of Lesser Slave Lake, and Pakowki Lake, south of Medicine Hat.”
Don’t it make my green eyes blue.
Saving the Sage
It is well known that the sage grouse in Alberta has been under threat for quite some time. In fact, the North American population is dismal at best. However, Alberta and Montana, along with scientists from the University of Calgary have created The Sage Grouse Recovery Project in order to help the large, boisterous birds rebound.
The group plans on capturing female birds from a healthy Montana population, translocating them to Alberta each year just in time for breeding season, and hoping the sultry sages will mate with our manly males.
We’ll keep you posted.
C’mon boys, for the team!
Putrid PETA at it Again
The Petards are at it once again, suggesting that those who keep felines as pets should offer them up a vegan diet.
According to PETA, “Animals in the wild commonly eat quite a lot of plant matter. Besides, to feed them the meat that they would naturally eat, you would have to serve them whole mice or birds or allow them to hunt for themselves, an option that is unfair to native species of birds and other small animals...”
But according to veterinarians and biologists, cats are carnivores and will suffer serious consequences if fed an all-vegan diet, including organ failure and a shortened lifespan.
But it is well known PETA doesn’t actually care about the welfare of pets such as cats and dogs, but rather the money that can be garnered from their exploitation.
Thufferin’ Thuccotash! No Tweety Bird for thupper!
Enjoy the rest of summer everybody. ■
For previous Outdoor Pursuits click here.