- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I knew this would happen. Now we have reports of snakehead fish biting people — out in the lowest parts of the Chesapeake Bay, where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, yet.

On Thursday, the Newport News Daily Press reported a 43-year-old fisherman suffered a suspicious bite in the salty waters around Virginia Beach. He had to be rescued from a fishing boat and taken by ambulance to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

See? There we go. Now we have hysterical reports of snakeheads swimming around in the salty bay and the Atlantic.

The man said he believed a snakehead fish may have bitten him on his right index finger, which caused his hand to swell to twice its normal size. Hospital officials said the man was in fair condition after arriving at the hospital.

You had to know this was going to occur. People will start seeing snakeheads in their swimming pools. The world is going nuts.

Meanwhile, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is asking anglers to go to its Web site, www.dgif.virginia.gov, to view a fact sheet with a photo of a snakehead and illustrations of similar looking native species, the bowfin and American eel. Anyone who thinks a snakehead might have been caught is asked not to release it but to contact the VDGIF at 804/367-1258.

Pet store owner in trouble — Virginia game wardens, Special Law Assistance Patrol team members and biologists, with assistance from the Bristol Police Department and Bristol Animal Control, executed a search warrant last week on Animal Adventures, a retail animal outlet located on Lee Highway in Bristol. The search warrant was issued after a state investigation revealed the retail outlet was selling native wildlife and endangered species. Among the native and exotic species seized were alligators, turtles, toads and venomous snakes. Charges are pending after a review of the investigation by the Commonwealth Attorney for Bristol.

Turkey hunters fired upon — In Western Maryland’s Green Ridge Forest, a father and son were shot at recently while turkey hunting. Just after sunrise, Thomas Nelson Lee, 34, and his 9-year-old son, of Rising Sun, Md., were shot by George Hegedus, 63, of Bel Air, Md., with a shotgun that was loaded with Number 5 pellets.

Hegedus had been sitting stationary with two plastic turkey decoys when he made a turkey call. That call was returned by the elder Lee, who approached the area from which he had heard the sounds of a “wild turkey.” From a distance of about 60 to 70 yards, Hegedus fired one shot, striking the father and son with a number of pellets. When he discovered what he had done, he called 911, as did another hunter. Both victims were treated and released from Cumberland Memorial Hospital.

Oceana group is mad at Mueller — Sam Haswell, the communications manager of Oceana, didn’t care for our Outdoor Notebook lead Wednesday, May 19, that cautioned sport anglers to be wary of groups who claim they want to help our beleaguered oceans, all along thinking of throwing a monkey wrench into sport fishermen’s activities.

“[Mueller] contends that Oceana, a nonprofit international ocean conservation group, is a coalition of various entertainer-run foundations that consists of the Streisand Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trust and various Turner foundations.,” Haswell wrote. “This is false. Oceana is not a coalition. We are a single organization. And while the Pew Charitable Trusts (which is not, as far as we know, run by entertainers) is a generous supporter of Oceana … we currently receive no funding from the Streisand Foundation or Ted Turner. We are, however, proud to claim Ted Danson, who Mr. Mueller also mentions in his column, as a board member.”

Meanwhile, Oceana claims to be actively working with recreational fishing groups. Apparently I am a member of a number of sportfishing organizations that Oceana doesn’t work with. Hmmm.

Oceana also claims it is not interested in the expansion of MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) that would indeed curtail all fishing activities. “We don’t work on this issue, and we won’t work on it in the future unless we can do so in a way that unites our friends in the conservation and recreational fishing communities,” Haswell wrote.

A thought to ponder — The Second Amendment is in place in case the other amendments are ignored.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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