- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Field & Stream Magazine, which regards itself seriously, says it’s looking for the top outdoorsman in the land. But what if the top outdoorsman turns out to be a woman? It could happen.

What F&S; has in mind eventually will turn into yet another TV reality show, but for now the magazine says it wants to crown the country’s newest outdoor star by testing the participants’ fly-casting, archery, air rifle and bait-casting skills in various U.S. locations. For D.C.-area fans of such things, the Mid-Atlantic’s top outdoorsman will be crowned Saturday at Bass Pro Shops in Hanover, Md.

Maybe somebody can explain the reason behind it, but since the majority of American animal rights wackos already believe shooters and anglers to be a bunch of unshaven drunks, why would one of the major sponsors of the F&S; contest be Jack Daniels? I believe the American Dairy Council might have been a better choice. No, I’m not a teetotaler; I just believe you need to use your noggin when it comes to such things.

Anyway, the winner of the Total Outdoorsman Challenge’s Mid-Atlantic segment will join others in a national championship in Springfield, Mo., August 24-25. Unlike some big-bucks contests, this one offers only a mixed bag of cash and prizes worth $38,000 to the winner.

I hope plenty of women join in. After all, an air rifle can be handled just as easily by a 5-foot-3 woman as a 6-4 man. Archery, fly-casting and bait-casting find both sexes on even footing, so go for it, ladies.

The Bass Pro Shops people say the event is great to observe. Plus, there will be on-site demonstrations, giveaways and an interactive archery range and lessons.

Anyone who wants to participate has to register from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The competition begins at noon, and the finals will be announced at 6:45 p.m. For a free application, go to www.FieldandStream.com. On-site registration the morning of the competition is on a first-come basis. It is limited to 40 participants who must be at least 21 years of age.

Bless the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary — Every time you see U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary crews and boats (and, of course, regular USCG personnel), give them a friendly salute. They deserve it. Late last month near Homer, Alaska, the Coast Guard Auxiliary rescued 13 people from a charter boat just before the vessel sank in 39-degree water.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary District 17 (Alaska) Coxswain Academy happened to be out on the water with two nonstandard boats doing towing drills when it received a call about a boat taking on water. A 27-foot auxiliary vessel powered by twin 250 hp outboards immediately responded and arrived to see a 40-foot charter boat with 13 people aboard trying to stay afloat. The rear deck was awash, with the passengers staying on the forward deck trying to stay dry. The auxiliary boat crew saved all aboard just 30 seconds before the stricken craft sank. The sunken vessel’s life raft deployed and broke the surface one minute later.

Fish Yellowstone on a budget — The Potomac-Patuxent chapter of Trout Unlimited has its monthly meeting tonight at 7 p.m., at the Schweinhaut Senior Center in Silver Spring. Fly-fishing expert and author Larry Coburn will lead a program called “Fly-Fishing Yellowstone on a Budget.” For additional information go to www.pptu.org or phone 240/338-7478.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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