- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My friend Jim Shepherd, who edits and writes interesting news about sport shooting on his Shooting Wire, passed along a sad item a few days ago.

It appeared that students from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., did more than a little celebrating after winning their fifth straight national competition — this time the 2008 Intercollegiate Clay Target Championships in San Antonio.

Having been a celebrant of this type back in my youth, I understand how dumb things can happen. The college kids let their joy get out of hand — they overindulged is what I’m saying — and at first the university threatened perhaps to halt the entire shooting program.

Shepherd said when the gang returned to St. Charles from San Antonio, there was a lot of drinking. Travis Mears, one of the award-winning shooters, fell asleep at the wheel, drove his car into a house and was charged with driving while intoxicated. Two shooting team coaches were fired, and the entire team was suspended. The suspension didn’t last long, however. Yesterday Lindenwood president James D. Evans said he expects to name a coach by the end of May and the shooting team will compete again come autumn.

“Our new coach will assure adherence to all rules and regulations of the university,” said Rick Boyle, Lindenwood’s vice president for human resources. “We will hire an individual who will help a great team become even greater.”

Lindenwood has been the poster program for college and youth shooting programs across the United States. Boyle said there has been a great deal of interest shown by qualified candidates to fill the vacancy.

Celebrate migratory birds — The annual International Migratory Bird Day will be held May 10 as the long-distance travelers of the bird world are on their way to various summer or winter homes — depending on which portion of North or South America the itinerary is based on. Hundreds of national wildlife refuges that provide safe habitat for the birds will salute their part-time residents that day, and the public is invited. This year’s theme is “Tundra to Tropics: Connecting Birds, Habitats and People.”

One of the national wildlife refuges to visit is the Chincoteague NWR on Virginia’s Atlantic coast, not far south of Salisbury, Md. Chincoteague visitors can take part in bird walks, family activities, demonstrations, a wildlife art show and tours of the historic Chincoteague lighthouse. Go to chinco.fws.gov for additional details.

Mitten crabs in the Chesapeake? — Paul Fofonoff of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center will talk about invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay’s watershed — with particular emphasis on the Chinese mitten crab — when the Coastal Conservation Association’s Southern Maryland chapter meets at the Hughesville American Legion at 7 p.m. Monday.

Fofonoff has cataloged 294 nonindigenous species in the Chesapeake Bay. The public is invited. Call Phil Angle at 301/246-4925.

Set up your GPS/fish finder — The Coastal Conservation Association’s Northern Virginia chapter will have fishing guide and captain Tom Hughes as a special guest during its meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church in Vienna on May 7 at 6:30 p.m. Hughes will do a seminar on maximizing and setting up your GPS/fish finder/plotter, which can make your fishing far more productive and help save fuel.

Then Martin Gary, the Maryland DNR’s fisheries ecologist, will talk about and show an underwater video that proves the dramatic effect Maryland’s Artificial Reef Initiative is having on Chesapeake Bay waters. The public is invited. Information: [email protected]

Safe Boating Week kickoff — Division 7 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is sponsoring Safe Boating Week at Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis on May 17 at 8 a.m. Boaters can get a free vessel safety examination from auxiliary members and members of the U.S. Power Squadron.

In addition to safety inspections, beginning at 10 a.m. there will be a message from Gov. Martin O’Malley declaring Safe Boating week and a remote-control talking robot for the kids, a fireboat from the Anne Arundel Fire Department, Coast Guard search and rescue boats and a rescue demonstration with a Coast Guard helicopter.

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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