Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

This week is going to be as eclectic as it gets, seeing there is damn little of fishing or even outdoorsiness to bandy about.

Per usual, the weather is a babble-worthy point – as we embark on a stretch of air that will feel downright tropical to those of us who have bitched and bemoaned the winter to this point.

Despite a recent burst of warmth, last week we saw an early-a.m. air temp of a mere 9 degrees. On seeing that mercurial bottom-out, I was convinced that we must have broken some low-temp record. I was way off.

Hard to believe, but on that same date back in 1979, it dipped to minus 11. You heard right, that’s 11 degrees below zero – and not that long ago. What’s more, the night prior and the following night, back in 1979, were in that same way-below-zero neighborhood.

Wow, where was I? I’ll tell you where: Hawaii. I was a helluva bit winter-wiser back then. There was nothing more satisfying than settling down in front of the TV after surfing all day in 80-degree water, as balmy 80-degree trade winds snuck through the fluttering curtains of my Pali Highway shack, to watch national weather – and toast the report that it was 11 below zero in Atlantic City at that very moment. It put this cosmic smile on my face. Now, the cosmos has turned the other cheek – and I growl as I see Honolulu is 80 degrees.

This past still-frigid weekend, I saw one of those inane “heart” bumper stickers on back of an old-people’s Cadillac. It read, symbolically, “I (Heart) Florida.”

My first reaction was the logical one: “And you’re here why?”

Typical Jersey reaction. Our unspoken motto is “New Jersey: You Gotta Problem With That?”

Actually, I remain a huge fan of the people-popular logo “Jersey and You: Perfect Together.” Of course, my reasoning is surely not what the state motto creators had sought. I like the way it clearly states “Jersey and You” are perfect together – not me. It leaves a lot of room to bolt from N.J. in search of a better state of mind.

YOU’RE IN FOR A BIG SURPRISE: I told you things would be eclectic this week. And I’m going to dive very deeply into eclectica by addressing this fairly serious e-mail: My wife and I are longtime readers of your column. It was her idea to drop you a line as a last resort on how to stop deer from eating all our shrubs and garden plants. Right now she is nursing seedlings under an artificial light in the basement. She does all that work to get them ready to transplant and when she does the deer pounce on them overnight. … A mutual acquaintance of ours suggested that coyote urine can be used to drive off deer. I think he’s serious. …

My cheeks are already hurting from smiling.

A mutual acquaintance suggested coyote urine, eh? Oh, you must be talking about old Coyote Urine Joe.

Just kidding. There is no Coyote Urine Joe. At least I don’t think there’s a Coyote Urine Joe. Just my luck I’ll now be getting a bag load of angry letters from a place called Sheeps Bottom, Montana, where the townspeople are up in arms over my vicariously dissing their illustrious mayor, Josef “Coyote Urine Joe” Yellowfeather.

Anyway, that old coyote urine deer-deterrent thing has been floating around since deer were invented. And coyote urine just might work, provided you can find a coyote – a very cooperative coyote. Otherwise, you get into the always-dicey business of purchasing commercial coyote urine from outside sources. The latest buzz is most of the “authentic” garden-grade coyote urine now being sold on eBay and Amazon is little more than cheap Chinese imports. Since they have no coyotes in China, one can only guess at where a nation of billions is getting its “coyote urine.”

I’ll punctuate all this by repeating that proverbial warning: “If a coyote urine deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.” In other words, make sure there’s a paper trail with any and all coyote urine you buy in bulk.

As for the effectiveness of coyote urine on driving away garden-eating deer, things get a lot stickier there.

While deer have a very decent sense of smell, they live, breathe and survive via sound. They hear the hell out of everything. In fact, you know that old philosophical question “If a one-handed tree claps in the forest, does it really make a sound”? (Or something like that.) Well, I’ll tell you right now, an entire gathering of grazing deer will communally jerk their heads upward at the first hint of a clap a mile away. Those buggers can hear way before they smell.

So what’s that to do with coyote urine and you? Even if the stuff is routinely sprayed hither and yon, dollars to doughnuts deer would likely be more inquisitive than quivering.

A deer sniffs around near the garden, raises its head and with an odd look asks his buddy, “Pee-yew. Is that you, Norm?”

“Is that me, what?”

“Smelling funny. Did you step in some coyote pee?”

Norm painstakingly sniffs the bottoms of his hooves and says, “No, ain’t me, Sam. But, come to think of it, I smell it, too. What the hell?”

“Oh, I’ll bet I know what it is. This guy’s sprayin’ his yard with the stuff.”

“You sure it’s not a real coyote, Sam?”

“Hell, no. I can hear a coyote pussyfootin’ around half a mile away. That’s definitely industrial coyote urine. In fact, check it out, Norm. There’s a spray can of Mayor Josef’s ’Yote Urine still sittin’ on the back step.”

“Yep, I see it. I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do, I’m goin’ after those new Asian shrubberies this guy just planted.”

“Cool. I haven’t had Chinese food in an age.”

Nearer reality, I’ve seen folks driven to distraction – and shotguns – by deer destroying their vegetation. A farmer I know over Vincentown way keeps a sound “cannon” blasting off 24/7 around his crops. It goes off every 15 seconds. Of course, I’ve also seen deer dining on plants all but beneath the elevated cannons. I even saw a deer with leaves shoved in its ears like plugs, but by the time I got my camera …

A fellow down Bass River way uses a veritable pack of “3-D Bird-X Predator” replica decoys, circa $40 each. These full-sized coyote-looking resin things perpetually hold a pretty damn spooky about-to-attack posture. This homeowner is kinda sure his still-life menagerie keeps the deer away. However, the first time I saw the resin predators, a murder of crows was nosily perched on the backs of the faux-coyotes. I can only imagine the first crow to land on one. “Hey, look at me. I’m riding a coyote! Yippe-yi-yo-ki-yay!” It doesn’t take much to get crows laughing their asses off.

One of the more effective deer-scare items I’ve ever seen (conceptually) is fairly new to the marketplace. It is a motion-sensing, high-powered sprinkler gun. The instant a deer steps into range, the thing explodes into watery action, issuing a serious burst of cold water. Even if the deer figure out the contraption, they still can’t stand the thought of getting suddenly soaked, something of a humanesque trait

Of course, I might take the sprinkler a tad farther by spicing the gush with Mayor Josef’s ’Yote Urine. Not only do the deer get a cold shower, but they also have to walk around smelling like a coyote outhouse. For a social animal, that is not a good eau.

“Hey, where’s everybody goin’?”

“HEIL HITLER” DOG: I’m a dog person, which vicariously makes this fishing column a dog-person fishing column. Therefore, I can unabashedly bound across the Atlantic – and through tons of time – for an out-there dog story of implicit historic import.

The saga has to do with arguably the worst of all dogs of war, Adolph Hitler, and a mild-mannered Dalmatian-mix Finnish pooch, also dubbed Hitler. The meeting of the two, back in 1941, is yet further proof of how fully frickin’ psychotically paranoid Der Fuehrer and all his men were.

By the by, the details of this beyond-weird Dalmatian-based drama came to light only last year, after 30 files’ worth of Nazi correspondence and diplomatic cables were discovered by a researcher going through Foreign Office archives in Helsinki.

Here’s the tale of the tail: At the height of WWII, there was a rather nondescript mutt, technically named Jackie, owned by Tor Borg, a hyper-jovial businessman from the Finnish city of Tampere. In a hearty hi-ho-Hitler instant, Jackie just about became the death of Tor, due to a strange response the dog had to the mere mention of Hitler’s name.

You know how a dog is taught to “heel!” on command? Well, Jackie, all on his own (?), commenced to doing a “Heil!” with the mere mention of Hitler. The dog would throw out its chest and raise its front paw upward every time der Fuhrer’s name was used. And it sure as hell bore an uncanny resemblance to the militant salute reserved for hailing Hitler.

Word of the paw-raising pup leaked into the Finnish public sector. Tor’s wife, Josefine, covertly renamed Jackie “Dog Hitler.” Significantly, Josefine was a German citizen, fairly famed for her anti-Nazi/anti-Hitler sentiments.

While Josefine got a sinister chuckle from the renaming of Jackie, it was Tor who ended up in the doghouse.

On Jan. 29, 1941, German Vice Consul Willy Erkelenz in Helsinki heard of the Hitler-mocking mutt and had Tor rounded up. He was unmercifully grilled about his dog’s little “Heil!” trick. The Finnish merchant swore up and down the stupid animal just spontaneously came up with it. Tor even signed an affidavit that he was in no way subversive – or inclined to train dogs in subtle forms of subversive behavior.

Being a good Nazi, Erkelenz refused to believe a word of it. Using a special courier, he rushed word back to Adolph’s front office in Berlin. “Borg, even though he claims otherwise, is not telling the truth,” wrote Erkelenz.

The response in Berlin was explosive. All Der Fuhrer’s men – despite being in the midst of planning the invasion of Russia – went utterly ballistic over such seeming cur-level disrespect. The Foreign Office, the Economy Ministry and even Hitler’s Chancellery each came up with detailed dossiers on not only the dastardly dog, but also the businessman suspected of training random canines to mock Hitler.

Then the retribution began. The German company that had supplied Tor with the pharmaceuticals he needed for his business, mysteriously broke a long-standing contract.

Unsatisfied with mere fiscal retaliations, the Foreign Office secretly sought to take Tor to task – and even the gallows.

Be it the strain of an imminent Russian invasion or a rethinking of the potential public impact of a “Dog Hitler” trial, the case was never heard, due, ostensibly, to a “lack of witnesses.” On March 21, 1941, the German Chancellery declared, “Considering that the circumstances could not be solved completely, it is not necessary to press charges.

“PS: Does anyone there know the Russian word for ‘comrade?’”

 Uh, might it be “comrade”?

Last month, Klaus Hillenbrand, an expert on the Nazi period, examined the documents and called the episode “completely bizarre.”

“Just months before the Nazis launched their attack on the Soviet Union (Russia), they had nothing better to do than to obsess about this dog,” he told The Associated Press.

In an utterly appropriate historic-ish irony, Dog Hitler, who would both heel and heil, outlived the psychotic paranoiac Hitler, the man.

Good dog. Now do that impression of Stalin.

SURF CITY SAND-AGE: As we watch the relative warmth move in, the final contracting phases of the federal/state/local Surf City emergency beach fix are under way. The pump-in work has got to be done in the springtime, even though the feds have the legal right to do it even in summer.

No, the Army Corps has no intention of invading the summer beaches with heavy equipment. However, should a wicked hurricane hit in say, July, the Corps could take heavy-metal emergency action, including a midsummer pump-in. That’s a worst-case scenario, though.

Mobile anglers seeking spring strieprs will very likely be impacted by the upcoming work in Surf City.

I’ve been making sure The SandPaper has Surf City beach-fix updates almost weekly. The reason is to keep locals informed and to also squelch, way ahead of time, the inevitable ranting and bitching that come with arriving seasonal folks – who scream at me and the paper for not having alerted the public to the beach-fix inconveniences.

The latest sand pump will primarily focus on the north end of town, allowing littoral drift to carry the sand southward, filling in toward the Surf City/Ship Bottom line.

It’ll be interesting to watch how the sand driftdown (my word) from the Harvey Cedars beach project will add material to the Surf City pump-in – after passing through North Beach.

I had written before that, theoretically, the entire Island could be replenished by repeatedly filling in just one or two sections. However, it would take a full-blown (ongoing) Beach Haven replenishment to ever reach the whole of Holgate, where end times are now just around the weather bend.

Holgate is so pathetically anorexic that the next big storm – we haven’t had one in decades – will tear across it in two or three spots. Unlike times past, when a single channel separated the far south end from LBI proper, I see Holgate breaking into a series of small sedge-like islands.

Even with a multiple splitting of Holgate, the beach-fix work in Surf City and Harvey Cedars proves we now have the technology to fix even the worst nature can throw at us. Knock on sandy wood.

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