George Block

Column George Block

George Block is a sports columnist who loves the outdoors.

Animals find homes a safe spot in the springtime

Animals find homes a safe spot in springtime

March 16, 2013

Sometimes it is imagination, but there is little doubt but that we hear noises while in the bed at night. Usually, they are created by the mind are nothing more than those things that go thud in the night.

However, according to Dominick Montani of the Capture Company of Eighty Four, sometimes the sounds are real. The pitter patter of little feet may well be mice walking through the attic. Yes, the attic is a favorite place for mice to find dry ground in the spring of the year.

It is this time of year when most young are born, and it is naturally the time of year when wild things are seeking a safe place to give birth and raise their young. What sounds like a bird twittering in the walls could well be a raccoon setting up camp in the chimney, and the heavier footsteps from above may be a squirrel nesting in the penthouse of your home.

Another troublesome animal that appears in the springtime is the groundhog, or more correctly named woodchuck.

This little furry hole-digging critter loves to set up housekeeping under the front porch or patio. My late mother used to chase them with a broom but this did little to discourage the digging and flower chomping. She quickly learned that the .22 rifle is far more effective than the broom, and even into her 90s was the reason for groundhog early demise.

The real problem and the reason for calling someone like Montani is the groundhog digging an unwanted hole in a more urban area. They are extremely hard to discourage and it’s either shoot, poison or trap them to eliminate the damage they can cause. Just like a nuclear power plant, they are all right, but not in my back yard.

It’s nearly spring time, the flowers are close but it is also time for troublesome critters.

If winter ever lets go, we should be crappie fishing soon. Of course, take note of that word if. This past week we had a couple of warm days and I took a ride to the waterdam and tried with no avail to catch a crappie.

Nary a fish succumbed to my lure and I came to the conclusion that the water was still too cold. I did, however, accomplish one thing. I realized I needed new line on my favorite rod and reel combo and better dig out more of my crappie jigs and grubs.

I was well organized last year but things got kind of messed up last fall when I fished for steelhead.

Oh well, something good came out of a fruitless fishing trip. If the weather conditions don’t improve, I’ll catch a trout before I hook a crappie. That is unusual.

• I see that the husband of ex-representative Gifford from Arizona complained of how easy it was for him to purchase an AR-15 type rifle.

I find it a no-brainer that he passed a background check easily. After all, he was an astronaut and model citizen. Why shouldn’t he be allowed to buy a rifle?

The mystery in my eyes is how did he find an AR for sale? It seems they are more rare than hen’s teeth here at home.

Another mystery is can he find ammo for this rifle? There seems to be a major shortage of the .223 ammo which most rifles of this type utilize.

Perhaps a better test of the system would be to send Charles Manson into a store to purchase an AK-47. If he could, then the system has failed. The Giffords are hardly a test of the system.

• New cartridges come along with regularity. Some catch on and become popular, some just sort of fade away.

I couldn’t help but notice a new round from Winchester, chambered by Savage, called the .17 Hornet. It is nothing more than the old .22 Hornet casing necked down to a .17 caliber.

Pushing a 20-grain bullet 3,800-feet per second, it should make for a good 250-yard round with no recoil.

Faster than the rimfires and with more punch, it also is reloadable, making for an interesting medium-range cartridge.

George H. Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.



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