#89: Deer Fangs, Zombie Mullet, and Python Hunters

The links:

Zombie Mullet in the St. Johns River

Aquifers under the sea

Deer with makeup and fangs

Python Hunters can use shotguns now

the Hired Guns of Instagram

Meateater buys FirstLite

Gov. Desantis Signs Largest Environmental Budget in Florida History

Travis’ Release – Fishing Brands Squabble – who owns rights to the upside down Florida Logo

Nate’s Keep – Crispi Summit GTX

Travis’ Keep Read – Chad Rischar’s 21st Century Conservationists approach

Travis’ Keep Watch – The new Yeti Commercial with 1000 Miles from Nowhere

Travis’ Keep Buy – Fundraiser for books – Drake’s Hunting Adventures

Get your live show tickets here!

E-mail Fletcher with Hallett Insurance to get your quote!

Check out our new “Conservation Isn’t Convenient” T-shirt . . .

Follow Cast and Blast Florida:

Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Website

Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram

Heroes . . .

Before Instagram and Youtube, Duck Dynasty and Meateater and Charlie Moore, before Facebook and viral videos and podcasts, there were heroes.

Not the kind in Marvel, or Justice League, or whatever the franchise du jour is . . . Real, honest to God heroes.

These were men that packed a metal lunchbox and drove ’83 Oldsmobiles and worked their 40 at the office or the yard or the site, then came home and kissed their pretty wife and, exhausted, helped with homework, or played catch, or watched the game.  Sunday’s were for Sunday School and church, and maybe, if you were real lucky and the paycheck had been kind, a trip to Morrison’s cafeteria or Quincy’s buffet for lunch . . .

But, on Saturdays . . . On Saturdays, these men were heroes.

Remember the time he took you and Billy Hester to the boat ramp at Lake Cannon and you guys caught bluegills off the bed as fast as humanly possible?  Bream bigger than your hand, slurping earthworms . . . that picture is still floating around somewhere, of you with your goofy t-ball hat and him, looking strangely like you do now, and a stringer full of fish and smiles . . .

Or how about the time you all chipped in for a dove field . . . $80 a person, 20 guys, and Mr. Baker planted the millet just like he had all the other seasons, but this year, well this year something just went right and the birds came in, wave after wave after wave, from every direction.

Can you remember him coming home with a Brittany from the classifieds in the paper?  He worked with Copper just enough to drag the pup to the quail grounds one Saturday, and, just like in so many paintings, there was a point, a flush, and birds brought to hand . . . You wondered how did he know how that would work.

There were nights at the trestle, snook after snook over the side of the boat, every bait resulting in a fish or a break off.  There were bull redfish and bull sharks, flounder and snapper and sheepshead and trout.

There was the trick to unhooking a catfish with a stick . . . Or how to remove a hook that had embedded into the skin . . . Turning a zara spook into a marionette and watching it dance 30 yards from the boat . . . Calling owls up to the campfire . . . Somehow, intrinsically, always knowing where the turkey would come out of the swamp . . .

How about the love for it, all of it, that he passed on to you . . . the yodel of a gobbler bouncing off cat-faced pine trees, sounding like it was right in front of you and all around you at the same time . . . the blue on a redfish tail when it caught the sun just right, a blue not like you’d find in any crayon box, heck, maybe not anywhere else in nature; electric and soft at the same time.  The way he could tell, at 125 yards, that those were redheads or wood ducks or herons, and how calm he stayed as they approached.

Saturdays were full of snacks, of Vienna sausages and powdered donuts and Pepsi made with real sugar and tasting coffee straight out of the thermos.  Folded up baggies with PB and J’s, so soaked in Granny’s blackberry jelly that your fingers would get sticky on the outside of the bread.

In a time when the world seems to have tilted just a hair too far off it’s axis, when virtual reality has somehow supplanted reality, when boys seem to endeavor to stay boys as long as possible, isn’t this the time to remember those men?

Before there were Xboxes and Nintendos, Google and iPhones and WaypointTV, before there was HeviShot and Mojo’s and surface drives, there were heroes . . .

We usually called them “Dad.”

Happy Father’s Day!

#57: Baboons, Ethics, and Blake Fischer

By now, everyone in the hunting and fishing world has seen the story about Idaho Game Commissioner, Blake Fischer.

This is our discussion.

Plus – hunts for new duck hunters, discourse over division, and Emily cries.

Book a hunt for a new duck hunter by e-mailing or messaging Travis.

Travis kept District of Conservation, a new podcast by Friend of the Show Gabriella Hoffman – click here to find Gabby’s podcast!

Interested in a discount on a Darkwater Call? Enter code CB20 at checkout at darkwatercalls.com

Here’s a pic of the decoy Emily mentioned in our keep segment – made by Justin Seelig of Southern Roots Outfitters, it’s a mottled duck urn decoy, making it so we can take our dog on one more duck hunt.






Follow Cast and Blast Florida .

Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Website

Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram – @lovedalocafitness – Instagram

#53: Jumping Sharks

We live in amazing times – Youtube, Cable, Satellite – so many choices for outdoor programming.

But what if we could re-invent the genre?

This week, we put ourselves in the director’s chair(s) and pitch our best ideas for new outdoor entertainment.

Here’s the link to Travis’ column on the loss of our beloved French Brittany, Coleman.

Here’s the link to the Peterson’s Hunting article Nate discussed about Hunters and Non-Hunters co-existing . . .

Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .
Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Website

Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram – @lovedalocafitness – Instagram


It’s the hardest thing, losing a dog.

I was just reminded of that truth.

We’d had a good day.  A good walk that morning.  A leisurely nap together on the couch.  He’d eaten the last of my roast beef sandwich for lunch, just the way it should be.

For 16 years, he was my constant.  I’ve known him longer than I’ve known my wife or my son.  When I was single, I had a twin bed that he was always in – me, 6’3″ and full-figured, and a 45 lb puppy.  He never left my side, day or night, never out of ear-scratching distance.  Any knock on the door was met with barks that belied his stature.  My wife.  My kids.  He was our dog, and we were his people.  That was indisputable.

I carried him home from his last walk.  It was time.  His fight was over.

What you’re never ready for is the little things.  I don’t want to vacuum, little tufts of his hair in the corners.  I don’t want to change the sheets.  I absentmindedly saved a piece of cheese when making Will’s lunch this morning – I always gave him a piece of cheese.  I came home last night and went to check on him, only to catch myself halfway down the hall . . .

There’s never been a dog who had such infectious joy.  He was truly happy, all the time, unless you were scolding him for his latest counter surfing shenanigans.  He once broke into my office and “retrieved” my mounted ducks, the room looking like a malfunction at the world’s prettiest pillow factory.  His grin melted my anger in a moment, a look of “Dad, you’ll never believe what I found in here!”

Sedatives settled his angst, and he looked up at me with his faded, whiskey colored eyes, still smiling.  I tried telling him it would be okay, even though it most certainly would not, ever, be okay.  I laid on the floor holding his head and talking in his ear.  I made sure he knew he’d done his best.  I made sure he knew I was there.  I made sure he knew he was a good dog.

It was over in a minute.  The vet looked at me, misty-eyed herself.

I scratched those amazing, floppy ears one last time.  I smelled his wonderful head, and closed his eyes, rubbing them the way he loved.

I stood up from the floor, and for a moment, so many memories flashed – playing in the snow and chasing deer and fetching doves and swimming pools and ice cream cones and stealing muffins from the kids and snuggling my wife, a furry wedge in our bed every night for 7 years.

And I came back to a simple memory, of he and I sitting on a borrowed couch in our empty house, right after my divorce.  We were watching TV, in as much as any dog watches TV.  We had no food. We had no money.  We were sharing a jar of peanut butter – I’d take a bite, then let him finish the spoon.  At that second, I wasn’t sure which way life would go; I mean, it pretty much sucked right then.  And clear as day I can remember looking at his head as he smiled, almost as if to say “hang in there Dad – this is the best day ever . . . “

That’s the thing I remembered as the vet handed me his effects.

16 years is a lot to lose in a moment.

I stuck his empty collar in my pocket, and stood there alone in a vacant room, and sobbed, a 41 year-old man heartbroken over his dog.

Just the way it should be.