There are no cougars in Wayne County, W.Va. By official accounts, there are no cougars anywhere in wild, wonderful West Virginia. In fact, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded in 2011 that the eastern cougar is no longer endangered because it is extinct.
But for a few days last month, a Prichard, W.Va., man named J.R. Hundley deceived a whole bunch of gullible people on Facebook into thinking he had seen one near his house. “I think he killed my [pit bull]! Something tore him up pretty bad,” Hundley wrote Dec. 16.
When asked by Facebook readers, Hundley divulged phony details about the origins of the picture. He implied that he took the photo on “my driveway up the hill to my house” on Lower Gragston Creek Road. When one reader voiced concern about a free-roaming mountain lion killing pets and livestock, Hundley even offered this reassurance about the one he never actually saw: “I was gone, came home and found him. He wasn’t mean at all!”
Nearly 1,600 people shared his warning about a puma on the prowl in the hills, and another 600 liked it. You could tell from the comments that locals wanted to believe it was true, if only to justify their unfounded fears that mountain lions are in the area. Some people spread rumors of their own.
“We saw one cross the road in Prichard a few years ago in front of us, but it was black,” Carrie Ann Bragg wrote. Kathy Baker Rice shared this tale: “I saw one on Bear Creek a few years ago, just about three miles from Buchanan, Ky., which is across the Big Sandy River from Prichard. Huge.”
Cara Nelson-Hall suggested that the mountain lion Hundley imagined was not alone. “They’re on Davis branch. We hear them,” she said. And Jim Reed cried conspiracy by state game officials. “I bet DNR released him out there, lol,” he said half-jokingly. “I would call them and ask them if they did and tell them to pay [you] for your pit bull.”
Appalachian Magazine bought into Hundley’s story, touting it and other alleged sightings of mountain lions in Appalachia under the headline “Mountain Lion Sighted in West Virginia.” Several readers told their own cougar tales in the comments of the magazine’s Facebook page and ridiculed the doubters.
“Anyone that thinks there are no panthers in West Virginia is a fool,” Opal Marcum said. “They are in Wayne County, Mingo County and Logan County for sure. Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t see you.”
But discerning readers quickly pegged Hundley as a hoaxer. “Also look out for the notorious Sasquatch,” Travis Boone mocked. “He’s around too!!”
Some critics assumed that the picture was real and that Hundley edited a mountain lion into it. But as it turns out, the entire photo is real (along with a second one like it). Hundley just didn’t take it.
The photos were published on three Facebook pages, Hunting Trophy Trips, Oregon Outdoor Hunters and Oregon Outdoor Council. Oregon State University forestry student Hayden England saw the cougar March 10 while working in the field near Vida, Ore., and the McKenzie River.
Filed under: History and Hunting & Guns and Media and People and Social Media and West Virginia and Wildlife
Back in 1995 during the heyday of the war on Big Tobacco, anti-smoking groups created what they thought was a clever marketing campaign. They contrasted the powerful warning labels for cigarettes in other countries with the weaker labels here in the United States.
To illustrate the point, the clueless crusaders sent sample labels to every member of Congress and to journalists like me. There was just one problem: The labels were on actual packs of cigarettes. Activists who had dedicated their lives to kicking tobacco’s butts had become charity tobacco distributors for a day. Free smokes for everyone!
That irony came to mind today when I saw this “public service announcement” against guns:
“What the ad-makers are encouraging is highly illegal and invites danger,” The Daily Caller noted in describing the ad. “The boy would be guilty of weapons theft, illegal concealed carry and carrying a weapon on school property.”
That last point is the most outrageous when you think about the senseless zero-tolerance atmosphere that anti-gun zealots have inspired in public schools. Children can’t even use their fingers to simulate gun play or shape a pastry to look like a gun without being punished severely.
Who’s the ad wizard who thought it would be a good idea to tell students to sneak actual weapons, and presumably loaded ones, onto school property?!
That’s actually a rhetorical question. Her name is Rejina Sincic, and she is standing by her creation, to the point of calling people “cowards” for not sharing it. Thousands of YouTube viewers have voted the video down, compared with a handful who actually like it, yet she still can’t see the hypocrisy of it all.
That’s what happens when you’re blinded by a superiority complex.
Update, Dec. 27: The backlash against her video, including the Hit & Run blog calling it “the worst anti-gun PSA of all time,” prompted Sincic to make private her original upload, which I had embedded here, and block all comments about the new version, which is now embedded above.
Filed under: Advertising and Culture and Education and Hunting & Guns and Video
Comments: 1 Comment
This here is real redneck talent:
Filed under: Hunting & Guns and Music and Video
After watching a contentious election season back in 2008, I thought bloggers across the political spectrum might like to blow off some steam, so I tried to organize a friendly but potentially painful round of paintball for bloggers in the Washington, D.C., area. Here’s how I pitched it:
The response to the invitation was telling. Some conservatives bloggers expressed interest in the idea right away, but there were no takers on the left.
The most amusing feedback came from a liberal journalist who said he wasn’t interested because “I hate violence, even the sublimated kind.” That’s the psychobabble way of saying paintballers don’t just wanna have fun. They’re really expressing a desire to engage in bad behavior “by changing it into a form that is socially acceptable.”
It’s that kind of elitist ignorance of redneck culture that leads to embarrassing incidents like this:
That’s right, a Huffington Post reporter whose beat is to cover the police can’t tell the difference between earplugs like my wife wears to drown out my snoring and the rubber bullets that officers regularly use for riot control.
Filed under: Hunting & Guns and Media and News & Politics and Photography and Rednecks and Social Media
About 15 miles north of downtown Atlanta, just inside the Interstate 285 loop that encircles the metropolitan area, there’s a mansion that screams enlightened redneck.
The enlightened features include:
Now for the redneck rooms of the estate, located in a separate “two-story entertainment building.” These two pictures from the Coldwell Banker listing are worth any 2,000 words I could muster to describe the rooms:
For a cool $1.499 million, this home in Sandy Springs can be yours. But the collection of stuffed animals doesn’t appear to be part of the package.
Filed under: An Enlightened Redneck ... and Culture and Hunting & Guns and Rednecks and Wildlife
Comments: 1 Comment
Five years ago, a mama skunk built her den under our house. We smelled skunk odors for weeks but didn’t realize why until one late-spring night when we watched her haul her babies out from under our house and move them to a new home down the street.
That new home happened to be right next to the office of a city councilman, so we warned him about the family of skunks living nearby. That’s when he told us we live in a city that is overrun with skunks. He told us the story of some neighbors who asked the city to remove a skunk but then were horrified to learn that the pest controllers euthanized the skunk instead of trapping and relocating it.
This misplaced concern for a smelly rodent baffled me. Why fret over the fate of an animal they obviously didn’t want as a neighbor? If they cared that much, why didn’t they catch and release the skunk themselves (obviously a rhetorical question)?
It’s a skunk, people. Get over it!
I thought of that controversy today while reading about a large alligator that surprised beachgoers near Charleston, S.C., and the outrage that ensued when an alligator expert executed the monster in public. Those sensitive souls weren’t thankful to have a threat to their own safety eliminated; they were angry that a gun-toting animal control officer had the gall to kill the alligator in front of them.
The officer, Ray Covington, explained his decision to the The Post & Courier: The alligator was too large and sick to relocate; moving it to kill it elsewhere would have been dangerous; and it was big enough to tear off a person’s leg with one bite.
But the people who feared the alligator enough to report it in the first place weren’t convinced. “Out of nowhere we hear this shot,” one woman said. “Nobody expected this to happen. It was just a little shocking. … I walked away because I didn’t want to stick around and watch.”
How did we become a society so delicate that people can’t watch a deadly animal die? When did the sound of a gunshot become so traumatic that we can’t even bear the sound if the weapon is fired to ensure personal safety? And when did one animal become so important that its life matters as much as the humans sharing its environment?
It’s an alligator, people. Get over it!
UPDATE (May 21): The spineless bureaucrats in the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources have canceled Covington’s contract. He doesn’t seem to mind because the work didn’t pay well, but he had some parting words for the people who complained: “If you have not been out in field to work with [alligators], you don’t need to open your mouth.”
Filed under: Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and Wildlife
Comments: 1 Comment
Jim Geraghty of National Review Online came away from this year’s National Rifle Association convention with fresh insight into one of America’s great cultural battles.
This battle pits the bearded, meat-and-potatoes men of the NRA against the “muppies” (formerly metrosexuals) who hate everything “those guys” of real America represent. Or as I preach it on this blog, it’s the rednecks versus the elitists.
In Geraghty’s eyes, the hatred of the NRA and its members boils down to this:
The muppies will not rest until they crush the redneck. We rednecks “may laugh at Metrosexual America,” Geraghty said, “but you rarely if ever see them argue that America must be purged of its metrosexuals.” By contrast, the muppies demand that everyone conform to their elitist vision.
And that’s why the NRA will continue to be a force for enlightened redneck culture.
Filed under: Culture and Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and Rednecks
As a tee-totaling redneck, I’ve always been annoyed that beer brands make some of the most clever TV ads. But you gotta give props where props are due, and Keystone Light has a winner in my book with its fishing ad that glorifies the lowly worm:
I’ve always been partial to the worm as bait. During my high school years, I earned some hefty pocket change catching dozens of nightcrawlers a night in my hometown and selling them for 50 cents to 65 cents per dozen. My biggest problem as a businessman was not using the inventory myself in the Ohio River and its tributary streams on the West Virginia side of the river.
Some of my fishing mentors and companions razzed me over my choice of bait. Even the hillbilly hollers have their share of anglers who look down their noses if you use live bait, and especially nightcrawlers, instead of tying a fly, a spinner or some other lure on the end of your line. Dough balls, corn and even stink bait for catfish ranked higher in their minds than dirty worms.
“A River Runs Through It” memorialized this brand of redneck elitism in a scene where the bumbling bait fisherman showed up late and drunk, with a coffee can full of worms. The uppity fly fishermen, the movie’s main characters, found him hours later, naked and sunburned because he fell asleep in the grass with the hussy he brought with him.
But no matter how much mocking I endured, I never wavered from the worms. I also usually caught far more fish than my friends who were loyal to their lures, as did the fishermen who came knocking on my parents’ door for bait — sometimes to the tune of 20 dozen or more at once.
The pinnacle of my fishing youth came on the day when the man who taught me the most about the sport asked if I’d share my worms with him. He had been fishing all day with his favorite lure, white Curly Tail Grubs from Mister Twister.
For every bass he tricked with those lures, I hooked two to three with my nightcrawlers. They were biting within seconds after my bait hit the water. His “luck” improved dramatically when he swapped the plastic for the natural.
My mentor was a teetotaler, too, but if a non-alcoholic version of Keystone Light had existed back then, he just might have bought me a brew to toast the worm for the win.
Filed under: Advertising and Business and Family and Fishing and Rednecks and Sports and Video and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment
Joe Manchin may regret shooting a piece of legislation with a high-powered rifle in his 2011 West Virginia Senate campaign, but his “Dead Aim” ad has spawned another enlightened redneck imitator this year.
In his race for an Alabama House seat, Will Brooke takes a few shots, literally, at President Obama’s healthcare law — and makes a statement in defense of gun rights at the same time:
The moral of this video story: Not even a speeding bullet fired from the barrel of a high-powered rifle or pistol can penetrate the mountain of bureaucratic language that now governs American health care.
Filed under: Government and Health and Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and People and Video and West Virginia
Something happened in the White House that you don’t see every day: President Obama hosted gun-loving rednecks in a celebration of college athletics. Or to be more specific, he hosted the West Virginia University rifle team, which has won a record 15 championships.
“This is a great honor,” Mountaineer rifle coach Jon Hammond told WAJR.com. “We’re honored to be the first WVU team to attend the White House. This promises to be a great moment for the student-athletes, and I’m glad they have the chance to enjoy this experience. Hopefully, this day will be something they’ll look back on fondly when they’re older.”
But I’m sure WVU’s shooting stars weren’t clinging to their guns while they were there. They also weren’t the only guests, as Obama invited championship teams from multiple sports. Watch video of the event:
Filed under: Government and Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and Rednecks and Video and West Virginia
|previous posts »|