As an outdoor writer and radio show host, I get the opportunity to “field test” new gear on a regular basis. I did just that during the recent deer firearms season with a product called Stand-Guard offered by Cleveland-based Spencer Gear LLC (www.motorcyclin.io). Stand-Guard is a collapsible dummy designed to be placed in a treestand when it’s not occupied by a hunter. The intention is to offer the appearance of a hunter-sized-and-shaped object “manning” the stand 24/7 to allow the local whitetail population to become used to seeing something up there, and not suffering any adverse consequence — such as an arrow through the lungs. At least until a real hunter shows up to replace the fake form.
The Stand-Guard also serves as a distant visual warning to other hunters that the stand is “occupied.” At least to those not bold enough to walk close enough to identify it as a fake — and hunters carrying binoculars who can see from afar that the form is made of fabric and doesn’t actually resemble a hunter much when viewed up close.
It was for that secondary sentinel benefit that, on the weekend before gun week, I hung my blaze orange-camo-clad Stand-Guard field-test sample in a treestand along a fencerow in the “back 40” of a farm where I have permission to bow hunt. The elderly landowner does not allow gun hunting, although his neighbors do, and by placing the hi-vis dummy in my stand I hoped it might help him keep wayward gun hunters off his property that week. Trespassing hunters is an on-going problem for the old-timer, especially during firearms season, and he doesn’t get around as well as he used to in order to patrol his property this time of year.
Except, apparently, on bluebird days like we experienced during the recent deer gun week. On one such afternoon, Jim jumped atop his tractor after announcing to his family that he was “taking a spin around the place” and chugged off.
Fast forward to the following weekend, when I stopped by the farmhouse to drop off gifts on my way to retrieve the deer-stand dummy. I found Jim working in his shop, and mentioned that I was headed to the far side of the property to fetch the fake — which I had neglected to tell him about.
“So that WAS yours!” he bellowed, taking me aback. “When I spotted that guy up there I pulled right up to the tree and started yelling at him that I didn’t allow gun hunting and to get the heck down out of that tree! He ignored me, and I got even madder, yelling that he wasn’t even ‘man’ enough to answer me!
“I was hot, I’ll tell you, as mad as I’ve been in years!” Jim continued, as I shrunk in my boots. “About then a breeze blew up and I noticed the fella’ started to flutter.”
Following a battery of apologies and explaining what I had done, and why, we shared a good laugh. Me more than Jim, I fear, but I won’t really know until I go knocking on his door for permission next year.
Weighing-in on the Lake Erie Wind Farm Project
Speaking of breezes, a small wind farm demonstration project in the planning stages, to be located on Lake Erie, eight 10 miles northwest of Cleveland, may be a sign of what the future holds for thousands of acres of Lake Erie waters. Those on different sides of the issue recently weighed in at a public hearing in Cleveland City Council Chamber. The six-turbine, 20.7 megawatt demonstration project is North America’s first freshwater offshore wind project, which includes a plan to build more than 1,000 wind turbines on the Lake.
One national organization, with more than 18,000 dues-paying members in Ohio, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is urging recreational boaters to have their voices heard on the Icebreaker Wind project by the state’s utility regulator, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).
“We have BoatUS members who see the growth of wind farms as a positive fishing benefit, while others have valid safety concerns,” said David Kennedy, BoatUS Government Affairs Manager. “Regardless, boaters have a right to use these waters, so we’ll need a pragmatic solution to managing these shared resources. No matter which side you are on, Ohio wants to hear your comments, and we urge you to do so.”
To provide comments to PUCO, you can go to the Ohio Public Utilities Commission website at opsb.ohio.gov/Contact-Us and fill in the form. On the form “company name” field, enter: “Icebreaker Wind Project Case no. 16-1871-EL-BGN Icebreaker Windpower.”
BoatUS has been around for more than half a century and is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with more than a half-million members. Visit boatus.com for more information.