IN THE LAND OF REINDEER, BY DOGSLED
Fittingly, here’s a tale about reindeer from Europe’s last wilderness, far north of the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden, where the mountains and forests teem with bears and wolverines. It’s an awesome story of living off the land and very simple joys. Guide Jan Ejeklint says “a snowmobile is a dead thing, a car for the snow.” But, he says, going by dogsled is quite comfortable — although he admits that more than once he’s fallen off the back of his sled at 20 miles an hour. (“You have to follow their tracks for 10 kilometers or so to catch up and find them.”) Ejeklint has also fallen through frozen rivers. “You have to try to not panic. The cold water is like a shock for the body. Relax and think a little bit. Go back the same way you’ve gone into the water. I was once walking on thin ice…and I was dragged under, maybe 1-2 minutes. When you get up afterwards the clothes start to freeze. You have to get them off immediately or they’ll trap you inside.” Yep. The simple joy of still being alive. Via BBC.
WYOMING WANTS ADVENTURERS TO PAY FOR BEING RESCUED
A bill in the Wyoming state house is meant to deter people from going into the wilds without adequate preparation, but the bill, which would allow a county sheriff to file a claim in court to recover money from people who were rescued, has sheriffs scratching their heads. They say there’s enough money in the state’s rescue fund to afford taking care of people (even careless ones) and are wondering when they’d actually need to file any claims at all. And Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen worries it will add even more risk to backcountry rescues: “It may have the unintended consequence of causing people to hold off on calling us when they need us,” he said. “Let’s say it’s two in the afternoon and someone breaks an ankle and they might hobble out. And then it’s close to dark and they make the call, and we’re scrambling to try to find them.” Not everyone who calls 911 is irresponsible. “Things happen,” he said. “Do we only bill the irresponsible ones? How do you draw that line?” Via Star Tribune.
HELP WANTED: ALLIGATOR TRAPPER
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Panama City office is seeking an alligator trapper. The FWC employs 110 nuisance alligator trappers, who wrangle alligators throughout the state. The office warns the job “requires doing things that the average person can’t understand.” To put the task less delicately, that means responding to all “gator emergencies” immediately, regardless of the day of the week or time of day, and killing any gator longer than four feet. A gator emergency is an alligator under someone’s car, for instance. Smaller gators are removed from private property and relocated. Larger ones are killed because the state says it simply has too many and relocating them just means they’ll end up being a nuisance in their new location. The state does allow the trapper to take the meat and sell it, as well as the hides. The total alligator population in Florida is reaching upward of 1.5 million. Via News Herald.