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Bin Laden.

Custer.

Bush 43.

I’ve read the books.

Didn’t finish the works despite the best of intentions and initial interest to learn more about some of history’s most notable leaders of men and miscreants.

As a long-time communicator who weaves nonfiction for a living, I’m not sure why reading it for pleasure has been such drudgery.

But the truth is (nonfiction), trying to get through the stuff is a bore and snore, tryptophan, the Hallmark Channel.

Preparing to enter the new year with the recurring resolution to consume at least one book each month, selection will be everything. Soaking up hunting and fishing, running and other outdoor magazines and newsletters does not count. Disqualified also are pickup truck owner’s manuals and warning labels on six-packs.

The hunting seasons will be wrapped up not long after we unwrap the Christmas presents, my NFL team’s postseason hopes are down the drain, fishing will become an icy endeavor and other outdoor pleasures will be compromised.

Winter hikes in new snow are mandatory.

But what better time than early-winter to put on the flannel onesie, crack a beer, sit by the fire and hopefully stay awake?

Feel free to share with me a few of the selections on your intended reading list for early 2018. Outdoor genre preferred.

Here is the first couple of sentences from the book I’ve just opened.

“For some time now they had been suspicious of him. Spies had monitored his movements, reporting to the priests, and in the tribal councils his advice against going to war with those beyond the bend had been ignored.”

During a work retreat last week near Bishops Head Point and north of Bloodsworth Island, one of the inspirational readings before dinner intoned the lead-in to James A. Michener’s 1978 novel “Chesapeake.”

Considering my living is now made, and bulk of writing is devoted to, helping to save the bay by saving rivers and streams and trickles in Pennsylvania, and this one is fiction. I intend to give “Chesapeake” a real shot. All 865 pages of a first edition copy.

In the meantime, my wife can use the book as a step stool to reach the top shelf in the kitchen.

As for my tendency to drift off and in order to keep the snoozing at “bay,” the plan is to Choptank off a bit of the book one voyage at a time, during the year.

Sailing through “Chesapeake” also doesn’t get me credit toward the book-a-month vow.

So, I need a writing for January. Thumbs up for “Walden”?

I’m going to get this done.

Stephen E. Ambrose’s “Undaunted Courage” is worth a revisit at some point.

For later, anyone for some Vonnegut?

Wasting away

Chronic Wasting Disease cases in Pennsylvania continue to mount. If there’s good news about the latest bulge, it’s that the new positives were found in a captive herd and inside a disease management area that already exists.

The state Department of Agriculture confirmed that three more captive deer tested positive for CWD on a hunting preserve in Franklin County, and one was on a preserve in Fulton County.

Both preserves were already under quarantine. All four deer were born and raised on the Fulton County farm.

The announcement Friday makes it 44 captive deer confirmed to have had CWD since it was first discovered in 2012.

The deer were contained in DMA2, which was expanded this hunting season because of the expansion of CWD positives. DMA2 includes parts of Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Clearfield, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties.

Hunters have been advised that high risk parts of a deer carcass such as the skull, spine or upper canine teeth cannot be taken from a DMA.

Three wild deer taken in DMA2 during the 2017 early archery season tested positive for CWD.

Total so far, CWD has been confirmed in more than 60 free-ranging deer.

Results of free CWD testing of deer taken in the recent firearms season will be available later.

Busted

The long arm of the Game Law has reached out and torched a deer-poaching outlaw from York County.

A 59-year-old Felton man was charged with four counts of having four unlawfully taken deer. He also did not have a hunting license and had violations in Maryland.

I wish I had a name to print. Maybe that comes later when the fines are tallied and the case is finalized.

The bust came on a tip on Nov. 30 to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s “Operation Game Thief.”

In Pennsylvania, this game thief faces fines of $1,600 to a maximum of $3,200 and four months in jail.

The public can help protect Pennsylvania wildlife by reporting wildlife crimes through the online form at the commission website, or by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-888-742-8001.

Send it in

Ever notice how the people pitching the loudest fit are seldom among those willing to be part of the solution?

Deer hunters who whine that the Pennsylvania Game Commission is either inflating or lowballing deer harvest numbers often aren’t the ones contributing data to make the estimate more realistic.

Hunters who take deer are required to report it to the commission within 10 days by sending in the postage-paid report card or making the report online or by phone.

Last year’s harvest was reported as such: “Pennsylvania’s buck harvest increased 9 percent, and the overall deer harvest was up 6 percent, in the 2016-17 seasons, which closed in January, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reported today. Hunters harvested an estimated 333,254 deer in 2016-17 — an increase of about 6 percent compared to the 2015-16 harvest of 315,813.”

Considering kills that are recorded by commission officials in person, against the rate of cards actually turned in by the successful hunters, the reporting rate at one time was in the 40 percent range.

Minus a more significant sample size of actual reports, what is left is a calculation.

Hunters who report their kills can be part of a more accurate accounting of success, which contributes to the more realistic ability of wildlife managers to target reduction goals.

Tagged out this deer season? Send it in.

Send your first-buck photos and details to bjsmall@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Arrows2010.

Send your first-buck photos and details to bjsmall@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Arrows2010.

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