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Outdoors

Outdoors notebook: Changing conditions could mean trouble for brookies

Bob Frye
| Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, 9:12 p.m.

Finding brook trout in the future might mean spending more time in the car.

A study by researchers in Penn State's college of agricultural science suggests climate change will warm the coldwater streams relied on by brookies, ultimately shrinking their range.

For example, an angler in the center of Pittsburgh can find brook trout within about 20 miles of home, the report said. In the course of a lifetime, though, the closest brook trout will be almost 150 miles away.

Things are predicted to be even worse in the South, which may simply lose much of its brook trout if waters get too warm, they added. An angler in Cleveland, Tenn., who can find brook trout within 20 miles now will be traveling 500 to find fish then, they added.

“As a result of projected warming, driving distance to go fishing for wild brook trout was predicted to increase, on average, by almost 164 miles over the next 70 to 80 years,” said researcher Tyrell DeWeber.

Most fishermen are dedicated, DeWeber added, but it's unlikely many will consistently travel that far to fish on more-crowded streams. He said that could mean fewer people fishing and less time and money being spent to protect the resource.

Fishing button

This year, anglers chose not so much a color as a pattern.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission sells a fishing button, reminiscent of old license buttons. They don't take the place of a license, and they aren't included in the price of one, either.

But anglers who buy one can wear it on a hat or vest in place of a license.

Each year, the commission selects a few possible colors for the button, then lets anglers choose a winner in online voting. Last year they picked pink.

The 2016 button will not be a solid color, but instead feature a pattern resembling a brook trout. That option got more than 70 percent of the 5,300 votes cast.

Buttons go on sale Dec. 1 and are $5 each.

Bear attack

Black bear attacks on people are rare, but not unheard of.

Proof recently came when the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources was called on to investigate a black bear attack on a man in the Mount Nebo area of Nicholas County, in the southcentral part of the state.

According to the agency, he was knocked down and bitten several times by a mother black bear after he had unexpectedly walked up on a cub.

The man fought back and was able to escape with minor injuries.

Bats numbers dwindle

Biologists across the eastern United States say populations of certain cave-dwelling bat species are plummeting, courtesy of white-nose syndrome.

Evidence showed up recently in Jefferson County.

When commission land management group supervisor George Miller did a bat survey on game land 54 in 2011, he found a colony with 1,009 bats. By last year, the population had dropped to 21 animals; this year it was 19, he said.

Velvet antlers

Some states kick off deer season in August, when hunters can take bucks with antlers still covered in velvet.

The Pope & Young Club recently published a book focusing on the biggest of such deer. “Bowhunting Records of Velvet North American Big Game” includes information on records, how they came to be, tips on preserving velvet, and hunting stories.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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