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Shane Townsend

Recent Posts

What a Swiftwater Rescue Captain Wants You to Know

Fishing Gear

What a Swiftwater Rescue Captain Wants You to Know

Captain Jamie L. Potter is one of three captains leading water rescue teams with Virginia’s Richmond Fire Department. The Richmond teams respond to more than 100 boating, wading, and driving accident calls a year, so her insights are hard-won. Capt. Potter tells us what we can do to avoid a rescue...
Here's What Search and Rescue Wants You To Do

Hunting

Here's What Search and Rescue Wants You To Do

Search & Rescue (SAR) teams are on call 24 hours a day to help get hunters, hikers, and other outdoors explorers out of tight spots. Many SAR missions could be avoided or made easier with a little preparation by those who might need rescuing. In that spirit, Sydney Lear, a SAR instructor with the...
Want a New Wilderness Challenge? Volunteer with Search and Rescue

Public Lands & Waters

Want a New Wilderness Challenge? Volunteer with Search and Rescue

The hunt is on. We drop off the wind-whipped mountain road and descend through the fog toward the rain-drenched forest below. Tight lips belie heavy chests, high hopes, and the highest stakes. Our boots thud and click and slide under an urgent pace along the plummeting trail. Tabs stick from cut...
5 Best State Capitols for Fishing

Freshwater

5 Best State Capitols for Fishing

Imagine, if you will, that COVID-19 is behind us. You’re downtown in some state capital—hopefully for a day of advocacy with the BHA family, or maybe just for conference with a bunch of knuckleheads you really need to escape. Either way, it hits you: I need to catch a damn fish. ASAP. Your kayak’s...
Fact Checker: Is the Coral Snake Poem Accurate?

Wildlife Management

Fact Checker: Is the Coral Snake Poem Accurate?

The old saying goes: “Red on yella, kill a fella. Red on black, a friend of Jack.” Another variant says: “Red against yellow, you’re a dead fellow. Red against black, you’re OK, Jack.” Outdoors folks from Arizona to the Carolinas have long learned such poems to help distinguish the highly venomous...
Hit the Road for Tank Toads: October Bass Pond Fishing

Freshwater

Hit the Road for Tank Toads: October Bass Pond Fishing

Pond, puddle, reservoir, impoundment, tank—for many folks these words conjure images of mud, manure, cattle, and catfish—or just mud and manure. But it would be a mistake to look past the pond. Not so long ago an image popped up on my phone. Kevin Davis sits aboard a tiny craft at the edge of a...
12,000 Gone in Galveston: America’s Deadliest Storm

Natural History

12,000 Gone in Galveston: America’s Deadliest Storm

Disasters, like politics, are local. So, ask about the baddest storm and chances are you’ll hear “Sandy” in the mid-Atlantic, “Katrina” in New Orleans, “Camille” in Mississippi, and “Andrew” in Florida. But the truth is this: America’s deadliest storm hit 50 years before storms wore official name...
Up a Creek without a Paddle: Summer Wading for Bass and Panfish

Freshwater

Up a Creek without a Paddle: Summer Wading for Bass and Panfish

A couple cold “Cocolas” and two packs of salty peanuts buy us the OK to park my Jeep at the country store where the creek and the highway cross. I hop into the pickup with my bass-slayin’, squirrel bustin’, rabbit dog runnin’ cousin Kevin and we head up a gravel road and thump-thump-thump over a...
Paddling to Paradise: How to Pull Off an Overnight Float and Fishing Trip

Freshwater

Paddling to Paradise: How to Pull Off an Overnight Float and Fishing Trip

“We was feeling pretty good after breakfast, and took my canoe and went over the river a fishing, with a lunch, and had a good time…,” Mark Twain, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” 1884 As Americans we have access to more water than any one of us could float in a hundred lifetimes. The United...
Run of Show: What to Expect on Your First Offshore Charter

Saltwater

Run of Show: What to Expect on Your First Offshore Charter

The best cowboy is the one who’s in the way the least. Same goes for greenhorns—those of us who’re curious enough to try new things and ain’t afraid to suck. If you’re headed out on your first offshore charter trip this summer, here’s what to expect no matter where you are in the world. Get ready...