Originally created 09/02/01

Lure maker uses squirrel tail in craft



Today's topic is recycling.

We all know we can put our aluminum cans and newspapers into that little curbside bin for the trash collector.

But what about squirrel tails?

Each year, countless Georgians harvest bushytails to make Brunswick stew (my Dad's perennial favorite) or simply fry them up with gravy and biscuits.

But all those tails end up being tossed into the trash - which is a waste.

Jim Martinsen of Antigo, Wisconsin, tells me his company needs 300,000 squirrel tails per year for the manufacture of their signature product - the Mepps spinner, found in almost every tackle box.

They're even willing to pay for them.

"We do not want anyone shooting squirrels just for their tails," he said. "But tails from squirrels harvested by legitimate hunters every year are just too valuable to go to waste."

Squirrel hackles have been used on the famous spinners since the 1950s, when company founder Todd Sheldon met a young angler on Wisconsin's Wolf River who had added squirrel hair to his lures - and caught more fish.

For a brochure with details on the tail recycling program, and how to pack the tails for mailing, write to Mepps, Dept. ST, 626 Center St., Antigo, WI, 54409-2496, or call (715) 623-2382.

Soon we will be experience those first cool weekends of autumn, and the urge to take a .410 or .22 rimfire afield for an afternoon of squirrel hunting.

Then there will be stew on the stove and tails in the mail.

OK, it might sound a little like a country music song - or a Dr. Seuss jingle. But it's all about squirrel season - and how to recycle.

CELEBRITY DOVE SHOOT Two dozen race car drivers, professional athletes and television and film stars will converge in Augusta this week for Quail Unlimited and Realtree's first Celebrity Dove Shoot.

The three-day series of events will help generate money for QU's year-old Dove Sportsman's Society, whose membership already has risen to 6,000.

Rocky Evans, QU's executive vive president, estimates more than 250 people will participate in celebrity shoots Friday and Saturday in Edgefield, S.C., where the 52,000-member conservation group is headquartered.

Proceeds will be used to develop Dove Sportsman's Society chapters across the country, which - like QU groups - can use much of their revenues for local programs.

Tickets remain available for Thursday's Conservation Dinner at the Sheraton Augusta Hotel, where guests will include NASCAR driver Andy Hillenburg, Manny Fernandez of the Miami Dolphins, pro quarterback Heath Shuler, film star Leslie Easterbrook and Bobby Richardson - a New York Yankees second baseman who played in 30 consecutive World Series games.

Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. semiformal event are $50 and can be ordered by calling QU's Connie Dean at 803-637-5731.

WATERFOWL SEASONS APPROVED Georgia's Department of Natural Resources approved its 2001-02 waterfowl seasons recently, which will include a teal season Sept. 15-23 and youth waterfowl hunting days Nov. 10-11.

Duck season will run Nov. 17-25 and Dec. 1-20 for species other than canvasbacks, which may be harvested Jan. 1-20. Canada goose seasons will be Nov. 17-25 and Dec. 1-Jan. 20.

Complete regulations will be posted at www.georgiawildlife.com.

Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119, or rpavey@augustachronicle.com.