Monday, January 16, 2017

Poor Man's Shrimp

By W. Gauvin Barber

Poor Man's Shrimp

On Saturday, after the broadcast I was a little hunger and returned to Debbie's on Park Ave. Woonsocket, R.I. and being a smart small business woman ,she had memorized my previous order, light decaf coffee with no sugar, ham and cheese 3 X/L egg omelete and home fries, no bread, wheat belly diet, that you receive in a neighborhood diner. I felt like I was transported to 'Cheers' in Boston with the same regulars at the same stool. The only difference was a cold draft “Bud with a hot cup of 'Java' Dennis Lasardo and Oscar Hancock with some new jokes and local political satire.

I left in a good mood and went to get a Power Ball scratch ticket and met a WW II Veteran in line who got his scratch ticket also and was embarrassed for forgetting his wallet in the car. I shook his hand and thanked him for his service and sad I had won a small amount on last Wednesday's drawing and it would be great comma to let me pay for his ticket.

His mind was still sharp after about 87 years and smiled and sad, I know your distinctive voice, You are the man on the radio show” Outdoor Scene” every week end on WNRI.COM 1380am and I humbly replied, Thank You, for tuning in.

My wife and I listen religiously to every episode to a quality entertaining believable radio show about our Natural Resources.

We both agree with your vision and mission. He then sad that he was offended sometimes when I refer to the old timers when I was growing up. It was a different time and most outdoors activities were to put something in the pot, or table.

My ears and creative juices tuned in to the story being told by the gentlemans years of experience and hardened chiseled face in a methodical clear voice.

He sad young man my family went from well to do with all the immigrants that came to Woonsocket searching for any job and lodging in the mills and then would go purchase on time payments most all any other necessities from our family store.

Then the wars and the market crash of 1929 and the Marquette Credit Union collapse in the 1970's reduced the families old money savings to zero.

He said to me its back to “Poor Man's Shrimp” now.

I looked at him and asked if he could elaborate on the expression which I had never heard in my short life of 66 years.

He sad to me that it was the regular part of my broadcast that I repeat every few episodes referring to the old timers who loved jigging up a fresh bunch of winter firm flesh yellow perch and crappie, alias calico bass for a fish fry.

When he came back to States wounded from WWII and very little work waiting, do in part to “Rosie the Riveter” joining the workplace and the start of the mills moving down South.

He told me his Grand Dad and then his Father would say, I am having a craving for “Poor Man's Shrimp” when the cupboards started to get lean and a silent concern “ look” from the lady of the house without a harsh word spoken to feed their hungry family in hard times.

That is when we would gather up the fishing equipment and a few relatives or friends to share petrol costs at .29 cents a gallon to fill up some pecks baskets of fresh perch or the tasty calico's.

Sustenance, not catch and release in these hard times.

Some winter potatoes and fall butternut squash from the root cellar and a fresh loaf of bread. Listen to good quality radio program to make us forget about the hard times and be thankful the war had ended.

He sad quietly to me that he had over heard big John Martin, while playing stick ball on the Avenue comment, their family must be “Rich”, he had to chow down their re-heated potato soup and day

old crusty bread again last night. Their family had expensive “Shrimp” again this week.

He told me to get a pen and paper and he would hand down the secret recipe to me, just in case I too would happen to fall upon hard times.

Poor Man' Shrimp Recipe

Perch, Bluegills or Calico Bass, 'alias' Black or White Crappie

Fillets cut into ¾ inch strips

1 quart of boiling water seasoned with old bay and salt.

Drop strips into boiling water and cook until they turn to opaque

Immediately remove and drop into Ice Water

Drain and put in the Ice Box for 1 hour, Strips will firm up

Use tooth picks or a small fork to dip into a cocktail sauce or if the money cup was empty, Mom would replace with a tarter sauce.

If the fish should flake, it was over cooked. Little practice with small batches to perfect the free expensive Shrimp for supper !

W. Gauvin Barber 34 Hamlet St. Pascoag, R.I. 1-401-568-4894

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Many Cooper Hill Road residents nurtured my interest in fishing

By W.Gauvin Barber
Last week I was having a flashback of growing up in Mapleville, RI on Cooper Hill. I have loved freshwater and all forms of fishing from a very early age by the influence of three very special mentors in my life.  I have always loved the outdoors, especially fishing. It's genetic. The interest was fueled by grandfather on my dad's side who would let me read his sporting magazines rather than fairy tales when I visited the old homestead at the top of Cooper Hill.
  I also kept a sharp eye out for slightly read copies of others at the landfill at Nelsons Landfill in Pascoag, RI. while shooting rats with a borrowed 22 caliber. Some were free samples still in the wrapper and every quarter counted in my piggy bank to sneak a pack of Parliament Cigarettes at Carriere's variety store with a split of the cigarettes with the much older person who made the purchase.
 When my father would pick us up at the local mud hole or frog pond to go to our weekly shopping trip to the big city of Woonsocket, RI I would spend my paper route money or from selling wild blueberries donations door to door in the Nyanza Mills sports department.
 A little farther down Cooper Hill was the Ice House manmade pond with a dam and in a growing mill village, a valuable source for our ice boxes. Our neighbor next to the ice house pond was a total sportsmen with the name of George Medbury who was quite a character in my childhood. George was born in Riverside, RI on Oct.11,1908 and lived a very full interesting life which ended on Oct.21, 1986 at 78 years old. George did not drive and went on his fishing and hunting trips with old school lifelong friends. He was quite a athlete in his day and could swim across Pascoag Reservoir on a wager. George was also a very fast runner and on one occasion he spanked the great Narragansett RI. Indian runner " Tarzan Brown"who one the Boston Marathon two times and in one instance without shoes. Brown also made the 1936 Berlin Olympic track team which featured Jesse Owens.
 Mr. Medbury was like my granddad Emery "Ted" Barber with a great assortment of hounds and setters for different hunts. 11 beagles, 13 inch beagles, bird setters and harvested everything for the kitchen table including whitetail deer, fish, waterfowl and gamebirds and snapping turtles.
 Mr. Medbury had a tough exterior and a very humble warm heart for the Barber boys and on many occasions brought back many lunkers for the ice house pond stocking which he knew we would always sneak in to catch the whopper of our sheltered life. One day I built up the courage to ask him about a Plastic Worm with a flying spinner in the front that he had on the end of his line after a very successful stringer of largemouth bass which exceeded twenty pounds.
 He told me it was his secret lure and very expensive at 5 worms for a whole $1.00 plus Mr. Pepler's mail charge at the local post office. He said to read about the new secret bass slayer in one of your granddad's magazine's or see if fellow neighbor Gene Gaucher had one in his creel basket.
 Went I started watching for our Woonsocket Call paper route Christmas tips envelopes in 1959 and their tip envelope was really fat and I thought he had paid me back for catching his private stocked pond with some black coal.
  It turned out to be a packet of 5 Crème Wiggle Rubber Worms from Akron, Ohio that were invented in a basement by Nick and Cosma Crème in Akron Ohio in the 1940's and introduced at the Cleveland Sportsmen Show to the world in 1949.

I opened the package and said to my favorite cousin Sidney Barber, how can a dead piece of stinky plastic with a helicopter spinning blade catch a fish instead of spooking it. I had to wait for ice out in early April 1960 and we decided to try the new fishing lure at Tarklin Pond. Second cast next to lily pads we saw the wake of some kind of submarine chasing the lure and Bang went two feet straight up was a three pound bass with the hooks in his lower jaw. That Kodak moment is etched in my mind for ever and then Sidney who was always a bully snagged my rod and secret lure and duplicated the feat by catching the longest Pickerel to this day in 2017 that I have ever seen.

Decades later I have caught a lot of fish and won my share of fishing tournaments, operated a bait and tackle shop for twelve years to pass on some knowledge to future generations.
 Looking back I would like to Thank in print to all the social media to see on the internet the great gratitude I have for those 3 very special mentors that I had the privilege to have known in my childhood. Grampa" Ted"Barber, Mr. George Medbury who gave me my favorite Christmas present and Life lesson of all time and to a dear former handicapped friend Gene Gaucher.

Vermont Bear Hunters Had a Successful and Safe Season in 2016

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reports that bear hunters in Vermont had a safe and successful hunting season in 2016.  Preliminary numbers show that hunters took 697 black bears during the 81days of the two-part early and late bear seasons.  There also were no hunting-related shooting incidents. 
This is higher than the past 10-year average of 520 bears being taken, but it is consistent with the goal of stabilizing the bear population to within 4,500 to 6,000 bears, according to Fish & Wildlife Department bear biologist Forrest Hammond. 
In 2016, hunters took a majority of the bears, 547, in the early season and only 150 in the late bear season, which overlaps with the November deer season.  Many large bears were reported with 21 weighing over 300 pounds and several over 400 pounds.
In the previous year, hunters took nearly equal numbers of bears in the early and late seasons.   
Hammond noted that participation in the early bear season has remained high with large numbers of hunters choosing to purchase a $5 early season bear tag.  “Between an abundant population, a long hunting season and the potential of harvesting delicious and nutritious bear meat, Vermonters and visitors are becoming increasingly interested in hunting this big game animal,” said Hammond. 
Bear hunters continue to provide information that is valuable for managing the species including bringing their bear into one of 150 game check stations and by completing hunter effort surveys.  Beginning in 2017, hunters must also submit a small tooth from their bear that will provide information on the age of the animal. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Women Can Gain Skills for Outdoor Fun at NH BOW Winter Workshop

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

CONCORD, N.H. -- Registration is now open for New Hampshire’s 2017 Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Winter Workshop, a one-day program where women learn outdoor skills to enjoy during the winter months.
The Winter BOW workshop will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2017, at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Owl Brook Hunter Education Center in Holderness, N.H.  Participants focus on one outdoor activity during the day-long workshop. Choices include ice-fishing, winter outdoor survival, snowshoeing/wildlife tracking, and "Shoe and Shoot" (woodland target shooting on snowshoes).
A fee of $55 covers the workshop, lunch and most equipment use.  A discounted registration fee of $25 is available for participants age 18-25. Participants must be at least 18 years of age.
To sign up, visit for a mail-in registration form. Only registration forms received by postal mail will be accepted; no emails, faxes, or walk-ins, please. This popular workshop fills up quickly, so sign up soon!
New Hampshire BOW programs are co-sponsored by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department ( and the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation (, a nonprofit group that advocates for the promotion and protection of hunting, fishing and trapping, as well as the conservation of fish and wildlife habitat.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ducks Unlimited

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – The January/February 2017 issue of Ducks Unlimited magazine celebrates DU's 80 years of conservation success and chronicles how generations of volunteers, staff and partners have worked together to make DU the world's leading wetlands and waterfowl conservation organization.

Other special anniversary coverage includes "15 Time-Tested Waterfowling Tips" to help readers improve their hunting success and "Five Classic Waterfowl Recipes" for preparing ducks and geese for family and friends after a successful hunt. Readers will also enjoy a feature showcasing the treasured collectibles and historical artifacts on display at DU's Waterfowling Heritage Center inside the Bass Pro Shops at the Memphis Pyramid as well as a profile on Scot Storm, DU's 2017 Artist of the Year.

Like every other issue, the January/February issue of Ducks Unlimited magazine also features informative columns on shotguns and ammunition, retrievers, waterfowl biology, hunting tactics, conservation and cooking.

The only way to get Ducks Unlimited magazine is to join Ducks Unlimited. Visit to become a member of the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's wetlands and waterfowl.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13.6 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit

Vermont Hunters Had Successful 2016 Deer Seasons

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Josh Dufresne of Springfield, VT with the impressive 8-point buck he took in Vermont’s 2016 November deer season.  Hunters took 9,968 bucks in all of the state’s different 2016 deer seasons.  

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says preliminary numbers show 16,160 deer were taken during Vermont’s 2016 deer hunting seasons.
Reports from big game check stations indicate hunters had successful deer seasons in 2016, taking 3,447 deer in archery season, 1,438 in youth season, 7,725 in rifle season, and 3,550 in muzzleloader season.  The 16,160 deer brought home by hunters yielded more than 3 million meals of local nutritious venison.
“The legal buck harvest of 9,968 was 19 percent more than the previous three-year average of 8,372, and the highest buck harvest since 2002,” said deer project leader Nick Fortin.  “Harvest numbers increased during all four seasons, and the total harvest of 16,160 is the second-highest since 2002.
“The increased harvest was primarily due to the exceptionally mild winter of 2016 which allowed more deer to survive.  Additionally, the department issued nearly twice as many muzzleloader antlerless deer permits this year to provide more harvest opportunity and to limit population growth in some parts of the state.”
The primary goal of Vermont’s deer management strategy is to keep the deer herd stable, healthy and in balance with available habitat.  “Maintaining an appropriate number of deer on the landscape ensures deer and the habitats that support them remain in good condition and productive,” said Fortin.  “This year’s harvest clearly demonstrates how productive our deer herd can be.”
Each year the department operates biological check stations during deer hunting seasons to gather information on the age, sex, field dressed weight, antler characteristics, and overall health of Vermont’s deer herd.  In 2016, biological data were collected from 1,830 deer examined during the two-day youth season and November rifle season. 
To provide additional data, hunters submitted more than 2,700 teeth from bucks harvested during the rifle season.  Fortin adds, “The effort made by hunters and many of our big game reporting stations to collect teeth during rifle season will greatly improve our understanding of Vermont’s buck population.”
The 2016 report on deer hunting seasons with final numbers will be on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website ( in early February.