Flying Dead Have It In for Maryland Hunter; Bag Ban Days Will Soon Be Upon Our Heads

By JAY MANN | Feb 07, 2018

I have to start off with a not-totally-funny, concussion-protocolesque news story from down Chesapeake Bay way, where Robert Meilhammer was recently goose hunting Maryland’s Eastern Shore – up until the moment things suddenly went cold black for the Maryland man.

It was fellow hunters who first noticed an unconscious and bleeding Meilhammer in the grass, looking as if he had been attacked. It turned out he had kinda/sorta been attacked – by a combination of bad gravity luck and the flying dead.

I should just leave this tale right there – you know, let you piece it together. I won’t! Besides, I can’t resist passing on the story of Meilhammer being seriously injured by a pretty-much dead-duck Canada goose, as it fell lifeless from the sky and smack onto Meilhammer hunting hat, which he was wearing at the time.

As Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson explained to, “A falling goose hit Meilhammer, knocking him out and causing head and facial injuries.”

Another Natural Resource officer told The Washington Post that even after Meilhammer regained consciousness, he knew his name but “little else.”

Obviously, the bird was a just-shot-dead goose, losing altitude at a suddenly meaningless – to the bird – breakneck speed.

It’s unclear if Meilhammer’s hunting partners tried to warn him of what was coming at him. Personally, I would have been at a loss as to what to yell by way of warning. Any other time, “Duck!” would be the socially acceptable thing to shout. Not so much when hunting the likes of … ducks. In those instances, “Duck!” would garner an equal and opposite reaction of that desired.

“Duck, Bob!”

Looking up. “Where?”


“Ohhhh, I actually meant ‘Duck!’ in the other sense, Bob. … Bob?”

I’ll let you think about how one warns “Duck!” while duck hunting, as I calculate the force of what amounted to a goose bomb hitting Meilhammer. I’ll simply resort to E= ½ m v2 … with a touch of y=v2/2g.

Translated conclusion: A Canada goose weighing upward of 15 pounds, falling as a dead weight from 150 feet above, achieving an enhanced terminal velocity (due to its aerodynamically perfect feathering) and landing directly on the head of a stationary human head equates into an instant inability of said human head to comprehend what 1 plus 1 equals.

A week after impact, a slowly recovering Meilhammer remains hospitalized at a famed Baltimore trauma center.

Due to the seriousness of this bird-fall incident, I really should forgo one of my crass hypothetical dialogues, which might have taken place when a paramedic was wheeling Meilhammer into the ER – you know, something like:

Nurse: “Cause of injury.”

Male Paramedic: “Goose.”

“What?! How dare you speak to me like that? That is sexual harassment, mister! I have a mind to report you to … ”

… But I refuse to go there.

What I can’t resist – with a few of my own real-life experiences tugging at my apron strings – is hypothesizing the upcoming traumatic dialogue when Meilhammer takes on his insurance company, with his dead-goose-from-the-sky claim in tow.

“Oh, how horribly unfortunate, Mr. Meilhammer, but your current medical coverage, despite being our superior elite plan, has a rider specifically excluding our covering any and all head injuries caused by common birdlife falling from the sky, dead or otherwise. See, it’s clearly written right here … in black and white. Check it out.”

“Hey, wait a minute. That’s just recently been penciled in!”

“Yes, but that’s official company penciling. It also goes on to clearly state that, had you been rendered near-comatose by either a threatened or endangered species, we’d fully and happily cover your claim, including that little six-figure, two-week hospital stay.”

“Oh, I feel dizzy.”

“Now, let me ask you this, Mr. Meilhammer. In the wake of this horrible accident, would you be interested in upgrading your coverage to … hereafter, mind you … include being hit by dead or nearly-dead, non-threatened and/or endangered wildlife falling from the sky? It’s a tad expensive, but I can assure it’ll be crucial in the long run, especially with the amazing increase we’re seeing in dead geese hitting people. The number of those incidents just recently increased by 100 percent.”

Cool. I finally found a way to get a jab in at the slew of “Sorry, you’re not covered” injuries I’ve had over the years, including the time I was rudely told I should have never been roof-surfing on top of a moving Chevy pickup to begin with. “Well, what do you cover, then!?”

BAGGING IT: It is time to speak forth on the rapidly approaching single-use plastic bag ban, lined up for Long Beach Township, Harvey Cedars and, likely, Stafford Township. While there won’t be a ton of carry-out options if you don’t bring your own bags, the litter-fighting effort has massive merit, particularly in a plastics-fighting way. It now comes down to marketing the concept of reusable bags.

For those not overly acquainted with reusable bags, mastering them is a breeze – a breeze that won’t be wafting single-use bags across the beach and into the ocean.

I’m now into my second highly successful year of forsaking single-use plastic bags, assisted by  ShopRite brand reusables.

Truth be told, my switchover was sorely lacking in eco-motivation. I had long hated trying to one-trip a slew of grocery-filled plastic bags from truck to house. In reusable bag response, I’ve achieved new checkout heights, easily fitting the equivalent of at least half a dozen plastic bags into just one reusable bag. I’m such a ramma-jamma that many a clerk asks, “Sir, are you sure you can fit all that in one bag?” Back off, ma’am, I’m a professional. Of course, I then end up shambling to my truck, all bow-legged, holding the handles of the bag in both hands, dragging the bottom of the bag on the ground.

Anyway, it’s now time to stock up on proper baggage for plastic-bag-ban days ahead. The upside is virtually every LBI home already has primo multiuse bags sulking in seasonal closets or sheds. Those Island-ubiquitous beach bags, already upsized to haul a week’s worth of family necessities for a day at the beach, are utterly ideal as grocery knapsacks. Maybe pour out the sand first.

Thinking smaller, a flood of reusable bags has already hit the marketplace, many costing no more than a buck or two. Not to worry, madam, there are also pricey and prestigious designer models for any Hamptonsesque types. By the by, The Hamptons (N.Y.) banned single-use bags years ago.

I’m betting stores in ban zones will routinely place low-cost multiuse bags next to the checkout counters. As to how many are needed for a fully loaded shopping cart, I don’t think you want to drag a single, bursting-seams bag across the parking lot. Per green websites, think in terms of keeping three reusables at the ready.

By the by, backpacks are only partially effective as multiuse bags. While they’re good for small loads, they’re unloved by store security. I used one once at a nearby grocery and was quickly being tailed by a little old lady with blue hair, using a walker, wearing a red hat and whispering into a daisy flower lapel pin. Yep … loss prevention personnel. Never tried that again. That lady scared me.

FAQ: Should you fill a reusable bag as you shop, something formerly known as shoplifting, or wait until checkout to load up? Don’t ask me.

I won’t venture a guess at how plastic bag bans might impact tackle shops, except to say those shops aren’t plastic-baggy to begin with. They have some usages, though, like transferring eels.  Face it, being handed six live eels, all jammed into a puny paper bag, could be problematic. Let a wet hole open up and a buggy could suddenly be a-slither with those snaky ungraspables.

As to bloodworms, now often handed out in plastic bags, back in the day these messy worms were usually placed in white, Chinese food carry-out containers. It should be easy to revert back to those containers, thusly allowing gals to resume issuing bloodcurdling screams upon opening a refrigerated bloodworm box, thinking it’s merely some long-forgotten Chinese food delivery. Those screams are unique in that they’re often both a shriek and a name at once.

BAGGING WARFARE: A side-effect of reusable bags is a greater inclination to bag your own groceries. Apparently, there’s a secretive checkout science behind properly bagging items. I’m awaiting any courses to teach us men that subtle art.

As to women shoppers, they seem instinctually inclined to poetically and ultra-properly bag items in a just-so manner, likely inspired by genetically acquired mix-and-match protocols. I’ve watched them in line in front of me, slowly and precisely emplacing grocery items within bags. Smooth. Most impressively, they somehow have no fear of conveyored items piling up at those checkout counter cul-de-sacs. They’ll get to each item in due time.

We men, on the other less-gifted genetic hand, bag our groceries based solely on militant maxims. It’s us against the cashier, meaning it’s critical to be perpetually poised and ready for arriving items; to then nimbly remain ahead of the flow, even if it means haphazardly flinging items into the bag. A watermelon dropped atop a loaf of bread is meaningless when immersed in bagging warfare.

I’ll be the first to admit that women checkers are often formidably fast at scanning. This heightens the bagging tension. I never let that emotionless face, innocent little name tag and effortless arm action fool me; that checker is out for glory at my expense. With eyes in the side of her head, she’s hellbent on iteming me under … just to then victoriously gloat, “Here, let me help you with that, sir, seeing that I’m done scanning your items.” Why you little …!

INLET INPUT: Double Creek Channel has been dredged. I have calls in to see when aids to navigation will appear there-along – and along other channel areas that were part of the project.

Thinks are far more uncertain within the now-being-scooped Little Egg Inlet boating/maritime channel off Holgate.

Last week I talked about the darkish dredged material from the inlet bottom hitting the beaches of south Beach Haven and Holgate. That beach work is carrying on with no hiccups.

I still haven’t found a detailed map showing the proposed layout/positioning of the channel. Obviously, it’s going to lie east-to-west and vice versa … but where, as in exactly? Will it be closer to Little Beach, more toward Holgate, or smack-dead between? Mariners will soon need that detailed data.

I’ll guess that the famed LEI North Cut, which runs almost flush with the farthest south end of the Island, won’t be impacted by the current dredging, per se. However, nobody knows how the sands within the inlet will reconfigure in response to finding a long, deep – and new – swath along the inlet bottom. Inlet currents seem to hate bottom voids they didn’t make themselves.

Nobody, especially me displaying my guessaholic tendencies, can say with any certainty where LEI sand shall be settling in the not-that-long run. I’ll play the stick in the bay mud by suggesting a single kick-ass blow could de-channel the inlet, primarily at those points where the strongest tidal and storm currents roam. Changing tacks, the arriving channel will most likely offer far safer boat passage than before the project.

Now, we wait to see if the Coast Guard Aids to Navigation folks deem the new waterway worthy of federal markers, removed over a year ago due to the simple fact there was no discernable/repeatable channel to be marked. Since the new channel is not a federal project, albeit approved by the Army Corps, it must pass a certain muster to be buoy-worthy. Odds are quite high that federal navigational aids will be placed soon after the dredging is done.

LATE-BREAKING TSUNAMI: You might not want to mention “tsunami” to the world-acclaimed AccuWeather center, located in State College, Pa. The folks there are awaiting a good rainstorm to wash the egg off their weather-forecasting face after one of AccuWeather’s apps went ape on Tuesday morning, translating a routine warning system test by the National Weather Service as a bona fide tidal-wave-a-comin’ warning.

Users of AccuWeather’s popular app received a glowing “TSUNAMI WARNING,” including “Tsunami Warning in effect until 9:28 AM EST.”

Offering instant relief was the adjacent message, “...THIS_MESSAGE_IS_FOR_TEST_PURPOSES_ONLY...”

While this send-out snafu was mercifully far from the fully unfunny faux “incoming nuclear missile” alert in Hawaii, the National Weather Service was nonetheless jarred into action, quickly issuing the Tweet “***THERE IS NO TSUNAMI WARNING***,” followed by “A Tsunami Test was conducted earlier this morning, that did not have TEST in the message. We are currently trying to find out how a message went out as a warning. We will update you when we find out more.”

While there will likely be some glitch finger-pointing twixt the NWS and AccuWeather, we coastalites might derive a mild sense of homeland security – our local homeland – that a high-level tsunami warning system actually exists. I just added the AccuWeather app to my Android. I’ll gladly take a tiny now-and-again snafu over being down in Holgate, glancing out over the ocean, and seeing a 50-footer cresting out in the shipping lanes.

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