There are certain statements I hear a lot that drive me crazy. I’m always correcting people, and most of the time I get the same look from them. It’s a look that tells me they just don’t care about my facts. Let me explain with a few examples.
People sometimes see toads at the ballpark or just out in the community, and I always hear, “Hey, look at that frog.” I always tell them, “No, that’s a toad; a frog is usually slick-skinned and usually lives near the water, like a leopard frog or a bullfrog.” Toads are not frogs, and believe it or not, a toad that pees on you – which is a defense mechanism of the toad – will not cause warts. That is an old myth. We once watched our dog put a toad in her mouth and spit it out, but we could see the discomfort she was in. I’ll bet she didn’t try to eat a toad again.
Another of my pet peeves is when people see a snake in the water – any snake – and think it’s a water moccasin. No, I’m pretty sure they are not native to Kansas.
Another one is if people see a plant that has three leaves or if one leaf splits into three parts, and think it’s poison ivy. I’m constantly correcting others – “No, that’s not poison ivy.” Poison ivy has three leaves on each plant and is a shiny plant, sometimes turning red later in the summer. It usually grows in shaded areas at the base of trees or at the bottom of plumb thickets. You see a lot of it along rivers.
I don’t know how many times in the fall when the sandhill cranes are flying south, you hear, “Look at all those geese.” Geese usually fly in a V formation and make a honking sound. Cranes have their own sound. Cranes make a more drawn-out sound, like the sound of blowing air through your lips.
Have you ever watched a movie or TV show and seen an exotic animal that is supposed to be a deer, or a flock of geese flying overhead, but they have the sound of ducks (or vice versa)? I can’t believe that they couldn’t have done a little research to get it right. I once watched a movie where an Indian shot at a flock of geese, killed one with his bow, and then walked over and picked up a mallard duck.
In this next example, I’ve heard the recorded tape several times and it’s hard to believe the caller was serious, but she was: A lady called into an outdoor radio program that was taking calls.
She called in to complain because she couldn’t believe the highway department had put the deer crossing signs in such bad places. The signs are put up in areas that are heavily populated with deer to warn drivers to be on the lookout. She believed the sign was directing deer on where to cross and was frustrated because they were guiding deer to cross in very bad places. She really believed this; it was not a prank call.
I know a lot of people are not outdoorsmen like me, so I know they just don’t care as much as I do. But I’ll continue to correct others and will probably continue to get that same look, and that’s just fine. Perhaps some of them will learn a few facts and become more interested in the outdoors in the process.
Rick Cunningham is an avid outdoorsman from Ellis, KS