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Outdoors: Heavier load does the trick

Everyone knows there's no substitute for using the right tool for the job. But let's be honest. There are times when we all have taken a shortcut, either out of haste or necessity. You're among friends, so it's OK to admit you too have tried to back out a wood screw with vice grips. Or, delirious with thirst, popped off a beer cap with your teeth, dental bills be damned.

When it comes to cleanly killing wild game or landing a big fish, however, there's no room to monkey around with the wrong gear. Case in point: This week I was thrown a lifeline of sorts by my buddy Kevin Colbeck, who had geese feeding in his field. Perhaps he took pity on me after a pitiful duck ending.

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Earlier in the season I shot No. 3 shells to drop geese without issue. From 15 to 30 yards, more often than not it found the mark. But ferocious northwest winds called for a heavier load, particularly when they gusted to an ill-tempered near gale. Mid-week we enjoyed a good hunt, and I can unequivocally say that wouldn't been the case, at least for me, had I stuck with the lighter load. Switching to Remington's Hypersonic Steel three-inch, 11/4 -ounce BB, which the company claims travels 1,700 feet per second, no doubt was the difference maker.

On Saturday, Kevin's dad Jim Colbeck, who's been gunning Chesapeake waterfowl for six decades, joined us. The birds played hard to get, acting as if they'd seen every rouse and fake decoy spread in the book. And with four days left in the season, perhaps they have. Yet despite their irksome shyness, a few were fooled. The highlight came when, into the teeth of swirling breeze, Jim Colbeck neatly folded a Canada at 30 yards. And you guessed it; he used a 23/4 -inch BB. A lighter shotshell won't have done the job, he told me later. After 60-plus years of bird hunting, he'd know.

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Fly Fishing Group Supports Vets: Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing has a simple mission: to help disabled active military personnel and veterans heal through fly fishing. Grasonville resident Allan Taublib, inspired by his neighbor Capt. Kimberly Smith, USMC, who was wounded in combat, is spearheading a fundraiser to support the good works of Project Healing Waters.

On Feb. 20, "Paint Nite" will be held at the Prospect Bay Country Club with the goal of raising $2,000 for Project Healing Waters so they can continue to help Wounded Warriors. Tickets are $45, and are available only online at https://www.paintnite.com/pages/events/view/grasonville/863603#.

The event is open to anyone 21 years old or older, with food and beverages available for purchase. Capt. Smith will share her story about healing and recovery.

"PHWFF has saved my life. That's why I want to do everything I can to give back even though I'm still in recovery myself," she said. "I believe in this program, because it believes in its Warriors."

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OUTDOORS CALENDAR

Feb. 1: Baltimore Boat Show, Batimore Convention Center. Details at baltimoreboatshow.com.

Feb. 4: Free State Fly Fishers' meeting, fishing guide Pete Dahlberg, 7:30 p.m., Davidsonville Recreation Center. Contact George Vincent at k3gv@verizon.net, 301-249-6399.

Feb. 4: MSSA Kent Island Chapter Meeting, 7:30 p.m. American Legion Hall 278, 800 Romancoke Road, Stevensville.

Feb. 7: Youth Waterfowl Hunt Day. Details at dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide.

Feb. 9: Pasadena Sportfishing Group meeting, 7:30 p.m. Earleigh Heights Firehall, 161 Ritchie Hwy, Severna Park. Details at pasadenasportfishing.com

Feb. 14-15: Pasadena Sportfishing Groups Fishing Flea Market. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. both days. Earleigh Heights Firehall, Ritchie Hyw. Severna Park. Details at pasadenasportfishing.com.

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Feb. 18: MSSA Annapolis Chapter meeting. 7 p.m. at the American Legion Post 7, Crownsville. Capt. Brian Mayer of Marauder Charters on "Understanding what you see on your Fish Finder."

Feb. 21: Tri-State Marine Fishing Flea Market. Call Dawn for more information 410-867-2398.

Feb. 26: Annapolis Ducks Unlimited annual dinner, Michaels on the South River. 6 p.m. $60 per person, advance sale. Contact Bunny at 410-268-3036, or bunz@comcast.net.

Feb. 28: MSSA Annapolis Chapter's 20th annual Saltwater Fishing Expo. Panel discussion on "Light Tackle Fishing." 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at Annapolis Elks Club, Solomons Island Rd. Details at mssaannapolis.com.

March 7: Tri-State Marine Fishing Seminars. Captains Richie Gaines on "Light Tackle Fishing" and Wayne Morgan on "Trolling & Live Lining for Stripers." 9 a.m.-4 p.m. $29 per person, includes lunch. Call Dawn for more information 410-867-2398.

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