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NATURAL RESOURCES OODLES OF NOODLES.

Noodling isn't a crime and is not just slang talk on the Food Network. Noodling catfish is a favorite hobby of fishermen who don't feel like using a rod and reel to catch a tasty meal.

Try this Web site to read all about Noodling: The Old Art of Catching Fish with the Hands (http://198.209.8.166/sheproom/periodicals/bittersweet/fa80e.htm). The article begins ``Noodling can be dangerous'' an old-timer said. ``You can get skinned up pretty bad, and there's a few that's drowned at it, especially if you wear clothes.''

Noodling was popular in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri before the activity was outlawed some years ago. It's a good story how sticking your arm into a submerged hollow log and pulling up a fat cat is actually feasible.

--The buck stops here

Buckmasters Online (http://www.buckmasters.com/) offers everything you want to know about deer hunting. Everything from photo galleries, deer gear for sale, a chat room and information on becoming a Buckmaster is on this site.

There are some informative first-person articles on this site worth checking out, including one on patience, which deer hunters know is essential while stalking their prey.

- Chris Cocoles

UNDER THE WEATHER

``Lightning Strikes: Staying Safe Under Stormy Skies''

By Jeff Renner (The Mountaineers Books), $12.95

As a small child growing up in the Austrian Alps not far from where ``The Sound of Music'' was filmed, I enjoyed the long afternoon walks that are an integral part of the culture there. Most exciting were the afternoons when we heard the sound of distant thunder, the church bells began to peel, and we raced down the mountain. ``Es wird blitzen!'' my grandmother would say, heeding the warning the church bells were meant to provide. Lightning is coming!

I rediscovered that excitement reading this information-packed book that would make a nice text for an introductory meteorology course, yet is consistently carried by a surprisingly enjoyable narrative. Using the stories of real people in real peril, and adding a few tales from ancient lore, author Renner educates readers well about the dangers of lightning in the outdoors.

And it's a real risk. Despite public belief, you have an excellent chance of being struck by lightning if you are outdoors in a high-risk area. More than 8,000 Americans - about 160 annually - have been killed by lightning in the past 50 years, Renner writes, and that's more than have been killed by tornadoes, floods or hurricanes. And five times that many have been hit and left, in many instances, with permanent physical or mental disabilities.

The keys to survival are the four A's: anticipate, assess, act and aid. Renner takes readers through each step and explains how to read the sky and terrain in order to minimize danger, which can be more imminent than one might think. Lightning, we learn, can strike objects up to 10 miles from the side of a thunderhead. A bolt out of nowhere, indeed.

Looking back, I always thought my family was a little overdramatic racing down those Alpine mountains years ago. After reading this book, I wonder if we ran fast enough.

- Michael A. Anastasi

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Title Annotation:Review; Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 30, 2002
Words:550
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