Category Archives: Classes/Education

Classes and any sort of education, whether they are formal or informal, that scream for a few words to be written about them.

Echinococcosis Hydatid Cyst

by Woodsbum

Seeing as how it is still elk season and I just ran across this, I felt compelled to include this article as today’s post.

Echinococcosis hydatid cyst or cystic echninococcosis (CE) is a condition where a small tapeworm actually grows in the lungs, thus causing a cyst. The following article really explains it quite well, but the important point is that any time you run across these cysts in an animal’s lungs you should be extremely careful and assume that the meat is NOT fit for consumption.

Here is the article:



Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is the larval cystic stage (called echinococcal cysts) of a small taeniid-type tapeworm (Echinococcus granulosus) that may cause illness in intermediate hosts, generally herbivorous animals and people who are infected accidentally. Ultrasonographic appearance of echinococcal cysts is seen in the image below.

WHO Informal Working Group on Echinococcosis stand WHO Informal Working Group on Echinococcosis standardized ultrasound classification of echinococcal cysts. Image courtesy of World Health Organization (WHO).

Three other species are recognized within the genus Echinococcus, and they may also develop in the human host and cause various forms of echinococcosis (hydatidosis). E granulosus is discussed separately from the other 3 species, notably Echinococcus multilocularis, which causes alveolar echinococcosis, because of marked differences in epidemiology, clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment.

In the normal life cycle of Echinococcus species, adult tapeworms (3-6 mm long) inhabit the small intestine of carnivorous definitive hosts, such as dogs, coyotes, or wolves, and echinococcal cyst stages occur in herbivorous intermediate hosts, such as sheep, cattle, and goats. A number of other suitable intermediate hosts, such as camels, pigs, and horses, are involved in the life cycle in many parts of the world.

In the typical dog-sheep cycle, tapeworm eggs are passed in the feces of an infected dog and may subsequently be ingested by grazing sheep; they hatch into embryos in the intestine, penetrate the intestinal lining, and are then picked up and carried by blood throughout the body to major filtering organs (mainly liver and/or lungs). After the developing embryos localize in a specific organ or site, they transform and develop into larval echinococcal cysts in which numerous tiny tapeworm heads (called protoscolices) are produced via asexual reproduction.

These protoscolices are infective to dogs that may ingest viscera containing echinococcal cysts (with protoscolices inside), mainly because of the habit in endemic countries of feeding dogs viscera of home-slaughtered sheep or other livestock. Protoscolices attach to the dog’s intestinal lining and, in approximately 40-50 days, grow and develop into mature adult tapeworms, once again capable of producing infective eggs to be passed to the outside environment with the dog’s feces.

Because humans play the same role of intermediate hosts in the tapeworm life cycle as sheep, humans also become infected by ingesting tapeworm eggs passed from an infected carnivore. This occurs most frequently when individuals handle or contact infected dogs or other infected carnivores or inadvertently ingest food or drink contaminated with fecal material containing tapeworm eggs.


In primary echinococcosis, metacestodes develop from oncospheres after peroral infection with E granulosus eggs. In secondary echinococcosis, larval tissue proliferates after being spread from the primary site of the metacestode. This can occur by spontaneous trauma such as induced rupture or during medical interventions.

In primary echinococcosis, larval cysts may develop in every organ. Most patients (as many as 80%) have single-organ involvement and harbor a solitary cyst. Approximately two thirds of patients experience liver echinococcosis. The second most common organ involved is the lung.

In each anatomic site, cysts are surrounded by the periparasitic host tissue (pericyst), which encompasses the endocyst of larval origin. Inside the laminated layer, or hyaline membrane, the cyst is covered by a multipotential germinal layer, giving rise to the production of brood capsules and protoscolices. The central cavities of cysts of E granulosus are filled with clear fluid, numerous brood capsules, and protoscolices. In addition, daughter cysts of variable size are often detected. The growth rate of cysts is highly variable and may depend on strain differences. Estimates of the average increase of cyst diameter vary (approximately 1-1.5 cm/y).

The clinical features of cystic echinococcosis are highly variable. The spectrum of symptoms depends on the following:

  • Involved organs
  • Size of cysts and their sites within the affected organ or organs
  • Interaction between the expanding cysts and adjacent organ structures, particularly bile ducts and the vascular system of the liver
  • Complications caused by rupture of cysts
  • Bacterial infection of cysts and spread of protoscolices and larval material into bile ducts or blood vessels
  • Immunologic reactions such as asthma, anaphylaxis, or membranous nephropathy secondary to release of antigenic material



United States

Unfortunately, realistic national or international figures do not exist for total numbers of cases of cystic echinococcosis. The problem is that, until recently, the only basis for diagnosis was surgery, and few countries systematically reported cases. When they did report cases, uneven reporting occurred in different regions of countries. The groups most at risk of cystic echinococcosis are usually underserved by medical services.

However, the increasing use of mass screenings with ultrasonography in endemic countries is generating important epidemiological data. As different cyst stages have been classified according to their sonographic appearance, attempts are being made to match the cyst morphology with the natural history of the cyst. This is evident with the World Health Organization (WHO) standardized classification (see Imaging). At a community level, the relative proportions of cyst types can provide epidemiological information on disease transmission and help design effective control programs.[1]

In the United States, transmission of E granulosus in the dog-sheep cycle is known to occur most frequently in several western states, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. In Arizona and New Mexico, cystic echinococcosis is known to occur in American Indians belonging to the Zuni, Navajo, and Santo Domingo tribes, whose members live in close proximity to their animals, kill many of their own animals each year, and generally have limited knowledge concerning the life cycle and transmissibility of the parasite. In the United States, Utah has had the highest number of surgical cases of those states involved, with approximately 45 cases from 1944-1994.


E granulosus is a cosmopolitan parasite, and endemic regions exist in each continent. Considerable public health problems occur in many areas, including countries of Central America and South America, Western and Southern/Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, some sub-Saharan countries, Russia and adjacent countries, and China. Annual incidence rates of diagnosed human cases per 100,000 inhabitants vary widely, from less than 1 case per 100,000 to high levels. For example, rates in the indicated regions are as follows:

  • Greece – 13 cases per 100,000 persons
  • Rural regions of Uruguay – 75 cases per 100,000 persons
  • Rural regions of Argentina – 143 cases per 100,000 persons in Rio Negro province
  • Parts of Xinjiang province of China – 197 cases per 100,000 persons
  • Parts of the Turkana district of Kenya – 220 cases per 100,000 persons

Cystic echinococcosis causes not only illness but also productivity losses in human and agricultural animal population, and it can have large societal impacts on endemic areas. Research is being conducted to evaluate the burden of disease, including nonmonetary costs.


Cystic echinococcosis is rarely fatal. Occasionally, deaths occur because of anaphylactic shock or cardiac tamponade in heart echinococcosis.[2]

Rare locations of the cyst (muscle, bone, brain, orbit) can cause dramatic and disabling symptoms (blindness, paralysis).[3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]


No racial predilection exists.


In some endemic countries, females are affected more than males because their lifestyle habits and practices bring them into contact with the parasite.


Individuals of all ages are affected. In some endemic countries, children have higher infection rates because they are most likely to play with dogs.


Months or years may pass before an individual exhibits any signs or symptoms of infection with the cystic larval stages.

During the natural course of infection, the fate of E granulosus cysts is variable. Some cysts may grow to a certain size and then persist without noticeable change for many years. Other cysts may rupture spontaneously or collapse and completely disappear.

Spontaneous or traumatic cyst rupture and spillage of viable parasitic tissue during interventional procedures may result in secondary echinococcosis. Cysts may rupture into the peritoneal or pleural cavity, the pericardium, the bile ducts, the gastrointestinal tract, or even blood vessels, leading to extraordinary manifestations and severe complications.

Spontaneous cure of cystic echinococcosis is possible.

After a variable incubation period, infections may become symptomatic if cysts are growing and exerting pressure on adjacent tissue and inducing other pathologic findings.

Sudden symptomatology is usually due to spontaneous or traumatic cyst rupture.

Usually, cysts do not induce clinical symptoms before they have reached a size sufficient to exert pressure on adjacent organs.


The presentation of human echinococcosis is protean. Patients come to the clinician’s attention for different reasons, such as when a large cyst has some mechanical effect on organ function or rupture of a cyst causes acute hypersensitivity reactions. The cyst may also be discovered accidentally during radiographic examination, body scanning, surgery, or for other clinical reasons.[11]

Common chief symptoms are upper abdominal discomfort and pain, poor appetite, and a self-diagnosed mass in the abdomen. Physical findings are hepatomegaly, a palpable mass if on the surface of the liver or other organs, and abdominal distention. If cysts in the lung rupture into the bronchi, intense cough may develop, followed by vomiting of hydatid material and cystic membranes.[12]

Liver findings may include the following:

  • Hepatomegaly
  • Jaundice
  • Biliary colic–like symptoms
  • Cholangitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver abscess
  • Portal hypertension
  • Ascites
  • Inferior vena cava compression or thrombosis
  • Budd-Chiari syndrome
  • Cyst rupture, peritoneal spread, and peritonitis
  • Hemobilia
  • Biliary fistula to skin, bronchial system, or gastrointestinal tract

Lung findings may include the following:

  • Tumor of chest
  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough, expectoration, and dyspnea
  • Pneumothorax
  • Eosinophilic pneumonitis
  • Pleural effusion
  • Parasitic lung embolism
  • Hemoptysis
  • Biliptysis

Heart findings may include the following:

  • Tumor
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Embolism

Breast masses may be found (must be differentiated from neoplasms).[11]

Spine masses with neurologic symptoms may be found.

Brain masses with neurologic symptoms may be found.




So there you have it. If you see any animal lungs that have cysts that resemble the picture above you should immediately assume that the meat is tainted and not fit for consumption. Make sure to take a picture of the infected animal’s lungs and you can forward it to any number of organizations that are monitoring this condition.

Again, there is much speculation as to why this is occurring, but much finger pointing is direction towards the wolves that were reintroduced to the Western United States. From what I have read, the current species of wolf that was introduced is actually a different species than what originally lived here. That also accounts for the tremendous increase of wolf numbers over the last several years.

No matter what side of the wolf debate you are on or even if the wolf was the cause of this tapeworm that is infecting the herbivores of the Western States it is 100% fact that this is a problem that needs to be researched.

Be careful out there!!

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Setting Duck Decoys

by Woodsbum

Every year a large group of people get dressed up in warm clothes, grab their shotguns, and trudge through the marshes of America to try their hand at duck hunting. The humorous part of this ongoing battle against the “fowl” elements is the amateurish attempts some of these people make at luring in their prey. Every weekend I set my decoys and sit there while ducks come into my spread while the less skilled hunters around me get irritated and start shooting in my direction after they realize that their decoys are doing nothing. It never seems to fail. It is not a joke when I say that I have had hunters get annoyed with their own inadequacies and start shooting towards the ducks coming into my decoys from distances over 150 yards.

One of the most dangerous and mind blowing incidents occurred when a group of hunters moved to a point directly across a slough from me. These guys were no more than 50 yards away and kept shooting right over my head. One even shot into the middle of my decoys. When I finally just got up and started picking up my gear they actually yelled at me and were upset that I was leaving.

Not everyone has this type of situation arise when they are out duck hunting, but there are many people that do. What I don’t understand, above and beyond the whole safety factor, is why they don’t just learn to set their own decoys and practice blowing more than a mallard call. Not all ducks are mallards or sound like mallards. There are other calls out there.

First thing you need to remember when you are setting up your decoys: If they appear to be in a pattern, you set them up incorrectly. Ducks Unlimited has many articles about setting duck decoys and arranging them in a proper pattern. Ducks tend only fly in formation, sometimes. You don’t see them floating around a like as if they were attempting to look like a US Navy attack formation. It doesn’t happen.

Second thing to remember is that ducks like to remain a bit segregated. You usually don’t find different species of ducks floating around in clumps with other species. Although you might find several different species floating around the same area of a pond, you won’t normally find widgeon, mallard, teal, bufflehead, and canvasback ducks all clumped into a large group. They will group together, but separate.

Third is the fact that not all ducks sound like a $12 mallard call. Go buy a few more calls and learn to blow them. The $20 Duck Commander teal call allows you to make sounds like a teal, widgeon and pintail all with that same call. Also note that not all calls are made the same. Your Duck Commander Mule might sound ok, but with proper practice and some skill a Zink ATM Green Machine will sound better.

Here are two pictures of one morning spread. I had to modify things a bit because of the current and depth of the water out towards the middle. If you notice I clustered the decoys together into both the “feeding” and the “chilling” areas. There is also a lone duck up near the grass and a couple off the picture to the left also near the grass. I did the because it was a really cold morning and I had seen groups of ducks near to shore while driving out. The second picture is the other group that I clustered off to the right. Just so you know, this hunting trip bagged me 5 ducks on a really slow morning.

Left side of spread, a few off camera farther left

Left side of spread, a few off camera farther left

Right side of spread, a few in the grass off camera to right

Right side of spread, a few in the grass off camera to right

Here is a great article from Ducks Unlimited about setting duck decoys. If you notice, they also talked about keeping your decoys from looking too uniform or like they are in a pattern of any sort.

So the long story has come to this:

  1. Don’t bunch up all your decoys into a small group.
  2. Don’t lay your decoys out as if they are in formation.
  3. Don’t put your decoys into a “horseshoe” pattern because it will look like a pattern.
  4. Do make sure your different species are segregated and in a group that looks like a bunch of ducks.
  5. Do make sure you have several duck calls for the different species duck decoys you have.
  6. Do make sure you know how to properly use your decoys.
  7. Do have fun.

Good luck everyone and happy hunting.

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Pittman Robertson Act

by Woodsbum

With the amount of hate posts I see on FB concerning hunting due to the dentist harvesting a lion, I find it completely asinine. Due to a lack of education among the general population, people somehow think that all conservation programs are funded by some “Money Fairy” or by income taxes. It truly is a shame that these “do-gooders” don’t think or research a subject before they start protesting.

To help educate people a little bit about the source of funding with regard to conservation and wildlife programs, I have put together this post on one huge contributor.

The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 (Pittman-Robertson Act) took an already existing 11% excise tax on firearms and ammunition, gave control over to the Secretary of the Interior, and had it redistributed to the states based upon various factors which include number of hunters. This money must only be used by the State’s fish and game department. Any use of the money must be approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Such projects such as research, surveys, wildlife management, habitat, land acquisition for hunting and leasing of land are all acceptable uses of these funds. To break it down simply, it must be used for conservation and wildlife management programs.

A years progressed additional taxes upon handguns and archery equipment were also included in the Act with half of that money going to education and training programs.

Since adoption of this Act over 2 billion dollars in funds were collected in the first 50 years. States are required to match the Act’s funding at a 25% State/75% P-R fund ratio. The states matched over 500 million in the first 50 years of the Act. These funds were mainly through hunting license sales.

Although hunters, firearms users, and archery enthusiasts pay for almost all the conservation programs in America recent estimates show that over 70% of the people using the benefits of these programs are not hunters nor do they contribute via taxes or licenses. Some areas these figures are as high as 95%.

Here is a short video about this Act and the benefits we have seen from this program.

As you can see from the video and any research you might have done on your own, this act is almost single handedly responsible for the conservation and preservation of wildlife resources that we have today. If it was not for this Act we would not be able to enjoy the animals we see in nature nor would be be able to responsibly harvest these animals for personal consumption.

For those that do not hunt, buy guns/ammunition or purchase archery equipment: The next time you see someone that makes a firearm/archery/hunting license purchase treat them with the respect that they deserve. You may even want to quit being a freeloader and make some of those type purchases yourself if you enjoy seeing the natural beauty of America and love all the wildlife that it holds.

For those of you who do contribute through your purchases: Keep it up and since these freeloading “do-gooders” would never thank you I will….  Even though my wife thinks my purchasing single handedly funds our Fish and Wildlife Regional Office I know the $1k’s I spend annually are only a drop in the bucket……

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by Woodsbum

Pipsissewa is an herb that has been credited with having medicinal properties. It can be applied directly to the skin for sores and blisters. If brewed into tea it is used for UTI, bladder/kidney stones, fluid retention, spasms, epilepsy, anxiety and cancer. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make the medicine. They can be dried then ground up or used fresh.



The interesting thing about the name of this plant is that it is actually a Cree word that means “to break into smaller parts.” From what I read, this is HIGHLY effective on kidney and bladder stones.

If you don’t want to go traipsing through the woods looking for this plant, you can just order it online. Here is one supplier I found.

Rather than buying it you can go find it out in the wild. There is even a trail over near Okanogan/Wenatchee that sports the name of this plant. Just look in drier wooded areas or near sandy soil. It is fairly prevalent in those locations. In another words, check the tree lines on the East side of the state.

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Gun Dog Videos

by Woodsbum

Yesterday I picked up a couple Gun Dog videos, Retriever and Pointing Dogs. Although I have been around hunting dogs and training of hunting dogs my entire life, I was wondering if there was anything new that I might pick up to use. The videos were actually quite impressive in the manner that they step you through the puppy training process all the way to the point where you have a dog that will actually hunt.

Gun Dog Retrievers

Gun Dog Retrievers

The first couple sections built upon pressure as a way to exert control. It started with them simply holding the puppy and applying pressure until they quit squirming. They then used that with several other advanced obedience commands later on, especially with regard to leash work.

Gun Dog Pointing Dogs

Gun Dog Pointing Dogs

One thing that I am not used to was treat training. I know that it makes the training process easier, but I am not as fond of that method as praise training. I know some people may not agree with me, but I have found that dogs seem more bonded to their people through praise training than treat training. When professional trainers are getting dogs ready for clients, I can see how treat training is the way to go so that the dog will bond with their new people after they are built into hunting dogs.

I do love the way that they transitioned the puppy from feathers, to birds and integrated the gunshots into the whole mix. That was worth the price of the video just in seeing how they did it without stressing the dog. I look forward to watching the pointing dogs video to see how they train upland bird hunting. After watching my dog naturally pointing bugs in the yard, I am excited to see how well he picks this up. There is little doubt that we will get it with a little work because he is such a smart little guy.

My recommendation after watching these videos is that anyone training a hunting dog take some time to examine other people’s training techniques.

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