The VPR staff is a motley crew of musicophiles and journalists, engineers and development experts, Vermonters and transplants, lifelong radio folks and those for whom learning broadcast writing was like learning a second language (yours truly included!). That diversity is what makes VPR such an interesting place to work, and it often helps a piece of programming come together.
Case in point: Patti Daniels, Vermont Edition's senior producer, emails the staff yesterday: So here's a odd story we'd like to cover: apparently Vermont is the only state that allows pike shooting. As we understand it, this entails shooting your rifle (shotgun?) into the water to stun pike into submission, and then pulling them up in a basket. Or maybe a sack. If you know someone who shoots pike, please let the Vermont Edition team know.
A few hours later, Patti writes: VPR's staff has a (surprising) wealth of information on pike shooting, or "pickerel shooting" in the local vernacular. I've learned there are no baskets or sacks needed, you just grab the stunned fish with your hands. Pike have nasty teeth, and this seems as potentially dangerous as shooting into the water in which you stand. Thanks again for your help.
But it didn't end there. Production Associate Ric Cengeri shared a bit of history: From a 2004 NY Times article: "Permitted from March 25 to May 25, only on Lake Champlain, fish shooting has probably existed for a century. It also used to be legal in New York, which borders the huge apostrophe-shaped lake.
Then, News Editor Ross Sneyd chimes in: We're all very much looking forward to the pickerel pie that Vermont Edition will be preparing after Jane heads out to the lake for a little target practice.
(I'm pretty sure he was kidding, but Jane does like to experience her stories first-hand!)
Next, a question from Audio Engineer Sam Sanders: Pike and pickerel are not the same fish -- are they?
Reporter Susan Keese: I seem to recall that pike were incredibly bony, scaly (sharp), hard to eviscerate and turn into a meal. I can't imagine adding buckshot to the disagreeable equation. I think the only excuse for fishing for them is to get away from home.
Production Associate Brian Jones, himself an avid fisherman: They are not the same, but they are very similar members of the same family. Pike (Esox lucius) grow to be much larger than Pickerel (Esox niger). Otherwise, a slight difference in coloration is the main difference... Attached is a pic of the largest Northern Pike I've caught, and of course released. 32 inches. (At left).
Membership and Underwriting Director Dan Palow said, O boy, here come the fish tails!
Knowing that we are persnickety about grammar, he follows up, yes, I meant tails not tales.
You'd think it would have stopped there, but as I write this, I'm listening to a conversation in the kitchen about this very topic. I love this place.