Sunday, December 30, 2007

Improving Arrow Penetration

To improve arrow penetration, reduce wind drag and make your arrows easier to remove from the target during practice, apply a thin coating of either a gloss tire gel or a quality auto wax. Personally, I use Klasse sealant which is a high tech auto glaze. It last longer, is essentially odor free and is the slickest product I have found. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cold Feet

There is nothing worse than cold feet that has been caused by of all things, sweaty feet. If the conditions are right and your choice of socks were not, you will end up with sweaty feet which will lead to cold feet in a hurry.

The best way to prevent this, other than proper foot gear, is to use an antiperspirant on your feet. Make sure to use a scent free product. You don't want the heat of your feet carrying the fhu fhu smell of your antiperspirant all through the woods.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Money Talks

Unfortunately, Politicians make most (in my opinion) decisions based on either keeping their jobs or money. For once this may help the sportsmen, as long as we make a point to let our elected officials know about the facts revealed in a report released by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. The CSF sent a copy of this full report to all Members of Congress but I think that if we each sent our Representatives a copy it would do more good. The full report can be downloaded here.

Some highlights of the report are:

  • America's 34 million hunters and anglers directly support 1.6 million jobs.
  • They spend more than a billion dollars a year just in license, stamps, tags, and permit sales.
  • They pay $25 billion in federal, state, and local taxes which is enough to pay the salaries 0f 527,900 police officers or 454,000 firefighters or 476,870 public school teachers.
  • Taxes paid by hunters have enabled the purchase of more than 15.4 million acres of federal and state managed wilderness and national wildlife refuge land.
  • If Sportsmen as a whole were a major corporation, they would be among the top 20 largest companies in the world. Revenue generated by sportsmen exceeds the combined revenues of Microsoft, Google, eBay and Yahoo.
  • Fishermen spend more than $1 billion on the purchase of bait alone.
Economic impact is not the only "big stick" that us sportsmen carry. We also have tremendous political influence. Outdoor enthusiasts comprise 1/3 of all voters, one of the largest voting blocs in the nation. 8 out of 10 sportsmen say that a candidate's position on sportsmen's issues is important in determining for whom they will vote. 73% of Americans approve of hunting and 95% approve of fishing. Only 3% that appose either or both hunting and fishing are from an animal rights philosophy (isn't it surprising how we only hear about the animal rights issues in the media).

With this information we should all feel a little bit better about the future of our sporting life. However, we must use this information to our advantage the next time the animal rights groups threaten to take away what we all love. The Humane Society and PETA don't want people to know the truth and they are very aggressive and persuasive at pushing their view points. Make it a point to inform your Representatives about the financial impact that we as sportsmen make and more importantly the political clout that we have as a group. If they want their job for another term they had better look at who is footing the bill.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ice Safety

If you will be going out on the ice this winter please assume that "There is no safe ice" and read the information on this web page put together by the US Army. No fish is worth losing your life over. Play it safe and have fun.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Seeing Blue

Research has proven that deer can see color. The exact colors and the intensity is still being researched but the one color that the researchers are sure that deer can see is Blue.

This is one color I wish that deer couldn't see because I'm a creature of habit and comfort, which means that I wear blue jeans quite a bit while hunting deer. I guess that will have to come to an end.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Storing Your Gun

I was visiting with a local gunsmith friend this morning and the subject of cleaning/storing guns came up. He stated that he never oils the outside of his guns. This came as a surprise but he went on to tell me that oil floats on top of water. If moisture gets under the oil or was there when the oil was applied it will be trapped there and can cause rusting and pitting. He said the best thing to do is to wipe down the exterior of your gun with a silicone impregnated cloth. Water always beads up on silicone just like a car wax. He said he also uses carnuba wax on some of his guns.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Preparing Your Gun for Cold Weather

If you are planning on some late season hunting with your favorite gun it is time to make a few small changes before going afield.

Gun oil/grease and cold temperatures do not mix well. If you are using an autoloader, this advice is especially important. Before taking off on your cold weather hunting trip take your gun apart and spray everything, except the gas mechanism on autoloaders, with a good gun degreaser to remove all traces of oil and/or grease. Let the gun parts dry for a short time and then apply a graphite power to the moving parts. Put the gun back together and go hunting.

When you are done hunting you should again clean the gun to remove the graphite powder and other residue and then apply a good gun oil.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

PETA Signs


Take a look at these signs from PETA. Remember also that the Humane Society is in the same boat as PETA and all sportsman need to get involved in fighting back against these groups. If we expect someone else to fight the fight then we will all lose.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Delayed Posts

I just wanted to check in with everyone and apologize for the low number of posts lately. With the fall hunting season and fall walleye fishing I have not had much time to sit behind the computer....and neither should you...get out there and enjoy the fall!! Keep checking back as I'll be adding posts sporadically and I promise to get back into regular posting as soon as my freezer is full.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

For Great Tasting Deer

Meat preparation begins BEFORE THE SHOT! Older deer (bucks in particular) usually have a stronger taste (gamy), and will usually be harder to tenderize. So if meat is what you are after, first and foremost, learn to identify and choose an animal between 1&3 years old. Does are usually the best choice. Try to shoot a calm animal. Animals that have been spooked or are running when shot tend to have a "gamy" taste when cooked. The shot...careful shot placement is ALWAYS important! Proper shot placement is not only an ETHICAL MUST...a quick kill also insures the best tasting venison! Broadside shots, through both lungs are best. This insures a quick, humane kill and destroys a minimal amount of meat. Once your deer is down...gut it, clean the inside of the body cavity (use clean dry rags and keep water away from the inside of the carcass to prevent bacteria growth) and COOL it down ASAP! In the unfortunate event of a gut shot CLEANING of the body cavity becomes TOP PRIORTY! If you need to use water to clean the body cavity out because of a gut shot then be sure to wipe the body cavity dry with a clean rag. I wish you all good hunting this fall.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Fishing Females - Reader of the Month


Dear OutdoorU,

Once again I have out-fished the guys in the boat! While fishing in the Gulf off the shore of Florida I was able to bring over 20 fish into the boat (red snapper, mangrove snapper, striped bass, spotted bass and some other stuff.) The two men in the boat caught 6 fish total. One was a "lizard" fish and another a catfish, neither of which the Captain would allow in the boat. Tee Hee.

I've attached a picture of the one of the only fish we kept (for shark bate) because the captain believed in catch and release. Next time I take a charter I'm going to make sure we have a "filet and release" cruise.

Love your sight and hope to learn enough to keep out fishing all they guys in the boat.

Sincerely,
Anonymous Fishing Female

Friday, November 2, 2007

Timeless Bowhunting

Once again I want to recommend a book for those of you that bowhunt or are thinking about bowhunting. Timeless Bowhunting by Roy S. Marlow has been one of the best books I've ever read concerning archery.

It covers every detail of the mechanics of archery for both compound shooters and traditional shooters. The book is laid out with easy to understand chapters that are only a few pages per topic. I like books that I can pick up for just a few minutes when I get a chance, read a chapter and put it back down. The problem I had with this book is that I'd read a chapter and say to myself, oh what the heck, one more chapter and pretty soon the book was done.

If you are at all interested in a deeper understanding of archery and want an easy way to learn about it, then this book is for you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Red Line versus Red Hooks

I have always wondered how they can advertise red fishing line as being invisible to fish yet you always here that fish bite better on red hooks. How can this be? Someone must be lying.

Well today I learned the answer on the Huntcast podcast. The answer is that the red color in fishing line is translucent. This translucence will cause the red color to disappear in about 4 feet of water.

The red color of a fishing hook is opaque and reflects light which will make the red color visible down past 100 feet.

Now I feel better knowing that no one has been lying.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Controlling Your Scent With Chlorophyll

In the pursuit of eliminating human odor you may want to give Chlorophyll tablets a try. Chlorophyll has been used by doctors for years in treating patients with bad breath and body odors. Chlorophyll works on the inside of the human body at the source of the odors. If the right amount of Chlorophyll is taken your body will produce very few odors which is the goal we all want to achieve while hunting deer.

One hunter, I forgot his name, on a recent Podcast said that he stops eating meat prior to and during the hunting season. He also shaves his head and the rest of his body hair. Another thing he stated as being essential to his success was the use of Chlorophyll tablets. He said that you will know when you are taking enough of the tablets based on the odor of... well you know. He stated that when there was no odor left you are taking the right amount.

I don't want to get into how to take Chlorophyll, when to take it or how much to take. I also don't want to talk about any potential safety issues, even though I'm not aware of any. What I want to do is let you know that Chlorophyll is an option for scent control and to encourage you to check into on your own. I think you will be happy with the results. By the way, you can buy Chlorophyll tablets, without a prescription, from most pharmacies.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Don't Spoil Your Big Game

The #1 cause of spoiling wild game comes from washing out the carcass or icing down the carcass. I know this sounds strange and counter intuitive but believe me in this matter.

My Father and Brother operate a professional meat processing plant and each year deer are brought in that have spoiled because the hunter washed out the inside of the deer or iced it down thinking they were doing the right thing.

The bacteria that spoils meat needs water/moisture to grow and do its damage. Without the moisture there can be no bacteria growth.

After field dressing your big game, drain out all of the fluid and then using a clean rag wipe out the inside of the carcass as good as you can. Be sure to wipe in every nook and cranny, especially between the hind legs and up into the throat area. Prop open the chest to allow for drying and cooling.

Don't skin your animal until you are ready to process the meat. The skin will protect the meat and keep it from drying out. If the temperatures in your garage stays at or below 40 degrees you can hang your animal to age for 7-10 days. If temperatures in your garage get above the 40 degree mark because of a warmer fall you should take your animal to a meat processor or process the game animal yourself right away. Just be aware that if you do not allow your deer to age for a while you will not have as tender meat. If you are going to be making all of your deer into hamburger or sausage the aging process can be eliminated all together. Another option is to quarter your animal and age the meat in a refrigerator.

You owe it to yourself and to the animal to properly take care of the meat after the kill. Remember, wild game is the best organic protein that you can eat. Check the price of true organic beef and you'll see that venison is a bargain. At least that is my story and I'm sticking to it :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weighing Fish Without A Scale

Carrying a scale all of time can be a pain and using a scale can do damage to the fish. An alternate way to weigh a fish is by measuring it and doing some calculations. You can either do the calculations in the field or just take the measurements and do the math at home. It is surprising how accurate this method is.

The correct way to measure any fish for International Game and Fish Association (I.G.F. A.) rules is from the middle of the tail in the fork to the tip of the nose. Use the length and width to figure out the weight of the fish.

Here is the math needed to weigh a fish without the need of a scale. Calculate the size of the fish with the formula: length times girth squared, divided by eight hundred e.g. 33” x 21” x 21” /800 = 18.191 pounds. Anglers who don’t have a measuring device can use dollars for size comparison with photographs for later calculations. A dollar is almost exactly six inches long; take a photograph with the dollar bill in the same frame to get a near exact idea of how big the fish is. You can also make markings on your fishing rod or take a measurement of your arm. What works great though is to go to a sewing/fabric shop and buy a flexible measuring tape. The roll up to fit in your pocket, they are waterproof and they are cheap.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fishing Tips from the Experts

The more tips and tricks that you have the better luck you’ll bring to
your fishing. As a beginner you’ll want to try a variety of techniques
until you find what works best for you and the water that you’re fishing
in.

• Thick weeds: When you’re fishing in thick weeds the best lure
that you can use is a spinnerbait or a crankbait that is shallow
running. Make sure that you cast parallel to the edge of the weed
flow if you can. Remember look in the inside edges of weedbeds.
• Timber pileups: When you’re fishing in deep timber your main
focus will be to not get your line tangled up. Use a plastic worm
or a jigging spoon for the best results.
• Fishing from fallen trees: If you want to fish from a fallen tree
make sure that you pull back your bait so that it runs in parallel to
the tree limbs. This is because the water is very shallow and you
don’t want to disturb the area any more than you have to.
• Working the area: Make sure that you work the area that you’re
fishing as thoroughly as possible. Try a few different lures if the
first one doesn’t bring you success. You might want to think
about returning again at a different time of day.
• Keep a close eye on your lines: Make sure that you keep a
constant eye on your lines particularly when you’re retrieving
them. Remember that when the weather is cold the bass can strike
and completely miss the lures.
• Avoid excess noise: The more noise that you make the less the
bass will bite.
• Night fishing: Night fishing is a great option in the summer
months when the water temperature during the day is just too hot
for bass to swim high in the water.
• Creeks and coves: During the fall months make sure that you
check out creeks and coves since this is where baitfish tend to
hover...and this means the bass won’t be far behind.
• Using surface plugs: When you’re using surface plugs try to pay
as much attention as you can to the angle of your rod. You should
be holding the rod low when you have the lure close to you and
higher when the lure is further away.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tree Stand Safety

The most common injury among deer hunters comes from falling while using a tree stand. Don't become a statistic this fall, no pun intended, follow these guidelines to stay safe.

  • Always wear a safety harness when hunting from a stand, including when ascending and descending.
  • Never climb into a permanent stand that you did not build yourself, or have not carefully checked out.
  • Never hunt from tree limbs.
  • Be sure the commercial stand you have is safe. Practice with it before using it in the woods.
  • Never climb a tree that is too small or too large for your stand to fit safely.
  • Be sure your stand is level at the height you wish to hunt.
  • Always stand up slowly and be sure of your balance.
  • Be sure you are steady and braced before shooting a firearm.
  • Always use a haul line for your gun or bow. Don not attempt to climb a stand with your equipment.
  • Never climb a dead tree, or one with dead limbs above your head.

Hopefully, everyone will follow this advice and have a safe and productive hunting season this year.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Deterring Thieves

Unfortunately, not everyone that will be in the woods this fall are upstanding citizens and ethical hunters. Each fall numerous ground blinds and tree stands are stolen. To help prevent your gear from being stolen try hanging a small sign on your ground blind or tree stand before you leave. It's amazing what a small sign that says "Smile, you are on hidden camera" will do. Most people know that deer trail cameras are widely used and the potential thief may think twice about stealing your gear if they think there is a chance of being caught on camera.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Early Season Pheasants

Early in the season, pheasants sit tighter, allowing the hunter and dogs to approach them in their resting areas. Since the birds haven't been pressured much at this point, shots are usually at close ranges, and a twelve gauge shotgun with modified or improved chokes and #6 shot make an excellent early season load. This is also the time of year to unlimber your 20 or 28 gauge gun for these early birds.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tying Effective Knots

Very few knots will ever be at 100% of the rated strength of the line. However, if you moisten your knots before you pull them tight they will be much more effective. Other things that you can do to tie a better knot include: Tighten them very slowly, Keep an eye out for any weak frays and test every knot by making sure to pull it hard. These techniques will reduce the chance of knot failure occurring at that moment when you least want it.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Traditional Archery Website

For those of you that may be interested in traditional archery or are already a traditional archer be sure to check out Pete Ward's website. I've been searching for quality information on traditional bows etc. and this website is one of the best I've found. Thanks Pete for the good work, it is appreciated.

Training a Retriever Pup

I wish that I would have known about this tip when my lab was a puppy. He is a fantastic retriever both on land and in the water, but in the water Charlie likes to take the fastest way back to shore and then run the bank back to me. This is a bad habit for a retriever and it would not bode well during any competitions.

A method I recently read about for training retriever pups is to go to a small pond that is encircled by tall grass or cattails. Beat down a small path to the waters edge and do your water retrieving training from there. The pup will have no choice but to return to you if they want out of the water. When the pup does get back to you, lay on the praise. After a few sessions of this training it should be engrained into the pups mind that he needs to retrieve directly to you if he wants the praise and the chance to retrieve the dummy again.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fluorocarbon Line

If you are using fluorocarbon fishing line you need to know that this line does not have a memory. What this means is that in a way it is like salt water taffy. When it gets stretched out it stays streched out. This stretching is the cause of much frustration for the fisherman because it is along this stetched out section that most break offs will occur. Do yourself a favor and the next time you get snagged while using fluorocarbon line. Back up your boat as close to the snag as possible, pull a few more feet off of your reel, cut the line and re-tie. Be sure to retrieve your cut line from the water and hopefully your lure also.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Practice Calling Deer

If you don't have any faith in a deer call or are afraid of scaring deer away, only use it after you see a deer that you are not going to shoot! You will get to see that it doesn't scare them and you will get to see their reactions. Make sure to use the appropriate call though or you just might confirm to yourself that they don't work.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Boat Landing Etiquette

Don't become the victim of boat ramp rage. Learn the following method of unloading and loading your boat for a more enjoyable time at the boat landing.

PREPARING FOR LAUNCH:

Find a quiet spot in the parking lot away from the launch lane traffic. Some ramps provide lanes to "prep" the boat for the water ("make ready" area).

Remove all tie-downs except the winch hook attached to the bow eye of the boat. Remove any outboard or stern-drive tie-downs or supports. Anything that can be detached from the trailer should be placed inside the tow vehicle.

Stow needed gear and required equipment in the boat. Make a thorough pre-launch check of accessories (bilge pump, lights, battery switches, etc.) to ensure they are working.

Place any maneuvering aides equipment (boat hooks, paddles, fenders, anchors, etc.) within easy reach. Store lines where they are handy. It is a good idea to secure at least one mooring line to a bow cleat.

Check the boat over carefully one more time. THE BOW EYE WINCH LINE SHOULD STILL BE SECURED and the engine raised, though ready to be lowered.


AT THE RAMP:

Wait patiently in line at the launch ramp. When it is your turn, stay in a single lane! Pull your rig onto the ramp and back the trailer until the wheels are at the water's edge. Be slow and deliberate. This boating activity requires a degree of precision developed only with practice. (Practice during low use times in a parking lot or other large area.)

The launch procedure can be accomplished solo, but it is much easier with two people. The second person signals the tow vehicle driver when the boat and trailer are in position. Place the tow vehicle in GEAR or PARK. Put the emergency brake on.

The second person can board the boat and lower the outboard or stern-drive unit to its normal operating position. Be sure the lowered unit is not touching the ramp.

When given the signal, the vehicle driver backs slowly to a position where the engine's cooling water intakes are submerged. This assures the engine will receive adequate cooling water during warm-up, so no internal damage occurs.

Start the engine. Let it warm up. This prevents the engine from stalling at critical times when leaving the trailer.

Once the boat engine is running, check to see everything is operating properly. Ease the engine into and out of reverse a couple of times. If it doesn't stall, you are ready for the big step-- backing off the trailer.

Unhook the bow winch hook. If using a fixed bunk or adjustable trailer, have the tow vehicle driver back the trailer into the water until the boat begins to float free of the bunks or bolsters. This may mean backing the tow vehicle's rear wheels into the water. It should now be possible to shift the boat into reverse and slowly back off the trailer. If not, your helper might have to push back at the bow. If this effort does not help, have the boat driver sit in the stern of the boat while someone pushes the boat back. If none of these procedures work, the trailer and boat may need some adjustment.

A multiple-roller trailer differs somewhat in that as soon as the bow hook is released, the boat should roll off with very little effort. You need not back this type of trailer in nearly as deep as a bunk trailer. Use caution. The drive unit or outboard must remain in a slightly upright position so it will not hit the ramp as the boat rolls off the trailer.

Control the launch of a roller trailer with the boat's forward and reverse throttle. Once off, lower the drive unit.


RETRIEVING YOUR BOAT:

For boats with additional operators, drop off a person who is experienced in trailering to pick up the vehicle and trailer while the boat and occupants wait offshore. Do not block a ramp with an unattended boat or vehicle.

The line is formed by cars and trucks with trailers, not by boats already in the water waiting to be retrieved. Please wait your turn in line.

When first in line, back the trailer into the launch lane. The boat operator can slowly drive onto the trailer. Secure the winch hook to the bow eye. Winch the boat up to the stop and secure the winch. Be sure the boat is centered on the trailer and the lower unit is raised before pulling out.

Proceed to an uncongested area of the parking lot to further secure the boat.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Using Tire Pressure

You can get a lot farther off road this fall by altering your tire pressures for the conditions. The rules are pretty simple: If the tires need to penetrate to gain traction leave the tires at the pressures indicated on the sidewall. If the tires need sidewall protection increase the tire pressure by 20%. If the tires need to float over thick mud or soft sand decrease the tire pressure by as much as 50%, just be sure the you don't go too low or the wheel could damage the tire. In order for you to take advantage of changing tire pressures you will need to purchase a DC compressor. These are inexpensive and an item everyone should own anyway.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jigging for River Walleyes

Jigs are made to order for walleye fishing in rivers. Cast jigs into active water below dams, rock piles and other obstructions. Sand and gravel bars at the mouths of feeder streams are also good jigging bets. Some river specialists cast upstream and retrieve at cross angles to the current, letting the water carry the jig downstream during the retrieve. This "wind-in" covers lots of water while the jig simulates natural food being washed downstream.

Others cast downstream and slowly retrieve the jig back against the current. When current is strong enough, it's possible to work the jig in one spot without retrieving line. This approach enables you to hound a hot spot. Your bait stays in the water more with less casting.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fishing for the Young by Ted Takasaki

More than four out of five Americans fished as a child. Surveys show most adults who fish today started before their 13th birthday. That means the best way to preserve the future of the sport is to take kids fishing.

A day on the water can improve the bond between parent and kid or make you the hero of the neighborhood. Fishing builds self-esteem, independence, responsibility and decision-making.

All it takes is a little patience. Be sensitive to how children will judge the time they spent fishing. It's that judgment that will determine if you have a fishing pal for life.

Here's a few ideas to help;
* Start the trip long before you hook up the boat. Include youngsters in on planning. Show them where the lake or river is on the map. Show them hydro maps of the targeted waters. Build anticipation.

* Let them help with preparations by spending a night or two after dark with flashlights and trowels digging in the yard for nightcrawlers. Kids love to get dirty. And, you might just remember why you liked hanging out after dark long after mom called you home for dinner.

Take them to the store and let them pick out lots of goodies and things to drink.

Let them help make and wrap the sandwiches. Have them gather the sunscreen, insect repellent and sunglasses. Take a bird-watching guide along.

Spend some time in the yard teaching them how to cast. Show them what you mean by vertical jigging.

The point is the more they feel a part of the trip, the more they will work to make it a success.

* Check state regulations. Some require children under certain ages to wear safety jackets. If your state doesn't require them, it's still a good idea they do. Make certain theirs fits and is comfortable.

* Don't use Mickey Mouse gear even for small children. Tackle foul-ups are just as frustrating for them as they are for you. Spincasting reels are OK for youngsters. But, make certain they are good ones that won't break down.

* It's not a good idea to target muskies the first time out for a lot of obvious reasons. Kids want ACTION. They don't care if their fish are small. They just want something to pull on the line over and over and something to brag about at school on Monday morning.

Target schooling fish. Bluegills are good. Perch and crappies are good, too. Walleyes can be good at certain times. Do your homework to insure as much success as you can. Go when the odds of catching fish are highest.

* Use a simple slip-bobber rig for panfish. Kids love to watch for the bite. (And, so do we.)
Use a Thill float, a small hook and enough split shot to balance the rig to detect even light bites. Show them how to tie a simple Palomar knot. It's quick, good for many uses and it works.

Use wax worms and nightcrawler pieces for bluegills. Use wax worms or minnows for crappies. Your son or daughter might get a surprise in the form of a big bonus catfish or bass.

Don't get too fancy. Older kids can be taught to jig for walleyes and sauger in rivers. But, let them use heavier jigs, like 3/8 and 5/8th Fuzz-E-Grub jigs to keep them on the bottom in the strike zone. It's probably easier to teach them to use three-way rigs with heavier weights on the dropper. Same is true for Lindy rigging. Make sure the weight is a heavy one to teach them the importance of bottom contact.

When the bite is on, trolling for walleyes in lakes and reservoirs is simple and fun. Use planer boards and teach them how to spot strikes. Let them reel in the fish.

* Here's an important point: Kids don't care what kind of fish they catch. Make a big deal out of whatever they reel in.

Put away your prejudices, and applaud even carp. They fight great, and that's all children want. Nothing is more depressing than to watch a kid fight a fish for five fun-filled minutes only to hear the grown-ups in the boat say, "Oh, it's just a carp." The smile from the little fisherman disappears very quickly.

* Take lots of pictures or videotape. They let you relive the fun and reinforce the experience over and over again.

*Stop often for snacks and soda. As most parents know, hungry kids are tough to handle.

* Even if you don't plan to keep any fish, put the first one or two in the livewell. Let the kids check on them often. It gives them something to do. The same goes for the minnows. You'll be surprised how a trip to the livewell or bait bucket to check on the fish will perk up bored kids.

* We happen to think it's a good idea to take some fish home to eat. It is good to show children the angling process from water to table. It teaches kids there's nothing wrong with harvesting a few fish according to the state and local laws. Kids should know that there is a food chain and they are part of it.

* If you shore fish, let them explore. Countless hours can be filled with exciting discoveries, like crawdads hidden under rocks.

* Never, ever make them stay longer than they want. When fishing becomes a chore for them, you've lost.

Nearly a quarter of Americans who fish are under the age of 16. Someone has to show them how. Don't you think you should?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stalking Your Stand

This idea, which I would have never thought of comes from Byron Ferguson, the famous archery guy. Byron stated that you should stalk your stand. What this means is that you should approach your deer stand as if there is a deer standing by or below it. This makes so much sense because isn't the reason you placed your stand in the spot you did is because you expect deer to be by it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mathews Switchback For Sale

***SOLD***
Anyone out there interested in buying a like new Mathews Switchback. It is a left hand bow with a 30" draw. #60-#70 draw weight. The bow will include a Mathews drop-away rest, Specialty Archery peep & Loesch custom grip. I'm going to make the switch to traditional archery but need to sell this bow first. Email me at outdooru@gmail.com for more information.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Real Deer Story

I received these pictures in an email and I thought I would pass along the story and pictures. Pretty amazing stuff.

You won't believe this one. I was hunting out in Sidney this past weekend for my muzzleloader buck. Well I got him. I'll make a long story short.

First off, Mike kept telling me he saw a buck with an arrow through his head.
I thought he was full of it, but he kept telling me he saw it again.

Sat. evening we saw this buck jumping around going out of control from about 350 yards away. Mike told me it was probably the one with the arrow in its head. The buck was with another one that night.

The next morning I sat up in the tree stand and waited, all of a sudden at about 10 minutes after sun up there were two bucks that came right to the side of my stand, 30 yards. I saw the arrow instantly and didn't know what to think. Anyways, he ended up giving me a shot and I took him.

Looks like the arrow was in there probably at least a couple months or more. No blood or anything and you could move the arrow.




Forget the Bucks

You have spent the summer patterning a buck and now he is gone. Has the rut started? If it has you can pretty much forget about the pattern the buck developed during the summer and early fall. He has one thing on his mind and it's not his normal routine.

If you want to harvest a buck during the rut forget about him and look for the does. Find out what the does are doing, where they are doing it and when they are doing it. If you can pattern a doe during the rut you will also find the bucks.

Also remember that does get harassed a lot by bucks of all ages, waiting for her to go into estrus. To excape this harrassment many does will seek out the thickest cover they can find. The dominant bucks know this and if you find a doe holed up in thick cover you can bet that a visitor will appear at some point in time.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rut Week

If you need to pick a week of vacation for deer hunting, choose November 3rd - November 9th. In the Northern 2/3's of the United States this is the week that the first does of the year will likely come into estrus. If you live in the Southern 1/3 of the country you will need to do some local investigation of the deer activity and adjust these dates accordingly.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Light Minnows

If you are heading to your fishing spot by foot leave the heavy minnow bucket in the truck. Pick out the minnows that you want to use and put them in a zip lock bag with a little water. They will live for quite a while and if you plan on jigging it does not matter if a few die.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Velvet


If you are one of the lucky hunters this fall to kill an early season animal that is still in velvet consider it an early Christmas present. Not many hunters get the chance to haul such a trophy out of the woods.

However, if you are not careful you could do damage that the taxidermist can't fix. Follow these steps and your special trophy will grace your wall for years to come.

  1. Never, and I mean never use the antlers as a handle. Don't even lift the head up by the antlers for a picture. If the tips of the antlers are already showing you can be assured that the velvet is close to coming off naturally.
  2. Do not drag the animal on the ground. Use a sled or another means of transporting it out of the woods. If you can cape the animal in the field, do it.
  3. Keep the antlers out of the sun and protected from insects.
  4. Keep the antlers dry and cool.
  5. Do not lay or store the antlers on their side or upside down. Set them with the tips up to allow the blood to drain.
  6. Get the antlers to the taxidermist or the freezer as soon as possible.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Checklists

If you use a personal computer, create a folder called "Checklists" in which to store lists of items you don't want to forget the next time you leave on an outdoor excursion. In the folder, keep permanent lists for Boating, Deer Camp, Bass Fishing, Upland Hunting, etc. If you don't use a computer, type up the lists and keep them in a "Checklists" folder in your filing cabinet. After each outing you should adjust your checklist to include items your could have used and delete items that were not needed.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Field Judging Bears II

A quick and effective way to judge a bear in the field is to use a measuring stick. Find a stick or whatever you can find that is as close to 5 feet in length as possible. Lay this measuring stick on the ground near your bait. A female or young male bear will normally be 5 feet or less in length. If your bear is longer than your measuring stick you are most likely looking at an adult male bear.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Skunked

If your dog makes friends with a skunk this fall while hunting I have a tried and true recipe that will make your partner smell like new in short order.

Mix together these items and bath. If once doesn't do it give your pooch a second bath and the problem should be gone.

1 quart hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 tsp dish washing liquid

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Trophy Pictures

It takes a lot of hard work to bring down a trophy whitetail. To preserve and share the big event with others be sure to get good video or snapshots of your trophy. Ron Tussel of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team offers suggestions. Buy a set of glass eyes from a taxidermy supply house and insert them into your deer prior to pictures. Carry a pack of wet wipes and clean all blood from your hands as well as from the deer’s face and antlers. Pose the deer naturally; tuck the front legs under. Be conscious of your background to have a good clean photo that will showcase your trophy and speak volumes about a successful hunt.

Monday, August 27, 2007

So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

Fish want to live a comfortable life, just like we do. They want protection and they want food. If the water we are fishing does not provide these things it is unlikely that there will be fish there.

One of the most common mistakes I see fishermen making while fishing rivers and streams is that they are fishing bright water. We have to remember that fish don't have eyelids and when the sun is out the fish are going to look for some shade. If the water is clear the problem is even bigger.

Fish the areas that provide protection from the sun. These are the areas that fish will be hiding. If you are fishing on lakes the best protection a fish has from the sun is depth of water. Don't be fishing the shallow areas of the lake on bright sunny days.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Cool Rod


I had the chance to field test the EMMROD thanks to Doug Leier who received one from the manufacturer of the rod. If you have never heard of this rod before take a look at their web site. This is a unique rod that was a joy to use.

I took it to a local pond for some fast Bluegill action and the rod handled these guys with ease. I was hoping to get out and try it on some hard fighting catfish but that will have to be for another day.

I was using the Packer model and would love to give their spinning rod a try. Setting the hook was about the only difference I noticed between this rod and a regular 6 foot rod. It took a little more effort to set the hook because of the rod length but other than that the rod performed great.

Would I use this rod as my main rod? Probably not, but I would like to get one to have in the truck for those unexpected fishing opportunities. If I were heading into the back country on a hunting trip or if I was a backpacker or going trail riding I would not go without one of these rods.

These rods are very well made and definitely not a toy or gimmick. You can tell that some thought went into their making and even though they are not cheap I can't imagine how you could ever damage one.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wind Indicator for Bowhunters

With the keen sense of smell that whitetails and elk have, it is imperative to monitor the wind direction. Yes, a small bottle of white powder works but that takes effort and movement. A better option is to attach a piece of sewing thread to the end of your stabilizer. Now when the wind makes a subtle change of direction you will know right away.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Busting Ducks

Like to hunt ducks but hate getting up before the sun does? Try sleeping in and then finding out where the ducks like to rest for the day after they have eaten their breakfast. Look for areas of water where 100 plus ducks are resting and then sneak in, either by boat or on foot. Flush the ducks and then find a spot to hide. After a short while the ducks will start coming back to the area, usually 2-3 at a time. Take along a few decoys to attact them within shooting distance and enjoy the mid-morning hunt. Go light on the calling and if the ducks don't start returning with 20 minutes its time to look for another flock to bust.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Really Red Worms

Want to entice panfish, catfish, bullheads or any other fish that eats worms to bite your hook a little bit faster. Try soaking your worms in red cool aid or beet juice. Adding red food coloring to a small amount of water will also work. The red color acts as an attractant and the added scent also helps.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Chumming for Panfish

To increase the activity in the area you are fishing try chumming the area with a handful of mealworm or maggots. Panfish can't resist the large cloud of free falling food and will hurry to the area for an easy meal.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hunting Pressured Whitetails

If you are hunting on public land or private land that other hunters use it would be wise to consider placing your stand at a non-typical location.

One of the better places to place a stand where other hunters are pushing deer is on an escape route. Take advantage of the movements of other hunters and try to intercept the deer as they are running away from these hunters.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bleeding Fish


Bleeding fish prior to cleaning is an important step that many fisherman forget to do or don't think is important. Bleeding your fish prior to cleaning will reward you with nice white fillets that are void of most coloration except white.

To bleed a fish insert your knife into the belly area of the fish near the head or throat. Twist your knife slightly and let the fish bleed out. You can also make a cut through the gills under the back of the gill plate.

Catfish are a very bloody fish in my opinion. If you just fillet out the catfish you are left with a very reddish fillet. If bled first, fillet and left to soak in water for a short while you end up with a nice firm, white fillet that with rival any fish that swims and boy do they taste good. The picture is the result of properly cleaning 2 catfish that we caught last night. One was 7 pounds and one was 5 pounds. They were a little larger than I like for eating but with an upcoming fish fry they will be perfect, especially if you soak the fillets in Mountain Dew first:)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Saving Time Re-Rigging


When you fish rivers with live bait or cut bait, getting snagged and breaking off your line is common. Not only is it common but it is a pain in the rear and time consuming to get set back up to go fishing again.

I can't avoid the snags but I did make the job of re-rigging much easier. By adopting a method from fly fishing I started using a loop-to-loop connection between my main line and my rig. Now I pre-make several rigs that entail my weight, glass bead, a swivel, and circle hook.

Start by cutting a piece of line about 18-24" long, tie a double surgeons knot to form a loop on one end of that line, add your weight (I use 3-5oz no-roll sinkers), slide on a glass bead from a craft store to protect the knot between the weight and the swivel, then tie on your swivel. Now cut another piece of line 12-18" long (make sure it is of less weight. I will usually use 65lb braided on the top half of the rig and 35lb braided below the swivel). Tie this line to your swivel and then tie your hook on. I normally will use a snell knot with a circle hook.

Now when you get snagged and need to break the line off you only loose your hook. Once you are reeled back in you can disconnect the loop-to-loop connection from your line and replace your whole rig at once within a few seconds. I usually make up several of the rigs ahead of time so that I always have one handy to go. You could also tie a loop on the end of the hook line and make a loop connection through the swivel but I prefer tying a standard knot for the swivel connection.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stay Back for Bigger Bluegills

When you are fishing brush piles for bluegills start by fishing several yards away from the structure. Larger bluegills tend to hide in smaller patches of auxiliary cover just outside the main cover.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Activated Carbon Clothing

Does activated carbon clothing work or are hunters being duped out of their hard earned cash. Click this link to read an interesting article and then make you own decision.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Match the Hatch

Fly fisherman are well aware of the match the hatch fishing technique. Use a fly that matches what insect is currently hatching and you will increase your chances of catching a fish. This technique works for other types of fishing also, not just fly fishing.

The problem I had with this concept was understanding why matching the hatch worked. In my mind I thought that if all the fish in the lake or river where feeding on frogs then a nice juicy night crawler or minnow would induce an instant strike because I was offering the fish something different. Then the concept was explained with an analogy that I could understand.

Imagine going to a steak house and smelling the wonderful aroma of a steak grilling. The smell is everywhere in the steak house and just the smell alone makes your mouth water. Now the waiter comes to your table and you order the best Porterhouse steak in the place. You wait in anticipation for that wonderful juicy steak and in about 20 minuted the server comes over to the table with your order, only they set a plate of chicken strips in front of you. What would be your reaction?

Remember this analogy the next time you go fishing and try to use or imitate whatever the fish are currently feeding on. If they want steak, give them steak, not chicken.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saving Your Dog from Flies

If you have a dog and they are being bothered by black flies you need to go to this link on Doug Leiers blog ND Outdoors & Beyond. He has posted a great tip that will save your dog the pain and frustration of black flies. Thanks Doug.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Great Video Found on MyOutdoorTV.com

This is a great video that all hunters should watch, even if you have never bowhunted. It is a video about becoming a Certified Bowhunter. The video is about 40 minutes long but I think you will enjoy it.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Keep the Hook Exposed for Catfish

To increase your hookup percentage when fishing for catfish be sure to keep the hook point exposed. Don't use too large of bait for the hook size you are using. The inside of a catfish mouth is tough and if the hook point is buried in the bait you will have little chance of getting a good hook set.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fishing with Leeches

Leeches have 34 body body segments and when they feel threatened they will curl up. A curled up leech is much easier for a fish to swallow and fish will use this defense mechanism to their advantage.

Fish will hammer a leach first to make it curl up and then come back to engulf it, usually from a different angle. This is what fishermen call a short strike. Many fisherman will miss fish because they feel this first hit and then set the hook too soon, pulling the leech out of the fishes path.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Setting Deer At Ease

While you are hunting deer this fall don't forget to take along your turkey call. Once you have spent some time in your blind or tree stand and the woods have had time to settle back down pull out your turkey call and make a few soft purring and clucking sounds. Turkeys rely on there eyesight and their hearing to detect danger. Other animals, including deer feel more comfortable when they think that a turkey is nearby. I guess there is comfort in numbers in the animal world also.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Stump Shooting

Estimating ranges while bowhunting is a necessary skill and learning to accurately estimate ranges can only be done one way...practice. One of the funnest ways to practice estimating ranges is to go stump shooting.

Get yourself some judo or rubber blunt tip heads and go stump hunting. Pick out a tree stump, estimate its' range and shoot. After an afternoon of stump shooting your range estimating skills will be greatly enhanced. It may take several trips to the woods to go stump shooting before you are proficient at range estimation but it will be a fun learning experience and if you involve a partner it can become a fun competition also.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Finding Blood

A spray bottle filled with Hydrogen Peroxide is a good tool to have when tracking a wounded deer. When the blood gets sparse or to determine if it is actually blood you're looking at, spray the Peroxide in the area in question. The Proxide will foam up as it reacts with the blood leaving no doubt if you are on the right path to finding your deer. It also doubles as a cleansing agent for wounds you may encounter in the field.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Venison Bacon Cheeseburger

Today's post is not a tip but I think you will enjoy this anyway if you give it a try.

I had the opportunity this summer to try a new way of using venison that I truly enjoyed. It is simple and even my wife and son liked it.

If you have any venison left from last fall or when you get your fresh venison this fall keep some of it to grind into burger. Not just regular venison burger but Venison Bacon Burger. Mix by wieght 2/3 venison to 1/3 bacon. Grind as usual and cook on the grill as burgers. These burgers are great and taste like a bacon cheeseburger, that is if you had some cheese.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sneaky

Sneaking up on game is difficult at best. No matter how hard you try, it is difficult not to step on a small branch or some dried grass that you did not see at the worst time. Relying on your sight to walk silently is not the best way to go. Instead, carry an extra pair of thick socks and when you are getting close, take off your boots, add the extra pair of socks for foot protection and continue your hunt. Your socked foot will feel much more than any boot covered foot and stop you from crunching down on something that will scare your quarry.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Learning by Dave Holt

I wanted to share a statement made by Dave Holt in a recent Bowhunter magazine article. We should all adopt his idea about learning. Dave is talking about bowhunting in the article but his words apply to most issues we deal with on a day to day basis.

"Realizing that I'm wrong about an issue can be embarrassing, but learning the truth is far more important. That knowledge helps me build a solid foundation that will pay benefits for a lifetime. For me, even the smallest bit of newfound truth is far more valuable than a few moments of comfort from successfully defending a mistake."

Monday, July 30, 2007

On The Edge

Whitetail deer are edge users. The importance of an edge cannot be understated. Wherever two different vegetations meet you get an edge. Even a difference of elevation on relatively flat ground will create an edge. Deer will utilize edges with such consistency that you are greatly decreasing your chances of scoring if you place your stand where there is no edge.

If you are hunting farm country look for a stand site between different crop fields or between a crop field and a shelter belt. If you happen to be hunting where more than 2 different crops meet place your stand at the intersection of the different crops. If there is a small creek or drainage ditch by a crop field or pasture this would also be a great location for a stand.

If you are hunting the big woods you need to look for internal edges between the different vegetative types and if there is heavy undergrowth you may need to make your own edges by clearing the way, either by hand or by chemical weed killers. By removing or killing vegetation you will be creating an edge that will create new growth that deer will utilize.

Using edges to hunt deer is nothing new. What do you suppose was created when the Indians burned sections of the prairies and forests?

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Deer's Attention Span

Researchers have proven that a deer has an attention span of about 3 minutes. If you have made a mistake, and you can hold your composure and be silent, all may not be lost. The deer may resume his natural activities. Recovering from a noise or motion mistake can be done but if the deer gets your scent its game over.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rigging Plastic the Right Way



Rigging a plastic worm properly is simple, as long as you know how. If done improperly your worm will not track properly and will look dreadful to a fish.

If you have a plastic worm and an offset hook in your tackle box go get them and follow me along as I show you how to do it properly.

Frame One - If you are right handed, hold the hook in your left hand fingers. With your right hand, hold the worm between your thumb and forefinger, about 1/2 inch from the top of the worm. Frame Two - Slide the hook through the nose of the worm until you reach the bend in the hook - that's far enough. Frame Three - Push the point of the hook through the worm and slide it up the shank until you reach the off-set. Frame Four - Push the worm over the off-set part of the hook. If you've never done this before, it will feel strange and look odd. But if you follow through to... Frame Five - Rotate your hook 180 degrees - the worm will slide beautifully onto the off-set portion of the hook. You're just about finished. Frame Six - Insert the point of the hook into the worm so that it is just beneath the surface of the worm on the other side. DON'T poke it all the way through or you'll get weeds on the hook. We all know what happens when you get even the tiniest piece of weed stuck to the hook - absolutely nothing in the way of fish taking a bite, that's for sure! Finally, add a screw-in sinker to the nose of the worm or to be totally weedless you can just pull the nose of the worm up over your knot and forget the weight. If you choose not to use a weight you will have to slow down your retrieve to allow the worm to make it down to the cover.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Catch and Release....into Crisco

I believe in selective harvest while fishing. Letting the large fish go helps to secure our future of fishing, however, nothing beats fresh fried fish.

Over the years I have tried several fish breadings and most commercial breadings are too seasoned for my tastes. I want to actually taste the fish not just the breading.

By far the best breading recipe I have tried was found on a Minnesota resort website several years ago. I don't remember the website by I do remember their recipe. Give it a try, I'll bet you'll like it

Fish Breading

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 package of Saltine crackers
  • 1 package of Ritz crackers
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Paprika - to taste or sight. I usually use about a teaspoon

Blend/grind these items together in a blender until fine. Don't use a food processor, it will turn to a mushy mess.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Comments

I just wanted to remind everyone to check out the comments for the posts. There are several good reader tips in the comments. I would also like to Thank You for posting comments. I read every comment and appreciate them.

Slow Down

A key reason for missing ducks and geese is shooting too fast. Some hunters think they have to shoot quickly before the birds flare out of range. The truth is, when hunters wait that extra second or two when waterfowl are coming in, then rise up to shoot, there’s plenty of time to take three deliberate, well-spaced shots before the birds get too far away. Consciously slow your pace. Don’t be jerky when mounting your shotgun. Don’t rush your shots. Try not to compete with your hunting partners. Just take your time, and focus solely on hitting your target.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Get Up Off The Bench

Shooting from the bench is great fun and the best way to get your rifle properly sighted in. However, once your rifle is sighted in, it's time to step away and do some real life shooting.

To be an accurate shot you need to practice shooting from a standing, kneeling and prone position. Practice mounting the gun properly first. Mounting your gun should be done in a smooth movement that produces an outward arc that ends in your shoulder pocket and your head positioned properly against the stock. Your gun should be brought to your head, not your head to the gun. Many times I've seen shooters slam their gun into their shoulder and then tilt/adjust their head to fit the gun. You will never be a good consistent shooter mounting a gun in this manner.

Once you master mounting the gun properly you can start shooting. Start by standing, mount the gun, acquire the target and shoot. Do this 3 times as fast as you can, while still being safe. Keep the distance close until you can place the bullet in the bullseye, or close, on all three shots, then move the target back. 20 yards to start is not too close. After 3 shots move on to the next shooting position.

Practice all possible shooting positions that you might use while hunting. Once you can master shooting off hand at the practice range, connecting with your trophy will be much easier once the pressure is on.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fish Like You Hunt

Many guys go out on the lake, drop their lines and troll around hoping to catch fish. Then when they don't catch anything they complain that the fishing was no good or the lake is worthless and they should have gone elsewhere.

To put this type of fishing into perspective let me ask you a question about hunting. If I were to take you out into a 500 acre freshly mowed pasture, set you in a rotating chair, put a blindfold on you, started to spin you and then told you to shoot at anytime you wanted. How many of you would expect to hit a deer?

Fishing is no different than hunting except that the fish are under the water. Take away the water and what do have? Structure.

To be successful at fishing you have to approach it the same way you do when you go hunting. You need maps of the lake or you need sonar so you can see the structure. Using both maps and sonar is the best option. Learning where fish live is a whole lot easier when you can see their habitat and fish it accordingly. Fish have areas that they hide in, areas that they rest in, areas that they feed in, just like deer do.

Learning to fish structure can take time and effort on your part but the results will be worth it. Instead of spending money on new lures trying to entice a bite, invest in learning about structure and the equipment to see the structure.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Use Bigger Bait

As the summer progresses the small bait fish of the early fishing season are now mostly grown up. Game fish have been eating these guys all along and are now used to eating the larger bait fish. If you continue using small bait you will be decreasing your chances of catching fish. Remember to feed them what they want.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Saving Fuel

I just wanted to pass along some info that I read in a magazine today about saving fuel. The article said to fill your tank up in the early morning or late evening during the warmer months because gas is more dense when its cooler.

They also said that when you fill up your tank you should not top it off. That "extra" gas you are tying to get into the tank is mostly syphoned back into the hose.

Maybe these tips will save you enough to get you one more trip to the lake or river fishing this summer.

Optics 101

Every sportsman should have a good pair of binoculars and knowing what those crazy numbers mean is a must. Ask most sportsmen what the numbers 7x35 on their binoculars mean and I’ll bet they won’t know.

I’ll use a pair of 7x35 binoculars as an example. The first number given on a pair of binoculars tells you how much the object you are looking at will be magnified. In my example the object will appear 7 times closer than it actually is.

The second number tells you the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters. The larger the objective lens is the more light it allows in giving you a brighter sight picture. Of course a larger objective lens equals more weight.

You should also be aware of the eye relief that a pair of binoculars has, especially if you wear glasses. Eye relief is simply the distance from the lens, in millimeters, to a point where your eye is positioned to view the entire image. Most binoculars have an eye relief between 8-13 millimeters and a long eye relief pair, made for eye glass wearers, would be in the range of 14-20 millimeters.

Exit pupil is also an important number to know about. The amount of light that is usable by the binoculars is expressed as the “exit pupil”. A rule of thumb is the larger the exit pupil number the brighter the image will appear. Exit Pupil is arrived at by dividing the objective lens diameter, the second number, by the lens magnification, the first number. In our example the exit pupil would be 35 divided by 7 = 5.

Field of view, resolution and coated lenses could also be discussed but if you can master the above items you will be leaps and bounds above the average optics buyer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Effective Glassing

Looking through your binoculars is not good enough. You need to learn to look with your binoculars. This means the binoculars should become an extension of your eyes.

To see properly you need to hold your binoculars steady and move your eyes to look at the details. Once you are satisfied with the area you are looking at you can then move the binoculars to the next patch of ground. After a little practice this will become second nature.

Avoid panning the landscape. You will miss many important details and cause unnecessary eye strain.
You should develop a pattern of looking at a piece of cover. Try working from left to right, top to bottom. Be sure to check where the sun and shade meet.

By using your binoculars correctly you can increase your chances of spotting more game and filling your tag.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Blue Marks the Spot

You've just released the arrow or pulled the trigger and all of your hard work and in my case "luck" just payed off. Staying in your stand late in the day was worth it but now you have the task of retrieving your prize. Approaching darkness does not make the job of finding your trophy any easier. If you live in coyote country it is imperative that you find your animal before the "yotes" do, waiting until the next morning is not an option.

Blood trailing is difficult at times and if the sun goes down it becomes that much more of a challenge. The white light of a normal flashlight can wash out the small drops of blood. Now is the time to pull out your blue filter or even better a blue LED light. The blue light will help make the red blood spots stand out against the brown and greens.

Personally I'm a big fan of Surefire lights. I use one everyday in my line of work and I can't recommend them enough. I hate spending money on products that don't work so if I ever mention a product in this blog you can be assured that they are good. Surefire has a new LED light that has white light, red light, and blue light. I don't have this one yet but if you read my earlier post about using a red light this particular light would be a great purchase for any sportsman.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saturday Night at the River





Just wanted to show everyone my river fishing setup. To make the job of transporting everything a bank fisherman needs down to the river I invested in a surf trailer a few years ago. It works great even though I live in the middle of the country wear the closest thing to a surf is the movie Surfs Up at the theater.

The first picture is the sky over the Red River of the North. The next picture shows my trailer hooked up to my truck, the next picture is the trailer loaded up and the last picture is of my bait. I know, the bait is bigger than the fish Doug catches.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Shoot the Trailing Bird

Take the last or highest bird in an incoming fight. When ducks or geese are about to land, most hunters focus on the closest, lowest, easiest shot, and two or more hunters wind up shooting at the same bird. Instead, take a trailer with the first shot. Then your shotgun will be in the right plane to shoot flaring birds on the second and third shots. Also, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you downed birds that no other hunters were shooting.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Don't Stop Swinging

Stopping the swing with the shotgun is one of the most common reasons for missing ducks and geese. You must follow through with your shot! Try stopping your club when hitting golf ball, and see what happens. This wrecks your timing and coordination. The same thing happens when you stop swinging your shotgun. Keep the barrel moving after firing. Having good follow-through is the proper conclusion to any athletic effort, be it shooting at a duck, swinging a golf club or throwing a ball.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bug Off

The one thing I hate about summer besides a high heat index is mosquitos. These little rascals sure feed a lot of birds and bats but they are nothing but a pain and danger to us humans.

I have been on a quest this summer to find out what works best to keep these guys at bay. I've tried several different insect repellents and have had varying results. The best insect repellent I have found is Deep Woods Off. This repellent has also been rated the best by a couple of consumer review groups.

The one thing that I learned about insect repellent is that the percentage of Deet does not make the repellent more or less effective. The only thing a high percentage of Deet does is make the repellent last longer. I've always looked for high percentage Deet sprays thinking that more was better.

The other product that I absolutely love is a small unit made by Thermacell. This little machine is compact, portable and works great. Check out their website for more information. I also noticed on their site that they have a scent dispersal unit. I have not tried it but if it works as good as their bug repellent it would be worth a try this fall.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Best Baits


What do fish like to eat? Here are some of their favorites. B stands for Best, G stands for Good. But just like some days you want pizza and some days you are hungry for a burger, fish change their minds too, so give them all a try.

NOTE: Click on the picture for a larger view

The Perfect Knot


There are many different kinds of knots available for fishing; however, the Improved Clinch knot is probably the easiest and best for new anglers to learn.

1) Run the end of the line through the eye of the hook, then twist that end of the line approximately four to five times around the main line.

2) Put the end of the line through the new small loop formed just above the eye of the hook; push the end of the line through the bigger, new loop you have just formed.

3) Pull line tight, down to the eye of the hook. Snip off the excess line and go fishing.

Seeing Red...or not

Getting to and from your hunting spot in the dark can be a challenge. Bringing out your flashlight is risky because you could potentially spook every deer in the area if you're not careful.

So should you continue to stumble through the woods in the dark, hoping not to break your neck? No. Instead of using your regular flashlight get a red filter for your light. Game animal eyes don't percieve the color red. You still want to use your light with care because even a red light can cause reflection.

There are many different filters available for most major brand flashlights and there are a few new L.E.D. lights on the market that come with different color options built in. In the future I'll tell you what a Blue light works great for.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Haulin' the Load

You've scouted and hunted properly. Everything has gone as planned and your trophy is now laying on the ground. Your hunt has been great but the work is still ahead.

Dragging a deer from the woods can be a challenge, especially if you're alone. At the very least it may mean a few trips to the truck in order to get both your gear and deer home safely.

To make this job much easier get yourself a sled. Not a rigid type sled but the kind that rolls up. You can buy sleds made for this purpose but a $5 roll up children's sled works fine. They are light and can be carried with ease. You will want to modify the sled slightly to allow for tying down your deer. Cut a few holes into the sled along both sides to allow for your rope to pass through. I use a small hole saw on a drill to make this job quick and neat. Be sure to stay back from the edge at least an inch. Once the holes are drill it is best to tie your rope to one of the holes, roll up the sled and then tuck the rest of the rope into the center of the sled. This way you won't forget the rope which would make hauling out your deer a comical sight.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Determining the Proper Draw Length

Go to any 3D archery shoot and you will see several examples of incorrect draw length. Having the wrong draw length is one of the major reasons archers have difficulty shooting accurately and consistently. Even a 1/2 inch in either direction and you are in trouble.

The best way to determine if you are shooting a bow with the proper draw length is to have someone stand behind you when you are at full draw. Have the person watching you look at your elbow. At full draw your elbow should be pointing directly behind you. If your elbow is pointing towards your back, your draw length is too long. If your elbow is pointing away from your body your draw length is too short.

Most bows allow for some draw lenght adjustment. Either adjust it yourself if you have the tools or take your bow to a technician. Once you are shooting at the proper draw length your accuracy will automatically improve.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Natural Looking Decoys

Fooling early season birds can be done even with a few mistakes but late season birds take a little more effort to decoy in.

When the temperatures drop and your decoys become frosted, it is best to get the frost off before you start hunting. All it takes is a few passes with a small handheld propane torch and you're good to go.

Leaving the frost on the decoys is enough to flare a flock of birds. The little extra time it takes to defrost your decoys will be worth the effort.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Hitting the Mark

Most deer that are shot with a bow are done so at 20 yards or less. The key to being consistently accurate at this distance is to practice at distances greater than 20 yards.

After you become proficient shooting at 20 and 30 yards it’s time to increase the distance to 40, 50 and even 60 yards. Are you ever going to shoot a deer at this distance? probably not, but by practicing at these longer distances it will become very easy for you to shoot the bulls-eye at 20 yards.

It’s amazing how much easier it is to shoot at hunting ranges once you are used to shooting at 40+ yards. Note: If you are hunting antelope or mullies on the prairies then you will need to adjust your practicing ranges accordingly.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Outdoor Blogs

Just wanted to remind everyone to check out the other great blogs listed over on the left side. These guys have great Blogs and I've enjoyed them all. There have been a few new Blogs added and I know you will enjoy checking them out and I know that these Bloggers appreciate you visiting.

Saving Tackle II

After losing several crank baits in the rip rap, logs, and other debris in my local river I started to look for alternatives to crank baits. The problem is that at certain times there is nothing better than a crank bait to catch river walleyes and sauger.

To slow down the bleeding from my wallet I discovered that I get snagged a whole lot less when I remove the front hook from my crank bait. Doing so did not lessen my hook up percentage and removing the hook apparently made no ill effect on the baits action.

If your are losing too many baits from snags and you don’t work for a lure company give this one a try and see if it works for you.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Freefalling for Panfish


When the bite gets tough try lightening up. Get rid of any terminal tackle and weight. Going to just a hook and worm may do the trick.

Cast out and let the worm freefall to the bottom. The action of the worm falling is usually when the fish will take the bait. You must watch your line for the slightly movement and be ready to set the hook.

Adding a bobber up the line a ways is ok if you need the extra weight to make an effective cast but go as small as you can.

Saving Tackle

Sunfish and Crappies love to hang out in think cover, especially around sunken logs. Getting hung up and breaking off tackle is a pain and one way to reduce your losses is to weaken your hooks.

By taking the temper out of your hooks you can pull your rig loose with relative ease. Once you're free, straighten the hook back out and get back to fishing.

Take a lighter or match and heat the hook up until it is "light red", cool it off and you're good to go. Weakening the hook in this manner will leave the hook strong enough for panfish yet weak enough to pull loose if you get hung up.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Catch & Release Advice

This is an excellent guide for catch & release fisherman. This information was from a post on ND Outdoors & Beyond

  • Decide to release the fish as soon as you hook it.
  • Generally, land the fish quickly and don't play it to exhaustion.
  • Set the hook quickly to reduce the likelihood the fish will swallow the bait.
  • Bring a fish in slowly from deep water to help it adjust to changing pressure.
  • Don't use barbed or rusty hooks.
  • Keep your release tools close by.
  • Handling Your Catch
  • Leave the fish in the water if you can and use a tool to remove the hook.
  • Keep the fish from thrashing without using a net if there is anyway you can.
IF you must handle a fish:
  • Use a wet rag or glove.
  • Turn it on its back and cover its eyes to calm it.
  • Don't put your fingers in the eyes or gills of the fish.
  • Avoid removing mucous or scales.
  • Get the fish back in the water as quickly as possible.
  • Handle each fish carefully to avoid person injury.
Removing the Hook
  • If the hook is very deep within the fish or it can't be removed quickly, cut the leader close to the fish's mouth
  • Back the hook out the opposite way it went in.
  • Use needle-nose pliers, hemostats, or a hookout to remove the hook and protect your hands.
  • For a larger fish in the water, slip a gaff around the leader and slide it to the hook. Lift the gaff upward while pulling downward on the leader
  • Do not jerk or pop a leader to break it -- it injures vital organs in the fish.
The Final Moments
  • Place the fish in the water gently supporting the mid-section and tail until it swims away.
  • Resuscitate an exhausted fish by moving it back and forth to force water through its gills.
FOR SALTWATER OR DEEP WATER FISH ONLY: When releasing fish that cannot right itself or is showing a distended air bladder the bladder should be gently punctured:
  • Gently insert a thin oint (knife blade, wire or ice pick) through the side of the fish immediately behind the upper part of the pectoral finbase. This is usually directly below the fourth or fifth spine.
  • Let the air escape without pressing on the fish and put it in the water to let it swim away.

    Watch the fish when released. If it doesn't swim away, recover it and try again.
  • Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    Camp Cooking



    With all the talk about hunting and fishing I thought it was time to learn how to do some camp cooking. I stepped back in history to learn how they used to cook on the trail, except that I used purchased coals. As you can see in the pictures I got out the Dutch Oven and tried my hand at this tried and true method of cooking for the first time.

    Lets just say that if you have not had Peach Cobbler from a Dutch Oven you have not lived...What a treat! Every sportsman should learn how to cook by this method.

    Dutch oven cooking is a practical method to use when you are in camp or at home. It takes very little equipment, the learning curve is pretty low and the results are fantastic.

    My advice is to go out and buy an oven made by Lodge. They are the the best quality ovens I have found. Get the pre-seasoned versions of their cookware. I've seasoned new cast iron before and it's a pain to get right. Next get a video on Dutch Oven cooking. You can learn more in a half-hour video then you could in several camp outings.

    If you could smell the picture and taste the cobbler you would agree that learning to use a Dutch Oven would be well worth your time. I think I'll go have seconds.

    Elk hunting with thermals

    Here is a tip submitted by Kevin Paulson from Huntinglife.com

    When hunting elk there is no need for scent control! Walking up and down
    mountains with a scent lock suite or carbon suit is only going to get you
    covered in sweat. Chasing elk is hard work and if you want to be successful
    you need to learn how to hunt with the wind and to watch the thermals. In
    most situations in the morning and once the sun goes down, the thermals are
    going to be headed down the mountain. During early morning once the sun
    hits the valley floor, the thermals are going to change and come rushing up
    the mountain. If you want a bull during archery season you are going to
    have to place yourself to the left or right of the elk herd.

    Heal Thy Target

    In my basement shop I have an archery shooting lane set up for “rough-tuning” my bow. I shoot into the foam target at a fairly close range and by doing this I wreak havoc on the target. It does not take long before the foam core is coming out in large chunks.

    Most of the archery targets I’ve bought in last 3 years have all been over $70.00 apiece. It gets pretty expensive in a hurry when it’s cold outside and you’re having fun shooting in the basement.

    Recently, I walked past my latest target and seen the foam chunks coming out and muttered a few kind words that I can’t write in this blog. Later the same day I was in my shop looking for some parts and came across a half-used can of expandable spray insulation foam. The light bulb came on and I instantly grabbed the can, walked over to my target, pulled out the loose foam, inserted the tip of my spray foam can into the targets wounds and presto!! My target has been resurrected, at least for a little while longer and it only cost me few dollars.

    Monday, June 25, 2007

    Moving & Grooving


    Adding movement to your set of duck or goose decoys can make a huge difference, as long as you don’t over do it.

    There are many commercial decoys available that provide movement or you can simply grab a white or gray towel, attach it to a stick and start waving.

    The thing that most guys forget is that the movement amongst your decoy spread is there to get attention. Let me say that again, the movement is there to get attention. The movement is not there to decoy the birds into shooting range. Too much erratic movement and you run the chance of scaring the flock off.

    The next time you head to the field for a day of shooting be sure to get your groove on but don’t be the last one at the dance.

    Friday, June 22, 2007

    A belated Happy Fathers Day

    I'm posting this in the hopes that one Father out there who has been busy takes the time to do what I'm going to tell you to do.

    I was listening to the HuntCast Podcast today. It was Joe's Fathers Day show and at the opening of his show he was playing a song that brings a lump to my throat every time I hear it and think about what the song is saying.

    I know that we are all very busy in our daily lives but as Fathers we need to make the time to spend with our children. They grow up so fast and before we know it we'll be standing there looking back and wondering were our little buddies have gone.

    What I want you to do is find, buy or download a copy of Cat's in the Cradle. Listen to the song and imagine being the Father in this song. I don't want to be him and I know you don't either.

    I wish you a Happy Belated Fathers Day and remember what Joe said in his Podcast...Memories are life's currency.

    A Bucks' Trail


    It’s exciting to be walking through your hunting woods and discover a well used deer trail. You’re first thought is “Wow” and you start looking for a place to put your stand. This may be OK if you’re planning on shooting a doe or yearling buck but if your intention is to shoot something bigger then you will need to keep looking.

    Larger bucks don’t use the same trails that does and yearling bucks do. That is one of the reasons they are bigger. Sure, they may use the well worn trail occasionally at certain times of year, but the odds are against it during the times of year that we hunt.

    Larger bucks do use trails but they are more difficult to find. Start by looking to the sides of the main trail in ever increasing distances. Sometimes it may only be a few yards and at other times it may 50-70 yards or more. In some cases the dominant bucks simply don’t have trails anywhere near the main trails.

    What you are looking for is a trail that looks like a single deer passed through.
    There won’t be telltale signs of deer movement but the signs are there if you are looking. The trails will always be in or very near areas of thick cover. Once the trail has been found try to figure where the trail comes from and where it is going. If the trail connects a bedding area to a feeding area you may be in luck.

    When you are in the woods keep a lookout for these small insignificant trails. Just the knowledge alone that a deer is or was in the area will make sitting in your stand a whole lot more exciting.

    Thursday, June 21, 2007

    Fish the Windy Side

    Arriving at a lake and pondering where to start fishing can be a daunting task. If there has been a strong wind recently or currently, head to the down wind side of the lake a start there. The wind will stir up the lake and send the food with it. Fish follow the food and we want to follow the fish.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    Microsoft Sticks it to Sportsmen

    From this day forward I will not spend one single dime on a Microsoft product, you shouldn't either. When it comes to computers and software there are alternatives. I know that in some cases for business you can’t use anything but a Microsoft product but if there is a way I will find it. My Macintosh runs circles around my Windows machine and if it were not for one program that I need for business the Windows machine would be going into the garbage tonight for tomorrow mornings garbage pick-up day.

    Why am I talking so much trash about Microsoft when you came here for a hunting or fishing tip? Well let me tell you.

    I received my response letter back from Microsoft about their “i’ m” Initiative. This is the program where people can donate money while using instant messaging. Earlier this month Microsoft added the Humane Society to the list of recipients for this cash. There was a widespread effort from sportsman to have this Anti-Hunting and Anti-Trapping group removed from the list. The Humane Society hides behind cute little puppies and kitties in order to gain the support of millions to further their effort to STOP ALL HUNTING AND TRAPPING. Don’t believe me? Do a web search and you’ll be amazed what the Humane Society is up to. Just ask the Michigan sportsman.

    Here is the response letter I got back from Microsoft.

    Dear Mr. Manock.

    Thank you for forwarding your concern.

    At Microsoft, our mission and values are to help people and organizations throughout the world realize their full potential. With the “i’m” Initiative, our goal is to empower our users to support causes that are most important to them through something they do every day - send instant messages. Consistent with our initiative slogan “It’s your voice, it’s your choice”, people are able to choose from among ten of the most recognized social cause organizations that address issues ranging from poverty, child protection, disease, environmental degradation and animal protection.

    We respect and value your opinion, however, we do not plan to make changes to our relationships with our partners. We feel strongly that these organizations provide a range of causes that will appeal to a wide range of passions.

    Sincerely,
    Microsoft Corporation

    I guess that sportsmen mean nothing to Microsoft and it appears that they are totally satisfied being PARTNERS with the Humane Society. I just wonder what would happen if the NRA would approach Microsoft to be included on their list of recipients?

    Pheasant Know How


    Improve your success by understanding the pheasants daily movement patterns. Pheasants are similar to whitetails in their daily patterns. Deer have bedding areas and pheasants have roosting areas. Deer and Pheasant both have feeding areas and they both utilize escape routes.

    A day in the life of a pheasant goes something like this. They wake up and shortly after sunrise they walk or fly out of their roosting area headed towards their breakfast table, which is usually a crop field. They will spend an hour or two eating and then will head to their loafing cover such as a grassy field edge. Pheasants have also been known to spend their loafing time in shelter belts. After several hours of loafing they head back out to their food source for an evening meal, usually an hour before sunset. After filling up they head to their roosting cover which is normally thick grassy areas and sloughs.

    Pheasants will also combine their roosting, feeding and loafing areas if the habitat allows. Give a pheasant a corn field with a lot of grass and weeds in between the rows and they may never leave the field until its harvested. Pheasants are not big travelers and will spend the majority of their life within a 1/2 mile area or less.

    Weather and hunting pressure changes the pheasants daily patterns. Extreme cold, heavy snow and hunting pressure will cause pheasants to hold tight in the thickest cover available. On warm late season days the pheasants may spend the majority of their day scratching for food rather than loafing and this can be prime time to spot and stalk pheasants.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    The First Arrow

    Many guys brag about their shooting ability and the tight groups they get. This is great as long as the first shot they make is also hitting the mark.

    In archery, the first shot is really the only one that counts. If it is taking you several shots to get “warmed up” before you start keeping score than you need to change your practice methods.

    If all you are going to shoot is 3D, then a warming up period is fine, but the luxury of a warm up shot in not available while hunting. You must become proficient on your first shot, cold muscles and all.

    Try shooting at least once a day, taking only one shot. Take your time and pretend that the buck of a lifetime is at the other end of the arrows path. Practice this one shot until you are dead on every time. This first shot practice will give you the needed confidence you need when the moment of truth arrives.