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


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.