Archive for June, 2012

No, no, not the Civil War, this is about hunting, shooting archery, and the differences between the North and the South.

I grew up within an hour of the Canadian border, in northeastern Ohio.  I’ve hunted throughout Ohio, parts of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, and now Georgia, so keep that in mind as I ramble on, this isn’t meant to be comprehensive in any way, just my observations from a limited perspective.

The first major difference is, of course, the weather. More specifically, the temperature.  By the time we’re hunting in the North, the first frost has usually long over with, and quite often, when you’re climbing into your stand, the temperature is below freezing.  Here in the South, I have a hard time not wearing flip-flops, shorts, and a sleeveless tee shirt the week after Thanksgiving.  Big, big difference, particularly in scent control.  Up north, having scent-free clothing is the main key, down here in the South, not sweating three pints before you’re ready to sit a spell seems to be the issue.

Up north, a hot thermos of coffee or tea, or maybe soup, can be a great comfort in the middle of the day.  In Georgia, I try to freeze a couple of bottles of water and stick those in my pack along with some small snacks and apples, mainly so that the apples don’t melt.

Up north, 3D season usually started the first week of January, and at the time, I never questioned this practice and usually I was one of the first at the registration table.  Now that I’ve lived in the South for the better part of a decade, I think that starting 3D season in January up North is some kind of masochistic dare.  In the South, on the other hand, practicing in the summer is the same kind of masochistic dare, since you, the bow, the arrows, and possibly the target could melt.

Up North, once you’ve harvested your game, the usual practice is to field dress it as soon as possible, at which point it would start to cool properly, and you could expect to hang a deer in a garage or barn for three or four days to allow it to mellow before butchering.  Here in the South, the problem is getting it to the processor before it cooks itself.

Before I lived in Georgia, I never heard of a hunting lease.  The usual method of finding hunting property when I was growing up was to talk to the farmers around where you wanted to hunt, and offer to help bale hay, mend a fence row, or any other chores, or possibly share some of the venison.  My father, having knows quite a few of the farmers for many years, would often take a gift over around Christmas time, or stop in throughout the year and chat with the land owners.  They love him to death, proving that none of them have been on a six-plus hour drive with him before.  I’ve had more than one farmer not only give us permission to hunt, but walk us through the fields, pointing out where he’s seen deer, rabbits, fox, raccoons, even ring-necked pheasant, just enjoying showing his property off and talking to us.

Here in Georgia, I’ve been very fortunate to have a good friend whose family owns a large piece of hunting property, but I’ve seen some enormous fees charged for hunting leases, with some pretty lengthy rules that everyone is supposed to follow.  From talking to folks who’ve had hunting leases, it seems that the most common practice is to enforce those rules on the folks paying good money to hunt the land, but not on the family and friends who have access. I’ve also seen many complaints about folks paying for their lease, and then having the land sold out from under them.  This could be happening everywhere, and I’ve just not run into it before, but that kind of thing has kept me out of the hunting lease market for the time being.  I can’t afford to pay into a hunting lease only to have it sold out from under me.

Up north, one common practice is to boldly lie about where you hunting when you bagged a big buck: everybody expects this, it’s just a matter of how entertaining you can be when you craft the lie about it.  I haven’t run into this in Georgia, but I have heard many a whopper about ‘oh, well, if you think THAT one is big, my brother/cousin/buddy shot one twice as big!’  You hear that just about everywhere, but it seems intricately tied into the tradition of ‘telling a whopper’ in the South.

Up North we tended to hunt all day. Leave in the dark, return in the dark.  I can’t speak for everyone, but quite a few of the people I’ve hunted with in the South seem to prefer to hunt two hours at the beginning of the day, and two hours at the end of the day.  That could just be the people I’ve hunted with though, and I have to say that after having some BBQ near Ocmulgee Wildlife Management Area, I’m fully prepared to come out of the woods and go to that country store to have a BBQ sandwich for lunch.

That’s all for now, I’ll dig around in this brain of mine and write some more later.

 

Y’ll have fun!

Niko

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Posted: 06/30/2012 in News

Caribou is tasty…

PSE Archery Blog

“I got this Mountain Caribou in the August of 2009 at Ram Head Outfitters, our family business. My sister Meghan was my guide. She got a caribou on the trip as well, which made for an awesome hunt. I used my PSE X-Force SS, which I had just gotten in June and had been practicing quite a bit with.

We were hunting for about 6 days when I got this caribou. I arrowed it at 45 yards and it was filmed for Cody Robbins show, Live 2 Hunt. My caribou is currently number 5 in the Pope and Young record books in the velvet category!”

Bailey Simpson

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.

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Sorry for the dark photos – it was getting dark out, and my phone’s flash isn’t all that good. On the other hand, you can clearly see just how bright the Blazer orange vanes are in that little bit of light.

It seems like I’ve been reading articles by Massad Ayoob most of my adult life – handguns, tactics, gear, almost all if relating to self defense or law enforcement.  This is the first time I’ve found an article of his relating to hunting.

For a great many rural folk, big game hunting season is a high point—often the annual high point—of their involvement with firearms. In some locales, the big game in question may be a moose or an elk, or even a bear, though the latter is certainly not the favored meat for the larder. In most of America, though, big game hunting means deer season!

It might be a big Western mule deer. It might be one of those cute little Texas blacktails. For most of my own life, and still, the likeliest quarry was the Eastern whitetail. They all taste good. They all bring natural, chemical-free protein to your table.

Whatever your quarry, the real trick of filling your tag during hunting season is to start your preparation well ahead of opening day.

If you want to have a successful hunt instead of just a pleasing series of long walks in the woods while carrying a firearm (not that there’s anything wrong with the latter), it would be a great idea to plan your strategy well in advance, and make sure that all contingencies have been provided for. This goes double—maybe it goes tenfold—for those who are new to the whole hunting thing. New to the gun…new to the wilderness…new to the stalking and harvesting of wild game.

Strategy

Start early. Develop a plan. Study the quarry. Analyze the terrain where you plan to hunt. Be prepared.

Let’s look at some of those preparations, and why they’re important.

Know thy turf. Topographical maps and, today, even Google Earth printouts are available to you. Print ‘em out, put ‘em in those plastic 8½x11-inch transparent plastic sleeves you find in the school supply sections of your local department store (or, if you’re lucky enough to live in the real backwoods, the general store). They’ll lie nice and flat in a backpack or knapsack, and when you need them, they’ll be worth their weight in gold. The plastic will proof them against rain and snow.

A part of that worth is that they’ll help you stay oriented to the areas you’re hunting, and help you to better find your quarry.

A much greater and more important part of that worth is that they will help to keep you from being lost.

Now, it’s axiomatic among us macho hunters that “we never get lost, we just get turned around a little bit, or take the scenic route.” Yeah, and smoking cigarettes is respiratory therapy, by that standard. Let’s be frank here: people get lost in the woods!

And getting lost can kill you.

Read the rest at Backwoodshome.com

Posted: 06/28/2012 in News

…and I’m stuck at work… *sigh*

PSE Archery Blog

With mean PSE rigs, guts and every ounce of skill they have, the Drury Outdoors Team makes a mad dash across the continent to put a Rage in the cage and a buck in the back of the truck. These episodes hit hard and fast as the arrows we sling, and you get to sling some too. One of our fans’ hunts per week will air during the I Shot It With My PSE segment. At the end of the season, all of America will vote on their favorite, and the winner takes home a new Dream Season Edition HuntVe 4×4 electric UTV. It’s archery-only, adrenaline-always. With some of the best bowhunters on the planet.

Outdoor Channel Monday 5 p.m. CST, Wednesday 12:30 a.m. CST, Thursday 9 p.m. CST

 

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I see from http://www.intellicast.com that it’s supposed to be 106′ this weekend.  *Yikes!*  Folks, I can’t say this enough, stay hydrated, stay out of the sun as much as possible, and no, beer and soda while better than nothing, aren’t the best to drink for this weather.  Drink water.  If you have to have flavor in it, use a slice of lemon, or one of the flavor packets that all the stores sell now, but keep drinking.  A couple of other tips:

  • Luke-warm water is better for you in this kind of heat than ice cold, even though the ice feels good.
  • If you are actually working, or playing hard, training, etc. in this heat, find a sports drink that agrees with you, sports drinks have additional glucose and salts that your body needs.   And no, the huge “Energy Drinks” aren’t “Sports Drinks.”
  • Get an extra tee shirt, hand towel, anything you can use to wipe the sweat off and/or soak in water to cool your head, neck, wrists, etc.
  • If you have to be out for a long period of time today in an area without shade, plan ahead, take an umbrella.
  • When in doubt, get out of the shade, drink more water, and if you even think you need help ASK FOR IT.  This weather can kill people, don’t let it happen to you or somebody around you.
  • Be mindful of your pets – if you have outside pets, make sure they have plenty of shade and water.
  • Use your head, don’t leave anyone, or any pet, in a car with the AC turned off in this weather.
  • Most of the grocery stores have cases of bottled water in the $4-6 range, put a case or more in your vehicle.

From CrossFit.com – click the image to view their site.

Along with my ASA membership, I’m a life member of the NRA, and I also pay dues at the National Shooting Sports Foundation year after year.   One of the perks of the NSSF membership is a subscription to Sporting Classics magazine.

I read this every month, right after I get a paper towel to catch the drool.  $15,000 shotguns.  $10,000 bolt action or double rifles.  Safaris, exclusive elk, moose, bear, flyfishing, you name it, all the things I would need to win the lottery to ever afford, all within those pages.

The most recent issue includes an advertisement for Morani River Ranch , and the add reads “Limited Availability, ANY BUCK over 200″ just $15,000!”

A big part of me thinks “I’d rather have a 110″ buck on public land that I had to outwit and compete for than have the odds increased that much in my favor,” but there’s also photographs, which makes the rest of me say “but that would look AWESOME on my wall!”

I’ll never go. Honestly, even if I win the lottery this Friday, I doubt I would go. I’d rather spend that money to go to Alaska and have a once in a lifetime, bone-weary, tough hunt that I barely walk away from at the end, EMPTY HANDED, than just go somewhere that is this easy.  (It’s easy to say that now…. I’ll let you know if I change my mind after that lottery drawing…)

– Niko

Posted: 06/28/2012 in News

…I wasn’t hungry until I saw this…

Posted: 06/27/2012 in News

I agree – I was hunting and shooting archery in my backyard before tournament archery – now the hunting is still there, but the OTHER 11 months are for 3D…

PSE Archery Blog

Editor’s Note:Christopher Perkins from Athens, Ontario, Canada, has been shooting for PSE for the last 2 years. In 4 weeks of 2012, this 20 year old earned $18,000 in two professional archery tournaments – not bad for a summer job. But, Perkins never really set out to be a tournament archer winning championships and money and gaining sponsors. Like many tournament pros, Perkins just wanted to shoot better, so he could become a more proficient bowhunter. However, Perkin’s love of bowhunting and the desire to become a better bowhunter lead him to participate in archery competitions and world championships. He discovered like many of us have that the marriage between target archery and bowhunting produces a much better target archer and bowhunter than just choosing one of these two archery sports.

Question: Tell us about some other deer you’ve taken with your PSEbow.

I took another…

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Darren Charles Holloway Photography

Alaska Katmai Bald Eagle

Well you wait for ages then two come along almost at the same time, a bit like buses in the UK really 🙂 Here is my post for the Wildlife Image of the Month for June – A Bald Eagle resting on a cliff top with a great vantage point. I took this image with a Canon 800mm lens hand held, whilst on the back of a (bobbing) boat in Katmai Alaska, not one of the easiest things to do. I really like the cliff edge leading up to the Eagle and the Eagle looking into space on the image. Hope it works for you too!

I have a great image lined up for next month 😉

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