Archive for July, 2012

Back in the 1970’s, some of my fondest memories are from nights when my father would pack all of us into the suburban, usually with extra blankets around us, and drive to fields along the Ohio and Pennsylvania border to spotlight deer.
I’ve come to understand over the decades that ‘spotlighting’ means totally different things depending on the region you’re in, so I’ll be clear about this: it was 100% legal in those areas at that time, and all it involved was shining a high powered spotlight down the length of fields to look at the wildlife.   One place I lived, when I asked somebody about spotlighting, they assumed I meant ‘…and shoot the deer,’  which is poaching everywhere I’ve lived.

Searching for ‘spotlight, spot light, spotlighting, etc.’ in the regulations yields zero results.  Googling the term ‘spotlighting deer in GA’ returns forum posts from the GON Forums, Archerytalk, etc. most of which state that the Georgia DNR has set a minimum $5,000 fine for spotlighting, but those articles are from 2005.

So, no spotlighting until I can get an answer from the DNR regarding the issue, and I expect that the answer will be ‘no spotlighting, period.’


Posted: 07/31/2012 in News

I need to practice, seriously. I think my grunt calls translate into ‘me rock find bug not happy!’ or something like that, because even yearlings look towards me as if to say ‘you’re stupid!’


The how & why of whitetail vocalizations


Huddled behind my camera on a cold, sub-freezing morning in mid-December at the periphery of a whitetail deer yard held promise of some great shots. Although showing up under these harsh conditions is half the battle, it gives one no assurance that the temporary winter residents will cooperate. And it seemed after the first couple of hours that this photo shoot may well turn into a bust. Deer don’t care how far you’ve driven to reach them, nor do they even consider the hardships endured to sit out in the elements for lengthy vigils. After all, whitetails are animals, not entertainers and act (behave) solely on innate behavior and external stimuli. Wishing and hoping for an appearance can never draw a buck out of his shadowy lair any more than attempting to force one to do that which it has no intent…

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Something with a bushy tail ate a pine cone on me porch, thinks I.

This is a press release from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Other than this note and a note at the bottom, there are no changes.

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (7/30/2012)

Often revered as a celebrated American fall tradition, squirrel hunting provides the perfect opportunity to introduce youth or a novice to the sport of hunting. Unlike some big game hunts, the pursuit of bushytails often involves more action for energetic youth, providing a greater level of interaction with the outdoors.

Beginning August 15, 2012, and lasting through February 28, 2013, hunters can pursue both gray and fox squirrels. The maximum daily bag limit is 12 per hunter.

“Prior to the successful restoration of white-tailed deer, pursuing squirrels in the fall became a significant cultural hunting tradition in Georgia,” said John Bowers, assistant chief of the Game Management Section.  “Squirrel hunting provides one of our best opportunities to introduce youth to hunting, instill in them our responsibilities to wildlife conservation and provide exposure to the outdoors. Plus, it’s fun, inexpensive and provides constant action.”

Squirrel hunting, especially with squirrel dogs such as feists, terriers and curs, is a great way to introduce youth to hunting and the outdoors. In terms of the number of hunters and harvest, squirrels are the second most pursued small game species in Georgia, behind doves.

Georgia’s wildlife management areas offer access to nearly one million acres of hunting opportunity for only $19 a year, and squirrel hunting is allowed on WMAs at specified times during the statewide squirrel season. Hunters are advised to check the current hunting regulations for specific WMA dates and info ( 

The two species

Both the gray and fox squirrels can be found throughout Georgia. The gray squirrel, abundant in both rural and urban areas is the most common species. Though mostly associated with hardwood forests, grays also can be found in mixed pine/hardwood forests. Predominantly gray, with white under parts, gray squirrels appear more slender-bodied than fox squirrels, weighing anywhere from 12 ounces to 1.5 pounds.

Fox squirrels have several color phases, varying from silver-gray with a predominantly black head, to solid black, to a light buff or brown color tinged with reddish-yellow. Generally larger than grays, fox squirrels range in weight from one pound to nearly three, and are more closely associated with mature pine and mixed pine/hardwood habitats and especially in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions. 

For more information on the 2012-2013 squirrel hunting season or other small game hunting seasons, . To renew or purchase a hunting license, .

End of press release.

Note: Visit the Feral Hog regulations and make certain to double check with specific Wildlife Management Area wardens: Muzzleloader and Archery equipment are legal to hunt boars with during squirrel season.

 ‘So, if a WMA is open for small game, you may ONLY use weapons for small game if you intend to hunt for feral hogs.  Muzzleloaders and archery equipment are legal during small game and turkey seasons.  However, during special hog hunts only, you may use any legal firearm.’  (Page 37)

Posted: 07/31/2012 in News

Reblogging this for the wife and myself – hope everyone else likes goats and donkeys, we do!


All Images, Copyright Matt Smith Photo Design. All Rights Reserved.



On the Savannah River near Augusta, Georgia; it is possible to row to an island with some unexpected wildlife. Don’t go beyond the fences on the island, it is an archaeological site. If you find it, the animals are friendly, but use common sense and act properly.

If you are interested in commissioning Matt, please contact:

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© By Othmar Vohringer (Reblogged from Whitetail Deer Passion)

The Feeding Area
In the early season bucks still concentrate on the food sources. Therefore my number one favourite stand locations are located near food sources. These locations are the most consistent producer and the easiest to identify of all the early season options. Start glassing fields about two weeks before opening day, observe where deer enter the fields and then start from there to look for a suitable stand site inside the woodland.

Ideally, you want to hang the stand a bit back from the field edge in the thicker stuff where bucks hang up until nightfall before they enter the open fields. Bucks feel safe coming out in these hidden spots and will fall into a more consistent pattern than they would where they are more visible.

One thing about bucks on a feeding pattern: they’re sensitive to hunting pressure. If they detect any human presence they’ll completely stop using that particular field, or they’ll use it only after dark. Make every effort to prevent deer from knowing that you’re hunting them for as long as possible.

When the does and small bucks get spooky, their body language will send a message to the mature bucks that they should immediately stop using the field. There’s no rut and no urgency to cause them to ignore danger signs. The bucks have nowhere they absolutely have to be and nothing they absolutely have to do, so they can wait until dark to feed or simply relocate to a different food source with little provocation.

Try to select as many stand locations as possible and then hunt them never more than twice per any given week. The more often you hunt a certain stand chances that deer will be on to you will increase significantly.

Head over to Whitetail Deer Passion for the rest of the article.

Posted: 07/30/2012 in News

I like to keep track of things like this … if you hunt, you should too.



Posted: 07/30/2012 in News

…once again, something cool falls on a weekend when I work 12 midnights…*sigh*