Although they may look the same, “resident” Canada geese are those that breed in the United States and southern Canada, unlike “Atlantic Population” (or “AP”) Canada geese, their relatives that breed in northern Canada and migrate through New York. Typically, resident geese produce more young per pair and survive at a higher rate than AP geese. As the resident goose population has grown, season lengths and bag limits have been liberalized and hunters have successfully stabilized the population.
The September season is an important opportunity for New York hunters, as AP goose seasons have been restricted to 30 days and a one-bird bag in most areas to protect this more vulnerable population. For more information on the differences between resident and AP geese, visit DEC’s website.
This new Browning shotgun has a number of features that elevate it above run-of-the-mill deer hunting shotguns. For 2021, the evolutionary new Maxus II sets its sights on whitetails with a Rifled Deer model.
The Maxus II is a fast-handling autoloading shotgun designed for hunting deer with a fully rifled barrel for accurate use with slugs.
A 22″ long, thick-walled rifled barrel includes an attached, cantilever Weaver-style sight rail that makes attaching optics and cleaning the shotgun without affecting zero a snap. Always important to accurate shooting, the Maxus II Rifled Deer features the precision Lightning Trigger that offers a lighter, crisper pull with less overtravel than other designs. Hard-hitting 12-gauge, 3″ slug ammunition is ably cycled by the proven reliable Power Drive Gas System.
The Maxus II Rifled Deer also includes a new stock design with a straight heel buttstock that allows for customizing the length of pull by either adding spacers or trimming the stock down. The 1 ½” thick Inflex recoil pad features directional deflection and is coupled with the new SoftFlex™ cheekpad, both of which are designed to soften recoil against your shoulder and face. Rubber over-molded panels on the pistol grip and forearm improve grip and feel. Enhanced operational features include an enlarged trigger guard that is ramped for fast loading, oversized bolt handle and release that are easier to use and a traditional threaded magazine cap. The raised rib sight picture and flat point of impact puts shooters on target faster and more consistently. To learn more about the features and specs and to access downloadable hi res images please visit:
As I sat there, I thought, “Deer hunting is about sunrises and sunsets, the wildlife that go about their daily routines not knowing you are there. It’s about all the memories you make with family and friends or alone in a barn.”
By Larry Whiteley
The forecast for opening day of the firearms deer season was for rain with a chance of thunderstorms. My son was out of town, and my grandson was at college in Kansas. It wouldn’t be the same without them, so why not just stay home? Wait a minute, this is opening morning I’m talking about. A tradition for goodness sake. How many years in a row have I enjoyed this special day? I had to be out there even if I was going to be by myself. Even if it was raining.
The alarm jarred me from my sleep. I got the coffee pot going, brushed my teeth, did my duty, grabbed my hunting clothes and rifle, filled my thermos, and was out the door. I could see stars in the night sky, so maybe, just maybe, the weatherman was wrong. My truck came to a stop at the metal gate on the gravel road, and I got out to open it. No rain! I drove on down the road, crossed the creek, and pulled up to the old barn sitting majestically in the field.
My plan was to leave the truck there and hike across the field to a tree where my stand waited for me. I got out of the truck, thunder rumbled, and lightning cracked and lit up the dark sky. I was sure thankful I had gone to the bathroom before leaving home. My hair would have stood on end if I had any.
I quickly decided I did not want to walk across a field with the lightning while carrying a rifle to go sit in a metal treestand. Then the sprinkles started, the thunder and lightning continued, and I got back in my truck. As I sat there thinking about what to do, the sky lit up again, and it seemed like heaven opened. I swear I heard the angel chorus singing hallelujah and trumpets bugling. There before me was the answer that would save this day. I would deer hunt from the old barn hayloft. My son, grandson, and granddaughter had all taken deer from the old barn before, and so had I.
I jumped out of the truck, grabbed all my hunting stuff, and ran inside. Then I remembered I had a folding chair I used when hunting in blinds, it was still in the truck, so I ran back out to get it. The rain was getting heavier, but the old barn would keep me dry. It was still dark, so I was in no hurry to climb up in the barn loft. I looked around with wide eyes, and my headlight assured me there were no wild animals in the barn ready to attack me. I also made a mental note not to step in all the groundhog holes in the dirt floor.
The old barn was built over 100 years ago by a gentleman named Christopher Columbus Meadows. I remembered the old black and white picture the owner of this land had shown me of Christopher Columbus holding a horse by the reigns and standing next to the barn.
My headlight shines on, the big stacked rocks and hand hewn beams light up. These are the foundation on which the old barn has stood for over 100 years. I look at the ax marks on the wood, and I see, in my mind’s eye, Christopher chopping and shaping the log to become this foundation. I imagine him in the wooden wagon, pulled by the horse in the picture, going down to the creek to find the flat rocks for the beam to set on.
I look around at all the weathered wood that covers the old barn. There was no electricity in this valley when the barn was built and wouldn’t be for another 30 years or more. So how did they get this wood to build it? How has the wood lasted this long? There is no paint or sealant of any kind on it. Where did they get the old rusted hinges and nails? I will never know the answers.
My mind travels back in time, and I see the horse in the picture standing in a stall. I see corn stalks stacked in another area. Maybe this was where they milked the old cow. Is that daylight coming through the cracks? It sounds like the storm has let up. I better get up in the loft.
I climb the stairs that are just as sturdy as they were when they were built but step carefully around rotted boards on the loft floor. I set up in the big opening where they once brought hay up from below to be stored in the barn loft. My chair is comfortable. I pour a cup of coffee and stretch out my legs. This is a great way to hunt deer, even if it’s not raining.
I look around the old loft, still amazed at how they built the old barn this big and how it has stood this long. The owner tells me it’s home to barn swallows, field rats, mice, a pair of black vultures that come here to raise babies every year, and the groundhogs who made all the holes, these will probably be the biggest reason the barn comes down someday.
The rain stops. Through my binoculars, I see a buck by himself – he has a weird set of antlers. On the left, it is normal but only three points. On the right, it is short with two points and ugly. He slowly saunters across the field with his head down. I figure all the bucks have teased him about his weird rack, and the females don’t want anything to do with this ugly buck.
I think for a moment about putting him out of his misery and click off the safety. But then I think maybe next year when he grows back a new set of antlers, they will be prominent and handsome. Then the ladies will be attracted to him, and the bucks that made fun of him will regret it when he kicks their butt. I click on my safety.
Rain starts again. He will be the only deer I see this day, but that’s okay. I don’t know why we have to get older to realize that deer hunting is not just about getting a big buck you can put out on social media to brag about. Deer hunting is about sunrises and sunsets, the wildlife that go about their daily routines, not knowing you are there. It’s about all the memories you make with family and friends or alone in a barn.
This day will be added to my storehouse of memories. Before I get too old, and as long as it remains standing, I would like to have a few more days of deer hunting from the hayloft of the old barn.
Father and son hunting buddies that can say, "I love you Bub!" Molly Meyers photo
Hunting, fishing, frog-giggin’ and sucker -grabbin’
Freckles, frowns, wrinkles and specks of gray…is winter here?
Kids, grandkids, heartwarming memories…thank you Lord. Pass it on.
By Larry Whiteley
He was up early getting ready to pick up his son to go deer hunting. He had brushed his teeth and was washing his face. He paused to look at himself in the mirror and saw an old man staring back at him.
Maybe it was because his 74th birthday was on Christmas, and it would be here in a few more weeks. He stared at the old man in the mirror and saw wrinkles carved by frowns and smiles through the years of his life. He looked at the bags under his eyes. He saw his skin sagging down on both sides of his chin and looked like a turkey wattle hanging below. What little hair he saw was gray. The old man in the mirror was in the winter of his life.
He pulled into his son’s driveway and smiled as he loaded his deer hunting stuff in the truck. He was proud of the husband and father, his son, had become. He moved over to let him drive. His old eyes didn’t see as well in the dark anymore. The interior light of the truck revealed specks of gray in his son’s hair. It was hard for him to believe that it wouldn’t be long until his son would be a grandpa for the first time. He was in the fall of his life.
Not much was said as the truck traveled down the road to their hunting place. The son glanced over at his Dad. He realized that his Dad was getting older. He wondered how many more deer and turkey hunting trips they would have together. Dad was still very active and his health seemed good, but at his age, you never know.
As he drove, his mind wandered to times when he was younger, and Dad took him rabbit hunting, squirrel hunting, and dove hunting. He thought of frog-gigging trips, fishing trips, and especially sucker-grabbin’. Camping and trout fishing was fun too.
He thought to himself how he needed to thank him for the time they had spent together in the outdoors and all the outdoor things he had done with his son and daughter when they were in the spring of their lives. This would be a good time to tell him how important all that was to him and them. They drove on in silence.
The truck came to a stop, the older man got out to open the gate. The night sky was dark, but getting lighter. They had to hurry to get to their stands before the deer started moving. They wished each other good luck and started in opposite directions. The son stopped, turned around, and watched his Dad walking away until he disappeared into the dark.
The older man got to his stand and started the climb up. It wasn’t as easy as it used to be. He settled into his stand, got everything ready, and sat in silence waiting. He thought about the old man in the mirror that morning and wondered how many more times he would be able to do this thing he loved so much. Right now, he still had the strength, the will and the desire, but he knew at his age, that could change at any time. He didn’t want to think about that anymore.
The dark turned to light, and the wildlife started their day. Birds sang their songs, and crows talked to each other, and squirrels sounded like deer as they rustled about in the woods. He watched deer traveling through the frosted field below but out of range.
As the morning wore on, his thoughts turned to memories he had from being outdoors with his kids, grandkids, and friends in the summer and fall of his life. He even thought of a time when he was fishing and would look over to watch his wife reading a book. He wished there had been more time spent in the outdoors with his son and grandsons that lived in another state. Where had the time gone? It went so fast. He looked up to the sky and said thank you for blessing him and forgiving him.
In another stand, in another place, his son sat waiting. He too, had seen and heard the wildlife. He too, had seen deer out of range and even a few that he let have a heartbeat for another day. He too, also thought about outdoor memories with Dad, his wife, and his kids, and the memories he would make with his grandkids someday. The outdoor traditions he loves would be passed on. He too looked up and said thank you. He even thought about how he was in the fall of his life, and winter was coming.
There were no deer to field dress and load that day. They talked some on the way home, but it was mostly a silent trip again. The old man was thinking to himself how he wished his Dad would have spent time with him in the outdoors, but he didn’t. He thought about how he never heard his Dad tell him that he loved him. He had no good memories from the spring of his life.
It might have been a perfect time to talk to each other about all the things they thought and talked about. Why is it so hard for men to look at each other in the eye and tell them how they feel? A day will come when they will wish they had.
They pull into the driveway. Hunting gear is unloaded. The old man says, “I love you Bub!” The son says, “I love you too,” then watches until his Dad has driven out of sight. He goes into the house, kisses his wife, and goes into the bathroom to wash his hands. He looks in the mirror and sees the gray in his hair. His thoughts from the day sweep over him. He thinks of his Dad being in the winter of his life. “I will be right back,” he tells his wife. “I need to go tell Dad something.”
DEC Announces Extension of Online Hunter Education Course Through August
Offerings Now Include Online Bowhunter Course
24,000 Hunters Have Completed Online Course since April; New York State Sporting License Sales Up Nearly 10 Percent
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that DEC’s online hunter education course will continue to be available through Aug. 31, 2020. All hunters must complete a mandatory hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license. In addition, DEC is making an online bowhunter education course option available beginning July 15. Since mid-April, more than 24,000 hunters have successfully completed the online hunter education course, about 20 percent more than typically take it. Of those completing the online course about 40 percent were women, compared to 27 percent female participants in the traditional in-person course. In addition, almost half of the people taking the online course were 30 years of age or older, compared to 30 percent for the in-person course.
“Many new hunters went afield for this year’s turkey season and we look forward to continuing to welcome new hunters with this online safety course,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Hunter safety is our top priority, and expanding the availability of these online courses will help us engage more New Yorkers who are ready to be a part of our state’s proud hunting tradition.”
All hunters who wish to hunt big game with a bow must complete a mandatory bowhunter education course in addition to the required hunter education course. The online hunter education course was first made available in April after in-person hunter education courses were cancelled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The online course provided an opportunity for first-time hunters who wanted to go afield during New York’s spring turkey season to receive their hunter education certificate before the season started in May. Extending the availability of the online course and adding the bowhunter course option will allow first-time hunters and new archery hunters the opportunity to get their required hunter education and bowhunter education certificates prior to the start of the fall hunting seasons.
DEC’s Hunter Education Program (HEP) is partnering with Kalkomey Enterprises, a company that specializes in hunter education, to offer the online courses that can be completed in six to eight hours. The online courses cover all the topics of traditional in-person courses including firearm and bow safety, tree stand safety, hunting ethics, wildlife conservation, and New York State hunting laws and regulations.
Students who successfully complete the online courses and pass the final exam will receive their hunter education certificate or bowhunter education certificate. The courses are available to individuals 11 and older, but only those 12 or older may purchase a hunting license. Students can complete the courses from a computer, tablet, or smart phone at any time. Visit DEC’s Hunter Education Program page to learn more or to sign up.
To take and receive a hunter education certificate or bowhunter education certificate through the online course, participants must be New York State residents. The cost of the hunter education course is $19.95 and the cost for the bowhunter education course is $30. Both courses can be accessed at DEC’s website. The online courses will be available through Aug. 31, 2020.
Sporting License Sales Increase Nearly 10 Percent in 2020
As New Yorkers continue to recreate locally to prevent the spread of COVID-19, DEC has seen a nearly 10 percent increase in sporting license sales overall. For the period that roughly coincides with New York State on PAUSE, resident turkey permits increased 49 percent, junior hunting licenses increased by 60 percent or more, and resident hunting licenses increased by 130 percent. Certain types of lifetime licenses also increased by as much as 146 percent. A combination of factors, including the availability of online hunter education for new hunters and time available to participate in the spring turkey season, likely contributed to the increase.
Tens of thousands of additional resident fishing licenses were also sold compared to the same time last year, with increases of 30 percent for annual and one-day fishing licenses. Non-resident and senior fishing license sales decreased as anticipated following the COVID-19-related guidance issued by New York and other states.
For more information on recreational opportunities available in New York State visit DEC’s website. New Yorkers are encouraged to engage in responsible recreation close to home during the State’s ongoing response to COVID-19. DEC recommendations incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases and encourage New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, show respect, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. For more information, go to DEC’s website.
The product is proudly made in the USA and gives one percent of all sales to conservation. The company also offers veterans a 15 percent discount on all products.
You see the Buck, the Elk, the Moose…but your bow is somehow unreachable. Now, a proven solution.
Reduce FROM a the game of CHANCE…TO a game of CHOICE.
Mount on your hip, on your treestand, on your backpack while hiking in. The Intuitive design makes bow retrieval fast and easy in any situation.
One of the big hassles of hunting with a compound bow is figuring out how to securely and safely pack and carry it afield, yet keep it handy enough that you can immediately spring into action should an unforeseen opportunity arise. The solution is simple: Bow Spider — the quickest and easiest bow retrieval system on the market. Whether you are a backpack hunter, spend your time up a tree, or need both hands free when crossing a field while carrying decoys, blinds, and other accessories, Bow Spider is the answer you’ve been looking for.
The concept is simple and revolves around a lightweight, roundish bow holder that comes with a sturdy belt and long bolts, allowing for multiple ways to secure your bow. Use the belt to attach your bow to your pack, hip, truck headrest, blind, or tree. Bow Spider can also be easily attached to a binocular harness or backpack. In fact, it can be mounted to any sturdy ﬂat surface for secure and easy storage – even a wall.
Here’s how it works. An aluminum arm attaches to the bow’s riser, and slides into a slot on the lightweight, injection-molded receiver, which can be worn on the included belt or attached via long bolts to other objects. The bow is held securely in place via a gravity-locking system, yet slides out with minimal effort. You have to either pull it out or turn it upside down to get the bow out. With Bow Spider, you can:
Mount on Your Hip: Use the straps provided to mount the Bow Spider to your side using a belt or on your pack frame belt. Or you can attach it to your pack frame waist band. Both of these options provide for easy access while hiking or exploring for game as well as during professional archery shooting competitions.
Mount in Your Tree Stand: Use the Bow Spider to secure your bow when hunting from a tree stand for quick, quiet access. Carry it up securely on your back and cinch to the tree! This eliminates the need for a pull rope to pull your bow up after you are already in the tree stand. Once in the tree stand utilize the provided strap to attach the Bow Spider to the tree for quick access.
Use on Your Pack: You can choose either to temporarily or permanently mount Bow Spider to your pack. By using the provided straps it can be mounted temporarily. For a permanent or semi-permanent mount you can use the provided bolts. This is a true game changer for those long backcountry hikes.
Safe Storage for Home or Travel: Use the provided strap to affix the Bow Spider to your seat while driving. You can also screw the Bow Spider to the wall for long term storage in your home.
The Bow Spider is available in green, tan, or black, and has a MSRP of $84.95. To see how it works, check out this short YouTube video quick access: Click Here
When every second counts, quickly swing your bow into action thanks to the amazing new Bow Spider. For more information, and to order visit www.bowspider.com.
About Recreational Archery Development LLC (RAD, LLC): Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Kinnear, WY – RAD, LLC is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative products for the outdoor industry, including the Bow Spider brand of products. Bow Spider’s intuitive design makes bow retrieval fast and easy in any situation. The product is proudly made in the USA and gives one percent of all sales to conservation. The company also offers veterans a 15 percent discount on all products. (To take advantage of this offer, orders need to be called in directly to the company at (307) 438-9290.) For additional information on RAD, LLC and the Bow Spider brand of products write to: RAD, LLC, PO Box 171, Kinnear, WY 82516; call (307) 438-9290; email email@example.com; visit www.bowspider.com.
No matter where you hunt, turkey season is short and bag limits are small.
NOT filling a limit, there is a reward, your time afield is maximized, the hunt is extended.
The important thing is being “out there,” a day or two away from work, the anticipation for another hunt.
By Mike Schoonveld
I have made lots of hunters happy by explaining the best techniques to completely miss the shots they fire at the game they are stalking. The seasons are short and limits are small.
A competent hunter with a fair amount of accuracy with his shooting iron can find himself sidelined by success.
Any hunter will tell you the “kill” is secondary to the hunt. The important things are being afield, day or two away from work, and pitting human skills against animal instincts. Not bagging a deer or not filling a limit of ducks insures your time afield is maximized and the hunt is extended. In short, a good clean miss can be what makes a season a success.
I don’t hunt turkeys, but I do shoot shotguns and can offer plenty of advice at how to fail at what would seem a simple task. The task is to blast a 20-pound plus bird that is standing still or moving slowly with a gun designed to pepper pellets into a duck flying 40 miles per hour.
It can’t be that hard, so when a turkey is fired upon and missed, one of two things happened. There was equipment error or there was shooter error. If the gun went “bang” when the trigger was pulled and a load of pellets flew out the end of the gun’s muzzle, that pretty well eliminates the equipment error. A more certain ploy to insure a full season of fun during turkey season is to rely on yourself to cause the missed shots. Here are some very reliable methods.
You can get overly excited when you first see that gobbler heading your way, responding to your seductive calls. Don’t worry about the distance. Never mind that the bird heading ever closer, thus making the shot easier. Blast away as soon as you see the Tom. Out past 40 yards or so, your pellets will slow to the point that they’ll bounce off the feathers and the rest of the pattern will pepper harmlessly into the forest.
You can take this to the other extreme, as well. Let the bird approach to within 10 or 15 feet and try for a head and neck shot with a pattern that measures about 2.7 inches across. Shotguns are designed to be “pointed” not aimed; but at extremely close range, you better learn to aim.
Then there’s the ol’ shoot through the brush trick. The gobbler is in easy range. You can see it strutting through a screen of the forest understory. Fire away, I guarantee you’ll miss.
Even with an open shot, only a half dozen of the pellets you fire will hit a vital spot on the turkey. So you aren’t really trying to force hundreds of pellets through the brambles. Most were destined to miss, anyway. What you are trying to do is thread those half dozen pellets which are on target through the maze and you only need to have a half dozen sticks or twigs in the way to insure a clean miss. A turkey behind a screen of intervening shrubbery is as safe as Capt. Kirk being attacked by a bevy of Klingon torpedoes when the Enterprise shields are up.
The most acceptable way to miss a turkey is to try to get a better look at your target. Shotguns don’t have a rear sight to use for aiming because, as I said earlier, you don’t aim a shotgun. Your eyes become the rear sight as you look down the barrel and point the gun. Can’t see the turkey real well because you are looking down the barrel? Just raise your head a few inches off the stock and you can see it clearly. Of course, now your “rear sight” has been adjusted to make the gun shoot high. The more clearly you see the bird, the higher you will shoot. Simple, effective and the best part is you get to keep on hunting.
So try one or more of these tricks when you hit the turkey woods in the next few weeks. Want to ensure you get to keep hunting, combine some of these techniques. You’ll thank me and be happy if you don’t get the bird on opening day, the rest of the season is still available for you!
New hunting land…I saw 33 deer on one day, 57 deer on another day, here’s how.
Controlling your body odor is critical, there is only one good way, most critical.
Trail cam’s that talk with remote pictures can help us map out deer kill zones.
By Larry Whiteley
You are probably thinking why in the world would I be writing about deer hunting in March? Yes, deer season is over. It won’t be here again for another 7 long months, but I will tell you like I have told others, “I like my fishing. I enjoy camping. I delight in my time on hiking trails. I savor my time on the water in boat, canoe or kayak, but I absolutely love hunting and especially deer hunting.” Also, I want to share some things with you that could greatly improve your deer hunting this year, but you need to be doing them right now!
Late winter/early spring is a great time of year to get out and scout for deer while you look for shed antlers and maybe some early morel mushrooms too.
You can safely roam every inch of your hunting grounds and not worry if you spook a deer or two since you won’t be hunting them again until at least September. Check every nook and cranny searching for tracks, rubs, trails, and scrapes you missed this past season. Enter all that you find on your onX app, then study them to put together the innermost pieces of the puzzle. You don’t have an onX app? My grandson (from the age that knows handheld help) feels it is the most useful hunting app available. Go to https://www.onxmaps.com and see what all this app can do. You’ll be ahead of the game come fall because whitetails are notoriously habitual creatures that follow the same general movement patterns year after year.
Since the trees are still bare, it’s a good time to identify new places for stands, then go ahead and hang them. If you find that big buck’s shed, you will know he is probably going to be around again come hunting season. You can also put out food or minerals if it is allowed in your area. Put game cameras out too and start watching for deer pictures on your smartphone or computer. It’s a lot cooler now than waiting for summer to do it and the scent you left will be long gone before hunting season.
Speaking of scent. Few animals have a better sense of smell than the whitetail deer. Their senses of sight and hearing are important, but their nose is their best protection. They can detect odors much better and from considerably longer distances than us humans. A big part of their brain is devoted to odor reception and interpretation. Their nasal chamber can even concentrate odors so they are more identifiable. They not only identify the source of the smell, but also the approximate distance and location/direction of the smell.
The number one thing that can keep you from getting a deer is their sense of smell. So, when you’re out there hunting deer, it makes the most sense to do everything possible to keep from alerting them to your presence in their home. Way before this past deer season, my grandson and I started doing research on that very question. He is a senior in college majoring in wildlife management and did summer intern work with one of the best deer biologists in America. He learned a lot about a deer’s sense of smell, how it works and what you can do to keep them from smelling you. I attended seminars at outdoor writer conferences and did a lot of research on the internet trying to determine the best products to use to keep them from smelling us.
All of that is exactly why the Whiteley family decided to be a ScentLok family. My grandson could explain to you why and what they do to their clothing that really works. You can also go to https://www.scentlok.com/ to learn all about it. I just know it does! To seal the deal, in 2012, a Minnesota lawsuit filed by some hunters saying it didn’t work was dismissed after expert testing found that, using highly elevated test odor concentrations that were ‘likely ten thousandfold greater than a human body could produce in the course of 24 hours,’ ScentLok clothing fabrics blocked 96-99% of the odor compounds, and essentially 100 percent of body odor compounds tested. The expert testing also found that after drying, or washing and drying, ScentLok fabrics continued to be highly effective at blocking odors.” In other words, ScentLok gets as close to scent invisibility as a hunter can get.
All my deer hunting family wore ScentLok clothing and used their other products this past deer season. Our opinion is that if you take care to eliminate your scent by showering with no scent soap, use no scent detergent, wear a headcover, use no scent spray on all your equipment including stands and blinds, plus use ScentLok storage systems in combination with their OZ ozone systems, the results are measurable in pounds of venison and antler size. To wear your ScentLok clothes, reactivate them in your dryer, watch the wind direction and steady your aim. Very effective. You’ll need to choose the deer you take down, you’ll see that many more.
Now, even if you do all that and then get out of bed, just throw your clothes on and hop in the truck or get on an ATV, chances are a deer will know you are there. If you smoke, chew or eat on the way over plus leave scent on your way in and then climb into your stand or blind, then nothing is going to work. You are not going to magically disappear just because you have ScentLok clothing on if you don’t do everything right, as explained earlier.
ScentLok clothes will do their job, but it is up to you to do all the above plus not make noises they will hear or movement they will see. My son and I can both testify we heard the dreadful sound of deer blowing at us and saw their white flags as they ran away. It was their sight and hearing that got us back then, not their nose.
This past early archery season, I was hunting in a new stand on a new property and saw 33 deer. Not one of them had any idea I was there. The next weekend in another new stand, I saw 57 deer coming from every direction possible. None of them caught my scent. My son and I hunted two different Missouri properties all through the different deer seasons. My grandson and future granddaughter-in-law hunted property in Kansas. All of us can honestly say we never had a deer smell us no matter where we were at.
No, we did not get any of the big bucks we saw while we were out there or had pictures on our game cameras. Their time is coming though. We passed on several nice bucks but decided to give them a heartbeat for another year. We did take several does to help get the doe to buck ratio in better balance and fill our freezers until next season. The steaks, burger, summer sausage, jerky and snack sticks will be enjoyed all year.
We will also be wearing our ScentLok come early turkey season in a few more weeks. Not that we’re worried about turkeys busting us with their nose, but their clothing is so comfortable, quiet and well-made it is not just for deer season. None of us are on ScentLok’s payroll, but we can honestly tell you we have tried many things to control our scent and there is nothing better. That’s why we are and always will be a ScentLok family. Start getting ready and start shopping right now!
This is the first of four experimental seasons under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations
In Alabama, 400 permits were issued with 3 bird tags/permit (1,200)
Alabama permit numbers and management plans are expected to the same for 2021
By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Another warm winter left Alabama’s duck hunters frustrated, but those who were lucky enough to score a permit for the first sandhill crane season in the state were elated. Although not all of the 400 crane permit holders were able to harvest one of the large birds, those who did, raved about the new hunting opportunity.
Jason Russell of Gadsden, Alabama, and his 17-year-old son, Grayson, both drew permits, which allowed a harvest of three birds each. The first order of business was to secure a place to hunt sandhills in the hunting zone in north Alabama. Fortunately, a friend from Birmingham had connections with a landowner near the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, and they were granted permission to hunt. “We were excited to get an opportunity to hunt the sandhills,” said Russell, an avid duck hunter and award-winning decoy carver. “We’d seen them around for years. We really didn’t know the reality of what it would take to kill one. Once we were drawn, we thought we’d give it a shot. We bought decoys and got ready. What was interesting this year, everywhere I went, I saw cranes. At Weiss Lake, at Guntersville, everywhere we went, we at least saw cranes flying.”
On the morning of the first hunt, the Russell’s saw several cranes in the field they planned to hunt and saw several more in the air. After setting up their decoys, both full-body and silhouettes, they settled into their blinds. “Within 20 minutes we had a group of birds fly 15 yards over our decoys,” Jason said. “We ended up letting them go because we were so awestruck that our setup actually worked. We were kind of surprised. Another 20-30 minutes went by and groups of two and three came by. On our first hunt, three of us had permits, and we killed six birds on an afternoon hunt that lasted maybe two or three hours. We were pretty excited that you could actually decoy them. After duck and goose hunting for 30 years, this gives hunting a new twist and new excitement.”
The Russell’s had planned to hunt cranes just like they would geese in an open field with layout blinds. They soon discovered natural vegetation helped them hide much better. “There was some scrub brush sticking up,” Jason said. “I thought, well, let’s at least be comfortable. There was enough brush to where we could get hidden. We put our full-bodies out at 20 yards, hid our faces and kept our heads down. We were shooting decoying birds at 15 to 20 yards.”
The hunters left that area undisturbed for three weeks before attempting a second hunt. They were even more awestruck when they arrived at the hunting land. Jason needed two birds to fill his tags, while Grayson only needed one. “When we got there, there must have been between 200 and 300 sandhills in the field,” Jason said. “After we got set up, three birds came in and I doubled up.” With only one tag left, the cranes seemed hesitant to decoy.
The Russells soon figured out that trying to mix crane hunting and goose hunting might not work very well. “We had put out full-body goose decoys to try to kill a few geese while we were there,” Jason said. “It was interesting that the cranes seemed to be skirting our decoys. We decided either we were going to have to move or do something different. We made the decision to pull all the goose decoys. By the time we pulled the last goose decoy and got back in the blind, we had a pair of sandhills at 15 yards. My son rolled his out, and we were done. It could have been a coincidence that we pulled the goose decoys and we killed one, but I feel like they flared off of the full-body goose decoys. We were just catching the cranes traveling from one field to another. I guess they decided to drop into our decoys to see what was going on.”
Before the hunt, Russell was afraid that it might be possible to mistake a protected whooping crane for a sandhill crane. That turned out to be an unrealized worry. “One of my fears was being able to identify the birds if we were in low light,” he said. “Sometimes when you get the sun wrong, you can’t see color that well. I thought we were going to have to be really careful to look out for whooping cranes. But that was not a problem. The whooping cranes stood out like a sore thumb. We made sure there was no shooting at all when those were in the area. And we never shot into big groups of sandhills. We never shot into groups of more than four birds. I felt like we didn’t educate them for the most part. If people will be smart and shoot the birds in the decoys or really close, then it will be a good thing for years to come.”
Jason said it was “awesome” that he and Grayson both got permits in the first year of the new sandhill season. “To get to shoot our sandhills together was special,” Jason said. “On our first hunt, we shot into a group of three birds and each of us got one. It was really exciting to get to have that moment of father-son hunting. It was just a neat, awesome experience that we will never be able to share again in waterfowling.”
Jason took his youngest son, 13-year-old Jonathan, on the second hunt to share the experience although Jonathan wasn’t able to hunt. “I just wanted him to see it,” Jason said. “I was excited for him to get to watch and hear the sounds of how loud those birds really are. It was amazing. He carried one of the birds, it was a big, mature bird and he cradled that thing all the way out of the field.”
The excitement wasn’t over for the Russells when they prepared the crane for the dinner table. “Cooking them was phenomenal,” Jason said. “We cooked some one night and took a little to a church group. One of the guys who doesn’t eat wild game said it was the best meal he’s eaten in his life. It was very flavorful. I thought it would be more like a duck, but it wasn’t. We enjoy eating duck, but I could eat way more sandhills. It was just so tender. I’ve always heard sandhills were the ribeye of the sky. Now I believe it. When you put it in your mouth, it tasted like steak. It was tender and juicy. Oh my gosh, it was so good.”
Seth Maddox, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Migratory Game Bird Coordinator, said the duck season was indeed disappointing, but he was enthusiastic about the first sandhill season.
The final results of the sandhill season won’t be available for a couple more weeks to allow permit holders to complete their post-season surveys. Maddox said he expects the final numbers to be in line with other states with sandhill seasons. “From the hunters we’ve talked to, it seems to be a pretty successful sandhill season,” Maddox said. “We’re expecting a harvest rate of about 30 percent, which will be a little more than 300 birds.” Maddox said the warm winter not only caused diminished duck numbers in Alabama but also affected the sandhill population.
“Sandhill numbers were a little below normal for the birds we typically over-winter here in Alabama,” he said. “Our 5-year average is 15,000 birds. This year, we estimated the population at 12,000, which made for a little tougher conditions for hunters. The birds tended to concentrate in areas closer to the refuges.”
Maddox said the sandhill season is the first of four as an experimental season under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations. He said the number of permits (400) and tags (1,200) will be the same next year.
Alabama’s sandhill harvest rate is similar to that of Tennessee and Kentucky, which surprises Maddox a bit.
“Our season was probably a little better than I expected,” he said. “Our hunters had never done it before. They had to find people willing to give them access to hunting land. Hunters got to make new friends. I think it was a very successful season.”
A lot of folks believe that the skill in calling turkeys is the most critical element of hunting. Although it plays a significant part in filling a tag, I consider it about 33 percent of the outcome.
Part one focused on finding turkeys. You can’t call what you can’t locate!
Part one also mentioned the knowledge of the bird, so understanding turkey talk is the key to what specific vocalization will work and when to use it. This is what I call getting into the gobblers head.
Turkey talk begins with the most simple of sounds, the “cluck.”
Turkeys make this sound more than any other, by far. It means “Here I am.” It can mean “come here,” or in conjunction with some purring, it can mean “this is my feeding area.”
The cluck is generally made throughout the day.
It’s worth mentioning turkeys can recognize each other’s “voice.” This is especially true in the fall when hens and poults form a flock.
The yelp takes on multiple meanings depending on the rhythm, volume and cadence of the sounds.
There is an assembly call that gathers a flock and a mating yelp as well.
Yelps and clucks are used in very low volume tree calling. They (yelps) are also incorporated with an excited and loud fly down cackle.
The other loud call is “cutting” and this can be a game changer for spring hunting.
Cutting to a gobbler is from a receptive and frustrated or angry hen.
Cutting can be used along with yelping to impart a scenario where the hen is “pleading” to the gobbler to join her. In nature, this becomes a standoff between the hen and the gobbler when neither is yielding ground.
Hens have territorial boundaries and my theory is that the hen knows that leaving her territory is likely to cause another hen to fight.
Gobblers travel in overlapping boundaries to find and breed as many hens as possible.
I have literally taught young hunters to call using nothing but a yelp and a cluck on a friction call at seminars. They learn in minutes.
Realism is another factor in raising your skill level.
Birds call in one form or another all day, but situational realism is what fools a turkey.
A fly down cackle includes a couple of clucks after a series of fast yelps.
A cackle is only seven or eight notes that begins with a few yelps and leads to quick excited yelps.
An assembly call starts with moderate volume yelping and goes a little faster and louder with each note for a total of maybe twelve to fourteen notes.
Mating yelps (from the hen) can start slow and speed up or just the opposite, starting fast and tailing off.
The gobbler will let you know what he likes if he is cutting the distance by moving toward your location.
Realism isn’t calling back to him every time he gobbles.
Yelping too often will generally cause the bird to stand his ground. Make him look for you by throwing your calls from what seems to be a different direction. Using a mouth call, you do this by moving the palm of your hand in front of your face like a baffle to simulate the bird’s movement.
There is more on calling and closing the deal in the next segment.
In regard to calling, nothing beats practice and most of the hen vocalizations can be heard on You Tube with keys words “Turkey calling.”
Try to learn with as many calls (box calls, pot calls, tube calls and especially mouth calls) as possible.
With practice, you can replicate all the sounds a hen turkey makes with a diaphragm mouth call.
A diaphragm mouth call is the most versatile and requires no hand movement. Except it requires one thing more: practice, practice, practice!
Learn How to Develop Your Own Turkey Hunting Expertise
Learn Where to Sit, What to Look For, How to Locate Turkey
Learn about Calls to Use, Decoy Set-Up, Location
By Jim Monteleone
A friend of mine asked me a long time ago what my secret was to killing two turkeys in Virginia every year. I could have offered up some tactic that he would have accepted as borderline magic, but the secret is that there are no secrets!
Experience over 40-plus seasons has taught me a few things, but the key to filling tags is simple.
I had an outline for seminars entitled “FIND them, CALL them and TAG them”. This will be the focus of a three-part series. Each of these elements is critical to your potential success.
Knowing the bird and his habitat – therein lays the most critical knowledge in the sport of turkey hunting. I know this because I’ve hunted turkeys in many states. I’ve hunted in places that I knew very, very well. And I also have hunted in places that I walked into for the first time as a guest.
From the Deep South to the far north, and even the western states, I’ve seen and called in birds that were chased and harassed almost on a daily basis in the spring.
Here is what I know.
I know there are places were turkeys like to be in the morning and what they do after “fly down.” It’s a huge advantage to know where they roost. Someone once said, “Roosted ain’t roasted,” and that’s true, but being within a hundred yards at sunrise is a huge advantage.
Instincts play a huge role in getting into the brain of a turkey.
Hens go to the gobbler (usually a dominant bird) in order to breed.
Hens seek out openings in which to nest. The places like pastures and clear cuts draw insects and that’s what young turkeys eat.
So a hen will stake out a territory near an opening.
Gobblers strut to gain the attention of receptive hens. They do this in fields and on open hardwood ridges. So you might want to sound like a hen, but you have to think like a gobbler.
Finding turkeys is not just in locating openings.
They need water every day, so there has to be a water source in the area.
They need grit to process the foods they ingest and they like to dust in warm weather that supports insect life.
Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes get into their feathers and dusting is the turkey’s way of getting rid of them.
Roost trees can be anywhere, but most often they are on the fringes of an opening or within a hundred yards. If you can locate these trees you are ready for business.
Although be careful not to crowd the tree and possibly scatter and spook the birds.
Birds will gobble and yelp from the roost.
Being there an hour before official sunrise is always my goal.
I’m here to listen!
I go in quietly and I listen.
I set up my decoys and I listen.
When I hear the first turkey sound, I wait to see if there are both hens and gobblers or just hens. If there are any birds, I’m glued to that spot.
You won’t often find just hens.
If all you hear are gobblers it may be a small group (2-4) of jakes.
A single bird gobbling is a pretty good bet to be a mature long beard.
Your set up is critical.
I try to be on higher ground than the bird because my outline won’t be totally visible if he’s coming up a rise.
My back is against a bigger tree, but not the biggest tree.
The biggest tree is where our eyes go and I believe that holds true for the gobbler too.
I have one knee up to rest my shotgun and I alter my position slightly to allow a solid aiming point in the direction of the last gobble I hear. I make small adjustments (an inch or two) slowly until I can see the bird.
In summary for part 1, birds need food, water, open woods or a clearing to be found in an area.
Preseason scouting should reveal at least a starting point.
No preseason calling unless it’s a locator call like an owl hooter or a crow call.
Educating the birds in the preseason by yelping is a really poor idea.
Birds tend to gobble more on clear, cool days when there is very little wind, but I hunt every chance I get. I have killed birds before, during and after some rain on gray, windy days.
More on calling and bringing a bird into shotgun range in Part 2, coming up.
Millions of New Hunters Are on the Way, say Hunting and Conservation Groups
In 2020, more than 460 million acres of state-owned lands are available to hunters and federal agencies are making it easier to access federal lands
Delta Waterfowl’s First Hunt Program has introduced more than 75,000 people to waterfowl hunting
By Bill Brassard
You’ve heard it said, “Nobody hunts anymore,” but that’s simply not true, said some of the nation’s top hunting and conservation groups during a press event at the SHOT Show® earlier this year. They cited new, innovative programs that are attracting large numbers of new hunters, allowing people to pursue their desire to hunt for healthful food and make a connection to the outdoors.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms industry, was joined by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Delta Waterfowl and Savage Arms to discuss initiatives that look to create millions of new hunters in America.
“We’re seeing many positive signs that show there is hope for the future of hunting,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s Director of Research and Market Development. “New research and programs show that many people are motivated to give hunting a try. They tell us it’s an activity to be enjoyed with family and friends, that hunting provides healthful meat for their tables, and it allows them to put their busy lives on hold for a time to recharge and reconnect with the outdoors and nature.”
Curcuruto was joined by Tom Decker, USFWS Wildlife Biologist; Joel Brice, Delta Waterfowl’s Vice President of Waterfowl & Hunter Recruitment Programs; and Beth Shimanski, Savage Arms’ Director of Marketing, in delivering an upbeat message about hunting that pushes back on those that say hunting is not relevant in today’s world.
Curcuruto cited several initiatives, including NSSF’s +ONESM Movement mentoring program, which encourages experienced hunters to mentor youth and adults who have an interest in hunting. “Field-to-fork” and locavore programs are gaining interest from non-traditional audiences, and many states offer apprentice hunting licenses that allow newcomers to give hunting a try before taking a mandated hunter education course.
Also discussed was NSSF’s Hunting Heritage Trust Grant program that was introduced to support hunter-recruitment efforts. Five grants totaling $100,000 were awarded in 2019, and successful recruitment efforts were realized by grant recipients: Sportsmen’s Alliance, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Georgia Wildlife Federation and First Hunt Foundation. Information on applying for a grant in the 2020 grant cycle can be found here.
Brice said Delta Waterfowl is seeing its HunteR3 Initiative introduce hunting to new audiences. The program has three components: Delta’s First Hunt Program, which has introduced more than 75,000 people to waterfowl hunting; Delta’s University Hunting Program, which teaches future wildlife management professionals who don’t have hunting experience about the critical role hunting plays in supporting wildlife conservation; and Defend the Hunt, which both defends against threats to hunting opportunity and works to increase quality access for hunters throughout North America.
“The launch of our HunteR3 Initiative reaffirms Delta Waterfowl’s commitment to hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation as an important priority for us.,” said Brice. “Delta is working hard to ensure a strong future for hunting. We simply must recruit new waterfowl hunters to replace those who are hanging up their waders and calls.”
Decker said, “Research has shown that one of the primary barriers to hunting is not having access to land. Knowing this, USFWS, along with state wildlife agencies, have made a concerted effort to open access to high-quality habitat over the past decade. In 2020, more than 460 million acres of state-owned lands will be available to hunters, and federal agencies are making it easier to access federal lands as well. The agencies are using online mapping technology to provide better information on where to access land, and apps such as onX Hunt provide maps that make it easy to find available lands as well.”
Shimanski said, “Generation Grit was Savage’s way of honoring the mentors who continue to selflessly share their expertise with new hunters. Their efforts deserve to be recognized as they strive to help us all change the trend we’ve seen in hunting participation. The overwhelming response from mentors shows us that there is hope that we can continue the uptick we’ve seen in the number of new hunters, especially younger hunters and women. That is very important to this industry, as we all benefit when that happens.”
Curcuruto noted, “Much research has been conducted over the past decade, and we feel confident we have the formula for successful recruitment. State and federal wildlife agencies, along with many NGOs and conservation organizations, are doing terrific work recruiting new hunters, but the needle will move faster when more of the industry gets involved. If we want to continue to activate millions of new hunters, then any company selling to the hunting market should get involved with recruitment efforts. The good news is that the more manufacturers and retailers get involved in recruitment, the more new hunters we will have. It’s really that simple. Make sure 2020 is the year you join the +ONE Movement.”
Take a look at what happened when NSSF invited its staff to learn to hunt. We encourage you to conduct your own +ONE hunter recruitment efforts to help bring those millions of interested folks to the field.
To learn more about supporting this effort, visit NSSF’s +ONE Movement and R3 information pages or contact Jim Curcuruto at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About NSSF:The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.
When you ask a child what he or she wants to be when they grow up, the answers are usually stereotypical. Doctor, lawyer, veterinarian, police officer, firefighter, nurse…the vocation one takes on is very rarely the job he/she first expected, or the one he/she is meant for.
Linda Powell was destined to be a hunter though her upbringing told no signs of it.
Powell grew up in North Carolina in a middle-class family. She went to college hoping to study genetics and research. It wasn’t a widely accepted path at the time for girls and she succumbed to pressure to become a nurse, Powell did so, married, had a son, and lived what she calls a “very traditional, typical life.”
After working in the medical field for 14 years, Powell realized in her mid-thirties that she “really was bored, stagnant, I felt that there was nothing that was challenging me personally.” Not knowing exactly what she needed, Powell quit her job and explored various roles assigned to her by temporary agencies. She eventually took a marketing position at a kitchen hardware manufacturing company – her first adventure outside of the medical field. This position didn’t quite fit Powell so she kept searching.
“I was looking for opportunities and I heard that the Remington Arms company was moving their worldwide corporate headquarters to a town about 20 miles north of where I lived, and I simply went and applied thinking ‘large corporation.’ I still didn’t really know much about what they made or what they did, I was just thinking opportunity for growth. And I was hired, and I’m not sure still why sometimes, I question this, to be the administrative assistant in the PR department.” Filling what one may term another traditional role led to discoveries and experiences far from conventional, though not without difficulties.
Linda Powell found herself replacing a woman who had been with Remington for 20 years. Powell lacked experience in and knowledge of the industry, of the position, and of Remington’s products but tried her best to learn. It was most painful when people asked by name for the woman Linda had replaced.
“The first 6 to 9 months I pretty much cried every day on the way home, thinking I will never figure this out. I didn’t know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun. I didn’t know what gauge meant, caliber…it was like the Greek language to me. But slowly some of it began to click.” Several Remington employees offered to teach Powell how to shoot. Her only previous experience with firearms and hunting was the fact that her grandfather used to disappear some weekends and reappear with some sort of game meat. She had no knowledge of what went on in-between. After some range time, Powell wanted to learn more. About a year after joining Remington, she attended the Remington shooting school; a three-day course focused on clay shooting. “What I loved about it was [that it was] very adaptable because I was in a class with people who had experience but who wanted just to hone their skills, and then there were people like me who had zero. When I left there, I knew the basics of handling a shotgun safely, I could break some clays, and they kind of had piqued my interest in wanting to learn more.”
Then came the life-changing question: Do you want to try hunting?
After some deliberation and mental preparation, Powell decided she was up for the challenge. “Fortunately, with my medical and biology background…I understood enough about wildlife management but I did a lot of reading to understand the role that hunting plays in [it] and I also had to come to terms with it for my own feelings.” She did not want to just jump into something she did not understand – it had to have meaning and purpose.
Looking back now, she laughs, smiling delicately as she talks of her first hunting experience. “I jokingly wonder if they were setting me up for failure because most people start with maybe bird hunting, turkey, deer, squirrels – my very first hunt was a black bear hunt. And they had me do it with a muzzleloader.” While preparing for the hunt, Linda learned to load and shoot a muzzleloader accurately, something she had never done before. Though it was slightly overwhelming at first, Powell was up for the challenge, and her beaming smile revealed that she would not have had it any other way.
Sitting in a plush chair in Mississippi at the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association Conference, Powell told of an experience that is almost unbelievable given her iconic status in the industry today. Honest and open with no details spared, Powell admitted that at the time she was brand new and overwhelmed in moments, but has always been open to new experiences.
“I’d never sat in a treestand, there were just so many things that I was exposed to, even knowing how to dress for the hunt. There are so many [foreign] things…people that grow up [hunting] don’t necessarily understand that. Here I am at the ripe old age of 38, and again, I didn’t know anything about it. But I am really fortunate I had great mentors along on that hunt, my guide was exceptional. We, on the last day of the hunt, hadn’t really seen a bear but I had learned a lot. And I remember sitting in the tree, we’re getting to the last little light of day and just reflecting on what an incredible experience it had been, that I was trying something I’d never done before.”
Some things are meant to be. Powell smiled, her eyes shining with passion as she revealed the end of the story – something so neatly strung together it seems out of a movie. “I was sitting out in the woods, I was seeing squirrels and birds and soaking it all in and kind of just daydreaming for a minute and all of a sudden I woke up and there was a bear standing out in front of me and of course I went through the moment of ‘Oh my gosh, what do I do now?’ And I remember bringing my muzzleloader up and I was shaking. I put it back down on my lap, I took a few breaths: it took me three times. I got the muzzleloader up, the bear just was feeding nonchalant, and I shot, and I got it.”
Years later, and Powell remembers nearly every detail of her first hunt because that day, her life changed. She knew it immediately within her, though she could never have guessed how.
* Linda Powell has traveled to Russia, Africa, South America, and has hunted all across the United States and Canada. She worked for Remington for 15 years and currently works for Mossberg, as the director of media relations.
Read the next second segment story (look for it) to learn about Powell’s path and how she came to become an accomplished hunter dedicated to passing along the hunting tradition.
Editor Note – About the Author: Serena Juchnowski is a young college student, passionate about the outdoors. Serena grew up in an outdoors family but did not start shooting until the eighth grade, and did not start hunting until she was 16. Since then, she has devoted herself to the shooting sports, volunteering as the secretary at a local club, coaching new shooters, and using writing and photography to educate others about the shooting and hunting sports. She has earned the Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge (#2479) and NRA Master Classification. She enjoys hunting, mostly in Ohio, her home state, and is especially interested in introducing “juniors” (in the shooting world, kids up to age 20 or 21), as well as women, to high power service rifle and to hunting. She would like to work in the outdoor industry to help fulfill her dream to promote safe shooting and hunting. Visit Serena’s Web pageFacebook page and Instagram to visit with numerous pictures and other information on her shooting journey, as well as her written article.
Theissen V1 Whitetail Midweight System, perfect for all-season deer hunting
From cool autumn evenings to the season’s first frosty mornings, every deer hunter knows there’s a broad spectrum of weather conditions to conquer in order to find success. The Thiessens’ V1 Whitetail Midweight System is the perfect solution, giving hunters multiple layering options to match whatever Mother Nature throws their way.
Built with innovative technologies and pursuit-driven materials, the Midweight System includes a jacket, vest, hoodie, and pant. Each item comes in Realtree EDGE™ camo for the ultimate in concealability, while the fabric construction allows for ultra-quiet movement in the stand.
The jacket, vest, and pant utilize Thiessens’ Wind Defense technology giving you a windproof barrier when the chill threatens to drive you from the tree stand and the quiet laminated, quiet, super-stretch fabric offers highly water-resistant protection (seams are not taped so these are not 100% waterproof). Each garment features a water-resistant treatment on the outer shell to bead away light rain and moisture-wicking design to help regulate body temperature and drive sweat away when your activity level starts to increase.
The jacket is ideal for use as an outer layer on cooler days and the Wind Defense technology provides an impenetrable barrier against stiff breezes. If there is a downpour in the forecast, the jacket can be paired with the Thiessens’ Rain Jacket to keep you warm and dry. The jacket also features an adjustable hood. The hood is designed so that it won’t obstruct your peripheral vision and can be removed when it’s warmer or you want a more minimalist approach. It’s also the perfect jacket for gear junkies, with ample pocketing for your calls, rangefinder and cell phone. Articulated quiet construction allows for an unrestricted full range of motion.
The vest delivers incredible warmth to weight ratio and can be worn both as a mid or outer layer depending on the time of year. For brisk early season mornings on the stand, the vest can be worn over a lightweight shirt for extra warmth, or it can be worn as an extra mid-layer under the heavyweight jacket when the temperatures plummet. It also features Wind Defense technology, several pockets for storage and a mock collar to keep you from getting chilled.
If you’re a fan of mid-layers with sleeves, the hoodie delivers ultimate warmth and moisture-wicking design, perfect for active days in the field when you need maximum comfort and range of movement.
When it’s time to hunker into the blind and play the waiting game, the midweight pant offers incredible warmth and Wind Defense technology to keep you toasty. Ample pocketing and an articulated design provide plenteous room for gear storage and comfort. Ultra-quiet composition for extreme stealth from a softshell garment.
V1 Whitetail Midweight Jacket:
Adjustable hem shock cord cinch
Water-resistant treatment on outer shell with Wind Defense technology
The main garment fabric is laminated with a waterproof film but seams are not taped
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Ultra-soft, quiet design
Multiple accessory pockets handle all your gear
Realtree EDGE™ Camo
V1 Whitetail Midweight Vest:
Water-resistant treatment on the outer shell and Wind Defense technology
The main garment fabric is laminated with a waterproof film but seams are not taped
Moisture-wicking, anti-odor treated lining
Ultra-soft, quiet design
Adjustable hem cinch-cord
Multiple accessory pockets handle all your gear
Realtree EDGE™ Camo
V1 Whitetail Hoodie:
Moisture-wicking, anti-odor treated material
Traditional kangaroo pocket
Realtree EDGE™ Camo
V1 Whitetail Midweight Pant:
Water-resistant treatment on the outer shell and Wind Defense technology
The main garment fabric is laminated with a waterproof film but seams are not taped
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Two-way zip fly
Comfort fit for maximum range of motion
Internal gripper waistband
Ample pocketing for gear
Realtree EDGE™ Camo
Thiessens is an outdoor brand that makes and sells authentic, pursuit-driven equipment directly to the end-user. Sharing the passion of outdoor pursuits, Thiessens will consistently bring the best combination of features, performance, and value to consumers. Thiessens’ products are thoughtfully crafted to over-perform in any condition. Pursue life, pursue your passion, and pursue with Thiessens. For more information, please visit WWW.THIESSENS.COM.
It sure is getting foggy. I’m not sure I could even see a deer sneaking through the woods in this stuff. Oh well, I just love being out here sitting in my stand, even if I don’t see a deer. It’s a great time to be alone with God and thank Him for the opportunity to be out here in His great outdoors.
I wonder how many sunrises I have seen coming through the trees while sitting in a tree stand? After over 50 years of deer hunting, it has to be a lot. I have watched a lot of sunsets too, while up in a tree, but sunrises are my favorite. There’s just something special about being in the dark watching the sun gradually bring light to the forest.
Hearing the first bird songs of the day is music to my ears. I even love the smell of decaying leaves on the forest floor. The first movement I see is usually a squirrel gathering nuts for the long winter ahead. It’s amazing how much a squirrel sounds like a deer walking through the woods. Then there were the times I have watched a fox, a bobcat or some other animal traveling through and they had no idea I was even there. There was also the time an owl thought the fur trapper’s hat I was wearing on a cold winter day was breakfast and, with claws raised, dived right at my head.
It’s funny how we deer hunters tend to name our tree stands too. Over the years I have sat in stands with names like Northwood’s, Papaw Bear, Dad and Me, 23, Pond, Kelly, Red Neck and even one called No Name. Just thinking of the names brings back a lot of memories.
Most of my years sitting in those tree stands have been by myself, but the absolute best times were the years I shared them with my grandson, Hunter, while my son hunted with my granddaughter Anna. Hunter got old enough to hunt in his own tree stand and I am now once again sitting alone in the deer woods. It won’t be too many more years and he will be hunting with his son or daughter and continuing to pass on the tradition. Just thinking about the good times when it was just him and me brings tears to my eyes.
When you sit there waiting for a deer to come by your secret hiding place thinking of all these things, you see them in your mind. Speaking of tears, as I sit here this day, for some strange reason I am seeing my wife crying. The fog is lifting enough that I can now also see my sons, daughters-in-law, and grandkids crying. What’s going on?
Honey, I love you. Why are you crying, I say to my wife? Can’t you hear me? Hunter, I know you have always had a tender heart, but what’s the matter Bub? Don’t cry Sis, your Papaw’s here. Ty, Sam…come here and give your Papaw our secret hand -squeeze and let me wipe away the tears. Kids, I am right over here!
Hey, I also see some of my cousins and friends from church. There’s Pastor Scotty too! What are they all doing here? I try talking to them and they act like they can’t hear me or see me. Why is this room filled with all these flowers and pictures of me with my wife, kids and grandkids plus pictures of me with fish and deer?
I hear someone ask my son how it happened. How what happened? My son Kelly chokes back a tear as my son Daron puts his arm around him to comfort him and he says, “Dad was always telling us to wear our harness and attach our lifeline when we got into a tree stand. He was hunting out of a ladder stand and for some reason, I guess he thought he didn’t need to do what he always told us to do. He even wrote articles and did radio shows telling other people how important it was to do it, but that day he didn’t. A ratchet strap broke; the stand slipped and he fell out.”
Did I fall out of my tree stand? I’m dead?! You’ve got to be kidding! I have hunted that stand for years. My harness and lifeline were in my truck. I guess like most hunters, I thought this could never happen to me. I made a bad decision.
I say I am sorry to my wife for the times I have hurt her, tell her I love her one more time and that the boys will watch over her, but she doesn’t hear me. I want to hug and kiss her but I can’t.
I stand right in front of my sons and tell them how proud I am of them for being the good husbands and fathers they are, but they don’t see or hear me. I reach out to touch each of my grandkids, tell them I love them and I am sorry I won’t be there to watch them grow up and have families of their own, but they don’t hear or see me either. I pray they won’t forget their Papaw. I hope they tell their kids about the memories we made together.
I feel a hand gently on my shoulder and a voice says, “I know this is hard Larry, but they will be alright. God will watch over all of them for you. It’s time to go to a better place. There are other people waiting for you when we get there and I bet you have a bunch of fishing, hunting, kids and grandkids stories to tell them.”
We turn to go, but I look back over my shoulder at my friends and family one last time and say goodbye.
No O-rings, plastic retainers, rubber bands or other things to lose on these broadheads
Same cost as other high-performance broadheads
100 and 125-grain sizes, with 2-inch and 2-1/4 inch cutting diameters, respectively
By Forrest Fisher
For decades, big game broadhead engineers have come up with quite a few evolutions for change to make a better broadhead. In doing so, I think I have tried them all, used them all from the stand, discovered their efficiencies and flaws – pro’s and con’s, and have always wondered why nobody has ever used magnets. Too heavy? Too costly? What?
I’ve used deployable blade broadheads for decades now because they fly straighter than most fixed blade varieties and I’m a simple guy. I don’t want to tune the blades to sync with my fletching’s for straighter flight. Time is not free for me or anybody. So as a result, I have boxes with all the forms of various retention devices to hold mechanical blades in place while the arrow is in flight. We all want greater accuracy. One look into my arrow box of goodness will show there have been elastomers (O-rings), plastic holding collars, tiny rubber bands, friction devices and more – all used as blade retainers for mechanical broadheads. While they are all functional, those items are potentially the same reason for blade deployment failure, either in flight or upon impact. The new Spectre Broadhead solves the problem using higher technology, through magnetism.
From Brookville, Pa., Spectre’s patent-pending magnetic-blade technology is revolutionary. The design holds the fold-up blades in their closed position throughout the arrow flight. Upon impact, the blades are guaranteed to open instantly for a failure-proof deployment, and with a 2-inch cutting diameter, the result is massive entry and exit wounds.
The Spectre Broadhead is designed to fly like a field point and it features a strong, aerodynamic, machined ferrule made from 7075 Aluminum with a hardened carbon-steel, four-face, chisel tip. This crushing combination provides extremely reliable penetration through hide, flesh, and bone.
The Spectre Broadhead has the thickest, strongest blades of any expandable broadhead on the market. The pair of 0.047-inch-thick, razor-sharp, swept-back blades are magnetized to hold together until the moment of impact when they reliably deploy to cut a path of destruction. The chisel tip and blades have a gold Cerakote (ceramic) finish for lubricity and wear resistance.
The new Spectre Broadhead is available in two versions:
100-grain with a 2-inch cutting diameter
125-grain version that boasts an impressive 2.25-inch cutting diameter.
Each three-pack of broadheads comes with a practice head and an extra set of sharp blades, ultimately providing four broadheads for the price of three. Spectre Broadheads have a suggested retail price of $44.99.
Spectre Broadheads are a Viper Archery Products brand. Located at 494 Service Center Rd. in Brookville, Pa., Viper Archery Products has been proudly manufacturing top-quality Made-In-America archery sights and accessories for 15 years. For more information on Viper Archery or Spectre Broadheads, visit www.viperarcheryproducts.com.
Photo courtesy of National Shooting Sports Foundation
Firearms Industry Economic Impact Rises 171% Since 2008
Since 2008, federal tax payments increased by 164 percent
Pittman-Robertson excise taxes to support wildlife conservation increased by 100 percent
State business taxes increased by 120 percent
From the National Shooting Sports Foundation®, the firearm industry trade association in Newtown, Connecticut, we learn that the total economic impact of the firearms and ammunition industry in the United States increased from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $52.1 billion in 2018. That’s a 171 percent increase.
The total number of full-time equivalent jobs rose from approximately 166,000 to almost 312,000. That’s an 88 percent increase in that same period.
On a more recent year-over-year basis, the firearm industry economic impact rose from $51.4 billion in 2017 to $52.1 billion in 2018, ticking higher even while the industry came off-peak production years. Total jobs increased from nearly 311,000 to almost 312,000 in the same period.
“Our industry is proud to be one of the steady and reliable producers and manufacturers in our economy as Americans continue to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms, and to safely enjoy the shooting sports,” said Stephen L. Sanetti, NSSF CEO. “Our workforce is steadily adding good jobs to our local economies averaging $50,000 a year in wages and benefits. In addition, since 2008 we increased federal tax payments by 164 percent, Pittman-Robertson excise taxes that support wildlife conservation by 100 percent and state business taxes by 120 percent.”
The Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report: 2019 provides a state-by-state breakdown of job numbers, wages and output covering direct, supplier and induced employment, as well as federal excise taxes paid. Access the full report here.
About NSSF: The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit nssf.org.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation®(NSSF®), along with several other organizations in the outdoor industry, announced at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade ShowSM (SHOT Show®) a number of initiatives designed to increase participation in hunting and target shooting both through reactivation of those who have lapsed, who have ceased to participate, or participate only sporadically and through recruitment of people completely new to the pastime.
Hunter numbers have declined in recent decades due to a variety of reasons, including lack of mentorship, difficulty in accessing hunting lands and shifts in cultural norms. But there is cause for optimism. Research shows that, despite the decline in participating numbers, many Americans continue to have a strong interest in hunting, and the programs announced today are a clear indicator of progress being made in developing the solutions needed to connect those who are interested in hunting, but haven’t yet participated, with the resources they need to get started.
“There’s a strong, well-documented interest in this great American pastime by people from all walks of life, and one of the keys to taking that interest to active participation is through the support of and encouragement by mentors,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF Director, Research and Market Development. “Programs that provide that connection, such as mentoring programs, are what’s sorely needed to move people from wanting to get involved to actually being involved.”
Curcuruto outlined several new NSSF participation initiatives, including its +ONESM program, which encourages experienced hunters and target shooters to mentor youth and adults and recognizes the efforts of these mentors. This program and others are supported by three new major websites developed by NSSF.
LetsGoHunting.orgTM is dedicated to all things hunting, everything from discussion of calibers to use for elk, treestand safety and how to perfect one’s wingshooting skills to working with Western big-game tag draws and a wealth of tasty field-to-table recipes. NSSF’s +ONE movement is a central component of the site, as are the “Where to Hunt” and “Apprenticeship” links.
LetsGoShooting.orgTM, LetsGoHunting.org’s sister site, is dedicated to all things target sports, with a comprehensive library of video and reading resources, geo-locating services for firearms ranges and retailers, safety instruction, shooting sports organizations and more.
Finally, StepOutside.org focuses on cross-participation across a spectrum of outdoor activities. Using geo-locating services similar to that in the LetsGo websites, StepOutside.org acknowledges the mutual interests of, for example, hikers and kayakers with hunting, target shooting and angling pursuits, and encourages participation.
An innovative program in Georgia is underway to help college students give hunting a try. Charles Evans, the Georgia Wildlife Federation R3 coordinator, said this partnership program with NSSF addresses survey findings that suggest that many college students want to try hunting and target shooting, but have never had that opportunity. This program offers an avenue to get started and the tools to help students continue on their own. “We recognize that college students are curious about hunting, the nutritional benefits of game meat and the hunter’s role in conservation. Lifelong habits start in college, and hunting could be one of the better habits students form,” said Evans.
The sale of hunting licenses and tags, along with excise taxes on the purchase of firearms and ammunition, assist federal and state wildlife conservation efforts, with more than $1.67 billion contributed annually by sportsmen and -women. They provide the bulk of conservation funding, so maintaining hunter ranks and safeguarding this funding level is vitally important for the nation’s wildlife, the speakers said.
Another promising program called “Field to Fork” comes from the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). This modern approach to attracting new hunters works by connecting adults with an all-natural, local, renewable, healthy food source. Field to Fork spans the entire hunting process from hunter education to processing and preparing the harvest for a meal, and it was recently adapted to allow industry members to mentor and participate.
Hank Forester, Hunting Heritage Program Manager for QDMA, said, “Mentoring a new hunter can seem daunting at times, but experience shows that many people interested in hunting will welcome a personal invitation to try it. This is part of what Field to Fork does, provide that invitation that can really make a difference.”
Forester added that, “People in our own industry are interested in learning to hunt, and we’re working to make sure that those desires become a reality by having current participants teach newcomers the ropes.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit nssf.org.
Shooting a firearm while Hunting within 500 feet of a house is illegal in New York
Carrying the Tags of Another Person not signed over to you is illegal in New York
There are quite a few rules to hunt inn New York State, but they are designed to keep people safe and to keep the wildlife herd of deer well-managed. Most of the rules are common sense.
On Nov. 30 in Herkimer and Oneida Counties, several complainants were called in to New York State Environmental Conservation Officer Ben Tabor about a buck suspected of being taken over bait in the town of Ohio. The deer had been entered in a local big buck contest.
ECO Tabor determined where the deer had been shot after finding a large bait pile with the gut pile next to it. The ECO interviewed the suspect, who admitted to taking the buck illegally. The deer was seized as evidence and summons were issued for hunting over a pre-established bait pile and the illegal taking of a deer.
On Dec. 2, ECO John Gates received a call from an informant stating that a large buck had been killed by a suspect that had posted pictures on Facebook of him feeding deer close to his camp. As the officer pulled onto the property, he noticed piles of alfalfa and corn. The hunter claimed he had shot the deer halfway back into his 100-acre parcel. Officer Gates followed sled tracks to a gut pile within 30 yards of the bait. The man admitted to shooting the deer and was charged with illegal taking of deer, hunting over bait and carrying the tags of another person. The deer was seized as evidence and the charges are returnable to Forestport Town Court.
For hunters that prefer the appearance and warmth of a wood stock, Winchester Repeating Arms® has introduced a new Sporter model to the XPR® bolt-action rifle line.
The new rifle features a close-grained Grade I walnut stock with crisp checkering on the pistol grip and fore-end for a classic look and feel. A flattened fore-end profile provides added stability when shooting from sandbags or a rest.
At the heart of any accurate rifle is the barrel and the XPR Sporter does not disappoint. The top-quality chromoly steel barrel is button rifled and thermally stress relieved. A target-style crown protects the rifling. The action is precision bedded to ensure the barrel is free-floating.
The XPR Sporter comes in 12 popular calibers from 243 Win. to 338 Win. Mag. — including the 6.5 Creedmoor round. Barrel lengths are 22″ for short action calibers, 24″ for short magnum and standard long action rounds and 26″ for magnum calibers.
Families: It’s Maple Syrup Time and Late Winter Adventures
Chautauqua, New York – Feb. 22, 2018: Winter Fishing – Anglers on Chautauqua Lake have enjoyed one of the finest ice fishing seasons in several years. Huge crappie over three pounds, walleye over 10-pounds, lots of toothy musky – some better than four feet long, as well as bluegills and yellow perch, all have been testing the lightweight winter fishing lines of anglers from Mayville to Jamestown. Hard ice off the north side of Long Point has provided excellent fishing, though anglers accessing the lake from the Mayville Town Park parking area have enjoyed good catches as well. With spring warming trends, the once solid ice of 10-12 inches thickness will thin quickly. Open water flows from tributary creeks will soon begin and runoffs from warming canals will initiate the onset of early crappie fishing for hardy anglers, well ahead of the usual calendar start. For the latest fishing news, check with Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut, www.hogans-hut.com/, 716-789-3831 or Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors, www.chautauquareeloutdoors.com/, 716-763-2947.
Shotgun Hunters: Canada geese – they abound as a golden Chautauqua opportunity for 5-bird daily bag limits with the nine-day late Goose Hunting Season that runs March 2-10. Cackling geese and white-fronted geese may be taken as part of the Canada goose daily and possession limit. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Snow geese season is open now too, they may be taken by special Conservation Order through April 15, daily limit is 25 birds. The geese species, possession limit is three times the daily limit, except for snow geese. Use of non-toxic shot required and hunters should remember that the possession limit is the maximum number of birds with you in the field, at home, in transit or in storage. For special hunter regulations visit: www.dec.ny.gov.
Maple Syrup Family Adventures – the sunny winter weather has been with us, maple tree sap is flowing in Chautauqua County. Maple weekends are just ahead: March 17-18 and March 24-25, 2018. There are three Sugar House Sites that will offer free, family-oriented events to learn about maple syrup making, each site offering different “See & Do Fun,” many with free samples. Mmmm! Learn about boiling tree sap, filtering, bottling, packaging and making maple sugar candy. Enjoy horse drawn wagon rides, hiking tours, other activities. Events run no matter rain or snow or shine. Wear boots. Add these stops to your schedule: Big Tree Maple, 2040 Holly Lane, Lakewood, NY,14750, www.bigtreemaple.com, 716-763-5917; Clear Creek Farm, 5067 Morris Road, Mayville, NY, 14757, www.clearcreekfarms.us/, 716-269-2079; Fairbanks Maple, 9265 Putman Road, Forestville, NY, 14062, www.facebook.com/FairbanksMaple/, 716-965-4208.
POLITICS TRUMPS SCIENCE IN BC’S GRIZZLY BEAR DECISION
100 Outfitters Negatively Impacted
One week ago, we learned from the Guide Outfitters of British Columbia (www.GoABC.org) that the provincial government announced the complete ban on grizzly bear hunting in British Columbia (BC).
Two independent scientific reviews confirmed that grizzly bears are well managed in British Columbia. Experts estimating that there is a healthy population of approximately 15,000 grizzly bears. Strict hunting regulations have been in place since 1976 and the harvest rate is consistently at 2%, well below the sustainable harvest rate of 6%. In the Auditor General’s report, Carol Bellringer stated, “The greatest threat to grizzly bears is not hunting, but rather, human activities that degrade grizzly habitat.”
In August Minister Donaldson said, “It’s not about the numbers. It’s a matter of society that has come to the point in BC where they are no longer in favour of the grizzly bear trophy hunt.”
“It is truly disappointing that we throw history and science out the window,” says Michael Schneider, president of the GOABC. “We expect our government to make informed decisions for wildlife conservation based on the best facts and best available science. Emotional decisions have great risk of unintended consequences.”
About 100 outfitting businesses will be negatively impacted by this decision; many will not be able to survive the financial loss. For more information, contact Scott Ellis at (604) 541-6332.
About the GOABC: The GOABC is a nonprofit society that was established in 1966 to represent the guide outfitting industry to government, and advocate for science-based wildlife management. Currently, the industry directly employs approximately 2,000 people in rural communities and our industry generates over $116 million annually.
Our vision is for a province with a strong and stable guide outfitting industry and abundant big game populations for all to enjoy, both today and in the future. As passionate advocates for wildlife, the GOABC is the recognized voice of the guide outfitting family. With integrity and professionalism, GOABC promotes conservation, stewardship, and sustainable use of wildlife. Learn more at www.goabc.org.
Remember those days in school when the teacher said, “Time up, pens down!”
New York deer hunters take note, time is almost up. The close of the New York southern zone firearm season (shotgun, rifle, handgun) for deer and bear hunting is just ahead, ending this Sunday, Dec. 10, at sunset. The next morning at sunrise, the extended combination late big game season opens for an additional nine days, to include crossbow, late archery and muzzleloader (black powder) season, ending on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at sunset.
When you consider that the big game season in New York’s southern zone (area south and west of the Adirondacks) actually started on the first Saturday of October, then ran for 6-1/2 weeks through the start of firearm season that began on Nov. 18 for three weeks and two days, and now the late season for nine days. That adds up to a little more than 11 weeks of big game hunting season for deer and bear. Wow, that’s 79 days of big game hunting!
The annual cost for the regular resident season firearms hunting privilege (license) in New York is $22 (includes big game and small game), the resident archery privilege is an additional $15 and the muzzleloader/crossbow privilege is also an additional $15. Total cost for all possible combinations during the big game season is a mere $52 for those 16 years of age and over (through 69 years old), or about 65 cents a day. AND, if you purchase the archery and muzzleloader license, you are provided with a free (no additional fee) either-sex deer permit and a free antlerless deer permit. So for $52, you can harvest 2 bucks and 1 doe over those 79 days of New York big game hunting seasons. The regular season license will allow the hunter to bag one antlered deer (a buck).
For just $10 more, the hunter can purchase an application to enter a random drawing for two deer management permits allowing the harvest of one antlerless deer (doe) per permit in a designated wildlife management unit (WMU) of the hunter’s choice – if the management unit doe harvest is deemed available by the DEC and you are among the lucky hunters to win in the random drawing to help control deer overpopulation. Hence, while it is common knowledge that scientific deer management is based upon controlling the population of female deer, in New York, hunters have to pay for the privilege of helping to administer the science.
New York is so interesting.
In addition, if you happen to hunt in a wildlife management unit where there are too many deer, additional doe permits can be purchased for, you guessed it, $10 for two. For example, in WMU-9F, that is Elma, northern East Aurora and related adjacent areas, a hunter could obtain two more permits. If you have a lifetime license, those permits are free.
New York is so interesting.
If you add all that up, that’s seven possible deer for the freezer or the food pantry. Over 79 days of hunting, that is an average of about one deer every 10 days if you’re really good at this hunting thing, but if you are like me and many other hunters at this point of the season, you might still be looking for your first deer for the year. Hmmm, so what’s up with that?
Well, in a state with about 590,000 big game hunters, the annual harvest is 230,000 deer or so (buck and doe). While the numbers say that only about one in every three hunters will even harvest a deer, the DEC seems to be doing their part in providing hunters with access (long season), affordability (low cost) and opportunity (many state forests and access areas open to hunting). Kudo’s to New York for this.
Not without purpose, New York wildlife management groups appear to be working with safety management and insurance groups that report about 70,000 deer-vehicle collisions annually in the Empire State, with an average cost of about $4,000 per incident. Across the country, 238 people were killed in 2015 when their vehicle struck an animal or when they tried to avoid striking an animal.
Add that deer also are also responsible for transportation of deer ticks that carry Lyme disease, it would seem New York needs even more harvest by hunters to control the malady of too many deer. So why is New York charging hunters $10 to purchase a deer management permit application?
New York is so interesting.
Because this is New York, the land of nothing is free. Your guess is as good as mine.
It would seem that with these data, the doe permits should be cheaper than free for every hunter. I like that hunting for deer is affordable in New York when compared to other states, but understanding the issues present (collisions, Lyme disease, property damage), New York needs to do more to raise the number of hunters out there and reduce the numbers of deer.
How about if NY were to pay every hunter $25 for every deer harvest? Yes! Could such a simple incentive help the deer management group and would it also achieve the goal of accurate hunter harvest reporting?
How about if NY were to plant food plots in state forest areas? We would see far less deer, safer highways, etc., etc.
While many hunters know that permanent hunting blinds can be very comfortable, they also picture blinds that are made of old plywood, are hard to see out of, and might not be safe if they are a couple of seasons old.
If you’re dismissing rigid-sided hunting blinds because that’s what you think they are like, you should take some time to check out the flexibility and options available in modern blinds like those made by Advantage Hunting.
Advantage Hunting makes a range of blinds in different configurations: a dual-threat bow/gun combo blind, the 2-person Advantage Hunting Blind, a Whitetail 2-person blind, and a Whitetail 4-person blind.
All these blinds are rigid-sided and wind- and waterproof. They provide for a comfortable hunt, keeping your movement hidden and the weather outside. They are easy to see out of, but difficult for game to see into. You hunt in comfort, dry and out of the wind – and your trophy won’t know you are there. They are also designed to be safe and, once set up, are virtually maintenance free.
Common features include gasketed windows and doors for a no-breeze, no-noise tight fit, locking doors, and no-rot floors.
They are also designed so that the blinds can be placed on the ground, or in an elevated position with an optional kit, so whatever the requirements of your hunting position, an Advantage Blind will work for you.
The Dual Threat blind has a 7-foot interior height and special vertical windows for hunters using compound or traditional bows. Like other Advantage blinds, the Dual Threat blind was developed with input from top professionals in the hunting industry. The result is that unlike many blinds on the market, the Dual Option blind allows for easy, quick and comfortable stand-up vertical bow shots. No awkward contortions to get in position, no banging your head or the limbs of your bow just before the shot. You just see the deer, stand up, draw and shoot. Silent. Fast. Effective.
But the blind also has horizontal windows set at sitting height for firearm or crossbow hunters. For any firearm or bow that you are shooting, you have a 360-degree view and can take game no matter what direction it comes from.
The Whitetail Blind is a more traditional format, with horizontal windows that can be quickly secured out of the way, and fixed windows in each corner so that you never lose sight of an approaching deer. The 2-man version provides 25 square feet of floor space. The four-man versions offer even more space – 45-square-feet, and a carrying capacity of 1,000 pounds.
Advantage blinds have an option for carpeted flooring for noise reduction. Full, locking doors are standard. The floors are heavy-duty polyethylene that is completely rot proof. Windows are tinted polycarbonate that flip up and out of your way. There are even tinted corner windows, so once you position your seat, you can see out of the blind in any direction without having to shift your position.
Hunting long and hard doesn’t have to mean you have to have long, hard days. This year, resolve to hunt better – and more comfortably – all season long in an Advantage Blind.
Every deer camp has its cast of camp characters. Individuals with their own special uniqueness, but when blended together like spices and seasonings in a recipe, make deer camp so special.
My deer camp has Dean. He is a bundle of energy and wise cracks that hunts deer and moose and elk, but is afraid of a little mouse. His mouse-phobia has brought great joy to all the rest of us camp characters. We’ve never seen anyone get out of a sleeping bag as fast as when a stuffed mouse “accidentally” got in the sleeping bag with him. I will also never forget how high he climbed and the look of horror on his face when he thought the noise in the old wood stove was a rat instead of the bird it turned out to be.
You could call Dean our “camp coordinator.” He makes sure the camp cabin is properly stocked and clean, collects the dues, buys groceries, and helps hang stands. His most notable contribution is the annual Saturday night “boil”, a grand feast of shrimp, kielbasa, mushrooms, broccoli, potatoes and corn on the cob boiled together in a big pot and dumped on the table for hungry hunters. He always cooks too much, but taking home a bag full of “boil” is part of deer camp.
Dean is constant movement, washing dishes, emptying trash, picking up the cabin, bringing firewood in for the night, setting the alarm clock, and asking everyone where they will hunt the next day. His energy is endless and he is always the last one in bed. The rest of us wouldn’t want him to know it, but we don’t know what we would do without him.
He may put up a front for being a fun-loving tough guy, but I know the real Dean. He’s the guy who takes his young son Conrad on a youth turkey hunt and cries when he gets his first gobbler. He’s the guy who helped my son when he first came to camp and took time to guide him on a successful turkey hunt one spring. He is also the guy who caused the lump in my throat when he showed up unexpected at my mother’s funeral.
Conrad is the youngest of our deer camp characters and like his dad, he’s a bundle of energy and constant movement. I love his imagination. Computers, television and video games keep a lot of kids from developing an imagination in today’s world. What a shame! When I was a kid, my imagination took me to the mountains where I trapped beaver and muskrats and fought wild Indians and grizzly bears. I don’t know where Conrad’s imagination takes him, but it will help shape his life, along with mom and dad (and maybe some deer camp characters), into the man he will be.
Our deer camp characters even include a celebrity, although I don’t think he really considers himself one. Jerry co-hosts an outdoor TV show, is a member of a pro hunting team, and has hunted and fished around the world with country music stars, NASCAR legends and even generals. I’m sure if you asked him, he would say “I’m just an old country boy who has been lucky enough to get to do some things I never dreamed would be possible.” I think he would tell you being in deer camp with the rest of us deer camp characters and his son Flint or daughter Chase is one of his favorite places to be.
Then there’s John or “J.B.” as we call him. Deer camp wouldn’t be the same without J.B., his Wisconsin accent and holey underwear.
Through his wise cracks and jokes, he doesn’t fool me. He has a heart of gold. There’s nothing fake about J.B. He is who he is. He’ll never change and I’m glad because I wouldn’t want him any other way.
Ed is a business executive, who is under a lot of pressure and stress so he looks forward to deer camp with the rest of us characters. He enjoys his time in the woods not caring whether he gets a deer or not. Ed was with Dean when Conrad got his first turkey and he too shed a tear. He delights in the hunting success of Daron and Flint and Chase. I will never forget my son’s face when Ed passed on to him, one of his still very good and very expensive bows. Like some of the rest of the characters, Ed’s an old softy too!
Mike adds his own uniqueness to the mix. He’s the consummate outdoorsman, serious about his hunting with the knowledge to back it up. Slow to smile, he was the object of probably one of deer camp’s best practical jokes. Mike had taken a nice buck and brought it into camp with the adhesive tag around its antlers. Where he is from that’s the way they tagged them, but in our state they must be tagged around the leg. Dean told him the rule and that he better switch the tag to the leg or it could be illegal. Of course, this was next to impossible without tearing up the tag. Dean and I left to check our deer at the local fire station and set up a mock arrest of Mike for “mis-tagging” a deer. Although Dean and I weren’t there, those that were said the firemen played it perfectly. They even took a picture of a very serious looking Mike posed with his illegal deer thinking he was about to lose his hunting license, rifle and deer because he tagged his deer wrong. I’m sure Mike will find a way to get even.
The last member of our camp characters is a very special young man, my son Daron. I am so thankful that Jerry got me in as a member of deer camp many years ago. If he hadn’t, I’m not sure Daron would ever have gotten to take as many deer as he’s harvested over the years and especially wouldn’t have had the chance to take some of the quality bucks that now hang on his wall. Unlike most of us, he doesn’t drink, chew, smoke or cuss, but he sure enjoys being around all the deer camp characters and they all think the world of him. Deer camp has brought us closer together as father and son, and created memories that will last a lifetime.
I forgot to mention one camp character and that’s me. I’m the “old man” of deer camp, the one who cooks the annual opening morning breakfast and helps Dean with his “boil”. I’m the one who is content to harvest doe’s to help fill our quota. Most years I tag out as early as possible so I can use my ATV to help others get their deer out of the woods or help with deer drives. I look forward to deer camp every year. It is important to me to be with the rest of the deer camp characters. It’s more special for me because there are fewer deer camps left for me than the others.
Deer camps are not just about filling your deer tags. They’re about wood ducks whistling through the trees or the ka-honk of a goose high overhead. They’re about a wild turkey, a coyote or a bobcat happening by your secret hiding place. They’re about two fawns playing chase underneath your tree stand, squirrels rustling in the leaves, birds flittering through the tree tops, sunrises and sunsets. They’re about sitting around the campfire or the old wood stove and telling stories and jokes.
Most of all deer camp is about sharing these special moments in time with your fellow deer camp characters. That’s when we wish we all had more time.
This story is a chapter in a book called “Seasons” Larry Whiteley has been working on for 20 years. Some day he swears he’s going to finish that book.
Smaller Streams HAVE FISH NOW, especially AFTER EVERY RAIN
Musky Tournament is ON, Nov. 5
Weather conditions have certainly impacted the fishing this past week. High winds and rain resulted in water temperatures dropping 5 degrees since last weekend. That said, it could be just what the “Fish Doctor” ordered to force a transition into the next phase of fall fishing.
In the Upper Niagara River, the last month of musky fishing action improved with the adverse weather, just in time for the Niagara Musky Association’s Tim Wittek Memorial Catch and Release Tournament. The action will take place on Nov. 5 out of the launch ramp area at the foot of Sheridan from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. To get your blood circulating again, there will be a post-tourney chili-fest at the foot of Sheridan in Tonawanda. Cost is $25 to enter this catch-and-release “iron man” tournament. Call Scott McKee at 716-225-3816 for more information. If you just want to find our more information about fall musky fishing in the Niagara, stop in at the NMA monthly meeting at the Eldredge Club, 17 Broad St., Tonawanda, NY, on Tuesday night (Nov. 7) starting at 7 p.m. Guest speaker will be Marc Arena with Red October Baits. Water conditions were murky this week thanks to the wind. The lower river musky season extends to Dec. 15.
And speaking of the lower Niagara River, we had a report that there were some boats on the water today, just prior to the weekend. The first fish they caught was a musky – drifting MagLips off three-way rigs. They also caught a walleye before they hit some trout – steelhead and lake trout. Lake trout season is closed until the end of the year, but sometimes you just can keep them off the hook!
In the gorge area of the lower river, shoreline casters are still catching a mix of salmon and trout. Treated egg skein fished under a float has been a consistent producer for Rich Pisa of Kenmore around the whirlpool area. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was picking off some steelhead and salmon on a No. 4 spinner while casting the New York Power Authority Fishing Platform before he was chased off due to high water levels (probably due to the high winds).
If you want to check whether or not the Fishing Platform is open, call 716-796-0135, ext. 45. It usually closes down for the winter around Dec. 1.
At Olcott Harbor and 18 Mile Creek, good reports of steelhead and brown trout have surfaced to complement the salmon that are still hanging around upstream at Burt Dam. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that there are king and Coho salmon in various stages of their life cycle, including some fresh ones entering into the system. Egg skein and egg sacs work best. If the water is stained, chartreuse and orange-colored egg sacs are best. If we get the rain we are supposed to receive, you can try drifting an egg sac or a single egg in some of the smaller streams like Keg Creek to the east of Olcott, or 12 Mile Creek at Wilson, west of Olcott. Fishing pressure should drop off a little bit as whitetail deer fall into their rut stage and as crossbow season opens Nov. 4.
The regular big game season kicks off for the Southern Zone on Nov. 18. Waterfowl and other small game are also open to spread the activity out. No reports on perch in the harbors, but if the waters are clear enough, they should be starting to move in and become active. If you catch any nice fish, please share with us at email@example.com.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions
Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA 14303
p: 716.282.8992 x.303| 1.877 FALLS US, f:716.285.0809
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Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!
Get Educated with hosts Michael Waddell and Tom McMillan
Learn Hunting, Unique Recipes, Countless Tips
The world’s largest content provider of outdoor lifestyle programming (Outdoor Sportsman Group – OSG) is providing 7 consecutive nights of deer hunts for outdoor enthusiasts with “deer-centric” television from Sunday, October 15 at 7 p.m. ET through Saturday, October 21.
#DeerWeek will provide the best of deer hunting television show programming during prime-time from 7 p.m. to midnight ET each night. Hosted by Michael Waddell and Tom McMillan”, this premier television event will allow viewers to experience non-stop deer action and incorporate educational information, unique recipes, hunting tips, and more through OSG’s print, digital and social media platforms. The action will air on both Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel.
During every October, many hunters are in the woods during the day, at night they’ll want to flip on for tips and experts in the field with more strategy and deer action. This week, hunters and viewers can do that with shows that canvas all of North America in search of big deer and lots of bucks.
The Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel will include a mini-marathon featuring the best deer hunts, watch for these:
The Bone Collector
Luke Bryan on Buck Commander
The Drury Outdoors shows
The exciting premiere episode of Bowhunter
The best of MCMILLIAN with Tom McMillian filming nearly the entire episode
The premiere episode of North American Whitetail entitled: “Sweet Home Alabama”
…so much more
No matter if taken deer with a compound bow or rifle, recurve or slug gun, each episode airing during #DeerWeek was carefully curated to show the best cervid-centric moments.
“As we prepare for the fall hunting season, we are thrilled to be offering an entire week of prime-time uninterrupted deer content and special programming for our viewers,” Outdoor Sportsman Group President and CEO, Jim Liberatore said. “We are confident #DeerWeek will be fun, entertaining and informative. We look forward to growing this event in the years to come.”
Killing two young turkeys and watching a mother hen’s reaction to their loss set the writer to thinking about the nature of hunting. Jim Low Photo
If hunting doesn’t occasionally tug at your heartstrings, you might need to think a bit more deeply about it.
Far from threatening the natural world, hunting is its best hope for survival.
Turkeys share a sacred lesson about Hunting, Kindred Spirits, the Circle of Life
By Jim Low
One of the reasons I love hunting is the way it takes me inside the natural world.
Blood sports make me part of natural processes in ways that are unavailable through nature photography, nature study and other “non-consumptive” activities, which I also enjoy. Opening day of fall firearms turkey season this year made me keenly aware of this difference.
Dawn found me tucked beneath the screening branches of cedar trees between two pastures. Just at sunrise, I heard soft clucks issuing from the bordering woods. I made a few “sleepy yelps” on my slate call, then put it aside and rested my shotgun on my knee.
My pulse rate ticked up a few beats.
Moments later, a young turkey glided down and landed directly in front of me, in easy shotgun range. It was followed in quick succession by six more poults (turkeys hatched this year) and one hen.
Any turkey, young or old, male or female, is legal during Missouri’s fall hunting season. I had wanted to shoot a gobbler, but now I began thinking otherwise. I am a mediocre fall turkey hunter at best, so this was a rare opportunity to harvest the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner.
Also, the fact that you can shoot two turkeys on the same day in the fall season meant I might be able to kill two tender young birds that would be amazing table fare. So, when two of the small birds stood with their heads inches apart, I dropped the hammer, and both went down.
As often happens, the remaining six birds did not scatter immediately. Inexperienced and bewildered by a thunderclap out of a clear sky, they milled around excitedly, stopping occasionally to gawk at their stricken flock-mates. I lowered my gun slowly and settled in to watch, expecting the survivors to vacate the premises fairly quickly.
Moments after my shot, a mature hen came on the run from the west, near the center of the pasture.
This open area, unapproachable by predators without being spotted, is where a cautious old bird would fly down. In the flurry of arrivals in front of me, I hadn’t noticed her leaving the roost.
The old hen quickly made her way to the two downed birds, which were in their final death throes. She watched until their struggles ceased, then began pecking them gently, first one and then the other. After a few minutes, she began grasping their wattles in her beak and lifting their heads, then dropping them. This went on for quite a while, gradually escalating to her taking a step or two backward and tugging at the dead poults.
After this had gone on for perhaps half an hour, she stepped over one of the dead poults, spread her wings and settled down as if brooding a clutch of eggs. After a brief interval, she arose and did the same thing to the other downed bird.
This dispelled any doubt in my mind that all the hen’s actions were an effort to revive the lifeless poults.
This was a revelation to me.
Such maternal devotion would not have been surprising in a mammal, but I never expected it from a bird. During the hen’s ministrations, the rest of the flock made repeated moves to leave, led by another hen. They would drift away a few yards before looking back to see if the devoted mother was following. Seeing that she wasn’t, the flock would drift back for a while, but as time went on, the flock’s tentative departures took them farther and farther away.
Finally, drawn by the pull of her flock, the mother hen began her own series of departures and returns. An hour or so after the fateful shot, she finally abandoned the dead poults and followed the flock out of sight.
For many years, I resisted the urge to attribute human-like behavior to other animals. Anthropomorphizing wildlife is frowned upon by many biologists and hunters, but well after over half-century of watching quadrupeds, including dogs, I am forced to conclude that “lower” animals share a great deal – perhaps most of human emotional responses.
I don’t know what went on in the brains of that mother hen and her companions, but it’s difficult for me to attribute it to mere instinct. For that matter, who’s to say that human emotions aren’t instinctive?
This line of reasoning might raise the hackles of some hunters who refuse to concede anything to people whose empathy leads them to eschew or even disapprove of hunting. But, it seems to me that if we are willing to take the lives of animals, we ought to be willing to think critically about it.
For me, the notion that turkeys and other game animals experience grief and other human-like emotions is not a reason to stop hunting.
All animals, human and nonhuman alike, take life and have it taken from them.
Turkeys eat grasshoppers and lizards.
Deer kill one another and have been photographed eating small mammals.
Strict herbivores kill plants.
Modern-day humans seldom fall victim to predators, but it matters little whether you die in the jaws of a grizzly bear or in the grip of Streptococcus pneumoniea.
Either way, you are dead at the “hands” of something that wants to eat you.
The predator-prey relationship between humans and game animals is as old as our respective species. They, and we, are intricately adapted for the fateful dance we share. The predatory urge encoded in human DNA is why many of us still feel a powerful pull to re-enact the timeless drama of the chase. It reminds us of what we have been and what we remain as, at a very deep level. And it can tell us much about why we are how we are.
Hunters since time immemorial have felt deep connections to the animals they pursue.
This connection goes deeper than nutritional necessity.
Our hunting forebears saw game in the same light that I saw those turkey poults and their devoted hen. They saw kindred spirits, worthy of respect and empathy, worthy of immortalizing on cave walls. They knew themselves to be integral parts of the pulsing, exultant, poignant pageant of life.
Hunting allows us to maintain that intimate connection to the natural world.
Without it, we risk thinking ourselves above and outside the circle of life. We could fail to recall our connection to the natural world at our own peril as a species.
It is no mere coincidence that hunters are, and always have been, the beating heart of the conservation movement. We don’t only do it simply to ensure the availability of living targets or merely because we like killing things.
As the Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset observed, modern humans do not hunt to kill. We no longer need to pursue game to sustain life. Rather, we kill in order to have hunted, to maintain an authentic and utterly irreplaceable connection to the natural world.
My exultation in a successful turkey hunt was tinged, as it ought to be, with reflection about what it means to take a life.
I wonder how often nonhunters give similar consideration to the deaths they farm out to others.
In spite of the pang it sometimes gives me, I am more than proud of my hunting. I see in it the best hope for the future of things “natural, wild and free.”
Prusik, Gravity, Your Whitetail Deer Hunting Future
By Forrest Fisher
The phrase “Whitetails Unlimited” is catchy if you are a deer hunter, especially a whitetail deer hunter. It’s also the name of an organization that has more than 100,000 members because the hunting messages they share are effective, useful and are delivered from the experience of real hunters and field contributors. There is more than beginner value.
Whitetails Unlimited Communications Director, Jeff Davis, was his usual self. Modest and humble, unassuming, friendly and confident, as he extemporaneously addressed more than 150 outdoor communicators at the opening luncheon of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) Annual Conference at the Sportsman’s Lodge, on the Lake-of-the-Woods in Baudette, Minnesota.
His voice was passionate, descriptive and implicit with experience from encounters with an army of ardent whitetail deer hunters. Davis has met hundreds of hunters and shared in many their most exciting tales and hunter secrets. Hunter’s trust this hunter-gentleman because not many questions are ever left unanswered, at least not until the next issue of their extensive quarterly conservation and hunting magazine. Magazine issue content is an art and delivery science.
With a slight grin that emerged to also offer a note of truth and sadness, “Not every tale has a happy ending,” Davis said. He postured his oncoming message from experience and history, with an element of approach intended to share and impart his high concern for hunter success and safety. His audible expression was unmistakable and optimistic. He was delivering advice for hunting and addressing an eager and robust audience that was all ears. We all felt comfortable to learn more.
As Davis continued, my mind drifted off. Was his smooth delivery hypnosis? Not sure. Was I bored? No, but my tummy was full from lunch. Like listening to a short sermon in church, my brain had transcended into an imaginary place and I was on a hunt. All the elements of what Davis had been talking about were in my dream. I think I drifted into dreamland for just a minute or two, but I clearly remember the details of my dream.
There was a succulent white oak tree forest with mounds of sweet acorns next to a row of apple trees where my trail cams had chronicled bucks rumbling antlers with each other in the previous weeks. There was a highly traveled rub line and it was near sunset in my aspiration. A full moon had just started rising in the eastern sky, it had a tinge of orange color. Scrapes every 25 yards were visible. There were the sounds of apples and acorns crunching in the distance from my tree stand about 95 yards downwind. Yes, I had audio, and many deer. Imagine such unlimited whitetails. I was in my place of reverie as a deer hunter.
My tree stand was situated where it was because I wanted to be safe about human scent dispersal. There I was, sitting in a hanging tree stand elevated 20-feet, vertical access from a stick-ladder and feeling very happy and safe. I knew this was a good spot. It was so quiet, except for those inconsiderate munching deer chewing in the distance.
Sitting on my butt in my stand, full-body harness in place – I wear it every time, my bow was resting on my lap. The deer on this night had dispersed and had no interest for my grunt and bleat combinations. Probably a wind direction issue. The sun had disappeared and it was time to head back. Disappointed, I started to think about what to do next time. I dropped my bow down on the lift-line, my backpack too. Then I started down the ladder. Oops! My foot slips on the top step and I was suddenly airborne. In a split second, I crashed hard into the ground and could not move. I could not feel my arms or legs. What happened I thought to myself? I had been in my dream spot. I started to grunt a bit from my perceived pain when my better half woke me up and said, “Hey Forrest, the speaker just called your name from the raffle.”
There were people clapping warmly. “Oh, I said, sorry honey, I must have dozed off.”
I got up and approached the speaker’s stand when Jeff Davis said, “You win a THE Safe-Line from MUDDY! Congratulations! Enjoy.” Wow. Thank goodness I was dreaming! I was literally trembling as I walked back to my seat, the dream had been so real for a brief moment, then at the end, a nightmare. I smiled, trying to hide my brief moment of fear from far away in dreamland.
As I sat there in a semi-stupor, I realized that in the dream I had been so focused on the next hunt, that safely getting down from the tree came second. My safety came second. My life came second. My safety and how important I was to my family was not even part of my thinking in the dream. It was now. So I took a step back to really think about it. I knew that another force from far away must have been talking to me to even have this dream, or maybe that Jeff Davis was one of those magic-maker speakers where everyone can get up and talk like a chicken upon request. You’ve seen the act. I laughed to myself and grinned over to my wife who said, “You’re so lucky!” No kidding, especially this time, I thought.
So I continued in my post-dream thought, how could this accident have been prevented? We know how my safety was compromised because every solid hunter has thought about the next hunt at the end of a fruitless day. We can lose our focus for safety during “thinking moments” like that.
A MUDDY Safe-Line for secure descent would have saved me from this dream accident. Under $40 worth of gear (www.gomuddy.com), the same gear I had just won. I felt connected to another source of energy for a second or two. Sort of unreal. For a moment, no kidding, I felt an angel must have been telling me that I need to be more aware of safety. Thank you Lord.
To use the Safe-Line, you attach the line to the tree just above your tree stand with the loop knot provided. You leave this rope in place now during hunting season. The body harness Carabiner Clip latches right onto the Prusik knot loop of the Safe-Line – it comes with two Prusik slip knots (for a two-man stand), the Prusik loop slides down the Safe-Line as you proceed one step at a time and down you go. Safely. The bottom of the Safe-Line is then tied around the tree at ground level. Going up or down on slippery steps wet from rain, snow or ice is no longer a safety concern. The Prusik knot will go with you as you gently push it up or slide it down with you in either direction. If you should drop quickly, it immediately locks into place, saving you from rapid descent, a fall and possible death.
Davis’s message from Whitetails Unlimited Magazine for the attending outdoor journalists visiting from across the country was TREE STAND SAFETY.
I think I got the message. In my case, Davis had help even he did not know about. No, I’m not superstitious, but I am listening to thoughts of safety much more now. The dream honestly scared me.
My grandkids are just coming of age to hunt deer and the kids will be just like many of us in the outdoors, hunting from that one place that deer rarely see, an elevated tree stand. Safety will be the first concern for each of us when we consider the future safety of our grandkids.
Write it down as a MUST-HAVE:
One (1) Safe-Line (MUDDY, www.gomuddy.com) for every tree stand and one (1) full-body harness (HUNTER SAFETY SYSTEM, www.hssvest.com) for every hunter in your party.
Then and only then, can you go up and down from your elevated tree stand in total safety while thinking about the strategy for the exciting day ahead, or for the strategy on that next deer hunt. I had a lucky dream, then a lucky raffle. Don’t you be unlucky by choice. Conquer safety. Make it habit. Start now.
Pass it on. Please.
About Whitetails Unlimited: Founded in 1982, Whitetails Unlimited is a national nonprofit conservation organization that has remained true to its mission, making great strides in the field of conservation. We have gained the reputation of being the nation’s premier organization dedicating our resources to the betterment of the white-tailed deer and its environment. On behalf of our 105,000 plus members, we welcome you to browse our site and learn more about WTU, our past accomplishments, and the organization’s commitment to caring for our priceless renewable natural resources. We appreciate your interest in Whitetails Unlimited and hope that after reviewing our site, you will consider joining the whitetail team “Working for an American Tradition.” The Whitetails Unlimited quarterly magazine (60-80 pages, 4 times per year) is not available on newsstands, only through membership.
Last week, I had the pleasure to spend some time with a few outdoor friends that understand archery hunting, arrow flight, broadhead efficiency and the needs that many hunters have for when they hunt big game: penetration and durability. Talking with product experts, Karen Lutto and Mike Nischalke, I cited my proud success history using Rage broadheads in the past, but I asked if Rage was working on anything new for the future, not that they needed to. Indeed, they had been.
How does a company improve upon a design that has proven as wildly successful and immensely popular as the Rage Hypodermic?
Rage engineers answered that question with a new broadhead that boasts ridiculous strength, huge slap-cuts on entry and a sweptback blade angle for unprecedented penetration. They named it the “Trypan.”
Trypanophobia is the fear of needles. The new 100-grain Hypodermic “Trypan” is just about the scariest broadhead that Rage has ever introduced to the hunting woods. With its needle-like, streamlined titanium ferrule and 2-inch cutting diameter, the “Trypan” creates a slap-cut entry hole well in excess of 2.5 inches. Afterward, the Trypan’s .039-inch-thick razor-sharp stainless steel blades settle into a sweptback blade-angle configuration. These are the heaviest and thickest blades from Rage so far, hence, they are made from super-light, super-tough titanium alloy. Even though the blades are monstrous once deployed, they create only a 3/4-diameter in-flight profile. The result is low aerodynamic drag in flight.
In summary, check out these features:
100 Grain, 2″ Cutting Diameter, 3-Pack
Super Swept-Back Blade Design w/Trypan-specific SHOCK COLLAR
.039 Blade Thickness Titanium Streamlined Ferrule
The grey polymer Trypan-specific Shock Collar™ provides exceptional blade retention and consistently reliable blade deployment. The one-time use Shock Collars are indexed to notches in the Trypan’s titanium ferrule, so they never can be put on incorrectly.
The new Rage Hypodermic Trypan comes in a three-pack with a practice tip, and it is available at retailers nationwide and conveniently online at www.ragebroadheads.com. I stopped into Cabela’s last night and they are in the $50 range retail.
I coined a new word after one use in the woods, these new Trypan broadheads are “Out-Rageous.” They are also effective, deadly, tough, lightweight and if you are a good shot, they are surgical.
Rage Broadheads is the world’s number-one manufacturer of expandable broadheads. It also manufactures quivers and accessories. A FeraDyne Outdoors brand, Rage is headquartered at 101 Main Street, Superior, WI 54880; call 866-387-9307; or visit www.ragebroadheads.com.
MDC will conduct mandatory CWD sampling in 25 counties Nov. 11 and 12.
Check the fall deer and turkey booklet to see if your county is included.
Hunters can get deer tested for free throughout archery and firearms deer seasons.
By Jim Low
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) needs help from hunters to keep the deadly deer disease called chronic wasting disease (CWD) from spreading to more deer in more areas of Missouri. In light of recent developments, hunters might want to take advantage of free testing for personal reasons, too.
MDC will conduct mandatory CWD sampling of hunter-harvested deer in 25 counties during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season, Nov. 11 and 12. Counties included in this year’s sampling effort are: Adair, Barry, Benton, Cedar, Cole, Crawford, Dade, Franklin, Hickory, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Moniteau, Ozark, Polk, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington. These counties comprise Missouri’s CWD Management Zone. It includes counties where MDC conducted mandatory CWD testing last year, plus St. Clair County, where a new outbreak was detected earlier this year, and five adjacent counties.
MDC also has added four counties along the Arkansas border in southwest Missouri to the CWD Management Zone. CWD has not been detected in any of these counties yet, but a serious outbreak of the fatal deer disease just across the border is cause for extra vigilance there.
Hunters who harvest deer in these 25 counties during opening weekend must present their harvested deer at one of the Department’s 56 CWD sampling stations so staff can collect tissue samples to test the animals for CWD. You can find a list of sampling stations at www.mdc.mo.gov/cwd, or in the 2017 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations booklet, which is available wherever hunting permits are sold.
In addition to the mandatory testing, MDC offers free testing for hunters who wants their deer checked for CWD. This is particularly important considering recent news about the susceptibility of some monkeys to the brain-wasting disease.
In a study led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, macaques that were fed venison from CWD-infected deer developed the disease. The researchers noted that there still is no known case of CWD affecting humans. However, the apparent susceptibility of physiologically similar primates led them to conclude that, “the most prudent approach is to consider that CWD has the potential to infect humans.”
I am not an alarmist person by nature, and I am not going to let the small risk of shooting a CWD infected deer or the equally small risk of contracting CWD from eating infected meat, deprive me of a sport that I love and the pleasure of eating venison. However, with free testing available, I certainly will take every deer I kill to one of the eight MDC offices and 55 taxidermists around the state who are participating in the voluntary CWD sampling program. I put venison in the freezer, labeled with the date I shot the deer, and wait for test results before consuming it. That just seems sensible to me.
I also do what I can to avoid spreading CWD. For years, I put corn around my trail cameras to get better deer pictures. I stopped several years ago, when it became clear that anything that unnaturally concentrates deer and increases the potential for CWD transmission. I stopped putting out salt licks and mineral blocks for the same reason. The prions that cause CWD are shed in deer urine, so I also have stopped using urine-based deer lures.
After field-dressing deer, I usually take them home and process them myself. In the past, I got rid of carcass by putting them in the woods behind our house and letting scavengers dispose of them. No more. Now I put them in heavy trash bags and send them to the landfill, just in case they had CWD. If you take your deer to a commercial processor, you’re covered. In Missouri, they are required to send all their carcasses to approved landfills.
MDC’s regulation guide has more ideas for reducing the spread of CWD, along with tips for making the sampling process quicker and easier.
Gain the ScentLok Advantage with Full Season Taktix™
Every Year We Learn from Successful Hunters: They admit, CONCEALING Human Odor is at Top of List
We Found this Affordable, Comfortable, Concealable
Muskegon, MI (August 14, 2017) – Fooling a deer’s eyes and ears can be relatively easy. Stealth and woodsmanship play critical roles, as does modern camouflage. His nose, on the other hand, takes more, a lot more.
The most successful hunters employ comprehensive scent-control regimens and follow them with great discipline. Involving more than just sprays and scent-control clothing, an effective scent-control regimen like the ScentLok Seven helps hunters like John Eberhart, from Michigan, experience consistent success.
Eberhart is a whitetail bow-hunting guru and says he has never owned, leased, hunted a relative’s property, or ever paid a dime to hunt anywhere. Eberhart has never hunted in a managed area, over a food plot, or over bait. He exclusively hunts state, federal, and free walk-on properties, and knocks on doors for free permission to hunt private properties in a state with some of the most pressured whitetails found anywhere. Over 53 hunting seasons – the last 20 in ScentLok clothing – Eberhart has connected with 30 Michigan record book bucks.
Other hunters like Don and Kandi Kisky are equally passionate about defeating the four common types of odors that kill hunts. The self-proclaimed Whitetail Freaks harvest massive mature whitetails year after year through meticulous property management, endless scouting and the ScentLok advantage.
HOW MUCH IS YOUR HUNTING CLOTHING HELPING YOU?
In today’s virtual sea of hunting clothing, trendy camouflage only gets a hunter so far. The new ScentLok Full Season Taktix™ Jacket and Pant for men and women goes beyond comfort and aesthetics. It is the only hunting apparel to combine three unique performance attributes that help hunters stay comfortable while allowing their quarry to get closer them without scent detection than ever before.
Full Season Taktix features proven Carbon Alloy™ odor adsorption to neutralize the three pillars of human odor. Next, it utilizes a superhydrophobic NeverWet™ treatment that permanently protects hunters from water and rain without stiff and noisy waterproof membranes. Inside, Taktix employs advanced internal moisture wicking to keep hunters dry and comfortable.
In addition to its trifecta of unique features, ScentLok upped the ante with Full Season Taktix to deliver additional touches any whitetail hunter will appreciate.
The outer micro tricot fabric is deadly quiet.
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By Larry Whiteley
When I was younger I used to dream of having a cabin in the woods. A simple cabin nestled among cedars and hardwoods somewhere in the Ozark Mountains of southwest Missouri.
My grandma used to tell me if I dreamed long enough and worked hard enough my dreams would come true. Grandma was right and 20 years ago my wife and I found and bought that cabin. It was only 5 acres, but surrounded by the thousands of acres of the Mark Twain National Forest.
The small cabin sits upon a rock bluff overlooking a creek and waterfall. Just like my dreams, it is surrounded by cedars and hardwoods and a scattering of pines. The trees keep it hidden from view of the few cars that travel the gravel road, and offer shade and protection from the summer’s sun and cold winds of winter.
A little wood stove sits in a corner and warms the cabin on winter days. Antique snowshoes hang on both sides of moose antlers. Deer, pheasant, ducks, trout, bass, and a big muskie hang on the walls. Fox, beaver and raccoon pelts further add to the setting. Each has a special memory and a story.
Deer antlers, turtle shells, feathers, buckeyes, rocks, bird nests and other nature things can be found everywhere you look. Most have been picked up by grandkids while on cabin adventures. They are mixed in with old duck decoys, along with the jars, dishes and other antiques that are my wife’s special touch.
Most noticeable though are all the pictures of our kids and grandkids hung with loving care and sitting on shelves. Pictures of them with turkey, deer, fish or just having a good time at the cabin. Grandkid pictures when they were just babies as well as pictures of them as young adults.
Looking out our windows we see birds of all kinds coming to the feeders. April thru October is hummingbird time and I don’t mean just a few. Hundreds at a time are a sight that thrills everyone who visits.
The deck is a great place to watch squirrels playing in the woods, butterflies landing on wild flowers, or bats diving for insects in a summer’s night sky. You can hear the waterfall as it cascades down Dogwood Mountain, listen to the sounds of the creek as it flows across the riffles, and hear the kingfisher swooping above the water or crows calling up the valley.
The fire pit is where grandkids roasted marshmallows and shared time with PaPaw. It’s a place to watch the flames dance and flicker as the worry and stress melts away. It’s a place for fish fry’s, cookouts and fellowship.
A big barn and a small barn store the ATVs and other things. They are also great for making things and places for grandkids to play when it’s raining.
Grandkids loved going fishing, hunting squirrels, swimming, snorkeling, catching crawdads, skipping rocks, playing in the gravel or waterfall, finding feathers, wading in the creek and riding ATV’s.
Good neighbors like Bob and Barb, Wayne and Jane, Annie and Winnie, Doug and Kim, Judge John, Sheila and Willie love the valley too. With them we have shared hiking trails, ATV rides, campfires and pieces of our lives.
Spring at the cabin is redbuds, dogwoods and wildflowers, along with the sound of peeper frogs and whip-poor-wills. Summer is fishing, swimming, relaxing or playing in the creek. Fall brings a kaleidoscope of color, hunting season, looking for buckeyes, hiking, and cutting wood for the cold months ahead. Winter is books by the fire, making new hiking trails, and hiking in the snow.
The 20 years of owning the cabin have passed in a hurry and things have changed.
Kids have grown up and are busy with their own lives now and don’t come to the cabin anymore and won’t after we are gone. The older grandkids don’t come either except for deer season. They would rather go to the lake than the creek. Younger grandkids live a long drive away. All of them will all always have memories of the cabin.
Grandma and I are getting older now too and it’s time for another change. As long as we live we will still have the memories and the pictures. It will be hard to say goodbye to the cabin but it’s time to find someone else who has dreamed of owning a cabin in the woods.
I wipe tears from my eyes as I finish writing this. Remember that a cabin is more than just a cabin. It is a living structure with a soul of memories and dreams. It is a place to get away, to share with others and to share fragments of one’s life with nature.
If you dream of owning a cabin in the woods, e-mail Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) has gone beyond the norm to help people everywhere learn more about conservation and hunting, and why hunting is so important to conservation.
Just having returned from a visit to Medora, North Dakota, and the National Park that Teddy Roosevelt created there, I am sure that our late President Roosevelt would be so very proud of the dedicated folks at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
I joined RMEF this past year and keep asking myself why I took so long to find RMEF, but at least now, I’m a member and their BUGLE magazine is not just a magazine, it is a learning tool. In this latest issue (Jul/Aug 2017) of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation BUGLE, story author – Kurt Cox, shares intimate, in-depth details of those many things a first-time archery elk hunter might be wondering about. Veteran hunters too, can learn from Kurt’s tales of hands-on truth in easy-to-read lessons and descriptions.
He describes his manner of calling, his movement in trailing an Elk for a shot opportunity and how he survived through his consumption of spring water, wild berry picking and frosty overnight chills. All this amidst the wonder of the visual expanse of mountain peaks, dark timber and an internal impulse to use cow calls. All hunters can learn from his shared experiences in this story.
Cox shares his hope and wonder, all the while looking for that perfect spot that he might send his arrow and put some meat in the family freezer. Then after much effort, significant effort, there is a cow, then a bull, then an arrow shot and a score. We learn about ethics here too, since Cox takes a second arrow shot and a third too. There is explanation for the harvest in this manner, clarification that hunters country-wide need to know more about.
Check out this story, then read much more in this ARCHERY ISSUE of BUGLE Magazine, in the nearly 40-page special edition section. Learn about cows and bulls, elk habits, use of camo, scent, sound, the excitement, the right gear, making the right noises, the reality of the experience, and perhaps you will find in you, like me, the inspiration to travel thousands of miles to hunt an elk.
Hunting for elk is an escape for some, but it is an inspiration for all hunters.
The mission of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is to insure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. I came late to embrace this RMEF group – I’m from the east, my poor excuse, but I’m here to pass the word to all of my hunter friends, especially bowhunter colleagues, to join up with RMEF and start the complete learning of how to better yourself for your next hunt.
What you learn from the BUGLE magazine will help make you a better hunter every time you step into the world of the woods.
Visit www.rmef.org and sign up soon. After just one or two issues, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Reading this magazine is an adventure in learning. Don’t delay. Remember, hunting is conservation.
The ruffed grouse has had a long run of bad luck in Missouri, but time is still turning.
The father of modern wildlife management spent time here documenting the bird’s decline.
By Jim Low
In 1886, legendary trap shooter A.H. Bogardus reported shooting 50 ruffed grouse as a diversion, while spending most of his time chasing turkeys in Clinton County, north of Kansas City. In 1918, an observer reported seeing 30 “partridges” a day in Oregon County in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks.
The next year, he could find none. The story was much the same in other parts of the north-central United States, as documented by no less an authority than Aldo Leopold.
The man who would become the father of scientific wildlife management spent part of 1928 and 1929 crisscrossing a huge triangular area defined by Ohio, Minnesota and Missouri. He focused on the current and historic abundance of bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbits, ringneck pheasants, prairie chickens, wild turkeys, waterfowl and white-tailed deer. His sources included direct observation, popular hunting literature and interviews with hunters and landowners. The resulting Game Survey of the North Central States was commissioned by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute. It was an early example of how hunting and the industry that supported it would put up the cash to make conservation a reality.
A hardbound copy of Leopold’s report occupies a reverential place on my bookshelf, thanks to my alert and indulgent wife who spied it in an antique shop. For the princely sum of $15, I acquired a window into conservation history. I had occasion to take it down today after reading through a report by Jason Isabelle, a resource scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The report was intended to update the Missouri Conservation Commission on a collaboration with the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation. The report documents Missouri’s stubborn refusal to give up on a magnificent game bird that has continued to hold a place in Show-Me State hunters’ hearts and imaginations, long after it lost its place on our landscape.
Leopold’s work showed that ruffed grouse once occupied all but Missouri’s southwestern and northwestern counties. Although Missouri was at the far southwestern edge of the species’ original range, the plucky little birds were locally abundant wherever there was forest. Until the 1920s, that was most of the state. Ruffed grouse probably benefitted from early settlement. Their habitat requirements include impenetrable thickets that spring up when tracts of hardwood forest are logged off and then allowed to regenerate naturally. A patchwork of mature forest interspersed with regenerating clear-cuts of various ages is what “ruffs” need. Logging only becomes the enemy of ruffed grouse when cut-over land is converted to row crops or pasture.
That worked to the ruff’s advantage throughout the 19th century. Settlers and city dwellers alike used wood to heat their homes, and farmers needed pole timber for fence posts. Annual timber harvested guaranteed the renewal of habitat for grouse, not to mention quail and rabbits.
Then things changed. Leopold made a perceptive connection between the fate of ruffed grouse and America’s transition from renewable to fossil fuels when he wrote, “Petroleum, coal, and steel are rapidly making the woodlot a useless appendage to the farm, which must be grazed ‘grouseless’ to pay its keep. Sportsmen should realize that a wood-burning gas plant for farms, or even an efficient wood-burning furnace, would do more to keep woodlots, and hence, grouse, on the map of rural America than many new laws or sermons on conservation.”
Of course, that was not in the cards. Progress proceeded apace and continues today. The 19th century’s patch-quilt of forest, regenerating clear-cuts, crop fields and pastures has disappeared. In the northern half of Missouri, it has been replaced by mega-farms where corn and soybeans extend as far as the eye can see, unbroken by fence or woodlot. In southern Missouri, we increasingly have unbroken tracts of forest. Most Missourians are unaware that their state currently has significantly more forest acreage than it did before European settlement. And since clearcutting became a dirty word, the supply of prime grouse habitat where hunters can experience the thrill of the ruff’s explosive flush, has steadily dwindled.
But Missouri’s state motto isn’t purely negative. Citizen conservationists – hunters once again – have always taken the attitude that someone has to show them that the ruffed grouse can’t be brought back. Next week, we will look at Missouri’s long – and continuing – history of grouse restoration efforts.
Serious hunters take note. Nockturnal continues to take all the guesswork out of adding the benefit of lighted nocks to your quiver with the introduction of its new FIT universal-lighted nock designed to fit X, GT, S and H diameter arrows.
The Nockturnal FIT includes Nock Collar adapter sleeves in three different sizes, simplifying equipment selection and making color choice—either Red, Green or a patent-pending Red/Green Strobe—the only real shopping decision.
The Nockturnal FIT features ultra-strong, impact resistant, clear-polycarbonate nock construction encapsulating the super-bright red, green or red/green strobing LEDs that are activated by a patented string-activated, piston-driven contact switch. Like all Nockturnal nocks, the FIT is guaranteed to activate immediately when the string is released, and it can be switched off quickly and easily with the Nockturnal Nock Tool, a small screwdriver or most broadhead tips via an opening in the side of the nock.
With a base nock sized for X arrows, Nocturnal FIT nocks are packaged in a three-pack that also includes three Nock Collars for each nock that fit tightly to GT, S and H arrows. Each Nock Collar is marked with its intended arrow diameter, and once fully seated on the FIT, the adapter sleeve and nock become locked together for absolute reliability.
With well in excess of 20 hours of lithium battery life, each Nockturnal FIT will remain brightly lit for plenty of time for arrow retrieval and can be easily spotted in daylight hours as well as at night. The Red/Green Strobe Fit nock alternates 400 times a minute between the two colors.
Weighing around 25 grains, each Nockturnal FIT is waterproof and shockproof, and a three-pack with adapters retails for $34.99. The FIT nocks are available at retailers nationwide or conveniently online at www.nockturnal.com.
Headquartered in Superior, Wis., Nockturnal is a leading designer and manufacturer of lighted nocks for arrows and crossbow bolts. Nockturnal’s unique, patented, bow-string-activated, piston-driven assembly ensures LED illumination every time. Nockturnal nocks feature super-bright LEDs and long-life lithium batteries for superior illumination that lasts. Nockturnal also manufactures the Predator line of lighted crossbow bolts. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of FeraDyne Outdoors, LLC. For more information on the company or its products, visit www.nockturnal.com; or write to Nockturnal, 101 Main Street, Superior, WI 54880; or call 866-387-9307.
Heavy rain and wind can put the turkeys in a funk where they don’t gobble or respond to calls. Severe rain can wash out nests, which means hens must breed again, thus prolonging the “henned up” effect every turkey hunter dreads. Other times, such as late season, gobblers can be plain uncooperative and won’t investigate decoys or your calling.
So what do you do?
Simple. It’s time to get on your feet and close the distance. Although it’s not quite the same as a strutting tom marching into your decoys, spot and stalk turkey hunting can be just as exciting and rewarding, though your safety is of key interest in manner of hunting.
I have enjoyed much success stalking turkeys on secure, private land, but learned the most from my failures. Whether you are by yourself or with a hunting partner, I have learned several strategies to follow when you begin your stalk.
Before you begin any spot and stalk, be sure of your surroundings and possible hunters that may be in your area. I highly recommend you only do this on private land.
This might seem like the easy part, but there are several factors you must keep in mind.
First, turkeys always find a way to be where you least expect. As you approach your glassing point, stay in cover and below the line of sight of the area you think may have turkeys. Always abide by the rule that if you can see out in the field, then whatever is out there can see you.
Also, stay in the shadows as much as possible, which should be relatively easy if you have good timber. Ideally, you will make your way to a spot where you can see a good distance across a field that may be a strutting zone. Along with a large field of view, your glassing point should be accessible to a good route to make your stalk.
Next, move slowly until you spot your bird. One of the biggest mistakes I have made is quickly glancing across a field, seeing nothing, and then hustling to my next viewing area. It is only then I realize I’ve spooked a strutting tom standing below a rise in the field I could not see from my first position.
Many people hunt from a blind to start their day. If you’re like me, you have had plenty of times where birds hang up in the distance or won’t commit because they are with hens. During set-up, be sure to position your blind so the entrance is facing away from where the turkeys are likely to be located. In case you need to close the distance on foot, that allows you to exit your blind into cover without disturbing the turkeys.
Once you have eyes on a gobbler, the fun part begins. You will proceed with many of the same strategies you used to spot him.
Stalking works best in certain conditions. After a rain or in the early morning when everything is still damp, you can move much quieter. In addition, use the wind to your advantage. If you must cover a large distance quickly, move as far as you can when the wind picks up and stop when it dies down again. And remember the golden rule, if you are in sight of the field, whatever is in the field can see you too. Stay below their line of sight!
If your turkey is on the move, always take the long way around to get out in front. It might be more work, but I have failed most of the time when I tried to take the most direct route to the birds. Taking the long way around allows you to stay in better cover and leaves more room for error on your part. For example, you will inevitably step on a fallen branch in your haste. If you’ve maintained a wide circle, inadvertent noises or movement shouldn’t spook the turkey.
As you get closer, you will more than likely lose sight of the birds at times. When you stop to check the position of your gobbler, be sure you are next to a large tree or thick brush. This will allow you to hide quickly in case he surprises you.
If you follow the above guidelines, you will most likely end up with a shot opportunity. You can always increase your chances by carrying a turkey fan with you as well. Pop that up in front of you, in sight of the tom and many times he will close the distance running right at you!
Most importantly, remember to use the rules of hunter safety and to always be aware of your surroundings!
Spot and stalk is best done in an area where you are certain no other hunters are around. In some parts of the country, this manner of hunting is not permitted.
Dave Reid of New Bloomfield had been in his tree stand for about three hours on opening day of the November deer season. He was stiff from sitting as still as possible, so he allowed himself the luxury of a stretch.
“I stood up, and the stand just went out from under me,” he recalls.
The plastic covering of one of his stand’s mounting cables was old, and the cable had slipped out of its clamp.
“There I was, 20 feet off the ground,” said Reid. “If I hadn’t been wearing a safety harness, I could have been killed.”
Bob Legler of West Plains wasn’t so lucky when he took a day of vacation to celebrate his 55th birthday. It was November 16, the peak of the rut, and Legler climbed into a wooden deer stand on his home property, hoping for a birthday supper of venison loin. The wooden tree stand was swaying noticeably in the wind, but he didn’t think much about that.
Everything fell into place around mid-day. He dropped a fat doe with one well-placed shot and savored the moment with a steaming cup of coffee. The temperature at dawn had been around 20 degrees and the hot drink helped chase away the morning chill.
A careful hunter, Legler lowered his rifle and backpack to the ground with a rope before climbing down to tag and field dress his deer. Adrenalin surged when the first 2X4 handhold he grasped as he left his stand gave way as he put weight on it. He grabbed at another piece of lumber nailed to the tree, but it too broke free, plunging Legler 20 feet to the ground. He landed on his back.
“At impact, I felt a sensation in my legs like an electrical current pulsing through them,” he recalls. “The pain was intense, unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I knew I was hurt bad. I was alone, half a mile from home. No phone.”
Legler lay on the ground for several minutes trying to catch his breath. He prayed. After a while, he noticed that he could move his toes. That answered one of his prayers. He rolled onto his stomach, which triggered a wave of pain. He tried to push himself up onto his hands and knees, only to find that the fall had broken his left arm and wrist. He rolled back onto his back and checked his wristwatch. It was 11:30 a.m.
Legler’s friends and family had considerately stayed out of the woods so he could have them all to himself. It would be hours before help arrived. He tried repeatedly to rise, but excruciating pain stopped him each time. Finally understood that his back was broken, and attempts to move risked severing his spine. He lay back down, tried shouting for help, but his weak voice was swallowed up by the blustery wind.
Knowing that hypothermia was an imminent danger, he used his good arm to scoop dry leaves around his body for insulation. He prayed, recited scripture and sang hymns to bolster his spirit. Then the shivering began. First in his legs. Then in his abdomen and finally in his chest. Legler came to terms with the very real possibility that he would die before help arrived. But he was spared, his wife and son found him around 7:30 p.m.
In the emergency room, doctors determined that Legler had shattered his first lumbar vertebra, an injury that often results in paralysis of the legs. But Legler’s luck held. After surgery and six months of physical therapy, he walked again and regained most of the use of his left arm.
Examination of the faulty tree stand revealed that the deck screws Legler used to anchor lumber across two tree trunks had snapped under stress. The screws had less tensile strength than common nails. However, even stout nails might have loosened or broken after years of exposure to weather and stress from two swaying trees.
Reid and Legler’s cautionary tales are especially important this time of year. Archery season opens in just a few days, and gun seasons aren’t far behind. The Missouri Department of Conservation doesn’t maintain records of tree-stand accidents, but anecdotal evidence suggests that they far outnumber firearms-related deaths and injuries. Here are some important tips for using tree stands safely.
Don’t hunt from wooden tree stands. They are involved in a disproportionate number of accidents.
Use commercially made tree stands only if they are approved by the Tree Stand Manufacturers Association.
Check all components of tree stands for rust, wear or deterioration before and during the hunting season.
Pay special attention to the tightness of nuts, bolts, cables and other hardware.
Always wear a safety harness when climbing to and from tree stands, as well as when on the stand. Most accidents occur when climbing up, down, into or out of stands. For a reliable, inexpensive climbing safety device, use a Prusik knot and safety rope.
Use only OSHA approved, full-body safety harnesses. Lesser devices can cause injury when falls occur or leave you suspended with no way to get back to the tree or down to the ground. Even worse, substandard harnesses can cut off circulation to extremities or impair breathing, leading to suffocation.
Keep yourself on a short leash. If you fall only three feet, you are traveling at more than 25 feet per second. The impact when your safety tether snaps tight at this speed can break bones.
Use a haul rope to bring guns, bows or other gear to the stand and lower them after hunting. This keeps both hands free for climbing.
When using climbing stands, secure them to the tree with a safety chain.
Leave your stand if you get sleepy or if it starts to rain, sleet or snow, or when the tree begins to sway in the wind.
Use a rope and harness while hanging stands. Practice at ground level before starting.
Carry survival gear, including food, water, signal whistle, space blanket and, where practical, a cell phone in your pack, just in case something goes wrong.
When hunting alone, always leave word with someone about where you will be and when you expect to return.
Using tree stands safely isn’t hard, and the alternative is too grim to contemplate. I can’t think of a more appropriate topic for the old saying, “Better safe than sorry.”
Saturday, September 24, 2016 Kids and Adults Invited to Discover the Fun of the Outdoors Johnny Morris named 2016 Honorary Chair
National Hunting and Fishing Day, formalized by Congress in 1971, was created by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to celebrate conservation successes of hunters and anglers. From shopping center exhibits to statewide expos, millions of citizens have learned to appreciate America’s sportsman-based system of conservation funding. That system now generates more than $1.7 billion per year, benefiting all who appreciate wildlife and wild places.
In locations all around the country, kids and adults alike, can share in a few of the fun and challenging hands-on activities that include fishing, outdoor gear, archery, firearm safety and much more. Sportsman and conservation groups will feature exhibits with displays of hunting and fishing equipment with demonstrations of outdoor skills.
National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) has named leading national conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder, Johnny Morris, to serve as the honorary chair for NHF Day 2016. A lifelong sportsman with a passion for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation, Morris is one of the country’s foremost leaders working to ensure natural habitats, wildlife and the outdoors remain healthy for future generations to protect and enjoy.
“America’s sportsmen and women are among our nation’s most active conservationists and it’s important we recognize and celebrate everything they do to protect outdoor habitat and ensure thriving populations of wildlife,” said Morris. “I’m proud to lend my support and raise awareness for hunters and anglers, America’s conservation heroes through National Hunting and Fishing Day.”
The NHF Day event is just one more of the ways Morris is honoring the unsung heroes of conservation. Later this year, Morris will unveil the new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri, a 315,000-square foot conservation destination envisioned as a tribute to America’s hunters and anglers. Through immersive habitats and interactive displays the experience will inspire future generations to enjoy, love and conserve the great outdoors.
“NHF Day is continually looking for folks that have a true passion for the outdoors and is very involved with conservation,” said Misty Mitchell, national coordinator, National Hunting and Fishing Day. “Johnny Morris is leading the charge in all facets of conservation. We couldn’t be happier to have him serve as our National Chair.”
This annual event takes place on Saturday, September 24, 2016, with activities taking place across the country.
Morris joins a distinguished group that has included Jim Shockey, Eva Shockey, Craig Morgan, Bill Dance, T. Boone Pickens, Louise Mandrell, Hank Williams Jr., Jeff Foxworthy, Wade Boggs, Arnold Palmer, the USA Olympic Shooting Team, Tony Stewart and others.
The National Rifle Association applauds the passage of HR2406, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act last week, on Friday, February 26, 2016. Introduced by Congressional Representative Robert Wittman, the SHARE Act provides enhanced access to public lands and will strengthen America’s hunting, fishing, and sport shooting heritage now and in the future,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “There will be more resources available for public ranges, more hunter access to public lands, and more opportunities for Americans to enjoy the great outdoors.”
In addition to allowing law-abiding gun owners increased access to carry firearms on land managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, the SHARE Act also protects the use of traditional ammunition and requires that U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management plans to facilitate hunting, fishing, and shooting. Finally, the bill would more comprehensively address the interstate transportation of firearms and ammunition for hunters and law-abiding gun owners.
The bill also would authorize the appropriation of $5 million a year to enforce laws related to the illegal trading of ivory. Based on information provided by the affected agencies, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $24 million over the 2016-2020 period and $1 million after 2020, assuming appropriation of the authorized and necessary amounts.
Because CBO estimates that enacting the bill would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply, however, CBO estimates that the net effect on direct spending would be negligible over the 2016-2025 period. Enacting H.R. 2406 would not affect revenues. CBO also estimates that enacting H.R. 2406 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2026.
HR2406 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would benefit state agencies by lowering the matching requirement for federal grants that support public shooting ranges. Any costs incurred by those entities would be incurred voluntarily.
HR2406 would impose a private-sector mandate, as defined in UMRA, by eliminating an individual’s existing right to seek compensation for damages occurring at some public target ranges. Based on information from the Department of the Interior, CBO estimates that the cost of the mandate would be small and fall well below the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($154 million in 2015, adjusted annually for inflation).
The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate, where a similar package (the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015) has already advanced from the Committees on Energy and Natural Resources and Environment and Public Works.
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Follow the NRA on social at Facebook.com/National Rifle Association and Twitter @NRA