May 9, 2008
Some of us learned that setting up over a football field away from a roosted gobbler is the way to go. In reality, the trick to toppling some tough longbeards is to sneak in early, and set up close. Extreme setup tactics sometimes rule.
I once scouted a New Hampshire spring gobbler before the season on an un-posted farm that routinely saw some in-season hunter traffic. Not only would killing the longbeard prove challenging, but I’d have to consider Opening Day influences. So, I did a number of obsessive-compulsive things all of us die-hards favor . . .
I roosted the turkey on a regular basis in the weeks before the opener. Sometimes he favored one side of the river; sometimes mine on the farm. The late afternoon before the opener I located the gobbler on my side, so I sat down in the woods, and waited for him to fly up. At one point, another scouting hunter walked right past me, obviously late for something by the way he was moving. That worried me a little, but I’d just have to play my hand.
The next pre-dawn morning I parked my truck, and walked the half-mile to the bird. I slinked down... [ Read Full Post ]
Nothing gets my adrenalin pumping harder than drawing back on a heavy-tined giant with my bow. It’s this feeling that is so addictive for bowhunters. Exactly how do you think will you react when the buck of a lifetime steps out of your dreams and into a cleared shooting lane? Will you be able to control your nerves and hold your pin on the sweet spot when the moment of truth arrives?
Well, William Stann who goes by the nickname “Spook” came face to face with that very question last season in Kansas. Spook was scouting an area during the peak of rut with his cameraman trying to hang treestands before a morning hunt. With the rut cranked up, Spook had the foresight to grab his bow before heading out—a move that would change his life as a hunter forever. Shortly after leaving the vehicle, Spook and his cameraman LJ Planner spotted a monster buck cruising along the back of a CRP field. With the wind in their favor both hunters decided that stalking the buck was definitely an option.
Pulling off a successful stalk on a trophy-class buck... [ Read Full Post ]
It hardly comes as a surprise that in the days leading up to the potentially history-making gun-rights case that will be argued in the U.S. Supreme Court this month that the New York Times has decided to launch a public anti-gun crusade.
In an editorial that appeared today (“Gun Crazy”), the New York Times bemoaned the lack of political action to strip law-abiding citizens of their rights after the shootings at Northern Illinois University in February.
One of the more curious aspects to the Times’s call for greater gun restrictions is the acknowledgment that the proposals won’t actually do anything to curb the types of crime that prompted the paper’s outrage:
“No single measure of combination of measures can ensure that deranged individuals are prevented in every instance from shooting up a crowded classroom or shopping mall.”
Nonetheless, the paper insists that doing “nothing” isn’t an option. So here’s the Times’s prescription to fix the problem. [ Read Full Post ]
A friend of mine who works in the gun industry sent me an email about the voting going on for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Included among the bios of better-known celebrities on the ballot such as Oscar De La Hoya and David Robinson is that of Lones Wigger.
Unknown to most outside of shooting circles Wigger was a consummate Olympic athlete. A dedicated amateur (remember when Olympic athletes were amateurs?) his competitive career spanned a quarter century and included many milestones—not the least of which were the 29 world records he set as a shooter.
His profile on the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame web site says in part:
Lones W. Wigger, Jr. (70), whose career spanned 25 years, is a three-time Olympian, having competed at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico and the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, where he won a combined two gold and one silver medals. In addition, he qualified for the 1980 Olympic Team.
Wigger also competed on five Pan American Games teams, where he won five silver and 13 gold medals. During his shooting career, Wigger won 111 medals and set 29 world records in international competition, more than... [ Read Full Post ]
By Ric Burnley
When we called Rich Greenough of Sure Strike Charters, he had 30 special-needs kids fishing for yellow perch on the ice covering Lake Champlain. “Fishing has been slow,” he said, “but the kids are riding 4-wheelers and eating hotdogs so their happy.”
The event was organized by Hunters, Anglers, and Trappers of Vermont. Greenough expects the perch fishing to explode in the coming week. As the water warms, the fish will school up and anglers will get a great opportunity to catch perch on live minnows fished from both tip-ups and hand lines. Watch the ice conditions carefully. “We’ve had three thaws and the pressure ridges are dangerous,” Greenough says, warning fishermen to stay 50 feet from any cracks in the ice.
In addition to the perch, salmon are coming to the inland sea and there are a few walleyes starting to show along with northern... [ Read Full Post ]
If you’re an Outdoor Life subscriber, chances are you read the March 2008 cover story, “Secrets of the Shed Masters,” about the Lemke family from Iowa and how they’ve amassed more than 1,000 whitetail sheds in the past few years.
And, if you’re a regular visitor to the Outdoor Life Web site, it’s likely you also caught my pal Bob Butz’s great piece about how to train your dog to become an antler-finding machine.
So, just in case you haven’t had your fill of shed antler stories, the ol' Outdoor Newshound has a special treat for you.
Meet Jim Phillips: The Antler Man.
The Three Forks, Mont. native’s phenominal shed antler collection comprises some 14,500 sheds displayed from floor to ceiling—and everywhere in between—inside a 30 x 64-foot building he constructed specifically for its display.
And, yes, he personally found every one.
Phillips, 59, has been hunting shed antlers in the Gallatin National Forest and on other Montana public lands for the past 50 years. An employee of the Montana Talcum Company, he spends most of his free time hunting—mule deer, whitetail, or their headgear—depending on the time of year.
There were so many giant bucks at the Illinois Deer and Turkey Classic—I’m talking gagger-style—that picking out the best-scoring bucks was difficult without the aid of the score sheets hung with each trophy.
I also had help from big buck nuts like volunteer Mike “Woody” Armstrong. With Woody’s help I was able to wipe the drool from the corner of my mouth and keep stumbling in a delusional state past the 170-class deer to view the true kings. The two best I saw while at the show were a bragging-rights nontypical and a mesmerizing typical.
I apologize if a larger buck showed up later, but I had to catch my flight home to Wyoming. Connections are few and far between. The nontypical (shown here) scored 238 2/8 inches and was shot by Kevin Radke in Jasper County this past hunting season. Although its inside spread doesn’t look wide, it does span more than 19 inches, but the buck’s true character begins with the bases and keeps on going. It has 6–inch bases protected by massive sticker points, nearly 7-inch brows, G3s of more than 11 inches and a... [ Read Full Post ]
If you handle your own boat and also like to fiddle at the computer, you’re going to want to check out Mad Mariner’s new offering called The Docking Game.
It’s an Internet-based video game whose challenge is for you navigate your electronic boat into floating docks, T-heads, fingers piers and such. You use keyboard arrows to navigate your boat, and must avoid hazards (other boats, buoys, shallows). While you’re navigating, little surprises come up like waves, traffic, wind gusts, darkness, marine life.
First two times a tried it, I first crashed, and then ran out of gas—but then I don’t play video games. Things are improving.
You get free low-level playing but if you want a higher level experience, you can opt for a 30-day free trial after which you need a paid subscription.
A key date is approaching in the fight over gun rights. On March 18 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the D.C. gun ban case. The ruling on the case, expected sometime in June, will have a huge impact on the willingness of the government and politicians to try to enact gun-control legislation in the future.
For gun right’s advocates, the hope and the dream is to hear the highest court in the United States acknowledge that the Second Amendment means what it says: that the citizens of this country have an individual right to own and use firearms.
The cover story in the February 27 edition of USA Today had some interesting data. A poll conducted by the newspaper and Gallup shows that 73 percent of the more than 1,000 adults questioned believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to own a firearm. An overwhelming—and heartwarming—indication of support.
—John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
They breed and lay eggs just like the hens without beards.
In “bearded bird” spring turkey states, they’re legal. Often that lawbook rule is established in the event a hunter sees a bearded turkey, and pulls the trigger. Whether you shoot one is still your choice in the end.
Biology tells us that some girl turkeys do wear beards—under 10% of the population some biologists will generally tell you. Some will specifically suggest it’s as low as 2 to 4 percent. If present, those beards are usually no longer than eight inches, and often thin.
Of course, sex can be determined by characteristics other than the presence of a beard. Gobblers wear black-tipped breast feathers; hens are brown-tipped. Male turkeys have pink and red faces, and when aroused, red, white and blue heads. Female turkeys have blue-gray heads, occasionally with some red splotches. Spurs: males. Gobbles: males. You get the idea . . .
Like the rest of you Strut Zoners, I’ve been watching wild turkeys all winter. For some of you in Florida, Alabama, and elsewhere, the spring season begins in March. For the rest of us, we’re still watching... [ Read Full Post ]
Venice, Louisiana Captain gets weird double-header.
It’s been a weird year on Midnight Lump off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Late winter is usually the best time to catch a 200-pound yellowfin tuna on the submerged seamount 44 miles off Venice. But this year, the tuna never showed. Captain Kevin Beach of Reel Peace Charters was one of the first to leave the lump in search of greener pastures.
“The fish didn’t check their calendar this year,” he says, “we’re already in our April pattern.” Blame it on El Nino or La Nina, but last Tuesday, Beach was slow-trolling a pair of live blue runners off an oil rig 20 miles out of South Pass when his weird year got even weirder. “We had a 300-pound mako come up on the short line,” he says. The fish grabbed the bait and disappeared. Beach kept the drag loose, knowing that they had little chance of landing a toothy shark on fluorocarbon leader. While the angler let the fish swim off, Beach prepared another bait on a wire leader. “I noticed that the long bait was sinking,” he... [ Read Full Post ]
Included in the USA Today story on Gun Rights was a concise and worthwhile summation of the position on the issue of the top candidates in the presidential race. Both Hillary and Obama are backpeddling furiously from their pro-gun control records as senators for their respective states, offering up support for the Second Amendment that is at odds with their history of advocacy for tighter gun control. But even that support sounds rather unconvincing.
Consider that while pushing for a renewal of the assault-weapons ban (AWB) signed into law by her husband, Hillary stated: “I believe in the Second Amendment. People have a right to bear arms. But I also believe we can common-sensically approach this.” In other words, the “right” is so conditional that it can be revoked for something as frivolous as how a gun looks. Some “right.” [ Read Full Post ]
It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time not too long ago when it was pretty rare to hear about a turkey hunter using decoys. Not only were the old-school foam or hard-plastic replicas a pain to carry around in the woods, their use was downright controversial—some thought them to be unsafe to use while others felt them to be an unfair advantage.
Desperately needing all the help I could get out in the spring woods, I avoided setting foot in either camp. I was all about dekes and used them every chance I could get. Back then (early ’80s), my buddies and I would talk about decoys for hours. We’d repaint them, glue on feathers and even hooked them up to push-button box calls via a length of string—all in the name of realism. Some experiments worked, but most scared the spurs off all but the most lovesick gobblers.
Thankfully, there are no such worries these days. Both hen and gobbler decoys are more lifelike than ever and are available in folding, collapsible, inflatable and generally user-friendlier configurations.
Okay, so I might be a deke freak. I admit that my hands shook just a little when I got the new Cabela’s... [ Read Full Post ]
A new report released last week by the Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that 555 Americans--including more than 100 youth--died from injuries sustained in all-terrain vehicle accidents in 2006 (the most recent year numbers are available).
The 2006 fatality numbers were was down from 666 in 2005.
The new data also revealed that an additional 146,600 people received emergency room treatment for ATV-related injuries in 2006.
The report also noted the top ten states for ATV fatalities between 1982 and 2006. In order they are Pennsylvania, 420; California, 418; West Virginia, 398; Texas, 386; Kentucky, 367; Florida, 349; Tennessee, 322; New York, 303; North Carolina, 297; and Michigan, 296.
John McCoy, my good friend and the fine outdoors scribe for the Charleston (WV) Gazette, put pencil to paper to reveal how the fatality numbers were a particular indictment of ATV riders—and ATV regulations--in The Mountain State.
Based on population, McCoy calculated that West Virginians are 2 1/2 times more likely to die in and ATV accident that residents of any other state.
By state, the chances of dying in an ATV wreck are: West Virginia,... [ Read Full Post ]
“Poets talk about ‘spots of time,’ but it is really the fishermen who experience eternity compressed into a moment. No one can tell what a spot of time is until suddenly the whole world is a fish and the fish is gone. I shall remember that son of a bitch forever.”
A River Runs Through It, 1976 [ Read Full Post ]