May 9, 2008
Double-digit increases in gun sales in New Mexico. Will the "good" times continue? Depends on who is slated to occupy the White House come January:
“If (Sen. John) McCain wins I probably won’t see it. If (Sen. Barack) Obama wins I’m looking for a sellout,” he said.
More good news for the gun industry for the wrong reasons.
—John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
In states like Massachusetts and Maine, you're done—fall turkey season over. Fortunately, for many hunters around the country, fall turkey hunting—and the very best time to hunt fall turkeys—is about to arrive. Why? Here are 5 reasons to forgo a time or two on your favorite deer stand and get a bird in time for Thanksgiving:
1. Predictable Patterns
On my hunting club property in the Catskills of New York, myself and several hunting partners have worked a single flock of turkeys for several weeks now. Initially, they would be roosted on a ridgetop every other or every third day. Now, you can almost bank on them being in the same roost trees each morning. To date, we've taken 3 birds from the flock--1 gobbler, 2 poults and 2 misses. There's no doubt that we won't be able to fool them into coming to the same spot each day we hunt them, but at least we've got some birds to work.
2. Food, Food, Food, Food
The favorite food source available in the least supply is likely where you will find both turkeys and deer. Here is a case in point:
Several seasons ago, Kris McGrath and I were headed into the fall turkey woods a couple hours after first light when we spotted a flock of birds (jakes) out in the middle of a field of goldenrod. The birds were picking so hard that they never even noticed our woods' road driveby. We parked my truck, snuck into the woods more than 200 yards away and set up. Amazingly, the birds responded instantly to the first series of jake yelps. Within seconds, they were on their way and Kris dumped the lead bird. When I cleaned the jake, I pulled an honest-to-God, softball-sized wad of grasshoppers from his crop. In retrospect, it was obvious why those birds were where they were. We happened upon the first hard frost of the season. The slow-moving hoppers were easy pickings for those turkeys which filled up on the high-protein bugs before instinct told them that hoppers would be gone until next summer.
3. Survival Mode
Northeast turkeys were hit with a nasty surprise last week in the form of snow. It was a bit early for a measurable snowfall, but there's no doubt that the turkeys have taken the hint. Frosty mornings slam the points home harder—it's time to pack on the pounds and there is safety in numbers. I've found that as soon as the weather begins to take a turn for the worse, you can bet that a busted flock of birds will be far more responsive to recalling. This is, of course, true of family flocks, but even gobblers will respond more readily. Break up a flock when the temperatures drop to freezing or below, and you can bet that birds will begin recalling within 1/2 hour of breakup.
4. Secret Weapon No. 1: The Evening Roost Bust
There have been innumerable times when, after striking out on birds for most of the day, I decided to swap out my shotgun for my bow and go deer hunting for an evening post. Of course, that's when I'd spy a flock of turkeys heading to roost. And that's the absolute perfect time to go into full turkey hunting mode. Sit, wait and listen. As darkness descends, you will begin hearing birds flying into nearby trees. Try to think like a turkey who wants to get off the ground and out of possible predator danger while it can still see. Disregard those early roosters and listen for several birds to fly up. Once you've heard several birds fly up, get out of that deer stand and get in amongst the birds. The goal here is to disperse the roosted turkeys in as many different directions as possible. Then, either take a GPS reading or find your exact setup tree and get there at least 1/2 hour before first light. The colder the night, the louder the turkey calling will be the next morning and the faster those birds will want to re-group. It's a killer tactic.
5. Secret Weapon No. 2: The Morning Roost Bust
Okay guys, remember that this is not spring hunting. Bust a bird off the roost in the spring of the year and you're most likely done with that bird for that morning—if not for several days. Do the same thing in the fall and you're in Fat City. If you hear a bird fly off and sense or see (birds silhouetted on the limb) that you're amid the flock, keep walking and spook them all. Once you've busted the majority of the group, take a seat against a tree, wait 1/2 hour or until the first bird begins recalling. Mimic every sound that bird makes and wait.
If you've shot one bird from a fall scatter/recall, and you can legally take another or are hunting with a partner, avoid the urge to claim your kill. If you're confident that you've killed your bird, sit tight and call like you've never called before. It may take several minutes or 1/2 hour, but you can take multiple birds from the very same setup if you're patient.
—Gerry Bethge [ Read Full Post ]
Fishing on the Susquehanna River was scary good this week. The fish came out for a treat and anglers showed them a trick. George Acord at Susquehanna Fishing Tackle (www.sfttackle.com) told us that the fall bite was in full swing. He said that water temperatures are in the low-50s and the water is rising into optimal range at 17000 CFS. “The smallmouth are aggressive,” he said, reporting that fish averaging 3 pounds are striking at anything that moves. George says that the most popular baits are a Bill Norman and Bandit crankbaits that dive 4 to 8 feet. Catching smallmouths with a jerkbait is a no brainer, George says, recommending Lucky Crafts Pointer 100 in ghost minnow and chartreuse. “We’re catching good quality fish on jerkbaits,” he said. On cloudy days with light wind, George says that the smallies are crushing topwaters. “We’ve been catching fish to 4 pounds on Lucky Craft Sammys,” he said. The bass go into hiding on bright sunny days, but George will tempt them with a tube jig on a 1/8 ounce leadhead and 8 pound test fluorocarbon. While the water level is high, he looks for fish hanging around islands and in the main river shorlines. When the level goes back down, the fish will move to submerged rock ledges. “The dam is open and the fish are going off,” he said, “this is our favorite time of year.”
Atlanta anglers are getting a nice treat for Halloween this year—the delayed harvest sections of the Chattahoochee River will open to fishing on November 1. Paul Puckett at Fish Hawk (www.thefishhawk.com) told us that the sections of the river that run through downtown Atlanta will be stocked and ready for fishing on Saturday. He recommends using a parachute Adams dry fly with a nymph dropper. “All the access points are hot,” he says, “because that’s where they dump the fish.” If the easy spots are too crowded, Paul suggests anglers sneak off to the deeper drops along the river that will hold more fish and fewer fishermen. “Fishing should be good until the fish smarten up,” he said. Anglers who want to leave town for the weekend should head up to Toccoa River and fish below the dam or at Curtis Switch Road or Horseshoe Bend. Paul says that the water is off color due to the Blueridge Lake switching over, so anglers should use Adam dry flies or streamers. He says that the Nantahala River in North Carolina would also be a great destination for a weekend getaway. “If I could go somewhere this weekend,” he said, “that’s where I’d go.”
Bass fishing is serious business around Tulsa, Oklahoma and this week business is good. Jack Kitchen at Okie Bait and Tackle in Broken Arrow reports that bass fishing has been excellent in Grand, Gibson, and Hudson Lakes. He said that the best baits have been soft plastics, square-bill crankbaits, and spinner baits. “A soft plastic worms on a Carolina rig with a ¾ ounce eggsinker has been the ticket,” he said. Jack reported that anglers are intercepting bass that are chasing shad in the back creeks and on secondary points. He added that guys are catching big cats on the flats in the mainlakes close to creek channels with chunks of shad. Smallmouth are also snapping on crankbaits, spinners, and Senkos at Lake Tenkiller. “Look for the fish hanging on chunk rocks,” he said. Jack didn’t forget about crappies, he said that they are on all the structure in the lakes taking minnows.
It seems that all of the kids in costumes have scared away the fish on the western shore of Lake Erie. Or maybe it was the persistent offshore winds that have pushed the water and fish out of Maumee Bay. Not to fear, according to Jackie Mainzinger at Fisherman’s Cave (www.fishermanscave.com), the walleye and perch have just moved around the bend to Bolles Harbor and Luna Pier. She said that anglers casting Bombers off the end of the pier at night have been connecting with some nice-sized walleye. The perch are falling for spreaders, she said. “When the wind stop blowing, the water and fish will return,” Jackie assured us. She recommends anglers fish Turtle Island and the Toledo Harbor Lights with Bombers and blade baits.
Anglers in Central California are waiting for cooler weather to fire up the trout in local lakes. Until then, they are taking advantage of great bass fishing. Eric Mathiesen at Been There Caught That, reported that anglers dragging rubberworms with a Carolina rig or throwing spinner baits to the banks and structure are scoring double digit catches of largemouth. Once the water temperatures drop below 60 degrees, locals will switch to trolling spinners and Krocodile spoons and triple teasers. On the saltwater scene, Eric reported good fishing for rock cod and ling cod out of Point San Lois. He suggests taking one of the local headboats for some rock cod action before the season ends on November 30. Eric has been targeting big sharks from Pismo and Gaviota piers. “That’s one of my favorite places to fish,” he said.—Ric Burnley [ Read Full Post ]
A few weeks ago, legendary bowhunter “Spook” Span connected with another long-tined bruiser. Most of you probably remember the 230-class giant he smoked last season in Kansas that was featured on the Big Buck Zone, a few months ago. In fact, Spook was able to stick two giants that year with his bow, one in Iowa and one in Kansas, within days of each other. Wouldn’t it be nice to lay down 430 inches of antler during the same week? What makes this accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that both hunts were self-guided and 100% fair chase.
It seems that Spook has no intentions of slowing down this year and has already punched one of his buck tags in the Volunteer State of Tennessee. With a few remaining minutes of daylight, this high-racked monster stepped out of a heavily wooded area and slowly began working its way up the field edge. Finally, the buck presented Spook with the right angle to take the shot. One gentle squeeze of the release trigger sent an arrow screaming toward the big boy’s sweet spot. A loud smack echoed across the open field as the arrow collided into the buck’s kill zone. He made a perfect hit and didn’t have to track his trophy very far. Way to kick off the season Spook and be sure to keep all of us posted on the BBZ as to how the rest of your year goes.—Travis Faulkner [ Read Full Post ]
A Gunshots regular asked me the other day about the suitability of a particular bullet chambered in 6.8 SPC for whitetails. The bullet in question is the 110-grain boat-tailed hollow-point from Hornady. He settled on this bullet because the other factory loads he tried either didn’t group well in his AR-style rifle or, in the case of one cheapo brand, misfired frequently.
[ Read Full Post ]
It's a widely held notion in the fall hunting tradition that you've got to break up the flock to gain a tactical calling advantage. It's true, that works, whether you employ a dog where legal, or flush the groups on foot using terrain to get close.
You can also simply set up in the woods where turkey sign is fresh, and cold call. Clucks, hen yelps, kee-kees, kee-kee-runs, even gobbling, can draw curious flocks closer.
During the my recent
hunts, whether hunting alone or with a buddy, we've seen success cold calling both family flocks (brood hens and birds of the year), and bigger adult groups (containing broodless hens and full-fan gobblers) inside 40 yards—often closer.
And it's no fluke, over the years this tactic has consistently put fall turkeys in range.
Any of you Strut Zoners simply set up and call to your fall birds, either at fly-down time, during the day, or before they go to roost? Any luck using this strategy?—Steve Hickoff [ Read Full Post ]
The Delaware State Police have been caught breaking the rules regarding gun purchase records. This came to light after the police refused to authorize the purchase of a firearm by a woman because of her age, gender and the fact that she hadn’t purchased a gun ever before.
Never mind that a person’s age and gender are not valid reasons to deny a purchase—the fact that the police have apparently been keeping a database of gun purchase records illegally has many gun-rights advocates up in arms.
According the article, Delaware’s database goes back at least seven years.
[ Read Full Post ]
You gotta admire the folks from Wisconsin.
They love their beer and brats, Packer football and deer hunting.
Yep, you can check your
deer gun and ol’ ticker at the same time/same place. Only in Wisconsin, don’t
The Capital Times
reports that from Saturday, Nov. 1 through Friday, Nov. 14, hunters can
sight-in their deer rifles at the training facility located on Wisconsin 19
between Interstate 39/90/94 and Waunakee. The sight-in costs $10 for the first
gun and $5 for each additional firearm.
On Saturday and Sunday
only, hunters can receive a free health screening from Meriter Hospital staff
from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The screenings will check cholesterol, blood
pressure and body composition, and staff will also provide information on heart
health and the warning signs leading up to potential heart problems.
Then, after punching some
paper on the range and getting up close and personal with a stethoscope,
hunters can be assured they’ll be “good to do” on opening day.
And about the beer and
brats. Only in post-hunt moderation, OK?
“3-pound rainbow trout, age 3, of Low-Water Bridge
Hole, succumbed Saturday after mistaking a metal spinner for real food. Born in
January of 1994 at the Reed Creek Hatchery in Pendleton County, Mrs. Rainbow
was the daughter of the late Mr. And Mrs. Brood Trout. Surviving are thousands
of siblings in such waters as Lost River, Thorn Creek and the North Fork of the
South Branch of the Potomac. Mrs. Rainbow was best known for her ability to
capture and ingest sculpin from between rocks at the bottom of the river. A
memorial photograph of Mrs. Rainbow will be placed on the wall of the angler
who caught her.”
I’m getting a pretty strong itch to add this to my Amazon cart and see how it works out. I can’t remember where I first saw this—on Bane’s blog I think—but this is certainly one of the cooler looking upgrades for the 10/22 platform. How can you not like the idea of having your own Maschinengewehr 42? I’m just worried it will look cheap and cheesy. Also, I’m pretty happy with all my 10/22s right now and don’t want to tear one apart to build this up, so I’d need to throw down for another rifle.
If nothing else, though, this shows once again that the 10/22 is the ultimate platform for customizing rimfire guns.
—John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
Have to say I like young Max’s choice of gun. Granted, I’m not the biggest fan of the .243 Win. for hunting, but I do like those Handi-Rifles. They’re a good, solid value and a smart way to start a youngster hunting.
Good job, Max!
[ Read Full Post ]
This image from The Post provides some extra background on the story. I'm guessing the reason that De Niro and Keitel are listed as also having a "premise" permit is that they have more than one firearm and aren't allowed to carry that other firearm for personal protection.
When I had my "target" permit while living in upstate New York I had to list the serial number of every handgun on the license. Those were the only firearms I was legally permitted to handle. So if a pal of mine and I owned identical guns it would technically be against the law for use to shoot the other's pistol, just because the serial numbers were different. Smart, eh?
I pushed our local cops on this issue and asked if it was against the law for my wife to use my gun in the event that an intruder came into the house while she was home alone. They hemmed and hawed and I never got a straight answer because, I suspect anyway, that by the strict letter of the law she wasn't allowed to touch it.Again, brilliant.
But this goes hand in hand with the attitude that a barrel shroud or a pistol grip is what makes a gun an evil object that should be prohibited.
—John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
Some of us own handguns for protection. Others like to hunt with them. Still others enjoy participating in shooting competitions.
But if you’re Martha Stewart’s daughter, Alexis, you own a pistol in order to shoot your dogs in the head:
She said she got a gun, now kept in a lockbox in her $3 million TriBeCa apartment, to euthanize her elderly dogs in the event that another calamity struck and forced her to abandon them.
"I had two very old English bulldogs," said Stewart, who hosts a show on her mother's Sirius Satellite Radio channel.
"They could never make it out of Manhattan. I could never leave my dogs to die of thirst in my apartment, so I looked on it as a euthanasia situation. I would never kill my pets unless they were going to die anyway."
This is from a story in the New York Post on celebrities in New York who pack heat or who have gotten permits to keep handguns in their homes. The latest to join the ranks of celebrity gun owners are New York Mets David Wright and Carlos Delgado.
The famous-folks-with-guns is one of those stories in New York that crops up every few months. It highlights the well-known fact that celebrities have an easier time getting approved for permits in places like New York and Los Angeles than the rest of us, who either face additional red tape or are denied the right to have a firearm.
As much as I question Stewart’s motives for arming herself, it makes me wonder if the NYPD is relaxing its notoriously strict requirements for gun ownership in the Big Apple. After all, if the desire to whack your dogs is justification enough to have a gun in the home, what would the police say to someone who wanted to carry a handgun in order to protect and save their life?
Update: Ahab's take.
Update: Murdoc sums it up rather nicely: