May 9, 2008
Looking for something a little different Strut Zoners? Ontario fall turkey hunting
opportunities just expanded. Some turkey facts:
*Records show wild turkeys disappeared from Ontario in 1909.
*About 4,400 wild turkeys were released beginning in 1984 at 275 sites across Ontario
as part of the restoration effort.
*There are an estimated 70,000 wild turkeys in Ontario, now nearly 25 years after being
reintroduced in the province.
*A new fall wild turkey season is in place in specific Wildlife Management Units
(http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/200273.pdf) in southeastern and southwestern Ontario.
*The fall turkey season allows hunters to take one bird from October 14 to 26
Still not interested in the autumn hunt? The spring turkey kill for 2008 of 10,492 birds was
recently registered, a new record.—Steve Hickoff [ Read Full Post ]
It makes me sick to my stomach to hear about a tall-tined monster that has met its maker by some type of unfortunate accident or disease. All of you know exactly what I am talking about and some of you have probably even experienced it at one time or another. A die-hard deer hunter might have to fight off depression when the buck that has been haunting their dreams gets hit by a vehicle, dies of disease, or is found locked-up and rotting with another bruiser. Let’s face it, life for a buck can be pretty darn tough and it’s not uncommon for a trophy-class animal to go out by something other than a hunter’s arrow or bullet.
Just ask Angi Phillips of Oklahoma, who found her dream buck dead at the end of summer. In this case, it sounded like the bluetongue culprit was responsible for her buck’s death last season. A lot of you have shared similar stories on the BBZ about finding dead deer on your favorite hunting locations. Areas like Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, and several other states were hit hard by bluetongue last summer. Many biologists feel that bluetongue outbreaks are worse during extremely dry periods or droughts when water is scarce. Situations where deer are congregating near remaining water sources is when the tiny biting flies that transmit the disease can really do some damage. Lately, I’ve not been hearing too many stories about hunters finding large numbers of dead deer like last season.
I would like to hear from some of you on the BBZ about what is going on in your states or hunting areas this year. Hopefully, bluetongue has not been as bad this summer as it was last season. As for Angi Phillips, we all feel your pain about losing a buck you had bow hunted hard for two seasons in a row. However, tragic things like this happen all the time in nature and as a hunter you just have to keep moving forward. The good news is that this year is a new season and hopefully you’ll locate an even bigger deer to occupy your time. Keep your head up Angi and hang your tag on “Mac Daddy” buck this fall.—Travis Faulkner [ Read Full Post ]
Several times each week, hunting buddy and turkey hunting legend Ray Eye sends e-mails that typically run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. Always opinionated, Eye is never shy about sharing his points of view. I thought I'd share this one with you fellow Strut Zoners—Gerry Bethge
Hello everyone, Happy Friday.....
Late night last night at the QDM deer banquet in Fenton, Spent quality time with my buddy Frank; a great time was had by all—of course that is without question when hanging with Frankie. Food was good , visited with lots of old friends and met a surprising number of folks that listen to my radio show. And yes, we ended up at IMO’s Pizza place late last night, man was that good!!!!!
Fall is in the air!!! This has been a wonderful week with several days of temperatures in mid-50s at night. Squirrels are cutting hickory nuts, makes my wonder dog Charlie crazy.. Just too many squirrels to tree as dozens work on nuts and jump from tree to tree.
As much as hate to leave Charlie home on my early morning “Buggy run,” down the dead road to the squirrel patch, there is nothing in hunting to compare with a .22 rifle and squirrels on hickory nuts. As a kid who grew up with squirrel hunting, the sounds of cutting, the early morning light reflecting from cuttings as they flutter down from tall hickories and the light spatter of falling cuttings landing on the forest floor, still excite me and gets the old ticker pumping.
May sound weird, but a finding a squirrel cutting nuts, making the stalk, trying to find him in the forest canopy and getting the shot, watching him tumble to the ground, is right up there with a strutting gobbler coming over a rise to the call or a 10-point buck walking toward me ground level “eye to eye” and me with my recurve bow in hand.
There is a mixed bag of young turkeys this late summer, also seeing lots of hens without poults. Three different size levels of poults seems to be the norm—some hens only have 2 or 3 others 4 to 6. But there are so many very small late-hatch poults, from dove size, to pigeon size and the normal long-legged gangly size for this time of year. Earlier this week on a cool morning at the river, roosted momma hens and babies put on quite the show pitching from the roost and gliding across the river into the field edge.
Gotta go, time to take my dogs on our morning Buggy run, have to have at least one morning for my dogs and let Charlie tree some squirrels as Peanut guards the right flank. Have a great Friday and I’ll see ya on the radio in the morning…. Live Internet streaming at 6 AM at http://www.kfns.com/ [ Read Full Post ]
We all found ourselves in different camps. I was a dyed-in-wool Burke's guy with black and natural colored worms (of course they were earth-scent impregnated) and then switched over to Burke's Flex Plugs when they were introduced in the early 70s. My favorites were the Top Dog and the Pop Top. Talk about totally buying into the hype! Burke's pr said that because these plugs were made of soft plastic (rubber), bass would bite them harder and hold on. Well, they seemed to. I did pretty well with these topwaters.
My dad? I think he went through 10 years using the very same black Arbogast Hula Popper. Oh, he'd occasionally replace its rubberized tail, but not often enough. And yet, he'd take bass after bass. I can still vividly see the joy on his face when a bass would boil on his presentation.
My cousin? Well, he was the dastardly Heddon guy. Of course, it made no sense that dastardly and Heddon would go together, but that's how we viewed it--rivalries work that way. One summer day, he opened his aluminum Umco tackle box to reveal a topwater lure none of us had ever seen before. He called it a "Tiny Crazy Crawler Mouse" and I couldn't have been more jealous. Holy crap--what a lure. Well, at least it looked good.
Then he cast it. Once the ripples faded on his very first offering, a huge largemouth inhaled it. He fought the fish hard on his red Sears baitcasting reel then, infuriatingly, unhooked the bass from the lure and onto his chain stringer--with the non-chalantness of Curt Gowdy. Yeah, I decided to take a good, long look at all of Heddon's offerings after that.
—Gerry Bethge [ Read Full Post ]
Have you seen a black buck? I haven’t, but they’re out there and this photo proves it. I received this photo a while back and it clearly shows a black buck, albeit a muley, amongst a bachelor group of bucks. This phenomenon is rare and if you’ve seen it in whitetails send us a photo. The scientific name for this syndrome is melanism and deer that have this affliction are melanistic. Many animals are subject to this change in color and it is caused by an abnormally dark pigmentation of the skin or other tissues, resulting from a disorder of pigment metabolism. This creates a high concentration of melanin in the skin, hair, fur or feathers to accentuate a dark color.
Here’s my one run-in with the disorder. Several years back I was turkey hunting with my good friend Ken Barrett on one of South Dakota’s Indian reservations. Early on during the hunt we stumbled across a dark-colored gobbler and Ken immediately dubbed him “Darth Vader.” Our next several days were consumed with tagging the dark Lord. With some conniving we finally duped the cagey bird and discovered he indeed was inflicted with melanism.
Mother Nature doesn’t always follow the textbooks so be on the lookout for some of these oddities and curiosities. That way when you do come across a black whitetail you won’t be perplexed by the strange color and allow a unique trophy to escape. And after you tag the buck; be sure to inspect the buck closely to see if the buck is indeed melanistic. He may have just stumbled in some of Jed Clampett’s black gold creating even a better opportunity for you if you can find the source. Good Luck!—Mark Kayser [ Read Full Post ]
Research conducted for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and released this week indicates that 90 percent of sportsmen are registered to vote and 82 percent say they vote in every (or nearly every) U.S. Presidential election.
Knowing this, is it any wonder why hunters, anglers, shooting enthusiasts and conservationists have become such an important target in congressional, gubernatorial and presidential elections in the last decade?
It’s all pretty simple, really.
And, there are a lot of us.
The third of a series CSF pre-general election surveys found that 85 percent of those polled said they voted in the 2004 election, with 55 percent voting for George W. Bush and 28 percent voting for John Kerry (11 percent failed to respond to the question).
More than three-quarters of those polled (76 percent) said they would prefer to elect a President who hunts and/or fishes, and nearly the same number (74 percent) said they’d prefer a President who personally owns firearms.
Responding younger sportsmen (ages 18-34) were the least confident that they will vote in November (71 percent definitely/probably), while 92 percent of those identifying themselves as Republicans were confident they will cast a ballot.
To add perspective to those numbers, 35 percent of those polled identified themselves as Republicans, 29 percent as Democrats and 30 percent as Independents. Further, far more sportsmen identified themselves as conservative (43 percent) and moderate (32 percent) than liberal (18 percent).
Performed in 2000, 2004 and now in 2008, this year’s Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation survey contacted and polled 1,009 sportsmen (78 percent) and sportswomen (22 percent) by telephone in July. [ Read Full Post ]
“There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill the day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brother and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.”
“The Power of the Dog”
Actions and Reactions, 1909 [ Read Full Post ]
Dunkirk, New York: Walleye is the word in Dunkirk according to Gerry Begier at Bill Hook’s (captainhookstackle.com). She said that anglers fishing in next weekend’s big Masters Walleye Tournament will find plenty of big fish straight off Dunkirk in 95 to 100 feet of water. Crews are trolling dipsy divers with stickbaits, spoons and worm harnesses. “Any color on top of copper is a hot color for the worm harnesses,” she said. Best spoons are dream weavers in size WD and Super Swim while hot colors are mojo, Buffalo Bill, alibi, and dragon balls. A Chatter Trick Stick is the number one stickbait and the most effective sizes are No. 2 and 5 in chartreuse, perch, rainbow, or black and silver. She says that the guys are trolling with planer board and down riggers while using wire line get the baits down deep. “Use your fish finder to find the schools,” she suggests, “If they’re a little finicky, tease them a little bit by working the rod to give the bait some action.”
Potomac River, Maryland: From Smoketown Bait and Tackle (smoketownbaitandtackle.com) on the Potomac River, Andy Smothers reports that the smallmouth bite is going off in the evenings. He said that the river is low, so he’s finding the fish with tubes while guys who are wading are having the best luck with live minnows. Just hook the minnow on a #2 to #6 Eagle Claw hook and cast it in a deep eddy behind the rocks. He said that the best starting point is the Brunswick Boat Ramp. “There are plenty of places to park your car and you can wade in either direction,” Andy said. He warns waders to watch where they’re walking, “Look out for deep pockets and holes.” The catfish bite has also been good. Again the best bite is in the evening. Andy said that the most productive stretch of water is between Knoxville and Brunswick and the tastiest baits have been chicken livers and night crawlers.
Mosquito Lagoon, Florida: T.J. from Orlando Outfitters (orlandooutfitters.com) reports that the water level is high in the Mosquito Lagoon allowing the redfish to go back farther than usual. “Throw a dart at a map of the Lagoon and you’ll find a place to catch reds,” he told us. Abundant grass on the flat makes weedless flies the ticket. Most guys are using 12-pound tippet material to land the fish quickly and improve the chances of a healthy release. He said that the hottest flies are white Clousers and other baitfish patterns in size 4 to 2. T.J. told us that redfish action is best on the skinny flats while the trout will hold along the edges of the flats, especially early in the morning. T.J. also had news that the tarpon migration has started around Titusville. He says that the fish are easiest to see when the water is slick calm early in the morning or after a thunderstorm. “Any of the typical tarpon flies will work,” he said. Look for the fish around the docks or deep-water edges along the Indian River.
Branson, Missouri: From Anglers and Archery (anglersandarchery.com), Chuck Gries announced that Rainbow trout are spawning on Taneycomo Lake. “We’ve been catching rainbows to 25 inches and there are bigger ones in the lake,” he said. Chuck said that spin-fishermen should use Rapalas and little Kastmaster spoons. “Cast them toward the bank and work it back to you,” he said, “nothing fancy.” Drifting powerbaits or nightcrawlers or fishing the same bait from the shore at any of the public access points will also produce some impressive trout. Flyfishermen are using scuds, zebra midges, and San Juan worms by either drifting in a boat or fishing from the bank. He added that guys fishing Table Rock are finding largemouth with nightcrawlers fished in water from 25 to 30 feet deep.
Park City, Utah: Walter Foster the Trout Bum (troutbum2.com), has been fishing the Provo River 20 minutes east of Park City, Utah. He said the Middle Provo has been hatching pale morning duns in size 16 and 18 and the evening hatch has been caddis flies in size 16 to size 12. Foster pointed out that most of the daytime action has been below the surface. “The PMDs have been hatching from 1PM on,” he said, “so you have good dry fly fishing in the afternoon.” He said that during the day the best bite has been on terrestrials such as grasshoppers in size 12 to 14. Walter recommends fishing the first mile below Jordanelle Reservoir at any of the six public access parking lots. “Just park and walk in either direction,” he says. The middle Provo boasts about 3000 trout per mile so any direction you walk you will find fish. Walter adds that trout on the lower Provo below Deer Creek Reservoir are responding to nymphs. “The hot fly has been a sow bug from size 20 to 14,” he says. He also told us that the PMDs and caddis flies are infesting the lower section of the river. If you want to do some dry fly fishing, try the evening caddis hatch. “That’s the main diet of the fish on that section of the river,” he said. Again the first mile before the reservoir hosts several public parking areas, but Walter says that the water closest to the reservoir holds the most fish. [ Read Full Post ]
As a young boy growing up in the country, I always had a few long-eared beagles or a couple of squirrel dogs lying around the yard. There were few other houses around, but occasionally my dogs would return home with some very unusual items. I have found everything from worn out boots to stuffed animals and once my best tree dog even brought home a tomato plant that had been ripped out of some farmer’s garden. Unfortunately, throughout my childhood not one of my dogs ever dragged anything back home that I needed. However, I received an email from a friend a couple of nights ago that contained some amazing photos of a dog that had retrieved every deer hunter’s dream.
In fact, I was ready to move in next door after looking at what her dog had fetched from behind her house. Without a doubt, a retriever named “Dog” had carried one of the biggest sheds I have ever seen out of a small section of woods. A few months ago, my friend’s uncle found a second shed from the same buck just a couple of miles down the road. You might need to reach down and check your pulse if seeing these great sheds doesn’t make you want to climb into a treestand right now. As for me, I am ready to get down on my knees and beg for permission to hunt this area on opening day. Let’s face it, somebody needs to be ethical and put this poor old bruiser out of his misery. You know it has to be tough on a buck toting a 20-point rack that heavy around in the woods everyday!—Travis Faulkner [ Read Full Post ]
You're fall turkey hunting, with an unused tag in your pocket. A brood hen with just two late-hatch birds-of-the-year walk by early in the season. It's a small group for sure, obviously the result of either predation, cold wet weather, or both.
Either-sex turkeys are legal . . . do you:
(A) Shoot the adult hen and let the two young birds fend for themselves?
(B) Shoot one of the young birds, and let the adult hen and survivor go their way?
(C) Pass on the opportunity, savor the experience, hold out for a gobbler, or bigger family flock, and possibly eat that tag?
All options are legal. What do you choose to do? Fill the tag fast? Hold out for a brag bird? Possibly go skunked for the season?—Steve Hickoff [ Read Full Post ]
When a screaming, angry, bat-wielding Hilton Head, S. Carolina driver pulled into a parking lot and confronted a young man who had been driving slowly because he was lost, the aggressor got more than he bargained for.
A Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office incident report from last week notes that a 22-year-old Citadel student had been driving slowly on Beach City Road looking for a doctor’s office when he pulled into a parking lot to refer to a map.
That’s when the obscenity-yelling, road-raging Porsche driver approached the student’s vehicle, baseball bat in hand.
By the way, for those Newshound readers who may not be aware, The Citadel, located in Charleston, SC, is one of the nation’s leading military and leadership institutes of higher learning.
Cool and calm, the collegiate male stepped out of his vehicle while palming his .40 cal. S&W Glock 23 pistol that he’d removed from its place in his glove box.
The would-be assailant put his hands up, dropped the bat, made a quick about-face, hastily retreated to his Porsche and sped away.
The student, who was not named, reported the incident to authorities. According to a story in The Island Packet newspaper, no charges were filed in the incident.
The moral to the tale: Don’t bring a knife (or a ball bat) to a gunfight. [ Read Full Post ]
Just ask today’s deer hunter what’s the best way to document the activity on secluded trails and backroads, and he’s sure to tell you to buy one of the increasingly popular movement-activated digital trail cameras.
After all, that’s how all in-the-know hunters scout for big deer these days—right?
Knowledgeable deer hunter and Hamilton, Penn. Township Supervisor Tim Beard knows all about modern trail camera technology. That’s why during the township supervisor’s meeting last week he recommended the town purchase several digital deer-cams in an effort to combat a growing problem of illegal roadside trash dumping.
“We will get pictures of those who are doing the dumping and pictures of their cars and license plates,” said Beard. “We want people to know that we are going to prosecute those who are doing this (illegal duping) to the full extent of the law.”
The Hanover Evening Sun reports that Beard explained to his fellow supervisors that the undetectable, motion-activated, waterproof cameras could be strapped to trees or posts in areas of the township where illegal dumping is prevalent.
“This is everywhere in the township and it’s got to stop,” Beard said. “We need to find some way to identify who is doing it.”
And who knows, besides recording the identities of some trash-dumping perpetrators, they might also find out where a nice, 10-point Pennsylvania whitetail is hanging out.
The hunters around Hamilton might want to keep an eye on where Supervisor Beard hangs his treestand this fall. [ Read Full Post ]
Glenn Eller of Katy, Texas, won a gold medal and set two Olympic records in the Men's Double Trap competition.
From USA Shooting:
Eller, a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), who finished 12th at the Sydney Games and 17th in Athens, entered the final round today four targets ahead of Italy's Francesco D' Aniello with a qualification score of 145, setting a new Olympic record. The previous Olympic record of 144 was set by Ahmed Almaktoum of the United Arab Emirates at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
After missing his first pair in the final, Eller ended up shooting 45 targets and finished with a total score of 190 targets, setting another Olympic record and taking home the gold.
"I was so happy after I won, but I didn't know whether to cry, smile or jump up and down," said Eller. "After my performances in the last two Olympics, I really wanted to come here and bring home a medal for the U.S. This is definitely one of the greatest moments of my life so far."
Well done, Glenn.
—John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
No matter where you chase fall turkeys, especially during some of our early hunting seasons, squirrels will likely be nearby. And if just the squirrel season is open, but not the turkey-hunting opportunity, you'll be able to get out early and scout for flocks. "It's all good," as my southern hunting buddies like to say . . .
As a teenager who first hunted my native north-central Pennsylvania, I learned this approach where it was common for Keystone State sportsmen to target both species. Squirrels provided almost constant action on oak ridges, and near hickories and beechnuts. Often enough, turkey scratchings, droppings, and tracks could be found nearby.
As is often the case, fall turkey hunting involves several dimensions: finding the flocks can often prove to be the most difficult part, especially if you hunt hilly and mountainous cover as I did in PA, and often do now around the country.
Once found, it can be a little easier, providing you're interested in simply filling a tag on a bird-of-the-year. If not, you can choose to hunt only adult gobblers, which might extend your autumn turkey hunts, and that's not always a bad thing.
One approach I've taken in the past is to set up and stand hunt on a ridge where you find evidence of squirrel activity (oak branch cuttings, for instance) and turkey movement (fresh wedge-shaped scratchings).
You can still hunt through the woods slowly as well, setting up on a bushytail that's treed on your approach. Setting up at the base of a nearby tree is much the same as you would when calling a turkey. Yes, a gunshot may end that successful squirrel hunt, but I've found in big country the noise doesn't hinder your turkey hunting all that much.
Bowhunters can even approach their squirrel/turkey hunts more quietly of course. Are you a head-shot archer for turkeys? A squirrel is roughly the same size.—Steve Hickoff [ Read Full Post ]
I just spent an hour watching the women’s trap final thanks to the impressive streaming web broadcasts at nbcolympics.com and couldn’t help but be impressed by the level of shooting on display. This should really go without saying, of course, as the Olympic shooting disciplines are the world’s toughest.
Two things really stood out, however, that would benefit any shooter at any level. First, was the consistency of technique. All six of the women had their individual styles but that style never varied when they shot. From loading the gun to mounting the gun to calling for the target to the follow-through: each shooter had her set routine. Want to break more targets? Be consistent.
The second thing was really a subset of consistency and that was their follow-through. All the shooters were amazingly smooth and kept their barrels moving after the shot. This was particularly noticeable on the hard-angle targets.
Except when they missed.
Granted, the misses were not many, but it was amazing to see that when they did miss their barrels were almost always not moving in the same smooth fashion. While I was rooting for each and every one of them to smash the hell out of their targets I couldn’t help but smile when witnessing this mistake, if for no other reason than I knew exactly how they felt, having done it so often myself.
Also, congratulations to Corey Cogdell (pictured above) on capturing the bronze medal in the event. It was an inspiration to watch her fight back after dropping behind the leaders in the beginning part of the match.
—John Snow [ Read Full Post ]