#5 Hot Air Ballooning Over The St. Croix Valley in February.
I was fortunate enough to take a hot air balloon ride with Scott Aamodt of Stillwater, MN. Scott has piloted hot air balloons for several years and his skills are a testament to his experience. We flew over much of Hudson, WI during our one hour flight. Most people don’t think of hot air ballooning during the dead of winter but it’s actually a great time to go. The foliage is off the trees and you can see right down into the woods. We spotted a very nice whitetail buck on our flight. Check out the video here.
#4 Fast Deer Hunt
I wasn’t fortunate enough to be carrying the gun on this hunt. But I captured it on film. Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer Jason Oswald closed the deal on a Southwest Wisconsin doe less than five minutes after we left the cabin. The deer was feeding on wild berries when we spotted her. It was a great management hunt that was so fast we didn’t really get a chance to enjoy the woods. Luckily, we had a few more tags so we spent the rest of the afternoon on stand looking for another deer. We saw plenty of squirrels and of course turkeys. We always have turkeys in our face when deer hunting and deer crawling on us when turkey hunting! Check out more of this story here.
#3 Minnesota North Shore Adventure
After skipping this trip in 2009, we resumed our annual family vacation to the Minnesota North Shore. The Grand Marais area is simply breathtaking in the fall. The mountains are ablaze in orange, red, and gold leaves. The colors are a sharp contrast to the crystal waters of Lake Superior and the streams that flow into it. Grouse and deer sightings are a common occurence. In the five years of visiting the area, I’ve seen just one moose. A large bull had fallen several feet to his death on the stony shores of the Cascade River. This area is a well known moose hunting spot, but I’ve yet to spot a live one! The most enjoyable part of the trip was watching my two-and-a-half year old son develop a love for the outdoors. Right now it’s limited to throwing stones into the water… but we threw a lot of stones into the water! To see my pictorial, click here.
#2 Bagging A Whitetail Buck
This was my second season of deer hunting on our family property. In 2009, I connected on a nubbin’ buck. This year I shot my first antlered buck on the property. The 2 ½ year old sported an eight point rack with an 18 inch spread. One of his points was snapped off and a portion of his main beam was pretty beat up too. I’m sure he had a pretty active autumn. What was rewarding about this deer was the shot. I measured it at 180 yards on the range finder. I’ve never taken a deer at that distance. The shot was well placed and he fell just 30 yards from where he was hit. Even more rewarding was that I had passed up several other bucks before taking this one, including a trophy class buck. He just wasn’t standing the way I wanted him too and I would have hated myself for wounding him. It was easily the biggest deer I’ve ever had in my scope. Five minutes after he was out of sight, I spotted my buck. You can read the whole story here.
#1 Fishing Has No Boundaries
Foremost Outdoor TV was invited to attend a Fishing Has No Boundaries event in Eagle River, WI this summer. Fishing Has No Boundaries(FHNB) is a program that gets disabled and developmentally disabled people an opportunity to fish for the weekend. Several Eagle River area guides and dozens of other volunteers donated their time and use of their boats to make this event happen. It was hosted at Wild Eagle Lodge, which is an incredible resort in the heart of the legendary Eagle River Chain of Lakes.
FOTV ProStaffer Jason Oswald and I spent a day on the water with two guides, four anglers, and their chaperone. The excitement level was like nothing I’ve ever experienced on the water. Guide Lon Millard, put these guys on a panfish honey hole. We put over 200 fish in the boat and 50 on the stringer. It was literally non-stop action. The anglers were highly competitive and had no problems with dishing out and taking a little flak. I’ve never had a better day on the water. Look for this video on foremostoutdoortv.com soon.
Then, it happened. They see a caribou. Sarah gets all lined up to shoot. But the caribou is skylined, so she's gonna wait until she has a good back stop behind the animal right? NOPE! Fire away and a clean miss. Her dad says, "you shot over it". So they load another shell and they think about where that bullet could end up so they wait to fire the next shot right? NOPE! Fire away. Again, over the caribou. They wouldn't dream about firing another one right? Sure, load her up and shoot again. Over it again! Three 7MM projectiles sent flying through the air at who knows where. The family friend hands Sarah another gun. After three misses at a skylined caribou, she shoots at him while he's looking right at her... not broadside, not quartering... straight on. She drops him in his tracks... but again, a skylined shot.
I realize she's hunting in the bush of Alaska and the risk of hitting something is minimal. But there are several reasons to not take this shot.
1) It only takes one person to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to lead to a fatality. Imagine this headline:
"Hunter Dies From Sarah Palin's Stray Bullet"
Not only does someone die unnecessarily, you think the press wouldn't have a field day with that? There are millions of people praying for something like that to happen.
2) It's being videotaped and aired on national television. Millions of people are watching this show and seeing unsafe shooting. This makes hunters look careless to non-hunters, although many probably didn't even think about. It's also a bad example to aspiring hunters. If it's OK to do on TV, then why can't they do it.
I'm certainly not the type of person that wants to pile on Sarah Palin. There are plenty of other people out there doing that. But the carelessness of what I saw tonight really bothered me. Why no one said anything while it was happening, then know one said anything when they reviewed the tape, then no one said anything during post production is beyond me.
My forays into outdoor videos are small potatoes compared to this and everytime I do anything in the field there is a little voice in my head saying, "what does this look like?" I'm always thinking about what it would look like to my friends and family, to non-hunters, to the general public, and to law enforcement. If you are filming a hunt, you must hold yourself to the highest standards. Everyone is watching and once the video is released, there is no turning back. When you are under the microscope that Sarah Palin is under, careful isn't careful enough. What I saw tonight doesn't do her or any other hunter any favors.
Some units were below goal and restricted to buck only regulations. Obviously, antlerless harvest was way down in these counties. For example, Ashland County’s antlerless harvest was down 73% while it’s buck harvest was up 12%. This led to the total harvest being down 22%. That’s a lot, but when you consider most hunters didn’t have a doe tag at all, it’s not as bad as it could be. Overall, the state buck harvest was up 17%.
One can conclude that many of the bucks harvested were young deer that may have been passed up under normal conditions. While this has no real effects on the total population in these areas since surviving bucks will still breed all the does, trophy potential has to be greatly diminished. Yearling bucks that were harvested this year will never mature. You can’t blame the hunters who took them and you can’t blame wildlife officials for setting the buck only rules. It’s just something that will need to be worked through over the next five to ten years.
In contrast, the southern part of the state had a huge season. Only a handful of counties in the south saw small declines, while most were way up. The total harvest in the county I hunt in, Lafayette County, was up 45% compared to last year. Dane and Dodge counties also saw significant increases. This must be due to the crops being harvested and 2009’s opening day fog.
Here are our ProStaffer’s reports. You’ll find they are very different dependent upon location. Some hunted multiple units and have separate reports.
Lafayette County, Unit 75D
Opening day was incredible. Temperatures were in the 30s in Southern Wisconsin and deer were moving to stay warm. I saw around 35 deer, with seven confirmed buck sightings. One was a spiker/small fork, one was a year-and-a-half-old eight pointer, four were two-and-a-half year old eight pointers, and one was a gigantic trophy class buck. I tagged one of the two-and-a-half year olds. You can read more about my season here. I’m really excited about next season. If those two-and-a-half-year olds make it to next year, they will be very nice bucks next season.
I had a deer hanging and the pressure was off on day two. I set up in an area that has been incredibly productive the past few years. Unfortunately, it was virtually deerless on this morning. After lunch with the other two hunters in camp, the decision was made to do some drives. I personally saw 15 deer on the opening drive along with several turkeys and a coyote. My foot steps were the catalyst of the final and most productive drive of the day. Twenty deer were holed up in an area we call “The Cave.” They were tails up and headed toward the other hunters ten seconds before shots rang out.
This unit is under Earn A Buck regulations and we have all earned our buck and are ready for next season. The only complaint I have from this season is about the dates of the early antler less season. It was downright warm in mid-October and no one wanted to shoot a deer for fear of the meat spoiling. However, time was negotiated with work and spouses so we were going to camp regardless. The heat kept us from seriously pursuing deer and the required blaze orange gave us no shot at a fall turkey. The time in camp was fun, but the hunting was disappointing. I understand the DNR doesn’t want to get too close to rut, but perhaps one weekend later would be better.
Jackson County, Unit 55
If I could sum up my Black River Falls hunting experience into one word it would have to be "slow". Admittedly, I didn't get to spend the amount of time I usually do, or I would have liked to, in the woods in 2010. But I was lucky enough to hunt 4 days during the peak of the rut in Unit 55 as well as the opening day of gun season. We hunted both Black River State Forest and private land and I would say that the amount of sign we saw compared to the last years as well as the number of deer we saw was substantially down. I did see one nice buck at around 50 yards and one smaller buck during our 4 day adventure as well as several does on opening day of gun season but the numbers just don't seem to be there. One member of our party of four went all 4 days of bow season with out seeing a single deer. I'm not one of the "Wolves are to blame" crowd but one of our hunting party did see a wolf opening day of gun season at around 100 yards from his ground blind. He described the encounter as "majestic" and was happy to see something since the deer appeared to be long gone. Zone 55 was buck only this year with limited doe tags available for purchase.
Juneau County, Unit 54A
From bad to worse is how I felt about Unit 54A this year. In addition to 3 days of deerless bow hunts, our party of four spent three days of gun season in the woods of Juneau County near New Lisbon. The private acreage we hunt has always been productive in the past but this year the woods appeared to be empty. The activity in 54A was even slower then last year (The 2009 nine day gun season harvest of 3,009 deer compared to 4,714 harvest during the nine day season in 2008 -That's a 36% drop off and yet there are still doe tags for sale?). No one in our hunting party of four even saw a deer in Juneau county. Not even driving home at night. I heard similar stories of despair from neighboring property owners. Unit 54A was buck only this year, which combined with a mild winter may help keep the numbers from getting even worse. But I think the damage was already done several years ago with the liberal harvest quotes and unlimited doe tags. It will take this area several years to recover in my opinion. It is my understanding that doe tags for 54A were available for purchase right up to opening day. Which tells me that either no one is hunting in this unit this year or hunters are fed up with the mismanagement and have decided to do something about it on their own.
Clark County, Unit 58
I took a nice buck with my bow the weekend before gun season and decided to run a camera for FOTV’s Chris Larsen in Lafayette County over opening weekend. During the week, I split time in Clark and Vilas counties. Very few shots were heard during the week. I did kill a doe on Thursday on an 80 acre farm that did not see pressure all week. Walking with the wind in my face from the far side of the property, I started a slow sneak through the dense, young pine cover mixed in with scattered mature oak and maple trees. To my surprise(and theirs), I came within 40 yards of four feeding does. As I waited to see which doe was the most mature, I noticed one of the does was limping and that she had taken a bullet to one of her front legs. I did the ethical thing and harvested that deer… meat in the freezer. Friday we noticed an increased amount of hunters out in the woods, but almost everyone was driving. This trend continued through the final weekend.
Lafayette County, Unit 75D
The 2010 9 day gun deer season in Wisconsin again displayed symptoms of a split personality. In my case, I was fortunate to have the chance to return to a friend's camp in Lafayette county, in the southernmost tier of counties in our state. This property holds a lot of deer, and we arrived at camp with a much improved game plan after a year's worth of outings for both deer and turkey. I selected a stand site overlooking a narrow draw that serves as an entry/exit point for deer from neighboring properties, thinking that I would certainly get a good look at any and all deer moving in and out of the property on that side.
My homework paid off with over 30 deer seen on opening day. The downside was that no big bucks happened by my stand. Most of the deer I saw opening weekend on this property were does, with only a young fork buck and small 8 pointer revealing themselves. I was fortunate to take a nice mature doe during a series of drives on Sunday afternoon. Monday found us in the garage butchering venison and in the cabin for a quick clean up before heading home.
Clark County, Unit 58
The snow and ice storm on Thanksgiving eve kept my family at home and off the roads. I found myself behind the wheel heading over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house and my Clark county treestand on Thanksgiving morning. I finally reached my stand at 2pm, and promptly watched 2 does amble through a thick tag alder swamp. Another doe trotted across the food plot just before the end of legal shooting time, and I watched her disappear into the fading light as the last deer I would see this season. Dawn broke a frigid 9 degrees and windy over the same stand on Friday, with nothing moving all morning. Another stand that afternoon proved no better. Our crew spent Saturday cutting firewood and filling the woodshed for the winter. My father-in-law saw no deer at all during the firearm deer season in Clark County.
For Southern Wisconsin deer, the good times continue to roll. In my experience, the opportunity to hunt both Southern and Central Wisconsin and listen to hunters in both regions seeminly confirms the state herd's split personality.
Wisconsin opener was average for my two brothers, father and myself. Many does and yearling bucks were seen on day one. Day two's rain didn't help much but my one brother was able to harvest a young buck. Reports from others in the Burnett County area also reported fair results with a lack of "shooter" bucks being seen. With time this should hopefully change.
Muzzleloader season and more antlerless seasons are still on the way. If you don’t have a deer yet, there’s time. If you’re looking for other outdoor pursuits, the ice is getting thicker. Tyler Hinner reports ice on his favorite Vilas County lake is just getting thick enough to walk on. He pulled five walleyes through two inches of ice Sunday. Ice is spotty and isn’t thick enough to run ATV’s or snowmobiles yet.
Jeff Bredemus was out last week looking for a late fall musky to slime the net. With overcast and stable conditions, he fished a smaller 400 acre lake in hopes to locate schools of suspended bait fish. For this lake the main forage is panfish/perch and with water in the upper 30 degree range they were already setting up in their wintering holes. Using a trolling motor and graph he was able to locate large schools of panfish suspended in 10-14 feet over 30 feet of water. From there, he circled the area casting large rubber swimbaits retrieved in a slow matter. He didn’t hook anything but had a few follows and a couple fish seen always makes the day this time of year. With the temperatures dipping, open water fishing is pretty much done for the year.
I’ll be headed down to the family cabin in Lafayette County. My dad and good buddy Jason Oswald from Foremost Outdoor TV will be joining me. FOTV’s Tyler Hinner has generously donated his opening weekend to filming the show. The hunt will be exceptional, but the camp environment is the most rewarding part of the weekend for me. Stay tuned for that video which is coming soon to a computer near you.
I hope everyone has a safe season. Be aware of your barrel and take it easy on the alcohol. Hunting is one of the safest sports to engage in and Wisconsin is one of the safest states to hunt in. Let’s keep up the good work.
Here’s a look at this week’s field reports:
The previously mentioned Tyler Hinner has been in a tree stand every day since October 20. Early this week, his vigil ended. As Tyler crept toward his stand he kicked up the biggest buck he’s seen all year. He froze, let the deer run off, and then worked downwind to head the buck off. In an hour he worked himself inside of 50yards of this giant nine pointer. A well placed arrow put this big boy on the ground. Perhaps the best part of the hunt… this is a public land monster. Anyone can do it. You just have to be willing to put the time in. Congratulations Tyler!
Tyler has seen deer activity remain constant despite being in post rut. This is probably due to cooler temperatures and increased cloud cover. Corridors just inside forest edges are the best bet to find trophy bucks.
Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer Jeff Bredemus is better known as our resident musky specialist, but he spends a fair amount of time in the tree stand as well. Jeff recently rang the bell on a nice Burnett County eight pointer. Great job Jeff!
Ice is beginning to form on many northern waters and all but the diehard anglers have called it a season. However, musky and walleye fishing is heating up on the Madison chain. Slow presentations are the key but you don’t necessarily have to go with small tackle. These fish are feeding for winter and are seeking big, easy prey.
Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer Cole Daniels is seeing a noticeable increase in migratory ducks on the Mississippi. Cole hunts near Prairie Du Chien area and reports big flocks of divers such as canvasbacks and goldeneyes. Field hunting for geese has also been very good but requires scouting. The crops have been out for a while so “fresh” fields are scarce and the birds are a bit scattered. The upcoming deer opener is a great opportunity for dedicated waterfowlers. Lake Puckaway near Beaver Dam is one of Cole’s favorite duck hunting lakes during gun deer season. Deer hunters push a lot of birds out of the Grand River marsh and surrounding fields and the competition for ducks on the main lake is minimal.
Of course, most of our staff will be deer hunting this weekend. If you want to keep tabs on how we are doing, check out www.treetalk.mobi It’s new from Foremost Hunting and a great way to keep tabs on fellow hunters. You don’t have to be part of the crew to post either. Everyone is invited and it’s possible to text your report in from your mobile phone. We look forward to hearing your story!
by Chris Larsen
By my calculations and by the numbers crunched by folks known as experts, peak rut has come and gone throughout much of the Upper Midwest. Lunar tables show the best time to be in a deer stand was November 6 through today, November 9. However, Mother Nature is quite a fickle gal and she didn’t cooperate. Warm weather hampered many hunters and keeping big bucks nocturnal. The good news is a front is coming through and deer weather is on it’s way! This weekend should be awesome and just because we’re beyond “peak” rut on the lunar calendar doesn’t mean bucks won’t be chasing does. Sharpen your broadheads because we may be in store for the best weekend of hunting this year!
On the water, muskies are feeding heavily but presentations need to be slow. Suckers are the hot bait for most successful musky anglers. We’re still seeing a hot walleye bite on the Mississippi River. Again, slow presentation over structure is key. Minnows or Gulp on three way rigs seem to be the ticket. I’ve also heard of some good night crawler bites using the “Slow Death” method.
Here’s what our ProStaffers are seeing:
Dan Quinn is FOTV’s resident bass expert. But he’s been focusing on deer hunting over the last few weeks. Dan began deer hunting for the first time this season. To say it’s been a successful introduction is an understatement. Dan arrowed his first doe a few weeks ago in St. Croix County. This week he followed it up with his first archery buck. A dandy Pierce County eight pointer. Congratulations Dan!
In between his deer conquests, Dan has hit the water as well. He reports bass activity has slowed down over much of Northern Wisconsin and Central Minnesota but fish can still be caught over stumps and around other structure.
Foremost Outdoor ProStaffer Cole Daniels is seeing deer activity continue to increase. “Shooter bucks are suddenly appearing during daylight hours and I’m seeing a lot more sparring.” Cole says the corn crop is almost completely harvested in Southwest Wisconsin and believes this will help deer hunters, but the hunt may be different than last years. “Don’t plan to hunt the same places you did last year,” says Daniels. Food sources are more diverse now that the corn is gone and deer are forced to frequent different areas for nourishment. “Scouting is going to be more critical. But it’s obviously easier to see deer movement now that the corn is gone.” Hunters who had the time and property to plant food plots may be rewarded this season. Last season most of Southern Wisconsin was a giant food plot.
Jason Oswald says turkeys in Southern Wisconsin are becoming much more predictable as days become shorter. Find turkeys, watch their travel routes, and intercept them to fill your fall tag. Jason has also noticed a big influx of migrating waterfowl. “The divers are really beginning to show up. I’m seeing canvasbacks and goldeneyes on water that was virtually duckless a week ago.” For serious water fowlers, gun deer season may be the best time of year to hunt. Deer hunters are marching through fields and swamps and moving ducks and geese loafing in fields. Another benefit is casual hunters are more focused on deer hunting so your spread may be the only show in town.
The storm is in sharp contrast of conditions this autumn. Conditions have been quite dry and have allowed farmers to get their crops off the fields far earlier than last year. This should congregate deer and many other game species into more huntable cover. Biologists say there was significant turkey mortality from moldy corn in the fields last year as well. We shouldn’t have that problem this winter. Here’s more from Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffers.
Tyler Hinner is seeing buck activity spike in Northwestern and Central Wisconsin. Younger bucks are sparring and mature bucks can be seen moving later in the evening. Scrapes and rubs are becoming more common as deer begin shifting from pre-rut into rutting activity. Tyler is also seeing a lot of pheasants on public land. The Wisconsin DNR is releasing more birds this year compared to last and they are common in areas in which the releases are occurring. While some stocking is done in St. Croix County, this western county is home to Wisconsin’s biggest population of wild birds.
In Southwest Wisconsin, Cole Daniels is reporting a big jump in rubs and scrapes. According to Daniels, the corn harvest should also boost hunter success. “Last year we had standing corn throughout the winter. This fall 90% of the corn in the area has been picked.” Deer are now more concentrated in the small woodlots of Southern Wisconsin counties. Daniels also recommends hunting over upland type cover, CRP, and even wetland cover to find mature bucks. “Veteran deer know hunters focus on woodlots, so they go to spots most hunters overlook.” Goose hunting has also been very good along the Wisconsin River and the big weather front that just passed should bring some fresh migratory birds through the state. Again, the corn harvest is opening up more and more opportunities for goose hunters.
Foremost Outdoor TV Fishing ProStaffer Dan Quinn says bass are really piling up along rock bars, stumps, and docks. Dan and his father, Steve, had one of their best outings of the year last week, boating over 20 fish in less than an hour. The storm has kept Dan off the water for much of the week and he expects fall turnover to begin on many lakes due to the winds and lower temperatures. River walleye fishing has also been good. You’ll find most fish on or near the bottom along current breaks like points and rock dams.
Would you like to contribute to the Foremost Hunting/Foremost Outdoor TV Outdoor Report? E-mail Chris Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Foremosthunting.com’s Chris Larsen visits with Ducks Unlimited Gulf Response Team Lead Scientist, Dr. Tom Moorman. Topics discussed include the effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the coastal wetlands, how ducks are affected, and the relationship between the oil industry and gulf coast habitat.
We headed out to an area that we know holds fall turkeys. Sure enough as we approached, 15 birds evacuated the area. No problem. We’ll wait for them to come back. Of course, it never happened. But we saw some deer and decided to call it a night early so our turkeys could make it back to their roost without being pestered.
The following morning, two guys set up in a feeding area and two of us were on a known turkey trail. I’ve killed turkeys in this spot before and have seen several flocks use this route to go from the roost to the feeding areas. It took a while but I finally saw some turkeys hopping out of the trees around 7:30 AM. They purred a bit after they jumped down. But instead of making their way to us, they went the other way. You see, we were wearing blaze orange.
I had never turkey hunted during the weekend of the antlerless deer hunt. After inspecting the regulations, it was discovered that blaze orange was required. Deer are essentially color blind and look for movement or odd shapes to elude predators. Turkeys on the other hand can see color just fine. They see everything two dimensionally, so depth of field is not a strong point. But color and detail they get. So needless to say, our turkey hunts were total washouts. We tried to work the terrain and jump shoot but they never presented a responsible shot. Turkeys escape from predators 365 days a year. Us modern day humans act as predators for maybe 30 days a year. That’s all you need to know about our blaze orange turkey hunt.
We had two antlerless deer tags to fill. In Southwest Wisconsin, you have to shoot an antlerless deer before you can shoot a buck. Deer densities are high and the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease is real. The Wisconsin DNR holds an antlerless only gun deer season in October so hunters can fulfill their antlerless requirement before opening day of the traditional gun deer season.
We closed the cattle gate behind the cabin and started walking to our intended stand around 3:30 PM. The hike was a short one. Less than 50 yards past the gate, a deer fed on berries in a clearing. We went to our knees and made the shot. This hunt didn’t last more than five minutes. The deer piled up ten yards into the woods. It was the fastest deer hunt I have ever been a part of. For more, check out the link.
After the deer was field dressed and hanging in the cool garage, we headed deeper into the woods toward our intended stand site. There are deer lurking behind every ridge in this area and you have to walk slow and watch for movement. We found our spot and hunkered down behind a fallen tree. We spotted a deer almost immediately, but she never offered a clean shot. The woods is thick with timber and vegetation and wounding a deer was not part of the game plan. We let her walk and waited for more. But no more deer arrived. The corn surrounding our little patch of deer hunter’s heaven is still standing. That standing corn provides plenty of cover and food. Daytime temperatures were warm and deer just weren’t ready to move yet. But we’ve got some venison in our bellies and in the freezer. I’ll call it a great weekend!
I’ll post an updated outdoor report later this week.
As sunrise peaked over the horizon we began hearing the sounds of dozens of sand hill cranes erupting from their slumber. As the cranes lifted off a distant pond the flutter of mallard wings overhead excited the young men in the layout blinds. But the ducks were not willing to give us any shooting. A half hour later the honks of an incoming flock of geese signaled the moment we were waiting for. This group of 20 Canadians gave us a hard look and descended to within 40 yards. A lot of people would have taken this shot. I had never hunted with most of these guys and was impressed with their patience. It has been a while since I’ve hunted with a large group of college age men. Probably since I was in college. These guys made me feel better about the future of our civilization. They were responsible gun handlers, patient and skilled hunters, and as I would find out later, strong and determined.
The first flock decided to pass on our faux flock. But not long after another group was on it’s way. As this flock circled, yet another contingent of geese passed over the hardwood forest and dropped down to field level on it’s way to our dekes. These birds twisted and contorted on their way down. It was clearly evident they were coming in. Just as safeties were being clicked off, disaster struck. Two geese snapped off the main flock and practically fell into the spread. As their feet came down, the shot was called and the geese were dispatched. The opportunity for a flock shoot with seven guns firing a true 21 shot salute into the air would have to wait. In retrospect, it was a great decision. Two in the hand is worth four in the bush right? The entire flock could have seen something they didn’t like and we would have never had the opportunity to shoot anything. This is the debate waterfowl hunters will be having for eternity.
After a flurry of goose action, things slowed down. The decision was made to go check the pond the birds were roosting on. The group headed for the water haunt of these flocks to see just how many were left on the water. As we approached the cattail swamp surrounding the swamp, the contrast of my experience and their determination was on display. The young men wanted to push forward to see if they could get a crack at the few birds remaining on the pond. I have suffered the consequences of sneak attacks such as this one and found a tower blind to climb into and watch the operation.
They pushed forward into the cattail marsh but I could see the going was tough. They were able to get within 50 yards of open water but were standing in knee deep water and muck. Attempts to call ducks to their position got a few birds off the water but not close enough to shoot. It was probably a good thing. Extricating a duck from thick cattails and knee deep water would have been a tall order.
We shot a few geese. But it was a lot of fun to witness these guys work together with fearlessness. For the most part young guys haven’t failed enough to have doubt… especially about themselves. Not that I am an old man, but I feel as though sometimes we miss out on adventure because we believe it’s not possible. Young people don’t think like that and it’s quite refreshing to be around that type of attitude.
This week, I’ll be back in the woods. anterless gun deer season begins Thursday in Wisconsin. We’ll be in the woods pursuing deer Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If we tag out early, we’ll chase down some fall turkeys. Should be a blast. I’ll tell you all about it next week!
Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer, Nick Haas, says the recent heat wave has really slowed down deer traffic in Northern Wisconsin. Deer are bedding down during the day and moving mostly at night and in the mornings.
The heat didn’t stop James Appel from bagging a gorgeous buck in Northwest Wisconsin. We filmed a muzzleloader elk hunt with James in early September. He took a nice 6x6 bull and less than a month later arrowed this buck. He’s having a tremendous season!
Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer, Tyler Hinner filed this report:
Bucks are still in their bachelor groups, but that should change in the next week or so. They are starting to get the "itch". I've seen some deer starting to kick around the dirt making small scrapes and playing with their horns on limbs. The woods is super loud with the fresh leaves on the ground. I don't think you would see a scrape if it was there. It doesn't look like we will have a weather change until later this week and lows in the mid 40's won’t help. A hunter’s best bet would be to find an acorn producing oak ridge. Some corn fields are being cut around town by me, and deer are readily seen on the field edges during daylight hours. Grouse numbers seem to be down this year, but it is on the downward slope of their 10 year cycle. Family groups of geese are combining for some nice size flocks this time of year. But I haven't seen many migratory birds yet.
Meanwhile in Southwest Wisconsin, foremosthunting.com writer Cole Daniels is regularly seeing and hearing turkeys moving throughout the woods and fields. He’s also seeing a number of doe groups but bucks haven’t started regularly pursuing them yet. The leaves are coming off the trees and it’s getting much easier to see through the woods. The crunching of leaves underfoot makes it easier to hear deer, and for them to hear you. Cole recently returned from a Northern Minnesota grouse trip and reports plentiful grouse in good cover. The state is confirming that harvests have been good. Drumming counts were down in the spring but excellent nesting conditions have resulted in a bountiful fall harvest of juvenile birds.
Good luck this week and check in for our next hunting report!
We are currently developing a television show which will begin airing in January of 2011. Foremost Outdoor Television will bring hunting, fishing, and the outdoor lifestyle to living rooms across the Upper Midwest on the airwaves and throughout the world online. We'll be releasing more information in the near future. But for now, our team is hitting the woods, waters, and fields to capture the best moments of our 2010 hunting season and we are inviting you, the reader, along for the ride.
I'll provide field reports from our team as well as a behind the scenes look at filming our show. We'll also offer tips on how to film your hunts and even show some of the best hunts you share with us. It's your opportunity to be an outdoor television star! Please, feel free to comment, ask questions, and send us your hunting pictures and videos. I would like to make this a truly interactive experience.
Foremosthuting.com Field Report For Early October
ProStaffers Nick Haas and Mike Oberle are seeing deer movement pick up as temperatures are beginning to drop in Northern Wisconsin. We've had frost for two straight mornings and acorns are falling. Corn is also being harvested much earlier than last year. Deer will most likely have fewer places to hide this season as the corn crop is being pulled off the fields. If corn is part of your food plot plantings, leaving the corn standing will help hold deer on your property as they seek out sanctuaries.
Congratulations to our good buddy, Brand Windmiller, on this eight point buck taken recently on his property. Brand and his son, Jesse, bow hunt exclusively with traditional archery equipment. It takes a little more practice and a lot more patience to put down a deer with this stuff. Great job, Brand!
Speaking of traditional equipment, James Appel and his son, Matt, just returned from a Colorado muzzleloader elk hunt. The fellas encountered several quality bulls and came home with a beauty of a 6x6. James took the bull with a 200+ yard shot from the barrel of his muzzleloader. A great shot indeed!
ProStaffer Tyler Hinner is on top of the waterfowl population. He and his crew of goose whackers are watching the birds come off water and finding the fields they are feeding in. As corn and beans are harvested, the geese are hitting them hard. When ducks are in season, they are offering some bonus shooting. Clover is also being utilized by the birds. Fully dressing your field blinds with surrounding vegetation is vital. At this point in the season, most geese have seen a spread or two and know about gun fire. If you just bought your field blinds this season, be sure to "mud them up." This is pretty self explanatory. Create some mud with water and dirt and rub it all over the blind. This will take the sheen off the blind.
Foremosthunting.com writer Cole Daniels is keeping a close eye on the Southwest Wisconsin turkey population. For those who don't know, Wisconsin is number one in the nation for wild turkey harvest. And Southwest Wisconsin is the top destination for turkey's in the cheese state. Just 40 years ago, the Wisconsin wild turkey population was practically zero. Cole says the turkeys on his property are flocking up and are developing patterns around feeding.
After a super trout run along the Minnesota North Shore, our fishing crew is chomping at the bit to get after river walleyes on the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. Unfortunately, flooding has put the kibosh on river fishing. All major rivers in the area are near flood stage or higher and some are down right dangerous to boat on. Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer Dan Quinn says bass anglers looking for fall action on lakes can find the fish in stumps. Weeds are dying off and the fish are looking for structure to ambush prey from.
We've got a busy week of filming as the team continues to film their deer hunts and we hit the fields for more intense duck and goose action. Hopefully, the rivers will return to normal depth soon. There are a lot of people out of their homes right now and we must think of them even though we can't wait to get after those autumn walleyes. Have a great week! I'm looking forward to hearing about your adventures as I prepare for next week's post.
by Naomi K. Shapiro
To become a hunter, you don't necessarily need to spend a lot. If you're for instance a single-game (deer or turkey are examples) hunter, it won't cost you that much to outfit yourself, BUT, if you want to hunt everything, then it can run into lots and lots of money. There are all the licenses you'll need. There are the different regs that have to be met. Then there is a wealth of different equipment for different hunting - -ducks, geese, turkey, deer, varmints, grouse, bear, pheasant, coyotes - -the list is endless. And don't kid yourself- - every type of game requires at least some modification in the equipment you'll need. Decoys, ammo, firearms, bows, arrows, scopes, clothing, gear, and on and on and on. There's no limit- -and don't think there is. Every time a hunter believes s/he's fully outfitted, there's something else they discover they "really need." It's never ending, and that isn't a put down. We all do it.
Most people gradually get into the equipment they need in steps. Some start as kids, or a bit older, and build up what they need as they go along. This type of approach won't "break the bank," and pretty soon, at least the basic equipment is obtained.
Guide Phil Schweik who has been hunting since he was a kid, says that as an example, if you need equipment to deer hunt, you can outfit yourself pretty-well for under $300 – and don't laugh, he is serious when he says that. Phil works for a major outdoor outfitter, and needs to watch his dollars just as most of us have to do. The first thing Phil suggests is to look for a good used deer rifle. You can get them from almost all outdoor outfitters and gun shops - -who test, and insure their quality and safety - -or at a gun show, or maybe a private party. Every year, lots of folks decide that their hunting days are over – age, physical ability, other things that they want to do - -lots of reasons; and usually just before deer season, you'll see a ton of ads for used deer rifles. And the nice thing is that you can get a nice used rifle, anywhere from a $100 to around $200 – and yes, I know – there are used rifles that go into the thousands, but a nice conditioned .270, 7mm mag, .30/.30, or .30-06 will do you just fine. Add on a piece of needed clothing, ammo, an ancillary this-or-that, your license, and you're good to go - -at $300 or less.
Notice in our "bargain basement shop-a-thon," I didn't mention scopes. That's because it's tough to find a used scope that'll fit your particular needs. They're all different, and "no one size fits all." Phil Schweik says that a scope is really a personal thing, and pretty much needs to be "fit" to the particular firearm it's going to be used with. Phil suggests that you start out using open sights, and then when you have the cash, buy a new scope, that fits your rifle and your needs. Phil says the variety of models and costs is almost beyond description. His best advice is that you take your rifle, and go into an outdoor outfitter or gun shop, and have them make suggestions about what you'll need for your particular firearm and your own physical needs, as well. Costs of course will vary all over the map – and don't buy more than you need.
What if, for example, your perfectly trained, mild-mannered, wonderfully loyal companion is at your side performing well, when you both encounter a dog that has not been perfectly trained, is not mild-mannered or loyal, and is sick, in pain, or tired? Then this unpredictable dog approaches your dog and becomes agitated or violent. Even if your dog is perfect in every way, your dog will fight, if for no other reason than to defend himself. And, even though this is your loyal companion, your interference in this struggle can easily end in your own injury. During a dog fight, you are unrecognizable to your dog as his provider and friend. Instead, you are an obstacle to be removed so that he can get back to the task at hand.
It is important to recognize if the fight truly requires your peace-making interference. Are the dogs truly fighting or are they simply growling and threatening one another? If they are just posturing in an attempt to gain superiority or dominance, it is likely that one will submit and the other will accept the surrender. However, if the dogs are truly fighting and neither one appears ready to back down, it may require your assistance.
In your attempts to separate the dogs, do not take hold of either dog’s muzzle (it is quite probable you will be bitten). Do not yell, as this can often elevate their excitement. Do not insert yourself between the dogs, as you will become a target of their violence. Also, do not attempt to break up the fight by hitting the dogs with objects. This will increase their excitement and add pain to an already sticky situation.
There are two effective ways to bring the fight to an end. The first one involves spraying or throwing water into the dogs’ ears. This allows enough of a surprise and pause that you can intervene and pull them apart. The second method depends entirely on the presence of both owners. Both you and the other dog’s owner (or another willing bystander) grabs a dog by the hindquarters and walks them backwards. Ideally, you should walk in a circle so that the dog is a bit out of balance. Once the dogs are separate, they must stay apart for at least several hours. In most cases this will require that the dogs be tied or crated.
Call 'em varmints. Call 'em critters. Call 'em small animals. Whatever. They're available, and they're a real hoot to hunt.
Whether it be a rodent (including squirrels, chipmunks and gophers), raccoon, possum - -whatever -- hunting varmints is great sport for some people, and keeps the populations of these animals under control. (We don't consider coyotes a "varmint," so, while we haven't forgotten them, we don't include them as we feel they're a special breed apart from "the usual suspects."
State or area regs for "varmint hunting" change regularly, so check them carefully, including what/where/when you can hunt; restrictions on numbers; and what you have to do with the animals once you've killed them. Regs are particularly rigid when it comes to the use of ANY weapon in zoned/populated/incorporated areas like towns, villages or cities. All of these things should be checked thoroughly before you start playing "John Wayne".
Guide Phil Schweik relates that varmint hunting is usually the first and easiest way to have kids or novices experience hunting. It's inexpensive. It's a lot of fun, it's readily available everywhere, and It gives someone the opportunity to experience and respect the totality of being one with nature in every wondrous aspect of that scenario. And most importantly, it's a great way to teach SAFETY first hand. We're probably "preaching to the choir" when we say this, but it's absolutely essential that you have your kids or novice hunters take a hunter-safety course – and it doesn't matter if it's just to use a BB- or pellet-gun. Do it! Insist on it! Don't let anyone get near any type of weapon without the completion of a comprehensive safety course. Phil Schweik, who is as experienced an outdoorsman that has ever "walked this earth" takes a hunter safety course each and every year! And as we've said before, if it's good enough for him, it should be good enough for everyone else! Safety is always and uniquely "job one".
OK, off the "soap box" and onto the "fun."
Phil Schweik says that the first thing he used as a kid was a BB gun. You could nail a chipmunk, gopher or squirrel in the backyard -- and don't kid yourself, these critters cause a lot of property damage. They dig lots of holes, they spread disease, they damage wiring, they dig up gardens, they get into your garage and home, and all around they can be very destructive and a classic nuisance. Our fifteen years living in a home on a lake in the middle of a national forest taught us never to underestimate the destructive power of these little critters.
After using a BB gun, good numbers of people "graduate" to a pellet gun. Air-powered. And don't kid yourself, a pellet gun can be very powerful and potentially dangerous.
According to Phil, once the kid or novice hunter has the needed experience, the general and very useable "lifetime" weapon of choice for general varmint hunting is a .22 caliber rifle. We've seen varmint hunters "overcalling" with a .30-06, and even once, if you can believe it, my husband spotted a guy using a 300 grain bullet in a 45/70, short barreled guide gun on a gopher. I suppose he thought he had spotted the likes of a grizzly or bison -- and of course a 45/70 has a kick worse than a "boilermaker" with a double shot of rot gut. Phil suggests a .22 autoloader, which can fire semi-automatically with large numbers of bullets available. Lots of hunters enjoy this type of shooting and many have started using a "beamed" laser scope. These .22 caliber rifle outfits are not particularly expensive, and they're light, simple to maintain, and easy to operate. And one of the reasons hunters like this type of setup is that these animals are small and fast -- the laser scope really helps. And if you think it doesn't take skill to shoot one, you're wrong. The animals are fast. They skedaddle all over the place, turn on a dime, and can quickly disappear up the backside of a tree.
What do you do with the critters once you've shot them? Depending on the regs, you can bury them, OR leave them for a day or so. In the forest nothing is ever wasted, so check in the morning after some varmint is shot and it likely will be gone. Nature has its own special way of "clean up." Just ask any crow, weasel, or feral cat.
“Always quit on a good shot.”.....Dave Miller
It can be anything from plinking in a dirt pit to formal metallic silhouette shooting, but when you get to whack something with your rifle or pistol and you see the results it makes for a better shooter. Why? Because its fun.
Now this has been around a long time, while only the imagination and safety should dictate the target. I see many Dad's at the range training their kids on a simple paper target. Sure its fun but it gets old after a while for a new young shooter. My job at the Ft Polk Shooting Range is to make the shooting sports fun for the whole family. So periodically Aunt Sandy and I head to the range just to draw a crowd, and have some fun.
The first rifle out of the truck was Aunt Sandy's Marlin Model 60 P, in Pink Camo, with the Redfield Scope. I fired a couple of test shots, and swung over to the Birchwood Casey sight and glow target about two inches in diameter. The first shot cut the tiny Red dot in the middle and glowed back at us instantly. No reason to shoot anymore, it was Sandy's rifle so I turned the show over to her.
In rapid fire she shot the center out of the target for all to see, put the gun on safe and said with that cute little lisp of hers, “I need some more bullets,” the Range Mother had arrived.\
The next fun shot was to zero the Pink Tiger, sure enough all the women came down to see if a woman could really shoot the powerful 44 Magnum rifle. Of course the truth is you can hardly feel it kick. A pinwheel shot on the tiny sight and glow target confirmed her zero for all to see. Next was the real fun shot, the water filled plastic milk jugs. I lectured that the rifle displays excellent accuracy so now watch what it will do when it hits. The Water filled jug is a good representation of what the 225 grain Hornady Flextip bullet will do when it strikes a game target. You get what we call DRT, (dead right there.)
This was one of those perfectly timed photographs, as the gun and the camera went off at the same time, showing the perfect hit as water sprayed in all directions. This reactive target demonstration left no question in the minds of the onlookers what the Pink Tiger was all about. Then we showed everyone how to make one for less than $250.
Some of the more learned shooters were interested in my CZ-452 in 22 long rifle. I demonstrated the usage of two bullet brands that I have been using for years. I fired 5 shots on one target with CCI Blazer which is our standard Practice and Metallic Silhouette round, and then 5 shots with the Wolf Match Extra that is our top target round. Although both groups were superior, the Wolf ammo showed amazing results, the kinds that win world class matches. All of this could be seen by the spectators without going down range.
Aunt Sandy felt it was time to give me a challenge and got out the playing cards as I uncased the Marlin 1897 Cowboy, my long-barreled iron sighted 22 demo gun. “You can't do it in 5,” she said.
I announced, “I’m a fixin to do me some shootin.” Then I surprised myself as much as everyone else by splitting the card with the first try with an offhand 20 yard shot. Rapid Fire Sandy then took out the other two cards shooting from double tapping from the bench, “Hey that ain't right.” For the record this in not an impossible shot, it is a highly difficult shot anyway you try it, that when accomplished gives the shooter some real bragging rights.
The rest of the day was spent shooting old shotgun hulls all the way out to 100 yards. This is about as cheap a target as it gets for the “Aim Small Miss Small” 22 shooters. I use this reactionary target instead of digging out the small bore metallic silhouettes, noting if you can hit a 12 gauge shell at 100 yards off hand with the 22, a small bore Ram target is not a problem. Anyway good practice.
Being spoiled rotten for reactionary targets our pistol range has a full complement of steel plate and gong targets for the handgun shooter. Lou Ellison's, “Flyswatter Target” is for the close rage 22 shooter with a scope. You can see the bullet hit each fly at 25 yards making this a real challenge.
Jim Callaway came up with a devise for Black Powder shooters that lets you split a musket ball on an ax blade and hit two targets on either side. Then we have our long range gong targets at 500 yards. The ultimate 500 yard target is “Skeet Shooting”that's right, our long range shooters, readily pick of clay pigeon on the berm, using everything from elaborate sniper and long range hunting rigs to WWII M1 Garands with iron sights. The tiny orange dots just disappear in a dust cloud when the Ft Polk Sharpshooters decide to go for the long shot.
So it is moor than just punching a hole in a piece of paper and making a sight adjustment. Reactive Target shooting brings out that special inner ego and personal satisfaction that makes the shooter whatever the discipline, just plain better. So now you know what it is all about, imagination and setup. The next time you go to your own range have a little fun on reactionary targets and remember Dave Miller's words, “Always quit on a good shot.” Pass it on.
Read More About Guns And Ammunition for Hunting
When inclement weather strikes, 90 per cent of hunters in the woods will turn tail and run for home. On the contrary, guide Phil Schweik says. Unless the weather is life threatening, it's the best time for you to be in the woods. Phil says that he has taken more deer, wild turkey, and other game animals in adverse weather conditions than when it's "blue sky and apple pie." First off, take wind out of the equation. If it's blowing like a "nor'easter," the animals will hunker down – and that's when Phil heads for a local diner and enjoys a cup of Joe, keeping his eye on the weather. We're talking about hunting when there's rain, snow, or an incoming or outgoing storm or front.
What happens when you have fronts or weather systems coming into an area is that the animals sense that and they become far more active. Now, unlike people, who look for cover and shelter, the animals move around in the woods. The savvy hunter who understands this prepares himself (or herself), and who can withstand the weather conditions can take advantage of some of the best hunting of the year.
Take into consideration adverse weather when choosing clothing and gear. Take QUIET rain gear so you're silent and blend in with the environment. Then, use a ground blind. You're out of the weather and still can hunt very capably. Indeed, hunters will stock up with vittles and NON-ALCOHOLIC liquids, bring along one of those little portable heaters, and sit out the storm in comfort, waiting for that big buck to come in.
When there's nice weather, there are lots of hunters in the woods... deer recognize this and hunker down. When it's adverse weather, the deer sense that people go home, so they move around since there is a lack of human presence. And Phil Schweik says, "the worse the weather, the more animal movement there is." If a deer senses an incoming storm, it will want to immediately stoke up on food and be prepared to hunker down AFTER it feeds. It's nervous. It doesn't want to be deprived of food. It moves around scarfing down what it can find, and to heck with everything else. That's when YOU want to be "right there."
Another thing to note is that bad weather means cloud cover and darker conditions during daylight hours. Deer normally move early morning and early evening, when "low light" is their backdrop. With a storm rolling in or present, it's darker, so the envelope for low light deer movement exponentially increases.
Then, use your common sense. If you see a front or storm moving in, set up in your most opportune hunting spot and "wait." Don't be moving around looking to set up once the storm has arrived. Do it beforehand and you'll be ready for that biggest buck in the woods to make a mistake and meander into your area – and Phil Schweik says it happens all the time -- usually to the savvy hunter who knows about the positive results of being out in adverse weather.
So, next time you see bad weather coming in, forget the comforts of home or the corner bar, and don't turn tail and run in. Everything will still be there AFTER you've nailed that trophy buck. Remember, bad weather is one of the best times to be in the woods.
Related Articles On The Foremost Hunting Website:
You want to target the animal as it walks past, and "quarters" away from you. If you do this (you're shooting at an angle) by aiming at the front third of the body, the projectile – arrow or bullet -- will almost always stand the best chance of ending up in the chest cavity vital organ area.
What you don't want to do is shoot a deer broadside -- as it stands in front of you. If you shoot broadside, there's a better-than-even chance that your arrow or bullet may be just a tad forward or back of the vital organ portion of the chest cavity – and that means you'll just wing or wound the deer. The "angle" shot done while the deer is "quartering" past you is your best choice by far.
Here are some specific examples of why shooting choices other than the "quartering shot" when deer hunting are not as successful:
- If you shoot broadside, particularly with a bow, your arrow may be partially deflected by the protective bone of the shoulder blade or rib cage because of hitting the wrong spot, or the bow not being powerful enough to drive the arrow through bone structure.
- If a deer is facing you, again particularly with a bow shot, there is the brisket area with bones, and these bones are simply too hard to pass through and get to the vital area.
- With a rear or hind quarter shot, there is simply too much distance for the projectile to travel, and/or can be deflected by bone, preventing it from reaching the vital cavity area.
- With a "straight down shot" from a tree stand (according to guide Phil Schweik this is the least likely shot to be successful), you may very well paralyze the deer by hitting it straight in the backbone -- and that's fine, except that this area is so small that it's almost always missed, and then you're just going to wound the deer.
- As for a head or neck shot, guide Schweik wouldn't ever advise taking it. It's just too easy to make an error, and the head vital areas are so small that you're almost assured of ending up just wounding the animal; and in the facial area, this shot will cause the deer to suffer immeasurable pain.
Related Articles On The Foremost Hunting Website:
Some professional guides throw out the idea of total reliance on moon phases because when someone hires a guide he/she must produce every time in the woods -- moon phase or not. Having said that, a good number of guides generally will say they do indeed see increased movement and success because of using moon phase projections. "It's just part of the entire puzzle," says guide Phil Schweik. You can use moon phase tactics in conjunction with many other considerations -- weather (fronts moving in and out), wind, state of the rut, decoys, scent, calling, location, terrain -- every part of the scenario contributes to a successful hunt when used as a totality. Relying on just one item can be iffy."
There are any number of individuals and companies who produce calendars videos, charts and other items that supposedly will school someone in the art of deciphering and using moon phases. Some hunters closely follow the regimen, others decry it.
According to Schweik, three days before a moon phase, and one-to-three days after a moon phase, he has found a definite change in the pattern of animal/wildlife activity --and that surely includes deer. While Schweik doesn't pay rapt attention to moon phases, he does strongly state that when there is a full moon, there is much more midday deer movement and activity. Indeed, when this happens, Schweik changes from the usual "low light" hours hunting to doing more midday -- he says it often works – and at times, doesn't. But that's true of any hunting, he says. One day something works, and the next day it won't. Schweik says he has a number of clients who specifically hire him to hunt during a particular moon phase event. These hunters have been very successful using this method and swear by it.
Obviously, during the rut, the deer are already on the move, but, according to Schweik and other guides, when hunting during the rut, and using other indicators such as a moon phase, the chances of success rise considerably.
On the other side of the coin, not a lot of hunters talk about moon phase utilization. Most hunters plan their hunt around the rut, and if it so happens that there is a moon phase in effect, OK – but not tremendous numbers give credit for a successful hunt to using moon phase opportunities.
Deer hunting season dates are "written in stone." In the gun season (at least in Wisconsin), you've got nine days to hunt—and that's it -- moon phases or not. In researching this article, the writer couldn't really find any definitive information as to whether deer hunting numbers vary greatly if there is a moon phase during the season. Of course when it comes to bow season, which lasts for months, there surely will be a number of moon phase situations during the season. Again, we couldn't find any specific information as to numbers of bow season deer harvested specifically linked to a moon phase.
Opinions on the value of moon phase hunting vary greatly -- from the "true believers" to the "true deniers," and the "maybe-ers" in between. Do your own "due diligence," and satisfy yourself as to which position fits your frame of thinking. In the end, there is no "black and white" answer, but certainly there are many shades of "gray." That's what makes hunting interesting!
Eastern Wild Turkey
With over five million birds, the Eastern wild turkey is by far the most prolific. Their range includes nearly every state north, south, and east of Missouri. There are small pockets west of the chief range in states like Kansas and Oklahoma. These birds prefer hardwood forests within agricultural areas but have adapted to an incredible variety of habitats. Easterns are known for being wary but vocal. They are typically responsive to calling. Gobblers can weigh well over 25 pounds with hens weighing in at 8 to 12 pounds. The tail coverts(feathers at the base of the tail) are tipped with chestnut brown. The wing feathers are striped white and black. This coloration is the easiest way to differentiate the Eastern from the Rio.
Rio Wild Turkey
The home range of the Rio extends from Texas into Kansas with transplanted birds in lower numbers throughout the western half of the country. Biologists estimate the Rio population at just over one million birds. Rios prefer open country along streams and rivers. They live among mesquite, pine, and scrub oak forests. In addition to their open country habitat, Rios are known for their long legs. Despite their height, Rios are slightly lighter than Easterns. This could be due to lower quality food sources within their home range. Another way to tell the difference between Rios and Easterns is coloration. Rios have tan tail coverts compared to the brown coverts of the Eastern. Due to overlaps in range, Rio-Eastern hybrids are common in Kansas and Oklahoma.
Merriam’s Wild Turkey
The Merriam’s turkey is a westerner. It’s native range includes New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona, but it has been successfully introduced across the west. US population estimates are nearly 350,000 birds. They are known as mountain dwellers and are often found roosting in the ponderosa pines of the Rocky Mountain foothills. Because of their habitat, Merriam’s tend to have a wider range than Easterns and Rios, making them a bit more difficult to pattern. They are similar in size to the Eastern turkey but have some blue tones in their main body feathers. Merriam’s turkeys are easily distinguishable from their cousins by the white feathers at the base of their tails.
Osceola Wild Turkey
Osceola turkeys are found only in the state of Florida. The population is estimated at just under 100,000 birds. Osceolas are smaller than Eastern turkeys and feature a much darker color pattern. While Eastern turkeys are bronzed, Osceola’s have some green and reddish hues within their main body feathers. Osceolas are well suited to the swamps and pine and palmetto lowlands of their Florida home. Due to warmer habitat, they tend to breed and lay eggs earlier than other species.
Learn more about hunting wild turkeys @ Foremost Hunting
So you like to bow hunt, and you like to fish. But you've never been able to do both at once – well, you can, and many do – it's called "bow fishing;" and it's becoming so popular, some even call it a " sporting cult." But it's a total, screaming "blast" like you've never had before. Fun. Laughs. Great sport. AND, you're doing a lot of good for the environment.
We're going to be talking about bow fishing in Wisconsin. Again, as always, check your local areas and regs to insure that you're in compliance.
The two main species targeted are carp and suckers. These are "rough fish," and it's good for all if their populations in our rivers and lakes are controlled -- that's where bow fishing comes in.
Here are the basics – actually, bow fishing is all pretty "basic."
Equipment you'll need: A bow -- you can use whatever you have -- just make sure that it's set from 20 to 30 pounds. Nothing stronger. Arrows: Heavy fiberglas with a special bowfishing tip on it, which consists of two, two inch barbs which spring out upon striking the fish, to form a "backwards V" thereby preventing the arrow from being pulled out by any fish movement. Attach a 100 to 200 pound test, thin diameter, high strength fishing line to your arrow. You hook the line up to the arrow through a hole below the "nock" in the arrow, which is attached to a reel hooked up to your bow (there are any number of excellent bow fishing reels made – and they're not that expensive). Then there's the "boat" you'll need. Best bet is a simple Jon boat -- flat bottomed and easily maneuverable. Most bow fishing addicts (and bow fishing IS addictive!) build or buy an elevated "stand" for placement on either the front or the rear of the Jon boat. If you fish at night (we'll get into that), you'll need a set of halogen lights powered by a small generator which you'll place in the boat.
You can fish 24/7 -- both day and night. If you fish during the day, you'll move slowly around shallow water (one to three feet deep) and back bays. The carp (99% of what you'll get are carp – and they can go over 40 pounds -- with big suckers secondary) hang out in shallow, dirty, mucky water. And the action can be furious. Don't think for a moment that a big carp isn't a challenge. It is.
Lots of bow fishing addicts prefer the night time hours. It's quiet. The water is calmer. Not much wind, usually, and you'll spot a lot of critters -- which is terrific -- muskrat, beaver, raccoons, among others. You turn on your halogen lights and scout the same shallow areas. While many carp and suckers stick to deeper water during the day, they all come in shallow at night. That means you may see hundreds upon hundreds of fish. It's non-stop, until your arms feel like they're going to fall off. By the way, in Wisconsin at least, you cannot LEAVE the fish. You must take them with you. And that's OK, because many give the fish to farmers who use them as fertilizer. And many an eagle or osprey will spot them in a field and grab them. And that's all good.
When shooting fish in the water with a bow, it's a lot different than shooting something on land. There's a different angle, and the reflective traits of water mean that it's almost like seeing an illusion when you a spot a fish. If you aim right at the fish, you'll miss. They're further "down" or "away" than you think. If you aim below the fish, and allow for the difference caused by the water's light refraction, it'll be "game on." And for sure, however you'll try to follow this simple "rule," you won't -- at least initially -- and you'll miss -- until you've practiced enough to get the proper "angle" to shoot at. After you hit the fish, you just reel it in -- easier said than done, with maybe a 40-pound carp on the other end. Some old timers pooh-pooh the reel bit, and just pull the fish in hand-over-hand. Better use gloves if you do that, one quick run by the fish and your hands can be shredded by the line.
Guide Phil Schweik says that bow fishing starts as soon as ice is out, and continues throughout the year, with warm summer nights being particularly popular, echoing the guffaws and laughter of men and women who are enjoying the "best of both worlds" --hunting with a bow, while fishing, the excitement of hitting a huge carp that fights like all get-out – and ridding our waters from the overpopulation of invasive rough fish. "Win/win" all the way down the line. And Phil says that anyone who bow fishes just once, become figuratively "hooked" for life. He says he's seen this happen time and time again.
- Foremost Hunting YouTube Channel
- Foremost Hunting On Face Book
- Cherokee Sports- Decoys
- Foremost Media Website Design
- MacFarlane Pheasants
- On The Ground Outdoors
- Foremost Hunting Podcast
- Pheasant Hunting Blog
- Crossbow Association
- Foremost Outdoor TV
- South Dakota Pheasant Hunting
- Coyote Hunting Blog
Friends Of Foremost Hunting:
- ► 2012 (13)
- ► 2011 (27)
- ▼ December (3)
- ► November (4)
- ► October (6)
- ► June (3)
- ► May (3)