Monday, December 19, 2011

And Counting...

This really hurts to say, but as of tonight only 12 days of the rollercoaster remains...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Crazy Weather!?!

What a change from last year.   I read something the other day that said we had 34'' of snow this time last year.   Today, it was 40 and pouring rain.   Only in Minnesota baby!

Sure makes it tough for some things though.   It's tough on me for trappin' I know that.   From rock hard dry ground to snow covered to thick mud.   In a day or so that mud is going to freeze up like a brick.   You have to love it, right?   I was really hoping the snow would stay for snaring reasons, and bow hunting reasons, but no such luck.

I'm not going to complain, not after last year.   EVERYTHING needs a break.   The few pheasants we have left, the deer, and even the fish.   By fish I mean bad ice years.   When we have a crappy ice season it give the lakes a break around here.   You should see our lakes around here on good ice years.   TONS of shacks.   Guys sit over the fish all winter and just pound.   This way it gives the fish a needed break.

Only a couple weeks of archery season left and this is going to make me have to regroup my plans.   When the ground is exposed the deer don't yard up as heavy due to the amount of graze they still have.   Pair that up with a bunch of OT at work and that makes it a bit ugly.   I guess we're going to just have to grind it out and see what happens....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Red on White

My buck hasn't hit the ground yet, but the snow sure has.   New snow is the cure for the late season funk.  

Last weekend I made the decision to fill my antlerless tag.   I had really been hoping for some good snow.   Got it.   I look at the snow in a couple ways.   One, it really puts the deer back on a food pattern.   And two, it acts like a trail cam for the entire area.   You can see everything with snow.   Every step a critter makes is all right there in black and white.   It's almost like cheating in a sense, but I'll gladly take it!

Fresh snow is the BEST.   Every track you see is fresh.   It gives way to current movements.   Get on a quickly made trail and it's almost a sure deal for a shot opportunity.   I slipped into the Killin' Tree in the funnel.   Several sets of track already, I was pumped.   I have to say, the woods were simply amazing this evening.   It was one of the kind that you will always remember, deer or no deer.  

A group of 5 came in and I picked out a hog and let it fly.   As my meat missle blew through its target I could aready smell the brats on the grill.   Stumbling, she fell just out of sight.   It was sure nice to see some red on white again!

Bundle up and get after it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The SLUMP continues...

Well, I'm sure as you all know by the lack of posts, the dreaded slump has settled in.   I have sat mornings and evenings for the last three days without a single deer sighting.   That is just plain old sad.   We had a record warm front followed by gale force winds, but this is no reason for all movement to stop.   I'm not really sure the reasoning for this lack of activity.
I don't believe it's just deer either.   My trap catches have turned into a big fat goose egg  by mid week.   No critters seem to be moving.   I have been switching my main focus from coon to yotes.   This mornings check only revealed a stinky little skunk.   How appropriate I guess.

I'm trying to come up with a game plan.   I'm thinkin' about shooting a doe, if presented, and hope for some snow for the last bit of the archery season.   Then pick back up for Mr. Big.   As far as trapping goes, coyotes are number one now.   I still plan on messin' with coon a bit also.   A little snow would do wonders for the trappin' now to.

Something's going to have to give soon, right.....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Friend...

I was out makin' some new coon sets in culverts mid day today.   As I was in between sets, a fellow stopped his truck along side mine, happens all the time.   People wondering what you're doing.   This stop, was different.

The man pulled over and we talked on the side of the road for a while.   Seeing he was a hardcore, dog runnin', coon hunter, he was pleased to see me settin' Dogproof's.   Just like most conversations, this led into that.  

He had been deer hunting the firearms season that morning.   He told me the story of his, well, I guess you could say, the morning he will not soon forget.   He had a doe come in and a big old nasty buck behind her.   Caught off guard, he stopped him, took the shot, and missed.   You could tell it was what I call a heart breaker.

Made me think of my encounter with Fishhook.  So, here you go buddy, I'm in the same boat!   Hope this short trail cam video makes you feel better, or at least not alone!

Meeting people like this man reminds me why I do what I do.   There are still good people out there.   He truly is an outdoorsman and I hope we stay in contact along our journeys.   Wish there was more people like him in our woods.

This is me checking the camera after my encounter.   I kind of forgot about the camera filming me!

My email is feel free to contact me at any time!   Hope we meet again...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trap Theft

I've been ditch trappin' coon with DP's around the town I grew up in, Faribault, and just put out a new dozen.   I checked in the morning to find some S.O.B. has been stealing my coon, along with the traps.   Can you say NOT HAPPY!?!   I've called TIP and the head CO of Rice County.   VERY illegal.  

 Almost all my sets are not visable from the road.   Some one had to be lookin' for them or saw me settin'.   Not sure, but I would guess another trapper.   My reason, who carries a heavy wire cutter and something to dispatch a coon with?   The coon were dispatched, could tell from the blood, and the tie wire was clearly snipped.   This is some real B.S.   Who does that?   The cost of DP traps, gas, bait, time, and pelt value can really add up in big hurry.   If you were driving down the road you would have NO idea my sets are there, great thing about a DP.   Either I was seen by someone making the sets or someone was lookin' for them.
Makes a guy feel like he can't do anything now days.   I mean, if I can't mind my own business and trap a coon out on some back road ditch without having some coward steal my catch and gear, then what can you do now days?   People like this are a huge reason people stop participating in the outdoors.   I hope, whoever it is, stops and they nail the crap out of him.

Anyone else experince this?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Scrape Work

The Fishhook Buck poundin' a scrape.   He is so on the hit list.   I can only hope he pushes a doe by one of my stands!!!


Big Mac in the saddle plot.   I guess I picked the wrong stand that evening!!!   This still makes me want to vomit...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blood Trailin' Rubs

  As hunters, we want to learn as much about our prey as we possible can.   Naturally, but there are so many different things you hear and read.   One author says do this and the other says to do that.   How do you even make sense of it?   This is my "No B.S." spin on rubs.

I'm not going to cover every tiny aspect of a rub, this post would be forever long.   I will touch base on the most important factors.   Personally, a rub is the best sign a buck could ever leave me.   A rub is a HUGE piece of the puzzle.   Scrapes are fine and dandy, I'll talk about those in another post, but rubs are the true blue deal when it comes to buck sign.

When you find a rub, don't just look at it and say, " Look a rub," and then keep going on your way.   Stop and investigate the crime scene.   Ah yes, the wise old tail that big bucks make big rubs and little bucks make little rubs.   This is accurate, but only some of the time.   I just watched a video of a little fork trashin' a huge rub.   Most often this doesn't happen, but don't rule it out.   If its a little bean pole rub, doesn't matter, it's a rub.   Big boys make lots of little rubs.   If you find more big rubs than little ones, you'd be safe to lean towards a deer with age, yes.

When you find a rub, most importantly, do what I call "Blood Trailin' Rubs."   What I mean by this is look at the rub from the side of the tree showing the most damage.   Center your body with it and look past the rub.   This will give you a general direction of travel.   So start walkin'!   Ask yourself as you walk very slowly, "if I were a deer which way would I be going?"   This time of year, more than not, I'd be willing to bet you find more.   As you walk away from the rub look left to right for more.   Usually within 60 yards or so to one side or the other you'll find another one.   Once you do, just repeat what you've just done.
This rub will probably be in a different direction, with the most damage.   Center yourself and start walking.   Sometimes you have to leave your mental path to find the next,  just don't forget where your path was.   Boom.   You find another, repeat.   Boom.   You find yet another.   Now you have a fantastic piece of the puzzle.   Now, mentally make a line from one rub to the other on all of them you've found.   This is his rub line.   This time of the year you can usually pull some kind of line off most rubs.   Lots of people think if you see rubs close and grouped that it is a rub line.   Not usually true.   Rub clusters are a different puzzle piece assocaited with bedding and staging areas.   Also important, but we've talkin' rub LINES. 

The great thing about his rub line is that it tells you exactly where he's been traveling.   Trees with rubs are like having camera's on all these trees!   No matter how long or short these lines are, none the less, you've just pegged part of his travel route.   HUNT IT!!!   Set up a stand according to your prevailing wind and wait untill you get that wind, which should be most of the time.  

To get even deeper into this thing, here's another little tid bit for you.   Once you've found a rub line,   start searching for another.   First take one side of the existing line you have already found.   Sometimes it's close and at times a little further away, but there is another to be found.   Do the same steps on each side and usaully you can find another line, but the majority of the damage is on the oppisite side of the trees.   When you can find this situation, jackpot baby.   One line is his moring route and the other is his evening route.   Again, HUNT IT!!!  

Putting all the pieces together gets you closer to game and more blood on your tags.   Pay close attention to ALL sign, after all it is just that, a sign.   Treat everything you see as just a small piece of the whole picture in which you are trying to create.   One rub is just a piece of his rub line, one rub line is just a piece of his movements, his movements are just a piece of you putting your tag on him!   Everything counts, so keep an open mind.   Now go find them RUBS!   Good luck and don't forget, shoot straight!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Another Weekend in the Marsh

Dogs, ducks, and talkin' smart.   The second weekend of the waterfowl season started out pretty good and ended on a slow note.   None the less, I was in the mash with my favorite company.   These are the times I will never forget.

Due to the closed first week of the season, Saturday turned out to be not too bad.   The strong northwest winds throughout the week played a role in birds hittin' the ground as well.   Local birds were still somewhat available and some new birds had arrived.   We grounded several birds into the late morning on Saturday.   A mixed bag is always a bonus.   Mallards, green wings, woodies, shovelers, and geese.

Sunday, someone had flipped the switch.   Few ducks and few geese in the sky.   We ended up with a few small ducks and a goose.   I would have to say we heard maybe half the shooting as we did the day before.   Something we really like to do is stay out later than the rest in the surrounding area.   People sit for the first morning rush and then jump ponds before headin' in.   This is when the shooting can really get good.   Lots of single and small flocks lookin' to sit down.   We shoot a lot of birds this way.   If it wasn't for this stratiedy, Sunday would have been a bust.

I feel pretty darn lucky.   Lucky to have such a great wetland to hunt, such a great dog, and such a great uncle to share it with.   Without our great wetlands, well, I'm not really sure what would have been made of me.   Some of my fondest memeries come from the muddy waters.   As waterfowlers and as people of Minnesota we need to band together and make certian wetlands always have a home here. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Happy Place

The decoys were nothing but a blurry silhouette. The distant calls of geese filled our minds with anticipation. Whistling wing beats from birds you just couldn't see. The muskrat hut in which we sat was as comfortable as it could be. It was indeed, waterfowl opener.

 Saturday morning was a delightful surprise. The fog was so thick it was hard to see the end of your barrel. Proving to be useful, the fog kept the local birds nice and low. Although you couldn't see what was around you, you could see what was in range. My uncle Scott and I were inhabiting our favorite spots on the family farm. We each had our dogs, shotguns, and our own visions.

 Loner by loner and pair by pair, we picked birds out of the sky with accuracy. We didn't have birds all the time, we managed to shoot straight and capitalize on the ones that did come in. We hit our marks. The day ended in a way I will not soon forget. We fill out on ducks and geese. It has been a long time since I have gotten a hat trick on geese. Three shots, three geese. Splash, splash, splash.

 With the young local ducks in most people freezers, we knew Sunday would not be as productive. Needles to say, our theory was right. We did see birds, but their new outlook on decoys was not to our advantage. Decoy shy and panic had set in on our feathered quarry. I ended up with four birds that morning, still, nothing to complain about. Our birds mainly consisted of woodies and teal with a stray mallard here and there.

 I wouldn't miss a duck opener for the world. My family has dedicated themselves to wetlands and to ensure a future for the birds that live amoungst them. There are many improvement that need to be made within our great state of Minnesota. We lose duck hunters by the blind full every season. We need to protect this heritage our Grandfathers have preserved for us to partake in. Sitting on a muskrat hut with my dog gazing into the air is my happy place. I would like to keep it that way.

 Special thanks to my uncle Scott for making duck opener, well, duck opener. Wouldn't be the same without him.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finally, Its Here

We all have our niche.   Something we would rather do than anything else.   Something that demands focus and clears our minds.   Something we love with all our worth.   We all have our niche, I am an archer.

The season has finally arrived.   The rollercoaster we archers call bowhunting.   Good luck to all who carry arrows.   It's going to be one hell of a ride!

Nastiest Coyote EVER!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Archery Black Bears Video!!!

                         Arrows, black bears, and a lot of fist pumping!  
                                  My 2011 archery season was epic!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tagged Out

Every once in a while, everything does go right.   Hunters, you know what I'm talking about.   Not too often, in the outdoor world, everything falls into place as we see it in our minds.   When it does happen that way, it is what keeps us doing it time and time again.

By September 5th I was tagged out with my 2 no-quota beers.   It was a season I will never ever forget.   I did my research, scouting, baiting, and my hunting to the best of my ability.   Every bit of it payed off.
September 2nd, 7:15 p.m. I shot my first bear.   It was a bit warm so after the kill I was in speed mode.   Deciding to get the bear home and taken care of right away to avoid any spoilage.   With bear number 1 in the freezer I still had a fresh active bait so I headed right back up.

September 5th, 4:45 p.m. I had just arrowed my 2nd bear.   I couldn't believe how quickly it had all unfolded.   A new, bigger, bear had been on my bait within the last 4 days.   I was worried about getting a daylight shot, because the 2 bears on this bait had crossed over to night hitting.   Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the bigger one to show up before 5:00 p.m.!

Both hunts we captured on film!   I self filmed both of my bears being shot with archery equipment.   Once all of my footage is loaded the editing process will begin.   I can't wait to finish the video and share it will all of you!   It is going to rock!   I will get it up for viewing as soon as I'm finished.  

The forest has blessed me once again.   Good luck to all my fellow outdoorsman!

I am very sorry for the missing Baiting: Weekend #3.   I have been experiencing internet troubles.   I believe the issue has now been resolved.   Bear opener is here and I'm headin' out.   I will keep you posted on my journey for an archery bear.   Good luck to all the bear hunters hittin' the forests!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Baiting:Weekend #2

Baiting weekend #2 was a great weekend, overall.   While it was still fairly cool I decided to check my walk in bait first.   Bummer, nothing.   It was just as I left it.   I did manage to get 8 pics on the trail cam though.   Unfortunately, I had grabbed the one camera that I've been having issues with.   They are old digitalis that I don't really care too much about getting damage, this camera however, is headed for the trash.   I don't want this to happen again.   No biggie,  I'm sure they were pics of coons anyways.   I hope.

After a fantastic wheeler ride into my other station, boom, I'm in business.   The bait was hit, hard.   I can't wait to check the trial cam.    Wrong again.   The dang bear had taken it off the tree and left with it.   I couldn't find it anywhere.   Not to worry, that's why I use these cameras.   I rebait and got out of dodge.
Next morning, same deal.   Walk in not hit and the wheeler bait was whipped out.   This time my camera was laying right in front of the bait.   Now, I don't have a clue how the bear got the cam off the tree without breaking anything, but it did.   Just a few tooth marks.   Kind of creepy, you need a thumb to get that thing off!   At least they brought it back...
I had a great time.   The smallies were snappin' and the weather was fantastic.   My only complaint would be, yep, those damn BUGS!   They are bad.   The flies almost pick you up off the wheeler.   Drive as fast as you want, they still manage to bounce off the back of your head.   You have to dress appropriately!!!   Like a bee keeper.   I baited really heavy before leaving hoping to keep the bait active until this coming weekend when I can return.   It is going to be a LONG week...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Baiting: Weekend #1

For me, the first weekend of bear baiting is the official beginning of my hunting season.   From here on out it seems as if it's one opener after another.   I knew of the storm damage in the area I hunt, but I didn't realize the severity of it until I actually got to see it.

Several roads and trails were closed but I did manage to get to my bait station locations.   Needless to say, they were whipped out.   I now was faced with a new challenge.   Relocating my stations.   I wanted to stay in close to my original stations, but finding a clear enough place with a tree worthy of hanging a stand was the hardest part.

I would be lying is I said I wasn't a bit nervous having bait in different locations.   I just need to be patient and let the baits do their work for the next couple of weeks.   If my baits don't become active in the next few weeks it's going to be back to square one.   Then, finding even more new locations.

It is very difficult to even get around in the forest now, what's left of it anyways.   I am very curious to see how this is going to affect the hunting and the stations activity.   It will either make it better or make it pointless.   I'm really hoping for the better.   Time will tell.

Soaking wet with sweat and being driven to near insanity from bugs sometimes makes you wonder what the hell you're doing.   Everyone who bear hunts knows what I'm talking about, but when you start getting hit it all becomes very clear.   I have to say though, I've never experience deer flies like I have this year.   WOW!   They are bad!

Weekend by weekend you can track my quest to take a Minnesota black bear with my bow.   With bait on the ground, I'll be patient and time do it's thing.

I did manage to slip away from the tail mix and gummies to do a little pike fishing!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Smellin' Good

Sticky hands and sweet smells. The aroma in my garage is starting to make me a bit antsy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Keeping Memories Alive

Creating a work of art that triggers our memory is what taxidermy is all about.

Surrounding myself with the things I cherish would be the most justifiable reason for my obsession with filling my house with critters. Everywhere I look I'm greeted with the memories that mean the most to me. For me, it doesn't have to be a booner buck or a state record fish. The experience and the story behind it are what make a truly memorable mount.

My turkey collection is something I take great pride in. A Merriams and a Rio Grande have recently been added to my, well I guess you could call it a flock now days. Out of every mount I have these birds are the most flawless pieces of art I own. Every feather and every expression is spot on. Lost in a daze, I catch myself staring at them reliving the moment with every glance.

Jeff McHugh of McHugh Taxidermy is a turkey mounting god. There really is no other way of putting it. He has won more awards and ribbons for his mounts, calls, and all of his other art work that it pretty much speaks for itself. I have seen my share of turkey mounts, but his work seems to have something the others don't. They have an uncanny sense of realism.

My theory for Jeff's talent is based on the fact that he truly is a passionate outdoorsman. To create that kind of quality work, you have to be. Our conversations and shared stories paint me a picture of just how much of a bond outdoorsman have. I'm glad to have gotten the chance to know him.

Jeff runs his studio out of his home in Plainview. I strongly suggest that if you have a critter you would like to preserve to give McHugh Taxidermy a go. He is a turkey specialist, but not just limited to turkeys. Like his card says, McHugh Taxidermy-Your turkey mounting headquarters.

Mchugh Taxidermy

Jeff McHugh


Special thanks to Jeff McHugh for creating such wonderful art.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lake Habitat Destruction

Many people look at aquatic vegetation as a nuisance. Who is it a nuisance to? The people or the lake? Everybody's been there. Weeds wrapped tightly around the prop, the trolling motor can't pull through the heavy mat, weeds sliding through your toes as you try to swim, etc. Well guess what? You're in a lake.

It seems as if all aquatic vegetation has gotten this bad rap, perhaps it's because of the Eurasian Watermilfoil outbreak. Too much of anything could be labeled as invasive. What is too much though? We see these weeds in large patches and think, wow look at it all. Put it into perspective though. If cattails surround the entire shoreline of a lake you would probably thing that's a lot. Not really. Look at the entire surface area of the lake as opposed to what you see weeds on. Lilly pads need to exceed 35% of the surface water to start causing harm. Not too many lakes we inhabit have nearly that much coverage. In all reality there is a lot more surface water than aquatic growth. As far as invasive goes, I think we are the most invasive. Us, the people. We tweek everything to meet our needs.

I have recently recieve an invite to a Minnesota based channel on the Internet. I checked it out before I accepted and I have to admit I was a bit upset. It was for a group that cuts this lake vegetation. I left my comment and denied.

Lakes are natural and what we do to them, isn't. Cutting all the cattails down and dragging all aquatic vegetation to obtain this perfect beach and park like setting is ruining our lakes. The lakes NEED this vegetation. Emergent vegetation like cattails acts as one of the best filter strips and reduces shoreline erosion. Lilly pads create fish habitat and shelter. They all have their place in the lake ecosystem. We need to stop disrupting this system.

For the most part, the reason people don't like the weeds is because it restricts recreation. I say, too bad. If you don't want weeds touching your legs while you swim, go to a pool. Stop turning our lakes into one. The number of people who own lake shore property is very small compared to the number of people who enjoy the lakes. Water is public and a few can ruin it for many. Imagine a lake with no weeds in it or around it. All you would have is a bowl of water. Sandy beaches and landscaped shorelines don't belong in Minnesota. It's like putting a sweater on a dog. Water is the heart of Minnesota. Improve habitat and let it remain glorious.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Heat, Sweat, and Gills

Hot is the best way to describe my day with the gills. The local bank said 101 degrees! The kind of day that makes AC seem like the best thing ever invented. None the less, I found the big gills.

I set out Friday to check and see if the fish were still up where they were last weekend. Nope. Things changed, a lot. The water level dropped a few inches, but the water temps were the deal breaker. Last weekend the temps on these waters were around 68.5 and now it was 79.1! That's a huge jump for only 6 days! I pulled the plug and headed for new waters.

By this time the heat was getting pretty bad, very humid. I was flippin' some jigs, go figure, and came across a big patch of gill beds. I was shocked to see them sitting on beds guarding. The water temps here were in the low 80's! I had two pods close to each other. I used my glasses to see down to the beds and picked out the really big ones. It was really fun targeting one fish and fishing her until she finally bit. I did this back and forth from one pod and back to the other.

They were big hog females. I kept several from 9 to 9 1/2 inches. It was going to be a fantastic supper! And it was. I was completely drenched from sweating like a mad man. I was drinking the fluids as fast as I was loosing them. It can get a little creepy on the water when its this hot so prepare yourself. Sunburn and dehydration are no joke. I let my sunburn get a little out of hand, small price to pay for a good day on the water. You have to love them gills!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Harmonious Vibe

Could you ever imagine finding peace, in a tanning turtle?
Well, I did.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Frogs in the Grass and Jigs in the Wood

Well, that's pretty much what my weekend consisted of. Frogs in the grass and jigs in the wood.

I set out this weekend to find me some Billy Bass. Unfortunately for my thumb, I found some. Everyone who fishes bass knows all to well about bass thumb. Between Friday and Saturday, I went through 35 bass. My poor thumb looks and feels like I put it through a meat grinder. Not a bad problem to have, due to what caused it.

Friday afternoon was really nice out. Thin clouds and very little winds. I found many empty beds and began flippin' jigs into the near by wood. Yep, the fish were there. This is how and when I got my heaviest fish of the weekend. She was ugly, yet beautiful. Let me explain. Very much so a post spawn fish. Her belly was arched in and beat up and bloody. Still, she went an amazing 6lbs 5ozs. I wish I had caught her a week or two ago, she may have broke the 7lbs mark.

Saturday, it rained most of my time on the water. I hit a patch of curly leaf and coontail off the bank. Rippin' frogs over this stuff can be awesome and it was. The noise of this bait really pulls them out of this hard to fish cover. There truly isn't anything like a top water bit either! The only problem I have with this pattern is that you miss many fish. Lots of plastic to this bait which makes getting a good hook set tough. The fish do a lot of missed strikes as well. You know, the kind where a fish blows up on your bait and well, that's it. You frantically cast for another strike and sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.

Amazingly the water temps were only in the upper 60's. It's pretty much July, that's crazy for this time of year. I'll take it! Some fish were still carring eggs, but most have dropped and they are beginning to build back up. With all the rain this year water levels are up a lot. For bank beaters like myself, this is great. My favorite thing is flippin' jigs in wood and now there is a lot of bank structure. Now is a great time to catch a ton of bass, SO GO DO IT!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mr. Lewis, Thank You

Music fuels our minds and motivates our thoughts.   Your roots should never go forgotten.   Aaron Lewis shows the emotion and pride of our heritage.   The hardest part to kill, are the roots.   Mr. Lewis, thank you.

- Deer Notes

- increase in roadkill (does and bucks) theories?

- completed first round of brush killer spray (wilting after two days)

- trail cam pics at mineral sight, swapped cards

- pleased with progress!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saddle Plot Progress

The saddle plot is coming along nicely. I've gone through two rounds of weed spray and some ground work. This plot has become a ton of work due to a type of plant that, well, sucks.

Poison Ivy has overrun this area. The biggest problem with it is that it is so hard to kill off. The shallow underground roots remind me of a spider web. I have become an Ivy expert, not to mention a trip to the doctor as well. This stuff has been giving me misery in more ways than one. Working the ground with these vine like roots has been challenging, but I think I've got it under control.

I went to establish a mineral site and had observed some new growth. The red dot in the photo shows the location of the mineral site I created. Once the plot is planted the mineral site should be a great compliment.

My next step is to spray the plot with brush killer, for the ivy and woody plants. Then spray later in the summer and work the ground again. Then once in the middle of August a week before planting.

I am so pumped to plant this thing! I've been experimenting with my seed of choice at my home. I'm happy with the results and can't wait to see it in the real environment. I've put a camera on the site so we should, as summer wears on, get some photos.

Until next time...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Bitter Sweet End

The spring turkey season has offically ended. The awakening of the woods sounded off by distant gobbles will be missed.

Hunting turkeys late season with archery gear is such an awesome task. It seems the odds were against me. Especially this strange weather we have been dealing with. Wind and rain and more wind and rain. Turkeys are more weather sensitive than fish, with wind being the worst condition. Times were tough, but I was still hunting.

I managed to get on some new property with only 4 1/2 days left of the season. I was desperate to get on a bird. I spotted this big tom and was able to snap some photos of him before he trailed off with a hen. I named him Boss Hog, for obvious reasons. My first evening I was greeted with a gobbling tom. Closing the distance and finaly getting a reaction to the calls, the birds were spotted on the move. On the move right down the field edge towards me. Boss Hog was not responsible for the gobbling.

I just couldn't decide on taking a shot. After one of the 3 toms passed I decided to shot. The bitter part would be me watching my arrow glid throught the air over the birds back. Sitting on my butt, shooting down hill, and wrapped around a tree. I know, I know, I have no excuse. I just plain old choked. The heartbreak wasn't so intense for I knew they weren't Mr. Hog.

I did catch a glimpse of the big tom that evening, but I never was presented with a shot. The story holds for the rest of the season. I seen my share of birds and many other great sights. My first fawn was spotted this week. Only a day or two old, cutest thing you'd ever see.

I made a new friend. The landowner is a sweet old lady. The kind you could sit and talk to for hours. She reminds of why I do this. I told her how much I appreciate the opportunity she has given me. Her response was much the same. She said that it is nice to have someone out here who appreciates it like I do. I hope we stay in contact, I already have a summer job I will be doing for her. Tearing down an old building so she can see the critters better. If that's not great, well, I guess I don't know what is.

Bow hunting, sirenity, visual blis, and new friends. This, is what it's all about.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shroomin's on the Storm

Thunder, sideways rain, hail, and the almighty morel. What more could you ask for?

After my morning turkey hunt got stormed out I headed out to check some of my morel spots during a break in the weather. The weather seemed like it was going to give me some time to do some lookin'. Seemed being the key words.

I definitely found new shrooms, but they should have been picked a couple days ago. The only ones growing this late in the season are the big whites. A lot of them that I had found we too damaged to pick. Between the bugs and the sun they were pretty much shot. This was do to the somewhat warmer week with lots of sun. You have to pick them quick when it's warm and sunny.

The more wooded growth was in much better shape being guarded from the sun. I found some great morels in the undergrowth today. You really have to look now because the vegetation is getting rather heavy, but this saves on the damage.

The thunder began and the wind picked up even more. I had time, wrong. Light rain turned into sideways rain. Seeking shelter under some down falls, the hail began. As the ice stones bounced off my hat I said out loud," Please don't get any bigger!" With a little luck, they didn't. Marble size was about all they amounted to. This time of year the weather can be rather sneaky so watch it closely. I don't mind being caught in a rain storm now and again, I don't melt.

The shroomin' is nearing its end along with spring. Get out and find some before there are none to be found!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lonesome Opener

My 2011 Minnesota fishing opener consisted of turkey hunting archery style. However, I did manage to get into some crappies the day before the big opener. Water temps are still cool for this time of year so the crappies were still up.

As far as opener goes, it seemed rather lonesome. Spots that are regularly packed weren't all that busy from what I had seen. I usually get some good fishing reports, but even the reports themselves were scarce.

A local newspaper had a front page article on the slow opener. One of the local bait shop owners said he had the least customers on friday night that he has ever had in 66 years. From the people the newspaper talked to it seemed outrageous gas prices were to blame for a lot of it. Lots of folks that usually travel for the opener just plain old didn't go. The expense of lodging, bait, licenses, and especially gas seems to be taking its toll on Minnesota's biggest weekend.

Unfortunately, I can't say that I really blame them. I can only imagine how the bait shops and resorts are handling this. Times continue to be tough...

How did you do?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

More Than A Mother

I've got to say that my brothers and I have the most amazing mother a person could possibly have. First off, three boys. Without getting further into that, I think it pretty much speaks for itself. Dirt, injuries, fights, cars, school work, checking out all the dead stuff I brought home, she was there for all of it. Even more so, she has always been there for all of us.

Who you are stems back to your roots. My Mother has given me far too much to list. One of the most important things she gave me was the opportunity to be myself. The freedom to become who I am. I am forever grateful for this and always will be. She has taught me how to love, how to work hard, and how to get back up. She has taught me how to live.

She is more than a mother. She is a best friend. I love you Mom!!!

Happy Mothers day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Missouri Turkey End

The ever so dreaded Tag Sandwich.

Well, I wasn't able to make it back to Missouri for the final weekend. I have an event I needed to be around for and Thursday I started feeling like crap. I was in no shape to drive most of the night. Knowing I would miss Friday morning I couldn't justify going for one morning.

It was one of the worst years I've ever spring hunted in Missouri. The MDC stated it would be tough hunting do to poor spring nesting the last several years and I would have to agree. There were birds around, but they didn't want anything to do with, well, anything. None the less, I had a great time. Now I'm completely ruined for panfishing. Some of those fish were amazing! I got my first belly full of shrooms and took in some great sights.

A plate loaded with turkey, mashed potatoes, and corn would have been nice. Instead I'm stuck with a nasty tag sandwich. I hate these things! It's never good when you have to eat an out of state tag. There isn't enough ketchup in the world! At least I saved some gas money, right? Aaaahhhhhh....

Monday, May 2, 2011

Missouri Turkey Weekend #2

Yep, you are right. That is not a picture of a turkey. Needless to say I am still turkeyless.

Friday morning was the best weather I've had thus far. I had put some tom's to bed the night before and was amped for the morning hunt. The birds gobbled like crazy on the roost, but it was a different story when their feet touch the ground. The gobbles faded along with my hunt. I had a pair of jakes come in and I passed. The tom that was with them, well, he had other plans.

The wind picked up by mid day and never stopped. Even at night, there was no letting up. It's had to sleep in your vehicle when it's constantly rocking back and forth. Never got sea sick in a vehicle before. I ended up lighting out Saturday afternoon, a day early. The wind was suppose to blow through the night and into Sunday. I bailed.

I did however get into some fish again. Not like the weekend before, but it was still entertaining. I was also able to find some dandy shrooms. My dinner was as organic as it gets. Fish I had just caught with some freshly picked shrooms. I think I eat better living out of my vehicle than I do while I'm at home.

Still no turkey and still a sucessful weekend. I am a bit nervous about how weekend #3 is going to pan out. Between what work will allow me to do and how this crazy spring weather is going to hold out. Only time will tell...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Missouri Turkey Weekend #1

Well, my first weekend in Missouri was certainly not filled with turkey action. The weather was tough and the birds were even tougher. None the less, it was an adventure.

I arrive Friday morning around 5 a.m. to the sound of thunder and flashing of lightening. I patiently wait for the storm to pass with little luck. I put the rain gear on and headed out anyway. Every now and again a crash of thunder would force a gobble. Pressing on with very little luck, I switched game plans.

I was able to get into some of the best panfishing I have ever experienced that afternoon. The crappies were that of nothing like I had ever seen. 15 plus inchers that you could almost fit a soda can in their mouths! These fish were insane and the most colored I've seen. The bluegill were no slouches either. Absolutely giant pannies! No turkeys on day one, but the fishing made up for every rain drop.

The sky broke open with sunshine and I had myself a fine dinner. With my belly full, I slept like a champ. Saturday morning was, well, gale force winds. In my opinion wind is the worst thing for turkey hunting for pail full of reasons. At 9 a.m. I had a strutter skirt the opposite side of the field I was on. He had two feathered ladies with him, so I was non existent to him. That sums up my turkey action for the rest of the day.

Sunday morning was the best of the weekend. Super heavy fog filled the air, but it was still and clear. The turkeys gobble on roost and when they hit the ground the gobbles stopped. I sat patiently awaiting one to silently sneek in. All I ended up with was a sore bottom.

I've always said that turkeys are more weather sensitive than fish. I guess this weekend proved that to be rather accurate. Turkeys or no turkeys, I was in my element and that's what makes a successful hunt. In four more days I will go for another round and you will hear all about how weekend #2 goes. The turkey adventure continues...