Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Happy New Year!!!
Monday, December 23, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Well, just as everything else in life, it doesn't last. I brought some coon in to sell at the fur buyers today. Each year you try and play the market as best as you can. Of coarse this is just an educated gamble.
Unfortunately the high prices we have been experiencing are on the downward spiral. From the references that I have I've been told that some of the major fur buyers in China have been arrested. Nothing, or very little, can be shipped to China. This could be very bad and has me rather worried. Generally as the season progresses and pelts become more prime prices increase. This year has been the opposite. As the season ages the prices are falling. Never a good sign.
I will continue onward with the rat line. I pulled 25 this morning, but I'm wondering how long I will continue with the news of the marketplace. Rats are dropping. They have dropped several dollars from the beginning of the season. Time will tell....
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
This could possibly be one of the best ice years we've seen in a long time. Night after night of below zero temperatures paired up with no snow on the ice has made for excellent conditions.
Ten inches plus and even had some reports of folks driving out already. I wont be in the truck too soon, but the wheeler is a must. Having an ATV allows me to pull the shanty out long before my truck will see the ice. It is small, but it is cozy and fish catching castle.
I found my favorite little underwater point. The "Wood Duck House" is up and running. Please do stay safe. Use common sense and don't push it. Can you say, fish for dinner!?!
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
With the arrival of good ice, I had been starting my muskrat line. As temps warmed the ice got a little creepy so I pulled my rat line. Oh don't you worry, I took advantage of this last warm snap before winter is here to stay.
When you get a handful of warm night after some good cold weather these coon will crawl out of their dens to roam. With the river banks and ponds all froze up with ice you must capitalize on trails. Trails, trails, and trails!
However you like to set trails during this time, just set them. Snares, blind body grips, and DP's. They all work and they will all catch coon in this situation. It was a small window, but it was very productive. The picture above is a huge boar that fell to a blind trail on a beaten down trail. What a fatty!!!
Despite the lack of number and the all the competition for muskrats this year I began to rather good. If you put in some homework time and find them it will pay off. You may have to walk a few miles, but it's all work it. Single digit highs and below zero lows that are forecasted will put me back on the rat line. Coon traps will be hung up and there will be flags on huts.
Big old coon and pullin' rats, what is not to love???
Thursday, November 28, 2013
My first duck hunt carrying my own gun with my Grandfather when I was very young. An outdoor Journalist wanted to do a story on me and my Grandfather took this picture. It is one of the originals.
I type this with tears running down my cheeks and a heart filled with ache. He fought his battle with cancer for years and years like a trooper. His battle ended yesterday afternoon. I didn't know this kind of pain existed.
I never met my Father, not one time. The best thing my Grandfather ever did for me was the fact that he gave me his time. He was my childhood best friend, my Father, and my Grandfather. It was a lot of weight for one man to carry, but he did it without hesitation. Hunting, fishing, and trapping was the best gift he or anyone had ever given me. He showed me my niche.
He has made over 150 wetlands in Minnesota, received county conservation awards, and was inducted into the Minnesota Waterfowl Hall of Fame. Just to name a fraction of his many accomplishments. The reason we all can still enjoy the outdoors today is because people like him gave a damn and stood up for what he loved so deeply. He taught me passion.
Every deer I shoot and every duck I knock down, he will be there. Every photo I take and every word I write, he will be there. You will forever be with me and I hope with all my worth you are at peace. Please help guide my arrows straight and true and give me the strength to carry on. I miss you already. I love you so much. You are the best man I have ever known.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
The buck named Blade has indeed fallen. My new found friend and whitetail warrior has killed a monarch of deer. Congratulations Mike. You deserve this heavy antlered beast. Thank you for letting me do your photo shoot. To be a part of such an amazing life event is truly remarkable.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Trail cameras come in all sizes and shapes since they have swept the market in modern day hunting. Like any other tool, if used properly, they can be deadly. Pun intended...
There are two types of scouting, preseason and in-season. We are only going to talk about in-season for this post. The difference with in season scouting is that this information is relevant right now not when season comes around. You want to know what the deer are doing at this very moment as to form a plan and bring one down.
So lets get this started. Before we do, you need to ask yourself a question. Are hunting deer as in plural or are you hunting a deer as in singular? I mean are you trying to get a shot at a deer or are you scouting for one particular buck lucky enough to get your tag? Once you know the answer this will make more sense.
So you already have your property staked out. You need to find the "starting point." Find the most social area on the property. Something such as a heavy concentration of crossing trails or a staging area covered in tracks and poop. Place the camera here and cover as many trails and as much area as you can. Turn it on and wait.
How long you leave the camera(s) at each station all depends on how much time you have to invest. Once you've determined the a very social area it's time to move the camera. At this point don't worry about most of them being night pictures. Look at the pictures you do have and try to get a basic direction the majority are coming from. That is the direction you need to begin your new search.
From this point on your sign will not be as concentrated, don't let this get you wondering if you're doing something wrong. Instead of four intersecting trials you have only two a few hundred yards away in a little more heavy of cover. Set the camera here as the second station.
If you don't get much activity on the camera try another trail. It is process of elimination. No action is helpful as well. Now you know not to sit on certain trails that could have been used more so earlier in the year. Once you pick up on some good activity. Repeat what you just did from the starting point.
The further you get and the more of their corridor you get the more daylight pictures you start getting. Even if they are still a bit farther and few in-between that's fine, it's improvement. Find a nice ambush point towards the end of your route that you have put together. Look on an aerial map and track the route your camera has discovered. Reason being, this could help give you answers to justify the traveling and help you look for more similar situation in a more efficient manner.
This works well when you are after one particular buck. Just keep moving it back and "track" him. Do not become to invasive and mind your routes. If you use your cameras in this type of method, you will kill deer. This works very well when you're on a trip and are limited for time. Time is of the essence.
Now get out and deploy some trail cameras and start back tracking to your next kill!
Monday, November 4, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Sunday, October 20, 2013
One of the most misunderstood aspects of the deer and deer hunting world is the relationship between the rut and the weather.
For example, how many times have we heard this? It's getting cold already and I'm starting to signs of an early rut. And the famous, it's too warm this year so the deer wont be rutting. I hate to be the one to tell you, but these are complete B.S.
If Mother Nature based the success of a species reproduction on the weather we wouldn't have any deer. Some years there is snow on the ground and some years you're in a T-shirt. The weather is inconsistent and by no means the trigger for mating amongst whitetail deer.
Hold on to your hats folks but this is the reality of it. Rain, snow, warm, cold, it doesn't matter. The rut happens the SAME TIME EVERY YEAR. It is an anatomical/biological matter, not a weather triggering matter. The number one trigger of the rut is the amount of daylight hours. Which is consistent every year, in turn, securing a prosperous future for the whitetail population. When the daylight hours are reduced to the right amount of absorbed light, the does begin to release pheromones.
These pheromones are what the bucks are desperately searching for. They indicate what state of reproduction the does are in. Thus telling an eager buck when a doe is in heat and accepting. The reason for the false theories is the affect the weather actually does have on the rut.
The weather does play a role on how much buck sign and daylight movement we see during the rut. This is why people say when its warm there is no rut and when its cold its a crazy and early rut. It's pretty simple. When the weather is cold, 45 degrees and lower, you see more buck sign. They do not burn near as many calories when it's cooler versus when it's unseasonably warm. This gives them "more energy" to make more rubs and scraps. If daylight temps are down they are more comfortable to move in the daylight. When its warm they save their energy for night movement when its cooler. So, when its cold you see more sign and daylight movement and when its warm you don't. Bucks don't like running around like mad men and making tons of rubs and scrapes when its "hot" out. They save the calories for when it's cooler. When it's colder they have the calories to burn.
Make sense? There are no earlier starting ruts and no later starting ruts. It always happens the same time EVERY YEAR. The weather dictates how much sign you see and how much daylight activity you see during the rut, not when it starts.
I hope this clears a few debates up for some folks. Now you can set them straight about the relationship between weather and the rut. Keep them arrows in the air!
Sunday, October 13, 2013
High winds and fast ducks.
The second "opener" for us here in Minnesota kicked off Saturday. It was fairly warm, but the wind was crankin'. As for ducks, the morning rush fizzled out pretty quickly. Very few wood ducks were in the sky. Mainly the speedy teal made up for the majority of shooting with a few mallards thrown in the mix. Them teal are small, but they sure are one hell of sporty bird.
As for Sunday, it was even worse than I had predicted. More geese than ducks in the air and they were on the high side. We had our first good frost. Clear as a bell and about as calm as it gets. Not exactly a duck kind of day. And it wasn't. The shoot was slow. I imagine the just of the shooting is done until we get some new birds down. If, we get some new birds down.
My waders don't leak and there is duck on the grill. Can't complain...
Sunday, October 6, 2013
The art of being an outdoorsman does not stop after the harvest. The preparation before feasting on your prey is very important to complete the cycle. Taking it from wild to delicious.
There must be at least two trillion ways to pan fry a walleye. Notice, I said pan fry not deep fry. We'll save the deep frying for another post. With that being said, this is my absolute favorite way to pan fry a walleye. Ready?
First thing I do is prepare the coating. Crush saltine crackers into a fine dust. Use a rolling pin and put them in a bag and lean on them. It is important to get them very fine so you have even coverage. Then I add seasoning salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper to the bag of finely smashed crackers.
Then beat a couple eggs into a long shallow container. Also pour the crackers into a separate long shallow container.
Now wrap your fillets up in paper towels for a little bit. Absorb all the access moisture off the fillets. Reason being, if they are wet you will not get nearly enough coating and egg to stick to the fillet itself.
In a large fry pan heat up some extra virgin olive oil. While the oil is heating peal and slice up one fresh garlic clove into the oil. When the slices of garlic start to sizzle a little the oil is ready for the fish.
Remove the fillets for the paper towels and place into the egg bath. Coat evenly and everywhere. Then place them into the cracker dust. Make sure the fillet is evenly coated on the entire fillet. Then place into the pan.
When the bottom of the fillet turns a dark golden brown flip and repeat on the opposite side. when both sides have a nice golden brown crust on them remove from the heat. Before serving I like to hit them up with a small dusting of seasonings. You can also put just a few drops of lemon juice on each fillet if you like, just be careful not to overdue the lemon.
I could eat fish prepared like this every day. Honestly, I could. Give it a try and let me know what you think of it. Fish on!
Sunday, September 29, 2013
An old rule of thumb, when the leaves start hitting the water the smallies start biting. Tuck that one away in the bank.
Casting swimbaits in leaf covered pools is an excellent way to pass some time until trapping opens. The seasons are amongst us folks. Get out and get after it!
The bite is slow, but it is beginning. The best is yet to come!
Sunday, September 22, 2013
I'll just jump right into the meat and potato's right off the bat.
Saturday I limited out by sunrise and Sunday morning was the same. I am not tooting my own horn but a ton of my quick limits were due to my good shooting. Sometimes you're on and sometimes you're not. This weekend, I was on. Had myself a couple double, hell, even my dog had a double retrieve this weekend. One mouth, two ducks.
Mostly wood ducks and teal were in the air. Very few mallards, but I did manage to reach a few. Woodies and teal were pretty close in numbers. A few good cold snaps and the little teal of the sky will be gone shortly.
Saturday morning was much better than Sunday morning. We like to sit later than most folks.Reason being, when most guys go in they jump ponds. This is when you get a lot of shooting at singles and pairs. Which is the best, in my opinion. After the morning rush on Sunday things slowed way down in a hurry. A lot less in the air late morning.
We sat till late morning awaiting a goose opportunity. Surprisingly, there were very few opportunities to be had. I didn't see as many as I usually do. Definitely not due to lack of numbers. The majority were high up and away. That's what you get with calm bluebird days.
Overall the Minnesota waterfowl opener was pretty darn good. Better than I had anticipated anyways. I've had better and I've most certainly had worse. We'll have to see how the rest of the season holds up...
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013
You will almost never hear me say this, I'm speechless. Honestly, I just don't even really know what to say about the start of my season. It almost feels like I'm dreaming, but I have the blood on my pants to prove it!
By September 16th I had already killed a beautiful black bear and a big heavy buck. This is why I say speechless. I am honored and grateful to have experienced these wonderful and unforgettable adventures.
After some folks on the neighboring property decided to end some insane firearms practice, deer movement began early. A little tip for you to pay attention to next time when you're on stand. If you have an evening that is windy and does not let up at sunset, it will be a good evening for movement. Which was the exact case the evening King George got blasted form the missile launcher.
Does and fawns fed through well before sunset. There were hitting the acorns very hard. I had a very big producing oak right behind me. It was extremely hard not to fill my antlerless tag. Wow, they were asking for it.
Before darkness settled in I had shot King George at 9 yards. I turned him inside out and he only ran 75 yards before piling up in the tall grass. I still gave him a few hours just to be on the safe side with a hog like KG. The blood trail was easy and the recovery was sweet. I tore the grass off his rack like a kid opening a present at Christmas. Just what I've always wanted!
He will be pushing 150" and dressed out at 224 pounds. He was a tank!
This is a trail cam pic of King George from opener weekend!
KG now rests at Minnesota Valley Taxidermy...
Monday, September 16, 2013
Friday, September 13, 2013
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The first cold front that gives you goose bumps. The first sit of the year on stand. The first few leaves to hit the ground. The first rush of adrenaline. It's bear season.
I'm really not even sure where to begin. Mother Nature has been so good to me, time and time again. This year my hunting area was reduced to one bear. Which I ended up pulling my tag out of my pocket the very first evening. It was one I will never forget. The bear would not commit to the funnel. She was rather uneasy and was trying to desperately get our wind. I held my bow at full draw, literally, forever.
The shot was on mark and the bear was dead on it's feet. I knew it was the bigger bear I wanted to take by the mark on it's muzzle. After examining the bear it turns out it wasn't a mark on it's muzzle, it was a huge hole! I figure it was a result of a bite from another bear. It was big and deep. You could see up a ways into the bears muzzle. It wasn't a fresh wound and the bear carried on in great health. I mean, you literally could see up into the bear head! Crazy, this bear will now be known as the Hole in the Head Bear.
As quickly as I tagged out, it gave my cameraman and I more filming opportunities. With time and another active bait we switched gear, literally. He took his bow and I got the camera. He was in the hot seat now. Lord and behold we did it again. Luke killed his first ever black bear and I killed my best bear yet.
2 days 2 bears. Absolutely amazing. The entire experience was filmed and is currently in production. When the final editing is complete the Minnesota Outdoor Journal Episode: Bowhunting Minnesota Black Bears 2013 will be up and running! It is going to be insane!
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Sunday, August 25, 2013
She was, to say the least, a hot one. It was a tad on the "thick" side out there. What more could a person ask for, sticky hands, soaked in sweat, and cover with biting flies. Ah yes, a bear baiting we will go.
Just like all wildlife activity, unseasonably warm weather slows it down. We all know this, so needless to say, I was rather happy to see both stations had been hit during the week. Both stations are being hit on a fairly regular basis now. I really hope it cools off in time for the hunt. This heat can really turn a bear into becoming lazy and hitting late.
I baited the stations up and both got a visit that very evening. Hung a stand on each set and did some minimal trimming. We will have to still hang another stand on each station for film sets. Going to have a cameraman for the first six days or so. I'm pretty excited for that.
Well, we made it through another weekend of baiting. The heat is no joke folks. If you're going to be out adventuring in it, stay hydrated! Always have something to drink on you, always. It can really get dangerous. When you're a long ways out things can get tricky. Be safe, not sorry.
One more week, and then it's go time. Until then, here's a little bear kiss for you.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Warm and buggy. If bear baiting wasn't sweaty and itchy, why would we do it, right?
I would have to say that overall I'm pretty pleased about the weekend outcome. The Old Faithful bait station was just as it is, faithful. That station went very well. As for the my other station, not so much.
The walk in Refuge bait station had been logged straight through. No sign of it what so ever, she was a goner. So, I had to relocate and create a new station. This takes a lot of work. I had to go father in, which really sucks when you have to carry everything in. No atv's allowed in this area. Hiking and haulin' logs son!
I made two trips in to each station. Approximately 400 pounds of bait is was on the ground by the time I left for home. 200 per station. Now, we just have to let it stink. Only about 16 hours after the first peanut hit the ground Friday I had this smaller bear hit the bait. Nope, not a hog, but very happy to see activity on the new station.
I will keep you posted on the what happens when I return for round two next weekend...
Sunday, August 11, 2013
These past few cool mornings have really got my blood flowing exceptionally well. Fall is just around the corner along with all the hunting seasons. I will admit, I do enjoy sliding out for some small river walleyes though.
When steady weather sinks in and the rivers clear up, the walleyes feed. It is a bit early so far this year, but I have been on a pretty decent bite. What I am throwing you ask? Swimbaits! You should have know that! These baits are my all time favorite baits to throw in rivers, period. It's almost like trout fishing, but on a tad larger scale. It will just keep improving as fall approaches.
I talked Crystal into going with me this morning in the rain. It took a little doing, but she came with and ended up catching her personal best walleye to date. You should ask her if she's glad she went...
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Monday, August 5, 2013
Yep, another year wiser. I want to thank everyone, not only for all the happy birthdays I received, but for all the support you have given me this past year. Everyone who took a moment out of their lives so I could share with them a moment of mine, you all mean the world to me. Family, friends, fans, followers, subscribers, outdoorspeople, bloggers, photographers, whatever you may be, thank you very much. Minnesota Outdoor Journal is for you.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Sunday, July 21, 2013
This is my "hard to reach" food plot rig. Yes, that is a lawn mower strapped to the back.
I can, with a smile on my face, say that I am done with the food plots for the year. Well, if all goes well weather wise. I planted them this weekend with the rain forecasted. It is about a week earlier than what I think would have been ideal but you have to do it when the time is right.
I have super good luck with brassicas/turnips. Ideally I like to plant them the last week in July to the first week in August. With the crazy weather this year, I'm happy to have them in the ground. A good week early, but I'll take it.
This is how I plant my plots, everyone will tell you something different. This works rather well for me.
1. Spray it and wait at LEAST a week, preferably two weeks if you can to make sure the entire plant is dead.
2. Mow it. After the plot has been killed mow it. It cleans it up and makes digging it up so much easier.
3. Turn up the ground. Disc it, cultivate it, whatever you have to till up the soil is fine. Make sure you have turned it all up good in all areas.
4. Lime it and leave it for a week, preferably with rain shortly after.
5. Till it up again right before planting. This will help aid in cutting down on any weeds that started to grow and also to prepare a good seed bed.
6. Fertilize it before broadcasting the seed. Hand spreader works fine.
7. Broadcast your seed.
8. I like to run a small light drag over it once quickly after seeding. Depending on the required seed depth, you may have to get the seeds down a bit more. Make sure you read the planting depths.
9. Hope like hell you get some rain shortly after to promote the seeds into germinating.
That is basically it. Simple. I also try to create a mineral site at each plot as well to hang a camera on. Watch your plot grow and how the deer are relating to it. Personally I like brassicas/turnips. Deer have pounded them in the past. I love seeing red on those huge green leaves! Happy plottin' everyone.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
If you're still scrambling for bear bait I'll let you in on the best place to get it. Go on Facebook and look up Bethany's Bear Bait. She has a huge variety of baits and for a really great price. All the info is on her Facebook page. She is located just outside of North Branch. Just message her and set up a pick up time and, boom, you're done. Time to make the woods stink!
Here is the link to her page:
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Sunday, June 30, 2013
The truck was packed and the cover was on the boat. Crystal and I were headed north in search of serenity and, well of coarse, fish.
Serenity and fish, either one came easy. The waters had big waves and so did the towns. Waves of people flooded in by Friday afternoon.
Wind was our biggest obstacle. It kept us off a lot of waters we wanted to scout. It wasn't breezy, it was crankin'. This forced us into bays and on smaller waters. Which really for me isn't too upsetting. I love exploring these small little holes. There is some great fishing to be had. I really try to focus on the lakes with species specific management regulations. Target the managed species!
During the week is much easier to catch your limit of serenity. It is amazing to watch the migration of people begin come the weekend. By late Saturday morning every gas station is all jammed up. Stress levels tend to go up when navigating these areas pulling the boat. You know exactly what I'm talking about.
We caught several pike pulling plugs. We didn't target walleye all too much so only catching onesmall fish wasn't much of a surprise. We caught largemouth in good numbers and we kept a mess of crappies one evening to have ourselves a fish fry back at camp.
I always enjoy myself in the north country. Whenever you leave there is always a tiny bit of excitement to get home, but once you're actually on the road it is very depressing. Back to reality.