Tuesday, December 30, 2014

One Last Push

I got it done with Old Smokey in Nebraska.   One last push.   The story and more photos are soon to come!   I just walked in the door...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Santa is a damn good man!   Critters better be watching themselves now!

Merry Christmas from the Journal!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Meat Mission

The most wonderful site for an archer.   A glowing nock and red fletchings.

With the season winding down, my uncle and I, were on a meat mission.   His tag needed some filling.   We set out to do just that.

The second evening of our hunt was the end of our hunt.   I was fortunate enough to introduce my Grim Reaper tipped meat missile to a delicious ole slick head.

Meat in the freezer.   Happy hunters.

Special thanks to my Uncle Scott.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ice Pans

The odd start to winter has left ice a bit sketchy at times.   Although it is recovering nicely, please use cation.   Enough lecturing, the fish are biting.

Early ice can be fantastic, which it has been.   The fish are schooled
and suspended.   Make a plan,
  Drill holes.   Catch fish.

I've been catching all my fish on plastics.   No need for live bait.   Small jigs with a horizontal presentation tipped with a small plastic.   Boom, buck is full.

Fish hang very tight to structure and suspend over it, sometimes all winter long.   Find the structure,  find the fish.   Don't be afraid to drill lots of holes!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

My Traditional Victory

The landscape was frigid to the eye but rather balmy to the skin.   My gloves never left my pockets.   The wind was calm and the timber was a mysterious kind of quiet.   The evening was perfect before it even started.
The wind was right to hunt a stand I've only hunted three times during early November.   It's one of those sets you have tons of confidence in.   It's also a very comfortable set to sit, which always helps the cause.   My stand is nestled ever so strategically in a small saddle on the edge of the timber.   Behind me is some of the most beautiful bedding habitat an archer could ever see.   A small slough surrounded by cattails, high grasses, and willows.   I'm up, settled in, and soaking it all in.
Everything held my attention.   A pileated woodpecker singing his sound at ten feet will do that to a person.   Squirrels of all shapes, sizes, and colors increased my heart rate a time or two also.   Time was going by fast, but you wish somehow you could slow it down.   Evenings like this, well, they are just special in a way that perhaps only an archer knows.
Here come the first deer of the evening and a good solid half hour before sunset.   The three antlerless deer made their way to small oak flat about eighty yards in front of me.   There was an oak that had produced a massive amount of acorns and of coarse the deer found them.   Pawing, digging, and crunching they foraged through the snow an leaves until content.   They moved off the same way they entered.   I had my eye on the big old gal who led the pack.  They vanished into the timber.
With the sun freshly expired behind the horizon a new family group of antlerless whitetails expose themselves from the timber.   To the small oak flat they go.   It just goes to show you how keying in on a single producing tree can be killer, pun definitely intended.   Watching and hoping one of them finds their way down a trail that leads to me and my longbow.   This is about where things got really interesting.
The deer became edgy which reveled the arrival of more deer.   Next thing I know a buck is chasing does all over the small oak flat like it's still peak.   I'm smiling from ear to ear just to be privileged to be an eyewitness to such behavior.   One more deer approaches and is clearly a more mature buck.   He explodes all the deer into a frenzy.   He completely clears out the area and runs the ladies and their children out of town.   A young doe who missed her first cycle will come in roughly 26 days later, which makes things like this possible.   Right time, right place.
Like an alien beamed down from a UFO, he's suddenly reappears back in the oak flat.   He's alone and intense and the same goes for me.   I realize, this is the ideal time to call to him.   Guess what?   My grunt tube is in my other pack resting in the basement of my home.   Awesome.   Never, ever forget your calls.   Ever.
Vocalizing and interacting with your prey is a remarkable sensation that nothing can reproduce.   Breaking the language barrier between predator and prey is an intimate moment of illusion.   It was just an opportunity I couldn't waste.  I dug deep in my throat an made the most guttural sounding grunt I could muster up.   He stopped in his tracks which also told me to do the same.   Let him come find the intruder.  
I hear another deer approach from my left.   Boom, another alien beam puts another buck sixty yards directly in front of my location.   I'm beginning the ever so loved shakes.   I love this feeling, you are completely at your emotions mercy.   They new younger buck approaches cautiously.   While for a moment the larger buck heads my way only to turn back to the acorn patch.   He had me going but wouldn't commit.   So damn close!
This all has evolved in a relatively short amount of time, but light was fading and I knew it.   I'm all in.   I let out the most realistic snort wheeze I could.   The larger buck, along with the light, is fading back into the timber.   To my surprise, after a lengthy stare down, the other buck headed my way.   Passing just out of range I had to see this through.   I gave him another snort wheeze which stopped him again.   As the buck turned, I knew his plan.   He, like most bucks will, began circling me to get down wind.   If they can't see something, person or deer, they want to smell it.   
Now he is nearly directly behind me in the open grass.   Before he enters my scent I give him one more grunt.   Remember, I'm crapping my pants at this point and trying to make realistic deer vocalizations.   The soft grunt turned him right in.   On a string, here he comes.   I've readied myself for the shot.   Ten more feet will give me a wide open twelve yard shot.  Nope.   He turns and walks almost behind me, of coarse.   With limbs in my way along with the trunk of the tree I was fixed to, I drew my longbow with determination.
At this point I believe I've blacked out to some degree.   All the obstacles didn't bother me.   I was so intensely focused on what I needed to do.   My heavy two blade hit his heart like a Mike Tyson punch to the face.    He ran dead on his feet for 70 yards and pilled up in the willows.   The beautiful sounds of a complete chapter.
The recovery was simple and so was the way I felt.   Honored.   I have many trail cam pictures of this buck from summer up until this very moment.  We had a relationship and now it was a permanent  bond never to be broken.   That deer gave more than his life.   He taught me things about his life and surely about my own.   My first buck harvest with traditional archery and my first ever harvest with my longbow.   In my eyes, this young chunky eight point was a booner.   I have never in my entire life carried as much determination to see a goal through in its final completion.  
The longbow, true in all its glory is a piece of history.   At times I felt as if I had bit off more than I could chew.   It's not an easy task to accomplish, but sometimes I like being reminded of what I'm capable of.   Things weren't always as easy as they are.   I find it healthy to understand this.   It builds character, respect, and honor.   The harder you work, the greater the reward.   The longer you strive, the bigger the moment.   We shouldn't always take shelter in the easy way, create your own reward.   Work and strive as if you were hunting with a longbow and your options will be endless.   I am, and always will be, an archer.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'll See You Later

One year ago from this very day, I didn't say good bye, I said I'll see you later. In fact, I see you every single day. You surround me like the wind that makes the cattails rustle. I hear you, because I listen. I see you. I see you in the passion I carry every single day for our great wilderness. I appreciate the habitat that gives us life, that you fought to save. The very same habitat I surround myself in to this same day. I try with all my might, to share ...and show the world how important your work was and still is. To save the wildlife and the lands they inhabit. You've saved many places on this earth and in turn, you have saved me. I want the entire world to know, that one man, can make a difference.
To my dear sweet Grandfather, I love you more than I can find the words to explain. I will see you later.

Arrow In the Sky

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Lesson Learned

Your first.   The one you will never forget.   The one you learned about everything.   The one you talk about the rest of your life.   The one that is responsible for your addition.
Crystal's first deer hunt took place during the second half of the Minnesota firearms deer season.   A five day hunt and I was her guide.   She was excited for the experience and I was excited to show her what makes me tick.   She will finally see what this whitetail obsession is all about.
Wouldn't you know it, a half hour into the first morning a doe and four fawns pass within 40 yards of our stand.   She decided to pass on Ole Mamma Slick.   As the opportunity slowly walked away, I was almost in tears because of her decision.   None the less, it was her hunt and it was hers for deciding.   I respect her reasoning.   She told me she didn't want to sit for 10 minutes, shoot a deer, and proceed on our merry way.   She said she wanted to hunt, so that's what we did.   We hunted.
Tough weather created tough hunting.   After our deer encounter that first morning, sightings became far and few in-between.   Although Crystal was unable to punch her very first tag, there was something to be gained.   I think a deer hunt, especially one in extreme conditions, really surprises people in what it teaches them.   You don't just learn about deer and their behaviors, you also learn about yourself.
She learned how determined she can be.   She learned what it's like to sit in single digits temps for hours with frozen eyelashes.   She learned motivation getting up long before daylight day after day.   She learned how uncomfortable sitting motionless and silent for hours really can be.   She learned that persistence is a key factor in success.   She learned that playing the wind and having knowledge about your prey is essential.   She learned she is stronger than she thought.   She learned why the whitetail deer is a creature that demands respect.   She learned of the addition.
Battling a rather nasty cold and braving the extreme elements, she always pressed on.   I am very proud of my new deer hunter.   We both learned something about ourselves and each other.   Crystal and I both, will not soon forget our first deer hunt together.   Old memories will motivate new memories.   As long as we keep the great wilderness in our hearts, we will always be rich.   Who would have thought a deer could do all that?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Her Very First

Today was a day Crystal and I will never forget, our first deer hunt together.   Day one is in the books and we have four days left to get it done.  And yes, I am filming the adventure so stay tuned to see how this all turns out!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Inspired by Ispiration

We've all felt pain. We've all felt sorrow. We've all lost someone. I am so amazed at how some people learn to channel their feelings and emotions into pure motivation and drive. I can hear the anguish in their voices and I can see the peace in their photographs. Ordinary people, like you and I. They made a choice. A choice to become great and give themselves to the world. Without all the pain and loss the good times would lack glory. To the poor struggling man who brings my eyes to water by way of song and all who follow in your footsteps, thank you. Thank you for sharing yourself to me and the rest of the world. You inspire me and give me determination. I feel your pain, and it is as lovely as mine.

Monday, October 27, 2014

My Hunt for the Hit List

I have tried with all my might to preoccupy myself with outdoor activities.   With only a few occasional trips to the tree to satisfy my fix.   Ducks, pheasant, and mainly fish have lead to this very point, October 27th.  
With unseasonably warm weather and two properties holding shooter deer, the last thing I want to do is burn them out.   And myself.   Crops are coming out and deer are changing behaviors.   The leaves are gone and the estrus is just around the corner.   Tomorrow a cold front moves through dropping temps 15 - 20 degrees.   This is it, go time.
I will, from this evening on, hunt like a man possessed.   Evenings, mornings, midday, whatever it takes and however it goes.   Now is the time to pull up your pants and hunt like you want it.   I will film and document the best the I can.   I will keep everyone posted on my progress and encounters.  
I have made a list of 4 bucks I want to target, also know as a "hit list."   I will kill any of these four deer without a thought.   Also, this time of year is excellent for killing new deer, or as I call them, non resident deer.   It a new shooter shows up, yep, he's dead also.
I will introduce you to the hit list I have made.   From the first being my number one buck to my number four buck at the end.
The Life Changer Buck
(aka L.C.)
15-16 scoring points
The Claw Buck
Big Tall Heavy Main Frame 10 point
The Rookie Buck
clean 10 point
The Stranger Buck
Clean 8 point
The next twelve days will be a testament to me as an outdoorsman.   These days will be taken very seriously and I intend on having myself a blast.   Keep them arrows in the air and don't forget to check back for updates!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fan Feedback

Hey Josh,
     Been meaning to write this email for a while now just to say a great big thank you for your top water frog video. It literally changed our fishing lives.well let me rephrase that it created one.My wife and I fished once or twice n...ever knew how to catch fish till we saw your video. went out and bought a new pole, line and FROGS and we are both hooked. we are catching bass every time we go fishing now… what a blast After 30 years we now have something we both love to do. And I mean she absolutely loves goin fishin now. Can't tell u how many people I have told this story to.Everybody seems shocked they don't use frogs. It is by far our favorite and most successful bass bait. In fact it was about our second time out using the frog I landed bout an 8 pounder my wife was freaking out it was so big, Anyway thank you again loved the video and keep on doin what you do God Bless you. 
 Todd and Sandy

       For anyone who wants to know why I do the Journal, well, here you go. This is an email I received from a couple awesome Journal fans. I really can't put into words how feedback like this makes me feel. I'm going to keep saying it, I have the best fans and followers in the entire world. This proves it. I appreciate each and every one of you with every ounce of my being. Please continue your unwavering support, I'm just getting started! #Grateful

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Frost and Feathers

It was a morning I will not soon forget.   The landscape was covered in a thick layer of frost and fog slowly crept across the water.   It was a morning calendars are made of.   The kind that demands your attention.
Dixie and I were wedged in amongst the cattails anticipating the mornings action.   It was very still and very quiet.   The first gunshots rang out like canons across the slough.   It's go time.   Bring on the wings.
The cool nights have began the fall migration.   Newbies decoyed rather well.   From gadwall to green wings.   We even managed to fool a few honkers.   Low water levels made for plenty of mud, but were no match for Dixie.   She sloped through the sludge dragging her prize geese to heal.   I often wonder what a guy would do without such a companion.   Dogs make the hunt.
With changing weather condition and a lack of birds, Sunday was a much slower day.   Warm and windy.   Southerly winds and low numbers are never good.   Either way, it's a good place to be.  
This is the first season without my Grandfather.   That frosty morning was his gift.   I will never forget the rising sun reflecting off the frosty crystals that coated every blade of grass.   The sound of air filtering through flocking blackbirds wings.   The smell of a freshly fired shotgun shell.   He was there.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Longbow Bear Heartbreaker Part 1

Well, here it is.   The Longbow journey will be presented in a two part episode.    Each will contain a bear encounter and loss.   This is super hard for me to edit.   It keeps bring back.   Back to a place I don't want to be...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Love Her Way

Sometimes I'm not the easiest guy to love. Run in the house after hunting just to grab my fishing gear and turn right back around. No matter where I am, you're with me. I love the way you love me.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Editing 2014 Bear Episode

I apologize for the absence of current material.   I have been in a bit of funk due to the events of my bear season.   Mentally it has been a bit of a process for me.   I will begin editing and the footage from my season.   It is rather hard for me to do.   Reliving the moments over and over is not an easy task for me.   I will give it my best and try to create an episode worthy of the experience.    This is a screen shot of the new up coming 2014 Bear Episode: Longbow Heartbreaker.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bear Update: Emotionally Sick

I am having a hard time talking or even writing about this, but I will do my best to give you all an update on my bear journey.
So far during this bear season I have shot, hit, and not recovered two bears.   Yes, you read that right, two.   Both with my longbow.   The first bear was shot directly into the shoulder.   I tracked the bear a ways into the night and returned to pick back up at day break.   I follow this bear with marginal sign for approximately a half mile.   Through swamps, low fern areas, up steep grades, down ravines, and lost all sign at the mouth of a giant tamarack swamp.  
I am confident in saying that this bear will live to feed once again.   Most of the sign was on the sides of brush and very little on the ground and there was never an area where the sign was more significant that the other.   I shot this bear at last light and I did not get the shot on film, which just added salt to my own wound.
I regrouped and shot and shot and shot and shot and shot.   I got my mind right and my confidence was there.   I was ready to saddle back up.   A few days later I was given a second chance.   The second bear came in early and I took my shot.   I hit this bear back and low.   I am rather high in the tree and close to the bait at this station.   This gave me a very drastic downward angle for a shot.   My arrow did not travel through the entire side of the bear due to the low shot placement and steep shot angle.   The arrow pulled through very low on the opposite side of the bear about 15 feet for impact.   I tracked this bear with very minimal sign for somewhere between 150 to 200 yard and ran completely out of sign.   I radius searched the area afterwards to no avail.
I am sick, ashamed, depressed, and heartbroken.   I love this tradition will all my worth and would do nothing to damage its purpose.   I have, and still am, going through so many different emotions.   I have yelled and I have cried.   Yes, I have shed tears.   I worked so hard for these moments only to not keep it together and hold up my end of the bargain.    One time is hard enough to deal with, but two times back to back is almost more than I can handle.   Lord knows I have practiced and trained and practice and trained some more all summer for this.   I can shoot my distances and angle well.   Both bears were inches from a vital shot.   This has been my dream since I learned of traditional archer, a longbow bear.  
I feel riddled with failure.   Even worse than that, I feel like I have let everyone including myself down.   I take this very seriously.   I have made the decision to keep hunting, but I am not sure what to do.   I have talked to many people to help me deal with this situation, fellow long time archers.   Do I continue the season and press on with my longbow? Or, do I give the longbow a rest and shot more with it and try to get some antlerless kills first and try again next year and finish my season out with my compound?   I shot about 100 arrows out of the longbow yesterday and shot very well.   The problem is, the thought of not recovering another bear scares the hell out of my and I don't want to shoot until I can learn to rid myself of that feeling.   As of now, I'm leaning towards continuing with my compound.   I would have to say getting a third opportunity would be nothing short of a miracle, but I must press on.  
There are not many left on earth who still actively hunt with traditional gear now days and I know these situations are partially why.   I just am fascinated with traditional archery.   After all, it is call traditional.   The real way, the raw way.   Pure archery.   I apologize to those who love the arrow as much as I do.   I am going to take some time to deal with my situation and press on.   I will make a 2014 bear episode and you will see the hit on the second bear.   May the bear gods be on my side and perhaps you will see me harvest a black bear yet. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Archery Opener!!!

The kill plots are coming along.   Who's going for archery opener this weekend!?!?

Monday, August 25, 2014

For Sale???

This is too good not to share. This literally just happened. So, this week I am shooting my longbow off the peak of my roof at my target. Recreating the same shot as my bait stations, distance and height. Traditional archery is practice, practice, practice. The house across the road, directly in front of my house, is for sale. What a splendid time for a showing eh? Blah ha ha! I'm wearing the same camo as I tend to hunt in and shooting off my roof, first thing they see when they pull up. Blah ha ha! Welcome to my world folks. ‪#‎deathpalace

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Baiting Update

They got rain in the north country over the week.   Do you know what that means?   Yes, more skeeters.
Again, it was warm and insanely humid.   The kind of humid that makes you sweat like mad while you stand there and do nothing.   Gross wet damn feeling all the time.   Aside from the humidity and flying pests, ever was about as good as it could have been.
My stations were 3 for 3.   All were hit.   I baited with anticipation to see what would happen overnight.   I was super pumped to see that all three stations had been hit again in just the one evening.
I have some trail cam photos of a few average bears, but there is one that I am really after.   He is a beauty.   I have one more weekend of baiting and then it's go time.   I have to get my gear and cameras ready for action this week.  I've been shooting the long bow and training very hard for this hunt.   Traditional all the way! 

This is the one I'm after.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Thank You

I get some pretty sweet fan/follower feedback. There was a post about a possible outdoor project in the future and this person suggested me. I truly love getting all sorts of feedback, but every so often I get one that makes me sit back in my chair and my eyes water up. I got one of those today. ‪#‎humbling‬
This wouldn't be for me but if I were you guys I would give Josh Wells a look ! He is one of the hardest working hunter's I know and his respect and responsibilit...ies for the animals and there environment is 2nd to none .fishing hunting trapping he is 100% an outdoors man. with good values and a deep love for everything outdoors . He pushes himself like no one else I've ever seen .He knows what hard work is and will not give up until he has done what he set out to do .He deserves a shot and if there is any way possible you guys can do this for him he will not disappoint. His drive passion and stewardship to the land is something this world needs to see so please check him out ! Minnesota outdoor journal josh wells ok thank you !

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Deer Densities: Who's Who

All summer long people have been posting trail cam pics of deer from up north to the southern border. Comments about all the deer sightings, fawn pics, and shooter bucks. Folks saying how they can't wait for season because things are really looking good. And, I would have to agree with these folks, I'm having similar results. Yet, the deer population and densities are at an unhealthy low level? Some of these are the same folks who, just 8 short months ago, were fighting tooth and nail about how poor our populations and densities were? There are two types of outdoorspeople, those who pretend to know what they are talking about and those who truly do know what they are talking about. The more involved I become, the easier it is to tell who's who. ‪#‎wildlifemanagement

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Moose Dilemma

Sept. 28, 2013: Minnesota moose die from wolves, ticks, abandonment and disease

This article from StarTribune.com can also be viewed on our full website

Josephine Marcotty, Star Tribune
August 9, 2014 - 10:12 PM

It’s tough to be a moose in Minnesota.
The deaths of 54 that were tracked as part of the biggest and most high-tech research study ever conducted on moose provide a rare glimpse into the harsh life they face in the wild and help explain why they are rapidly disappearing from Minnesota’s North Woods.

By far the greatest number, primarily calves, were killed by bears and wolves. A number were abandoned by their mothers; one drowned. Three adults died from massive infestations of winter ticks, and others succumbed to deer-related parasites and infections.
Researchers said one season’s worth of data from about 150 collared moose is not enough to illuminate trends or to provide solutions in how to help them rebound. But it’s clear, they said, that more are dying than is normal.
Calves suffered a 71 percent mortality rate after only one summer, said Glenn DelGiudice, the wildlife researcher for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources who is running the calf research portion of the study.
And the ones that made it so far still have to survive their first winter.
Moose need a mortality rate of 50 or 55 percent in the first year of life to maintain their population, DelGiudice said.
The adult death rate was 18 percent, said Michelle Carstensen, who is running the adult research for DNR. If that rises to 30 percent in the winter, as expected, “that’s not sustainable,” she said.
The number of moose in Minnesota plummeted by one-third last year, double the rate of previous years.
Results of the annual aerial moose survey conducted in January indicated that 2,760 moose were left, down from 4,230 in 2012.
In 2006, the population in the northeastern corner of the state peaked at 8,840, but by then moose had already largely disappeared from the northwestern corner of Minnesota, where they had long been part of the landscape.
The sharp decline adds new urgency to the effort to understand why moose are dying in such numbers. So far, the project has been funded for two years with $1.2 million from the state, tribes and the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Now researchers are hoping for another $750,000 from the state in part to determine how much of an impact global warming may have on the moose population.
Researchers want to attach devices on 30 moose that measure ambient and body temperatures to determine whether heat stress from higher average summer temperatures is playing a role in their demise.
A number of other studies have shown a connection, but none actually have provided the biological evidence, DelGiudice said.
103 adult moose collared
In the first year of the study, wildlife crews found and collared 103 adult moose with GPS devices that track their every movement.
When they die, in a wilderness version of the television show “CSI,” a signal alerts crews who rush in and recover the carcass to determine its cause of death. The crews include staff from the DNR, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Fond du Lac and Grand Portage bands of Ojibwe.
In springtime, when the GPS signals alerted the crews that the females were bedding down to give birth, specially trained crews that do the same work in western states and Alaska carefully moved in to collar 50 newborn calves.
Despite taking all the precautions they could think of, one frustrating and unexpected result of the calf collaring is that 11 died, said DelGiudice.
Nine of them were abandoned by their mothers. One died when a mother stepped on it during the attempt to collar it and one died for unknown reasons.
The timidity of the mothers surprised the wildlife experts who have done such collaring elsewhere, DelGiudice said.
In Alaska, the helicopters had to hover directly above the handlers on the ground to keep the mothers at bay. In one case, the pilot had to nudge a mother moose away with the helicopter strut.
“Here the mothers were skittish and would bolt for distances,” DelGiudice said.
In addition to those 11 deaths, four calves slipped their collars, leaving a total of 34 for the researchers to follow. By the end of the summer, 24 of them had died. Four were eaten by bears and another 16 most likely were killed by wolves, though researchers aren’t positive about four of those. One drowned, two were abandoned by their mothers well after being collared and one died for unknown reasons.
If the 10 that are left survive the winter, their chances are good, DelGiudice said.
Easy prey for wolves
Wolves also took about half of the 19 adults — eight were direct kills and two died from infections that developed from wounds, Carstensen said. Three apparently healthy moose died for unknown reasons.
That raises tantalizing questions about the predator deaths. Moose that are sickened or weak are easy prey for wolves, which then eat the evidence of what caused the decline in the first place, she said.
That may be what happened to one moose whose demise, by sheer chance, was witnessed by Amanda McGraw and others in a group of graduate students who were doing moose habitat research near Isabella, Minn., during the first week of September.
They saw an adult moose near the edge of a pond, and moved in to get a closer look and take photos. They crawled through the long grass on their bellies, and only as they got close did they realize that the moose was sick and injured.
It ignored them, and then stumbled into the water, where it couldn’t get up.
They called in the moose wildlife crew and left to finish their work. When the crew arrive two hours later, the moose already had been eaten by wolves that most likely were lurking in a nearby patch of poplars waiting for its collapse.
She realized only later, McGraw said, that while crawling through the grass she might have come nose to nose with a wolf.

Josephine Marcotty • 612-673-7394
So they needed 1.2 million dollars in research to realize that the majority of moose deaths, adult and calf, were from predation by wolves?   Really?  
Wolves are nothing more than a big coyote, a large apex predator.   Are they Beautiful? Absolutely without a doubt.   Do they need to be managed correctly?   Yes, very closely.   Too many apex can cause a dramatic impact throughout the entire ecosystem. They have been mismanaged, or lack there of, for far too many years.   Now other wildlife suffers for our ignorance.   
They now want another 3/4 of a million dollars for research to see if global warming, which is a theory within itself, has an affect on the moose's deaths.   Good lord... 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Bear Country

Our annual pre baiting, scouting, fishing, riding, and camping trip to bear country is always something Crystal and I look forward to every year.   With this year being so crazy busy, we itching to sleep under the stars.
I must say the highlight of the trip was a big old smallmouth we named "Mousey."   We've been trying to get Crystal a hog smallie for some time now.   Well, on hot and buggy morning it happened.   A small pool on a small river.   Her tube jig hit the water and this fish slammed the bait, hard.   It was nothing short of an epic battle.   I'm honestly not sure who wanted her to catch that fish more, me or her.
During our little landing of the fish celebration I noticed something, other than the large tube bait, sticking out of the fish's throat.   This beast of a bronze back had a mouse stuck and sticking half way out of its throat.   The half digested mammal was regurgitated and by the looks of her belly she had a few more mice and other critters in there.   Pot belly she was.   Crazy how aggressive and territorial these fish can be.   Stuffed to the gills, pun intended, and still slam a large bait.   It was a fish we both will always remember.   Old Mousey.
Unfortunately, the berries and bugs we plentiful.   Lots of past storm damage has made for lots of sunlight to penetrate through the once dark forests making the berries grow tall and thick.   Skeeters were moderate and the flies were pretty tough to deal with.   You just have to love them damn biting flies.   Other than the bugs everything was rather enjoyable.   Good ride, great company, and fantastic food.   I can't wait to get back and put some bait on the ground!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

He's Back

This is the Broken G2 Buck, and he's back.   I got pictures of this deer last year with a broken G2 at 2 1/2 years old.   I've been hoping to see this deer again this summer and sure enough, he showed up back in the kill plot this week.   It's amazing what he grew into this year.   I want nothing more than to put my tag on this buck.   Having history makes it just that much sweeter. 

A Tribute to Blade

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

One and Done

Well, the new regulations for the 2014 deer season here in Minnesota are out.   Another failed attempt to manage our herd for all the wrong reasons.   If you hunt Minnesota you may want to check out the new map.  
Lots of folks complained they didn't shoot a deer last season.   This season they will complain they couldn't shoot a deer.   Then, next year it will change again.   Anyone want to place a bet???
Our great wilderness should be managed based on education and experience, not hunter complaints and revenue.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

More Than Photos

For me, checking trail cams is better than Christmas.   It's almost like making a set while trapping.   Did you catch anything!?!   You just can't wait to see what's on the cards, is the big boy going to be on there!?!
Trail cams can help us out in so many more ways that just photos though.   Yes, there are nice for getting great pictures and taking inventory on your hunting grounds, but that is just one little piece of evidence they obtain.
Look beyond the photo.   This is where you begin to create theories that will kill deer.   Create relationships with the different bits of evidence the pictures give you.   Look at which direction the deer are coming from.   This will help you figure out bedding areas, food sources, and which wind to hunt that area!
Start putting things together.   Are deer coming from a particular area in the morning and a different one in the evening?   Are the deer only there in the morning or evening or even both?   What time of day, the exact time, is the movement heightened most?  
Take it even a step further.   There are online weather sites that allow you to check past weather records.   When you have deer doing fairly the same thing on camera go back and look at what the wind was doing.   This can be huge.   Whitetails can shift their movement based on the direction the wind is blowing.  
Look at every little piece of the puzzle a tail cam can reveal.   They are far more than photos.   

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fan Feedback

Just wanted to share another little whack of Fan Feedback. I'll tell you all right now that this is thee absolute best part of starting the Journal. I know I've said it before, but I truly do have the best fans in all the world!!! Keep the Fan Feedback rollin' in yo! #happyhunter

Jul 9th, 6:46pm

Yo man i found you on youtube, point blank your a god your vids are more then pe...rfect and your passion for outdoor life is just crazy. i saw your big gil video and i literally watched everyone of your vids last saturday im also a big fisherman too. is there any musky in minn. i think you making a musky or catfish video would be really epic man keep doing your thing brother you hooked yourself a big fan. god bless and many wishes of luck on the waters and in the woods.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

So Close

So, I got my bear skull back from Minnesota Valley Taxidermy.   This is the bigger of the two recurve bears I killed two seasons ago.   I am doing a very special pedestal mount of this wonderful black beast.   After measuring the skull, it turns out that I missed the Pope and Young record books by a mere three tenths of an inch!   This still stands as one of my biggest life accomplishments ever.   If you really want to know what archery feels like, kill a bear with a recurve.

Bug Out

And you thought you had it bad with the bugs!?! #nastybuggers

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mother Hen

He is a cool little trail cam video from my first check. This rabbit just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Momma Turk says oh hell no. I actually walked 5 feet by these two the day I checked. Good thing she didn't try to kick my ass to... ‪#‎badassmother

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lookin' Good

Pretty happy about the first cam check of the season.   Can't wait to see what these guys blow up into!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Big Bluegill Fishing Episode

Most of my videos are self filmed. This Big Bluegill Episode is no different. From finding above average fish, filming multiple angles, to creative editing, all are done by me and only me. A one man crew. It's a tremendous amount of work, but I'm putting self filmed adventures on the map! What do you think, can self filming be entertaining???

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Home at Last

We are once again reunited.   King George is finally home with me.   Minnesota Valley Taxidermy is absolutely unbelievable.    #pumped

Monday, June 16, 2014

To the Fans

Hi there:

I'm just a guy in Canada who was searching youtube for some fishing videos on how to catch bass and I came across one of your videos. Then I started watching your other videos. Then I checked out your website and started reading your blog, watched more of your videos, checked out your photos. Thank you for a most enjoyable evening of reading and watching. You are a very talented guy and your stuff is really well done. Your sincerity, honesty, humour, and passion for the outdoors just shines through. Congrats, well done!

Kind regards,

Mike xxxxx
Victoria, B.C.
I absolutely love getting feedback from other outdoor enthusiasts.   I wanted to share this email with all my fellow outdoors people.   This is my reward.   I truly could not think of a more humbling message.   A photo is not a photo if no one is to see it.    Experiences are meant to be shared.   The Journal is my tool to help inspire.   When we are inspired, we are more motivated to take action and preserve our great wilderness.   I genuinely, hands down, have the best fans and followers in the entire world.   Thank you everyone for your support and stay tuned for more action!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bait Haul

We just got home from the north country with a big load of bear bait.   Gettin' ready, it's just around the corner!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Editing Mania

I'm sitting in my office at the Death Palace doing some editing. I've got to finish up the Turkey Episode and then start on my new Big Bull Gills video. Here's a sneak peak at the new Gill Episode!!! Minnesota Outdoor Freakin' Journal!!! ‪#‎jumbo‬ ‪#‎kickass

Sunday, June 8, 2014

No Pain No Gain

Meanwhile back at the Death Palace, we are filleting fingers.   Yeah, that sucked.   I was cleaning some big gills for our supper and this happened.   Whatever, I taped it up and now it's all good.   Bluegill tacos.   Worth every drop of blood...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Battle of the Beards

I am absolutely convinced that any archery season is a complete emotional trip.   They start with an immense  amount of joy and anticipation.   Followed by highs and lows until the conclusion is reached.   A punched tag or a tag sandwich.   Either way you slice it, my heart would not pump without bow in hand.
My season started out with a low that was tough to overcome.   My very first morning was less than desirable weather.   Literally 30+ mph winds and a heavy overcast.   With that being said, the birds roosted on the property I was hunting.   My blind was blown over and stakes ripped from the soil.   As quietly as I could, I planted the blind back on the ground and out of the bushes in which it had been every so violently tossed into.   I was forced to hold the blind down as I could hear the gusts ripping across the field.   I thought it was going to be a short morning, and it should have been.
Needless to say, I had and opportunity and I missed.   It was a buzzer.   Shaved a few feather.   The gobbler calmed down at about 75 yards and proceeded to feed across the field.   I was devastated.   Late season archery opportunities are hard to come by.   If I am able to create another opportunity I must capitalize.
I was on a new property and inching my way closer to arrowing myself a big gobbler.   It reminds me of a very slow game of chess.   One close call after another, but one element always seemed to fall out of place.   My last weekend of the season started on a rough note.   I had the big old bird coming, but to my dismay a dog had run seen them an run them off.   My heart sank, but still I pressed on.   I went to check another small property to find a tom already strutting in the adjacent field.  I don't think my truck was at a complete stop before I began my attach.   I had to reach the corner of timber before they did, a tom and a hen.  
I did make it.   With one small soft persuasive yelp then hen turned and went the opposite direction.   I couldn't believe it.   Again, my heart sank, and again, I pressed on.   Creeping to the corner of the timber the birds had headed to I thought I heard something.   I proceeded on my journey only to recognize the sound this time.   Apparently I had fired up a different bird with my calls.   At this point I was in the corner with little undercover to hide myself.   By his gobbles I could tell he was coming and coming he was.   I had to make a decision and now.   If I wondered aimlessly looking for my ambush spot I was sure to get busted.   Then I had an idea.
I looked up and there was my only option.   I said to myself, "What the hell, why not?"   It was my favorite treestand to hunt from.   The one in which King George had been killed early last fall.   As my bearded prey gobbled closer I shimmied up the tree and prepared myself for what could be one of the coolest archery moments of my life.   Arrow knocked and ready for flight.   I tickled his ears with one more sexy yelp.  
He came in strutting and gobbling to within 15 yards.   One more tiny yelp stopped him in his tracks.   The arrow hit old tommy boy and rolled him right over.   A minute had passed and the tom gather himself to his feet and limped off.   I was fist pumped pretty much to the point that I was out of control.   I gathered myself, not really though, and climbed down.   It was a light blood trail that turned into a massive blood trail.   I found him piled up at the base of a big tree.   I sat there with him in respect of the moment.   My season was over.   Weeks of highs and lows ended with 22 1/4 pounds of turkey and 10 1/4 inches of beard.   Upon cleaning and eating the gobbler I had found two different size bb's inside the bird.   He had been shot twice already!   Tough Guy Tom!   It truly was one of the most unique and memorable hunts to this day.   Remember, never give up.   Anything can happen at any time in the great wilderness.   Especially when battling the beards.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bass Opener

There is nothing like feeling that thump in your line, reeling up on it, and smashing the hook set on a largemouth.   Your rod doubles over as if you snagged a stump and the water boils when the heavy hitter fights with all her might.   That feeling is what we chase.   That feeling is what we, as fishermen, live for.
A slow spring has made the 2014 Bass Opener a damn good one.   Some fish are on beds and some are in pre spawn just cruising.   Either way, there are plenty of fish along and near the banks.   If you're an old bank beater like myself, this is one of the best scenarios.   In the southern part of our great state the water temps are climbing into the upper 70's.   Lots of males on the look out and some big old bucket mouths building and bedding.   It's game on.
We had the best of luck in and around shallow cattails areas with lots of lily pad roots.   It seemed as if every protruding root hosted a bass.   This is mainly do to the fact that these areas warm up the fastest.   If you fish a likely area in the morning with little success just hit the spot again later in the day when it warms up.   You'd be surprised on how many more fish you slam in areas you've already fished.   Don't be afraid to fish behind you competitors either, just take it slow.
Our strategy was to keep it stealthy and fish slow.   We used a bit lighter gear to help trigger picky
clear water largemouth.   This was very doable because the weeds have not choked everything out yet.   The fish actually got to fight instead of just torpedoing down into the curly leaf.   We pitched small creature baits rigged Texas style all day long.   It worked, very well.   We ended up boating 45 largemouths.   Get out and take advantage of these willing warriors!   Game on and fish on.   Don't forget to catch, photo, and release!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Crappie Bite

Finally, the Death Palace smells of fish and fry oil.   It has been a long time coming.   Why, you ask?
There's no need for me to tell you how strange of spring we've been experiencing.   The water temps just wont warm up.   They have finally reached the mid to pushing the upper 50's.   Which I've seen happen the week of ice out in the past!   We are a week past opener and I'm just starting to get fish in my ice out locations.
When the water temps go up so does activity under the surface.   Crappie will move up into shallow channels and lagoons to really put the feed bags on.   One of the reasons for this is to bulk up for the span soon to come.   Well, that is if it continues to warm up.   The insect life in these shallow waters goes bananas with the heating water temps.   Most of the fish I catch during this stage are plump full of mud worms.
All artificial, no bait.   No sense in slinging minnow to and fro.   Use a small jig to mimic a tiny minnow or insect and pair it up with a small float.   Boom, that's it.   This is the best rig for panfish, hands down.
If the forecast holds true, ha ha ha, then I'm predicting that this weekend will be great for just about everything and all kinds of fish.   If that water temp takes a big hike, be ready for the action!