Wednesday, February 4, 2015

More Than Meat

 Believe it or not, I'm going to disagree with what a lot of the hunting "celebrities" are pushing about hunting.  Meat.   Yes, meat.   They really seem to be on this kick about knowing where your meat comes from and getting clean healthy protein.  They put so much emphasis on the meat, the product of the hunt.

      This is how I disagree.   Lets just be honest to the non hunting community.   Using meat as a scapegoat doesn't earn credibility.   Why do we hunt?   Because we enjoy it.   It's our heritage, we are participating in good stewardship, and on and on.   We don't need excuses.   Is the meat used and eaten?   Most definitely.   But, it is just a perk to the hunt.   In all seriousness, how often do you eat something you killed?   The large majority of what we eat comes from a store like everyone else.   When we make a wild game meal it's a treat, not a means of survival.   Also, how long realisticly does one or two deer feed a family?   Not long at all.   It's 2015, no one can play the I need the meat card.   Buying beef is substantially cheaper than hunting.   If you don't kill a deer, no one in your family is going to die.   If hunting was about the meat, there would be a lot of hungry people due to the fact that most do not fill their tags every single year.

     I see these "celebrities" on all types of media talking about the "meat."   It's rather hypocritical of most of the them.   Some are worse than others, yes.   I understand they need kills for episode footage, but doesn't that itself change what they are saying?   You need footage to make money to keep your air time not to obtain meat.   Some of these personalities travel great distances and shoot many many animals within a years time.   Most of these animals are donated and not put in the "shooters" freezer.   And, if you're concerned with where your meat comes from why are you out eating steak at restaurants and burgers at the pubs?   Especially when you've shot all this orgnaic meat in "your" freezer.   Don't preach to me about how obtaining your own protein is a large reason in which you hunt and then turn around and kill more than you need.   It's hypocritical and don't think people don't see this.   Just be honest.   When we don't is when we look ridiculous.  I have no problem with any of this, shooting many animals or donating.   If I could hunt all the time all over our lands don't think I wouldn't.   But, my message would be a bit different.  

     I hunt because it is my right.   I hunt because I was taught to love our lands.   I hunt because it brings me peace.   I hunt because it's what I know.   I hunt because I am a good steward.   I hunt because I'm in love with our wilderness.   Not because I'm hungry for protein.

     The meat is a privilege and a reward for our efforts in participating in conservation.

     Be honest.   Be a  hunter.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Crappie on the Run

Crappie.   The iconic hard water fish.   I believe the crappie to be the most sought after fish during the ice fishing season.   And why wouldn't it be?   Sitting over schools of suspended fish and filling your bucket with these delicious swimmers is top notch. But what happens when you can't hunker down over a crappie hot spot?

Mobility.  You have got to get mobile.   Many of us refer to this as hole hopping.   When you find fish and they are gone as fast as  you find them, start moving!   Drill a series of holes on your favorite crappie destination.   When you mark fish, drill many holes.   A big mistake I see other ice anglers make rather often is distance.   They drill their holes too far apart.   Often times when you stop marking fish the school has only made a slight shift.   I mean like a couple feet!   I will drill my holes in rather tight cluster and work them very thoroughly.   

When you narrow it down to your most productive holes, don't just sit on them.   STAY MOBILE!   You wont need to travel too far, but none the less, you still need to stay on the schools.   Perimeter your hot holes with new holes only five feet away and just follow the school.   It really does work!   If you stop marking don't just pick up and walk 50 yards to a new hole.   Stay on them, they usually don't go too far too fast.

Look for anything that my indicate these hot little productive spots.  For example, snow pack on lakes with little snow.   These areas that still have snow from drifts don't let as much light to penetrate which is often looked at by fish as structure.   Attracting pods of bait fish and in return attracting the suspending crappies.   You would be surprised at how small of an abnormality will hold fish.   

While running and gunning it's always key to down size you baits.   Fish on the move often tend to be
a bit more finicky.   I use small horizontal tungsten jigs tipped with very small plastics with loads of action.   You want a bait that is in no way intimidating and that has the most action with the least movement by the angler.   Longer slender bodies that are very thin work wonders to trigger an uncertain fish.   Pair this up with a good flasher and very soft tipped rod and you will fill  your pail.   Just be persistent and focus on your marks.

In conclusion, stay mobile and be proactive.   If you set up and stop catching fish they could literally be a few feet from you.   Keep on the move and stay after them,   Nothing comes easy.   Tight lines!