Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Years

2016, there were ups, and there were definitely downs. It was a tough year for me, both in the outdoors and personally. As tough as it was, there are some great highlights never to be forgotten. I completed my longbow bear quest with harvesting a P&Y bear, my best to date. I also killed my management doe with a longbow. Filled my regular tag with an open sight muzzloader, my first. Wacked two big gobblers, one with archery gear. Enjoyed some wonderful bounty of the woods, the great morel. And many, many fish fell victim to my hook set. To power through the bad, we focus on the good. I've got big plans for this up coming year. 2017, I'm coming for ya!!! #newyears

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving Thanks

Today is a day for giving thanks. So, this is my attempt at doing just that.

In some way, shape or form, each and every one of us has been affected and impacted by our great wilderness. It's hard to believe, but that holds true even in this day and age.

Most obviously, is our food. Whether you eat meat or not, your food has came about from the generosity of our soil. Which makes me want to give thanks to some of our more overlooked resources that benefit us daily.

Soil, what a great place to start. We grow life with it. We build our house on and in it, we put roads over it, we farm it, we live on it. Water, the nectar of life. It keeps us and all living things alive. We drink it, we grow with it, we shower in it, we cook with it, it gives us recreation. It indeed gives us life. How about all the things these two create together. The wood that's in the walls of our homes, the pages from the books we read, it really is endless. All the way from making rubber tires for our cars out of latex producing Hevea trees! Metals, jewels, stones, it's astonishing what our lands provide us with. And for each and every one thing we take from it, I am and will be forever grateful.

Our lives are provided for us by our great wilderness. Not only does it give us life, but it enables us to do the things we do to this very day. We must show thanks and pay back the respects by taking as good of care of it as it does of us. We are only here because of the generosity of our resources. We have got to start taking better care of our world and everything that inhabits it. From every blade of grass, to every shade tree we sit under. Our relationship with our environment is a two way street. Take care of it, and it will return the favor. From Minnesota Outdoor Journal and myself personally, I wish each and every one of you a wonderful day of giving thanks. Happy Thanksgiving and love to you all.

Joshua John Wells
Minnesota Outdoor Journal

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Longbow Dream


My three year journey for a longbow bear has ended.   I've worn my heart on my sleeve and pushed myself outside of my comfort zone.   Every drop of blood, every drop of sweat, and every tear have led me to this moment.   I've seen this moment a million times in my dreams.   Now, I'm living it.

New episode soon to come...

Sunday, July 31, 2016

New Regulations


This one could make things a bit tough for nonresident hunters!


The new changes to the 2016 zone map.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

This Is Why

When I say,"Hey, let's leave some ground for the critters." or "We need to start having cleaner water." Unfortunately, many of the responses would shock you in their nature. Sometimes it's taxing trying to save what we have left. Some people's resilience towards not excepting we have a problem is exhausting. I'm not doing this for reactions, nor am I doing this for attention, or anything else I've heard. I am, however, doing this for the fact that the outdoors saved my life. I'm doing it so your children have the same outdoor opportunities I was given. I'm doing this so my family and I can continue our outdoor lifestyle. And most importantly, I'm doing it for our great wilderness and the wild critters that call it home. It was the work and legacy of the best man I've ever known. I vowed to uphold and adopt his way, and now, it is my legacy. Together we can, and will, make a difference. Happy Friday folks. ‪#‎conservation‬

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Holiday Values


Crystal and her dad are out trollin' up the pike! Families who fish together, stay together. #holidayweekend

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Fathers Day

Another Father's Day has come, and another year without you has gone.   It is a day of celebration, but it always carries a bit of somberness.   I'm reminded you're not here, physically.   Which in itself, brings a certain level of discomfort.   Strangely enough, it makes me miss you more.   Like how I would imagine the sky would miss the sun.   One simply isn't the same without the other.   

Your presence with our earth, our water, and our woods is strong.   I surround myself with it to be with you.   You make my heart beat and you fill my soul, but there is nothing like evidence outside of myself that your are near.   The noise the grass and treetops make as the wind swings them freely has replaced the sound of your sweet voice.   You still answer me, because I'm still listening.

I know you are still guiding me, just in a different light.   If I look deeper, I can see your stance.   Sometimes I don't understand, only to look back and realize you had a hand in it.   My eye will always be open and my ears will always be listening.   You are around me, I an feel it.  Inside and outside.

With each passing day I know I'm just that much closer to seeing you again.   But until that moments presents itself, I've got a lot to do.   It is my mission to ensure that your legacy does not leave this beautiful place in which I reside.   And believe me, when we do get to meet again, we will have plenty to talk about.

Rest easy to the best man I've ever know.   You are my Grandfather, my Father, and my best friend.
You are me, and I am you.
You are my sky, and I am your sun.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tagged Out


     Crystal smashed a big Ole boss!   We are all tagged out!   What a spring!



Saturday, April 16, 2016

2016 Minnesota Archery Tom


I let the air out of a big ole strutter on film this morning! #success #archery

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Opener Mishap




Had myself a little mishap yesterday morning. My arrow hit the bottom of my blind window resulting in a haircut for Mr.Tom. What fun is it to tag out right away anyways, right? #chipshot

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ice Out Crappies


There's still some ice floating around, but I found me some nice slabs!   It's never too early!

Relate


Special thanks to Jimmy from Fall River Outfitters for sending me this volume of Bear Hunting magazine.   It's a spread about a Minnesota bowhunter going to extremes with a longbow to kill a bear.   This one really hits home!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Operation Clean Ice Out



So, after spending my weekend picking up trash on three of my hometown lakes I've put together my observations. Before I get started I must say that I am in no way insinuating anything or pointing fingers. These are just my true unbiased findings. Lets get started.
The items I found the most both had to do with either alcohol or tobacco. Beer cans and bottles where everywhere, along with some liquor bottles. Cigarette butts covered the lakes, along with lots of cigarette packs and cigar wrappers.
The second most found items where things that had to do with human poop. Poop itself and toilet paper and paper towels were literally everywhere. Along with many poop filled plastic bags.
The third most found items were items related to fish houses. Tons of blocks left in the ice from blocking up houses. Lots of fish house pieces such as foam, large pieces of rubber roofing, hole cut outs, knotty pine, furniture pieces, candy bar wrapers, borken plastics, fishing line, etc.
The fourth most found items were random trash items. Minnow buckets, tackle packaging, food wrappers, propane tank plastics, plastic bags, cups, plastic silverware, etc.
Here's a list of some of the more unusual items I found.
-an old ratty football
-lots of beef jerky
-fish left behind
And the most unusual award goes to the two completely soiled adult men's underwear. I found one pair of pooped undies on two of the three lakes!
The three lakes I cleaned were Shields, Roberds, and Mazaska. Roberds was the worst.
I found a good handful of receipts. The majority of receipts were from stores in the metro twin cities area.
Perhaps the DNR could run trash barrels in the winter at the accesses like they do in the winter. And post some large no littering signs with penalties. At least to help come some of this crap off the ice!
What I've taken from this Project. (besides massive amounts of trash)
After all the houses are off the lake and the snow is gone months of trash is exposed. It's absolutely heartbreaking to see it when you go looking for it. It's overwhelming in spots. You honestly don't know which way to go there is so much of it. I'm not going to lie, I shed a few tears Saturday. I grew up on these waters. I learned how to fish. I learned how to be passionate. I learned a lot about myself and what I'm capable on these waters. The disappointment as you're chopping someone's trash out of the lake is, well, you really can't explain it. It makes me sad that the very same people enjoying these resources are the very same people polluting them. But, the worst of it, for me, is the fact that we're not the ones its affecting the most. The fish, the aquatic wildlife, the aquatic vegetation, the birds, and the wildlife are the ones who suffer the greatest. These resources are not merely here for our entertainment and enjoyment. These fisheries and aquatic environments are very special resources that need very special attention. They are one of, if not thee greatest, things Minnesota offers us. Let's all work a little harder to take care of these waters the way they take care of us. We are stewards, so lets act like we are. To those who pick up trash and keep things as they should, my hats off to you. Now get the boat ready, because the ice isn't going to last long!‪#‎conservation‬

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Huntin' Browns


As one season winds down and another is soon to arrive, there always seems to be a dull gap in between.   Ice fishing is starting to come to an end and spring just isn't here quite yet.   I catch myself staring out the window a little more than I'd like to during this strange transition period.   Thank God for brown trout!

A warm snap at the end of February?   Yep, I'm out of dodge!   Hiking, fresh air, and fishing.   The catch and release season in southeastern Minnesota is an absolute life saver.   Get a map, gas up the truck, and put on some foot miles.   It is unbelievably rejuvenating for your body and soul!

Trout fishing really isn't a numbers game.   It's actually more of a hunt than fishing.   Creeping up on pools in full stealth mode is more of stalk than anything.   The water this time of year is gin clear and if you don't use your best ninja moves you run the risk of blowing every single fish out of the pool.   Yeah, stalking fish is legit.   

Every time you eye spy a sweet little pool make a game plan.   Turn it into its own adventure.   Figure out the best way to fish it undetected.   Cast it at different angles until you feel satisfied.   Surround yourself by the bluffs and the wildlife.   Listen to the sounds.   It's almost here, what you've been waiting for!   Soak it all in.


  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Impulse Soft Plastics


I absolutely love getting boxes like this in the mail!   Especially when it's some of the best soft plastic baits on the market!   The Impulse line of soft plastics by Northland Fishing Tackle are unmatched!   I'm glad to be forming a geat relationship with a remarkable company! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Trophy Bucks and the Challenging Dilemma

 


Trophy Bucks and the Challenging Dilemma 

Trophy whitetails! The mere mention of the subject attracts a lot of attention, especially in the last few years now, rather than mortgaging the house for an Alaskan hunt, many sportsmen direct their energy and money toward a quality whitetail deer hunt. And while most Americans pursue the elusive whitetail in their local areas, this ability is but a dream for many because of urban sprawl. 
Urban sprawl has become quite a phenomenon during the past fifty years as thousands of Americans fled the farms in search of employment. Cities grew and housing developments sprang up in every metropolitan area. In the process, most of the valuable wildlife habitat I gave way to a thing called progress. With this progress came an array of laws and regulations. Heavily-settled areas became off-limits to hunters. Initially, this presented little loss to deer hunters because few of these areas contained any deer when urbanization increased in the 1970s. but, as the whitetail’s population grew during the last fifteen years, deer started moving back into these areas.  
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Unlike any of the other deer family members, the whitetail can thrive in man’s backyard. Whether it’s St. Louis, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, or Buffalo, New York, the whitetail makes its presence felt. It’s this presence that has many people in these areas wondering what to do with the deer. Deer populations are on the increase because there is no hunting and the habitat is adequate. One such area is in and around the Town of Amherst, a suburb of Buffalo, New York In November, Buffalo News’ outdoor columnist, Michael Levy, got Buffalo area hunters’ adrenalin going by reporting that an Amherst resident had possibly claimed a new state record for a whitetail. Levy went on to write that Ted Frasier didn’t kill the buck while hunting but rather with his 1980 Pontiac Phoenix.  
Being involved with the New York State Big Buck Club, I decided to check into the kill. What I learned of the buck and the area is worth sharing. The buck wasn’t large enough to become a new state record, but was certainly a trophy animal in every sense of the word. The big eighteen-pointer, aged at three and a half years, weighed approximately 260 pounds on the hoof and scored 183-7/8 in the Boone and Crockett non-typical category. Frasier hit the buck while driving along the Millersport Highway, in the Town of Amherst, Interestingly, the night before, Art Blackman, of Buffalo, was driving along the same highway and hit and killed a beautiful fourteen-point buck with his van. The buck Blackman hit, dressed out at 205 pounds and scored more than 130 in Boone and Crockett’s typical category. Ironically, Black man never saw the deer as it ran into the side of his van, inflicting $2,000 damage. At first, it would appear Frasier’s and Blackman’s stories were unrelated. But, because both deer were killed in the Town of Amherst, it makes them part of a growing di-lemma.  
Throughout this area, road-kills are becoming commonplace during the autumn months in the absence of a method to manage the deer population. Though the Town of Amherst seems to be where the majority of the road-kills occur, fringes of the towns surrounding Amherst, which is northeast of Buffalo, experience the same problem. This entire area, which contains 180 square miles of land, is off-limits to any form of deer hunting. Within this area you will find thirty square miles of prime deer habitat and therein lies the key ingredient behind all the road-kills. 
The area consists of several good-sized commercial farms and much abandoned land which is reverting to brush and woodlots Though no one knows exactly how many deer are being killed by cars, the main thoroughfare in the area, Millersport Highway, has the most, According to Michael Levy, seventy-two deer were hit along Millersport Highway between January 1 and November 1, 1985. Then, when the rut was in full swing, the deer-car collisions took another jump. Big Buck Club officials reported that more than 150 deer were killed by cars in this area during 1985. The actual number probably was much higher because there were many more reports of motorists hitting deer but never finding them. 
Sportsmen’s groups, as well as New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation are trying to address the growing problem, but it hasn’t been easy. One group, SCOPE—the Shooter’s Committee on Political Education—urged that some form of deer hunting be allowed in the Amherst area. Wildlife biologist, Jim Snyder, of Buffalo says, “The best method of managing the deer in that area would be with a firearms season—but that would never fly.”  
He went on to say that the deer population is now at a point where deer cause considerable damage to shrubs in residential areas. Also, the commercial farms in the area, though small in number, are being impacted. Because of this situation, he hopes to see an archery season in the Amherst area by the fall of 1987. However, Snyder felt that for a bow season to take place, the public would have to be educated on what the deer are doing to the habitat. He said he gets calls from people complaining that deer are destroying the ornamental shrubs around their homes, but don’t want the deer hurt because they are “pretty.” 
He has also heard the usual complaints about bow hunting in general. Because Amherst is an affluent area, getting a hunting season may be a little tougher than might be expected, but Snyder is confident that when all the facts are presented, legislation will be passed to allow a bow season. From a research standpoint, this chunk of white-tailed deer habitat, in the shadow of one of America’s largest cities, is providing some interesting insights. The white-tails’ ability to adapt to man’s presence is obvious, but what really makes it interesting is the genetics being demonstrated through antler growth. Right now, the deer habitat in this area is excellent. This, coupled with the bucks being able to reach their prime age, is producing some outstanding antler mass. Though the area does experience some heavy snowfalls during December and January, it hasn’t appeared to hurt the herd too much.  
As the deer population increases, however, it will most certainly take its toll. But for now, the true magnificence of the whitetail is visible. Many avid deer hunters have gone into this area after the bucks drop their antlers to look for sheds. What they are finding is truly outstanding. The accompanying photo of Merritt Compton, official Pope & Young Measurer, shows four road-killed bucks from Amherst. All four were killed in the last couple of years. Bow hunters, who hunt the fringe of this area, reap the rewards of hunting next to a closed area. During the 1984 bow season, Jeff Morris of Tanawanda took the new record New York State archery buck not far from Amherst. Morris’ buck scored 175 in the Boone & Crockett typical categoryOn the one hand, it is nice to see this “gene pool” being created, but on the other hand, it’s a shame to see such a valued resource being managed by only Henry Ford’s invention. Right now, the deer in this area are prime animals, but without proper management, this could change rapidly. Hopefully, emotions will not overrule sound game management. And if sound management prevails, the thrill and challenge of hunting whitetails will return to this area after being gone for a generation.