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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Poachers again?

I had a post recently on poachers taking trophy deer, keeping you from harvesting the buck you have been following all season. Well it seems that the poachers are at it again! This time they have decided to come to the area I hunt in Bishopville. and unfortunately for them I am on to them already and have contacted the DNR police about the problem. I have a strong dislike for people who come on the property dump trash, throw out beer cans, and shoot deer and ducks illegally. I like to walk in the woods and I know my property like the back of my hand. Strange tire tracks, footprints, and bullet casings all point to trespassing and poaching. Of course a deer carcass with the tenderloins cut out and no head ice the cake. The area is now under DNR surveillance, trail cameras in place and officers on site undercover. Hopefully they will be able to stop this game thief before he/she kills the trophy of a lifetime.

Yesterday I went goose hunting with some good friends of mine Ben Vickers and Jim Bright over in Rock Hall Md.. The day started early for me 3:15 to be exact and I did not need an alarm to get out of bed. Fortunately for me I had laid out my gear the night before so all I really had to do was just get myself dressed and out the door. I met my hunting partners at the Gander Mountain in Salisbury @ 4:20,  With Ben driving, Jim navigating and me giving instructions from the back off we went. We arrived at the home of the landowner, Jack Schatz around 6:20 and the wood stove was glowing. Jim introduced us all around, and before we got to comfortable, and hot we went out to get the geese off of the pond and set decoys. The morning was a little slow with a lot of birds flying but very high and committed to a huge flock about a mile away. We broke for lunch and a nap as it was slow and we were cold.. Jack had returned to the home site several times to make sure the wood stove was stoked so when we went in it was toasty warm. We had a nice lunch and a quick nap before returning to the blind, and hopefully some fat Canadian geese! Almost as soon as we came back the geese started flying and checking out our decoys, offering us the opportunity to hear jack work his Sean Mann Shoremans Flute. Now when it comes to calling Jack is first class and he soon had the geese circling our decoys and setting in. When he called "Take em" they were right in the spread directly in front of us, and when the smoke cleared we had two on the ground. Jack worked a few more small groups for us and soon we were close to our limit, and the end of the shooting hour.. We picked up the decoys and cleaned up the blind of our trash, picked up the gun hulls, and made our way back to the truck with our geese. The end to a perfect day with good people and new friends.
About jack Schatz: Jack runs a great operation on his farm, bow hunting only and with a solid deer management plan in place. Ducks and geese have safe areas and he has strict shooting limits so that the birds are taken cleanly. He operates this for his friends and is willing to take them hunting on his property, so long as you follow the rules. I got the feeling that he would ask you to leave as quick as he welcomes you if you are not willing to go by the rules. All in all a great hunt, and hopefully I will be invited back again.
In the photo left to right, Jack Schatz,  Jim Bright, Eugene Mazzilli, and Ben Vickers

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fishing in Seattle

This summer I will be adding another fishing trip to my list of trips I have taken I love to hunt but I also love to fish, yea I don't eat fish but I do catch em! I have been very fortunate to be able to fish around the world, and to catch some impressive fish. Now some people think just because you are out of country, and paying a guide to take you fishing that you will have a a trip like you see on television. Not so grasshopper! Fishing is fishing not catching and some times the best laid plans, just don't work out. Sometimes it is because of me and sometimes because of other factors involved.
I was planning a trip to Costa Rica and naturally I wanted to fish I mean I have seen the awesome peacock bass fishing, the snook and so I was pumped. Unlike most trips I relied on a travel agent this time, we told them what we wanted to do and they took care of the details. I like to fly in small planes, and having some hours as pilot in command of single engine land aircraft, elected that we would move around the country some in them. The day started out great after a peacefull night we went to the airport to catch the plane to our fish camp located on some obscure river running thru the jungle. I knew things were going to be sketchy from the get go, when I noticed that we were not the only ones going on this small plane! Others would be joining us with a collection of cardboard boxes, live chickens, and a voodo woman priest named Phyllis! Some kid in shorts about 10 years old was filling the wing tanks from a rusty 5 gal drum, while the Captain checked the baggage. Now checking baggage at BWI and checking baggage in Costa Rica are two separate animals. Basically this baggage check was the large bags in first and small bags stuffed in remaining spaces, chicken rides in the plane with us. Now like I stated earlier I have some hours as pilot in command and this weight and balance sheet was scary. Next we were asked how much we all weighed, naturally all the women lied and we had to stand on a bathroom scale that they got from the mechanic shop next door. They discovered that it did not work so the pilot sized everyone up and assigned seats, no co pilot just the pilot. Naturally since I had some stick time I was anticipating possibly getting the right seat and some time on this plane, not to be I was stuck in the last seat with Phyllis, and a rooster who def. did not like me! After we all got stuffed into the plane, my common sense was beginning to take hold and I was doing all the math in my head, weight fuel, chickens and such when the pilot cranks her up and starts the roll to the runway. Not a lot of warm up just check the magnetos and push the throttle to the firewall and we are rolling. From the back I am watching the airspeed and waiting for the magic number when this bird will break free from the runway. 60 comes and goes 70 is coming fast and the runway fence is getting closer, when I feel her get light and we break free, the pilot in a slow climb out, the rooster crowing and somewhere there is a smell that I hope is not coming, from my shorts! After 20 min the pilot gets ready for landing losing airspeed, pulling carb heat, setting some flaps, I am looking for the runway because all I am seeing is jungle and a lot of it, no runway. The plane makes a gentle turn and the jungle is getting closer, ocean on one side, jungle on the other, and the earth is rapidly coming, still no runway in sight. Now we are on final I still don't see a runway the pilot is flying the plane, nose is coming up stall horn blaring, I am saying the rosary and calling on mother Mary, when the wheels hit the runway brakes take hold and the plane comes to a stop. I get out and check my pants just to be sure it ain't me stinking. Looking around I see a beautiful beach, birds and tropical vegetation, and a drug runners airstrip carved out of nowhere. Now I have to get into a tin boat with a 10 horse sea king motor from 1950, and motor up/down this river to get to the fish camp. Arriving at the camp I notice that it is first class, beautiful inside, the grounds are natural and loaded with wildlife, I see yellow tree frogs and snakes, butterflies that I can't begin to describe, and leaf cutter ants doing their thing, just like on the television. My wife and I along with another 5 people are the only ones here, the kitchen is wide open, the bar is open, and drinks are poured all around as we tell the tale of how we got here.
In the morning I had a scheduled fishing trip, just me and the guide. I was anticipating fishing like no other, sailfish and peacock bass, piranha, and snook what a trip I was going to have. The boat arrives 2 hours late, a beautiful center console with a 150 outboard on the back, no electronics, no compass and def. no radio, my heart waqs sinking but I wanted to fish and I was willing to take the chance. Since it was to rough to go offshore, the captain (?) decided to fish the river flowing through the jungle, giving me the opportunity to catch some game fish on artificial baits. The Captain runs the boat til we get to a bend in the river, he baits up with a cut shrimp and drops his line over. I am a little taken back as i had anticipated some stick baits and fat bass fish! We stayed in that spot and fished for about 4 hours never moving, catching undersized snook. At the end of the day we motored back to the camp, I had 5 snook fish that I would have returned to the river had I not paid like $80.00 a pound for. I cleaned the fish myself that evening and went to the kitchen where the cook was and asked if we could have these for dinner that evening. All of us ate the fish and I had a sandwich since I don't eat fish. After the smoke cleared I added up the cost of the trip, never do that unless you are looking to have your heart broke, and the fish were very expensive. The captain had to get back to his dock, I had to clean fish, and was ready for a cocktail, all the while the captain is waiting for his tip. I tipped the man and thanked him for a good trip, then went inside feeling like I had just gotten a good screwing. I am planning another trip to Seattle to fish this summer and visit my family. I can guarantee I will not make the same mistake twice.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tomorrow we Hunt

I am planning on a hunt tomorrow morning for the elusive black duck, with my retriever and the pole boat deep in the marsh, and early in the morning. As always I have a plan, three decoys on a jerk line, in a small pot hole next to the tree line. No blind just cedar brush over the push boat, camo and brush as my cover, Tom Brown laying at steady. Maybe I will get a pair for my efforts, maybe not but I will get a beautiful sunrise with a great dog, and the feeling you get when the morning cold stings your face. That is when you know you are alive, and life is good. I hunt very old school and I like it. My push boat is wood, my duck boat a steury, my retriever a Chesapeake, my shotgun a 870 Wingmaster in full choke that I bought used 20 years ago. My mom who is 87 years old tells me I was born 40 years to late. So once again tomorrow Tom and I will go out to the marsh, and do what we like to do, drink hot coffee, blow on calls, and watch the sun come up.

Right to carry

I had stated earlier that possibly I would post on the process for getting a right to carry permit. As soon as I return to work I will speak with the Sheriff as to how to get the process started in Maryland, then look into Delaware. Personally I think that the first of the year is a good time to start a project like this so everyone can see what hoops are required to jump through in both states. This could help some and discourage others but it will educate us all on the process. I personally would like to find out what laws we the people are under now and set the record straight on transporting a handgun in your vehicle. As a hunter and a shooter I bet that I am in violation of some law every time I go to the range or out plinking with the 22. Can I carry a gun on my person on my own property? Keep checking on the process and soon we will have some info for you.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturday hunt

Well Sat started out with a big blow and rain in the horizontal as you know I don't mind some bad weather but when it is blowing hard as well, then I am getting a little soft! My son was home and we have not had many chances to hunt this year, so off we went to our property out on saint martins neck. Tom brown was excited as always, I was wide awake by now and the tide was super high covering the marsh. We got the layout pole boat "The Black Duck" loaded with decoys and poled out in the Marsh to a spot not under direct attack from the wind, and while Billy set out the spread, I set up our hide spot. Now keep in mind the 32 ozs of coffee I had consumed just a few hours earlier was asking for release, so waders down and now I am wet also. We had a few ducks come by but black ducks are a skittish bird and anything unusual will cause them to flair away. We saw a ton of snow geese and harvested one, and though for food they are not so great for fox bait they are excellent! We saw no mallards just divers and some blacks. My ducking this year has been terrible I tell ya, and even goose hunting is slow for me this year. Hopefully things will look up in the next few weeks and I will get that duck dinner!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sarah Haley

I know the other blogs are covering this and, well I am not that tight with anyone to be able to tell you anything new, so I will leave that to them. I will do what we do best here and that is encourage you to show up tomorrow at the stadium. As hunters we are well versed in searching for game in the woods, and many have dogs with keen noses. I am not implying that the dogs are search and rescue dogs, but I know Tom Brown can smell things a mile away, and when he scents anything I get that real alert look. As hunters we use blood trail markers, like peroxide or lights, and have GPS hand held units, so as a group we have a ton of resources. Keep in mind though before you enter the woods if you happen upon ANYTHING it could be important to law enforcement, follow all the instructions given to you prior to beginning the search. Those CSI shows you have been watching are over in 30 mins. this will possibly take a while longer.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Big Bucks still roaming around

This morning around 5 am I was pulling into the woods at my hunting property and stopped to unlock the gate going to the house. From there it is a good 1/4 mile to the cabin, and the lane kind of snakes around through the woods. When I came around the corner standing there was possibly the biggest buck I have ever seen. I have one 23 3/4 inside and I suspect that this was much larger than that by a couple of inches, real wide and tall real magazine quality deer. I have seen this particular deer twice once from a duck blind, and then again today. I have a picture of a rub he was doing last year you will not believe. Maybe I will get lucky and have an opportunity to throw an arrow at him this year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

At stud

Here is a photo of the Chesapeake retriever Tom brown now at stud. a hard working dog for guys who like to hunt.

Snow geese are here in force!

I slept in today and decided to turn off the alarm. Understand my surprise when at 3:57 AM I was awakened by a Mike Vick dog fight going on out back on my porch! I live on some acreage outside of town surrounded by 200 acres of corn stubble. My dogs Louis, and Bud are house dogs and come and go out a pet door, to relieve themselves and we have had this arrangement for about 8 years now. The bitch that lives on the adjacent farm is not spaded, in heat, and runs loose around the countryside. So this morning my dogs who are neutered but still enjoy the occasional zesty session if you will were engaged in a tempest threesome of pure unbridled animal lust, when while they were at the fighting and snapping stage suddenly I hit them with 4 million candle power of white light! I am just a little annoyed at this point and am debating on going to see the neighbor and discussing this situation with him, prior to going hunting now that I was up of course. When my wife god bless her convinced me to come back to bed and discuss it in the morning, when possibly I was not so annoyed. Understand while all of this is going down I have Tom Brown raising hell out back in the kennel, raising hell with a bark that is deep, long, and continuous.
After I got out of bed in the morning I tried to catch the lady who owned the bitch, but she was faster than me in my shorts and unlaced tennis shoes. So maybe tomorrow I will catch her. In the mean time I did go scout some snow geese and found them all around Bishopville, Pittsville, Whitesville, Laurel area. Now I love to hunt them and you can shoot a bunch of em , but when it comes to eating them well..Maybe tomorrow I will go see if I can get a duck.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tom Duckafetchen Brown At Stud, willing and ready

Well the time has come. Tom Brown had his second birthday, his training is going great and now it is time to earn his keep. Tom brown is a hard core dog for hard core hunters. This IS your Grandfathers Chesapeake retriever. big bodied, blocky head, huge paws and a curley coat in dark marsh grass. He is devoted to my wife and I, gets along with the other pets, and no one comes in my yard I don't know about. If you are interested in breeding your Chessie Bitch send a reply or e-mail.

Duck? What Duck?

Okay I went ducking this morning, big surprise! Up at 4 on the road by 4:30 on site by 5:15, and the Marsh is frozen solid. Boat ramp is solid ice, boat house is covered over so no Steury this morning. The day was coming on clear and cold and the geese started moving in early, getting up off the creek. I wanted to find some open flowing water so I went to a place that offered me a tax ditch 15 feet wide and wide open, cutting across a cut bean field. I set out the decoys on the jerk string, bushed up a blind spot, got the retriever settled in and started the swivel head so familiar to duck hunters. Two hours later not a duck has even flown over to look at my spread so I go out into the open marsh to check out the big water. Naturally I immediately fall into a muskrat hole up to my waist, but while struggling to get out I happen to notice that the ducks are not flying here either. So what gives? This was suppose to be the year we saw large numbers of big ducks, but I haven't seen a mallard yet in any numbers. I am giving up on the Assawoman bay and going inland to the Nanticoke river. There is some public area outside Vienna and it has always been good to me for ducks and geese. Hopefully sometime this season I will be able to report that the ducking has been great, and reached our limit. Untill then i am buying a chicken!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

gun control and right to carry

For me gun control has always been about using two hands and using a steady trigger squeeze. I never gave to much concern when I was a kid my father had an extensive gun collection, and I shot them when I wanted, and hunted with them each season. I was taught to shoot by an old Master Sargent from the Army, and joined a rifle team when I was in the 4-h program. We shot over at the armory down in the basement, 22's supplied by the lions club. Those were some great evenings and my ability to group my shots in all positions just got better each week. When I entered the NAVY (beat Army) we were introduced to firearms using the same rifle I shot when I was on the NRA rifle team. Out of 180 people I shot a perfect score, and was promoted to gunners mate for my battalion, and second platoon leader. Good work if you could get it.
Now that I am older and seeing an increase in crime, shootings, and robberies I am considering going and securing a right to carry permit to protect myself and my family. As a hunter I am carrying some form of fire arm almost all winter in my truck. Shotguns for birding, rifles, and pistols at any given time. All are carried in plain view and unloaded, breech open shells separate from the weapon, but what if I needed it quick? Would I be able to prevent someone from getting killed, would I be able to protect my family from a rapist or thug, I think not.
In the state of Maryland a right to carry permit is hard to get. You handle large amts of cash, have your life threatened maybe you will get lucky. Delaware has a fairly easy process, Virgina is a piece of cake, and Florida has one of the most recognized right to carry in the country. So what is the problem with Maryland? In DC you now can have a handgun for protection after many years of some of the highest crime in the nation. Of course that place is also majority Democrats, who since they don't like them no one should own them kinda mentality. The Mayor of New York would like to see all guns yours mine and ours put in a big pile and run over by a tank, so then we could really be helpless to the ones who do not care about a permit. Maybe I will start the right to carry process and keep you informed of the difficulties or ease of which it is acquired, all I know is this my house is protected by three things, a great spirit, a Chesapeake Retriever and a Remington pump shotgun, don't meet all three at the same time.

Weather? What weather

Well for the past couple of days we have had what some would consider bad weather. Others look at it as an excellent time to spend in the deer stand, an approaching snow storm is always good for moving deer around, and duck fly on the edge of a front, but in the actual snow fall, things are slack personally. Today, Sunday should find us with some clearing skies, and less wind, a good day for hunting...okay it is Sunday so no hunting. I had plans for a sat goose hunt, but at 4:30 with horizontal snow and winds blowing way to hard I went back to bed and pulled the covers just a little tighter to my head! Hopefully we will have some good duck days, bow evenings, and maybe even a Christmas goose.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bad weather, good ducking?

I spend some time in duck blinds and I can tell you that when it comes to bad weather ducks and geese just do not fly like one would think. Now a day with a falling barometer spitting a little snow or rain, can be a good morning but a full blown front with high winds and periods of steady rain ducks just sit tight on back holes, at least the blacks and Mallards are fond of that area. But now take a blue bill, a buffle head or a nasty sea duck they like to fly short hops around an area. However the weather is usually so bad a layout boat can get a little hairy, and if it is snowing damn cold!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Trapping

Trapping is not quite as popular as when I was a kid then all of us farm boys had box traps or a couple of leg holds. Muskrats were profitable coon hides brought good money, and a kid could make some extra cash by taking a few pelts. Today though whether it is because I am older or just lazy I don't trap any at all. Occasionally I will take out my traps and clean them up and think back on the days when I would walk a 3 mile line. But now they are just walks down memory lane. I have a neighbor boy I am trying to teach to trap, no doubt he will get my pack basket and traps one day, but I don't see him staying on the farm. So for now the critters are safe, I am sitting by the fire, thinking of days gone by.

Cooking wild game

Okay you have the deer back from the butcher and the freezer is full of tasty deer steaks. Or maybe you have a couple of rabbits or quail and the wife is not real excited about that meat being in HER freezer so you have got to get it on the table somehow and in a form the family will eat. Let's look at deer because that is a lot of meat at one time. Okay Chili and burger we all know but if you family eats 40 lbs of deer chili you are not going to be very popular I ASSURE you. So here is a tasty way to get more venison on the table.
Take your deer meat and have the butcher cut it like stew meat
Place this in the crock pot with salt and pepper
Add one bottle of your favorite bbq sauce (sweet baby Ray's!)
Get some hamburger rolls and some slaw at the deli
A can of Bush's original baked beans dosed up
Put the venison on the night before with the sauce, when you wake up 8-9 hours later it will be easy to shred like pulled pork.
Serve it on the rolls with a dollop of slaw, some beans and possibly the finest potato chip
Bonn Appetite homeboy

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New york mayor Bloomberg and the demise of MAIG

I know I said I political stuff would be to a min but I had to share this with the millions that follow this blog faithfully. Now I am a NRA member and I encourage each of you to become members if not already because of guys like this mayor Bloomberg as an example. Bloomberg is not just rich he is REAL rich and has spent a lot of his own money getting elected. See his front group "Mayors against Illegal guns" is just another attempt by this guy to buy what he thinks you should have. Money will buy votes we saw that in the last election, and the money can buy the media but there are quite a few of us of us who will not be bought, as well as quite a few Mayors of this organization. The NRA reports in it's Rifleman mag. Dec.09 edition, ( American Voters Face Down Bloomberg's Mayors, Chris W. Cox author) that so far 20% have resigned from the group, about 80 people so far after the NRA brought forth the info to it's members.
One issue that some have questioned is "What are Illegal guns" when actually all guns are legal in their own right. If a gun is stolen then it is a stolen legal gun, maybe used illegally but still a legal gun. Assault weapons, maybe an ax or shovel handle could be considered an assault weapon in the broadest of terms. All in all a lot of good information in the article and def. one to get you thinking about things. One thing we must all keep in mind is that money may be able to buy votes and media, but the voter still has the power.

Hunting today

Well you know I am under the weather but some of my friends went hunting today, and what a day it was! Foggy, some light breeze, water slick and the ducks were flying.....really high, and really fast. I mean they did not even slow down for a look at their spread so what gives? Where did those ducks go and what where they eating when they got there? They did not hear a lot of shooting around them, and did not see a lot of boats on the water. maybe this weekend I will feel better and get a chance to bust a few birds.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Duck season is here Goose is coming !!!

Okay you already know that I love to duck hunt and tomorrow is the big day for the late season. Hopefully the migration will be in full swing riding on this weather we have been having, and just maybe a touch of the fog would be nice. But I am not feeling so hot and will miss the shooting while my friends plan on the hunt tomorrow. A brace of black ducks would be a nice touch to a Christmas dinner, a real Eastern Shore touch if you will. I love teal on the grill with some rice would be nice, or maybe a fat mallard. Over my way Mallards are known as canal ducks because they live in the canals around Ocean City, feeding on bread and french fries, fat as butterballs, and very tasty to boot. So hopefully I will have something to report tomorrow as my friends send me pics while I am bed ridden.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Poachers, killing your trophy?

As the season begins to enter the mid point and we head into post rut, the deer are getting skittish and just a little more aware of you in the woods. I mean the same car door slam at the same hour, with the same smells coming through the woods and fields, doesn't take em long to figure it out. Then there is just that person who is going to get that trophy deer that you have put so much effort into by shooting it at night. Now if you are like me if someone shoots that deer legit, then so be it and glad for him, he put in his time and effort also. But outlaw hunters look for horns and generally that is all they care about getting when shooting at night. It takes way to much time and draws to much attention to shoot a deer in a field, drag it to the truck, or drive the truck out in the field to retrieve it. So saw in hand that beautiful buck losses his horns, and you lose a chance to harvest the deer on a hunt of a lifetime for you. If you suspect someone of poaching on your land inform the DNR. They are in the business of catching these people and are trained to do so. In no way should you confront a poacher if you happen upon them or they are on your property, especially in the evening hours. Keep it safe and keep it legal.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ben Vickers kills Siks Stag

This morning out at the game lands, Mr, Ben Vickers of Salisbury harvested a nice sika stag out at the public game lands out at cherry walk. Seems that he was on the marsh edge and he came along, one side was a nice two fork and the other a mushroom where it was broken off earlier in the season. Good job Ben can't wait to eat some of that bad boy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What to do with all that deer meat?

Okay you went and shot a deer and now you are faced with what to do with all the meat. Well we all know that ground venison burger is pretty good made into hamburger or chili meat. Steaks from a whitetail deer are tough as there is just not enough fat to make em tender, Jerky is numero uno but hell if you ain't got no teeth that ain't such a good choice. Well go on down to gander mountain and get you one of those sausage kits, and make yourself some salami or summer sausage, or maybe some Italian sausage links. I just turned a doe into 30 lbs of sausage helping me to enjoy the hunt all winter long.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

concealed carry permits

Okay I said right off that political pissing and moaning is not happening here on this blog, but it is my blog so I do what I want. Couple of days ago one of my close friends was shot during a robbery at his Deli. He is stable but in a bad way, and he is in a lock down situation since he can ID his shooter. Personally MD has some of the worst con. carry permitting process in the freaking world!!! Any shop owner, any taxi cab driver, anyone should be able to con. carry if they meet the criteria. I do not feel safe in my own home anymore and keep a loaded weapon available at all times. When I go hunting out at my cabin for a couple of days I am worried the whole time about my wife but rest assured she is well armed. I have a saying that I like to keep handy and it goes like this. "This property protected by God, a large Chesapeake dog, and a shotgun, don't meet them all at the same time" What is the answer? Protect yourself first worry later about the consequences later. Believe me you won't care if you had a permit on your death bed.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Maryland opening day of Rifle season

Well this turkey day marks for many the opening day of the Maryland rifle season. Even though the day does not officially open for the harvest of deer until that Saturday, just getting to deer camp begins the season for many. We are fortunate to have both waterfowl marsh and deer woods on our property, so Wed, Thur, Fri, then Sat Sun. makes for a great week of hunting. Of course the water pump on the boat decides not to work meaning a phone call to a friend to see if he was going hunting this weekend, and was his boat available. But the wind! It blew a gale then some and no matter what you might think ducks are not into flying in a gale force wind! My son and his guest arrived at the cabin around 10;30 Thursday night, and I had the boat ready to go but like I said the wind was just brutal, so we hunted a quiet piece of water tucked in behind some trees. Later we moved out to a point and shot at a few diving ducks, after sacrificing a goose decoy to the water gods, we decided that maybe our time could be better spent back in camp. I mean there was a fireplace, half Banana cream pie, a Apple pie and turkey needing a new home, not to mention the possibility of a nap!
Sat morning came quick and the woods was Alive with hunters. Our 158 acres is well managed and we know where each other is positioned, but the adjoining property is a free for all and unfortunately our deer have to return to our area to bed, passing through the neighbors property first. I counted 30 rifle shots in the neighboring property in the first legal hour. The morning was unproductive, but after the woods quieted down we returned that evening and took up our stands. Deer were moving about and our party was able to take a nice doe of 100 lbs. We butchered our deer and packed out our meat in coolers the next morning. We will turn it into sausage, baloney, neck roast, jerky, and burger and enjoy the hunt many months after the harvest.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

More guns mean More crime or More crime means More guns?

Looking through my American Rifleman magazine this morning the following story line grabbed my eye, "New FBI Crime Report Undercuts Gun Control Slogan.... Again". It seems that that every September the FBI releases it's National Crime report for the preceding year. Once again it would seem that the gun control groups are not happy with the report....again. Since 1991 when crime hit a all time high, the nations national crime rate has dropped 40% a 35 year low! Now hear this the number of privately owned firearms rose to more than 80 million, all all time high, and it reported that the number is closing in on 300 million handguns. That means to you and I that we now owen more of all types of firearms than at any time in history, even those that gun control supporters decided we should not have over the years. So more guns less crime or more crime more guns?

Duck hunting

Well the past couple of days have been classic duck hunting days but where are the ducks? My hunting marsh is located on the Saint Martins Neck area of Williamsville and diving ducks have been flying around some but not in the flocks of 8 or 10 that I saw a week ago. No big ducks have showed themselves and no migrating geese the past two days flying over the blind. There is cold weather up north, snow to the north west one would think that the ducks would be pushed down here by now in mass numbers. My son is coming in from the tide water area of Virgina, so I have the blind brushed up nice, heat on in the cabin and naturally some food for the boy and the guest he is bringing with him. Hopefully we will see some birds fly into the spread, tell some lies, and eat cold turkey sandwiches!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ducks deer and some turkey!

Seems like we have a busy week coming up first we have turkey day, ducks till Saturday then deer season! What is a man to do? First def. in on the bird, now if your house is like the one I grew up in we always went rabbit hunting first thing in the morn. Had a huge dinner then a serious nap with brief moments of football or something. Then Friday was spent ducking in the morning and hanging stands or going to the range again with the rifle. Sat brought opening day and the chance of a nice deer for the freezer. So whatever your choice be safe, shoot straight, and follow the game laws.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Delaware opening day of shotgun season

The rut is in full swing, the weather is bad as it gets and today was opening day for shotgunners in Delaware. It may have been bad but there were at least 20 trucks parked along burnt swamp road this morning. Good luck guys, let us know how you did.

Todays duck hunt

The day started at 3 am waking up without the alarm I stumbled out of the bed room into the Man Cave where my clothes are laid out. Got the Tom Brown, my Chesapeake retriever for his first real duck hunt of the season in the car and made sure my over sized kayak fiberglass over plywood pole boat was tied into the trailer, loaded all the stuff that goes with a duck hunt on a perfect morning and headed to my hunting cabin. The early morning started a bit rough with a gale blowing NE, and rain on the horizontal, so I went inside and had a bit to eat while it lightened up a bit. When it got light enough to see to put out the decoys I got the Black Duck (my boat)down to the marsh edge, got Tom Brown kenneled in and sitting and poled out into the marsh. The marsh was flooded knee deep on what is usually dry grass, so the poling was easy and the wind in my favor. I took up residence next to the edge of the marsh sitting on the boat with the retriever in the over sized cockpit marsh grass placed to break up our outline and waited for ducks to come by and check out my freshly painted decoy spread. First set of birds were two pair of those little Teal rockets, who came wile I was setting decoys naturally. Then nothing, a crow or two, some geese, but no ducks. Tom brown wanted ot of the boat so I let him walk/swim around pissing on everything he could get his leg up on, blew the duck call, ate some crackers and waited for the ducks to come. Then it cleared up some stopped raining, wind died down to just a good blow low ceiling fog perfect for the ducks but I saw none. A few divers out on Assawoman bay further out, but no ducks in my part of the marsh. Then I see coming in hard across my left a flock of four green wing teal, bound for the north side of the river. Laying into my favorite duck call, an old wooden Olt that my dad had I start blowing single quacks and feeder chuckles, and as they show me their tail feathers I start with the comeback call. Damn if they did not cut hard left and committed to my decoys like a cruise missile on Bin Laden, came in smokin fast. I jumped up from where I was sitting on the bow of the black duck and laid down two perfect shots from my double barreled 3 inch twelve gauge, first the lead duck then the second. I wish I was going to tell you my retriever jumped from the boat on command and retrieved both of my ducks but that was not the case, I missed both shots and the ducks showed me their tail, Tom just looked at me with those big green eyes. I will say that even though we may not of had a perfect morning it was a good time to train the dog in things we do not usually work on. Like riding still in the pole boat, he weighs 120 lbs and is not fat so that is important when standing up poling. He sat quietly for a couple hours not being a pain by begging for crackers. So the morning was not a total washout for us
That was the last ducks I saw all morning. Maybe someone had a better morning than me?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Maryland opening day for ducks

Okay my decoys are almost painted, the Black Duck pole skiff is painted, Tom brown is ready, the blind is probably blown away! Opening late season duck day is always exciting for me, you know the Migrating birds are moving in, weather is colder, geese are fat from eating corn and I know there will be good times. Me out shooting my hunting partners and them claiming all the birds, fixing breakfast over a pack stove and skillet. The dog (maybe) making some good retrieves, and the stories of hunts past and the number of birds we did not shoot or missed. (Why do we always remember the missed shots?)Sambuca and coffee in the cold morning blind and frost on the reeds. That is what I am looking forward to this sat. morn.

Youth Day!

Sat is youth day in Maryland for kids 16 and younger, and it is coming on to the rut in a big way. Many kids should be able to harvest the deer of a lifetime this weekend. But they won't be able to do it if no one takes them. The attraction of sitting home playing call of duty is stronger than getting up and going hunting, especially if there is no one at home who likes to hunt. I have a young neighbor next door and I hunt his fathers property on the regular as it is right across the road. I hunted it when I first moved here and it was a great place to teach my kids how to hunt close by, and run the rabbit dogs. Every boy needs a good running pair of rabbit dogs! Okay so I take him with me, set him up in stands that my son and I hang, pick and dump corn by the sack, for him to have the chance to see and possibly shoot his first deer. I make sure he gets into acceptable hunting clothing, because it is absolutely imperative that we dress in the latest fashion that is also functional! I guess you get the ideal, I am teaching the kid how to hunt and trap like I did my own. The way I look at it I will be responsible for teaching three kids about the outdoors and that is a good thing. So this youth day if you don't have a son or daughter ask your niece or nephew, the neighbor kid who is always worrying you when you are shooting your bow or skinning deer. But keep in mind you are taking a kid hunting not an adult. They get bored quickly, always hungry, thirsty, squirming and talking in loud voices about going to the bath room! So make it fun for them by setting up a ground blind, have them bring a book, make sure you have apples and fruit for them to eat, take em to breakfast, just make it fun and the next time you want to go hunting, you will haqve a partner.

What is a hunter supposed to do?

Okay let's just look outside here for a min. Wind is Blowing hard as Chinese arithmetic, rain horizontal and cold as the old witch tit, but you did see some deer in a bean field and you know rain and blow or not the bio clock is ticking and those does are smokin hot right now! You know the buck is traveling checking for hot does. He does not care about the wind or rain, his neck is swollen up, he is not eating, nose to the ground for the next week/ten days looking for the ponanny. So do you go? Grab the bow and put on some rain gear, hoping you get that shot? Or do you sit home, whining and bitching about the weather on some blog site. Okay I'm sitting here at home on my sofa looking out the window, saying "damn it sure is bad". Yea and I did the rain thing yesterday not as much fun as I usually have! So what to do?
Today is a great day to sharpen broad heads, scent wash your clothes, replace those batteries in your head lamp, that kinda thing. Anything to keep you from eating all that jerky you just made, and topping it off with some summer sausage/spicy mustard on a cracker. Did I leave out washing it all down with a Evolution craft brew, in a frosty mug? So those are a few of my favorite things, In a bit I will go back to work on painting my decoys with fresh paint. Those millions following this blog know I started that project a few weeks ago, and it is on going. But I have got to admit they are beginning to look more like a working decoy, with some flash of course I could not resist! Stay safe and be alert the big deer are getting careless by the day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spear fishing

I think that science is a wonderful thing, I mean here we can talk with people we do not know and even after a bit you get to where you actually know someone sorta kinda. That is like with this Facebook thing, my wife hooked me up with it so I could see pictures of one of my former students in Afghanistan, heck he is 22 now and two tours of door kicken combat, but he is still one of my boys! But I digress, I have also gotten in touch with a bunch of my old friends from high school that I had lost contact with or graduated above or below me, or from that other school across town JMB!
Well it just so happened that a old frind of mine graduated and left to have a professional diving career, and during the course of e-satation I asked if he liked to fish? Seemed he did some spear fishing, when he would be on decompression stops out on the oil; rigs. When I was younger and living in Guam I also enjoyed spear fishing but on a much smaller scale I promise you, with a sling out on the reefs. One guy fishing one looking for sharks!
So my wife and I are out fishing on the rocks at the Delaware Bay ice breaker walls, when this guy just pops up about 15 feet from the boat, I am seeing a diving flag 100 yds away from the boat in the opposite direction, and this guy is just diving all over the rocks, so when he pops up again I get his attention cause he is about 15 feet from my boat spearing fish coming to my bait. And I lean over the side of the boat and ask him "you spearfishing"? (here's your sign okay) He indicates he is by the fish bag and spear in his hand, mask fins and snorkel. I ask him how much of this rock wall did he lay claim to as he was spearfishing right under my boat on top of my bait. Long story he had more fish than me naturally, cause everyone has more fish than me. Does anyone out there like to spearfish?

Veterans Day

As sportsmen we appreciate the outdoors, the thrill of a tight group, the pleasure and fellowship of a D.U. dinner, all the things that make our sport what it is. Today is Veterans day, many of you served in the military and a night in deer camp is not quite like a night at a firebase, or out on patrol. We never let our guard down on the Second amendment, the right to keep and bear arms. Or the first, the right to free speech. And even though we may be at a point where it seems that many would want to tax you to death or redistribute your earnings, we still have to admit that this is a pretty good place to raise your kids.
We can elect a president and have a peaceful transition of power, we can assemble and voice our discontent with things, argue among ourselves and drink beers later not cut off someones head. Take a chance and become whoever we want to be, earn as much as we want and spend it as we see fit. Yes all of the things we may bitch about we have only one group of people to thank for these privileges and that is our Veterans. Today we are in a war on two fronts and no real end in sight, and in reality we have been at war since WW1. WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Central America, Somalia, and now Iraq and Afghanistan. I will be honest I really do not know why we are fighting still, what is so important to us that we fight with rules of engagement, while no one else does, if an
American attack kills civilians we are animals yet they kill hundreds no thousands of their own people, and that is okay.
Today I want to personally thank anyone who reads this site, who has served our country, who has done their part, to allow me to be able to write this and post this for everyone to see. Thanks guys and girls it is you who make us what we were, what we will become, and able to hold our heads high.

Hot doe, or cold piss

I like to use scents for trapping and for hunting heck I even like scents for fishing, but I am always thinking of ways to make my use of them more efficient. Flipping through one of the local chain sporting outfitter mags not to long ago I saw a product that works off of batteries and heats the doe in heat scent product making it warm, and filling the air with the scent of warm doe in heat. Of course this product also carried a price tag that in this economic time I felt was just a little bit out of my league, so I put my head to work thinking of how I could put something together similar, and for a lot less cash. Fast forward to my hunting shed, and there in the corner sits an old deer decoy I had gotten some time back, but just had never really used a lot and some hand warmers in my boat box, when the light suddenly came on. Use the hand warmer as a heat source and place it inside the body cavity of the decoy, standing just inside the woods on the edge of the field. If I got a deer tail I could wire it in the straight out position, letting any buck that saw it know that I was smoking hot and looking for a buck to take advantage of my youth and inexperience, just take a wiff big boy!!! So in the man cave I go hand warmer in one hand doe in heat in the other, I activate the warmer spray the ever loving Tinks 69 on it place it on a paper plate and in about 30 seconds the scent of doe in heat has filled the room with a musk I can only begin to associate with a New Orleans Whore House ( I have never been in a New Orleans Whore house but I am sure this is what it would smell like) I am thinking that this works pretty good, when I walk into the kitchen area and discover it is working pretty good there also, Pool room same scent in fact the whole house is reaking of doe piss but not just any doe piss....warm doe piss. I wrapped up my experiment in some tin foil and placed it in a zip lock bag, and threw it in the trash, outside of course, After an hour I can still smell it coming from the dumpster where I threw it, and my house is still reaking, with all the windows open. I am hoping that when the wife gets home it is gone and she doesn't smell it, I will light a dozen of those candles she has sitting around to help out. But my experiment was a success the hand warmer will work, but will it work with the deer? Only time and trial will tell.

Sometimes you eat the bear...and sometimes the bear eats you

This morning I took the day to go bow hunting where I hunt out on Saint Martins neck. Last Sat was exceptional in the fact I saw a ton of nice deer, and had them up close and personal so to speak, but never got a chance to release. So This morning was to be my next attempt at putting the broad head in the chest of a nice deer, and getting some deer meat for the freezer.
Okay it is raining not a big deal no bad weather just bad clothing choices, and I am a duck hunter so rain is not a problem. Not true, in about an hour my ceder bow was soaked, my arrows soaked and yes my butt was also just a wee bit wet and uncomfortable since I hunt from the ground. This morning I am on my knees in a bean field waiting for Mr. Big to walk by and fall for my decoy hot hands/doe in heat set up, and the subsequent release of the arrow, when I ask myself "are you having any fun yet". I decide that I am still having fun and decide to give it another 20 min tops to get the deer to fall for my cheap tricks, when after about 5 min and a load of cold rainwater down my back I decide to cash it in. Now all the stealth that goes into the set up goes out the window on pack out, I stand up in the middle of the field, retrieve my scent markers, and am walking out to the spot where I had parked the exploder (ford explorer)thinking I could have been in a warm bed snuggled up to the wife, when a Bald Eagle flies out of an old snag tree on the property. Now I am wet, have been up since 3:45, saw no deer, and I admit am pretty miserable at this point, but then again I think to myself that I had a pretty good morning overall. There were a good 30 Mallards and Black ducks resting in my marsh, three woodies in the pond eating acorns, the Eagle, and the rain. So some may say that this morning the bear ate me, but I would like to think that I got a nibble also!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Now that you caught it what you going to do?

I love to fish, and I hate to eat fish, fortunately my wife likes fish and I don't mind cooking it so it is a good thing when I come home successfull. Now to say I don't eat any fish is a lie. I like Micky D's fillet of fish, and Harbor sides fish and chips, but a trout or blue fish is outta the question. I have a recipe for salmon that I have used competitively and won with every time I have fixed it for a competition. Here is the recipe for my award winning "Butter Maple smoked Salmon"
Take a salmon fillet and remove the skin
Use John Henry's maple rub and rub this into the fillet liberally
set your smoker on a cool smoke and using apple wood or hickory set up a thin smoke.
Place your salmon on the middle rack and keep the temp to around 220
Now while smoking mix together some of the finest maple syrup you can get hold of and some butter till you have a sauce that will stick nicely to the fish
After the fish has been in the smoker about 20 min and has a nice color brush with the butter syrup mixture and finish off the fish.
(it is firm to the touch)

practice much

If you want to be successful in your hunt then you have to practice with your weapon of choice. I personally like to hunt with a straight bow, and when possible arrows Fletched with turkey feathers, and steel broad heads. Now don't get me wrong I like my compound, and the fact I can group arrows tight as can be but there is something about the snap shot of a straight bow. But you have to practice to be successful with the instinctive shooting style associated with shooting a stick bow. Mine is a six foot hickory backed ceder bow with a string I made myself from artificial sinew, it draws 40 lbs and is perfect for my shoulders, both which have been repaired. So how often do I practice with my stick bow? I would love to tell you I shoot 25-30 arrows a nite three times a week but that is not true so I will just say I practice enough to feel confident that when I let the string release, my arrow will hit it's intended target. If you are just getting into bow shooting it is not unrealistic to go to the local range and shoot a few rounds a couple nights a week, you might also join a local club and shoot some competitively. One of my fav. ways to practice is to grab up a bunch of my junk arrows and go stump shooting or shooting leaves on the forest floor. Better yet is to go to my deer stand and shoot squirrels from my stand, plus they make tasty eating to boot! Keep your shooting challenging and varied. Different positions and targets, short and long distance shooting will help you to make the snap shot sometimes necessary for a harvest. Keep practicing and you will improve your success rate.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

After you kill it , Then you can grill it!

Looking threw my latest Fur, Fin, and Feathers I came across an article on preparing wild duck that sounded really good. Now I have my own way of fixing duck (duck on a stick)but this sounded so much like the ducks I grew up eating that I want to share with you this recipe. Ducks should be cooked in a HOT oven and not cooked to death, med rare is just right, with a crispy skin. Hope you enjoy this one.

One apple cored and sliced
half a sweet onion sliced
handful of baby carrots
three cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons of bacon drippings
salt and pepper
1-1/2 cup of chicken stock
Cut up your vegetables and place them on the bottom of a roasting pan, stuff the apple into the body cavity, and place the duck, breast up in the pan. Set up the oven to BROIL and char the duck untill it gets a nice color to it. Now tent the bird with tin foil and set the oven to 300 degrees. (don't return the bird yet just tent it and set the oven to roast)
Now warm your soy sauce, bacon drippings,and honey, warm this mixture up and then remove it from the stove top, let it sit until the bacon drippings start to get thick again. Pour this mixture over your bird and place it in the 300 degree oven. Place the duck in the oven and cook until you get internal temp of about 140 degrees.
Pull the bird from the pan, cover with the foil and let the bird rest for a few min. Now while the bird "Rest" use the pan and the drippings to make a sauce to go over the bird. Add the chicken stock to the roasted vegetables and such in the pan and scrape the crispys from the pan bottom, reduce this stock by 1/3. Carve up the bird and dip the meat into the Au Jus. Serve this with some roasted potatoes or some rice.
Now I know some are thinking that fowl should be cooked to 170 degrees, and feel free, but a wild duck handled properly is a very tasty bird when cooked this way.

Saturday deer hunt

My Sat hunt began at around 2:15 AM with me being unable to sleep, so I got up and got my gear and headed out to the local WaWa for a coffee. On the drive to my hunting property, about 45 min. I was thinking of my hunt and where I would set up. As a hunter who likes to bow hunt from the ground, I have to be selective as getting within 15 yds. is the goal when bow hunting for whitetail deer. I selected a spot on the edge of a bean field, where I have created a natural blind sorta and on the downwind side of the trail. It is VERY early and I had about an hour before the sun got up, but the moon was in it's glory and lit the field up to where your binoculars, drew in a lot of light and made it so you could glass the field. I had my eye on a break in the marsh grass knowing that was the spot they would come from. Just as the sky showed the very first hint of color here came the first deer, Nose to the ground, and making like a train across the field. Never came close to my blind and it was early enough I could not tell weather it was a buck or doe, but it's body language said Buck! About 10 min later here came another buck deer it's antlers were shined up, and it carried enough body mass to make it a shooter, but like the one earlier it bypassed my spot by about 40 yds. Two more deer came by and I was a little disappointed that I had not placed myself just right for a early morning shoot. At this time it was just light enough to back light a small dirt pile so I took my rattling antlers and proceeded to scrape the ground and trees like a deer staking out some territory. I settled in and nocked an arrow knowing this might be the trick. Sure enough here comes Mr. Big and stands on the hill, 15 yds away looking right at me. I am waiting for the opportunity to pull and release but he just stands there, the sun coming up behind him, a beautiful sight. After a few min. he loses interest and just walks away. Around 10:30 I pack it in and walk down to the marsh and there is a doe laying in the grass, she gets up and walks around some not aware I was standing in the woods not 30 yds away. I did not release an arrow all morning, and saw at least 7 deer, and a ton of ducks, mostly divers, and a pair of blacks that dropped in to a small pond I have by my hunting cabin. I fixed a little lunch and took a nap figuring I would head out around 1:30 to a spot I had just opened up. All went well until a couple of kids, ignoring the no trespassing signs come threw the woods with their dog carrying on the way kids playing in the woods would do. You can imagine their surprise when I hollared from my spot "Hey what you doing here"! I explained how it was hunting season and that the woods were posted, and sent them on their way. After that I kinda lost my steam and packed up and came home. Now I saw many deer and other wildlife, never released an arrow, but for those of us that hunt I had a very successful day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Target shooting in your neighborhood

Hey if you like to shoot targets and the cost of shooting the magnum is costing you more than it should, consider putting in a backyard range. Air guns today are capable of propelling a custom pellet up to 1200, fps now that is pretty dang fast. However they also lose that energy quickly when encountering sufficient resistance, and they are quiet to match. Being a good shot has as much to do with the mechanics of trigger squeeze, breath control, sight picture and shooting position as a good scope or gun.
So by shooting an air gun and practicing the basics you can improve your shooting with your magnum also. What does it take to shoot safely in your backyard or neighborhood, even your basement!
First is safety equipment and gear. Safety glasses at all times in the slim chance of a ricochet.
Space; a low velocity range can be 15 feet, but if you are shooting one of the newer high velocity guns you need 30 feet min.
Third you have to catch the pellet, a box of plywood 24x24x12, lined with a thick piece of carpet, several layers thick. this will catch the fastest of pellets with no chance of it coming back at you if you get it in the box.
Fourth you have to have a backstop behind your box, a heavy canvas, or blanket, with the bottom left loose will help you keep your pellets in your yard.
Now when you set up to hold your targets, get a pair of pipes and drive them in close to the front of your trap. Between these place a piece of wire mesh like 2x3 wire fencing and wire it between the two poles. Use clothes pins to hold your target in place and shoot away, sharpening your skills in a safe manner that is not offensive to anyone. So hone your skills, and increase your accuracy so when the time comes you place your shot where you want it, for a clean and ethical harvest.

Fall bass fishing

Now that the weather has cooled some, bass fishing has picked up in a big way. But some fishermen are still fishing like they did this summer, and not scoring like they should. Lets take a look at how to improve our take when we hit the water.
Prime time is daybreak and sunset, unless the day is foggy and overcast then the action can continue into the day. Hit the water early, take the kids to Crown in the mid day, and get back on the water for the evening bite, cause this feeding frenzy won't last long. Look for areas of rip rap rocks and such that stabilize the bank, these nook and crannies hold all kids of leaches, crayfish, slugs and such, make your baits smaller and fish a little slower. Don't cast AT the bank, cast parallel to it and fan cast. When you finish move up a half a cast and repeat the process. Fish are still in the roots of trees and laying along stumps, but they look at the rip rap as a McDonalds of fish food. Fish born early spring are now bigger and the rocks make for good hiding places, plus they are a little warmer, and the bass are looking to gorge to put on weight for the winter. Change up your approach to your fishing and maybe increase your chances of landing the biggest bass of your life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

James Winn scores his first bow kill


It seems that the meat gods were shining and James Winn got his first bow kill a 10 point buck. Congrats James!

The black mouth cur

Down south there is a breed of dog known as the black mouth cur that is used to tree small game in the forest, okay... tree rats, dang it. It is now being considered for AKC status as a recognized breed. I have read stories of these dogs putting a squirrel into the tree and then following it thru the forest with the hunter following until he gets a clean shot. I have never hunted behind the black mouth cur, and at one time hunted squirrel on the regular. But I would like to put the two together and see how it works!

Coon hunting

When I was a boy, half a century ago, I recall a group of men who would run dogs at night to hunt coons. Armed with a 22 pistol, and a kerosene lamp they would trudge threw the low lying areas chasing the dogs till they "Run em up a littlen"(tree the coon up a small tree) at which time they would harvest the coon. After many hours and usually seeing the rising sun these men would get on home and do their chores, after taking care of the dogs of course. That evening they would feast on a dinner of roasted coon, turnips with greens, sweet potatoes, and maybe a thick wet corn bread cooked in a skillet, with fresh butter and honey. Back then few of the best dogs had papers, and questionable pedigrees at best, but the ones who had them knew their dogs. Soon local areas had dogs of great value, whose ability to run coon, sound off, and tree a coon were known far and wide.. A hunter knew his dogs by their "Note" or the sound of their bark or bay, knew when they were trailing, or treeing, knew when they were searching for the coon and when they had the scent. With today's mass communication the reputation of a dog can be known far and wide, and his or her pups be a valuable source of income for the owner. By the same token dogs not bred for the hunt but for their look, may distract a person from purchasing a dog that they want to hunt or to be a pet. A dog bred for the hunt will want to run for hours at night around the neighborhood, and the neighbors cat will catch hell on a regular basis. Also one bred for looks mat not have the intense desire to hunt or the nose for hunting like hunting stock, but will be a better pet.
Not many are left today in this area that enjoy a night listening to their dogs run and a good coon dinner the next night. A good friend of mine Bill Jackson of Delmar was just such a man and I had the privilege of knowing and learning from him the finer points of steel fabrication, but also how to skin and cook a coon. There is a coon club in Powelville I think that hunts with mules and dogs. if anyone knows of another club or good running dog let us know.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Right Deer Wrong season!

I posted about ethics a couple of days ago so you know how I feel about game laws and doing your best to stay within the law. So today while talking with a young hunter I have been working with, I was surprised to hear about a Buck deer killed during the doe only shotgun season. Worse this young hunter was denied the opportunity to have the chance to harvest just such a deer during youth day. As adults we have many days afield, and the youth days like em or hate em are set aside to help us introduce kids to hunting in a safe time frame. By shooting such a deer out of the season does nothing to reinforce to our young hunters the importance of game laws and the responsibility of following them.

Cover scents

Most successful hunters I know have some sort of scent control program they use, washing their clothes in baking soda, hanging them outside, commercial products, and even clothing. I have my own scent control I use, but I also use what I like to call natural scents in the area I am hunting. If I am hunting in a ceder woods I will rub ceder on my clothes and hands, or pine, put some in my pocket. When I get to my stand I like to take my small rake I made and rake up an area just up wind of my stand by a few yards, releasing the scent of fresh earth, a few apples to munch on and I am putting things in my favor with what I like to call multipliers. Always keep the wind in your face, scent control, and stand placement, will help you bag the deer of a lifetime.

New Life for old decoys

Today I was looking thru my decoy shed and came across some old foam decoys that I bought several years ago. They had been spray painted at the factory and had feather patterns molded in but as far as good looking decoys go they left a lot to be desired. So I got some spray paint and gave them a good base coat of some rust o leum and then went to town with my brush. I don't mind telling you that when I got done with the first two , a hen and drake mallard pair they looked pretty good. I think I will give them a shot of satin finish polyurethane, that really helps extend the life of your paint job. I haven't tried a plastic decoy yet yet but when I do I will keep you posted. Oh yea the paint I used was the big tube of acrylic paints from Michaels and I bet that I can paint a couple of dozen of the foam type decoy with what I bought.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Morning Hunt

Today is the last day of the doe only season in Delaware, and as usual it found me in the. woods around 5:30. Upon entering the logging road going in I stopped and rubbed fresh woods earth on my boots and clothes, with just a touch of fox pee on the soles of each boot. Now it is still very dark at that hour but with a little luck I found my lock on stand pretty quickly, and ascended the climbing sticks with my bow on the string. Settling in I ate an apple and waited for the woods to come alive. As it got brighter the tree rats came out and scampered about barking and chattering, crows settled in the branches above me and called for the better part of 10 min. and I love to hunt but 10 min of calling crows is enough! Shots rang out on the fields across the road, and then all got quiet. Two hours later I climbed out of the stand and made my way back to the car, by the farmers veg. wagon, Track soup again tonight! One thing about it I may not have pulled my bow this morning, but the pleasure I got from watching the forest come alive, and the smells of the damp earth, well well worth the effort.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

We're not done fishing yet!


Okay hunting is getting all the press but fishing is still hot and getting hotter by the day. OC Inlet is going to be giving up some fat Rock on the 2 hr incoming outgoing tide. Getting a live spot or eel down to them will be the key to success, and the 28 inch min makes for a nice fish for the oven. One of my favorite places is the outer wall of Delaware bay. I have NEVER been skunked there when fishing live eels, no weight, 2hr. incoming outgoing, at sunset. I have gotten my two fish limit there on the regular. Now let be perfectly clear this is no place for a small boat, with a small engine of questionable operation, on a incoming tide. The current there is fast, the rocks hard, and the sea rough when fishing is the best so be super safe here.
Indian River inlet, on the golden tide times is a fish factory! The water rushes out of the inlet with a vengeance and will take you with it. One man lost his life there this past week when a wave caught him off guard, so keep in mind the sea gets angry when you take fish. Anxious to hear of fish reports, salt and fresh, and I have no ideal how but I will try and post some pictures if I can figure it out. Yea I can find my way home at night from the target ships but posting pictures is a challenge for me!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bow hunting traditional or compound?

Hey I love to hunt and I like to Bow Hunt when I can, but I like to hunt with a variety of gear. Some evenings it is my cedar backed hickory bow with cedar arrows, and split willow quiver. If I am feeling really primitive I will use a short pony bow I made from a hickory stave, with cherry shafts and blunt tips. But then some nights I have all the gear you could ask foe carbon arrows, compound bow, full laser print camo, scent block anything (even a chili fart) clothing. So what type of hunter are you traditional, crossbow, compound?

Bunnies and Squirrels

When most talk of hunting in this area it is usually about Whitetail deer or waterfowl, but what about small game? In a time when a persons first deer might be a trophy animal, thanks to youth days, what is left? Like the guys who first walked on the moon what else can you do that is equal to that? (okay bring world peace) Stalking tree rats (squirrel)or hunting rabbits in front of a pack of beagles is a great way to introduce people new to hunting. Sitting beside a old log you can see the little rodent coming on thru the trees, and with that rusty gray fur they are picture perfect in the evening. Getting into position like you are going to draw down on a turkey, you raise the 22 to your shoulder, getting the sight picture you settle in and breath in, finger on the trigger, breath out, settle in make the sight line up with the head, breath in and squeeze easy, exhale hold...squeeze.. WHACK the little lead bullet connects like a white tail and you are better for it. Hunting small game can make you a better shot when the big boy comes into your shooting lane, by making you work on the basics when hunting squirrels with small bore rifles. Breath control and sight picture are things that as a hunter you should practice every time you go to the range to shoot your weapon. Many people shoot "AT" their game but using small bore for small game makes you learn to pick a spot and hit that spot. Hey the plus side is that it is cheap to shoot, not $1.50 every time you pull the trigger on your magnum.
What about the rabbits? Well besides being very tasty little buggers they are also fun to shoot at when running thru the briers with a yapping beagle 20 yds behind him. If you don't think that will help your bird hunting I disagree! Same with quail hunting (harder everyday here), or woodcock, these require light loads and less recoil when new hunters are along.
If you kill it you got to grill it, so get a hot cast iron pan, with a little lard in it about 1/4 inch or so. Cut up the rabbit or tree rat and drudge him in some flour seasoned with some salt and pepper. Of course you are going to wash it first and pat him dry, and if you have the time maybe soak him in some salt water.
Now place that, the drudged rabbit not the salt water, into your hot grease and cook him on a slow fry, browning him on all sides real good, till he is nice and brown and crispy. Take him from the pan and set him on a platter with some paper towels, or a stump if you are camping then you can forget the towels if you want, I mean birds crap there but you are in the wood right?
Now those big ol onions you brought with ya will get sliced up about 1/4 inch thick and fried in the pan you cooked the game in frying them until they get limp or "caramelized" like that? caramelized that's right! Now pull them out and throw in some flour and make a rue in the pan with all the crispy stuff in the pan get it to the color you like (peanut butter for me) and add some milk to make a gravy. Put the onions and game in the pan and set it to the back of your heat so it just simmers, for about 40 min.
Now mash up those potatoes, and get a can of those Bushs baked beans opened up. If I have to tell you what to do next maybe you should not have a gun!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pre Rut?

Well a deer came into a business and basically did the bull in a china shop thing, after crashing thru the front window, he destroyed the shop in typical fashion. So are we into the pre rut stage or what? It is well known to hunters that a buck deer will not be friendly to other buck deer around this time of year. So they fight and clash horns, rub big trees, and piss all over themselves, in an effort to attract the estrus doe. So if they see their reflection in a window they attack it, thinking it is another deer moving in on their does. I am dragging a big mirror into the woods next time I go see how that works out for me, okay maybe not. But I like the ideal. We hunters have our rattling horns or bag, our Tinks 69 doe in heat, drag rags, scent blocking clothing and body wash. But when the Rut finally kicks in, sometime usually during Delaware shotgun season, none of that will matter, because he has his nose and mind on one thing....doe punanny and he will travel to get it. So we position ourselves down wind of the trail and wait for that trophy of a lifetime to make a tragic mistake and walk by your location. If you have confidence in your ability to make a successful harvest, and the meat gods are in your favor, your arrow or shot finds you making meat for the winter.
So hunters what is the verdict Are we in pre rut, seen any strange behavior?

Ethics

This has always been a sore spot with me, when people lump all of us together with those who knowingly violate game laws, take shots they can't make, shoot from the vehicle on and on. So what are hunting ethics? For me it is practicing with my weapon of choice untill I know I can make a clean harvest, Try my best to follow all game laws, (but I am convinced that if you hunt then you have to be in violation on something!!!) and leave the area cleaner than I found it. What do you think hunting ethics are or what are yours?

Monday, October 26, 2009

What type of retriever is best for you


Getting a hunting dog is a big investment and not one to be taken lightly Tom Brown (pictured) eats 9 cups of retriever dog food everyday, likes to dig, 9 cups in 9 cups out! loves his family and gets along well with other animals. What type of hunting dog works best for you?

Where are the birds at?

The second duck season is in full swing and I have to admit on my piece of marsh, located on Saint Martins Neck, there seems to be a shortage of birds. I figure the cold weather up in New York would push em down, maybe the snow in Appalachia will move em on in, but for me and my blind nothing. The few ducks I did see were committed to somewhere else but where would they be going? Naturally the flooded soybean field brought up by the latest NorEastr that is not part of my hunting property! As we hunt during the upcoming season I will try and post a "Where are the Ducks at, on Thursdays, feel free to share or not where you last saw ducks.

Public Option, hows that working for you?

Okay many of us here are just plain good ol boys and girls who no matter where we are from, would have been good ol girls and boys there also. We work our 40, fill our hunting vehicles, more than likely the family vehicle, grab the family dog and hit the fields for a afternoon out in the stand or the woods. No fancy lease or lodge, our dog has a questionable pedigree, and we work hard for our money. So where do we hunt ...Public Land, that's right many of us use the Public Option when we manage to get out and hang our stand, or shoot a few ducks and geese. It has been my experience that many hunters reject hunting on public ground because of the anything goes attitude by some gun toting people, and we all have our stories on that. But if you do your homework you can find those areas tucked away that connect up to state park property or that huge piece of ground you been dying to get on to for a couple of evenings. Couple of suggestions for those new to the Public Option,
Go deep, many have fire roads cut thru them and that can be your ticket to getting into those areas overlooked by the avg hunter. Bring your nippers and work on going to your site everytime and soon you have a nice semi clear trail to your fav. climbing tree. If you get there and someone has taken advantage of your work, pee on the tree and leave.
Don't flag the entrance to your site with flagging tape, 20 yds in place your tape, with your name and season date on it, only a gun toater would violate your space.
Gang up: get three of your buddies to go into an area and make it your own, use your flagging tape marked properly and work together like a club if you will, other hunters will respect you and your space.
Now this may not work for you but for those of us who like the Public Option the results can be worth it.

Delmarva Hunting fishing License?

I don't know about you guys, but I live in Delaware, have hunting property in Maryland and Delaware and get invited to duck hunt the lower peninsula every year. A three day out of state Md. License with stamps to duck hunt, a cool $70.00. What is a sportsman to do? Besides a lease if you have to lease, boat stickers, trailer tags, hunting and fishing license, ramp fees, lot fees, well you get the ideal I am sure, what is a person to do? I know that we have all thought about it, a license for the peninsula, for those that want it. Something to think about, something to ask our elected officials to consider.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Is your retriever working for you? (or you for your retriever)

It has been said that every duck (rabbit, quail, upland game) hunter should own at least one good retriever (pointer) and train one retriever in his life., notice I did not say they would be one and the same dog! I have been fortunate to have owned two really good retrievers and, I had the pleasure of training both of them, of course the verdict is still out on Tom Brown, but from all indications he will become the retriever I want him to be, and hopefully by the end of this season he will come to the front.
"Mike son of Ike Duke of the Marsh" was my first dog of my own, a Black Lab from a local guide "Mud Duck" who bred his lab to replace his working dog Ike, cost me 50 dollars and a bunch of time. But that dog had the natural ability to work and by the time he was a year old I had him making basic retrieves in the marsh. by year two it was doubles and blind retrieves. I always said if I shot down a airliner he would retrieve it piece at a time! After moving out to the country I did not kennel my dog as I lived on several acres and was surrounded by hundreds of acres of corn and beans, but the scent of a female in heat is a powerful thing to a rank lab, and I learned a hard lesson the hard way, one day Mike never came home. I have had several since Mike, free ones, purchased ones, ones that the guy just couldn't keep any more, and it just never worked out, in fact I gave up duck hunting all together, sold my deks and boat. After several years I picked up a place to hunt ducks again, my kids came along and left and I got thinking about getting another retriever, but what to get? The easiest of all a Golden, or Yellow lab, a chocolate, or should I get another Black lab. Having grown up with Chesapeakes I knew of their tireless work ethic, ability to withstand cold weather and ice, even the biggest goose was no match for them when it came to retrieving, so I setteled on that breed to go into my "golden duck years" with. He has been a handfull I admit, hard headed, likes to mouth your hands, eats like a horse but devoted and dedicated to my wife and I, gets along well with others, so long as I am around, and social. Not the easiest dog I ever trained but by far the most aggressive. Skim ice, cold, thick brush, nothing stops him, and I have only used the training collars on him twice as I feel guilty after I use it. My uncles did not have training collars and I don't think I need them either. I would like to hear your traing stories and about your dogs, what successes you have had things that did or did not work, suggestions for those getting their first hunting dog. And if you are breeding your dog, or if he is standing at stud let us know.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

After the harvest

The quality of your meat is in direct proportion to how you handle it immediately after the shot. Early bow season is a major problem with temps in the 80's or higher, but even cold weather requires you to handle your game properly. recently there have been many products on the market that help us with the work associated after the harvest. How do you handle your game after the harvest?

Playing the wind when bow hunting.

We all know that wind direction is an important aspect of deer hunting. A deers nose is long and filled with receptors to detect even the faintest of scents. There are many products on the market to help you have effective scent controll, clothing washes, sprays and scent blocking clothing. What have you found to be most effective in your own scent control system?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hanging and hunting Deer Stands

When you go to hang or hunt your deer stand what safety guidelines do you follow?
Welcome Prophets to Delmarva sportsmen blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, and feel free to comment. This is NOT a political blog but you can bet that I will try and keep you updated on NRA news, game seasons and limits, and let us not forget fishing! Maybe we could post pictures of your game harvest, or let the world know your kid got their first deer, duck or turkey. Hope you guys will come around, frost is on the pumpkin, there is a nip in the air, and the coffee is perkin.