Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Goodby to Patrick F. McManus…

Friday, December 12th, 2008

I was perusing blogs a few days ago, and came across the news that Patrick McManus will not be writing for Outdoor Life any more.  I couldn’t believe it.  He was a staple of Outdoor Life for so long, it will seem like a completely different magazine without him there.  I decided to write my thoughts up in an article, and had them published today on my Associated Content Account.  You can read those thoughts by clicking here.

McManus has always been one of my favorite outdoor authors.  I have been reading him for many years, and continue now to read his books to my kids.  I have a stockpile of several years of Outdoor Life set aside for my kids, so they will have a ton of his articles to read.  I have several of his books, but I will probably go ahead and stock up on the rest of them.  I know he is getting older, and I don’t know how much more he will be able to write.

If you haven’t read his books, you are really missing something great.  Get ahold of one, and read it.  If you love the outdoors, you will love Patrick McManus! Here are a few that are currently available on Ebay:

Almost Muzzleloader Season

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Here in WV, Muzzleloader Season comes in next Monday.  Looks like we are going to have several guys getting together to hunt together.  That will mean a lot of deer drives.  If you haven’t hunted in this way before, it is a fun way to hunt.  We will usually put a couple of guys on stands, and then work toward them with 3 or 4 other guys.  The trick is trying to figure out how deer will move when they are pushed.  And, if you have done it much, you know that this is quite the challenge.  Deer can go just about anywhere when they are pushed, and it is difficult to make them go where you want them to go.  Let me give you an example from earlier this year…

We have one particular bowl that almost always holds deer.  By placing one hunter on the next bowl, we often have success pushing deer across one bowl, to the lip of the other.  My brother had a doe tag he was trying to fill, so we put him on stand, and began the drive, which takes at least an hour to complete correctly.  Sure enough, I put out about 6 does, but they went the wrong way.  They ran straight up the hill, rather than around the bowl.  Fortunately, we had another driver (my dad) at the top of the hill, and he was able to turn them right back down, where they ran in front of me again.  If I had not filled my doe tag earlier in the day, it would have been an easy shot for me.  The deer again turned the wrong way after running past me, turning to go behind me.  I took off running to try and cut off the deer, and was able to turn them more sharply down the hill.  Again, fortunately, I had another brother working the bottom of the mountain, so that he was able to turn them once again.  He also had his doe tag filled, so he just watched them as well.  Finally, they were turned the right direction.  We waited for the shot, but it never came.  We found out later that the deer had run close to my brother on stand, but he was still unable to get a shot off.

I am not sure how many people hunt this way anymore, but it can be fun, and it can be productive.  I have killed a lot of deer on drives, both as a driver and as a stand hunter.  If you can get them working in the right direction, you can see a lot of deer, and get a lot of shots.  You do need to be very careful.  You must trust everyone involved.  If you have hunters that are not capable of remaining calm, and thinking about safety, you don’t want them involved in a deer drive.  Things can happen fast, and you want to make sure that when you shoot, it is a safe shot.

We are going to have 5 or 6 guys (I hope) out hunting next week.  I look forward to this late season every year.  I am always hoping for snow, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen this year.  Last year was pretty miserable, with a bunch of rain.  I am hoping we avoid that this year.

So, do you all have a late deer season yet to come?

Resilient Deer…

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

I hope that this picture isn’t too graphic for most of you that read my blog, but I thought this was really neat and thought it would be of interest.  I wrote a couple of days ago about the deer that Chad killed, and how I had shot it with a bow.  Here is a picture of the veins that grew to bring extra blood to the wound site to help it heal:

You can click on that picture to see the bigger picture.  The high side (right in the picture) was the entrance, and the low side (left( was the exit wound.  This shot had to be just a bit high, as it missed the lungs completely.  I know that there is a small space below the spine, and above the lungs that you can hit with an arrow and not kill the deer.  This shot is proof.  I will never use the Grim Reaper broadheads again, as it is evident that they didn’t open right.  On another note, I shot a buck with the new Rage broadheads, and they did a great job!  The deer jumped the string, but the arrow still passed through the neck.  It cut an unbelieveable hole!  i will certainly be using the Rage again next year, hopefully with a better, quieter bow…

Changing Luck?

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Thanks to all for the words of encouragement on that last post.  Things did improve a bit, as I was able to kill a small deer with the bow.  I am, however, continuing to be very unhappy with the broadheads that I have been using.  I have shot Grim Reapers for about 4 years now, and hit 9 different deer with them.  I have only been happy with the job they did on one of the nine deer.  I know, I should have given them up a long time ago, but when you spend that much on them, they are hard to give up.  I have switched over now to the new Rage two blade broadhead.  I am hoping to get an opportunity to try them out before bow season ends this year.  I think I am going to write a fuller review of the Grim Reapers sometime soon.  If you all have tried them, let me know what you think about them.

I did finally get the article written about crossbows.  Check it out if you get a chance.  I think it reflects a lot of the discussion that took place here on the post where I asked your opinions.  Leave a comment over there, or here, if you read the article.

I am really getting excited for our rifle season that will be coming up here a week from next Monday.  I enjoy bow hunting, but to me, there is nothing like rifle hunting.  The plan is to get up to our hunting property sometime this coming week, and hang a couple of stands.  I am hoping to have access to a double stand, so that Jacob will be able to go sit in the stand with me, or with his Papaw.  He has wanted to hunt from a tree stand for the last couple of years, and I didn’t think he was ready.  Hopefully, he will be able to sit a while this year, and we will get to see some deer.  Right now, he thinks hunting is just about going out in the woods, eating jerky and candy bars, and drinking coffee.  I am sure that he will be hooked once he starts seeing some deer, and if he is with me when I am able to shoot one, he will be really thrilled.  My daughter, Skylar, also thinks she is ready to start going out this year.  I think she will really enjoy hitting the woods some this year.  It should certainly be fun this year!

By catching up with some of the blogs, it appears I am hunting in the wrong areas.  I’ve seen some small bucks this year, but nothing like what I have seen on Jody’s blog, and Adam’s blog.  One of these days, I might have a monster buck like that walk past me, but I’m going to have to start hunting somewhere other than WV!  Congrats to to Mark and Adam on those great bucks!

Gathering Opinions on Crossbows…

Monday, September 29th, 2008

I hope you all will be willing to share with me your opinions, and I know (or at least hope) that you will have varying positions.  I am working on an article on hunting with crossbows, and would like to know what you all think.  Here in WV, it is illegal to hunt with a crossbow, unless you are handicapped in some way and cannot use “traditional” archery tackle.  Right across the river in Ohio, it is perfectly legal to hunt with crossbows.  I know the debate on this issue has heated up in some states, so I’d like to see the pros and cons of the arguments.  So, if you will, answer for me the following questions in a comment at the end of the post:

  1. What state do you hunt in?
  2. Are crossbows legal, in any form or under any conditions?
  3. Do you think it should be legal to hunt with crossbows during the general archery season?

Feel free to expound on any of the questions, and give me a good argument for or against the practice.  I look forward to hearing from you all!

Thanks in advance for your opinions.  I’ll be sure to link my article when it is published so that you can see my opinion on the matter.  I have my ideas formulated, but this is your chance to change my mind!


Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Several years ago, I bought a charcoal smoker.  This was back in my college years, when my wife and I lived in a little trailer in Auburn, Alabama.  We wore that thing out smoking venison quarters, chickens and just about anything else we thought would taste good.  It literally fell apart on us!

Fast forward about 10 years.  I have looked in the Cabela’s catalog and drooled over the hi-tech smokers, but cringed over the price tags.  In a perfect world, I’d drop that $400 for a top of the line box smoker with all the bells and whistles.  But, for now, I just can’t swing it.  Well, lo and behold, I was in Wal-Mart a while back, and discoverd the Brinkman Smokin’ Grill, which serves double duty.  It is charcoal fired (which provides the best flavoring in my opinion) and cheap (just $28.99).  That is a combination that I can deal with.  So, we brought it home, put it together and then broke it in on a few hot dogs.  My wife then laid out a beautiful deer roast (had to be 10+ pounds), which I threw on the smoker.  About 6 hours later, we had perfectly smoked, perfectly flavored venison.  All we did was rub the outside with olive oil to keep the juices in, and then sprinkle it with grilling seasoning.

In the “old days”, I would mix up my on concoction for smoking, involving just about every kind of seasoning and sauce I could find in the kitchen.  It was great, but I found that this new method was just as good, and a whole lot easier.  Combining the venison with some home fries, and coleslaw was just the ticket.  I’m looking forward to a lot more meals like that!

We have been trying to clear out some of our older venison, since our season is quickly approaching.  I have been giving away a ton of meat.  I’m surprised we still have so much since we don’t buy any red meat, we only eat venison.  But, it is nice to be able to share with friends in the area who don’t get the opportunity to have deer meat much.  I’m thinking I may have to pull out a few more roasts, and get them smoked.  Maybe I’ll have some folks over to enjoy the bounty!

It’s Been a Busy Summer!

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Jeff from over at Lowcountry Hunting stopped by yesterday and asked where I was.  I realized it has been nearly a month since I have posted any thing.  It has been extremely busy around here over the last  month.  It is going to continue to be very busy over the next two months.  But, I thought I would catch you all up on what has been going on lately.

First, I was able to take a few days of vacation.  We went to North Alabama to visit with my wife’s family.  It was a great time, and my kids really enjoyed a couple of activities.  My wife’s cousins had their sheep, which they show in 4H.  My son wanted one really bad, but we don’t have any place for them.  I have a some pictures of them with the sheep, but somehow I have not loaded them onto the computer.  Maybe I will try to get some posted before long.

The second thing that all the kids liked was riding the motorcycle.  All the kids got on the bike, and rode around with me.  Our time was cut a bit short by one of those Alabama monsoons that can come up on you in no time.  Jacob and I got soaked while trying to return the motorcycle to its owner.  I do have a few pics of the motorcycle riders:

That is Skylar in the middle.  It was her first time to ride the motorcycle, and she loved it.  Now, every time she sees a motorcycle, she says, “We neeeeeeeeed that one!”  I like the way she thinks!

We had only been home from Alabama for a couple of days when I totaled my car.  I was T-boned by a woman who ran a red light.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, but my car is now history.  I have been spending some time trying to find a replacement, but with no luck so far.  Here is a picture of my car:

I did have a really nice rental for a couple of days.  I just wish I could afford to put gas in it.  If I could buy anything I wanted, it would probably be this vehicle:

The little spare time I have had over the last month has been used working with my kids on a new project.  We have spent a lot of time (and probably too much money) getting into the rabbit business.  We have put up a portable garage in the back yard, and have built rabbit hutches.  The kids were about to go crazy trying to wait on the time when everything was ready for the rabbits to come.  So, here is a pictorial accounting of the coming of the rabbits…

We had to do a lot of work to get everything ready for the rabbits.  The kids helped as much as they could.  Notice, Jacob is whistling happily while helping me with the lumber for the hutches:

After the work was done, we went to the rabbitry to pick out the best bunnies.  I let Jacob pick out our male rabbit.  Skylar got to pick one female.  I picked the last female, since we had to finish that job in one day, and you know how kids can be when it comes to choosing!  Here are a couple of pics from the rabbitry:

We got all the bunnies home and settled in.  They seem to be doing well.  The kids are thrilled with them.  Jacob has been doing a very good job of taking care of them.  These are really his project.  I am hoping they will be a way to help teach him responsibility.  Here are a few pictures of the rabbits at home:

One more last thing that has happened over the last month was my daughter’s third birthday.  It is hard to believe that she is that old, but I guess the pictures don’t lie:

I suppose that is more pictures than you all can stand.  That is about it for my month (outside of my work, which has kept me swamped lately).  Hopefully the posts will be a little more frequent within the next month or so!  Thanks for reading!

Six Legged Deer Found in Georgia

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
Six Legged Deer

Six Legged Deer

Veterinarians at Berry College, in Rome, Georgia, were brought a 6 legged deer after it was mauled by a dog.  The deer has two distinct pelvises and is actively trying to use one leg from each pelvis.  It appears to me that the fawn absorbed a twin in utero, but was not able to completely absorb the second twin.

You can also see a video of the six legged deer by clicking here. (I have found the video to be very slow, so be patient.)  The little guy can get around quite well.  They think he was doing fine until caught by the dogs.  He did have to have one of his two tails amputated because of the dog attack.

They are going to try to keep this fawn in captivity.  I am sure that his extra limbs would continue to make him susceptible to attack from predators.  He may end up at the University of Georgia to be studied.  I know that anomalies like this often don’t last long in nature…the whole survival of the fittest thing.  But it is kind of neat to see when it does happen.  I wonder if they will ever be able to figure out what caused this to happen.

Another “Hunting” Accident

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Moving on to something a bit less controversial.  My sister-in-law pointed me to this article on Fox News that relates an abnormal “hunting” accident.

Evidently a woman saw mice in her trailer and decided the best way to get rid of them was with a .44 magnum.  That’s a bit of an overkill if you ask me.  My pellet gun has worked fine under such circumstances.  She managed to drop the gun, which discharged, shooting her through the kneecap, and then ricocheted off of some keys and hit another person in the trailer.  Two for one.  Stupid is as stupid does.

The sad thing is, this will probably end up in a statistics list of hunting accidents.  We all know that they try to inflate those statistics every year!  However, even though it is very serious to see someone mishandle a firearm in such a way, the circumstances do have to bring a slight smile to your face.  At least no one was killed.  If they had been, they’d be a ringer for the Darwin Awards!  I think they should get a “near miss.”

WV Wildlife Management Area to Be Closed to Sportsmen!

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

I think you all probably have figured out that I am not against coal mining, and even MTR coal mining if it is done responsibly. I also know that some have made good arguments about there not being a responsible way to do it. I’m happy to read the discussions, and see the rational arguments on both sides (and many of the arguments on both sides are very irrational). But this isn’t really about that argument.

I found a disturbing article today about a Public Hunting Area here in West Virginia closing down because of coal mining.  The Fork Creek Wildlife Management Area will be closing because of mining operations in the area, which will cut off the only entrance into the hunting area.  After July 31st, there will be no entry into the Wildlife Management area.

What bothers me here is not the fact that there is an area near the WMA that is to be mined.  What bothers me is that they are allowed to cut off the only road into the area.  It would not be difficult for the coal company to make another road into the area so that there will be access for sportsmen.

Now, let me be clear.  The land that is in question has been leased to the State by the Armco Steel Corporation, which means that they can cancel the lease at any time.  However, this is just the kind of thing that gives “big coal” a bad name!  It gives fuel to those that oppose all types of coal mining, and causes there to be bad blood between sportsmen and the coal industry.

Just a few years ago, we lost one of the places that we had been hunting for years.  In fact, my dad and uncle had been hunting it for better than 30-40 years, because a coal company decided to exercise their rights on a lease.  They staked it off, and posted it, but then never actually started mining the coal.  And yet, we can’t go in and hunt!  I wouldn’t mind it nearly so much if they were actively mining the coal from that region!  Fortunately, we now have an even better area to hunt.

I would really like to see the coal mining industry make a stronger effort to be on good terms with the people of the state of WV.  It is our industry, and it is needed to make our economy go.  Those who want to completely wipe out coal mining in this state would pronounce a death sentence on the state.  Without mining, this state would become a “ghost state.”  But, that is just the reason the coal industry should give back to the state.  It would not be difficult, or expensive, to put in a secondary road into the WMA, so why not do that instead of closing it down completely?