West Virginia’s rifle season opens on Monday. I look forward to this day every year! This year, there is a chance that I won’t be able to go hunting, due to the fact that my wife is expecting our third child. All our plans this year are surrounding him, and when he decides to make an appearance!
But, for today, I am starting to make preparations for season. I have a friend, who hasn’t hunted much, coming over today to make some venison jerky and watch a few hunting videos…I have to get him psyched up for going on Monday. We will be hunting a small piece of property that is owned by another friend. We are planning to go out Sunday afternoon and set up a couple of stands. I also have to show my friend how to use the rifle he is going to borrow, as he has been used to hunting with a shotgun. Tomorrow will be filled with the final preparations of getting hunting clothes ready, and making up some food for Monday.
There is just nothing like the first day. This year, I will miss hunting with my family, but adding a new little hunter to the family more than makes up with it. We will have another little guy in camp from now on, and if he takes to hunting as much as Jacob has, then we will certainly have our hands full.
Jacob has decided to go to hunting camp, and stay with his Mamaw and Papaw. Papaw has promised to take him hunting with him, and he can hardly wait. He will be staying up there until the baby is born, then Mamaw and Papaw will bring him home to see baby brother.
That’s about all for now…wish us luck. I hope you all have a great hunting season, wherever you may be!
Hunting is always more enjoyable with a friend, but it can also be more productive. Let’s face it, unless there is some heavy rut activity, there are times during the hunting season when everyone struggles to even see a deer.
It’s always a good idea to occupy a stand during the first few hours of the morning and the last few of the evening; but if you have a willing partner, mix in a mini-drive after a morning sit or before an evening vigil.
Sneak into a thicket or patch of woods along a good trail, and have your partner head in from the opposite end. Remember that the idea is to actually sneak-hunt, not just push deer. Take a step, pause and look around carefully, and then take another step. Also keep your ears open for the sound of approaching deer.
This is a fantastic bowhunting tactic, but it can work for gun hunters as well. Either way, safety should always be a top priority. Identify your target and look beyond it as well.
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Most deer hunters know how important it is to thoroughly clean their guns following rough weather, multiple shots, or just at the end of a long season. Copper fouling and powder residue will cause even the best guns to shoot poorly, and rust can ruin it for good.
What many hunters don’t know, however, is that it is critical to clean a brand new gun, especially if you hunt in cold weather. On many new guns, firing pins and other moving parts are coated with grease and oil at the factory. This excess lubrication can freeze in cold weather, possibly costing you the buck of a lifetime.
Take apart your new gun and remove the excess grease and oil with a gun cleaner/degreaser. When finished, lightly lubricate moving parts with a quality, temperature-resistant gun lubricant. If you’re not comfortable taking apart your gun, take it to your local gunsmith and have it cleaned.
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By: Kris Brewer
Every type of fishing has its own unique methods and times. But, for me, fishing for catfish is a whole new game. Fishing for catfish takes a whole new approach, and often, a whole new set of tackle.
First, let’s address the perfect time for catfish. Surely, you can catch catfish at just about anytime of the day. The largest catfish I caught was in the middle of the day in an Alabama farm pond. The temperature was quite hot, and I didn’t get many bites even though I knew the water was full of good sized cats. The truth is, night time is far better for catfish. Since catfish are scavengers, they will lay up in their beds all day, and then come out and feed actively at night. Most of the time, if you catch catfish during the day, you have happened to find a bed of them, and dropped the bait right in the middle of them. At night, they will be very active, and you can catch them cruising the channels of a river, or lake bottom. So, if you want to be successful on catfish, plan on spending the night on the river bank, or boat.
Next, let’s talk about methods for catching catfish. In reality, the method is pretty simple. Most species of catfish can be caught on any number of baits. There are a lot of commercial baits available, any one of which will do the job in most areas. Some of these baits can be very hard to handle, and very messy. Dip baits, especially, are difficult to deal with, and can be quite messy. If you get them on you, you will certainly smell bad for the rest of the night! Many times, homemade baits are used for catfish. Anything from cheese to Kool-Aid is used to make a paste, or dough, for fishing for these ravenous eaters. Most fishermen will swear by their own concoctions, and will keep them as secret as the perfect location for fishing them. Another bait that is used quite extensively for catfish is hot dogs. They are cheap to purchase, and stay on the hook well. Cheap hot dogs may catch as many or more cats as the most expensive of dip baits. Again, since the catfish are scavengers, they are looking for something with a strong smell. Often times, the cheapest of hot dogs have the strongest smell, and therefore are the best baits. Finally, my favorite catfish bait is raw chicken livers. This has been the most productive bait for me, especially on the channel catfish that are prevalent in my locale. A couple of cartons of liver, usually very cheap at any grocery store, will last all night long, and catch many fish. The greatest problem with using liver is that it easily falls off of a single hook. This can be solved by fishing with a treble hook, in a size that is compatible with the size of fish you are trying to catch.
Finally, let’s consider the method of catching catfish. The best method is to put plenty of weight on your line, in the form of lead or lead alternative sinkers. You want your bait to sit close to the bottom, without catching it on any structure that may be on the bottom. Finding the perfect depth will put you “in the zone”, and allow you to catch more fish. Some try putting a float on their line, which will work if you are not fishing in water that is too deep. Often, however, in lakes, you have to get your line too far down to put a bobber on the line. If you are fishing in 20 or 30 feet of water, it is impossible to rely on a bobber. Therefore, you must stay alert and feel for the gentle tug of a cat on the end of your line. With catfish, it is important to let them take the bait and run briefly before setting the hook to make sure that they have the bait in their mouth, allowing for a secure hook up.
Catfishing, especially at night, is a great experience. Given the right spot, and sufficient fish numbers, you can catch more fish than on your typical panfish outing. In fact, I have caught more than 100 fish in a single night using the baits and methods outlined in this article! One word of warning: remember those sharp fins when fishing at night. The wrong grip can cause you to be in pain for the rest of the night!
No one is sure of the exact purpose of buck rubs. Yes, bucks will rub trees to remove their velvet, but with velvet-drop being a fairly quick process (24 hours or less in most cases), and since most rubs are made long after the bucks have lost their velvet, we have to conclude that rubs serve some other purpose or purposes.
From a hunting perspective, rubs can certainly indicate that a buck is in an area, and if the rub is on a particularly large tree, you can even determine that a given rub-maker is a trophy — but don’t assume a rub on a smaller tree was made by a small buck.
Whether rubs are used by bucks to mark territory or if they are used as signposts to line the route to and from a bedding area doesn’t really matter to the hunter as long as he can use them to help determine where to hunt. When keying on rubs, look for a rub line — or a series of rubs lining a trail. The rubs most often will be spaced 20 or more yards apart, but form a definite “line.”
Rub lines are good indicators that a buck is hanging out in the area, and they also help keep your confidence up, which makes you a better hunter.
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