Well, last week I started “Tuesday’s Tracking”, with the intention of featuring an outdoor blog, or article each week. However, I have had to be away from the computer for a few days due to a family medical emergency. Hopefully, I will be back to normal schedule in the next few days.
In the mean time, I have had a couple of new articles posted that you all might be interested in. I haven’t even had time to add them to my articles page.
I hope you all enjoy those articles, and I look forward to getting back to blogging in the next few days!
Well, it seems like every time we turn around, New Jersey is making some controversial decision about hunting or fishing. This time, they are making plans to “thin the deer herd” by allowing what the AP calls “sharpshooters” to come into a public park, the South Mountain Reservation. The deer herd is evidently ridiculously out of kilter with the carrying capacity of the land. The park is some 2000 acres, but wildlife managers believe the herd size should be limited to about 60 animals. However, there are somewhere between 300 and 400 animals present.New Jersey’s solution is to allow 15 volunteer “hunters” to come in and shoot the deer every Tuesday and Thursday from January 29th through February 28th. Bait has already been placed near “tree perches” (I guess those are what we educated hunters call tree stands). You can go and read the article from the AP to get some more of the details.
Reading this article, I had a couple of questions. I am wondering if the article is simply slanted as most media reports are, or if it accurately depicts what is about to happen in New Jersey. This article does not make it sound like this is hunting, even though we are told that “hunters” are going to be shooting the deer. These hunters are also referred to as “sharpshooters”, which leaves me with the impression of a sniper, rather than a true hunter. That bothers me because it leaves a bad impression with non-hunters, and anti-hunters about hunters in general. If we are looked on as nothing more than snipers, picking off animals at will, we will never gain favor with the general public. It won’t take much of this type of writing to turn those non-hunters into the anti-hunters.Now, you all know that I am not against hunting. I am not against extra regulations to thin out a herd of deer when it is overpopulated. What bothers me is the perception of hunters in this hunt. This article may completely misrepresent what is happening over in New Jersey. Judging from what I have read recently in the news, it wouldn’t surprise me. But, if all that is going to happen is that sharpshooters are going to bait in tame deer to a corn pile, and then shoot them indiscriminately, I as a hunter don’t want to be associated with it. That is not what I do as a hunter, and I don’t want people thinking that it is.
So, you all tell me what you think. Is this something that is good for hunting? If you don’t mind, vote on the poll, and let me know what you think. Leave me a comment if you want to elaborate on your answer!
Today was the first day of the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show. A friend and I took my 4 year old son, Jacob, and headed out to Charleston for the big event. I have lived in the Charleston and Huntington area for 8 years now, and I have only missed one of these shows. It is usually a lot of fun, and we get to see a lot of cool stuff. I also usually spend too much money! 2 years ago, I bought my TreeWalker Tree Stand, which was a bit pricey, but well worth the money. Last year, I bought a set of Bipod shooting sticks, which I am planning to write a review of soon. This year, I got by on the cheap side. I found a guy who was selling kids camo shirts in microsuede, and had him print “Paw Paw’s Hunting Buddy” on them for my kids–I knew their PaPaw would like that. I am hoping to get a picture of them with their shirts on sometime soon.
Jacob had a ball at this show. This is the first time he has really been able to walk around with me and look at stuff. We found a ton of cool things that are new. I must admit, one of the best new products that I saw was the Blind Turtle hunting blind. It was very roomy, and very comfortable. There was plenty of room for 2 hunters, and windows on every side for shooting. If I had the money for these, I would probably put 2 on our hunting property. This would be perfect for hunting with kids, as you could even put a heater in it to keep them warm.
I know Jacob would have a blast with this, as he climbed in and around it while I was talking with the company’s rep, who was very friendly. He even gave Jacob a hat that he was eying. This blind can either be put on the ground, or you can use the kit to raise it up off the ground. The rep I talked to said that they had put it up at 8 feet, and it was no problem for 2 people to get it erected.
Be sure to check this blind out if you are looking for permanent blinds for your hunting properties. I think they are probably comparable to other blinds in price, but they appeared to be well constructed, and somewhat light weight (making them mobile with a truck, or a gator.
Jacob had the opportunity to shoot a bow for the first time today. The Ohio DNR had a booth set up with some bows and arrows for people to shoot. They had some of the new Matthews Genesis bows, which are quite amazing. The one Jacob shot had a draw weight of about 1o pounds. After helping him with the first couple of shots, he figured out he could draw the bow by himself, and shoot it. I think he is a natural, as he never missed the target. He even shot at the 3D deer a few times, and nailed it every time. I think he already has the bug…he wants me to buy him a bow now. I think I am going to have to look into one of those Genesis bows, as it will make it possible for him to get started into archery now. I figured that He would want to take up archery soon, and he has been asking when he would be big enough to shoot a bow. I guess I now have no way of telling him he isn’t big enough!
One of the best things about a show like this is that we get to see tons of animal mounts. Jacob loves to run around looking at the mounts, and identify what kinds of animals he sees. He can amaze many people by identifying animals that most 4 year olds don’t know exist. For example, he knew that this animal was a wildebeest. There were hundreds of mounts around the Civic Center, and Jacob wanted to see every one of them. There are some very good taxidermists in this area, and there are some very bad ones. I could certainly whittle down my list of which ones I would use by one trip through the show. By the way, have you ever seen a good fox mount? That must be one difficult animal to mount, since I rarely have seen a good one. Most have a really stupid look on their face. I should have taken a couple of pictures of foxes at the show…they were pitiful!
I took several pictures of Jacob around some of the mounts that he liked. I will stick a few of those pictures down at the bottom of this post so you can take a look at them if you want to.
Every year, the West Virginia DNR has a booth set up, where they display a “Wall of Shame”, which is a wall that displays a bunch of bucks that have been confiscated after being shot illegally. This year, they had a huge rack from a Mingo County buck on display. When I started to take a picture of the rack, the Conservation Officer suggested that we should let Jacob hold the rack for the picture. While I was taking the picture, the photographer for the Charleston Gazette walked up and asked to take a picture for the paper. So, we are hoping that a picture something like the one to the right will be appearing in the Charleston newspaper sometime in the next couple of days. I may have to check with some friends in that area, and get them to watch for it!
Overall, this was a great day. I really enjoyed getting to spend the whole day with Jacob, and I think he enjoyed it immensely. I am glad we were able to go, and I hope we will make it back up there next year as well.
Here are a few more pictures from the day:
Before I get to the subject of my post, I want to say thanks to a couple of other bloggers who have written some nice things about this blog. First, Jeff over at Lowcountry Hunting tagged me to tell a bit more about myself. Thanks for the link, and I am planning to write that up sometime soon. It may take me a few days to figure out just what to write. I am sure it won’t be nearly as interesting as Jeff’s post!
Secondly, thanks to Jody over at the Hunter’s Wife blog has given me the Excellent Blog award. Thanks so much! I have been blogging for a while now, but just recently have I really jumped into the blogosphere by reading, commenting and linking with you all out there. I have really enjoyed reading so many blogs over the last few weeks that it may be difficult to pass the award on to others. Everyone I have linked is deserving of it. I will try to get more specific later on. I may pass this award on in the Tuesday’s Tracking segment of my blog. I think an award like this is great because it gives us an opportunity to share some of the great blogs we come across with others. I know that I really enjoy finding new blogs to read, as well as visiting those that I have found in the past, and read every day. Most of these are much more worthy of some notoriety. So, to all my fellow outdoor bloggers, keep up the good work!
Now, on to my subject line up there. I have added a page to my blog where I have linked some of the outdoor articles that I have written. I have started to write a bit for some online sites to make a little extra money. It doesn’t provide much, but I have enjoyed doing it. Some of the articles are very basic, and written for the non-hunting person (notice I didn’t say the anti-hunting person). Some of the articles are just informative. I hope to write more as time goes by, adding to my repertoire. I have also written some articles on other subjects that may interest you. When you get to an article, just click on my name, and you will see a whole list of articles. I hope you enjoy the articles!
Since I was very young, my dad made it a game to spot deer while driving along the roads of West Virginia. There are areas of the state in which it is not uncommon to spot over 100 deer while driving a stretch of interstate less than 100 miles long. I can remember getting frustrated with not being able to spot the deer before my dad. However, our little game taught me to spot deer pretty well, and I think it has helped me to spot deer better while hunting too. Now, my kids are learning the same thing. They love to look for deer along the road, and will squeal with joy when they see some. My son (4 years old and the namesake of this blog for newer readers) is becoming quite proficient at spotting deer, even a good distance from the road. While we were visiting in Alabama over the New Year’s holiday, we had opportunity to stop at a little deer farm that is close to where my in-laws live. We saw this really nice buck (over there to the left) laying down in the pen. Of course, the kids loved seeing such a nice buck. But, what happened next was completely unexpected to me. As I was taking a picture of the buck (its a little blurry because he was so far from the road) I looked into the back seat, and saw my daughter(2 years old) looking out the window. That was not the surprising part. The surprising part was seeing her hold up her baby doll and pointing the deer out to her. It was very cute!
I was reading an article earlier today by a PETA writer who argued that hunting and love of animals were mutually exclusive of one another. I have some pictures of my daughter examining the dead carcass of a deer I brought back to camp, and she was just as excited as my son. But, they get just as excited about looking at live animals, when there is not even a thought of shooting them. They both already share my love of these great creatures, whether in a hunting context, or wildlife viewing context. This just proves that a 4 year old and a 2 year old have more sense than a PETA media writer.
I am introducing a new feature to Jake’s Outdoors today. I have been spending a lot of time reading various outdoor blogs, and have really enjoyed it. So, starting today, I am going to start the “Tuesday’s Tracking”, in which I will feature the blogs of other folks who write about the outdoors. I have enjoyed reading these blogs so much, and I know you all will enjoy them as well.
This week’s blog is Bright Idea Outdoors. Matt has been doing a series of posts on taking kids hunting. It has been a great read, and he offers a lot of good suggestions. I am always looking for suggestions on making the experience more enjoyable for kids. Matt’s latest post also talks about some hunting traditions, that remind me of the traditions that take place in our own deer camp. Every camp, I am sure, has its own traditions, even if they are very similar. We have the tradition of giving the newest member of camp a very hard time–he (or she) bears the brunt of all the jokes and pranks, and get assigned all the tasks that no one else want to do. I also have the tradition of smearing blood from a first deer on the face of a successful hunter, which is a tradition also mentioned by Matt.
Matt also discussed hunting mentors in his recent post. I am so thankful that my dad introduced me to hunting when I was young. He started taking me hunting before I was even old enough to carry a gun. He didn’t even give up on me when my brother and I got lost in the WV mountains (I should write about that some time!). When I turned 12, he started taking me hunting with him, and we have been hunting together ever since (22 years!). He also introduced all of my brothers to hunting, and we spend every Thanksgiving week together at hunting camp. I look forward to this week every year, and I have a great time watching everyone enjoy the week hunting and spending time together. I really appreciate one particular thing my dad taught me, and my brothers. He taught us to celebrate with everyone else in their success. I can enjoy the success of others in camp as much as I enjoy my own success. This year, my little brother, who is not so little anymore, killed 2 bucks in camp. It was great to see him be so successful. He has, in fact, probably developing into the best hunter of us all. I can’t wait to see how he continues to develop his skills!
Thanks Matt for the great blog. Keep up the good work!
I don’t know if you all have heard of the Treewalker Tree Stands, but I bought one a couple of years ago at our West Virginia’s Sportsman’s show, and have been thrilled with it. At the show, the guy showing the stands (which is the son of the man who makes them) had a stand set up on a round steel pole. Unlike other places, where you are often told to stay off of stands set up in such a way, this guy was encouraging us to get in the stand and climb the pole. I was amazed! I had no intention of buying a tree stand when going to the show, but I walked out with one anyway. The stand went up the pole with no trouble at all. It is the most stable, and most comfortable stand I have ever been in. I sold my Summit Viper, and now exclusively use my Treewalker. I also went together with my brothers and bought my dad one of these, which he loves as well.
I wrote a more in depth review of the Treewalker Treestand, and it can be found by CLICKING HERE.
If you have used one of these, leave a comment, and let me know what you think!
Because of this: I am told to expect this:
But the truth is, because I am teaching him to love the outdoors, including hunting and fishing, I am pretty sure I don’t have to worry about that future of crime. It has been shown over and over that kids who are taught to hunt and fish, along with respecting the outdoors and their quarry, are better behaved, and cause less trouble than others.
So, what do you all think?
According to the Rocky Mountain News , the state of Colorado is making the effort to save 8,000 mule deer by feeding them with supplemental feed due to the extraordinary snowfall that has fallen on the state in recent days. Without supplemental feeding (human intervention), the deer would starve to death since they cannot find food under the now 4 ft. deep snowdrifts in the valley. Plans are also made to help the Big Horn Sheep and Pronghorn Antelope in the region.
In an organizational meeting, some 300 volunteers showed up to help. This is going to be a huge undertaking, lasting from 6 to 8 weeks. The department of wildlife is calling for volunteers to help them throughout the endeavor. They are especially in need of volunteers with snow mobiles, arctic cats, and four wheel drive vehicles. If you are in the area of the Gunnison Valley and can help, give them a hand!
As I read this article, I couldn’t help but think of this question: I wonder how many of these 300 volunteers are deer hunters? I suspect that the majority of the volunteers have probably been in the same area hunting deer on other occasions. Of course the article does not go into such details, but it is significant to note that the Department of Wildlife for the state of Colorado is heading this charge. That department, if it is anything like our DNR here is n West Virginia, is funded primarily by hunters, through license fees and taxes on hunting related products. The reason I point that out (which is probably evident to most of the readers of this blog anyway) is that we as hunters are often maligned as haters of animals (why else would we “slaughter” them?). In reality, we as hunters are the very ones who do what is necessary to ensure the health and wellbeing of the animals that we hunt. We are the first to jump in there and get our hands dirty when the need arises. And, that is why I have no doubt that my fellow hunters, called upon to save the Gunnison Valley deer herd, answered in resounding numbers.
Recently, Arthur of Simply Outdoors, wrote a post about stepping up or shutting up. Basically, he talked about the need for us as hunters to be more involved in making sure our sport is perceived in a better light. We need to be more active in showing what we are all about. We need to put forth the effort to show that we are not what most people’s perception of us is. We need to be more vocal when we are participating in conservation efforts, of which hunting is typically a small part. Let’s rise up to the challenge, and let it be known that when these animals need our intervention, we are the ones on the front line to help!
To our Colorado friends who have answered the call, and yet remain nameless, Thank You!
I received the following in an email in response to my blog post from a couple of days ago. I thought it was funny, so I thought I would pass it on.
Doctors vs. Gun owners :
(A) The number of physicians in the
(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year: 120,000.
(C) Accidental deaths per physician per year: 0.171. (17%)
Statistics courtesy of
Now think about this:
(A) The number of gun owners in the
(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups: 1,500.
(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner: .000188. (.0188%)
Statistics courtesy of FBI
So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.
Remember, ‘Guns don’t kill people, doctors do.’
FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN,
BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR.
Please alert your friends to this alarming threat.
We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!
Out of concern for the public at large, I withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention!