Archive for April, 2008

Tuesday’s Tracking: A Blessed Crazy Life

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Tuesday's TrackingToday’s Tuesday’s Tracking goes out to A Blessed Crazy Life.  This blog has been on my daily read since before I started a daily read list.  In fact, it was this blog that inspired me to start a special section on my blog roll highlighting the “Daily Read.”

Blessed (as she is known in the blogging world) writes this blog, which is not strictly a “hunting blog.”  She keeps us informed (albeit cryptically) about much that happens in her life, and with her family, and pets.  She has been writing recently about some of her dogs.  She recently lost one dog, which is always sad.  But she has also been writing about her Labradors, which just happens to be my favorite kind of dog.  I have two of those myself!  Make sure and check out her contest that is running right now (which I still haven’t thought about long enough to send in my entry, but I hope to do soon.)

One thing I have really enjoyed about Blessed’s blog is the pictures of the many mounts that she has throughout her home.  Her family has a great selection of different game animals, birds and (I think) fish.  It makes my collection (one deer head) look pitiful, but inspires me to want to add a few more to what I have!  The mounts she has are very well done, so she must have a great taxidermist!

Blessed is great about visiting other blogs and leaving comments.  She always adds something profitable to the discussion.  I enjoy reading what she writes, on her own blog and in the comments of so many other blogs.  It is nice to see someone so involved in our blogging community.

Blessed also recently took me up on some advertising on another of my blogs, and she wrote a great review of a couple of my blogs.  Thanks so much Blessed for all you do among our group of blogging friends!

Dead Bear Found on Porch in Man, West Virginia

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Dead BearThis would be a shocking “good morning” to you! Elaine Short, of Man, WV, woke up to found a 500 lb black bear dead on her porch. Evidently a 16 year old neighbor shot the bear with his bow and arrow, and it wandered off to the Short’s house, where it expired sometime in the night.

The bear had evidently been tagged at least twice by the DNR. This early in the spring, it is not surprising that the bear wandered closer to homes, as it was probably looking for something to eat.

What shocks me about this story is that the 16 year old that shot the bear, out of season, was only issued a warning by the State DNR. I suppose that they were “going easy” on him because of his age, but I think they are making a mistake! There is already a huge problem in this state with poaching, and to simply give a warning to this youngster is not good enough. He knew what he was doing when he shot this bear, and he should have some punishment to follow his actions. The only exception to this (and there may still be more to come out of the story) is if there was some danger and he shot the bear in defense of self or property. Thus far, there is no indication of this. I am not advocating locking him up in jail, or even stripping his license for ever, but I do think that some punishment is justified to show him just how serious this type of offense is. Let him do some community service. Let him work with the DNR for a few weeks. Let him get a real taste of what respect for the outdoors, and the wildlife is about!

Photo courtesy of WOWK TV, and Credited to Elaine Short. Click on it to see a larger image of this great bear!

Take a Kid Fishing…

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Kid FishingI saw this article online today, and it has spurred me into wanting to take my kids fishing. I hate to say that I have to be spurred into taking them fishing, but things around here have been incredibly busy. However, my 5 year old has been asking for several weeks to go fishing. I am going to have to try and find a good place that is somewhat close by where he can find some fish. I know there are a couple of smaller lakes that are nearby that are stocked by the DNR, so I will have to find out when they will be stocked.

The author of this article mentions how early he started fly fishing. I have been thinking about that very thing with my son. I know that some folks have started their kids as early as 2-3 years old, but I’m not sure my son had either the patience or the coordination to start into fly fishing at that age, especially since we don’t have a convenient place for him to practice. But, now that he is 5 years old, he may be able to start dabbling in it. I would like to get a hold of a small 6 foot 2 or 3 weight set up for him…it could then serve double duty for me when I want to fish small mountain streams for native brook trout.

I started my son out on a little Zebco (I think) Tigger rod. But, now he is ready for something a little more substantial. I am going to take him over to Wal-Mart and let him get an Ugly-Stik ultralight combo. That makes a great combo for trout, and I like the fact that they are virtually unbreakable. It is what I use when I go trout fishing, and is also perfect for pan fishing.

So, I am going to try to be more diligent to take my kids out fishing now that it is getting warmer. I know they enjoy it, and I enjoy taking them. It is a bit difficult to find a place that is both safe, and has plenty of fish. Remember, if you are taking a kid fishing, make sure they have a safety vest on in case they fall in. I know that we often fish near fast moving water, and I wouldn’t feel safe if my kids didn’t wear their vests. The same can be true around lakes. Give them a vest, and make sure they wear it!

Product Review: SpiderWire XXX Super Mono

Friday, April 25th, 2008

A few days ago, I wrote a post about my first fishing trip of the year on the Williams River in the mountains of West Virginia. Overall, it was a very good day, and we enjoyed ourselves. However, I did try a new product that day, which turned out to be a disappointment. I have done a few reviews on this site, and I think all of them have been positive. I guess there is a first time for everything!

Every year at the beginning of the season, I replace the old fishing line on my poles with new line. I am always looking for strong, fine line that is smooth and easy to use. I have tried several, some with good results, some with not so good results. This year’s experiment was of the latter experience.

I chose the new SpiderWire XXX (using that name will get my blog blocked by some filters!) Super Mono in 4 pound test. My first indicator that I wasn’t going to be extremely pleased with this line was when I got finished putting it on the reels. The line seemed a little stiff, and would jump over the reel, making it difficult to keep it from getting tangled right off the bat. I thought I may have just over filled the reels, so I didn’t worry too much about it.

However, when we hit the water, i found there were several other problems with this line. I found out very quickly that the line was not very smooth, as most of the time when I would tie knots, I could not get them to tighten down properly. It was as if there were knicks in the line, which kept it from getting tight on the hook. Several times during the day, while tying on hooks, the line simply broke off instead of drawing down tight. There were a couple of times during the day that I broke off fish at the hook, which indicates a weakness in the line. Some may think that perhaps I just didn’t know what I was doing tying on these hooks, but I have used tons of line, and been fishing hundreds of times…I think I know what I am doing. For reference, I was trying to use an improved clinch knot to tie on hooks.

Also, in my previous post, I told you about taking my friend Chad fishing for the first time. He had a lot of trouble with the line. It did keep jumping over the reel, as if it were too stiff. Being inexperienced, he didn’t know what to watch for, and ended up with several real messes. A couple of times, the line jumped the reel, and got tangled in the gears behind the reel. Granted that the broader problem was a result of his inexperience, but the line jumping the reel, especially when it had begun to run down after the first several tangles.

My take on this line is that I will not ever be using it again. I was tired of fighting with the line by the end of the day. i will be removing what is left of the line, and putting something else on my reels. If you all have used this line, and had better experiences, let me know. I may have just gotten a bad box. I did write a note to SpiderWire on their website. We will see if I get any kind of response.

Outdoorsmen are Susceptible to Heart Attacks

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

I think we all know that hunters and fishermen (those not sitting on a boat fishing) are more susceptible to heart attacks. In fact, some research indicates that the rate of people who die in “hunting related endeavors” is seriously raised by heart attacks. In hunting seasons, more people will die from a heart attack than will die of gun related accidents. Ironically, I often hear the media report such incidents as if they were gun related. How often have you heard a reporter speak of a heart attack as a “hunting accident”? I know I have!

But, since we as outdoorsmen (there are higher incidents of heart attack among men than among women, at least in conjunction with the outdoor sports) are so susceptible to heart attacks, I thought I would share with you a website that I found that has to do with understanding heart attacks. You can jump over to the St. Jude’s Medical Center page dedicated to Sudden Cardiac Arrest if you want to learn more.

It is amazing to me how much progress has been made with heart health, and preventing heart attacks. I have a friend who has had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator put in his chest for some time now, and it has had a great impact on his ability to live a more normal life. In fact, he most likely would not be alive today if the device had not been implanted years ago. Unfortunately, he had a problem recently with the device, and had to undergo surgery to replace the wire leads, but he seems to have come through it pretty well, and is recovering.

I think this is an area that many outdoorsmen could make improvements. We need to identify whether we are at risk for heart attack, and try to take preventions to avoid it. I know that I could lose some weight before next hunting season to help avoid this threat (and I am trying to do it!). Other elements that may impact a person’s likelihood of heart attack include previous heart problems, smoking and strenuous labor that you may not be used to. I found a really good article over at HuntingNet.com written by Tracy Breen that addresses some of these issues. There is a really good chart, showing the increased heart rates of certain activities related to hunting in some hunters that were being monitored. I know that makes me think!

If you get a chance, check out the two videos on the St. Jude’s page, InsideCardiacArrest.com. There is some very good information available there, which will help you to evaluate yourself, and the chance you may have of succumbing to a heart attack. As is stated on the page, don’t limit yourself to the information found there…be sure and check with your own doctors!

Thanks to InsideCardiacArrest.com for helping to support this blog!

Tuesday’s Tracking: A Little Self Promotion…

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Tuesday's TrackingI hope you all will indulge me a bit today with the Tuesday’s Tracking. I wanted to let you all know about a couple of new(er) blogs that I have been writing, because I thought you all might enjoy them. Before long, I may have more than I can reasonably keep up with!

Some of you have probably seen the first one that I want to mention. It is called The Next Best Thing, and focuses on different topics related to the internet and to blogging. Though I certainly am no expert blogger, I try to share some of the things that I have come across in making blogs, and trying to improve them. I also write about various methods of making a few bucks here and there off of the internet. Again, I am no expert in these areas, but I am trying to share what has worked for me, and what has not (so that maybe you won’t waste the money that I have!) You might be particularly interested in the sections about blogging, and the sections about design stuff. Let me know if you find anything useful!

The second blog that I just started is called Shooting from the Right, and I am planning to use it more for political and current events centered discussions. You all have probably figured out from some of the stuff that I have written here that I am pretty conservative when it comes to my politics, so you will certainly find more of that over at the new blog. That may suit some of your fancies, and others may not like it…drop in and check it out! I am hoping to share the writing on that blog with one of my brothers (Aaron), so that I won’t have to keep it updated all the time by myself. He is a good writer, and a good thinker, so I am really looking forward to sharing this project with him. If he ever gets a post up, make sure and leave him a comment so he doesn’t get discouraged. He has tried this blogging thing before, rather unsuccessfully, so I am hoping to prod him into sticking with it this time! By the way, Aaron is Cheyenne’s Daddy…just so you can connect all the dots in this blogging family!

Thanks for letting me share some of these new blogs with you. I hope you enjoy them, and that they might be helpful to you. Stop into the Next Best Thing for some good tips, and stop into Shooting from the Right for some good discussions. Jump in on both!

I also thought that I would mention that I have 5 advertising slots open on Shooting from the Right. Because it is a brand new blog, I am not trying to sell these slots. I am offering them for the price of a blog post. If you would like to put a 125 X 125 ad on that blog, simply send me the graphic for the ad, and then write a blog post linking the two blogs highlighted in this post. Ads “purchased” in this way will be good for AT LEAST one month (probably longer). If you are interested, drop me a line in the comments!

Trout Fishing the Williams River

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

TroutAfter a long spring, with bad weather, and a lot of extenuating circumstances that kept me from making it to the mountains for a fishing trip, I finally made it out last Friday. It is about a 3.5 hour trip for us to make it to the Williams River, which is 20 miles from nowhere, with lots of peace and quiet. We headed out at about 4:45 AM, and drove through the mountains, going through the little towns of Craigsville and Richwood. We drove across the Scenic Highway, which crosses the mountains just north of the famed Cranberry Glades across to the Williams River.

The day was beautiful for fishing. Clear skies and sunshine was the order of the day. We started fishing around 8:30 AM, and it wasn’t long until I caught the first fish of the day, this chunky stocker. You will notice that the color of these stockers is not nearly as bright as that of native fish, or of fish that have been in the river long enough to “go wild”. Normally, I do not keep fish unless someone I am fishing with wants a few for eating. This time around, I took a friend with me, and he wanted to bring some home, as he really likes the taste of trout.

This was my friend Chad’s first fishing trip. He had never experienced stream trout fishing, and didn’t really know what to expect. I think he enjoyed the day, and even caught one fish on his first time out (which is pretty good). Stream trout fishing is so much different than what most people are used to. Most people see fishing as an easy, slow day. When we are stream trout fishing, we usually walk several miles, and wade fast moving water for most of the day. It is tiring, but a lot of fun!

Chad With TroutI think I have Chad hooked on trout fishing now. He seemed to enjoy the day, and as you can see in this picture, He really enjoyed catching his first trout. The only problem for this day of fishing was that it was the first nice weekend of the spring, and every fisherman in the state decided to take advantage of the nice weather to be out fishing. There were tons of people on the river, and the fish stopped biting pretty quickly in the day. It seems that the fish saw every kind of bait in the world floated by them, and they just weren’t interested in biting after a while. I think next time I will try to take a day off in the middle of the week so that we might have more success. I was also surprised by the water levels this weekend. It was obvious that they had not gotten the same rain that we had in our part of the state. We have had so much rain that all the rivers are just now getting back down to normal levels. The water level of the Williams was pretty low. All the holes that I usually head to were low, and the water was very clear. That also makes the trout very difficult to catch.

Rainbow TroutBut, we had a very good day over all. Chad and I met up with another friend, Alan, and my Dad at the river. We caught a few fish, and Chad was able to bring enough home for a good dinner. No one got skunked, so that made it a pretty good first trip out. It was a relaxing, though tiring day. Now hat I have been able to get out and go for the first trip, I am ready for the next one! I hope it doesn’t take so long to get up there next time. It looks like it is going to continue to be very busy over the next few weeks, but there might be a free couple of days calling my name to the mountains. I might even try to break out the fly rod next time.

Big WV Bear Hit on Interstate!

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Black BearI’ve been out of town for a couple of days, but when I got back today I was surprised to find a story about a huge bear killed on I-64 just outside of Lewisburg, WV.  Corporal Barry Kaiser of the WV DNR said that this was the largest bear that he has seen in 29 years in the DNR.

The bear was hit by a vehicle sometime last Friday morning.  It weighed in at 397 lbs, and 262 lbs field dressed.  It measured 7 feet in length from head to toe.   I can’t imagine hitting something like that with a car.  It would be very close to hitting a pony (which happened right outside our front door one day while I lived in Vermont).

Anytime you start seeing animals hit on the road, you know that the numbers are growing well.  The number of bears in our state is increasing greatly, which is a great success story for us.  Bears are flourishing in most of the state, and even in areas that national media has reported as being “destroyed” and refutes the claims that their habitat is being consumed.  Last year, over 1800 bears were taken by hunters, which set a new record for the state.

If you want to see a bit more about this bear, read the article in the Beckley Register Herald.  One thing that caught my eye in the article is something that builds the stereotype of my great state of WV:

The bear was skinned and processed at Bluegrass Meat in Caldwell and its meat will be donated to Williamsburg’s annual bear dinner held each spring, Kaiser said.

That’s right folks.  A road killed bear was sent to the meat processor for the purpose of butchering it to be used for an upscale annual bear dinner.  Come on…admit it…who has taken roadkill, butchered it, and put it in their freezer?  I know I have!

Update on Mississippi’s Deer Baiting Battle…

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Ok, most of us are a bit lethargic when it comes to blogging on the weekends, but I just found an update on a post I wrote a few days ago, and thought I would update you all on it (if you haven’t already seen it.)

Governor Barbour of Mississippi has remained true to his word, and vetoed a bill that would make it legal to hunt deer over bait in the state. In a statement that accompanied the news of his veto, the governor had this to say:

“I consider hunting deer over bait to be an issue of both science and ethics,” Barbour wrote in his veto message. “My personal view is that hunting deer with the aid of bait is not consistent with the sportsman’s hunting tradition of fair chase.”

Barbour stated that he believes that decisions concerning the practice of “supplemental feeding” should be left to scientists, rather than to the politicians. It seems that this decision was made to allow the DNR (which was given the right to make this decision just a year ago) to make the decision on policy concerning baiting, or supplemental feeding. A decision has not been made by lawmakers in Mississippi as to whether they will try to override the veto.

The Mississippi State Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (equivalent of the DNR) recently released their recommendations on supplemental feeding. Many of the lawmakers have complained that it took too long to reach them. However, it seems to me that a year of planning, gathering information, statistics, and public opinion on the subject is not too long!

The recommendations from the commission is that supplemental feeding (essentially baiting) should be legal, but with the following restrictions:

  • Feed may only be provided from above ground covered feeders or stationary spin cast feeders.
  • Feeders may be placed no closer than 100 yards from any property boundary.
  • Feed may not be poured, piled or placed directly on the ground.
  • Salt or mineral stations, blocks or licks may be established.

These seem to be reasonable suggestions to me. It would lead to more hunters establishing feeding areas for the deer, rather than just throwing out a basket of apples or corn right before they are hunting. This would provide a more normal location for deer to have feed, and would not be much different than planing a small field of turnips for the purpose of drawing in the wildlife.

If you live in Mississippi and would like to voice your opinion on the subject, you can visit the MDWFP home site. They are collecting public comment on the subject until May 6, when they have their next meeting.

For more information, you can visit this Sun Herald article!

What are Anti-Hunters Doing for Conservation?

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Posted!I wish I had more time to write about this subject today, but I have a ton of work to get done here in the real world. However, I came across this great article in the Jamestown Sun Online that I thought I would share with you. This article poses the most daunting of questions to the Anti-Hunting crowd: What have you done for conservation lately?

Far too often, we see these anti-hunting organizations jumping on the scene, condemning the act of hunting as archaic, and unnecessary in our current civilization. They will shout until they are blue in the face to stop all hunting action. However, what have you ever heard them offer in place of hunting for wild animal control? That’s right…nothing viable. When was the last time you saw one of these anti-hunting groups do something meaningful for wildlife or habitat? That’s right…never.

I gain some satisfaction from the fact that outdoorsmen are the ones on the front lines doing great things for all species of wild animals. Some anti-hunters claim we only do it so that we will have more animals to hunt. I don’t think that is the case at all. We actually care about the animal populations, and do what we can to help them maintain healthy levels. Organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and Trout Unlimited are completely stocked (pun intended) with sportsmen who are doing their part to help the designated species. These organizations protect habitat, as well as help to maintain healthy population levels.

Ok, so this got longer than I expected it to. Go read this article…I think the author does a great job of putting together the information, and he makes some great points!