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Monthly Archives: January 2014

By Tony Young

The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal pursued each winter by Florida’s more than 200,000 deer hunters. But, there’s another big-game species that’s hunted quite a bit too and is especially popular with hunters in the southern and central parts of the state – the wild hog.

Wild hogs, also called wild boars or feral pigs, aren’t native to Florida. They either were introduced by colonists or may even have been brought over by the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto as early as 1539. Hogs provided a major food source for the early settlers, and those pigs that escaped, or were released, adapted and prospered readily in Florida’s mild climate and varied habitats.

Though nonnative, you can hardly tell, because wild hogs are plentiful throughout Florida and can be found in all 67 counties. They live in various habitats but prefer moist forests, swamps and pine flatwoods. Abundant populations of wild hogs occur west of Lake Okeechobee, between the Kissimmee and lower St. Johns river basins, and farther north along the Gulf-coastal marshes between the Aucilla and Withlacoochee rivers.

Wild hogs are omnivorous and feed by rooting up the ground with their broad snouts. Because of this, they can be very destructive to landscapes and are considered nuisance animals to many agricultural producers. Their diet consists of grasses and flowering plants in the spring, fruits in the summer and fall, and they eat roots, tubers and invertebrates throughout the year. They can cause great damage to a habitat’s groundcover and leave some areas looking like plowed fields.

As with all animals, it’s against the law to release wild hogs on public lands. It’s also not recommended on private lands either unless the property is surrounded by adequate fencing. The reason for this is because you might want wild hogs on your property — but your neighbor may not.

Wild hogs have an annual home range of more than 10 square miles and are prolific reproducers. A healthy female (sow) can breed at six months old and continue to breed every six months producing four to 14 piglets per litter.

They’re not listed as game animals by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) but are considered wildlife and property of the landowner upon whose land they occur. And even though wild hogs can have negative impacts on native vegetation and wildlife, they’re an important food source for several native species including the alligator and bobcat as well as the endangered Florida panther, black bear and American crocodile.

Wild hogs also make for a great hunting opportunity. This especially is true in the southern portion of the state, where in some areas, wild hogs actually have replaced deer as the preferred hunting species. Because of the abundance of hogs there and the fact these regions tend to have smaller-bodied deer with lighter racks, hog hunting has gotten pretty popular in those parts.

hog_densityOn private property with the landowner’s permission, you may hunt wild hogs year-round with any legal gun or firearm. Also, there are no size or bag limits. You may harvest either sex, and you don’t even need a hunting license to do so. That goes for nonresidents as well.

You’re probably starting to see why hog hunting means so much for some folks and has become big business for those hunting guides specializing in paid hog hunts. Not to mention how good a tender sow can taste. Because you sure can get a lot of bacon off a good-sized hog. And if you don’t know how to clean one, not to worry because I’m sure there’s a good meat processor in the area you can take it to.

Now I do need to make you aware that when hunting one of the state’s many wildlife management areas (WMAs), wild hogs may be taken only during specific hunting seasons. On most WMAs, wild hogs may be hunted during all hunting seasons except spring turkey. But if it’s during archery season, you must use a bow — during muzzleloading gun season, you’ll have to use a muzzleloader.

Also, on some WMAs, daily bag limits do apply. And in some cases, there’s a minimum size limit on what you can shoot.

You’ll just need to obtain the area’s regulations brochure to learn what you can and cannot do regarding hunting wild hogs. These brochures contain maps of the area, and you can pick them up at county tax collectors’ offices that are in close proximity to the WMA. They also can be downloaded from the FWC’s hunting website at MyFWC.com/Hunting.

When hunting hogs on WMAs, you’ll need a valid Florida hunting license as well as a management area permit. These can be purchased at tax collectors’ offices, most places that sell hunting and fishing supplies, by calling toll-free 888-HUNT-FLORIDA.

In addition to still hunting for hogs from a deer stand, there are those hunters who prefer to catch them with traps or by the use of dogs. Special pens with trap doors work well when baited with acorns or slightly fermented corn. And dogs like black mouth curs and pit bulls make good “catch” dogs because they can be trained to capture hogs, which they do by biting down on their ears and pinning them to the ground.

If you do have more hogs on your property than you’d like, and you’re not personally into hunting, you could open your land up to a few hunters, perhaps even lease out the hunting rights. Another option would be to contact a nuisance wildlife trapper.

The FWC maintains a list of people who make a living removing unwanted wildlife and these folks have all the tools and professional experience for getting the job done. The names are listed by the counties in which they operate, and it’s available at MyFWC.com.

So whether you think wild hogs are a nuisance or a hunting opportunity, they’re a critter some of us are dealing with one way or another. Here’s wishing all you hunters a great season, and when you can, take a kid hunting. Be a mentor — pass the tradition down.

Tony Young has many years of experience managing turkeys, deer and timber on private property in the Panhandle. He’s an avid turkey hunter and worked seven years for the Florida Department of Agriculture. Currently, Tony’s the media relations coordinator for the hunting and game management division with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Tallahassee.

Photo: CaptainWoodyGore.com (top), University of Florida (above)

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My daughter Leah came home last year in the spring, wanting little more than to catch some white bass in the river not far from my home. We went fishing one beautiful afternoon when it was warm and still, and the white bass were still there, and hungry. Fishing with a light spinning outfit and six-pound line, Leah was having a ball, until we finally had a limit of fat whitebass, way more than I wanted to filet late in the day.

So as I pulled up the trolling motor and removed the lure from my line, Leah made one last cast. She sent the little Rapala-like minnow out into the slow current at the head of a deep eddy, and began to jerk it down into the depths as she had done all day. It had been an effective method for catching those whites.

And as she jerked it, it just stopped and her rod bent hard. That last quick jerk she made was a good one, and it had set the hooks into a hefty golden-colored walleye. Of course Leah didn’t know it was a walleye. She just knew that whatever had taken that little lure was one heck of a fish.

walleye, leah244There was lots of yelling and squealing as I gave her instructions, and the fish stayed deep and took line against the drag, which fortunately, was set just right. Leah hung on, and made a little progress, and then in the clear water I saw that fish flash its tail. The white spot on the broad tail told me she had a walleye, and I waited with the net until she got it up close, at which time I made a very deliberate attempt to net it. Moments later it was flopping around in the bottom of the boat and Leah stood there with wide eyes, looking at a fish much bigger than the white bass we were after.

Almost every year, in late February and early March, we land some big walleye while fishing tributaries to big reservoirs for white bass or black bass, sometimes even when we are fishing for crappie. They may be through spawning before April gets here, but many of them stay up those rivers for weeks.  In that three-month span, they are taken on a variety of lures, from 1/8-ounce white jigs to the topwater minnows that are jerked down into the depths, from little crankbaits and suspending lures to big spinner baits. We catch a good number of big walleyes when we aren’t fishing for them.

So you can’t really point out one method or one kind of lure for catching walleye in the rivers above our reservoirs. I think the best thing to do is catch them while fishing for other species. It is sort of like sneaking up on them.

Last year or the year before, a couple of friends and I went up that same tributary where Leah caught her fish, catching both black bass and white bass. One of the guys cast a deep running green and orange crankbait out in the middle and hooked a horse of a walleye. He grew up down on the Current River where walleye are so plentiful, and he commented that day about how you catch so many walleye out in the middle of the tributary eddies.

That’s something to remember. While you are casting against the banks to catch bass, the walleyes will more than likely be caught out in the middle in deeper pools just below the shoals. But who knows what you will catch them on? In years of fishing, I have seen those glass-eyed, fang-mouthed battlers caught on about everything that goes down into the water a ways. Never have I caught walleye on topwater lures!

So when it is warm, and still, I will try to catch a walleye or two this early spring, by sneaking up on them and acting like I’m not at all interested in them. And when it is windy and cold and cloudy and I can keep my hands warm, even before there’s a hint of spring, I might go try it then too. If it’s February, it is travel time for romantic walleye, and they get very hungry during the mating season.

Photo: Angling Obsession (top)

larryprofileLarry Dablemont currently writes a weekly newspaper column for 35 newspapers, publishes the Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Journal, has written seven books, and can be heard on KWTO AM 560 Radio Springfield each Sunday morning on The Larry Dablemont Outdoor Program. He and his wife reside in Bolivar, Missouri. You can read some of Larry’s current and older posts at his blog, Outdoors with Larry Dablemont, and visit his Lightnin’ Ridge Facebook page.

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Still have Mom’s Christmas cash left over? Maybe a tax refund check on the way? Here’s a great investment in fall hunting gear you can enjoy right now.  Trail cameras are great entertainment for you and youngsters in the backyard, where you can practice using them and catch squirrels, birds, or prove your neighbor’s dog is trespassing. Wildgame Innovations just introduced four new cameras that can e-mail you pictures, are sized to fit in the palm of your hand, will operate with frequent time lapse photography, and can even scout for ducks… No kidding!

1302Crush Cell 8 Trail Camera: For the hunter on the go, the Crush Cell 8 trail camera offers wireless connectivity to a cellphone through text or picture messaging and e-mail, so images can be viewed almost immediately without retrieving the camera from the field. The camera is compatible with any GSM cellphone that uses a SIM card and has 3G capabilities. It features an 8-megapixel camera and high-intensity, undetectable IR LEDs for photos or HD 720 videos. A TFT viewer is included on the camera so images can be viewed directly on camera, as well as the Redux Anti-Blur technology, Exposure Control System, and FlexTime+ Time Lapse technology for the clearest images possible. This camera accepts mini SD/SDHC cards up to 32 GB and is powered by 4 D batteries. View images from the comfort of the living room with this camera and a compatible cellphone, and get ready for the next hunt more quickly.

buck_commander_nano10Buck Commander Nano Series: The new Buck Commander Nano Series offers a lineup of the smallest trail cameras on the market, measuring 3″x 2.25″ x 3.25″. Don’t let their size fool you, as they’re packed with all the best features to monitor your land day and night. The four Nano series models range from 6 to 10 megapixel versions, all with video capability and Flextime technology. These lightweight, compact cameras are perfect for your favorite honey hole or unchartered territory.

1304Duck Commander Lightsout: A trail cam for scouting ducks? You heard it right. The first of its kind, the Duck Commander Lightsout will revolutionize the way you scout ducks. Migration Mode technology allows the camera to monitor from dawn until dusk and show you exactly when and where the ducks are moving through. Add that with the 720p video, and the ducks don’t stand a chance.

1305Crush 12 X Touch: The Crush 12 X Touch features a 2.4″ color touch screen to make use afield as easy as possible. This 12.0 MP camera is packed with features, including FlexTime Time Lapse Technology, a wide-angle 16:9 aspect ratio images option, one second rapid trigger speed, photo and HD 720p video with audio (30sec) capabilities, View Assist Technology for accurate setup, a 50ft flash range and two-piece high-intensity dynamic infrared LEDs. This water-resistant and weather-endurable camera is available in Realtree Xtra camo for concealment.

For more information, visit www.wildgameinnovations.com.

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Like its name suggests, the new ScentBlocker Switchback offers options. It’s like having two suits for the price of one. Pick your poison, Realtree AP Snow or Realtree Xtra, either one is perfectly deadly.

Wear the soft and super quiet brushed face with high definition Realtree Xtra on the outside for cooler, dry hunts earlier in the season. When things get nasty, the kind of late season weather that hunters dream of, Switchback can be easily reversed to expose its Sherpa Fleece AP Snow camo. Of course the details have not been forgotten with elasticized cuffs on wrists, an adjustable draw cord waist that cinches to keep the snow out when low-crawling to get closer, and storm flaps on both hood and pockets for full featured, foul weather protection.

SBBTXT_SwitchbackBibAside from virtual infield invisibility, scent control is also important to avoid detection during spot and stalk and ambush situations, or when calling predators in close enough to kill. ScentBlocker adds proven S3 Silver Anti-Microbial to prevent the formation of odor causing bacteria.

Details are paramount to success and to ScentBlocker, so Switchback features the highest quality YKK zippers. The jacket offers an attached crown hood with side adjustment points while the bib features adjustable shoulder straps with quick release buckles for a perfectly comfortable fit. Gaining access to interior pockets, and getting boots on and off, are not a problem either with 2 side slash pockets with zipper closure, and 24” leg zippers, all with storm flaps.

Adaptation is the key to survival in the wild. Don’t be limited by weather or conditions. ScentBlocker’s new Switchback jacket and bib will help hunters adapt, overcome… and tag out.

Switchback JacketSBJTXT_SwitchbackJacket

Soft quiet tricot reverses to thick warm Sherpa Fleece

Attached hood with crown and side adjustment points

Full zipper with storm flap, 2 zippered pockets with storm flaps

Elasticized wrist cuffs

Adjustable draw cord waist

Grommeted rear license loop

Switchback Bib

Soft quiet tricot reverses to thick warm Sherpa Fleece

Adjustable shoulder straps with quick-release buckles

Full front zipper with kissing welt, Zippered chest pocket, 2 side slash pockets with zipper closure and Storm flap, 24” leg zippers with storm flap

Grommeted rear license loop

For more information, visit RobinsonOutdoors.com.

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I had the pleasure this year of attending ICAST, the big tackle show in Las Vegas where all the manufacturers show their latest wares for the tackle store buyers and the media. One of the new products that really caught my eye, and was a Best In Show winner for hard baits, was the LiveTarget BaitBall.

Schooling bait fish attract attention. It’s the reason the Alabama Rig is such an effective weapon. The BaitBall takes that same idea and twists it in a way that will blow your mind! Read along as Rahfish does a deep dive on this hot new bait.

threadfinshad_baitballIt’s always interesting seeing just how the market reacts when a new idea is released into the fishing industry. Through all the tackle, rods, reels, electronics, you name it, it always tends to cause a chain reaction.

If you were living under a rock this past summer, then you didn’t hear about LiveTarget’s BaitBall series winning Best New Hard Bait at ICast 2013. So what does this mean to the angler?Well, winning best new hard bait tells us there is something special about this new line of lures by LiveTarget. Does it mean we have to stop fishing and it’ll catch the fish for us? Absolutely not! What it does tell us, is this bait is different and it’s something the heavily pressured fish haven’t seen before, and it could give the angler the upper hand.

The LiveTarget BaitBall is like nothing you’ve seen before.

Photos: Rahfish (top), Outdoor Instruments (above)

The more you understand the biology of wild turkeys, the better your chances of spring gobbler success. Even though opening day is still a distant speck on the horizon, an outdoorsman can never know too much about what wild turkeys are doing, and when. Wild turkeys naturally progress through phases, from fall flock formation through the breakup and nesting in spring. Here’s a brief summary of turkey behavior from fall through winter, as provided by the National Wild Turkey Federation.

 “Understanding the five phases of fall and winter flocks can help you take a wild turkey for your holiday dinner table this autumn season, and even plan for the coming spring.

1. Pre- and Early-Season Groups

Scouting flocks with fall turkey season in mind begins as springtime ends – or should. It’s a continuum for the year-round turkey hunter. Watching these game birds, then later hunting them, is an ongoing, enjoyable process.

Across the country, individual brood hens hatch their eggs, and begin raising their poults sometime in late spring or summer. Biology tells us that not all regional hatches are simultaneous. As a result, so-called early- and late-hatch turkeys may be seen in the same specific habitat. Sizes of family groups may vary.

SD Deer 2  07 234Pre-season summer flock scouting is often low-key, but no less important than later on. Turkey hunting opportunities aren’t offered during this first phase of brood development for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, looking for newly hatched groups of birds is a worthwhile start to the hunting you plan to do that fall.

Simply spending time in areas you’ll later hunt can pay dividends. Gobbler groups, composed of mature toms and jakes, remain together after the spring breeding season – often in areas where you’ve hunted them just months before. Also, broodless hens — unsuccessful at nesting — form same-sex flocks during this time.

By early fall when seasons commence around the country, family flocks, gobbler gangs, and broodless hens have each established distinct groups. As fall turkey hunting season opens, you might see these groups together in habitats where the food source may be concentrated, or the habitat limited, or both.

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Michael de Avila is the popular host of WFN’s fishing show Lunkerville. As opposed to a lot of the shows out there, Mike doesn’t portray himself as a fishing expert. The show is more about traveling to different parts of the country, meeting regular folks who enjoy our sport, and telling their uniquely individual stories through the lens of fishing. Along the way, Mike sometimes catches a fish.

In this article from the World Fishing Network (WFN), Mike highlights his most memorable moments of the 2013 season.

lunkerville_bass-217x132A Memorable Sturgeon in British Columbia

This season I traveled to British Columbia and caught a 5 foot Sturgeon on the show! Not only was it the largest freshwater fish caught in the 10 year history of Lunkerville, but it was the most exciting fight I ever had with a fish; even more impressive then the 250 lb blue shark we caught last season.

Lunkerville is Here, and Here, and There

We travelled to Richmond, Virginia; Buford, Georgia; Montauk, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Banks Lake, Washington; Fraser River, British Columbia; Oceanside, New York; Naples, Florida; Pawling, New York; Moses Lake, Washington; Atlanta, Georgia and of course, Central Park, New York City!

Photos: World Fishing Network

The Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show was cancelled in 2013, when hunters and outfitters rebelled against management rules that restricted firearms and what many believed to be an intrusion on Second Amendment rights. Although this was a great disappointment to attendees and a terrible economic blow to thousands of guides and outfitters from around the world, there’s good news: The Harrisburg show is back! Now called The Great American Outdoor Show, the expo will be the largest consumer outdoor show in the United States, with 650,000 square feet of indoor floor space and a new shooting sports hall, which joins the archery, boats, RVs, fishing, outdoor rroducts, and hunting outfitter halls. In all, the show will house more than 1,000 exhibitors.

2009-06-13 Booner Bucks-0005Despite the new name, most folks within 200 miles call it the “Harrisburg Show,” due to its location. Like a Disney park for sportsmen, almost every outdoor fantasy can be fulfilled, whether you’re an angler, hunter, shooter, or just love the outdoors. I’ve attended the show for more than 20 years (OK, a lot more than 20) yet never tire of the great excitement it provides. I’ve made friends around the world and still look forward to seeing hunting buddies on other continents. It’s like the ultimate high school reunion.

If there’s one drawback to the show, it’s that it may be too popular, resulting in long lines and a packed house. Although I’ll be there when the doors open on Saturday, Sunday afternoon will be less crowded, due to Super Bowl parties and folks with other priorities. I try to attend the show in the early afternoon during midweek, when the aisles are less crowded and I can spend more time looking for that perfect hunt. For all the details of the show (which runs February 1–9), check out their website: greatamericanoutdoorshow.org

 

 

By Tony Young

Whether you oversee a large tract of land or own a smaller parcel, there are many wildlife management techniques you can use to help attract wild turkeys in the area to your property — and keep the ones there that already call it home.

Wild turkeys, like white-tailed deer, are referred to ase “edge species” because of their need for more than one type of habitat. Most of the time, with large tracts of land, this isn’t a problem because the vast landscape is diverse enough. But in the case of small-acreage, one-habitat properties, it’s up to you as the landowner to create varied, preferred habitats if you expect turkeys to use the property.

poults_opt.jpgFor optimal turkey habitat, most experts believe a “rule of halves” should be applied to the landscape. What that means is, half of your property should be in mature forests and the other half in early-succession “openings,” such as fields, clearcuts or forests having between 40 and 60 square feet per basal area.

Basal area is a measurement used to determine the density of trees per acre. To better illustrate, land that falls into the 40-60 basal range has 40 to 60 average-sized (13.5 inches in diameter at the base) pine trees per acre — better recognized as “plantation style.”

To create even better and more varied habitats for turkeys, you should offer “differing age classes” of forests, early-successional areas and make prescribed burning a big part of your management plan.

What is meant by differing age classes is harvesting pine trees on a different section of your property on a 10-year cycle. Every 10 years, you cut and replant a different piece so after a few decades, the property consists of several sections having varying sized (aged) trees.

Early-succession habitat can be achieved on plantation cut areas with a 40-60 basal count because the trees are spaced out enough for sunlight to penetrate the forest floor, and with frequent fire, enables new growth of succulent woody ornamentals, native wiregrass and goldenrod.

It also is important to keep any hardwood hammocks, drains, ravines, bottoms, wetlands, and other unique habitats intact and free from timbering. Hardwoods are an essential element of wild turkey management and should be left in their natural state, if at all possible.

These thick hardwood lowlands provide travel corridors that turkeys and deer extensively use and feel comfortable moving through. And, most wild turkeys prefer to roost in trees over or near water so any pond or creek offers great potential roosting sites.

If there’s not any water on the property and you have the financial means to do so, dig a pond. Turkeys, as well as every other critter, need water to drink, so if you have that, then you have yet one more piece of the turkey-management puzzle.

“Buffer” strips of native grasses and woody ornamentals should be left unmowed where clearcut areas meet pine or hardwood forests. Hens require this thick understory cover for nesting, and when possible, prescribed burning should be applied that allows for a low, woody component to be scattered throughout most of the timber stands. Periodically lengthening your burning rotations will give you this desired effect and help provide suitable nesting habitat.

eggs2_opt.jpgIn Florida, most hens lay their eggs in late March or early April and the eggs take about 25 days to hatch, so care should be taken not to burn or mow through August. After hatching, poults will roost on the ground for the first 14 days, and during this period, approximately 70 percent of these young birds won’t survive, primarily because of predation from raccoons, opossums, coyotes, foxes and bobcats.

Attempts to control these predators are usually ineffective and economically unfeasible, so your efforts are better spent creating and maintaining good-quality brood habitat. To do this, leave certain areas in unplanted fields or in open woodlands containing an herbaceous understory so adequate brood rearing can take place.

Good brood habitat should hold food in the form of seeds, insects (an invaluable protein source) and tender new-growth vegetation for young poults to feed upon throughout the summer. It should consist of one- to three-foot-tall grass and weeds open enough to enable the young poults to be able to move about, yet dense enough to provide cover from the above mentioned predators.

There is great interest nationally in the planting of food plots for wildlife, including for turkeys. Within extensive closed off canopy forested areas, food plots and/or game feeders are essential to keeping turkeys on your property. Where an open forest structure is maintained by adequate timber thinning and the use of fire, such supplemental feeding is not as necessary because there is enough natural “browse” vegetation for game to feed on. However, food plots and feeders do attract turkeys and help to localize their movements.

But, if you financially can’t plant enough acreage to feed all of the game on your property and improve the health of their populations, then it’s not going to make a significant impact or improve the quality of the habitat. On very large tracts of land, sufficient supplemental feeding can be quite expensive, and in these cases, proper use of burning and timber thinning management are more economical ways of providing food for turkeys and other wildlife.

67250024_2_opt.jpgFood plots, though, are a lot more cost effective at feeding game than using feeders on moderate-sized pieces of property. In cases of smaller tracts, perhaps where food plots can’t be utilized because the landscape is all lowland and you have a closed canopy, game feeders filled with corn or soybeans are your only option to attracting turkeys.

Once the decision, though, has been made to create food plots, you need to know “where” to put them and how big and what shape you should make them. When thinking about good food plot sites, avoid excessively wet or dry areas, and don’t place them along heavily used roads to minimize disturbance and possible poaching.

Look to create these openings along an edge where upland pines meet a hardwood drain — which I already mentioned turkeys like to use. This way, you’ll have an area where three separate habitats converge. Try to evenly distribute these type food plots throughout the property, and it is recommended that two to three percent of the land is in these permanent openings.

The best food plots are long and narrow, and rectangular shaped that follow the contour of the land. A length-to-width ratio of about three-to-one is a good rule of thumb with the width being no less than 75 feet to avoid shading from the sun. When possible, create food plots where the length (longest part) runs east to west. That way, the planted crops will receive the most direct sunlight.

In the fall, cereal grains like wheat, oats and rye can be planted along with Austrian winter peas, clover, and brassicas like turnips, rape and kale. Turkeys like all of this, and except for clover, these crops all grow well in most of Florida.

Clover requires a higher soil pH — between 6.5 and 7 — and it often won’t grow in the sandy soils that make up most of our state. In the northern-tiered counties that border Alabama and Georgia, the soil is richer with red clay, and several varieties of clover and other legumes will grow well there. With poorer sandier soils, if you still want to plant clover, a soil test should be done, and lime should be applied at the recommended rate.

All of the above mentioned cool season forages can be planted by “broadcast” method after Oct. 1 in North Florida. And at least twice as much fertilizer should be used per pound of seed, if not more. Slightly cover the seed by pulling a drag over it, and try to put your crop in the ground when the soil is holding some moisture and rain is in the forecast.

In the spring after May 1, you can plow under your “browned up” fall crop and replace it with any combination of soybeans, cowpeas, browntop millet, sorghum or peanuts. And if you can afford it, turkeys are especially fond of chufa. That, along with these other warm season forages, can be broadcasted and planted just as the cool weather crops.

Another good thing about chufa, just like with most clover varieties — it is a perennial and will regenerate and “come back” for a few years. The secret to growing chufa, though, is not to replant it in the exact same location because it really strips nitrogen from the soil, and if you try to replant it in the same spot, it won’t come up very well.

Hopefully, utilizing some or all of these wildlife management practices will help bring in turkeys and increase the habitat’s carrying capacity for birds on your property. Here’s wishing you luck obtaining your management goals and objectives.

Tony Young has many years of experience managing turkeys, deer and timber on private property in the Panhandle. He’s an avid turkey hunter and worked seven years for the Florida Department of Agriculture. Currently, Tony’s the media relations coordinator for the hunting and game management division with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Tallahassee.

Photo: Bowhunting.net (top)

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The San Diego area is one of the top tourist destinations in the United States. Every year, tourists flock to San Diego to visit the San Diego Zoo, enjoy SeaWorld, and attend Comic-con. For the fishing-minded visitor, San Diego is home to the largest sportfishing fleet in the world. Four sportboat landings serve anglers by providing everything from local half-day trips to multi-day long-range trips on luxury fishing vessels.

For local anglers, though, many enjoy fishing the local waters for saltwater bass species like the calico bass, barred sand bass, and spotted bay bass. Each year, their passion is celebrated in the San Diego Anglers Open Bay Bass Tournament.

IMG_2657I once called the San Diego Anglers Open Bay Bass Tournament the best-run in the city.

I may have underestimated the tournament. I haven’t been to every bass tournament held in our state, but I’m willing to say there isn’t a better bass tournament in California when it comes to its rich tradition, how well it’s run, how well it’s received and its outreach to the entire fishing community.

In addition to a competitive tournament that draws the best saltwater bass fishermen in the region, the tournament includes a barbecue lunch open to everyone, a giant tent with vendors showing off products and a raffle that generates funds for the club’s many charitable ventures.

Photo credits: The San Diego Union-Tribune (top), SoCal Salty (above)