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OUR LATEST POSTS

11

There was an action-adventure TV series that ran in the late 80s/early 90s called MacGyver. Macgyver was famous for improvising solutions to get out of danger using everyday objects that happened to be laying around. With a flashlight, a tube of toothpaste, and using his trusty Swiss Army knife, MacGyver could improvise an explosive device.

Anglers are the MacGyvers of outdoor sportsmen. Old salties tell stories of running out of bait and jackpoling tuna using pickle chips on bare hooks. It’s an example of anglers’ MacGyver-like ingenuity (it’s not the smell, it’s the slap on the water).

That sort of out-of-the-box thinking is what attracted me to the following Outdoor Life article. Read how “Mr. Crappie” devised a method to shoot his bait in bow-like fashion to target slab crappie hiding under docks.

mrcrappieWally Marshall has a simple solution for catching crappies hiding way back under the shady shelter of docks and boat slips: shoot ‘em all!

No, the guy they call Mr. Crappie isn’t busting caps on these heat-weary fish; rather, he’s employing an aggressive tactic designed to deliver jigs into the tightest of confines.

Applying the same principle bass anglers use to skip jigs under docks for largemouths, Marshall’s tactics reach crappies that probably consider themselves unreachable. Suffice it to say, the sudden arrival of a tempting bait finds the fish far less wary than they are in open water.

Photos: Outdoor Life (top); Bulletweights (above)

16

Check out the largest whitetail deer rack ever in this video.

This whitetail deer can’t even hold his head up since his record-holding rack is insanely huge!

Check out this amazing video from Keith Warren:

As you would imagine, this buck will never be hunted. He lives on Battle Ridge Whitetails farm and currently holds the record for the largest whitetail deer rack.

In this video he is surrounded by other bucks who have impressive racks as well. This breeding program (and supplemental diet, no doubt) is definitely on to something!

14

Narrow down the best treestand placement for each seasonal phase.

Hunters across the United States, Canada and Mexico harvest millions of whitetail deer annually, and most of those animals are taken from tree stands.

Hunters looking to harvest a mature buck (or any deer) from a treestand should pay close attention to treestand placement to maximize their chances of success.

Each seasonal phase influences your treestand placement choices, and knowing a little more about the separate portions of time can help immensely when it comes to hitting your target.

Why Treestand Placement Matters

Some hunters believe that one tree is as good as the next when it comes to treestand placement. They think if they put in their time eventually a big buck will come walking by.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While it is true that time spent in the woods increases your odds for success, hunters who blindly sit the same stand site throughout the season are destined to see mediocre results at best.

The best plan of attack is to establish multiple stand sites to take advantage of changes in whitetails’ behavior throughout the course of the season.

Phase One: Early Season (Opening day-October 9)

At this time of year a deer’s life revolves around food. This should be considered when thinking about early season treestand placement.

If you are looking to harvest a doe or young buck and put some venison in the freezer, setting up on the downwind side of food source is a good bet. This type of stand location is best hunted in the evening to allow access to the stand without spooking deer off the food source. Deer will typically start entering the food source about a half an hour before dark.

If it is a mature buck you are after, you should hunt staging areas during this phase of the season. A staging area is an area located near a food source where mature bucks hang out or “stage” before entering the food source after dark. Staging areas can be created by planting small mini-food plots just inside the woods from a larger food source.

Phase Two: The Lull (October 10-25)

Phase two is a hunter’s least favorite.

Experts disagree on why deer move less during this period. Some believe it is a response to hunting pressure, others think the falling leaves and lack of concealing foliage make deer feel vulnerable, or it may be that the mature bucks are resting up for the coming breeding season. Whatever the reason, deer movement is slow during this phase of the season.

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The best thing a hunter can do to increase their chance of connecting on a mature buck is to stay out of their best spots during this phase of the season.

If you do hunt, place your stands as close to bedding areas as possible. Be careful not to spook deer as this will negatively impact the rest of your season, and smart hunters know the best is yet to come.

Phase Three: The Pre-Rut (October 26-November 3)

During this phase of the season, rubs and scrapes will be popping up everywhere. Use information from prior years and careful on-the-ground scouting to determine which scrape and rub lines are receiving the most buck traffic, and set up along these routes.

This is the best time of year to harvest that mature buck you have on trail camera. Bucks will exhibit more daytime movement than in previous phases, but still maintain a somewhat regular schedule. They will also keep mostly to their home range.

Phase Four: The Chase (November 4-12)

During this phase some does will have come into estrus, causing bucks to begin actively seeking receptive females.

Treestands should be placed in funnels and travel corridors. Bucks will use the path of least resistance while sticking to the best available cover when scent checking for does. Hunters should be prepared to stay on stand all day during this phase, because daytime movement will be at a yearly high.

In addition to proper treestand placement, hunters will have the most success with rattling and grunting during this phase.

Phase Five: Lockdown (November 13-20)

This is the time of year most of the does will be bred. When a buck finds a receptive doe, he will herd her into thick cover and stay with her until breeding occurs. This process can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. Movement will decrease drastically from the chase phase.

The good news for hunters is that once a buck has bred a doe, he will move until he finds another.

Treestand placement for this phase should focus on thick cover. Set up on the downwind side of the nastiest thicket on your hunting property and put in your time. Eventually a buck will come out of the cover or attempt to move a doe into it. Patience is the key during this phase because action can go from cold to hot in a matter of minutes.

Phase Six: Post-Rut (November 25-End of Season)

Once most of the does have been bred, there may be a slight increase in deer movement, with bucks searching for the last unbred does. During this period, which usually only lasts a few days, you should sit in your phase four stands.

After breeding is done, bucks need to eat in order to regain calories lost during the rut. Food sources are once again your best option for treestand placement. Hunters should be prepared to hunt during periods of unseasonably cold weather as this will force bucks to eat.

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A shorter less intense ‘second rut’ occurs in some areas when unbred does and yearlings come into heat. Most of the chasing and breeding during this period takes place near major food sources where does congregate, further reinforcing the food source treestand placement option.

All Season Long

Hunters should keep a few things in mind whenever they head to a treestand. From phase one through six, hunters should strive to:

  • Have multiple stand sites: Overhunting any stand can cause the area to go cold.
  • Practice scent control: Never sit a stand when the wind is not in your favor and adopt a strict scent control system while hunting and hanging stands
  • Establish entry and exit routes to your treestands: Make sure you are not spooking deer on the way into or out of your hunting location.  This may mean a longer walk back to the truck but the end result will be worth it.

Treestand placement is one of the most important elements to a successful whitetail hunt.

Use these tips to help you establish your stand sites and while deciding which stand to sit. Don’t forget to practice your shooting. You want to be ready when that buck of lifetime walks by.

14

The Swedish Fire Torch is a camp stove made out of a single firewood log that provides hours of consistent heat.

The idea has been around for centuries. It’s practical for survival situations, but it’s also a fun project to try during your next camping trip.

There’s two ways to make a Swedish Fire Torch. The easier method involves a chainsaw. You can also use an axe, machete, or hatchet, but the process will take longer.

Start with a log 1-foot to 2-feet tall that is wide and flat enough to hold a pot or frying pan. Make four downward cuts across the diameter without cutting through the base of the log.

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Use the wood shavings from your chainsaw cuts as tinder. Newspaper, small sticks and other tinder works well too. Simply stuff it inside the center wedge and fire it up.

Here’s what the process looks like from start to finish:

INSTRUC

This video has more instructions. It’s super easy, if you know how to wield a chainsaw.

If you really want to be a mountain man, you can use a machete or hatchet to cut down a tree you find in the bush. Once you have your timber, cut a 1-foot to 2-foot log with a flat base, and then quarter it. With your blade, shave off bark twine into rope-like strands and use them to tie the quarters into a bundle.

Here’s a video that explains that hardcore version better.

Have you ever made a Swedish Fire Torch? Are you going to try making one? Let us know in the comments section below.

32

Disabled veterans pay tribute to the lives lost on 9/11.

A group of disabled veterans paid tribute to the lives lost on 9/11 and in the war on terror by scaling mountains in Yosemite National Park. Amazingly, some of these veterans are amputees, suffer from spine and traumatic brain injury, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Along with the help of a Colorado-based non-profit called Paradox Sports, this group of disabled veterans, led by several guides, split into three groups. The groups scaled El Capitan, Royal Arches, and Ranger Rock. Check out this report uploaded by Victor Vergara.

Cody Elliot, a 24-year old former Marine featured in the video, climbed for friends and soldiers that lost their lives in Afghanistan.

We should all be grateful for the sacrifice that Cody and all the other soldiers have made for us, and I applaud him for being such an outstanding example of pride and determination.

39

Use up the last of that venison in your freezer and the extra squash from your garden for this easy recipe.

Home gardeners have more tomatoes, squash, and other vegetables than they know what to with this time of year. At the same time, deer hunters are cooking up as many venison meals as they can to clear room for the coming hunting season. Luckily, in this great fall recipe, the ingredients call for both. This tex-mex venison stuffed squash recipe is sure to please every member of your family and hopefully get you even more geared up to get back out in the woods to re-fill your freezer.

 

Tex-Mex Venison Stuffed Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole Spaghetti Squash – Halved with the seeds removed
  • 1 lb ground venison – browned and drained
  • Fresh onions, red and green peppers
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro

To start things off, slice the spaghetti squash in half longways. Use a fork and remove all of the seeds, leaving just the inside meaty part of the squash. Salt and pepper the inside and place both halves on a baking sheet face side up and bake in the oven at 350 for about a half hour.

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As the squash halves are baking, brown the venison, remove from the pan, and drain.

Add some butter to the pan and saute the fresh veggies until they are tender. Once the onions start to run clear, add in the corn and beans as well as the venison. Reduce the heat to keep warm and add in the taco seasoning according to the directions of the package. I actually used a liquid base taco seasoning found in the grocery store. If you want to be creative and whip up your own, you deserve your own cooking show. Finally, add in the fresh cut cilantro.

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Now back to the squash. Once they are removed from the oven, use a heat pad and hold them with one hand while scooping out all the insides with a fork in long sweeps. You will quickly see why they call them spaghetti squash, if you didn’t already know. Slice all the squash right into that tex-mex pot of awesome with all the other ingredients, and stir.

When both squash halves are empty, use a spoon and scoop the ingredients right back in, cover with cheese, and place back in the oven under the broiler until the cheese melts and enjoy!

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