Home Archives 2014 July

Monthly Archives: July 2014


13698735-standard[1]Trail cameras allow you to “hunt” year round, keeping you in the know about what the deer in your hunting area are doing.

Prices have dropped as more and more companies offer products, and the motion activated devices are simple to set up and easy to operate.  So what are you waiting for?

Now, aside from learning the whereabouts of elusive local bucks, your trail cam serves another purpose. You can enter your pictures for weekly prizes and a grand prize that includes an all-expenses-paid hunting trip with the Drury Brothers. All of the prizes relate to deer hunting, and uploading your entries is easy. Actually, you can win prizes by just entering without a trail camera image. But bagging that special picture would give you extra bragging rights…

Check out all the details.

IMG_0760Soybeans, alfalfa, and other lush crops are a magnet to mid-summer deer; they lure those elusive bucks out into the fields during daylight hours, providing a rare opportunity to evaluate growing antlers and make plans for fall hunting stands.

This window won’t stay open long, so take advantage of buck visibility with a spotting scope or sharp pair of binoculars.

This video from GrowingDeer.tv also looks at a doe found dead and an evaluation of the electrified low-fence strategy to keep deer from newly growing food plots. Check it out:


Howard 4 093If you’re a waterfowl or upland bird hunter, you may want to make immediate plans for a great fall trip to North Dakota.

If you’ve never taken a Dakota safari, you’re in for a great hunting experience and a chance to see a part of the country that gets little tourist attention.

The ducks and pheasants aren’t there for the oil money, so you can count South Dakota as a best bet as well. Dakota bird hunts are known for warm, friendly hosts and huge flock numbers. An Eastern pheasant hunter will probably see a lifetime’s worth of roosters flush in a single day, and waterfowl flocks are tremendous.

Daniel Xu covers this story for OutdoorHub, and it’s all good news.


Practicing in challenging situations for that shot on an elusive big buck is always a great idea, although I doubt that many hunters will attach a zipline to their tree stand so they can swoop down like an eagle for a closer shot. Nonetheless, this video is very entertaining and will certainly expand your imagination for future practice sessions.

A slightly less dramatic practice method is to hang a plastic coffee can lid in front of a target backstop and let the wind direct the angles and movement. Sometimes the lid swings back and forth, but it mostly rotates so that you must wait for exactly the right moment to release. All you need is a piece of string and a plastic lid, and this low-tech tactic will teach you patience at the moment of truth.

Now, check out this fun and clever use of a zipline.


It’s a matter of some heated debate as to whether climate change is affecting water temperatures, or if it’s a cyclical kind of thing. One thing is for sure, though — fish are reacting to it.

I’ve written how a predicted El Niño event is affecting fishing in my home waters off Southern California. Apparently, something similar is happening on the East Coast. Summer flounder, aka fluke, have moved further north. Instead of the bulk of the population being concentrated off the North Carolina coast, they are now up in the New York/New Jersey area.

The migration has created a major battle between North Carolina-based commercial fishermen and New York-based sports anglers. Find out what’s at stake in this interesting read from Climate Central.

fluke_passionfortheseaThe summer flounder – one of the most sought-after catches on the U.S. East Coast – is stirring up a climate change battle as it glides through the sand and grasses at the bottom of a warming North Atlantic.

Also known as “fluke,” the flat, toothy fish is remarkable for its ability to change color to adapt to its surroundings, rendering it almost invisible to predators and prey.

Some scientists say in recent years the species has begun adapting in another way. As the Atlantic Ocean has warmed, they say, the fish have headed north.

The center of summer flounder population, recorded as far south as Virginia around 1970, is now off the New Jersey coast. Its migration has set the stage for battle between northern and southern East Coast states on how to share the business of harvesting this tasty, lean fish – valued at $30 million per year commercially and untold millions more for the recreational fishing industry.

Battle lines have been drawn over a fish that has staged a remarkable comeback from a population crash linked to overfishing in the late 1980s. But fluke has returned to a dramatically changed environment in the sea and on land.

On one side are southern states, most importantly, North Carolina, with a commercial fishing fleet pummeled in recent years by competition from cheap foreign seafood imports. North Carolina today gets the biggest slice of the East Coast fluke fishery, based on its 1980s history as the leader in summer flounder landings. It is eager to hold onto its summer flounder quota, even if that now means the commercial fleet motors to New Jersey and back to find fish.

Photos: Ginny Sanderson (top); Passion for the Sea (above)


Robinson Outdoor Products LLC, the maker of ScentBlocker, introduces the ScentBlocker 1.5 Performance Shirt. Because when it comes to lightweight performance, next to nothing means everything.

At its core, the ScentBlocker 1.5 Performance Shirt is made from ultralightweight, breathable, technical fabric with 4 Direction Stretch and Microwick to keep the wearer cool and dry. It also incorporates an advanced S3 antimicrobial treatment to reduce odor-causing bacteria. This keeps garments smelling fresher, longer. But the foundation of this innovative product is ScentBlocker’s revolutionary new synthetic Trinity Technology that adsorbs human odor like nothing else.

Composed of a patented polymeric resin that took more than 10 years to perfect, Trinity has properties that provide qualities unattainable in other scent-adsorption technologies; it’s lighter by volume, exhibits stronger attraction for human/organic odors, and lasts longer over the life of a garment. Testing shows that Trinity even leapfrogged the efficacy benchmark of their own industry leading Cold Fusion carbon odor-adsorption capacity. And by leveraging ScentBlocker’s proprietary application process, Trinity Technology is fused into the fabric of the garment — in this case, the ScentBlocker 1.5 Performance Shirt.

“The significance of what this means to a hunter is obvious,” says Mike Swan, Director of Marketing.  “When you start with a material that adsorbs more odor, you can achieve impressive scent control performance in lighter garments with less loading. This is where Robinson Outdoor Products innovation shines through with our new Trinity technology. Application of this synthetic polymer on new technical fabrics results in absolutely lighter, more comfortable and more user-friendly scent control hunting clothing than ever before.”

As a component of ScentBlocker’s System Layers, the 1.5 Performance Shirt is classified as Layer 1, meaning it can be worn next to the skin by itself, or as a base layer under other garments.

Hunting with scent control has never been like this, and no one else has it. ScentBlocker’s 1.5 Performance Shirt — the hunting garment that no one dared dream of. Until now.

1.5 Performance Long-sleeve Shirt

NEW ScentBlocker Trinity Technology — Patent Pending

First of its kind! Full ScentBlocker technology in a shirt! Provides an extremely lightweight and breathable product.

Great for layering with ScentBlocker System Layer 2 and 3 garments

S3 antimicrobial technology to aid in odor control

4 Direction Stretch comfort

Microwick technology moves moisture away from the body

Crewneck style shirt

Thumbholes for easy layering

System Layer 1

Colors: RealTree Xtra, Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity

Sizes: M–2XL

Have you seen this GoPro waterfowl hunting video?

Though it’s a couple years old by now, this GoPro waterfowl hunting film is pretty fantastic.

Uploaded by Ben Potter, it uses some great angles and high-speed capture to depict hunting at its best.

This was uploaded before the recent sportsmen’s mount released by GoPro, making it that much cooler thanks to the ingenuity.

It’s videos like this one that likely inspired GoPro to go ahead with their new mount.

Do you plan to shoot hunting videos this fall with a GoPro or similar camera?


Wild Man Andrew Ucles is indeed wild: he catches animals with his bare hands.

Us hunters rely on our gear to get us through the season, be it a trusty rifle, a sturdy bow, ammunition of choice, and plenty more.

Andrew Ucles uses, well, his bare hands. He’s not actually hunting animals, but catching them on his YouTube channel Andrew Ucles.

That’s either super awesome, or incredibly crazy. Maybe it’s a combo of both.

You’d like to think Ucles is trained professionally, and uses his vast experience in the wild to fight the “tameness” that he believes has made us humans disconnect from our roots.

Whatever side you’re on, that’s certainly a must-see video. And those dance moves!

Do you think people should chase and capture animals this way? Is it more or less ethical than hunting with weapons?


Climate change.

Those two words will spark some very heated debates these days. If you understand climate change to be true, then there are some very far-reaching implications on what must be done to curb the effects of it. Our two major political parties are at odds on how to deal with the issue. This isn’t a political forum, though. You’re here to read about fishing. Warmer water this summer from El Niño is going to change my fishing dramatically. While it will be fun, I’m a little worried about the aftereffects next year. It would be devastating to think what it will be like if this is the new normal.

Writer Todd Tanner of Hatch Magazine asks himself about this new normal, and explores how will it impact anglers.

fly-fishing-brown-trout_GnG“Luckily, though, there are still a few guys around who will look you straight in the eye and say, eloquently and to the point, ‘It’s been too goddamned hot for too long and the river has gone off.’” — John Gierach, Sex, Death, and Fly-Fishing

I cut my fly fishing teeth on John Gierach, and when he first published those words back in 1990, it all seemed innocent enough. Sure, ’88 was a hot son-of-a-gun, and the legendary waters around Yellowstone were beaten up by the heat in ways that nobody back then ever anticipated. Still, it seemed like an anomaly. Weather does crazy stuff. Some years are wet, others are dry; some are hot, some are cold, and some, on those occasions when the fishing gods happen to smile down from on high, are classic ‘Goldilocks’ just right. That’s how it always worked, and nobody I knew back in the early ‘90s ever considered that things might end up differently.

Fast forward to 2014, though, and any mention of extreme weather starts to sound ominous.

“Fluctuations in the weather used to be just that, but now, with everyone looking over their shoulders at global climate change, there’s the fear that any extreme could become the new normal. And when you guide fishermen for a living, the thought of your rivers drying up is the stuff of nightmares.”

Photos: Hatchfly Magazine (top); Gink and Gasoline (above)


Brush up on the history of camping.

The surest sign that a society has attained a certain level of affluence is when its well-to-do members turn the life-or-death labor of the past into their recreation.

Food gathering, once the great struggle of humanity, becomes weekend fishing or hunting trips. The slow plodding progress of boots pounding the ground between point A and point B becomes hiking. The jarring management of an unruly and remarkably stupid ungulate becomes horseback riding.

Perhaps most “primal” of all is total emersion into the landscape, actually uprooting oneself from the air conditioning and plumbing of the suburbs to live in the wilderness. This ultimate rebellion against modern softness is what we term “camping,” and it remains one of the most popular outdoor activities in the US.

Fundamentally, “recreational” camping is a recent invention, existing only in opposition to our relatively modern idea of housing. If you’re a hunter-gatherer or a nomadic horseman riding the steppes, it’s not camping, it’s just bedding down for the night.

Similarly for pre-industrial societies, with their wood-fired heating, walls and roofs made of insulation-free natural products, and lack of indoor plumbing, camping was not a recreational activity; it was a (hopefully temporary) hardship you endured if you didn’t have any better shelter. But, beginning in the mid to late 1800s, our concept of how people and nature should interact changed, and the idea of camping as an enjoyable and indeed important part of life infiltrated the public psyche.

The Victorian era in Britain (roughly 1830s-1900) was marked by the rapid industrialization of many manufacturing and extractive processes, and concomitant with this revolution was an explosion in urbanization, with power, money, and population becoming more and more centrally located in cities. This process, begun in England, soon expanded to the continent and, eventually, America.

This “progress” was met with some ambivalence by many people who felt that capital-M “Man” was somehow diminished, not merely physically but also morally and spiritually, by his estrangement from the countryside and the outdoors. Out of this this uncomfortable milieu of rapid social and economic change comes much of our great outdoor writing and philosophizing, things like Thoreau’s Walden, Emerson’s transcendental naturalism, and a whole slew of manuals and guides to the “Manly” outdoor sports of mountaineering, hunting, boating, and hiking.

The first manual on camping was produced by an Englishman, although his formative camping experiences all occurred in the American West. The man who would become the “Father of Camping,” Thomas Hiram Holding (1844-1930), began his outdoor life in 1853 when, with his parents, he camped for five weeks along the banks of the Mississippi before embarking on a wagon train trip westward.
Camping on the plains, they encountered buffalo herds, soon to be hunted nearly into extinction. They continued on into the Rocky Mountains, eventually coming to a stop in August, and then the next year travelled back east as part of another wagon train.

Harding returned to England and became a tailor in the vast smog-choked metropolis of London. Seeking refuge from the urban chaos, he and friends would canoe or bicycle through the countryside, hauling their gear and camping out as they travelled. One such trip through the wilds of Ireland in the 1880s became the basis for Holding’s book “Cycle and Camp in Connemara” in 1898. This work established Holding as the preeminent expert on camping in the UK, leading him to write the first guide to recreational camping ever written, the aptly named “The Camper’s Handbook” in 1908.

The “Father of Camping,” Thomas Hiram Holding (1844-1930)

The “Father of Camping,” Thomas Hiram Holding (1844-1930)

In addition to being an entertaining and well-written bit of camping advice, the book is an interesting historical document that provides a unique glimpse into the world of camping before our high-tech, specialized gear came onto the scene.

Not coincidentally, 1908 also saw the foundation of the Boy Scout Association in England, under Robert Baden-Powell, who would eventually become the President of the society founded by Holding, of the Camping Club of Great Britain and Ireland. The scouting movement was founded on the core idea that outdoorsmanship, camping, and woodcraft were an important part of a boy’s moral development, and quickly spread to the United States.

By 1910, the Boy Scouts of America had been founded and granted a congressional charter; the Girl Scouts of America followed soon-thereafter in 1912. Both these organizations introduced a range of American children and their parents to the world of camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities, coinciding with the establishment of some of the first National Parks.

The next great boost in American camping culture came as a result of the Great Depression. Part of Roosevelt’s New Deal was the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Core, a government work relief program that employed, at its height, 300,000 people. The CCC specialized in providing unskilled manual labor for a variety of conservation and natural resource development programs.
The CCC would go on to produce more than 800 parks, many still in use today. All of these parks received improvements, including trails and developed campgrounds with amenities like shelters, fire pits, grills, and restroom facilities. The popularity of the CCC with the public resulted in increased awareness of the outdoor recreational available to American citizens. Camping soon became one of the quintessentially American vacations.

Camping as recreation continued through the post-WWII economic boom, particularly through car camping and with hard-top campers. The environmental movement of the 60s and 70s had some roots in camping culture as well, and increased interest in conservation and the appreciation of the outdoors fed back into increased interest in camping.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2012 Special Report on Camping, 42.5 million Americans over the age of six camped in 2011. It’s a remarkable testament to how rapidly our society has changed in just a short 150 years, and how human’s fascination with the outdoors and “getting back to nature” has tracked our simultaneously increasing reliance on modern technology and conveniences.

When did you start camping? What are your favorite things about it?

Photo (above): Wikimedia