Showing posts with label hunting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hunting. Show all posts

Rifle Season Antlerless Portion Another Trip To The Woods

December 3rd, 2016

Waking up at three in the morning is justifiable as long as it results in heading to the outdoors for some type of adventure.  Todays adventure took place with my son while freezing our rumps off in the deer stand.

Deer Stand, Whitetail Hunting
My son and I in the deer stand
With everything packed into the truck my son and I hit the road at about 3:30 AM for the two hour journey to our hunting spot.
Hunting From A Deer Stand, Deer Stand Hunting, Deer Hunting
A View From the Stand
After sitting in the stand for many hours we climbed down and headed into town to warm up and grab something to eat.  Once we had regained some of the feeling in our fingers it was back to the stand to sit for the afternoon and evening.
Deer Stand Hunting, Hunting From A Deer Stand, Deer Hunting
Another View From the Stand
We stayed in the stand until it was almost dark when three does came wandering in between our stand and the road.  The terrain is uphill from the stand to the road so I may have been able to take a shot safely; however, I decided to pass and use this as a teaching moment for my son.  As the deer walked out of sight my son asked why I didn't shoot.  I then told him that "you should never shoot your gun towards any road because you never know when a vehicle may drive by and accidentally shooting someone would not be a good situation."

At this point in the season I am extremely glad that my family is not dependent on my killing a deer in order to eat throughout this next year as it looks like I may not get one..... If it wasn't for fishing our freezer might be  Time will tell, but thankfully September 15th will be here again before we know it, and once again we will be hitting the woods in pursuit of the seemingly elusive whitetail deer.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

The Napier Sportz Truck Tent 57 Series Review

Any links to merchants in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on a link and purchase a product mentioned in this post I may earn a commission.  This will not add to the price you pay for that product.

As we age it becomes more difficult to sleep on the ground.  For those who love tent camping, there is a solution to this problem.... Napier SportzTruck Tent 57 Series.  This tent allows the camper to sleep in their truck bed which eliminates the need to stoop down in order to enter and exit your tent.
Truck Tent, Napier Truck Tent, Napier Sportz Truck Tent
Napier Sportz Truck Tent 57 Series Side View
Truck Tent, Pickup Truck Tent, Napier Truck Tent
Napier Sportz Truck Tent 57 Series Side View
The Napier 57 Series Sportz Truck Tent is an awesome three season tent that sleeps two.  The rain fly and walls are  constructed from 1200 mm PU polyester taffeta.  The floor is made from 1200 mm PU nylon taffeta.  There are two interior gear pockets with a gear loft that can be used for extra storage space.  With a center height of 5'5" there is enough head room for pretty much anyone.  The rear window is placed in a manner to offer access to the cab of your pickup through the rear hatch window.

The description on this tent says it can be set up in as little as ten minutes; however, I can tell you attempting to assemble this tent in the dark for the first time it will most definitely take much longer than that.  On the other hand, taking the tent down and packing it away is a really simple task.  If you are going to be out and about in the vehicle that the tent will be set up in, consider setting the tent up in advance so that when you arrive back at your camping spot for the night you can simply pick up the tent, slide it into your truck bed and strap it down.  This will save you an enormous amount of trouble.

Napier SportzTruck Tent 57 Series

Napier SportzTruck Tent 57 Series
"The Napier SportzTruck Tent 57 Series allows you to
sleep comfortably protected in the bed of your pickup.
Its shock-corded, color coded Durawrap fiberglass and
steel poles allow for fast set up in asittle as 10 minutes."

Although setting this tent up for the first time presented its challenges, I have to assume that the biggest reason for this is that my wife and I attempted to pull this off well after dark when both of us were already tired.  I'm quite certain that the next time we set it up will yield a completely different result.  Upon examining the Napier Sportz Truck Tent during the day I could see that is really is a simple tent to set up.

The overnight temperatures were in the mid forties when my wife and I used our tent, and we were able to sleep comfortably on an air mattress inside of our sleeping bag.  Unlike some tents that claim to be "three season," this one truly is!  We had no trouble staying warm inside of this well built tent.

One thing I will say is that if your truck is lifted, you will definitely want to come up with a step system for getting into your tent.  You could probably use a two-foot step ladder or cinder blocks.  Our method was to simply stack up some firewood and use it as our step to get inside. 

Keep in mind that there are several different models of this tent designed to fit many different truck bed sizes.  Be sure to find the right one for your truck.

I was pleasantly surprised at the overall quality of this tent.  With proper care this tent will provide the use with many years of use.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

What To Do When Your Hunting Trip Is A Washout?

Any links to merchants in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on a link and purchase a product mentioned in this post I may earn a commission.  This will not add to the price you pay for that product.

September 24, 2016

I decided to cancel my planned actual hunting trip to the woods this afternoon because of an impending storm.  It makes no sense to travel forty to fifty miles from home when you will most likely end up turning around and heading back home as soon as you arrive.  

Having made the decision to skip the woods in fear of drowning, I decided a father-daughter date was in order.  If you can't be in the outdoors, the next best thing for any sportsman is a store with all the outdoor gear you could care to see..... So we headed to the Bass Pro.

We entered the store and what else would my daughter want to do other than head straight over to the laser shooting gallery.  She gave me no choice but to show her that daddy can win at this game.  After checking out everything the hunting section had to offer.....and I mean everything, we decided to give the fudge a whirl (the salted caramel is a pretty tasty choice).

Fun At Bass Pro, Bass Pro Shops, Bass Pro
Having fun at Bass Pro Shops
Next it was off to make a loop around the lower level.  Of course we had to make a stop at the top of the stairs to check out the waterfall and catch some water to throw on dad (probably a pay back for beating her at the shooting gallery earlier in the evening).
Bass Pro Shops, Water Fall, Bobcat
Bass Pro has some interesting things to look at
While making the rounds on the lower floor we checked out all there was to see from the taxidermy to the boats to the four wheelers and everything in between.
ATV, Green ATV, Arctic Cat
Emilee checking out a 4-wheeler
Of course we couldn't pass up the ATV section.  We had to check out every one of them before making our way to the boats. 

Pontoon, Boats, Pontoon Boat
A couple of boats that Emilee had to see
In the boat section Emilee found two boats that she really liked (she has some expensive taste).  As you can see in the pictures the two she admired were nearly $40,000.

Upon finishing up our tour of the Bass Pro Shop we headed back home; of course, we had to make a pit stop by Quick Trip and get a frappe along the way.  I may not have been in the woods, but I did have a wonderful time spending the evening with my daughter.  I wouldn't have missed this opportunity for the world!

Next time your hunting plans get foiled by mother nature try spending some quality time with your children.  The memories from these experiences will not be forgotten.

- Any day in the outdoors (or an outdoor store) is a good day

Staying Safe In The Stand

As a hunter the thrill of being in the outdoors in pursuit of a big game animal is one of the things we live for.  We seldom take the time to think about what might happen if we fall from our tree stand, but our safety while in the stand should be our top priority.

Throughout the years many hunters have been seriously injured and some have even died as a result of falling from their perch in a tree.

There are some easy ways to ensure that you stay safe while hunting from a tree stand.
Some of these include:

  • Always wear your body harness.  Be sure that you are attached to the tree from the moment you begin your ascent until the time you have both feet planted safely back on the ground.
  • Never sleep in your tree stand.
  • Always carry your cellphone with you in case something should go wrong.  (A smart phone with a signal can help you to stay awake by occupying your time until you hear that monster buck.)
  • Carry an  with you in order to get the attention of other people in the area should the need arise.
  • Always make sure that your tree stand has been assembled correctly and that it is fastened securely in the tree.
  • Always maintain a three point stance.  (Make sure that you have two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in a secure position with each move you make.)
  • Learn how to properly re-enter your stand if you do happen to fall out while wearing your harness.  (Should you find yourself in the unfortunate position of hanging from a tree in your body harness, you must act quickly to make your way back into the stand.  Hanging in a harness can have serious consequences as the longer you remain there, the more likely it is that blood pooling will occur.)
  • If you are using a stationary tree stand, be sure you learn how to properly install it.
  • If you are using a climbing stand, be sure you learn how to operate it correctly and safely.
  • Always make sure that at least one person knows where you will be hunting and what time you expect to return from your hunt.  (It is a good idea to have that person give you a call if they haven't heard from you by the time you are expected to return just to make sure everything is ok.)
  • Make sure to check your tree stand and body harness for any damage before each use.

Most (if not all) tree stand manufacturers include a body harness in the package with their stands.  If your stand doesn't include a harness or if yours needs replaced, you can purchase one

Tree stand safety is no accident!

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

The Advantages Of Stationary Tree Stands On Private Land

If you are a hunter with the advantage of hunting on private land there are some good reasons to use stationary tree stands.

Some of these reasons include:
  • Multiple stands can be used to ensure there is a stand in the right spot for any weather conditions
  • There is no need to make a bunch of noise climbing to and descending from your position in a tree to take advantage of changing weather conditions
  • A path can be cleared to each stand ensuring a quiet entry and exit
  • Stands can be set up in precise locations ensuring that your intended target can be seen as it enters your hunting area
  • Multiple stands can be set up in different places over the same area to ensure you can see the deer when the sun is at varying positions in the sky
Before setting your stands, be sure to do your homework and take into consideration where the deer will enter and exit your hunting areas as well as where they stage and bed down (you don't want to spook them while getting into or out of your stands).  You should also consider the normal direction of wind flow in each area a stand is set in order to stay on the downwind side of the animals you are hunting.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

The Advantages Of Climbing Tree Stands On Public Hunting Lands

Any links to merchants in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on a link and purchase a product mentioned in this post I may earn a commission.  This will not add to the price you pay for that product.

As a hunter who spends most of my time on public hunting lands I have found that a climbing tree stand offers many advantages over stationary stands in this type of environment.

Summit Viper Climbing Tree Stand, Climbing Tree Stand
Climbing tree stands are convenient when
hunting on public lands.

  • A climbing stand allows you to quickly and quietly change your position in the woods when the weather patterns change.
  • These stands allow you to move to another location if your space is suddenly invaded by other less than caring hunters.
  • There is no need to worry about your stand being sat in while your are away.
  • A climbing stand will not end up being stolen from a tree as you will take it with you each time you leave your hunting area.
  • Climbing stands enable you to hunt in many different locations throughout the season which allows you to change your strategy as the deer patterns shift from early season, to the rut and on into late season.
  • A climbing stand can be positioned in the right tree at whatever height is necessary and moved up or down accordingly with very little effort.
Although the price can seem a little steep, a climber is the way to go when hunting public lands.  I use the Summit Viper SD Climbing Treestand which can be seen in the picture above.  This climber offers many high quality features that make it my go to stand.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Weather & Work Delays

As much as I would like to be out there fishing and/or hunting right now I have been experiencing both weather and work delays.  Working long days in combination with more nasty weather has really put a damper on what was turning out to be a great year so far.  Oh well, I guess this too shall pass.  When these things happen you just have to catch yourself before you become too disappointed by the circumstances and regain control of your mindset.  This situation can't possibly last forever, and believe me when it finally lets up I will be right back at it.  Up to this point it has been a really great year for filling the freezer.

Fireworks Pictures, Fireworks, Fireworks Display
The Family Fireworks Display

We did have a fish fry with the family on the 4th of July shooting clays and blowing off fireworks.  I must say I was a bit surprised with myself having shot about 100 shells through my Mossberg 500 12 gauge without experiencing any soreness whatsoever. My wife on the other hand did bruise her arm where it meets with her shoulder and asked me "you think I held my gun in the wrong spot a couple of times?"  She then laughed the matter off and said "guess I learned my lesson.  Keep the butt of the gun in the pocket where it belongs."

Shooting Clays, Target Practice, Shooting Shotguns
Shooting Clays With The Family

Over all we had a really good time visiting with family and friends although mom and dad weren't able to be there this year as mom wasn't feeling well.  I'm pretty sure she has been pushing herself too hard since the cancer surgery.  She just doesn't know how to take it easy when she needs to.  I guess some people may never learn that lesson.

I hope you all had a fun, safe and exciting Independence day too.  Until next time, remember......

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Who Is The Average Midwest Outdoorsman

I guess it is about time I let you know a little about myself.  

I am a freedom loving, gun toting, family man who is proud to be an American!  I guess I'm probably one of those people who is referred to as a bitter clinger and I'm sure there are many more average outdoorsmen just like myself out there.  Although the name callers and those who want to take our rights away may think they know what is best for themselves, they couldn't begin to know what is best for myself, my family and my friends.  Ok....Ok.....Enough with the political talk.

I was born to a loving family with a father who was a Sargent First Class in the Army as well as being a preacher.  His wife - my mother was a stay-at-home mom, I grew up in small town U.S.A.  The atmosphere around these small towns definitely played a huge roll in developing my love for the outdoors.  I was taught from an early age that family is extremely important. I was also taught that hard work and dedication are the two qualities that will enable a person to succeed in any area of their life.  

As a grown man with a family of my own, I do my best to instill these same values in my children.  I have also found out that raising children really doesn't come with an instruction manual.  As you have probably noticed, many of my posts include pictures of my family members and close friends.  This is because I want them to be as much a part of this endeavor as myself.  I love hunting and fishing with my family and friends. To me there is nothing better than sharing the good times and the memories  that each of those outings provide with the people I am closest to.

I love to share my knowledge about the outdoors (what little I have) with anyone who is willing to listen.  I hope that as I continue learning through my outdoor adventures I will be able to pass along some useful information to those who read this blog.

Always remember:
- Any day in the outdoors is a good day! 

Beaver Dam State Park Illinois

The Beaver Dam State Park is located seven miles to the south and west of Carlinville in Macoupin County in west-central Illinois and offers an abundance of recreational activities.  Named for the beaver dam that actually created the parks lake, The Beaver Dam State Park encompasses 750 acres and offers camping, fishing, hiking and numerous other exciting activities.

There is an archery range located inside the campground allowing individuals to brush up on their hunting skills while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.  This archery range does not allow the use of broad heads so be sure to bring your field tips.

The Beaver Dam State Park offers both camper and tent camping sites.  Most of the campsites offered here are first come first served, however there are 40 pads which may be reserved by visiting the Reserve America website.

The Beaver Dam State park offers fishing in its 59 acre lake.  With 1.7 miles of shoreline, a free public boat launch and dock there is plenty of space for visitors to sprawl out and catch some fish.    This lake has been stocked with largemouth bass, channel catfish, sunfish and blue gill.  Boats powered by gasoline motors are not permitted; however, you may use a trolling motor.  This would be an excellent place to do some kayaking for fish!

There are nearly eight miles of hiking trails circling the lake and sprawling throughout the vast wooded areas within the park.  Be sure to avoid dehydration while hiking with your Sawyer water treatment bottle.

The Beaver Dam State Park offers spring turkey, squirrel and archery deer hunting as well as furbearer trapping during the allotted seasons.  For more information on the west-central hunting and trapping seasons check out the Illinois DNR website. 

Winter Activities:
Weather permitting, the Beaver Dam State Park offers the opportunity for ice fishing, ice skating cross country skiing and sledding.

Whatever you preferred outdoor activity, you are sure to find the Beaver Dam State Park suitable for your next adventure.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Truman State Park Missouri.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Missouri Opens Archery Season To Crossbow Hunters

Ask a hunter what they think about states allowing crossbows as a legal method for taking deer  during archery season, and you will get a vast array of responses.  Many of them will express a concern that it will result in deer numbers taking a sharp decline. Many of us would prefer that only those who are disabled be able to use a crossbow. Allowing any and all hunters to enter the woods with a crossbow seems to be a surefire way to put those of us with compound an recurve bows at a disadvantage.  Crossbow hunting takes the challenge out of archery hunting, and from my research the states that do allow this method for deer hunting typically end up paying for it in the long run.

Although there has been a growing number of outdoorsmen in the state who are interested in it, Missouri has held off on allowing the use of crossbows in the pursuit of deer for quite some time.    Over the last few years Missouri has hinted at the possibility of opening up this option.  After holding several open houses in 2015 as well as taking comments from hunters online, they have decided to allow their archery hunters to begin using crossbows during the archery season starting in 2016. 

I can only hope that this decision by the Missouri Department of Conservation doesn't come back to haunt us all.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Bear Hunting Opportunities In The Midwest

Bear, Black Bear, Bear Hunting
Photo Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

The midwest offers some of the best hunting in America.  From small game to large game there's something here for everyone no matter what their skill level is.  One of the exciting species available to hunt in some of the midwest states is the  black bear.  

The black bear can range in color from black to brown and have a sense of smell that is better than that of a dog.  This would explain why they are sometimes caught rummaging through garbage cans that aren't secured well.  The female black bear weighs around 150 to 200 pounds, and the males can weigh in at up to 500 pounds.  Black bears typically inhabit wooded areas, but will venture into open places when searching for food.  Although bears are a large animal, they generally avoid human contact; however, a bear may attack if it feels threatened.

There are three states in the midwest which presently allow black bear hunting.  Those states are Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Missouri plans to begin allowing bear hunting at some point in the future.   

Anyone including nonresidents may apply for the drawing; however, no more than 2 percent of licenses in any hunt period will be issued to nonresidents.

Bear hunting in the state of Minnesota is open to both residents and non-residents.  The state is divided into several areas with and without quotas.  As I understand the information, the non-quota areas do not require a lottery entry in order to obtain a permit; however, most of the land in the no quota area is private property so it is important to make sure you have a place to hunt before purchasing a permit for this area.

The lottery for bear hunting is open to residents and non-residents alike.  Wisconsin uses a preference points system which ensures that the sportsmen who get the opportunity to bear hunt are not the same people year after year.  Preference points add up over time but are reset to zero if you do not either purchase a preference point or apply for the lottery at least once every three years.

Missouri has stated that they intend to open a bear hunting season at some point in the future.  The state is currently working to boost the population to numbers that will support this activity.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Get In Shape Now For Easier Hunting This Fall

Any links to merchants in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on a link and purchase a product mentioned in this post I may earn a commission.  This will not add to the price you pay for that product.

How many times have you been out in the field wondering how in the world you will be able to hunt all day?  You can improve your hunting experiences by simply starting a workout routine now.  

If you don't feel that you are able to take on a full blown exercise routine, start out small and build yourself up to a more strenuous workout.  You can start by walking half a mile to a mile per day for a week or two and then move up to two miles per day for a couple of weeks.  If walking isn't your style, bicycling is an excellent way to improve your stamina.  You can build up your bicycling program over time as you become more accustomed to the workout.  Be sure to take water with you while exercising to prevent dehydration.  The Sawyer water filtration bottle is an excellent choice that will enable you to always have fresh water no matter where you go.  Check out the Sawyer Water Treatment Bottle Review for more information about this essential item.

After you have a couple of weeks of exercise under your belt, build your routine up a bit. Start taking longer walks and make sure to include some good sized inclines during your outings.  Once you get comfortable with this raise the bar a little more and add some jogging into your walks.  If you choose bicycling, be sure to add in some time when you pick up the pace.  As time goes on, continue building up your workouts.  

Give it a couple more weeks and begin carrying your hunting pack with you on your exercise adventures.  Place a few items in your backpack and continue your daily exercise routine.  As each new week arrives, add more weight to your pack until you are toting as much or more weight than you will be hauling with you into the woods.  Be sure to continue working on climbing and descending those inclines.  You may even want to begin adding some inclines that are quite a bit steeper.  If the area where you exercise allows it, you may want to begin carrying your bow or gun with you on your outings as well.

You can also begin eating a bit less at each of your meals.  This will help you lose a little weight which will also improve your ability to remain in the woods for longer hunts and improve your odds for a successful outing.

As with any exercise regimen it is important to start out slowly and build yourself up to peak performance in order to avoid any injuries.  It is important to build yourself up slowly because an injury will only hinder your progression.  Keep up the workouts throughout the spring and summer months and you will be more prepared than most to hit the woods this fall.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

It's Almost Time For Squirrel Hunting As Midwest Squirrel Seasons Begin Opening

Throughout the midwest squirrel season is fast approaching.  Outlined below are the squirrel season dates that have been provided by each state.  There are some states that haven't updated their sites; however, each is listed with the information available at this time.


The only information listed for Illinois is the dates for last year.  They were as follows:

Aug. 1, 2015 - Feb. 15, 2016 (Statewide) Closed Nov. 20 - 22 and Dec. 3 - 6 in counties open for firearm deer hunting

Continue checking back with the Illinois DNR for more information.


Squirrel (Fox & Gray) Sept. 3-Jan. 31, 2017

I was unable to find the daily and possession limits for Iowa.  To find the limits for the 2016 Iowa squirrel hunting season check with the Iowa DNR.


Kansas is another state that is slow to update their regulations online.
Last years season and limits were as follows:

Date: 06/01/2015 - 02/28/2016
Location: Statewide

  • Area Open: Statewide
  • Daily bag limit: 5
  • Possession limit: 20
Check with the KDWPT for updated information.


Sept 15 - Mar 1

Bag Limit: 5 (daily), 10 (possession)

This is all of the information provided by Michigan.  Please check with the Michigan DNR for more information and to be sure this is correct for 2016.


Minnesota is another state in the midwest that is slow to update their site with new regulations.
At this time they do not have the new 2016 squirrel season regulations posted.

Check with the Minnesota DNR for updates.


Missouri does an excellent job keeping their site up to date with all of their hunting regulations, seasons and limits.  The squirrel season and limits in Missouri are as follows:

May 28, 2016 - Feb. 15, 2017

Daily limit:  10
Possession limit:  20


Although Nebraska has their squirrel season dates posted, they do not list the daily or possession limits.  The Nebraska squirrel season dates are as follows:

Aug. 1, 2016 – Jan. 31, 2017

Check with the Nebraska Game & Parks for more information.

North Dakota:

The only information provided on North Dakota's Game & Fish site is as follows:

Opens:  September 10th

Please check the above link for more information.


The season and limits for Ohio's 2016 squirrel season are not listed on their site.
Last years season was from September , 2015 to January 31, 2016 with a limit of 6.

Please check with the Ohio DNR for updates.

South Dakota:

The squirrel season dates listed on the South Dakota DNR site are for 2015.
The daily limit was 5 with a possession limit of 15.  This is subject to change.
Continue to check back with them at the link provided above for updates.


Wisconsin squirrel season is from September 17, 2016 to January 31, 2017.
The daily and possession limits were not found on their site.
Check with the Wisconsin DNR for updates.

As I searched out the information for the squirrel season dates in the midwest states, I was highly disappointed to find out that many of them are slow to update their information.  Of all the midwest states, Missouri has the most liberal squirrel hunting season dates and limits.  Missouri also seems to do the best job of keeping their information up to date.  

I hope the information I have been able to provide has helped as many people as possible.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

The Benefits Of Hunting

Hunting....Just mentioning the word is enough to set off an emotional rage for what seems to be more and more people all the time.  These people are unwilling to even consider that hunting may actually be beneficial in some ways.  They only think of poor, innocent animals being slaughtered for what seems to them to be no good reason.  These same people who will turn around and eat a juicy steak or some smoked ribs without thinking twice might be surprised to find out that hunters play a major role in all aspects of the conservation of the very animals they hunt.   

Hunters and have an environmental impact that reaches far beyond the simple killing of the animals which they pursue.  Without hunting wildlife populations would quickly become out of control resulting in disease and the deaths of many animals.  Much of the money from permits which hunters are required to purchase in order to participate in the sport is used in conservation efforts such as studying and controlling diseases in our wildlife populations.

Aside from the positive environmental aspects provided by hunting, there is also an immensely positive economic impact as well.  Every year hunters provide a huge boost to the economy through purchasing their guns, decoys, calls, clothing and other gear as well as spending money on gas, food, lodging, travel and other related expenses.  These purchases made throughout the U.S. are responsible for keeping a multitude of Americans employed.  There is also an immense tax benefit for both the state and federal government.  

Another less known benefit that hunters provide is that of helping to feed needy families.  Many states have programs which allow the meat from legally taken game animals to be donated for the purpose of helping those are in need of food.

The next time someone wants to get in your face about how terrible hunters are, I hope you will gently remind them that there is a good chance the money spent by hunters is the same money that in one way or another supports their livelihood.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

The Disadvantages of Stationary Stands on Public Hunting Lands

Spending most of my time hunting on public land I have found that there are ample opportunities for problems to arise if you choose to hunt from a stationary tree stand.  There is almost no aggravation like that of heading to the woods to find a stranger sitting in the tree stand you worked so hard to fasten to a tree in that perfect location in the woods (except maybe showing up to find the tree stand missing completely).

When hunting on public land you have to set your stand in a position suitable for the most common wind patterns for the area.  However, if the weather decides to go awry this may mean the best option you have is to skip hunting for a few days until it settles back into its normal patterns again.

A stationary stand will leave you helpless when your hunting area is invaded by other hunters who couldn't care less if you get your deer or not.

When a stand is left in the woods, it is sure to attract other hunters who may use it and overpressure the area you are planning to hunt while you're not around.

The reason for placing a stand as early as possible and leaving it up as long as possible is so that the wildlife will adapt to its presence in their home.  If the need arises to move your stand, the commotion involved in taking it down and placing it in another tree is sure to get the attention of the animals in that area making it necessary to stay out of there for a while in order to allow nature enough time to settle down.

Even with these issues many hunters will choose a stationary stand.  If you choose to go this route remember to do a lot of scouting well off the beaten path in order to find that perfect spot and lessen the likelihood that other hunters will interfere with your hunting experience.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Pigeon Hunting Basics

The rock dove aka pigeon is considered a pest in most places throughout the United States.  Because of this pigeons offer year round opportunities for honing in your shooting skills.  There are no limits on the number of birds you can take anywhere as far as I know and to top it off the meat from a pigeon tastes very similar to that of a dove.  Who could ask for more?

pigeon, rock dove
Pigeon photo courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

Pigeons look similar to doves; however, they are bigger bodied than their closely related cousins.  Like the dove, pigeons will come to decoy setups.  Pigeons can be shot with a shotgun, but a medium to high-powered bb or pellet rifle will easily do the job.  When shooting them with a pellet rifle, try using wad cutters or hollow point pellets that will flatten out on impact causing greater shock than a pass through shot.  Because there are no limits the pigeon is an excellent choice for a low cost, good tasting freezer filler (just make sure it is cooked thoroughly).  As with the dove, the breast meat is what you eat so try to shoot them in a manner that will not harm this area of their body.

Pigeon in grass, rock dove
Photo Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

The waste from pigeons is known to carry many different diseases which is one of the main reasons these birds are considered pests.  Pigeons hang around in suburban areas as well as around farms where grain is stored.

Pigeon on rock, Rock dove
Photo Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

Before shooting them, make sure you check your local laws regarding shooting pigeons as it may be illegal to discharge even a bb or pellet gun if you live within the city limits (many small towns are more lenient about this).

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Elk Hunting Opportunities In The Midwest

Elk are one of the largest of the species in the deer family and are found in many of the midwest states.  Although it is possible to hunt elk in the midwest, the opportunities are very limited with most of the states only granting permits to their residents.  The states in the midwest offering the opportunity to harvest an elk are Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.


The state of Kansas allows elk hunting for their military members and residents only offering only about 20 permits per year.  For more on Kansas elk hunting opportunities check out their Wildlife, Parks & Tourism website.


Michigan elk hunting opportunities are open to residents of Michigan and students attending a Michigan college or university who reside in the state during the school year.  For more information about elk hunting in Michigan check out the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.


Although Minnesota does hold a lottery for elk hunting, the permits issued are extremely minimal at this time and only for residents of the state.  To find out more about Minnesota elk hunting opportunities check out the Minnesota DNR website.


Nebraska is also a resident only elk hunting state; however, nonresidents who own land within the elk management area do qualify to apply for an elk hunting permit.  For more information pertaining to Nebraska elk hunting check out the Nebraska Game & Parks Website.

North Dakota:

North Dakota is open to both residents and nonresidents allowing either to apply for their elk hunting raffle.  For more information on elk hunting in North Dakota check with the North Dakota Game & Fish Department.

South Dakota:

In South Dakota elk hunting licenses are awarded via a drawing which is open to residents only.  To find out more about the elk hunting opportunity in South Dakota check with the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Squirrel Calls & How They Work

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Have you ever wondered about using a squirrel call but didn't know where to start?  Using a squirrel call can go a long way towards putting more meat in the freezer.  Barking, cutting and squealers are the three types of squirrel calls that really get their attention.  Each of these calls serves a different purpose.

As the name implies, using a barking call allows the hunter to imitate the bark of a squirrel.  A mild sounding drawn out barking sound typically represents a squirrel that is happy with its current situation while a more loud and aggressive bark tends to correspond to a signal warning other squirrels  that danger is looming.  This call will also come in handy to make the sound of a squirrel's chatter letting them know that the coast is clear and others should feel free to come out of hiding.
Knight & Hale 4-in-1 Squirrel Call
Knight & Hale 4-in-1 Squirrel Call

Squirrels are noisy eaters and by using a cutting call the sound of a feasting squirrel can be reproduced.  In a pinch, rubbing the edges of two quarters together will suffice.  The sound heard while they are eating is actually that of the squirrel "cutting" or breaking through the nutshell with their teeth.

Squealers are used to replicate the sound of a young squirrel that is in danger.  Using this call in combination with shaking a nearby branch full of leaves will allow the hunter to mimic the commotion of a youngster being attacked by a hawk.  This action can cause squirrels in the area to go into panic mode and start barking making it easier to locate them.

The Knight & Hale 4-in-1 Squirrel Call is an excellent call that enables you to mimic the bark of the grey squirrel, the bark of the fox squirrel, the grey squirrel's alarm/chatter and the panicked squeal of a young squirrel.

To become proficient at using a squirrel call pay attention to the different sounds they make while you're enjoying the outdoors.  Watch what they are doing while making the different sounds and practice with your call until it resembles the sounds you hear.  Be sure to adjust your calling volume to fit the circumstances.  Use a bit more volume on soggy and windier days and use less volume while hunting in more calm environments.  After calling try producing the sound of a content squirrel to convince the other squirrels that everything is ok.  As with calling any game animal be sure to find a balance as calling too much can do more harm than good.  Pick a spot and have a seat for about half an hour.  If there is no activity in that location, try moving fifty yards or so and give it another go. 

If you like this post, you may enjoy Squirrel Hunting Tips & Tricks.

-Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Hunting Gear - Is All This New Stuff Necessary

While watching hunting shows you are sure to see new products hitting the market seemingly on a daily basis.  There's the new scopes that will take pictures of your view, and the new rifle that's almost guaranteed to make you a better hunter, the new flashlight that makes it impossible to miss that evasive blood trail and all the other magical items you just have to have to be least according to the commercials.  Don't get me wrong, there is nothing bad about having any of this stuff and some of it really can give you an advantage.  However, if buying that new doomahicky isn't in the budget, don't let it keep you out of the field.  All the hype can make you wonder how anyone ever survived before there were grocery stores.  Our ancestors definitely weren't hunting with all these newfangled "necessities."

In truth, a successful hunt depends more on your preparation than any gadget or gizmo you can buy at the sporting goods store or from those infomercials.  Sure those new items are cool and fun to have around, but they really aren't necessary for success.  If you have a rifle or a bow that you are comfortable with shooting and some basic camouflage you can be successful as long as you do your homework and set up in the right place.  Smart hunting is the true key to success.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Attracting Whitetail Deer To Your Property

Every whitetail hunter dreams of the ability to enter a deer paradise upon stepping out their back door.  Giving the deer the right foods will go a long way towards making this dream a reality.  You should consider planting a feeding area with multiple food options that will mature throughout the year giving the animals on your property a seemingly endless buffet to feast on.

What foods do deer prefer you might ask.  The following will give you a pretty good starting point for some of the preferred foods for whitetails.  Planting a variety of these will give the deer in your area an excellent reason to repeatedly visit your property.

Crab apples and sweet apple varieties are a well known food source.  Plant some apple trees to provide a favorite food for deer.  They will eat both the buds and the fruit.  The older the trees are when you plant them, the less time it will take for them to produce apples.  Apple trees typically take around five to seven years to begin fruiting.

White and red oaks will both attract deer although deer tend to prefer the acorns from white oaks over those from the red oak trees as they are less bitter.

Dry bean plants (kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, etc...) are another food source for whitetails.

Soybeans, corn and alfalfa fields are great sources of food for deer especially when they are near a stand of trees that offers them a place to disappear should any predators happen to encroach on their space.

Peas and vetch (a plant closely related to the pea)  are a food source that deer will find hard to resist.

White and red clover are both excellent choices to offer to the whitetail deer that eat on your land.

Birdsfoot trefoil is a great choice for those properties that have low pH even when the soil doesn't drain well.

Planting chicory will provide forage for deer to eat during the spring and summer months.

Brassica is part of the mustard family but the deer enjoy eating it especially later in the year.

Peanuts are another option for whitetails.

Deer will feed on oats where they are available when the foods they prefer more aren't readily available.

When none of the other food options are available deer can often be seen eating browse (twigs from hardwood and softwood trees)
Don't underestimate the importance of mineral for use as an attractant.  You can mix your own with mineral and salt purchased from your local farm supply store.

Keeping deer around:

Make sure that you don't hunt over their food plot.  Make their food plot in a "safe" area where you will allow no-one to go or hunt.  This makes the deer feel like they have a secure area to hang out on your property which can come in handy when  hunting pressure ramps up and the bullets start to fly.  It is typically best to center their feeding area on your land as this will allow you to observer where the deer are entering and exiting the property, and enable you to set your stands in the right places for hunting effectively.  Set up multiple stands in order to be prepared for varying wind conditions always keeping yourself positioned downwind from the deer.  If you have enough land you may consider setting up a "safe" area for bedding as well.

Note:  Use game cameras in order to see the deer that are entering your property enables you to choose the best animal to pursue.  This will also allow you to find out the time of day they are entering and exiting your property making it easier to plan your hunts.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day