Archive for November, 2007

Nebraska Deer Hunting 2007

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Two weeks ago I  found myself  out in the thriving metropolis of Western, Nebraska (population 200) for an early November white-tailed deer hunt. I was going to be hunting with a few of my good friends John R., Jay R., and Myron on John and Jay’s family farm. This was the forth time that I had been hunting out here and in the past I had always had a good time and a good hunt.  A number of years back, with the help of some of friends, John built a cabin smack dad center of their property. When I say cabin, I don’t really mean a huge lodge, but more of a supped up Tough-Shed. It isn’t very fancy, but it is comfortable, roomy, and most important, it keeps the weather off of you. Myron and I arrived late Friday night and basically had just enough time to greet everyone then it was off to bed. First light was going to come early and we sure didn’t want to miss opening morning.
I woke up at 5:30 the next morning and got dressed, got the coffee going, and rousted everyone else up out of bed. We discussed the mornings hunt and headed off in our different directions. I had been to the property a couple of weeks before on my way back from my pheasant hunt in South Dakota and had placed a little pop-up blind along a fence line overlooking a bedding area.

On the way to the blind, I bumped a couple of does that were feeding out in the cut corn field that I would be overlooking as well. Around legal shooting light I noticed some movement down the fence line from me and it happened to be a little fork horned buck. Like antelope hunting, I really get a kick out of white-tail hunting out here. You are able to see a lot of animals and how they react with little to no pressure. It was going to be a short hunt for me so, I really couldn’t be too picky, but I passed on the little buck. I watched him for a while and then about ten minutes later some more deer came out feeding in front of me. I spotted them through the trees and noticed that one of them had a pretty good body on him. When he popped out I noticed that he was a seven point. He looked to be a pretty mature deer, so I decided to take him. I brought my 25-06 up and placed the crosshairs on him and got settled on his chest area and squeezed off the shot. At the shot I heard the distinctive “Q-whack” of the bullet hitting its target. The deer spun around and headed back for the trees. About 10 feet into the trees I found him crumpled up underneath a Bodark tree. With a short drag, I had him up to the road and in the next hour I had him back at camp dressed out and hanging in a tree.

By that time Jay, who has become our official camp cook, had a great breakfast whipped up for us. After a hot meal and a few cups of coffee the fellas took off to try and fill their tags. About 45 minutes later we heard a shot back at camp. A few minutes later Scotty had come back with news of success. I went back with him and helped him drag his deer back to the cabin. It was a difficult drag, almost 50 yards and it was downhill to boot!
After the mornings hunt, we all set about doing some serious work! Earlier in the year a large dead cottonwood limb had fallen through the most important building on the property, the out-house! We had found out about it before we had headed out to Nebraska and had built a new one. A true palace all the way down to the moon in the door. Now if you happened to be driving East on I-80 around the 9th of November, you are not crazy -that really was an outhouse on a trailer! Anyway, after a hole was dug and a little muscling around, we had it in place.

The next morning we woke up to a bit of fog. We still had 2 tags that needed to be filled and those guys headed out to were they were going to hunt for the morning. About an hour and a half later Jay came strolling back into camp with a big grin on his face. He had connected on a nice 10 point. We jumped in the truck and went to collect the deer. After a few pictures.

We loaded the animal up and took him back to camp. Myron was already back in camp with no luck. So being as how we needed to get back we packed up our stuff and got ready to get on the road. With a last minute photo of the hunters and the cabin we headed out.

Once again I would like to thank our great hosts Johnny and Jay. Can’t wait until next year!

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone this
year. My family and I will be heading down to the Big D to eat some
bird with the rest of my relatives. Hopefully you and yours will be
able to do the same! Have a great holiday and I will be talking to
you when we get back. Go Cowboys! Also, for all of the service folks
out there, Thank you for all of your hard work. Without you none of
this would be possible. Drive on and stay positive! Airborne All The

Building a Koi Pond

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

Believe it or not, I really do have a real job that doesn’t have anything to do with hunting. So in between hunting trips, I really do have to work. This past weekend a co-worker of mine was asking for volunteers to help him put in his new Koi pond at the new house that he just had built. Unfortunately I didn’t have a trip planned so being the good co-worker that I am, I volunteered. Now living here in Colorado, when I think of a pond in the back yard, I am thinking maybe an 8’x8’ or maybe even a 12’x12. So when I noticed all the people that were invited to attend on the email, I figured that we would have this thing knocked out and sipping some suds in about half an hour. Boy O’ Boy was I wrong!

When we showed up and walked into the backyard I almost fell over. The hole was dug, which was a good thing, because the pond was about 40’x50’ and 5’ deep in size!

Holy cow! It wasn’t a pond but a reservoir! I had never imagined that it would be that big.

The email had said that he needed help moving a 600 pound Koi pond. What I didn’t realize was that was just the weight of the Koi ponds rubber liner.

However, John had a good plan and quickly put everyone to work before they could turn around a run off!

In no time at all with proper supervision from the program manager (John’s wife Tammy), we had the landscape fabric down and were ready for the liner.

Fortunately for us the liner came rolled up on a roll that was about 6’ long. After a little debate we shoved a piece of  PVC through the center, picked it up and people started to pull it towards the hole.

Once unrolled it was determined that we had the short side going the wrong direction. So, with a little muscle we were able to get it orientated in the right direction and started unfolding it. At last it was in position and with a little push and pull here and there we had the liner in place.

The last that I heard was that it was about 6 inches from being full, can’t wait until next summer. It is always nice to have a new place to fish!

Pheasant Hunting 2007: Rain, Corn and Birds

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Well I wish that I could lie and say that the pheasant hunting in South Dakota was terrible this year and that everybody should just stay at home. However, that would be a huge lie! Once again the pheasants were plentiful and offered an enjoyable hunt. We arrived in Elkton, SD early in the morning and were greeted to a billboard surprise.
This is my 5th year of hunting in South Dakota and as in years past I was not disappointed. Our hunting started out slowly. The area that we hunt was hit with over 6” of rain since the first of October, making it nearly impossible for the farmers to get there crops out. When we arrived, they had just started to cut the corn, but with a bunch still standing and it only being Stormy, myself, and our dog Chase the hunting was difficult.
We were forced to walk mostly weed patches because the corn was so vast that we just couldn’t cover it ourselves, but the birds were sticking to the standing corn.
By the third day of hunting a few more of the crops were out of the fields. We headed north to Lake Norden to hook up with Stomy’s Uncle Larry and his brothers.

Here is a picture of Larry and his brother Darwin walking some CRP.
In the background you can see the combine getting after it. By the end of our fifth afternoon of hunting we could already see the progress the harvesters were making.  The grain bins at the COOP were already filled to capacity and they had already started storing the dry corn anywhere they could. Even right across the street from the diner!
Overall it was a successful hunt. The more corn comes out of the fields in the next few weeks the better the hunting will be. As advertised, South Dakota truly is the Pheasant Mecca of North America. I’ve got the birds and sore feet to prove it!

24 Years of Elk Hunting in Colorado

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Elk hunting this year turned out to be another great trip to add to my log. We headed up on Thursday like we have done for the previous 24 years. We like to get up there and get camp set up that afternoon. Then on Friday we just take it easy and try to get acclimated. Even though we live at 5600’ going up over 11000’ and doing physical activity can really take it out of a person. For me this was the first year that I hadn’t had my dad to hunt with.
This is a picture of my dad a couple of years ago up at elk camp.  I know it was tough for him to miss it this year, but I am sure that it probably kept him in my mom’s good graces! Anyway, when we got up there the weather was just absolutely gorgeous.
Friday was much the same and I just basically lazed around for most of the day getting things ready for the upcoming hunt the next morning.

Opening morning came fast, especially when you are getting up at 4 in the morning! It didn’t really matter that much because I don’t think any of us had really slept that much. I don’t think that it was from the anticipation of the hunt as much as it was my snoring. I can snore with the best of them and by the amount of red eyes that I had staring at me that morning I must have been in fine form that night. After getting dressed and eating a bowl of oatmeal and a roll, we all headed out to our jump off point. Now there are good and bad points about were we start out at. The bad point is that for the first ½ mile it is almost all uphill.  The good part is that we hunt on top, so that anything we shoot. We just have to drag it down hill. If you have ever hunted elk, this is a really, really good thing!  After climbing for the past 35 minutes I found myself headed over to Mel’s spot. I don’t know about most other hunting camps, but for us we have come up with names to describe the different areas that we hunt. Mel’s spot was named after a hunting companion of ours named Mel. We also have the Run, Frank’s bowl, Corey’s spot, Gary’s spot and so on. It just makes it easier to identify the area that way. At first light I was sitting in Mel’s spot. I literally had elk bugling all around me, but none of them wanted to show themselves. I waited for about an hour and a half and then decided to go track down the nearest bull and see if I could get a shot. I stood up and put on my pack and just as a reached down to get my rifle, in the area behind me that was covered by trees I noticed a bunch of legs standing there. To myself I said shucks (actually it was a little more explicative) and immediately began pulling my pack back off trying to set it up for a good rest. Just about the time I got set up, the first cow came out from behind the trees. Having an either sex tag I could take her, but for the animals  to escape they had to cross a big open bowl, so I decided to wait and see if a bull would come out. Cow after cow kept on coming. Just about the time I was going to pull down on the last cow, I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye going up the opposite hill side. Now I don’t normally do this but I pulled off of the cows and put the scope on the animal running straight away from me. He was a legal bull, but he wasn’t giving me a good shot. So I just waited. When he got almost to the top of the hill, he turned and stopped to bugle. I put the crosshairs on the upper back half of the shoulder and squeezed
the shot off. He never knew what hit him. He went down like a sack of bricks.
My hunt was over. At least the fun part. After gutting quartering and hauling him back to camp, I skinned him out and put him on the make shift cooling racks that we have and enjoyed the rest of the gorgeous day. The next day we woke up to sideways blowing snow, so we decided to get out while the getting was good. In all we had taken two elk, a cow and a bull. Only 50% but at least we would all have a freezers full supply of meat for the year and we had a great time.

When deer attack! Sort of.

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Safety always comes first when you are hunting.  We are
taught that from the first time that we ever pick up a weapon. However, there
are other dangers out there that a hunter may encounter that have nothing to do
with a weapon! When hunting you should always consider the what if’s:

  • What if
    you get caught in a blizzard?
  • What if you fall and hurt yourself?
  • What if you
    get lost?
  • What if your deer attacks you?

In this hunter’s story,
the question became what happens when your supposedly dead animal isn’t quite so

Remember that even if the animal hits the ground, it may not be dead.
Take a few extra minutes when you approach just to make sure that they are! The
pictures can wait.  Be careful and have a good hunting season.


Are Game Bags Necessary?

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Do you use them? Growing up we always used them. It is just what we did. This year as I was skinning my elk in camp and then placing the quarters in the bags, I started questioning the use of them. I understand that they do a great job of keeping the bugs and most debris off. However, at 11000’ in the middle of October in Colorado, there are not a whole lot of insects left. As far as keeping the meat clean – we usually keep the hide on until we are back to camp and then skin the quarters out. This protects the meat when you are dragging or hauling the meat from the field to camp. Then we wash them off and set them on some cooling racks. Usually, they are frozen the next day. On the way out, we place them on a tarp and wrap it tight. I can see using the bags in the early fall when the insects are out. But I just cannot see using them in the situation that I described to you.

What do you do? Is it necessary?