Thursday, October 24, 2013
The main point of this post is to talk a little about the October Lull. Every serious hunter has heard this term and more than likely experienced it while bow hunting in mid October. There seems to be a time in mid October that deer, especially mature bucks, seem to just up and disappear. Deer movement seems to slow way down and sightings are at a minimum. A lull is defined as a temporary interval of quiet or lack of activity. Here comes the point that I would like to get across. In reality there is no October Lull. Deer are just changing their feeding and travel patterns. Farmers are in the fields busy harvesting their corn so deer no longer have their safe bedding areas that they had in summer and early fall. The lush, green soybeans that deer devoured during the summer have lost their leaves, become dormant, and have been harvested. I have several acres planted in clover, alfalfa, and chicory and the deer hit them really hard during this time, but do let up a little for a couple of weeks. Even with these lush, green food plots, deer are still sometimes a little scarce in mid October. There is only one other food that deer prefer over everything else this time of year...acorns!! Acorns, acorns, acorns...that's where you will find your deer and especially the mature bucks. Bucks need to put weight on as quickly as possible in order to be able to survive the rigors of the rut in November. Acorns are high in fat so deer will abandon everything else and feed back in the woods on oak flats, ridges, and groves. While many hunters think the deer have moved somewhere else, in reality, they are still there, they have just changed their feeding and travel patterns. Trail cameras should let you know the bucks are still around, you just don't see them as much if you are hunting field edges or over food plots. This only happens for a few weeks while the acorns are available. Once the hard mast is consumed, it's back to the cool season food plots. As late October/early November arrives, you should see a lot more bucks in the open. Bucks are more visible during the day because they cruise the woods and field edges looking for does. This is when they become the most vulnerable because they let their guard down. Hunting the rut is a topic that we'll tackle another day.
Now that we have established that there is no October Lull, get out there and find those oak trees and hang a stand to hunt there in the future. Oaks don't produce acorns every year so you'll have to check to see what years they are dropping and then hunt there when you get the perfect wind. Remember to set your stand up on the predominant downwind side between the bedding area and the acorns. Hunt here in the middle of the day and in the afternoons. NEVER hunt a stand when the wind isn't right or more often than not you'll have some tags to eat at the end of the season. You will rarely get a chance at a mature buck if he smells you, and if he does, you probably won't see him again this year...or maybe ever. Good luck!
Sunday, January 13, 2013
I hope everyone is having a great start to the new year! We finally got our Thunder Chickens back from the taxidermist. Speaking of that, now that deer season is over, Spring Turkey Season is right around the corner. I have some rabbit and coyote hunting to do first though. Dad and I took Cammy out for the first time a few days ago and took 3 big cottontails. We had a blast! It's always great to spend time hunting with dad because we don't get the chance to do that as much anymore. It brings back a lot of memories from when I was a kid. Hopefully we get some more snow soon so we can get after them again. I am also going to dust the calls off and break out the rifles for some "yotes." Coyote hunting is one of my favorite things to do in the winter, plus its a necessity to keep the predator population in check. They are the only natural predators here in Indiana and they are way over-populated. So after you are done reading this, get out there and do some varmint hunting!! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Monday, January 7, 2013
Hunting is a popular pastime for many people. However, guns are dangerous in more ways than one and hunters are not always careful enough when it comes to certain aspects of gun safety. Hearing loss is incredibly common among sport hunters and is caused by not wearing proper hearing protection when firing a gun.
Firearms-Related Hearing Damage
Audiologists say that exposure to any noise above 140 decibels (dB) almost inevitably causes hearing damage. Noises below this threshold can also cause damage if they are repeated often enough. Most guns are well above the threshold with the average shotgun blast rating at 160 dB or more.
Hunters themselves are not the only ones who can damage their hearing during hunting season. People in the vicinity where guns are being fired can also suffer from hearing loss. Eventually these people may suffer sufficient hearing loss due to not being properly protected.
Most firearms-related hearing loss is preventable. There are a number of types of Hearing Protection Devices (HPDs) on the market including some intended specifically for hunters. These specialized HPDs filter out loud noises like gunshots to protect your hearing while allowing softer sounds such as game moving through the trees to go after.
The simplest type of HPD is the earplug. These are cheap and readily available. Most of them will do a good job at preventing hearing loss but hunters may want to choose ones specially made for hunting if they want to be able to hear softer sounds while still protecting their ears. Earmuffs are also a popular choice.
Nonlinear HPDs are the cheaper, non-electronic version and may use a filter or a valve to reduce the intensity of loud sounds while allowing softer ones through. Those with filters are preferable because valves may not close quickly enough. Electronic HPDs are specialized pieces of equipment that increase the intensity of soft sounds and then shut off when a loud sound like a gunshot is detected.
Wear Your HPDs
Only about half of hunters wear hearing protection when target shooting. This number goes down when it comes to actual hunts. Yet, even a single loud shot can cause permanent and severe hearing damage for not only the hunter but also the people around him or her. Wearing HPDs anytime you are near a gun that might be fired is the smart thing to do in order to protect your hearing.
Friday, October 5, 2012
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
The rest of the summer has been bad to say the least. This is the worst summer drought and heat that I have ever seen. All of the farmers in the area are hurting. The crops look terrible and are burning up. Not only has this summer been bad for farmers, it's also very hard on wildlife. Ponds, rivers, and creeks are drying up and it's harder for wildlife to find water. They get quite a bit of their water from vegetation, so that has been a problem as well. There are three components to a whitetail buck growing big antlers...genetics, nutrition, and age. Normally, a mature buck has no trouble getting the proper nutrition to reach its potential. This year however, most mature bucks will struggle to reach their potential because of the lack of nutrition. Food plots are struggling for most hunters and the crops are even worse. Because of this, mature buck hunters might want to pass on some of their hit-listers and hope they make it another year. My food plots are actually doing pretty well...the alfalfa is pretty thick, the clover is starting to fill in, and the chicory is doing amazing. I've never seen chicory so big. We just mowed and baled it for the first time this year and we got several round bales off of it. The weeds were starting to take over a little bit, but the mowing really helped. The deer have really been hitting it hard, you can see where they have been cutting the plants off. The prairie grass hasn't germinated yet, but that's normal because it usually takes 3 months. I am worried how it will fare with the drought though.
The heat has had a huge impact on wildlife viewing because the deer haven't been coming out until after dark. It's been a little bit of a struggle to see big bucks in the evening. Fields that I normally see "shooters" in are only producing small bucks and does. The big boys just aren't moving that much because of the lack of water and high temps. I have however, been getting some decent pictures of mature bucks on trail cams. I didn't at first, but I had some real nice pics when I checked the cams last week. I can only hope that we keep getting some rain here and there to keep the food plots going through fall. I am getting ready to plant my turnips this week and I hope that they grow well so the deer have a nice crop to eat during the winter. I still have a couple of stands to put up and cut shooting lanes for. Other than that, we are ready to roll for the fall. I said "we" because I just bought Michelle a Hoyt Kobalt, so she will be bow hunting for the first time in her life. I can't wait to get it down to Dead End Archery and get it set up for her so she can start shooting! It's going to be great to spend more time together in the great outdoors.
I really feel sorry for the people that live in cities or don't hunt because they have no idea what they are missing. I take it for granted sometimes, because I've done this my whole life, but I can't imagine not being a hunter or outdoorsman...and I can't imagine living in the city. You couldn't pay me enough to live there. It's one of the single greatest things you can do to help the environment and keep wildlife populations in check, not to mention it's just good clean fun. God put wild animals on earth for us to hunt...all of our ancestors did it at some point. Organizations like PETA try to take our God-given right to hunt away from us, yet they don't do anything to try to help keep wildlife populations under control. They don't even take care of domestic animals. Last year alone, they euthanized 98% of their dogs and cats in "no kill" shelters because they couldn't find homes for them. Uneducated groups like this are part of the problem with the world we live in. That's all I will say on this topic...for now. I think I will dedicate a post to this topic at another time...maybe during season. That's the beauty of having my own blog...I can say whatever the hell I want!! lol I hope everyone's food plots are doing decent and that you have all of your stands put up. Keep shooting your bows and pray for rain!!