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Published by Frank Biggs on 23 Feb 2015

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Timber Companies Charging Access

This article is a two part article that has to do with

Public Land Access and Private Timber Land Access

Changing times are upon us!

The following article are my thoughts and opinions on the subject public and private timber land use!
The new 21st Century Sign

The new 21st Century Sign

Like the wind, the environment of hunting changes without notice.  Over the many years of hunting and being able to hunt openly on State, Federal, B.L.M. and Timber company’s properties, plus horse trading to hunt private, it was pretty easy to find a place to hunt without hassle in Oregon.

Not too many years ago I or We were able to hunt a great parcel of BLM in central Oregon near Madras, Oregon.  Since the land was rugged we would use quads to get from point A to B, glass and then hunt the game down.   Prior to quads from the days of hunting the great Snake River for Rocky Mountain Elk, horses were the key to non-motorized entry for our team.

A number of years ago the neighboring landowners were able to get the rules changed with BLM; no quads or other motorized allowed.  Strange that there are many old ranch roads and BLM roads on the land, now closed to the public, yet the adjacent land owner can use quads…  Just as strange motorized is allow on another parcel BLM land very close by.  The BLM is connected actually by a county line to the south.   I will tell you it was not a rancher or farmer that lobbied to get it closed!

Wanting to find new lands on the west side of the Cascades Mountains in Oregon, using my Garmin Montana GPS and the fabulous onXmaps HUNT software a new world open when scouting, finding such lands as Weyerhaeuser, Port Blakely, Longview Fiber (NOW OWNED BY WEYERHAEUSER), BLM, State Lands, plus small parcels of National Forest.  Mainly interested in Blacktail Deer though Roosevelt Elk can be found on the same land, scouting during May, June and July before the Oregon Archery season, it was great to find many great Blacktail bucks.

As you can see there is BLM and Longview Fiber (owned by Weyerhaeuser now), one might not be able to hunt the BLM any longer.

As you can see there is BLM and Longview Fiber (owned by Weyerhaeuser now), one might not be able to hunt the BLM any longer.

With regular maps you would never know the private timber conglomerates, yet alone small parcels of state owned or National Forest lands without using the onXmaps HUNT software.  In many western states there are mining claim that the public can pass through, but there are many small land parcels (50 – 200 acres) of mines on BLM and National Forest that you’ll never see on a paper map. Miners don’t take to kindly to trespassing and they might not call the law to Enforce a trespassing law…

Port Blakely allows some free hunting, but one better know the phone number and check prior to the dates wanting to access the land.  I am going to give a Hoorah to PLUM CREEK, as they allow the public to use their land with NO CHARGES.
This is where it stops; recently I made a call to an old hunting buddy about his elk hunt during the archery season in Oregon.  I was informed he received a $350.00 fine for trespassing on Weyerhaeuser property during the season.  What!  An area he has hunted for more than 30+ years for elk and deer.
For years the Weyerhaeuser properties have been open to public access. Well things change and now you have to have a permit to hunt.  A number of ways to do it, open permits or bid on the total access to parcels.
Stop and think about it for a second, most likely these giant timber companies get tax breaks and I can tell you some it about public access.  In the N.W. Weyerhaeuser owns 6,000.000+ acres, the size of Rhode Island in the United States and controlling 12,000,000 acres in Canada on long term leases.
There is now great controversy about Weyerhaeuser charging for access to their lands.
If you go back far enough you’ll find some of the tainted realities of land grab, via the railroads, government and the buying and giving of our timberlands.”  I remember the term cut and pay as you go.”  Think about making revenue without paying first, well in the timber business it has been done.

For years I have vented my thoughts and anger about BLM and other public land trades, in which there might be blocks of separated lands. What I have seen and many others that fight for our public lands are normally bad changes, with the public getting short end of the stick.

There should be an easy fix on this one.

There should be an easy fix on this one.

There is one large section of BLM in Oregon in which some our most liberal politicians want to swap great elk and deer hunting land with a group.  In the rules of engagement of this particular land swap the two private land owners want to control the road, closing it off during the winter months. They want the county road to be vacated. The swap itself isn’t too bad, but the old wagon road from the 1800’s needs to be the dividing line with open access to the public. No one private individual should have the rights to stop the public from going into public land on a trade such as this.

We find that the National Forest wants to close thousands of miles of roads in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest; the battle goes on with this subject!

So where is all of this leading, well it is leading into a fight for survival of hunting and public access to public land.  In the meantime it is very important for land users, whether fishing, hiking, hunting or evening just driving around to know the lay of the un-marked lands.  No matter who you are you need a Garmin GPS (colored-microchip capabilities-modern) and the onXmaps HUNT software loaded on the GPS and my personal recommendation on your laptop and your mobile device.  I have said since mapping GPS’s came out it is better to know where you are going then to know where you have been.  I love to search via onXmaps HUNT (APP) Google Earth and see new spots, thus adding them to my GPS for the next outing to investigate.

In Conclusion:  There are some private timber companies in the west and mountain states that allow the public to use their property for recreation.  It is important for everyone to know where they are and not take for granted they have access.  Use equipment that will keep you legal, safe and open new avenues in your outdoor ventures. Make your voice go forward about what is right!  Please remember that it is illegal to try and jump from corner to corner on public land that is encompassed with private…

I personally do not leave home without my Garmin Montana and my onXmaps HUNT updated for travels in Oregon!

Bwana Bubba

 

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Published by Frank Biggs on 12 Jan 2015

Carter Reservoir Wild Horses Face Starvation – Part 2

First response from William Simpson to the Modoc Record Article:

Another picture from Laura Simpson and her wild herd of horses that free range on the their property.

Another picture from Laura Simpson and her wild herd of horses that free range on the their property.

First let me say that I always enjoy a good debate, so thanks for the reply.

In your response, you have digressed significantly from the ‘facts’ published by the Modoc Record, which you sent to me, and which is what we are supposedly talking about.

You originally sent me their article as the basis for what? An argument or reason that purports a pretense to support the removal all the horses from the lands that were set aside by a Congressional Act for their existence along with the local game animals?

Now that the Modoc Record article has been myth-busted, it seems you’re abandoning it, and moving-off to even shaky unsupported grounds for a further debate? That’s no fun… I can’t debate you while you’re sinking in quicksand.

Taking what the BLM has stated and which the Modoc Record has reported, as being ‘their’ (not mine) take on the situation over in Modoc County is more than adequate to prove the points I have made beyond any reasonable doubt. So why the further debate?  What’s the point? If you don’t like horses, then just say so! What might be more relevant would be telling us why you don’t like horses.

If I didn’t know better, I would say you were practicing-up to be a politician  {;-) …. talking at length without staying on point. The article is what it is and says what is says… a re-report from the BLM… we don’t need to go beyond that with a boat-load of personal speculations and debates on any unfounded, unreported possibilities..

The points I have made are in fact fully supported by the article itself. I needn’t make any assumptions or speculations in support of the points I have made. It’s really as simple as; the article is a farce, and qualifies as good propaganda and nothing more. Don’t tell me that you drank the Kool Aid and now you’re defending it?

It’s not worthy of anyone’s time to debate a whole bunch of unfounded conjectures. I am taking the BLM report and the Modoc Record article on the report at its face…. and it’s just nonsensical.

The BLMs position is just so stupid! If the 23,000 acres of land cannot support 50 horses, how in God’s name can it support 1200+ cows, plus hundreds of big-game animals??? How?? And if that’s the case, and the land that was designated for the wild horses, has trouble supporting just the horses, then why would the BLM allow 1,278 cows plus calves to also graze the same land? Take about obtuse management practices! That’s one for the book!

As the article says, the area is called: “The 23,000 acre Carter Reservoir wild horse Herd Management Area” for a reason!  Note the keywords ‘wild horse’… it’s not called the ‘23,000 acre cattle grazing area’; nor is it called the ‘the 23,000 acre tribal food zone’. This land is public land that was set aside by a Congressional Act for the ‘wild horses’.

They (the BLM and the Modoc Record) have very clearly inferred that the 23-thousand acres of land at the Carter Reservoir cannot support 50 horses (they are ‘starving’ and ‘thirsty’)!  I have to say that if 23,000 acres works for grazing 1278 cows, calves and hundreds of big-game animals, it’s a scientific impossibility that the same land cannot support and allow 50 wild horses to winter-over; or, that somehow 50 horses are the reason why this vast area of land is over-grazed. Any such assertions, based upon the facts presented by the BLM themselves through the Modoc Record, amounts to a monumental pile of dung.

There is only TWO logical assumptions that can follow which are factually supported using the BLM/Modoc Record’s own facts:

1. The BLM is allowing the land to be severely overgrazed by permit ($) grazing (follow the money and you always find where the bad smell originates) to the point where the land cannot sustain a lousy 50 head of horses!  This IS total and complete mismanagement of the lands.

2. The BLM and the Cattlemen don’t care to have any horses on the land that was specifically set aside for them (remember the title of the land IS: “The 23,000 acre Carter Reservoir wild horse Herd Management Area”)… so this is how they deal with that; invent a situation where the horses must be removed. Again, mismanagement of the lands and the Protected horses by the BLM, and this may even amount to a fraud being perpetrated against the American trust; this is public land, not private cattle-ranchers land.

There is another very important fact that is often overlooked:

There are thousands of big-game animals that also live out there at Carter area (deer, elk, antelope) who also need grazing and water and the ability to winter-over. These animals are important to the recreational hunting businesses, which arguably provide a very significant amount of revenue to local and federal economies. If the 50 horses can’t hack it, these important big-game animals are also in trouble too! And that means hunters are being screwed-over by the over-grazing of the public land by commercial cattle! I don’t know about you, but I like hunting as does all of my family, and from that standpoint alone, the BLM is yet again, mismanaging the lands and assets!

There are no other logical conclusions that can be drawn using just the ‘facts’ that the BLM and the Modoc Record have published. None!  That is unless you want to begin your debate with ‘Once Upon A Time’.  And I really don’t have the time or desire to hear or debate any fairy tales.

The problem is crystal clear, and it’s not about 50 wild horses. 

Best Regards,

Bill
Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.
Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

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Published by Frank Biggs on 12 Jan 2015

Carter Reservoir Wild Horses Face Starvation – Part 1

This picture of Wild Horses was taken by Laura Simpson 2014

This picture of Wild Horses was taken by Laura Simpson 2014

 

I think that hunters are getting screwed by overgrazing of cattle by the industrial cattle ranchers… family ranchers have their own lands for the most part so they aren’t the culprits … and any hunter knows that if 50 lousy horses are being starved-out by over-grazing of cattle, then the big-game animals, the ones we pay big money to hunt, are having their numbers decimated along with the wild horses!  So we battle-on!  Cheers! Bill

 

 

TO: The Editor – Modoc County Record News
RE: Your article titled: “
Carter wild horses face starvation, thirst

I respectfully request that you publish my response to the aforementioned article as an OP-ED.

Let’s consider the so-called facts stated in your ‘report’, which is contained herein below in its entirety to keep my response in context: 

First:
The article states there are 1278 cows plus calves grazing on the Carter Reservoir horse management area that is shared with a mere 50 horses. Yet, 50 lousy horses are supposedly starving! Do the cows eat dirt and absorb water by osmosis from the atmosphere? Why would ranchers even want to graze 1278 cows on lands that cannot even support a lousy 50 head of horse? And what about all the hundreds of other animals who live on that same land;deer, elk, antelope, etc.?
Secondly:
If the grazing pressure on the ‘public’ lands by commercial cattlemen is mismanaged by the BLM to the point where the cattle eat everything, leaving nothing for a few horses, deer, elk and antelope to winter-over on, who’s fault is that? How does this impact the hundreds of game animals? And we have had some decent rains lately, so water over the past couple months shouldn’t have been an issue. Are the deer, elk and antelope also migrating by the droves onto private lands as well? And are they also being trapped and transported anywhere? If so, then where? If not, are they also starving and dehydrated as well? Could this be the ultimate result of ‘over-grazing’ of public lands?The BLM has some serious explaining to do on this one for sure! Logic says the problem clearly resides with the BLM; either they are simply misrepresenting what’s going on to the public, so protected horses, which produce no revenues or taxes can be removed and are subsequently destroyed by slaughter; or, they are mismanaging the public assets (the land and the horses are public assets); or, a combination of both of the foregoing.
Third:
The BLM knows exactly how many horses were removed due to the ‘reportedly’ austere starvation conditions (16 horses), yet they have no idea as to how many cows were removed?? (if any)… What?  Is that how you ‘manage’? You count one thing but not the other? Can you imagine the response of any small business owner if a cashier only counted the pennies and forgot to count the quarters in his till before he turned it in at the end of the shift. This is a much bigger deal!
Fourth:
If the Carter Reservoir management area is such a horrid area (lack of forage and water) why would any rancher ever want to graze any cattle and tender calves there? The report you have published is by its own stated facts highly contradictory and illogical.It’s a sad state of affairs in America when people are so propagandized by special interest groups that they will swallow almost anything at face value without applying even the slightest token of logical analysis. Isn’t that the job of a good journalist?In conclusion, the article as you have published it, is on its face a farce.

Respectfully,
Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.
Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

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Published by Frank Biggs on 08 Dec 2014

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Oregon needs a change!

2015 Oregon remains in the Dark Ages!

When does common sense come into making decisions that affect the masses or majority?  In this case the ODFW for Oregon, Idaho Fish and Wildlife and lastly WDFW for Washington make their decisions not for the majority in my opinion.  We all know there are lobbyists that believe that a Long Bow is the only bow and we should all be shooting them.  Let’s give thought to how most or the majority over the years has moved along with technology. We also know that many of those of age still might have an old bow from the past or even a Springfield carbine Model 1873, but likely don’t use them for hunting any longer. When does their arrogant policy decision dictate the policy for the majority becomes a hindrance?  I would likely bet a great deal of many that most of the decision makers in the case have a smartphone and computer of some type…

I have written about this before, this time though it will not be in reference in the loss of a game animal personally or by friend. I truly thought that Oregon would allow in the 2015 at least a lighted nock for the purpose of finding game or knowing that you hit your game with an arrow projected from your bow.  Just receiving the new 2015 Oregon Big Game Regulations, the lighted nock, expandable Broadhead and any electronic device mounted to a bow or any part of the bow to be illegal still.

Tell me if this would not help?

Tell me if this would not help?

There are at least 45 states that allow the use of lighted nocks and 47 allowing the use mechanical Broadhead.  There are a few restrictions, but of course Oregon, Washington and Idaho do not allow at all for big game. Crazy as this seems in Oregon though you are able to hunt the Silver Gray Squirrel and game birds with a mechanical Broadhead.

Silver Gray Squirrel - Such big game for the hunter.

Silver Gray Squirrel – Such big game for the hunter.

Now that we have an abundance of wild Turkeys in Oregon, we can tackle them with a mechanical Broadhead.  Hmm! Such a big bird, maybe the size of an elk or deer, that we can use the mechanical Broadhead.  So the reason that the Turkey is harder to hit or the fact they have so many feathers, making it hard to find the vitals?  Now give me a good reason on the Silver Gray Squirrel getting the privilege of getting taken down with a mechanical Broadhead.  Yet most of us have shot them in the past with a 22 caliber or with an arrow with a blunt or target tip, creating a small hole, yet death came.  Most bowhunters know they make a bird point for small game and birds.  Just think about hitting a Turkey in the chest with shot from a mechanical Broadhead, guess the tail fan or beard was more important!   The state allowing the use of mechanical Broadhead on turkeys just opens the door for someone to carry a mechanical Broadhead in his quiver during a combination turkey deer hunt.  We have bow hunts that run the same time as General Fall Turkey season in Oregon for Blacktail deer…  We all know that the number of turkeys in the Willamette, Santiam, McKenzie, Northern Indigo, Alsea and a couple others.  Recently while traveling through the Willamette and Santiam corridor, I count more than 400 plus turkeys in various pockets.

This works for me

This works for me

s7_461930_imageset_04 The use of lighted nocks would help greatly in the recovery of big game animals after a shot.  The hunter can tell if they actually hit the animal, easy recovery of the arrow in the brush, when recovered be able to tell what type of hit it might be if hit.  In relationship to the above, I suppose those that make the rules figure that with lighted nocks there would be more shots taken after hours.  Well since in the State of Oregon we can’t have anything with electronics on our bows or arrows; it would not help in taking an after shooting time shot.   Someone wrote that on 50% of game is recovered when shot, not sure if that is accurate, but I will tell you that most of the time the game that is hit with an arrow do die.  The main idea in hunting once you hit game is for fast recovery of the animal.   Most bow hunters seldom get an animal to drop in their tracks with an arrow.  Hell!  Let’s all get real; even with the use of a rifle, many don’t anchor their game to the deck.  So if you don’t find the animal, do you still hunt?  Yes!  Now in the State of Alaska, “Alaska limits licensed hunters to the bagging of one bear per hunting season. Under the law, the wounding of a bear counts toward the season’s bag limit.” The use of a mechanical Broadhead is allowing for a faster bleed-out on the animal, with more cutting area.  This means a faster recovery in most cases of the animal, plus the fact of a much better blood trail to follow in most cases.

I know where the vitals are and where to place the shot on this turkey!

I know where the vitals are and where to place the shot on this turkey!

As for the use of electronic devices on a bow, I am all in favor of being able to attach a camera on my bow.  Sometimes in a spot and stalk it would be great to get the action shot from the bows prospective.  Oh! I know I can attach it to my hat, but all bowhunters know we turn their hats around in the pursuit of the animal.  Then again, I can hire a cameraman to follow me around and screw my hunt up with extra feet.  So with all of this I have my Go Pro and other small camera attached to my backwards cover (hat). In conclusion if you feel there should be a change, go forward and let your lawmakers know. Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 24 Nov 2014

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Poaching of Big Game

The following statements are my opinion on the subject!

What a topic to write about, one could write a novel and it would a non-fiction totally.

This is a pair of trophy Columbia Blacktails that were killed out of season in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

This is a pair of trophy Columbia Blacktails that were killed out of season in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

First off I personally feel there are 3 types of poachers, one that will harvest year round to eat, those that will poach for the horns-rack-antlers-teeth-claws-gall bladders anytime and anyplace, and lastly those that poach for the fun (drunk & other mind-sets), only to have a check mark on a list! The latter is a fact of knowledge, as I know via ranchers and law enforcement that it went on for years in the area of Madras, Oregon (just one local to mention). Some years ago I read and saw the pictures of some 20+ elk lying dead in what looked like a killing field. They were shot for sport and left to rot. The the elk were not salvageable for human consumption.

I would say our first knowledge of poaching would be placed in our minds with the Legend, Myth, or Fictionist Character of Robin Hood who would poach game off of the land of King of England.

Since there were little game laws in the past for hunting or harvesting game for the meat, the hides and whatever else could be used for trade or survive, we will move on to the latter years of the 20th Century and on to the 21st Century.

First off I have no problem for a person or persons to harvest game for survival or subsistence of life!

There is a saying that a famous hunter by the name of Bell Lang who once told to me, “Those that poach by the cover of night shall be caught, and those that poach in broad daylight are less apt to be, though in the end greed will take over and they shall be caught!”

In my early days of hunting or thinking about hunting when I got out of the service, I heard about a great deal of hunts and how the hunts started or ended.

A story that was passed along some 50 years ago from Uncle Dave of a new comer hunting during Elk season shot a monster Mule deer out of season. In the days of past the story only became a story after many years past. In this case it was an accident, yet it still comes under the ORS statues of game violations’.

Poaching for camp meat has been going on for years and was acceptable with hunters in a deer camp or elk camp. “Who’s going to kill us a fat doe for camp meat?” I am sure at least in the 20th Century we all have heard those words from the elders of the hunt, which includes me hearing those exact words. “As long as we eat it all up in camp it is legal!” Personally I was never much into eating fresh deer meat.

Then there is the great group hunting with lots of tags in the camp, with those that didn’t care if they shot anything or not. Hunting was an escapement from the grind of 60 hours plus weeks that many of us know from the past. One or two persons might be the shooters to fill the tags. I once loan a couple of my horses to a man that I once hunted with, later he told me thanks as he drugged out 9 elk with my horses in a single day. He was the shooter of them all and he fed the wild game meat to his care home residents. He has long since left this plant to his happy hunting grounds. Many years ago I told a rancher that invited me to hunt on his ranch that held a great deal of the Rocky Mountain Elk in the sage, Juniper and rim rock country in the Oregon, I had waited a number years to get this bull tag and I will shoot my own bull! I never did hunt in his group of 9 to 12 hunters with him. It was about the meat to him and not the racks, though they did harvest dandy 300+ bulls. It was a free for all when they got into a herd of elk. I do believe that they were pretty lucky as they seem to only harvest the number of elk that they had tags for.

So many times you would hear of stories of Mule Deer hunters hunting the great state of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and even the great Steen’s Mountains in Oregon. Stories would be like the following. “Shot a dandy buck coming down to the wintering grounds, getting ready to gut it and a bigger buck came by and I shot him also.” Now this could all be hearsay or an inflated story, but usually people knowing that they have nothing to worry about, it most likely is the truth. The other line with these same stories, “we got the backstrap and hind quarters out of the canyon”. Many times a great deal of useable meat was left behind… So, is someone hunting deep in a rugged area for big bulls or bucks that only take the rake and backstrap poaching?

Well they are and now there are new laws that have slowed that down. Yet we all know it still goes on out there, just have to read the OSP (Oregon State Police) incident reports that are available on line. I am sure these reports are available to all in other states in the Union.

Here the Willamette Valley I have watched a section of land that has held monster Blacktail deer, prior to me getting permission to take pictures and later hunt the property. I would see these big 4 x 4 bucks and some dandy non-typical bucks, none of them ever carried over to the following year. I believe it was a free for all poachers that were willing to trespass the property. Now that I have put up No Trespassing Signs for more than 4 years, I have been able to watch deer that carryover. I understand that the neighbor is experiencing this in 2014. Access is easy and undetectable by the landowner.

“Come in the darkness and leave in the darkness undetected”

Have to say that some of the most humorous poaching cases are those during archery season, when the hunter has taken the game animal with a rifle and hoisted the animal in their garage or car port to skin the animal, only to have the neighbor call into the authorities that the person or persons have a deer hanging and they don’t bow hunt. It is only humorous because of the ignorance of the hunter!

Poachers can be a trespasser, not just person or persons that harvest game illegal in my opinion. This brings to mind about technology that is now used everywhere and many trespassers and poachers are now being caught. That would be trail cameras that are set out on private property as well as public lands. The new cameras available are undetectable by most, including the game. I have seen a few come onto the property that I hunt in the valley. I have asked the landowner if he know them of course before I pursue the individuals. Recently during the writing of the article, one of my hunters has noticed 2 persons coming into the trail cams range. They even have gone up into his treestand and sat. All is on camera to be seen, strange though as they caught the cams take their pictures, they were out of there. This also allows the hunter, landowners and other concerns the profiling of the game. The old cliché that all they look alike is nonsense.

Poaching will continue and poachers with be caught, they love to brag about their kills with pictures. Most are not old enough to remember a monster bull that was harvest some 30+ years ago in the Mt. Rainer National Park. It was a feature picture in the Oregon Hunting & Fishing Newspaper. It did not last long, as a hiker that frequent the area, knew the exact tree that the bull was posed in front of. It did not take long for the Washington Game Officers to be up to the spot with the picture. Oh! What a fine to poach in a National Park, now the Feds and the State are involved with the crime.

The State of Oregon the Oregon State Police have the finest Forensic Labs in the Nation. I bet most don’t know that they can tell whether a Mule deer came from the Steen’s Mts. or from The Dallas. The 21st Century is upon us and to gamble on taking an animal illegally is a big gamble, as you going to lose more than you can imagine.

Just take a look at Aronson’s in the Bend, Oregon area and thinking he and his wife was getting away with poaching and selling hunts that the animals weren’t his to sell on guided trips. More than $66,000.00 in fines, plus 23 others sited with a total of 1200 illegal game violations against the group. One thing I see he got off easy with 30 days in jail.

One can only get away with for a while; it will always catch up with you, if you don’t stop. I would call it Cold Turkey the process!

Even the once great Kirk Darner got caught in the taking of Boone & Crockett Mule Deer bucks every year for many years. In his case, I do believe his wives of few helped in the process. Be careful who you make enemies of when you are in the practice of poaching.

Remembering a customer once that got busted for harvesting a big Mule deer out of season and bull elk in the wrong area during a given year was busted because he owed money to the fellow that hunted with him on both hunts. The game officers were taken to both spots by the informant.

Some years ago while in the famous Fort Rock area of central eastern Oregon, I had spotted a monster Mule deer that had come down off from the Newberry Crater in to the stubble fields to winter. As I was leaving during the Thanksgiving holiday, driving through a foot of snow to the main highway, I noticed a pickup with a couple of guys. I had that feeling they were up to no good. They were in the heart of the wintering grounds for mule deer in this part of Oregon. I waited a couple of minutes and decided to double back, yep they were stopped, glassing and packing. My presence at that time was enough to stop the act of them making a mistake in life. So you are asking if the intent was there! It was as I left out that someone was standing along the truck with a rifle out! For that moment the buck had another lease on life. I hope he made it through the winter.

On last statement from the past in the 20th Century, is the taking of a Pronghorn – Antelope out of a helicopter with a shotgun legal?  We know it is done with wild hogs in some states, but Pronghorn. There once was a world famous hunter with a restaurant that did just that. He has long since left the world, but many of his trophies are still around, though not in the restaurant any longer…

There are all types of poaching, but in most cases it usually in my opinion it is about the rack, horns or antlers as Number 1!

In conclusion game officers’ have to have the mindset of a poacher to catch a poacher!  Law bidding hunters and citizens need to take a state in the wildlife we have and the new environment of anti-hunting and anti-guns and help put a stop to poaching!

Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 01 Aug 2014

Bwana Bubba Thoughts! Baiting Ethical or Logical?

Baiting Big Game – Ethical or Logical

First Question of the Day!

Having a scent felt, doused in Doe in Heat hanging in a tree to bring a buck is it a form of Baiting?

We have been into the 21st Century for some time now and the issue of baiting hunt-able animals or game birds has become a major subject!  Must be the Anti-Hunters and Anti-Gun advocates finding a new avenue to target to draw a crowd for their cause! Well as usual I have a few words to say!  There is a great deal of writing and talk going on right now about the subject and I have my own thoughts about the subject. As we look at the circle of the food change including mankind, we find in one way or another we all bait for survival or our enjoyment. We have the livestock ranches around the world, the livestock eat on ranches and open ranges without much disturbance, then comes the day they first go to the feed lots, then to the butcher, then receive a head shot and end up on our tables to eat by humans and canines.

Bald Eagle 01 int

The Bald Eagles were everywhere, in trees waiting their turns. About 12 Bald Eagles, adults and juveniles were working the sheep!

Even the birds of prey figure out the how to eat the sheep that seem to come up dead in a field, in the State of Oregon in the valley near the towns of Lebanon and on the way to Marcola, I have seen as many 12 Bald Eagles on sheep.  Ah!  Is that nature’s way to feed the birds of prey, or are they opportunist to feed on fenced Sheep?  Easy Prey! So in the hunting world with any kind hunting weapon to take down big game, birds, small game or other wildlife, there is some form of baiting involved. Let’s take waterfowl hunting, majority of the time planted fields are flooded in many parts of the country.  Ah! Say!  Ok! Your hunting spot does not flooded any fields, yet the birds come into the field to feed en route to the water for protection.  We lay ambush from cover or blinds with decoys in wait for the waterfowl to fly by or land within our decoys.  So are the decoys a group style of baiting? Upland game bird hunters in many cases with hunt corn fields, wheat crop fields or other fields that have produce an edible to market crop.  Yes! The birds hide in the adjacent cover, but they still feed on the remnants of the crop. We have bear hunters in many states that get to bait bears with meat or fruit and lay in wait from treestand or cover blinds.   In the northern sector of CONUS and into Canada many bears are ambushed while working the fresh growth of grasses in the spring.   What an excellent way to keep the bears in check. I know that a well-known hunter and advocate of hunting big game native to the U.S. and exotics from around the world baits the game and lays in wait from a treestand or ground blind.   He is very successful, yet he does not eat all his harvests.  Most do not know that he raises the game animals and the meat goes to needy families.   For him, his family and friends, it is about the hunt, the harvest and the excitement of the whole experience.  This is done on this own land and in one way this is his crop! In some states you can bait big game, but you can’t bait predators, such as Bear and Cougars.  That is a great way to manage a state, so it is said (wildlife managers).   So bears and cougars run rampaged with no predators other than mankind taking out a few during hunting seasons.   Plus over populations of bears have taken out large sections of timber that is not quite ready for harvest.  Did you know that they themselves find a great source of sap from these age trees?  The strip the bark off, secure the sap and the tree dies.  So we won’t have to worry about baiting big game such as deer and elk to hunt with the way it is in Oregon. Did you know that a Cougar only wants fresh meat and takes on the average about one (1) a week on deer and if working take elk, then maybe one every 14 days. Recently I got a short 15 second video from an old hunting buddy.  It was taken from a camera on his property just outside of the city limits of a rural town, close to Portland, Oregon.  Just think about the fact it is summer in the Willamette Valley and he has never seen a Cougar this time of year.  In the past years he has seen a Cougar in the snow following deer to their winter staging area.  So you ask what does this have to do with baiting, well if we could bait for Bears and Cougars in Oregon, maybe we could save our deer and elk herds. Press Here To See We have in the western half of the United States the privilege to hunt for Pronghorn (Antelope), though they will roam the great sage brush plains, they do love to work agricultural areas, especially alfalfa.   Is it a form of baiting to wait for the Antelope to leave an alfalfa circle and be shot going under the barbwire fence?   If we think back to the existence of man, he has in many cases waited for the game he was going to eat to come to water, food or leave from one of them. Recently I posted a video of a great video archery shot of a Blacktail Deer, there were apples on the ground from the apple tree near the treestand.  The comment wasn’t very good telling me he wasn’t a hunter working over bait.  It didn’t help that the opening picture was of the same buck standing over a pile of apples early in the season.  I explain to help the commenter understand that the opening picture was of a different spot to take census or take count of the bucks in the area and that the kill shot was near an apple tree.  Press Here To See

WGI_2401

Does anyone really think we would get these shots without doing something to slow them down on the way to the vineyard?

My feelings are if it is legal by the state in-which you hunt, then there should be not issue. Many years ago when I was having a conversation with Randall Byers of the Pope & Young Club, he made comment to me that in Idaho it was legal to hunt deer over bait and that he and his buddies like to use corn.  At the time I thought it was terrible, as I had never done it with big game.   Guess I was clueless to the fact it was legal! I have laid in wait for a buck Pronghorn coming to water and ambushed them at a crossing to water.  So is water bait?   I would believe in some sense of the idea that it to be bait! Another instance years ago while hunting for Pronghorn over at Earl Smith’s Ranch outside of Antelope, Oregon, Mike the ranch foreman would say come with me and see what happens in a few minutes.   As we watched from about 200 yards away I watched countless Elk jump over the fence and into the wheat field.  They did it at the same point every night.   That to be a strategic location during the archery season to hunt for the elk.  So would that be considered baiting to wait close by for the elk to come and go or just being an opportunist like the Eagle? I used to hunt for Mule Deer bucks on the Mayo Ranch outside of Riley, Oregon.  We would wait in the tall grasses for the Mulie to enter the cut and bailed Alfalfa fields to eat the second cut.  So we did not intently bait the deer ourselves, but we made opportunity work for us!  At that time I would have never thought that to be a process of baiting, yet I did not plant the crop, but was an opportunist to be in the right spot! So everyone has their own thoughts what is baiting.   It is about hunting and harvesting game to eat, though myself I give the meat away for the most part, as I have many friends that beg for deer and elk meat every year.  So for me it is about the adventurer and the harvest, so in later life I have found that using every opportunity to get the hunt done legally is Right. Anti-Hunters have created the problem with hunting in every sort or form of the sport or natural order of mankind’s desire to kill animals and baiting is just another subject to change the course of history.

This was in January and in this case it was about seeing what the carryover was with the Blacktail Bucks in the area.

This was in January and in this case it was about seeing what the carryover was with the Blacktail Bucks in the area.

All should take note that if hunters or other sports people did not  buy sporting goods, which includes licenses to hunt, fish and collect coastal creatures in the oceans, there would be no successful management of game, fish , upland game birds or waterfowl.   It is the money from those that love the hunt or fish that allow all to enjoy seeing game.

These are my thoughts on the subject and may not be the thoughts of others!  Bwana Bubba   

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Published by Frank Biggs on 08 Apr 2014

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – How Not To Trespass!

To Trespass Knowingly or Not To Trespass with Technology!

Without getting carried away with the past, I will say that in the day, in Oregon when the Bhagwan & his Cult ruled some 60,000 acres outside of Antelope, Oregon, that also had some 60,000 acres of B.L.M. within the boundary, with a vast majority of it being landlocked, I ran the line to hunt for the big Mule Deer and Rocky Mtn. Elk that roamed the land.  Later it was taken over by the Washington Family, who donated the land to Young Life.   The Bhagwan was pretty easy if you stayed on the B.L.M. via a public road access.   Young Life in the first year allowed access via Current Creek on the Big Muddy Rd.   That did not last long when the Management of the Young Life on the Big Muddy found there was real money with the hunting of big game.

In 2002 I was stopped on B.L.M. on the Northeast Sector of the Grizzly Elk Hunt Unit in Oregon by Young Life Patrollers.   They demanded our Licenses, which in Oregon if on private you’re going to have to give it to them.   I told them we were on B.L.M. and I wasn’t going to give them anything.   They were packing handguns and demanded the licenses of all three of us.  I said are you going to shoot us if we don’t and they said” are you going to shoot us”, I said funny our rifles are on the Quads some 100 yards down the B.L.M. Road.  Standstill for a while and the other hunter (Young Life Donor & Doctor) who was with us gave up this license first, then without any more battle of words we all gave the Olsen Brothers our licenses.   Their words when they finally got their old technology GPS’s (old technology GPS didn’t work well in pockets) out of their front pockets and found a signal said the following “we are on B.L.M.” “Ah! We still know you were TRESPASSING!”  Let it be known that they had to cross B.L.M. to get to one small parcel in the middle of B.L.M.

When we go out of the B.L.M. via the same trail we took in via B.L.M., an OSP Game Officer was waiting for us on the Hwy 218 road access.  He asked the following “did you guys have an incident while hunting” I said of course we did, but we were on B.L.M. and showed him the maps that we had, which were made up of old technology and Garmin GPS to outline all of the B.L.M. and had it color coded, with our tracks going in and out.  We were carrying the first Topo mapping Garmin GPS that had come out in 2000.   We all thought it was over with the proof that we were legal.   Well 9 months later we get ticketed for Criminal Trespassing.  The same OSP (Oregon State Police) Game Officer from Bend, Oregon drove over to issue the tickets to us in Oregon City, Oregon.  I asked him why, since I had an OSP Game Officer as a neighbor and the Senior OSP Game Officer some 4 houses away.  His comment “was he had to do it, as Craig I., said he saw you Trespassing”.  Then the next comment was “you know you’ll get off on the Trespassing” and I said yes, but we have to hire 3 lawyers!

What the heck i will share the past.  Remember only horses for human foot traffic in the area.  Private Land Owners can change the demographics for all with the B.L.M...
What the heck i will share the past. Remember only horses for human foot traffic in the area. Private Land Owners can change the demographics for all with the B.L.M…

In conclusion:  The DA of Wasco County didn’t want anything to do with it, as we had the evidence that we were innocent of Trespassing on Young Life.

Comments made by the others hunting BLM, old combat veterans “why didn’t you have a firefight Frank?”  It was in jest, but reality we were held at bay with handguns, which should have been kidnapping!

The above story now leads into why a hunters or outdoor people should have a Garmin GPS and onXmaps HUNT  Mapping Software.  The technology that I used back then took a great deal of time and resources to get it done.  Now it takes about 15 minutes to have the advance technology on your computer and your GPS to be 100% sure of where your hunting.

Many of my hunters have waited 10 to 20 years to draw a premium tag to hunt deer, elk and especially pronghorn.   I don’t put the sheep or goats in the picture as it might never happen and at least in the State of Oregon, the ODFW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will help you in locations of goats and sheep.   Funny though that many sheep and goats work between private and public land!

The mapping software can be used as a tool to find the private land owners when you see a herd of maybe a 100 Pronghorn in the Alfalfa and most likely get permission to hunt for free!

Many figure they don’t need this type of equipment that paper maps will work just fine for them!

I have given an example of government paper map in the below picture and a picture from onXmaps HUNT so you can compare the difference.

Normal View at National Forest

This is what Brett thought he was hunting with National Forest cross fences and coming in from the 160 road working north.

Hunt onXmaps - Deer

What Brett ended up on was one of the south corner triangle pieces below the Ochoco Creek Rd. with no corner fences.   There were no signs either on the land and it was all open timber.   Brett was ticketed with a word from the Game Officer he could pay restitution of up to $6250.00 (For Real) to the landowner.  Brett offered to put of No Trespassing Signs, the landowner took the signs from Brett and he went to court.   He did show the Judge in that particular county a Government Map, which helped a little, but still paid a fine to the court.

I am now informed that landowners do not have to post their lands.  So in areas such as National Forest that has private mingle within and no fences, it is your responsibility to know the private (At least in Oregon).

onXmaps HUNT has maps for almost every state in CONUS and the great state of Alaska has a map.

I recommend this product with utmost confidence that you’ll have memorial and successful hunts and trips without hassle. #huntsmarter #teamhunt #onxmaps #bwanabubbaadventurers

Knowing is everything!   Bwana Bubba

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Published by admin on 26 Feb 2014

Calling in Whitetail Deer By Bruce Hancock

Calling in Whitetail Deer

By Bruce Hancock

To successfully rattle in a whitetail buck into shooting range, you need to have patience, knowledge, and skill. It’s never too early to begin preparation for a successful hunt this fall. Right after the hunting season has finished is a premium time to begin. When you are out hunting predator animals in the winter months, while driving around areas that hold deer, or during the spring turkey season, there are good times to be out there looking and scouting for deer sign.

In fact, I rank “looking and scouting” as key steps to successful hunting and calling. I also advocate a more complete strategy, one that involves using the available hunting technologies that exists to give you the hunter an even break against a deer’s superior sense of smell.

Many hunters don’t realize that it has been shown scientifically that the deer family have about 500 million scent receptors in their noses. A deer smells about 400 times more efficiently than a person and can distinguish between 20 or so scents with a single sniff. When you have an animal with a nose like this, you’re at a major disadvantage. So it’s very important to use a 1-2-3 punch to this whole thing.

This 1-2-3 punch thing includes a combination which includes gland scent on a licking branch, urine scent in the deer scrapes they make, and no scent on yourself. Then, you’re going to be making deer calls to attract deer into your setup.

Deer scrapes, rubs and licking branches will be key signs to look for when scouting your territory. A deer scrapes the ground with its hooves, usually 3-5 feet below a tree limb that hangs above the scrape. The deer will rub its eye and forehead gland scents on the licking branch. The deer usually deposits urine and feces into the scrape. This compliments the scents from glands in the forehead and eyes that are found on the branch. These scrapes and licking branches can be found along deer trails, often where two or more trails converge.

Deer rubs may also be present near deer scrapes. Deer create rubs by scraping their antlers and forehead on shrubs, and low tree branches. When doing so, the bark of the tree or shrub is usually rubbed off, leaving a distinguishable rub mark laced with deer gland scent on the affected tree rub.

Bucks leave the scents this way to mark their home territory, by announcing their presence to other deer in the area, or those who are passing through to either attract them in (does), and to warn other bucks that they are intruding and a confrontation is likely. When I find deer scrapes with licking branches hanging over them, and the surrounding area shows signs with rubs as well, I use these give-away signs to improve my rattling setup success.

When I say use whatever hunting technologies that are available, I am talking about game calls, scent killers, attractant lures and scents, camo clothing, trail cams, tree ground blinds, and the like. For me, I make it as simple and effective as I can. If I’m entering blindly into new territory, I will always have my rattling antlers, my Calls-M-All game call (www.gamecall.net), buck and doe deer urine scents, and , and I make sure that the clothes that I’m wearing are as scent free as possible. Several scent killer products are available. For my deer call I use the Calls-M-All game call because it produces both the deer “bleat”, and “tending grunt” call sounds that deer make with the same call. No switching calls. And I use a set of deer antlers for rattling. Rattling bags, and fake antler products work ok as well, but for I prefer real deer horns.

One of the things I like to do early on, if I know an area where there are some bucks, is to set up some mock scrapes. First, I kill my own scent on my clothes, hat, boots, gloves, etc. I will find a likely place (perhaps an old deer scrape) beneath a licking branch (which is critical) along a deer trail. I will take my scent-free boot and kick away the leaves, limbs, etc. covering the old scrape, or make a new fake scrape below a licking branch. I will then apply the urine and deer scents to the scrape and licking branch. Often times, I will set-up a trail camera to watch the mock scrape. More likely than not, deer will come to visits your set-up. A real buck may find the mock scrape and add his scent to it, and scrape it a bit, and then move on. Then he may return to check on visitors or intruders to the scrape as it represents his marked territory, where does will frequent for breeding, or intruder bucks will infringe in hopes of breeding the territorial bucks  does attracted to, and hanging around  the scrape area.

After establishing mock scrapes in an area, usually 2 or 3 mock scrapes in an area, I will revisit them every month or so and refresh them up with new gland and scent smells.

When you know there are deer visiting your mock scrapes, and when the season comes, move into these mock scrape areas with your deer bleat and grunt call, rattling horns and set yourself up. You know that there are deer in this area. They may be close, or 200-300 away, but they’re there. Having two or three alternative areas to call in is good. I will set up 50-60 yards away from the scrape usually  off of a deer trail leading to/from the scrape. I will get comfortable and prepare to stay in one spot for an hour. It’s a mistake to leave earlier, which I discovered on more than one occasion.

At first I was thinking along the lines of a predator call setup which is in the 20-30-minute wait range. Some bucks show up quickly unannounced, while others won’t show until they’ve sized up the situation as safe before committing to the calls they hear. In most cases, the buck will circle downwind of the caller to sniff out the area downwind of the sounds. If a whitetail deer smells you, they’re gone. Often time what happens is that the deer caller will make a successful calling sequence, only to have the deer get downwind of them and slip away undetected. Remember, a whitetail deer is a master of the wind currents.

I usually set up on my knees behind a tree or shrub larger than me. I look for a place where I can see 80- 100 yards downwind of me if possible. If a deer slips into my calling area, chances he will loop downwind of me and I’ll see him first before he is concealed. It is very important to watch your downwind side, always.

When I start rattling and making call sounds, this mix of sounds creates a “breeding territory” atmosphere for deer. The deer can smell the scrape scents, they hear deer bleats, deer grunts, and deer horns. When I rattle the antlers together, I don’t try to make it any more difficult than it is. I grind them, slam them together, tickle them lightly together. You want to make enough noise so the sounds of the antlers and deer calls you make will carry.

That’s the purpose of rattling the antlers. You’ve got a couple of bucks, and they are sparring over a doe and the rights to breed. All the other bucks and does in the area hear this, and it’s like a couple of people are getting in a fight. It attracts a crowd. Deer are curious and will come to calls and rattling.

My strategy includes rattling the antlers, creating deer grunts by friction with the serrated side of my Calls-M-All, while also mixing in some doe bleat calls. I will just kind of mix this all up. I don’t have any specific pattern. I roughly call for about a one-minute period, mixing the rattling  sounds,  doe bleat and grunt call sounds.

Sometimes I will grunt maybe 3-4 times. Maybe bleat once. Rattle for 45=seconds. And wait two minutes looking and listening for approaching deer. I like changing up. I don’t like to sound like a record player.

In the end, and with persistence and patience, you will call in a buck deer and then your confidence level will increase and you’ll be hooked on Calling in Whitetail Deer.

Editor’s note: Bruce Hancock is the president and owner of the Calls-M-All Game Call Company, located in Prescott, WA. To read more about the Revolutionary Calls-M-All call, visit their website at www.gamecall.net.

 

 

 

 

 

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Published by admin on 18 Feb 2014

Don’t learn from your mistakes! by Pat Moore

Don’t learn from your mistakes!

by Pat Moore

I know, I know that sounds ridiculous, but that is exactly what you need to do. Archery is a game of repetition. You are most successful when you are able to repeat the same thing over and over. Focusing on doing it the same way every time will help you achieve that ability to do the same thing every time.  So when you step up to the line focus your thoughts on the inside out X you shot and all the other positive good shots you’ve made. Those thoughts will make you much more prone to doing it again.

Ok let me see if I can illustrate this point more clearly. If I tell you don’t think about a cold winter day where your hands were cold and your nose was running.  What pops into your head?  Now let’s try this. If I said think about how you feel on a warm spring day with the smell of freshness in the air and the warm sun on your face, which command were you better able to execute not thinking about something unpleasant or thinking about something pleasant? I’m sure when I told you not to think about the winter day, a cold winter day instantly popped into your thoughts. Now let me ask you this, which one made you feel better?  The warm spring day right? So if it’s easier to think about something positive and harder to ignore that which we want to avoid why do we constantly say learn from your mistakes? Thinking about positive wonderful things improves our demeanor and promotes positive results.

Part of what makes us human is the ability to learn and most of what we have learned is through trial and error. This works well when trying to develop a huge variety of skill sets and general knowledge. However, it sucks as a technique to use to master a single repetitive task. This is what makes not learning from your mistakes such a difficult idea to accept, it’s counter intuitive to our basic learning structure. None the less we need to shed that basic paradigm in order to maximize our ability to achieve perfection in repeatability.  If you are concentrating on doing a task right you are far more likely to succeed then if you are trying to avoid doing it wrong.

A prime example of promoting repeatability is written instructions. Think about written driving instructions.  They tell you what to do and seldom tell you what not to do. I expect instructions to get from Seattle to Bellevue would be something like take I90 east exit onto 405 north go 2 exits. Can you imagine driving instructions written in the negative? OK to get to Bellevue don’t take I5 north or south. Avoid downtown. Don’t drive too fast. Once you find I90 don’t go west. Don’t exit at either of the Mercer Island exits. Don’t get confused about the HOV lanes, if you see a boat on the water ignore that…  I think you are getting the picture they are very difficult instructions to follow certainly not very affective or efficient.

Well if we’re not learning from our mistakes how do we learn to shoot a bull’s eye and become better? This is exactly the point, if you hit the bulls eye more than 50 percent of the time YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW TO DO IT!  The hard part is doing it again and again and again.  You learn how to do that by concentrating on what you did before, so you can do it again. Follow the instructions from the previous successful shot. Now if you don’t hit the bull’s eye 60 or 70 percent of the time get a coach or a friend to help you by showing you and explaining to you what to do. If your coach tells you what you are doing wrong either retrain your coach or get a new one.

Shoot straight and enjoy!   Shoot straight and enjoy!   Shoot straight and enjoy!   Shoot straight and enjoy!

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Published by admin on 29 Jan 2014

Stick to the Plan – By Jason Herbert

 

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Stick to the Plan
By Jason Herbert

Driving to the new farm refreshed my hunting patience. I had been out in the woods since 5:30 am. It was now 11:00 am and I was birdless. Most hunters would have given up long ago. Not me, I had a plan and I was sticking to it. At about 11:25 my plan had worked, with three longbeards coming into my sweet calls like they had read the script. At 11:30 I had one giant tom slung over my shoulder on the way back to the truck.

I love to turkey hunt, but I can’t sit still, so at times it’s a real challenge. When I first started turkey hunting, I’d hunt in the same spot, nice and still till about nine o’clock and then head home. On the way home, I’d see toms strutting everywhere and I soon realized I was doing something wrong. Since then I have developed a solid plan that works for me. I hunt in phases. Each phase is a time of the day that corresponds to certain turkey behaviors. I hate wearing a watch, but when I am hunting with my plan, I use one to keep me on track and keep me disciplined. When I am bored stiff hunting, time seems to move really slowly, the watch keeps me honest.  I also bring plenty of food and water, in case the plan takes a while to work. When I leave on a turkey hunt, I don’t plan to come home till I got a bird or it’s dark.

The first phase of the plan is the hunt at first light. I get up really early, to arrive in my spot well before the song birds start chirping. When the birds start to chirp, the turkeys get woken up. If possible, sneaking in before they are awake decreases my chances of getting busted. At this point on the day, I like to get in nice and tight to roosting areas. The idea is to be there or nearby when the toms fly down and start to gather their hens. Hopefully my decoy will catch their attention to being them into gun range. The first few hours after the birds fly down, this are will be a good one to hunt. The birds will mill around, eat a bit, get organized and eventually head off somewhere else. If I have not killed a bird in phase one, I switch to phase two at about nine o’clock.

Phase two is moving to a strutting zone. A strutting zone is an open area where a tom can strut and bee seen showing off from far away. I prefer to hunt field edges during this portion of my hunt. If you do not have access to fields, try open ridge tops or flat river bottoms. When I move to a new spot, I get to stretch, re-charge my batteries for a quick minute or two, and re-focus. I quickly get set up and start calling. Sometimes I use a decoy, sometimes I don’t. At about mid morning the hens will leave the toms and return to their nests to tend their eggs. Now the lonely toms will get trying to find more hens. Usually they will head to a strut zone to show off a bit, hoping to find a new girl. I like to beat them there. These lonely strutting toms are usually pretty cooperative to calling efforts. I hunt the strut zones till about noon or shortly after.

At this point, I make a crucial decision to stay or go. I am blessed with many small chunks of turkey hunting property. More often than not, I am ready for a change so I drive to another property. I keep food in my car, so I maximize my time out of the woods by eating along the way. When I get to a new property, I head straight to a strut zone. This is a difficult task. Quite often I am arriving at the new property mid day, and the toms have already beaten me to the fields. That is ok, just set up close and start working them. If there are no birds in the strut zone, quickly and quietly get set up, the birds will not be far off. The scenario I described previously occurred on a high point in a hayfield, a perfect strut zone. The toms came in on a string because at that point in the day, their hens were on the nests, and this new “girl” in town caught their attention. I guarantee if I had been in that spot all morning, calling the entire time, they would not have been so eager to respond. Variety is the spice of life, and that rings true in the turkey world as well.

If the second strut zone doesn’t pay off after a few hours, hop back in the truck and drive to the third, and fourth, and fifth, etc… Like I said, I have a lot of different farms where I can turkey hunt. I have called in several nice birds in the late afternoon and early evening hours. I have noticed at that time of day, they don’t gobble as much, so keep your eyes peeled. If you are not as fortunate as I am, and you need to focus on one piece of property, there is still hope.

 

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If you can’t go to a new property, pretend like you left. By now, every turkey in the county has heard your calls, so it is time to take a break. This is hard to do for a lot of turkey hunters, but it is important that the calling stops for a while. At about one PM, I’ll head to a dust bowl. Turkeys need to dust frequently, and dust bowls are great mid day social gathering spots. If an active dust bowl is accessible, sit by it and be patient, eventually something will show up. I’ll sit a dustbowl for a few hours in the early afternoon.

At about three pm I’ll start “running and gunning”. What this means to me is that I wander around the property ever so slowly, calling the whole time. Try to use new calls now and mix up the cadence as well. Calls tend to lose their effectiveness each time they are used, so a fresh set of calls and a new style could really change your luck. Walk to all the old spots, calling and listening. As I said earlier, the turkeys don’t gobble as much later in the day so you’ll really need to practice expert woodsmanship here. Keep it up till you find a bird to work, or until it gets to be evening, whichever comes first.

Late afternoon/early evening finds me back where I started, the hunt has come full circle, and I’m at the roosting area. The turkeys will need to come back to roost eventually, so sit and be patient. Make sure to check your state regulations on legal turkey hunting hours, some don’t allow evening hunts. When I am in a roost area, I do not call or use a decoy at all. This is very similar to deer hunting. Just sit, wait patently, and keep your fingers crossed. If you do not kill a bird this way, listen for roost gobbling. The toms will gobble quite a bit again before dark, trying to gather and inventory hens in the area. Make sure you pay attention to where the gobbles are coming from, and start back near them in the morning.

By having a plan, a watch, and a bit of self discipline, I have become a much better turkey hunter. Many of the toms that I have shot have happened after ten o’clock, and on the second or third farm I tried that day. A lot of good turkey hunting time is wasted at the local diner when guys sit only their first light spot, see a “henned up” tom, and drive away complaining about him. To me when I see a henned up tom, I see a bird that can be hunted at a later time, and I also see a chance to hop in the truck grab a bit t eat, and start fresh at a new spot. Have fun, be safe, and remember to stick to the plan.

 

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