Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Luck Needs To Turn!!!

So, I finally got a chance to get out there and sit in the treestand here in Ohio. I have to say, it didn't really go as planned.

First off, Mike and I had to wait until I got Cheyanne on her bus at 8 o'clock am, then we had to get all of our hunting stuff ready (we should have done it the day before) then load everything in his truck, make sure we had everything, and drive to our spot. 

As we were pulling out of the driveway dark clouds were moving in on the horizon. When I say dark I mean BLACK clouds. It was definitely going to rain. 

We got to our spot, parked, unpacked our stuff, walked to the treestand we put up earlier this month. Then realized we'd forgotten rope to pull our bows up with. Ok, no big deal I would climb into my stand and strap myself in and then mike would climb up and hand me my bow. 

We came accross another problem when I tried putting my safety harness on. Neither one of us could figure out how the heck to put it on me. After ten minutes we gave up and I wore Mike's harness since I was going to be in a lock on that was extremely high in the tree, and he was going to be in a climber.

I finally got settled and it started raining. Mike was going to set up in a tree slightly behind me with his climber. I could hear alot of banging and clanging going on as he tried to get the climber situated. Several times I heard a loud sound that SOUNDED like he had just fallen...which he hadn't luckily. The stand kept slipping on the wet tree. 

Awhile later we were both finally set in our treestands and it was POURING rain. I could feel water soaking into my two layers of camo, I could feel it dripping down my face. My hair was soaked. I felt like I had just taken a shower. To make it even better it was COLD out. I could see my breath in the air. And the rain meant that we wouldn't be able to film, or even take pictures with our new Hycreek camo on. 

We probably sat there for an hour or so before we decided to climb down since I was soaked and we weren't seeing anything. The last thing I need is to get sick on the first time in the treestand. 

We started back up the hill to the truck and soon discovered that with all the rain, the hill was impossible to walk up without falling flat on your face in the mud. Or flat on your butt in the mud. Or on your side. Or any other awkward position you could think of. 

We ended up turning around and going back the long way, which wasn't quite as muddy. 

All in all it really wasn't a successful hunt. It wasn't even all that fun. But, at least we got a chance to get out there and make some memories.  We're headed back out this weekend, and if this awful torrential rain will let up I'm going to try some spot and stalk by myself in the next few days.

I took a drive yesterday and saw some does near the property we hunt, but didn't see any bucks until I started driving back home. Then of course I had a big buck run right across the road in front of me...right in front of some peoples houses. So it didn't matter anyway.

Last night I was at Mike's parents with the kids and we saw some small bucks in the horse pasture...if they had been bigger it would have been a fairly easy spot and stalk. Wyatt took a walk out with the dog and they both got within 40 yards, walking directly across the field. If they were big bucks, I could have gone around the edge of the field and come in right behind them and they never would have known what hit them. So, I'm keeping my eye out in the pasture for this week. I also may go for a drive down to the property we hunt and see if I can see any deer out in the fields. It's time to make the best of this weather!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Last Years Regrets

Recently I was going through all my deer hunting pictures and videos from last year, and it hit me: I have quite a few regrets from last year that I really need to let go. It’s not like my life will be destroyed if I don’t or anything, but really I need to get over it. 

The first thing (just a small regret, nothing that really bothers me) is that I wish I would have arrowed a few of the does that I had under my stand every night. If nothing else, I would at least still have some meat in the freezer. I shot one deer last year  in October, a BIG deer, and I ran out of meat in April…I ate it all myself…yes I ate a lot of deer meat. It’s pretty darn good. And also I was too poor to go out and buy beef all the time. 

My second regret is that I wish I hadn’t passed up the big 8 point buck that I saw twice underneath my stand. Of course, I was holding out for Mr. Big…who never showed up for our date. Most of you probably remember me blogging about the 8 point and of course Mr. Big, who is practically famous.  Needless to say, the 8 point would have been a nice addition to my wall. He was a big bodied deer, and had a unique rack. At the time it wasn’t what I wanted, so I’ll have to learn to live with my decision.

Third: I guess this really can’t be considered a regret since its not my fault…but I still wish I would have shot Mr. Big. Bow, shotgun, muzzleloader I don’t care how. I’ve never hunted so hard in my entire life as I did last year for that big ten point. And then some other city hunters had to shoot him on opening day of firearm season. During a drive. It wasn’t how I imagined him dying.  I imagined him dying with a hole through his lungs from my arrow.

I hunted him day after day, week after week, all through bow season and muzzleloader season. I barely missed a day. It was my obsession, it was what I got up for in the morning. My friends and family never even saw me…it was kind of like I was dating a deer. Anyone else ever have this problem???

I still remember the day I found out that someone else had shot him…my dad called me on the phone (I was bear hunting with one of my friends) and I knew it was going to be bad news by the tone of my dads voice. I’m pretty sure I almost started crying when he told me Mr. Big was no longer. 

Looking back, I was more upset about Mr. Big being killed by someone other than myself  than I was about the recent breakup I had gone through that October.  And STILL when I look through my pictures of Mr. Big, and the one video I took of him, I think: that would have been just AWESOME if I had actually shot him like I had planned!!!

Just goes to show you, life doesn’t always go as planned!!! 

This year had been a lot different so far…I haven’t got to hunt as often, and I’m not as familiar with the land since this will be my first time hunting Ohio. There are more bucks, and a lot BIGGER bucks, which is a good thing.  The weather is cooling off, the rut is just around the corner, and I’m looking forward to spending the days in my stand until I have to pick the kids up from the bus in late afternoon.  It certainly is a change having kids around to look after and not being able to hunt every day whenever I want...but I'll get out there!!!

All I want is one chance at a big buck and I’ll be more than happy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lead Bullets: The Ban

This is something I rarely do on my blog...but being a hunter I find these articles quite interesting, and for lack of any other interesting hunting stories (like I wish I shot a huge buck), I decided I would share these articles with all of you...

It makes you think!!!

Lead Bullets

Anti-hunting and anti-fishing interests are currently litigating against the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to force the EPA to expand its Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) authority in order to regulate traditional ammunition and recreational fishing tackle. 

When the Act was established in 1976 Congress explicitly excluded from regulation any article subject to excise taxes -- including pistols, revolvers, firearms, shells and cartridges.

The EPA has already once declined a petition that asked the agency to prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of lead for shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers because it did not have the authority to do so under the TSCA. 

Anti-hunting and anti-fishing interests assert the EPA does have the authority and that a lead ban is necessary to address the significant impacts to wildlife populations that are resulting from traditional tackle and ammunition.

The assertions made by the petitioning groups lack credible scientific foundation, especially when seeking a blanket ban on all lead use. Outside of the California condor, where every death is significant, there is no evidence of a lead crisis at the population level – an entire group of one species living in a specific area.

The biggest threat of lead in wildlife is with birds that have gizzards, which hold on to and grind up food, rather than pass it quickly through their systems.

Proponents of the ban cite the impacts on individual raptors, such as Bald Eagles even though raptor populations are increasing across North America and the Bald Eagle was removed from the Endangered Species list as recently as 2007.

If a complete ban on lead in ammunition where achieved it would have a dramatic negative impact, because of the increased cost of alternative metals, on the cost of ammunition, and therefore participation in hunting and recreational shooting, which in turn is the engine that drives most of the funding for conservation and wildlife management through the excise taxes paid on the purchases of ammunition.

Sportsmen groups have rallied to push forward the introduction of the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S.838 & H.R. 1558), which will amend TSCA in a manner that serves to protect and enhance our hunting, recreational shooting and recreational fishing heritage while concurrently facilitating the important benefits that the hunting, shooting and recreational fishing industries contribute to the betterment of our nation’s economy and treasured natural resources.

The Act is now being discussed and considered in committees. To learn more:


And the second article I read was this one...

Lead Elephant
Lead in all its forms has become a four-letter word in our society. Of late it has become a tool for environmentalist, animal activist and anti-hunting and fishing groups – a tool with dangerous consequences, in some ways maybe more so than the metal itself. If there ever was an elephant in the room that could affect how we hunt, shoot, and fish from here on out, this is it.

Environmental groups are now claiming that wildlife on a large scale are being impacted by lead poisoning, either by ingesting spent lead, or in the case of large raptors and scavengers, ingesting lead fragments from consuming gut piles or unrecovered game.  They further claim a human heath risk from eating wild game. They make no secret; they are pushing for a complete ban on the use of lead in all ammunition and fishing tackle. 

The facts surrounding this issue are complex and the ramifications of a complete ban far reaching.  

Lead is the easiest and least expensive metal to form into bullets, birdshot, and sinkers. As such lead is at the foundation of the traditional outdoor actives of hunting and fishing. All forms of hunting with a firearm, plus recreational, law enforcement, and military shooting involve lead ammunition. In fishing lead is used in weights, sinkers, and jig heads, and in flyfishing, in split shot and twist-ons.

Because lead is so widely used in the products that support these activities, two issues emerge – funding for wildlife conservation and management, and the low cost participation in these activities by young hunters, shooters, and anglers.

It’s no secret that sportsmen and women, shooters and anglers pay for the majority of wildlife conservation and management through the excise taxes on equipment purchases, including ammunition. It is also no secret that if equipment manufactures are forced to use alternative metals that cost more to source and produce into product, the cost of these products has to go up, and in some cases go up substantially. Ramification #1 is future conservation funding – as costs go up participation goes down, purchases go down and excise taxes go down. Ramification #2 is the loss of inexpensive ammunition for young shooters getting into shooting or hunting. The last thing conservation, our wildlife, and hunting and fishing needs is another obstacle keeping young people for getting active outdoors.
Shots Fired
On August 3rd, 2010 environmental groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a complete ban under the Toxic Substance Control Act. Congress had specifically excluded ammunition from this legislation and the EPA rejected the petition on the grounds it did not have the authority for such a ban. Subsequently, environmental groups filed suit against the EPA claiming they do have authority to ban lead ammunition. Those behind this petition would have us believe that any amount of lead deposited into the environment is a threat to wildlife and humans. 

Real Science
Lead is a naturally occurring element in the environment and has no functional or beneficial role in biological systems. Based on our knowledge of its toxicity, lead has been banned in paint, toys, and gasoline – gasoline being of the biggest concern in transfer to humans. Over concern for waterfowl eating spent lead pellets and the threat of lawsuits by environmental groups, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service banned lead in all waterfowl hunting in 1991. The ban followed from research documenting the accumulation of lead shot in wetland habitats that were heavily used by waterfowl hunters, and other studies reporting mortality in bottom-feeding waterfowl following the ingestion of lead pellets while foraging. 

Depending on a range of factors lead can be toxic to some wildlife, but it is primarily an issue with birds.  This is because birds have gizzards, which hold on to and grind up food, rather than pass it quickly through their systems. The right type of lead can also be a toxic to humans depending on the amount consumed, over certain duration of time, individual body size, and age.

Proponents of the ban cite the impacts on individual raptors, such as Bald Eagles even though raptor populations are increasing across North America and the Bald Eagle was removed from the Endangered Species list as recently as 2007.

Understanding this issue and sorting fact from fiction is difficult because of all the variables. It is being made even more difficult by groups asking for more science.  Many  studies  have already been conducted and a technical review of existing scientific literature on the subject was completed by The Wildlife Society, the premier professional organization for wildlife science and management, in collaboration with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. These studies show that potential ingestion rates and health impacts vary by species, age, body size, amount consumed, method ingested, and geographic area. Some have measured the amounts and distributions of lead fragments  found in carcasses and gut piles. We know that ingestion rates are related  to lead concentration in the specific environments where animals may possibly ingest pellets or fragments while feeding. On the extremely low-hazard end are individual bullets fired in the field. On the high side is where shot-shell pellets concentrate where shooters regularly use the same locations, like dove fields and trap and skeet ranges.

Other than condors there is no evidence lead bullets are a serious conservation issue at the population level – meaning an entire group of one species living in a certain area. With the endangered California condor, every death is significant and so banning the use of lead ammunition in condor range made sense and sportsmen have supported this effort. 

Considering human health, we have to realize that the lead in gasoline was emitted into the air and settled everywhere in our environment and that is very different from how hunters and anglers are depositing lead.  The question is not whether lead fragments or pellets can be found in wild game. The question is can this be a source of lead toxicity for humans? The only reported human health issue from ingested lead ammunition comes from a study of subsistence hunters in Northern Canada that ate lead-harvested wild game in high quantities every day. 

The punch line is, if there is more science needed it would on be at the population level for a specific species in a specific area. The real question with lead is should our policy-makers take a sledge-hammer approach to an issue science says is tightly limited to certain populations and situations?
Bottom Line
The tools used for centuries by hunters, shooters, and anglers are in the crosshairs of environmentalists whose agenda appears to be mixed. Some would say theirs is a real concern for wildlife and humans. Others contend the plot to ban all lead is just another attempt to chop the legs out from under sportsmen and the user-pay model of wildlife conservation.

A blanket ban on all lead ammunition and in fishing tackle is clearly overreaching, especially when it includes lead that has no chance of being deposited in the environment, like indoor facilities for shooters, self-defense and law enforcement training. This is not a one-size fits all issue. The science simply isn't there to support a human health issue. As for wildlife, in terms of the health of populations and ecosystem function there may be the need for localized restrictions, but those decisions are best left to local managers, not judges. Our wildlife professionals need to clearly articulate to policy-makers what is a conservation issue requiring drastic regulatory changes and what is a non-issue, or a personal choice based on a desire to not kill or sicken individual birds. 

S. 838
After the environmental groups filed suit a Bill was introduced to Congress supported by sportsmen’s organizations that would amend the Toxics Substance Control Act to clarify the jurisdiction of the EPA. The S. 838: Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act is now being discussed and considered in committees.  HYPERLINK ""

Where this issue will land is yet to be seen. What we do know is that sportsmen care about wildlife, all wildlife, and have proven so time and again. If or where real science, not advocacy called science or agenda-based science, but real science that holds up to scrutiny demonstrates a population impact and the use of non-lead products is warranted, sportsmen will do their part. The best thing you can do now is stay informed and let yourself be heard, especially regarding the proposed Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act.

It makes you wonder what Hunting will be like in 10, 20, 50 years from now...

Sorry if I bored you with the articles...just something I thought I would throw out there!!! Hopefully my next post will be something exciting (like me shooting a huge buck, with tons of pictures to post!!!). 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Life in Ohio

The other night Mike and I went and put up a treestand on one of the properties we'll be hunting. It's down in a hollow where three or four deer trails come together...I'm pretty excited to get out there. I just need to go get my Ohio resident hunting license and deer tags.

Last week I went and got my Ohio drivers license, switched my truck title and got new license plates. I even had to take a drivers test (written) which I passed fortunately since I didn't know all the answers on the test and had to play multiple guess.

It's kind of weird being here in Ohio for hunting season. I'm used to being able to go out every single day, morning and night, right from opening day. Now I have 2 kids to take care of and get on the bus, pick up from the bus stop, football games to go to, etc. Not that I'm complaining or anything, it's just different than what I'm used to. I think I'm going through deer hunting withdrawal a little bit...but next week I should be able to go sit in the woods with my bow and video camera!!!

I'm hoping to get a big ohio buck on the ground before our next out of state hunting trip...which I'm not altogether sure when (or where) our next trip will be. We have been planning to go to Kentucky for whitetail, as well as back to Jersey for a bear hunt. We put in for our cougar tags the other day so if one (or both) of us makes the draw, we'll be headed to Cougar Creek Outfitters in Utah for our first time ever cougar hunting. With bows!!! Which makes me happy. 

I need to get all of my hunting stuff ready for here in Ohio...bow, broadheads, arrows, rangefinder, knives, release, camera, camera arm, camo. I think I may need to make a list. It feels like it's been years since I've been hunting. Mike likes turkey hunting better than deer hunting so he hasn't been as excited as I am to get out in the treestand. Fall is my time; I love bowhunting whitetail more than anything.

I kind of feel like I missed out a little this year on all the pre-season scouting, food plots, trail cams, looking for scrapes, setting up stands...I guess I'll have to wait to do all that again until next year here in Ohio. All of that was done by the time I moved here, and I kind of miss doing it. 

But, hopefully next week I'll have a chance to shoot a big buck or even a doe here in Ohio. It will be my first Ohio deer, my first time killing anything with a Ross bow, and also my first time using Rage broadheads. Wish me luck!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hunters Delight

The other night I had my first taste of elk meat...and it was SO GOOD!!! Mike and the kids all loved it, we had leftovers the second night and all of them still had second helpings. I used cubed steak meat for what I made the other night, and I can't wait to try an actual steak on the grill.

*Hunters Delight*

2 and 1/2 lbs of red potatoes, uncooked, peeled and sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
2 lbs of uncooked cubed uncooked elk meat (can also used venison or beef)
1 to 2 lbs of cooked bacon, crumbled
2 cans of creamed corn
1 tsp sugar
4 tbs Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

In a crockpot, layer the potatoes and onions. Second layer: meat and bacon.
In a bowl, combine corn, sugar, W. sauce, and salt and pepper. Pour over meat layer. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I served it with homemade mozzarella sticks, it was so yummy!!!

*Mozzarella Sticks*

12 cheesesticks
12 eggroll wrappers (Can be found in the refrigerated organic food section at your local supermarket)

Wrap the eggroll wrappers burrito-style tightly around each cheese stick. Fry in hot oil until golden brown on both sides.