Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pedestal Project


    I have been working on an idea I had for a back up pedestal for the buck I killed back in November.  A good good friend of mine likes to place his mounts on ceder tree trunks he has cut in the past, and they look great.  While out shed hunting one day, he and I found a great cedar tree to make a pedestal for my buck.  The tree had grown around some old barb wire, and with an old NO HUNTING sign I've had for years, it will look awesome!  The problem is the tree was partially alive, so I have to wait for it to cure out, so in the mean time I needed a pedestal. 
    I have seen some wooden ones in the past and decided to make one.  A local place just up the road deals in all kinds of stuff, from trinkets to old barn wood.  After picking out some wood and making a deal with the owner (30 bucks for more than enough "reclaimed wood"), I was ready to build the pedestal I had in mind.  Oh, the lady who owns the place also kicked in a couple old hinges that really makes the piece I think.  I picked up three 10 foot 2x4s and two pre-cut pieces of ply-wood.  The ply-wood pieces were 2 foot squares.  The ply-wood would serve as the size of the pedestal's width and depth. A two foot square would be over kill in most mounts, but I have a seven year old and a 18 month old at home so I built it heavy.  Once it was framed out and screwed together, I began to cut the barn wood to fit the sides. I had to pre drill all of the nail holes, because that rough cut oak that cured out over a hundred years on a barn no longer likes nails!  I hinged a piece on one corner to make a door.  This will serve as a liquor cabinet once I get some lighting in there.  I finished it out with pieces cut for the top and inside shelf.  I think it turned out great.  I love it so much, I may not use the cedar tree on this one!


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dad for a Day: Lots going on

    A friend of mine reminded me the other day that the winter lull is all but over.  There is a lot of outdoor activities about to crank up! For anyone looking to get into hunting, fishing, or camping, now is the time to be gathering up the things you need. 
    I will start with hunting, because most of the things to do now is still prep work with the exception of spring turkey season. Turkey season has already begun in the deep south and just a week away here in Kentucky.  I am running late on preparation for turkey season due to work.  I should have already patterned my shotgun, been practicing with my calls, and spent time watching birds in the field.  I will be playing catch up on those things so I might have more encounters with those strutters! Besides turkey season, now is time to be putting out minerals for deer if you are into that stuff.  Antlers will be growing soon and putting out minerals to improve that can't hurt.  While you are out putting out minerals, keep an eye out for sheds.  Around here, the deer should have already dropped those racks.  I rarely shed hunt, but this year me and a friend put out antler traps.  We had little success with it , but work kept us away.  None-the-less, those bucks drop their antlers every year and it is cool to find them. If you are gearing up for turkey season, the wait is almost over.  Be safe and have fun!  Fishing is looking up too!
     Despite heavy local rains which have kept the water temps, clarity, and levels unstable, people in my circle are catching some fish.  People are catching crappie as they move to shallower water.  They are just a few consecutive warm days from their major spawn.  In fact, my brother caught some big females a couple days ago that looked to be spawned out.  I noticed a few boats catching good strippers below Ky and Barkley Dam drifting baits along the bottom.  If you pond fish, keep in mind that those shallower ponds and small lakes warm up much faster than the lakes.  So if you want some fast action, pond fishing should be great right now with fish right up on the banks.  Speaking of nice weather, camping season is close too.
    If you like to tent camp, start gathering up the things you will need.  The weather here is still dipping into the 40s and that is a little cool for me and my bunch, but great weather is just a couple weeks away.  Spring break is next week for us, so we are going to try to get a couple days in at Land Between the Lakes.   I will try to get a check list out for anyone who would like to try it out.  Things that we have learned or picked up over the years to make camping much more enjoyable and stress free (if there is such a thing).  Oh hey, I almost forgot!!!!! If you are out shed hunting, turkey hunting, camping, or a combo of all three, be on the look out for Moral mushrooms! If ya don't know what they are research them.  They are crazy good and easy to identify.  Let  me emphasize, do your homework!  I am not a mushroom guru. Honestly, I am pretty spooky about eating wild plants, but these are easy to identify.  Some may already be up, and would be a great addition to a turkey dinner.
    Have fun this spring and be safe!  Keep up with my blog, if you are getting into some outdoor activities.  I hope to have lots of How-To articles on Dad for a Day. D

Thursday, February 18, 2016

It's the Lull, At Least Catch a Deal Shopping

   Awwww man, it is that time of the year again.  Still cold, windy, and seemingly overcast everyday.  Hunting seasons are out, fishing is tough right now.  All in all a pretty yucky time of the year for most sportsmen and women There is an upside to all this however! With bowfishing, rising water temps, and spring turkey season just around the corner, there must be something you need. It is time to go shopping!  "Shopping?!? I hate Shopping!" I get it, I don't like doing it either, but now is the time to go shopping.
   In a previous post I explained that the off season is the time to prepare for the upcoming seasons.  With spring just around the corner, most of the outdoor stores have fall and winter apparel, footwear, and hunting accessories on sale or clearance.  Don't be like me.  I know I need a new grunt call and a new pair of knee boots. I needed them last year and still haven't bought them.  Now is the time to prepare for the upcoming seasons, and buying the things you need now on clearance is a great way to prepare. If you are just getting into hunting or fishing, now can be the time to get the essentials to get started. Make a list of the things you need and get shopping.  If you don't know what you need, contact me for help or keep checking out my blog for tips. D

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dad for a Day: Don't Measure Success by Kills and Catches


    So, I started this Dad for a Day stuff to help out anyone interested in getting into outdoor activities.  I am a dad and have learned lots of tips and techniques over the years, but lots of what I am sharing came from my dad, and the dads of my friends.  It takes a community to raise a kid right?!?  I got a little ahead of myself on my first post "Dad for a Day: Preparation Starts Now". 
   I talked about now being the perfect time to prepare for the upcoming fall hunting seasons.  Now is the time to find places to hunt,  practicing with the weapon you are going to use, and preparing your equipment.  Those who hunt call this time the off season. It is the time to do all of the work.  Think of hunting like a garden you plant. Late spring and summer you do all the prep work so you can reap the rewards in the fall harvest.  The more you work in the summer months(especially your first few years), the more successful you will be.  That leads me to the point of this post.
   What I mean by, the more work you do, the more successful you will be, is that you will have more opportunities to take game or catch fish.  Not only that, you will be more prepared to make a clean kill the opportunity arises. You won't always take game or catch fish though.  There will be days when you won't see much more than the sun rise or fall.  Or, there will be days when despite your best effort you won't even get a bite fishing. Does this mean you were unsuccessful? Absolutely not. To most people, getting to enjoy the outdoors with a friend or family member is the success.  It is easier to understand this concept as an adult.  When I was a kid, if I didn't get to shoot at something or catch a bunch of fish, I would be disappointed. My dad would always give me this advise.  If you killed something everytime you went hunting you would get bored with it and quit going, enjoy it for what it is son.  Measure your success by the experience and not by the kills or catches.  If you get to eat fresh fish or wild turkey after putting in that prep work, well that makes your experience that much sweeter! This is the FIRST lesson for Dad for a Day. D

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Preparation for Hunting Starts Now

40 yd crossbow shot at the end of a golf tee

   As I said in my previous blog "Dad for a Day" I was going to start providing tips and techniques to help those who needed basic information to get started in the outdoors.  There may be a million topics to choose from in a multitude of outdoor activities.  I am going to narrow it down to just hunting, fishing, and camping for now.  With hunting seasons winding down and fair weather fishing and camping season just around the corner, you might think I would start this Dad for a Day stuff by talking about those two outdoor activities.  That is not the case though.  Now is the perfect time to talk about hunting.  This is your first lesson in your quest to become a hunter.
   It is the perfect time to talk about hunting, because unlike camping and fishing, hunting requires more from you.  Hunting also exposes you to hazards you won't encounter as a beginner like you would get in camping or fishing.  I am not saying that camping and fishing do not have risks.  Anyone who ice fishes or operates a boat at high speeds or in cold water certainly are expose to life threatening hazards, but I am talking about at the very beginner level. 
   As a beginner in the field of hunting, you will be using some sort of weapon like bows, crossbows, and firearms.  This is what I mean by hunting requires more from you. You have to be a responsible person to take on hunting for your sake and others.  If you go out hunting by yourself or with others, you all are already exposed to a hazard, your weapon.  It is your responsibility as a hunter to have a excellent working knowledge of your weapon and its capabilities.  I will use modern high power rifles as an example because they are on the upper end of the most dangerous if miss handled.  The rifle I hunt deer with has crazy power.  It is a Browning bolt action rifle in the .270 caliber.  I will get into calibers in another blog.  By crazy power, I mean at 500 yards (5 football fields) the bullet is still traveling in the neighborhood of 1500 feet per second. That means it is still traveling about the length of 5 football fields in 1 second.  Let that sink in as you look at your watch. Every time the second hand ticks, that bullet has traveled another 5 football fields.  Even more impressive, if you aimed it up in the air at a 45 degree angle and fired the gun, the bullet would travel approximately 2-3 miles.  One lapse in judgement or mishandling a firearm could mean the end for you, your hunting buddy, or someone 2-3 miles away.
   Now is the perfect time to talk about hunting, because your success as a hunter is due in large part to your preparation.  You have lots to do before next season and the most important thing to do at this point is to get into a hunter safety program.  These are great programs for beginners and teach you a lot about gun safety.  If you are a parent wanting to involve your kids in hunting, this is something you can do together.  My dad took me when I was just old enough to get in the program.  I still remember how proud I was for shooting some clay pigeons at the end of the program, and how proud he was for me.  Safety is the most important aspect of hunting however, there is plenty of other things to consider before those seasons start later this year. 
   If you are going to hunt, you will need a place to go.  You will need to get permission of a land owner to hunt their property or hunt on public land.  What are you wanting to hunt?  Knowing what you want to hunt narrows down what equipment you will need.  For example, squirrel hunting requires much less than say duck hunting. As a beginner, I recommend hunting small game initially.  It does not require much more than a shotgun and a little camouflage clothing.  The main thing is safety, I can't say that enough. The next important aspect of hunting is practice. I said earlier, know you weapon and its capabilities.  If you aren't willing to put the time in to become accurate with your weapon, hunting is not for you.  Practice shooting for the wildlife's sake.  Clean, humane kills are the only acceptable way to harvest game in my opinion.
   Hunting is all about respect for the game you are after.  Organizations like PETA, like to portray hunters as crazed killers out shooting up everything that moves.  That's just not the case.  A true hunter, is into conservation as much as harvesting game for food.  All true hunters want clean, beautiful habitat full of all sorts of game.  In fact, people who hunt and fish dump BILLIONS of dollars into conservation though license and fees.  Money that goes to habitat rehabilitation, pollution control, and paying conservation officers to protect game.  Hunters selectively harvest game which provides healthy numbers of animals in a given area, and provide the greatest amount of money towards the preservation of game and habitat.  Honestly, organizations like PETA should thank hunters for their contributions that better habitat and wildlife.
   The off season is always busy for even the most experienced hunter, and more so for a beginner. So, first things first, find an place to hunt. Research public land available to hunt.  Ask landowners for permission to hunt their land and get that permission in writing.  Decide what game you are interested in.  Take a hunter safety program.  The officers that put on the hunter safety program can provide lots of information on the things you will need to hunt certain game, including what type of weapon.  Once you know how to be safe, practice shooting your weapon a lot!  There are  lots of variables you can not control when hunting, but being an excellent marksman is one you can.  This is plenty to get you started, as new seasons get closer we can add to your skills and knowledge.  Just remember, Safety is the most important aspect of hunting.  D

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Page: Dad for a Day


   I am going to start a new page called Dad for a Day.  I realized that I started this blog to not only get me re-invigorate in my passion toward outdoor activities, but to also help people improve their experiences when they are doing those same activities. 
   It occurred to me that many of my posts are geared more towards my peers.  What I mean by that is, people who are around my skill level and have about the same experience as I do.  I was lucky enough to have a mom and dad who encouraged and taught me the basics of hunting, fishing, and camping.  We seemed to always be out enjoying the outdoors as a family, and I grew to love it as well as learn lots of skills. Once I became a young adult, I honed those skills with my brother and friends who were out doing the same things as me. I learned and improved skills like choosing the right tackle for certain species of fish, gun safety, how to shoot different guns, and operating a boat safely. After becoming an adult, I began to share my knowledge with others.  One of my favorite things to do is introduce kids to all of the outdoor activities I like to do, so my friends and I would let kids we knew tag along with us. The biggest part of that is teaching them a basic foundation of skills and knowledge so they can safely get started in enjoying the outdoors on their own. There are many people who need the most basic information to get started.
   I started this page to help those of you who may not have that basic foundation, or confidence to get started hunting, fishing, or camping and would like to. You may be an adult wanting to get started in an outdoor activity, or a parent who is wanting to spend time with your kids outdoors.  Whatever your situation, I am going to be posting basic information about hunting, fishing, and camping. I would like for you and your family to have the knowledge and confidence to get outdoors and enjoy making memories as I have.  Feel free to comment on specific topics you have questions about. D

Wild Game Meatball Sliders

This would be soooo good with venison!!!