Texas Sheds & Snakes

Sarge and Miller from the #Big Deer Hunt Team just got back from an eventful weekend in South Texas. They drove down to hunt hogs, but the pigs weren’t cooperating. Most people think hog hunting in Texas is guaranteed, but it’s not. Pigs can be tricky, often coming out into the open at or near dark, especially on a ranch where they’ve been shot at and worked on pretty good.

tx sarge snake

Anyway, the hog hunt quickly turned into a creepy combo: sheds and rattlesnakes. I got text updates throughout the weekend, which was ok for the sheds but freaky with the snakes. The final tally: 0 hogs, a dozen or so antlers and 4 ugly serpents, which they proudly displayed on my Yeti to freak me out (and make me wonder what’s inside the next time I open that cooler).

yeti w snakes

I enjoy shed and pig hunting, but after seeing these pictures, I’ll damn sure never do it in South Texas in April.

tx miller snake

 

 

22LR: Why Still a Shortage?

rem 22

The ammo shortage of the last few years has gotten better, but why it is it still hard to find .22 LR in some places?

Three reasons, according to this Sierra Bullets blog.

Some gun owners are hoarding bricks of .22 in basements, garages and “prepper” bunkers, fearing they might not be able to get the ammo again in the near future–or ever. The blog’s writer, Matt Reams, says this is a “minor factor.” But I think it is a big factor. People know about President Obama’s and Holder’s views on guns (should I say hatred of) and then they envision 4 to 8 years of Hillary out there. No wonder people are hoarding ammo.

Then there are the gougers who prey on the anxiety of the hoarders. From the blog: These are the guys that wait in line at Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. to buy up the daily allotment that Wal-Mart puts out at normal retail prices and then double or triple their price on the weekend gun show circuit ($75 to $100 a brick). Again, not a huge factor, but keeping the shelves looking empty which keeps the panic level higher for those that are looking.

But the main reason is good old supply and demand. Reams notes that there are conservatively 35 million gun owners in the U.S., and that number may be as high as 70-80 million. Many if not most of those people own at least one .22 rifle. Do you know any (of these owners) that are not looking for .22 LR ammo or would at least buy some if they saw it for normal prices? How many would they buy when they found it? A lot – right?

Reams points out that major ammunition manufacturers are running 24/7 on their rimfire lines, cranking out an estimated 25-30 million .22LR rounds PER DAY. And they still having trouble keeping up with the demand.

What about where you live and hunt? Can you get .22LR at normal prices, or is it still hard to come by?

 

 

Jack O’Connor on Whitetail

jack ocon white

O’Connor, one of the greatest hunters and writers of the 20th century and one of my heroes, wrote this in his 1967 book, The Art of Hunting Big Game in America:

“That crafty old whitetail buck above the fireplace is a lot smarter and harder to come by than any Stone sheep or any tiger that ever lived.”

The simple and insightful writing by men who knew how to hunt and lived it is marvelous, isn’t it? Sadly, there are few hunting writers like that anymore. Worse, there are virtually no good-paying opportunities in the outdoor genre for men to hunt and write like that anymore.

Perfect VA Management Plan: Food Plots and Let Bucks Walk

Got this from a fellow Virginia hunter who I will keep anonymous. In just a few short years he and his buddies have grown some big deer on their land.

va bucks

Hello Mike: Love the show and website. Wanted to show you a few bucks from our land. We started our club 7 years ago by leasing two farms that adjoin each other. Six of us hunt together and we are all sportsmen and stand hunt. We don’t allow dog hunting for deer (welcome it for rabbits).

Three years ago we decided to manage the 700-plus acres and let the small bucks walk. Each member can shoot all the does he chooses for the freezer. We had always gotten 1 or 2 sightings of “a nice one”; we decided we had the genetics, we just needed to let the young bucks grow and feed them. 

We have 19 food plots, most of them clover & alfalfa, but we made 6 plots with a mixture of buckwheat, corn, sunflowers, sorghum, cow peas and millet.

va buck 2

I can’t say it enough, food plots, food plots, food plots… Keep food for the game year-round. We have let the deer walk for 3 years now and what a difference!—Thanks, a fellow VA hunter

This post got me to thinking: Many hunters read all the books and watch all the DVDs about food plots and management, get all worked up, and make the whole thing too complicated. But these 6 Virginia guys have the right idea. Follow their 5 easy steps and you will have more big deer on your property in just 3 years too…push it out to 5 years and you’ll have some giants for your area.

–Scatter a good number of small food plots across your land. I say “good number” because there is no hard and fast rule; the size of everybody’s land and budget is different. Disc and plant in as many areas as you can get too with a tractor.

–Plant mostly perennial clover, but mix it up. You want and need food to grow year-round on your land to hold deer. If your plots dry up at some point in the year, the deer will leave to find food. Click for more of my quick and easy food plot tips.

–One thing I’ll add to the plan, which I am sure the VA boys do, is to leave some thick “sanctuary” covers near the middle of your land for does and bucks to bed and hide in, and feel completely safe. Establish a perimeter and do not go in there scouting or hunting. The food and the sanctuaries are the 2 most important parts of the equation.

–Shoot does. The VA guys shoot plenty because we have plenty of does in their part of the state, but be smart about it. Hunters have killed too many does in some areas, even though states have permitted it with liberal limits. You see and know how many deer are on your land—set your doe harvest accordingly.

–Step 5 is the easiest. Pass the one- and 2-year-old bucks, and by age 3 and 4 those bucks will have grown 75% to 95% of their racks and morphed into shooters. It’s amazing how many more of these big deer you’ll see in a few short years.

I’d love to profile your land tactics and your bucks; everybody does it a little differently, and we can all learn from the various ways you do it. Shoot me an email with pictures. I’ll never give away your secret big deer spots.

Creep Photo: Snakes Standing Up!

missisippi rattlers

Just in time for turkey season I ran across this blog with a series of creepy, horrible rattlesnake pictures. I guess they are rattlers, but I am not for sure…I have never gotten that close to one, dead or alive, thank God. Plus, I think they are Mississippi snakes, and they have giant rattlers down there.

The snakes standing up freaked me out. I envision those evil things seeing me down through the woods and charging forward, slithering and dancing, and if that happened I’d have the big one and for sure be done.

I don’t know squat about snakes, and don’t want to, but I texted my buddy Sarge, who has done a lot of spring habitat work in the South and who has seen and killed a lot of snakes.

“Do snakes stand up like this, what they doing?”

Sarge: “They are making babies.”

I am more freaked out now. Who hates a snake as much as me?