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Merry Christmas from Our House to Yours…

Sports Outdoors

December 2012


✮ Over 80 Stories! ✮ Fish Devil’s Lake ND ✮ Deer Hunting Tips ✮ Waterfowl ✮ CPO Reports ✮ Holiday Gift Guide ✮ Big Savings on 2013 Boats


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December 2012

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December 2012



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December 2012


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December 2012


Gregg Ritz with the Horton Havoc Crossbow. Horton Archery, LLC, Beautiful buck taken near Centerville, IA…a 205" bow kill!



Canterbury Tales Al Johnson

Harry Canterbury

DEC. 2012 • ISSUE #193 ©Copyright 1994

Published monthly by: Red Nose, Inc. Harry & Cathy Canterbury, Owners

TREMONT OFFICE 1408 Downing Ct. • Tremont, IL 61568 (309) 925-HUNT (4868) Home Office: (309) 925-7313 Harry’s Cell: (309) 360-0487 Cathy’s Cell: (309) 370-6922 E-mail: Web: ADVERTISING & SALES: Call Toll Free: (877) 778-HUNT(4868) Terri Sweckard • Accounts & Office Manager Cell: 309-241-6591 • Carroll Gentry • So. IL Rep. • 618-988-8230

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Deadline for ASO editions is the 10th of each previous month. Please send only digital media files.

Published by Red Nose, Inc. Red Nose, Inc. is not responsible for any injury received as a result of information or advice given. Contents may not reflect opinions of Red Nose, Inc.

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Now that was a few years ago, like 40 or so. We always had teal and woodies and a lot of local mallards. That was what dad always said and he was usually on the money. But the last 15 years or so things have changed a lot. Another thing dad said was that nothing lasts forever. He was a wise man and as I go down the path of life I always think what would dad have done. He has been gone since 1993, but his voice still echoes in my head. He was a guy who could get along with just about anyone, anywhere at any time. I remember so many things that he talked about every time I do something either in business or in the outdoors. On opening day back in the early 60’s the limit was one duck. I said, “Dad why are we going when the limit is only one duck?” and he said I have been doing this all my life, and I guess we are going because it is tradition. The limits are generous these days, being 6 ducks, but there are fewer ducks so I guess I go be-

cause of tradition. But nothing is better than standing in the marsh watching the sun come up and the birds flying through the mist of the morning. Again, I may not pull the trigger, but it is a tradition for this old waterfowler that I enjoy and it is because of dad. It’s nice to remember the old days and remember the times when things were so much different than they are now. Just as the talk in the blind has really changed over the years. We used to talk about our jobs, people we knew and just how things were going. Now we talk about what medicine are you taking? That new knee is working out pretty good. You know who died last month? How’s your PSA numbers? When hunting with guys who are in their 70’s and late 60’s, things just don’t go like they used too. It started out about like this; “Be careful. You may fall getting into the boat; boy my shoulder hurts; that Cont’d. on pgs. 8-9

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55......Roland Cheek’S Campfire Culture, New Crust for Christmas 56......Kirby Schupp, Gunsmithing: 58......Ray Simms, Autumn’s Multi-Species Madness 60......Tim Huffman, Losing a Big Crappie 62......Ed DeVries, BAI News 64......Jason Mitchell, Fish Posture and Strategy 66......Steve Welch, Christmas Gift Ideas for the Fisherman in your Life 68......Dr Dru Hauter, M.D. Hearing Protection 69......Gerald Sampen-Outdoor Connection, Variety the Spice of Life 71......Don Dziedzina, Never Too Soon to be Ready for Ice 72......Mike Strandlund, Hunting Rough Country Whitetails 74......ProLabs Launches New Products 75......Gary Koehler, Remote Control 76......DeerCreek Legion, Coat Exchange/Free Christmas Dinner 77......Lester Rench, Central IL K-9: Hal 78......Jeff Embry, Angry Duck Calls Embry Custom Woodworking 81......David Draper, Gear Guide: Goose Decoys 82......Aaron Fraser Pass, Changing Game 83......Suburban Birds 84......David Draper, Migration Moves into the Mid-Plains States 85......Wade Bourne, Duck Hunting without the Crowds 88......Devils Lake Perch, Pike & Walleye #’s Highest in 10 Years 89......Holiday Gift Guide 89......Revenge Is, Endangered Species Supporters 90......Energizer® Portable Chargers 91......California Knives Celebrating 20th Anniversary 92......Illinois Whitetail Trophies 93......Carlos Sadovi, Trail Camera Captures Photo of Cougar Wandering IL 95......Congrats Ladies Elizabeth Richey, Dallas Farlin & Abby Kammeyer 96......Nici Haerter, Chasin’ Big Red 98......Anita Williams, Pronghorn Buck Hunt 99......Jim Zumbo, Antelope and Artichoke Hearts 100 ....Marlene Odahlen-Hinz, Hunting Funnels and Bottlenecks 101 ....2013 Sports, Boats & RV Show & Open House Schedule 102 ....A.K. Thompson Dirt Church, What the Buck? 103 ....Kris Winkelman’s Kitchen 104 ....M.D. Johnson Modern Muzzleloading 105 ....Mary Ann Vance, Real Estate Chatter 106 ....Dan Gapen, Muskie Hunt, Big Narrows Lodge on Lake of the Woods 108 ....Drake Taylor, Holidays with Little “D” 110 ....Dave Evans, MN Memoirs: What Fish Does One Pursue, and How? 112 ....Lake of the Woods Ice…Get those Walleyes to Eat 113 ....Missouri November Deer Harvest Biggest in Four Years 114 ....Jack Hart, Recreational Ground, Part 16; Deer Heaven 115 ....Bob Hendricks, CrossRoads: Successful Bowhunt 117 ....Dan Galusha DAN’S FISH ‘N’ TALES®, Outdoorsman Gifts 119 ....Keith Norrington, The St. Louis Levee In 1945


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December 2012


Mom’s Recipe Bourbon Brined Wild Turkey

A delicious wild turkey recipe that calls for Bourbon brine and gravy, perfect for this year's Thanksgiving dinner. Bourbon Brine: 1 gallon water 1 cup orange juice 1 cup bourbon 3/4 cup kosher salt 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 medium onion, quartered 1 lemon, cut in half 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches) 2 tablespoons whole cloves 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoon pepper Turkey: 1 bone-in turkey breast half (3 1/2 to 4 pounds) 2 turkey drumsticks or thighs Bourbon Gravy: 3/4 cup Bourbon 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons maple syrup 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage 1 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly group pepper

Mary Ann Harrell

1 large shallot, finely chopped 2 tablespoons butter, divided 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 1 can (14 oz) chicken broth Instructions: In a very large bowl or dutch oven, combine all brine ingredients (give the lemon halves a slight squeeze as you add them to release juice); stir until salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Rinse turkey breast and drumsticks under cold water. Place in a large oven roasting bag; place bag in a stockpot or large roasting pan. Carefully pour brine into bag; squeeze out as much air possible. Seal bag


and turn to coat. Refrigerate 10-12 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. In a medium bowl, whisk the bourbon, mustard, honey, syrup, sage, salt and pepper. Reserve 1/2 cup glaze in a small bowl for the turkey; cover and refrigerate. Set remaining mixture aside for gravy. In a medium saucepan, sauté shallot in 1 Tbsp. butter until tender. Stir in flour. Whisk in broth and remaining bourbon mixture. Whisk in remaining butter. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened about 20 minutes. Strain gravy through a fine-mesh sieve; cool. Transfer to a storage container; cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain and discard brine. Rinse turkey breast and drumsticks under cold water; pat dry. Spray a large shallow roasting pan and rack with cooking spray. Place turkey breast, bone side down, on rack, leaving room for drumsticks. Brush with 2 Tbsp. of the reserved glaze. Bake, uncovered, at 4ooº for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350º. Add drumsticks to rack; brush with 1 Tbsp. glaze. Brush turkey breast with another 2 Tbsp. glaze. Bake 1 ½ hours longer, brushing twice with remaining glaze, or until a meat


Sat. Dec. 29 at 5 p.m. on PBS TV, WTVP Ch. 47 thermometer reads 170º (cover loosely with foil if necessary to prevent overbrowning). Turn drumsticks over for the last 30 minutes of baking. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, transfer gravy to a saucepan to reheat, stirring occasionally. Add additional bourbon if gravy becomes too thick. Serve with turkey. MAKE AHEAD: Brine the turkey overnight and make the gravy the day before, and on the day of serving all you need to do is bake the turkey and reheat the gravy. The brine can be prepared the day before using it; cover and chill until ready to add to the bag with the turkey. BT-99

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December 2012

Grace with Lambie & Carmel the goat. (Hersey the goat running up to them)

Blaytn feeding Lambie in front of cabin

Hannah feeding Lambie at farm

Hersey the goat standing on Bull.

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December 2012


TALES… Cont’d. from

pg. 5

torn rotator cuff sure is acting up; thank god we have an electric start. My back is killing me walking in this mud. You know my eyes are not what they used to be.” Al said I took my hearing aid out and can’t hear a darn thing. Are those ducks or black birds way over there? I could have slept a couple of more hours. I can’t hunt tomorrow. I have a doctor’s appointment. I can’t take this cold weather any more. Then our ATV went down in the marsh all the way over the axle. Here we are old wore out and tired and now have a stuck ATV 2 miles from our trucks and it is getting dark. Dave my hunting partner just bought it a week before. He had been driving it around like a new Cadillac proud as rooster in the hen house. Now his new toy is buried covered in river mud and I thought he was going to cry. I told him we will get it out when the sun comes up and this is what happens when you own these things. I said no one is dead yet, and this injury is a long way from the heart. Well before we got out of the marsh Big Al was stuck in the mud up to his waist and we almost lost him along with the ATV. They don’t call

him big Al for nothing. I pulled a nerve in my hand and it was swollen like a ball glove. We had an Emergency room doctor with us, Dr. Dick Fredrick, and I am glad we did. I did not know if I was going into A-Fib and if Dave was going to pass out. Like Dave says, it is what Tom and Huck would have called an Adventure. I don’t know why we keep going like this, but there is always a new experience that pops up. The cost to hunt these ducks is not going down. The work you in put in to do this sport is insane, and if you could get the people on welfare excited like duck hunters there would be no one on it. As I am writing this cold weather has finally moved in, the wind is blowing and sun is shining. I can’t wait to go to the club and do this all over again. I called Dave and he is ready to go too. We did get his ATV out the next day after working on it for a couple hours or so. We hauled out timbers and plywood, that was a feat by itself. First we had to collect it, put it in a truck. Haul it 6 miles, put it in a boat, cross a slough put it in another boat and go 1 mile. Then put it on another ATV make 2 trips and go another mile then put it in another boat and push through mud and muck 1/4 mile.

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And Big Al went down again, too. The only way we got him out was to have a boat for him to lie on and get some leverage. Dad said he should have bought me a set of golf clubs when I was 12 instead of a shotgun. Sometimes I wonder if he was right but deep down I know it was the thing to do. I would not want to miss any of this would you? And yes Dave is riding around on his new ATV like a Shriner in a parade, not like a new Cadillac and a rooster in a hen house but more like a new Chevy. Our close friend Pat Sullivan who was running for State Senator in Illinois here in the 46th district was defeated by Dave Kohler. The ads that Kohler put on TV were vicious lies. But I guess that is the way it goes. You have to be dirty to win elections these days. Illinois missed out on an opportunity to have a real good man for the job. I have known Pat since High School and there is no harder working guy. He is honest as the day is long and would have been a great asset to the Senate. But times have changed and we have become an entitlement society. The “what are you going to give me?” mentality is what it is all about now, and that is who re-


elected Kohler. The money from Chicago is who put him back in office. And I would say that on the national side of things the “what are you going to give me?” bunch prevailed. Hard work is almost a thing of the past. But beware! Someday it will come to haunt us, and that time is not too far away. Outside of Social Security and Medicare there are 107 million people on the take. That is one out of three Americans. That is the problem, not the working man paying more taxes, and it is going to get worse. Hang on with close to $4.00 gas, who knows what is in the future. In the meantime enjoy the season, not just the hunting season but the Christmas season, and I did not say happy holidays. Please support all the sponsors in our magazine. They make ASO possible. Be sure to send us your photos from the field or on the water. We are proud to help promote accomplishments in the outdoors. God bless our men and women uniform and Godspeed to getting them home. Keep your powder dry and your worm wet.


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My Mother’s Christmas Tree

by Norman V. Kelly

It was Christmas Eve, 1938, I was six years old and lived in a little cinder block house is a subdivision called El Vista out in the county of Peoria, Illinois. In all, thirteen family members lived in that house, three of them younger than me. You know it’s funny but no matter how hard I try this memory is the only complete Christmas memory that I have. The young ones, me included, talked about and worried over the fact that we had no Christmas tree in the house and Christmas was just one day away. Now how was Santa going to find our house if we didn’t have a brightly lit tree to guide him? The fact that my parents did not have money to buy a tree and all the pretty lights did not register with us. No, our only


thoughts were Santa and that missing Christmas tree. Just before dark, two men came to our door. I can still see them as they brushed snow from their jackets, smiling, wishing us a Merry Christmas. The four of us stood back grinning ear to ear because we knew that they were bringing us something very good. They were from the county relief offices and as they sat the two baskets on the floor we crept closer to see what wonders they had brought. Once they left we gathered around our mom as she lifted each apple, orange and candy cane up for us to marvel over. My what a joyous sight! Our older sister finally trundled us upstairs to bed. We slept in an unfinished attic dominated by a crooked chimney in the center of the room. The four beds managed somehow to shelter us during the stifling summers and miserably cold winters. I remember getting up and finding a fine spray of snow on our floor and beds. One vivid memory I have is waking up hearing my mom cranking ashes from the stove we had in our living room. Soon after that sound we were up hugging the warm chimney until we were certain it would be warm

around the stove when we went downstairs. Since we had no indoor plumbing at all, except the cold water faucet over the kitchen sink, winters were not exactly our favorite time of year when we were really young. That Christmas Eve our sister read Christmas stories to us and reminded us that even without a tree Christmas morning would still be a wonderful day. She told us about the food, pies and cakes and Christmas candies we would have. With those thoughts we fell asleep. Christmas morning we trooped downstairs and when we walked into the living room…we saw it! We stood together at first, mesmerized by the spectacle of our beautiful Christmas tree. Almost as if we were one we moved forward, looking at the tree then each other. My mother had covered the front door with white sheets, hanging and folding them in a truly magical way. Red and green and yellow Christmas lights crisscrossed the sheets from the ceiling to the floor in a beautiful array of colors. Strings of brightly colored popcorn zigzagged about the sheets and on each string hung silvery pieces of glittering tinsel. Behind us most of my family stood watching us as we pointed up at the candy canes that hung from the strands of lights. On the floor careful-

December 2012

ly situated in the folds of the sheets were three little sheep and the three wise men gazing into the crib of the baby Jesus.

On the wall hung four large white stockings jammed with oranges and apples and small sacks of Christmas candy. After all these years that Christmas morning is still vividly etched in my memory even down to the song on the radio, which was playing, “O Holy Night.” I looked over at my mother expecting her to be as happy as we were, but she was crying. Now why was she crying? We had our tree, Christmas was here and we were happy. Of course I didn’t understand then why she was crying…but I do now.

Norm Kelly is a retired private investigator and author of true crime and historical books on Peoria, Illinois. All of his books are available in the Peoria Public Library. Norm welcomes your e-mail.

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December 2012



As I get older and acquire more seasons under my belt I have come to realize I look forward to meeting and hunting with new people each year more than about anything else. I wrote this poem several years ago when I first experienced the strange bedfellows this sport makes. I used to hunt mostly alone or with close friends but now I value the new friends, contacts and acquaintances I have made over the years very highly. I’m glad I had the foresight to realize the importance of this aspect of hunting. I was hoping there might be a place for my prose in your fine publication. I believe it reflects the fine values of the works you publish. Thank you, Douglas Markwell of Greenup


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Celebrating 25 Years!

Come Play Bags, Golden Tee Golf & Silver Strike Bowling! Pizza • Snacks Cold Beer

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Have your deer processed by the best! Operating since 1991


Hunt Lick Creek Game Preserve, located on 991 acres of beautiful terrain in Central Illinois, with 189 CREP acres and a 55 acre lake that offers great fishing! HUNTING SEASON: Oct. 15th - Mar. 31st FISHING SEASON: Mar. 15th - Nov. 1st Pheasant, Chukar, Quail and are a full service club. ALSO...We waive the membership fee on active duty military!

(309) 347-7191 Cell: 309-645-6157

Visit our website: for prices & hours

We make 4 kinds of salami, bratwurst, Italian, jerky, hot stixs & mild stixs, deer donation information, maps & more!

H O U S E R M E AT S 217-322-4994 RUSHVILLE, IL

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Harvest Time: HT-1 Victory: VAP

Firenock has 11 Major New Products to Introduce for 2013

Long Vane/Feather Adapter

Seven new MicroAdjust aerorests, another style of Firenock, new Insert system for G nock, a new line of target bushing and point, and support systems. plus many more. FIRENOCK “0” (zero) Due to the polarity of ultra slim arrow with 0.165”-0.166” ID, we at Firenock listened and decided we need an offering for this class of arrows. By mid June 2012 we delivered the first shipment of Firenock 0 to the archery enthusiast. Which is also Firenock’s 11 style of nock Specification as below: • Complete weight with, circuit, battery, Oring, end cap, and battery: 22 grains • Dynamic weight/FOC weight is only 12 grains due to length • Brightness at 0”, 3600 LUX, or 120 yards under sun with no cloud or 1.2 miles in total darkness of visibility with a fresh BR battery • Lighting time of 45 days or 6 weeks continuous lit with a fresh BR battery, 7 days with a BL battery Firenock Style "0"; 0.166" size arrow fit list: Black Eagle: Deep Impact Easton: A/C Injexion, Injexion

Aerovane Jig Long Vane/Feather Adapter is made from CNC Aluminum then silver anodized. This adapter comes with a stainless hook screw and a brass washer as a kit. This kit added 1.5” length to what is able to be done to the standard Aerovane Jig. This adapter makes Aerovane Jig able to handle longer vane up to 5.25” and feather up to 5.25 inches. This adapter is backward compatible with all versions of Aerovane Jig. This adapter will also function with every single version of the hook and chuck set which makes it a perfect companion accessory for shop that uses the Aerovane Jig for every fletching they do, for enthusiast who can now own only 1 jig which can actually handle nearly all fletching needs. Aerovane III It is a new generation of airfoil based design vane which not only uses winglet technology but


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also utilize the most advance Aerodynamic elasticity Memory system. This is also the first vane every use 4 texture zoning base on variance of airflow travel velocity instead of vertical zoning like Aerovane II. Aerovane III is 40% lighter than Aerovane II. Aerovane III is 30% shorter than Aerovane II. Aerovane's lift torque is identical to Aerovane II but utilize a longer airfoil travel distance. this should translate to a about a 200-300% increase in rotation toque generated by Aerovane III compare to Aerovane II. AEROINSERT™-A (Angle [AS]) AeroInsert-AS is for standard size arrows, Carbon express, Gold Tip, Easton, or any 0.244” - 0.246” internal diameter arrow sizes. This is a true insert where it is completely inside the arrow shaft. Just as the AeroInsert-AA, AeroInsert-AS is also made of 7075-T5 aluminum. This insert is one of the lightest ever made weighing at 10.5 grains but it is also weight adaptable to increase F.O.C or weight of an arrow. The biggest problem with other standard inserts, by shaving off the sides to reduce the weight opens up gaps between the insert and shaft. So by doing this there is more glue needed to fill the gap resulting in more weight added from the extra glue used. Therefore there is no benefit with this method.

December 2012

With Aeroinsert-AS, the initial design was to eliminate these gaps to maintain the lightest weight for glue usage. AeroBushing™

After visiting with the top target archer, it is concluded that the current bushing system for any arrow that is larger than 22/64” is not ideal. Although Firenock already address the target user who uses the 22/64” arrow with Firenock “V” style nock, there is not a perfect solution for the larger diameter arrow like the 23/64”. With Firenock first attempt to address this issue, we offer a compression fitting full CNC machined bushing system. Unlike any other bushing system in the market, it is a reverse compression fit system, i.e. the arrow tube will be forced deform to wrap around the bushing which guarantee the bushing will be concentric to the shaft. And this bushing utilize Firenock “A” nock which is the lightest and most precise nock of Firenock. Reach the owner of Firenock, Dorge Huang:


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December 2012


From the Desk of: Rich Pearson, ISRA Executive Director

SAF Declares War on Bloomberg’s Mayors Group “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” By Dave Workman, Seattle Gun Rights Examiner The Second Amendment Foundation today came out swinging in a blistering new effort designed raise public awareness about ironies involving Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the organization of mayors founded more than six years ago by anti-gun New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Bellevue-based organization announced a new project, Gunowners Against Illegal Mayors, and it has smarmy details about members and former members of MAIG who ran afoul of the law while their organization has labored to tighten down on the gun rights of American citizens. SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb unveiled an ad-

vertisement that identifies more than a dozen former mayors who have pleaded guilty to or have been charged with various felonies, or made plea bargains. There are convictions for such crimes as bribery, extortion, embezzlement, attempted sexual assault of a child, racketeering and fraud. SAF’s Phil Watson told Examiner last week that there are more MAIG members who have had legal problems, but there was only room for 18 on the new advertisement, which appeared briefly Tuesday on The Gun Wire, and can still be seen on The Gun “Michael Bloomberg created this group to further his personal agenda of public disarmament,” Gottlieb said in a press release. “But within the ranks of his organization, our research has found several politicians who have been convicted of various serious crimes, thus making it impossible for them to finish their terms.” Gottlieb noted the irony of felony convictions, which disqualify the af-


fected mayors from owning firearms. He accused Bloomberg of pushing an agenda that ultimately could criminalize gun ownership, while welcoming people to his organization who have turned out to be genuine criminals. Among them are former prominent municipal leaders including Detroit’s Kwame Kilpatrick, already jailed for some crimes and now in the middle of another corruption trial. Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon is in trouble for violating terms of her probation, because she is reportedly behind on court-ordered payments, yet she reportedly was able to keep her $83,000 city pension and a second pension from the local school system, according to the Baltimore Sun. Gottlieb suggested that Bloomberg, who is a proponent of invasive background checks for all firearm transactions including private sales, should instead be doing background checks on members of his mayors’ group.

Gilbert Burnside "Gil" Hebard (1918 - 2012)

A lifelong Knoxville, Illinois resident, Mr. Hebard founded the nationally known Gil Hebard Guns in 1950 and operated it with his wife, Mary Elizabeth Hebard, who survives. Mr. Hebard was active in the business until mid-July when ill health confined him to his home. Mr. Hebard was well-known in his industry for earning National Rifle Association competitive pistol marksmanship titles, ach-ieved in the 1970s and 1980s. He was named to the National Rifle Association Hall of Fame in 1999 as Handgunner of the Year, and earned the Jurras Top 10 Outstanding American Handgunner Award in 1975. The champion shooter was also known for advancing the sport with many innovations. He authored articles about competitive target shooting and produced a reference for the sport, "Pistol Shooters Treasury" in 1960. Gil Hebard Guns produced annual catalogs from the 1950s until 2005. Mr. Hebard graduated from Knoxville High School in 1936, and while a student, he participated in track and football, learned to play the trumpet and led a 10-member dance band which performed regionally at hotels and events for several years. After attending Brown Business College in Galesburg, he attended Knox College for three years. In preparing to join the U.S. Navy during World War II, Mr. Hebard obtained this college degree from Carthage College and entered the U.S. Navy. He served as a lieutenant on a U.S. Navy vessel, a Yard Minesweeper, in the North Atlantic, until the end of the war in 1945. Active in scouting as a youth, Mr. Hebard was an Eagle Scout, a member of the Order of the Arrow, and credited scouting with the development of his interest in the outdoors as well Slaight's Yamaha - Polaris - Cub Cadet as character traits that 2061 Nor th Main. St. • Canton, IL 61520 benefited him throughout his life. When Mr. Hebard (next door to Walmar t) stopped participating in 309-647-5548 competitive shooting in Order Par ts Online: 1986, he and his wife beMon & Fri 8-6 • Tues-Thurs 8-5 • Sat 8-4 came devoted members of the Audubon Society and made "birding" trips throughout the nation, to Newfoundland and Canada, seeking to identify as many different species as possible. Civic contributions by Mr. Hebard were his service on the Knoxville City Planning Commission since 1976 to 2011 and the Hebard couple's recent donation of a new building, the Knox County Historical Museum, to the Knox County Historical Society. He loved Knoxville.

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December 2012


Robert Vest took 10 year old Dakota Panzica of Nixa, MO on his first deer hunt. After several days of hunting in cold and rainy weather, Dakota was able to harvest his first deer. Dakota shot this doe with a Henry Golden Boy 44 mag at 40 yards!using open sights.!Dakota has had some medical issues and can no longer play his favorite sport of football, but now he’s found a new sport in hunting and already cannot wait to go again and get his first buck!

“Thanks to ASO Magazine, you deserve all the credit for helping bring young hunters and fisherman into the woods and on the water!!! Dakota is a Hemophiliac, He cannot play football and other sports because of his blood condition. His dad is a good friend of mine and it tore him up that his son cannot play in a lot of sports. Dakota is a pretty tough kid and when Itold his dad I would take him hunting Dakota was on cloud nine. He had never fired a gun before and I had one which did not kick too hard. Because of his condition just a bruise is a big deal because of the bleeding under the skin. He took to hunting like a duck in water. He stayed really quiet (until he shot the deer) and never complained of the cold or the endless time not seeing any deer. He told me after he shot the doe that was the coolest thing he ever did. He jumped around giving me high fives and knuckle bumps and could not wait to call his dad and mom. When I put the blood streaks on his cheeks he said he would never wash  them off. This is the second young kid I have had the privilege of taking hunting and both got their first deer. The first

one you published in your magazine and the boy still has it today and cherishes it. I have killed a lot of deer in my lifetime but not even my biggest buck can compare to the joy I had watching both of these young boys get their first deer.  Watching them shake when they aimed, listening to their hearts trying to jump out of their chests, the thrill in their voices when they wanted to go and get their deer after the shot, the big smiles and the want to call their parents and tell them of their success. I believe every deer hunter remembers their first deer as I do 38 years ago. It was a doe and I hit it with my first shot from an open sight 30-30. Good thing I hit it the first time because I shot 6 more times and missed from the excitement! I believe Dakota will also remember his first deer and I pray he will have more deer hunting memories to come. Again thank you very much!”   Robert Vest Thanks Robert for taking time to share your experiences with kids as you help to promote youth hunting & fishing in the great outdoors. You create a lifetime of memories for them…KUDOS!!!

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December 2012


Congratulations to Camden Bartlett, 15 years old from Mackinaw, with his 250 pound boar he killed while hunting at Ted Nugent’s ranch in Michigan. Way to go Camden! Thanks to Mike Bartlett & Ted Nugent for the photo!


“It’s a Family Affair“ L-R: Chase Bushman, Shannon Bushman, Blake Bushman, and FIRST TIME hunters, Mitch Farney and Bushman to be, Jenny Geisler with the biggest deer of the group, a nice 10 pointer. She will fit into the family just right! Congratulations Jenny & Welcome to the Family!

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Well, the election is over and nationally the results are not what many of us wanted. Now is time for the “Arm Chair Generals” or “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” to start telling the rest of us why we blew it and what missed opportunities should have been taken. Everyone is coming out of the cracks to tell us what we should have done and what direction we need to head. Many have already started down the listing of what principals we must change and sacrifice. As for me, I look over the results and say hold the course and tighten our grip on our principals. Why? Well first we can turn to results compared to the last election. Obama received 63,476,798 in 2012 as

compared to 69,498,215 in 2008. Romney received 59,651,366 in 2012 to McCain’s 59,948,240 in 2008. In other words the Democratic candidate lost 6,021,417 votes, becoming the first President to be re-elected with fewer votes than he received in his first election. By comparison, the Republicans only lost 296,874 votes. The Republicans came out to vote, as did the

Democrats. It was the independents that decided to stay home. Still, the fact is we lost. Doesn’t that mean we need to change? Not so fast. If you look at the seats we lost in both houses of Congress, you will see that for the most part the candidates that lost are the candidates that would be classified as moderate. Our most conservative candidates won election. In some spots, strong conservative candidates replaced weak moderate candidates within our own party. The message was not the reason we lost. So how did we loss? First, look to the fact that the incumbent always has the advantage of the benefits of the office in any election against a challenger. Here are just a few examples of that advantage. Obama used the peoples plane and other transportation to get everywhere at our cost, not his own. Cost advantage over Romney who had to travel at his own cost. As we now know, he used the office to withhold information that he thought would be damaging to his campaign (what happened in Libya, the Iranian attack on our drone aircraft, General Petraeus issues to name a few). But I believe largest component to his victory was the campaign style he used, which demonized his opponent and drove independents away from voting. Disgusted by the negative campaigning, many decided to stay home rather than vote for either candidate. They were not going to vote for Obama as they had in 2008 but at

December 2012

the same time could not vote for Romney once they found out he drove around with his dog on the roof of his car, how he fired a guy whose wife was dying from cancer, how he fired hundreds to just increase his own profit, and don’t forget HE IS RICH, which means he took that money away from others. Forget that none of these are facts or at best are twists of facts. The fact is negative campaigning is best at driving people away from voting, and as seen here was very effective. At the end of the day, we must remember this was just one election. Was it important? Yes, of course it was an important election. But guess what, another election will be coming up in two years weather we want it to or not. And in four years we will elect a new President. Until then, we must look in two years to increase our numbers in Congress so we can continue to put up a fight for what we believe in and in four years must prepare to take the fight to the Presidential stage once more. Now is not the time to through away our beliefs but rather redouble our efforts to show the differences between conservatives and liberals. PS: Personally I want to take this opportunity to thank the voters of Tazewell County District Three for their continued support as I was reelected to my third term. Your strong support not only re-elected me once more but also gave me the highest amount of voter support of all candidates.

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had to win first before moving forward to the general campaign. In 2008 I received 13,199 votes. I am proud to have received 13,261 votes in this 2012 election, an increase of 62 votes. When you note that sadly the 2012 Election had 1478 fewer voters in District Three than in 2008, an increase by even a small amount is very significant. My percentage of votes also increased in each of the townships with the highest increases seen in Mackinaw Township (6.8% increase), Fondulac Township (6.1% increase) and Deer

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Creek Township (5.7% increase). While in the General Election all seven candidates on the ballet won a seat on the Tazewell County Board and some dismiss these elections as non-relevant since everyone wins, I still see value in the results. I see all votes as statements of support for a candidate and as such want to work to receive as many as possible. As far as the election results, here are a few interesting points: Final Tazewell County District Three Results 1) John Ackerman: 13261 votes or 64.9% of the possible vote 2) Andrew Rinehart: 10260 votes or 50.2% of the possible vote 3) Paul Hahn: 10254 votes or 50.2% of the possible vote 4) Russ Crawford: 10222 votes or 50% of the possible vote 5) Terry Hillegonds: 10046 votes or 49.2% of the possible vote 6) Mike Harris: 9976 votes or 48.8% of the possible vote 7) Mel Stanford: 9364 votes or 45.8% of the possible vote

John C. Ackerman (309) 635-7624


Congratulations to 11 year old Hunter Mamer of Washington for killing his first deer during first shotgun season using a 20 gauge. He was hunting with his dad, Mike Mamer on his grandparents, Carl & Linda Ross, property near Brimfield in Peoria County. He didn’t use a regular blind and was sitting on the ground against a log for about 5 minutes when this doe came walking by. He took this deer with a 60 yard shot. Thanks to Uncle Matt Mamer for emailing ASO Hunter’s 1st deer kill.


Congratulations to Tom Rayburn for taking this beautiful buck in Kansas on Oct. 29th. Tom is a good friend to ASO and Broker/ Auctioneer/Owner of Mossy Oak Properties AgriRec Land. He can line you up with some recreational property for family. Give him at call at: 888-311-LAND (5263) x101



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There are a lot of ways to legally harvest a trophy buck. Some states allow rifles while others limit deer hunters to shotguns with slugs. Many states let hunters use certain handguns for deer and almost all states encourage bowhunting. It is generally agreed upon that taking a trophy whitetailed buck with bow and arrow offers the deer hunter

the greatest challenge. That having been said, Scott Stanberry puts a much more “hands-on” approach to his bowhunting. You see for Scott to go to a store and purchase a bow and his arrows is just not in his constitution. Instead he found the perfect Osage orange branch, some coyote fur to use as string silencers, some river cane for arrows fletched with real bird feathers and assembled his own archery gear. Oh yes, Scott also knapped his own obsidian hunting points, seating the arrowhead on the arrow with pine pitch and then wrapping it with deer sinew. From start to finish Scott Stanberry built his entire archery program. For many years now hunting archers have been going back to more traditional gear. Moving away from compound bows and carbon arrows and back to stick, recurved and even long bows with wooden arrows has become very popular again. Last October 29th Stanberry put his hand-made archery gear to the ultimate test. Late in the afternoon on that day Scott headed to his favorite hunting spot. He knew he was running late when he saw deer already in the fields as he drove. He knew he had no time to waste. Once he arrived he moved quickly to gather his equipment and his “everything bag”. He put his climbing stand on his back and started off across a pasture. There was a ladder stand in place that he

December 2012

had hunted previously, but Scott had seen lots of movement 60yards west of that location. He thought this move would give him a better chance and he went up a good tree close to the trail. With temperatures in the low 60’s Scott was perspiring heavily by the time he got set. Running late and working-up a sweat getting set discouraged the hunter just a bit. However, he had spooked no deer so far and was ready to get the action started. But more obstacles lay in his path that day. Scott’s car was in the shop and just as he got set his mechanic called on his cell phone. Scott had to take the call and whispered the whole time. After finishing the call in a low voice he had to forcibly hold-back a cough that was leftover from a recent upper respiratory infection. To try to cover all this noise he grabbed his grunt tube and made a long, loud call. Then he settled in…finally. Before too long at all Scott was in the company of a spotted fawn. The young deer was obviously looking for the source of the grunt. The fawn fed close to Scott for several minutes and even got his picture taken. This eased Stanberry’s nerves and gave him a heightened level of confidence. Then he heard

Scott Stanberry use hand-made archery gear to harvest huge bucks.

the unmistakable sound of an approaching adult deer. This new stand location did not offer the hunter a very long look in any direction. He saw the deer’s nose first and then after two more steps his heart jumped into his mouth when a huge head carrying large antlers appeared. Scott told me, “I had to keep reminding myself not to look at his head.” After being in the stand less than 25-minutes Scott Stanberry now had a great 12-pointer coming his way. The buck was calm and had


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December 2012


no idea there was hunter anywhere on the property. The fawn was the absolute perfect decoy. Its obvious comfort level made the buck feel at easy, as well. The buck came to about 11-yards and stopped as if told to so by Stanberry’s subconscious demand. The Osage orange bent at full draw with perfection. The handknapped point glistened in the low sun. The river cane arrow arched as it made its quick trip to and through the buck’s chest. The buck turned quickly and disappeared into the woods. Scott stood there in his stand…dumbfounded. (That is his description). It took several minutes for him to recover his faculties enough to start texting friends and family of the recent event. Finding the first few drops of blood at the point of impact, Scott returned to his rental car to give the buck time to expire. Before long a


friend arrived to help with the tracking and hopeful recovery. They waited 2-hours before going back in for the deer. The big 12-pointer was found quickly. He scored about 155-inches and field dressed at 230-pounds. The arrow had penetrated both lungs. When they rolled the deer over for pictures Scott’s arrow was laying underneath the buck. It was an amazing hunt with some very amazing handmade archery gear. However, this hunt’s end has a very gratifying twist. Scott has a brother-in-law serving in the Armed Forces overseas. Stanberry had promised him that if he had a successful hunt and could recover the arrowhead that he would send it to him. Scott made the arrowhead into a necklace that is now worn by his relative as he serves us all. What a fitting conclusion to this remarkable story.

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Congratulations to Noel Emmert of Hudson Illinois. This was her first hunt ever. This ten pointer weighed 160lb field dressed and was taken on Saturday, October 6th in McLean County.


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The Meandering Murray’s By Bob Murray We Are What We Save “What a country chooses to save is what a country says about itself.” Mollie Beatty, FWS Director 1993-96 By this time even the least informed of our clan has come to the realization that at least for a while our sugar fixes will no longer include Twinkies and Ho Ho’s. Yep, Hostess got taken down by the bakers union and before my union buds flip, the previous management lied in the last dispute so there were credibility gaps from the get go that blew the whole thing out of the water. Blame aside, I personally I always

preferred the chocolate cupcakes; remember the ones that had the little white squiggle across the chocolate frosting top? Eighteen thousand good jobs shot in the shorts. Little Debbie, bless her, probably loves it. Maybe some economic stimulus will save them like we did for the auto industry. But…something tells me that isn’t going to happen. So…am I lobbying to save my sweet tooth? Nope! We as outdoor folks have a much more serious issue to chew on than what snack we’re going to take into the blind for the mid-morning munchies. (By the way have you noticed that

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no one has invented a silent wrapper?) We have all by this time heard the term sequestration as it relates to our disastrous position with our Federal budget. This is important to us as outdoor enthusiasts. I’ll tell you why very soon. On to sequestration. It is a system that was passed by our congress back in 1985 to address over spending (yea…right!) so that if spending exceeds budgeted funds, sequestration makes automatic cuts to all government agencies on an equal percentage basis i.e. it “sequesters” the funds. How does this affect us? Federal support for all local agencies will go down by ten percent, and at least in Illinois our beloved Blegoyobitch raped the IDNR and whatever else he could raid for Chicago land and the cronyism that has for so long abused and underfunded the rest of Illinois, from Fish and Wildlife to our school systems. So the Illinois folks are already in over their heads That isn’t what I am all about today, nor is it cupcakes. Within a month of you reading this the wheels will be put into motion to cut ten percent from our National Wildlife Refuge budget. The NWR is a national system of land and water management that is accountable for 560 refuge areas and 38 wetland districts that encompass 150,000,000 acres. There is at least one in each state and at least one within an hour from any major metro area. There are 45,000,000 visitors each year and it covers 13 time zones going far into

December 2012

the Pacific Ocean. The marine refuge areas comprise about one third of the total area. In the Midwest there are about 56 refuges including 9 in Illinois, 4 in Missouri, 5 in Wisconsin, and 8 in Iowa. N. Dakota has almost too many to count but it’s somewhere around 50. All of the coasts are heavy with refuges from the huge areas of Chesapeake Bay to a small island that is a sea lion rookery on the West Coast. The obvious benefits to clean air and water aside, the economic impact to local communities is about $4,300,000,000 (yep that’s billion). They have an employment impact of almost 40,000 jobs and over 40,000 volunteer positions that will be at risk if Congress and El Presidente don’t resolve their differences on how to spend or not spend our tax dollars. Of course it would be nice if the Senate even proposed a budget which they have not done in almost 4 years. But! Enough politics. Wait, it is more politics I am shooting for. Get on your representative and senate member to support continued funding at present levels in order to save what we value most, the nuclei of our outdoor world. There are ten basic reasons including those above. I’ll enumerate them so that when you contact your politicians you can impress them with your grasp of the situation. -The closing of refuges and visitor centers. -The loss of hunting and fishing opportu-

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nities. -Dedicated volunteers deprived of their “sport” -Loss of local revenue and taxes. -Increased incidents of poaching, vandalism and drug trafficking. -Loss of birding and wildlife observation. -Spread of invasive species. -Reduction or loss of habitat restoration and fire management. -Elimination of wildlife counts and monitoring. -Reduced reaction time to natural disasters i.e. tornadoes, hurricanes etc. Obviously some of the points are stronger than others but in total the impact would be devastating to our outdoor world. Add, presumably the same kind of cuts to National Parks and the funding that help support State facilities and Municipal preserves and the like, and we are in for our own very big “shot in the shorts” There is a cooperative organization that is spearheading efforts to save the funding for our refuges and it is called CARE or the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement. It is a Co-op of 22 hunting, fishing and conservation directed entities that include the biggies that you belong to such as NRA, DU, American Sport Fishing


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Society, Isaak Walton League, Audubon, and the US Sportsman’s Alliance etc. etc. you get the idea all of the heavy hitters. The Turkey Federation isn’t listed which seems odd to me, they have done some great stuff in the past. Seriously if you are a member find out what you can to help with your organizations efforts. If you’re not a member of anything get in touch with the political flavor you enjoy and hammer them to save our conservation efforts as well as preserving the other elements of our outdoor heritage. Remember keep it clean out there. If this budget deal goes south, there won’t be anyone out there to pick up after you. Oh!…Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Raber Packing Co. is giving away a TenPoint Crossbow with a scope from Presley’s Outdoors. The value on this crossbow is over $650. After 2nd firearm season anyone can use a crossbow to hunt deer until Jan. 20, 2013. Register each time you bring in a deer for processing or just bring in the trimmings, bucket deer for processing. Drawing is Dec 31st, 2012. (No purchase necessary) Raber does an excellent on processing your venison. Choose from more than 25 different sausage products for your deer meat. Some favorites are barbeque sticks, salami & cheese sticks, jalapeno & cheese salami, jalapeno & cheese polish sausage, just to name a few products they offer. They smoke turkey & geese too! That’s a nice holiday treat. Raber has a wide variety of excellent meat & great service. Located at: 1413 N Raber Road, off Farmington Road, across from the Peoria Speedway. Call: 309-673-0721. After Hours call: 309-657-6008.

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DEC. 2012 CALENDAR OF EVENTS For more info:

November 29-December 2 • Second firearm deer hunting season December 7-9 • Muzzleloader-only deer hunting season December 8 • Kaskaskia Cowboys Shoot, World Shooting and Recreational Complex, Sparta • Super Saturdays, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, 11 am- 3 pm December 11 • Late-winter and CWD deer hunting permits available over-the-counter from DNR Direct license and permit vendors: LicensePermitVendors.aspx December 12 • Science Series at Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center, Springfield, 7 pm. December 18 • Final day of duck hunting season, North Zone. December 25 • Final day of duck hunting season, Central


Zone. December 27-30, 2012 • First segment of late-winter antlerless and CWD deer hunting seasons January 8, 2013 • Rabbit, pheasant, quail and partridge season closes, North Zone. January 17, 2013 • Final day of Canada goose hunting season, North Zone January 18-20, 2013 • Final segment of late winter antlerless and CWD deer seasons January 20, 2013 • Final day of archery deer season January 31, 2013 • Final day of Canada goose hunting seasons, Central, South-Central and South zones

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December 2012

Preparation is Everything when Processing Deer A designated camp cleaning area, which can be as simple as an open-air shed with a concrete or wooden floor. A garage, post barn or even a lodge porch can work great.

by Bob McNally

Forget field-dressing a deer if it’s been recovered soon after harvest and weather isn’t unseasonably warm. Instead, with a truck or ATV, get the entire carcass back to a designated camp cleaning area, which can be as simple as an open-air shed with a concrete or wooden floor. A garage, post barn or even a lodge porch can work great. Hanging the carcass by its hind legs makes skinning, processing and cleanup easy. An inexpensive commercial gambrel is ideal, or you can make your own from concrete rebar or even heavy metal pipe. Lifting the carcass off the ground to chest height is best for processing. The simple way to do this is with an inexpensive boat winch fitted head-high to a solid pole or wall near the cleaning site. The cable or rope should run from the winch to an elevated spot well above the cleaning spot, with the line free-flowing through a stout, screw-in eye bolt secured well into a ceiling rafter or beam. Connect the winch line to the gambrel center. Now use a knife to pierce the deer’s thin skin just above each rear foot, then insert one end of the gambrel into each cut. Crank the winch to get the deer well off the floor, then begin skinning and removing all animal feet (a small woods saw works well). A water source with hose and spray nozzle should be available to keep the processing floor area clean. A large cooler with ice for meat should be on hand. A big bucket should be available for non-used deer parts for later dumping in a designated area far from camp. Additional processing equipment needed includes a sturdy-blade skinning knife, thin-blade fish fillet knife for boning meat, freezer paper and tape, (or vacuum sealer and bags), permanent marker, paper towels and plenty of ice. Watch Bob’s videos for more tips on how to process your deer. He processes a deer showing various ways to cut body parts and suggestions at your cleaning station. See his videos at:

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December 2012


ILLINOIS FIREARM DEER FIRST-SEASON HARVEST TOTALS OVER 72,000 DEER INCREASE OF MORE THAN 5,000 OVER LAST YEAR’S FIRST WEEKEND SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today reported that hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 72,111 deer during the opening weekend of the 2012 Illinois Firearm Deer Season, Nov. 16-18. The second portion of the firearm season will be Nov. 29-Dec. 2. The preliminary harvest total of 72,111 for the first three days of the 2012 firearm season compares with the first weekend harvest of 66,501 deer during the 2011 deer season. The top county harvest total last weekend was in Pike with 2,108 deer, followed by Fulton (2,048), Adams (1,938), Jo Daviess (1,877) and Randolph (1,665). For the entire seven-day firearm season in 2011, hunters harvested 98,820 deer. The preliminary first-season figures reported for each county include those deer taken on special hunt areas within that county as well as on private land. “Hunters enjoyed near perfect conditions during our first firearm weekend,” said Paul Shelton, IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager. “Temperatures were cool, winds were calm, crops were out of the fields, and rutting activity was ongoing. We hope hunters enjoyed their time in the field.” Approximately 60 percent of the deer taken during the first weekend of firearm hunting were bucks, compared with 61 percent bucks taken during the first weekend of the firearm season in 2011. The IDNR has issued more than 334,000 firearm deer hunting permits so far for the 2012 season. For information on remaining permits, check the IDNR website at this link: deer. Remaining firearm deer hunting opportunities in Illinois include the second segment of the firearm sea-

son on Nov. 29-Dec. 2, the three-day Muzzleloaderonly Deer Season on Dec. 7-9, and the seven-day split Late-Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season and Special CWD Deer Season on Dec. 27-30, 2012 and Jan. 18-20,2013. Hunters are reminded that 10 fewer counties will be open for the Late-Winter season in 2012-13 (see map): /hunting/Documents/LateWinterDeerSeasonMap. pdf. For more information on Illinois deer hunting regulations, check the IDNR web site at this link: The table below provides preliminary county harvest totals for the first segment of the 2012 firearm season and comparable figures for the first season in 2011. County



Adams Alexander Bond Boone Brown Bureau Calhoun Carroll Cass Champaign Christian Clark Clay Clinton Coles Crawford Cumberland DeKalb DeWitt Douglas Edgar Edwards Ef fingham Fayette Ford Franklin

1784 326 551 95 846 905 713 708 445 195 510 871 938 583 530 749 663 131 288 176 513 248 745 1322 85 852

1938 304 545 96 992 1014 668 835 580 239 472 951 909 580 502 831 701 143 299 145 605 314 728 1284 96 907

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Fulton 1775 365 Gallatin 917 Greene Grundy 298 Hamilton 748 Hancock 1412 Hardin 780 Henderson 423 Henry 532 Iroquois 481 Jackson 1476 Jasper 819 1496 Jef ferson 554 Jersey Jo Daviess 1664 Johnson 1267 Kane 28 Kankakee 147 Kendall 55 Knox 1022 Lake 6 LaSalle 812 Lawrence 351 Lee 509 Livingston 394 Logan 305 Macon 227 Macoupin 1184 Madison 606 Marion 1218 Marshall 561 Mason 443 Massac 390 McDonough 698 McHenry 214 McLean 483 Menard 272 Mercer 671 Monroe 661 Montgomery 834 Morgan 650 Moultrie 227 Ogle 740 Peoria 1051 Perry 822 Piatt 125 Pike 1917 Pope 1360 Pulaski 433 Putnam 324 Randolph 1406 Richland 524 Rock Island 638 Saline 688 Sangamon 524 Schuyler 1120 Scott 357 Shelby 1002 St. Clair 651 Stark 206 Stephenson 687 Tazewell 488 Union 1163 Vermilion 628 Wabash 171 Warren 435 Washington 754 Wayne 1238 White 606 Whiteside 512 Will 225 Williamson 1103 Winnebago 306 Woodford 550 Total 66501

2048 331 991 322 841 1515 790 485 592 549 1621 852 1540 677 1877 1309 36 170 56 1146 9 887 432 565 468 358 229 1366 686 1319 597 438 463 736 287 602 345 755 794 773 658 226 796 1093 956 135 2108 1212 439 389 1665 532 690 690 644 1225 352 940 691 247 797 619 1319 627 216 559 803 1188 602 648 260 1145 379 726 72111



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024_001.qxd 11/25/12 1:04 AM Page 1



Outdoor News MAN GETS 30 DAYS IN JAIL KILLING BLACK BEAR OCALA, Fla. — A north Florida man who killed a black bear has been sentenced to 30 days in jail. Records show that 48-year-old J.C. Calton was sentenced last week after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges. Calton must also surrender his bow to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and pay a $250 fine. FWC officers reported finding a large bear that had been killed with a broadhead arrow in the Ocala National Forest on Aug. 26. The body appeared to have been dragged by a vehicle. The officer's followed the path back to Calton's home, where the officers found a pool of dried blood and leftover corn and dog food. The officers say Calton admitted to luring the bear to his yard the previous night and then shooting it with a bow and arrow. 2 VERMONT TEENS ARRESTED ON DEER POACHING CHARGES SPRINGFIELD, Vt.— The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says a teenager is facing deer poaching charges that he and a juvenile shot a 4-point buck at night.

Game Warden Stephen Majeski says he received a report Sunday night from a landowner on Missing Link Road in Springfield that he'd seen a vehicle back into his driveway, illuminating a field on the other side of the road and then heard a gunshot. Majeski found the dead buck and waited nearby in the woods. About 20 minutes later he arrested 18year-old Bruce Wells and the juvenile, both of Rockingham. A deer rifle was seized during the investigation. If convicted, Wells will be subject to fines and restitution of up to $3,000. He could also lose his hunting license for up to three years. DEER HUNTERS URGED TO TARGET FERAL SWINE LANSING, Mich. — Officials want deer hunters to take aim at feral swine while out in Michigan's woods and fields. Firearm deer hunting season begins Thursday and runs through Nov. 30. Officials with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as the Department of Natural Resources also say farmers should shoot the wild pigs. They urge people to report sightings of the free-ranging animals. The DNR has designated certain types


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of exotic swine as invasive species. Officials say they've escaped from game ranches and caused damage in the wild. Private land owners may shoot or trapand-remove feral swine. See HUNTER KILLS MOUNTAIN LION IN NORTH-CENTRAL NEBRASKA AINSWORTH, Neb. — State officials say a hunter in north-central Nebraska has killed a mountain lion that circled in front of him while he was hunting for deer. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reported Tuesday that the hunter killed the 150-pound male mountain lion on Saturday northeast of Ainsworth in Brown County. That was the opening day of the November firearm deer season. The hunter left his hunting blind and noted the animal walking parallel to him, about 35 yards away. The mountain lion made eye contact with him and circled in front of the hunter, who then fired. An investigation concluded the hunter was justified in killing the animal. Nebraska law says someone can kill a mountain lion without a permit only if it stalks, attacks or “shows unprovoked aggression.” NEBRASKAN BAGS 2 DEER LOCKED IN MORTAL COMBAT JOHNSON LAKE, Neb. -A Nebraska hunter has bagged two deer that he'd come across while they were locked in mortal combat. The Kearney Hub reports that Todd Stolley, of Johnson Lake in south-central Nebraska, found the bucks Tuesday while hunting in western Gosper County.

Stolley says he watched the bucks struggle for a few minutes before realizing their antlers were locked. One of the deer soon died. Stolley says it was clear the other buck would never get free, so Stolley shot it. A game officer says Stolley filled his deer permit by killing the one deer and could keep the carcass of the other deer because Stolley hadn't killed it. Stolley says he intends to have a taxidermist mount the deer as they were found, locked in battle. Information from: Kearney Hub, HUNTER CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY KILLING GIANT BUCK INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana man who told authorities he fatally shot a giant buck because he was enamored of its size is charged in the deer's death. The Indianapolis Star reports 47-yearold Don Ward faces a felony charge of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and three misdemeanors in the shooting of the buck nicknamed “Nightmare'' for its size and elusiveness. A probable cause affidavit says the 10point buck weighing nearly 300 pounds was found dead Oct. 2 near Eagle Creek Park. The property owner spotted a man later identified as Ward and alerted authorities. Deer hunters can't use firearms in Indiana until mid-November. Ward could face a $10,000 fine and up to three years in prison if convicted on the felony count. No phone listing was available for Ward. Information from: The Indianapolis Star,

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025_001.qxd 11/21/12 11:27 PM Page 1

December 2012


Hi, I'm glad you came to share the morning hunt with me. You're right on time. Rosalie has a fire going in the fireplace already and we’re just scanning the morning paper while sitting in my combination sun/trophy room. My morning starts long before the sun peeks over the eastern horizon and I intend to be settled into my deer stand in time to watch this morning spectacle. Daybreak is my favorite time of the day to be on


the lake or in the woods. The beauties of Gods creation are never more obvious than they are at the time that the sun awakens the new day. Sit down a bit; my breakfast consists of a cup of coffee and a breakfast bar and I'd suggest something similar for you. Big breakfasts only lead to discomfort and unnecessary trips down out of our chosen stand. Too much movement decreases the probability of success and we can always have a good brunch following our morning outing. Now that breakfast is over we need to check the weather in order to decide how to dress. I hope you brought some warm boots; those tennies you're wearing will freeze your feet in the first thirty minutes. We'll dress in layers and carry the top layer since our walk will be about 3/4 miles from the jeep to the stand. We don't want to sweat too much on the way in since "smell" is one of the main defenses of our quarry. Looks like its thirty-nine degrees with just a slight northwest wind. That will be perfect for the stand I had hoped to hunt. The slight breeze should carry our scent away from the most prominent trail. At thirty-nine degrees we'll need our normal jeans and shirts and a down vest over those. No thermal wear should be needed. Put on your hooded sweatshirt and next put on that "safety- harness" lying there. That way the lanyard for the harness won't interfere with your hood. Next jump into those insulated bibs and we'll be ready to move out. The bibs will cover the

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buckles on the safety equipment, keeping down noise that might be created from the metal parts. Make sure your gloves are in your bibs pockets and don't forget your insulated coat; we'll carry that as we walk in. Jump in the jeep; we're off to the woods. Here we are at our parking spot. Get out quietly and don't slam the door. Grab that spray bottle of scent killer and spray me down and then I'll do the same for you. Here, let me put some coon pee on your boot soles so we won't leave a suspicious trail into the woods. I'll get my bow and backpack while you gather your coat and a seat cushion. This is a buddy stand large enough for two people but and extra cushion makes it easier to sit quietly. Be sure your phone is turned to "vibrate only". Enough whispering, lets head for the stand. Whew, we’ve just walked through a covey of quail in the dark, high, grass. That’s enough to make your heart flutter! With that surprise behind us we've arrived at the stand without undue noise and it's not yet breaking day. Something's got the coyotes stirred up on the other side of the section; sounds like some young ones mixed in with a family group. Listen; hear that siren way off in the distance? That's what stirred up the coyotes. They seem to feel a need to "sing along" with sirens and other similar noises. The owls are hooting their last night conversations anticipating the coming of the dawn. Climb quietly into the stand while I tie our gear onto the hoist ropes. Fasten your safety harness,


to the tree, about head high just as soon as you get up there. Okay, all settled in? I put out a couple of scent wicks at ground level since we've got twice as much "man-smell" as usual. We’re all buckled in and nothing now to do except sit quietly and enjoy the coming of the dawn. Listen to the sounds of the night for a few minutes. Enjoy them now as they will soon change. There's no better time of day than when the sky is just turning pink in the east and the night sounds are slowing. As the night sounds wane, the sounds of the daytime animals slowly replace them. You’re right, that was a cock pheasant crowing as he took flight on the other side of the field. Probably one of those coyotes surprised him. Not many pheasants around anymore. Partially due to the coyotes and the insecticides used these days, I suspect. It’s getting lighter as the sun rises to the edge of the eastern horizon and as of now its thirty minutes before sunrise and legal shooting hours are here. The tree branches cast faint shadows on the ground below and the first squirrel of the day is just emerging from that den tree to your left. See him wrinkle his nose? The scent wicks I left down below are soaked with acorn scent to cover our smell and he can smell them. Before long he’s likely to be up here with us; just sit quietly and he is no threat. Mostly they are just curious and will get very close unless you move. Listen, I hear something rustling the leaves in the trail off to my left. Would be nice if it was gi-

Cont’d. on next pg.

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COME… Cont’d. from previous pg. ant whitetail buck. Seems like the always come down the trail that I least expect. But alas, it’s only a raccoon coming back from his nightly foraging and returning to his den tree. Usually if you hear a deer rustling the leaves it turns out to be a squirrel or a coon. If you hear absolutely nothing, it’s a deer! After all these years it still amazes me that the little animal makes so much noise and a 150 pound deer can move so quietly. I usually hunt about three hours in the morning and the last three hours of the day. These are the times that more deer movement occurs during the non-rut periods. During the rut (mating) season the deer are likely to be moving all day and night. The doe only stays “in” for thirty hours and if she’s not bred during that period will come back in twenty-eight days later. I rarely get bored or restless during these hunts since there’s always something going on in the woods. The secret is to be warm and comfortable; then you can sit for long periods. If you’re cold or uncomfortable, you’ll move too much and you might as well go to the coffee shop for breakfast. See that smaller trail off to your left? Watch the brush way down toward the bend. Look for an ear or a nose, not a deer. It’s the small parts and movements that will make you aware that a deer is approaching long before you see the whole animal. I saw movement behind that Russian Olive

bush on the left. Might be just a bird or squirrel. There it is again a bit closer; it’s brown and definitely not a squirrel. Just another step or two and it’ll be out from behind the bush. Is that your heart or mine that I hear beating? Sure would be nice if it’s a monster buck. There, she is; a nice fat doe. Not a monster buck, but we still need some winter venison so sit very quietly and maybe she will come closer. Try to breathe normally so you don’t pass out and fall out of the tree. That would scare the deer! It’s amazing what the “suspense” does to your respiratory functions, isn’t it? Most nonhunters would not believe or understand that this is what gets us up before the sun and keeps us hunting year after year. See that forked tree on the left just ahead of her? I “ranged” that tree when we started and its thirty yards exactly. When she gets there, clears the brush, and presents a broadside shot, I will do it. --- There that will work. I’ve found her in my bow-sight and -- Thwack! That sound is the unmistakable sound of an arrow hitting the chest cavity of the deer at over three hundred feet per second. With a kinetic energy of over one hundred pounds, the arrow usually passes clear through and embeds in the ground on the other side. What’s happening now is equally amazing. She jumped from the sound of the bow discharging but has no idea that she was struck. She just


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trotted a few steps and went back to browsing. The razor-sharp broadheads of today are much more effective than those of the past. That “Rage” expandable just cut a clean 1-3/4 inch path right through both lungs and she didn’t feel a thing. She is now down and this is when the work starts. Get your stuff gathered and lower all of our gear with the hoist ropes. Be careful, it’s a bit ironic but this is the time that a lot of the falling accidents happen. When our adrenaline is running high we sometimes think that we’re close to twenty feet in the air. She is a very nice fat doe, isn’t she? As we admire the beauty of the animal it’s important to register the proper respect for her existence and give thanks to our Creator for the opportunity to share in this experience. We will take nothing from nature that does not serve its designed purpose and leave the least possible evidence of our intrusions. I’ll slit the back leg, between bone and tendon, just above ankle, to attach the leg tag from our “antlerless only” archery deer permit. Do you want to field dress her or would you rather that I did that? I thought so! Why don’t you carry our gear to the Jeep while I accomplish that task. Leave me the drag rope and some of those hand-cleaning towels, please. That’s all I should need, I’ve got my knife already. Bring the Jeep back thru the field and I’ll meet you over by the corner.

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Ok, she’s all loaded and transported home. Ready to be skinned and hung in the cooler. Rosalie already turned the cooler on and it’s getting cold very fast. It’s very important to field-dress (remove entrails) and skin your deer just as soon as possible. I left the skin on till we arrived home to keep everything clean. Skinning is very easy while the carcass is still warm. It becomes harder later. Now we’ve skinned and hung her in the cooler to remove the body heat. We could process her into roasts, steaks, and burger at any time, but I like to let the meat cool out before doing that. With the cooler temperature just slightly above freezing, it won’t take too long. Rosalie and I process and wrap most of our own choice steaks, back-straps, and roasts. We grind our own burger that she uses for many different purposes. Some of it becomes breakfast sausage and some is kept for normal burger purposes such as spaghetti sauces etc. We will take some meat to our favorite processor and have some summer sausage, bologna, and tastee-sticks made. I want some with jalapenos and cheese this year. Thanks again for coming with me on my morning hunt. Maybe we can do an evening hunt sometime so that you can experience the differences. Remember one thing – It’s not just about the harvesting of the animal; It’s the total experience of sharing the outdoors that’s important. It’s faith, Family, and Fishin (or hunting) Located on Rte. 111, 3 mi. S. of Chesterfield, or 5 mi. N. of Medora, IL

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December 2012




By: Colby Simms with Ray & Gloria Simms Photos by: The Colby Simms Outdoors Team

w w w. C o l b y S i m m s O u t d o o r s . c o m Some anglers have the tendency to become closed minded about fishing methods. They get into a groove of doing the same old thing. Sure, many alter methods here and there, but seldom truly cross over, employing methods un-utilized for their favorite species. *Crossing Over As I’ve previously written about, discussed in seminars and explained on TV shows, I’ve used techniques considered totally off the wall, to catch fish when they refuse to take standard presentations. Tried and true techniques for some species are typically never utilized for others. After a victory in a previous tournament earlier in the year, Ray Simms and I qualified to compete in the circuit’s championship that fall. Our hot bite changed on day two, and we switched gears. With the help of saltwater tactics I’d learned in Texas and Mexico, Ray and I continued landing big fish, like we did on the first day of the event. Crossing over helped Ray and I win

our first tournament circuit championship, and we’ve won numerous major tournaments in both muskie circuits and bass circuits using traditional and non-traditional tactics since. Many of you have seen many of the regionally or nationally televised Adventure Sports Outdoors TV, Fishing & Outdoor Adventures TV, and Midwest Outdoors TV shows I’ve hosted, co-hosted or guest starred in, with Ray and other Colby Simms Outdoors Pro Staffers in the last few years. As you’ve seen, many of our most successful shows involve cross over tactics. We’ve been using our highly unique Colby Simms Tackle Hatchet Shad spinnerbaits from Colby Simms Outdoors ( to take countless big muskies in the last couple of years, but they’re just as effective for bass fishing, as you’ve seen on our shows. These lures that most bass anglers wouldn’t throw because they look too big, cross over well, taking countless numbers of both largemouth and

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smallmouth bass, including some of our biggest bass each year. Crossing over works. One of the most memorable times when cross over tactics scored in a big way, occurred when I guided a multi-species trip in Illinois one early summer day. It just so happens that the cold saltwater technique that is the topic of this article, produced for me in warm freshwater. My clients and I caught lots of fish of different species, mostly largemouth bass and white bass, including several trophies. We also landed numerous smallmouth bass, white and black crappies, bluegills, red ears, green sunfish, walleyes, one drum, and two muskies. We caught most fish casting either the big Colby Simms Tackle Hatchet Shad Spinnerbaits or the smaller Hatchet Spin Spinnerbaits in traditional bass sizes, around shallow cover. But, we also landed some, dragging shiners behind the boat over deeper water. It’s common to have multiple species biting well at one time, but it’s a special day when everything in the lake is readily attacking your offerings. Talk about fun! At this point, we were all excited by the high number of different species landed. My clients decided that they wanted to try and catch every other species in the lake, with the rest of our time. Grabbing meal worms from the cooler, we quickly caught several warmouth and pumpkinseed sunfish before moving on. I was surprised we’d not caught catfish. Sometimes,

Internationally renowned fishing pro & media personality Colby Simms with a Midwest channel catfish, a species that can be taken with the North Pacific Mooch. we catch them on spinnerbaits, especially the smaller sized Hatchet Spins, but we almost always catch cats dragging shiners. I was sure we’d get catfish on meal worms, but we didn’t. We hit an area known for lots of big carp, tossed out corn and fished night crawlers on bottom. We usually also get cats this way, but not this time. We landed a huge carp, but I was puzzled by the lack of catfish action. We

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1 1 -- 8 80 00 0 -- 2 22 22 2 -- 2 25 53 37 7 w w w . Z i p p e l B a y . c o w w w . Z i pp e l B a y . c om m

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occasionally catch catfish slow trolling walleye cranks. This produced largemouth bass and whites, but no catfish. We snagged three gizzard shad in the side while trolling, which I tossed in the well. It was then I pulled this cold saltwater tactic out of my bag of tricks. We not only used it to land many big channel catfish, but one flathead and several big largemouth bass. *Mooching I learned this technique on a trip to Southeast Alaska with Ray and Gloria Simms. We fished with Colby Simms Outdoors Pro Staffer, Captain Rafael Ramirez Ruiz, in protected bays of the Pacific Ocean on Prince of Wales Island, where mooching is the best presentation for catching the mind boggling numbers of huge king salmon and giant halibut Raf commonly runs into. Mooching proved itself on the very first spot. Literally within minutes, with huge humpback whales rolling around the big vessel, Ray was fighting a huge king salmon, while Gloria and I were locked in battle with two big halibut at the same time! I was sold, and mooching produced for the rest of the trip. Mooching is primarily utilized to tempt big ocean run salmon and halibut in the far northern reaches of the world, but it’s not limited to giant flat fish and

Colby Simms of Colby Simms Outdoors with a big southeast Alaska red snapper taken with the mooching technique. salmon of the sea. Mooching takes virtually all species of cold saltwater game fish and many warm freshwater species too. We utilized other techniques on this Alaskan adventure, but nothing came close to the different, yet simple tactic of mooching. We not only landed countless trophy sized king salmon and big halibut, but we used mooching to land huge numbers of big ling cod, sole, massive red snapper, big black sea bass and other rock fish. Mooching takes the other salmon species in addition to kings. Sil-

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ver, chum and pink salmon are readily caught by mooching, and even sharks fall victim. Mooching works so well, we brought 150 pounds of fish fillets back with us. If we’d had the freezer space, we could have easily brought back more than twice that amount, mooching works that well. Mooching is a simple fishing method. Most midsized or large baitfish will work. We’ve had best success with baits ranging 48”, but those over a foot long could work for muskies and stripers, while smaller ones might produce crap- Internationally renowned fishing pro & media pies. Two hooks, one in personality Ray Simms mooched up this big front of the other, are in- salmon at the new Colby Simms Outfitters locaserted through the side of tion in Alaska. the bait, eyes pointing forward. A dropper line can be used to attach a tion with a bead to protect the knot. The great second hook, or you can tie the first hook on thing about the banana weight is most have a with a Palomar knot and leave a longer tag end chain swivel, which further reduces line twist. to tie the second hook. Baits are fished on a Rigs are dropped to the bottom and slowly leader with a quality swivel attached to the reeled back up. The offering spirals as it falls opposite end as the bait. A large banana and is retrieved upward, giving it a unique acsinker with a swivel molded into the lead is oftion that fish in many waters never see. Castten used. Slip sinkers can work, in conjuncing gear is best, and rods should be strong

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December 2012



GREAT GIFT IDEA! Country Girl Crafts Hand-Painted Ornaments A rigged bait ready for mooching, a technique that originated in the north Pacific which works well for bass and other warm freshwater species too. with a flexible tip. We found our big catfish and bass suspending about 20 feet down over more than 40 feet of water, and the shad worked great on a mooching rig. *Southeast Alaska to Southeast Missouri We’ve used mooching now to take a variety of warm freshwater species in Missouri and Illinois, but this tactic is incredible in the rich waters of the North Pacific. Prince of Wales Island is unquestionably one of the greatest fisheries on the planet. Just like our locations in the Midwest, anglers can now book guided fishing vacation packages to Prince of Wales Island, Alaska through Colby Simms Outdoors by calling 618-521-0526 or through the Alaska page of or e-mail

*Get Out There Next year we plan to experiment with mooching even more. It should work on muskies, walleyes, stripers, wipers, blue catfish, smallmouth bass, maybe more. Anglers willing to stretch fishing boundaries will always have an advantage over others that won’t. Expand your horizons to catch more fish and most importantly, get out there... Please Support these Sponsors & Friends: Colby Simms Outdoors, Colby Simms Tackle, Summit Sign & Graphics, Tyrant Tackle, Harrison's Sport Shop, Real Tree Camouflage, Flying Fisherman Sunglasses, Tackle Industries, KS Marine Products, Attitude Designs, Vicious Fishing Lines, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Motors, Mineral Area Office Supply, Phantom Lures, Outdoor Advantage, Tamer Bass Rods, Power Pole Anchors, Onyx Outdoor, Walt's Baits, AV Sales & Little Big Lure Co

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December 2012

ILLINOIS WALLEYE TRAIL HENNEPIN MARINE FALL CLASSIC IWT-2nd Points Qualifier in Albany, IL On Sunday Nov 11th the Illinois Walleye Trail hosted the 2nd Points Qualifier of the 2012-13 season on the Mississippi River in Albany, IL. The field of 29 teams set out on the Mighty Mississippi with hopes to find the right fish and find them early. The IWT anglers had a few obstacles to overcome throughout the day. This stretch of the river has a protective slot limit, which protects walleyes from 20 to 27 inches. Although it can be a heartbreaker it is great to see this fishery in such great shape. Most of the anglers spoke of several fish in the protective slot which speaks well for the fishery. In normal IWT fashion the weather was also a big factor for the teams who were greeted with temps in the upper 60s at take-off. As the day progressed the temperature began to fall and the winds were howling at 25 mph and gusting to 35 out of the south east and raining. Despite the inclement weather the fishing there were some really nice baskets of fish brought to the scales. This time of year the walleyes are mostly setup on

FIRST PLACE! Father & Son team Mica and Steve Killenger wing dams and at the dam where their food source is plentiful. The teams used a variety of tactics from vertical jigging, pulling live bait on three-ways and casting jigs and plastics. The winning team for the second consecutive year was the father and son team of Mica and Steve Killenger. They weighed a six fish basket of walleyes for 22.13 pounds earning $1,700 which included the big fish for the event an 8.27 pound walleye good for $290!!! Mica and Steve focused their efforts fishing wing dams where they pulled the Dubuque Rig on the upstream side of them dam. Congratulations and great basket of fish! 2nd-Max Actis and Mike Stuckert 6/15.00 $1,050 Also Mike and Max earned an additional $500 for the highest finishing team fishing from a Lund Boat!! 3rd-Brian Morris and Armond Pagliai 6/14.25-

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21st-John Smith and Dave Hall 0 21st-Scott Anzulas and Bob Jones 21st-Steve Jones and Corey Jones 21st-Barney Barnhart and Lindsay Barnhart 21st-Ryan Feldott and Brandon Samolitis 21st-Jim Melton and Jim Schupp 21st-Ken and Dage 21st-Joe Miller and Kenny Lookingbill 21st-Randy Carroll and Shawn O'Malley Total fish brought to the scales was 64 for a total weight of 141.54 pounds-averaging 2.21 pounds each! I would like to thank all of our sponsors for making the IWT a success!!! HENNEPIN MARINE, LUND BOATS, MERCURY MARINE, WORLDWIDE MARINE INSURANCE, DOC'S CUSTOM JIGS, STABIL MOUNT, BARB'S TACKLE AND WOODSTOCK LINE!!! Thanks for all of the support and participation this year from our sponsors and anglers. Next event is the "Caring for Kelly" benefit tournament on Dec. 9th in Spring Valley. For more information please contact Adam Sandor at (815) 955-7503 or email at: www.ilwalleyet

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December 2012


Hunter Shoots Possible Wolf in Howard Co. MO by Joanie Straub HOWARD COUNTY, Mo – A hunter in Howard County shot what appears to possibly be a wolf while archery hunting for deer and coyote on Tues Oct. 30 at the MDC’s Franklin Island Conservation Area. According to MDC, the hunter mistook the animal for a coyote, which are currently in season and for which he had a permit. The hunter reported the kill to Conservation Agent Michael Abdon. Agent Abdon took possession of the animal and turned it over to the


MDC’s Resource Science Division for identification. According to MDC Resource Scientist Jeff Beringer, the animal was male and weighed 81 pounds. It did not have ear tags, tattoos, other identification or physical signs that would show it was a captive animal. Beringer collected tissue samples and the animal’s DNA will be used to confirm the species and possible origin of the animal. Also known as timber wolves, gray wolves once inhabited northern Missouri but were gone from the state by the late 1800s due to hunting and habitat loss. While there is no evidence of a breeding population in the state, wolves are listed as a protected species in Missouri. Beringer added that MDC has never stocked wolves and has no plans to restore them to Missouri.

A hunter in Howard County shot what appears to be a wolf while archery hunting for deer and coyote on Oct. 30 at the MDC Franklin Island Conservation Area. MDC is conducting DNA analysis to determine the species, and possibly its place of origin.

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MDC Confirms Photo of Mountain Lion in Taney Co. by Francis Skalicky BRANSON, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has confirmed a photograph of a mountain lion taken by a trail camera on Oct. 31 on private land near Branson in Taney County. According to MDC’s Mountain Lion Response Team, widely scattered mountain-lion sightings have been confirmed in Missouri and likely will continue. Some sightings or photographs of mountain lions may be of the same animal, but MDC cannot confirm individual animals without DNA evidence. Evidence to date indicates these mountain lions are dispersing from other states to the west of Missouri. The most extreme evidence of this dispersal occurred in early 2011 when a mountain lion that was killed in Connecticut was genetically traced

to South Dakota. MDC has no confirmed evidence of a breeding population in Missouri. MDC receives many reports each year from people who believe they have seen mountain lions and encourage these reports. MDC can only confirm those for which there is physical evidence. Reports of sightings can be e-mailed to or by contacting local conservation agents or the Response Team at 573-882-9909, ext. 3211 or 573-522-4115, ext. 3147 or 3262. Mountain lions are naturally shy of humans and generally pose little danger to people, even in states with thriving breeding populations. Although mountain lions are protected by law, Missouri’s Wildlife Code does allow people to protect themselves and their property if they feel threatened. For more information, visit and search “mountain lion.”

December 2012

MDC has confirmed this photograph of a mountain lion taken by a trail camera on Oct. 31, 2012, on private land near Branson in Taney County.





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December 2012


FREAKY WEATHER LIMITS OPENING WEEKEND MO DEER HARVEST by Jim Low JEFFERSON CITY–Hunters checked 69,614 deer during the opening weekend of Missouri’s November firearms deer season. The Missouri Department of Conservation says weather was the most significant factor affecting the number of deer checked. This year’s opening-weekend harvest is 22 percent below last year’s figure. MDC Resource Scientist Jason Sumners says windy, unseasonably warm weather on Saturday limited deer movement, making them less available to hunters. Wind and rain on Sunday probably kept many hunters indoors or huddled around campfires, further limiting the opening weekend harvest. The University of Missouri’s Historical Weather Database recorded a high temperature of 75.2 in central Missouri Saturday. The temperature began falling Sunday morning, finally bottoming out at 24.9 degrees, with

A large-antlered white-tailed deer is shown with with the bolt-action rifle used to shoot it.

rain and wind gusting to 34 mph much of the time. In short, terrible hunting conditions. Sumners notes, however, that hunters have 34 days of firearms deer season after the opening weekend. This includes 9 remaining days of the November firearms season, 12 days of the antlerless portion, 11 days of the

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alternative-methods portion and two days of the late youth hunt. Deer taken during these days will help make up for poor hunting conditions on opening weekend. He said he expects a good deer harvest in spite of opening-weekend difficulties. Top harvest counties during the opening weekend were Howell, with 1,464 deer checked, Texas with 1,435 and Wayne with 1,430. Sumners says he does not expect a decrease in this year’s state-wide deer harvest as a result of the widespread outbreak of hemorrhagic diseases, commonly called blue tongue. He says any local reductions in deer harvest due to hemorrhagic disease are likely to be offset by an expected strong deer harvest in the Ozarks. According to Sumners, declines in deer population in localities with high incidences of hemorrhagic disease don’t always cause immediate decreases in deer harvest. Instead, harvest decreases usually trail population declines by two or three years. The difficulty of measuring losses to hemorrhagic disease makes it impossible to predict local population impacts. Hunters and landowners can adjust their harvest – particularly of does – in response to observed decreases in local

deer numbers. MDC recorded one nonfatal firearms-related hunting incident during the opening weekend. Missouri’s world-class deer hunting is the result of science-based conservation programs. The Show-Me State is among the nation’s top states for producing Boone and Crockett-class deer. Deer hunting is a treasured cultural tradition and a significant factor in state and local economies. Missouri’s more than 500,000 deer hunters spend more than $690 million directly related to deer hunting each year. These expenditures generate more than $1 billion in business activity and support more than12,000 Missouri jobs. Besides putting food on the table and encouraging healthful outdoor recreation, deer hunting is an indispensable tool for regulating Missouri’s deer population. By keeping deer from becoming overpopulated, hunters reduce the potential for deer disease outbreaks and minimize deer-vehicle accidents and damage to crops and other property. Because more than 90 percent of land in Missouri is privately owned, MDC works with private landowners to ensure good deer management and maintain healthy deer populations.


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by Dan Zarlenga ST. LOUIS, Mo -- She may be the most famous real turtle in the country, and certainly in Missouri! She’s Peanut the Turtle, the official mascot of The Missouri Departments’ of Conservation (MDC) and Transportation’s (MoDOT) No More Trash! campaign. She had a birthday party in Nov. at MDC's August A. Busch Conservation Area in St. Charles. Peanut is a native St. Louisan. She’s the redeared slider who was found in 1993 in the St. Louis area with a plastic six-pack ring stuck around her body. This caused her shell to grow into the unusual figure-eight shape for which she was named. Currently residing at the Busch Conservation Area, she travels around Missouri, helping remind us to consider wildlife and put litter in its place.

December 2012

Fall firearms turkey harvest up for second year by Jim Low

Peanut has been featured in numerous TV appearances, newspaper articles and makes an annual visit to the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. With a figure like hers, she is definitely one-of-a-kind. The party was organized by MDC Naturalist Matt Ormsby. “I decided to do a birthday party after working at the state fair and seeing how amazed young adults with families were after hearing that she was 28 years old,” said Ormsby. “Many of them remember seeing her when they were a kid at the state fair or at a school.” Call schedule a free visit to see Peanut at your convenience. The August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area is located at 2360 Highway D in St. Charles.

JEFFERSON CITY–An increase in Missouri’s 2012 fall firearms turkey harvest confirms population gains that turkey managers predicted and hunters hoped for. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Telecheck database recorded a harvest of 8,498 turkeys during the fall firearms turkey season Oct. 1 through 31. Top harvest counties were Webster with 225 turkeys checked, Laclede with 223, and Greene with 216. This year’s fall firearms turkey harvest is 1,421 more than last year, a 20-percent increase. MDC Resource Scientist Jason Isabelle credits weather in part for the jump in fall turkey harvest. “As far as production goes, our turkey population struggled through several tough years,” said Isabelle. “2008 was the wettest year on record in Missouri, and 2009 and 2010 weren’t much better. All that took a toll on turkeys and other ground-nesting wildlife.” Isabelle said the hatch of 2011 was

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considerably better than the previous four, and it bolstered turkey numbers throughout much of the state. This year’s hatch, with a statewide poultto-hen ratio of 1.7 poults per hen, was identical to 2011, which was the best since 2002. MDC sold 16,413 fall firearms turkey hunting permits this fall, an increase of 9.3 percent from 2011. Isabelle said he is encouraged by the increased fall turkey harvest and optimistic about prospects for the 2013 spring turkey season. “The last two years have provided a much-needed improvement in turkey production,” said Isabelle. “We have always known that turkey numbers would rebound with favorable conditions. In parts of Missouri, our turkey numbers are still well below where they were five or 10 years ago, but the hatches of the last two years have certainly been a step in the right direction. 2011’s hatch should result in the largest group of 2-yearold gobblers we’ve had in quite a few years, which should make the 2013 spring season exciting for a lot of hunters.” According to Isabelle, it is unlikely Missouri will ever see the numbers of turkeys it had immediately following restoration. That high-water mark was the culmination of a restoration program in which turkeys were reintroduced into areas where they had been absent for decades. Turkey pop-

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December 2012


ulations expanded rapidly until they encountered “biological resistance” from factors that limit their numbers. From that peak, turkey numbers decreased to levels that are likely more sustainable in the long-run. Isabelle says what the state’s turkey population has experienced over the course of the last several decades is not unique to Missouri. There are quite a few other states that have experienced similar trends in their turkey numbers as well. “As long as we have enough habitat, Missouri will have a great turkey resource,” says Isabelle. “But wildlife populations have peaks during periods of favorable conditions and valleys during less favorable years. In the coming years, fluctuations in our turkey population can be expected. We’ll have our higher years and we’ll have our lower years. That’s just the nature of a species like the wild turkey.” For the time being, the hatches of 2011 and 2012 represent considerable improvements in production and should serve to bolster turkey numbers throughout much of Missouri. For turkey enthusiasts, this is good news indeed.

Young MO Hunters Check 19,277 Deer by Jim Low

JEFFERSON CITY– Hunters age 6 through 15 checked 19,277 deer during the first weekend of Missouri’s youth deer hunt Nov. 3 and 4, a 17.6percent increase over last year’s figure. Top harvest counties for the early portion of the youth hunt were Franklin with 417 deer checked, Osage with 400 and Howell with 395. Resource Scientist Jason Sumners with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) credits several factors for the increase. “Increasing participation is probably the number-one cause of the continued increases youth harvests,” says Sumners. “We have had a youth hunt for more than a decade now, and we have seen fairly steady growth in the harvest since then. That’s partly because we have doubled the length of the season. But it’s also about the growth of a youth-hunting tradition. That, combined with very good weather conditions and a lack of acorns in southern Missouri, contributed to a nice bump up this year.” Missouri held its first youth hunt in 2001. The season was two days long, and the harvest that year was 6,277. For the first seven years, the youth hunt consisted of a Saturday and Sunday before the November firearms deer season, and the

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harvest averaged around 10,000 deer. Starting with the 2008-2009 hunting season, MDC added a two-day late portion in January. The youth deer season is one facet of ongoing efforts to recruit new hunters. In 2001, Missouri had approximately 40,000 deer hunters under age 16. Today they number approximately 70,000. MDC also uses low-cost permits, partnerships with private mentoring programs, an Apprentice Hunter Authorization, and outdoor-skills training to encourage Missourians to take up hunting. Last year, more than 114,000 Missourians attended 2,000-plus MDC-sponsored events with instruction in hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting sports. Low permit cost is another reason Missouri is a great place to hunt. Missouri’s $17 Resident Firearms Any-Deer Permit is a bargain compared to the average of $46.63 for equivalent privileges in surrounding states. Missouri charges only $8.50 for a resident any-deer permit for kids under age 16. Resident youths pay just $3.50 for antlerless-deer permits. The Apprentice Hunter Authorization costs $10 per year and allows people 16 and older to buy hunting permits for two consecutive years without having to complete hunter-education training first. Authorization users must buy the appropriate hunting permits. They also must hunt in the immediate presence of a licensed hunter 18 years or older who is hunter-education certified or exempt from the hunter-education requirement due


Photo By: David Stonner to age. Missouri’s hunting tradition is essential to managing the state’s deer herd. It also contributes substantially to the state’s economy. Deer hunters spend approximately $700 million on their sport annually in Missouri, generating $1.1 billion in business activity and supporting 11,000 jobs. The Conservation Department makes it easy to create a lasting reminder of a young hunter’s first deer. An official First Deer Certificate, complete with congratulations and signature by Conservation Department Director Robert L. Ziehmer, is available at To create a certificate suitable for framing, you need only fill in the hunter’s information, print the form and add a photo. Next on Missouri’s deer-hunting calendar is the November portion of firearms deer season Nov. 10 through 20. This portion normally accounts for approximately 80 percent of the state’s firearms deer harvest.

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Cody’s First Deer By Dave Nader

I began bow hunting 25 years ago and when I harvested my first deer with a bow I was hooked. My oldest son began started going out with me at the age of 5. I taught him everything I knew about hunting deer. I remember taking him to the Hunter Safety course back in 1995. I still remember the excitement he experienced when he harvested his first deer. He has been my hunting partner every since. I have recently had the opportunity to introduce my oldest grandson to the outdoors and deer hunting. Cody turned 10 this September so I talked with him about deer hunting to see if he had any interest in hunting. Needless to say he was very interested and was so excited about getting to go with his Grandpa. We got scheduled for the hunter safety course. The excitement built as the days grew closer. Cody and I went to the course and he received his Hunter’s Safety Card, we were set. Finally the day had arrived and Cody


was so excited he could hardly sleep the night before. We headed out the morning of the first day of youth season. We arrived at our hunting ground and headed to the blind. After getting set up in the blind we talked all about what he needed to do if we saw a deer. About 45 minutes passed and I could tell he was going to lose interest fast. So I broke out the chocolate milk and donuts. I looked to the west out of the blind and there was an opportunity walking our way. I whispered to Cody there is a deer coming. At first he couldn’t see the deer, but once the buck raised his head it was all so clear to him right where the deer was. I whispered in his ear when the deer put his head down to slowly stick his gun out the window of the blind. At this time the deer was about 20 yards, the buck then turned and started to walk away from us, so I grabbed my grunt call and gave two light grunts and the buck did a turn-about. The buck was now standing at 10 yards looking right at us. I told Cody, don’t move a muscle, we held our breath and stool very still. The buck relaxed and turned broadside. I whispered again to Cody to put the bead right behind his shoulder and squeeze the trigger. He did it, the deer was trotting around the corner with a near perfect shot put into him. Cody

December 2012

Cody Demler with his first deer taken during youth firearms season with his proud Grandpa, Dave Nader. CONGRATS CODY!!! Thanks to his other Grandpa, Steve Demler of Cuba, an ASO friend who works at ASO sponsor Alexander Lumber in Canton. didn’t even realize he had hit the deer until I told him he made a great shot. I couldn’t keep quiet for the next half hour. I told he had to give the deer time to expire. Then it was time to track the deer. We walked the trail following the blood trail and the deer was about 45 yards from where Cody had lowered the boom on him. The buck was a year and half old 5-

pointer, but Cody counted 8. I must have missed 3 points when I counted. The rest is history; I now have the privilege of having two faithful hunting partners and know they will carry on a tradition long after I’m gone. I also look forward to introducing my other three grandkids to the great outdoors and in hopes they will help carry on this great family tradition.

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December 2012


Todd Staley from Morton shot this 4.5 year old buck near Canton in early November. It measured 150 inches. “I shot it at 5 yards from a wooden blind I built, which sits 4 feet off the ground. Field dressed at a 185 lbs. four & half yr old buck. He was coming to one of my bean food plots I planted in the timber. Last 3 days I have seen non-stop chasing and bucks fighting.” Congrats to Todd and thanks to ASO buddy Mike O'Bryan for sharing the photo! Let Mike find you a place to hunt and fish. Call 309-635-8901 & see:

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“I was in my ground blind on October 16th. It was a cool morning. No activity until about 7 a.m. and three small bucks came out close to me. I heard grunting and bleating going on behind them. Then two does came running out and were looking back. I knew there was a big boy coming but never dreamed he’d be this big. He walked out chasing the does around. I drew back at 20 yards. No shot. I drew my bow back down and he saw me! I just closed my eyes and waited for him to follow the does. Sure enough he did. He stopped again at 15-20 yards and I got a good shot on him, he went about 40 yards. This big guy weighed 230 lb. field dressed, grossed out at 178”. I was shaking for at least 6 hours. Biggest buck I've ever seen or shot. I'm thankful.” Congrats to Kyle Dunn of Lake Co., IL! Thanks to ASO sponsor Greg Dickson, owner of Triangle Sports in Antioch for sharing Kyle’s trophy with us!

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THE MORNING IS MINE By: Wayne Baughman

IL Deer Harvest Up What a difference a few days make. Bow deer season during much of October was slow with erratic weather conditions that ranged from the mid 30s to 80 degrees that kept deer movement minimal. A full moon at the tail end of the month further minimized daytime deer activity. The switch in weather to more seasonal temperatures accompanied with periods of light rain has spurred the rutting process and deer harvest reports are re-

flecting it. Statewide as of the 4th of November harvest is up 10 percent. Here in Pike we are down about 4 percent but that is rapidly changing and I believe we will offset the decline in short order. I have talked with numerous individual hunters as well as surveying several of the well established outfitters in the area. Attitudes are quite positive although the early season results were disappointing. One outfitter told me his hunters had been seeing some outstanding racked deer but they just wouldn’t come within shooting range. His hunters had tagged a number of does and he does expect buck harvest to improve. I visited with one of our major taxidermists Jeremy Priest. Thus far he has received some 50 heads from across the area for shoulder mounts. The bulk of the heads fall in the 150 to 160 scoring range. He does have a couple that rank above that number. While I was in his shop a hunter came in reporting he had just harvested a buck that would likely score at 170 or better. I had a gentleman from Arkansas hunt my farms for a week. He has seen several nice bucks that would rank in the 150 to 160 bracket. He had the opportunity to

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Sam Ferguson and his father Bill on the right congratulate Bob Hakala on his beautiful buck harvested at the Ferguson’s Buckeye Creek Outfitter property in Pike County. The estimated score for the deer was 160. The Hakala family has hunted at Buckeye Creek for 14 years, always with great success. nail one classic buck but to much brush in the shooting lane deflected his arrow and the deer didn’t hang around for seconds. My wife and I were dinner guests at the

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December 2012

food plots and good habitat development. It is a real Mecca for deer as well as many other species of wildlife. Over the past several years Coble has hosted deer hunting parties for many of his friends on the property and there were a dozen hunters there the night of the cookout. These guys came in from Michigan, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Tennessee as well as Illinois. They had 3 nice bucks hanging from a tree limb that again would rank in the 150 to 160 class. They were tickled pink with hunting results and the potential to take a home trophy. Incidentally while I was doing my survey of hunting results I checked with Scott Andress, owner of our local archery shop. Scott is a real upbeat guy and is positive about the outlook for this years hunt. During the course of our conversation I asked about sales of crossbow. He said his sales to date are up about 30 percent with the only problem being the delay in the State extending the use of crossbows by anyone throughout the archery season. I reminded him that we are in Illinois and progress here is an eight letter word. Prior to the start of the hunting season I was quite concerned that summer long drought and outbreak of EHD could have a big impact on deer numbers and harvest results. I am pleased that the effect of these two negatives is not evident thus far.


BAG A ROOSTER THIS FALL by Jason Houser The Basics Pheasant hunting requires some advance planning. First, you will need to do a little scouting; it will pay off in the long run. Study the pheasant counts of the Department of Natural Resources that are put out late in the summer. Study this and do some of your own scouting. Drive around early in the morning or late afternoon watching for birds on the roadsides. When you find a promising area, talk to the landowners and ask for permission to hunt once the season opens. Make sure you are properly outfitted. General pheasant hunting clothing includes a blaze orange hunting jacket or vest with a large pouch to carry your harvest, brush pants or chaps, and a blaze orange hat so your hunting partners can see you. Comfortable boots with good ankle support will make the day more enjoyable. Learn to take your time when shooting. When a rooster takes flight it sounds like a locomotive just ran next to you. Even vet-

eran hunters lose their composure at this time. If you make the mistake of rushing your shot, the bird will fly away untouched. If you do manage to hit the bird at close range there will not be much left of it. Statistics show that more than 3 times as many pheasants are taken in the first half of the season as in the last. That is because most hunters want to get the young birds that are easier to find. Hunting pressure is normally heaviest on opening weekend and tapers off as season progresses. Once the young birds are educated hunting becomes much tougher, but the competition for hunting spots decreases greatly. For this reason, many experienced hunters prefer the late season. Because the birds’ behavior changes so much over the season, your success will improve greatly if you learn to change your tactics with the season. Early Season Early in the season you can find pheasants most anywhere, including grass fields, cattail sloughs, cornfields, roadside ditches and brush draws. They may be in light or heavy cover. Public hunting areas, though


crowded, produce a lot of birds. Here are some early season tips: Wait until the initial opening day barrage is over, and then go back through areas that have already been hunted. Birds flushed by hunters move between different fields throughout the day. Look for dense or hard-to-reach cover that would discourage all but diehard hunters. For the close range shooting likely in early season, most hunters prefer improved cylinder or modified choke shotguns with high brass size 7 or 7 1/2 shot. Late Season Many veteran pheasant hunters would rather hunt in late season than fight the early season crowds. Although the birds get smarter real fast you can still have good success in late season. Here are some late season tips: Look for wetlands and other very dense cover areas. As the season progresses, birds seek heavier cover. Try to find offbeat spots, such as a small clump of trees and brush in the middle of a section. Most hunters are not willing to walk this far to work a small piece of cover, so these spots sometimes load up with Cont’d. on next pg.

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Cont’d. from previous pg.

birds. Check any road ditches with dense cover, such as cattails. Ditches give the birds easy access to the gravel needed to grind food in their gizzard Work grassy ditches, sloughs or other brushy cover adjacent to newly harvested crop fields. If you watch as a cornfield is being picked you will often see birds flying into these areas. Keep noise to a minimum. Pheasants rely heavily on their hearing to detect danger and will often flush hundreds of yards ahead if you slam your car door or yell at your dog or hunting partner. The birds get jumpier as the season progresses. Noise is not as big of a problem on windy days. For long range shots often required late in the season, use a modified or full choke shotgun with high brass, size 4, 5 or 6 shot. Row Crop Tactics Today’s clean, well manicured row crop fields are less than ideal for pheasant hunting. The birds often begin running out one end of the field soon after hunters walk into the other. In years past, hunting a row crop field was much like hunting a block of grassy cover. The crops were much shorter and

there was a lot more weedy ground cover than is the case today. Pheasants held much longer, so one or two hunters could work the field and have a good chance of flushing birds at close range. If you are lucky, you may still fins an occasional dirty field; if you do, it will probably hold more birds than nearby fields. The open rows in today’s fields make perfect running lanes for pheasants. The only practical way to hunt such a field is by driving it with a group of hunters and placing posters at the end. Some hunters who own good bird dogs refuse to hunt clean fields because they are not conductive to good dog work. Even a well trained dog finds it hard to resist chasing a rooster down an open crop row. But in early season, when a high percentage of the crops are still standing there may be no other choice, because that is where the birds are. Do not ignore crop stubble, especially if it has scattered weed patches. The stubble makes a prime feeding area and is usually high enough to conceal a sneaking rooster. Hunting row crop fields is most productive the first and last two hours of the day, although they may hold birds anytime. Avoid hunting these fields in windy weather. The rustling leaves are so noisy that you may not hear the birds flush. And you


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probably will not be able to hear the footsteps of your hunting partner or dog. Here are some more tips: Try to drive manageable strips, no more than two hundred yards wide. It is very difficult to pin birds down in a huge field, no matter how many hunters in your group. Small groups can work big crop fields by concentrating on edge rows, always pushing them toward the corners. Do not attempt to hunt a row crop or stubble field unless you have posters at the end, spread no more than 60 yards apart. Posters must remain silent as possible. Otherwise the birds might flush too soon. Posters and drivers should wear blaze orange vests and jackets when hunting crop fields. This way, they can see one another more easily in the tall cover. Drivers should walk into the wind; this way, the birds are less likely to hear them coming, and dogs can pick up scent more easily. A favorable wind also helps the dogs hear running pheasants. Position drivers 15 yards apart, and make sure the middle drivers stay a little behind the outer drivers. Drivers should zigzag to keep the birds from stopping or doubling back. Flushers generally work best in open crop fields; pointers may have a hard time pinning the birds down. In cut fields, birds often hold under fallen leaves and stalks, where pointers can pin them down more easily. 3335 East Enos Springfield, Illinois


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December 2012



BY WOO DAVES TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THOSE WINDY DAYS When you decide you want to become a bass fisherman I want to give you some advice; plan on spending a lot of windy days on the water. You can spend all week doing anything else but fishing and it will be just beautiful. Then the first day of practice or the days you get to go fishing arrive and hello Mr. Wind. It seems to never fail and I have heard many fisherman over the years say I’m staying home its too windy today. To me this is a real big mistake because I have had a lot of my best days on the water in really windy conditions. Wind does a lot of things to improve your odds of catching bass and the clearer the lake the better your odds go up. Many tournaments I have fished over the years I will see boats heading to the calm side of the lake. When I see this I feel they have already eliminated themselves from the tournament or at least highly raised my chances of doing better. I’m going to head

my Mercury powered Nitro Z8 to the windy side of the lake. One thing for sure when you are fishing in the wind make sure you have a 36 volt Motorguide Tour Edition trolling motor. This way you can fish all day without worrying about loss of power. I know especially in the spring the water is going to be warmer as much as 10 to 15 degrees a lot of the time. I know the bottom is usually going to be stirred up creating algae for the bait fish to feed on. Hey it’s a no brainer, what do the bass feed on, bait fish. You always hear that bait fish are blown up on the windy points and coves but the real reason according to Garp is they find an easier meal and that is what all fish are looking for. A mud line can be an

awesome place to catch bass. Many three day tournaments I have followed mud lines right down the river or lake moving from day to day and catching bass right along. I remember a tournament on Santee Cooper where I was catching bass around cypress trees and my second day partner raced me to the tree line we had fished on day two. I stopped a mile down the lake where the mud line was and caught a nice stringer of bass. That evening he told me well they weren’t biting and strangely enough I forgot to tell him on day two the fish were moving with the mud. Another good factor is you can fish with heavier line in windy conditions. I might fish Excel 17 or 20 lbs. line in the same place, when earlier it was calm I had to use 10 lbs. test line. When the wind is blowing the first thought that comes to my mind is to use either a spinnerbait or a chatterbait in chartreuse/white in stained water or blue/shad in clearer water with a Zoom white pearl super chunk. Next thought is an XPS Nitro Minnow jerk bait in Ghost Shad for clear water and a Chrome Clown for either clear or stained. Reaction baits seem to be the major ticket in windy conditions and with these lures it’s hard to go wrong. If you catch fish in an area go back through that same area slower the next time and you will probably be surprised at what you missed the first time. I also like to drag a Carolina rigged Zoom Lizard in green pumpkin/chartreuse tail with a heavy sinker and a long leader. This way I can cover shallow to deep water to determine what depth the fish are feeding in. But as a rule 1 to 6 feet


will produce the best. Another good place to look is at the back end of creeks with flats that the wind is blowing on and here is where a lipless crankbait like an XPS Rattle Shad in blue/chrome or red with black stripes works well. I like to stay in 4 feet of water and make super long casts and either burn or yo-yo the bait back. Always as with any plug you use it is a must to replace all hooks with Mustad Ultra Point Triple Grip hooks. You simply don’t lose fish on these hooks. Look for bait fish on these flats and you’re in business. I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and please thank a service man or woman for their dedication to our country for a job well done. Visit these websites: and Good luck fishing and may God bless.


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By Babe Winkelman 20 AUTUMN SMALLIES IN 26 CASTS

The smallmouth bass are definitely one of my favorite species to catch. Pound for pound, they pull harder and longer than any other freshwater predator. They'll fight deep, they'll jump with highflying spirit, and they never, ever want to give up. As much fun as it is to battle smallies, it's equally rewarding to hook one. It means figuring out the fishing pattern based on the season; what mode the fish are in (pre-spawn, spawn, post-spawn, mid-summer, early fall, late fall); where are they located; what they're eating; why they're eating it, etc.


Of all the smallmouth "seasons," none compare to the late fall pattern on North American rivers. At this time of year, the bass have abandoned shallow, fast-moving water where they've enjoyed high oxygen and plentiful summertime crayfish buffets. Instinct drives the fish to migrate from these warm-weather haunts to seek deeper, slower-moving water where they'll feed heavily before winter (and also spend the cold months in the same deep areas). In addition to cooling water temperatures and shortening daylight, there's another "trigger" that sends smallmouth bass out of the shallows and into the depths during late fall, and that's crayfish. They love to eat them, but in the autumn crayfish get less active and develop harder shells. The crayfish buffet line is closing. The bass need something to replace that protein, and baitfish are the answer. So smallies go where the minnows are, which is in deeper water as bait moves out of shallow backwater sloughs and flats and down the breaks into deeper river channel "holes" or reservoirs above dams where water depths are typically greater. Notorious schoolers, smallmouth bass will really stack up on late autumn spots if the bait is there and they have adequate cover, oxygen and agreeable current. The fish intuitively know that winter is coming

on, and that they'll be less active to conserve energy through the cold upcoming months. So they feed heavy, then they feed again, followed immediately by more feeding. You get my point. The lucky angler is one who encounters an active, hungry school of big smallmouth bass right in the middle of a fall feeding frenzy. I was one such lucky angler recently. From experience I knew roughly where to look for fish, which I did initially with my sonar unit. I was downriver of a feeder creek that held large numbers of big smallies all summer long. I knew those fish, and others from the main river, would migrate to deeper water downstream (and also adjacent to a large backwater slough brimming with wild rice and other vegetation). The minnows would be there, surely, and so would the bass (hopefully). While surveying the underwater world on my sonar screen, I came across a small hump in the middle of a mid-river basin. The surrounding depth was 19 feet, and the hump came up to about 16. The hump wasn't big. About the size of a Volkswagen bug. And just above it, a giant school of big "hooks" lit up my sonar - along with a cloud of suspended bait visible on my screen too. I pitched a marker buoy near the spot (but not directly on top of it), moved off a cast's distance and slowly lowered my anchor. From that spot I cast the simplest of baits: a small white maribou jig beneath

December 2012

a slip bobber set at 12 feet. I'd throw it upstream and let the current take it lazily over that hump. The water's movement made that maribou pulsate and to the fish, it looked like a distressed minnow tumbling in the slow current. On my first cast I caught an 18 incher. On my second, a 19. A modest 16 fell to the third cast. It was then that I started keeping count. With the exception of six dud casts, I hooked, caught and released 20 near-consecutive smallmouth bass between 15 inches and just over 20 inches long. All from a spot the size of a small German car. Was it fun? Oh my goodness yes. Did I go back the next day and do it again. Um, yeah! Will I give you the GPS coordinates? In your dreams. But I will say this: Get out there before winter and locate some latefall smallmouth of your own. You'll probably have the whole fishery to yourself, and if you find an active school like I did, you'll make a memory that you'll never forget. Good Fishing! Babe Winkelman is a nationallyknown outdoorsman who has taught people to fish and hunt for more than 25 years. Watch the award-winning "Good Fishing" and "Outdoor Secrets" television shows on Versus, Fox Sports, Texas Channel and many local networks. Visit for air times where you live and be sure to check us out on Facebook.

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December 2012


Get Vertical

by Daniel Vinovich Getting Vertical sounds cool doesn’t it? It kind of sounds like something you would hear on a ski slope or on the X-games. Just think how cool your kids will think you are when they hear you say, “We’re hitting the water and going vertical.” Just hearing that makes me want to fire up my 225 Merc. and start jumping barge waves. My mind says yes, but my body says no

more doctor bills. Webster defines vertical as, “directly overhead, or in the zenith; upright or perpendicular.” That sounds a lot safer than when I hear the athletes talk about it during the Winter X Games! Getting vertical is, by far, the best way to get on a school of fish that have been pushed deep with the arrival of winter or following a cold front. Schools of walleye and other game fish tend to seek out the deepest holes in any lake or river when the water temperatures fall quickly or as winter approaches. Along with the fish seeking out deeper water, their metabolism starts slowing, often causing them to become lethargic and almost to the point of not feeding at all. When this happens, your presentations must follow suit. Get deep and get slow. The best way to accomplish this is to stay right on top of them until you find out what they want. Think of it like ice fishing without ice. You locate fish, drill a hole, and present small jigs and spoons very slowly to entice a hit. Although it sounds simple, Mother Nature will make sure you are fighting a 20 mile per hour wind and a 7 mile per

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hour current, thus, making it next to impossible to put a 1/4 ounce jig down in 25 feet of water. Now I said next to impossible, not impossible! Boat control is the key to making a good vertical presentation a great fish catching tool. The key word here is control. Lets see what Webster has to say on that word. “To have under command; to regulate to check.” Unlike the ice, the boat is always moving. Whether from the current or wind gusts, you are not going to stay vertical unless you keep the boat in check. To do this, you must first have the proper equipment. You will need a good set of electronics such as Lowrance products. These

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units, when equipped with a trolling motor transducer, work quickly to update you on depth and where the school is holding. The second piece of equipment you will need is a good electric trolling motor. I see hundreds of boats on the water each year, and for some reason, they have the biggest power plant they can get on back, but an undersized electric on the bow. Now I cannot figure that one out since 95% of their time spent out fishing is in the bow on the electric motor. I guess what I am trying to say is get the biggest electric trolling motor you can afford, even if it means you have to drop a couple of horses off the back Cont’d. on next pg.

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Cont’d. from previous pg.

to do it. I run a 36 volt Minn Kota on the bow of my Targa. I have a good trolling motor and good electronics. Now I know I am forgetting something. Oh well, let’s get on the water. “The wind is picking up, as is the current, and I am having a hard time keeping vertical. Turn up the speed on the trolling motor,” my fishing companion says from the back of the boat. “It is up,” I said. I know what I forgot, a good set of batteries and charger. Don’t laugh. I have seen even the most seasoned veterans go dead in the water. All of the best electric powered equipment in the world is not worth a hoot without the juice to keep it running. Be sure to have your batteries checked before every season and, for heaven’s sake, invest in a good charger. The nice thing about a high end charger is that they have LED read outs on the charger that enables you to monitor the batteries’ status throughout its charging phase. Most also come with a feature which enables me to keep it plugged in without fear of boiling my batteries


process information so I don’t have to sent from the transworry about them ducer so fast. So, over the hard water slow down and times. back track your The last necessary trail until you see piece of equipment them again before is the jigging rod. If throwing your you spend money marker. The first on one rod in your marker works as a boat, it should be reference. Be prethe jigging rod, not pared to toss anotha limber rod and not er when the first a soft rod, but an 85 fish is boated. million modular Now, let’s rod. I have access to go one step tougher all name brands of and throw in a nice rods, but to this day, cross current to an I swear by my Bass already windy day Pro Shops Walleye Cold and Walleyes just go similar to that Signature Rods. I hand and hand!! found on a river. use the 7 foot model River fishermen call vertical presenwith a fast tip, sometimes I swear I tations, slipping the current. can feel a walleye just swimming Slipping is a technique in which you past my jig! run upstream of the school and posiVertical jigging is done by using tion your boat in the path as to pass your trolling motor to offset the over the top of the stationary school. wind and current. In a lake, it is fairThis is done by pointing the bow ly simple since wind is the major of your boat into the wind and element to contend with. Here is a matching the current speed. I mark a little tip to remember. When you are school of fish using a visual referrunning and spot fish on your elecence point on the shore, such as a tronics, they are behind you in your bridge, water tower, or maybe a fallpath of travel. Electronics can only

December 2012

en tree, along with the specific depth the fish were holding on my electronics. This sounds quite primitive with the electronics available to today’s fishermen, but I guarantee it is quite effective. Think of your presentation this way. Say I strip you down to your underwear and send you outside in the frigid cold. Now, I let you get good and cold........then run past you holding a cheese burger. Chances are pretty good you are not going to move, but say I walk by you very slowly with a cup of hot chocolate holding it so still the steam fills your nostrils, 9 times out 10 you will grab the cup of hot chocolate......Make sense? With a little practice, you too can fish one of the deadliest presentations known to the Winter Walleye world. So hey dude, LETS GET VERTICAL! I have already started filling the book for ICE OUT MUSKIES. So, if you want on board, you better call. I have filled all my dates for the last 3 years for some of the hottest muskie action the year has to offer. You can call me at 309-267-8309 or e-mail me at See ya’ on the water!

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December 2012


SHOT PLACEMENT NETS THE 22ND LARGEST GATOR TAKEN This hunter turned an out-of-town business trip into a trophy-gator hunt.

By Darrell Sterling I am always on the lookout for an excuse to book a hunt, so when my boss told me he needed me at a conference in Orlando, Florida, I immediately thought of alligator hunting in the Everglades. The first step in any successful hunt is research and being a member of Safari Club International (SCI) helped me to determine what size of gator would be worth going after. SCI’s record book has a place for bronze, silver, or gold entries. The gold standard requires you to harvest a gator 11 feet 6 inches or better in length. I decided I would try to find an outfitter who would give me a reasonable chance at going for the gold. My flight to Orlando was delayed due to massive thunderstorms. I didn’t arrive at the airport until after midnight. I still had a two-hour drive ahead of me to get into gator country before I could get some sleep. I awoke groggy, jetlagged and thinking I’m not in any condition to go hunt a 900-pound predator. I met my outfitter, Scott Swartley with Custom Adventures in the hotel lobby. Scott told me it wasn’t necessary for me to bring my rifle, that he would supply me with one. I hesitantly agreed and when Scott handed me a little .22-250 Rem. to shoot with I was really regretting my decision. “It’s all about shot placement,” said Scott. “If you

don’t hit the right spot you aren’t going to kill the gator.” The area we were hunting had little fingers of land stretching for miles in various directions surrounded by water on both sides. The mouth of a pond had been baited with the carcass of an old hog and the gators had been making a mess out of it. I had specified the size of gator I was looking for and they had found a giant gator and were saving it for me. The trick now was to track down this monster. Although we saw over 12 to 15 alligators in a short time we couldn’t find the one we were looking for. “That’s him over there, he just surfaced,” said Scott. The gator turned and looked straight at us and then went under water. Scott cursed and said, “It’s over.” “Won’t he resurface?” I asked. “Yes, but it could be quite awhile,” said Scott. “We can keep looking, lets go down a little farther.” “Why,” I asked. “Isn’t this the one we want?” Scott reluctantly agreed, but explained we would have to wait the gator out. I laughed letting him know that I’m a whitetail hunter and that sitting all day

would be no problem. An hour or so later the gator reappeared, but once again it was looking straight at us. I was told not to shoot unless he turned sideways. He never turned, instead he sank back under the murky water. “They don’t get that big by being dumb,” said Scott. He wanted to trick the old monster so he and his assistant walk back down the finger leaving me there on the bank. Scott said the gator would feel the vibrations of them leaving and would settle down allowing me a shot opportunity. I didn’t like the idea of me being alone laying down in a prone position with water in front of me and behind me, but Scott reassured me that the gators around the area where used to being hunted and where more afraid of me than I was of them. He obviously didn’t know how scared I was. He reappeared an hour later not more than 40 yards away. He was broadside, but his eyes were barely above the water. I waited patiently for more of him to surface. The shot placement had to be perfect on such a small kill zone. I was sturdy, well practiced and when the target appeared I squeezed off a round. A second later Scott was next to me laughing, telling me congratulations. I hadn’t realized he had low crawled back and was that close to where I was. I wasn’t sure of my shot. I just saw water splash up after the shot then nothing. Scott was sure he was dead. He went and got his very small boat and was going to go out and get my gator. I bravely told him I would wait on the bank. He paddled out and found a small sandbar in the middle of the channel. He then got out of the boat and used a treble hook to throw out to


hook my gator to pull toward him. If my gator was not dead Scott soon would be. I told Scott again I wasn’t sure about my shot. He laughed at me and assured me he was dead and for me to relax. Thank God Scott was right. He hooked the gator tied a rope around his head and paddled back to the shore from there we dragged the 900-pound beast to shore. My trophy measured close to 12 feet long and currently is ranked the 22nd largest alligator ever taken according to the SCI record books. I was late getting to the seminar, but man did I have a story to tell!

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pace to the stand got my sweat glands producing the negative scent elixir not welcomed. Those nine exiting turkeys would have pitched down close to my stand possibly offering a great bow shot opportunity had the morning entry into the woods followed normal protocol. On the stand, the sun shone brightly, the north wind limited my stand choice but you make the best of the circumstances dealt you! It was great to be in the woods in one of my favorite places on earth. The dry leaves, freshly fallen, provided the unmistaken sound of movement. A quick scan toward the sound revealed nothing but the sound did not lie! Finally the source was identified as a coyote headed northwest and already out of bow range but what about the other sounds. I turned slowly as the sound had stopped to scan to the east but could pick nothing out. Suddenly, the additional coyote moved but as quick as flash, he too

by Dave Herschelman

The heavy sound of beating wings c r a s h i n g through the limbs tree signified the quick exit of roosting turkeys pushed off of their roost by my intrusion into the woods. Although early to my hunting area, the wait for the first few rays of light peeking over the eastern horizon gave my aging body the opportunity for a short nap in the warm cab of the truck, creating a later than scheduled entry into the woods, thus the exiting turkeys! The faster than normal


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was out of range! Another missed opportunity, my day was not going well! A small tree thrashing about to the northwest could only mean a buck was working it over! Sure enough an eight point buck was building his neck muscles and marking his territory on the trail on the middle of the flat area between two big valleys running north south. His entry was north to south which is not the typical movement on this ridge but the wind was from the north and was to his liking in heading south. He finally finished his exercise and moved forward slowly, within minutes the same spot revealed a larger buck examining the earlier rubbing activity. The larger buck moved slowly and methodically as a mature animal will do, his movement mimicked the first animal until they were in close proximity. While this scenario was developing a mature doe was approaching from the southeast on a line of travel putting her downwind of my location and ultimately over my travel path to my location. No matter, I did not think the bucks would offer a shot and I was not





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sure I would even shoot at the larger of the two if the opportunity was presented. The smaller buck took notice of the female and ambled toward her. The elder soon followed although in a nonchalant manner. Soon both were within range and the bigger buck appeared larger than my earlier assessment! I strained with my pitiful eyesight to

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December 2012



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December 2012

make out his headgear while the doe was now directly downwind of me and stomping her hoof to elicit some sort of response from her suspect intruder and to warn all deer of the situation! Her activity slowed the two bucks’ movement but they had not gotten into the danger zone of my scent which I consider anything in the same semicircle on my downwind side. What seemed like a remote possibility of getting a shot now was in a do it or let it fall apart moment! I must confess, the larger deer now seemed well worth shooting and the shot was point blank but almost straight down! I drew slowly so as to not alarm the deer particularly the old doe still down wind and upset. Her presence has actually made this scenario possible as the two were fixated on her activity and her presence gave them cause to deviate from their normal travel route. I released the arrow with immediate feedback as the broad head damaged the spine and he dropped in his tracks! My late entry into the woods, my inability to get a shot on the coyotes and the earlier decision to let the deer go on without pursu-


ing the shot opportunity were now history. I followed my normal routine reserved for these moments in giving thanks and reverence for the life taken! My first eight point buck had

been taken from this same stand nineteen years earlier. The old stand provided the best case hunt scenario based on this wind. Honestly, all of the skills learned in the woods aided in my success but

Danny Gardner’s Pronghorn Hunt


as is often the case – Good Fortune when all the pieces come together was with me today! I can only hope nineteen years from now; I will be able to relive this experience!

Congratulations to Danny for taking this beautiful antelope in Colorado on a hunt with his Uncle. The Outdoor Dream Foundation helped him get his tag, and set him up with a rifle. Danny, now 13, from Lindenhurst, was diagnosed with AML Leukemia when he was 10 years old. He had a stem cell transplant 3 months later. Since then he has been doing well, and has developed a huge interest in hunting, fishing, shooting and the outdoors. The smile on his face says it all! Special thanks to Greg of Triangle Sports in Antioch for helping to make this hunt happen and to his Uncle for making the trip out with Dan! Greg outfitted them with some equipment and the gloves came in very handy on that bitter cold morning. Thanks for sharing with ASO & keep Danny Hunting & Fishing!

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December 2012

The Osprey Trip at Punta Allen

By Ruben Encalada I work as a tour operator manager, my company is called Maya Amazing Adventures, so part of my job description states that I have to visit every single place we offer to our customers, so this time it was a visit the small fisherman’s town of Punta Allen, located in central Q. Roo, about 100 miles from Cancun. It was a long weekend in all of Mexico due to our celebration of “El Dia De Los Muertos” so I had the opportunity to bring my family along, my wife Patricia and 9 year old daughter Ana Paty were really looking forward to joining me on this research trip. We left our hometown Merida, to drive to Punta Allen. Along the way we stopped a couple of times to take pictures of deserted beaches, different types of birds, and the first osprey (Pandion haliaetus) of the trip. It was standing by itself overlooking the ocean, because of my position I only was able to photograph it

from behind. Once we arrived at Punta Allen we checked into Grand Slam Fishing Lodge, a luxurious little spot about 1 mile before Punta Allen. Our host Capt. Miguel Encalada (who happens to be my uncle) was there to welcome us. This hotel has everything a fisherman needs: the best guides in the region, accommodations with satellite TV, air conditioning, Jacuzzi. For me the most important part of every single trip is the food and here it is excellent!! At lunch with Miguel, we enjoyed fresh fish caught that morning. Then I went to take pictures of the pool area and the beach. Spotting a huge osprey nest about half a mile away, I called my wife then we went closer to the nest, it was awesome, there was a couple of ospreys.

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One came out of the huge nest, flew away then landed in a branch a couple of feet above its nest. We took more than 100 pictures. I had never been so close to one, not to mention a couple. The sun started to vanish so we headed back to take a well deserved shower and meet the fly fishermen that were arriving from their fishing trips, I met a couple from New York City and a couple from San Francisco, they had been there for a week fishing every single day. They came to catch bonefish, snook, tarpon and permit. That’s why the hotel is called grand slam: This is one of the few spots where you can find the 4 species. Everyone met, a delicious dinner was served of seafood soup and shrimp and we went to bed early. Friday a really cool boat ride was planned for us. The morning started with a great breakfast: “Huevos a la Mexicana” or Mexican style eggs. After eating we took off in the boat, with guide Victor who is actually a fishing guide. He is very good taking us first to a place where migratory birds usually gather. After this spot we headed to spot some sea turtles. Along the way I spotted another gigantic osprey nest, I asked Victor to turn towards the nest. Again we saw a couple guarding the nest, one always stayed while the other flew around us. We turned a corner in the boat and I took a couple of pictures of the mating. Victor said that he has rarely seen them mating, he said they usually are defending the nest when they have young in it, but never mating. In our third encounter with osprey we got to witness a new view.

From this spot we could see the nest we photographed the day before. Next we went to find sea turtles, it did not take long until we saw one, it was a beautiful loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), we took some nice pictures every time it came out to take air, we stayed there for about 20 minutes, it came out 5 times. My daughter was going nuts, it was the first time she had ever seen a turtle like this. We were all happy she got to see the sea turtle. Next we headed towards the snorkeling area, and jumped in the water. It was great swimming around coral reef, seeing many fish. It was a nice hour of refreshment after almost 3 hours under the sun. Next on to a place called by locals the natural pool, it’s in the ocean near a beach about the size of a football field with clear water that is no deeper than 4 feet, it was very relaxing. We then headed toward the middle of the bay and started following a small pack of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates). Great photo moment of them playing around us while we and other boats followed them. It was a great day on the water, but time to head back to the hotel, we were hungry even though we ate snacks and sandwiches on the boat. This night, we ate like crazy, shrimp salad, lobster and crepes for desert, it was wonderful. Then had a good night’s sleep. Up early Saturday morning to photograph the ocean sunrise. This place has a great sunrise view guaranteed every single day. Next I had my last encounter with osprey.

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December 2012



w w w . N a t u r a l G e a r. c o m

About 6:30 a couple of them started to fly around us. One was carrying tree branches and flying towards the nest we photographed on Thursday. I had never seen one building their nest. We headed towards the nest again, then another couple came, so I had 4 of them flying around me, it was awesome. I tried to get the 4 in the same frame but never managed to do so. I was able to capture 3 in one, but it turned out blurry. I took 100’s of really excellent photos and did get a good one with 2 in the same frame. I then had an accident on the beach, as the osprey were flying near, I ran to get more photos at a better angle. But in sandals I tripped on a tree root and fell hard. My camera was full of sand, and I got pretty scratched up. Sunday after breakfast, we packed to head back home. We will return to enjoy many more activities we didn’t get to do on this first trip. As a tour operator on this scouting trip I must say it was a suc-

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Jigging Spoons for Late Fall Catfish by Brian Barton

As most deer hunters are enjoying the peak of the whitetail deer rut in their home states, and anticipating the opening of deer firearm seasons, it is the time I like to concentrate on targeting large schools of catfish. As the water temperatures drop back into the mid 50’s, the catfish across most of the U.S. begin to school up in large numbers while searching out their wintertime staging areas. This is the time of year to abandon traditional catfish tactics and opt for a jigging spoon. The jigging spoon is one of the most exciting ways I’ve found to catch fall catfish. My spoon of choice is the Bojole Flutter Spoon. The Bojole spoons come in a variety of sizes and colors and have been catching bass, stripers, and other game species for years. I

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began trying these spoons for cats a few years ago and have had some tremendous success. For catfish, the white spoon with red trim is by far the best. I have caught a few cats in extremely clear water on the nickel-plated spoon, but red-white tops all other colors. The hook sizes range from 2/0 to 5/0 with the 3/0 being the best for cats in most situations. However, if the fish are real aggressive or larger in size I will opt for a larger 4/0 or 5/0 spoon in some cases. Now that I have introduced the spoon lets discuss how to fish it for catfish. The Bojole spoon is most effective in open water with little or no wood structure. If the spoons become hung up in rocks they can sometimes be easily freed, but if they become entangled in a tree or brush it’s much more difficult. The ideal setup for spoon fishing is slow to moderate current flow over a sand or gravel bottom. At this time of the year most catfish will be relating to deep holes or depressions and the bases of the river channel ledges. Both these locations can be fished easily with a spoon provided


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the angler uses the proper technique. For fishing holes or depressions in the river bottom where some current is present the best way to fish is by anchoring about one boat length upstream and to the side of where the fish are holding. Once anchored, move to the back of the boat and cast across the current at a 45* angle to the hole. Allow the spoon to fall to the bottom then raise the rod tip 18” to 24” lifting the spoon up off the bottom. Then allow the spoon fall back to the bottom on a tight line. The fish will most often take the spoon as it first begins to fall back to the bottom. You must watch the line closely as the spoon falls, often a slight twitch of the line is all you will see with non-aggressive fish. Aggressive biters will often hammer the spoon hard enough to pull the rod from your hand if you don’t have a firm grip. For targeting cats staging at the base of the river channel, vertical ledges, or a single piece of isolated cover I prefer to fish vertically while holding the boat directly over the fish with my trolling motor. This is also the method you would use in areas where no significant current was present. Locate the fish and or cover to fish on your electronics. Then lower your spoon down to the level the fish are holding. Begin by rapidly jerking the spoon 2 to 3 feet upwards and allowing it to fall back on a tight line. As before watch the line closely for strikes. If this does not produce try what we call the “twitch in place” technique. Simply hold the spoon at the desired depth and slowly twitch the spoon vertically only moving it a few inches. Pause the spoon allowing it to remain perfectly still for a few seconds after each series of twitches. A catfish like many other fish cannot resist a lure with erratic movement planted directly in front of their face without striking. Many times the fish will strike while the spoon is motionless. In situations where cats are hesitant about striking the spoon, try adding a small lip hooked

December 2012

Wow look at the 75 lb. monster Brian caught a few weeks back. Great fall fishing on the Tennessee River. minnow or piece of shrimp. Often a small creek shiner, chub, or threadfin shad is all it’s needed to convince Mr. Whiskers to take your offering. If using shrimp only add a nickel size piece to the hook. If the bait is too large it will inhibit the natural action of the spoon. You only need enough to provide some scent to get the fish to bite. Having the proper equipment for fishing a jigging spoon is critical. Traditional heavy rods, reels, and line will not work. I start with a 7 foot medium action Silver Cat B-n-M rod. These rods have an extremely sensitive tip, but still have the backbone to land a big cat. These rods are brand new to the catfish market. I have used many different types of rods over thirty years of fishing, but I have yet to find a better quality catfish rod than the Silver Cat Series. Whether using spinning or bait casting reels I always spool them with Vicious Pro Elite fluorocarbon fishing line. The sensitivity of this line allows me to feel even the slightest bites when fish are not aggressive. For most situations I use 10 pound test. I will go to 17 pound test in areas with snags or if the fish are larger in size. When going to 17 pound test I often add a ¼ ounce split shot weight to help get the spoon down to the bottom. One of the greatest joys in fishing for me is always trying new things. Bass and Striper anglers have used the Bojole spoons with great success for years. Like many of my “non-traditional” cat fishing methods, Jigging spoons are just one more way to add variety to your cat fishing. Under the right conditions they will produce as good if not better than traditional methods. For more catfish tips, techniques, and guide trip information visit us at: w w w . b r i a n ba r to n o utd o o rs . c o m

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December 2012



District Sergeant responded to the scene and spoke with the hikers who stated they thought they heard a man yelling that he fell in a hole and needed help. After Rescue and Fire Dept were dispatched, a large number of personnel hiked the area extensively and were unable to locate anyone.

SEPT. 2012 d s o g

SEPT 5th Region 1 A CPO was invited to speak to a group of students aboard the Living Lands and Waters classroom barge. The barge is used in as many as sixty river clean ups in multiple areas each year. The barge also serves a dual purpose, having classroom facilities on it used to educate students in many aspects of the outdoors. A CPO spoke to 40 Moline High School students about the duties and life of a Conservation Police Officer. The CPO was invited back the next day to address a 60 student class. A CPO stopped a minivan traveling through Rock Cut State Park doing 45 mph in the posted 20 mph zone. The local area woman, angry at being stopped, justified the excessive speed in an impatient tone of voice, telling the officer she was lost and had a migraine headache. Additional violations discovered during the stop included an expired registration sticker and an obstructed windshield. Upon returning to the vehicle to address the violations with the impatient woman, her 6 year old son yelled at the CPO saying, “It’s about time!” suggesting the officer was not working fast enough. While patrolling along the Mississippi River, a CPO located two subjects in a parked vehicle. Approaching the vehicle, a billow of smoke came from the vehicle when the door was opened. Both occupants were found to be in possession of cannabis. A District 6 CPO was driving back to his residence from a detail at the World Shooting Complex

in Sparta. The officer stopped at a rest area on I55. As the officer exited the rest area building he was stopped by an individual. The individual asked to talk to the officer. The officer assumed the man had a hunting or fishing question, but he was wrong. The individual turned out to be a truck driver who was a recovering alcoholic. He had been alcohol free for four years, but had fallen off the wagon. He had parked his truck in at the rest area the night before and proceeded to drink a large amount of whiskey. The individual wanted to be admitted to a hospital. The officer contacted the local Illinois State Police district. ISP contacted EMS who responded to the rest area. The officer made sure the man’s semitruck was secure and informed ISP the truck would remain at the rest area until the trucking company made arrangements to have it removed. A District 6 CPO found a fisherman in possession of an 11-inch smallmouth bass and an 11-inch largemouth bass near Marseilles on the Illinois River. The possession limit is one bass and bass must be a minimum of 18-inches to keep in possession. The largemouth bass was still alive and was released back into the river. The smallmouth bass was dead. Enforcement action was taken. A District 6 CPO located an individual fishing without a valid sport fishing license at LaSalle Lake. During a routine check through the Illinois State Police, it was determined the individual was wanted on a warrant out of Livingston County. He was transported to the LaSalle County Jail. A CPO was involved in a search for a person who hikers reported hearing cries for help. The CPO and

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Region 2 A CPO arrested a fisherman on a warrant for aggravated battery (battery causing great bodily harm). Bond was $3500. A Grundy County Sheriff’s Deputy requested the assistance of a CPO on a traffic stop. The CPO responded to the area. The deputy received a complaint of three subjects driving around and shooting doves from the vehicle/roadway. After observing a vehicle matching the description from the complainant, he initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle. Upon searching the vehicle, he located a loaded, uncased handgun and an uncased air rifle. Interviews were conducted by the deputy and CPO. One subject admitted to shooting a dove off a power line from the vehicle. Enforcement action was taken for hunting with the aid of a conveyance, transportation of an uncased gun, hunting from the roadway and hunting without a hunting license. Both guns were seized. Region 3 A District Sergeant and CPO, while on boat patrol

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on Lake Shelbyville, stopped a boat with Improper Display of Registration operated by a Villa Grove man. The man failed Field Sobriety Tests and was arrested for Operating a Watercraft Under the Influence of Alcohol with a .152 BAC and was transported to the Moultrie County Jail. A CPO cited a St. Joseph man for having three crappie over limit and five crappie under 10-inch limit on Lake Shelbyville in Moultrie County. A CPO cited a Decatur man for hunting doves with an unplugged shotgun on the Shelbyville Wildlife Management Area in Moultrie County. The man was also issued written warnings for No HIP number and No Free Site Permit. After finding a boat adrift on Lake Shelbyville with no operator, CPOs discovered that the last registered owner had sold the boat to an Argenta man. The boat, which had been tied to shore, drifted away during the night. A CPO located the new owner in Coon Creek campground. The man was issued two boat written warnings and a citation for Failure to Transfer Certificate of Number. A CPO stopped a truck near Lake Mattoon that was losing brush they were hauling onto the roadway. The driver a Mattoon man had a Suspended Driver’s license. The CPO transported the subject to the Shelby County jail and issued him citations for Driving While License Suspended and No Proof of Insurance. Cont’d. on next pg.


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POLICE… Cont’d. from previous pg.

While working Clinton Lake bank fishermen, a CPO arrested a female subject that was wanted on a warrant out of McLean County. The female subject was transported to the Dewitt County Sheriff's Office for booking. While investigating a raccoon complaint, a CPO found the offender to be wanted on a warrant out of Piatt County. The raccoon complaint was unfounded, but the CPO transported the wanted subject to the Piatt County Sheriff's Office for booking. A CPO investigated a two boat accident that occurred on Clinton Lake. The operator of a house boat struck a fishing boat, causing the fishing boat occupant to be thrown into the water. Nearby boaters rescued the subject. Clinton ambulance transported the subject to John Warner Hospital in Clinton. The house boat operator was found to be under the influence of alcohol and was arrested by the CPO for OUI. The operator had a .22 BAC. A CPO investigated a leaving the scene of an accident complaint at Mascoutin State Recreation area. This subject was eventually found and received a citation. A CPO arrested a fisherman at Clinton Lake for unlawful possession of cannabis. Miscellaneous alcohol and fish citations were also issued. Region 4 A CPO used sonar on Carlyle Lake to help look for two missing boaters. Additional officers, along with COE Rangers, continued searching for the missing subjects on the surface.


While checking a group of three dove hunters, a CPO found two of the hunters to have more than three shells in their shotguns. One hunter did not have a plug in the gun and had five shells in it. The other hunter had a plug in the gun, but had floated a fourth shell in the carriage. Citations were issued. A CPO was patrolling dept lands in the metro east area. He observed two white males fishing Cahokia Canal on the east side of Route 203. Their vehicle was parked in front of the sign stating no trespassing, hunting or fishing. Both subjects had valid sport fishing licenses. The CPO asked if they were aware that they could not fish this area without the permission of the landowner and they stated no. One of the males stated that a Fairmont City officer ran them off of one of the canals yesterday. They both received a citation for fishing without the consent of the landowner. A CPO investigated information related to baited dove fields in St. Clair and Madison Counties. A CPO and District Sergeant checked approximately 45 dove hunters at a hunting club south of Carlyle. Several violations were cited. A CPO was working dove hunters on opening day when he located five hunters on a freshly baited field. The subjects had broadcasted wheat in a mowed grass field prior to hunting. They even had the partial bag of wheat with them when the officer made contact with them. Region 5 CPOs responded to a complaint of shot hitting a

December 2012

house from hunters in a private dove field in Perry County. The field was loaded with cracked corn. The case was referred to US Fish & Wildlife for the violation of hunting doves over bait. A CPO and District Sergeant recovered a stolen vehicle at the Mt. Vernon Game Farm. The vehicle was reported stolen a few hours earlier. A CPO wrote citations in Fayette County to two goose hunters; one for using an unplugged shotgun, the other for no waterfowl stamps. A CPO issued a citation to a dove hunter for shooting across a roadway in Clay County. A District Sergeant and CPOs worked a dove field in Jackson County on opening day and discovered multiple violations including unplugged guns and licensing violations. Multiple citations and warnings were issued. A CPO cited a Carterville man for dove hunting with a gun capable of firing more than three rounds. A District Sergeant and CPOs assisted Region IV at Carlyle Lake searching for two men that had drown. The search covered approximately 6-square miles of water and there was no known location where the accident had actually occurred. Grid searches were conducted and nothing was located with sonar. SEPT 12th Region 1 While checking anglers in Winnebago County, a CPO encountered two women (an 18 year old and 20 year old) sitting along the bank of an area lake. While conducting a check for fishing licenses and creel limits, the CPO noticed a cannabis pipe inside an open tackle box tray. Further investigation resulted in the discovery of alcohol containers at

the scene. The 18 year old woman was charged with consumption of alcohol by a minor and released to a parent at the scene. The 20 year old woman was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia/ possession of less than 2.5 grams cannabis and lodged at the Winnebago County jail. Receiving a complaint about subjects at the Steel Dam, a CPO responded to the area. Watching a group of fishermen for 3 1/2 hours, the CPO observed the subjects repeatedly taking fish with a casting net. Catching the subjects as they left after dark, the CPO seized 3 smallmouth bass (2-undersized), 6 white bass, 16 catfish, 3 bluegills, 5 carp, a crappie and 62 freshwater drum. Five citations were issued to the group of fishermen. In June, a CPO received a complaint of tires dumped in, and around, Hennepin Canal State Park. Over the following two months, in excess of 400 tires were dumped in the area. Talking with local businesses, the CPO was able to locate a possible violator. Interviewing the violator, the CPO received a confession. Search and arrest warrants were executed on the subject and his residence. The violator was charged with four Class A misdemeanors for operating an illegal tire storage facility and for dumping waste tires. The case then led to two other individuals where three additional Class A Misdemeanor charges were filed. The Illinois EPA is working with the CPO in an effort to clean up three illegal tire storage facilities (approximately 1000 tires). A District 7 CPO located two subjects trespassing on Ameren Cilco power plant property. One subject was fishing, while the other was not. During an inventory of fishing equipment, cannabis less than 2.5 grams and a smoking pipe were located.

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December 2012


Multiple citations were issued with a mandatory court date. A CPO in Henderson County worked the annual Labor Day event at Lake Argyle State Park in Colchester. Numerous traffic issues were encountered over the three day event. Traffic problems occurred after tropical storm Isaac dropped four to five inches of rain on the event. Region 2 CPOs were on patrol in a marked 19' patrol boat, issuing a recreational boater a citation for a life jacket violation, when three waterfowl hunters on Dunns Lake shot at some geese 19-minutes after shooting hours. All three hunters were issued citations. A CPO arrested the operator of a watercraft for OUI on Nippersink Lake. The operator's BAC was .107. The boat was stopped after passengers onboard attempted to place beer bottles on the Route 12 bridge as the boat passed underneath it. The two passengers were issued citations for pollution of the waterways. Additionally, five other boaters were issued citations for pollution of the waterways at the same bridge also known as “beer can bridge”. The bridge has several signs posted prohibiting the activity. Region 4 A CPO investigated a personal injury boat accident on the Mississippi River in Calhoun County. A CPO interviewed two subjects in Jersey County for taking frogs before season. Two bags of frog legs were seized. One subject admitted to taking them early and the other subject admitted to cleaning them. CPOs worked the Stump Lake area at the opening of teal season in Jersey County and issued the following citations and warnings: Three counts of failure to maintain separate bag limits. Three counts of unlawful take prior to legal shooting time. Two counts of unplugged shotgun. One count of no state waterfowl stamp and no HIP. A CPO received a tip from a subject in Greene County regarding digging ginseng out of season. He interviewed the landowner and obtained information on the subject digging on their land. He interviewed the subject, who admitted to digging gin-

seng out of season. He seized .63 dry pound of wild ginseng as evidence. A CPO was patrolling Adams County when he observed a truck parked in the middle of the road with the passenger and driver doors open. He observed a subject throw something in the bed of the truck. Two subjects got in the truck and drove away. The CPO stopped them and asked them what they were doing. During the stop, the CPO observed turtles in the bed of the truck. He also observed a pistol in the holster and long gun case in the truck. The two subjects admitted to shooting turtles with a rifle and pistol. Neither had a fishing license. A CPO received information of a subject unlawfully taking deer in Adams County. Several interviews have led to the subject admitting to possession of another person’s deer permit, taking an antlered deer without a permit, and falsification of a deer harvest report. Region 5 A CPO cited a Jefferson County man for driving his vehicle off the road in Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park. He also found two Franklin County men hunting doves in a closed area and had an OUI disposition at Rend Lake. The subject received 12 months supervision and was fined $934.00. A District Sergeant caught a Jefferson County man operating an ATV on private property without permission, operating on a railroad, operating on the roadway, and the man increased speed to try and evade upon a signal to stop. Appropriate enforcement action was taken. A CPO received a disposition on an Indiana man hunting in White County last deer season. The man was given a $250 civil penalty, a $500 fine and forfeited a mounted 17 point white-tailed deer. CPOs made several cases on the opening of teal season at Rend Lake. They cited four hunters for shooting teal prior to legal hunting hours. Hunters were also cited for shooting Wood Ducks out of season and shooting a Cormorant illegally. One hunter also had an unplugged shotgun while waterfowl hunting. On opening day of teal season, CPOs wrote 6 citations for shooting before legal hours and one CPO wrote 8 citations for shooting before legal hours.












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A CPO and District Sergeant worked the Carlyle Lake walk-in hunting area. The CPO wrote 6 citations for shooting before legal hours and one citation for using an unplugged shotgun. SEPT 19th REGION 1 For the second week in a row a District 6 CPO found a fisherman in possession of two short bass near Marseilles on the Illinois River. The man had a 10-inch smallmouth bass and a 10-inch largemouth bass. The possession limit is one bass and bass must be a minimum of 18-inches to keep in possession. Both fish were still alive and were released back into the river. The day before, in the same location, the CPO located a fisherman in possession of a 5 1/2 inch smallmouth bass. Enforcement action was taken. A District 6 CPO responded to a possible deer poaching case. A county deputy had received a call about a carcass being dumped on an adjoining property. The deputy located the carcass, took photos and determined who had dumped it. Being unfamiliar with wildlife laws, the deputy then called for a CPO. The CPO met with the deputy and looked at the photos. From the photos it was unclear to the CPO if it was a deer, but he could determine it was a large animal. The CPO and deputy went to residence of

the individual who had dumped the carcass. The individual had just returned from an elk hunt in Colorado. On the way back, the hunter had not kept the meat cold enough and the meat had spoiled. An investigation is underway at this time. A District 1 CPO patrolled Carroll County and Pool 13 of the Mississippi River on opening day of the early teal season. Written warnings were issued for various boating and migratory bird hunting violations. A District 1 CPO responded to a TIPs complaint in Whiteside County for unlawful goose hunting. The complaint was unfounded. A District 1 CPO is investigating the unlawful operation of motor vehicles in/on the river bed of the Rock River in Whiteside County. A CPO completed 7 registration/title courtesy inspections of citizens who acquired various watercraft without procuring title. These inspections provided registration/title, power of attorney and bill of sale paperwork along with instruction to facilitate proper registration and title completion. A CPO, in Winnebago County, responded with local law enforcement agencies to Rock Cut State Park Equestrian trail loops in search of a 60 year old man walking the trails naked indecently exposing himself. Two women on horseback called 911

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POLICE… Cont’d. from previous pg.

upon seeing the man on the trails. A District 7 CPO spoke with a male and female kayaking down the Kickapoo Creek in Peoria County. The kayak was not registered and neither subject had a life jacket on board. Enforcement action was taken. REGION 2 On July 28th, CPOs responded to a fatal boat accident on Petite Lake where a 10 year old child was run over by a boat and killed. The operator of the boat who hit the child was taken to the hospital and submitted a blood sample. The blood sample revealed a BAC range of .09-.13 and cocaine was detected in the sample. The subject was indicted via grand jury on multiple counts of reckless homicide and felony OUI. A CPO investigated an individual in Spring Grove for illegally possessing Western Hognose snakes. The subject was issued one citation and two written warnings for permit violations. REGION 3 A CPO, while patrolling Walnut Point State Park, checked a Philo man who was coming off the lake from fishing with expired registration on his boat trailer. A check of his driver’s license revealed he was wanted on a Champaign County Falure to Appear Warrant. The CPO arrested the man and transported him to the Douglas County jail. CPOs were on Lake Shelbyville checking teal and early goose hunters. They saw a blind shoot what appeared to be a large duck. Upon checking the blind, they located a Moweaqua man who admitted to shooting a Mallard Drake. The CPO issued the man one cita-


tion. REGION 5 CPOs wrote four citations and multiple warnings to teal hunters on Rend Lake. The men shot a Wood Duck out of season, shot before legal shooting hours and had license and stamp violations. A District Sergeant and CPO cited a man for shooting early on Rend Lake. The CPO also cited a teal hunter for shooting a red-winged blackbird. CPOs cited a teal hunter for shooting 3 grebe during the teal season on Rend Lake. The CPO also cited 3 hunters for shooting before legal shooting hours. A CPO cited 2 separate groups of teal hunters on Rend Lake. The first group shot a Shoveler out of season and 2 hunters shot before legal hours. The 2nd group had a man shoot at song birds while teal hunting. A hunter also had lead shot while waterfowl hunting. A CPO cited subjects at East Fork Lake for taking over limit of crappie A District Sergeant and CPOs conducted sonar training with the Rend Lake Dive Team. Training included the deployment and use of the Hummingbird and Sector Scan sonars. Dive exercises utilizing the Sector Scan sonar and the team’s underwater communications gear to locate an object easily in "black water" conditions were very well received. Future training with this dive team to include other applications with the sonar units is planned. A CPO responded to a Jackson County dispatch that 3 subjects had broken into a vehicle at the Kinkaid Lake Spillway and stolen 5 cased shotguns. The suspects fled the scene in a late model Mercedes Benz


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pulling an old Jon boat. He responded to the scene and passed the vehicle headed south on Route 3. As he turned around to stop the vehicle, he observed gun cases being thrown out of the vehicle into the road and ditch. The CPO stopped the vehicle which had two male subjects and one female subject. They were arrested without incident and transported to the Jackson County jail. A CPO attended a youth dove hunt in Jackson County with approximately 10-15 youth hunters. They had recently passed their Hunter Safety classes and this was their first hunt. The Hunter Safety group sponsors the youth dove hunt every year. Compliance checks were conducted to give the young hunters an idea of what happens when they meet a CPO while in the field. A CPO assisted Alexander County and Illinois State Police on a search for 3 subjects who were pursued by the Cape Girardeau, MO. Police Dept into Illinois after a drug arrest went wrong. The subjects crashed into several vehicles in Missouri before coming into Illinois where they fled the vehicle on foot. A CPO observed five hunters shoot teal more than 30 minutes prior to the legal shooting time, and again, 5 minutes before legal time. He observed the subjects shoot multiple wood ducks during closed season. He overheard the subjects laughing about killing wood ducks, stating that they thought they could shoot them since they weren't sure if they were in Kentucky or not. The case is being referred to the USF&W Service. A CPO arrested a teal hunter for shooting prior to legal hours and possession of an unplugged firearm. SEPT 26th REGION 1 A District 7 CPO has received in excess of 15

December 2012

reports of dead deer due to presumed EHD/Blue Tongue in Fulton County. One cornfield that was picked had six dead deer in it. A District 7 CPO received a TIP complaint referencing subjects trapping/killing beaver illegally. The CPO did find an untagged trap and enforcement action was taken. REGION 3 A CPO, while checking teal hunters in the Shelbyville Wildlife Area in Moultrie County, cited a Decatur man for possession of lead shot while waterfowl hunting. While working teal hunters on Clinton Lake, a CPO checked two hunters that had unlawfully taken three shovelers. The hunters misidentified the shovelers for blue winged teal when they came into their decoys. While working teal hunters in Macon County, a CPO arrested two teal hunters for the unlawful taking of Grebes. The subjects shot the protected species while CPO Wichus was watching them. REGION 5 A CPO cited a Jefferson County man for taking 13 crappie over the limit at the Bonnie Dam area of Rend Lake. The man had a total of 38 crappie. A CPO is investigating a hunting without permission complaint in Jefferson County. A CPO cited three teal hunters for shooting before legal hours. He also discovered the unlawful take of a Wood Dock. The CPO cited a teal hunter for teal hunting with lead shot and caught an out-of-state hunter without a hunting license. A CPO cited several dove hunters for license and FOID violations.

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December 2012


New Crust for Christmas

by Roland Cheek Our John Henry was no nail driving man. But neither was the crusty old codger a nail-biting one either. I never did get John's full story. But probably those who knew the very, very reclusive guy for decades longer than our little family were no better informed about him than we. I knew John had homesteaded up in the mountainous Pacific Coast Range, in an area known as "the Callahan," between the valley where I was raised and the Pacific Ocean. We became neighbors when John built a small cottage near our home so that his invalid wife could be nearer medical attention. Jane, being Jane, befriended the shut-in Mrs.


Henry and John never forgot her kindness. Then Mrs. Henry died and John lived on in withdrawn bitterness, apparently comfortable with visiting only Jane and me and our small children. Gradually a bit of his story came out. John had been a top salesman for Pittsburgh Plate Glass, back during the roaring 20s. Then came the Great Depression and John, along with much -- or most -- of the company's employees, were laid off. It's hard to imagine during today's routine government interventions that no economic safety net for the people existed at all back during the greatest of all of our nation's economic collapses. Millions were thrown out of work. Millions were destitute. John's response was to shun breadlines and beggary by going west to homestead in a dreary, distant place, far from town and the amenities of society. There, he and his invalid wife hunkered down, lived off the land, and did without. They never had children. When the Great Depression wound down amid reverberations from Pearl Harbor and the horrors of Nazi Panzers and concentration camp ovens, John found he'd lived so long in enforced solitude that he no longer had marketable job skills. So he and his lonely wife remained hunkered down until the mid 1950s. Then her health turned even more precarious and John became frantic with worry. The only asset the couple wound up with from their 20 years of dwelling as virtual hermits was the deed to their homestead; One hundred and sixty acres that was as worthless as any piece of

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land could be; especially land that was filled with nothing but useless trees. Big trees. Big oldgrowth Douglas fir trees. Weyerhauser Timber Company wanted those trees. Weyerhauser Timber Company paid big bucks for John Henry's chunk of worthless land (and those trees) -- enough that John could build a modest home for his wife on a couple of acres of land down in the valley, where medical help was close to hand. And so, they re-entered civilization. Unfortunately, after 25 years of isolation, John found re-entry hard. Then Mrs. Henry passed over the Great Divide and John Henry was altogether alone. One day, just before Christmas, John was drinking a cup of coffee at our home and Jane mentioned that we were going to surprise our children by waiting until Christmas Eve to put up and decorate our tree. John turning even more sour than was his norm, said, "We never had a Christmas tree. Never had anything to celebrate about Christmas. So we never had a tree." Jane, being Jane, said, "Would you like to come and help us decorate our tree on Christmas Eve?" He first shook his head, then as Jane and I silently studied the old man, he nodded, "Yeah. Yeah, why not?" John was dressed in a new wool shirt and freshwashed overalls when he came to our door on Christmas Eve. The kids were already in bed and asleep and I had the tree set up inside. Jane gave the old gentleman the job of hanging ornaments and he treated each as if he was installing crystal


chandeliers in a vice-regal's palace, frowning and biting his tongue throughout the dangling process. Meanwhile I strung lights and placed the star on top. Then Jane asked John to hang tinsel. He was oh! so careful with each tiny strip, handling them one at a time. It took him seemingly forever! Finally Jane brought in the packages and scattered them beneath the tree, handing one to John. His frown turned deeper as he took the package and thrust it unopened into his overalls. Then I plugged in the tree lights and Jane turned off the living room incandescents. Entranced, John stared and stared at the tree, seemingly overcome. Then, so help me God, he smiled. Next month? Another walk on the wild side. Roland Cheek wrote a syndicated outdoors column (Wild Trails and Tall Tales) for 21 years. The column was carried in 17 daily and weekly newspapers in two states. In addition, he scripted and broadcast a daily radio show (Trails to Outdoor Adventure) that aired on 75 stations from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. He's also written upwards of 200 magazine articles and 12 fiction and nonfiction books. Read his stories on his website.

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Gunsmithing with Kirby Schupp The Shotgun Shop • PO Box 212 • Arnold, MO 63010 636-282-4379 • I G N O R E M A I N T E N A N C E AT YO U R P E R I L

December 2012

There is some truth and application of the ancient mantra known as: “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!”, but that saying should not be used as an excuse to extend or ignore maintenance or inspection intervals. After all, an automobile may continue to function with old oil in the engine, but the fact that the car started this morning is not a reason to say that the oil is not in need of a change, that is, if you want that valuable mechanical assemblage to be working well next year. Hunter and shooter firearm maintenance is no less important for reliability and longevity. The fact of particular bits and pieces being made with extreme duty in mind may not always mean that there is no possibility of deterioration. It is true that some finishes, like chrome or nickel plating, increase the corrosion resistance of steel, for example. One case to be discussed here, a shooter had problems with function with a newer shotgun, but the function seemed to improve with use. He concluded that fouling build-up was improving the operation, so to ensure continued functionality, he elected to not clean anything for two years. By the way, he was duck hunting a number of times during that span. There may be rain and snow blowing when duck hunting. The moisture infiltrates the mechanism, penetrates the fouling, and remains in recesses. 2 + 2 = 4. Water and sludge + time = rust. We will examine the details of that specific case in a bit, but first, some minor related material. There was a shotgun that had been evidently seldom used and fairly well taken care of for nearly a hundred years, and during an inspection, little was found to demonstrate that any unfortunate circumstances had befallen the owner during shooting escapades, at least, until the wood was removed. The forend wood practically wraps around the pump slide tube, and the snug fit is an ideal place for a bit of rain to enter and remain trapped between wood and metal. When the loose forend was set next to the tube, the pattern of rust and a matching stain inside the wood was apparent and is highlighted by pairs of inserted curved lines. There is a full length view of the rust pattern on the metal just to the right of the close-up of the wood and metal pairing.

The aforementioned situation was minor in comparison to some that can be seen as mechanically serious in scope, such as this next case. A stock was in the process of being removed when the clue of a rusty bolt was first on the scene, and then the corroded action spring tube was exposed when the wood was finally off. The rusted spring tube exterior was not the big issue, but the rusty spring end and accumulated flakes of rust piled up inside the tube impeded full stroke operation of the parts. See some of the tube contents by the rusty spring coils and other parts. This situation had reached a level where each action stroke scrubbed off more flakes and further inhibited the range of parts motion. This next case concerns the first discussion of continued shooting (without cleaning) that had seemed to improve the function consistency as more fouling was apparently filling in the gaps. This truly was thought of as a situation “if it ain’t broke, ...”, or more like: “if it’s getting better, don’t mess with a good thing”. But then again, if the function is improving, should all of the parts not related to function also

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December 2012


be likewise left alone? The choke tube had also been left in place undisturbed, but eventually was found to have become non-removable by normal means, and then the same problem was discovered of the barrel: non-removable by normal means. The fouling had affixed the barrel so tightly, the owner attempted to use a makeshift puller arrangement to make some progress in removal, and that process ended with limited success and a thoroughly jammed barrel half in, half out. Then the shotgun really was out of service since it wouldn’t be easily returned to an assembled condition. The choke removal showed that rust had attacked the choke threads in the barrel, and there had been chrome plating inside that hole to create a rust resisting barrier. The few flakes still shining on the thread surface (top left view of the next picture set) show just how little is left of that protection. The next view below is after the rust had been well scrubbed from the choke hole, and even less speckling of chrome remnants are there to be seen. The center pair of images shows the action bar sleeve interior, and it can be seen that some of the surface is still smooth, but the greater part is heavily pitted through the original chrome protection. The last image is of the gas piston that is heavily caked with fouling as well as attacked by corrosion, and the stark contrast to the cleansed piston image later is quite striking. We can see in the last image set that the parts were able to be salvaged, but the pitted condition of the gas piston, for example, was quite rough in patches and there was some interior pitting evident in the bore of the piston seen in the top right image. Interior roughness is more likely to impart scratches to the magazine tube’s decent exterior over the life of the parts, so it would have been better if this condition had been caught earlier. The condition of the spring, spring tube, and stock bolt parts from the other subject situation is much improved, but the residual pitting remains as a place for renewed corrosion to gain a rapid hold. Realize that the pit recesses can trap moisture and that also extends the evaporation completion time, when compared to a


smooth surface. The longer the moisture remains the more damage that may occur. Once the hunt is complete, if any heavy condensation was seen or there was exposure to rain or snow, recognize the possibility that hidden problems may have been given the opportunity to take root. If a season has run its course, rather than putting a firearm away in storage until a week before next season, consider having the mechanism cleaned and checked now, so that the preparation for the future season does not have any nasty surprise or function failure impede a timely return to service. Pre-season gunsmithing is typically packed with similar broad category problems, and all too many of these late discoveries fail to be ready due to the seasonal rush overwhelming the limited availability of time that gunsmiths have, and the backlog of parts orders causing similar delays creates another stubborn wall of inevitability. Therein lays a large cause of disappointments and crushed hopes at the beginning of every shooting season.

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MANY FISH CAN BE CAUGHT IN THE SAME WAYS & SAME PLACES IN LATE FALL By: By: Ray Simms with Dereck Dirschuweit Photos by: The Colby Simms Outdoors Team

w w w. C o l b y S i m m s O u t d o o r s . c o m Late fall is a great time of year to fish. Hunting draws lots of people off the water and into the woods, as kids settle back in at school. This means less pressure, as fish also get more aggressive to pack on weight before winter. With an activity increase comes easier fishing for more species.

now. A wide range of fish can be found in the same areas and taken on the same lures, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, pike, muskie, lake trout, white bass and even large crappie and big perch can all be taken on the same lures together in fall.

*Targets There’s nothing more fun than fast action. The best way to accomplish this is to fish for several species at once and there’s no better time than

*Presentation I hate to state the obvious, but all species of game-fish eat live bait like minnows and worms, when presented properly at the right depth. Using

live bait can certainly provide an opportunity for multi-species action. The only problem is live bait fishing is extremely slow, compared to casting artificial lures. You have to present live bait at a snail’s pace when compared to prime fall lures. What’s more, it takes additional time retying bait rigs and re-baiting once you catch a fish. You can cover much more water with lures, and with increased fall activity, using bait can be counterproductive. A run and gun method is usually best, moving quickly along and getting lures in front of as many fish as possible. There’s a few lures that work better for targeting numerous species. For instance, while a weed-less jig fished on bottom with a crawfish trailer is good for bass, walleyes respond much better to a jig fished with a swimming retrieve and a baitfish style trailer, something bass hit readily too. That’s the ticket. More species take lures that resemble baitfish, than other prey. While things like frogs and insects are eaten by some fish during certain times, all gamefish eat baitfish year round. A great multi-species lure is a swim jig or swimbait. We match weed-less skirted jigs with soft paddle-tail swimbaits, a deadly combination on virtually any species. Crankbaits are good multispecies lures that imitate baitfish. The way they swim looks like something alive, and choosing colors that mimic baitfish makes them even more effective. Bladebaits are unused by many anglers, but are great for targeting a variety of species in fall. They vibrate back and forth, much like a crankbait as they swim, drawing strikes from a

December 2012

Internationally renowned fishing pro & media personality Ray Simms caught this fall muskie on the Colby Simms Tackle Hatchet Shad shown. range of predators. Unlike cranks though, bladebaits can be dropped on the pause, which is often too much for game-fish to take. When a predator sees something swimming, and then it begins to fall, their instincts often force them to strike, since they’re used to seeing injured and dying baitfish fall toward bottom while attempting to swim. This is also one of the reasons why spinnerbaits are so effective. With a pulsating skirt and the flash of its blades, nothing mimics baitfish better than a spinnerbait, but they do much more than that. Spin-

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December 2012



until you find where the most active fish are holding. This goes right along with the high speed fishing presentation of casting and quickly retrieving horizontal running artificial lures. Fall is the time to hit a lot of spots and make a lot of casts, as you’re often rewarded with high numbers of big fish of many different species.

Adrianne Masters landing a white bass from a shallow creek mouth flat that also produced walleyes. Internationally renowned fishing pro & media personality Colby Simms with an early fall largemouth bass and crappie caught on a Colby Simms Tackle Hatchet Spin. nerbaits, particularly those with multiple blades, actually mimic a small school of baitfish. The moving body of the bait looks like a baitfish, and the turning, flashing blades resemble additional fish, flashing as they feed, in the way baitfish do in a school. Since schooling baitfish make up the majority of the diet of most game-fish, it makes sense that this would be highly effective year round, and it is, but in fall it’s even more so. Our favorite spinnerbaits for multi-species fall fishing are the unique Colby Simms Tackle Hatchet Spins and Hatchet Shads from Colby Simms Outdoors

Spring Strut

Hatchet Spins and Hatchet Shads produce a completely different vibration, flash, sound and action, from they’re special counter-rotating hatchet blades, which are unlike any other blade style. These hot new lures are something fish haven’t seen, and produce awesome strikes from all species of game-fish when nothing else in the tackle box is working. They’ve been our number one lure for all species since their development. *Location On lots of waters, many species of game-fish leave deep main lake areas where they spent the summer, and head into tighter places like bays, creeks and coves. Depending on whether it’s the early, middle or late period of the fall fishing season, fish can be found in shallower or deeper water, closer to the main lake, or all the way back up the creek or bay, so it’s best to move around

Fall Rut

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*Good Fishing Hunting keeps many of us busy in fall, but nothing could keep us off the water during this exciting time of year for fishing. Predators often go crazy in the fall, and it’s common to see numbers of various species chasing prey together. Getting to target many species at the same time in the same way makes it that much more fun, so don’t miss out this autumn. Good fishing.

RAY SIMMS is a highly accomplished & internationally renowned sport fishing pro & media personality, working as a TV show co-host & guest star, champion tournament pro, outdoor sports writer & photographer, and a famous fishing guide. He’s the Pro Staff Director at Colby Simms Outdoors. Get unique top quality American made lures, find articles, reports, photos & more, set up media work, seminars, sponsorships & public appearances, and book guided trips & fishing vacations in the United States, Canada, Mexico & Costa Rica through Ray at COLBY SIMMS OUTDOORS at: 618-521-0526 • 573-358-5948

PRODUCT SHOWCASE Colby Simms Outdoors Indy Spin Double Spinnerbaits By: Ray Simms American Made Colby Simms Tackle Indy Spin Double spinnerbaits from Colby Simms Outdoors are highly versatile lures with tandem Indiana blades, which produce a moderate range of flash & vibration in between the rounder Colorado and thinner willow blades. Indy Spins come in two sizes and 16 color patterns, featuring the finest custom components, including high vibration CST Super Sport Frames, oversized 3D eyes, jeweler’s grade gold & nickel blades and CST E-Z Breath Skirts. The sale of Colby Simms products supports conservation, sheltered workshops & numerous charities. w w w . C o l b y S i m m s O u t d o o r s . c o m • 6 1 8 - 5 2 1 - 0 5 2 6

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Losing a Big Crappie

By Tim Huffman Winter is a good time to hook into a really big crappie…one for the wall. So you don’t want to mess with all the bragging that comes along with catching a bigger than normal crappie? Can’t imagine having to pose for pictures and having to pay a taxidermist? The following tips are things you can do to make sure

you never catch a crappie of a lifetime. >Go to a lake with no big crappie. You can’t catch what is not there. Keep going to the waters known to produce only an occasional big fish or none at all. Stay away from big-fish waters like Kentucky Lake, Arklabutla and Grenada. >Just go pick a spot and start fishing. Don’t worry about finding out where most of the big crappie are caught. Every lake is known for areas that produce big fish year after year. If you don’t do some asking or checking, chances are good you’ll never be fishing those areas. >Avoid fishing pre-spawn and spawn. This means you will avoid many of the cold fronts that come through in early spring. You’ll also avoid crowed ramps and water. You can also avoid messing with crappie when they are packed with eggs that might squirt out and get you messy. Females caught after the spawn will weight 15-percent less. >Fish with small baits. Forget that bigger fish have big mouths and appetites. It’s true that many big fish have been caught on smaller baits. That’s because it was only in the last decade or so that fishermen learned that big crappie prefer big meals. >Fish against the bank. If you have a dingy lake you might catch some good fish. However, in clear water fish will be

further out. Also, spawning females are only in for a short period of time. They will be usually be holding in staging areas that are deeper than the spawning site. Fishing against the bank gives you a chance, although it’s small, of catching a monster. >Fish those spots where you caught fish last summer. When you fish spots instead of following the seasonal patterns you’ll likely to be fishing water that’s void of crappie. >Don’t worry about checking your equipment before you head to the lake because it was fine last time you put it up. Actually, you should check your equipment as often as possible and especially if it has been a while since you’ve fished. The number one problem item is fishing line. It deteriorates over time with heat and sunlight being two things that speed up the deterioration. >Plop the minnow bucket down, slam a livewell lid and create other noises that will be amplified by the boat into the water. That really doesn’t bother fish, does it? You’ll still catch smaller fish but adult fish will be spooked. Quieter fishermen will catch more big fish. >Give a slow lift of the pole because a crappie is a ‘papermouth’ and you don’t want to tear the hook out of its mouth. It’s true that there are two areas on each

December 2012

This young fisherman is obviously very proud of his catch. Doing the right things on the water increases your chances of landing a big slab. side of the mouth that are thin but it’s not easy to puncture the tough upper part of the mouth with a hook. Therefore, you need to generate some quick power to put the hook through a crappie’s mouth.



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December 2012



A slightly larger bait, like this MidSouth Tackle tube, is great for getting the big’un to bite. A sharp hook helps penetrate quickly reduces torn lips so decreases your chances of losing a big crappie.

>Use small line. The smaller ultralight line is good for catching more fish. It’s true you get more bites with smaller line and you can land a big fish in open water. But a 2-pound crappie in brush can be difficult, so heavier line, like 8- or 10pound test, is better when fishing bigfish lakes. >Get the fish to the top of the water as quickly as possible. That theory sounds good but in practical situations you can put too much pressure on the line, hook or the fish’s mouth. A heavy slab needs constant, moderate pressure applied. >Don’t mess with a landing net. You can always lip a big slab or lift it into the boat. But that’s not really a good idea. The correct method is to have the net ready to use and easy to grab. A landing net is critical for sliding under a big fish as soon as it gets to the top of the water where many big crappie are lost.

Congrats to 12 year old Cody Hilst of Delevan with his first deer! It was taken near Astoria on his Grandparent’s Wes & Dixie Hilst’s farm. Thanks to proud dad Eric Hilst for sharing Cody’s kill with ASO! Keep up the good work!

Congrats to Damian Gesell who took this deer on private land in Mackinaw, IL with a bow. This is his first deer taken with a bow and very first buck ever. It was a nice 10-pointer taken about 25 yards away coming out of the edge of a ravine. Thanks for sharing your trophy with ASO!

Conclusion The biggest factor not mentioned is luck. You have to be in the right place at the right time, when the fish is hungry and keep your hook connected during the fight. So there is a lot of luck required along with doing the right things. If you don’t want to mess with a big monster slab, study the rules and good luck will probably avoid you.

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December 2012

BAI News By Ed DeVries

Seasons Greetings to all from everyone here at the BAI! Here`s wishing all the most joyous of holiday seasons and all the best in the new year! 2012 INNERLOC SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP BIG FISH CONTEST RESULTS We had another great Innerloc Big Fish Contest in 2012 with many great fish entered. For those unfamiliar with the contest, BAI members can enter fish shot in any Illinois water by taking a photo of them next to a ruler. The photo is then entered in the contest forum at and points are awarded if it is in the top three fish of that species. There are also bonus points for most

Bob with his First Silver fish and all fish of a certain family such as all the carp species. Frank Pauliks of Oak Lawn took first place this year, Brent Thompson took second, Scott Pavey took third place, Rick Urban came in 4th and Ed DeVries took fifth. Congrats to all who took part in the contest and our thanks to Innerloc for once again sponsoring the contest with some great prizes including a brand new bowfishing bow! 2012/13 CABELAS WINTER LEAGUE CONTEST November first signaled the start of

Amy Harrleson Young and her First Ever Bowfin the annual Cabelas winter league contest! Rules are similar to the summer big fish contest and fish can be entered at our forum at We have hundreds of dollars in Cabelas gift cards to award those who brave the colder temps of winter and submit fish shot between November first and March first. CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN BOWFISHING Every year we get emails from people who are interested in getting bowfishing gear for friends and family members who are interested in bowfishing. One of the best ideas is to give them a complete set to get started, and AMS Bowfishing has one of the best. The Fishhawk kit includes a compound bow finished in blue wa-

Dons First Silver

ter camo, a AMS bowfishing reel with line and a heavy rest designed for heavy bowfishing arrows. It runs about $350 and can be purchased at, or bought at any Cabelas store or online. If they already have a bow, extra arrows are always a great gift idea. Innerloc makes the best bowfishing tips and complete arrows money can buy. The Grappler tips are tops for asain carp or any soft body fish where superior holding power is needed. And their pro point tip is a great all around tip and one of the best for gar. If you bowfish in very weedy conditions or anywhere you can loose an arrow in tree roots try the Shureshot points. They are the best for these conditions. You can buy any of these tips or complete arrows at Bowfishing Extreme, www.bowfishingextreme. com or call Scott at 417-838-9291.

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December 2012



Congratulations to Marty Hood for taking this sockeye salmon on the Kenai River August 2012. Thanks to Tom’s Bait in Beardstown for sharing a little of Marty’s Alaskan fishing adventure.

Greg Pec and a Nice Grass Carp BAI ANNUAL MEETING Our annual meeting will be held 12-1-2012 at the Joliet Gander Mountain. We will set all tournament dates then and listen to all other ideas members have. Come on out! BAI WINTER SHOW SCHEDULE Stop by and talk bowfishing this winter at the outdoor shows with

A Nice Mess from the Kankakee River the BAI! This year we will be at the first ever Chicagoland Outdoor and

Gun Show held in Rosemont, Illinois Jan 23 -27th. We hope this show is well attended as it will have a large gun show included in the Chicago area, where unfortunately our rights to own firearms have been under constant attack by politicians who blame guns in order to place blame for their ineffectiveness to stop urban crime. So come on out and support the show and talk bowfishing with us! We will have a complete show schedule in next month’s column. Again, have a great Christmas everyone and a fantastic 2013!!!! SAVE THE DATE!

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FISH POSTURE AND STRATEGY By Jason Mitchell When you watch fish on an underwater camera, you can usually tell if that fish is going to eat just by how the fish is postured. Let’s take walleyes for example, walleyes that are in attack mode typically have a different posture… the fins are up and the back is arched. All fish including bluegills and crappie have that posture where they mean business. The fish are cruising and alert. These are the fish that make us look good as anglers and there are often key windows through the day where you get this activity. On the flip side, the fish that are not cruising that have their fins tucked tight to the body are much more difficult to catch. Not very often, but every once in a while I have observed mass migrations of fish where schools of fish moved through about the speed of a slow walk with tucked in fins. These fish appeared to be traveling

from point A to point B and were interested in nothing as a trigger. It felt like I was fishing with something that was invisible no matter what I tried. Than, out of the hundreds of fish that swam through, one fish came by with a different more alert body posture and struck the lure. So there are times when moving fish are not aggressive fish and I can only guess that some environmental trigger causes fish to make a big move where they just don’t stop to eat. Most of the time however, the fish that are cruising have the attitude to eat, alert and ready. Understanding this posture and understanding what triggers fish to move should play a major role in your strategy as an ice angler. This is why a Vexilar is so crucial to success on the ice. No other electronics give you the intimacy of that raw analog signal that lets you visualize the posture of the fish. Typically, there are windows of activity that often center on sunrise and sunset where fish just roam more with that aggressive posture. Now consider this, fish that are moving are much easier to catch with much less effort. The reason

being is that the fish come to you. If you are set up where these fish are going to move through, they come below you and just as importantly, after you catch a few fish from a school, a new school swims in to replace the fish that swam off. Take walleye fishing during the prime time witching hours of sunrise and sunset on so many lakes. At that period of time, you can be set up on a good spot and fish will move through. After that period is over, fish quit roaming and you quit seeing fish because no new fish are coming in. Same thing can happen with bluegills where fish are straying away from weeds and roaming through edges and troughs but as the sun gets higher, they quit cruising and start to tuck into the weeds. During the prime windows, you can find fish much easier because you can cover a lot more water just because you don’t have to drill so many holes to see if any fish are around. Pick any spot and pick out the key locations on that spot. You don’t have to drill many holes just to see if anybody is home. When I am looking for walleyes during the early morning or evening hours for

December 2012

The author Jason Mitchell with a beautiful walleye caught during the midday with a Northland Tackle Macho Minnow by drilling several holes across a location and fishing it through after the peak bite was over.

example, I can drill a handful of holes on the prime inside turns, fingers and the top of the structure

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and know in a short while if there are fish around and my mindset is to make big moves and check as many spots as possible during that window. I don’t move five yards at a time or drill holes all over the place. Surgically check the prime locations and jig aggressively to pull fish in. Remember this however, big moves might find fish but small moves catch fish. When you find fish by sampling as many spots as possible, you are going to typically catch fish during the prime windows by sitting on the key spots and fishing the traffic that is swimming through. Once this ends, you have to fish a spot through. Now is the time to shred up the ice with a lot of holes. Drilling a lot of holes through an area at this time accomplishes a few things; you can hop around and put a lure near a fish that is no longer cruising. If the fish doesn’t come to you, you have to go to the fish. What also happens is that the activity will often move fish just enough to create some activity. Again, don’t disrupt the flow during the prime windows by drilling a lot of holes, either drill your holes ahead of time or drill a


you caught few holes fish during p r e c i s e l y. the prime When the sun time as a high gets starting however and point. After the activity you fish this slows down, zone through you can often than slide pick up a lot out and more fish by down. making a lot Another small of assumption moves and many anglers fishing spot make is that through. inactive fish Ty p i c a l l y, When you find fish, focus on the key need a very you catch a spots during the prime windows of passive presfish here and opportunity. Pictured is Dirk Brown of e n t a t i o n . there. Here is what What often Casper, Wyoming with a huge Devils I have found; surprises me Lake walleye caught on a Northland is that Tackle Puppet Minnow by sitting on a j i g g i n g aggressively walleyes in prime spot at sunrise while fishing often turns particular with the author, Jason Mitchell. fish around. often don’t Passive and presentations work slide down into deeper water and don’t get me wrong and my go to become inactive like many people way for catching walleyes during think is the golden rule. What I the day is to downsize to really have found is that they often just small lures but what so often hapquit cruising at the same depth they pens is that you can drop down were active so don’t start out slidright next to a fish and the fish is ing deeper, drill more holes pointed the wrong direction where through the depth and zone that

HOURS: M-F 8am - 5pm • SAT 8am - 12noon

the lure is not in front of the fish. When you really pound that lure hard above the fish, you can often get the fish to move and turn enough where they can than see the lure. That is why pounding and lifting works so well when fish drift off your presentation. So often at that point, you are behind the fish where they can’t see you and the only way to turn that fish around is through vibration. Understanding these windows of activity and having some strategy in how you fish a spot through as the day wears on can really improve how many fish you catch and this mentality and strategy is widely universal applying to many different species of fish on a wide variety of water.

Jason Mitchell hosts the outdoor program, Jason Mitchell Outdoors which airs on Fox Sports North and Fox Sports Midwest. Show times and listings can be found at

HOURS: M-F 8am - 5pm • SAT 8am - 12noon

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Christmas Gift Ideas for the Fisherman in your Life By Steve Welch This jig weighs in at a quarter ounce and has recessed eyes and is squared off on top to allow a better sonar image. We use a small number four hook made by Eagle Claw and it bends easily so you can get your jig back once hung up in brush. I think this is the best crappie jig on the market not because I helped develop it but I think it catches bigger fish. I think the big oversized head with the prism eyes is something they just haven’t seen. You can bounce it off limbs in brush and you have excellent feel with it. Most crappie anglers that vertical fish on long rods just jig their 1/16 oz. jig up and down and they are so light you hang on any branch and they aren’t heavy enough

Every year my guide service grows in different ways. This past year we started an on-line store to allow people to purchase guide trips and any of my products. We also developed a fishing forum that allows anglers to become educated on electronics, fishing on several lakes in Illinois, recipes, ads for boats and tons of other general information. We call it Illinois Fish Talk and presently we have almost 600 members. For many years I have used and promoted a heavy jig we call the Deep Deep Ledge Jig Ledge Jig.

to fall back off the branch. With my jig you swim your rod back and forth trying to climb over branches and once on the backside of that branch boom that heavy crappie is waiting. I think it has changed many of the crappie anglers I have had in my boat. This year we came out with three other sizes of the popular Deep Ledge Jig design and a spinner model as well. We now offer 1/4, 3/16, 1/8, & 3/32. We also have a spinner model in all the weights listed. We put the smallest willow leaf blade you can get on it. I have taken it to Kentucky Lake and this is the only jig I will use from now on while down there. For white bass and walleye we use a bait we developed called the Candy striper. It is a tail spinner Deep Ledge Spinners lure that is ideal to catch white bass but I never envisioned how much both walleye and crappie love it as well. We make it in 3/8, 1/2,

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December 2012

& 5/8 oz. It can cover a stump filled flat and catch anything that swims but it is the ledges that I really think it shines. We position the boat up on top of a ledge and cast it out over the ledge into deep water then let it fall to the bottom. We simply pop it off bottom and reel up the slack and do it again. As it comes up the drop off you try and pop it about six-foot up of the bottom. The whites will hit this bait a dozen times on the way back to the bottom. I like the 1/2 oz. for that. For covering a flat that is in water as deep as six-feet I like the 5/8 oz. It can bury on the bottom and the tail spinner drives fish crazy. When we are casting and letting the bait freefall along a bridge piling or standing tree

Candy Stripers

After a full day of fishing, come to the Spillway Motel and relax in one of our clean, comfortable rooms. All rooms include a microwave, refrigerator, cable TV, A/C & heat, Wi-Fi, coffee pot, direct dial phones, clock radio & bath with hair dryer. All rooms have 2 beds....Ask for 3! Pets allowed for nominal charge, however has to be in a smoking room. Park near your room…Our large parking area has free electrical hook-ups! Ice and soda available. Nearby restaurants. Shelbyville, IL BAIT SHOP ON SITE & MOTEL OPEN YEAR ROUND! For Reservations: 1/2 mile to beach and 9th Street boat launch. (800) 845-0414 Within walking distance to river and spillway!

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I like the small 3/8 oz. The bait falls on its nose and the tail spinner just turns and crappie and whites will just hammer it. They are very versatile and are tied on my spinning rods all summer. We have also allowed folks to prepay for upcoming guide trips on our on-line store and they love how easy it is. We also have a flyer to mail to anyone that you might want to give a guide trip as a Christmas present. I already am taking bookings for 2013 and my regulars are jumping on them. At the time of this writing I am still tearing up the crappie. Most folks don’t realize that crappie fishing is a winter sport and they remain very active all through the winter. December is one of my best months every year. We routinely limit out on crappie in less than two hours. They bunch up on down trees and you can harvest a ton of them from just one tree. If you


still want in on the December crappie fishing just go to my website and check it for availability. I will be speaking at many of the Illinois fishing shows starting with the Let’s Go Fishing Show in Collinsville Show Jan. 4-6. Then I go to the Illinois Fish and Feather Expo in Bloomington Jan. 25-27. The Tinley Park Fishing Show is Feb. 9-10. Then back home for the Central Illinois Outdoor Expo in Arthur Feb. 2223. Then I finish up at the Elmwood All Outdoors Show Mar. 2-3.

BOOK YOUR FISHING TRIP WITH STEVE TODAY! 217-762-7257 Cell: 217-840-1221

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Call Steve: 217-762-7257 • 217-840-1221


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by Dr. Dru Hauter I started hunting when I was eight years old. My dad made me wear earplugs in the duck blind. I didn’t know much better then, but after mastering a duck call and learning to listen for wings and drake calls, I realized that I could not tolerate the plugs. At age 40 I realized that I was having a constant ringing in my left ear. I tested my hearing and found a significant loss in that ear. Shooting guns is damaging to your hearing. Sound is vibration and has properties of intensity, frequency and duration. Intensity is measured in decibels (dBs) and corresponds to pressure on the eardrum. A noise level above 85 dB will harm hearing over time and a single exposure above 140 dB can damage hearing. 140 dB is also the pain level. Sounds at or above this lev-

el often cause pain to the ears. A 12gauge shotgun can generate dB levels of 150-165. Right hand shooters have most noise exposure to the left ear. This is why it is recommended to wear at least one plug in the left when hunting. The human ear can tolerate a lot of abuse. The softest sound a person can hear is rated zero decibels (0 dB). Rustling leaves is about 20 dB and rainfall is about 50 dB. A noisy restaurant is about 85 dB and a wife shouting in the ear is about 110 dB. (Average wife voice decreases husband attention span over time, leading to a false accusation of “husband deafness.” This is not demonstrated on audiogram testing.) An Audiogram is a test of hearing at multiple frequencies from 500 Hz (low) to 8000 Hz (high). Loud noise is usually damaging to the high frequency


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hearing. The audiogram test starts with a series of beeps at 0 decibels and is turned up louder by 5-decibel increments until the person being tested presses a button or raises his hand to show he has heard the beeps. Hearing the beeps at levels of 25 dB or less is considered normal. At age 40 my hearing in the left ear was at a level of 45 dB. This is when I decided to get serious. I was not about to give up hunting so I decided to wear hearing protection religiously. Ear plugs and muffs just were not acceptable when calling ducks or turkeys. Rustling leaves could not be heard in the deer stand. I decided to break down and get the electronic earmuffs. This was it! Now I could hear wings and leaves and even could enhance sounds to the point where I could tell the difference between squirrels and deer! I wore the electronic muffs in the duck blind and when hunting doves, pheasants and deer. I rechecked my hearing after one year and my left ear had improved to 30 dB. This is now just outside the normal range. Hearing decreases as we age. If we do not protect our hearing from loud noise then the reserve hearing we are born with gets used up and soon we have hearing problems. I strongly rec-

December 2012

ommend hearing protection. After trying ear plugs, sonic plugs, earmuffs, I have finally found a hearing protection that I can use. Electronic earmuffs actually decrease the sound level to a safe level, yet I still can hear wings and use my calls without taking the muffs off. I use Pro Ears, which suppress sound levels to less than 70 dB. Remington also makes a good Electronic earmuff. The cost is about $130-150. Cabelas offers Howard Leight makes an electronic muff that is about $49. This is still far cheaper than hearing aids, and these can actually improve your hunt and your health. Dru Hauter, MD is an avid sportsman and Central Illinois native. Dr. Hauter grew up in San Jose, Illinois and has hunted upland game in Logan and Mason Counties and waterfowl on the Illinois River for the last 40 years. His wife, Marcia, and his children, Emily and Ben, help him run Sunny Slope Hunt Club and Lodge. Dr. Hauter practices Occupational Medicine at the Illinois Work Injury Resource Center (IWIRC) in Peoria, Illinois. He can be reached at

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December 2012


OUTDOOR CONNECTION By Gerald A. Sampen “Variety” The Spice of Life! Outdoor Connection Hunting Outfitter Nebraska Sandhill-Bucks & Birds (NEH4) A Nebraska outfitter that specializes in quality

guided hunts for both big game and birds in Nebraska's Sandhills. They offer big game hunting for both mule deer and whitetail deer. Hunt with archery, rifle or muzzeloader for deer. Bird hunting adventures include pheasant, grouse and turkey. They also guide for coyotes and prairie dogs, if you are into predator and varmint hunting.

makes the perfect whitetail habitat. On each side of the valley is the Nebraska Sandhills, the place trophy mule deer call home. They glass the open hills in the morning and search the cedar filled canyons for bedding mule deer in the afternoons. Their evening hunts take place on alfalfa pivots or other food plots; this is a great chance to harvest your big mule deer buck. Hunts include meals, lodging, guiding and transportation during the hunt.

Deer They are fortunate to have a mix of trophy whitetails and trophy mule deer. They lease some of the best private ranches to provide each hunter with the best opportunity to harvest the deer of your dreams. The wide Goose Creek Valley is excellent whitetail habitat for growing whitetail bucks. The valley is made up of open hay meadows, wood lots and shelter belts; this mixture of woods and meadows

Prairie Dog & Coyote Experience the thrill of Western United States varmint hunting. Prairie dogs offer plentiful targets, so bring plenty of ammo. They offer prairie dog hunts from March through August. The coyotes are thick and prime for the calling. We have thousands of acres to call coyotes on and they have had great success for the past few years on calling in the Wiley coyote.


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Russ, Ryan and Ron, The Dyer Brothers are expert callers and excellent at bagging the legal limit of birds. They look forward to hunting with you soon!

Upland Birds If you want to hunt wild birds, they are the place for you. Their swamp bottoms and fields are a super habitat for our wild pheasant and grouse. If you want to bring your own dog for a couple of days, please give them a call. Hunts include meals, lodging, guiding and transportation during the hunt. Start the morning off hunting pheasants, head back to the lodge for some food and trap shooting, then spend the afternoon and evening hunting wild grouse/prairie chickens. Three pheasant limit (pen raised birds) and three grouse/prairie chicken (wild birds) per day.


Outdoor Connection represents some of the Greatest Hunting and Fishing Adventures plus much more in the Outdoors

Cont’d. on next pg.

Turkey They have some of the best Merriam turkey hunts available! They have a large turkey population and they have been virtually un-hunted for many years. This is your chance to bag a big tom. Hunts include meals, lodging, guiding and transportation during the hunt.


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O.C. … Cont’d. from previous pg.

Some of the lodges and outfitters Outdoor Connection represents offer great opportunities for our clients to engage in and enjoy other outdoor recreation, other than fishing and hunting. The following is a partial representative list of exciting adventures available and where they may be located along with catalog code where available: Diving & Snorkling etc: Belize-BZF1, MexicoMXF3, Panama-PMF2 Golf: Mexico-MXF3, MINN-MNF1 Dude Ranching: Montana-MTF1 & MTH1, Idaho-

IDH1, Colorado-COR1 &COF2 Hiking: Colorado-COF2, Montana-MTF1 & MTH1, Idaho-IDH1, Alaska-AF10 Resort And Retreat: Colorado-COR1, MontanaMTF5, Missouri-MOF2 Rafting: Colorado-COF2 & COH4, WyomingWYA1 Float Trip: Montana- MTF4, Wyoming-WYA1 Houseboat: Diving & Waterslide etc. ArkansasARF1 In Alaska we can provide almost any sort of tour available, including (among others): Flight Seeing etc., Glaciers, and Wild Life etc. One very popular tour includes a 2 day train trip through Denali Park, with overnight stay in park with a live show and dinner. We represent a fabulous cruise on a 95 foot yacht featuring unbelievable close up viewing of glaciers, icebergs, whales, wildlife including mountain goats, sheep, black bears, grizzly bears, moose, countless birds and waterfowl. There are lobster potting and crab traps, some fishing (if desired), island exploring, sea shell & driftwood hunting available by launching a power boat from the yacht. Code AF15 on page 11 (2012 catalog). We also offer photo safaris in Africa: Code AFF1 Page 19

( 2 0 1 2 Catalog) Winter Trips to northern Manitoba to view: Polar Bears, Beluga Whales, Auroria Borealis, and more -Code MBA1: Page 12 ( 2 0 1 2 Catalog) Note: This is a partial list. We are constantly adding new and additional adventures. Tell us your outdoor adventure desires and area you prefer. We may just have it or can arrange it. It may not have yet made the last catalog. REMEMBER: If we represent them we’ve been there!!!!!!!! Letter from our Lodge at Trophy Lake El Salto, Mex. (MXF1) Dear Angler, As you know the 2011-2012 season that closed July 31st was the best fishing season we have had in years. There is no reason not to believe that fishing will continue to be good this season. With record lows in water level last year

Alan Thompson, Agent 623 E. Jackson • Macomb, IL 61455 Bus.: 309-833-2400 Cell: 309-333-0100

December 2012

fishing was outstanding. Now that the water levels have come up we look for another fantastic year. This past year we saw numbers and weights on the increase, bringing in several national publications and celebrity anglers. These anglers were entertained with great fishing and great hospitality. Idaho Lion Special (IDH2)

We are offering a special on lion hunts for this winter. Dates available are December 15-21, January 4-10, January 13-19, and February 4-10. Our normal price is $5500 + license, tag, and tax, which makes the price $6335.75. Our special is $4500 + L,T, and T, making the total $5245.75. These adventures make excellent gifts for…Dads, Moms, Sons, Daughters and any part of/or whole families for Christmas as well as other occasions. Gift certificates available. Your Outdoor Connection Agent Gerald and Jeanne Sampen • 217-376-3873 421 Olive St. • Emden, IL 62635 •

Max Thompson, Agent 108 N. Orange • Havana, IL 62644 Bus.: 309-543-6248 Fax: 309-543-4899

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December 2012

Never Too Soon to be Ready for Ice by Don Dziedzina Our ice season here in Chicagoland is short. It’s a season that comes and goes with a blink of the eye. With the weather that we experienced as of late, ice can sneak up on us at any time. If you’re a Chicagoland ice angler, you must agree that it’s never too soon to be ready for ice. Reports that Nielson’s Channel has safe ice are usually the first that you’ll hear about on local radio or in the papers. Everything that you have in the form of ice gear, everything that you use for ice fishing should be checked, cleaned, sorted out, and set aside so that you can pack up and go to catch some fish on a moment’s notice. You’ll need to be ready, especially if you’re one who only has weekend days available for fishing. I have a Frabill Commando ice shelter. It’s great; I love it, and it’s first on the list for going through a dry run ensuring that all the nuts and bolts are in place and securely tightened, all Velcro attachments are secure, and my accessories like the lights and shelter anchor pieces are all there. As of this writing, my shelter has been checked and it was in perfect order. Let me tell you though. Setting up the shelter got the excitement of fishing first ice really going. That’s part of the love of ice fishing though, isn’t it? Time to check the ice bucket is next. Scoop; check. Hard plastic grub containers; check. Ice jigs; I have to get more. One never has enough. Forceps, line clippers, scoop, 50cent depth finders; they’re all there. Good deal. It can be to your advantage to go over each of your jigs. Check the points and sharpen


them if needed. Organize them by color and size. On your next trip to the bait and tackle shop, check out the different boxes that are on the market for storing jig, spoons, and other ice baits. You’ll find one that suits your needs to keep them organized. Getting one now will save you a lot of aggravation when you’re on the ice in need for changing baits. How’s the line on those ice reels? Needless to say it’s at least a year old. If you’ve kept the reels in the attic or hot garage, don’t take a chance on loosing that fish of a lifetime. Peel off all of the old line and replace it with good fresh line. It doesn’t cost that much. As of recent years, much has to be said about fluorocarbon fishing line. It does make a difference. Give it a try if you haven’t yet and you’ll be glad you did. Berkley Trilene has a 100% fluorocarbon line from 1 to 6 pound test. Choose 1 and 2 pound for panfish and 3 to 6 for the bigger fish. Always check your drag on the reel and if you remember to use the rod as a shock absorber, you’ll be fine with this light line. I also have a MarCum underwater camera and flasher. I like to recharge the battery for each of these units a little bit every few months. Letting a battery go dead is not good. I’m also a big believer that any electronics should never left connected when being stored. Check the battery and the connections. Make sure they’re clean and good to go. Charge the battery now. Most flashers and cameras come with a 3-stage charger which will not allow overcharging.

Ice auger blades need to be either sharpened or replaced. If you have a power auger, start it up. If you find that it’s hard to start, try using Start Your Engines that’s put out by Gold Eagle. They also make Marine Formula StaBil. Start Your Engines will start any small motor that gives you a rough time. Get it running so you can crank it up with one pull when you’re on the ice. Getting your ice gear and electronics up and running and in good shape seems to be the logical thing to do. But don’t forget about the cold weather clothing. Where is it? Does it fit? Where are the gloves, hats, and boots? We’re all guilty of looking for these items at the last minute. You may remember hanging them in the closest or in the basement last winter but it will be a big help to go over it all once in your pre-ice preparations. Bibs, jackets, gloves, hand muff, boots (and ice cleats), hats and base layer clothing all need to be found now.


Let’s not forget to think safety on the ice. First ice can be the most dangerous to be on. It’s a good idea to borrow the throwable cushion from your boat and tie on about 50 feet of rope. It won’t take up that much space in your ice fishing sled and it can save someone’s life. If someone falls through the ice, toss the cushion to them and help pull them out from a distance. Having ice picks is a good idea. They can help you pull yourself out of a hole in the ice. Ice fishing is fun. It’s an enjoyable sport that just about anyone can participate in. If you do a little homework in preparing for that first trip you’ll be glad you did and most likely you’ll do much better catching fish through the ice because you won’t be falling short of having what you need for a successful outing. Keep an open eye and ear for all the fishing reports that come out and be ready for the first reports of safe ice. And don’t forget… “Great fishing is not that far away.”

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Get your pond or lake ready for Fall!

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HUNTING ROUGH COUNTRY WHITETAILS Bowhunting the convoluted country of ridges and ravines, benches and draws takes special tactics but can pay off big.

By Mike Strandlund Many life lessons for a bowhunter take a lifetime to learn, but fortunately some of them come faster. My education in the difficulty of hunting rugged-country bucks began right from the start—deep in a draw a mile up a wide ravine from the Mississippi River. I’d just found a jaw-dropping array of big buck sign spread throughout the bottom of the 300-yard-wide ditch. This particular farm had produced some tremendous bucks through the years for the gun hunters

who ran their annual pushes here. I put my stand up and snuck out, sure that I would be dragging a buck the next time I followed the same route. A week later, the conditions were perfect for the payoff. The rut was going strong, and the wind would be blowing straight from the scrapes toward my stand. After climbing the tree, I was confused when I found the wind kissing the back of my neck instead of my face. Then it was nudging my left cheek and, a moment later, my right cheek. Every time the wind gusted, the breezes around my stand blew in a different direction. I never saw a deer that whole afternoon, but I sure heard plenty; they were snorting and stamping. It took a few more similarly bad stand setups to reinforce the lesson I learned that day, but within a few seasons I knew that there is only one place to bowhunt whitetails in ridge country: on the ridges. Becoming a good rough-country bowhunter revolves around understanding how the terrain affects the movements of the wind and how it affects the movements of deer. Both are predictable. After many years of hunting the broken country, my educa-


tion is still in process, but I have concluded one thing: ridges and benches hold the most promise and are the easiest to hunt. If you learn to hunt them well, you’ll take more than your share of rough land bucks. First, Overcome the Wind It doesn’t matter what the deer are doing if they smell you before they get into bow range, so the first priority anytime you hunt ridge and bluff country is to find spots where your scent will blow in a predictable direction. You may as well realize right up front that the wind is not your friend. At best it is a patient enemy. Anytime you place your stand in an area that is protected from the direct blast of the wind, you can expect swirling and trouble. Hunt either near ridgetops where the flow is unbroken and consistent, or sparingly in wide draws where swirling is reduced. If you take nothing else from this article, remember that getting the wind right is the greatest challenge of bowhunting broken country. How Deer Use Ridges Ridges offer excellent visibility and maximum security to bedded deer.

December 2012

Most ridges extend out over a bottom area or ravine, and the point where they end is usually a heavily used bedding area. As you move farther back along the ridge, away from the bedding areas and generally toward feeding areas (acorn-dropping oak groves or cropfields), you’ll find heavy trails on top. Does and fawns use them most often, but bucks will also travel here if the hunting pressure is light enough or the rut is near its peak. On either side of the ridge, you will find trails about 30 to 40 yards down the hill. These won’t be as heavily used and will often be marked by rubs. In order to keep a low profile, bucks are most apt to travel these sidehill trails while using the wind to monitor activity that is taking place on the ridgetop. For this reason, the trail on the downwind side of the ridgetop is a great stand site. Ridge Crossings For nearly half a mile the ridgetop was open, save for one narrow finger of timber that crossed over the top and joined the two sides. It was a natural, low-profile crossing point for deer traveling from one sidehill timber to the other. My stand was on the downwind side of the ridgetop where I


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December 2012


could cover the two trails deer followed when moving along this wooded, ridge-crossing strip. Also within range, but slightly below me on the hill, was the heavily used side trail. I felt like I was in position to get a shot at nearly every deer that traveled the ridge. A nice 10-pointer followed the strip of cover over the ridge and right to my stand an hour before sunset. At 18 yards, he stopped to freshen a scrape, and moments later, when he turned, I had my payoff for the long hours. The following year, while hunting an identical setup, I took a dandy 8-pointer. This pattern is the best you can find when hunting ridgetops. Here’s how to set up: First, find a structure that goes over the ridgetop and connects the two sidehills, usually a brushy fence line or strip of timber—the perfect travel corridor for a buck trying to keep a low profile. Without a doubt, there will be a deer trail on each side of the structure. Make sure you can cover both from your stand. Now move down the sidehill on the prevailing downwind side. You should come across the edge or sidehill trail. Find a tree that allows you to keep all three of these trails within bow range.

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If you can’t find a fenceline or an unbroken band of cover that connects both sides of an open ridgetop, look for fingers of timber extending toward each other from opposite sides. Even though they don’t offer complete concealment for a traveling buck, the fingers do hide him for a portion of the crossing. He’ll take advantage of that, and so should you. Access this ridge stand by coming in from below, straight up the hill into the wind, or you will pollute too much country with your scent. Ditches Ditch crossings are easy to find, easy to hunt, and produce good action. Anytime there’s a slope there’s bound to be run-off and erosion. Some of the erosion ditches are so deep and/or steep that deer don’t cross them unless pushed. This sets up the perfect scenario for funneling. Deer are much more likely to go around such a ditch than to cross it, meaning the upper end and the lower end are natural hotspots that nearly every deer using the sidehill will have to pass through. It’s tough to hunt down in the bottom of a draw, so this basically eliminates the lower end of the ditch,

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leaving only one choice—the top. But it’s a very good choice. Ditches usually form between two side ridges where does often bed. During the rut, bucks will trade between these places, making the ditch funnel a natural hotspot. When scouting a steep sidehill, look for deep ditches and follow them uphill until you come to the first well-used crossing. Often this will take you very close to the top of the ridge, or near the field edge (if the ridgetop is wide enough to cultivate). This is where your stand goes. Whenever possible, set up where you can get a shot to the field edge, or the ridgetop, as well as the ditch crossing. You’re going to be tempted to move your stand a little ways above the ditch crossing so you can better shoot to the field edge or ridgetop. I once did this as a matter of routine, thinking my scent would blow over the heads of nearby deer. While this may work fine when the wind is steady, any gusting will cause swirling, and deer downwind (even a short distance) will smell you. Make it a priority to keep your stand downwind of all likely deer travel routes. Access is a no-brainer. Hunt the ditch stand only when the wind is blowing


toward it from the top of the ridge. That wind will carry your scent down over the ditch and over the valley below— where deer are not likely to pass. When approaching or exiting this stand, walk right up the bottom of the ditch. This eliminates any chance that deer will see you and reduces the risk that they’ll hear you or smell you. Saddles Hunting authors have written much about the effectiveness of hunting saddles in ridgelines, but it bears repeating. Deer are opportunists and will take the path of least resistance anytime it doesn’t compromise security. Saddles offer the perfect place to cross a ridgetop. They reduce the work involved and keep a buck from skylining himself in the process. Setting up on a saddle is slightly less cut and dried than the other two ridgetop patterns. Take each case as it comes. You may have to observe the action from your first stand for a few trips before moving to the very best tree. There is no shame in getting it wrong the first time. We all do it. That is part of bowhunting.

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December 2012


REMOTE CONTROL The ability to direct your retriever with hand signals is invaluable in the field By Gary Koehler Even the most experienced retriever can't be expected to see every bird fall during a morning of hot shooting. It is at such times that being able to direct your dog with hand signals can make all the difference. At long distances, verbal commands become impractical. Your retriever simply can't hear you. Factor in wind, waves, gunfire, and the excitement of the moment, and confusion can reign supreme. That is, unless you and your dog are in sync through the use of hand signals. Training your retriever to respond to hand signals should actually begin long before you take the dog hunting. You can start by using hand signals in combination with verbal cues when teaching basic obedience. For the "down" command, for example, say "down" and motion toward the floor with your hand open, palm down. Early on, you may need to nudge or push on your retriever's back so the dog knows exactly what you are telling it to do. A key element here is consistency. Use the same command every time. Do not deviate. If you do, you might as well be speaking to the dog in another language. Also, make sure the dog is looking at you—

if he's not, he's not going to read the sign language. To my mind, there is no quick way to train a hunting dog. Shortcuts may work occasionally, but I would not count on them. To get the most out of your retriever, you must be patient and willing to put in the time. No two dogs are alike. Some are quick studies. Others take longer to grasp and master the task at hand. Tactics vary by trainer, but one tried-and-true method for teaching your retriever to follow hand signals is the "baseball" drill. Visualize a baseball diamond and stand at the equivalent of home plate with your dog at heel. Walk with the dog to the middle of the diamond, where the pitcher's mound would be. Command the dog to sit and stay. Blow one burst on a training whistle. Toss one bumper to either first or third base—no more than 10 yards away is ideal. Walk back to home plate. Once there, extend your arm in the direction of the thrown bumper and release your dog to retrieve the bumper and bring it to you. Go slow. Start with one hand signal. Your retriever will eventually figure out that your outstretched arm is telling him the direction to go. The next training session, send the dog to the other base. And the third time out, send the retriever to second base with the

"back" command—perhaps the most difficult of the three. There are an untold number of training videos and books available that cover hand-signal training—and everything else—in much more detail. Some trainers use exaggerated body language when sending, or casting, their dog after a bumper. Others use piles of bumpers and alternate casting drills. Electronic collars sometimes figure into the training. Most trainers use a whistle to signal the dog to pay attention and watch for hand signals. The entire exercise can get quite involved, but the lesson can be taught by amateur trainers. Corrections are often necessary. And good work should always be rewarded with praise. If you have any doubts about the value of communicating with hand signals, consider this scenario: You stop your truck on a country road and get ready to haul decoys and gear into a field. Your retriever is released from its crate and immediately begins running around and sniffing the grass, as dogs are inclined to do. A vehicle approaches. Your dog is not by your side. You blow on your whistle to get the dog's attention and give the hand signal for "sit and stay." Your dog obeys the command. The vehicle passes by. You may have just saved your dog's life. Fowl Fact: SAY WHAT? Aging dogs sometimes develop hearing problems, and some retrievers become deaf for one reason or another. Hand signals then become the primary means of communication between owner and retriever.


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December 2012

An American Legion for ALL Americans…

Deer-Creek American Legion Post 1276

News & Events

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

The Legion will be serving a traditional Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day everyone is invited who would like to join us. Come start a New Year with us on New Year’s Day! Breakfast B & G starting @9am Free Tom & Jerry’s till they are gone. Karaoke with Mike Stechman starting at noon. Pot Luck, Appetizers, sand-

wiches, etc. Come out and help support the Ladies Auxiliary raffling off a Laptop Computer. Laptop HP 500 GB Hard Drive, HDMI, Bluetooth with a 17-inch Monitor. Raffle Winner Drawn at 3:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day, Buy your tickets Today from any auxiliary member or at the Post Home bar. Tickets are $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00.

Want to make your own Canoe? Help the kids & have fun showing off your design. You must float in your canoe the day of the St. Jude canoe float, June 15 2013. The winner gets a Big Cheesy Trophy.


Sun. 9 Sat. 15 Wed. 19 Sat. 22 Tues. 25 Wed. 26

Aux Meeting pm Breakfast 6:30am-10:30pm Turkey Shoot 11am-All Day Steak Fry 5pm-8pm Proceeds to Benefit Deer-Creek Fire Dept. Cadillac Jack 8pm-12am Turkey Shoot 11am-All Day Steak Fry 5pm-8pm. Band King Pin 8pm-12am SAL and Family meeting 7pm Band Dave Chastain 8pm-12am Christmas Day 3rd Annual Christmas Dinner Legion Meeting 7pm


Sat. 5 Sun. 6

There will be an informative meeting with all the details on Tues. Jan. 8. Rules, regulations, & basic know how will be discussed at this meeting. Join us & let’s see how many unique canoes we can get this year.


PUBLIC Come On Out & Support Your ALWAYS Local American Legion! WELCOME! 31473 American Legion Dr. GRILL Deer Creek, IL OPEN NIGHTLY! (309) 447-6776

Sat. 1 Sun. 2 Sat. 8



Aux meeting 3pm. Cadillac Jack Band 8om-12am Breakfast 6:30am-10:30am

Kevin Debolt made his canoe with over 1400 beer cans, complete with a matching chair. He floated in it the day of the run, and then donated his Bud canoe to the silent auction which raised $1,000.


Donations still Welcome! Tell your friends & those families that may benefit from this event. All items will be donated to charity after Dec. 20th.

We are accepting donations of Coats, Hats, Gloves Scarves, Snow Pants & Boots for Kids, etc. Men’s, Women’s, Teens, Kids, Infants Outerwear Items are All Welcome!


Help out our veterans. Gas cards are greatly appreciated and all non-perishable food items are needed. Pick up a few extra items at the grocery store. Stop by with a donation today…Thanks for your Support!

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season.

Public Always Welcome! 31473 American Legion Dr. Deer Creek, IL 61733 309-447-6776

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Everyone is invited to a traditional Christmas Dinner served on Christmas Day

Come start a New Year with us on New Year’s Day! Breakfast B & G starting @9am Free Tom & Jerry’s till they are gone. Karaoke with Mike Stechman starting at noon. Pot Luck, Appetizers, sandwiches, etc. Come out and help support the Ladies Auxiliary Laptop Computer Raffle tickets sales end at 3pm.

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December 2012


HAL By Lester Rench

Certified Master Trainer/ Central Illinois K-9 Training Services We love our dogs. We sometimes make excuses for our dog's behavior. We allow them to be our equal, or we treat them like a baby. I received a call one morning from a family desperate for help with their 6 year old Saint Barnard, Hal. Hal was a particularly aggressive dog that through his bloodline and environment had grown into a severe problem. When the family chose this dog, a huge red flag was ignored. It was the fact that his mother was vicious. Aggressiveness is a learned behavior, but it can also be an inherited one. Fear based aggression, as I've talked about before, involves a dog that thinks he must protect his family, so


he will growl, bark, and/or bite. I see this time and time again, and he needs to be taught that he can just be a dog. The situation with Hal was quite different. This was in the bloodline, and allowed to go unchecked for years as he was never socialized. Hal was allowed to growl and bark at other dogs and people. His owners thought this was just his "personality", or that he was just tired or cranky, and rarely reprimanded him for it. This evolved into 165 pound Hal bullying his owners on a daily basis. Since Hal was too aggressive to bring to my facility, I arranged to work at his family's home. On my first visit, we agreed that we would tranquilize Hal so that he would be in a more relaxed state of mind when we met. I asked his family to muzzle him and leave us alone for a while. When I was alone with Hal, he attacked me. I fell flat onto my back, and Hal was standing on me trying to bite me through his muzzle. I grabbed a hold of his enormous jowls and said "no" sternly until he finally let go. He tried to bite me 3 more times that day. I eventually used an electronic col-


lar with Hal to help correct him, The e-collar was needed here to reduce my body movements, which would only induce anxiety and trigger more aggression in this situation. Over the course of a month, I slowly introduced my dogs, then his family, then members of my staff into his environment during our sessions, although never allowing contact. Hal progressed until he was able to lay down in a room with strangers as long as no one moved suddenly or talked too loudly. For Hal, this really was progress. One evening, immediately after a training session, Hal's owner was in a bedroom with him and decided to leave him there. She gently nudged him out of the way of the door and grabbed the doorknob. He bit her hand, then snapped at her face when she called for her husband. She then called her husband on his cell phone to come help her out of the room. This, however, was not the last straw. Hal then bit her husband a few times after that incident. Hal was improving in certain situations, but when left to go on for years, some canine aggression can't be changed. Hal's owners finally decided to euthanize him. They

decided that this was no way for them, or Hal, to live. It may seem irrational for them to have kept Hal as long as they did, but they loved him. Fortunately, this family learned from this. I recently helped them choose a 2 year old Saint Barnard that is a gentle-natured, happy-golucky dog.

Contact Les at: 309-840-4777 JAN. 18-19-20





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December 2012

WATERFOWL 2012 Angry Duck Calls by Jeff Embry Embry Custom Woodworking

My name is Jeff Embry and I developed my passion for woodworking back in 1986 while attending Farmington High School in Farmington, IL. I always wanted to try to create something new and learn more about new types of rare and exotic woods. I had taken a break in my woodworking when I joined the Navy in 1990. After serving for 4 years on active duty my wife and I moved back to Illinois from Hawaii. I

received a lathe for Christmas that year and began creating small woodworking pieces as gifts for family and friends. By word of mouth it grew from there, and I began selling my pieces at craft/art shows in 2004, and was inspired to do what no one else was doing. I would remove the cheap, plastic handles off of items and would make my own custom wood handles. I love working with Cocobolo and Bocote woods. As my menu grew, I started making all types of hunting calls, including deer grunts, duck calls, goose calls and squirrel calls. This year I decided not to follow the norm and began creating calls that were my own artistic design. Not only do are they made from beautiful woods, they sound just like the real thing. The new series of duck and goose calls are

called Angry Duck. They have a new artistic look and feel to them and sound amazing. My friend Todd Huston, who is an avid duck hunter and a proud member of Ducks Unlimited, was a great help in helping me tune the calls to be at their peak. I have also started creating t-shirts and hats with the help of Jason Cooley, owner of Creations by Cooley. Jeff served 22 years in the Navy and retired in December 2011. He tries to hunt as much as he can in between filling custom orders. The studio has many great gift ideas for the holidays. The Angry Duck alls and merchandise is now available at his woodturning studio, Studio 825, 825 SW Adams, Peoria, IL (309) 453-8291

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December 2012


A Better Blind Bag A well-stocked blind bag is the epicenter of a waterfowler’s world, serving as a survival kit for a long season in the field.

By David Draper For some hunters, an oversized bag holds more shells than they could ever shoot, along with every worst-case scenario non-necessity they can think of, while minimalists carry just enough to fit in a few coat pockets and then beg whatever else they need off of friends. The start of a savvy hunter’s kit requires the rightsized bag: one that’s not too big and not too small. Most hunters err on the side of elephantine and then stuff the thing so full it’s a pain to pack it to the pit. By downsizing, you won’t be tempted to carry things you probably won’t need and will save your back in the process. A Goldilocks’ bag — the one that’s just right — should offer an ample, but not oversized, main compartment, along with an array of exterior pockets. Recently introduced innovations have been trending to expandable, adjustable interiors to help organize gear, as well as specialized bags, such as the Final Approach Layout Blind Bag, that cater to a particular style of hunting. All things to think about when shopping. When you have your bag in hand, it’s time to make a list of what you’re going to fill it with. As you write

down each item, think long and hard about whether it’s a need-to-have or nice-to-have and make a corresponding mark next to it. A headlamp is probably a necessity if you’re going to be setting dekes in the dark. Extra decoy weights probably aren’t. And that second box of Triple Bs? Definitely not. In fact, let’s talk about those extra shells for a second, because that’s what makes up most of the weight you’ll be humping into the field. In most areas, waterfowl limits equal five or six ducks and maybe a couple of geese. If reaching that limit requires more than one, or even two, boxes of shells, you might want to think about taking up another sport. At most, you should pack a box of duck shells and a box, or less, of goose loads. Anything more is overkill (unless, of course, you’re hunting snow geese in the spring). Other items that might go in your bag, depending on how and when you hunt, include gloves, gaiters and wool cap; chemical handwarmers; call lanyard; multitool; collapsible cleaning rod; camera and licenses.

Leave room for a breakfast bar or two and a small thermos, and you should be well equipped for a day in the field, which is what a typical duck hunt entails. You’ve made your list and checked it twice, now organize the bag so there’s a designated place for everything and put everything in its place. Goose shells and calls can go in an exterior pocket, where you can get to them quickly should the opportunity present itself. You’ll most likely need your headlamp or flashlight first thing in the morning, so put it somewhere easily accessible, like a front pocket or rear pouch. In the main compartment goes a box of duck loads and calls, camera with Gorillapod, spinning-wing-decoy battery and breakfast. Put a spare pair of gloves and extra cap in an exterior pocket or near the bottom of the bag where they can stay all season or until you need them. As the season progresses, take inventory of your bag’s contents and weed out unnecessary items. By mid-October, that bug spray is probably not needed. Replace it with handwarmers or an extra gaiter. Consolidate half-boxes of shells, and swap the teal loads for something more appropriate for fat, late-season mallards. Throw away any trash, such as candy-bar wrappers and empty hulls. Stay on top of things so you’re not digging through the detritus of duck season when it’s time to reload. All of this might seem a bit on the obsessive-compulsive side, but having a plan for packing your blind bag and sticking to it will not only save your sanity, but can save money as well. By keeping a running inventory, you’ll spend less on extra shells, spare gloves and gear to replace what you thought was lost but was really buried in the bottom of your bag.


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This is what it’s all about!

December 2012

Great Family Hunt on Nov 1st, at the Spring Lake walk-in. L-R: Alan Johnson, Aaron Selman, Trent Johnson & Tyson Johnson with 2 geese and three good eating ducks.

Another good duck hunt at Spring Lake. L-R: Sky Hibberd, Ryan DeSutter and Jacob Woods with a nice mixture of harvested ducks. Look at the smiles on these faces!

Thanks to ASO Rep Alan Johnson for sharing all these great photos with ASO readers!

Nice sunshiny day at Spring Lake Bottoms walk-in. Larry Collier and his friends Roger Ohl & David Ohl with some nice mallards. Good job guys!

(above) Floyd Green and Alan Johnson & (below) Stan Mayeur and Trent Johnson all in the blind waiting for shooting time at Banner. They had a great day!

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December 2012


Gear Guide: Goose Decoys

New styles and models for 2012-2013 Goose decoys come in a wide variety, including different head positions, shells, full-body, floaters, and more. This season there are several new styles, along with a few time-tested models with slight upgrades. There are no light goose decoys in this month’s Gear Guide, but there will be plenty in the January Snow Goose Gear Guide. Higdon Oversize Field Shell White-Fronted Goose Decoys Higdon’s new white-fronted goose decoys offer a convenient and durable decoy for specklebelly hunters. Oversized decoy is 25 inches breast to tail 12 inches wide, yet a dozen make an unbelievably compact stack for easy transportation Head positions include 2-Sentry, 2-Preener, 4-Resting, and 4Semifeeder Comes with Higdon's standard one-year warranty against faulty paint or manufacturing defects.

NEW! GHG® Pro-Grade Full-Body Honkers New full-body honkers from GHG offer features never before seen on goose decoys. GHG® Perma-Loc™ head connection offers the durability of a one-piece decoy. FlexSorb™ Impact Dispersal System eliminates broken heads and split bodies. Flocked heads with skirted necks eliminate transition lines. Snap-back RealLegs™ Patented GHG RealMotion® system provides natural movement. 10 heads and three unique bodies range from 23 1/2-inches to 32-3/4 inches in overall length. 15-inch RealMotion Bases and 23-inch Field Stakes included. Available in both traditional flocked heads with painted bodies and FFD versions. Active 6-Pack: 2 Hairpin Neck, 2 C-Neck & 2 Straight Neck Walkers Feeder 6-Pack: 2 Stretcher Feeders, 2 Hisser Feeders and 2 Content Feeders Sentry 6-Pack: 2 Straight Sentries, 2 Relaxed Sentries, 1 Left Sentry & 1 Right Sentry Harvester 6-Pack: 1 Stretcher Feeder, 1 Hisser Feeder, 1 Content Feeder, 1 Straight Sentry, 1 Hairpin Neck & 1 C-Neck Dakota Decoy Canada Floater Goose Decoys Using the same material as full-body geese, Dakota has recreated their floating Canada goose decoy. Heavy weighted keel on the Canada Floater will assist the decoy in righting itself when thrown. Keel also has a molded-in cleat for tying off your line in different depths of water. Screw-mount head to assure the heads remain on when throwing out or grabbing to move. The floaters are packaged in six packs, and come with flocked heads in four positions. 23-1/2 inches long (from chest to tail) x 11-1/2 inches wide x 8 inches tall (from keel to middle of back)

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25 inches long (from beak tip to tail) x 11-1/2 inches wide x 13 inches tall (from keel to top of head) Zink™ Avian-X AXP Series Full-Body Painted Canada Goose Decoys Zink's Avian-X AXP series Full-Body Canada Goose decoys with their impact-absorbing flexible bodies offer a wide range of versatility for Canada goose hunters. Custom-style paint jobs Dead-on lifelike body postures Incredible durability Motion bases RedHead® Canada Goose Shell Decoys Variety Pack or Feeder Pack Stay mobile as migrants move into your area may be the key to success this season. RedHead’s Canada goose shells offer multiple options for mobility and realism. Removable heads are fully flocked to eliminate reflection. Thick polyethylene construction ensures durability and prevents curling. Body length: 22-1/2" Variety Pack includes 12 shells, each in a different position. Feeder Pack includes 12 shells with Feeder heads. NEW! GHG® Tim Newbold Full-Body Cacklers Cackler geese hunters now have an option for realism when targeting these small geese. Rock-solid one-piece construction for long-term durability Flocked heads and snap back RealLegs™ New RealMotion® II System for hassle-free set ups and pick-

81 ups 18-inch field stakes for hunting in any environment Six different body styles ranging from 17-1/2 inches to 19-1/2 inches in overall length Active 6-Pack: Two each. Tall Heads, Short Necks and Stubby Necks Feeder 6-Pack: Two each. Right Feeders, Straight Feeders and Left Feeders Harvester 12-Pack: Three each. Left Feeders, Right Feeders and Straight Feeders, 1 ea. Tall Head, Short Neck and Stubby Neck NEW! GHG Tim Newbold Full-Body Lesser Canadas GreenHead Gear’s new full-body lesser Canada goose decoys create a realistic field spread for hunting lessers. They are molded as one solid piece, eliminating broken heads and splitting bodies. New GHG® RealMotion® II System for faster set-ups and pickups with snap-back RealLegs™ for total realism. 10 different bodies range from 17 inches to 22-3/8 inches in overall length. Field stakes included. Available in both traditional flocked heads with painted bodies and FFD versions. Active 6-Pack: Two Resters, 1 ea. Stubby Neck, Semi-Sentry, Sentry & Walker Feeder 6-Pack: Two each. Right Feeders, Straight Feeders & Left Feeders Sleeper 4-Pack: Two each. Sleepers & Preeners Harvester 12-Pack: Two each. Left Feeders & Right Feeders, 2 Straight Feeders, 1 ea. Sentry, Rester, Walker & Stubby Neck w w w . d uc k s . o r g


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Changing Game Shooting fundamentals apply to all birds, but gun choice can vary for the marsh and uplands

By Aaron Fraser Pass The baseline formula for good shooting on moving targets is well established. First, acquire and start tracking the target with your eyes. Next perform a smooth, practiced, and precise gun mount that aligns the gun with the shooting eye. Continue tracking the target and swing to establish an appropriate lead. And finally, fire and continue to swing into a good follow

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through. If all this occurs smoothly, your chances of making a good shot are very high. But any break or hesitation in this chain of events diminishes your chances of success. Consequently, the odds strongly favor seasoned shotgunners with a shooting form so practiced and perfected that it's virtually second nature. That's why most all-around good shots can shoot well on both waterfowl and upland birds without a hitch. While the basics of shotgunning apply to all moving targets, there are variables presented by different types of feathered game and diverse shooting environments that require some adjustment in tactics—and perhaps gun choice. In my last column, I noted that goose guns tend to be long and heavy, and this is a good thing because geese, while not exactly slow, are not particularly maneuverable in flight. A steady swing and good follow-through wins this game. In fact, much of waterfowling, for both ducks and geese, is an open-sky shooting situation over fields and marshes. The birds are seen (and acquired) a good ways off. The shooter starts to make mental calculations regarding speed, range, and angle of the target well before the shooting starts. The mount, swing, lead, and follow-through, while not afterthoughts, should be pretty well thought out beforehand. The true "art" of most waterfowl shooting is being able to see the correct angle of flight out of myriad possibilities. The upland gunner, on the face of it, has an almost opposite set of shooting problems—and yet all the wingshooting basics still apply. The target is seldom seen prior to the shooter having to take immediate action. It is a fast-action scenario. The game can be in

the air and gone in seconds, and the shooter has to apply shooting basics very quickly. A rapid and precise gun mount is crucial in upland bird shooting, as is fast tracking and shooting. Ranges are usually short, so a super-precise lead isn't so important, but follow-through remains critical. Most upland game birds are up-andaway targets, and the shooter must be conscious of rather small angles of flight—a bird that appears to be flying straight away often isn't. Finally, many upland species are shot in moderate to heavy cover. Thus the typical upland gun should be light, fast pointing, and fast handling. However, shooters should always avoid extremes in their gun choice. Super-light guns can be jumpy, or hard to hold on track, and could easily stop or slow down on follow-through, leading to a miss. So, do the challenges of shooting waterfowl and upland birds ever intersect? Actually, yes, they do. Not all waterfowling is an open-sky situation. In some parts of the country jump-shooting ducks along small rivers, ponds, or stock tanks is quite similar to shooting upland birds, most notably pheasants. Likewise floating rivers for waterfowl translates readily to upland birdshooting scenarios. Finally, there is shooting in flooded timber. Here the birds are not flushing off the water but dropping into the timber to feed or rest. It is literally an in-your-face fast-shooting experience. In all these scenarios a well-balanced, fast-point-

December 2012

ing, quick-swinging shotgun, conforming more to upland standards than traditional waterfowl guns, would be a good choice. TIMELESS WORDS The Old Man, from Robert Ruark's Old Man and the Boy series of books, once described quail shooting as an art and duck shooting as arithmetic.

Two hunters are out in the woods when one collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy pulls out his cell and calls 9-1-1. He gasps to the operator, "I think my friend is dead! What should I do?" The operator in a calm, soothing voice replies, "I’ll send help, but are you sure he’s dead?” There is a silence...Then a shot is heard. The hunter says, "OK...Now what?"

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December 2012


CREATIVE TACTICS FOR S UBURBAN BIRDS Handy advice for hunting waterfowl near metropolitan areas

By John Pollman Drive through a city near a major waterfowl flyway and odds are you'll see hundreds of ducks and geese loafing on a shopping mall pond or grubbing away on green grass in a park or on a football field—safely out of reach of waterfowl hunters. At least they think they're safe! With a little creativity, it's possible to have great waterfowl hunting just beyond the city limits. In fact, for the past 17 years, Ben Cade hasn't had to travel far from his home 25 miles northwest of Minneapolis to hunt Canada geese, mallards, and the occasional wood duck. Here's how this savvy hunter makes it happen. Scout for Success "Both ducks and geese have adapted to using suburban areas for roosting locations, resting spots, and even feeding areas," says Cade, who is a member of the Avery Pro Staff. "That means some of the best hunting opportunities will be found near-

by." During the early season, that means simply waiting for ducks and geese to exhaust food sources in incorporated areas. Then the birds have to venture beyond municipal boundaries into areas where hunting is allowed. Cade says you can still obtain permission from landowners to hunt on property in outlying areas if you are conscientious and do your homework. "Landowners appreciate it when you know their name and their property boundaries when they open the door to talk to you. Plat books and online GIS systems are extremely valuable tools. Sometimes we'll also run into a landowner who hunts and simply invite him to hunt with us. We've gained access to some of our best fields this way." On those days when it simply isn't possible to get permission to hunt a particular field that waterfowl are using, Cade says an unorthodox approach can bring success. "Sometimes all it takes is locating a field near a heavily used waterfowl flight lane. If you're not on the ‘A' field, you should have realistic expectations. We might have several hunts that are complete busts before we get into the birds really well."


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Think Outside the Box Since hunting pressure is often intense near population centers, keeping an open mind in how you hunt can pay big dividends. "If you hunt around a city, you have to be willing to think outside the box," Cade says. "For starters, consider hunting during the middle of the week instead of the weekend. Hunting pressure for waterfowl seems to decrease, too, when people get busy with the holidays or are distracted by other hunting seasons like the firearms deer opener." Cade adds that you can't afford to overlook small, yet critical details when hunting these well-educated birds. Layout blinds need to be meticulously hidden and decoys arranged as naturally as possible. All hands should be "on deck" when it comes to grabbing the attention of passing birds. "We are usually pretty aggressive with our calling, but we're not afraid to

change it up depending on the birds' reaction." Cade increases the size of his decoy spread as the season progresses. "We'll use up to as many as 20 dozen full-body Avery GHG decoys for Canada geese. When the weather gets cold, the birds typically feed in huge concentrations, so it's important to have a lot of decoys to draw them in." Adapt and Overcome It's especially important, Cade says, to be aware of your surroundings when hunting close to town. "We always make sure to hunt a part of the field that is a safe distance from buildings or any traffic passing by. If you follow the law and use common sense, there is no problem hunting in these areas." Cade adds that for those willing to put in the time and effort, hunting waterfowl in suburban areas can be as good as anywhere in the nation. "I always tell guys that success comes from staying persistent. I might knock on 10 or 20 doors before I get permission to hunt a field. And if what I tried the day before didn't work, I'll try something different. You should never be afraid to experiment."


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Migration Alert:

Migration Moves into the Mid-Plains States Nov. 16 - Central Flyway By David Draper,

Field & Stream's Central Flyway Duck Reporter As expected, last weekend's winter storm in the northern Central Flyway finally got ducks on the move. The snowy conditions were accompanied by subfreezing temperatures that locked up the sheet water and smaller impoundments up north, pushing waterfowl down the flyway and onto the mid-Plains states where hunters have been waiting for fresh birds since the October openers. My contacts in the Dakotas all reported seeing high migrators passing them over on Sunday, a day or so after the storm first hit. In South Dakota, Chris Hull sent in the following e-mail, complete with capitalization to better get his point across that the birds are really on the move: "Spent the weekend in north central S.D., and let's just say the migration was as BIG as it is going to get.

"Saturday morning…a few birds trickling high. Saturday afternoon was spent on a large slough - 2 miles by 5 miles that was FULL of snows, specks, mallards and swans. I would say EASILY 50,000 snow geese and that many mallards as well. Saturday afternoon's blizzard conditions had the birds scrambling for food and shelter. By Sunday morning, the birds and the sloughs were frozen. LOTS of high migrators all day. Monday morning, we hunted in vain, packed up and left for Pierre. Didn't see a goose until we got to Whitlocks on Lake Oahe. Lots of birds in the Pierre area, though." In Montana, Avery Pro Staffer Jeremy DeVries also witnessed a major push of birds into the area. He reports "great numbers" of Canada geese and mallards, along with widgeon and gadwall "in good numbers." The cold front did get what blue-winged teal and wood ducks were in the area moving on to warmer climes, and he noted "big movements of divers have not materialized" as of early this week. A warming trend, along with good availability of feed, has DeVries predicting this new push of birds will hang out for awhile and provide continued success that has been, as he puts it, "exceptional." As for that success, DeVries says it's all

about location. "People hunting on the Clarks Fork, Yellowstone and Bighorn Rivers all have positive reports," said DeVries. "Limit shooting for most groups so long as you are in the right spots." He also reminded boat hunters to be careful of low water. "Several reports of boats being stuck high and dry on the Bighorn this week due to changed river channels, gravel bars and VERY shallow water conditions," he said. Farther south along the Flyway, several hunters checked in with reports of both a major migration and resulting success. Nebraskan Mark Nelsen hopped

December 2012

just across that state's southern border into Colorado and reported he and four friends had two days of great mixed-bag shooting. On Saturday they managed a five-man limit, counting seven different species of ducks, including Nelsen's first scaup and this banded mallard drake shot by friend Tyler Nicely. On Sunday he checked in again, saying the ducks were flying, though the group only managed four species. Nelsen also echoed other reports from the area, saying "lots of new geese flying" Sunday morning. Find migration and hunting at:

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085_001.qxd 11/27/12 11:56 AM Page 1

December 2012


Duck Hunting without the Crowds A sampling of public waterfowling hotspots often overlooked by hunters

By Wade Bourne Don Wright and I had driven from Kentucky to Kansas to hunt pheasants, towing my boat along in case we also found some ducks. As it turned out, the ringnecks were scarce, but we located a concentration of mallards on a nearby reservoir. These birds were roosting on the lake, flying out early to feed, and returning around mid-morning to loaf in the dead timber scattered throughout the reservoir's upper end. Don and I launched the boat after the morning flight had departed the lake. We motored to where we'd seen the biggest concentration of ducks lift off, wedging the boat into a makeshift log blind that had been built long ago by other hunters. After tossing out a couple of dozen decoys, we raised the sides on my portable blind, loaded our shotguns, and waited for the ducks to return. It wasn't long before we were digging for shells. The ducks started trickling back in singles, pairs, and small flocks. Many came into our spread with little hesitation. Don and I

2 0 1 2

took turns shooting until we filled our bag limits. The colors on those greenheads were brilliant in the bright winter sun. From that morning on, our pheasant trip turned into a duck trip. This hunt was no aberration. I've had many memorable hunts on reservoirs in other states, including South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Texas. These reservoirs held plenty of ducks and were all in the public domain. Anybody could have hunted the same places we did, but we almost never encountered other hunters. When it comes to public waterfowl hunting, wildlife management areas and national wildlife refuges get most of the attention. These areas are usually intensively managed, strictly controlled, and highly publicized. These well-known hunting areas hold large numbers of waterfowl, and not surprisingly, they also draw lots of hunting pressure. This leaves a vast array of other public lands that are relatively uncrowded, even though many offer high-quality duck and goose hunting opportunities. These places include not only reservoirs but major rivers, coastal waters, national forests, military installations, utility properties, and private lands enrolled in public access programs. Together they offer millions of acres of public waterfowl hunting. Here's just a sampling of underutilized public hunting areas that exist all over the country, just waiting for hunters to explore them.

Big Rivers Navigable rivers serve as migration corridors for many of North America's ducks and geese, and plenty of birds also rely on these waterways for loafing and roosting habitat. To hunt these moving waters effectively, waterfowlers should scout regularly to keep up with daily bird movements in response to water levels and weather conditions. The best way to do this is to get out there and do some looking. Ed Larson is a typical member of the small fraternity of waterfowlers who put in the time and effort necessary to hunt big rivers. A category manager for Cabela's Inc., Larson is a lifetime waterfowler who grew up hunting on Pools 7 and 8 and guiding professionally on Pool 9 of the upper Mississippi River. Today he hunts rivers both from a boat and by hiking and wading into backwater areas. "You should start scouting a new stretch of river before the season opens," Larson says, "because you've got to know how to get around. You have to learn the channels and landmarks so you won't get lost. It's easy to get confused on a big river, especially when you're running in the dark. Also, you have to know where state lines and refuge boundaries are so you won't get in trouble. Using a GPS, Google Earth, and other scouting and navigation aids can help immensely." When hunting a big river from a boat, Lar-


D uc k s . o rg

son deploys a big spread of decoys, including divers, puddle ducks, and geese. He carries a much smaller spread when hunting small backwater sloughs. "You have to be equipped to hunt in a variety of situations," he says, "so you can go where the birds are working." Above all else, river hunters should be safety conscious, Larson says. "You must respect the dangers that come with hunting on big water in cold weather," he advises. "You need a boat that's large enough to carry heavy loads of hunters and gear in rough water and strong current. Each hunter should wear a personal flotation device whenever the boat is running. You should carry emergency signaling and survival gear, including a change of clothes in case somebody gets wet. And you should always let people know where you're going and when you expect to return." Larson's last word of advice is both practical and ethical: "When hunting public ar-


Cont’d. on next pg.

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DUCK… Cont’d. from previous pg. eas—rivers or anywhere—hunters should always be respectful of each other," he says. "Always give other hunters enough room to enjoy their hunt and to hunt safely. There's plenty of water and opportunities, so you should have a backup plan ready in case somebody is already set up where you wanted to hunt." Don and I launched the boat after the morning flight had departed the lake. We motored to where we'd seen the biggest concentration of ducks lift off, wedging the boat into a makeshift log blind. Coastal Waters Great public hunting is available all along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. Bays, marshes, islands, flats, and other coastal habitats often harbor large numbers of ducks and geese. Waterfowlers who seek out these areas can enjoy great shooting for a variety of species. Richard Stavdal has experienced the joys of coastal hunting for more than three decades. This retired U.S. National Park Service ranger lives in East Yaphank, New York, and hunts public shorelines and marshes on Long Island, where he routinely takes a mixed bag of Canada geese, brant, and puddle ducks. With 280 miles of coastline, this area offers ample public hunting opportunities. In fact, Stavdal says he usually has the spots—and the birds—all to himself. "There's very little competition here after

opening week," Stavdal says. "I typically don't hurry to get set up by shooting time. I can sleep a little longer and come in later and still have any spot I want." Some stretches of the Long Island seashore are private, but hunters can find public areas by referring to maps published by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. "You have to do your homework," Stavdal says. "Besides identifying public areas, you have to figure out how to access them. I launch on public ramps as well as on some private ramps, where I pay a fee." Stavdal takes a mobile approach to hunting Long Island's coastal waters. Sometimes he runs the shoreline in a 14-foot open-water layout boat and sets up on grass points or in coves where birds are loafing. Other times he drives the beaches, then hikes over sand dunes and hunts along the shore. In either case, he recommends using oversize decoys. "My typical spread is 13 Canada geese and six black ducks," Stavdal says. "The brant and ducks trust the geese. They'll come to them with no hesitation. Plus, the goose decoys are more visible from long distances. By going with bigger decoys, you don't need as many to get the attention of passing birds." Private Lands Open to the Public Several state wildlife agencies have access programs that provide public hunting on private lands. States such as Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and North and South Dakota lease hunting rights from farmers and ranchers,

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opening these private lands to the public. Rocco Murano is the senior waterfowl biologist for the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks department. He's also an avid waterfowler who hunts almost exclusively on private lands open to the public. "The waterfowl hunting can be extremely good, and I almost never have to compete with other hunters," Murano says. South Dakota has two programs that offer high-quality public waterfowling. The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, or CREP, is delivered in the James River watershed in the eastern third of the state. This watershed covers much of the state's prime prairie pothole country. "We currently have 70,000 acres enrolled in CREP and hope to have up to 100,000 acres by the end of 2012. All this land will be open to public hunting," Murano says. Another 900,000 acres of private land are enrolled in South Dakota's Walk-In Areas program. These properties are most often used by pheasant hunters, but good waterfowl hunting is available on many of them as well. "Opportunities for public waterfowl hunting in South Dakota are virtually limitless," Murano says. "A hunter can hunt a different pothole every day for the rest of his life and never run out of new places to try. I don't think I'd be wrong to say that South Dakota has more opportunities for public waterfowl hunting than any other place in the country." Murano adds that while South Dakota limits the number of nonresident waterfowl permits available, approximately 60 percent of the hunters who applied were successful in obtaining permits for the 2012 season. South Dakota and other states with private land access programs publish atlases showing locations of leased properties. In addition, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks department has an interactive map on its website that helps hunters locate public access areas. Other Agency Lands In addition to state and federal wildlife agencies, many other public agencies own or manage lands that are open to waterfowl

December 2012

hunting. Examples include the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers, and Tennessee Valley Authority. Some of these agencies have management programs and special waterfowl hunting areas. Others simply have marshes and lakes located in flyways that draw birds during their fall migrations. According to Mike Rabe, migratory game bird supervisor for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Grand Canyon State has three large national forests with plenty of manmade lakes and natural wetlands that attract good numbers of ducks. These are the Tonto National Forest north of Phoenix, the Coconino National Forest east of Flagstaff, and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in the White Mountains in the east-central portion of the state. "Our national forest lakes offer good hunting for a variety of puddle ducks, a few divers, and also some Canada geese," Rabe says. "The only problem is, there's not a lot of hunting pressure. So if you set up on one lake and take a few shots, the birds might shift over the hill to the next lake, where there's likely nobody to keep them moving." When conditions are right, however, the waterfowling on these high-desert wetlands can be spectacular. "On a good day, you can shoot your limit as fast as you can in Louisiana or Arkansas," Rabe says. "Also, here in the Pacific Flyway, the season is long and the limit is liberal, so there's a lot of opportunity for hunters who are willing to work for their birds." Opportunities for All These are only a few of the many places around the country that offer great public hunting opportunities minus the crowds. Waterfowlers can find out about these oftenoverlooked hotspots through a variety of sources, including agency websites, game wardens, hunters' forums, and popular media. Waterfowlers who do their homework, ask the right questions, and then get outside and track down leads can find not only great hunting, but also plenty of room to enjoy it.

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December 2012


Thanks to Harry’s first cousin Eric Hilst for sharing these great photos of himself & friends. Way to go guys, good job in the field!

Eric Hilst with a banded goose along with a nice close-up of the band!

Congrats to Jeromy Byrd!

Jacob Ulery with his first mallard drake! Kelley and Jacob Ulrey, father and son shot their first Canadian geese on the same day! Congrats to Zach Mason for his first bow kill!

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Devils Lake Perch, Pike & Walleye Number Highest in 10 Years;

Expect Hot Ice Fishing Devils Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

With the highest perch, pike and walleye numbers in the past 10 years, Devils Lake ice fishermen are looking at an ice fishing bonanza. “It’s significant that we have the highest populations of all three favorite species at the same time,” said Northeast North Dakota District Fisheries Supervisor Randy Hiltner. “Perch are looking up!” he said. The netting surveys show the perch catch rates (fish per net) were the highest since 2003. Anglers were successful this past summer and fall, and their results bode well for winter fishermen. The good 2006 and 2007 year classes are now 10 to 13 inches. Hiltner, long-time area biologist said the walleye numbers in recent netting surveys are the highest since 2001. “Every year seems to produce

another great hatch. Many walleyes are less than 16 inches, but the 15 to 20 inchers are at long-term averages. Summer reports of good-eaters and bigger fish were very favorable,” he said. Northern Pike cause the biologist to smile, “We don’t know the concept of hammer-handle pike like some states. Year to year, Devils Lake pike average four pounds.” Netting surveys show adult pike are at the highest numbers since 2001. “People won’t be disappointed by Devils Lake pike,” he said. The ice fishing season kicks off as soon as conditions permit, but officially with one of the biggest events

December 2012

in the area, the Devils Lake Volunteer Fire Department ice fishing tournament. The 29th annual event occurs Jan. 27, and averages 4,000 anglers. With $225,000 in fishing prizes including a massive 150prize drawing, this perch, pike and walleye tournament is designed for family fun. Fire Chief Jim Moe said the easyto-fish contest on Six Mile Bay offers convenient parking within walking distance of the pre-drilled holes. Third prize for largest walleye wins a 2013 Ford $30,000 pick-up. Third place in the perch division wins an $8,000 ATV, and the second place pike wins a $9,000 hard-shell ice shelter. Cash prizes will also be paid to the top five places. “This ice fishing tournament has a huge economic impact. It fills up the motels and resorts, and the money raised comes back to the community,” said Suzie Kenner, Devils Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director. Jim Moe said, “This fund-raiser has helped buy some nice fire trucks and rescue equipment over the years.” Also funded are local

youth activities and scholarships. More details are at Devils Lake has some of the largest winter ice fishing guide services anywhere, with perch, walleyes and pike the main targets. These experts take the “searching for fish” to a completely new level. They make every first-time angler feel like this is home, and the thousands of anglers who return year after year to fish with the same guides, know that’s the case. For information on Devils Lake guides, winter ice conditions and roads, the Jan. 27, 2013 ice fishing tournament, activities, fish-cleaning station (open all year), lodging, resorts and restaurants, check, or call 1800-233-8048.


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ASO’s Have YOU been HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE or 2012

venient mixing and matching with existing pieces in your wardrobe such as denims or dressier pants and skirts. These styles are ideal for active outdoor lifestyles. Revenge Is: a cause embedded company that designs and manufactures branded ‘activists messages’ without being ‘inyour-face’ in their approach. Using sophisticated graphic, eco materials and fashion forward styles, they believe in helping our world become better through collective, constructive action and allowing the wearer to continue to be fashionable and to personally express their own desire for constructive action.



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December 2012


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Energizer® Portable Chargers Charging options to keep devices powered anytime, anywhere Energizer, a leader in innovative batteries, lighting products and portable power products, introduces solutions for charging popular portable consumer electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, and Apple® products including iPod®, iPhone® and iPad®. The new portable chargers are designed with smart features, including a battery status indicator, and make charging portable devices convenient even when a power outlet is not available. Products will be available this October online and in major retailers. Energizer® Instant Charger (MSRP: $17.99 for micro and $19.99 for iPhone®) More than doubles the runtime of smartphones when powered with 3 AA Energizer® Ultimate Lithium batteries (included) Two models available; One is made for iPhone®; One for

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December 2012

BodyMedia FIT BodyMedia FIT is an on-body monitoring system that consists of the BodyMedia FIT Armband monitor, online Activity Manager,** an optional Display and free downloadable apps fo mobile device users. BodyMedia FIT Armbands automatically track the calories burned during your daily activities, works as a fitness monitor to measure the intensity of your workouts and monitors the quality of your sleep, an important factor in weight loss. How BodyMedia FIT Works Just tracking steps isn't enough. To lose weight, it takes more than just calorie counting. It's important to have an accurate picture of your calorie burn. Using four sophisticated sensors, the Armband captures over 5,000 data points per minute — from heat and sweat to steps and calories burned — every minute of every day. If you take a walk, most body monitors (ours included) show a level of calorie burn. Take that same walk up Mt. McKinley or any incline and we'll show you a higher calorie burn. BodyMedia FIT isn't just

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December 2012



California Knives Celebrating 20th Anniversary of the California Auto

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The 20th Anniversary of the California Auto has been made by California Knives of Visalia, California since late 1992. It’s convenient, compact, and all parts and components are American made. It’s a quality product of superior design, assembled by hand by experienced American craftsmen using top quality materials. Its easy automatic onehanded operation makes it a natural for outdoorsmen, fishermen, mechanics, law enforcement, EMT’s, craftsmen—and women concerned about breaking their fingernails. And its California Legal-The California Knives comes with a blade of less than two inches in length, and are legal in most states. Current price is $149.00 + S&H. In 1973 Boyd Britt started his own die casting business called Visalia Manufacturing, Inc., Visalia, California. In late 1993, one of his former employees Rocky Moser, who just passed-away in 2011, was a knife designer and custom knife maker collaborated with Boyd on the predecessor of the current California Auto. It was originally a liner-locking mechanism and not an auto. Smith and Wesson had expressed a very strong interest in the knife but only as an auto. Rocky and Boyd quickly took advantage of the opportunity to methodically rework and redesign the entire mechanism that made it an auto. Shortly afterward, Smith and Wesson placed a very large order

through Visalia Manufacturing, Inc. and immediately put the company into full production on the California Auto and has since become California Knives, Inc. Quality and Craftsmanship. The blade is 154CM Stainless Steel treated to a 58-60 Rockwell hardness and custom imprinted with the 20th Anniversary and California Knives company logo. The switching mechanism employs a fully supported through the blade; nine-coil spring that is so reliable “The California Auto” comes with a lifetime warranty. The knives have mechanically superior components and are housed in a handsome, durable handle. It consists of a scale of Dymondwood® (a high-quality laminated hardwood) and a bolster of Zytel® (a tough vinyl plastic), which is available in four-color choices—an attractive complement for the rich Dymondwood® finishes. The brushed chrome finish on the zinc trigger is another added feature. For more information on the California Knives 20th Anniversary models or to place an order call Boyd at 559-967-5575 or go to their website at

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December 2012

Thanks to ASO buddy Mike O’Bryan for sending ASO the Boley family trophies, and his friend Ryan’s buck!

Congrats to All in the Family!

Jack Merna with his first deer, a 10-pointer shot first season near Williamsfield! WAY TO GO!!!

Frank Boley with one of two bucks killed last week near Williamsfield! (Jack’s Grandfather.)

Ed Boley with a nice buck killed near Williamsfield with a bow! (Jack’s Uncle married to Frank’s daughter Mandy.)

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December 2012


Trail Camera Captures Rare Photo of Cougar Wandering Illinois by Carlos Sadovi Visit the Chicago Tribune at After Mark Cobb and his 12-year-old son Matthew finished an early morning deer hunting trip Sunday Oct. 28, he sat at the kitchen table and checked pictures from one of his two trail cameras, hoping they would show a prized buck he could track. As Cobb, 50, of Sherman, scanned through the photos, he came upon an image time-stamped at 12:21 a.m. that blew him away. Near a tree where he had planted deer scent, the motion-triggered camera clearly captured a cougar loping in the woods of west central Illinois, 30 miles west of Springfield near Jacksonville. "Its incredible, you always get the raccoons and the squirrels and that kind of stuff. This was a hit-in-the-gut kind of moment," said Cobb, who has hunted for nearly 40 years. "Everybody standing around in the house thought I had a big deer ... They came over to see the big deer and it was like seven people taking a large gasp at the same time." Cobb's photo has been authenticated by state officials who went to the location where the picture was taken, according to Chris McCloud, a spokesman with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. It is among the clearest photos taken of a cougar in Illinois in recent memory, and it's also just the fourth time since the animals were driven from the state in the late 1800s that there has been a confirmed sighting, McCloud said. Every year the department receives dozens of reports of sightings of the animals but either there's no photographic evidence or the quality of the photos makes it virtually impossible to authenticate the reports, said McCloud. "It is rare to get a photo that clear and that true," McCloud said of Cobb's photo. "It's very clear what the animal is ... It's a very impressive photo." There have been several recent cougar sightings in the northern suburbs, though none has been confirmed. In 2008, however, one of the big cats was shot by police in an alley in the Roscoe Village neighborhood on Chicago's North Side. The animal's remains are at the Field Museum, said McCloud. Bears and wolves have also made their way into Illinois in the past decade or so.

According to a recently completed survey by the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, seven gray wolves, three cougars and two black bears have been spotted in Illinois since 2000. Wildlife officials believe the animals may

have traveled from the Dakotas through Wisconsin. The cougar in Cobb's photo may have followed the Mississippi River downstate, said McCloud. Cobb said that on Sunday, he went bowhunting with his son in an area near where the photo had been taken hours earlier. He didn't know about the cougar until he checked the cameras later that day. "We were hunting in tall grass, it kind of makes you think what could have happened," Cobb said. State officials believe the cougar may have just been passing through. But his son, who started hunting this year, has refused to go back out with his father unless he can carry a gun, Cobb said. "I don't expect to run into it. That don't mean I won't think about it," said Cobb. "Everybody's been talking about cougars being here, but to have the proof of it is neat."


J.J. Bennyhoff of Dunlap shot a young 7-pointer in Stark Co. on Nov 17. Thanks to proud mom Mary Bennyhoff for sharing with ASO via Mike O’Bryan!

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December 2012

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December 2012



First day of youth season Sat. Oct. 6th Abby Kammeyer of Manito shot this deer in Brown County. This is Abby’s 3rd buck and she’s only 10. Deer will gross 150. This one is going on the wall! Congrats to Abby...AWESOME! Thanks to proud parents Pete & Karen Jacobson for sharing Abby’s trophy!

Elizabeth Richey, 14, of Pekin, went hunting for the first time during youth hunt weekend and got her first doe!

Dallas Farlin, 13, of Pekin, shot her first buck of the season during youth hunt weekend.

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Chasin’ Big Red

by Nici Haerter

Dawn was just beginning to break, casting a fiery glow on the marshlands surrounding us. My husband Skip, and I were hiking to a secluded tidal creek hidden deep in the forests of Saint Marks National Wildlife Refuge. I was on a mission. After reading about the abundance of red drum that congregate in the bayous of this gulf coast treasure, I threw my waders in the truck and headed to the swampy wetlands dotting the refuge in anticipation of a backcountry an-

gling adventure. I was after the one fish that has continued to elude me for years, the monster red drum. They are a magnificent species, golden with subtle hues of red, sporting a perfect, round black spot on their tail. I have caught my share of slot sized reds, but never the aggressive monsters that lurk deep in the tidal flats. They are well known for hard hitting, aggressive antics, often breaking lines and wreaking havoc for unprepared anglers. I arrived armed with heavy tackle and ready for a good fight. The piercing warning cry of a bald eagle broke the morning silence as we trekked deeper into the woods. I peered into the dense forest, spotting a pair of eagles watching me, a freshly caught fish still wriggling in their talons. I stopped for a moment to enjoy this rarely viewed scene just as they took flight with a dramatic soaring departure through the tree tops. Following their flight path, we found ourselves standing on the bank

of an expansive tidal creek teaming with bait fish. In the distance I spotted a large alligator sunning himself while keeping a vigilant eye on us. Ladyfish broke the surface, gracefully dancing across the placid water. Along the shoreline, we spotted churning pools of fish, exposing the spotted tails of reds foraging for food. One throw of the cast net yielded a bucket full of live bait. I wasted no time pulling on my waders and sliding into the water silently with a live pinfish. My first cast produced a mangrove snapper. On my second cast, a ladyfish exploded, leaping and jumping in the air, gaining the unwanted attention of a 12 foot alligator that rose to the surface, seemingly out of nowhere to survey my catch. I slowly backed out of the water, deciding that wading was not going to be a wise decision today. Meanwhile Skip decided to follow the golden rule of fishing, “big baits for big fish”, and threw a mullet out into the middle of the creek, patiently waiting for that first strike. He didn’t have to wait long before he hit pay dirt. One rod bending strike sent him lurching forward while his drag sang

December 2012

happily. We watched his line straighten with the force of a giant drum, running the gamut of the lagoon and testing Skip’s angling skills. Skip chose to fish with a lighter tackle and was going to have to wear him down. With one mighty roll, he broke the surface, flashing a large spotted tail before

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December 2012


submerging again and changing directions. As the battle ensued, his rod bowed, the familiar zing of the drag sang and I held my breath in anticipation. Eventually, Skip wrangled him into the shallow rocks along the shoreline and held up his trophy red drum. He was over 30 inches in length, grunting and croaking in protest as I snapped one photo after another. The giant red was still fighting mad and full of attitude when we released him back into the lagoon. Proving to be a worthy adversary, he had earned his freedom. I could feel a gradual change in the tide as the energy of the creek transformed. The ladyfish stopped leaping, no more churning and swirling of reds along the bank. This marked the begin-

ning of the flounder invasion. They took over in a frenzy with massive numbers and force. My line immediately started bumping with action as I reeled in one flounder after another, averaging in size from 14-16 inches. After I caught flounder #15, I stopped counting. For hours we stood on the bank and continued fighting these aggressive flat fish with the jagged sharp teeth. It had turned out to be a magical day of constant action with St Marks proving to be an angler’s paradise. Dusk was soon approaching and we had been fishing for 10 straight hours without a break or lull in action. I had landed a couple of slot sized reds but had yet to battle the monster that haunted my dreams. As the tide shifted again, the ladyfish began their final encore dance across the surface and I realized this was my last opportunity to catch that elusive giant red. Remembering the mantra of anglers, “big baits for big fish”, I threw out my last cast of the day with a large mullet and hoped for the best. Without hesitation my pole bent in half as I held on for dear life while adrenaline coursed through me. This was the moment I had been waiting for. Big Red had arrived and I was about to experience the rod

bending fight of a lifetime. She was a clever girl. After running the length of the creek, she abruptly made a U turn, changing direction and making a beeline straight towards me. Realizing that if I didn’t bolt into action, my line would soon go slack, I started running down the bank and reeling as fast as I could, urging her to shift direction. She was now swimming parallel to the shoreline allowing me to keep the line taught and wear her down. With each roll and flip, I could feel her slowly beginning to surrender. She was becoming sluggish and I was able to pull her up on the bank. Skip anx-


iously waited with the camera as I sat on the ground, my arms quaking with exhaustion from a battle well fought. A smile spread across my face as I glanced at Big Red. She had provided me with memories I would cherish forever. I proudly held all 33 inches of her and posed for the camera before releasing her back to the safety of the lagoon. She splashed me with one last defiant swish of her tail before disappearing into the murky depths of the creek, free to rule again. Nici is a professional musician, freelance writer and avid angler. See her web at:

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Anita Williams & Jim Zumbo


Beep, Beep, Beep! The alarm sounds. I roll over to silence it. The red numbers flash 5:00 on a fall morning. I hear the floor creek- other hunters are awake in a rustic Wyoming lodge. Ryan, my hunting guide, will be here in half an hour to take me to a hunting blind. I need to be prepared to sit in a camouflage pop-up dwelling till dark. I hear the rooster crowing loudly. My feet hit the floor. I pour a glass of milk and swipe peanut butter across a slice of toast. I dress in camouflage, and pull my hair into a pony tail. Then slip a cap on my head. I work quickly to pack a cooler with Gatorade and a sandwich. I place my binoculars, range finder, and trigger release into a backpack. Slide my quiver of arrows onto my bow and go

outside. I open the door and jump into the front seat of the truck. Ryan greets me with a warm, “good morning.” I blink and repeat the greeting back to him. He lifts his head toward me, raises his eyebrows and quips, “It feels like a good antelope day to me.” I smile back as we drive the dusty trail through the sage brush. I gaze ahead and see badlands and rolling hills shadowy in the early morning darkness. This is a working ranch with horses, cattle, and it’s also prime territory for antelope and mule deer. This morning I am hunting pronghorns. Ryan pulls up next to a pond. Mud banks line the water’s edge. Antelope and cattle make deep pockets with their hooves and water seeps into them. The water will be sought after by thirsty antelope. I settle into the blind and my guide helps me plan a strategy. We calculate from which direction the goats will come to water. I take my range finder and push the button to determine distances of various locations around the pond: Sage brush, due left: 18 yards. Pond’s edge, straight ahead: 15 yards. Top of the ridge: 40 yards. Far side of the pond: 32 yards. Curve in pond directly in back of me: 23 yards. Knowing these distances will let me know


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where to set my sight pin. A 1/8 inch change on the bow setting will equal ten yards difference at impact. I pull my bow back and aim at an imaginary antelope at each location. I let down my bow and prepare for many hours watching the hills wake up. Morning turns into afternoon as I wait for antelope to come and water in the heat of the day. I lift my cap and feel moisture on my forehead. My lips turn up in a grin and my eyes dilate with anticipation. I am getting hot and thirsty; soon the pronghorn will be seeking water. The red Angus cattle are the first to pop over the ridge and plod toward the pond. I see three at first, now there are 18 coming to drink. In a hushed whisper I ask my guide if the cattle will ruin my chances of seeing a speedy goat. “The cattle will water then leave if we are lucky.” He continues “This heat is good and the antelope will be here, we must be patient.” I watch the red bellies expand as the cattle take long drinks. Long tails flop over their backs and swish flies away. I sit motionless, watching for action when all of a sudden something smacks the side of the blind and I jump almost completely out of my skin. I have been pushed to the ground, out of my fold-up chair. I hold my scream of terror inside and do not utter a sound. My guide jumps into action

December 2012

and reaches a hand my way. He makes a ‘shooing’ sound and the steer turns to leave. I settle back into my chair. I hadn’t expected to have a steer decide to toss the blind around. I am relieved when the cattle make their way back up the hill to graze. I look through my binoculars and see movement ahead pronghorns! Their plump bodies are getting larger as they run my direction. I put my binoculars down and grab my bow. Several antelope are running straight for the pond. They can run at speeds up to 65 miles per hour. Adrenaline is racing through my blood as I hook my trigger release to my bow. I take a deep breath to calm my nerves. They crest the ridge at 40 yards and I begin scanning to see which is the largest buck. Almost a dozen pronghorn in all. My eyes shift from buck to buck comparing each one. My guide scans the area too, searching for my prize buck. I start to pull my bow back. They all are coming within the magical 25 yard range, when all of a sudden my guide looks over his shoulder to the back. There he stands! A beautiful buck and he is at 23 yards. I drop to one knee, pull my bow and set my pin a little below the white line on his body. I release my arrow, and watch it sail right behind his front shoulder. Thwack! I recognize the sound of a solid hit. The buck takes off running and almost immediately I see his legs begin to wobble. His body gets weak and he is down. I raise my head toward the heavens and give thanks for this animal that will provide many delicious meals. My guide raises his hand to congratulate me as I proclaim, “You are right! It sure is a good antelope day.”

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December 2012


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Hunting Funnels & Bottlenecks My favorite and most productive place to hunt is a bottleneck between two swamps. Through scouting I’ve located several other areas where the deer are channeled to a hallway or a pinch-point along their route from bedding areas to food sources. How to find a bottleneck. When acquiring a new hunting area, the best thing you can do is to download an aerial photo of the property. This bird’s eye view immediately gives you ideas of where to begin. Then with the map and a pen in hand get out there and scout. Within a week after the close of whitetail hunting season I’m doing a walkabout on our property. I haven’t packed away any of my gear and I’m not ready to “think spring” so scouting for next fall helps me extend my season. With fresh snow on the ground you can follow trails keeping a lookout for when two or more trails come together. When this occurs— stop—take a look around and try to figure out why these trails are coming together at this particular point. There is no substitute for good old fashioned leg work without which could cause you to miss subtle

by Marlene Odahlen-Hinz

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Hunting Hallway Find bottlenecks first then scout. changes in the terrain such as slight rise through lower wet spot. What to look for in a bottleneck. Think of how an hour glass is designed. As you walk and study your map look for spots that channel the deer toward a more narrow area. That point could be 20-30 yards wide and sometime even bigger. Later I’ll talk about how to shrink that area. Deer relate to structure just like fish so start by following a fence line to see if there is a spot where a tree has fallen across it making it easier for the deer to jump it. You can also tie two strands of barb wire together to encourage the deer to use that point to exit your property. If the fence belongs to your neighbor, check with him before doing it. Chances are he’s a hunter as well and will say it’s okay to do it. Ridges also tend to funnel deer especially if there is a steep embankment on one or both sides. I have an oak ridge that overlooks a swamp that is a major travel route for the deer in my area. Don’t forget to check along the swamp because some deer prefer the security of a lower travel path. Swamps offer some of the Colby Simms

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best bottlenecks because it is easier to skirt a swamp than to plow through the muck and mire. I have a creek that snakes along the edge of my hunting property. There are only two spots where the deer cross from one side of the creek to the other because it is shallow there. This makes sense to me because I’d rather just get my feet wet rather than getting totally drenched when crossing water. It is always important when looking for bottlenecks to check around water because deer need to drink and during the rut a buck may not stop to browse but he will stop to rehydrate. The landowner carved a 25 x 200 yard patch out of the woods on the property I bowhunt. Deer walk the edges on both sides as well as have one favorite spot they use to cross from one patch of woods to the other. Even though this hallway wasn’t seeded with a crop it still offers enough browse to attract local deer. Field corners are excellent placed to find funnels. As well as looking for narrow strips of trees or shelter belts that deer can follow as they move from wooded area to wooded area.

December 2012

How to hunt a bottleneck. Wind direction should be your most important factor when setting up a stand. In the Midwest where I hunt the prevailing winds come from the west (northwest, southwest). So, I set up my stand based on that. When possible I will place a stand on both sides of the bottleneck to accommodate easterly (northeast, south east) winds. In my area it doesn’t happen often but sometimes there is just no suitable tree in which to place a stand so now I’ll set up a blind. When bowhunting deer it is very important to brush a blind in thoroughly because deer notice any change along their travel routes. You may want to consider something more permanent if you hunt during the firearms season. How to reduce a bottleneck. Any changes made to your hunting area should be done well before season opens so that the deer become accustom to seeing what you’ve altered. Often I will try to “bend” an existing trail encouraging the deer to detour closer to my stand by blocking it off. The woods is full of downed limbs so you don’t have to go far to find material to make that fence or barrier. When I find I have to cut a sapling I saw it as close to the ground as I can and then rub some dirt on that fresh cut to make it less obvious. I’ve also sprayed Round Up creating a new trail that deer never hesitate to use when I want to direct the deer toward my stand. Now is the time to get out and prepare for the fall. Get a map, find a magic marker and pull on your Muck boots and you are ready to find your “hot spot” for this coming fall. Until next month, don’t forget to take your daughter, granddaughter or niece bowhunting.

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December 2012




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102_001.qxd 11/25/12 12:14 PM Page 1



By A.K. Thompson

W hat the Buck?

It’s a term gabbed freely in these precious few months of deer season: Buck. The bigger the better, for sure. First off, who doesn’t love a huge rack (no pun intended, also I’m a woman so I can get away with saying that!), and second, not much tastes better than fresh venison. Last year our deer camp enjoyed a freshly sautéed deer heart with garlic and butter at about 6:30 a.m. You can

have your cheese and eggs – I’ll take the left ventricle. But this year (as far as November) we are enjoying a warm, dare I say too warm deer season. Who wants to hang a deer in the barn when the flies are still happily buzzing about? Who wants to sit around that camp fire or propane heat when you don’t even need to have gloves on? Is loading the shotgun even fun when it’s this warm? Well, honestly, sure it is, but it’s not the same. The usual bang-bang-bang I hear countless times morning and night has lessened to a mere plunk-plunk with long periods of sad silence in-between. I wonder if this has anything to do with that global warming people keep talking about…or maybe it’s just our luck. As you can tell I’m no bow hunter. First of all it’s hard—really hard to bow hunt, if you ask me, which is why I think you folks have a longer, more flexible season than us shotgun folks. My uncle Mike is a bow hunter and hearing him tell stories of the hunt pins me to the edge of my seat. Just imagining drawing back on that string, the 45+ pounds of pressure fighting everything muscle in your upper body, makes my fingers start to curl. Big respect! In fact, I wish I was more familiar with bow hunting, but I’m not, so I guess I’ll save that lesson for another day. What I do know is shotgun, and usually this time of year (the recent November season I’m talking about now), I am inundated with phone calls and text-photo messages of deer camp and the bucks that have been harvested in southern Illinois.

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What have I got to report? A big, fat nothing. Jesse Dale and I were even thinking of staging a simple get-together at deer camp simply to be there, whereas the deer themselves seemingly never showed up. In fact, this year proved such a debacle in getting camp ready, that I was sure deer would be lined up wearing targets on their chests because they felt sorry for us! Turned out we got the old, OLD John Deere tractor we use to brush hog the property stuck in a small creek, nicely wedged between two trees. It took two days of men sliding and digging in the mud, along with plenty of elbow grease and countless logs built-up under the tires to get the beast un-lodged. Lucky for me, I’m a woman, and only had to watch and laugh heartily at their exploits (but only when they were also laughing, of course). I guess the deer didn’t feel as sorry for us as we felt for ourselves, because we all went home empty-handed. Truth is, we are a slave to the weather—both the hunter and the hunted. The most I’ve seen of nice antlers this year are bucks dead at the roadside or magnificent ruminants standing aloft in the fields. But, we still have this next weekend of shotgun season to look forward to. Here’s to hoping it brings more than a stuck tractor and a dirty pair of jeans to report.

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December 2012

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December 2012

Kris’s Kitchen

By Kris Winkelman

It's all about comfort food. When you been out in the woods all day hunting and walk in to the house and smell that great aroma coming out of the oven you know that your in the right place at the right time. Mule Deer Meatballs in Cream Sauce This is a great recipe to serve over rice or a big plate of homemade noodles. 1/4 tsp Grill Seasoning (Your Favorite) 1 egg (beaten) 1/4 cup milk 2 Tbsp ketchup 3/4 cup quick cooking oats 1/4 cup onions (chopped finely) 1/4 cup parsley (minced) 1 1/2 pound ground mule deer 3 Tbsp flour Salt & Pepper to taste Sauce: 2 Tbsp butter 2 Tbsp flour 1/4 tsp dried thyme Salt & Pepper taste 1 14 oz can chicken broth 2/3 cup whipping cream


2Tbsp fresh parsley (minced) In bowl combine first 10 ingredients, shape into 1 1/2 inch balls place into greased glass baking dish. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes then turn and bake for another 10-15 minutes until done. Mean while make sauce, melt butter over medium heat add flour, thyme, salt and pepper stir until smooth. Gradually add broth & cream bring to boil cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Drain meatballs if needed, place on serving plates. Pour sauce over meatballs. Garnish with parsley. Cream of Wild Turkey Soup Nothing like a good old hearty soup on a chilly fall day. This can also be made in a slow cooker. This soup is so creamy and easy to make. Serve with biscuits or your favorite hot rolls. 3 Cups Turkey (cooked & diced) 2 tbsp butter 4 carrots (sliced) 3 celery ribs ( sliced) 1 onion large (chopped) 3 32 oz chicken broth, (96 oz) 1 10 3/4 oz cream of chicken soup 1 1/2 cup wild rice uncooked olive oil 2 cloves garlic (chopped) 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream Garlic salt Spike Garlic Pepper Seasoning Sauté carrots, celery and onion, in oil. Add turkey, broth and rice, simmer for 45 to 60 minutes until rice is cooked and add a can of soup and heavy cream cook


until heated through. Serve with hot rolls. Walleye Cakes Simple, easy and delightful is the first three words I think of when making this recipe. It goes perfect with a fresh salad and brightens those dreary days of the winter. We always make sure we have a few filets in the freezer ready to make this great recipe. It's a family favorite. 1/3 c red bell pepper (chopped) 2 T mayo 2 green onions (chopped) 1 large egg beaten + yolk of one egg (lightly beaten) 1 1/2 panko bread crumbs 1 pound cooked walleye (flaked) olive oil cayenne pepper to taste fresh parsley In bowl combine pepper, mayo, onions, eggs, cayenne pepper, 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs and fish. Divide and make in to patties. Place remaining Panko bread crumbs on a plate and coat patties with it, fry in olive oil until brown on both sides. Serve with salad. Catfish Breakfast Sandwich Here is a great recipe for you catfish fans. If you do

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Modern Muzzleloading Selection is huge these days – Dollar Menus, SuperStores, and the list goes on. Hunters certainly aren’t spared the choices; in fact, we hunters have more choices today than at any other time in history.

By M.D. Johnson Blackpowder enthusiasts aren’t immune. Back in The Day, we muzzleloaders had only one type of powder, a couple gun-makers, and three or four different projectiles. That’s changed. In a recent Cabela’s catalog alone, there were eight pages — EIGHT — dedicated solely to muzzleloaders and accessories. Five of these pages were strictly firearms, with more than 20 various in-line options from which to choose. One entire page was projectiles. Half a dozen brands of powder, none of which were traditional blackpowder. It all made me wonder: Where’s the novice muzzleloading hopeful to begin in terms of selecting an in-line rifle, powder, projectile and accessories? The choices are daunting, to say the least; however, there are steps one can take that will simplify the entire process. The Guns All in-lines, regardless of make, model or ap-

pearance, function in essentially the same manner. A source of ignition or flame is directed onto a propellant upon which rests a projectile. The resulting explosion and subsequent gases created push said projectile out of the barrel, past the muzzle and downrange toward a target. Everything else pertaining to that firearm, with the exception perhaps of caliber, is based on visual appearance, personal preference and ease of use. The Calibers Today’s muzzleloading hunter has, for all intents and purposes, three options in regards to

caliber — the .45, the .50, and the .54. A quick, flat shooter, the .45 can be an excellent choice, though the lighter bullet weights don’t allow much room for shot placement errors. But in experienced hands, the .45 is certainly capable of taking big game up to and including elk. The .50-caliber is without question the most oft-seen rifle in the field. The manufacturers have long realized this popularity, and have responded by creating a vast selection of firearms and projectiles designed to meet the needs of all shooters, regardless of target. Loaded light, the .50 is easy on the shoulder, and with range work, extremely accurate. Pumped up, the caliber maintains the velocities and energies necessary to take any type of North American big game out to — and some will say beyond — 200 yards. My first whitetail was taken with a Thompson/Center Hawken in .54-caliber. So, too, was my wife’s first Roosevelt elk. Since that time, however, I haven’t fired the gun; my wife hasn’t fired hers again either. Elk hunters might swear by the big .54’s heavy bullets and subsequent on-target performance, but I personally believe that most hunters would be better served by either a souped-up .45 or a .50-caliber. The Ignition Systems The choices here are three — #11 caps, 209 shotgun primers, or in the case of CVA’s innovative Electra, an electrical spark. My thought is this is a matter of personal preference, as all three ignition systems are incredibly reliable in terms of putting fire to powder. Myself, I’ve switched everything to 209 primers. It’s simple and dependable, and all my guns are then on the same page should it be necessary to switch or swap in mid-hunt. The Powders In recent years, new players have entered the blackpowder field with any number of synthetic propellants, but it’s Hodgdon, with its Pyrodex and Triple Seven, who appear to be getting the most at-bats. I shoot two 50-grain Pyrodex pellets in all of my rifles; some hunters opt for three pellets. It is said, and up for consideration, that

December 2012

loose (granulated) powder offers the most consistent chamber pressures and velocities, thus resulting in improved accuracy. Only time on the range, coupled with experimentation, will show this to be fact. The Projectiles Here’s the stickler in choosing muzzleloading projectiles — two identical firearms might prove radically different from a performance standpoint when loaded with exactly the same bullet. You must find which bullet, including weight, configuration and sabot style, works best in your particular muzzleloader. My Knight Long Range Hunter, for instance, handles 290-grain boattails exceptionally well. My Remington Genesis and Optima Elite, however, have proved most accurate shooting 295-grain PowerBelt AeroTip Bullets over two 50-grain Pyrodex pellets. Interestingly enough, there seems to be no change in point of impact when switching between 295grain AeroTips and a like-weight HP (hollow point) style PowerBelt. How do I know that? Range time. The Bottom Line The bottom line when it comes to choosing an in-line is relatively simple. Set a price point, determine how — that is, for what game animals — the firearm is to be used, do your homework on-line or via your friendly neighborhood sporting goods dealer, spend your folding money, and then, most importantly, set aside ample time on the range. Experimentation, particularly with bullets, is the key to achieving accuracy and consistency. And don’t forget that this is supposed to be enjoyable; it’s NOT work!


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December 2012

Real Estate Chatter By: Mary Ann Vance

CAN YOU REALLY BELIEVE IT IS I DECEMBER!! really don’t know where this year has gone but it is coming to an end. We all need to reflect back on the year and be thankful for our freedom and enjoy our great country. I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!! What is the Meaning of Christmas? What are the origins of Christmas and when is it celebrated? One of the most popular holy days on the Christian calendar, Christmas honors the birth of Jesus, and is observed by most Christian churches. The name "Christmas" did not appear until the eleventh century. The word comes from the Old English Cristes Maesse, which means "the Mass of Christ." Christmas History The earliest records mention a feast held in the Church at Alexandria, Egypt, around AD 200, to honor the Nativity. The celebration of Christmas did not become a church-wide celebration until the late third and early fourth centuries. A variety of dates have been associated with the Feast of the Nativity.


Western churches observed the feast on the 25th of December, while most churches in the East observed it on January 6th (Epiphany). The one exception seemed to be the Church at Constantinople, where the designated date mirrored that of the Western Church. By the end of the fourth century, almost all Christian churches had accepted the December date. What is the True Meaning of Christmas? Though the Church at Rome maintained that December 25th was the actual birth date of Jesus, the most likely date (according to civil and historical records) was sometime around the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, which was celebrated in autumn. The unanimous adoption of the December date came about as an attempt by the Church to integrate Christian ideals into the Winter Solstice festivals celebrated during that season. In the East, the Festival of the Invincible Sun was the major winter celebration. In Rome, meanwhile, the Saturnalia literally closed down the region for twelve days. As Christian missionaries ventured into Northern Europe, they were exposed to the Feast of Yule, a widespread solstice celebration for many tribes and clans. While adopting a Christian focus for these festivals, the Church allowed many of the customs and


traditions associated with their older significance to remain. Christmas Customs Many ancient Christmas customs survive to this day. Decorations of evergreen wreaths, holly, and mistletoe, along with Christmas trees, are found in many homes during this season. Colored lights and candles are often displayed. Christmas gift-giving is an intimate time for many families. Children's eyes light up at the mention of Santa Claus or Father Christmas. In England, the Twelve Days of Christmas are a time of great banquets, caroling throughout neighborhoods, exchanging presents, and attending parties. Celebration of Christmas in Church Christmas Eve services often include popular Christmas customs such as candlelight vigils, plays reenacting the Nativity from the Gospel of Luke, and hymns sung by children. Ceremonies on Christmas Day include three Masses, special readings from Isaiah and the Gospel of Luke, and elaborate hymns and carols. Many churches are decorated with candles, greenery, and nativity scenes. For many people around the

world, Christmas is the high point of the Advent season, which honors the birth of the Son of God. It is a joyous time for many Christians as they give thanks to God for His infinite love and mercy. DID YOU KNOW??? Christmas Trees have been sold commercially in the United States since about 1850. Christmas Trees take an average of 7-10 years to mature. Artificial trees will last for 6 years in your home, but for centuries in a landfill. 30-35 million real Christmas Trees are sold in the U.S. every year.

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December 2012

Who Must Take A HUNTER SAFETY Course? On January 1, 1996, a State law was passed that anyone born on or after January 1, 1980 may not be issued a hunting license unless: 1. they present a valid Hunter Education Certificate of Competency issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Safety Education Division; or 2. they present evidence he or she has held a hunting license issued by the State of Illinois or another state in a prior year; or 3. Many states are now requiring adult hunters to furnish evidence of having completed a Hunter Education Course prior to issuance of a non-resident license.

Big Narrows Lodge on Lake of the Woods Muskie Hunt By: Dan Gapen, Sr. It’s a lodge built on the face of a rock cliff. It’s also a lodge built in the middle of Lake of the Woods’ prime muskie grounds. This lake, more than any other, with one exception, Lake St. Claire out of Detroit, Michigan should host the title of muskie capital of North America. When comparing the two, Lake of the Woods WINS hands down because of her primitive setting and its wilderness appeal. With its 13,000 islands grown over with giant Norway and white pine, most in the 75 to 100 year old category, Lake of the Woods has to wear the crown. This past July, ‘Bobber’ Anne and I along with Rick Krueger, better known as ‘Ranger Rick’ by the Midwest muskie fishermen, and a group of 16 fellow muskie pursuers met at Big Narrows Lodge for a week of muskie hunting. Now, I must confess this writer isn’t much of a muskie angler. I hold a couple World Records in northern pike fishing plus a couple more in saltwater species with river smallmouth bass being my

The Ol’ man with a nice perch caught on an experimental lure, the Spin Bee™ favorite fish to pursue. I’ve just never had the patience to pursue the treasured freshwater species the muskie, too many casts--too boring and not enough action. As a matter of fact I’ve had friends accuse me of preferring to chase carp rather than the king of freshwater, the muskie. At times there may be some truth in that. It wasn’t until one of the greatest muskie men I know introduced me to the fish he treasured that I

Bobber’ Anne with two more Spin Bee™ captured perch.

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Ranger Rick with a 46-inch Lake of the Woods muskie. came to enjoy this hard-to-catch fish. His name, Les Sandy, owner of Monument Bay Resort at the time, on Lake of the Woods. Les had a few rules. To produce numbers of muskie for hours spent fishing; work the two hours after sun-up and the two hours before sun-down. All those bright hot hours in between he called ‘tourist hours’. A second rule was to carry lots of black bucktails with copper blades plus a surface lure that made noise like the old jitterbug. This was for sundown fishing on rock points. Les also showed me a trick on how to land a muskie without using a hook, just 36 inches of braided 20 pound wire as a leader. In the end Les, a native Ojibwe, showed me 3 times in one night how this was done. Amazed at how stupid this treasured fish can be I wrote a story for the old Fishing Facts Magazine and much to the amazement of Spence Petros, the managing editor at that time refused to publish my article. Spence being a dedicated muskie hunter was insulted at the thought I’d call his favorite fish ‘stupid’. However, Sports Afield

shine. Each time I dropped the Flicker Baiter™ it was walleye for the pan. All those muskie guys would be forced to thank the two of us when shore lunch came about two days later. Even Rick looked a bit shocked as the Flicker Baiter™ did its job. He’s a confirmed jig head and half a crawler ‘Bobber’ Anne’s Spin Bee™ Bobber’ Anne’s 38-inch muskie man. It’s always done its job but this enticed walleye. caught on a Gapen--Waggle Minnow™ day was outshined by the Flicker Baiter™ and Spin Bee™. “Well,”--Fishing annual loved it and it was printed in a first shot at any hungry muskie. he’d caught all the muskie so far--give January issue. And, with the expertise Rick posthe two novices something to brag sess with the spook Anne and I had What was Les’ trick? He’d use a live sucker, allow about--ok? little chance. However, we managed the muskie to swallow it, then as the fish was bull That third day saw another 40 some to raise four other fish which refused dogged to the boat the rod tip would wrap the wire inch muskie up by boat in a charge to to bite. Muskie men count these as leader wire behind the upper mandrel. Next the boat eat Rick’s oversized Zara spook. In its Another one for a plus for each of them. driver was instructed to back up. Then the muskie, The Ol’ man on the charge to consume the bait water was Day two, late day, saw the expert now hooked to the wire would be fought head on. sprayed all over Anne and the spook experimental boat another 41 inch fish. This time Next the exhausted fish was netted before he could ™ worker. Spin Bee Rick did it snagging her by the back disengage the wire. To find out exactly you’ll find the How were the other 16 muskie as she made a third pass at his spook. That was the Les Sandy story in one of my hard back books, anglers doing in our party; so far besides the two worst of all sins according to our host. Even so, Adventure Fishing the Americas which you will find muskie boated by Rick there’d been 23 muskie Anne and I counted two more pluses as we had folat caught and released. lows up to the boat, each on our Flat Shad muskie Now back to our trip from this past July. The first Day four saw Anne with 7 follows to boat, or as I baits. ‘Bobber’ Anne and I were getting closer. night out Rick landed a 43 incher on white spookcalled them “sniffs” and a 46 incher landed by Day three dawned sunny and bright with tempertype bait, a large one about 12 inches long. Needless Rick. atures rising to 92 degrees. A walleye to eat day we to say the man is a genius at walking-the-dog with The remaining days of the week saw the same were told, Anne and My time to shine. Using a new spook-like surface bait. With him clearing out the slow results. All the experts in camp including experimental lure called a Spin Bee™ Anne and I would-be shoreline muskie spots ahead of Anne and Ranger Rick made the excuse that weather and put a hurt on the big perch and eating-sized walleye. me with that intriguing giant spook there was little water temperature had been too hot. I sank low enough to use the deadly Flicker Baiter™ left behind him as we worked his hot spots. The man Anne managed to land a 38 inch muskie on day tipped with a crawler. Like I said, it was our time to running the electric motor in the boat’s bow gets Cont’d. on next pg.

L a n d I n v e s t m e n t O p p o r t u n i t y. . .



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GAPEN… Cont’d. from previous pg. six. But for the seven-day trip only 38 muskie were boated. However, to make the muskie hunters happy there were 3 to 4 times more follows then fish caught. The largest fish boated was a 47 inch muskie by Rick and a 48 incher by one of the others in the party. Most in the party agreed that 38 muskie in 7 days for 19 anglers was an average showing. For me the highlight of the trip was a monster snapping turtle we filmed as she refused to give up the rock she was sunning on. Finally as we closed in on the giant snapper she reluctantly waddled off the rock and retired to the water. It was all captured on high definition video. She’ll star along with Rick’s sundown 47 inch muskie in an upcoming Fishing the World with The Ol’ Man and ‘Bobber’ Anne TV show next year. If you are a muskie angler Big Narrows Lodge is the place to go but at age 80 I find it tough to spend 7 days, 5,000 casts and a whole lot of hours to catch only two fish. When I returned home I spent a day on the Upper Mississippi River, boated 37 smallmouth bass, 6 walleye, 3 carp, 8 red horse suckers and one northern pike in 7 hours. ‘Ahh’--now that’s my kind of fishing! Until next month, this is The Ol’ Man, Dan Gapen, Sr., hoping you RELAX---SAVOR and ENJOY our Great Outdoors it is yours to protect and save.

Holidays with Little“D”

One of Drake Taylor’s favorite things to do during the holiday season is sharing his great big smile while being Santa at events around the community. Drake spent time with his friend Santa Kos (Keith Kostelecky) and The ARK Animal Shelter, a no kill shelter in Lacon, IL. Families could bring in their pets and snap a picture with Santa for Christmas. Drake is a junior at Dunlap High School in Dunlap, IL. He stands only 39-inches tall at the age of 18. Drake has a rare form of dwarfism called MOPD type 2. A diagnose that has challenged him with three brain surgeries, learning challenges and kidney failure but has not slowed down his love of the great outdoors in any way. Drake has harvested two deer with his TenPoint crossbow, two turkeys and ventured out on bear hunts in Wisconsin and Minnesota this year. He also has his prize full


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body mount alligator from a hunt in Florida hanging in his family’s home and plenty of fish stories. What on Drake’s Christmas wish this year?... “I want to harvest a monster buck!” Drake is now busy preparing for

December 2012

the ATA Show (Archery Trade Association) where the Little D Designs jewelry will be on display for sale to stores and archery dealers across the country. Little D Designs, LLC creates hunting and wildlife jewelry for the outdoor enthusiast. The necklaces, bracelets and earrings are created with natural stone, glass, antler, horn and bone beads. Custom designed hunting and wildlife pewter pendants accent many of the pieces. There are jewelry designs available for both men and women. Drake and his family wish everyone a “Very Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!” For great gift ideas this holiday season go to to check out the hunting and wildlife jewelry created by Drake & Little D Designs, LLC.


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December 2012




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MINNESOTA MEMOIRS by Dave Evans “What Fish Does One Pursue, and How?” Or, more likely, “What do you fish for, what do you use, and how deep do you fish?” The title question is more grammatically correct, and the English teacher in me requires that I feature it. I’m not going to try to explain, but pronouns, a preposition, and economy of language figure prominently. Anyway… Over a period of 60 years, the answers to both questions have changed as equipment changed and improved, as we learned the lake better, as certain species were “hot” or not, as we became more skilled, and as time on the lake was extended from one week to most of five months. Sometimes I would plan ahead to concentrate on one fish or a particular area: northerns, crappies, Heron Lake, the Nokasippi, point of the island. Usually I fell into a normal routine, and the projected emphasis was forgotten. So, to the quarry available, in order of no particular order. The Walleye: Minnesota’s sacred fish,

revered as no other. When the season opens, the entire state celebrates as if it were one of two official holidays, with deer season being the other. On Nokay, in the early years, the walleye was sought infrequently, with little chance of success anyway. Stocking by the DNR has improved fishing, especially early, after the opener. The basic Lindy rigged minnow is the favorite bait. Knowledge of the lake’s structure is crucial, as is a good deal of patience. My neighbor Bruce Melin has both and is more successful than most. Really, he is most successful. I just haven’t caught the fever yet, and maybe I’m too old to become a “victim.” And we’re only ten miles from Lake Mille Lacs, the Walleye Capital of Minnesota. The walleye is delicious and is protected by the DNR as if it were the treasure it seems to be. The Great Northern Pike: Every kid wants to catch a big northern, and my first,


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December 2012

a two-pound “snake” seemed big at the time. Since then I’ve caught several in the 10 – 15 lb. range, but no monsters. They are in the lake, but… We began by trolling, Dardevles and wobbling spoons usually. Sometimes we would cast the endless variety of “sure-fire” northern baits. My first was taken on a two-inch Johnson silver-minnow with a red and black skirt, so why try anything else? Now we sometimes troll spinnerbaits, and my biggest yet was caught by casting a yellow spinner-bait in two feet of water inside the bulrushes. Mainly we fish with a large slip-bobber, wide throated hooks, a steel leader, and large sucker minnows. We learned the technique from some “old timers” from Minneapolis years ago. It’s still fun just sitting and waiting for the bobber to disappear whether slowly or in a flash. Setting the hook after a reasonable wait can produce some real fun or real disappointment. We do catch many northerns while casting for bass. And northerns frequently bite off crappie jigs. To the uninitiated, the teeth are very numerous and sharp. I’ve left blood on the deck after being careless with a northern. We’ve learned to filet the northern so that the meat is void of annoying “Y” bones. Cut into strips or smaller pieces, the northern can be very tasty. The Largemouth Bass: In Nokay’s

waters, the bass is a beautiful fish with dark and distinctive colors, and it is plentiful. In the early days we used a variety of surface baits including the Jitterbug, the HulaPopper, and the favored Shakespeare GloMouse with a heavier bait-casting rig. An early spinning bait was a surface Flatfish. We have used live frogs, plastic worms, and Sluggos. More recently spinner and sputter baits have been favored, especially in bulrushes. Lately I’ve gone almost exclusively to ultra-light fishing with a 16th oz. jig and a two or three inch Berkley Power Bait “twister” body, pearl and white. Magic bait but not the best in heavy cover. I have boated some 18 inch fish, but the light tackle makes each catch “iffy.” Still, more fun than “horsing” in a bass. A 50 50 proposition with the ultra-light, but always a challenge. We still prefer bulrush areas, but occasionally deep drop-offs will produce a nice prize. We keep – clean – eat only smaller fish. Ordinarily we can catch and release a six-fish limit on a typical morning. By the way, no smallmouth population in Nokay, but Mille Lacs has plenty, if one knows where to go. We have an annual bass tournament each July 4th, and Dennis Rafftery is reigning champ, although Katie and I have finished 2nd often and have produced the “big fish. The Crappie: Current favorite.

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Finding the sometimes mysterious, elusive crappie can be frustrating and/or rewarding. Do they want minnows, jigs, slow, deep, casting, trolling, bobbers, weeds, drop-offs? Where do they go and why do they go there? We’ve enjoyed feasts and suffered famine. Sometimes they cannot be found for weeks, and then they will appear in the “usual” haunts. Winter fishing puts a great deal of pressure on crappies as fish houses dot Nokay’s ice. With a daily and possession limit of ten, the crappie is protected if the law is observed, and we always check the live well for appropriate numbers. Sharing the location of crappies or the currently successful technique is something we do, believe it or not. This year we used the Gulp minnow on a jig, tight-line, or slip bobber. Worked well. I’ve read that crappies will move farther more often to find comfortable feeding than any other fish. So, the “hunt” is always on. Ten-inchers are common, but the twelve to 14 inch specimen is not uncommon. When the crappie was king on Nokay catching and releasing 30, 40, or more was a treat. Those days are gone, but since crappie fishing is cyclical, each year is different. The crappie dinner is still one of the most anticipated experiences at the lake. Some folks would rather dine on the black and silver than any other fish.


The Bluegill/Sunfish: We catch more of these than any other fish. Nokay boasts a great population of several varieties: green sunfish, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and hybrid. We call all of them “gills,” and the green is my favorite, mainly because they are the easiest to clean. Blugills and pumpkinseeds (the most beautiful fish) are the largest. “Gills” are ounce for ounce, the hardest fighters of all. A well-favored gill is always a challenge on ultra-light, and if they grew to crappie or bass size, one would be hardpressed to land them. In the early years we used cane poles and then “extendo” poles with bobbers, small sinkers above long-shanked no. 6

hooks and Illinois red worms. Now we use small feather jigs with a wax worm. Usually we find them in 6 – 10 feet of water in or next to weed beds. In the spring, spawning gills haunt the shallows and some of the biggest are caught then. Then, a slow-sinking tiny jig is best. My friend Bruce Varner and I often stated, “Give us a jig and waxie and we could feed the world!” Especially on ultra-light. Amazing to see some people still using big bobbers and hooks with thick line. Always think ultra-light! Gills are always tasty, especially when fileted properly and deep fried quickly. These are often the favorites at fish fry’s. The Bullhead: After dark among the


mosquitoes. Catching bullheads on a tight-line with night crawlers, livers, shrimp, or stink bait is always fun. We find a clean bottom, perhaps at a depth of 10 feet or more, and we wait. Sometimes, again, feast or famine. Bullheads do not have “stingers,” but do have bony fins which can cause painful wounds if handled incorrectly. Fisherman’s fault! (What some do call the “stingers” are actually barbels for sensing their environment.) The right skinning tool is essential. Very good to eat, not unlike a channel catfish. Considered by some to be a “junk” fish, the “lowly” bullhead provides prime dining. Oh, for the trot line! But not in Minnesota! The Muskie: Not in Nokay. So we fish for “pan fish” more than anything else. Plentiful, easy to clean and cook, delicious. We use ultra-light mostly fishing shallow and deep in clean water, near weed beds, bulrushes, and drop-offs. Fishing has evolved in use of gear and technique. I learned from and with a variety of fishing friends. But it all began with Mom and Dad. Thanks! Again! Copyright: 2012 You can reach Dave & Karen at: &

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“Lake of the Woods Ice… Get those Walleyes to Eat!” by Joe Henry, Licensed Charter Captain, Lake of the Woods Guide and tournament angler Ok, we are here! We made it to The Walleye Capital of the World, Lake of the Woods. We were just driven by a resort in heated ice transportation to fish house. The temp in the fish house is 72 degrees. The holes are drilled, the house has been moved to follow the massive school of walleyes. Now…Let’s make the most of it. There are definitely ways to increase your catch. The norm. Jig, jig and let it sit in the strike zone. Jig, jig, jig and let it sit in the strike zone. This technique catches thousands of walleyes. Yet, there are times when the walleyes and saugers seem a bit unresponsive. What then? That’s when it is time to mix it up. Rattataptap. When you see that fish come in and it isn’t whacking ya, try shaking

subtly and it takes a good stick your rod tip as fast as you can. I to detect. also take and tap my fingers on Rip em. When fish seem the butt of my rod as fast as I sluggish, I often go against the can sending vibrations down to grain and rip a Cicada or oththe lure. This often induces soler type of vibrating blade lure. id “tap” or that extra weight of This aggressive 3 foot jigging an eye or sauger. motion gets that blade bait viThrill of the Chase. When a brating and even when things walleye is watching your lure, are slow, one of two things will but not hitting it, try jigging the happen. Either out of lure while raising your lure nowhere, a bright red line higher and higher in the water (fish) will appear on the eleccolumn. This emulates the prey tronics. This fish is hot and all trying to get away. When that I need to do is put my lure in fish is following up, don’t slow front of the fish, jiggle it and down! Keep the lure rising just ahead of the chasing fish. Either Joe Henry with a most of the time, that fish nails it. The other scenario is that fish will fly up, close the gap 28-inch walleye and hit your lure, or, that fish caught ice fishing the erratic vibration will pull the fish in and they will end will come off the bottom a bit Lake of the Woods. up swimming over to my dead and go back down. When it stick and the bobber goes down. Either way goes back down, try teasing them up again or I win. My favorite color on Lake of the try another strike inducing technique. Woods is gold with dark green tape. I also Pound the bottom. Another successful like the smaller sizes. technique to not only get fish to bite but alGo micro. When fishing gets tough and so to attract fish is pound the bottom with I cannot figure the fish out, one technique your lure and lift off slowly. This will not that has helped me fill the bucket is going only give off vibrations in the water, but also small. Often times I will take a very small stirs up the mud or sand representing some panfish sized Swedish Pimple type lure and living creature the walleye are often used to add a wax worm to it. I will work this close eating. Be ready when you lift off the botto the bottom and have actually done very tom as if there is any extra weight, set the well when others can’t touch them. I know hook. Sometimes the walleyes will grab on

December 2012

Joe with another nice walleye. one friend who actually keeps some freeze dried waxies in his arsenal in the event he has to turn to this unexpectedly. On many occasions, this turned out to be the ticket. Work the combo. Jigging a lure with live bait of some type has typically produced the majority of walleyes for me. I will say that some days, the dead sticks or bobber lines will out produce. Under a dead stick I either like a gold or glow jig type lure with a live minnow, or a plain hook with split shot set above it with a live minnow. Simple jigging. I know some great ice anglers on Lake of the Woods who will always have one line rigged with a jig. They either hook the minnow through the head or thread the hook through the mouth, out the gill and through the mid section of the body

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(for a better % of hook sets). No bobber is used. Often, after jigging, the rod is set on the top of a 5 gallon pail so the rod tip is in good view. Often times, the tip of the rod will go down just a bit. Set the hook. It took me a few trips of watching this technique out produce a jigging spoon that got my attention. Tipping lures with bait. I normally tip my jigging lures with a minnow head or the tail section of a minnow. Both frozen shiners, fatheads and crappie minnows are staples for me. I like the way the fatheads and crappie minnows stay on the hooks when I am jigging. I like the scales and smell of the frozen shiners, but am careful to hook the piece of minnow in a spot that will hold as they are more fragile and will come off easier. With the frozen shiners, pinching them off behind the gills and carefully hooking the shiner head without creating too big of a hole so the bait falls off is the key. I also use the tail section, as hooking through the backbone of the minnow is very secure and has good flash. Change it up! The bottom line, when you know there are fish below you and they are not going, do something different. First, try different presentation methods with the same lure. Next, switch colors. Finally, change the lure. Add these tools to your tool belt this year and notice what happens to the day’s catch!


Missouri November Deer Harvest Biggest in Four Years A healthy deer herd and hunter participation are keys to the Show-Me State’s success

By Jim Low

JEFFERSON CITY–Hunters shot 204,668 deer during the November portion of Missouri’s firearms deer season, topping the past four years’ harvests and confirming predictions by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). This year’s statewide November deer harvest is 7.7 percent more than last year and only 1.3 percent below the previous 10-year average. Top harvest counties during the season Nov. 10 through 20 were Howell with 4,037, followed by Texas with 3,916 and Benton with 3,756. MDC recorded five nonfatal and three fatal firearms-related hunting incidents during the 11-day November firearms deer hunt. County and regional harvest figures confirm the pre-season forecast by MDC Resource Scientist Jason Sumners. He predicted a strong harvest in southern

Missouri because of a poor acorn crop. The southern half of the state is dominated by forest, so acorns play a much more important role in deer’s fall and winter diets there. Acorn scarcity forces deer to move more and concentrates them around limited food sources, making them easier for hunters to find. Eight of the 10 top harvest counties were south of the Missouri River. A ninth county, Callaway, borders the Missouri River and contains a large percentage of forestland. Only Macon County bucked the trend of southern dominance. Sumners says the Southeast Region reported the largest harvest increase at 30 percent, followed by the Ozark Region, with a 24-percent increase. Other regional increases were St. Louis, 18 percent; Southwest, 17 percent; and Central, 10 percent. MDC recorded harvest decreases of 6 percent in the Kansas City and Northeast regions and a 9-percent decrease in the Northwest Region. Sumners says the decline in north Missouri’s deer harvest mirrors a decline in deer populations there in the past 10 years. Meanwhile, deer numbers have increased slowly across southern Missouri. He said both trends are the result of MDC’s efforts to maximize hunting opportunity while avoiding


unacceptable levels of property damage and deer-vehicle collisions. Sumners noted that does made up approximately 44 percent of the November deer harvest, a 10-percent increase from last year. “The increase in doe harvest is somewhat indicative of growing deer numbers in southern Missouri,” says Sumners. “However, it is concerning if doe harvest increased in counties hit hard by hemorrhagic diseases. This could significantly set back deer populations in some areas to the point where it might take some time to recover.” Nevertheless, said Sumners, “Missouri has a strong, healthy deer herd. Careful management and strong citizen support for game laws allow us to adjust to changes like this and enhance the social and economic benefits that go with deer hunting.” Deer hunting contributes approximately $1.1 billion annually to the state and local economies and supports more than 12,000 jobs in Missouri. To follow MDC on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Flickr, or to receive RSS feeds, visit: click on the icons at the bottom of the page.

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Recreational Ground… To Buy or Not To Buy? DEER HEAVEN

PT. 16

By Jack L. Hart ph. 309-888-4071

Not too long ago I got a call from a reader who wanted more info about the Edward Fort Nursery in Hartsville, SC that I had mentioned in one of my previous articles. I had mentioned in the article that this nursery specialized in selling fruit trees that were proven deer attractants because the fruit (pears, apples, persimmons, etc) would not drop until Nov. & Dec. I found out that this individual owned 60 acres of recreational ground in Fulton County. One thing leads to another & I was invited to visit him & his wife’s place. “Jack,

if you can make it sometime I will give you a guided tour of our place.” Well, that was all the invitation that I needed. I was just plain curious and, of course, nosey. I just couldn’t imagine what those 60 acres would look like & what it would feel like to be able to tell others that you owned a large piece of prime property in prime deer country. Well, that day finally arrived & I got to meet Jeff & Connie and I was immediately impressed as I took in the panoramic view facing south while standing on this very high hill in front of their cabin. One could see for miles across this valley & I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures of this majestic view. Jeff & his wife had purchased this property about 12 years ago & they have done a very impressive job of making improvements to benefit the wildlife. Jeff said, “Jack, I want to show you the orchard first.” We climb on the Gator to head west & are shortly at the north edge of a tract of flat ground that has numerous trees. “Jack, this is the orchard. I started planting these trees right after we took possession of the property and I have continued planting different

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types of fruit & nut bearing trees every year since.” As we started walking into the orchard, I was very impressed by what I saw. I found myself standing in the midst of numerous apple and pear trees that were loaded with fruit. The ground was covered with fallen fruit & the limbs of the trees were bending to the breaking point due to the weight of the fruit that had not yet dropped. The trees were approx. 12 to 15 feet in height and had been planted 10 to 12 years ago. Nut bearing trees had also been planted along the north edge of the orchard. I guessed that the orchard was approx. 2 to 3 acres in size and was a truly “Deer Heaven”. Jeff told me, “Jack, I have, over the years, planted black gums, crabapple, dogwood, persimmon, sawtooth oaks, & chestnuts. We have found that not only do the deer love this overhead food plot but the song birds love the berries. Now Jack, I want to show you the rest of the property.” We climb back on the Gator and we spend the next hour or so touring the rest of the property as we go down into valleys and wind our way up and around ridges as Jeff points

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out different flat areas where he has planted beans, turnips, winter peas, oats, etc. all for the wildlife. As we glide thru the timbered ground, I am awe struck by the beauty of the area and its size. I admit and acknowledge that I am a little bit jealous and very envious. I learned a lot that day and gleaned a lot of information as to how I can improve the property that my son and I own. By just observing how and what Jeff & Connie have planted, I can formulate ideas as to things that I want to do on our property in the near future. Oh, one other thing, I received a bunch of apples and pears that I soon found were very, very delicious. I will always be indebted to Jeff & Connie for that day spent with them will not soon be forgotten. Thank you so much for a great day!

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CROSS ROADS By Bob Hendricks

Successful Bowhunt It was nearing Halloween and I had been telling everyone that I was going trick or treating on Halloween. I got strange looks until I explained I was going trick or treating for a buck with my bow. On Halloween I donned my camo clothes, gathered my gear and headed out trick or treating to my ground blind on the edge of a cornfield. There was a cold nip in the air so I put on another coat to stay warm. The weather was windy but I hoped this would not affect the deer activity. I got in my blind about 3:00 p.m. and settled in for an enjoyable bow hunt. About 4:00 pm a buck walked out at the end of the field out of bow range and fed for a little while. I tried to grunt him in on my grunt call but other than lifting his head he was not interested and finally melted back into the woods from where he came. This was great because in the last few years seeing a deer here was rare due to the DNR killing off deer because of CWD disease. At 4:30 I noticed two bucks running in my direction. The big one veered off

to the right to the timber the 7-pointer began walking right towards me. I tried to stay calm and as he neared me I held the crossbow up to be ready for the right moment. Funny how heavy a crossbow can get when you are holding it for what seems like hours. I waited for him to turn broadside but he kept coming head facing me not giving me a good shot. I held steady and at the last moment he turned broadside and I released an arrow and heard the audible whack as the arrow passed completely through him. He ran to the end of the field and stood there for a good 15 minutes and then walked into the tree line. This bothered me because I dearly wanted to see him tip over cause I knew I had a good hit on him. I found my arrow and it was cherry red from fletching to broadhead giving me good hope of recovery on this buck. From experience in the past and because he didn't fall sooner I did the old bowhunter addage "when in doubt back out" and so I did. I came back at midnight with a support team, my son and 15 year old grandson to find the deer. We found him and the first thing I noticed was he had a

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huge body and instantly thought of venison roasts, steaks, hamburger, well you get the picture. I slipped my new Blind Horse knife from my bag and set to the task of field dressing the big boy after attaching the proper tags. I had the truck headlights on the whole time which was longer than I thought.( and in my haste didn't leave the truck running) I said ok guys I will back the truck up and we will load him up. I jumped in the truck turned the key to start her and nothing, I mean not even a grrrrrrrrr to start her. What do I do now I thought it is 1:00 am in the morning and here we are out at the far end of a cornfield and the truck won't start. At that time you try to think of someone who is a good, very good, great friend. I thought of one guy but he was out of town, just great. I finally with reluctance called the farmer where I hunt. He is in his mid eighties and I sure didn't want to get him up but it was the only answer. I called him up on the cell phone and his wife answered, GREAT now I have woken her up too I thought. She got her husband up and after he was more awake he understood my dilemma and without hesitation he said he would be down to the field in about 20 minutes. It was a beautiful full moon night with an unbelievable canopy of stars as my grandson and I stood

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outside the truck talking. I realized it was a time he would long remember for many years. He was fascinated by the whole thing. My son sat in the truck trying to grab a couple winks since he goes to work at 3:30 a.m. I thought how fortunate I was to still at the age of 63 be able to bowhunt and share the experience with my son and grandson, it's what you call a priceless moment in time. My grandson had permission from his mom and dad to accompany us even though it was late. By the time he got home he probably wouldn't wake up for school but you know sometimes there are experiences in life they don't teach in school so I didn't feel too bad. Bob the farmer came down with a starter battery and my GMC started right up. I told him from now on his name was Saint Bob and that he was an answer to my prayer. He laughed and said his wife said I better bring her some steaks and I readily agreed. On the way out with a very merry heart and feeling on top of the world I told my son and grandson that I did go trick or treating and I got the treat in getting the buck and I also got the trick in having the truck not start. We all got a laugh out of that. I thanked God for the blessing of friends and family and for the nice buck that would grace my table this winter. God is good, so very good!

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DAN’S FISH ‘N’ TALES® “Outdoorsman Gifts”

By Dan Galusha

It is that time of the year again when people start making their lists and checking them twice, not to see who was naughty or nice, but to figure out who gets what. Hopefully this article will help generate some ideas for the outdoorsmen that find their way on those lists. As always, it will start out with some ideas for the ice angler, since this is the upcoming season. My first choice would be the Jiffy’s Pro4 propane drill. This unit starts easy, and runs great. Plus, there is no gas/oil mixture. The propane is less expensive, and easy to use. There are several drill sizes available, but I prefer the 8-inch. This works for playing larger fish, and allows extra space for my Vexilar flasher unit’s transducer. All in all, the Pro4 is a big winner for ice anglers. Jiffy’s website at provides further information regarding the Pro4, and its other new 4-cycle unit the 4G. If a power ice drill is out of the budget, then how about a hand drill. Frabill now has angle-blade, 5-inch drills, which are perfect for any panfisherman. There is also an 8-inch model. Frabill has a new ice shelter in their line up. It is the Thermal Trekker Deluxe, which is best describes as having a big quilted blanket over the shelter. It is warmer, and has less wind whip. Last year the Straight Line rod/reel combos were a huge success, and this year will be no different. Frabill has now added new models in this line of Bro combos. It is the 241, which has a reel with a 2.4:1 gear ratio. A good sock stuffer for whatever ice rod is being used is the new Frabill Titanium Spring Bobber. This product is stronger, more sensitive, and can be adjusted for whatever weight of ice jig is being used. Information on all of these Frabill products can be found on their website at One of the most popular gifts is a Vexilar flasher unit. These are the Cadillac of ice fishing depth finders, and can be used in open water as well. From my own use I can personally recommend the models FL8SE, FL12, and FL22HD. Vexilar also has two top of the line cameras, one of which, the Fish Scout 2000DT, tells the depth, temperature and direction on the units display screen. To go along with

both of these units, there is a Double Vision case in which both can be carried together. If the budget allows for a more expensive LCD depth finder to be used on the boat in open water, then I would suggest the Vexilar Edge 3. This unit has two different degree transducers, which both display on the screen. There is also a temperature probe, and it can be mounted for shooting through a hull, or on the trolling motor. Information on any of the Vexilar products mentioned can be found on their website at Knives are used by all outdoorsmen, and a great line of spring assist units is manufactured by Coast. I use two of these, and have had great success in keeping them sharp, and working well on the opening. The Coast website at, will provide information on their line of knives, as well as the fantastically bright and well-built flashlights. While on the subject of knife sharpening, I stumbled across a great product called a Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener. This is an electric unit that uses three grades of belts to sharpen knives and other tools. With the field kit that I have, there is the sharpener, two guides, extra belts, knife honing pocket tool, instructional DVD, and a handy little carry bag for it all to fit into. I’ve sharpened several of my own knives and machetes, plus

large hunting knives and a bayonet for some other people. Everyone was very impressed with the results. For more information, and to watch a demonstration, go to the Work Sharp Tools website at Any outdoorsman towing a trailer, whether it is a camper, boat or whatever,


needs power and better gas economy. While K&N does not advertise better MPG, it does say the Air Charger will increase power. I have an Air Charger in my 2011 GMC Sierra, and while it has not been placed on a testing machine, it does seem to have more power when needed. Cont’d. on next pg.

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Vexilar’s Edge3 LCD unit with a trolling motor mounted transducer.

GIFTS… Cont’d. from previous pg. From what I’ve figured it has also increased my MPG by a couple of miles, but this is the results that I have had, and it depends on the individual’s use. However this would be a great gift for someone wanting to give his or her engine an extra “kick”. For more information about the K&N air filters or Air Charger system, go to Tackle is always a popular gift, and I have used a lot of great new items this season. One such item is the series of Berkley Power Bait tackle bags. This softside line has been super for arranging, carrying and organizing tackle. Inside the bag are some other good

K&N’s Air Charger system installed in a 2011 GMC Sierra. items. The Berkley Hovac line of soft plastic baits, especially the Deuce, Rocket Craw, Finesse Worm and Smash Tube, have been used with great success. Further information on any of these Berkley products can be found on their website at Rat-L-Traps and Vibra Traps, are more great stocking stuffers. I’ve depended on these crankbaits for years to be my locator of active fish, and many times have saved the day when nothing else would work. Go to the Rat-L-Trap website at for further information. One company’s products that I can never forget to recommend belong to TTI-Blakemore. They have all sorts of hooks for any species of fishing in the Tru Turn, Daiichi, XPoint and Stand-Out

Three gift ideas for an ice angler – Jiffy Pro4 propane powered ice drill, Vexilar FL22HD depth finder and a Frabill Trekker Deluxe. names. To top it off, they manufacture the number one “catch all” lure, the Road Runner, which is always a welcome gift. The Road Runner can be found in several models, including the new Natural Science Panfish/Trout models. Another suggestion is to give an assortment of Road Runner heads, which allows the angler to use his or her favorite soft plastic body, like when I use it with a Power Minnow, Havoc Deuce or B-Fish-N KGrub. More information can be found on the TTI-Blakemore website at As always, a gift idea article can go on for a long time, and unfortunately space

December 2012

Producing a sharp knife has never been easier than with a Work Sharp Tools’ Knife & Tool Sharpener. limits the amount of information that can be given. However, these are ideas, and after checking them out, it may spur further ideas for the outdoorsmen on your list. If you have any questions about this article, or another fishing subject, drop me a line through the Dan’s Fish ‘N’ Tales® website at www.danfishntales. com, which also provides a link to the Adventure Sports Outdoors website where you can find another gift idea of a subscription to this magazine. Until next time, get out on the water, enjoy a great day of fishing, and have a very Merry, Peaceful and Blessed Christmas.

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By Keith Norrington

In a recent Old Boat Column. I showcased the salvaged pilothouse of the steamer Golden Eagle after its 1947 rescue from the sunken steamboat. Mention was made of the “Goldie” lying idle at the St. Louis levee during the World War II years when there was no chance of the leaky boilers being replaced. During this hiatus, the smokestacks were taken down; this image, acquired just last week, shows the boat sans stacks. The gingerbread-trimmed pilothouse, also in view, shows the chimney for the venting of smoke from the potbellied stove. Note the ancient iron ringbolts, set in the granite blocks for the mooring of boats. Just imagine what famous steamboats had been tied up there! Moving north on the cobblestone wharf toward the famous Eads Bridge, opened in 1874, is the sternwheeler Wenonah, faced up to the Showboat Goldenrod. Originally the Little Clyde, the towboat was built at Rumsey, Ky.,

The St. Louis levee in 1945. In the foreground is the steamboat The towboat Wenonah, on a cold winter day in Golden Eagle, stackless and cooled down due to condemned 1939 at the St. Louis waterfront. boilers. In the distance are the towboat Wenonah, Goldenrod the Goldenrod collections of the Missouri Historical Showboat, excursion steamer Admiral and the derelict Streck- was permaSociety, St. Louis. fus steamboats Capitol and Senator being dismantled. nently moored Moored above the Goldenrod is the in 1907, the wooden hull measuring 98 by 20 by 4.5 feet. The boat was owned by the Joyce-Watkins Tie Company, which chartered it to the Arrow Transportation Company; Arrow used it on the Tennessee River towing barges of pig iron between Sheffield and Riverton. The boat was sold in January 1927 to John F. Klein, who in turn sold to Miller Transportation Company of Bowling Green, Ky Capt. James Speck was master of the boat during its Green River days. Later, it was sold to Capt. J.W. Menke, who used it to tow his Hollywood and Goldenrod Showboats. After

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at St. Louis in October 1937, the Wenonah continued to furnish steam for heat, the electric light plant and the calliope. On February 5, 1951, the badly deteriorated boat was stripped of usable items and towed across the river to East St. Louis, where it was set ablaze and scrapped. The pilotwheel was saved and displayed in the lobby of the Goldenrod, where it remains today. The 1909-built showboat, featured in a recent WJ Old Boat Column, is today moored on the Illinois River near Kampsville, virtually abandoned and awaiting much-needed renovation. The whistle from the Wenonah is now in the

excursion steamer Admiral, built on the hull of the railroad ferry Albatross by Streckfus Steamers. Making its grand debut in 1940 and carrying some 4,000 passengers, the huge boat was operated for nearly four decades as a St. Louis icon. The Admiral is the subject of a newly published book by Annie Amantea Blum entitled The Steamer Admiral and Streckfus Steamers – A Personal View. This new memoir and authoritative history of the Admiral contains 144 pages and includes 62 photographs from the Capt. William F. and Betty Streckfus Carroll Collection of the Herman T. Pott Cont’d. on next pg.

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1945… Cont’d. from previous pg.


Inland Waterways Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Blum served as a crew member aboard the Admiral from 1962 until 1978 during summer vacations as an educator and is today a member of the library board of directors. Annie’s husband, Capt. James R. Blum, was a pilot on the Admiral in the early 1970s. The Blums were the presenters for the 2012 River Ramblings educational lecture series at the Howard Steamboat Museum, with the program entitled “The Big Silver Boat.” Their fascinating presentation, featuring firsthand accounts of being crew members on the Admiral, as well as the sharing of shocking images of the recent scrapping of the boat, left the appreciative audience wanting more. This new publi-

December 2012

cation is sure to be pleasing to all riverboat enthusiasts and especially to those who fondly remember the Admiral. The special pre-Christmas price for the book is $26.99 plus $3 shipping (after that, the price goes to $28.99 plus $3 shipping) and orders should be directed to Sean Visintainer, Curator of the H.T. Pott Library of the Mercantile Library, at One University Boulevard, St. Louis, Mo., 63121-4400. The check or money order should be made out to Annie Blum. Further information can be obtained by calling the library at 314, 516-7244. Far distant in the photograph, above the wharfboat and bridge, are the Streckfus excursion steamers Capitol and Senator, their days of glory past and both being slowly dismantled, much like the recent demise of the Admiral, to become memories in the annals of steamboating.

Below: Congratulations to Amanda Seep of Peoria with this really nice 7lb. largemouth caught and released at Chillicothe Sportsman’s Club. This was her first bass over 2lbs! Thanks to proud dad Dominic Seep for sharing Amanda’s catch with ASO! They are neighbors with Ed McClanahan. Top: Ed McClanahan of Pekin with some 3 lb. crappies!!! Dominic says, “Thanks Ed and hope to see you at Al Johnson's wild game feed!”

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ASO Dec. 2012