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Editor’s Letter: Getting close to nature is a heck of a lot easier in the invincible summer than in the dead of winter. Your first clue to this is found in the fact that nobody ever says “we’re in the dead of summer.” Water sports like water skiing, kayaking and of course fishing have to be at the top of any outdoorsman’s list for summer. There’s also the chance to get a look at nature up close by putting on the hiking boots and hitting the trails. Hunters love summer too because it gives them a chance to dream about those dove hunts, quail hunts, deer hunts and hog hunts. It also gives them a chance to keep man’s best friend, their hunting dogs, in shape for the coming seasons.

Wade fishing the surf, tips on catching mackerel, the inside skinny on swimbait lures and keeping your dog in shape in the offseason are just some of the topics we’ve put together for you in this issue of The Outpost. We’ve also scouted the best hiking trails in one of the prettiest area of North America, Georgia, listened and reviewed the best Willie Nelson CD since “Red Headed Stranger” and pulled together some great recipes for all those fish you’re going to be catching. Anyone who loves to get outside in the summer sun should think about getting some sunblock on their skin before spending even a little time out there. Some recent research from the Skin Cancer Foundation notes that men especially don’t appreciate the risks of getting skin cancer. Nearly 50 percent of men surveyed have not used sunscreen in the last 12 month. This is compared to 29 percent of the women surveyed. Why are men so dumb? Hey we’re men. It’s our job to be stupid about anything related to health. That’s why there are more old women than there are old men. The survey says that nearly two-thirds of men believe women need more sunscreen because the female skin is more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation. This is incorrect bubba. More info on staying away from skin cancer is at Before getting out in the sun to fish, hunt, hike, bike or play fetch with old Rover, please slap on a big dollop of sunscreen wherever there is any skin exposed. It’s not macho to get skin cancer. We’d love to hear from you. Send us your summer fishing pictures, pictures from your summer grilling parties, shots of the kids at summer camp or you in that tiny European bathing suit. On second thought... forget the shot of you in the bathing suit. Like us on Facebook: Email us at:

THE OUTPOST© is produced and copyrighted 2012 by Gorilla Marketing LLC, Marietta GA 30062. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is expressly forbidden.

THE OUTPOST Gorilla Marketing, LLC • Marietta, GA 30062 • 770-675-7200 Jason Martin, Partner • Jim Zegers, King of the Jungle • Art Young, Editor in Chief Contributing Writers: Art Young, Jason Martin, Patrick Meitin, Tony Eckler Photo Credits: Tony Eckler - Kyla O’Neal - Sandy Earle - SNA Members - Chris Baker Fred Young - Kim Whitten - NWTF - Kirk Driskell - Rodney Coplin


























Here’s Why Fish Go Nuts For Swimbait Lures Anything that zigs and zags drives fish nuts. The reason for this is simple. It makes them think that the drive-up for dinner is open. For zigging and zagging, the swimbait lures are the equivalent to the Whopper or the Big Mac for fish. Fishing website has noted, “There are not many really big happenings in lure design—most lures are simply a variation of what has come before. But a few, like the originals of the plastic worm, the floating minnow, the diving crankbait, and the spinnerbait, stand out. And that’s the case with the swimbait, which is now becoming the go-to bait for thousands of savvy bass anglers across the nation.”

Swimbait: The Perfect Imitation of a Dying Baitfish So what is a swimbait lure? Fishing guides note that this innovative lure is a variation of the jig with hard plastic poured around the head and single hook. The hook eye on swimbait is set back a little farther than on the standard jig and the shape and balance have a tantalizing effect when they are retrieved. These swimbait lures zig and zag when the angler fishes them with a pull-and-drop retrieve. This action has been compared to “walking the dog” underwater and gives the impression of a dying baitfish. In other words, it drives a big predator fish such as large mouth bass nuts! The harder plastic tail of these lures are said to last longer than the soft add-on tails of the classic jig. However, unlike regular jigs, when the tail is gone, it’s hasta la vista baby for the swimbait.

What’s the Difference Between Jigs and Swimbait? Anyone who has fished much has used a conventional jig. One of the best online fishing sites,, has this to say about regular jigs: “Jigs are one of the most productive baits today, especially in water clarities from slightly murky to clear, in water temperatures below the sixty degree mark and when bass are in an inactive mood and buried in deep cover. Jigs are presentation lures and the key to fishing them is to make them look as much alive as possible. This is accomplished through a slow presentation.”

Basically, a jig is heavy, lead-headed bait with a single hook. An attracting skirt or trailer is added to the hook. With a good weed guard, they can be fished effectively in dense cover where big bass live. They are subtle and discrete and move into big-bass territory without making a lot of commotion, as would a live crawfish or baitfish. Once hooked, the bass has a harder time throwing the singlehook jig than it would a treble-hook lure.

As noted earlier, because of their different shape, placement of the hook eye and the hard plastic body, swimbait move much differently from jigs. Unlike jigs, the swimbait can also be fished like a spinnerbait, with a straight line retrieve. The swimming tail of the lures creates a throbbing action that attracts fish, and the single-hook design comes right through most weed patches. Aggressive game fish such as bass cruise through areas of soft weeds, lily pads and hydrilla in hopes of surprising some poor, unsuspecting minnow and having him for lunch. With a two-inch swimbait, it’s possible to toss in the middle of this vegetation and retrieve it with sharp jerks. This has the effect of shaking off the weeds and giving Mr. Largemouth a straight shot at what appears to be an escaping minnow.

What Type of Rod and Reel to Use Catching big lunkers with swimbait lures requires a substantial rod and reel. It doesn’t do an angler much good if he entices the prey and can’t bring him in. The experts at note, “Rod selection for swimbaits is crucial all year long. You are going to fight some big fish and many times in heavy cover. I never use anything less than 25-pound test lines on a 7-foot Muskietype Berkley Series One rod. You’ll work yourself to death trying to throw the big swim baits on a flipping stick. You need a rod that can handle the weight easily, basically, a broom handle with a reel on it.” You should also use a very high-speed reel to keep up with the fish. Too many times they will pick up the bait and run right at you. You have to catch up to the fish to get a solid hookset.”

Life After Death for Swimbait In addition to bass, these swimbait lures have helped fisherman snag saltwater speckled trout, snook and striped bass. Some enterprising anglers have even found a good role for swimbait that have been destroyed by strikes from big bass. When a swimbait lure bites the dust, the fisherman should hang on to the remaining hook and lead. As notes, “the size and balance of this setup makes it an ideal crappie jig. Just hang a little Missouri minnow on the hook and slow-troll it deep and you’ll connect with all the panfish you want.”

All Hail the King A

nyone who has felt the rush of setting the hook on a 30-pound Kingfish can be forgiven for instinctively exclaiming: “Holy Mackerel!” In fact, that is the appropriate species for this game fish – king mackerel – and the angler who snags one had better be ready to rumble.

King mackerel, which are also known as kingfish or just plain kings, are game fish that take off like a cruise missile and put up a fight to the finish. Plus, when served fresh, they are delicious to eat. However, getting them out of the ocean and on to the boat can present a challenge.

Kings of the Gulf Anglers who can get to the western Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico will find plenty of king mackerel near shore around jetties and piers and offshore in deeper water during the spring and summer months. While they may be in the vicinity, catching still them requires some skill. This is why the sport is called “fishing” and not “catching.” According to, kingfish have a distinct appearance. Their back coloration is iridescent bluish green and their sides are silvery. They have a streamlined body with tapered head. They have no black pigment

on front of the first dorsal fin and a lateral line starts high and drops sharply below the second dorsal fin. The younger fish often have yellowish spots like those of Spanish mackerel. The average weight of king mackerel is about 20 pounds and they can range up to 90 pounds. Fishing guides working the Texas coast note that during the winter months Kings live in tropical waters and when it’s time for spring break (about mid-March or April) they act like half the college kids in the state and migrate to the waters along the Texas Gulf Coast. Around October they head back south back to the tropics. Spawning season for this fish is mid summer and the Kingfish population in the Gulf mixes with the Atlantic population during the winter.

The website notes, “The angler who has never tangled with a big “Smoker” King is in for a shock, both mentally and physically. They strike hard, and when they feel the hook, they take off on a scorching run. The reel stripping run of a big king is a startling experience. Stainless wire leaders are a must. The mouths of kings are full of sharp teeth and they can cut an unprotected line almost instantly.” If this sounds like a trip, it is! Kings feed on small fish and squid and just about any bait in the 5 to 8 inch range will catch them, be it artificial or natural. Trolled feather jigs and large spoons work wonderfully. Natural baits such as cigar minnows, mullet, croaker, ribbon fish, and cut baits work just as well. When fishing offshore, keep an eye out for the shrimping fleet early in the morning. Shrimpers drag their nets at night and usually haul them in at daylight. The culling and cleaning of the nets, draw kings and other fish together around the shrimp boats looking for an easy meal.

Tips from a Pro As with most types of fishing, there is a popular tournament for king mackerel – the Yamaha Professional Kingfish Tour. One of the most successful captains on this tour is Brant McMullan from Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. The team’s website ( is Ocean Isle Fishing Cen-

ter and it features some interesting tips on catching kings. McMullan landed the heaviest kingfish ever caught in tournament competition – a 74-pound smoker! When fishing for kings, McMullan recommends a seven-foot rod with a light action tip and a reel with a good drag system, loaded with 20-pound monofilament. Of course this line might be a tad weak if you get a bite from a 74-pounder! According to the team’s website, he uses a simple rig made of light, flexible cable or wire to prevent it from being bitten off by the fish’s sharp teeth, a flashy skirt, two small treble hooks and a miniature barrel swivel to attach it to the line on the rod. One of the points on the front hook is inserted in the bottom of the cigar minnow’s jaw so it exits out the top, centered between the two nostrils on its nose, effectively pinning the mouth shut. The second hook is inserted in the back or side with the leader loose so it doesn’t inhibit the movement of the bait. Since this guy makes his living catching king mackerel, he uses anything to increase his odds. Part of his strategy involves incorporation of menhaden oil to create a scent trail. Menhaden oil has been used for many years as an edible oil in Europe and in 1989, the FDA concluded that fully and partially hydrogenated menhaden oil is a safe ingredient for human consumption.

In an interview featured on McMullan suggests using frozen cigar minnows for bait. “Thaw the minnows, and then work them with your hands until they are arrow straight from nose to tail. They have rigid bodies so if they have the slightest curve from side to side or up and down they will spin when trolled, and kings will shy away completely. If you cannot get one straight toss it, and never refreeze cigar minnows once you thaw them. ” He continued, “The menhaden oil is used to create a scent trail. To dispense it, get an empty plastic soda bottle and tie a few feet of cord around the bottle neck. Pour the oil into it, put the cap back on tight and poke a few small holes in the bottle with a hook point so it drips out slowly, and put it in the water secured to the spring line cleat.” He suggests a very slow trolling speed and a trolling pattern that consists of one long bait back about 150 feet, one medium about 75 feet, and one run from the release clip off a downrigger ball set at between one-third to one-half distance to the bottom. He notes that anglers can also include additional lines to this pattern.

Where to Find Them Finding where kings are running might be as simple as asking the guy down at the tackle shop near the water. It’s a good idea to actually buy something at the shop before asking for king mackerel hot spots. However, after commerce has started flowing, most employees of fishing tackle shops love to talk about fishing and this is great information. As noted earlier, kings can be found from just off the beach to well offshore. notes that “the primary factor is finding forage, schools of baitfish that tend to school near the surface like menhaden, cigar minnows and threadfin shad, but structure plays a key role, too. Kings prefer low-lying, natural hard-bottom areas. They seem to like clean water, but water color is less important. If they were being caught very shallow, just off the beach, but an east wind or storm stirs up a lot of sand or sediment in the water, they will move off looking for cleaner water and bait.” Fishing guides who take clients out in the Gulf of Mexico also suggest that when fishing offshore, anglers should keep an eye out for the shrimping fleet early in the morning. Shrimpers drag their nets at night and bring them back at daylight. The culling and cleaning of the nets, draw kings and other fish together around the shrimp boats looking for an easy meal.

Holy Mackerel These Taste Good!!! Now that you have some tips on catching the Kingfish, here are some ways to show off that catch. If you have some other ways to prepare this highly flavorful fish, send them our way!

Kingfish Enchiladas Because of the strong flavor of King Mackerel, it pairs up great with salsa. Anything that goes well with salsa makes for delicious enchiladas. Here’s a simple recipe that will have you screaming: “Esta Bien!” Ingredients: - 1 pound king mackerel fillets cleaned, washed and cubed - 1/2 cup Italian-style salad dressing - 1/4 cup all-purpose flour - 2 tablespoons olive oil - 1 onion, diced - 1 green bell pepper, diced - 1 (16 ounce) jar salsa - 8 (8 inch) flour tortillas - 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

(Recipe for 8 enchiladas) Time to Prepare: 30 minutes Time to Cook: 30 minutes Directions: 1. Combine fish cubes with Italian dressing. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Dredge fish cubes in flour and set aside. 2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil a 9x13 inch baking pan. 3. In a non-stick frying pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and green pepper. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft. Stir in fish cubes and cook until fish is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in half of the salsa and remove mixture from heat. 4. Spoon mixture into tortillas, roll up and place seam down in prepared baking pan. Spoon remaining salsa over the enchiladas and sprinkle with shredded cheese. 5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Grilled King Fish Fishing guides are great at coming up with delicious and simple to prepare recipes for seafood. Here’s one of them for King Mackerel. Time to Prepare: 10 minutes Time to Cook: 20 minutes Time to Marinate: About 3 days Ingredients: • •

2 pounds whole kingfish, gutted and washed 2 cups Italian-style salad dressing

Directions: 1.

Cover fish with water, refrigerate and let stand for 2 days. Change water every six hours.


Two to twelve hours before fish is to be cooked, drain water and cover fish with salad dressing.


Heat a grill to medium heat. Remove fish from marinade and place skin side down on grill. Cook until meat is tender and flaky, about 20 minutes.

Fishing the Surf Knee-Deep in Fun:

Tackle, Bait and Lures

Summer time means vacationing and for many this means hitting the beaches. For any fisherman who is lucky enough to live near an ocean, or can get there within a few hours, wade fishing the surf is one of the most enjoyable types of fishing there is. Add a little Jimmy Buffett and with a little preparation, the angler can come back with some delicious seafood for the table.

Choosing the right bait and tackle for wade fishing is petty simple. Live bait or lures that have proven to work for the type of fish that are available in the area should be used. This means that a lure that might be irresistible to the fish off the Florida Keys or California coast might not be so effective for someone fishing off Galveston Island in Texas.

If you’re just starting out with this type of fishing, there’s a wealth of information available as to gear and technique. In fact, some feel that there’s too much information and this adds to the confusion. Here’s a quick primer.

Fishing guides suggest that the best kind of fishing rod is a 6 foot or 6 ½ foot, stiff rod with a good bait caster. A 20# test line is normally used, but local fishing guides and stores might have some better recommendations for the line based on what they hear from other fishermen. The most effective bait will also depend on a couple of other factors. Will the wade

fishing be done on the bay side or in the surf? Bay fishing is a much more civilized endeavor because the fisherman is not constantly being threatened with being knocked over by the surf. However, wade fishing in the surf can yield an amazingly wide diversity of fish species and if the angler gets knocked down a time or two, that’s the price of adventure!

hook about 2 feet under a weighted popper cork. Numerous fishing experts have noted that, while shrimp is logical live bait, it won’t always help catch a wide range of ocean-dwelling fish such as flounder and speckled trout. For these fish, artificial lures seem to work best.

Online resources such as as well as have extensive information on the types of bait and tackle to use for wade fishing. According to these sites, the best live bait for wade fishing is shrimp. This makes sense because the fish immediately off-shore would be accustomed to chowingdown on this tasty fish. This live shrimp should be head- hooked through the shrimp’s black eyes or tailhooked on a small treble

According to, the best lures for the shallow flats of the Gulf of Mexico coastline are tied jigs and weedless, floating plugs. If wade fishing in the surf in the morning hours, the fisherman should use dark-colored soft plastics, or topwaters, such as Skitterwalks if the water is

clear. Later in the day, the best lures are silver or gold spoons and light colored plastics. For wade fishing in the bay, the angler is advised to start with soft plastics, topwaters and spoons for the grassy areas. Overall, most experts agree that the most productive fishing lures for the ocean are baitfish and shrimp imitations.

What to Wear As the term wade fishing suggests, this type of fishing requires the angler to get into the water. Therefore, depending on the temperature of the water, he/she might want to consider several options for wading togs. Some anglers like using standard neoprene waders for this type of fishing and, while this is perfectly acceptable, they are also hot if fishing in the spring and summer. Even if waders are too warm, it is important to wear long pants

to avoid being touched by jelly fish, man-o-war or hardhead spines. Blue jeans or coveralls are fine for this protection. For wading shoes, a pair of tennis or running shoes will work for this. There also leg-guards available at most outdoor stores and these will help the fisherman from dealing with the pain of a stingray or other aquatic critter. While there are lots of options for wade fishing apparel and gadgets, there is one piece of gear that is absolutely critical to have – a life vest. Every year, hundreds of fishermen are swept out into the ocean by a wave that didn’t seem to be big enough to carry them. Those who had a life vest lived to tell the tale. Wear a life vest and make it back to the hotel for dinner.

Other Tips If some night fishing is being planned, it’s a good idea to try out new plugs during the daylight hours to see how it swims in the water. suggests keeping a wade fishing log book to remember what worked and what didn’t. “Log the date, time, location, wind strength and direction, as well as the fish

you caught and the lures or bait used for every trip you make. Add a few notes with any additional insights that might prove helpful down the line, such as air and water temperature, prevalent baitfish in the area, and at what point during the tide the biggest fish arrived or the action reached its peak.”

A Great Fishing Deal Wade fishing is one of the most exciting types of saltwater fishing and it has the added advantage of not requiring a fishing boat or charter boat expense. For an economical and action-packed fishing experience, nothing beats the fun of wade fishing. Plus, the number of species of fish that swim by – from specs to sharks – is mind-boggling.

Understanding Suspended Bass in Deep Reservoir

Introduction to the Deep Reservoir I began fishing Dale Hollow in 1989. For the first 3-4 year, like the majority of anglers, I was a strictly “bank fisherman”. After using this technique for the first few years, I discovered the enormous amount of vegetation that existed and grew in the lake (shallow and deep), and began to focus on weed beds for a few years for better opportunity. It was during this time that I discovered an additional 3rd, underutilized technique/ concept that I had no knowledge of that would eventually increase the success of my bass angling. This 3rd concept was “open water fishing”. Simple as it sounds, it is literally fishing for “suspended” fish, out in the middle of the lake. Understanding why Bass are off shore

By Tony Eckler (From Early Summer through Fall) During this time of year from summer into fall on large, deep manmade reservoirs the majority of bass (Smallmouth, Spotted, and even Largemouth Bass) suspend, especially during daylight hours. The majority of fisherman I speak to have a fear and lack of confidence to chase the suspended bass. My 22 years of recreational fishing and guiding on Dale Hollow Reservoir in Tennessee has offered a wealth of experience, knowledge, and has enable me to gain the confidence in catching open water, suspended bass. That said, these same concepts and techniques apply to any deep reservoirs where predator fish and prey suspend.

Every year from June through October, I would notice fish hitting top water, chasing bait out in the middle of the lake. At this point I had obtained a boat with quality electronics at that time. Utilizing the depth finder, I began to idle around where I would see fish hitting the top water. Purchasing one of the first aqua-view under water cameras to obtain visuals beneath the surface, it became very clear, the habits and activity of bass in relation to their prey. Bass and their prey (threadfin shad and alewives) typically swim around out in the open water, suspended above water that is 50-120 ft. of depth. Bass CAN be found out in the middle of the lake open water areas, because this is predominately where their food is found! Threadfins and alewives are known to swim around a lake as if it is an “open ocean”. This makes sense since these bass prey are originally native to the ocean! When schooling transition takes place In the spring, bass will spawn on “the banks”. Early summer, shad will spawn on “the banks”. Once Shad spawning period is complete, activity will change. As summer progresses and temperatures rise, Shad are known to congregate into large groups during the daylight hours. That said, at night Shad will “break up” and scatter to banks or weed bed refuges. This is why night fishing can be, and is considered, very effective on bank and weeded areas. Anglers can expect that once daylight hours arrive, the Shad will swim out into the depths and congregate…and this is where the bass follow.

What to look for on your” below surface” electronic monitors

-tant that the angler be “on” the bass when they DECIDE to feed.

Once Shad are schooled, they will appear as large clouds on your monitor. Bass will position themselves around these clouds. The small lines or dots that are visible around these school “clouds” are bass. Bass locate themselves above, along the sides, and sometimes below these clouds, following the baitfish around during the daylight hours. Oddly, bass are situated/suspend only a few feet away from their prey. The Shad are not spooked but are acclimated to their predator in such close proximity, only panicking when the bass strike. This is a crucial moment. Once the baitfish school is attacked, they scattered quickly. During the “attack feeding”, this is the angler’s most opportune time to catch a suspended bass. Schools of Shad are Structure

If the angler can position his/herself vertically above the fish, jigging a spoon or using a drop shot rig at the right depth, is hard to beat.

The school of thought for most bass anglers is to look for “structure”. The concept above, I have described, catching a bass in 25 ft of water off of a large school of Shad suspended over 80 ft of water, is actually considered catching bass off structure, as well! What is the structure, you ask? The baitfish! Suspended in their clouds! Bass will hang out all around these “balls of baitfish” all day long, just like a piece of structure. Why aren’t the Shad constantly running for their lives? These bait fish have no choice and have become accustomed to their predators presence, especially if the bass are suspended in a lethargic, non-aggressive manner, posing no threat. It is only in the moment that the bass decides to feed; the clouds of baitfish will scatter in a panic, triggering more bass to attack, causing a feeding frenzy. This will give the angler the perfect scenario to catch several fish, very quickly. Keys, Baits, and techniques for catching suspended, open water bass Bass suspended around these schools of baitfish all day, provide them with an invaluable source of food in unlimited quantities at their disposal. Patience is the key when attempting to catch the suspended bass. It is very impor-

If the school of fish is in a moving pattern, not allowing vertical positioning, it is best to utilize the cast, countdown, and pumping of blade bait like a Silver Buddy. Casting crank bait at the correct depth, can also be a useful technique. Lastly, the most exciting and explosive way to catch bass on open water is when the bass “chase” the bait to the surface and the angler can utilize a top water bait, such as a Super Spook, casting directly to the visible feeding frenzy.

WOMEN WITH WEAPONS Proud to Shoot Like a Girl In his one-man show entitled “Defending the Caveman,” comedian Rob Becker explores the differences and misunderstandings between men and women. He does this by exploring his decidedly unscientific and hysterical analysis of prehistoric couples. The fact that this show has been seen by more than 45 million people since its launch suggests that many of its ideas contain more than a grain of truth. One of those ideas – that men are the hunters and women are the gatherers – has lost a little credence over the past few years because more and more women are buying guns for hunting and safety. Becker’s one-liners all relate to this basic premise of men as the highly-focused hunters and women as the nurturing gatherers. He humorously notes that this factor accounts for many problems that modern-day couples face. For example, the evolution of men as hunters means that they track one thing at a time…just one thing. If they need a shirt, “they go kill a shirt with their credit card and drag it back home.”

Whereas with women, the natural instinct is to take advantage of those “found objects.” He quips, “When I go shopping with my wife, I keep bugging her about what’s she’s looking for, and she says, ‘Don’t bother me; I’ll know it when I see it!” Until recently, this male/female, hunter/gatherer stereotype was unquestioned. There was even a study published by the National Autonomous University of Mexico in “Evolution and Human Behavior” about mushroom gatherers in that country. It found that in order to get the same amount of work done, men often expend 70% more energy than women. It revealed that men went looking for mushrooms, far and wide, while the women focused on finding them closer to the starting point. At the end of the day, both groups had about the same number of mushrooms. In another study in the British Journal of Psychology (2009) the researchers noted that “Men, the primary hunters, are good at chasing a distant target, while women, primarily nurturers and gatherers, make the best of what they have closer at hand. Given this research and the anecdotal findings that make Becker’s play so funny, why are more women deciding to buy guns and become hunters?

Photo sourc: Realtree Maz-1

The Facts Don’t Lie The facts about women and guns are enough to make the heirs of Oliver Winchester and Eliphalet Remington dynasties smile. The companies started by these families have sold millions of firearms since their founding and they couldn’t be happier to see women getting involved in hunting. According to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), “46.5 percent more women are target shooting today that they were a decade ago.” Plus a 2011 Gallup Poll found that 23 percent of American women own a gun. Several sporting goods sources note that this gun ownership trend is driven by both a desire for hunting and for personal protection on the part of women.

Photo sourc: She Upland

This trend is even more interesting in light of the fact that the NSGA reported that more women than men took up hunting last year. “While total hunters in the U.S. decreased slightly (.05 percent) between 2008 and 2009, the number of female hunters increased by 5.4 percent, netting 163,000 new participants.” These new hunters were not just buying shotguns for bird hunting. They were buying deer hunting rifles (up 3.5 percent), muzzleloaders (up 134.6 percent) and bows (up 30.7 percent).

Women Get Their Own Gear In addition to making the world a little safer, or perhaps more dangerous, these pistol packing mama’s, shotgun sisters and dead-eye divas are changing the way manufacturers make and market outdoor sports guns and gear. The old days of women being content to wear handme-down, re-sized men’s camo apparel and shoot either oversized or kids-sized guns are long gone. Just ask Kirstie Pike. Pike is the founder and CEO of Prois, a women’s hunting-clothing brand. She noted that in the past four years, her company has enjoyed a 100 percent growth every year. In the year just passed Prois had a 600 percent increase in sales from the same time last year. The company is now joint-venturing women-friendly hunting trips with well-known hunting outfitters around the country. Tellingly, many women enjoy hunting with other women more than they do with male hunters. Most say that male hunters are completely focused on nailing the prize buck and this competitive nature gets in the way of the fun of hunting. Many women say that they enjoy the fun of being in the field and trying to outsmart the game. Such groups at DIVA…WOW (Women Outdoors Worldwide) have fueled this passion for women hunting with other women and have been responsible for bringing the sport to younger women by giving support and training in the proper use of firearms.

Many state fish and game agencies have instituted programs such as the “Becoming an Outdoor Woman” program which is found in the state of New Hampshire. In states such as Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado there are special efforts to recruit more female hunters. This is based on the effort to drive more hunting license sales which typically support the wildlife conservation and habitat preservation efforts in these states.

It’s No Joke It’s tempting for male hunters and males who write about hunting to make a joke about all of the “girls with guns.” This trend of more women involved in shooting sports is no joke and it’s a good thing for everyone who cares about keeping the tradition of hunting going. The fact is, getting women and younger girls involved in hunting and fishing is one of the best things to happen to the sport. The obvious boon to the firearm, hunting apparel and gear manufacturers notwithstanding, when more people purchase a hunting license and a duck stamp more funds are transferred to the agencies that (hopefully) keep the woods and waterways from being replaced by another shopping center or fast food joint. Plus, with more people hunting more people will be interested in reading about this sport. For outdoor writers, this is definitely a good thing!

Canine Calisthenics: Keeping Your Hunting Dog in Shape

With summer upon us and the sweltering heat scorching anything uncovered, the last thing a hunter wants to think about is getting some exercise and losing a few pounds. This also goes for a hunter’s best friend – his dog. Unfortunately, that eager-beaver dog who jumps into the pickup at 4 a.m. and remains in constant motion, through hard, dry cactus country or swimming in freezing water, can get out of shape during the spring and summer months just like his owner. And as unpleasant as it may be for the slowmoving hunter, the off-season – summertime – is the time to get a dog back into hunting shape.

Even Pets Are Getting Fatter Many veterinarians have been warning pet-owners of the growing trend toward obesity among dogs. There’s a book entitled “Chow Hounds,” that’s good reading for any hunter who wants to keep his dog in shape. The book notes that pets gain weight and experience weight-related diseases such as heart problems for the same reasons that human do – too many carbs and calories and not enough exercise. In 2009, a poll of the membership of the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, made up of animal clinics and about 1,000 veterinarians, found that 45 percent of the dogs in their care were overweight or obese. Obesity was defined as weighing 30 percent above their ideal weight.

Aren’t Hunting Dogs Healthier? Watching a well-trained hunting dog in their prime work a quail or pheasant field or retrieve a downed duck or goose from a semi-frozen pond is a thing of beauty. It’s hard to imagine that these high-energy, “type-A” animals could get out of shape. However, it happens more often than not. Here’s why. Hunting season is about 3 to 4 months in length. This leaves 8 – 9 months of off-season rest and very little recreation for dogs. Most hunting dogs become a part of the family and this means spending a lot of time curled up on the couch, watching “Sportsmen of North America” and snagging a few table scraps that the toddler in the family casually tosses on the floor. Since there is no doves or ducks to retrieve, there is little or no aerobic exercise to keep the dog lean these hardcharging canine athletes get fat. As with humans, there are only two ways to keep a dog in shape; diet and exercise. How does one determine if a dog is overweight and out of shape? Vets suggest this approach: If after putting your hands on the dog, if it is impossible to feel the ribs or spinal vertebrae because of a thick layer of fat, the dog is overweight and is not ready for any

strenuous exercise, including and especially chasing after wild game. On the other hand, if the ribs and vertebrae are obvious to the eye, the dog might have a parasitic infection and need immediate attention. If it is easy to feel the ribs and vertebrae, the dog is probably in good condition.

Proper Feeding of a Hunting Dog It is a well-accepted practice to refrain from feeding a dog prior to hunting or before off-season exercising. A full stomach can stress a dog and result in irritation of the digestive tract. It is also well-known that dogs need more food, and even fats, during the hunting season. However, even though the dog will continue to want these high-fat meals, they should be reduced when the season ends. Veterinarians suggest that hunting dogs should be fed once a day in the late afternoon or evening, but not within 12 hours of a hunt or vigorous exercise. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is a recurring problem among even the fittest hunting dogs. Many trainers will bring along high-calorie snacks to keep up their dog’s blood sugar level. Dogs that are suffering from hypoglycemia can have symptoms of: staggering, disorientation and they can even experience seizures. Old-school hunters suggest putting a little corn syrup (“Kayro�) on the gums of a dog that seems to be having problems with low blood sugar. There are many low-fat, healthy dog foods available at any grocery store and hunters are urged to consult their vets for the best food mixture for their specific breed.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to bring an obese dog back to his optimal hunting weight. However, eliminating table scraps and special treats from his diet is an important first step. An overweight dog can be prime candidate for fatal diseases such as diabetes, anal gland disease, cardiovascular overload, osteoarthritis, and respiratory problems.

Training Camp for Fido Most hunting dogs need six to eight weeks of pre-season training in order to get into hunting shape. Dog trainers and vets suggest that that these training sessions start slowly, no more than 15 to 20 minutes in the morning and the evening. Glance at the calendar and note opening day, then work back eight weeks. That should be the opening day of dog training camp. It’ll be hot and miserable, but that’s part of the charm of having a great hunting dog. After this exercise, you will have a new appreciation for term, dog days of summer! The type of hunting dog will determine the type of workout. Retrievers are similar to sprinters on a track team. They need muscle training to be able to quickly pursue the game and the rush back, usually through thickets or vegetation-clogged water. Upland pointers and flushing breeds don’t need as much muscle power, but rather need cardio-vascular conditioning to build stamina. Building muscle strength for retrievers can be accomplished by keeping a leash on the dog with some tension and encouraging him to pull the trainer along a road or path. Muscle strength for both retrievers and pointers and flushing dogs can be built with lots of off-season swimming and accompanying the owner on jogs. The most important aspect of exercise training is to continue to give praise to the animal for accomplishing the challenges of the workout while avoiding the giving of high-calorie treats. The dog’s nails should also be clipped regularly to avoid potential tearing and their pads should be regularly checked to make sure that they are not damaged. Additional off-season roadwork will help to toughen these paw pads.

Other Advantages Training a hunting dog during the off-season is highly beneficial to both the dog and the owner because a healthy bond can be built between the two. Come hunting season, the well-conditioned dog will be in good health and ready to take on the rigors of pursuing wild game.

In addition to the endurance that is built in the offseason, this training will result in an enhancement of command responses. There are few things more powerful than the bond between a hunter and his dog and the best time to build this is with off-season training.

Willie Nelson: On the Road with a Few of His Heroes

This year Willie Nelson turned 79. He got a very cool statue in downtown Austin that symbolizes one of the most incredible musical careers in history. He also released a remarkable CD entitled “Heroes.” The first time I met him was in the summer of 1967. He was 34 and I was 16. It was 6:30 am in my hometown of Brady, Texas and I was spinning records at the only radio station in town, KNEL – The Mighty 1490. I was completely blown away by him and I still am. At the time, Willie was the opening singer in the Claude Grey Band and he played guitar in Grey’s band. His job was to get the crown warmed up for the star. They were on the road constantly and while motoring through the downtown “square” in Brady, in route to that night’s gig, he noticed that the radio station lights were on in the studio that was located on the second floor, above the Brady National Bank building. He had a new album that he wanted me to listen to, the title cut of which became synonymous with lost causes – Turn out the Lights, The Party’s Over. ( I played a couple of cuts off the album for the groggy citizens of McCulloch County and did my first interview with a singer. Actually, if memory serves, he interviewed me. He talked about music we were playing on the station, asked about how much rain we were getting (there’s never enough) in the area, talked about his hometown of Abbott, Texas and where he got the ideas for the songs that he wrote. In addition to having the most distinctive singing style I have ever heard, the guy was the most charming guy I have ever met. Willie Nelson is a born salesman because he really likes people. I was too young to have thought to have popped a tape in the ancient Ampex reel-to-reel that we had at the station, but even 45 years later, I haven’t forgotten the experience of chatting with Willie. Spring forward to 2012 and Willie Nelson is still charming his fans with a new album, “Heroes,” that showcases a part of him that’s most important – his family. In addition to his sister, Bobby Nelson, who has played piano in his band for decades, Willie has added his two sons, Lukas and Micah to that band of gypsies that goes down the highway. “Heroes” is a very interesting combination of original songs and classics that have been reworked in a style that is unique to Willie Nelson. Plus, who in their right mind would include guests on the set of songs that run from Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Billy Joe Shaver, Jamey Johnson, Ray Price and Micah and Lukas Nelson? Of course nobody else would try and pull this off because nobody else is Willie Nelson. The first radio track from the CD is “Just Breathe,” a cover of Pearl Jam and it features a duet between Willie and son Lukas. To say the younger Nelson sounds a lot like his dad on this song is similar to saying that a guy might get into a little trouble in the Texas beer joints where Willie started his storied career. When asked by the New York Times if this talent for singing is something that has been passed along genetically, Willie responded, “I think it’s definitely in the DNA. I do believe there is power in the blood.”

Another interesting cover on the CD is “The Scientist” made famous by Coldplay. As with every other song in this collection, Nelson makes it sound like they wrote it for him. This is perfect song for Willie and he gives it a completely different vibe from Coldplay. Never one to forget his Texas swing roots, Willie and Lukas, absolutely tear up “My Window Faces the South.” This song was a hit for Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in 1938 and the fact that Nelson grew up idolizing Wills is evident on this treatment of this jazzy number. I saw a vintage recording on YouTube of Nelson doing this tune when he was a member of the Ernest Tubb band in the early 60’s, and it was smoking, but this one is better. One my favorite cuts on the CD is one that features Willie, Lukas and country music great Ray Price (“For the Good Times”) doing a song called “Cold War With You.” This one harkens back to the feel of the “Stardust” CD that served to establish Willie as a guy who could even get away with doing show tunes from the 1940’s and totally reinvent them for a modern day audience. At an age when most guys are hanging around the golf course and taking it easy, Willie Nelson still tours the world. He is a force of nature. It’s very likely that he will be on stage tonight, somewhere in the world and when the family band hits those first chords of “Whiskey River” he will be a young man again.

THE BEST HIKING IN THE SOUTH? Georgia’s On My Mind Have you ever noticed how many great songs have the word “Georgia” in them? There’s “A Rainey Night in Georgia,” “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “A Midnight Train to Georgia” and of course, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” just to mention a few. I have a theory that the more people write about an area, the cooler the area must be. The Ray Charles hit and state song, “Georgia on my Mind,” is the tune that comes the closest to describing the incredible natural beauty of this state. Anyone who has ever spent any time outside in GA knows exactly what the lyrics suggest with “sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines.” As is usually the case, the best way to enjoy Georgia is outside, on foot trekking on one of its world class hiking trails. Since it represents the southernmost point of the legendary Appalachian Trail, this state is on the bucket list of hikers who live around the world. In addition to the state trails that are encompassed in the AT, there are many outstanding hiking trails for an outdoors aficionado to enjoy. Because the state has so many challenging trails and breathtaking views, it’s difficult to pick out a few for The Outpost readers to consider. However, the website offers some excellent suggestions. Each trail has its own, unique reward for anyone who’s ready to strap on the boots and hit the trail.

Tallulah Gorge State Park Hiking Trail Located in the northeastern part of the state, about halfway between Atlanta and Knoxville, the Tallulah Gorge hiking trail is at the top of the list of just about every website and hiking guide. Why? The terrain of the trails is challenging for just about any age hiker, even those hard-bodies that work out every day, and the views from every stop are breathtaking. The trail is located on the Tullulah Gorge which is 2 miles long and about 1,000 feet deep.


The trail at the bottom of the gorge that runs along the river is nothing short of stunning and involves climbing over more than a few rocks. Plus, at the end of this lower trail, there’s a very cool swimming hole with a huge, natural stone slide. Don’t forget to bring a bathing suit in the backpack.

The upper part of the trail features the incredible vistas and is enhanced by a dramatic suspension bridge which runs across the gorge. During the warm seasons, nocturnal hikers can enjoy the “Full Moon Hike” that runs from about 9 pm – 11 pm. This trail is in one of Georgia’s prettiest state parks and it is immaculately maintained. For more information: Click on or call 706.754.7981.

Raven Cliff Falls Hiking Trail The three miles of the trail up Dodd Creek to Raven Cliff Falls are a visual feast for any outdoorsman. Since the trail never veers more than 50 feet from the creek, the wildlife and vegetation are amazingly diverse. You can also limber up your fly rod with some of the best trout fishing in Georgia found at the beginning of this trail. Along the trail, there are several waterfalls that offer camera shots fit for National Geographic. Most veteran hikers agree that the approach to the Cliffs is the highlight of the trip. The unmistakable noise of rushing water set the stage for a spectacular sight. The water rushes through a split in the rocks and splashes down in cascades to the bottom. The water flow is heaviest in the spring, but it is only slightly diminished in the dead of winter. Except for the optional rock climb at the very end of the hike, the Raven Cliff Falls trail is flat and clear of brush throughout. Giant hardwoods on both sides of the trail provide the shade that makes this hike pleasant even in the heat summer. For more information and directions to this great hiking trail, click on:

Appalachian Trails #1, #2 and #3 Georgia is the southernmost point of the world famous Appalachian Trail (AT) which was envisioned by the most famous outdoorsman President, Teddy Roosevelt and set into motion in 1921. Many books have been written about this amazing hiking trail, but if someone wants to complete the entire 2,184 miles of the AT, he/she has to either start or conclude this feat on the summit of Springer Mountain which is just outside Amicalola Falls State Park, near Dahlonega, Georgia. The most southern leg of the Georgia section of the AT is highlighted in the hiking guide books as simply Appalachian Trail #1. It is 8 miles long and one of the best hikes in the state. Most hikers begin their trek at Amicalola Falls and hike the AT approach trail to Springer Mountain. This will take them past the Stover Creek Shelter, the Three Forks Area and on to the Hightower Gap. When the scenery is combined with the history of this fabled trail, the adrenaline rush ensures that most hikers have no problem traversing the section of the AT. The second leg of the Georgia AT begins at Hightower Gap and runs for 12 miles, mostly east, to the junction with GA Hwy 60 at Woody Gap. Along the way it runs past Horse Gap, Sassafras Mountain, Cooper Gap, the Gooch Mountain Shelter, Gooch Mountain, and Black Mountain. Much of this trail follows the ridgeline, but one big section drops down the ridge into a valley, and then climbs back up.

This trail features gorgeous views from the ridge tops and it is challenging enough for just about any hiking skill level. Guide books note that “as you begin this section at Hightower Gap, make sure that you take the single track that heads back up the ridge, and not the trail that drops down the side of the mountain. The trail that drops down the mountain is NOT the Appalachian Trail.� Many hikers believe that the third section of the AT in Georgia is one of the best trails in the state. This section of the Appalachian Trail starts at Georgia Highway 60 (Woody Gap) and ends at Georgia Highway 129 (Neels Gap). Shelters along this route include Woods Hole Shelter and Blood Mountain Shelter. It is 11 miles long. This section climbs to the rocky top of the famous Blood Mountain which skirts the Blood Mountain Wilderness. It offers spectacular views of the mountains for miles around and is the most popular section of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. For information on the Georgian Appalachian Trails, you can call 304.535.6331 or click on http://www. There are many other amazing hiking experiences in the state of Georgia that are found throughout the state. Some of these include: Kennesaw Mountain National Park, Stone Mountain State Park, Alpharetta Big Creek Greenway, Long Creek Falls, Panther Creek Falls, Palisades Whitewater Creek Trail and many, many others. Georgia is a beautiful state with a wide range of fishing, hunting and hiking opportunities available to the outdoor enthusiast. Taking the family and the dogs on one of these treks is a great way to enjoy the natural wonder and keep everyone in shape!

Running On Empty on Your Hunt or Hike? By Patrick Meitin Maybe You Need Some Better Fuel As any serious outdoor sportsman understands, hunting, fishing, hiking or biking is rigorous exercise and they burn serious calories. Toting a gear-filled pack and weapon across miles of rough terrain, or the simple chore of trimming out a new stand site and getting that comfortable portable stand hung just so can leave you feeling hollow and weak. Add high altitude or cold weather and your body’s furnace really begins to burn fuel. Functioning at peak performance while enjoying the outdoors requires the right kind of fuel in order to compete against the elements. The empty calories of modern junk food are not enough. Here are some tips on keeping that complicated machine – your body- running on all cylinders. Nutrition 101 Carbohydrates are slow-yield fuels that the body utilizes for long-term energy and performance. These are important hunter’s staples; starches and complex sugars found in potatoes, grains, breads, and pastas that keep the internal furnace burning evenly throughout a long day. Simple sugars – like candy -- provide instant energy but no staying power, but can keep you going between meals. Fats and cholesterols are high-energy nutrients with two and a half times more energy than sugars, providing long-term energy. They also have a limited ability to repair muscle tissue. When you’re really exerting yourself these are the components that keep you from “crashing.” Proteins found in meat are important for maintenance and repair, repairing muscle damage after rigorous exercise, or skin after sunburn for instance. Proteins also contain some complex sugars for lasting energy. Many grains and legumes such as beans contain proteins. On prolonged backcountry trips taking a daily multivitamin is a good idea to help keep mind and body sharp when not maintaining a perfectly-balanced diet. Truck Camping A truck camp, complete with ice chests, allows for plenty of good food and cold drinks. To make preparation easier on longer hunts, or especially when getting up early and returning late, it’s a good idea to prepare nutritious casseroles and stews and freeze them in storage containers at home. Cooking becomes no more difficult than warming, supplementing with canned vegetables and bread. Grilling meat over open fire is classic hunting and great tasting. At home place steaks in re-sealable plastic bags, adding marinades and spices before freezing. Pull them from the cooler at lunch to thaw so they go right on the fire when you return back to camp.

Keeping cooler contents fresh or frozen requires special attention. During cold winter hunts open the cooler at night to re-freeze contents, closing it by day to maintain what you’ve gained. Warmer earlyseasons are more problematic. One useful trick is to use big 120-to-150-quart coolers and divide them with a smaller “lunch-box” cooler. One side holds frozen food covered with dry ice, newspaper or bath towels added for insulation. The other side keeps fruits and vegetables fresh via cube ice, without risking freezer burn. The smaller cooler holds cubes ice, great for cold drinks, but also helping to prolong the life of the dry and cube ice to each side. The Food in the Pack Prepackaged dehydrated meals are an obvious choice while backpacking, especially on prolonged affairs or when rough terrain makes the lightest pack possible welcomed. They are super lightweight, convenient, and mostly nutritious, though many lack fat needed when burning serious calories. In areas where you must pack water they also become highly impractical. Military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are another viable option requiring no hydration.

Inexpensive alternatives to dehydrated fare can also be found at the grocery store. Instant mash potatoes, rice, soup blocks, oatmeal and grits are great for quick meals and quality carbohydrates. Add dried fruit, nuts or shredded jerky to improve taste and nutrition. Foil packages of noodles/rice and sauce are widely available, quick to prepare (look for those that need only water, and not milk) and palatable. They weigh no more than a dehydrated food package. A small, leak-proof container of olive oil or butter is worth its weight in gold, adding energy-packed fat and especially flavor. Nitrate-cured meats aren’t spoil-proof, but do last longer if kept in a cool spot like a spring or shaded creek. Bacon is good, also used to fry a rabbit, game meat or mountain trout. Smoked sausages and ham are other alternatives. On warm or prolonged trips look to canned ham, chipped beef, chunk chicken, salmon or foil-packed tuna to add to rice or noodles for extra nutrition and taste. Snacks are important on the trail between meals. Nut-laden candy bars, trail mix, dried fruit and nuts, are all good quick-fuel choices, as are sports bars. Sardines and kipper snacks make super fuel, high energy and good for you. Jerky is better than candy for long-term fuel. Don’t Forget the Water A filter pump assures safe drinking water. Commercial chemical water-purification tablets neutralized after decontamination with vitamin C pills is another worthwhile option. Another approach is to use instant coffee or tea bags (which include muscle-ache-relieving potassium). Powdered sports drinks are also important because they replenish vital electrolytes and minerals after a rigorous day of hiking. Drinking plenty of fluids is vitally important when hunting hard because dehydration can make you sluggish, even sick. In emergency situations, it is a good idea to always carry a LifeStraw personal water filter which enables users to drink safely from any water source and filters 99.99% of waterborne bacteria. Long hours, challenging terrain, and poor food can leave you feeling drained and defeated. Eating well helps relieve that strain, keeps you in the game and hunting or hiking at peak efficiency.



Jeremy and Ray had been buddies for 35 years. They went through public school together and were even roommates at the University of Tennessee. Even though their families lived in different states now, for the past 25 years they had gotten together on June 20 and 21 to celebrate the summer solstice, play poker, drink beer and fly fish the river outside their hometown. This tradition had been ongoing for more than 20 years. Like always, June rolled around and the two days of fishing finally arrived on the calendar. Standing out in the middle of a stream at about 9 am, the image of the dappled sunlight on the crystal clear water was postcard-worthy; the two friends were having some luck, tricking the trout on dry flies that perfectly resembled the hatch that was floating on the stream. About mid-morning, up on the farm road that ran parallel to the stream, Ray noticed a long line of cars following a hearse. As Jeremy looked up from his cast, he reeled in the fly, put the rod over his left arm and took off his cap and placed it over his heart.

Do you have a funny hunting or fishing picture? Do you have a joke that everyone should hear? Email them to:

“That’s mighty respectful of you to do that Jer.” “It’s the least I can do Ray,” he said “Hell, we’ve been married for 25 years.”

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