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Inside This Issue: Winter Bass Fishing at Lake of the Ozarks 4-5 Keeping a Hunting Journal 6-7 Good Things Come to Those Who Wait 8-11 Mahoney Outdoors Turkey Videos 12-13 © What Do You Think? 13 Reader Question of the Month 14 Mahoney Outdoors Apparel 14 Download the magazine to enable Missouri’s New CCW Laws 16-17 the interactive “Inside This Issue” Turkey and Pheasant Recipe 17 page and “Home” button in the upA Day Hike in Denver 18-19 per, left hand corner throughout the magazine, which will return you to The King of the Canal 22-23 this page and allow for a quicker Adventures of the Pecos Kid 24-25 search of the articles you want to MO’s Urban Trout Fishing 26-29 read! Trolling for Crappie: Part II 30-31 Once downloaded, be sure to read Post Deer Hunting: Steps to Take 34-35 the document in “Two Page” view. Best Tips for Finding Antlers 36-37 Talking Turkey: Compilation of Advice 38-39 Bowhunting Turkeys from a Tree Stand 40-41 Missouri High School Anglers to Contend at Table Rock 41 Hunting Alaska: A Guide’s Perspective 42-46 Unexpected Success on Last Day of Season 48-49 About Mahoney Outdoors 50 Advertisement Opportunity 52
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Winterâ€™s Best Bass Fishing at Lake of the Ozarks John Neporadny, Jr.
Photo by John Neporadny, Jr.
Blowing snow stings your face and the wind pierces through gloves to numb your hands. Even though the frigid temperatures turn your rod tip into an ice cube after nearly every
an ice-free spot to catch lunker largemouth bass throughout January and February. Heavyweight bass in this central Missouri reservoir reside along main lake structure and feed on dying shad that succumb to the cold water. A lure resembling the fluttering action of a dying shad, such as a suspending stickbait, works best during this time of year. Fishing pressure will also be minimal since fair-weather fishermen hibernate in their warm homes. Anglers willing to bear the cold for a chance to catch quality wintertime largemouth should pack the thermal underwear and insulated coveralls and head for the lake. Try the following tips for catching Lake of the Ozarks bass during winter. Channel bends in the clear-water stretch from the dam to the 14mile mark hold schools of big bass during the winter at this reservoir. Any time bass have a channel bend they can move up from the deep water onto a flat and eat shad. Lake of the Ozarks bass tend to congregate below Ryan Miloshewski with a nice three pound bass caught at Lake schools of shad in 12 to of the Ozarks while fishing with John Neporadny, Jr. 20 feet of water. The shad usually suspend 8 cast, you tolerate these inconveniences to 12 feet deep and bass hang right bein anticipation of catching the bass of a low them. The fish usually stay 4 to 5 lifetime. feet under the baitfish so they can folWhile the lakes in the northern low the shad school around. Even half of the state freeze over during the though bass feed on baitfish during this winter, Lake of the Ozarks usually offers time, some anglers avoid areas loaded Continued on next page... PAGE 4
Photo by Ryan Miloshewski. The author, John Neporadny, Jr., posing with a nice four and a half pound bass caught on a Smithwick Rogue lure in winter of 2011. with schools of shad because they believe bass have too much food to choose from there. So these local anglers try channel bends with sparse numbers of baitfish where they can work a weighted stickbait without much competition from the natural forage. A 5 1/2- or 6-inch suspending stickbait in the clown, purple-pearl, chrome-blue or chrome-black colors produces bass during this time. With four or five turns of the reel handle you can make the stickbait dive down to a depth of 4 to 5 feet. If the lure is properly weighted, it will suspend at the same depth or sink slowly. Let the lure sit for about 20 seconds and then twitch it once or twice. A word of caution: the more you twitch the lure, the small-
er the fish you will catch. Even though the lure usually only dives down about 5 feet, its action imitates a dying shad, which draws bass out of the depths to strike it. When the weather turns nasty, key on chunk rock points. The worse the weather, the better the fishing so when the wind blows real hard and it's snowing, the fish will come up on the rocky points. If you can stand the cold, this is the best time to catch a 9- or 10-pound bass at the Lake of the Ozarks. This pattern usually lasts until the end of March when the water warms and bass start chasing crankbaits and spinnerbaits. For information on lodging and
other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at funlake.com. Copies of John Neporadny's book, "THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide" are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.
The Importance of Keeping a Hunting Journal Ryan Miloshewski
ture) are the most important. Recording these details after every hunt can help you learn why you saw an influx of deer activity, or why you didn’t see a single deer on stand. Maybe a high pressure front moved through and brought warmer temperatures. My data has shown during the season even the smallest increase in temperature (usually 5-10 degrees) can curtail deer movement/sightings on the property I hunt. Likewise, a sudden drop in temperature leads to seeing a lot more deer mov-
Photo courtesy of Tyler Mahoney
Growing as a hunter year to year is something we all strive to do. Preparation, practice, mindset, and scouting are all things that need to constantly evolve in order to be successful. I have an odd memory, to say the least. I’m constantly jabbed and the butt of jokes for my ability to remember dates and what happened on those dates by many who know me. I can recall Cardinal’s games from ten years ago like it was yesterday. I can also recall hunts like they happened hours ago. Knowing exactly what happens during a
A screen shot of Tyler Mahoney’s personal hunting journal on Microsoft Excel shows a good example of just a few of the categories to keep track of to help strategize for future hunts. hunt, successful or unsuccessful, is paramount to altering your approach accordingly to increase your abilities and successes as a hunter. One of the ways I’ve been able to do that is by a utilizing a hunting journal. Let’s take a look at what I write down and how I apply it to the next season. My first idea of keeping a journal came from my cousin, John Neporadny, Jr, in 2007. He told me he keeps a very detailed fishing journal, so I modified his idea to apply to hunting. The first year was rough, as I was a young 17 year old and new to hunting. But, even as I look back I can see how important those early years were. I knew when I saw deer and what the weather conditions were and used that for the 2008 season. What to keep in a journal is a very important discussion in hunting camps. For me, writing down almost every detail of a hunt is what works. Weather conditions (including wind, rain, barometric pressure, sky conditions, moon phase, and tempera-
ing around. Knowing what weather conditions are “prime” for seeing deer can help you single out day(s) to hunt, making your sits more fruitful. Dates are the second most important. Some properties have times of the year where deer are moving like they’ve stolen something and days where deer just aren’t around. My property is on the small side (180 acres), and looking at my journal I can say after November 20 of every year the deer seem to vanish from the property. Turkeys are abound, but the lack of quality food source to refuel worn down bucks and recently pregnant does works against the probability of deer being on the property. So, I rarely hunt there after that day. It saves a lot of time and money that I’d waste otherwise. This comes from looking at my journal from the past seven years. Of course, the stubborn hunter in me brings me back for a few late season hunts, but I now know when to focus my energy/time/ Continued on next page...
money. Usually from October 28November 10 are the absolute best days to hunt the property. I see the most bucks moving during that time and I’ve been most successful in those two weeks. Another important part of those dates is cold fronts. According to my journal, any time a cold front moves through and the pressure is around 29.00 and falling during those dates, I will most assuredly see deer. I hunt my best stands on funnels and travel routes during those times. Drawing conclusions in your journal is important as well. Write why you think you saw more deer, why the deer you saw traveled a
certain route, why you didn’t see deer during the prime dates, etc. I always think on paper, so to speak, as to why things went the way they did. This will allow you to grow as a critical thinking hunter, and that will translate into more success. I promise you that. Without keeping a journal, I’d not be nearly as knowledgeable as I am now. Keeping a hunting journal is one thing that I know for certain has made me a more successful hunter. Keep in mind every property is different, and you may see deer every time you go out. However, there are conditions when the big bucks move
more than others and keeping a journal can allow you to get a better idea of when that is and what stands will produce the best results. So, I encourage you to start writing down what you see and don’t see this year. It can be a baseline for years to come, or extremely detailed. Either way, something is better than nothing. You might be able to pick the single best day to hunt your property and score on that bruiser you’ve been chasing for a few years.
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Good Things Come to Those Who Wait Tyler Mahoney
Mahoney Trail Camera Photo
As deer season approached this year I had several bucks on my hit list. I had been running ten cameras all summer and there were three bucks I wanted: a monster 7 pointer that needed to be culled, a 10 pointer that would gross over 160”, and most of all, the buck I had been chasing since we bought the property in November 2012. We called him the “Big Boy,” not just because his rack was huge, but because he was at least 6.5 years old and had four neck rolls from the amount of muscle and fat on his body.
and I knew I couldn’t risk going into their area unless conditions were ideal for them to move. It killed me not to be out in the woods, but I remained patient. Throughout my short career of hunting, I’ve learned that the old adage many of us have heard is true: good things come to those who wait. When you achieve an outcome because of your patience, the satisfaction of the reward cannot be matched. The difficult part about being a deer hunter is that many times, if you do exhibit patience, the reward might not come in the same year. While that consequence is challenging for just about everyone to accept, it only makes your success feel sweeter and more gratifying when it comes. My second outing of the year came on October A trail camera photo of the “Big Boy” showcasing his four neck 23rd. The temperature was in rolls and massive body. the low 60s and Unfortunately, none of the bucks the deer were starting to make more I was after developed an early season appearances in the daytime as the rut pattern that was predictable enough for neared. Around four in the afternoon, I me to have a good chance with a bow. heard movement to my right. I was The weather remained warm until the able to stand up in time to get my bow end of October as well, which inhibited ready and the camera rolling. A young the daylight movement of the deer on 10 pointer with two kickers off his G2s our property. I normally hunt every approached. He stopped at 7 yards, weekend of bow season once it opens in quartering away. At 140”, this was the September, but these bucks were smart biggest buck I had ever had in bow Continued on next page... PAGE 8
Photo by of Joey Purpura
range, but he was only 3.5 years old. Every part of me wanted to take the shot and get my first selffilmed buck kill. Once again, the old adage crept back into my head: good things come to those who wait. He slowly moved on after being in range for almost two minutes, almost as if he were testing my discipline. I was seconds away from failing. One week later, on November 1st, I found myself in the same stand. The first week of November has always been my favorite time to hunt because the deer are usually starting to move and the bucks respond well to rattling. I expected nothing less on that cool afternoon and soon, I had the big 7 pointer coming in. As he worked his way Tyler Mahoney vigilantly scouting his bow hunting area before making the trek into the deer stand to go after the â€œBig Boy.â€? from left to right at 35 yards, I kept the camera on him and readied my bow. I tried sun quickly faded behind clouds and Finally, opening morning came getting him to stop, but he kept going and I decided to sit in a box blind that I the rain started to pour. The sound through the brush, never presenting me helped build with our good family was deafening on the metal roof, with a clean shot. I could have taken a friend, Don Robinson. My dad dropped making it hard to focus on my surchance, but that was not the ethical roundings. Thunder sounded in the me off at 5:30AM and then headed off thing to do, so I let him go. I hoped and to his spot. Five minutes later, right as distance. Then, an Evergreen prayed once again that my patience branch, known to be a frequented I was getting settled in, he called and would later yield success. informed me that I had left my binocu- licking branch, dipped down and I hunted eight more times before whipped up dramatically at the end lars in the Ranger. He quickly turned rifle season, but to no avail, so I began of the field. I looked through the around and I climbed out to go grab preparing for the opening day of rifle binoculars to see if a buck was workthem. After returning to my stand, I season on November 16th. After check- figured all of our commotion had ing the scrape just below it. I could ing the forecast, it looked like it was spooked every deer out of the area and see nothing and the feelings of doubt going to be bad for a second year in a and defeat began working their way into the next county. But as dawn row. It would be in the 60s with heavy back into me. broke, a small five pointer that I had wind and pouring rain by 7:30 in the As the rain carried on, I reseen many times during bow season morning. Clearly less than ideal condi- appeared in the field. He quickly skirt- ceived a call from my dad, who was tions for deer movement, it became eas- ed across like he was on the scent trail sitting a few hundred yards away. ier to second guess myself on the deciof a doe. Later on, a lone doe walked by Both of us were concerned that there sions I made not to shoot earlier in the to my right. I got my gun up and ready, might be lightning nearby. But at season when I had the chance, as it 8:25 in the morning on opening day knowing that a buck would likely be would for any hunter. I kept telling my- behind her. Several minutes passed of rifle season, it just seemed too self that my patience would pay off. early to give up for the day. Out of and nothing appeared. The morning Continued on next page...
was no doubt which one he was… the Big Boy. Although I had the video camera with me, I didn't think twice about it. I wasn’t going to risk missing this opportunity. My dad's voice became nonexistent. It was just me and the Big Boy now. I put the crosshairs behind his shoulder. The rain poured down. 8:28AM. After the shot, he ran away with his tail down while dragging his front right shoulder. I knew I made a good shot. I picked up the phone to hear my dad still talking and frantically interrupted him in the shaking, excited voice we all get during an adrenaline rush. When I told him I got the Big Boy, he didn’t believe me. Amazingly, the rain and wind had completely muffled the sound of the shot. He Continued on next page...
Photo by Tim Mahoney
nowhere, I spotted a buck skirting the edge of the field in the thick brush. I got my gun up and could see he was big, but there was no clear shot. Still on the phone, I informed my dad I had to go. I grabbed my trusty Primos Buck Roar grunt tube and Estrus Doe Bleat and tried to turn the buck my way. I started with two bleats and then worked in a tending grunt call as I bleated a couple more times. Three minutes passed, nothing appeared, and I figured he had moved on. I called my dad back to tell him about the encounter. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I looked to my right and there the buck stood, not 50 yards away. I set the phone down and put the scope on the rack to see which one it was, still able to hear my dad’s voice coming from the speaker. After two years of constantly analyzing trail camera photos, there
Tyler Mahoney admiring his buck taken on opening day of the 2013 rifle season in Missouri. The “Big Boy” was a legend to many around the area.
Photo by Tim Mahoney Tyler Mahoney proudly hoists up the “Big Boy” for a celebratory photo. The massive whitetail buck scored just over 155” with a total of 14 points. He weighed in at a whopping 213 pounds, which is very large for the Clinton, MO area. didn’t hear over the phone, either. I reassured him this was no joke. I waited 15 minutes and got out to look for him while my dad headed over to help. Normally, we will wait 30 minutes to an hour before going to retrieve a deer, but the rain was coming down hard and I didn’t want to lose the blood trail. As I went to where he had stood, there was no blood to be found, which had me worried. I walked slowly towards where he ran and 80 short yards later there he was, laying in a small opening amongst the undergrowth. At 213 pounds and 14 points,
he was the biggest buck I had ever taken, grossing just over 155” at 7.5 years old. After the hunt, I couldn’t help but reflect on the ramifications of all the decisions I had made in the past two years that led to that moment. Maybe if I had chosen a different stand location in the past, I would have seen him sooner. Maybe if I just stayed in the blind all day each time I hunted, he would have appeared. All the times I could have shot a younger buck or forced a shot that wouldn’t have made a clean kill, I instead grudgingly waited to fill my tag. I spent close to 50 different days physically out hunting in the
woods over the span of two years hoping I would see that buck. The hours were in the hundreds, not even including the time spent putting up stands and checking cameras trying to figure out his patterns. The feeling I had after recovering that deer reaffirmed the one constant thing I’ve learned in my hunting career: good things come to those who wait.
Blast from the Past: Mahoney Outdoors Turkey Hunting Videos Click on each of the videos to watch! This video features Tyler Mahoneyâ€™s first bird of 2011. The weather forecast was not looking good that morning, leaving only about an hour of good hunting before the day was ruined by a thunderstorm. Check it out and see what happens!
Just a few days after the first bird of 2011, Tyler Mahoney was back out in week two of the season. Once again, weather conditions were not promising, but the gobblers were fired up nonetheless. Check out this exciting hunt as Tyler looks to tag out for the season!
View more Mahoney Outdoors videos here! Spring of 2013 was a major challenge for many turkey hunters across Missouri and it was no different on the Mahoney property. Tyler Mahoney and Ryan Miloshewski headed down on Friday morning of the first week of season in 35 degree weather for this hunt. Amazingly, it paid off. Check it out!
One of the most overlooked opportunities is fall turkey season. While it takes a lot more waiting and less calling usually, it can still be very productive for big toms. If you use trail cameras, you can pattern them and find a location to set up an ambush. That is exactly what Tyler Mahoney did on his way to bagging this bird.
What Do You Think? In the past couple of issues, we have featured some of the weirder outdoor occurrences of Central Missouri in our “What do you think?” section. The first issue featured what was believed to be a bear track on the Mahoney property near Clinton, MO. Within three weeks of spotting the track, a young, male black bear was photographed 18 miles away by a local Conservation Agent. While that does not confirm the track in any way, it does make it a more plausible explanation for the giant footprint. In the second issue, we featured a photo of a predator caught on a trail camera photo near Clinton, MO. While the jury is still out on that one, there were several
traits of the animal that indicated it could in fact be a mountain lion. And just when we thought we wouldn’t have anything else strange to share in this issue, one of our trail cameras delivered again. This past fall, we had our Covert trail camera set to video mode and captured something astounding, a UFO. I don’t mean to say that it was an extra terrestrial spacecraft, but it definitely is an unidentified flying object in every sense. Many people around our area believe that Whiteman Air Force Base is the culprit for these weird happenings. Some believe they are testing top secret, government aircraft. Either way, it is very strange and quite eerie I might add. Everyone has their own beliefs, but what do you think? Click the video below!
Reader Question of the Month Ryan Miloshewski Q: What is the best approach for placement of decoys while turkey hunting and how much calling should you do? Ryan Tierney, Kansas City, MO A: This is a complex question, because the genuine answer is it depends. Every turkey hunting situation is different (different terrain, turkeys, weather, etc.) and requires adaptation. As a general rule, when you are hunting with a shotgun, place your decoys 1520 yards in front and to the left or right of you. Place the decoy in the opposite direction you expect the turkey to come from, as that will draw them in closer to you and hopefully prevent them from hanging up. By offsetting them and placing them at that distance, you will have a good setup that doesn’t place the decoys (and subsequently the turkey) in your lap or too
far away that a hung up Tom will not be in range if he comes to your decoys. As far as calling goes, the old standard used to be “yelp two or three times and wait twenty minutes.” Many schools of thought have changed that (i.e. Missouri’s Ray Eye, who calls almost the entire time he’s in the woods), but that notion does still sit right with some. It just depends on the situation. Early in the season you can get away with more aggressive calling. Be aware, however, there are times to be aggressive and times to be passive and just throw a few clucks here and there. My best advice is do what turkey hunters call “taking the turkey’s temperature” after you hear him gobble or see him. If he cuts you off with a gobble while you are still yelping or he is in full strut, he’s hot to trot and you can be aggressive with some cuts and yelps initially (then tone it down as he gets in close). If you
hear a tom gobbling every once in a while in the distance or see him loafing around in a field, give him a few soft clucks, yelps and purrs, just to let him know a hen is over there—more times than not he’ll come over, at some point, to investigate. If he starts gobbling and visibly seems interested, cut at him and see what he does and go from there. The most important thing I can say is once the tom is in sight, do NOT call. Let the decoys do the work. I’ve always been taught rhythm is the most important aspect of turkey calling. You don’t have to sound perfect, but you do have to sound like you’re a hen that knows how to use her own “voice.” Try different calls, techniques, sounds, cadences, and rhythms when you’re out there this spring. You never know what’ll work!
Mahoney Outdoors Apparel
Mahoney Outdoors has developed and acquired new apparel. Shooting shirts, camouflage jackets, solid color jackets, and several varieties of hats are now available. If you are interested in any of them, please see the contact information on the last page for directions to place your order with Tyler Mahoney. We can get virtually any color and any size for very reasonable prices, so there is something for everyone! PAGE 15
Missouri’s New Concealed Carry Laws Ryan Miloshewski
bling of your local sheriff’s office to complete the entire process. Before, one you passed a certified CCW course, you would have to go to your sheriff’s office first and the Department of Motor Vehicles second, and then wait for your identification card in the mail. When I applied for it, the entire process took about three and a half weeks. Now, everything is done at the sheriff’s office. You will still have to pay a fee (it varies based on county— Jackson County was a fee of $97.25) and get fingerprinted, as well as have a background check done. But instead of having to go to the DMV, once you are approved the sheriff’s office will be able to print out your ID for you on the spot. No waiting in line at the DMV (I was at the Raytown DMV, a special place, for Ryan Miloshewski posing with his tight grouping of shots while two and a half taking the Missouri CCW course. hours, so this is very nice) and no papers to verify your right to CCW permit has never been easier in carry. the Show-Me State. In August 2013, Another major change is the Senate Bill 75, set to reform current length the permit is valid for. For years, CCW laws in the state, was passed and your state issued CCW permit was good put into action. What does this mean for only three years. Once it expires you for gun owners looking to attain a CCW have to return to your sheriff’s office permit? Well, a lot. The major change, and pay a $50.00 fee to renew. Thanks and perhaps most important, is the enaContinued on next page...
Photo courtesy of Ryan Miloshewski
A Concealed Carry Weapons permit (CCW) is the ultimate manifestation of exercising the Second Amendment right to bear arms for United States citizens. Previously, in Missouri, acquiring a CCW was a bit of a task, and deterred some gun owners from going through the process to become “legal.” But, thanks to state lawmakers, obtaining
to Senate Bill 75, the permit is now valid for five years, which is a substantial amount of time and cuts down on fees. One of the benefits of the new permits is there will no longer be a picture attached to it, upping the privacy from before. A controversial element added is you no longer have to be a United States citizen to apply for a permit. Any permanent resident of the U.S. can apply and obtain a CCW permit. If you are on the fence about getting your CCW, or were because of the lengthy process, fear no more. These changes make it as stress-free and simple as ever, and a growth in applications
is expected because of it. Firstly, you must take a class from a certified instructor. These classes run between $125 and $150 for eight hours of instruction. In the class, you must pass a written test and a range exam, which, if you’ve been around guns for a while, is fairly modest. After that, thanks to the new laws, all you have to do is venture out to your local sheriff’s office and take the necessary steps to legally carry a weapon in our state. If you’re looking for a class and you’re on a budget, consider taking a class by Rodney Harrison (my CCW instructor). He is based in Kansas City, but travels throughout the
state to give classes for a low price of $45. To get into contact with Mr. Harrison’s company, Constitutional Sports, please call (816)-786-7786 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on classes and laws, please call the Jackson County Sheriff’s office at (816)-524-4302 or visit their offices at 3310 NE Rennau Rd. Lee’s Summit, MO 64064.
Turkey and Pheasant Grilling Recipe Ryan Miloshewski
um or medium high heat and place each piece of breast onto the grill, grilling for two-three minutes on each side. It won’t take long, as you don’t want to dry the meat out! When the piece of breast is firm or the bacon is about cooked, they are done! Charcoal Grill: Put a good amount 1 half of a Wild Turkey of charcoal into your breast (or 2 whole pheasgrill, light, and wait ant breasts) until all of the coals 1 container of Philadelphia are white. Create an cream cheese area on your grill so 1 jar of pickled jalapeno you can indirectly peppers, sliced (or green heat the breast piecpepper if you don’t like es. Once the grill spice!) reaches a medium 1 package of Oscar Mayer high heat, place the Maple bacon rolls on the grill 1 container of toothpicks (indirect heat), and McCormick’s Garlic and cover. Grill for twoHerb chicken seasoning three minutes on each side or until Preparation (Time 20 the breast is firm or minutes): 1) Slice the Turkey and pheasant rolls wrapped in bacon will make your mouth the bacon is almost breast in one inch by six water as you start to smell the delectable aroma coming from the cooked. Take off inch pieces and flatten out and enjoy hot! with a mallet (cut as many grill. This photo of deer steaks and turkey and pheasant wraps is enough to make anyone’s mouth water! pieces as necessary until This is a great appeyou use up all the meat-for turkey, you’ll usually get 25-30 pieces and place a toothpick through the mid- tizer for a party or a good way to introand 15 or so with pheasant, depending dle to hold the bacon in place 6) Season duce wild game to those who wouldn’t on the size of your bird) 2) Spread a with McCormick’s seasoning and place normally eat it. They are downright delectable and everybody I’ve made little bit of cream cheese onto the flatin a container to set. these for has loved them! tened out piece of breast and place one or two jalapeno slices towards one end Gas Grill: Heat your gas grill to mediof the meat 3) Slice each piece of bacon in half so you have 24-30 slices of bacon to use 4) Wind up the piece of breast so it is into a nice, tight roll 5) Wrap a half of piece of bacon around the entire roll
Photo by Ryan Miloshewski
Nothing is more rewarding than enjoying your harvested game at the dinner table. It’s the reason we hunt, in many aspects. Today we are looking at enjoying wild turkey or pheasant. The following is a great recipe for the grill, and can be altered to taste. Here’s what you’ll need.
“Best Easy Day Hikes: Denver,” read the little yellow book that caught my eye. I flipped through it. I turned it over to find its price: $6.95. Before I could ask myself if it was worth buying while only in Denver for four days, my fiancé’s sister – the local – snatched it from me and asked, “What’s that? Should we buy it?” She turned toward the register before I could even shrug. Being up for a challenge, I convinced my fiancé and her sister that the three of us should hike the hardest trail in the book the next day. So we did, heading out to Reynolds Park in Con-
By Rob Schaeffer
tee shirt under long-sleeves under a pullover. You can always shed layers. Also, it is good practice to put something waterproof in your bag. I like to over-pack for hikes. I assume that the weather will turn sour if there is even the slightest chance that it could. Granola bars and trail mix fill my pack as if I’ll never eat again. I even throw in an extra pair of socks. Weight is always something to consider when loading up for a day in the woods, whether you are hunting, hiking, climbing, or camping. But it is not as much of a factor for one-day hikes because
Photo by Rob Schaeffer
A Day Hike in Denver
A beautiful mountain view from the hike inside Reynolds Park near Denver, Colorado. nifer, Colorado near Denver. We did our best to think of everything as we prepared for our hike. As with any hike, our preparations were dependent on the weather. It was forecasted to be a sunny winter’s day, but would be chilly in the shadowed woods and in the evening. We’d be moving, too, so heavy layers were not necessary. Instead, we needed multiple, light layers. For winter hikes, I usually wear a MAHONEY OUTDOORS
you really will not be lugging your pack for long. From an always-be-prepared standpoint, carrying a little extra weight is worth the price you might otherwise pay. Of course, there is always a limit. Typically, it is always safe to pack just past what is reasonable. For Reynolds Park, our guidebook clearly deemed all of the trails easy. I figured that even the hardest route would be a breeze. Still, as has happened before, I was wrong. The Continued on next page...
climb was steep and patched with snow. Even with the unusual warmth, snow covered the trail where the sun could not reach. Finding traction was not impossible, but it certainly proved to be a challenge on the steeper grades. We looped our way up the mountain, stopping in the spots of sunshine to catch our breath and drink water. Whether you are in the foothills or tackling 14ers, hiking in Colorado will provide rolling rows of trees punctuated by the snowcapped Rockies. We experienced this best at the peak of our hike. Reynolds Park’s best attraction for a hiker is Eagle’s View. There, you can see Pike’s Peak, the Rampart Range, and the Continental Divide. If you are lucky enough to ever find yourself at Eagle’s View, or anywhere in the mountains, be sure to pack your cam-
era. We snapped our pictures, scarfed down some snacks, and took in the view. More than anything, I love to just be in the woods. Standing atop the ridge at Eagle’s View, I only had to stand and breathe before I was struck by the great power and beauty of the mountains. My favorite part of the actual hiking was the way down. The trail climbed down the mountain while the temperature did the same. Eventually, we were walking in a canyon with boulders to one side and steep woods to the other. Snow and ice crunched under our feet, but the sun hit the peaks and trees above us. I rubbed my cold hands together while just moments before my face was warm in the sun. The cold canyon was a nook of winter tucked away from the unseasonal rays above.
It felt so secluded, so secretive. We began to pass and intersect with other hikers, some with trekking poles and some with Labradors. Alas, we came to a bridge crossing a stream, a sign that the trail was ending, according to our guidebook. We had shed some layers and eaten some, but not all, of our food. Still, I would not have packed any less. While the trip was not death defying or anything of the sort, that was not its purpose. It was a wonderful time to simply be in the woods. I cherished the opportunity to be outside and to be active. Spending it with loved ones was nothing short of an incredible bonus.
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The King of the Canal Having had a fascination to go alligator hunting for several years, the day had finally come for my first trip. I got up early for the two hour drive around Lake Okeechobee to LaBelle, Florida. As my fellow hunters and I arrived, we wondered if we were going to hear the all too familiar phrase “you should have been here yesterday when all the big ones were out!” On the contrary, our guide wanted us to zero in the rifles then confirm the plan on what size of gator we wanted to go after. I was torn because if this ended up being a really fun adventure I would definitely want to come back and therefore would try for a less expensive 10-11” size trophy. However, I erred on the side of caution and decided to go for an 11-12 foot monster in case this was my one and only trip. I was a bit skeptical there could be many gators of this size, but the guide assured me he had seen at least two during a scouting trip the day before. We were hunt-
ing a 330,000 acre private ranch and the area we would be hunting was a 20 minute drive from the lodge. I was growing anxious because it was already 9:30A.M. and it would be at least 10:00A.M. before we would arrive at the hunting location. The guide must have sensed my concern because on the way over he informed us that in the winter months the gators like to sun themselves on the bank, but are not really active till late morning. That set the hunting party more at ease and explained why we were not in a rush to get there. We arrived at the property and the plan was to drive down a levee road next to a canal and see what gators were on the banks. Within 100 yards of the gate we spotted our first gator, a five to six footer. Over the next five miles we spotted over 150 gators of which two to three definitely met or exceeded the 11-12 foot length I was looking for. When I saw the first gator that was clearly much larger than all the ones Continued on next page...
Tim Mahoney, along with guides, celebrate the successful day’s hunt next to the two gators taken by Mahoney and a fellow hunter.
we had seen previously, I remember thinking that thing is like a dinosaur! It’s massive head and menacing jaws appeared large enough to easily swallow a medium sized person. Needless to say, my heart was starting to beat a lot faster! We decided he would be the one to go after, but it turns out that spotting the gators on the levee banks was the easy part. Making a stalk for a good shot proved to be much more difficult! Given that you have to hit the equivalent of a golf ball size target with a marginal rest meant it was definitely not going to be a slam dunk! We drove about a quarter mile past the monster gator, but the trick was to stalk below the line of sight and get 100 yards or less from the gator, yet still have a good shot angle. That proved to be quite a challenge and we spooked several smaller gators as we belly crawled the last 75 yards. I figured the one I was after may have spooked also and my heart was pounding as I peeked over the edge in the prone position. To my surprise the gator was still there, but I did not realize there was sweat and sunscreen in my eyes until I tried to line up the shot. Combined with the bright sun in my face, I worried there was no way he would sit still long enough for me to get the shot. He looked even larger closer up and his greenish, black color made him blend in well against the dirt and dark water, but I eventually got things together and squeezed the trigger. He lurched forward a foot and stuck out his legs and laid still! We all believed he was dead so I did not take a second shot and the celebration had begun! As we walked toward the monster bull gator we were all commenting how huge it was and that it was probably close to 12 feet. Just then, the gator jumped forward and dove into the 15 foot deep canal! I was devastated because I figured he was gone for good, but the guide assured me we could snag him with a heavy duty rope and giant treble hooks. The four pronged hooks were as large as my outstretched hand so I got the feeling they were more than adequate if we could just get him hooked. It is hard to describe that sickening feeling in my stomach that grew with each minute our snagging produced no results. Frequently I would catch a log or rock which provided brief hope but after two hours, I was sure I would never see that behemoth again. We were about to give
up when a ranch hand drove up and said he saw a massive gator upstream 200 yards that was about to fight with another smaller gator. He guessed it had to be my mine because there could not be two gators of that size in such a small area. After all we had been through, the idea that I might get another chance was hard to believe! We made a stalk to the area he was last spotted and when we peered over the edge there he was next to water at 75 yards! He was pre-occupied with a smaller male, who was intruding in his territory so we were able to get in position for Tim Mahoney hoisting the ferocious jaws of his 11 foot, 11 inch a shot without Florida alligator taken in February 2014. spooking him. Since I realized my first shot was a bit high and just temporarily knocked probability shot. The good news is him out, I knew I needed to aim two that there are so many options to inches lower. This time when I shot the choose from you have a great opcanal seemed to explode with water portunity to eventually connect. flying everywhere for a few seconds and The guide and accommodations then it was done. My monster bull gawere absolutely top notch as well. tor lay dead in the water! Words can’t describe the feeling of elation and the If you would like to experience your awe at the size of this prehistoric beast! own alligator hunt, please contact It would take us 30 minutes and four us at our email address below for adult men to haul the 500+ pound, 11’ more information: 11” long reptile out of the water and up email@example.com the bank. As we shut the tailgate of the truck with my gator finally inside, we noticed there were five other gators on the canal bank within 50 feet. They were all looking at us intently and seemed to realize the 65 year old king of the canal was finally gone. This was truly a hunt of a lifetime and I highly recommend it to anyone. It provides a unique challenge in that the terrain does not always lend itself to getting close enough for a high
The Adventures of the Pecos Kid: How I Got My Nickname
By Kordell McCoy Burch
Photo by Kordell McCoy Burch
The first thing people ask me ing over every possible location that a when they learn about my Facebook momma might be. I searched for clues page and Animal Control Business is, with the eye of the greatest of detec"How did you get the nickname Pecos tives, but came up empty. I eventually Dell?" Like most nicknames, it kind of came to the conclusion that my "lost just sprung to life on its own. From the mother" must be at the barn. So withtime I was in diapers, I had a love for all out a second thought, diaper and all, I things adventure and on top of that I took off out the door. Now, this might have never been scared of much either. not sound that impressive at first, but I My mother even used to tell a story am three years old, barefoot, in nothing about my lack but a diaper, of fear, or mayand our barn be it was lack is a good of judgment 1/8th of a and listening mile from the skills, but that house. So is beside the while I was point. When I bravely going was no more where no than knee high, baby had my mother gone before came in the to rescue my living room one momma, she day where I was getting was watching out of the TV and said, shower and "Dellbert, I am getting hopping in the dressed back shower, if you at the house need me that's the whole where I’ll be." time. To which I am Now sure I replied all of this A young Kordell McCoy Burch practices his snake handling might sound with a slack jawed nod. As I skills with a common rat snake. funny, but stared at my the main cartoons, her words slipped in one ear point of the story is, even in diapers I and out the other. Now given I was only was going on outdoor adventures. As I three at the time and cannot actually grew, my outdoor adventures grew with remember any of this, my story may be me; from catching bugs and lizards and a bit exaggerated and some quotations seining in the ditch behind my house, might not be completely accurate. But to hand and bow fishing, and catching for the sake of the story, let’s just assnakes and snapping turtles. I tell you sume that everything I am telling you is that because although the next story as historically accurate as it needs to be. you’re about to hear tells you how I got So anyway, after a few minutes, my carmy nickname, it is not the sole reason toon ended and I actually looked up for it. There were many wild experienclong enough to realize my mother was es leading up to that Friday in Novemmissing. So diaper clad and determined ber when I hit the snooze instead of to find my momma, I took off on an epic getting up to check my traps, thus trigquest (well, epic for a three year old). I gering the chain of events that would checked up and down the stairs, combleave me with the nickname I proudly Continued on next page... MAHONEY OUTDOORS
Photo by Kordell McCoy Burch Kordell McCoy Burch with a giant 65lb flathead catfish noodled in Kansas, which is one of very few states across the US where the sport is legal. carry today. It was the middle of my junior year in high school and amid the rush of academics and wrestling, I still made time for what I really love: the outdoors. My outdoor outlet for the winter is trapping, and that particular season was shaping up to be a good one. I had already caught six â€˜yotes in less than two weeks on one set and I was looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season had in store. On this particular Friday in November, I did not have the energy to get up early to check my traps. Fortunately, that afternoon the bus going to my tournament didn't leave until 5:00 in the evening, which would still give me enough time to hurry to the pasture and check them before it left. Upon my arrival I found about the happiest sight any trapper can find, a bobcat. As I did a little jig in the dirt beside my first ever bobcat, I slowly began to realize that in my haste to get home from school and run my traps, I had not grabbed a gun. My jig turned into a slow pace back and forth. I did
not have enough time to run to my house again for a gun and I also couldn't leave this cat here. I was in quite the predicament. My eyes then slowly drifted down to the lasso lying idly in the bed of my truck and the craziest plan began to form in my head. I would rope the cat and put him in my bed. This was much easier said than done because I don't know if you know this, but cats don't like being roped. In fact, they actually turn into tornadoes of claws and teeth as soon as the rope tightens. Long story short, with a flick of the wrist, a pull of the arm, a little bit of redneck ingenuity and a couple close calls, I had the cat in my truck bed and was headed toward home. After I finished taking care of "Bobby," I headed back toward the school with quite a story and as I told my friends what I just shared with you, one of them said, "Well by god, youâ€™re a regular Pecos Bill or should I say Pecos Dell." Just like that, the name stuck, eventually turning into my wild alter ego and a business. Over the years I have had many
adventures and from time to time I have gotten in a little over my head, but nothing has kept me from what I love to do. From the timber to the river and from the pasture to the holler, I am looking forward to telling you more about my adventures, so keep your eyes peeled. Until next time, this is Pecos Dell wishing you good luck and wild times!
Backyard ’Bows: A Closer Look at Missouri’s Urban Trout Fishing Program Ryan Miloshewski
If you fancy yourself an avid trout fisherman, Missouri is the state for you. Home to four daily trout parks, a plethora of Ozark streams, and the fabled waters of Lake Taneycomo, there is no shortage of opportunity and potential for success. What you might not have heard of is the influx of available trout waters that occurs every November through February in many of the major cities, including St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia. The Urban Trout Fishing Program, operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), is a unique and exciting prospect for trout fishermen not wanting to travel far to catch a stringer of Rainbows. Started in St. Louis in 1989, the Urban Trout Fishing Program provides anglers the opportunity to fish for Missouri’s two trout species (Rainbow and German Brown trout) in their own backyards. The MDC stocks many lakes in residential parks and urban conservation areas with trout starting November 1st, and continuing all the way until mid-February in each city, allowing months of fishing for those otherwise not wanting to venture far from home. Where do the trout come from? MDC Fisheries Management Biologist, and head of the St. Louis Winter Trout Program, Kevin Meneau explains, “Our cold-water hatcheries produce the trout. They are organized like one big system. So, fish can and do come from any of our hatcheries throughout the state. Though Montauk usually handles most of St. Louis area needs, the Bennett Springs hatchery is providing most of our fish this winter.” According to Kevin, over 38,000 trout are annually stocked in St. Louis City and County lakes alone. Fish size varies, but the average size of “stockers” ranges from nine to eleven inches, with some reaching as large as eighteen inches. These stockers are eager and willing to bite, so catching a limit in a couple hours is very feasible in many of the lakes. If you’re lucky, you may hook into one of the brood stock MAHONEY OUTDOORS
released in one of the lakes. Once brood stock trout are done with their breeding duties, the MDC stocks them in one of the many trout waters in the state. Throughout November-February, some of this brood stock reaches city waters. How many are stocked changes year to year. “The number of brood stock trout released is quite variable, mainly depending on the need for our hatcheries to retain adequate numbers of larger fish for spawning. We’ve stocked as few as 170 and as many as 325 in the St. Louis area,” said Meneau. In December 2011, I was lucky enough to land one of those brutes (see picture), and had a replica mount done to create a lasting memory. Weighing in at 9 lbs. 8 oz, it is the largest trout I have ever caught, and I didn’t have to go more than 10 minutes from home to catch it! Makes all those trips to Lake Taneycomo seem pointless. Okay, not pointless at all, but it really illustrates how successful and excellent the fishing is under the Urban Trout Program. The foundation and planning of the program is interesting in itself, but let’s look at some tactics I have used to catch many an urban trout in St. Louis and Kansas City. Firstly, I must point out some regulations. Select lakes are catch and release only from November 1st until January 31st in each city. Starting February 1st, they become catch and keep lakes, and you may take home the designated limit of four (4) trout each day, and possess eight (8) trout in your freezer. A majority of the lakes are catch and keep lakes the entire length of the stocking period. Catch and Release Lakes -Artificial lures only Nov. 1 st— Jan. 31st (no scented Powerbaits, plastic jigs, or trout worms) I have been fishing in St. Louis lakes since I was old enough to remember, and almost always my grandpa and I target catch and release lakes. I like a few smoked trout here and Continued on next page...
Casting spoons There isn’t a better way to catch a mess of trout than throwing a spoon in many major lakes. For whatever reason, I have found many people shy away from them in the urban stocked lakes. But, I have used them and can say they are very effective at certain times. Whenever there is a wind blowing and chop on the water with a partly cloudy sky, this should be your tactic. Try throwing a 1/8 oz Lil’ Jake (what I caught my 9 lb 8oz behemoth on), Little Cleo, Super Duper, or Kastmaster into the wind and slowly winding it in, allowing the lure to wiggle and waggle back and forth through the water column. Make a few casts in one spot as you work down the back. Usually, if the trout are hungry you’ll pick a few up in one spot. Strikes are hard and violent, so be prepared! Jigs
I’m not sure if there is another lure that consistently produces trout like jigs. I have caught 100 trout with my grandpa in a few hours using 1/8 oz marabou jigs in black, white, brown, sculpin/ginger, and olive colors in A youth poses with two rainbow trout caught near his house in St. Louis in a city lake. the lakes around St. Louis. Again, your best bet is to find a windy day, but with a full overcast sky, and cast into the wind or across the wind and feverishly jerk the tip Continued on next page... PAGE 27
Photo courtesy of Kevin Meneau
there, but I’d much rather catch them than eat them, so these lakes are my go-to. You will find the catch and release lakes will have more experienced trout fishermen (including fly fishermen) but they will usually be less crowded than catch and keep lakes in your region. Most people prefer to throw out a line and wait for a bite instead of actively working for fish, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you choose to fish one of the catch and release lakes, I have come to a short list of the most effective lures to use, and I suggest you include the following lures and tactics into your arsenal.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Miloshewski
In December 2011, Ryan Miloshewski caught this mammoth, Rainbow Trout in a city lake near his home in St. Louis, MO. It weighed in at 9lbs 8oz.
of your rod to make the jig dance as much as possible. Alternate how fast you retrieve it, how much you twitch the jig, and how far you let it fall to find what presentation the fish you are after prefer that day. Trout are finicky, and their preferences can change hour to hour while fishing. Note: the clearer the water, the smaller the jig should be. Go down to 1/32 oz or 1/64 oz if need be. If you do go to a small jig like 1/64 oz, try using a fly rod, as casting it far enough out will become troublesome on spin tackler. I tie a five foot leader of 2 lb. test fluorocarbon onto my fly line and string a strike indicator 12-16 inches above the jig and begin casting, changing the position of the strike indicator to find the depth at which the trout are feeding. My best days with a fly rod have occurred when it’s freezing cold, as windy as Kansas, and as cloudy as it can be out. The wind provides a good drift on the water for the jig, making work for you very easy. You’ll be very surprised at how effective this technique can be! These two categories have been the most productive in the catch and release lakes for me, but as I noted earlier, trout are finicky and their preferences of what they want to eat change constantly, so if you think something might work, try it! You’ve nothing to lose but a little time. I’ve gone through numerous colors, sizes, and lures to finally find what they’re biting on certain days. Sticking with these two will be your best bet, though, so stock up!
Continued on next page... MAHONEY OUTDOORS
Catch and Keep Lakes If your preference lies in catching trout to eat, or just to have a relaxing day talking with friends while fishing, try going to one of the many catch and keep lakes in your city. Many of the catch and release tactics work, and have produced very well for me, but you are allowed to go to natural baits if the trout just won’t bite on fakes. Here are some of my favorites. Power Bait A staple in trout fishermen’s bags for years, this pasty concoction will land you plenty of trout on any given day in these urban lakes. To rig, put a weight (a split shot or egg sinker) about 15” above a small treble hook on 2-4 lb test line, and carefully roll the Power Bait dough into a small to medium sized ball and form it onto your hook. Cast it out, and wait. Doesn’t get much easier! The best color Power Bait I’ve used is orange, with corn yellow and chartreuse right behind it. You’ll find a color you like the best and stick with that most likely. Salmon Eggs Another killer bait is fresh salmon eggs. Rig it the same way you would for the Power Bait, but instead of a treble hook use a small straight hook or circle hook. Place one or two salmon eggs on the hook and cast it out. The oily, soft texture of the salmon eggs is irresistible to trout, and is a natural food, so if there are trout in the area you’ll likely get a bite very soon. Always Save Biscuit Mix Go ahead, read it again. Yep, that’s right. Always Save brand biscuit mix. I learned this tactic from a waiter at a restaurant in Branson, MO as I was fishing on Lake Taneycomo for a week in November 2004. Sounded crazy to me, but my grandpa is one to ex-
periment (ask him about the Cornfly story if you ever see him) with trout techniques. I tried it, and, wow, did it work! I tried it back home at Busch Wildlife Conservation Area and had success there, too. Simply mold a hunk of the mix onto your hook and cast it out (rigged the same way as Power Bait and salmon eggs). I took it a step further and added some small trout pellets (like the ones they provide at the hatcheries to feed the trout) and it worked even better. It will dissolve off the hook after ten or fifteen minutes, so be sure to check your line consistently. The Urban Trout Program is a great opportunity to beat the winter doldrums, kill some time after work, or just get out of the house (perhaps to get away from taking down those Christmas lights). It is a very successful program and provides a great number of lakes to fish that you’d normally pass up during the winter months. I fish lakes around my St. Louis and Kansas City homes every winter, and it’s always fun and I always catch fish. Next time you’re itching to go trout fishing, save some gas money and motor on down to your local park and give these tactics a whirl. Lakes included in the program (catch and release lakes Nov. 1Jan. 31 bolded): St. Louis Region August A. Busch Conservation Area Lakes 3, 21, 22, 23, 24, 28 Boathouse Lake at Forest Park Carp Lake Island Lake January-Wabash Park Lake Jefferson Lake Koeneman Park Lake O’Fallon Park Lake Tilles Park Lake Vlasis Park Lake Walker Lake Wild Acres Park Lake Kansas City Region Chaumiere Lake James A. Reed Wildlife Area: Coot Lake, Plover Lake Fountain Bluff Sports Complex Liberty Park Pond (Sedalia)
Central Region Cosmo-Bethel Lake (Columbia) Kiwanis Lake (Mexico) McKay Park Lake (Jefferson City) Northwest Region Everyday Pond (at Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph) For more information, contact your local Missouri Department of Conservation Regional office and ask about lakes that are stocked with trout in your area. St. Louis: 2360 Highway D St. Charles, MO 63304 (636)-441-4554 Kansas City: 12405 SE Ranson Road Lee’s Summit, MO 64082 (816)-622-0900 Central: 3500 East Gans Road Columbia, MO 65201 (573)-815-7900
Crappie Fishing: Trolling at a Glance, Part II Ray Kiel
Photo by Ray Kiel
the stream. Immediately down stream As with the first article, we are looking from the riffle will be the “hole” section. at propulsion as a means of getting around This area will usually have a slower curwhile trolling baits, in an effort to present rent than the riffle and will be a confused them to fish to get them to bite (in the previcurrent. While riffles are fast due to a reous article we discussed “wind” as a form of striction, holes have less current as this is propulsion—here we discuss current). With where the water starts to relax. The hole is wind you are totally at the mercy of Mother formed by the water scouring out the softNature. Without assistance from some other er bottom. Larger objects are allowed to form of propulsion, you have absolutely no become stationary by less force being excontrol over where you go or how fast you get erted on them there. Today we and cause edwill touch on the dies to form. use of “current”. These eddies Current is a differcan be either ent matter in that vertical, which you can somewhat are seen as figure out where whirl pool you will go and effect in the can expect some stream or consistency in how back flow fast you will get along the edgthere. Most often, es of the when we think of streams bank. current, we autoHorizontal matically think of eddies are flowing water much harder down a stream or to spot and river. While this is some times go most generally the completely case, current can unnoticed. be created by a When visible, number of things. horizontal In reservoirs, Sometimes you can catch some weird things besides Crappie eddies usually current can be show up as a created when the on diving crankbaits, including this fry. bulge on the lake is being surface. Either one will hold fish as they drawn down, power is being generated, or both give fish excellent places by which to when the wind really blows. It may not be hide out of the stronger current and pronoticeable while sitting in a boat, but the fish vide the best places to ambush confused notice it and set up accordingly to it. Even prey caught up in the mixed current. Runs after the known factors quit, (draw down, are the most relaxed part of the stream. generation, wind, etc.) the water will still be There will be less structure in the run moving for a while. In streams, gravity caussince any thing driven by the current will es the movement. Different parts of the have already fallen to the bottom. In the stream will flow at different speeds and will run, most of the structure will appear generally follow the channel. Water will alalong the banks in the form of lay downs ways follow a path of least resistance. or possible as dykes and wing dams which Streams can be viewed in three distinct are used to keep the channel open. Fish parts: riffles, holes, and runs. Riffles are tend to use runs as resting places and are caused by hard substrates which causes conusually inactive. However, if you happen strictions in the width or depth of the stream, to find a sunken tree or rock pile in the forcing the water to speed up to get through. middle of a run, mark it on your GPS and This will usually create the fastest current in Continued on next page... MAHONEY OUTDOORS
Photo by Ray Kiel fish it often. Though fish found in runs have a tendency to be inactive, those around such mid run structure can be as active as those found on the area immediately down stream from the riffle and the hole areas. If the current is too strong and pushes the boat too fast, putting on the breaks is a somewhat limited option. The only safe way to slow down in this case is with a motor of some sort. There are times when you can drag something like a chain but care should always be taken. NEVER, EVER attach such a device to the transom of the boat. Doing so is the quickest way to send your boat to the bottom and make you test your swimming skills, either of which will ruin a bad day much less a good one. Drift socks are, for the most part, ineffective in current as a mean of reducing
speed. Anything you do to reduce your speed in current will also reduce the amount of area you cover with each pass as you will have the bow into the current. If you need to spread your lines, I would recommend the use of planer boards. Boards do an excellent job of widening your spread, even from an anchored position. Fishing in rivers and streams can be a blast, but are no place to be taken lightly. They can be among the most dangerous places you can go in a boat. Always familiarize yourself with the body of water first, and then fish it. Better yet invite a friend who knows the water to go with you on your first couple trips. Always remember, safety is in your hands, so don’t throw it away! Have a good trip and save some fish for seed!
Ray Kiel with his impressive catch of Crappie off of Mark Twain Lake. Ray is a crappie guide at Mark Twain Lake and owns Fish’n Podna LLC guide service. He can be contacted through his web site at www.cannondam.com/raykiel or on Facebook at Fish’n Podna.
Fish’n Podna LLC Full Service Crappie Guide Ray Kiel (573) 470-5855 www.cannondam.com/raykiel Go to the “Fishnpodna” Facebook page for more photos!
https://huntforce.com PAGE 33
Post Deer Hunting: Important Steps to Take Ryan Miloshewski
The numerous trials and tribulations of a hunting season lasting upwards of six months will have you licking your wounds the remainder of the year. Successful or not, you’re worn down. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about deer season until next August or September. Sitting around waiting for spring turkey season will do you no good, so get out in your deer woods right now. The amount you can and will learn from January through March is magical, and here is what you should do and why you should do it to get the step on your bucks for next year. Get out and Scout! Deer season has just ended across much of the country and you have months to prepare and scout for next year, so why scout now? That’s easy! Major deer trails, rubs and rub lines, scrapes and scrape lines, bedding areas and feeding areas are all fresh and very easy to pinpoint this time of year. Chances are, deer are still using the same winter trail(s) and bedding/ feeding areas, so this will be extremely fresh. Walk your entire property, and I do mean the entire area, to find these tell-tale signs of deer activity. You’ll find new trails and rubs you hadn’t seen because you were too concerned with bumping deer during the season. By doing this, you can pinpoint the travel routes of deer, where they bedded last season and a new spot for your tree stand to ambush that buck you saw just out of range while on stand. Instead of sitting there wondering where the deer are and which way they are traveling through your property, you can find out the truth. I’m a firm believer it takes years to understand how deer use the property you hunt, but by getting out in the woods now, you will expedite this process greatly.
Maintain Tree Stands Changing stand locations and areas around these locations during the season is a big no-no in many hunters’ minds, as deer will “notice” the difference. Sometimes this is true, others it isn’t. But, you have no excuse now. If your stand needs to be readjusted on the tree or moved completely, now is the time to do it. Deer will have plenty of time to adjust to the new setup. If you plan on putting out new stands, again, this is prime time. Use the knowledge you gained by scouting your property to move stands to a better tree in a good area, or put a new one up where you found a lot of deer sign on your trek. Chances are the deer will use it the same way the next fall, barring major changes in terrain or pressure. By moving or adjusting tree stands, or placing new ones altogether, you’ll have a better setup for shots and shot angles and, if done right, have less chance for detection by deer (use your hunting journal if you keep one to determine when and where deer busted you and adjust your stand accordingly) and a more successful season this fall. Clear Shooting Lanes Clearing shooting lanes in August is not fun. It’s hot for one, causing you to get discouraged quickly, and the terrain looks nothing like it does when the leaves drop—leaving you wondering what branch needs to go or stay. But right now the area around your stand looks almost exactly as it does in November. What better time to clear lanes and get rid of the pesky limb that prevented a shot last season? Do this with a friend, as one person sits in the tree (you, preferably) and the other marks what needs to go as you tell them. Get down, clear what needs to be cleared, and you’ll be one step ahead of the game come August. If major trees need to go (as in my case), bring out a chainContinued on next page...
Photo by Tyler Mahoney Getting out after the season is over and checking for the past fall’s deer activity can be extremely helpful in developing strategic locations for new stands in the coming year. Be sure to look for major trails, scrapes, and rubs like this one! saw and rid them. Deer might be spooked by the new look initially, but their curiosity will actually bring them in to investigate later on. Who cares though, they have time to get over it. And you won’t sweat in 100 degree heat! Talk to Neighbors It doesn’t pay to sit around thinking what bucks are still alive, which ones were harvested, and how many died of natural causes. I only hunt on 180 acres, so deer have home ranges way outside of
that. The chances of finding dead bucks and sheds on my property are not great. So, I get on the phone. I call the neighbors around my property and find out how their seasons went, what bucks they saw (and harvested) and if they found any dead bucks during the year. I reciprocate the information and both parties are happy. I always focus on what deer they saw and when and if they noticed any patterns throughout the season (i.e. deer changing travel routes from pressure). If they noticed deer moving toward your property PAGE 35
during certain parts of the season, you’ll find it out now. All of this information is valuable in your preparation for next season. And, neighbors are much more willing to give you this information after the season than during it. It’s just human nature (or hunter’s nature—yea, we are a different breed of human). Gathering as much information as possible should be your main goal here. During the early months of a new year, landowners are about as cordial as they’ll be. If you have a property around the area you hunt that you’d like access to, or one otherwise on your radar, go and talk to the owner now and gauge their willingness. Showing up in August or September is looked at as insulting to some landowners, so do it now to up your chances of them granting permission. How to go about it is a whole different article, but the simple rules are to be cordial and offer work or money for access to their potential hunting land. You’ll find most landowners are more willing to allow you to hunt during this time of year than any other (at least that’s what I’ve found), so capitalize on this opportunity. Conclusion Taking these small steps to prepare now for your upcoming deer season should be on your radar as you fight cabin fever. You can’t shed hunt yet and predator hunting can be too cold, so get out and do some homework. Gather your deer hunting buddies and make it a group effort. It’ll be a fun weekend and get you guys together at a time you wouldn’t otherwise see each other. Deer hunting is commonly referred to as a year-round effort amongst diehard hunters, and if you’ve been negligent, now is the time to truly make it a 12-month fight for the biggest buck of your life.
Best Tips for Finding Shed Antlers The actual deer season may throughout the country. As a general have come to a close across the states, rule of thumb, the later the rut goes in but a new hunting season is just gearing your respective geographic location, the up! Across the country, deer are starting later you can expect bucks’ antlers to to lose their antlers as we get nearer to drop. However, it is also important to spring. Yet, every year many hunters be aware of other environmental factors overlook or forego the wonderful opporin a given year like drought or poor nutunity to find shed antlers in late wintrition, as those can also heavily influter. Searching for and finding antlers offers a very fun experience for sportsmen everywhere, in addition to providing valuable scouting insight for the next fall. It also allows hunters a chance to bag a unique trophy that can be as rewarding to some as filling a buck tag earlier on in the season. The challenge of finding an antler is considered by many While this antler was found with wet blood still at the base, a squirrel to be even more rigorous than har- was still able gnaw on it before we got there. You can see the squirrel vesting a mature chewed up a hedge apple next to it as well. whitetail. If you want to find more ence how long a buck will hold his antantlers, here is some good advice to lers. When there are other external make your shed hunts more productive. factors such as those causing stress to your local deer herd, the bucks will tend When to Look to lose antlers faster. There are several factors that go If you are searching for sheds into deciding when you should look for in public land, it is always best to get sheds. Bucks drop their antlers when out early and often because there will their testosterone levels begin to fall be heavy competition. While some after the mating season, known by might not give up their secrets, it never many as the rut. As a result, you can hurts to ask around and see if anyone typically count on mid-February to midelse is having luck with finding antlers March as the best time to look. If you so you’ll know when to get out and are able to run trail cameras on the search. property you shed hunt, that will help When it comes to specific ground and you best be able to determine when to sky conditions, I’ve had some great luck begin searching. Depending on your and also some really bad luck. My exgeographic location, bucks may drop perience has shown that when it is a their antlers sooner or later. The reason bright, sunny day, you will have a very for that is because the rut varies Continued on next page...
Photo by Tyler Mahoney
Where to Look When you are out searching for sheds, there are several key
areas to concentrate your efforts on. If you have a major food source, like a feeder or food plot for instance, then start there. Walk in a circle around it and just keep moving in a wider radius. This tactic has worked extremely well for me in the past. Furthermore, deer often times will navigate around the edges of fields because they are very comfortable having the cover quickly available for escape. As a result, field edges, especially field edges to a major food source, can be very productive places to find antlers. As you walk the edge, don’t forget to look out into the open field as well. Bedding areas are also a good place to look. Deep timber with thick undergrowth, small fields with tall, native grasses, and shallow, marshy areas all make for great bedding habitat and will most likely hold deer. If you locate a heavily used bedding area, be sure to walk the perimeter for any major trails as well. If you can find a transition corridor from the bedding area to a food source, you could be in for a really good day of shed hunting. Many landowners and conservation parks practice controlled burning every year. If you can walk an area just after it is burned, you have a fantastic chance of finding antlers because there is less clutter on the ground to disguise them. The one downside to this is that any antler you do find may be slightly charred if it was subjected to direct fire. It is also important to look near ob-
stacles that deer are forced to jump or quickly maneuver around because those types of objects jar the antler loose off of a buck’s head. Classic examples are large logs, fence rows, and creeks. Every year I find multiple antlers lying along a barbed wire fence or just on the other side of a log as I step over it. General Advice In addition to where and when to look, I also have a few bits of general advice that will make you more successful. Make sure to wear safety glasses, preferably ones that are tinted yellow. Not only will that protect your eyes as you march through thick brush and low hanging branches, but it will also help your eyes to analyze the ground better and be less strained. Additionally, take extra care to walk slowly. It is incredibly easy to walk within yards of an antler and never see it. Trust me; I’ve learned this lesson all too many times. Be prepared to spend several hours when you search so that you don’t rush yourself as you walk through an area. Bringing multiple people along will help alleviate the chance of any missed antlers. I recommend walking parallel about 2030 yards apart. Lastly, bring binoculars if you have some available. You are going to be doing a lot of walking on your search so there’s no need to walk another 50 or 100 yards to investigate what you think is a shed when you can just view it through your binoculars. You’ll be amazed at how many sticks and branches there are that you would have sworn to anyone were a massive shed.
Subscribe Photo by Tyler Mahoney
tough time finding antlers in the heavily wooded areas. The forest floor becomes hard to decipher as the light comes down through the branches and creates thousands of small shadows everywhere you look, making it extremely difficult to spot a white antler. However, bright, sunny days can be productive if you are searching through large fields and field edges. My all-time best results have come on cloudy days. The forest floor is consistently lighted, making it less straining on your eyes to constantly be scouring the ground as you walk slowly through timber and fields. Rainy days can also be very productive because the leaves get matted down from the moisture and also become darker, causing the antlers to contrast more with the ground. The rain often times helps them to look much more white than they really are, which is helpful in spotting them on a dreary day. If there is snow on the ground, you can pretty much expect it to be nearly impossible to find an antler unless a buck happened to drop it after the snow had fallen. Most antlers will be packed beneath the snow, leaving only small views of the point tips to be seen. Others might disagree, but I usually don’t spend much time looking in the snow.
When you follow the tips from this article, you might just be able to find quite a few antlers in just a couple of days time.
Turkey Time: Advice on Preparation for Your Best Season Yet Ryan Miloshewski
When it comes to hunting, it’s never too early to start thinking about the next, upcoming season. As we push through these harsh winter months, spring turkey season is racing through my mind at a rapid pace. It’s early March, but your preparation for the spring season can and should start right now. Preparation breeds success and fun during the season, and here are my steps to effectively formulating a plan for the 2014 spring turkey season. It’ll be here before you know it! Scouting Getting your feet on your land and using trail cameras may be the most important, effective step in preparing for any hunting season, and turkey season is no exception. Turkeys are still in winter flocks, but by properly placing some food and a trail camera you can take inventory of what gobblers are in your local flock. Scattering a bag of shelled corn in a field or near a roosting site is the best option and yields great results. Place your camera lower than you would for deer, as you want to get the whole body of the turkeys of which you are taking pictures. Utilize your trail cameras up until the season, but make sure you remove the bait at least ten days before the season here in Missouri. Aside from the trail camera, walking your property is just as effective. Look for tracks, feathers, scat, and turkey scratchings to determine where turkeys are hanging out on your land. Pinpoint roosting sites (excessive scat and feathers on the forest floor is a sure sign) to know where turkeys will and do sleep overnight. They may not be roosting there in two months, but you will know they like that area and there’s a distinct possibility hens will roost in the same spot—or a single tom, which is all you need. By knowing where turkeys loaf around on your hunting grounds, you will be a step ahead of them when the spring season opens. Another vital task is to identify potential strut zones. Most properties have fields, open areas in timber, or saddles on ridges where MAHONEY OUTDOORS
toms will like to strut for the ladies during the breeding season. When you find an area like this, envision a hunt you will have here. Where will the gobbler enter the strut zone? Are they any potential hang up spots? Where will you sit in this setup? All of these questions need to be answered for each potential hunting spot for maximum success. Taking Inventory Knowing what you already have and what you need to purchase should be determined now. You’ll have ample time to research what new products to buy, and where to find the best deals. Most states have sales in March, so if you know what you need going into it, it’ll be smooth sailing. New shells, camouflage, boots, and the like should be on your radar. Go through your gear, which you’ve undoubtedly neglected since last May, and clean everything out (that old banana will smell great now!) and write down what you need to replace. Along with this, go through your hunting journal and reread all of your hunts from last spring. Determine where you saw the most turkeys, where gobblers were roosted, and what happened on each hunt to figure out what your strategy should be going into this season. You’ll learn a lot, and will begin to pattern (if you’ve been taking notes for years) where toms like to hang out. Look at old trail camera pictures to see what gobblers could still be around and where you got the pictures, and when. Just relive last season as vividly as possible, and you will be able to see what you did wrong and what you did well. One mistake can make or break a setup or an entire season of hunting while pursuing turkeys, so study carefully. The best students do their homework and take notes in class, and turkey hunting is no different. Couple this with your scouting and you have a recipe for success on opening day.
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Organize your Vest
Photo by Tyler Mahoney
Most turkey hunters use a vest to carry and keep their gear organized. After you clean it out and make your purchases in March, organize it for a sort of turkey hunting apocalypse. You never know what you’ll encounter in the turkey woods any given day, so make sure you’ll be prepared for anything and everything Mr. Tom, and the elements, throws at you. Below is a list of what I carry in my vest each time I go out. Yours should be similar.
Calls Having an array of calls will be your biggest ally. Sometimes one call works better than any others, so have enough to throw a fully staffed orchestra of sweet hens at a gobbler. -Three to four different mouth calls (I prefer Primos for sound and ease of use) -A box call (make sure it’s waterproof!) -Two slate calls (with a variety of strikers) -An owl hooter -One or two crow calls -An obscure call, like Knight n’ Hale’s
Squealing Hen -An obscure locator call (I prefer a peacock call) Gear -Camouflage gloves -Camouflage mask -Flashlights and headlamps -ThermaCELL bug repellent and replacement cartridges -Rain coat -Plastic grocery bag to put around your gobbler’s head after a successful hunt—it limits blood getting everywhere—a must in any vest (in gray or bright orange to prevent any accidents) -Water bottle, granola bars, and other snacks; extra shells, bug spray (do this right before the actual hunt) Preparation is the key to success in any facet of life. Skill and luck will only take you so far in turkey hunting. Being ready for any type of conditions and knowing what you will do before you even step foot in the dark, spring woods will make this season your best. By preparing now, you’ll be able to focus on the actual hunt when the time comes, and will make your spring season more enjoyable. Take these steps and I guarantee you’ll be as ready as you’ll ever be come April.
You never know what the turkeys will respond to, so it is always good to have a wide assortment of calls to find that perfect note that will get them gobbling and coming in!
Check out these articles for more great turkey hunting tips! Turkey Hunting: The Ultimate Decoy Spread for Bowhunters by Will Brantley Turkey Hunting Tips: How to Take Down the King by Gerry Bethge Back Off to Bag that Bird by John Higley Turkey Decoy Safety by NWTF.org Turkey Calling Tips by NWTF.org PAGE 39
Photo by Tyler Mahoney
Tips for Bow Hunting Turkeys Out of a Tree Stand Tyler Mahoney
Every fall, I find myself in the tree stand in pursuit of a trophy buck with a bow before rifle season starts. Inevitably, it seems that I almost always end up having more chances at arrowing a turkey than I do a trophy buck. For whatever reason in the fall, turkeys appear to get a little reckless with their own safety as they constantly chase and fight each other without much regard to their surroundings. I am sure I’m not the only hunter who has witnessed those types of shenanigans; however, don’t let their odd, raucous fall behavior trick you into believing they aren’t still on high alert. Many times, right when I think I’ve got a done deal on a turkey from my tree, I get busted. As a result, I’ve developed a Covered in black face list of basic tips paint, Tyler Mahoney prethat should help pares his bow as turkeys you gain many come into view. more shot opportunities on turkeys from your tree stand without spooking them. First and foremost, make sure you are wearing a camouflage facemask and gloves. Camouflage or black face faint could also work in place of a face mask if you find those uncomfortable or annoying. This tip seems like an obvious one, but many deer hunters across the nation head out to their tree stand
in the fall and don’t bother with bringing a mask or gloves. Deer might not mind this, but turkeys certainly do and it could cost you a shot opportunity. If you plan on sitting in a tree stand that has a metal safety bar around it, go in ahead of time and wrap some camouflage fabric around the stand. The right material can be found at BassPro, Cabelas, or even your local Walmart. You can attach the fabric around the bar with zip ties. If you don’t want it blowing around in the wind, it is very easy to also attach it to the platform, which will secure it down more. An alternative method you can try is simply taking a camouflage jacket, preferably 3D, and draping that around the safety bar to block your movement as much as possible. If you are sitting in a tree stand that has no safety bar, you will simply have to wear the 3D camouflage. As long there is a slight breeze and you don’t move much, you should be fine, but 3D camo can be noisy, which is why I recommend you wrap it around the safety bar if there is one. When it comes down to the actual shot, it is best if you don’t stand up. Turkeys have extremely keen eyesight, so the less movement you can make the better. Shooting from a sitting position can be challenging at first, which is why you should also do some practicing from the stand before your actual hunt. If you just don’t feel comfortable shooting from a sitting position, be sure to stand up slowly as soon as you spot the turkeys in the distance. Many times, the turkeys look like they are heading away from you, but you should still stand up and get ready or get your bow in position. Numerous times I’ve had turkeys suddenly change direction and run in towards my location, but have no Continued on next page...
chance at them because I wasn’t already in a shooting position. Even with their raucous behavior, turkeys sometimes still find a way to slip in close to you without you seeing them. I have had this happen many times when the wind is strong and I’ve learned that if you don’t spot them before they are closer than 50 yards, then your chances at getting a shot opportunity without spooking them are slim. This next tip has many differing opinions on it. Many times, there will be a turkey that serves as the scout for the group and walks into an area to make sure it is safe for the rest to follow. Many people
would recommend that you don’t shoot this bird as you risk spooking the rest of the flock coming in, which might provide you additional shot opportunities. However, I tend to disagree with that recommendation because when the entire flock is in close, there are a substantially larger number of eyes that might spot you, which makes it much more challenging to pull off a shot. If you can shoot the scout or lead bird, you should do it because that will most likely be your best chance. If you are lucky enough to down that bird, you might even have a good chance at putting a tag on another one. The flock will start to call out to the scout and if you just mimic their calling sequences
exactly, that should pull the rest of them in close to potentially give you another shot. The last tip is helpful for both those hunters who will be in a tree stand or a ground blind. Just like you do for deer, use trail cameras to find the fall patterns of the turkeys in your area. Unlike the spring when both toms and hens alike can be unpredictable, the fall normally causes turkeys to group up and follow the same daily pattern day after day. Knowing what time they will hit a certain food plot or field can make a world of difference in helping you be ready for a shot and capitalizing on the opportunity.
Missouri High School Anglers to Contend at Table Rock John Neporadny, Jr., Tammy Sapp, Katie Mitchell
Springfield, Mo.--Missouri high school anglers will have the opportunity to compete June 7-8 at Table Rock Lake in the 2014 Bass Pro Shops Open Championship of High School Fishing. The bass tournament is open to all Missouri high schools that have signed up for the Missouri State High School Activities Association bass fishing activity. Bass Pro Shops a leading retailer of equipment for hunting, fishing, camping, boating and other outdoor pursuits, will be awarding $10,000 in scholarships to the top three schools: $5,000 for the winning club; $3,000 for the runner-up; and $2,000 for third place. The entry fee for the event will be $50 per school and each school with MSHSAA-linked clubs may enter as many two-man teams with school board-approved captains as they choose. The tournament will feature two opportunities for the anglers to represent their respective schools. There will
be a Team Champion (the winning two man/woman team with the heaviest weight after two days of competition) and a School Champion (the school that scores the most points based on total weight of their teams for both days). Official practice days for the tournament will be June 5-6 and a rules and registration banquet for anglers, volunteer boater/captains and school administrators will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 6 at a site to be announced later. Tournament hours on June 7-8 will be from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the takeoff and weigh-in to be held at Long Creek Marina. For more information about the tournament or to register teams, visit http://webboutdoors.com and click on High School. About Bass Pro Shops® Bass Pro Shops®, which specializes in outdoor fun, operates 85 retail stores and Tracker Marine Centers across America and Canada that are visited by more than 116 million people every year. Bass Pro Shops stores,
many of which feature restaurants, offer hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor gear while their catalogs and website serve shoppers throughout the world. The company’s Tracker Marine Group® (http://www.trackermarine.com/), which has produced the number one selling brand of fishing boats for more than 35 years, manufactures and sells a variety of boats for fishing and cruising. Family fun is on tap at Bass Pro Shops resort Big Cedar Lodge® (http:// www.bigcedar.com/) voted number six by Travel + Leisure Magazine as World's Best Hotels for Families. For more information, visit http://www.basspro.com/. To request a free catalog, call 1-800BASS PRO. Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ bassproshops.
Hunting Alaska: A Guide’s Perspective
First time hunters coming to Alaska are always amazed. The vast expanse and remoteness is hard to comprehend, especially from someone coming from an urban environment. It is usually a big misconception about the quantity of game found in this great state. Most articles describe the endless herds of caribou and salmon streams with huge brown bears at every pool, but this is not the case. Most of the pictures and video are taken in National Parks and do not portray the real hunting situations. Imagine thinking that you are coming to Colorado to hunt elk, and the entire State was like Rocky Mountain National Park for elk hunting. Continued on next page...
Photo courtesy of Dennis Zadra
My name is Dennis Zadra and I own and operate Lonesome Dove Outfitters out of Cordova, Alaska. Being a Colorado native, born and raised in Leadville, I was instilled with a great love for the outdoors. I am very fortunate to be able to make my living doing what I love most, hunting and commercial fishing in Alaska. I recall reading the stories of Jack O’Conner at a very young age and others telling about the wonders of hunting in Alaska. I have now lived much of what I have read and would like to give a slightly different perspective of this sport, that of the guide and outfitter in handling clients.
Master Guide Dennis Zadra with his massive brown bear taken in 2001 on the last day of the season. The bear’s height reached ten feet and its skull measured 27 1/2 inches.
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Photo courtesy of Dennis Zadra
One only needs to see Alaska in the winter to realize why the game densities are so low. The harsh environment is not capable of supporting large numbers of game and there is an incredible amount of country to hide that game. The bears have it figured out the best by sleeping this long, cold time away. The moose, sheep, mountain goats, caribou, and others must concentrate in limJames Dundas (left) and Dennis Zadra admire James’ sheep taken in the Alaska Range. The horns on the ited areas where beautiful ram measured 39 1/2 inches long. there is still enough vegetation exposed to sustain them, all the while of meaningful prey for wolves, and they charging every human they have seen in the woods. If they have this looking out for wolves, which are capa- do not depend entirely on the moose ble of killing any big game animal. and caribou for feed. However, we have attitude, they are usually killed at a Winters are far longer and colder that taken on the role of managing the wild- young age. Big bears are very challenging to hunt as many of them can anywhere in the lower 48, so it must be life for maximum sustained use, and to be over 15 years old. By then, they a hearty creature to survive. In the do so requires the wolf numbers be reknow what people are all about. summer there is boundless vegetation duced. Anyone who thinks these aniSimply crossing your scent trail and feed for 10 times the populations, mals are endangered in Alaska has not along a stream can be enough to but the winters are the limiting factor. spent much time in the wilderness send them to another drainage. Alaska has recently authere. thorized the aerial killing of wolves as a Back to the guide’s perspective. That is why we must be very unobtrusive while hunting them, which means to control their exploding popu- The reason most hunters hire guides is means finding a good vantage point lations. We are getting a great deal of for their local knowledge and expertise and waiting. I usually climb up on a bad publicity because of it from enviof the game and area they are hunting. slope to improve the visibility or ronmentalists that think it is not a It then amazes me how some clients climb high into a tree to be able to sporting way to hunt them. First of all, begin to offer suggestions on how to see above the brush lines. We camp it is not a hunt, but an effective means hunt after three or four unsuccessful a considerable distance from where of predator control. A pack of wolves days. I have heard that many clients we are watching and don’t build fires will hunt down and kill every last moose believe their guide simply keeps them or make noise. It is then a game of in a herd and move on after they are out in the woods until the end of the patience, waiting for the bear to predone. The caribou and especially the hunt to ensure that they are getting sent himself in an area where he can moose populations are declining in their money’s worth. First of all, huntbe approached close enough for a many areas of the state. Increased ing is a crap shoot at best, especially in clean kill. Many hunters get impahunting pressure combined with an in- Alaska. There are so many factors that tient with this method, but the botcrease in wolf numbers has been the the guide has no control over: weather, tom line is, you can’t kill them if you biggest cause of that. We could let naother hunters, the client’s capabilities, don’t see them. ture run its course, allowing the wolves etc. It is unrealistic to think that the Probably the biggest issue to continue to expand and thus allow guide has that much control over the that we face as guides is the physical the moose and caribou to diminish. hunt. If the guide is doing what he condition of our client. It amazes That will eventually lead to an overpop- should be doing, you should be in a me how much time a hunter will put ulation of wolves, an under population productive area and hunting it in the into researching the animals, buying of game animals, and eventually the best way possible. For instance, walkall types of gear and gadgets, but under population of all game species. ing up and down salmon streams lookneglects this single most important The bears would keep mostly out of this ing for bears is not effective. Big bears factor: get into shape!!! That is the equation because they are not any kind do not get big by being stupid and
single best piece of advice I can give. It will do more to improve the success and enjoyment of your hunt than buying every gadget in the Cabela’s catalog. There is such a sense of satisfaction when a hunter works hard for his trophy. You get out of it what you put into it. I have had clients that have harvested some incredible trophies, and the entire experience was nothing but misery because they didn’t take the time to get into shape. It requires dedication, especially if physical conditioning is not part of your every day routine. However, you will reap huge rewards for it both before, during, and after your hunt. I have had clients that used the incentive of their hunt to begin an exercise program, which they continue years afterward. The benefits are countless. Another piece of advice I have is to focus and practice on your marksmanship before you arrive to Alaska. Again, I am flabbergasted at how incredibly bad some hunters can shoot. We always take the time to check the zeros on the rifles before heading out into the field for the hunt, which confirms if a rifle was knocked off during the flight. More importantly, it shows me if the hunter is comfortable with his weapon. Many guys go out and buy a new .375 or bigger gun for a bear hunt, shoot it seven or eight times and feel that is sufficient. The gun usually kicks more than what they are used to and furthermore they are not familiar with how to handle it. Then they are going to hunt the most dangerous animal on the North American continent and quite possibly bump into it at distances less than 30 yards. A bear shot in the guts with a .375 will go a lot farther and do more damage than one shot in the lungs with a .30-06. I always advocate using the big guns, but a hunter must take the time to shoot them and be familiar with them. Be proactive about your hunt. Help your guide to glass, watch, and pay attention to what is going on. Anticipate the stalk and the shot and be ready for them. You may only get one chance at your trophy, so be ready to capitalize on the situation when it arrives. I recall a particular hunter I had on a Mountain Goat/Black Bear hunt. He harvested the goat on the first day, but things were not working out well for us on the bears. We were seeing quite a few, but they were either small or the PAGE 44
wind would give us away before we could close on them. After three days we were both frustrated. We were hunting them late in the fall when they are occupying the alpine country in the same elevations of the mountain goats. It was a lot of work to access them every day. Finally, we found a big boar that worked into a ravine that we could approach. We quickly closed the distance as the wind was swirling and I knew we did not have a lot of time before he smelled us. Just as we were about to peek over the edge to see the bear, which I estimated to be less than 50 yards away, I stopped to check on my client. I knew he was right behind me because I could hear him, but he still had on his heavy gloves, and had his rifle slung diagonally across his shoulder and no round in the chamber. He knew we were close as he saw the bear drop into the ravine also, but did he think that when we saw him, he was going to sit and wait for him to remove his gloves, unsling his rifle, chamber a round and still present a good shot? We saw the bear running out of the bottom of the ravine after he caught our scent while we were taking the time to prepare for the shot. The client had plenty of time before that to get ready, but waiting cost him the opportunity at a very nice bear. Again, this is not a carnival ride in which you are simply strapped in and everything goes as it should. The boy scouts have a motto, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” We cannot make the trophies pop up at will, so please help your guide and be ready when he finds you one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know what to do or simply want more information. Working on assumptions, especially about why your guide is doing one thing or another, can be dangerous. If you have a complaint, it is best brought up early, before you or him end up being resentful over it. Usually most friction is the result of misunderstandings. Clear anything up early before they get out of control. You must also assume your guide is doing the best with the situation he has before him. As I said before, there are a multitude of things that can go wrong, and we must make decisions based on numerous factors that the client is probably not even aware of. First and foremost is the safety of the client. Alaska Continued on next page...
Photo courtesy of Dennis Zadra Bill Stirling with his brown bear taken in 2011 while hunting with Master Guide Dennis Zadra. It had a 26 1/2 inch skull and was measured at over nine feet tall. It was a grueling 11 day hunt, showing just how tough hunting in Alaska can be. requires that a non- resident hunter hire a guide to hunt Dall Sheep, Mountain Goats, or Brown or Grizzly Bears. That is because many first time hunters to Alaska have no idea what they are getting into. The weather and the remoteness of the country are different than any place in the lower 48, and it can be quite intimidating. This is not to say that only Alaskan hunters are capable of doing it. The best hunters I know are not from Alaska; however, your average hunter that spends one or two weeks a year in the field hunting big game is somewhat disadvantaged. I recall a story of a couple of mountain goat hunters who decided on a do-it-yourself hunt in Alaska before it was required that they hire a guide for this species. They chartered a flight into a lake and packed up through the brush and trees to the alpine where the goats live, and looked for a place to set up camp. This is not as easy as it may seem as goats spend 70% of their time above the angle of repose. That is the angle at which an object will not stay attached to a slope if it is not anchored. In other words, very steep. They finally located a hollow with enough level ground to set up the tent and prepared for the next dayâ€™s hunt. After they left camp, they began searching for goats,
which took them farther and farther away. Goat country is usually pretty broken with countless knobs and gullies, and they all look the same. Later that afternoon the fog rolled in and they were unable to locate the camp. They spent a cold miserable night without food or shelter, but the next day was more of the same. They didnâ€™t know whether they were heading toward their camp or away from it. Fortunately, they had enough sense to drop out of the alpine into the valley in which they were dropped off. Once they descended, the fog was not as bad and they were able to get back to the lake where they luckily had left extra supplies, so they could survive until the plane returned to pick them up. They never did find their camp, and one of the gentlemen got a call 6 years later from a hiker that had stumbled upon a destroyed camp in the mountains of Alaska. He found the camp and also a wallet which gave him the phone number to call. That may seem ridiculous, but I can see how easily it can happen. I am constantly checking my trails and access routes to make sure I know where I am at all times. It is not simply a matter of hiking to the nearest road and waiting for someone to come along and pick you up. With the advent of satellite
phones and GPS, the remoteness of the Alaska bush has become a lot safer. A final point I would like to emphasize is that a hunter should thoroughly check out any outfitter with whom he decides to book a hunt. Most of the outfitters I know are in the profession because they love it, but there seems to be an increasing number who think that it is lucrative as long as they run a bunch of clients. I hear nightmare stories every year from my clients and others about how badly they have been taken advantage of on some hunts. Alaska, at least, requires that an outfitter have a minimum of three years guiding experience working as an assistant guide before they can take a test to become licensed to outfit, or book their own hunts. The number of registered guides is increasing at an exponential rate, and there is only so much country for everyone to share. I spend a lot of time researching other outfittersâ€™ web pages and am quite frankly amazed at the outrageous things they publish. I also listen to some of them at sport shows and am embarrassed to have them in the same profession. Many of these guys will tell you exactly Continued on next page...
Photo courtesy of Dennis Zadra This beautiful mountain goat was taken by Mike Winterhalter two and half hours into his hunt with Master Guide Dennis Zadra. Mike made an incredible heart shot at 30 yards on the P&Y mountain goat.
what you want to hear in order to get your deposit, then when you show up for your hunt you do not get anything like what you thought you were getting. The easiest way to check this out is to contact the references. Any outfitter worth his salt should be able to provide you many of these. Be sure and ask to talk to hunters from last year who were both successful and unsuccessful. The unsuccessful ones can tell you whether their lack of success was due to personal choice (not a big enough animal, their lack of physical conditioning, etc.) or because of incompetence by the outfitter. When you see a picture of a large trophy at an outfitterâ€™s booth while at a show, ask when it was taken and if you can speak with the hunter who took it. Many of those guys display pictures of their friends or their friendâ€™s clients when they are not harvesting any trophies themselves. There is another outfitter who hunts some of the same country that I hunt who managed to book almost three times the number of brown bear hunters than I did in 2004. This MAHONEY OUTDOORS
is not unusual as I do not run a big operation. However, he booked all of those clients even though he did not have a single hunter take a brown bear in 2003. Would you hunt with someone who did not have a client take an animal in the previous year? Do you think those hunters did their research? The end result was class action lawsuit filed by three of the hunters against the outfitter for fraud because they feel they were extremely taken advantage of. Nightmares like those could have been avoided if they had called the references. This must be a difficult thing for hunters to do, because even though I constantly preach about calling the references, only about half of my clients each year actually do it. Usually if they do, it is only one or two calls. Remember, most references are more than happy to talk about their hunt and you can gain a wealth of information from them. They will give you their perspective, in addition to listening to mine. Alaska is an incredible place to PAGE 46
hunt, and every sportsman should take the opportunity to experience it. Just remember that there is not a ten foot brown bear on every bend of every stream and 40 inch rams on all of the ridges. There is ruggedness and beauty beyond comprehension, and experiences that will last a lifetime. Once Alaska gets into your blood, it will never leave. Take the time to appreciate everything about it and your hunt will fall into place. For more information about hunting in Alaska, you can check my web page at www.idohuntak.com. Send me an email with any specific questions you may have, and I will do my best to answer them.
17509 Snowcap Loop Warsaw, MO 65355 Call Steve Brown at: (660) 723-2701
Featured on River Monsters, Fishing with Roland Martin, and much more! PAGE 47
“Unexpected” Success on the Last Day of Deer Season
As I walked up the street to my house after my last college class of the day, I debated whether I should make the drive down to our property for the final afternoon of the Missouri bow season. It was 2:30pm on January 15th and it would take me at least an hour and twenty minutes to get to the tree stand I wanted to hunt. Best case scenario, I’d be harnessed in by 4:00 pm and only have shooting light for an hour and a half tops. I looked up at the sky and the sun was bright. A gentle breeze brushed against my face. All became quiet as I felt the 35 degree, wintery chill. Decision made. I was going down for one more hunt on the last day of the season. I grabbed my hunting clothes and jumped in my car. I was in such a rush that I thought it would be a good idea to record a video on my phone to help me remember what I needed to grab out of our building before I went to the stand. It’s easy to forget things when you are in a hurry, even if you tell yourself you won’t. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way many times by arriving to the stand only to realize I have everything I need except my shooting release. Many bow hunters would agree it is hard to top how disheartening something like that can be. As I drove, my heart began to race from my excitement so the video helped calm my anxiety and pass the time. I arrived to the property and quickly grabbed my bow. I sprayed myself down with scent elimination and was on my way. Just a little after 4:00 pm, I found myself strapped in overlooking a corridor between a shallow, ice covered marsh and a known bedding area. Luckily, nothing had spooked during my trek into the location and within 15 minutes, I peered at a large flock of turkeys moving through the woods. There are some days that we hunters just get that certain feeling about and even though my time was limited, this seemed like one of them MAHONEY OUTDOORS
for me. It is easy to credit good weather conditions as a source for the sudden intuition, but I feel strongly it comes from something much deeper than that, something internal in the heart. New and seasoned hunters alike often experience a sense of hope each time they enter the woods, and that sense is heightened as circumstances become more adverse, like when time is winding down on you. Some may not agree, but I truly believe human nature causes us all to have a positive outlook even when our past experiences indicate we have no reason to do so. After this afternoon was over, so would be the final day of the season. Another chapter of my hunting career at an end. Whether a hunter’s last outing is the final day of the season or sooner, we all feel the same way when it concludes. It’s the last hunt of the year and we are filled with hope that it will somehow prove to be a monumental experience in our hunting memories. The sun began to sink faster and faster. The gleam of its rays bounced off the ice, blinding my vision each time I looked in that direction. Nearing five o’clock and quickly getting colder, I heard a crunch in the thin ice. Crunch. Crunch. The weight and interval of the steps seemed like the cautiousness of a deer and I readied my bow. I looked towards the beams of light to see a shadow being cast in my direction by a silhouetted figure that had not been there seconds before. Still blinded, I waited for it to come closer. At 30 yards, I could finally discern that it was a young nine pointer accompanied by a yearling fork horn. They passed in front of me, completely unaware a predator lurked above them, motionless. The sun was below the trees now and my breath covered my vision every other moment that went by. I could not have asked for a more pristine view of the world. Shortly after, I heard more Continued on next page...
crunching in the ice behind me. I lifted my binoculars and spotted a gorgeous, mature eight pointer heading my direction, slowly. Adrenaline kicked in and between that and the cold, I began shaking profusely. I had my release on the loop of my bowstring, but shooting light was fading fast and he was in no hurry to get closer. He closed the distance to 40 yards and stopped to smell a licking branch the two bucks had passed earlier. My heart sank as shooting light gradually faded away. I remained in the stand to wait for him to leave the area and much to my surprise, he started to come towards me. It was
deathly quiet now and he stopped no more than ten yards from the base of the tree. I could hear his breath as I held mine. His footsteps were quiet, yet so clear it seemed like he was walking right next to me. It was as if though he and I were the only two beings in the woods that night. He passed on quietly into the darkness, never once detecting my presence. As I climbed down the tree, somehow I felt more satisfied with that ending than with releasing an arrow. I would have never had the opportunity to experience those perfect moments of quiet footsteps in the silent woods if I
had decided to shoot when he was at 40 yards. It had been a special night and even though I failed to harvest that buck, I still enjoyed an equally gratifying success. It was indeed a monumental experience I will not forget.
Dennis M. Zadra Master Guide #182 PO Box 1389 Cordova, Alaska 99574 1-888-388-3683
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Ryan Miloshewski was born August 19, 1990 in St. Louis, Missouri. As soon as he was able to hold a rod and reel, his grandpa and uncle had him fishing for trout in Lake Taneycomo's fabled waters. A late season muzzleloader hunt in 2004 and an exciting encounter with a buck got him hooked on hunting as well. His first buck was harvested in 2008 during bow season. Since then, many deer and turkey have fallen on the Rosebud, MO farm that the Miloshewski family hunts every Fall and Spring. Ryan graduated from Christian Brothers College High School and attended Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO. He became an important part of his fraternity, serving as vice president, and graduated with a degree in Biology and Communications. Ryan won the Barbara Wynne Most Outstanding Biology Student award his senior year. Ryan met Tyler in 2010, and an immediate bond arose, as both are driven, successful individuals who have a passion for the outdoors. Soon after, the idea of Mahoney Outdoors was born.
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Published on Mar 12, 2014
Looking for great articles on hunting and fishing from the perspective of the next generation? Look no further, as the Mahoney Outdoors Mag...