Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tips For Post-Spawn Success

http://www.whitetailrendezvous.com/
We are very excited to announce that we will be featured on Whitetail Rendezvous’ podcast next Wednesday, April 6th at 3:30 pm Central Time.  Not certain if you will be able to catch it live or if it is added to their iTunes feed as a podcast only.  More information will be provided as we move closer to that time.


Courtesy of MikeLongOutdoors.com
Courtesy of MikeLongOutdoors.com
Some of the country is knee deep into the spawning season, while other pockets are just getting revved up.  Regardless of your current situation, all good things will come to an end eventually and one of the toughest fishing seasons of the year will be upon us as a bass fisherman – POST-SPAWN.  Even the name is heavy on the tongue and causes people to get sick tot heir stomachs.  But, don’t get too depressed.  Understanding large-mouth tenancies can produce numbers as well as size in this silly season.

It is important to note that after the female has laid her eggs, she will hang around the area for as much as 2-3 weeks.  She needs time to recoup.  The stress of the spawn will cause bass to find cover and suspend.  More importantly, their feeding is rather opportunistic during this weird phase.

Using lures that hang in the strike zone a little longer is a smart choice.  The versatile fluke, or a suspending swim-bait,  crank-bait or jerk-bait are also excellent choices for the post-spawn.  Remember that although she is sluggish, a girl has still got to eat.

Courtesy of MikeLongOutdoors.com
Courtesy of MikeLongOutdoors.com
Spots to look for are lay downs, wood cover, like logs and good thick weeds lines all adjacent to their spawning areas are excellent choices.

Also never lose sight of the fact that the entire lake doesn’t spawn all at the same time.  Some like to go early while other like to spawn when it’s a little warmer.  All in all, it may take a couple months for all of the fish to spawn and go through the post-spawn cycle.

Next week we will talk about the Blue-gill spawn and it’s relationship to bass in the post-spawn cycle.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Happy Easter 2016

The tomb is empty that our hearts may be full!
As this is Easter week culminates in Resurrection Sunday, I wanted to wish you and your family all the blessings of my Risen Savior and Lord - Jesus.  It's because He lives that I can face today and hopefully, the many tomorrows to come.

You see the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in our mortal bodies by the miracle of God when we faith Jesus as the answer to life's ultimate question: How might I escape my past, my failures, my ego...myself?  Through the sacrifice Jesus gave on Friday.  His blood for ours.  His death for our life.  His life for our relationship with God.  The carpenter from Nazareth fills the empty place in our hearts.

It is grace.  It is still amazing grace.  Always has been and always will be.  Blessings on you and yours!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hogs Part 3 - The Never Ending Hunting Season

In our final installment of the Never Ending Hunting Season - Hogs, I wanted to talk about a couple components that can mean the difference between success, failure and frustration when hunting these incredible animals.

Last week I touched on the how-to's and one element that I left out was WHEN to hunt them.  On one hand, hogs are not that picky, like in what they eat. However, they can be very picky as to when they do their eating.

Hogs enjoy cooler temperatures.  They are an excellent species to hunt just after the deer season is over while the temperatures are still rather cool to very mild.  This is a big help as to know when and even where to begin your next hunting trip for hogs.
Courtesy of thehogwallowonline.com

Courtesy of jagerpro.com
While the temperatures remain on the cooler side, hogs have been known to be rather active during daylight hours.  They love overcast days with a little rain in the air also.  If these components are lacking, hogs will be more active just before to dusk and also in the early morning hours.  As temperatures warm from mid-spring to early summer, water sources become excellent areas to set up a hunt because they will require the water to cool down. Hogs have very few sweat glands and cannot regulate their body temperatures by sweating.  Instead, they use wallows, small creeks and naturally occurring shallow pools to cool down.

Once summer time hot temperatures begin to be the norm, hogs have been known to go completely nocturnal, especially in the southern states. If you have special optics on your rifle with infrared or night-vision, you can really bring home the bacon by hunting them at night.  One of our board members at Handicapped Outdoors routinely takes hogs from 10pm - 2am at night.

Courtesy of tradgang.com
The other critical element in this week's article is shot placement.  Whether hunting with a crossbow or a rifle, shot placement is a major key to success for a swift kill.  As a boar hog ages, they develop an incredibly dense  area of fat and cartilage along their shoulders and neck lines known as a "shield".  This area is developed to protect them when fighting over a potential girlfriend.  The shield is designed to withstand the sharp tusks of rival hogs, let alone broad-heads or bullets.  For a great story on the strength of the shield, follow this link.

So, shot placement is critical to your success and safety. In order to make this as simple as possible, I am going to break this down by the hunting tools we like to use.  Let's first look at placement of a shot using a crossbow.

Courtesy of lonestarboars.com
A hog's vitals are located rather low on the animals mid-section behind the shoulder.  Both the lungs and heart are much smaller targets than deer, so practicing this type of shot would be ideal before attempting it in the field.

A shot placed in the lower third, just behind the elbow will result in a clean kill with any quality crossbow on the market today.  This shot should penetrate the heart and lungs of the animal and result in a short tracking job for pork-chops.

Courtesy of vafbgunclub.com
With a rifle, this same shot placement will work but you have major options.  Once you have dialed in your gun and are confident, you can take more chances and go for the head shot.  These shots are very exciting and rewarding as no tracking is required when executed properly.  The yellowish area in the picture on the right is the brain area of the hog.  If you follow the yellow area to the top of the head, you can see a decent sized target above and between the eyes for a brain shot also.

An even more precise shot is the spine shot which detaches the spine from the brain and will cause an abrupt end to any hogs existence.  The shock of a high speed bullet is powerful and efficient.  Just be sure that you connect with one these areas or you may be pulling the trigger more than once or twice to down the animal.

Check out the video below for a great shot on a hog at just 10 yards.  Excellent shot placement in the brain and no tracking required!



Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hogs Part 2 - The Never Ending Hunting Season

Welcome to Part 2 of the never ending hunting season - Hogs.  This week, we will explore some of the how to's to hog hunting.

Let's start by hitting the obvious, hogs are fun to hunt any way you choose.  people are hunting them with bows, guns and even hand thrown spears from tree stands.  For the disabled hunter, keeping a healthy distance is wise.  Hunting with a crossbow is excellent but just be sure you are in a ground blind so that the hog will not identify you as a target and will give you some measure of protection.  Those tusks are the real deal.   When a hog is injured, their already unpleasant attitude can get plum mean.  The hunter becomes the hunted in those circumstances. The video below is an example of just such a situation.  Brian "Pigman" Quaca, the renowned hog hunter, gets charged.  The handgun is a critical tool! SHANK 'EM! Fans of Pigman will get that last line.

When using a rifle, a .223/.556 Calibre is plenty of power.  Hornady makes ammunition designed for hog hunting and can be found at your local Bass Pro.

So how do you go about the task of hunting an intelligent and very ware prey?  Know your enemy first.  Hogs do not possess great eyesight but their sense of smell is extraordinary.  They also have a sick sense of impending danger and are known to be "jumpy".

I like to turn an animals strength into their weakness and that snout is amazing on a hog.  Scent cover and wind direction is critical.  Their noses can turn them away in an instant or lead them to a desired location also.  Another strength is their appetite.

This is where it gets a little weird.  A wild pig is omnivorous.  In other words, it's diet is more like a bear than a herd animal.  But, they do run in herds.  Imagine a herd of bear...No thank you, right?  A pig eats both meat and plants.  The list is so big we probably shouldn't put it here but we are, LOL!  The following two lists are from this website.

Common Meats - Feral hogs dine on a wide array of animals. Tiny mammals, snails, birds, insects, insect larvae, crayfish, reptiles, earthworms and amphibians all pop up on their menus. As far as mammals go, they occasionally consume young livestock, rabbits and deer. The livestock animals they prey on include sheep, goats and cows, notably individuals that are frail due to sickness. Feral hogs sometimes scavenge and munch on carrion -- the remains of animals killed beforehand. Eggs are typical foods for them as well, often from reptiles and birds. Although not meat, it isn't rare for feral hogs to feed on animal dung.

Plants for Dinner - Plants constitute big portions of the feral hog diet. Some of the many plants these wild pigs eat are acorns, forbs, grass, tubers, roots, bulbs and fungi. Acorns are a particular favorite for feral hogs. They also like eating a lot of herbaceous vegetation, including water hyssop.

Like I said, omnivorous.  Before I get any further, always double check laws in your area about the legalities of baiting.  having said that, here a couple recipes for you.  Always be sure to place bait close to recent hog sign like fresh rooting spots or wallows.  Near water is always a great idea too.

Everyone who has attempted to deer hunt where hogs are present will tell you that they love corn and will destroy your best feeder to get to it.  And this is where we can use the strength of that glorious snout against them.

Not only do hogs love corn they also love anything that is rotting.  So, rotting corn is like candy.  One method is to take a large bucket load it with corn and then add water and Cherry Kool-Aid to it.  Stir up the mash.  Put a lid on it and let it ferment for a week.  Careful when you take the lid off as you may need resuscitation.  You can pour it out right on the ground or dig a small hole and fill it.  The aroma will bring them in.  Deer like this recipe too, so again be careful with baiting laws.

Another popular method is to mix corn with diesel fuel.  I know, weird but true.   Deer won't touch it but the hogs will love it.  For some reason hogs adore the smell of petroleum products and have even been known to seek out telephone poles with Creosote on them just to rub the substance all over themselves.

Placing either of these recipes out a couple days before hunting can bring them into crossbow or gun range and will help you have a blast.  If you are using a crossbow, they will scatter after the shot.  But if you are patient, many times they will return to feed again.  So, it's possible to have multiple opportunities on a single hunt.

If you want a hardcore bait.  Check out this video.  Pretty cool. Pretty nasty.  Likely very effective!
In Part 3 next week, we will talk about shot placement.  Hogs have some body armor known as "the shield" and you need to know where to hit them for the humane and safe kill.

A thought to leave you with is the exact same as last week.  When hunting hogs it is better to not do it alone.  Always have a buddy and a handgun near by.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Year Round Hunting Species - Hogs

Permission from Joshua AndersonIf the only hunting you are doing as winter turns to spring is for shedded antlers of the Whitetail deer, you are most certainly missing out.  The species to hunt year round and without limits in most locations is the wild Feral Hog.
According to LiveScience.com, wild hogs do approximately $1.5 Billion in damages each year.  Their reproduction rates are prolific and are now known to exist in 41 of America's 50 states according to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or aphis.usda.gov.  A Sow can begin reproducing as early as six months old and can drop two litters per year.  Most litters are between 3-8 hogs but can be as high as 12 or 13.  It's a target rich species that once established can be difficult to get rid of.

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/wildlifedamage/operational-activities/feral-swine/eis/!ut/p/z1/04_iUlDg4tKPAFJABpSA0fpReYllmemJJZn5eYk5-hH6kVFm8X6Gzu4GFiaGPu6uLoYGjh6Wnt4e5mYGZh7m-l76UfgVFGQHKgIAkBaBeg!!/Feral hogs are veracious eaters.  What isn't on their menu is a better question than what is?  They are known to eat roots, grub worms, any planted crop and even snakes.  This is why size does indeed matter when hunting them for meat.  Anything over about 100 pounds is typically not very tasty.  Younger hogs under 100 pounds taste better than what you get at the grocery store.  Mmmm good!  Bacon, chops, ham, ribs...get some!

Be careful when handling hogs after the kill.  Gloves are highly recommended as well as eye protection.  Hogs carry diseases that can be passed to humans, so meat should be cooked properly.  Save the medium rare for Outback right?

So, how do we go about hunting these critters?  Glad you asked!  That is next week's article.  I want to point out in advance to my fellow Handicapped Outdoorsmen, that safety should be a focus when hunting hogs.  Those tusks are for real and their attitude matches the dentures.  On top of the teeth are their wits.  They are very smart and wary and aggressive.  Always hunt with a buddy and be sure to have a hand gun at the ready.  More next week on baiting, setup and weapon choices.