Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I want to start off by saying, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family and laughter around your dinner table.  I also hope you made time to get in the woods or on the water and enjoy the creation that God has richly given to us.

Merry Christmas
Secondly, I want to wish each of you and your families a Merry Christmas.  I know where I came from in my life and where I am today.  The difference between those two points has and always will be Jesus.  He is the answer to all that ails me.  He completes the greatest desires of my heart.  He is the loving Father I always wanted.  If no one has ever told you, then let me have the privilege, you are His favorite son or daughter too!  He is the true gift of Christmas.

Freedom 6x6
Freedom 6x6
Lastly, 2016 is upon us.  As we close out 2015, we have much to be appreciative for.  Handicapped Outdoors is now a non-profit and has partnered with Jeff Warren and the Dream Hunt Foundation in helping provide tools for those kids to get in the wild and have the sheer joy of hunting.  We will be partnering with other organizations in the near future.

2015 also brought the donation of an all terrain wheelchair called the Freedom 6x6.  We have just figured out how to put a Caldwell Tree Pod on it so I can now quite easily overcome the thick, wet environment of Louisiana.  So, the future does indeed look very bright.

We also want to thank our incredible sponsors Bass Pro Shops and Long Range Alley.  Their support has been incredible.

Happy New Year 2016
New Years
This is the final blog for 2015.  I will be spending the rest of the year with my family and recharging my soul.  There are also 6 deer tags that I have yet to punch!  I will be back in January with some fresh articles.  It will be here before you know it.  Be blessed.  Spend time with your loved ones.  Get out there!  It's not called the great outdoors for nothing you know?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Louisiana Handicapped Sportsmen

Louisiana Handicapped Sportsmen
Timothy Guillory - Left
This past weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of hunting with the Louisiana Handicapped Sportsmen.  Their President, Timothy Guillory, invited me and a guest to a weekend hunt and it was a true honor to have been invited and to take part.

Although the deer did not cooperate, the weekend was memorable indeed.  I was very impressed with what these men have built in their 20 years of existence as a hunting club for the disabled.

Scott Anderson
Yours Truly On the Range
The land was located in Dodson, LA and consisted of 1900 acres that a timber company owns and has worked out an amazing deal to the group.  Now that is one heck of a lease, especially when you realize that there are only 14 members at present are in this club, more on this in a minute.

There were blinds and stands spread out all through the property and just about all of them looked really good.  I was allowed to occupy the blind known as the West Hilton.  Man was it properly named.  It was in the 8x12 ballpark and looked more like a large shed than a deer blind.  Sliding windows on all sides made it cozy in the face of a cold couple of days.  On top of all of this, there was a cast feeder about 90 yards down one of the 3 lanes visible to the stand and a stand of pine that was some of the best bedding area I have seen in a while.  On the backside of the stand, there was a beautiful bottom area with hard wood.  From this stand, plenty of the other members have taken very nice deer and I have no doubt that in the future, I will overcome my failures of the past weekend.

Louisiana Handicapped Sortsmen
Charlie (seated) and Mitchell Franks
So, here is the cool part. If you live in Louisiana and are disabled, membership is available.  Cost is an unbelievably low $300 per year and each member can have one person to assist them.  Their assistant also gets to hunt.  There is electric and water available and spots are available for additional camp houses.  We stayed in a guest bunkhouse that had all the amenities one needs at a hunting camp.  Contact Timothy Guillory  by email or call him at 318-446-1004 for more information.

On this particular weekend, the group was hosting the Louisiana Hunting for Heroes which is a non-profit for military veterans who struggle with PTSD and other issues from their wartime experiences.  It was such an honor to spend some time hanging out with these guys.  They were extremely helpful to those of us who needed a hand from time to time.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Going to Work

Handicapped Outdoors

[Using whisper voice] - No article this week because I am in the woods.  I am hunting with the Louisiana Handicapped Sportsman group somewhere deep in the dark recesses of central Louisiana.

Wish me well as the meat from my hunt will go to feed the starving children of the world...well actually just one starving child...ok, mine.  It's going to feed my child.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


In the world of Handicapped Outdoors, we are always on the hunt for a solution to the all-terrain dilemma.  Is there anything out there that can give someone in a wheelchair a true ATV experience?  Something that has power, versatility and ruggedness?  The answer is YES...yes there is.

The RIPCHAIR 3.0 is truly an off road beast.  This is not just another electric wheelchair that might do the job.  This is a gas powered, get you where you need to be, MAN MACHINE!  On top of that, there is no transferring into this thing.  You simply drive your wheelchair right into the bay.  Unreal right?  You get the power of an ATV with the comfort of your actual wheelchair while you hunt, fish or explore.


So let's talk real turkey here.  The RIPCHAIR boasts a twin-cylinder 30 HP Kawasaki engine with a Hydro-static drive that gives the operator amazing control-a-bility (I think I just created a new word maybe).  Because it's gas powered you get the same feel as a 4-wheeler.   With a five gallon tank, you can anticipate approximately 3-4 hours of usage per tank depending on the weight of the operator and the terrain in which you will be maneuvering in.

The frame is made of aerospace aluminum which is lighter than the typical steel used in wheelchair frames of this nature.  This cuts down on the overall weight to a manageable 1250 lbs without the driver in the bay.

There are two versions depending on your disability and level of arm usage.  The standard version is the Paraplegic and as the name implies is designed for those that have use of their arms.  It comes with controls like that of a zero-turn lawn mower and has a top speed of around 10-13 mph.  It's price-point is $34,500.

The second version is called the Quadriplegic and is controlled via a joystick.  Due to the limited mobility in the arms the top speed is still a respectable 8-9 MPH.  The reduction is to give someone that extra second they need to make an adjustment in driving which is nice.  The price is $39,500.

Some standard features that come with the price is LED lights front and rear, a gun rack/fishing rod holder, 2" receiver hitch, a set of tie downs, a fire extinguisher, operators/maintenance manual and tools to place the RIPCHAIR in neutral if you ever needed to tow it for some reason. You can also add some upgrades which can make life a little better like an auxiliary 12 volt electric plugin for cell phones, gps electric blanket, etc, a 5,000 lb winch, D-rings for tying down during transport or extra tow points, and there is even research being done for a snow-plow attachment in the future.

Truly one small step for man and one giant leap for off road mobility.  Thanks to Howe and Howe Tech for dreaming big and delivering even larger!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dream Hunt 2015

 Dream Hunt Foundation

In the month of October, there were two weekends where my incredible friend, Jeff Warren, took around 30 kids on their dream hunt of a lifetime.  These young people live challenged lives, some of which are on a time-table for when their time on this side of eternity will be over.  The Dream Hunt Foundation fulfills their wish and man is it a powerful thing.

Now understand gang that this isn't your average operation.  Each kid gets a guide and a camera-man to film their hunt.  And boy did they lay some brown on the ground.  One young man even killed two hogs - w00t!

I was bringing an encouraging talk to them just before lunch, so I wanted to get there an hour early and was I ever glad to do that.  Some of them were already coming in from the morning hunt, as I pulled up.  My jaw literally dropped open at seeing what some of these young people were bringing in.  There was an entire horn section and I don't mean an orchestra.  Truly a thing of beauty! Check the slide-show below:

It was a sea of smiles with kids, parents and grandparents all grinning from ear to ear.  I was high-fiving, hugging and hand-slapping complete strangers I was so geeked up.

If they weren't able to shoot one in the morning, no big deal! Lunch was all you could eat BBQ sandwiches, then a little fishing just to relax and then back out for the afternoon hunt.  If a child still didn't convert, Jeff takes them again at a later time.  Amazing right?

One of the hunts was so touching that I wanted to share the video with you.  Little Bryce had to use a Sip/Puff mechanism to make the shot and he was spot on.  Enjoy!

Get you some tissue and watch it again.  But, seriously,  If you would like to help with both Handicapped Outdoors and Dream Hunt, contact me at:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

20 Lessons from a Beginning Deer Hunter

With Opening day of rifle season looming large for much of the country, I thought it was appropriate to have a guest article from one of the funniest bloggers you will ever lay your eyes on - Larry Hope.  Enjoy!

Larry Hope
As stated in my bio, I did not grow up hunting.  Other than dove and duck hunting a few times in my teens, I did not start hunting until my early 30s.  A friend invited me to go turkey hunting in Sequin "Chigger Capital of the World", TX.  “Sure” I said, “I’m always up for a new adventure”.  We called many turkeys but killed exactly none.

But something awakened in me during the trip.  Hunting, I found out, along with the general campfire camaraderie, was an absolute blast.  I was actually angry I discovered this later in life but planned to make up for missing it in my youth.

Ignoring the fact that I had NEVER been big-game hunting in my life, about a year later, 3 of us went in as partners on a small piece of recreational hunting property North of Houston.  (I’m still shocked all three wives agreed to this).  For months, we worked at the camp, built a few crappy stands, and generally got all “geeked up” about the up and coming hunting season.  The other two partners had hunted all their lives so I tried to follow their lead.  I also read just about every book or magazine I could find along with making a nuisance of myself to anyone who would listen and answer my questions.  (Thank again Bob for your patience and help.)

I researched deer rifles and actions.  I researched calibers and cartridges.  I learned that asking 2 people at the same time which caliber was “best” will elicit more opinions than seeing Nancy Pelosi in a bikini.  I studied whitetail diets, habits and mating rituals.  I crawled all over that little parcel of land looking for 'sign'.  I knew where deer crossed Creek #1, Creek #2 and the back fence line.  I purchased knives, coolers, saws, boots, camo, water bottles and a bit more camo just in case.  I purchased a beautiful stainless steel Ruger M77 in .270.  I bought premium ballistic tipped bullets.  I went to the rifle range and practiced... a lot.  I WAS READY!!!!

Many people warned me not to get too ambitious and reminded me, more than once, than many people go years and years without even seeing a deer, let alone a nice buck.  (We call this “managing expectations” in my line of work.)  Fine.  I understood that but I wanted to increase my odds of success in every way possible.

It was finally here.... Opening Day was just a few short days away.  Unfortunately, two small problems arose.  Dave was being forced, under duress, to attend a wedding.   (Hunters HATE Fall weddings BTW).  Genaro had a family medical emergency.  Neither of these two experienced hunters were going to be able to make Opening Day!!!  Well, after all this planning and dreaming, I was not about to NOT go.

Saturday morning finally arrived.  I woke up, packed and hit the road at 3:45AM to make the 2 hour drive and give myself plenty of time to get in the stand.  I arrived and immediately headed to the world’s crappiest platform blind I had built between two trees.  (It was about 5’ off the ground and leaning about 15 degrees).  I climbed up, sat down and waited.  After all this time and all the dreams and preparation, I was finally,.... officially,.... deer hunting.  I was stoked.

A Thing of Beauty and Hemorrhoids
Not 20 minutes after sun up, a caught a split-second glimpse of a LARGE deer running through a neighbor’s field.  Very cool.  Nothing like seeing game.  After about an hour, I realized the human butt is not, after all, a good cushion for prolonged sitting on 15 degree-angled-wood.  I had not thought to bring a cushion or small chair.  It was just my butt, a couple of layers of clothing, and an exceeding hard piece of pine which apparently had dreams of becoming a proctologist when it grew up.

With my lower back and posterior screaming, I had to move.  Stretching my feet was not helping any more.  The only thing I could really do was turn around and face the other direction for a while.  Under my breath, I cursed all 2x4s and made a mental note to buy a cushion.

An hour and 20 minutes into my first ever deer hunt, I saw it.  Slinking along the underbrush of Creek #1 was a deer.  A really big deer.  It just appeared.  This was sooo cooool.  It was a doe so I just watched (there was no doe season).  When she moved behind a tree, I lifted my rifle so I could look at her through the scope.  This was soooo cool.  Upon studying “her” head, I noticed “she” had two little bumps.  “That's odd” I thought.  Then it hit me.  This is a buck and the little bumps are small (like the end of your pinky fingers small) antlers.

Now keep in mind, I had sighted in this rifle 2.5” high at 100 yards with premium grade ammo so I’d be “good to go” out to 300 yards.  The irony of this did not hit me until after I shot the buck at the impressive distance of 47 feet.  At that range, I think the muzzle blast literally scared him to death with the bullet catching up after the fact.

“Wow” I thought.  “I killed a deer.  I actually just killed a deer!!!!”  He had nothing as far as head gear but he was huge.  Not sure why everyone warned me about how long this would take.  It was fairly easy:  Climb in stand, wait an hour, shoot deer, go home.

In spite of my interviews, reading and dreaming, my education was about to begin.  Theory was about to be trumped by application (FYI:  Hands-on application ALWAYS wins over theory).  Over the next 4.5 hours, many, many lessons were learned.  To “share the wealth” of my “knowledge” and perhaps make this easier for someone else in the future, I’ve included these below.

Lesson #1 - Deer are heavy.

Lesson #2 - A deer will increase in weight by approximately 50% upon dying.  This is counter intuitive but the life-force of living animals is apparently made of anti-matter.  Upon leaving the body, it no longer counter balances the true weight of the animal.  This is the scientific explanation behind the term “dead weight”.

Lesson #3 - There is not one, good, convenient place to hold onto a large, nearly antlerless buck.  The head is bumpy with no good handles.  (Having later killed bucks with antlers, I realize that is the biological purpose of them - handles.)  Dragging it by the front legs results in the head catching on everything attached to the forest floor within 100 sq ft of the body.  Dragging by the rear legs and against the grain of the hair increased friction by approximately 370%.

Lesson #4 - There are places on bucks you should never, ever touch.  While experimenting with the best way to drag a dead deer (see Lesson #3), I grabbed, firmly and with both bare hands, the tarsal glands on the inside of the back legs.  Of course I did not know what these were called or where they were located at the time.  I missed that one in the books too.  (For readers who do not know, tarsal glands are on the inside of a buck's "knees".  They urinate directly on these when marking scrapes, etc.  They are oily and smell worst than an old lady's house full of 27 cats with urinary tract infections.)

Lesson #5 - You cannot wipe tarsal gland scent off your hands.  Do not even bother trying.  The skin has to die and slough off.  A belt sander might speed the cleansing process.

Lesson #6 - Like with “dog-years”, there is a multiplier that needs to be taken into consideration when determining distances before and after killing a deer.  The kill took place ~1/3rd of a mile from camp.  The distance I had to drag the deer back to camp was approximately 8.7 miles.  The technical term for this phenomenon is “deer-miles”.

Lesson #7 - Do not waste your time trying to build a deer-drag-cart out of two mismatched 2x4s, some rope and the plastic wheels off of a decommissioned gas grill.  It will not work.  The deer will slip off the 2x4s several times into the mud before the plastic wheels break.

Lesson #7.5 - Mud adds dramatically to the weight of a dead deer.

Lesson #8 - (stated in the form of a word problem) - How long will it take a 147lb, 5’6”, 34 year old, inexperienced, slightly out-of-shape male to drag a dead, ungutted, nearly antlerless buck 1/3rd of a mile (8.7 deer miles), slightly uphill, through mud and heavy brush after failing to build a deer-drag-cart out of 2x4s and plastic wheels?  Please show your work.

A.  30 minutes
B.  2.5 hours
C.  4 hours
D.  All day

Lesson #9 - Deer should be gutted as soon as possible.  Bad things happen in the GI tract if you wait approximately 2.5 hours.  ("Bad things" is defined as a face full of bowel gas upon opening up the deer.)

Lesson #10 - You WILL become angry when trying to call friends on the cell phone for real-time “deer cleaning advice”.  They will NOT believe that you killed a deer on your first deer hunt and will not believe you are so naive as to have to call someone to “walk you through it”.  Be prepared for this emotion.  (Thanks again Tim!)

Lesson #11 - It is impossible to keep sticks, branches, dirt, debris, ants, and sweat out of the first deer you are trying to clean while the ungutted deer is on the ground having expired ~3 hours beforehand.  The hide you very carefully peel back to keep the meat off of the ground will shrink.  One look into the cooler at the “victim” and the butcher simply stated “I’m going to have to charge you an extra “clean up fee“ ".  I did not protest.

Lesson 11.5 - The going rate for an extra “clean up fee” is $20.

Lesson #12 - The human lower spine can only take so much abuse.  After sitting for 1 hour and 20 minutes on an unimproved piece of pine, dragging a dead deer for 2+ hours in 3-10’ increments for a 1/3rd of a mile (8.7 deer miles), and standing over a dead deer for 2+ hours, bent at the waist, trying to clean it while keeping out the debris, my back was literally killing me.  I could barely move or stand straight.

Lesson #13 - It is barely possible to dig a hole for the guts without moving your lower back.  I could put pressure on the shovel and get some dirt in it but could not bend over to lift it and dump it out.  It is best to use the outside of your foot to sorta “flick” the dirt out while standing straight up like you have rods in your spine.  This is not an efficient method of digging.

Lesson #14 - You NEED to believe your buddy when you call to tell him you finally have the deceased in the cooler and are about to leave and he asks about the head and explains that you MUST take it with you or you’ll get a gigantic ticket from the game warden for not having “proof of sex” with you.

Lesson #15 - When burying the remains of your first deer in a shallow grave, DO NOT put the severed head at the bottom of the hole underneath the guts, hide and 2 feet of dirt.  It is much better to keep the “proof of sex” with the body of the deer.  As an aside, it is much easier to dig through recently disturbed dirt and ant/debris-covered deer guts than through fresh, virgin, undisturbed soil.

Lesson #16 - Before you stop at Starbucks in Huntsville, TX to get a cup of coffee for the road and to “clean up a bit”, wash off most of the blood, sticks, debris and ants at the camp, not in their restroom.

Lesson #17 - When you go into ANY Starbucks looking like you killed a family of 5 with a ball-peen hammer, people will give you a wide berth.  This apparently is very normal.

Lesson #18 - Sticks, branches, dirt, debris, ants and sweat do not affect the taste or quality of the sausage.  As a matter of fact, that was easily the BEST venison sausage I’ve ever had in my life.

Lesson #19 - 4 wheelers are cheaper than spinal fusion surgeries.  I’m now the proud owner of a Honda Rancher.

Lesson #20 - Learn from your mistakes, share them with others and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What A Dirtbag

Handicapped Outdoors
'Tis the season to be hunting and boy have I been busy.  Sorry for no articles for the past two weeks but I have been working on my craft.

In the past two weeks, I have tried something that I wanted to share with you.  I have learned to be wary of a lot of what is advertised on TV shows as the next greatest product that is certain to bring in that monster buck.

Dirt Bag
Right about now, I would be thrilled with anything that is brown and has four legs to walk by my stand.  Just as I was beginning to think that coyotes have permanently run all of the deer out of my area, I decided to try one of those products advertised on TV.  It's called DirtBag.  It is essentially a dried molasses powder that satisfies a deer's sweet-tooth.

This stuff is real high-tech too.  You open the bag and pour it out on the ground...done!  My kind of stuff.  True to it's name, it looks like dirt.  If you didn't know where you put it out, there is a great chance you would walk right over it or even in it because it looks so much like dirt.  See the pic below to get an idea.  This is exactly how I put it out.

I am sad to report that I forgot to put my Plot Watcher Pro on over-watch to catch the action.  And, there was evidently, a lot of action.  After 3 days of launching the stuff, the pile was gone and the deer had dug the ground up trying to get at the left-overs.  They also dismantled the corn that was about 15 yards away that prior to my deploying this stuff, they had basically ignored.

I am going to do the experiment again very soon, with the camera in play.  I am excited to see the video results.  You can pick up your package of DirtBag at your local Bass Pro Shops.  According to the ads for it, the powder glows to a deer.  So not only do they smell it but they can see it too.

I have to confess that I am a believer after seeing how quickly they devoured the powder.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Coyote Ugly

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!  Bow season is open here in the great state of Louisiana.  And, on the opening weekend the score is deer 3, Anderson 0.  Yes, I got skunked or better stated maybe is I got coyote-d.

In early September, we placed a Plot Watcher Pro time lapse trail camera out to document early season patterns.  What we discovered was good and troublesome all at the same time.

Handicapped Outdoors
Doe from Trail Cam
The good news is that we documented about 6 deer regularly moving from their bedding areas into a nearby tree-line that holds plenty of edibles.  We placed a feeder in between these two spots to collect images on our herd.

Two adult does were regular entertainment on the camera however, neither of them had fawns and the reality is they should have.  The other species captured on camera was a large adult coyote along with a couple of smaller ones.

At first I wasn't too alarmed.  After-all, coyotes have been in this area for a while and I wasn't too sure the impact they might have on our herd.  This past Sunday evening, my thoughts and suspicions transformed into reality.

Handicapped Outdoors
Coyote from same Trial Cam
A plane over-head was in a landing pattern coming into Shreveport.  As it slowed, it began to make that whining sound that jet engines can make.  It evidently hit the right frequency for the coyotes because they erupted into singing at the whining of the engines.

First of all they were closer than imagined, less than 400-500 yards away from my hunting area.  Secondly, there were many more of them than I had thought also.  Needless to say, I began making plans to have my hand gun with me the next time I go hunting in that spot.

Once I got back home, I began feverishly researching the effects of coyotes on deer population and wow is there plenty of stuff out there from very reputable sources.  In one study, they collared 60 fawns right after they were birthed.  Within months, 43 of those fawns were taken by coyotes.  This equates to 80% of the kills being attributed to them which is a phenomenal success rate. (For the complete article on The Studies)

One of the guys in that article is one of my favorites in wildlife biology, Dr. Grant Woods from Bass Pro Shops 1 Source.  Check him out in the video below discussing the effects of predators on your whitetail deer population:

We are putting together an eradication game plan now and I will keep you posted in the future!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Deer Candy – Wild Persimmons

Wild Persimmons
In the southern region of the United States a late bearing fruit tree that occurs naturally can be a gold mine for big deer.  It is well known that even during the prime of white oak acorn season that deer still desire a wide variety of things to eat.  Persimmon trees are the tip of the week.

When you hear of persimmons, the first thing you may think of is something so sour that it will curl your bottom lip.  The reality is that when persimmons are allowed to ripen, they are very sweet and are a good fit for deer that seem to always have an insatiable sweet tooth.  The trees can produce prolific numbers of fruit that are a delicacy for many species of wildlife.

They love them!
Some real good info on persimmon trees is that the wild native version of the tree grows male and female and you must have several trees in order to produce fruit.  It’s not like you can go out and raise the skirt of the tree to figure this out, so during fruiting season it is a great idea to mark the tree with a ribbon or something so you will remember which tree is the female.  The tree will begin dropping fruit around October and will continue up until December which is perfect for the deer season.

Another thing about persimmons is that deer prefer to eat the fruit that has fallen to the ground is rather over ripe or almost mushy.  If you can find a tree, it is possible to collect the fruit, let them ripen to mushiness and then place them out for your herd to devour.  As always, be careful that this is not considered baiting if your state does not allow it.

Japanese Persimmon
Japanese Persimmon
If you would rather grow your own trees and place them on your land or lease, you might want to consider the Japanese persimmon tree.  The fruit is a bit bigger than the wild variety and both the male and female plants produce fruit, so you don’t have to plant 5-10 to get the desired result.  Also, the Japanese variety can tolerate more climate zones and can be utilized by a much larger segment of the U.S.

The season is opening here in Louisiana tomorrow and I for one just cannot wait to get into the blind and wait for a big boy to stroll by.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Welcome to Fall 2015

Handicapped Outdoors
Well, Fall is finally here.  We are knee deep in Deer Hunting preparations but boy do we have some amazing announcements!

First of all, Handicapped Outdoors is now a non-profit organization.  We are in the process of gathering some early donations to provide adaptive hunting gear for some of our area groups who take kids and adults on assisted hunts.

If you would like to help out with this project, you can donate via a PayPal button below.  I am so thankful for my Board of Directors and all of their incredible assistance helping me bring about this very large vision.

I also want to personally thank each of you!  You have read this blog weekly and made it possible for me to have a sounding board to promote Handicapped Outdoors in a much broader arena.  The future success depends on you my friends and I know you will help us continue to grow in readership and followers by sharing the articles and promoting them in each of your personal circles.  It will take all of us to attract future sponsors to this big adventure.

Handicapped Outdoors
I also want to thank those of you who have been so good to send me an email sharing with me about a new piece of adaptive equipment or some new novelty to help the  average Joe.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  Writing a weekly blog is so much easier when you have a few hundred eyes looking for anything that might help people get back out on the water or in the field.  To bless you back, in 2016 we will begin doing some semi-annual drawings for prizes and such.  It's going to be fun!

Be sure to send me a picture of any big catches or trophy kills you would like to share this Fall.  It would thrill me to share your victories with everyone else who follows this site.

See you next week!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Razors Edge – Balancing Family and the Passion of the Outdoors

All too often, people who are drawn to hunting and fishing are known to land on the side of OBSESSION!  We talk, think and sleep our love for the outdoors and the many activities that can be enjoyed in it.  It is also a time when the obsession can cause some turmoil in our households.  The statement, “If Momma ain’t happy, then nobody is happy!” can be all too true as weeks of preparation for the season melt into the season itself.  We can spend an inordinate amount of time on stuff that in the end, really isn’t going to matter.

Finding a balance is crucial for healthy relationships whether it is with your spouse, kids or even friends.  This way, you can still do what you love while letting those you love know it too!

#1 – Be Where You Are – The Bible says in James 1:8, that "a double minded man is unstable in all his ways."  And man is this true!  Check out this clip from the movie, “The Last Samurai.”

Too many mind!  Try to focus on where you are and experience life to the fullest right then and there.  When you are doing outdoor stuff, be there, enjoy it, give it all you have.  The same holds true for when you are with your family.  Give them your full, undivided attention.  This will give them the knowledge that you care for them just as passionately as the outdoors. Typically your family will support you at a higher level in your adventures when they sense this.

#2 – Plan For Success – Most hunters and fisherman meticulously plan out a trip.  We pour over maps and equipment and rehearse in our minds how that trip will work out.  However when it comes to the Wife and kids, we can sometimes be callous and think that a trip to just any restaurant or movie will suffice.  We should plan something for the whole family with the same energy we use for our obsession.  You can be super Husband or Dad, by planning something fun that takes a little thought.  This communicates to those you love that they matter just as much as what you love to do.

Courtesy of the Sportsman Channel
#3 – Take Them With You – There is nothing more fun than to see a Dad celebrate when the love of his life or his pride and joy bags a deer or catches a monster.  Bringing those - that you love - into - what you love - is the easiest solution for you to enjoy both worlds at the same time.  Passing it on to the next generation is one of the greatest accomplishments you can achieve.  Studies have proved that families that enjoy recreational activities together have lasting bonds and do not succumb as easily to divorce and the ills of American culture.  Click For the Study Link

I hope you find your balance as the season is soon upon us.  Remember to make Momma happy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What Do Deer Hear...Really?

What Do Deer Hear
2 weeks ago, my article was all about what a deer can actually see.  This week is a continuation of sorts and delves into those amazing ears.  Do they have super-human hearing?  What can they perceive about their environment through those enormous ears?

After doing some digging, here is what I can tell you.  In reality, deer hear only about as good as we do.  They hear approximately the same exact frequencies as we do.  They are little better than humans on the higher end of our range, but all-in-all, they are not Superman or bionic by any means.

What Do Deer Hear
Scanning for sounds
So, how do they pick up on the slightest noises like they do?  Hunters for ages have talked about how a deer busted them for simply touching their bow or releasing a safety on a rifle.

The answer is not on the inside, but on the outside.  Their ears work like parabolic microphones that you see on the sidelines of football games.  A deer can rotate those big receptors independently of each other similar to the way a Chameleon can move it's eyes.  These big microphones funnel sound in and help them to hear things directionally much better.

What Do Deer Hear
When they hear something that peeks their curiosity, they will point their nose towards the sound and extend both ears forward to pin-point it...and they're very, very good at doing this.

Once the sound has been pin-pointed, wary bucks have the nasty habit of circling back around and check the sound out from a different angle, especially when the wind is not in their favor.  Their sense of smell is far greater than their hearing or eye-sight, so they will move to give themselves the biggest advantage.

Stated plainly, a deer is very aware of the sounds that their world makes.  When they hear something that is not in their "normal", they become cautious and will flee.  So much of what a deer hears is based on where they live.  If a deer is accustomed to human sounds, then they will be less cautious when they hear human activity.  It's normal.  However, if you suddenly go to a much wilder hunting location and make the same noises you do in suburbia, then you are bound to get busted again and again.

I think the video below by Dr. Grant Woods sums up this article nicely and can helps us gain a better understanding on how we can mask the sounds that we make better.  Enjoy!

Reference Credits for this article:

1.  Tink's - How Well Do Deer Hear?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Suburban Deer Hunting 101

Cars, swing sets, groomed lawns with manicured landscaping are just a few of the things you will encounter when stalking the suburbs for your next trophy buck.  As cities sprawl out and encounter deer habitat, more and more bow and crossbow hunters have stopped driving long distances to hunt.  Instead, they take to their backyards or the end of their street.

 This type of hunting has become a bigger and brighter blip on my radar as a disabled outdoorsman.  Imagine bagging a trophy deer 5 minutes from your house while not having to go off-roading in your wheelchair to do it.  We are not talking small at all.  These guys are typically less pressured and get the time to grow into their potential.  Cha-ching…I’m in!

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.  What are the secrets to tagging a backyard bruiser?

The first offensive play is to just be a good listener.  Many people love to brag about seeing deer in and around their neighborhoods.  Postal workers are driving everyday and can be a wealth of information on where they see deer frequently and can help you locate possible travel corridors.  In other words, learn to ask the right questions that do not tip your hand that you intend to harvest an animal that everyone else just loves to look at.  Ask and listen.

Secondly, Google maps can help you big time.  The satellite photo above is of the school where I work.  People routinely talk about seeing deer in their yards all along the main road.  This is dead in the center of the west side of Shreveport, LA with a big Wal-Mart not even 2 miles away.  The wood-line you see at the bottom of the photo is not the edge of rural America.  It is simply a big stand of woods that hold lots of deer. A giant 8-point has been witnessed on multiple occasions.

The aerial shots will reveal the narrow wooded sections that “connect the dots” that the deer are using as travel corridors to come and go in the area.  The placement of a feeder and a camera (concealed so someone doesn’t liberate you from it) will give you a precise idea of the size and density of the population you are hunting.

Third, find the folks who see the deer as more of a nuisance than others.  Deer love to munch on the several hundreds of dollars planted in the flower beds out front.  Some owners will gladly let you thin the herd to help save the roses.

Lastly, use wisdom.  Be sure that the laws are on your side.  We live in a very sensitive day and age.  People can and will get offended by the concept of harvesting a deer.  If done correctly and discretely, that never has to happen.  I would recommend your own property first.  If you are using someones property that you either know or have asked permission, try to pick an area of the property that is not easily visible from a road way or the neighbors.

In the video below, a classic suburban hunt takes place on a golf course.  The golfer at the end of the video gives you some idea of just one of the many reactions you might encounter in this endeavor.

Happy Hunting folks!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What Do Deer See...Really?

It's the last week of August and we are already witnessing the first invasion of cooler air into the majority of the nation.  The grip of summer is beginning to loosen in the northern hemisphere.  With equinox coming next month, we will begin to see very crisp mornings and deer season right around the corner.

Doe at NightAs we have begun our preparations for the season, I began wondering how well do deer actually see.  I mean what do they really, really see?  First of all, deer see nothing like humans.  Their pupils can dilate much larger than ours. They have way more rods in the make up of their eyes than humans.  Which is why they see so well in low-light situations.  To a deer, a starless cloudy night, is like noon time to us.  On the other hand, we have the advantage when it comes to color and the number of cones in our eyes but don't get too excited.

The short of it is that while our eyes focus on very specific things and are not focused on objects in our peripheral vision, deer's eyes have the same focus through their entire field of vision.  In other words, a deer doesn't have to be looking directly at you to see you or your movement.  In fact, their eyes are built to detect movement so well that they have an uncanny knack for ducking when an arrow is fired at them.

Video Courtesy of Bass Pro 1Source and Dr. Grant Woods

Unlike predators, Deer do not have binocular vision.  Their eyes are set on the sides of their heads giving them roughly 300-310 degrees of vision.  This fact coupled with their lack of focus gives good reason why they bob their heads up, down, left and right to try to get a better handle on what they are viewing and if it is a threat or not.

When it comes to color, deer really see only two colors expertly.  They see Blue, Violet and UV rays very well which is the type of light that is prevalent very early and late in the day.  They do not pick up colors in the Red spectrum. But don't forget that while they do not see those colors well, they see movement better than you or I regardless of what color you happen to be wearing.

This brings up an interesting question, which cammo works the best?  Cammo is made for all sorts of situations.  But the truth is, deer cannot detect depth in a pattern even if they tried.  They struggle to view in 3D.  You want to be careful of patterns that contain a lot of Grey and White.  Both of those colors reflect Blue and UV light.  Patterns that contain dark Brown, Tan and Black are best to stay concealed.

Another interesting note is that some detergents include UV Brighteners.  This is like taking a bucket of blue paint and splashing it on your $100 cammo outfit.  Check the pic below.  Notice the Blue from detergents on the right and how the Orange turns to Brown or Grey, which is how a deer sees the world.: 

Courtesy of QDMA.COM
The real trick is being motionless.  Waiting to move at the proper times will likely be the difference in success or failure.  Face-paint and cammo gloves can go a long way to remaining undetected.

All of the information for this article is due to the incredible research done by Dr. Karl V. Miller and Dr. Bradley Cohen.  Reference links are provided below:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Swincar Spider Electric

Every so often, I come to this article completely geeked-up, out-of-my-mind excited about a product, a gadget or new off-road vehicle.  So, you can imagine that if I could combine all three of those categories, I would be almost in orbit, right?  It's true, I am writing this from space!

The Swincar Spider Electric is a complete re-think of all-terrain mobility.  With independently working "legs" which have independently motorized wheels, this chair transcends anything I have ever seen in the electric cart, chair, scooter arena for off-road functionality.  The seat remains vertical to the ground by its swinging design giving the rider much greater control and less worries of tipping or flipping.  Check the video below:

At the time of the writing of this article, three models are offered with the only real difference being the output of the motors.  According to their website, Swincar is in the process of producing a two-seated version and also one with a joy-stick control for the mobility impaired.

The chair has a listed battery life of about 4 hours of non-stop action.  I am certain that this time frame is a variable depending on driver body weight coupled with the type of terrain.  For example, I wouldn't be shocked if the batteries would not last as long if you ran this hard at the beach or in muddy conditions.

Prices were not included on their website and there seems to be an application process.  Sorry, Google translate can only do so much - Oui?

But, I can definitely see this as something comparable for the mobility impaired to the QuietKat for able bodied hunters.  Both are electric and quiet.  Both can handle tough terrain with the Swincar handling super tough terrain probably better than it it's 3-wheeled competitor.

Thanks to the French for Croissants, Begneits (pronounced:  Ben-yays) and Swincar!