Jim's Outdoor Blog

Hunting, RVing and Great Escapes – Everything Outdoors

Bushnell Trophy Cam HD

Bushnell Trophy Cam HD black caseBushnell Trophy Cam HD camo caseBushnell Trophy Cam HD security box
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

If you are still looking for or thinking about a trail camera, I just bought this one.

It was a tossup between this one and DLC Covert Red 40. My most reliable camera has been the DLC Covert II (discontinued model), so it was hard to buy something different. What finally made me choose the Trophy Cam was the reviews and the warranty.

Bushnell Trophy Cam HD

This is the camera I just bought.  I looked online for hours and hours, and this is the best price I could find. They may have the lowest retail price in America – http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-2012-Bushnell-Trophy-Cam-8MP-HD-Video-Scouting-Game-Stealth-Camera-119437C-/200875665540?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ec51f6884

Bushnell has a two year warranty, as compared to one year for the rest. I read some hunting forums and guys ranted and raved about how good Bushnell’s service department is to deal with. No questions asked – they either repaired or replaced for 2 years, without whining.

There are a ton of Bushnell cameras on the market, from various years. It is easy to think you have found a particular model, $50.00 less than another site, but, you may be looking at a less expensive model or a different year. The one I just bought is the 2012 HD model; not to be confused with the HD Black, or simply Bushnell Trophy Cam – without the HD, and … the 2012 is different and improved from the 2011. The one I am talking about takes 3, 5 and 8 megapixel photos and the video records with sound. At $156 with free shipping, it may be my least expensive camera, but, their technology seems to get cheaper every year.

Reviews

http://www.trailcampro.com/staffpicks.aspx

http://www.gamecamerasreviews.com/

Metal Security Box for the Bushnell camera – the box protects the camera from elk and deer horns, bears teeth, thieves and weather – best price I could find online – http://www.ebay.com/itm/SECURITY-BOX-FOR-BUSHNELL-TROPHY-CAM-CAMERA-ALL-YEARS-2012-2011-2010-2009-NEW-/150858282819?pt=US_Camera_Camcorder_Accessory_Bundles&hash=item231fdab743

Master Lock, Python cable lock – this is the type of lock we use in the woods. On private property, you could just use deck screws or lag bolts and attach the metal box to a tree. You can just use bungee cords if you aren’t worried about theft or damage – http://www.walmart.com/ip/Master-Lock-8417D-3-16-in-Adjustable-Cable-Lock/19869873?findingMethod=Recommendation:wm:RecentlyViewedItems

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January 13, 2013 Posted by | Bears, Cats and Claws, Deer, Elk, Antelope, Big Horns and Such, Smile - You're on My Trail Camera, Turkeys, Grouse, Pheasants and other Feathered Critters | Leave a comment

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 31, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Hunt of a Lifetime, written by Jessica Sherrard

           

        It all started in the spring of 2011.  My Dad had been talking about some special hunt that was early in the season.  Something about, best chance to get a big buck and we could hike in and stay a few days.  I was already yawning at this point and whatever was fine.  That summer my Dad went on a rampage, gathering gear and hiking into various wildernesses in search of a trophy buck.  I was lucky as I had been working and missed out on all these seemingly uneventful and supposedly brutal hikes. 

        The days were getting close and the dreadful day of loading our packs and going over checklists to ensure our survival on this “hunt of a lifetime” was nearly upon us.  Once we had all the gear crammed into our packs we put them on and sized them up.  Was he serious?  Did he really expect me to pack this thing three or four miles on some trail, just to camp for a few days?  Let’s touch on that subject….Camping.  His idea of camping was a one man tent with a thin pad and freeze dried food.  Not even a fire for hotdogs or smores.  No room for that, “he says“.  Better yet, how do we pack one out?  I have to admit one thing though, with my Dad as the guide, getting a buck was probably a sure bet.

        The first sign of disaster came on opening morning of the “hunt of a lifetime”.  I don’t know how anyone could expect a girl to perform at the top of their game when being woke up at 3:00 a.m.  I need sleep and it’s one of my favorite things to do.  I got up anyway and met my Dad at the door.  He was frothing at the mouth like some worked up horse at the gate and trying to rush me into the truck.  We headed out….he drove…I slept. 

        When we arrived at the trailhead it was three hours later and still dark.  We loaded ourselves down and using headlamps to illuminate the trail, we headed up the mountain.  He assured me it wasn’t that far, but we had been hiking about an hour when the sun started to show itself. 

        We stopped at the place where we decided to make camp and dropped off most of our load and then continued up the trail with pack frames and weapons.  I was beginning to wonder just how far we had to go to find a deer.  I mean this wasn’t the first time I’d been hunting.  It had always been pretty easy, just go to a clear cut and glass one up.  But right about now, I was wondering why we were we hiking to the top of what looked like the Himalaya’s to find a deer? 

        We finally stopped along the trail looking across a canyon into an open area below the timber line.  We sat down and started glassing and my die hard Dad fell asleep.

        When I woke up…..I mean when Dad woke up…..we started glassing the opening dividing the area between the two of us.  We were spotting deer left and right but, they looked a long way off.  After an hour Dad asked if I wanted to move up the trail another mile or so to another outcropping.  Seriously, like I wanted to hike another foot. It was starting to get hot already and I wasn’t ready to give up on this spot just yet.  I suggested we hold out a little while longer….so we stayed. 

        It seemed like only minutes had gone by and my Dad said, “There they are and both bucks are really big”.  He pointed out their direction and I was able to find them in my binoculars.  They were on the move and it was hard to tell just how good they were.  We watched as they made their way from the bottom switching back and forth through the brush until they finally stopped directly across from us and started feeding.  Dad told me they were too far for my rifle and that it looked like a job for “Elizabeth”.  That’s this absolutely, ridiculously, huge rifle that his friend Curt Mendenhall had built and he brings out only for what he calls “Special applications”.  This rifle is heavy and extremely loud, but, it wasn’t the first time I’d met “Liz”.  It’s a .338 Ultra Magnum and has all the bells and whistles for shooting out there a long way.  

        He told me the distance was 508 yards and turned the dial on the scope.  He increased the magnification and I could now see one of the bucks very clearly…it was huge…I mean, really big.  He went on with his normal banter about relaxing, both eyes open, easy on the trigger.  Then he said, “Wait, the other buck is the better buck”.  I don’t know what he was seeing, but the buck in my crosshairs was tall, had lots of mass, and was the biggest bodied deer I had ever seen.  Then came the small disagreement.  I told him there was no way it was bigger than this one, his argument was that I just couldn’t see his horns well enough because of the brush.  He finally gave in and said “It’s your tag.  Will you be happy with this one”?  I told him there was no doubt about it and got myself ready for the shot. 

        The gun went off nearly severing my shoulder and when I recovered from the recoil I could see the buck slowly rolling down the hill.  My Dad then said, “Look at the other buck; he’s out in the open looking for his friend”.  As much as I hate to admit it….the old guy was right.  That buck was much better in the horn department.  He was wider and just as tall with perfect forks and nice eye-guards.  My Dad just laughed and said, “That’s what you get”; as the buck walked off into the timber.

        Now for the fun part…we had to hike all the way across this canyon just to retrieve the deer.  It was very steep and in spots so rocky that you would just slide and fall.  We finally made it up the other side and found the deer.  He was huge, just beautiful, like a mini-elk sized animal.  He was still in full velvet and summer coat and Dad thought he looked like an older deer.  We took lots of pictures and Dad went to work putting the meat in bags and preparing it for packing out. 

        Once all the meat was in bags we started to load the frames.  We had staged them in a huge hollow log that was right next to where we had found the deer.  My Dad grabbed the last pack frame and disaster struck me once again.  Under the frame was my brand new cell phone.  I know, I know, what was I doing with my cell phone in a hollow log?   Anyway, it went sliding down the hollow log like an Olympic Luge, somewhere toward the middle of this log…and then stopped.  The words that fell from my Fathers mouth after that are far too long to list and I’m not even sure I could spell half of them.  It actually was the only thing funny about the whole ordeal.  We each poked and prodded into both ends trying to free the phone, in hopes it would slide through to the opposite end.  I was almost able to reach it at times, but the hole was just too small.  We were finally able to get a branch long enough to knock it loose and it slid within reach. 

        Then we began the long hike back to camp.  Coming out was tough and my Dad was nice enough to stop and wait for me on several occasions.  He climbed the hill with little effort as if he was born to do it…somehow that part of the gene pool skipped me. 

        Once we were on the trail again I began to think that if we stayed I would miss a day of school and I didn’t really want to do that.  We got to camp and I asked Dad if he thought we could just keep going to the truck and head on home today.   The look on his face was as if I was crazy and he asked if I was suffering from the heat.  I told him my thoughts and he began loading up the items we had and said that we would have to come back for some of it.  So, that’s what we did.  We hiked the guns and deer and part of our camp near the truck and stashed them and then went back for the rest.  It was a long, long day and it felt nice to just sit and relax on the way home. 

        I thought about how the boys at school were really gonna flip about my trophy buck and how much fun it was to just hang out with my Dad for the day.  It wasn’t so bad, maybe my Dad did know a thing or two about finding deer and maybe the reason he gets so worked up is because, he wants to see me be successful…maybe he even wants it for me more than for himself.  After all, he put in all the scouting work and was the one who knew where to go.  It really had been the “Hunt of a Lifetime” and I hope there will be a lifetime more of them just like it.

February 10, 2012 Posted by | Deer, Elk, Antelope, Big Horns and Such | 3 Comments

Hog Huntin, Southern Style…

  

Hog and Deer hunting in North Carolina with T&M Hunting Properties, LLC

 Just north of the Atlantic Ocean and south of nearly everything else in North America, clients of the Sherwood brothers are taking big Carolina hogs and exceptional southern whitetail bucks.  I can attest to their success, first hand.  Along with my brother Mike Gaskins of Chillicothe, Illinois, I was there in October 2010 and we had a blast chasing “sum big ol hogs.” 

Matt Sherwood is the son of one of my oldest friends, so I have known him for many years.  To say Matt lives to hunt and fish is as cliché as saying “How are you?” as a greeting.  Most people prioritize their lives in such a manner that hunting falls somewhere down their list, well below say, sleeping, eating, mowing the grass and other normal requirements of life.  For Matt, his wife and kids are on the top of the list and the only additional entries are hunting and fishing, in that order.  But, while many people take their passions to the extreme, few have mastered them so successfully.  Matt is a consummate hunter and fisherman.

November 18, 2010 Posted by | Deer, Elk, Antelope, Big Horns and Such, Fish and Other Stuff that Swims, Hunting Stuff | Leave a comment

Oregon’s ‘Newest’ Record Columbia Blacktail

 

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Oregon’s 19th Century Trophy Blacktail

 

Roseburg resident Dave Heffner has been trained and certified as an official scorer for both Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young.  Because of his passion for hunting, he volunteers to measure the hard earned trophies of Oregon hunters, by working at the yearly Sportsman’s shows in Eugene, Roseburg and Medford.  February 2009 found him in Eugene, meeting with the proud owners of big game trophies, covering the spectrum from forked horn deer, to trophy sized Rocky Mountain elk and bleached white bear and cougar skulls.

 

Busily working to finish scoring the antlers in his hands, Dave hardly noticed the approach of a man carrying a mounted deer head and horns.  Although he’d barely glanced at the man, something in the back of his mind gnawed on him to look up.  When he did, he could scarcely believe his eyes.  Standing before him was Bob Suttles, holding what might have been the largest blacktail buck Dave had ever seen.  For a brief second he thought, “I didn’t know they came that big.”

       

Mr. Suttles’ blacktail deer had eight points on the right side and twelve on the left.  After deductions the rack officially scored 195-6/8 inches, making it the second largest non-typical blacktail buck recorded in the Record Book for Oregon’s Big Game Animals.  The largest buck on record has a score of 208-1/8 inches and the antlers of the buck holding the #3 position measure 184-2/8.   These two bucks were respectively harvested in 1962 and 1953, a fact that brings us to the rest of the story. 

       

Bob Suttles is not the hunter who brought this deer from the woods of western Oregon.  Truth be told, Mr. Suttles was not yet born when this exceptional buck was ‘first’ taken to a taxidermist.  Grover Cleveland was President of the United States when a lucky Oregon hunter harvested this deer in the fall of 1895!  Upon learning this, Dave telephoned me and we made arrangements to meet with Mr. Suttles.

       

This awesome buck was given to Bob Suttles by a coworker in 1985.  The buck had been relegated to the friend’s garage and was destined for a Lane County landfill.  Bob took it home so it could be enjoyed by his sons, both of whom were active hunters.  Understandably the head-mount was in poor condition after ninety years.  So, much to the chagrin of his wife, Lori, the nearly one-hundred year old deer mount found a home above the fireplace in their home.  The boys thought it was “way cool”.

       

As the story goes, this buck was taken in the Alsea Unit about fourteen miles west of the community of Alpine, Oregon, about thirty minutes west of I-5.  The right antler still holds a steel cable, secured to it by a state employee one year before Henry Ford invented his first automobile (the Quadricycle) and thirteen years before he offered the first Model T for sale in 1908.  It is difficult to grasp, but the cable was fastened to this blacktail’s antler eight years before the Wright brothers’ historic flight at Kitty Hawk.

       

In 1995 Bob learned his coworkers were having a big buck contest.  Knowing what the result would be, he took his deer to work.  He told me everyone asked him what the buck’s antlers scored, but he had no idea.  In 1996 Bob took the buck to the Eugene Sportsman show and it was measured by J.D. Gore.  Bob said no one really made a fuss about the deer, so he took it home and returned the deer to its honored position in the living room.  It remained there until the year 2000, when he took it to Adams Taxidermy in Eugene.

        

The original mold for the head mount was made of wood, plaster and square nails.  Over time the hide and mold had deteriorated, leaving the buck looking less than majestic to say the least.  Bob’s family wanted to treat this great animal with the respect it deserved.  Placed onto a modern form and fitted with a new cape, the deer looks great.  You would never guess the deer was taken in the 19th Century and remounted in the 21st.  Mother Nature builds antlers to last.  Perhaps this buck will remain in the family and Bob’s great, great grandchild will proudly display it in their home in the next century.

       

When local advertising began for the 2009 Eugene Sportsman show, Bob’s son-in-law, Chris Travis, initiated a campaign to persuade Bob to enter his buck into the show’s head and horns competition.  Chris’ persistence paid off and on Sunday afternoon Bob found himself trekking across the parking lot of the expo center, packing the immensely awkward deer mount.  Unfortunately, Bob arrived past the closing time for the 2009 competition, but not too late for official measurer Dave Heffner to instantly recognize a world class set of antlers. 

       

After photographing the deer at Bob’s home, I sent pictures of the cable secured to the deer’s antler to Tod Lum, a biologist with Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, working in the Roseburg office.  Tod told me that ODF&W did check deer in the late 1800’s and said they often secured this type of cable to antlers.  Unfortunately, the tag on this deer did not have a number engraved in the steel, making it unidentifiable.

       

In addition to telling him the year this deer was taken, Bob’s friend had told him the buck was shot with a rifle, and said the hunter was a man named James Ball.  Tod Lum was unable to find the department’s paper files from so long ago.  Without the ability to check state records, I am unable to confirm the tale of this deer’s demise.  But likewise, I cannot disprove it.  The year of this buck’s death is not a critical component to securing a place in the records of big game animals.  The antlers of this incredible Oregon trophy speak for themselves.

       

I spent several hours with Bob Suttles.  For him, the most important thing is that the deer be treated with respect.  He told me his children had grown up with this deer in their home, and it has become an irreplaceable possession.  For generations to come, members of his family will hear the story of his saving this trophy from a less than honorable grave in a landfill.  I came away with one certainty; this deer will undoubtedly outlast us all.

 

Note:  I have heard of a new world record blacktail buck that may come forward this year.  This buck has an incredible score of 213-5/8 inches!  I have yet to see any official notice of this deer.

April 16, 2009 Posted by | Deer, Elk, Antelope, Big Horns and Such | 10 Comments

The Buffalo Bear of Mt. Ashland

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The Buffalo Bear / Oregon’s Best Archery Bear – Ever

 

They say records are made to be broken.  Oregon bow hunter John Souza blasted his state’s 20th Century records, raising the bar for archers in the new millennium.  With an official score of 21-12/16, John’s bear is the largest bear taken with a bow in the history of Oregon, surpassing the record set by Ray Cross in 1989.  In fact, only one rifle hunter has taken a bear with a bigger skull. The bear that formerly held the number two slot was taken in 1900!

 

John is the owner/operator of a dive shop in southern Oregon, specializing in teaching underwater skills.  He stays in shape by spearing fish, playing cat and mouse with Dungeness crabs and prying shell fish from barnacle covered rocks in the frigid waters of the Pacific.  But that’s his “day job”.  For recreation he trudges up, down and across the rugged mountains of southwestern Oregon.  Armed with a stick and string instead of a spear and net, the prey he seeks is a bit larger.  Having spent decades pursuing elk, deer and black bear, John is an accomplished archer.  And gentlemen, he is fortunate enough to have a spouse who not only enjoys hunting, but she is his biggest competitor. 

 

While scouting public land in the rocky, dry terrain of Oregon’s Applegate Unit in Jackson County, John discovered a waterhole containing an elk wallow.  Located in a transition zone on the side of a large canyon, at a point where the timber (coniferous trees) meets large patches of oak trees, an active spring is almost impossible to find in this arid country.  Famous for its late fall and winter rainy season, the northwest is generally bone dry from July into October.  Only a small number of creeks and springs have water during the late August through late September bow season.  While deer are hiding from the sun this time of year, cow elk endure their estrus cycle and crazed bulls wear themselves thin.  John knew he had a real gem when he found a wallow, encircled by a large quantity of elk, deer and bear tracks.

 

On the morning of September 20, 2008, John parked his truck on the mountain long before the sun chased away the night.  He had a two mile downhill, side hill and uphill trudge in pure darkness to reach the waterhole.  Swirling winds forced him to journey well below his destination before making a straight-line approach, causing even more walking.  About 6:30 a.m. he sat with his back to a large oak blow-down, just 22 yards from the elk wallow and the main game trail.  Situated comfortably, he nocked an arrow and waited for light to come peering over the crest of the mountain.  The air was cool and crisp, a perfect morning to harvest a big bull elk.

 

By 7:00 a.m. the shooting light was adequate and John decided he would attempt to get things rolling with some calling.  Hoping to appear as two different animals, he first sounded off with a calf call, followed immediately with an imitation of a cow elk mewing.  After three or four sets of calling there was a loud snap from the breaking of a heavy limb, just 100 yards into the brush.  Having no doubt the sound was caused by the movements of an elk, John prepared to shoot.  Thrilled he may fill his elk tag so quickly, he gave two calf elk calls, “just to say hello”.

 

That did it!  He heard the animal running toward him.  He could see the movement of legs at ground level, moving quickly, causing his adrenalin level to rise a bit.  That was when the confusion began.  Rather than hearing a grunt, mew or bugle, John heard a “woofing” sound as the animal approached.  When it cleared the brush and was suddenly facing directly toward him, standing motionless at the waterhole, John’s brain was thrown a curve ball. 

 

His mind was in high-gear attempting to comprehend the information being uploaded by his eyes.  For the life of him, John couldn’t understand why a buffalo was at the wallow.  His thoughts kept repeating, “Buffalo.  Huh? What the heck…?” until suddenly the hard drive between his ears slammed to a stop and exclaimed, “BEAR! Not a Buffalo!  Bear, Really BIG Bear!”

 

It was extremely tall with long legs and a head that looked too big for the open end of a five gallon bucket.  There was a large hump on top of his neck and shoulder area, making him look even larger.  He was so immense he simply didn’t look like other black bears John had seen.  Danged if he didn’t look like a buffalo standing there ready to fight.

 

With an expression of anger on his face, disturbed there were no elk to be had for breakfast, he “woofed” a couple more times and drank from the waterhole.  John said there was plenty of time for him to calm his nerves.  He thought about the nice bear rug in his home, and the long standing agreement with his wife, that he would not shoot a bear unless it was much bigger than the one in their house.  He laughed to himself thinking, “I believe this bear will qualify.  She wanted bigger…”

 

John began making a mental checklist in preparation for the shot.  The bear slowly stepped forward and as luck would have it he turned to his right and stood broadside.  Fixed at full draw, John waited until the buffalo’s…bear’s left front leg went forward, fully exposing his rib cage.  Depressing the trigger on his release, the string of his Matthew’s Switchback bow sent an Easton T-LOK broad head silently through the 18 yards of airspace between man and beast.

 

When the arrow entered the bear’s body, he turned his massive head toward the entry site, snapping and popping his teeth, at the same time charging forward at full speed.  The bear was now heading straight for John and he braced for a collision.  John said he placed his bow in front of his body and for an instant he wondered how badly he would be hurt by the wreck that was about to happen – a wreck with a very big, very much alive and extremely angry giant of a black bear.  A fraction of a second before he slammed into John, the bear inadvertently veered to his right, avoiding the crash.  The hunter was breathless.

 

Running just over 150 feet, the bear stopped and began looking around, primarily focusing on the waterhole.  One can only imagine what this predator, the king of this mountain, was thinking.  He was now 52 yards from John.  Limbs and branches created an extremely difficult if not impossible follow-up shot opportunity.  But, good fortune stayed with John.  The bear stepped out from the tangled mess and forged ahead.  The second arrow hit solidly in the main body cavity and the bruin ran over the top of the ridge and out of sight. 

 

Both arrows had passed completely through the bear.  The first was covered with frothy blood and the second with rich dark blood.  Using his cell phone, John called his wife and some friends.  He knew an animal this size, over two miles “downhill” from his truck, was going to require the assistance of as many folks as he could muster for the event.  He returned to his truck to secure his archery equipment and wait for backup.

 

Finding the bear’s trail on brick hard, stone dry ground was not easy. A bear’s thick coat of hair and heavy layers of fat often absorb or block blood at an injury site.  Before finding a clear trail, the hunter and support group spent thirty minutes on their hands and knees attempting to locate blood sign or tracks.  Leave it to a woman, Kim Souza discovered the barely perceptible droplets of blood that put them on the bear’s escape route. 

 

Once over the crest of the ridge the bear ran about 80 yards to an old skid road, then turned and travelled down the mountain at a steep angle.  Approximately 250 yards from the location of the second shot, the searchers found scuff marks leading off the skid road and up a steep bank.  The monster of a bear had collapsed about fifteen yards above the old roadbed. 

 

John said the bear was so heavy he was barely able to raise its head off the ground.  With the help of his wife, John Gilbert and Dave Heryford, they utilized a two wheeled game cart and actually got the animal to the truck intact.  This feat required five and half hours of strenuous labor. 

 

After field dressing, John Souza’s bear weighed 389 pounds.  Bear experts say you can attain a bear’s live weight by adding 18% to the field dressed result.  Doing this, we can estimate the big boar would have tipped the scales at 460 pounds as he was crashing towards John like a locomotive.  Nose to tail he measured an incredible seven feet – three inches and his front pad was eight inches across! 

 

When John Souza sent me pictures of his magnificent trophy, I had to chuckle.  Looking at the enormity of this critter with an unusually large hump on his neck and shoulders, I wholly understood why this bear will forever be known as “The Buffalo Bear” of Mt. Ashland.  Congratulations John!

March 31, 2009 Posted by | Bears, Cats and Claws | 4 Comments

Archery Goose Hunt in North Carolina

Matt Sherwood takes his son Taylor on his first goose hunt

You may have seen photos in an earlier posting; pictures of Matt Sherwood with huge 50+ pound Carolina catfish.  This time Matt shared photos of he and his son on a fall goose hunt.  Utilizing a portable ground blind, the geese were taken at mere feet from the hunters.  Matt said Taylor was having so much fun he struggled to remain quiet while dad waited for a clean bow shot. 

They say fewer and fewer kids are becoming hunters.  By the look of the grin on his face, I would bet that Taylor Sherwood will have a hunting license in his pocket for the next, oh, eighty years or so.  Good Job Matt!  Keep those photos coming.

September 3, 2008 Posted by | Turkeys, Grouse, Pheasants and other Feathered Critters | 2 Comments

Riverside Lodge in Manitoba, Canada

Black Bear, Whitetail and Waterfowl Hunting in Manitoba

Although I have not met face-to-face with Gildas Paradis, he is one of those people you quickly feel you’ve known for years.   I stumbled onto Gildas’ website (http://www.huntriverside.com/) while searching for black bear guides in Manitoba.  I emailed him with some questions and that began an email dialogue.  I found him to be as warm and personal as the words written on his website inferred. 

Gildas and his wife Joanne operate the lodge and outfitting business year round.  Fishing, guided hunts for bear, deer and waterfowl and ensuring their guests are comfortable and well fed, is certainly a full time job.  After viewing their site and conversing with Gildas, I wouldn’t hesitate to book a trip to their lodge.  I know Gildas would gladly supply references for whatever activity interests you.

If you like to look at photos of big deer and bear, and see bird harvests as large as “the good ole days”, check out their website (http://www.huntriverside.com/).

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Bears, Cats and Claws, Hunting Stuff | 7 Comments

Oregon’s New #1 Archery Mule Deer in Velvet

 

 

 

 

A New Mule Deer Record for Oregon

Using what some folks refer to as a “stick and string”, Oregon hunter Chris Dunlap stalks bucks and bulls in the sometimes-unforgiving heat of August and September.  As with most hunters, for Chris, each season opens with unsullied enthusiasm and hopes that he may bag the trophy of a lifetime.  Who has not fantasized that one-day they may harvest an animal with a mammoth set of antlers.  It is the defining motivation for countless thousands of big game hunters.  Chris Dunlap no longer has to daydream, for his trophy mule deer hunt has been firmly committed to memory. 

Oregon’s 2007 archery season would mark Chris’ seventh year as a bow hunter.  He has taken several deer and worked hard to bag a bull.  He was determined to pull out all the stops and make this his best year to date.  Chris lost weight and began a stringent exercise routine, which included running five miles – five days a week.  Several years of hunting the same terrain inside Jefferson County served to make his numerous scouting trips time-well-spent.  This season held great expectations for he and his hunting partners, which included Oregon resident Nate Richardson and Dave Isenberger from the state of Georgia.

The first several days of the archery opener were a blur of high emotions and missed opportunities.  Chris and his friends worked hard in the steep, rough and dry terrain.  Although they saw numerous bucks, the difficulties associated with archery hunting stuck to them like the dust and chaff from native plants adhered to perspiration on their skin.  Chris told me that before he bought his first bow, a close friend had given him a poignant warning; “Bow hunting is an emotional roller coaster.”  Chris said he has found that nothing else in his experience can take you from low to high and back again, all in fifteen brief seconds.  His 2007 archery hunt got off to an agonizingly slow beginning.

The men saw more than a few good bucks.  They estimated some sported antlers that would have scored in the 140 to 160 inch range.  But, every stalk had ended in failure.  One evening Chris came upon a very nice deer.  He felt this typical 4×4 held 145-inch antlers above a large mature frame.  As the buck fed along peacefully, Chris began his stalk.  When he got close the buck alerted and sharply raised his head into the air.  The buck stood broadside and fixed his gaze in Chris’ direction.  Placing his 40-yard pin on the animals’ vitals he cautiously released the string.  The arrow disappeared into a manzanita bush and the buck bounded away unharmed.  Sickened, use of his range finder showed Chris the buck had been further from him than he had estimated.

With a good nights sleep, the hunters woke with renewed determination on Monday, August 27th.  Beginning the day at a deep canyon he refers to as his “honey-hole”, Chris quickly spotted something that looked out of place.  Raising binoculars for a closer examination, Chris told me, “… All I could see was HORNS!”

Not bothering to count points, he immediately knocked an arrow and prepared to shoot.  His bad luck was cemented in place; as Chris raised his bow he accidentally touched his release.  He instantly felt the shock of the string blasting the arrow haphazardly into open air space.  The arrow landed twenty-yards in front of the monstrous mule deer.  Chris and his friends watched helplessly as the buck of their dreams exploded across the hillside, taking three additional deer with him.  As the big deer bounced out of sight, Chris’ binoculars served to add pain to the event, allowing him to view the incredible rack of antlers, with long kicker points protruding from the left and right sides.  As this was the last day of their first outing, a dejected Chris Dunlap broke camp and headed home.

Four days later Chris and friends were back on the mountain and resolute as ever to fill their tags.  But it was not to be.  The weekend came and went, with no deer being taken.  However, his personal run of bad luck was about to change in a very big way.

On Saturday, September 8th, Chris and his friends were back in the woods.  Forsaking deer hunting for the moment, the group was concentrating their efforts on finding bull elk.  But, while telling Dave about the big one that got away, Chris decided to show him the area in which the buck had been feeding.  At this point the buck was nothing more than a good story.

On site, the men observed some does and decided to give the canyon a closer inspection.  In minutes Chris saw a deer that appeared to be twice the size of those standing near to it.  Looking through the slightly enhanced lens of his range finder he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.  He had stumbled onto the big buck, again!

Stopping as close to the buck as he dared, Chris raised his bow as the animal walked slowly ahead, quartering away from him.  Desperate to succeed, he repeated to himself, “Do not punch your trigger”.  He released the arrow and remembers that, “It just felt good”.  As the buck spun and began to run, Chris heard Dave yell, “Perfect Shot!”  The arrow was visibly protruding from the big bucks’ rib cage and his dash to escape was brief.  Traveling only thirty-yards, the buck was down.

Amazed by the site of this colossal deer, Chris couldn’t wait to have the rack scored.  Long time big game measurer Glen Abbot traveled to Chris’ home and pronounced the buck had a gross score of 230-1/8 inches, with an official Pope and Young Club net score of 225-3/8.  This buck handily became the new Oregon state non-typical in velvet record.  According to the North West Book for Oregon Big Game Animals, with a score of 221-2/8, the #2 archery mule deer buck in velvet was taken in 1960.

To top off his newfound achievement, Chris harvested an archery bull elk four days later on September 12th.  Although it was a bit rough in the beginning, I feel confident believing Chris Dunlap’s 2007 archery season will be a tough act for him to follow in 2008.

July 17, 2008 Posted by | Deer, Elk, Antelope, Big Horns and Such | 5 Comments

Huge North Carolia Catfish

Matt and His Boys with Big Catfish

Matt Sherwood is the son of one of my oldest friends.  Accompanied by his wife Shannon and their boys, Taylor and Logan, Matt moved to Shannon’s home state of North Carolina.  An avid outdoorsman, he immediately set about finding places to hunt for deer and turkeys and the best places to wet a fishing line.  As you can see by the above photographs, he has definitely found some huge catfish!  They have also caught some really large Gar.  When I was a kid we caught a ton of these in the Illinois River.  We called them “Alligator-Gar” because of their long narrow teeth filled jaws.

I’ll give you the FAQ’s, the how and where, after I next speak to Matt.  Until then, I wanted to make these photos available for folks to enjoy.

Good Fishing Matt!  Maybe you can fill in the where and how in the comments section.

I am looking forward to posting some turkey and whitetail deer photos from North Carolina in the future.

April 26, 2008 Posted by | Fish and Other Stuff that Swims | 2 Comments