Monday, April 30, 2007

Poachers and Cheaters

Here is a story that I read on the abc7news web and it just blew me away. Don’t you think a man of his caliber should know better? It angers me every time when I hear that hunting “celebrities” stoop so low in their ego masturbation that they have to resort to poaching or to cheating, like Mitch Rompolo (here and here) and a few others that made negative (speak hunting heritage damaging) headlines over the recent years. What really angers me is that these people often travel the seminar circuit where you can here them talking about hunter ethics and promoting a good image in public. Yet it is them that do real damage to our heritage for two reasons. First. Because they are “celebrities” the media latches on to them and often broadcasts the bad news all over the world. Point in case, I read this story on the abc7news website, not a hunting website. Second. There are unfortunately people –I do not call them hunters-, that are of the mindset that if so and so can bend the rules then I can do that too.

President Of Outdoor Guide School Guilty Of Poaching.

The former president a school that bills itself as the "premier outdoor guide school" has pleaded guilty to illegal possession of wildlife and hunting without a license.

Gary R. Jordan, 58, former president of the Colorado Outdoor Adventure Guide School, will pay $12,729 in fines, donate $2,000 to a Colorado Division of Wildlife anti-poaching program and could lose his hunting and fishing privileges, officials said.

He pleaded guilty Monday to charges stemming from a Sept. 17, 2006, poaching incident. DOW officials said he shot a six-point elk southwest of Cripple Creek and had his students help carry it out. Officials also said he used an employee's hunting license when he had the meat processed.

"We would think he would be aware of the laws," DOW spokesman Michael Seraphin said Friday. "He's the head of a guide school. He should be aware of what the rules and regulations are. That's what he's teaching other people."

Reached by phone Friday, Jordan said he was "very ashamed and remorseful," and that he resigned in January as president of the school he founded, and no longer plays any role at the school.

The school trains about 175 students a year.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

'Hogzilla' legend to hit big screen with new film

Today I found the following interesting story on

Hogzilla, a near-mythical monster hog that roamed south Georgia, is about to get a little bigger. An independent filmmaker is producing a horror movie about the super swine called "The Legend of Hogzilla," and has even enlisted the beast's killer on the set as an adviser.
"He's our hog expert," producer Rick Trimm said of guide Chris Griffin, who shot the huge porker in 2004 at a hunting preserve.
Photographs of the hog hanging from a backhoe were sent around the world, and the town of Alapaha 180 miles south of Atlanta quickly adopted Hogzilla as its own, even launching a parade in the pig's honor.
A National Geographic team confirmed the pig's existence in 2005 after exhuming the behemoth's remains. While the experts said the hog didn't exactly live up to the hype -- local hunters said the pig was 3.6 metres long and weighed 453 kilograms -- they still discovered a mighty big hog. They estimated it weighed around 362 kilograms and was probably about 2.4 metres long.
Lithium Productions says the production will need 200 locals for extras and is hosting tryouts next month.
"We don't need professional actors," Trimm said. "We need real people who are interested in the movie."

In an article – Monster Hog shot in Georgia - published in January this year on this blog I wrote about the second hogzilla killed in the same state. It looks like that if you're after monster hogs Georgia is the place to go. On a side note, if you are an avid hog hunter I recommend that you read regularly the The Hog Blog.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Making the News

Kansas Governor Signs Families Afield Bill

Kansas has passed a law, based on the Families Afield concept, which will create an apprentice-hunting license for older youth and adults.

Families Afield is a campaign established by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and National Wild Turkey Federation to eliminate unnecessary hunting age restrictions and ease hunter education mandates for first-time hunters.
Read more>

California Hunters Face Forced Spay and Neuter Law

California sportsmen face advancing legislation that will put unnecessary hardships on sporting dog owners and outlaw the breeding of accomplished hunting dogs.

Assembly Bill 1634, which requires dogs over four months of age to be spayed or neutered, passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on April 24 by a vote of 7 to 3. The bill, sponsored by Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, requires dog owners to have their dogs spayed or neutered at their own expense. Registered, purebred dogs are exempt from the requirement. The bill has been re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations.
Read more>

Texas Animal Cruelty Bills Will Wreck Hunting

Texas sportsmen should take immediate action to oppose legislation that will derail hunting and wildlife management.

On April 19, the Texas House of Representatives passed HB 2328 to rewrite animal cruelty statutes, combining previously exempted wildlife with domestic animals. The bill had overwhelming support, passing by a vote of 142 to 0, with a single abstention. Blurring the distinction between wildlife and domestic animals will leave sportsmen open to prosecution by animal cruelty statutes.
Read more>

Join the Fight!
The USSA meets and defeats antis' attacks against big game hunting, bowhunting, hunting with hounds, trapping and other
aspects of the outdoor heritage. Join the fight today!

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Blog Buzz #1 Edition

The Blog Buzz is a new addition to this blog. Let me explain what it is. Ever so often I come up with an instantaneous idea that hits me like a hammer. There are many good outdoor related blogs on the Internet providing superb information on all aspects of hunting and fishing and that gave me the idea to create the Blog Buzz. Periodically I will post about other outdoor blogs with a link and a short description of the article that I found to be of interest to a wider reader base.

Here is the first edition of Blog Buzz.

Black Bear Blog

Oregon Property Owners Being Stripped Of Rights
Oregon lawmakers, with the encouragement of the Humane Society of the United States, are systematically going about stripping landowners from their rights to own property and have the freedom to do as they choose on their land. This is another disgusting attempt by government and out of touch with reality animal rights psychopaths to bully their way into private lives and private enterprise…
Read more>

Sportsman’s Blog

Eye Protection not just for the Shooting Sport
…Serious injuries resulting in permanent blindness or suffering severe impairment can result from a fishhook errantly casted causing direct contact with the eye. Heck, it doesn’t even need to be a fishhook…in fact, a heavy sinker can even cause the damage…
Read more>

Hunt Smart Think Safety

The gun isn’t the Problem
…When a senseless tragedy like this happens, people immediately try to figure out how something like this could have been avoided. As always, when the event involves shooting deaths and injuries, an easy target is the gun...
Read more>

Outdoor Odyssey

This story has been passed down through my family for well over 100 years. I have heard it from my Dad and his Brothers and Sisters. Brinson and Fannie Bryan, who were living near Riesel, Texas, McLennan County, were my paternal Great Grandparents and their son, Peyton Bryan, was my paternal Grandfather.
Read more>

Hunting Memories of the Past

Hunting Early Morning Deer
The third weekend of rifle season had arrived and I was ready for a break from work. I got up early on Saturday morning and was ready to go kill a deer but had to stop first and pick up one of my hunting buddies.
Read more>

Hunting Life

World Conservation Force
Conservation Force is one of those organizations that is leading the fight for hunting rights and for the conservation of animals! They have the best interests of hunters and wildlife in mind with everything they do…
Read more>

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

First Turkey Hunt

On April 15th I posted an article in which I asked hunters to submit a photo and some background information of a recent turkey hunt for a small informal contest. Many readers of this blog and the SHS Hunting Chat Forum responded to the contest. After looking over all the pictures and reading the information supplied one stuck in my mind for days. It is the story and picture of 9 year old Shane and his very first turkey hunt. Perhaps one of the reasons why Shane’s first hunting experience embedded itself in my mind is because that was exactly the age my father took me hunting for the first time and I still can remember every detail like it happened yesterday.

Another reason might be that I am particularly thrilled every time I hear of a first time hunter harvesting his or her first game animal, particularly a young hunter. This gives me a sense of satisfaction that our heritage will survive into a good future.

Here now without further ado is the story of Shane’s first turkey hunt:

On Saturday the 14th of April Shane’s long awaited dream to go hunting with his father finally became reality. This was not just a boy accompanying his father on a hunt- Shane would actually do the hunting himself and his father would tag along as his guide and mentor. Dave, Shane’s dad, knew just the right place to take his boy to; a place Dave knew was well populated with birds and a perfect start for a good Iowa turkey hunt and a young hunter.

Once settled under a big tree Dave started calling and it did not take long to get a reaction from several toms. Amongst the gobbling Dave heard what sounded like a big tom further away responding with thunderous gobbles and he was closing in fast. Dave would have liked for Shane to get a chance at harvesting a monster tom- what father wouldn’t want his child to get the best he can? But Shane decided that he would like to shoot the first jake that responded to Dave’s calling and one was just now strutting at about 27 yards away. Shane had the shotgun shouldered and ready to pull the trigger the moment his father gave him the O.K.

This was Shane’s hunt and whatever legal turkey he wanted as his first trophy was all right by his dad. The 20 gauge shotgun roared loud - Shane’s diligent shooting practice had paid off - before him at 27 yards the jake laid sprawled out on the ground. Shane and Dave jumped simultaneously to their feet running to the downed turkey. Emotions came over Dave, as over every father witnessing a proud moment for his child. After the high fives, cheers and hugs Shane, barely able to talk from all the excitement, asked his father if he could borrow his cell phone so he could phone his uncle to tell him all about the hunt and his first turkey he just had shot. For a jake this was a respectable trophy weighing 15 pounds with a 3 ½ inch beard.

With Shane the future of hunting is in good hands. I am as proud of his achievement as his father Dave and his uncle are and wish him all the best for the future and many more exiting and enjoyable days in the field.

Shane’s uncle is a member of the SHS Hunting Chat Forum and the one that sent me the photo and background information. Thanks to his uncle Shane is the winner of this small contest and will receive a “Othmar Vohringer Outdoors” baseball cap. Congratulations Shane. In the future Shane may harvest bigger turkeys and even monster bucks. Perhaps he will become a celebrity hunter. Who can tell what the future holds for this young boy. But one thing is for certain. April 15, 2007 and that jake will be etched in his memory for the rest of his life.

At this point I would like to thank everybody that has sent pictures and background information of their 2007 spring turkey hunts. All the stories were different showing that hunting means different things to different hunters and that their experiences are very personal and unique. One thing we all have in common is our great appreciation of nature and wildlife and we are all proud to be part of an age old heritage that has been passed on to us from one generation to the next. Now it is our turn to pass it on to the next generation. Please take a child, friend or relative hunting so they too can enjoy the great outdoors.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Beware of the Granny with Gun

I just found this on YouTube. This is one cool Granny. If there were more like her crooks would have to think twice about going around robbing elderly people.

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Tagtropolis the Technoraty for Hunting Blogs

Today I checked my blog statistics, as I do everyday, to see whose coming and going and from where my readers come and what information they seek. This is very important information for any blogger that wants that his readers get the maximum of information in their interest area.

Anyway, I am digressing. Tagtropolis is a brand new website that caters exclusively to hunters, fishers and other outdoor enthusiasts. With Tagtropolis hunters can find the newest published articles with the click of a button. Unlike Technorati that tags blog news of every imaginable interest and thus can be very trying to find particular information for hunters and fishers.

Cliff from the Hunting Sense blog has discovered the site, I think, and wrote a post about it. Kristine from the Hunt Smart Think Safety has joined as one of the first members. I think it is Cliff and Kristine that tagged one of my articles. I say “I think” because as of this writing I am still not quite familiar with how the site actually works with the article tagging. One thing is for sure Tagtropolis will be a benefit for the enthusiastic outdoor person to find information of his interest fast and without trouble and that only can be a good thing.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

What others blog about the Virginia Tech massacre

As I have been expecting it did not take long for the anti-gun lobby to turn the Virginia Tech tragedy into a campaign for their anti-gun agenda. Since I had a little time over the weekend I checked out some other bloggers and what they had to say.

On the Terrierman's Daily Dose authored by PBurns I found a noteworthy article - Support Mental Health or I'll Kill You - that expressed and addresses may issues about why today we are faced with so much violence. His motivation to write the article came from a newspaper that suggests that “Virginias primitive rural gun culture” is to blame for what happened at Virginia Tech.

The moment I read this sentence I got angry. I know. You ought to think that by now I should have grown accustomed that we the firearm owners – members of the gun culture - been blamed for all evil in this world. But I can’t get used to it and hope I never will. Getting used to have the finger pointed at us is for me equivalent with accepting defeat or accepting responsibility for somebody else’s wrongdoing.

Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I still believe very much in personal accountability. This is why the article appeals to me. PBurns writes his article right out of my heart and I encourage you to head over and read it too. Another article – The Gun isn't the problem - in line with my way of thinking is penned by Kristine from the Hunt Smart Think Safety Blog. She writes about gun control and that this is not the solution to the current wave of violence. Of course she is right. If gun control would be the answer to a safer society then Australia, Germany and Canada, to mention a few countries with strict gun control laws, would all be violence free. The sad fact is however that countries with strict gun control have a much higher crime rate involving firearms.

Kristine concludes that the guns cannot be blamed for the crime. After all a firearm is only a tool. Like all tools they can be used responsible or abused. The commonsense thing to do is to blame the person using the gun in a crime and not the tool. Kristine’s commonsense conclusion is “Guns don’t kill, people do.”

Matt Coughlin from the Bright Idea Outdoors Weblog and resident from Virginia pays with Hope Flaps in the Breeze a fitting tribute to the 32 victims of a madman. As a former student at the Virginia Tech his feelings and emotions about this horrible massacre are much closer to home than for many others. Please also read his article A Dispatch from Blacksburg, a moving account of his visit to the Virgina Tech after the massacre.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Product Review

Here at Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer I wrote a review “ Unique Fishing Lures” of the Canadian Bottle Cap Lure Company in June of 2006.

To my deepest regret I had to learn that this company might be not all that sincere when it comes to doing business with customers. A week ago I received an e-mail from a gentlemen (name withheld by me). He tells me that he ordered and paid for 200 Bottle Cap lures in August of 2006. To this date he has not received any delivery of the products or refund of the money.

In several email exchanges with the Bottle Lure Company, some of which he sent to me, the gentlemen got nothing but lame excuses why they can’t send the lures. When asked to refund the money the company wrote back that they would like to do that but can’t because only the boss can sign the check. However the boss of the company never seems to be in the office or even in Canada.

I personally wrote an email to the Bottle Cap Lure Company asking for an explanation of the situation. That was a week ago, time enough to respond to my quest. It seems that the Bottle Lure Company is not interested in explaining what are serious allegations from a customer. This behavior really makes me wonder about the business ethics of the Bottle Lure Company.

I came to the conclusion that the writer of the email seems to have a valued point and warning to all that order lures from the Bottle Cap Lure Company when he writes: Norm (Norm Price owner of Bottle Lure Company) is dishonest doesn’t deliver. He takes your money and runs.

I have therefore decided to pull the Bottle Lure Company review immediately and post this warning to all my readers. If you or someone you know has had a similar experience with the Bottle Cap Lure Company, please do not hesitate and let me know.

I would like to state that the Bottle Cap Lure Company has never been a sponsor of “Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer” as has been assumed by some readers of this blog. From time to time I write product reviews from companies that are not my sponsors. Only companies listed with a small banner in the right hand panel under the category “Sponsors of O.W.O.V.” are approved sponsors.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

News in Brief

Anchorage Daily News

Hunter Den Lynn Keogh had to shoot three times to stop a crazed grizzly bear.

Hunter Lynn Keogh stood over the brown bear he had just shot and marveled at the animal. It was beautiful, the perfect spring pelt, a deep honey, fully-furred coat.

The bear had just barely woken up from its winter slumber when Keogh shot it as it emerged from a brushy den on the side of a snowy mountain in the Oshetna River valley between Glennallen and Talkeetna.

But as Keogh and his hunting partner approached and Keogh began pulling the dead bear clear of the winter den, the situation quickly turned from the perfect spring day hunt to a nightmare: From within the grizzly's winter hideaway, they heard the unmistakable deep growl of another bear.

Read full story >

The Gainesville Sun

Leaping Sturgeon injures women on her personal watercraft.

A St. Petersburg woman suffered serious injuries late last month in what appears to be the first accident involving a jumping sturgeon along the Suwannee River this season, according to Karen Parker with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"This is the first one this year that we're aware of," Parker said.

Sharon Touchton, 50, of St. Petersburg, was camping with a group of friends near the town of Suwannee, about 10 miles southwest of Old Town, on March 31.

Read full story >

Crawford County Press Argus Courier

A not so smart man tried to rope a deer.

A friend of mine sent me this story. It is both an entertaining and educational. It illustrates how a seemingly mild-mannered, wild animal can be quite dangerous if threatened. The author has apparently chosen not to reveal his identity to protect what is left of his dignity.

I had this idea that I was going to rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer.

I figured that since they congregated at my cattle feeder and did not seem to fear when we were there. A bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not four feet away. It shouldn't be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it to transport it home.

Read full story >

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre

I am sure by now everybody in America and the world is aware of the heinous massacre at Virginia Tech, Virginia. A lone, mad gunman had taken the lives of 32 people before he shot himself. As I write these paragraphs, the blame game has started and fingers are pointed and no doubt this game will carry on for the next few days if not weeks.

As a responsible firearm owner my heart and sympathy goes out to the people and their families that lost loved ones in this tragic and unnecessary bloodbath. There is also no doubt in my mind that the anti-gun lobby will exploit this tragedy in all its gory details to further their political agenda. They will, as in the past, not shy back from lumping us together with the feeble minded criminals that commit such heinous atrocities.

It is situations like this where we have to be on our guard and make sure the people at large learn that legal and law abiding firearm owners are NOT responsible for such crimes and that owning firearms does NOT contribute to such crimes.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Anti-Hunter Pilots Chopper to Disrupt Hunt

A Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) employee is under investigation by the Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans for disrupting a 2007 seal hunt.

According to the Canadian Press, a HSUS helicopter pilot was reportedly scaring seals off of ice floes and into the water in an attempt to disrupt an April 5 seal hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, west of Newfoundland.

“There were seal hunters in the area and the allegation is that the pilot flew his helicopter in a way that would disrupt the seal hunt,” said Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokesman Phil Jenkins.

“Anti-hunters claim to despise Canada’s seal hunt, but where would some groups be without it?” said USSA Senior Vice President Rick Story. “The seal hunt that so many groups supposedly abhor is an annual fundraiser that rakes in thousands of dollars for their organizations.”

The harp seal population is estimated at over five million and wildlife officials say the hunt is a humane, sustainable enterprise that benefits Canadian fishermen.
According to Canadian law it a felony to interfere with the lawful taking of wildlife. American or not, I hope that a Canadian court will have the guts to throw the law books at that animal rights pilot. I like the quote of USSA Senior Vice President Rick Story. This quote explains perfectly and in few words the hypocrisy on which the animal rights movement is built.

While at the one hand it is refreshing to see that authorities seem to wake up and react against animal rights activists. I am still somewhat disappointed at the lackluster attitude of governments to make some tougher laws against the animal rights movement. Especially in light of the fact that the FBI does classify various animal rights organizations as “home grown terrorism”.

As hunters and outdoor enthusiast we need to keep the pressure up on our governments to take decisive steps to curb this movement that solely exists to make money (billions) of unsuspecting people by discriminating in slanderous ways, bordering on hate mongering, against groups of society with whose activity or professions they do not agree with.

One way to make sure the animal rights are shown the door is to join a organization that works hard on our behalf and unlike other similar organizations has a long list of successes to show for. Of course I am talking about the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance, one of the hardest working organizations in North America on behalf of the hunters, fishers and trappers.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Moved House and Missed Turkey Season

It took almost to the day a week from the time our high speed Internet connection has been canceled at the old place and reconnected at the new place. So here we are in our new place. Thanks to the tireless effort of my wife the new house looks every day a little better and more like a cozy comfortable home.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank the many readers of this blog and fellow blogers – Rex Rowell from the Deer Camp Blog, Kristine Shreve from the Hunt Smart Think Safety Blog, Matt from the Bright Idea Outdoors Weblog and Rick from the Flyfishing Fanatic Blog – for their good wishes posted here on my blog and sent to me by email. Your loyalty is very much appreciated and humbly acknowledged.

The moving date has been rescheduled a few times. To me that was particularly troublesome, sine I could not make any plans to go turkey hunting. Now that we have finally moved turkey season is over. When we got reconnected again, I first checked the emails. Low and behold there where several messages from friends and SHS Hunting Chat Forum members letting me know that they had a fantastic turkey hunting experience. This in turn gave me an idea.

If you have harvested a turkey this spring season email me a photo and a short descriptive story of the event. The best pictures and stories will be posted here on this blog. Exited? Well hold on I make even better and worthwhile for you. The photo and story that appeals to me personally the most will be rewarded with a small price. The reward will be a newly designed baseball cap in Advantage® Camouflage with the “Othmar Vohringer Outdoors” logo embroidered on it (Photo will soon be available).

So what you’re waiting for send these pictures and stories to me today.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Off line

Rex Howell from the Deer Camp Blog has written a terrifying account of his father been shot at by another hunter that mistaken him for a turkey.

This story brings back a frightening memory, that I have put away somewhere deep in my brain, of the time many years ago when I was shot at by an archer. That archer has mistaken me for a deer. I heard the swish of something zooming by my head. At the same instance I felt a burning sensation on my neck. As my hand reached to the place where the pain came from it felt wet. Pulling my hand away to look at it I saw my hand was bloody. “My God I have been shot at” was my first thought, followed by; “How badly am I hit?” As I looked around I saw the arrow sticking in a tree, still vibrating from the impact, not five feet behind me.

To make a long story very short, it turned out that the injury was a minor cut. Not even worth it to be stitched up, at least not in my opinion. I was very lucky that day, had the arrow came just an inch closer it would have gone right trough my neck, cutting my windpipe, the arteries and probably the spinal cord too. The lesson I have learned from that is. A. I always wear a blaze orange safety vest during archery and turkey hunting season from and to my stand. In addition, during turkey hunting season I tie red flagging tape to the tree I am sitting under or even my blaze orange vest when I hunt on public land. Contrary to popular believe I never had a turkey spook because of these hunter warning signals. B. I always use my binoculars to check for hunters sitting in treestands or on the ground, especially if I hunt on public land. I spend as much time looking for other hunters as I do looking for game. Sure it is a bit of a hassle. But I like to stay alive and I love to hunt public land.

Hunting, according to the American accident statistics is one of the safest recreational activities, safer than basketball, safer even than tennis. But we all need to be reminded that safety in the outdoors should be our all priority the moment we enter the woods. The safety rules are simple enough. Over at the Moose Droppings Blog Moose has posted the “Turkey Hunting Code of Safety and Ethics".

On another note:
We’re finally moving to our new home over the Easter long weekend. As from Saturday, April 7 I will be off-line for hopefully not longer than a week until we get our high speed cable connected back again at the new place.

I will come back with good news and stories to report here. In the meantime I wish all my fateful and new readers of Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer a happy Easter long weekend. If you are out in the woods chasing gobblers or go fishing please be careful, use logic and commonsense, that is what safety is all about. Remember that we all have loving family back home awaiting our safe return.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Turkeys looking for love in all the wrong places

Today I found this article in the News and Tribune and thought that this would be very fitting, considering that I have written in the past days a fair bit about turkeys and turkey hunting.


Turkeys looking for love in all the wrong places

Sure, eating turkey will make you sleepy, but seeing one should make you act crazy.
The colorful wild fowl on your lawn, front step or automobile might seem like a welcome distraction, but the feathered visitors have actually become something of a nuisance and, in some cases, a threat to North Shore homeowners, according to Massachusetts wildlife experts.

That’s because turkeys are especially aggressive this month as hormones drive them to seek a mate. However, as those who’ve endured a menacing, late-night subway wait, it pays to act a little crazy.

“Be a raving maniac out there,” advises Marion Larson, information and education biologist with MassWildlife. “(Turkeys) should run or fly off. I was doing it a few times this winter. I want them to be aware of me and other people.”

Turkeys will show their aggressive side this time of year and try to exert their dominance over other turkeys — real ones as well as their own reflection.

But animal lovers beware: playing nice and feeding turkeys could make turkeys think you are ... well, a turkey.

“It’s great to watch turkeys, it’s fun to see them, but our behavior will also influence their behavior,” Larson said. “If they don’t see people as a threat, (turkeys) could switch to thinking people are turkeys and they will run after people and peck at people. They need to put you in the pecking order, too. It happens every year.”

Marblehead police said they’ve responded to a number of calls from residents trapped inside their cars.

“Love is in the air,” quipped Detective Sgt. Marion Keating, “so we’ve been chasing turkeys all week.”

Marblehead police had two turkey calls Sunday — a Victoria Lane resident reported a wild turkey roaming the property, and a resident on Leggs Hill Road reported one blocking the driveway.

Keating said it is common for police departments to receive calls in March and April about turkeys either roaming on the property or “trapping” motorists in their car.
Should you become similarly detained in your car by a big bird pecking at its reflection, Larson says not to panic. Instead, even when there’s no rain in the forecast, keep an umbrella handy. When you open the car door, start unfurling and closing the umbrella repeatedly.

“Like the Penguin in Batman,” Larson said.
Don’t have an umbrella? Take a jacket and start flapping it around.
“You have to be aggressive and persistent,” Larson added.

Read more>

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Turkey Calling made easy

By far the most frequent question I get asked about turkey hunting is “What type of calls should I use?” which is usually followed by “What are the best calls to lure a tom to me?”

Lets start with the type of calls. In my personal opinion friction calls, such as the slate and the box call are by far the best calls to use for several reasons. A friction call is easy to learn. Any hunter, even a novice or a child, will be able to produce a decent turkey sound on a box call or slate call within minutes. Friction calls, and that is strictly my opinion, sound more natural than mouth diaphragm calls. Also, many hunters – myself included - just can’t handle a mouth diaphragm call. The moment I put one of these calls in my mouth I get terrible gag reflexes causing me to cough. Mouth diaphragm calls also have a very steep learning curve. There is no such thing as putting one of these latex pieces in your mouth and sounding right away like a turkey. Oh, no. You will have to learn how to blow the air through the call for weeks or even for months until you can produce a decent sound.

Having said all that against the mouth diaphragm call, there are significant advantages in using one. The biggest of these advantages is being able to operate a mouth call with no hand movements, which is necessary to avoid being detected by an eagle-eyed tom looking for that lovesick hen. Since I can’t use a mouth call for close-in work for reasons stated earlier, I use the next best thing to a mouth call, which is the push, and pull friction call. With my gun mounted I rest the barrel on the call and if I need for the tom to take one or two more steps I just push the peg on the call with my forefinger to produce a gentle purr. In 90% of the cases this simple purr will do the trick, while the movement of my finger is obstructed from the toms view by the shotgun barrel.

This brings me to the turkey calls that I think work best on toms. I am sure most of you have been to a turkey hunting seminar or a turkey calling contest or at least have seen a turkey hunting video. The calling produced in these venues is simply amazing and a good source to hear the different sounds turkeys make and what it should sound like when these calls are properly reproduced. But don’t be fooled that this is actually how you call to a tom in the real hunting scenario. In a turkey calling contest the caller does not try to impress a big old tom, he has to impress the contest judges and the audience. In other words the contestant puts on a show. Seminars and hunting videos are aimed at the hunters as potential customer. It’s a sales pitch. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I have observed turkeys for many years. In these observations I have found that turkeys keep their communication really simple. Most hens don’t talk much at all. Especially in places that see a lot of hunters and where turkeys have become smart over the years. What I use are yelps, clucks with the odd cackle mixed in but mostly I use soft purrs. Remember, a turkey hen tries to attract the attention of a tom telling him; “Here I am come to me I need some love”. She is not chattering to her neighbor across the fence and she is not in an aggressive mood. To begin my calling session I usually start with a short series of yelps at different pitches just to figure out what the resident toms like to hear. Once I get a response from him I keep the yelping at that pitch. To make it more interesting for the tom I add some clucks and when he comes closer I add lots of soft purrs.

It’s a good tactic to stop calling for a while as the tom comes closer. This gives him the impression that the hen perhaps has lost interest and this in turn makes him move faster toward the hen. Another good tactic, especially when the tom is in the company of hens is to duplicate the exact sound the hen makes. If the hen yelps then I yelp too in the exact pitch and duration, if she clucks so do I. What this does is to annoy the turkey hen. She will come to check out what other hen dares to mimic her. As she comes to you so does her companion the tom. Sometimes a tom hangs up and no amount of calling you do will bring him any closer. In this situation I keep quiet but the moment he wants to walk away I purr at him. This often does the trick to bring him closer. This tug of war can go on for some time until the tom can’t stand it anymore and curiosity gets the better of him.

If you only learn how to yelp, cluck and purr you have all the sounds that are needed to be a successful turkey caller. Above all make your calls sound natural. With that I mean try to put some emotion in your calling. Not so long ago I listened to a hunter producing a monotonous series of yelps. That is not how a real turkey sounds like. Turkeys move around, turning their heads from left to right as they look for an approaching tom. The sounds shift around fading in and out, which can be easily duplicated by moving the call to either side or behind you. At the same time gently shuffle the ground a bit with your feet to mimic a turkey scratching the leaves. Instead of the monotonous yelp – yelp try to change the cadence and pitch of the calling. In other words give your calling some live.

Observe wild turkeys on your pre-season scouting trips and watch how they behave and what vocalizations they use and how they sound. You will soon find out that turkey calling is not a science and you do not have to be a master-turkey-caller. Get out in the woods and have some fun hunting and calling big toms.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Turkey Hunting Tips

Matt Coughlin, author of Bright Idea Outdoors Weblog has been kind enough to link to my article Turkey Calls. He writes:

“I am resolved to squeeze in at least a couple solid turkey hunts this year.
So I was delighted when I found a mini-clinic on turkey calling on Othmar's blog this morning.”

This gave me the idea to make a little on-line-turkey-hunting-clinic here at Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer. Starting with the article Turkey Calling. The coming few days I will post a variety of articles on this blog with helpful tips, tricks and advice for tukey hunters of all skill levels.

Turkey Hunting Tips

Soft Call First:
Don’t start out with aggressive calling first thing when calling to a gobbler. Start off with soft clucks and purrs. If that doesn’t seem to work, go into some medium volume yelps. If that still doesn’t get him, try some cutting and aggressive yelping. If you call to much and too loud to start with, you might run your gobbler off, and the game is over. If you start soft, you can always work your way into the more aggressive calls.

This is the one thing that can make more of a difference than anything. If you know where a gobbler goes on his daily routine, you are way ahead. Simply get to a favored strut or feeding area before the gobbler does, and call softly. If he is coming there anyway, you will have no problem. Remember, it is easy to call a gobbler to somewhere he already wants to go.

Know Your Gun and Ammo:
Go to the pattern board and find a gun, choke and load that shoot well. Know the distance where your gun’s performance tapers off, and never shoot past it. We have an obligation to do everything within our power to make clean harvests on wild turkeys. A good pattern should be at 85-95% in a 30” circle at 40 yards.

Learn to Use Different Calls:
The more different calls and types of calls you can use, the better you will be in the turkey woods. Some days gobblers will answer a diaphragm, and the next day they will only answer a tube call. On windy days, box calls and aluminum calls cut through the wind. Also if you can use a variety of calls, you can use something different and won’t sound like everyone else hunting in your area.

Hunt During the Rain:
Turkeys have to live in the rain. Modify your tactics and hunt open fields and pastures where turkeys feel comfortable since they can depend on their eyesight instead of hearing. Portable waterproof blinds are great during the rain. You can stay dry, and wait the turkeys out.

Camo Yourself Completely:
Head to toe camo is a must when hunting sharp-eyed gobblers. Gloves, face mask and even camoed guns are helpful. Keep movement to a minimum and try to blend in to the natural surroundings. Use a good camouflage pattern such as ASAT or Predator.

Get as Close as Possible:
Sneak in as close as possible to start calling to a gobbler. If you can get in his comfort zone (75-100 yards) before you make your first call, he will probably come in. Use terrain features to help get close, but don’t crowd a bird and bump him. If you go one step too close, the game is over.

Use the Buddy System:
Hunt in teams, and let one hunter call and one shoot. The caller sits 40-70 yards behind the shooter. In this scenario the gobbler is concentrating on the caller’s position, and the pressure is taken off the shooter. Also, if a bird hangs up 60-70 yards from the calling, he will still be in easy gun range for the shooter.

Use Locator Calls:
When possible get a turkey to gobble to shock calls like crow or owl calls. You can keep up with the bird’s location without giving away your position with a hen call. When moving in on a gobbler, you don’t have to worry about him coming to your calling at the same time if you are using locator calls.

When All Else Fails, Mock a Fight:
If you have tried every tactic you know, and a gobbler is still hung up out of range, mock a turkey fight as a last ditch effort. You can use two push button calls, a slate call, a diaphragm, or a combination of any of these to make the “fighting purrs” sounds that gobblers make when they fight. If he gobbles to this tactic, get ready. Gobblers usually come in to this tactic very fast or not at all.

Be Patient:
Patience, Patience, Patience - Probably the most overlooked skill in turkey hunting is the ability to sit still and wait out a gobbler. When you can't stand sitting anymore and you think it's time to get up and move to another hunting spot, stay put for fifteen more minutes. Patience kills more gobblers than any other factor.

To inquire or book a turkey calling seminar, or any of our other seminar topics, please Email me for more information and dates availability.

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