OH Deer! Where Did All The Redneck Deer Hunters Go?

Another deer season will soon be here! Are you ready to hunt! ~postoak~

As a mere lad growing up in the wilds of west Alabama. Living way back down a dirt road that would “stick a school bus” in the winter. Deer hunting was a simple and cherished event. Neighbors hunted on each others property without discussion or concern. If you saw your neighbor, most of which were also a relative of some sort, on your property, or they saw you on theirs’. The greeting was genuine, warm and often we joined ranks for short “man drives”  to bust the deer out of any cover along hedgerows or brier patches and the hunt was even better because we got to share a good time.

Didn’t matter who it was, black, white, poor, or little better off (we knew no rich people) we enjoyed the hunt, shared the bounty and used every bit of it. The guns were old single shot style shotguns whatever gauge you just happen to have gotten from a relative in the generation before. A lucky few had “high powered rifles” as we called them back in the middle of the last century. These were not much compared to the modern rifles of today, in fact, most were war relics that our veteran relatives brought home.Old British 303 rifles, Browning WWII rifles, M1 carbines or old Winchester lever action guns. Nobody had a scope on any of them! All of the rifles had open sights, tang sites, peep style sites, but I never saw a scope on a rifle until my later teen years!

I hunted for the first 12 years of my life with an Iver Johnson Champion 12 gauge single shot that was a hand-me -down gun and the barrel had been “hammered down” to straighten it from a near blowout my brother had when he was just starting out and went under a fence too fast and got dirt in the barrel but, did not know it until the rabbit came by he was trying to cut off from the beagles. Or at least that was how the barrel deformity was explained to me by my dad, who was the barrel beater after that episode. He got out his brazing torch and ”cherryed” up the barrel (heated it cherry red) and hammered the bulge out. How many parents today, would even allow a kid to shoot a gun with a defective barrel? Not too many! Most of us now would get rid of that gun in a recycle bin, or had our gun smith to, and bought a new gun for our kids.

Now days, we take no shortcuts, spare no expenses, we buy the best guns, best gear, new clothes, latest camouflage patterns, latest “scent blocker” fabrics, Snake proof, no scent, super grip, 1200 gram thinsulate boots with electric socks! And it don’t even get cold as it used to! Now we drive to the woods in a $50,000. dollar, 4 wheel drive truck but, so we don’t scratch it, we are pulling a trailer loaded with a $12,000. dollar all electric “UTV” and our kid has a $8,000. four wheeler in case we need to “retrieve a deer from a bad spot” that the big UTV can’t get. We have a camper set up at our club that we parked in August that had a $45,000. price tag before we added the flat screen and the “dish”. So we can watch the football game at mid-day or after dark. We got $400. dollar “yeti” coolers to pack in the beer and pack out the deer! That is if we still feel like cleaning the critter our-self. If not we just run it down to the local deer processor, who for a $100. will skin it, gut it and cut it for us so we can take it home in “supermarket” style wrappers to freezer burn at home until next fall, when we have a “clean the freezer out day” and get ready for the next season!

Compare that to the old days where we hunted as a group and shared the deer, that day and usually had it consumed before it ever required freezing. Heck! most of us did not even have a freezer back then anyway!

We hunted from a 52 Chevy truck that was a 6 cylinder, 2 wheel drive with a suspect heater and AC was not even thought of back then. There were some mornings us “boys” used some old army blankets or cotton quilts to wrap up with and we would ride in the back of the truck down to Sumter or Greene County to hunt deer or rabbits and were thrilled to be invited! We snuggled up to each other and to the dogs that shared the back of the truck and considered it all so very normal! Wonder what my boys would have thought of that deal? Our hunting clothes were what ever we had, blue jeans, red flannel shirts, no insulated clothes, you just “layered up” with a couple of shirts and pants over the other and two pair of white socks with your keds tennis shoes or “hand me down” “brogans”. Scent cover? Never considered it! Camo clothes with a face mask?  a orange hat?  Wow! how did we ever kill any deer back then? But we did!  Although I must admit the hunting dogs played a very large part in our success at deer hunting in the 1960s. I miss those days and my redneck ways, just a little every now and then. How about you?

Bow season starts in 17 days! Are you ready? This old red neck hunter is ready to get on out there for another memorable season in our GREAT CENTRAL ALABAMA OUTDOORS!

~POSTOAK~

Something about “New” Never Gets Old!

Advertisers of all types use it, Businesses use it, People use it, Couples try it,  and us hunters are no different. What I am talking about is the term “new”. The word implies a unused, unspoiled, unadulterated, untried, un-thought of, unheard of, something.

And that is a very appealing term we all understand, and most often crave. Makers of every type of product, service, goods, flavor, brand, style and type will take an old items and re-package it and call it new. New detergent is just the same old soap in a box with a new name and a new fragrance or color added. Restaurants have new flavors, new menus, new lighting, new drink specials. And manufacturers, my goodness! they flood the market with “new” every day!

Then, there are the makers of hunting gear and hunting supplies. They are ingenious when it comes to the new products, new cover scents, new game attractant scents, new gimmick items, new gear designs, new bows, new guns, new ammo, new camo patterns, and literally thousands of other “new” products they tout on the many outdoor shows that air on networks solely designed for outdoor sports addicts like me!

Now I am not saying that is good or bad, it is just a fact that it is inherent in most folks’ nature to find things they”need”. I certainly have trouble with that “need” sometimes and it really seems to give me a big itch to scratch when any hunting season is approaching. I do a pretty good job talking myself out of a lot of the stuff I see at my favorite sporting goods store(s) this time of year. But, I have to give in for some stuff I really “need!”

Tomorrow, I am taking a trip over to Demopolis for something I really “need”. That is  to pick up a big gobbler that I dropped off last spring with my long time friend, Don Capps, of Capps Taxidermy. Don, his wife and his kids all do absolutely beautiful taxidermy work and I am very excited to see what the final outcome of his work is on old “long spurs”.  I plan to post a photo of it in the near future so look for it! And if you bag a trophy buck this fall, The whole “Capps Crew” are trained artists who can make your trophy last a life time!  Check out their portfolio! http://www.cappstaxidermist.com/

After I pick up my Gobbler, I am goingto enjoy some more “new”. A kind that is one of my very favorite “new” items. Looking at New Hunting land! I don’t know about you but, acquiring a new lease is one of my favorite things to do and I am going to enjoy looking at three tracts of land tomorrow that I hope will turn out with at least one of the three being very attractive to lease for this upcoming hunting season. While I still  do hunt my family’s property in Tuscaloosa, and it is great, four dollar gas, less available time to hunt, and dare I say, an “aging drive train” that is feeling the effects of “high mileage”, causes me to  need to find a place or two closer to home so I can make some short trips to satisfy my “need” to hunt.

"Hunting makes us all feel like a kid again for a few hours! "postoak"

"Hunting makes us all feel like a kid again for a few hours! Postoak"

I am just so happy that hunting never gets old! IT is always new to me, EVERY FALL!  And a new place to hunt, a new green field to plow and plant, a new hardwood bottom to sit over on those crisp fall mornings and dream of another “new” that I really need badly, A new trophy buck!

A New Hunting season is nearly upon us! Hope yours fills you with a sense of new possibility and new vigor!  A new itch that you are more than happy to scratch! When I am in the woods, I feel about half my age, my stress level disappears and Nothing else matters for those few hours! Wow, it never gets old!

Next week, another “new” blog will appear right here! Hope you will too!

~postoak~

Is Hunting Season Sneaking up on you?

Time to prepare for the "big one"

Success in the deer woods requires preparation. How are your preparations going?

Unless you are well in to your preparations for the upcoming hunting season, it may be sneaking up on you!

The fall bow hunting season is just a few weeks away and if you are not paying attention to the calendar, you may not be ready to enjoy one of the premier times of the year for the fall hunting season. The early fall with cool clear mornings and “too hot” afternoons,  is a lot of fun to get out and hone your skills and re-establish your hunting acumen to make you a better hunter all season long. But, it takes preparation and work to be ready for the opportunity that could be yours in the form of an early season buck that has not been spooked enough to shift into “nocturnal mode”.

This past weekend I literally dug my four wheeler out of  the back end of my storage building and drained the gas tank on it.  I added some carb and choke cleaner, checked the fluid level in the battery, checked the tire pressure, and cranked it. It started just fine but ran a little rough for a few minutes while I rode it around the back yard. I stayed on it and put it in four wheel drive to make sure that worked and ran it in low range long enough to get the motor to smooth out and run well.

Next “chore ” was to take my old PSE bow out of the case and check the string, wax it, inspect my arrows for cracks, loose nocs, loose fletchings, and find my broadheads for inspection. I still got to take time to sharpen them back a little  before I get to that first morning. I shot my bow 10 times and by the ninth shot, I was better, but still got work to do there. However, I must admit 10 draws and I start to feel it due to a lack of exercise and I have got to get back to my arm and shoulder work with my barbells so a shot is not such a hard pull and I can hold at full draw without shaking..If you are going to shoot a deer, you should be able to control your shot or not take it. I have a self imposed 30 yard perimeter and trust only my range finder to define the perimeter as a first order of business after I place my ladder stand. I used to use survey tape but, the small white “day- glow” pins are my favorite now since they are less noticeable by other hunters unless they climb in to my stand.  I will be the first to admit that I am not a good shot with my bow but, I am deadly when I do shoot. The key is don’t shoot until you know you can be deadly with THAT shot. We all watch too many outdoor shows where the guy makes 45 or even 50 yard shots look easy and maybe they can, and maybe they edit too! I just know what I can do and stick to that plan that has served me well on past bow hunts.

My four wheeler trailer has been setting all summer and I found a low tire on one side so I aired it up and used some spray soap bubbles to give it a quick leak check and then I hosed it off to knock off the dust and dead leaves that accumulated. Then I found “dirt daubers had “mudded up my wiring harness plug and made mud nests along the bottom of the side rail. They really do make a mess and seems like they love to stop up equipment left out side for what ever reason.

How about work details on your property or lease? It is time to be getting green fields cut, or sprayed to remove as much of the summer growth vegetation as you can so your disking will go better. In the past few years, I have become a big fan of spraying the summer vegetation and allowing it a few weeks to die back before running the bush-hog. It really helps the cutting go a lot faster and easier on the engine in our little John Deere tractor. I hunt in Greene and Tuscaloosa county so I try to do as much as possible, in as few trips as possible, and spraying really helps us to get our fields planted with less work!  A four wheeler mounted sprayer can cover several acres in  just a little while, But even with a hand pump sprayer you can cover a small green field in 30 minutes. One tip, buy some red food coloring to add to the spray to mark where you have sprayed. This way you wont waste time or spray like you do with a clear water and chemical mix. Also, use a surfactant to make the chemical /water mix stick to the plants better. A couple of squirts of dish washing liquid soap does a good job in this role.

This time of year really is great! Summer is behind us and a glorious fall is here! But don’t get distracted by Football games or other “Saturday stuff”  when you need to be preparing to HUNT. Remember, at a ball game you are just a spectator and that just requires you buy a tcket and show up. The players on the field are participators and that requires a whole different level of involvement. Training, planning, working, educating, strategizing, going, doing, practicing, are all a part of the process of winning. And winning in the deer woods is worth the effort!

The clock is running! Season is just over the horizon! sound the “alarm clock” and get started with your preseason preparation this week!

More next week!

~postoak~

 

Gray Streaks, Blue Skies

 

Post Oak with a few Doves on opening day 2011

They’re small, gray feathered, and fast! Dipping and dodging as they streak across the September skies of central Alabama. They herald in the first of the fall hunting seasons for our state and are as welcomed as the cooler temps fore-casted next week.

For those of us ”starved” for something to hunt besides a feral pig or a coyote.   Dove Season opens Saturday for the “North Zone” of the state which encompasses most of central Alabama and I am getting my “post-labor day” smile going in anticipation of my favorite time of year which is fall, winter and spring! 

Anyone who is a regular reader of this site has probably seen my statements before about summer. But, one more time I will just say it is my LEAST favorite season and it gets more that way each year I get a little older! From the heat, to my job stress, from a staggering summer work load, to keeping up a dang concrete “money pit” pool for my granddaughter and her “crew” to the never ending grass cutting, trimming, pruning and all the other yard work chores. Summer is just no fun for me anymore!

But, fall is fun! Hunting season, fall fishing, trail riding my ATV, scouting, anticipating the fall deer hunting season man, fall is fantastic!!  Now, more on the fast approaching dove season! In the North Zone the season is split with the first section open from September the 8th and closing on October the 7th. The second season for the North Zone opens on October 20th and runs through November 3rd. The final season opens again on December 9th and runs until January 1st.

The daily bag limit for Mourning doves, White-Winged dove or a combination of the two species is 15. The other dove that we are seeing more of in our area, the Eurasian Collared Dove, has no bag limit or season. These bigger doves are often twice the size of some small mourning doves and they are definitely  big, meaty, and the best part is they seem to fly a bit slower! At least to me anyway! Last year during several shoots I took more of the collared birds than mourning doves as they came in over the bush hogged Milo patch we hunted.

At many dove hunts I have had the pleasure of attending on a warm, breezy fall  afternoon, a large number of the participants would offer me their doves and I rarely turn any “freebies” away. I have found that many of those folks just did not know what they were missing! My all time favorite dove recipe is grilled dove breast. The cleaning is easy if you just take your thumb and pull the breast out of the bird from the mid-section upward toward the neck. After a few trys, it will probably take a you only a minute or less,  to literally ”pop” the breast out, remove the skin and few left over feathers and get them in a pan of cold water to soak for a few minutes. Once I complete cleaning the all the doves, I wash them thoroughly, pat them dry with some paper towels and then start my prep for the grill. I like to wrap them in a strip of bacon (everything is better with bacon) and marinate them in one of my favorite marinades, such as “Dales”. But Worcestershire, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, or Italian dressing are all good choices to achieve a flavorful result on a hot charcoal grill. If I decide to get real fancy, I have stuffed them with a small piece of link sausage, or jalapeno peppers and cream cheese. However, just wrapped and marinaded is my choice. Sometimes BBQ sauce added just before taking up is a good change of taste.

Grilled dove breast make great appetizers that are superb after a day of fun in the dove field and are very good! I have had many people who were squeamish at first when offered this tasty appetizer from the grill, only to return for two or three more after they realized they “had it all wrong” in their perception of the taste. But, you have to be careful! If you help too many of your hunting buddies find out how easy doves are to clean and how great they taste off the grill, they may not give you those “free-birds” anymore!

Dove season is a great time to get youngsters in the field if they have been properly trained in gun safety. Even those too young to handle a shotgun will enjoy the activities as a spectator and gain an appreciation for the outdoors when they are able to see the fast shooting action of a good dove shoot when the birds are flying in like gray rockets and the shotguns are popping all over the field! Missed shots bring laughs and commentary, The sounds of an Alabama or Auburn football game playing on truck radios, The beverage breaks, peanuts cracked out of the shell sitting on a tailgate waiting for the doves to come, a beautiful Labrador retrieving downed doves for his proud master. Visits with friends on breaks in the action and the spectacular sunsets after the less enthusiastic crowd has gone home and left me and a few other “die-hards” to enjoy the quiet of an Alabama dove field at dusk!  I remember many great afternoons afield and hope to remember many more!

Go shoot some doves this weekend or next! And be sure to take a kid along to experience the magic only found in the great outdoors of Central Alabama!

Hope you come back here next week for more hunting  and outdoor news!

~postoak~