Walter Craig’s, Celebrating 51 Years This Weekend!

Mr. Len Hale of Walter Craig's Sportsmans Headquarters in Montgomery!

Walter Craig’s, The Sportsmans Headquarters right here in Montgomery is celebrating 51 years of being in the business with a three day event this weekend through Monday!  I went by today on my lunch break to check out the event for myself and was so pleased to see a local hunting sports business thriving these days and Walter Craig is certainly doing that!

Walter Craig’s was founded by it’s namesake, Mr. Walter Craig in Selma back in 1961 and in 2003 they moved to their present location at 1201 North Eastern Boulevard, Montgomery. Mr. Len Hale and his staff of outdoor professionals at Walter Craig have really made it a very special store for all of us who love to hunt and they can help you find the gear, ammo, camo, and all other outdoor products to help you enjoy the time you spend in the woods this fall and winter hunting season!

As a hunting and sporting goods store they have got a fantastic selection of products for all of us who live for the outdoor sports. Today (Friday, 10-26) they kicked off a weekend full of activities including a radio broadcast from local radio personalities Rick Hendrick and Roger Shultz as they hosted their mid day broadcast of the “Max Round Table” for local 740 sports radio.

 

Rick Hendrick and Roger Shultz of Sports Radio 740 broadcasting at Walter Craig's on Friday

 

 

 

The place was also “crawling” with factory reps from Beretta and Browning,  and others. Moultrie Game cameras had  a rep there with some sweet deals on game cameras and the famous Moultrie game feeders! But, the sweetest deal I saw was the new A5 Browning auto loaders that are totally new in design and features the all new Kinematic drive system that Browning guarantees for 100,000 round or 5 full years! I shouldered a couple of them and it made me want one real bad! They have the traditional A5 with a beautiful walnut finish wood stock and my personal choice, the Mossy Oak camo model that is a “camo-beauty” in its own right. With the high visibility sights and the distinctive Browning hump, they are some mighty fine shotguns! for more information, check ot their website, http://waltercraig.com/

Also this weekend on sports radio 740 is a program that is becoming one of my favorite shows. “Cast and Blast Outdoors” airs on Saturday mornings from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and host Steve Long provides some great tips and insights for local sportsmen. It is a very entertaining program and if you get the chance, tune it in on Saturdays in the a.m. on the a.m! for more information check out the link to their website! http://sportsradio740.com/

Hope you all plan to spend some time in the deer woods this weekend! There is a good cold front on the way that should make it fun if you plan for a windy hunt! Scent control, good camo, and stand selection to take advantage of the wind and the acorn crops that are now dropping in the woods can pay off for the persistent hunter this weekend!

Remember, “patience, planning and practice” are the supporter of “payoff” in most of life’s successes. This is especially true in the deer woods of our beautiful Central Alabama!

Send me a picture of that buck!  Drop me a line to postoakman@gmail.com

Until next week!

~postoak~ outdoors!

 

Tips For Bow Season Bucks, Part Two

Brandon Parker of Tallassee with a nice Buck

Brandon Parker, hog wrangler, deer sticker and a pretty good guy with a pretty good buck!

Last blog I started laying out a few tips for getting that bow season buck to come by your stand. Here are a few more tips that have worked for me.. Wind direction, sun direction, using shadows for cover and camouflage of you and your movement, determining morning and afternoon stand placements based on deer movement patterns were things in my blog last week.

Now, with those things covered, consider these; Pinch points on trails, I know most of us know how to locate deer trails when there are a lot of deer in an area and the trail looks like a pig trail, cow trail, and is so easy most kids recognize it. However, many folks fail to see deer trails when the deer traffic is a much lower volume and is more typical for the average tract of land many of us are hunting. In this case, pinch points can help you find evidence of trails you otherwise might not see.

Fence corners, openings coming in and out of cut-overs, stream crossings, along ravines,  and of course, my favorite pinch point is wood lanes between fields, cut-overs, or roads. I only take shots with my bow of 30-35 yards or less so I need a little help from the terrain to bring that buck inside that distance to me. Pinch points are key to stand placement if you want to get that deer to come by where you are “hanging out” up in that tree!

If there is no tree that will allow you the right set up, a good ground blind can also work well. I like to use natural cover items such as pine or evergreen limbs along with dead limbs, sage or other readily handy brush and most time it only take a few minutes to make a reasonably good cover up for your blind. I like to use a folding camo camp chair behind the cover to allow me to sit motionless for extended periods and that is also key to bow hunting or any hunting success from a ground position.

There are many new pop up huts, ghillie suits and other products that are great, but you can make a blind that cost nothing and you dont’s have to tote it in or out of your area. The Ghost Blind* is  another new ground blind that is a fold out shield type with a mirror finish and it really does a phenomenal job of “hiding you in plain sight”. My nephew started using one last year and for setups where there is little cover, it is a good option. He arrowed a nice buck last year sitting behind it in a corn field and after we retrieved his buck, he showed us the set up and when he hid behind it in the corn field, it was impressive.  The Ghost blind is a good product for ground blind sets and also good for turkey hunting sets. The link to their website is http://ghostblind.com/366-ghostblind-predator-and-phantom.html

Another tactic is to create a pinch point or improve a pinch point to bring a deer closer to your tree stand or ground blind. I have used tree tops, limbs, old fence posts and any other handy material to block the deer trail and get the deer to deviate closer to my stand. It is true that deer can jump extremely well but, I have found they are like most of us, they will walk around even small obstacles rather that jump over them unless they are motivated by food or fear (or a hot doe) to go over the top of the items you place in the trail. this is a great way to get help from the terrain. Like “improving your lie” in a game of golf, improving your pinch point may help you make a “hole in one!”

Yesterday, I took a vacation day and enjoyed the morning in a ladder stand. I did not have any deer come in for a shot but, the brisk fall weather and the solitude of the stand was fantastic! I then traveled over to Selma to a hunting club I joined this year so I can have a place closer than my family’s land in Tuscaloosa and Greene county. I spent most of the mid day and early afternoon riding my four wheeler over a part of the more than four thousand acres, getting in some way too late scouting done to find spots to hang a few stands before gun season. I am always excited about hunting a new place and this property has extensive hardwood sections that are sure to be fun to explore as the hunting season and my vacation days get closer!

Next week, More tips for bow bucks!  And, did you know you stink!?  I know I do! more on that next blog!

~POST OAK~   OUT….DOORS!

 

 

Bow Season Strategies To Get a Buck

Brandon and a Boar!

Brandon Parker with Big Alabama Feral Hog!

On Monday 10-15-12 The White tail deer hunting season will kick off the fall deer season and many dedicated bow hunting purists will be out in the Fall woods looking to bring down a buck in true “old school” fashion. Hunting with a bow (and arrow) is one of the biggest challenges hunters can make for themselves however, with new equipment advances, new scent control technologies, scent making technologies, good camoflauge and patience can bring you a very nice reward of a big early season buck!

If you are new to the sport or trying to improve your bow hunting success, let me offer a few tips, some I have learned the hard way and some I have found through self education from other bow hunting folks who’s skill is better and knowledge more complete but, they do not possess anymore passion or patience when It comes to hunting!

Lets look at a few items to consider if you want to “arrow” that great buck this bow season. The first thing is good scouting in the pre-season or in our case, early bow season, to find the trails deer are using to travel across your property. They may be going to feed or going to bed, so that will determine stand placement for morning and afternoon hunts. I like to set up ladder stands or a good ground blind along pinch points, bottle necks, between fields, or swamps or hardwood to pine transition areas. Obviously, the morning stands should consider wind direction, (stay downwind) sun travel direction (stay in the shadows) and be on the way to bedding areas. A tract of land I hunted for years had a large river swamp that joined the back side of our property and transitioned in to a big scrub pine, sage grass and briar patch covered area that you could count on like clock work. From 1 to 3 hours after daybreak the deer in the area were travelling to this bedding area like people on I-65 south headed to work in Montgomery! And through the years, I did cause a few morning “wrecks!” for those headed down the trail from the swamp to bed down in the sage and pines.

Afternoon stands can be watching the same trails, just be sure to set them up with consideration for keeping the afternoon sunshine out of your face and of course don’t forget the wind! Green fields can offer some great afternoon stand locations if you place your stand down wind from the most used trails and if you use trail cameras to find out what time of day and the directions of travel to the greenfields. Finding consistent photos of a particular buck on a trail camera heading in the same direction around the same time on multiple days can allow you to gain a whole new level of confidence about your stand location and for me, that gives me much more patience to spend more time on the stand which can be the deciding factor for taking an early season buck.

paths, my trail cameras have confirmed a target buck with a definite pattern, then it is time to hunt!  The next items to consider is your clothing, your methods of staying odor free or at least keeping it minimized, Using scents to not only hide you from the buck’s nose. but creating a scent trail to bring him past your stand close enough for a close broad side shot!  More on that and a few other bow hunting tactics NEXT WEEK.

This weekend – do some scouting! Set some stands and get ready to hunt!  If you have time, check out the Fall Gun Show in Birmingham at the BJCC http://www.algca.org/  I hope to see you there!

Last week I wrote about Brandon Parker and his brother with their feral hog control efforts and Brandon sent me a photo of a big boar he got this week. Great take Brandon!

 

 

 

Don’t let Feral Hogs “Oink Up” Your Property!

I got an interesting email this week from a friend about the Feral Hog problem in Alabama and it underscores the trouble with the “pesky porkers” in our state. The problem is growing at an alarming rate with feral pigs, hogs  being sighted from Mobile to Muscle Shoals and all points in between. I have been searching for a new hunting lease over the last two months, looking at leases and hunting club and visited a number of properties around central Alabama from the west in Sumter County and East over to Russell County . The one thing I noticed is that dad-gum hogs are everywhere! I see hog tracks, hog wallows, devastated green fields and clover patches, soybeans and corn mowed down, streams with erosion from all the rooting around by hogs, and of course the perpetrators themselves! Hogs, in droves!

I rode down to the Alabama River last month and was shocked to see some of the land damaged by hogs and even a bit more shocked by the lease holder’s apathy toward them. He told me “they have always been here and we just try to plant enough for them and the deer”. I didn’t bother to comment just decided to keep looking. As hunters and conservationists, ignoring the problem, or trying to co-exists with the hogs, is a plan for disaster. I had a lease in Sumter county a number of years ago and it was my first round of dealing with a hog problem. The hogs would run the deer out of the green fields just about the time of day when you were looking for a buck to come by. They dug up our green fields, were all over our trail camera shots, especially when some food was left out to get some pre-season deer scouting done and they were good at making some of the mud holes in our roads deep enough to get water up in the floor boards of my four wheel drive truck! I shot several, as did other club members who hunted with me and a large adjoining club. A few times, they invited some “hoggers” in to run dogs and catch hogs but, we never made a dent in the population.

I have several friends that have invested money in hog traps and have been pretty successful at controlling hogs on some properties, but it is never easy. The traps can cost over a couple hundred dollars to build and if the trap uses a commercially made trap door, the price can be over $200. for the door assembly alone. Brandon Parker and his brother Brent, who resides in Elmore county, have taken on the challenge of Feral hog eradication around our area and Brandon said this year they have taken 221 hogs by trapping. The farmers they have been providing this service for have seen significant reductions in crop and field damages so the success is good to see. However, with the prolific breeding habits of feral swine, they will have to continue to wage “war” from now on to keep the hogs “knocked back”. A tall order indeed. !

If you have a hog invasion going on at your property, there are some good on line resources to train you how to deal with them in the most effective manner which at this time, appears to be the trapping method. Check out this link from the state conservation department for more information. http://www.outdooralabama.com/outdoor-alabama/Control-Hogs.pdf  And if you want a good man to provide some experienced advice, Brandon Parker says give him a call and he will be glad to discuss the subject with you!  His contact numbers are : Home 334-283-5061, Cell 334-451-0563

Bow season is just a few daysaway and I am already getting some photos from a friend or two up north where the season has arrived. Hope you are practicing your shot placement and are ready to make that shot on opening morning!  Tomorrow, I am off to Greene County to plant food plots and

Sunday after church scouting some new property in Dallas County. A busy weekend indeed!

Until Next Week, good Bow hunting, shoot some pigs and check your stands for SAFETY!

Another great option is to take a kid for a hunting adventure chasing some squirrels around in the hardwood bottoms, heck even paper company land has those!

~postoak~