The World Deer Expo was HUGE!

For those who missed the recent World Deer Expo at the Birmingham Civic Center let me tell you, you missed a real treat for us hunters! There was so much to see however, that I had to call it quits after 4 and 1/2 hours of visiting booth to booth and enjoying meeting some real nice people from around Alabama and around the country. I met so many nice folks that I seriously considered a return trip on the next day but, time just didn’t allow me that much indulgence.

I met John Sherling and his lovely wife, who had a booth displaying information about their Hunting place, Indian Creek Lodge of Greenville, Alabama. They offer Trophy whitetail hunts as well as Turkey and Wild Boar hunts. Folks this is a place that is close enough to have a quick hunt and still be able to pull the trigger on some BIG bucks!   Call John @ 334-382-6951 to go ahead and book you that hunt of a life time ! for more info,check out their website www.indiancreeklodge.com

Mr and Mrs John Sherling of Indian Creek Lodge, Greenville AL outfitter at the World Deer Expo ~postoak~

After you bag that trophy buck, you are going to need a good Taxidermist to complete thememory of the hunt with a tangible reminder that will last a life time. I have a definite favorite in mind when I got a new wall hanger on the back of my truck. Capps Taxidermist of Demopolis has mounted a number of deer and turkey for me and they can do a masterful job with whatever type of trophy you want to preserve in the best possible manner. They have won many awards for their artful renderings of all manner of Fish, Fowl and of course game animals from a chipmunk to a full body Elk mount! Give them a call when you  want your trophy mounted right! cappstaxidermist@yahoo.com or just call Dee Capps @ 334-289-5281 and tell her “postoak” sent you!

The exhibitors at the show had an endless offering of hunting gear, camo clothes, guns, bows, knives, and a lot of great deals of hunting trips all around the world!  It is my dream to go to Africa and take a Cape Buffalo and my choice for a North American trophy hunt would be for a Big Horn Ram out in the Rockies. I may not get to go on either hunt, but, like I said, it is a dream. I will just be happy this fall to find another old Whitetail buck to keep the others company on my Den Wall!

World deer Expo had some great bucks on display! Sure makes me start thinking about Fall Bow Hunting! ~postoak~

This photo shows just a couple of the hundreds of impressive bucks on display at the Expo last week in Birmingham. The number of hunting outfitters offering trips was huge!  I did not book one but, since I am a confirmed turkey hunting addict, I did find a very nice Kentucky outfitter and got me a spring 2014 trip lined up to tag a couple of Kentucky long beards! The outfitter is Mossy Ridge Hunts out of London Kentucky and Larry Brock can put you in a stand to take a monster buck! call Larry at (606) 878-6580. He had some unbelievable game camera photos of the monster bucks roaming his farm.

BKM Outdoors, Makers of Deer Cam Candy, are local folks who make a great deer candy product that I tried last year for preseason attraction to my trail cams. The product they make will have those deer pawing a hole in the ground in front of your trail cameras and will help you see where to hang your stands! Check out their website www.bkmoutdoors.com or just give them a call (334)224-3676.

As a user of various deer scents all season long, I like to try some of the newest products in the scent lineup for Alabama deer. So, a locally made scent product would appear to be a logical choice to appeal to our deer. I found a maker of such products in TGx3 Deer Scents of Ohatchee Alabama. He showed me video evidence of his products at work on Alabama bucks and I bought a couple of his scent products to try this fall. He has a two year guarantee on freshness of the product if you follow his storage instructions and I think you will like what you get if you try some of his products. http://tgx3deerscents.com/  he also has a FB page listed under “Tgxdeerscents”

This week, I am back to doing some summer hunting camp work and scouting a new place for turkey, if the rain holds off!  If you want to talk about the expo, get some outfitter info on some other folks I talked with, or just chat about the great Central Alabama Outdoors, drop me an email! postoakman@gmail.com

A Kansas "Monster rack" from the 2013 Deer Expo.. I want one! ~postoak~

~postoak~

 

Lots of Outdoor Events Coming!

While it may be July, and hunting season seems a long way off, there are a lot of outdoor events coming up soon, some as soon as tomorrow!

Eddie Salter and I, talking about what we love! Hunting! I will see him again at the BJCC Deer Expo Tomorrow! ~postoak~

 

The 30th Annual World Deer Expo starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday and the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center! And, it is one of my favorite summer events! The expo is huge! The promoter, Bob Coker, touts it as the “largest three day consumer hunting show in the nation!” With tons of hunting gear, lots of famous speakers lecturing on the finer points of deer hunting/ Speakers such as Lee and Tiffany of “The Crush”, Eddie Salter, Spook Spann and Zac Cooper. Giveaways for lots of outdoor related merchandise, several hunting trips, including some African Safaris! and hundreds of exhibtors with some stuff you may find you really “need”. Check out all the details at www.birminghamdeershow.com. Ticket prices are$13. for adults, Children 11 and under, $7. dollars and kids under 3, admission is free. Sounds  like a good way to spend a hot July day!

Locally – Alabama Wildlife Federation to Recognize Conservation Achievement Award Recipients. The Alabama Wildlife Federation will present this year’s Alabama Wildlife Federation Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards at a formal banquet, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 2, at the Marriott Legends at Capitol Hill in Prattville.

The Alabama Wildlife Federation Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards, considered the most prestigious conservation honors in the state of Alabama, promote leadership by example and in turn increase conservation of our natural resources including our wildlife, forests, soils, water and air.  Over the past 30 years, Alabama Wildlife Federation has presented these awards to individuals and organizations that make great contributions to the conservation of Alabama’s wildlife and related natural resources. This year’s award recipients are:

Conservationist of the Year: James W. Porter, Birmingham Wildlife Conservationist of the Year: Jeff T. Garner, Florence

Forest Conservationist of the Year: Co-authors of Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See (Bill Finch, Rhett Johnson, John C. Hall, Beth Maynor Young)

Water Conservationist of the Year: Roy H. Collins, Foley

Soil Conservationist of the Year: Dr. William Puckett, Auburn

Air Conservationist of the Year: Aviation Center Logistics Command

Conservation Organization of the Year: Roundstone Native Seed

Conservation Communicator of the Year: David Rainer, Silverhill

Conservation Educator of the Year: Traci Knight Ingleright, Bessemer

Conservation Enforcement Officer of the Year: Officer Elliott Waters, Tuscaloosa

Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year: Barbour County Youth Hunt

Youth Conservationist of the Year: Catherine Anne Wofford, Andalusia

For more information about the awards and recipients, visit www.alabamawildlife.org. Tickets to the banquet are $40 and are available for purchase by contacting AWF at 1-800-822-9453.

AWF Youth Fishing Rodeo will be August third at Lanark in Millbrook!

 

AWF Youth Fishing Rodeo Set For August 3rd – Register Now!

The Alabama Wildlife Federation is hosting its 11th annual Youth Fishing Rodeo from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on August 3, 2013 at Lanark in Millbrook. The rodeo is open to anyone age 15 and under.  Admission is FREE, however, participants must pre-register as space is limited and all youth must be accompanied by an adult. 

Each young angler will receive a t-shirt and will be eligible for door prizes. Snacks and drinks will also be available. In addition, each child may take home five catfish, but may catch and release all they would like. Participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing equipment and bait, though a very limited number of loaner rods and reels will be available on site.

With only a limited number of spots open, it’s important to call Alabama Wildlife Federation at 334-285-4550 today and register! 

This event is sponsored by: The Wal-Mart Foundation, Sam’s Club of Montgomery, Capital City Kiwanis Club, Millbrook & Montgomery Ann Street Wal-Mart Supercenters, Allen & Pat Foster, Marshall Design-Build, LLC., Reddy Ice, Courtesy E-Z Go, Central Alabama Electric Cooperative and Alabama Dumpster.

The Alabama Nature Center, a hands-on outdoor education facility located at Lanark in Millbrook, Alabama, is a joint project of the Alabama Wildlife Federation and benefactors Isabel and Wiley Hill. The Lanark property, State Headquarters for the Alabama Wildlife Federation, contains 350 acres of striking forests, fields, streams, wetlands and ponds that are traversed by five miles of trails and boardwalks including a tree top viewing platform. The Alabama Nature Center hosts a variety of outdoor education programs including Lanark Field Days events for youth and school groups, Expedition Lanark Summer Day Camp for children aged  5 – 15, and monthly weekend events for the general public.

The Alabama Wildlife Federation, established by sportsmen in 1935, is the state’s oldest and largest citizens’ conservation organization. The mission of AWF, a 501(c)3 non-profit group supported by membership dues and donations, is to promote conservation and wise use of Alabama’s wildlife and related natural resources as a basis for economic and social prosperity. To learn more contact Alabama Wildlife Federation at 1-800-822-WILD or visit www.alabamawildlife.org.

Wow! three great events that could appeal to a broad range of us outdoor enthusiasts This weekend and the next weekend is looking good! 

~postoak~  going to Birmingham Deer Expo Tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

Crimson Addictions, Its an Outdoors Inspiration!

 

 

Steele Schwonke, on the JOB

Steele Schwonke, Crimson Addictions Founder, at his day job! ~postoak~

I recently spoke with Ron Schwonke, President of Crimson Addictions about his company. Crimson Addictions, a local outdoors sports company. Read his interesting story below how he and his Son, Steele Schwonke, started this outdoor company, even while Steele was serving in Iraq and now in Afganistan and other family members were battling Epilepsy. This family grabs life by the horns! Or in thier case, Antlers!

Crimson Addictions is a local outdoor company specializing in videotaping hunting and fishing adventures. The company is the culmination of a dream of its’ founder, Steele Schwonke (22), who is currently deployed to Afghanistan with the US Army. Ever since he was a little boy, Steele dreamed of having a show on TV and pictures in hunting magazines. So, in September of 2012 he asked his family and best friends to help him build a hunting company. With money he saved from his first deployment to Afghanistan, he had a website built, bought a video camera and started booking hunts.

 

Home for Christmas!! Steele arrowed this great buck last year! ~postoak~

In their first year of operation, Crimson Addictions has filmed deer, turkey and hog hunts in AL, GA, IL and OH. They have also partnered with some other great local companies trying to break into the hunting industry such as BKM Outdoors, Straight Creek Calls and C-EZ Reflective Outdoor Products. The Crimson Addictions crew is Steele Schwonke, Ron Schwonke, Tanyon Schwonke, Eric Beers, Justin Sexton and Jay Rushing.

Each grew up in the outdoors and is passionate about hunting and capturing video footage. They are looking to bring something different to the hunting/fishing industry and show the rest of the country how we do it in Alabama! They recently hit 1,200 likes on Facebook and have followers from all over the country. Look for future videos of them bow-fishing on the river, hog hunting in the swamps or shooting ducks in the flooded timber.

Steele’s mother, and youngest brother, Tanyon, both have epilepsy. Last summer while Steele was stationed in Germany, Tanyon had brain surgery to remove the part of his brain that was causing his seizures. The operation, performed at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, was a success and now Tanyon is seizure free. In fact, this summer he traveled to Europe with the People to People Student Ambassador program.

This year Crimson Addictions, in partnership with Timberland Outfitters, is hosting their first annual benefit hunt. They are raffling off tickets for an all-inclusive 5 day bow hunt to Canton, IL from 10/1/13 to 10/5/13. The hunt will be filmed and posted on YouTube and the Crimson Addictions website. The tickets are $75, with proceeds going to the Epilepsy Foundation and as a scholarship for a local student to participate in the People to People program. The winner will be chosen by random drawing on 9/1/13. If interested in purchasing tickets, please email them at info@crimsonaddictions.com. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter at Crimson Addictions TV.

The Alabama Gun Collector’s big Summer show is this wekend at the BJCC Civic Center. The theme is Western guns and the show is always brimming with  great buys on guns, gun trades, collectable shooting memorabilia, hunting supplies, coin collections and is a great way to spend a hot July day! I will be there, hope to see you! Check out their website for all the information! http://www.algca.org/index.html

 

Closer to home, the Alabama Wildlife Federation will be hosting another great weekend of Activities at the AWF Headquarters on the grounds at beautiful Lanark in Millbrook on July 20th and 21st.Explore the woods of the Alabama Nature Center this July, and see what cool creatures await you along the trails. The Alabama Nature Center will be open to the public Saturday, July 20 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, July 21 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. for more information on this great Summer outing for the family right here in the river Region. Check out the full slate of great outdoor events coming in the next few weeks at AWF! http://www.alabamawildlife.org/

 

A Bad Day Fishing Does NOT Beat A Good Day at Work!

 

This is the image I had in mind when we left the dock last week Read about the trip to see how we did! ~postoak~

Most of you have heard the phrase “a bad day fishing beats a good day at work”. I have certainly uttered that phrase many times through the years and it was always true to me until my last fishing trip.

Last week I took the family to the beach for the “family vacation”. Sand, Sun, lots of fun, and the reality was it was rain, pain, and lots of funds- down the drain. So much so that my next vacation will be in the Smokies, or somewhere, without the sea and sand!

My youngest Son, Walt, who lives in Nashville, wanted to go “Deep Sea Fishing” so I  wholeheartedly agreed since that used to be my “outdoor sport of choice”. In 1985  I moved my family down to Mobile to happily take a job location change with my employer. As a child, my dad would tell us kids stories of his latter childhood living in Bayou La Batre and how much fun he had living on the coast, so when I got that opportunity, I jumped on it! I was never disappointed by that decision either!

An old college friend of my brother ran a charter fishing operation out of Perdido Key so I gave him a call and we hit it off so well, he allowed me to fish on his boat many days when the charter was light and I would assist as a “sometimes spare deck hand”. Other days he would get a group of us guys together to go fish “on halves” mostly in the winter months, and I had a blast! We caught large numbers of fish and I kept a freezer full of fillets the entire time I lived there. I absolutely loved to fish in the gulf and enjoyed hundreds of great trips reeling in great catches of  most of the bottom dwelling species and quite a few King Mackeral,Wahoo, Dolpin, Spanish, Yellow Fin, and my two favorites, Amberjack and Cobia.  I learned to inshore fish with my neighbor and to pull a shrimp net around in Mobile Bay when the season allowed it. I loved the Gulf fishing and the Salt Life! Then, duty called and  my job took me away to Tuscaloosa and then over to Montgomery where I have been since 1991. So my gulf fishing has been very limited over the last 22 years although I have made a couple dozen trips but, not any in about the last 4 years. Walt had never been and it was an experience that just begged for a father and son bonding day!

I booked us a couple of spots on a “party boat” with a well known fishing fleet out of Orange Beach and was a little disappointed to find the boat so heavily booked but, I thought “no problem”. Soon as we left the dock and cleared the pass at Alabama point we were met with rough seas but, not too bad, swells were 6 to 8 feet but were large “rollers” so they were not that bad to me.  Not so, for a number of the other “fisher-folks” many of whom were from Arkansas, Tennessee and several from Indiana. About 12 to 15 started visiting the rails and some just hung there and “chummed” all the way to our first stop. I felt so sorry for several of the youngsters and the ladies who clearly had no idea what a day of the Gulf was going to be like.  I watched Walt and he kept assuring me that he was fine and had been taking Ginger supplement tabs for 2 days and that they were great for motion sickness.

At our first drop we caught some real nice snapper and I felt good about the day. We had some rain showers, so the sun was not a factor but, after we boated a few snapper, the captain said to pull the lines and off we went, all too soon, to fish at another “spot”. At the next stop the snapper action was minimal so we again were ordered to pull out and off we went. The seas remained fairly rough, with some waves in the 10 foot ranges and it made fishing too much of a chore to really enjoy.

Then the showers stopped, the sun came out and combined with the extreme humidity to make the back of the boat into a salty sauna on a roller coaster!  I did hang a big fish at one of the later stops and reeled him in for 6 or 7 minutes with him working the drag and the deck hands standing by with a gaff saying “best fish of the day right here” I got him up to a point where we could see “color” and then, he made a lunge toward the bottom and broke off!  I was not too happy at that point and shortly after that, the Captain announced “time to head in people!”

It gets worse! The poor folks who were so sea sick had just started to sit up and decide they might live through this ordeal and the few of us who were left fishing were standing at the stern wishing we had more time to fish as the boat gained speed heading back toward land. The boat ride back was supposed to be about 2 hours and when the boat started to slow, the engine shut off, and then the boat drifted to a stop after a 45 minute run, we all started to look around and ask for answers and the looks on the crew member’s faces told us it was not another fishing stop!

How does a licensed captain, who is working at a large, “supposed to be” well ran marina, let the boat, that has a 1,000 gallon fuel tank, run out of fuel 15 miles off shore? I don’t know that answer but, there we were! drifting in heavy swells with no fuel! For the first hour, we just sat and looked a little upset, several of the guys got out reels and fished with no success at all, and the poor sea-sick crowd just got sicker and more distraught!

One poor fellow from Arkansas just collapsed over the corner of the rail in the left stern and heaved so many times, he had nothing left to even spit! Three young women who had been laying about in the cabin, sick all morning, just gave up and held each others hair out of the way as they leaned over the rail, trying in vain to be “lady-like” as they got sick. It was quite an experience and none of it positive! The ones of us who were not sea sick were staying out of the cabin where all the sickies were but, the afternoon sun was boiling our brains as we drank bottles of “whatever we brought” to keep from drying up and blowing overboard. IT WAS HOT!!

Well, we drifted for two hours until the rescue boat made it out to tow us back to the dock and amidst the curses of some of the passengers, prayers from others, and 4 guys in the back, who were “beer drinking champions” singing the theme from Gilligan’s Island about the “3 hour cruise”, we arrived back at the dock 12 hours from our departure time and finished our “6 hour” trip!  The few Snapper caught that day were filleted and distributed to those who wanted a share but, Walt and I did not stay for that little bag of real expensive fish!  We did however, go to the office and demand a refund, which they gave with no comments.

I have fished in the Gulf for about 50 years now and I can conclusively say this was the WORST Trip I ever had! Walt says he is “done” and will never go back out in the Gulf. Hopefully I can change his mind, and our Luck, if we do ever go again!

Oh Well, Next Week I am going fishing again! BREAM fishing at a pond on our farm!

The Gun show in Birmingham is also next weekend! Unlike fishing, it never dissapoints, even If I don’t buy anything! The Show this quarter is a Western Guns Theme and is always a very enjoyable way to spend a hot July day! It is at the BJCC so come on up!

~Post Oak~