Another Fall Season is on the Horizon, Don’t Get Left Out!

Big Bass are still biting early and late in the day. A friend sent me this photo of a lunker recently caught West Alabama.

Dove season begins next Saturday. Yes, I know, It is slipping up on many of us again!

But not me, I have got in a couple of nice rounds of skeet shooting. An eye exam after the frist trip, and that, plus a change in shotguns, made the second trip much better. I must admit though, I still consider my wingshooting ability average but, the first skeet shooting round of the season confirmed some bad habits of mine that show up every year at the beginning of dove season.

1.Bad Habit -lack of practice. As a turkey hunter, I practice for days and days before the opening day. I have all my mouth calls “broken in”, categorized for low wind, high wind, early no foliage, later full foliage calling. Friction calls and strikers matched up, Box calls chalked, sanded and assembled in the proper pockets of my turkey vest. And I am sharp from day one. Not so, with my dove shooting preparation. Most years, the first shot I take is at one of those little “gray streaks” and then mutter a few syllables that I shouldn’t. About the 15th shot, I actually connect on one and feel a little “better”. My “swing through the shot” muscle memory and brain start to team up and I am having that internal conversation of “you remember this, don’t you? ugh maybe not”. After a couple of boxes and some very conscientious working on my shots and calculating the lead I should be taking, things start to click, and I finish strong.

At the first sporting clays shoot earlier this year. I first hit on trigger pull number five and was sporadic until the last of 2 boxes when I finished with a good last round of 4 out of 6 between the stations, including hitting the last three in a row. I told the operator I was done and he just smiled like he was relieved. The only good thing was, most of my companions shot worse than me, except one and he is already razzing me about another shoot.  If at all possible, GO PRACTICE before dove season so you can have a much more fun afternoon than the “agony of the miss” .

Speaking of Missing. Be sure you are not missing out on information REQUIRED in the new laws for Alabama. Worse than an afternoon of poor shooting is an afternoon topped off by a large hunting fine! Fines have increased a great deal from the”old days” and those folks who used to say, “I will just take a chance on getting caught” will be shocked at a bad decision based on incorrect assumptions will cost them! The new laws are posted on the States’ Department of Conservation web site so check it out! This really is Hunting News YOU NEED TO KNOW! http://outdooralabama.com/new/newhunting.cfm

Hunting season for small game is just around the corner and a early season squirrel stalk is a marvelous way to get outdoors for some quality time that you can share with a youngster, a buddy, or even your spouse! I love to make about 3 or 4 hunts a year and harvest some squirrels for fried squirrels with gravy, squirrel dumplings, or squirrel stew. All are great ways to introduce kids or other non-hunters to the great table fare that can be created. All natural, low fat, organic, and a lot of fun! Squirrel and rabbit both make for some excellent meals in the early fall. If you have never had BBQ rabbit back straps or hind legs, you are missing a real treat! Anyone interested in a few of my recipes for prep and cooking send me an email postoakman@gmail.com

Say you are not in a hunting club and have no access to hunting land? Then you are not trying. Alabama has some great public hunting in central Alabama and much of it is not as “busy” with hunters as you might think. I am a real fan of the Lowndes WMA and the COOSA WMA. Both are big tracts of land with plenty of room and a short drive. Alabama has a large array of public hunting lands  so you whould start your hunt for a place here;http://outdooralabama.com/public-lands/

Now if you have the money but, don’t have the time to scout and hunt public lands or join a hunting club, then an outfitter maybe the best route. They have done all the prep for you and all you have to do is to come hunt! They offer the most exclusive hunting places outside of the local “land barons” and can put you in the close quarters to some trophy bucks of a life time! Alabama Black Belt Adventures offers a site with listings for many of the premiere hunting lodges and outfitters in our state. Vist their web site to find that hunt for a trophy! If the old saying “time is money” speaks loudly to your busy life, then these lodges can make you a bargain of a deal to take a minimum of your time and reward it with maximum results for deer enjoyment! http://www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org/outfitters-and-lodges

Get outdoors to hunt, fish, hike, bike, splash in a lake or river! One day you might be too old!! But, Not me!!

More next week! Send me some photos ! postoakman@gmail.com

~postoak~

 

 

 

Dove Season is getting close! Practice with Some Sporting Clays!

Dove Season is just two weeks from Saturday! Get your gear and your shooting habits ready! ~postoak~

Dove season begins for most of Alabama on SEPTEMBER 7th!!  That is only TWO WEEKS from this Saturday!  See the attached ALDCNR web site - http://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/season-limits/2013-14dove.cfm

When I looked at the calendar and realized it was that close, I started dragging out my hunting clothes, dove bag,hearing protector, shells and vest. As soon as I get through writing this edition of “Gobbles and Grunts” I am going to open up my gun safe and decide which Shotgun to take to a sporting clays event I have been invited to this weekend and see if I can shake some of the ‘rust’ off my shooting motion. I think it will be better to “stink” at sporting clays for the first 15 to 20 shots rather than miss or wound the first 15 to 20 doves that fly by on opening Saturday.

As a child, I only had access to an old single barrel, 12 gauge, Iver Johnson that was a hand-me-down from my brother. I only got one shot but, I often killed 20 + doves out of a 25 shot box. Now, I am having a great day if I kill 15+ out of the same 25 shot box and sadly, there were days last year where 10 to 12 per box was my kill count. I endured a few comments from some of my family members and that was OK. It was the lack of “way to shoot” or “good  shot” and various other accolades shouted across the dove field between some of the other shooters that confirmed my “off target” marksmanship was not gaining me any fans.

I did not want to repeat a day like that opening day so the next afternoon, I called my cousin down in Sumter county who operates a quail hunting outfit and asks if he would like to shoot some sporting clays on Sunday afternoon with me supplying the clays, shells, and other items. We shot a 250 round case of shells and by the time we finished, I was busting about 80%  of the clays that came flying out of the big electrict  “chunker” as he called it. That machine could throw various patterns and two clays at a time at various speeds. It was great! and Macks was able to help me identify my errors, so I felt like I was ready to go back to the dove field in Tuscaloosa and shoot as well as most of the other guys, and I did!

On the second Saturday hunt I approached the 18 to 20 kills  per 25 count box and it erased the bad memory of the previous hunt. I even got a fair share of those “good shot” accolades that my ego was quietly asking for and the doves great on the grill! I hope that by now, you see what I am advocating, GO SHOOT SOME CLAYS! You don’t have to have a fancy clay thrower, just a cheap plastic clay tosser that can be bought where the clay targets are sold. There are also some inexpensive spring loaded clay throwers that can make your shooting lots of fun and challenge you to “practice up” for September 7th!

After you get a nice harvest of doves, peel the breast out, skin them, pick put any pellets and wash them thoroughly, allow them to dry for a few minutes on a paper towel and then marinate them in a 50/50 mix of Dales seasoning and water. for at least 30 minutes. Then wrap a piece of bacon around each and grill them until the bacon is nice and crispy. I find that a covered grill does best. Other variations, additions is to stuff the breast with a Jalepeno pepper that has been stuffed with your favorite cheese or sausage. Or stuff it with a fresh white mushroom cap or slice of a shitake mushroom as a stuffing. The shitake can burn, so monitor closely and if you like, marinate the shitake with the dove breast, or wrap and marinate any of your favorite breast stuffings.

Dove season is a very social style of hunting. It is a great way to spend time with young hunters and teach them some great hunting lessons without them even knowing it. They will think they are just having a good time!  I remeber many grat saturdays in the dove field, listening to college football games and the sound of shotguns telling me to get ready that another flock was headed my way!

Find a local hunt. The Bulletin Board usually list a few and Craiglist has some under the sporting section.

Good luck !

~Post Oak~

 

Looking For Somewhere to Hunt This Fall? Start Here!

I Took this nice buck a few seasons back and he is what I am looking for this fall! ~postoak~

For those lucky guys, and gals, that own property or have access to private lands for hunting and fishing, count your blessings! I know I do!

I have access to some great family land in Tuscaloosa County and Greene County that has very good hunting on some beautiful swamp hardwoods in one tract near the Warrior River and another tract that has some nice rolling hills to hunt that is located in the middle of a large paper company tract. I feel fortunate to have places to hunt like these and I also own a small tract near the Warrior River, also in Tuscaloosa County, that is just 25 acres but, I can go down to it and watch deer come in an feed on most days.

Most folks however, have to join a hunting club or find a piece of land to lease the hunting rights on and both those methods for hunting access are getting expensive. As A young hunter, my family hunted Gulf States Paper Company land in numerous locations around the western blackbelt and in the “60s” decade it cost us $5.00 for an annual permit to hunt several hundred thousand acres!

Later, land and timber companies such as Weyerhauser, American Can Corporation, MICO, and McMillan Blodel all had various hunting programs and the numbers of places you could hunt for just a few dollars a year was mind boggling! Unfortunately, those days are gone forever and hunting is a tightly controlled lease system where the better the hunting, the more dollars required to purchase the hunting rights. While I have access to some great property, it is all over a 100 miles from my home, so most years I join at least one hunting club, sometimes two or three of them, if the price is not too steep, just to have places close to home for some quick day trips in the fall and spring.

If you are having trouble finding these clubs or an individual land leases, let me direct you to the links below that may have just what you are looking for.

The Alabama Forest Owners Association is a great resource to locate leases and already established hunting clubs seeking members http://www.afoa.org/hunt.htm

Another good site that currently has hunting tracts in central Alabama for Lease is a land management company called Plum Creek http://www.plumcreek.com/Recreation/LeasingOpportunities/tabid/143/Default.aspx They also have several clubs seeking members for those who like to hunt with an established group of guys. However, it is getting late but some vacancies are still around.

Westervelt, the legendary land management company that used to be Gulf States Paper Company has leases and clubs looking for members in mostly West Alabama. I know that can be a challenge but if you want some of the best hunting in the state, go west young (or old) man! http://go.westervelt.com/wwlm/ws_avail_lease_bid.cfm?state=AL

Soterra Wildlife Services is another place to look for some affordable leases in central Alabama, I just noticed a lease in Butler county on their site that looks pretty good. check them out  http://www.soterrallc.com/Soterra/huntingInterestedParty.action

Resource Management Services is still showing 3 tracts for lease on their site and two are small leases in Perry county that could be good for a singleminded deer hunter. Visit them at http://resourcemgt.com/hunting-and-recreation/states/AL

Last but, not least is the local The Bulletin Board, weekly trade publication. It can be a great place to find a club for some local hunting this fall!  http://www.thebulletinboard.com/

Montgomery Craigslist is another local resource with hunting club memberships and it too is just a click away! http://montgomery.craigslist.org/search/sga?query=hunt&zoomToPosting=&srchType=A&minAsk=&maxAsk=

And if you still can’t find a place to hunt, send me an email and tell me what you are looking for in a hunting place! I have more places to share! Email me, postoakman@gmail.com and lets talk about it!

Until next week!

~POSTOAK~ OUT DOORS!

 

 

AWF State Wild Game Competition this Weekend in Millbrook

The Tri-County Winning Cook Team is going for the State Title This Saturday! ~postoak~

This weekend the AWF Winning Wild Game Cook Teams from thirteen competitions across the state will battle it out for a $1000 first prize and bragging rights to the title Alabama Wildlife Federation-Alabama Army National Guard Wild Game Cook-Off State Champion on Saturday, August 3th at Lanark Pavilion in Millbrook.

The festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m. and, in addition to the outstanding cuisine, there will be a silent auction, raffle and musical entertainment. The Alabama Army National Guard will also be sponsoring a “People’s Choice Award” which is voted on by the people in attendance.

Each cook team will spend hours preparing their tables and their mouthwatering specialty of wild game, fish or fowl for the judges and those lucky individuals in attendance. Competition will be steep as each of the participants won their regional Cook-Off in order to secure a spot in this event.

Tickets are available for $35 per person or $50 per couple.  Proceeds benefit Alabama Wildlife Federation’s programs and projects. The ticket price includes one  Alabama Wildlife Federation membership, a subscription to the Alabama Wildlife magazine, and all of the food you can eat!  For ticket information contact the Alabama Wildlife Federation at 1-800-822-WILD.  Driving directions can be downloaded at www.alabamawildlife.org.

The purpose of AWF Wild Game Cook-Offs is to supply a place for AWF members to interact, for non-members to learn more about AWF, and to provide the opportunity to raise funds to support AWF and its programs and projects.  The Cook-Offs also demonstrate that sportsmen/women utilize the wild game and fish they harvest and cook it with care, skill and expertise to produce great table fare.

The Alabama Wildlife Federation, established by sportsmen in 1935, is the state’s oldest and largest citizens’ conservation organization.  The mission of the AWF, a 501©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 about AWF, including membership details, programs and projects, call 1-800-822-WILD or visit www.alabamawildlife.org.

Outdoor phtography is a great way to enjoy time in the woods hunting with a camera!

Are you a amatuer wildlife photographer? or at least a “shutter bug”? who likes to get out doors and marvel at the splendor? Then the ALDCNR has a contest for you and you don’t even have to cook! If you are a amatuer photographer and have a wildlife or nature photo that you are proud of, Kim Nix, Editor of Outdoor Alabama Magazine wants your photos for the  2014 Photo Contest.

Photos will be accepted through October. Entries must be submitted on a CD-ROM or a DVD and accompanied by an official entry form, which can be downloaded at www.outdooralabama.com/outdoor-alabama/photo_con.cfm.Entries must be postmarked by Oct. 31, 2013. For more information, call 800-262-3151, write to Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest, 64 N. Union St., Ste. 106, Montgomery, AL 36130, or email Kim Nix at kim.nix@dcnr.alabama.gov. downloaded at www.outdooralabama.com/outdoor-alabama/photo_con.cfm.