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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Field Dressing a Black Bear

With the bear hunt just around the corner, we will cover the basics 🙂  Pictures have been withheld due to graphic nature.

Instructions

imagesFG3W4IGS 1. Clear an area surrounding the black bear. Make the area large enough to allow room to move around and roll the animal away from the entrails. The lowest part of the ground should be reserved for the entrails. Move the bear onto its back. Spread the rear legs and either have your partners hold them apart or secure them with ropes. Repeat with the front legs.

  1.  2. Insert one of your knives in the cavity at the base of the bear’s throat. Cut the blood vessels with a deep, crosswise motion to open the jugular vein and bleed the animal. Move the bear so the blood will flow away from it and clear the ground as needed.
  2. Cut the skin in a straight line from the breastbone — located just below the rib cage — to the base of the bear’s jaw. Cut the muscles along this area to the bone to expose the throat and windpipe. From the same starting point, cut the skin in a straight line down to the anus. Some areas require hunters to leave the genitals for sex identification; cut around the genitals slightly to preserve them.
  3. Split the breastbone.  This can be done with a bone saw, hack saw or a couple of axes.  If you choose to use axes, hold one axe against the breastbone and hammer it with the other axe; this will break the bone from the base of the rib cage up to and through the top ribs. Open the chest by pulling the front legs apart. Cut the windpipe and gullet close to the head. Lay them in the chest cavity for later.
  4. Cut through the abdominal muscles; start at the base of the rib cage. Take care not to puncture the intestines, the stomach or the bladder; doing so could taint the meat. Sever the muscles down to the pelvic bone. Enlist your partners to hold open the bear so you can work more smoothly.
  5. Break the pelvic bone by using the same technique implemented the breastbone. Do not cut the urinary tract as it may contaminate the meat. Start on one side of the chest cavity and use your knife to cut the diaphragm from the chest wall. Start at the base of the ribs and slice as far back into the cavity as possible. Have your partners pull the organs to the side so you can see and cut more easily. Repeat the process on the other side of the black bear.
  6. Cut the intestines and rectum from the split pelvic bone to where the rectum meets the muscle tissue at the anus. Cut a circle in the skin at the base of the tail; cut 1 to 2 inches from the anus. Cut the muscles to the top of the pelvic bone to free the anus and rectum. Pull the lower intestine, rectum and anus away from the cavity and hold clear. You must not puncture or cut the urinary tract or intestines.
  7. Hold the parts, roll the black bear away and allow the intestines and stomach to spill onto the ground. Grab the windpipe to pull the lungs and heart out onto the ground. Cut any remaining diaphragm tissue to free the organs. Complete the field dressing by draining as much blood from the bear as possible and wiping the body cavity with cloth rags to clean. Do not use water. At this point your main concern becomes to cool the cavity and prepare for transport which can be done by propping the cavity open with a tree branch.

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    Proper field care will ensure less weight and trouble with removal and transportation from the hunt site.

     For more information on black bear hunting, visit us at http://www.wawangresort.com

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Black Bear…the Basics

Here is a fantastic and very basic overview of black bear, what they are and why we hunt them.  In the case if Wawang Lake Resort, our outfitting is done in the fall, over bait and the average weight of our boars was 278 lbs. last year with 2 over 400 lbs.   Our sows, 180lbs with three over 300 lb.

Black Bear Hunting Basics

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If you’re considering taking up black bear hunting or trying to decide if it’s right for you, it’s a good idea to get an overview of what it’s all about. There are a lot of misconceptions about black bear hunting floating around out there, so it pays to know exactly what you’re in for when you set out to hunt “America’s bear”.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of black bear hunting, including population, seasons, weapons, meat, trophy items, and biology relevant to hunting.

Population, Seasons, and Weapons

Although the population of the black bear (Ursus americanus) is in decline in some areas of the U.S. (due to habitat loss), in other areas it is growing rapidly, and in still others it is at an all-time high. The total population of black bears in the lower 48 is estimated to be between 300,000 to 500,000, and the Alaska population is estimated to be 100,000 or more.

Black bear hunting is permitted in a little over half of the 50 states. Many Western states have black bear hunting seasons. In some of these states, hunters are allowed to take two black bears per year. Other popular areas include portions of the upper Midwest, the East coast, and the South. Even a handful of states in the East where black bear hunting has been prohibited for years have recently opened up limited seasons.

Black bears are hunted both in the spring and the fall. However, spring seasons are only allowed in about eight states, and spring hunting often requires applying for a lottery. Fall seasons are typically general seasons, and this is the time when most bears are hunted.

Black bears can be effectively taken with any of the typical weapons used for other big game, including rifle, bow, shotgun, muzzleloader, pistol, and crossbow. (As always, be sure to check your particular state’s game regulations.)

Meat and Other Items

bearroastBlack bear meat is considered by many to be a delicacy. In fact, even as recently as the late 19th century, bear dishes were some of the most expensive items on the menus at the finest, exclusive restaurants. “Bear bacon”, the whole, smoked hind quarter of a bear, was a prized staple in the diet of settlers on the American frontier. The meat is often compared to pork or lamb, but with a distinctive flavor all its own.

Interestingly, that flavor can vary quite widely depending on what the bear has recently been eating. The most highly prized meat comes from spring bears who have been consuming large quantities of grass and other vegetation as well as fall bears who have been feasting on berries, fruit, or nuts such as acorns.

Luckily, although they are omnivores, about 80-90% of a black bear’s diet consists of plant material, so your odds of having tasty meat are extremely good. Younger bears are also widely reported to have better meat than older bears. Assuming you take a younger bear that hasn’t been eating salmon or carrion, you’re in for quite a treat.

An important word of caution here: black bear meat often contains the parasite that causes trichinosis, an infection that usually results in either no symptoms or minor digestive discomfort but in rare cases can cause more serious complications and even death (although only in less than 0.3% of cases).

Fortunately, there is a simple remedy for this. All bear meat must be cooked completely through until there is no visible pink in the meat. Cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 137 degrees is hot enough to make it safe, although the USDA recommends an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Freezing the meat has not been shown to be adequate protection against trichinosis.

Another highly edible part of a black bear is the fat. Bear fat (which is quite plentiful in fall bears) can be rendered to produce a useful and particularly flavorful cooking oil. Even from a modestly sized bear, you can easily get a couple gallons of this precious liquid.

In addition to the meat and fat, there are also a few prized items to be had from a black bear. First, the fir is soft and luxurious, and many hunters keep the hide and turn it into a rug or even clothing such as a vest. Black bear skulls are fascinating thing to look at, and they’re a great conversation starter when displayed up on the mantle or other prominent location.

Biology Relevant to Hunting

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Black bears can vary greatly in size, depending on genetics, the quality of the habitat in which they live, and their gender and age. Mature boars (male bears) can weigh in at over 800 pounds in rare cases. The average adult male, however, weighs between 180 and 300 pounds, while the average adult female weighs slightly less, between 140-250 pounds. You can expect to net about 30% of the live weight in meat. For example, a 200 pound bear may produce up to 60 pounds of meat.

Black bears possess impressive athletic abilities. They can sprint at speeds over 30 mph, can climb trees with ease, and are accomplished swimmers. They also have short, curved, sharp claws and canine teeth capable of ripping and tearing flesh. With these traits, it’s easy to see why they fit squarely into the classification of dangerous game.

While black bear attacks are exceedingly rare, even for bear hunters, they do happen. And tracking wounded bears means the danger increases exponentially. The tracking is bound to take you through dense cover, and the bear’s thick fir soaks up blood fast, making for sparse blood trails to follow. Bears have even been known to loop around and double back on their trail, lying in wait for pursuing hunters. However, with proper preparation and planning, as well as solid shot placement, most bears can be recovered safely and without incident.

Note: In regions where black bears share their range with grizzly bears, it’s important to know how to identify the two bears and tell them apart so you don’t accidentally shoot a grizzly bear, which is a violation of federal law. Here’s a handy bear identification training you can take online for free so you can know for sure before you pull the trigger.

The size of a black bear’s home range can vary greatly depending on the location of food sources in the area. It can be as small as a couple square miles or it can be much larger — a male’s home range may go all the way up to 75 square miles in extreme cases. Bears are opportunistic omnivores, which means their movements are often unpredictable. This wandering lifestyle requires specialized tactics, the most common being spot-and-stalk, baiting, hunting with hounds, and calling.

Regardless of which tactics you employ, you’ll need to defeat a bear’s considerable arsenal of finely tuned senses if you want to have any hope of getting close enough for a shot.

Jon Hanson - Tiffin, IA 440 lb. black bear

Jon Hanson – Tiffin, IA 440 lb. black bear

Sense of Smell

First and foremost is their sense of smell, which is thousands of times better than a human’s. In fact, it’s been shown that if you take a bloodhound’s nose and multiply it by about seven, you’ll get a sense of the black bear’s olfactory powers.

There are both defensive and offensive strategies you can use in order to overcome these powers and get within range of a bear without it smelling you. On the defensive side, it’s wise to use as many scent control measures as logistically possible. More importantly, always keep tabs on the wind and make sure you’re hunting into it. A wind checker device, such as a small spray bottle filled with unscented talcum powder comes in real handy for this, as does a fine, frayed string tied to the end of your gun or bow.

You can also go on the offensive and use the wind to your advantage. With good scouting and planning, it’s possible to hunt with the wind at your back, allowing your scent to move out ahead of you and drive bears toward another hunter in a tree stand or other fixed position.

Sense of Hearing

bear headNext up is their sense of hearing, which is thought to be significantly better than a human’s, although it’s not known exactly how much better. They can detect a human voice at 300 yards and the cocking of a gun at 50 yards.

Your best defense against a bear’s ears is to simply be quiet. Move slowly and carefully, wear quiet clothing, and speak in whispers to your hunting companions. On the offensive side, always keep your ears tuned for bear sounds. Bears make noise when feeding, such as turning over rotten logs looking for grubs, and they communicate with each other through woofs, sniffs, grunts, and growls.

Sense of Sight

Contrary to popular belief, bears do, in fact, see in color. Their vision is roughly equivalent to a human’s — better, if you include the fact that they have excellent night vision. Although they’re somewhat near-sighted, they are adept at detecting movement, even at long distances.

To win the battle of the eyes, you’ll need to have a solid defensive plan. It’s very important to wear full camouflage and choose a pattern that breaks up your outline and matches the local vegetation well. More importantly, always move slowly and cautiously, and never move when a bear is looking in your direction.

As for offense, always carry a pair of high quality binoculars. The black color of a bear’s fur can make them a little easier to spot than other big game like deer. Carry your binoculars on your chest with a harness or “bino bra”, and use them often. When hunting open country using spot-and-stalk tactics, you can also employ a high-power spotting scope to give your eyes even more reach.

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What is Solunar and Why is it Helpful?

The Solunar Theory is a hypothesis that animals and fishes move according to the location of the moon in comparison to their bodies. The theory was laid out in 1926 by John Alden Knight, but was said to be used by hunters and fishermen long before the time it was published.

History

1063326111In May 1926, John Aldenn Knight put together some fishing folklore and other fishing factors such as the sun and the moon, hence the name Solunar (Sol for sun and Lunar for moon) to form a theory on the patterns of animal movement. Knight compiled a list of factors which control or influence the day-to-day behavior of many freshwater and saltwater fish. Each one of the 33 different factors were considered. All but 3 were rejected.

The three factors retained were the sun, the moon and the tide. For salt water fishing, tides have long been known as a factor which control fishes’ behavior. As Knight’s research progressed, he found that rather than just tides themselves, the relationship of the moon and sun’s positions relative to each other may be the determining factor.

In addition to the time of moon up (moonrise) – moon down, his research determined that there were intermediate times of the day that occurred in between the two major periods. From that he establishes that there were major periods (moon up – moon down) and minor periods. Knight published the first Solunar table in 1936.

Tables

Solunar tables are tables that fishermen and hunters use to determine the best days of the month and times of the day for catching fish and hunting game. For fishermen, the tides, sunrise and sunset are helpful times of the day to know when the fish are going to bite. For hunters, the tides are not a factor.

Hunters use the sun and the moon to determine when the game will be moving the most.”Other conditions not being unfavorable, fish will feed, animals will move about, birds will sing and fly from place to place, in fact, all living things will become more active, more alive, during Solunar periods than at other times of apparent equal value. …anglers have found that it is a guide to the best fishing of each day, and the quality of their sport has improved…”

Using these tables, a fishermen and a hunter can tell when the moon is directly underfoot and overhead. The strongest activity occurs when there is a full moon or a new moon and is weakest when there is a quarter moon and a three quarter moon. This is because the moon and the sun’s gravitation force is strongest when directly above or directly below our head. The lunar data humans receive is better now because of the newer technology the US Naval Observatory and GPS technology.

This new technology has allowed the Solunar Theory to generate hunting and fishing times with much greater precision It is important to note that data in tables found on various websites should be reverified periodically with US Naval Observatory available data as well as compared against other reputable solunar data providers. Inconsistencies abound due to the complex nature of the Astrophysics computations and overlooked associated anomalies checking that are required to produce useful results. Moon Transits which do not occur for more than a day or associated times being off more than a few minutes are indications of a fundamental issue for a given position and should be suspect.  All data providers should be verified before assuming data presented is authoritative or accurate.

Go to http://www.solunarforecast.com to create your own solunar calendar 🙂

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Posted by on October 29, 2015 in trip planning, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Big Mistakes NOT to Make in Your Bear Stand

Part of the thrill of the hunt, is the anticipation knowing that with every second that ticks by, you are one second closer to harvesting your trophy black bear. What happens when those seconds turn into hours and then into days?   Being under prepared to be in your stand for extended periods of time can be frustrating, and worse yet, can prevent you from achieving a successful hunt.

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It would be awesome if we knew when and where the harvest was going to take place, but that wouldn’t be hunting then, would it?

Having a plan in your bear stand can make your hunt much more enjoyable. Things to consider: weather, bugs, boredom and nature calls.

Weather – Avid hunters know that fall weather can change in a heart beat. It can go from warm, to cold, windy and raining in the blink of an eye. Having the right clothes in your back pack can make the best of a somewhat undesirable situation.

Bugs – can be a huge annoyance in the great outdoors. Especially when you are forced to sit still for extended periods of time. Avoid bug sprays when bear hunting… PERIOD! A new, unfamiliar scent, along with an intuitive feeling that something isn’t right, will keep trophy bears from over coming fear and committing to your bait. Bug jackets and bug nets are a must. (Oh, on side note, make sure you practice shooting with your bug net on). Regarding the portable propane bug eliminators, we highly advise against them as it is a new scent that can be detected by a bear easily and may quickly deter them.

Boredom – Nothing will end your hunt faster than impatience and constant movement in your stand. If you are like most guys who can’t sit still for more than 30minutes at a time, you must bring something with to occupy your mind. I personally use a book. I have also seen guys use those portable, pocket video games. Regardless of what you use, make sure you sit sill and only utilize things that will be quiet and non light reflective.

Nature Calls – Ever been in the stand when all of the sudden you have to take a pee? Sucks, doesn’t it? I don’t know how many times I have had this happen to me, yet somehow I always forget to bring a container along. Put a portable urinal on your packing list. Doing so will make the difference between shooting that monster and taking it’s offspring or nothing at all.  NEVER eliminate off of or near your stand!  There is nothing more offensive and frightening to a bear than knowing a human is directly near by.

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Remember, being prepared to sit that stand can mean the difference between a very successful harvest or having to return and start all over again!

 

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in black bear, hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Grouse Hunting at Wawang Lake

Join us in NW Ontario CANADA for some exciting and thrilling grouse hunting

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Grouse Season:  September 15th to Oct 31st

Grouse hunting is a relaxing pastime that is getting more and more popular every year.  In our area bird hunting can be an adventure in itself!  Driving down the back roads & trails in your truck or on your ATV can not only be thrilling but breathtaking as well as you wander down roads that are in full color deserving of natures fall foliage. Just taking in these magnificent fall colors, peaceful wilderness & the wildlife that you’ll encounter will make you feel like you are definitely “North of the Tension Zone”.

The bush trails with the rise of the birds, singing of the guns, the smell of the pines along with friendly comraderie back at the camp will not long be forgotten.

Surrounding Wawang Lake are hundreds of miles of ATV trails, old logging road, game animal trails and hiking trails. The bush is just stuffed with these upland game birds and on a sunny fall afternoon you will see hoards of them. Many of our guests choose a fishing / grouse hunting combination package and spend half the their time taking advantage of the awesome northern pike and walleye fishing and spend the rest of their time enjoying the clean fall area and exploring the many trails where birds are plentiful.

There are three species of grouse found in Ontario.

Ruffed Grouse  –  Spruce Grouse  –  Sharptail Grouse

Ruffed Grouse is the most common and comprises of 80% of what you will encounter during your hunt.

The limit for grouse in Ontario is 5 birds per day in any combination of species with a total of 15 in your possession and you will be surprised at the number of grouse we do have and how fast you’ll bag those limits.

Compared to other areas the grouse cycle in our area has remained consistently high over the years and we credit this because of less human population that other places are known for.  In a nutshell what you’ll experience at Wawang Lake is a vast area of complete privacy during your hunt.

The most popular guns for grouse hunting are .410 or 20 gauge shot gun and some hunters use a 12 as well.   Quickly becoming more popular is BOW HUNTING for birds.  To increase the thrill and excitement of your hunt give your bow a try and the challenge alone is sure to thrill you.

 Grouse-Fishing Combo Package

September 15th through to October 31st

 USD 495.00  per hunter
CABIN – BOAT, MOTOR & gas
For a (6) night stay

Housekeeping Cabin Suitable For Group Size

Blaze orange hat & vest is required and must be worn out in the field

Canadian Firearms Regulations
All Firearms (does NOT include bows) being brought into Canada must be registered at the Canadian Customs at the time of entry into Canada. A one-year permit costs $50.00 Canadian, or there is a long term permit as well. If you would like further information, you can visit the Canadian Firearms Website through the link on our website or call toll free, 1-800-731-4000.

Canadian Customs
You should be aware of special customs and immigration issues whenever traveling to another country. For people with prior legal issues (including DWI’s) you need to find out what restrictions may be placed on your travel. Visit the Border Crossing Link and/or the Canada Citizenship & Immigration.

DEPOSIT REQUIREMENTS
A $150.00 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of reservation to guarantee a hunt. Balance to be paid in full upon arrival at the resort.  Hunting deposits and installments are non-refundable. Consideration may be given to date transfers if vacancy can be filled.

There are a limited number of spaces available for our hunts. Often there are more guests interested in hunting than there are available spaces, and hunts are often booked a year or more in advance. It is extremely difficult to fill spaces that become available due to cancellation. For these reasons we ask that our guests do not book hunts lightly

For further information, or, to book your next bear hunt please contact us at:
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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in grouse, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Building A Smoke House

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Building a smoke house the old fashion way is a method that has been used for generations. Many people today like to smoke their own meat not only to give it flavor but also to preserve it longer.

The size of your smoker will depend on what you plan to use it for. Whether you want it to just smoke a few fish, smoke sausage every now and then or smoke an entire animal at one time, will help you determine the size of your smoker

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Beginning:

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When it comes to flavor of the meat, people through the years have made up their own recipe of brine to rub over the meat before smoking it.

How To Build A Smoke House

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The Building Process:

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Building a smoke house, there are a few things that should be considered when building your smoke house. It is not important to spend a small fortune for material for the construction. Reclaimed wood will work just fine. You may want a smoker big enough to walk in with shelves to lay the meat on along with hocks from the rafters to hang the meat.

You will want to vent the building to allow the smoke to travel freely through the building.

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The Firebox Process:

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Building a smoke house, a very important factor  is to situate your fire box  down hill from the smoke house. This will allow the smoke to travel up hill into the smoker much easier. All that is required for a fire box is a fire box made from brick or even an old barrel with the smoke piped into the smoker will work just fine by having the fire box away from the smoker, the meat will not dry out as much as if it were right in the smoker.

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The Smoking Process:

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To also help in the flavoring of the meat, by using different kinds of wood chips in the fire box will create different smoke changing the flavor in the meat.

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Sighting in Your Rifle

So you’ve acquired a new hunting rifle. After saving your hard-earned cash and landing permission from your other half, the gun rests in your hot little hands. It looks great, feels great… it probably smells great… but more importantly does it shoot great? Now its time to hit the range and get this baby sighted in.

Truth is the same holds true for rifles we’ve had for many years. Chances are they don’t require the full-meal-deal, but sighting in, confirming that our equipment is in good working order, or realigning sights is something we should do on a regular basis.

Unfortunately many of us try to kill two birds with one stone. We visit the range infrequently and attempt to sight in and practice shooting all at the same time. It’s important to remember, sighting is very different from regular shooting practice. The process of sighting in involves aligning the scope (or other sights) with the firearm when using a specific bullet and load. Shooting practice involves discharging and often experimenting with different positions to allow our bodies to grow accustomed to the form and function of shooting.

k_wilson_sighting_in2Believe it or not, many of us don’t sight in properly. It never ceases to amaze me how many hunters pick up their guns once or twice a year, assume it’s shooting straight and hit the woods without a second thought. As a professional outfitter I see it all the time. In fact, I’ve seen guests take it personally when, after arrival in camp, I ask them to take a few practice shots – just to make sure their gun is properly sighted in. As though I’m insinuating that they haven’t prepared for their hunt, once in a while I get a hunter who thinks I’m a control freak. Then the truth comes out. After a few shots it becomes obvious; better than half are inevitably in need of scope adjustments. Every one swears that they were shooting one-inch groups at home, but now their rifle requires major scope adjustments. In their defense, a multitude of things can happen to guns in transit. Blunt trauma to cases or directly to the scope itself can throw it way out of whack; hence the need to sight it.

To be honest many of us are guilty of not maintaining our rifle and scope. If you shoot regularly that’s one thing; you’re constantly checking it and tweaking the scope when necessary. In reality, most of us don’t. By in large, recreational hunters pick up their guns a few times each year. Whether you’re tuning a brand new rifle or confirming the accuracy of an old one, here are a few tips for sighting in:

1) Bore sight your rifle before shooting
k_wilson_sighting_in3This first step applies mostly to rifles and scopes that have a new marriage. The first time a scope is mounted to a rifle the gunsmith will usually use a bore sighting tool. This tool is used to approximately align the crosshairs of the scope with the rifle barrel. Unfortunately some folks erroneously rely on bore sighting alone to zero their gun. Remember bore sighting can be precise but most often it only approximates accuracy. If, when you visit the range, you discover that you’re not even hitting the paper at all, consider rough bore sighting your gun. Practical with bolt-action rifles, by removing the bolt, you can stand behind the gun, look through the barrel and center the target. Then without adjusting the gun, look through the scope and make the necessary adjustments to bring the crosshairs in alignment with the target. This should get you hitting the paper in no time, then you can move on to shooting.

2) Shoot from a stable platform and rest
To reliably confirm the accuracy of your rifle and scope, you must shoot from a rest. I’m not sure I should say this or not, but I will. To illustrate the naivety of some, I’ve actually witnessed guys trying to sight in their rifles at the range by shooting freehand from a standing position. Needless to say these are the guys that get frustrated because they’re not hitting anything.

Remember, when we’re sighting in our rifles we’re not testing our shooting skill, but rather the accuracy of the gun, scope and bullet being used. Our goal should be to eliminate or at least minimize human error and allow the equipment to do its thing. With this in mind, a stable shooting bench or table is always recommended. Most shooting ranges are furnished with suitable tables or benches and adjustable stools. If you’re using a portable bench, make sure it is resting level on solid ground. Likewise, it’s imperative to use a shooting rest. In my opinion a vice can be that much better. I really like MTM Case-Gard products (www.mtmcase-gard.com). They make a variety of shooting supplies that are both affordable and practical. Few of us exhibit perfect shooting form. By understanding the biomechanics involved with aiming, breathing, squeezing the trigger and following through we can better acknowledge how to eliminate torsion while shooting from a rest. By cradling the rifle fore-end on a rest or in a vice, we can align our sights with the downrange target and maintain that alignment for a long period of time. Then, by gently squeezing the trigger to discharge, we minimize our human influence thereby allowing the firearm to perform more or less on its own.

3) Begin at close range, then move out to 100 yards and further
I’ve heard much discussion about the standard 100 yard shot and arguably for most bore-sighted rifles, sighting in at that distance is fine. But talk to the pros and most will agree that you should begin at 25 yards if you want to do it right. Making adjustments at close range is easier than at longer distances. At 25 yards you’ll find it easier to acquire your target; it simply appears larger and is easier to center the crosshairs at this short distance. Inaccuracies are simpler to rectify and adjustments can be made quickly at that distance. Remember, inaccuracies are exaggerated that much more at greater downrange distances.

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As you make your fine adjustments to your scope, be aware of the increments and don’t overdo it. For example, with my Leupold VXIII, one click = 1/4 inch adjustment. So, if my shots were hitting consistently two inches to the left of center, I would likely need to dial the adjustment eight clicks in that direction, then shoot another round of bullets. Some folks disagree, but in my opinion it is better to make subtle adjustments, then shoot to confirm that you are working toward the zero mark. As long as there are no fliers, a series of three shots is typically representative of where the gun is shooting. Although with today’s scopes I don’t believe it is as crucial, I still like to give it a firm tap to seat the crosshairs after each adjustment.

When your rifle and scope are in sync at 25 yards, move to 100 yards. Most big game rifle and bullet combinations that are sighted in a couple inches high at 100 yards will shoot a hair low at 25 yards – with most deer hunters this is considered ideal (e.g., I like my 300 Win Mag to be 2″ high at 100 yards). Once your rifle is sighted in, try shooting at 200, 300 and 400 yards to better learn how your rifle, scope and ammunition perform at greater distances.

4) Use the same ammunition that you plan to hunt with
Not all ammunition performs the same. Be sure to sight in your rifle with the load that you plan to hunt with. Ballistics of variable bullet weights and designs (not to mention manufacturers) will perform differently. For instance, Winchester Ammunition’s 150 grain Supreme Elite XP3 (www.winchester.com) will inevitably perform differently than Remington’s 180 grain Core-Lokt, PSP (www.remington.com) shot out of my 300 Winchester Magnum.

If you reload your own ammunition, then you’re likely acquainted with factors affecting bullet performance. Working the right load may take some trial and error, but the same applies – always sight in with the bullet and load you intend to hunt with.

5) Record and reference each shot
Sighting in can be as labor-intensive as you make it. As a rule, several items are required and several more make the job that much easier. As an absolute necessity, we require a table or bench, a shooting rest, our rifle, ammunition and a target. Beyond these basics, the job is much easier with a spotting scope, tripod, and additional targets along with a marker.

As you begin shooting, be sure to analyze and record each shot. I like to use a Bushnell Elite 15-45x 60 mm spotting scope (www.bushnell.com) mounted on a solid tripod. At 45 power magnification, I can see every detail on the downrange target. My scope allows me to closely assess where I hit in relation to where I aimed. Further, many shooters like to keep a matching target on the bench while they are shooting. By checking their shot, then marking it on the target beside them, they can better track their progressions to confirm any scope adjustments and accuracy. This eliminates much of the guessing about which shot was which.

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Mistakes Men Make When Hunting With Women

Women are joining the hunting ranks at a faster rate than men. But, we ladies still encounter a few problems when it comes to learning the sport. The No.1 problem for women going afield is trying to find places to hunt.

The No. 2 problem?  You guessed it. It’s you guys.

Women are the fastest-growing hunting demographic

Women are the fastest-growing hunting demographic

Don’t get us wrong. We’re not trying to man-bash. We love that you’re willing to take the ladies in your lives hunting. But, sometimes you guys make mistakes – big ones that may prevent us from wanting to ever hit the woods with you, or anyone else for that matter, ever again. If you truly want us out there with you, then read on to find out how to make our experience more enjoyable. If you don’t, then read on to learn how to ensure that the ladies in your life will never want to go hunting again.

We asked some of our female hunting friends to help us list the top 12 reasons women get turned off while hunting. We also provided solutions, because we care. (Also, remember that dark chocolate is usually the choice of the female hunting masses.)

Barbara Baird

Barbara Baird

1. Underestimating the importance of comfort
“I know we have cushy bottoms made for sitting, but not for hours on end in the briars. During one of my first turkey hunts, my guide made me sit on the ground in a briar patch where I couldn’t see anything coming or going — just a small swath directly in front of my feet. The temperatures started dropping – from the high 50s to low 40s – with light, and then toad-strangling, rain. We sat there for six hours. My legs jumped and moved all on their own, just trying to keep some body heat. When I finally stood up, I almost fell back down. I had to stop at a gas station, change in the bathroom and wipe down with paper towels. Now that I know more about turkey hunting, I would never do that to a new hunter.”  – Barbara Baird – Realtree.com blogger and publisher of Women’s Outdoor News

The Solution: Remember these words: “This is fun.” If it ain’t, call it a day. How can you tell? Well, look at her face. If you see strained expressions or grimaces, she’s done. Or, she might say something like, “Sure would be nice to take a bath.”

2. Behaving condescendingly, because big girls do cry
“There have been times while hunting alongside men that I have heard the words, ‘You stay in the blind; we will put out the decoys … too cold for you!’ I once made the shot on a bird, but the guy next to me screamed, ‘How did you like my shot?’ I have been told, ‘You shouldn’t shoot a 3 1/2-inch shell – too much for your little arms to take!’ and I have even heard, ‘The only reason you get any attention is because you are a woman hunter and they are so rare you don’t have to be good.’” – Kimberly Snyder – Outdoor pro-staffer for various waterfowling companies and contributor to Lady Hunter Magazine

The Solution: Don’t push. Just be there. Kimberly advises, “It can be very tough. When I take women out with me, I make it about what they are comfortable with. I don’t ever push, but I try to make it a bonding and fun experience that keeps them wanting to get back out there. I try to be positive, supportive and encouraging – all the things I would want from someone. Allow them to push themselves.”

3. Not helping with shooting practice before the hunt
“Practice, practice, practice. Help them make good shots so they don’t have to see an animal suffer. The experience can be frightening and can even make them not want to take the second shot to finish the animal. And, take caution in showing women the guts and gore. If they don’t want to see it, don’t make them. They’ll grow into it in their own time.”  — Mia Anstine, outfitter, hunting guide, freelance writer

The Solution: Make sure she is familiar with her gun or bow before she hunts with it. Has she patterned that shotgun or sighted in that rifle? Does she know all the safety rules for handling firearms? Has she practiced with her bow? Education on how gun or bow works and what it will do is paramount to success in the field. Also, think about recoil and noise. You can greatly aid your lady friend by making sure that she has hearing protection and that she wears shoulder padding.

They even make a recoil pad that pins under a shirt on a bra strap, but it’s probably best to let her do that – unless you ask first.

Ample shooting practice is essential for a successful hunt

Ample shooting practice is essential for a successful hunt

4. Being crude or rude
“I try to be just one of the guys when I’m hunting with men, especially if I’m the only lady in camp. I don’t get offended easily, but that doesn’t mean I want all sense of decorum and class to be tossed out of the window. I once hunted with a guy I’d never met who not only burped inches from my face, but he peed right in front of me as well. Let’s just say that put a bit of a damper on my hunt. I also hunted with a guide who proceeded to show me vulgar photos of women on his cell phone. Only minutes after meeting me, another guide felt the need to tell me about all of his and his friends’ forays with prostitutes. There are some things female hunters don’t want to see or hear about, at least not this female hunter.”  — Stephanie Mallory, Realtree blogger, owner of Mallory Communications Inc.

The Solution: Sing it, ladies … R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

“Animal House”-type antics never belong in hunting. Treat the lady hunter how you’d want someone to treat your mom, sister, grandmother or any other female in your family. A good rule of thumb is to let the female hunter set the tone for your hunt. She may be prim and proper, or she may be as crude as a Bob Saget stand-up routine. If you don’t know her that well, play it safe and display good manners. Avoid vulgar language, sexual innuendos and crude behavior. If she’s your buddy, wife or girlfriend, then you should already know how she wants to be treated. If you haven’t figured that out yet, then enjoy what little time you have left with her.

5. Not putting safety first
On another turkey-hunting expedition – this would be about No. 19 without a tag filled – my guides sat me, my hunting partner and a cameraman under a tree. They positioned themselves about 100 feet down from us. A thunderstorm promptly rolled in, but did the guides call it off? Heck, no. We sat there in the rain, watching toms walk past us out of range for hours. Meanwhile, the creek rose, logs rushed down it and our posteriors created magnificent butt puddles. When lightning started striking around the field, I kept thinking that my kids would tell their friends that, “Mom died while sitting under a tree in a thunderstorm, pointing a metal rod into the air.”  — Barbara Baird

The Solution: Never put your lady in danger, from the weather or anything else. If she’s the mother of your children, consider whether or not you have enough insurance to raise said children properly with an English nanny? Stephanie and I have four children each, and believe me, our husbands could not afford the quality of care that we dish out to our kids.

Stephanie Mallory

Stephanie Mallory

6. Showing lack of respect for the lives taken
“I once attended a hunt camp where another female would be hunting for the first time. She was very intimidated by the whole idea and wasn’t sure about taking an animal’s life. When we arrived at the lodge, the first thing the guides did was put a video on TV showing them shooting chickens off a fence post for fun. The new hunter was horrified, of course, and immediately ran to her room and started crying. The guides made all hunters look bad in her eyes and set a poor tone for the rest of the hunt.”  — Stephanie Mallory

The Solution: Yes, we ladies understand that killing is part of the deal. But nothing will sour a woman’s taste for the hunt more quickly than when a man acts cruel or indifferent about the animals he’s hunting, or not hunting. If you show respect for the life you are taking, your female hunting companion will in turn have more respect for you and for the sport you love.

7. Pushing the shot
“When I was 12, my dad and I hunted with a group that did deer drives. If you didn’t shoot at everything, you were ridiculed, but if you shot something too small, you were also ridiculed. To me, hunting is a very personal experience, and taking a life is a serious action. The person pulling the trigger should not feel forced into it.” — Trisha Bowen-Steffen, outdoor writer and pro-staffer for various bowhunting companies

The Solution: Assuming that she’s had all the training mentioned earlier, and that the recoil or noise is not the reason she hesitates in the clutch for the shot, she might not be ready. Or, she may not want to shoot that particular animal that day. It is her choice, not yours. You cannot rent the space in her head as to why she let an animal walk, but you might ask her to explain her reasoning to you. Do not judge. Bring chocolate.

Nikki Boxler and David Blanton

Nikki Boxler and David Blanton

8. Not listening or communicating
“I am naturally outgoing, and when there is something I enjoy, I want to learn everything I can about it. I research, ask questions, practice … Did I mention ask questions? Seriously, I always have a million questions because there is always more learning to be had, and it is great to hear about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Many times you can learn through their mistakes to prevent you from making them in the future.” — Nikki Boxler, model, hunter and director of marketing for Neiman Funds

The Solution: We guess no one has to tell you that, as a whole, women like to talk.

In fact, some researchers claim that the average woman speaks 13,000 more words per day than the average man. So talk back.
Encourage questions and answer them thoughtfully. One of the biggest complaints women have about their romantic relationships with men is lack of communication. Lack of communication can be a problem between the male and female hunter as well. You’ll have plenty of time after the hunt to zone out in your lazy chair while recovering from the exhaustive effort of speaking all those extra words.

9. Displaying lack of patience
“I was immediately turned off during one of my first target-practice sessions when my boyfriend just assumed I knew what every button and lever did on the rifle. He lost patience and jumped in to do everything for me, instead of explaining to me how to load it properly. Talk about discouraging. The day ended with me in tears and never wanting to pick up a gun again. He later apologized and realized that guns just aren’t natural to some people. I mustered up the confidence to try again, and now I really enjoy hunting with him. After a lot of practice, I’m beginning to understand how fun it can be to shoot and hunt … once you get the hang of it.  – Candace Schaak, avid hunter from Cold Bay, Alaska

The Solution: Let’s face it: Patience isn’t always your strongest virtue. But it’s important, especially when you’re hunting with a new female hunter. The best teachers are patient teachers. Take time to instruct and explain the process throughout the hunt. Remember, this is all new to her. If you become short-tempered, impatient or irritable, you’ll ruin the whole point of the hunt, which is to have fun. And you’ll have an upset woman on your hands, which isn’t fun either.

Don't assume the lady you're hunting with for the first time is incompetent. Chances are that won't end well

Don’t assume the lady you’re hunting with for the 1st is incompetent. Chances are that won’t end well

10. Treating the woman as if she’s frail
“My guides and the other hunters in camp went off and left me at the cabin one morning as I slept because they assumed I wouldn’t want to turkey hunt in the rain. I guess they were just being protective, as I was a few months pregnant at the time. But, it was only sprinkling, and it wasn’t cold, so I would have been fine. Plus, I had really wanted to go!” — Stephanie Mallory

The Solution: Yes, we want to be comfortable and content, but we’re not afraid to get dirty and brave the elements when the situation calls for it. Don’t just assume the female hunter doesn’t want to get wet, muddy or tired. She may be just fine with crawling through that mud hole or sitting in the rain while waiting for a turkey to show up. All you have to do is ask her. She’ll let you know what she’s willing to do or not to do.

11. Focusing only on the kill
“Most experienced hunters I’ve gone with simply do things like pick a stand location, set out decoys, or use a call without explaining how and why. I’d say most women would like to not only go on the hunt, but actually learn how to hunt. I realize the guy wants to just handle everything and make sure the hunt is successful, and I appreciate that, but just being told when to pull the trigger is not enjoyable in itself.” — Brita Lewis, account executive / marketing strategist at Gray Loon Marketing Group

The Solution: For many guys, it’s all about getting the job done. You set a goal of taking an animal, and you want to accomplish that goal. But, education and fun should be part of the goal as well. Use every opportunity to teach and explain what you are doing. In fact, don’t just wait until the day of the hunt to involve the female hunter. Get her involved before season when you are scouting, planting food plots, hanging stands, etc. Involving her throughout the process provides her with more enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment as well.

12. Underestimating the female hunter’s capabilities
“I work for a well-known gun company, and my turkey-hunting guide knew this. Even though I was hunting with one of my company’s’ guns and had a lot of experience shooting it, my guide would not let me load it myself. When we arrived at the hunting spot, he insisted on loading the gun, but he had difficulty loading it and keeping it quiet at the same time. Hmmm. I could have loaded it quietly without any effort.”  — Marian Council, creative director at Benelli USA

The Solution: News flash: no one likes to be treated as if they’re incompetent. If you don’t know the woman, don’t just assume she’s incapable of loading her own gun, driving an ATV, calling a turkey or any other skill one might use while hunting. Again, all you have to do is ask. She might surprise you.

By Barbara Baird and Stephanie Mallory

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Unexplainable Deer Story

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Men’s Socks – Heat Holders


Keep feet warm on the coldest of days and pull on this pair of solid color crew length Heat Holders® for men, the warmest thermal sock.

Thick, chunky and with a massive tog rating of 2.34, Heat Holders® are made from a specially developed heavy bulk yarn which has extreme thermal qualities. With long pile cushioning, these thermal socks will help keep feet fully comfortable and supported.

The inside of each sock has been intensively brushed that not only feels sensationally soft but also traps warm air close to the skin keeping your feet warmer for longer.

original_dbbea0c0-8910-4acc-b452-58b5f13219ca_2048x2048

Heat Holders® are non-binding. They are diabetic friendly and provide relief for cold feet due to circulation problems.

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