Our next photo to be highlighted comes
from Buner Evans in Georgia. This beautiful, peaceful photo of a whitetail doe was captured on June 4, 2010, with his
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checking this blog, because you may be our next featured hunter! Please include your name, location and a short story with your photo if you want it shared on our Grow the Hunt blog.
Friday morning, I had the truck loaded up and headed out bright and early to pick up my buddy, Sloan, on the way to the river to do a little trout fishing. It had been almost a year since the last time I had been up there. I had been trying to get up there all year, but with everything I have had going on, this was the first chance that I have had to get there. Fishing is usually better in May and June than it is in July, but we had to just take what we could get.
We decided to fish the “upper part,” as we call it, because the weatherman was calling for some heavy thunderstorms. We didn’t want to go in from the top of the mountain and get caught in bad weather. Usually, I wouldn’t pay any attention to him because it seems that he is hardly ever right anyway, but we heeded his warning. When we arrived at the parking area, there were more cars there than I like to see. With them being there that early, we figured that they were most likely campers. As we hit the trail, the sun was penetrating the Hemlock trees and mountain laurel giving us just enough light that we didn’t need to use a flashlight. Though Sloan had done his share of trout fishing, this was his first time on this part of the river and the first time that we had gotten a chance to fish together. My dad would have normally not missed a chance to be there with me because he knows every rock and ripple on the three mike stretch of river that we normally fish, but with his recent back surgery and hip replacement he wasn’t feeling up to the challenge. On the way down the trail, I pointed out to Sloan some of the places and things in the river that my granddad and dad had named over the past fifty years and the memories that I’ve had of these places since I was a kid.
After about an hour walk, we reached the handsaw hole where we had planned to start and the cool mountain water was very refreshing when we eased off into it. I was explaining to Sloan that my grandfather, dad, and uncle had been after a fish that was always in this deep hole for years and all of them had had it on the line one time or another. Until, one morning, my granddad got another chance at him and made it count. I don’t recall how long they said it was, but I do remember it was a shade over 8lbs. As I was telling him this story, he missed a fish and shortly after that I caught a small brown about nine inches long. The rest of the day went about the same way; all of the good water where you thought there would be a good fish laying, we would catch a small fish or a horny-head. It was a little confusing because those smaller fish were not supposed to be in those kinds of places; and if the bigger fish we were after were there, those little fish would definitely not be there.
Slow as it was, we still caught our share of fish even though we didn’t catch “Ol’ Handsaw’s” great grandson. Sloan got an education about this part of the river as we have mapped it out. We talked about how fun it was going to be to take our boys up there and teach them about the river the same way it was taught to us, and hopefully they will have as much fun learning about it as I have over the years.
Like many of the supposedly ingenious hunting tactics that have come-and-gone over the past years, the tried and true method of using a waterhole has never evaporated! In fact, it has only flooded the hunting industry with an incredible niche to increase their success.
Whitetail deer will quench their thirst by any means necessary. Generally, deer will dip into a fresh moving stream, sizeable pond or even lake! As we all know, H20 is one of the most critical elements for life to exist on this planet. Both humans and animals alike depend on water to survive. Water plays a vital role in the health of whitetail, more than we may even realize!
Why Waterholes Work: Waterholes are a way for whitetails to grab a quick sip. They work as an attractant in many ways. Although deer do receive much of their water from the foods they eat, a small manmade waterhole is a great investment. During the summer months when temperatures are skyrocketing into the 90’s and the humidity soars, deer develop an intensive craving for water.
You will find that deer will use them in the summer months and rutting phase much more frequently than any other time of the year. Place your game camera on a nearby tree that overlooks your new waterhole and you’ll be amazed by some of the sights you will see!
How to Pick the Best Location: Location is incredibly vital to the longevity of your waterhole. You must be sure your waterhole is in a spot that will retain water year round, won’t evaporate and leaves deer at ease.
I prefer building at least a 10x10ft waterhole that is at least thigh high! This ensures that my deer quenching station is large enough to notice, full enough to attract, and nice enough to contain a lot of water.
Many hunters dig their waterholes in extreme low spots, which may sound good initially, but the ending results are not as flattering. Many times this creates a manmade pond that overflows, breaks your retaining wall, and floods your hunting location. The best spot to build a waterhole is just below a ridge. This ensures that there will be an adequate water flow that dribbles into your hole. You must also dig your hole in a spot that is covered in shade. Evaporation is the most detrimental factor to ruining a great watering hole. Pick your site with a full understanding of daily sun hot spots to avoid this problem.
Depending on which soil type your property thrives on, you must consider whether or not you may need to use a rubber lining to retain water. Clay is obviously the best water retaining soil imaginable. How To Build One: Building your waterhole is a step that includes a general idea of your property’s topography, deer travel corridors and prevailing wind direction. Be sure to take precaution in remembering that this is a spot that you will be hunting come crunch time.
There are many land management companies that specialize in digging holes with heavy machinery. The cost varies significantly across the country. Please refer to your Yellow Pages, Google search engine or friends to find an excavator that works best for your situation.
If you are not interested in hiring an outside source, you may want to make a quick run to your local farm supply shop. You could purchase a plastic water tank that cattle farmers use. If that doesn’t work, you will find a variety of kiddy pools that you can easily dig into the ground. Many people find that small manmade dirt ponds can be too inconsistent for holding water in sandy locations even with a rubber coating of liner dressed around the edges. All it takes is one tear to ruin your creation and swing the floodgates open for a waterhole disaster!
You may want to speak with your hunting partners and see if you can use a waterhole strategy on your property. With a little hard work and preparation, you will find yourself sitting over a dynamite spot this fall!
This week's photo to be highlighted comes
from Brian Cramer in Dixie, Washington. This buck definitely has some potential for next season or so and was captured on July, 2010, with his
Keep sending in your photos and
checking this blog, because you may be our next featured hunter! Please include a short story with your photo if you want it shared on our Grow the Hunt blog.
As the garage door reached its peak and became quiet, a familiar feeling came over me that no words can explain. It’s that feeling you get on a morning like this one when the temperature is in the low sixties when has been eighty every morning; it just seems to make me automatically feel better. It felt like a cool October morning when I would be heading to the tree to do a little early-season bow hunting. There was no wind and everything around the house seemed to be in a better mood on this morning.
As you can imagine, the temperature in July don’t stay in the middle of the thermometer long and it got right back to where it was supposed to be. That afternoon, I wanted to go to the farm and check one of my Moultrie cameras to see what had been going on for the past couple of weeks. My parents had been seeing several fawns around and I was hoping I might have some pictures of them. Also, there were a lot of young bucks that showed up in January and I was anxious to see how many of them were still around and what kind of progress their headgear was showing.
It has gotten to be a family ordeal when checking my camera. I used to just jump in the truck or golf cart and just hurry in and hurry out, but no, my little boy always seems to know where I am headed. That afternoon was no different so we loaded into the golf and headed out to check our camera. When we were halfway between the gate and the camera, we topped the hill and there was a big doe feeding in the middle of our fields. Luckily, she hadn’t heard us coming and Tye got to watch her for a while. After swapping cards and getting back to the house, we had about 400 pictures to sort through. We had the usual squirrel, bird, and turkey pictures but the deer had been there quite frequently, also. There were a lot of does there at all times of the day and night, but I have yet to get a picture of any fawns. By the look of several of the does, I could tell that they had been nursing, though. There was also a lot of buck activity in front of the camera, although there were not any monsters. There were – at my best count – seven different bucks that I could make out for sure. I think most of the bucks are two years old and one might be three, but I can’t tell for sure. I just hope that all of them can make it a couple of more years. I have got to get a few more cameras out in the next couple of weeks.
It should be a whole lot of fun trying to keep Tye out of the way while I get them up and ready. I don’t know when I started using my first game camera, but one thing is for sure…they have made the off-seasons a whole lot more fun!
Pictures are an eloquent way to express an emotion, trigger a feeling, and truly articulate a mood. Whether it’s photographing in the core areas of Mother Nature, sneaking photos at a wedding, or snapping candid Facebook profile pictures, many of us have our very own belief system of photographic initiative.
Photographers across the world live and breathe by the mental preparation of stretching the meaning of time. They expand the sleek boundaries of moments in life into an entirely new dimension and meaning. Photographic eloquence is built from the foundation of creativity inspired and fueled by the individual’s eye. The value in each particular image is ultimately constructed by one’s own simple point of view. The final judgments and critiques of excellence are crafted from the perspective of the spectator.
Many images have a mystical distinction that resonates inside the imaginative mindset behind the lens. Photographers from all walks of life, ages, and cultures snap the shutter for different reasons. I know of amateur photographers who enjoy the rush of capturing an incredible still shot that will embark a significant feeling in their heart and soul. I also know many professional photographers who make a living by the seat-of-their-pants. They illustrate their sounds and mind illusions by a sort of non-verbal communication method.
I’ve taken several thousand images and still find myself continually working to achieve a higher standard of photographic skill. My ability to gain an edge and make an unprecedented impression on the viewer is dictated by the dexterity of preparation I put into the idea as a whole.
Photography is much like hunting. You must evolve into the land you walk, breathe the untarnished air, and visualize the event unravel. Many times I find myself being in the same position with my camera as I would with my bow. The adrenaline rush of snapping a once in a lifetime photo is just as hardcore as piercing an arrow into a solid whitetail. The passion is rooted within each and every one of us in some way, shape, or form.
Take a moment to break out your camera to capture the memories of life, moment-by-moment. The essence of life is about feeding your memory spoonfuls of charm that are crunched by the click of a shutter.
Every year after turkey season is over and the weather starts to warm up, my wife starts letting me know that it is time for me to take her somewhere. Now, I don’t know about everyone else, but if I am going to take a vacation I like to go somewhere I can so something besides sit on the beach. I have got to be doing something outdoors or I feel like I am wasting my time off.
A friend of ours has a house in south Florida and invited us down for a long weekend. The good thing about this place is the fishing is awesome and you don’t have to run offshore very far to get into them. Also, he has a boat there and everything is ready to go when we get there. It didn’t take much to talk my wife into going - as you can imagine - and my sister and brother-in-law were going to go, also. We flew out at lunch time on Friday and were in Florida at his house before three o’clock. After getting everything squared away, we got the boat out, the tackle ready and decided to go and catch some bait. After we got plenty of bait, we’d try to go out and find a weed line and catch a few dolphin-fish. The girls decided they wanted to go with us and watch and ride in the boat as well. When we pulled up to the inlet where all of the bait was, there were a lot of boats already there, which was a good sign. To say the bait catching was good would be an understatement. After about thirty minutes of catching bait, we had plenty for the next day’s fishing. With a full bait tank we left the inlet and ran offshore a couple of miles to do a little fishing. We found a small weed line and free lined some bait out. About five minutes after getting the lines in the water, my sister started saying that she didn’t feel very well. As you can imagine, the Friday afternoon fishing trip didn’t last very long.
Saturday morning we were on the water well before daylight and headed out to sea with high hopes. The water was a lot rougher than what they had been calling for so the going was a little slower than we had planned. About five miles out we ran across a small weed line and we pitched out a couple of baits to see if there was any fish on it. As soon as my brother-in-law’s bait hit the water it got eaten! After a few minutes, our spirits got dampened when we saw that it was a barracuda. After we got about fifteen miles off we did a lot of running in circles trying to find some more weed lines but didn’t have any luck. Before we realized it, the clock was pointing a ten o’clock and we didn’t have a fish in the boat. We decided to run on out some more and see if we could find anything that might be holding some fish. When we got in about 1200 ft. of water we spotted a wooden pallet floating in the water and we could see some fish around it. We pitched our baits out and for the next couple of hours it was wide open. The "dolphins" were everywhere around that pallet! Most of them were not the biggest in the world, but they were all keepers and they would do just fine for eating. Once we had finished messing with all of the “schoolies” as they are called, we set the outriggers and decided to troll back toward the house. Trolling back in, we caught three more nice-sized dolphin-fish but never did catch one of the monster bulls that we had been after all day.
We fished Sunday and Monday morning, also, and caught a lot more dolphin-fish but still never got that giant we were after. We caught dolphin-fish, kingfish, benita, amberjack, grouper, and had on three sailfish and lost all of them. We had enough fillets to eat fish twice while we were there and still bring home a cooler full. As a matter of fact, I am getting some fillets ready now and we are having a fish fry tomorrow night with all of our friends that didn’t get to go to Florida with us last weekend!
We are always told to learn from the past, live for today, and plan for the future. Many of us try to live by this inspiration expression, but find ourselves lost in the shadows of today’s spitfire attitudes, diverse beliefs, and sunken heritage. I believe it is important, if not mandatory, for people of all ages to listen. The act of shutting your mouth and opening your ears is quite a task for some, yet a task that’s worth your next breath. One of my most enduring conversations of wisdom comes from the lips of someone who’s been through life’s tribulations. She grew up during the Depression, a time when life’s fruits turned rotten and monetary value was replaced by family values of trust, harmony, and hardship.
My grandma, Evelyn Wikman, has set forth a cornerstone of rich memories into my mind. She’s built, crafted, and sewed the people around her together with her stern voice of reason. She may not offer you the best advice for making an investment into the stock market, decipher the techno-lingo blasted across business journals, or point you in the right direction for cellular phone service, but she brings back a missing link to today’s culture – the link of reality.
Evelyn speaks of bounty. Her harvests are tailor-made from the seed she plants in the spring and reaps her cherished rewards during the fall. She’s truly a garden of knowledge that has cultivated a new frame of thinking for a different generation of people. The rows of her plots stretch beyond the horizon. Over the past 10 years of ingesting her advice, I am finally able to see her vision. There are three distinct riches of life, family, attitude, and the return on investment of Mother Nature.
Family is the most prized possession of our life. These are individuals that create a sense of unity. They’re partners to help, friends to aid, and people to turn to when things flip. Many of us deviate from the ones we so dearly love due to gross reasons. Money, greed, and selfishness are the factors that perish any lasting impression of growth we may find in life. Grandma has taught me that building everlasting bonds with family is the chief principle to living a fulfilled life.
Attitude is what we wake up to and go to bed with day-in-and-day-out. It’s a self-inflicting nest that our personality calls home. There aren’t many days when I enter my grandma’s kitchen to a grumbling elder. She is as illuminant as the morning sun and as jolly as St. Nick. Attitude is the driving force for happiness, content, and satisfaction. My grandma praises that boasting a positive attitude is age’s prescription to tacking-on more years to your life. I see it glowing in her eyes each time I sit next to her.
Lastly, the return on investment of Mother Nature is the ending to my beginning. From the countless seeds of sweet corn to the endless nurturing of growth, grandma knows best when it comes to reaping rewards. She’s lived a life based of yields. Feeding her children and family was the primary staple of existence. The grueling hours spent bent over with dirty knees, nourishing the soon to be riches that will be picked to support fruitful days to come. These are the true monuments of living.
Evelyn Wikman may not be a notable historian, memorable individual to the vast population, nor someone to feature front page on the Sunday Journal... but to me, she’s my most inspirational person I know. The life lessons grandma taught may not have been directly initiated toward any specific person, it’s simply the way she lives, the memories she creates, and the moments that people like myself, will never forget. I truly believe we all must stop from time to time and listen to those who bridge together the hidden meanings of life.
Finally, I can honestly say, I really do know my grandma.
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