Posts Tagged ‘Browning’

The First Hunt

April 9th, 2017 by BTC Editor

With having accumulated many special memories over the course of my 35 years of hunting, I can vividly remember so many details. Memories begin with my first successful whitetail deer hunt, my first turkey, and my first harvest with a bow. All of these events pale in comparison to being able to watch my eight-year-old son squeeze the trigger on his very first deer…a spike buck.

Like many fathers who love to hunt, my hopes had always been to raise my two children to share my passion for hunting and the beauty of the outdoors. I know many hunters; however, whose children had grown up with little or no interest in following in their father’s footsteps when it came to pursuing wild game. I often wondered what it is that separates those kids who develop the passion and those that do not. There is no sure way of getting or keeping our children involved in hunting, yet there are certain things that we can do to increase the odds of them developing that lifelong passion.

From my experience and from what I have learned from others, it is key to get them involved at an early age. Children generally do take an early interest in their parent’s passion for the outdoors. My children were always there when I would bring home a harvested animal. They would come rushing outside to take a look. Whether it was gutting a deer or processing one, I allowed them to be a part of it. I made sure to answer any of the questions that they may have had. I would always say to them, “One day you both will get to go hunting with dad.”

Once a child reaches the age where you feel it is the right time to take them hunting, you must make necessary changes to how you hunt. You are going to have to keep it somewhat “fun” in their eyes. It could be a tag-along trip where they sit with you or simply head out to do some scouting. Explain what you are doing and what you are looking for. Allow them to utilize some of the gear, such as binoculars or rangefinders. If you are like me, you may need to shorten the time frame of your hunt. For instance, you may be accustomed to a 4 or 5-hour sit, but now you may need to make it only a few hours to prevent the child from becoming bored. Once you detect boredom, either change things up a bit or head to the house.

You may ask yourself, “When is the right time to take your child hunting?” The answer depends on the individual child. I believe it is important to not push them to go until they have shown the desire. We, as hunters, all want our children to share our love for hunting and the outdoors; however, if you force it on them, you risk driving them farther away. If they do not show as much interest as you would like, then simply give them their space. Always keep the invitation open and never force them to be an unwilling participant.

Make sure the child, when the day comes that they are ready, has the correct equipment. Make sure they are comfortable with the proper clothing. Even for seasoned hunters, we know the misery of freezing our butts off while trying to stay out for as long as possible. If it is miserable for us, imagine how much more it will be for the child who is not accustomed to cold temperatures for extended periods of time. You do not want to over-clothe them either. They need to be comfortable with proper fitting clothing. Remember, they so want to be like dad. Make their attire fit the part of a hunter.

 

And just as important as the clothes they wear, is the weapon that they carry or utilize. Proper fit, whether a bow or a gun, is crucial. For a rifle, that means making sure your child can properly shoulder and aim the firearm and that the recoil is not more than they can handle. Assure they are comfortable with it, via practice, and preach the importance of firearms safety. I made sure to allow my son to carry his unloaded weapon to the stand. He held that rifle so tight and walked with so much pride. If your child is using a bow, it is important to assure proper fit with correct draw length and draw weight. If your child is not comfortable with the weapon they are utilizing, they probably will not be able to shoot it accurately or consistently. This can quickly lead to disappointment and frustration with hunting. If you are truly serious about getting your child involved, it is your duty to equip them properly. Just as you would do for yourself.

Finally, to keep them interested in hunting, sooner or later, they are going to have to experience the taste of success. While you and I may be able to sit in a tree stand or blind for hours on end, day after day and never draw back an arrow or push that safety forward, a young child is going to likely deem this boring and lose interest. This may mean that you need to start them out on smaller game or, in my case, place them in a situation where you know they will have a high chance at success in harvesting their first game. Sure, I dreamed of my son taking a nice big buck on his first hunt, but I was just as thrilled when a couple of spikes came in and presented him a shot. After my son dropped the deer in his tracks, I think it is safe to say, he was hooked. He experienced the “rush” that all of us, as hunters, have felt. Now, he does not mind spending a little more time waiting for the next opportunity.

 

When that special day came for just the two of us to make that trip to the field, I felt confident that we had put in the time preparing for a successful hunt. I am testifying that there is nothing more rewarding than watching your child harvest his or her first game animal. The excitement in their eyes, and to feel the pride of knowing that you played a major part in their success, is a feeling like no other. Most importantly, there is a bond that develops between you and your child that makes it that much more special. A special closeness that could only come from time shared afield. A bond that, if properly nurtured, will last a lifetime.

 

Blog post originally shared on “The Break TV”.

 

By Bobby Raybourn

Bobby is a team hunter on “The Break TV” on the Pursuit Channel. He grew up near Odessa, MO and began hunting at a very young age alongside of his father and older brother. Bobby has also taken up Taxidermy in his spare time and his business is thriving.

Using Trail Cameras to Scout for Turkeys

March 26th, 2017 by BTC Editor

Knowing where to hang your trail cameras and what kind of settings to use when scouting for turkeys is important, as it can vary a little from using cameras for deer hunting. When hanging my trail cameras, whether I’m using them for deer or turkey hunting, I pretty much keep 3 things in mind when determining where to put them: bedding, food and travel routes. So, for deer I often like to hang my cameras where I know they will be coming from their bedding area to their feeding area, and vice versa. For turkeys, I like to do essentially the same thing: find where they are roosting and figure out where they are going when coming off the roost. These locations for deer are often different than they are for turkeys, so scouting is a must.

A few things to look for when you are scouting for good turkey trail camera locations are roosting sites, travel routes, strut zones, and feeding areas.

Roosting Sites

You will know a roosting site when you see one. I have found several on our property, and they have always been in tall, dead trees and have lots of turkey droppings underneath them. You may find some primary wing feathers as well. When hunting last year, I actually spotted a couple of toms still up on the roost, which further confirmed their roost site. I found another spot this spring while shed hunting – it was a dead tree in on the edge of our food plot – and found quite a bit of droppings and a wing feather underneath it.

Camera Setup:

If I know where a roosting site is, I personally like to set my trail camera where I expect they will be landing when they fly down from the roost. From observing turkeys while out hunting I have a good idea of where they usually land when they fly down. On my property, this is usually in one of our fields planted in wheat and clover.

Time-Lapse mode is a great option for fields this size so you don’t miss anything further out where turkeys may not trigger the camera. I have this Browning Strike Force trail camera set up quite a bit higher to have a better view of the field. As you can see in this photo, the turkeys are flying in off the roost.

 

Travel Routes

I’ve noticed a couple of similarities in how both deer and turkey travel from my experiences hunting, and it seems they often prefer to take the easiest route possible. Some examples of routes I have seen both deer and turkeys using often is logging roads in the woods, creek crossings, openings in the timber, and holes in fences.

Camera Setup:

These are usually in small, tight spots so I prefer to hang my camera pretty low here and will often put my camera on burst mode so I don’t miss any action. I have this Browning Strike Force set to take 4 multi-shot images every 5 seconds.

 

Strut Zones

The best way to find these is to actually see a turkey using it in person. I know where a couple are on our property from observing the turkeys while out hunting. If you haven’t seen your turkeys using one, try looking for wing drag marks in the dirt while you’re scouting. On my property, our turkeys love to strut on the edge of one of our food plots where the sun hits them, so keep that in mind when looking for strut zone locations.

Camera Setup:

If you are looking to get some neat footage from your trail cameras, a Strut Zone is the perfect opportunity to switch your trail camera to Video Mode! Make sure you have a larger SD card in this instance as they can fill up pretty quickly on video mode.

This Browning Strike Force camera is actually in the same location as the “Roosting Site” listed above and Time-Lapse mode is what I prefer in this location due to the field size.

 

 

Feeding Areas

Food plots planted in chicory, wheat and/or clover are excellent options for hanging your trail cameras to scout for turkeys. We have one field planted in clover and chicory, and another planted in wheat and clover, both of which really seem to hold the turkeys on our property.

We also experimented one year by plowing up some of the ground on the edge of one of our food plots and the turkeys loved the easy access to insects there! You can see the plowed part in the photo below from the Browning Spec Ops:

 

Camera Setup:

Once again, a good option in a field this size is Time Lapse mode so you can still catch turkey movement outside of the camera’s detection zone, and setting the camera a little higher up.

If you already have a pretty good idea of where the turkeys are feeding at, regular Trail Camera mode works just fine here as well, and I would probably up the picture delay to 20 or 30 seconds here so you aren’t filling up the SD card as quickly with tons of feeding pictures.

When making your game plan for opening day of Spring Turkey Season, keep in mind what you have learned from studying your trail camera pictures prior to season opener. Using trail cameras to scout for turkeys will give you a good idea on your flock size, how many different groups of turkeys you may have, and where you need to be setting up on opening day. You will be one step ahead of the turkeys and by using the right settings, will likely get some amazing trail camera pictures and/or videos along the way!

 

By Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

 

Venison Meatball Recipe

February 26th, 2017 by BTC Editor

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb ground venison

¼ cup half and half

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium white onion – finely chopped

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 large eggs

1/4 cup dried parsley flakes

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS

This recipe is by far the best wild game recipe I’ve ever tasted!  I must preface this by saying that up until a few of years ago, I was actually a vegetarian.   Not because I was trying to save the animals.  I did it because I just didn’t care for meat.  However, what I realized when I met my husband, who is a hunter and ultimately the one whom got me into hunting as well, is that what actually bothered me about meat is that I didn’t always know where the meat from the grocery store had come from.  I was growing a few veggies in my backyard, and purchasing the rest through a farmers market or local CSA.  So I have always been aware of where my food came from; but the meat remained a mystery.  Then along comes hunting.  The first time my husband brought a whitetail deer home for us to process I started asking questions.  I began cooking it for my family and realized my kids could never tell the difference between ground venison and ground beef.  Thus began my journey in creating wild game friendly recipes.

Now I am extremely picky with how my food tastes.  I do not like having a gamey taste to it at all.  This meatball recipe is so perfect.  Every time I make it, it gets better and better as I modify ingredients.

Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees and coating the bottom of your 9×12 baking dish with olive oil.  Next, place 1 pound of ground venison in a large mixing bowl.  Add ¼ cup half and half (regular milk works as well, however I have not tried this recipe with dairy substitutes) and then set this bowl aside.

 

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add 1 diced onion and 3 tablespoons of chopped garlic to the skillet.  Be sure to dice your onion into very small pieces.  Saute until the onion is clear.  I tend to like a lot of onion, so this may look like more than 1 medium onion. Never enough onion or garlic in my house!

 

 

Then, add the onion mixture to the ground venison bowl.  Add 2 eggs, ¼ cup dried parsley flakes, ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 teaspoon oregano to this same mixture.  Salt and pepper to taste.  You are now ready to mix with a wood spoon or your hands. I typically use my hands, but am careful for the hot onion/garlic mixture.  Don’t burn your fingers!

 

 

Using the same medium skillet as you cooked the onions (as you can see in the photo I do not clean out the skillet), add 2 tablespoons olive oil and turn on heat to medium.  Roll meat mixture into 1” diameter meatballs.  Don’t look to close at mine.  They are never perfectly round because my kids are always starving.  Place meatballs into heated skillet; browning on at least 2 sides.  You are not cooking them all the way through, just browning the edges.  This makes the outside of the meatballs yummy and slightly crispy.  Once you have browned the meatballs on 2 sides, place meatballs into your greased baking dish.  Bake 20 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes.

 

 

My husband and I tend to eat them plain (that’s how good they are) or dipped in barbecue sauce.  My kids like to put them on Hawaiian rolls with cheese and barbecue sauce.  Either way, I think you will love them! Enjoy!

 

By Tammy Bashore

 

Tammy Bashore is an outdoor enthusiast from South Dakota. She is a professional photographer, the wife of a professional walleye angler and the mother of 2 kids, plus one fur baby, a GSP named Bentley (pictured above). Tammy is also a member of the Huntress View team, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

Hunting With Outfitters

December 26th, 2016 by BTC Editor

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Whether you have hunted with an outfitter before or are considering doing so in the future, here is a list of a few things you, the client, should think about before going. I believe the most important tip I can give you is to always be prepared when booking a hunt with an outfitter, especially if it will be in a different state. With that being said, communication with your outfitter and guide is the key to getting the most out of your hunt.

Come Prepared

  • Know what your outfitter will provide based on the type of hunt you booked (i.e. lodging, meals, blinds, stands, fully-guided vs. semi-guided, etc.) Call your outfitter to see if they have any recommendations for what you’ll need to bring.
  • On top of bringing the necessary tools to take your game, make sure that your equipment is dialed in. Do this before you leave and again once you arrive just in case something changed while traveling. You expect your guide to give you his or her best work so it’s only fair for you to do the same.
  • Know the type of terrain you’ll be hunting so that you can be prepared physically and mentally. If you don’t know this already you can find this out by a quick internet search.
  • Know the typical weather conditions so you can bring all the necessary clothing that you may need (i.e. rain gear; rubber, insulated or snake boots, etc.)

Listen to Your Guide & Be Open Minded

  • Deer and turkey habits will vary state to state so what you are used to back home may not be what you’ll experience on this hunt. Remember your guide does this every day for a living in that particular area so they know what they’re doing. Trust their instincts with blind/decoy setup and take their advice on how to hunt that animal. A good example is turkey hunting: If your guide says they don’t do “run and gun” type hunting that usually means their hunters are more successful with the blind setups and the client being patient. Listen to that advice or else you’ll probably end up with an unsuccessful hunt.
  • Remember that outfitters and guides can only do so much when it comes to animals and their behavior. If your guide did their job, you have listened to their advice and continued to take it then try not to put all the blame on the guide. Animals can be very tricky and can change their behaviors in a second.

Tips for the Hunt

  • If you have physical limitations that require a different type of setup, make sure to tell your guide before you arrive so they can plan extra time for setup or can get extra help if needed.
  • If you have a specific goal in mind, and it can work with your hunt, make sure to tell your guide so you can get the best overall hunt. Whether it be a trophy to take home, to be able to witness beautiful scenery, anything legal or you’re just looking for a relaxing trip, communicating this to your guide will make your hunting experience better. Remember to be open minded, sometimes trophies aren’t always available, spot and stalks aren’t recommended for certain animals or areas and sometimes the animals just don’t want to cooperate.
  • Gun etiquette. This may seem like common sense but you’d be surprised how often people forget the direction their gun barrel is aiming. Not only is bad gun etiquette dangerous, it’s very inconsiderate to your fellow hunters. Whether the gun is loaded or not, always treat it as if it were. This could save a life and also help ease a little tension on the hunt.

 

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Helping Your Guide

  • If you’re able, asking your guide if they need help with decoy setup is very considerate. Most would love to have an extra hand to help set everything out as long as it follows the particular setup they have in mind.
  • Most outfitters include cost to cover the cleaning of the animals but it’s always a good question to ask. If the outfitter takes care of this offering to help hold legs, head or wings back for them is always very much appreciated.
  • Calling can be different depending on the type of hunt you’re going on and the outfitter. If the outfitter covers the calling but that is something you look forward to then make sure to let them know. A good guide will know when the clients’ calling won’t hurt the hunt.
  • After you’ve taken your animal it’s time to get the perfect photo. Your guide will know how to get that beautiful photo of your harvest but if you have a particular pose or tradition in mind just let them know.

Camp/Lodge Manager

  • Camp managers are used to cooking for a lot of people so usually that comes with a large mess. Just because you are away from home doesn’t mean it’s okay to leave more of a mess than necessary. Be considerate and try and pick up after yourself to show your respect for the outfitter and yourself. If you’d like to offer more than that I’m sure they would greatly appreciate it. They usually have the cooking part down but offering to help with dishes or setting the table can be a big help.
  • Make sure to let them know ahead of time if you have any special dietary needs or allergies as this will help them with meal preparation.

Tipping

  • Although it’s not really talked about tipping is very important to guides and how they make their living. Just like a waitress or any type of service business you deal with, you usually expect to leave a tip if you believe they did a good job. If you believe your guide did a good job then a good base percentage to tip is about ten percent. If you think they did a great job than show it with a great tip.
  • Don’t forget your camp manager when it comes to tipping. If you believe they have done a good job then show them with a tip as well. Camp managers usually don’t get paid anything near what your guide does and they are usually up and working the same times.

Overall, be prepared by asking questions, being considerate and remembering to tip. This will make your hunt go smoother and all the more enjoyable.

 

courtney-riser

Courtney is an avid hunter from Louisiana. She has a passion all things outdoors and is an avid hunter. She is also a team member of Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

 

 

Late Season Trail Camera Placement

December 11th, 2016 by BTC Editor

As deer season is winding down and will soon be coming to an end, now is the perfect time to re-position your trail cameras and change your game plan for hunting late season whitetail bucks. As the seasons change, so does a whitetail’s pattern as they shift their focus from the rut to food once again. Here are a couple of tips on trail camera setup and placement to help you get the most out of your cameras before deer season closes.

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Camera Location: Pinch Points and Travel Corridors

While I move most of my cameras to new locations post-rut, I still like to leave one or two at prior locations like pinch points, known deer trails and travel corridors to catch any bucks that may still be out cruising for does. As the fawns come into estrous late in the season, often referred to as the “Second Rut”, these locations are great for catching buck movement in the daylight. It appears to me that is exactly what is going on in the next series of pictures.

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1700:120416:45F:0000:ANDI :2E[099:0453]G[024:0x0016] 1704:120416:45F:0000:ANDI :2E[097:0494]G[024:0x0016]

 

My Setup

When placing my cameras at the above locations, I like to set them up on burst mode to make sure I don’t miss any deer activity. For example, say I had my camera set up to take a picture every 5 seconds, but in normal mode. If this buck would have been trailing this fawn right on its tail, I may not have gotten a picture of him. In burst mode the camera takes several images, one after another, before stopping to reset.

 

Camera Location: Food Sources

Moving trail cameras to the remaining food sources is a good strategy for late season scouting. By now most of the acorns have either rotted or been eaten, so I like to move more of my cameras from the woods to our food plots in the fields. We have a couple of fields planted in winter wheat, clover and chicory, and another one planted in turnips. These have proven year after year to be the hot spots on our property for hunting late season bucks, and this year is no different! After checking my cameras this weekend, this buck has shown up in the daylight hours almost every day in one of our wheat and chicory plots.

 

1440:120616:52F:0000:HAAS :2E[142:0070]G[008:0x0006] 1615:120816:29F:0000:HAAS :2E[140:0076]G[008:0x0006]

 

My Setup

The Timelapse mode on my Browning Trail Cameras is perfect for watching bigger open areas, like our food plots. For the most part, we know where our deer are entering this field, which is why I put this camera where I did. But, deer will often be in that same location and you’d never know it because they are too far away to trigger the camera. Timelapse Mode solves that problem since it can capture game at 200+ yards away. Plus, you can easily view a full day’s worth of pictures in just minutes, thanks to the Buck Watch Timelapse Viewer Plus software that is included with every Browning Trail Camera.

If you still have a deer tag you’re trying to fill, utilize your trail cameras as best you can. They are a deer hunter’s most valuable scouting tool! I shot my biggest buck to date on the last day of Missouri’s 2014 archery season as he was making his way into our turnip plot. Had I not been watching and patterning him with my trail cameras, I may have picked a different stand in that food plot and missed my chance at him.

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Aside from avoiding tag soup, there are other benefits to keeping your trail cameras out during late season. Use them to help take inventory of what deer survived the season, determine your buck to doe ratio, and age of your deer. Looking over this season’s pictures, as well as pictures from prior season, will help you determine your game plan for next season. Another benefit to keeping your cameras set up so late in the year is to aid with shed hunting. Once you start getting pictures of bucks dropping their antlers, you’ll have a better idea of when and where to start looking for sheds.

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Deer season isn’t over until it’s over, so if you’ve already taken down your game cameras for the year, I recommend getting them back out! The above late season trail camera locations and setups have helped me fill my deer tags in the past. Even if I don’t fill my archery tags this year, I have already gained some valuable information to carry over into next season, thanks to my Browning Trail Cameras!

 

By Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

Traveling With Firearms – Part 2

November 27th, 2016 by BTC Editor

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Taking your Firearm Hunting in Foreign Countries

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As a hunter, your gun is your best friend. You have spent many hours with it, target shooting, in the stand, bumping around in the back of the truck; it becomes more than just a gun to you. Of course, no matter where in the world you are hunting, you want to take your best friend with you, but that is not always possible. When planning an international hunting trip it is always important to know the rules and regulations around carrying your own firearm for hunting purposes.

First, every country is different. In Wild West terms, I will do the Good, the Bad and the Ugly in reverse, starting with the unfriendly or not-so-friendly countries.  Argentina offers great hunting opportunities for fowl, red stag, black buck and other species, but you cannot bring your own gun. Outfitters will offer many options for rifle and shotgun rental and ammunition. You might miss your best friend on this trip, but it will still be a great experience.

Another Spanish speaking country that offers beautiful scenery, wonderful hunting and great food, but difficulty with guns is Spain. The Ibex grand slam might be on your list of dream hunts, but if you want to take your own rifle, you need to start your planning at least six months in advance. Paperwork must be filed through the Spanish Consulate in the United States. Depending on where you live, this office could be located in a few different cities and you must file with the right one for your resident location. Getting representatives to answer phone calls or respond to emails can be an issue. This is another country where it is best to coordinate a rifle with your outfitter.

The last on my list of difficult countries: Australia. I love Australia, the beauty of the outback, the friendliness of the people, the remote locations where all you see for miles and miles are red dirt and wallabies, but if you want to bring your own gun, be prepared. There is a lengthy amount of paperwork that must be filed before you leave. This includes police reports from your hometown, submitted to Australia and returned to you. The process should be started a minimum of three months before you leave. This also requires a fee of over $100 USD, but it must be paid in Australian dollars. Your outfitter will help you with all of this, but it is an added headache for you and them. There is now also the issue of leaving the country. Additional paperwork must now be filed in order for you to take your gun out of the country when you leave. If you are planning on doing any additional touring while on your Australia trip, please leave your gun at home. Each state requires you to have a firearms license to transport your firearm in that state. You cannot get a firearms license unless you are hunting with an outfitter in that state. Therefore, if you are hunting in the Northern Territory and you bring your own gun, you have permission to have the gun in the Northern Territory, but if you would like to travel to Sydney after your hunt, you do not have permission to have a firearm in New South Wales. My advice, use a firearm provided by your outfitter when hunting in Australia.

Now that the Ugly is out of the way, the Bad. These countries might have a bad reputation on the global front, but they are quite friendly to firearms for hunting. Two of my dream hunts, an Ibex in Turkey and the big boy Marco Polo in Tajikistan. Both countries might make the news politically, but your outfitter will get your gun through on arrival. Make sure you communicate with your outfitter and let them know what you are bringing so they will have everything taken care of when you arrive.

Finally, the Good.  New Zealand. My favorite place to hunt, so far, and an easy country to bring your own firearm for hunting. There is a $25 NZD fee on arrival and your guns will be inspected by the police as you go through customs. That’s it. Make sure your firearm is in a hard case with lock, stored with no ammunition in the chamber and the magazine is separate if it is full. Now you are free to enjoy the beauty of New Zealand and the wonderful hunting opportunities that abound in this country down under.

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Africa has been left for last, one because it is fairly simple, two because it is a continent, not a country. There are quite a few countries within Africa to hunt. Make sure you coordinate with your outfitter in case there are specifics for your desired location. There is usually just paperwork on arrival. An agent can be pre-booked to meet and greet you and get your firearms through quickly. It is worth the money to take this route.

The most important part of traveling with firearms is preparation. Make sure you ask your outfitter what needs to be done for your specific hunting location. Talk to other people who have been to that country hunting and get their opinion and experience. It might be difficult to leave your best friend behind on your hunt of a lifetime, but that is a better option than getting it confiscated by the government of a faraway place. And that, is the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of traveling with firearms.

By Lora Gene Young

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Lora Gene Young is an avid outdoors-woman from North Carolina. Lora guides hunts in both New Zealand and Australia and is also a member of Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

 

Traveling With Firearms – Part 1

November 21st, 2016 by BTC Editor

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Hunting trips are times to relax, be one with nature, enjoy the great outdoors and camaraderie with like-minded peers, and bond with family. No matter the reason for your hunting excursion, quarreling with airlines over firearm transportation is the worst way to start your journey. Here are a few tips to help you start your trip on the right foot.

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First and foremost, firearms must be transported in a hard case. There can be multiple guns within each hard case, but it must be a hard case. Next, in conjunction with the hard case, the case must be able to be locked securely. Most cases have reinforced locations for two locks, some have a metal rod with one lock. If there is a place for two locks, many airports require both locks. Even if your departure city airport does not require both locks, when you leave your hunting destination that city airport might require both locks. It’s best to cover all bases and have all locks in place.

Secondly, firearms must be transported unloaded. Make sure you double check that the magazine is not in the gun and the barrel is clear. The bolt/action can be transported in the gun, but the gun must be clear of ammunition. Though the firearm must be clear of ammunition, ammo can be transported in the case with the firearm.

Finally, firearms are checked baggage. Just like other checked baggage make sure you know the weight limits associated with your airline. Most have a 50 pound limit, but double check before hand so you do not have any trouble at check-in.

Lock your empty firearm in a hard case and enjoy your vacation. Bon voyage!

 

By Lora Gene Young

Lora Gene Young is an avid outdoors-woman from North Carolina. Lora guides hunts in both New Zealand and Australia and is also a member of Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

Wild Game Thanksgiving Dinner

November 13th, 2016 by BTC Editor

It’s that time of year again, where we sit down with family and celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a time to reflect on all that we are thankful for. For a hunter, this includes the memories in the field and the wild game that was harvested. In my opinion, there’s no better time than Thanksgiving to serve wild game. If you prefer a more non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner, here are a couple of simple recipes to try that you and your family are sure to appreciate.

The main course and side is a dinner kit from Hunter Gatherer Game Dinners.

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[Main course]

Seared Venison with Red Wine Chocolate Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 oz. venison, elk, buffalo, filet mignon or rib eye steak (I prefer venison filet mignon)
  • You’ll need to buy:
    • 2 oz. pancetta or Italian bacon
    • 1 – 8 oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1 cup Red Wine
  • There are seasonings for the meat in individual packets labeled with numbers, as well as step-by-step instructions so it’s super easy to make!

[Side]

Wild Rice with Cranberries

  • The wild rice and cranberries are also included in this kit, along with preparation instructions.

 

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[Dessert]

Persimmon Bread

Most know that deer love to eat persimmons, but have you ever tried one? If you’ve ever tried one before they are ripe you probably think cooking anything with persimmons sounds like a bad idea, as they are awfully bitter. But once they turn ripe they are sweet and are great to use for pies, breads, cakes and cookies. Once they turn a purple/gray color and get soft they are ready for picking, usually after the first couple of frosts.

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This recipe is my pumpkin bread recipe, but I swapped the 15 oz can pumpkin for 15 oz of persimmon pulp. To me, ripe persimmons taste very similar and have the same consistency as a pumpkin. To get the pulp you will want to smash the persimmons into a bowl through a cone shaped collander, this way you don’t get the skins or seeds in the pulp. We picked these and after smashing all of them through the collander we probably have about 4-5 cups of persimmon pulp. I put the pulp into zip-loc baggies, about 2 cups per baggie, and store them in the freezer until ready to use for cooking.

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 15 oz persimmon pulp
DIRECTIONS
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans.
  • In an extra large mixing bowl, beat sugar and oil with electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs & beat well; set sugar mixture aside
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg. Alternately add flour mixture & the water to sugar mixture, beating on low after each addition until just combined.
  • Beat in the persimmon pulp.
  • Spoon batter into pans
  • Bake 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Wrap & store overnight before slicing (The recipe calls for this, but I never do this. I absolutely love warm bread right out of the oven!)

By Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

10 Pheasant Hunting Safety Tips

October 16th, 2016 by BTC Editor

10 Pheasant Hunting Safety Tips

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 I’ve only been pheasant hunting for about 4 years now, but one thing that has been clear to me from my very first hunt is the importance of safety. It’s your responsibility to handle your firearm safely so you keep yourself, your hunting buddies, and the hunting dogs safe. After witnessing a couple of accidents on my hunts (luckily nothing serious), I feel it’s important to share a few safety tips.

 

  • 1) Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
  • 2) Don’t rely on your shotgun’s safety feature alone to prevent an accident. Keep your safety on and finger off of the trigger until ready to shoot.

 

  • 3) Start each hunt with a few safety reminders. It may seem monotonous after hunting for years, but it’s something that needs to be reinforced each hunt.
  • 4) Know where your hunting partners and dogs are at all times. One of our hunting partners ended up getting shot in the arm one year because he was downhill from the group who was walking out a field and he failed to tell anybody. Luckily he was far enough away that it didn’t cause much damage, but it could have ended very badly.
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  • 5) When walking out large fields make sure you and your hunting partners stay in an even line, paying attention not to get too far ahead or behind so no one is in the line of fire.
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  • 6) Make sure your shotgun barrel is free from obstruction. Have you ever been walking out a field and fall into a badger hole, smacking the end of your shotgun barrel into the ground? Well, I have a couple of times. My hunts could have taken a wrong turn after that had we not checked my barrel and cleaned the mud out.
  • 7) Make sure you aim above the horizon and see sky before you pull the trigger. When a pheasant flushes the dogs will often jump up and try to catch it. It would be horrible to shoot a dog or a person, so always make sure you let the pheasant get up high enough before shooting. If you don’t have a clear shot, just pass.
  • 8) Make sure you are putting the right size shell into your shotgun. For example, never put a 20 gauge shell into a 12 gauge shotgun.

 

  • 9) Never climb/cross a fence with a loaded shotgun.
  • 10) If your shotgun fails to fire, wait about 10 seconds, keeping it pointed in a safe direction and your finger off the trigger. Unload the gun and dispose of the ammo.

 

As with any hunt, safety when handling your firearm is the most important thing. Accidents are few and far between, but just remember that they can happen to anyone at any time. Remembering the above tips will make your pheasant season more safe and enjoyable for all involved.

 

By Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

Five Things I Learned Going Rural

September 25th, 2016 by BTC Editor

Five things I learned going rural

By Kristen A. Schmitt

A few years ago, we moved away from the city, trekking 14 hours east of Detroit to the rural mountains of Vermont. My husband’s job brought us out that way and, while I was looking forward to the change, my previous life experiences didn’t really prepare me for the switch. I didn’t grow up camping, hiking, or hunting. In fact, my entire outdoors experience revolved around sidewalks, bicycles and complaining. Fast forward to 2016 and I not only spend at least 50% of my day outside (no matter the weather), but I’ve channeled my newfound enjoyment for the outdoors into writing for a variety of publications about bowhunting, archery, local food and backyard poultry, among other things.

The irony is that before our move, I wouldn’t have recommended going “rural” to anyone. And now? Not only did this move help me break free of my chain-link fence mentality, but it also gave me new knowledge and confidence that I bring to other areas of my life. So, in the tradition of Dave Letterman’s top ten lists, here’s the top five things I’ve learned since going rural:

5 ) Nature can be incredibly surprising.
Our property in Vermont was surrounded by forest, field and water. While we owned roughly 8 acres, the back of the property butted up to an 11-acre pond and the other sides were bordered by hardwood forest. It was more than just a switch from pavement to dirt roads. My nearest neighbors were bobcats (that tried to kill my chickens – twice), porcupines, peregrine falcons, eagles, and hawks; vultures, wild turkeys, juncos and herons. One particular incident involved a few nighttime visits from an ornery black bear interested in our trash.

 

We now have a 36-acre farm in upstate NY with a similar landscape.

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4 ) Chickens are more than just tiny egg machines.
Being able to grab fresh eggs from your own chickens for breakfast is an unbelievable treat. Chickens are easier than any other type of livestock and mine did amazingly well in negative temperatures last winter. We’ve only lost one (to a bobcat); the others are hearty and healthy. As a writer, I work out of my house and have the ability to listen to the chicken “conversation” daily. I read somewhere that chickens have their own language and I can attest to that fact. Sitting on my porch with a mug of tea (or glass of wine, depending on the time of day) to watch them peck and chatter is one of my favorite activities.

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3 ) Eating vegetables that you grow yourself is an amazing experience.
My parents raised me well with a small backyard garden and fresh vegetables daily. But the significance of planting our own fruits and vegetables and maintaining our garden – especially one as large as we have – is priceless. Our young daughter seems way more connected to where her food comes from than I ever was until I became an adult. Picking that first piece of spinach or watching corn plump up on the stalks is exciting each and every time.

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2 ) It takes a lot of wood to heat a house, especially with temperatures in the negatives for weeks. Prior to our move, we relied on city gas to heat our house in the suburbs like the majority of the country. Once we realized we could harvest our own heat from the forest on our property, we had a wood stove installed in the living room. Little did we realize that it takes a lot of wood to keep even a smaller house warm when the temperatures don’t go higher than -16 for weeks. Yet, if I had to do it again, I would. I like being able to see the physical amount of wood I used for heat rather than paying a faceless gas bill. Besides, splitting and stacking wood may not be a ton of fun, but it’s not bad. In fact, it warms you twice: once when you stack the wood; later, when you sit in front the fire.

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1 ) I’m not helpless.
The main thing that I have learned from going “rural” is that I am not a helpless person. I am stronger than I’ve ever been and my passion and dedication to keeping up with this new lifestyle choice has me learning how to do new things every single day. If we hadn’t moved I wonder if I would feel this empowered in the physical aspects of life as well as the mental. This move has changed me for the better – and I can’t imagine ever living anywhere where I can’t see the stars.

 

Kristen A. Schmitt writes about wildlife, sustainable agriculture, environmental issues and the outdoors. Her work has appeared in National Geographic, Fast Company, Audubon, Eating Well,USA Today, Hunt & Fish and others. Follow her @Kristen_Schmitt.