Hogs....down in the bog!

Hogs....down in the bog!

October 12, 2011

South Carolina Videos

video
video

South Carolina Part 2

I pulled up my 243 and Josh and I shifted positions in the tree stand. The ditch stand is definitely the smallest (most narrow), and therefor we have to do some maneuvering to get a shot. Josh slid into my seat and I propped myself on his lap while I leaned across the stand. It took us a minute or so for me to get into a position that was comfortable.

"Wait a minute and I'll get my video camera."
"Absolutely not. If this pig walks away because we were waiting on you I will be devastated. Forget the camera."

I know Josh loves to get as many hunts on video as possible, but there was no way that I was going to let this opportunity pass me by. I had waited for way too long.

"Wait till he turns broadside."
"Shh. I know."
"Just place your cross hairs behind his ear."
"Josh seriously, stop talking."

 I can't even tell you what else he tried to whisper to me before I let a few choice words fly that finally quieted him. I need total quiet in order for me to concentrate on what I am doing. This would not be the best time to give advice. He promptly put his fingers in his ears and waited for me to fire. It was as if the hands of time slowed down. The pig kept turning from left broadside to right broadside giving me perfect shot after perfect shot. The problem with having exactly what you want right in front of you, is that it causes you to panic that you are going to miss.

Enough. It was go time. I took a deep breath, lined up my cross hairs, and squeezed on the exhale. The pig promptly dropped to the ground. I practically threw my gun at Josh. (This is common practice for me after having to shoot a prior pig four times before it stopped moving I am a little skittish.) I prefer to have Josh ready to take the second shot if needed, plus I hate watching until it stops moving.

"Just wait fifteen minutes and we can go get it." (Totally not normal practice for us. He normally makes me wait until we are finished hunting at either noon or dark.)
"I'm okay, I can wait." (I am literally dancing around in the tree stand and smiling so hard that my face might crack open.)
"No, we'll go in a few minutes."

We climbed out of the stand and drove the ranger down the road to where my pig was located. Josh checked to make sure we were safe, and then lifted it's leg.

"What does that mean?" (Relax, I know the difference between boys and girls but I was stunned that this was actually happening.)
"It's a boar, not a sow!"
"OH.MY.GOSH."

_____________________________________________________________________
I never thought I would be so happy to hear the words, "it's a boy" in my entire life. I was/still am in total shock that I have finally harvested, not just a boar (which we are mounting!), but an oreo colored boar at that. The exact animal I have coveted since I began hunting. Jarrid aptly named him a "boareo," and it stuck. I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to harvest the one animal on my list since day one. This is such an awesome feeling! I hope this post does this story justice, but in case it didn't, I'll post some videos I took immediately after this happened.

Pictures from SC

Tim and Kyle with their piggly-wigglys

The view from the pine cone stand

Josh and his doe

Did I harvest a hog.....?

October 11, 2011

Three pigs and three years

Josh and I just returned from an AMAZING weekend in South Carolina. We headed down on Friday with two of our friends, Tim and Kyle, and met Adam there that night. Deer season is open down there, and unlike PA you can use a rifle or a bow to harvest a deer. As usual, my main goal was to see some of my stinky friends....and this trip was no exception. But I am getting ahead of myself, so I will start from the beginning. We headed out early Saturday morning, dropping the boys off at various stands around the property. Josh and I headed to the other side of the road to sit in the graveyard stand. We sat all morning and saw a few deer, but not the deer (or hogs) we were looking for. Tim and Kyle both harvested hogs-and to say I was jealous would be an understatement. Don't get me wrong, I was excited for them, but Kyle had harvested an oreo sow and that color is at the top of my list. We got cleaned up from our morning hunt and then introduced Tim to the greatest bar-b-que in the south....Lester's! Delicious as usual, I was put into a pork coma and took a glorious nap until it was time to head out for our evening hunt.

I decided that I wanted to sit solo in the ditch stand because I have had amazing luck with piggly wigglys in that stand. I packed my backpack with my most important hunting accessories: Blackberry, snacks, snake defense-The Judge, Kodak cam, and of course my 243 (or 234, but that is another story). Josh drove me over in the ranger and I climbed up and took a look around so I could mark my range. Unfortunately, I all could see were branches. The trees around the stand had grown over the past few months, and I did not have a clear shot from any angle. Time for a quick change of plans. Josh put me in the pine cone stand on the other side of the road since I was still interested in sitting solo. Low chance of seeing hogs, but better chance of getting a deer. I got myself situated and within five minutes realized I was bored. The stand Josh was sitting was no farther than around the corner, but I knew that if I even stepped around that corner to sit with him, and spooked a deer for him I'd be in big trouble. So I sat tight and tried to make shapes from the clouds. About thirty minutes later I saw my first animal...a fox! First one I have ever seen and my fancy new binoculars allowed me to enjoy him in all his furry glory. Then, I noticed a rustling down one of the lanes. Way too small to be a deer....not fat enough to be a hog...yep...an armadillo! I know they drive hunters crazy because they are so noisy for being so small, but I think they are hysterical to watch. He was burrowing under the cut grass and then flinging it into the air as he moved along. That little guy entertained me for a good hour.

Eventually it began to get darker, and a few deer came into the field. There is a heavy trail to the right of my stand that opened up to the field in front of me. Josh assured me that I could shoot anywhere in that field. I then realized that I had no clue what I was doing. Hunting hogs by myself is one thing, but deer is another. I am just beginning to learn how to age deer, so when the first doe stepped out I got a little nervous. I thought that she was a good sized doe, but I really have no idea. (For you non-hunters. You want to shoot older deer, not babies. The bigger the deer the older it is. I know to use clues like if their belly dips down to help age them, but deer in SC are smaller in general than PA deer so it gets a little trickier.) So I used my reasoning skills from college and waiting until another deer came out so that I could compare. An adorable cow spiked buck came out next and then another doe. I could tell that the first doe was bigger, so I took aim. Deep breath in...deep breath out. I fired. I missed. Unfortunately I didn't realize I missed until Josh and I spent thirty minutes in the dark with flashlights looking for signs of a hit. I was bummed, but that is the way hunting goes. I learned a valuable lesson that I am NOT ready to deer hunt solo.

The next morning Josh let me pick my location...clearly I chose the ditch (he had headed out on the tractor super late the night before to clear shooting lanes for me-BEST FIANCE EVER). I was thrilled that he was choosing to sit with me. The ditch is a great hog stand...good for deer too, but not his favorite. We had trail cam pictures that showed hogs in that area around 7AM. (I'll post some of those trail cam pictures later because we got some really neat pictures of hogs, coyotes, racoons and armadillos). He was selflessly giving up his deer hunt that morning to get me a pig (if that isn't true love I don't know what is).

For those of you who do not know, I love pigs. More than deer, more than turkeys, more than any other animal that is legal to hunt. I could hunt pigs day and night. I think they are not only hysterical to watch, but tasty to eat. I get excited when I see them on trial cam pictures and when I hear that they have been in the area. To get specific, an oreo colored boar is my life goal. Time and time again, the boareo (oreo boar-thanks Jarrid) has eluded me. Josh and I were chatting and as I glanced to my right, I noticed a black spot in the road. That was not a deer. Binoculars confirmed my first thoughts. It was an oreo colored hog (at this point we didn't know if it was a boar or a sow).  My entire hunting career flashed before my eyes. THIS was what I had been wanting for the past three years. Missing this hog would be devastating. I slowly pulled up my 243 and took aim...


...to be continued.  Sorry :o)

September 27, 2011

Do you know what time it is?

ARCHERY SEASON!!!!!!!!

I am so excited for archery season to begin this weekend! Although I am a little bummed that I cannot participate just yet. I was doing a great job pulling back my bow, and could fire off about fifteen arrows before I would get tired. Then, to congratulate me for being so strong, Josh upped my draw weight to forty pounds. Needless to say I am struggling. This may have something to do with the fact that my practice schedule has been less that consistent. (I still blame him). But we practiced this weekend, and Josh gave me some workouts to do in the gym to help build my muscles, so hopefully I will be able to go out towards the end of the season.

I do have a super cool new outfit from She Safari that I am excited to wear.
Not the exact outfit, but close. www.shesafari.com
Even though I cannot hunt, we are going up to the cabin for the weekend. Josh and Jarrid are going to hunt together, and Ali and I are going to sit together. I don't know how much fun videotaping will be....but I'm sure we can amuse ourselves for a little while out there. I think the plan is for us to sit in a ground blind somewhere. For some reason the boys don't trust us fifteen feet in a tree together.....

I'll get some good shots at deer camp this weekend, and update next week!
Good luck everyone!

August 25, 2011

And then there were two

One of the things I love about summer, is that I have the freedom and flexibility to travel. This was especially beneficial this past week. Jarrid had a deer sale in Indiana, Josh was working, so Ali was flying solo at the cabin with the deer. I decided to pack up the Tahoe and head west to spend a few days helping her with the deer, and getting in some much needed girl time. I got there Wednesday night, Jarrid was still there so we hung out and helped him get ready to head to the sale the next day. He left around 3:00PM, and had left us instructions about feeding the deer, checking the cabin down below, not going into town late, and basically not getting into any trouble. By now he should know that we don't seek out trouble, it just seems to find us.

He was honestly gone for not even five minutes. We had jumped on the ranger to take a drive around the property; we didn't even make it past the second pen of deer, when we were faced with trouble. Lying across the road, the only road that leads to the trails around the property, was covered in fallen trees. Not just one, skinny little twig, but four massive trunks. Looking at each other, we decide to jump out of the ranger and just push them off to the side of the road. I mean, how heavy can they be? I do bootcamp; I lift weights...we can do this! Long story short, we cannot do this. There was a lot of pushing, kicking, leaning, wiggling, and frustration that lead to half of the logs being moved. The other two were still in their original positions, refusing to budge. If trees could laugh, they were laughing at us.

We devise a plan to drive around the logs, which means that we need to drive through the brush. Off the beaten path, if you will. Let me just tell you that there are paths for a reason. Ali decided to walk the path we were going to take first, so that she could check that there were no major drop offs. Smart girl. There weren't, but there were major thorny plants that attacked her flip flopped feet. Oh yes, did I fail to mention that we were in nice shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, and full jewelry for this adventure? Engagement ring included. We hop back in the ranger for our off road adventure. We made it about a foot when we decided to turn around. The last thing we wanted to do was destroy a very expensive piece of machinery.

Defeated and frustrated we headed back to the barn to figure out what to do. If you know us at all, you know that defeat was not a possibility. We would find a way to get around those darn trees. Chainsaw! I learned how to use one the week before in SC and I was confident in my chainsawing abilities. I called Josh and requested the location of the chainsaw.

"What?"
"There is a tree down and I just want to slice it in to some easier to move pieces."
"No." (He has no faith in me)
"Yes. Trust me, I can do this."
"No."
"Josh seriously, I know how to do this."
"Even if I knew where it was I wouldn't tell you. Use the winch."
"The wench?"
"W-I-N-C-H"
"AHHHHH! Yes, the winch!"

For those of you who are unfamiliar with rangers, the winch is a mental rope that is in the front of the ranger that you can pull out and hook to things to pull/move them. Perfect for moving logs in your way, or I guess for moving the ranger if it gets stuck. Anyway, Josh gave me a reminder on how to operate it and we were ready. I will spare you the details, but let's just say that after about thirty minutes, I was bleeding, the log was in the same exact place, and I was stuck to the ranger. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, attached to the ranger without being able to detach myself from it. I don't know quite how it happened, but it did. Somehow, my shirt and the metal rope of the winch, got hooked on each other and we could not get them unhooked.

"Al I'm stuck."
"Huh?"
"I'm stuck to the ranger."
"Seriously?"
"Yes!"
"Oh, boy."

Now logic tells you to just rip the shirt, but it is my favorite shirt! Finally Ali was able to save me and I now have a new found respect for fish. Unhooked, still bleeding and defeated we decided to give up. Ali called Jarrid to tell him of our failure.

"Why don't you just drive around it?"
"We tried! We can't get through the bushes."
"No, the other side of the road. By the deer pens."
"Oh."

I'll paint you a picture. The right side of the road we were trapped on was filled with thorny bushes and trees. The ground was littered with branches and logs. Impassible. The left side had one large oak, and the fence of the deer pens about five feet away. Open as a field. I'll spare you the details, but we went to the left and were past the obstacle in 2.3 seconds.

The moral of this story is that two heads are not always better than one if they are both blonde.

August 23, 2011

Deer, and turkeys and snakes (again), Oh My!

Josh and I ventured down to South Carolina a week or so ago, so that we could check feeders, set up trail cams, and do some general maintenance on the property. Josh's cousin, Nicholas, and our friend, Kyle, headed down with us. We were fortunate enough to leave early Friday morning, so we made it to SC by dinner time. I'll give you one guess as to where I forced everyone to eat dinner.....Lester's!!!!!! After a delicious dinner, we headed on to the property to hop on the ranger and check everything out. It had just finished raining, so all the critters were out and about: deer, turkeys, armadillos and even a black coyote! Unfortunately for us, deer season opened on Monday and we had to leave Sunday. Major bummer!

I'll spare you the details of the event, but let's just say that Josh was feeling less than fabulous the next morning. It figures that a stomach bug (he blames Lester's but I disagree) would hit him when we are on vacation. The next morning we headed out to fill feeders and do a few other things on the property, with poor Josh still feeling sick. I was in charge of scraping the yucky clumps out of the gravity feeders, while Nicholas checked to see how full they were (I am too short for this job). We were on the last feeder and I was scooping away, talking to Nick while I used a stick to break up the crusty feed. Suddenly, I realize that the feed is moving.... Now there had been ants at some of the other feeders, so initially I just assumed there were more ants.

"Eww...look at all of these.....OH MY GOD the feed is....EWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!
(Not ants, ladies and gentleman, but mealworm-maggoty looking things)

I froze. I am not afraid of bugs, spiders, or any other insect-but I do not do worms and snakes. I can just imagine the little mealworms wiggling their way up my sleeve. Gross. Nicholas starts laughing as I am completely grossed out by this, and kindly offers to take the gloves and finish cleaning this one out for me. I practically threw the gloves at him. He is a saint.

Next up on our chore list was to cut down one of the trees that had fallen across the road, and to trim up any branches that were in the way of our views from the various tree stands. The boys brought out the chainsaw, and I carried my anti-snake device. The Judge. Josh taught me how to use the chainsaw (video will be posted later), and Nick was able to use The Judge to save me from yet another snake. Ironically it was in the exact same place I saw the last one, right underneath my favorite tree stand. This one however was not a copperhead, but some thin, striped, extremely venomous looking snake. Fairly certain it could kill you by just looking at you. Nick had The Judge out and the world had one less snake before I could even blink. The boys then proceeded to pick it up with a stick and play with it while I had a panic attack (screaming and banging on the windshield of the ranger included) until they put it in the woods away from me. Nick said that the ditch of water nearby is what keeps them there. Awesome. I am not one of those people who prefers one stand over another. I don't really care where Josh and I sit most times. In fact normally my only concern is height. But in SC I do have a favorite stand, the ditch stand. It is where I have harvested two of my hogs, and it was the first stand that I ever hunted out of solo. I know my markers for distance well, and I know how the animals move around that stand. The sun is always behind you, so it is never blistering hot and there is a lot of coverage so I can move as needed. It is perfect...until I found out it was snake infested. Needless to say, I will be finding a new favorite stand. We finished out our chores and headed back to shower and visit a family friend who lives in the area. He is building the most amazing wood home and we had to see it for ourselves.

All, in all, it was a great (although way too short) trip. I can't wait to get back down for hunting season!!

August 11, 2011

Archery season is almost upon us...

In celebration of the upcoming archery season, and because there was a request for another recipe :o), here is a great one for venison (or any other) steak. I don't have a picture yet, I'll be making this one next week!

Spicy Steak with Green Beans:

1 cup quick cooking brown rice
2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tsp. Asian chili-garlic sauce
1 1/2 lbs. steak
1 cucumber, halved and sliced thinly
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, sugar and black pepper
1/4 cup salted and roasted peanuts, chopped
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Crushed red pepper

1. Heat your grill. Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the hoisin and chili-garlic sauce. Brush the steak with the mixture and grill to your liking.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of boiling water, cook 1 lb. green beans until tender. Drain the saucepan and heat 3 tbsp. olive oil with 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves. Heat until tender, then add the green beans and salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with crushed red pepper.

3. In a medium bowl, toss the cucumber and scallions with the vinegar, sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper.

(adapted from Real Simple)

July 18, 2011

Tree Stands

So Josh and I spent most of our Sunday afternoon assembling and putting up a new tree stand. This was my first attempt at putting one together, so Josh took on the role as teacher. I must say that it makes me pretty nervous that the one thing that is keeping me from falling fifteen feet to my death, was put together by yours truly. I feel like there should be a professional doing this, not some girl from Jersey who didn't know what a bolt was. (All I could think of was the movie with that cute little white dog). Josh loaded up the car and we went out to the shop to put it together. While he took all the parts out of the box and lined them up meticulously on our "tool tray," I roamed the shop to see what super cool things I could find. My favorite find for the day was this little blue scooter thing, that Josh said is used to slide under cars when you are working on them. Apparently you lay on your back and then push yourself under the vehicle. This does not seem safe to me, so instead I knelt on it and scooted myself around the shop. Much safer.

Once all of our tools and parts were lined up we got to work. By we, I really mean Josh, I just kind of bounced around for most of the beginning. Once we got into it though he taught me how to use the adjustable wrench, identify a nut from a bolt, where washers go (in between the metal so it can move), what a gusset it, and a string of new curse words that I would have never been creative enough to put together. (Kidding, that happened once he was climbing into the tree...). We got the tree stand together relatively easily, with only minor goofing off by me. I wish I would have had a camera because my creative juices were flowing! I managed to turn the seat into a pair of wings...which was awesome until I got myself stuck in them. And then I used the seat as a shield and tried to entice Josh into jousting with me. A great idea until I thought about how dangerous that actually was.

We went and got the tractor, and I came up with the brilliant way to load it in the bucket...thank you Master's degree. Off we went, into the woods. Once we got to our spot, Josh and his dad worked on choosing the correct tree, and I ate raspberries off of the bushes. The bugs were pretty bad, and I am zero help at this point, so I climbed another tree stand nearby and watched from there. I have found that there are less bugs the higher you go. This is also the part of putting up a tree stand that I HATE. They lean the stand against the tree, it is not strapped up there at this point, and Josh climbs up it, while it wiggles and jiggles, and tries to get it strapped while not falling fifteen feet. I closed my eyes. It took three attempts because the backrest kept slipping down, preventing it from adhering to the tree. Finally she was up and usable...but still a little too wiggly for my taste. Apparently it will "settle" and the wiggling should stop. I'll believe it when I see it-thank God for my safety harness.

July 16, 2011

The most amazing sausage recipe ever...

As most hunters, or wives of hunters know, deer season is around the corner and with that comes a freezer full of meat. What that means to me, is that we had better work our way through our already full freezer of meat before that happens. Unfortunately, I am sick of making the same thing over and over and over. There are only so many things that you can do with sausage. Luckily for me, my Real Simple magazine came just in time (thank you Ali for the subscription). So last night I tested out my new recipe on Josh and it was a BIG hit! For all you non-venison eaters out there, you can easily substitute the venison sausage for turkey or chicken sausage.

Ingredients:
1 lb. of cooked venison sausage cut into small pieces
12 oz of gnocchi (pasta)
1/4 c. of pesto
1/4 c. of grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. green beans cut into one inch pieces
oil
salt

1. Heat water for pasta with a pinch of salt and splash of olive oil. Meanwhile, brown (or cook if raw) the sausage in a skillet.

2. Drain pasta, but reserve one cup of cooking water. Add peas and green beans to the sausage and cook until veggies are soft.

3. Combine pasta with sausage and veggie mixture, then mix in pesto and Parmesan cheese.

July 14, 2011

Cody!

We had another great weekend at the cabin! Josh and I are so blessed to live so close to our family, and to be able to spend tons of time with them. We definitely operate under the "family comes first" belief, and this weekend was a perfect example of spending some amazing quality time with everyone. Luckily for us our nephew, Cody, was in town from Texas, and he was at the cabin this weekend also. He is almost five and loves every second of hanging out with his uncles. Josh and Jarrid love to roughhouse and torment him, but Cody loves it and keeps coming back for more. The highlights for the little man this weekend were: riding in the ranger and swimming in the pond. I will preface this by saying the pond is a disgusting mess of dirty brown water, teeming with catfish, snakes, and probably a million other creatures that I do not wish to know about. It was basically a four year old (and thirty year old) boy's dream!

Cody also loved feeding Jarrid's deer, and I was lucky enough to capture some of it on video. The babies are down to being bottle fed only twice a day (down from five times a day), so that leaves some more time for fun!



video

video


July 7, 2011

Old Videos!

I was transferring some old videos off of my Kodak Cam and found a few good ones!

This one is from back in the spring when Josh and I were in South Carolina. Those of you who read my snake story, this was the same night. Please excuse my horrible hog calling...I am pretty sure that is NOT what they are supposed to sound like!

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New Toys!

At the start of summer, Josh and I took our arrows to Swatara Creek Outfitters to have our arrows wrapped. He wanted white wraps so that they were easier to see after he shoots. I wanted....I'll let you guess.....pink camouflage! I also had pink fletchings added, instead of the boring green ones I had. It is going to look fabulous! We finally go the call that they are in, so take a look! I am beyond thrilled at how they turned out. For all you pink haters out there, it is one of the easiest colors to spot in the woods.

Josh and I were out shooting my bow a few weeks ago, warming up for the fall. I can't believe how long it has been since I have worked with my bow. Definitely time to get started! I figured it was like riding a bike...not so much. It began with me picking up my bow backwards and trying to put an arrow in. Lucking I figured that out pretty quickly. Then I forgot to put my release on...until I tried pulling the bow back and realized something was missing. Finally I had my arrow knocked and ready to shoot. I slowly pulled back and....BAM! I had my finger on my release and managed to shoot my arrow and simultaneously punch myself in the face. Great beginnings! Luckily my bad luck ended, or my memory kicked in, and I was able to shoot about fifteen consecutive shots. All were pretty good, minus a few bummers.

July 2, 2011

Sorry it took me so long!

My newly wrapped arrows!



   
These are my fancy new deer farming shoes!
Practicing with my bow. Archery season is just around the corner!
Not too shabby!
For some reason I can't shoot without squinting up my face.

Happy July everyone! Sorry it has been so long since my last post...life has gotten away from me a little bit. We've been pretty busy the last few weeks, hope you enjoyed the updates! We will be heading out to see the deer (and Jarrid and Ali) again soon, so check back for more pictures of the babies!

June 8, 2011

Fawns!

I hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend! Josh and I headed up to Altoona on Friday night to help Jarrid out with the fawns. It was definitely a fun weekend, though I am not sure relaxing is the word I would use. Those sweet little babies, all twenty of them, need to be fed four times a day. Not to mention taking care of the big deer in the pens. All-in-all, it was a great weekend!

For those of you who are not familiar with deer farming...here is a link to the Pennsylvania Deer Farmer Association. They have some great information about the industry. 

 
The babies are hungry!
The teeniest baby....and possibly my favorite!


It is like an Easter egg hunt trying to find them in the high grass.

Josh and Jarrid

May 30, 2011

Close Encounters

Finally! A weekend free from obligations, where Josh and I were able to get out turkey hunting. I have to say that I was less than enthusiastic about the 4AM wake-up call, but he did manage to get me out of bed. I still do not understand why those darn birds don't like to sleep in. Josh and I got set up next to a small open field, with a high sloped hill in front of us that led to a small platform. To the right of us was a small deep valley. Most of my view to the right was obstructed by trees, so I could see the road but not much else. Literally a minute after we set up they started gobbling. Josh was situated behind me on the tree, and was calling pretty hard. Following his directions, I kept my eyes to the right (where the birds were gobbling from) but also scanned the small field from time to time (to my left). I kept an eye on the platform in from of me, but couldn't see much due to the steep incline.

Anyone who has gotten up early to hunt knows how difficult it can be to stay awake while you are waiting for the sun to come up. This morning was no different. I was trying to scan the area around me since the birds were gobbling so closely, but it was getting difficult. Suddenly, something caught my eye directly in front of me. A field mouse! He looked pretty cute, jumping and tumbling up the hillside in front of me-just trying to get some breakfast. Suddenly he turned, locked his beady little eyes on me, and made a beeline straight towards me. Now, I am not afraid of mice, but I certainly do not want one crawling on me. The little monster slammed straight into me.

"Josh, Josh!"
"What? Do you see a bird?"
"A mouse just ran into me and is crawling around under my legs!"
"DO NOT MOVE."

It took everything I had in me to not jump up. Everything. According to Josh's timekeeping skills, those birds (2) continued to gobble to us for over and hour. There was another group of turkey hunters on the property next to us who were also calling to them. The birds appeared to be hung up in between us. He made the decision to leave me at my tree, confident in my hunting skills, and move away from me in hopes of pulling the bird across the valley to me. He explained to me where he would be headed and where it would be safe for me to shoot, depending on where the turkey came from. Off he went.

A tip for women hunters. Do not wear overalls to hunt in. You will have to pee at some point, and you will not be able to do it inconspicuously. I was in the middle of deciding how this was going to occur when a velociraptor flew across the valley on my right and landed on the high platform in front of me. I froze. The turkey I had been after for three years was three yards away from me. The problem....I could only see about two inches of his feathers due to the raised elevation he was standing on. Son of a gun. I slllllooooowly pulled my gun up and got myself adjusted. The only positive thing about him being up there was that I could see him, but there was no way he could see me. I stealthily adjusted my shotgun and myself and waited. Every time he gobbled it felt like an earthquake under me. He must have been square dancing up there because he would be drawn towards Josh's calling, but then walk around in a circle after he gobbled. All I needed was for him to move about one yard to the left. Just one yard. Of course you know how this went. He was a dancing queen....all the way off the platform straight ahead of me. Which meant he never poked his naked little head out for me to get a shot.

As he danced around up there, the calling from the other property got closer and louder. Now I do not know the boundary lines very well, but I do know how close I am to this bird. If I can't see the other hunters, they cannot see me. Depending on which direction they are shooting from I may be in the line of fire. PANIC. I do not have my Blackberry with me, I can hear Josh but know that he is very far away, and there is still a chance that I may shoot this bird. What am I going to do?

My turkey hasn't gobbled for a good ten minutes at this point, so I decide to do some research. I slowly stand up until I can see the top of the platform....no turkey. (This would not be the first time this season that there have been trespassers on the property. Josh and Tim missed being shot by a few feet the previous week). Grabbing my gun, I sneak off behind me to find Josh. Once we reunited I told him of the perils of my hunt. He explained to me that while they sounded close, they were indeed on another property. So we packed up our things and headed off to another spot. Turkeys 3-Me 0

May 16, 2011

If at first you don't succeed....

Hello all! This weekend will mark another turkey hunting weekend for me. I was preoccupied with some non-hunting plans the past two weeks, so I am excited to get back to it on Saturday. Friday night Josh and I will be "roosting" birds. For you non-hunters that means that we will be scouting the woods with some calls to hear which trees the birds are staying in. That way when they come down in the morning we will hopefully be close by.

On a happy note, Jarrid harvested a bird on Saturday. Still waiting to hear the details, but way to go Jarrid!!!

Good luck this weekend everyone!

May 10, 2011

Warning: Ticks!

Yesterday I was getting ready to go out for a run, and while putting my hair up I noticed a bump on my head. I went to investigate further, but couldn't relocate the spot. I left for my run, forgetting about my head until the next morning. While drying my hair I was able to relocate the spot and asked Josh to check it. Low and behold, it was a tick. Thank goodness he was there because I was freaking out at the idea of a blood sucking bug burrowing into my brain. I shudder just thinking about it. Josh removed my little squatter and we gave him a burial at sea. This of course got me thinking about ticks in general and what I can do to make sure I don't find any more of these little guys.

I went to the CDC's website to find some more information. They recommend walking in the center of trails while in the woods and staying out of wooded areas. Clearly they are unaware that it is spring turkey season, so onto step two. Using a repellent with 20% or more DEET. There are a list of other repellents they recommend if you check out their website.

They also have tips for finding and removing ticks if you find them on you.
1. Wear light colored clothing so that ticks are easy to spot. (Don't worry, I'm sure the turkeys won't see you in a white shirt).

2. Conduct a full body tick check. (For some reason Brad Paisley's song comes into my head).

3. Examine your gear and pets. Tumbling them (the gear NOT the pets) on high for one hour in the dryer may help kill remaining ticks.

4. Shower soon after returning indoors.

I added this image of different ticks and their various sizes at different life stages. (This image was obtained at the CDC's website).

If you are bitten by a tick and exhibit any of the following symptoms, see a doctor immediately: fever/chills, rash, aches and pains. Ticks can carry some pretty serious diseases, and are nothing to take lightly.

May 9, 2011

Venison Burgers

A few weeks ago I made some deer burgers for a picnic Josh was having with his buddies, and apparently they were a big hit. Here is the very simple, but delicious recipe!

1 lb. ground vension
4 tbsp. Montreal Hamburger Seasoning
1tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 egg white
1/4 c. Panko breadcrumbs (or any other type of breadcrumbs will do)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. Form into patties and grill. Feel free to get creative and mix in diced cheese, peppers, onions, mushrooms or anything else you can think of!

Happy grilling!

May 5, 2011

Happy Hunting

Well, I don't know how turkey season has started off for the rest of you, but it has been a bust so far for me. Last Friday, Josh and I gathered all of our gear together so we could have the car already packed for our 4AM call time. I was given the choice of my turkey vest or my backpack...I clearly chose my backpack. Mainly because while my vest is awesome (thank you Jarrid) I don't do a whole lot of calling on my own...ok I don't do any calling on my own. So my box call just squeaks around in my vest and my gloves end up falling out of my pockets. Try looking for a camouflaged glove in the middle of the woods (impossible). So I opted for the backpack and got all my goodies ready. I was under the impression that it was going to be warm, so I was going with light layers. I ended up freezing and had to bust open my hand warmer to get me through. It was super windy and sitting in a blind doesn't really allow for the sun to warm you up all that much. I had a brand new pair of Under Armor gloves to test out (very lightweight and they actually come close to fitting my small hands). I stashed my binoculars, hog calls (you never know), lucky hat, face mask (also brand new-my old one made me feel like I was being suffocated), granola bar, Powerade, fleece zip up, hand warmers, face paint, and a few other random necessities.

We headed into the woods, certain that I would have a bird on the ground by 8:30AM. Needless to say that all we ended up seeing was a groundhog, cat, one hen, and a goose. Of course when we popped by later that day, there was a hen and three gobblers headed right for my blind...but that's the fun of the hunt-you never know when the stars will align and everything will happen as planned. As soon as Josh teaches me how to upload videos from our Kodak Cam, I will post the video from this hunt. Nothing too exciting, but Josh does almost fall off his seat :o)

Good luck this weekend hunters!!!!

April 27, 2011

Almost time!


Spring Turkey Season: Part 2
A few days later we were up at dawn and into the woods for turkey season. Josh had explained a lot about turkeys to me. I now knew that they had exceptional eyesight, roosted in trees and flew down in the morning, and that you may only hunt gobblers in spring turkey season. I felt ready; I had the knowledge, outfit, and accessories to be a successful turkey hunter. With Josh as my guide I knew that this would be a good day. I was certain that I would harvest a turkey, I had to, I mean don’t you get one every time you go out? Plus, the pressure was on because Jarrid and Ali were turkey hunting at their Altoona property also. Josh woke me up bright and early, somewhere in the woods of 4AM. He got up and went to get himself ready while I tried to remember the order of all of my clothing layers: Under Armor Cold Gear, thermal, button down shirt, jacket, thermal pants, camouflage pants, gloves, head cover, hat, two pairs of socks, and finally my boots. Yes it was spring, but I get cold. Josh knew that to keep me happy in the woods, he needed to keep me warm. It was right about the time I was finishing my eyeliner that he walked back into the bedroom.

            “What exactly are you doing?”
            “I’m finishing my makeup, I promise I’ll be ready in five minutes.”
            “Why are you putting on makeup, we are going in the woods!”
            “I need to look presentable, Josh.”
            “For who? The turkeys? The idea is for them NOT to see you!”

I decided to forgo the jewelry that day. But I will tell you that a few months later when we were watching Lee and Tiffany Lakosky on “The Crush” she was putting on makeup before a hunt, so I am clearly not the only person concerned about how they look when they hunt. Granted millions of people are watching her hunt, and it’s only Josh and I….but still. So we hopped into the hunting mobile, Josh’s old Chevy Blazer from high school and set off. When we got to the property I jumped out of the car, slammed the door, and got ready for my instructions. I was so eager to do everything correctly and prove to him that I was a great hunter. It was then that I got the lesson about not slamming doors when you are trying to sneak up on animals.

We managed to make it into the woods and get settled under a nice tree. Josh had set up a decoy turkey, which I refused to touch because it looked too lifelike for my taste. Plus he had traumatized me by placing it outside the bathroom door early one morning for me to stumble upon. Those things are very lifelike. Josh started calling, and the turkeys were definitely answering. He was explaining the way of the turkey to me as our hunt progressed. I tried to stay quiet and absorb as much of his information as I could. He reviewed the different names: gobbler, jake, and hen, reminding me that I could only shoot gobblers. He kept reminding me over and over to the point where it was actually getting quite annoying. I mean honestly, a gobbler has a beard and the others don’t. So no beard means don’t shoot. I was a little insulted; I would like to think that I am a fairly intelligent person who can tell the difference between a turkey with a beard and a turkey without. Well all of my paying attention paid off because I was the one who first saw the turkey that was headed right for our decoy.

            “Josh, there’s a turkey!”
            “Where?”
            “Right in front of you.” (I thought he was supposed to know what he was
doing out here?)
“Okay, don’t move and be very quiet. Is your gun ready?”
“Yep.”
“Should I take off my safety yet?”
“Yes.”

Those last two lines will forever be a point of contention between us. When I asked if I should take off my safety, which meant: Can I shoot this turkey? To Josh that meant: Yes because there may be a gobbler following her. Yep, she was a hen. Josh watched the turkey slowly make its way towards our target. I focused on keeping my gun up, my body still, and my mouth shut. As soon as she got within my range I slowly moved my finger towards my trigger. The blood surged through my body. I was about to get my first turkey! If only that thing would stop walking! The turkey continued walking though, right out of my line of fire.

As soon as she left, and we realized that there were no other birds behind her, I put my safety back on. Josh and I went back to sitting in near silence, quietly waiting for another bird to make an appearance.

“That was so close! If only it would have stopped walking. I mean I had my sight right
 on it. It was the perfect shot!”
            “Sue, that was a hen.”
            “Okay?”
            “You can’t shoot hens in spring turkey season!”
            “Oh, um….”
“You said that you knew the difference between a gobbler and a hen! You told me to
stop reminding you, that you weren’t an idiot. Didn’t the lack of a beard give you a
 clue that it wasn’t a gobbler?!”
“Well, I mean I was just really excited to finally have a real animal at the end of my sight. I just
really didn’t notice. I mean, is the beard really that easy to see anyway?”

I am fairly certain it was at this exact moment that Josh began to rethink my hunting career. I know it was at this point that I began to rethink my listening skills. We did not see any more birds in that location, so we (or rather Josh) decided it was time for us to relocate. We jumped back in the hunting mobile and headed to his uncle’s property about five minutes away.

On our way down the driveway, there were probably close to fifteen gobblers, hens, and jakes in the cornfield. We quickly got the Blazer parked, suited up again, and loaded the guns. Josh led me swiftly into the woods, not more than 500 yards from the house. Josh was sitting in a bush, no more than two feet from me, but there was a giant tree between us. So while he could hear me very easily, he couldn’t see me at all. He had me set myself up on the ground behind a fallen log. It was actually a really great location because I was able to rest my gun on the log instead of using a monopod. I had to strategically place myself so that I was able to see my sight to shoot my shotgun, which meant that I was half laying-half sitting on the ground behind this log. It was fairly comfortable until the entire left side of my body fell asleep. I kid you not, from my shoulder down to my toes was completely tingly. I ached to move, just one little adjustment to get the blood flowing again. I thought back to all of the hunting lessons that Josh had been giving me. I remembered what he said about how well turkeys can see; I tried to rationalize it for myself. I’m in camouflage, so can they really see me? I mean, isn’t the point of camouflage so that things don’t see you? And even if they do, I’m sure it will just look like a giant bush moving in the wind. That’s right, they may see shapes moving, but they won’t realize that it’s a person. Plus more than half of me is hidden behind this log, all they can really see is my head and half of my torso. It will be fine, and Josh will never see me moving anyway. I decided I had to make a move; otherwise I wouldn’t be able to shoot if a turkey sauntered in. I sssslllloooowwwwllllyyy scotched myself no more than half an inch when the bush behind me whispered,

            “What are you doing?”
            “My body is falling asleep, I just need to make a tiny adjustment.”
            “Sue, the turkey’s are right there, you cannot move right now.”
            “I don’t see any turkeys. Besides, I just need to scoot half an inch.”
            “You don’t see them because they are behind those trees, if you move they
will see you and then you won’t have any chance of getting them.”
“Josh, if I stay like this I won’t be able to feel my fingers to pull the trigger. If
you would have just let me adjust myself, I would have been done by now and there would have been a heck of a lot less commotion.”
“Fine, move. Just do it slowly.”

I painstakingly moved my body as slowly as I could. It maybe was half an inch or so, but enough to get the blood moving again. As soon as I was settled again, I heard rustling coming from the woods behind me. That would be my luck, I move the tiniest bit, and scare all of the birds away. Slowly I turned my head slightly to the right to see if it was in fact a turkey or just the wind. The glistening of a shotgun barrel was all that caught my eye.

OH MY GOD. He thinks I am a turkey. Darn Josh and his impressive turkey calling. He had called one in all right, just the wrong one. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t move, breath, or even think. The rustling we had heard behind us was not a turkey, a deer, or any other animal. It was a hunter, more than that, a trespasser. Josh’s family’s properties are all private. I was going to tell Josh, but I was afraid that he would go after the guy and end up getting shot. Luckily, the other hunter realized his mistake and ran off, probably afraid of the repercussions of trespassing onto private land. I did end up telling Josh about the incident, I just waited until we made it safely out of the woods.

April 19, 2011

Hello Spring Gobblers!


As turkey season is almost upon us (can I get an AMEN?), I reminisce about my first season turkey hunting. Turkey season was how I began my hunting career, so every year when it comes around I am reminded of my start with this crazy sport. I broke the following story into two parts because it is way too long to read at once. I'll post the second half next week, right before opening day.

Spring Turkey Season: Part 1
The whole plan for turkey season was that I was going to head into the woods with Josh and videotape him. That would give me the opportunity to see what hunting was all about, without actually having to do the hunting myself. Josh gathered up some old camouflage that he and his brother had and mixed it in with some new things he had picked up for me. My favorite of my new gifts was the Thermacell to keep bugs away; that thing is awesome! Now, I am not normally a sit back and watch type of girl, so I decided to continue that approach with hunting. Why should Josh get to have all the fun? Find me a gun and let’s get a turkey! I do realize it is a little more complicated than that, so I sent Josh a quick email explaining my new desire. According to him he just about fell off his chair at the office. Looking back, I realize that it was a little shocking. I went from never wanting to hunt, to possibly wanting to just go along and videotape, to wanting to bag me a turkey. What can I say, I like a challenge.

Now I needed a gun. Josh happened to have his brother’s old twenty-gauge shotgun from when Jarrid was a kid, and decided to start me out on this. So off we went. He suited me up one afternoon, I wore my camouflage shirt so that I would look the part, and took me to the old container yard to try some target practice. Josh had forgotten the ear protection, but I assured him that I could handle this. I mean, how loud could this thing possibly be? He placed my target about twenty yards away from where I was stationed. (Apparently for all you non-hunters that was not very far and I should be able to be successful. Josh is a very positive reinforcement type of teacher-he wants me to have success and build my confidence-which is very sweet). Walking back to me he placed my seat cushion on the ground against one of their roll-off containers.

“Hold on, I have to sit in the dirt?”
“You aren’t in the dirt, you are sitting on a cushion. The cushion is in the dirt.”
“Okay, but I am leaning against a dirty container. Wait a minute, are there
snakes under there. I swear to God, Josh, if I see a snake I am out of here.”
“There are no snakes, it’s way too cold for them.”
“How do you know that?”
“Just sit down.”
“Fine, but I am serious, one snake and I’m gone.” (Of course he was right and
we didn’t see any snakes, but still, one could have been right behind me at
any moment.)

Josh explained the basic fundamentals of a shotgun; where the shell goes, which way the shell needs to point, where the safety is, how to tuck it into my shoulder, and how to line up the open sight. He reminded me again that it was going to be louder than my .22, and it was definitely going to kick more. He showed me exactly where and how to tuck it into my shoulder. I tucked my shotgun into my shoulder, adjusted my sunglasses, lined up my sight, took one deep breath, and BOOM!

Tears welled up in my eyes and poured down my cheeks. I practically threw my gun at Josh and started shaking.

            “Why didn’t you warn me how loud that was! My shoulder
hurts! You didn’t tell me it would kick that much.”  (I am practically sobbing..)
            “Yes I did.”
            “No you didn’t!”
            “Sue you’re okay, I promise.”
            “It hurts, I cannot do that. That thing nearly blew my arm off!”
            “No it didn’t. Let’s go see where your shot went.”

So up we went, walking what seemed like a mile to that dinosaur target (yes I thought the turkey target was a dinosaur target the first time I saw them-I still think it would be cooler to shoot dinosaur targets than turkey targets). I was supposed to be aiming for. Honestly, I have no idea where I was even aiming; my eyes may or may not have closed when I pulled the trigger.  I know you aren’t supposed to do that, by how the heck are you supposed to keep you eyes open when something booms that loudly and throws itself into you mere inches from your face? Well apparently I had a pretty good shot, or at least that’s what he told me. So we headed back through the field to my little cushion in the dirt. Well forget the fact that I just nearly blew off my shoulder and blew out my eardrums in the same shot, if Josh thinks that I am not half bad at this, then I am shooting again. (And that was the moment that my competitive spirit kicked into gear). He loaded me up and I shot a few more times before the kick of the rifle made me black and blue. I’m serious; my shoulder literally was black and blue the next day.

April 11, 2011

South Carolina: Snake Charmer


Josh and I had the opportunity to make a weekend trip to SC, and of course we jumped on it. Josh drove down Thursday evening after work, and I jumped on an evening flight to meet him on Friday. I am not complaining about the heat, but it was HOT. For all you hunters, you know that this means the animals were not moving. SC does not allow you to hunt hens (female turkeys) at all, so that allows for each male turkey to have quite a few girlfriends. This makes it nearly impossible to call one in. That is exactly what we experienced on Saturday morning. Josh and I headed out with Perry, who used to be a hunting guide for outfitters in SC and is a family friend, and while we heard one or two gobblers-we didn’t see any. Perry headed home, and Josh and I got changed and started moving some tree stands around. A timber company had come in and cut down the trees on a few spots on the property, so this meant there were a couple of tree stands left on lone trees in the middle of a giant field. Not exactly camouflaged. Josh got the tractor out of the barn and off we went. Josh taught me how to drive the tractor. Moving the bucket around is super fun!

After lunch at Lester’s, Josh headed back into the woods with Perry to try and chase down some turkeys, while I took a quick nap before hog hunting. When Josh and Perry weren’t back by 6:00PM, I loaded up the ranger and headed out. Foreshadowing is an amazing literary technique; I just wish I could recognize it when it happens in real life.  I was about to walk out the door, when my gaze came across the Tuarus Judge (handgun). This thing had been attached to my hip all afternoon, in case any snakes or angry pigs decided to attack, but I decided that having my .308 was enough protection. Let’s just say I should have listened to my gut.

I parked the ranger about 300 yards away from the stand I would be sitting in, sprayed myself down with anti-scent spray, and headed out to my stand. Literally the second I sat down I realized that I had left the Kodak Cam on the back of the ranger. I hoped Josh would see it when he came out to meet me in the stand and grab it. The temperature at this point in the day was a steamy ninety degrees; there was no way that I was walking all the way back to the ranger for it. I settled myself into my stand, which meant taking off a few layers due to the extreme heat, unpacking my hog calls, getting the Blackberry out (remember Josh wasn’t with me yet), and loading my .308. Finally I was settled and ready to try out these calls. I knew that it was way too early for the hogs to make their entrance, it was still way too hot, but I figured I would give the calls a try anyway. Both calls were Primos brand, a squealer and a grunt, and I decided to give the grunt call a try. I had been practicing with both at home, and felt much more confident with my grunting ability than my squealing ability. I took a few deep breaths, and made some short breaths into the call. The result, in my opinion, sounded exactly like a hog. The rustling in the leaves at my feet had my blood pumping! I had actually called something in! Holy cow, this was exciting! All of my other experience calling animals had never gone well. Finally, something I was good at! I reached for my .308 and scanned the ground in front of my stand.

OH MY GOD. That is not a pig. That is a snake. A very menacing, slithering, looking for a camouflaged snack sitting in a tree stand, snake.

Panic. That is the only word to accurately describe how I felt in that exact minute. Panic because I left the Judge on the table. Panic because Josh was not here to rescue me. Panic because I didn’t know what type of snake it was (not that it really makes a difference in how I would have handled the situation). Panic because I don’t know if snakes can climb tress (think The Jungle Book, when that black snake is wrapped around the branches of the tree-HELLO I AM SITTING IN FRONT OF A GIANT TREE!). Panic because I do not know what to do.

Option 1: Do nothing. Hopefully my slithery enemy will pass quietly by and leave me alone.

Option 2: Shoot it. The problem with this is two-fold. If I shoot and hit it, will it explode up at me? Dear God that is terrifying. If I shoot and miss it, will I scare it into jumping up into the tree I am sitting in front of? Equally as terrifying.

Option 3: Retreat back to the ranger and leave. Though this means I must walk past the snake to escape. That is not going to happen.

Option 4: Call Jarrid. Not quite sure what I expected him to do from PA, but hopefully he would have some wonderful nugget of advice that would tell me how to repel a snake from my location without actually doing anything. Some type of mind hypnosis would be perfect.

My exchange with Jarrid went exactly like this:

Me: What do rattle snakes look like????
Jarrid: Do you see a snake??? (Oh no, I was just curious-YES I SEE A SNAKE)
Me: Yes!!!! Can they climb trees???
Jarrid: Is it on the road? (Why isn’t he answering any of my questions??)
Me: Under my stand. CAN THEY CLIMB TREES?
Jarrid: They shouldn’t climb up…but make sure Josh knows you seen one under the stand before he comes to you. Try shooting it if you want. What color is it and how long and is it fat or skinny?
Me: Skinny with a design
Jarrid: Diamond dark designs??
Me: Yes (now I am even more panicked because he must know what it is and it must be something incredibly scary because he won’t tell me)
Jarrid: Just keep your eye on it you’re fine. If you feel safer just have Josh back the ranger right to the stand so you can step from the ladder to the bed of the ranger.
Me: Good idea.

The exchanged continued for a few more minutes as I explained how the useless hog grunt call must have been mis-packaged as a snake-charming device. Needless to say that thing is going into the trash the second I get home. It also goes without saying that I will never go out without the Judge again.

The slithery monster made its way into the bushes behind me, and there were no sightings of him or his friends for the rest of the night. Josh finally made his way to me and the rest of our evening was pretty uneventful. No hogs, no deer, no turkeys. Snakes must have scared them away.

Side Note: Once I got to work on Monday I immediately "googled" the snake that I saw. It was a Copperhead. Yep, extremely poisonous snake willing to kill you and eat you at a moments notice. Awesome.

April 8, 2011

Top 10 Weekend: Hunting with Josh

I am dedicating this week's Top 10 list to Josh because he is the reason I started hunting to begin with. I wouldn't be doing any of this without him, and I definitely wouldn't have any nearly as many incredible experiences to write about.

1. He keeps my licorice supply well stocked. I'm sure you are all sick of hearing about my favorite snack, but this week alone he brought me FIVE bags from his dad. Joe gets some credit for this one too :o)

2. He does the laundry. While I do our everyday laundry, Josh has taken over the task of making sure our hunting clothes are clean and scent free. Although sometimes he forgets to shake them out first and I find dirt clumps left in the washer/dryer, which then leads to me needing to clean the washer. That of course adds one more thing to my list of chores, but I digress-he tries to help and I appreciate it.

3. He packs my bag. Without him, I would have left on many hunts without something imperative. Case in point-we were in SC and I had forgotten my lucky hat. I was devastated, but he had remembered to throw an extra one in for me. We are getting ready to head to SC again this weekend for some spring turkey/hog hunting and he had my turkey vest all loaded up and ready to go for me. He is the best! (Somehow he managed to forget my super new hog calls-don't worry I threw them in my carry-on.)

4. He carries the heavy stuff. The bonus to hunting with a boy is that he carries the guns when they get too heavy, the backpack which is loaded down with "necessities," all the camera stuff, and still manages to walk faster than me to the tree stand.

5. He does the calling. After three years I still sound like a dying animal when I try to turkey call, useful when hunting coyotes, not useful when hunting turkeys. Last year Josh called in a turkey no more than five feet away from us. It was incredible! The one time he let me try a grunt call I started laughing so hard that I couldn't get a squeak out, so without him I am lost. Although, I think I will be in charge of these hog calls-he hasn't practiced nearly as much as I have.

6. He makes sure I am awake. 4:00AM is pretty early, and I have a bad habit of snoozing my way through my alarm. Without him I would have missed many morning hunting opportunities.

7. He is my faithful videographer. Since I have started hunting, Josh has sacrificed his hunts to videotape me in the stand. I always feel badly that when we hunt, it's really me hunting. He continues to say that he is more excited to watch me hunting then to go by himself, but I still feel badly sometimes. Maybe I'll let him shoot the first hog this weekend.....maybe.

8. He is super supportive. I can honestly say that Josh is my number one fan and supporter. He backs me up on everything I do, or want to do. He doesn't make fun of me when I start crying in the stand because it is too high (though I get heck about it later on), he is willing to take the second shot when I get scared that my hog won't stop moving (though again I get heck later on), and he is so proud when I manage to harvest something. He is the best cheerleader!

9. He keeps me entertained. He will refuse to admit this if anyone asks, but when the animals aren't moving and I start to get antsy, he plays "rock, paper, scissors" with me to pass the time. He loves to tell me old hunting stories while we wait, and he is always up for letting me play with the video camera in the stand. He is also pretty good at remembering to bring me some snacks to keep me quiet.

10. My absolute favorite thing about hunting with Josh is that we get to spend uninterrupted time together. I am guaranteed that no mater what, I have his undivided attention. We have had some of our best talks in stands and blinds, and I look forward to many more.

April 6, 2011

Music

Allow me to introduce you to my favorite song EVER! If you have never heard the Bone Collector CD, go to Itunes and download it immediately. If you hunt, you will love it! Click on the "Hawgs" below to hear the song.



I'll give you one guess as to what I'm doing this weekend.......

April 1, 2011

Top 10 Weekend: Turkey Hunting

With turkey season fast approaching, I have decided to share with you my personal turkey hunting tips. Granted I still have yet to harvest a bird, but I think I finally have things figured out. This will be my year!

1. Wear layers. Turkey season is notorious for being thirty degrees when you get into the woods before daylight, but quickly changing eighty-five by the time the sun is  up. Light layers are the best because you can tie them around your waist or shove them in your turkey vest as you warm up.

2. Wear comfortable shoes. In spring turkey season you will be walking, and sometimes running, for most of the morning. The first time I went turkey hunting in SC I thought it was a good time to break in new boots. BAD IDEA. I ended up spending the rest of the weekend hunting in pink Muck boots. Learn this lesson early.

3. Bring water. Again, running after birds tends to make you thirsty. Last year Josh had me climbing up and down mountains after those silly birds. We didn't have water with us, and I was so desperate that I almost drank from the creek. EWWW! I am pretty sure that I would have ended up with some weird infectious disease had I done that. Plan ahead.

4. Number four goes well with number three. Bring snacks. You will get hungry. Especially when daylight hasn't yet broke and you are waiting for the birds to fly down from their roost. Quiet snacks are best....perhaps some green apple licorice?

5. Make sure you have a sling for your gun. I didn't my first year and I had to carry it all morning. Across every single field, stream, mountain, and rocky ravine. We are lucky I didn't accidentally shoot a tree.

6. Face paint. While a face mask seems like a great idea at 5AM when it is freezing cold, it isn't. Once the sun comes up you will suffocate. Plus, they tend to squish your nose which gets very irritating if you are hot. Just don't forget to cover your ears with paint too. We have some really funny pictures where Josh's face is all black from paint, and his white ears stick out like lightbulbs.

7. Turkey call. Seems obvious, but I have heard stories of people who went out archery hunting for deer and left without their bow, and only realized it once they were in the tree. (*cough*Jarrid*cough*) Find one that works for you. I continue to try to use a mouth call, but after three years I still sound like a dying cat. Box calls work well for me, I can guarantee that I will call in an orange cat every time I practice! Josh likes slate calls, so that is what he chooses to use. Either way, we always end up in the woods with our turkey vests full of different types of calls.

8. Turkey seat. While I don't recommend an actual seat (way too much of a pain to drag through the woods with you after a bird), I like the ones that are more like cushions. I have one attached to my turkey vest and it is perfectly comfortable. If your turkey vest does not have one attached, then invest in one. It has transformed may uncomfortable tree stumps into comfy couches!

9. Turkey sights. It makes sense; you are trying to hit the skinniest part of this bird who will maybe stand still for a second. Why wouldn't you want to give yourself the best advantage? Josh got me amazing new sights for my 20 gauge this year. They are awesome for turkey hunting because they force you to keep your head up. I will double check the exact name of the brand and post them. They also make sights for goose hunting that work the same way. I was against Josh changing my sights until I stumbled across these. He used the goose sights and said that they were awesome. He was much more accurate with them then in years past.

10. Ground blind. Josh got me one for my first season turkey hunting just in case I was completely unable to sit still. While I did prove him wrong that first year, it is nice to be able to wiggle my feet a little bit while I am sitting in front of a tree. It gives me extra security that the turkeys won't see me, plus then I can leave my licorice on my lap without them seeing it.

March 29, 2011

Turkey Checklist

So Josh and I were talking last night about the upcoming turkey season. For those of you who are unaware, it opens April 30th. I have been hunting turkeys for the last two seasons and still have not gotten one. Ugh! Those silly birds drive me nuts every single year, so in order to have myself as prepared as possible, I have done a little research. If you have never checked out the National Wild Turkey Federation website, I suggest it. While I was on the website, I found a checklist (I do love a good list) for turkey hunting. Click on the link below to check it out. WARNING: this may result in an extremely large Cabela's bill.



Josh and I the first time I ever hunted (turkey season).