Scott's Outdoor Blog


Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Scouting Tool: Equipment Test

  I know the blog updates have been slow since I've moved to Minnesota.   I haven't had consistent internet access until recently, but the real limiting factor has been the snow.  Last weekend was my first weekend down here, so of course a big snow storm hit.  Highways going out of town in every direction were closed from Saturday afternoon to around Noon on Sunday.  I needed to get out this weekend, so Saturday I drove Northeast to Mankato, MN, to pick up some XC skis.  I checked out some how-to videos on You-tube last night and it looked easy enough.





I woke up early this Morning and checked the forecast.  Looked perfect!










  After picking up some BK Breakfast in Jackson I drove to Kilen Woods State Park.  There were about 10 deer out on the snow as I was pulling up to the park entrance.  I snapped this picture out the car window while driving by so it's not the best.









I parked the car, stepped into the skis, and shuffled through the gate.  There was supposed to be a groomed trail somewhere, but I didn't see it.   I saw some snowmobile tracks that looked to be going in the right direction and headed that way.  Cross country skiing isn't as easy as I thought.  My legs and poles were flailing in every direction as I scooched over the snow.  I eventually found a bit of a rhythm, but not what I had hoped yet. 








I think the deer cross here.  Maybe I'll find some sheds out on the snow here in a few weeks.










   Looking Southeast across the ravine, I spotted a deer out on the snow.  It looked like a decent buck, but I didn't have binoculars.  You might be able to see the black dot if you click on the picture to make it larger, the black dots really stand out in person.

  I skirted the ravine, then decided to drop down the hill to get to a flat spot on the other side.  Then I heard the crack.









  Yep, that's what I thought it was.  Broken ski in the first 2 hours of the first day!  I hope this isn't one of them omens.  Luckily I was only about a mile from the car, and XC boots are a lot easier to walk in than Downhill boots.








                        

                      The tracks on the left are going in.  The tracks on the right are coming out.




 I exchanged the skis this morning, and got home in time to catch the end of the Chiefs game.  Had awhile before dark so I drove into Okoboji and practiced on a groomed trail in town.   One hour, no cracks!  We'll see how long they last.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Animals Gone Wild Blog Update

Just a reminder to check out me and Staab's other blog "Animals Gone Wild" for some updated trail cam pics.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Hungry Eyes of "No Shoot Phil"


  My favorite week of the year just ended.  The 5th annual get together of a couple of friends to go chase whitetails out in West-Central Kansas.  This year had a few twists.  Aron Goodman, one of the three patrons of Deer Camp, went off and got a real job and didn't think he would be able to attend this year.  We needed a third.  So we called up hard-core-stand-sittin' Phil Hewins.  Phil has become known around the Riley County area for putting in many long hours in pursuit of elusive game, but hardly ever bringing himself to drop the string on anything.  The plastic beverage cup glued to his hand around the house all weekend was labeled "No Shoot Phil". 

Fortunately enough, Goodman's job mysteriously required him to be in Hays on the Friday of our trip. That made four.  The other twist was that the trip was scheduled earlier in November than usual.  The usual 15th through 18th of November was now the 4th through the 7th with the hope of getting a pre-rut, cold-front to trigger insane, whitetail chaos all four days.
A weak cold-front did move in Wednesday night, but by Friday afternoon it was gone, replaced by a hot and windy weekend.  The usual lunch-time stories about all the action of the morning were much shorter than usual.

    

Around Noon on Saturday, it was decided that arrows needed to fly.  There were plenty of eager hunters around the table, all claiming they'd come through.  But it wasn't until I dropped him off on the ridge that afternoon.  Not until I watched him move like a prairie ghost across the rolling horizon, that I saw the hunger in his eyes.  The hungry eyes of "No Shoot Phil."

 I never knew it when I picked him up after the evening hunt.  He didn't let on until the rest of us admitted to empty-handed failure that night, that a beast walked out of the forest in front of his stand that night.  And the beast went back into that forest holding an arrow. 
Phil didn't mention too many details, but under the cover of darkness the story was revealed....

                                    


Monday, November 8, 2010

First Hunt in West Canyon

  Friday afternoon I finally got the South wind I needed to hang a stand in the West Canyon.  This was the canyon I had been getting the biggest bucks on trail camera over the last two weeks.  Roll that beautiful bean footage.

                         

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Buck

Here's some video from Sunday night.  Strangest thing, when the the buck stepped out of the canyon, weird music started playing. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Finally!

  I think I found the canyon all the decent bucks are in.  It's about time.  I put the camera over a well used scrape I found last weekend and was happy to see these guys.



 What's this guy doing out so early?  He's the one I'm most excited about so far.  Nice mass and dark antlers!  It doesn't really look like he's very old though.  Doesn't matter, if I see him he's dead.   Any thoughts on age or score?






A nice ten with a cool tine pointing inward on his right side.  Would definitely be cool to see him next year, but I'm not sure if I could hold off if given the opportunity.
 



Here's a big 7 point with a little character.  I had an encounter with him over this same scrape tonight (Halloween) and passed him at about 33 yards.  After looking at the video, it appears he's the oldest buck of the bunch.  He's got a big ole' body on him.  I'll post the footage of that hunt Monday night.





Check out our Animals Gone Wild Blog Monday night for a few more pictures of these guys. There's a link to it on the right-hand side of this page.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Treestand Profile: Riverview Stand

    I'm bored so I decided to post some pics of one of the new tree stands I hung over the weekend.  I'm doing it in a profile format I will use for other stand locations in the future.  It should give a little background to future videos where I'll mention the name of the stand I'm hunting from.



Overlook of Stand Location from Pasture Above  
I finally opted to put a stand here this year.  In the past I had avoided it because I was worried about  busting deer out of their bedding areas.  After watching over the area for several years, I've witnessed a lot of rutting activity on the open area near the stand.  I don't believe the area is as important of a bedding area as I had once thought.







Here is a standing East - looking West view of the stand. Hopefully shadows from the canyons to the East of the stand will keep the sun off me until 9:00 a.m. or so.  In the evenings, the stand will be on the shady side of the tree. 





North-East view from Stand







To the right you will see the view overlooking a trail coming up from the river bottom.

I hope to see a big buck following a doe up this trail as she leaves the crop fields to the North in the morning.



View to the East

    

     


   Looking East over the grassy bench between  the River and canyons.  I envision more than one  seeking-phase buck strolling across this bench 
towards my strategically placed decoy.






Southwest Shooting Lane






  The view off my back-right shoulder keeps me from being surprised by deer coming from the West.  It is also a quartering-away shot opportunity if I have towait on a buck to pass by me heading the other direction.


South Shooting Lane







   I tried leaving as many branches as possible covering my South shooting lane.  I expect the majority of the deer to walk either East or West through this gap. There is a heavy trail just below the gap in the "V" between the tree limbs that is not visible in the picture.

Weekend Report

video

Monday, October 18, 2010

October Doe

 Climbed into this newly hung stand around 5:30 Saturday morning.  As I quietly waited for daylight, I felt certain I would see some deer movement at first light. 
I was wrong.  But it was a good morning for getting some fall foliage pictures.

















Sunday morning I had a little more luck:


     
                                                                                                                                                
Found Her Right Away





Not a Bad Pic from a Broken Tripod

Still Hasn't Moved

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ground Blind, Ninja Style: Followed by Near Death Experience

  Here's some video from Saturday evening.  Enjoy the gay ninja look.  The cameraman could have suggested zipping up the ninja suit, but it was Staab.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend Hunting Report

 Headed back home again this weekend to check trail cameras, hang another stand, and do a little hunting.   I bought 2 new cameras last weekend since my old one went out on me, and I was anxious to see some pics this year.  The Tasco camera took plenty of pictures; unfortunately, they were all of the weeds in front of the camera.  The Bushnell came through though, taking over 1000 pics, including these 2 up and coming bucks.



 















 Below are some video clips from sitting in the ground blind Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cheney Cats

Wheeled out to Cheney again after work to see if the fish were still up.  A light south wind was blowing in, slowly fading as evening went along.  Perfect conditions, or so I thought.  With the sun up, the water was flat, no sign of fish at all.  I fished my way out, walking further from shore with every cast.  As the sun set behind the treeline, I began working my way back towards shore thinking this would be my last trip of the year.  Then a hookup.  I felt the solid weight bend over my rod, and I was happy I wouldn't be going home empty handed.  I felt the head shakes and rolling over the line typical of a catfish.  The fish made a few big circles about 15 feet around me before finally coming to the net.  The net felt heavy enough as I pulled it out of the water that I decided to put this one to the scale.    

The fat bellied fish pulled the spring down to the 8 lb mark, making it my biggest cat on the fly rod.  There was still a little light left, so I waded back in for a few more casts.  As my first cast hit the water, I saw a boil with a tail flop out of the water.  I pulled back on the rod, picking up the slack, and setting the hook on another head-shaker.  I could tell from the shakes that this was a smaller fish, and I horsed it in as quick as possible.  I'd guess the second one went 5 or 6 lbs, but I wanted something BIG.  



The next cast, surprisingly,  was retrieved without any takers.  But the first strip of my second cast pulled back on the line between my fingers and never stopped.  As the fish ran out, I frantically tried to guide the slack line through the rod ferrules, hoping to get him on the reel before the slack wrapped around my net or something.  The fish had probably ran over 50 feet when all the slack pulled out and the reel's drag system took over.  Once I had him on the reel, I thought I had a fighting chance of finally landing a big one.  Then the hook popped out.  I'm gonna head out next week with a headlamp and a mouse pattern.  Hopefully, I can get one of these guys to suck down a topwater after dark.  Here's a few more pics of the fish I did land.


Monday, October 4, 2010

First Coyote Bow Kill

Shot this guy from the treestand Sunday night.  I first noticed him along the creek across a bean field and tried to make a predator squeal sound with my lips.  I lost sight of him behind some trees, but several minutes later I heard the sounds of crunching grass.  One coyote was pushing out a thin crp strip that parallels the clover plot I was over.  I heard another crunching through the beans behind and to my left.  Eventually, 2 pups came out of the woodwork.  All four Coyotes messed around in the food plot in front of me.  The biggest dog stayed behind some foliage for about five minutes before I found a 4 inch hole in the leaves to put an arrow through.  The shot looked good as I heard the impact.  The 'yote turned and growled as he charged off to the north.  Again, I lost sight of him behind big tree limb.  I waited until dark to crawl down, then went to find a flashlight.  I enlisted Bayes' help, and we picked up the trail where the coyote entered the CRP on the north end of the plot.  Most of the blood was found rubbed up against the grass about knee high.  We followed the blood across an access road, then under the fence to the North .  The tracking was easier now that the coyote entered a bean field.  Large red blots stood out against the big green leaves in the lantern light.  About 150 yards into the beans we finally found the coyote.  The video below shows a little footage of the coyote in the distance before and after the shot.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Different Day, Same Result

 

Brought the big net tonight.  Too bad I couldn't keep any of the big ones hooked again.







This guy kept away the skunk.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Out-witted by Carp Again

The great weather lately has finally forced me into a fishing trip.  Tonight, I drove out to Cheney to check on my Carp flats from early Spring.  The water was low, making the trek through the swampy delta much easier than the last time I was there.  Rounding the final bend in the Ninnescah, I took in my first Autumn view of my "secret" flat. 




Despite the pungent smell of bird crap fuming from the newly exposed island, the water looked perfect.  I could see swirls and wakes, which I hoped to be actively feeding carp, in the shallow water.  I waded out slowly,  hoping to see a tailing carp before spooking it.  After getting out about 100 yards, I decided to stop and make a few blind casts, hoping the fish would move in around me.  As I went to pull up my third retrieve for another cast, my fly rod pulled back hard.  The fish made a strong initial run, hugging the bottom and heading towards the dam.  I survived the initial run, and managed to get back some line.  This pattern continued for about 5 minutes before the hooked popped out.  Oddly, it was probably the least disappointed I've ever been about losing a big fish.  I was just glad they were hungry. 

I saw a wake to my 4 o'clock and fired a cast on top of it.  I got to 2 on my 3 second count when the water boiled and my line once again started screaming out to sea.  This time the hooked popped out after only a few seconds.  

Several more fish were missed before I finally brought one in.  I was surprised, and a bit disappointed, when I pulled this out of the murky water.



The fish went about 20 inches, but wasn't what I was after.   I wondered if all the fish I was hooking into were catfish.  The action slowed down as the sun set, but it was fun while it lasted.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Skittin' Ta Be Dat Time O'Year

With whitetail bow season less than a week away, I thought I'd post a highlight video from last year to get the adrenaline going. 
Staab and I had already filled our tags on this year's two year olds.  So I brought the camera along to catch some footage of Staab's brother-in-law, Travis, pickin' some low-hanging fruit. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Fishin'

It's a fairly slow summer for fishing, but here's a few pics thus far...


 A damselfly on the rod tip at Kanopolis Outlet Park.



Bass and Hybrid Bluegill from a Walk-in FISH pond in Elk County.


Quiet evening float-tubing on Kingman SFL.


Farm pond fishin' near Augusta.


   




Biggest bass on the fly so far










Team-work from Adam and Gus






Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Carp Report for May 2, 2010

This is my first report on Carp fishing.  It will be short, as carp were not what I was after when I went.   I was hoping to get into some creek-run white bass on my first trip to El Dorado.  I glanced at a map before I left the house, and decided it looked easy enough to get to the lake.  I knew the river had to be attached somewhere.   Found the river.  It was muddier than I had hoped (seeing some feeding carp was in the back of my mind).  Downstream I went, hoping to get away from the hard-hit fishing holes.  When I came upon a likely looking riffle I sent a chartreuse and white Clouser Minnow to its imminent death..I thought.  I was right, yeah, first cast.  It was about a 12 inch white that looked exactly the same as the next 15 I caught.  As I rounded a bend my plan changed.  There were orange circles on the surface of a slow pool in front of a log-jam.  And there were cottonwood seeds disappearing into them.  I was prepared for this.  I had tied up some CDC and white foam cottonwood seed flies just for this occasion.  I tied one on, chucked it in front of the fish, and watched it sink. (Not into an orange circle, just to the bottom).  Pretty sure those were supposed to float I thought as I dug through my box for something more buoyant than foam.  Alright!  No dry flies except for some of the first Parachute Adams' I ever attempted to tie!  These things were ugly, and even a liberal amount of floatant couldn't keep the first few on the surface.   Finally I found one that sort of floated.  I eased it right in front of several carp and got plenty of looks, but no takers.   A few casts later I watched a sub-surface fish head ever so slowly rising up beneath that funny-looking cottonwood seed, just 6 more inches and he'll be to my fly.  Wait, where is my fly!  That carp sucked it under from half a foot down!  I strip-set the hook and the fight was on!  There was quite a bit of struggle going on to keep him from going under the log jam, but he wasn't the biggest fish in the Walnut, and I was able to horse him out.  First carp on a dry fly!
There were no more carp to be seen, and the sun was getting low .  I felt satisfied with my catch for the day, so I bushwacked through a half-mile of Poison Ivy  on my short-cut back to the car.  

I Went Carp Fishing, and I feel I Need to Explain Myself

Over the last 6 months I'd been reading a lot about guys goin' out Carpin' throughout the Midwest with fly rods.  It really intrigued me.  Everyone who wrote about it claimed it was the best thing since bull fries.  It was compared to sight-fishing Redfish along the Gulf Coast or flats-style bonefish hunting in some white sands, blue water tropical paradise.  The scenery comparison is definitely more than a bit of a stretch, but the style of fishing is supposedly spot-on.  Casting to "tailing" fish which require a precise, delicate cast so as not to spook them sounded like my kind of fish party.  Not to mention the fact that they can get BIG.   Did I mention they explode into an insanely powerful run the second they know they're hooked, often taking the flyline well into the backing.  Add to that the fact that when other local sportfishing slows down during the heat of the summer, carp become even more active.  I had to try this.

I decided to document my carp fishing excursions on this blog as a way to keep a sort of logbook of my season.  Hopefully I'll be able to update it fairly regularly with reports and pictures of many epic battles with Kansas' Golden Bones. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Justin Bayes, Professional Turkey Tracker Extraordinaire

Here's some video from my first turkey hunt of 2010. I picked a bad night to be cameraman, because it was all shootin'!