Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking Forward to 2011

There's been a website I have been frequenting for a while now, Outdoor Blogger Network, you can see their logo on my side bar on the right side of my blog They offer writing prompts, a suggestion to help get the writing juices flowing. This last one was about our 2011 Outdoor Goals, I was thinking about doing a goals list or at least just jotting down some things and ideas I was looking forward to in the New Year, but now this gave me more incentive to make this list. Here goes nothing.

Personal (I know, this doesn't deal with hunting, fishing, or the outdoors in general, but if I put 'em in writing here, I can't forget 'em or say I didn't say that but I'd never do that. Haha.)

  • The old one that everyone does, lose weight and get healthier. I did lose some weight last year, it made running up and down the river banks and hiking through the woods a lot easier, but now just to not let the weight creep back over the winter is the goal.
  • Stop hoarding random junk in my attic and basement, and clothes as well. Clean out my house and donate everything I can to Goodwill / Salvation Army. This also will allow for more room for someone else to move in with me this summer.
  • I want to go back to school, so I need to apply to Graduate School at WVU and get accepted in my program. As well as take a course this summer so I can substitute teach while I go back to school.
  • As I wrote about earlier, I finally have the funds available to purchase a Nikon D90, the camera I've been wanting for a while now. Since this will be my first DSLR, I want to learn the fundamentals of photography and actually put the camera to use for everyone out there.
  • Lastly for this section, it's a bit sappy and no one cares about this one but me, but I'd like to be a better boyfriend this year. It might actually help keep her around, lord knows I'll need all the help I can get. Haha.
General Outdoors
  • I've wanted to have my own garden for years, but it always seems to just end up being a potted peppers and tomatoes. This year I want to have a garden that actually makes it into the ground.
  • I learned to make jam for the first time last year, so this year I need to find more places to with black berry thickets and/or any (edible) berries for that fact.
  • This past year I skimped on my ramp hunting/digging, but now that I am able to can them, I want to be able to have enough ramps canned to last me three-fourths of the year.
  • As much time as I spend in the outdoors, I need to continue to learn more about the native flora and fauna of West Virginia.
  • Continue learning and using the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving that I got for Christmas to make more Jams and Jellies.
  • As long as I follow through with my first objective on this list, the last one shouldn't prove to be too difficult, can and give away part of the produce from my garden.
  • I'm not one for remembering to count every day or every fish I catch, I wish I was, I've tried keeping journals, taking pictures, just about everything, but it doesn't seem to work. I thought this year, I'm going to keep it general on this one, I want to fish at least 9 out of the 12 months this year. Doesn't sound to hard to happen, but I need to start somewhere and if we get the snow like we did last year, the water around here won't be clear or at normal levels till March. 
  • This is one I'm not sure I'm going to be able to attain, but I've love to. I want to catch four different types of trout: Rainbow, Brown, Brook, and Golden Rainbow Trout. I've never caught a Rainbow Golden trout before, so why not make it a goal this year.
  • When I got to Florida this summer I would like to try one of the following three types of fishing: Surf Fishing, Pier Fishing, or fish on a Charter. Another one that isn't that hard, but sometimes on a time crunch things like this take a back seat, unfortunately last year that was the case.
  • This is something I've been trying to do for years, but I haven't got lucky enough to catch a trout that qualifies for "The West Virginia Trophy Fish Citation Program". 
  • Lastly in the fishing section, I bought a fly fishing outfit and fly tying equipment this past year. I would like to become more proficient in tying flies and catch my first fish on a fly fishing.
  • Considering Spring Gobbler Season is going to be here before we know it, I want to hunt Spring Gobbler Season. As I've wrote before I haven't got to go turkey hunting, I've went and sat in the blind and called them, but I want to be able to have the chance at harvesting my first gobbler.
  • We've now talked about moving a tree stand to the flat at the top of my property that over looks a valley. I want to re-hang one stand and add another to my property and hunt from both of them this next season.
  • For the last four years, I've spent time learning about my property, adding food plots with Jay and Luke's help, and generally make it a better hunting area. I want to continue the progression of our hunting grounds and keep expanding the food plots.
  • I've been bow hunting now for more than a few season and have yet to harvest anything with my bow. My objective for next hunting season is to harvest at least one deer of either sex with my bow.
  • During Rifle Season I'd like to successfully hang, hunt, and harvest a buck from one of the two new tree stand locations I'm going to add this summer.
  • Well I guess the first thing I need to do is finally submit my blog to the OBN, yes, the same site that I've been checking out for the last few months and finding great blogs to read. What do I have to lose?
  • Right now I'm just using this as an outlet for my outdoor ramblings, so that I don't have to bore everyone around me with my thoughts, complains, and stories. I'd really like to start posting on a more regular schedule (twice during the week and once during the weekends).
  • As this is my first blog and I only started it a few months ago, I still have a lot to learn, but I'd like to make my blog more user friendly and entertaining.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Looking Back at 2010

Our haul after a morning at a honey hole.
L to R: Jay, Myself, and Jared
While looking at 2010, there were low points, but over all this was a great year. I got spend more time fishing locally, yet I was still about to explore some new streams in West Virginia. Even though, I wasn't able to start fishing as early into the year as I wanted to, I still made the most of it and got to spend some great morning on the banks of Big Sandy Creek and the Cheat River with some great guys. Then as turkey season rolled around, I didn't get to go hunting as I had wished, but I did get to go out and at least call and play in the woods and get the turkeys to respond to me. Next year, this will be a different story.

A bird catching his lunch on Ormond Beach, FL.
Of course, I spent most of the summer fishing as well as shooting bow, and working on our food plots and tree stands. I also got to take a trip to my parent's beach house this summer in Ormond Beach, FL., this was a great adventure for Jay and I, we didn't get to go salt water fishing as I had wanted, but this just leaves more for me to do this year. The end of the summer and beginning of the fall always leads to a lot of interesting things, it starts the count down for bow season, our annual trip to Romney, WV, the start of WVU football, and this year it even introduced a great girl into my life.

Then as the warm weather turns cold and the leaves turn and eventually start falling off, bow season proved to be uneventful for me this year, but man was Jay luck this year, not only did he take a buck on the Opening Day of Bow Season, he always took a personal best deer only a few day later. Although I didn't get to harvest a deer with a bow this year, Opening Morning of Rifle Season allowed me to put some meat in my freezer.

Looking back at it, it's hard to believe that this year is almost over, it's just flown by. But I guess now it's time to look forward to next year and start making plans for my up coming fishing trips.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Goods

I hope everyone had an great Christmas and got to spend sometime with their friends and family!!

Her new Camo Hoodie.
I had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas. On Christmas Eve, my parents always have a seafood dinner/party for everyone to come enjoy, it's always filled with great food and laughter, this was actually this first year I got to introduce Cassie to this tradition. Of course as I've got older, the nights have gotten longer, and as there are no little children left in my immediate family right now, it makes for a nice Christmas morning to sleep in on. Once we were all awake and functioning, we began exchanging our gifts, it's always an interesting time giving and receiving gifts at my parents house, but this year wasn't too bad. I knew what they had planned to get me, but as I said before this was Cassie and I's first Christmas together so it was time to see if my had actually done well enough on her presents or not. As it turns out, I didn't do that bad at all for her, she loved her Fiesta Wear amongst other things as well, but the one she said she liked the most was her Cabela's Seclusion 3D hoodie I had gotten her, now she has something to wear next time we go shooting. Haha. As well as I had thought I did for her, she blew me out of the water with what I got. But instead of going on forever about everything I got, here's a few of my favorites:

The new 2010 Camo NFL (Redskins) OnField Gear

Picture my parents got me from a local artist.
And my parents got me some smaller stuff, but their main gift was cash for me to put towards something I've been wanting for a while now. A Nikon D90, hopefully I will be purchasing the camera soon after the new year begins. This should lead to me being able to get you guys a lot better and more pictures on here (as long as I remember to take it. Haha.).

Image from

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Maybe Next Year I'll be hunting this week..

Around five years ago when I got back in to hunting, I took up archery around the same time. I threw myself into it, just like I do with most new hobbies, I thought I'd never want to take up Muzzle Loader hunting due to the fact that I was an archery hunter (Yes, I rifle hunt as well, but around here that's just a fact). But now as time as passed, especially the last few years, I have started getting the inkling to try this foreign form of hunting. One of my other buddy I hunt with, Jared, has been muzzle loader hunting for a while now, along with Jay who actually took his first muzzle loader buck last year. So this leaves me with an open week in the season, yes I could be still bow hunting it and I have, but this leaves tags unclaimed since I can't take one with a muzzle loader. So maybe I'm just antsy for a new toy or maybe I am just wanting to take on a new task / skill, but whatever it may be, I hope to be hunting next year at this time with some black powered. This my take more than a year to happen, but I don't foresee any reason why I shouldn't try this form of hunting, I might even leave "Ol' Black Betty" at home more often, if I could take to whatever muzzle loader I get. This is just a thought, idea, dream, and a goal. But really what hunter wouldn't want to extend their season just that much more?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Time to put meat in the freezer..

Well today was the last day of Rifle Doe Season. After passing last week on the doe and yearlings I was hopeful to at least see them again, I hadn't planned on even shooting them, it'd just have been nice to see them. I guess that was a little too much to as for, because I didn't even get to see a deer that morning. It would have been nice to have taken one more deer during rifle season to assure that my freezer would be full for the fooling year, but at least I got one on opening day and I was able to get some meat in the freezer, guess I can't complain that much. All in all this past Rifle Season has been very enjoyable, I got to spend some time with friends and family and even managed to harvest one deer with my limited time in the woods.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Last Ditch Effort for Antler..

With having to work the second and final week of rifle season, the only day left that week for me, to bag a big buck or a buck at all for that matter was yesterday. This day was normally used to deer drives or to walk to woods in hopes of jumping up some deer, mainly due to the fact the snow has set in on us. This year was a little different though, Jay, who had spent the previous week (first week of rifle season) in Florida working, was back with an itchy trigger finger.

Since this would be the first time Jay and I would get together to rifle hunt this year, we decided to abandoned our tree stands and find a spot to sit together. We ended up picking a spot that we had sat the previous year and said we needed to build a shooting shanty or at the very least put a tree stand, but as you can tell by now, we were sitting on a foam seat the ground, leaning against a log, not horrible, but not the comfort level we had planned on the year before. Even with nothing having everything done we had wished we still held tight in this spot for a while, and it wasn't long before we spotted some deer making their way in. The doe and two yearlings that had been frequenting my tree stand started filling down the hill like that had done many times before that year, Jay having the itchy trigger finger threw me his his video camera and pulled up his rifle after we made sure that it wasn't a buck coming in. After some deliberation and the fact that they made their way right under my tree stand (which was blocked by some trees), we decided to pass on these deer in hopes that they would make it till  next year. Those were the only deer we saw that day, until we unloaded the rifle and started to pack our gear away, then of course a doe came crashing down the hill besides, but it didn't plan on sticking around long enough to let me load my gun again. Haha. I still don't regret passing on the the deer we saw earlier that day, hopefully they make it till next year and help the deer heard grow stronger.

The main lesson we learned today is that we should have trusted our instincts and put a tree stand at this location, next year this mistake will not be repeated.

The sun starting to peak over the valley we were watching that morning.
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