Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waters & Woods: W.Va.’s turkeys ‘at the mercy of nature’

With the 2011 Spring Gobbler Season less than a month away, this isn't the best thing to be reading. I know between trail cameras and early season scouting there are a decent amount of turkeys in the area I hunt to be successful, but it is not looking to be that way for some hunters in West Virginia. At least according to a post I read earlier this week (article below). This issue isn't due to over hunting or even poaching, but do to the fact of nature. With another storm or two in the forecast, lets hope it is the last of them and it starts to warm up for the sake of the young turkey poults this spring (and so that we can get some quality fishing in).

Image Taken from "Is it Turkey Season Yet?"

W.Va.’s turkeys ‘at the mercy of nature’

March 24, 2011 by John McCoy

West Virginia’s chief wildlife biologist isn’t sure whether to be optimistic or pessimistic about the state’s spring gobbler season, which opens April 25.

“I hear mixed reports,” said Curtis Taylor, an avid turkey hunter and a nationally recognized expert on the birds. “I hear people who say they see turkeys everywhere, lots of them. And I hear people who ask where all the turkeys have gone."

Taylor believes both camps could be right; that there are areas within the state where turkeys are abundant, and there are other areas where populations aren’t what they once were. The reason for the inconsistencies? Nature.

“We’re at the point where our turkey population is at the mercy of nature — the mast crop and the spring weather,” he explained. “I think [five low mast-crop years in the past seven] have had a negative effect on the population as a whole.”

He added, though, that “turkeys are tough.” To continue reading, click here...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - March 29, 2011

This past weekend Jay told me that he had recently pulled some pictures off his trail camera that I would want to see, not only did I want to see them, but that I might even want to put them up on here. This isn't something you, or at least either Jay or I, see much on camera if at all. I know I am buildiung the anticipation up on this one and it's nothing breath taking or majestic, but it is rather interesting to wonder how it got that way. Here are a few pictures of a doe that Jay named "Peggy". Sorry for the poor quality pictures.

You can't tell much from this picture, but look at the front left leg.
It almost looks broken in this first picture.
Now you can see the leg clearly. Is it a deformity from birth, did it get shot last season, or hit by a vehicle?
This image shows how below the knee is completely black or at least discolored.
Also it shows how malnourished this deer is.
We're not sure if if she's even able to reproduce or she'll make it , but we'll
try to keep tabs on her throughout the  spring, summer and fall.
I've never experience something like this especially on trail camera so that we can examine it more closely. What does everyone else think is wrong or has happened to this deer?

Monday, March 28, 2011

On the Water: March 19, 2011

Two weekends, amidst the moving, I managed to sneak out for a morning of fishing. This was the first time I managed to make it out this year, and I must say, even though I only caught one fish, it was a great first outing and exactly what I need to relax a little. I am going to leave you with a few pictures I snapped from this adventure.

Heading out for the morning..

Mile Marker #3

Overlooking the Cheat River..

Self-Portrait: Rainbow Trout - Estimated 19 3/4" 3.75 lbs.

Of course Jay was a half mile ahead of us. Haha.

Lunch: Canned Venison with Barbecue Sauce
Look what I found, a slightly used Carlisle Paddle. 
Heading home..

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Everyone Still Remember Me?

I sure hope so. Haha.. I'm back now, all the moving is done, well at least from Cassie's old apartment to my house. We still have a little rearranging to do furniture and storage wise, but that shouldn't effect my blogging. Moving onto what everyone is really here for, I am going to do a Random Ramblings style post, but I just didn't feel it was worth of the official title, so hang on for a quick catch up and preview of what's to come.

  • Even with all the moving this weekend, I managed to squeeze in a mini half-day fishing trip in Saturday morning, pictures and story to come.
  • After I got back from fishing Saturday, Cassie took a break from unpacking and we had lunch and watched the Mountaineers lose to Kentucky. Not to mention the total meltdown by the Big East have taken a major hit on my bracket, but luckily I'm still close the top in my pools so far.
  • I have some great news to fill everyone in on and it will let me check another thing off my Goals for 2011.
  • Two weekends ago Cassie, my parents, and I managed to all get out for a afternoon of shooting, and yes this included shooting my new Glock. Be ready for the second part of the review soon, as well as a possible guest appearance.
  • I want to welcome all of my new Followers to this blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook. And to thanks everyone that has been reading and commenting on my adventures thus far. I never could have fathomed that my little blog would expand from a semi-personal journal of my adventures to what it had become. I would like to thank everyone again that has/had a part in it and especially all of those who keep reading!! Thank you!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - Mach 22, 2011

I am sure you have all those pesky pictures on your trail camera where you think nothing is there, but once you look closer you find out it was a chipmunk, squirrel, or random bird. During the summer and fall they are more of an annoyance than anything, since we a looking to get pictures of our targets for the season to come, but now in the dead of winter and in to the early spring they are pretty humorous and pretty interesting.

There's two squirrels in this picture can you find the second one?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Hope everyone had their plate fulls of corn beef and cabbage along with some green beer and saved the good stuff for later in the night. So here's to a good 2011 St. Patty's Day, the kick off of March Madness, and a Mountaineer victory. The best news of the day, next year St. Patrick's Day is on a Friday.  I'll be back in school so that means it should be an interesting time to say the least!! On the moving front it looks like this weekend will be the final push and we should be done, so expect semi regular posts again next week. Thanks for bearing with me!!

Now to leave you with one of my favorite St. Patrick Day tunes.. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Waters & Woods: Will West Virginia’s Coyote Hunters Catch a Break?

With having posted a second set of coyote pictures on Trail Cam Tuesday yesterday, I thought it would only be fitting to pass along this article for anyone hunting coyotes in West Virginia. This article covers the current regulations and the newly proposed regulations that would take effect in 2012 if approved.

In summary, the original regulations set forth in 2006 had decent reasonings, but they still hampered hunters trying to pursue coyotes at night. The current regulations arm hunters with inferior spotlights (red or amber colored only) and .22 caliber rim fire rifle that has a higher probability of wounding the coyote than killing it instantly. They list the reasons for these restrictions in the article, but it is time to give coyote hunters a fighting chance at night. With the new regulations that are proposed not being discussed till most likely July, we can only hope that the members of the state Natural Resources Commission choose to help the hunters. 

Will West Virginia’s coyote hunters catch a break?

March 11, 2011 by John McCoy

Image from 

Trail Cam Tuesday - Feb. 22, 2011

West Virginia’s coyote hunters might be getting a little regulatory relief soon.

“For what?” I hear you ask. “They can hunt the critters at night for half the year, they can hunt them during the day all year long, there are no closed counties and there’s no bag limit.”

Even so, there are restrictions hunters consider onerous. Daytime coyote hunters can do pretty much as they wish, but nighttime hunters say they’re handicapped by regulations that restrict them to spotlights with red or amber lenses and to firearms no more powerful than .22 caliber rimfire.

The regulations were put into place to prevent deer from being spotlighted under the guise of coyote hunting. Regulators figured the amber or red lights would help law enforcement officers distinguish coyote hunters from deer spotlighters, who usually use powerful white lights. Regulators also figured .22-caliber rimfires would be too light for use on deer.

Since those regulations went into effect in 2006, Division of Natural Resources officials have had a change of heart. They’ve come to realize that the restrictions were too — well, restricting. Hunters discovered that the amber or red lights weren’t powerful enough, and that .22 caliber rifles didn’t pack enough wallop to kill coyotes on the spot. To continue reading, click here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - March 15, 2011

Good news, I'm still alive and weekend one out of two operation move Cassie in is done. Now just to survive this week of work and moving, then the second and final weekend. Then yours truly is back on a regular schedule of writing and entraining everyone, well at least trying to. Now onto what everyone is really here for...

Before I get started on this weeks pictures I'm going to answer a question from last week, always feel free to ask  questions, I might not know the answers, but I will try or at the very least give my opinions. This week's question is from JM of Something's Fishy. His question was, "Do you always have the trail cam in the same spot or do you move it around? Seems to be a lot of wildlife around..." First, there is a lot of wildlife around my area of West Virgina, there are even more species that I haven't managed to capture on camera. As far as my camera locations, I keep mine on my food plot and stand location, and I am looking to get another here in the near future (Ahem, hear that, if any trail camera manufactures are reading this I am looking a new one. Sorry couldn't resist. haha) to get another location covered. Jay also has a camera running on the property for around six month that watches over his food plot and tree stand. Along with that, he also runs a camera set around his house around another area he hunts. So I do have some diversity in pictures, but the majority, if not all, of the pictures taken are of places I hunt during bow or rifle season. 

To my surprise, I managed to sneak out from moving this week to check my trail cam for the first time in a three weeks, but that wasn't the only surprise we found once we checked the pictures. If you remember a few week ago, I had a post that listed my Top Three animals I wanted capture on trail camera. I didn't manage to get a new species on camera, but from what I've been reading I managed to get a rare form of coyote, a black one. But you can judge for yourself and if anyone knows anything more about black coyotes, please feel free to enlighten me. 

It's not the clearest picture, but you can see this coyote leaving the frame on the left hand side.

It's a little blurry, but you can see the the darker colored coat and the narrowed snout. 
As I said before this might not be a black coyote, but from what I can see it sure looks like it to me.
 Feel free to correct me though.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pardon The Interuption

As some of you may remember, who am I kidding, no one remembers my Goals for 2011, not even me. But one of them if I look back at it was, "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." Well I get to check this one off a little sooner than we had planned. Over the next two weekends Cassie is going to be moving in. This means my post might be a little more sporadic and random (if that's even possible), but I still going to be posting them as much as I can, but once she gets moved in everything will be back to normal. 

That gives me another idea for a post now that I think about it. See I have way to many post going on in my head already, we're looking at a review for the2011 WV Hunting, Fishing, and Outdoors Show, Glock Part 2, a few opinion/reflection post, and of course Trail Cam Tuesdays. Now that I've given away all my secrets of what I have to post, it looks like you'll have to keep tuning back in to see when I post what. And remember you can always find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Adventure in Choosing My Glock

If you follow this blog, I'm sure you know that I have been contemplating getting a hand gun. I even shot my buddies Glock G17 (9mm), to see if I how I liked it compared to a revolver. Well, we all know how that one went, I even talked about it again in a Random Ramblings post. We all know I got one, but how did I decide on a caliber or size.

When I originally posted about about shooting the 9mm I asked for everyone's opinion. I got some great opinions from Brian, LB, and Matt. It seemed that everyone only had good things to say about Glocks, this was also proved by simply shooting one. I wanted to go with a Glock, I preferred the semi automatic to the revolver, at least for my first hand gun, plus the rugged, durability of a Glock is something I was looking for. Now on to the the tricky part, what caliber? Well I shot a 9mm, I thought it had minimal kick and I could handle it fairly well, plus I thought that it would be easy enough for Cassie to handle. After a little research and a few conversations with my uncle, cousin, and a few friends I decided that I would look at a .40 S&W. After considering what I wanted this gun for, a back up weapon while bow hunting and personal protection with the ability to still conceal carry, the .40 S&W seemed to fit the bill the best. Then with wanting the ability to still conceal carry, that made my decision on size a little easier. The G27 was just a little to small for my taste, even though it was a little bit bigger I decided to go with the...

After looking at all my options, playing with them, and seeing which one felt best in my hands, I decided to go with the Glock G23, it is the compact model of the .40 S&W caliber. The specific gun I bought is a Gen 4 with Rough Textured Frame (Gen4 RTF) surface designed to enhance grip traction and is present on the frame as well as the interchangeable back straps.

Look for Part 2 once I've made it to range a few times and can give it a through work out, and you might even get a guest opinion/review on this one. Hint - Her first question wasn't how much, but when are we going to shoot? I think this means she might even be excited for this one.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - March 8, 2011

It's time for the weekly installment of Trail Cam Tuesday, this post was originally inspired by my girlfriend, Cassie. She's a great sport and even goes through my massive amount of trail cam pictures with me, she loves to see the bear pictures but a close second has to be the group pictures of animals (ones involving multiple species). Well after she suggested that I do a Trail Cam Tuesday segment on group shots, I agreed it would be a good idea, but as I started going through these, I found something a little more entertaining that just the group shots. Sorry Cassie, no group shots but you still get the credit for this one since you gave me the idea to start looking for all these pictures. With multiple species being in the frame, they're going to have to stare each other down from time to time, but these are the best/funniest ones I found.

The raccoon gazing on hopeful that the doe
will let him get something to eat.

This doe has had enough and shoots an eager fox the
death glare before he can even take another step.

Now that there is no deer close to care about the fox or the raccoon, they have
 nothing to do now but stare at each other. Who will win?

This has to be my favorite one. This raccoon is holding his ground with
this young buck still in velvet. My money is on the raccoon. Haha
I hope everyone enjoyed the a little more light-hearted edition of Trail Cam Tuesday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Featured Outdoor Bloggers - Week of 3/7

Little to my surprise, I was on my way home from work this evening when I got a tweet from Joe, at SoCalSalty, saying congratulations. You can imagine my confusion when I got this, of course this happened on a stretch of road that has horrible service, so I waited till I got home to find out that I was listed as one of the three Featured Blogger of the Week on the Outdoor Blogger Network.

Thank you OBN for this honor!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Playing Outdoor Favorites - Outdoor Blogger Network: Photo Prompt

It sure has been busy the last few days; everything from work,  buying a new toy and the WV Hunting, Fishing, and Outdoors Show. As you can see I have some stuff to write about, it's just a matter of finding the time to write. However, for tonight's post I am using the prompt; The OBN's last photo prompt is "Playing Outdoor Favorites." The task is to choose your favorite outdoor gear, everything from your old trusty deer rifle to that hand me down fly reel from your grandfather or is it that brand new spinning rod and reel you got last year?

There are too many things I use to pick a favorite per se; I hunt, fish, camp, hike, garden, forage, can... I do way to much outdoors to pick just one favorite thing. I took this on as more what are the items you can always find within an arms reach of me almost anytime I am outdoors, that one wasn't to hard to do.

My "Favorites"
I know some of these items a few of you are going to give a little guff for, as I take some from my friends also, but let me explain a little and they'll start to make more sense.

  • My Camo WVU Hat - I normally have this thing on 24/7 outside of work and the dinner table you'll normally find me wearing it. Not to hard to explain or understand this one, everyone need a good hat. The only except to this one is during Deer Season it sitting in the Jeep while I'm in stand, due to the fact there is no way this hat would be scent free.
  • My Pocket Knife - This is my "multi purpose tool," yes some time I carry an actual Leatherman or a fixed blade knife on my belt depending on my activity, but there isn't a day that goes by that this isn't in my pocket. Currently, for the last few years I've been carrying the Gerber Obsidian, it has been a great knife.
  • My Camera - This one is for obvious reasons, I take a lot of pictures, and have even started taking more since I started this blog. It's an inexpensive Canon PowerShot series, that might actually be getting upgrade soon, but we'll have to wait and see on this one.
  • My Phone - This one gets on some people's nerves, I understand that. But it is first and foremost, a necessity as far as having it for safety! Secondly, I use it for checking the weather, the hunting and fishing times ( Time2Fish & Time2Hunt), a back up camera and maps/GPS. There are a lot of different things that it can be used for that can help us in the outdoors. 
There's a little glimpse into what my "favorite" things to carry on me outdoors are, they might not be for everyone, but they work for me and always help me along on my outdoor adventures.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Waters & Woods: Despite Losses, W.Va. Hunting, Angling Rank High

This isn't a good trend to be showing, but at least there is a little silver lining. As far as my state of West Virginia, we are also declining, but we are not falling as quickly as others. There were only two areas where we dropped below the national average, dove hunting and waterfowl hunting, and the only problem I see those dropping below is I don't see the state having the best areas for these. While there are some areas for dove and waterfowl hunting, they are not as prevalent as other states. Maybe there is still hope for this trend to turn around.

Despite losses, W.Va. hunting, angling rank high

February 27, 2011 by John McCoy

In West Virginia, though, declines in hunter and angler participation have been relatively gradual. In fact, according to a recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Survey on hunting and fishing trends, the Mountain State’s participation rates remain among the nation’s highest.

Nationwide during the survey trend, the number of hunters fell 11 percent, from 14.1 million in 1991 to 12.1 million in 2006, the latest year for which complete statistics were available. Angler numbers fell at an even greater rate – 16 percent, from 35.5 million in 1991 to 29.2 million in 2006.

Researchers doing the survey compared the states’ trends against the national trends. The number of deer hunters in West Virginia, for example, declined at a slightly higher rate than the national average. So did the number of turkey hunters and rabbit hunters. Only in the area of squirrel hunting did the number of Mountain State participants decline at a lower rate than the national trend.

The number of West Virginians who participate in fishing declined far less than the national trend. In Bass angling, trout angling, catfish angling and “angling for anything,” state residents significantly bucked the national tendency.
To continue reading, click here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - March 1, 2011

I keep wondering when I'm going to run out of footage for you guys, but then I start looking back through some of mine and Jay's trail cam pictures and I find five or six new posts. So when I was looking for the pictures of the coyote for last weeks Trail Cam Tuesday, I came cross these pictures. I apologize for the quality of these images, I have tried to lighten them up enough while maintaining some of their quality. Please remember, you may need to click on the image to maximize it see full detail.

Normally I try to keep the pictures to a max of four, but this sequence was just to good to break up. You'll have to look closely, maximize a few pictures, and trust  me a little; but I have  set of photos of two bears fighting. Everything from the encounter/stand off to the victor laying claim.

The stand off begins.

The stand off continued with both bears in frame.

The bears are tangled up in the back right corner.
The bears jawing back and forth

The continued jawing and wrestling.

I'm not sure on this one, but looks like one is chasing the other off.

Feel free to gather what you want from this picture.

I will be the first to admit I am not the foremost authority on black bears, so if anyone else knows or can tell what is going on please do so. What I can tell you is that neither bear was there when we went to the trail camera a few days later nor any sign of blood, but there was a lot of black fur littered all over the ground.
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