Monday, October 31, 2011

Random Ramblings: Halloween Edition

It's been a long while since I've done a Random Ramblings. What better time to start doing one again that Halloween! Like I said in the Bear of an Adventure post, I have been slacking but I am going to try get start getting back into the swing of posting more regularly. I'm going to lay out a few things in this following post for everyone to looks forward to or not. This will be our own little form of Trick-or-Treat, if there is something that you see that you want to see sooner, let me know and you just might get your treat posted first, or I might have to trick you into holding out to the last one. That is the beauty of this day...

  • Gear Reviews: I have a bunch of them still in the works. If you have been following along you know I have the been testing Seemz Scent Elimination System products and a Moultrie M-80 trail camera. The Seemz product testing is still going on, but the Moultrie M-80 is finally coming to an end so look forward to that in the near future! Not only that but I also have the Leatherman Kick finished review coming up soon also. A few other goodies I've collected along the way also, but for those you'll have to wait and find out.
  • Recipes: A long, long time ago I promised my recipe for Black Berry jam, I haven't forgotten. I also have a quick 60 Second Venison Marinade that is always good to add a kick to your deer steaks or any steaks for that matter. 
  • This is a little bit of old news, but I'll share it anyways. A week ago, the day after we went on a Bear of an Adventure, one of the guys who went with us, James, shot this great looking 8-point on the property next to Foggy Mountain. 
  • Good luck and be safe out there hunting while the rut is getting ready to kick into high gear!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Bear of an Adventure

Between hunting, school and projects I've neglected my blog, but I'm going to get everyone caught back up here on last weekend on Foggy Mountain. As I had mention in this week's TCT post, if you follow me on Twitter you have an idea how I spent last weekend. After a slow start to the day Jay and I decided to do an evening hunt in the same location. Everything was going good, a crisp cool evening and I could hear the deer moving all around me, but as the evening was drawing to an end I figured it would be another uneventful evening. As always I had my cell phone on silent, but for some reason I took it out to see that Jay was calling me as the last little bit of the sun was slipping behind the mountain. I answered it, his first words were a very shaky, drawn out "I shot," then he repeated with more vigor in his voice "I just shot a bear." Here's what transpired.

As you can see the shot looked a little low, after we watched it back a the vehicles we decided to leave it over night and pick up the trail and track it the next day. This was a long night for Jay, at least from what he said.

The next morning a small group of us (Jay, Skippie, James, and myself) assembled to try and find the bear. It started out promising. We found the blood trail immediately and within 50 to 60 yards we found Jay's broken arrow (see right) with a lot of blood and some meat still sticking to it.

After only finding a third of the arrow and the great coloration in the blood we thought the would be an easy tracking job. Well we were right about the track job. It was easy for a while, the Rage 2-Blade that Jay uses sure gave use a nice, red trail to walk stumble down a hillside for the first 500 yards. The next 300 yards were a little more difficult, we started having to actually look but still wasn't to hard. After that it wasn't the best, more of a guess and check for blood for the next 200 yards or so and after that we didn't get to see much of anything. Everyone hates to wound an animal and Jay was no different, but after looking for 3+ hours and completely losing the blood trail in a thicket there wasn't much more we could do.

L to R: Jay, Skippie, and James heading down the hillside looking for the bear. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - October 25, 2011

I mentioned in last weeks TCT, the deer acitvity had gotten slow with the logging and the lack of pre-rut behavior. That really changed this past weekend, the chase is on, and it is heavy. Not only was it great seeing the bucks starting to cruise, but there was some added excitement (if you follow me on Twitter you have a little clue). I will fully explain the story later on this week in a detailed weekend recap. Back to the pictures, I didn't get a massive amount but what I got was quality.

This first picture you will have to enlarge to get what the arrows are pointing at.A little clue not to long ago Cassie asked me if bears and deer get along.... I have a little more of a clue/evidence now.

Ok, if you couldn't tell from the previous picture what it was, here's a better shot. They my not get along well together, but the buck did stick around long enough to get it's picture taken.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Boone & Crockett Club Membership Giveaway

I was recently invited to participate in Boone and Crockett Club's Blogger Appreciation Program and received a chance to do a giveaway for one (1) complimentary Associate Membership to the Boone and Crockett Club.

About the Boone and Crockett Club:
Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair-chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana.

About Fair Chase Magazine and your Associate Membership:
Fair Chase is the official publication of the Boone and Crockett Club. The magazine is loaded with information you won't find anywhere else such as Field Trophy Photos of recent entries into the Club's records program, as well as listings of the most recently accepted trophies. You will also find quality features by well known outdoor journalists on North American Big Game, trophy measuring, hunting tips and conservation issues that affect your hunting and more. As an Associate you will receive Fair Chase Magazine on a quarterly basis. You will also have exclusive access to the Associates Community of the Club’s web site. This includes searchable field photos, archive of past Fair Chase articles, and your own personal trophy scoring database. In addition, you will receive a discount on select Boone and Crockett Club merchandise and books. You will also receive a wallet I.D. card and a Boone and Crockett Club window decal.

Register to Win:
There will be two possible entries for this giveaway, one entry and two bonus entries. This giveaway will run from Oct. 21, 2011 to Nov. 6, 2011 at 11:59 PM. The winner will be picked at random with The winner will be announced on Nov. 7 2011.

1.) You must comment on this post with your thoughts/opinions on the information below.
  • This is the first entry and must be completed before you can register for the two bonus entries.
2.) Like Foggy Mountain Meanderings on Facebook. After doing so comeback and comment on the blog saying you did so, if you already follow state that also.

3.) Follow Foggy Mountain Meanderings on Twitter. After doing so comeback and comment on the blog saying you did so, if you already follow state that also.

This giveaway was made possible by our friends at Hornady!!!

They have asked that everyone take a look at the video and information below on lead bullets and the the current Acts that are trying to eliminate them.

Lead Bullets
Anti-hunting and anti-fishing interests are currently litigating against the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to force the EPA to expand its Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) authority in order to regulate traditional ammunition and recreational fishing tackle.

When the Act was established in 1976 Congress explicitly excluded from regulation any article subject to excise taxes -- including pistols, revolvers, firearms, shells and cartridges.

The EPA has already once declined a petition that asked the agency to prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of lead for shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers because it did not have the authority to do so under the TSCA.

Anti-hunting and anti-fishing interests assert the EPA does have the authority and that a lead ban is necessary to address the significant impacts to wildlife populations that are resulting from traditional tackle and ammunition. 

The assertions made by the petitioning groups lack credible scientific foundation, especially when seeking a blanket ban on all lead use. Outside of the California condor, where every death is significant, there is no evidence of a lead crisis at the population level – an entire group of one species living in a specific area.

The biggest threat of lead in wildlife is with birds that have gizzards, which hold on to and grind up food, rather than pass it quickly through their systems.

Proponents of the ban cite the impacts on individual raptors, such as Bald Eagles even though raptor populations are increasing across North America and the Bald Eagle was removed from the Endangered Species list as recently as 2007.

If a complete ban on lead in ammunition where achieved it would have a dramatic negative impact, because of the increased cost of alternative metals, on the cost of ammunition, and therefore participation in hunting and recreational shooting, which in turn is the engine that drives most of the funding for conservation and wildlife management through the excise taxes paid on the purchases of ammunition.

Sportsmen groups have rallied to push forward the introduction of the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S.838 & H.R. 1558), which will amend TSCA in a manner that serves to protect and enhance our hunting, recreational shooting and recreational fishing heritage while concurrently facilitating the important benefits that the hunting, shooting and recreational fishing industries contribute to the betterment of our nation’s economy and treasured natural resources. 

The Act is now being discussed and considered in committees. To learn more:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - The Delayed Edition 10/19/11

Sorry for the delay, but sometimes we gotta celebrate the important things. It's been another slow week on Foggy Mountain and the pictures can prove it. With the property next to ours being timbered and the rut still a week or two away there hasn't been much showing. But with the logging coming to an end soon (hopefully) and the pre-rut and rut kicking in I should start having some better pictures and hopefully a few more deer on the ground.

Bigfoot? No, just me getting ready to drag my deer out.

With the Rut not far away, there's nothing more I like to see than does.
Well I would like to see some bucks, but they'll show soon enough.

It wouldn't be a TCT without including a picture of a bear. Haha.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Birthday OBN!!!

Hmm.. It's Tuesday. I'm sure everyone is wondering where Trail Cam Tuesday is, well I am postponing it until tomorrow. Why you might ask, well today October 18, is the Outdoor Blogger Network one year anniversary. Little did I know last November when I stumbled onto this directory what it would hold for me. It took me until January of this year to submit my blog. Little did I know this would opening my up to making some great new friends, getting the opportunity to review some great gear and more importantly to be able to have my blog delivered to people that truly want to read it. To the Outdoor Blogger Network, I thank you for everything that you (Rebecca and Joe) have done for myself and the outdoor blogging community as a whole. So there's only one thing left to do...

Happy Birthday!!! 
And here's to many more!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My First Bow Kill: Filling the Freezer

If you follow along with this blog, you know I love to bow hunt. This has been a newly formed passion. I use the term "newly" loosely because this is my third season of bow hunting. Three long years, in reality this is just a short time period, but this past Saturday was a first for me. It was this first time I was able to harvest a deer with my bow! I was close to taking one my first year, I had a 6-point at 26 yards but buck fever got the best of me. I nicked the deer and tracked it for roughly a mile but never found it. I found out that later that it was a non-mortal injury as this buck was shot on another property later that month. As you can imagine with those thoughts racing through my head as I released this arrow, it was  a BIG relief to see this deer drop in sight.

This past Saturday started the same as opening morning, minus the fisher. The night sky was clear as could be but soon there after sunrise the fog started the settle in. The first movement I heard was around 7:00 AM, it wasn't much to get concerned with considering it was just a few squirrels. It wasn't much longer though until I heard something walking up the hillside behind me. This deer walked in the same exact path as the doe and fawn did the previous weekend. This time it was a lone doe, which meant fair game. As many have talked about before, I see anything I take with my bow as a trophy. Not to mention any chance I get to fill the freezer back up this early I am going to take it. 

The lone doe skirted around my stand, which would lead her to enter directly on my right hand side. As soon as I saw this I grabbed my bow and connected my release. Momentarily before she entered my food plot I drew back, but  she made a detour behind a tree. As she stood there for a few moments I let my draw down, this was the worst thing I could have done. Not because it spooked her but because this allowed me to start thinking. Luckily, this didn't matter before I could let anything throw me off too much she stepped out for a perfect quartering away shot and within seconds I had my pin on her and let the arrow fly. It looked like a good shot, she did the mule kick and then had her head to the ground as she tried to run off. That was a great feeling, but I still wasn't sure for a moment. It didn't take long to know that it was not going to be a long tracking job. She  started thrashing around and then went into a death roll within 15 to 20 yards from where she was shot. Before I could even think or have any real emotion, I heard my phone vibrating with a congratulatory text from Jay. It wasn't  hard to take this one, but all I could think of  is that I had my first deer with a bow and the freezer was back on its way to being full again. 

Below is picture of the tree by which I found my arrow (from a pass through shot) and the next one is the tree in the foreground with the deer in the background.

And now for the hero shot.. 
The before and after..

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - October 11, 2011

I bet everyone thought I forgot this week. I didn't forget, I've been swamped with midterms. Midterms started last Thursday and ended today. Between the excitement of this weekend, studying and misplacing the SD cards with my current pictures on it.. Instead I will give everyone a teaser of what post is coming tomorrow; you might have a clue if you follow me on Twitter.

Friday, October 7, 2011

First Buck of the 2011 Archery Season

As much as I'd love to be posting this about myself, I am not. Yesterday evening Jay hooked up with this great looking 8-point. If you remember I had a few different TCT posts from another location Jay hunts, that is where this buck was taken. Congratulations goes out to Jay on a great beginning to a long season!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - October 4, 2011

This is going to be a non-traditional TCT. If you didn't read on Sunday, bow season has started here in WV and I spent the majority of Saturday in the woods. I do have a few good trail cam pictures to show you, but they'll have to wait, I tried my hand this weekend at videoing some of the deer that came in. I was planning on taking my Nikon D3100 with me not only because it takes great pictures, but because it shoots video in HD (1080). But as you read before it rained and rained and then rained some more, so I had to leave the DSLR at home and went with the old point and shoot. It's a good little camera itself but only shoots in SD so the video quality isn't the best, but I think it did good for my first try.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quick Takes: Leatherman Kick

Recently I was contacted by Appalachian Outdoors to conduct a product review. Appalachian Outdoors allowed me to pick any item out of their extensive catalog (up to a certain dollar amount). I actually chose two, but you'll find more out about the other one later. Lately I had been in the market for a new multi-tool. This is one of those thing that unfolds into a set of pliers with bunch of tools in the handles. I am currently carrying a Bucklite 355 Multi-Tool everyday so it sees its fair share of abuse, but they have since discontinued this tool in the past ten years I've had it. This is what lead me on my adventure to find a new one. So when Appalachian Outdoors gave me the opportunity to review a product I knew exactly what I was looking for. It only took a little while to decide on which model to choose from, I tried to stay in the same price range as I did with my Bucklite to give it the most comparable review.  I hoped that after I ordered the Multi-Tool  I'd be able to receive the product at least a few days before writing a "Quick Takes" on it. To my surprise though, Appalachian Outdoors shipping was amazingly fast! I order this product on a Sunday evening and it was in my hands by Wednesday morning. After tooling around with my new Leatherman Kick for a week or so, I have figured a few things out, but you'll have to wait for another week or so get the full review.

Quick Takes

  • Why Leatherman/Warranty: This is a simple one. When you think multi-tools or you talk to someone about them, what do they refer to them as, "a Leatherman." This is often a source of confusion as some people consider multi-tool a Leatherman, but that is far from the truth. Leatherman has built a reputation since 1983 that says about there produce and dependability. Even if you don't believe in it, they do with their 25 year warranty. This is one of the main reasons I wanted one. I am hard on things, not because I'm abusive towards them, but I carry it on my belt everyday and it gets used everyday the same. 
  • Tool Variety: This is something that can be changed with purchasing different tools, but as I said before I am looking to stay in the same price range as my previous one. As for the tool variety of the Kick, Leatherman states that it has 12 tools. This includes a 420HC Clip Point Knife, Needlenose Pliers, Regular Pliers, Wire Cutters, Hard-wire Cutters, Wire Stripper, Small Screwdriver, Large Screwdriver, Phillips Screwdriver, Bottle Opener, Can Opener, 8 in | 19 cm Ruler. Although this seems a little on the light side, it still covers the basics. 
  • Sheath: This is something you have a choice of as well, but the only opinion I had available was a leather one. This wouldn't have been my first choice as my Bucklite had a nylon sheath that's done great and held up well. If this sheath were real leather I think I would be a bit more receptive to its longevity, but this seems like cheap fake leather. I look for this to be one of the major down falls of the tool, as I see the sheath breaking in a year or so.
  • Overall Construction: The Kick seems to feel a little more flimsy to me than other tools, even other Leathermans, I have used in the past. I am not sure if it is the plastic "comfort" inlays in the handles or if it was constructed with a lighter metal, but it just doesn't have that same feel I expected. 
Overall though I am excited to be able to test this product and would like to thank Appalachian Outdoors for providing me with this opportunity.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bow Season 2011: A Soggy Opening Day

For anyone that hunts, you know one of the most exciting days is opening morning. Yesterday morning started bow season here in West Virginia. All the excitement, anticipation, traditions, and hopes. The only part that we weren't looking forward to was the forecast, well only half of it. There was a cold front moving through that would be putting the lows into the upper 30s. With the cold front moved in some rain and possibility of snow was also in the forecast. I'd prefer snow, but it's so wet out now the snow won't matter much.

This past week was a blur with the anticipation of this weekend, many calls were placed between Jay and I making sure all our plans were set. Not to mention a few runs to the store to pick up those last minute items. After everything was double and triple checked, all we needed to do was sleep. The anticipation made it hard to sleep, we just wanted to sit in our tree stands.

Jay and I are always eager to get to our tree-stands, this year was no different. The only thing that was different this year was the fact that we decided to take the ATV instead of our usual vehicle. This didn't matter much in the morning as there wasn't much in the rain department, but it was a little chillier for sure. This gave us the chance to be a more quite getting into our stands, and boy was that a mistake.

 As we both turned down the trail that leads to my tree-stand, we noticed a few sets of eyes around and under my stand, normally this wouldn't have meant much, but one set of eyes didn't match. They had a greenish tint, a little lower to the ground, and the width/distance between the eyes were a lot larger than the rest. At this point we looked at each other and knew it wasn't a deer, but continued to slowly walk towards my tree-stand in the pitch dark at 5:45 AM. We made it to my stand and and continued to discuss what it was. As  it left it made a good bit of noise and took off in the opposite direction of the deer.

After a moment of discussion and deciding that Jay shouldn't walk the same way as the animal, what we would later agree on being a bear, we were trying to listen to see where it went to.
Now this is the interesting part, as everything started to calm down we heard it, we both looked at each other and headed for my tree-stand to try and see what made the noise. The noise, it was a horrific, blood curdling scream that sounded like a young child being beaten. Quickly running through my mind was what it could be, it wasn't a coyote, bear, bobcat or fox, at this point we were clueless as to what it was.  Now, we might have over reacted, but at the time we had no clue what to think or what it was. After whatever it was left, we decided to head back towards the ATV for a little while to let it leave the area, not to mention everything that ran off ran towards Jay's stand, so we decided to be cautious and give it a few.

We took a short break and decided to head back into our stands, this paid of immediately as I already had a deer at mine, and Jay had some come in shortly there after. The first deer I had come in was a small 5-point, but he'd wouldn't leave the thick cover. A little over an hour later, I had a doe and fawn come in, these two stayed there for what seems like forever, but even with a 11-yard broadside shot I couldn't bring myself to shot a doe at 8:30 AM opening morning. It slowed down greatly after that, I had a group of three does bed down roughly 150 yards away from in the some laurel and not until we started to walk out at noon did I see any more deer. It was a small, barely there 3-point and then a spike. By noon the rain had picked up to a heavy drizzle, Jay decided to head back to Bruceton to hunt the afternoon with his dad and it was time for a hot drink and some dry clothes.

The rain only continued once I got home and the temperature continue to drop. This was a hard decision to make, it was opening day but was terrible conditions to bow hunt in. At this point I knew what I needed to do, but decided to take to twitter for some opinions. After a short discussion with Tommy at Following Ghost and @firstlightgearI knew I was making the right choice and not going back out to hunt. Even after that I went against my better judgement and headed back out, although I did take my bow, my main weapon was going to be my camera, but I didn't even need that. Yet again the only two deer I saw that afternoon were on the way out, another set of bucks, but this time it was a 4-point and a spike. Despite it being soggy and not seeing a decent buck it was still a great day, I was able to sit in my tree-stand, what else could I ask for.

Oh and for that noise, after some research and asking a few more seasoned outdoors man than myself we came to the conclusion that this unholy noise was a Fisher. Yes, a fisher, I had no clue those little vicious animals could make such an awful noise. Now to leave you with a little view of what I spent most of my day looking at.

Panoramic view from my tree-stand. Click on picture to enlarge it. 

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