Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back at 2011: Part 3

This is the third and final part of my Goals for 2011. This year has been a great year with a few first, at lot more time in the field and as always a great time with friends and family. Here is to a great 2011 and an even better 2012


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.
  • I did get to hunt a few times in spring gobbler season and I even had a close call with one, but I wasn't able to harvest one. It'll have to wait until this upcoming season to lay a turkey down.
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.
  • I got a little ahead of myself on this one, I wanted to move it but I was unsure of where I wanted to move it to so it didn't get done. This was good because I was able to harvest two deer out of one of the stands I was going to move. 
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.
  • This is something that I try to do ever year and no matter how much I accomplish, it will still be on my list every year. 
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.
  • I FINALLY got to check this one off my list!! I had been trying for a few years to get one and was finally able to take  a doe this year. This was probably one of my favorite posts this year.
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.
  •   Yet again, a little ahead of myself, but I was still able to take that buck on Opening Day


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).
  • Some months are better than others, but I'm still at it a year and a half in so I can't complain much.
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.
  •  I hope I have and made it better for everyone, but if anyone has any opinions or tips let me know!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Back at 2011: Part 2

After tackling the personal section yesterday, I am going to take a look at general outdoors and fishing goals for  2011. This is the second part of three posts looking at how my Goals for 2011 went.

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 managed to have my first garden this year. There was a great learning curve, but something tells me there is never going to be a perfect garden. 
I learned to make jam for the first time last year, so this year I need to find more places  with black berry thickets and/or any (edible) berries for that fact.
  • I did manage to find a few additional places to pick berries and those places have raspberries also. But the best news is I got permission to pick addition fields within a few miles of my house.
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.
Cleaning Ramps
  • For what I missed in the previous year, I made up for it this year. I went on quiet a few ramp digging trips. Cassie and I both whipped up a few new and old ramp recipes: Pickled Ramps, Ramp Potatoes, and Ramp Burgers. I didn't manage to keep three-fourths of a year, but I did manage to keep a bout half a 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.
  • This is something that will be on my list every year, I learned a good deal this year but still have a lot left to learn.
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.
  • Check this one off the list, but I've learned, it seems you always seems you get twice as much as you give away.

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 keepmy goal simple -  I want to fish at least 9 out of the 12 months this year. Doesn't sound to hard, 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. 
  • I called this one from the get go, the water conditions were terrible for the beginning part of the year and I wasn't able to fish until March, I did well and fishing every month from march to August. As with every year though, that's when bow hunting and whitetails took over and I haven't seen my fishing pole since.
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.
  • Ehh.. Although I got a out a few times I mainly stayed close to home (or went salty). That means that it was strictly Rainbows 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 one I managed to pull off. This past summer while visiting my parents I was able to go surf fishing. This was a great experience and one that I will soon be repeating as Cassie and I are heading towards the beach this evening. 
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". 
  • This one I might had pulled off, but I did a lot of catch and release fishing at the beginning of the year. There were a fish or two that I caught that were close, but they are still swimming as far as I know it so no chance of them getting me my state citation.
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.
  • I took my fly pole with me almost every time I went fishing, but yet no luck on the fly yet. As for tying flies, well maybe that's why they haven't been biting. Who knows. Haha.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Back at 2011: Part 1

I'm deviating a little from my norm here, but with the hustle and bustle of the holidays finally calming down I'd like to take a look back at the goals I set for myself last year. This is going to be a two possibly three part post due to the fact that this would be extremely to large for one post.
The first section was Personal Goal...

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.
  • This one we can skip, this was a weak spot this year. I maintained my unhealthy eating habits and exercise regiment, but with Mark at Sole Adventure and Al at SoCal Bowhunter both leading the charge for a healthier way of life, I think I might just get my butt in gear.
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.
  • This one is easy because it is no longer my hoarding, it's our hoarding habits. Really though, there has been many, many trips made to Goodwill, Salvation Army, and church clothing banks with excess clothes and goods. No matter how hard we try, this will be something we always try to do. It really benefits all when we donate what we can to who we can.
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.
  • I did get accepted into Grad School and have managed to keep a 4.0 GPA through two semesters now, but as for the subbing classes I didn't choose to proceed with them. I am looking into getting a internship for the spring and summer though. 
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.
  • Fundamentals, no, but I do love taking pictures and have manged to take some decent pictures and am always learning. With the addition of a waterproof camera (a Christmas present from Cassie), it should lead to be even more interesting pictures. 
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.
  • Well this one I think I did well with, but then again what do I know in terms of this. So for this why don't we hear straight from Cassie... "I couldn't ask for more..."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - December 20, 2011

With today being one of the first days since the semester is over and tonight being the first night of Hanukkah (Happy Hanukkah!!) I've been a little bit relaxed to say the least. There are no new pictures and I'm actually a camera down at the moment, but that won't stop TCT. It seems like today is the perfect day to do a blooper edition.

Not so much a bloopers, but just interesting pictures.

An up close and personal hello from a young buck.

This doe isn't having any of this coon.

After the doe decided to leave the coon decided to King of the Hill 
with the stump and taunt the doe

Thursday, December 15, 2011

WV Buck Harvest Up Dramatically for 2011

The small 3-point I took this past Rifle Season.
By Chris Lawrence of WV Metro News - Outdoors

Biologists with the West Virginia DNR expected the 2011 buck season to be better than 2010, but nobody expected it to be this good. Preliminary harvest figures indicate West Virginia hunters killed 59,835 bucks during the two week season.

"The magnitude of the harvest increase certainly was a pleasant surprise," said DNR Game Management Chief Paul Johansen. "I personally didn't expect it to be that high."

The southern counties of West Virginia and the western counties saw the highest percentage increase over the totals from 2010, but Johansen said it didn't really matter where you looked everybody was killing more bucks this year.

"Those trends were apparently across all of our districts at least as reflected in the overall buck harvest," Johansen said. "It was pretty much a statewide phenomenon."

For the rest of the story click here...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time By Georgia Pellegrini

Earlier this spring I got an e-mail from none other than Georgia Pellegrini, at this point I was ecstatic, I didn't care what the email said. After opening it, I found out she was releasing a book this winter and wanted me to get an advanced copy. To say I was flattered was an understatement. Now let me take a step back and explain my level of excitement. For those of you who read this blog, know I am a big burly man that normally has a bow, gun, or fishing pole in my hand and this blog chronicles those events, but no ones how close this blog came to resembling the blogs of Georgia Pellegrini or Hank Shaw because as at home as I am in the woods the kitchen isn't a far second. Both of these people heavily included my ideas for a blog, and have partial credit for me starting Foggy Mountain Meanderings. So to receive an e-mail asking me if I'd like to have an advance copy of Georgia's book was one of those things you couldn't even ask for or imagine when you start blogging.

After the book arrived it didn't take long for it to find a spot in my hunting pack, actually it when straight from the mailing envelope directly into my bag for the next mornings hunt. It didn't take me long to breeze through the book the first time as I could barely put it down. I was actually long for me to find myself enthralled with the book, but with being in school I knew I had to leave it in my hunting pack so I could only read it when I was hunting. A sad fact, I was so entrenched while reading this book, the buck that I shot on opening day of rifle season made it half way in behind me before I looked up from the book, but that one still turned out for the best. This book is a must read for any hunter, actually, it's a must read for anyone. It shows what hunting is truly about and the values that most people don't see in today's world of hunting. This book has opened my eyes, even as a hunter, it has made me want to strive to hunt new types of game and expand my horizons in the kitchen. The chapters are laid out wonderfully with a short story of her hunt trip and then concludes with a handful of recipes for the selected game in that chapter. Georgia was nice enough to share one of the recipes from her new book released yesterday. Here is a great recipe that I recommend everyone and anyone needs to try!

Buttermilk Fried Rabbit

Serves 4

Also try: chicken, turkey, squirrel, dove, upland game birds, or any other young game meat

1 young cottontail rabbit, cut into serving pieces
2 cups buttermilk
1 medium-size onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, or 1 teaspoon each of your three favorite dried herbs
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper
2 to 3 cups grape seed or vegetable oil

1. Soak the rabbit overnight in the buttermilk, along with the onion, garlic, herbs, paprika, and 1
teaspoon of the cayenne.

2. Drain in a colander, leaving some herbs on the rabbit. In a large resealable plastic bag or in a
large bowl, mix the flour with the garlic and onion powder and remaining 2 teaspoons of cayenne,
as well as a pinch of salt and pepper. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet
over medium-high heat until a pinch of flour starts to sizzle when dropped in the hot oil, but not so
hot as for the oil to be smoking.

3. Place the rabbit pieces in the bag with the flour mixture and shake until thoroughly coated. Do
this in small batches, dredging just enough rabbit to fit in the pan at one time.

4. Add the rabbit to the skillet and fry on one side for about 10 minutes, until golden brown, then
use tongs to turn the pieces over and fry for another 10 minutes, again until golden brown. Be
careful to keep the oil hot enough to fry the rabbit, but not so that it burns.

5. Remove the rabbit from the skillet and place it on a wire rack over paper towels. Season
immediately with salt and pepper to taste, to help preserve the crispiness for the table. This is
good served immediately or also good cold for lunch the next day.

From the book Girl Hunter by Georgia Pellegrini.  Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2011.

For more on Georgia and her book...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - December 13, 2011

Just as luck would have it, there are more and more bucks starting to show up now that rifle season has come to a close. Hopefully most of these bucks will make it until next year, all they have to do is make it through this week of muzzleloader season then the select few that are still bow hunting. Here are a few pictures of of the bucks that have shown up over the past week.

Here is a nice looking buck that I wouldn't mind still getting a shot at this year with 
my bow, but he's still on a nocturnal patern. By the picture it is hard to tell
but he is an 8-point that broke it's brow tine early in the season.

Here is a thick main beam 5 or 6 point. We haven't been able to tell from any of the 
pictures if he has both brow tines, but either way for such a young deer
he has decent mass thus far. 

Here is another 8-point that we haven't had any pictures of this year. It
looks like he has one side that is either dwarfed or busted up. 

And last but not least, my little buddy from two previous posts (Rifle Season Review and Doe Season Review). The interesting fact about this picture is that it was taken with me sitting only 20 yards up the hillside looking down on him feeding.

Monday, December 12, 2011

2011 Doe Season Review

This past Saturday ended West Virginia's rifle season as a whole,although the last week was doe only. Today it moved onto a week of muzzleloader before heading back to bow for the final two weeks, but as for myself I'll be headed back to my bow. But for now, I'll share a little bit about last week.

On Monday, the first day of doe season, I caught something out of the corner of my eye before I even made it to our property. If you remember me talking about the new pair grouse I had jumped back in the first week, I got a picture of one of them. At this point, my day was already made from getting a few great pictures. As I made my way into the stand, I managed to spook a flock of 10+ grouse and doves from my stand area. We went from thinking we only had a pair of grouse to now having at least a handful or more. The morning was slow from then on out but a trip to check one my trail camera let me see a doe with it's two yearlings cutting up over the hillside at the top of the property. After not getting a shot at these deer, I decided to head over to a spot that I hunted a few years back and have been thinking about hunting next year. After radioing with Rick and deciding to call it an early day, I headed over there spot just to see if I could have any luck. Within 12 minutes of sitting down, in the location I want to put a blind up,  I saw two does walk through, two more run through, and then a buck I'd been waiting to see all rifle season, but that wasn't it. Soon there after I saw two more does run through with another little spike trialing them. It was a great day to be in the woods, even though I wasn't about to get a deer in my cross-hairs.

It wasn't until Friday that I was able to make it back out due to the start of finals, but it was a great be back out there in all the fresh new snow. That morning had to be one of the most beautiful morning of the season so far. I didn't get to see anything that morning but, I was hoping again to take a deer that afternoon and I knew there where a few around from the massive amount of track marks in the snow. After sitting most of the morning and not seeing anything, I decided to go for a walk, I knew there was a spot where a lot of deer like to bed in bad condition. I took off for a little walk, as soon as I made it across Heartbreak Ridge and into Fisher Hollow, I looked up to see the flicker of two little tails and then I saw two more start trotting behind them, it wasn't a long to take a shot, nor would I have wanted to take a shot at that angle, but I did what I wanted to do. I tested out how well I knew the area and figure out where the deer where, I didn't get to harvest one, but I was happy enough I knew where to be expecting them next time.

Saturday was my last hope and a half day hunt at that, with family coming in on Sunday and dinner date planned, I thought it couldn't hurt to go for another hike. Who would have thought, on my way into my stand to check the trail camera, I bumped up that same doe and fawn that is always around my stand, they took off and I didn't even attempt to take a shot, it wasn't worth it at this point. After a little deliberation, I decided to take the hike I took the day previously, it didn't pan out the same way. I didn't see any deer, so I decided to sit at the top of my food plot on a downed tree for my last half hour I had planned to hunt, within a few moments a little spike walked in, the same one I let walk on the last Saturday of Buck Season. I watched him for a while, but nothing was spooking him. My phone began to buzz so I looked down and Jay was calling me so I decided to take it, figured I wasn't going to shoot the spike and I was ready to leave. During our conversation that spike proceeded to walk within 10 feet of me. A crazy way to end rifle season for sure.

Now to leave everyone with a throught,  I was tweeting with Michelle (@sdo_mlt) during my final hour of rifle season and we were talking about just being happy to be out and see deer, she said something that I can't agree with more, so I'm going to share it with everyone.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - December 6, 2011

As you read yesterday buck season came to an end this past weekend. Here's a preview of a few bucks that have made it this far. Who knows if they'll make it until next year, but here to what I'm looking forward to. That is saying I don't get one of them in front of me in the remaining few weeks of bow season.

This is a new buck to the area, he looks narrow, but tall. 
Not a bad looking deer. He's got some mass and is polished up nice.
This is the same buck as above and the preview everyone got in yesterday's post.
And here's one for the future. A little button buck that hasn't even have his nubs pop through.

Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 Rifle Season Review

A preview of TCT
The first week of rifle season held most of the excitement, as it normally does. This is a quasi-holiday in WV, some school systems take off the opening day and other give the kids off the whole week.However, the second week, it is the forgotten week. This week is when the woods start to settle down and everything gets back to normal. Most people have to go back to work or school, this is where the folks that have retired or have some extra time off enjoy some quite hunting.  Sadly enough, between a project and a paper due during last week I didn't get out as much as I wanted to. But what can you do in those situations?
I was only able to make it out on Friday and Saturday, the final day of antlered rifle season. And wouldn't you know it.. I shoulda, coulda, woulda - If I had been in my tree stand on Monday evening I would have seen a great looking deer and possibly had a chance at taking it, but then again if I was in stand would he have came in following these does? There wasn't much activity the rest of the week on camera, actually the only activity was me catching a nasty head cold. This put a damper on the rest of rifle season, if you didn't know the deer aren't to fond of hacking and coughing as well as blowing your nose. While only having the last two days to hunt I sucked it up as best I could.

On Friday I slept in a little and finished up some studying before I hit the woods around 11:15 AM. I thought with a cold all I would be able to pull off was a mid day and evening hunt. In theory this was a great idea, but my cold didn't think so. When I arrived and radioed to Rick, who had been there since day break, I was there , he said he had a deer in front of him, but it had bedded down. It was a very slow day on part of Foggy Mountain to say the least. Then again that could have been due to the coughing and sneezing. I spent part of this day in stand but after realizing that there wasn't going to be a deer come within a mile radius of me, I went to check some cameras and do some scouting. The day ended with no deer, one hell of a headache, but one amazing view.

Then next  morning came and I still wasn't feeling my best but I managed to hit the woods around 8:00 AM. I was still straggling in, but at least I could breath. I'm not sure if this was from the medicine but  I was grateful. As I slowly walked into my stand I knew I would probably jump something, I was right. As I walked in, I jumped up a doe and yearling that frequent the area. Shortly after this I got into my stand and it didn't take long for another doe to make its way in. After it milled around for a while I had hoped that a buck would be trailing it her. It was only about two hours later, and a little less than a stud. It was great getting to see a buck on the last day, but I wasn't going to take him, if he had made it this long, he deserved to make it to be another year older. Although I did get some good video of him. The rest of the day I spent in anticipation waiting for the evening to roll around to, this was the only pattern I had on the deer, that I talked about in the opening, he liked evenings. I was hoping the buck would make an appearance, but he didn't. Then as it went from twilight to dusk to dark, he never came in, the most I saw were two more does running up the hillside behind me.

The season closed out on a gorgeous sunset I could help but to be thankful for having a good season and just being able to hunt and take part in the outdoors with great friends and family. Now it's on to a week of doe season, then because I don't have a muzzle loader, I'll be back to bow hunting until the end of the year.

The sun setting on the final day of antlered rifle season. 

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