Hunting

It’s Gator Time!

That’s right folks, it’s gator time and I’ve only made it out onto the Withlacoochee River once now for a freezer full of swamp-chicken.  I’d like to tell you I filled a tag already, but the only g bull I caught up with tore free of my line and escaped into thick hyacinth cover and escaped.  But, my companion Cheyenne made pretty good use of the downtime though, by multi-tasking while shining for gators; she got busy catching catfish, so the night wasn’t a total loss.

Asian Swamp Eels Anybody?

Last week I told you about my latest hunt for the Burmese pythons while filming the pilot episode of a new Adventure series I’m producing for the Carbon TV network, Invasion Everglades.  Our show isn’t strictly about the pythons, but rather each of the seventy-two species of invasive animals plaguing our native ecosystems.  One of those species, we stumbled onto accidentally, was the Asian swamp eel.  

Burmese Pythons on the Prowl

I just arrived back in town from an incredible trip to one of the most, unique arts of our state; the Everglades.  Our Everglades, composed of an enormously varied network of interconnected ecosystems has been under attack for a very long time.  Mostly due to developers and engineers altering the flow of water and pollutants dumped into the aquifer via corporate farms and housing developments.  A huge issue has been the arrival of invasive plants and trees, such as the Australian pine and Brazilian peppers.  

Opening Day Blues

That’s right, I’ve got the blues….  It’s opening day of archery season this weekend in the Southern portion of our state and I’m going to have to sit it out.  Heartbreaking, right?  Oh, I’ll survive I suppose; just one of those times where work just gets in the way.  Oddly enough, though, work will be taking me south for a few days next week, so I guess I’ll just carry my bow along and sneak off for a hunt or two if I get the chance.

Take Care Of Your Oaks

Now that the rains are beginning again as Summer rolls along, one of the things I do each year to prep some of my hunting areas, is to visit the big oaks with a bag of fertilizer.  It not only ensures that not only will the trees produce acorns in abundance, but that those acorns produced will be sweeter and more flavorful than those produced by the untended trees.  Not only deer, but all local wildlife it seems, will benefit from this small amount of work; it practically guarantees me a great show while I’m sitting in my blind.    

Candid Pics for Early Scouting

From time to time I use electronic game cameras to assist in my scouting.  These last few years, I’ve really captured some amazing photos on my game cameras and I thought I’d share a few tips to help you capture the best images you can on your own.  But, before I do, I want to suggest that a good trail-camera is no replacement for basic woodsmanship.  Learning to read signs properly can give you the same information as the camera.  The only advantage the camera has for me has been to provide some really cool before and after images of the bucks while they

Dads

My dad had gotten old, but I really didn’t know it.  Sounds strange I know, but really, I had no idea that the man I’d loved and admired my entire life, was slowing down.  He’d always been my hero; the guy that could catch a fish on the first cast, fill a quota of doves with only half a box of shells and could read the forest floor as clearly as reading a newspaper.  He was infallible, ageless and unchanged since my boyhood, until that hunt on some land down on the southern end of our county and he stumbled and fell.

Off-Season Archery

The old Archery bug bit me an awfully long time ago.  I’ve had a bow in my hand often over the last forty-five years; from the time I was five…. you can do the math later.  And what a wonderful blessing the sport of archery has been to me!  Starting out as a young archer, naturally I took to bowhunting small game around my family’s farm, like a duck takes to water.  I spent many hours chasing squirrels and rabbits back then and would only score maybe once, out of every hundred shots or so.  

Quota Permits

It’s that time again when those of us not blessed with the opportunity to hunt exclusively on private land, begin submitting quota permit applications to the Florida Wildlife Commission.  Those permits if drawn, grant us access to certain public hunting grounds on specified dates within our system of Wildlife Management Areas.  Most of us, being creatures of habit, apply for the same areas year after year, but I’d like to encourage you to take advantage of the summertime downtime to seek out some new hotspots on properties you haven’t left any tracks on.  

Offshore Adventure

I stepped way, far out of my comfort zone recently after accepting an invitation from an old friend and hunting companion, to join him in the Gulf of Mexico in pursuit of sharks.  Now folks, if you’ve read a handful of these columns, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a bit of a landlubber.  It’s true, I do enjoy a good fishing trip from time to time, but more often than not, it’s just sitting out on the bank of the Withlacoochee with a cane pole and a can of worms.  Shark fishing though….