Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spicy Venison Pan Sausage Recipe

Sometimes you just need to spice up a deer breakfast sausage recipe. That's what I've done here.
The addition of red pepper adds a whole new twist to the mix. For those of you who really like your heat, you can always tweak the red pepper flakes. 
  • 3 lbs vension
  • 2 lbs fatty pork shoulder or 1 lb lean pork and 1 lb pork fat.
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
  • 3 tablespoon medium ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated or powdered garlic
Trim the venison of all bloody areas and tough connective tissue, cut it and the pork into 1 inch cubes.
Pour the spices on the meat and mix thoroughly. 
After the spices are mixed evenly, run the meat through a grinder with a medium blade.
Fry up a patty or two to taste.
Add any additional spices if needed.

Package the sausage into one pound packages and freeze.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

4 Tips For Hunting Whitetail Deer From A Pop Up Blind With A Bow

Over the past few years, bow hunting from a pop up hunting blind has grown in popularity due to the reasonable cost of pop up hunting blinds and the ease of sitting them up.  Pop up ground blinds provide bow hunters with mobility and the opportunity to hunt in areas that will not support other blinds such as tree stands.  Bow hunting for whitetail deer from a pop up ground blind, needless to say, is a challenging prospect.  However if you follow four simple tips, you are sure to maximize your chances of a shot at a trophy whitetail buck.  The four tips to ensure a successful bow hunting trip include the following topics:

1.       Scouting
2.       Location
3.       Blind set up
4.       Scent elimination

First and foremost, scouting the area you intend to hunt is critical.  If there is no sign of deer in the area, then guess what, your chances of seeing that big buck, yet alone getting him into bow range are slim to none.  When scouting an area to hunt, you want to look for evidence that deer are actually traveling through the area.  Look for tracks, game trails, droppings, scraps and rubs.  These are a good indication that deer are traveling through a particular area.  If you do not see any of these signs, it is best to avoid hunting that area as deer are creatures of habit and most likely are not going to travel in places they have not traveled before.  Once you come across an area with deer tracks, deer droppings, scraps or rubs, you know that you are in an area where deer frequent. 

After you have identified an area that you believe has sufficient deer traffic, you should next think about where in the area to set up the pop up hunting blind.  You should avoid placing the blind too close to game trails or feeders.  Place the blind in an area where you believe the deer are likely to come into bow range.  Try to find a location for the blind that is near the brush or under a low hanging tree limb.  Do not make the mistake of placing the blind out in a wide open area.  You also want to keep in mind wind direction.  Place the blind downwind from where you believe the deer will be traveling.  This will decrease the chances that the deer will smell you.

Once you have determined a good location for the blind, you want to set up the blind.  If at all possible, it is best to do this a day or two before you intend to hunt to let things calm down in the area after all the commotion you have caused.  Once the blind is popped up, you want to try and blend the blind into its surroundings.   I usually will cut brush and tall grass and place it on top of the blind and along its sides.  Don’t be bashful when doing this.  Pile it high and thick.  You have to remember that you are in the deer’s environment and they have a keen sense of their environment and can spot things that are out of place much like you can spot something out of place in your own house.   Some hunters will assume that since the blind is camouflaged, the deer will not notice it.  That’s not the case.  If you step back from the blind that you have set up and you notice the outline of the blind and the straight lines created by the windows of the blind, you can bet the deer can see them as well.  Continue to brush in the blind until these lines are not so apparent. 

Finally, you should make sure that you do all you can do to mask you scent.  Even though you might be downwind from where the deer travel, the wind often swirls your scent throughout the area.  Before you enter your hunting area, you should spray your clothing with some type of scent eliminator.  There are a number of these products on the market and most seem to work fairly well.  I would also recommend using a cover scent to further eliminate the possibility that the deer will smell you.  Not only should these scent eliminators be used the day of your hunt, but also when you are scouting and setting up the blind.  I’ll give you an example of why.  On a recent hunting trip, after I had set up my blind, I picked up a stick and laid it down on the ground to mark 30 yards from the blind as I didn’t have a range finder.  During the evening hunt, a doe was walking towards my stand.  Her travel took her about 5 yards from where I had place the stick on the ground.  She turned, walked right up to the stick and literally placed her nose on the stick and smelled.  She then turned and walked straight into the brush.  She smelled my scent and knew she was probably in an area that she shouldn’t be.  So, my point is, make every effort to reduce your scent. 

By follow these four tips, you will maximize your chances of seeing deer and hopefully getting a shot.  Pop up hunting blinds are great for bow hunting when the proper planning and precautions are taken into consideration. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why Do Most People Hate Hunters?

My first response to this question is; who really cares? Seriously, I could care less whether someone dislikes me simply because I enjoy hunting. Quite frankly, I don’t have to worry about running into these people in the woods which makes it all the better.

So why is it that some people hate hunters? Basically, I believe “hunter haters” can be categorized into three camps:

  1. Those who had a bad experience with a hunter or hunting
  2. Those who belong to some liberal, animal loving group, or,
  3. Those who hate hunters because others hate hunters
Let’s face it, some of us who call ourselves hunters really don’t understand or have the core values the majority of hunters possess. As a result, they sometimes create a situation, whether it is poaching or just a flagrant disregard for others, which leaves a bad taste in some ones mouth and creates a dislike for those who hunt. That’s our fault and well within our control. Behave yourselves when you’re enjoying our sport.

Next, what is there to say about those who belong to the liberal loving animal groups? I can’t begin to answer that question. Maybe they just need a well cooked steak to change their minds.  The could join  P.E.T.A. (People Eating T-Bones A lot).

Finally, there are those who hate hunters because others hate hunters. There seems to be a growing number of people in our country who lack the ability to think for themselves and formulate their own opinions. They want to follow the crowd. Well, keep on following and you’ll find yourself going over the edge of a cliff one day.  Just don't walk in front of my deer blind on your way.

The sad part of it is, all the children and grandchildren who will never experience the joys of the outdoors simply because they were born into a mindset that they had no control over. They will miss something in life. Something they could never imagine could be so fulfilling.

I welcome your comments.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bobcat In A Suitcase

A friend of mine sent me this story. Don't worry, it's not me. I don't know where he found it, but it's funny.

This really really happened, and yes I was a major participant (conspirator I believe is the legal term) and was the early 1970s (73' or 74") in Fayetteville NC, Fort bragg.  Hay Street was all bars and massage parlors, (God, those were the days) particularily the 500 block and crowded with several thousand thirsty GIs every Saturday night.  However, our travels were normally limited to Hay St as even God did not go on Gillespie street at night as it was too dangerous. Lot of seedy rif raf of all types and you had to be looking for a fight or extreme trouble to go there.

I was a young Sgt, single, a barracks rat and looking for adventure of all types. Three of us went over to a guys house for a "few" beers. He said come and look what he had in the garage. He had a bobcat in a plastic dog kennel. It seems that he had hit it with a car, was going to mount it, and had thrown it in the trunk. As he was taking it out he noticed it was still alive so he put it in the kennel and had been keeping it while he decided what to do with it.

Now after a few more beers, the discussion centered around what to do with a bobcat and an appropriate course of action was decided.

The old Greyhound bus station used to be on Gillespie street and had a bad reputation for robberies and people stealing suitcases as one of the many issues. So naturally we decided to put the bobcat in the suitcase and see if it could get stolen and what might happen.

We had been drinking! Now there is a surprise. Yes, alcohol was involved.  Is this starting to sound familiar. This was one mad kitty and he looked like he weighed about 30-35 plus pounds so our ORM (Operational Risk Managment) rules kicked in.

Rule #1- Is this going to hurt?

Rule #2 Is it going to leave a mark?

Rule #3 Am I going to get in trouble for this?

(If we can teach our children these, they might survive!)

Pretty sure all the beers helped the cognitive assessment process here too.

We found one old suitcase, two old wool GI blankets and two sets of the engineer gloves with the steel inserts, used for handling concertina wire. The plan (after a few more beers) was to be as follows: one blanket on the floor, two guys with gloves, one dumper of the kitty into the blanket and one guy who threw the second blanket over the kitty, and then the two handlers with gloves would leap on the second blanket and kitty and wrestle him down, and put him in the suitcase.

Overall it actually went pretty well, except the bobcat had to be shaken out of the cage. It never dawned on us he would be shy about coming out. This was getting pretty exciting because we were worried he would miss the blanket and we really did not have a good plan B. Now it was one heck of a fight when he hit that blanket and the second blanket went over him. I was the blanket thrower by the way and not a glove wearer. (I learned the ORM rules better than the other two.) However, all basically went well after about 30-45 seconds of extreme excitement and we managed to get the cat corralled under the blanket using the gloves and blanket without any major scratches or bites. It did involve a lot of hollaring at each other and general mayhem.

Now getting him into that old suitcase was the next challenge and required numerous "putting them razor sharp feet back in" before we could get the lid closed and snapped.

This called for at least another beer as we had survived the ordeal so far.

We piled into a car with the suitcase, drove to the old slave market traffic circle (corner of Gillespie and Hay St) and let the guy out with the suitcase and then to the bus station to wait for him. He caught a cab to the bus station, got out and left the suitcase out front (after shaking it up to make sure Mr. Kitty was awake and in a generally foul mood) and went in and immediately out the side door. The suitcase was snatched before he got out the side door and dumped into the back seat of a Cadillac convertible with two guys in front and two guys in back. I will let you guess what type characters they were.

They immediately drove back up Gillespie to the traffic circle, around it and proceeded down Hay St. At that time Hay St was angle parking on the street, Saturday night and traffic was moving about 1-3 mph. It was right in front of the old Prince Charles Hotel (at that time it was the hooker and Marine hangout) and we were about 3 cars back when we noticed the rapid waving of arms, general jumping about and flurry of activity coming from all four corners inside the caddie. I would have killed for a video camera then.

This went on for about 20 seconds or so much to our great amusement before all four doors opened and all four guys bailed out with the car still moving. The caddie continued to roll, clipping about 4-5 cars on the rear before it finally stopped in the side of a car.

It seems Mr. Bobcat had done the Texas chainsaw massacre version on the caddie seats (red leather by the way), vinyl roof and all occupants before they bailed. Them claws were sharp, and he zipped open everything from front to rear, top to bottom to include all four occupants. It seems that there had been a football game inside the car throwing the bobcat from back seat to front and vice versa while the cat clawed and bit the hell out of everything in between.

What was the highlight of the evening though, was the four guys trying to explain to the police as they were being bandaged at the scene, as to just exactly how they had come into possession of a bobcat in a suitcase in the back seat of the car.

In the mean time we were holding court with the large crowd about 20-30 yds down the street, telling the real story, which resulted in a lot of laughter. Finally one of the cops wandered down and asked us if we had any idea of exactly how that bobcat got into the suitcase. The answer was obviously "Absolutely not, officer, none at all". He walked away laughing, obviously figuring it out. It seems that he went back and informed his fellow officers and EMTs as to his supposition as to the true nature of the genesis of the story.

At this point here comes the kitty just walking down Hay St slowly like not a care in the world, daring anyone to mess with him. Obviously, it was like Moses parting the Red Sea and everyone gave him a wide berth having seen what he was capable of.  He wandered off into the night in search of his lady love.

It seems that no charges were filed on the caddie occupants and us. I think that the police figured no one would believe it anyway and they figured some had learned their lessons about stray suitcases. Plus at this stage they were laughing so hard themselves as the victims were being patched up by the EMTs and crying about being cut up.

Overall it was a wonderful evening, highlighting the proper use of ORM, involving alcohol, a bobcat and a lot of fun.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Venison Stew Recipe

Venison Stew

  • 1 lb. venison, fully trimmed 1" dice
  • 1 cup flour with ¾ tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon white pepper added
  • ½ cup clarified butter or olive oil
  • 2 tablesoons garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, diced fine
  • 2 cups burgundy (red) wine
  • 4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms (Italian)
  • 1 quart rich veal stock
  • 2 small Idaho potatoes, medium dice
  • 1 yellow onion, julienned
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 ribs celery, diced fine
  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced fine
  • 2 dashes Tabasco©
  • 1-½ tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1-½ tablespoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
Blister skin on poblano. Peel, seed and dice fine.
Heat butter or oil in a heavy bottomed pot until it just begins to smoke, about 350°.
Toss venison in seasoned flour, dusting off excess.
Add venison and brown in small batches. Reserve warm.
In the same pot, add garlic and red onion and sauté briefly. Add red wine and mushrooms, and reduce to one cup.
Add veal stock, potatoes, vegetables, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are softened.
Add venison and adjust seasonings. Top pot with biscuits and bake in a preheated 450° oven for 10-12 minutes until biscuits are browned.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles Returning to Wild After Freeze

Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles Returning to Wild After Freeze

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND - Hundreds of rare sea turtles stunned by the longest spate of sub-freezing days in decades in South Texas are to be returned to the wild today and tomorrow. As of this morning, more than 800 sea turtles had been rescued from freezing bays and beaches in Texas in the past three days, with more expected to be rescued today and tomorrow.

In past years for similar coastal freezes, cold-stunned sea turtles in Texas have typically been held in captivity to recuperate for weeks until sea water temperatures rose. But two factors have prompted Texas wildlife workers to return turtles to the wild faster. First, experts in Florida who've had similar recent experiences with cold-stunned turtles advised returning them to the water as soon as possible. Second, the sheer numbers of rescued turtles have overwhelmed available facilities, so that many are on floors or wrapped in blankets, and experts say it's better for them to return to water.

"There is no doubt we saved these turtles' lives; they would have perished in the cold if left on the bays and beaches," said Donna Shaver, who for years has led sea turtle recovery efforts for Padre Island National Seashore, and is the Texas coordinator for the national  Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network. Shaver said the recent cold wave has caused the largest cold-stunning of sea turtles since the national stranding network was formed in 1980.

Between 3-4 p.m. today, the first turtle release will take place on the beach at Isla Blanca County Park at the southern most tip of South Padre Island. This release will include more active and healthy sea turtles held at local facilities. As of this morning, more than 700 turtles were being held in far South Texas, including about 300 at Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, about 125 at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, about 250 at the University of Texas-Pan American coastal studies lab, and about 50 at the facility of nonprofit Sea Turtle, Inc.

"This has been a huge community effort, from Donna Shaver's folks to other federal staff with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, right down to little eight-year-old kids pulling sea turtles out of the freezing muck," said Jeff George of Sea Turtle, Inc. "It's another example of the community pulling together for our rare species."
around 3-4 p.m. today, more than 50 sea turtles that had been held at the Gladys Porter Zoo are to arrive at the state fish hatchery operated by  TPWD in Flour Bluff near Corpus Christi. The state agency's Coastal Fisheries Division staff and game wardens have been out on beaches and in boats for days helping rescue stranded turtles. Today they used fish hatchery trucks to transport some of the weakest turtles that still need indoor recuperation from the Valley to the Corpus area.

Shaver said sea water temperatures must be at least 52 degrees Fahrenheit for sea turtle releases. This morning she said water temperatures were in the high 40s in the Corpus area, though a warming trend is coming. George said this morning near shore water temperatures off South Padre Island were in the upper 50s, but were higher into the low 60s offshore. He said the water was 48 degrees in bays such as the Lower Laguna Madre, were some turtles were rescued with ice on their bodies. George said all of the sea turtles rescued in Texas so far have been green sea turtles, a threatened species.

Why Most People Hate Hunters? Comments Requested?

I want to pose a question to everyone.  Why is there such a dislike for hunters?   Please post your comments below.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Missouri Archery Deer, Turkey Harvests Dip

Missouri Archery Deer, Turkey Harvests Dip
Friday, February 04, 2011 :: Staff infoZine
By Jim Low - Abundant acorns made hunting tougher for deer and turkey hunters.
Jefferson City, MO - infoZine - Missouri’s 2010-2011 archery deer harvest dipped by 17 percent, following a trend seen during the various portions of firearms deer season. The fall turkey harvest also declined.

Bowhunters checked 43,281 deer during the archery deer and turkey season Sept. 15 through Nov. 12 and Nov. 24 through Jan. 15. That is 8,691 fewer than during the 2009-10 archery season, which set a record high.

Top archery deer harvest counties were Jackson with 980, St. Louis with 898 and Jefferson with 876. The combined 2010-11 firearms and archery deer harvests total 274,794, a decrease of 8 percent.

Resource Scientist Lonnie Hansen, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) deer expert, attributed the decrease in archery deer harvest to the same factors that held down the 2010-2011 firearms deer harvest.

The Ozarks

Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation photoHansen said archers shot 25 percent fewer deer in the Ozark Region during the 2010-11 season than the previous season. The Ozark Region firearms deer harvest was down 21 percent from the previous season. Overall, the Ozarks’ 2010-11 deer harvest was down 22 percent. The reason, according to Hansen, was a good acorn crop.

“We knew going into the season that hunters would have a tough time,” said Hansen. “Acorns were abundant in southern Missouri this year, and that meant deer didn’t have to move around much to find their preferred food. That makes deer harder for hunters to find.

“I have heard some people say we use acorns as an excuse when the harvest is down. But if you look at data from the past 20 years, the correlation between big acorn crops and reduced deer harvests is unmistakable.”

The reduced deer harvest in the Ozarks has a silver lining, according to Hansen.

“What happened in the Ozarks was exactly what we expected,” he said. “We shot the deer hard down there in 2009-10, so we had fewer deer to start with. Then we got an abundant acorn crop, so naturally there was a reduced harvest. Next year, if we have a moderate acorn crop, you can expect to see the Ozarks’ deer harvest jump back up as the region’s deer herd continues its slow, long-term growth.”

Northern Missouri

Hansen said offsetting factors kept the deer harvest in northern Missouri very close to last year’s figure. Deer numbers in many parts of northern Missouri have declined in recent years, but a delayed effect of weather in 2009 propped up the 2010-2011 harvest.

Bowhunters checked 13 percent fewer deer in northeastern Missouri during the 2010-11 season. However, the firearms deer harvest was up 3 percent in the region. The combined archery and firearms harvest in the northeast region topped the 2009-10 figure by a narrow margin, just 235 deer.

The situation was much the same in northwestern Missouri. The archery deer harvest there was down 12 percent from 2009-10, but firearms deer hunters shot 2 percent more deer. Northeast Missouri’s combined archery and firearms deer harvests beat the 2009-10 deer figure by a nose, just 32 deer.

Hansen said northern Missouri’s deer harvest might have been smaller if hunters had enjoyed better conditions in 2009.

“We had a very wet fall in 2009, and farmers had a dickens of a time getting crops out of the field. There was still a huge amount of standing corn during the November portion of firearms deer season, and that gave deer lots of places to hide. The November hunt normally produces well over 80 percent of the firearms deer harvest. In 2009, it fell to 78 percent. That meant we went into 2010 with more deer than we would have if the weather had been more normal.”

Future Deer Management

Hansen said the decrease in northern Missouri’s deer harvest over the past few years is clear evidence that MDC’s efforts to get a handle on deer populations are working. Reaching that tipping point ushers in a new era in deer management in the Show-Me State, which Hansen said he finds exciting.

“The downturn is something we have been expecting and watching for,” he said. “As we develop recommendations for future deer seasons, we will re-examine things like the availability of antlerless permits. We also are going to look for innovative ways to help deer hunters and landowners manage local deer herds. They have direct experience with deer in their areas, and ultimately control the number and kind of deer harvested in their areas. Deer management is going to become much more collaborative, and local than in the past.”

Archery Turkey Harvest

The 2010-2011 archery turkey harvest was 2,184, down from 3,298 the previous season. Top harvest counties during the archery season were Greene with 66, Texas with 46 and Franklin with 43. The total harvest from the 2010 youth and regular spring hunts, the fall firearms season and archery season was 54,311, down 3.7 percent from 2009-10.

Resource Scientist Jason Isabelle is the Conservation Department’s wild-turkey expert. He said the Ozarks’ abundant acorn crop probably also made turkeys harder to hunt. Another significant factor was poor turkey reproduction for the past few years.

“Wild turkey productivity has been extremely low in recent years,” said Isabelle. “When you couple below-average poult production with an abundant acorn resource, you have some difficult conditions for harvesting wild turkeys with archery gear.”

In addition, Isabelle said some hunters probably recognized that turkey numbers are down and chose not to take part in the fall hunt, preferring to wait until spring. He said this seems especially likely in northwestern Missouri, where production was up 34 percent in 2010, but the archery turkey harvest was substantially lower than last year.

Although turkey numbers are down in some parts of the state, Isabelle said hunters still can expect some outstanding hunting opportunities during the 2011 spring season.

“Despite some challenging hunting conditions in recent years, turkey harvest in Missouri is still among the highest of any state in the country,” said Isabelle. “Even when conditions are tough, Missouri still offers some of the best turkey hunting that can be found anywhere.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Coastal Fisheries Freeze Closure Extended

Coastal Fisheries Freeze Closure Extended

AUSTIN –The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has extended until noon on Monday, Feb. 7, the closure to fishing along parts of the coast to provide additional protection to the resource.

A list of affected areas can be found on the TPWD Web site

The fishing closure only affects those deepwater thermal refuges the department has identified and does not extend to boat traffic. All other areas will remain open to fishing this weekend, but anglers are reminded that fish may only be caught using rod and reel and it is illegal to pick up stunned or dead fish with a net or by hand at any location.

Anyone observing fishing activity in the closed areas during the freeze or taking fish by illegal means is urged to contact their local game warden office or call Operation Game Thief at 800-792-GAME.

“This freeze event has lasted longer than was projected earlier in the week and temperatures are not expected to get much above freezing today,” said Robin Riechers, TPWD coastal fisheries division director. “We realize an extension through the weekend may inconvenience some anglers and we appreciate their patience and cooperation, but our primary concern is to give fish holding in those thermal refuges a chance to recover.”

While fisheries biologists have observed only minor impacts to fish populations from the freeze thus far, there is growing concern about sea turtles along the lower Texas coast. As of 10 a.m. today, more than 400 cold stunned sea turtles have been recovered in Texas, mostly green sea turtles found in the lower Laguna Madre.

“Only a few more and this will be the most recorded during a cold stunning event since the STSSN (Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network) was established in 1980,” according to Donna Shaver, head of sea turtle science and recovery at the National Park Service’s Padre Island National Seashore.

Texas has about two million acres of bays and estuaries susceptible to freeze. There were three major freezes during the 1980s, including one in 1989 when the temperature at Brownsville dropped to 16 degrees Fahrenheit and an estimated 11 million fish were killed in the freeze event.

State health officials are reminding people not to eat fish that may have died as a result of the freezing temperatures. Fish found floating or on the shore may have been dead for several days and could cause adverse health effects if consumed.

Anglers and coastal residents can report any freeze related fish kills or large numbers of sluggish or cold-stunned fish by contacting TPWD’s Law Enforcement Communications office at (281) 842-8100 or (512) 389-4848.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Temporary Fishing Closure in Place on Texas Coast during Freeze

AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has issued a temporary closure to saltwater fishing along parts of the Texas coast to protect resources during freezing weather conditions. The closure takes effect at noon Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 and extends through noon on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011.

In addition to killing game fish in shallow bay waters, a hard freeze can also cause surviving fish to congregate in a few deeper areas where they become sluggish and prone to capture. Those are the areas the department has temporarily closed.

"The high mortality that a freeze can cause may deplete fish stocks for years," said Robin Riechers, director of TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division. "Protection of the surviving fish during the few days when they are especially vulnerable to capture would likely shorten the time period for overall recovery of coastal species, especially spotted sea trout."

Texas has about two million acres of bays and estuaries susceptible to freeze. There were three major freezes during the 1980s, including one in 1989 when the temperature at Brownsville dropped to 16 degrees and an estimated 11 million fish were killed in the freeze event.

Anglers and coastal residents can report any freeze related fish kills or large numbers of sluggish or cold-stunned fish by contacting TPWD’s Law Enforcement Communications office at (281) 842-8100 or (512) 389-4848.
Coastal Areas Closed To Fishing During Freeze Conditions Effective Noon, Feb. 2, 2011 through Noon, Feb. 5, 2011
County Nearest City Site Name Description
Aransas Aransas Pass City by the Sea All waters and canals of the City by the Sea subdivision west of the GIWW and a line beginning at a point on the entryway seawall (27° 57.08" N; 97° 06.05" W) extending across the entrance to a point (27° 57.04" N; 97° 06.06" W).
Aransas Fulton The Raquetball All waters and channels of the Racquetball Club development Club west of line beginning at a point on the entryway seawall (28° 05.94" N; 97° 01.73" W) extending across the entrance to a point (28° 05.96" N; 97° 01.73" W).
Aransas Fulton Kon Tiki All waters and canals of the Kon Tiki development west of a line beginning at a point on the entryway seawall adjacent to the end of the fishing pier (28° 06.04" N; 97° 01.49" W) extending across the entrance to a point (28° 05.99" N; 97° 01.49" W).
Aransas Rockport Bahia Bay All waters and canals of the Bahia Bay subdivision west of the GIWW and a line beginning at a point on the entryway seawall (27° 57.63" N; 97° 05.66" W) extending across the entrance to a point (27° 58.65" N; 97° 05.66" W).
Aransas Rockport Cove Harbor Entire harbor west of the GIWW and a line beginning at a point on the entryway seawall (27° 59.37" N; 97° 04.38" W) extending across the entrance to a point (27° 59.42" N; 97° 04.35" W).
Aransas Rockport La Buena Vida All waters and canals of the La Buena Vida subdivision west of the GIWW and a line beginning at a point on the entryway seawall (27° 57.31" N; 97° 05.89" W) extending across the entrance to a point (27° 58.36" N; 97° 05.89" W).
Aransas Rockport Little Bay All waters of Little Bay and connected waters west of Nine Mile Point on Key Allegro (28° 01.98" N; 97° 01.52" W), including Blevins Channel south of the entryway seawall (28° 03.05" N; 97° 01.87" W), Leggett Channel west of the entryway seawall (28° 01.80" N; 97° 01.84" W) and all canals within the Key Allegro and Harbor Oaks subdivisions.
Aransas Rockport Palm Harbor All waters and canals of the Palm Harbor subdivision west of the GIWW and a line beginning at a point on the entryway seawall (27° 58.05" N; 97° 05.36" W) extending across the entrance to a point (27° 58.03" N; 97° 05.36" W).
Aransas Rockport Rockport Harbor Entire harbor north of the entryway seawall and a line beginning on the entryway seawall (28° 01.19" N; 97° 02.89" W) extending across the entrance to a point (28° 01.19" N; 97° 03.00" W).
Aransas Lamar Sea Gun Marina Entire harbor north of the entryway seawall and a line beginning Harbor at a point on the entryway seawall (28° 08.06" N; 97° 00.40" W) extending across the entrance to a point (28° 08.11" N; 97° 00.42" W).
Calhoun Port O’Connor Army Hole The enclosed waters between the Matagorda Island State Park docks and Pringle Lake.
Cameron Brownsville Brazos Santiago Pass South Jetty Gulf of Mexico from and including the Brazos Santiago Pass south jetty along the beach for one half statute mile and out from shore for 1,000 yards.
Cameron Port Isabel Point Isabel Area from shore out to a line from the high point of the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway on the northwest and the end of the old causeway on the southeast including the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway bounded by the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway on the north and the Port Isabel Swing Bridge on the south. Does not include the adjacent canal in Port Isabel.
Galveston Dickinson, Texas City Moses Lake From Moses Lake to the Tide gate, to include the navigational channel up to the northern shoreline of Dollar Bay (area corresponds to 29° 26.00" N to 29° 27.00" N). Dollar Bay and Moses Bayou are not included.
Galveston Galveston Offats Bayou All of Offats Bayou east of Marker 22.
Matagorda Matagorda Matagorda Entire harbor from the entrance to the Gulf ICWW.Harbor
Matagorda Palacios Shrimp Basin Entire shrimp basin from the entrance to Matagorda Bay, including all turning basins.
Nueces Corpus Christi Padre Island The area is bounded on the north by Packery Channel, on the subdivision west by the ICWW and on the south by a line drawn due east from the intersection of the New Humble Channel and the ICWW to the mainland (along 27° 35.25" N).
Orange Bridge City Entergy Outfall Entire canal – from the mouth of the canal at the Neches River Canal to the power plant.
San Patricio Aransas Pass Conn Brown Entire harbor north and west of the GIWW and a line beginning from the Harbor at a point on the entryway seawall (27° 53.96" N; 97° 08.09" W) extending across the entrance to a point (27° 53.82" N; 97° 08.13" W).
Willacy Port Mansfield Port Mansfield Entire harbor from the corners of the bulkheads on either side of Harbor to the harbor mouth.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Texas Parks and Wildlife Asks Coastal Anglers to Assist During Freeze

Jan. 31, 2011
AUSTIN -- With a major arctic air mass bearing down on Texas, coastal anglers are asked to be mindful of the impacts a coastal freeze event can have on game fish populations.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists and game wardens are closely monitoring the  potential for a saltwater freeze along the Texas coast this week. If the situation begins to look severe enough, the agency may close certain fishing areas to protect the resource.

Meanwhile, by adhering to the regulations and practicing conservation during the freeze, anglers can help ensure a continued healthy future for Texas coastal fisheries.

Game fish, including spotted seatrout, red drum, sharks, snook and triple tail may only be taken by pole and line, and it is unlawful to take or attempt to take a fish with one or more hooks attached to a line or artificial lure used in a manner to foul-hook a fish (snagging or jerking). It is unlawful to collect stunned fish.

In addition to killing game fish in shallow bay waters, a hard freeze can also cause surviving fish to congregate in a few deeper areas where they become sluggish and prone to capture. Those are the areas the department may temporarily close.

"The high mortality that a freeze can cause may deplete fish stocks for years," said Robin Riechers,  director of TPWD's Coastal Fisheries Division. "Protection of the surviving fish during the few days when they are especially vulnerable to capture would likely shorten the time period for overall recovery of coastal species, especially spotted sea trout."

Texas has about two million acres of bays and estuaries susceptible to freezes. There were three major freezes during the 1980s, including one in 1989 when the temperature at Brownsville dropped to 16 degrees and an estimated 11 million fish died.

Anglers and coastal residents can report any freeze related fish kills or large numbers of sluggish or cold-stunned fish by contacting TPWD's Upper Coast Regional Office at (281)534-0100 or the Lower Coast Regional Office at (361)729-2328.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Commercialization of Hunting Leads to Increased Lease Prices

Taking advantage of our God given natural resources in Texas seems to be only for the rich and well to do now days.  I'm referring to deer hunting or for that matter any type of hunting in Texas.  The cost of a deer lease has skyrocketed in the last 10 to 15 years, or so it seems.  I've been looking for a place to hunt for me and my two sons the past couple of years.  Right off the bat, I'm sure you can see my problem.  Three guns for a lease.  Open the check book.

 Land owners have changed the way they charge for leases.  Used to, you could find a land owner who wanted to lease his property for hunting, negotiate a price for the lease and then split the cost of the lease between the number of people who will hunt on it.  The landowners have caught on and determined that they can make a lot more money charging by the gun rather than a flat rate for the lease.  Who can blame them?  After all it's all about the almighty dollar now days. This has lead to skyrocketing costs for hunting leases.  But then again, if someone is willing to pay the money, why not charge it. 

Whether you want to deer hunt, dove hunt, quail hunt or hog hunt you better be ready to open your wallet.  I attribute some of the increased costs of hunting to the increased commercialization of hunting that has taken place over the last several years.   Take for instance all of the hunting shows on television now a days.  Have they done justice to the sport of hunting?  I think not.  While they are enjoyable to watch, most of them are just a disguise to sale a product.  They do nothing more than create a market for their products.   This commercialization has, in my opinion, led to the high cost of hunting products and hunting leases.

As long as we are willing to pay the prices the landowners want to charge, the cost has nowhere to go but up.  At what point will people say we just can't afford it anymore?  When we as hunters realize we don't have to have the newest food plot seed, the newest strongest doe urine that drives bucks wild, scent blocking clothing, heaters for our stands, or camo that truly makes us invisible, the commercialization of hunting will slowly subside and prices I believe will realign themselves.

Hopefully, the time will come when hunting is again affordable for the normal person and we can continue to pass on the joys of hunting to our children and grandchildren.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Boy Scouts of America High Adventure Trip To Northern Tier Canoe Base in Canada

A couple of summers ago, my son and I took a trip to Northern Tier Canoe Base in Bissett, Manitoba, Canada.  It was the trip of a lifetime for both of us.  We canoed over 80 miles in ten days.  Outfitting ourselves for this trip took months of research and planning.  The following will include an explanation of the planning process for the trip itself including the gear we outfitted ourselves with for the trip.

Our troop had previously taken a trip to Northern Tier and canoed the boundry waters.  We decided to venture a littel further north and take the canoe trip out of Bissett.  One thing different about this trip than the other canoe trips at Northern Tier is the fact that you have to take a float plane from Bissett to reach the Boy Scouts canoe cache located on the appropriately named Scout Lake.  The flight from Bissett to Scout Lake is about thirty to forty minutes long. 

The float planes are not opperated by the Boy Scouts of America, so you have to reserve your own float plane to make the short trip to Scout Lake.   We charterd our float plane through Blue Water Aviation.  They fly hundreds of scouts each summer to Scout Lake and pick them up for the trip back to Bissett when their days on the water have concluded.  Because a lot of their business in June, July and August is dedicated to shuttling scouts, we found them to be very accomadating. 

If you decide to make the trip into Canada, you are now required to have a valid U.S. Passport.  You'll want to make sure everyone in the crew takes care of this early as it can sometimes take a couple of months to have a passport issued.  One things for sure, if you don't have a passport, you don't go on the trip. 

Since our troop is located in Texas, driving was not an option.  We flew from Houston to Minniapolis/St. Paul and caught a connecting flight to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  We spent the night in Winnipeg at a local hotel and then caught a shuttle the next morning for the three hour driver to Bissett where the Canoe Base is located.  When making arrangements for the shuttle service, shop around because prices vary.  Make sure you coordinate your departure time from Winnipeg with the check in time at the base so you are not late.  Also, keep in mind your return flight schedule and make sure you coordinate your departure time from the base to Winnipeg so you have plenty of time to catch your flight back home.   So, when making flight arrangements for your trip and reservations for the shuttle, make sure your have plenty of time for both. 

Once we had our trip booked with the BSA Canoe Base, we made all of our travel arrangements, flights, shuttle, and hotel reservations.  It's best to make all of these arrangements as early as possible so you don't have to worry about any conflicts with any of these three critical components of your trip. 

The next thing we focused on was the gear for the trip.  You need to keep in mind when planning what gear to take that it is critical that you only take what is necessary and the necessary gear is the right gear.  Each scouts gear for the trip, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothing and personal items should all be able to fit into a five gallon bucket.  So you know right off the bat that some of the sleeping bags that some scouts have are going to be way too bulky for this trip.  I found this to be the most labor intensive part of the trip for me as I like to research everything before I make a purchase.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Welcome to Outdoor Adventures My Way.  I started this blog to provide information on various outdoor activities I have been involved in to share my experiences and knowledge with you.  Each time I have planned  a trip, whether it be hunting, fishing, canoeing, hiking or camping, I find myself spending countless hours researching gear that I need to outfit myself with to ensure I have an enjoyable time.  It would have been nice to find one place where I could have gone to find all the gear I would need for a particular trip with someone who had actually used the gear and knew what gear was needed, how it performed and what wasn't a necessity.   Hopefully you will find the information I provide useful.