Early Fall

Posted by Vince Crawford | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goose's Bird Work

I suppose fall started in August for us this year. We began working Goose on pigeons prior to the dove season starting on September 1st. She worked with them around the house, getting used to carrying them, and finding them in the tall grass I let grow up in the backyard.

Dove opener afternoon found Kable, Goose and I at Bonanza Conservation Area. We were hunting in a sunflower field that looked great, but the doves had not made their way down yet. There were only two shots fired for the afternoon. Goose didn't know what to think when I shot, and nothing fell from the sky. She will have to get used to that with me!

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Kable is getting pretty handy with a shotgun. He says he's still 'just' a bird hunter, since he has not taken a deer yet.

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Here's a closeup of Goose from the hunt. I miss her blue puppy eyes, but those milky yellow eyes are pretty sweet looking too!

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Goose and I made one trip out together to teal hunt on the river. We saw a lot of geese, but very few teal. She didn't quite know what to think about sitting on the river with nothing really happening for the two hours we were there, but she did pretty well sitting still.

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On the way back out, we made a sneak on the barn, and found a pigeon to take a crack at. Luckily, I hit my mark, and Goose made a GREAT first retrieve. Holding a shotgun and a camera at the same time of trying to control a pup is a task.
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Kable's First Goose (honk honk goose that is......)

We decided to leave Goose at home for this hunt, because it was a DEAD STILL morning, and I was assured, after getting out there, that she would not have been able to sit still or quiet.

On our venture out there, Kable commented that there were a LOT of stars out. So, we took a moment to check them all out. He told me to start counting, and let me know when I was done.

Then, we spotted two sattelites (UFO's.....I told him) cutting across the sky. Not only that, but we watched them perfectly cris-cross eachother!

So.....on to the river bank we went.

Kable showed me where he wanted to be, and he promptly TRIED to go to sleep. Well, when the coyotes started howling, the geese started honking RIGHT beside us!

We were ALMOST in the right spot. The 35 birds Tristen heard come in the evening before were about 50 yards downstream of Kable and I. Tristen was 40 yards further upstream than us.

Two of the birds swam through our setup, and then back downstream about 5AM.

As shooting time was approaching, we watched the 35ish geese start creeping closer and closer to us.

It got to be time, and I told Kable to pick out his bird. He got lined up, and told me he was ready.

The PLAN was for him to shoot his bird, and then Tristen and I would play cleanup.

Well, step one went GREAT! Kable got his first goose!

Every step after that though......didn't go as planned. All the birds went downstream, instead of our hope of them splitting, or going upstream.

So......once again........Kable showed US how to get the JOB DONE!

Good times were had by all!

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It was pretty awesome. He said he was going to pick out the biggest one, and was getting ready to shoot. I said whenever you are ready......thinking......I don't know how he can tell which one is bigger, but oh well!

When he was holding it up for the pictures, he said, MAN! It must weigh 20 pounds! What does the world record goose weigh?!

I started laughing HARD!

We 'officially' weighed it in at 13 pounds back at the house.

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The First VECtor Kills of the Year!

The first TWO VECtor kills of the 2011-2012 season come from the same young man in South Dakota!

Not only that, but he killed his deer with the first bow I ever bought for Holly, a Mathews Mustang! I think this young man has had this hedge grunter for less than two weeks now, but he has REALLY put it to use.

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This 8 pointer was just taken this evening, while he was on a hunt by himself on the edge of a corn field. The grunter brought the buck into 10 yards for him!

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Goose's Deer Tracking Work

Posted by Vince Crawford | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Doe Hunt to be Remembered


Here's a FULL account of my hunting adventures from the opening morning of Missouri archery season. I apologize for the LONG read, but its just too cool of a story to not pass on.

MAN OH MAN! What a morning of up's and down's!

First stand location, played what the wind was SUPPOSED to be, per the weather man. It was supposed to be NE. Well, it was NW, and the doe coming in from the SE didn't think to much of me at 7am.

I needed to cook up some pasta for the football team tonight, so I was trying to decide when it get my 'cook on'.

At 9, I decided to just switch to my burr oak acorn stand that I WANTED to hunt originally, with the ACTUAL wind I had being perfect for it.

I slid over there as quietly as possible, and got set up by 9:45.

10:00, here came momma and two little un's. I had two slick head tickets to punch, so I was hoping to work on both of them.

Momma came right in, and I got drawn with no problem. At 22 yards quartering away with her head down, I let my arrow fly.

Something weird happened with the shot, but I never could quite put my finger on it. I heard the arrow crack the deer, but she ran away different than normal. I also saw the arrow flip about 15 feet into the air.

I grabbed another arrow to stick another one, and I drew, but wasn't presented another shot.

I sat back down, and recomposed myself, and sent my brother Nice a text.

Then, I heard twigs breaking to me back and right.

I grabbed my bow off the hanger, and found a doe and two fawns looking for me, but smelling the bottom of my stand instead.

I was confused. There was enough time for them to circle me. I had two doe tags to work with, so I figured I would just try to punch the doe, and worry about one or two blood trails in a few minutes.

She circled the tree, so I moved around quickly to my left and drew. She looked up at me at 8 yards, and I let my arrow fly.

Again......something not right. She wasn't reacting the way I was used to. Then it hit me that I was shooting new heads with a smaller cutting diameter, and something just wasn't going right at all.

I grabbed my one spitfire arrow, and knocked it, and turned around.

The doe and the two fawns were standing at 20 yards, looking at me.

As I drew, I saw blood drizzling down from behind her shoulder, but she just stood there.

So, I shot her again! This time, with my GOOD arrow!

And that shot CRUSHED her. She ran away just like they always do. Running for the hills.

I texted Nice again, and told him I wasn't for sure what was going on, but I was for sure done with the 'new, great' broadheads.

I relaxed, and waited 40 minutes. In that time, I realized the first doe had her brown coat, and the other still had her red coat. I was dealing with two different deer for sure.

I found my last 2 arrows first. They were both lung blood covered. Dead deer by a ways.

My third one, took me a minute to find. (Actually, my first shot). I began to really question what happened. I hadn't missed, because my arrow was not there?!

About 5 yards in the direction the deer had ran, I found my arrow, covered in bloody fat (not fatty blood).

For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what that meant. All I had to hit was her bread basket, and the front shoulder, and her neck. Everything else was covered by a tree when I shot.

There was no blood.

So, I began to follow where I thought she had ran, and about 20 yards into the path, blood started showing up in squirts. Just on that left side too, BUT I had a passthrough with my arrow?!

I followed the trail about 150 yards, and found a bed full of blood. That, of course, is the best sign of......Back out, and leave stuff alone for a while.

I circled, trying to find a direction she took from there so I could mark it. No luck.

Something was really odd, and I was not confident I was going to retrieve this deer at this point. No guts, but a lot of blood, but no real sign of really giving up either.

So.....being the utility dog wanna be guy that I am......I called the Agent in that county, and told him the story, and asked if I could use my dog to give it a run.

I did NOT expect to get to try her out on the opening day of season, but WHAT THE HECK!

So, I picked up my gear, and headed home to get Goose.

Still having to get this pasta made.

Goose smelled the blood on my hands and boots, and was VERY interested to get out the door, rather than worry about some stupid pasta.

I weighed my options, and decided it best to make my pasta and take it to the school first, rather than bank on being able to make it back. I was right. The school worked with me to get it put in the cooler, so they could warm it up later (dinner is in 30 minutes up there. )

As we drove back to the farm, I started playing my blood tracking book on rewind in my head, trying to figure out how to approach this whole thing.

I let her sniff my boots more in the truck, and repeated "dead deer" to her over and over.

When we got there, I hooked her new 30 foot leash (number from the book.....easy to keep up with, and let the rest of it drag if you are closer to her) up to her. She didn't know what to think about dragging it at first, but I assured her it would be okay, and we continued through the woods.

We walked out to the 'stickin' tree', and I showed her the easy trail first. (the deer with two holes in her).

I repeated "dead deer" and pointed down to the blood. She was VERY, VERY interested. She ran back and forth down the trail. I wondered how to get her pointed in a direction.

Well, I just sat her like I was sending her on a waterfowl retrieve, and pointed down the line, and said, "dead deer.....fetch it up!" And she took off with her nose to the ground!

The trail was easy to follow, and we found the deer in about 80 yards.

As was expected, she freaked out when she found the deer. She liked following the blood, but had no idea what she was going to find at the end of the trail.

The first hole had plugged up with gut on the back side. The second hole was through the shoulder on the back side, so it anchored her good.

I assured Goose of her work, and gave her a treat for doing so good.

I then tied her up, and got that deer all tagged and bagged.

Then, we headed back to the 'stickin' tree' for round 2. It was going to be a tough learning curve!

Here's Goose with her first ever blood tracking 'find'.

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So, we head back, I set her down, and point her on a line, just like we had done.

SHE wanted another treat!

Now.....I've got 150 yards of this done already, but per my book reading, we started over from the beginning.

And, I was keeping in mind, she could be following my boot tracks from this trail too, up to where I had hung my hat in a tree at the bloody bed.

I had not realized how much this deer had ducked and dodged through the brush.

Goose did it right though. Just like I had read. She had her nose down when she was on the trail, and you could see her body language change when she would lose it. (I could see the blood at a decent level to understand her changes.)

Here's what her body language looks like when she's looking to pick the trail back up again when it turns.

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When she would mess up, I would let her work it out. If it took her longer than a minute, I would back up, and find a spot of blood for her, and point to it, and say, "dead deer". She would come to that point, and start over again, picking a different direction.

One spot hung her up really good, and I had to un-weave her leash out of all the trees. It was funny looking for sure.

When we reached my hat, she smelled the bed a lot, and really looked puzzled. She acted like that should have been the end.

So, I said, "dead deer. Find it" and gave her my double hand signal that looks like I am shrugging my shoulders and means, "I don't know where the heck it is". It works for her bird training, so why not this, right?!

So, she started making her circles, like she was looking for a bird, and acted like she came up with the trail. I'm telling you, there was NO blood. But, she looked confident with her tail wagging, so I picked up my hat and marked the spot with some tissue, and followed along.

I let her lead, and I just watched the ground. About every 20 yards, I would see a tiny drop of blood, or a smear on a twig. This went on for about 200 yards. I would mark spots with tissue about every other one I would see.

She didn't even look back to check on me like she does shed hunting. She just kept going.

The further blood spots got apart, the more I was doubting her, thinking she just decided to start going for a walk in the woods, but then, I would find another spot.

Then, she got to the edge of the woods, and stopped. PLEASE NO STANDING BEAN FIELD!

I marked the edge, and told her again "dead deer, find it."

She took off at a GOOD clip with her nose to the ground. I was speed walking, and had her by the very end of the 30 foot leash.

I wasn't seeing ANYTHING.

So, about 50 yards into this, I told her to 'whoa' and I pulled back on her, and slowed down to a crawl to look for blood. Nothing. There was nothing there. Deer tracks, sure, but no blood.

Then, I watched her sniff the underside of some beans, and I lifted them up! Blood!

I started looking with my head cocked down, and I could see it every 20 feet or so!

So, I let her take off again! Told her to "find it!"

Going, going, going. I'm thinking man oh man.......this is getting to be a LONG trail. Longer than I have ever had end at a dead deer, that is for sure.

Then, all of the sudden, she throws on the breaks, and there's a bed right on the edge of the beans full of blood. Crazy!

I start looking around, while she is looking for a new trail. 30 yards out in the beans, I see a circle of no beans. Then, I see a blood spot on some beans on the way to the circle!

I waited, COMPLETELY excited, and let her pick up the trail again. She took off through the beans with me in tow.

And there was our prize!

Less than an hour before, she was scared to death barking at the first doe. This time, she starts jumping in the air, barking at it, and the jumping and barking at me, like, "How do you LIKE THAT?!"

I'm telling you........ THAT right there was THE coolest thing I have ever seen on a solo hunt. She got two treats for that one.

LOOK AT THAT SMILE!

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So.....the conclusion.......what was the problem with the shot?!

I hit the shoulder! NO penetration into the chest cavity at all! The arrow hit the shoulder, and immediately slid straight upwards, exiting at the backstrap! Remember, I found the arrow near where I had shot her! The deer died from having such a bad cut on its shoulder that it bled out! AND THIS WAS WITH A FIXED BLADE HEAD! There were no tip or blade cuts on the bone that I could find at all either.

AHHHHHH THE END!


More Summer Heat

Posted by Vince Crawford | Posted in | Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011

Deer Season Planning

Its hard to get outside, and hard to stay inside all the same. We have not fished near as much this year as we have in years past because of the heat, but we have spent more time planning our hunting plans because of it.......both in the field, and on the computer looking at aerials and trail cam photos.

We have our trail cameras spread out through several different farms, hoping to catch a nice buck one place or another. While placing cameras, we have also been discussing stand locations, especially since Tristen will have a climber to use to his advantage this year. He has almost convinced me that I need one too.

We have been blazing trails from one stand to another using string trimmers and mowers. We don't have any big equipment to use to our advantage, but we like having trails to walk from one stand location to another to keep noise and scent to a minimum when season rolls around. There is also some poison ivy spraying going on while we are doing our clearing. The deer quickly catch on to our 'path of least resistance' and use the same trails.

Most of our trail camera pictures are of does, and the fawns are starting to hang out with them more every day. We did pick up this group of bucks hanging out right by one of our stands this last week though. One of the bucks is the wrap around 8 pointer that we have been keeping tabs on. He is very photogenic, and it was nice to see them all this evening, hanging out by the stand for over an hour.

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If you happen to have any interest, I will be putting on a Missouri Bowhunter Education Course just north of Smithville Lake near Plattsburg, MO next Saturday, August 6th. For more information, just contact me by email (vectorcalls at yahoo dot com) or phone.

I will also be presenting at the Jerry Litton Center at Smithville Lake on the 27th of August at the Deer Management Workshop. If you would like to attend, please RSVP my friend Paul Lowry so there will be plenty of supplies, reading material and seating on hand for everyone that attends. Paul's contact for this meeting is his email address: paul.lowry@mdc.mo.gov

Tristen and I will continue to work on shining up our archery shooting in August, and we will work on moving some permanent stands around, along with clearing their shooting lanes. We like to have the woods be completely person-free for 2 weeks prior to the September 15th archery opener, so we will be getting a lot of work done between now and then. Holly is also planning on using her crossbow this fall, so we will all need to learn how to use this new peice of equipment.

Other WILD LIFE

I had this bobcat make a quick run through the same camera's range. There are plenty of squirrels and plenty of bobcats on this property, so I'm sure they meet like this quite often.

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During my outdoor adventures here and there, I came across a couple interesting subjects this month.

One was this little frog. A buddy of mine who is much more of a herp man than I am, says it is a brown tree frog in a green color phase rather than a plain ol' green tree frog, as they are only found in southeast Missouri.

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This next photo was an interesting one for me for sure. It is a pink katydid. I researched it a little on the internet, and I guess the color phase is similar to being albino, and happens in about 1 in every 500 katydids. Those are my blackberries its standing on.

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Goose Training

Goose is a little over 8 months old now, and she has been doing great for us. I have not had an opportunity to get her on live birds yet like I thought I would, but its my understanding she was "helping" Tristen chase some chickens here a couple weeks ago. OOPS!

She is continuing to do a great job listening to her commands, and really does an outstanding job of searching an area of taller grass when she has trouble finding her bumper. I continue to be impressed with how well she uses her nose when she needs to.

Any time she gets too excited about a situation, we can always bank on her sit command. She listens to it perfectly, and we can move forward from there.

Here's a photo of her at one of our local watering holes after she was done with water training for the morning.

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Kable was with us for this training too, so he got the camera to take some action shots as we were working the water. He quickly figured out that he wanted an photo of her shaking the water off from her swim. This is his successful shot that he is very proud of.

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Summer "Work"

Posted by Vince Crawford | Posted in | Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2011

Warming up the Trail Cameras

I don't know about you all, but I am getting WOUND UP about deer hunting. I can't believe how much I am thinking about stand placement strategies and prevailing winds already!

I have had one of our trail cameras out for two weeks now, collecting photos on the main farm our family hunts. We don't run into the biggest bucks out there, but our expectations are not too high either to be honest with you. You also have to keep in mind, our number one reason for having permission on this farm is "crowd control" for the landowner. He wants to know when we see deer, and how many we get. He has had other hunters on the farm, and has removed them for not killing enough deer. Our family likes eating deer, so our relationship with the landowner is a great one.

Here are a few of the bucks we have caught hanging out so far this year.

This is a straight 10 pointer that is our biggest racked deer, and biggest bodied deer on camera so far.


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Here is a wrap-around straight 8 pointer that the boys and I really like. He's got long main beams, and is the most frequent buck to this salt lick. I hope the beams continue to wrap around even a little further as this rack finishes out at the end of the summer.

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This is a split brow tine 9 pointer that we see hanging out with the wrap-around 8 quite a bit. He is obviously not happy about sharing that salt lick at this moment. This other smaller buck was growing into a wide 6 pointer, but he broke his main beam on the one side around the first of June. Tristen and I saw this buck in person this last week, and the broken main beam is still firmly attached while 'hanging' down.

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We will continue to watch this farm, and add some cameras to our other farms to see where we should be spending the most of our stand time during the early archery season. Tristen has saved up enough money to get a really nice climbing treestand, so he will be much more versitile this fall in the areas he gets to hunt.

The End of Flatheading for 2011

My friend Luke invited me to jump in the boat with him in early June to set some more trotlines for flatheads. We ran lines for three nights, and had great luck catching some nice fish with the anchor being a 49 pounder Holly is holding up below.

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We were very thankful Luke took us out, especially when both of the boys were with me one of the mornings. It was the first time we had caught three nice fish in a morning when both of the boys were along for the ride. Here's our success photo! Kable was CRANKED BACK holding up that nice fish of his!

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Training a 7 month old Goose

Goose's training has been going very well. I'm not going to tell you she it without flaws, but she is doing wonderful for as good of a trainer she has.

Since we have stopped shed hunting, I have switched her training to a more 'traditional' approach of retriever work for waterfowl hunting. I am not a big waterfowl hunter myself, but the boys LOVE it. Goose still chews on her sheds when she is just hanging out, and I will hide them around the yard for her at least once a week.

Just within the last two weeks, she had decided she really enjoys retrieving her bumper out in the water, and begs you to throw it for her just ONE MORE TIME.

She still likes to search heavy grass and wooded draws for antlers (bones) though, while we are making our way to and from the water holes. Here is a picture of her looking up from a tall grass search.

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And here is a look at her.......ironically.......looking over a flock of geese.

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She is a very well mannered pup for her age, and we are very happy to have her along for our adventures. I can't wait until she is a little older, and knows exactly what I'm trying to tell her, and I know what she is trying to tell me! I weighed her in yesterday at 62 pounds. I don't think she will get much bigger, as her mother is 65 pounds, and her father is 70.

I also have my head buried in yet another dog training book right now. It is called Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer by John Jeanneney. This is a GREAT book about blood trailing and blood tracking deer. It goes into great detail about wound types, and tells you the author's researched experiences not only about using dogs for recovering game, but also what he has learned over this research about what certain blood signs will tell you about a specific type of wound. There is no other book out there that compares to this read. I am only half way though it, and I can tell you, it is a MUST READ for any ethical bowhunter. I tried to find a cheap, used copy of this book on the internet, and I couldn't find one. Now I know why, because anyone who gets their hands on a copy of this book is not going to let it go.

I don't expect Goose to become a professional blood tracker, shed hunter, or waterfowl retriever. I am just expecting her to be a great part of our family, and a great part of our wildlife adventures.

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Catching up on Spring

Posted by Vince Crawford | Posted in | Posted on Sunday, May 08, 2011

My goodness! I apologize for it being so long since I have posted up. Our internet connection at our new place in the country is NOT what I would like it to be. With a cell phone plan being the only way to get on with any regularity, it cuts into how many photos we can upload and download and still stay within our plan.

Anyways.......on with the good stuff!!!

Shed Hunting and Goose Training.......

We had a good shed hunting season, finding a total of 21. Goose made some great "finds" on her own. We have been very happy with her progress. Kable was also able to find his first shed. We covered a lot of new ground, and met a lot of great people along the way. Our honey hole from last year did not produce this year. I attribute it to there being almost all beans in the fields this year compared to all corn the year before. The winters were comparable, along with the snowfall here locally.

Here is Kable proudly holding up his first shed find of several:

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Goose just laid down with her first find on her own. She didn't do a very good job at bringing me back the sheds she found, because she tended to find some whoppers that she could not carry! She will be all grown up by next year, and should be ready to cover some good territory searching back and forth for her "bone".

Her searching ability has been very impressive to me. She has a lot of pheasant hunting past in her blood, and it shows by the way she works over a piece of ground.

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Here is a photo of our best day in the field this year. It turned out to be a great afternoon. We only searched for about 2 hours in a standing bean field.

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We searched that field fairly well, but decided to go back five days later to give it another look over. Goose hit a spot a little ways up on the hill where she would not leave. It was near a really nice rub. I told her "mush" which means for her to continue on, but she just sat there, and started to whimper. I told her again, and got the same response. Well! I guess I need to be listening to HER more! Look what she was guarding for us! Our biggest matching set ever! Goose was sitting in between them, knowing she wasn't going to move them, and at the same time, knowing what she had! I found one other small 2 pointer in the field also. We came back to the field several times after that, but never found another antler in it.

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Goose's color is going to work out great for us during our waterfowl adventures in the fall and winter. Check out this photo I picked up of her standing infront of this stump! GOOSE! HIDE! HAHAHA!

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Speaking of waterfowl training, since we have not been finding any more sheds, we have switched her training here at the house over to a more structured approach so she can hopefully be ready to bring us back a duck and a goose or two late this coming fall. I have collected random bones throughout our shed hunting trips this past winter, and I have thrown them in the woods and in the grass where we take our walks away from the house. When we go on our walks, she is allowed to roam as she would shed hunting, and she is able to find these bones and bring them back to me for the fun of it, rather than it being a structured training of shed hunting. Remember......a bone is a bone. The trainer needs to weed out what is an antler, and what is not, not the dog.

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Working up some wood......

I was inspired by a decoy carver this spring to get myself in gear, and make my own turkey decoy. I drew out a form , and cut it from the board. I then copied it two more times. I hollowed out each piece to remove weight from the design, and then began my painting. After being in the field watching real hens, I have realized I want the head on this decoy to be more grey than blue, but she produced quite well for us this spring. Birds came in to range to check her out on more than one occasion. This first version was awefully crude, but turned out just like I wanted it to. My next version will hopefully consist of three demensional feather patterns, as well as a three demensional look overall.

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I've also taken the opportunity to make a few deer grunters this spring. I enjoy turning wood more than any other type of wood working, and making calls out of the turned wood just makes it that much more fun. I hope this lineup of grunters produces some good memories for folks this fall.

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Turkey season is coming to an end as I type......

We had one heck of a spring here in north Missouri. Numbers were down overall, but the farms we had to hunt were still holding the birds. Early season was tough, because the gobblers were still hanging out with very large groups of hens.

Kable was not able to connect with a bird on his hunts, but Tristen was able to bag two birds, and so was I. Holly also came through with her first bird also!

Tristen's second bird came on a hunt where he was able to do the complete setup and calling on his own. He was very proud of himself for being able to accomplish this at 15 years old!

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I did not have any photographers on hand during my hunts either, but I made the best of the situation.

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I proposed to my wife in the turkey woods five years ago. I hoped for that morning to be a successful hunt, but it was not. And we struggled until this year to get her a turkey she could call her own. We were overfilled with joy when this gobbler came into range and fell to her 20 gauge. What a morning it was! Luckily, I had the camera handy, and was able to catch the excitement as Holly approached HER bird!

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To say it was cold that morning would have been an understatement. We wore a lot of our late season deer hunting gear, and it was still cold up on the hill. The birds didn't care though. They worked just like we wanted them to.

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Bringing five turkeys back to the house has given Goose a good opportunity to look them over, and see what a big bird is all about. She enjoys rolling around with them, and likes when I pluck out a feather for her to play with. She doesn't bit the birds though, and doesn't cause any damage to them. I saved wings for her to work with this coming summer before we switch over to live pigeons.



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Other hunting adventures........

I was told by my neighbors when I moved in, there were feral hogs in the area. One evening while I was setting up to clean a few crappie we had caught, I looked in the back yard, and found an over 200 pound sow rooting up my grass! I quickly ran in the house and got my 30-06, and we had bacon! It is my understanding that I will see more around as the crops start growing this early summer.

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Missouri Disabled Sportsmen hosted a youth and disabled pheasant hunt this spring in north central Missouri. Kable and Tristen both wanted to attend, so we loaded up the car and headed east.

Both boys were successful during their hunts! Kable was able to take his first rooster with a great shot that our friend Robert caught on camera while I was looking on!

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What a great time! I know everyone at the event went home with at least one bird, and most folks got several!

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Fishing.......a Spring to be Remembered.......

Man oh man! What a spring for the crappie! We have been managing a small pond over this way for the past five years, trying to get the size of the fish in check. You really shouldn't have crappie in a body of water under 100 acres, because you can't keep up with their reproduction rates to keep the fish in a smaller body of water healthy.

We have been removing fish out of this pond every chance we have had, and this spring, we finally got it to the point where every fish that came out was over 9 1/2" and the average fish was 11 to 11 1/2"! THAT is a good average! Two of the fish were 14 1/4". And even with fish that size, we have still caught hundreds out of this small pond.

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While fishing below the dam at Smithville Lake one afternoon this spring, I was able to hook this great walleye on a crappie jig! It was a pleasant surprise!

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Records are Made to be Broken........

This last Friday was a day I will remember for the rest of my life. I have been trotline flathead fishing for several years now, and have found some great success over our trips to the bigger lakes in Missouri such as Mark Twain and Truman. Those bodies of water hold some REALLY big fish. We've caught a lot of flatheads in the 30's and 40's, with a few showing up on the scale in the low 50's. We have boated one 52, two 51's and two 50's recently.

Friday, we caught a fish like no other fish I have ever seen. My buddies Chris and Jason were with me for the adventure. We had spent the week catching our bait and setting our lines with little success. Our biggest fish of the week had been 31 pounds.

I had a spot that had not produced yet, but it was a wonderful location last year. As we were pulling our lines on Friday, we found this monster in that spot, waiting for us on the other end of the line.

When we boated the fish, we knew it was a bruiser, but we didn't know HOW big it was. We had left the scale in the truck. I knew it was going to be my biggest fish. I was just hoping for it to be a 53. As I looked it over more, I thought it was going to tip my 100 pound scale at 57 or 58.

When the held up the fish for pictures though.......it got bigger.......and bigger.......

When we finally got it to the scale, our jaws dropped. The fish weighed in at 70 pounds, 2 ounces. WHAT A MONSTER OF A FISH! My personal record by far, and the same for Jason and Chris!

We're going to have a hard time beating this mark, since our previous mark was 18 pounds less!

Keep in mind, Chris and Jason make the fish look REALLY big like it is, since they are normal sized folks. Me being 6'7", 310 really doesn't do the fish the correct justice!

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