Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cajun Seasoning Pt Duex

It is time for another review. This time a quick look at more from my friend and now my first sponsor, lets have a round of applause for Mr. Camp Dog himself, Papa Scott!!

I am happy to say that my little bit of getting the word out seems to have helped many folks find out about Cajun Seasoning. Now I want you to take a look at the other goodies Papa Scott turns out down there in the great state of Louisiana.

When last we met we looked at Original Camp Dog, this time I have a three part treat for you. First is Non Typical spice mix. Comes packaged like the Original but with a different flavor. In this one it isn’t quite as warm and the celery is gone. As much as I like the first one I really use more of this now. It goes on just about everything and my friends are using it on even more than I am. From eggs to mule deer tenderloins to fries it works. I love it on squash, either fried or on the grill, oh and green onions grilled and….umm ok you get the picture, this stuff is good.

Next is something near and dear to me, Fish Fry Batter. Being from the south fried fish done right is a tradition and we know when it is wrong. I got some of Papa Scott’s recipe and tried it several ways to see how it would do. Since it has a bit of spice I tried it on some fairly strong catfish I had, it tamed it down so that you could eat it without tasting river. I found out because of the spices you have to cook at a lower temp than you do if you are using cornmeal. If you aren’t careful you wind up with charred fillet rather than tasty fillet. Don’t ask how I know this. I tried it out on my favorite bluegill fillets but just lightly dusted since they are so mild. They came out crisp with just enough zip without overpowering the fish.

I also used a couple of different dips to see if it would work with them. I dried catfish fillets, dusted them with batter mix, dropped them into an egg wash for one batch and a buttermilk wash for another then dredged them in the batter mix. A couple of each batch were dipped into the liquid again and dredged a second time to create a thick crust. All were cooked in an iron skillet using vegetable oil until golden brown. Again each and every way I tried it worked. Light crust, thick crust, egg or milk, all tasted great. I haven’t tried this trick yet but a little bird told me to use it on vegetables like eggplant (I am thinking squash, I love me some squash) to have another way to add flavor to them.

And finally Hush Puppy Mix. I will admit this is nothing like what I think of as hush puppies. Here it is cornmeal, a bit of sugar, a tad of minced onion, mixed with buttermilk and an egg. Papa Scott’s has some tasty stuff in it that reminds me of the spices and tastes in crab boil. One pound of hush puppy mix will make around 60 tasty little balls of goodness. Add a cup of milk and one egg, let sit for 30 minutes and cook in a deep fryer at 300 degrees, let them drain on a paper towel and cool a bit, consume.

The first time I tried these Scott told me he made a meal from them, I thought “Yeah right.”. Well I will tell you this, I was eating on the couch watching TV and had to get up and take them back in the kitchen to stop eating them. They are worse than potato chips. They aren’t your normal hush puppy which shouldn’t surprise anyone that has tried his other products. Scott hit another one out of the park with these. I try not to cook them often to be honest about it because I tend to eat far too many no matter how much I promise not to.

For those of you that have tried the spice rubs here is a list of things you will want to order, Scott really has these down. If you haven’t tried any and especially if you like fish and hush puppies, give those a try for a Cajun twist for your table.

Here is a link to get your order in from Papa Scott's Cajun Seasoning

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Panel Ground Blind

I finally got to go cut some trails, check my stand and build a new blind on my 30 acre spot. I was happy to find that everything I left last year was still there, my ladder stand, blind and seats. I was really happy to see the work trimming trees and bushes over the last few years has cut down on how much I need to do each fall. It only took a couple of hours to have 90% of the trails cut plus a new blind built after finding some new trails. I want to go back to remove some bigger stuff, mainly privet which has invaded. While I was building my blind I thought some of you might like to see how I do this type. It takes a little work at home but is fast to set up, inexpensive to build, last for years, we even used a version of this type for duck hunting way back when.

As kids we came up with this idea for portable, light weight duck blinds. We didn’t have much money but bought some 8 foot 2x2 lumber, built a tapered frame about 6 feet long by 4 feet high maybe 4 feet wide at the bottom and 3 at the top, which we covered in chicken wire. We could put a couple of these on our boat, take them to where we wanted to hunt and quickly brush them in and have room for two hunters in each. After a hunt we stored them in the woods till we hunted that spot again. They were light enough for one person to carry by simply getting inside, picking it up and walking off. This is the idea behind this quickie deer blind build, not portable but cheap and easy to use.

If you look around you may find a construction site that has a junk lumber pile, most will let you take scraps good enough for this project. Grab any 2x4 or larger lumber they will let you have. For wire I used fence wire with 2”x4” openings rather than chicken wire because they were built for something else and chicken wire wasn‘t strong enough. I decided to use the ones already built rather than build new ones for my new blind since these are so simple to do I can replace them if I need more. Here is how to make your own.

If you buy the wood just get 2”x2” in 6 foot lengths, you need 3 for each panel along with 3” and 2” screws, chicken wire or fence wire 3’ high. If you use scrap lumber you will want to rip it to width to get your 2x2s. Cut the 2”x2” pieces so you have two pieces 33 inches long and two 6 feet long. They don’t need to be perfect a ¼” won’t make a difference. Use a drill bit smaller than the diameter of your screws to predrill holes in the sides of the long pieces near the ends and into the ends of the short pieces. This will keep it from splitting. I made some gussets for the corners out of ½ inch plywood to strengthen the corners. Predrill these and the 2x2s. Now just screw the parts together. After I have the panel made I use a staple gun to attach the wire to the frame. You can use scrap wire, zip ties, twine or whatever you can think of to attach it.  This should give you a panel 6 feet long by 3 feet high, it will take 3 or 4 to build your blind in most spots. You could make them half as long to build a blind with more angles which would work just fine.

Once I get them to the woods I look around for trees close to a trail where I can attach them. The panels in the pics are formed into a triangle using three trees, two panels and a couple of pieces from an old blind. After I tied them to the trees I started to cut my shooting lanes I used whatever I cut to brush in the panels. You can weave pieces into the wire or use string or zip ties to hold them in place. The more brush you add the more places you have to easily weave more in. It took less than 30 minutes of leisurely trimming lanes, brushing in while checking trails to have it finished.

One good thing about these panels is you can adjust the height by attaching them higher or lower to the tree. If you wanted to make a narrower panel you could add these above the lower one to create a shooting window and give yourself more cover. There are several ways to add a roof if you want one. In other words it can be as simple or elaborate as you want it and still be able to tear it down to move it in very little time. From using trees in the area to driving some metal posts as corners this blind has tons of possibilities.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Huntography Deer Tour Equipment List PT 2

So far we have seen where I plan to hunt during the Huntography Deer Tour along with the archery equipment I will probably be shooting. Now I am going to take a look at what I will be carrying in my pack. One good part about the hot weather of early season is I haul less stuff but I do throw in a pair of limb cutters since limbs can still be in the way. Early November here can be almost anything from summer heat to near winter cold so last minute weather reports will determine if anything extra goes in. Here is what goes to the woods pretty much every time I head in even if it isn’t needed yet, it just lives in my pack year round. The first week of November isn’t early season, it is a short 5 day archery season so I am sticking to what I start the year with barring a big cold front moving in.

My pack is nothing special, a Redhead I bought off of a bargain table for maybe $12-$15. In fact it might have been less. I have no need for a high dollar day pack to walk a couple of hundred yards at most then hang it in a tree. The pack police have never come up and told me it wasn’t good enough. This one has been used for years in all kinds of weather without any signs of wearing out. Plenty of internal spots to organize, extra external pockets plus the Buddy Lock system for adding pouches. I only add a pouch to carry my range finder everything else goes inside. What I carry with me varies depending on time of year but not by much.

Here is the list.
1. An OLD pair of camo jersey cotton gloves with the trigger finger cut off. These are my lucky gloves. Can’t begin to remember how many I’ve taken wearing them.

2.A light weight mesh camo head net. Good for keeping skeeters off.

3.Zip Ties, good for all manner of things and what I use to attach tag to deer critters.

4.Assorted calls. 2 Primos can calls, a Knight & Hale fawn bleat (only two 8 pointers I‘ve taken came RUNNING to this call), Primos Buck Roar and rattling bag. I have no idea why I keep dragging the rattling bag around since it never works.

5.Crossbow crank

6.Bushnell range finder. The cheapest version.

7.Chuck Stapel custom drop point skinner. This knife has cleaned many a critter.

8.Hand held light and 3 color head lamp. Under $20 for both.

9.2 screw in hangers just in case I need them.

10.Safety rope. I use an HSS vest but hate their strap system to attach it to the tree. This is one from Summit that works great. I hook them together with a locking gate carabiner.

11.Drag strap for my HSS vest. Comes in handy dragging slick heads since they don’t have handles.

12. Pull up rope

If the weather looks like it is going to be cold I throw in an extra fleece cap, gloves and fleece face mask. If it looks like rain I chuck in a set of camo Frogg Toggs. These go in the big compartment along with essentials like TP enclosed in a Ziploc bag, whatever lunch is for the day and a snack or three along with water.

This list of 18 things changes only slightly during muzzle loader when I add powder, primers and bullets for whichever smoke pole I decide to carry to the woods. I try to keep everything in this pack so I know where to find it. If I do take any out to say, put in a fanny pack for a short hunt, it goes right back in afterwards. I know people that buy calls, flash lights and such every year because they move stuff around and it gets lost. Most of this stuff is cheap so I grab extras when I can to have if I need it and this lot stays where it belongs.

Disclaimer time: I did not receive compensation from any company mentioned in this post. All was purchased at full retail.

Here is a link to pick up a copy of the first Deer Tour DVD from Huntography.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Huntography Deer Tour Equipment List PT 1

We took a look at where I plan to hunt on the Huntography Deer Tour in the last post. Just after I posted it I got invited to hunt an additional 320 acres of private land about 30 minutes from my house. I haven’t seen it yet but it is supposed to be covered in deer plus the neighbor that invited me doesn’t bow hunt and just started muzzle loading, I am loaning him gear so we can hunt during early season.

Since Rudy will be here during a short break between muzzle loader and gun season I will be using archery tackle. This summer I traded for a sweet custom Bama long bow to go along with my Bear Primos series compound and Ten Point crossbow. I hope to take a deer with the traditional bow but will probably leave it at home during filming. But we will see. Any who, let’s take a look at what I use, spend my money on and trust to do the job.

My main bow for several years now is a Bear Primos Done Deal. I pull 64# shooting a 29 inch arrow. I haven’t sent one through a chronograph so can’t give you the technical details on speed and to be honest I don’t really care that much. It is fast enough and if not I can change arrows to make it shoot faster and flatter. I picked this bow up to replace my Bear Golden Eagle II which had thumped several deer and a yote or two. It is the model just below their Truth II which I looked at but didn’t see the $100+ price difference for 5-10 fps.

When I bought the bow I added a new Whisker Biscuit rest, Bohning 4 arrow quiver, Simms Limb Saver S-Coil stabilizer, leather wrist strap but the things I did not buy was a new sight or release. I have used a Cobra Sidewinder for years along with a Cobra release so when the Golden Eagle was sold those stayed to go on the new bow. Why? I just like the sight it has what I need and works. I did upgrade it with the low light kit which is a bit on the weak side but does help in a ground blind. I haven’t asked to see if the bulbs in them have been improved.

The Whisker Biscuit rest is my favorite. No rattle, arrows falling off, works no matter what with easily replaceable parts if needed. The new ones have all manner of micro adjustments but my simple model works just fine.

The quiver, wrist strap and stabilizer are all pretty basic which keeps with my idea of the kiss principle. My release is one I have shot for years, a Cobra I picked up in a hurry one day when my old release failed. I found out it worked better for me than any of the more expensive models so I have never changed.

For arrows and broadheads I have two set ups for my compound. I shoot Carbon Express 6075 Terminators or Speed Pro 5.5. The Carbon Express are fairly common but the Speed Pros are harder to find. Speed Pros are very light at 5.5 grains per inch but still spined for my bow and FAST. They add ten yards to each of my pins. The down side is they are hard to find, loud and a bit fragile but did I mention FAST? All arrows are fletched with 2” vanes. I always carry at least one arrow with a Lumenock for low light shooting.

For broadheads I started shooting Grim Reaper 3 blade mechanicals years ago. I really like these because they don’t use a rubber band to hold things in place. The nice tight design and bone breaker tips let them fly exactly like a field point from any of my bows. I have taken my only two 8 pointers with them, both with the same terrible shot, both fell within 75 yards. I shoot the 85 grain model on the CE and Speed Pros. Another good point is the ease with which these heads can be rebuilt. I have used the same heads for many deer, simply replacing blades. I do take the time to soak them in alcohol then wipe them off with an old toothbrush to remove any debris. After that they come apart and go back together without a problem.

A new set of Rage and 2 sets of many times rebuilt Grim Reapers. All of the GR have traces of past hunts on them.

To be fair I also have a couple of sets of 100 gr Rage 2 blade that were given to me and use them, too. I had seen the videos, heard the hype but never spent the money to try them. When I started using a crossbow that was what was on it so kept them. Just like any good design they work, I don’t care for the rubber band much or how you have to reset them but they do leave a big hole. The worse part is the rebuild on these. The old style had a tiny allen screw holding them together which was almost impossible to remove. They changed this to a tiny pin that has to be driven out. Not an easy task unless you happen to be 20 years old with tiny hands and perfect eyesight.

The crossbow I use can be seen in several other posts. I use a Ten Point that was one of their package setups. Complete out of the box with a three dot electronic sight and a cool crank to help draw it. I am shooting 20 inch Carbon Express bolts. This thing is fun and I have taken several deer with it but still prefer my other bows. Crossbows are heavy, slow to load and loud. But for those that like them or need to use them to get out they are a great tool.

So, there is a look at my archery equipment that will go on the hunt. Most likely the Done Deal but who knows. Not the latest or greatest but I have put many deer on the ground with these setups, I have no need to keep up the Jones so this is what I shoot. I had planned to add what I carry in my pack but this post is long enough plus that will give me something else to post about.

Now for the disclaimer: I did not receive anything from any of the companies mentioned to be listed in this post although a couple do know they will be in it. These are the products I spent my money on and have worked for me

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Huntography Deer Tour Sets

With the upcoming Huntography Deer Tour many of the hunters are talking about what we are doing to get ready. Many are on Twitter, showing pics of plots, stand locations and gear, others on their blog or youtube. I have no plots this year, all of my cameras were destroyed in a flood so no trail cam pics for me.  Most folks have seen pics of my spots but I have never taken time to explain why I hunt them. Same with a lot of my gear, you see it in pics but I haven’t gone into much detail about what I hunt with or why. Time to fix that. Here is a first installment on where I hunt and the stands I use.

First the spots I have ready. The main one is 18 acres on the mountain. Monteagle mountain in the edge of Marion county in Unit A which has a smaller deer limit than Unit L where I live. This is big hardwoods full of oaks the deer love. One problem, oaks are everywhere so critters feeding on them can feed all over the woods. No real way to pattern them so I hunt trails at junctions and crossing points. Trails are everywhere you look, crisscrossing the woods with little rhyme or reason. I have found a few spots deer use repeatedly so set up on them. My favorite is halfway down a hill on an old stagecoach road. Deer come down a hill from the property next door, cross a tiny creek to wind up within 35 yards of my stand. Another trail comes in on my left. It just goes right through the middle of the woods within 20 yards, another comes out another 20 yards above it. This spot has given up 8-9 deer so far with hopefully more to come. I plan on taking a look at a couple of stand locations a bit deeper into the woods but this spot is hard to beat.

If these trails seem close, they are. I take most of my deer with a bow so most of my stands are in places where I can get that type of shot. No need for 300 yard shots where I am mainly because you can’t see that far. This property has great climbing trees literally everywhere you look. I keep a ladder stand in my favorite spot but use my Summit climbers to stay mobile and hunt other spots.  While this is a mountain the land is gently rolling, heavily wooded and very rural. In fact Great Granpa Tate’s old still is still visible up one of the hollers. Yes we say holler. The area is very old growth timber that is open enough to see a good distance with small heavy thickets of laurel.

What some folks can’t believe is my stand height, a whopping 8 feet off the ground. Yep that is all I use of my ladder stand. I leave the last section of the ladder off and this has worked fine for years. Deer will walk within yards of that stand and not pay any attention to it. Even when I use a climber it rarely goes over ten feet but it works for me.

The other place I have to hunt is in Marshall county just minutes from my house. 30 acres of fairly thick brush that has no food to offer. Deer use it for a bedding area mostly when pressure on surrounding farms gets too heavy. I didn’t see one deer on this place last year but have taken several off of it. It has almost no place to put up a ladder stand or climber so most of the hunting is from blinds. Part of the property backs up to a subdivision but here it is legal to hunt wherever I want on my property as long as shots don’t go toward homes. I know more deer use this spot than I see but because of the thick brush visibility is only 40-80 yards in many places. Yes it is a tough place to hunt but it is the only private land close to me where I have permission. With a lot of work and money it could be made into a good spot but that may never happen.
 I build blinds rather than use popups here this way there is nothing to steal and rebuilding one takes very little time. For some I use whatever is on hand but more and more I am using panels I build at home then take in. Built from 2x2 lumber I make by ripping a 2x4 then cutting to length and cover with fence wire, they are light, easy to set up and brush in. You can use string or zip ties at corners to have one ready to brush in minutes. Covered with local foliage they blend right in. I have additional panels made if I want to add a roof but rarely do. I attach the roof panel to a couple of trees at the back, add a couple of poles at the front corners to hold it up, some plastic on top then pile on some brush.  These are handy on private land where they can stay in place and cheap enough to replace or fix if needed. Many can be built from scraps you can pick up from a building site throw away pile. I do have one ladder stand on this property set up at a creek crossing. I am thinking of maybe adding one or two more but it is tough to do here.

So there is a quick look at the spots I hunt. A couple of ladder stands, a couple of more ground blinds, two Summit climbers, an old Cobra and a Viper X4 and I am pretty well good to go. I will post about my bows and pack next so stay tuned.

Check out last year's tour and pick up the DVD at Huntography

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Mindful Carnivore

I want to pass along a quick teaser here. I have a friend that has taken some big turns in life and now has a book deal. I will be posting more in the next few months but wanted you to start hearing about him and hopefully be ready to pick up a copy of his book when it is released in February.

 Tovar Cerulli started out like most kids chasing fish and frogs during his summers. But, please forgive my editorial here, during high school he began to go over to “that side”. Yes, he started to experiment with……vegetarianism, feel free to shudder. By the age of twenty the transformation was complete, he was a vegan. Within a decade because of declining health he came back to the ways of the omnivore, then took to the woods rifle in hand to complete his second transformation. From observer to hunter.

In his book he looks at the different views of the world of hunting and vegans. How hunters and fishermen are viewed. Are vegetarians as benign to the environment as they claim. How do two worldviews look through one set of eyes that has seen both sides.

He looks at a degrading environment, ideas on animal welfare and the fact that to live we must have death. He draws on personal anecdotes, religion, philosophy and history to look at many American’s disconnection with our food source.

I will post more about Tovar in the next few months so that you can get to know him and look at some of his views. I can’t wait to get a copy of The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian’s hunt For Sustenance. As a life long hunter I am baffled by the vegan mentality and look forward to Tovar’s insight into “the other side”

You can take a look at his site at TovarCerulli.com to see more. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Social Media Deer Tour 2011

I decided to try a little video editing for the upcoming Tour. This is what I came up with but I hope to do another one with the other people on the Tour.
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Born and raised in middle Tennessee.I'm a working wildlife and landscape artist specializing in watercolors. Now making cedar lures and custom turkey calls.



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