In Act One, a correspondent of mine emailed that he was going to take the trip of a lifetime, a sheep hunt this coming fall.
The problem is, he’s 71, and carrying a lot of weight.
Get your deposit back if you can, but don’t go.
You’ll either die, or have such a wretched time trying to keep up that it will be a nightmare instead of a dream hunt.
So, if you show up overweight and short of breath, or unable to sit a saddle, or unable to hunt from can to can’t, there’s going to be no mercy.
On top of this, the outfitter may assign you a 20-year-old guide who’s made of whalebone and auto leaf springs.
These people do not get cramps in their legs, have worn-out knees that torment them with every step, or see stars from lack of oxygen at 10,000 feet, and they can’t imagine that you do.
I sent off the e-mail and there was a long silence.
Finally, came Act Two, in which my correspondent said that he had hunted with this outfitter, and the man had said that if he could lose 30 pounds, he could get him to a sheep.
Oh ho, wrote I, that’s an entirely different kettle of fish.
A Dutch oven might get some votes.
From quick-searing thin and delicate strips of tenderloin for one minute to simmering a tough flank steak all afternoon, or from building a hearty pan stew for a hot meal on a cold winter’s evening to browning ground venison for taco meat or spaghetti sauce, and almost every imaginable use in-between, a cast iron skillet truly is the one venison cooking tool every home chef must have in his or her kitchen.
A thick base and walls work to distribute heat better, eliminate hotspots and hold heat longer.
Cast iron skillets have been used for decades by 5-star chefs and home cooks to make great meals.
A cast iron skillet is easy to take care of.
* While the skillet is still hot, dry it with a clean, lint-free towel.
You need to clean and season a skillet after every cooking session.
* Set the clean, seasoned pan in a warm place (perhaps the stovetop) to air dry completely before putting it away.
A cast-iron skillet heats them up just fine and provides good flavor from the browning process.
Skillet Stew: Brown coat venison chunks in some oil, add can of beer and cans of diced and/or stewed tomatoes, and simmer for a few hours.
Every time my wife, Nicole, and I set up a stand in a tree or on the ground, we look for ways to make that location the best it can be.
We try to enhance each stand location by making sure there are one or more calling cards available to deer.
A calling card can be natural or man-made, visual or airborne — such as scent.
Licking Branches and Scrapes: Natural and Manufactured Deer have a fascination with licking branches.
So whenever I set up a new tree stand in a promising location, I don’t trim overhanging branches that might become potential licking branches.
If there isn’t a licking branch close by, I’ll manufacture one.
I’ll hang the limb about 4 feet off the ground so it will attract the next deer that comes along.
Sometimes, I’ll break a small limb off the licking branch, mangle it slightly and then place it in the scrape.
Licking branches and scrapes are perfectly natural to deer.
I’ll make sure one of the branches is hanging down so it looks like a licking branch.
For many deer hunters, patterning a mature buck is dramatically easier the earlier or later in the season they hunt, when bucks tend to be on a bed-to-food schedule.
But add in the complexities of the Southern rut, and you have to wonder: Is it even possible to pattern a buck during this time of year?
In the case of the Southern rut, it’s all about timing.
As does approach estrus they send their button bucks packing, and with increasing pressure from bucks, doe fawns often end up on their own, too.
The more likely cause of the fawns’ new independence is that a buck has pushed them away from the doe because she’s approaching, or is in, estrus.
There is only so much a buck can do to breed as many does as possible.
You can encounter rutting activity from the beginning to the end of the Georgia deer season.
On the coast, rutting activity can begin as early as September, whereas other areas might not see activity until January.
Peak Rut Predictions Southeast South Carolina (Coast): October 18-30 Northwest South Carolina (Blue Ridge Mountains): November 9-22 South Carolina (Piedmont): November 2-18 Source: South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Like many whitetail states, November is the month to hunt deer in Tennessee if you want to catch peak rutting activity.
Somehow, the sight of ducks working over a timber hole draws more ducks from everywhere.
The rest of the ducks make one more circle, but higher and looser.
Jumping the two drakes, Kearns and I each shoot one.
While we wish the rest had come in, the sight of these two in the trees, hanging over the decoys and lit by the morning sun, makes Kearns an instant convert to woods hunting.
Good hunters are secretive.
Where he wants to be, and where he don’t mind goin’.” This is a don’t-mind-goin’ spot, hence, the need for decoys and spinners.
With two dozen decoys in the hole and four spinners going, we’re looking good.
Decoys show up, spinners flash, and the sun creates shadows that make it easy to hide beside a tree.
Often in timber hunting, you don’t see the ducks you’re calling or decoying until after they have seen you.
Timber hunting means standing in the water, so good waders are essential, especially when it’s cold.