If you hunt then you know just how expensive a good rifle can be, so you better maintain it. Most people tend to treat their rifles like their children, locking them in safe. To be serious though they are expensive and need to be maintained in order to make your hunt go as smoothly as possible.
You may find yourself hunting in less than ideal conditions. Sometimes in the snow, rain, or whatever other conditions mother nature decides to dump on you. It’s up to you to be prepared for everything and having a clean gun is the best way to do that. The last thing any hunter would want to happen to them is to have their gun misfire in the middle of a huge opportunity.
If your rifle is cleaned regularly then you won’t need to worry about any of this. However, it’s up to you to make sure it’s clean all the time and especially if you go out hunting.
The enemy of all guns is moisture, which you get from water, condensation, snow melting, etc. If you let the moisture accumulate on your gun then it can lead to rust. The other big thing to watch out for is carbon residue from firing your gun.
The carbon will lead to big problems if it’s not cleaned right away. The most important thing you can do for your gun is to use the best gun cleaning kit you can find. You can find a gun cleaning kit at most sporting stores and they are very inexpensive. They come with a variety of different items inside, which we’ll take a look at.
The first and most important thing you need is a cleaning rod with a variety of different size brushes. These bronze brushes are included in all gun cleaning kits and allow you to remove all the carbon build up in your barrel and bore.
Simply spray the cleaning CLP gun spray on your bronze brush and ram it down the barrel to remove anything. The next most important tool in your gun cleaning kit will be a bore snake. A good bore snake kit is used to quickly clean your gun when you’re in a pinch. You can watch some youtube videos on bore snakes if you don’t know how to use them but they’re pretty easy.
Choose the best gun cleaning solvent is the next most important thing you’re going to want. Most solvents aren’t included in a universal gun cleaning kit, so you will have to purchase it separately for a few dollars. Don’t skimp out on this item because without it you will have a difficult time cleaning your guns.
Routine Rifle Cleaning
To be honest it doesn’t really matter which gun solvent or grease you use to clean your gun. There are a thousand different brands but they all do pretty much the same thing. I’ve known people that have even used wd-40 to clean their rifles and it works pretty well.
When cleaning any rifle be sure to wear some cheap plastic surgical gloves. The moisture on your fingers can linger on the gun and become impossible to remove. You can purchase a box of 100 from your local pharmacy for a few dollars.
The first step when you sit down to clean your rifle is to make sure it’s unloaded. All of the ammo should be in the other room as well just in case. You should generally clean your guns in a locked room where nobody can come in and mess with your gear.
The last thing you want is a kit coming in and screw everything up. The amount of cleaning you want to do on your rifle depends on you. Some people like to take the time to really disassemble it and get in their with a good gun vise to make sure they hit every area.
Break out your gun cleaning kit and go to work, making sure everything is clean before you hunt.
The amount of cleaning you’re doing also depends a lot on the type of ammo you use. If you’re using some kind of Russian surplus ammo then you may find your self-doing some extra hard labor.
The corrosive ammo will deposit more carbon than any other type of ammo. The biggest tip I can give you is to use as much spray as possible. The CLP should be sprayed directly into the barrel and onto the cleaning patches. You can even let it soak for a few minutes to make everything easier to clean.
Using a bow to hunt elk can be quite challenging. Employing a rifle takes a different discipline when compared to using a bow, and you will have to get close to make sure you take down your target. Considering that fact, it can be understandable why novice bow hunters tend not to bring home a harvest on their first season, it’s a lot harder to use than a gun. Elk are simply just a whole lot more difficult to hunt. It is not easy although not impossible, for a novice to take down an elk, though most will require a few more seasons to learn how it is done; here is a quick start that may just make a difference on the hunt for elk
Be Well Prepared!
It’s really a common-sense concept that some people sometimes overlook – be ready for the hunt. When bow hunting elk is different than gun hunting, this can be specially helpful advice. First, you have to make sure you have the right equipment for the hunt. The most basic of this is your bow, and the way well it feels in your hand. Your bow must be an extension of you as a hunter, and not a clumsy tool.
To round off your basic equipment, you will probably want both a range finder and an excellent set of field glasses. Make sure you are knowledgeable about your equipment. Train with assorted ranges, angles and targets with your bow. Given that you’ve chosen to hunt elk, be certain among the targets you employ approximates the size of an elk. Practicing in full gear, wearing your hunting attire, can also be one way to prepare. You should also know how to use the other tools you will be taking along. Lastly, learn all you can about elk, so that your mind is prepared for them.
Two Are Better Than One
Have a partner with you during the hunt. With two different people, one could shoot while the other scouts or calls for an elk. With another man calling, the shooter is frequently capable of getting the best angle on any arriving elk. One more benefit to having a hunting partner is having another set of hands when it comes to field dressing a harvest. More so if they are an experienced pair of hands, which can hasten the procedure.
Scout the Area
While elk usually are easy to find, will still be a smart idea to be familiar with the location you will be hunting in. Be aware of best places to set up camp, and where elk may best be found. Shoot That Elk! The second you’ve been preparing yourself for has arrived. After successfully scouting and attracting an elk, you finally get a chance to take a shot.
You then have to ask yourself: can i make this shot? If you answer yourself positively, let that arrow fly. Otherwise, watch for a better moment, or else you may miss the target. I am hoping these tips are able to make a difference in your hunt for elk.
Brass is a term used to describe the casing of a bullet. It’s commonly made of brass, so the name stuck! Many companies in the United States have made their name in the brass making business, and several of them are still around today developing the same quality brass as they were a century ago.
Perhaps one of the most popular of the bunch, Remington is an international company that sells guns, reloading supplies, and accessories to countries all across the world. The company is based in North Carolina and employs American workers all across the country. The company does very well financially, which isn’t a surprise since they have been around for almost two whole centuries. The company continues to produce gun products for military, personal, and police usage.
Also very popular, Hornady was created when in World War II a solider was discontent with the gun ammunition on the commercial market. He decided to create a better bullet and came up with designs that were made so well that others wanted a piece of the pie. Today Hornady is a leader in brass and reloading equipment, with many different lines of brass available for different occasions. Whether for deer hunting or the practice range, Hornady has a line of brass to do what you need.
A well known gun manufacturer in the security sector, Federal Premium has a knack for creating excellent ammunition for self defense. The company is based in Minnesota, where their 1,000 employees get up every morning and create reloading supplies for handguns, shotguns, and rifles. Federal Premium is also known for their shellshot product that features steel pellets instead of lead. Despite being steel, the pellets perform much better than your average steel shot.
Winchester is another old brand, although it has gone through many changes in the past few decades. Winchester is still in business today, but it lost most of its popularity in the 1960′s when it could no longer compete with the low prices of Remington. Winchester eventually declared bankruptcy and was sold to a Belgium company. Winchester continues on today despite the setback, and produces guns and reloading supplies in the South Carolina plant.
Black Hills is last on the list. They are fairly new to the game, but have developed ammunition for the United States military in several operations. The company is also popular among law enforcement personnel. They sell factory new and remanufactured ammunition, and the discount on the secondhand ammunition makes it feasible for practice shooting.
Got sprayed going into the woods at Doc Anderson’s this morning while I was hunting the skunk that was stinking up the place and making the dogs bark all night. John will tell you I was pretty fragrant the rest of the hunt. John killed his first bird ever! Here is the formula I used to get out the stench, so that we could continue the hunt.
How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell
Did you or your pet get skunked? Well, you could change your dog’s name to puppy le pew… …or you can read on and learn how to eliminate the skunk smell yourself. After you’ve gotten rid of the smell, bounce on over and read How to get rid of skunks so you never have to do this again!
This page lists some of the most effective baths for removing skunk smell. They can be used on both people and pets.
Here’s some things to keep in mind if when treating a skunked animal:
The sooner you wash your pet, the easier it will be to remove the musk. (If you have a dog, learn how to bathe your dog)
Take care not to get any of the bath water into the eyes or ears – it burns. A small amount of vaseline applied to the eyebrows is effective for protecting the eyes.
If you must pick up your animal to wash in the sink or bathtub, use a towel to avoid getting skunked yourself.
Don’t let your pet touch anything inside of your house unless you want it to smell like skunk.
Peroxide/baking soda bath
This is currently the most effective de-skunking bath, but the peroxide can potentially bleach your animals fur. Lemon juice or white vinegar can be substituted for the peroxide, but they don’t work as well.
In the bathtub or a bucket, mix together:
1 gallon water
1 quart hydrogen peroxide ~3% solution
1 cup baking soda (For other uses of baking soda, read 75 extraordinary uses for baking soda)
1 good squirt of hand or dish soap
The mixture will fizz. Use a sponge and lather it into the fur/skin taking care to avoid the ears and eyes. Let it sit for 10 minutes, rinse and repeat.
Blend 5-10 oranges in a blender, mix with a little soap and lather up with the resulting liquid. Let it sit for 10 minutes, rinse, then wash with regular shampoo.
Some people swear by bathing their animals in soda. We’ve heard of people using sprite and coke but haven’t yet tested it ourselves. Work the soda into the fur, rinse and then wash with regular shampoo. Repeat as needed and let us know how this one works.
Commercial skunk smell removers
Of all the commercially available skunk odor removers, Nature’s Miracle always seems to get the most praise. Find it in your local pet store.
Yesterday, I spent a delightful Tennessee morning enjoying the fall turkey season opener at my good friend Anderson’s farm. Anderson and I had talked earlier in the week about hooking up for a hunt. Saturday morning at 5:00 A.M. was cool, crisp, and sported a full moon. Anderson and I agreed on what parts of the farm we would hunt and headed off. I quietly slipped down a gas line headed to ground blind where trail cameras had shown lots of turkey traffic the past few weeks.
I have to be honest and admit that fall turkey hunting is not nearly as exciting as most spring hunts. Turkeys hunting in the spring is all about the breeding of hens. Hunts evolve around lots of gobbling, fanning, strutting, drumming, spitting, and large bearded gobblers coming to the call. In the fall, turkeys are all about community. The hens and gobblers are flocked up and feeding heavily preparing for the winter. While you will hear an occasional gobble, calling is muted and all about the flock. This time of year, turkeys feed on several food sources.
In Tennessee, they will be congregated in hardwoods feeding on acorns, in recently harvested agricultural fields, and even in hay fields eating grasshoppers slowed by the cool nights. As I like to say, ”The spring is for Toms and trophies – the fall is for the oven or turkey fryer!” Though the strategies for the two season are different, one thing is consistent in both the spring and fall: Scouting!
Here are my two favorite Fall strategies:
1. In the falls, turkeys are fairly predictable in moving to their foods sources once they fly off the roost. I like to place grounds blinds along their travel routes and near their food sources and wait them out. Not a lot different from deer hunting!. In this type of hunting, getting comfortable is important. A good ground blind and comfortable chair is a must. A good book, Kindle, or I-Pad is also a must. Scouting and trail cameras will show are the key!
2. The traditional fall strategy is what is I call flock busting. Flock busting entails locating a flock of birds, rushing into scatter them, and than calling them back together. Again, scouting can help make this easier if you know the birds’ travel patterns. When I locate a flock, I will sneak in hopefully using the terrain to get near for the rush.
Once I rush in, the flock will typically scatter like a covey of quail. I’ll than move about 30 to 40 yards towards where the majority of the birds flew. I’ll set up and after about 10 minutes begin a series of assembly calls and kee-kee’s. The kee-kee is the calling of an immature turkey that was born in the spring and is heard often when the flock is trying to reassemble. Typically, the birds will begin to reassemble with 20 to 30 minutes and a shot opportunity will occur. I think a kee-kee sounds a lot like a whistle. Lots of time I’ll whistle the two kee kees and follow with a cluck on my pot call to do the classic kee-keep-run. To hear this call, you can click the following link on the NWTF’s website.
Back to yesterday, the sun peaked up over the pines as I enjoyed the cool fall morning. The clover field I set up on was a natural feeding area for turkeys and deer. I expected to see birds early but the morning crept along with no turkeys. At one time, I heard the distinctive sound of gobblers yelping nearby but it was interrupted by a stray dog running deer in the vicinity. It was close to 11:00 and my stomach was beginning to grumble when I looked up from my I-pad and realized there were about 70 hens and poults moving into the plot The majority of the birds skirted by me out of range but a few of the hens passed by at about 30 yards. I picked out the nearest one, put the red dot at the base of her head, and squeezed. A nice 14 lb. Jenny who will eat great on the Thanksgiving table!
One constant in my life since I was about 8 years old was waiting with anticipation for the arrival of Outdoor Life and Field and Stream in the mail. Now at age 5… nevermind, I still get excited when I see those magazines show up in the mail. Perusing this month’s OL edition, I noticed an article called “OL’s Guide to Guides”. A great guide such as How To Hire A Hunting Guide will show you the first steps you need to take.
The article is 10 questions that everyone should ask a prospective outfitter before booking a trip. They are great questions but in today’s world, information is everywhere and sorting through all of the opportunities can be daunting The internet is a wonderful tool for gathering information.
Unfortunately, it is also very easy for just about anyone to put up an inexpensive website with pictures of big antlers and large fish and call themselves an outfitter. I hear horror stories all the time from folks who spent their hard earned money on that trip of a lifetime and instead experienced the nightmare of a lifetime. Here are some tips I would add to Outdoor Life’s excellent article:
1. Go on Hunting Outiftter and find a guide online. Try to meet your outfitter before booking your hunt. This can be done over the phone or at one of the many hunting and fishing shows that are so prevalent in the late winter and early spring. My home city of Nashville always has hunting/fishing shows with lots of reputable outfitters that you can spend time with face to face. National shows like NWTF, SHOT show, Safari Club Intl., are all great places to meet outfitters.
2. One way to assure yourself of a wonderful trip experience is to work with a hunting/fishing/adventure planning organization like Outdoor Connection. Outdoor Connection has about 80 highly trained trip planners around the United States that specialize in working with folks to plan the trip that meets their needs and budget. Outdoor Connection represents over 300 outfitters around the world.
Species in Argentina, Alaska, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Canada, & the good old USA are available with highly reputable outfitters. What I find unique about Outdoor Connection is the level of scrutiny they perform on each outfitter before they agree to represent them. Each property is carefully inspected ONSITE by members of Outdoor Connection’s staff.
All inspection reports and client references are cataloged on their website so their trip planners can give you quick information on what you are looking for. For example, an Outdoor Connection trip planner can quickly help you narrow down quality whitetail deer hunts in the Midwest. They can tell you if the property is appropriate for kids, the elderly, has internet availability, can handle groups, is plush, or basic. They also represent outfitters that fit everyone’s budget. In a nutshell, an Outdoor Connection trip planner can help you save time and money as you look for that trip of a lifetime.
What screws many hunts is getting busted. I define getting busted as being seen by turkeys or heard by turkeys before you ever get close to them. What is really frustrating is a lot of times you get busted without knowing you have been busted!
How many times have you had that hot gobbler all of a sudden shut up? I have and have sat wondering what went wrong. As previously noted, turkeys have wide set eyes, telescopic sight, and a 270° field of vision BEFORE they even move their head.
If their eyesight was not the only problem a hunter has to deal with, add their very acute hearing to the equation. Turkeys can hear sounds up to a mile away in the right conditions. You are chasing a game animal that can hear or see you it seems before you even get in the county! You can drastically minimize the times you are busted by SCOUTING your properties before you hunt.
Before I hunt a property, I want to know the following:
Where can I use the terrain to move without being seen? For example, a Tom on the roost on a full moon night can see for over 300 yards. If there are no leaves on the trees(as is often in the early season), he can see even farther.
The best way to prevent being seen is to be able to use the land to hide your movements. Is their a ridge between me and the birds or sunken road I can sneak down?
Where can I move and not make noise? How do I avoid high noise areas like dry leaves?
Where are the Tom’s likely to roost in case I don’t get them put to bed the evening before or they have lockjaw the next morning? Knowing this keeps me moving too close to roosted birds about to fly down.
Scouting can also help you pin point funnels, strutting zones, and potential travel barriers like creeks, fences, etc….
Start you scouting on your computer with a program like Google Earth or some other map software. A lot of the areas you are looking for can be seen easily before you ever enter the woods. I also use my camera to help pattern the turkeys and their movement(I like inexpensive cameras!). Scouting in the late winter/early spring is also a great time to take walks in the woods and look for sheds.
Everyone knows how volatile the weather has been across the Mid-South this spring. It has made good gobbling days hard to come by. It puts a real premium on understanding how turkeys react to various weather conditions if you’re going to fill your tag. A recent hunt really emphasized this fact for me. Every year, I donate a couple of hunting opportunities to worthy charities.
A retired veteran of the U.S. Postal Service, he now spends him time traveling around the world consulting foreign countries on the efficiency of their postal services. One month, he may be in Zimbabwe and the next month, the Caribbean. Juan informed me he had not hunted in 40 years and had not fired n a shotgun in about 20. He wanted to know if that morning before we started hunting could he fire the shotgun? That would be a no….. To add to the equation, the three days prior to our hunt were nothing but nonstop storms and heavy rains. The day prior to the hunt, Middle Tennessee was under multiple tornado and flash flood warnings.
Looking at the hourly predictions, it was apparent the rain would end around midnight and the day of our hunt would be sunny and bright though a little windy. Turkeys will typically roost in deep hollows and heavy cover(even conifers like cedars) to get protection from the elements. They will typically stay in the trees longer after rain and head to open areas to dry out and feed. Lots of water can mean lots of worms and this is candy to those turkeys. Studies also show they are less prone to gobble.
I picked up Juan at his home at 4:00 A.M. and we headed to Jamestown Creek. I decided we were going to set up in a ground blind on a recently planted field. The key to this location were the deep hollows on the east and south sides. These hollows would have been down wind from the severe storms and a likely roosting spot in the recent severe weather.
Juan and I set up my Ameristep Doghouse Ground Blind and got comfortable. The rising sun in the east was a welcome sign after the previous three days. As I suspected, we did not hear a thing that morning. I could almost imagine the bedraggled toms sitting in the trees trying to get there bearing. When I hunt these conditions, I try to throw out the occasional yelp and cut but it is basically a waiting game.
I had in mind that if we had not seen or heard any birds by 8:30, we were going to pack up and check out another couple of local fields where the birds are likely to head to dry out and feed. As planned, we stood up, packed up the blind, and started to head out. Just as we began moving, we both thought we heard a gobble in the hollow in front of us. I threw out a quick cut on my aluminum pot call(A great call in the wind) and got answered again!
Now comes the OH CRAP moment that all turkeys hunters have when they have to move and move fast. Out came the blind, back up it went, in went the chairs, and in went Juan and me!. I quickly, pulling a call out, I threw out a couple of yelps. Juan poked me in the side and whispered, “There he is!”. Standing about 70 yards away in the middle of the field was a big glistening Tennessee Tom. How he didn’t see, hear us, or bust is a testament to how quickly you can set up a blind.
For a first time turkey hunter, Juan did a really good job. The turkey strutted and fanned as he moved down the field. Juan had the gun up and was looking right through the red dot scope. I kept reminding him to breath. Purring and putting would stop him to fan as he really put on a show. At 40 yards, I yelped with my mouth(didn’t have time to put a mouth call in!) and the tom stopped and raised his head trying to figure out what was the godawful noise was. Juan pulled the trigger and down went the bird!
Winter is the hardest time of year for hunting! Along with the change in weather to lower temperatures and less pleasant weather the deer change their behavior and become more scarce. The major reason for this is obviously so that they survive the winter. The combination of harsher temperatures and less food make it a hard time of year for the deer.
The first thing we will cover is the regulation of appetite in deer. According to various research the appetite of deer during winter is suppressed. This is due to the fact that less food is available. As a result it takes more energy to find food. In addition to this deer also use up more energy to digest the food they do find because of the colder conditions. The suppression of their appetite thus enables the deer to better survive the winter. Obviously, a decreased appetite means deer will not search as much for food and as a result spend less time moving around. Less time moving around equates to an increased difficulty in the hunter locating their prey as deer are most easily found when they are moving around.
The Winter Survival Instinct
The next survival instinct for deer is similar to that of a human during winter. That is to seek out shelter and warmth. Places that are sheltered from the prevailing wind are favorable to deer at these times of year. Areas that are sheltered may be protected faces and/or thicker vegetation. Also, warm northerly orientated faces are favorable allowing deer to warm up and absorb energy from the sun. There are also varying combination’s that may be favorable such as thick sheltered bush on a north facing hillside with access to small clearings where they can gain access to the sun. Mid height/elevation on the mountains/ridges is also likely to experience higher deer numbers. This is because it is out of the cold air that pools in the valley bottom and lower than the colder temperatures experienced with a higher altitude. These areas will also experience the sun for a decent period of time.
The next thing to be aware of is the species and sex of the deer you are hunting. The reason for this relates to the size of your quarry – larger animals have less surface area and as a result are less susceptible to cold. Therefore deer with more surface area (small deer) are more susceptible to cold. This may relate to your hunting goals in different ways. For example if you were hunting on Stewart Island and targeting Whitetail you would want to take into account that these smaller deer are more likely to be located closer to the sea or lower in the valleys.
Strange Daily Movement Patterns
Alternately, the larger deer (reds) are going to be able to cope better with the higher altitudes and colder weather. Hence they will more likely be found at higher elevations. In areas where your quarry is the same species, for example all red deer you will find the stags higher than the hinds. In addition to the the idea that smaller deer cool down quickly because of more surface area it is also apparent that they are able to heat up more quickly. Because of this the smaller deer will be first out in the sunshine and more likely to seek areas where they can gain access to the sun.
The daily movement patterns of deer during this time also change. In summer the deer are most active during dusk and dawn and often feed through the night. However in the winter colder temperatures change these times. The height of activity is experienced a bit after dawn when the sun is out and warming things up and a bit before dawn while there is still some warmth about. As well as this deer will tend to be more active through the day as opposed to their more nocturnal attitude during the summer months. The good news for the hunter is that you can stay in your sleeping bag on those cold winter mornings for a bit longer.
We hope this article is helpful to any hunters out there who are after a bit more information on winter hunting. The next bit of advice is the usual – get out there and keep doing it!
Hunters who spend the most time hunting will be most successful. We hope these tips get you through to spring when things will get a little easier.