Category Archives: Hunting & shooting

GO WYO FOR ANTELOPE

WYOMING OFFERS AFFORDABLE HUNT OPTIONS

By Tim E. Hovey

As a California hunter, I’m always looking to extend my
season by traveling to other states to hunt. There are quite a few
out-of-state, big-game opportunities for Golden State hunters willing to put in the time to investigate. Some states have over-thecounter tags for nonresident hunters, or high-percentage draws for just about any species you’d want to hunt. Knowing someone in the state you’re headed to helps, but it isn’t mandatory. If you don’t mind traveling a little and putting in some effort, andI don’t, you can easily expand the land you hunt and the species you chase by putting in for these hunts outside California. The tag prices for big game in other states are usually very affordable, and the amount of land available to the public will seriously leave you in awe.

Wyoming bound

In the spring of 2014, my good friend, Darrin Bergen, gave me a call. He was putting in for an antelope tag in his home state of Wyoming and wanted to know if I wanted to put in as well. He didn’t have to ask me twice. I had been to Wyoming a few times to hunt before, and as far as opportunities for sportsmen, you can’t beat it. Nonresident hunters can put in for a number of different antelope options for a reasonable price. I ended up putting in for an either-sex landowner tag, plus a second doe tag for just over $300. I arrived in Wyoming a few days before the opener of my zone. Darrin and I had put in for the same two zones but ended up getting drawn for different hunting areas. We spent the afternoon pouring over a few
maps and making a general plan. With the exception of the maps and a quick aerial view of the zone on Google Earth, neither one of us had ever stepped foot on the property I’d
be hunting.

An early start

 

The morning of the opener we arrived
at the area before sunrise. We encountered a couple of other hunters, but we had already decided that
we were going to get off the beaten path and hunt where others wouldn’t. After a brief discussion, Darrin and I decided to hike to a bluff 1 mile from where we parked and glass the area as the sun came up. We loaded up our large packs and headed out, single file. As we eased to the edge of the bluff, we positioned ourselves in the shade of a large tree. From our perch, we had an amazing view of the surrounding valley that was still in early morning shadows. Almost immediately we began spotting antelope. A pair stood on a ridge a mile out, slowly feeding their way uphill. Another buck was bedded a few hundred yards from the first pair, facing our way. More to the north we spotted a large group feeding in an agricultural field. There were in total approximately 30 antelope, mostly does and young animals, standing or bedded in an open field. “Too many eyes there,” I said, looking
through the binoculars. I scanned a few more of the smaller hills below the field of eyes and spotted a lone buck bedded as a lookout. My tag was good for either sex, but I told Darrin if I had an opportunity to take a buck, I’d like to
give it a try. The buck stood, chased off another smaller buck and then began feeding down our side of the small hill. He was about a mile away, but I felt like I could sneak in closer and get a shot. Darrin was not convinced. I decided to give it a try anyway. Darrin would stay on the hill and guide me through hand signals if I
needed it.

The chase

The buck was slowly feeding his way down to the flatland. I eased down to the valley, hidden in the crease of a dry drainage. Once I got to the valley floor, I glassed the buck’s position,
trying to figure out the best path from me to him. The area was essentially flat and covered with small sage bushes. There were some slight undulations in the terrain, but for the most part the area was as flat as a pool table. I stayed low and checked on the buck frequently. Each time his head was down feeding, I’d crouch down and trot towards him in any low spot I could find. As I made my way, I started to realize just how far out he was. Even through the binoculars, he looked tiny. After 45 minutes of slowly stalking towards the buck, I had cut the distance to 800 yards. I took a
break, drank some water and took off my sweatshirt. When I was ready to head out again I checked on the buck. He was essentially in the same spot, but bedded down and looking away. I quickly grabbed my gear to take advantage of the situation. Staying low, I started trotting towards a low spot I had spotted near the buck. I had gone about 100 yards at a low run when I happened to glance towards the bedded animal. When he was bedded, I could only see his horns. Now I was looking at his whole body; he was looking
straight at me. I stopped and knelt down. Through the binoculars, I could see the buck staring my way and he was stone still. Despite my camo clothing and the brush covered terrain, he had spotted me moving from over 700 yards away. We stared each other down for 10 minutes. Sweat dripped into my eyes as I stayed as motionless as gravity allowed. Neither of us moved. Finally the buck shifted his gaze from me and started looking around. I knew he was getting comfortable again and he wasn’t sure what I was. After another minute, he started feeding again and then bedded down. At the 90-minute mark, I ditched my pack and started crawling on my hands and knees the last 100 yards. I finally got to the low spot I had spotted near the buck and set my .30-06 on my shooting sticks. I slowly rose up and noticed the buck was now quartering towards me and looking at me from 140 yards away. I settled the rifle, placed the cross hairs to break the far shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger. I heard the impact of the bullet and the buck trotted off another 20 yards, stopped, stumbled backwards, and then tipped over. It had taken over 90 yards to crawl within range, but my Wyoming antelope buck was down.

Another success story

Darrin showed up about 20 minutes later, we took some photos and began field dressing the buck. We were now about 3 miles from the truck and had a heavy load of meat to hike out. We loaded up our packs, cleaned up and started hiking. Back at the truck, we put the
meat on ice and grabbed lunch. Darrin’s tag was for a yearling depredation hunt on a piece of agricultural property nearby. We both thought that chances were slim that animals would be moving this late in the afternoon, but we decided to stop by and at least check it out. After pulling on to the property, we spotted a small herd of antelope feeding in the alfalfa. Darrin walked out on to the field, steadied his rifle on his shooting sticks and dropped a yearling antelope to fill his tag. The entire hunt, from entering the property to leaving, took all of eight minutes. Wyoming offers over 100 different antelope zones available to nonresident hunters. The nonresident application period for antelope
runs from Jan. 1 to March 15. Check with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (307-777- 4600; wgfd.wyo.gov) for additionalinformation. Besides that, all you have to do is get there. I already have plans to put in for next year, and both my daughters have stated that they’ll be coming along. That’s just fine with me. CS

The Case For Cross Training

In this day and age, we have enough challenges to overcome. Hunters need to stick together. I want you to say something with me– crossbows. Did it make you cringe? Did you smile? Does it rile you up? Ask yourself why? Why the animosity toward crossbow hunters? I’ll be the first to admit, I used to feel the same way. From the outside looking in, I was totally against having someone use a crossbow during archery season. In fact, when I lived in New York, I didn’t even want to have it as part of the allowed weapons.

I was ignorant and incredibly short-sighted. Since then, I have changed my tune after learning a bit more, talking with crossbow manufacturers and listening to other hunters. Most of the arguments I hear are that they make it too easy to hunt. How so? My thoughts are to not judge, and that hunters should support hunters, period. I would note that some rifle hunters will shoot out to 1,000 yards on an animal. Personally, I feel like I need to get closer to the animal to make it a hunt. That doesn’t mean I am against longrange shooting. It is just my personal desire, and I won’t push that on anyone.

In fact, there are many who need to fill their freezers for winter, and that style can provide sustenance. I don’t need to hunt for my food like I used to, but I enjoy hunting and, even more so, I enjoy eating wild game. With a crossbow, you still have to get close to an animal to shoot it. You might be able to shoot a longer distance with a crossbow versus a compound, but how is that “easier?” You still have to make an ethical kill shot. What about using a compound bow versus a traditional recurve bow? They are both considered archery equipment, but doesn’t the let-off in a compound give the hunter an advantage over a traditional bow? Sure it does! I personally prefer a compound over a recurve. It is my personal preference. I will never push that ideology on anyone else. 

If someone wants to hunt with me and they use a recurve, I welcome them. I think they are at more of a disadvantage than I am. I have sights, a stabilizer, a dropaway rest, 75 percent let-off, and I use a release. Does that make me better? Worse? No. In fact, it makes me a hunter. If they want to use a crossbow, and it’s legal, bring it and hunt with it! I want you to hunt and have a good time while trying to fill your tag.

PROS AND CONS

In general, crossbows are faster shooting, but are also heavier and more cumbersome. Many weigh double what a compound weighs. They are less maneuverable when stalking, and also take longer to reload. On the plus side, they allow disabled hunters to hunt more – isn’t that a good thing? In California, you can hunt deer with a crossbow during regular (firearm) season, if you have a tag valid for the regular season. Did you know that? I didn’t until this year. You can also hunt wild pigs with a crossbow. With the pig population so large, I think that offers more opportunities to hunters. Where I draw the line is classifying a crossbow as strictly archery equipment. It’s not. Some slingshots shoot arrows too. They are not archery tackle. They are also not a firearm. Crossbows use different technology to store energy to send a bolt downrange. 

So where does that leave them? I feel that crossbows are in a category all by themselves. Shooting one takes skill, no matter what anyone says. They utilize similar technology from both archers and firearms. I have heard hunters say that the technology in a crossbow makes the hunter lazy. What about the wheeliebows versus a recurve then? Many of the arguments against crossbows come from people who have never even shot one before.

They just see the person shooting and assume it’s easy. Crossbows are another tool that allows hunters to go after wild game. Think about the fact that in many areas firearms are prohibited, especially in many areas of Southern California. Yet, crossbows are allowed, depending on the regulations and ordinances for that area. One of the animals anyone can hunt with a crossbow is the feral pig. Recently, I put my crossbow to the test and ventured out in search of some wild pork on public land.

CALLING ALL HOGS

Hunting pigs is incredibly fun, but is quite a challenge with any weapon. I have been unsuccessfully chasing pigs for a couple years with my compound bow. Recently, my friend Chris Turgeon and I sat along a travel route that we were sure pigs would cross through. Chris knows pigs, and has made it his mission to help me learn pig behavior and set trail cams to find them. In fact, he had been disappointed that he hasn’t been able to help me shoot a pig. A couple weeks ago, both of us went about our daily routines and then we saw the weather report – rain! With a significant storm in the forecast, we immediately came up with a game plan.

If I could make the drive up to meet Chris, we could be on pigs on that afternoon. When Saturday came, I decided I would bring the crossbow this time. It was another challenge and I had never taken an animal with one. I loaded up the car and hit the road as early as I could. Chris and I both knew the pigs would be on the move. It was much cooler, the ground was wet, and we hoped the pigs would be foraging all day. It was just a matter of choosing the right spot to ambush them. We discussed ideas and paid close attention to the wind, as that was what had busted us numerous times before. We wanted our scent to be blowing in the right direction and not swirling.

The wind was perfect for only one location, and we knew where we had to go. We began our long hike around the woods to a natural blind to avoid detection. I knew I wanted a pig really bad, so I was strict on my scent reduction. My clothes had been in an ozone tote prior to leaving home. I’d sprayed everything down with a scent-killing spray at the vehicle and had brought extra on the hunt. Once we hit our ambush point we both sprayed everything down again. We probably overdid it, but we didn’t care. I’d rather go over the top and increase my chances. It was now 2 p.m., so we sat down and waited. 

Through the binoculars, we could see two sets of fresh tracks through a clearing. We made an educated guess that they were pig tracks. We hoped the rest of the group would come the same way. The wind was perfect and we continually sprayed down. We wouldn’t have to wait long. I looked down at my watch: 3:06 p.m. As I looked up, two black shapes silently appeared in the clearing. Both of us saw them at the same time, and Chris said, “You’re on!” My body felt different than on other hunts. The adrenaline was controlled and I was focused.

One pig stopped broadside at 12 yards. I ever so slowly raised my crossbow and settled it on the pig’s vitals. As the hog dug up the muddy ground, I took the shot. Fewer than 30 seconds had elapsed between the moment the pigs had come in and when I took the shot. My Scorpyd Ventilator crossbow sent the bolt so fast that we didn’t even see where it went. We heard the pig hitting some saplings, and then came a crash. Surprisingly, I was super calm and focused. I turned to Chris and smiled from ear to ear. We had done it! 

If I had waited a few more seconds, the other pig may have turned for Chris to get a shot, but after hunting wild hogs for so long, I was not about to give up the opportunity. We talked about the shot and knew it was a kill shot. I pulled up the binoculars to look through the brush and could see blood on saplings and undergrowth. It was going to be a fun tracking job. We opted to wait an hour to see if any other pigs trotted through the area. It was a shot in the dark as they probably busted out of there when I shot my pig. As predicted, nothing happened, so we set off to trail my pig. The blood trail was easy to follow as the broadhead had cut through both lungs and left a wide spray of blood.

Even with the excellent shot, the pig ran nearly 100 yards. Those animals are tough! We found the dead pig in a small clearing and estimated it to be around 80 pounds, a perfect size for eating. And no matter what, it was the perfect pig for my first one ever.

NO REGRETS

Some people have asked me if I regret not using my compound bow to take my first pig. Not at all! In fact, I am glad to have had the opportunity to use a crossbow. Plus, I now have wild pig in my freezer, and that is a great thing. Hunters need to support hunters, period. We all have different methods, tactics, and use different weapons. We shouldn’t be elitist about one weapon over another when trying to encourage more people to start hunting. Whether they are young or old, male or female, it shouldn’t matter. If it is legal and they want to hunt, welcome them into the fold. CS Editor’s note: For more on the author, go to socalbowhunter.com.

By Al Quackenbush

Girls Guns and Dangerous Games

CALIFORNIA CLOTHING MAVENS HIT THE ROAD FOR NEW HUNTING SERIES

They’ve come a long ways, metaphorically at least, from designing outdoor fashion clothes
for women out of a home garage in Northern California. Jenifer Adams and Norissa Harman had a vision that spawned a successful company, Girls With Guns Clothing. But while the gals remain small-town at heart, choosing to continue their work out of Red Bluff, a quiet hamlet of 14,000 off Interstate 5, 130 miles north of Sacramento, even for these ambitious entrepreneurs, traveling across a continent, an ocean and hunting the wild lands of Africa in front of a TV camera was something altogether different.

Just as the Girls With Guns brand has taken off, Adams and Harman just seem to have found a niche on Universal Huntress TV, a Sportsman Channel series that premiered in December.
We see Adams and Harman crisscrossing the African continent (and New Zealand), not only hunting exotic species but also experiencing new cultures and engaging in adventures like skydiving, hot air ballooning and bungee jumping. “We are definitely outside the box,” says Adams, the more adrenaline-charged half of the team.

“You’re going to see about 75 percent hunting and 25 percent will be something exciting, something fun. And the main part is Norissa and I are best friends who started in our garage to design a clothing line. We’ve grown the company so much, we have opportunities to talk a little bit about who we are and where we came from.” The idea for their show came from a world away. Adams and Harman were on their way to the Sacramento International Sportsman Exposition when we caught up with them in January. Ironic, since that was where they met South African Emaneul “Kappie” Kapp. Sort of.

girlwbull

A YEAR AGO, Kapp, a publisher and outdoor film producer, was walking the aisles at the massive outdoors show and saw the Girls With Guns booth. He had an idea to discuss a possible television show opportunity. Unfortunately, the ladies weren’t there at that time. “I’d played around with the idea of a women hunting show for a while and they sounded like the perfect fit,” Kapp says. “I left my business card at their booth and requested they call me.”

Kapp thought Adams’ go-for-it attitude was reminiscent of himself. Harman, admittedly the “chicken one” of these two BFFs, seemed more like Kapp’s wife, Chantelle, also a member of the production team. “One of the things Kappie told us is he was looking for something a little different,” Adams says. But even Kapp wasn’t sure what to expect when “I got a call from two girly girls from Northern California.”

“We spoke on the phone a couple of times and I eventually got them on a plane to South Africa,” Kapp says. “I met them for the first time in person at O.R. Thambo International Airport in Johannesburg (South Africa).” They hadn’t known each other besides some conversations done over Skype, but the chemistry among those behind and in front of the camera made for a great match. Harman says during production her and Kapp’s relationship is more like a brother and sister who may bicker while shooting in some of the most remote and wild lands on earth, but are indeed like family at the end of the day.

“Since we’ve met each other, it’s been for the better. He’s taken us out of our world, where we grew up, to his world, to show his perspective,” Harman says. “For that, I’m very grateful for him. I think there have been a lot of special moments that we’ve all done together and he’s been there to see us grow. To capture that together, it’s been fun.” Over the course of filming, Kapp found the stars of his show learning from their mistakes, both on the actual hunts and the process of producing episodes of a TV show in the African bush.

They went through hours upon hours of footage, narrowing them down to fit into the 22 minutes of running time. Adams and Harman even found themselves operating a second camera as B-roll footage. (Among the guests on the first season was aspiring country music singer Morgan Mills, who wrote and produced the show’s theme song, Let’s Ride, sung by Mills and featuring established country music performer Colt Ford.) Adams says the relatively small crew on-hand during production simplifies the process.

girlwbiggame

“When you’re hunting you already have your guide or PH (professional hunter), your cameraman, and Norissa and I always hunt together. Through Kappie, he’s taught us some limited camera skills,” Adams says. “They had to learn how to be comfortable in front of the camera, and it took some guidance to get them to relax and not feel uncomfortable,” Kapp says. “I still provide them with guidance, but they’ve come a long way from our
first hunt.”

ON THE FIRST episode, Harman and Adams joined guide Marius Kotze of Rhinoland Safaris (rhinoland.co.za) in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. They were greeted on a dirt road by roaming elephants and rhinos and their land cruiser became temporarily stuck in the middle of a rising river – just a typical day of mayhem on an African safari. “I think I learned a lot about myself on that trip,” Adams says. “Just getting out of the country, seeing some amazing people and being in some awesome hunting territory. It was just surreal. I fell in love with Africa on that trip.”

The girls harvested their first African continent plains game animals on the first show. Adams successfully hunted an impala, zebra and kudu on that initial two-week trip; Harman got an impala and kudu. Adams also hunted two of Africa’s “Dangerous 7 Game” animals, lion and hippopotamus. “That lion hunt, it was the first time I had ever hunted an animal where it wanted to hunt me back,” she says.

On the pilot episode, when the women both made successful shots, they became overcome with emotion, particularly Harman. “(Viewers) didn’t get to see the whole story. I actually missed (the shot) a couple times on that trip,” she says. “The animals are different there. They are really fast moving and I think my nerves got the best of me – having a camera on you, that whole factoring into making a good shot. So, of course, when I did shoot my kudu, I’m such an emotional person and wear my heart on my sleeve, I can’t help it.

I cry a lot and this whole season you’ll see lots of tears.” Adams is not one who shows her emotions so quickly – there’s that yinyang trait between them again – but also had a moment during the time between the shot and the confirmation that the animal was down. Adams thinks the anticipation of where they were and the stalking process created so much tension it felt natural to let loose a few joyous tears.

“One thing is certain – they truly love what they do and they are emotional when it comes to the beautiful trophy they have harvested. Sometimes it’s laughter and at other times it’s tears, but there is always a lot of emotion involved,” Kapp says. “Our TV show is in taker willing to push her entire stack of chips into the pot at any time; on the opposite side, a risk avoider who raises an eyebrow at even the slightest of all-real time and with no reenactment, and therefore the real emotional scenes on camera are (compelling).”

The pitch of two hunters with such different personalities would be an easy one for a producer to have interest in. On one side of the table a risk taker willing to push her entire stack of chips into the pot at any time; on the opposite side, a risk avoider who raises an eyebrow at even the slightest of all-in moves. Guess which Girls With Guns business partner did not have parachuting out of a plane over Africa on her bucket
list? “We are a good balance,” Harman says. “I think a lot of it is just the unknown.

We’d never done anything like that. When I got there I had no intention of doing that. I mean, why would I want to jump out of a perfectly good plane? But just the energy and meeting the people, the moment convinced me to try it. So I’m proud that I did it. Would I want to do it again? Probably not.” There was also the cultural experience of visiting countries such as the Congo, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa, which was priceless (an episode was also filmed in the south island of New Zealand).

Learning a few phrases of one of South Africa’s and Namibia’s official languages, Afrikaans, has inspired further studying of that dialect for future trips to that part of the world. “I think it’s a little bit humbling and life-changing and a little bit in our face,” Harman says. “Just because here in the U.S., we have the luxury of grabbing a glass of water, checking the Internet and going to the movies. And these people don’t have that luxury. Kids can’t just go to a faucet and grab a glass of water like we do. They’re going to watering holes or digging a hole in the middle of a dried-up creekbed to drink water with sand in it.

Jen and I will probably keep those moments forever and never take for granted what we do have.” Adams was floored by the diversity, both in the people of the various countries visited and the constantly changing topography. She didn’t expect to see mountains not unlike those located a short distance from her Northern California home (“I don’t think a lot of people realize that,” Adams says).

It wasn’t long until they’d go from mountains to a sandy desert and then a rainforest. “We were just so grateful for the opportunity (to be there) and to hunt in a situation we’ve never been in before,” Adams says. “To know where Norissa and I came from, we were able to see things that most of my family and people back home will never have the opportunity to see. I felt very lucky and blessed to be there.”

AS WE’VE SEEN frequently in this social media-obsessed world, when you hunt, you’re likely to be frowned upon by the Twitter and Facebook crowd. If you’re a woman who hunts, it’s chaos on the keyboards. Vile online attacks of female hunters have gone viral with a sinister tone. Most hunters understand and accept that the anti-hunting sentiment won’t be going away anytime soon, and a show like Universal Huntress TV will surely be considered taboo from day one with some refusing to find a common ground.

“One of the things that we’re learning as we go, and we hope the audience will learn with us; we try to ask questions and then ask more questions,” Adams says. “We need to understand the importance of conservation. It is something that’s a little bit different here than in South Africa. But honestly, there isn’t that much of a difference – taking a mature animal and making sure that we don’t overhunt them. Norissa and I are trying to learn as we go and pass it onto our audience. I hope they’re able to see that.” Universal Huntress TV hopes the stories it tells – about hunting, about friendship, about culture and about conquering your fears can send a positive message.

“It’s really for people to just be themselves. We have a lot of young girls who look up to us now, and really never expected to be role models,” Harman says of her role as clothing designer but also messenger about the sport their line sells to. “So we just hope that they can see what hunting has done for Jen and I. It’s been a bonding experience, kind of like a sisterhood. So if there are girls out there doing this together, it’s something they’ll be able to share like we’ve shared. It’s important for us that they see that.”

by Chris Cocoles CS

Ducking into the Winter: A Waterfowl Season Primer

And another duck season is here. Seems like just a month ago we picked up, cleaned off and stored about 500 dekes.

Putting them back out after retying the weights is much easier since the ground is dry; so we just pull an overfilled plastic boat into our field and set ‘em up.

Then there’s the prep of the blind– making sure the stools still spin, strategically placing above ground and blind cover, and buying hay for the levee. We’ll cover the levee from the blind to the walk-in point, as it’s much easier to traverse after the mud gathers, assuming it will rain this winter. Speaking of which: we’ll most likely get a smattering of water initially– for a fee – and then what? Viscuine, that’s what. Rolls have already been purchased in order to make fake water, if need be. That may not be the best decision, but it works.

Preparing For Your Duck Hunt

Preparing For Your Duck Hunt

WATERFOWL 101

The use of battery-operated spinners is limited; however, wind-powered dekes are good throughout the season. The hot ticket for us for about the past five years is the wind-powered, two-bladed WindWhackers; they can be seen for over a mile. The ever-popular steel shot is the choice of many, but don’t overlook the fancier legal shells, bismuth and Hevi-Shot, which cost up to about four bucks each.

Black golden retriever in camo neoprene vest waiting for ducks to fall.

If you have a retriever, like Steve Adelman’s Stella,
a camo neoprene vest is recommended, and always
have cover for it while the dog waits for ducks to
fall. (STEVE ADELMAN)

If you bring your dog on a hunt, he/she really needs to be well trained. A quality camo neoprene vest is highly recommended, as well as cover for the animal while he/she watches the ducks approach, then looks at youand your partner(s) with disdain when

five or six shots are fired and there’s not a single splash on the water. Keep your retriever hydrated and be sure to work with it well in advance of the season. Be able to determine their fatigue level. Hopefully you also kept a wing from last year to tie on the practice dummy. Perfect blind cover is essential. Swing covers are available and the fronts should be kept in great shape, leaving small vision windows so that your much younger son can see the approaching birds and warn you from whence they are arriving. He’ll also tell you to be quiet when your mallard call sounds like a wounded turkey. It’s a good plan to practice well in advance, especially when the significant other isn’t home and can’t hear you!

Author Bill Adelman is comfortable in his duck blind in the late fall and winter.

Author Bill Adelman is comfortable in his duck blind in the late fall and winter.

Having your shotgun patterned with the shells you’ll be using is essential. Even though you don’t swing through a fixed target, you will have to lead a duck. Fit is critical and will change depending on the clothing you’re wearing on any particular day. Practice with all options. Learn to identify different species, as some have but a two-bird limit within the daily limit of seven. If your son says,“Don’t shoot” just as you are pulling up, it’s most likely because the passing birds are spoonies or you already have your other two.

When deeply buried in your blind, try to pick up the gun with your shooting hand, with the call in the other hand.

Key Waterfowl Dates to Remember

Key Waterfowl Dates to Remember

SAFETY FIRST

Having mentioned all of this, as you prepare for the waterfowl openers this month and next, the primary focus is to practice gun safety. If your shotgun falls, slides or gets run over by the dog, will anyone get hit if it goes off? Be smart, understanding that sometimes stuff happens.

There are two major advocates for duckers: the California Waterfowl Association (calwaterfowl.org) and Ducks Unlimited (ducks.org). Many choose to belong to both, while others stick with just CWA, considering all of its programs are within our state. They work at promoting junior hunts at every opportunity. The fundraising dinners are great fun; however, bring your checkbook and credit cards.

Add Motion To Your Spread

Add Motion To Your Spread

There are so many regulations with duck hunting that you just might want to go online to determine which ones apply to you, as well as limits, season dates and who knows what else?

Having your Shotgun patterned with the shells you'll be using is essential for bringing home a limit of birds.

Having your Shotgun patterned with the shells you’ll be using is essential for bringing home a limit of birds.

Good luck this season, water or not.

A snake hunt

SNAKE HUNTING 101

THE ROUNDUPS OF YORE ARE MOSTLY GONE, BUT ‘SNAKE RUNS’ ARE ANOTHER WAY TO EXPERIENCE CALIFORNIA’S SLITHERERS
By Tim E. Hovey

I’ve always been fascinated with snakes.

I will admit that as a youth they absolutely terrified me. While I ran around catching lots of lizards and frogs, whenever I bumped into a snake, I did less catching and more running.

A rattlesnake

A western diamondback rattlesnake shakes its tail. Despite their dubious reputation and potentially fatal venom, most rattlers want no part of interacting with humans. Still, it’s important to be aware of their presence when out in the field. (GARY STOTZ/U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE)

As I got older and learned more about them, I began actually seeking snakes out in the hopes of seeing them up close and capturing them. I’d carefully handle the nonvenomous ones, take a few photos and then release them. I did get bit a handful of times, but for the most part the encounters were interesting and educational.

Every spring, as soon as it starts to warm up, I begin to see many of Southern California’s snake species out and about again. And as temperatures start to rise, usually during late April to early May, I start slowly searching the backroads for snakes.
Southern California has almost 20 different species of snakes, some of which are very comfortable living near suburban areas. Gopher snakes and king snakes are common species in many residential areas, where they find plenty of prey in the form of mice and other rodents. Those living in more rural areas will see coach whips, patch nose and rattlesnakes, all of which find their required habitat and forage near these less-developed areas.

Over the years, I have been lucky enough to find almost all the species indigenous to the Southland. It may seem a little odd, but my favorite snakes to encounter are rattlers. Their diamond-shaped heads, thick bodies and telltale rattles seem to signify authority and an animal that means business. Whenever I come
across a rattlesnake, the first thing I grab is my camera. And I never get tired of seeing any of the species of rattlesnake that occur in Southern California.
SOUTHERN PACIFIC RATTLESNAKE
The southern Pacific rattlesnake can be found close to urban areas anywhere small rodents and ground-dwelling birds exist. This is a very common species and is usually the one encountered by hikers and anyone spending time outdoors. Often referred to as a diamondback for the dark diamond shapes on its back, the southern Pacific comes in a variety of different color schemes. I’ve seen this species from a cinnamon brown to a dark gray in color.
RED DIAMOND RATTLESNAKE

Caution sign detailing the dangers of rattlesnakes

A warning sign in California’s Sierra Nevada reflects that areas where rattlesnakes are present should be taken with extreme caution. (ALAN LEVINE/WIKIMEDIA)

This species occurs in the southern portion of the state, and in my opinion is one of the prettiest snakes out there. The body is a uniform cinnamon color, lacking the darker diamond shapes of the southern Pacific. The tail of this species has several black and white bands located just before the rattles.
MOJAVE GREEN RATTLESNAKE
Also referred to as the Mojave rattlesnake, this species has several differing color variations, including a green hue. This species has an overlapping range with the southern Pacific rattlesnake and is often mistaken for it. However, the diamond patterns on the Mojave green rattlesnake fade as you move towards the tail. An aggressive species, it feeds on mice and lizards.
SIDEWINDER RATTLESNAKE
Also called the horned snake, the sidewinder is a smaller desert species that moves over its sandy environment in a sideways manner. A relatively passive species, the sidewinder is tan to sandy in coloration, usually speckled with darker patches on its back. Distinct eye bars extend from the back of the eye over the jaw line. Sidewinders feed on pocket mice, lizards and kangaroo rats.
A DESERT SNAKE RUN
When the days get really warm, my daughters and I like to head out to the desert and drive the powerline roads looking for snakes as the temperatures drop in the evenings. We call these outdoor adventures snake runs.

During the blazing heat of the day, snakes seek out cooler spots or head underground to avoid overheating. As night comes and temperatures become more bearable, the snakes head out to feed and can be encountered warming themselves on desert dirt roads.Directions for how to treat a snakebite

We arrive with about an hour of daylight left and the kids usually hit the ground running. Both my daughters have been on snake runs before and they know how to be safe and what to look for. Using their snake sticks, they head out to search the desert terrain.

On this trip, Jessica was the first to find a snake. The small sidewinder rattled loudly as we gathered around to check him out. It was a beautiful specimen, and we kept our distance so as to not stress out the snake. We took a few nice photographs, took a waypoint on the GPS and left the snake where we found it.

As the sun dropped, we headedback to the truck. We grabbed some snacks and drove to the starting point for the evening run. The spot I chose has almost 20 miles of dirt road that travels through some great snake habitat. It was to be a moonless night and within the hour it was going to be too dark to see without lights.

By the time we started driving the roads, it was dark and the weather had definitely cooled from the 105-degree daytime temperature. In the world of reptiles, this is the time to move.

If you’ve ever driven dirt roads at night, you’ll notice that small mammals regularly use these cleared spaces to prey on invertebrates and to move easily between areas to search for food. In turn, snakes will take advantage of the open areas of the roads to prey on the mammals.

We traveled slowly and searched the road in front of us carefully and began the snake run. For the first hour all we spotted were the occasional kangaroo rat or field mouse. Specifically searching for snakes during a run isn’t easy and you may need to drive several miles before you encounter reptiles. Despite the lack of snakes, the
kids stayed positive.

Another rattlesnake

The southern Pacific is one of the most common rattlers found in Southern California. It feeds on small rodents and mammals. (TIM E. HOVEY)

We turned down a side road and our luck started to change. My friend, Jose, spotted the first snake of the evening. Stretched out across the road was a beautiful Mojave green rattlesnake. I have encountered this species dozens of times in the wild and they all seem to act the same way: very aggressively.

True to form, the 3-footlong rattler began rattling loudly before we were out of the truck. He coiled defensively and never stopped rattling. The coloration on this particular specimen was amazing. He had a uniform green hue and was in perfect condition. I took a few photos, and to keep him safe, we used the snake sticks to move him off the road.

A mile later, we added a second sidewinder to the snakes we encountered on our desert snake run. A relatively passive snake, and smaller than its more aggressive relatives, the sidewinder is unique in behavior and appearance. The sidewinder will bury itself in the sand and ambush prey that passes by. It possesses eye horns, or supraocular scales, that may aid in protecting the eyes in the sandy environment.

The sidewinder posed nicely for photos and remained calm the entire time. It was getting late, so we moved the snake off the road and called it a night. With three snakes encountered and two species recorded, it was definitely a great snake run.

THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO FEAR IS… I do understand the fear that snakes invoke in many. I used to experience the same emotion before I understood the reptiles’ behavior. If you take a few seconds to watch a snake react during your next encounter, you’ll notice that they form themselves into a defensive posture and position themselves to escape. In short, they want no part of interacting with a human.

A sidewinder

This sidewinder rattlesnake blends in nicely with the desert terrain it inhabits. (TIM E. HOVEY)

Fear is natural when it comes to dealing with snakes, but many species help keep prolific mammal populations in check. Even rattlers provide a valuable service in the wild and, in my opinion, are the most unique and beautiful species of snakes out there. Next time you encounter a snake of any species, take a few seconds and watch it react. I guarantee that as you do, any fear you may have will turn to appreciation and respect. CS

A snake hunt

When on the lookout for snakes in the desert shrub areas of Southern California, the best time to find rattlers or other species is in the evening hours when temperatures drop. (TIM E. HOVEY)

 

Author Tim Hovey the first and second time he shot a wild swine

Hunting Summer Swine

A QUARTER CENTURY OF PURSUING PIGS HAS LED TO GOOD INSIGHTS FOR HOW TO HUNT IN THE HIGH HEAT
By Tim E. Hovey

I’ve been hunting wild pigs in California for over 25 years, and in that time, I’ve chased them during all seasons.
Winter and spring hogs can be found moving at all times of the day during the cooler daytime conditions. However, when the weather heats up and the days get longer, wild pigs will adjust their movement patterns and are less likely to be encountered during the heat of the day. If you adjust your hunting tactics and know what to look for, chasing late-summer pigs can be exciting and successful.

FIND THE WATER
     During hotter periods of the year, all mammals need to seek out water frequently. Most animals will visit existing water sources and usually bed down somewhere close by. When the greenery starts to dry up in the lowlands and the days get hotter, my first order of business when hunting pigs is to locate the water.
If you stand and look out over any terrain during dry periods of the year, the presence of water isn’t difficult to spot. Springs and seeps that force water to the surface or even close to the surface will maintain greener vegetation than dry areas. I like to find an elevated location where I can get a good view of the terrain I’ll be hunting and glass for green areas. I’ll look in valleys or rocky bluffs to see where the vegetation is greenest. Green vegetation almost always means water.

Wild pigs in a green field

Come this time of year, it really is all about ?nding any kind of green, which signals moisture and draws pigs. (TIM E. HOVEY)

After locating potential water sources, I’ll check and see if these areas are being used regularly. From a distance, I can ascertain if the trails leading to the water look fresh. If I can easily access the water hole, I’ll examine the tracks around the shore for recent activity.
A water source that doesn’t offer any quality cover nearby may be visited occasionally, but for the most part, I don’t concentrate my scouting efforts at these locations.
Areas that have quality bedding habitat close to available water are your best bet. If these locations are a bit remote or tough to access, they are a top priority for me to hunt. Pigs like to bed in thick cover to stay hidden, and if you find a spot that looks absolutely nasty to access, it may be just what wild pigs are looking for.

MOVE EARLY, MOVE LATE
During warmer parts of the year, wild pigs will become nocturnal and usually feed in the evening. Hunters getting to the hunting grounds early can intercept pigs moving from feeding areas and back to their beds. Pigs can also be spotted on the run near sundown. In either case, these window of opportunity are very brief, and unless you are familiar with feeding and bedding areas, success will be limited.
As the vegetation dries out in the lower valleys, groups of pigs will head to higher elevations to seek out greener vegetation to feed on. Lone adult boars, usually separated from the group, will occasionally bed down at lower elevations if they find adequate water and cover to carry them through the day. When the days heat up and pigs wait it out in the thick stuff, I really enjoy picking apart the terrain and identifying these resting areas to kick through.

CHECKING BEDS
     When I spot a water area that looks promising, I try and develop two plans of approach to accommodate differing wind directions. I usually do this from a distance and then choose an approach once I test the wind at the area. With the wind in my face, I’ll slowly stalk in near the bedding area. I like to try and approach from the top and visualize or identify escape routes for both the pigs and myself.

Wild pig near a watering hole

In summer’s heat, just like humans, pigs are always looking to hydrate themselves. These hogs have congregated near a watering hole. (TIM E. HOVEY)

Once I get close, I spend a little time looking for fresh sign before I kick through the vegetation. Fresh tracks and scat will give you an idea if the area is being used. Bedded pigs will hold tight to cover and may not break cover until you’re nearly on top of them.
Shot opportunities may be quick and brief. This type of hunting favors a short-barreled, quick-swinging firearm. That’s why this year – when the weather started heating up – I decided to dust off an old rifle I hadn’t used in a long time.

HUNTING WITH AN OLD FAVORITE
In 1990, I was using the only rifle I owned for hunting big game, a Marlin lever-action .30-30. When I pulled it out for a pig hunt, the guide laughed at my stubby brush gun.
Before we got started, he laid out some very specific rules for my lever gun and me. My shots were to be limited to inside 100 yards and the pig needed to be still and broadside for me to even think about taking a shot.
I ended up killing a fat sow as the guide stood right next to me. I hit the pig in the back of the head, offhand, and as she ran straight away from us 100 yards out.
The guide never said another word about my Marlin.
But after I returned home, I stored the rifle in the safe and moved on to other calibers.
This year, I have been able to sneak very close to bedded animalsand have kicked pigs up anywhere from 30 yards to a few feet. For this reason, I decided to dust off the old lever gun and carry it with me while hunting the thick stuff. I hadn’t hunted with the Marlin since 1990 and was hoping I’d get a chance to once again put a pig on the ground with it.
In June, I met up with my friend Mike and we headed in to our hunting area around noon.
The plan was to head into a steep canyon where I knew pigs had been active in recent weeks. Playing the wind, I set up Mike near the bottom of the creek that overlooked a wellworn game trail. I left him there and began to hike the adjacent ridge. My plan was to get to the top, drop into the creek and slowly kick through the creek bottom. My intention was hopefully sending pigs downstream towards Mike. With the temperature approaching 100 degrees, I knew that not much movement would be taking place voluntarily.
I was following a well-used game trail and was about a half-mile up the ridge when I decided to take a water break. I bent down to place my binoculars on the ground when a large animal broke from cover a mere 8 feet from where I was standing. I had the rifle up quickly, but the large boar dropped into the adjacent drainage and out of sight in a heartbeat.

Dead wild pig with hunting rifle resting on it

While fall and spring pigs are constantly on the move and surprisingly dif?cult to keep up with, in hotter weather they tend to only get out at dusk and early evening. If you can ?nd where they’re bedded, you can have a productive and fun hunt. (TIM E. HOVEY)

When I last saw him, he was headed in the opposite direction of where Mike was set up and had dropped into a different creek bottom. I knew Mike would never see this pig, considering it was this far up the ridge and knowing his escape direction.
I ran to the edge of the canyon and waited. The creek was very narrow and I figured I could get a clear shot as the boar escaped up the opposite ridge. Thirty seconds passed and nothing appeared. I took a few more steps and looked into the creek bottom. The boar was standing in deep cover broadside. My wind was good and he appeared to have no idea exactly what had kicked him out of his bed.
I raised the Marlin and easily found the pig in the scope. His vitals were covered up by thick vegetation and I needed him to take two steps for a clear shot. Within seconds, he took exactly two steps and stopped. I adjusted, found the crease behind the shoulder and dropped him there at 80 yards. I ejected the shell, picked up the brass and instantly realized that I had just killed my first big animal with my lever gun in over a quarter of a century.

BEING SNEAKY PAYS OFF Sneaking close to bedded pigs is one of my favorite ways to pursue wild hogs in California. If you spend time glassing areas and identifying wellused watering spots during the warmer months, pigs will be bedded nearby. All you have to do is find them.
Wild pigs will adjust their movement patterns as temperatures rise. As they avoid the heat, they’ll feed more during evening hours and move to and from bedding areas very early and very late.
If you feel like extending your hunting opportunities well beyond the narrow movement windows, try seeking out summer hogs in their bedding areas. Hearing a 200-pound animal break cover right near your feet will definitely get your heart pumping. CS

Two blacktail deer standing on grass.

Obsessing Over Blacktails

THREE AREAS AND TECHNIQUES FOR SCORING A BUCK

I only caught the quickest glimpse of the buck as he dashed across a narrow opening before disappearing down into a gully thick with oaks. A moment later I understood why. From in that leafy thicket came the ancient sound of two bucks locked in combat, the eerie clash of antlers, which sounded like two cue balls struck together hard and fast. It was stirring “bone music,” that even excited me. Suddenly, as fast as it all began, it fell strangely silent again.
The author stands with a gun over his shoulder and binoculars to his eyes.   I was lying atop a weedy knoll in Northern California, where I had a good view of three deer trails that came up out of surrounding oaks meeting at a single ridgeline trail. As I waited to see what would happen next, I briefly glanced beyond the hills to the cold, dark waters of San Pablo Bay, which began to show a silver shimmer at the first rays of rising sunlight. Further out, I could even see
misty spires of tall buildings rising in San Francisco over 20 miles away.
The buck came up out of the thicket and stopped on the trail to look back down, ears forward, body taut, adrenaline still coursing through his veins, as if to say, “had enough? Learned your lesson?” He was satisfied he’d vanquished his foe and started down the trail in those little mincing steps blacktails always take as he delivered himself to me. At 40 yards, I began very slowly lifting my custom-made .270 Winchester loaded with 130-grain silver tips. When I snuggled in behind the scope I knew I could hardly miss.
This little tale is just one of the many methods and tactics I’ve used against the West’s most prolific big game animal, the widespread, antlered blacktail deer.

IT’S A WESTERN THING
     When you say “the West,” most riflemen outside this region think only of mule deer; that is not the case. Blacktails have one of the longest north-to-south ranges – spanning 1,500 miles – of any big game animal on the planet. Beginning at the Mexican border they dominate the land throughout California, Oregon and Washington – from the Pacific Ocean inland over 200 miles – across the border into British Columbia and all the way north to Southeast Alaska, where their genus is called the Sitka blacktail. In the easternmost region of the three states below the border with Canada, mule deer only take over as the dominant species beyond the highest eastern peaks, where the land opens up and a high desert takes over. This dividing line can almost be drawn with a pencil on a map at that cover break because blacktails are cover deer that live out their lives in the thickest brush, tall timber or a mix of the two. Tens of thousands of Western sportsmen and -women rely on blacktails to make the term “deer hunting” a reality.
To hunt them successfully you must go into various types of cover and elevations to learn how to ambush them. The Golden State has all three types of cover in abundance. It’s an exciting and intriguing way to tag a set of antlers, if you learn your lessons properly. The easiest way to do this is to take these cover areas one by one and see what works for each. I’ve spent a lifetime doing so here. Here’s what’s worked for me:

BRUSHLANDS
     In the lower elevations of California, rolling hills and low mountains are the rule and dominated by vast inland brush fields that seem to run on forever. Blacktails revel and prosper in it. Add to that the fact that deer season can open in early August when temperatures often run into the 90s and even triple digits, and you’ve really got your work cut out for you. It’s about as untraditional a way and time to hunt deer as is imaginable.
These bucks of summer are cagey, cautious, sneakers and peekers that know how to use cover to their best advantage. I’ve chased The author with a buck he shotbucks around in manzanita, chemise and ironwood jungles without ever getting a glimpse of them, even though I could hear an animal moving as I did. They did not abandon cover and run for it as other big game would; instead, they stayed right in the jungles where they played their little game – and often won doing so. That’s what I call smart as well as bold thinking.
So how do you choose a place to hunt in this land that all looks so much the same? You do so by finding water of any size and getting above it. This can be anything from a bubbling puddle to a bathtub-sized spring. And when water is found in this land, it’s nearly always in lower basins, pockets and canyon bottoms in shady spots, under leafy pepper trees or down rocky gullies.
These deer will not only bed down nearby but also come in to drink at all hours of the day. I’ve watched them do this from the sit, when the worst heat of midday was sizzling hot, when you would naturally expect them to be down still in the cover of shade. The hotter it gets, the more likely deer will come to drink.
There are two productive ways to hunt these important hidden spots. One is for the lone hunter who has the patience to get comfortable in brushy shade above a wet spot and wait them out. When most other hunters are back in the shade of camp hydrating, you’re out on a stand biding your time for that magic moment when antlers suddenly show up.
One of the finest, heavy-antlered blacktail bucks I ever saw came in like this right at high noon. I sat motionless under a big manzanita bush barely 60 yards above. The sweat running down my face was not just because of the heat.
A second style of hunt requires you and one amigo. One gunner drops down into the canyon or pocket, moving slowly in a widening circle starting just at the top and going lower with each circle through cover. A partner on top moves with the other, keeping pace but staying high. From this topside one can see all that lies and moves below and can also look down into even thick cover because of the angle. If a buck is moved, whether the other hunter below sees it go out or not, the top hunter will get the shooting. This is a deadly hunt in thick brushlands.

manandeerMOUNTAINS
When I use the term “mountains” in the context of blacktail hunting, I’m talking about modest elevations that can also include foothills leading up to them. Throughout California this elevation can be between 2,500 and 3,500 feet. It’s also worth remembering this starts literally at the high tide mark of the Pacific Ocean.
Cover changes in this up-and-down land, from the smothering brush fields of interior valleys to taller, mixed cover such as spruce, ironwood, oaks and digger pines along rocky ridges. These changes dictate how you must hunt here. Because the land is a bit more open you have a real chance to catch deer out both early and late.
Blacktails that have fed all night move toward bedding grounds at sunup. My three hunting sons and I use what I call our two-hunt approach to match the deer’s natural timetable by extending the original hunt into a second one. We use this when taking on big canyons or sidehills, with the four of us spreading out on various high points along ridges. Of course, two or three rifles can certainly do the very same thing.
We position ourselves above deer trails, little basins and pockets where deer will go to bed down for the day, stay there until well after sunrise, watch and wait. If nothing shows up, the last rifleman – the one farthest down ridge – drops off the top heading downhill into the lower reaches of the canyon before starting back parallel toward the next stander. Reaching him, the second man moves down too, just above the lower hunter, both coming parallel toward the third rifle. No. 3 does the same thing slightly above the first two hunters, as all three work their way back toward the last rifleman on a canyon-wide sweep across cover areas to drive deer out. The last hunter can watch them moving toward him, plus additional animals they move out, with this three-man drive.
Bucks forced out like this often will try to climb out over the top, then drop down into another canyon or drainage and leave their pursuers behind. That last hunter is in the perfect spot to get a clear shot as they do so. The reason this tactic works so well is that even as smart as blacktails are, they are not two-dimensional thinkers. When fleeing hunting pressure, their only thought is to get away and leave trouble far behind as fast as possible; they don’t consider that another hunter is maybe waiting up ahead to ambush them.
These two hunts in one are a smart and productive way to thoroughly cover long sidehills and big canyons.

The author with another buck he shot

HIGH COUNTRY
I’ve said diversity is the rule in blacktail country, and this final area certainly illustrates that. Beyond brush fields and hill country rises true high country along the spine of coastal mountains in northwestern California into southern Oregon.
Here, rocky peaks that go up 5,000, 6,000 and 7,000 feet see heavy winter snows and the biggest bodies and antlered bucks of all. Record-book deer have been taken from this lofty land. It’s a land of dog-hair timber in forests that run endlessly up and down steep canyons blue in distance. But heavy forests provide only minimal feed for deer. They must climb into little greensward basins and open pockets just under the peaks where forage grows in abundance and they can fill their stomachs.
Rifle hunters want to climb early into these high pockets, getting just above them on the sit, and look for bucks still out feeding as dawn lights the high country. Here you are motionless; rising air cannot give away your scent, and moving bucks are easy to see in low cover.
These three pluses are what make this type of hunt so effective. If you do not find a set of antlers with this early schedule, the second tactic is to be down in timber on well-used deer trails coming off the tops. Look for recent tracks and fresh deer berries when choosing one.
As morning sun brightens timberland, deer will start down into cover, heading for places to rest and water for the day on these trails. You will be there waiting for them as they come on.
Two or three hunters can take as many trails, upping the odds someone is going to tag a set of antlers. Either of these two hunts are very productive because both rely on the blacktails’ natural timetable, and also because you are down and still not moving as you would using other methods. They are a favorite in the high country for my hunting family and me.

noclashing

I’ve hunted these animals over a lifetime in all environments in this story. No other antlered big-game animal can give me a greater thrill than wrapping a tag around the rack of one of these smart and wary West Coast bucks. It’s deer hunting unlike any other on this continent. That’s what makes it so unique, fascinating and exciting. CS

By Art Isberg

Gibson Makes Duck Blind Covers For Sunken, Stand-up Setups

(GIBSON DUCK BLIND PRESS RELEASE)

Gibson Duck Blind Covers patent offers a versatile line of covers that can be made for any type of sunken or stand-up duck blind. The covers, made of light-weight steel tubing with powder-coating and Fast Grass material, are designed to be either permanent or temporary. GDBC come in 2,3,4,5, and 6 foot lengths.

GibsonDuckBlind

They form a nearly complete horizontal canopy over the top of the blind when closed, but fall away easily with a gentle nudge when the hunter stands up to shoot. This gives the hunter a 360 degree view under the blind covers.

Quality construction and material facilitate their “flip-flop” movement. The blind covers also provide a bay-view opening under the main beam, so the hunter can see the birds working the decoys – without the ducks spotting the hunter. The covers conceal the blind exceptionally well from an aireal view – a point that hunters often miss when they inspect a brushed-up blind from 30 yards out and 5 feet high. Several sizes and price configurations are offered.

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