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How much more of our “Freedom” to hunt and fish are we going to lose? When is enough going to be enough?
I Refuse to Surrender My Freedom!
This little diatribe got me started when I was told I could no longer fish an area I’ve fished for over fifty years. The conversation between me and the governmental authority challenging my right to fish the area quickly became futile. So I pulled up anchor and left, grumbling to myself that it wasn’t right and what ever happened to my freedom and civil liberties as an American citizen and the right to fish, where and when, that I’ve enjoyed for so many years.
Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, our government has adopted and repeatedly used the phrase “the war on terror” and supported and endorsed the Patriot Act which at best is somewhat problematic because it was initiated during the aftermath of nine-eleven when fear was at its highest. It was created with the impression that we are fighting against a “known enemy” instead of terrorism.
During times of war, our government has a seemingly natural tendency to ignore the secured liberties of the Constitution (Bill of Rights). Our freedom, especially during times of conflict should not be precluded by the endless loss of our personal and recreational liberties. Freedom was the very thing our country was founded on. I live inAmerica, the land of the free and I’m not ready to cower down and live in fear of terrorism or surrender my personal freedoms in the interest of national security.
While we can agree thatAmericahas a strong interest in national defense, it can also be said that Constitutional rights are not to be ignored for the sake of good intentions.Whenever legislation affecting our rights or civil liberties is enacted it must be looked at not only for its end, but also for its resources. The continued infringement on our personal and civil liberties can quickly become a way of life and certainly not one our fore-fathers would have agreed to. When such governmental legislation, regardless of its intentions, ignores and violates the long-standing fundamental principles of freedom, then our country has failed the test.
Since September eleventh we’ve seen an increasing number of security zones being put into place in the name of Homeland Security. These outdoor recreational, hunting, fishing and boating closures throughout the nation are restricting admission to the same areas we’ve had access to for many centuries.
Governmental authorities must begin to rethink their level of responsibility and begin relaxing the restrictions on security zones. The responsibility for securing water entrance must revert to the operations of the ports or business that are now being secured by restricted water security zones. I don’t know of a security area that does not have guards patrolling its grounds and if they don’t have guards they certainly should be required to have them simply because of the sensitive nature of their operations. They should also be required to have security camera’s monitored from the security facilities. It’s not the general public’s businesses that are creating the security problems, so why are we being restricted and penalized from enjoying the areas we’ve enjoyed for so many years.
Is the thinking of the governmental officials so shallow as to believe that a water security zone is going to stop someone from entering a facility from water landings? In actuality, the only thing it’s preventing is recreational anglers and boaters from enjoying areas they’ve enjoyed for centuries.
As citizens, we need to voice our objections to present and continued closures and begin reestablishing our freedoms. We also need to challenge our governmental representatives, and when it comes to elections find out how they stand on certain issues relating to your recreational freedoms.
The majorities of people spending time on or near the water generally understand what is normal and what is not and are well suited to notice suspicious activities. It’s also time for local anglers and boaters to become recognized as part of the security solution rather than identified and labeled as potential terrorist. It’s these people that ultimately increase the level of security. Who better than people fishing or boating to recognize when the behavior of visitors in and around area is inconsistent with what usually takes place? Who better than the port worker or longshoreman to identify a suspicious individual loitering near a restricted area video taping, photographing, or making sketches? Who better than a marina operator or dock master to recognize a customer or crew acting suspicious? “People are not suspicious”… it’s their behavior that is suspicious.
Regardless how many homeland security zones are in place we cannot be so naïve as to believe if a terrorist organization decides to invade an American coast, river, bridge, tunnel, port, ship, military base, or waterside industry that it’s not going to happen? TheUnited Stateshas more than 95,000 miles of shoreline, over 290,000 square miles of water. Given our current economic situations and continuous cutbacks on law enforcement personnel, why not take advantage of some of the 70 million recreational boaters in theUnited Statesto identify and report suspicious persons or behavior without taking away their recreational civil liberties and recreational freedoms.
Whether you agree or not we must understand and challenge those we vote into office to explain their stand on the issues that concern each and every one of us. Our vote counts but make certain you know who, what and where they stand on the issues that affect us all!
Sometimes anglers get tired of catching fish and look for something else to do. Over the last few years hunting hogs has become popular for many hunting enthusiast and it’s something you can do year round. For those who like hunting and are tired of the same old things you might be interested in trying something different. These are the big game wild hogs found in everycountyofFlorida. They are not your ordinary barnyard pig, they’re ugly, stinky and one the smartest wild animals you’ll ever match wits against. There is an air of mystery about hunting wild hogs and a certain amount of danger, but regardless it’s gaining in popularity everywhere.
Non-native to North America hogs originated inEurasiaand began showing up as early as 1539 with the Hernando Desoto expeditions. It’s believed the first feral or wild hogs escaped from those expeditions and quickly reverted to the wild hogs we have today. Although they started out as domestic throughout the centuries now they’ve become full-blooded wild boars.
Physically, wild boars look very different and are much more aggressive from domestic pigs. With smaller ears and much longer snouts; their tails are straight and tufted at the tip. Hair coloring is brown to black with long bristles running from the head along the center line of the back. It can be raised up in the air two to three inches from the body as a warning when the boar is excited or agitated. With their hind legs shorter than front legs, wild boars have an “uphill” appearance. A mature wild boar can measure up to 40 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 450 pounds; females somewhat shorter weighing up to 370 pounds. Under ideal conditions a healthy female (sow) can breed when only 6 months old and continue breeding every six months, producing four to 14 piglets per litter. Young wild boars are born with yellowish-brown coats with distinct dark stripes along the back providing camouflage coloring.
Because of their high reproductive rates and voracious appetitesFlorida’s up to its elbows in this prolific porker and it’s getting worse. There is an estimated half a million hogs rooting their way around the state causing serious agricultural, residential and wildlife habitat destruction. Wild hogs are opportunistic omnivorous eating machines with appetites extending beyond nuts, fruits, roots and tubers. Stomach contents actually revealed remnants of young animals, carrion and eggs of ground-nesters like sea turtles, turkey and quail.
Wild Hog Hunting – Stalking wild hogs is an exciting adventure you’ll never forget and the culinary benefits aren’t bad either. If you’re interested in pitting your wits against this cunning opponent then learning to identify certain things like food sources, rubs, wallows, habitats and travel patterns can be important to your success.
Wild hogs are tough intelligent animals with an incredible sense of smell, reasonable hearing, and moderate eyesight. They readily adapt to changing conditions and if it benefits their survival may modify their reaction to humans. Like their domestic cousins wild hogs prefer dense cover that’s close to water, and food.
Whether you’re looking for a trophy or one for the smoker you must recognize where they spend their time. Hogs do not have sweat glands, which make them partial to dense cover and shade with access to water. These pools of water or mud holes allow them to wallow and keep cool. Find these water holes along with muddy trees used to rub off the mud and you’ve found where they spend a lot of daytime hours.
Pin pointing exact food sources is more difficult, because hogs eat just about anything and doing so cause incredible ground damage which makes it those specific areas easily identifiable. Other key feeding areas include hardwoods and conifers that produce nuts or berry producing vegetation.
Hog tracks will resemble small calves and are easy to identify in moist areas. Learning to read these tracks can reveal pig trails to and from food and water. Following them often leads to tunnels through the dense vegetation and straight to bedding areas that are easily identifiable by the unpleasant odors associated with hogs.
Hunting Methods and Techniques
Spotting and Stalking - in reasonably exposed terrain can be an effective and challenging method. Position yourself facing the wind keeping open areas in clear sight. When you locate them start moving slowly and quietly in their direction keeping yourself downwind. By using all available cover you can usually get close enough for a quality shot.
Still hunting - is commonly used in thick or dense brush, find an area with fresh signs, then maintain soft/quiet footing and begin moving slowly stopping often to look, listen and smell. Stay alert as you move and keep your face into the wind.
Stationary Tree Stands or Blinds - is primarily an early morning technique so plan to arrive before sunrise. Pigs continually use certain areas or trails so choose a downwind location with good cover and a clear view. Now it’s a waiting game.
Taking the Shot - When you finally squeeze off the expected kill shot at a wild hog, remember they are surprisingly intelligent, physically adapt and mentally tough and horrifying thing you’ve ever heard about wounded hogs is true.
Head Shot – Not always the best: As a rule, a well placed head shot will drop the pig instantly and you’ve got an instant kill; especially if the bullet enters at or just behind the ear cutting the spinal cord or going through the brain. On the other hand, since animals are constantly moving their heads making this shot can be risky business unless perfectly executed. Virtually nothing in the head or neck area is vital to life except the central nervous system and the slightest miscue often leaves the charged up on adrenaline, blinded, with a possible broken jaw or some other mortal wound.
For that reason shot placement is especially important for a quick clean kill. Ideally, a shot on a broadside should be placed in the lower shoulder area. If the animal is quartering towards or away from you, you’ll want to place the shot so the bullet ends up in the vital organs between the shoulders a couple of inches above the front elbow, where the bullet should pass through the lungs and possibly the heart. Keep in mind that any unplaced broadside or shoulder shot that does sever the spinal cord seldom results in an instant kill leaving the animal mortally wounded and often un-recovered. Nevertheless, once you shoot any animal, it is your responsibility to recover it and depending on the wound it can take hours of hard work over rough terrain.
Much talk has been put forth about the head shot, and that can definitely be a kill shot, provided you hit the brain. Make note of the fact that a hog’s brain is well protected by its thick skull and a small target. Here again, a tough bullet with good penetration is key.
A broken shoulder certainly puts a hog down on the spot, allowing for a fast follow-up shot if it’s necessary; this ideal if you don’t want to have to trail the animal, but would rather kill it quickly and efficiently. Also in the case of a mature hog, you don’t want it coming after you with those nasty sharp tusks.
How Much Gun – One important thing to remember is take enough guns to do the job. I would not hunt hogs with any rim fire cartridge; unless I was dealing with very small young pigs. So, how much gun is enough? That depends on the hog and bullet placement. For normal hogs you might start with any cartridge in the class of a 30-30. Especially with 170-grain bullets you’ll get plenty of penetration. Smaller hogs can be killed with lesser cartridges, and larger boars would best be approached with something much heavier. Overall, you want to use enough gun and ammo to penetrate with enough depth to do the job efficiently, while allowing for a margin of error.
Everyone tries to make a clean kill, but it does not always happen and because pigs have thick hides with the inherent ability to seal a wound they often have a tendency to leave little or no blood. Therefore, after you take your shot try to determine whether you hit the animal and if it’s no longer visible, make a mental mark of where it was when you shot. Go to that spot and hopefully you’ll a have a dead animal; if not mark the spot, so you can return later. Now begin searching the immediate area for signs that help determine what type of wound you’re dealing with. Frothy blood indicates a lung shot which usually causes the animal to succumb rather quickly. On the other hand, stomach contents indicate a stomach wound which seldom drops one quickly. A stomach wounded animal will usually lie down after a short run and expire, so it’s often better to wait a little while before tracking.
Wild hogs are especially strong, hard to kill and capable of inflicting serious injury; they often backtrack charging from behind or lie in wait for an ambush When you think you are close to finding or have located the animal you shot always approach with caution. Stunned animals can also recover quickly attacking without warning; so be alert and prepared for a second shot until you’ve confirmed the animal is dead.
Field Dressing – Like most wild animals, hogs carry parasites and diseases that can transmit to humans. Several possibilities are brucellosis, tuberculosis, anthrax and trichinosis. When handling any carcass take every precaution to protect against disease and pest exposure and most importantly always avoid any blood to blood contact. At all times wear latex or rubber gloves, wear safety glasses or goggles, don’t eat or drink will dressing the animal, wear long sleeve shirts and pants, wash and disinfect hands and clothing and always cook the meat to a least 185 degrees.
The next time you pull your chair up to the dinner table for a wild hog roast pork dinner with brown rice and gravy, buttermilk biscuits, green beans and cold iced tea, you might find yourself wondering why more people don’t hunt hogs.
Comfort is paramount to all species and water temperature is a major factor because of its governing effect on bodily functions.
Ever questioned why some fish congregate in a particular area one day and completely disappear, the next? There could be different reasons why fish relocate, but the most overlooked is probably water temperature. Whereas almost all fish are cold-blooded, weather and water temperature are a controlling factors in where you find them. Every species has a temperature range they tolerate better than others and within that range there is comfort zone where they’re most comfortable.
Every species has a preferred temperature range and are most active within that range. When temperatures exceed or drop below a species’ particular range, they often become non-responsive and lethargic. Learning the tolerances of those species you go a long way toward helping you choose the right location, time of day, and if fishing the right baits and lures.
For example, water temperatures dropping in the low 60’s puts Spotted Sea Trout in high spirits, but becomes very perplexing to Snook, Redfish, and Tarpon. On the other hand, temperature in the 80’s are fine for Snook, but in the high 80’s Redfish, Tarpon and particularly Sea Trout start getting a little uncomfortable. When water temperatures reach into the 90’s as is often the case inTampaBaystart looking for deeper cooler waters.
How fish react to today’s temperature often depends on yesterday’s temperature and even some days before. Gradual temperature changes over several days or weeks have different effects as opposed to rapid temperature changes. Slower changes usually result in better long-term fishing, while rapid changes sometimes motivate only a strong short-term feeding rush.
With clear skies and hot summer days the suns thermal energy quickly penetrates shallow water allowing dark and grassy bottoms to become warmer than the white sandy ones. The difference between dark and white bottoms may only be one or two degrees but it can make a difference when you’re looking for happy fish. Inexpensive sinking swimming pool thermometers are available for use in finding the different ranges at different levels.
A Marriage Certain to End in Divorce…
Since E10 gasoline which is gasoline containing 10% ethanol became widely available several years ago, the nation’s largest recreational boat owners groups, has received hundreds of calls and emails complaining about boat engine problems. The majority of complaints concern older outboard motors, those made before about 1990. According to Mercury Marine’s Ed Alyanak and Frank Kelley, who between them have over 60 years of experience, to find out what’s made these decades-old outboards more susceptible to ethanol’s well-known problems and what owners can do.
1. Vulnerable hoses: In the mid 1980′s new standards (SAE J1527) for fuel hoses were developed for “gasohol,” which was known to deteriorate rubber and plastics. Since then, problems with hoses have largely gone away, but that doesn’t mean they are maintenance free. Tech Tip: Any hose older than 10 years should be replaced. Here’s another way to test rubber fuel hose condition: wipe a clean rag along the hose. If you smell gas on the rag, replace the hose immediately.
2. Carburetors: O-rings and rubber carburetor parts on older engines tend to get hard and brittle when exposed to ethanol and then break off in bits and pieces causing clogs, misfires and shutdowns. Pre-1990 carburetors were also made from alloys that didn’t stand up to ethanol, leading to corrosion that can cause tiny fuel orifices to clog, resulting in hard starts and poor running. Old carburetors are also “dumb” in that they were designed to run on only one type of fuel. Ethanol, however, has more oxygen and affects the air/fuel ratio, causing engines to run leaner and hotter. Tech Tip: The best solution with old outboards is to run straight gas – if you can find it. Some mechanics may also have the ability to “recalibrate” a carburetor to tolerate E10 note: gas with ethanol greater than 10% should never be used with any boat engine.
3. Plastic fuel filter bowl: Some older engines may have plastic fuel filter bowls. Tech Tip: If you still have one, replace immediately with a metal bowl.
4. Fuel fill gasket: Keeping water out of the fuel tank is even more important with ethanol as it can eventually lead to the formation of two separate solutions in the gas tank water and fuel, also known as phase separation. The process is more common on older boats which are more likely to have accumulated water at the bottom of the tank. Once phase separation happens – the tipping point when water in the gas is either harmlessly ingested or transformed into a corrosive mixture no engine will run on – there’s no going back. No fuel additive can restore E10 back to its normal state. Tech Tip: Age and exposure to ethanol can rot fill gaskets or O-rings. Replace them every few years.
5. “Gunk” in the tank: It is still possible that some old outboards and boat fuel systems have yet to sip a drop of E10. But once your boat drinks its first tank full, ethanol will “scour” or dissolve the gunk that’s been coating the tank walls and hoses for years. Tech tip: You may want to think about hiring a professional to have the tank drained completely of any gas and water at the bottom before adding your first load of E10. If not, keep a supply of filters on hand – they will clog quickly. Always use a fuel stabilizer and avoid using octane boosters that contain ethanol.
For more information on ethanol and boat engines, go to http://www.BoatUS.com/seaworthy/ethanol.asp.
Summer is here, and with it, plenty of daylight hours to spend on the water fishing or boating. But while summer brings with it visions of sunshine and warm temperatures, it can also bring in the chaotic weather that often puts a swift end to all that fun on the water. Thunderstorms especially those associated with lightning, and wind are all bad news if you’re caught unprepared on the water. The good news is that with a little basic knowledge, you can learn to predict when these coming storms, and get yourself out off the water before you’re in danger.
Seasoned boaters have learned to watch to the skies for impending storms and if things don’t look promising they head for safety. Here are a few tips for keeping your eye on the sky:
• Bad weather is often forecast before you ever leave shore, so make certain you check your local weather stations or local marine forecast paying careful attention all marine warnings that may be posted for your area or the area you may be heading.
• Look for the telltale signs of a forming thunderstorm such as clumps of thick cumulous clouds (the puffy, cotton-ball type) darkening into a towering, cumulonimbus cloud (think cumulous growing vertically, with an anvil-like shape at the top). Begin heading for safety whenever you see clouds in this formation. Severe winds, lighting, rain or worse can occur in as little as 15 to 30 minutes.
• The severity of a storm can often be predicted by the shape and color of a cloud’s front edge. The darker, sharper, and lower the edge, the more severe the storm. A storm cloud’s anvil-shaped top also will typically point in the direction the storm is traveling.
• During the summer thunderstorms will often build over the water when the humidity and temperature on land are high. As hot air radiates upward, it absorbs moisture from nearby water, ultimately rising to begin forming a thunderhead. The telltale sign of these storms are fast-moving black clouds, often approaching from the southwest, south, or west.
• How long do you have before a storm arrives? Try this trick. When you first see a lighting flash, count how many seconds pass before you hear the accompanying clap of thunder, then divide by five. The result is the number of miles you are away from the storm.
• Even if a storm is still several miles away, the lightning it generates can easily reach you. Lighting often strikes well before a storm, as well as once the storm has seemingly passed. Watch for the “coppery” haze and building cumulonimbus clouds that indicate a thunderstorm, and seek shelter well in advance.
• If you can’t outrun a storm or find some kind of shelter, point your craft into the wind, and try to take approaching waves at a 90-degree angle. This will keep your pump in the water, and lessen the chance of your craft getting rolled over. It’s also best to stay as low as possible, so that your body is not the tallest target on the water.
• Remember, whenever you’re venturing farther than just your local bay or shore, a handheld VHF radio can be a lifesaver. Many include a weather alert feature to warn of approaching storms. In addition, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) broadcast continual weather bulletins on designated “WX’ channels, which are updated every six hours.