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Muzzleloaders The old and the new! By Gary Howey

December is just around the corner and for those of us who enjoy hunting, have another opportunity to hunt deer, this time using with our muzzleloaders.

Muzzleloader permits in Nebraska, are unlimited, and purchased on-line or from Nebraska permit vendors.

The muzzleloading season in the Cornhusker state opens shortly after the close of our rifle deer season, opening on December 1st running through December 31st.

In Nebraska, muzzleloader hunters have the opportunity to tag a buck, as Nebraska muzzleloader permits are either sex permits.

In years past, scopes weren’t allowed when hunting with a muzzleloader.

This changed later when scopes up to one-power were allowed on muzzleloaders, which to some hunters was worse than using iron sights.

Later that regulation changed as all scopes now being legal on muzzleloaders.

In South Dakota, permits for muzzleloaders are also unlimited. The South Dakota muzzleloader season has three permits, the any deer, doe and the two doe permits with the season’s opening the same as Nebraska, opening on December 1st and continuing through December 31st. [Read more…]

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The Future of Hunting By Gary Howey

Just this last week, we were coming down the highway when an SUV came down the highway with a deer carcass strapped on its luggage rack.

It was not a huge deer; it was just a dead deer hanging off the top of the vehicle.

As it approached, I thought to myself that ought to upset the anti hunters! It was not that it offended me to see the deer, it was the fact there are people out there who are looking for another reason to come down on hunters.

Not too many years ago, hunting was a way of life, a way to feed the family.

Things have changed, as our population becomes more urbanized, with more people living in the cities than we do those living in rural areas, removing people from the land and in a lot of cases reality. [Read more…]

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Veterans, Pheasants and South Dakota A winning combination Gary Howey

Its fall, the time of the years when trees, shrubs and grasses change from their summer colors to their beautiful fall coloration.

The orange, yellows and reds are not the only colors appearing in the fields in October, as you will see rows of hunters orange color as thousands of hunters, hit the field for the South Dakota pheasant season.

It was the second week of the season as wildlife artist Mark Anderson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and I made our way north up Highway 281 heading for Aberdeen, up into Brown County, the home of excellent habitat and good bird numbers.

Good friend Casey Weismantel, Aberdeen C.V.B. had invited us to take part in a veteran’s hunt held out of the Half Cocked Lodge on Mina Lake west of Aberdeen.

The event sponsored Wounded Warrior Guide Service, Aberdeen C.V.B., HuntFish SD.com and the Half Cocked Lodge brought veterans from WW 2 Viet Nam and Iraq-Afghanistan together to pheasant hunt.

It was close to noon, as we loaded up and making our way out to the fields to begin our hunt; with our group opening our season in one of the many unpicked cornfields in the area.

As the veterans debarked the bus, team leader Dave Usselman went over the game plan as to how best to hunt the field. [Read more…]

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A Dog Can teach a Hunter A Lot By Gary Howey

I hope that prior to the opening of the season; you and your dog have gotten out doing some walking to get in shape.

As anyone who has hunted behind a dog, a dog, one that is in good shape and well-trained, makes for a great hunt and much more effective than simply wondering around in the field hoping to stumble onto a bird.

Over the years, I have hunted over all types of dogs, had some great hunts as well as frustrating ones when a dog we were hunting behind, was out of control.

I have also hunted with all types of hunters, from the very new to the seasoned pro and found out some of these hunters could learn a lot by simply paying attention to their dog.

Take for instance one hunt in a huge CRP field where we were hunting with a yellow Lab.

It’s a fact, all dogs don’t work the same, all hunting differently, some in high gear, bounding through the tall grass while others will methodically work their way through it, nose just inches above the ground trying to pick up the birds scent.

My dog’s nose was close to the ground, his tail whirling in a tight circle as he worked through the field, going back and forth in front of the hunters. [Read more…]

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Early Pheasant Hunting Tactics By Gary Howey

For those of us who have counted the days until the pheasant opener, your wait is up!

Reports indicate that the pheasant numbers in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota are up, these states are really crowing about their increase in pheasant numbers.

The mild winter and decent spring, as well as some improvements in habitat have helped to bring pheasant numbers back up.

I have hunted pheasants in the upper Midwest most of my life and especially in South Dakota, as that was where I grew up. If you are looking at pheasant hunting in South Dakota, you will not need to worry, as the number of birds in the state, their state bird, the Chinese ringneck pheasant are unbelievable and there are more birds there than anywhere I have ever hunted.

Over the years, I have hunted with hundreds of hunters and was surprised how some went charging into the field with no plan and at times, “No Clue.” Then there were those, who amazed me, these hunters looked each field over, hashed things over and made a plan, before heading into the field, approaching each field differently. [Read more…]

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Land conservation focus of Governor’s Hunt by Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal
MANKATO, Minn. | It was a perfect day for pheasant hunting. The bright Minnesota sun swept over the native grasses that made up this piece of CRP field. A swath of corn stood at the eastern edge of the field, its stalks dying as the corn ripened.
A cool wind made the morning chilly. Later it would freshen to a strong gale which would make the canvas tent under which we ate the noon lunch, flap wildly.
I watched the hunters advance, a thin line of fluorescent orange from this distance. I clutched my 20-gauge semi-auto and waited. This was the opening walk for our team participating in the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.
We had heard Gov. Mark Dayton at the banquet the night before and at the breakfast at the City Center Hotel in Mankato. He wasn’t able to hunt because of complications with his hip.
For Gary Howey, Hartington, Neb., and me, the event had started with the social hour and banquet at the Verizon Wireless Center in downtown Mankato. For those who were able to arrive early, an afternoon of activities awaited them. [Read more…]

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Doug Brown Memorial P.V.A. Hunt One to Remember By Gary Howey

We have hunted pheasants hundreds of times in numerous states as well as at the Top Gun Hunting Ranch near Howard, South Dakota but have never have the opportunity to hunt on a more memorable hunt.

As we drove into the lodge, we were met by several vehicles park along the fence, their license plates indicating they traveled from Minnesota, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida and of course South Dakota to be part of this hunt.

The fourth annual Doug Brown Memorial Paralyzed Veterans of America Pheasant Hunt, is a memorial to Brown who served for years as the Veterans Benefits Representative at the Sioux Falls, South Dakota VA.

The Sioux Falls office of the North Central Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America put together the hunt, bringing in ten P.V.A. members for this hunt held at the Top Gun Hunting Ranch.

After a hearty breakfast, nine of the hunters in wheel chairs, with the help of the volunteers used a special trailer to lift them into the back of nine pickups, while another P.V.A. member would be hunting from a tracked wheelchair. [Read more…]

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Heat Dog on hard on your hunting dog By Gary Howey

It is that time of the year when mornings can be cool and by noon unseasonably warm. If we dress for the cooler mornings temperatures you are over dressed and by mid afternoon, when the sun started to warm things up.

As temperatures warm up, the heat is going to take its toll on our hunting dogs.

Can you imagine what it is like for a hunting dog, having been in a kennel the biggest part of the year and as the season opens, trying to cover large fields on these warm days? They are covering at least twice the ground we are, nose to the ground, head in the dust and dirt, running back and forth across the field of heavy cover, unable to sweat or release heat from their body except by panting and they do it all while wearing a fur coat.

This could be a death sentence to a dog if they are overweight and out of shape, as a hunting dog will keep going until they can go no further and drop.

One of the things you can do prior to the season would be to get yourself and your dog in shape.

Imagine what type of shape you would be in if you spent most of the year inside a kennel, let out to run only for short periods each evening , then taken out into the field during hunting season and be expected to run hard for hours on end without becoming tired? Dogs should be worked on a regular basis in order to stay in shape, which can be tough when their owner holds down a full time job. Some kennels are large enough allowing the dog to get a little exercise, but not enough to get them in top shape. Dogs are like humans when it comes to getting exercise, we need someone like an owner or a wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend to get us to do it. Like humans, if not given the opportunity to run or forced to exercise, most dogs will simply lie around, becoming over weight and out of shape. The alternative to running your dog regularly is to take him on brisk walks, which takes very little time and the exercise it gives you will do you good.

Another thing that hunters forget to take into consideration when they hunt early season is the heat when their hunting dogs really take a beating. [Read more…]

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Late Season Walleye

It may not seem like it right now, but its fall and soon the fall colors will appear with cold weather is right around the corner.
When the weather is like this, it makes late season fishing a joy, when you do not have to hit the water with three layers of heavy clothing.
Of course, if you fish in the early morning or late afternoon, it would be smart move to bring along an extra sweatshirt or jacket.

It is this time of the year when many anglers will have put their fishing gear away, pulled out their shotgun or bow and is pursuing waterfowl, grouse, archery deer and antelope.
If you are one of those, you may have made a big mistake, as this is the time of the year when you find the larger concentrations of walleye and sauger feeding heavily on the remaining baitfish and prey fish.

Generally, these larger concentrations move into the deeper water where the baitfish have stacked up to spend the winter.
It is during this time of the year when game fish want larger baits and when larger live baits really produce.
Finding the schools of walleye and sauger really is not very difficult this time of the year! You will need to look for them in some of the deepest water located on the lake or river.
Once you have located them, you should be able to come back year after year and find them in about these same areas. As long as the baitfish are in the general area and the structure does not change, the predator fish like the walleye and sauger won’t be far behind. [Read more…]