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Getting ready for Spring Turkey By Gary Howey

  For those of you, who like me, live for spring shotgun turkey hunting, our wait is almost over; it will not be long before we will be in the field.

  Archers have been in the field since March 25 in Nebraska and April 1 in South Dakota while the hunters armed with shotguns will have to wait until South Dakota until April 8 and Nebraska April 15.

  With the increase in turkey numbers throughout the upper Midwest, we hunters have the opportunity to obtain several permits.

  There have been years, when my hunting partners and I have had permits in several states, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Missouri.

  The first thing I do once I know I’ll have my permit, is to get out and check with the farmers and ranchers where I’ve hunted in the past, obtaining permission, as things might have changed since the last time I hunted there. In some cases, part of or all of the land may have been sold or been leased to another or woodlands converted to crop ground, which changes our whole game plan. 

  After obtaining permission, I do a drive by; looking the area over for any changes that might have occurred since I was there last and armed with this information will locate a map of the area so I know exactly how the land lies and where the property lines are. It is not a bad idea to contact adjourning landowners to inform them you will be hunting the area so there will not be any surprises when they see you or your vehicle parked near their land. 

  I do not know how many times I have stopped by an adjourning landowner to let them know I would be hunting nearby, when they thanked me or even gave me permission to hunt on their land.

  After getting my permission and obtaining everything I could find about where I plan on hunting,  I’ll spend some spend time in the field, scouting, with my first scouting opportunity while hunting deer sheds as this gives me an early opportunity to check things out.

  During this time of the year, there may be snow on the ground, with the birds still in their large winter flocks, if so, locating them, an easy task.

  With snow on the ground, figuring out where the birds are congregating, feeding and roosting is easier. Turkeys are scratchers, so look for areas where the snow or leaves are pulled back, leaving open areas, where the turkeys have scratched down through the ground debris and snow to find food. [Read more…]

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Poachers Stealing from us all By Gary Howey

  Those that take game illegally, poachers are robbing us, the hunters as well as our state of valuable resources and something needs to be done to stop this.

  It’s not just a problem for one state; it’s one affecting all the states and one that needs to be addressed.

  Some of the animals poached were left lay to rot, while others had their head and rack cut off that were either mounted and displayed as a legal mount in the poachers home or sold to someone else who had it mounted and displayed.

  It’s not just big game animals that are poached as fish are also affected by poaching as they over bag, taking more than their limit, which depletes the fish population, and if continued over an extended period may deplete the ponds fish population. If a poacher takes a trophy fish illegally, it takes away legal anglers the opportunity of catching that trophy fish.

  Many times, those that have broken the law, poached big game or came home with five to ten time their limit of fish seem to get away with it, receiving a small fine, probation and little else.

  Take for instance when poachers killed and left lay 25 antelope in western Nebraska the two men should have lost their right to hunt, paid huge fines and then went to jail. This would have been a deterrent to them and others who think nothing of breaking our game laws and robbing law-abiding hunters the opportunity to take these animals.

  These poachers received fines of $950.00 and sentenced to 18 months probation and each man ordered to pay $530.00 in court costs and $6,000.00 in liquidated damages.

  The liquidated damages, what the state deems the animals poached were worth, if divided among the fifteen animals is only $240.00 for each animal.   [Read more…]

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I’m a “Fan” of Turkey Hunting By Gary Howey

  It was twelve or so years ago, when I suggested to my  hunting partner Larry Myhre that we should come up with some type of turkey fan that would help us sneak up on Gobblers. He thought it was a good idea, but said it sounded like work and he was looking for less.

   That next spring, I took one of my turkey fans that I had spread out and dried into the field with me, didn’t have much luck with it and abandoned the idea.

   Since then, I’ve used then every spring and have fooled more long beards with them than I had every thought possible.

   Several years ago, my Outdoor Adventures radio co-host Simon Fuller was operating the camera as I called in a group of young birds using a combination of my calls and the fan. They five of them came into my decoys feeling brave with all of the birds fanned out as they approached my jake and hen decoys.

 As they surrounded my jake decoy, I made the raspy call of an old gobbler, raised the fan and all five of the birds about dirtied themselves as they did their best to get away from my fan.

  On the same hunt, using my fan and calling, I called a hen a long ways and when she came within sight of my decoys lost interest and started to move away. However, when I brought my fan back up, she came within arm’s reach of me and refused to leave, I think she fell in love with my turkey fan. I finally had to chase her away as she was messing up my turkey hunting.

  Later that day as we were heading back towards town with my Honda Pioneer, we spooked a big Tom that took off running across a pasture. Down the road a ways, we spotted two gobblers and a hen bout a 1/2 mile away, in order for the birds to hear and see the fan, we crawled through the pasture, with my fan out in front of us, up to the fence line and started calling. I watched the birds with my binoculars and each time I called, they would gobble but not leave the hen.

  Simon had the camera zeroed in on them as I brought the fan up high and worked it from side to side, hoping to get the birds attention, but to no avail. Suddenly I saw the gobbler, the bird we had spooked as we came in, on the other side of the gobblers and hen and each time I raised the fan, he would head in our direction.

  He ran right past the other birds and came in our direction and each time the fan came up would strut and gobble, coming closer all the time.

  When I said “the birds coming in”, Simon who was still locked on the two gobblers and hen disagreed with me and wasn’t sure what I was talking about. By this time the bird was out a 100 yards or so when I told Simon “can you hold this fan up as I can’t shoot and run it at the same time” that he looked my way and spotted the gobbler out in front of me. [Read more…]

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Setting the Hook The Key to Landing more Fish By Gary Howey

  It’s said that a definition of a fisherman is a jerk on one end of a line waiting for a jerk on the other end.

  You know there’s some truth to that statement!  If you don’t jerk or set the hook properly, you’re going to do a whole lot of jerking, not much catching and then feel like a jerk when you miss the fish.

  It’s happened to all of us, you feel a tug or a little extra weight on the end of your line and you instantly jerk back, which at times works out well!

  There can be quite a bit of difference when and how to set the hook and a lot of it depends on what you’re fishing for, what action rod you’re using and what type line you have on your reel.

  Let’s look at it from the fish’s point of view?  The fish is just lying on or near the bottom when along comes a tasty looking morsel, in this case a jig with a minnow. He  glides up to it, looks it over, decides it’s just what he’s looking for, flares his gills, sucking the bait in only to have it jerked out of the side of his mouth.

  What’s wrong with this picture?  Well to begin with the best place to hook a fish is in the top of the fish’s mouth, the boney part of its mouth, not in the side where there‘s very little bone and a whole lot of soft skin.

  So when you set the hook it’s best to pull straight up, because you have a better chance that your hook will penetrate the top of the mouth.  If you pull to the side, you’re more apt to pull the hook away from the fish or hook him in the soft tissue in the side of the mouth where it can easily pull out.

  If you’re using a live bait rig or jig and feel a fish pick up your bait, your best bet for a good hook set is to reel up the slack line eliminating any bow in your line.  Once you feel the weight of the fish on your line bring the rod tip straight up not side ways, forcing the hook into the top of the fish’s mouth.

The way you set the hook is extremely important with crappies as their mouth is paper thin on the side and a hook set to the side may result in the hook tearing through the side of the mouth.

  By reeling up the slack line, you’re removing the bow in your line, shortening the distance between the end of your rod and the hook, allowing you to drive your hook home with less effort.

  This is especially important if you’re using monofilament line because mono has a tremendous amount of stretch. In order to set the hook using mono, not only do you have to use enough force to penetrate the hard, bony top of the fish’s mouth, you also have to pull hard enough to make up for the stretch in the line.

  If you’re using one of the super lines like Fireline and Spider Wire, it’s a completely different story.

  To get the inside scoop on these super lines and how to fish them different, I contacted Berkley, the manufacturers of both Fireline and Spider Wire.

According to the folks at Berkley, “you’re going to have to fish super lines differently than you will mono since super lines have no stretch.

  If you fish Fireline or Spider Wire the same way you fish mono, you’re going to end up pulling the bait away from or tear it out of the fish’s mouth.”

  For walleye fishing, they recommend a rod with a fast, limber tip as this takes the place of the stretch in the mono, giving you a little give when you set the hook.

 

  When fishing for Bass, Pike and Muskie, you’re going to want to go to a moderate action rod which not only gives you a little give when you set the hook into these hard hitting, hard charging fish. The heavier rod will have enough backbone to drive the hook home and be able to bring them to the boat.

  This is especially true in current as you need to be quick with your hook set, but not so quick that you rip the bait from the fish.”

  If you’re fishing super lines in shallow water, it’s a good idea to go with a Medium Light rod.  In medium depths a Medium rods will work well and when you’re fishing water deeper than 25”, he’d recommend using a Medium Heavy rod.

  With super lines, you let the rod set the hook and that’s why a quicker tip rod works well.

The main thing you need to remember to become a more consistent catcher and not a jerker is to make sure that you reel up all the slack line once you feel a bite, that bring your rod tip straight up, driving the hook into the top of the fish’s mouth.

  If you set your hook to the side, more times than not, you’ll pull the bait away from the fish or tear the hook through the soft tissue on the side of the fish’s mouth.

  By keeping a tight line, you’re going to detect more bites and by setting the hook by bringing your rod straight up, you won’t believe how much your fish hooking ability will improve.

 

 

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Howey and Myhre Inducted into Hall of Fame

           Two area Outdoor communicators will be inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Sioux Falls 50th Annual Sportsmen’s Show.

          Gary Howey, Hartington, Neb., and Larry Myhre, Sioux City, Iowa, will be inducted at 3:30 p.m., March 11 on the Seminar Stage at the Sioux Falls Arena. Professional walleye angler and Fishing Hall of Famer Ted Takasaki will conduct the ceremony.

          Howey, originally from Watertown, S.D., and a Viet Nam veteran, has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 when he began production of The Northeast Nebraska Outdoorsmen newspaper. He sold the Outdoorsmen magazine in 1995 when he created the Outdoorsmen Adventures television series, which airs throughout the year in seven upper Midwestern states.

          He has written a syndicated Of the Outdoors column since 1980 for newspapers and magazines.

          In 1990, he developed Outdoorsmen Productions, an outdoor-related promotional company.      

          In 2009, he produced the first of his Outdoor Adventures radio shows which he co-hosts. The show airs six days a week in southeast South Dakota, northeast Nebraska and northwest Iowa.

          A former hunting and fishing guide, Howey has given fishing seminars in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.

          Over the years, Howey has won several local, states and national awards for his print, radio and television work. [Read more…]

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Larry Myhre’s outdoor columns will be missed By Gary Howey

In Larry’s column this week, he said goodbye as he wrote his final column for the Sioux City Journal after 44 years. Myhre has been my fishing/hunting partner, my mentor and my best friend for many of those years.

  When folks read Larry’s columns, he didn’t just write about the fishing and hunting, his columns were so well written, so descriptive that his readers felt as if they were right there with him.

  On many of our excursions, our columns were written about the same trip, but after I read his, I wondered if perhaps, we weren’t writing about the same trip. Sure, the fishing and hunting we both wrote about was the same, but the way Larry describe our location, with every little detail, the sunlight on the trees, the sound of the water coming down the creek and other little things made his column jump out at people and they just couldn’t put it down and had to keep reading. [Read more…]

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Keeping your Body warm in Sub Zero Temperatures, Cabela’s X-Bionic Base Layer By Gary Howey

  As an outdoorsman, I spend countless hours outside when it’s cold. In the winter, we’re on the ice, while in the summer, our crew is on the water and as fall arrives, you’ll find us in the field, and in deer stands.  I’ve always had problems keeping warm, especially in the late fall when hunting waterfowl, ice fishing and .

   If I wear the heavy bulky clothing I used to wear in these conditions, I have trouble bringing my shotgun up and just moving around in bulky clothing.   

  When we have to walk great distances as we do when calling predators or getting to our deer house or stands, if I layer up, by the time I reach where I want to set up or get to the deer stand, I am sweated wet and will be cold from that point on.

  During the late pheasant-hunting season, in early winter when you are one of the walkers, if you dress too lightly, you’re cold and if you dress too heavy by the time, you reach the end of your first field you’re overheated and are cold. 

  I’ve tried everything, layers, long johns, polypropylene long underwear and almost everything available, but some are not enough while others are too much.

  Later last fall, I’d heard many good things about Cabela’s X-Bionic Base layer First-On-Skin-Energizer that was developed by Swiss scientists, the system they scientifically proven and patented.

  The advertisements indicates that the 3D-Bionic Sphere System maintains your body core at an optimum 98.6 F no matter what the temperature.

  I’d tried everything else, so why not try the X- Bionic base layer. When I opened the package from Cabela’s, it was obvious these were like no other base layer I’d seen as they are constructed much differently. The advertising on the X-Bionic indicated that it was designed to turn perspiration into therm-regulating power and I was looking forward to see if what they said about it was true.

  Woven into the chest and back area is there 3D-Bionic Sphere System that starts working as soon as you start to sweat, to cool you when you’re hot and warms you when you’re cold but without over-cooling.

  Built into the material, there Air-Conditioning Channels, a ventilation system that continuously carries moisture away, keeps you warm,  allowing the air to flow to parts of your body not normally accessible when wearing other base layers. [Read more…]

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It’s the little things In fishing By Gary Howey

  With 68-degree temperatures predicted the week I’m writing this column, I’m in the mood to get ready for spring fishing.

  Last spring, I was in such a hurry to get out and do some summer fishing, I threw things into my tackle bag and didn’t think about re-organizing it. Unfortunately, I did the same thing with my fall fishing gear and now my tackle bag looks as if a bomb went off in it. My walleye spinners are intertwined with my live bait rigs and my jigs and crankbaits stuck together.

  Most of the time, I’m Mister organized, but not this time of the year as everything is in turmoil and I have to get things straightened out before the water opens up.

  All of my Plano 3700 tackle boxes in my walleye tackle bag are lettered; jigs, live bait rigs, crankbaits and bottom bouncers, so I know where this gob of tackle that’s stuck together should go.

  The first thing I’ll need to do, because it takes the longest is to untangle my live bait rigs from the spinners. This is a real pain, especially now that most of my tackle is tied with lighter line and my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be.

  I went to lighter line on these to eliminate the coils or memory that I had with the heavier line. With the heavier line, the spinners and rigs didn’t lay out as smooth or run through the water straight, so by going to lighter line, my line has less memory.

  Once I have them untangled, I’ll coil them, put them in small Ziploc bags which allows me to see what’s there and return them to my livebait tackle box. It may take a little extra time, but worth it when I hit the water this spring.

  Next, I’ll work on my jigs, the ones that were not only tangled with my other baits, the ones that were wet when I threw them into my bag.

  It doesn’t take much to clean them off; all that’s needed to clean them is to wipe them off with a clean rag. On jigs, the first thing you’ll want to do is to remove any hardened bait; minnows, pieces of crawlers etc. that wasn’t removed before you tossed them into your tackle bag. If you were using Berkley Gulp, it may take a sharp knife to cut through it, as Gulp will become rock hard if not returned to its original airtight container.

  The main thing you need to pay attention to before putting them away is the hook; you want to make sure it’s sharp. To check it for sharpness take the hook and run it across your fingernail, if it’s sharp, it should scratch the nail.  If they don’t, grab your file or diamond hone and sharpen them until they do.

  With crankbaits, you’re going to have to wipe them down, get the crud off them and then check the treble hooks, when crankbaits snag, the treble hook is the culprit and to get them loose requires a lot of pressure, which can bend or disfigure your treble hook. Check them to make sure they’re straight and if not, straighten them using needle nose pliers. You shouldn’t need much pressure to bring the hook back in line but, if the hook has become rusted, it may break off when you straighten it. If it does, it’s not a problem, as replacement treble hooks are easy to find. Now you’ll want to check to see if the treble hooks are sharp and if not, sharpen them as was mentioned previously in this column.

  This time of the year, when there isn’t a whole lot to do in the outdoors it’s a good time to get your tackle cleaned up and if your tackle boxes inside your bag identified, as it makes it easier for you to find what you need on the next trip. [Read more…]

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Ice Fishing at 50 degrees By Gary Howey

  There’s something to be said about ice fishing when it’s fifty degrees, it’s not the type of weather you usually associate with ice fishing.  For one thing, your hands and the rest of your body isn’t as cold as those minus thirty-three wind chill days you had been on the ice. That day when we traveled five hours north with a film crew and had to film as we had been invited up by one of our sponsors and the day before wasn’t as bad with the weatherman indicating that the following day wouldn’t be all that bad!

  On fifty-degree days, you can fish without heavy gloves, making it easier to untangle your lines and easier and quicker to tie on or bait ice fishing micro baits when you don’t have to wear gloves.

  The best thing about it is you don’t have to bribe your friends to go ice fishing with you.

  When the forecast for Friday February 10 was for fifty-degree weather and little wind in the morning, it sounded like a good time to hit the ice.

  Some of my fishing partners were worried about the ice and not having enough ice but after I assured them that there was eight inches a few days before, they were all in.

  Dani Thoene and I hit the ice first, with Dani punching holes and me following up behind him to clean up the ice mound around the hole and scoop them clean.

  Larry Myhre, Sioux City, IA. pulled in shortly after we arrived and set up on one of the holes to the east of where I was fishing.

  Ten minutes later Anthony Thoene arrived and began fishing not too far from where Larry had set up, with Melvin Kruse rounding out our crew.

  We’d be fishing on a privately stocked pond in northeast Nebraska, one that I’d fished in open water and knew there were some big fish patrolling the depths as on one occasion, I was fishing with heavy line and was broken off when a big fish hit my lure and broke me off in open water.

  We all had Vexilar locators, showing letting us know when fish moving in on our baits, but as many fish do in the winter, they weren’t overly aggressive.

  I rigged up a live bait bobber rig with a minnow and jigged with another rigged tipped with a wax worm hoping to entice a crappie. Larry, Dani and I were doing a number on the smaller bluegill and bass, with two or more of us pulling fish up at the same time.

 A thick red line, indicating a fish moved up under my bait, I raised my bait just a bit, as I waited for the fish to move up to the bait, I watched the sensitive spring bobber at the end of my rod as it will indicate a bite long before you feel it.  [Read more…]