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Snows on the ground They are on the Move Gary Howey

This winter, the countryside is covered in the white stuff, snow, which means it is prime time to get out and “take a shot” at calling predators.

No longer can predators, fox and coyotes go almost anywhere to pick up an easy meal as the pastures fence lines and shelterbelts are now covered or buried in snow.

Winter makes it hard for predators to find the critters they eat to build up their energy level and to stay warm during those cold winter nights.

The young not so bright critters, the weak and the old are long since gone, while others have gone into hibernation, so predators in the winter have to work hard and at times travel great distances to find a meal.

Predators like all of Mother Nature’s critters are opportunists, taking the easiest route and taking every opportunity for an easy meal.

When predators hear a distress call or the sound of another animal in trouble, whether it is a bird or fur bearer, they are, going to high tail it to the sound hoping to find whatever is making the noise easy pickings.

Calling Predators isn’t a walk in the park, as predators have keen senses including their sight and sense of smell, which can pick you out before you even get set up to call. Do not get me wrong, you do not need to be a Rhodes Scholar to call predators; you just need to use common sense.

One of those things needed to be successful, is to get into the area you want to call without being seen as the eyes of a predator can spot movement at great distances, so stealth, keeping the noise down and blending in with the terrain you will cross are important.

This is where some sort of camouflage, concealment enters into play. When you are calling in snow covered ground, some sort of snow camo can make or break you. My partners our cameraman and I all don complete camo, and at times, wearing snow ghille suits. Everything we bring into the field where we will set up and call, including our rifles, shotguns, clothing, stocking caps, and facemasks match the terrain.

In northeast Nebraska, where we do much of our calling, there is an over abundance of Cedar trees we can back into when we call.

This means, we will be setting on the ground in the snow while our backs are against the Cedars and when we hunt this way why we wear dark clothing above the waist and snow camo below!

You do not need expensive camo to call predators during the winter as something as simple as an old white sheet can do the job. If you are hunting in open ground, you can cut a slot in the sheet, pull it over your head and wear it like a Mexican serape or poncho. [Read more…]

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Four Tips for Eliminating Scent Transfer

M.O.-Game Keepers (1)A great deal has been published about the whitetails’ sense of smell and how incredibly sensitive it is. There’s no doubt, that’s one serious snoot! Much has also been written about using products like Scent Killer to reduce odors on our person, clothes and other gear while hunting, but less has been told about “scent transfer” and the smells you may be leaving behind.

These transmitted smells have the potential of educating whitetails to your presence whether you’re hunting or back at home after the hunt. If they detect the intrusion they may avoid the area all together, blowing any chance you may have had. A mature buck doesn’t need to come in direct contact with you to learn they’re being pursued; they only need to sense the intrusion. Use these tips to avoid scent transfer.

1. These boots are made for hunting
When approaching your hunting site try to avoid walking on the same trails that whitetails might also use. Use rubber-bottomed boots and keep them clean. Rubber doesn’t absorb odors like other materials. Only use the boots for hunting and don’t put them on until you get to your hunting property.

2. Don’t touch me
Whenever you touch an object, whether it’s stopping to rest against a tree, a piece of brush slapping your forehead, or grass rubbing your pant legs as you walk to your stand, it’s like you’re “pushing” your scent into that object. A whitetail WILL smell it. It depends upon time, temperature, humidity and a few other factors on how strong the smell will be and how long it will remain there, but why let them know you’re coming? The best advice is to minimize your contact with trees and brush on your approach, especially during early season when all the green foliage is still on the trees. Prune an approach so that the only thing that will touch anything is the rubber bottoms of your boots. [Read more…]