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True Conservationists “Hunters” By Gary Howey

 For years, we’ve all heard anti-hunters yell and scream about animals having rights and that hunters don’t care about wildlife.

  I’m sure there are some of you reading this, may think what these anti-hunting groups are saying could be factual.

  When in fact, it was hunters supported the 1937 Pitman Robertson Act, which imposed a 10% excise tax on their purchases of guns, ammunition and outdoor equipment. Through this excise tax, hunters have contributed over $4-billion dollars used to purchase millions of acres of public land that benefits all species of wildlife.

   Another fact you may not heard is that hunters since 1923 asked for and have paid for their state’s hunting licenses.

  This amounts to over $6.5-billion dollars received from these licensing fees, that’s paid for by hunters, the dollars raised from these fees are a major portion of the Nebraska’s and South Dakota’s Game & Parks and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources budgets.

  Since 1934, our waterfowl hunters purchased their Federal Duck Stamps, bringing in close to 800-million dollars, with a percentage of these dollars going directly towards the purchase or lease wetlands and wildlife habitat.

  Add to this the dollars donated by hunters to wildlife groups such as Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Whitetails Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and others, they contribute an additional $300-million each year to wildlife conservation activities. 

  Other items that enter into these figures according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, is that hunting contributes over $30-billion to the economy every year and supports over 1-million jobs

 There are many ways hunters not only support wildlife but also contribute to other worthwhile programs, including numerous fundraisers such as celebrity hunts and benefit trap shoots. These hunters and celebrities at these events help to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. These events do not just support hunting related projects, but projects such as Habitat for Humanity and other events, proving hunters not only care about the outdoors and wildlife; they also care about their fellow man. [Read more…]

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Looking Back at Another Year By Gary Howey

  It’s the time of the year, when temperatures are dropping and the northwest wind is making a visit to our part of the country.

  I’m in the office working with my computer, hating to think that I’ll have to head outside again, when I think about all the last year, 2016, which will be ending soon.

  Overall, it was a very good year, where Team members and I spent some time on the water and in the field with old friends as well as making some new ones along the way.

  We started out our year in Howard, S.D. on a late season hunt where Team member Josh Anderson and I filmed a pheasant hunt, on this trip; it was easy to see why South Dakota is the “Pheasant Capital of the World”.  This trip brought back memories, reminding me of how the pheasant hunting was when I was a boy growing up in Watertown, S.D.  

  Back then, they had a government program, the Soil Bank program with a potion of the farm left idle. This and the method they farmed back then, created thousands of acres of habitat, which help to create excellent pheasant numbers.

  Current pheasant numbers in our area are down, but I’m optimistic and looking forward to bird numbers improving. The new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will create thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, which gives birds a place to nest, roost, raise their chicks and help to protect the birds from predators.

  Following that trip, Team member Simon Fuller and I headed to the Aberdeen-Webster area to do some ice fishing. On the trip there were some big walleyes caught and returned into the icy depths of the Glacial Lake we were fishing. On that trip, I set a record for the most fish caught; unfortunately, they were minuscule, about the length of my hand and released, allowing them to grow up. It was a great trip as it gave us the opportunity to spend time on the ice with folks cut from the same cloth we were, spending time with others who loved to spend time in the outdoors, on the ice on a cold winter day. [Read more…]

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Mother Nature and Waterfowl Hunting On the Sisseton-Wahpeton Reservation Gary Howey

  It was early November, but surely didn’t feel like it, as it’s not often we see the warm 60 to 70 degree temperatures we’ve seen so far this month. 

  Higher temperatures are great for most outdoor activities, however, for those of us who’ve been straining our eyes scanning the horizon, hoping to see those huge flocks of migrating waterfowl, it’s been a slow start for waterfowl hunting.

  The warmer weather hadn’t moved the birds south into northern Nebraska, so Team Outdoorsmen Adventures members Larry Myhre, Sioux City, IA., Josh Anderson, Hartington, NE. and I headed north to do some waterfowl hunting in Northeastern South Dakota near Sisseton, S.D.  hunting on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Reservation. This is a large reservation, encompassing land coming down from the southern North Dakota border east to Travis along the Minnesota line on down to Watertown, the glacial Lakes area, so we had plenty of reservation land to hunt.

  The warmer weather we experience in Nebraska was with us as we came through southern South Dakota and as we arrived at the Casino on I-29 east of Sisseton where we were to meet our guides; the sun was shining brightly with 62 degrees temperatures.

   We’d spend a couple of days in the field with N8tive Hunting Guidez, Brandon Adams and Ray Eastman out of Sisseton, Brandon and Ray offer waterfowl and turkey hunting trips on the tribal ground in northeastern S.D. and southern N.D.

  There were plenty of birds on the reservation, but the waterfowl in the area we’d be hunting had been there for a while and were well educated. We’d heard, because of the warmer weather, the main migration hadn’t made it this far south with the waterfowl stacking up in southern Manitoba and North Dakota.

  The first afternoon hunt would be on a small slough just off one of the larger lakes in the area, and as we approached the slough, the water erupted as a mixed flock of Widgeons and Gadwalls took wing, flying up and over the tree-lined shoreline.

  Brandon and Ray quickly put out two dozen decoys and two robo ducks while our crew blended into the cattails and trees along the shoreline with Ray’s lab, Sophie setting patiently in the cattails waiting for his master to rejoin him.

  Once everything settled down, our guides begin calling, with the call of a lonely hen mallard ringing out across the slough. There’re plenty of birds in the air with several groups of them winging into the decoys, setting down out in front of the decoys, well out of our shooting range.

  As another pair passed overhead, our guide’s calls echoed out across the water, through the trees and out into the distance.

   It didn’t take long before the pair of Gadwalls, approached the decoy spread circling several times, looking and then pulling away.  Our guide’s comeback call rang out causing the birds to circle around, coming back in the direction of our spread.

  Their wings were set, feet down as Brandon called out “Take Em” and all in one motion, our shotguns came up and a volley of steel shot reached out towards the birds. The birds back peddled, pumping hard to put distance between themselves and the pond. Somehow, the birds worked their way up through our shot avoiding it, making their way to safety, up and away through the trees that lined the one side of the pond. [Read more…]

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Mild weather gives waterfowl an edge By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

SISSETON, S.D. | There are few better ways to spend part of a day than to be tucked into a layout blind waiting for the geese to fly. Even if they don’t.

There were a bunch of them sitting on sandbars in Dry Wood Lake just behind us. We could see them but wish as we might, they stayed as if their feet were glued to the sand.

Of course it was 65 degrees, no wind and the migration had mired up because of the unseasonably warm weather. If you are a waterfowler, you know that under those conditions, all bets are off.

And if they were taking odds on our success at the Dakota Magic Casino in North Dakota, just across the South Dakota border, where we were staying, those in the know would have laid their Benjamins against us.

And they would have collected their bets. Only one goose came off the water and seemed to thumb his nose at us as he flew behind our setup and into the lake beyond.

As the sun sank below the horizon we began the work of picking up over 50 full-body Canada goose decoys and layout blinds.

We were hunting on the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Lake Traverse Reservation. I was with Gary Howey and cameraman Josh Anderson, both of Hartington, Neb. We had long heard about the excellent waterfowl hunting on this reservation, which stretches across nine counties from Lake Traverse to Watertown, S.D., and back up to form a kind of triangle of which part is in North Dakota.

We were there for a three-day trip hunting with Brandon Adams of N8tive Hunting Guidez and his friend and fellow guide Ray Eastman.

But, as luck would have it, we ran into the most unseasonable November weather that I can remember.

The migration had come to a halt. The ducks and geese we were hunting had stayed put in the area for over three weeks. Without the influx of new birds, our birds had become educated to the ways of hunters. And believe me, a trophy whitetail buck could take some lessons in how to avoid hunters from ducks and geese that have been educated by hanging out in the same area for too long.

Our hunt began the day before on a small slough just a few yards away from a larger lake. Such small sloughs are loafing areas for puddle ducks throughout the daytime. They prefer this kind of water, primarily from a feeding standpoint. Divers will hold to the larger lakes.

We spooked a lot of ducks off the pond on our way in and set up about 50 decoys, including a couple of Mojo motion decoys. [Read more…]

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Report Shows High Numbers of Mallards, Green-winged Teal for 2016

LINCOLN – Nebraska duck hunters will find good news in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent 2016 waterfowl population status report. The report shows mallard numbers are near record highs and the estimated green-winged teal population is the highest since estimates began in 1955.

The estimated mallard population this year is 51 percent above the long-term (1955-2015) average, while the green-wing teal numbers are 104 percent higher than the long-term average.

Other dabbling duck species varied in abundances from 2015, but all except northern pintails were well above their long-term averages. Overall, the total duck population estimate is 38 percent above the long-term average.

“For most Nebraska duck hunters, the trends in the dabbling duck species – mallards, teal, gadwall, wigeon, shoveler and pintail – are the most important to examine,” said Mark Vrtiska, waterfowl program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “The top two birds in terms of harvest in Nebraska – mallards and green-winged teal – both are doing very well.” [Read more…]

http://outdoorsmenadventures.com/12829-2/

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Drawing them In Exciting and Effective By Gary Howey

Nothing is more exciting than using a call to draw animals or birds in for a shot; it could be deer, waterfowl, crows or turkeys. When they turn and start moving your way, your heartbeat will quicken, your hands will start to shake and you will have trouble with your breathing.

It happens to even the most well seasoned hunter, it is a rush, you are fooling some of Mother Nature’s wiliest critters and even if you do not get the shot, just having the opportunity to draw them in is exciting!

My first attempt at calling would be for deer, it was my first deer hunt as I had gotten permission to hunt deer along a creek north of town. There was an old deer stand built in a tall tree along the creek. The first time I climbed it to see if it was a good stand, I was not sure if I had enough nerve to climb that high. Once I got up there, it was a great vantage point as I could see both sides of the creek as well as the ridge to the south.

It needed a little work, but once I had the stand beefed up, it looked like it would give me an excellent shooting platform, giving me the opportunity to take my first deer.

Back then, I read everything I could about hunting and the outdoors. I would have a stack of outdoor publications piled next to my chair in the living room where I read and re-read them.
In one of the magazines, there was a column on rattling deer in Texas. The sound would imitate two bucks fighting, it looked interesting, not to difficult and something; I could do and not screw up.

One of my friends loaned me a set of antlers from a deer he had taken years ago, which I tied together with some light cord. I practiced at home, thought I sounded good and patiently waited for the season to open.

When opening day came, I was ready, had my new 243 zeroed in, plenty of warm clothes and my hunter’s orange vest and cap. [Read more…]

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Fall, the time of the year When you Better be Ready!

Fall; when things get hectic, there is so much going on and so little time.
Some of our Team Outdoorsmen Adventures Members are still fishing, but all, are starting to think hunting.
Our Waterfowl Pit & Blinds are ready with our Decoys ready to go on the water and in the field, Calls have been tested and adjusted, the Shotguns cleaned and our Ammo purchased.
Food Plots are in, the Game Cameras in place, our Deer Stands set up, our Rifles zeroed, and Bows sighted in

Our Hunting Dogs has been out and are ready to go, the time of the year when Outdoorsmen and Women like our crew have their pickups and 4-wheelers loaded for all seasons. [Read more…]

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Duck numbers remain high, Drier conditions on the prairies demonstrate importance of Boreal Forest habitat

Reprinted from Ducks Unlimited
Memphis, Tenn. – July 2, 2015 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) today released its report on 2015 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations, based on surveys conducted in May and early June by FWS and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Overall duck numbers in the survey area are statistically similar to last year and remain strong. Total populations were estimated at 49.5 million breeding ducks in the traditional survey area, which is 43 percent above the 1955-2014 long-term average and the highest count on record. Last year’s estimate was 49.2 million birds.

View all the data and get a species-by-species breakdown at www.ducks.org/DuckNumbers.com.

“We are fortunate to see continued high overall duck populations in North America’s breeding areas this year,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “Though conditions were dry in some important habitats, we had large numbers of birds returning this spring and good conditions in the Boreal Forest and other areas of Canada. It looks like some typical prairie nesters skipped over the U.S. prairies and took advantage of good conditions farther north. This is an important reminder about the critical need for maintaining abundant and high-quality habitat across the continent. The Boreal Forest, especially, can provide important habitat when the prairies are dry. But the Boreal is under increasing threats from resource extraction.” [Read more…]