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Early Season Crankbaits By Gary Howey

  When Bill Christensen, Hartington, Nebraska asked if I would want to go fishing the following Monday, I was ready as I had not done much open water angling for some time.

  Bill is a crankbaiter, loves to pull cranks throughout the year, which works very well, as you can cover more ground and takes the more aggressive fish.

  I had all weekend to finish my next week’s column, and time to re-spool my two main jigging and livebait rods with lighter line, just in case the crankbait bite was off.

  When we arrived at Santee, the dock was crowded with Santee police, tribal game wardens, along with a dozen other folks who were loading up to head out and look for an four wheeler accident victim.

  They asked which way we were heading and asked if we happen to see anything to dial 911 and let them know.

   Bill’s a  crankbaiter and likes pulling # 5 & # 7 Rapala and Berkley Flicker Shads using line counter reels spooled with 14# Berkley Fireline, its smaller diameter line allowed the baits to dive quickly and deeper, yet, when needed, had the strength to land large fish.

  The reels, coupled to eight and ten-foot rods allowed us to spread out the lines, with the longer rods fished out each side and the shorter ones running straight out the back of the boat.

  Once our rigs were ready, we checked to make sure that our baits were tuned correctly, running straight in the water, as if they are not, they go through the water erratically, not running smoothly, in a way that turns off the fish.  They will also run off to the side, running shallow. getting snagged up or tangling with your other lines.

  This time of the year, with the higher water, there s a good chance there will be a lot of trash coming down the lake, grass, weeds, twigs and even logs and when this happens, we clip a small split shot about two to three feet above where the crankbait is snapped onto the line.

  The split shot on your line intercepts grass, weeds etc. from following down your line, ending up on your bait and messing up its action.

  But, It did not take us long to realize that even with a split shot above, the heavier current and trash coming downstream there was  trash getting by, fouling up the action of our crankbaits. [Read more…]


Preparing a Dove Field: Sowing the Seeds of Success

We all know there are many options for preparing a dove field.  Wheat and millets, such as brown top, Japanese, proso, and foxtail, are common choices in this area. But my recommendation for a successful dove field is a sunflower field. At Prairie Wildlife, sunflower fields have resulted in better hunts than millet-planted fields.  On our “opening hunt” in September, bird limits were common among participants. Here are some ideas for your next dove field.

Getting Started

A textbook plot begins with a clean slate. Doves do not like to feed in thick grass or weeds so soil preparation is a key. Your work should ideally begin a year before the hunt. I have found that you should disk and prepare your plots during the late fall (fall in the north), if you plan to use a drill or planter.  By doing the prep work in advance, you get a jump start on the grass and weeds. You also help hold soil moisture in the plot to help the small plants through their most crucial period during the growing process. [Read more…]


6 Essential Camping Tips for Hunting By Chris Cole

Camping is camping, and hunting is hunting, they come together yet in a slightly different way than usual.

If you are on a hunting camping trip, you don’t want to be lugging a 6 person family tent around with you. This would undoubtedly make you stand out to the deer or whatever you are going hunting for.

Apart from this, there are absolute necessities that you need if you wish to go hunting and camping. A host of excellent ghost stories that will liven up the talk around the campfire while you’re cooking your latest kill.

The must-have camping gear for a hunting trip could fill pages as there a lot of things that change depending on the type of hunting you are doing. Here is a condensed version of what might be obvious, and what might be forgotten, these are things you definitely can’t go hunting without.

Weapons and Certificate

If you are off on a hunting trip, it is plainly apparent that you will be in need of a weapon. A lot of this is down to choice and what you are hunting for. There is the fact also of what you are capable of owning and also what you are capable of using.

Some hunters prefer to use a bow or a crossbow, while some hunters prefer the feel of a shotgun or a rifle for larger game. What is crucial is that you know how to use it, and how to use it safely.

If you are new to hunting, it is advised you attend a firearm safety course on how to handle your weapon of choice correctly. It has been known for a hunting partner to receive one in the leg by mistake.

With your weapon sorted, and your new found knowledge of how to use it, you will need a Hunter Education Certificate for most states. For this, you have to attend and pass a hunter safety course. It might sound like “Oh No! Another course” yet without this you cannot purchase your all-important hunting license.

Your Treasured Hunting Knife

Any seasoned hunter will tell you that a good knife is essential, it isn’t just for skinning, it can save your life. Many people who go hunting frequently will have a favorite that they have probably used for years.

You need one that feels good in the hand and will withstand the rigors of chopping branches and the like. Make sure you choose one that will meet all the needs that you think you will need, just make sure it is not a standard pocket knife, that won’t be any good at all.

First Aid Kit

Just in case you are the one who gets a slug in the leg a good safety kit is essential. At the bare minimum, it should have alcohol swabs, bandages of varying sizes and antibiotic cream.

For any cuts or abrasions this will suffice, but it is better to make sure you have plenty more band-aids and such just in case.


 Survival Kit

This can be worth its weight in gold, yet they don’t weigh that much. What they should contain though on the safe side is a Mylar heating blanket. You never know if you get separated and can’t find your way back to camp, you might need something to keep you warm.

Waterproof matches, a fire starter, a good compass, some rope, flashlight and extra batteries, water purifying tablets and some emergency food rations.

These can be worth the extra cost, and when kept safe they can be a real lifesaver. Keep it close to your first aid kit then all you have to do is find your way back to camp.

Hunting Apparel

This isn’t to look good and stand out in the crowd. This is to make you stand out, so the other hunters know where you are. Apart from that, you do need the right clothes when hunting, a pair of Nike just won’t do it for you.

A good pair of boots that will keep your feet dry, a hunting jacket that is robust and will keep you warm and dry and plenty of base layers to keep you warm.

It is these base layers that are the secret of warmth, rather than one thick sweater, wear a couple of thinner items. They trap warm air in between.

Wet Wipes

It might sound a dainty little carrying around wet wipes, yet when you have been lugging a bloody carcass around all afternoon, you will have some dirty hands.

These wet wipes can make sure your hands are clean and sanitized for when you need to eat. Make sure not to purchase scented ones. The animals you are hunting might realize you are coming for them.


Author Bio: Chris Cole is the main writer for Nature Sport Central. He is an outdoor activity specialist having spent the majority of his years either hunting on the land or kayaking and fishing on the water.

Chris can also be found on social media – Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.


South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks new geo-fensing

Earlier this week, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) launched a new geo-fencing technology feature within the outdoor mobile app to alert anglers and boaters to pull their plugs at Lewis and Clark in the southeast part of the state.

A geofence is a virtual perimeter that you can draw around any location on a map, and target customers who enter that location. This new feature allows us to reach not only anglers but recreational boaters as well.

The goal is to trigger anglers and boaters to pull boat plugs at the right time and place. This technology has been enabled at these boat ramps: Lewis and Clark Marina, East Midway, West Midway and Gavins Point. 

If a boater or angler comes within 100 feet of these four boat ramps, an automated alert will be sent to their phone reminding them of South Dakota’s aquatic invasive species regulations.

It is essential that the user have location services and notifications enabled for the outdoors mobile app on their mobile device for the new feature to function properly. 

Thank you,

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks