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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


It’s all in the Presentation! By Gary Howey


  A few weeks ago, we talked about locating fish by finding the structure they relate to. This article will deal with attracting and catching fish once you have located them.

  Presentation is the way you present or deliver your bait to the fish. It is the key to catching fish because without correct presentation, you’re simply anchoring your bait on or close to the bottom.

  The way you present your bait is important, no matter what bait you are using!  You need to make your bait smell, sound, taste and appear lifelike.

  The key to this is the line, if you are using too heavy of test or weight of line, it can make your bait appear very unnatural as it will run through the water in circles or appear erratic.

  Because heavier line has more memory or coiling effect than lighter line, when used with a lighter lure, it can run through the water appearing unnatural.  If the fish does grab your bait these coils or line memory will create problems not only feeling the bite, but also in setting the hook as you have to deal with all the slack in the line.

  Heavier line also has more resistance so it takes longer for it to reach the bottom. This is especially important when trolling crankbaits as heavier line will not allow your crankbait to dive as deep as the lighter line will.

  Another thing affecting your presentation when using crankbaits, is the way your bait runs through the water, so the first thing you should do before trolling a crankbait is to run it along the side of the boat, making sure that it is tuned or runs correctly.

  You want your crankbait to run straight not off to either side.  If it runs off to one side or the other you need to bend the eye, the wire that comes out of the bait in the opposite direction the bait is running.

  A slight bend is all that is needed to tune or make a crankbait run correctly making for a more lifelike presentation.

  Livebait rigs such as the Lindy or Roach rig allow anglers to use a subtle approach. This method gives anglers a very simple yet effective way to present minnows leeches, crawlers or plastics to finicky fish.

  As I mentioned earlier the key to fishing these rigs and all rigs is to present the bait in a lifelike manner.

  Live healthy bait hooked properly will appear more lifelike and catch more fish.

  Hook your leeches through the sucker, allowing them to coil and uncoil, string your crawlers out so it flows through the water and hook your minnows and soft baits through the front part of the lips or eyes, which keeps then straight and with live bait allowing them to last longer on the hook.

  When livebait fishing, yo will not have to worry about loosing your bait as you would when jig fishing because once the bite or tug on the line is felt, the angler releases line, allowing the fish to take the entire bait and hook into it’s mouth.

  You will not want to get caught in the trap where you think your worm, leech or minnow looks good enough, as in order to consistently catch fish with this rig and any other you need to redo your bait often.

  If your bait is not moving or squirming or if you feel a bite, get hung up on weeds, rocks or other debris, replace your bait as fresh bait will out produce old bait 100% of the time.

  When jig fishing, your presentation is not quite as critical as yo will create the lifelike motion by jigging your rod up and down.

  Again when using livebait on a jig, replace it often, keeping fresh bait in front of the fish as much as possible. This is not something you will need to worry about when using plastic baits. [Read more…]


Muff is junior high champion at Cornhusker Trap shoot



Doniphan, Neb. Nebraska Cornhusker Trap Shoot. – Thursday’s opening day of the 49th Cornhusker Trap shoot came down to a duel between two Lincoln shooters. Tanner Muff of Scott Middle School won a shoot-off to win the junior high division championship.

Muff and Jacob Uphoff of Mickle Middle School each hit 99 of 100 targets at 16 yards. In the shoot-off, Muff hit 22 of 25 targets and Uphoff hit 21.

Elmwood-Murdock 4-H repeated as the ladies team champion, with shooters Katelyn Stewart, Taylor Douglas, Alexis Bacon, Sela Rikli and Makenna Schomaker returning from last year’s title team.

Anslee Langrehr of Grand Island Northwest won the ladies individual title, edging second-place and defending champion Ashley Rose of Centura. 5 Clovers 4-H won the 4-H team title and Ogallala, with shooters Garret Duba, Grady Packard, Derik Kennicut, Kade Robertson, Braden Reeser, won the junior high team championship.

On Thursday, 850 junior high shooters competed.

On Friday, 1,683 senior high students are expected to shoot 75 rounds of 16-yard targets. They will shoot 75 handicap targets Saturday, and the combined scores of the two days will determine the overall champion, the Cornhusker Cup winner.

The junior high results are:

Top 20 Individuals – 1. Tanner Muff, Scott Middle School, Lincoln, 99 of 100 (won shoot-off); 2. Jacob Uphoff, Mickle Middle School, Lincoln, 99; 3. Benjamin Menking, Trinity Lutheran, 98; 4. Cade Robertson, Ogallala, 98; 5. Will Hershiser, Lux Middle School, 97; 6. Sawyer Kunc, 5 Clovers 4-H, 97; 7. Luke Beckman, Malcom 4-H, 97; 8. Tyler Johnson, Gordon-Rushville, 96; 9. Zach Eggland, Merrick County 4-H, 96; 10. Hunter Schmidt, Blazing Clover 4-H, 95; 11. Mason Gerdes, Raymond Central, 95; 12. Dylan Martin, Golden Clover 4-H, 95; 13. Aiden Boch, Buffalo County 4-H, 95; 14. Tucker Maxson, Raymond Central, 95; 15. Andrew Stadler, HTRS, 95; 16. Garrett Tachovsky, Blue River 4-H, 94; 17. Cody Zalesky, 5 Clovers 4-H, 94; 18. Robert Kovarik, Western Nebraska 4-H, 94; 19. Tanner Parrish, Irving Middle School, 94; 20. Mason Feely, Elkhorn Ridge Middle School, 94

Top Six Ladies – 1. Anslee Langrehr, Northwest, 94 of 100; 2. Ashley Rose, Centura, 92; 3. Claire Thompson, 5 Clovers 4-H, 92; 4. Kayla Hendricks, Elkhorn Middle School, 90; 5. Cori Combs, York, 90; 6. Haley Yonker, North Platte, 89

Top Three 4-H Teams – 1. 5 Clovers 4-H (Sawyer Kunc, Claire Thompson, Cody Zalesky, Adam Kotas, Holly Zoubek), 457 of 500; 2. Merrick County 4-H, 449; 3. North Star 4-H, 437

Top Ladies Team – 1. Elmwood-Murdock 4-H Pink (Katelyn Stewart, Taylor Douglas, Alexis Bacon, Sela Rikli, Makenna Schomaker), 395 of 500; 2. Burwell, 293; 3. Norris, 274

Top Six Teams – 1. Ogallala (Garret Duba, Grady Packard, Derik Kennicut, Kade Robertson, Braden Reeser), 458 of 500; 2. North Platte Blue, 445; 3. Sutton 1, 434; 4. Beatrice 1, 432; 5. Centura 1, 430; 6. Papillion-La Vista Middle School, 429


The Best Time To Call For Turkeys: Making Gobblers respond

Timing is important in so many things we do, from a musical beat to hitting a baseball to timing the stock market. The better you can anticipate the pulse, peak or sweet spot the better you’ll do. This holds true in turkey hunting, possibly more so than when hunting other game. From knowing when the gobblers will respond the best to your tactics, to knowing when to call on a specific hunt, as they say, “timing is everything.”

The Changing Seasons

Just as the fall hunting season catches whitetails during the rut, spring is breeding season for turkeys. While the decreasing amount of daylight induces whitetails to rut, the increasing photoperiod indicates it’s time for turkeys to begin the rituals and process of propagation. Depending on the region of the United States that you plan to hunt, certain parts of the season are better than others. Knowing approximately when the different stages of breeding will happen can help you know which season to apply for, when to take your hunting vacation or which tactics to use for the time you’re given to hunt.

Gobblers may vocalize early during the spring, especially during warming trends. However, just because toms are gobbling doesn’t mean breeding has begun. They may gobble at times all year long. We typically will require more evidence than sparse gobbling to guess when breeding has actually begun, like strutting toms and increased vocalizations from the rest of the flock.

Going Against Mother Nature

As most of you know, toms gobble to tell hens where to find them. By calling to them and expecting them to come to us, we’re kind of going against Mother Nature. They also add the visual appeal of strutting for the ladies – so it’s kind of backwards to the way humans do it.

When the tom breeds the hen, sperm is stored in the hen’s oviduct and fertilized eggs may be laid up to four weeks after mating. One mating is typically adequate to fertilize an entire clutch, but hens may be bred over and over again.

Hens begin to lay eggs as spring begins and she will lay an egg nearly every day until her nest contains anywhere from about eight to as many as 16 eggs. Normally, you’ll find an average of about a dozen and you’ll see smaller clutches from younger hens. Hens nest on the ground, so thick cover is a must. You’ll often find nests near food and water sources so hatching poults will have bugs, plants and seeds to eat when hatched. Hens will begin sitting on the eggs after they’re all laid and incubation will take about 25 to 30 days.

From my experience, it’s easiest to call in a tom when the real hens aren’t cooperating very well. So taking in the big picture of the entire season, your best luck should come before breeding actually gets going heavy or later in the season when the hens are sitting on their eggs.

Hunting Pressure

Pressure can also come into play. Early during the season it may be easier to call in a tom, because they haven’t been called to yet by other hunters who might suck at the craft. I’ve heard people say that gobblers get “call shy.” I don’t believe turkeys get call shy, I believe they become “stupid hunter shy.” When turkeys want to get together with other turkeys, they make noise, no matter when it is during the season.

In some states, turkeys might not start nesting until the last few days of the season. In other states the birds are already nesting when season opens, but the best hunting, or should I say one of the easiest times to call a gobbler to you, is when the hens are nesting. The problem is that this time will probably come later in the season, and it’s possible ten other hillbillies may have buggered the birds before your turn. So just because they should come to the call doesn’t mean they will, so pressure may also play a big role in how easy it is to draw a bird into your set-up. [Read more…]


My First 2018 Spring Gobbler, “It was Self Defense” By Gary Howey

  Our calls echoed through the thick cedars, nothing, not a sound, no response, we called again and the Tom which was not very far away gobbled. Then a hen appeared along the brush filled fence line moving east away from us with the gobbler following close behind.

  I had no shot, as Larry was off to my right, with several clumps of brush along the fence line in the direction the gobbler headed, where I had no shot. A decision had to be made and made quickly as soon, the birds would be out of sight.

  I had been in the area earlier, but when no gobbler responded to my calls, I gave up on those birds and headed back to town to pick up good friend and fellow hunter Larry Myhre, Sioux City, Iowa from the Cobblestone Motel in Hartington.

  The wind this season had been our nemesis, as the wind wanted to blow almost every day, making it hard to call and locate the gobblers.

  We needed to find a place out of the wind, as we knew that more than likely that would be where the turkeys were, as they did not like wind either.

  A friend of mine knew of a location with an abundance of cedars in a shelterbelt that the birds had used and our plan was to see if we could find a gobbler there.

  It had been a tough spring turkey seasons for me, as several weeks into the season on my first hunt of this spring, my grandson Dylan Kneifl , Pilger and I were out to see if we could bag his first gobbler.  The birds we located would not gobble and those locations where we saw birds strutting earlier, the birds had vanished.

  The day before,  the weather man had predicted a nice day with light winds, Larry came over to hunt with me and  even with the “Light” 35 mile per hour winds the weatherman predicted, we were able to tag his bird, but that a story for a another  time.

  Because we glassed our hunting locations and saw no birds Thursday, we were not sure where to set up on Friday.

  I went out early that morning northwest of Coleridge to the area where we saw birds earlier, to set up and see what I could do. I had one bird gobble twice and then shut up, as he must have had a hen close by and gobbled as he followed her.

  This was not looking good and after picking up Larry, we headed north of Bow Valley to check out a bottom where I saw a gobbler earlier that week. It was a futile attempt as we saw no turkeys and if they were there, they refused to answer our calls.

  We decided to work our way back south to glass several of the areas I had scouted before season, locations that gobblers were using, but once again, nothing appeared and not one gobbler wanted to talk with us.

  Our first stop would be to talk with some friends who were working near the cedar shelterbelt to see if the birds in the area were talking. 

  They indicated that a Tom gobbled earlier that morning north of the place, so we worked our way north, hoping not to sneak into the cedars without spooking the birds. [Read more…]


Preventing Snake Bites

Of all the dangers we face in the outdoors, there are few that instill more pure dread and abject fear than the limbless serpents. Fortunately, the odds of encountering one are as slim as the reptiles themselves, and the chances of being bitten are slimmer still. However, it’s always a good idea to hedge your bets by becoming more familiar with snakes, learning how to avoid them and what to do should the unthinkable happen.

There are four groups of venomous snakes in the U.S.: rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths/water moccasins and coral snakes. First let’s learn a little bit about them.


Rattlesnakes are the largest and the largest group of venomous snakes, comprised of approximately 14 species. They also have the widest distribution, ranging from coast to coast and nearly border to border, though individual species have smaller ranges.

They belong to a subfamily known as pit vipers, referring to a set of heat-sensing organs or “pits” on their faces that are used to sense heat radiation and locate prey. Their most redeeming quality, from which their name is derived, is a set of rattles at the tip of their tail, which they sometimes, though not always, use as a warning when threatened.

It’s a warning that should be heeded. Rattlesnakes can accurately strike at a distance up to one-third their body length. The venom of all rattlesnakes contains a hemotoxin that destroys tissue and causes swelling, internal bleeding and intense pain. The venom of some species, like the tiger and the Mojave rattlesnake also contains a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis and other damage to the nervous system.

Most rattlers tend to avoid interactions with large mammals, including humans, as it wastes valuable energy expending toxins on non-prey species. However, some like the prairie and eastern diamondback have a reputation for being fairly aggressive. Regardless, it’s best just to avoid all species. [Read more…]


For Better Fishing Fish Water Releases Gary Howey

  When I was a guide and tournament angler, I needed to use everything I could to help me catch fish when fishing was tough.

  There were numerous things affecting the bite, shutting the bite down or making it extremely hard to get a bite. 

  Some of these things were cold fronts, heavy winds, no wind, cold-water temperatures, angler pressure and bright sunny days with high daily temperatures.

  In order to allow me to be one-step ahead of the competition, I was always looking for the thing that could give me the edge over other anglers when it came to catching fish.

  Before heading for the river or lake, there was always one thing I made sure to check out and that was to look in the local newspaper to see what the water levels were and discharges coming into the the body of water I was fishing.

  When a release was scheduled, especially a major release, I wanted to be on the water.

 It sure bet when a release was scheduled or a change of water coming down the river, baring any natural disaster, the fishing would start to pick up and the next week or so could be some of the best fishing of the season.

  The heavier the release the better the fishing, but even the smallest change in the discharge could trigger the fish.

  I wish I had figured this out years before as it would have saved me a lot of time and made many of my trips much more successful.

  You do not need to be a NASA scientist to figure it out as has to do with common sense, one thing that others and I sometime did not use enough.

  Water releases can and will trigger fish, especially below a dam or spillway.

  Look at the overall picture and you will see why fishing would pick up below these areas.

  First, you have a huge volume of deep water held back behind the dam or spillway and that deep water is holding and hiding fish of all sizes and species as well as other aquatic life.

 When the gates opened up, there are thousand of gallons of water drawn forcibly through the turbines or gates, bringing with it, the fish and other aquatic life that were above the dam, flushing them downstream.

  The influx of water through the turbines and through the gates brings the gamefish, baitfish and other aquatic life from the lake into the river below, pushing heavy current downstream.

  With the water release, it is the ringing of the dinner bell to those fish living downstream and to those carried with the water from the lake, as they will quickly move up, taking advantage of the injured and wounded critters coming through the dam. [Read more…]


Archery Honors Up for Grabs at 2018 GFP-NASP 3D Tournament

Pierre, S.D. – Young people from across South Dakota will show off their skills at the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State 3D Tournament May 4 and 5. The 3D Tournament uses life-size game animals as targets.

The 3D Target Tournament will be held at the NFAA/Easton Archery Facility in Yankton. Shooting begins at 5 p.m. on Friday and continues at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

The tournament is sponsored by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and will host hundreds of young archers competing for individual and team honors in three age divisions. The top three individual and team winners in each division will receive trophies. All participants receive a free tournament t-shirt.

Students who participate in NASP within their schools or home-school programs are eligible for the competition.

“The GFP-NASP 3D Tournament is a unique event for South Dakota school age youth,” said Pat Klotzbach, NASP coordinator for GFP. “3D shooting not only provides young people with a safe shooting sports experience, it also educates archers on where to aim at game animals when they go hunting.”

There is no charge to attend the tournaments, and the public is welcome. Individuals who wish to volunteer with the tournament may contact outdoorprogramming@gmail.com or call 605.220.2130.


Walleyes throughout the Season By Gary Howey

  Open water anglers have been not so patiently waiting for the ice to come off the Missouri River reservoirs, and once it does, a mass migration towards the river begins as vehicles pulling boats head out to take advantage of the “Pre-Spawn” bite and the first open water.

  The bite prior to pre-spawn on the reservoirs was slow as the fish were in their, “neither moving, nor eating much” winter mode.  

  Those who ventured out onto the ice of the reservoirs caught some good fish, using small jigs, jigging spoons and live bait rigs suspended just off the bottom all tipped with minnows.

    With the fall of the water temperatures, these fish moved into deeper water where both the males and females prepared for the spawn with the females finishing the development of their egg sacks.

  As the daytime temperatures warmed the water, with longer days and more sunlight, the ice started to disappear the walleyes begin to become more active and to feed more. 

  Walleye and sauger in our lakes and reservoirs moved up from the deeper water, into water adjacent to their spawning areas. During pre-spawn, fish feed very little, while they hold off the points and gravel bars, waiting for the spawning conditions to be right.

  This time, there will be some fish will bite, but one needs a ton of patience to catch these fish as we found out two weeks ago on a  walleye fishing excursion to Lake Francis Case.      

   Water temperatures were just above freezing at thirty-four degrees, with a slight breeze that came and went, as the wind died, the little open water we had went glass smooth, the fish became inactive and the bite died.

  The fish we caught were big, we caught them slowly jigging quarter ounce or smaller jigs tipped with larger minnows and live bait rigs worked along the bottom.

  We marked numerous fish on the points and gravel bars, loosing several we hooked when they threw the hook before we could get them to the boat.

  It was a tough bite as the four of us took seven big walleyes in a long day of fishing, not setting the world on fire, but giving us the opportunity to get on the water to escape those cabin fever blues.

  Walleyes living in the reservoirs, fed heavily in the late fall and as water temperatures declined, moved into deeper water where they conserved energy in preparation of the spawn. [Read more…]