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Stance and Shooting Tips

Don’t Bring The Gun To Your Shoulder

When you bring the gun to your shoulder, you tend to throw it up to your shoulder and then throw your head down to the gun. When you do that, you cock your eyes and lose the depth perception needed to make the shot. The proper technique would be bring the gun to your face. In doing this, your shoulder just follows without creating excessive movement. When you bring it straight to your face, your eyes remain level and are fixated right down the barrel.

Keep The Muzzle Up

The other thing that I notice a lot of times with shooters is that they’ve got the gun in a lowered position. What happens here is when the bird comes close, you have to bring the gun up, find the gun, find your target and set your lead. This is very difficult to do when you’ve got a bird flying 90 miles an hour. It’s a tough shot anyway, but if you have the gun already up in the mount forward position, you already know where your gun is. You can see your barrel, you see the bird come in, and all you do is bring the barrel right to your face.

Lean Forward

You want to lean forward into the gun all the time and not shoot while leaning back. If you’re leaning back, you’ll absorb full recoil and it can hurt. Just remember to bring the gun to your face, keep your muzzle up, and lean forward. Follow these pointers and you’ll have much more success in the field. 

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For more GameKeeper shooting tips, read “How To Determine Your Dominant Eye.” As GameKeepers, we owe it to the animals we hunt to be a good marksman and make ethical shots. For new shooters or those that have trouble looking at open sights or scopes, finding your dominant eye is the first step in becoming a better shot.

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Hunting Seasons are Here by Gary Howey

  You have to feel it, the air, the cool brisk temperatures and the breeze that will soon bring the cold weather our way. 

  My old hunting dog, “Mo” knew right away that it was here; he had a little more bounce in his step when I let out for his run

  He would come out of the kennel on a dead run, nose to the ground, tail high in the air and after two or three laps around the yard, run to the back of the pickup thinking that it was time to go hunting.

   You will not have to look at a calendar to know that fall arrives on September 22. You will feel it!

  With the arrival of fall outdoorsmen and women, know that hunting seasons have begun or are getting close

    In South Dakota, one of the first seasons to open is the sharptail grouse/prairie chicken season, which opened Sep 15, 2018, closing January 6, 2019. 
  South Dakota Game & Parks lek surveys indicated that grouse numbers were looking good this year with substantial increase in numbers in several counties including; Jackson, with a 321% change, Beadle with its 100% change and Jerauld-Aurora  that has a 125% change over last year.

  Sharp-tailed grouse, the sharptails and greater prairie chickens, known as prairie grouse, closely related native birds found across areas of the state where you will find mainly prairie landscapes of central and western South Dakota. 

  Sharptails have a short tail with its two center feathers longer and darker than its outer tail feathers, giving its tail feathers that sharper look than those of the prairie chicken and where these birds gained their name. Their coloring is mottled dark with a light brown and a light background, while prairie chickens have a shorter tail that is, dark, and rounded. Grouse have feathers running all the way down their legs to their toes, while the prairie grouses feet are hairless.         

 Most prairie grouse hunting occurs on large expanses of grassland, but some birds occur in cropland along the field edges in grassland areas. They group up in coveys, which grows in numbers size in later season. Prairie grouse can also be found in mixed flocks in areas where their habitat or range overlaps.

  Grouse are a creature of the prairie and like most other wildlife living on the prairie; depend on their eyesight for safety.

  Grouse locate in areas where they have a clear sight of vision.  At times, it will be an area with thinnest cover as this gives them the ability to spot danger at a distance.

  Since they inhabit the prairie, where it seems like it is always windy, look for grouse on the downwind side of a ridge or hill.

  They will move into thick cover to get out of the sun and I have found them nestled under cedar trees on very warm sunny days.

  If you are hunting on a day that is very warm, especially during the early season, look for them around stock tanks, ponds or any location where they might easily find water.

  The edges of irrigated alfalfa fields are also a good spot to look for grouse as the alfalfa is a good food source for the birds and the irrigation systems wheel tracks generally hold enough water to quench the grouses thirst.

  A good way to locate grouse is to look a field over with your field glasses before heading into it to hunt. As grouse will usually have a sentry or two with their head protruding above the grass looking for danger. [Read more…]

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The Outdoors A place to Get it Together By Gary Howey

 

I have always been somewhat of a sports enthusiast. Competing in about every sport a person can imagine.

In grade school, it was track, baseball, and football, in high school track and football and once I moved to Nebraska it was softball. 

I no longer compete in any of these sports, not because I do not enjoy them, it is just that I have slowed down a bit and I do not move quite as fast as I used to or heal up as fast.  I still think I can do these things, but my body tells me different.

I still spend thousands of hours each year watching or listening to sports on the radio and TV, so I have not lost my love for these sports.

As a youngster, growing up in Watertown, South Dakota, an outdoor paradise where my father, grandfather and our neighbor introduced me to hunting and fishing, which was the start of my lifelong love of being in the outdoors.

Many of my fondest memories as a youngster were those that I spent learning about it from Glen Matteson our neighbor and excursions into the outdoors with my dad Cal and my grandfather Butch Menkveld. 

I have always enjoyed the outdoors and since my early years have really gotten into outdoor activities.

I love fishing, I am hooked, and enjoy fishing with a rod & reel, it does not matter what species of fish I am after.  I have been very fortunate to have an occupation where I can fish for walleye and catfish in several provinces of Canada and walleye as well as fishing for smallmouth bass on several of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. On one trip to Mississippi, I caught crappies while keeping an eye out for alligators and had time to spend hundreds of hundreds hours pursuing walleyes, northerns and bass in the many Glacial Lakes of South Dakota and on the Missouri River and its reservoirs.

Therefore, it just makes sense that I also bow fish for paddlefish and rough fish on the Missouri River after the invasive species, the Grass, Big Head and Silver carp trying to put a dent, it may be a small one, but every one out of the river is one less we need to worry about. 

  Invasive species, devastating are waters, devouring much of the plankton available as they have a voracious appetite, feeding continuously. These fast growing plankton feeders compete and to the baitfish, young gamefish, and our paddlefish.

To some the outdoors is not successful unless you get your limit. To others it is the time spent with friends, in that special place as Mother Nature awakens the World. (Outdoorsmen Productions Photo)

When it comes to hunting, another of my favorite pastimes, I hunt with a rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader and bow, pursuing pheasant, quail, waterfowl, turkey, deer, antelope, wild boar, bear, predators and elk. 
  My family has probably eaten as much wild game as any family.  It is lean, low in cholesterol and when taken care of in the field and prepared properly makes for some excellent eating.

However, it is not the fish or wild game that I bring home that keeps bringing me back, it is the outdoors. I know some people will find that hard to believe, but it is a fact.

I head outdoors to get away, to get back to reality.  I have learned many of lives lessons in the outdoors as I watched and listened to the world waking up when a squirrel is chattering at the birds that are  bothering him  and as I watched a doe and her fawn making their way from where they were feeding to their bedding area.

  You might say the outdoors is my therapy.   Many people go to a therapist to get things figured out, to get their life in order.  I guess I am from the old school and feel that a little peace and quiet along with fresh air will solve many problems.

When I am outdoors, I have a lot of time to think and reflect on what I have done right and wrong with my life.

There is nothing like hearing a tom turkey gobble or a pheasant cackle as the sun is coming up.  The sound of a bull elk bugling in the distance will awaken senses that you never knew you had.

When I first got into the outdoors, it was great to be outside, but I was of that age where I had to be successful, to bring something home, hoping to get my limit, to prove to my folks and myself that I had accomplished something.

  Now days, I do not need to fill my tags or my limit in order to get something out of a day in the woods or on the water, in the outdoors.  The time spent with friends and family camping, fishing or hunting allows me to forget about the deadlines that I have given myself.

 I do not worry about things when I am in the outdoors.  I know that those things will still be there when I return to my office, but the time I am outdoors is relaxing and invigorating to me, it helps me to recharge my internal batteries.

I get just as much of a thrill out of introducing someone to the great things the outdoors has to offer as I do from bagging a big buck or catching a nice walleye.

That is the reason I have been a Nebraska certified fishing instructor and a certified hunting instructor for twenty-five years.

Learning about the outdoors is not hard as those who love the outdoors and there are thousands of them, individuals who have spent time in every aspect of the outdoors, more than willing to help you to discover the outdoors.

 Conservation groups such as Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, The National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited and other conservation groups all have youth programs.

 Most states have hunter’s safety instructors, bow hunter education instructors and aquatic education instructors that hold classes throughout the state, every year. 

The outdoors is not just a male thing as there are programs set up just for the women.   The “Becoming an Outdoorswomen” is a very popular program that is given several times each year in Nebraska as well as in other states.

  In our hunter’s safety classes, we always have at least six girls and women taking the course as women are the fastest growing segment of the outdoors.

Getting into the outdoors is not very hard to learn about and has something for everyone. The next time you feel like you need to catch your breath and get yourself together, look into the outdoors, go fishing, boating, kayaking, bird watching or just hiking as the sunshine, fresh air and tranquility of the outdoors can help you to get back on track.

  Good advice, after this hectic week, trying to get everything taken care of before heading north to our writer’s conference, I need a break, think I need to spend some quality time in the outdoors, so I am going to head out to the pond I hunt to see if any new doves have migrated south!