I was at a show this weekend and took a picture of this freak beast. This is the world record 8 point that was poach right here in Minnesota. The second biggest 8 was killed in Michigan and scored 183. This buck grosses 190 5/8 and nets 185!!! The giant had a dressed weight of #269. It really is an impressive sight. #worldrecord
Well, it has been over a week now without any antlers. The deer that have been coming in have dropped. I have got some pictures you can actually see where the antler was attached. At this point in the game it’s pretty hard to tell who is who and if every buck has come back in. I just have to believe that they are on the ground now. Good luck finding them. With all this new snowfall I will unfortunately have to wait until early spring when the snow pack drops. I will probably only but out a bit more for one more week after this week. Time to sit back and wait till spring. Then look and see if anyone dropped close to the site. Then perhaps start planning a plot…
Only one of the small bucks has shed his antlers. A couple days after this picture was taken he came back with both sides shed off. Any day they will start dropping pretty good.
Unfortunately, most of my actual searching is going to have to be closer to spring. The snow is just getting too deep to find anything. Like this guys tiny antlers would be nearly impossible to locate in all this snow. Hopefully some will drop on the more packed down trails. Time will tell. We are just going to keep on with the Drop Project!
Anyone out there picking up any antlers yet???
The snow piles up, the ice thickens, and temps don’t ever seem to recover. Thoughts of babbling trout streams, clusters of morels, and gobbling toms enter your brain more and more with each and every passing day. Oh don’t think it only happens in the summer, it is officially the dog days of winter. Lots of dangling suckers under flags and Uno games in the truck. As long as the flags keep poppin’ up I’ll be waiting patiently. If you’ll excuse me, we got a flag!
So, I’ve got a project in full effect right now. I’m calling it The Drop Project.
A place where a thicket, a cattail slough, and large prairie grass stand all come together is home base for The Drop Project. What I have done here is created a mineral site enhanced with a little corn and oats protein additive. This was an area deer were staging in and even had been doing a little bedding close by. I knocked down some of the tall grass and placed a Trophy Rock about 15 feet in front of the tree had picked to hang my trail cam on.
My additive I used to boost activity is whole corn, whole oats, and a protein mineral mixed up in 5 gallon bucket. I use about 3/4 of a bucket a week. When I dump the mix I don’t make one pile. I spread it around very thinly. This helps them to move around more giving me better spaced out pictures of the deer when there’s multiple deer at the sight at one time.
The point is to not feed the deer, but to get them to stop in and get their picture taken. You don’t want to put down 100 pounds at a time so the deer become dependent on the feed. Also, when you use just a little bit you’ll notice they don’t stick around long. Just enough to let me know if anyone is starting to drop their antlers. Which is the whole point of this process.
I slide in once a week to freshen up the site and switch cards. When I see that they are becoming half racks I will go and look at the sight and the near by trails and brush to see if I can find the dropped antler. At least, this is my theory. Easier said than done.
This particular spot may just have huge food plot potential. I will be evaluating it much closer come spring and start another kill plot. There is one deer so far out of the six different bucks that have been using the sight that I’m most interested in. He is a very wide 8 point with a broken G2 as a 2 1/2 year old. It would be nice to have him not disperse and stick around for next year. I am very curious to see what he would turn into.
I will be giving you updates on The Drop Project throughout the experiment. It will be amazing to see and share what this particular spot will look like come next season. Hopefully, a kill plot that produces some great trail cam pics of some beautiful whitetails. I can already see him slipping through the grass into the plot just before he gets the air let out of him. Stay in tune with the Minnesota Outdoor Journal for The Drop Project. It’s going to be one hell of story!
Yes sir, the rabbit hunt continues. Just like the title says, we be kickin’ some brush.
I can’t even begin to explain to you just how fun this really is. It’s like the panfishing of hunting. Ultra light tackle and action are indeed what makes cottontail hunting a blast, literally.
Don’t just go out and stomp around aimlessly and hope for a shot opportunity. Really get into it. The best strategy, by far, is making small organized pushes. Study the lay of the land and adjust your pushes accordingly. Pinch points, thickets, fence lines, they will be pretty cut and dry. Two people is key. You don’t need to sound like a herd of elephants charging through the woods as to send all bunnies soaring into the next county. Strategically place a poster and have the other hunter walk slowly through the cover kickin’ all and every little bit of brush.
My life long friend, Chad, said it best. “It has to be rabbitat.” Yep, he made up his own word. Rabbitat. It has to be great rabbit habitat. Brush piles and down falls, hands down the best. Where there is concentrations of these key features there will be concentrations of the little furballs as well.
It’s a push not a drive. What’s the difference? I like to think of a push as just that, a push. You don’t want to drive the critters into an all out panic and escape mode. Just a nudge to get them moving. This way after you get a flush or some movement you can often get them to push a second time. We spent an hour chasing one particular rabbit back and forth on a property. Never did get the damn thing. Surprisingly, some get pretty hip to whats going on. Just get them moving, don’t run them out of the state. They wont go all too far.
The anticipation of flushing a bunny out of a brush pile is just as exciting as anything else. Turn it into a real hunt. Plan, strategize, and be patient. It’s a fantastic way to burn off some Christmas cookies and speaking of food, these little guys are seriously delicious. So get up off the couch and kick some brush, but be sure and shoot straight. They are not easy to hit!
Most seasons are now closed and the temps outside are mind numbing cold. You might as well just hang it up for the year, right? Absolutely not!
When was the last time you had a good old fashion rabbit hunt? I tell you what, I have so much damn fun chasing these little fur balls around! It may not seem like it, but it is a rather challenging hunt. You must strategize each spot you hunt. Really make it a legit hunt.
Rim fire rifles and small gauge shotguns are a blast to use. I must say though, if you’re doing a solo hunt bring the shotgun. If you don’t have a buddy or two posting your pushed the will mostly be on the fly shots. Don’t be fooled. The can be rather tough to knock over. Thick brush, you’re all tangled up with no footing, and the can move boy!
Walk slow and make sporadic stops to convince any nearby cottontails that they have been spotted. Find thick brush, deadfalls, and brush piles and just plain old stomp them! The fun and anticipation of getting a flush is extremely motivating. With a blast of snow the rabbit flies from his cover zigging and zagging at what seems to be 50 mph. Try getting a bead on that before you lose sight of him. FUN TIMES!
This is very doable when the temps are extreme. The key is you just keep on moving. You actually get rather warm stomping through brush that at times seems impenetrable. Another fantastic aspect of chasing bunnies is the fact that they are delicious. I’ll tell you the best way to prepare these guys. You debone them, dip them in your favorite fish fry coating, and drop the chunks into the deep fryer. It is amazing! Seriously, you have to try this. You wont be disappointed.
One season ending just means another one is beginning. Get up and go stomp some brush. Small game hunting is a fantastic option and a great way to pass the time until spring comes. Happy stomping and good eating!
Well, just as everything else in life, it doesn’t last. I brought some coon in to sell at the fur buyers today. Each year you try and play the market as best as you can. Of coarse this is just an educated gamble.
Unfortunately the high prices we have been experiencing are on the downward spiral. From the references that I have I’ve been told that some of the major fur buyers in China have been arrested. Nothing, or very little, can be shipped to China. This could be very bad and has me rather worried. Generally as the season progresses and pelts become more prime prices increase. This year has been the opposite. As the season ages the prices are falling. Never a good sign.
I will continue onward with the rat line. I pulled 25 this morning, but I’m wondering how long I will continue with the news of the marketplace. Rats are dropping. They have dropped several dollars from the beginning of the season. Time will tell….
This could possibly be one of the best ice years we’ve seen in a long time. Night after night of below zero temperatures paired up with no snow on the ice has made for excellent conditions.
Ten inches plus and even had some reports of folks driving out already. I wont be in the truck too soon, but the wheeler is a must. Having an ATV allows me to pull the shanty out long before my truck will see the ice. It is small, but it is cozy and fish catching castle.
I found my favorite little underwater point. The “Wood Duck House” is up and running. Please do stay safe. Use common sense and don’t push it. Can you say, fish for dinner!?!
With the arrival of good ice, I had been starting my muskrat line. As temps warmed the ice got a little creepy so I pulled my rat line. Oh don’t you worry, I took advantage of this last warm snap before winter is here to stay.
When you get a handful of warm night after some good cold weather these coon will crawl out of their dens to roam. With the river banks and ponds all froze up with ice you must capitalize on trails. Trails, trails, and trails!
However you like to set trails during this time, just set them. Snares, blind body grips, and DP’s. They all work and they will all catch coon in this situation. It was a small window, but it was very productive. The picture above is a huge boar that fell to a blind trail on a beaten down trail. What a fatty!!!
Despite the lack of number and the all the competition for muskrats this year I began to rather good. If you put in some homework time and find them it will pay off. You may have to walk a few miles, but it’s all work it. Single digit highs and below zero lows that are forecasted will put me back on the rat line. Coon traps will be hung up and there will be flags on huts.
Big old coon and pullin’ rats, what is not to love???
It has been a slow start on the line, but a start none the less.
I got my new toy all rigged up. I can not wait to begin capturing amazing experiences!!! Shazam.
If you’re still scrambling for bear bait I’ll let you in on the best place to get it. Go on Facebook and look up Bethany’s Bear Bait. She has a huge variety of baits and for a really great price. All the info is on her Facebook page. She is located just outside of North Branch. Just message her and set up a pick up time and, boom, you’re done. Time to make the woods stink!
Here is the link to her page:
We spent some time in Northern Minnesota these past few days. And you know, we almost said screw it. We’re not coming back…
Well, I got the boat all shinny and in the water.
We broke 70 degrees today so I dumped the boat in for the annual test run. I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful it felt to be rippin’ acorss the water again.
Several of the lakes in my area are still holding plenty of ice. I’m hoping the rest of the lakes will be clear by tomorrow with the schedualed warmer forcast.
Now all we need is for water temps to bump up a tad and the panfish will start moving up in full force. Happy open water folks. FINALLY!
With all the new water that spring brings you can really lay your eyes on some real spectacular birds. They seem to be rather photogenic this time of year, don’t you think?
50 degrees and ice. Who would have thought they go very well together?
It’s no news flash to anyone that I am a gilloholic. Big bluegill make my fishing world go round. Late ice is a fine time to target these delicious pullers.
As the snow melts more light creeps through the ice and daylight hours become longer and longer. This triggers the panfish to begin their journey to shallower waters. Where they become more vulnerable to the savvy angler.
Try to determine staging areas these fish might be hanging in before ice out. Areas such as bays and in front of creeks and run off ditches. Typically 6 – 12 feet of water seems to be the key depths this time of year.
Drill LOTS of hole. Hole hoppin’. Stay mobile. Keep moving from hole to hole to hole. There will be small pods of fish cruising their new territory. You’ll catch nothing, then more nothing, then you’ll hit a hot hole. And, repeat.
I like to use a super light rod. Reason being, I don’t need a spring bobber. Some of these fish will be extremely aggressive and some will be very touchy. One of the VERY best panfish baits on the market, the Ratso. In this situation I tip my with a single euro larvae. This has insane action and will trigger strikes like no other bait. Plastics produce some big gills.
Although late ice is a great time to get out and target panfish we also have to remember to be safe. Use common sense on the ice. If it gets too bad to fish, don’t worry, we’ll have the boats out soon. Happy gillin’ folks!
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