CARTELOPES!!!

Antelope hunting is an annual, western, hunting tradition. “Speedgoats, Stinkgoats, or Lopes” are all names for a critter that is the last survivor of an ancient deer species. The Lewis and Clark expedition made the first documentation of this native North American critter.

Much of Montana requires a lottery permit to access vast areas of public land. Eastern Montana tags are more easily obtainable. A second Doe tag is also available in some areas. Check out the regulations before heading afield.

Antelope hunters often practice long range shooting, close in bowhunting, or stalking. Opening day can be crowded but hunting is productive throughout the season. Antelope are not leapers and will only crawl under fences. These crossings and water holes are great places to set up a blind.

A normal antelope hunting day allows you to see distance groups of “lopes” all day long. Anticipating their path of travel, or putting the sneak on them requires skill and patience. Antelope can be seen at great distances due to their white rump hairs. They can straighten their hollow hair to eliminate excess heat, or lay their hairs flat to gain warmth.

Eyes are positioned so that Lopes can see 320 degrees. This field of view helps them to survive for 7-10 years. These fast critters can reach speeds of 60 mph! Only a Cheetah is faster.

 “Horns” are a combination of hair and keratin. They are not antlers. Antelope horns sport the only forked horns in nature. A horn sheath is annually shed and a new one begins to grow over the bony core on both bucks and does.

Antelope eat many toxic plants that are harmful to domestic farm animals. They also target available grasses and low crops. Primary antelope predators are coyotes and humans. Disease and weather can also impact herds dramatically.

Once the Lope is down, it is important to dress it and allow cooling to begin. Dragging a dead critter will quickly remove the softer hair. A cart is perfect for transporting harvested critters from the field. Each antelope weighs 80-120 lbs.

Hunting friends Mike and Shawn hunt “Lopes” annually. Antelope make for great eating. This year’s hunt began at sunrise, with a couple of mile hike to the antelope grounds. A game cart is pulled along and stashed along a fence row until needed. Usually, tags are filled by noon. 25-06 and flat shooting calibers work well. Rifle shots are usually 150-400 yards.

Now the work begins. A “Cart e Lopes” is hard to navigate across open prairie. Team carting makes the work easier. Tags must be attached immediately upon reaching the downed animal. Wardens typically set up roadside check stations to examine harvests and licenses.

Once back to the truck, with a “Cart e Lopes”, the beverage is a little colder, hunters are a little happier, and the meat will provide food over the upcoming long winter.

Hunt honest, safe, and often!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

The WINNER!!!

Every sportsman wants to be the winner. Whether they win the biggest buck, bull, or fish, the trophy wall will celebrate the winning memorial. If it is not on the wall, it will be in the conversation.

During a lifetime of hunting and fishing, sportsmen contribute to protecting, managing, and conserving our wild places. No other organization contributes as much to our wild places than hunters and fishermen! That’s simply a fact.

Fees for licenses, permits, access, taxes, and every other supporting element of the sport are important. No other sport requires more fees, training, expenses, and time than hunting, and fishing. Workaholics that have few hobbies, and interests do not understand this. They simply find ways to limit vacation, days off, and fun.

Sportsmen contribute taxes through the Pittman- Robinson, and the Dingell- Johnson Acts. These acts, levy a tax on all implements of the sport. Every gun, bow, rod, reel, lure, or hook costs additional fees. This money is then re-appropriated back to every state based upon the number of hunting, and fishing, licenses purchased. The funds are earmarked to purchase, manage, and maintain public parks and wildlife areas.

Many states put these funds into the general fund to help balance the state’s budget. This loophole re-directs these important, earmarked funds. Anti-hunting and fishing groups do all they can to destroy these sports, and contribute little. Most anti- hunting, and fishing organizations do not spend their funds on habitat, parks, greenways, or wild places. Every American can access open spaces paid for by sportsmen’s dollars. Many of these places allow no hunting or fishing.

Outdoorsman that survive a lifetime of hunting and fishing can now become “winners”! At the age of 64, license fees decline. Instead of paying full price for these licenses, the fees are greatly reduced. In MD. A hunting license is only $5.00! In MT. these veteran hunters and fishermen can purchase a “Sportsmen’s License” for just $25:00 each year.

This is good news for every state. These aged hunters are still contributing to the sport. License sales are rising. The bad news is that aging hunters have aged. Most of my hunting and fishing buddies have died, have handicaps or health issues, are physically unable to venture out, or have simply become lazy.

Who wins? The last sportsmen standing have an opportunity to celebrate their sport for a little less expense.

Congratulations on being the winner!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

DENNIS’ DINGHY!!!

Size does not always matter when it comes to boats! There are certainly an ocean of boat styles and sizes to choose from. Anyone that has lived near water has had a flotilla of boats.

My friend Dennis, has a growing fleet of boats. As a child, many of Dennis’ favorite memories were with his Dad on the water. He continues to navigate life finding joy afloat. The other day, I saw Dennis heading out onto the water. He only had a small cooler and a couple rods. Not the usual boat hitched to his truck. Instead, he was going to use a different craft.

Dennis’ Dinghy is small! The inflated, Zodiac style boat, has a small kicker motor on the back. A Big Man can stretch out and touch both ends. On a calm day, Dennis’ Dinghy will safely get you where you need to go. It may not be a seaworthy craft, but it is certainly fine for inland waters.

Dennis’ small dinghy makes less noise and wakes, which can scare off fish. Small crafts also can navigate in shallow water. Using these boats can be a great advantage. Stealth is important for fishing and hunting.

“I just wanted to practice using my dinghy”, is what Dennis said. Many boaters have a small dinghy, for emergencies, and have never used them. What is the point of having a boat, RV, or outdoor toy, if it just sits?  Use it or lose it!

Dennis climbed aboard his small dinghy and headed out to fish. The craft handled perfectly and Dennis was soon into a nice keeper striper! Sitting back, puffing on a cigar, and enjoying a refreshment, he was comfortable in his small dinghy. The size of the fish you catch matters more than how big your boat is.

Whatever floats your boat!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

500 !!!

Practice makes perfect! Wisdom comes from experience. It takes 500 repetitions, or more, for some things to become learned.

The only way to learn how to catch a fish is to catch a fish. After you catch 500 of one species of fish, you are beginning to figure out what it takes. You will never master the craft but at least your confidence grows.

They say it takes 10,000 repetitions to learn some things. The examples were, how to pick up dirty clothes, follow directions as a child, and to do simply what you are told. Putting down the toilet seat must be way more repetitions than that. My estimates of 500 repetitions are way more positive and conservative.

Good bird dogs need to smell 500 birds before they figure things out. The hunter basically goes along for the walk while this happens. Hunting good areas, or game farms, helps to train your dog faster. The hunter needs to practice commands, but the dog needs to practice and tune their instincts. It just takes a pile of birds, and repetition, for them to learn.

Only 499 to go!

A good drift boat oarsman needs to row 500 miles to understand how to row a drift boat. Everything is backwards. You need to row upriver to drift downstream. Once your brain figures that out, the job becomes easier.

Jogging is another sport that requires repetition. It takes 500 miles until the rewards start to show up. Your cardio, weight, muscles, and body will begin to show positive results after this marathon. Now the exercise becomes a positive habit.

Shooting takes practice. 500 trigger pulls per gun will help you understand the accuracy of your weapon. After that many shots, you are now ready to put one best shot where it needs to be. Not only will your skill level grow, the stress relief will also be appreciated.

It also takes 500 “I Love Yous” for your partner or friend to hear just one. Just keep them coming and in the end, it will pay off. Over a lifetime, they will add up.

Just because you have accomplished 500 successes does not mean you are done learning. The truth is that everyone learns differently. Practice still makes perfect and we will discover that there are 500 more things to learn or try. We learn so much from mistakes. Our efforts are always rewarded over time. Just keep forging onward and upward!

Only 500 more to go!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

STINKY ICE CHESTS !!!

Everyone has experienced the special fragrance that emanates from a stinky ice chest. Whether it contained fish, bait, old food, or other rotten things, stinky ice chests can take your breath away!

Years ago, I saw an article in a Popular Mechanics magazine. It addressed this exact problem. The powerful stink from old coolers is just as rank as the stink from today’s coolers. My friend Tom also read this tip and swears by their not so stinky suggestion.

Many stinky ice chest owners try bleach, cleansers, chemicals, and scrubbers to de-stink their coolers. Usually, the cleaning process starts after the stink has already started. Many ice chests die an early death from smells that just will not go away.

Tom suggests that you immediately rinse the cooler after each use. Do not use any chemicals, bleach or cleaners. The cooler is also used to contain food, drinks, and fish that you plan to consume. Avoid any chemical contamination!

Once rinsed, dry with a towel or leave the lid open and exposed. Once the cooler is dry, add a little Vanilla extract to a paper towel. A teaspoon or so is all that you need. Now wipe the coolers surfaces with the Vanilla. Leave the fragrant paper towel in the bottom of the cooler. Your cooler is now clean, chemically safe, and pretty “sniffty”!

Over years, some light brown color may be visible from the Vanilla. With scrubbing, this can also be removed but, most coolers die before that becomes an issue. The truth is, that folks will be able to enjoy opening your cooler to smell the Vanilla fragrance and not a scent that triggers a vomit reflex.

You can also extend the life of the cooler by replacing or protecting the hinges. Replacement cooler hinges are available on line. Use some silicon adhesive, on the screw threads, when replacing. You can also reinforce the hinges with a flexible fabric or rubber cover, that is attached overtop the hinges. An internal string, spring, or strap is also a good idea to hold the lid partly open. This will keep the lid from folding back too far and breaking the plastic hinges.

Keep a damp towel spread out over top the ice and cooler contents. This will keep the temperature down and save the ice from melting so fast. Freezing ice jugs, with water, allows the cooler to stay chilled and will also provide cool water to drink later. The melted ice water may also be used to clean and rinse.

Attach an old plastic cutting board or tray to the outside cooler lid. This will serve as a cutting board for bait, or cleaning fish. Screw the board in place with stainless steel rust proof hardware and seal with silicone adhesive, on the screw threads.

Stay stink free!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

BEE CAREFUL !!!

Bees and wasps can quickly ruin your day. These stinging insects can quickly cause pain, and potential death. As Fall arrives, outdoorsmen can have close encounters. Checking out duck blinds, deer stands, boat docks, canoes, gardens, lawns, or just hiking around can agitate individual insects, hives, nests, or swarms.

The other day, my friend Jesse was called to help move a deer stand. The new site was a perfect tree where plenty of deer sign could be seen. It takes two to hang a stand safely. As Jesse and Chris approached the tree, Jesse was stung on his neck by a huge wasp. “I saw it coming, and tried to swat it away!’ Within a minute, Jesse knew that something was wrong. He had been stung many times before, but this time the feeling was different.

Chris immediately saw the severe symptoms and rode Jesse back to the house. 911 was called and within minutes, Jesse’s face was swollen, breathing was hard, and he was going into shock! When the emergency team arrived, they quickly administered epinephrine and an IV of fluid. Off to the hospital they went.

Bee and wasp stings are painful and very common. Yellow Jacket stings are the most common. The venom that these insects secrete is pumped into the skin by a barbed stinger, with an attached venom sac. Even when the stinger is left in the skin, the attached sac continues to pump.

Bee, and wasp, deaths are 3-4 times more common than snakebites. Anaphylaxis shock is the greatest problem. The body can quickly go into shock. These symptoms are an increase heart rate, decreased blood pressure, difficult breathing, and severe swelling to the face, airways, throat, and lips. Emergency care is a must!

Routine stings require simple care. Stay calm, add a cool compress, or ice. Remove the stinger quickly, take an aspirin, or acetaminophen. You can apply a cream that contains an antihistamine, such as Benadryl. Monitor the bite site, wash with soap and water, and keep the bite site clean, to avoid infection.

Remove the stinger with tweezers or a cloth. Using the edge of a card or knife are also good tools. Do not squeeze or scratch the sting site. This can lead to infection or help spread the venom. Avoid Calamine lotion, vinegar, and bicarbonate of soda products. They tend to add more discomfort, are for surface use, and will not impact the injected venom.

EPI PENS are a great tool to carry on your person if you have an insect allergy. The epinephrine shot will relax blood vessels, muscles, and calm the body until help arrives. This is a prescription required medication.

Avoid stings! Wear light colored, fitted clothing, with a brimmed hat. Loose clothing can trap insects and allow repeated stings. Closed toe shoes make common sense. Personal hygiene is important. Sweat agitates insects along with other smells. Flowery fragrances and movement will attract insects. Banana, fruity, and coconut fragrances should be avoided.

Remove nests and look for hives that can be hanging under decks, boats, stumps, debris piles, gardens, chimneys, and sheds. Bees also can live in ground nests near roots and rockpiles. A few years ago, my son was climbing a pool ladder when he disturbed a wasp nest. He was painfully stung on his face. The huge nest had been growing there all summer. If you do not know how to deal with these nests, call a trained professional.

Parents, camp counselors, day care staff, outdoorsmen, joggers, pet owners, and anyone that ventures into the bees, and wasps, domain, need to be observant and able to apply First aid.

BEE CAREFUL and BEE AWARE!!!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

BUZZARD BLITZ!!!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love nature and most of God’s creatures. Buzzards, or Turkey Vultures, may be my new least favorite critter. Especially at the Susquehanna State Park below Conowingo Dam. This location is a wonderful access for the public to boat, hike, fish, and watch the birds, eagles, and I guess the filthy Buzzards!

I took a couple of young fishermen out for a fishing adventure. Years ago, I had done the same trip many times. The trip required a 1 ½ mile walk to an area along the Susquehanna River known as the “Fish Traps”. The local Indian tribes had moved rocks to direct fish into their fish weirs. The evidence remains, and the fishing is still great. How cool is fishing for striped bass in fresh water around ancient fish traps!

When we arrived, it was dark, and we hiked down the trail. I had parked in a marked, paved parking spot. Fishing was fun and everyone caught stripers, white perch and smallmouth bass. I saw an old fisherman upstream and started up a conversation. Like me, many years ago, he rode a bike to the spot but came up river, not down. The distance was twice as far. He said that a few weeks earlier, he had parked where we parked, and that the buzzards ate his windshield wipers, plastic trim and trashed his truck!

Oh well. We were committed. The river rises when the dam runs water to make electricity. At 10 AM we hiked back to my shiny, new, beautiful truck. I was curious to see if the “Old Timer” was correct.

When I first saw my once beautiful truck, there were dozens of buzzards hanging on my ladder rack, roof, and hood. Wings were spread and flapping. It looked like they were trying to fly away with my F-150. When they couldn’t lift it, they did their worst. Feathers, crap, vomit, and filth were everywhere. We flushed the flock away and I noticed that the trim around my windshield had been eaten. Their little beaks meticulously nipped it away! In a few short hours, they had wasted my truck!

Across the parking lot were two more buzzards sitting along a fence next to a sign that said, “Buzzards may damage your vehicle”. Talk about too little too late! The State Park covered their liability but has done nothing more. I am sure that I am not the only victim of a Buzzard Blitz! How much fiscal damage has been done? How many people, pets, and children have been sickened? How many people now avoid this wonderful public park because of Buzzards?

If these road kill eating birds are such a problem, at least put up several signs, and maybe some bigger signs. The parking lot is paved, mowed, lined, and managed for public access, not Buzzard Blitzes! Did any of the State Park Staff witness the event as they patrolled the park? This parking area is at the main gate to the park. Does the State feel that their small sign is enough to address the problem? How can boaters leave their rigs near the boat ramp safely?

More warning and solutions are needed. Not only is there a vandalism issue, there is also a huge health issue. Perhaps a little population management or control are needed. I will be glad to help!

CRAP!!!!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

ONLY ONCE!!!

There is a first time for everything. Often, the first time is the best time. Sometimes, the next time is just as good. Time and time again, things can just get even better. The thing is, there can only be one first time!

Catching your “first” fish, shooting your first buck, calling in your first flock of geese, bugling in your first Bull Elk, are just a few of the “firsts”, every sportsman needs to place on their Bucket lists. The “first” may not be the biggest, or best, but it will always be the “first”!

Memories are sharp and clear when it comes to ”firsts”. No story enhancements are needed. Telling lies or embellishments are easily forgotten. First truths are always accurate. We can close our eyes and vividly sense, and remember, every aspect of our “firsts”. The sounds, smells, images, and feelings remain strong. The stories remain the same.

The best way to know if your buddy is telling you a story and not the “true” story, about their ‘firsts”, is to pay attention to the details. One of my friends has a lot of great stories. Some seemed like pretty tall tales until I heard them repeated many times. Occasionally, witnesses also told the same story. The truth is simply the truth. If the story and details change. You will be the first to know.

“Firsts” are most important to the sportsman and their sporting friends. Wives, acquaintances, friends, and others may disagree on what “firsts” should be first. Sportsmen can remember every big finned, feathered, antlered, and horned moment of their lives. They often struggle to remember birthdays, anniversaries, and other events.

First kisses, friends, lovers, and family events are important too but, sportsmen are often sportsman first. It is not that these important folks and events don’t come first but…

It could be worse. Hunters and fishermen are adventurers, pioneers, providers, fit, honest, and proud. These are all fine qualities and traits. They help to define what priorities are first and foremost in life. Sportsmen make wonderful parents, spouses, and friends.

 Always be patient with your sportsmen friends. They mean well. Fish filets and fresh meat are their way to say thanks. Their calm demeanor and happy minds are a result of the stress release form their catch or harvest. If you become stranded, shipwrecked, homeless, or disaster strikes, sportsmen are survivors.

Sportsmen may always be late, forgetful, and frustrating, but they will always be first in your hearts.

There is a first time for everything, just once!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

HATERS NEED TO FISH!!!

fishing_familyMost sad, mean, hateful, and miserable people do not fish! They stew in their own sorrowful swill and find ways to lower the bar to their level. Instead of using their energy and resources to do good, they find ways to hate themselves, others, and life.

Fishing is a wonderful metaphor for life. One cast at a time is how we fish. Making one good choice at a time helps us to fill our limits of happiness. When life gets tough, we recover by making one good choice at a time. Just one more cast, or good choice, can turn things around.

It is time to go fishing when things get tough! There are many positive ways to address depression and unhappiness. Screaming and yelling will scare the fish, so fishing is a good excuse to calm down. Some folks find salvation in sports, hunting, hobbies, or some other meaningful distraction. Fishing is a gender and age friendly venue.

Fishing is done in beautiful places. Trout streams, ocean shores, ponds, lakes, and rivers. These areas help to calm, relax, and nourish our spirits and souls. The sights, sounds, smells, and feel of fishing destinations are the perfect prescription for people to focus and recharge.

Fishing is just fishing! Tying knots, dealing with gear, choosing baits, flies, or lures, casting, and searching for fish. Following the limits, rules, and guidelines of fishing challenges you to stay honest. There is not just one thing that allows you to catch a fish. It takes many choices and decisions, to hook up. Gear, boats, crafting lures and flies, teaching others, and being a student of the sport are just a few tasks you may need to tackle. Fish are just the excuse to go fishing. Most fishermen just enjoy fishing. Catching a fish is simply a bonus.

It doesn’t matter what kind of fish, where you fish, or how you fish. It matters that you are still fishing, and in the game. Fishing is the excuse to get outdoors, away from the “boob tube”, and computer, so you can unwind and relax. If you stop fishing for the key to happiness, then you are doomed to failure and sadness.

Hate disappears when you catch a fish. Suddenly, your attention and energy are focused on a bent rod, screaming reel, and excitement of the moment. The last thing you want to do is to lose this opportunity. Others around can help with encouragement and netting. Fishing friend memories last forever. Once the fish is in the net, you choose to cook it, share it, or release it to catch another day.

Catching a fish always makes us smile! Fishing solves the problems of life! Fishing Buddies can give great advice and counsel when calm and relaxed. Children, when fishing, especially are more attentive and hungry for wisdom. Great advice and memories last forever when presented in a fisherman friendly manner. You may hate losing a fish, but that is when you learn the most.

“Fishers of Men” is quoted in the bible. Fish have supplied sustenance for all living things. We all can be successful fishermen at whatever level of skill we are at. As we fish, our skills grow, and our anger dissipates. Fishing is an addictive drug that is cheap, easy, and legal. This lifelong addiction is never satisfied. Every fish caught is as exciting as the first. No one ever catches enough fish. Just one more cast can change your luck!

I think I got a bite!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

GO FOR THE GOLD!!!

fly-rod-limit-2Anyone can catch a limit! Preparation, planning, and education can help you to fill a limit of fish. Once this task has been accomplished, it is time for something more. Challenge yourself to raise your skill level and ability.

Fishing is not just about catching your limit. It is about testing it, and discovering the many other aspects of the day. Fish are just the excuse to go fishing. The experience, adventure, fellowship, and destinations are what fishing is truly about. These limits will never be filled!

Set higher standards for your limits. For example, don’t just catch 5 trout, catch 5 BIG trout, or 1 of each species available, or 5 Golden Trout. This will require you to catch more fish and raise your skill level.

The other day I arrived at the trout stream and saw that many trout were rising to a stonefly hatch. Instead of using my spinning rod and bait, I pulled out my fly rod. A size 12 Stimulator matched the bugs perfectly. Several of the trout in the pool were Golden Trout. These albino rainbows are a hybrid rainbow trout that are easily seen, but hard to catch. Today’s goal was to catch a limit of “Goldens”! I threw back dozens of other trout, with the expectation of meeting my goal. Golden trout look amazing when the take a dry fly. Other bait fishermen were in awe as I released more than I kept. After keeping 4 of my 5 Golden trout limit, I hooked a fat 15” rainbow! This BIGGER trout went onto the limit too. My Golden Limit was almost met but…

Know how to correctly perform Catch and Releases. Forceps are a must! Keep the fish wet, and quickly release them. Wet your net before you net the fish. A rubber, or nylon net are best. Cloth nets wipe the protective mucous coating from fish.

If you draw blood, keep the fish. Even if you release a bleeding fish, they will die. Normally this means damage to their gills. If the fish is stressed too much, they will die. Fighting the fish too long only adds stress to the fish, and increases lactic acid into their muscles. This means that the fish taste will change. Most fish need to be landed in less than 3 minutes to ensure release or to maintain flavor. Obviously, larger fish take more time. Match your gear, line, and drag to the fish you are tackling.

Treat your catch right! If you plan to release your catch, don’t drag your fish onto a sand or gravel bar, take photos for 15 minutes, squeeze, drop, or abuse the fish in other ways. If the fish is on the menu, dispatch it, and store it on ice for best eating outcomes.

The only way to catch more fish, is to catch more fish! On other days, I try to catch just 1 species of fish, or fish over a certain size, or just fish on a certain lure, or type of gear. Filling the limit with the final fish can be challenging, but the skill, and lessons learned, are more important than the fish in your freezer.grand-slam-fun

Teaching others to catch their limit is an even bigger challenge. This is the best way to measure how great of an angler you think you are. It takes special, and talented fishermen, to lead others down the fishing path. These future fishermen will ensure that the future of fishing will continue.

Great fishermen go for their limits!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

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