Friday, November 27, 2009

How to improve your Blogging

The following is a little break from my normal outdoor writing to make a few blogging suggestions. Some of these ideas I have implemented while others are works in progress. I am certainly no expert, so please comment, critique and add to the list as it would be informative to see what other think.

1. Run Google Analytics to see who is accessing your blog, when and through what means
2. Drop the .blogspot by registering your URL at for 10 bucks a year
3. Add the "search" application to your blog
4. Make sure that when taking photos that you fill the frame, maximize use of available light and put them in focus.
5. Add an email address to your profile (hotmail, yahoomail, etc.) for personal messages, questions, etc.
6. Respond to comments
7. Write a minimum three to four times a week to your blog
8. Write from your heart or on your passion(s)
9. Include a photo with all suitable posts
10. When commenting on other blog articles check the box that sends automatic updates to your e-mail
11. Turn off word verification
12. Turn on the ability to post anonymously
13. If you do 11 and 12, turn on "approve all posts"
14. Join online networks
15. Search for and add others with similar interests to your blogroll
16. Comment more even if it means you personally post less
17. Don't use or use less ads
18. Twitter your blog updates to others
19. Connect Facebook to your blog
20. Change your profile pic at least a few times a year
21. Check out the new post editor

If anyone has questions on any of these listings drop a comment and I will be sure to clarify. Take care and happy hunting!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thoughts from the Treestand

Here I am again today perched 20 feet up in a tree, listening to the lightly falling rain and watching the fog roll across the hardwood ridge. Sat yesterday for a 10 hour stretch so feeling a little exhausted physically and mentally today. This brings my season total to around 13 days of hunting or over (counting preparations) 150 hours dedicated to getting a buck this season. During this time, I have certainly had time to reflect on many different topics. On the forefront of my mind is Maine's dismal deer population. Sure I have seen deer this season but they have all been does (actually a doe and fawn were on my lawn yesterday at 10 AM). This speaks volumes to something being seriously wrong with our management practices here in "Vacationland". I fear that if we don't get our collective rears in gear soon there will be no hunting for future generations.

(Insert sarcasm HERE) Well on the flip side the coyote hunting is excellent and we are cutting trees in this state faster than any other! Hooray for us!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Moultrie Game Camera

After years of consideration, I finally broke down and purchased a game camera. I honestly don’t know why I waited so long; perhaps part of me felt it created an unfair advantage in hunting situations. Throughout my outdoor sporting career, I have always strived to rely less on technology and more on skill and applied knowledge. Map and compass are used over GPS, mouth blown calls over electronic game calls, iron sights over scopes and tracking and scouting over using trail cameras. As I have aged and finding I have less and less time, in each case the previous have slowly been replaced by the more technologically advanced means. So, I guess my move to get a game camera was just a natural progression.

It is funny that I wouldn’t think twice about using a fish finder to help in locating salmon, togue or schooling perch but using that type of technology to locate animals seemed “unsporting”. I know that many hardcore sportsmen scoff at the idea of game cameras but I have to share a little secret and that is they are ultra cool. I have only had my camera for less than a week and I am already addicted to it. Currently, I have my camera positioned on a cubby set that contains bait. I am hopeful that in the next few days the set-up will yield a picture of a bobcat that I know has been stalking through the area. Once I get the general hang of using its various functions, I will move it to other areas that I have been interested in monitoring for deer movements.

Perhaps most exciting is that this technology is an excellent entry point to get kids interested in the outdoors. Kids can not only be involved in the review of the captured photos and the identification of the various animals but also in finding areas to set-up the cameras for maximum returns of 4 legged critters. It would be a fascinating educational project for kids to undertake building their own cameras, trail timers, etc. and using them to track and monitor deer movements.

The internal memory that comes with the camera is a joke. Buy a 4Gig SD or SDHC Card for it immediately. They only cost $13.00 at Sam’s club and will hold over 4000 pictures. I bought two so that when I hike out to check the camera, I pop in the empty card and take the used one back home to read on my computer. If your computer doesn’t have a build in SD reader (like my Macbook) WalMart for $9.00 sell a SD card reader that works with your USB drive. I tried it with my memory cards and it works great! Having the extra memory also means you can set your camera to take enhanced level photos and high-resolution video with no worries about running out of storage space.

Moultire Game Cameras maintains a blog that can be found here:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ode to the Pee Bottle Part II

For more on this series please see part one to this post, Pee Bottle Part 1.

Like senior citizens attracted to McDonalds on an early Sunday morning, so to are hunters lured to the latest technological gadget promising to produce more game. For those sportsmen among us who have considered buying a certified hunting pee bottles from Cabelas or other big box store I only have to say, as Mr. T eloquently once stated, "I pity the fool". A man's pee bottle cannot be purchased off a shelf this is blasphemy! It must be fabricated and henceforth provided with its own individual personality.

When selecting your pee bottle, no single choice is more important than size. Yes, boys I hate to break it to you but size really does matter. Not only is it critical that your urinary urn be able to hold a significant quantity of fluid but the opening in said container should also be of "adequate" size. Show me a man who urinates into the diminutive opening in a plastic soda bottle and I will show you a man dying to be nicknamed "tiny". Guys my advice to you, lest you be forever taunted and stripped of your masculinity, select a container of no less than 32 ozs and a wide mouth opening that would make a porn star blush.

Choice of container is of course completely up to the individual. While there are many options to choose from sportsmen should take care to select a container that can take a fair amount of abuse. Nothing ends a hunt faster than having urine soaked clothing, except however for maybe a gunshot or gaping flesh wound. Now that Nalgene bottles have been scientifically proven unfit for holding fluids for human consumption why not convert them all to sanitary disposal units. They are made of Lexan and practically indestructible! After picking out an adequately sized "no more tears" plastic container, be sure to thoroughly inspect it for leaks and a tight fitting cap.

So the deer camp drunks at do not mistake your container as “Lemon” flavored Gatorade, be sure to clearly label your container to indicate it contains dangerous medical waste. I find a skull and cross bones is cool and also effectively gets the point across. While you are in a creative mood be sure to paint or use camo duct tape to cover your piss pot to cut down on its reflective abilities. Nothing scares deer faster than the shimmer of clear plastic, except for maybe a urine soaked deer stand, so plan accordingly.

Cleanliness is next to huntingness so every care should be taken to thoroughly wash out your pee bottle at least once per season. To eliminate the possibility of “overflow” issues you should also make sure to empty out your container after every trip to the stand location. Care should be taken when dumping said contents to not mistakenly pour them on your new hunting boots. However, it is VERY humorous to pour it on the stand locations, boots, etc. of your hunting partners. Just be warned that payback is a bitch. Lastly, never under any circumstances attempt a number two in your number one bottle.

I hope you enjoyed the article please leave a comment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ode to the Pee Bottle

Perched in my tree stand high above the forest floor, I have had hours and hours of time to think and contemplate new story ideas. As I ponder the plethora of articles written on hunting deer, there is certainly a significant challenge to write something different. Moon phases, the rut, rifle selection, camouflage patterns, cover scents, etc. all have been done a thousand times. What is an outdoor sports writer to do? To what desperate lengths will he sink to uncover new material? After an exhaustive review of my options and some deep soul searching, I have decide to challenge myself to write an article on the most understated and underappreciated piece of deer hunting equipment . . . the pee bottle. This is obviously meant to be humorous so please enjoy it as such and as usual don’t take anything I say to seriously!

Ode to the Pee Bottle Part I:
As the sun creeps slowly over the horizon, a heavy frost retreats from the cattail lined swamp. Sitting in my deer stand, I have a front row seat to the awakening of a beautiful new day. As I silently reflect on all of the other sunrises I have enjoyed over my lifetime, a sudden and unexpected shiver runs down my spine. Is it caused by the penetrating pre-dawn cold, the distant crunching of frozen leaves or perhaps a breath of wind blowing through a chink in my armor of winter clothing? No, it is the calling of that most basic of human bodily functions, angrily provoked by an entire pot of morning coffee.

Frantically digging through my gear, I am struck by panic. Further exploration into the depth of my backpack only justifies my fears, I had forgotten to pack that most valuable of deer hunting hardware, the pee bottle. As my molars put up sand bags and tonsils sing out a chorus of anchors away, my bladder swells to the breaking point! In this instant of pain and suffering, I am momentarily distracted by a distant memory from a simpler time.

80s big hair band Cinderella once sang a ballad entitled "Don't know what you got till its gone", as I began humming that infectious melody, I come to the sudden realization that there remained one final pocket I had failed to search. Fumbling for the zipper, a golden moment of Zen is attained when the contents are revealed to be an empty 32 oz, large mouth Gatorade bottle. It is at times like these, that it is easy to validate a pee bottles importance as second only to your rifle and possibly bullets.

For More Read the Completion of the Series Pee Bottle Part 2.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Trapping Season Ends

Despite the fact that I can hear coyotes howling in the distance, trapping season for me is done for the season. It was certainly a learning process this year trying to remember all of the details surrounding the management of a trap line, details that seemed so much clearer in my youth. Time was a critical factor and as I added duck and deer season to the equation, I began to realize that it would be impossible for me to do all tasks well and sadly eventually something was going to fall through the cracks.

Rather than continue to let things slowly deteriorate into chaos, I opted to quit while I was behind and pulled the entire line after only a week and a half of the trapping season had expired. To say I was a little disappointed about the whole thing would be a bit of an understatement. Somehow all of the pieces just didn’t want to line up for me in this endeavor and I am unsure where to go from here. Perhaps a year of mulling over this past seasons mistakes and successes will help me decide if I continue to pursue furbearers.

I hate to end things on a negative note, so I did leave a single trap out in the woods only a few hundred yards from the house. Imagine my surprise, when I checked it the other morning and found that it contained a raccoon. While not a huge specimen at 17 lbs (they max at around 30 lbs) and 31 inches nose to tail I was still fairly excited. Fleshed out and now on the skinning board, it looks great and with the tanning supplies I ordered I hope to have it hanging on the wall before Christmas.

On a side note, I had excellent luck ordering trapping supplies online at Items came wrapped safely packaged and the order included a hand written note thanking me for my purchase. If anyone needs supplies and are having problems securing items locally I suggest giving them a try.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Deer Hunting

*Photo on the left is from the 2008 hunting season.
I am just coming off a week long deer hunting bender. Early mornings and late evenings have me physically exhausted but mentally refreshed. My head hurts, lips are badly chapped and back feels like it should if I was a man twice my age BUT I am still excited to get back into the woods on Veterans Day.

It was an interesting opener with my neighbor elated about shooting his first deer and does constantly moving through the area with reckless abandon. I had several shot opportunities on does but do not carry the mandatory doe tag. Of course that has been a benefit this year, as I had wanted to shoot a deer I could mount and then take to the taxidermist. LOL!

Last week, central Maine saw its first tracking snow (4-inches) in more than 10 years during rifle season. Deer hunters across the state proceeded to make every excuse possible to call in sick to work. Not a single access road, in all of central Maine, didn’t have a vehicle or two parked at its opening. Unfortunately, with all of the hunters in the woods the deer shutdown and I was only able to find one single track all day. The big boys seemed to disappear, knowing something was amiss and evacuating to all the good hiding places.

Sitting here Sunday afternoon, I still note the slight odor of doe urine. Perhaps its just my imagination or perhaps I really do reek! Need to wash clothes and reorganize so I can get back out there next week . . . take care, shoot straight and be safe!
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