Tuesday, April 21, 2015

weekend recap: opossum-ly close

Has it been raining NON. STOP. where you are? It's been crazy here... Monsooning off and on with a steady drizzle in between. Can't a turkey hunter catch a break?! I know, I know. Some people have had great success in the pouring rain. I guess I'm just bitter because... Well... I have not. There. I said it. Ugh.
But I digress. At least I was able to sneak in a few turkey hunts last week and over the weekend, and hey, who can complain about that? The first one was Wednesday morning with Otis, and it actually started off to be a promising morning. We snuck (sneaked?) into the woods early and got set up in a beautiful open area, and at 7:20 or so we had a hen come putting in. Certain that a gobbler was right behind her, we froze in position, ready for action. And then... The rain started. No big deal, just a drizzle at first, then it really started to come down. The hen wandered off in the other direction, and we were left with our thoughts. All of a sudden, I caught movement to my left. No, not a turkey... A possum. Or is it "o"possum? Like they're Irish, maybe? Was his first name Seamus? Anyway, this guy definitely proved that possums have terrible eyesight. He was honestly about to crawl into my lap before I moved enough to get him to turn away. In. My. Lap. A possum opossum! And he wasn't even that startled. It was more of an, "Oh, 'scuse me, Miss, yes you're right, my apologies, I'll just be heading this other way now, thank you." (It sounds better when you read it with an accent.) I could have reached out and grabbed him with little effort. Don't worry, I didn't. I just fished my phone out of my pocket and took a few photos.  
 [He's that little blur below the barrel of my gun]
We must have set up near a nest or something, because we saw probably a dozen more as the morning went on. I hate to admit it, but they're kind of cute close up. More like, so ugly they're cute, but you get what I mean, right? Well, aside from the possum opossums, and one quick potential sighting of a hog (there and gone in just a few seconds), that was all the wildlife we saw beyond the one lone hen. 
John and I decided to give it another try on Saturday morning, but (yet again), it was raining when we woke up. Typically, when I wake up to hunt and it's raining, whether I go or not, I'm still awake for the day. So, why not? People have shot more turkeys in the rain than having coffee on the sofa, right? 
Someone's not impressed with a 7 am selfie in the rain, it seems... 
We got set up and sat and sat, but never saw a bird. By 8:30, the rain was coming down pretty good, and we'd just heard a deer blow at us from behind our blind. That did it in for us, but that's the way it goes, I guess. The extent of our wildlife for the morning was a raccoon, 2 does, and this little guy I spotted when I was trying (unsuccessfully) to stalk a turkey a little later in the morning. 

Don't worry, I've still got the turkey bug - I haven't given up!

PS - 7 Mistakes Beginner Turkey Hunters Make

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

first article - published!

Remember the exciting news I told you about last week? My new writing venture with Wide Open Spaces? Well, I submitted my first article, and it was published today! And what, you ask, was it about?

Trust me, you neeeed a new 4-wheeler, and let's not forget about my obsession with snake boots. Toss in a panoramic trail cam, a badass rangefinder (I know, I am such a hunting nerd), and a nifty gadget to save your back when you kill your next monster buck, and you've got your 5 hunting gear and accessories to splurge on this spring.

I've got a some more articles coming your way, so stay tuned! And subscribe to Wide Open Spaces to get it straight to your inbox. 

Read the full article here!

Friday, April 10, 2015

weekend recap: Easter adventures + exciting news

It's Fridaayyyyyy! Is anyone else as excited as I am? I got spoiled with a 3 day work week last week, having just returned from Argentina. I think it's safe to say that I have recovered, and there's no denying that I miss it. But, alas, I think it's time to move on (at least until I finished the video, then we can revisit!), and get turkey season underway.
We decided to give it the old college try on Sunday morning before the Easter festivities began, and it was a beautiful morning. Bright and sunny, and the slightest bit cool - just enough to ward of the mosquitoes... Until around 8 am, at least. But hey! What's turkey season in South Carolina without a few mosquitoes, right?
I sat with my dad, and John was a few hundred yards away. Just before sunrise, Dad and I heard a hen putt down towards the swamp, near where we'd planned to set up, but she never came our way. If there was a gobbler nearby, he stayed quiet and must have gone her way instead of ours. Sadly, we didn't see anything. John and I went back out a little later in the morning, also to no avail. Am I in for another failed turkey season? Let's hope not!
The rest of the weekend was filled with family, friends, and lots of fun outdoors. My brother-in-law may or may not have caught an alligator WITH HIS BARE HANDS. I mean, really. Steve Irwin, anyone?
It's totally the same, right? Just kidding. Don't worry, he was put back in the water safe and sound. The alligator, that is. He needs a few more feet before I come after him again.
This photo has nothing to do with anything I am talking about, I just thought you might enjoy.

Finally, on to the exciting news I mentioned. Remember when I spotted one of my recipes on this website? My venison cheeseburger bites? Well. Wide Open Spaces reached out to me, and I have accepted a position as a contributing writer on their site! Pretty exciting stuff, huh? I'll be submitting several articles a week, so it's certainly a time commitment. Still, even though this will be challenging, it's right up my alley, and I am pumped to be a part of it. I will keep you posted as my articles arise!

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Argentina 2015

Happy Friday, friends! I am grateful for this short week, what about you? Mine was extra short, as I was off of work Monday as well... That's the day we arrived back home from another Argentina Dove Hunting adventure! I returned to the same lodge as before (and before that), returning this time with not only my dad, but my Mr. and father-in-law as well. We had 3 other guys join the 4 of us, and it really made for a fantastic group. I probably heard more "guy trip" talk than I should have, but they kept me in stitches the whole time.
Yes, I would love another beer.
Ahh, on to the hunt. In truth, the dove hunting was slower than the last time I was down there, but "slow" is definitely a relative term. The area recently experienced an crazy amount of rain, leading to flooding that affected the dove population/areas where we hunt. Whereas I easily shot 1100 doves in one day in 2013, I topped out at "only" about 650 in one day during this trip. I know, right? I think I'll take the 650 over the 15 we get around here! Plus, having to drive an extra 30-45 minutes to a new field gave us an opportunity to see more of the country. Always a plus!
We hunted two half days and two full days, for a total of 6 hunts. That may sound like a ton of shooting, and you're right. I shot about 105 boxes of shells, and ultimately knocked down more than 1800 birds... And yes, I was sore. And yes, I wanted to stay for several more days and continue to hunt. It still boggles my mind that, after so much shooting, the only thing I wanted to do was take a nap and get right back out there.

Can you tell who taught me to shoot? 
We didn't do the classic "pile of doves and spent shells" photo that so often accompanies these trips, so I don't have one of those for you today. But, the lodge did send a videographer into the field with us one day to film us shooting (and doves falling). He put together a great video of everyone, so I am thankful to have even better footage than we already got ourselves! 
Between his video, and the 35+ GB of footage we got (between 2 GoPros and a regular video camera), I certainly have my work cut out for me in terms of the trip's video diary. Don't you worry, though - I am hard at work putting it together for you.

Our time in Argentina really flew by, and we're left with fantastic photos, videos, and memories. And perhaps a sore shoulder or two. I couldn't have asked for a more fun trip. All in all, I'd call it quite a success. Such a success, in fact, we're already looking at our calendars to plan the next Argentinian adventure. The only question is, will we do combo dove/duck hunting, or set our sites on a red stag? Decisions, decisions. 

Stay tuned!