Planting Food Crops for Deer

The rains came just in time. About three weeks ago the weather guessers said it would rain several days in row. I knew the soil in my food plot still had good moisture a couple of inches down from the rains from the hurricane in early September. A little more rain would make wheat sprout and give it a good start, so I sowed wheat.

I should have known better. There was not a drop of rain for over two weeks. The wheat sprouted and got about three inches high, but started to die from the hot sun and lack of rain.

Just before the last hurricane rains hit, I put out winter peas, clover and turnips just as it started sprinkling. The surviving wheat and the new seeds responded to the new moisture and should have a good chance of growing well this fall, providing an attraction so I can harvest my venison for the next year.

A week later, everything looks good – wheat about five inches high, peas three inches high and good leaves on turnips. Clover has sprouted and growing thick.

Shark Fin Ban Hurting Conservation?

U.S. Shark Fin Ban May Harm Shark Conservation
from The Fishing Wire

Two leading marine scientists say banning shark-fin trade in the U.S. will have little impact on protecting sharks: Here’s their take, from Mote Marine Labs in Sarasota, FL.

A new study in the scientific journal Marine Policy shows that banning the sale of shark fins in the United States can actually harm ongoing shark conservation efforts.

Study authors Dr. David Shiffman of Simon Fraser University’s Earth2Ocean research group and Dr. Robert Hueter from the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory say that the proposed Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017, a bill currently in committee in U.S. Congress, is a misguided and ineffective approach to protecting sharks.

To request a copy of the paper, “A United States shark fin ban would undermine sustainable shark fisheries,” journalists can contact Hayley Rutger: hrutger@mote.org. Here is the abstract and citation.

The proposed Act states that “no person shall possess, transport, offer for sale, sell, or purchase shark fins or products containing shark fins,” with a few very specific exceptions. If passed, the Act would make it illegal for U.S. fishers and businesses to sell or purchase shark fins.

The Act is not focused on shark “finning,” which has been illegal in U.S. waters since the 1990s. Finning is the inhumane, wasteful practice of removing a shark’s fins at sea and tossing the animal back to die. U.S. shark fisheries are managed carefully, based on scientific data, and fishers are permitted to harvest non-depleted shark species, transport the whole animal back to shore and detach fins afterward — which is NOT finning. However, in some other parts of the world, finning contributes to the global fin trade and sharks are less sustainably managed.

In their new paper, Shiffman and Hueter review scientific and economic data to understand the possible implications of a U.S. ban on fin trade, including fins legally harvested in U.S. fisheries. Their key findings include:

Insignificant global impact of U.S. fin-trade ban: “…banning the sale of shark fins in the United States would likely not result in a significant direct reduction in global shark mortality, because the United States exports approximately one percent of all the shark fins traded globally, and imports an even smaller percentage of the global fin trade,” paper authors note.
U.S. shark fishing is well regulated. Preventing sale of U.S. caught fins opens more market share for less sustainable fisheries that may practice finning. “Of 16 global shark fisheries identified as biologically sustainable and well managed, 9 involve United States shark fishermen, accounting for 76.3% of total landings from these 16 fisheries,” the authors note.
U.S. ban could cause waste without reducing shark mortality. “Moreover, banning the sale of shark fins would not make it illegal to continue catch and kill sharks in the United States. It would only regulate how the parts of dead sharks can be used. Forcing fishermen to discard fins from sharks caught in sustainably managed fisheries would contribute to wastefulness in fisheries and undermine the ‘full use’ doctrine that is a component of the UN FAO International Plan of Action for Sharks, without reducing shark mortality.”
Costs to law-abiding U.S. fishers: “The proposed fin ban would therefore eliminate about 23% of the ex-vessel value of legally caught sharks, causing economic harm to rule-following fishermen and undermining decades of progress towards sustainable shark fisheries management in the United States.”
Instead of ban, sustainable harvest sets more realistic example for other nations: “A ban on the trade of shark parts from a sustainable fishery would not only eliminate a model of successful management from the global marketplace, but would also remove an important incentive for other nations to adopt that model. A nationwide ban on buying or selling fins would tell international trading partners that the United States will not support their shark conservation efforts regardless of future improvements to their fisheries sustainability.”

If a fin ban is not a viable solution, what can be done to help sharks? Dr. Robert Hueter at Mote, who has more than 40 years’ experience in shark science and conservation, offers a five-point approach designed to benefit shark populations while strengthening the U.S. economy:

Increase the penalties for shark finning, which the Florida state legislature has recently done.
Stop the import of shark products from countries that don’t practice sustainable shark fishing, especially those that still permit finning. Some authority to do this already exists, and there are at least two efforts underway to legislate further authority on Capitol Hill.
Incentivize our domestic industry to process American-harvested fins here within the U.S., rather than ship them to Hong Kong for processing (as happens now), thereby improving traceability of legal fins and supplying the demand of our own Asian cultures here in the U.S. with products “made in America.”
Continue to monitor our shark populations, conduct regular stock assessments and support strict measures for sustainability.
Educate the public about the real problems sharks face and empower people to do the right things in supporting shark conservation.

In addition, both authors of the Marine Policy paper suggest focusing more attention on the overall shark meat trade, which is worth $550 million worldwide and has been growing, compared with the fin trade alone, which is worth $330 million worldwide and has been declining.

How Many Guns Should I Be Allowed To Own?

“Why was the Las Vegas shooter allowed to have 48 guns? No one should be allowed to have 48 of anything,” so spoke either a main stream media talking head or a comedian. I often can not tell the difference. He went on to say, “If you have 48 cats you are called a ‘crazy cat woman.’

That was just a small example of the unhinged comments from liberals demanding control over the rest of us based on their prejudices. As is often said, and demonstrated, it is not about guns, it is about control.

Do you own 48 of anything? Should you be controlled and should the government confiscate anything the liberals do not want you to own?

I am not sure exactly sure how many guns I own, I have not counted lately. I may have more than 48 and I definitely have thousands of rounds of ammo for them. Not a single one of them has ever hurt anyone and never will, unless I am threatened. It is not up to comedians, actors, talking heads or politicians, all with armed security, to tell me how many I can own.

Two very liberal politicians actually told the truth, a real surprise. California Senator Diane Feinstein, who wants to ban all guns, admitted no gun control law could have affected the Las Vegas shooting, then called for more gun control laws in response to that shooting. That is the definition of illogical.

California Representative (see a pattern here) Nancy Pelosi, in response to a question about people’s fear that any new law would be a “slippery slope” toward a total gun ban, responded “I hope so.”

What ever happened to “Saturday Night Specials?” Just a few years ago gun banners were claiming that outlawing inexpensive revolvers, so called “Saturday Night Specials,” would solve gun crime. Now their mantra is “semiautomatic” or “bump stock.” They will use anything to try to get their control over those of us who disagree with their agenda. They use any crisis or tragedy to try to control the rest of us.

Arms are the only physical thing citizens are guaranteed a right to own in the constitution. But folks like movie producer Michael Moore want to take the 2nd Amendment out of the constitution. It inhibits their ability to control the rest of us.

If laws kept people from getting things, we would have no cocaine, meth or heroin problem. To see how effective gun laws are, read any crime report. It is illegal for felons to have a gun, but almost every arrest record says, “also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.”

Laws do not control criminals, only us law abiding citizens.

Las Vegas Shooting

Its amazing how fast liberals change their mantra pushing their agenda to the latest crisis. They went from “Russia, Russia, Russia” to “Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico” to “Gun Ban, Gun Ban, Gun Ban” in record time.

In response to the reprehensible murders in Las Vegas, the usual suspects have become completely unhinged. As usual, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, aka the Brady Bunch, sent out no less than four fund-raising emails within a few hours. They also called for passing new gun control laws that would have had no effect at all on the Las Vegas shooting even if they had been in effect and actually enforced.

Nancy Sinatra, who used to sing better than she thinks now, tweeted that NRA members, like me and the other 5,000,000 in that civil right organization, should face a firing squad. Rejected politician Hillary Clinton showed that all she knows about guns is from movies when she condemned the effort to allow devices that somewhat lower the sound of a gun, called “silencers” by those that know nothing about guns, saying it was a dangerous idea.

One insane madman did the shooting in Las Vegas. But all gun owners are condemned for his evil actions, and an inanimate object, the gun, is blamed.

The NRA has called for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco and Firearms to reexamine their approval of the “Bump Stock” device they approved under the Obama Administration. But the demand for bans on bigger magazines, semiautomatic guns and longer waiting periods, things that would have no effect, are common. The ultimate goal of those calling for “doing something” is to ban all guns.

I was surprised at a CBS News commentator defining the difference between a “semiautomatic” gun and a fully “automatic” gun. He proved that gun banners actually know the difference and have been lying all these year they have called everything from revolvers to single shot rifles “automatic” weapons.

To paraphrase a quote, “its not the gun or law-abiding gun owners, its the evil in men’s souls” that result in horrible actions like this murderous rampage.

I’m sure some law will be passed to do “something” as so many are demanding. As usual, whatever is done will affect only people like me and you, those of us that follow the law and harm no one unless threatened. That is if I am not put before a firing squad for supporting the US constitution.

Lake Guntersville Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Guntersville Fishing Report

Check out these weekly updated reports for selected lakes in Georgia and Alabama Lakes Fishing Report. If any guides or fishermen do weekly reports and would like them published on my site please contact me: ronnie@fishing-about.com

Captain Mike with nice Guntersville bass

Captain Mike with nice Guntersville bass

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 9/2/17

This past week produced one of the best days for numbers of fish I have had this year, we lost
count catching fish after fish and doubling up many times during the outing. It’s not often
during this time of year that we have days like this but cool rainy days and movement by the
fish really helped the cause.

We basically caught fish in the 10 ft. range and were successful with a few baits, the SPRO
frog was on the first hour or so and when we felt that bite ran its course we went to the
Missile bait “48” stick bait weighted lightly and really got into the numbers as we progressed
through the day.

The wind picked up and when it did we went back to spinner baits catching
good numbers on it also, using Punisher ½ or ¾ oz. spinner baits with gold willow leaf blades.
The bite was strong and the fish were as active as I have seen them in a while.

This fall will be some of the best fishing of the year, I have guides and days available all fall
long and we are looking forward to fishing with you. My team is licensed USCG Captains and
are experienced on lake Guntersville.

Come fish with us no one will treat you better or work
harder to see you have a great day on the water. We fish with great sponsor products,
Duckett rods and reels, Vicious Line, Ranger Boats, T&H marine products and more.

Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service

Email: bassguide@comcast.net
Phone: 256 759 2270
Captain Mike Gerry

Little Spots at West Point

Maybe we should have tried bows and blowguns at West Point last Sunday. In the August Spalding County Sportsman Club tournament nine members managed to land 12 keeper spots weighing about 13 pounds at West Point. We did not weigh in even one largemouth. There were no limits and five of the nine fishermen did not have a keeper.

Randall Sharpton won with four spots weighing 4.62 pounds, my four weighing 4.35 pounds placed second and I had big fish with a 1.62-pound spot, Zane Fleck had three at 3.70 pounds for third and Russel Prevatt was fourth with one weighing .98 pounds. That was it, all the fish that were caught!

I knew it was going to be a tough day and it started wrong. I had to be tournament director since Sam did not fish. I thought I was late getting my boat in the water but when JR. Proctor and I idled out to the no-wake buoys at 6:30 for blast off everybody else was still tied up at the dock or standing around talking in the parking lot.

The first place I stopped was on a rocky point and I tried everything from topwater to shaky head worms without a bite. We next eased over to a deep bank with blow down trees and I got a bite. When I set the hook my line broke, something that should never happen. I think the jig head had bumped against the rocks and gotten a weak place in the line. I should have checked my line.

I retied and soon caught my biggest fish. Then I got a bite in a tree top and set the hook. The fish wrapped my line around a branch and I could see it but it came off before I could get to it.

I did find some fish feeding on a shallow point and landed my other keepers and several short fish there. But I had another keeper that looked bigger than my biggest jump and throw a jig and pig. It was just not meant for me to catch a limit. But several others said they also lost fish.

I can’t wait for cooler weather and, hopefully, fish biting better!

What Are Wind Knots and How Can I Stop Them?

A Cure for Wind Knots
By Frank Sargeant, Editor
from The Fishing Wire

Microwave guides have been around for a few years but somehow I never got around to buying a rod built with them, even though I was a friend of Doug Hannon, the inventor. Doug, gone much too soon, is remembered as “The Bass Professor”, a name I saddled him with in a story in Outdoor Life Magazine nearly four decades ago. He came up with the weedless trolling motor prop, the Wave Spin reel and many other patented angling inventions.

The Microwave system includes a unique “guide within a guide” that funnels the broad loops from the spinning reel spool down to a small passage which Hannon said was key not only to casting distance, but also to reducing the “wind knots” that are a frequent problem in some open-faced spinning setups.

Don Morse, head rod builder for American Tackle, which sells the Microwave guides, is one of their chief advocates. It should be noted that American Tackle sells a wide variety of premium guides, so Morse has no particular ax to grind in pushing Microwaves.

“Line comes off a spinning reel in these huge loops on a cast, and those loops, we can see in high speed video, remain in the line and drag across the lower guides well up the rod on a conventional spinning rod,” says Morse. “The high-speed video shows that with the Microwave system, all that looping comes out on the first guide, and the line runs straight through the other guides and out the tip-top from there. It cuts drag, it cuts vibration, and it really makes for a much smoother, more accurate cast.”

Another consideration is the reduction of wind-knots, which under some conditions can drive anglers nuts. Particularly when throwing jerkbaits and topwaters, the constant slacking and then jerking of rod and line create an ideal situation for loops to form around the guides. Wind knots form when an extra loop of line comes off the lip of the spool ahead of the running line.

If the Microwave guide system can eliminate these knots, that alone would make them worth using on specialty rods dedicated to jerkbait and topwater fishing, for those anglers who prefer spinning gear to baitcasting.

I had an opportunity to test one of these rods recently, with 9 of the Microwave guides mounted on a 7’2″ Bushido Warrior graphite blank in medium power, medium-fast tip. I put in a couple of four-hour mornings working over the bass at Lake Guntersville, in northeast Alabama, with this rod mounted with a Shimano Symetre in the 2500 size loaded with 10-pound-test Power Pro, throwing an assortment of topwaters and jerkbaits between a half ounce and 3/4 ounce.

I got a wind knot on maybe the third cast of the first morning, realized I had too much line on the spool, cut off about 50 feet, and then went on to never see another wind knot in the two mornings of casting and jerking. I don’t normally get many wind knots because of habits I’ve had beaten into me by a lot of good anglers, including closing the bail manually, but I do get some–the Microwave guide setup appeared to be an improvement over the conventional rod I had been using for this duty. The casts were smooth and accurate, and the guides do a good job of bringing out the power of the blank in fighting fish. They’re also light enough to make a nice balance with the 2500-size reel on a Fuji handle.

The guide set is fairly pricey, $49.95 for 8 microguides, the Microwave main “funnel” guide and the tip top. This is in line with top-quality Fuji and other premium guides, but it definitely adds to the price of the finished rod. You generally won’t see Microwave guides on value-priced tackle–they’re usually coupled with top-shelf blank and handle. To learn more about these guides, visit www.americantackle.us.

Making Bows and Arrows and Stone Axes

Bows and arrows fascinated me when I was growing up. We searched woods and fields for arrowheads and were constantly on the look-out for any rock that resembled one. Most of what we found were just random pieces of rock somewhat arrowhead shaped but we were sure we had found something once used to take down game.

At six years old I really did not understand differences between kinds of rocks. Our farm had a lot of soft sandstone, a good bit of granite from chunk to boulder size, and a few flint rocks.

The sandstone would break easily and there were all kinds of shapes of stones. I now know it is easy to shape but too soft to be of much use for anything but crushing softer stuff. But we thought arrowheads could be made of that reddish rock.

It was easy to shape it by breaking off small pieces and even by rubbing it on the granite boulders. It did not flake, it just came apart as small pieces and sandy residue. And an ax head made from it would break as soon as you hit a tree with it.

Looking back its funny, but we tried to make stone axes by shaping rocks with the blunt end of our steel hatchets. Talk about going backwards! And getting a stone chunk to stay on any kind of handle was a joke. We tried the way we had seen in pictures, splitting a stick handle, putting the stone between in the split then lashing it into place with baling twine.

Little did we know you needed something much tighter than that twine could be tied. If lashed on with leather strips then soaked in water, the leather shrank as it dried and got very tight. With our home made stone axes the head often flew off the handle before the head could hit the tree and crumble.

We did make some realistic looking arrowheads from the sandstone but did not realize they would have been useless. No matter how carefully we worked the edges could never be sharp. Flint flakes into sharp edges when chipped, sandstone merely gets rounded on the edges. But we had fun making our axes and arrowheads.

Bows and arrows were interesting, too. We thought any bent stick with a string on each end would suffice but, if the stick did not break when bent back, it had no strength to spring back to propel an arrow. And baling twine was probably not the best bow string.

Any somewhat straight stick could be an arrow, but they never worked. We did not know about wetting and heating sticks and straightening them. We just used them how they grew, and sweetgum, the most common type tree on our farm, is useless for bows and arrows.

Trips to the north Georgia mountains on summer vacation introduced me to blowguns, something Cherokees used for hunting small game. The ones we bought at tourist traps were about three feet long and came with a couple of rubber tipped darts. They never worked well, having a range of just a few feet.

We tried to make them, too, with pieces of cane that grew along Dearing Branch. It did not take long to give up trying to hollow them out by boring through each joint. If daddy had made me work as hard on the farm as I did working on blowguns I would not have liked it. But again, it was fun trying to make them.

I sometimes wonder if kids have any experiences like those I had growing up. I hope so.

Good News On Gun Control After the Eclipse

Good News On Gun Control and After the Eclipse

Jim Shepherd
from The Fishing Wire

We’re only hours away from the great solar eclipse of 2017, but that’s not the only thing happening in our world today (unfortunately). Although it’s still craziness as usual in Washington, it appears a ray of sanity has injected itself into Arizona’s dual-minded arguments over guns.

This is what the solar eclipse later today will look like – if you have NASA’s technology and know-how. The rest of us will likely see it in a different light. NASA photo with permission.
Last week, Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled – unanimously, no less- that cities, towns and counties have no right to enact their own gun regulations. That decision voids a 2005 Tucson ordinance that says when a police department obtains a gun through a seizure or surrender, the agency “shall dispose of such firearm by destroying the firearm.”

That’s in contradiction to state law, and the Arizona high court says that’s a no-no. Technically speaking, the ruling upholds SB 1487 a 2016 law that allows individual lawmakers to direct the Attorney General’s Office to investigate claims that run contrary to state statutes.

In fact, SB 1487 triggers an automatic investigation that can lead to the city losing half its shared state revenues. The 2005 Tucson ordinance mandating destruction of seized firearms came under that investigation after a state lawmaker used SB 1487 to complain.

Arizona state law bars enforcement agencies from destroying operable seized weapons and direct they be sold, not destroyed.

The implications for Arizona’s 19 charter cities is clear: they do not have the constitutional right to enact their own absolute laws -and in many cases the Arizona legislature will have the last word. Simply stated, except in narrow instances, in conflicts between state and local ordinances, the local ordinances fail.

Now, about that darkness…..

Emergency management personnel are on high alert across the country (seriously), preparing to deal with, well, whatever happens when the solar eclipse starts to race across the country in only a couple of hours (Actually, it’s scheduled to begin just after 9:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time).

Before it passes off the South Carolina coast just after 4:00 P.M. Eastern time, millions of Americans will have taken time out of their Monday to see what happens when the moon blocks the rays of the sun across a 14-state swath of the country. And everyone from the USFWS to the Audubon Society is anxiously waiting to see what wildlife will do when darkness happens hours ahead of schedule.

Will the birds nest? Will the fish stop biting? Will mosquitoes emerge -only to be fried to a crisp when the sun reemerges (sorry, wishful thinking on my part..nothing kills mosquitoes during summer in the south)?

Actually, no one’s exactly sure how wildlife will behave. But officials have some idea how the people who have jammed the path of the eclipse across the country will behave. They’ve ramped up emergency services, rented portable toilet facilities and agree with the advice offered by Oregon officials -especially when you’re dealing with the same kind of congestion you face during any big event.

Here’s the advice if you’re out to watch the eclipse in the path of totality: “Arrive early, stay put and leave late!”

Seriously, officials are already reporting congestion and crowds in advance of the eclipse, but it’s only expected to worsen throughout the day.

Here’s some very simple advice: make certain you have plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, have fuel for your vehicle, and be patient.

And if you’re out to observe the eclipse, we’d really like your perspective on the whole thing. You can send your images and observations to editor@theoutdoorwire.com and we’ll do some coordinating and sharing between our readers.

We’re especially interested in how the wildlife behaves, but don’t feel like you’re limited- if it’s interesting to you, it will probably be interesting to others.

One final word of caution: please don’t risk serious- and potentially permanent- eye damage by trying to watch the eclipse with your naked eye or through an unfiltered camera lens. Use the pinhole viewer, watch online or borrow a pair of #14 (the minimal safe number) pair of welder’s goggles.

Stay safe- and remember, we’ll keep you posted.

Hot, Tough Fishing At Clarks Hill

We should have used spottails or some other live bait at Clarks Hill last weekend. In the Flint River Bass Club August two day tournament, six members fished for 15 hours to land 21 keeper bass weighing about 29 pounds. There was one five-bass limit and one member did not catch a keeper in the two days. It was hot, tough fishing at Clarks Hill.

I won with seven bass weighing 10.46 pounds, Travis Weatherly was second with four weighing 8.32 pounds and big fish of 3.69 pounds, Chuck Croft was third with six weighing 6.58 pounds and Alex Gober places fourth with three at 3.31 pounds.

I made a lucky guess and started on a bridge riprap Saturday morning at 6:05. I caught my first keeper at 6:10 and had five at 6:35, all on a spinnerbait. Then, for the next 7.5 hours, I landed three more keepers. I was shocked at weigh-in that I had five, Chuck had two and nobody else had caught a keeper in eight hours.

Sunday I started at the bridge and caught keepers on back to back cast at 6:20. One of them was a good bass weighing 3.21 pounds. Although I fished hard until weigh-in I never caught another fish.

It was a better day for others. Travis caught his four on Sunday after not catching a fish on Saturday and Alex got his three after zeroing the first day. All five of the other guys stayed at a cabin at Soap Creek and I stayed 17 miles away in my mobile home at Raysville Boat Club. Maybe they shared information!

I got really frustrated Sunday. It was miserably hot, without a cloud in the sky, contrary to what the weather guessers predicted, and there was no breeze. Even worse I broke my line three times when setting the hook, something that should never happen.

The first happened when I was fishing down a shady bank and saw a big rock in about three feet of water. I pitched my shaky head worm to it, felt a thump and set the hook, breaking my line. I figured my line was over the rock and got cut.

Later out on a rock pile on an old road bed I was bouncing my bait through the rocks felt a bite and again broke my line when setting the hook. I again figured it was cut the rocks so I retied and it happened again a few minutes later.

I switched to heavier line to try to stop that from happening again but never got another bite!