Archive for March, 2010

On The Road

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

I am currently down in Texas working a couple PBR events and usually my downtime between shows can be fairly mundane. This is certainly not this case on this trip! The Sunday after my first event down here I got a text from my friend Keith Rand, Marketing Director for Pigman, The Series. Keith knew I was in the area and the text said simply…”bring your Yankee ass down here!” And that’s how it starts! I went down to Groesbeck, TX on Sunday and ended up staying a few days out at Triply Q outfitters ranch with Pigman’s dad Tom “Dapper” Quaca. Pigman, Keith, Dap and some other guys decided they were gonna take this rodeo clown on a true Texas hog hunt, chasing them with dogs. Well we spent the remainder of Sunday hangin out and making some arrangements for the following day. The guys wouldn’t be ready to roll until about 10 AM so Pig and Dap decided I should sit over a feeder and try to kill a hog to butcher and take home since they are such good eaters! I ended up shooting about a 75 pound sow, perfect eating size and had it skinned and in the cooler before breakfast! I love Texas…

After Dap and I went to town and had some coffee and breakfast, we came back to the ranch, filled some feeders, checked a couple trail cameras and I helped him get a few things ready for a group coming in on Wednesday. We finally got a call to meet everyone at the corner store for lunch and we’d be off! We loaded up the four wheelers and cruised up to the store and met up with Pigman, Keith, Herschel “The Hitman” Hoover, Clinton Little and a dude named Willy that showed up to get fuel and decided he was going with us! Now Clinton is a sure enough cowboy and has some great dogs both for Cattle and for Hogs. The dogs are Curs and they are the bay dogs for hog hunting. The way it works is that you turn the bay dogs loose in some likely Pig bedding area or if you see some pigs rooting around. The dogs will then chase and attempt to surround a pig “baying it up”. Once the dogs are bayed we slip in with the Pitbull “catch” dogs on leashes as close as we dare without busting the pig out. At that point we release the catch dogs and they run in and latch onto the pigs head or ears and bear down! This may be a good time to add that this is not a sport for the faint of heart. It is one of the most intense experiences Ive ever had but it is pretty brutal and often bloody. It is necessary and a part of southern culture however and if you saw the incredible amount of damage these hogs do to the land that these farmers and ranchers rely on the feed their families you would understand it. A small group of hogs can irreparably damage an acre of hay field over night…

This sport is also dangerous. These hogs can get aggressive and protective and the big boars have razor sharp cutters. Many a hog hunter has been cut by a charging boar trying to protect a sow in heat. So it is an adrenaline rush as well. You are sprinting through swamps and thickets following the sound of barking dogs and squealing pigs! At one point I was out in the middle of a swamp up to my waist in muck and water trying to get to a dog that had a pig caught on an island! This was a very cool experience and I will be joining in again soon. On a side note we had to ship the Pigman off to the Emergency room. He broke a bone in his knee cap and had to get stitched up after running a beaver cut stump into his leg! We had a great day, caught a few hogs but missed the big boar we chased for hours. We estimated the dogs were on that boar for 8-10 miles over the course of two hours or so and we missed him with the catch dogs twice. One of the pitbulls got her throat cut (just the meat not life threatening) by this boar and I watched Clinton staple her up like a Vet! Ive attached a few pictures but you just cant get a feel for the excitement of something like this until you do it!

Nebraska Spring Fever Starts Hot With Turkeys

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Over the winter my friend David and I talked about hitting Nebraska for the archery turkey season opener on March 25th. It was going to be spring break for his son so we decided to wait until the 27th to head down. We researched some new areas in the North West portion of the state and began calling biologists and land owners. After securing some permission and had a hand full of maps we were ready.

It was going to be early and most of the birds were still going to be in their winter flocks. Strategies would change and you have to hunt them in the travel corridors, which for the river bottoms meant to and from ranchers hay stacks. The numbers were tremendous and a ton of hens as well as jakes were located. After some scouting and driving around learning the area we were ready for the hunt.

It is very important to scout, make several plans, have back up areas and do not hunt right away. I rather scout for 2 days and hunt for 1 good one if that is what it takes. Make the most of your time. We were glad we did that rather than set up right away without seeing what the birds were doing. The first 3 days so far on this trip we killed 3 birds. We have scouted, driven around, knocked on 15 ranchers doors and spent a total of 3 hours in the blinds to harvest these birds. Our scouting has paid off big time for us so far.

We still have 3 more birds to take down so stay close for more updates.

Outback Outdoors – Most Asked Question…

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Probably the number one most frequently asked question I receive through emails, visiting with other hunters after seminars, and on the phone is….. “How do I get involved in the outdoor industry?

My answer to that is “be aware of what you are getting into!” Then you can make a rational decision whether you want to commit to sacrifice your family, your time, and your money to chase this seemingly unreachable dream.  I don’t say that to be discouraging, but if I knew what I know now… 7 years ago, I would probably have just kept bowhunting and taking good pictures of my kills rather than investing a TON of money to chase a dream of videoing and producing a show which showcases all of my hunting exploits.

For all of you that have a dream to get into this industry and share your hunts, I in no way want to discourage you but it isn’t easy! There is a TON of competition and the crazy thing is there are a ton of shows that I watch and say to myself… “what the…??” but they have the funding and are doing it and God bless them!

At Outback Outdoors our mission has been and always will be to present a product (now the webisodes and hopefully soon a TV show) that a guy or gal who is as crazy about the outdoors as we are to think, “I can relate with these guys and I can see myself sharing a campfire with them!” But it has not been easy! From the disappointment of empty promises from people you think you can trust to the sponsors who hit on bad times and pull sponsor dollars, it isn’t a piece of cake.

Here are my insights to making it in the outdoor industry…

1. Relationships

Build relationships that come from the heart, not the pocket book! They will last longer!

2. Be true to what kind of hunter you are

Don’t try and be Michael Waddell (there are a million shows where guys are trying to emulate him and just can’t pull the red neck thing off) Fred Eichler, or Cameron Hanes! While I have great respect for all these guys they are true to themselves and how they hunt and we, at Outback Outdoors, are NOT them, therefore we can ONLY be who we are. With us being us hopefully the thrill of our love for the outdoors will be enough and someone…anyone… will enjoy and WANT to watch our adventures.

3. Be committed

Don’t jump in half way! You have to commit and that means (as I said before) sacrifice and you have to be willing to be patient and pay your dues!

While these points seem simple at the forefront these principles actually are very difficult, you have to want to do this from your very soul… to take people to the exact place you are at and try and make them feel the excitement, nerves, the cold, exhaustion, the “buck fever,” and whatever else you feel on each and every hunt. Could I have killed better trophies over the past 5 years if I didn’t have a camera man following me around on every hunt? SURE! But would I have gotten the same thrill of having a hunt that I could share with thousands on a play by play basis? NEVER

In summation I want to encourage you, if this is your dream GO FOR IT! Maybe I will be watching you hunt on the Outdoor Channel, Pursuit, or the Sportsmans Channel in the future, but understand this… there are thousands of guys standing in line to take our place who are probably better hunters, better shots, and more charismatic than us, but by God’s grace we are growing and the train is “ROLLING.”

So if this is your dream commit and I wish you luck and if you have questiosn email me and hopefully I can “cut some corners” for you as others did for me!!

Trev – Team Outback Outdoors

trevon@outbackoutdoors.net

First Spring Hunt Of The Year-Nebraska Turkeys

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Cabin fever has lingered for longer than I can handle. I am headed out in the morning for Nebraska to hunt the thunder chickens with the Hoyt. It is the first state out West to open and there are a ton of birds in the corn husker state.

This early season hunt can be real tough as the birds are just breaking up from their winter flocks and establishing their pecking order. It is not uncommon to see 200-300 birds in a huge flock. Trying to get a mature tom to break off from the group will be tough. A lot of times you have to set up near their travel corridors or roosting areas and hope to catch them traveling through.

I will be set up in the blind with decoys out by first light on Sunday morning and the weather looks to be nice. My last trip out there in March was less than stellar. Look for some updates in the next week on my hunt.

Mule Deer – Outback Outdoors Websiode 11 Archery Mule Deer Hunt is Now Live

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Mule Deer hunting is a passion for all of here on team Outback Outdoors and Adam and I (last December) got to share a special bowhunt in eastern Colorado and encountered some great bucks and endured some amazing action. We have finally got the first part of Webisode 11 – Eastern Colorado Mulies video is up and running on the Outback Outdoors’ website.

Check it out and I know you won’t be disappointed. Part 2 will be ready to roll out next week so let us know what you think and check back next week for the 2nd part of this exciting hunt captured all on video for you by team Outback Outdoors.

Thanks, Trev

March Fly fishing

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Spring is in the air, not right at this moment as I am typing as I am in a blizzard right now on the mountain. But in the low country the grass is starting to green as the snow melts away. For me the spring rights of passage involves a fly fishing trip to my little piece of property on the Blue River with my good friends Jon, Marty and Randy.

This March trip has become tradition with us guys. It is so great to see the Elktrout clan again.  I learned so much about what I do from these guys in particular. Marty, Jon and Randy are some of the best outdoors men and ranch hands I know.  It is an honer to be able to call these guys friends.

Me and my bird dogs? or Fish dogs?

Randy

Jon

Marty

Adam

Late Season Bowhunting in Frigid Weather

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

As the mercury dipped well below zero in mid December, I found myself sitting in a ground blind in South Western North Dakota. I was trying to arrow a late season deer, either white tail or mule deer. The weather was relentless and I have never hunted in temperatures this cold before. I was there for 12 days and it never did get over 8 degrees. Many days it was in the negatives and the wind made it an honest minus 20.

The deer movement was slowed due to the very cold weather. They would move only just before last light and would feed until 3 or 4 in the morning and head back for thick bedding cover. It makes the hunting tough and you have to tread lightly. They were traveling from the hay yard used by this working cattle ranch to the thick cedar thickets on the river system. I had to try and intercept them on the well beaten trails in the 2 foot of fresh snow.

Your equipment changes dramatically when it gets this cold. Everything has to be dead quiet because these deer are in survival mode and are on high alert. Your bow weight needs to be lowered, draw length shortened in some occasions and you need to have quiet fleece or wool clothing. I will cover this in more detail in a future scrape line segment on our show so be sure to look for it.

Back from stalking Permit on the salt water flats of Belize

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Bow hunting and fly fishing the salt water flats for Permit have many similarities.  Finding, understanding, and fooling the quarry; then stalking, taking the shot, and enjoying the experiences and the comradeship that such adventures create. For me it was also a much needed break from the snow, cold and rough living conditions on the ranch and the chance to catch what I consider to be the “Holy Grail of Fly Fishing.”

Finding the Permit was as much a challenge as fooling them with the perfect cast, fly and presentation. Fortunately, the keen eyes and expansive knowledge of the Garbutt brothers (our guides) put me into Permit each day. Seeing a tailing permit sends a rush of adrenaline through my system; my legs start shaking, my eye sight narrows, and my heart rate increases. Just over a fish, it is the same rush I get when I get a bull elk to respond to my call, or as my stalk closes in on a bedded mulie buck. Its the rush we all strive for in the outdoors no matter what your game is.

Once tails or busy water is observed the stalk is on; get the sun to our backs no sudden movements, stay low, watch for the tails. When the tails are up, that means the fishes eyes are down, time to take the shot. And that is exactly what it is. One shot, one cast and it had better be perfect. No time for false casting, you get maybe one and you need to get the rod to load up with that one cast, then the with 15 foot leader and heavy fly your timing must be absolutely perfect. Performing these fine motor functions under the influence of adrenaline is no easy feat.  As the Permit are feeding in the shallow flats, their field of view is very small, the fly must land in this field of view often times less than a 10 inch square. This 10 inch square is often more than 60 feet away, that is a long cast for me with a fly rod and to hit this magic spot is as much luck as skill for me.

As hard as it is to get the perfect shot on a Permit, the fly and presentation needs to be perfect as well.  The Permit are very wary as they leave their deep water haunts and move into the shallow flats to feed. Then too, they are very intelligent as far as fish go. I like to say that I think I should be able to outsmart any fish that swims, right? My melon sized brain matched up to the fishes little pea sized brain, I should win every time. Well, I have come to understand that a fishes little pea sized brain is 100% devoted to survival while my big old melon has maybe a pea sized portion in it devoted to catching fish. When it the case of Permit, it is clear to me that their brain functions at a higher level than that little pea area in my big old melon.  But that is why when you do make the perfect cast, the fly lands close enough for the Permit to see but not so close that is spooks, you have a nice little crab imitaiton on the end of your line, the presention is teasing and keeping the permits attention, he follow the fly, but as I am striping in the line the action is getting closer and closer to the boat, will the Permit see me, spook or just figue out that the crab she is chasing is a fake? Yes, useully they turn away and take off for the deep again. But, it is possible that I can fool one from time to time.

The “Eat” when it happens, if it happens is a time when just like bow hunting, it is the moment of truth. Can I keep my composure? Will I stay in control and set the hook quickly and firmly? If I can do this can I get the loose line out and on the reel without breaking the Permit off?  This is where mental toughness comes in a big way. You need mental toughness to sneak across flat after flat hoping for a sign of a permit. Many Permit fishermen may pursue this elusive fish for years and never get a decent shot at one. Mentally get the cast or shot in at the right time, quickly and accurately. Not many second chances on Permit. One of the guys that I was fishing with had logged almost 30 days of exclusivly pursing Permit with a fly and had never had an “eat” in all this time.  Yes, the “Eat”, as I like to call it. This is where everything can go right or wrong. One permit we had eat but the fly went into the fishes crushers, where they kill the crabs they catch, and the crushers bent the hook to where the hook couldn’t set in the mouth. Always something that can go wrong, I had 6 eats in 3 days. By the way that is incredible for Permit fishing.

The hook set. When you see the mouth open on your fly, and feel the line tighten a little bit on the eat. So much depends on how I can set the hook. A quick and firm strip set is what works, don’t lift the rod like its a little trout. Strip set that fly right into that fat old lip. Then the fight is on. The first run that Permit have is incredible. They are running for the deep water and the fly line simply disappears off the reel, then into the ocean. I just keep hoping that the Permit will slow down before I run out of backing.  Strong and fast are not the only tricks a Permit will pull when the fight has begun. Remember, these fish are uncanny in their intelligence too. A coral head, an old Mangrove root, or other obstacle will almost always draw a fighting Permits attention.  They not only fight hard, they fight flat out dirty too. Rubbing the fly along the bottom trying to pull it out, swimming strait for a coral head and then taking a 90 degree turn on it to wrap the leader and fly line up or shooting underneath an old Mangrove root are just a few of the tricks Permit pulled on me this trip.  Just hooking a permit doesn’t mean you can catch one.

For me I was lucky, I managed to land two permit in 3 days.  A large part of it was luck, but also skill, mental toughness and composure. Not giving up after looking at empty flat after empty flat, staying alert for a little flash, some busy water, a tail breaking the surface in the distance, skill in casting and fighting fish. But even as proud as am to have landed a couple Permit on a fly, the real value to me is always the experience, being in the tropics, spending time with old friends and making new ones, and getting the heck off the ranch and away from all the snow for 3 days.

On The Road

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Texas Turkeys, Hogs and the PBR…..I am leaving Montana this weekend to head south. After a stop at Trevon’s house in Ft. Collins to set up and tune our new Hoyt Maxxis’ and give him a hand moving, I will be headed to Texas to do two back to back PBR events.

The great thing about Texas this time of year is hog hunting and an April 3 opener for Rio Grande Turkeys! My next two weeks look like this: Work a PBR in Palestine, TX, spend the week with some friends chasing hogs around with my bow, Work a PBR in Stephenville, TX and then hunt the first 2 or 3 days of Turkey season. Life on the road can be tough, but I sure love it!!

Keep checking back for updates from the place I like to call my second home, TEXAS! Hopefully I’ll put some hogs on the ground with the new Maxxis…

Snow Pack Out West

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

As spring rapidly approaches and the turkeys are starting to show signs of breeding I have been out scouting for new ground to hunt. In my travels over the last few weeks I could not help but notice that our high mountain peaks are showing signs of a quick melt off. It has been very unseasonably warm over the last six weeks. This is going to present a problem for us that some might not think off.
At this time of year our snow pack should be at roughly 125%. I read an article where they stated that we were at 80%. What does this mean to us out West.
The main problem is that we will be way behind in moisture content and come summer our risk of wild fires will be high. The mild winter will be very good for our animals for this spring but might have an affect on their food supply later this year.
We rely on a certain amount of moisture which in turn feeds our rivers, streams, and reservoirs and provides feed for the many great species of animals that call the West home. I hope that we will manage to get some more late snow storms or good rain storms over the next few months or our hunting seasons could be in jeopardy.