The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

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We at Shotem and Caughtem took the holiday weekend to go out and get a little fishing under our belts.  We traveled to Table Rock Lake and wasted no time getting our poles in the water.  The results left a little to be desired in the way of catching fish but as you can see in the photo above the view could not have been better.  We consistently talk about what the great outdoors can provide in the way of rest, relaxation and a little fun to boot.  We ran our first tests on the baits we received from both Berkley Fishing and Angler's Choice and both the companies baits we tested out show great promise though the water conditions and time of year were not ripe for biting fish.

Water temperature in the part of the lake where we were started on Friday at 70 degrees and by Sat afternoon had dropped to 67 due to boat traffic.  We always know that the weather and lake conditions on popular holiday weekends can leave a lot to be desired for fishing.  Traffic, changing water temperatures and the fact that you are right on the edge of spawning season for most fish can make for a frustrating outing in the sense of catching fish.

However, except for some rain the view, cold beer and friends could not be a better way to celebrate our freedoms.  Let us know how your holiday adventures went in the comment section below and stay tuned for some great reviews on the baits from Berkley and Angler's Choice.  We can't wait to see how the baits hold up to the bite.  Off first glance the action and construction of the baits should create a situation where the fish won't have a chance.

We at Shotem and Caughtem all know the great power mother nature holds.  Whether fishing, hunting or just wandering around the great outdoors, the relative peace and time with friends and family without distraction can provide a sense of rest and relaxation.  Combine this with our celebration of those who have risked their lives for our freedoms and you create a passion for the great outdoors and the healing power she can provide.  We felt this was a perfect weekend to pay tribute to those organizations who already provide these opportunities to our veterans.  There is a vast amount of resources available in every state through the wildlife and parks divisions for those who have served, however, there are also a large amount of groups who provide hunting and fishing opportunities in different states to all those who have or are serving this nation.  Though we have only listed a handful here we hope you let us know about your organization in the comment section below.  To all our service men and woman, past and present, we hope you have a wonderful Shotem and Caughtem Holiday weekend.  

Thank You,

Shotem and Caughtem Staff 

www.woundedwarriorsinaction.com  The Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation Inc. (WWIA) serves our Nation’s combat wounded Purple Heart recipients by providing world-class outdoor sporting activities as a means to recognize and honor their sacrifice, encourage independence and connections with communities, and promote healing and wellness through camaraderie and a shared passion for the outdoors.

www.woundedwarrioroutdoor.com  Wounded Warrior Outdoors provides this all-inclusive adventure at absolutely no cost to the servicemen and women, their families or the government. Transportation, lodging, meals and documentation of the adventure is provided free of charge. It is because of this arrangement that Wounded Warrior Outdoors relies entirely on private donations. Administration, general offices and personnel services are donated.

www.operationwearehere.com  To provide a comprehensive list of resources for the military community and its supporters

www.operationsecondchance.org  In 2006, Operation NPLB, formerly known as No Person Left Behind, was founded as an independent charity that allows like-minded professional hunters, fisherman, and outdoor-minded people to ensure that disabled veterans always receive the best outdoor hunting and fishing opportunities. NPLB has always provided wounded warriors with services complimentary to those offered by OSC, and in March of 2011 NPLB became a permanent part of Operation Second Chance.

www.sponsorahunt.com  Sponsor A Hunt began as a novel idea during a deployment is 2011. The goal was to create more resources for soldiers to connect with the hunting community and find hunting opportunities where ever the military moved them. As a military family, we have relocated many times and wished we could find more opportunities at our new duty stations. We feel hunting should be enjoyed by everyone.  We are dedicated to finding and providing opportunities worldwide for outdoor enthusiasts. We appreciate the support we have received from the hunting community and will continue to offer the most information, resources, and opportunities available.

www.woundedwarriorproject.org  With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury – from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.

When we at Shotem and Caughtem first got the idea of creating a social network the task seemed extreme.  Sure there are plenty of forums on the web around the subject but nothing that incorporated all the advantages that an engaging network could accomplish.  We also noticed that many of the people who hunt and fish only really share with people who hunt and fish on instagram, facebook, youtube and twitter.  However, those companies are huge in their memberships, it will be too hard to get traffic to us.  Luckily for us this first year of growth has been small but awesome.  Those we have attracted to the site have been great in helping us find our true stride in the outdoorsman and woman market.  Also, with the recent bashing of people who hunt and fish on these larger platforms we are finding more and more who want to find a place to get away from those who don't share the outdoor passion.  

One of the biggest requests has been an app.  A place where we can control our entire outdoor experience from where we tend to be......out in field or on the water.  Well we at Shotem and Caughtem are excited to tell you that we listened and the app is being developed as we speak.  We are hoping to release the beta model to some of our members in the coming month.  If you too want to be a part of helping us create a social network app for you our members and would like to help us find the glitches we encourage you to become a part of our site.  You can also go to www.shotemandcaughtem.com/chauncey , become a friend and send me a message letting me know you would like to be one of the first to check out the new app.  Don't worry even if you don't want to help and your just excited to get it on your phone?  The app will be free as well and available for both the android and iphone markets.  

We hope you are as excited as we are and help us spread the word once the the app hits the market.  Thanks as always for being a part of Shotem and Caughtem we can't thank you enough for all the support you have given us over the past year.  Android and IPhone apps now available http://www.shotemandcaughtem.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=282&Itemid=491  

We at Shotem and Caughtem were one of the first to get our hands on this cool new fishing technology the Poletap Smart rod http://shotemandcaughtem.com/the-blog/item/17-pole-tap-smartrod.html.  We are pleased and excited to announce the rod is now available to the general public in most Academy Sports locations and on the web.  We would like to congratulate Tackobox on this great achievement and love that we were one of the first to get the opportunity.

We at Shotem and Caughtem have been watching the debate in legal African hunting and the fall out from some groups against some hunters who have taken part in the experience.  It is definitely a debate.  We have always tried to explain some of the many pros that come from the passion we hold so dear to our hearts and our passion for what we do and how we effect the world around us.  Many of us spend much of our time making sure we have the opportunity to continue to go out every year and enjoy our adventures.  In order for this to happen we make sure to create habitats that sustain and build a higher population of our favorite animals.  Also as stated time and time again much of the money that comes from permits, licenses etc. are pumped back into the system to enhance public habitat and to make sure rules are followed.  

Africa however has suffered from a black market for it's prized animals for centuries.  Poaching is a way of life unfortunately.  As such we as hunters try to support the hunting industry with our money to allow us the opportunity to hunt in the country.  We suggest you read the article and help as hunters to educate those about our passion and the benefits that come from our lifestyle.  http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/05/06/controversy-swirls-around-the-recent-u-s-suspension-of-sport-hunted-elephant-trophies/

We at Shotem and Caughtem are right in the middle of Spring turkey hunting season.  We already have some birds in the freezer and have been hunting for new ways to cook our rewards from the field.  There are also some huge benefits to wild turkey which we have also listed below to help give you more reasons to fill your tags.  Let us know your favorite ways to cook wild turkey in the comment section below.

 

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem try to continue and stay on the topic of how hunting effects conservation.  Many groups feel that hunting is the cause of many of the problems involved in wildlife habitat and survival.  We felt like since spring turkey season is in full swing or ending in many areas we would find a story that once again talk about the great things that happen in our wildlife environment that promotes why we do what we do in a conservation capacity.  Our dollars from tags, permits, and taxes go to help promote the well being of the animals we cherish.  Let us know about your conservation effort and how you help the cause in the comment section below.

In 1974, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources agreed to send 135 Coulee Region ruffed grouse to Missouri in exchange for 334 eastern wild turkeys.

The turkeys were released in different locations around the state for a three-year period, beginning in 1976.

As far as conservation is concerned, it may be one of the best trades the state has ever made. For it was that exchange which successfully re-established the wild turkey population in Wisconsin.

For all intents and purposes, unregulated hunting and a variety of natural factors left the state without wild turkeys since roughly 1881.

After decades of futile attempts to reintroduce turkeys by releasing birds that were raised on farms, the batch of birds from the Show Me State put Wisconsin’s population on the fast track to recovery. By 1983, the state was able to hold its first modern-day statewide turkey season. In 2009, hunters in Wisconsin harvested more turkeys than any other state in the union.

Today, the DNR divides the state into seven zones. Manitowoc County is in Zone No. 2.

Last year, hunters in Zone 2 harvested 8,955 birds during the spring hunt, for a hunter success rate of 21.3 percent, the highest mark across all seven zones. The previous spring, hunters in Zone 2 took 10,486 birds, a 26 percent hunter success rate which was, once again, tops in the state.

Scott Walter, an upland wildlife ecologist with the WDNR, says that the quality of habitat in the area is the primary reason hunters in the area have seen so much success in recent years.

“It’s simply the way the landscape is managed. It provides a nice heterogeneous mix of open habitats and forested habitats in which they tend to do very well,” Walter said. “Just by nature, this nice mix of wood lots and agriculture...provides a super habitat base.”

The spring season is divided into six weeks, with each hunting permit good for only one of those six weeks. The third week begins today. In spring, hunters may only take male turkeys, allowing the females to nest undisturbed.

While the turkey population has, generally, been steadily increasing, Walter pointed out that the experience of any particular hunter may vary based upon long-term and short-term weather trends.

“I think it has certainly become clear to those of managing turkeys and hunters themselves that we have turkeys established in healthy numbers statewide,” Walter said. “But, we’re going to have to expect that, from one year to the next, the number of birds we see in the field are going to go up and down based on what weather conditions have been like the past year or two.”

Walter added that weather conditions are especially crucial two times per year: winter, when snow cover can deny birds access to food, and late spring, when warm temperatures and small amounts of precipitation help facilitate the nesting process. As the numbers of turkeys continues to rise, so does the number of hunters pursuing them. The WDNR made 237,420 permits available this spring, a fair increase from the 234,985 of last spring.

“Probably the only thing that increased more than the turkey population itself was the interest in this new hunting opportunity,” Walter said. “Our state hunters just embraced this. It’s a chance to get out in the woods in the spring, which is one of the things that makes the spring turkey hunt unique. In terms of hunting, there aren’t many other opportunities out there that time of year.”

Turkey hunting and the turkey population have made significant strides in Wisconsin in recent decades. But Walter maintains there is still work to be done.

“Getting the next generation engaged in this, now firmly-entrenched, tradition of turkey hunting in Wisconsin is going to be really important,” Walter said. “It’s something that we all have to think about, at least those of us who are passionate about the hunting tradition.”

Walter also called upon current hunters to make sure they are respecting the land they hunt on.

“When turkey hunters are out in the field they have to respect the land and the property owner rights, especially if the happen to be hunting on private land. Closing gates, not littering, and being respectful of the land you’re on is going to be really important in terms of maintaining a positive public image of turkey hunting in general.”

Walter hopes all of the effort he and other wildlife officials and organizations have, and will continue to, put forth will continue to help others experience something that many in this state went their entire lives without: a morning in a turkey blind.

“It’s just a really unique and special experience, “ Walter said. “It’s hard to put into words. The sun’s coming up, that gobbler is up on the ridge belting away and the ability to interact with that bird through the calling, through the use of decoys and to have him coming in, it’s a very interactive hunt that just leaves memories.”

We at Shotem and Caughtem have talked many times about wild boar hunting and the problems associated with this nuisance animal.  However, we have also said that it takes a united front when it comes to the elimination of animals of this caliber.  As many states already know many programs have been enacted on a government level to control populations of boa, wild hogs, lizards, snake head, carp, etc.  The list is long and the government man power and budget is scarce.  Just in our state alone we might have 1 Wildlife and Parks official that covers hundreds of thousands of acres.  These short staffed individuals are not provided the resources needed to keep an invasive species at bay.  That is why we feel New York might be making a huge mistake while populations remain small and manageable but making this decision.  Let us know your thought in the comment section below.

A new state regulation prohibits hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York State.

The ban was announced by state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens. He said the regulation is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC's statewide eradication efforts.

"Enacting a statewide regulation was important to support DEC's ongoing work to remove this invasive species from the state and to ensure that it does not become established in the wild anywhere in New York," said Commissioner Martens. "Eurasian boars are a great threat to natural resources, agricultural interests, and private property and public safety wherever they occur and DEC will continue to work to protect these resources and remove wild boars from the state."

Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions are now present across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer "wild boar hunts," the DEC said.

Governor Cuomo signed legislation on Oct. 21 that immediately prohibited the importation, breeding or introduction to the wild of any Eurasian boars.

Furthermore, the law prohibits possession, sale, transport or marketing of live Eurasian boars as of Sept. 1, 2015. The new law was an essential step in the state's efforts to prevent Eurasian boars from becoming established in the wild, the DEC said.

However, there are already small numbers of Eurasian boars on the landscape in New York. Since 2000, wild boars have been reported in many counties across the state, and breeding in the wild has been confirmed in at least six counties (Tioga, Cortland, Onondaga, Clinton, Sullivan and Delaware) in recent years.

The DEC is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program to remove any Eurasian boars that are reported in New York. To date, more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed, the DEC said.

These efforts appeared to have made a difference. Officials said late last year that there wasn't a single report of a wild boar seen or taken locally. However, they are not willing to say that they've been completely taken off the local landscape. The feeling is that some folks, for whatever reason, are keeping quiet about what animals remain out there.

Meanwhile, the eradication efforts are expensive, time consuming and requires a great deal of manpower,according to the DEC.

"Hunters have offered to assist our efforts by hunting for boars wherever they occur, but experience has shown this to be counter-productive," Martens said. "As long as swine may be pursued by hunters, there is a potential conflict with our eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a 'sounder,' the name for a group of pigs that can number 20 or more individuals. Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method often causes the remaining animals to disperse and be more difficult to remove."

Hunters pursuing wild boars in locations where baited traps have been established by DEC or USDA can also undermine these costly and labor-intensive capture efforts.

Shooting may remove one or two animals, but the rest of the sounder scatters and rarely comes back together as a group, thereby hampering eradication efforts, the DEC said.

The new regulations also prohibits anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities. Hunting wild boar is still allowed at enclosed hunting preserves until Sept. 1, 2015.

The regulation does provide necessary exceptions for state and federal wildlife agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare, the DEC said.

If you've seen a Russian wild boar or any other type of feral pig, call the DEC's Cortland office at 1-607-753-3095, Extension 247, or email the DEC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include "Eurasian boar" in the subject line.. Photographs of the animals are especially helpful, so try to get a picture and include it with your report.

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem have always been told the stories and ran to the lake to answer the prophecy that the best fishing happens before the storm.  So of course now that much of the United States have been involved in a large line of thunder storms we felt it might be good to look at the science behind fishing and storms.  

Barometric pressure- the weight of the air- decreases as a storm approaches. It's called low pressure. To understand how it works, imagine the palm of that giant hand the professor talked about easing up as it presses on the water's surface. Its touch is lighter. The water isn't as compressed as it was, and fish can move more easily through it. The mood of many fish often changes to what we might call a more 'active' mood. They move around more freely and feed.

A storm also brings clouds and wave-creating wind, reducing sunlight penetration. Active fish can move to shallower water. In the case of walleyes, they often rise in the water column. The sonar screen shows them moving up off the bottom. Or, they just move shallower on shoreline-connected and midlake structures.

The absolute best fishing periods often occur when barometric pressure reaches its lowest point, just before the front arrives.

"The old saying, that fish bite best right before the storm."

The best time to head to the lake is when the forecast calls for storms moving into the area.

The picture changes when the storm is over. Barometric pressure starts to rise again. The giant hand presses down harder, and the water becomes more compact. High pressure also brings clear, bluebird skies, and light penetration is often intense for the next several days. Fish feel the increased pressure and become less active. They move tight to cover or deeper, where the sun isn't so bright. Their mood is lethargic.

With underwater cameras, you can watch fish come up to a bait and not bite. People don't understand that, but when air pressure is high, fish become less aggressive. They just come up and look. They may eventually take it, but you have to work a little harder.

The effect of the pressure change is most pronounced on the first day after the storm passes.

Time of year must also be considered. The impact of a change in barometric pressure is more severe in winter. For one reason, the swing between high and low pressure is more drastic during the cold months. For another, the same high pressure is affecting less water volume when part of it is locked up as ice.

Fish like northern pike may be the least susceptible to changes in barometric pressure; they seem to be aggressive no matter what. But, the perch family, including walleye, may be the most impacted by the changes, followed by crappies and bluegills. Heitkamp doesn't target muskies often, but anyone who does will tell you the best time to be on the water is when black clouds appear on the horizon.

A barometer isn't needed to know what's happening with air pressure. Read the wind instead.

Anyone can play amateur weather forecaster. Before the (storm) front, wind is out of the south. When it switches to west-northwest, pressure begins to rise.

"Wind from the east, fish bite the least." 

Wind comes from the east the longer high pressure is in place. By then, high pressure has taken a real toll on the fish.

Let us know your weather tricks and tips in the comment section below.