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 are dedicated to creating the first social network for hunting and fishing.  However, a social network is only as good as it's members and their involvement.  We believe we have added all the necessary parts for our members to create an awesome place to share their adventures.  No more nasty comments from friends or family when we post photos from our adventures.  No more sifting through photos and inspiration comments to get to what we want to see and talk about.  We cater to only those who have the passion for our dedication to our animals and what we do in the field.  We have the resources so that you can share your adventures to others and meet new people with or without similar experiences and passions.  Use bragging photos to connect with others to learn more about their experiences.  Notify them when we are out in the field and brag about what they are missing.  It's all here.  

Discussion boards to be able to ask others about their knowledge and experience.  Debate about hot topics.  Learn about new and exciting products.  Notifications that you have answers from others straight from any device.  Though there is not a dedicated App for Shotem and Caughtem we created larger buttons so that it is easier to navigate from small devices.  

We even have a Shotem and Caughtem of the month section where you can win fun and cool prizes for your involvement.  We are dedicated to offering cool and unique items from our sponsors who support us.  If you would like to be apart of the selection process just send your photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and we will get the first awards selected.  

Most of all we want to hear about what is missing from making Shotem and Caughtem your new home.  Getting your partners from the field to create your own groups to brag too.  Leave us your comments in the section below so we can continue to grow!  Have a great Shotem and Caughtem weekend!

Earlier this year we at Shotem and Caughtem reported on the mysterious death of a hundred different elk in New Mexico from an unknown source.  A hunter stumbled on the carcasses while out scouting.  They have since been able to trace the culprit behind the deaths.  Believe it or not the deaths were caused from an old ranch water tank.  A form of blue green algae had grown in the unmaintained water tank at a close by ranch.  The scientists we able to analyze what was left of the animals and match the water to the water tank found a hundred yards away from where the herd was found.  

Through science and further testing of elk tissue samples and water samples, the real killer has finally been found: pond scum. Or, more specifically, a neurotoxin produced by one type of blue-green algae that can develop in warm, standing water.

A bloom of this alga can be devastating to wildlife. "In warm weather, blooms of blue-green algae are not uncommon in farm ponds in temperate regions, particularly ponds enriched with fertilizer," according to a classic toxicology reference book, "Casarett and Doull's Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons" (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2013). "Under these conditions, one species of alga, Anabaena flos-aquae, produces a neurotoxin, anatoxin-A, which depolarizes and blocks acetylcholine receptors, causing death in animals that drink the pond water. The lethal effects develop rapidly, with death in minutes to hours from respiratory arrest."

In other words, the elk herd suffocated to death, unable to breathe. And the fast-acting toxin explains the animals' strange, sudden deaths. In this case, the algae appeared not in ponds, but in three fiberglass livestock watering tanks not far from where the elk died. The elk also showed signs they had struggled on the ground, further supporting neurotoxin poisoning.

"Based on circumstantial evidence, the most logical explanation for the elk deaths is that on their way back to the forest after feeding in the grassland, the elk drank water from a trough containing toxins created by blue-green algae or cyanobacteria," Mower said in a statement from the Department of Game and Fish.

The algae-produced neurotoxin is similar to curare, the famous toxin found in poison-tipped arrows used by South American Indian tribes. Though anatoxin-A can be deadly to other animals, including dogs and cattle, reports of human deaths are rare. New Mexico ranchers have been advised to sanitize their livestock tanks to prevent further wildlife deaths.

Many of us hunters travel from from the water tap to reach our destinations and should make sure that we take every precaution when out in the field to make sure the water we drink has been properly handled.  We should also take not when in the field to help alert officials to potential contamination when out in the field from water tanks such as these.  I know we at Shotem and Caughtem find human evidence in many of the back country to which we travel.  

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and as always post your photos and adventures to the galleries and share you story.

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem have read article after article as of late about different hunting accidents that are preventable occurring around the nation and felt it appropriate to once again remind people that safety precautions when going out into the field should never been left to chance.  We too sometimes become complacent as many do about safety.  When you hunt and fish on a regular basis it is easy to forget for a second or two that something bad could happen.  Staying aware of basic safety is paramount.

We all know (or should know) the basics. Keep your eyes and ears aware of other hunters and groups in and around your area. Keep your gun pointed in a safe direction at all times, even if it’s not loaded, because we know to treat every gun as if it is loaded.

There are some other factors that might not be part of our hunter education training that can add to our safety in the field as well.

Deer hunters, of course, are required to wear orange while in the woods, cattails and brush. The 400 square inches is the legal minimum requirement, but for many hunters, more is better. The idea is to make yourself look like a florescent orange beacon on the prairie.

During deer season, people who are hunting something else, especially waterfowl, should consider some type of orange marker or other display to let others know you are in the area. An orange jacket hung on a fence or bush that can be seen from the nearest road will alert others.

And, if you’re in a field situation, have orange handy to put on when retrieving birds or setting out or picking up decoys.

The same thing goes if you’re hunting from a ground or elevated blind. Place something orange somewhere in the vicinity so other hunters are made aware of your hideout. The idea is to minimize the risk of not being seen to the greatest extent possible.

 

After the recent time change we at Shotem and Caughtem realized that we will be heading into the darkness when heading out into the field this time of year.  A keen awareness of ones surroundings when traveling in the darkness can sometimes be a little adrenaline rush.  Sitting and waiting for the sun rise can be both an unsettling and yet exciting time.  The russell of leaves, sounds of steps and calls from the wild.  It is a hunters favorite time of day.  However, they are stark reminders that we are not alone.

Walking in the dark heightens our senses and imagination. The rustle of leaves at the edge of the clearing sounds like a bear or moose but really a mouse is scampering across the dry leaves.

Accustomed to daylight, we heavily depend on our vision to determine what is happening in our surroundings. Once darkness falls, our vision is limited to that of a headlamp or the outlines created by the light of the moon.

Animals active at night depend on more than their vision to know what is happening in their surroundings. Nocturnal animals have at least one highly-developed sense. Special adaptations include big ears, large eyes, sensitive whiskers and keen noses.

Bats use echolocation (sound waves) to determine where prey is located and to navigate in the darkness. Raccoons have extremely sensitive fingers that help them locate crayfish and other invertebrates beneath stones in shallow water at night. Great gray owls can hear a vole tunneling through snow up to 60 feet away with their offset ears. Snakes can sense minute changes in temperature.

More animals than we think are active at night--we just aren’t outside to see or hear them. Nearly half of all living vertebrates are nocturnal, including coyotes, mink, beaver, deer, river otters and wolves. In late winter, owls can be heard calling at dusk and in the spring and fall, some waterfowl call to each other as they migrate through the moonlit sky.

Being active at night is no safer than being active during the day. While prey can hide under the cover of darkness, their predators have developed keen senses to seek them out.

A mouse may hunker down during the day to remain out of sight of a hawk, which can still see the ultraviolet glow of the mouse’s urine in its trails. But at night the hawk’s domain becomes the owl’s domain and the mouse is no safer than during the day.

Nocturnal hunters have the advantage of not competing with diurnal (day-time) predators over the same resources. Swallows perform aerobatic maneuvers to catch flying insects during the day while bats rely on echolocation to capture night-time flyers.

Many nocturnal animals still rely on sight to function at night but their vision isn’t the same as diurnal animals. The eyes of nocturnal animals contain higher concentrations of rod cells in the retinas to allow the creation of images in low light. However, the image is not as clear as those created by a higher concentration of cone cells in the eyes of diurnal animals.

Nocturnal animals, such as owls and flying squirrels, tend to have larger eyes to capture more light. An owl’s eyes are so large they cannot move in the socket and take up half of the owl’s skull.

To aid in creating images at night, some animals have a layer of reflective cells (called the tapetum lucidum) behind their retina that reflects back photons of light not captured by the rod or cone cells the first time through the eye. The reflective tapetum lucidum creates the eye shine we see when our headlights or headlamps shine in a nocturnal animal’s eyes.

The glowing pair of eyes staring back from the darkness of night could be as benign as a flying squirrel or porcupine, dangerous as an armed skunk, or as spine-tingling as the determined eyes of a cougar hunting for its next meal.

Tell us your favorite nocturnal stories in the comment section below and share your adventures in the galleries.

We at Shotem and Caughtem have recently noticed that the weather is headed for a cold change in temperature.  For us it could not come at a better time since we are mere days away from the start of Pheasant and Quail hunting season.  The unfortunate news for upland bird hunters is no state reports on their populations made for a read that got us excited as we begin to change into our warmer coats.  It seems that drought conditions and delayed crop growth has once again pushed the better populations to the northern parts of many states or has caused a reduction in overall.  The unfortunate news for upland bird hunters is no states reports on their populations made for a read that got us excited as we begin to change into our warmer coats.  

Extreme drought conditions persisted in most of Kansas again this year. While several late winter and early spring storms brought much needed precipitation across the state, levels were not high enough to recover vegetation conditions going into the breeding season. Nesting conditions were somewhat better for pheasants than our other game birds due to a later-than-average wheat harvest. Pheasants utilize green wheat for nesting more than other game birds, and a later harvest provides more opportunity for nests to hatch and young to fledge. However, the lack of precipitation in June and most of July did not improve vegetative conditions enough to provide for good brood rearing cover or sufficient insect abundance. The combination of these two deficiencies led to lower than average chick survival for all upland game birds across most regions of the state. As precipitation fell across much of the state in late summer, vegetation conditions improved, signaling improved conditions and a potential for better production in the near future.  Due to continued drought during the reproductive season, Kansas will experience a below average upland game season this fall. However, for those willing to hunt there will still be birds available, especially in the northern Flint Hills, and northcentral and northwestern parts of Kansas.

Though Nebraska also has many of the same reported problems as Kansas when it comes to Pheasant, their quail might be great hunting this year.  In contrast to pheasants, bobwhite abundance increased regionally and statewide compared to 2012. Results from the July Rural Mail Carrier Survey and the Bobwhite Whistle Count Survey both indicated regional and statewide increases in bobwhite abundance. Decreases were only noted for the North-Central region (RMCS; see reverse) and West Platte region (Whistle Count).

So we at Shotem and Caughtem read the news that Wisconsin is going back to look over the rules regarding the ban of rifle hunting deer.  Since we are from Kansas and much of the ban revolves around bullet placement, we felt that this was a more important subject to cover.  To see more about the ban and its details here is the article we read Wisconsin Deer Hunting Rifle Ban Article.

The main concern the ban brings to bear is that many of the areas the ban covers is flat open territory with rural properties interlaced.  They felt that shotgun slugs or .22 - .17 cal bullets were safer and posed less threat to the people around the areas.  Our thoughts would go a different direction.  Here are our thoughts and we would love to get the comments and ideas you might have in the comment section below.

1.  Flat Open Areas.  Every state has its flat parts.  Kansas is one of the most well known states for such a typography though we feel it is un fair after looking at the rest of the US.  However, if you have an educated person behind the end of a rifle they are well aware of velocity, distance and trajectory of their projectile.  A well oiled hunter though tries to blame their equipment for that misplaced shot many times it is operator error.  Though accidents happen  the one thing many think about is where that bullet will go should we miss.  Many hunters hunt with buddies and are always worried about accidently hitting their hunting buddies or worse (unless it's Dick Cheney :)  

2.  Wounding the animal.  Though a shotgun slug at close range works well, small calibers and long range shots pose a wounding risk.  Every hunter has stumbled upon an unfound carcass.  It happens more than we hunters would like.  The possibilities increase when you limit the fire power a hunter is capable of using.  The larger the caliber the greater chance a non perfectly place shot will still create a situation where you can recover the animal.  

Let us know your other arguments in the comment section below and post photo to the galleries and tell us your story. 

We at Shotem and Caughtem believe that good goose calling techniques can make the difference between a successful hunt and watching the birds fly past.  As such we felt like we would offer you some tricks and techniques before the hunting season starts.  

Scouting locations is a great way to find out if birds are hitting your favorite hunting spot.  If so know that these same birds will return to the same spots every third or fourth day.  Once you have spotted the geese in range one should start calling.  On trick is to wave a black flag to look like geese in landing mode.  Once the geese are seen to turn in your direction begin to slow your calls and frequency of flag movement.  Once they are close in range begin to smooth your calls then once they look as if they are going to circle to land call vigorously in a feeding frenzy.  Bring them in close to your decoys prior to springing your trap.

Let us know your goose calling tricks in the comment section below and post your group photos to the galleries and tell us your techniques.

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem can't prove whether or not this story is true however, once we quit laughing hysterically reading this story we felt that nothing would be more fitting in the middle of the week than a little comedy.  Now we definitely feel this should not only never be repeated but that it should be listed in the Darwin Award Category of potential failure.  Let us know your feelings in the comment section below and keep posting photos and stories to our Mishaps Gallery.  

I had this idea that I could rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it home.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope. The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it. After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up-- 3 of them. I picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold.

The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the whole rope situation. I took a step towards it, it took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope, and then received an education. The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.

That deer EXPLODED. The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity. A deer-- no Chance. That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had originally imagined. The only upside is that they do not have as much stamina as many other animals.

A brief 10 minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head. At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope.

I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual. Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in. I didn't want the deer to have to suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder - a little trap I had set before hand...kind of like a squeeze chute. I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my rope back.

Did you know that deer bite? They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when ..... I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist. Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and slide off to then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head--almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts.

The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was ineffective.

It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several seconds. I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim by now), tricked it. While I kept it busy tearing the tendons out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope loose.

That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day.

Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are surprisingly sharp... I learned a long time ago that, when an animal -like a horse --strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can escape.

This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run. The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head. Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down.

Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed. What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head.

I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away. So now I know why when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a scope......to sort of even the odds!!

We at Shotem and Caughtem would like to get your opinion on Yellowstone's recent war on Rainbow Trout.  Mixed reactions could be made on either side of the issue.  First they were the one's who introduced the fish to their waters and know want a redo.  Others could say that they have seemed to do well and it helps the economic factors of bringing fisherman to the state.  We want to know your thoughts after reading the info below in the comment section.  

Rainbow trout have been swimming the waters of Yellowstone, the U.S.'s first-ever national park, for more than a hundred years since early park administrators introduced them to enhance the fish offerings. For decades, fishermen have reveled in catching the prized game fish.

But Yellowstone officials are now worried that the rainbow is pushing out a native fish, cutthroat trout, named after the distinctive blood-red slashes along its jawline. So to restore cutthroats, the park this year started requiring visitors to kill all other fish they hook in the Lamar and two of its tributaries where the native trout still exist.

The goal, said Mr. Hallac, who oversees Yellowstone conservation programs, is to increase cutthroat fish stocks, benefitting both the park's biodiversity and anglers' fortunes. But the restoration plan is controversial among some fish lovers, who fear it will reduce the overall number of fish—and the tourists they lure.

The trout dispute is part of a broader struggle at Yellowstone as park officials try to fulfill a government mandate to return the park's wilderness to its original state when possible, while also paying respect to the way the attraction is used for recreation today. Park managers have figured out how to successfully bring back wildlife in numerous instances. But managing how the changes affect Yellowstone's surrounding communities has proved more difficult.

The bison population recovered from near extinction—and started knocking down fences when the big animals roamed outside the park. Wolves, which had disappeared from Yellowstone, are now back in healthy numbers—and killing off elk, hunters complain.

The cutthroat restoration program has the potential to alter the fishing industry around Yellowstone, which is nearly as old as the park, created in 1872.