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 love perusing the internet for interesting hunting and fishing topics.  However, we recently stumbled across a hunting story that we thought was so outrageous considering our economic climate we felt it was worth sharing and getting feedback.

Sterilizing Doe Deer to control Population

No you read that right and if you would like to read more about it here is the link to the story we found about deer sterilization.  Trying not to talk politics we will just look at the financials.  You have hunters who go year after year sometimes with unfilled tags who would gladly put there name in a lottery or even pay a little extra to get some extra time in the field and get the meat they need.  A win win.  Last time I checked there are few states since the recent recession that are operating in the black.  So a good way to maybe bring in some money left on the table would not be spending a half a million dollars to try and curb population through medicine and instead through putting food on the table and money in the states wallet. 

State budgets and Alternative Hunting Ideas

It amazes us sometimes how the anti hunting population can offer a voice that makes absolutely no financial or scientific results and spend that kind of money.  Hopefully some in the state will wise up and maybe increase the number of tags or like in our state offer a bonus doe season early in the year to help draw done population numbers.  More tags, more money for the state and less does.  MAKES SENSE TO US FOR SURE......

We would love to share your feedback and comments through more discussions in the comment section below.

 

Thursday, 23 January 2014 23:38

Antler Shed Hunting Season has Arrived

We at Shotem and Caughtem missed our chance at a decent sized buck this year during hunting season.  However, this time of year offers a unique chance to still retrieve that monster rack by other means, Shed hunting.  It is a great excuse to get outdoors and still find that trophy rack from the animal seen on your trail cams.  If you know where they were roaming there is a good chance you will find that rack through other means.

Although it's not quite as thrilling as taking a buck the old-fashioned way, shed hunting is a great way to get in the woods and hone your deer-hunting skills.

It's not something most folks (at least non-hunters) put much thought into, but starting about this time every year, bucks lose their antlers. It's all part of their yearly swing in testosterone levels.

The neat thing about searching for these shed antlers is they don't fall off in the middle of a mall parking lot. They get dropped smack dab in the middle of where the deer live. It gives us another reason to get out of civilization, hone our tracking skills and uncover the winter-time habits of the state's favorite game animal.

You may think there is no rush to bundle up and head into the cold. Those sheds will be around until spring, right? That may not be the case.

Shed hunting has gotten extremely popular over the past few years. There are scores of websites devoted to the sport. And there are even national clubs devoted to the skill of finding dropped antlers. So once this pile of snow melts, lace up your boots and get searching.

One of the best things about shed hunting is there are virtually no barriers to entry. You don't need a license. You can leave the expensive rifle at home. There's no reason to wear the latest camouflage pattern. And you won't get much accomplished if you spend the day perched in an expensive tree stand.

The key to success is to think the same way we do when we take to the woods each fall. There is not much difference in the way we hunt dropped antlers vs. when they're still attached to our quarry. Look for food sources, places where the bucks bed and the trails they travel. If you know where the bucks live, you know where their antlers lie.

Post pics from your adventures to the Caughtem wall and tell us where you found your trophy rack.  As always leave your comments and knowledge in the comment section below. 

Tuesday, 07 January 2014 23:18

Arctic Temps Will Change Whitetail Movements

Many states across the US are in Whitetail deer season.  Whether your are in the midst of rifle season or on bonus doe season the current weather conditions will have an affect on where you are going to find your prey.  We at Shotem and Caughtem thought we might provide hunters with some tips on where deer go to get out of the cold so that you spend less time in the elements.  We also felt it was a good chance for us to remind you to stay warm and look for signs that you might need to head in from the cold.  As always let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and stay warm. 

In winter, deer move to suitable cover. They move around less and decrease their metabolism and body temperature. This biological “fine-tuning” enables deer to conserve energy and survive our northern winters. Landowners in areas with deer winter range can have a direct influence on deer survival. The effects can be positive or negative. There are pros and cons about providing food for deer during the winter. 

In late summer and fall deer build up fat that will become winter fuel. Acorns and beech nuts -- often referred to as “mast” -- are valuable sources of this fat. Fat reserves can supply almost one third of a deer’s winter energy needs. Deer also produce hormones that regulate body activity. You might think deer would “crank up the heat” to stay warm, but the opposite is true. During winter the deer you see may appear normal, but internally they are operating in slow motion. Body temperature is lowered, particularly in the legs and ears. As the quality and quantity of the food declines, body functions such as digestion are also slowed. 

Deer also develop highly insulated winter coats. Dense inner fur and long, hollow outer hairs create a coat 10 times thicker than the summer coat. Newly-attired, they head for traditional winter ranges known as “deer yards.” 

Ideal wintering areas provide the shelter of conifers close to food supplies. Deer are able to conserve energy by “yarding up”. Conifers such as hemlock, cedar, pine and spruce catch snow on their branches and thus reduce the depth of snow beneath. Deer pack accumulated snow into a network of trails and runways. Trails allow deer to move easily between food and cover, saving valuable energy reserves. Conifers also reduce winds and moderate the temperature. On cold nights temperatures beneath heavy conifer cover can be ten degrees warmer than in open areas. Deer spend many hours lying under the protective boughs of these evergreens. 

In winter, deer subsist on buds and twigs of deciduous trees and shrubs such as yellow birch, hazel, dogwood, mountain, striped, red and sugar maple. Cedar and hemlock foliage also provide food. 

As winter progresses, the survival of deer depends on three primary factors: the amount of stored fat, the availability of natural foods, and the severity of the winter. Added stress or mortality can be caused by predators such as wolves or free-running dogs.

Things to watch for when out in the elements during these arctic temperatures.

Frostbitten skin will become warm and swollen and feel as though it's on fire. Blisters may develop, but popping them can cause scarring, according to the National Weather Service. If skin is blue or gray, very swollen, blistered or feels hard and numb, go to the hospital immediately.

Frostbite stages:

  • First degree: ice crystals forming on your skin
  • Second degree: your skin begins to feel warm, even though it is not yet defrosted.
  • Third degree: your skin turns red, pale, or white.
  • Fourth degree: pain lasts for more than a few hours, and you may see dark blue or black areas under the skin. See a doctor immediately if these symptoms arise. Gangrene is a real threat.

Hypothermia occurs when a person's body temperature is below 96 degrees, and temperatures as low as 60 degrees can cause hypothermia

Friday, 06 December 2013 23:44

Opening Day Of Rifle Season

Opening Day of Rifle hunting season was a mixed bag as always.  As many fail to realize too many times who have never gone hunting or fishing, they do not call it shooting and catching.  We got a look at a proud eight point buck but never got a clear shot.  We did have the opportunity at a small seven and a six.  However, when they began to spur with one another at eighty yards the sight was just too precious to ruin.

What an amazing animal.  The two walked in out of the trees on an absolutely freezing cold afternoon to grab a snack from the still green grass hidden amongst the trees.  They were the only two animals we had seen all day.  As they strolled into the field they acted like the best of friends.  Looking out for one another as one another leaned down to eat.  Then way off in the distance a doe appeared.  By the marking on the sides of the two bucks you could tell the rut had apparently come and gone but they were still fairly fresh.  We felt the pair would continue to eat.  However, her interest in the two men must have spurred a little extra energy.  They began to lock horns.  Though the fight was short and lack a lot of aggression, it was our first opportunity to witness in person a fight between men.  It was magnificent.  We can say that sitting in the cold for over eight hours just to witness this stand between men was totally worth it.  

The night before with friends is always the highlight.  The day and a half spent listening to nothing but the sounds of the forest refreshing.  The chance to unplug from the world if only for a short time relaxing.  And though we did not put much meat in the freezer, we would not have traded the freezing cold experience and lack of meat.

It is why we built Shotem and Caughtem.  Our friendships, family and lives are better because of these two loves.  A since of peace and appreciation for what we have in our lives is what we return with every time.  The fact that we might add a little meat to the freezer is just a bonus.  Have a great Shotem and Caughtem weekend and we hope though the weather might be frosty you get outdoors!

Monday, 02 December 2013 23:48

Hunting Deer During Rifle Season Tactics

Due to the fact that the Midwest will begin its rifle hunting season this week, we at Shotem and Caughtem thought we might go after the age old debate when rifle hunting deer, Shot Placement.  We as hunters always debate this issue and it is one of the first lessons we learn as hunters.  Where is the best place to shoot a deer so that we have a better chance of recovery.  On big game of any type many will tell you the best place is to go for a lung and heart shot right to the rear of the front shoulders.  However, we thought we would do a little research and get some others perspective.  We hope you leave your comments below.

We have already seen that deer run nearly 50 percent of the time when they are mortally wounded. Certainly, shot placement is the most important factor related to how deer react after being shot. Several types of trauma can lead to the rapid death of an animal that is struck by a bullet. Significant trauma to the central nervous system, the respiratory system or the circulatory system will all prove effective.

Deer shot in the neck and spine were immediately rendered immobile and succumbed quickly. Deer that were shot broadside in the shoulder ran a mean distance of 3 yards while animals hit in the heart, lungs or abdomen traveled 39, 50 and 69 yards respectfully.

So what shot placement is the best. Neck shots work well, but they can be problematic because the target area is very small and there is a risk of wounding associated with the target. Potential problems include a shot to the esophagus or mandible. Also, spine shots can be ruled out as a recommenced shot because few shots are consciously directed at the spine. In other words, most spine shots result from shots that miss their mark high and incidentally hit the spine.

The best shot placement for deer is the broadside shot directed at the shoulder. Traveling an average of only 3 yards, deer shot in the shoulder traveled significantly less distance than deer shot in the heart, lungs, or abdomen. Also, with such a short distance of travel, deer shot squarely in the shoulder did not generally leave the hunter’s sight.  The broadside shoulder shot essentially gave results similar to what most hunters expect from a neck shot. Presumably the broadside shoulder shot works well because it strikes part of the heart and or lungs which itself is a mortal blow. However, a shot through the scapula damages the brachial plexus which is part of the central nervous system thereby rendering the animal immobile. It knocks the animal out and it never regains consciousness. Also, the shoulder is a very large target offering room for error; a high shot hits the spine, a low shot the heart and a shot to the rear hits the lungs.


Monday, 11 November 2013 23:42

Veterans Day Launches The Rut

We at Shotem and Caughtem find it fitting that in a celebration of our Troops and the sacrifices they have made, that it is also the day that has launched the rut here in the Midwest.  As hunters we know that weather can be one of the key ingredients to launch a change in Mother Nature.  We have been watching deer patterns in our area and have began to notice that does have began to move earlier and earlier in the day.  Many of our fellow hunters have noticed smaller bucks chasing young and mature does.  All we were missing was a cold snap to hit the rut button.  Lucky for us our friends from the North have pushed a cold front down across the Midwest.  

Those signs can mean only one thing.  The big boys are coming out to join the crowd.  So to our fellow hunters we would like to say get out your rattlers and get into the field.  There is no better way to settle into trophy season than during the rut.  Be Patient and follow the signs that are going to begin to show in the form of large rubs as to what is moving through your area.  Setting yourself along or next to large rub marks should allow you to land the big one in your area by rattling and calling in a challenger.  

Let us know how things are progressing in your area in the comment section below and keep posting your photos to the Shotem gallery.    

Friday, 01 November 2013 20:35

Ban on Rifle Hunting Deer

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. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 21:21

Roping A Deer Mishap

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!!

Monday, 14 October 2013 20:48

Tracking Trophy Deer

We at Shotem and Caughtem are enjoying some much needed October rain.  Many farmers have already harvested their fall crops and planted the winter ones.  With that in mind we are now in the realm of tracking and setting up feeders for the upcoming deer rifle season.  Others are beginning or have already started their hunting and might need some important little facts to procure their trophy animals.  

Deer, Elk and Moose all begin to have a pattern this time of year.  With the cooler weather most of the trophy animals us hunters chase are starting to think about one thing, the next generation.  Males begin marking their territories and are busy making sure the younger generations know who is boss.  Animals will begin to mark trees to let others know who is where.  The rain will begin to hide those marks so if you know of a good place where large rubs where prior to the rain those animals will begin to retrace their steps and redo their rubs.  Setting up a spot from these no longer fresh rubs might land you your trophy.

Should you still be in tracking mode the rain will allow you to find fresh tracks and see the movement through your hunting area.  Knowing how and where deer are moving through an area can let you set the perfect spot.   

Let us know your favorite tracking methods in the comment section below and keep sharing your photos in the galleries.

Monday, 30 September 2013 22:07

RacktoberFest GiveAway

Tomorrow we will begin celebrating the Deer Hunting Season by trying to increase our member base.  We at Shotem and Caughtem could see no better way to help get more hunters to start posting photos to the site than to give away free stuff.  As such to celebrate the beginning of many states deer, elk and moose hunting seasons we created a special shirt in honor of the Racktoberfest Season.  For every person, member or new member, that posts a photo of their Hunting Glory, we will provide you with a link to purchase a Myracksbigger.com t-shirt for 5 dollars (which just covers part of our shipping costs).  T-shirts will be printed at the end of the Racktoberfest month and ship out the first part of November.  We hope all of our members and followers will help us spread the word about this fun giveaway and start enjoying all Shotem and Caughtem has to offer.

Let us know how we can help you get the word out in the comment section below and start posting your photos to the galleries.   

 

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