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 read this article and felt it was a great one to throw at the hunting community for their input.  We have also included who you can right to help fight this in case you to where miffed that our hunting permit money might go towards something than conserving our sport.  Give it a quick read and let us know your thoughts 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. 

Thursday, 07 November 2013 21:27

Mysterious NM Elk Death Solved

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.

 

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.   

 

Published in Specials
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 21:21

Elk Deaths in New Mexico

We at Shotem and Caughtem read a report from Benjamin Radford about a recent mass death of Elk North of Las Vegas, New Mexico that we felt was worth repeating.  With many hunters admiring their prized Elk Tags for their upcoming hunt, the news could be disturbing.

 

Officials with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish are puzzling over the mysterious deaths of more than 100 elk, apparently all within a 24-hour period, in rural New Mexico.

The elk were found Aug. 27 on a 75,000-acre ranch north of the city of Las Vegas.  So far wildlife officials have seemingly ruled out most of these possibilities: The elk weren't shot (nor taken from the area), so it was not poachers. Tests have come back negative for anthrax, a bacteria that exists naturally in the region and can kill large animals. There seems to be no evidence of any heavy pesticide use in the area that might have played a role in the die-off.  Though lightning strikes are not uncommon in the Southwest and in New Mexico specifically, killing over 100 animals at one time would be an incredibly rare event. It might be an as-yet unidentified disease, though killing so many at once — and so quickly — would be very unusual. Another possibility is some sort of contamination of the well or water tanks, but so far no toxins have been identified.

Wildlife officials are hopeful that they will be able to identify the cause of death — if for no other reason that it would give peace of mind to ranchers and hunters.

Let us know in the comment section below if you have seen or run across any dead elk in your scouting adventures in the comment section below.  We hope the Elk have not found a bug like the Deer have found here in the Midwest that will deplete the herd further.  As hunters it is our duty to help these organizations find as much evidence as they can to help find out the who, what, when and where.  

We at Shotem and Caughtem had an interesting conversation on twitter last night with one of our followers.  He had taken a picture out of his back window of a wolf standing by a pond on his property.  We commented on what a beautiful animal it was and he commented back about how they have effected the Elk populations in his area.  This started the discussion on hunting predators as a need to maintain a balance.  It was a great debate so we felt we would get others input on their thoughts regarding the predator and prey balance.  He is from Idaho where the increase in bear and wolves have had there effects on deer and elk populations.  We are from Kansas where coyotes and hawks have had an effect on our rabbit, turkey, quail and pheasant populations.  However, the lack of apex predators such as mountian lions and wolves has caused an increase in our deer populations.  Their has also been pressure from the drought conditions we have experienced in the Midwest.  So we have not only done a little research as to the nature selection process but we have also set up a forum discussion to get more peoples input.  We hope that it gets both sides of this age old debate to think about our involvement as hunters and conservationists.  We always want to make sure that we have hunting available for not only ourselves year to year but also for future generations.  It is striking that balance that has been debated across the world.  We hope you leave your thoughts in the comment section below or join our discussion in the forum section  http://www.shotemandcaughtem.com/groups-main/viewdiscussion/8-predator-prey-balance-hunting-and-conservation.html?groupid=2

 

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem realize that this kind of news only makes the want for the year to pass by faster but the state of Arkansas has approved the hunting seasons for deer, elk and bear.  We thought we would pass along the information to raise your spirits that the season is coming.  We hope until then you post your bragging photos to the Shotem wall or your game photos to the Caughtem wall and tell us your story.  

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has scheduled the dates for this fall's deer hunting season.

The commission approved the dates at its monthly meeting Thursday. Modern gun deer season will open Nov. 9, and the end date varies by hunting zone.

Archery season opens Sept. 28 and will run through Feb. 28, 2014, for all zones in the state.

Muzzleloader season will open Oct. 19.

The commission also approved some changes to bear hunting regulations for Zone 2, which covers parts of western and central Arkansas. The commission moved the archery hunting opening date to Oct. 1 and reinstated a 150-bear quota for the zone.

Elk hunting season will take place in two segments: Oct. 7-11 and Oct. 28-Nov. 1.

With the new gun laws in Colorado going into effect we at Shotem and Caughtem think many hunters might be turned away from the great sought after destination for Elk Hunting in protest.  With the looks of things Wyoming might find their hearts and wallets.  Let us know your thoughts on the subject in the comment section below and post photos of your elk hunt to the Shotem gallery and tell us your story.  

 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013 22:15

Elk Hunting Public Lands in Chama, NM

We at ShotemandCaughtem this last Elk season got the opportunity to go on an Elk hunt in Chama, New Mexico.  It is one of the prime hunting grounds for public access hunting of Elk any where in Colorado.  Only a limited number of permits are given out each year and we were lucky to tag along with a couple of folks that have hunted this area for over a decade.  6 guys, 2 Kawasaki mules, 3 horses and enough equipment to allow us to be stuck on the mountain for more than a week (even though permits only last 4 days) made the long and difficult track up the mountain to base camp.  Our 2 Kawasaki mules barely fit through the vehicle gate loaded to the hilt with supplies.  Even hunters were impressed that we were able to squeeze through.  The trail up to our base camp was difficult.  Though we started out in nice weather, as we moved higher in elevation we went through rain, then snow, then rain, and then snow.  The trails for the off road vehicles is not for the inexperienced.  Steep inclines and declines mixed with rock trails and river crossings make for an interesting and difficult journey.  However, once we reached base camp and were able to get things set up we could not ask for a more breathe taking view.  The trip to our base camp from the public parking point took approximately 4 hours by UTV and 2.5 hours by horseback (the horses get a straighter path).  We had three in our group who had Elk tags to fill and 3 of us to hang around camp, fish the ponds for trout and run around with our .22 rifles and shoot small game for dinners.  Once camp was set, the three with tags ventured to the top of the ridge in the photo to camp for the night and hunt opening morning.  Though we came with some comforts of home (tent, sleeping bags, rifles, axes, lights, snacks, etc), our primary source of warmth and water would come from the woods around camp and boiling water from a stream which flowed from Chama Lake close to camp.  It is a true test to any hunter to be this far off the grid but in this country it was worth the trip.  Though we only came home with one bull, we were able to run into a flock of Grouse during our adventures and have a wonderful fresh dinner one night.  I had never had Grouse before and I highly recommend it.  Our trout fishing was not as fruitful but the hike, scenery and weather minus the first day was awesome.  If you have never traveled to the area it makes for an absolute awesome camping experience when the weather is right and we plan on heading out this summer when the weather might be more forgiving to see more of the area.  Let us know about your experiences in Chama if you have ever been and as always post your photos to Shotem and Caughtem and share your story.