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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Wednesday, 16 August 2017 21:54

It's Dove Season!

Dove Season Baby!

Yes our absolute favorite time of the year is quickly approaching.  Dove season has to be one of our most favorite hunts of the year.  High bag limits and just the overall fun of the hunt makes this one of our most exciting times of the year.  Barring an early cool front to hit our favorite spot we have had the opportunity over the past decade to hunt an outstanding set up when it comes to environment for great dove hunting.  Hopefully some of these key factors will help you find a great spot to hunt these delicious and probably one of the more exciting animals to hunt in our opinion this year.  Favorable weather, in the right spot a large amount of activity during peak hours and the lack f needing to be quiet with your hunting buddies in the field make this a hunt not to miss.

Key Hunting property for Dove

We feel there are four main factors that a perfect dove hunting spot should have in a close proximity to your set up. 

  1. Food
  2. Shelter
  3. Water
  4. Gravel/Sand

Main food sources for dove come in small packages.  Millet, wheat, milo, and sunflowers are probably the top seeds we have seen when harvesting dove.

Shelter in the form of dead branches are the doves favorite roosting place.  If you have ever as we call it "seen someone out planting dead trees", there is a reason.  Dove love them.  We plant dead trees close to our favorite spots in order to not only provide a spot for the dove to rest but a great place for our non moving decoys. 

Water is also needed but not just any pond or watershed will do the trick.  Dove need a pot to be able to land and then walk to a shallow watering hole.  Which means if it rains a good amount a couple days before your hunt....hunting by a water spot will not yield good traffic.  On a dry year it will be the ultimate honey hole for dove.

Lastly is sand or gravel to help digest their meal.  Early evenings and mid mornings the dove will flock to dirt roads, graveled roads etc to find their much needed digestion morsel.  If traffic by your food source and water source is slow during the day I bet if you take a drive you see dove hanging out by the roads.

Once you have harvested your dove we hope you check out this awesome dove recipe as well as post your photos and share your stories with us!

 

Friday, 07 October 2016 18:20

Tactics for Hunting Pre Rut Does

Pre Rut Doe Hunting available in many States Across the US

Kansas Pre Rut hunting does not last long.  Many states are allowing a very short time frame in order to allow hunters a chance to get a doe in the freezer months prior to hunting for their buck.  For two days Oct 8th and 9th hunters will begin to take to the fields to find their prize.  

Pre Rut Doe Tactics

Prior to the rut many does are still traveling in packs.  Where their is one, you will probably find many.  This increases not only your chance to load your freezer but select which doe might be best to pull from the herd.  If you are hunting an area you return to year after year, taking certain does from the herd will increase not only your chances of not only create a better herd but increasing the competition for the larger more mature bucks.  It has been shown when their is an increase in the competition for does, larger bucks tend to compete for those select herds.

Due to the fact that the does have not been harassed prior to the rut they tend to be more calm than during the rut.  Though care still needs to be taken due to their inherent nature they tend to look out for one another.  Once you have select the doe you would like to shoot take care to be as stealthy as possible so that if the herd is not totally spooked you might get another look at your second doe choice. 

Good luck, stay safe and as always post your hunts to the photo wall once you have collected your hunting prize.

 

Prepping the Best Food Plot Area

When we at Shotem and Caughtem started to think about building food plots on our property we knew it would not be an easy task.  However, one thing we wanted to make sure we did was create a plan before we ever started digging or prepping.  One of the first things we needed to check is where the best place to put a plot and where on the property we had the most traffic.  In other words, you don't just build a plot, then decide where to place your stand. You take stand placement into account before you build the plot.

You must separate "hunting plots" from "feeding plots." Hunting plots are small, maybe just 1/4-1/2 acre in size. They are irregular in shape and seeded with plants that will attract deer during the hunting season. In a hunting plot you want irregular shape. There may be a peninsula of cover jutting out into the plot, positioned in such a way as to take advantage of the wind. Just a nice little plot in the woods that fits into the landscape.

Finding the right place for your Food Plot


The first step in building a hunting plot is to decide where you want it. In the spring, scout the area for trails, and always, always pay attention to the wind. Know where the deer bed. Also consider whether it will be hunted in the morning or evening or both. Determine how you will get to the plot, and when you've taken all these factors into consideration, then decide where you want the plot.

Food Plot Shape and Design


There are various designs for hunting plots. One that really intrigued us is the "hourglass" design, where the narrowest (the neck of the hour glass) is only thirty yards across. If you know the prevailing wind, where deer bed, and build the plot near thick cover, putting your stand at the narrow portion of the hour glass can be dynamite during the rut. We recommend building licking branches and mock scrapes at the neck of the hour glass. Interesting concept..



Other shapes such as boomerang and "s" shaped plots.  Then there is the corner plot that is built adjacent to an existing field. This is really a "food" plot, but is small and is a great place to set a stand.

You may have some small openings in the hardwoods that you hunt that may be adapted to a hunting plot. If so, now is the time to get it ready for the fall. Depending on the terrain if you only need 1/4 acres, you may be able to get by with some chain saw and small equipment tilling to build your own hunting plots.  Next in this series we will talk about what to plant to attract the most animals or specific ones to hunt.  But we always love to get your comments and ideas below.

Great article on Fishing from the Shoreline

Recently we at Shotem and Caughtem had a friend that moved from the midwest where fishing from the shore around farm ponds and watersheds can yield some big fish to the Gulf of Mexico and no boat.  We decided that we needed to do some research on ways to still catch big fish without the capabilities of always being able to have a boat to cruse the waters for the big ones.  Lucky for us we found a great article from our friends Outdoor Life that talks about the top three spots to fish from the shoreline and the best methods those top anglers use.  

Beware of Sharks

One thing this article did not point out was the trouble with sharks.  As is the case with many of the best fishing spots in the ocean, where there are big fish, there are predators.  One thing the news has pointed out recently is that when we travel to other continents or out into the ocean we as humans are not the top predator.  Recent news from Australia or those of us that are addicted to Shark Week already knew that sharks prey the same waters hunting those very fish we are after.  So please be aware of your surroundings when using these tips and tricks when fishing from the shoreline.  You never know what might be hunting beside you!

We hope you share your shoreline adventures with us in the galleries or in the comment section below.  Either way we hope you have a Shotem and Caughtem weekend.  

 

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 21:56

Duck Hunting Gear Tips

Thinking about going on your first duck hunt?

So we at Shotem and Caughtem went on our very first duck hunt.  Let us first say it was a blast.  Think of it kind of like dove hunting only a lot colder and requiring a way more stealthy and gear heavy approach.  As such we felt like the best place to start talking about the experience would be discussing the gear needed for a successful duck hunt.

Duck Hunting Gun, Choke and Ammo Tips

Of course the best place to start would be the proper gun, ammo and choke.  We realize that the only place we could agree to disagree would be the choke.  Between 10 guys in the blind only two of us were using the same gun.  Many were shooting steel shot number 2, however, we had received a choke from www.kicks-ind.com  to try out so we thought we would do a review based on how the choke did firing 3, 4 and 5 as well.  As many hunters know the lighter the load the cheaper the cost per shell.  So if you can successfully strike your target with a lighter load due to choke performance than you are saving money.  We were shooting 3in shells and found that our Kick's choke at the tip of our remington 870 allowed us to pretty much shoot any appropriate size duck load with success.  Though the heavier loads allowed us to reach out further with greater success, at 30 yards and closer our performance did not change.  The choke held a magnificent pattern at 35 yards and the four birds we knew we shot dropped right away (ten guys firing at once kind of distorts performance overall).  As a matter of fact out of the 10 guns 7 were using Kick's Chokes.  

Proper Hunting Waders for Waterfowl

Next top gear need for duck hunting would be waders.  These can make or break a successful duck hunt.  If you don't have a dog, your waders will be one of the few ways you will be able to retrieve your birds and not freeze.  We suggest purchasing these on sale if possible.  We got ours during dove season in the bargain cave of Cabelas and got last years waders for 60% off regular price.

Hunting from a Duck Blind 

A good duck blind can be your best asset.  Whether you spend the big money and purchase a blind our blind was made with what we like to call midwest ranch scraps.  You would be amazed what you can build with some hedge limbs, cedar trees and old rotten hay.  All this appropriately stripped together provided great cover, and a four foot wide lane to perfectly hold 10 guys with a dog at each end to retrieve.  

Duck calls.  Every hunter in the stand had at least 8 different calls on their lanyards and they all require practice.  We will hit this topic again later since there is definitely an art to that science.

Duck Hunting Decoys for First time Hunters

Last but not least would be decoys.  Here is the expensive side of things.  Lucky for us we were able to go on our first hunt with guys that have been doing this for a long time and had acquired a lot of money in decoys over time.  I think we had no less than a couple thousand dollars in the water.  I think this is why duck hunters love to hunt in packs.  I think it is to share the burden in costs for decoys.

Let us know your tips on the best gear for your duck adventures in the comment section below.  As always share your adventures and experiences to the Shotem wall.

 

Monday, 25 August 2014 22:20

Dove Season 2014 Tips and Tricks

Preparing for your Dove Hunt

We at Shotem and Caughtem, like every year, can not wait for the beginning of hunting season which of course starts here in Kansas Sept. 1st for Dove.  "The filet mignon of the sky" always comes with its share of tactical problems.  We try to eliminate as much of the guess work out of our hunting experience every year with planning our favorite hunting spot down to the primary elements.  Water, food and gravel.  However, last year we were plagued with a heavy rain prior to opening day.  This created fresh puddles of water all over the property allowing the birds to come to eat where we wanted but find water and gravel anywhere.  It appears we might be running into this same problem again this year.  A hunters life. Even the most prepared get thrown a curve ball which could ruin the hunt.

With that in mind what is the best thing we could do to make sure we still have a successful hunt.  Other hunters.  With all a doves needs met they tend to stay in an area.  However, that area can be expanded with hunting pressure.  Therefore the more hunters the more area we can cover and keep the birds circling to different areas.

Dove Hunting Decoys

Next is a mojo.  Dove like company and will flock to other areas they think they have some company around.  Making sure you have your decoys out will make sure other dove head your way.  For some great decoys you can find out more at www.mojooutdoors.com

The right hunting location

Location, Location, Location.  If water and gravel is abundant your food source will be your most active target.  Wheat stubble, sunflower patches, milo and millet are all high sought after food sources for dove.

We hope you share your tricks before the start of the season in the comment section below and as always share your adventures to the Shotem walls as they happen with our app straight from the field.

 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 21:58

Dove Season.....Deer Season!

Whether to hunt or fish?  Shotem and Caughtem Season is here...

We at Shotem and Caughtem have been a little side tracked on getting the Iphone app where it needs to be before the official kick off and our favorite time of the year....the second installment of Shotem and Caughtem season.  Yes twice a year those of us who truly have the passion for hunting and fishing get the opportunity to revel in the glory which only comes along twice a year.  That golden age when the weather is perfect to not only wet a line but smell the sweet smell of gunpowder.  As is the case with these times of year we can be overwhelmed with as looney tunes so appropriately put it a new variation of DUCK SEASON......WABBIT SEASON our own dilema of DOVE SEASON.......BUCK SEASON.

Want to get the app for the social network of hunters and anglers?

Prepping for these times, as is the case with any season, is the most important thing we who have a passion for hunting and fishing can do.  As the fishing season heats up and our focus is distracting for the upcoming hunting season many of us will be outdoors getting ready.  Stands go up, feeders put in place, trail cameras are set, yes it is our favorite time of year.  It is why we are working so hard to get the last app completed. But we live for the official hunting season kick off DOVE SEASON!  

Hunting Season Scouting

Scouting for that perfect wheat stubble, milo patch and the Dove crack grain sunflower fields can also be used as a great way to find out what wildlife happens to be traveling around your favorite hunting spots.  Dove need the basic threes.  Food, water and gravel.  You find a spot that has the perfect mix of all three and you have found our heaven.  We are lucky that we get the opportunity to hunt our heaven every year.  A long time ago we met with a person that owns a local gravel pit with some farm land and some large sloping ponds.  The filet mignon of the skies Graceland.  Plant a couple of dead trees by the water and get out the dove mojo and it is time to burn through some shells.  

If you too can find this perfect place in your area we suggest you knock on the door.  No doubt once the weather begins to change they will begin the journey south and these spots will be the honey hole for those of you that love Dove Season as much as we do.  We hope to see all your photos in some of the great new groups started as you too prep for Shotem and Caughtem season! 

Monday, 21 July 2014 22:04

Prepping for Hunting Season

Getting ready for the Hunt

As many of you already know their is no such thing as an off season when it comes to those with a passion for hunting and fishing.  As such with hunting season quickly approaching DOVE SEASON!, sorry we love this time of year, there are plenty of things that need to be done way before the season arrives.  The last thing one wants to do is have their human scent on every leaf of a property before the season gets into full swing.  As such there are plenty of things to do before hunting season so here are just a couple of the things we tried to get accomplished this past weekend and lets see if you agree.

Preparing your hunting location

First things first.  Mowing.  We have neglected much of the property since the pasture was burned due to large amounts of rain.  As such the grass is tall.  Too tall as a matter of fact.  Any prey species is weary of walking into heavy tall grass that could slow escape or cover a potential predator.  With the grass being 3 feet tall and thick the deer are only using their own usual worn paths and the turkey are using surrounding properties or fields, which doesn't work for us.  The best way to bring them down our paths is to make sure the appropriate paths are mowed and permit travel of turkey and deer to our feeders and snacks and open up large areas allowing the animals to feel safe from predation.

Create Shooting lanes and hunting environment

Also many new trees have sprouted or limbs that are now blocking our shooting lanes.  Trees have fallen, limbs litter paths all creating an obstacle that could deter animals from moving into areas we would rather them not move.  Maintaining and looking for new potential avenues and foraging areas can help grow your potential shooting locations for different animals.  Making sure your animals have places to hide, paths to walk and a great place for you to hunt requires a little up keep every year. (tip:  dove for some reason love to use dead trees to perch.  Clearing an area, planting some of those dead limbs and or trees in an open field or close to water will give you a great spot to hunt).

Proper Scouting for Hunters

Scouting your area once your upkeep has been done can help you track your improvements and make sure you have time to tweak your ideas prior to the season.  Once you have done a little prep set your trail cameras up with the intent to move them around and see where animals are heading.  Just because you feel you have made the perfect animal oasis does not mean that they might not be using the path you like to take to get there as their path as well and you could be spooking animals with your scent before they ever make it to you.  Should you need to move stands, feeders etc. starting to see your animals movements earlier can give you plenty of time to adjust prior to hunting season.  

Scent eliminator suggestions

Have any early prep tricks and tips you like to use.  Share with us in the comment section below.  As always the early bird gets the worm and then gets to share their prize to one of the walls once the season is in full swing.  

 

 

Thursday, 26 June 2014 22:01

Warm water fishing tactics and tips

Warm water fishing brings out an abundance of Bait

With the holiday of our independence and the warming trend in temperatures across the country we felt it was a good time to start talking about warmer water fishing tactics.  Warm temperatures and an abundance of bait fish in the water makes the summer time a little more difficult for fishing.  However, they are there and still catchable.  Some might just need to switch their tactics a little.

As water temperatures warm different species of fish will move seeking cooler water temperatures at whatever the comfort level is for that particular species. Oxygen supply is also a factor since the warmer water typically holds less oxygen that fish need.

Facts about Pike and Trout Movements

People used to believe that northern pike lost their teeth in summer since they were difficult to catch. Now we know that this is not true. The pike just move to different locations such as much deeper and colder water where there may be openings in the weed beds for them to ambush baitfish.
In streams the trout will seek cover, cool water, and oxygen. This typically will be deep riffles or rapids or maybe a deep, shaded pool with a riffle at the head. These riffles provide aeration and trout typically will be in or just below the oxygenated water.

Warm water Stresses Fish Habits

Something we should be aware of is the effect of stress on fish in warm water. A trout that has fought for a long time in warm water often will not survive, no matter how carefully you handle and release it. At the very least, put away those darn ultra light rods – or better yet give them to some kids.
Many trout anglers avoid fishing and stressing out trout in small or medium streams. Instead they concentrate on larger waters like West Canada Creek which may be cooler and more oxygenated. Many fishermen do not bother to fish for native trout under these conditions, but concentrate on the waters where much of the fishing is put and take anyway.

Bass will also seek cooler water. For smallmouth bass this usually means deep water along some rocky structure where they move up in evening to feed. Deep water tactics such as live bait, jigs, or jigging spoons are usually best.

Largemouth bass will move deeper for cooler water, although they tolerate warmer water than smallmouths. They will usually seek shade from the bright sun by holding deep in cover such as dense weeds during the daylight. Plastic worms rigged weedless, sinking worms, or drop shot rigs with Berkley “Gulp” minnows may be your best bet. Top water lures in the evening are effective and fun.

Even though bass are hardy fish that are used to warmer waters, their chances for survival are greatly diminished when kept out of water for long in this warm weather. Fight the fish quickly, and if at all possible unhook it while it is still in the water. Using circle hooks which tend to hook a fish in the edge of the lip makes it easier to quickly release a bass.

Of course anglers are still taking some nice salmon, steelhead, and brown trout on Lake Ontario. But it is easy for salmon and trout to move a little bit deeper or further from shore and be in colder water. Check fishing reports on FishNY.com or lakeontariooutdoors.com for the latest depths, lures, etc.
For increased fishing action try fishing during periods of low light or even at night. Trout fishing at dawn or twilight is your best bet. Fishing for big brown trout at night can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Trout fishing on a rainy day is usually good.

Night Fishing can Increase Success for Predatory Species

Night fishing for bass is great since the action is often at its best and you can take them using surface or shallow water lures and tactics. Instead of battling weeds, try fishing after dark with poppers, chuggers, and other top-water lures. Know your waters and fish over relatively shallow weed beds.
The fish usually are not where you found them in May and regardless they are wary or lethargic. But adjust your tactics and you can still find fun and action. It sure beats the alternative of watching “reality shows” on TV.

Monday, 21 April 2014 18:08

Easter Weekend Celebrated Turkey Hunting

We at Shotem and Caughtem needed a little time in the great outdoors this weekend after spending some quality time with the family.  Nothing can be more frustrating yet calming than sitting waiting to here that most coveted sound than the spring gobble of the Turkey.  We wanted to let you know what the birds seem to be doing so that you might have a more successful spring hunt.

So far it seems from the Turkey movements, getting the big dominant birds to break from the large crowds of hens they are still running with, positioning in the field will be crucial to success.  We were throwing a ton of different calls and tactics and all we seemed to lure to our separate spots were inexperienced Jakes.  Traffic in our area was very good.  As a matter of fact just driving around it seems like there are more birds in our area than years past.  We are sure that the drought has definitely had its effects but in certain spots the birds seem to be thriving.  Most of what we found in our birds was a combination of corn from the feeders that are on the property and wheat.  The only depressing thing we noticed were with the birds still henned up there were not a lot of vocal birds around.  We can not wait to get back in the field and listen to them taught one another.

Let us know how things are doing in your area in the comment section below.  We hope that you will help others to have a successful visit in the field when they take their first adventure into the outdoors for Turkey season.  

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